Tuesday, July 25, 2017



Taking Care of a Friend’s Dog For The Weekend? Better Have a License, NYC Says

Even something as simple as having a friend watch your dog for the weekend isn't immune from the scourge of government permission slips in New York City, it seems. The city's Health Department is threatening users of a popular pet-sitting app with fines of $1,000 for taking care of animals without a license.

Thousands of users of Rover, a mobile app that connects pet-owners with individuals willing to feed, walk, and otherwise take care of their animals across New York City are potentially violating a little-known Health Department rule, the New York Daily News reported Thursday.

Though no one has been fined so far, two residents have been hit with violations in November and December for caring for pets without a permit, the paper reports.

The Health Department has also sent a letter to Rover warning about the legal violations. A department spokesman says the permits are needed to protect "public health," according to the Daily News.

"The laws are antiquated," Chad Bacon, who uses Rover to make extra cash by dog-sitting, told the paper. "If you're qualified and able to provide a service, I don't think you should be penalized."

That's a sentiment that could be applied to pretty much any profession where licenses are required, but it's particularly true here.

In-home pet-care is without a doubt the most humane, cost-effective, healthiest option for many pet dogs and cats, Michael Moyer, a Pennsylvania-based veterinarian, tells Reason via email.

"Whether it is the pet's own home or pet sitter's home, there are fewer opportunities for problems than a typical commercial boarding kennel," wrote Moyer. "Any reasonable pet owner could likely judge the appropriateness/safety of the pet-sitter's accommodations with a visual assessment at the time of the pet drop off."

UPDATE: The New York City Health Department, in a statement provided to Reason, says it does not intend to enforce these regulations against individual families, but does require permits for commerical boarding operations: "In order to protect animals from neglect, the Health Department requires animal boarding and kennel facilities to obtain permits and comply with regulations. Commercial boarding of animals in homes is illegal. These regulations do not apply to the average New Yorker who may pet sit for friends, family, and neighbors."

Like other battles between politically connected industries and the sharing economy, upstarts that seek to disrupt them—think hotels versus Airbnb, or taxis versus Uber—the ban on dog-sitting without a license seems to be driven by kennels who don't want competition from apps like Rover.

Kennels have enjoyed a long near-monopoly in the pet care market. Until apps like Rover, you didn't have much of a choice except to pay whatever the nearest kennel charged. In New York, especially, they aren't cheap or convienent—as the New York Daily News points out. Many New Yorkers have to drive their dogs to Connecticut to find a kennel.

Rover has completely changed the landscape. The app has 9,000 sitters in New York City alone and reports having 95,000 pet owners in the city registered to use the service.

Thankfully, City Councilman Corey Johnson tells the Daily News that he plans to introduce legislation legalizing pet-sitting. The Health Department's police, he says, are "crazy," "antiquated," and "not practical."

It's a shame the city government hasn't taken that same approach to roomsharing—using Airbnb is technically illegal in New York, even though many people have ignored the ban—but at least Johnson is nudging the city in the direction of more freedom.

The sharing economy is here to stay, regardless of what rules and regulations special interests fearful of new competition press local governments to impose. Policymakers should use a light touch in regulating mutually-beneficial agreements that let people crash on a couch, hop a ride, or leave their pooch in someone else's care.

SOURCE






Henrico McDonald's takes 'appropriate action' after employee refused to serve uniformed police officer

A black employee? According to a Facebook post by Naff’s wife, they were told the employee had been fired.

An on-duty officer with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries says he was denied service at a McDonald’s restaurant in Henrico County because of his profession, prompting the owner to take what was described as “appropriate action” to resolve the situation.

Scott Naff, a 25-year law enforcement veteran, was apparently not given his food after he paid for it because the employee in the drive-thru allegedly refused to serve police. The event was first broadcast online late Thursday through the officer’s wife, whose Facebook post had received more than 2,000 comments and 3,500 shares by Monday.

The officer said Tuesday that he was not able to talk about the incident, but his wife spoke on his behalf.

Cathy Naff, the officer’s wife, said the post was initially meant to be shared among a group of supportive friends, and she had no idea it would garner such attention.

Freda Thornton, the franchise owner, said in a statement Tuesday that her restaurants are dedicated to serving all customers, “including all authority figures who protect our wildlife and natural resources.”

“We regret this situation as it goes against our standards of providing a welcoming experience to everyone, and we have taken the appropriate action to resolve this situation,” Thornton said in the statement.

A spokeswoman declined to specify what actions were taken or provide further comment.

Cathy Naff said in her original Facebook post that her husband was on break about 7 p.m. Thursday when he pulled into the McDonald’s drive-thru at 8210 Brook Road. After ordering his food, Cathy Naff said, the employee told him, “I ain’t serving no police,” and closed the service window.

Her husband was served several minutes later by another employee, Cathy Naff said, but she said she was “shocked” to learn of the encounter. The couple notified the McDonald’s corporate office and the franchise owner of what transpired, she said.

When asked whether McDonald’s actions were satisfactory, Cathy Naff said there is no satisfaction in seeing someone lose a job. She added that the issue could likely be prevented from recurring through adequate customer training practices.

“This situation is about how a law enforcement officer was treated by an employee of a local establishment who should have been trained by their employer and properly supervised on how to treat their customers,” she said. “My husband is one of the great guys and would have never treated this young man disrespectfully.”

SOURCE






The Key Facts About Slavery That the Left Conveniently Ignores

Walter E. Williams
   
Too many people believe that slavery is a "peculiar institution." That's what Kenneth Stampp called slavery in his book, "Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South." But slavery is by no means peculiar, odd or unusual. It was common among ancient peoples such as the Egyptians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Hittites, Greeks, Persians, Armenians and many others. Large numbers of Christians were enslaved during the Ottoman wars in Europe. White slaves were common in Europe from the Dark Ages to the Middle Ages. It was only after A.D. 1600 that Europeans joined with Arabs and Africans and started the Atlantic slave trade. As David P. Forsythe wrote in his book, "The Globalist," "The fact remained that at the beginning of the nineteenth century an estimated three-quarters of all people alive were trapped in bondage against their will either in some form of slavery or serfdom."

While slavery constitutes one of the grossest encroachments on human liberty, it is by no means unique or restricted to the Western world or United States, as many liberal academics would have us believe. Much of their indoctrination of our young people, at all levels of education, paints our nation's founders as racist adherents to slavery, but the story is not so simple.

At the time of the 1787 Constitutional Convention, slaves were about 40 percent of the population of the southern colonies. Apportionment in the House of Representatives and the number of electoral votes each state would have in presidential elections would be based upon population. Southern delegates to the convention wanted slaves to be counted as one person. Northern delegates to the convention, and those opposed to slavery, wanted only free persons of each state to be counted for the purposes of apportionment in the House of Representatives and the Electoral College. The compromise reached was that each slave would be counted as only three-fifths of a person.

Many criticize this compromise as proof of racism. My question to these grossly uninformed critics is whether they would have found it more preferable for slaves to be counted as whole persons? Slaves counted as whole persons would have given slave-holding southern states much more political power. Or, would the critics of the founders prefer that the northern delegates not compromise and not allow slaves to be counted at all? If they did, it is likely that the Constitution would have not been ratified. Thus, the question that emerges is whether blacks would be better off with northern states having gone their way and southern states having gone theirs, resulting in no U.S. Constitution and no Union? Unlike today's pseudointellectuals, black abolitionist Frederick Douglass understood the compromise, saying that the three-fifths clause was "a downright disability laid upon the slave-holding states" that deprived them of "two-fifths of their natural basis of representation."

Douglass' vision was shared by Patrick Henry and others. Henry said, expressing the reality of the three-fifths compromise, "As much as I deplore slavery, I see that prudence forbids its abolition." With this union, Congress at least had the power to abolish slave trade by 1808. According to delegate James Wilson, many believed the anti-slave-trade clause laid "the foundation for banishing slavery out of this country." Many of the founders abhorred slavery. Their statements can be read on my website, walterewilliams.com.

The most unique aspect of slavery in the Western world was the moral outrage against it, which began to emerge in the 18th century and led to massive elimination efforts. It was Britain's military sea power that put an end to the slave trade. And our country fought a costly war that brought an end to slavery. Unfortunately, these facts about slavery are not in the lessons taught in our schools and colleges. Instead, there is gross misrepresentation and suggestion that slavery was a uniquely American practice.

SOURCE





Well-Known Evangelical Author Evolves – Then Backtracks – on Same-Sex 'Marriage'

By John Stonestreet

Last week, the well-known evangelical author Eugene Peterson appeared to embrace so-called same-sex "marriage," and then, he backtracked. There's a lot to talk about.

