Wednesday, January 18, 2017
March on Trump-haters, but remember girls mutilated at home
CAROLINE OVERINGTON below has some restrained comments about the butchered genitals of *Australian* Muslim girls. I would add: "What about Clemmie?" Alleged feminist Clementine Ford wrote recently and angrily about the rude way some young Australian men at a car rally spoke to some of the women present.
Where is her sense of values? There is no record of any women being hurt by men at the Summernats but there is ample record of what some Australian Muslim families do to their daughters. If rude car-freaks burn up Clemmie, female genital mutilation should set her on fire. But there is no record of that. No rage at all.
It is quite clear that Clemmie, like most so-called feminists, doesn't care about women at all. All that drives her is her hate of her fellow Australians -- in the best Leftist tradition. She is a towering hypocrite and a nasty piece of goods. She should be proud that even while in a drunken mob, young Australian men did women no harm. Her misdirected anger defiles Australian society. Does someone have to perform a clitoridectomy on her to get her attention to it? I think it would take that much.
Now, I’m a feminist, obviously. I believe in equal rights for women: to work, to vote, to drive, to travel. But the Women’s Marches around the nation this weekend has me worried.
The Women’s Marches have been organised so Australian women can “show solidarity” with American women as Donald Trump becomes president.
The organisers hate him, obviously. He’s the pussy-grabber. The misogynist-in-chief. The group behind the Women’s March has a Facebook page that promotes Meryl Streep’s speech at the Oscars,; and the hashtag LoveTrumpsHate. And that’s fine. Trump was democratically elected but nobody has to like him, and protests against government are an important part of democracy too. So, march away.
But where, I wonder, is the thousand-strong march, the loud protests, the hashtags and the Twitter campaign for women and girls suffering the vilest forms of misogyny right here at home?
Last week the Australian pediatric surveillance unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead in western Sydney released a report on female genital mutilation in this country. It found 59 brutalised girls. But here’s the line you don’t want to miss: the study’s author, Elizabeth Elliott, said “most of the procedures on the girls were performed overseas”.
The key word in that sentence is “most”. Most of girls had been cut overseas. But some were Australian-born. Meaning they had definitely been cut here. It’s very likely that some of the others had been cut here, too, after they arrived. Of the 59 — according to the report, that’s a gross underestimation of the actual numbers — only 13 were referred to child protection services. Why only 13?
These were girls whose parents — usually their mothers — had taken them to have them cut. What will happen to them next? Will they be shoved into an arranged marriage with a much older man to whom they already may be related? Because that, too, is happening.
Last October, a young Iraqi girl, Bee al-Darraj, told The Australian that she knew several girls from her former Islamic school who had been sent to Iraq to be married, while still underage. Nothing was done. She knew one girl who gave birth while underage in a public hospital in Sydney with her 28-year-old husband standing by. Nothing was done. She knew girls in Year 9 who were married and had 30-year-old husbands picking them up from school. Nothing was done. (To be clear, there’s no suggestion the school knew, for to know and not report would be a gross breach of mandatory reporting obligations. What we’re talking about here is child rape.)
Last week, we had a prominent cleric, imam Ibrahim Omerdic, 61, charged with conducting a child marriage between a girl under the age of 16, and a man aged 30.
This is real, and it is happening here, and it is right now. Dozens, maybe hundreds, maybe thousands of girls are suffering vile abuse, but it’s like screaming in an abyss. Where is the march? Where is the hashtag?
Genital cutting is not as fancy a topic as Hollywood pay for women, obviously, but it’s a creeping tragedy that threatens the freedom of all Australian women. A freedom our grandfathers and great-uncles died for. A freedom the feisty Australian suffragettes of yesteryear, with their dry wit and their long skirts and their button-up boots, once marched for.
I get that there’s cultural sensitivity. People don’t want to be accused of racism or bigotry. They don’t want to discriminate. But what about the discrimination against girls going on right now in Australian schools? Don’t believe it? Cast your eye over this, the official uniform list for the al-Faisal College in Sydney’s west (see below).
What jumps out? Only the girls, from age five, have to wear long sleeves, even in summer.
Only the girls have to wear skirts to the floor (ankle-length) summer and winter. The hijab, or head covering, also is compulsory for girls, from age five. It is compulsory even for sport. The boys scamper about in short sleeves.
