Schools

Children’s book about Hillary designed to put kids to sleep

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Just when victim based identity politics couldn’t plunge any lower, a children’s book about Hillary has been written. If anything Michelle Markel’s ‘Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born To Lead’ could be a cure for overworked parents with insomniac children. Indeed it would be a fairytale if it ended up with her as the President! The real tale of the story should be that little girls can get ahead on ability, not just fall back on gender i.e. the very opposite of the campaign she ran. As long as the story stays clear of the horror of the Clinton Foundation and the deleting of 30,000 emails (rather apt for today’s generation) kids will be spared endless trauma.

Instead of adding Hillary to a list of illustrious but by no means complete list of amazing females that got ahead through their own efforts, Markel talks of the difficulties of the 1950s. She forgets the following –

Nobel Prize in Physics, 1903: Marie Curie

Nobel prize in Literature, 1909: Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf

Nobel Prize in Chemistry, 1911: Marie Curie

Nobel Peace Prize, 1931: Jane Addams

Prime Minister of Israel: 1969 Golda Meir

Prime Minister of England, 1979: Margaret Thatcher

Mostly women who never used gender as an excuse but triumphed through ability. The best lesson of all for ambitious kids although in this day and age everyone wins a prize which I guess should be the tenet of the book.

In fact her latest autobiography would make a better children’s book, perhaps the (rather unfortunately named) Mr Men series as ‘Little Mrs Blame it on Eveyone Else’ because Roger Hargreaves could tell kids how her constant whining eventually stopped people listening. Perhaps a book best that would be best read by herself.

Perhaps Melania Trump should offer Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born To Lead to libraries and schools to see whether liberals would be as triggered and outraged when she sent Dr Seuss!

National Bloody Nuisance

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If anyone is surprised about the cost blowouts of the National Broadband Network (NBN)  they must have been hibernating. For as much as $91,000 to connect one home this sum would probably cover one’s fixed line, mobile, internet, wifi and FOXTEL subscription for life. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that in this day and age of ‘health & safety’ that to put in underground optic fibre requires 8 people – 5 to supervise, 2 females with traffic paddle pops and one bloke in the ditch with a shovel. Then multiply by 100s of thousands. The economics could be written in crayon such is the elementary nature of the formula.

I recall listening to talk back radio around the time NBN was launched when the sunshades at schools program was underway. Not a word of a lie, the government was shelling out near as makes no difference $1mn per school. Dozens of builders were calling in to say they could erect these structures with all of the concrete, steel poles, roofing materials and labour for 1/10th the cost. So digging holes and inserting optic fibre which will rapidly become redundant across a country with such massive distances between places was only ever going to be a white elephant.

Yet as ever governments are only too happy to cost things on the back of an envelope and tell us all of the rosy scenarios as to how it will come in on budget. If the taxpayer asks for clarity on the math, they are conveniently fobbed off. It is not unreasonable for taxpayers to want to receive full disclosure on how things are to be funded. If a CEO told his shareholders to take a hike when they requested the costings of major capex spending they’d be summarily fired. Every citizen has the right to transparency. Yet why is it the South Australian government celebrates clearly failed renewable policy with an extra $600m bill quickly drawn up on a Friday night? Instead of accountability we are told to use electricity more sparingly (even paid to stay off the grid).

So the NBN is another abject failure. Better to admit defeat and cauterize the gaping wound than to keep filling it with more limited taxpayer funds. At least Turnbull can blame the former government on implementing it in the first place, just as the incoming government can blame him for the disaster that is the $50bn submarines programme which is already running intro huge production issues before the design is even completed. We deserve better.

Austria proves again why the EU needs to listen more and talk less

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God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we’d listen more and talk less,’ so the old saying goes This is what the EU gets for trying to bully its member states. It wasn’t long ago that EU President Jean-Claude Juncker was telling Austrians that if they democratically elected Norbert Hofer of the right wing FPO then the EU would remove Austria’s voting rights and cut off any transfers. Well the Austrians have voted for a conservative anti-immigrant party (which wants a programme to get immigrants to assimilate with the local culture) with a 31yo leader, Sebastian Kurz. His People’s Party garnered 31.4% (+7%) of the vote with the far-right wing FPO coming in second at 27.4% and incumbent Social Democrat Party coming in third with 26.7%. The Greens will probably not make the cut off of 4% to make a party, So once again the EU has had yet another major repudiation of its totalitarian ideals.