Last week Eugene Peterson, the author of "The Message" as well as several other pastoral books, said in an interview with Jonathan Merritt of Religion News Service that he didn't consider homosexuality wrong and would, if asked, officiate a same-sex "marriage." "I know a lot of people who are gay and lesbian," Peterson said, "and they seem to have as good a spiritual life as I do."

The reaction was swift and immediate. After all, Peterson is no minor figure. His work has influenced the faith of millions, and predictably, liberal circles hailed him as the most prominent evangelical figure yet to "evolve" on same-sex relationships.

But then on Thursday, Peterson released a statement retracting his earlier comments, saying, "To clarify, I affirm the biblical view of marriage: one man to one woman. I affirm a biblical view of everything."

I'm glad for this retraction, though his statements are still puzzling. Even more, they're revealing.

First, they reveal the crisis of authority among evangelicals. So much of this conversation, and many others within the evangelical church, is driven by celebrities instead of doctrine. That's not helpful at all.

Second, they reveal the need for clarity on another oft-repeated point: that there's a massive shift among Christians on this issue. As my "BreakPoint This Week" co-host Ed Stetzer wrote last year in "Christianity Today," rumors of the evangelical church caving to gay theology are greatly exaggerated. While some high-profile figures have "evolved," most denominations and groups have staked out clear positions on the orthodox, biblical view of sexuality and marriage.

Third, Peterson's original statement appealed, not to biblical teaching or theological argument, but to people and experiences. He echoed others like David Gushee, Senator Rob Portman, and Reverend Stan Mitchell, all of whom say relationships with gay friends or family changed their views.

Now, it would be one thing if people pointed to a new understanding of the Greek or Hebrew language, or the discovery of a some hidden, robust theological tradition. But it's never that sort of thick argument cited by those who evolve—no, it's always based on subjective experience.

As Tim Keller wrote, if you change your mind about homosexuality because you meet a friendly and intelligent gay person, your views probably weren't based on a biblical theology of marriage to begin with. Feelings are no substitute for an informed Christian worldview.

As Samuel James pointed out at First Things, every single one of our Christian convictions—whether on sexuality, being kind to our enemies, abortion, God, hate, lust, or the meaning of life—will eventually collide with real life after the fall. "There is no safe corner of the Christian story that is completely intuitive or unfailingly neighborly," he writes. Every claim of the Gospel can and will place us in conflict with unbelievers, especially in this cultural moment. The attempt to avoid all offense only leaves us in doctrinal no-man's land.

And finally, this isn't, as some have claimed, a side issue or something Christians can just "agree to disagree" on. From God creating us male and female and ordering marriage toward procreation, to Jesus' reaffirmation of natural marriage in Matthew 19, to Paul's clear language in his epistles, to the marriage supper of the Lamb, not to mention the way the Old Testament dealt with sexuality and sexual sin, the Bible consistently and unambiguously teaches one view of human sexuality. Marriage is so thoroughly woven into the story of redemption, any attempt to alter it distorts the Gospel.

Please join me in praying that Peterson would continue to reaffirm the biblical teaching for the right reasons, and let's continue to pray for and call for renewed determination in the Church to stand on the solid rock of God's word.

SOURCE

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UK: Europcar again

This is a notorious firm.  There have been bitter complaints about them in Australia and the USA too.  I always advise people to steer clear of them

One of the world's biggest car hire firms, Europcar, paid staff for cheating customers over "damaged" cars, a whistleblower has claimed.

Europcar agents inspecting hire cars for damage are rewarded with £4 for each car they flag up as damaged, regardless of whether a repair is actually warranted, a manager at the firm told the Daily Telegraph.

The alleged conflict of interest comes amid a large volume of customers reporting they have been charged huge fees for "barely there" or non-existent damages after renting a car.

As this newspaper disclosed last week, Europcar is accused of systematically overbilling well over half a million customers for at least £30m in repairs over many years.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Monday, July 24, 2017




Defeating Progressive Ideology

Nothing facilitates forced subservience to the Left's noxious way of thinking more than political correctness

"Since the principles undergirding America's founding are beyond mortal law, they are beyond the reach of the progressives and the administrative state. Hence the war on the founding values, beliefs, and traditions was and is intended to, among other things, stop legitimate inquiry into and teaching of first principles or purposes. They are to be made intellectually and culturally off-limits. Consequently, what is left is only one acceptable and overarching agenda — the progressive agenda." —Mark Levin, from his book, "Rediscovering Americanism: And the Tyranny of Progressivism"

Perhaps nothing is more toxic than a progressive ideology that has become the default position that millions of unwilling people are expected to oblige. And nothing facilitates that forced subservience more than political correctness.

Yet what, precisely, is political correctness? It is totalitarianism — promoted as morality.

Thus one is not merely wrong for challenging the progressive status quo on same-sex marriage, transgenderism, "white privilege," illegal immigration, global warming, "hate speech," or a host of other leftist causes. One is evil, and the "appropriate" label defining what particular evil is applied: homophobic, transphobic, racist, nativist, anti-science, fascist, etc.

Labeling one as evil as opposed to wrong is critical. Wrong leaves room for debate. Evil makes debate unnecessary — and entrenches the progressive default position as a result.

It is an ever-expanding entrenchment. "Words can have a powerful effect on your nervous system," insists Northeastern University psychology professor Lisa Feldman Barrett. "Certain types of adversity, even those involving no physical contact, can make you sick, alter your brain — even kill neurons — and shorten your life."

What to do? "The scientific findings I described above provide empirical guidance for which kinds of controversial speech should and shouldn't be acceptable on campus and in civil society," Barrett asserts. "In short, the answer depends on whether the speech is abusive or merely offensive."

And who gets to define which is which? "There is a difference between permitting a culture of casual brutality and entertaining an opinion you strongly oppose," she states. "The former is a danger to a civil society (and to our health); the latter is the lifeblood of democracy." Thus, Barrett insists, it's "reasonable" to completely prevent "provocateur and hatemonger" Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus because he's "abusive," while political scientist Charles Murray is acceptable because "you might find his view to be repugnant and misguided, but it's only offensive."

In other words, what Barrett and her fellow progressives define as abusive must be rendered "intellectually and culturally off-limits."

Attacks on the First Amendment are merely the tip of the progressive spear. Reality itself must also be aligned to suit progressive sensibilities. In Wales, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) is demanding that higher education teachers undergo gender diversity training, warning that the failure to use proper pronouns to address "non-binary" persons could precipitate legal action.

Jasper Williams, LGBT+ officer for NUS Wales, reveals the unbridled arrogance behind the effort. She singles out a teacher who "couldn't get anything that wasn't male or female," telling BBC News he made comments "making it sound like non-binary genders [are] made up and like a fantasy idea."

Thus by implication, biological and chromosomal realities are now "fantasy ideas" that must be rendered inoperable by force of law. The same force of law the Obama administration unilaterally imposed on schools around the entire nation when it insisted Title IX of the 1964 Civil Rights Act gave transgender students the right to use restrooms and locker rooms matching their gender "identities" — using the threat of withholding federal education funds as a hammer to enforce its "guidelines." The Trump administration rescinded the directive, but there is no doubt progressives will reinstate it if they regain power.

As far as progressives are concerned, the transgender science is "settled."

And they've got the documentation to "prove" it. "The evidence is clear — the American Left succeeded in lobbying the American Psychiatric Association (APA) to eliminate some of the sexual identity disorders from their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM)," columnist Mark A. Hewitt explains.

The end game is also clear. "If you get enough votes," he adds, "you can negate, soften, redefine, and ultimately legitimize any of the mental disorders."

Toward what end? To achieve a "radical break from America's heritage," Levin asserts, further explaining progressive ideology is "an elitist-driven counterrevolution to the American Revolution, in which the sovereignty of the individual, natural law, natural rights, and the civil society — built on a foundation of thousands of years of enlightened thinking and human experience — would be drastically altered and even abandoned for an ideological agenda broadly characterized as 'historical progress.'"

As Victor Davis Hanson explains, such "progress" has brought the nation to a "dangerous climax" in which "the consequences of globalization, the growth of the deep state, changing demographics, open borders, the rise of a geographic apartheid between blue and red states, and the institutionalization of a permanent coastal political and culture elite — and the reaction to all that — are tearing apart the country."

And yet again, the progressive default position dominates, irrespective of the consequences. "It does not matter that the ossified European social model does not work and leads to collective decline in the standard of living," Hanson states. "The world knows that from seeing the implosion of Venezuela and Cuba, or the gradual decline of the EU and the wreckage of its Mediterranean members, or the plight of blue states such as Illinois and California."

