Tyrannical banks in Australia too

The heads of two major British banks lost their jobs over their Fascist attempt to "debank" Nigel Farage. One hopes that Australian bankers will take a lesson from that.

I recently went through an elaborate auhentication process that the Commonwealth Bank required of me. Like anying over the net, it was difficult but I eventually got an approval mark. So I may be in the clear.

But I am going to keep a fair bit of cash on hand from now on. I do mostly pay by cash these days. Tyrannical bank behaviour has become another good reason to stick with cash. Nobody has ever rejected one of my $50 notes

Many Australians are unaware that they can be denied access to their money if they break rules buried in the fine print of opening an account.

The Commonwealth Bank states a customer may not use their banking services if they engage in conduct 'that in our opinion' is 'offensive, harassing or threatening to any person' or 'promotes or encourages physical or mental harm of any person'.

Professional poker player and author Crispin Rovere, who is in dispute with Westpac after they froze his account, highlighted the Commonwealth Bank's terms and conditions in a tweet last week.

A Commonwealth Bank spokesperson told Daily Mail Australia the terms were to prevent 'to address the issue of financial abuse in the context of domestic and family violence'.

'In 2020, we updated our Acceptable Use Policy to address technology-facilitated abuse and to provide a safer banking experience for customers,' the spokesperson said.

'Any customer found to be using NetBank or the CommBank app to engage in unlawful, defamatory, harassing or threatening conduct, promoting or encouraging physical or mental harm or violence against any person may have their transactions refused or access to digital banking services suspended or discontinued'.

But some Aussies said the rules were too vague.

'Since when are banks the arbiters of moral and legal conduct? Especially the Commonwealth Bank? Do they even remember The Royal Commission findings????' one said.

'Setting themselves up to freeze people's bank accounts for wrong speak,' another added.

Others said the rules were justified.

'Classic example is abusive ex's harassing their ex-partners with 1c transfers that include threats in the description. In support services you see this all the time as a modus operandi. In the normal world, most don't even know it happens.'

In July, Mr Rovere slammed Westpac as 'totalitarian', claiming the bank froze his accounts after he made a 'modest' cash deposit following a poker win.

The bank demanded to know where Crispin Rovere's funds came from, which were 'way, way under' $10,000 and refused to unblock his account until he told them.

Last Wednesday the Commonwealth Bank came under fire after it announced it had opened a cashless 'specialist branches', where customers would no longer able to access their money over-the-counter a trend also happening with NAB branches.

'The specialist centre branches focus more on business customers and loan products and are located nearby to traditional branches,' a spokesperson said.

'We continue to maintain Australia's largest branch network for customers.'

However, the news did draw favourable responses on social media.

'Bank branches without money? WTF! That's like having a petrol station with no fuel! Do they expect people to call into the branch just to say hi and have a chat,' one said.

Another joked: 'A bank without cash, that makes real sense.'

'I suggest everyone to change their bank where this is happening,' a third said.

Mr Rovere told Daily Mail Australia he only realised there was a problem when he tried to make a card payment at a hotel he was staying in, but the bank rejected it.


Gulf Stream current could collapse in 2025, plunging Earth into climate chaos

This is an old chestnut.  Prophecies of doom about the Gulf Stream have been going on for decades now.  The evident truth is that it cannot accurately be modelled

A vital ocean current system that helps regulate the Northern Hemisphere's climate could collapse anytime from 2025 and unleash climate chaos, a controversial new study warns. 

The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), which includes the Gulf Stream, governs the climate by bringing warm, tropical waters north and cold water south.

But researchers now say the AMOC may be veering toward total breakdown between 2025 and 2095, causing temperatures to plummet, ocean ecosystems to collapse and storms to proliferate around the world. However, some scientists have cautioned that the new research comes with some big caveats.

The AMOC can exist in two stable states: a stronger, faster one that we rely upon today, and another that is much slower and weaker. Previous estimates predicted that the current would probably switch to its weaker mode sometime in the next century. 

But human-caused climate change may push the AMOC to a critical tipping point sooner rather than later, researchers predicted in a new study published Tuesday (July 25) in the journal Nature Communications. 

"The expected tipping point — given that we continue business as usual with greenhouse gas emissions — is much earlier than we expected," co-author Susanne Ditlevsen, a professor of statistics and stochastic models in biology at the University of Copenhagen, told Live Science. 

"It was not a result where we said: 'Oh, yeah, here we have it'. We were actually bewildered."

AMOC as a global conveyor belt 

Atlantic Ocean currents work like an endless global conveyor belt moving oxygen, nutrients, carbon and heat around the globe. Warmer southerly waters, which are saltier and denser, flow north to cool and sink below waters at higher latitudes, releasing heat into the atmosphere. 

Then, once it has sunk beneath the ocean, the water slowly drifts southward, heats up again, and the cycle repeats. But climate change is slowing this flow. Fresh water from melting ice sheets has made the water less dense and salty, and recent studies have shown that the current is at its weakest in more than 1,000 years. 

The region near Greenland where the southerly waters sink (known as the North Atlantic subpolar gyre) borders a patch that is hitting record low temperatures, while the surrounding seas climb to all-time highs, forming an ever-expanding 'blob' of cold water.

The last time the AMOC switched modes during the most recent ice age, the climate near Greenland increased by 18 to 27 degrees Fahrenheit (10 to 15 degrees Celsius) within a decade. If it were to turn off, temperatures in Europe and North America could drop by as much as 9 F (5 C) in the same amount of time.

Direct data on the AMOC's strength has only been recorded since 2004, so to analyze changes to the current over longer timescales, the researchers turned to surface temperature readings of the subpolar gyre between the years of 1870 and 2020, a system which they argue provides a 'fingerprint' for the strength of AMOC’s circulation. 

By feeding this information into a statistical model, the researchers gauged the diminishing strength and resilience of the ocean current by its growing year-on-year fluctuations. 

The model's results alarmed the researchers — yet they say that checking them only reinforced their findings: The window for the system's collapse could begin as early as 2025, and it grows more likely as the 21st century continues. 



Protest over police treatment of Black mother handcuffed and wrongly accused of dodging bus fare

The London police do seem to have a problem.  But it has an explanation. Blacks commonly exhibit hostility to the police and actively resist attempts to arrest them.  This does tend to develop a belief among police that they have to go in hard from the beginning to get control of black offenders.  It is a vicious circe

But it doesn't have to be that way.  In my 80 years on this earth I have had various interactions with police  -- even with the California Highway partrol  -- which have never resulted in anything more than a polite conversation  -- even when I was at fault.  Because I am white?  Perhaps in part.  But mainly because I always spoke to the police officer in a polite way -- addressing them as "Officer", for instance.  And I NEVER raise my voice in speaking to them.

The result?  I would often be let off any penalty and the officer would shake my hand as we parted.

Does that sound like an ideal world?  It IS an ideal world.  But we do live in it.  We largely create the world we live in.  And how to create a good world is no mystery.  It's all in Matthew 7:12.

I will never forget the relief evident in the face and bearing of the CHP officer when he got a polite response after  approaching me.  Police are people too

Anti-racism protesters gathered in Croydon on Tuesday night in response to the wrongful arrest of a Black mother for bus fare evasion in front of her tearful young son.

Video footage of the woman shouting as two male Metropolitan Police officers hold her arms and handcuffed her in the south London town on 21 July has sparked fierce criticism and prompted an investigation by the police watchdog the Independent Police Conduct Authority.

The woman was arrested after being accused of failing to pay a bus fare but was later de-arrested when it was confirmed she had paid.

Around 100 people joined a demonstration outside the town’s police station to call out her treatment, organised by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR), Black Lives Matter Croydon, Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC) and RMT Black & Ethnic Minority Members on Tuesday night.

Speakers addressed the crowd to voice concerns about how the woman was treated amid a national discussion about the lack of trust in policing among Black communities.

Benjamin Clement, 53, who filmed the woman’s arrest told The Independent: “I saw just another Black person being abused by the police.”

“I just couldn’t believe the way they were handling the woman. They were trying to get her onto the floor at one point – she was so distressed and it just seemed like no one cared. Everyone was just standing around watching. So, I felt like I had to start filming.”

While Mr Clement said he was “blown away” by the public response to the video and solidarity with the woman, he said he expects similar incidents to happen in the future while a crisis in policing prevails.

“I’ve been stopped and searched; it’s happened to my kids who are in their early twenties. Nothing’s really going to change. But as a father of six, with four daughters, I had to do something.”

Following the protest, Glen Hart, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Croydon, told The Independent: “We feel that the way this woman was treated was a total abuse of authority, an act of race discrimination with impunity – and the officers tend to get away with this all the time.

