Jesus of Nazareth and White Evangelical Fragility

There is an article below by an atheist who is very hostile to evangelical Christianity. The points he makes are actually a fairly common critique of such faith. In essence, he is noting that Christians often don't act in a Christian way. They do not actually follow the teachings of Christ. They are too stern, too strict, too intolerant.

And there is no doubt some truth in that. Committed Christianity can be very demanding. And those demands upset our author. But I too am an atheist and I am not nearly as judgmental about evangelical Christianity as he is. Why?

I think there are two things missing in his story. He has no religious feelings and he is intolerant of human frailty.

He also does not understand the origin of Western Christianity as we have it today. Protestant Christianity arose in Germany through the efforts of Martin Luther and his King, Frederick the Wise of Saxony. There had been many other uprisings against Roman Catholicism in Europe before that, and from Giordano Bruno to John Hus to Savonarola, those rebellions resulted in the death of the rebels and no change to the dominance of the church.

So why did the rebellion of the Saxons led by Martin Luther succeed where others had not? It was because it took place in Germany. Germans were different. They were a warrior race and were, as such, fiercely self-confident and independent. Bowing down to priests was not congenial to them. So when the oppportunity arose, they eventually rejected Catholicism in favour of attitudes which were more congenial to them.

They embraced beliefs that centred around the sort of independent individuals that they personally were. The Germanic spirit of independence emerged in a form of Christianity that suited Northern Germans, a form that put power and responsibility for salvation right back on to the individual, with no intervening priest needed.

Luther was a learned Augustinian priest so he was able to find ample scriptural justification for the new faith. Ultimately, however, Protestantism was as much German as Biblical. Protestantism is a German faith

The Saxons in Germany today. For some history of the Saxons see here

And one might note that the other great Germanic country -- aside from Germany itself -- England -- was not so different. In England, Wycliffe was saying the same sort of things that Luther was saying long before Luther said them. And Wycliffe too had the protective support of the King and his court. Wycliffe was over a century before Luther in fact. Luther wrote his "Ninety-five Theses" in 1517 whereas Wycliffe was officially condemned in 1377 by Pope Gregory XI.

The difference with Wycliffe was that he tried to reform the church rather than replace it. He actually died while saying a mass. So Wycliffe might at first glance be seen as another failed rebel. He was not. What he did was set alight a fire in the minds of Englishmen that eventually consumed the church even more comprehensively than Lutheranism did.

He had awakened the old rebellious spirit of the Saxons and that spirit was the principal support for the actions of King Henry VIII. When Henry dispossessed the priests and rejected the Papacy, the people loved him for it. They supported their King, not their priests. Wycliffe had lit a slow-burning fuse that eventually gave rise to an explosion. And that fuse kept burning for so long because it was founded on a Saxon independence of mind among the people. Wycliffe died in 1384, Henry became king in 1509.

I have in a much abbreviated way raised above a large number of issues about Germans and the Germanic people, and I understand that some of my readers may have energetic criticisms of what I have said. So it may be of interest that I cover those issues elsewhere at much greater length.

So my point in all this so far is that looking to the Bible to understand Protestant Christianity is to miss half the story. To an extent what people of German and English ancestry do today reflects German values, not the attitudes of Jesus of Nazareth. If Protestants are demanding and unforgiving of others, they are so because of the Germanic faith that their ancestors devised and which still sounds right to them, the descendants. Their ancestry lives on in them.

And at that point I think I might add a personal note. In my mid-teens, I was an active member of probably the most evangelical Protestant faith in the Western world today -- _ Jehovah's witnesses. And they are very strict and Puritanical Christians indeed. So was I oppressed by them? Maybe but, if so, I loved it. My time as an extreme evangelical is still a warm and pleasant memory to me. The religion suited me. It was in my ancestry. I was true to my Germanic ancestors. And the large number of people with similar ancestry in America today is a major explanation for the prominence of evangelical Christianity there.

It is obvious that there is no one-to-one correspondence between Germanic ancestry and evangelical Protestantism. After all, Germany is still half Catholic to this day. But, as any German will tell you, Germany is not monolithic. As a very rough generalization,the South is Catholic and the North is Protestant. Be that as it may, however, there are many influences bearing on faith or the lack of it but my submission is that ancestry is one of the more powerful influences on it

So our author below is in my submission unsympathetic to evangelical Protestantism because he does not have the requisite religious feelings for it. He does not have the old tough and fierce Germanic attitude of mind that would give him an instinctive understanding of it. And for all his praise of tolerance and kindness he is intolerant of the failings of ordinary Christians. As Christians sometimes say, "We are saved, not perfect"

If Jesus of Nazareth was an actual human who actually existed, this is, apparently, what that man looked like, according to an artist and an algorithm and actual, historical, data (as opposed to a story that white people tell each other).

I am an atheist. I do not believe in god, or the devil, or heaven, or hell. But I like and respect this guy. He was a rebel, he was an antiauthoritarian, he dedicated his life to helping the poor, the sick, the indigent, the people who were discarded and rejected by society. He hung out with sex workers and lepers, and gave comfort to the sick and suffering, and he loudly and relentlessly called out the hypocrisy of the church and its leaders. As I understand it, he was like, “Hey, you’re a sinner. That’s a bummer. Let me help you be a better person. No, I don’t expect anything from you for that. I just want to be as loving as I can be.” He was a really cool guy. He was also a revolutionary, a rebel, a profound threat to the people who were in power at the time.

This guy, in this picture, is not the Jesus I was introduced to in parochial school. The Jesus I was introduced to was soooooo white, like super super super white, and he was keeping an eye on you so he could snitch on you to his dad, who was SUPER PISSED AT EVERYTHING YOU DID all the time for some reason. The Jesus I knew was, like, maybe going to be okay with you, as long as you knew what a giant fuck up you were. And he was absolutely not accepting of anyone who didn’t do exactly what the authority figures at school told us we had to do. And Reagan was essentially his avatar sent to Earth. If we didn’t worship Reagan the same way we were supposed to worship white Jesus, we were going to have a REALLY bad time. Did I mention that I was, like, 8 when all of this was drilled into me?

I deeply resent American Christianity. It has brought nothing but pain into my life. I deeply resent and despise evangelical Christians who turned this guy in this picture, who was reportedly a cool, loving, gentle, dude, who was a legit rebel, into someone who hates all the same things they hate, and who LOVES authoritarians the same way they do. I despise the people who do all sorts of cruel, hurtful, hateful things in this guy’s name. And they are EVERYWHERE in America.

I don’t know what it’s like in the rest of the world. What I do know is that, in America, this person has been perverted into a weapon, a cudgel, to be used against the same people the actual Jesus loved and stood up for. It’s disgusting.

And, look, if someone professes to follow the teachings of this dude, whose WHOLE FUCKING THING was “love everyone. Period. No exceptions”, and they don’t, like, do that? They are as bad as the money changers in the temple. I know that this dude loves them, because that’s his whole thing, but I suspect that, if this dude exists, he is disappointed and maybe a little embarrassed by them.

As an afterthought: I can’t stop thinking about how this dude was an immigrant, and poor. I keep thinking that, if he showed up in … let’s say Texas, today, how badly he would be treated by the very same people who use his name and pervert his teachings to exert control over the very same people Jesus spent his entire life looking after.

And, honestly, none of this would even matter if the American Christian extremists would keep their white Jesus out of our laws and government.


Homosexual marriage issue divides Anglican Church in Australia

The people of the church were clear on what their faith demands. They understood the Bible command in 1 Corinthians 7:2: "Let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband".

Or as Jesus himself taught: “And He answered and said, ‘Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? (Matthew 19:4-6)

But it was the bishops who let the Anglican laity and clergy down.

I have long been supicious of the Anglican episcopate. I think a lot of them are just dressup queens, more in love with their vestments and displays than with the Bible.

I doubt that most of the recent archbishops of Canterbury even believed in God. Runcie clearly did not At least the present Cantuar seems to believe in something

The Anglican Church is teetering on the brink of a conservative walkout after church leaders narrowly voted down a bid to define marriage as being exclusively ­between a man and woman.

In a boilover at the first Anglian General Synod to convene since gay marriage became law in 2017, a 24-strong panel of metropolitan archbishops and senior diocesan bishops held out against the majority of clerical and lay delegates to sink the controversial motion. Even then, the two members of the so-called House of Bishops who abstained could have turned the vote that went down to the wire there, failing 12-10, after it sailed through the houses of clergy and laity on Wednesday.

In aggregate, the statement sponsored by the conservative Archbishop of Sydney, Kanishka Raffel, affirming orthodox church doctrine that marriage was of a man and woman and condemning ceremonies to bless gay nuptials, passed 133-86 before the bishops exercised their casting vote.

A bitterly disappointed Archbishop Raffel warned the church in Australia was at the “tipping point” that caused its counterparts in the US, Britain, Canada, Brazil and New Zealand to splinter over same-sex marriage.