Despite this plethora of evidence, Hanson believes the "near-religious idea of egalitarianism" progressives cherish "has all but won the war against liberty."

Hanson is somewhat in error. Egalitarianism is a means to an end. The end is suppression of the masses by all-knowing elitists who grant themselves the "near-religious" power of enforcing equality of outcome — and enjoying the unequal bounty engendered by their "noble" tyranny. Elitists who come to a unanimous conclusion regarding a historical record replete with ossified social models, collective declines and societal wreckage:

The wrong people were in charge.

And the war is not over. "Far from progress, the trajectory of progressives toward indolence, malice, violence, and unrestrained sexuality is as old as society," columnist E.M. Cadwaladr asserts. "It is just paganism with cell phones added."

It is paganism that may ultimately be fatal. "Through some process of increasing entropy, failed memory management, or unanticipated side effects, the status quo — the one dominated by the Left — is collapsing," writes PJ Media's Richard Fernandez.

Fernandez attributes that collapse to a higher power. "God killed the Left," he asserts. "Of course one could legitimately use some other term. 'Reality,' 'consequences,' the 'laws of nature,' 'economics,' even 'truth' will do."

So will terms like natural law, natural rights and civil society, all of which will prove far more enduring than progressive ideology.

Why? Because "only God is God," Cadwaladr explains. "Politicians, pundits, and opinion makers are not."

Thus, progressive efforts to create "utopia" are nothing more than monumental hubris. And when that hubris is rejected by a horde of "deplorables," it explains why so many formerly "tolerant" progressives are now full of anger and hate — and why Liberty and first principles will ultimately prevail.

SOURCE







Humanitarian Hoax in the Military: Killing America With Kindness

by LINDA GOUDSMIT

The Humanitarian Hoax is a deliberate and deceitful tactic of presenting a destructive policy as altruistic. The humanitarian huckster presents himself as a compassionate advocate when in fact he is the disguised enemy.

Obama, the humanitarian huckster-in-chief, weakened the United States military for eight years presenting his crippling policies as altruistic when in fact they were designed for destruction. His legacy, the Leftist Democratic Party with its "resistance" movement, is the party of the Humanitarian Hoax attempting to destroy American democracy and replace it with socialism.

In a stunning reversal of military protocols and procedures Barack Obama perpetrated the Humanitarian Hoax on the military. Scheduled to take effect July 1, 2017 Obama's "Tier Three Transgender Training" materials were presented as compassionate and deeply respectful of the minuscule population of transgender soldiers. In fact these protocols and procedures were designed to weaken the military by making the feelings of a few soldiers more important than combat-readiness, and by placing the needs of individuals over the well-being of their units. Obama's policies were not misguided they were deliberate.

The mission of the military is unequivocally national defense - the protection of America and her people. The military is one of the only appropriate collectives in a democracy. It is a unique culture with unique rules where collective units, not individuals, are prioritized and where the mission supersedes the men/women who serve. Police departments are another form of appropriate collective in a democracy whose similar mission is national defense at a local and state level. Obama and his leftist Democratic Party are deliberately trying to weaken and undermine American police departments as well.

Obama's long-term plan for socialism and its cradle-to-grave government control is a political power grab that steals individual right and replaces them with national government rights. Like any predator the Democratic Party focuses its prey on the short game and disguises its long term objective. Sexual predators do not lure children with vegetables - they offer candy. Political predators do not lure their voters with hard work - they offer them free college, free healthcare, free food, free housing, free everything - and then the windows close, the doors lock, and the prey is captured and exploited.

Socialism is political candy for Americans who have been indoctrinated to believe that it will provide social justice and income equality. There are no individual rights in socialism - all rights belong to the national government. There are no property rights in socialism - all property belongs to the national government. The only social justice or income equality provided by socialism is that everyone is equally poor and equally exploited.

The appropriate place for a collective in a democracy is the military which is only effective when the mission takes priority over the individual. The leftist Democratic Party is attempting to invert American life by democratizing the military and socializing the society. The Leftist Democratic Party presents itself as America's advocate but is in fact America's enemy.

The irony of the entire Leftist Humanitarian Hoax designed to destroy American democracy and replace it with socialism is that the Leftist Democratic Party is too arrogant to understand that they are the useful idiots in the larger and more sinister plan of the globalist elite. Socialism with its complete government control is the prerequisite social structure for the globalist elite to internationalize the socialist countries and impose one-world government.

One-world government is the new world order that the globalist elite intend to rule themselves. It is unapologetically described in chilling detail in Lord Bertrand Russell's 1952 book "The Impact of Science on Society." One-world government is a binary socio-political system of masters and slaves. There is no social justice in one-world government, there is no income equality in one-world government, there are no Leftists or political agitators of any kind in one-world government - only a docile, compliant population of slaves and their rulers.

One-world government is the goal and the underlying motive of the campaign to destroy America from within. American democracy is the single greatest existential threat to one-world government and President Donald Trump is its leader. If the globalist elite are successful in their efforts to weaken the US military, overthrow the US government of President Donald Trump, and transform America into socialism the next step is globalist conquest and the imposition of one-world government.

After 241 years of American freedom the world will be returned to the dystopian existence of masters and slaves because a willfully blind American public were seduced by political candy and followed the Leftists into the awaiting socialist sedan - the windows close, the doors lock, and the prey is captured and enslaved. Game over.   

SOURCE






Anti-Christian Bigotry Is Surging in UK and US

By Bill Donohue

Anti-Christian fascist sign at a gay rights protest at Federal Plaza, Chicago on November 15, 2008. (Wikimedia Commons Photo)
Premier Christian Communications has released the results of a survey of 12,000 Christians in the U.K. assessing prejudice and discrimination against them. The findings are disturbing.

93% say Christianity is being marginalized in society
80% say Christianity is not given equal respect
67% say they are unable to be open about their faith at work
50% say they have experienced prejudice because of their Christian faith
26% say they fear they will be persecuted for being open about their faith

Tim Farron, who resigned as the head of the Liberal Democrats last month, said that "we are kidding ourselves if we think we live in a tolerant liberal society."

What is going on in the U.K. is also going on in the U.S.

The Catholic League website records an extensive example of anti-Catholic incidents, listing offenses stemming from activist organizations, the artistic community, business and the workplace, education, government, and the media. We have noted that the biggest spike in bigotry in recent years has emanated from government; it is also the most problematic venue of anti-Catholicism.

Evangelicals have also noted a surge in bigotry. The Family Research Council recently published "Hostility to Religion: The Growing Threat to Religious Liberty in the United States." It noted a 76% increase in attacks on religious liberty over the past three years.

Earlier this year, First Liberty published "Undeniable: The Survey of Hostility to Religion in America." It found there was a 133 percent increase in attacks on religious liberty over the past five years.

In February, the Public Religion Research Institute did a survey of white evangelicals and found that they believe they face more discrimination than Muslims.

What's going on? Farron is right: There is no tolerance for practicing Christians in the U.K., and the same is true in the U.S. Yet both nations prize their alleged open-mindedness. Much of the animus has to do with Christian sexual ethics: Christianity values restraint and the dominant culture in both nations values the abandonment of it.

But even this explanation is incomplete. Muslims are more in agreement with practicing Christians on sexual issues than they are with militant secularists. Yet in elite circles, the British and American high priests of tolerance are more accepting of Muslims than Christians. How can this be?

For one, Muslims are feared and Christians are not. Two, due to the corrupting influence of multiculturalism, elites in the West are more likely to embrace outsiders than they are their own, and this is especially true of practicing Christians. Three, those on the left welcome everyone who seeks to undermine the basis of Western Civilization, namely the Judeo-Christian ethos. It's a sick admixture of these three factors.

Christians in both nations need to hang tough and work together to combat anti-Christian bigotry. The alliances they forge must not be sidetracked by bigots, or by arrogant and boneheaded leaders in their own ranks who wish to crush such coalitions.

SOURCE






The collapse of the taxi-medallion shakedown

by Jeff Jacoby

IT MADE HEADLINES in 2011 when two New York City taxi medallions changed hands for $1 million apiece. At the time, it was the highest price ever recorded for one of the numbered metal tags that are required to lawfully operate a cab on the city's streets. It was also a vivid demonstration of how a government-created monopoly can send prices rocketing to stratospheric heights — even the price of something with almost no intrinsic value, like a little aluminum medallion issued by the NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission.

A million bucks for a taxicab medallion? That may have come as a shock in 2011, but the price kept climbing. By 2014, medallions were going for $1.3 million apiece.