“It doesn’t make sense that they would handcuff her in front of her crying child – she wasn’t a threat.

Marc Wadsworth, founder of The Liberation Movement, said: “As a Black parent in Croydon, I’m appalled at what has happened with a Black mother at a bus stop with a valid ticket to travel in front of a young child.

“But this will keep happening sadly, because there’s something rotten at the heart of the Metropolitan Police as the Louise Casey report uncovered saying that it is institutionally racist, misogynist and homophobic.”

Mr Wadsworth, who founded the Anti-Racist Alliance in 1991 which went on to become Europe’s largest Black-led movement, continued: “There will be many more cases like this: the George Floyd’s, Chris Kaba, Mark Duggan, Roger Sylvester until we clear up the s**t house which is the Met police.”

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) confirmed on Tuesday that it would investigate the response of the officers involved after it received a complaint accusing police of racially profiling the woman.

Footage posted online of the arrest shows the woman shouting “What the hell?” and “What the f*** is going on?” while handcuffed, as two male officers hold her arms.

She repeatedly asks one of the officers to let go and says “I haven’t done anything wrong”, while a member of the public filmed what is happening and asked why she is being arrested.

On Monday, Met Police Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist said: “It is clear from the video that has been shared online that this incident was distressing for the woman involved and particularly for her child.

“We understand why it has prompted significant public concern and we want to be transparent about our position and the role of our officers.”



Censorship of "Epoch Times"

"Epoch Times" is a news site run by anti-Communist Chinese living in the West

The  content is mostly mainstream conservative so the  Left do not like it one bit.  It also puts up articles critical of the official line on Covid

And I have just found out how heavily censored it is.  I took one very simple article that seemed to me to be uncontroversial and checked wheher it could be found via the main search engines.  The article was this:


Neither Google nor Bing had ever heard of it.  It did not exist as far as they were concerned.  So it would seem that there is a blanket ban on recording ANYTHING that appears on Epoch times.

I subscribe to them and I would encourage others to do likewise if you want to be fully informed. The subscription cost is small


More prosecutorial abuse

And there is no effective recourse against it. A rogue Federal prosecutor made a public announcement that ruined the lives of an innocent couple but because he interlarded everything he said with the word "allegedly" he could not be legally faulted

In the space of a few days, the couple's home was raided and they were arrested by police, close friends turned on them, and they were subjected to a barrage of vile and racist abuse from strangers.

While the online trolling came as a shock, the most frightening incident was when Mr Shehada checked his letterbox and found a Christmas card with human faeces inside.

"I was still outside the front door of my property … I found myself on my knees and I vomited," he said.

The public pile-on came after newspaper stories and a press conference organised by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), where journalists were told about childcare educators who had been charged over an alleged fraud in excess of $15 million.

Police said those involved registered fake kids — or so-called phantom children — to trick the Commonwealth into paying out large subsidies.

"This is money that belongs in the hands of our community to help care for some of our most vulnerable persons," Commander Todd Hunter told journalists on November 28, 2020.

"We allege that out of greed it has instead been used to foot the bill for extensive real estate portfolios, overseas travel and other luxury items."

The couple's faces were plastered all over the television news that night, including on the ABC. Stories showed photos of Ms Ouda sitting on a motorbike and posing in front of a Maserati.

During the press conference, Mr Hunter never explicitly said the couple were guilty of criminal offences. The veteran officer used the words "allege", "alleged" and "allegation" 15 times in his opening seven-minute address to the cameras.

Mr Hunter did not specifically name Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada either, instead saying that the "alleged syndicate leader" was a 42-year-old woman who owned a "large Victorian family day care provider". Mr Hunter also claimed a restaurant owned by the couple was allegedly being used to rort COVID-19 JobKeeper payments.

Behind the scenes, the AFP sent Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada's surnames to the media so that the details could be used to track their future court hearings.

'We did absolutely nothing wrong'

Ten months later, the AFP quietly dropped the charges against Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada.

This month, Mr Shehada told the Victorian Supreme Court the couple "knew from day one we did absolutely nothing wrong". He said he was never told why the case was discontinued by the AFP.

"Our lives were destroyed by this press conference," added Ms Ouda. "We were defamed, the entire community was turned on us and there was absolutely no foundation."

This week, the ABC also sent questions to the AFP, inquiring why the case against the pair had been abandoned. "The AFP has no comment," a spokesperson said.

Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada's frustrations were amplified because the AFP did not contact the media companies to provide the important update that the charges had been dropped. Through their lawyers, the couple sent letters to the publications asking them to take down the original stories.

By early 2023, they had commenced a new legal battle. This time it wasn't the AFP coming after Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada — the pair were seeking to turn the tables and were now suing former commander Todd Hunter and the Commonwealth for defamation, seeking a payout for damages.

Commander grilled on the stand

This month, a Supreme Court civil jury was asked to determine whether Mr Hunter's words at the press conference conveyed seven specific meanings to an "ordinary reasonable person".

The defamation lawsuit came down to a relatively simple question. From Mr Hunter's public comments alone, could a reasonable person conclude that Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada were dishonest and stole from taxpayers?

Mr Hunter, who has since retired from the AFP, rejected that suggestion. He told the jury the press conference was held to highlight the work of police, to "allay any fears" people may have had from seeing homes being raided, and to call for additional information to assist the fraud investigation.

David Gilbertson KC, acting for the couple, put a different theory to Mr Hunter. "You were by nods and winks inviting members of the media who attended the press conference to find out the names of Ola Ouda and Amjad Shehada, isn't that right?" he asked.

"I don't believe I nodded or winked at anybody," Mr Hunter replied.

Mr Hunter — whose policing career included overseas postings and coordinating major operations over four decades — was asked whether he used the press conference "to go out from the AFP on a high note".

"No," he replied flatly.

If the jury believed Mr Hunter had defamed the couple, his lawyers said they would rely on a legal defence known as qualified privilege. If required, they would argue that the press conference was an occasion where Mr Hunter was entitled to a degree of protection to speak openly, provided he was not acting with malice.

Negative publicity leaves couple 'scarred for life'

In court, Mr Shehada and Ms Ouda described the public humiliation that followed the AFP's press conference.

Mr Shehada's best friend scolded him on social media, and others made sexually-explicit comments about Ms Ouda. Their kids were bullied at school. Negative reviews were posted on Google about their Lebanese restaurant, which they later sold for a loss. Even their bank accounts were closed by ANZ and Westpac.

Mr Shehada said Ms Ouda's approval to run a childcare business was cancelled and had not been reinstated. The negative publicity meant both were still struggling to find work, he said.

During a tense cross-examination by Mr Hunter's lawyer Lisa De Ferrari SC, Ms Ouda said the ordeal had left her "scarred for life".

"We were defamed, the defamation was intentional, the defamation destroyed my life, our lives, our businesses, and that's it," she said.

When the jury retired to consider their decision, Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada stood in the sun-drenched courtyard of the historic Supreme Court precinct to ponder their futures.

A win might have resulted in a multi-million dollar payout for the couple, and potentially had a major impact on how police conducted public relations and their dealings with the media in future. A loss for Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada would pile on more misery from the previous two-and-a-half years.

At one point, Ms Ouda burst into tears and was hugged by her partner, who also broke down.

A question of meaning

On Tuesday afternoon, they were soon back in the courtroom. A verdict was in, perhaps quicker than had been anticipated.

Seven key questions were put to the jury foreperson.

Could a reasonable person conclude that Mr Hunter had identified Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada at the press conference, and made out that they were guilty of a childcare fraud? Had he outed them as criminal syndicate leaders? Did he convey that they registered phantom children and falsely claimed benefits? That they stole from taxpayers? That they committed fraud and lived a life of luxury? That their restaurant was used for further frauds? And finally, that Ola Ouda and Amjad Shehada were dishonest and unable to be trusted?

To each query, the jury's answer was "no".

It meant Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada's bid to take down Mr Hunter and the Commonwealth had fallen at the first hurdle.

The couple appeared crestfallen as they learned the defamation case would be dismissed and there would be no payment for damages. Worse still, having lost the case, Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada were ordered to pay the legal costs for the defendants.

Despite the outcome, Ms Ouda and Mr Shehada strode out of the Supreme Court defiantly, hand-in-hand.

This time, they weren't in the headlines. The story failed to make the nightly news.


Reforms needed for Australian universities -- but what reforms?

There seems to be an underlying goal in the article below to get more young people into universities.    But it coud be argued that FEWER students should go to universities. There is much more demand for tradesmen than there is for (say) social science graduates.  And the tradesmen often end up paid more.

