Tuesday, November 21, 2017



Could trophy hunting be saving rhinos, elephants and lions?

IT’S almost too easy to jet out to Africa and hunt a lion, elephant or rhino in its “natural habitat”.

A shocking new documentary film, Trophy, shows how massive conventions are now flogging package holidays for those looking for the perfect kill.

The only catch is, they often have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to slaughter some of world’s most iconic animals in their natural habitat — some say they are saving theses precious species at the same time as killing them.

“I did not know that you could simply go online and, within minutes, book a hunt for any animal that you desired — a lion, a cheetah, an elephant, even a critically endangered black rhino,” said internationally acclaimed film director, Shaul Schwarz, whose film explores the controversial subject.

“Could it be that simple? It is,” he said. “Hundreds of African outfitters will welcome you, lodge you, and provide legal permits for your hunt.”

Trophy hunting, the recreational killing of animals the killing of big game for a set of horns or tusks, a skin, or a taxidermied body has become a billion-dollar business.

Now a heated debate is raging over whether this money, some of which goes back into conservation, is worth the moral issues it raises and the market for killing and animal products that it feeds.

“The basic principal of supply and demand drives these businesses — the rarer and closer to extinction a species is, the higher the price for the kill,” said Schwarz.

The cost of some of these hunts is staggering. For example, a 14-day, single elephant hunt in Namibia can cost around $105,000.

Some of that cash is reportedly used to fund conservation projects to protect the area’s wildlife and often the meat goes back into the local, predominantly impoverished, communities.

Felix Marnewecke, a guide and hunter who leads trophy tours, told National Geographic that a portion of the fee is paid directly to community members. “I feel quite shitty when an elephant dies, but those elephants pay for the conservation of the other 2500 that move through here,” he told the magazine “Trophy hunting is the best economic model we have in Africa right now.”

“In the end it may save this place — and the elephants too.”

Problem solved then, right?

Mr Schwarz, says this couldn’t be further from the truth and some of the statistics he uses in the film are shocking. He says big-game populations are dwindling because of pressure hunting, human encroachment, shifting climate norms, and widespread criminal poaching.

Since 1970, the world has lost over 60 per cent of all wild animals. In 1900, there were 500,000 rhinos in the world. Now there are fewer than 30,000.

In 1900, there were 10 million elephants. In 2015 there were only 350,000 left.

And there are holes in this “hunting to save” theory. The profit-driven industry is overseen in some cases by corrupt governments and it feeds a demand for products from these animals — such as ivory.

The film also shows how the commodification of killing is becoming like a “fast-food culture” where hunters can go on “canned” expeditions — where they can kill lots of animals in a more enclosed environment. They are also far cheaper than the multiple day hunts.

In Trophy, US tourists are shown gunning down tied-up crocodiles at close-range hunts and celebrating in a “canned” experience.

Biologist and lion expert Craig Packer, told National Geographic the “kill to protect” argument isn’t justified. “If hunters were shooting lions for a million dollars and returning a million per lion directly into management, they would be on solid ground,” he said. “But lions are shot for tens of thousands of dollars, and very little of that goes into conservation.”

And, if these hunters really cared about the animals they claim to help protect — wouldn’t they be better not killing at all?

The link between hunting and conservation is nothing new. Prominent conservationists such as Charles Darwin and Ernest Hemingway were also big hunters.

But, trophy hunting and glorifying of big-game killing through social media have foisted it firmly back into the public eye in recent years.

The killing of celebrity lion Cecil in Zimbabwe three years ago created headlines around the world and outrage on social media.

The US dentist who killed the lion using a bow and arrow went into hiding and spent thousands on personal security.

Some hunters have claimed many those who are outraged by these pictures are hypocrites because they eat packaged meat and consume animal products from cruel, industrial-scale farming.

Trophy also explores how the animal parts from these incredible beasts are trafficked and how the hunting industry is feeding into it.

The filmmakers met with John Hume — who is the world’s largest private rhino breeder and founder/owner of Buffalo Dream Ranch, home to approximately 1500 rhinos in South Africa. He says rhino horn is most expensive animal product in the world and it is worth more than gold.

The retired property developer publicly advocates for legalisation of the trade in rhino horn and took the South African government to court in order to lift a 2009 moratorium on rhino horn trade that triggered a massive spike in poaching.

He trims his rhinos’ horns every two years and has over five tons of horn currently stockpiled and claims the market for the substance is not going away. So, he is advocating for a transparent, legal market.

And, just this week, President Trump said that he was temporarily reversing his decision to lift the Obama-era ban on importing big game hunting trophies into the United States.

Could Mr Hume be right?

“There are no easy answer to these questions,” said Schwarz. “We hope Trophy becomes a first step bringing those oppositional forces together to ignite a healthy, informed debate on how to save these animals before they disappear.”

SOURCE






Why Didn't Liberals Embrace 'Whiskey Tango Foxtrot'?

I don't know what made me decide to take a chance the other day on Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, a movie released last year and now available on Netflix. I've had it up to here with anti-American, military-bashing movies about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I had no reason to believe that this one, about an American network news correspondent who spends a couple of years based in Kabul, would be any less PC or preachy than Redacted, Syriana, Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, Stop-Loss, Grace Is Gone, Green Zone, or a dozen others. (I liked The Hurt Locker and American Sniper, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, which flopped last year when it was released in cinemas, definitely didn't look like it was in the same class as those pictures.)

But I gave the movie a chance anyway, deciding to have it on while I was futzing around the apartment. I was pleasantly surprised almost immediately. Tina Fey, playing a longtime newsroom writer with zero on-camera, war-zone, or foreign-correspondent experience (the movie is based on a memoir by Kim Barker, then of the Chicago Tribune, now of the New York Times), arrives in Kabul only to be greeted at the airport by a hijab-clad local woman who barks at her: “Cover your hair, shameless whore!” That line was a good sign – this was one movie, apparently, that wasn't going to back off from gags at the expense of Islamic culture. After Fey is driven to the house where she'll live with a bunch of reporters for other Western media organizations, one of those reporters – a stunning Britain blonde – tells her that while she (Fey) is a “six or seven” in New York, she's almost a ten in Kabul. Another good sign – this movie's not too PC to make jokes based on the premise (offensive in some quarters nowadays) that some women are more attractive than others.

It got even better. Seeing a bunch of women in blue burkas, Fey calls them “IKEA bags.” She gives her translator a copy of Oprah's magazine, O, so he can get some idea of how women think. Visiting a village on a Marines embed, she's irked that the male interpreters aren't allowed to talk to the local, burka-wearing women. In the same village, where a well installed by the Marines has been repeatedly destroyed, presumably by the Taliban, she's taken aside by the village women, who, removing their burkas, explain to her that they're the ones who keep destroying the well, because walking down to the river to get water is the closest they ever get to being free.

I was stunned. Was this really a Hollywood movie?

There was more. Interviewing an Afghan official, Fey addresses the continuation under the Karzai government of Taliban-style “vice and virtue” policing and the retention of sharia law in Kandahar. Preparing to visit Kandahar, Fey quips about the burka she's obliged to wear there: “It's so pretty I don't even want to vote.” Her Afghan bodyguard tells her: “Now you are in the blue prison.” In Kandahar, she visits a girls' school firebombed by the Taliban. There's graffiti on the wall. “What does it say?” she asks. The answer: No education for women.

No, it's not All Quiet on the Western Front or Saving Private Ryan or The Deer Hunter. It's a nice, appealing little movie about real people – a fish-out-of-water story with likable characters and a colorful setting. The funny lines landed; the poignant moments came off; the obligatory kind-of-love story that developed in the film's second half was believable and interesting enough and neither took up too much screen time nor yanked the film off course.

And no, there was no out-and-out personal tragedy, no overt depiction of wartime horror (unless you count a brief, scary encounter with a ragtag group of Taliban types and a climactic kidnapping scene), but we already know that war is hell and there are plenty of war movies that give us two solid hours of hell. The idea here was plainly to look at the war in Afghanistan through a different window. And it worked. It felt fresh; I felt as if I was glimpsing a side of that country that I hadn't seen before.

One more thing. Without engaging in so much as a second of sententious moralizing, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot sent a powerful feminist message. Much of its humor was at the expense of Islamic patriarchy. For that reason, American feminists should've embraced this picture. Hell, American liberals generally should've embraced it for the humane picture it paints of friendly, respectful interaction between Westerners and ordinary Afghans, who are presented consistently without condescension.

And yet I hadn't even heard of this film before. Why was that? As soon as it was over, I looked up some reviews online – and I found out what sins writer Robert Carlock and directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa had committed, in the view of the mainstream cultural commentariat. The Hollywood Reporter informed me that Whiskey Tango Foxtrot had done “nothing to illuminate the larger geopolitical picture.”