Describing the situation as “perilous” for the church, he told The Australian: “What we have seen over the last 20 years or so in mostly Western churches is where people have lost confidence in the goodness and trustworthiness of God’s word as it has been expressed in Anglican liturgy and practice for 500 years … those churches have fractured. We don’t want that. But we know what has happened in many countries and I guess it is perilous in that sense.”

The chair of the Australian arm of the Global Anglican Future Conference, Bishop of Tasmania Richard Condie, said a shadow church had been set up as a “lifeboat” for those who left. Entire congregations and their priests could shift across to Gafcon’s nascent Diocese of the Southern Cross.

“I am not a prophet to say what I think will happen next, except to say what has happened everywhere else this bridge has been crossed,” Bishop Condie said. “People who hold a deep conviction about this matter have left their Anglican Church … because it is of such seriousness.

“I expect there will be people in the Anglican Church of Australia today who will feel that pressure.”

The Anglicans’ day of reckoning on same-sex marriage has been coming since Australians voted for it in a national plebiscite nearly five years ago and was put off twice when the usually triennial General Synod had to be cancelled in 2020 and last year because of Covid-19. Church conservatives backed by the wealth and numbers of the powerful Sydney Diocese fought tooth and nail to have the parliament-like assembly reinforce the orthodox position that only heterosexual couples could be wed by a priest.

But progressives argued that denying a blessing to gay couples who wanted their civil vows recognised was cruel and un-Christian and would leave the church out of step with mainstream culture and inclusive social values.

The infighting is set to continue, as conservatives reacted with anger and shock to the defeat. Some predicted the dioceses of the 12 archbishops and ranking bishops who voted against the same-sex statement would be the first to be hit by defections.

In a personal statement to the General Synod, Archbishop Raffel said the national church’s federated structure and processes were at risk. “We may very well become a church where every clergyman relates to his bishop in the 23 dioceses,” he told delegates.

“And in that case we ought to stop wasting each other’s time by gathering in this way.”

Speaking against the statement ahead of Wednesday’s vote, vicar Shane Hubner of St Peters Anglican Church, Box Hill, in Melbourne’s east, said the notion that marriage was the union of a man and woman was “deeply painful” for him to accept when he had two gay siblings.

He could not reconcile his experience with them and a statement seeking to deny God’s blessing. “It is deeply painful … to have discussions where I have to state that the church I serve does not recognise the blessing of God in their relationships,” he said.

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In Good Leftist style Albo starts with a promise he cannot deliver

He promises contitutional change in favour of Aborigines but constitutional change can only be delivered by way of a referendum. And Australia has a long history of referenda. And what has emerged is that referenda only get up if there is no significant opposition to them. And both the the National Party and the One Nation party are highly likely to oppose this one. I think I can already hear the articulate David Flint on the matter.

And referenda have to deliver in the States as well as nationally. And there are known high levels of anti-Aborigine sentiment in both Queensland and Western Australia.

Australia's next Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has promised to serve Australia after Labor won the election and Scott Morrison stood down as the Liberal leader after conceding defeat.

It follows huge surges to the teal independents and Greens that claimed the scalp of Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.

But Labor's result was far from a landslide with star candidate - former NSW Premier Kristina Keneally - somehow losing the safe seat of Fowler.

Addressing an excitable crowd, Mr Albanese promised to establish a First Nations voice to Parliament, enshrined in the constitution.

After walking onto the stage with his partner Jodie Haydon at the Hurlstone Park RSL to the Australian classic GANGgajang's Sounds Of Then, the Labor leader was greeted by cheers of "Albo, Albo, Albo".

"On behalf of the Australian Labor Party, I commit to the Uluru Statement from the Heart in full," Mr Albanese told the crowd.


A sad lady. She's never had a boyfriend

Melissa Alvarez, writing below,  is a 29 year old Film Industry professional living in Los Angeles.  That's a very critical environment where everyone is aiming for the sky so unless you have a "gimmick", you will not be noticed

And I am fairly sure what her problem is: She is not pretty -- not by the Nordic standards that prevail in Hollywood, anyway. That makes you invisible in Hollywood. But for her never to have had any sort of real relationship is sad. She might be better to move to Texas. Her dark Hispanic looks would be more normal there

Looks do matter and it is rare for a relationship to begin without the pair liking one-another's looks.  At my age (78) I would have to have very unattractive looks.  And so I have found it.  When I became single again a couple of years ago, I spent a lot of time approaching women online and got a heap of rapid  knockbacks.  But eventually along came a lady of around my age who DID like my looks, much to my surprise.  We now have a very warm relationship. I like her looks too. We do of course have other things in common but looks were the starting point

So that's how it is with Ms Alvarez.  Without good looks you have to wait a long time.  I only hope she gets as  lucky as I did.  The only thing that would probably help her would be to get a boob job.  Sorry to be so crass but in the world she lives in that is probably orthodox advice

So, I’m 29 years old. I’ve never had someone ask me to be their girlfriend. I’ve never called someone my boyfriend. I’ve dated a lot of people who wanted a casual relationship. Men I met off of apps who said they were looking for a relationship, but in the same breath said they were just having fun. I’ve been involved with a lot of men who didn’t see me worthy of commitment. I’ve also dated a lot of men who were in transition in their life.

Men who voiced that I was intimidating. Men who wanted to get their life together before they ventured into a committed relationship. I found this odd because they had relationships before. They might have been talking to someone else. I didn’t pick up on the fact that they weren’t actually interested in me seriously or romantically. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized they were feeding me fboy jargon.

I only realized after their IG engagement announcement.

This is not something I’m super stoked on sharing. I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error. I’ve accepted the bare minimum a lot, in hopes that the person I was dating would change their tune about commitment once they saw how great a relationship would be. Or once we were in a relationship for all intents and purposes.

I was willing to accept scraps. I didn’t fully understand how people romantically behaved.

I was always looking for a relationship, but would settle. It felt like everyone was just looking for casual. Now, I don’t believe that. I believe the types of men I was going after were looking for casual. I tend to go after men who possess the same characteristics my mother does. That’s a whole nother article in itself — that relationship is complex.

I feel like I wasted a lot of time being involved with casual dudes. I wasted a lot of time where I could have been happy single.

I feel too old to have a relationship, just to have a relationship.

At my age, the question of marriage comes up a lot. My girlfriends who are in long term relationships are anticipating that they will marry their boyfriends. The marriage question is coming up in their lives. There are a lot of men who are secretly looking for who they’ll settle down with, even though they say they’re not. They’re just not looking to settle down with, you. They keep the casual girl around until their match comes along. So, now I’m worried. I don’t want my first boyfriend to be the man I marry.

If I’m not looking to get married, I don’t want that to make me a target for getting used for sex.

I didn’t get to have a lot of relationships. I didn’t get to have healthy ones, or ones where I was secure in where I stood. I want that, but I’m not looking to get married in a certain time frame. I’m not looking to get married in a few years. I want to date someone for real, I don’t want to be casual, but I’m not ready to settle down either. I fear that that sounds like a catch22.

Nonetheless, that is simply how I feel.

I think a lot of us are in a tough spot. We’ve been on the shifty dating scene too long. We didn’t come out on the other side of apps with multiple ex- boyfriends.

We emerged with lessons.

Are we destined for multiple loves? Millennials think we are

As a person who has been married four times, it is possible that I might have something useful to say about this. The crazy thing is that I actually have some talent for monogamy. In all four of my marriages I did not stray. But before and in between marriages I had a lot of significant, enjoyable but uncommitted relationships. After 40, however I became more interested in committment and subsequently had a long term marriage and a long term relationship

So a possible lesson from that is that monogamy is for later life. And that may be because we don't know what we want until we have sampled a variety of possibilities. That is bad advice for people in early life, however, as it is not conducive to marriage and chidren

But there is no doubt that a variety of experiences is desirable. I would not for all the world have missed the many wonderful ladies I have been involved with. They were all different and all good women.

Something that I am grateful for, however, is that none of my partings have been acrimonious. I still in fact have two "exes" very much in my life as friends -- rather to the disgruntlement of my present girlfriend.

And thereby lies what I think is the second lesson that I think I have to offer: I never lie to women. The most upsetting thing in breakups is not usually the breakup itself but rather the feeling of betrayal that comes from a trusted partner having a secret affair. Being lied to by a trusted partner is about as upsetting as it gets. I have passed up possible affairs rather than do that. It is amazing what a woman will put up with from her man but being lied to is the big exception

So I do regard having many partners over a lifetime as greatly desirable but how you go about arranging that has to be an individual matter. Fortunately, anything goes these days

“Is it possible we could develop an alternative model of loving each other?” This is the question posed by the character Bobbi in Sally Rooney’s debut novel Conversations with Friends, and is a core tenet of the story. Spoken by a 21-year-old, are these words merely youthful idealism?