CM has been making the point for ages that forcing one’s beliefs onto others must be done in a way that listens to the other side. Otherwise it delivers results like Trump. It seems the EU hasn’t learned a thing.

So what have we had?

-Le Pen garnered 1/3rd of the French vote (double the best ever achieved by Front National),

-the far right Freedom Party’s (FPO) Norbert Hofer still managed 46% in Austria farcical re-run presidential election),

-Geert Wilders’ 25% increase in seats for the anti-immigrant PVV in The Netherlands,

-the surge in the Sweden Democrats to the top of the recent polls, Elections in 2018.

-Italy’s referendum which turned into a backdoor vote to oust PM Renzi. Elections in 2018 likely.

Brexit (although PM May is handling negotiations in true British efficiency – Fawlty Towers ring a bell?),

the Swiss handing back a 30yr standing free ticket to join the EU,

-the AfD in Germany getting 13% of the vote (Merkel may have won but it was her party’s worse showing in 7 decades)

…these don’t look like promising trends for an EU which is already badly listing. Despite ample warnings the EU refused (and still refuses) to change its course or exercise due care. It just issues more threats.

While the left openly voices its rage at these ‘right-wing’ parties growing in support, they never bother to seek reasons why. The right are generally just dismissed as racists, bigots or worse.  Major party loyalty has never been worse. The fabric of the loyal party voter base is wearing thinner. Take Australia’s One Nation Party led by Senator Pauline Hanson. The popularity of the mainstream LNP and Labor Parties is at record lows. One Nation is now 10% of the vote from 2% several decades ago. While some parties may claim their loyal base has abandoned them the stronger case to be made is the clear shift of the parties away from their once faithful constituents. Why?

Incumbent governments seem to cower at receiving negative news from the 24-7 polling cycle that is social media. Being careful to avoid inviting attack, they pander to all of the socially acceptable agendas – climate change, gender fluid bathrooms, laws clamping down on free speech, open borders and afffirmative action.

However political correctness is clearly not the answer as these results across Europe and elsewhere show. People are sick of the brow beating by socialist activists. Tired of the constant protests and social justice bleating. The NFL might find that most of its fans are against police brutality but they aren’t wanting a weekly lecture in grievance politics with the price of entry or their cable TV channel. Growing weary of the idea that it is ‘free speech’ and anything against those ideals are deemed ‘hate speech’. It is not to deny some positions are not necessarily palatable but in the marketplace of free speech, ridiculous positions can easily be disproven. Better to give extremist voices a chance to talk and invite public opinion on them at their own peril. Shutting it down forces it underground., making it inherently more dangerous.

Too many mainstream political parties are moving off the policy reserve that defined them so their once loyal followers are actively seek ones that will. While Hanson’s One Nation or Senator Cory Bernardi’s Australian Conservatives may not tick every box to existing LNP voters, they cover enough of the positions that matter to them that they’ll tolerate some of the more out there ideas. It is not uncommon to hear the left complain at One Nation’s is growing popularity at the expense of the Greens but it is a devil of their own making.

So will the EU listen to the Austrian call? Will it pay attention to the Hungarians who voted over 98% against accepting forced migrant quotas? Think through the logic. If you were an asylum seeker, would you think your chances of unincumbered settlement would be best placed where 98.4% of the population doesn’t want you? It is irrelevant whether we think the Hungarians are insensitive brutes not to extend a welcome to those that are legitimately in need. It is their country and their democracy has spoken. If Brussels assumes to dictate to Hungary how it wishes to protect its culture and whatever it holds precious, why shouldn’t the EU have the same rights to enforce income tax, housing benefits and anything else it sees fit? Of course it is a preposterous notion.

It will not be long before the EU will be front and center on Greece. Let us not forget that the EU colluded with Goldman Sachs to ‘fiddle’ the accounts to make Hellas much prettier optically than it was. Was this pig without lipstick it wouldn’t have gained acceptance to the club. So the EU is not in a position to claim innocence over a deliberate ploy to ram-road the Greeks into its federal state yet have no qualms treating it with disdain. Talk about double standards.