Additionally, the emphasis on getting students from poorer backgrouds  into university may well be a waste in many cases.  Such students will often drop out, having achieved nothing. 

 Admission should be based solely on ability criteria, from senior exam results to IQ scores.  The "equity" goals can be achieved by giving financial support to able students from poor backgrounds.  But the demonstrated ability must be there or there is no point.

What I am suggesting is not blue sky.  It is exactly what the old Commonwealth Scholarship Scheme introduced by Bob Menzies in 1951 did. I benefited from it in the '60s. I was a smart kid from a poor background and sailed through my tertiary studies with that assistance.  Of the seven justices of the High Court of Australia, none was the child of a university graduate. All but one were Commonwealth scholars. 

Universities are engines of the economy, producing the research and workforce that help grow GDP. But the idea of who universities are for needs to change, says federal Education Minister Jason Clare. More than half of all jobs in Australia will need higher education qualifications by 2050, compared with 36 per cent today, according to analysis released this week in the interim report of the landmark accord review of universities. That means about twice as many people will need to go to university – including students from low socioeconomic backgrounds and the regions who typically haven’t considered tertiary education as an option.

Yet the higher education sector itself is in crisis, propped up by international student fees after decades of government funding cuts, with a heavily casualised workforce and, increasingly, experts say, an excessively corporatised executive. Some warn Australian universities have lost sight of students in their scramble to stay competitive with elite institutions around the world.

To succeed, they’ve had to get bigger. The rise of the homogenous mega-university means institutions are becoming more like “supermarkets for credentials” at the cost of specialisation, according to RMIT University’s principal adviser in institutional research, Angel Calderon.

The days of university as a transformational experience are fading, says Xavier Dupe of the National Student Union. “And it started before COVID. Universities are pushing students through a degree factory and increasingly gearing study around the priorities of big business.”

What’s needed, everyone agrees, is a complete overhaul.

Big ‘spiky’ change

The accord’s interim report lays out five priority moves to jumpstart reforms: all Indigenous students will be guaranteed a Commonwealth-supported university place when they are accepted for study; 34 new study hubs will be established in outer suburbs and regional areas; and university governing boards will be overhauled to install more people with higher education experience. A key part of the former Coalition government’s controversial Job Ready Graduates Package – which was lashed by the accord panel as disadvantaging poorer students – will be dismantled, meaning students who fail more than 50 per cent of subjects will no longer lose their Commonwealth place. And government funding agreements, which had only been guaranteed until the end of this year, will be extended into 2025.

But radical reform calls for radical ideas, says Clare, and the accord panel has also laid out a raft of “big spiky” ones that could shape the sector’s next steps ahead of its final report in December. “That’s why there’s an echidna on the front cover,” Clare quipped as the report was handed down.

The review comes at a time when NSW and Victorian universities are almost universally in deficit. The exception is the University of Sydney, which has reported an operating surplus of $1.3 billion over the past two years.

The next six months, says higher education expert Andrew Norton, is where the debate could get divisive. Some ideas flagged are especially spiky, including a proposed levy on the almost $10 billion universities make annually from international student fees, that could be used to cover gaps elsewhere such as research funding and student housing. Group of Eight universities that earn the most from international students have already slammed the idea as a tax on high-achieving institutions, even as many regional institutions voice interest.

University of Melbourne vice-chancellor Professor Duncan Maskell questions how such a levy could be fairly applied. “It costs us a lot of money to attract international students, we then use a big chunk of their fees on teaching them or building infrastructure for them,” he says. “By the time you factor all that in, there wouldn’t be much left to tax.”

Still, La Trobe University vice-chancellor Professor John Dewar says the levy idea has “a lot of merit”. The sheer scale of the changes needed demands bold moves, he says, welcoming the accord panel’s willingness to “pressure test and wargame” such ideas now to avoid unintended consequences later. For example, “a levy could lead to the cost being passed onto the students and that’d be a shame”, he says. “It already costs a lot to come here and study.”

Norton says the levy could reinforce the perception of international students as cash cows and potentially drive away a key source of revenue for the sector. What’s clear though is that there is a resource divide between many universities and, according to the accord, universities are incentivised to maximise their international student cohort, blowing out class sizes. “This can be detrimental to the student experience,” the report says.

Rich university, poor university

Reforms down the years have tried to close the equity gap and failed. Now, the accord panel says, reaching parity requires 60 per cent more students from low socio-economic backgrounds going to university, 53 per cent more from regional areas and about 11 per cent more First Nations students.

If we’re going to get there, Dewar says, “we need to pull every lever. We haven’t really had a plan for higher education in this country. We need targets.”

Clare, who is also plotting big reforms in early education and schools, says students are being failed before they reach university. Those from poorer backgrounds are three times more likely to fall behind in school and only 15 per cent go on to get degrees. “Six years ago, 83 per cent of students in public schools finished year 12,” he told the Press Club this week. “Last year it was 76 per cent. And all of this is happening at a time when finishing school is so much more important than it was in my mum and dad’s day, or mine ... If you’re a young Indigenous bloke today, you’re more likely to go to jail than university.”

These grim figures are why Norton still sees reaching equal university participation as a “pipedream” until school results and year 12 completion rates go up. In NSW, one in three public school students are now dropping out of school. “We should be realistic about what’s achievable,” says Norton.

Equity targets have been missed before, concedes Dewar, but he senses a real momentum in the sector this time, something he hopes is matched by more serious funding and policy. An independent tertiary commission to guide the reform, another spiky idea flagged by the accord, may well be needed given the amount of taxpayer money involved. “They need to hold universities accountable for targets,” says Dewar. “They need to assure the taxpayer that the results are worth it. In a busy world, no matter how much appetite the sector might have to do something, and it does have the appetite, if you’re not actually going to have your feet held to the fire over it, then it may slip.”

A second national university, this time focusing on the regions and based on the University of California model, is another idea flagged worth a discussion, Dewar says. “Under the UC model, their campuses all have a degree of autonomy, and are big unis in their own right, but they benefit from some aggregation of function that are expensive for each university to run separately.” Others question whether a federated model is needed.

Clare has said Australia would likely need more universities and new kinds of institutions, including more specialised models, to cater to the coming demand.



Student derision for concerns about sexual identity

The constant stress on the woes of sexual  minorities can get pretty tiresome and in responses to an online survey some respondents found ways of mocking it.  The earnest researchers below call that "Fascism".  The real Fascists are the ones who try  to suppress disagreement with minority concerns.  Rather good to read that the academic  journals rejected their stretched interpretations by refusing to publish the  article

Academic researchers condemned students’ irreverent and offensive responses to an LGBTQ survey, claiming the pushback indicates “fascist ideologues” are “living ‘inside the house’ of engineering and computer science.”

In an article for the Bulletin of Applied Transgender Studies, academics from Oregon State University wrote about their shock at receiving sarcasm and mockery in response to their research into undergraduate LGBTQ students studying in STEM fields. 

The team claimed 50 of 349 responses to their questionnaire on the topic contained “slurs, hate speech, or direct targeting of the research team.”

Labeling them “malicious respondents,” they adapted their project to examine how the joke responses “relate to engineering culture by framing them within larger social contexts — namely, the rise of online fascism.”

The result was the paper titled, “Attack Helicopters and White Supremacy: Interpreting Malicious Responses to an Online Questionnaire about Transgender Undergraduate Engineering and Computer Science Student Experiences.” 

The paper broke the responses down into themes like demographics, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), gender, “anti-trans, anti-queer,” racism, antisemitism, and “online hate subculture references.” Several answers contained profanity and other offensive and obscene language and many referenced memes. 

According to the article, when the “malicious” subjects were asked to fill out demographic data, “12 respondents (24%) indicated their gender as being related to a helicopter or aircraft” ranging from an “Apache Attack Helicopter” to a “V22 osprey.”

In the section declaring one’s disabilities, responses ranged from claiming to be “illiterate” to lamenting “My country is run by communists,” or even declaring that identifying as transgender is a disability in itself due to “the inability to come to terms with biological reality.”

One respondent claimed to identify as a gift card as their gender.

Under racial and ethnic identities they said, “I’m an ethnic gift card,” and for disability, the answer was “I don’t have enough gift cards.”

Other responses to questions about identity rejected the researchers’ project entirely, with answers such as “My skin color is not important,” “Come on man, these questions are stupid. Everyone is a grab bag of genetics from all over the world,” and “What else do you want to know? What I ate for breakfast. [T]his question is unnecessary.”