Other reviews leveled essentially the same charge. What nonsense. Did Ninotchka “illuminate the larger geopolitical picture”? Of course what really bugged most of these reviewers was that the movie didn't make villains out of the Americans and saints out of the Afghans. Also, they didn't like the fact that the two juiciest Afghan parts weren't played by real Afghans.

Then there was the whole verboten business of making fun of anything remotely connected to Islam. The Ayatollah Khomeini once said that there's no humor in Islam, and in America's left-wing cultural establishment there's certainly no humor allowed anywhere near that most sacred (and scary) of topics. Case in point: Melissa Anderson, whose review of Whiskey Tango Foxtrot appeared in the Village Voice and several other left-leaning metro weeklies. Actually accusing the film of “mild Islamophobia” and of “disregard for the battle-ravaged Asian nation” – sheer calumny! – Anderson was outraged that when Fey makes her “IKEA bags” remark, “we are meant not to be appalled by her bigotry but to chortle along with her forthrightness.”

Yes, that's the word Anderson used: “bigotry.” As far as she's concerned, a woman who openly and unapologetically disapproves of men forcing women into “blue prisons” is guilty of nothing less than bigotry. No surprise there: this kind of repellent cultural relativism, this refusal to stand in solidarity with the planet's most oppressed females, is what passes for American feminism nowadays. And it's why an effective, authentically feminist movie like Whiskey Tango Foxtrot gets trashed by the same types of moral and intellectual pygmies who think that Linda Sarsour is a women's rights heroine.

SOURCE





Men are not a different species

Gender determinism has returned in PC form

Patrick West

We are in the midst of a moral panic. And not just any old moral panic – a traditional reactionary one directed at paedophiles, immigrants, skinheads, mods and rockers or Teddy Boys. No, this is a proper ‘progressive’ moral panic, as embodied by the Pestminster witch-hunt. This moral panic is about men, and the belief that there is an existential problem with males as a whole. Masculinity has now become pathologised, and sexism today has become transformed into a modern-day evil: invisible, intangible, omnipotent.

For decades we learned to appreciate that while your sex might influence the way you act and think, it doesn’t define you. Environment is just as important in shaping who you are, both in how culture interprets the differences between men and women, and through other factors unrelated to your sex. More importantly, human beings are not hostages to biology: we can think for ourselves. We may not be able to escape nature or rewrite how we were nurtured, but we are not condemned by either. My genitals, chromosomes, hormones or ‘male brain’ aren’t writing these words – I am.

Yet gender determinism is curiously back in fashion (as is racial determinism, with the rhetoric about the ‘problem with whiteness’). It has become normal to talk of ‘men’ as a problematic category, as if all ‘men’ are potential or actual sexual predators, as if we are a coherent category of automatons, confined by those inverted commas. When Caitlin Moran concluded her Times column on Saturday speaking about ‘the problem of men’, she summed up a mainstream sentiment. It’s astonishing that it needs saying these days that this is no different to talking about the ‘problem of women’ or the problem of ‘the blacks’.

It should baffle us that gender determinism has magically returned, but it is the logical consequence of identity politics, which has held sway ever since the appeal of class began to wither in the 1960s. If you are going to obsess about gender (or race), as has been the norm, making it the foundation of your very essence will follow. This is the logic of political trends, and fashion in general: they always veer to the extreme. Just as once skirts got shorter, flares wider, hair longer and now hipster beards bigger, political trends always get more outlandish.

It is this very ignorance of class that makes today’s gender determinism so intellectually bankrupt. Not only is it irrational to talk of ‘men’ as if they are a different species, and prisoners of biology, but this current fad among a loud, unrepresentative coterie of academics, twenty- and thirtysomething tertiary types and upper-middle-class London journalists ignores class and social status, and other factors that help to shape you, such as race, religion, age and sexual orientation.

Power is gender-blind. A docker in Dover, an African-American in Detroit, or a Third World manual labourer: each possess a fraction of the power and privilege of a wealthy woman in London who writes for a national newspaper. There has been improper behaviour at Westminster and Hollywood not because the culprits are men, but because they are MPs and film directors. Their power – and abuse of it – derives from their elevated social status, not their sex.

Any person who talks about the ‘problem of men’ implicitly condemns their own father and any brother or son they might have. To talk in such hostile, blanket terms of ‘men’ exposes the inhumanity of gender determinism. All of us have or have had a male and female biological parent; misandry is as irrational as misogyny.

No one factor determines you, either biologically or environmentally. You yourself are the final arbiter of who you are and what you are. Like most men, I have never raped a woman or groped a female colleague, and so I refute the war on men’s deterministic narrative. I refuse to accept it. I am not guilty of anything.

SOURCE




It Begins: YouTube Censors Christian site

Two weeks ago, I was summarily informed in a brief email from YouTube that our Russian Faith channel —on which we had spent hundreds of hours of hard work and which complements the Russian Faith website, which I own - had been ‘terminated.’ No reason was given other than a very general one which could mean anything.

Russian Faith is a new media project I started in September:  a website, YouTube channel (now banned), Facebook, and Twitter - to cover Christian issues in general, and the huge story of the renaissance of Christianity in Russia.

This dramatic turn by both government and society in Russia is very important not just for Christians, but for the whole world, regardless of their religious views, because it has so many ramifications important to us Americans.

It should affect our foreign policy, and it contrasts with the hostility to Christian values in our own Western societies. It is a fact that Russia has emerged as the leading defender of world Christianity, and it is a disgrace that liberal forces in the US elites and the government are among Christianity's most hostile foes - both at home and abroad.

Millions of Russians now routinely march for Christianity
Observing the Christian renaissance in Russia first hand while living there, I realized that this story is being badly misunderstood, misrepresented, and under-reported - another massive fail by the mainstream media. No surprises here.

When we launched, we received glowing reviews, enthusiastic support and encouragement from the public, and raised over $10,000 from hundreds of small donors in an initial crowdfund.

The videos which were banned were of the most positive character - videos about love, sacrifice and charity, about honor and respect. YouTube banned them ALL - and most incredibly - refuses to explain why!

I have started and managed successful YouTube channels and understand the environment very well, and it is obvious to me that this is deliberate censorship. Blocking monetization, suppression of views, and manipulation of statistics, is a huge, persistent problem, and there has been a dramatic increase over the past two months across all the big tech platforms.

I have been monitoring this with increasing alarm. If you think this is un-American, then please sign our petition below, and follow my personal pages on Facebook or Twitter. I will be talking more about these encroachments on our rights in the coming weeks and months.

I and the Russian Faith team feel violated - our constitutional rights have been trampled on, our hard work trashed. Our ability to fund this site, which we started on a shoestring thanks to hundreds of small donations from people all across America and the world, has been attacked.

Russian Faith is a labor of love - everyone involved has given and sacrificed to share good things with the world. Here is our initial crowdfund video explaining why we started this (and yes, this one was banned by YouTube too):

We’ve decided to fight back - and have started a petition (sign below) and other measures. If you agree that it is time for Christians of all denominations to speak up against the hostility coming from the elites who control our media and big tech platforms, please join us (see below).

Our views are socially conservative, reflecting the views of the Russian Orthodox Christian Church, which includes being critical of the LGBT movement - and I suspect that is where the problem lies (see below).

The censorship wreaked havoc on our website because we had embedded the videos in dozens of articles, all of which were now showing empty grey boxes where videos used to be. Many of those articles were about the videos, rendering the articles meaningless.

In many cases, we had spent hundreds of hours painstakingly translating videos which were in Russian into English, embedding the subtitles. All this was swept away with a keystroke from a nameless YouTube censor who won’t even condescend to explain what his reasons were.

We will have to spend hundreds of hours fixing it all at considerable expense.

Most importantly, we had our crowdfunding video on that channel, and it had been embedded on many websites across the internet - all of this was also crippled by YouTube’s arbitrary decision. And we depend on the crowdfunding to survive.

Currently, we are still unable to publish our usual volume of content because our small team has to repair all this gratuitous and unnecessary damage.

This is deliberate censorship

I am very familiar with YouTube's rules and guidelines, and I can say with absolute certainty that they discriminated against us, and treated us unfairly as if they were deliberately looking for a reason to shut us down.

The way it usually works is that if you do make a mistake, YouTube gives you a warning, which you can dispute - and only if you accumulate a certain number of these ‘strikes’, and are unable to disprove them, and refuse to take the videos down, does YouTube take the drastic measure of banning your channel.

We got no such warning and had not been notified of any ‘strikes’. The ban came out of the blue.