In all seriousness the treatment of the Greeks by the EU is despicable beyond words. So for all of the left’s blind love for the EU and its socialist agenda, 36% of Greeks live below the poverty line and 58% of the youth are unemployed. So for all of the EU’s shared sense of purpose and equality, that means many can’t access affordable healthcare because it is generally provided by corporates and when you lose a job you lose the healthcare. This means many are forced to use A&E of major hospitals which are now overcrowded and understaffed as more doctors are leaving to seek better fortune for their services elsewhere.

If that wasn’t enough, mothers who had given birth were being restricted from taking their new-borns home if they couldn’t pay the hospital fees. While the government has banned this practice they have introduced new laws to allow the seizure of assets (e.g. homes) if debts are not settled.

Shortly, the Greeks are coming up for discussion over its debt position and austerity. With just months left before Greece’s latest lifeline expires, officials directly involved in the country’s bailout say they don’t have the stomach for contingent aid program when the current one expires in August 2018. While the EU and Athens are battle worn after 7 years of this knife edge rescue,  Greece will need to show it can go it alone but it’s eurozone creditors will be reluctant without further strings attached.

Here is betting that the EU doesn’t heed the lessons that have been ringing loud and clear for years. Sincerely hoping Greece leaves the EU and lets market forces revive its economy. Better to die on its feet than live on its knees.

How well do you know your pronouns, bigot?

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How well do you know your gender pronouns? To be honest I was unaware of what they were. I had to look them up. After all laws in some parts of the world will make it a criminal and jailable offense to knowingly call someone by the wrong pronoun. Will the government be posting gender pronoun indoctrination reference sheets to all citizens? Will we have Gender Police roaming the streets like the Saudi religious police who enforce blasphemy laws?  How will governments be able to write to citizens using “Dear Sir/Madam”? Unless they add another page making sure all other variants are included. The above table is but a fraction of the number of pronouns there are.

Google’s banner when searching for ‘gender pronouns’  list – gender neutral, 4chan, they, non, non-binary, agend, personal, respect gender, different, LGBT, table English, neopronouns, inclusive, special snowflake, muh, non conforming, genderque, more than two and so on. Vanderbilt University for instance has wall plaques for staff which denote their preferred ‘pronouns’. At what point did people’s sense of self esteem become so fragile that governments are prepared to fall for it and introduce made up language and make laws to enforce it? Learning the times table was hard enough. Honestly, are people expected to learn Ne, Ve, Ey, Ze, Zie or Xe and all the variations? How psychologically weak must someone be to protest at being incorrectly referred to?

Yet this is the world we are creating. Gender fluid schools, cross dressing, penis tucking and chest binding for primary school students…the list goes on. Boys in Victoria will be allowed to wear uniform dresses to school. The same Victorian government is proposing that medical staff at schools be given the right to dispense drugs such as the contraceptive pill to girls as young as 11 without parental consent. Ottawa has introduced a law – Bill 89 – which gives the state the right to dispossess parents of their children who question their child’s identity.

All the while we are told identity politics is all about ‘inclusiveness.’ How can one have inclusiveness if these minority groups wish to remain openly and proudly exclusive? If we were truly striving for inclusivity then race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference and so on would not be barriers to anything. Why do governments even need to  consider changing public documents? What if you don’t identify as male or female and fly into a country where the customs entry card only lists M or F? Are they right to refuse entry or if they arbitrarily note you as male when you identify as something else? Will you protest at the customs official’s ignorance?

Progressive? Most people probably couldn’t care less what some people identify as. Next time I fly Qantas I am going to identify as an 11yo 4th gender African Wahhabi with dwarfism so I can fly at 50% off and see how far I get. Who are they to deny me? To get what I am on about listen to this interview on this very subject of ‘identity’ and the lunatic aruments made. Anyone who disagrees must by definition be a racist, sexist bigot and prosecuted. Sadly in the real world I have the worst identikit imaginable. I check all the wrong boxes which makes me the suitable target for all of this irrelevant nonsense.

Still to those that must identify with a different pronoun ask yourself – how incomplete is your life to feel that this will some how give you some sense of recognition you were lacking when referred to as he or she? Perhaps I should congratulate you in being able to get authorities to buy into this politically correct rubbish.