Conversations with Friends follows university students Bobbi and Frances, whose lives become entangled with those of a wealthy couple in their 30s, Melissa and Nick. Similar to Rooney’s Normal People, it’s set in Dublin but rather than an intense love story, Conversations with Friends depicts monogamy (and the prospect of marriage) as rather bleak. Melissa and Nick sleep in separate beds and have both had affairs. The affair Nick has with Frances, the core plot line, seems to reinvigorate their marriage and they return to monogamous life. The farce is that the success of their “monogamous” relationship hinges precisely on the relationships that exist outside of it.

Now, the novel has been adapted for television as a limited series on Amazon Prime, starring Alison Oliver, Sasha Lane, Jemima Kirke, and Joe Alwyn.

In an interview with The Telegraph London, Kirke spoke of the cognitive shift the role required her to make. “It’s remarkable that someone of that age [Rooney] has so much discipline and focus, but as I was finally reading the book, I was thinking, ‘This is marriage written from the perspective of a 22-year-old.’ I don’t think that’s good or bad. Her writing is beautiful but there were moments when I struggled to make something work.”

Kirke, 38, is no stranger to married life and its potential to fail after splitting with her husband of eight years in 2017. And while she’s not opposed to marriage, she does take a more carefree approach to it. “The perspective of marriage as something super-permanent and spiritual is really antiquated.”

Jennifer Pinkerton spoke to more than 100 Australians aged under 40 for her book Heartland: What is the future of modern love? She says that the decline in people getting married is not a phenomenon that’s just relegated to Millennials and Gen Z. “Globally, marriage has been a downward travelling trend for 50 years now. When we speak about fewer people getting married, it’s not just the younger generations.” (The only exception to this, she notes, is gay marriage).

Certainly, however, this downward trend has accelerated in the past decade. In 2020, 78,989 marriages were registered in Australia, a 30.6 per cent decrease from 2019, and the largest annual drop ever reported by the ABS since 1961. Obviously COVID-19 has played a role but there are other key trends too. Pinkerton suggests that a high divorce rate means young people, seeing their parents getting divorced, have grown disillusioned with marriage. Global instability is another big one. “Climate change and war mean that the future is less certain,” says Georgia Grace, a Sydney-based sex and relationship therapist. She adds that the sex positive movement means that acceptance for different relationship models is changing.

Nina Lee, 32, is part of this declining group. A Sydney-based hairdresser and owner of Extra Silky, she married her long-term partner Aedan Lee during lockdown last year. While the couple isn’t religious and didn’t face familial pressure, marrying was just something they both knew would happen. “It felt like a natural progression”, she says, adding that it was about “solidifying our love.”

Alice, 22 (who is using a pseudonym for privacy reasons) lives in Sydney, and has been in a monogamous relationship for three-and-a-half years. Both are bisexual, and her partner identifies as non-binary. “Love is a choice to be together”, she says. “I can’t imagine anything less romantic than having a legal document officiate my relationship.”

For Millennials, there can be certain dealbreakers in finding love. Harriet, 34 (Sydney), has never wanted children. “Even when I was a little girl, I never played house with dolls – if anything I would play ‘dog mummy and daddy’.” Harriet’s last serious relationship ended after seven years. In her early 20s, the question of kids wasn’t such a concern. Now, it can make dating a little more complicated. “I make sure to talk kids and politics on the first or second date.”

Are rigid constraints of marriage a thing of the past? “Younger generations are now more likely to crave fulfillment, connection and flexibility rather than permanence in relationships,” says Pinkerton.

Polyamory, then, is a natural result of this shift in values. Georgia Grace says that she is increasingly working with people interested in exploring this. While popular perception of polyamory is that it’s just about promiscuity, there’s no singular model for what it can look like. “I work with couples to create a relationship structure that works for them,” she says. “Non-violent communication, consent and having a network of supportive, sex positive friends and family are at its core.”

In Melbourne, Emil, 29, is a counsellor for people with HIV and a sex worker. They document encounters with clients and lovers on Instagram, posting polaroids of men alongside captions about the intimacy of the meeting.

The overwhelming majority of clients are straight men. Their reasons for visiting are myriad – for many, it’s a means to be a version of themselves outside of monogamous, heterosexual love, for others it’s a way of indulging a fetish or sheer curiosity. One quote accompanies an Instagram story picturing a man’s chest: “I hope you understand how hard this is for me. I always have my religion at the back of my head.”

Emil wants to change the way society views hook-up culture. “Most people see such encounters as disposable or transactional, but they can be deeply intimate and emotional too,” they say. “We have these very crystallised ideas of polyamory but really it just means you can love more than one person.”

It now takes more than a decade to save a home deposit

This is fairly theoretical. Most families are small these  days -- with one or two children -- so young people looking to buy should mostly have parents able to assist with the purchase in various ways. 

But in cases where parental help is not available for various reasons, one certainly has to feel sorry for the young people involved.  In their case they would be best to buy a small home unit as soon as they can.  Time will then be on their side and they should later be able to upgrade to something better.

Our present era of high inflation makes it particularly imperative to buy something as soon as you can.  Inflation will give you more and more equity in your dwelling, which actually makes you rather rich. I benefited greatly from inflation in the Gough Whitlam era. Gough effectively wiped out a large part of my debts

The share of household income needed to either pay rent or pay off a mortgage has also risen, the report, which measures affordability to the end of March, said.

It’s a bleak picture for long-term residents of regional Australia, who are facing a steeper jump in the ratio of house prices to incomes and a sharper deterioration in rental affordability than their city counterparts.

Despite early forecasts that the pandemic would send unemployment soaring and push property prices down, effective stimulus and ultra-low interest rates sparked a property boom. The shift to remote working also prompted a spate of sea-changers, putting pressure on regional housing markets.

“There’s been a broad-based deterioration in housing affordability over the past couple of years,” ANZ senior economist Felicity Emmett said.

“The deterioration in affordability has been much more marked in regional areas on average because we’ve seen prices and rents go up there generally at a faster rate.

“With the push to flexible working, capital city workers have been able to move to the regions. Often these are knowledge workers that are relatively highly paid, and so they’re able to afford to pay higher prices for homes or pay more for their rent.”

Nationally, the median dwelling value is 8.5 times the median household income, a record high and up from 6.8 since the pandemic. But across regional Australia, the ratio is 7.9 times, up from 5.9 pre-pandemic.

For someone earning the median capital city income and looking to tree-change into the median regional home, the ratio is only six times, making the move an attractive option for higher-income workers.

The house price boom has outstripped wages growth, so it takes longer to save a deposit on average.

For someone who could save 15 per cent of their income, it would now take a record 11.4 years to save a 20 per cent deposit for the median home. That’s an increase of 2.2 years since March 2020, the fastest gain in this metric ever.

Once a buyer manages to save a deposit, they will need to set aside a higher share of income to pay off their mortgage, with the portion of household income needed to service new mortgage repayments rising to 41.4 per cent, well below record levels but above the decade average of 36.5 per cent, and the third consecutive increase.

Potential buyers trying to save a deposit are also facing higher rents, with the share of income needed to service rent on a new lease lifting to 30.6 per cent, higher than two years earlier.

She said many first-home buyers are getting help with their deposit from parents or grandparents, although hard data remains scant.

“It’s increasingly becoming the case that whether you’re able to buy a home and become a first-home owner increasingly depends on what sort of job your mum and dad had, and I suppose the question is – is that really, as a society, what we want?” she said.

She doubted housing affordability would improve much this year when rates rise, as mortgage repayments will be higher and property prices are not likely to fall enough to move the needle.

Damien Walker, mortgage broker at Atelier Wealth, said some first-home buyers are bridging the deposit gap by turning to lenders that offer loans with a low 15 per cent or 10 per cent deposit and no lenders’ mortgage insurance.

Others are getting help from parents in the form of cash gifts or guarantor loans, and some are using the federal government’s First Home Guarantee scheme.


Australian Federal election: Top high school graduates to be given $12k if they study teaching under Labor plan

This is pretty dumb.  Teaching has long been known as an option of last resort for high school graduates.  Getting the brighter graduates with more options into it is going to be a rarity.  

It seems, though, that you only have to do a teaching degree to get the money.  You are not obliged actually to teach.  That might attract some takers.  A teaching degree is notorious for low standards but it is probably no more futile than an Arts degree.  

Some jobs (mainly in the government) require ANY degree.  That's where Arts graduates go at the momnent.  A teaching degree could end up the same

Anthony Albanese will on Monday announce the $146.5m plan, saying the incentives will lead to a “brighter future” for students and the nation.

“We want to make sure our kids get the best education they can,” the opposition leader said.

“That means we have to make sure they get the best quality teaching.”