“Online memes associated with white nationalist and fascist movements were present throughout the data, alongside memes and content referencing gaming and ‘nerd’ culture,” the researchers further claimed.

The research team declared that the mockery they received “had a profound impact on morale and mental health,” particularly for one transgender researcher who was “already in therapy for anxiety and depression regarding online anti-trans rhetoric.”

The paper claimed that “managing the study’s data collection caused significant personal distress, and time had to be taken off the project to heal from traumatic harm” of having to read students’ responses in the survey.

The scholars concluded the “malicious responses” indicate that fascism has become a common ideology in engineering and computer science academia.

They suggested the counter response should be “social justice STEM education” that includes “perspectives on online hate radicalization and center anti-colonial, intersectional solidarity organizing as its opposition.”

The researchers appeared surprised that their own findings had been “ultimately rejected” by many academic journals, leaving them with the impression that their research decrying so-called fascism in academia is viewed by some as “irrelevant to engineering education if not alarmist.”

They claimed their research methods used “antifascist and trans/queer methodologies to transform the raw data” and “make effective interventions and transformations to our programs and institutions.”

They described “Anti-fascism” in particular as a framework that connects “contemporary fascist movements to the foundation of the U.S. as a racial project,” noting elsewhere that “White supremacy” remains ubiquitous in the U.S.

Saying the solution for the rise of fascism is to change education itself, the team wrote, “The university at its most ideal can be envisioned as ‘a central site for revolutionary struggle, a site where we can work to educate for critical consciousness’ using ‘a pedagogy of liberation.'”

It was suggested the plight of transgender citizens be used as a teachable example of “experiences with power and oppression — and that categories such as race, gender, and sexuality have roots in European colonial logics shared by fascist movements.” 

Engineering in particular, they argued, is a critical field to teach their far-left ideology because such graduates “frequently work in fields such as fossil fuels, defense, construction, and technology upon graduation, and could be taught about these field’s relationships with national and global racial capitalism and ongoing apartheid in Palestine, as an example.”



Man charged over alleged online threats of Yumi Stynes following Welcome to Sex controversy

There may be more to the abuse of Stynes than is mentioned below.  She is a very unpleasant person.  She once called the popular Kerri-Anne Kennerley a cockroach and implied that physically fit men are brainless.  And Australia is full of "racists" to her. She is half Japanese but Japanese politeness seems to have passed her by.  She comes across as a basically hostile person, not someone we would want writing books for children


A 23-year-old man has been charged by police over the alleged online harassment of TV and radio personality Yumi Stynes, co-author of Welcome to Sex, in the latest development in a week-long saga surrounding the teenage-focused book on sex and sexuality.

Welcome to Sex: Your no-silly-questions guide to sexuality, pleasure and figuring it all out, was published by Stynes and Sydney doctor Melissa Kang in May, but was this week slammed by Rachael Wong, chief executive of conservative organisation Women’s Forum Australia, who labelled it a “graphic sex guide for children”.

“For those saying the book is sex education, there is a huge difference between giving children age-appropriate information, and prematurely exposing them to graphic, highly sexualised material,” Wong told this masthead this week.

Big W this week pulled the book from its physical stores after its staff reportedly received abuse from members of the public. However, it is still selling the book online.

On Instagram on Friday, Stynes posted multiple screenshots purporting to show death and rape threats directed toward her since the book’s release. They are too graphic to be reported.

On the same day, a 23-year-old man was arrested and charged over alleged threats made to Stynes online.

“Officers from Leichhardt Police Area Command commenced an investigation over the alleged online threats to a 48-year-old woman,” a NSW Police spokesperson said.

“Following inquiries, a 23-year-old man was arrested at Balmain Police Station [on Friday].

“He was then taken to Newtown Police Station, where he was charged with one count of use carriage service to menace/harass/offend.”

Stynes has rigorously defended the book – which has been immensely popular, reaching the top of the Amazon charts this week, and temporarily selling out on the platform – saying the book needed to be written.

“We really have a lot of credentials [to write the book],” said Stynes, who hosts the ABC podcast Ladies, We Need to Talk. “We’ve got an army of professors, who fact-checked and contributed to the book. So for people to try and shame us or make us feel like we haven’t done the work, it’s just really misguided. It does make me think that they’re taking a leaf out of the book of Trumpism and fearmongering there.”

The book is the fourth in a series of guides for teens, with earlier publications titled Welcome to Your Period, Welcome to Consent, and Welcome to Your Boobs.

Speaking to 2GB this week, Women’s Forum Australia’s Wong said the book’s contents was “so, so disturbing”.

“Material likes this tends to destroy [children’s innocence about sex],” she said. “[Stores] need to take this book off their shelves.

“I say [to] Big W: take this book down; otherwise we’re not going to shop at your store.”

The man was granted bail and will appear at Downing Centre Local Court on Friday August 11.


An anonymous site enables even highly educated people to say "incorrect" things

As far as one can tell, it is realism that is being described as "toxic" below.  Saying that men and women are born different and that blacks have a lower average IQ is pure reality but the Leftist elite have managed to demonize any mention of such things.  So it is actually rather good that there is a place where people can describe reality freely

Anonymous comments with racist, sexist and abusive messages that were posted for years on a jobs-related website for economists originated from numerous leading US universities, according to research released Thursday.

Some economists have long condemned the website, Economics Job Market Rumors, for its toxic content.

The site, known by its acronym EJMR, is run by an anonymous individual and is not connected to a university or other institution.

That fact had fed speculation that those who posted hateful messages on it were mostly online cranks who might not be economists.

Yet the new research indicates that users of the website include individuals at top-tier colleges and universities, including Harvard, Stanford and the University of Chicago, and many others.

“Our analysis reveals that the users who post on EJMR are predominantly economists, including those working in the upper echelons of academia, government, and the private sector,” the paper concluded. It was written by Florian Ederer, a management professor at Boston University, Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham, a finance professor at the Yale School of Management, and Kyle Jensen, an associate dean at Yale.

“It’s not just a few bad apples,” Ederer said in a presentation Thursday at a conference sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Mass. “It’s very, very widespread. And the toxicity is widespread.”

The revelations have provoked debate on social media among economists about privacy, free speech and online abuse.

Some economists, particularly women who have been attacked on the site, say they hope the revelations lead colleges and universities to investigate the postings.

Others have expressed concern that the research could lead to a “witch hunt” among those who posted on the site.

Speaking in an interview with The Associated Press, Goldsmith-Pinkham sought to dispel those concerns, saying the group does not plan on “releasing anything identifying” individuals.

Nearly 2,000 people watched a livestream of the paper’s presentation Thursday on YouTube.

That was far more than the 100 or so who watched other NBER presentations the same day, suggesting widespread interest in the topic among academic economists.

Some economists, particularly women who have been attacked on the site, say they hope the revelations lead colleges and universities to investigate the postings. Above, Harvard University.

The bigoted content on the website makes women and nonwhite economists often feel unwelcome in a profession that is already struggling to diversify, Goldsmith-Pinkham said.

Black Americans, for example, are more likely to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics or other social sciences than in economics.

“The idea that in an anonymous space, people behave in this way, it reflects pretty poorly on the profession,” Goldmsith-Pinkham said.

The researchers used publicly available data to determine the internet addresses for about two-thirds of the more than 7 million posts that have been made on the site since 2010.

They classified about 10% of those posts as “toxic” because of their racist or sexist content.

These posts included the use of racial slurs and assertions that women have smaller brains than men.

About 11% of the postings on EJMR, the researchers found, originated from among several hundred universities, including those they classified as the top 25 research universities.

On average, 13% of the posts from universities were considered toxic.

“Things were WAY better when women were focused on rearing children and feeding their husbands,” said one post highlighted by the researchers.

“The biggest enemies of America are: Blks,” read another.

The site has drawn criticism since at least 2017, when Alice Wu, an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote a paper highlighting the sexist nature of many of the postings on the site.


Does cricket suffer from ‘institutional racism’?

Cricket has always had some moral claims so this is a potential real issue. Cricket was long regarded as a gentleman's game and the social instincts of the British upper class became the official and unofficial laws of cricket. Some things were simply "not done" and a man must never "go too far". It was a coherent ethical system but was vague at many points so could break down. Examples

1). "Bodyline bowling" by English sides designed to get ace Australian cricketer Donald Bradman out were widely deplored.

2). Underarm bowling by an Australian cricketer designed to confuse an opposing batsman at the last minute were raged against by many.

3). And Sri Lankan bowler Muralitharan's "action" was widely criticised as he did not always keep his arm exactly straight.

4). And dare I mention the recent controversy over an English batsman being dismissed when he left his crease prematurely?

