The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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30 April, 2007

People are not the sensitive flowers that the PC brigade make them out to be

In "Stumbling on Happiness", just released in paperback, Harvard psychologist Daniel Gilbert explores why we human beings are poor "affective forecasters," or predictors of future emotion. Interview with the author below:

Let's do a test: How do you think you'll feel at the end of this interview?

Approximately the way I feel now. That's almost always a good guess about how you're going to feel in the future. Most events have a small impact that doesn't last very long. More than one person who's gotten married or moved to California to change their happiness has found that it stays about where it is. My research has made me care much less about which of my possible futures I end up in. When I went to buy a house, I was much less concerned about which house to buy, because I knew from the data that whichever one I bought, I would probably be happy with it, and would quickly become convinced that I bought the only good house on the market.

When did you first realize that people were bad at forecasting their emotional states?

It first occurred to me about 15 years ago. I was watching myself go through some very difficult times of life and realizing that, by and large, I was doing much better than I would have predicted if you'd asked me a year or two ago. Being a scientist, I went right to the scientific literature to see what I could learn about this interesting phenomenon. What I found was, there wasn't scientific literature on it. So my colleague Tim Wilson and I teamed up and decided to do a couple little experiments to see if most people were as bad as predicting their emotional future as I had been. Turns out they were. The effect was very robust and what become quickly interesting was not whether this happened, because obvious it does, but why.

So, I'd guess negative events don't affect us as much as we think they do.

Human resilience is really quite astonishing. People are not the fragile flowers that a century of psychologists have made us out to be. People who suffer real tragedy and trauma typically recover more quickly than they expect to and often return to their original level of happiness, or something close to it. That's the good news-we are a hardy species, even though we don't know this about ourselves. The bad news is that the good things that happen to us don't feel as good or last as long as we think they will. So all that wonderful stuff we're aiming for-winning the lottery, getting promoted, whatever we think will change our lives-probably won't do it after all. We're resilient in both directions. We rebound from distress but we also rebound from joy.

But people do know what will make them happy, don't they?

If you ask people whether they would rather have gallbladder surgery or a weekend in Paris, they get the answer right. What they're wrong about is knowing just how bad or how good these events will be, and how long those feelings will last.

More here

Democrats and the Politics of Fear

Ever since the 1960s the Democrats have won about ninety percent of the black vote in presidential elections. Sometimes it's less, when John Kerry got 88 percent of the black vote in 2004. Sometimes it's right on the button, when Al Gore got 90 percent in 2000. How do you get 90 percent of anyone to vote for one side or the other? You have to make them afraid.

Back in the 1960s when Democrats bestrode the political world like gods they decreed an end to the politics of fear. They forbade the naked appeal to racial and religious fears and decreed a new era of universal tolerance. It was, of course, convenient for them at the time. Shaming the politics of religious hate helped them elect John F. Kennedy to the presidency. And shaming the politics of racial hate helped them bring in the civil rights acts. None the less, it was the right thing to do.

But then things started to go wrong for the Democrats. The unemployed working stiffs of the Great Depression started to drift away into suburban prosperity and ethnic religious voters were driven out the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt by militant secularists. It became a matter of life-and-death for Democrats to keep the voters that remained. Fortunately the solution was at hand. After the high-toned years of the civil-rights struggle ended in a stunning victory African Americans began to develop an authentic politics of their own. It was not the high-toned politics of the civil-rights movement. It was more like the Irish machine politics of the nineteenth century, a politics of patronage and of racial identity, and it quickly became as corrupt as the politics of Boss Tweed and Plunkitt of Tammany Hall.

Perhaps in the years immediately after the civil-rights revolution Democrats were embarrassed by this Fall from the Garden of Eden. Clearly they are not embarrassed any more. Ninety percent of the black vote ain't beanbag, after all.

But it does take constant fear-mongering. It was one thing in 1970 to keep blacks in a frenzy of fear about the return of Bull Connor. After forty years of rising prosperity it takes more. It takes the chutzpah of a Jesse Jackson or an Al Sharpton, or the creativity of a Mike Nifong, who after all won his election for DA.

Ordinary Americans were puzzled by the Durham accusations, and rightly so. If you go to the website reporting the annual National Crime Victimization Survey, as many people do, you can look up the rape statistics in "Table 42: Personal Crimes of Violence 2005: Percent distribution of single offender victimizations, based on race of victims, by type of crime and perceived race of offender." Under "Rape/Sexual assaults" the survey reports 111,490 rape/assaults in 2005 in which a white was the victim. The "perceived race" of the offender was reported as white in 44.5 percent of cases, black in 33.6 percent of cases, "other" in 19.6 percent of cases. Where the victim of rape was black, in 36,620 cases, things were rather different. The "perceived race" of the offender was reported as black in 100.0 percent of cases. White offenders? "0.0*" percent. The asterisk means that the sample included ten or fewer reports. The federal crime statistics show that white-on-black rape was almost non-existent in the United States of America in 2005. This is about as extraordinary as the fact that ninety percent of blacks vote for Democrats.

In the United States today remarkable strides have been made in the reduction of age-old hatreds and enmities. The average American is a remarkably tolerant and inclusive person. Why, the average American has even been taught to believe that Islam is a religion of peace.What a pity that liberals have exempted themselves and their political supporters from this advance in human societal relations. But it is understandable. You see, American blacks, gays, feminists, and academicians live in a world assailed on all sides by the menacing "Other:" Fundamentalists, theocrats, racists, sexists, classists, and homophobes. And do they ever hate and fear the fundamentalists, theocrats, racists, sexists, classists, and homophobes that harass and oppress them.

There is one group that voted in the same lopsided way as African Americans in 2004. In the CNN exit poll 90 percent of "white conservative Protestants" went for George W. Bush. Who is making them afraid? Karl Rove or People for the American Way?


Australia: Black refugees being trained for jihad

CLAIMS young Somalis are being recruited in Melbourne by terror groups are being investigated by Australia's intelligence agencies. Somalian scholar Dr Hersie Hilole said more than 20 Somalis had trained in Melbourne and returned to fight for the Islamic cause in Somalia's civil war. Two Melbourne-based Somalis have been killed fighting with Islamic militias in Africa and one of the deaths has sparked a police investigation. The investigations will focus on Melbourne's 15,000-strong Somalian population that lives mainly in housing commission complexes in Carlton, North Melbourne and Flemington.

It also has emerged that radical Islamic cleric Sheik Mohammed Omran has been preaching to local Somalian Muslims. Arabic and African Muslim communities in Melbourne generally live separate lives. But the Jordanian-born cleric regularly gives outdoor addresses to large sections of the Somalian Muslim community.

ASIO would not comment on the investigation into Melbourne's Somalian community. But a source said: "There are real security threats in Australia and this is one of them." Dr Hilole said Sheik Omran had established links with the Somalis through a radical group of Lebanese Salafists or Wahhabists. "A number of young people have either trained here or have been recruited," he said. Mogadishu-born Dr Hilole is a member of Sydney's Somalian Community Council and has been an outspoken critic of Abdurahman Osman, the president of Somali Community of Victoria. He said Mr Osman's mosque in Racecourse Rd, Flemington, was under siege by Lebanese Salafists.

Dr Hilole said Sheik Omran had created a link with the young Somalis after 18 alleged terrorists were arrested in nationwide raids in November 2005 under Operation Pendennis. Leaders at a popular North Melbourne mosque, home to about 300 African Muslims, yesterday refused to comment on alleged radicals. But a spokesman said Somalian Muslims in Melbourne's north planned to hold a meeting with police and politicians to discuss the issue. Victorian Somali Social Club president Osman Ali said local sheiks and imams urged followers not to rejoin the fight in Somalia. Ethiopian forces invaded Somalia last year to push the radical Islamic Courts movement from power.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


29 April, 2007

Britain: Prison terms LESS likely for violent offenders

Like Leftists everywhere, Left-dominated Britain is always ready to excuse its violent criminals -- probably because of the hate and violence in their own hearts (which shows when, as Communists, they gain absolute power)

Violent criminals are less likely to be sent to prison than non-violent offenders, a shocking Home Office report has revealed. In the latest blow to public confidence in the criminal justice system, a report seen by the Yorkshire Post reveals that just 32 per cent of criminals responsible for violent offences - categorised as everything from murder to assault to obstructing a police officer - are sent to prison. But custodial sentences are handed down to more than 36 per cent of offenders convicted of non-violent offences, such as fraud, theft, burglary, criminal damage, drink-driving and public order offences.

The Home Office study on sentencing and re-offending was met with incredulity and outrage last night by Shadow Home Secretary David Davis and other MPs - but Prisons Minister Gerry Sutcliffe insisted the Government had been calling on the independent judiciary to be tougher with dangerous violent offenders. In addition to the sentencing of violent offenders, the report revealed that a widely used alternative punishment to custody, the drug treatment order, has a re-offending rate of 82 per cent.

Another section appeared to contradict Ministers' claims about the dubious long-term effectiveness of prison by stating that "longer custodial sentences are associated with lower proven re-offending rates".

The conclusions emerged yesterday as the Home Office's latest British Crime Survey found public confidence in Britain's criminal justice system was falling. The survey, which questioned tens of thousands of people during 2006 about their experiences of crime, showed that just 42 per cent of people had confidence in the system's ability to bring criminals to justice, down two points from 2005. Only 37 per cent of people believed the system was effective at reducing crime, while 34 per cent thought it met the needs of victims of crime. Both were one point lower than the 2005 responses.

The Home Office "statistical bulletin" on offending, stated: "Violent offenders are less likely to receive a custodial sentence than other offenders." But it sought to lessen the impact of the statement by adding: "'Violence' incorporates a wide range of offences of varying severity." It noted the two most frequent violent offences were common assault and battery, and assault causing actual bodily harm.

On drug treatment orders, the report said they "had the highest actual proven re-offending rate" of any form of punishment in 2004. On the link between the length of custodial sentences and re-offending, the data showed that the longer the sentence, the lower the rate of repeat offending. It also revealed a rise between 2000 and 2004 in re-offending by people imprisoned for less than a year.

David Davis, the Tory MP for Haltemprice and Howden, said: "It beggars belief that under this Government, violent offenders are actually less likely to receive a custodial sentence than other offenders. "It is precisely these types of serious offenders, representing the greatest risk to the public, who should receive a custodial sentence to protect the public." Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies, who led a Parliamentary debate earlier this month calling for more and longer custodial sentences, said people would be "astonished" by the report's revelations. He said: "The fact is that the system is soft on violent crime, that drug orders don't work and that, contrary to what the liberal do-gooders say, prison works."

Defending the Home Office, Prison Minister Mr Sutcliffe, the Bradford West MP, told the Yorkshire Post: "We've introduced harsher sentences and made sure there are places in prison for dangerous and violent people, who should be treated more severely. But sentences are for the judges to decide, not for politicians." On drug treatment orders and the effectiveness of prison, he added: "Drug-related offenders are harder to deal with and we recognise they are a problem which is why we've increased funding for drug treatment by 974 per cent since 1997. "But we've got to remember that not everyone should go to prison. We need to tackle and break the re-offending process by offering people a holistic solution involving education and jobs."


Cho's biggest victim: Freedom

As students returned to Virginia Tech yesterday, the college rang a bell for each of the 32 victims of the massacre. But to judge by the discussion of the past week, there is another potential victim for whom the bell could be tolling: freedom. We have heard more than enough about the horrors of what happened on the campus, and the narcissistic ramblings of Cho Seung Hui. We have also heard far too many simplistic theories and pat solutions. There is now almost an A-to-Z of who or what was allegedly to blame: from America, Bullying and Campus security to Video games, Xenophobia and the Y chromosome. (The one that is often missing is C for Cho - in an age when anybody can be a victim, many appear to accept his plea that "they" made him do it.)

Moral crusaders are trying to recruit the dead of Virginia Tech to support all manner of pet causes. But one way or another, all seem to agree that the problem is too much freedom. These powerful responses pose a bigger threat than any lone gunman. Apparently the shootings prove the need for more restrictions, not just on guns but on violent video games, rap lyrics, eBay and the news. More security and tighter lockdowns on campuses, more powers for the police. And perhaps most of all, we are told there is a need for tighter controls on people who seem loners and oddballs, like Cho. Once, America's legal system was seen as a global beacon of freedom. Now the world is offered the alternative model of new Labour's authoritarian Mental Health Bill, granting the authorities the power to lock up those deemed to have a personality disorder even if they have committed no offence.

There is no evidence that any of these illiberal measures would make violence less likely or the rest of us safer. But banging on about the need for them can definitely make society more fearful, and less free. Just as passing draconian antiterror laws marks a victory for the bombers, so accepting the postVirginia view of "too much" liberty would be a defeat for democracy.

It is even more important to stand up for freedom during hard times like these. For an old British libertarian Marxist like me, that includes defending Americans' right to bear arms; some British commentators might think that right "bizarre" and "extraordinary", but then their forebears thought much the same about the revolution that gave rise to it.

Cho wreaked enough carnage; let's not volunteer anybody else to be his victims. Why should we want to reorganise the laws and outlooks of entire nations out of fear of the odd madman? Why should the lives and liberties of 300 million in America be altered thanks to the isolated actions of one individual? That really would be allowing the lunatics to take over the asylum.


Islamic incitement to violence in Australia

A VIDEO posted on a hardline Islamic website to promote a soccer tournament in western Sydney has outraged Muslim leaders by featuring an Arabic song often used by al-Qaeda to promote jihad. The song calls on militants to "exterminate" non-believers and make them "hear the tunes of death". The video is used by the Global Islamic Youth Centre, headed by radical cleric Faiz Mohamad, who has praised jihadists and compared Jews to pigs.

It plays the jihad tune, which also says "we shall go to heaven fearing no death", to images of local and international soccer players displaying their skills. Bomb explosions and missiles launching form part of the music in the clip promoting the Liverpool Youth Cup. "With the swords we shall exterminate the infidels and death is the desire of the pure," one translated verse says. "With jihad the banners of the evident victory shall rise high. "We shall go to heaven fearing no death. We shall not waver ... we are the cubs of the victorious conquerors."

Senior Muslim leader Ameer Ali attacked the seemingly "hidden agenda" of the video, which was pulled down by GIYC yesterday afternoon following The Weekend Australian's inquiry. "I'm worried and I am concerned there is a hidden message behind this soccer tournament (promotion)," said the former chairman of John Howard's Muslim reference board. "This sort of message should be avoided. Why bring controversy into a sports match? Sport promotes co-operation, friendliness - that's what you expect from sport."

Prominent Sydney-based cleric Khalil Shami also condemned the video, saying it was wrong to conflate sporting images and "fighting". He attacked the fundamentalist GIYC for further damaging the Muslim community's standing in the eyes of mainstream Australia. "I don't know how they are driving this community - they drive it in a very, very bad way," said the imam at Penshurst mosque in Sydney's southwest. "It's not fair for the community. Why mix sport with the fighting? Why?"

GIYC's president, Zunaid Moosa, yesterday told The Weekend Australian that he was unaware of what the song meant because he didn't speak Arabic. He said Islamic songs were often chosen for video-clips based on their "catchy" tune, and denied having anything to do with the production of the clip. "Often a lot of anasheed (Islamic vocal music) we got no idea (about) because we are not Arabic-speaking people," he said. "It would just be more of a tempo of the beat and a catchy type tune, that's all."

A list of sponsors on the soccer clip includes charity group Human Appeal International and Krispy Kreme Donuts. A spokesman yesterday said HAI was not aware that GIYC had any political agendas when it agreed to sponsor the event. But a spokeswoman for Krispy Kreme denied the organisation had sponsored the soccer tournament and said she would take the matter up with GIYC.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


28 April, 2007

Corrupt "social gospel" church hid the secret of the choirmaster who abused boys

The church's infatuation with homosexuals wouldn't have anything to do with it, of course

The Church of England was accused of a cover-up after a choirmaster who systematically abused children in his care was allowed to become a school governor. Peter Halliday admitted sexually molesting boys as young as nine, nearly 20 years ago. But Church authorities did not tell the police. Instead, they allowed him to quietly leave - on the promise he would change his ways.

As Halliday finally began a jail sentence for his crimes, it was revealed he was only caught after one of his victims saw a TV programme on sexual abuse in the Church. When he checked on the Internet and discovered his former tormentor was still working with children, he called police.

Child safety campaigners yesterday criticised the Church's "serious mishandling" of the case. Halliday, 61, was sentenced to two and half years in prison after he admitted ten counts of sexual abuse between 1986 and 1990. Winchester Crown Court heard the former choirmaster at St Peter's Church in Farnborough, Hampshire, was so trusted by his victims' families that the boys were allowed to stay at his home.

Described in court as "a bully and a revolting character", he attacked the boys at his home, during swimming lessons and on camping trips. Now in their twenties and thirties, the victims, one of whom is head of music at a private school, are still coming to terms with what they went through.

The court heard Halliday could have been stopped in 1990 when the rector of St Peter's, the Reverend Alan Boddington, was informed about the abuse. Yet Mr Boddington and the then Bishop of Dorking, David Wilcox, told Halliday he could leave quietly as long as he had no more contact with children. The court heard Halliday was on the board of governors of a secondary school in Farnborough from 1988 to 2000 but had no unsupervised contact with children. When he was seen at a choir concert in 1993, the victim who had already complained to the Church again expressed his concerns. But nothing was done.

Halliday, a married father, would have escaped justice had one of his victims not researched him on the Internet and found he was a school governor and working with a children's choir. After the hearing the Church insisted it had done nothing wrong, saying officials "acted in good faith".

Child protection workers said it had failed, however. David Pearson, of the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service, said: "Had we been contacted by the Church authorities then we would have had no hesitation in telling them to go straight to the police."

Halliday was also ordered to pay 2,000 pounds compensation to each victim. One recalled his horror at meeting Halliday in 1993 on a course. He said: "I was just aghast. Younger brothers of friends were there. I was scared for myself, but also terrified for them."


A church that has forgotten how to repent its sins

More proof that its gospel is a secular rather than a Christian one these days

Turn on the Today programme, and most days you will hear some stonewalling corporate affairs sap, who has undergone "media training" and been told to stick to his script no matter what. It always makes me splutter into my coffee. Asked to defend the leaking of an oil pipeline, he will say: "The important thing is that best-practice policies are in place to ensure that clean-up procedures are strictly adhered to, and we at Polluting Petroleum want to assure you that we have the best interests of local people at heart." Translation: they're covered in oil and their crops are ruined, but I don't suppose many of them have shares in PP or will make a fuss at the AGM. As long as we get through today, we'll be OK.

You might expect such flannelling from business people and politicians. But from the Church of England? Surely not. Yet yesterday produced the worst splutterfest ever. The hapless spokeswoman was the Rev Pearl Luxon. She had been put up by the Church to talk about its role in failing to prevent a paedophile choirmaster, Peter Halliday, from abusing children. As one of the victims said: "When your first sexual experience is of a 40-year-old man forcing himself on you, it's pretty horrific." But the Church told neither the police nor social services and simply asked Halliday to leave.

Was Mrs Luxon, who is in charge of child protection at the C of E, contrite? Not a bit of it. Her first sin was to say that she could not comment on the case at all. "Why?" asked John Humphrys. "This is not a live case. The man has admitted his guilt and will be sentenced today. It is incumbent upon you to comment on this case, surely?"

"No, I cannot comment on this particular case," intoned the robot again. No reason. All she would say, time and time again, was that the Church had "robust policies in place" to deal with child abuse. When Humphrys tried to make her acknowledge that things had gone very badly wrong over Halliday, her answer was so unsatisfactory that it deserves printing in full: "These matters are always reviewed after they occur and we learn from our mistakes and our good practice is improved at all stages when these matters are looked at. Robust policies are improved through learning from the past and from following the guidance and good practice that happens now." Aaargh!

Does this woman have no shame? Has she stopped to think about the consequences of the Church's actions, or rather inactions? Presumably not, as she displayed not a shred of regret, let alone apology. If I were offering her media training, I would advise her to say: "We are desperately sorry that this occurred. We got it badly wrong. We apologise to the victims and will make sure that it never happens again." It's not that hard, is it?


Non-English Britain

Immigration correctness is having huge effects

One in five schoolchildren is from an ethnic minority - almost double the figure a decade ago. The annual school census reveals a Britain where one in eight pupils speaks a language other than English at home. The record figures include more than 40,000 children from Eastern Europe who have enrolled at schools since the enlargement of the European Union in 2004.

The statistics emerged as the race relations watchdog warned that Britain's segregated schools are a "ticking timebomb". The Commission for Racial Equality's director of policy said parents must stop sending their children to schools where most pupils come from similar religious or racial backgrounds. Nick Johnson also suggested schools should be given more money to admit a racially mixed intake. He said: "We're in fear of turning into a mini-America with racially determined schools. "Schools are where our children first learn how to get along with people from other cultures and backgrounds. Racially segregated schools prevent this from happening. This is a ticking timebomb."

His comments came as figures published by the Department for Education and Skills showed the biggest year- on-year increase in ethnic minority pupils for a decade. They account for just under a fifth (19.8 per cent) of England's 6.5 million primary and secondary pupils, up from 11 per cent when Labour came to power. Meanwhile, the number of primary pupils alone who do not speak English as their first language increased by seven per cent from last year to 448,000 - or about one child in seven. Overall, it is around one in eight.

But the Commission for Racial Equality is concerned that there are not enough resources to integrate pupils from such diverse backgrounds. Mr Johnson said he was particularly worried about Tony Blair's controversial city academies and trust schools. He added that some of these are using their extra freedoms to "cream off pupils from certain ethnic backgrounds or religions, thus ... increasing racial tensions".

The Conservatives said ministers had been caught off-guard by the increase in non-native English speakers in schools. Tory education spokesman David Willetts said: "The Government has completely failed to keep up with the rate of change in our school population." A DfES spokesman said: "The Education and Inspections Act 2006 placed a new duty on the governing bodies of all maintained schools, including faith schools, to promote community cohesion."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


27 April, 2007

We Australians know who we are and what we are

Though our Leftist intellectuals don't, of course. The following is a report by an American living in Australia. See the original for links

Today is ANZAC Day, and it's my second since coming to Australia. It's a singular day from an American point of view, and there are two aspects of it that I'd like to share which make this "holiday" so different from any other I've experienced.

For those who don't know what ANZAC Day is, it is equivalent to Veteran's Day in the States. It was first observed in 1916 and is held on the day when the first Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) landed at Gallipoli in 1915. Since then it has come to encompass all of Australia and New Zealand's war veterans. More can be found at the Australian War Memorial website.

The first aspect of ANZAC Day is, appropriately, the first thing of the day. At places throughout the country, even in very small towns, ceremonies are held in the time just before the sun rises, commemorating the landings at Gallipoli. Unlike some might expect at 5 in the morning, the crowd is not sparse. During my two ANZAC Days in Newcaslte, it has been raining during the ceremony - this morning was exceptionally wet and windy. However, the crowd did not diminish; the traditions were not departed from. We all stood there in the wind and the rain, remembering the sacrifices made by Diggers throughout history. (I use the term "we" because, though not an Australian, I appreciate the fact that Australia has stood by the US in every conflict the US has fought...and I'm fairly certain it is the only country which can claim that.)

As I think about my own activities on 11 November in the States, I can't say that (even though I am a veteran) I ever felt the kind of patriotism and bonding as I have during this morning ANZAC ceremony. There is sense of community during the ceremony, even if it only stems from the simple fact that so many people decided that the commemoration of ANZACs was important enough to wake up at 4:30 in the morning for, important enough to stand in the driving rain for.

The second aspect stems directly from that sense of community. Over and over again, I've been reminded that one aspect of Australian culture celebrated on ANZAC Day is the idea of "mateship". To an American, that sounds like a very strange word. A very rough translation might be friendship, but that's not really enough of an explanation. It actually has a definition: "a mode of conduct among Australian men that stresses equality, friendship, and solidarity." That seems a little simplistic to me, but the point is probably adequately made by those few definitive words. It is a relationship in which, from what I can tell, social status and breeding fall by the wayside and looking after your mate, your true friend, is of utmost importance. And what's more, you can expect them to do the same for you.

Perhaps it's better for me to quote at length an Australian here. In a speech given in London, November 2003, Prime Minister John Howard said:

The two world wars exacted a terrible price from us - the full magnitude of that lost potential, of those unlived lives can never be measured. And yet, some of the most admirable aspects of Australia's national character were, if not conceived, then more fully ingrained within us by the searing experiences of those conflicts.

None more so than the concept of mateship - regarded as a particularly Australian virtue - a concept that encompasses unconditional acceptance, mutual and self respect, sharing whatever is available no matter how meagre, a concept based on trust and selflessness and absolute interdependence. In combat, men did live and die by its creed. 'Sticking by your mates' was sometimes the only reason for continuing on when all seemed hopeless.

I wonder what sort of examples will be around in America when I have a child. At the moment, it seems that the most "celebrated" (which, incidentally, is a word which I have no respect for any longer) forms of bonding belong to those in the thug world, the celebrity moronosphere and hip-hop "culture". I hope these are replaced by something more akin to mateship. And I hope that in the US there can be something developed, some tradition built which echoes the sentiment of ANZAC Day, but in an American vein. These two things, I think, would go a way towards enhancing Americans' national and personal identities.


Turning society into Room 101

`In denial', `phobic', `hateful'. increasingly, certain kinds of speech are depicted as a sickness, and censorship is seen as the cure

Censorship is entering into a dangerous new dawn. In the past, certain ideas and forms of speech were silenced on the (usually overblown) basis that they were immoral, corrupt, a threat to `national security' or `public safety'. Today, thoughts and speech that fall foul of the mainstream are depicted as a mental defect, a pathology, a sort of virus that requires therapeutic intervention and corrective education. People are silenced because they are `in denial' (of the Holocaust or climate change), or because they're `phobic' (whether Islamophobic or homophobic), or because they spread `hate speech' (they're consumed by irrational hatred). All of these new censorious categories - denial, phobia, hatefulness - speak to the pathologisation of certain ideas. Speech is increasingly depicted as a sickness, and censorship as the cure.

Those who question historical facts or contemporary consensuses are described as being `in denial'. This afternoon the European Union looks set to introduce a new law that will make Holocaust denial a crime punishable by a prison sentence. On one level, the term `Holocaust denial' refers to the simple fact that certain scurrilous historians and skinhead gangs deny that the Nazis exterminated six million Jews. On another level, these individuals are said to be `in denial' - that is, they have a mental disorder. In the past, many rightly recognised that Holocaust denial sprung from ideology; it was the deniers' subscription to fascistic or anti-Semitic beliefs that led them to question the truth of the Holocaust. Today Holocaust denial is said to spring from psychology. One author writes of `the psychology of the deniers', arguing that anyone who believes the Holocaust did not happen is `at base a troubled soul' (1).

The psychologisation of certain ideas is even clearer in the discussion of `climate change denial'. Those who question the scientific consensus on global warming - or even the political consensus around environmentalism - are written off as `deniers'. And there are frequent shrill and intemperate demands that these deniers be denied public platforms. Apparently they are deluded and possibly hysterical. The Ecologist magazine has written about the `psychology of climate change denial'. It argues that the vast majority in society (excluding those `handfuls of people who have already decided to stop being passive bystanders' - ie, the greens) have responded to warnings of global warming by sinking into `self-deception and mass denial' (2). One online magazine, Climate Change Denial, is dedicated to analysing the public's `weird and disturbed' response to climate change (3).

When certain ideas are held to be the products of psychological disorder, then those who subscribe to them are easily sidelined. It is censorship as a form of sectioning. An individual is censured both for his own good (to cure his self-deception) and for the good of society (to protect others from falling into the pit of `mass denial'). This has a deadening effect on public debate. After all, what is the point of engaging with those who are `weird and disturbed'? Some environmentalist thinkers explicitly argue that there can be no debate with `climate change deniers'. The Ecologist claims that `denial cannot simply be countered with information.there is plentiful historical evidence that increased information may even intensify the denial.' (4) Instead people must apparently be manipulated. In its report Warm Words, the British think-tank the IPPR argued that `the task of climate change agencies is not to persuade by rational argument but in effect to develop and nurture a new "common sense.. The "facts" need to be treated as being so taken-for-granted that they need not be spoken.' (5)

The labelling of those who question certain scientific claims or green policies as deniers, individuals suffering from self- or mass deception, removes the need for any meaningful debate about the politics of environmentalism. That might explain why the IPPR says climate change scepticism cannot be countered by `rational argument' - because such scepticism is apparently not rational. Deniers, and the public in general, must be corrected, treated, re-educated. According to the IPPR, government officials and climate change agencies `need to work in a more shrewd and contemporary way, using subtle techniques of engagement'; the aim should be to `treat climate-friendly activity as a brand that can be sold' as that is the only `route to mass behaviour changes' (6). When critical arguments against environmentalism are emptied of their rational and political components, the result is the shutting down of debate and the manipulation of thought and behaviour.

Meanwhile, other viewpoints are chastised and censured on the grounds that they express a `phobia'. In particular, certain views of Islam or homosexuality are now widely referred to as `Islamophobia' and `homophobia'. The British authorities seem singularly obsessed with combating Islamophobic ideas and speech. The Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 - a deeply censorious law which created an offence of `stirring up' hatred against someone on the basis of their religion - was brought in largely on the back of concern about outbreaks of Islamophobia. Last year the EU passed a resolution titled `Homophobia in Europe' which encouraged member states to curtail homophobia, including homophobic speech.

The redefinition of certain ideas as `phobic' writes them off as irrational, even disordered. The EU resolution on homophobia describes it as `an irrational fear of and aversion to homosexuality and of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people' (7). And as Jane Adolphe, an associate professor of law at Ave Maria School of Law in Michigan (and an active Christian), has pointed out, phobia is a psychiatric term - and `thus only a doctor could determine if a set of behaviours amounted to the condition of "homophobia".' Increasingly it is not only spiteful or inciting speech about Islam or homosexuality that is described in this psychiatric fashion. Moral judgements and political views are also frequently labelled `Islamophobic' or `homophobic'. In Britain, Muslim community groups label criticisms of certain Islamic practices, such as women wearing the niqab, as Islamophobic. Religious figures' moral opposition to gay marriage is described as `homophobic'. Now, whatever you may think of the priests' stance, Jane Adolphe has a point when she asks: `Is it phobia if you want to discuss outlawing homosexual marriages.? To suggest so is an infringement on the right to free expression.' (8)

In the past there were `isms' - racism, sexism - which many recognised as being the products of ideologies that ought to be challenged through rigorous public debate. Now there are phobias - homophobia, Islamophobia, Jewphobia (a new name for anti-Semitism), and Christophobia (a hatred of Christianity, apparently). Or there's just `hatred': restrictions on `hate speech' are justified on the grounds that it is also blind and irrational. Where the era of isms recognised that people took a decision, however wrong, to be suspicious of black people or to oppose immigration or women in the workplace, the era of phobias treats prejudice and certain moral views as disorders. And thus where you might have had debate, even protests and conflict, in the era of isms, today there are only demands for censorship or re-education to cure people of their irrational way of thinking. (Ironically, homosexuality was once considered to be a mental disorder in need of correction; today, many gay activists and their supporters in government have taken on board very similar language to describe those who are critical or suspicious of homosexuality.)

The pathologisation of what are seen as unacceptable ideas emerges from today's moral uncertainty. At a time when few can agree on what is right or wrong, when those old ideas about protecting the `national good' or `public decency' no longer enjoy widespread support, speech and thought tend to be curtailed at a psychological level. Individuals are no longer chastised for transgressing moral boundaries and punished with censorship for doing so; they are described as having irrational or disturbed thought patterns, and offered therapy. This opens up the possibility of new and more insidious forms of censure. Recently in America an actor who called one of his colleagues a `faggot' was ordered by his TV network to `enter a rehab programme to examine why he would say such hateful words'. In Britain, reality-TV has-been Jade Goody was sent to anger management classes after she clashed with Bollywood star Shilpa Shetty on Celebrity Big Brother (9). We can expect more of this sort of thing the more that ideas are relabelled defects.

In Nineteen Eighty-Four, O'Brien, the torturer in Room 101, offers to cure Winston Smith of his anti-party thinking. `You are mentally deranged. You suffer from a defective memory', O'Brien says. `Fortunately it is curable.. Shall I tell you why we have brought you here? To cure you! To make you sane!' It seems that some are keen to turn contemporary society into a big, open Room 101, where dodgy ideas or critical thinking are also cured. Hands up if you would rather remain `sick'.


Australia: Free speech concerns strangely missing in attack on conservative radio host

THE quality of justice in NSW is most strange. The Appeal Court bizarrely found it necessary to disqualify Margaret Cunneen, one of the best Crown prosecutors the state had the good fortune to employ, from a gang rape case; a senior judge agreed with a Muslim defendant that - on highly specious grounds - female court staff could not handle his drinking water; and broadcaster Alan Jones has been convicted of a criminal offence for broadcasting the name of a most repellent young man of questionable age after his identity, through error, improperly appeared in The Daily Telegraph.

Jones, who has for years been Sydney's most successful morning radio host, has always been on the receiving end of crude insults from those with smaller audiences and larger egos. But it now appears the judiciary - and the wannabe judges who run the highly politicised petty authorities - are joining the fray. Notably silent have been the legions of self-anointed protectors of free speech, the civil libertarians and civil rights lawyers because Jones's audience is not theirs and his appeals to common sense and understanding of government process usually expose them as the poseurs they are.

The self-acclaimed leaders of the media, who will be out in force to tut-tut over incursions on press freedom tomorrow night at a dinner to be addressed by Jonestown author Chris Masters, have kept their mouths smugly shut. They only want freedom for their speech, not that which challenges their politically correct vision of how the world should be.

Jones was found guilty under a rarely used law designed to protect innocent young victims of crime and children involved in criminal activities. The section of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act holds: It shall be conclusively presumed that no child who is under the age of 10 years can be guilty of an offence. That Act defines a child as a person under the age of 18. Tell that to the train drivers who had a brick thrown at the front of their train, or try convincing a victim of the mobs now ruling George St, that those responsible for bashing them cannot be guilty because they were too young.