If there were some violations on any of the videos, why didn’t YouTube notify us? Why did they not give us a chance to take down the videos? Why didn't they give us a chance to dispute any complaints, if there were any? Why do they refuse to answer questions about this? Obviously, they wanted to ban the whole channel, and to stop it altogether. But why?

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, November 20, 2017






Safe spaces for Leftists only

BRENDAN O’NEILL
    
We are starting to see just how ideological the so-called ‘Safe Space’ is. This is an era in which it’s considered progressive to provide Safe Spaces for 20-year-old students who don’t want to hear certain ideas, but it’s ‘transphobic’, if not demonic, to expect a Safe Space for 13-year-old girls who want to try on clothes in Topshop without some bloke with stubble and chest hair breezing in.

Feminists demand Safe Spaces against controversial speakers, but will laugh at the fact that ‘there’s no hiding place’ for men accused – only accused – of sexual harassment.

Students with the ‘right’ views get a Safe Space, but students who like Israel or Brexit or reading tabloid newspapers can expect their spaces to be invaded and policed.

It’s clear now: the Safe Space is ideological prejudice in action, granting ‘safety’ to those who subscribe to the new illiberal-liberal orthodoxies, and denying it to those who do not. If you dissent from PC, there’s no safety for you. And there might even be violence.

Via email

Brendan might have added that there are no safe spaces for men either. Clubs and bars that excluded women to provide safe spaces for men -- as with the Harvard "Final clubs" have been relentlessly attacked, until there are now very few of them left. 

For over a hundred years all Australian towns had a men's space -- the public bar of a local hotel.  Women were not allowed there.  There was a separate "Ladies' lounge" where women drank.  Feminists have completely destroyed that.  Women are now allowed in all bars, sometimes by force of law.

Many universities do however have permanent "safe spaces" for women -- from which men are rigorously excluded. My son reports that when he was recently on the campus of the University of Queensland -- of which he and I are both graduates -- he was approached by some young women who were handing out small gifts to anyone who signed a petition demanding a women's space on that campus.

He agreed to sign their petition, saying, "I think any group should have the right to exclude people they don't like".  This utterance was greeted with horror, his signature was rejected and he did not get his gift.  He was describing plainly what they wanted but they could not admit that

And Christians attract a lot of hostility on campus but where are the safe spaces for them?  Despite their constitutional guarantee of freedom of religion, Christian clubs that try to set up at American High Schools and universities are often denied permission to do so (e.g. here and here).  As Brendan says, safe spaces are only for certain groups -- ones favoured by the Left






What Happened to Colonel Who Didn’t Want to Praise an Airman’s Same-Sex Marriage

The controversy started when someone approached Bohannon about signing a “certificate of spouse appreciation” for an airman in a same-sex marriage. A devoted Christian, Bohannon couldn’t, in good conscience, celebrate a relationship that violated biblical truth. After talking with the command chaplain and a staff judge advocate, he asked for a religious accommodation.

Six weeks passed. The Air Force responded to his request by doing nothing. The accommodation letter was returned without an answer, leaving Bohannon completely defenseless in what had become a major flare-up with his superiors.

After the airman complained to the Equal Opportunity Office, investigators took on the case, ultimately accusing Bohannon of “unlawful discrimination on the basis of his sexual orientation.” To most people’s surprise, officials didn’t care if Bohannon had gotten an exception. Even if the “accommodation been granted,” they wrote, “Colonel Bohannon would nonetheless be guilty of unlawful discrimination.”

The colonel was stunned. Not as stunned as he would be in the coming weeks, when he was suspended, given a poor performance appraisal, and virtually guaranteed that he would never be promoted again. For Bohannon, who is a decorated combat officer, the news was devastating.

“His career is likely over,” First Liberty Institute’s Michael Berry told Fox News’ Todd Starnes, “and he will likely have to retire as a colonel instead of a general.”

Berry, who’s representing Bohannon in the case, could only shake his head. “This sends a clear message—if you do not have the politically correct viewpoint, you are not welcome in the military. The military is no longer a place of diversity and inclusion if you are a person who holds to a traditional belief on marriage.”

Unfortunately for people like Bohannon, religious hostility in the military didn’t disappear when President Barack Obama did. There are still plenty of bureaucrats and political appointees determined to carry on the intolerant legacy of the last eight years. That will be harder to do now, under a commander in chief like Trump. But, even with a new president, it takes time to identify and uproot the problem areas in a department of almost 3 million people.

The executive order is certainly a huge step, especially since the Department of Justice’s guidance included the Department of Defense. But so far, the Defense Department hasn’t issued a specific follow-up guidance like we saw with the Department of Agriculture last week.

The Family Research Council is encouraging the Air Force—and the rest of the military—to do exactly that so that people like Bohannon aren’t forced to check their faith at the base’s gates. After all, as the Family Research Council’s Travis Weber points out:

"[The DOJ’s religious freedom] memorandum relies on current law—the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and Department of Defense Instruction (DODI) 1300.17—which all protect religious freedom in the military, and thus protect Col Bohannon. Indeed, DODI 1300.17 requires an accommodation to be granted unless a military interest overrides it. All of these authorities clearly require the government to protect Col Bohannon’s religious freedom by not forcing him to personally sign the certificate."

What better way to celebrate Veterans Day than correcting this wrong to service members’ rights? With our friends at First Liberty Institute, we call on the military to make it clear through their own guidance that service members are free to exercise the same liberties they’re fighting for. Join 17,000 others who’ve signed our petition to Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson on behalf of Bohannon—and every Christian brave enough to wear the uniform.

SOURCE




Louis CK and the rise of Sexual Stalinism

Like a disgraced commissar, his work is scrubbed from the record

Tom Slater

Life is messy. Everyone’s a bit of a perv. Can we separate someone’s work from their potentially sordid private life? These seemed to be the issues at the heart of I Love You, Daddy, a new film written and directed by comic king Louis CK. I say ‘seemed’ because its release has been suspended, perhaps indefinitely. And the likes of you or I won’t be able to see it, at least legally, any time soon. All we have to go on now are a handful of reviews, many scathingly written in light of revelations of CK’s ‘sexual misconduct’ towards five women – many of them other writers and comics.

In the past week, the post-Weinstein Sexual Salem has turned into a kind of Sexual Stalinism. Not only have men been outed, sacked and shamed, allegations printed as fact and due process suspended; they’re now being airbrushed out of records, like disgraced Soviet commissars scratched out of party photos. As I write, Ridley Scott is furiously reshooting Kevin Spacey’s scenes in his new thriller, All the Money in the World, with Christopher Plummer in his stead. Following a rape allegation made against actor Ed Westwick, the BBC has shelved a three-part Christmas drama he starred in.

But the memory-holing of CK has been particularly swift. As the New York Times prepared to publish an exposé alleging he had asked and then proceeded to masturbate in front of five different women, the NYC premiere of I Love You, Daddy was cancelled. FX, home of his hit show Louie, cut all ties with him. Netflix has cancelled his forthcoming comedy special. And HBO has announced it will erase all of his past specials from its archive. Various films, sitcoms and shows that the prolific CK has been involved in have been shelved or his role has been snipped out.

For what it’s worth, CK has owned up. ‘I said to myself that what I did was okay because I never showed a woman my dick without asking first’, he said in a statement. ‘But what I learned later in life, too late, is that when you have power over another person, asking them to look at your dick isn’t a question. It’s a predicament for them.’ Most of the incidents were clearly consensual, though later regretted – others were more blurry. One can’t ignore the difficulty these women would have faced in turning down such a major player in their industry. But that this is being referred to as ‘misconduct’ makes it clear CK is more perv than predator.

That we are even moved to speculate over what amounts to a comedian’s awkward sexual behaviour speaks to how sordid and febrile the #MeToo debate is. As has the fact that CK has effectively been excommunicated from the entertainment industry. He’s not been accused, let alone tried, of any crime. And even if he was – as in the case of Spacey and Westwick – should our next move be to expunge his every trace? A rational, grown-up society should be able to handle an alleged abuser or philanderer’s presence on screen, to say ‘we take this allegation seriously, but the movie’s still going out on Friday’.

The history of art is full of morally ambiguous people, far more questionable than CK. Which is where I Love You, Daddy is grimly relevant. The film, going on those reviews, is both an ode to CK’s hero Woody Allen and a meditation on the moral questions that swirl around his private life, and the infamous marrying of his stepdaughter. CK plays a comedy writer whose 17-year-old daughter takes up with John Malkovich’s Allen stand-in. The film wrestles – or so I read – with whether we can separate the artist from the work; with questions about where adulthood begins and the limits of sexual tolerance.

