Reforms to child protection covering Aboriginal children needed

Below is a reasonable account of a problem but where are the ideas for a solution?  The basic problem is that young Aborigines are often badly neglected by their families.  If the kids survive that, the neglect tends to bring on disrespect of all standards and crime follows from that.

So how are  you going to stop child neglect without rehoming the endangered kids?  Are you going to have a platoon of white people to waggle reproving fingers at neglectful Aboriginal parents?  Or are you going to take their grog off them?  It's all been tried before, I am afraid.

And how are you going to stop extensive lawbreaking?  I don't know how, nor, it would seem, do the do-gooders below.  Much has been tried already so anything coming out of the report below will most likely just be a reinvention of the wheel

If black lives really mattered in Australia, every cog of the child protection system would be reformed to stop Aboriginal children being removed from family, culture and country.

That's the belief of Megan Davis, University of NSW law professor and United Nations expert on the rights of Indigenous peoples.

"All the narratives we tell ourselves about Australian fairness and the rule of law fly out the window in so far as the treatment of the Aboriginal families in the system," said Professor Davis, who is also Balnaves chair in constitutional law and the pro-vice-chancellor Indigenous UNSW.

With 17,979 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and youth in care across Australia, and nearly 5493 in NSW, next year's Closing the Gap goals are expected to include for the first time a commitment to reduce the number of Aboriginal children entering care by 5 per cent a year. By 2031, it will pledge to cut the number of those in care by 45 per cent.

Professor Davis said a review of Aboriginal children in out-of-home-care (OOHC) in NSW that she chaired had "not validated the popular narrative that children are removed justifiably".

"Out-of-home-care can exacerbate the disadvantage of Aboriginal young people which many would find counter-intuitive because most people assume removing children is in their best interests," Professor Davis said.

She was sure the NSW community was also unaware of the "very direct line from child protection to youth detention and incarceration".

Professor Davis' examination of 1144 Aboriginal children and youth who entered OOHC in 2015/2016 found problems in "every cog of the giant, complex 'system'."

Aboriginal children were eight times more likely to enter care than non-Indigenous children, and they constitute 40 cent of the nearly 14,000 NSW children in care.

Half of the children were deemed to be at risk of significant harm by the time they turned five, and one-in-10 before they were born.

Once in care, very few would return to their families, said the review. Children were often distanced from relatives and taken off country and isolated from culture.

"These are our children, this isn't a marginal issue," said Richard Weston, the chief executive of SNAICC – the peak group representing children and families. "They are the ones who will ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will survive."

Some people called these children another Stolen Generation, he said, because of the procession of children who "graduated" from out of home care into the juvenile justice system and then into adult prison.

Professor Davis' report, titled Family is Culture, was given to the NSW Government last November, and Indigenous groups are lobbying for a response before the end of the financial year.

On a post on the UNSW website on Saturday morning, Professor Davis urged the government to respond saying the report "can't be left on a bench to gather dust". She called on the Government to implement "all the recommendations as a matter of priority".

NSW Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward said the recommendations were being considered carefully. It is understood a comprehensive response will be made soon.

Chief executive of the Aboriginal Legal Service in NSW/ACT Karly Warner said the Black Lives Matter protests had shown there was real understanding by the public that systemic racism was wrong and there was an appetite for change.

But there had to be an appetite for change from those in leadership. "There can't be equality until we change the system," she said.

Ms Warner said she heard stories every week about young people "who are arrested and forced into the quick sands of juvenile justice because of the over-scrutiny and policing of residential care homes."


Racial awareness is not racism

I think the story below points to the sloppy way "racism" is used.  If Elba exdperiences racism "every day", it cannot be very oppressive, given his popularity and success as an actor.

What he is clearly talking about is racial awareness.  He perceives, probably correctly, that people whom he meets do not -- at least initially -- see him as just a random person but as a black person.  And given the unhappy history of black/white relationships, that perception will almost inevitably be tinged with caution.

But how he is TREATED because of that is another matter.  These days "affirmative action" thinking may cause him to be treated BETTER than a random person. So using a word for that which also describes the evils of Nazism is very sloppy usage indeed.  Such sloppiness is sadly common  however.  To the Left almost any mention of race makes you a "racist".

Individual cases will differ of course but I suspect than most claims of racist treatment by blacks really refer to incidents where racial awareness has been perceived rather than incidents of racial oppression

Idris Elba has said that asking him about racism is akin to asking 'how long I have been breathing.'

While taking part in The Reckoning: The Arts And Black Lives Matter event, on Friday, the Luther actor, 47, also revealed how his parents instilled in him that in order to make it 'you have to be twice as good as the white man.'

During the live-streamed discussion about the Black Lives Matter movement and the arts, Idris explained that his success has not 'negated' his experience of racism.

The actor said: 'Success has not negated racism for me. Asking me about racism is like asking me about how long I have been breathing.'

Idris went on to explain that the first time black people have 'any consciousness' around their skin 'it is usually about racism'.

'That stays with you regardless of whether you become successful or you beat the system,' asserted the star.

Elba said his parents instilled in him a strong work ethic, telling him: 'if you want to make it in this world, you have to be twice as good as the white man'.

He detailed how this became like a 'mantra' to him, and helped to guide his work ethic.

The talented actor also explained that, although he was good at football, he 'still applied in cricket because I was always of that mindset.'

He added: 'Before you know it you realise you are quite multi-faceted,' before expressing how to be successful 'you have to have your fingers in many pies'.

Idris' late father Winston grew up in Sierra Leone, and his mother Eve is from Ghana.

The actor has forged an incredibly successful career, starring in Marvel films, including the Avengers, as well as for the lead role in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.

He also starred in a Netflix movie about child soldiers, Beasts of No Nation, which was filmed in Ghana.


US police kill up to 6 times more black people than white people

The above headline is perfectly accurate.  But it is still misleading.  OF COURSE the police kill more blacks in Chicago.  There are more blacks there.

It is rare that raw numbers tell us much.  What is needed is context.  In this case we need to look at percentages.  Is the PERCENTAGE of blacks killed different?

More technically, if we control for population size, are blacks killed more often than whites?  The number of whites killed in Chicago is probably low.  But Chicago is primarily a black city.  So the absolute number of whites there is also low

It could well be that cops are more prone to killing people with brown skin than people with white or pink skin -- but we are not actually shown that.  Context is missing

In some parts of the US, police kill black people at a rate six times higher than they kill white people. The differences are most stark in the northern Midwest, especially Chicago, and in north-eastern states like New York.

Protest movements like Black Lives Matter have highlighted the disproportionate killing of black people by US police, and called for major changes in policing practices. However, official data on police killings can be unreliable. The database run by the Bureau of Justice Statistics is known to undercount deaths, partly because police forces don’t have to contribute data. That makes it harder to stop the killings.

Gabriel Schwartz and Jaquelyn Jahn at Harvard University compared police killings in different regions of the US between 2013 and 2017. They used data from Fatal Encounters, an independent organisation that gathers public and media reports of killings, and fact-checks them.

The researchers assigned each death to one of the US’s 382 “metropolitan statistical areas”. These are “cities and the areas surrounding cities”, says Jahn, and reflect where people spend most of their time.

Rates of police killings varied widely. For the overall population, the highest rates of killings were in south-western states like California and New Mexico, where more than 1 in 100,000 people were killed by police every year. In the north-east, rates were often lower than 0.3 people per 100,000.

However, the pattern changed when the team looked for differences linked to ethnicity. In south-western states, police killed black people 1.81-2.88 times more often than they killed white people. In the north Midwest and north-east, the disparity was often more than 2.98. In the Chicago metropolitan area, black people were killed 6.51 times more often than white people.

“They are showing for the first time that there’s a lot of variation by place in racial inequalities in police killings,” says Justin Feldman at New York University. That in turn should help us understand why some places have such large disparities, and how to reduce the deaths, he says.

Schwartz and Jahn’s study is the latest of a raft of studies showing that black people in the US are killed by police more often than white people. Young black men are at highest risk. A 2019 study found that black men aged 25-29 were being killed at rates between 2.8 and 4.1 in 100,000.

Neighbourhoods are also a factor. Death rates are highest in poor neighbourhoods and neighbourhoods with high non-white populations, but black people are at higher risk of being killed in white neighbourhoods.


Australia-UK free trade agreement: Visas on the table under negotiations to begin this month

It was a great blow when Britain entered the Common Market. Australian goods had access to British buyers substantially limited and moving from one of the countries to the other was hampered.  We seem likely to unwind that now that Britain is leaving the EU

There has been a continual stream of British migration to Australia ever since 1788, with the result that British customs have been continually refreshed in Australia.  With over a million British-born people living in Australia, there is virtually nothing about Britain that is unfamilar in Australia.