The law against publishing is even more ridiculous, prohibiting naming individuals even when they are dead at the time of publication or broadcast. It means, as one legal eagle has said, that should the premier of NSW have a child murdered by al-Qaeda, that child's identity could not be disclosed by the press during any subsequent court action.

Jones's case involved members of a large Pakistani Muslim family, four of whom are convicted gang rapists and their late father was facing perjury charges when he died. The court heard that on April 10, 2004, a car thumping with loud music and bearing the number plate "ON DOLE" attracted some rude gestures from passengers in a taxi. The driver cut the taxi off at the next lights and at least two people got out and attacked the taxi and its occupants. One of them, who later claimed to be 14 years old, used a metal pipe. The taxi driver attempted to defend himself and struck out with a screwdriver, hitting one of the assailants, who later died.

The supposed 14-year-old was a key witness in the Crown case against the taxi driver. He had a lengthy criminal record, had used multiple aliases and many birth dates. During the trial he said he was 14 or 15 "or something like that" and at a later hearing that he was "16, 17". His father didn't know and his mother could only guess, basing that guess on her assertion her first child was born in 1978. No one knew - least of all the prosecution. Even the magistrate could only deduce the witness was born between 1988 and 1992.

Jones read The Daily Telegraph's report of the ongoing trial on air and was prosecuted by the DPP. Unfortunately, the DPP wasn't prepared and asked for continual delays running from 2006 and into this year, and all the while Jones was paying his counsel.

Even the fact the prosecution's case was based on a witness it was prosecuting for perjury didn't seem to trouble the magistrate. Nor was she concerned by his police record, the evidence that he bashed the taxi driver with a metal pipe, or that he had even bashed his own sister. Legally irrelevant to this case, perhaps, but most telling about the character of the "child" whose identity had been inadvertently revealed by Jones and The Daily Telegraph.

Deputy Chief Magistrate Helen Syme said she accepted Jones's argument that the urgency of breakfast radio meant he could not check everything that went to air. "From time to time, negligent or reckless behaviour may occur," Syme said, fining Jones $1000 and handing him a nine-month good behaviour bond - and a criminal record. Radio 2GB licensee Harbour Radio was fined $3000 and News Limited $4000. Jones is appealing the case. The transcript is worth reading. If this is the sort of justice meted out to a first offender, why should criminals have any respect for the law?



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


26 April, 2007

Some similarities between Sharia and PC

Sharia is the "law" applied automatically wherever there's a Radical Islamic State. There are even western like Arabian countries that obey strictly the Sharia. In these countries:

* Alcohol beverages are proihibited

* Music is not allowed

* Women must cover their faces and bodies

Political correctness, in its turn is making huge progress in the same direction

* Smoke is prohibited in public places in almost all countries of Europe, US and Latin America

* Fat: people who are fat or restaurants that sell fat meals (especially if they have a clown as a symbol) are being targeted by low-fat radicals

* Crucifixes and other symbols of Christianity like Easter and Christmas are being, or are banned or turned into something other than its original meaning

Both Sharia and Political Correctness are pursuing the same goals: to impede people from the "wrong" things or "Christian" things, at least. Their perpetrators do not believe in freedom. Freedom to do wrong, to fail is freedom that must be allowed too.


The Big White Lie

The thing I like best about being a conservative is that I don't have to lie. I don't have to pretend that men and women are the same. I don't have to declare that failed or oppressive cultures are as good as mine. I don't have to say that everyone's special or that the rich cause poverty or that all religions are a path to God. I don't have to claim that a bad writer like Alice Walker is a good one or that a good writer like Toni Morrison is a great one. I don't have to pretend that Islam means peace.

Of course, like everything, this candor has its price. A politics that depends on honesty will be, by nature, often impolite. Good manners and hypocrisy are intimately intertwined, and so conservatives, with their gimlet-eyed view of the world, are always susceptible to charges of incivility. It's not really nice, you know, to describe things as they are.

This is leftism's great strength: it's all white lies. That's its only advantage, as far as I can tell. None of its programs actually works, after all. From statism and income redistribution to liberalized criminal laws and multiculturalism, from its assault on religion to its redefinition of family, leftist policies have made the common life worse wherever they're installed. But because it depends on-indeed is defined by-describing the human condition inaccurately, leftism is nothing if not polite. With its tortuous attempts to rename unpleasant facts out of existence-he's not crippled, dear, he's handicapped; it's not a slum, it's an inner city; it's not surrender, it's redeployment-leftism has outlived its own failure by hiding itself within the most labyrinthine construct of social delicacy since Victoria was queen.

This is no small thing. To rewrite the rules of courteous behavior is to wield enormous power. I see it in Southern California, in the bleeding heart of leftism, where I live. I've been banned from my monthly poker game, lost tennis partners, lost friends-not because I'm belligerent but because I've wondered aloud if the people shouldn't be allowed to make their own abortion laws, say, or if the world might not be a better place without the UN.

It's a rotten feeling. I sometimes think that I'd rather be deemed evil than a boor. Wickedness has some flair to it, even a whiff of radicalism. If you molest a child, there's always a chance that you can get the ACLU to defend you as a cultural innovator. But if you make a remark at table about the destructive social effects of broken homes and then discover that your dinner partner is a divorcee-trust me, you feel like a real louse. It's manners, not morals, that lay the borderlines of our behavior.

This, I believe, is the reason conservative politicians so often lose their nerve, why they back down in debate even when they're clearly right. No one wants to be condemned as a brute-especially not conservatives, who still retain some vague memory of how worthy it is to be a lady or gentleman.

And because we've allowed leftists to define the language of political good manners-don't say women are less scientific; don't remark that black people bear the same responsibility for their actions as whites; don't point out that the gunman was a Muslim, it's not nice-the sort of person willing to speak the truth isn't always the sort of person you want to be seen with. It sometimes takes, I mean, a Rush Limbaugh or a Sean Hannity to withstand the obloquy attached to stating the facts of the matter. If these people in their public personae seem harsh to more genteel conservatives, it may be because it requires that extra dollop of aggression to shatter the silence created by the Left's increasingly elaborate sensitivities.

Still, mannerly as we would rather be, truth-telling continues to be both compelling and ultimately satisfying. There is, after all, something greater than courtesy. "Firmness in the right," Lincoln called it, "as God gives us to see the right." We find ourselves at a precarious moment in an endeavor of great importance: namely, the preservation of Western rationalism and liberty. It does mankind no good to allow so magnificent an enterprise to slip away merely for fear of saying the wrong thing.


Duke Lacrosse Scandal: Eight Lessons

By Dennis Prager

America's news media, an amoral university, an opportunistic district attorney, and a police department that seems to have collaborated in framing innocent students all combined to nearly destroy the lives of three innocent young men -- members of the Duke University lacrosse team.

The attorney general of North Carolina announced that all charges -- of rape, sexual assault and whatever other charges a mendacious young woman got Mike Nifong to bring against the Duke lacrosse team players -- were being dropped. He pronounced the students "innocent," not merely "not guilty." And the attorney general also declared Nifong a "rogue prosecutor."

The lessons of this terrible story are obvious, but given the political correctness of our time and the inverted values that prevail among America's elites -- particularly the news media, the universities and the legal profession -- these lessons will rarely be expressed, let alone learned.

First, the rape of a name is also a rape. A false accusation of rape can be as devastating to a man and his family as a real rape can be to a woman and her family. Sometimes a real rape is more destructive; sometimes the rape of a name is more destructive. It is therefore a grave injustice not to prosecute the woman who brought these false charges.

Second, moral Americans of every race must acknowledge that our society has a problem of anti-white prejudice in parts of the African American community. Proportionally, it seems that more blacks unfairly mistrust whites than whites unfairly mistrust blacks. Mike Nifong won his race for district attorney largely by appealing to this prejudice.

Third, it is utterly unjust that the families of the Duke lacrosse players had to pay millions of dollars in attorneys fees to defend their sons against a lying woman and a morally corrupt district attorney. Such injustices happen every day because the American legal system, unlike that of other countries such as Great Britain, forces those who win lawsuits wrongly brought against them to pay all their legal bills. Trial lawyers and the Democratic Party, which trial lawyers fund, prevent all reform in this area in order to allow frivolous lawsuits and their accompanying high lawyer profits to continue. That is why three young men who did nothing wrong have cost their families much, if not all, of their life savings.

Fourth, while Duke University has good individuals, like most universities today, Duke is a moral wasteland. Eight-eight professors, abetted by Duke's president, created a mob mentality against the young men not unlike that of a lynch mob. Of course, nothing will be done to Duke's president or to those professors. To get fired as the president of an elite American university, one must suggest that men and women are innately different. Politically incorrect truth telling -- not race-, gender- or class-baiting of whites, athletes or males -- gets you fired. And Duke alumni will continue to fund Duke, just as Columbia University alumni are funding Columbia with record donations despite Columbia's reluctance to discipline radical students who violently disrupted a conservative speaker on campus last year.

Fifth, the moral vision of much of the Left, which led the anti-white athlete hysteria, was revealed again. It views the world not as a conflict between good and evil but between white and black, male and female, and rich and poor. The athletes were rich and white and male. For many on the Left, that alone made them villains. As a general proposition, subject to exceptions that accompany all generalizations, the Left has considerably more compassion for groups (racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and sexual groups it favors) than for individuals.

Sixth, any time Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson get in front of cameras on a race matter, assume that they are there to inflame, not heal. We await their apologies to the three Duke students. But we are also awaiting Al Sharpton's apologies to those he libeled in the Tawana Brawley rape hoax.

Seventh, the next time you hear that someone was indicted by a grand jury, unless you have knowledge of the case, or reason suggests possible guilt, don't assume it. As Joe Cheshire, one of the accused boys' lawyers said, "A grand jury would indict a ham sandwich for the death of a pig."

Eighth, it is time to drop the anti-male bigotry and either hide the names of accused rapists -- at least until their indictment -- or also reveal the names of their accusers. Short of that, the press and justice system surely have the moral obligation to reveal the names of false accusers of rape. It is almost beyond belief (but little is anymore) that news media like The New York Times will still not reveal the name of the lying accuser. For the record, it is Crystal Mangum. Shame on her and her supporters. I weep for those boys and their families. And I fear for America.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


25 May, 2007

The New Jamestown Tragedy

This month Queen Elizabeth II will visit Jamestown, Virginia as the nation marks the 400th anni-versary of the founding of the colorful British colony that eventually gave birth to the United States. Instead of the pomp and circumstance that is normal for commemorating such an event, Queen Elizabeth and U.S. citizens alike will discover how the prelates of political correctness have hijacked the commemoration and found pliant allies in the Virginia state government with the unknowing assistance of Congress, who initially chartered the Jamestown 400th Commemoration Commission (H.R. 4907 / Public Law 106-565). Do you want a sample of your tax dollars at work?

The word "Celebration" has been banned from the Jamestown anniversary because influential members of the organizing committee have stated the colonial settlement was, in fact, an "invasion" that led to a "holocaust" of American Indian tribes and the institution of slavery on American soil. It gets better. The Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, among others, were paneled on a committee to discuss the Jamestown "tragedies" - a surprise to me since I was unaware their esteemed resumes included expertise in 17th century American Colonialism. There was also a discussion on the settlers' ecological habits - earning the glorious accolade for Jamestown as the "origin of environmental injustice in America." Let's not forget that two self-professed "Native Americans," are also selling a new book called "The True Story of Pocahontas." It is allegedly a wonderful addition to the misery of what was thought would be a day of importance in modern American history by depicting the colonists as murderers, rapists, slavers and thieves. The book's release was timed to the "commemoration" date and is supposedly based upon what the authors claim is the "sacred Mattaponi Tribe's oral traditions" unheard for 400 years. Not to be outdone at Jamestown are the official tour guides, who now cautiously describe the role of Christianity in the settlement's founding referring to plaques bearing the Ten Commandments, The Apostles Creed and The Lord's Prayer as simply "religious" in nature and even the National Park Service's official "commemoration" display minimizes the role of the settlers at Jamestown.

As thinking Americans, we are all for free thought and discourse, but let us push aside for a mo-ment the historians of minutia; disregard that the first African slave owner in Jamestown was a free black man, who, like thousands of poor whites, was a former indentured servant himself, forget the "environmentally-friendly," Indian tribes who, instead of cutting down trees and build-ing homes from the timber to make room for gardens, torched the forest and planted crops in the blackened soil or had their own slaves do the work, and lets forget that most tribes acquired their ancestral lands by force from neighboring tribes. In addition, some colonists, as noted by the records of the day, were far from saintly in their own lives. Dispassionate scholars will tell you it's called life and people in the present cannot morally judge the past or be expected to redress the grievances of ancient sins. Man will hopefully advance further and opinions possessed now on morality, or the lack of, may seem unthinkable to our descendants in the future.

In 1607, however, slavery had been a globally accepted practice since Biblical times and had the American Indians found a common language, mobilized under centralized leadership and mas-tered the oceans with the riches of America in hand, Jamestown, Virginia could have easily been Tanasi on the Thames, Pocahontas the Indian equivalent of Queen Victoria and the aristocracy of Europe replaced with the meritocracy of American Indians. Why? Because it is the principal nature of human beings to explore, advance and colonize. It is a trait common to every color and creed as evidenced by the archaeological records of ancient and modern civilizations around the world. The goals and values established by the early Christian colonists at Jamestown that gave birth to this nation were Utopian in their day - a fantasy thrown in the lot of mythical civiliza-tions like Atlantis and El Dorado, but by hard work, tough times and near disaster their goals were achieved and this nation's people are a testament to their existence. A nation where black, brown, red, yellow, and white, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jew and Muslim people stand and speak with one voice.

The controversy over the CELEBRATION of Jamestown's founding is proof the enemies of western civilization have finally found this nation's Achilles heel and can successfully exploit it. These enemies have also reemphasized that a real war is a multi-faceted assault. The tree of liberty is like any other tree. Simply cutting it down will not kill it. You have to attack its roots. The enemies of the west couldn't defeat it on the battlefield, in the marketplace, or in the arena of ideas. Instead they turn their attention to its greatest weakness - the noble conscience of its people who pride themselves on fair play and justice. While they have absolved themselves of the sins of their forefathers, they don't extend that same privilege to Americans or Europeans. They romanticize historical victimization, implant it like a Trojan horse in the social classes and practice psuedo-intellectual extortion against a honorable republic under the guise of political cor-rectness. It has unfortunately proven to be a gold mine for them and their accomplices in academia, the popular media and politicians straining to show they all possess commonness. In fact, political correctness survives by capitalizing on the American idea of the common man's struggle, but it fails miserably because that is where "p.c." philosophy dead-ends. It disregards the facts that all people bear the scars of racial injustice at one time or another in their history and outright ignores that the United States and most people around the world celebrate the uncom-mon in our ranks.

President Herbert Hoover once stated during a 1948 speech at the Wilmington College of Ohio: "We are in danger of developing a cult of the Common Man, which means a cult of mediocrity. Let us remember that the great human advances have not been brought about by mediocre men and women. They were brought about by distinctly uncommon people with vital sparks of lead-ership. Many of the great leaders were, it is true, of humble origin, but that alone was not their greatness. It is a curious fact that when you get sick you want an uncommon doctor; if your car breaks down you want an uncommonly good mechanic; when we get into war we want dreadfully an uncommon admiral and an uncommon general. I have never met a father and mother who did not want their children to grow up to be uncommon men and women. May it always be so. For the future of America rests not in mediocrity, but in the constant renewal of leadership in every phase of our national life."

The political correctness exhibited at the 400th Jamestown commemoration is far from a celebration of the uncommon, but the die is cast and unfortunately the "Manhattan mindset" that prevails in the network news media seems to lack the common sense to see a story in this modern tragedy.

If there has ever been a time for the people of this republic to man their battle stations, assume a leadership posture and take a stand against the commissars of political correctness to preserve the American heritage, it is now. The pressure to change what is happening in this nation must be brought to bear by the common citizen to news desks, bully pulpits and elected representatives' offices across the nation. If we stand by and allow this to happen without raising our voices in protest, we will become accomplices to the egregious acts at Jamestown and can only blame ourselves for the devastating results that will affect every U.S. commemoration from this day forward.


The big BUT

Claims of `I'm a believer in free speech, but...' are becoming more frequent these days. Such reservations about full-blown free speech help to legitimise a climate of censoriousness. Don Imus made a racial slur, even if people are still debating whether it was `ho' or `nappy-headed' (or both) that was the problem. However, the immediate demands to ban people or get them fired do nothing to challenge the views they hold. Instead, they consolidate a climate where people become ever more fearful of what they say, and where backward ideas are rarely challenged head-on.

Howard Stern - the arbiter of bad taste and no friend of Imus - suggested that Imus should have said `fuck you, it's a joke' and moved on. While Stern may like to posture and swagger (and many are now asking why he is not reprimanded also), he has missed the central point. Today, one of the worst things that you can be accused of is to have caused offence.

Cenk Uygur, a presenter on liberal Air America's The Young Turks, was one of many who argued for free speech but with limitations (2). It is almost a reverse of the classic `I'm not a racist, but...', except here it is supposedly the most liberal commentators in society who are calling for gagging orders. `I'm for free speech, but not when it offends....'

In which case, there is little point in being a supporter of free speech. If it is only acceptable to say things that do not offend or outrage anyone else, then we denigrate all that is important in our democratic tradition. Yes, sometimes people can be nasty, tasteless, infuriating and offensive - but adults surely are able to deal with, expose and ridicule such views. It is much better to point out, loud and clear, that Imus is an ignoramus with a mouth that's even bigger than his head, rather than to demand that the powerful networks silence him and protect the rest of us from his apparently dangerous words.

Another problem is that once the debate is defined in terms of personal offence, then anyone's comments can be called into question. While Sharpton accuses Imus of racism, other commentators accuse Sharpton of anti-Semitism and suggest he should be silenced. Michelle Malkin in the New York Post abhors the misogynist sentiment in Imus's comments, but then goes on to demand that Sharpton et al stop being hypocritical. She also criticises the music of Mims and R Kelly and all the other popular artists who use `offensive language', and the radio stations and execs that broadcast them (5). And on it goes.

Frank Rich in the New York Times said the only way to deal with someone like Imus is by having `more free speech'. He quite rightly argues that the sacking will have a chilling affect across the entire media about what can be said (6).

People who believed in freedom and universal equal rights used to argue that when one starts calling for bans, it is ultimately only the supporters of freedom who suffer. This wise observation has been replaced by a pernicious and nasty sentiment that we can't possibly handle comments and ideas that we disagree with. Instead, we have to go to the headteacher (someone with the power of censorship) and ask for the name-callers to be silenced.

Worryingly, it is seen as acceptable openly to talk about `white trash' as though everyone can accept that term without reservation (just look at the coverage of the death of ex-model Anna Nicole Smith). Yet when we discuss other groups, there is a patronising notion that they will be debilitated by the trauma of being offended. Furthermore, whether something is offensive appears to be entirely subjective. As a discussion on CNN's Paula Zahn Now illustrated, there's nothing inherently offensive about the phrase `nappy-headed' - it all depends, apparently, on who is saying it and why. Free speech is being trumped by etiquette.

With Staples, Bigelow Tea and other big brands withdrawing their advertising from his shows, and every commentator from Barack Obama to Hillary Clinton and Ann Coulter weighing in, Don Imus has been canned. More than this, however, American society has taken one more step towards promoting the idea that only certain people are permitted to say certain things in certain ways.

Across the board, on campuses and in the workplace, in the media and society generally, there is a dangerous tendency to shut down debate in the guise of protecting the `vulnerable'. This is a travesty and should compel us all to argue fervently for free speech at all times. Anything less is just not acceptable: censorship leaves bad ideas unchallenged, as they get brushed under the carpet rather than being interrogated; and it limits what can and cannot be discussed out in the open. In the words generally attributed to Voltaire: `I disapprove of what you say, but will defend to the death your right to say it.'



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


24 April, 2007


Or so a noted commentator on British upper class manners says:

But it all goes to show that class isn’t dead. It reminds me of the true story about the aristocrat being treated for depression by the psychoanalyst. The sessions were going nowhere and in exasperation the psychoanalyst said: “Tell me exactly what you’re thinking about right now.” And the aristocrat replied: “I was just thinking what a vulgar little man you are.” And the sessions collapsed because the psychoanalyst felt he’d lost all ascendancy.

Dame Barbara Cartland famously replied, when the television journalist Sandra Harris asked her in the 1960s whether class barriers had broken down: “Well, of course they have, otherwise I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to someone like you.”

Most of the outward signs have gone. When we arrived here 25 years ago I was told it was irredeemably common to have red flowers in a Cotswold garden. Now nobody cares about anything as long as you pay your local bills and don’t hurtle down the village in your shining Chelsea tractor, scraping the paint off parked cars.

But one thing likely to give you away as non-U these days is political correctness because it’s so euphemistic. The aristocrat tends not to be politically correct. In fact he’s generally a randy old sod whose family has spent 700 years fornicating and shooting things. If a girl’s got a pretty face, he won’t care what class she’s from.

But if you start referring to your “partner”, or “lone parents”, or people being “vertically challenged”, you will be instantly marked out as non-U. The papers said Prince William had telephoned Kate during all the furore and been very “supportive” — another dreadfully non-U word. Soon they’ll be rabbiting on about them “achieving closure”, another horror.

There’s a lot of confusion about class. Most of the Labour party thinks Tony Blair is terribly grand, but he isn’t. He’s charming, of course, but very, very middle class, not even upper middle class. And I’ve found out while researching Wicked!, which is set in schools, that among young people the word “posh” often isn’t used to denote class, but to accuse someone of being irritatingly clever. Perhaps people who are “posh” are destined to do well in exams and make it to the top.

Class has given us great comic characters, from Mrs Bennet and Hyacinth Bouquet to Tim Nice-But-Dim and Vicky Pollard, the archetypal working-class girl, mouthy, inarticulate and terribly funny.

It’s much more fun to have a class system than not, as long as everyone can go on gently laughing about it. The thing that’s horrid is when people feel hurt by it. But you should remember that the royal family isn’t nearly as old as half the aristocracy — so a lot of people look down on them, too!



We now have treason on display in the Virginia Tech massacre as a peace process parading itself as an immigration policy. This immigration policy is based upon equality or Openness as in the Open Society or what we refer to here at SANE following Professor Robert J. Loewenberg's term, Indiscriminacy. It is a Peace Process that always ends up sacrificing "victims" to prove that men, peoples, and the societies they form, are essentially no different one from the other. It is a Peace Process that, in the name of peace, seeks the World State.

So what do we know of this 23-year old South Korean apparently mesmerized by the Arabic-sounding reference to "Ismail Ax"? What we know is that he was a resident alien, meaning he was NOT an American citizen. He came here as an eight-year old boy with his parents. And, the family remained resident aliens, never actually becoming citizens, choosing for whatever reason to simply renew their "green card" on the first 10-year anniversary of their resident status.

But beyond that we know quite a bit in a relatively short three days since the shooting. We know he was "troubled" to the point of frightening and threatening his fellow students. So much so that some of them refused to attend the same class with him and so much so that one of his professors threatened to quit teaching the class if he was not removed.

He was removed but only then to be tutored by the Chairwoman of the department. He was also troubled enough that at least two female students called the police on separate occasions because he was harassing them. He was also troubled enough that yet another student called police to say that he thought the murderer-to-be was suicidal. The troubled young man was then hospitalized as a danger to himself and possibly to others but released fairly quickly and referred to outpatient care and provided anti-depressant medication.

All of this and he was not even a citizen! He was here as a resident ALIEN! But withal, this troubled young man was able to walk into a gun shop and purchase a nine millimeter semi-automatic revolver and a 22-calibre pistol.

At SANE, we believe the Second Amendment and the responsibility granted to Americans to bear arms is almost sacred. It is who we are as self-reliant people. It begins with our citizen militias at the time of the Revolution and continues through our history of self-defense and citizen-motivated programs to guard the borders, to form citizen posses, and to serve in the Reserves and in the National Guard even as we become citizens in every other way. Americans have always had just the right amount of suspicion that their government could very well fail them when national defense was needed most. We've certainly lived through enough examples of the grossest forms of government incompetence which have cost thousands of American lives to know what Ronald Reagan said to be true: too often government is not the solution; it is the problem.

But what does the Second Amendment have to do with an immigrant who is NOT a citizen and certainly is not part of the American people? The Second Amendment reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." How can it be that "resident ALIENS" become part of the American PEOPLE and are granted the right to walk around armed?

The answer of course is that in America, as well as in Virginia and most states, resident aliens are treated just like citizens. We have taken the position in this country that the American People and the Society we have formed is no longer about a People. It is now about legal categories. White Christians were at the founding of this nation a distinct people and privileged as such. Men of means among this people were given the opportunity for representative government. This is, for those of you flinching, not a thesis or "viewpoint"; this is historical fact.

After the Civil War, this changed; with the move into the 20th century this change became a wholesale reformation. Today, you cannot speak of Christianity in the public sphere and if you mention "white" and "Christians" in the same sentence you will be set upon as a despicable racist by every "fair-minded" public person. And, this phenomenon extends far beyond race. It is now the case that you cannot speak of the evil of Islam and remain a serious participant in public discourse. In order to speak of the unfathomable murder and mayhem brought to the Western world by Mohammed and his god Allah and the threat it poses to our very existence, we must label it in such ways as to disfigure our very meaning. Thus, Islamists are the bad guys not Muslims; Islamo-fascism is their political ideology not Islam simply and not even Islamic law; and we must, almost per force of law, begin by noting that our critique is not of the noble religion of peace but of radical Islam hijacked by the few extremists among the faithful.

Talk of "illegal" immigrants as opposed to "undocumented" immigrants is likened to the lexicon of Nazis. Even our Republican president informs us that we have an obligation as Americans to care for and accept as one of us those men and women who have broken our laws and intruded into our homes. The argument is that because some bad or weak American actors have given these illegal intruders jobs once they are here, we have somehow relinquished forever our authority and responsibility to protect our nation, its Peoplehood, and its security.

So it is that President Bush and enough of the Republicans can join with the Open Society crowd to defeat sane immigration proposals because they sincerely believe in the "openness" of a liberal democracy and because they see this belief reflected in poll after poll. In other words, most Americans believe in it too!?! While the word "amnesty" doesn't hold much public enthusiasm, words and phrases such as "path to legal citizenship", "mainstreaming", "coming out of the shadows", "family reunification", "comprehensive immigration reform", "guest worker program", and other such disguised amnesty jargon are ways to package the idea that the plight of the illegal intruder non-citizen is somehow our fault for insisting on borders and peoplehood.

It was of course the beloved Ronald Reagan, the David of conservatism against the Goliath of Liberalism, who was the first president in the history of the US to actually grant amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants with his support of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act. And before that, it was the Great Society's Lyndon B. Johnson who passed the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, which eliminated nation-specific quotas, replacing them with just one overall quota. This meant of course that we had as a country effectively determined that we were not a white Christian nation, but would become a brownish-black nation of third world types who could barely speak our language, knew nothing of our culture and civilization, and indeed desired to be one of "us" predominantly for economic reasons.

But this new view fits our Redirection perfectly; indeed the two are intimately intertwined. As a People we once understood that if we moved away from being a distinct people, meaning overwhelmingly white and Christian with ancestors from the European continent, the America nation would cease to exist because the people would no longer be. Today, with the Redirection in the ascendancy, we are now a country of "citizens" who no longer lay claim to being a distinct nation and people. The question that is surely worth asking is if it is even possible today to expect otherwise?

Indeed, once the 14th Amendment was ratified to "fix" the problem of the "unequal" treatment of the emancipated African slaves in lieu of a plan of mass repatriation, the Supreme Court went to work "incorporating" almost all of the Bill of Rights into the amendment's expansive language thereby bringing state governments, their autonomy and sovereignty, into the jurisdiction of the federal courts and Congress. That of course was not enough for those who wished to destroy the notion of local government and peoplehood at the level of the states. To finish the job the Supreme Court eventually took the Commerce Clause, which was meant to protect the individual states from abuse by other states and to facilitate commerce between the states, and turned it into a club to beat our federalist system to an unrecognizable pulp.

What this came to mean in the late 20th century is that the courts were now free to determine that the American people, including the individual peoples and societies of the formerly sovereign 50 states, were now "legal citizens", "residents", "aliens" and the like all within the purview of its long-arm of egalitarian, nationalized, and indiscriminate legal rules.

(Peoplehood, once experienced as real and certain, was so well understood at the founding that it was enshrined for example in the Second Amendment where you wouldn't imagine granting someone who was not "of the people" the privilege to bear arms. This was given to the people as such precisely because the government should neither be blindly trusted to do what it should do to defend the people against intruder-enemies nor be given license to define and to limit its own reach lest it become the intruder-enemy itself ["A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."].)

And so it was that we come to the Supreme Court's now famous footnote dicta in Plyler v. Doe, 457 U.S. 202 (1982). Plyler was really about whether a state like Texas which was inundated with illegal immigrants from Mexico could withhold certain public benefits to the children of these illegal immigrants, such as a free public education. The case did not specifically address whether the affected children were also illegal immigrants born in Mexico or possibly "anchor babies" born in the US to illegal immigrants.

On the main point, the Court decided that there was indeed a constitutional interest to make certain that the states did not "discriminate" against these poor helpess children just because they were "undocumented" by applying the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause (". . . nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.") which applied to "persons".

But the Court would have to explain how the Equal Protection Clause could possible be read to mean that the state of Texas could not preserve its public school system financed by mostly state tax dollars by reserving its privileged use to legal residents. To answer this in a way to destroy the state's sovereignty and the peoplehood of that state, the Court then reached into another of its bags of tricks and pulled out of the Constitution something no one has ever found there: the "Intermediate Scrutiny Test", which is just another of those fictions and constitutional amendments the Court has appended to the written word by fiat without so much as a peep out of the American People now defined out of existence and converted into "legal constructs".

But Pyler's damage to the sovereignty of the states and the residual notion of Peoplehood was not greatest at the point of impact. The real damage was what was implicit in the Court's attitude about "citizenship" and how it read the 14th Amendment. The result was that the destruction it wrought was from the collateral damage contained in footnote 10 of the Court's 5-4 opinion wherein it wrote:

". . . no plausible distinction with respect to Fourteenth Amendment "jurisdiction" can be drawn between resident aliens whose entry into the United States was lawful, and resident aliens whose entry was unlawful."

In other words, it was not enough to destroy the very notion of a People existing as a distinct Society and political order and to replace that with a legal construct consisting of words as symbols and definitions, now the Court wanted to make clear that even the legalistic distinctions between citizens and legal immigrant-residents and illegal immigrant-residents was to be blurred merely by hopping the fence.

And, indeed, as a practical matter, this is how immigration law now works. If a pregnant Mexican woman can cross the border long enough to plop out another of her offspring, take pictures and document it, that baby can then immediately claim to be part of the American People because there is no people anymore but rather legalistic notions of Indiscriminacy. Does one wonder what might happen if our Latino mother has one foot in Mexico and one in the US? Would it depend where exactly the baby plops out? What if little Enrique lands on the line?

And as we all know, when the misfit "racists" and "Resurgent Atavists" raise their "ugly" voices and talk about Peoplehood and immigration controls, the PC machine is ready to shut them down by marginalizing them to the far corners of the blogosphere, typically right next to David Duke but now joined by the Hollywood and Radio City loudmouths like Don Imus. Immediately the PC chorus chimes in about how wonderful the Latino friend is who immigrated here twenty years ago or the Muslim cardiologist who has been here 35 years. But if this is their logic, then why not actively pursue open border immigration as a policy? Join the George Soros "Open World Society". Why not embrace a North American Union like the European Union and tear down our borders? Is there a justification to create a "legal" distinction, nothing more than an artificial "social construct" between Americans and Canadians? And, if we could learn Spanish or teach the Mexicans English or embrace a bi-lingual multi-cultural society, we could destroy our southern border as well. Imagine what all that cheap labor could do for our manufacturing industry. We, the people of the world, all cherish freedom and democracy, do we not? Why should a child born through no fault of his own on one side of the border or the other (which again is not a physical or actual boundary between Peoples and nations but a legal construct to "discriminate" between two equal human beings) be denied "Equal Protection of the Laws"?

So now we have a better understanding of the Virginia Tech massacre. We don't care how many immigrants and resident aliens - legal or illegal - will be inconvenienced by our concerns. Every single life of an American as a member of a distinct and unique People is worth more than all of the "aliens" put together. The Redirection, of course, informs us otherwise by pointing out that per science and democracy there can be no real distinctions between people or peoples. In science as in democracy, we are all radically equal and indistinguishable.

The Virginia Tech murderer, although not an American in any sense of the word was here "legally". Per the Elites, who don't simply suffer from the Redirection but relish and embrace it, there could have been no grounds to discriminate against him. The idea that this "troubled" young man should have been cared for and pampered is second nature and indeed a "human right" embodied in the Constitution even if not in its written word.

The response we know to expect now would be, "What could you possibly be suggesting would have been the proper response of the authorities?" And to that question the answer should be, but is not, obvious. That he and his parents should not have been here in the first instance is clear. That this "troubled" young man was not deported, but should have been, at the first sign of "trouble" is also clear. And, we did not because it would not have been "fair" because he is, after all, as President Bush reminds us about the illegal immigrants in America, a "person" just like "us" except what that means of course is that there is not US only ALL or the World. And therein lies the treason.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


23 April, 2007

Victim obsession leading to MORE oppression, not less in modern Britain

On 30 March 2007, Aishah Azmi, the Muslim teaching assistant sacked over her refusal to stop wearing the veil in the classroom, lost her controversial appeal at an employment tribunal in Leeds, England. The 24-year-old from Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, courted media attention for almost a year since coming into dispute with Headfield Church of England Junior School, which said that it decided to sack her over concerns that the veil prevented children from being able to understand what she was saying.

Over the last few months, the veiled face of Aishah Azmi has served as a totemic reminder of the tensions emanating from new religious discrimination and religious hatred laws in Britain. While some media commentators have seen Azmi's case as a pressing reminder of the need for a law to protect vulnerable religious minorities, others have seen it as a sop to grievance culture, encouraging individuals to make unreasonable demands in court.