If elected, 1000 students a year who obtain an ATAR of 80 or above will get $10,000 to study an education degree.

They would also get a bonus $2000 if they complete their placements at regional public schools.

Graduates who cash in could reap almost $50,000 over the course of their degree, typically four years, to spend how they please.

Only 3.3 per cent of students with an ATAR over 80 choose to study teaching.

The five-year scheme aims to double the number of high achievers becoming teachers to 3600 a year over the next decade.

Labor’s education spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, said lifting teaching standards would help stop the slide in students’ results.

“I want students competing to get into teaching like they do to get into medicine or law,” Ms Plibersek said.

“If we want a better future in Australia, we need a smart, skilled workforce so we can compete for jobs and growth with our neighbours.”

Bob Katter: A Lebanese Aborigine?

Bob is very popular in Far North Queensland -- where I also come from.  All four of my grandparents were  born up that way, as I was. In my memory, the Far North was a very conservative place.  Views that today identify me as very conservative were simply normal during my early life in North Queensland.   It is my "spiritual" home.

It is over 30 years since I spent much time back up there, though I did have a couple of holidays there, with the last such being in 2004.  So I have often wondered if my old home is still as conservative as it was.  My impression is that not much has changed

And Bob's great popularity up that way confirms it.  He too is very consrervative. So I am rather pleased with his views and what he does. As a member of Federal parliament he represents the North well

But I don't like his claim to be Aboriginal. He bases that claim on once having been "adopted" into an Aboriginal tribe.  And under current Australian law, if he "identifies" as an Aborigine, he IS an Aborigine.  I am critical of that rule in general so I deplore Bob using it for political advantage.

In fact he is, if anything, Lebanese, though he fiercely denies it.  He grew up in a clothing shop run by his Lebanese grandfather.  It is a curiosity of North Queensland that there are or were in many towns a men's clothing shop run by Lebanese immigrants -- with surnames like Mellick and Malouf.  I remember them well.

The surname Katter is most common among Americans of German origin.  In German, a "Kater" is a tomcat

Bob Katter has declared his people made a 'big mistake' 250 years ago by letting in whitefellas, and that's why Australia should keep borders shut to asylum seekers ahead of Saturday's federal election as he prepares for his 10th win.

A surprising little-known fact about the controversial Queensland MP is that he identifies as Aboriginal, but Mr Katter recently spoke candidly about the subject during a TV appearance when addressing foreign policy and the plight of refugees.

'I come from Cloncurry, and I'm dark - I'm one of the Curry mob, you know?' Mr Katter said on ABC's Q&A.

'We made a hell of a bad mistake 150 years ago, letting you whitefellas in. I don't know that we should make the same mistake again.'

Why Do Men Date Younger Women?

Jillian Richardson says below that men are  keen to date younger women because older women are more inflexible.  She puts a kinder spin on it but that is what it amounts to.  

And she is right.  Young women leap into relationships with greater alacrity than older ones do.  But it is  only a matter of degree.  Women of all ages want relationships, with women in their 30s pretty keen too.  That biological clock promotes great flexibility.  

And my current girlfriend and I have formed a warm relationship despite meeting in our 70s.  And it certainly took a lot of flexibility for us to get there.  We both made large compromises to form our relationship. So flexibility is undoubtedly a help but it is not a monopoly of the young.  

I am afraid that it is all simpler than Jillian admits.  It's about looks.  Youth is beautiful. And men, like everybody else, go for that.  Women battle it energetically but their looks deteriorate as they get older.  

And I am not at all disrespecting older women. I in fact appreciate older women.  I once married a lady 11 years older than me and two others of my significant relationships were with women 5 year older than me. Though most of my relationships have been with women younger than me.

So I personally think that age has little to do with the matter. I have found fine women of all ages.  If the woman is  good enough she will find a good partner.  Looks do matter but age need not be a barrier.  Looks are only one factor in attractiveness.  

I prioritize brains myself.  And that has a perhaps surprising benefit.  High IQ women also tend to be better looking.  Life is not fair.  All three of my ladies that I mentioned above have been  good looking.  And Zoe, my present partner, is readily taken for much younger than she is

This week on Instagram, I saw a video where actress Paulina Porizkov said that most men don’t want to date a woman in her 50s or 60s.

Her comments really hit my heart. Recently, I’ve been feeling very connected to the Jillian who is in her 40s and 50s. I think about how, if she is single, most of my male friends of the same age wouldn’t date her. (Context for people who are reading this and don’t know me — I’m in my twenties.)

I shared this in my Instagram stories, along with this commentary: “To every man reading this, if you’ve never dated a woman your own age, why? If you almost always date younger women, why?

Because here’s my knowing (trigger alert):

Whether you recognize it or not, older men usually date younger women because they have fewer boundaries and expectations. They’re easier to control. And you as a man cannot handle the power of a woman your age.

This is something I have been talking about and reflecting on a lot, but never posted on social media because I want everyone to like me. And this is something that men probably don’t want to hear. But I’m working on being ok with people not liking me so… I said what I said.”

What happened next absolutely blew my mind. I’ve never received so many DMs from people. Almost 100 women said that they would join for a conversation on this topic.

Clearly, this discussion stirred people’s emotions. You can see it in my stories highlights here. I include (with permission) tons of messages that people sent me.

This morning I was doing a guided meditation, and the voice asked: “What gift do you want to give people?” I thought about it and started to cry. Because this week, I want to give women the gift of knowing that they’re lovable, desirable, and worthy at any age — regardless of the feedback that they’re given. I want women to feel that in their soul.

When the governing elite ignore the people

Large majorities  of the population in countries like the USA and Australia consistently say that immigration needs to be cut back -- particularly immigration from Muslim and Third world countries. The governing elite simply ignore that wish.  

So it is pretty inevitable that there will be some people who attempt to do what the elite will not.  Such people have no power to expel those they disapprove of so do the one thing they can do:  shoot

The Buffalo supermarket killer says he was driven to kill by the ‘great replacement theory’ which claims white people are being driven to extinction by migrants.

Payton Gendron’s 180 page Google Drive document detailed his twisted reasons for carrying out Saturday's massacre at the Top Market supermarket, killing 10.

A large part of the manifesto focused on the 'great replacement theory'. IT claims whites are being deliberately outnumbered in the US by migrants from other countries to skew elections in favor of the Democrats. 

The manifesto said that he'd been radicalized entirely by the internet - rather than anyone he'd met in real life - and added that he’d been inspired by Brenton Tarrant. 

Tarrant is a white supremacist who live-streamed himself murdering 51 Muslims at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, in 2019.

Gendron said: 'The truth is my personal life and experiences are of no value.' 

Gendron said Tarrant ‘radicalized him the most’ while discussing what had spurred him to shoot 13 people, 10 of them fatally. 

Police said 11 of the people he shot were black, with the other two white.

The rejected soulmate lady again

I originally commented on this story on 9th. But the Daily Mail has now picked it up. And they have added a whole lot of comments from readers about the story. The opening of their story:

"A mother-of-two has gone viral on social media after writing a memoir about leaving her husband of 14 years to pursue a stranger who she thought could be her 'soulmate'.

Amanda Trenfield, from Sydney, explained that she spent 20 years building a 'somewhat predictable life' with a career in the financial services alongside caring for two young children and her marriage.

In an extract from her new book, published by The Sydney Morning Herald, Amanda said that she was hoping to reconnect with her husband during a three-day conference in Margaret River but found herself drawn to another man, Jason, at the event due to the 'strong and raw' electricity between them"

None of the comments showed much understanding of what the woman reported so I am glad that I was able to add a supportive voice to the discussion.

At one level what she reported was a teenage "crush" very late in life but I thought that there was more in it than that. I have actually had similar experiences at a somewhat lower intensity. So I thought it might be appropriate for me to tell a bit about how it once went for me quite recently -- in 2022 -- with me in my 70s

In my story the lady is the one who was conflicted. We both felt right to one-another from the beginning but a circumstance made a relationship impossible. She knew that she should see nothing of me after our first meeting but for a while she just could not let me go.

We got on very easily during our initial meeting over morning tea but there was a large age gap between us. I was 77 and she was 64. We both saw that as a problem so all I could offer her was friendly dinners.

It turned out that my offer was attractive to her. And we did subsequently enjoy one another's company a lot over many dinners -- mostly on Saturday nights. Except for the age problem we would have formed a lasting relationship to see us through our remaining years.

Despite recognizing that we were not going anywhere together, she still wanted to see rather a lot of me. She too saw us as being of a related "type"

We never did have stable arrangements. A couple of times my physical unsuitability would get to her and she would email me breaking it off between us. Come the next Saturday night, however, she would relent and ask me to take her to dinner. I was happy to oblige. A friendship is less demanding than a sexual relationship.