CNN still had to flag a child labour warning to an 11-yo volunteer

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There is a truism that there is no stronger heart than that of a volunteer. 11yo kid, Frank Giaccio, wrote a letter to his president to offer his services to cut the White House lawn for free. It was accepted. Before the job CNN interviewed the boy and the conversation was pretty innocuous as you’d expect until the presenter gave the kid advice on child labour laws and perhaps asking him to fleece the president for money. It is hard not to burst into laughter that CNN couldn’t resist having a dig.

Encouragingly the comments sections on social media were overwhelmingly in favour of the event. Even comments on left leaning mainstream media sites were telling ‘triggered liberals’ to look at the event for what it was rather than try to find fault in everything Trump does.

Hopefully Frank embodies the spirit of effort, hard work and diligence of which many could well learn a valuable lesson from. Among all the overwhelmingly negative news feeds it would be nice to think one day people can unite behind good deeds for what they are and leave partisan loyalties on the shelf.

 

 

I’ll stick with my instincts rather than fall for a Harvard study because it is from Harvard

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Harvard University is without question one of the top schools globally. It has an enviable reputation and having that on one’s CV is hardly a hinderance. It is a status symbol.  In a discussion over global warming an individual was trying to legitimize climate alarmism by citing a Harvard University study. Harvard by the way is ranked top 5 worldwide in Environmental Science. The study as it turns out had been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), a US government agency responsible for allocating 24% of science funding that had been raked over the coals by the US Senate for gross mismanagement, fraud and waste. The National Science Foundation: Under the Microscope” paper from 2011 documented some of the misappropriation of funds as follows,

An $80,000 study on why the same teams always dominate March Madness”, a “$315,000 study suggesting playing FarmVille on Facebook helps adults develop and maintain relationships”, a study costing “$1 million for an analysis of how quickly parents respond to trendy baby names”, a study costing “$50,000 to produce and publicize amateur songs about science, including a rap called “Money 4 Drugz,” and a misleading song titled “Biogas is a Gas, Gas, Gas”;” a study costing”$2 million to figure out that people who often post pictures on the internet from the same location at the same time are usually friends”; and “$581,000 on whether online dating site users are racist”.Ineffective management examples, cited in the report, included “ineffective contracting”, “$1.7 billion in unspent funds sitting in expired, undisbursed grant accounts”, “at least $3 million in excessive travel funds”, “a lack of accountability or program metrics to evaluate expenditures” and “inappropriate staff behavior including porn surfing and Jello wrestling and skinny-dipping at NSF-operated facilities in Antarctica”.

It is often a tactic to cite supposedly credible bodies to legitimize and seek to win an argument. However at what point do we view Harvard’s stance on climate change as balanced? On Harvard’s own climate change page it is littered with a predetermined view. It is not to doubt the intelligence of the professors and scientists within the university but intelligence and ethics do not have to be mutually inclusive especially when it comes to procuring funds.

One has to wonder that the  NSF, which dispenses 24% of all university grants (some $7bn) is best positioned to fulfill this role given its past. As the Harvard climate page reveals there does not seem to be much attention paid to the alternate view. The offshoot of that is if the NSF wants to get ‘green policy’ outcomes, best pour funds into those schools that will help give the results they’re after.

In 2015 a claim was made against Harvard for not disclosing financial conflicts of interest. A press release entitled ‘Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions’ constituted a gushing praise of a commentary entitled ‘US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits’ by Charles T. Driscoll, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Jonathan I. Levy, Kathleen F. Lambert, Dallas Burtraw, Stephen B. Reid, Habibollah Fakhraei & Joel Schwartz, published on May 4, 2015, in Nature Climate Change