So for traditional but also continually refreshed reasons, Australia is very much like just another of the British regions that has somehow been moved to the other side of the word.  

The British regions all have their distinctive identity, culture and version of English and that is also true of Australia.  The difference between Australia and the Home Counties is in fact slighter than the difference betreen the Home counties and some thorougly English regions.  An Australian accent is, for instance, better understood in the Home Counties than a Geordie accent is

So there is every reason to open up movement between Britain and Australia

Greater opportunities for business visas and the potential to “streamline and extend” working holiday visas for young people are on the table as part of a free-trade agreement (FTA) between Britain and Australia.

Speaking at an Australian British Chamber of Commerce webinar on Monday, Australian Trade, Tourism and Investment Minister Simon Birmingham said despite high levels of mobility between the UK and Australia there is room for improvement.

“[We] ought to provide for mutual recognition of qualifications and standards to make it easier for skilled professionals to work in each others countries,” he said.

“We of course have a rich history of young people from each country undertaking an almost rite of passage of living, working, travelling around each others countries. “Perhaps we can streamline and extend that,” he said, so the “terms of that are as flexible as they can be.”

While Mr Birmingham said the trade deal is “not an open borders arrangement” there is a need to facilitate movement of people along with the improved investment flows and mutual recognition of qualifications the free trade deal hopes to provide.

He said “never before” has a trade deal been seen from an Australian perspective as one that could be “so easy and yet so fruitful.” “I know we go into this with similar ambitions … this is an agreement we should be able to strike quickly and easily.” “I certainly hope that we can work though faster than any others.”

An FTA between the two nations has been years in the planning and talks will officially kick off online on June 29. The UK is also seeking an FTA with New Zealand while Australia is pursuing one with the European Union (EU).

Britain officially left the EU on 31 January 2020 allowing it the ability to pursue independent trade deals, however it is still negotiating its future relationship with the bloc that will come into effect on 1 January 2021 after a year's transition period.

UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss said Australia is a “key partner and ally” for the UK in is pursuit of becoming a global trading hub.

“When we entered the EU some people felt like we’d slightly lost touch with some of our old friends,” she said, adding that the two countries “speak with a similar voice on the world stage about the importance of free trade.”

The deal is set to benefit food and drink producers in both countries, as well as reducing the regulatory burden of setting up overseas for small businesses.

The UK automotive industry hopes to benefit from selling tariff-free cars to Australia, while Australian agricultural producers are set to benefit from not being locked out of trade barriers erected by the EU.

Digital services are also expected to play a key role in the deal, and the UK is hoping an FTA with New Zealand and Australia will pave the way for it to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) – an FTA involving 11 Asia Pacific states.

Ms Truss said there was “quite a lot of booze flowing between the UK and Australia” in terms of Aussie wine and British whisky and gin.

“I see this as being an exemplar deal where two like-minded trading nations can show the world what free trade can look like,” she said. “There is no stronger relationship than with Australia.”

“[Australian Prime Minister] Scott Morrison and [UK Prime Minister] Boris Johnson see eye-to-eye. We see this an opportunity to make closer friends with one of our best friends in the world.”

As for when international business travel might be back on the agenda, Ms Truss said it was “one of the key elements” the country was looking at as it emerges from lockdown.

Already Spain has announced British travellers will not have to quarantine there, with a number of deals with other European countries such as Portugal and France expected to follow.

Mr Birmingham said while travel restrictions are “tough for a nation like Australia … it’s also a reality that we are stuck with those restrictions for some time to come.”

He said the country is first looking at opening up to New Zealand and then potentially opening “business lanes” in “carefully calibrated ways” that could facilitate investment flows between the two countries.


Coronavirus is weakening, could die out on its own without a vaccine and patients now survive infections that would have killed them at start of the pandemic

I suspect that what the good doctor is noticing is that all the very vulnerable to the virus are now dead.  So he is now seeing what is left, people who were less vulnerable to it in the first place

But it is certainly true that viruses evolve and it certainly true that a form of a virus that does not kill its host will itself survive better.  So a non-lethal form could well become dominant

The coronavirus, once an 'aggressive tiger' of a disease, has weakened and become more like a wild cat, according to a top Italian doctor.

Professor Matteo Bassetti said he is convinced the virus is 'changing in severity' and patients are now surviving infections that would have killed them before.

And if the virus's weakening is true, Covid-19 could even disappear without a for a vaccine by becoming so weak it dies out on its own, he claimed.

He has said multiple times in recent months that patients with Covid-19 seem to be faring much better than they were at the start of the epidemic in Italy.

Professor Bassetti suggests this could be because of a genetic mutation in the virus making it less lethal, because of improved treatments, or because people are not getting infected with such large doses because of social distancing.

But other scientists have hit back at the claims in the past and said there is no scientific evidence that the virus has changed at all.

Professor Bassetti, the chief of infectious diseases at San Martino General Hospital in Genoa, Italy, told The Sunday Telegraph the virus could wither away on its own.

He said: 'It was like an aggressive tiger in March and April but now it's like a wild cat. Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before.'

Italy was one of the worst hit countries in the world during the pandemic's early stages, and has now recorded more than 238,000 positive cases and 34,000 deaths.

Scientists have said the elderly population there, the virus spreading in rural areas and the suddenness of the outbreak contributed to the country's high death toll.

Professor Bassetti suggests that one of the reasons the virus might be causing less serious illness is a genetic mutation which has made it less damaging to people's lungs.

Or, he said, people may simply be receiving smaller amounts when they get infected, because of social distancing and lockdown rules, making them less sick.

This theory depends on the severity of someone's illness being affected by their 'viral load' - the amount of virus that gets into someone's body when they're first struck by it.

Professor Bassetti said: 'The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity.

Viruses are known to change over time because they are subject to random genetic mutations in the same way that all living things are.

These mutations can have various effects and many will only happen briefly and not become a permanent change as newer generations of viruses replace the mutated ones.

However, some of the mutations might turn out to be advantageous to the virus, and get carried forward into future generations.

For example, if a virus becomes less dangerous to its host - that is, it causes fewer symptoms or less death - it may find that it is able to live longer and reproduce more.

As a result, more of these less dangerous viruses are produced and they may go on to spread more effectively than the more dangerous versions, which could be stamped out by medication because more people realise they are ill, for example.

The mutation may then be taken forward in the stronger generations and become the dominant version of the virus.

In an explanation of an scientific study about HIV, the NHS said in 2014: 'The optimal evolutionary strategy for a virus is to be infectious (so it creates more copies of itself) but non-lethal (so its host population doesn’t die out).

'The "poster boy" for successful long-living viruses is, arguably, the family of viruses that cause the common cold, which has existed for thousands of years.' 

'In March and early April the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult to manage illness and they needed oxygen and ventilation, some developed pneumonia.

'Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed in terms of of patterns.

'There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically.'

But other scientists did not welcome the idea and said there was no evidence to back up Professor Bassetti's claims.

Dr Gideon Meyerowitz-Katz, from the University of Wollongong in Australia, told MailOnline that the idea the virus has disappeared 'seems dubious'.

The epidemiologist warned Italy - which was the centre of Europe's coronavirus crisis in March - was still recording new Covid-19 cases and deaths, showing the virus was still a danger.

At the start of June, in response to Professor Bassetti's claim, Dr Angela Rasmussen, from Columbia University, tweeted: 'There is no evidence that the virus is losing potency anywhere.'

She added less transmission means fewer hospitalisations and deaths - but warned: 'That doesn't mean less virulence.'

The virulence of a virus is how dangerous the illness is but may not directly relate to how contagious it is.

Dr Oscar MacLean, of the University of Glasgow, added: 'These claims are not supported by anything in the scientific literature, and also seem fairly implausible on genetic grounds.


The Purity Paradox: How Tolerance and Intolerance Increase at the Same Time

The explanation below is interesting but I see it as an instance of "Give them an inch and they will take a mile".  Leftists have got a lot of traction and satisfaction out of arguing for more tolerance of various groups.  They have largely succeeded in getting tolerance for homosexuality, for instance.

But now that good targets for tolerance advocacy have all been used up, they are searching further afield for things to be tolerant of.  They have found arguing for tolerance to be a good racket so are not willing to let it go.

So now even the tiniest infractions are seized on to argue that more tolerance is needed.

So people have indeed become superficially more tolerant but the Left  think the tolerance is still not enough.  It never will be to them

So the cries of intolerance are just Leftist propaganda with very little behind it

How can intolerance be increasing when Western democracies are demonstrably more tolerant of historically marginalised identities than at any point in their history? It is, according to Douglas Murray, “a curiosity of the age” that as racial and sexual tolerance “at the very least appears to be better than it ever was, it is presented as though it has never been worse.” This paradox occurs because, as we address and overcome problems of intolerance and discrimination, we also expand the concept of intolerance to stigmatise new attitudes and behaviours. This makes it appear as if we are either making no progress at all or, worse, that we are becoming more intolerant. The upshot is that social problems appear increasingly irresolvable.