Saturday is of course the big "going-out" night in our culture so that was significant. You usually see your "significant other" on that night

So on one such occasion we went to a nearby Burmese restaurant where we had a very good dinner and where we got on well. We watched some operetta back at my place after dinner.

Later on on a Sunday I had a breakfast at my usual haunt with her. She picked me up from home in her large Toyota Camry hybrid. We got on famously. Our breakfast lasted 3 hours, the latter half of which we spent back at my place! We discussed a remarkable range of things, including some quite intimate details of our pasts.

On a later date, she said she had been celebrating her 64th birthday with her family all the week so needed a special dinner on Saturday night. So I took her to the Persian restaurant, which always impresses. As I usually do, I ordered the the platter for two, which is actually two large platters plus a smaller platter, all three covered with enticing food. She was suitably impressed.

I had intended to bring a bottle of champagne but forgot. So she offered to walk down to the nearby drive-through to pick up a bottle. I gave her a $20 for the purpose. She asked me what I wanted and I said: "Just some cheap champagne". She was quite tickled by that. She kept repeating "cheap champagne"! She knows I am well-off so was surprised that I would drink such a thing. I just smiled. Anyway she came back with a rather impressive-looking $30 bottle of French champagne. French wine has got a lot cheaper in recent years. She said "I don't do cheap champagne". She is the ex-wife of a well-off professional man so is probably a bit spoilt. What she bought was a reasonable drop.

She and I normally dined together on Saturday evenings. Last Saturday, however, she was away for the long weekend ending on Monday. She obviously missed our Saturday, however, as she texted me on Tuesday morning (6th), asking if we could have breakfast together. I got the text a bit late for that so I took her to the "Buncha Buncha" North Vietnamese restaurant at Stone's corner that night.

On the way home, we picked up a dessert from Aldi-- Mango sorbet. We took it back to my place. First we had a cup of tea then the dessert. After that we watched part of an operetta on DVD. We were both a bit tired before we had watched much of the operetta so called it a night at that stage: a very pleasant night

Later: I had a particularly nice time with her at my place that night. She brought over champagne and some excellent pizza and drank rather a lot of the champagne. We mostly talked about relationships. We have both had a few

So for a while she and I had been having some good Saturday night dinners. And we got steadily closer as dinner followed dinner. We found a lot in common in our thinking.

So on another Saturday we had another good dinner together at a local restaurant, followed by dessert at my place, which was as pleasant as usual. But this time there was a sequel

Next day she turned up to meet me for breakfast as well. Dinner only with me was not enough this week. And after breakfast we did a Sunday drive to Wynnum. So I now seemed to have a definite new friend, which pleased me greatly. We did have lots of laughs while we were together

But something came up in her life that alerted her to where we were going and she knew that the age gap between us would be a long-term problem for her so she finally broke it off with me.

My present relationship is in some ways similar. I rapidy got on well with Zoe but there was not the compelling initial feeling like I had with the lady above. There does seem to be a strong draw to me for her, however. We both are aware of great differences between us and she often comments on them. She is for starters a Serb with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Belgrade. So much for a common culture! And she has often declared it "off" between us because of our differences. But she kept coming back to me and we now have arrived at a warm relationship between us. I think she is gorgeous. See her below -- JR

UPDATE: Zoe has now read the above story. She commented that she too initially thought that I was not right for her but she too found that she could not leave me alone

Crazy love

The strength of the attachment that some women develop towards a man never ceases to amaze me. The story below is an  enormously sad example of that.  

We all know that women tend to like tall, well-built  men but what if the man is 6'9" tall?  For one lady, a 56-year-old widow, it produced a love so strong she sacrificed everything for the chance of being with her man.   But her love was obstructed by his circumstances.  He was in jail for murder.  

So there was no real hope that she could ever live with him.  So she tried a desperate gamble and when that failed she suicided. She could not live without him.

The love of a woman can be an amazing thing.  What women put up with from their men is a never-ending wonder: A very sad wonder in this case.  She was attractive and resourceful but her love betrayed her. A terrible waste

In an obscure Indiana town on the banks of the Ohio River, the 11-day manhunt for escaped convict Casey Cole White and his jailboss girlfriend Vicky White came to a crashing end.

The Alabama fugitives, who’d been in a “jailhouse romance” for nearly two years before Vicky broke Casey out of the Lauderdale County jail on April 29, were found hiding in plain sight at a dingy, roadside motel some 300 miles away on Monday.

With cops hot on their tail, they fled the Motel 41 in Evansville and led police on a chase that ended later that afternoon when members of the US Marshals Service rammed into the couple’s latest getaway car, sending it careening into a ditch.

The pair had planned to end their time on the run in a bloody blaze of glory by starting a shootout with police — but instead, Vicky turned the gun on herself the moment cops closed in, while Casey surrendered.

Infidelity is not always a bad thing: How having a romance on the side can be considered 'self-care' that can actually prolong a marriage

This is all very well but it overlooks a major reason why infidelity is normally condemned: The person dating outside the marriage may find that they like the new lover better than their normal partner. It often happens. And that mostly leads to a marriage breakup

I did myself for a long time allow the lady in my life to do as she wished as long as it did not reduce her time with me.  And she did have a number of affairs. And after living for 14 years under that arrangement, I thought we would continue on our customary way indefinitely.  

But the unexpected (to me) did happen.  She ended up deciding that she liked one of her alternative partners better than me and prioritized him thenceforth.  So a romance on the side may be allowable for various reasons but it may lead to the loss of a valued partner

The old way has its reasons. 

My policy of tolerance did however pay off in one way.  The lady's new partner was disappointed when she informed him that she would continue to see me on a part-time basis.  She has done so.  She is a good catch so he puts up with that

Infidelity need not ruin a marriage and having a secret affair may be a form of 'self-care' that can benefit all participants and prolong the union.

That is the contentious viewpoints of Isabella Mise, the Communications Director at Ashley Madison - a dating platform created for married people who want to have discreet affairs, and believes.

The 36-year-old told Daily Mail Australia members are looking to form connections with other like-minded people.

'Monogamy works for a lot of people, but it doesn't always work for everyone long term,' Isabella said.

Isabella said Ashley Madison members usually feel happy in their marriage but seek something the relationship lacks.

Some are wanting to feel desired by someone new, while others are seeking an emotional connection rather than sexual pleasures. 

'I've spoken to members who have been married for 20 years or people who married their high school sweethearts and haven't slept with anyone else; no two marriages are the same,' Isabella said.

Isabella said Ashley Madison members usually feel happy in their marriage but seek something the relationship lacks.

Some are wanting to feel desired by someone new, while others are seeking an emotional connection rather than sexual pleasures. 

'I've slowly realised that infidelity is not always what you think and isn't what you see in movies.'

During lockdown married people reported feelings of boredom, isolation and loneliness 

Some believe infidelity was a 'reliable form of self-care' as their overall mood improved

In most cases the dating platform 'has helped preserve marriages'   

Over the past two years, Covid lockdowns and restrictions have put relationships to the ultimate test. 

'No one anticipated they would spend 24 hours with their significant other handling working from home, home schooling and living in such close quarters,' Isabella said.

'Affairs aren't the key to happiness in a marriage, but an outlet for many couples or married people wanting to date again.

'It can be a form of self-care - something people do for themselves that allows them to return to their primary relationship feeling less stressed or anxious.'

Proof that beauty is not everything

Paige Spiranac has it all:  An exceptionally pretty face in an extremely sexy body.  Yet it took her a while to find a partner who suited her. She is now aged 29 and has been married for five years but before that she had a lot of boyfriends.  I cannot imagine that any of those boyfriends would have let her go willingly so think that she must have been the one to break off the relationships concerned.

She does admit to being very tyrannical about how her men have to look and dress.  And she does use CNB -- a Marijuana extract -- to get to sleep.  So it would appear that she is fairly uptight.  She has missed out on a relaxed personality, which must be stressful at times.  She is exceptional physically but only about average mentally. Anyone with the gift of contentment -- which includes many conservatives -- would have a happier life than her  -- JR


Less than a month after I met my soulmate, I ended my 14-year marriage

The story below by Amanda Trenfield reads like chicklit but is apparently a factual report about something that happened to her.  It has aroused a lot of comment.

I have some idea of what she is talking about. On rare occasions I do encounter a woman whom I recognize immediately as one of "My" women.  We may have only the slightest opportunity to communicate but I feel immediately that I know her of old and I in particular know that we would be completely at ease and happy with one-another in a relationship. It is a wonderful experience

The obvious question  has to be why such a recognition occurs. One posibility is that a lot of the things one likes in other people are suddenly there all in one person. But how do we know that? As far as I can tell it is a combination of very subtle behaviours,  something to do with way the lady looks at me, particularly.  But what is conveyed is for me a recognition of a common culture.  This person has a range of beliefs and attitudes and responses that remind me of people I have been most familiar and at ease with in the  past.  No real idea why.