The claim (a letter to the Dean) suggested that “two of the co-authors of the commentary, Buonocore and Schwartz, are researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Your press release quotes Buonocore thus: “If EPA sets strong carbon standards, we can expect large public health benefits from cleaner air almost immediately after the standards are implemented.” Indeed, the commentary and the press release constitute little more than thinly-disguised partisan political advocacy for costly proposed EPA regulations supported by the “Democrat” administration but opposed by the Republicans. Harvard has apparently elected to adopt a narrowly partisan, anti-scientific stance…The commentary concludes with the words “Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests”. Yet its co-authors have received these grants from the EPA: Driscoll $3,654,609; Levy $9,514,391; Burtraw $1,991,346; and Schwartz (Harvard) $31,176,575. The total is not far shy of $50 million…Would the School please explain why its press release described the commentary in Nature Climate Change by co-authors including these lavishly-funded four as “the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind”? Would the School please explain why Mr Schwartz, a participant in projects grant-funded by the EPA in excess of $31 million, failed to disclose this material financial conflict of interest in the commentary?Would the School please explain the double standard by which Harvard institutions have joined a chorus of public condemnation of Dr Soon, a climate skeptic, for having failed to disclose a conflict of interest that he did not in fact possess, while not only indulging Mr Schwartz, a climate-extremist, when he fails to declare a direct and substantial conflict of interest but also stating that the commentary he co-authored was “independent”?”

While I do not pretend to be a climate scientist by trade or study, fraud is fraud. The supposed beacons of virtue such as NOAA, IPCC, the CRU of the UEA have all been busted for manipulation of data to fit an end cause. The lack of ethics in certain cases has been so profound that had many of these scientists been in financial services they’d have lost licenses, paid multi billion in fines and served jail time. One person commented that too few in financial services have been locked up. I replied name me one scientist busted for fraud and misuse of public funds has seen the inside of a jail cell, much less fined or barred from teaching? The answer – NONE

I don’t need to possess a degree in astrophysics or science to determine poor ethics generally mean the science papers put forward should be viewed with deep skepticism. Yet we’re constantly told that the science is settled. How so? If one has to lie and deceive in order to scare us into action, how can one say that it is legitimate work? In fact I have been at pains to mention that the scrupulous acts of a few only ends up undermining potentially credible work conducted by others. Yet climate change has become a purely political issue and there is no question that sourcing funding dollars is easiest met when supporting alarmism. After all why would people want to throw dollars at skeptics who may come out with an alternative view? Don’t debate it. Some have suggested sceptics are like pedophiles and even more extreme views have suggested jail sentences. When people think that the only way to win the argument is to jail non believers you can be absolutely sure that the data is completely flawed in that it can’t stand on its own as an argument. Hence the manipulation to try to bully the movement onwards. Some Aussie universities (state funded mind you) are refusing a climate think tank being established on their campus for possessing an alternative view. You have to worry if universities, the bedrock of free thinking, are trying to ban it. Then again if kindergarten schools are being taught they are gender fluid and cross dressing is acceptable then you know there is a more sinister movement at work.

It was no surprise that Hurricane Irma has become Trump’s fault. Alarmists drew any data possible to connect Global Warming and hurricane activity despite the IPCC claiming several years back it  has little supportive data to prove it. So expediency is put before principle. Hopefully if no one has seen the IPCC climb down perhaps we can still convince them we can save the planet. All the meantime the IATA forecasts air travel will double in terms of passenger numbers between now and 2030 and SUVs top most vehicle sales in major markets.

To add to the farcical care factor for climate change by the masses The Australian noted, “On June 30 2017, after 12 years of “advancing climate change solutions”, the Climate Institute is closing its doors in Australia, a victim of the “I’ll ride with you but won’t pay” industry. You would think that Cate Blanchett, so happy to appear in the institute’s ads, could have taken the hat around her Hollywood A-list mates, such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Bono, Emma Watson and Brad Pitt, to tip in a few hundred thousand a year for the cause….But alas, the caravan has moved on and the greatest moral challenge of our time is now the Trump White House. For celebrities who fly eyebrow groomers to the Oscars, climate change is kinda yesterday. Still, to humour the faithful and to keep the dream alive, the 10th anniversary of Earth Hour was celebrated last Saturday night. You didn’t notice?”

When I was a staunch opponent of Greenspan’s reckless monetary policy in 2001 and said his actions would lead to a financial calamity in 6-7 years, many laughed at me. I bought gold at under $300. People thought I was mad as did the Bank of England. Barbs were frequent – “how could you possibly possess the intelligence of Greenspan? Back in your box!” I was told. Of course as a contrarian by nature, speaking out against pervading group think was met with a constant wave of ever increasing vitriolic criticism. Of course the simplest thing would have been to roll over and join the band wagon but I stuck to my guns. GFC was the result. In all that time, people used to shame my thinking by citing Harvard or other Ivy League studies on new paradigms. Indeed many of the brains behind the CDOs which eventually brought the financial sector to its knees were brainiacs from the Ivy League. In the end my instincts were bang on. Nothing to do with education levels.