It is, of course, counter-intuitive to think of tolerance and intolerance increasing at the same time. Nevertheless, the idea is supported by a Harvard University study of human judgement, led by Professor Daniel Gilbert. In a series of experiments, Gilbert and his team of researchers showed that “people often respond to the decrease in the prevalence of a stimulus by increasing the concept of it.” He termed this phenomenon “prevalence-induced concept change.” In the first experiment, participants were shown 1,000 dots that varied on a continuum from very purple to very blue and then asked to identify the blue dots. After 200 trials, the number of blue dots was decreased for one group of participants but increased for another. In both cases, participants assessed the number of blue dots to be the same—the group with decreasing blue dots expanded their concept of blue to include dots they had previously excluded. This change was not altered by forewarning participants, by sudden decreases in prevalence, or by reversal in the direction of prevalence.

The same effect was noticed when participants were shown 800 human faces on a continuum of threatening to non-threatening—when the prevalence of threatening faces was reduced in one group, participants expanded their concept of threat to include faces which they had previously defined as non-threatening. In a third study, participants were shown 240 proposals for scientific research that were rated on a continuum from very ethical to very unethical. When the prevalence of proposals defined as unethical were decreased for one group, the group expanded their concept of unethical to include proposals they had previously defined as ethical.

The implications of this research should give us pause for thought across a wide range of social and cultural issues, especially when it comes to assessing the prevalence over time of bias against marginalised groups. There is no doubt that discrimination against people on the basis of race, gender, or sexuality continues, the view that it is increasing is likely to be an effect of prevalence-induced concept change. The concept of what constitutes discrimination has expanded, and as marginalised communities have splintered into mutually antagonistic groups, overall hostility and inter-community tension has been exacerbated.

Tests for the detection of “unconscious bias,” such as the Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT), have played a significant role in the emergence of this paradox, and the IAT’s methods have been widely adopted. For example, the UK Government established a programme of diversity training to unearth unconscious biases in participants. So, even as people become more tolerant of racial and gender differences they find themselves condemned for intolerance so deeply buried they were not even aware of it themselves. The theory of intersectionality, meanwhile, now widely embraced in Western universities, has generated an ever-expanding “matrix of oppression.” In search of a solution to the resulting tsunami of newly discovered prejudice, the number of oppressors—from white cis-gendered men to “Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists”—proliferates, resulting in a feedback loop of exclusion, distrust, and resentment.

As concepts of discrimination and bias expand, the aggressive policing of behaviours increases in an attempt to rid society of all remaining prejudice. At the University of Sheffield in England, students were paid by the university to monitor the language of their fellow students for evidence of “microaggressions” that may unintentionally cause offence to a racial group. This inevitably leads to the needless demonisation of tolerant, liberal students as intolerant unconscious racists. And as the concept of intolerance increases in this way, tolerant behaviours and attitudes struggle to keep up. Like the Red Queen in Through the Looking Glass, we have to run faster just to stand still.

The outcome of all this is rampant no-platforming in universities and colleges, necessitated by the assumption that if people can’t be reformed then they must be silenced instead. The philosopher Alfred North Whitehead described the University of Chicago as “the one place I have been that is most like ancient Athens.” He would doubtless have been disappointed to learn that protests derailed plans to invite Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, to participate in a debate on campus. Although the event did not take place, the professor who invited him remarked, “whether you like his views or not, he seems to have understood something about America that I’m curious to learn more about.”

Similar culture wars are escalating around gender. British author J.K. Rowling was showered with spiteful invective simply for being “deeply concerned about the consequences of the current trans activism.” The Indian feminist Vaishnavi Sundar had the screening of her film pulled because she objected to pre-op transwomen sharing shelters and bathrooms with female survivors of sexual violence. Her sins were compounded by her belief that biological sex is not a social construct. Compare this kind of behaviour to the philosophy of Ira Glasser, a liberal Jew and former executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Glasser recently described the banning of speakers with racist views as “the most politically stupid thing I had ever heard.” As head of the ACLU, he had defended the right of neo-Nazis to march through a largely Jewish neighbourhood of Chicago on the grounds that “what happened in Germany didn’t happen because there was a good First Amendment there. It happened because there wasn’t.”

How can we encourage kind and decent people to become ever-more tolerant when they are vilified no matter what they say or do because the concept of intolerance keeps expanding to swallow their good intentions? Our desire for greater equality and inability to acknowledge progress are spinning us into a purity spiral—as new layers of intolerance are uncovered, coercive corrective measures increase in ferocity. Left unchallenged, this takes us to ever-more dangerous places. As Simon Schama explains in his magnificent study of the French Revolution, “the violence that made the Revolution possible in the first place created the brutal distinctions between Patriots and Enemies, Citizens and Aristocrats, within which there could be no human shades of grey.”

Allergy to ambiguity and nuance and to the complexity of human experience makes impossible demands of the individual. This in turn results in rising levels of frustration and recrimination because somebody has to pay the price for failure. “Il faut du sang pour cimenter la révolution” (“There must be blood to cement the revolution”) cried Mme Roland at the height of the French Revolution only to find herself arrested and guillotined a short time later. When justified campaigns for racial justice and gender rights adopt this same approach, they are fuelling the very forces they claim to oppose.

“My ultimate objection to political correctness,” English writer, actor, and comic Stephen Fry has observed, “is not that it combines so much of what I have spent a lifetime loathing and opposing: preachiness (with great respect), piety, self-righteousness, heresy-hunting, denunciation, shaming, assertion without evidence, accusation, inquisition, censoring… My real objection is that I don’t think political correctness works… (It) is always obsessed with how right it is, without thinking of how effective it might be.”

By relentlessly expanding the concept of intolerance, prevalence-induced concept change ensures none of us can ever be good enough—if we pass one test of tolerance, we are sure to fail the next. Meanwhile those who believe they do not have to change, wait—endlessly and in vain—for the world to change around them. The Jewish philosopher Walter Benjamin, understood clearly where this cycle takes us. Benjamin, who committed suicide as he fled Nazi persecution, wrote about the Angel of History whose “face is turned toward the past”:

Where we perceive a chain of events, [the angel] sees one single catastrophe which keeps piling wreckage upon wreckage and hurls it in front of his feet. The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings with such violence that the angel can no longer close them. The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned, while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.

Benjamin’s logic is poetic and flawless in its illustration of a history of accumulated horror. As we disappear down the rabbit hole of identitarianism, hostile groups magnify existing divisions and manufacture new ones. But as we bask in the warm feeling of being good and right (and every identity group is always good and right), we should be wary of making ever-more exacting demands for tolerance which, by their very nature, can never be satisfied. The only way to “make whole what has been smashed” is to identify a common humanity that can obviate these divisions.

Prevalence-induced concept change seems to be a hardwired human trait, common to us all. Left unchecked, it will sow irresolvable division. If we are to attain a greater measure of social justice, we would do well to look at ourselves first and rescue our shared humanity from whatever sex, race, or culture we believe we belong to. Seeing the “Other” in myself, seeing in ourselves the things we dislike most in others, is a prerequisite to freeing the individual from the prison of the group. It means sacrificing moral purity in order to be effective in tackling intolerance.


Eskimo Pie racist: Company behind controversial ice cream acknowledges ‘derogatory’ name

The native people of the Arctic (including Canada, Alaska and Russia) have several subgoups --  Yupik, IƱupiat, Chukchi etc -- who appear similar but who regard themselves as different and distinct.  The Inuit are just one of the subgroups concerned.  They speak several different but related languages.

Noting their similarities, English-speakers for many years referred to them all as "Eskimos".  Gradually, however, a view developed that such a usage was ignorant:  Native peoples should be referred to by their own name for themselves.  So in Canada, but not in Alaska, the name of just one such group -- Inuit -- was adopted to refer to them all.  That seems just as ignorant as referring to all the different groups as Eskimos but it was generally accepted as an improvement.

The word "Eskimo" does appear to be of native origin so is simply a convenient collective term for a group of related people.  Calling it derogatory is essentially just a creation of Leftists.  So Leftist agitation has made it seem derogatory to many of the people concerned.  It would be amusing if "Inuit" came under similar attack at some time

The makers of Eskimo Pies, a popular ice cream in the US, has announced they will be changing the name of its product after years of controversy.

The vanilla and dark chocolate coated ice cream has been loved by Americans since 1920 however the term Eskimo is considered an offensive term used to describe Inuit people, or people who are native to Alaska and other Arctic regions.

In a statement to Rolling Stone, the head of marketing for the brand’s parent company, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream admitted the term is “derogatory”.