It sounds like precisely the kind of nuanced story that is increasingly impossible to tell. And it is testament to the pearl-clutching nature of the post-Weinstein climate that CK’s work is now being re-read as suspect, littered with nods and winks to his dubious ways. The responses to the revelations make constant reference to the masturbation jokes in his stand-up. Reviews of I Love You, Daddy make dark note of a scene in which CK’s screwball sidekick, played by Charlie Day, mimes masturbation to completion. This is the kind of philistinism that was once the preserve of the religious right.

Of course, an artist’s private life or views on women, for example, may well bear some imprint on their work. And everyone comes to an artwork with their own experiences and predispositions, about both the subject and the author. Some will be unable to watch a film by Woody Allen or Roman Polanski and disregard their pasts. Others will. But while this is a question of criticism and judgement, the discussion now is more about whether they should even be allowed to work. The current climate demands not simply sympathy or understanding for victims, but a kind of vengeance against the alleged perpetrators.

Just as we balk at rappers with violent pasts being shut down by the authorities, as routinely happens in London, we should be nervous about the gleeful expulsion of people like CK due to their personal transgressions. It takes nothing away from those making allegations to say that someone’s private life shouldn’t lead to them being cast out forever from their chosen profession. No one needs to forgive these people. Nor is the ‘artistic temperament’ an excuse for bad behaviour. But it’s a sign of a civilised society that artists with dubious private lives or even heinous, criminal convictions are allowed the space to create.

Whatever his private predilections, CK is a giant of comedy – the best and most accomplished of his generation. That shouldn’t be scrubbed away. A handful of his specials are still on Netflix, for now. Watch them while you can. And make up your own mind.

SOURCE






Stop jumping on the trans-wagon

Transgender ideology should be subjected to more rigorous debate

Naomi Firsht

Who knew the dressing-up box was such a source of controversy? Let boys wear tutus and tiaras, cried the Church of England this week, as if across the country boys with a penchant for tulle and sparkles were being forced into tool-belts and firemen uniforms. Personally, I’m looking forward to the boys’ tutu march, which must surely be imminent.

Once again, the trans agenda is dominating the news. Trans performance artist Travis Alabanza accused Topshop of transphobia when assistants at a Manchester branch refused to let him change in the women’s changing rooms. It later emerged that Topshop had recently enacted a gender-neutral changing-room policy, meaning anyone can use any changing room. So Alabanza had a point when he complained about their refusal to let him change with the teenage girls.

Meanwhile, ‘queer role models’ from the Bristol organisation Drag Queen Story Time (DQST) will be teaching nursery-age children about genderfluidity during storytime in libraries, schools and hospitals. Issues such as misogyny and homophobia will also be included. Good luck to parents trying to explain misogyny to children who don’t yet know the days of the week. No doubt those who would prefer it if their children could hear Winnie the Pooh without a side of politics will simply go elsewhere for storytime.

But there is a serious issue at stake here. The transgender agenda is creeping into public life without any kind of debate or discussion as to whether it should. New schools guidance in Scotland says teachers should not ‘overly question’ children’s gender confusion, and advises them not to inform the parents of said confusion if the child doesn’t want them to. Even worse, it advocates reporting parents to the local authorities if they struggle with their child’s genderfluidity.

In Oxfordshire, a schoolteacher has been suspended and could lose his job because he allegedly ‘misgendered’ a pupil. Joshua Sutcliffe said ‘Well done, girls’ to a group that included a girl who self-identifies as a boy. He told the Mail on Sunday: ‘I was absolutely shocked to be told by the head that I was under investigation… I didn’t know what was happening. It was surreal, Kafkaesque.’ Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, which is supporting Sutcliffe, said: ‘This is one of a large number of cases we are encountering where teachers are finding themselves silenced or punished if they refuse to fall in line with the current transgender fad.’

When critics raise concerns about transgender politics, the backlash is fierce. They are instantly accused of ‘transphobia’. Times columnist Janice Turner was labelled a ‘bigot’ for daring to raise questions about how trans politics is affecting children. An academic at Bath Spa University had a proposed study into transitioned people who want to ‘detransition’ blocked, so as ‘not to offend people’. And on Wednesday this week, it was reported that the entire executive committee of a local Labour Party resigned in protest at an alleged smear campaign against their women’s officer. Anne Ruzylo was allegedly subjected to a campaign of harassment and branded a ‘TERF’ (trans-exclusionary radical feminist) after she raised concerns about government plans to change the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier legally to change genders.

Shutting down debate over transgenderism is becoming the standard response. Increasingly, it looks like trans activists are not searching for equality – they are looking to enforce an ideology. The Stonewall Trans Advisory Group’s five-year plan includes recommendations that faith groups change their liturgical language to incorporate non-gendered terms. The fact that a teacher has now been suspended for using the ‘wrong’ language shows the reach of this authoritarian linguistic policing.

Those who were offended by Janice Turner’s column say they are speaking out to stop the bullying of transgender children. My heart goes out to troubled children dealing with gender dysphoria, and to their parents, who must find things difficult. But this isn’t about ‘bullying’. Most parents and teachers want to discourage bullying and will encourage children to be kind to people of all stripes. There is a difference between promoting sensitivity between peers in schools and changing school policies to fit a particular political agenda. Some schools have already changed school-uniform policies and toilet facilities, and are policing teachers’ language in the name of transgender inclusivity.

In the workplace and public sphere, similar demands are being made over gendered facilities and language. Yet there is no mass swell of demand for these changes. Trans people are not marching in the streets demanding that society bend to their needs. So why has almost every institution, including even the CofE, jumped on the trans-wagon?

There is a kind of madness at play here. A tiny, vocal minority has managed to dominate the news and even public policy with its agenda. Politicians have joined this PC crusade in the hope of appearing ‘progressive’ – without, it seems, giving any thought to the consequences of making sex and gender so relativistic. Whatever you think of trans politics, the shifts we’re seeing raise big questions about our society and we need to be able to discuss and debate them. Moreover, we should be very wary of any political group which demands total adherence to its viewpoint and shuts down any attempts to challenge its discourse.

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, November 19, 2017



The women academics who insist PMT is all in your mind

Feminism is a low-grade form of insanity.  The criterion for insanity is loss of reality contact.  We see just that below. Any man who has seen much of women doesn't need "studies" to be aware of PMT.  It is just so regular.  I remember once having breakfast with a very crabby wife.  But when I came home that night she was full of the milk of human kindness.  I said to her: "You have had your period, haven't you?"  "Yes" she happily replied

With nine out of ten women claiming to be sufferers, no wonder it's long been accepted that premenstrual syndrome will afflict us at some point in our lives.

Indeed, from adolescence onwards we are told to expect a few days every month when we will feel irrationally weepy, snappy and unable to cope with what life has to throw at us.

But is that really the case?

Increasingly, there's an argument that PMT — or premenstrual syndrome (PMS) as it is now known — is little more than a figment of our imagination. One respected health psychologist, Robyn Stein DeLuca, goes so far as to say that PMS is really just evidence of modern women struggling under the burden of trying to have — and do — it all. Put bluntly, it's an excuse for women to get a break.

'Growing up, when we become women, we are told in books, on the internet and in magazines that PMS is out there. We internalise this idea that our bodies must be faulty,' she says.

'The medical community is also to blame. We see this again and again that normal life stages, such as pregnancy and childbirth, are treated as sicknesses that have to have some kind of intervention.

'That perspective encourages women to think of their bodies as instruments that cause illness. But it's more likely that women feel overwhelmed.

'Women are expected to do a lot of things these days — we work, take care of families, we make sure everyone's health is OK, we make the Christmas dinner and a lot of women use PMS as a release valve or if they just can't give any more.

'You lose your good woman crown if you say: 'I just don't feel like doing this right now,' and relinquish your responsibilities. But if you say it's PMS, it's like a get-out-of-jail-free card. It's women's excuse for when they need a break.'

It's a view that will surely have many women howling in outrage.

But, as DeLuca explains in her new book, The Hormone Myth: How Junk Science, Gender Politics And Lies About PMS Keep Women Down, there is scientific evidence that our hormones don't affect us as much as we might imagine.

'Reproductive events like our monthly menstrual cycle, pregnancy or the menopause don't mentally destabilise us,' she says. 'Most women function at a very high level throughout their lives.

'While hormones do cause some physical and emotional symptoms — women can get cramps, bloating and feel depressed — they certainly don't affect us emotionally to the point that it's a big deal. That's where the myth is. That's where it's not true.'

So where did the PMS 'myth' come from? It seems that doctors in as far back as the mid 1800s were writing articles connecting 'hysteria' and women's emotional state with their periods. The phrase 'premenstrual tension' was first coined in 1931, and the term premenstrual syndrome some 20 years later.