And all anyone got for forking over that astronomical sum was the government's permission to operate a vehicle as a taxi for hire. They didn't get a list of established customers. They didn't get the right to ply a popular route. They didn't even get a car.

The only reason anyone would pay a fortune for something so insubstantial is that the supply was capped by the government. New York allowed just 13,587 taxis on its streets, far below the actual demand for cab ownership. With the quantity of medallions sharply limited, their value soared. Would-be cabbies were forced to go deeply into debt to buy a medallion, or pay staggering rates to lease a cab from somebody who owned one.

No longer.

Since 2014, the cost of a New York City taxi medallion has plunged. As CNBC reported the other day, some medallions sold in 2017 have gone for prices in the $200,000s. Three credit unions that specialize in financing the purchase of medallions are facing bankruptcy; a growing number of medallion owners now owe more on their loans than the medallions are worth.

Thanks to Uber and Lyft, the government's extortion racket — that's what the medallion system amounts to — has been beaten. With the rise of ride-hailing apps, tens of thousands of additional vehicles in New York are now providing millions of rides annually. For every medallion-affixed yellow cab working the city's neighborhoods, there are now four Uber and Lyft cars.

In November 2010, traditional cabs made an average of 464,000 trips each day. By November 2016, that was down to 337,000. It is doubtless even lower today. For a long time, City Hall's formidable barrier to entry — the restricted availability of taxi medallions — stood. But private-sector vendors found a way around it, and the results of innovation and competition have been what they usually are: better service, lower prices, happier consumers.

What happened in New York is happening in every other city that turned its taxi market into an oligopoly. In Boston, where the number of taxis was arbitrarily capped at 1,825, the pre-Uber price of a medallion climbed to more than $700,000. You can buy one today for one-tenth that amount. In Chicago, traditional taxis face so much competition that as of March, 40 percent of the taxi fleet was deemed "inactive" after not having picked up a fare in a month.

The medallion system was always an outrage. There was never a legitimate reason for government to limit the number of taxis. Regulators have no business determining how many cabbies belong on the road; just as they have no business determining how many appetizers should be offered on menus or how many homes real-estate agencies should list. Or, to allude to current headlines, how many benefits a health-insurance policy must cover.

When government tries to manage supply and demand, it inevitably generates shortages, poor service, and corruption. Even with good intentions, regulators cannot yield fairer and more flexible outcomes than a market made up of millions of autonomous buyers and sellers. The collapse of the medallion shakedown was a long time in coming. It should never have been allowed in the first place.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Sunday, July 23, 2017






My five-year-old daughter was fined £150 ... for selling lemonade

 Andre Spicer

Disgusting British bureaucracy.  When my gorgeous twin stepdaughters were about 8 or 9 we had a very productive lemon tree so experimented  with making lemonade out of some of its produce.  When we had a product, I organized for the girls to set up a stand outside our place and sell glasses of lemonade to passers by for $1 each.  They loved it and it is one of their fondest memories of their childhood.  We were living on a main road so at one stage the local cop -- this was in a small Australian country town -- drove past, came to a screeching halt when he realized what he had just seen and approached the girls. 

Did he create anything like the horrible scene described below?  No way. He was fascinated and talked to the girls in a friendly way.  He bought a drink and went on his way with a pleasant memory of the day.

Why could those animals of British bureaucracy not do that?  Why could they not have turned a blind eye? The more you see of British bureaucrats the more you doubt that they are really human.

There have been incidents in the USA where officials have tried to shut down children's lemonade stands but the outcry has made them backpedal. Will that happen in Britain after this episode?  Don't hold your breath

 

Like many parents, I’m forever searching for ways to entertain my children – especially at this time of year, when the school holidays loom. I know that visits to our local playground won’t be enough to get us through the long summer days. So, I was pretty pleased when I hit on the idea of helping my five-year-old daughter to run a lemonade stand at the end of our street.

I would have thought twice if I knew what was in store for us.

Really, it was my daughter's suggestion. On the way home from school one day, she told me that she wanted to run a stall like they had at the school fete. "What do you want to sell" I asked.

"Food and toys", she replied.

"Do you want to your sell your toys?", I replied, trying to hide my excitement. My daughter took a second to think.

"Maybe just food then".

The next morning, she announced that she wanted to run a lemonade stand. It sounded very American, but it would entertain her and she might even learn a thing of two. I started looking up lemonade recipes.

That weekend, after 30 minutes of labouring over the blender, we had four jugs of lemonade. My daughter drew a sign with some beautiful bright yellow lemons on it. I added the prices: 50p for a small cup; £1 for a large one. After cleaning off an old table, we packed up our things and walked to the end of the street. A music festival was taking place in a nearby park, so dozens of people streamed by every minute. My daughter stood proudly in front of the table. "Who wants lemonade", she called out. Within a minute, she had her first customer.

The lemonade quickly disappeared and her little money tin filled up. A happy scene. And then, after about 30 minutes, four local council enforcement officers stormed up to her little table.

"Excuse me", one office said as he switched on a portable camera attached to his vest. He then read a lengthy legal statement – the gist of which was that because my daughter didn't have a trading permit, she would be fined £150. "But don’t worry, it is only £90 if it’s paid quickly", the officer added.

My daughter burst into tears, repeating again and again "have I done a bad thing"?

After five minutes, the officers' jobs were done and they went on their way. We packed up and made the short walk home. My daughter sobbed all the way.

When my she had finally calmed down, I started to try to make sense of what had just happened. I’m a professor in a business school, so I probably should have known some kind of permit was required. But this was a five-year-old kid selling lemonade. She wasn’t exactly a public safety hazard.

Later, I tried to lay the matter to rest. "We can get a permit and have a stall another day", I said.

"No. It’s too scary", she replied.

Holding the notice of the fine in my hand, I’m reminded just how restrictive we have become with our children. When I was growing up, my brother and I were able to wonder miles from home without adult supervision. We were encouraged to sell things to raise money for clubs we were part of. By selling biscuits, we learned about maths, communication and basic business skills. But more importantly, we gained a degree of confidence. I can’t ever recall a council officer popping up and fining us.

The world my children are growing up in is radically different. Today, kids are watched by parents around the clock. Most are not allowed beyond the front gate of their house. Everything children do today is carefully regulated by officials, inspectors and their own parents. There are good intentions behind all this obsessive monitoring. But these good intentions can quickly sour.

At the same time as we supervise the joy out of childhood, many of the things which actually help our children thrive are disappearing. Councils have closed youth clubs and young people’s services. Teachers spend more time ticking bureaucratic boxes than teaching kids. Parents are more interested in monitoring their social media feed than playing with their kids. Meanwhile, the number of children being prescribed anti-depressants has gone up 50pc in five years.  

Now, after Lemonadegate, as I contemplate the long school holidays which lay ahead, I’m even more confused about how to entertain our children. Setting up a lemonade stand is obviously far too risky. Perhaps I should just rely on that good old fashioned parenting technique – handing my daughter an iPad so she can spend hours watching a creepy guy opening up toys he has just bought.

SOURCE

UPDATE: The power of publicity at work.  The council cancelled the fine and apologized. 

In a statement Friday, the council said it was “very sorry” about what happened and that its enforcement officers are expected to “show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly.” “This clearly did not happen,” it said.




A multicultural father in Britain



A mother yesterday spoke of her anger that she only learned about her partner’s violent past after he beat her five-year-old son to death over a lost trainer.

Marvyn Iheanacho, 39, had a sickening history of violence, including six convictions for domestic abuse after he attacked five partners and a child.

Yet despite his appalling record, the burly thug with a terrifying temper was allowed to look after the boy after he embarked on a new relationship.

He started going out with single mother Lilya Breha, who was never told by police he had just been released from prison for assaulting his fifth girlfriend.

On a trip to the park on November 20 last year, the jobless father-of-three lost his temper when his new partner’s son, Alex Malcolm, lost a trainer.

Iheanacho battered the little boy with such savagery that witnesses who overheard eight ‘booming’ blows initially thought two grown men were fighting. They heard the child begging for mercy, sobbing, ‘I’m sorry, I’m sorry.’

Instead of taking the dying boy to hospital only a five-minute walk away, Iheanacho carried him through the street before taking a cab to Miss Breha’s home in Bromley, South-East London, where he attacked her, throttling her as she tried to call 999.

Iheanacho, who was known to Alex as 'Daddy Mills', admitted beating the boy before in a note

'If I think about all my mistakes, shame takes over and I find myself overwhelmed in anger. 'My anger help me to push forward but fears helps me to fly high. Up up and away. 'Do I really love Alex, five years old small cute lil boy.