In his new book, Religious Discrimination and Hatred Law, Neil Addison provides the first comprehensive survey of legislation concerning religion in diverse areas such as criminal law, discrimination, employment and harassment, and charts the growing role of courts in regulating this messy dimension of society. A practising barrister for over 20 years, Addison is concerned about the expansion of the law into a complicated moral aspect of human life, and fears that a new generation of laws will remove people's powers to criticise, challenge or defend their religious (or non-religious) views. He campaigned vociferously against the law outlawing incitement to religious hatred (see Divided before the law, by Neil Addison ) and has also set up his own website offering free information and advice to the public.

Addison considers the first generation of anti-discrimination laws established in the 1970s (for example, the Race Relations Act 1976 and the Sex Discrimination Act 1975) to be largely benevolent, reasonable and narrow in their focus. However, he reserves serious criticism for the second generation of anti-discrimination laws, which have proliferated in the past 10 years culminating with the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 and the Equality Act 2006. These developments, Addison argues, significantly expand the reach of the law beyond areas of fixed identity, to areas such as religious belief and sexual orientation, which presume a level of choice and changeability. `Suddenly', he says, `religion is becoming a very political area'.

Addison sees the expansion of law into the terrain of religion as part of `a new type of philosophy': `We used to have laws because we considered them necessary, but now it seems we have laws because they are desirable.. If something is regarded as good or bad, we use the law to direct it. In effect, we're trying to legislate morality.' For Addison, the law has now become a tool for some groups to impose their moral positions on others, whether it is the ban on smoking or the ban on foxhunting or restrictions on what we can say about minority groups. `I have met a number of campaigners, for instance in the gay rights movement, who talk about using the law to "send a message". But the law is not the right way to send a message. Politics is.'

This heavy-handed use of the law to enforce a new morality is something Addison objects strongly to. In 2005, he represented Joe and Helen Roberts, an elderly Christian couple from Fleetwood, Lancashire, who were visited by two local police officers after they had telephoned their local council's diversity officer to complain about the council's pro-gay policies. The couple, who had never been in trouble with the law before, were subjected to an 80-minute lecture by the police officers about homophobia. Last year the couple sued the police and council using the Human Rights Act 1998 and eventually won an apology and damages.

Addison says that the most depressing part of the whole incident is that at no point during the initial telephone conversation with the couple did the council's diversity officer try to persuade them of his viewpoint. `Instead of taking the opportunity to argue with them, as should happen in a democracy, the diversity officer called the police in order to suppress views he disagreed with.'

The problem with using the iron standard of the law to enforce moral positions is that it does not always deliver morally satisfactory or consistent results. How can one determine through the law what is `hateful' speech, what causes great offence, and what is `reasonable'? If a woman wearing a hijab is attacked by someone who shouts `I hate you f*cking Muslims', then the defendant would be charged with religiously aggravated assault. But what would happen if a Muslim shopkeeper regarded Muslim women who did not wear the hijab to be bad Muslims and refused to serve them in his shop? Is that discrimination against a religion or an argument within a religion?

In terms of constituting the boundaries of acceptable religious belief, it seems inappropriate for judges to be left to decide. Addison spends the first chapter of his book teasing out the apparently simple question `What is religion?' - only to show that there is surprisingly little consistency on this question across different legislation. Addison demonstrates that courts rely inevitably on subjective instinct. In the words of the US Supreme Court Justice who was asked to define pornography: `I can't define it; but I know it when I see it.'

Consequently, the goalposts keep shifting on the issue of what constitutes a political or philosophical belief worthy of protection. In 2005, an individual lost his case at an employment tribunal for being refused a job interview because he was a member of the far-right British National Party (BNP). The tribunal decided that his membership of the BNP did not qualify for protection. However, the slightly different wording of the Equality Act 2006 means that such views, which are political, might now be protected as `philosophical beliefs'.

What has been the impact of these different laws in court? Although for any campaigner it is always tempting to sensationalise and extrapolate worst-case scenarios about new laws and policies, Addison, to his credit, examines the way in which judges and lawyers actually operate (mostly exercising a reasonable sense of proportion) and suggests the subtle ways in which the law will work on a day-to-day basis. He is cautious about offering a prediction about the effect of newer legislation. `It is quite early to tell.it may be that all these laws will be a damp squib.'

But, he says, the weight given to subjective factors such as how the victim feels may be a greater encouragement for people to bring claims. In discrimination cases, there is a reverse burden of proof, which means employers need to offer evidence to show they have not broken the law. In reality, judges still require significant persuasion before they will award a claimant damages, but this shift in the law means it is increasingly hard for the accused to be treated as innocent until proven guilty. `Once the accusation is made, it tends to stick', says Addison. Also, there is now a greater risk that the law will be used as a political tool. `Now this legislation is in place, it is possible that ideologically driven groups may go looking for cases to fight.'

The new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (CEHR) will start to operate in October, under the helm of Trevor Phillips. It will have significant new powers to investigate virtually any organisation, place orders on them and take legal action. Because this is under discrimination rather than criminal law, these organisations (which may include churches, charities and community centres) will not be entitled to legal aid. Whereas the original equalities bodies (such as the Commission for Racial Equality that preceded the CEHR) were expected to enforce the existing law, the CEHR has an added duty (Section 3, Equality Act 2006) to `encourage and support the development of a society' in which there is equality, respect for diversity and human rights. In other words, it is not merely a law enforcer, but a body with legal powers to enforce its view of the kind of society we ought to be. A practicing Catholic, Addison believes that by adopting a `Zero Tolerance' approach to any manifestation or expression of discrimination, the CEHR will repeat the mistakes of the Spanish Inquisition which famously said that `Heresy has no Rights'.

It may be hard to tell how the CEHR will operate, and how many cases will eventually be brought to court. But the chilling effect on how groups engage with wider society can already be guessed at. One of the negative consequences of the law, Addison suggests, will spring from its insistence on all religions treating other religions equally; a well-meaning idea which paradoxically could actually discourage mainstream religious cooperation. For instance, if a church lets a local Hindu community group use its premises for services then it may be in difficulties about refusing to let a Pagan group use the premises also. Perversely, the law builds in a disincentive for churches and other institutions to open themselves up to some groups, in case they are then forced to open their doors to other groups that they dislike. Although such examples may appear far-fetched, the law has an all too familiar effect of making people `watch their backs' and think twice before making decisions.

Also, because subjective factors are taken into account, different groups are given no incentive to `live and let live'; rather, the more hurt and offended they feel, the more onus there will be on the law to protect them. If a religious group shows tolerance and forbearance of its critics, it will receive far less protection from the courts than another group that protests loudly.

The driver behind the new legislation, Addison tells me, is a new culture of victimhood, in which lobby groups representing particular identities compete to receive the most protection. `Every time you legislate to prevent one type of discrimination, another group demands protection', he says. It is widely known that Muslim lobby groups (particularly the Muslim Council of Britain) were the most vociferous in pushing for the law against the incitement to religious hatred. Their argument rested on a claim for parity with Christianity, which was formally protected by the ancient law of blasphemy - though, as Addison points out, the blasphemy law is all but defunct. The last public prosecution was in 1922 and the last private prosecution was brought by Mary Whitehouse in 1977.

Though a practising Catholic himself, Addison believes that the blasphemy law should simply have been repealed rather than remaining as a perceived, but in reality meaningless, special protection to Christianity. In reality, people today can say pretty much anything they like about Christianity and the police will not lift a finger. However, the law against the incitement to religious hatred is more likely to be enforced, simply because it is new, and the Crown Prosecution Service must take this into account when making judgements on whether a prosecution is `in the public interest'. A law that many people thought was outdated and unnecessary has been used to justify the creation of a law that will be enforced more rigorously by prosecutors.

Addison says that in the competitive culture of victimhood, even mild-mannered Christians are beginning to play the discrimination card, following the example of Muslim lobby groups. More generally, the emphasis in the law on discrimination, Addison believes, is part of a broader emphasis on difference. People are encouraged to emphasise their differences and `insist on their rights', rather than being encouraged to find accommodation with others by negotiation and persuasion. `The danger is that instead of seeing ourselves as citizens in the same society, we are trying to create a hierarchy of victimhood with more and more groups defining themselves as victims and demanding special protection.'

Although many campaigners regard the new laws relating to religious discrimination as a sign of modernity, in some ways they mark a return to medieval thinking about freedom. Instead of deciding amongst ourselves through political argument and the give-and-take of debate, the law has become a way of closing down discussion and taking that decision out of our hands. Ironically, Aishah Azmi's `personal' decision to wear the veil was said to have been made as a result of a fatwa issued by a cleric at her mosque. The notion that the law should legitimise this kind of authority over the private sphere of belief is creeping into the fabric of our own legal system.


Inflating the currency: praising little by praising much

In my capacity as a parent, I have long disagreed with those who believe that children need constant praise, even when their performance is well within the bounds of our expectations. Praise is like currency -- if you dump too much of it into circulation, it soon becomes worthless. That is why this development (WSJ) is such bad news for the American workplace:

"You, You, You -- you really are special, you are! You've got everything going for you. You're attractive, witty, brilliant. "Gifted" is the word that comes to mind.

Childhood in recent decades has been defined by such stroking -- by parents who see their job as building self-esteem, by soccer coaches who give every player a trophy, by schools that used to name one "student of the month" and these days name 40.

Now, as this greatest generation grows up, the culture of praise is reaching deeply into the adult world. Bosses, professors and mates are feeling the need to lavish praise on young adults, particularly twentysomethings, or else see them wither under an unfamiliar compliment deficit.

Employers are dishing out kudos to workers for little more than showing up. Corporations including Lands' End and Bank of America are hiring consultants to teach managers how to compliment employees using email, prize packages and public displays of appreciation. The 1,000-employee Scooter Store Inc., a power-wheelchair and scooter firm in New Braunfels, Texas, has a staff "celebrations assistant" whose job it is to throw confetti -- 25 pounds a week -- at employees. She also passes out 100 to 500 celebratory helium balloons a week. The Container Store Inc. estimates that one of its 4,000 employees receives praise every 20 seconds, through such efforts as its "Celebration Voice Mailboxes."


Back in the day there were bosses who were so curmudgeonly that they would not praise even outstanding work. The linked article quotes an older lawyer who says that when he was an associate, "If you weren't getting yelled at, you felt like that was praise." And it was. Praise was praise, and a dollar was worth a dollar.

Now, just as the gold standard had its shortcomings, it is possible to be too abstemious with the compliments. Fine. By all means praise somebody who does something worthy, something that causes you to think "if I only had three more of her." But if you are a parent, teacher, or employer, please don't ruin your credibility and spoil your children, students or employees with vacuous, disingenuous praise, the only honest purpose of which is to manipulate the target's emotional state. When your children, students or employees understand that a compliment from you is a real achievement, they will cherish it all the more and work harder to earn another one.


Women at the mercy of their hormones

An Australian journalist gives a lighthearted review of a very "incorrect" book

Is it true that men think about sex every minute, but women only once every few days? Or that women remember first dates that men insist never happened? Or that women want their male partner to be a good earner, but he's looking for someone of good breeding stock and with big boobs?

According to best-selling author Louann Brizendine, women's thoughts, emotions, behaviour and interests are programmed at conception by our sex-specific brains. Brizendine's book, The Female Brain, is a New York Times bestseller. The book has 100 pages of footnotes and argues that women are at the mercy of their hormones from cradle to grave. Nature, not nurture, is the real reason for the differences between the genders.

Brizendine argues that men and women use different brain areas and circuits to solve problems and process language and experiences, and store strong emotions. Sounds true, doesn't it? We all know women think about sex every second birthday and men think of sex every 3.5 seconds. And women's limited spatial reasoning means we do 17- point turns and turn the Melway [Melbourne street atlas] to point the way we are driving, while men always know where they're going.

But the last thing women need is more evidence that we're at the mercy of our hormones. This is especially so for older women and young mothers. Maybe what Brizendine calls "fuzzy brain" experienced by breast-feeding women is nothing more than chronic sleeplessness. And it's just too convenient that what she views as natural male behaviour is best suited to the workplace and women are best suited to the home.

However, as a parent I did find her comments about young children somewhat comforting, if a bit challenging. Watching my three-year-old son and his mates at play, it's hard not to feel there are some biological differences that are hard to ignore. While the little girls sit happily in one spot or play quietly, my son and his male friends run, scream, fight and compete. Some days you can just about see the testosterone oozing out of them. We gave him a doll, but he pulled one arm off and used it as a toy gun.

But if some of Brizendine's comments ring true, most of them are codswallop. Her sweeping assertions ignore the importance of individual differences, personality types, family backgrounds and social settings. What ever happened to the three Es of education, experience and environment? Surely a big part of how we behave as men and women is taught, with the lessons starting the moment we open our eyes.

I also worry about what this all means for those who don't fit these "innate" stereotypes, such as a woman who likes lots of sex or a man who likes shopping. Or a woman who doesn't have a "primitive" longing for motherhood? In any case, some of the evidence Brizendine uses is just plain bizarre. She cites the scientific studies of moles as explaining why it's harder for men to be monogamous.

Men have been spouting this stuff for decades as a way to get off the hook. I seem to remember being told when dating in the 1990s that men are "hotwired for sex" and should not be tied down. Again, it's women who come out as the nervous nellies, says Brizendine. Women need their feet to be warm in bed before they can feel sexy. She sees men as big sexual beasts who need to be tamed. It's hard not to feel profoundly uncomfortable about our chances of an equal society. After all, it's hard to argue against 99 million years of biology. Surely we've spent the past four decades arguing that women are rational and reasonable beings.

Why would we now agree we're at the mercy of our hormones? Sure, the book's extensive footnotes and medical journals cited seem impressive, but I'm a former academic and now a journalist. I know that if you look hard enough you can find a study to justify just about any crazy proposition. Guys, be afraid - Brizendine's next study is to be the male brain


Why are blacks madder?

The article below shows a realization that it is not all "racism" and realizes that social class is a major missing factor but overlooks the role of IQ. Low IQ people are much more likely to resort to aggression to get what they want and aggression is the major factor in whether someone gets locked up or not. So blacks tend to be both working class and of low IQ -- so they are characterized by two factors which lead to detention in any population

For all its claims to be a multicultural society, a form of apartheid is said to be looming in Britain. According to Lord Patel, chairman of the Mental Health Act Commission, within the British mental health system there is one form of care and treatment for whites and another, more coercive and less therapeutic, for blacks (1). But the truth may be far more complex.

Lord Patel was responding to a census report that found that black people were over-represented within psychiatric care. The Healthcare Commission survey, titled `Count Me In', looked at the ethnic background of the 32,023 psychiatric in-patients in England and Wales as of 31 March 2006. The census found that black people were three to four times more likely to be hospitalised than their white counterparts, accounting for 21 per cent of in-patients, even though only making up seven per cent of the general population. (If the ethnic category of `black other', is isolated, the differential rises to 18-to-one (2).)

Given such statistics, it is not surprising that the psychiatric services once again stand accused of institutional racism. The term `institutional racism' with regard to the mental health system came to prominence with the report of the inquiry into the death of David `Rocky' Bennett (pictured above). Bennett, a black patient, died while being physically restrained by nurses at a Norfolk psychiatric clinic. The subsequent inquiry report concluded that racist assumptions and practices had contributed to his death, and stated that institutional racism was `a festering abscess, a blot on the good name of the NHS' (3).

In response to the above, the government has pledged to `eradicate discrimination' in NHS mental health provision. Louis Appleby, the national director for mental health, stated that work was under way to win the trust and confidence of black minority ethnic communities. For him, this was necessary to `better understand the wider social factors that result in some communities experiencing a higher rate of mental illness' (4).

Kwame McKenzie, professor of mental health and society at the University of Central Lancashire, argues that being black in Britain is detrimental to your mental health, and that once your mental state has deteriorated to an acute level you will receive more coercive and discriminatory treatment than your white counterparts (5). Accusations of institutional racism would appear to be well founded. However, a closer look at the issue shows the reality to be more complex than is often reported, and also highlights the danger of pathologising whole communities under the guise of therapeutic aid.

It would be foolish to ignore the role of psychiatry in upholding dominant social mores. Like many professions it has a chequered history when it comes to issues of race, perhaps the most infamous example being the creation of a `disease' called `drapetomania' - a condition said to affect black people who tried to escape slavery. And the recent census merely confirms many similar findings into the over-representation of black people in the mental health system (6).

Nevertheless, it is naive, simplistic and problematic to blame institutional racism for such a situation. For example, the 21 per cent `non-white' group includes a variety of ethnic groups, including Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, White Irish and `Other White'. And whilst it is the case that Afro-Caribbeans are over-represented, other groups such as the Indian and Chinese communities are under-represented. Such discrepancies indicate that there is more to this than `race'.

Whilst the reasons for the differentials are complex, it is possible to highlight some relevant factors, including the marginalisation of social class; the fragmentation inherent within multiculturalism; and the rise of the therapeutic professional as the cure for society's problems.

For example, the fact that most sufferers are unemployed would indicate that social class is a factor in the onset of severe mental distress. Yet while the `Count Me In' census recorded such factors as ethnicity, age and even sexual orientation, social class was conspicuous by its absence. This is revealing in that it illustrates the way our understanding of social problems today tends to be viewed in ethnic or pathological terms rather than the class conflict of yesteryear.

In the process, there is a real danger that whole communities, especially black ones, are being portrayed as victims without agency, awaiting the arrival of mental health professionals to cure them of their ills. Kwame McKenzie notes that `psychotic illnesses are associated with poverty, poor education, racism, living in a city. family break up, and cannabis use'. If this is the case, and the associations are extremely complex, then the answer would appear to lie in the realm of the social, rather than the preventative therapy for children and adolescents advocated by McKenzie (7). Improving communities' access to jobs, education and welfare might be a better bet than treating them as ill and in need of special attention and care.

The other main strategy, and one recommended by the inquiry report into the death of Rocky Bennett, is to improve the `cultural awareness' of mental health staff. But this is to confuse the more minor failings in his care with the more tragic. As Errol Francis of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health, who gave evidence to the Bennett Inquiry, points out: `How much cultural awareness training does a nurse require before they realise that too much force will kill?' (8)

The experience of racism, poor housing and employment opportunities, and the pathologising of that experience, are nothing new for black people living in Britain. What is new is how such problems are articulated. In the 1980s, riots in Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool and London saw physical expression given to black marginalisation. Partly in response to this, the government accelerated the idea of multiculturalism, with funds and projects being set up on the basis of ethnic identity.

Could there be a link here? As identity became ever more fragmented around ethnicity, the way to secure funding was not by emphasising collective strength but particular vulnerability and hardship. In addition, the emphasis on difference implied that we had little in common with each other, our neighbours becoming threatening strangers rather than supportive allies. It is unlikely that such processes are conducive to a robust mental state.

Of course, when someone's mental state deteriorates to the point that professional help is necessary, they should receive appropriate and sensitive care. Awareness by staff of their needs is essential, but these will not always fit as neatly within the ethnic identity template that the authorities want to put us in. The categorisation of people as ethnic identities with certain cultural requirements implies a homogenous, timeless culture that can be as inaccurate as it can be patronising. The answer to most of these problems lies within and between communities. Improved social conditions and relationships of trust will improve the mental health of everyone - not just black people - far better than any `preventative' psychiatric intervention.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


22 April, 2007

Black on white racism in South Africa: Follow-up

On 18th. I put up an account of a previously unpublished incident in South Africa -- in which rogue black police harassed innocent whites.

It helps to confirm the story that a similar incident has now been published in a South African local newspaper. The report does of course do its best to whitewash (no pun) the incident, however. The paper is not online but a scan of the relevant page is reproduced below.

A larger version of the image can be read by clicking here

Canada: $5000 Fine Sought For Christian Marriage Commissioner Who Declined Gay Couple

Also must pay own legal costs and would be liable for all court costs if he loses

A Canadian Christian civil marriage commissioner in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Orville Nichols, could face up to $5000 in fines for having referred a homosexual couple to a different commissioner. Human Rights Commission lawyer Janice Gingell asked the tribunal to find that Nichols contravened the code and order him to pay $5,000 in compensation to the complainant.

The 70 year-old Mr. Nichols used a clearly religious-based conscience argument for his refusal, saying his faith guides his daily life, that he prays and reads the Bible every day. He told the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal that his faith "takes first place" in his life. He said, "I couldn't sleep or live with myself if I were to perform same-sex marriages." The other commissioner to whom the two men were referred performed the ceremony on the same date they requested of Mr. Nichols.

Nichols has said that he will not be among those who resign their commissions over the issue and that he is willing to take the matter to court. In Canadian Human Rights Tribunal cases, the party defending against a complaint is under a large disadvantage. While the government pays the costs of the complainant, the defendant must cover his own expenses and if the ruling goes against him, is normally charged with all the costs. Further costs are incurred if he should try to bring the matter to a legal court.

The Tribunal, which is not under standard rules of evidence or judicial procedures, has yet to render a decision, though thus far, in most decisions in cases of this kind, the outcome has favoured the homosexual activists over religious conscientious objectors.


A Culture of Passivity

"Protecting" our "children" at Virginia Tech.

By Mark Steyn

I haven't weighed in yet on Virginia Tech - mainly because, in a saner world, it would not be the kind of incident one needed to have a partisan opinion on. But I was giving a couple of speeches in Minnesota yesterday and I was asked about it and found myself more and more disturbed by the tone of the coverage. I'm not sure I'm ready to go the full Derb but I think he's closer to the reality of the situation than most. On Monday night, Geraldo was all over Fox News saying we have to accept that, in this horrible world we live in, our "children" need to be "protected."

Point one: They're not "children." The students at Virginia Tech were grown women and - if you'll forgive the expression - men. They would be regarded as adults by any other society in the history of our planet. Granted, we live in a selectively infantilized culture where twentysomethings are "children" if they're serving in the Third Infantry Division in Ramadi but grown-ups making rational choices if they drop to the broadloom in President Clinton's Oval Office. Nonetheless, it's deeply damaging to portray fit fully formed adults as children who need to be protected. We should be raising them to understand that there will be moments in life when you need to protect yourself - and, in a "horrible" world, there may come moments when you have to choose between protecting yourself or others. It is a poor reflection on us that, in those first critical seconds where one has to make a decision, only an elderly Holocaust survivor, Professor Librescu, understood instinctively the obligation to act.

Point two: The cost of a "protected" society of eternal "children" is too high. Every December 6th, my own unmanned Dominion lowers its flags to half-mast and tries to saddle Canadian manhood in general with the blame for the "Montreal massacre," the 14 female students of the Ecole Polytechnique murdered by Marc Lepine (born Gamil Gharbi, the son of an Algerian Muslim wife-beater, though you'd never know that from the press coverage). As I wrote up north a few years ago:

Yet the defining image of contemporary Canadian maleness is not M Lepine/Gharbi but the professors and the men in that classroom, who, ordered to leave by the lone gunman, meekly did so, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate - an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history. The "men" stood outside in the corridor and, even as they heard the first shots, they did nothing. And, when it was over and Gharbi walked out of the room and past them, they still did nothing. Whatever its other defects, Canadian manhood does not suffer from an excess of testosterone.

I have always believed America is different. Certainly on September 11th we understood. The only good news of the day came from the passengers who didn't meekly follow the obsolescent 1970s hijack procedures but who used their wits and acted as free-born individuals. And a few months later as Richard Reid bent down and tried to light his shoe in that critical split-second even the French guys leapt up and pounded the bejasus out of him.

We do our children a disservice to raise them to entrust all to officialdom's security blanket. Geraldo-like "protection" is a delusion: when something goes awry - whether on a September morning flight out of Logan or on a peaceful college campus - the state won't be there to protect you. You'll be the fellow on the scene who has to make the decision. As my distinguished compatriot Kathy Shaidle says:

When we say "we don't know what we'd do under the same circumstances", we make cowardice the default position.

I'd prefer to say that the default position is a terrible enervating passivity. Murderous misfit loners are mercifully rare. But this awful corrosive passivity is far more pervasive, and, unlike the psycho killer, is an existential threat to a functioning society.


Jihad and the Collapse of the Swedish Model

I decided to write this essay following the riots in Malmo this weekend. Malmo is Sweden's third largest city and by far the worst city in Scandinavia when it comes to Muslim aggression. I read recently that an Arab girl interviewed in Malmo said that she liked it so much there, it felt almost like an Arab city. Native Swedes have been moving away from the city for years, turned into refugees in their own country by Jihad, not too different from the non-Muslims in some regions of the Philippines, southern Thailand or Kashmir in India, or for that matter, Christian Serbs in Kosovo.

Sweden was presented during the Cold War as a middle way between capitalism and Communism. When this model of a society collapses - and it will collapse, under the combined forces of Islamic Jihad, the European Union, Multiculturalism and ideological overstretch - it is thus not just the Swedish state that will collapse but the symbol of Sweden, the showcase of an entire ideological world view. I wrote two years ago that if the trend isn't stopped, the Swedish nation will simply cease to exist in any meaningful way during the first half of this century. The country that gave us Bergman, ABBA and Volvo could become known as the Bosnia of northern Europe, and the "Swedish model" will be one of warning against ideological madness, not one of admiration. I still fear I was right in that assessment.

Jonathan Friedman, an American living outside Malmo, mentions that the so-called Integration Act of 1997 proclaimed that "Sweden is a Multicultural society." Notes to the Act also stated that "Since a large group of people have their origins in another country, the Swedish population lacks a common history. The relationship to Sweden and the support given to the fundamental values of society thus carry greater significance for integration than a common historical origin."

Native Swedes have thus been reduced to just another ethnic group in Sweden, with no more claim to the country than the Kurds or the Somalis who arrived there last Thursday. The political authorities of the country have erased their own people's history and culture.

Jens Orback, Minister for Democracy, Metropolitan Affairs, Integration and Gender Equality from the Social Democratic Party said during a debate in Swedish radio in 2004 that "We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us." This is a government that knows perfectly well that their people will become a minority in their own country, yet is doing nothing to stop this. On the contrary. Pierre Schori, Minister for immigration, during a parliamentary debate in 1997 said that: "Racism and xenophobia should be banned and chased [away]," and that one should not accept "excuses, such as that there were flaws in the immigration and refugee policies." In other words: It should be viewed as a crime for the native population not to assist in wiping themselves out.

Orback's attitude is what follows once you declare that culture is irrelevant. Our culture, even though we try to forget it, is steeped in a Judeo-Christian morality based on the Golden Rule of reciprocity: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Luke 6:31)

Muslims, on the other hand, are steeped in an Islamic tradition based on Muslim supremacy. Muslims view lack of force as a sign of weakness, and they despise weakness, which is precisely why Adolf Hitler stated his admiration for Islam, and thought it would be a better match for Nazism than Christianity, with its childish notions of compassion.

A Swedish man was nearly killed for the crime of wearing clothes with his own national flag while Sweden was participating in the 2006 football World Cup. Some "Multicultural youths" found this to be an intolerable provocation, and the 24-year-old man was run down by a car in Malmo, where Muhammad is becoming the most common name for newborn boys.

Feriz and Pajtim, members of Gangsta Albanian Thug Unit in Malmo, explain how they mug people downtown. They target a lone victim. "We surround him and beat and kick him until he no longer fights back," Feriz said. "You are always many more people than your victims. Cowardly?" "I have heard that from many, but I disagree. The whole point is that they're not supposed to have a chance." They didn't express any sympathy for their victims. "If they get injured, they just have themselves to blame for being weak," said Pajtim and shrugged.

The wave of robberies the city of Malmo has witnessed is part of a "war against the Swedes." This is the explanation given by young robbers from immigrant background in interviews with Petra Źkesson. "When we are in the city and robbing we are waging a war, waging a war against the Swedes." This argument was repeated several times. "Power for me means that the Swedes shall look at me, lie down on the ground and kiss my feet." The boys explain, laughingly, that "there is a thrilling sensation in your body when you're robbing, you feel satisfied and happy, it feels as if you've succeeded, it simply feels good." "We rob every single day, as often as we want to, whenever we want to. The Swedes don't do anything, they just give us the stuff. They're so wimpy."

"Exit Folkhemssverige - Ensamh„llsmodells sonderfall" (Exit the People's Home of Sweden - The Downfall of a Model of Society) is a book from 2005 about immigration and the Swedish welfare state model dubbed "the people's home," written by Jonathan Friedman, Ingrid Bjorkman, Jan Elfverson and Źke Wedin. According to them, the Swedish Multicultural elites see themselves first of all as citizens of the world. In order to emphasize and accentuate diversity, everything Swedish is deliberately disparaged. Opposition to this policy is considered a form of racism:

"The dominant ideology in Sweden, which has been made dominant by powerful methods of silencing and repression, is a totalitarian ideology, where the elites oppose the national aspect of the nation state. The problem is that the ethnic group that are described as Swedes implicitly are considered to be nationalists, and thereby are viewed as racists."

The authors fear that the handling of the immigration policies has seriously eroded democracy because the citizens lose their loyalty towards a state they no longer consider their own. "Instead of increasing the active participation of citizens, the government has placed clear restrictions on freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of congregation."

Mona Sahlin has held various posts in Social Democratic cabinets, among others as Minister for Democracy, Integration and Gender Equality. Sahlin has said that many Swedes are envious of immigrants because they, unlike the Swedes, have a culture, a history, something which ties them together. Notice how Swedish authorities first formally state that Swedes don't have a history or a culture, and then proceed to lament the fact that Swedes don't have a history or a culture. A neat trick.

Sahlin has also stated that: "If two equally qualified persons apply for a job at a workplace with few immigrants, the one called Muhammad should get the job. (.) It should be considered an asset to have an ethnic background different from the Swedish one." In 2004, she was quoted as saying that "A concerted effort that aims at educating Swedes that immigrants are a blessing to their country must be pursued," stressing that her compatriots must accept that the new society is Multicultural. "Like it or not, this is the new Sweden." Mona Sahlin was elected leader of the Social Democratic Party, as thus a future contender for the post of Swedish Prime Minister, in 2007.

Why does the government dispense with the social contract and attack its own people like this? Well, for starters, because it can. Sweden is currently arguably the most politically repressive and totalitarian country in the Western world. It also has the highest tax rates. That could be a coincidence, but I'm not sure that it is. The state has become so large and powerful that is has become an autonomous organism with a will of its own. The people are there to serve the state, not vice versa. And because state power penetrates every single corner of society, including the media, there are no places left to mount a defense if the state decides to attack you.

More here


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


21 April, 2007

Leftist politicians are making Britain's troops into wimps

During one of Britain's 19th century wars with China a British soldier in a force under Lord Elgin was captured by the Chinese and beheaded for refusing to Kow-Tow... The incident was in quite a contrast to the story of the British sailors and marines captured by Iran, admitting everything, and released flourishing gifts from Mr. Ahmadinejad. One of them told a press conference that he had cried himself to sleep after his captors cruelly called him "Mr. Bean" and took away the iPod which he had carried on a combat mission. The sailor said he also cried when he was reunited with the only female captive, Faye Turney. He further complained about the quality of the presents which the Iranians gave them when they were released.

I don't think that it's for me, who has never experienced such an ordeal, to blame him or any of them for being terrified. Possibly there were visions of years in an Iranian prison, lynching by fanatical mobs or videotaped beheadings in their minds. Further, we don't know what instructions they had been given on how to behave in such a situation -- possibly to co-operate with their captors and not provoke them or do anything to make the situation worse.

But to talk this way after release -- as well as two of them rushing to sell their stories to the media (the Ministry of Defense later changed its mind about permitting this, but that it was considered at all suggests the Government knows nothing about the ethos of the fighting services) -- seems a bit much to stomach. Surely even in a modern, politically correct Navy there is still dignity.

Anyway, one of Britain's most respected senior officers, General Sir Michael Rose, who led the UN force in Bosnia, is someone qualified by personal experience to comment. And he has claimed the incident has shown that the Royal Navy is no longer fit for modern warfare. The sailors failed to fight back, and behaved as though they were on a Mediterranean cruise, he said. The entire ethos of the military had been undermined:

"Nelson said that no captain could ever be criticized for laying his ship along the enemy and engaging him. We didn't quite get that here. There were junior soldiers in the Second World War who resisted heroically, in far worse circumstances, or in the Falkland Islands. What made young men in the Scots Guards or the Paras. charge with bayonets in the middle of the night when they had run out of ammunition, against enemy machine guns?"

General Rose appears to blame the Iraq war, and in this I disagree with him. Things started much earlier than that. Since before the Blair government took office -- and despite that government's willingness to commit the armed forces for war service -- there have been reports of a stream of initiatives forcing Political Correctness on the forces (combined with shortcomings in equipment, pay, housing and other support) that can only damage or destroy their traditions and morale. Here are a few examples: In 2004 it was reported that a Royal Navy ship, HMS Cumberland, in deference to the political correctness of Blair's Britain, had installed a Satanist chapel on board for the benefit of a Satanist crewman, a spokesman claiming: "The Royal Navy is an equal employer organization."

The Army set up a special school at Lichfield to teach drill-sergeants to be nicer to recruits. Shouting at recruits was banned, leading one 17-year-old to ask: "If Army recruits can't handle being shouted at by drill sergeants, how are they going to cope with the noise of gunfire or the screams of casualties?"

In 2001 women in the British armed forces were receiving breast implants at taxpayers' expense (costing about US $8,000 a pair) at make them "happier soldiers." If they were taken prisoner it might well make their captors happier soldiers too. Other service personnel had liposuction rather than route-marches to remove excess fat. Colonel Bob Stewart, DSO, former commander of the British forces in Bosnia, after pointing out that money needed to be spent on things like better guns and radios, said:

"Anyone who is so fixated about their breast size or so emotionally troubled about their gender has absolutely no place in a fighting army....The ideal soldier is physically tough and mentally balanced, so a serviceman who needs liposuction or a sex-change is in the wrong job. And, dare I ask, how a female soldier, who is so distressed by remarks about her appearance that she had to resort to implants, would cope under fire?"

At the Pirbright Depot, training-ground of the Guards Brigade and famous for producing some of the finest soldiers in the world, trainees were issued with red and yellow cards. Should they pull out a yellow card, it would show their drill sergeants they were upset and should be left alone for 15 minutes while their delicate nerves recovered from the shock of being shouted at. Should they be really upset and pull a red card, the drill sergeant would have to explain his behavior to a superior officer.