“We have been reviewing our Eskimo Pie business for some time and will be changing the brand name and marketing,” she said. “We are committed to being a part of the solution on racial equality, and recognise the term is derogatory. This move is part of a larger review to ensure our company and brands reflect our people values.”

The changes will be implemented by the end of the year and the company will also cease using the Inuit character in the ice cream’s marketing material.


Pro-Abortion Biden Says Climate Change Damaging Unborn Children

The NYT article appears too be referring to the Bekkar et al. study.  One notes that Bekkar et al considered only 68 out of 1831 relevant articles.  One wonders what the other articles said and whether or not their conclusions influenced their inclusion in the survey. There is much room for biased inclusion in such studies.

They also comment that "Accurate comparisons of risk were limited by differences in study design, exposure measurement, population demographics, and seasonality."

So the conclusions are very shaky, particularly when we note that the effects in studies of this sort are very weak.  Most of the articles will have reported effects that explain only a tiny amount of the variance -- so could easily have been influenced by extraneous factors

The media should launch a thorough investigation into determining whether Joe Biden has any brains at all. “Yes, but he talks a lot,” Biden defenders might say. “You can’t talk if you don’t have brains.”

Well, like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz reminds us, “Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking.”

Exhibit A in the case for no brains for Biden comes via a tweet that Biden posted responding to New York Times climate change reporter Hiroko Tabuchi.

Researchers looked at data from studies covering more than 32 million births from 2007 to 2019. Women exposed to high temperatures or air pollution are more likely to have premature, underweight or stillborn babies, a look at 32 million U.S. births found.

Biden’s reply was unintentionally hilarious.

Climate change is linked to increased pregnancy risks — and heartbreakingly, Black mothers are being hit the hardest. As President, I'll work every day to tackle the climate crisis head-on and root out injustice. Because they are intertwined

Protecting mothers and unborn babies is important, but Biden does not support the most fundamental of all protections: a right to life. Quite the opposite, he supports the so-called “right” to abort an unborn baby. And, to use Biden’s words, “heartbreakingly” black mothers and unborn babies are hit the hardest by abortions.

Since 1973 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Roe v. Wade, approximately 20 million unborn black babies have been aborted in America.

Though abortions hurt families of every race and culture, statistics indicate that abortions disproportionately hurt the African American community. Census data indicates that African Americans make up about 13 percent of the U.S. population, but they have nearly 40 percent of all abortions. And New York City health statistics indicate that more African American babies are aborted in the city than are born each year.

Does Biden realize the idiocy of his statement? How can you be for aborting babies and saving them at the same time?

He promised to end the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer-funded abortions in Medicaid. He also said one of his first acts as president would be to restore funding to Planned Parenthood, the largest abortion chain in America.

In March, he even suggested using taxpayer funds for abortions as a solution to overpopulation in poor countries. Then, in April, he went so far as to call the killing of unborn babies an “essential medical service” during the coronavirus pandemic.

I can recall the slippery slope argument of pro-lifers when Roe v. Wade became the law of the land. They warned that eventually, abortion would be used to control populations, as they were already doing in China. The pro-life lobby was ridiculed for saying such nonsense. Through the years, everything that the pro-life lobby has warned about — including killing babies up to the moment they’re born — was dismissed as the ranting of lunatics.

Biden is looking to shamelessly pander to those who think abortion is a religion. He hit the trifecta by also pandering to blacks and greens. It’s like he has a checklist of groups that he has to reassure with every public utterance.

And yes, that’s brainless.


America's new enemy:  The "conservative" Supreme court

Being a justice of the Supreme Court is very much an elite position.  Unfortunately, persons obtaining a position there soon begin to exhibit elite attitudes.  They have recently handed down a stream of destructive Leftist opinions

The DACA decision

In a remarkable moment on the floor of the U.S Senate, Ted Cruz (R-Texas) used his ten minutes to take a flamethrower to the Supreme Court decision over Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Calling Roberts’ repeated siding with the liberals on the court a charade, he said, “Everyone knows the game they’re playing. They’re hoping that, come November, there’s a different result in the election, that a new administration comes in and decides that amnesty is a good thing.”

His fiery speech began:

Mr. President, today’s U.S. Supreme Court Ruling, in the Department of Homeland Security versus the University of California Regents, is disgraceful. Judging is not a game. It’s not supposed to be a game. But, sadly, in recent years, more and more, Chief Justice Roberts has been playing games with the court to achieve the policy outcomes he desires. This case concerned President Obama’s executive amnesty. Amnesty that President Obama decreed, directly contrary to federal law. He did so with no legal authority. He did so in open defiance of federal statutes.

He then tore apart the decision itself:

President Obama’s executive amnesty was illegal the day it was issued, and not one single justice of the nin Supreme Court justices disputed that. Not a one. Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority opinion, joined by the four liberal justices on the court. This is becoming a pattern. The majority believes that Obama’s executive amnesty is illegal, and then, bizarrely, holds that the Trump administration can’t stop implementing a policy that is illegal.

Cruz points out the legal knots into which Roberts tied himself:

The majority holds that, of course, an administration can stop an illegal policy. “All parties agree”—that’s a quote—all parties agree that “DHS may rescind DACA.” …. The majority then says, “You know what? The agency’s explanation wasn’t detailed enough.”

He also reflects on the pattern of legal mumbo-jumbo Roberts has engaged in to side with the liberals on the court:

That is exactly the sleight of hand that Chief Justice Roberts did, almost exactly a year ago today. In another case where the Chief Justice joined with the four liberals and struck down another one of the Trump administration’s policies. The Commerce Department, which is charged with conducting a census every ten years, wanted to ask a commonsense question: “Are you a citizen of the United States?” That’s a question that has been asked in nearly every census since 1820.

Calling the Democratic Party and the press the party of illegal immigration, Cruz proceeded to destroy that argument too:

What did John Roberts do? He wrote an opinion that says, “Yes, of course the Commerce Department has the authority to ask in the census if you’re a citizen.” Of course they have! …. But, no, John Roberts, a little twist of hand. You know what? The Commerce Department didn’t explain their reasoning clearly enough.

Cruz is clearly onto the game Roberts has played, piercing the veil to reveal him as a pro-amnesty NeverTrumper. Roberts gave us Obamacare, and now he’s given us amnesty too. This allows the Democrats to run out the clock until November, hoping that Uncle Joe can take the White House and save them from the Bad Orange Man, implement permanent amnesty, and turn the United States into the illegal immigration utopia they all envision.


Redefining Sex

In what dissenting Justice Samuel Alito called one of the most “brazen abuse[s]” of the Supreme Court’s authority, a six-member majority of the court led by Justice Neil Gorsuch has rewritten Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation and gender identity in the definition of “sex.”

Why bother trying to pass the proposed Equality Act when you can get the justices to make law for you?

Title VII prohibits an employer from failing or refusing “to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual … because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

Gorsuch—joined by the four liberal justices, along with Chief Justice John Roberts—decided that employment decisions that take any account of an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity necessarily entail discrimination based on sex in violation of Title VII.

In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, which was combined with two other cases, Gorsuch wrote that the straightforward application of the terms in Title VII, according to their ordinary public meaning at the time of its enactment, means that an employer violates the law when it intentionally fires an individual based in part on sex.

In a logical and legal leap, Gorsuch then argued that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, since those concepts are related to sex.

Thus, Gorsuch reasoned, it means the employer is treating individuals differently because of their sex. An employer cannot escape liability by showing that it treats men and women comparably as groups. The employer has violated the law even if it subjects all male and female homosexual and transgender employees to the same treatment.

Gorsuch dismissed as irrelevant the historical fact that none of the legislators who passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964 would have ever expected or contemplated that Title VII’s ban on employment discrimination on the basis of sex would apply to a man hired by a funeral home who then told his new employer, the R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home, that he planned to “live and work full-time as a woman.”

That was one of the three cases before the court. That provision of the 1964 law was intended to stop the blatant employment discrimination rampant against women at that time.

The majority opinion by Gorsuch upending more than five decades of prior precedents was only 33 pages long. Alito, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, filed a blistering dissent in which he said that “there is only one word for what the Court has done today: legislation.” He pointed out that the majority’s claim that it is “merely enforcing the terms of the statute” is “preposterous.”

As Alito undisputedly says, “if every single American had been surveyed in 1964, it would have been hard to find any who thought that discrimination because of sex meant discrimination because of sexual orientation—not to mention gender identity, a concept that was essentially unknown at the time.”

The majority tries to “pass off its decision” as just an application of the term “sex” in Title VII, claiming it is applying the textualism championed by the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But according to Alito, that claim and the majority’s opinion “is like a pirate ship.” He added:

It sails under a textualist flag, but what it actually represents is a theory of statutory interpretation that Justice Scalia excoriated—the theory that courts should ‘update’ old statutes so that they better reflect the current values of society.