A friend of a friend who is a teacher at the school recently sent out some pictures of children at the school receiving certificates at an assembly.
The boys are relaxed and grinning. The girls are swathed in so much fabric you can see only their faces. You support this, with your taxes.
It’s blatant discrimination. It tells girls that there is something sinful about them, something that will drive men to distraction, something they need to keep covered while out in the world.
The sight of your wrists, or ankle, or forearm is offensive and wrong.
Now, Australian women are smart, and most of them are very used to carrying more than one bucket at a time. Meaning: they know that you can adore pretty clothes and still want equal pay.
Likewise, you can be outraged by female genital mutilation, and forced marriage, and lousy school uniform codes, and Donald Trump. But which is more important? Macho bragging about pussy-grabbing in a trailer on the set of The Apprentice? Or acts of extreme violence against girls — and the rights of girls — here and now?
Yes, it’s possible to carry more than one bucket, so, if you’re marching this weekend, good on you, that’s your right — but maybe also carry a placard for your Australian sisters, suffering vile misogyny as we speak.
They’re hidden from view but they deserve attention, too.
An Aboriginal success story? Look below at what the Sydney Morning Herald calls an Aborigine
I wish the girl every success but to call her a black defies all reason
Born eight weeks premature, Kirilly Lam was a fighter from the beginning. Almost 18 years on, the student from Sydney's west has overcome the odds to become the first person in her immediate family to finish year 12 and go to university.
She has been accepted into an advanced nursing degree at Western Sydney University, fulfilling a lifelong dream.
The government supports needs-based school funding says Parliamentary Secretary for Education Senator Scott Ryan.
"I almost can't believe it myself - I'm pretty happy," the 17-year-old Aboriginal student said.
Ms Lam is the youngest of seven children, raised in social housing in Cambridge Park near Penrith. On top of her studies, she cares for her 21-year-old sister Caitlyn, who has cerebral palsy, and provides support for her mother, who suffers mobility problems following back surgery.
Her premature birth resulted in delayed speech and learning difficulties which she has overcome to study English, general maths, biology, physics and chemistry for the HSC at her Llandilo school.
But it was a $1000 NSW Government scholarship which gave her the financial boost she needed to help reach her academic goal.
"It meant I could pay for internet access at home," she said. "I used to stay back at school in the afternoons to use the internet there until they told me to go home because they had to lock up. Having the internet at home made a huge difference but I also bought text books and printer ink."
Her mother Rebecca McCredie is "thrilled" with her daughter's results, expressing her pride in a letter to the Department of Family and Community Services which administers the scholarships aimed at the most severely disadvantaged students.
48 HOUR HEATWAVE: No relief in sight with temperatures expected to hit nearly 30C overnight in Sydney - and the hot sleepless nights won't stop
This is just sensationalism. the "heatwave" is just a normal summer. Temperatures peak at different times each year but there are no exceptional temperatures. The Brisbane temperature on the thermometer in my anteroom hit 34.5C mid-afternoon Tuesday -- which is nothing unusual
Another heatwave is set to hit Australia on Tuesday and last until Sunday with temperatures set to skyrocket in the first 48 hours.
Temperatures are tipped to climb as high as eight degrees above average as the second heatwave in as many weeks makes its way across much of the east coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a series of heatwave warnings for most of Queensland and NSW, as well as parts of South Australia and the Northern Territory.
While temperatures will soar to the high 30s with ease during the days, nights too will be unbearable with temperatures around the 27C mark overnight on Tuesday in Sydney.
Brisbane should reach a top of 35C on Wednesday, while temperatures in the west of the state could soar to 41C.
Sydney and Canberra are also forecast to reach 36C several days this week and as high as 43C in the northwest.
Melbourne is expected to hit a high of 38C on Tuesday.
Unhinged electricity policy of the Leftist Queensland government
Everyone remembers the slogan: Queensland — beautiful one day, perfect the next. I have to inform you there has been an update: Queensland — beautiful one day, insane the next.
The idea that the state could achieve a target of 50 per cent of electricity generated by renewable energy by 2030 is bizarre, unachievable and mischievous — in a word, it is insane. And it is not just because such a target would drive up electricity prices for households and businesses to the high levels of South Australia — probably higher. It also would destroy the value of most of the electricity assets held by the Queensland government. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
Given Queensland’s extreme level of government debt, there is no doubt that, in due course, most of the government-owned corporations will be sold, particularly if the cost of servicing the debt were to escalate. The tragedy is that it is likely the value of most of these assets will have fallen through the floor by then.