It was forecast that soldiers would be allowed to sue officers for giving the wrong orders, in accord with the European Convention on Human Rights. Eight other countries, from Russia to Liechtenstein, had asked for their armed forces to be exempt. General Sir Peter de la Billiere said that this was almost impossible to believe and that he could think of no decision that would do more to damage morale and discipline.

General Sir Charles Guthrie said the "creeping advance" of health and safety legislation in the armed forces might be creating a climate of "risk aversion" and future soldiers might be able to sue the army for putting them in risky situations.

A "task force" was reported to be investigating whether anti-discrimination legislation would mean disabled people would be taken into the forces -- leading to one cynical observation that blind paratroops would know to pull the ripcord when their guide dogs' leads went slack. One serviceman who quit the Royal Marines in disgust wrote:

"The government's obsession with political correctness has been applied to the military with such relish that at times it seems almost insane. I have lost count of the number of forms I have had to fill in giving details of my ethnic origin. These forms used to be anonymous, but the last one I had to complete carried my name, rank and service number. Perhaps this was a reaction to an earlier (anonymous) form, which had revealed that in our all-male unit there was a huge number of Bangladeshi single mothers. There was always a great reluctance to fill in these forms, the fear being that anonymity had been removed so that the government could check how many members of ethnic minorities were being promoted. In response, the military chain of command offered soldiers an inducement: if they did not complete the forms correctly, without jokes, on a Friday afternoon, they would remain in barracks for the weekend and fill them in at their leisure. No doubt that's what New Labour means when it talks about being 'investors in people'.... I would have felt a lot more 'invested in' had I been sent on operations with a gun that worked properly."

He continued, regarding the application of health-and-safety standards to training:

"The steep ravines worn into the slopes that recruits had to run up and down at various points on the seven-mile course were also contrary to all sorts of well-meaning legislation. The recommendation was for proper steps and handrails to be installed -- just like the ones you find in the mountains of Afghanistan or the wadis of Iraq."

Possibly the British sailors taken prisoner by Iran were simply following orders. It may have been just one of those things, and will be soon forgotten: all wars are full of SNAFUs and aberrant incidents. During World War II a British Admiral and former head of Naval Intelligence, Sir Barry Domville, was imprisoned as a security risk, but that did not mean the Royal Navy's traditions were crumbling. But the whole thing at present looks like political correctness coming home to roost. I doubt the sailors can be blamed: the fault is at a much higher level.


British jailbirds treated better than retirees

Michael Sams, who murdered the teenage prostitute Julie Dart and kidnapped the estate agent Stephanie Slater before imprisoning her in a coffin, has boasted that he is better off in jail than living as a pensioner on the outside. Sams, 65, who is serving four life sentences at Whitemoor prison, Cambridgeshire, wrote to Inside Time, a newspaper for prisoners, in response to a campaign for inmates to be allowed their state pensions.

"How many pensioners in the community, who are totally dependent on the basic state pension and live in rented accommodation, are able to spend around ś20 per week on luxuries?" the former tool repairer asked. "Most struggle to keep warm in winter, afraid to put the heating on, barely eating, let alone getting three square (ready-made) meals per day. And three or four choices per course at that! "Free access to the gym each day to keep those joints supple and no bills except for 1 pound per week TV rental. "Have you ever seen an OAP inmate in tatty clothes or scruffy trainers? Not a hope! Materially, we OAPs in prison are far better off than those in the community."

He opposed the campaign to give inmates a pension, but was in favour of allowing retirement-age prisoners who are unable to work the same weekly amount as those who can. He also advised younger criminals to invest their "gains" in a private pension so that when they "retired" in prison they would have a steady income.

Sams was jailed for life after his wife recognised a recording of his voice played on the BBC Crimewatch programme. The killer, from Sutton on Trent, Nottinghamshire, pleaded guilty in 1993 at Nottingham Crown Court to kidnapping Miss Slater, 25, in January 1992, to false imprisonment and to demanding a 175,000 ransom for her. He denied kidnapping Miss Dart, 18, from Leeds, in July 1991. He also denied murdering her, making two demands for a 140,000 ransom and blackmailing British Rail for 200,000 by threatening to derail a train, but was convicted.

Mervyn Kohler, spokesman for Help the Aged, said yesterday: "In material terms, Mr Sams is probably absolutely right. But there's one small shortfall here. Given the choice, I'd much rather be outside than inside." Norman Brennan, founder of the Victims of Crime Trust, said that he was appalled by Sams's claims. "I think the whole country is sick to death of listening to the bleeding hearts and hearing about the human rights and civil liberties of those who have committed the most appalling crimes," he said. A spokesman for Inside Time said: "Michael Sams is of course fully entitled to his opinion but I have to tell him that . . . he is very much in a minority of one. "We remain firmly of the opinion that it is morally wrong to deny state pension benefits to serving prisoners."


Pro-homosexual propaganda does work

LESBIAN kissing depicted on television has made young people more tolerant of same-sex liaisons. A research paper submitted to a conference of world sexual health experts in Sydney found that nearly half of adolescent girls surveyed through a Brazilian website considered it normal for a girl to kiss another on the mouth. Nearly one-quarter of those describing it as normal said they had held this view since a Brazilian TV prime-time soap depicted a lesbian relationship in 2004. In August 2003, pop stars Britney Spears and Madonna caused controversy for an on-stage open-mouthed kiss at a music awards show.

The research identified several other places where young people had witnessed same-sex behaviour. Of those who considered two girls kissing to be normal, 78 per cent said they had held this view since seeing it in a nightclub. Nearly half of the adolescent girls surveyed also said they had tried kissing a girl themselves.

Professor Eusebio Rubio-Aurioles, president of the World Association for Sexual Health, which staged this week's Sydney congress, said it was important to understand that images in the media did not turn young people into homosexuals. "We know from a large number of studies that sexual orientation is really not a consequence of what happens in adolescence," Professor Rubio-Aurioles said.

Adolescents who grew up in environments in which same-sex attractions were not seen or acknowledged were more likely to react violently when they encountered such behaviour later in life, he said.


Australia: Police furious at HIV 'cover-up'

Protecting homosexual criminals trumps all else for the Leftist government of Victoria

VICTORIA'S Department of Human Services called in the lawyers to try to stop police investigating three high-risk HIV carriers whose files were mistakenly given to police, Health Minister Bronwyn Pike confirmed yesterday. In the latest embarrassment for the department, Ms Pike admitted lawyers were called to try to retrieve the files after they had been given to the police who had a warrant to seize only a fourth man's file. The police discovery of the three other files led detectives to charge a second man with infecting a woman with HIV. Health officials were embarrassed by the mistake and called in taxpayer-funded lawyers to try to get the files back.

Police were infuriated by the department's actions, which have led to a shake-up of the public health unit and contributed to the sacking of chief health officer Dr Robert Hall.

Liberal leader Ted Baillieu asked Ms Pike in Parliament why government lawyers had been instructed to take action against the police to impede their investigations.

"More files were taken - well, handed over, taken - than the warrant required," Ms Pike said. "The Department of Human Services did seek to have those files returned."

The HIV scandal - sparked by the department's failure to detain Michael Neal, a man now accused of attempting to infect 16 people with the virus - has combined with the food poisoning deaths of five elderly people at a Camberwell nursing home to provide the biggest challenge to Ms Pike's career in the five years she has been Health Minister.

A doctor working in HIV-AIDS prevention and treatment, Jonathan Anderson, said yesterday he was concerned the growing scandal was impacting on people who were HIV positive. Dr Anderson, who operates a clinic at Carlton, said his patients were concerned that they would be targets, because of media reports of people having unprotected sex at sex-on-site venues in Melbourne, and of a subculture of people who sought to deliberately infect others with HIV. "Of all the patients I see, not one of them would want another person to have HIV," he said. "They are all very concerned that not one more person would become HIV positive. "Most [And what about those not included in "most"? We seem to have an admission there] new infections are associated with people who don't know their HIV status and pass it on to someone else before they are diagnosed."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


20 April, 2007

Airport Hits Muslim Cabbies for Refusing Fares

Taxi drivers who refuse service to travelers carrying alcohol at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport face tougher penalties despite protests from Muslim cabbies who sought a compromise for religious reasons, officials said Monday. The Metropolitan Airports Commission said new penalties were needed to ensure customers get safe and reliable taxi service, and voted to suspend a driver's airport taxi license for 30 days for the first offense and revoke it for two years for a second offense. The new penalties take effect May 11.

Airport officials say more than 70 percent of the cabbies at the airport are Muslim, and many of them say Islamic law forbids them from giving rides to people carrying alcohol. Under the old rules, a driver who refused to transport someone carrying alcohol would be told to go to the back of the taxicab line. Airport officials said that since January 2002, there have been more than 4,800 instances of drivers' refusing to take alcohol-carrying travelers.

Commissioners said the old rules didn't prevent customers from being stranded at the curb or _ as reported in a few cases _ dropped off before their destination after drivers learned of their alcohol on board.

Some Somalis who testified Monday urged commissioners to reject the new penalties and find some other solution. "We see this as a penalty against a group of Americans only for practicing their faith," said Hassan Mohamud, an imam and an adjunct professor at William Mitchell College of Law.

The airport had proposed one pilot program that had drivers who wouldn't transport alcohol display a different top light on their cab, but the public's reaction was overwhelmingly negative and taxi drivers feared it would make travelers avoid taxis altogether.


More "Big Brother" in Britain

CCTV cameras with children shouting rap lyrics at anti-social yobs are to be introduced in Reading. The town has been given a 25,000 pound grant to develop talking cameras which will use children's voices to warn litter louts and hooligans to think again. Four-line recorded verses will embarrass culprits in public places, before reminding them of their civic responsibility to keep the town clean and safe. A competition will be organised among the town's schoolchildren to come up with and record appropriate rap lyrics for the warnings - effectively meaning children will be telling off adults for their behaviour. CCTV operators will also be able to talk live to people thought to be causing a nuisance.

Some townsfolk have reacted angrily to the scheme, which they claim smacks of Big Brother and is an extension of the nanny state. But talking at the scheme's launch yesterday, both the police and Reading Borough Council insisted the talking cameras will prove an effective deterrent. Superintendent Steve Kirk, Reading's police chief, said: "I do understand the Big Brother tag but we are not watching people any more than we have been watching before. "Rather than have the Big Brother tag we want an environment where people feel safe." He added that the talking cameras would be invaluable if the town had to be evacuated for any reason.

Tony Page, lead councillor for community action, said: "Hopefully the presence of these will deter crime and actually encourage people to act more responsibly. "The cameras are there already. This is just an enhancement to existing technology. Law abiding people have nothing to fear from them."

Locations and the number of cameras to be fitted with voice technology are yet to be confirmed, but it is thought they will be mainly based in the town centre and will operate from towards the end of the year. The town already has more than 500 CCTV cameras, including 162 in The Oracle alone. Reading is one of 20 areas sharing a 463,574.50 pot for the cameras as part of the Government's Respect scheme. The move follows a trial scheme in Middlesborough, which organisers claim has been a "100 per cent success" in cleaning up the town.

Home Secretary John Reid said the cameras would make people feel less vulnerable and would promote good behaviour while tackling bad conduct. He denied we were living in a police society and added: "There is always a minority and this is a way of trying to embarrass them, short of taking people to court, short of getting the police involved, to make sure it is a better local society."


UK Doctors Refusing to Commit Abortion Alarm Royal College

"Unprecedented numbers" are opting out - threatens British abortion industry

More and more doctors in Britain are refusing to commit abortions, according to a recent release by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). In "unprecedented numbers," British doctors are opting out, a development that threatens to undermine the British abortion industry which now stands at about 190,000 babies a year with four fifths of the deaths paid for by National Health. The RCOG cites "distaste" and ethical and religious convictions for the increase in "conscientious objectors" requesting exemption. A statement from the RCOG says the organization "believes that proper education and use of contraceptives are essential to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections."

Since the institution of widespread "sex education" programs in schools and the free availability of contraceptives, Britain's rate of pregnancy among teenagers has skyrocketed to become the highest in Europe.

Responding to an article in the Independent, the RCOG called abortion an "essential part of women's healthcare services." Recent statistics show Britain's abortion levels at an all time high and one in three women in Britain will have an abortion during her lifetime.

Kate Guthrie, an abortionist and spokesperson on family planning for the RCOG told the Independent, "There is an increasing number of young doctors who are not participating in the training. The college and the Department of Health are really worried."

Richard Warren, honorary secretary of the RCOG and a consultant obstetrician in Norfolk, said, "In the past, abortion was an accepted part of the workload. People did not like it but they accepted that it was in the best interests of the woman concerned." He added, "There is an ethos that people go into medicine to save lives and look after people. Usually, a decision for termination is taken reluctantly even though it is recognised that it is in the best interests of the woman. It is difficult and upsetting work and it is done with obvious reticence. We are seeing more doctors who are reluctant to be involved in the process and this is happening in the context of growing demand."

This is good news to the pro-life leadership of Britain who said, "We are pleased to hear that an increasing number of medical staff are refusing to perform abortions, but this situation is being talked up by those who want nurses or other non-doctors to perform abortion." John Smeaton, head of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children pointed to a recent examination by health experts of Britain's abortion law that showed it was legal for nurses and midwives to abort babies. "I do hope the profession is coming to realise the profound contradiction between its caring and life-preserving role, and the act of destruction of innocent human lives." Smeaton added, "Maybe after the six and a half million children who have died since legalisation 40 years ago, and countless mothers hurt by their abortion experience, we are finally seeing abortion for the social horror that it is."

Since the 1990s, the Faculty of Family Planning and the RCOG has included a conscientious objection clause for health staff who refuse abortion on religious or moral grounds. But Smeaton warns that doctors and nurses opting out still suffer "immense pressure to refer women and girls to colleagues who will perform terminations."


Australia: Anti-Israel public broadcaster finally acts on bias concerns

But only after much initial denial

THE ABC has buckled to concerns of bias made by a federal parliamentarian. But the gripes have come from a Labor member, Melbourne Ports' Michael Danby, not the Government that pushed for the appointment of a bias watchdog at the ABC.

ABC managing director Mark Scott will meet Mr Danby after the MP's complaints about an intemperate email from current affairs reporter Emma Alberici and the inclusion of Israel critic Anthony Lowenstein on the new ABC TV panel discussion show, Difference of Opinion. Mr Danby complained about Mr Lowenstein's inclusion as a Jewish representative in a discussion on "Australian and Islam: a collision course?", which aired on April 2.

Mr Danby said Jeff McMullen, the program's host, had written "an extensive and quite polite letter" in response to Mr Danby's concerns that Mr Lowenstein did not represent Jewish Australians. Mr Scott has also sent a conciliatory email to Mr Danby. "He said he was looking into the issue of representation on the program and he's agreed to meet with me and we'll talk about this at some time when it's convenient," Mr Danby said.

Sandy Culkoff, an ABC Corporate spokeswoman, told The Weekend Australian: "Anthony Loewenstein was not included on the panel as a representative of the Australian Jewish community. He is a journalist and author who holds positions at Macquarie University relevant to the topics being discussed on this episode."

Mr Danby's ire at the ABC was first provoked in March during a story by Alberici on ABC radio's AM about a petition, calling for more open debate on Israel's treatment of Palestinians, signed by a group called Independent Australian Jewish Voices, which included barrister Robert Richter QC and publisher Louise Adler. After suggesting to the reporter that he and other members deserved air time to offer a counter view, Mr Danby received an email from Alberici. It said: "The fact that you want to complain about a group of people who signed a petition calling for a more wholesome debate about the issues facing Israel is not what we would necessarily count as news. What it is you are complaining about exactly is unclear."

Mr Danby filed a complaint to ABC radio's editor of network news Gordon Lavery, who replied that Mr Danby's views did not warrant further coverage. Ultimately, ABC director of corporate strategy and governance Murray Green apologised to Mr Danby. The matter is under investigation by ABC director of editorial policies Paul Chadwick. Ms Culkoff said: "The ABC takes complaints about its programs very seriously and it is being assessed against the ABC's editorial guidelines."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


19 April, 2007

The good wife matters

Women often complain that men won't "commit". But what encouragement do women give to men to commit? The divorce laws alone would encourage a rational man NOT to commit. None of that matters to the boiler-suited brigade of course but to normal women it does

How to be a perfect wife is not, you might have thought, a very contemporary question. Decades of feminism have been much more concerned with how to be a perfect career woman, exotic lover, fully fledged fashionista, alpha female and, latterly, yummy mummy; being a wife has been somewhat incidental, even for those who get married or stay married.

Gloomy research appears from time to time, suggesting that when women who try to have it all find they can't, the first thing they give up on is their husbands, not least on sex with their husbands. That may be partly why two marriages out of three end in divorce and most people don't marry at all; marriage rates are at their lowest since records began.

So was rather quaint to read in The Times last week an article entitled "In search of the good wife", complete with a questionnaire from 1958. "Do you renew your nail varnish as soon as it chips?" it demands. "Do you go through his clothes every month or so to check on minor repairs? And then do you make them? Would you stay on at a party when you knew he was tired and wanted to go home? Do you use table napkins? Do you know the cheapest cuts of meat? Do you clean your handbag as often as you clean your shoes? Do you resent it when he has a night out with the boys?" A familiar picture soon emerges of a carefully groomed woman with primped hair and a wasp waist who calms down the children and touches up her lipstick when her husband comes home from work, listens charmingly to his day's debriefing, and then offers him a well cooked but thrifty dinner.

There was a time not so long ago when that would have been simply ridiculous. This traditional vision of matrimonial labour was considered not just laughable but repressive: a woman's abilities and ambitions were sacrificed to her husband's, without any security other than his goodwill.

Now, though, it seems that this vision is being revisited, and not only by Stepford wives, or those alarming "surrendered wives" of the American religious right. Ordinary women are at last beginning to realise that feminists, in their passionate rejection of traditional marriage, may have thrown out the man with the bathwater, and that they rather wish they hadn't. A man, like a woman, needs an incentive to get married and stay married; feminism forgot that, and forgot too that marriage is more in women's interests than in men's.

So the old fashioned question has become interesting again, at least for women who want to find and keep a husband and realise, increasingly, how difficult that is: what makes a good wife? I think women should start by facing some awkward facts. It's a mistake in any relationship to insist too much on egalitarian principles. Feminism, understandably, has concentrated too much on women's rights and, by extension, too much on husbands' duties. Why, on top of working long hours and forsaking all others, would a man put out the garbage and change the nappies for a woman who is too busy with her own career and too tired by her own schedule to bother much about him? Or, to be blunt, to have sex with him?

It may be his duty to put up and shut up and keep on doing the late night feeds and the early morning commuting, but it's hardly very appealing. Nor is insisting on these duties a very clever way of trying to hold on to a husband, if that is what a woman wants. One hard fact a would-be wife has to face - and I was absolutely horrified to realise this myself - is that it's not possible for a married couple to have two demanding jobs and children and a good relationship. Something has to give. If the relationship has to be neglected, then the marriage will fail, which will be very bad for the children. If the children are neglected, then the marriage is worthless anyway.

So something must give on the work front and this is probably, for many women, the price of being a good wife and having a good marriage. Unless a couple are extremely well paid, and have plenty of domestic help, her brilliant career will have to be less brilliant for a while; she will have to spend some time in the Mummy lane. It could, of course, be the other way round. But another harsh truth is that alpha males won't stay at home in the Daddy lane and nor will plenty of other males of all descriptions; they refuse to be ersatz housewives. They would rather not get married, and as the figures show, increasingly they aren't, and increasingly, if they are, they move out. So rule number one for a wife is to forget about equal rights and entitlements. Think instead about motivation.

When you want to please your child, or your lover, you think hard about what might make them happy and then do it. It's not a chore, or even if it is that hardly matters; it's an act of love or of loyalty. Yet strangely, in marriage this obvious motivational technique seems to wither away with the wedding flowers. Women are convinced it is their right not to have sex when they don't feel like it, and it is a man's duty to wash up, though he hates it - and so it is, of course. But that's not the point. Granny was right; never say no, and never nag.

I think that my generation, and later ones even more so, have been led astray by romantic 1960s notions of sincerity and authenticity; it began to be believed that in the name of existential good faith and psychological well being individuals ought always to act and speak in accordance with their feelings - telling it like is and letting it all hang out. So sex without passionate desire - the boffe de politesse of a kindly marriage - is inauthentic.

Similarly, talking without expressing all one's resentments and expectations and anxieties is a kind of insincerity, or dishonesty even. But this rather adolescent attitude is entirely at odds with the tolerance, discretion and generosity of body and spirit needed in a good marriage.

Husbands are mostly quite simple. Generally, what they want is unlimited, enthusiastic sex, constant reassurance, good food and plenty of freedom, of at least three of these four. Some can be trained to be very helpful domestically and some even enjoy it; but most are not bred for it. But they have many excellent and endearing qualities; the rewards of living with a well-motivated husband, if not quite above rubies, are very considerable, high though the price may be


Women DON'T work longer

Everyone from economists and sociologists to Oprah knows that women work more than men. Their longer combined hours, at the home and at the office, stop men from taking afternoon naps on the couch and cause fights that end with men spending nights on the couch. And yet according to new study, those longer hours are a myth, because it's just not true that women carry a heavier load.

Three economists, Michael Burda of Humboldt University in Berlin, Daniel Hamermesh of the University of Texas, and Philippe Weil of the Free University of Brussels have analyzed data from surveys in 25 countries that ask people how they spend their time. Some of the countries are rich, like the United States and Germany, some are poor, like Benin and Madagascar, and some are in the middle, like Hungary, Mexico, and Slovenia. The people surveyed were asked to fill in diaries indicating how they spend each segment of their day.

The 24 hours we all have each day can be divided into four broad activities: "market work" that is, work for pay, typically outside the house; "homework," including housework and child care; "tertiary time," including sleep, eating, and other biological necessities that people can do only for themselves; and the time left over, which is leisure. Leisure is not essential to survival, but we like it.

Throughout the world, men spend more time on market work, while women spend more time on homework. In the United States and other rich countries, men average 5.2 hours of market work a day and 2.7 hours of homework each day, while women average 3.4 hours of market work and 4.5 hours of homework per day. Adding these up, men work an average of 7.9 hours per day, while women work an average of-drum roll, please-7.9 hours per day. This is the first major finding of the new study. Whatever you may have heard on The View, when these economists accounted for market work and homework, men and women spent about the same amount of time each day working. The averages sound low because they include weekends and are based on a sample of adults that included stay-at-home parents as well as working ones, and other adults.

In Sweden, Norway, and the Netherlands, men actually work more than women, although the differences are small. In Belgium, Denmark, Finland, and the United Kingdom, women work slightly more, though less than 5 percent. Among rich countries, the largest differences emerge in Italy, where women work eight hours while men work only 6.5, and in France, where women work 7.2 hours and men 6.6.

A couple of caveats to all this newfound equality. First, many knowledgeable people believe that women work more. In a survey by the authors of this study, 54 percent of economists and 62 percent of economics students thought that women work more than men, as did more than 70 percent of sociologists. And while the gender equal-work phenomenon has been noted before, "it has been swamped by claims in widely circulated sociological studies . that women's total work significantly exceeds men's," as the authors put it. Although men in many rich countries do not work less than women, they do enjoy about 20 to 30 minutes more leisure per day (over an hour more in Italy) because they spend less time on sleep and other biological necessities. Men spend almost all of this additional leisure time watching television.


The REAL Imus danger

Post below lifted from Don Surber -- which see for links

I understand why many people are glad Don Imus is gone. They view him as a misogynist who had no place on the airwaves. My position, however, remains that the channel changer should be employed, not this clumsy firing.

The media is under attack from the left and the right and even the middle as many Americans think there is a right not to hear that extends to prevent others from hearing. Conservatives chortling over the demise of Imus should consider this passage from Rush Limbaugh's show:

"CALLER: I think what Media Matters and Brock are going to do, like you said, they're going to use Imus as a vehicle to try to take out conservative media -

RUSH: That's right.

CALLER: - and conservative talk radio.

RUSH: There's no question about that. It's like Sharpton and Jackson now going after rap music. That's to give them street cred when they come back after awhile, because they don't want to cause a backlash. I mean, it's going to be awhile before they zero in.

(interruption) Well, I know he's got his list ready, Mr. Snerdley. Sharpton has his list ready, but they're going to give it some time. They don't want to create too big of a backlash. They'll go after rap music. They'll make a show of going after rap music to give them street cred, and then the Media Matters types will say, "Hey, what is this allegation that we're out there trying to target conservatives? Look at Imus! He was liberal. We don't care."

Yeah, well, find all the other liberal hate speech on that website they chronicle. You won't. Thanks for the call out there, Ron.

Throwing Imus overboard sets a very dangerous precdent. Liberals are a slim minority in this nation, less than 20% of all voters. But they control the Democratic Party for the first time in decades. Bill Clinton was a centrist whose helped complete the Reagan agenda: Balanced budget and welfare reform. Liberals want to seize this moment to cement their power. Rush is hip to this. He also said:

"Understand that this is a Democrat Party, Drive-By Media, Clinton image machine - or Clinton machine agenda - and it is to suppress and kill conservative information, which it labels "misinformation."

The conservative information by definition, according to the template of the Drive-By Media and the Media Matters of the world, is "misinformation," but they will say that their purpose is to eliminate conservative information because it's misinformation, because there's a template, and the template is conservatives are racist, and as such they have to be banned.

Of course! In the culture, we can't put up with this. They've gotta be banned from cable. They've gotta be banned from Fox News. They've gotta be banned from radio. Conservatives are also liars. That's another template: conservatives are liars.

They gotta be snuffed out - and this is the purpose of the Drive-By Media, the Democrat Party and the Clintons, who are funding with their supporters all these "watchdog" efforts.

This is Stalinist, folks. This is an attack on certain kinds of information that is protected by a template which says, "All conservative information is misinformation. It is reported by liars and racists," and that's the foundation under which they all proceed, and they're all in on it. That is what is happening.

But there are a few liberals get it. Of all people, Rosie O'Donnell understands that when they snuffed Imus's career, she could be next. They are willing to sacrifice her to show bipartisanship. Here is what she said recently (courtesy of NewsBusters):

"SIGLER: I think people who have a public voice just need to be conscious then of what they're saying and the effect that it can have and understand that there's going to be consequences if they say things like that.

O'DONNELL: Right, you just worry if the consequences, you know -

BEHAR: Because you could be next.

O'DONNELL: - impede upon - which is all right. If that happens, it happens. But the point of the story is, if it impedes on free speech in America, democracy is at stake. Because democracy is based on freedom of speech and freedom of the press. So we really have to worry about that in this country.
God bless that barely literate female Michael Moore. She gets it. Because no matter how much she toes the party line, she is expendable. They all are. This is about power, not an agenda. The agenda is merely a sales pitch. Their only goal is power, which makes them sickeningly dangerous.

More on the Imus affair

The firing of Imus further solidifies the precedent stating that, with respect to freedom of speech, the latitude one has is directly proportional to his epidermal melanin content. Plainly speaking, a white person risks his career when saying things for which black people are regularly given a pass. It's the new lynching.

I said this solidifies the precedent because it's not even close to the first such occurrence. Back in 1988, famous sportscaster Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder's career was ended when, while inebriated in a restaurant, he asserted that blacks were better athletes and posited a theory as to why this was so. Contrast this with the case of Dusty Baker, a black man who, while manager of the Chicago Cubs, also said that minority athletes enjoyed some innate advantages in the athletic arena. Although Baker did have to endure some criticism, his job was never in jeopardy (nor should it have been).

Getting back to Don Imus, I'll point out that music pox and black comedians regularly trade in bigoted, misogynistic, hateful material that makes him look like Opie Taylor. On Hannity & Colmes recently, they had as a guest a quite corpulent comic named Patrice O'Neal. O'Neal, a black man, unabashedly used the word "cracker" (a racial epithet referring to whites that is the equivalent of "nigger") numerous times, while Sean Hannity just sat quietly and smiled. Then there's the clip of black comedian Chris Rock (Michael Savage brought it to light on his show) wherein he talks about how he hates all "crackers" to the roar of an appreciative audience.

"Oh, c'mon, Duke, that's just humor," you say? Yeah, so was what Imus said.

Contrast this with how white commentators have been cowed into not even uttering the word "nigger" for illustrative purposes; instead, they obediently say "the `N-word.'" It's something they dare not even whisper. . . . To me, this one, solitary phenomenon perfectly epitomizes the neutering of the white male, as we genuflect at the altar of the race hustlers. In fact, it's so preposterous it bears restatement: Blacks can use the word "cracker" to demean and express hatred, but whites cannot even utter the word "nigger" as an element of substantive commentary. I guess this is the affirmative-action of the tongue.

Speaking of the rotten fruits of our affirmative-action mentality, two of its worst products - and that takes in a lot of territory - Jesse Jackson and the bovine bloviator himself, Al Sharpton, were Imus' two main inquisitors. That they apply a double standard that benefits themselves is bad enough, but that the media apply one that benefits them is far worse.

If we are going to root out bigots, why aren't we applying the attention where it's most needed? As to this, we can add to Jackson and Sharpton's sins their bigoted crucifixion of the recently exonerated and always innocent Duke lacrosse players. Let's look at what Jackson said shortly after the false allegation was made:

". . . And the idea of white males fantasizing about black women is - is quite old, quite - and quite ugly, and now quite illegal."

And, "That fantasy is as old as slave masters impregnating young slave girls."

Now, this seems curiously reminiscent of what was sometimes said a century ago about black men lusting after white women, something now viewed as a most egregious form of racial stereotyping. But not only has the media not criticized the race hustler for this prejudiced remark, it has been disseminated so little that I actually had trouble finding the exact quotation (you have no idea how long I spent searching for it).

Of course, this is just the latest from a man who is beneath contempt, a creature who has made a career out of using threats and intimidation to shake down corporations, all to enrich himself, his family and his cronies.

Even more of a thug is Sharpton, a man who has incited riots that have caused immeasurable pain and suffering and more than just a few deaths - he has blood on his hands. And this isn't the first time he has been party to false rape allegations. In 1987 he perpetrated the Tawana Brawley hoax, an incident in which a 15-year-old girl fabricated rape allegations against six white men. Sharpton was only too eager to drag the men's reputations through the mud, which included labeling Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones a racist and a rapist. Sharpton never even apologized to Pagones, and to this day has not paid a price for his vicious slander. Of course, he did disappear from public view for a spell, but like a jerk-in-the-box, he popped back up some years later as if nothing ever happened and now is a favored guest on many news shows. (Shame on you, Bill O'Reilly, for giving this criminal a forum.)

Now, contrast the above with "nappy-headed hos." And the latter also pales in comparison to Jackson's and Sharpton's demonizing of the Duke boys. Imus made a rude racial comment about some college students; the two guttersnipes participated in a lynching that might have changed some college students' lives inexorably. Thus, can anyone really say the media have their priorities straight?

Some would, it appears. Dick Morris said recently that taking Imus to task may herald a new era, one of increased civility in public discourse. Sure, Dick, if you believe that, your former employer, Bill Clinton, has some land to sell you in the Whitewater development.

Nothing will change, except that a further chill has been put on the tongue, especially when it's wielded by one bearing a politically incorrect complexion. Yes, when you cut through all the posturing and sanctimony, it's obvious that what was played to perfection here is a now old game: Beat up on whitey.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


18 April, 2007

Black on white racism: Modern-day South African realities

A white South African reader sent me the following account of a personal experience under the heading: "Why I constantly encourage young whites to abandon the "New South Africa""

Early Saturday morning, my 23 year old daughter and her boyfriend were driving home, having briefly visited a club with friends after a night out. Quite close to the club, they were stopped by police. Without any preliminaries, both were aggressively, physically pulled from the vehicle, and with no possible evidence to support the claim, accused of buying drugs at the club.

Disregarding all protocol - and indeed the law - the cops proceeded to search the two victims. When the female cop present put her hand down my daughter's trousers and stuck her naked fingers into her vagina (remember, this is South Africa, and the risk of AIDS is ever present) her boyfriend naturally protested and tried to go to her defense. This resulted in him being handcuffed and pushed into a police vehicle. I must emphasis that this whole episode took place in public, with several male policemen looking on and other traffic passing by.

They were both taken to the local police station (of course no drugs were found) where Gavin (the boyfriend) was charged with drunken driving - technically correct, since he was over the limit. They also threatened my daughter, who had had one glass of wine, with a charge of public drunkenness. Throughout this incident, the cops both at the initial encounter and at the police station were excessively aggressive and abusive.

Finally, failing to find any reason not to, they released my daughter, who phoned me, as well as Gavin`s family. Had she not been released, nobody would have known their whereabouts. Gavin's cell phone was taken from him and he was refused permission to make a call. He later told us that he met another white man in the cell who had been there for three days, during which he had been denied the right to inform his family where he was.

The most important feature of this encounter is that the cops in the initial contact were black, and the victims white. It is quite apparent from the police's conduct that this entire episode was plain and simply a planned exercise in black on white intimidation and a gross misuse of power. This is by no means an isolated incident, and because of the makeup of the population, I expect it to get progressively worse.

The obvious action in a civilized country would be to lay charges against the police for their misconduct - especially the intimate search of a female in public - and allow the law to take its course. For many reasons, this is not an option:

* It would take a very large amount of money in legal fees - which I do not have

* It would probably take several years to get the case resolved, if ever. Cops in South Africa make a habit of not appearing in court on appointed dates.

* The cops would simply deny that these events took place as described

* Finally, and most importantly, this is Africa: The cops in question know where we live, and it is simply not worth the risk of being further intimidated and victimized.

Would you want your child to live under these conditions?

Response to "When Women Cry Wolf"

While I generally support what Kyle-Anne Shiver writes in "When Women Cry Wolf About Rape", I would like to offer some comments that go just a bit further. The author writes;

Now that the Duke "rape" case has been brought to its conclusion and the falsely-accused young men have been thoroughly exonerated, it is time for us - especially us women -- to come down hard on the woman who cried "Wolf" and those who enabled her.

Since this is a case of false accusation, conclusion is not reached until the accuser, in this case a woman, is brought to justice. It appears to me that at a minimum, this woman has violated North Carolina General Statutes 14-209, Punishment for Perjury, a class F felony, and 14-225, False Reports to Law Enforcement, a class 2 misdemeanor.