'Who want nothing more, than daddy mills to love him protect him but most of all keep him from harm - even though I had to beat him just now for sicking up in the cab - why why why I say - so the answer is yes yes yes I love him and like with all my heart but may not enough- I am real, faithful making money - so why ain't I happy?'

When Miss Breha managed to raise the alarm two hours later, doctors were unable to save the youngster, who had 22 bruises from head to toe. He died two days later following a bleed to the brain.

Iheanacho had denied murder, but was convicted yesterday. A jury at Woolwich Crown Court took six hours to dismiss his story that Alex accidentally fell off his shoulders as he walked back from Mountsfield Park in Catford, South-East London. Iheanacho, of Hounslow, West London, will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Miss Breha only learned of his past during his trial. He had so many convictions it took prosecutors 15 minutes to read them out.

The Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Police Act 2014 gave police the power to request a criminal behaviour order in cases of domestic violence, forcing offenders to tell officers every time they begin a relationship so police can warn new partners about them.

But Miss Breha, who had a five-month relationship with Iheanacho, was never contacted by police or made aware of his appalling past after they met through a mutual friend as he was being released from prison.

The Ukrainian mother, who occasionally left her son in Iheanacho’s care while she worked two jobs as a baby sitter and dog minder, wept as he was convicted.

‘It’s a joke,’ she said. ‘I just wish I’d known. I knew he had been in prison, but he said he was innocent. I had no idea about his past and the first time I heard about it I was disgusted. I was so shocked. I just felt sick.

'Alex was so small but he was my strength and my purpose for living. 'The hardest thing I have ever had to hear was that my child died. I remember it like it was yesterday.

' Lying next to him in a hospital and praying that everything would be fine, that he will open his eyes. 'I didn't even get to tell him I love him.

'All I got was to put my hand on his chest and feel every single one of his final heartbeats.'

‘I was so naive. He would come over and help Alex with homework. I trusted him. He had his own kids. I never imagined this would happen. Something should have been done with someone like that.’

Miss Breha paid tribute to her son, saying: ‘We called him little angel. He was perfect. He was my best friend. He was my strength and my purpose for living. The hardest thing I have ever had to hear, was that my child died.’

SOURCE






Germany's media failed in their duty to cover the migrant crisis responsibly and treated anyone critical of Merkel's open door policy as racist

Germany's media failed in their duty to cover the migrant crisis responsibly and treated anyone critical of Angela Merkel's open door policy as racist, an influential German institute study has claimed.

Researchers at the Otto Brenner Institute said they studied thousands of articles published by daily newspapers during the mass influx of refugees in 2015 and 2016.

Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers arrived in the country before the German Chancellor closed the border in March last year when Balkan states cut off the migration route.

According to Die Zeit, the study said newspapers appeared to take on the role of 'public educators' during the crisis instead of objective critics of public policy.

The report, to be published next week, said some publications had treated people who criticised government policy as being potentially racist.

It suggests some of the reporting 'massively contributed' to a split in German society and loss of confidence in the media.

Former Die Zeit editor Michael Haller, who led the research, told the newspaper: 'Most journalists failed in their job as someone who is supposed to objectively explain the world to readers.'

Opinions of experts, German citizens and asylum seekers themselves were often ignored, Haller added, according to The Local.

At the height of the refugee influx, thousands were crossing into Germany everyday having made their way up through southern and central Europe.

At the same time, there was a rise in support for far right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party which opposed Merkel's open-door policy.

But its support has recently plummeted as the refugee influx to Germany has slowed, and it is polling at around seven per cent nationwide.

Merkel's CDU party meanwhile has strongly regained ground, with polls showing it mustering close to 40 per cent of support, leaving the second most popular party SPD trailing at around 24 per cent.

SOURCE






Australia's ABC censored church’s ‘positive story' about domestic violence

And lied about it -- in good Leftist fashion. For a fuller coverage of how totally dishonest the program was, see here or my final post on AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, of 21st. It was a classic example of Leftist cherrypicking. They ran with one little quote they liked and ignored the other facts that totally contradicted what they were claiming. There is no truth in them (John 8:44). They are Satanic

A senior female Anglican leader has expressed “disappointment” that her “positive” story in fighting domestic violence was ignored by the ABC in its controversial TV program claiming Christian men who go to church occasionally are the worst abusers of women.

Sydney diocese Archdeacon for Women Kara Hartley was ­interviewed for more than an hour by ABC journalist Julia Baird for the report on 7:30 that aired on Wednesday night, but none of her comments were aired.

“I probably wanted to promote our views and our responses more than came through — my disappointment is that there is positive work and a positive conversation, and I would have liked that to be highlighted some more,” Archdeacon Hartley said yesterday.

Archdeacon Hartley’s remarks came as the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Mark Coleridge, ­revealed he had, on request, provided the ABC with extensive comments for a related online essay by Baird and co-author ­Hayley Gleeson. But not only did Baird and Gleeson not publish any of his remarks, they falsely reported he had not responded.

Only after the diocese made an official complaint to the ABC did it amend the article yesterday.

“The archdiocese of Brisbane tried to tell ABC reporters about the work we do to assist people who are affected by domestic and family violence,” Archbishop Coleridge said.

“It’s time that the ABC took ­seriously its role to tell the story of the real Australia. It should disengage from the groupthink that has produced an antagonistic, one-sided narrative about the Catholic Church in this country.”

An ABC spokesman declined to comment. The 7:30 story by Baird and ­fellow ABC journalist Paige MacKenzie has been widely condemned for its apparent reliance on, and distortion of, a footnote in a 2008 paper by a professor of ­theology at Phoenix Seminary in Arizona, Steven Tracy.

ABC presenter Leigh Sales said: “We talk about women in Islam, but statistically it is evangelical Christian men who attend church sporadically who are the most likely to assault their wives.”

But 7:30 did not report that ­Professor Tracy’s original paper actually found “there is an inverse relationship between church attendance and domestic violence”.

“Conservative Protestant men who attend church regularly are found to be the least likely group to engage in domestic violence, though conservative Protestant men who are irregular church ­attendees are the most likely to batter their wives,” his report said.

The 7:30 segment, which acknowledged “there has never been any real research” on the topic in Australia, quoted advocates claiming “the church is not just failing to sufficiently address domestic violence, it is both enabling and concealing it”.

In the segment, Baird cited concerns that “as long as women’s voices are denied within the church, domestic violence will continue”.

But it made no mention of Archdeacon Hartley, who has been in the Anglican ministry for 20 years and is a leading member of the church’s domestic violence taskforce.

Archdeacon Hartley said she had emphasised to Baird that “domestic violence in our church is unacceptable … I and the senior leadership are absolutely committed, there is no confusion”.

“The first thing we do is we listen and we believe,” she said. “We work out with them what is the best way to be safe, to be cared for … is it going to the police, is it getting you out of your home?” “I am really passionate about this work.”

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Friday, July 21, 2017


Three cheers for Thom Yorke

Rejecting BDS is the most rock’n’roll thing he’s ever done

The fate of the Palestinian people rests on Thom Yorke’s slender shoulders. Or at least that’s the impression you might have got from the weeks of opprobrium heaped on the Radiohead frontman for refusing to bow to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) crew and cancel the band’s upcoming show in Tel Aviv. The backlash, unleashed by pro-BDS artists, myriad luvvies and pro-Palestine protesters, has been positively unhinged.

‘Their ill-advised concert in Tel Aviv suggests to me that they only want to hear one side – the one that supports apartheid’, wrote film director Ken Loach in the Independent. ‘Every international artist who plays in Israel serves as a propaganda tool for the Israeli government’, read an open letter signed by Desmond Tutu, Pink Floyd’s Roger Waters, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, and others. ‘Music helps drown out the cries of the oppressed’, wrote former Faithless guitarist Dave Randall, in support of the letter.

They’ve rounded on Radiohead with the passion of a spurned lover. While other acts continue to play in Israel with less controversy – Justin Bieber played there in May – Radiohead, it seems, are supposed to know better. ‘They are perceived to be a progressive political band’, said Loach. ‘If they go to Tel Aviv, they may never live it down.’ Others have pointed to Radiohead’s support for Amnesty International and Tibetan freedom as proof of their rank hypocrisy.

For all the turbo-charged rhetoric, Yorke’s reasons are eminently reasonable. In a statement on Twitter, in response to Loach, he said: ‘We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don’t endorse Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. Music, art and academia is about crossing borders, not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression.’