Subsequently, there were many psychological studies claiming to uncover how badly women were affected by hormonal changes.

However, DeLuca claims all the psychological studies done on PMS from the Fifties to Eighties had very poor methodology — for example, they failed to use control groups so they could compare one group with another — and defined PMS far too loosely, citing nearly 150 symptoms linked to hormonal changes.

'They were symptoms anyone could have — headaches, feeling tired or cranky — but everyone feels those things some of the time,' says DeLuca.

She believes the real number of women affected by PMS and other hormonal changes is substantially lower — between 3 and 8 per cent, according to the latest studies, she says, rather than the commonly held figure of 90 per cent.

Clinically, women all the time say: 'I'm feeling depressed — I don't know whether it's my hormones.' But the reality is they are overloaded with work, have ailing parents and kids to look after and a myriad reasons why they might be depressed, and yet they immediately think it's hormonal.

'A minority of women do have hormone fluctuations that cause them to suffer serious trouble so they can't function or work effectively. This is known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). The criteria for PMDD is much more strictly defined — there are only 11 symptoms to choose from, such as insomnia, difficulty in concentrating or a marked change in appetite.

'Women have to have at least five to be defined as suffering from PMDD. And they should be treated. But for the rest of us, it's an alteration in mood that has little to do with hormones.'

Why, then, are women so wedded to the idea that we're slaves to our hormones? DeLuca believes the idea of PMS being a debilitating disorder is drummed into us when we are teenagers — and we quickly latch on to it, using it as an excuse for a wide range of symptoms.

DeLuca doesn't just blame women for the PMS myth, however. She also says the syndrome is perpetuated by men to invalidate women's anger — to stop them from succeeding.

'If a woman is angry or complaining, men can just attribute it to her time of the month,' she says.

'Throughout time, men have used PMS, or the idea that women are hormonal lunatics and have mercurial moods, to keep them out of power. It keeps people from thinking women should be leaders. After all, how can we let women make big decisions or be dependable when their crazy hormones can strike at any time?'

In short, says DeLuca, blaming a woman's hormones is the easy — or even lazy — answer to any ill. In pregnancy, we're told they give us baby brain and we can't function cognitively. In menopause, they affect our memory and give us mood swings. When we give birth, they give us postpartum depression.

'Memory tests done, however, show very small differences between pregnant and non-pregnant women when it comes to memory,' says DeLuca.

'We attribute our behaviour to what we have learned. And as for hormones causing postpartum depression, that's the biggest myth of all. The largest predictor of whether a woman is going to have it is if a woman was depressed before she has the baby. Overwhelming research says it has nothing to do with hormones.'

DeLuca is certainly not alone in her views. Sarah Romans, professor of psychological medicine, is another female academic who wholeheartedly agrees with DeLuca's theory that PMS is little more than a dangerous fiction.

Professor Romans conducted a review in 2012 to examine the prevailing research on PMS and concluded that out of 47 studies, nearly 40 per cent of them found no association of mood with a woman's menstrual cycle.

'We weren't looking at women who claimed to have PMDD, which is a very severe disorder, but instead the general population. We discovered women who kept a diary day-by-day were experiencing mood changes all over the month, not just connected to their cycle,' she says.

'To claim women turn into premenstrual wrecks suggests a woman is nothing more than her biology and the political ramifications of this are enormous.

'Indeed, would you say that about a man? After all, men have a reproductive aspect to their function, but we don't say that because they may be more testosterone-driven at certain times of the month, they may not have good judgment and we should keep them out of decision-making roles in the same way people say that about women.'

Like DeLuca, Professor Romans believes women are raised to use PMS as a cause for life's woes — something she sees more and more with the rise of the 'Sandwich Generation', women who juggle work, raising children and elderly parents.

'Clinically, women all the time say: 'I'm feeling depressed — I don't know whether it's my hormones.' But the reality is they are overloaded with work, have ailing parents and kids to look after and a myriad reasons why they might be depressed, and yet they immediately think it's hormonal.

'And their husbands think it, too. It's extraordinary.' So what's the answer? DeLuca is emphatic — no matter how weepy you might feel as your period approaches, she believes women need to stop perpetuating the myth of PMS and address the real issues that are troubling us.

'Instead of using PMS as a way to get a break, women need to turn round and tell their partners and families to do the food shopping or to pick up their socks or just to do more and help,' she says. 'Women need to be more generous with themselves. If they are angry or upset, they shouldn't just blame it on PMS, but they have reasons to be moody and angry and they should express their anger and own it.

Yet others remain unequivocal about its existence.

Professor John Studd, a consultant gynaecologist who runs the London PMS and Menopause Clinic and treats about eight to ten women a day with PMS, insists: 'PMS is a very real and distressing disorder, and it's so obvious because it happens at the same time every month. Yes, the range of PMS symptoms may be large and extend from depression, anxiety and anger to exhaustion and loss of libido, but the research is not vague or unscientific and has been thoroughly proven.

'It is clearly connected to a woman's menstrual cycle with the symptoms usually starting seven to 14 days before a period starts, and ceasing when it comes.'

The cause, Professor Studd says, is usually sensitivity to the hormone progesterone. 'Some women, we're not sure why, are more intolerant to their own progesterone than others,' he says.

After ovulation, progesterone is passed into the bloodstream from the ovaries, which is where problems can begin. While the Pill is often the first line of treatment as it steadies hormone levels, treatment at Professor Studd's clinic usually involves suppression of ovulation and progesterone via gels containing oestrogen, applied to the skin.

As for the new theory that PMS doesn't exist, Professor Studd is insistent: 'If I have a patient with PMS and she has this treatment, she'll be better in two months, so to say it doesn't exist is just not true.'

SOURCE






Quid est Veritas?
   
“Quid est veritas?” Pontius Pilate asked Jesus of Nazareth. What is truth? It is in short supply in the 21st century. Western civilization is not really in decline, as many fret. It is reverting to its Greco-Roman pre-Christian norms.

It may be right that Pilate said “Quid est veritas?” but in John 18:38, Pilate is recorded as saying "Τί ἐστιν ἀλήθεια", in Greek. Latin was Pilate's native language but educated Romans spoke Greek

In the Roman Empire, the vast majority of the wealth was held by the top two percent. Gnosticism was on the rise with a logically incoherent worldview that echoed Christianity and promoted androgyny. “Science said” became all the rage even then. People gave lip service to the gods, but it was mostly for show. We are going full circle.

Nowadays every cultural-sociological movement has a medical doctor and a scientist with a PhD to form the basis of their claims. There are doctors who promote the idea that vaccines cause autism. There are scientists claiming having children is “scientifically proven” to harm the environment so smaller families are a moral obligation. Some doctors will tell you life does not begin until a child exits a womb. Others will tell you that it is scientifically possible for a boy to become a girl. We are even told that though we might pick whether we are a boy or girl, we are born heterosexual or homosexual.

Language then tracks the political consensus of the scientific community. And it is a political consensus. Secular liberals have worked very hard to co-opt cultural institutions so that, regardless of truth, science reflects opinion instead of the other way around. The two-parent heterosexual nuclear household may be, for thousands of years, the most stable way in which to raise kids, but get a bunch of liberal sociologists masquerading as scientists together in a room and soon they’ll tell you science says the two-parent heterosexual nuclear household is bigotry, white supremacy and part of the patriarchy.

The Associated Press has gotten in on this game. The opposite sex’s pronouns or new ones can now be used to describe people. A single person can talk about himself in the plural sense to reject the conformity of language. One boy can be they and a girl can be he or even ze instead of she. Likewise, Caitlyn Jenner always was and Bruce never was because in the mind-numbing logic of “gender conformity,” Caitlyn was always there just waiting to be revealed.

Truth no longer matters because truth can be whatever one wants. This is a disease of society that started in our culture and floated downstream into our politics. In the ‘90s, conservatives screamed that character mattered as they tried to impeach Bill Clinton for a lie under oath. The lying under oath, for which Clinton lost his law license, is overshadowed by his affair with a White House intern. In the '90s, feminists praised Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was declared an empowered female. Conservatives who said Lewinsky was a victim were shouted down by prominent feminists who said they would have gladly performed the same sex act on the president in appreciation for what he did for feminists.

Now, decades later, many of the people who promoted the Clintons are throwing them under the bus. Bill is an abuser and Hillary his apologist. It is a sign the Clinton power is at an end. One could hardly imagine this change of heart from the Left if Hillary had been elected. But the Right is not spared the cultural rot. They served as apologists for a man caught on video bragging that famous men could grab women inappropriately among other terrible things he said and did. They excuse their own behavior by pointing to liberals defending Clinton. Only now is the Left throwing Clinton aside to provide legitimacy in their attacks against Roy Moore. Conservatives demand everyone believe Juanita Broderick, Paula Jones, and Kathleen Willey, but they dismiss all of Roy Moore’s accusers.