In the meantime, the flow of dividends that the government is relying on to create the appearance of fiscal rectitude will dry up, even if the present unconventional directive of ordering a payout ratio of 100 per cent of profits of the government-owned corporations continues.
An important question is: why would the Palaszczuk government opt for such an economically harmful and foolish policy? We should not forget that Queensland has the lowest percentage of electricity generated by renewable energy — at just more than 4 per cent.
So the policy involves an increase of 46 percentage points in the penetration of renewable energy as a source of electricity generation in the space of 13 years. Pull the other one.
To provide cover for this madcap policy, the Queensland government appointed a “renewable energy expert panel” to provide a veneer of credibility to the feasibility of the target.
With carefully chosen panel members, the draft report — unsurprisingly — concluded that there were no problems with reaching the target and that electricity costs to households and businesses in Queensland would probably stay steady. Again, pull the other one, but I am running out of other ones.
We should just take a look at the figures. There will need to be between 4000 megawatts to 5500MW of new large-scale renewable energy capacity between 2020 and 2030, something that has not even been achieved for Australia as a whole across the same period. The consensus view is that 1500MW of additional renewable energy a year is the top of the range for Australia and Queensland is only 15 per cent odd of that total.
And don’t you just love the prediction of the panel that electricity prices will remain steady for households and business in Queensland as a result of the government’s bold, go-it-alone policy? The background to this, as noted by the Queensland Productivity Commission, is that “since 2007, Australian residential retail electricity prices have increased faster than any other OECD country and Queensland prices have increased faster than any other state or territory”.
Mind you, it is clear why the Palaszczuk government didn’t simply ask the Queensland Productivity Commission to analyse the feasibility of the 50 per cent state renewable energy target. That would be because it wouldn’t be seen as “reliable”, having made the wholly rational suggestion last year that the state government withdraw the generous and unjustified subsidies to households with solar panels on their roofs.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk was not having a bar of that idea. How could she continue to conflate small-scale solar panels with large-scale renewable energy, thereby buttressing the support of the public (well, the better-heeled part of the public that can afford solar panels) for anything called renewable energy? If X is good, 2X must be better and 12X must be a blast. Continuing to subsidise households with solar panels is part of the political game, hang other electricity users.
So what does that “independent” panel conclude about the impact of the 50 per cent renewables energy target on electricity pricing? The answer is “broadly cost neutral to electricity consumers where the cost of funding the policy action is recovered through electricity market mechanisms”. (This is code for: we could always skin taxpayers or ask Canberra to chip in.)
But here’s the rub: “This occurs as a result of increased renewable generation placing downward pressure on wholesale electricity prices, which is projected in the modelling to offset the payments to renewables.”
Mind you, the point is added that “the pricing outcome is not guaranteed and could differ, for example, if existing generation capacity is withdrawn from the market, especially coal-fired generation”.
Think about this. What the panel is saying is: if existing generators, which are owned by the government in Queensland, are driven out of the market, which is likely because of the renewables energy target — see the South Australian and Victorian cases as live examples — then prices will rise. And the capital value of these withdrawn government-owned generators will be close to zero, having probably experienced years of underinvestment in maintenance.
This leaves the question: why would the Queensland government decide on such a dimwitted, self-defeating and economically damaging policy position?
In keeping with the rule of following the money, it is clear that the lobbying efforts of the clean energy rent-seekers have been directed at the Queensland government, in particular.
After all, the large energy providers generally have a foot in both camps — conventional electricity generation plus renewable energy assets.
But they don’t stand to lose anything in Queensland by virtue of the astronomical state renewable energy target because the conventional electricity generation assets are all owned by the government. If these generators are driven out of business, it’s a big plus for them, not a negative.
Silly estimates of the gains in employment and billions of dollars of investment, mainly in the regions, associated with renewable energy make gormless politicians simply salivate. The sad thing is that it will be lose-lose for Queenslanders down the track.
The challenge for federal Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg is to convince state governments to junk their vacuous, go-it-alone renewable energy targets that will lead to even higher electricity prices and further threaten the reliability of the grid.