In my case the recognition is usually reciprocal.  The lady feels the same way about me.  It may in fact be the lady who speaks to me first.  I must sound like I am imagining things but for me as for the lady below it is quite a powerful feeling

I wasn’t expecting a formal dinner with cheerful conference attendees in the beautiful West Australian town of Margaret River to turn my life upside down. I had a good life. I wasn’t looking to upend it – or was I?

I had decided only the week earlier to attend the three-day event with my husband. It wasn’t in the family holiday plan and we had to arrange care for the children, but I saw it as a perfect opportunity for us to reconnect, as we had become quite distant. I believed that time away from the stress of everyday life was the perfect remedy to reignite our relationship.

We entered the magnificent oak-panelled dining room, taking our seats at a long, elegantly laid table. My husband sat to my left and quickly engaged another couple in conversation.

As I settled into my seat, I looked up and immediately lost my breath. When our eyes met there was an instant familiarity that ran deeper than water-cooler chat. These eyes had locked before. Twelve years earlier. His name was Jason. I hadn’t forgotten.

Throughout the dinner, I was my usual animated and conversational self. I was, after all, in sales. The group chatted happily, all of us enjoying an excellent degustation of West Australian delicacies cooked with attention and pride.

As the entrée was served, Jason offered me a sip of his wine to taste the robust old-vine shiraz. After a little banter and coaxing, I accepted.

Over the course of the evening, my attraction to Jason developed. I soon became aware of his every breath and I unconsciously mirrored his pace. I caught myself, embarrassingly, looking at his chest through his slim-fitted white evening shirt. Yes, he had a fit, toned and attractive body, but was it his chest I was drawn to?

When dessert was served, he offered me a sample of his decadent and oozy chocolate pudding. I declined, but he scooped up a generous spoonful and fed me across the table anyway. He displayed a level of familiarity normally reserved for close friends or lovers. If anyone had been watching us, they would have been at least curious as to the nature of our relationship.

By the time the group left the restaurant late in the evening, all my senses were on high alert. It was abundantly clear that the energy between Jason and me was somehow charged. I instinctively understood, though, that this was more than just lust, something I had felt many times before. I also understood that it was more than simply physical attraction, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.

At the hotel bar, Jason bought me a glass of my favourite rosé. We looked into each other’s eyes – his dark and mysterious, mine big and brown – and clinked glasses. The electricity between us was strong and raw. It travelled to my core. It was so intense I needed to break eye contact. He. We. The energy. It was electric. My body was completely charged. I was completely “on”.

He displayed a level of familiarity normally reserved for close friends or lovers.

I had to determinedly fight the continual pull to his side that I felt. As we moved around each other throughout the evening in various conversations, though, we were always aware of one another’s location. When we locked eyes across the room, the intensity of our stares magnified, becoming bolder as the night progressed. We held our gaze longer. Our connection deepened.

I loved talking with him. I felt warm, relaxed and safe in his presence. I felt I could truly be myself, at a level I wasn’t familiar with. I realised that it was a feeling I hadn’t enjoyed in a long, long time – perhaps ever. Sure, we were laughing and joking like old friends but the deepening connection through our eyes was undeniable.

My behaviour that evening was uncharacteristic. I stayed out way longer than I normally would; I’m usually an early-to-bed, early-to-rise type. But this was no ordinary evening. I was in no hurry to lose our connection. In fact, I wanted time to stand still. I wanted to remain in the energy, our energy, forever.

The bar called last drinks, and the evening (now the early morning) came to an end. The goodbye was overt, open and revealing of our mutual affection. We enjoyed a body-hugging embrace where I whispered into his ear, “This isn’t over, I need to see you again.” He put his hands tightly on my waist and pulled me close. “Yes,” he replied. It was all I needed to hear.

As I danced back to my room feeling vulnerable but also unexpectedly whole, I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face. I had never felt anything like this before. I had never experienced this sensation. I didn’t understand the energy. It was like an out-of-body, or perhaps an “in-body”, experience.

I now know without hesitation, without question, without any doubt in my mind, my body or my heart, that the energy we experienced that evening was our souls connecting. I left Margaret River a different woman.

I knew in my heart, in my soul, in the very fabric of my being that I had profoundly changed. I couldn’t articulate the feelings, the sensations, the experience. The connectedness I experienced with Jason was at a level impossible to describe. All I knew for certain was that this one encounter, in the most unlikely of places, under the most unusual of circumstances, had dramatically altered my life.

The next few days were a complete blur. I couldn’t make any sense of my feelings. I couldn’t escape unrelenting thoughts of Jason. I certainly couldn’t fathom how I’d resume my normal life: a full-time career in financial services, the care of two young children, household chores, social engagements, being a wife. What I did understand was that the successful, comfortable and somewhat predictable life I had spent 20 years building was now of no consequence. I simply didn’t care.

I’d just met my soulmate. What could possibly be more important than that?

Less than a month after meeting Jason, having had no communication with him since our time in Margaret River, I ended my 14-year relationship with my husband.

The woman who had always been so careful, so planned, so organised and so clear about the path her life would take, had just made the most dramatic decision of her life, one affecting those dearest to her – her family.


Youth crime out of control in the Northwest of Western Australia

I am old enough to know the background of this problem.   The "youth" concerned are Aboriginal youths and they are a problem nationwide.  Ever since the missionaries were eased out of running Aboriginal settlemrents, civility in those settlements has steadily declined.  

I remember elderly Aborigines who grew up under missionary supervision.  People who know only the present crop of young Aborigines would be amazed at how Westernized they were.  They behaved  in a way that was remarkably similar to white expectations. So Aborigines can  be adaptively socialized,  given good examples of how to behave.

And nobody has come up with a management strategy which is remotely as fruitful as what the missionaries offered. The strategy mentioned nowadays is basically a strategy of desperation.  They hope to get aboriginal youth away from the cities and back into the countryside within existing Aboriginal communities.  Getting the problem out of sight is the proposed solution.  

Accommodation in Aboriginal communities is normally these days provided by some government body  and providing more of that in the "bush" communities is proposed.  How you are going to incentivize the youth to return to their communities is not explained.  A lot more than housing is needed to socialize problem youth.  A whole-of-life management programme is needed to civilize them.

But such treatment would be "paternalistic" so cannot now be contemplated. Dysfunction among Aboriginal youth will continue

The WA Government has announced a $40 million package to address youth crime. Community leaders are divided about whether it will deliver tangible change. There are calls for more than one on-country residential facility as an alternative to detention

"It was a beautiful town when I came here, everyone got on well with each other, but over the last two years, the crime rate has just grown and grown, it seems to be out of control," he said.

"The last one [break in] was pretty serious, they actually damaged a whole door…we had to close for a whole day so we lost a day's takings…the overall cost will be major."

He said there was an urgent need to find an answer.  "It seems the youth are running the streets," he said. "Everyone in town is scared."

Mr Moore's business is one of a growing number of businesses in the Kimberley caught up in a spate of property damage and crime being blamed on young people.

The WA Government announced a $40 million package on Tuesday aimed at addressing escalating youth crime in the region. 

The announcement included increased funds to expand the Target 120 program – which supports young people who are at risk of becoming lost to the criminal justice system – to nine more locations across the state.

The package also includes $15 million for a new dedicated residential facility to house at-risk youth on-country, a measure that community leaders have lobbied for over many years.

It's a move that's been welcomed by Social Reinvestment WA — an Aboriginal-led coalition of 25 not-for-profit organisations.

Coordinator Sophie Stewart said the package was a start in addressing underlying root causes of the offending and more effective interventions.

"We do need an alternative to incarceration for young people in the Kimberley and for that matter also in the Pilbara," she said.

"With the reports of the alarming conditions and human rights abuses at Banksia Hill, we're really glad to see the state government prioritising initiatives that will keep children out of prison."

Ms Stewart said keeping children close to country, community and culture would be a key part of the solution.

She said close consultation at the grassroots level would be key to the success of the new measures. "What we know is that whatever the facility ends up looking like it needs to be a therapeutic space that provides opportunities to build pathways for their future," she said.

She said there needed to be an opportunity for a job, further schooling and training as well as a therapeutic and rehabilitative space for young people living with trauma.

"For these initiatives to be successful the state government has to work in partnership with local communities and lived experience people in the design and the delivery," she said.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan has flagged Myroodah Station as a possible site for the new residential facility.

Pandanus Park resident Patricia Riley said basing the new facility in a remote area was "a great approach". Ms Riley said getting children out of major towns such as Broome and Kununurra would ease some of the challenges being faced on the ground.

"These parents go out into town and they end up staying there and then dragging their family into town, the kids get bored and get up to mischief…these poor kids they just want attention," she said. "They've got no choice but to be in town because of their parents, so it's a good idea to take these children out back onto country.

She said communities needed programs and employment delivered properly to address what people needed.