Alito said that the majority’s “arrogance” is “breathtaking,” since “there is not a shred of evidence that any Member of Congress interpreted the statutory text that way when Title VII was enacted.”

Neither “sexual orientation,” nor “gender identity” appear on the list of five specified grounds for discrimination in Title VII, and the majority’s “argument is not only arrogant, it is wrong,” he wrote.  The terms “sex,” “sexual orientation,” and “gender identity” are “different concepts,” and neither of the two latter terms are “tied to either of the biological sexes.”

Alito is, of course, entirely correct, as one of us pointed out in a recent article in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

And, of course, Congress knew that “sex” didn’t include “sexual orientation” and “gender identity.” Alito recalled that there have been numerous bills introduced in Congress over the past 45 years to amend the law and add those terms, but they all failed.

The majority is “usurping the constitutional authority of the other branches” of government and has taken the latest congressional bill on this topic and “issued it under the guise of statutory interpretation.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh also filed a dissenting opinion, in which he wrote that “this case boils down to one fundamental question:  Who decides?”

The issue is whether Title VII “should be expanded to prohibit discrimination because of sexual orientation,” he wrote, adding that responsibility “belongs to Congress and the President in the legislative process, not to this Court.”

Kavanaugh lauded the “extraordinary vision, tenacity, and grit” of the gay and lesbian community for working “hard for many decades to achieve equal treatment in fact and in law.”  But, he added, under separation of powers, “it was Congress’s role, not this Court’s, to amend Title VII.”

Alito made it clear that the “updating desire to which the Court succumbs no doubt rises from humane and generous impulses.” But the “authority of this Court is limited to saying what the law is.”

In their dissents, Alito, Thomas, and Kavanaugh got it right, and the majority got it wrong. The word “sex”— still today as when Congress passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964—refers to our biological reality as male or female. It doesn’t refer to our sexual orientations or malleable gender identities as some see it.

If those terms were contained within Title VII, there would have been no need for Congress to repeatedly try to amend the law to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes.

In an act of judicial activism, a majority of the Supreme Court has simply legislated from the bench and amended the statute itself. 

Congress has not legislated such an outcome, and it was wrong for the court to usurp lawmakers’ authority by imposing such an extreme policy on our nation without the consent of the governed.


Typical shallow journalism: race, racism and riots

Below is the conclusion of a "Time" magazine article that purports to survey and explain America's current racial problems.  Race relations in some parts of America have degenerated into something like civil war so the problem is an acute one and is much in need of explanation.

The article below does not cut it, however.  It goes down the tired old route of saying how awful slavery was and asserts a link between slavery and the current troubles.  Slavery was indeed oppressive but the chain of events linking it to present-day riots is not given.  A link is just asserted with no reasoning or evidence given.

The actual cause is only incidentally linked to slavery.  Slavery certainly explains how America got an African population but it does not explain why that population is such a problem. 

The cause is asserted by the Left to be the fault of white society.  Whites are said to be unreasonably antagonistic to blacks and so "keep blacks down" by various forms of racial discrimination.  That is an explanation very destructive to racial harmony but it suits the Left in their quest to destroy American society as we know it.  So no evidence or argument will deflect them from that explanation.

And it is true that mainstream American society has always discriminated against outsiders:  The Irish, the Jews, the Chinese, the Japanese etc. 

But that shows that any effect of discrimination fades away  within a generation or two.  Being of Irish, Jewish, Chinese or Japanese origin is no handicap of any sort today.  Even recent arrivals from poor countries often do very well. Even people with poor or little English somehow soon have jobs and rapidly succeed economically. 

Most Indians in the USA today were not born there but they are in fact the highest-earning ethnic goup in America today.  They undoubtedly face some discrimination but it does not hold them back significantly.  They are roughly as brown as American "blacks" but neither their skin colour, their very different religions or their quaint English hold them back for long.

So "discrimination" is an explanation for black failure that only a reality-avoidant Leftist could love.  So what is the real explanation?  It has to be something in blacks themselves.

But the real explanation runs head on into Lefist mythology and so is fiercely resisted.  But it is not at all mysterious and is very well attested.  The difference is not my opinion or anyone else's opinion.  It is a fact that has been repeatedly demonstrated  for around 100 years and is supported by the American Psychological Association:  Blacks on average have very  low IQs. 

That many of them function at all shows that the power of routine and education can substitute to a degree for IQ.  Some people behave adaptively not because they have figured out how to behave adaptively but because almost from birth they have had before them examples of how to behave.  It is imitation learning.

There is of course a small minority of high IQ blacks but that leaves a large population of blacks who have much more difficulty coping with challenges than whites do.  Blacks cannot of course help it if they are one of the many low IQ blacks so they need more help than most whites do.  Low IQ is just as much a handicap as other more visible form of disability and is as deserving of help.

But such help is not given to struggling blacks for a very good reason: The need for it is denied.  As long as the idiotic "all men are equal" gospel is believed, the need for special treatment of blacks will not be acknowledged.  It will in fact be fiercely denied.

The result will be that blacks can clearly see their disadvantaged position in white society and will get angry about it.  After all the Leftist talk blaming their disadvantage on "whitey", they will not blame themselves for their various failures; they will blame it on others.  And the obvious "others" are whites, who do clearly have their hands on all the levers of power in society. 

So most blacks will have a racial explanation for their disadvantage.  Leftist propaganda tends powerfully to make blacks racist against whites.  It is a useful mask for Leftists to condemn racism but they are the principal authors of it.  They always have been.  Hitler was an old-fashioned socialist and both Marx and Engels were outspoken racists.  Amusingly, they both despised Russians, among others.

So the Left have brought about the near civil war we now see in parts of America so it is not surprise that they mostly seem to welcome it.  Leftist State governments have certainly sat on their hands while it happens

During Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign, many Americans were outraged when news broke that the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Obama’s pastor, had uttered the words “God damn America” for “killing innocent people,” “treating our citizens as less than human” and failing “the vast majority of her citizens of African descent.” Obama condemned the comments and reminded the public that, actually, the U.S. had made great progress, even while acknowledging far more was needed.

Today, The conversation is different, and one wonders whether such remarks, as salient now as they were then, would still be met with disavowal. The U.S. cannot deny what is plainly before its eyes. Shocking videos depict George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery murdered in broad daylight. Tens of thousands of black lives have been taken by the coronavirus. And, in the midst of all this, the President fans the flames of racial tensions with dog whistles so unsubtle that even the most skeptical can hear them.

In urban centers, black and white protesters have come forward together in defiance, joined by allies like GOP Senator Mitt Romney and longtime Koch Industries executive Mark Holden. In predominantly white cities across the country, white Americans have shown up by the thousands in solidarity. Even small towns in rural parts of the country have joined in the protests.

“Justice for George would be that the police officers who tortured him to death be held fully accountable to the full extent of the law,” Crump told Roye on June 7, at a Houston hotel, while waiting for Floyd’s extended family to arrive“Justice for George would be that the police officers who tortured him to death be held fully accountable to the full extent of the law,” Crump told Roye on June 7, at a Houston hotel, while waiting for Floyd’s extended family to arrive
A lot would need to change to address such deeply rooted bias. The first test may come this year as momentum grows in city halls, statehouses and Washington, D.C., for reforms to root out police brutality, perhaps the most flagrant and visible injustice. “Justice for George is something that many people who were killed through brutality of the police never get,” says Benjamin Crump, a civil rights lawyer representing Floyd’s family. “And that is a transformative justice, a systematic reform across the board.”

Whatever the progress transpires in the coming months, the U.S. still has a long way to go. Last year, I happened to find myself in both Berlin and Charleston, S.C. In Berlin, where Adolf Hitler planned and oversaw the extermination of millions of Jews, it felt as though I couldn’t walk a few blocks without a memorial atoning for that sin. In Charleston, I fell asleep on a picturesque beach, only to learn later that the site was a key node in the Atlantic slave trade, where traders imported 40% of enslaved Africans who came to North America. I spent the rest of the day feeling sick to my stomach, disgusted at the possibility that I had enjoyed a leisurely nap where, perhaps, one of my ancestors endured one of the most gruesome of human institutions.

Awakening can be painful. But in America, a reckoning is overdue.

More HERE 

University to admit students in 2021 even if they don't get an ATAR score this year due to coronavirus disruptions

Almost any scholastic aptitude test is a better filter for tertiary success than final exam results anyway.  Just an IQ test would exclude most of those unlikely to succeed.  Even parental income or parental attainments would make a good rough filter

A whole lot of factors can influence final High school marks so they have never been an efficient entrance criterion.  They are used because they are seen as "fair".  Good riddance to them as long as some other filter is used to keep out those unlikely to cope at university.