University language policy: Not safe, just absurdly soft
As if Australia Day isn’t dangerous enough for the culturally insensitive, we are now advised not to celebrate the Australian belief in mateship and the fair go. The language police at Macquarie University have declared these are dangerous stereotypes, generalised images of a person or group that “may have potentially harmful real-world consequences”. The university’s latest guide on correct speech also instructs Queenslanders not to stereotype those living south of the Tweed as Mexicans, implying that they are ”hot-blooded, irrational, untrustworthy”.
Extreme linguistic governance of this kind was once restricted to religious sects and the political fruitcake fringe. Today it is chillingly mainstream; universities see it as part of their duty of care to offer written guides, training courses and counselling on “appropriate” and “inappropriate” language.
Since one can never be sure about the latest rules, every utterance is potentially suspect. Irony and sarcasm must be avoided at all costs. “To talk about a ‘huntsperson spider’ is an ostensibly humorous ‘non-discriminatory’ act of renaming,” the Macquarie University guide intones. “The joke here nonetheless mocks serious uses of non-discriminatory language and the struggle for gender equity.”
Incredibly, this is a statement of official policy at a major university, signed off, presumably, by the dean and other serious people. If perchance it is slipped past their guard they must remove it forthwith from the university’s website, for the damage imposed by this passive-aggressive chin-stroking is considerable.
The regulation of speech is one of the maladies of academe investigated by British sociologist Frank Furedi in a new book exploring the infantilisation of students.
The notion that people in their late teens and early 20s could not be trusted to act as adults, and that university authorities should protect their moral welfare in loco parentis, disappeared in the wake of the campus radicals in the 1960s.
Furedi, once a campus radical himself, says today’s academic paternalism is far more insidious. The baby boomer generation was taught that “sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. The millennial generation is warned constantly of the harm language causes “vulnerable” people. Indeed, they themselves are vulnerable and must be protected from the psychological damage presumed to flow from linguistic aggression.
To explain how yesterday’s student militants evolved into today’s moral guardians, Furedi describes the rise of a risk-averse culture where precaution and safety have become fundamental moral values.
“The term ‘safe’ signals more than the absence of danger: it also conveys the connotation of a virtue,” he says. “The representation of safety as an end in itself is integral to a moralising project of monitoring both individual and interpersonal behaviour.”
Censorship became unfashionable in the late 1960s when it was seen as an instrument of repression. Today it has become a form of therapy, underpinned by a cultural script of vulnerability.
The adjective “vulnerable” has mutated into a noun. The downtrodden have been recast as “the vulnerable”; the wretched have become “the most vulnerable”; universities have been transformed from an intellectual adventure into safe spaces for “vulnerable students”.
We are right to worry about the resilience of those who emerge from these cosseted, hypersensitive campuses. The vulnerable are inclined to fatalism, since vulnerability presents as a permanent feature. They are seldom encouraged to draw on inner strengths to make themselves less vulnerable. Indeed, to suggest they should toughen up is condemned as victim-blaming, denying the vulnerable the ritualistic empathy to which they feel entitled.
Vulnerability, together with the ethos of survivalism — the modern belief that danger lurks around every corner — are the narratives that bolster the infantilisation of students. Hence the semantic tsars at Macquarie deem that the expression “Australians believe in the fair go” is not just distasteful but “potentially harmful” to non-Australians or to Australians who don’t think that way. The purpose of their rules is to develop “a university environment characterised by sensitivity to cultural diversity, and in which the number and seriousness of discriminatory experiences are reduced or eliminated”.
Censorship, like compulsory seat belts or fences around swimming pools, is a matter of public health and safety. So, when activist Maryam Namazie was banned from speaking at Warwick University, the student union justiﬁed itself with “language that would have done any risk manager proud”, writes Furedi.
“Researching Namazie and her organisation had raised a number of ﬂags,” declared the students. “We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus,” they wrote. It is not the intended meaning of words but their supposed impact that matters. “Verbal puriﬁcation is not simply directed at cleansing politically objectionable words but also at providing psychological relief,” Furedi concludes.
It may be too early to predict what lasting effect the censorious, mollycoddled environment of modern academe will have young graduates.
Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.). For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup of pro-environment but anti-Greenie news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH . Email me here