The same arguments were hurled at me during Trump’s presidential campaign. Many people defriended me because my data kept showing to me he’d win. I am not American, I can’t vote but casting my own instincts ended up being a no brainer. Not once were credible arguments made to counter why Trump could win. People would post NY Times polls, CNN polls and so forth to legitimize the argument. Then say I was blind, stupid, bigoted, racist and the usual leftist identikit used to demonise a view. Group think is so dangerous. What it is doing is suppressing real views which show up in the polling booth.

Everywhere I read, the media wants to throw Trump to the wolves and run the lunatic, racist white nationalist card. For 9 months now. To be honest I think he will comfortably do two terms because the media has learned nothing and anything he does is vilified. Most Americans aren’t looking to him for spiritual guidance. He is vulgar and his manner is far from conventional and sometimes not very fitting of the office he serves. However he gets no credit for anything. The latest UN sanctions on North Korea are in large part because Trump has told China to get on with it. Trump said on national TV that he wants “China to sort it out and to stop delaying otherwise we’ll do it for you”. Yet the media is drumming WW3 rhetoric.

Same goes for the Paris Accord. What a stroke of genius. Let France, Germany and other nations pick up the tab for their ‘green policy’ madness and make up America’s renewable shortfall. It is kind of ironic that none of these nations ever pick on China, India or Russia which make up 50% of CO2 emissions for their lack of adherence to actually doing meaningful things to abate climate change albeit signatories to the UN accord. I argue it is like NATO in reverse. US pays a way bigger share into NATO, why not collect a refund via other nation’s virtue signalling which actually helps America First by making other nations less competitive. Brilliant.

DACA – many Americans, including 41mn on food stamps, will welcome the removal of illegal immigrants from their country who in their view are siphoning their ability to get out of poverty. DACA to them isn’t about not being compassionate but realizing that a $20 trillion deficit and loading more onto an overcrowded system isn’t helping. Once again regardless of what people think of Trump he had the fewest white voters and largest share of black and Hispanic voters than Romney or McCain. Hardly the result for a white nationalist, racist bigot. At the current rate if the Democrats run Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren or any other identity politician against him in 2020 they’ll lose. The mid terms won’t be as bad as many calling. The one midterm already returned a Republican despite massive Hollywood support even ferrying voters to booths.

Transgender in the military. I spoke to two dozen US military personnel last month to ask their opinions. The 100% response was, “we think it is inappropriate for the taxpayer to fund sexual reassignment surgery while serving including several years of rehab and ongoing drug therapy…it is taking the p*ss…we serve our country because we love it and we don’t have room to support social experiments to protect freedom!” There was no real issue of transgender per se rather a problem of providing funds in n already tightly allocated budget for such medical expenditure. Several even spoke of the stupidity of LGBT pride day in the armed forces. What has the ability to fight got to do with what goes on in the bedroom? One said “if we had a heterosexual pride day” we’d never hear the end of it.

So when you communicate with the real people you find the truth if you are prepared to listen. The beauty of social media and indeed Google (which happily acts as a Big Brother on what it considers acceptable) is that many people reach for articles they probably haven’t read properly and use them as ways to ram home an argument because they carry a brand name. Harvard is a wonderful institution but as we’ve seen it has run into questions of conflicts of interest.

I happen to think that social media is having the opposite effect on brainwashing to tell the truth. 99.9% of what I see posted has little thought to it. The more people I speak to the more they are ignoring noise. Many people share articles without putting some basis of why they post it. In many cases people are too afraid to face a doxxing or backlash. Bring it on. To me if you post things in the public domain then be prepared to invite criticism. On my site I do not censor, cut off or delete readers. They are free to come and go as they please. I only request they keep profanity to a minimum.