I suspect that they will in fact accept anyone who applies and can pay.  That would be most unfair to the less able

Another Australian university has announced it will accept year 12 students impacted by the coronavirus lockdown even if they don't obtain an ATAR score.

Swinburne University will offer an ATAR-free pathway to its most popular courses for all students that finish high school in 2020.

Students will be able to enrol in bachelor degrees such as business, science, design, arts, engineering and media, with just a recommendation letter from their high school confirming they meet the minimum English requirements.

In normal circumstances there are a limited number of places for each university course and students' ATAR scores determine whether they will secure an offer of enrolment in their chosen field of study.

Pro Vice Chancellor Professor Chris Pilgrim said although the transition from high school to university is always challenging, year 12 students have 'faced a year like no other' and deserve a shot at university even without an ATAR.

'We know that students in 2020 continue to rise to the occasion and achieve exceptional results, and that completion of VCE remains of utmost importance, Professor Pilgrim said.

'But we also understand it has been a unique year of study for many and we want to support students to continue their studies into 2021.'

Universities across Australia are experiencing a massive decline in profitability as the number of international students plummets due to COVID-19 border closures.

Foreign students make up about one third of Swinburne's total revenue and their absence this year means the university expects to see a deficit of $51million.

In 2021 and 2022, they've flagged losses totalling $101million.

Overall, the Australian university sector is bracing for a $16billion retraction over the next four years.

'We guaranteed them over $18 billion worth of funding as part of our COVID-19 package, and we'll continue to talk with the sector about increases in demand and how we best can meet those,' education minister Dan Tehan told ABC Radio National.

'We'll continue to work with the sector to make sure that this demand can be met ... Understanding, of course, that there are, huge, huge demands on the Budget at the moment, and we've got to make sure that everything we do is done in a very sustainable way.'

'We have to remember, that the international education sector provides 250,000 jobs to this nation, and we want those jobs back as we grow our economy, as we come out of the coronavirus pandemic,' Mr Tehan said.

Swinburne will begin offering university places for 2021 as early as August.


Coco Pops racism row: Former British MP says breakfast cereal is racist

How can the Coco Pops monkey be racist? Only if one believes that monkeys represent black people, which many Lefties seem to believe. So clearly lefties are the racists and they are projecting their racism onto the rest of us.

I am pretty sure that the motivation for the monkey was deliberate.  Advertisers like to populate their time on the screen with "aspirational" images.  Images of a black person would be hopeless for that.  With very rare exceptions, nobody wants to be black or sees blackness as desirable.  The monkey was an image that was at least was pleasant

Cereal giant Kellogg’s has been accused of racism by a former MP in Britain who has questioned why its popular breakfast treat Coco Pops is promoted with a monkey, while its white coloured stablemate Rice Krispies has three fair-skinned characters splashed on its box.

The former Labour politician Fiona Onasanya, who was jailed last year after she lied to police about a speeding ticket, wrote to the Kellogg’s demanding answers and shared her claims on social media.

She says there is no difference between the two cereal products other than flavour and colour.

“As you are yet to reply to my email,” the disgraced former MP wrote in a tweet directed at the brand.

“Coco Pops and Rice Krispies have the same composition (except for the fact CPs are brown and chocolate flavoured).

“So I was wondering why Rice Krispies have three white boys representing the brand and Coco Pops have a monkey?”

In response to the claims Kellogg’s said it stands in support of the black community and conceded it was important discussions are raised to improve racial equality.

“The monkey mascot that appears on both white and milk chocolate Coco Pops, was created in the 1980s to highlight the playful personality of the brand,” the company said, according to Daily Mail UK.

“As part of our ambition to bring fun to the breakfast table, we have a range of characters that we show on our cereal boxes, including tigers, giraffes, crocodiles, elves and a narwhal.

“We do not tolerate discrimination and believe that people of all races, genders, backgrounds, sexual orientation, religions, capabilities and beliefs should be treated with the utmost dignity and respect.”

A number of responses to the tweet addressed the accusation.

“The monkey is called Coco,” one said. “Remove the monkey and they are just called pops.”

And another: “The cacao tree from which cocoa beans and hence cocoa powder is derived is native to the Amazon Basin where there are monkeys.”

The claims come on the back of a global uprising which has reignited the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, who was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.

A number of products have been embroiled in similar claims this week, including Coon Cheese and Margaret River’s Colonial Brewing.


'Times have changed': Push for Australia's iconic Coon cheese to be renamed because of its use as a racial slur

This is an old controversy.  Back in 1999 Aboriginal activist Stephen Hagan lodged a complaint with the Human Rights Commission about the name "Coon" on a popular brand of cheese. It's a brand I sometimes buy myself.

Hagan got nowhere with the Commission and I believe he went on to put the case before a UN human rights agency also with no useful outcome.

Racial sensitivities have been hugely amplified recently however so the outcome may differ this time.  Owners of the brand have been very resistant to abandoning it, however so the outcome is far from certain.  The brand has a good reputation so is worth money to them

The brand no longer "honours" anyone.  It is just an identifier for a popular brand of cheese

Australian comedian Josh Thomas is leading calls for the country's Coon cheese to be renamed because of its historical use as a racist slur.

The Please Like Me star shared a photo of the cheese product - found in supermarkets across Australia - alongside the caption: 'Are we still chill with this?'

The cheese made by the Warrnambool Cheese and Dairy Company in Victoria is named after its American creator Edward William Coon, who patented the unique ripening process behind the brand.

But Thomas argued it was out of touch to still honour the cheese's creator more than 85 years after his death while disrespecting those for whom the term is still an ethnic slur.

'It's amazing the respect people have for the name of a man who invented a processing technique of cheese - who died in 1934. And the disrespect they have for black people,' he wrote on Twitter.

The word is pejorative when used as a reference to those with dark-coloured skin - including those of African-American or Aboriginal descent.

Coon's Canadian owner Saputo bought the Warrnambool Cheese and Dairy Company in 2017 and is also behind the popular Mersey Valley and Sun Gold brands. 

Production of the brand in Australia started in 1935 and continued through to 1942 before the war disrupted production, the company's website says.

Manufacturing restarted in 1948 at Allansford in western Victoria and was made at the time in a red waxed cloth known as 'Red Coon'.


For protesters not all black lives matter

For both Australia and the USA, black-on-black violence is almost totally ignored, which indicates that the riots and demonstrations are about something other than black deaths.  For Leftist whites, it is just another expression of the hatred they have towards the whole society.  The riots are just Leftist anger and hostility unleashed

And for blacks the riots express resentment of their low status and general disadvantage  in society.  The Left always tell them that "whitey" is to blame for their disadvantage so it is no  mystery that they resent white society as a whole and welcome an excuse to smash what bits of it that they can

Not all black lives matter equally to Australian protesters. A life lost in custody, even to natural causes, is apparently a more worthy cause than the thousands of lives lost to black-on-black violence in Aboriginal communities.

It’s an issue blighted by a culture of forgetting. Those of us who were senior editors when the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody report was handed down in 1991 have always known its flaw: the commission found death rates of indigenous people in custody were no higher than for white people.

Paul Kelly wrote here last Wednesday that the 2017-18 report of the Institute of Criminology showed that year “the death rate of indigenous prisoners was 0.14 per 100 prisoners, compared with 0.18 per 100 for non-­indigenous prisoners.” Add to that the fact very few of these deaths are at the hands of police or prison guards — most are by natural causes or suicide.

Kelly said the different ways the ABC and Sky News treated the Black Lives Matter marches in Australia on the weekend of June 6 highlighted a “totally split culture” in media terms. “The ABC narrative was of the injustice of Aboriginal deaths in custody”, while the Sky News “narrative was the irresponsibility of mass protests … given the health and political advice” in the middle of a pandemic. Especially so given that COVID-19 has not hit the indigenous community.

That dual media narrative highlights another problem, an issue that has plagued indigenous affairs for four decades — the left’s preference for talking about race symbolism rather than dealing with actual murder rates, domestic violence, property crime, addiction and a lack of economic opportunity.

Long-term readers of this paper will know it has been reporting the real situation on the ground in ­Aboriginal Australia for decades. Reporters such as Rosemary Neill, Paul Toohey, Tony Koch and Nicolas Rothwell have won Walkley Awards for gritty reporting on the rape of women and children by indigenous men, petrol sniffing, the killing on Palm Island of Cameron Doomadgee, foetal alcohol babies and murder rates many times higher than in the wider society.

Three Aboriginal thinkers were prepared to tell the truth last week. The always thoughtful Anthony Dillon, of the Australian Catholic University, in a letter here on Thursday wrote: “The best way of reducing Aboriginal deaths in custody is to focus on reducing the rates of Aboriginal deaths, full stop.”