So there are big social issues in cricket but the unfounded accusations mentioned below are not one of them. Underarm bowling is much more serious

What a strange document the Independent Commission on Equity in Cricket (ICEC) has produced, in its ‘Holding up a mirror to cricket’ report. Rambling, explicitly political, antagonistic and poorly-argued, it ignores some obvious explanations for the ills it discusses, and fixates on irrelevancies. The authors situate their conclusions within the world of intersectionality and other well-worn academic buzzwords. This limits the usefulness of its conclusions because every problem is shoehorned into a particular framework, rather than being carefully considered on its own terms.

Take, for example, the identification of a severe decline in cricket participation by black Britons. ‘Holding up a mirror to cricket’ ascribes this decline to various causes, but an obvious structural reason – namely, the changing composition of the black British population – is not even considered. Two or three decades ago most black Britons had Afro-Caribbean heritage. Nowadays black Britons increasingly have backgrounds in places like West Africa, where cricket is relatively unpopular compared to the West Indies – and even in the West Indies the popularity of cricket is not what it once was. This is not, of course, the whole story, but it is certainly a significant part.

This is not careful analysis but blunt ideological prescription

Similarly, the report totally ignores one of the most significant barriers to the popularity of cricket among young people of both sexes and all races: the disappearance of almost all live cricket from free-to-air television. I am only 40, and well into my adult life all home Test Matches were shown in full on terrestrial TV. If the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), who asked the ICEC to prepare this report, are really interested in sparking a love of cricket among children from diverse backgrounds, they could do a good deal worse than giving ball-by-ball broadcast rights back to the BBC or Channel 4.

The ICEC call for parity in remuneration for men’s and women’s cricket. Entirely absent from their deliberations, if we can call them that, is the simple recognition that women’s cricket is less popular – and hence less lucrative – than the men’s game. Stokes, Root and co. pack out stadiums, and people pay well into three figures for tickets to watch them play. The TV rights are worth a fortune. Now it might plausibly be argued that women’s cricket is only unpopular because of historic discrimination and the patriarchal history of the game. Even if that is true, the fact remains that the women’s cricket funding gap is to do with the laws of the market and is not simply the result of unfair discrimination or old-fashioned attitudes.

This naivete about commercial aspects is matched by a general refusal to be honest about the realistic constraints on participation in cricket. No doubt there is a good deal more that can be done to open up the game to those from less privileged backgrounds. But this is not easy. Cricket is a technically complex, expensive, time-consuming game to play and organise. That is no one’s fault. It is the nature of the beast. There are ways round these difficulties, but we are not going to find them by searching for people to blame, or by the invocation of trendy but vague spectres like ‘institutional racism’.

Overall there is a noticeable, and remarkable, strain of animosity running through much of the report. I have read a good many reports by various organisations, on all kinds of subjects. I cannot recall encountering one which singles out specific responses to a consultation for scolding, as ICEC have seen fit to do. That scolding is followed up with a passive-aggressive dig at anyone with reservations about the authors’ worldview, which reveals that they have no serious interest in any discussion which does not confirm their prior assumptions.

This animosity manifests in the report’s conjuring of a pantomime villain – the so-called Type K, a white straight ‘cisgender’ privately-educated able-bodied white male – but also in its frankly unpleasant elision of conservative preferences about the game with racial bigotry and animus. So people who don’t like, for example, Twenty20 or loud music at cricket grounds, and prefer ‘batsman’ to ‘batter’, are described as holding the game back, with a strong implication of nefarious motives.

Working through certain sections of ‘Holding up a mirror to cricket’, one senses a deep antipathy to anything remotely redolent of Old Britain; anything which lies outside the ambit of the modern managerial state. The ultimate aim of the report, consciously or not, is to place the entire ecosystem of English cricket – from the village sides turning out three times a year for a beer match, through the clubs and schools and counties, right up to the Test team – under the direct control of political commissars. Every traditional institution must be brought to heel, to satisfy the complicated resentments of Britain’s new elites, and the mechanism for this process is the laundering of left-wing political conclusions via supposedly independent reports. If you doubt this, note the recommendation that the Spirit of Cricket section in the Laws be rewritten to directly embed the equality, diversity and inclusivity ideology.

This agenda is most obvious in the ICEC’s persistent hostility to two of the oldest sporting fixtures in Britain, the Eton v Harrow and Oxford v Cambridge matches, held at Lord’s every summer. ‘As a Commission’, they announce with comic grandiosity: ‘we are clear that the Historic Fixtures should end, whether or not there is room for them in the Lord’s fixture list.’ The authors barely bother to hide their indignation at the members of the Marylebone Cricket Club, which owns Lord’s, for daring to continue with the fixtures after the Committee attempted to end them.

It is worth dwelling on what exactly is being said here. ICEC’s position is not that the MCC should expand access to their facilities to non-Oxbridge universities or to schools other than Eton and Harrow. It is not that the so-called Historic Fixtures are taking up room in the schedule that could be used for more inclusive events. These are both defensible positions. Rather, their position is that the matches should be stopped outright regardless of any other consideration, i.e. that the MCC – a 236 year old voluntary association in a nominally free country – should be compelled to end a tradition which has endured for two centuries. We are not given any serious indication of how this would improve the inclusivity of cricket, for the simple reason that it wouldn’t, in the same way that the destruction of grammar schools did not improve standards in comprehensives. The game is well and truly given away by the report’s blunt statement that the Historic Fixtures ‘no longer have a place in contemporary Britain.’ This is not careful analysis but blunt ideological prescription.

Scepticism about these kind of reports is liable to be construed as indifference to real problems. That is certainly not my position. Obviously there are genuine serious barriers to participation in cricket for some minorities, alongside other structural issues – although it’s worth noting that ‘Holding up a mirror to cricket’ builds a large superstructure of conclusion on a fairly flimsy foundation of self-reported and subjective experience, which the ICEC was unable and unwilling to subject to any kind of meaningful scrutiny or analysis.

But equally, we cannot simply roll over in the face of reports that draw tendentious and highly political conclusions based on faulty reasoning. If ICEC really claim to be holding up a mirror to English cricket, all I can say is that we are seeing through a glass, darkly.


New national legislation targets U.S. loneliness crisis: 'It’s irresponsible for policymakers to continue ignoring this epidemic'

I do agree that it is a problem.  Ever since "The Lonely Crowd" by Riesman et al. in 1950, it has been accepted that loneliness is one of the regrettable effects of modern society.  That the government might be able to fix it is however a surprising proposition.  Surely social connections are ineluctably personal.  It is notable, however, that the proposition comes from a Democrat  

Conservatives are generally better off when it comes to avoiding loneliness.  They usually have church, military and valued family connections, whereas Leftists often have none of those.  Conservatives are by far the most likely to stress the family whereas Leftists from Karl Marx onward have tended to deplore the family.  And when Leftists do have families, they will often be such miserable souls that their families will tend to avoid them. The world is all wrong to a Leftist

Nonetheless anybody can lose social connections through death, illness and much else so the problem is not confined to Leftists.  At my age (80) half of my friends are dead and I do feel that loss.  I have always however managed to have good relationships with women and I still do.  And that helps big-time.  I even got myself a bright and attractive new girlfriend 18 months ago and we have become firmly attached.  My lifelong appreciation of women is still having benefits.  I recommend it.

This week, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced national legislation to address the loneliness epidemic. 

“Loneliness is one of the most serious, misunderstood problems facing America today. It may not sound like a problem government should care about, but I believe it’s irresponsible for policymakers to continue ignoring this epidemic,” Murphy said in a press release on the legislation released Tuesday. 

The proposed legislation, the National Strategy for Social Connection Act, would require the White House to have an Office of Social Connection Policy to advise the President and “work across federal agencies to develop effective strategies for improved social infrastructure and issue national guidelines for social connection similar to existing guidelines on sleep, nutrition, and physical activity,” according to the senator’s press release. Improving social connections in transportation systems, housing environments, and schools is a part of the act.

This legislation comes on the heels of the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy’s advisory on the healing effects of social connection and community earlier this year. 

“The harmful consequences of a society that lacks social connection can be felt in our schools, workplaces, and civic organizations, where performance, productivity, and engagement are diminished,” the advisory read. “We are called to build a movement to mend the social fabric of our nation…each of us can start now, in our own lives, by strengthening our connections and relationships.” 

At Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference in Marina del Rey, Calif., in April, Murthy said loneliness was a public health crisis. It increases the risk of developing heart disease, dementia, and mental health issues, and its health consequences are comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day. 