Truth has, it would seem, given way to tribe. But truth has a way of reasserting itself. Pontius Pilate asked what was truth, and that truth died on a cross only to conquer death. It is that truth that will one day come calling against asking not what is truth, but what have we done?

SOURCE





Being Shoved Into Meaninglessness

David Limbaugh
   
I’m an advocate of higher education and all, but so much for assuming that the development of common sense and sound judgment are part of the package.

A Pew Research Center poll found that 77 percent of Democrats with a bachelor’s degree or more believe a person’s gender can be different from the sex they were “assigned at birth.” You’ll remember that Democrats are the party of science, and Republicans the Neanderthal science-deniers.

First we have to ask ourselves why in the world it would occur to anyone of any gender at any time or any place even to conduct such a survey. It would be like surveying people to find if they believe ears are for hearing or eyes for seeing.

It would be disturbing enough if only 77 percent of Democrats with this level of education thought gender is determined biologically. But 23 percent? That’s a whole new level of weird — unless you define “weird” as being outside the mainstream. What’s weird is how weird the mainstream has become — at least on the political Left. This doesn’t speak well for higher education in this country, does it? Then again, you wouldn’t be surprised if you had seen the core curricula of America’s “great” universities — and many of the required reading assignments in the classes.

I watched an interesting video of a young conservative from a liberal family explaining why he could dialogue with liberals and still love them because we all share common goals. It is leftists, he said, who don’t even share our goals anymore, and it is very difficult to find any common ground with them.

I thought to myself when watching the video, “Yes, we do share some of the same goals: less crime, less poverty, etc., but increasingly the mainstream Democratic Party is embracing or strongly enabling certain extremist ideas. There is just no denying that the party has lurched leftward.”

Reading these poll results, sadly, tends to validate my concerns, which is not something I’m happy about. How can a significant percentage of people of any respected group, much less of the higher-educated subset of that group, be so wrongheaded? People urging bipartisanship should explain how we find common ground with such stunningly different worldviews.

I’m hoping this chasm is partially due to the phrasing of the survey questions or fear of political correctness policing — but still, it’s seriously problematic.

I don’t doubt, by the way, that some very small fraction of a percentage of people sense they are trapped in their bodies and feel more like the opposite biological gender. I recently talked to such a person and am sure he was sincere. He has always felt like he should have been born a female. Note that he fully acknowledges, however, that he wasn’t. He doesn’t dispute the biological reality.

So I have no inclination to judge such people. If they feel opposite their biological gender, they do. It’s above my pay-grade to fully understand this. But I think we’re dealing with something more than this. Cultural activism is at work here.

Just look at the language the Pew survey uses to address these ideas: A human being’s gender is “assigned at birth.” You surely don’t believe this language is accidental, do you?

To have an assignment there must be an assignor. If they mean God, or even nature, I’d have no quarrel, but it’s clear they are talking about human agents (doctors or other health care providers) as assignors. This suggests some arbitrariness in the determination, or at least something that is subject to question.

It is not subject to question. Absent some biological aberration we are born either male or female, and no amount of linguistic manipulation can alter that reality, even though it obviously alters some people’s perception of the reality.

Yes, there is certainly an agenda at work here; with the Left everything is political. There is an effort to normalize that which is not normal, which introduces uncertainty into things certain. We have not evolved, but are being pushed headlong into moral relativism and further into post-modernism and beyond, where there is no such thing as truth and reality is just a function of the individual’s preference.

This is moral chaos, intellectual chaos and biological chaos. It is nihilism. If truth is no longer defined as that which corresponds with reality, we have completely untethered ourselves from our foundations of meaning and significance. Parents with any remaining affinity for traditional values must surely be concerned about what we are bequeathing our children.

I’m not citing these ominous trends to score political points, and I acknowledge they are not solely the fault of just one political party, though they are disproportionately prevalent in that party. This is a societal and cultural problem that has polluted downstream political waters.

Indeed, these developments transcend politics. At the risk of subjecting myself to anti-Christian scoffing, I believe we are in the throes of spiritual warfare, which is one reason I’m not attempting to unduly demonize people falling prey to it. I used not to believe in the devil, but that was then, and this is now. I have no other rational explanation for morality and truth routinely being turned on their very heads — for right being considered wrong, and unreality masquerading as reality. Satan is the first and great deceiver, and many people, most of them unwittingly, are being deceived.

Pray for America. Pray for mankind.

SOURCE





No, Colin Kaepernick Is No Muhammad Ali


   
GQ magazine named former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick its 2017 “Citizen of the Year.” In doing so, GQ overlooked NFL Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt, who raised some $37 million for hurricane relief. Many of Kaepernick’s supporters liken his protest to that of boxer Muhammad Ali, who refused to be inducted into the military. The comparison is not well-taken.

For whatever reason, Kaepernick chose not to give the magazine an interview, passing up an opportunity to clearly explain the purpose of his protest. At first, Kaepernick insisted his protest was about the alleged epidemic of police brutality against blacks. Shortly after he started his protest, Kaepernick said: “There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically is police brutality. There’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable. The cops are getting paid leave for killing people. That’s not right.”

Contrast this with Muhammad Ali’s protest. He argued that his religious beliefs made him a conscientious objector who ought not be forced to join the military. In doing so, Ali faced up to five years in prison and was stripped of his ability to fight in the U.S. for more than three years, his prime years as an athlete. While the heavyweight title-holder avoided prison during his appeals process — that ended up in the Supreme Court — he was forced to hand over his passport, which prevented him from fighting overseas, as well.

Banned from boxing and stripped of his world heavyweight title, Ali argued his case on the road, speaking at a number of colleges and universities, where he repeatedly stated that he would rather abide by his religious convictions rather than violate them in order to make money. Martin Luther King Jr. urged his followers to “admire [Ali’s] courage. He is giving up fame. He is giving up millions of dollars to do what his conscience tells him is right.”

By contrast, Kaepernick wants to have it both ways. The NFL allows players to stand or not, depending upon their own choice. So the league actually gives players permission to stand or not to stand for the national anthem. In Ali’s case, his refusal to join the military cost him the ability to earn a living in his chosen profession.

The Supreme Court eventually sided unanimously with Ali, ruling that the appeal board failed to properly specify the reason why Ali’s application for a conscientious-objector exemption had been denied. The ruling required Ali’s conviction to be overturned, and the court said the record shows that Ali’s “beliefs are founded on tenets of the Muslim religion as he understands them.” After his Supreme Court victory, Ali could have sued for lost wages, arguing that he was illegally forbidden from working as a fighter. Ali refused, arguing that he would rather look ahead than exact revenge.

Kaepernick, on the other hand, filed a grievance against the NFL, claiming the owners “colluded” against hiring this mediocre-quarterback-turned-locker-room distraction.

What about the merits of Kaepernick’s argument? Is there an epidemic of police brutality against blacks? The answer is no.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, police shootings against blacks have declined almost 75 percent since 1968. Of the 963 people shot and killed by police in 2016, 233 were black, and 466 were white. Most people could not name a white person killed by the police, because the media are far less interested in a white person killed by a cop than a black person killed by one. Last year, a grand total of 17 unarmed blacks were killed by the police, according to The Washington Post. Contrast this with the approximately 6,000 to 7,000 blacks killed annually, almost all — as many as 90 percent — by other blacks. Where is Kaepernick on the fact that the No. 1 cause of preventable death for young blacks is homicide, while the No. 1 cause of preventable death for young white men is “unintentional injuries,” or accidents?

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who supports Kaepernick, said: “It’s easier for white people because we haven’t lived that experience. It’s difficult for many white people to understand the day-to-day feeling that many black people have to deal with. …

"When somebody like Kaepernick brings attention to this, and others who have, it makes people have to face the issue because it’s too easy to let it go because it’s not their daily experience. If it’s not your daily experience, you don’t understand it.”

As to Popovich’s assertion about the “day-to-day feeling that many black people have to deal with,” what of the 1997 Time/CNN poll that found 89 percent of black teens found little or no racism in their day-to-day lives? And more black teens than white teens agreed that “failure to take advantage of available opportunities” was a bigger problem than racism. And this was 20 years ago, before the election and re-election of a black president.

Kaepernick’s protest was bogus from the start, and it only helped to create greater unnecessary tension between the black community and the police. “Citizen of the Year,” indeed.

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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Friday, November 17, 2017






GQ Honors the Wrong Kneeler



In a pitiful homage, the rag names malcontent Colin Kaepernick its "citizen of the year."