Alice Springs councillor Jacinta Price, always brutally honest, wrote that 70 per cent of indigenous people in jail were there for crimes of violence against their loved ones.

Warren Mundine, in The Australian Financial Review last Tuesday, said governments could not fix Aboriginal disadvantage linked to over-imprisonment rates. Economic opportunity created by business investment was the only way forward.

Here is the real problem for the media. Many leftist journalists will not report the issue as it is. They will not look at the reality of the black lives they say matter. With a couple of notable exceptions — Russell Skelton at The Age a decade ago and Suzanne Smith at the ABC ahead of the NT Intervention in 2007 — the national broadcaster and the Fairfax papers (now owned by Nine) have not wanted to look at the issue beyond allegations of systemic racism.

In my 2016 book Making Headlines, I discuss the episode that first brought home to me how wilfully blind many journalists are to the facts of indigenous disadvantage. I was a young editor, and Paul Kelly was editor-in-chief.

I was at the Melbourne Walkley Awards in 1994 when this paper’s Rosemary Neill won best feature for a piece about black women and children victimised by black husbands and fathers. After the presentation, a group of Fairfax editors rounded on our table to criticise the decision to publish Rosemary’s piece. They thought the issue should be off limits and the piece “profoundly racist”.

Three decades later, not much has improved in the indigenous world, and the media is worse. Young reporters educated in the ways of identity politics are left to campaign on issues they have not yet reported honestly or begun to understand. Once, senior editors would have tested their work, but not many such positions remain as the business model for journalism continues to disintegrate.

None of this is to deny racism exists. The Colt With No Regrets, a new book by an old regional Australian newspaper editor, Elliot Hannay, includes fascinating discussions of his relationship with Eddie Mabo and being lobbied at the Townsville Bulletin by the local Ku Klux Klan. Young journalists should read it.

I worked for Elliot in the late 1970s when he ran a series of stories about local soldiers who had started throwing Molotov cocktails on to Ross River under the CBD bridge where Palm Islanders often slept on weekend visits to Townsville. Elliot faced down a backlash from local business leaders wanting the rough sleepers out of town.

Such racism should be exposed. But so should facts about black-on-black violence. Jacinta Price wrote in The Daily Telegraph on June 9: “In 2018 in the NT alone, 85 per cent (4355) of Aboriginal victims of crime knew the ­offender. Half were victimised by partners. Aboriginal women made up 88 per cent (2075) of those victims.”

Aboriginal children were 5.9 per cent of the population but five times more likely to be hospitalised after an assault than non-indigenous children. “Between 2007 and 2011, 26 per cent of all deaths among Aboriginal children … were … (from) abuse injury,” she wrote. “The leading cause of child death between 2014 and 2017 … was suicide. This is a quarter of all child suicides in Australia (85 of 357).

“Realising that there are fun­damental connections between child neglect, child sexual abuse, Aboriginal victims of crime and the high rates of incarceration will allow us to address these critical ­issues effectively.”

But most left-wing media don’t want to know.

The Australian Institute of Criminology, in a paper by Jenny Mouzos, says that from 1989 until 2000, 15.1 per cent of all homicide victims nationally were Aboriginal, as were 15.7 per cent of all homicide offenders — and yet ­Aboriginal people were less than 3 per cent of the population.

Campaigners against law enforcement agencies who say “defund police”, even neo-Marxist ANTIFA protesters, should look at a Chicago Sun Times report published on June 8: “18 murders in 24 hours: inside the most violent day in Chicago in 60 years.”

From 7pm on Friday, May 29, to Sunday, May 31, 25 people were killed in the city and another 85 wounded by gunfire, all in the name of protesting against the police killing of George Floyd. The victims and perpetrators were ­almost all African-American.

Australian indigenous communities need to be able to trust police will protect them. Of course Aboriginal actor Nakkiah Lui was right on Q+A when she said “Just don’t kill us”. But she and the wider ABC, especially hosts such as Q+A’s Hamish McDonald, need to report why Aboriginal Australians need police more than any other group — to protect them from black offenders.

Last word to Mundine in The Daily Telegraph last Friday: “We won’t see change unless indigenous kids go to school, indigenous people are working in real jobs and there are real economies in indigenous communities.”


Trachoma among Aborigines

This is another desperate effort to blame whites for black failings.  He rightly notes the vast amount Australian governments spend on trying to help Aborigines with little result -- but goes on to say that yet more should be done.

He uses the example of trachoma incidence as an example of something that should have been fixed by now.  But he glides over the main reason why trachoma is so prevalent among Aborigines:  Dirty faces, particularly the dirty faces of children.

Aborigines do not have good facial hygeine.  I wash my face at least twice a day and I doubt that many whites do less.  But it is not an Aboriginal custom.

There are many contributing causes of trachoma among Aborigines but just keeping the kids' faces clean would break the chain of transmission. I had Aborigines in my classes in primary school and I remember those dirty faces well

So what is the government supposed to do? Are they supposed to go around washing black faces?  It's not going to happen.  And it will not happen because of practicality, not racism

A common remark in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests around Australia shows many of us are still missing the point about race and inequality.

Australia spends billions of dollars on Indigenous affairs every year and yet the challenges facing communities don’t seem to ever get any better.

And so, the failing must naturally lie with Indigenous people, who are either unwilling or incapable of helping themselves.

That’s an argument I’ve seen and heard countless times in recent weeks, since Black Lives Matter protests erupted across Australia, seeing tens of thousands of people take to the streets.

The truth is that an extreme inequality exists in Australia that seems to disproportionately affect Indigenous people.

To illustrate this, I want to tell you about a horrific eye disease that was all but eradicated in developed and wealthy nations a century ago.

Trachoma causes an infection in the eye that sees the eyelid swell and scar, causing the eyelashes to turn inward and repeatedly scratch the eyeball.

It makes blinking excruciating. The sensation is akin to have a handful of small rocks stuck in your eye, with no relief possible.

Those with Trachoma slowly and painfully go blind. It’s one of the leading causes of preventible blindness.

I saw the horrific impacts of Trachoma while on a trip to Ethiopia with the charity The Fred Hollows Foundation a few years ago.

There, some 160 million people have the condition. It’s preventable and treatable, and if caught early enough, blindness can be avoided, and that’s what Fred Hollows is doing on the ground.

You know the other major hotspot for Trachoma? Remote and regional Indigenous communities in Australia.

We are the only developed country in the world where Trachoma still exists at endemic levels.

Surveillance in 131 remote and regional Indigenous communities conducted in 2016 found that 30 per cent of the population was experiencing Trachoma.

That rate puts us on par with Afghanistan. And yet, we haven’t seen it in the mainstream population for almost 100 years. Why does no one care?

Why is it up to charities to try to address this preventable but seemingly ignored problem and not our health system, which we’re told is one of the best in the world?

Indigenous communities are also plagued with higher instances of preventable disease, higher risk of acute illness, lower life expectancy and higher childhood mortality.

Access to health services, poor provision of care and systemic failure at the community intervention level contribute to these unnecessary problems.

With a disease like Trachoma, poor water and sanitation are typically to blame.

While we might spend billions on Indigenous affairs, it’s clear this money is being poorly administered or wasted.

But the public health experts I’ve spoken to tell me that it’s rarely the fault of the communities themselves.

Bureaucrats make spending decisions without the consultation of communities, who typically know what the challenges are and how they should be addressed.

Put simply, it seems those in government departments don’t trust Indigenous Australians to make their own decisions and do it for them. The results have been dismal, I think we can all agree.

When a wealthy nation leaves people behind on multiple fronts, and those people are all black, then you have to ask if race plays a role in our apathy.


Lord Baden-Powell statue to be torn down over Hitler ties

A statue of Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting movement, is being removed by a local council because it was threatened by people who criticised his “homophobia, racism and enthusiastic support of Hitler”.

The statue was installed in 2008 and faces Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, where the decorated military leader held an experimental camp in 1907 that led to the formation of the Scouting movement the following year.

Topple the Racists, a website published by the Stop Trump Coalition in support of the Black Lives Matter protests, lists the Baden-Powell monument among more than 70 statues across Britain, which they claim pay tribute to slave traders and “racists”. The website says the Scouts founder, who was born in 1857, “committed atrocities against the Zulus"

Baden-Powell was an officer in the British army during the successful British war against the Zulus but he was no racist. He romanticised the Zulus' discipline, and courage, and adapted many of their cultural institutions to scouting. "The Scouts' War Dance" was his adaptation of a Zulu chant

His "links" with Hitler arose because there were some similarities between the Scout movement and the Hitler youth movement. Baden-Powell was invited to meet Hitler after holding friendly talks about forming closer ties with the Hitler Youth movement.