“The pandemic has had a number of invisible costs in our country, and the increase in loneliness, the increase in mental health strain, these are part of those costs,” Murthy said at the conference. Nearly 25% of adults 65 and older are socially isolated, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

“The data is clear about the risks to our physical and psychological health, though before the introduction of this act, we appeared stagnant as a nation to take this on,” Dr. Jeff Katzman, the Director of Education at Silver Hill Hospital, tells Fortune. Katzman studied human relationships and psychiatry and recently attended the Hull International Loneliness Conference in England.

“The concept of loneliness hasn’t been a true component of the mental health conversation—not part of the diagnostic lexicon, not a real target of prevention strategies, and evidence-based interventions lacking organization into a guideline for care.”

The success of this type of legislation will be seen in the ability to address loneliness across generations within systems and communities to instill a sense of belonging and trust, Katzman says. 

“We need to consider those interventions that can help facilitate trust and assist individuals in abandoning practices of isolation that may have become comfortable yet dangerous and ultimately self-punishing,” he says. 

The act would also ensure funding for the CDC's research on the effects of social isolation.


Nazi salutes, memes and assaults: Jewish students say Australian state schools unsafe

The article below is careful not to mention it but this would almost certainly be the Muslim influence at work. "Mein Kampf" still sells well in Turkey and such places. The problem is exacerbated in Melbourbne because Melbourne has a substantial Jewish population. Unlike Europe, Antisemitism is not a part of traditional Australian culture

Every day for five weeks at school, a 13-year-old boy says he was greeted with abuse, including heil Hitlers and being called a “dirty Jew” – a reminder that members of his family were murdered by Nazis.

He’s one of three students at three separate Melbourne public schools who say they have experienced antisemitic bullying that was so extreme their parents are pulling them out. They encountered swastikas, Nazi salutes and even physical assaults and were called “Jewboy” or “dirty Jew” and sent memes involving Hitler.

Two of the students became withdrawn, refused to go to school and couldn’t get out of bed. Another said he no longer told people about his Jewish background.

Their families say the response from both the schools and Education Department did not go far enough to stamp out the behaviour, or treat the matters as seriously as they should have. One family decided to go to the police because they felt the school was not responding quickly enough.

Adi Rozen, the mother of 14-year-old Jewish student Jackie, who went to Brighton Secondary College and was in its Select Entry Accelerated Learning program, said the bullying was so bad her daughter sometimes would not get out of bed.

Jackie was in a STEM class with five girls and 15 boys and had planned to do the International Baccalaureate program earlier this year.

Rozen said Jackie had a swastika drawn on her desk, had a note thrown at her that said “Jewish Rat” and was sent memes showing Hitler as the shark in Jaws.

A copy of Anne Frank’s novel, The Diary of a Young Girl, which documents the life of a young Jewish girl in hiding under Nazi persecution, was held aloft in the school library by a girl asking when the Nazis were comings.

Rozen was also concerned that other students were passive bystanders and wanted the school to show a zero tolerance to antisemitism.

“ I wanted the kids to know it happened, not names, but something that happened to the point a child has felt compelled to leave the school and seriously and emotionally damaged.”

When contacted for a response, the three schools referred The Sunday Age to the Education Department, which was sent a list of questions about its responses, including what policies were in place to combat antisemitism and what support was in place for the targets of such bullying.

A Department of Education spokesperson said any antisemitic behaviour in schools was “distressing and disturbing and taken extremely seriously”.

“We work closely with the Victorian Jewish community to strengthen our zero-tolerance approach to antisemitism,” he said.

Anti-Defamation Commission chairman Dvir Abromovich said he heard concerns “almost daily” about incidents of antisemitic harassment and abuse in Victorian schools.

“These cases are just the tip of the iceberg and are symptomatic of something very troubling that is taking place in Victoria,” he said.

“For too many Jewish students, attending a public school is nothing short of a nightmare, as lives have been ruined because schools have failed us all.”

In unrelated incidents, Brighton Secondary College and the Education Department are awaiting a Federal Court judgment on a case against the state in which five former students alleged the school did not protect them from antisemitic discrimination and bullying.

A former Brunswick Secondary College student, 13, who asked not to be identified to avoid further harassment, claims he was subject to a five-week “campaign” of antisemitic bullying.

The year 7 student said the bullying began just three weeks into the first term this year after a group discussion about cultural backgrounds during which he said he had Jewish heritage.

He said he was confronted with heil Hitlers, a student drawing swastikas on a desk and at one point was held down, hit and kicked while another student tried to draw a swastika on his leg. The boy, who can speak German, said a student used Google to translate “all Jews should be exterminated” and “go back to the camps” into that language.

Most of it happened in the classroom, he said, but he would also get “sly tackled” on the sports field.

“It was constant every day, he was drawing the same thing [swastikas] on the table ... saluting me [the heil Hitler] the entire time,” he said.

“They never said my normal name. My nickname was ‘dirty Jew’ or ‘Jew’ or ‘Jewboy’. ”

The student was worried that going to the teachers about the bullying would make him a stronger target, but after five weeks his parents found out.

The boy’s father John, who asked not to include his surname to avoid his son being bullied again, said the boy’s great-grandmother and great-grandfather were murdered by Nazis during World War II. John’s own father escaped the Holocaust in 1938. He still has his father’s star-shaped Jewish badge.

After contacting the school and not getting a response for 24 hours, John decided to go to the police.

“Then the dialogue with the school just started after we sort of had to approach the police. It wasn’t just verbal or punchy and so on. It was physical. And it was abusive.”

The school set up a safety plan, but John said it was too late.

John decided not to go through with police charges to spare his son the trauma of the process.

“I did actually say to them in 35 years of experiencing schools in three different countries, this is the worst case of antisemitism I’ve come across,” he said.

Another student, 12, who attends Rowville Secondary Sports Academy, said antisemitic attacks began on the third week of February this year.

The boy’s father, who asked not to be named to protect his son’s identity – said his son was called a “filthy Jew” and told “all of you were supposed to die standing in a line and raising your hands up” and saw students doing the heil Hitler.

“It’s almost every day, every day it would have been something else,” he said.

The boy’s father said one teacher was aware of it from the first week and told the students to stop, which he believes had no impact. He claims he called the school for weeks before he had a response and felt the consequences and educative responses were not strong enough.

“Look this is racism. This is the worst. It’s not bullying,” he said.

“One time is one time too many. I don’t want other students to have deal with this the way my son did.”

Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-chief executive officer Peter Wertheim said he did not think there were strong enough policies in Victorian state schools to support Jewish students. The number of antisemitic incidents reported across Australia in 2022 was the highest in a decade, with 478 incidents – a 6.9 per cent increase from 2021.

In June last year, Victoria became the first state to ban the public display of the Nazi symbol. Under proposed federal laws, people who display or trade Nazi hate symbols would also face up to 12 months in jail.

It is mandatory for Victorian government schools to teach students about the Holocaust as part of the level 9/10 history curriculum.


MSNBC roasted for article linking physical fitness to white supremacy

There is a brilliant specimen of dishonest Leftist argumentation below. What the author says is broadly true: The Nazis did stress physical fitness -- but but that does not show that ALL devotees of physical fitness are Nazis. "Some" does not equal "all".

In the paranoid fantasy world inhabited by leftists, there are few things that aren’t viewed as being impacted by the phantom threat of white supremacy and MSNBC invited an onslaught of ridicule upon itself for tweeting out an article sounding the alarm that staying in shape could be a sign a person might be a neo-Nazi.

On Monday, the leftist cable network posted a link to an article that was originally written last year by Cynthia Miller-Idriss who is proclaimed to be an “expert on extremism” in which she claimed “white supremacists’ latest scheme to valorize violence and hypermasculinity has gone digital” and that the far-right is exploiting physical fitness as a means to lure new recruits.

“The intersection of extremism and fitness leans into a shared obsession with the male body, training, masculinity, testosterone, strength and competition,” the article states.

In the article, which appeals to both the physical and mental slothfulness of MSNBC’s audience, the author sets the tone by invoking a familiar figure who is often used by intellectually lazy leftists to smear people with whom they disagree.

According to Miller-Idriss, “Physical fitness has always been central to the far right. In ‘Mein Kampf,’ Hitler fixated on boxing and jujitsu, believing they could help him create an army of millions whose aggressive spirit and impeccably trained bodies, combined with ‘fanatical love of the fatherland,’ would do more for the German nation than any ‘mediocre’ tactical weapons training.”

“With recruitment now moving from physical gyms to chat rooms, livestreamed fights, tournaments, festivals, and even combat sports video games, we’re seeing extremist fighting culture being combined with an entertainment culture that already valorizes violence and hypermasculinity,” she wrote.