GQ magazine named Colin Kaepernick its “citizen of the year” for his launching the last year of NFL kneeling protests. The magazine noted that Kaepernick refused to be interviewed for the cover article, explaining, “As his public identity has begun to shift from football star to embattled activist, he has grown wise to the power of his silence.” Seeking to suggest that Kaepernick is sacrificing himself for the cause, GQ quotes rapper J. Cole, who states, “Had [Kaepernick not taken a knee], this guy would be making millions of dollars right now. Period, point blank. And more important than the money, he was living his dream. He sacrificed his dream.” World’s smallest violin, please.

In Linda Sarsour’s adoring GQ tribute, she wrote, “I always tell Colin: ‘You are an American hero. You may not feel like a hero right now, but one day, people will realize the sacrifices that you made for so many others.’ There might even be a day when we’ll be walking down Colin Kaepernick Boulevard and people will remember what Colin Kaepernick did, just like we remember Muhammad Ali.”

Ironic how little respect and honor Kaepernick and his sycophantic scribe have for genuine American heroes – those who literally sacrificed their very lives to ensure that pro football kneelers and other celebrities enjoy the freedom to make millions of dollars doing what they love to do while making a mockery out of our nation’s flag. If Kaepernick is truly concerned about sacrificing for the cause of others, he can contact the nearest military recruiter’s office and sign up to fight for much more than his sophomoric narcissistic ego – fighting as genuine heroes do for American Liberty.

In the meantime, Kaepernick may want to read up on famed abolitionist and escaped slave Frederick Douglass’ perspective on this nation Kaepernick so clearly despises. While Douglass was not shy about criticizing that “peculiar institution” of slavery, he encouraged black Americans to sign up with the Union to fight for freedom. He was also known to regularly play “The Star-Spangled Banner” on his violin, and in an 1871 speech at Arlington National Cemetery he said that “if the Star-Spangled Banner floats only over free American citizens in every quarter of the land, and our country has before it a long and glorious career of justice, liberty and civilization, we are indebted to the unselfish devotion of the noble army.”

The problem for leftists like Kaepernick and GQ is that they no longer believe, and may have never believed, that the United States of America is a noble nation that has consistently espoused and defended the ideals of justice and Liberty. So on the heels of Veterans Day, GQ honored the wrong kneeler.

SOURCE






Supreme Court Will Review California Law Requiring Pro-Life Groups to Promote Abortion

California's Reproductive FACT Act requires crisis pregnancy clinics to post a bulletin informing patients that the state offers subsidized abortion access. (Photo: iStock Photos)
The U.S. Supreme Court Monday agreed to hear a challenge to a California law requiring pro-life crisis pregnancy centers to post information about state-funded abortions.

A coalition of pro-life groups challenging the law say it explicitly targets and coerces religious counseling centers into pro-abortion expression with which they disagree.

The law, called the Reproductive FACT Act, requires crisis pregnancy clinics to post a bulletin informing patients that the state offers subsidized abortion access. The FACT Act requires that the advisory appear in large font in a “conspicuous place” within the clinic.

“California has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services (including all FDA-approved methods of contraception), prenatal care, and abortion for eligible women,” the bulletin reads. “To determine whether you qualify, contact the county social services office at [phone number].”

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative public interest group representing a crisis pregnancy network challenging the law, says the FACT Act forces pro-life organizations to promote a state-sponsored advertisement for the abortion industry

“It’s unthinkable for the government to force anyone to provide free advertising for the abortion industry,” said Kevin Theriot, senior counsel at ADF. “This is especially true of pregnancy care centers, which exist to care for women who want to have their babies. The state shouldn’t have the power to punish anyone for being pro-life. Instead, it should protect freedom of speech and freedom from coerced speech.”

Providers that fail to comply with the law are fined $500 to $1,000 per violation, roughly the cost of an abortion in California. As such, the clinics say they are forced to chose between promoting abortion and subsidizing abortion through the state.

Similar laws adopted in New York and Maryland were struck down by the 2nd and 4th U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, though the 9th Circuit upheld California’s law in 2016. The Supreme Court is more likely to hear a case when circuit courts “split” or reach different conclusions on the same question.

The 9th Circuit concluded that California has a compelling interest in protecting the health of its citizens by regulating the medical profession.

“California has a substantial interest in the health of its citizens, including ensuring that its citizens have access to and adequate information about constitutionally protected medical services like abortion,” Judge Dorothy W. Nelson wrote.

A separate provision of the FACT Act requires crisis pregnancy centers that do not have a state medical license or access to medical professionals to post a second disclaimer, advising patients as to where they might receive medically supervised care.

The case, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra, is the second of the new term involving a conservative group’s challenge to a liberal state law. The other is Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, involving the rights of religious objectors and state anti-discrimination laws.

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How Elite Liberals Have Sold Out the Black Community

Walter E. Williams

When hunting was the major source of food, hunters often used stalking horses as a means of sneaking up on their prey. They would synchronize their steps on the side of the horse away from their prey until they were close enough for a good shot.

A stalking horse had a double benefit if the prey was an armed person. If the stalkers were discovered, it would be the horse that took the first shot.

That’s what blacks are to liberals and progressives in their efforts to transform America—stalking horses. Let’s look at it.

I’ll just list a few pieces of the leftist agenda that would be unachievable without black political support.

Black people are the major victims of the grossly rotten education in our big-city schools. The average black 12th-grader can read, write, and compute no better than a white seventh- or eighth-grader.

Many black parents want better and safer schools for their children. According to a 2015 survey of black parents, 72 percent “favor public charter schools, and 70 percent favor a system that would create vouchers parents could use to cover tuition for those who want to enroll their children in a private or parochial school.”

Black politicians and civil rights organizations fight tooth and nail against charter schools and education vouchers.

Why? The National Education Association sees charters and vouchers as a threat to its education monopoly. It is able to use black politicians and civil rights organizations as stalking horses in its fight to protect its education monopoly.

The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was the nation’s first federally mandated minimum wage law. Its explicit intent was to discriminate against black construction workers.

During the legislative debate on the Davis-Bacon Act, quite a few congressmen, along with union leaders, expressed their racist intentions. Rep. Miles Allgood, D-Ala., said:

Reference has been made to a contractor from Alabama who went to New York with bootleg labor. This is a fact. That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.

American Federation of Labor President William Green said, “Colored labor is being sought to demoralize wage rates.”

The Davis-Bacon Act is still law today. Supporters do not use the 1931 racist language to support it. Plus, nearly every black member of Congress supports the Davis-Bacon Act. But that does not change its racially discriminatory effects.

In recent decades, the Davis-Bacon Act has been challenged, and it has prevailed. That would not be the case without unions’ political and financial support to black members of Congress to secure their votes.

Crime is a major problem in many black neighborhoods. In 2016, there were close to 8,000 blacks murdered, mostly by other blacks. In that year, 233 blacks were killed by police.

Which deaths receive the most attention from politicians, civil rights groups, and white liberals, and bring out marches, demonstrations, and political pontification? It’s the blacks killed by police.

There’s little protest against the horrible and dangerous conditions under which many poor and law-abiding black people must live. Political hustlers blame their condition on poverty and racism—ignoring the fact that poverty and racism were much greater yesteryear, when there was not nearly the same amount of chaos.

Also ignored is the fact that the dangerous living conditions worsened under a black president’s administration.

There are several recommendations that I might make. The first and most important is that black Americans stop being useful tools for the leftist hate-America agenda.

As for black politicians and civil rights leaders, if they’re going to sell their people down the river, they should demand a higher price. For example, if black congressmen vote in support of the Davis-Bacon Act, they ought to demand that construction unions give 30 percent of the jobs to black workers.

Finally, many black problems are exacerbated by white liberal guilt. White liberals ought to stop feeling guilty so they can be more respectful in their relationships with black Americans.

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Using Grand Jury Testimony, ‘Ferguson’ Stage Play Challenges Media Narratives

When it came time for Darren Wilson to testify about what happened after firing his gun from inside his vehicle, the Ferguson, Missouri, police officer told the grand jury that his assailant “had the most intense, aggressive face.”

Wilson, then 28, is the white police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, an 18-year-old black male on Aug. 9, 2014, in Ferguson, a northern suburb of St. Louis.

It’s all part of the stage play performance of “Ferguson,” which ran from Oct. 23 through Nov. 5 at the 30th Street Theater, located between 7th and 8th avenues in New York City, and makes use of a storytelling technique known as “verbatim theater.”

The Advantage of Verbatim Theater

All of the play’s dialogue is taken verbatim from the 25 days of  grand jury testimony. Phelim McAleer, the Irish-born filmmaker and investigative journalist who wrote the play, has launched a crowdsourcing campaign to help finance the play’s production, which expired on Nov. 9. If enough funds are raised, the play could be restaged.