Apparently, the young men have been exonerated by the evidence, or lack thereof. This very same evidence provides basis for prosecuting false reporting, and perjury. I gather from the article that some claim this woman has a "troubled" history, and so regard her as "incapacitated enough to escape punishment for a vicious and harmful lie". This is nonsense. As I understand things, she works for a living, has children, and attends college. Also, a "troubled" history never stopped prosecution of a man for rape.

Shiver rightly advocates "solace and restitution" for the victims, in this case three young men. Additionally, I advocate restitution for the citizenry, those who own the statutes. The statutes are in place to protect the public from false accusations and perjury. Failure to prosecute denies Article I, Section 2 of the North Carolina Constitution;

All political power is vested in and derived from the people: all government of right originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. The same reasoning applies to disciplinary action for prosecutorial misconduct, the applicable rules of which are sure to be found in the North Carolina court rules.

I have two final points. I object to Shiver's clear implication that "all men everywhere" are "barely-in-control" whenever alcohol and scantily-clad women mix. Since this generalization far exceeds what the evidence supports, it is a sweeping generalization logical fallacy. Finally, Shiver advises men to "ask the woman you're with, just to make sure". Why not advise men to simply abstain, thereby denying her the option to change her mind later? After all, she could turn out to be "troubled".


Politically correct British police force hiring officers 'who can't do the job'

One of the country's most senior policemen has admitted his force is recruiting unsuitable officers in its drive to be politically correct. Dyslexics, the physically disabled and those with religious beliefs which affect their work are apparently being given jobs - even though they are unable to fulfil their role. Steve Roberts, a deputy assistant commissioner at Scotland Yard, said there was a 'whole cohort' of inadequate officers coming into the London force because the force had 'shied away' from tackling the issue.

His comments in the magazine Police Review follow a series of embarrassments for the Metropolitan Police in recent months. PC Alexander Omar Basha, a Muslim officer, provoked a political storm last year when he was excused from guarding the Israeli embassy on 'moral grounds' after he expressed concerns over the bombing of Lebanon. In another incident, a female Muslim officer refused to shake the hand of Commissioner Sir Ian Blair at her passing out ceremony. Other cases include a Seventh Day Adventist officer who wanted to take the Sabbath off, an orthodox Jewish officer who wanted Fridays off and a number of men or women with severe dyslexia.

Mr Roberts said the Met was 'letting its managers down' by failing to issue clear policy on recruitment. He said: "What is really comes down to is that it does not matter what it is that causes you to be incapable of fulfilling the full duties of an ordinary officer. "It does not matter if it is because you have a physical disability, dyslexia or a particular requirement which means you have to have every Sunday off - unless you are able to fulfil the duties of a constable, we should not be allowing you to think you can join in the first place. "And we should not, if that arises after joining, be saying you can make a good and efficient officer at the end of the probationary stage. "We have let our managers down in not making it as clear as we should do what our attitude to difference is and what we expect of them [in order to] give them the confidence to deal with people genuinely fairly."

Mr Roberts said that the force was still able to adapt to an officer's specialist requirements. He added: "For example, there was never actually a problem with the young female officer who did not want to shake the commissioner's hand. "She simply said, quite reasonably, 'Actually, I would prefer not to'. "Supposing it had been the case that normally the Commissioner kissed on the cheek every new recruit who came up to meet him and someone said 'I would rather he did not do that to me', we would not think that was a big deal. "We can adapt on those things that do fit in with being a constable and fulfilling the full range of duties but certain factors are not a condition of someone becoming a police officer, it is simply what a good employer does."

Mr Roberts, who is deputy head of human resources at the Met continued: "This is not moving away from diversity and saying it does not matter any more. "But it is about setting proper limits to make sure we do manage it properly, without ever losing sight of the main point of delivering the right service. "Getting a diverse workforce is not a nice, optional thing. It is what we have got to do in order to be properly representative of London."


Brits tracking young Muslims

MI5 is adopting tactics used by the police to keep tabs on paedophiles and other sex offenders to monitor the activities of known or suspected Islamic extremists, The Times has learnt. The threat from radicalised young Muslims is growing at such a rate that MI5 has realised that it needs the help of police officers on the streets to help it keep a check on extremists in their areas.

The police keep track of known paedophiles by collating sightings of them and noting whom they meet and which areas they frequent - a tactic that MI5 sees as ideal for keeping track of the movements of Islamic extremists. Thousands of police officers on the beat in areas with large Pakistani communities - such as Birmingham, Leeds and London - will be expected to keep a lookout for young Muslims known to have become radicals.

The information gathered from day-to-day observations will be used to compile a comprehensive database of lower-level extremism. This register will help both MI5 and the police. However, there are thousands of other radicalised young Muslims from countries such as Pakistan, North Africa and Somalia about whom there is no intelligence linking them to terrorist groups. Because of limited resources, they are not regarded as a priority for MI5 when there are so many others who are known to be affiliated to terrorist networks in Britain and, in many cases, actually to be plotting attacks. The fear is that young Muslims who are being radicalised may be persuaded to support the cause of the terrorists.

MI5 has built up an extensive archive of extremist activities, according to security sources. But its surveillance officers have time to focus only on those posing a terrorist threat. Security sources say that monitoring extremists is only part of the drive to deal with the growing challenge of a younger generation of Muslims, most of them of Pakistani origin, being suborned into supporting terrorism.

The security and intelligence services are relying on the Government to come up with policies and funds that will help Muslim communities, providing jobs, decent homes and social welfare support to dissuade the young from becoming extremists. The threat from home-grown Islamic extremism and terrorism, largely emanating from British Pakistanis, is a relatively recent phenomenon. The terrorist threat in Britain before the 9/11 attacks in the US was principally viewed as coming from Algerians, Moroccans and other North Africans.

Since 2001, and particularly since the July 7 suicide bombings in 2005, MI5 has been collecting as much information as possible about Muslim radicalisation in this country. However, security sources emphasised that the new approach - contributing towards the police's existing "Rich Picture" project, which is aimed at uncovering young Muslims being groomed for terrorism - did not mean that MI5 was targeting the Muslim communities in Britain. This is a highly sensitive issue, especially as Muslim leaders have accused MI5 and the police of using all their resources to spy on their communities.

Both MI5 and the police insist they want clerics and other Muslim leaders to help them to stamp out extremism and actively seek their cooperation. The security sources said that it was a matter for individual police forces to decide how to prioritise their resources in keeping track of Islamic extremists. But the aim was to enable the police in their areas to know of the whereabouts of extremists. "This is a new approach and we hope that police officers will understand that the job of countering terrorism and extremism is not just for MI5 and the police special branch but can be carried out by traditional police methods," one security source said.

Sensitive intelligence about terrorist suspects is shared with Special Branch and with regional intelligence cells. This level of cooperation has improved in recent months, with the setting up of eight regional MI5 offices, sharing Special Branch premises, in Scotland, the North East, North West, the East and West Midlands, South West, Wales and South East



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


17 April, 2007

What's worse than Big Brother? Little Brother

The British government is recruiting children to spy on and `re-educate' the adult population

The revelation that Britain's New Labour government plans to install talking CCTV cameras across the land has rightly been greeted with shock and indignation. These new cameras will not only watch and record our movements, as Britain's already-existing five million CCTV cameras (that's one for every 12 citizens) currently do; they will also tell us off. Faceless operators in the CCTV bunkers will use microphones to tell the great unwashed to stop loitering, gathering in crowds, littering, spitting, vandalising and graffiting.

However, one aspect of the new talking CCTV regime went virtually uncommented on: the fact that the government is planning to recruit well-behaved and right-minded children to become the voice of the cameras in certain towns and cities. That's right - you can now look forward to the prospect of some self-righteous 12-year-old barking orders at you as you walk down the street.

John Reid, the home secretary, announced last week that the government will spend o500,000 on fitting loudspeakers on to CCTV cameras in 20 areas around Britain, including Southwark, Barking and Dagenham in London, and also Reading, Harlow, Norwich, Ipswich, Plymouth, Gloucester, Derby, Northampton, Mansfield, Nottingham, Coventry, Sandwell, Wirral, Blackpool, Salford, South Tyneside and Darlington.

Speaking cams were trialled in Middlesbrough, England, last year - and according to Reid they were a great success. `[The cameras] help counter things like litter and drunk or disorderly behaviour, gangs congregating', he told the morning news show GMTV last week. `They are the sorts of things that make people's lives a misery. Anything that tackles that is better.'

The number of CCTV cameras in Britain has risen exponentially over the past 10 to 15 years. Someone going about his or her daily business in London should expect to be picked up on around 300 cameras over the course of one day. New software breakthroughs mean there are now cameras that have `suspicious behaviour recognition' (they monitor the movement of clusters in the images recorded by CCTV) and even `gait recognition' (cams that judge whether someone is walking too fast, oddly or in some other suspicious fashion).

The rise of the cams speaks to a suspicious and fearful streak in New Labour's New Britain. And much of the `anti-social behaviour' they are designed to record looks to me less like seriously anti-social behaviour and more just a product of modern living. For example, we all consume more fast food than ever before, yet the decline in street bins (previous governments got rid of them in response to the IRA bombing campaign and the current government never bothered to replace them) means we don't have anywhere to put our cartons, McDonald's bags, cups and so on - hence littering. There are also a poverty of public benches, which have been removed by local authorities who feared that they would encourage drunks and gangs of young people to group together in city centres - and not surprisingly drunks and young people have tended to group together elsewhere, in parks, at bus stops, etc.

It is the government that is becoming increasingly anti-social by littering public space with spycams and now noisy megaphones that will embarrass people into changing their behaviour. Instead of providing us with enough bins, street cleaners and park benches, or creating public spaces that encourage free and easy interaction, the killjoy authorities plonk ugly cameras everywhere to monitor our antics.

Strangely, few of the news reports that covered the talking CCTV story mentioned the fact that the government plans to co-opt children to provide the stern voice of reason for some of the cams. This is odd considering that the government seems quite proud of this fact. The Home Office issued a press release headlined `Children Remind Adults To Act Responsibly On Our Streets'. It stated that: `Children from across the country will be very publicly calling upon the small minority of people who think it is acceptable to act anti-socially on our streets and in our towns to change their ways and take responsibility for their actions..'

The government's Respect Taskforce has launched a competition in schools around the country, where the top prize kids can win is to become the `voice' of certain CCTV cameras. In the 20 towns and cities that will soon install talking CCTV cameras, schoolchildren are being encouraged to design colourful posters that `challenge bad behaviour'. Explicitly, the government says it is `encouraging children to use their "pester power" in a positive way - reminding grown-ups how to behave'. Here, the government seems keen to harness the self-righteousness of some kids in an effort to shape and mould adults' behaviour. The winners of the poster competition will be `invited to become the voice of the Talking CCTV in their town or city's CCTV control room for one day - the day of the switch-on, later this year'. As Louise Casey, head of the Respect Taskforce, says, children will force adults to `face the shame of being publicly embarrassed'.

The introduction of talking CCTV cameras looks less like a case of `Big Brother gone mad' and more like `Little Brother gone mad'. The government is turning to children in an attempt to get its patronising good-behaviour message across to the adult population. According to Casey, `the vast majority (of children) know how to behave and recognise the bad behaviour of others, young and old alike'. The relationship between child and adult is reversed - instead of adults leading and guiding children, children are used to correct the `bad behaviour' of adults.

Worryingly this use of children to advance New Labour's moral message to adults is not a one-off initiative. The Respect Taskforce and the police have held numerous art competitions encouraging children to draw pictures that show the dangers of anti-social behaviour - the winners' pics have been used to illustrate safer community leaflets. A recent government report on energy proposed that schoolchildren be used to spread the word about eco-living. As James Woudhuysen pointed out on spiked, the report, titled Our Energy Challenge: Power from the People - Microgeneration Strategy, advances the view that: `Education of the next generations in a way that energy efficiency and the need for cleaner energy become an integral part of their mindset can help to influence their future behaviour (and maybe even that of their parents) and move us towards the desired cultural shift..With schools often being the focal point of communities, the installation of renewables could help to shape attitudes in the wider community.' In short, children can help to instil in adults the new `mindset' on green living. (See Windmills of the mind, by James Woudhuysen.)

Children have also been used in the Department of Health's adverts warning about the dangers of smoking and lung cancer. One ad featured a mother in the terminal stages of lung cancer. Her daughter was shown expressing her anger and grief at the fact that her mum will die shortly as a result of a disease caused by her own smoking. As spiked contributor Dr Michael Fitzpatrick argued, this was another case of the government using children to chastise adults: `This advert is clearly designed to make parents who smoke feel guilty - and to make children of parents who smoke feel angry. Its objective is to use children as an instrument of the campaign to deter adults from smoking.'

`At a time when a wide range of civil liberties are under threat it is alarming that the strategy of using children to police their parents' behaviour - reminiscent of totalitarian regimes - provokes so little public disquiet', wrote Dr Fitzpatrick (see The stigma of smoking, by Dr Michael Fitzpatrick).

And now, the recruitment of children to use their `pester power' in order to publicly `shame' adults has also provoked little controversy. The government seems to be turning to children because it cannot justify its petty moral and authoritarian campaigns on their own terms - instead it hopes that we will change our behaviour and become more green / responsible / better-behaved for the sake of the pleading kids. Also, children, as anyone who has come into contact with them will know, can be sanctimonious and self-righteous. Where adults disagree and argue over what counts as civilised behaviour, and what should be done about allegedly uncivilised behaviour, children tend to lap up fairly uncritically messages about what is right and wrong. The government seems keen to harness children's simplistic views of good and evil in order to whack the adult population over the head.

Using children as spies or educators is the mark of an authoritarian regime. In Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, children are co-opted by the authorities and tend to become the most vociferous promoters of the right way of thinking. In Chapter 9, Winston Smith finds himself surrounded by a huge crowd on the sixth day of `Hate Week': `It was night, and the white faces and the scarlet banners were luridly floodlit. The square was packed with several thousand people, including a block of about a thousand schoolchildren in the uniform of the spies.'

One character, Parsons, `proceeds to boast about the "achievements" of his horrible children': `They had tracked a man down and handed him over to the thought police as a traitor on the sole ground that he was wearing strange-looking shoes and had set fire to a woman's clothes because she wrapped a parcel in a poster of Big Brother. Finally, they had been eavesdropping at their parent's bedroom door with a listening device to see if any thoughtcrime remarks were made. All of these are presented by Parsons as exploits of which he is very proud!'. In Orwell's fictional world, adults become subservient to irresponsible, ill-informed, not-yet-developed, gullible and nasty children. Is New Labour in danger of creating similar kinds of kids in Britain 2007?

We need a more critical attitude to the government's installation of talking CCTV and its recruitment of children as part of its crackdowns on anti-social behaviour. Mike Fagan, community safety co-ordinator for Hastings Statutory Crime and Disorder Partnership, turned down the offer to have talking CCTVs. Why? `We didn't think that talking CCTVs would suit the context of Hastings, the environment here. It was perhaps more appropriate to a larger urban area. I personally don't think that talking CCTVs are a good thing and that they would achieve results in terms of regulating people's behaviour,' he told me.

We could all do with saying no to talking CCTV cameras - whether we live somewhere like Hastings or in `larger urban areas'. Yet while the children's talking CCTV initiative will last for one day only, the day of `switch on' later this year, the political philosophy behind it - that adults are untrustworthy and it is acceptable to get children to tell them off - looks set to stay in place for a lot longer.



A Malaysian state has closed down a museum exhibition on ghosts, ghouls and supernatural beings after Islamic clerics claimed it was detrimental to Muslims' faith, newspapers reported Saturday. The exhibition at the state museum in southern Negeri Sembilan has drawn some 25,000 visitors since it opened March 10. But it has also attracted criticism from religious scholars who charged the show was un-Islamic and based in fantasy, the New Straits Times reported. Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Rais Yatim also disapproved of the exhibition, saying it was not beneficial to the community.

But the museum has claimed its aim was to educate the public. The exhibition capitalized on widespread fascination in Malaysia with otherworldly creatures from local legends and mythology. Reports said artifacts on display included alleged vampire carcasses and a mythical phoenix bird.

The Negeri Sembilan state government decided to halt the show Friday after the National Fatwa Council ruled it was forbidden under Islam as it could undermine Muslims' faith, The Star newspaper reported.

Some 60 percent of this Southeast Asian country's 26 million people are Muslims, who are subject to Islamic laws and fatwa council edicts even if they have not been enshrined in national or Islamic Sharia law.

Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the fatwa council which advises the government on Islamic regulations, said spirits and supernatural beings involved the "invisible world" and were beyond the comprehension of the human mind. "We don't want to promote a belief in 'tahyul' (supernatural) and 'khurafat' (superstition) which we do not know about. We do not need to focus on such things or play them up by having such exhibitions," he was quoted as saying.

Negeri Sembilan state secretary Kamarudin Siaraf, who also chairs the state museum board, was quoted by the New Straits Times as saying the museum would abide by the council's ruling. "We do not want all the controversy surrounding this exhibition to drag on further, so the best thing is to stop the show," he said. Calls to the state museum and state secretary's office were not answered Saturday. Abdul Shukor and other fatwa council members also could not be reached for comment.

Last year, a three-month exhibition on "Mysteries, Genies, Ghosts and Coffins" at the museum in central Selangor state drew tens of thousands of visitors but some critics denounced the items as fakes while others accused the exhibition of being un-Islamic. Among the 100 items on display were objects described as a preserved mermaid, the shriveled skeletal remains of a half-woman, half snake and a goblin trapped in a bottle.


ACLU Applauds Senate Introduction of Hate Crimes Legislation

Below is the somewhat misleading ACLU release on the new U.S. hate crimes bill. See Tongue Tied for comment

The American Civil Liberties Union today cheered Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Gordon Smith (R-OR) for introducing the Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2007 (LLEHCPA). This legislation will expand the ability of federal law enforcement to investigate and prosecute criminal civil rights violations when state or local authorities are unwilling or unable to do so.

This new hate crimes bill is especially significant because it marks the first time the ACLU has been able to offer its full support to hate crimes legislation introduced in the Senate. Unlike in previous years, this legislation balances the desire for a strong federal response to criminal civil rights violations with clear protections for free speech and free association. "The ACLU has a long record of support for both free speech and civil rights, and we are delighted to support a bill that doesn't sacrifice one in favor of another. It punishes acts of discrimination, not bigoted beliefs," said Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office. "This bill demonstrates that it's possible to vigorously pursue criminal civil rights violations without chilling our First Amendment rights."

The LLECHPA punishes only the conduct of intentionally targeting another person for violence because of that person's race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. It allows bigoted speech or association with hate groups to be admitted as evidence only if it is directly related to the crime. The provision will stop the temptation for prosecutors to rely on "guilt by association" with groups whose bigoted views we may all find repugnant, but which may have had no role in committing the violent act.

"We're extremely pleased to be able to offer our support to this important legislation," said Christopher Anders, an ACLU Legislative Counsel. "Current law provides no protection to individuals targeted for violence based on their race, color, national origin, or religion, except in certain limited circumstances. It offers no protection at all for individuals targeted due to their sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability. State and local law enforcement officers are sometimes unwilling or unable to prosecute such crimes due to inadequate resources or their own bias against the victim. In these instances, the federal government clearly has an enforcement duty, to ensure that all individuals are provided equal protection under the law."


Weapon paranoia in Australia too

A YOUNG mother who says she uses a small penknife only to cut fruit for her son has been arrested for having an offensive weapon in a courthouse. Jessica Lee Woods, 23, a student from Pimpama on the Gold Coast, and the daughter of a former policeman, was charged with having possession of a knife in the Southport Magistrates Court without reasonable excuse on March 14. Ms Woods was not required to enter a plea to the charge when she appeared in the Southport Magistrates Court on Wednesday when the case was listed for mention.

Outside court, her solicitor, Will Keys, said he will seek to have the charge struck out when the case resumes on Friday. "I'm appalled at the way this girl was treated," Mr Keys said. He said he would ask for the charges to be dropped, the photographs and fingerprints taken by police to be returned to his client and for legal costs to be reimbursed.

Mike Woods, 57, a former sergeant employed for 20 years in the Northern Territory police force, yesterday accused police of wasting resources by arresting his daughter after a complaint was made by court security staff. Mr Woods said he was concerned Jessica, who is finishing a course at TAFE to start work as a teacher's aide, may have trouble getting a blue card to work with children unless all evidence of the charge was removed from police records.

In statements provided to Mr Keys, Jessica and her brother, Luke, 22, explained how they had to attend the Southport Courthouse on March 14 for a civil matter involving a property dispute when they passed through a security scanner. After being asked if she was carrying any sharp objects, Ms Woods checked her handbag and produced a penknife and small Swiss army knife - both closed and only 4cm long. When asked by police why she was carrying the knives, Ms Woods said she told them: "I use them to cut fruit for (my four-year-old son) Seth."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


16 April, 2007


Or just a waste of good bacon? Excerpts from two posts by different bloggers below. How can it be a crime when there is no law against it?

According to the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, two hours before the 1 p.m. Friday service, the Koran was found on the front steps of the Islamic Center. Someone had written "Mohammad pedophile" on the front, and an (unnamed) expletive was on the inside, smeared under two strips of bacon. Not only did the local police report it as a hate crime, but they said they would contact the FBI. Mosque representatives are meeting with the City Mayor Johnny Piper to see what he can do as well.

This is a clear example of how hate crime laws are being used to impose sharia law, in the guise of religious special accomodations, and in place of U.S. federal or state laws. I'm not a lawyer, so correct me if I'm wrong - that's why we have a comments section - but under the current laws in Tennessee and the U.S., these are facts of the case:

1. The Koran - simply a book under our laws, rather than "Islam's revealed text," and therefore not subject to the special treatment required by sharia law - belonged to whoever put it on the steps. So no theft or defacement of someone else's property was involved. If I had left a Bible on their steps, would that have been a hate crime? Or a Koran from Yemen, not accepted by the Wahhabi cult?

2. Leaving a Koran on a property's steps - again, just a book like any other, under our law rather than sharia law - does not vandalize that property. Maybe you can define it as littering, but "hate crime littering" seems a bit of a dhimmitude stretch when it's a single book and two pieces of bacon, neatly placed inside the book.

3. Writing in a book, including a Torah, New Testament, Bible, Lolita, The Pentagon Papers, the Yellow Pages or the Koran (again, just a book under any laws other than sharia) is permitted under the First Amendment. Writing an expletive in a book is permitted under the First Amendment. Writing that Mohammed was a pedophile is permitted under the First Amendment, and is also amply documented by both Islamic and other scholars of the Koran.


Bacon in a Koran? CAIR calls for an investigation into this "hate crime," despite, you know, that putting bacon in a Koran is not technically a crime, and therefore, you know, cannot be a hate crime, or any other sort of crime.

Malcious? Hostile? Intended to provoke? Yes. It's called speech. And we were allowed to engage in it, back in the days before Islam became the Official State Religion.

I'm not joking about this anymore: This is precisely the treatment a real official state religion would get. If there is no difference between how an official state religion would be treated, and how Islam is currently being treated, then we do, in fact, now have an all-but-declared official state religion.

Now the FBI has not actually begun a hate crime investigation. But I have little doubt they will. Thus acknowleging that the defacement of Islam's holy text -- and no other holy text -- is a crime.


Stop pandering to Muslims

UK government initiatives to 'deal with' younger Muslims only leave them feeling more alienated from political life

Ruth Kelly, the UK secretary of state for communities and local government, has announced yet another scheme to help tackle extremism in Britain's Muslim communities - a 600,000 pound faith unit within the Charity Commission to help `moderate Muslims' strengthen governance and leadership in mosques. Mandarins at her department seem to generate a new project to tackle extremism every few months, each one looking strikingly similar to the last. In July 2005 we had the `Preventing Extremism Together Taskforce'; then in October 2005, the government called for a new imam national advisory council to train religious leaders to engage with younger Muslims. In February this year, it was announced that ś5million will be spent on funding projects in areas around the UK, to...well, engage with young Muslims.

Although these schemes are announced with great fanfare, they seem to vanish soon afterwards, only to be followed by yet another one. Part of the problem is impatience - the government wants quick results and is disappointed when its favoured religious allies are not delivering overnight success in the battle for hearts and minds. There is clearly frustration that mosques are not living up to their promise to deal with their young.

Of course, they are deluding themselves if they believe that `moderate' imams, with their old-fashioned, largely apolitical sermons, will have any greater success just because they speak English. It is precisely the promise of an otherworldly `radical' (albeit nihilistic) vision that attracts young people to Islamic extremism, rather than a strong adherence to Islam itself. The leader of the London bombers, Mohammed Sidique Khan, did not go to his local mosque but to another - the Tablighi Jamaat mosque in West Dewsbury - where he could get his extremist fix. Whilst a lukewarm, anglicised version of Islam, sponsored by the government, might pull in some young people, it may well compound the cynicism of those who see traditional mosque elders as tools for colonial rule.

Even less convincing is the aim of this new unit to get more women into mosques in the hope that they will diffuse radical views. Surveys show that of the regular six to seven per cent of Muslims who express support for acts of terrorism, over half of these are usually women. If the government looked at the website of MPAC (Muslim Public Affairs Committee), the most vocal advocates of female prayer space in mosques, they will see that their views are not exactly simpatico. Some forms of contemporary Islamic feminism are perfectly compatible with radical views. That is certainly not an excuse to hold women back from mosques, just a caution to Ruth Kelly that Muslim girls are not necessarily the meek, mild-mannered types that will do her work for her.

Ultimately, the reliance on `the Muslim community' to manage the identity crisis amongst young Muslims is part of the problem. As long as mainstream political leaders view young Muslims as a troubled group outside of British society - to be outsourced to somebody else - the more they will find young people feel alienated from them. Like most people of their generation, young Muslims are confused about their identity and looking for a political vision to adhere to. Political parties need not fear this if they believe they have a political vision of their own to sell. But lacking confidence in their own ideas (if they have any at all), politicians have come to regard young Muslims as immovable; a group that is `at risk' and needs to be managed by carrots and sticks - give them jobs, give them youth centres, give them Arabic lessons. The message seems to be: `Let's send some nicer ones in to sort out the rotten few.'

Not only does this strategy usually backfire (the `nicer ones' turn out to whine just as much to the government, and struggle to guarantee their own grassroots support), it sends the message to young Muslims that `we can't deal with you'. In the eyes of mainstream politicians, places like West Dewsbury, Beeston and Keighley must seem like Mecca - only Muslims are allowed to enter. No wonder younger Muslims think that politicians are spineless and disinterested. They do not even dare to look them in the eye and tell them they have a better alternative in their own parties. Hysterical mullahs have managed to win some hearts and minds because there wasn't even a contest.

Paradoxically, being at the centre of attention with these endless schemes makes Muslims feel under even more pressure and scrutiny. Add to this the fears over counter-terrorism measures, and there is very little the government can do that will reverse the tide of distrust. Whilst the majority of Muslims will never be driven into the arms of extremists, they will be driven away from political life.

Although it seems counterintuitive, the way to `deal' with young Muslims may well be to stop `dealing' with them. The short-term, obsessive focus on them seems to be precisely the thing that alienates them even further. A long-term focus on politics elsewhere might at least remind them that Islamism is not the only game in town.



The two stories below reveal that the Australian government's efforts to deal with Islamic hostility are being frustrated by its officials

Terror hate books to be banned

BOOKS and DVDs glorifying terrorist acts will be pulled from the shelves and prevented from entering the country under tough new Federal laws, to be unveiled today. Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has declared a "zero-tolerance approach" to material that "advocates" terrorism. Under the existing Classification Act, material can only be removed from sale if it is deemed likely to "promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence". But the amended law - to be discussed at a meeting between Mr Ruddock and the state attorneys-general in Canberra today - makes it an offence to circulate material that "advocates" a terrorist act. Imported material published outside Australia will be stopped at Customs if it is found to glorify, praise or encourage acts of terrorism.

"We are not going to allow material to be out there saying terrorism is a good idea," he told The Daily Telegraph yesterday. "This is a zero-tolerance approach to terrorism. "Terrorism acts are a specific and highly dangerous threat to Australian society. Material that advocates people undertake such acts should not be available for this reason alone." An example of material that could be banned under the law are the Death Series DVDs released by Sydney firebrand cleric Sheik Feiz Mohammed, in which he called for Muslim children to be recruited as "holy warriors".

The books of hate first exposed by The Daily Telegraph also would be targeted. Censorship authorities banned two of the eight books promoting jihad, or "holy war", being sold in southwest Sydney, but the other six probably would be outlawed under the changes. One of the books deemed acceptable under the existing Classification Act, The Criminal West, by Omar Hassan, depicts Australian police as rapists. "(Australia is) a country with a police force that, instead of providing protection, the police themselves pick up young girls from the streets around the city area and rape them inside police stations, and pick up young boys and bash them up to death inside police cells," Hassan writes.

Mr Ruddock said the changed law would aim at removing offensive material from the shelves, rather than seeking to prosecute the authors or speakers responsible for them. He said that the controversial sedition laws covered incitement of terrorism offences and required a "very high standard of proof". "The classification scheme targets the material, not the person who creates it. Sometimes it's hard to identify the right person, or they are outside our jurisdiction. "This proposal is intended to get inflammatory material inciting terrorism out of circulation without having to conduct a criminal prosecution."

Mr Ruddock will present his proposal of the amended law at a meeting with censorship ministers, who also act as attorneys-general, today. The plan is likely to trigger intense debate over the Government's role in determining what is fit for publication. The NSW and Victorian Governments are likely to oppose it, claiming current classification laws are strict enough. However, Mr Ruddock is determined to push ahead, claiming public safety overrides issues of free speech.


Islamic hate film gets PG rating

A PRO-TERROR hate film that urges children to martyr themselves in Islam's war on the West and calls Jews "pigs" has been rated PG by Australia's censors. Sheik Feiz Mohammed's DVD box set, which also calls for the murder of non-believers, was initially seized by Federal anti-terror police. But the Office of Film and Literature Classification has ruled that The Death Series is suitable to be bought and watched by children.

The shock decision has seen the nation's peak censorship body slammed as weak and out of touch by family groups and the Jewish community. It has also made a mockery of the Attorney-General's plans to bring in tough new laws that ban material which "advocates" terrorism.

The PG decision comes as Australian-born Sheik Feiz, who is in exile in Lebanon, is still preaching to Australians by phone. The films urge parents to make their children holy warriors and martyrs, and praises jihad as the pinnacle of Islam. The radical sheik makes snorting noises on the films as he vilifies Jews as the "army of pigs". He blames a lack of courage for martyrdom on the battlefield for the "humiliation" of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Guantanamo.

The censors' finding means children of any age can watch the films - but it is advised under-15s have a parent present. The OFLC finding said the sheik's calls to "jihad" and "martyrdom" were ambiguous. And it found that comments vilifying Jews as an "army of pigs" and saying "behind me is a Jew, come kill him" were mitigated by the context.

The Australian/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council said the PG rating proved the current censorship guidelines had dangerous shortcomings. "In the Feiz Mohammed case, as well as others, there seems to be inadequate consideration to the dangers posed by the non-fiction advocacy of violence and bigotry, as opposed to its graphic depiction," AIJAC head Dr Colin Rubenstein said. He said he hoped that a review of the laws would deal with the serious problem of incitement. The Australian Family Association said the Sheik Feiz decision was just the latest ruling by a "hardened" OFLC detached from community values.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


15 April, 2007


A legislative plan to "eliminate attitudes" opposing homosexuality is moving forward in Oregon, even though opponents claim it threatens churches and establishes pagan morality as a benchmark for their operations. Senate Bill 2, already endorsed by the state Senate and favored by Gov. Ted Kulongoski, a Democrat, now heads to the floor of the state House following a 5-1 committee endorsement. It is expected to be voted on within the next week.

In the House Rules Committee, an amendment was offered that would have provided an exemption for Christian churches and Christian groups in the proposal to grant broad new powers to the homosexual community by designating them as members of a protected minority class. However, the amendment was rejected in favor of a plan to continue to allow homosexuals to demand Christian churches hire them when there are job openings - among other issues.

"This is still an intrusion of the state into religious liberty, and makes [Christian organizations] subject to state control," David Crowe, of Restore America, told WND. "It favors the homosexual community and puts the church in a defensive posture, having to defend itself and its beliefs, policies, doctrines and employment," he said.

The Oregon Family Council had proposed an amendment derived from similar legislative plans in other states where homosexual community members have been granted special rights, but it was rejected. "This is very objectionable. It reveals that this is an agenda. They couldn't care less about what the people of Oregon think," said Crowe. His organization's petition to encourage legislators to oppose the plan already has 6,000 signatures and is growing at the rate of about 1,000 per day. "We're going to tell the world what is being dictated (to Christians and Christian churches) in Oregon," Crowe said.

He said the attitude on the part of lawmakers was typified by a comment from state Rep. Peter Buckley, from Ashland, who didn't want to provide "more exemptions," likening the situation to "past racist employment motives." It used to be signs that said "No Irish need apply," he suggested. "Only now it's like, 'No gays or lesbians need apply for jobs.'"

Buckley insists the church must employ homosexuals, said Crowe. "He has no regard, no understanding whatsoever of the religious community at all, and certainly no respect for the U.S. Constitution," Crowe explained. "He says he's going to summarily override anything in the Constitution. He believes we ought to be forced to hire homosexuals. They come to the door, we ought to hire them."

He said the homosexual-rights promoters are becoming self-righteous in their attitudes, saying, "We're against any kind of discrimination and certainly this kind as well." Churches, meanwhile, are being portrayed as impeding "what is really good." The entire issue, however, is built on false pretenses, Crowe said, because the need for such legislation can only be substantiated if there is a significant problem with discrimination against homosexuals. In Oregon, while about 170 cases have been reported since 2000, a state agency confirmed the validity of only a handful of cases. "The substance is not there," Crowe said.

He also said the legislators supporting the plan need to look at the document and ask some questions, including, what is the definition of sexual orientation and is that a state of mind; will pedophiles be protected under the legislation; and what sexual acts will become protected.

But the proposal leaves churches unprotected in their religious beliefs and actions that derive from those beliefs, he said. It states churches are exempted "only if the employment, housing or the use of facilities is closely connected with or related to the primary purposes of the church or institution. ." Then the issue is left to the state courts to determine any relationship to "the primary purposes of the church."