The network’s tweeting out of the article and its ridiculous assertion was rightfully roasted by Twitter users with some big names weighing in.

“MSNBC thinks you’re a nazi if you work out lmaooo,” tweeted Tesla/SpaceX CEO and “Chief Twit” Elon Musk.


Why Qld construction code change will jack house prices up another $70k

Cost of living concern? The Leftist government is much more interested in telling people what to do than they are in controlling the cost of living. They are authoritarians, not compassionate

Building industry leaders are fuming following the government’s announcement that Queensland’s adoption of the National Construction Code changes will only add 2 per cent onto the price of new home builds, saying their own calculations put prices up as far as $70,000.

The Courier-Mail on Monday revealed the price of building an average Queensland home would go up roughly $20,000, which Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni quickly refuted, claiming prices would only increase about 2 per cent.

But after speaking with various builders including Metricon, Brighton Homes and Plantation Homes, as well as Master Builders Australia and the Housing Industry Australia, The Courier-Mail can confirm house price will actually increase between $10,000 and $70,000.

Plans which show material changes to meet higher energy efficiency standards and spatial modifications to increase accessibility indicate costs to make homes more accessible will sit far higher than government estimates.

Builders say insulation alone would add thousands onto home designs, with further money spent on things like window glazing, window framing and fans to bring homes up to the seven star energy rating.

Industry stakeholders have argued accessibility and liveability measures should go ahead on October 1, but energy efficiency measures should be delayed until next year to give builders time to prepare, but also to allow energy efficient products to be manufactured in high volumes, allowing them to be purchased cheaply in bulk.

Here is a breakdown explanation of exactly how the two significant changes coming in on October 1 will affect both builders and future homeowner builders - including what exactly will cost more, and how long Queenslanders have to buy old home designs before prices skyrocket or they disappear altogether.

Examples of modifications made to Metricon’s single storey Freedom home include:

-Increase passage ways to accommodate wider doorways

-Raising floors for flush transition, levelling the home throughout

-Accessible bathrooms and toilets large enough for circulation space

-Hinged doors replaced by cavity sliding doors, including pockets and gliders

-Reducing window sizes, while also maintaining light efficiency and safety, for example, having four protection screens in second storey windows allowing them to be opened fully

-Using better performing glass

-Window frames with less aluminium

-Loose fill insulation

-Ventilation and air movement strategies like additional ceiling fans

Price breakdown:

Brighton Homes chief executive Brad Collins said high costs in Queensland were coming from insulation, tinted glazing and “fans in every room”.

“Some homes depending on block orientation will require further enhancements and, in some cases will not be able to be built, as the home will be unable to meet energy requirements,” he said.

“As a guide we would expect single storey to start around $20,000 and doubles up to $40,000 or more.

Mr Collins argued that energy efficiency measures alone would add a “minimum cost” of $20,000 onto a new home build

“The costs come from increased cost of glazing windows and increased use of insulation for walls and ceiling,” he said.

“(It) will far outweigh the claimed energy efficiency the home will produce. When you look at interest rates alone on extra borrowings to meet the requirements the customer is further behind.”

Metricon design director, Adrian Popple said the additional costs for Metricon were averaging $20,000 with their luxury homes expected to increase by $35-$40,000.

He said costings were due to the finer details, which all homes needed, but some more than others depending on size

“For us to redesign our homes to accommodate those larger areas takes a lot of time and cost to us,” Mr Popple said.

“It’s massive and they don’t talk about this but this is where the cost comes from.

“A 50mm difference between door sizes doesn’t sound like a lot but it means new doors will have to be manufactured, and they will add costs until they become the new standard.

“Giving the industry time to adapt and get their heads around it and procure these materials in a high volume will help reduce costs.”

Metricon has been busy redesigning their national portfolio for two years, splitting up which homes would remain available in each state and territory based on individual climate cost efficiency to keep them there.

“We build thousands of homes around Australia every year and are probably better positioned than most but the cost is the cost - it’s the same for any other builder,” Mr Popple said.


Harvard's Jews

There is a long article by Martin Perez that charts the Jewish presence at Harvard from its beginnings to fairly recent times. Link below:

And what it vividly catalogues is how influential Jewish thinkers were in the social sciences during that time. Virtually all the big ideas in that field came for a long time from Jewish thinkers. And broadly Leftist ideas became chracteristic of them

During my own academic career I encountered those thinkers obliquely. To do social psyhology or sociology was to engage with Jewish thinkers. Social science was simply Jewish with all the notable writers being Jews. But the writers concerned rarely mentioned their Jewishness. From a casual perpective they were just smart Americans.

I was a long way from Harvard but the Jewishness of the writers was still plain to me and I occasionally made cautious mention of it in my own writings.

Where the Jewishness of the writer was not openly acknowledged, I was usually still aware of it. I knew German, so Ashekenazi surnames stood out. I knew, for instance, what strangely derisive surnames like Goldberg and Finkelstein meant. They were mocking names given by Prussian border guards to refugess from Eastern European pogroms. So if you knew German, most American Jewish surnames shouted of their Jewishness. Some names were a bit of a puzzle. "Kren" for instance did not seem at all Jewish -- until you realized that it was Southern German dialect for horseradish. Yes. Some German Jews walked around being known as "Mr Horseradish".

And in my own research and writing I focused on another Ashkenazi body of thought -- not principally the Harvard authors but rather the group of very Marxist refugees from Germany's prewar Frankfurt school. I took an interest in their "authoritarianism" theory, principally authored by Theodor Wiesengrund, aka Adorno. It was a theory taken with great seriousness by most social psychological thinkers at the time and still has some following to this day.

But it was a total absurdity. It said that authoritarianism was fundamentally derived from conservatism. The huge example of authoritarianism on the world scene at the time was the Soviet union, which was undiputably Leftist. Yet authoritarianism was somehow conservative to most American Jewish scholars.

I spent a a lot of time pointing out the flaws in that theory in my writings but I was largely wasting my time. Leftist theories are reality-blind. If it sounds good to them it is true, pesky evidence regardless.

So my reflection on the history that Martin Perez has put out is great sadness: So many smart people were so foolish. The Jewish influence was great but produced so little of abiding worth. The attractions of Leftism neutered some great brains

I am pleased to note however that time seems to have had a corrective influence. Articles that I wrote as far back as 1970 are now widely read and favorably commented on -- though not usually by Jewish authors. Realism seem to be slowly replacing delusion. My British empiricism may eventually win the day -- JR.


In praise of NIMBYism

I am not sure that I completely  agree with Judith Sloan (below).   We have to put new settlers somewhere and the alternative to increased urban density is urban spawl.  And urban sprawl means subjecting millions of people to hours in traffic every week day.  There are surely better uses of people's time. 

I heartily agree however that a house with a back yard is the ideal place to raise a family.  I grew up in such places as did my son.  But is a back yard two hours drive from your place of work worth it?  The work from home movement may be the solution for some

A possible compromise might be to allow upward expansion in the more recently developed suburbs, which already have some taller buildings

NIMBYism is a term of unclear origin. The phrase ‘not in my backyard’ apparently first appeared in print in the Christian Science Monitor, a fact I just love. Initially, it had a narrow meaning, referring to a community’s understandable reluctance to have dangerous facilities located near their dwellings – think toxic waste dumps, in particular.

But it quickly morphed into a term of derision used by progressives to ram unwelcome and unsightly developments down the throats of those who have the temerity to prefer their neighbourhoods to retain their core features and character.

The uncontested argument is that well-heeled residents in leafy suburbs who object to the construction of multi-storey, dogbox apartment buildings located on every corner of their neighbourhood should be ignored. Their complaints can just be filed away; compulsory acquisitions can be used if required.

These left-wing types have even dreamt up a new term – YIMBism – yes, in my backyard. Oh, please! Mind you, I’m yet to see too many examples of YIMBism, with protestors out on the street passionately chanting away: what to do want? more high-rises/ when do we want them? now.

Let me put another spin on NIMBYism and suggest that protecting the nature of your local neighbourhood is a perfectly legitimate reaction to maniacal town-planners and lefty zealots. When you buy a property, it’s not just the actual dwelling you are purchasing, it’s also its location and the character of the precinct in which it is located. In other words, the property rights extend beyond the boundaries of the residence.

Of course, no one expects a neighbourhood to remain unchanged. There will always be changes, improvements even. But there is a completely reasonable expectation on the part of residents that the neighbourhood will alter only at the margin and its essential character – be it large family homes, cheek-by-jowl terrace houses or mixed accommodation – will stay relatively unchanged.