Wyndham-East Kimberley shire president David Menzel said the government should consider developing more than one on-country residential facility in the region. 

"I'm not sure whether that's singular or plural at the moment but it needs to be plural," he said. "There needs to be several options to get people out of some of the chaos that is their normal life.

"Give them somewhere where there's a bit of a breather so they can get a bit of time out, have some support systems around them to work through some of the issues."

While the package has been welcomed by some in the community as a step in the right direction, others were concerned it wouldn't be enough to address the region's complex and deep-rooted juvenile crime problem.

Nirrumbook Aboriginal Corporation chief executive Joe Grande aid the government was 'following chicken feed' instead of working with the community to tackle core issues.

His Aboriginal-run capacity building organisation mainly derives its membership from the Dampier Peninsula region, north of Broome.

"What about the money they've already spent?" he said.  "The reality is that until we all collaborate, real collaboration, true collaboration with government, then we're all going to be working in isolation from one another."

Broome Shire Deputy President Desiree Male said it remained to be seen if the programs would be enough. "Having this not work is not an option," she said.


Autism Speaks, and It’s Telling Others to Shut Up

<i>I reproduce below the opening salvo of an article about autism by an autistic person.  It is a very angry article.  It is not clear how autism manifests itself in his case but he clearly perceives that he is badly treated by others and basically would prefer it if nobody ever identified him as autistic.

But it ain't necessarily so. He rightly says that all autistics are diferent but takes no account of the fact that some autistics can be reasonably happy with their condition. He particularly fails to take note of the fact that there are often some positives to autism.  Autistics often have great "gifts" in certain areas.  They may be very good at mathematics, music etc.  And that can be very life-enhancing in some cases

And because there are a reasonable number of autistics around, it is a lively possibility that one might find oneself attracted to one.  I am myself a high-functioning autistic who is at present in a relationship with another high functioning autistic and that does to a degree ease communication between us.  But most of my relationships over the years have been with high-IQ normal women. 

But my three relationships with fellow autistics have been very positive -- experiences I have enjoyed greatly.

And one rather advantagrous thing is that autistics tend to be "glued on" to certain things and behaviours.  And that can in some cases mean that an autistic woman is "glued on" to her man. The man will often be pretty happy about that.  He will not be worried about her "straying".

So in summary, being autistic can be a rather happy experience, and one that the autistic person will happily talk about.  I am regularly forgiven some of my sins because people can see that my sins are just one aspect of my autism.  It helps people to understand me, which is always helpful</i>

Good morning, everyone! It is April 6th and I am already sick to death of Autism “Awareness” Month.

First of all, “awareness” is a ridiculous concept. The vast majority of people have heard of autism. If anything, we’d prefer a whole lot less of this particular brand of awareness.

Now, let’s talk allistics. An allistic (“person with allism”, for those of them who prefer person-first language so much) is a person who is not autistic. #TurnItDownTaupe for the poor allistics.

But really, allistics, let’s chat. You love to chat. Y’all will absolutely not stop talking during the month of April, and I have had it.

At this point, I’ve had the same conversations so many times that I have an intro like I’m in Autistics Anonymous. Hi, my name is Jo, and I’m an autistic. Yes, I’m really autistic. No, my ability to write sentences does not prove that I’m not autistic. No, it’s not a “different type” than your nephew in Wyoming. Yes, I do “seem normal”, because autism is normal.


National Character and the Quality of Peoples

Jacob Fraden below has below a discussion of national character that is unusually sophisticated.   He rightly sees any characterization of a whole nation as intolerably simplistic.   There is a great variety of personalities in any given population so lumping the whole of any population into one will simply be wrong.

What he proposes instead, however, sounds suspiciously like a traditional  social-class structure.  He says that there are three divisions of any population and each division has its own characteristics.    That  is however also a simplification.  All the members of any given population segment will not be the same.

Such a simplification may nonetheless be useful.  In my big study of social class, I found that people can readily assign themselves to a particular class and that class membership did tend to go with other attributes.  The point from that being that there can be a significant central tendency within a particular group, even if not all members of that group share the particular tendency.

So what we have to question in his class divisions is how useful they are.  Are lower class people more common in Russia and is there a central tendency among them that explains  the subservient character of the Russian population as  a whole?  Is there something in a major subgroup of the Russian population that explains the repeated subservience to tyranny that we observe in Russian history?

He offers no real proof of his claims, just his own observations.  He is just offering a proposal about what explains Russia's history of  tyranny.  He leaves a search for evidence to others.  Will research by others reveal that there is an unusually large and brutal segment at the economic bottom of the Russian population?  We will have to wait and see but it is a proposal with some promise.

It is not however the only explanation of Russian history.  It is not the place here for me to expound other explanations but Russia's long night of Mongol domination and the difficulties of surviving the severe Russian winters are two possibilities that may be worth alluding to

Many years ago, I happened to read the book Russia in 1839 by the French traveler and literary man Marquis de Custine, and there I found some interesting judgments about the Russian people:

"The Russian people are a nation of mutes. Everything is there, the only thing missing is freedom. That is, a life."

"Everyone there is too miserable to complain."

"To live in Russia, it’s not enough to hide your thoughts. You have to pretend."

"The Russians have a slave mentality, but not without an arrogance."

"The government in Russia lives only by lies, for both tyrant and slave fear the truth."

"Human life has no value there."

"Russia is a country of facades."

"The Russian people should have been completely destroyed and then created anew."

The main idea here is that compared to the Western countries, the quality of the Russian people has always been quite low. This quality has its deep roots in history, back to the 13th century, in the times of the invasions of the Mongol khan Batyi.

Yet, it was not foreign invaders who enslaved the Russian people and gradually formed its slave mentality, as the wise Marquis pointed out, but the main oppressors were the Russian princes and noblemen who paid tribute to the Mongol Horde, and who treated their own subjects as ruthless occupiers.

By way of contrast, back in 1215, the Magna Carta was adopted in England, granting liberty and protection from the Crown, while in Russia serfdom was abolished only 650 years later! Emancipation was greeted by the lower strata of society without much enthusiasm and was even accompanied by peasant revolts. Over the centuries, the slave mentality became so ingrained in the flesh and blood of the Russian people that the former serfs did not want freedom — they preferred to continue living in the yoke.

Today, 160 years after the freedom granted from above (then taken away again by the Bolsheviks), the quality of the Russian people remains hopelessly low and continues to decline. The army always reflects the character of its country, and so the war with Ukraine has brought Russia's true face to the world through its army, which turned out to be a horrible horde of murderers, rapists, and marauders.

The appallingly low moral level of the majority of the Russian population seems at first glance to be at odds with what we know of the great Russian culture, especially that created over the last 200 years. How can we reconcile the shameful behavior of a large part of the population with the highest level of what Tchaikovsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Shostakovich, and many other great Russians gave to the world?

Why did the superb Russian culture pass by the people, not ennoble it, not improve its character?  Why did all its great achievements have almost no effect on the Russian mentality?

It is appropriate here to also remember Germany 80-90 years ago — how at the time of Nazism the people of the grand German culture descended into medieval barbarism.

Why is there such a gap between the cultural heights and the behavior of people?  And what about other countries? Why did the Polish and Ukrainian peoples display in the past such ferocious and violent anti-Semitism? Why were the Lithuanian, Latvian and Belarusian peoples so ruthless toward Jews during the war? How can we explain the immoral behavior in World War II of the French, a nation of great scientists and artists? How is it that the Spanish, the people of Cervantes and Velázquez, were so cruel to the American Indians? How could the Turks have committed genocide in Armenia in 1915? Why did the Japanese, a nation of sophisticated culture, exterminate six million civilians during their occupation of China?

Looking back at the histories of different nations, one must conclude that culture has never been an antidote to evil. Every nation, even one that has created a great culture, under certain unfavorable conditions can turn into the devil and will be capable of incredible cruelties.

The moral difference between nations is in the degree of quality of people, that is, in the ratio of decent people to trash.  One nation has less trash, another has more, but no one is without sin. After many years of living in America, I have concluded that even among the kind and compassionate American people there is plenty of trash. For example, Americans are natural snitches; they are happy to snitch and inform on other people. Therefore, under very unfavorable conditions, e.g. if fascism would arise in the U.S., it would lead to very unfortunate results.

Fortunately, I must point out, fascism in the classical sense is impossible in the USA since there must be a strong element of Nazism (the idea of the superiority of one nation or race over all others). However, in America, which is made up of a large number of ethnic groups, any kind of Nazism is simply out of the question — nowadays there is not a single dominant race here.

But back to our topic. In a human soul, there are always dark and bright sides and, under certain external conditions, it’s only necessary to set in motion a specific psychological mechanism so that one of these sides comes out. People of low quality have larger dark sides that are manifested more clearly and come out much easier.  So, from such people, one can expect more trouble.

