Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A male feminist is in deep trouble

Jack Kilbride is a student at the University of Melbourne. Like me, he seems to think that Fairfax columnist Clementine Ford is a bit of a ratbag. So he wrote a politically savvy article (see below) that called for feminists to reach out to others rather than alienate them.  But reaching out is the last thing feminists want to do.  Stewing in their own hate is their thing.  So poor Jack has attracted a flood of condemnation for his thoughts.  His article was published in the Far-Left "New Matilda" and was passed for publication by Chris Graham -- another uncomprehending male.  So Chris has been in deep do-do too. His "Mea culpa" is here.  Is there such a thing as a moderate feminist?  I guess so but they would be unwise to say what they think in Leftist circles

I am a man and I am a feminist. I wholeheartedly condemn the actions of the men who have threatened and abused feminist writer Clementine Ford. I also commend the decision of one particular boss who opted to terminate the contract of Mathew Nolan after his embarrassing and disgusting remarks. However, while Clementine Ford is a great advocate of the feminist movement in this country, her strategy may be doing more harm than good.

We obviously need people like Clementine, breaking down walls on the front line in the push for equality. Illuminating the dark, misogynistic corners of our society so that women can walk the streets without the fear of assault and abuse.

These people are important, but slapping one man on the wrist so publicly has inevitably isolated thousands more.

Scores of men are posting across social media, infuriated by the whole situation. In their eyes, crazy Clementine is just a whiney girl with daddy issues that despises all men. While their hatred may arguably prove that Ford’s writing is doing its job, it has also highlighted the continued divide between sexists and feminists in Australian society.

A gap we need to close.

The problem with writers like Clementine Ford is although their sentiment is justified, their vitriolic writing style means that people will always get offended. Unfortunately, those getting offended are usually the ones who need to read it the most.

If we are to give our young girls a more safe and equal society to grow up in, we need everyone on our side. The people who are abusing Clementine are the problem and reinforcing the battle lines between feminist and bigot is not going to help them change. And, if they don’t change, then nothing will.

Think of it this way. There are men, like myself, who are feminists and believers that true equality for women is paramount to our future.

We are not the people that need convincing. We are not the people assaulting our women in the streets, scoffing at calls for equal pay, or abusing writers on the Internet. We are already on your side.

Then there are the other men.

The men catcalling you on your way to the shops. The men groping and assaulting you in the nightclubs. The boss telling you they didn’t give you a promotion because they didn’t think you could handle it. The men who make you scared to walk home at night for fear of being raped. The men telling you that maybe you should dress more appropriately to avoid the unwanted stares and slurs. The men abusing Clementine across social media.

The mission of feminism is to make these men change and starting fights with them is only making that mission harder. We need a way to bring them in and luckily we may already have one.

On the 20th of September last year, beloved actress Emma Watson stood in front of the United Nations and produced one of the strongest and most well received feminist speeches in decades.

“Men think it’s a women’s word and it’s only for women, but really it just means you stand for equality,” Watson said in launching the HeforShe movement. “If you stand for equality, you are a feminist.”

“I have realised that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”

Watson’s words were plastered throughout the media, presenting feminism as a way to improve society as a whole, not just the lives of women. It was a positive push for change; a fresh approach to the shouting and shaming that feminism has sadly become associated with.

If we want to actually change our world we need to stop trying to knock down the wall and instead, start helping people climb over.

Watson showed us a better path; it would be nice if we started to walk it.


Paris Climate Deal: Turnbull government stares down dissenters

Environment Minister Greg Hunt has defended the non-binding nature of the Paris climate agreement, as the Turnbull government stares down climate change dissenters within its own ranks.

Liberal MP Dennis Jensen, an outspoken climate change sceptic, warned the agreement was “essentially meaningless” and Australia should avoid “metaphorically burning our economy just to appear good on the global stage”.

“Basically countries set their own targets and there’s no enforcement strategy. It provides flexibility to do anything essentially,” he told ABC Radio.

“The entire globe needs to have similar commitments and be similarly achieving those goals.”

Another Liberal MP, Craig Kelly, mocked the agreement on Facebook: “Hallelujah. The world is saved ... The polar bears can sleep soundly tonight.”