Something not usually remarked about BP is that he was clearly a closet homosexual.  He spent most of his time with men, did not marry until late in life and it was clearly agony for him to sleep with his wife. He spent most of his married life sleeping away from his wife

So as a homosexual suffering from oppression of his sexuality, he should in fact be something of a hero to the Left


Merriam-Webster dictionary to revise definition of racism after complaints

It is rare for me to agree with a Leftist but I heartily endorse the claim below that the dictionary definition is inadequate. But my grounds for disagreement differ.

The dictionary definitions below are a highpoint of philosophical inadequacy.  They define racism, in terms of itself!  They effectively say racism is racism.  The whole entry should be scrapped.  I would offer only two definitions that comply with current usage:

1). To the hysterical Left any mention of race is racism and any mention of racial differences is doubly so. Such reactions are irrational however so the most expansive definition I would support is "preference for one group over another".

2). Even that usage, however tends to associate too much with racism. It associates probably harmless attitudes with some of the great evils of history. A more historically-grounded definition would be: "Advocating or practicing harm or disadvantage to other people solely on account of their race". Racism of that sort is exceedingly rare today outside Muslim countries.

In a blow to arguments that end with “well, this is the dictionary definition of racism”, the dictionary definition of racism is being revised.

Editors at Merriam-Webster confirmed on Wednesday that they will revise the word’s definition after a campaign by a 22-year-old Drake University graduate, Kennedy Mitchum.

Mitchum wrote to the dictionary asking it to update its definition. She said that people often use the dictionary definition of racism to argue that something is not racist, on the basis that racism requires a personal dislike of someone based on their race to be real.

In an email to Merriam-Webster, Mitchum wrote: “Racism is not only prejudice against a certain race due to the color of a person’s skin, as it states in your dictionary,. It is both prejudice combined with social and institutional power. It is a system of advantage based on skin color.”

The definition, which incorporates the idea that prejudice alone is not racism (rather, racism requires a system of institutional power behind it in order to function) was put forward by the sociologist Patricia Bidol in the 1970s.

The current definition of racism in Merriam-Webster reads:

    1: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

    2a: a doctrine or political program based on the assumption of racism and designed to execute its principles

    b: a political or social system founded on racism

    3: racial prejudice or discrimination

Editors have conceded that the entry has not been rewritten in decades. “This entry has not been revised in decades,” Merriam-Webster editor-at-large, Peter Sokolowski, told the Times, adding that the new definition would be an “improvement of the wording”.

Editors added that although the dictionary aims to reflect the real-world usage of a word, rather than a particular viewpoint, “we have concluded that omitting any mention of the systemic aspects of racism promotes a certain viewpoint in itself … It also does a disservice to readers of all races.”


Must not speak Chinese to a Chinese person (??)

She was greeted in both Mandarin and Cantonese but neither was any good, apparently

I speak some German and some Italian and during my lifetime I have always found that German and Italian people were pleased when I tried to speak their language.  But we now live in more negative times, it seems

Newly eliminated MasterChef star Sarah Tiong accuses an Australian radio station of 'racism' after being greeted by the host in Mandarin Chinese

Newly eliminated MasterChef contestant Sarah Tiong has lashed out at an Australian radio station after they greeted her in Mandarin Chinese.

In a series of posts on Instagram Stories on Wednesday, the 29-year-old said she 'felt uncomfortable and shocked' by the incident.  

'Today, in an Australian radio interview with Triple M Sunraysia, the host greeted me by saying "ni hao ma",' she explained. 

'I do not believe this went to air. However, I felt uncomfortable and shocked. The call was immediately ended. This is racism. What an insensitive, tone deaf thing to say. Please, check yourself and do better.'

A fan then responded to Sarah's post, asking why she thought it was racist, prompting the MasterChef: Back to Win star to explain further. 

'It is racist to assume I identify as Chinese and speak the Chinese language,' she continued, after the fan commented that they thought it was 'respectful'.

'Even if I have referenced such heritage or knowledge in the past, it is privileged and ignorant to assume anything about me based on the colour of my skin. 

'It is rude and privileged to assume that I understand that Asian language, just because I appear of that descent.'

Sarah continued, revealing the unnamed host had then asked her if it was 'lei ho ma' instead. 

'The mere presumption that I speak or want to speak Mandarin or Cantonese with you followed by the flippant dismissal of distinguishing the two different languages is racist,' she added. 

'It is not funny, or clever. It just illustrates how deep rooted racial toxicity is in this country, and anyone with a voice in media should know better,' the 38-year-old added.


Poor Minorities Hurt Most by Violent Protests and Looting

Any business that does re-open in riot-hit neighborhoods will have to make large allowances for monetary loss.  It would make no sense otherwise. And that will mean much higher prices.  Only high prices would incentivize opening up there.

So the rioters will eventually pay for what they stole -- in the form of increased prices for everyday needs.  That will add up to increased poverty for everybody in the neighborhoods concerned.  Higher prices means that your money buys less.  It has just the same effect as being paid less
Following the horrific and unjustified death of George Floyd, a black man, at the hands of white Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, large groups of protesters gathered in cities across the U.S. Soon, however, peaceful protests turned into mayhem, with rioters kicking, punching, and throwing bricks at police and even innocent bystanders; setting homes, businesses, and vehicles on fire; and shattering store windows before rushing in to loot everything from the shelves.

Time after time in these Democrat-run cities and even in the halls of Congress, politicians rushed to literally prostrate themselves before not only the protesters but the antifa and Black Lives Matter thugs who are setting their cities aflame, eager to show solidarity with them.

In these same cities there is a growing call to “defund the police,” redirecting money from police budgets to mental-health programs, public housing, and education. In Minneapolis, decimated by rioters for more than a week, the all-Democrat city council went a step further, promising to “dismantle the police department” altogether, though members didn’t explain who will now protect lives and property.

Sadly, it is the poor minorities politicians claim to care so much about who suffer most.

In Chicago, Democrat Mayor Lori Lightfoot gained notoriety recently by threatening citizens with arrest and jail time for violations of her COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Yet she seems completely incompetent at quelling the rioting, looting, and arson that devastated her city.

These same politicians justify such lawlessness by blaming poverty, poor education, or “systemic racism” — a seemingly odd claim for cities run by Democrats for decades.

Whatever the excuses, it won’t exempt them from the consequences of their failure to control the waves of crime pouring over their neighborhoods and cities, and businesses are taking notice.

Mayor Lightfoot is now pleading with Walmart and other retailers not to abandon her city after their stores were looted, vandalized, and set on fire, with millions of dollars lost to theft and millions more in damage to the buildings. Walmart is silent on whether it will rebuild.

In Louisville, Kroger is one of two grocery stores serving 60,000 residents in the city’s predominantly poor, black West End neighborhood. The store was boarded up in anticipation of protests and looting, yet looters still managed to break into the store and steal carts full of merchandise.

In Minneapolis, the Lake Street Target was almost complete destroyed as looters stole everything in sight, destroyed shelves and displays, and broke open cash registers with hammers.

For years, minority advocates and “social justice” warriors have decried the “food deserts” in poor minority neighborhoods. A food desert is an area where crime, shoplifting, and looting have made it impossible for grocery stores to be profitable.

In Minneapolis, nine of the city’s neighborhoods have “nearly become a food desert” after a Cub Foods, Target, two Aldi stores, and numerous neighborhood markets were damaged during protests. Chicago also has new food deserts due to these “protests.”

These same activists publicly guilt and excoriate businesses and corporations for refusing to open stores in these poor minority neighborhoods but completely ignore why they won’t. Grocery stores operate on an average profit margin of 1-3%, so persistent shoplifting can easily cause the store to lose money, and no business can consistently operate at a loss. And in the aftermath of these riots, it is minority-owned businesses that were hit hardest. With many already struggling to make a profit, and with no cash reserves, they will simply go bankrupt.

Why would any major retailer or small business rebuild in these neighborhoods when politicians are siding with the looters and rioters and against police? Why invest in rebuilding with no assurance this won’t happen again?

And once these stores leave, where do residents go? How do poor minority senior citizens get groceries when they don’t have a car and all of the grocery stores have permanently shuttered? Many are forced to take a bus or walk miles to the nearest store, only able to buy what they can physically carry back. But what about those too frail or too sick to walk or take a bus?

At the end of the day, what have these “protesters” accomplished? Officer Chauvin had already been arrested when much of the rioting and looting occurred. Those engaged in the rioting and looting claimed to be doing so in an effort to bring attention to the injustices perpetrated against poor minorities.

How? By rioting, looting, and destroying homes and businesses in these poor communities? By destroying black-owned businesses that don’t have enough money to rebuild?

William Wright understands. He’s a black resident of Chicago’s notoriously poor and crime-ridden South Side. The store he takes his grandma to each Sunday was looted and destroyed last week, and Wright wants to know what good it did.

“What did we accomplish, aside from take our property value down and embarrass ourselves?”

Good question, William.