The Three-Layered Pie

In light of today's events, many people ask questions about the influence of culture on the quality of the people, but no one can find an answer. I think this problem has no solution for the reason that people and their cultural overlayer don’t mix in any way, but like water and oil coexist separately, affecting each other only to a small extent. To clarify why culture does not influence the masses, the population of any country can be represented as a three-layer pie: at the bottom, there are the uncultured plebs with low intelligence and primitive needs — a kind of amorphous mass, which according to the ancient Roman definition for a happy life needs only bread and circuses. It is this stratum that is capable of committing the worst crimes and because of its low intelligence is easily influenced and controlled by propaganda. The lower stratum is the most numerous and makes up from 40 to 90% of the population in different countries. It seems to me that in Russia the bottom layer of plebs is quite large: somewhere around 65-70%.

On the other hand, at the very top of the "pie", there is not even a layer, but rather a thin shining film of the creative intelligentsia — artists, scientists, writers, and poets. This group is the country's intellectual elite. Even in the best countries of the world, the share of а cultural layer-film probably is no larger than 1-2% of the population.

Between the lower and upper layers is what I call the "moral" layer, which consists of people capable of independent thinking and thus less influenced by propaganda. A small portion of this layer includes “consumers of culture,” of which, by the way, there are quite a few in any country. It seems to me that of the 145-million of the contemporary Russians there are hardly a million people who have read Chekhov or Tolstoy or who know who Shostakovich or Ravel are. Nevertheless, all people of this stratum are strongly influenced by cultural heritage and therefore have higher moral standards. The thickness of the moral layer varies from 10 to 50% in different countries, and it is this layer that determines the quality of people. The more massive the moral layer, the higher the quality.

According to my estimates, in Russia, this layer is somewhere around 25% of the population. If you use my estimates and apply the formula for the quality of people (a ratio of the moral stratum to the lower stratum of plebs), the coefficient of quality of the Russian people will be quite small — about 0.37. I present the reader with an opportunity to estimate itself the coefficient of quality of other nations.

All three layers do not mix and exist as if independent of each other, although sometimes individuals can migrate up and down along this "pie," from one layer to another and even exist simultaneously in two layers. The two upper layers (cultural and moral) are completely unrelated to the lower layer of the plebs. Thus, since there is no mixing of strata, what influence of culture and morality on the lower stratum, that is, on the majority of the population, can we expect? And on the contrary, the slavish amorphous mass of the lower stratum can occasionally have a negative influence on the uppermost cultural stratum.

Cultural Ostracism

In our troubled times, when Russia with incredible cruelty is waging a war in Ukraine, the rejection of everything Russian arose all over the world. Something similar to that happened during the first decade after World War II when Germans were ostracized and everything German was rejected despite their great cultural heritage. It was a natural reaction to the disgusting behavior of the masses of Germans who were part of the bottom stratum during the Nazi times. So is it any wonder that after the whole world saw how the Russian people (those fighting in Ukraine and those supporting the war) behaved, everything Russian becomes untouchable, like a shameful disease?

Unfortunately, one seldom can see the difference between the three separate layers: the large barbaric mass of the Russian people, the smaller moral layer, and the very thin upper cultural layer. Therefore, without even trying to see the difference, today everything that in any way relates to Russia is rejected en masse. In the Western countries, vigilant zealots of "justice" remove paintings by Russian artists from museums, cancel ballets and concerts by the Russian dancers and musicians, and even cut Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky from their symphony programs. It seems that the rejection of everything Russian will continue for a long time, at least until (and unless) the Russian people embark on a path of sincere public repentance, in which I have little faith — the Russian tradition has always been not to atone but to look outside for the guilty.

Russian culture has become one of the victims in this shameful war. Creative people are fleeing Russia, and therefore the already thin cultural layer is gradually disappearing, which will inevitably lead to the complete degradation of the country and its disintegration. Without culture, no nation can exist for long.


The Power of One Man over a Slavish People

Jon N. Hall seems to say below that Putin has power because of the character of the Russian people.  So Napoleon ruled because of the character of the French people?  That is clearly too simplistic.  

Putin, Napoleon, Hitler  and Trump were all influential because they made their people feel good about their country.  There was nothing in their national character that was unique

The European Health Spa was a modest gym situated in Kansas City back in the old days. It was a preposterous name because the establishment was neither European nor healthy nor a spa; they didn’t even offer mud baths. In any event, between exercises one night in the mid-1970s, a Russian expatriate named Lev asserted that the Russians are “a slavish people.”

That assessment might have been intended as an insult due to Lev being a Jew. Anti-Semitism was rife in imperial Russia, and Jews continued to suffer the occasional pogrom in their shtetls even after the commies took power. But regardless of how Lev meant it, there must be something rather slavish about a people who would think positively, as many Russians did, of a monster like Joseph Stalin.

Slavery in Russia mainly took the form of serfdom. People were bound to the land they worked. So if one inherited a farm, people came with it. There were a number of reforms and tweaks to Russia’s system of servitude going back to Peter the Great. But the serfs were finally given their “freedom,” such as it is in Russia, by Tsar Alexander II in 1861. That happens to be an important year for slavery in America. And imagine: manumission (freedom) by royal decree. How very different from what it took to free America’s slaves: a conflict between brothers that is still our bloodiest war.

Lev didn’t go into any detail about just why the Rus continue to be a slavish people, but one thing about slaves is that they take whatever is given to them. It doesn’t occur to your average slave to ask for more, as they might be beaten.

Russians had an opportunity to remake their nation back in 1991, but they failed to do so. The world, too, failed the slaves of the old Soviet Union, and that includes not only Bill Clinton but also Papa Bush as well. Before a decade had passed, Vladimir Putin had risen to power and, over the last month, it seems like the world has been thrown back to the 1940s.

Claus von Stauffenberg was a German colonel who in 1944 attempted to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Senator Lindsey Graham recently asked if there might be a “Colonel Stauffenberg in the Russian military,” adding that the “only way this ends is for somebody in Russia to take this guy out.” Stauffenberg, however, was an aristocrat, not a slave. The Bolsheviks pretty well got rid of Russia’s aristocrats a century ago.

If you’re a thug, perhaps a KGB agent, and you simply must be the top dog of your piece of turf, the first thing you must do is surround yourself with an inner circle of like-minded thugs, unscrupulous men willing to do anything. With an inner circle of thugs, a thug can be safe. And with an inner circle of thugs, a thug can control a population that still thinks like slaves.

If Putin were to be taken out by the military, it’s doubtful that it would be by the inner circle, the generals. It would have to be done by the rank-and-file, those the generals have thrown into “meat grinders” like Afghanistan and Ukraine. But how likely is a mutiny of grunts and conscripts that have been kept in constant fear of being shipped off to the gulag?

On March 20, the Wall Street Journal ran “Russian Withdrawal Isn’t Enough” by retired Colonel Bing West, USMC:

If Russian troops withdraw from Ukraine but Mr. Putin is still in charge in Moscow, it will be a severe defeat for America. In his meeting with all 30 NATO nations, Mr. Biden must cross his Rubicon. He must declare that the sanctions crippling Russia will remain in full force, with no exit ramps, as long as Mr. Putin remains in power. America’s objective isn’t a return to the status quo ante; it requires removing Mr. Putin[.]

With respect to Col. West, that also “isn’t enough.” Vlad Putin can’t be allowed to retire to his dachas with the billions he’s stolen from the Russian people, not after what he’s done to Ukraine. Putin is today’s Hitler, Putin is the Nazi, and Putin needs to be brought to justice for war crimes (and possibly for genocide) in today’s equivalent of the Nuremberg trials.

But even that isn’t enough: Russia needs to pay reparations to Ukraine. At least half of Russia’s oil revenue should be paid directly to Ukraine to rebuild her destroyed cities.

A complication in bringing Putin to justice is that his inner circle and elements of his military are also war criminals. So in order for Putin to be relieved of his “responsibilities,” and handed over to international authorities for trial, it may be necessary to grant immunity to those handing him over. For this to happen, Ukraine cannot lose this war.

Sunday, April 10 on Fox News, Steve Hilton interviewed attorney Gregg Jarrett on The Next Revolution about how best to prosecute Putin. Jarrett strongly advised against relying on the International Criminal Court in The Hague, and instead recommended a “special tribunal” under the auspices of the United Nations, as was done with Slobodan Milošević.

If Putin stays in power, then the West should not allow Russians to travel abroad in their countries. Let it go back to the status quo ante, the good old days of the USSR, when Russians were not only slaves but prisoners as well, in their own country.

How is it possible that one lone man, decidedly small in stature (5’5”), can intimidate an entire nation? That such a thing exists should be proof positive that Lev was right about the “slavish soul” of Russians. It’s time that Russians throw off their shackles and become a decent free people with a decent head of state. Hand over Putin.