Mr Hunt regretted there would be “no sanctions or penalties if a country falls short of its target”.

“Our preference would have been for that. That’s probably the only real and significant element that we would have wanted, but we all knew that that wasn’t possible for the United States, it wasn’t on China’s agenda,” he told Macquarie Radio.

“Others haven’t always honoured their agreements in the past, that is true. But the difference this time is everybody’s in the cart, everybody’s made their commitment; if countries fall short of that or indeed they renege on it I think there would be enormous internal and external pressure and criticism.”

Mr Hunt said Australia was on-track to meet its 2030 target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 per cent, relative to 2005 levels.

Andrew Leigh, the opposition assistant treasury spokesman, applauded the deal’s aim of keeping the global average temperature rise below 1.5 degrees.

“It leaves Australia out of the pack from the rest. We know Australia’s targets are now well in excess of what other countries have. We’re failing to demonstrate the level of ambition that Britain, the United States, Canada now ... are showing,” he told Sky News.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said the government trusted Mr Hunt to ensure Australia met its targets. He said South Australian premier Jay Weatherill deserved “full credit” for his “brave” decision to launch an inquiry into nuclear fuel cycle.

“Ultimately nuclear power will be something that is determined by … whether the community will accept it and … the economics of it,” Senator Fifield told Sky News.

Dr Leigh said Labor was opposed to establishing a domestic nuclear power industry.


Insane mothers

Fanatical defenders of their eccentric and dangerous beliefs

Parents are deliberately exposing their children to the potentially deadly chickenpox disease in a bizarrely popular anti-vaccination trend.

Hollie Singleton, a young mother-of-two from Norman Park in Brisbane's inner-east, invited other parents to bring their children around to play with hers when they had the illness, according to The Courier Mail.

'My son has a full case of chickenpox. We are all home together for the week,' she wrote on Facebook.

'If anyone wants to clear this bug now and get it over with please come to Brisbane and visit us. We are here to infect only those who want it!'

Child heath expert Dr Sam Hay told Channel Nine's Today Show reports of the parties were extremely concerning.

'This is an absolute disgrace, this is terrible,' Dr Hay said.  'What you are doing is exposing those children to potential complications, you're exposing them to - when they're adults - shingles and chronic pain down the track.

'Don't send your kids (to these parties).You wouldn't put your kids in a car and not put a seat belt on them.

'Why are these parents exposing their kids to this much risk.'

Ms Singleton told The Courier Mail a number of parents had expressed interest in attending the 'pox party', because they didn't believe in the inoculation.

'I just don't believe in a chickenpox vaccine, it seems really silly to put that in children when natural immunity comes from getting it and it's a safer smarter thing to do,' she said, according to the newspaper.

Children have been given vaccinations for chickenpox since 2005 under the immunisation scheme, and more than 90 per cent of babies aged under 18 months take part in the program.

The disease gives people infected with it an itchy, red rash and can be deadly. Most cases of the illness occur before the age of 12.


Handwritten notes for terror attack fail to foil hi-tech police

A group of alleged Muslim extremists used handwritten notes to plot a Sydney terrorist attack on a government building in a primitive bid to beat police and ASIO surveillance.

The Australian can reveal that an apparent plot to attack a government building — believed to be the AFP’s Sydney headquarters — was hatched via handwritten notes scrawled by the alleged plotters at the Sydney home of one of the accused extremists, 20-year-old Sulyaman Khalid, aka Abu Bakr.

Mr Khalid, who appeared on an SBS documentary on radical Islam, was arrested last December, allegedly in possession of the notes.

Three months earlier, NSW and AFP counter-terrorism officers raided 15 homes across Sydney and Brisbane in what was the largest anti-terrorism operation conducted in Australia. The raids, dubbed Operation Appleby, thwarted what police have alleged was a plot directed by former Sydney man and Islamic State kingpin Mohamed Ali Baryalei to abduct and murder a random member of the public.

Only two men were charged at the time, but police believe those targeted remained committed to conducting a terrorist attack and it is from this information that police raided houses in southwest Sydney yesterday.