So in summary, the idea that we bow down to venerable institutions to seek guidance is as flawed today as it ever was. I’ll gladly stick to gut instincts because to date they have worked so far. Having said that I should put a disclaimer that was always plastered on financial services product, “Past results are no guarantee of future performance”

Title IX – 2000% jump in sexual violence at US colleges in a decade but the stats reveal much more

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US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been in the firing line as the media interpret her words to defend both sides in discrimination cases as code for wanting to roll back Title IX. Title IX was introduced in 1972 prohibiting sex discrimination in all education programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. The law itself does not mention sexual violence, but its interpretation by the courts puts the onus on schools to make sure they address it should such claims be filed. Let’s get this straight from the beginning, sexual violence in any form is inexcusable. According to the Office for Civil Rights (which is part of the Dept of Education) in the last decade, sexual violence claims in tertiary educational institutions have soared 2000%. Seems an extraordinary growth rate. In absolute numbers sexual violence on US campuses numbered 177 reported cases in 2016. In 2016 there were 20.4mn students in colleges in the US or 8.7 sexual assaults per 1,000,000 students or 0.00087%.

In FY 2016, sex discrimination claims comprised 46% (7,747) of all complaints received in the year, as compared to 28% (2,939) in FY 2015. The majority of Title IX complaints received in 2016 (6,251) were led by a single complainant alleging discrimination in schools’ athletics programs. Complaints involving discrimination based on disability status comprised 36% (5,936) of all complaints this year; race or national origin discrimination complaints comprised 15% (2,439). Age based discrimination was 3% (581).

In Fig 7 above OCR’s staffing level has consistently declined over the life of the agency even though complaint volume has significantly increased. OCR’s staffing level at the end of FY 2016 was 563 (FTE), marginally above the all-time low in staff levels since 1980, when the Department of Education separated from what had until then been the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. The number of staff in OCR today is almost 12% below its staffing level 10 years ago (640); about 29% below its staffing level 20 years ago (788); and more than 50% below its staffing level 34 years ago (1,148).

In FY 2013, OCR received 9,950 complaints and resolved 10,128 total cases. In FY 2016, OCR received 16,720 complaints and resolved 8,625 cases. Estimates are than FY 1985, OCR received just 2,199 complaints—nearly 87% fewer than what OCR now receives in a typical year. Even examining the last several years, from FY 2011 to FY 2016, annual complaint receipts increased by more than 113% and 188% since FY2006.

While not condoning any form of discrimination (whether sex, race, gender or any other form) does it not strike one as rather odd that the figures have jumped so high in such a short period? Most of these laws are over 40 years old. Has racism or sex discrimination all of a sudden jumped from the woodwork?

The 2016 OCR paper states clearly, “Finally, with this year’s annual report, we mark the end of eight productive years in the Obama Administration of securing equal educational opportunity for students. While numbers alone can never tell the full story, the 76,000 complaints we handled, the 66,000 cases we resolved, the more than 5,400 resolution agreements we reached, and the 34 policy guidance documents we issued between 2009 and 2016 speak volumes about ongoing student need and this agency’s service to our school communities.”

This statement almost reads as a failure. Surely the mark of a successful OCR would be to see a reduction in the number of claims. It almost reads as if the OCR wants a higher number of claims to justify its importance. Is it really rational to think that students became 113% more harrassed than 5 years prior? Considering that 80% of sex discrimination claims were made with respect to equal opportunities in athletics, most sports are split by gender – track & field, soccer, American football, boxing etc. Note these 6251 claims weren’t about sexual assault but sex discrimination. Was this possibly an issue of transgender students complaining that they weren’t allowed to play sport for teams that now reflect their gender identity?

If one reads the media one could be forgiven for thinking that most of the Title IX issues were sexual assault related.  They are not. As DeVos made clear, processes at colleges in dealing with sexual violence are often inadequate and there needs to a commitment to ensuring the evidence backs the claims. Do people really have a problem with being innocent before proven guilty?

Let us be clear. The defence of civil rights is just. However the global shift towards public grievance and identity politics is borne out by these statistics. Obama allocated an extra $131 million in 2016 to the OCR to help hire another 210 workers. They’ve hired 19 so far.  We live in a world where Google is censoring what it sees as ‘inappropriate’. We have UC Berkeley deciding to enforce a 50% limit to attendance to a lecture by Ben Shapiro. What we are looking at here should concern people. Safe spaces, trigger warnings and micro aggressions are all terms that have spawned in recent years. Is it any wonder that claims to offices like the OCR are skyrocketing. Why get ahead through hard work, diligence and  exceptional ethics when you can get to the front of the line by complaining you were hard done by. Too easy!