In the past, these broader property rights were supported by legally binding restrictive covenants that limited the type and number of developments that could occur in a neighbourhood. While these are no longer common, there are still plenty of examples of planning restrictions that meet the preferences of most residents.

In the Noosa region, for example, there are strict limits on apartment developments, with high-rise buildings not allowed. In nearby Peregian Beach, no apartments developments are permitted, with the rule being one dwelling per lot. In many parts of the Mornington Peninsular in Victoria, there are restrictions on the type of dwellings that can be constructed. Indeed, there are many, many examples of these restrictions right across the country.

The real problems arise in the big cities where newly arrived migrants tend to settle and there is clearly insufficient housing to accommodate the surge. Of course, an obvious solution is for governments to restrict the annual migrant intakes to ensure that there is some balance between demand for new housing and supply.

The point is often made that it’s the federal government that sets migrant numbers and the rules by which they enter. But it’s the state governments – and, it has to be admitted, local governments – that are responsible for planning and other housing-related regulations.

Having said this, in recent times, state governments have been wholly supportive of the migration policies of the federal government. There is scope for state governments to influence this policy, but the reality has been most have sought additional numbers under state-based visas. Any practical problems associated with massive numbers of migrants arriving at the same time are largely ignored. The lure of more voters and unskilled/semi-skilled workers is particularly strong for most state governments.

The induced housing shortage is fertile ground for illiberal types to trammel on the property rights of existing residents by claiming that any planning restrictions are simply selfish and unjustified. The good folk down at the Grattan Institute are noisy advocates of this approach. They want all planning restrictions in the desirable middle suburbs in the big cities lifted so high-rise buildings can be erected to accommodate the masses.

It’s only fair, they say. Everyone – OK, not quite everyone – should be able to live in these suburbs with their amenities and proximity to the CBD and good transport links.We can be like New York or Hong Kong. Even London would do. Of course, had large numbers of residents of Melbourne or Sydney wanted to live like New Yorkers, they could have always relocated to New York.

Our local council in Melbourne actually does a reasonable job at defending these broader property rights, but the state government has assumed all planning rights in respect of properties located on arterial roads as defined by the state government. (Cute, hey?)

The result has been that many of the larger homes on these arterial roads have been torn down and replaced by apartment buildings, admittedly with only two or three storeys. The developers just love it.

But here’s the thing: where the block of land once accommodated four or six people, it now accommodates at least twenty. Everything else has essentially stayed the same – roads, parking, services, schools and the like – but there are now many more people using the infrastructure. And just in case you think this policy offers up affordable housing, these newly constructed apartments cost a pretty penny. It’s hard to know what the point is.

Talking of developers getting their own way, you just have to take a look at what is happening in Sydney under the newly elected Minns Labor government. The Premier can’t get enough of high-rise building towers. In what is an unworkable approach, developers promise that a certain percentage of dwellings will be ‘affordable’, at which point the sky’s the limit (geddit?).

Whether or not people, particularly those with young families, want to live in these towers is another matter. But, of course, if that’s all that is available, they will take it.

This brings me to the other item I want to praise: the backyard. Given our temperate climate, there really is no better model for child-rearing than time spent in the backyard. Out the backdoor, playing with siblings and neighbours, a dash indoors for a drink and snack, back for more play. It’s the ideal life for young’uns.

But for those cooped up in apartments, mum or dad will need to accompany the kids to a nearby park (if there is one), even though they are very busy. The alternative is to bring out the screens and allow the children to play mindless (and potentially dangerous) virtual games all day. I vote for the backyard (along with the Hills Hoist) any day.



Is the Northern English city of York racist? A "report" says it is

As Paul says in Titus 1:15:  

"Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled."

The condemnation of York is readily understood as the product of defiled minds  -- minds that WANT to find racism under every bed

A small historical  note:  The report says:

"there were high status and wealthy people in York from all over the Roman Empire, including North Africa"

That happens to be true.  But note that both in ancient times and to this day, the indigenous North African population is WHITE.  The Roman empire did not extend into Sub-Saharan Africa, the home of blacks

Families are spread out on the grass beneath one of our greatest cathedrals. In the meandering lanes and alleyways hereabouts, crowds drift happily past handsome shop fronts selling everything from expensive watches to fudge.

The Sunday market is teeming, the adjacent food market is packed and there is plenty of boat traffic on the grand old River Ouse.

Farther out from the city centre, it's like a Sunday afternoon in suburbs all over the country. Some people are mowing the lawn. Some are in the pub following the fortunes of English cricket up the road at Headingley.

It is hard to acknowledge that behind this veneer of balmy weekend contentment in the capital of 'God's own country', I am looking at a city mired in bigotry and xenophobia.

That, however, is the conclusion of a hefty report by something calling itself Inclusive Equal Rights UK (IERUK), which has just come to a pretty damning conclusion: 'Racism in York is casual, systemic, and structural.'

Citing multiple disparities in everything from education to employment and policing, with anecdotal evidence, this alarming document, funded by the Labour-run city council, paints a picture of a place closer to Alabama circa 1955 than 21st-century Yorkshire.

The council clearly agrees, since it has just given the authors £25,000 to pursue their findings as part of a five-year strategy to make York an 'Anti-Racist City'.

The evidence, we are told, is beyond reproach. 'The five-year anti-racism strategy, actions and recommendations are entirely based on data and research collected, collated and analysed,' says IERUK, which claims to have undertaken a 'deep dive' into all official statistics before drawing its very grave conclusions. 'The evidence clearly shows the imbalances, injustice, and violence towards many minority communities in the city.

'It is now time to acknowledge that systemic racism and prejudice are prevalent in the City of York.'

But before we invite the commissars to erect the 'cancel' signs around this ancient city of Romans, Vikings, medieval architecture, Quakers, chocolate, railways and horse-racing, it seems only proper to take a closer look.

And two things stand out right away. First, this is not a York which chimes with any of the people whom I have been talking to this weekend (including members of these allegedly persecuted minorities).

Second, you need only undertake your own 'deep dive' to see that this data is extremely selective and in, some cases, even flawed.

Nor, despite its grand name, is IERUK any sort of national organisation. It is a York-based grass roots campaign focused exclusively on local minorities and is not comprehensive. Its website acknowledges it has yet to recruit anyone from either the Jewish or Chinese communities.

And there are plenty of people here who think its conclusions, however well-intentioned, are plain wrong.

'People are nice round here. It's a happy place — no racism. I'd say 99 per cent are good people,' says Zahaad Latif, 25, who has been helping out on the family's gift and electricals stall here in the market for the past 15 years.

His family moved to Yorkshire from Pakistan and have had no regrets. 'You sometimes hear bad things about what goes on in London, but that's why people move up here.'

Stallholder Angie Gannon, who sells pretty, handmade cards, has been trading here for more than 30 years. She hadn't heard about the report until I mention it. She looks it up online and is appalled.

'This is all wrong. This is a cosmopolitan city — a vibrant city with lots of foreign students, too, but it's not racist,' she says firmly, pointing up the road in the direction of York Minster.

Was that not the former seat of the Church of England's first black archbishop, John Sentamu? He served as Archbishop of York from 2005 to 2020. 'We all loved him round here,' says Angie.

She would much rather the council spent the £25,000 on more communal seating in the city centre and restoring the fountain which used to stand near her stall.

Yana Gausden, originally from Thailand, has plenty of customers at her NaNa Noodles bar, but pauses to chat. Has she ever been a victim of racism — casual, structural, systemic or otherwise?

'No!' she says firmly. 'People are not racist here.'

Time and again, people tell me that York may not be perfect — because nowhere is — but it is generally a cohesive, happy place, no different from most other places......

Perhaps the most intriguing claim in the report is that this was once a predominantly black city. 'York has had a minority ethnic population since Roman times,' it states. 'For instance, black slaves were buried in the city in around 200 AD, while other remains suggest there were high status and wealthy people in York from all over the Roman Empire, including North Africa.

'It has been suggested by one historian that at around that time, the population of York, largely a military garrison town, was predominantly black.' Sadly, the academic source notes do not offer any further guidance on this.

What is also striking is an apparent official reluctance to question or even discuss any of this.

When contacted yesterday, neither the Labour MP for York Central, the Tory MP for Outer York, nor York City Council were available for comment.

If it is only the ordinary voters of York who are happy to offer a response, so be it. And I fail to find a single one who concurs.

'That's not the city I grew up in,' says Johnny Shaw, 27, who is running a stall selling candles made in York. 'It's always been an inclusive place, like most places — or so I've always thought.'