“This is as much about journalism as it is about the activists involved with the Ferguson incident,” McAleer told The Daily Signal after the Saturday afternoon performance of the play. “This is about checking primary sources and looking into what these people actually saw and not what they said they saw. That’s something many journalists failed to do.”

The media narrative built around the widely reported “Hands up, don’t shoot” scenario that fueled protests from Black Lives Matter and other groups directed against the police was contradicted by key witnesses and by physical and forensic evidence, according to what the grand jury heard.


Ian Campbell Dunn, the actor who played Darren Wilson. (Photo: The Daily Signal)
The confrontation between Wilson and Brown “took place over an approximately two-minute period of time at about noon,” according to a U.S. Department of Justice report on the shooting. Brown had stolen several packages of cigarillos from a nearby convenience store a few minutes earlier and had strong-armed the store clerk when the clerk tried to stop him, the report explains.

Wilson’s radio transmissions and dispatch records make it clear that he was aware of the robbery and had a description of the suspects.

The police officer first encountered Wilson and his friend, Dorian Johnson, 22, when they were walking eastbound on Canfield Drive in the “middle of the street,” according to the Justice Department report.

After Wilson noticed that Brown had cigarillos in his hand and that Johnson was wearing a black shirt, consistent with the description he had of the suspects, the police officer reversed his vehicle and then angled the vehicle to cut Brown and Johnson off in the street. That’s what Wilson told prosecutors and investigators, that’s what he said in his testimony to the grand jury and that’s what it says in the Justice Department report.

Of all the witnesses, McAleer said he was particularly impressed by Ciara Jenkins, a young black woman, who was positioned behind Wilson and Brown in the moments leading up to the shooting.

“What she delivered was just incredibly powerful,” McAleer said. “She had been avoiding the subpoena and didn’t want to testify, but when she did, she said Michael Brown did not raise his hands to surrender and that he charged the officer. This is a very intense, emotional part of the play. But that’s what’s in the grand jury testimony, and the media did not tell the truth about what happened.”

Philadelphia College Students Bail Out at Last Minute

“Ferguson” is a 90-minute courtroom drama unfolding in one room on stage with 13 actors and with some of those actors playing multiple roles.

A staged reading of the play was first presented in 2015 in Los Angles, but nine of the cast members walked out in protest over the script. None of the New York City cast members walked out, but the Saturday afternoon performance did not escape controversy. A representative from the Community College of Philadelphia had contacted McAleer to see if accommodations could be made for about 50 students. McAleer obliged, but he was informed on Saturday morning that almost all of students had decided to back out at the last minute.

The Irish playwright explained what went down in an email that was sent to The Daily Signal and other interested parties.

“I was really excited, and so were the cast, so I organized a group discount and a Q&A afterwards with the cast and myself so we could all discuss the issues raised by the play,” McAleer said in his email. “I thought the students would really benefit to hear verbatim what went on in the grand jury room during the Michael Brown investigation. In the end, 53 tickets were booked—almost all the house.”

A handful of students from the college did show up individually.

In the email McAleer received from the college’s representative, he was informed that “almost all of the students decided not to come because of the controversy surrounding the play,” he explained in his own email commenting on the incident.

“Don’t forget Ferguson is verbatim theater. It creates the drama using only actual words from the grand jury transcripts,” McAleer continued. “That is what these snowflake students were afraid of—the actual words of eyewitnesses—and many of these witnesses were minorities.

“What kind of country is this where students are scared of the ‘controversy’ created by the verbatim recreating of minority voices?”

The Daily Signal contacted the college representative who had been in touch with McAleer to ask if he wanted to comment for this article, but the representative did not respond.

Standout Performances Capture Divergent Testimony

Brown was under the influence of marijuana at the time of his confrontation with the police officer, a forensic toxicologist told the grand jury.

“I can tell you the drug is present at a significant concentration that represents a large dose into Mr. Brown,” Dr. Brian Wilcox said in his testimony. “How he would have behaved and what he would have done, I cannot predict. I know the drug was having an effect and was impairing his nervous system.”

Ian Campbell Dunn, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, played the part of Officer Wilson. He poured a lot of emotion and intensity into his performance and even stepped off stage and into the audience during the climactic, final moments of the play.

“There’s a difference between simply retelling the story and reliving it,” Dunn told The Daily Signal. “As an actor, you are trying to bring out the humanity of each individual involved.”

The altercation reached a critical turning point when Brown reached into Wilson’s car, punched the officer several times, grabbed the officer’s gun, and attempted to get control of the weapon, according to Wilson’s testimony.

This happened after Wilson had tried opening his car door, only to have Brown slam it shut, the officer said in his testimony.

Johnson, the 22-year-old who accompanied Brown that night, said in his testimony that “the first, initial contact” Wilson and Brown had was when the officer’s “arm came out of the window” and “grabbed a hold of Big Mike’s shirt around the neck area.”


Actor Cedric Benjamin, who played Dorian Johnson. (Photo: The Daily Signal)
Cedric Benjamin, who is from Florida and moved to New York to pursue a career in acting, played the part of Johnson. He sympathizes with his subject.

“Throughout the entire process, Johnson is the only one who is really unbiased,” Benjamin told The Daily Signal. “He sees Mike [Brown] stealing in the store, and he testifies about what happened and what he saw, but what happened in the store and what happened with the shooting were two different incidents.”

Benjamin used highly pronounced facial expressions as part of his portrayal of Johnson to help capture his subject’s growing anxiety while he was being questioned by lawyers.

Johnson acknowledged in testimony that he had his own checkered history with the law and had been in jail before. When he recognized that “Big Mike” was not going to pay for the cigarillos, Johnson said in testimony that he tried to exit the store because he “didn’t want any part of it.”

Johnson also saw that “Big Mike kind of reverses the grab” when the store clerk tries to stop him.

“The grand jury was there to determine if there was enough evidence to go to trial,” Benjamin told The Daily Signal. “That was the purpose, but the entire time it just felt like the lawyers were prosecuting Michael Brown. The injustice of the justice system is the story that needs to be told.”

The testimony of Wilson and Johnson diverge sharply. Wilson tells the grand jury that it was Brown who reached into the police vehicle.

There was physical and forensic evidence presented to the grand jury that backs up Wilson’s version of events. McAleer told The Daily Signal he does not view Johnson as a credible witness.

“Johnson was caught several times telling stories that just didn’t hold up under scrutiny,” McAleer said. “When he said the officer reached out of his car to grab Michael Brown, he was describing a physical action that defied common sense and one that didn’t happen.”

Oliver D’Anna, 13, a precocious eighth-grader from Westport, Connecticut, with an acute interest in theater, wanted to know why Wilson didn’t just drive off when the situation escalated.

“Why didn’t he just push on the gas pedal and drive away?” D’Anna asked. “It seems like he could have done something to avoid the situation.”

Finally, after the shots were fired, Wilson is able to exit his vehicle and pursue Brown on foot while calling for backup.

Jenkins, the witness who made a strong impression on McAleer, was in a minivan with her family members when the final confrontation leading up to the shooting takes place. Jenkins tells the grand jury that Brown did not raise his hands to surrender and continued to charge the officer.

“I’m not, you know, really big on talking to the police or defending the police. I’m just being real honest with you,” Jenkins said to one of the lawyers during testimony. “I feel like the officer was in the right, and that is a lot of saying. Because other than that, I ain’t got nothing to do with them.”

In one of his final dramatic testimonies, Wilson describes how Brown kept charging toward him even after Wilson fired his weapon.

“Well, he keeps coming at me after that again, during the pause I tell him to ‘get on the ground, get on the ground,’ he still keeps coming at me, gets about 8 to 10 feet away,” the officer said. “At this point, I’m backing up pretty rapidly, I’m backpedaling pretty good because I know if he reaches me, he’ll kill me.”

Dunn, the actor who played the part of of Wilson, expressed skepticism toward the officer’s testimony.

“I personally did not believe him, and I don’t think the shooting was justified,” he said. “The burden should be on the police to defuse the situation. But as an actor, you don’t get to make a choice about whether or not you believe someone. You want to capture as much of what it must have been like in that situation, which was traumatic for everyone involved.”

Benjamin, the actor who played Johnson, sees value in the verbatim approach to theater, but thought more of the verbatim material could be been used to show that Brown was a genuine victim in the shooting.

The Daily Signal asked McAleer if that was an option.

“No such additional verbatim material exists,” he said. “Any more verbatim material I put in would have made Brown look more guilty and Wilson look more innocent.”

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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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