One letter to the editor apparently spoke for many Christians in Oregon. "Oregon Senate Bill 2 . elevates immoral behavior to acceptance and approval. Will polygamy be granted civil rights status next?" wrote Mike Knutz of McMinnville. "The bill restricts religious freedom. . It denies religious liberty to business owners. . And the bill goes even further to establish 'a program of public education calculated to eliminate attitudes upon which practices of discrimination because of sexual orientation are based,'" he wrote. "People who view homosexual conduct as wrong, sinful and or unhealthy will see their tax dollars at work against their own moral code."

Crowe said the results of the bill would be to "limit your free speech rights and rights of conscience; require public schools to teach that homosexual/lesbian/bisexual behavior is 'okay' and 'moral'; impact your rights as a business owner; and put judges in authority on certain church matters." "The law - and this is onerous - has a clause that talks about developing a program of education to change our attitudes," Crowe said. "To change our attitudes? Is it the government's business to change attitudes? But that's precisely what's in the bill."

Nearly 500 Christian pastors, including one leader representing the 30,000 people in his organization's many churches, have opposed the proposal but have been fighting an uphill battle in a legislature dominated by Democrats. Crowe called the plan "the most sweeping and culturally devastating law in Oregon history, establishing pagan morality under the guise of a 'civil right,' and imposing it upon all Oregonians under the cover of 'law.'"


Media hypocrisy about black crime

It may seem like ancient history now, but it was only a year ago that we were first subjected to the media circus that was the so-called and now-dropped Duke Rape Case. For months thereafter, you couldn't pick up a newspaper or turn on the television or radio without learning some new tidbit about the accused lacrosse players, even as their accuser remained shrouded in mystery. Today we know there was no rape and now not even a case at all, but even in those early days it was apparent enough that there were glaring problems with the accuser's story (or, as it happened, stories). But not even those problems prevented the case from consuming the attention of the sages in our national media, whose foot soldiers decamped from New York and Los Angeles and such places to descend on Durham, North Carolina, as quickly as they could find it on the map.

The case was simply irresistible to our sophisticated betters in Manhattan and the tonier zip codes of southern California. The "victim" was black and a single mother, each in itself a shield against criticism, but taken together an impregnable defense against any judgment of her own behavior and motives. Furthermore, she claimed to have been attacked by a group of southern white elites, thus justifying the low opinion of such elites held by those who live within sight of the Pacific Ocean or the Hudson River. (Never mind that none of the accused were actually from the south.) Only when the evidence of the defendants' innocence and of the prosecutor's misconduct accumulated to an undeniable critical mass did the media slink off to await the next Big Story.

Compare the attention given the Duke case with that accorded a far more heinous crime, one whose victims have thus far failed to arouse the sympathies or even the notice of those who found so much enjoyment in their condemnation of the lacrosse players. Chances are, unless you live in Tennessee, you will not recognize the names Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Christian, 21, and Newsome, 23, both of Knoxville, were driving through that city together on the night of January 6 when they were kidnapped and murdered. Newsome's burned body was found along some railroad tracks on January 7. Christian remained missing for two more days until her body, stuffed in a trash can, was found in a home not far from where Newsome's was found. Police and prosecutors allege both victims were raped before being killed. Yes, both. Three men and a woman have been charged with the crimes in a 46-count grand jury indictment handed down in Knoxville on January 31....

Yet the murders of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsome are known to almost no one outside Tennessee. Why? It's simple: the four suspects accused of killing Christian and Newsome are blacks from the inner city of Knoxville.

Uh oh, we're not supposed to talk about such things, are we. We're careful to step ever so gingerly around issues of race and crime, except of course when there is an opportunity, as in the Duke case, to point to a group of privileged whites and say, "See? Look at how badly they've behaved! Look at how they treated that poor black single mother!" And in the Michigan case we can look down our noses at a prosperous suburban white family and say, "Look how screwed up they are!" A visitor from a foreign land might read the news and suspect America was plagued by rampaging hordes of collegiate lacrosse players and middle-aged suburbanites. And all the while the far more serious problem of violent crime among minorities in our inner cities is almost completely ignored.

To even broach the topic of inner city crime is almost a social taboo, rather like discussing the bride's old boyfriends at a wedding reception. But the figures, as they say, do not lie, and we do no one a service by trying to ignore them. Here in Los Angeles, for example, there were 481 murders investigated by the LAPD in 2006, but almost half of them occurred among the 18 percent of the city's population living in South and South-Central L.A. These areas are almost exclusively black and Latino.



Excerpt below. Ms Guertin is what Australians would call a "ratbag". Her disordered speech is very suggestive of paranoid schizophrenia

Thanks to the blogging psychoanalyst, Shrinkwrapped, I came across a doctoral dissertation called, rather implausibly, Quantum Feminist Mnemotechnics: the Archival Text, Digital Narrative and the Limits of Memory. The work in question, by "radical cyber-feminist" Carolyn G. Guertin, is apparently the basis of a forthcoming book of the same name. Faced with such an imposing title, one can practically hear the boundaries of human knowledge squealing as they expand. Naturally, I had to find out more.

On visiting Guertin's website, I discovered that the author is a Senior McLuhan Fellow in the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto. As a "scholar of women's art and literature and new media arts," Dr Guertin also shapes young minds at the Universities of Athabasca and Guelph, Canada, and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences and events across Europe. Her works, I learned, have been published "in print, online and in real space."

Space crops up quite a bit in Guertin's dissertation, as do various mathematical, quantum mechanical and geometric terms, the bulk of which are misused in a series of strained and incoherent metaphors. In keeping with many purveyors of postmodern theorising, Guertin has been careful to appropriate fragments of scientific terminology that sound fashionable and exciting, and uses them with no apparent regard for their meaning or relevance. (Entanglement and Hilbert Space are mentioned casually, with no explanation, and for no discernible reason.) Consequently, it's difficult to fathom the author's supposed intention, or to determine exactly how far short of that objective her efforts have fallen. Instead, we're presented with what amounts to a collage of grandiose jargon, habitual non sequitur and unrelated subject matter - including feminism, web browsing and space-time curvature - bolted together by little more than chutzpah:

thin quantum mechanics, the science of the body in motion, the intricacies of the interiorities of mnemonic time - no longer an arrow - are being realized in the (traditionally) feminized shape of the body of the matrix."


"Where women have usually been objects to be looked at, hypermedia systems replace the gaze with the empowered look of the embodied browser in motion in archival space. Always in flux, the shape of time's transformation is a M"bius strip unfolding time into the dynamic space of the postmodern text, into the `unfold.'"

And furthermore,

"As quantum interference, the unfold is a gesture that is a sensory interval. In this in-between space, the transformance of the nomadic browser takes place; she performs the embodied knowledge acquired in her navigation of the world of the text."

I hope that's clear to everyone. Guertin takes care to drop the obligatory menu of names - Baudrillard, Burroughs, Deleuze, Derrida, Gibson and Guattari among them - though the actual relevance of many citations is, again, far from clear. The more sceptical among us may even suspect a number of them have been included arbitrarily or for reasons of cultish connotation, rather than for any logical or evidential relevance.

I should, I think, mention that Felix Guattari and Gilles Deleuze have been debunked at length in Alan Sokal and Jean Bricmont's book, Intellectual Impostures, chiefly for producing "a handful of intelligible sentences - sometimes banal, sometimes erroneous," and for what the authors describe as "the most brilliant m,lange of scientific, pseudo-scientific and philosophical jargon that we have ever encountered." Readers unfamiliar with Guattari's prose may benefit from a mercifully brief, and by no means unusual, example:

"We can clearly see that there is no bi-univocal correspondence between linear signifying links or archi-writing, depending on the author, and this multireferential, multi-dimensional machinic catalysis. The symmetry of scale, the transversality, the pathic non-discursive character of their expansion: all these dimensions remove us from the logic of the excluded middle and reinforce us in our dismissal of the ontological binarism we criticised previously."

At this point, readers may detect a strange similarity of Guertin's chosen prose style with that of Guattari. It needn't be Guattari, of course. It might as well have been Baudrillard or Derrida, or half of the names in Guertin's annotations. One ream of postmodern gibberish is difficult to distinguish from any other, and this is not by accident. Buzzwords and citations are carefully chosen - along with gratuitous neologisms and misused terminology - generally to build sentences of such opacity and length that readers will be suitably intimidated..........

More here


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


14 April, 2007

Imus isn't the real bad guy

Instead of wasting time on an irrelevant shock jock, black leaders need to be fighting a growing gangster culture, says black columnist JASON WHITLOCK. There was a comment about the Imus affair on Tongue Tied on 9th.

Thank you, Don Imus. You've given us (black people) an excuse to avoid our real problem. You've given Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson another opportunity to pretend that the old fight, which is now the safe and lucrative fight, is still the most important fight in our push for true economic and social equality. You've given Vivian Stringer and Rutgers the chance to hold a nationally televised recruiting celebration expertly disguised as a news conference to respond to your poor attempt at humor.

Thank you, Don Imus. You extended Black History Month to April, and we can once again wallow in victimhood, protest like it's 1965 and delude ourselves into believing that fixing your hatred is more necessary than eradicating our self-hatred.

The bigots win again. While we're fixated on a bad joke cracked by an irrelevant, bad shock jock, I'm sure at least one of the marvelous young women on the Rutgers basketball team is somewhere snapping her fingers to the beat of 50 Cent's or Snoop Dogg's or Young Jeezy's latest ode glorifying nappy-headed pimps and hos.

I ain't saying Jesse, Al and Vivian are gold-diggas, but they don't have the heart to mount a legitimate campaign against the real black-folk killas. It is us. At this time, we are our own worst enemies. We have allowed our youths to buy into a culture (hip hop) that has been perverted, corrupted and overtaken by prison culture. The music, attitude and behavior expressed in this culture is anti-black, anti-education, demeaning, self-destructive, pro-drug dealing and violent.

Rather than confront this heinous enemy from within, we sit back and wait for someone like Imus to have a slip of the tongue and make the mistake of repeating the things we say about ourselves.



The Irish government has condemned an attempt by an artists' organization to boycott Israeli cultural events and institutions. Aosdana, Ireland's state-sponsored academy of creative artists, voted last week on a motion to "back the call from Palestinian filmmakers, artists and cultural workers to end all cooperation with Israeli state-sponsored cultural events and institutions." The proposal - put to a motion by composer Raymond Deane, founder of the Irish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign, and seconded by playwright Margaretta D'Arcy - was defeated in the organization's general assembly.

However, a second motion, sponsored by D'Arcy and seconded by Deane, was passed calling for Irish artists and institutions to "reflect deeply" before working with Israeli cultural institutions. D'Arcy wrote last week in The Irish Times that she was convinced that a cultural boycott was necessary, "if only as an act of solidarity with those in Israel who seek to remove the inequality, discrimination and segregation of their society."

The Irish government responded to the Aosdana motion by saying it was "firmly opposed to any proposals for an academic or cultural boycott against Israel." John O'Donoghue, minister for arts, sport and tourism, said he was happy the motion had been voted down. "The only way forward is through an inclusive approach of dialogue with and between Israelis and Palestinians. The government is working directly with the parties, and with our partners in the EU, for the revival of a credible peace process with the clear objective of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," he said.

Prior to the vote by Aosdana members, journalist Ian O'Doherty mocked the motion in the Evening Herald newspaper, saying that Israelis were hardly likely to feel threatened by the "stern lecturing of a bunch of state-subsidized artists who mostly reside in well-deserved obscurity." "In fairness to Aosdana," O'Doherty wrote, "the call for a boycott seem to have been led by a hardcore group." "The fact that Israel is the least segregated society in the region, and that Israeli Arabs enjoy more freedom than their counterparts in other, Arab-run, countries is something that tends to be conveniently forgotten," O'Doherty said.

An Aosdana member who did not wish to be named, said: "The move is being largely derided here, being seen as a bunch of dial-a-cause artists taking sides in a complex foreign situation they know little about." "What is more concerning is that by being elected to Aosdana as an artist, you get an annual salary from the state," the member explained. "As it is state-funded, it is surprising that [Aosdana] took this stance, given that political matters are not their remit."

Israel's embassy in Dublin released a statement condemning the motion as "wrong, unjust, biased and based on misunderstanding and misinformation." Ambassador Zion Evrony said, "It appears that a very small number of Aosdana members... have misled others and imposed their views on the whole organization."

D'Arcy, for her part, wrote an open letter to the ambassador attacking his views: "Mr. Ambassador, who the hell do you think you are, interfering with Irish artists, prescribing what we may or may not reflect upon?" she fumed. "I wonder that the Irish government does not immediately break off diplomatic relations with Israel for your absurd violation of those articles in the UN Charter of Human Rights that guarantee free expression," D'Arcy declared. [Typical Leftism: Disagreeing with them is an attack on their free speech!]


Free speech under attack by the Australian media regulator

Media Authority on shaky ground with talkback ruling -- says an editorial in "The Australian" below

ALAN Jones can defend himself but there is a big issue of free speech at stake in the Australian Communications and Media Authority's ruling that the Sydney radio shock jock overstepped the mark in broadcasts before the Cronulla riots of December 2005. Jones's listeners are not normally considered to belong to a demographic likely to take to the streets and riot. And the history of Pauline Hanson's rise and demise is that unpopular views are best vented than left suppressed. There are also clear inconsistencies in the ACMA ruling that call into question whether the organisation would be better served with representation from the Press Council or others with more direct experience in broadcasting and publication.

The ACMA ruling follows a report by former NSW assistant police commissioner Norm Hazzard documenting the role played by mobile phones in stirring up the violence. He told NSW parliament that "more than 270,000 text messages (were) transmitted inciting a racially motivated confrontation at North Cronulla Beach on December 11, 2005". Jones read one of the offending missives on air three days before the riot, on December 8. "And the message urges Aussies ... to take revenge against Lebs and Wogs," Jones told his 2GB listeners. "Now, it's got pretty nasty when you start talking like this. It says: 'This Sunday, every Aussie in the Shire get down to North Cronulla to support Leb and Wog bashing day'." Later that morning, Jones corrected a caller who said "there are two sides to everything". "Yeah, let's not get too carried away, Bertha, we don't have Anglo-Saxon kids out there raping women in Western Sydney." Mr Hazzard named the caller, but not Jones, when he detailed this exchange as part of a broader critique of the media's role. Cronulla, he said, "highlight(ed) the caution the media must display when engaging public debate on issues that may lead to civil unrest".

A day earlier, on December 7, Jones read out an email from a listener, "J",who suggested that an invitation be made to "biker gangs to be present at Cronulla railway station when these Lebanese thugs arrive". "The biker gangs have been much maligned but they do a lot of good things - it would be worth the price of admission to watch these cowards scurry back on to the train for the return trip to their lairs".

It may or may not come as a surprise to Mr Hazzard that the broadcasting watchdog did not share his exact concerns with Jones's coverage. In layman's terms, the ACMA said it was OK for Jones to publicise the text message that Mr Hazzard thought contributed to the riot, but not OK to read out the email about the biker gangs. On the former, the ACMA said: "The licensee did not broadcast a program that was likely to incite, encourage, or present, for its own sake, violence or brutality." Jones "did not endorse the text messages", the authority explained. The reason the email from "J" did not elicit similar sympathy from the ACMA was that Jones did not offer any "proximate qualifying statements". Here, it found, Jones's program was "likely to encourage violence or brutality" and "likely to vilify people of Lebanese background and people of Middle Eastern background".

The ACMA also took a dim view of Jones's reference to gang rape a day later. It found his response to caller "B" was "likely to vilify people of Middle Eastern background on the basis of ethnicity". Hold that thought for a moment, and now consider another complaint against Jones that happened to be dismissed by the ACMA. On December 5, six days before the Cronulla riot, Jones referred to the people accused of bashing two lifesavers - the incident that triggered the one-week media storm - as "Middle Eastern grubs". The ACMA said this was OK because Jones had not applied his comment more generally.

We could refer to more inconsistencies in the ACMA judgment delivered on Tuesday. But this is not a defence of Jones's often over-the-top language, or even an attack on the ACMA's logic. The Australian has consistently erred on the side of free speech. The idea that a broadcasting watchdog can determine how heated a shock jock should be strikes us as inherently absurd.


Mad Mufti too much even for the Australian Left

LABOR leader Kevin Rudd has urged the federal government to review Sheik Taj Aldin Alhilali's Australian citizenship following his latest remarks declaring himself more Australian than Prime Minister John Howard. In an uncharacteristic defence of the prime minister, Mr Rudd blasted the controversial Islamic cleric, saying: "As you know, I'm not a natural supporter of the prime minister, but Mr Howard is as Australian as I am". "The sheik is out there, I think, just seeking crazy publicity, as he seems to do on a daily basis."

The Muslim cleric declared himself "more Aussie than Howard" in an interview with The Australian newspaper, in which he called the prime minister a dictator. "It's a disgrace for the leader of a democratic country to be picking on religious people, especially one who is practising a form of dictatorship that could almost be Saddam Hussein-like," the sheik told the paper. "I respect Australian values more than he does." Earlier this week, Iranian media quoted the mufti as urging Australian Muslims "to stand in the trenches with the Islamic Republic of Iran which possesses the might and the power".

Mr Rudd said the comments bordered on violating Australia's counter-terrorism laws because Iran supports the "global terrorist organisation" Hezbollah.

Federal Industrial Relations Minister Joe Hockey joined Mr Rudd today for their weekly appearance on the Seven Network's Sunrise program. Both Mr Rudd and Mr Hockey called for Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock to review the mufti's Australian citizenship. "My call to Mr Ruddock is to formally review whether or not Australia's counter-terrorism laws are in any way violated by these sorts of statements by the sheik," said Mr Rudd. Mr Hockey said the mufti was using his position to turn Australian Muslims against the non-Muslim community. "Yet again, he's trying to make a headline by saying something outrageous," he said. "But, of course, he's trying to elevate his position to create an 'us-versus-them mentality' in the Islamic community. That won't work. "The great bulk of members of the Islamic community want to get rid of him. "I'm absolutely confident that Philip Ruddock will be looking at every comment made by the mufti," said Mr Hockey.

Meanwhile, Sheik Alhilali's spokesman Keysar Trad has said the mufti's comments were born of frustration. "To make these comments about John Howard, I think, indicates nothing more than the frustration that many people in the (Muslim) community are feeling about the way we were regularly placed in the spotlight," he told Southern Cross Broadcasting.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


13 April, 2007

British hospital banned hot cross buns to avoid offending non-Christians

Hospital staff claim they were banned from handing out hot cross buns this Easter in case they upset non-Christians. The decision disappointed patients at Poole Hospital in Dorset and angered catering staff. In an email to their local paper, sent on Good Friday, catering staff said: 'We the kitchen staff of Poole Hospital were disgusted to find that the patients were not getting hot cross buns this morning. "The manager of the catering department said he was worried about the ethnic minorities that work here." The workers, who did not want to be named, said they had been inundated with calls from nurses on the wards asking why there were no buns this year.

Eventually hospital bosses relented and they were distributed on Easter Monday. A spokesman for Poole Hospital NHS Trust denied, however, that the absence of hot cross buns on Good Friday was anything to do with political correctness. She claimed: "We do apologise to patients who missed out on their hot cross buns on Good Friday. "This was due to an oversight by the catering manager who forgot to order them in time. It was nothing to do with religious beliefs. "The buns were handed out on Easter Monday instead."

Hot cross buns have been eaten on Good Friday for centuries. They are believed by some historians to pre- date Christianity, although they were not called "hot cross buns" until the late 18th century. They should contain no eggs or dairy products so those who are observing Lent in the traditional way are able to eat them.

This is not the first time they have been the source of controversy. After the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century the English monarchy saw the buns as a symbol of Catholicism because they were baked from the consecrated dough used to make communion wafers. But an attempt to ban them failed because they were so popular. Queen Elizabeth I eventually passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.

Representatives of other religions in the Poole area did not see any problem with serving the buns in hospital. Rabbi Neil Amswych from the Bournemouth Reform Synagogue said: "I don't eat hot cross buns for two reasons. "One is that it is a Christian custom and the second reason is that I am on a diet. "But I don't see why they shouldn't be available. After all, we're in a Christian country and the state religion is Christianity. "They shouldn't be force-fed, but there is no reason why they shouldn't be available. "Perhaps they should offer other ethnic foods - that might be a nice gesture. They could offer latkes for the festival of Chanukah, which is in December. They are oily potato pancakes and very nice."

There have been many examples of official bodies attempting to remove the religious message from Christian festivals in the name of political correctness. Birmingham Council notoriously called its festive celebrations "Winterval" while Luton advertised its Christmas lights as "luminos". Christmas cards sent out by public bodies have, almost without exception, been stripped of any Christian references. Last year's Christmas stamps bore no trace of the Bible story.



Despite Green/Left hatred of it, it is in modern civilization that killing and violence are least common. Excerpt below from Steven Pinker

Contra leftist anthropologists who celebrate the noble savage, quantitative body-counts-such as the proportion of prehistoric skeletons with axemarks and embedded arrowheads or the proportion of men in a contemporary foraging tribe who die at the hands of other men-suggest that pre-state societies were far more violent than our own. It is true that raids and battles killed a tiny percentage of the numbers that die in modern warfare. But, in tribal violence, the clashes are more frequent, the percentage of men in the population who fight is greater, and the rates of death per battle are higher. According to anthropologists like Lawrence Keeley, Stephen LeBlanc, Phillip Walker, and Bruce Knauft, these factors combine to yield population-wide rates of death in tribal warfare that dwarf those of modern times. If the wars of the twentieth century had killed the same proportion of the population that die in the wars of a typical tribal society, there would have been two billion deaths, not 100 million.

Political correctness from the other end of the ideological spectrum has also distorted many people's conception of violence in early civilizations-namely, those featured in the Bible. This supposed source of moral values contains many celebrations of genocide, in which the Hebrews, egged on by God, slaughter every last resident of an invaded city. The Bible also prescribes death by stoning as the penalty for a long list of nonviolent infractions, including idolatry, blasphemy, homosexuality, adultery, disrespecting one's parents, and picking up sticks on the Sabbath. The Hebrews, of course, were no more murderous than other tribes; one also finds frequent boasts of torture and genocide in the early histories of the Hindus, Christians, Muslims, and Chinese.

At the century scale, it is hard to find quantitative studies of deaths in warfare spanning medieval and modern times. Several historians have suggested that there has been an increase in the number of recorded wars across the centuries to the present, but, as political scientist James Payne has noted, this may show only that "the Associated Press is a more comprehensive source of information about battles around the world than were sixteenth-century monks." Social histories of the West provide evidence of numerous barbaric practices that became obsolete in the last five centuries, such as slavery, amputation, blinding, branding, flaying, disembowelment, burning at the stake, breaking on the wheel, and so on. Meanwhile, for another kind of violence-homicide-the data are abundant and striking. The criminologist Manuel Eisner has assembled hundreds of homicide estimates from Western European localities that kept records at some point between 1200 and the mid-1990s. In every country he analyzed, murder rates declined steeply-for example, from 24 homicides per 100,000 Englishmen in the fourteenth century to 0.6 per 100,000 by the early 1960s.

On the scale of decades, comprehensive data again paint a shockingly happy picture: Global violence has fallen steadily since the middle of the twentieth century. According to the Human Security Brief 2006, the number of battle deaths in interstate wars has declined from more than 65,000 per year in the 1950s to less than 2,000 per year in this decade. In Western Europe and the Americas, the second half of the century saw a steep decline in the number of wars, military coups, and deadly ethnic riots.

Zooming in by a further power of ten exposes yet another reduction. After the cold war, every part of the world saw a steep drop-off in state-based conflicts, and those that do occur are more likely to end in negotiated settlements rather than being fought to the bitter end. Meanwhile, according to political scientist Barbara Harff, between 1989 and 2005 the number of campaigns of mass killing of civilians decreased by 90 percent.

The decline of killing and cruelty poses several challenges to our ability to make sense of the world. To begin with, how could so many people be so wrong about something so important? Partly, it's because of a cognitive illusion: We estimate the probability of an event from how easy it is to recall examples. Scenes of carnage are more likely to be relayed to our living rooms and burned into our memories than footage of people dying of old age. Partly, it's an intellectual culture that is loath to admit that there could be anything good about the institutions of civilization and Western society. Partly, it's the incentive structure of the activism and opinion markets: No one ever attracted followers and donations by announcing that things keep getting better. And part of the explanation lies in the phenomenon itself. The decline of violent behavior has been paralleled by a decline in attitudes that tolerate or glorify violence, and often the attitudes are in the lead. As deplorable as they are, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the lethal injections of a few murderers in Texas are mild by the standards of atrocities in human history. But, from a contemporary vantage point, we see them as signs of how low our behavior can sink, not of how high our standards have risen.

The other major challenge posed by the decline of violence is how to explain it. A force that pushes in the same direction across many epochs, continents, and scales of social organization mocks our standard tools of causal explanation. The usual suspects-guns, drugs, the press, American culture-aren't nearly up to the job. Nor could it possibly be explained by evolution in the biologist's sense: Even if the meek could inherit the earth, natural selection could not favor the genes for meekness quickly enough. In any case, human nature has not changed so much as to have lost its taste for violence. Social psychologists find that at least 80 percent of people have fantasized about killing someone they don't like. And modern humans still take pleasure in viewing violence, if we are to judge by the popularity of murder mysteries, Shakespearean dramas, Mel Gibson movies, video games, and hockey.

What has changed, of course, is people's willingness to act on these fantasies. The sociologist Norbert Elias suggested that European modernity accelerated a "civilizing process" marked by increases in self-control, long-term planning, and sensitivity to the thoughts and feelings of others. These are precisely the functions that today's cognitive neuroscientists attribute to the prefrontal cortex. But this only raises the question of why humans have increasingly exercised that part of their brains. No one knows why our behavior has come under the control of the better angels of our nature, but there are four plausible suggestions.

The first is that Hobbes got it right. Life in a state of nature is nasty, brutish, and short, not because of a primal thirst for blood but because of the inescapable logic of anarchy. Any beings with a modicum of self-interest may be tempted to invade their neighbors to steal their resources. The resulting fear of attack will tempt the neighbors to strike first in preemptive self-defense, which will in turn tempt the first group to strike against them preemptively, and so on. This danger can be defused by a policy of deterrence-don't strike first, retaliate if struck-but, to guarantee its credibility, parties must avenge all insults and settle all scores, leading to cycles of bloody vendetta. These tragedies can be averted by a state with a monopoly on violence, because it can inflict disinterested penalties that eliminate the incentives for aggression, thereby defusing anxieties about preemptive attack and obviating the need to maintain a hair-trigger propensity for retaliation. Indeed, Eisner and Elias attribute the decline in European homicide to the transition from knightly warrior societies to the centralized governments of early modernity. And, today, violence continues to fester in zones of anarchy, such as frontier regions, failed states, collapsed empires, and territories contested by mafias, gangs, and other dealers of contraband.

Payne suggests another possibility: that the critical variable in the indulgence of violence is an overarching sense that life is cheap. When pain and early death are everyday features of one's own life, one feels fewer compunctions about inflicting them on others. As technology and economic efficiency lengthen and improve our lives, we place a higher value on life in general.

A third theory, championed by Robert Wright, invokes the logic of non-zero-sum games: scenarios in which two agents can each come out ahead if they cooperate, such as trading goods, dividing up labor, or sharing the peace dividend that comes from laying down their arms. As people acquire know-how that they can share cheaply with others and develop technologies that allow them to spread their goods and ideas over larger territories at lower cost, their incentive to cooperate steadily increases, because other people become more valuable alive than dead.

Then there is the scenario sketched by philosopher Peter Singer. Evolution, he suggests, bequeathed people a small kernel of empathy, which by default they apply only within a narrow circle of friends and relations. Over the millennia, people's moral circles have expanded to encompass larger and larger polities: the clan, the tribe, the nation, both sexes, other races, and even animals. The circle may have been pushed outward by expanding networks of reciprocity, a la Wright, but it might also be inflated by the inexorable logic of the golden rule: The more one knows and thinks about other living things, the harder it is to privilege one's own interests over theirs. The empathy escalator may also be powered by cosmopolitanism, in which journalism, memoir, and realistic fiction make the inner lives of other people, and the contingent nature of one's own station, more palpable-the feeling that "there but for fortune go I".

Whatever its causes, the decline of violence has profound implications. It is not a license for complacency: We enjoy the peace we find today because people in past generations were appalled by the violence in their time and worked to end it, and so we should work to end the appalling violence in our time. Nor is it necessarily grounds for optimism about the immediate future, since the world has never before had national leaders who combine pre-modern sensibilities with modern weapons.

But the phenomenon does force us to rethink our understanding of violence. Man's inhumanity to man has long been a subject for moralization. With the knowledge that something has driven it dramatically down, we can also treat it as a matter of cause and effect. Instead of asking, "Why is there war?" we might ask, "Why is there peace?" From the likelihood that states will commit genocide to the way that people treat cats, we must have been doing something right. And it would be nice to know what, exactly, it is.


Anzac Day 'may offend' says politically correct report

This is an attack on Australia's most hallowed tradition. Anzac day is Australia's national day of commemoration for our war-dead and is treated with great seriousness by young and old -- with commemorative services and parades through the streets of most towns and cities

ANZAC Day commemorations may offend some religious and ethnic minorities, a new report has claimed. The study commissioned by Multicultural Affairs Queensland found some immigrants associated Anzac Day with the "increased nationalism" expressed most graphically at the Cronulla riots in 2005. The report also claimed a "climate of fear" has seized Queensland's Muslim community, which it blamed on federal immigration and anti-terrorist policies and the media. The situation is so dire that some Brisbane Muslims suspect they might be sent to concentration camps, while others live in fear of bomb attacks. Some refugees even told researchers they felt safer in their countries of origin than in Australia.

But RSL state president Doug Formby said they were wrong to associate Anzac Day with racism. "Anzac Day is purely to recognise the deeds of our servicemen and women," Mr Formby said. "No one is forced to attend and no one should take offence at a long-standing tradition in this country."

Dr Mohamad Abdalla, an imam at Brisbane's Kuraby Mosque and head of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University, agreed. "Embracing events such as Anzac Day does not contradict Islamic teaching," Dr Abdalla said. "Muslims have joined the Australian armed forces and received medals. Anzac Day events are not factors in inciting hatred. In fact, they can help Muslims and non-Muslims interact positively."

The report, carried out by Victoria's Monash University and the Australian Multicultural Foundation, was based on interviews with 183 people in Queensland and Victoria. Its aim was to assess the impact of events such as the September 11 attacks, Bali bombings and the Darfur crisis on multiculturalism in Australia. The study, which received two grants of $35,000 from Victoria and Queensland, praised Premier Peter Beattie and his Victorian counterpart Steve Bracks for "upholding the principles of multiculturalism".

However, Dr Abdalla was unenthusiastic about some of the suggestions in the report, such as legislation "to prevent the media from inciting violence", compelling schools to teach Islamic history and the scheduling of exams around the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. "It's not sufficient for Muslims to say others have to take action," he said. "The onus is also on them to go out and engage with non-Muslims."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


12 April, 2007


Two hours before the Islamic Center of Clarksville held its 1 p.m. Friday prayer service, called Jummah, a Quran was found vandalized on the front steps. The front of the Quran, Islam's holy book, read "Mohammad pedophile" while an expletive was written inside, smeared under two strips of bacon, according to a Clarksville Police report. The report labeled the incident a hate crime. The bacon strips are offensive to Muslims because they are forbidden from eating pork.

"We were upset. Actually some of us were outraged, but everyone was upset," said Heath, a representative of the center. "We see it a lot on the news in Nashville (because) Nashville has a large Muslim population. But here in Clarksville - being a lot smaller than Nashville and Clarksville being very diverse with Fort Campbell - it was the last we thing we expected."

The Islamic Center was founded in June 2005. Heath estimates a little more than 40 Muslim families live in the Clarksville and Fort Campbell areas. Heath and other Muslims are not taking this lightly. He said police told him they would contact the FBI and send out more patrols to monitor the center. Surveillance cameras have also been installed since Friday. "We have put our community on alert and warned everyone to keep their eyes open," he said. "We don't think Clarksville is a bad place or is full of bad people, but we do think that once people here know what happened to us, that people would understand why we're outraged.

Islamic representatives plan to meet with City Mayor Johnny Piper next week to see what more can be done about this situation. "We're not going to tolerate it at all," Heath said. "This was small, but maybe next time it may be something physical."

Source. (H/T 910 Group)

Stupid dreamy Bishops see what they want to see

The Roman Catholic bishop who oversees the armed forces has provoked fury by praising the Iranian leadership for its "forgiveness" and "act of mercy" in freeing the 15 British sailors and marines last week. "Faith in a forgiving God has been exemplified in action by their good deeds. They are offering to release the sailors and marines, not just as the result of diplomacy, but also as an act of mercy in accordance with their religion." Bishop Burns said he had issued an appeal to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, "in the name of his nation and in the name of Islam", to free the sailors and marines, but he could not be sure whether his appeal had reached the authorities in Iran.

He added that the Iranian's Islamic faith shared many religious values with Christianity. "Over the past two weeks, there has been a unity of purpose between Britain and Iran, whereby everyone has sought justice and forgiveness where that is appropriate," he said. "Repentance has a common root in each religion. We all profess to hold a faith that comes from Abraham - the Father of all Nations. "All nations form one community: we come from the one God who created us, and we will return to the one God as our common destiny."

Bishop Nazir-Ali said the Iranians had scored "something of a coup" by appealing to their religious traditions in freeing the hostages. In sharp contrast, Britain had failed to refer to any higher values. "I saw on the one hand what Iran was doing, and what the president [of Iran] said had much to do with the moral and spiritual tradition of their country," he said. "The president talked about the religious background to the release, with reference to the Prophet's birthday and the passing over of Christ. What struck me was that if there were any values on the British side they were free-floating and not anchored in a spiritual and moral tradition." He added, however, that he believed that both sides were acting from mixed motives, and challenged the Iranians to demonstrate similar tolerance in their treatment of religious minorities.