Yorke has come out swinging. He stuck a middle finger up to protesters at a recent gig in Glasgow. And in an interview with Rolling Stone, he didn’t mince words when talking about the effect the controversy has had on Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood, who is married to an Arab Jew and has friends ‘on both sides’ of the conflict. ‘Imagine how offensive that is for Jonny… Just to assume that we know nothing about this. Just to throw the word “apartheid” around and think that’s enough. It’s fucking weird. It’s such an extraordinary waste of energy.’

And he’s right. The cultural boycott of Israel, which began in 2005, operates under a bizarre and bigoted logic. For no other nation is its people, all bearing diverse views, so casually conflated with their government; a gig in Tel Aviv might as well be a private performance at Bibi’s birthday party. The historically illiterate, borderline depraved claim that Israel is an ‘apartheid state’ is only a desperate attempt to repackage what looks a lot like collective punishment, of a people who just so happen to be predominantly Jewish.

That musicians, whose post-Trump maxim is ‘build bridges not walls’, have enthusiastically gone along with this cultural blockade is hypocritical and disturbing. Free expression is the lifeblood of culture, and cross-border exchange essential to global pop. And this BDS lark cuts both ways. Not only do Western artists refuse to perform in Israel, but, in recent years, Israeli artists have had Western performances picketed and shut down because they took small amounts of government money, the equivalent of an Arts Council grant.

The intolerance shown not only to Israeli artists but also to artists who dare to defy the boycott is remarkable. The tirades against Yorke openly hint at repercussions. ‘They will lose the respect of thousands of music fans across the region and around the world’, said Randall. Roger Waters, the Pink Floyd frontman and BDSer who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany, said a few years back that anti-Israel bands daren’t speak out for fear of being ‘destroyed’. Yet a ‘Boycott Radiohead’ campaign can hardly be far away.

The rage against Radiohead tells us a lot about the BDS movement. But it also tells us a lot about the musicians who have gone along with it. The pious fury with which they have denounced a band that just wants to perform for its Israeli fans speaks to a prejudice born of blinding self-obsession. The idea that a prohibition of Pink Floyd will bring down the Israeli state, or that Radiohead playing Tel Aviv will ‘whitewash’ Netanyahu, is hubris in the extreme. And their fanaticism has taken some of them down some dark political alleyways.

Good for Thom Yorke – giving the finger to the BDSers is the most rock’n'roll thing he’s done.

SOURCE





From Cactus Theater to the Met, US Government Pours Hundreds of Millions Into Well-Heeled Arts

U.S. taxpayers have paid $90,000 for a theater “performance” in which people commune with a tall cactus for an hour in the middle of an Arizona desert, “to discover what it can teach them.”

On a posher scale, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York netted $1.2 million in taxpayer-funded grants from the U.S. government since 2009, nearly half of it last year.

These are just two perhaps unexpected findings in a new report from Open the Books that reveals hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer money granted to thousands of nonprofits and other organizations by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities.

The report says the government foundation distributed $441 million to 3,163 entities in fiscal year 2016, which ended Sept. 30.

Of these, 71 are “asset-rich” nonprofits, the report says, meaning their assets exceed $1 billion. Even so, they received $20.5 million in grants.

The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities, the subject of the report, is the umbrella organization for three agencies—the National Endowment of the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Open the Books says its mission is to “capture and post online all disclosed spending at every level of government.” The goal: to show Americans where their taxes are going and let them decide if it adds up to government waste.

Nearly half of the $441 million awarded by the National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities—about $210 million—went to recipients in nine states and the District of Columbia. Most are blue states: California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Ballets, operas, orchestras, and symphonies received $5.4 million, despite having $5 billion in assets, the report says. Among them: the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the New York City Ballet.

New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art received $1.2 million in grants from the government foundation between fiscal years 2009 and 2016, including $551,028 in 2016 alone. 

The Met is a public charity with assets of $3.73 billion, according to its 2014 tax forms. The museum’s annual celebrity-studded Met Gala recently raised $300 million, the report says.

The government foundation’s grants also go to a huge cast of art exhibitions and performances, including a series of shows featuring the saguaro cactus hosted by the Borderlands Theater in Tucson, Arizona.

The theater’s “site-responsive performances” celebrate the treelike cactus, which can grow to 70 feet tall. The idea is that guests pay to spend one hour in the Sonoran Desert with the cactus, then share their experience on social media.

The government contributed $10,000 in tax money to the theater in fiscal 2016 and a total of $90,000 over the past eight years.

Search for “saguaro cactus” on Twitter and it doesn’t appear folks need much government encouragement to share about it:

Besides the Met, rich and famous institutions receiving federal funds since 2009, Open the Books says, include the Boston Museum of Fine Arts ($2.5 million); Chicago’s Adler Planetarium ($1.7 million); the Art Institute of Chicago ($1.4 million); and Hollywood icon Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute in Park City, Utah ($3.3 million).

The National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities’ $143 million in contributions in fiscal 2016 to charitable organizations included universities with billion-dollar endowment funds such as Harvard, Yale, Northwestern, Notre Dame, and the University of Michigan.

A total of 432 federal employees working for the government foundation earned $41.8 million a year in salaries and bonuses, the report notes. The average salary was $96,500 for fiscal 2016, with benefits increasing the average cost to $126,415 per employee.

SOURCE





Liberal Values Are Causing Welfare Costs to Balloon
   
Recently, Gallup published the results of its annual Values and Beliefs poll.

The headline of the report speaks for itself: “Americans Hold Record Liberal Views on Most Moral Issues.”

Gallup has been doing this poll since 2001, and the change in public opinion on the moral issues surveyed has been in one direction — more liberal.

Of 19 issues surveyed in this latest poll, responses on 10 are the most liberal since the survey started.

Sixty-three percent say gay/lesbian relations are morally acceptable — up 23 points from the first year the question was asked. Sixty-two percent say having a baby outside of marriage is OK — up 17 points. Unmarried sex, 69 percent — up 16 points. Divorce, 73 percent — up 14 points.

More interesting, and of greater consequence, is what people actually do, rather than what they think. And, not surprisingly, the behavior we observe in our society at large reflects these trends in values.

Hence, the institution of traditional marriage is crumbling, Americans are having fewer children, and, compared with years gone by, the likelihood that children are born out of the framework of marriage has dramatically increased.

Undoubtedly, the liberals in academia, in the media, in politics, see this as good news. After all, doesn’t removing the “thou shalt not’s” that limit life’s options liberate us?

Isn’t the idea of freedom supposed to be, according to them, that you have a green light to do whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting someone else?

But here’s the rub. How do you measure if you are hurting someone else? No one lives in a vacuum. We all live in a country, in communities. We are social beings as well as individuals, no matter what your political philosophy happens to be. Everyone’s behavior has consequences for others.

For instance, more and more research shows the correlation between the breakdown of the traditional family and poverty.

In 2009, Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution published his “success sequence.” According to Haskins, someone who completes high school, works full time, and doesn’t have children until after marriage has only a 2 percent chance of being poor.

A new study from the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies focuses on Millennials — those born between 1980-1984. And this study reaches conclusions similar to those of Haskins.

According to this study, only 3 percent of Millennials who have a high school diploma, who are working full time, and who are married before having children are poor. On the other hand, 53 percent of Millennials who have not done these three things are poor.

Behavior increasing the likelihood of poverty does have consequences on others. American taxpayers spend almost a trillion dollars a year to help those in poverty, a portion of whom would not be in this situation if they lived their lives differently.

But the same liberals who scream when Republicans look for ways to streamline spending on antipoverty programs like Medicaid scream just as loudly at any attempt to expose young people to biblical values that teach traditional marriage and chastity outside of marriage.

The percent of American adults that are married dropped from 72 percent in 1960 to 52 percent in 2008. The percentage of our babies born to unmarried women increased from 5 percent in 1960 to 41 percent by 2008.

This occurred against a backdrop of court orders removing all vestiges of religion from our public spaces, beginning with banning school prayer in 1962, and then the legalization of abortion in 1973. In 2015, the Supreme Court redefined marriage.

Losing all recognition that personal and social responsibility matters, that the biblical tradition that existed in the cradle of our national founding is still relevant, is bankrupting us morally and fiscally.

We are long overdue for a new, grand awakening.

SOURCE





Leftist lies about Christians from Australia's ABC

On Monday, the ABC ran a long program about historic sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Philadelphia — way off in the United States — as if we really needed to know this here and now.

But the ABC’s most ridiculous attack on Christianity came on Tuesday, with a campaign to persuade us that “the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians” who occasionally go to church.