After the September raids, the group, including Mr Khalid, were kept under constant electronic and physical surveillance. Their phones were bugged, their homes and cars fitted with listening devices and surveillance teams tracked their every move.

The men knew it. They would occasionally approach members of the surveillance teams or lash out at members of the public they believed were following them.

Police will allege they remained intent on committing a terrorist act and began communicating with notes during meetings, believed to have occurred at Mr Khalid’s home.

The notes are far from detailed and it is believed the plot was in its early stages. There are references to Jihad and its timing.

AFP deputy commissioner Mike Phelan said yesterday the planning documents were “evolving”.

“There’s one mention of AFP building but they get the address wrong,” Mr Phelan said.

In December the notes were seized and Mr Khalid charged. It took investigators a year to establish who contributed to the documents.

Yesterday in a series of raids across Sydney, five men were charged. They included 20-year-old Ibrahim Ghazzawy from Raby and a 15-year-old from Georges Hall who was reportedly a student at Bass Hill High. The boy, who cannot be named, was 14 at the time of the alleged offences and appeared in Parramatta Children’s Court last night.

The court heard the boy, who was a known Islamic radical, had become socially isolated after repeated raids by security agencies on his family’s home, with one of his friends said to have told him an ASIO agent had offered free gym membership if he agreed to inform on him.

Prosecutor Senior Sergeant Bruce Wells told the court that it was “common ground” that the alleged conspirators with whom the boy had been in contact used the word “banana” as a codeword for guns.

In a text message to one of the alleged ring, Sergeant Wells said the boy had written: “I am going to get to paradise through banana ... Allahu Ahkbar!”

Defence barrister Charles Waterstreet told the court that following earlier run-ins with authorities the boy had agreed not to contact his older network of associates, undertake psychol­og­­­ical counselling, and engage in a program to “purge himself of ideologies”, measures which were producing favourable results.

Magistrate Elizabeth Ryan said she would deliver her decision on bail this morning.

NSW Deputy Commissioner Cath Burn said police and the NSW Education Department had been working together to manage the boy and the potential threat he posed. “A lot of the people we are dealing with ... are clearly radicalised to the point of talking about and acting out with violence,” Ms Burn said.

“How they’ve become radicalised we don’t actually know. We don’t know how the 15-year-old has got to the point where we will allege he got.”

Three other men, already in jail on firearms and terror-related offences, were due to be charged yesterday. They were 22-year-old Jibril Almaouie, Maywand Osman and Mr Khalid.

Police stressed that yesterday’s operation was not in relation to an imminent threat.

Ms Burn said the Appleby group was connected with Farhad Jabar, the 15-year-old schoolboy who shot dead NSW Police worker Curtis Cheng in a terror attack at Parramatta police station. “It’s disturbing that we’re continuing to see teenage children in this environment and there’s absolutely no doubt we’re charging a 15-year-old with a very, very serious offence — this is an offence that has a maximum of life imprisonment,” she said.

“I am not aware of a direct connection between the two 15-year-olds; however, the people who were involved with the murder of Curtis Cheng are associates of these people.”

A Facebook account that appears to have been set up by the 15-year-old boy features the flag of the Islamic State. It also lists Mr Ghazzawy and a relative of another man, who was charged by counter-terrorism authorities yesterday, as friends.

But the account appears to have been untouched, with no new images uploaded in more than a year.

Despite the monitoring by security agencies, Mr Ghazzawy has continued to update social media accounts he created several years ago, which show his complaints about school and love of rugby league are gradually replaced by religious quotes and posts about Syria and Islamic State.

Several Australians who have joined Islamic State in the Middle East, including former western Sydney man Ahmed Merhi, are listed among his Facebook friends, as is at least one other person arrested yesterday.

Mr Ghazzawy had lived in the Punchbowl area, helping out at his uncle’s takeaway food shop after school and encouraging teammates to attend junior rugby league training. He had listed his school as Belmore Boys High. After school, he began working at an auto parts shop originally owned by a family member.

His family are believed to have moved to Raby in September last year, but it is unclear whether he joined them at the time or moved there more recently.

Yesterday’s operation brings to nine the number of people charged in Sydney with Operation Appleby.


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