Bishop Burns came under fierce attack yesterday for his more trusting remarks. Liam Fox, the shadow defence secretary, called him "naive in the extreme". He said it appeared that the bishop had been "taken in by the clever propaganda" of the Iranian regime. "This is a regime that illegally captured our servicemen and held them in quite dreadful conditions for some time. The true moral worth of a leader is in his or her deeds, not words." Dr Fox added: "I think that those who talk in religious terms while practising abduction should be judged on what they have done, not what they have said. To do otherwise is naive in the extreme."

Col Tim Collins, who led the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, said: "It's a close call as to which organisation is in the deepest moral crisis - the Church or the Ministry of Defence." Col Edward Armitstead, a former Coldstream Guards officer who is a member of the Church of England's General Synod, said: "You have to ask, why did the Iranians capture our people in the first place? The bishop is naive and guilty of wishful thinking."

Nick Harvey, the Liberal Democrat defence spokesman, said: "We will never know whether the Iranian president's decision to release the hostages was motivated by his religion or, most probably, by a desire to ensure that his best interests were served. "It would be naive to take what the president said at face value but perhaps we should not dismiss his words entirely."


Black Conservatives Speak Out on Don Imus Controversy, Criticism

Imus Was Wrong, But Project 21 Members Question Sincerity of Critics' Outrage

Don Imus has been suspended by CBS Radio and MSNBC for two weeks in the wake of comments made on his April 4, 2007 syndicated radio show. On that show, Imus called members of the Rutgers University women's basketball team "rough girls" and "nappy-headed hos." Others in the studio with Imus also called the girls "hardcore hos" and compared their looks to the men's professional Toronto Raptors and Memphis Grizzlies.

Imus has apologized for the remarks and has promised to meet with the team. The Reverend Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Organization for Women, among others, are demanding Imus be fired.

The follow are comments made by members of the Project 21 black leadership network regarding the Imus controversy and the seemingly selective outrage of the people now speaking out against Imus. Project 21 members do not endorse or agree with Imus's comments.

Mychal Massie, Chairman of Project 21 (Zion Hill, Pennsylvania) - "The hysteria that has erupted shows a continued pattern of liberal willingness to be selectively offended. Where is the outrage over Jesse Jackson calling Jews 'Hymies' and New York City 'Hymietown'? Why has Al Sharpton's reputation been enhanced since he slandered prosecutor Steve Pagones in the Tawana Brawley hoax or incited anti-Semitic hatred in Crown Heights or outside Freddie's Fashion Mark in Harlem? Where is the liberal outrage over Joe Biden, Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, John Murtha, Charles Rangel or any of scores of other intentionally insulting liberal marplots afflicted with incontinence of the mouth similar to Don Imus?

"One must question not only the overall sensibilities, but the true motives of those who feign insult over Rush Limbaugh, who - when speaking in his former role as ESPN sports commentator - gave a reasoned opinion about an NFL quarterback but are not the least bit offended when HBO talk show host Bill Maher said the attempted assassination of Vice President Cheney in Afghanistan could have accomplished a good thing."

"Not one of those now crying foul over the Imus comments voiced a scintilla of insult over the vicious, racist and vulgar diatribes regularly directed at Justice Clarence Thomas, Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and her predecessor, General Colin Powell."

Kevin Martin, Project 21 National Advisory Council member (Washington, D.C.) - "Thomas Oliphant, the liberal political cartoonist who has drawn Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice in an overtly racial manner, appeared on the Imus show pledging 'solidarity forever.' Bill Maher, who was already fired for calling the 9/11 terrorists 'brave' and most recently expressed regret that they failed to assassinate Vice President Cheney in Afghanistan, is also standing by Imus's side. This is a well-crafted response to another liberal episode of 'foot-in-mouth disease,' and Imus's well-placed friends are working damage control and hoping this will all blow over."

"At the end of all of this, I expect Imus will return to the airwaves after his suspension and Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will have heavier pockets. The American people will return their attention to 'American Idol' and Anna Nicole while the true victims in all of this - the Rutgers University women's basketball team - will be left the butt of on-the-job or locker room jokes for months to come."

Deneen Borelli, Project 21 Fellow (East Chester, NY) - "The backlash over Imus's racist comments clearly illustrates a double-standard. Where is this kind of outrage when Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Maryland's former lieutenant governor Michael Steele and Justice Clarence Thomas are bombarded with insulting slurs? Even more outrageous is the lack of criticism over the degrading song lyrics in rap music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - the same words Imus spoke of that some blacks condone. You can't have it both ways."


The strange face of "moderate" Islam

Andrew Bolt reports from Australia

MAYBE this time, I thought. Maybe this first Australian Islamic Conference would at last show us the moderate Muslim leaders we've searched for. God, we need them. Look at the latest doings of the hate-preachers we have now. Take the Mufti of Australia, Sheik Taj al-Din al-Hilali, who has just given interviews in Iran demanding Muslims stand "in the trenches" with its hostage-taking regime, and is now being investigated for allegedly giving $12,000 to a Lebanese propagandist linked to terrorists. Meanwhile, the head of the Lebanese Muslim Association, which pays him to preach at Australia's biggest mosque, has had to seek police protection for suggesting this fool had best shut up.

Yet, even now, the Federation of Islamic Councils, which made Hilali mufti, refuses to sack him, though he's vilified Jews, praised suicide bombers as "heroes", called the September 11 terrorist attacks "God's work against oppressors", excused convicted pack rapist Bilal Skaf and said raped women should be "jailed for life".

The greatest pity is that Hilali isn't the only hate-preacher in our mosques. Other radical sheiks have been accused of telling followers not to pay taxes to this infidel Government. Worse, the Howard Government sidelined its Muslim Community Reference Group after finding a third of the 14 "moderates" it handpicked actually backed the Iranian-backed Hezbollah extremist group, notorious for its terrorist wing. So, after all this and more, we desperately need to hear from those moderate Muslim leaders we keep telling each other must surely exist. Must.

Was it so dumb to think Mercy Mission would at last provide them - Muslim leaders who would demonstrate (in the mission's own words) that they "benefit the communities in which they live"? You may have dared to hope, given this new group's leaders include the highly educated Tawfique Chowdhury, a Bangladeshi-born and Australian-raised IT project manager, and Adel Salman, who so impressed his employers at Cadbury Schweppes that he was selected for the prestigious Asialink leaders program. It was Salman, so polished, who organised for Mercy Mission its first annual Australian Islamic Conference at Melbourne University over the Easter weekend. The odd timing was surely just an innocent coincidence, because the conference had a noble aim: to "present a true picture of 'Islam in action' to the wider community" and convince Australians that "Islamic values are universal values".

So who, among all the Muslims in the world, did Mercy Mission choose to fly in to give us this "true picture" of a moderate Islam? Of the six international speakers it advertised, let me introduce you to two.

The first is Bilal Philips, a Jamaican-born Canadian who was a communist and worker for the Black Panther terrorist group before converting to Islam and becoming a preacher. His message is uncompromising: "Western culture led by the United States is an enemy of Islam." Which makes him an odd choice as speaker at a conference to reassure us that "Islamic values are universal values". But the choice of Philips is even odder given the United States named him as an "unindicted co-conspirator" over the 1993 bombing of New York's World Trade Centre, and our own security agencies judged him such a threat he was banned from coming here. Philips insists he rejects terrorism and considers al-Qaeda a "deviate" group. But from his own website and interviews you'd see why some might not take him at his word. He freely admits he was hired by the Saudi air force during the first Gulf War to preach to American soldiers stationed in Saudi Arabia and convert them to Islam. He says he succeeded, and "registered the names and addresses of over 3000 male and female US soldiers".

Philips didn't just take down their names; he also visited them back in America. "My role was confined to encouraging them to train Muslim-American volunteers and go to Bosnia to help the mujahidin and take part in the war (against Serbia)," he boasted. That worked, too. Philips says his name was dragged into the investigation of the first World Trade Centre bombing, in which six people were killed, because some African-American soldiers he'd converted were offered by someone else to Sheik Abdel Rahmen, spiritual head of the terrorists behind the attack. These ex-soldiers would be great for domestic sabotage, the sheik was told.

But Clement Rodney Hampton-El, an al-Qaeda-trained American bombmaker now serving a 35-year sentence for the World Trade Centre bombings, claimed Philips also gave him the names of soldiers who were about to leave the military and who might help the Bosnian jihadists. To repeat: Philips denies any links to al-Qaeda, and swears he is opposed to terrorism, although he does say Muslims are entitled to defend their faith by force. But given his support for jihadists, his past contacts with jailed terrorists and the allegations against him, why on earth did Mercy Mission choose him to preach here?

To invite one such extremist speaker might seem like bad luck, but to invite two might make you think Mercy Mission wouldn't know a moderate Muslim if he blew up in their face. I say that because also high on Mercy Mission's guest list was another convert, British journalist Yvonne Ridley, with a much nastier line in preaching. Ridley didn't just marry a colonel in one terror group - Yasser Arafat's Palestinian Liberation Organisation - but has been busy since defending others like it. Some highlights: Soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks Ridley actually accused Islamic sheiks of going soft. "Muslims have lost confidence since September 11," she complained. "Something as simple as suicide bombers being martyrs is being denied by prominent sheiks."

That's one of her mantras. At a Belfast meeting of Islamic students, she insisted there were no innocent Israeli victims in suicide bombings. Not even children. "There are no innocents in this war," she reportedly raged, because Israeli children could grow up to become Israeli soldiers. She even hailed as a "martyr" the Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev, who planned the attack on the Beslan school in which 333 hostages - many of them children - were killed. An "admirable struggle", she called his life's work. Ridley has never called on Muslims to boycott such terrorists, but instead demanded British Muslims "boycott the police and refuse to co-operate with them in any way, shape or form".

And when relatives of al-Qaeda's then leader in Iraq, the head-hacker Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, denounced his bomb attacks on three hotels in Jordan, she was livid. "While the killing of innocent people is to be condemned without question, there is something rather repugnant about some of those who rush to renounce acts of terrorism," she sneered. True, among the 61 dead were many members of a wedding party, she conceded, but some of them "were part of Jordan's upper echelons of society", and "others had flown in from America". What's more, the "bars (were) serving alcohol", and the evil Jordanian regime "provides backing, support and intelligence to the American military". Having proved to her satisfaction the guilt of the dead civilians, she asked: "I wonder if you see that attack on the Jordanian hotels in a different light now?" And she concluded: "I'd rather put up with a brother like Abu Musab al-Zarqawi any day than have a traitor or a sell-out for a father, son or grandfather."

What, in Ridley's foul incantations of hatred and her defence of child-killers and wedding bombers, makes her the kind of Muslim who would "benefit the communities in which they live"? What does it say about Mercy Mission that Ridley - and Philips - were hired as speakers to tell us "Islamic values are universal values" and we have nothing to fear?

Oh, and about that fear. It was this same Ridley - happy to "put up with a brother" like Zarqawi, once filmed cutting off the head of American hostage Nick Berg - who last week accused Australians of being among the worst haters of Muslims. How like her to condemn the fear her own words rightly provoke. And how disturbing that Mercy Mission holds her up as the kind of Muslim who does us good. Or - I hesitate to ask - is this really the best our Muslim leaders can offer? Is this really their "true picture" of Islam? I beg of them. Prove it isn't. Until you do, I'm afraid I shall take you at your grim word.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


11 April, 2007

Chimps are human but unborn babies are not?

Animal rights activists and leading experts in several biological fields including primatology and anthropology are joining forces to uphold a case going before an Austrian court which seeks a declaration of `human status' for a 26 year old chimpanzee.

According to media reports, the chimpanzee known as Hiasl was barely one year old in 1982 when he was illegally smuggled out of his birth place of Sierra Leone and into Austria to be used, along with several other chimps, for AIDS and hepatitis research at a laboratory near Vienna. Customs officials discovered Hiasl and rerouted him to an animal sanctuary where he resided until this year.

The sanctuary now faces bankruptcy and Hiasl's future is once again uncertain with the possibility that he may be shipped to the original lab that he was destined for.

Spearheaded by the efforts of Dr. Martin Balluch, president of Austria's animal rights organization, activists are campaigning to protect Hiasl from possibly being sent back to the lab by working to have a legal guardian appointed over him. However, since only humans have the right to a legal guardian, they must first convince the court that the chimpanzee, is in fact, `human'.

And that is exactly what they intend to do. With the help of testimony from individuals like `primate rights' activist, Jane Goodall and wild chimp expert Volker Sommer, Hiasl's entourage intends to argue several points to demonstrate his humanity and his right to the subsequent privileges.

Some of the arguments that they intend to use include the argument that a chimpanzee's DNA is approximately 97% akin to human DNA. They will argue that recent research shows that primates have been known to hunt with home-made spears. The fact that Hiasl can recognize himself in the mirror and plays hide-and-seek with sanctuary visitors will also be used as proof of his humanity.

Acting within a similar mindset in 1999, New Zealand declared apes - and all the subspecies of primates - `non-human huminoids' thereby granting them immunity from maltreatment, slavery, torture, death and extinction.

Evolutionary enthusiast and professor at University College London, Sommer claims, "It's untenable to talk of dividing humans and humanoid apes because there are no clear-cut criteria - neither biological, nor mental, nor social."

A British woman named Paula Stibbe has applied to be Hiasl's legal guardian. She said, "He is a colourful character with lots of energy. The least we can do for him is give him ... a future in society."

The hearing is currently stalled while the judge, Barbara Bartl, an animal rights supporter herself, determines if the claims of `asylum status' for the ape have been legitimately established.

The implications of this case will be wide-spread and the unprecedented proceedings and subsequent verdict will be closely monitored around the globe.

Pro-life observers note the irony that chimps may be declared "human" while unborn real humans are denied legal human status and thereby over 50 million are killed each, even up to full term. Infanticide is also common in certain nations and often not punished. In China, government agents carry out brutal killings of newborns of parents who were not authorized to have another child.


Europe Shariatized

German case just the tip of the iceberg. Post below from News & Views -- which see for links

The husband routinely beat his 26-year-old German-born wife, mother of their two young children, and threatened to kill her when the court ordered him to move out of their apartment in Hamburg. The police were called repeatedly to intervene. The wife wanted a quick divorce-without waiting a year after separation, as mandated by German law-arguing that that the abuse and death threats she suffered easily fulfilled the "hardship" criteria required for an accelerated decree absolute. The judge-a woman by the name of Christa Datz-Winter-refused, however, arguing that the Kuran allows the husband to beat his wife and that the couple's Moroccan origin must be taken into account in the case.

They both come from a cultural milieu, Her Honor wrote, in which it is common for husbands to beat their wives-and the Kuran sanctions such treatment. "The [husband's] exercise of the right to castigate does not fulfill the hardship criteria as defined by Paragraph 1565" of German federal law, the judge's letter said. [emphasis added] The judge further suggested that the wife's Western lifestyle would give her husband grounds to claim his honor had been compromised. The reports in German and English do not state this, but Turkish papers have reported that the judge made specific reference to Sura 4, which contains the infamous Verse 34:

Men have the authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.

The wife's lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk, could not believe her eyes: a German judge was invoking Kuran in a German legal case to assert the husband's "right to castigate" his wife. The meaning was clear: "the husband can beat his wife," Becker-Rojczyk commented. She decided to go public with the case last Tuesday because the judge was still on the bench, two months after the controversial verdict was handed down. The judge was subsequently removed from the case, but not from the bench.

A spokesman for the court, Bernhard Olp, said the judge did not intend to suggest that violence in a marriage is acceptable, or that the Kuran supersedes German law. "The ruling is not justifiable, but the judge herself cannot explain it at this moment," he said. But according to Spiegel Online this was not the first time that German courts have used "cultural background" to inform their verdicts. Christa Stolle of the women's rights organization Terre des Femmes said that in cases of marital violence there have been a number of cases where the perpetrator's culture of origin has been considered as a mitigating circumstance.

Of some 25 million Muslims in Western Europe, the majority already consider themselves autonomous, a community justifiably opposed to the decadent host society of infidels. They already demand the adoption of sharia within segregated Muslim communities, which but one step that leads to the imposition of sharia on the society as a whole. Swedish courts are already introducing sharia principles into civil cases. An Iranian-born man divorcing his Iranian-born wife was ordered by the high court in the city of Halmestad to pay Mahr, Islamic dowry ordained by the Kuran as part of the Islamic marriage contract.

As our magazine readers may recall, Europe's elite class is ready for further surrenders. Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner-a Christian Democrat-sees the demand for sharia as perfectly legitimate, and argues that it could be introduced "by democratic means." Muslims have a right to follow the commands of their religion, he says, even if the exercise of that right included some "dissenting rules of behavior":

sharia-could-come-via-democracy-dutch-minister" target=_blankIt is a sure certainty for me: if two thirds of all Netherlanders tomorrow would want to introduce sharia, then this possibility must exist. Could you block this legally? It would also be a scandal to say "this isn't allowed"! The majority counts. That is the essence of democracy.

The same "essence" was reiterated in similar terms last July by Jens Orback, the Swedish Integration [sic] Minister, who declared in a radio debate on Channel P1, "We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us."

To all forward-looking Europeans it must be a welcome sign that continental courts are catching up with the leader in sharia compliance, Great Britain. A key tenet of sharia is that non-Muslims cannot try Muslims. Peter Beaumont, QC, senior circuit judge at London's Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, accepts the commandment not only in civil, but also in criminal cases. He banned Jews and Hindus-and anyone married to one-from serving on the jury in the trial of Abdullah el-Faisal, accused of soliciting the murder of "unbelievers." "For obvious reasons," he said, "members of the jury of the Jewish or Hindu faith should reveal themselves, even if they are married to Jewish or Hindu women, because they are not fit to arbitrate in this case." One can only speculate what the reaction would be if equally "obvious reasons" were invoked in an attempt to exclude Muslims from a trial of an alleged "Islamophobe."

Here at home, The New York Times had a bone to pick with the German judge mainly because of her suggestion that Islam justified violence against women. It stated matter-of-factly, "While the verse cited by Judge Datz-Winter does say husbands may beat their wives for being disobedient-an interpretation embraced by fundamentalists- mainstream Muslims have long rejected wife-beating as a medieval relic."

In reality "mainstream Muslims" do nothing of the sort. New York Times' claim notwithstanding, the original sources for "true" Islam-the Kuran and Hadith-provide ample and detailed evidence on Islamic theory and the sources of Shari'a practice that remains in force all over the Islamic world today. According to orthodox Islamic tradition, the verse invoked by the German judge (4:34) was revealed in connection with a woman who complained to Mohammad that her husband had hit her on the face, which was still bruised. At first he told her to get even with him, but then added, "Wait until I think about it." The revelation duly followed, after which he said: "We wanted one thing but Allah wanted another, and what Allah wanted is best." Qatari Sheikh Walid bin Hadi explains that every man is his own judge when using violence: "The Prophet said: Do not ask a husband why he beats his wife." The scholars at the most respected institution of Islamic learning, Cairo's Azhar University, further explain:

If admonishing and sexual desertion fail to bring forth results and the woman is of a cold and stubborn type, the Qur'an bestows on man the right to straighten her out by way of punishment and beating, provided he does not break her bones nor shed blood. Many a wife belongs to this querulous type and requires this sort of punishment to bring her to her senses!

Physical violence against one's wife, far from being Haram, remains divinely ordained and practically advised in modern Islam. "Take in thine hand a branch and smite therewith and break not thine oath," the Kuran commands. Muslim propagators in the West "explain" that the Islamic teaching and practice is in line with the latest achievements of clinical psychology: it is not only correct, but positively beneficial to them because "women's rebelliousness (nushuz) is a medical condition" based either on her masochistic delight in being beaten and tortured, or sadistic desire to hurt and dominate her husband. Either way,

Such a woman has no remedy except removing her spikes and destroying her weapon by which she dominates. This weapon of the woman is her femininity. But the other woman who delights in submission and being beaten, then beating is her remedy. So the Qur'anic command: `banish them to their couches, and beat them' agrees with the latest psychological findings in understanding the rebellious woman. This is one of the scientific miracles of the Qur'an, because it sums up volumes of the science of psychology about rebellious women.

According to Allah's commandment to men (Kuran 2:223), "Your wives are as a soil to be cultivated unto you; so approach your tilth when or how ye will." Therefore "the righteous women are devoutly obedient." Those that are not inhabit the nether regions of hell. Muhammad has stated that most of those who enter hell are women, not men. Contemporary Azhar scholars of Egypt agree: "Oh, assembly of women, give charity, even from your jewelry, for you (comprise) the majority of the inhabitants of hell in the day of resurrection." In the same spirit, courts in Muslim countries, to mention a particularly egregious legal practice, routinely sentence raped women to death for "adultery," usually by stoning, because they follow the sharia that mandates this punishment.

To the outright divine command of every wife's obedience to her husband, Muhammad has added a few comments of his own. When asked who among women is the best, he replied: "She who gives pleasure to him (husband) when he looks, obeys him when he bids, and who does not oppose him regarding herself and her riches fearing his displeasure." Even in basic necessities the needs of the husband take precedence: "You shall give her food when you have taken your food, you shall clothe her when you have clothed yourself, you shall not slap her on the face, nor revile (her), nor leave (her) alone, except within the house." The husband's sexual needs have to be satisfied immediately: "When a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he is pleased with her."

Such treatment of women might be expected to make Islam abhorrent within the cultural milieu epitomized by the equal-rights obsessed European Union and the neofeminist New York Times, but this has not happened. There is a reason for this. It is the refusal of Islam to accept the wife as her husband's closest and inseparable loving partner and companion. Islam therefore challenges Christian marriage in principle and in practice. Muslim teaching on marriage and the family, though "conservative" about "patriarchy," denies the traditional Christian concept of matrimony. Islam is therefore an "objective" ally of postmodernity, a few beatings here and a few rapes there notwithstanding.

"I can only say, Good night, Germany," says Ronald Pofalla, general secretary of Germany's ruling Christian Democratic Union, of Frau Datz-Winter's ruling. Unless the madness is checked it will be good night to us all well before this century is over.

"Human Rights" stupidity in Australia

In another outstanding victory for the civil rights lobby, two HIV-positive men in Victoria and South Australia were permitted to run wild by health officials, passing on their infection to as many sexual partners as they could, because their right to privacy was deemed paramount. What is apparent from the court appearances of both men is that senior health authorities in Victoria and SA made a value judgment between the lethal activities of their clients and the risk they posed to the community and appear to have preferred to protect the men's privacy even though their behaviour risked the health of their sexual conquests, possibly numbering more than 100.

Although a psychiatrist who examined Michael Neal, the Melbourne man accused of deliberately spreading HIV, warned the Victorian Department of Human Services three years ago Neal was the "most evil man I have seen in 20 years" who "enjoys infecting men with HIV", police were not notified. Neal was committed on March 29 to stand trial on 106 charges including intentionally spreading HIV, attempting to intentionally spread a very serious disease, rape and child pornography. He reserved his plea.

During his committal hearing, Melbourne Magistrates Court was told the health department had been contacted nine times in four years by doctors and concerned gay men who alleged the 48-year-old was intent on "breeding" the deadly disease. But even though Neal had told the DHS during his first meeting with its officers that he was having unprotected sex with many men and only sometimes disclosed his HIV status, police were not notified of the case until February last year.

Neal, who wore a genital attachment knowing it would cause bleeding during intercourse, increasing the chances of HIV transmission, told nurses his sex life was his own and he had no intention of following their orders to stop having unprotected sex. According to a witness at Neal's committal hearing, Neal hosted a "conversion party" at which a 15-year-old boy was injected with methamphetamine and "bred" (infected with HIV) by about 15 HIV-positive men who had sex with him.

Instead of notifying police of his activities, the health officers went through a four-stage process with Neal, first offering him counselling, education and support, then referring the allegations against him to an internal HIV advisory panel, then issuing a letter of warning and finally issuing orders that restricted Neal's sexual behaviour and required him to make contact with a department officer each day. When Neal was told he must either disclose his HIV status to his partners or wear a condom, Neal demanded the department pay for Viagra "due to his erectile dysfunction when using condoms", the court was told.

The matter was referred to Melbourne's sexual crimes squad in February last year although a full year earlier a former partner had told authorities Neal was boasting of infecting people with HIV and claimed to have infected "approximately 75 people and remained in a relationship with them until they tested positive". Even then, health officials refused to hand over files to the police and they had to subpoena medical notes and compel the doctors to give evidence against Neal in court.

In the South Australian case, health officials were warned two years go that Stuart McDonald was knowingly spreading HIV. McDonald may have deliberately infected as many as a dozen men with the disease since moving to Adelaide about eight years ago but it was not until last month that he was ordered to take a psychiatric examination and stop having unprotected sex and advertising for sex on the internet.

While doctor-patient confidentiality must be protected, it should not take precedence over the greater public good. This is where the civil rights lobby loses the plot every time - from defending the right of alleged terrorists to have protected communications, to the right of indigenous men to brutalise women and children in the name of traditional culture. In living memory, sufferers of infectious diseases such as typhoid, yellow fever and tuberculosis have been quarantined to reduce the risk of infection to the wider community. Past generations protected themselves against infection by taking the appropriate precautions available at the time - our generation must do the same.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


10 April, 2007


Post below recycled from Dan Mandel's blog -- which see for links

For much of the Western media, "militants" is the preferred terminology for describing terrorists who deliberately and routinely murder civilians for much of the Western media. The practice, as I argued in a November 2004 piece in the Baltimore Sun, started with exempting Palestinians murdering Israelis from this designation, then spread more widely to include other Muslim groups attacking Western civilians.

Thus, as the blogger Adloya has elaborated so well, the BBC defended its policy of not referring to perpetrators of the 2004 Madrid bombings as terrorists by arguing moral equivalence ("One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter") and the spurious impartiality that comes with it. (Spurious, because the refusal to describe things as they are is itself a value judgement - namely, that terrorism cannot be said to exist. This tied the BBC in knots when home-grown terrorists perpetrated the 7 July 2005 London bombings, because the BBC website did at first describe the perpetrators as "terrorists". Confronted with its own inconsistency, the BBC did not review its policy; it merely removed the "terrorist" word retrospectively from its reports of the London attacks. Foolish consistency, as Emerson knew, is the hobgoblin of little minds.

Now, Reuters manages a new level of obfuscation. In its 28 March report on American funding to the tune of $59 million for the presidential guard of Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, Reuters notes that members of force "will be screened in advance for militant ties." Actually, they won't be; they'll be screened for terrorist ties, as a moment's thought would suggest - for if the people involved merely indulged in pushing and shoving, not murdering and maiming, they'd be no reason to screen or withhold anything. Yet another example of the incoherence that results from the mechanistic amorality of Reuters' choice of language.

One last thought: whether or not one is fighting for freedom tells us nothing about the validity of the methods used. As terrorist expert Boaz Ganor put it to me in an August 2002 interview, "When you deliberately choose to attack civilians, you cannot say any more, `I am not a terrorist because I am a freedom fighter.' Maybe you are a freedom fighter, but you are also definitely a terrorist."

Canada: No Right to Freedom of Conscience for Catholic Federal Civil Service Union Member

Decision called "chilling" in its implications for religious expression in Canada

Personal opposition to her union's support of the homosexual creed is not sufficient reason for a devout Catholic federal civil servant to withhold union dues, an Ontario court ruled on Friday. The National Post reports that Susan Comstock, a Catholic and senior intergovernmental relations officer with the Indian Affairs Department, has lost her bid to have her union recognize her right to freedom of conscience. Comstock had argued that the support of the homosexual political agenda by the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) violated her right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. She had proposed to divert her union dues, about $800 a year, to charity.

She argued that a collective agreement clause adopted by the union allows members to donate their dues to charity when they are members of a religious organization "whose doctrine prevents him or her as a matter of conscience from making financial contributions to an employee organization." Despite the existence of this clause, Justice Frederick Gibson ruled, "the union's political or social causes does not force her to act in a way contrary to her beliefs or her conscience."

Comstock's lawyer, Phil Horgan, head of the Catholic Civil Rights League of Canada, told the Post the decision is "chilling" in its implications for religious expression in Canada. "I think it's indicative of a problem Canadians will have in addressing what is becoming a somewhat oppressive environment," said Horgan. "The reach of these decisions is only starting to be felt," Horgan added.

While PSAC claims to represent equally all its members, during the 2004 federal election campaign, the union declared "zero tolerance" for homophobia and "heterosexism," which it defined as "the presumption that everyone is heterosexual and that heterosexuality is superior to other forms of loving."

The Canadian Human Rights Commission had rejected Comstock's complaint that the union's policy discriminated against her based on her religious beliefs. She said the policy "has the effect, at the very least, of making me a moral and social outcast within my union, creating the impression or belief that my contribution in the workplace ... is unwelcome, inferior, and of little or no positive value."

Comstock's attempt to have her freedom of conscience rights recognized was supported by her PSAC Local. Last May, PSAC Local 70160 voted with none opposed, to support a motion denouncing "the actions of the leadership of PSAC for failing to accommodate Sister Susan Comstock's religious beliefs by allowing her to divert her union dues to a charity."

Comstock said she hopes to appeal the ruling, citing the protection of religious freedom in the federal same-sex "marriage" law. Although the Canadian Catholic bishops praised the provision, many observers were more sceptical in the light of recent decisions that have largely disregarded religious conscience in cases of conflicts with the homosexual activist community. Courts and extra-judicial human rights tribunals have consistently found in favour of homosexual claims against Christians.


Australia: A Catholic organization not allowed to be Catholic?

THE ruling Catholic leadership of the St Vincent de Paul Society faces trial over alleged religious discrimination after telling one of its leaders to convert or resign as an office-holder. The welfare organisation, founded in Paris in 1833, may be forced to change its constitution in Australia because of the looming case in Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, brought by former volunteer and local area president Linda Walsh, a Presbyterian.

Ms Walsh was a leading light in the organisation for more than six years, working full-time - as one of the 5000 non-Catholics in the society's 8000-strong volunteer force in Queensland - with refugees and migrants, and holding the elected position of president of three local conferences, or area groups, in Brisbane. But in 2004, despite being previously open about her religious status, the State Council of the society allegedly informed her that her "non-Catholic" status had become a "point of contention for some members" of the organisation. Ms Walsh said she was then advised she had three options: to become a Catholic, resign her elected position and remain with the society only as a member, or leave the society.

She has not worked with the organisation since. Instead, the mother of four launched legal action against the society, seeking financial damages for pain and suffering, and changes to the worldwide constitution banning non-Catholics from leadership positions except in extreme cases. The society last week lost its bid to have the action thrown out on the grounds it was "frivolous and trivial" and that the ban is exempt from Australia's anti-discrimination laws because it constituted a "genuine occupational requirement".

In its plea to the Anti-Discrimination Tribunal, the society said a worldwide review of its constitution in 2003 had stated that the "Catholic beliefs and ethos" of the organisation must be preserved. The society's state president, John Campbell, said the organisation welcomed volunteers and staff from "all walks of life" and that assistance was provided to anyone in need. "But presidents, vice-presidents and spiritual advisers must be Catholic to maintain the ethos of the society," he said. "The society is an international Catholic organisation that consists of many people who volunteer their time to do good works. Some do this to deepen their Catholic faith in a practical way, while others simply want to make a real difference in their community."

Ms Walsh's solicitor, Rob Stevenson of Nathan Lawyers, said there was no reason why his client should be excluded from leadership positions with St Vincent de Paul. "She was working full-time for the society, doing good work and holding significant positions," he said. "It was no secret she was not a Catholic - she had made it known when she began volunteering and before she was elected to these positions, and no one objected."


Britishness lessons 'fuel racism'

As one of the many Indian refugees from Africa, one might have thought that the lady below would see Britain as different in important ways but she does not appear to. Perhaps she should relocate to Africa or India to check her impressions. She did however get a standing ovation for her speech so it would appear that she is just a typical teacher -- with the blind Leftism that so often implies

The first ethnic minority president of the National Union of Teachers has said ministers fuel racism by ordering schools to teach "British values". London assistant head teacher Baljeet Ghale told the union's annual conference Britain did not have a monopoly on free speech and tolerance. The move only fuelled the "shadow of racism" behind some notions of Britishness, she said. A government spokesman dismissed her claims as "nonsense".

Ms Ghale, who came to England from Kenya at the age of eight, also criticised Labour's record on other education issues.

In January, the government published a report it had commissioned from Sir Keith Ajegbo in the wake of the London bombings, into how "citizenship" and "diversity" were being taught in schools. It said more could be done to ensure children "explore, discuss and debate their identities".

At the NUT conference, in Harrogate, Ms Ghale said Education Secretary Alan Johnson had described the "values we hold very dear in Britain" as "free speech, tolerance, respect for the rule of law". "Well, in what way, I'd like to know, are these values that are not held by the peoples of other countries?" she said. [Judging by what they DO, many countries do NOT follow such values]

It was another example of government making policy without talking to those it would most affect. She wanted an education system that valued diversity and accepted her right to support Tottenham Hotspur - but France in the European Cup, Brazil in the World Cup, Kenya in the Olympics and India in cricket but England in the Ashes. She went on: "I certainly don't pass Tebbit's cricket test but none of my affiliations make me a less valuable person or less committed to being part of this society, but they do make me a global citizen."

For some people, racism lay behind notions of what it meant to be British, she said. The government's move was not about integration, participation or national pride but failure to assimilate or who should be here in the first place. "To demand that people conform to an imposed view of Britishness only fuels that racism," Ms Ghale said.

A spokesman for the Department of Education and Skills said: "It is nonsense to suggest that learning British values in citizenship classes - based on a major independent review by respected former headteacher Sir Keith Ajegbo - has anything to do with racism. "On the contrary, teenagers learning about shared British history is one of the essential building blocks of community cohesion. "Sir Keith's report in January concluded that all children should be taught core British values such as tolerance, freedom of speech and justice and included a series of recommendations aimed at improving community cohesion and helping children understand both diversity and identity."

In her wider attack on Labour's record, the NUT president gave examples of failures in the school rebuilding programme, such as a new roof on part of a school being removed because the supplier had not been paid. She said the money being spent on academies should be spread more widely around the system and she highlighted the smaller class sizes enjoyed by pupils in Cuba.