ABC presenter Julia Baird and ABC journalist Hayley Gleeson published an essay on the ABC’s site which gave just one source for this astonishing claim: “As theology professor Steven Tracy wrote in 2008: ‘It is widely accepted by abuse experts (and validated by numerous studies) that evangelical men who sporadically attend church are more likely than men of any other religious group (and more likely than secular men) to assault their wives’.”

ABC Radio National presenter Fran Kelly accepted this without a flicker of doubt in interviewing Baird, asking: “Is it a matter of belief system?”

And they agreed the problem was “patriarchal” churches — male-led — which encouraged men to bully their wives by preaching the Biblical passage: “Wives, submit to your own husbands.”

Baird, who has since repeated her attack on the ABC’s 7.30, suggests this could be a scandal to rival priests abusing children.

“Is it true,” she asked, “that there are striking similarities to the Church’s failure to protect children from abuse, and that this next generation’s reckoning will be about the failure in their ranks to protect women from domestic violence?”

But anyone remotely familiar with Christianity and Australia should have instantly realised there’s no way “the men most likely to abuse their wives are evangelical Christians”.

First, our worst rates of domestic violence notoriously occur in Aboriginal families, where women are at least 31 times more likely to be hospitalised by violent partners.

Second, it is not the Bible but the Koran that licenses domestic violence. Christ stopped the stoning of a woman accused of adultery, but Mohammed said men could hit disobedient wives: “Admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them.”

And, third, Baird, herself, concedes deep in her online article that her American source says “regular church attenders are less likely to commit acts of intimate partner violence”. That suggests Christianity actually protects women, exactly the opposite of what the ABC implied.

But check further and it becomes clear Baird missed clear evidence that contradicts her anti-Church theory. Her single source for her big claim is Steven Tracy, a theology professor at a Phoenix seminary, who did indeed in one essay claim “conservative Protestant men who are irregular church attendees are the most likely to batter their wives”.

Tracy cites a paper by Professor Christopher G. Ellison which actually finds that other groups experience greater incidences of domestic violence, demonstrating that there are, in fact, competing views on this issue. The paper claims: “African-Americans, in particular, have higher levels of domestic violence”.

What’s more, Ellison says that men who often go to a Christian church “are 72 per cent less likely to abuse their female partners than men from comparable backgrounds who do not attend services”.

The conclusion is clear: “Our findings … suggest that religious involvement, specifically church attendance, protects against domestic violence.” Christianity literally saves.

Tracy also quotes in his footnotes a New Zealand study by Emeritus Professor David Fergusson which confirms that Christianity is a civilising influence, counter to what the ABC implied.

As Tracy writes: “... 11.2 per cent of husbands who never attended church assaulted their wives. But only 2.2 per cent of husbands who attended church at least monthly assaulted their wives, while 6.2 per cent of husbands who attended church sporadically assaulted their wives.”

This is not what Baird reported and what the ABC yesterday claimed. Why didn’t the ABC report the truth: that Christianity actually saves women from abuse? Why did it instead falsely claim — and instantly believe — the falsehood that evangelical Christians are the worst abusers? The ABC is not merely at war with Christianity. This proves something worse: it is attacking the faith that most makes people civil.

SOURCE

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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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Thursday, July 20, 2017



Is Islamic feminism possible?

The woman below, SARAH KHAN, is a lapsed Muslim from Canada and a radical  feminist.  I regard radical feminists as mentally ill so advise taking her words below with a grain of salt.  But she does have an interesting point. I have been told before that Arabic writing is highly ambiguous and difficult to translate so the idea that a valid feminist translation of the Koran is possible and that it could vary greatly from orthodox translations seems entirely possible.

When I finally read the Qur’an for myself for the first time, I was surprised to learn that what I had been told wasn’t at all how I interpreted what I read. Sure there were problematic parts—mainly the fact that daughters were to receive a lesser inheritance than sons—but it wasn’t as suffocating as I had been raised to believe.

I decided to try it out, but by my early twenties, I decided that it was disrespectful of me to only be Muslim when convenient. One of the main tenets of religion is dedication to it and paying lip service seemed so offensive to me. So I lapsed. But, I continued my research.

A few months ago, on a whim, I decided to read the Qur’an again, but this time the version I read was translated by a woman. Laleh Bakhtiar is a Muslim translator, author and clinical psychologist, and her translation, The Sublime Quran, had been sitting on my shelf for years. Bakhtiar’s translation is notable not only because she’s a woman but also because she does a straight word-for-word translation without any footnotes and without any commentary.

She explains in her preface that the Qur’an is not a historic text; therefore, it needn’t any commentary (read: bias). It should be presented to the individual as is. She says that the Quran is meant to be long-lasting and transcend time, so it should be presented word for word and left to the readers’ interpretation. For years I’ve believed that all holy books ought to be left to individual interpretation, but most translations take liberties with the language and allow the translator’s bias to seep through.

In the translation of the Qur’an I read as a teenager, there were references to a man having permission to beat his wife with a strap no thicker than a thumb. This always troubled me and I was at a loss at how a religion that encouraged divorce if it were necessary (regardless of which gender initiated it) could encourage spousal violence as well. In Bakhtiar’s translation, there is not a single mention of anything relating to a man being allowed to beat his wife.

Most versions translate section 4:34 of the chapter titled “The Women” as some variation of the following:

“… and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them …”

The same section in Bakhtiar’s translation reads,

“And those (f) whose resistance you fear, then admonish them (f) and abandon them (f) in their sleeping places and go away from them (f). Then if they (f) obey you, then look not for any way against them (f).”

The “f” in parentheses appear periodically throughout the translation to differentiate between the masculine and feminine “they” and the italicized words are those that are not present in Arabic, but are needed in English for the sentence to be complete and comprehensible. It’s wildly telling to note that the famed passage that all anti-Islamists pull out to prove the religion is a misogynistic one actually means something completely different when translated verbatim from the Arabic. It supports the theory that many practicing Muslims have, which is that Islam itself is one of the furthest things from being misogynistic; Islamic culture, on the other hand, is rife with misogyny and excuses it by claiming to be God’s word.

Most holy books also are happy to report that God made man first and woman was birthed from man via God. Turns out, at least in the Qur’an, this isn’t stated anywhere. Sure Adam is mentioned by name and the first human is referred to as a “he,” but the only part that specifically talks about the creation of man says, “… your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its spouse and from them both disseminated many men and women.” There’s no specification of who came first nor any indication that woman was made from man. It’s almost as if men were so jealous of cisgender women’s ability to give birth that they decided that they’d make it so that it was Adam who “birthed” the sex that would go on to birth the rest of humankind.

While there are still problematic parts in the Qur’an—as there are in any holy book—the idea that the holy book or the religion itself is to be blamed is rife with ignorance. Putting blame on an inanimate object for encouraging people to be assholes to each other is a childish cop-out; it’s the people who interpreted these words to mean awful things and lived their lives oppressing an entire gender and justifying it by saying that they’re just following orders.

Being a feminist and a Muslim is something that is totally possible—you just have to use common sense and empathy.

SOURCE





Border Patrol union boss: Drop in apprehensions 'nothing short of miraculous'

The large drop in apprehensions of people illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is "nothing short of miraculous," National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said on Monday.

"If you look at the rhetoric that President Trump has given, it has caused a number of illegal border crossings to go down," Judd told C-SPAN. "We have never seen such a drop that we currently have."

Border apprehensions — long seen as the best measure of illegal border crossing attempts — have fallen more than 50 percent this year, compared to 2016.

The Department of Homeland Security has consistently reported plummeting figures of southwest border apprehensions since Trump assumed office in January.
Reported apprehensions remained on a downward trend until June, when border officials registered a slight uptick from May, contrary to seasonal trends that usually show a descent in June.

Yearly overall numbers were so low already that even with the slight rise, there were 53 percent fewer border apprehensions in June 2017 than in the same period last year.

Judd, whose nonpartisan organization endorsed Trump for president in 2016, also said on Monday that he supports the $1.6 billion in funding the administration requested for a wall along the southern border.

He said Trump's signature campaign issue is necessary in many parts of the border, but not all.

Trump had earlier said the wall would have to be uninterrupted and cover all 2,000 miles of border with Mexico, but in an apparent reversal, said last week that only 700 to 900 miles of border wall are needed.

SOURCE





Refugees Are Engaged in the 'Rape Jihad' of Europe 

It’s no secret that Europe has been struggling with the self-inflicted wound of an open-borders policy on mass migration. Conservatives have long warned of the dangers these mass migrant populations pose to the West, specifically the threats of radical Islamic terrorism, which sadly has been borne out. However, another problem that tends to receive less press is the growing crime these European nations are witnessing. Specifically, sexual assault.

In an interesting and eye-opening article from The National Interest, Cheryl Bernard, who has a long history of working with refugees, highlights a specific group of refugees who have proven to be the greatest problem group: Young Afghan men. This group has been responsible for the majority of crimes committed by refugees. The natural question to ask is, why Afghans, when many of the other refugee groups also come from Muslim-majority nations? An Afghan friend of Bernard suggested the following reason:

On the basis of his hundreds of interactions with these young men in his professional capacity over the past several years, he believes to have discovered that they are motivated by a deep and abiding contempt for Western civilization. To them, Europeans are the enemy, and their women are legitimate spoils, as are all the other things one can take from them: housing, money, passports. Their laws don’t matter, their culture is uninteresting and, ultimately, their civilization is going to fall anyway to the horde of which one is the spearhead. No need to assimilate, or work hard, or try to build a decent life here for yourself — these Europeans are too soft to seriously punish you for a transgression, and their days are numbered.

And it’s not just the sex crimes, my friend notes. Those may agitate public sentiment the most, but the deliberate, insidious abuse of the welfare system is just as consequential. Afghan refugees, he says, have a particular proclivity to play the system: to lie about their age, to lie about their circumstances, to pretend to be younger, to be handicapped, to belong to an ethnic minority when even the tired eye of an Austrian judge can distinguish the delicate features of a Hazara from those of a Pashtun.

Essentially, these young Afghan men have launched what Andrew McCarthy of National Review termed in 2015 a “Rape Jihad.” With their wanton and brazen criminal acts they are systematically and actively attacking Western culture and values. This is their jihad. They have no desire to integrate and assimilate into European culture. Rather they are wolves eagerly preying on sheep, and Europe’s justice system lacks the deterrence of real teeth.

And it is the citizens of Europe who are forced to pay for the “compassion” of their leftist leaders.

SOURCE






A debate we’re not allowed to have in Australia

IT’S the debate we were never allowed to have.

Until relatively recently, Australia’s population grew at a stately pace. There was an influx of European immigration in the mid-1940s, and pause from the mid-1970s, but in the 100 years after Federation in 1901, net overseas migration averaged 70,000 people a year.

Then in the early 2000s, Prime Minister John Howard opened the floodgates. Over the last 12 years, Australia’s annual net overseas migration has tripled from its long-term average to 210,000 people per year.

Our cities are bursting at the seams, roads and services are congested, and house prices are skyrocketing — particularly in Sydney and Melbourne, which attract the lion’s share of new Australians.

Over the last 12 years, Sydney has added 20 per cent to its population, or 800,000 people. Melbourne has added one million people over the same period, or 27 per cent.

According to state government projections, Sydney will add another 1.7 million people over the next 20 years, which works out to 87,000 people a year, or 1650 people per week. Melbourne is forecast to add 97,000 people per year, or around 1870 people per week, for the next 35 years.

“It’s clearly unsustainable,” said Leith van Onselen, chief economist with MacroBusiness. “The problem isn’t that immigration is good or bad, it’s just that the level is far too high for Australia to digest.”

According to Mr van Onselen, dubbed the “Unconventional Economist”, Howard “effectively ran a bait-and-switch policy”.

“He scapegoated the very tiny number of people coming by boat, and at the same time opened the floodgates on people coming by plane,” he said.

“Howard never articulated why he was doing that, he just did it, and unfortunately the following governments, Rudd, Gillard, Abbott and now Turnbull, just followed.”

Mr van Onselen, who is one of the few public commentators calling for a national debate about Australia’s annual migration intake, says there is now “tri-partisan support” between the Liberals, Labor and even the Greens to not discuss the issue.

Behind the scenes, the “growth lobby” of retailers, the banking sector, the property industry and “erroneously named think tanks” all push the “growth-ist agenda”. “Unfortunately there’s not really anybody on the other side,” he said.

Late last year, high-profile entrepreneur Dick Smith came out in support of Pauline Hanson, warning that Australia would be “destroyed” if One Nation’s immigration policies weren’t taken seriously.

Mr Smith had previously spoken out about the need for a “small Australia”, with a population of 26 million rather than 50 million. At current migration levels, Australia’s population will hit 40 million by the year 2060, compared with 33 million if the intake returned to its historical average of 70,000.

“Unfortunately you can’t have a sensible debate,” said Mr van Onselen. “The main problem is the perception of racism. The easiest way to shut down debate is to call someone racist. Our politicians and media won’t mention it because they’re afraid they’ll get associated with Pauline.

“It’s nothing to do with race — it’s an economic and living standards debate. It’s purely a numbers game, that’s all that matters. A body is a body. If you’ve got an extra car on the road, an extra person on the train, it doesn’t matter where they’re from.”

The common public argument used to promote mass immigration, particularly by the likes of the United Nations, is the need to replace an “ageing” population. The behind-the-scenes rationale is to artificially boost economic growth numbers.

Both justifications fail to stand up to scrutiny. According to the Productivity Commission, which has debunked the ageing population myth numerous times over the past 15 years, “changes in migration levels ... make little difference to the age structure of the population in the future, with any effect being temporary”.

“The reason is very simple — immigrants grow old,” said Mr van Onselen. “You can bring in a whole bunch of young people now, it will lower the age temporarily, but in 30 years time those young people are old and you have to repeat the same trick all over again. Really it’s just a Ponzi scheme.”

Which ties into the second justification. Japan, with its sluggish headline economic growth and simultaneously ageing and shrinking population, is commonly cited as an example of why mass immigration for population replacement is necessary.

At the same time, Australia’s record run of economic growth, coinciding with record immigration levels, is held up as a positive example. “All other things being equal, if you increase the population by 1.5 per cent a year, you’re going to get 1.5 per cent economic growth,” said Mr van Onselen.

“More inputs in people means more outputs in economic activity. But the problem is, although it makes the overall growth figures look good, it doesn’t actually help you on a per capita basis, which is what drives living standards.”

In fact, despite Australia’s population surging 21.5 per cent since 2003, compared with the OECD average of 8.5 per cent, Australia’s GDP per capita change has just barely outpaced the OECD — 16 per cent versus 15 per cent, despite going through the biggest mining boom in our history.

“We’re effectively spinning our tyres importing all these people, wearing out our infrastructure, making housing more expensive and degrading the environment for absolutely zero gain, in the material sense,” he said.

“The immigration program used to be a supplement to the economy, now it’s seen as a driver. Governments are using it as a lever to stop Australia going into recession. The tail is wagging the dog.”

Japan, meanwhile, has grown its GDP per capita by 11 per cent since 2003. “Japan’s unemployment rate is nearly half of ours,” said Mr van Onselen. “It’s hardly a terrible situation they’re in. They’ve got good growth at a per capita level and basically anyone who wants a job can get a job.”

According to the UN’s Population Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, “replacement migration” is the “solution to declining and ageing populations”.

“Population decline is inevitable in the absence of replacement migration,” the UN said in a recent press release. “Fertility may rebound in the coming decades, but few believe that it will recover sufficiently in most countries to reach replacement level in the foreseeable future.”

Mr van Onselen described it as “ridiculous”. “The UN pushes a sort of open borders, globalist agenda,” he said. “It is a myth. We just need a national debate. There’s no strategy, it’s all just ad hoc. How big do we want Australia to become? How are we going to accommodate people? Is this what people want?”

Writing in The Australian, economist Judith Sloan pointed out that in 2011, Malcolm Turnbull made the “astonishing claim” that “anyone who thinks that it’s smart to cut immigration is sentencing Australia to poverty”.

“It is important that we have a measured and informed debate about our immigration policies, in terms of both numbers and the integrity of the visa categories,” she wrote.

“Are people really happy that Australia’s population will exceed 40 million in 2060? Are we really testing for skill when we set the visa categories? Has the migration program simply become a way of allowing universities to charge very high fees to international students on the understanding that the graduates can attain permanent residence?

“These are the questions we should not be afraid to pose and politicians should not be afraid to answer.”

Greens immigration spokesman Nick McKim told news.com.au: “The Greens believe in a broad and non-discriminatory immigration policy. In particular, we believe that Australia’s humanitarian intake should be increased to 50,000 people per year.

“Australians are a friendly and welcoming people and we have long and proud history of multiculturalism, which has added so much to the fabric of our country.

“There will always be debates about immigration, and it is disappointing to see so many commentators and politicians resorting to xenophobia and racism.”

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Labor immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann did not respond to requests for comment.

SOURCE


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Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the  incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of  other countries.  The only real difference, however, is how much power they have.  In America, their power is limited by democracy.  To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already  very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges.  They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did:  None.  So look to the colleges to see  what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way.  It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH,   EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here

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