She called for the end of national testing and league tables and accused the government of having a negative and low expectation of pupils. "If the current government was marked with an Ofsted grading it would be given a notice to improve," she said. Its leadership and management was inadequate and change was required.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


9 April, 2007

Outsourcing Mom and Dad

Post below recycled from the Joanne Jacobs blog -- which see for links

Parents want to share the fun times with their children, reports the Nashville Tennessean. Everything else can be delegated.

Teaching your kids to ride a bike, shuttling them to doctor appointments, reminding them to say "Yes, ma'am," helping with algebra homework and training them to be sensible shoppers. These aren't the stuff memories are made of in some families. Instead, there are services in the Nashville area that give you the choice of outsourcing traditional parental duties.

Some parents hire sleeping coaches for their babies and toilet trainers for toddlers. They pay experts to teach their kids to ride a bike or write a "thank you" note.

At Your Service will take children grocery shopping to teach them the value of money and how to compare brands, as well as take them pet-sitting to teach responsibility, said co-owner Rose Mary Rovansek, who spent 20 years as a child-care teacher before opening the service. "Parents have a lot of stress and don't have a lot of time or patience," Rovansek said. "One mom said she's always in the hurry when she goes grocery shopping and doesn't want to take the time to explain the Kraft brand vs. the store brand."

The kiddie concierge service costs $45 an hour.

I knew a man whose ex-wife had given him custody of their children. "She loves them but she doesn't like all the little things" that parenting requires, he said. "The little things are all there is," he said.


Post below recycled from Democracy Project -- which see for links

History is not a convenience, to be contrived for whatever purpose, but is the invaluable record of what happened, why, how, by whom, necessary to understand the past and its part in our present and future. Accurate history, also, literally seals the fate, life or death, of millions of innocents around the world.

Historians debate the proper role and standards for revisions of prior understanding. New validated evidence often adds valuable facets, which enrich history, and should be carefully considered. However, when inadequately verified, or ignored, or used to deny all the other evidence there is an abuse of history, by those who do it and to whom it's fed, usually to support some current polemical point.

The most egregious current instance is those who deny the holocaust, in order to delegitimize Israel's right to exist. Its relative is those whose one-sided or distorted accusations against Israel ignore the culpability and aggressions of the Palestinians and Arab states.

Another is the refusal of the major media to consider or investigate the testimony of over 60 witnesses to John Kerry's exaggerations and lies about his Vietnam service and anti-Vietnam war activities, or to demand that Kerry reveal how he finagled a Purple Heart that those there and in command judged unjustified, or how his discharge from service was handled.

Another example is the crusade by a few diehards to reverse the many elements of and overwhelming evidence that entered into the conviction of Alger Hiss for perjury about his role as a Soviet mole, by citing the memory of a self-interested 10-year old and a minor and questionable quibble about additional corroborating evidence from the Soviet archives that only emerged decades after Hiss' conviction. As the most noted historian of Hiss and his conviction commented:

G. Edward White said Hiss supporters use a "thread strategy," seizing on any "inconsistency" to unravel a scenario aiming to vindicate him of the spy charges.

White is author of Alger Hiss's Looking-Glass Wars: The Covert Life of a Soviet Spy. White, also, happens to be the son-in-law of John F. Davis, who served as Alger Hiss's counsel during a 1948 appearance before the House Committee on Un-American Activities. Contentions blog notes:

It's hard to imagine how seriously even the most committed advocate of Hiss can pursue his cause now, in the face of the overwhelming evidence about who he was and what he did. Over the decades, COMMENTARY has published much material on the Hiss case and its implications; this weekend we offer a selection. [Several links to the Commentary archives are at the link, above.]

The effort to rewrite history in a mode convenient to the Left is all part and parcel of the Left's agenda to undermine anything which reflects on its anti-America mission, and to excuse itself from responsibility for aid and fellow-traveling with the 20th Century's mass murderers from Stalin to Mao to Ho, to today's jihadists.

This infection pervades our schools and arts, and even contaminates the pillars of the Democrats' establishment, in their zeal to unseat President Bush, as when former National Security Advisor to President Carter (of note, during Carter's abysmal mishandling of the Iranian hostage taking of our embassy staff), Zbigniew Brzezinski, recently said:

"We expected that the U.S. leaving Vietnam would result in massive killings and genocide and so forth, and collapse of the dominoes in Southeast Asia," he said. "It didn't happen. How certain are we of the horror scenarios that have been mentioned in what will take place in Iraq?"

One might expect a little better knowledge of history from Brzezinski. Sometimes, too rarely, there are films that provide more history than even the major media or Democrat extremists can deny. The Killing Fields presents the slaughter of millions of Cambodians, who Brzezinski conveniently forgets. The Journey From The Fall, which the Washington Post notes "has been called a Vietnamese `Schindler's List'," presents the fate of millions of Vietnamese, who Brzezinski conveniently forgets. I offer to buy Brzezinski a ticket to the movies, and will even throw in a bag of popcorn -- if he can swallow history, he can comfortably eat popcorn while watching the atrocities he conveniently forgets.

Truth, eventually, will out. However, in the meantime, millions of innocents have paid the ultimate price to tyrannies. Those currently in the cross-hairs deserve better from those who care about more than convenient history from the Left.

A blunt British bishop

On Wednesday afternoon in Birmingham a young Muslim woman found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. The doors of St Chad's Cathedral opened and hundreds of men surged out, their yellow robes flapping in the sunshine. She, in black robes, glanced back, alarmed, and broke into a run. She had better keep running. Last out was the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Birmingham, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, agitator-in-chief and hot tip to be the Church's next leader in Britain. He had just blessed the priests of his diocese, urging them to fight a culture that he said was becoming "aggressively antireligious".

Name a controversy where politics and religion meet and invariably the Archbishop's name pops up. Faith schools? It was he who forced the Government to back down on admissions quotas. Gay adoption? His views made him the liberals' punchbag. So why, we asked as we met after the service, did he think that Britain had become so antireligious? He thought for a moment and his gentle Liverpudlian accent at first beguiled us to the strength of his opinions. It turns out that it is the Muslims' fault, because the unease the West has with them gives other faiths a bad name. "The acts of terrorism have shaken people's perception of the presence of faiths in this country and around the world and I just wish there was a bit more differentiation in the reflection about the role of faiths in society."

Some politicians jumbled all faiths into one. "Sometimes the anxieties that are expressed around faith schools are actually to do with Islamic schools. And when you press a politician they say, `Well of course we don't mean Catholic schools and we don't mean Church of England schools', but they still hesitate to move away from the umbrella phrase of faith schools. "Then there are others who relish this opportunity to say, with aggression, religious faith is a corruption of human nature and we would be better off without it."

The Archbishop thinks that Islamic schools must integrate into the state system. He explains with a provocative thesis on life in Britain today. "The deep roots of our contemporary secular culture lie in Christianity and there is, in Christianity, an instinctive understanding about the notion of the rights of the human person. "There is now a clear understanding that politically democracy is the best way of organising the use of power in this society. There is, devolved from Christianity, a notion of justice and courts, of the police and supervision of society, of hospitals and of education. "All of these things come, if you like, from the root of the Christian heritage of Europe and of this country. But Islam is a newcomer and therefore the whole process of welcoming and integrating and understanding needs to be far more explicit and far more open and far more measured. At the same time, society without its roots will lose some of those qualities."

Did he believe that Islam threatened those deep roots? "I think it remains to be seen." Phew! This bishop is not afraid of controversy, and in Birmingham, too, with its large Muslim population. "There are real signs, I believe, certainly through the central mosque [in Birmingham], of Islam trying to understand what it means to live out of an Islamic society and in a secular, multi-faith society. That is a long process."

Put in the context of the riots provoked when the Pope cited a Byzantine emperor's belief that Islam was evil, it is hard to gauge his intentions. Is he naive? Or braver than politicians who preach the benefits of multiculturalism without admitting its problems?

He is no stranger to politics. He was one of the bishops behind a Catholic preelection manifesto in 1996 that, with its emphasis on social justice and minimum wage, was interpreted as backing Tony Blair. So did Labour deliver? The Church had no political allegiance, the Archbishop said. But ". . . it seems to me it is very difficult to hold together an agenda which is based on a coalition of special interest groups. There is a need in political life to dig deeper and find the foundations, aspirations and values. My sense is that broad fundamental platform, with its moral values, had been neglected." That sounded like a "no" to us, but he had not finished. "To me, one of the most remarkable features of the last ten years is the number of new criminal offences that have been created. I read somewhere that we are talking over 700 new offences. Now that speaks to me of a moral vacuum. "If you're trying to replace some shared moral values, a sense of conscience is something that pulls us together. If you try to replace that with legislation, you run the risk of not building on a strong foundation."

He elegantly declined our invitation to back David Cameron, but suggested that the Tory leader might be on the right track. "Some of the Conservative Party's thinking about the family, about the responsibility of parents, about how we build a community and all the pressures that a family is under have to be responded to."

When he was a boy he wanted to be a long-distance lorry driver, but as a teenager he started to have private, unwanted, urges to become a priest. "I'd gone to watch Liverpool and stand on the Kop at Anfield, and say to God, `Why don't you just leave me alone? Why can't I just be one of a crowd?' " We asked if this gave him any insight into the isolation felt by teenagers wondering whether they were gay. He didn't take offence. "I think there must be some similarities, yeah." But he added that when he confided in a priest he was told that he had a choice. "It's my understanding that somebody who grows into an awareness of their sexual orientation doesn't have a choice," he said.

This idea of gay men being born not made is refreshingly modern, especially after he struggles through a tortuous defence of the Church's position on gay adoption: that if, in extraordinary circumstances, it is better for a child to be in a single-sex household, it would prefer the child to be brought up by a single parent, gay or not, rather than a gay couple.

He said that he had no regrets about the celibate life. Yet he sells God - and there is no other way of putting this - by making him hot. As he had told the congregation that day: "The Almightly awaits our `Yes' just as much as a young bridegroom awaits the yes of his bride . . . He longs to draw us to Himself." They should "be filled" by God, "with the recklessness of lovers". Steamy stuff. The Archbishop insists that faith should be physically passionate. "Why not? The crucifix is pretty physical, a physical expression of love. In that sense religion is not so abstract. It's maybe not physical in a genital way, but sex is more than intercourse, it's the whole thing that says we two belong to each other."

He worked with Cardinal Basil Hume for many years. "He was actually a very good politician. He knew when to keep quiet. I'm not always sure I've learnt that yet." Would he like to be Pope? He laughed. "No thank you!" Would he like to follow Cardinal Hume to become Archbishop of Westminster? "No thank you!" But what if he were asked? "That's a different question. I do what I'm asked." Heaven may not be stuffed with politicians, but Cardinal Hume, looking down, would be proud.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


8 April, 2007

The Utter Failure of Political Correctness

Below is a re-run of a post I put up on Tongue Tied in 2005. It amuses me so much that I have to repeat it. I have added a photo of Ms Titmuss so that you really get the idea

This survey from England must be causing weeping and wailing and garnishing of teeth (Yes. I know it's "gnashing") in feminist and teaching circles. I suspect all the propaganda that kids get shoved down their throat these days has backfired. Excerpt:

"The survey of almost 1000 girls aged between 15 and 19, conducted by a mobile entertainment company, TheLab, found that many young women's favoured role models were men's magazine models, with C-list celebrities Abi Titmuss and Jordan ranking higher in the hero worship stakes than author J. K. Rowling, The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick, and feminist Germaine Greer. Almost half the respondents listed Titmuss as a role model, while 9 per cent chose Rowling and only 4 per cent Greer. Offered a selection of occupations, 63 per cent said they would rather be a men's magazine model than a doctor, teacher or nurse. The second most popular choice was "lap dancer", at 25 per cent, with teachers trailing at 3 per cent".

I love it!


Sweden, renowned for decades as the model of cosy womb-to-tomb welfare socialism, has suddenly become a much rawer place. The centre-right governing coalition of Fredrik Reinfeldt, which came to power last autumn, is seen by David Cameron as a potential template for Tory fortunes. Since the election they have seemed determined to roll back the nanny state after many decades of Social Democratic feather-bedding. On the agenda is abolition of wealth tax, cuts in income tax and a privatisation programme that is already starting to excite foreign investors.

But the most symbolic act so far has been lifting the 37-year ban on professional boxing, outlawed by the Social Democrats as cruel and morally dubious. "It was a political move, not a medical one," says coach Peter Bermsten, as Josefin rubs herself down. "It took a political decision to bring us back to reason." We are talking in the Fox fight club in Malmo, its walls plastered with yellowing posters from the days when Sweden was a world-class boxing nation. One, from 1959, shows Ingemar Johansson set to thump the heavyweight Floyd Patterson.

Sweden has some catching up to do. "Boxing did not fit into the Social Democratic self-image of the Swedes in the 1960s," says Źse Sandell, a towering flaxen-haired middleweight, who has risen to the top of women's boxing only by moving to the United States. Boxing is booming again and Sandell has become the idol of a new generation. The smack of leather on leather, the grunt of young boxers who are no longer confined to heavily regulated amateur bouts: this is the sound and the fury of a cultural revolution in the making. Not the whiff of cordite, but of embrocation and sweat.

Sweden's social welfare model, so admired by Gordon Brown, was ripe for overhaul. Indeed, so ripe that the Social Democrats grudgingly started their own reforms, cutting down, for example, on Europe's most generous sick-leave arrangements, which were blamed for turning a healthy nation into a society of work-dodgers. But they ducked the key question: how much should the state steer the inner life of the individual? This, after all, is a country that bans all television advertising aimed at the under-12s, and where the Government retains a monopoly on alcohol sales to stop people drinking too much.

As we stand with Anders Ljungberg, a local journalist, in Malmo's immigrant quarter, we see a group of Kurdish teenagers scuffling playfully at the bus stop. A Volvo draws up and a white Swede leans out of the window; the kids quieten down. "He was ticking them off," Mr Ljungberg says. "He probably told them that there were better ways of behaving."

The greatest compliment you can pay a child in Sweden, says Ake Daun, a sociologist, is to say that he is tyst och fin, quiet and well-behaved. The Social Democrats came into power in 1932, have ruled for 65 of the past 74 years and ensured that Swedish adults, too, were tyst och fin. They paid the highest taxes in Europe and in return got the biggest handouts. Parents pay a maximum of 90 pounds a month for childcare, receive up to 80 per cent of their salary during their 390-day maternity leave, receive free university education and access to free retirement homes. But the sums, even with the current strong economic growth, do not add up. Swedes are afraid of losing their privileges. But they are even more afraid that they will slip down the prosperity league. In 1970 they had the fourth-highest per capita income in the world. Now, as the sociologist Johan Norberg says: "If Sweden was one of the states of America, it would be the fifth poorest."

"We have to make it easier to get work," says Djordje Jovanovic, 72, a former waiter who helped to vote the Social Democrats out of power. "I don't want us to lose our wealth. When I go to my place on the Costa del Sol I see really poor Brits pocketing the bread that they get with their soup in cheap restaurants. We shouldn't stoop that low, and that means working harder here, securing our future."

At H&M, the Swedish fashion retailer, we meet Johana Hallin, a 28-year-old teacher. "We have to make it more profitable to work than to be on social welfare," she says with passion, and she really does seem to be the voice of young Sweden. Certainly she fits into our caricature of a Swede: blonde, funny, she even teaches the Swedish language.

Yet Sweden is losing its blonde-ness. Some 23 per cent of the population of Malm”, Sweden's third city, were born abroad; if their children, born in Sweden, are taken into account, over 35 per cent have foreign connections. Somalis, Afghans, Turks, Iraqis and Palestinians are all wedged into the state-sponsored estates in Malm”'s Rosengard district and almost all live on welfare.

So here is the most explosive issue in Prime Minister Reinfeldt's quiet revolution: if he wants to cut social welfare handouts to force people to work, what happens to the foreigners who cannot get jobs because they are foreigners? They get poorer and, since they are being told constantly to behave more like Swedes, they will start to become more demanding. No more tyst och fin.

That is why Mr Reinfeldt has taken the unusual step of appointing Nyamko Sabuni as Integration Minister. She is neither blonde nor blue-eyed: she is originally from Burundi and is a Muslim. And rarely has a Swedish minister openly uttered such tough sentiments. She wants to ban the head-scarf for girls under the age of 15, make visits to the gynaecologist compulsory for schoolgirls to ensure that they are not forcibly circumcised, cut state funds for Muslim schools and stopped funding for a Centre Against Racism. There is one central aim, she says: to get migrants into jobs. "Language and work are the keys to integration," says Ms Sabuni. "The Social Democrats drove people into a dependency culture." The Swedish model was based on a homogenous society - not only white, but also hard Protestant workers shy of public conflict and ever ready to work out consensus. That was the starting point for Gunnar and Alvar Myrdal, the spiritual founders of the welfare state in the 1930s. The assumption was that if it did not work in Sweden, with its population of only nine million, it would not work anywhere else.

It really does seem to be foundering. Sweden is a society full of hidden tensions and unemployment, an intrusive state and citizens frustrated by their lack of choice. It has been defeated not only by the arithmetic (of how to support an expanding legion of welfare claimants and pensioners on the basis of a shrinking workforce) but also by sharpening global competition.

Travel on the 999 bus from Copenhagen to Malmo across the formidable Oeresund bridge and the accompanying music is of clinking glass - bottles of booze bought in cheaper Danish shops. State-controlled alcohol sales, in southern Sweden at least, are sure to buckle. In the 1970s toy shops were forbidden from selling warlike toys, even water pistols: now everything is available over the internet and 10-year-olds in Malm” can admire a plastic replica Nazi Tiger tank in a cheap unregulated high street store. The Social Democrats trumpeted the defeat of street prostitution after passing a law that jails kerb-crawlers rather than women who sell their bodies. But trade has simply moved from the red light district on Industry Street to the laptop, with most assignations being made online.

The nanny state is on the retreat. The idea that a just society can be engineered by an all-seeing bureaucracy has had its day. The admiration for Sweden from the British Left and Right is thus slightly puzzling. The interest of the Conservatives - David Cameron and George Osborne are recent visitors - can be explained by the need to find an example of how a long-lived Centre-left government can be toppled without polarising society. But the real change in Sweden is coming from the people themselves. They want more freedom of choice and are willing to put with a few punches on the way


Boy Scouts defeat ACLU

Court dismisses suit to bar use of military fort

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit dismissed a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union to stop the Defense Department from allowing the Boy Scouts of America to hold its National Jamboree every four years at Fort A.P. Hill in Fredericksburg, Va. The ACLU, suing on behalf of individual named taxpayers, had argued allowing the Boy Scouts to hold the event on public property is an unconstitutional establishment of religion, because the organization's membership is limited to those who believe in God. The ACLU points out the Boy Scouts require members to swear an oath to "do my duty to God and my country."

The court ruled Wednesday, however, the ACLU did not show standing to bring the lawsuit. Peter Ferrara, general counsel of the American Civil Rights Union explained the ACLU could complain about the policy to Congress or the president, but it "had no business bringing a lawsuit over it and asking the courts to step in."

The ACLU is a non-partisan legal policy organization launched in 1998 that says it is "dedicated to defending all the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights and the 14th Amendment." The Defense Department, which sees holding the event at the fort as a boon to military recruitment, is expressly authorized to host the event by a federal statute enacted by Congress, Ferrara points out. Seven Presidents have attended and spoken at the jamboree, beginning with Franklin Roosevelt in 1937. President Bush spoke at the 2005 event, attended by more than 40,000 scouts. The next jamboree is scheduled for 2010 to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America.

As WND reported in 2005, 90 members of Congress filed a federal appeals court brief declaring support for the Defense Department's sponsorship of the jamboree. The brief asserted the Defense Department's support comes in the form of "non-religious supplies and services." "The military's rental of forklifts and trucks, transportation and military equipment, restoration of Fort A.P. Hill after the Jamboree, and provision of other secular services is clearly 'neutral and nonideological,'" the brief said. "The only possible message that the military's aid can be viewed as conveying is that patriotism, self-reliance, physical fitness and support of the military are positive things."

Also in 2005, then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., introduced legislation to make sure the Boy Scouts can use government facilities for gatherings, meetings and events. In 2004, the Pentagon settled a lawsuit by telling military bases around the world not to become direct sponsors of Boy Scout troops or Cub Scout dens. Military personnel can now sponsor Boy Scout groups only in their civilian capacity. As WND reported, the threat of lawsuits by the ACLU has forced the BSA to pull the charters of thousands of scouting units from public schools.


Elite bias against Christianity getting a bit embarassed?

An excellent post below by Australian columnist Andrew Bolt. I most particularly applaud the final paragraph. I have Bach's divine "Passio secundum Matthaeum" playing as I write this. I particularly love the great baritone aria: "Mache dich mein Herze rein". It always moves me to tears

MOCKING Christ has not, in years, seemed this childish - even cowardly. And no, I'm not a Christian. Of course, this being Easter, Christianity's most holy festival, we've seen some of the usual tributes of disrespect from the cultural elite. While the ABC refused to show the Danish cartoons of Mohammed, for fear of God knows what mayhem, it had no such fear this week of mocking Jesus, whose crucifixion is remembered today.

Its Triple J station held "Jesus, you've got talent!" - a talent quest for singing toga wearers and the like, (and did so without the protection of one policeman). Chicago's School of Art Institute, meanwhile, displayed an art work showing Christ resurrected as Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama, son of a Muslim-born Kenyan. And New York's Lab Gallery unveiled a life-sized Jesus made of chocolate, anatomically accurate right down to his bared penis.

I know, it's tame stuff given what we've seen before. Who can forget Piss Christ, the crucifix plopped in a jar of urine at the National Gallery of Victoria? Or the Chris Ofili picture of the Virgin Mary, decorated with cow dung, which the National Gallery of Australia tried to bring in? Or the ABC's Christmas special of 1999 - a comparison of the Sistine Chapel's religious frescoes with the paintings made by hip British artists Gilbert and George of their semen, faeces, spit and blood?

But all these are just accent points of an elite culture that slurs Christians so naturally that The Age blithely ran opinion pieces last month with yet more priest-baiting lines, such as these: "Being Catholic, the `70s meant rock masses, liturgical dancing and clapping to Rock My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham until you lost all will to live. When you heard the word `priest' you didn't immediately think `child molester' - you thought of that guy with sideburns and shocking breath who played the guitar badly and wanted to be `down with the youth' . . . "(W)e'd watch Mass for You at Home: just as soul-destroying and mind-numbing as the real thing, but it took half the time and you didn't have to shake hands with that weird guy with the eczema."

Ask any Christian politician how hard it is now, given the Gulf Stream of anti-Christian bigotry, to discuss moral issues in the media. Their opinions will be dismissed as the he-would-say-that prattlings of a Vatican parrot or of a nice-but zealot. Ask Tony Abbott, the Health Minister and a Catholic, whose reasoned arguments on an abortion pill were sniggered away by a slogan on a gloating Greens senator's T-shirt: "Get your rosaries off my ovaries."

YET it seems the cheap-shot sneers of intolerant atheists are fewer this year. More muted. And the squawks we still hear seem more contemptible. It would be no wonder. I wouldn't be alone in thinking each time an artist or commentator insults Christians: "friend, if you're so brave, say that about Islam". Show us your chocolate Mohammeds. Show us your Korans dipped in urine. Where is the singer who will rip up a Koran as Marilyn Manson ripped up a Bible? Or will on television tear up a picture of Islam's most honoured preacher as Sinead O'Connor shredded one of the great Pope John Paul II?

It's not as if Islam doesn't threaten our artists more than does Christianity. See only the murder of film director Theo van Gogh or the fatwa on writer Salman Rushdie or the stabbing of Rushdie's translator. Or see those deadly riots against the Mohammed cartoons. So when I see a Western artist mock Christ, I see an artist advertising not his courage but his cowardice - by not daring to mock what would threaten him more.

I am most certainly not saying that moderate Islam should now be treated with the childish disrespect so often shown to Christianity. Nor am I saying most Muslims endorse violence, or that there aren't a few Christians who might turn violent, too. After all, the chocolate Jesus has been removed from display when Lab Gallery's boss was bombarded with complaints and even - he claims - threats. But I am saying that more people now know there is a double standard here illustrated perfectly by the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, which banned acts that told jokes against Muslims but promoted ones that lampooned Christians. It's this blatant double standard that may finally have shamed some of the usual jeerers into showing Christianity a little respect.

And perhaps - just perhaps - more of us might be wakening to a truth we too long took for granted. It's no accident that we feel safer insulting Christians than trashing almost anyone else. This is a religion that's always preached tolerance, reason and non-violence, even if too many of its followers have seemed deaf. It's also urged us to leave the judgment of others to God (a message I ignore for professional reasons). We are the beneficiaries of that preaching, even those of us who aren't Christians.

We live in a society, founded on Christian principles, that guards our right to speak, and even to abuse things we should praise. We can now vilify Jesus and damn priests, and risk nothing but hard looks from a soft bishop, and a job offer from The Age. We dare all that because we do not actually fear what we condemn. We know Christians are taught not to punch our smarmy face, and we even count on it. Indeed, it is the very faith we mock that has made us so safe.

This is one reason why I, an agnostic, will today do what I do every Easter, and play Bach's divine St Matthew Passion while I sit for a while and give thanks. I will be thanking again not only a preacher of astonishing moral clarity and courage, but one who inspired a faith that has brought us unparalleled gifts - including the freedom to create even a chocolate Jesus in this most holy of weeks



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


7 April, 2007

A last dying twitch of standards in the Church of England?

A gay man was rejected for a post as a youth worker because of his sexual lifestyle, not his sexual orientation, a Church of England bishop told an employment tribunal yesterday. The Right Rev Anthony Priddis, the Bishop of Hereford, said that John Reaney did not get the job because he had admitted having had sex outside marriage. The Bishop denied unlawfully discriminating against Mr Reaney, saying that he had been complying with the teachings of the Church.

He said that he told Mr Reaney that any person in a sexual relationship outside marriage, whether they were heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or transgender, would have been rejected for the post. "Such sexuality in itself was not an issue, but Mr Reaney's lifestyle had the potential to impact on the spiritual, moral and ethical leadership within the diocese," he said yesterday. He added that his views on sex outside marriage were backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the General Synod, the national assembly of the Church of England, and the Lambeth Conference.

Mr Reaney, 41, from Llandudno, North Wales, claims that being openly gay cost him the job. His claim for unlawful discrimination against the Hereford Diocesan Board of Finance is being backed by the gay rights group Stonewall. Under equality legislation introduced in 2003, it is illegal to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation, although organised religions were given exemptions. The hearing is believed to be the first test case of how it applies to the Church of England.

The tribunal in Cardiff was told that Mr Reaney had been offered the job last July after an interview before a panel of eight. The Bishop, 59, was told that he had indicated on his form that he was homosexual. Mr Reaney was called in for a discussion, during which it emerged that he had recently ended a five-year homosexual relationship. The Bishop said that, although Mr Reaney undertook not to start a new gay relationship, he felt that he was not emotionally in a position to be making such a promise.

He told the tribunal: "The end of a five-year relationship leads to a lot of grieving and it can take much time for someone to recover. It would not have been right for me to take an undertaking of his head that his heart could not keep. It remains my judgment that Mr Reaney had not met the standards required. It was not a risk I was prepared to take." He said that Mr Reaney did not seem overwrought, humiliated or distressed when he was told that his application was being turned down.

The tribunal was told that the job was not offered to anyone else. Bishop Priddis said that, because of the diocese's limited finances, even if Mr Reaney had been appointed he might have been made redundant "sooner rather than later". The Bishop denied that he had breached the diocese's equal opportunities policy. He said: "The Church's teaching draws distinction between sexual orientation and practice and lifestyle. We didn't discriminate against Mr Reaney on the grounds of sexuality. Had we done so we wouldn't have called him for an interview. "What is at issue is the lifestyle, practice and sexual behaviour, whether the applicant is homosexual, heterosexual or transsexual." The Bishop added that his diocese had ordained a transsexual woman as a priest. In September 2005 Sarah Jones, who was a man for 29 years, was described by Bishop Priddis as a "superb candidate" for the post.


The results of politically correct policing in Britain

A neighbour in our new street came round to ask for a cheque towards a private security patrol. "Wouldn't that undermine the police?" I asked, sensing a threat to my bank balance. "What police?" he replied. It's true. There are police boards sprouting all over our area ("Did you see? Incident, stabbing, assault"), but no police. London is becoming a city of vigilantes. The well-off are hiring uniformed guards, and the teenagers down the road are arming themselves with knives - because no one else is going to defend them. We have seen the results of that: five teenagers stabbed to death in the past four weeks.

We are giving up on the police because they seem to have given up themselves. The sheer quantity of blogging by disillusioned bobbies is a sign of just how blue parts of the thin blue line are feeling. PC David Copperfield drily documents the daily grind in his book Wasting Police Time. DC Johnno Hills, who quit the Brighton force this weekend after complaining in the Sunday Express about bureaucracy, has started a petition for police reform.

The latest Home Office figures show that a fifth of officer time is spent on paperwork. This week Sir Alastair McWhirter, retiring as Chief Constable of Suffolk, complained that it can take 56 people and 128 different bits of paper to bring one assault case to court. Well, thank you, Sir Alastair. Now you can go gentle into that index-linked retirement. But where were you in April 2005, when the Government introduced stop and account (as opposed to stop and search) forms? These require an officer asking anyone to account for themselves to fill in 40 questions. Yes, 40. The consequences should have been obvious. I'm not surprised that the cops I do pass refuse to make eye contact. They're probably petrified of becoming a party to my personal information.

The police and the public are still on the same side. But it doesn't always feel like it. A recent ICM poll found that trust in the police is sliding. The official insistence that crime is falling does not help, when people feel it is not. Criminologists say that the most reliable measure of the true rate of violence in society is stranger murder - and killings by strangers have increased by a third between 1997 and 2005.

The police have more money than ever before, and more officers - 140,000 at the last count. But they are not having a commensurate impact. This has stoked a dangerous defeatism among criminologists and within the Home Office: the belief that rising crime is a fact of life that the justice system can do little about. The extraordinary decline of crime in big American cities in the 1990s should be a reason for optimism about policing. But many criminologists there have tried to explain it largely as a function of demographic shifts that produced fewer young men. Others credit schemes to overcome the "moral poverty" of fatherless homes and tough neighbourhoods.

Yet a powerful analysis by Franklin Zimring, Professor of Law at Berkeley, finds both theories to be overdone. His new book, The Great American Crime Decline, finds that neither demographics nor poverty alleviation get anywhere near to explaining the three-quarters drop in lethal youth violence, for example, that took place in New York after 1990. Professor Zimring's message is positive: that policing can reduce crime and that crime, as he says, "is not hardwired into the ecology of modern life or the cultural values of high-risk youth". Within a generation, the behaviour of young men has completely changed - because of better policing.

We know this is true. We have seen it in Manchester, where zero-tolerance policing reduced stranger killings from 37 in 1999 to 5 in 2005. Last week's government crime and policing review made some of the right noises, promising to reorganise the force and cut red tape. But the breathless repetition of old ideas gave little hope of any real change from a Government whose latest wheeze has been to make officers agree every single charge they make with the Crown Prosecution Service. This has helped the CPS to meet its targets for successful prosecutions, but created mindboggling delays that leave citizens bereft of protection.

How do we return pride and power to the police? A Conservative police reform task force this week published an excellent analysis of the problems, with a sensible range of solutions. The most fundamental of these is to roll back the dead hand of central control by directly electing police commissioners. In the past, this idea has been met with defeatism: it wouldn't "take" in the UK, or it would politicise the force. But the police are already politicised. It is time to consider direct accountability, not simply because there is a gulf with citizens, but also because a radical change in management is needed.

New York's police commissioner was, notoriously, as tough on his officers as he was on criminals. Every week the most senior officers detailed the crime in their precincts and told him how they were tackling it. Once almost half of them had been fired, there was no confusion about the objective. The NYPD was not about printing customer satisfaction surveys, but about keeping people safe.

That kind of reform will not be welcomed by a unionised, cosy and conservative service. Even the bloggers who are quick to moan about paperwork may be less keen to acquire public accountability. But the Tories must stick to their guns. There are many brave, talented police officers who work tirelessly. But they should be doing so on behalf of the public, not as the claims department of the insurance industry or the administrative arm of the CPS


Australia: Anti-smacking kit hit

"He that spareth his rod hateth his son" -- Proverbs 13:24

A NEW $2.5 million campaign urging parents not to smack their children has upset a family group that supports smacking. It is not illegal for parents to smack their children, but the federal government-funded "Every Child is Important" campaign argues against it. "Hitting a child does not teach acceptable ways to behave," its material says. "Instead it may result in a repeat of the misbehaviour. "Successful discipline can be achieved without the use of physical punishment."

Family Council of Victoria secretary Bill Muehlenberg said it was wrong to use taxpayers' money to push an anti-smacking line most parents would disagree with. Mr Muehlenberg, who smacked his three boys, said that in some cases with small children it was the only option. "It's usually done as a last resort, done in love, done with moderation, self-control," he said. "It's not the same as abuse -- which we already have laws on the books about."

But Dr Joe Tucci, CEO of the Australian Childhood Foundation, which compiled the "Every Child is Important" campaign material, is opposed to smacking. He said parents should work out why their child was misbehaving and address the cause. "You don't have to hit your children to teach them right from wrong," Dr Tucci said.

Sunrise presenter and father-of-four David Koch is a high-profile smacking advocate. "Smacking is very different to being abusive," he told the Herald Sun. Koch said that it was wrong to smack when you were emotional, but an out-of-control child might need a tap. "I think a smack can be useful because it actually is a circuit-breaker, if you like, from actually being out of control," he said.

The "Every Child is Important" campaign features brochures, CD-ROMs and website advice for parents. It covers -- in 16 languages -- the early years, play, expressing love, harmful words, misbehaviour, siblings, accepting difference, safety and coping with stress.


I think I would back Biblical wisdom against modern-day do-gooder theory. The do-gooder wisdom about the importance of self-esteem has long since imploded so there is no reason to think that this related thinking will be any different


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


6 April, 2007

Cultures hardwired for failure


Review of:

"The Central Liberal Truth: How Politics Can Change a Culture and Save it from Itself" By Lawrence E. Harrison

"America Alone" By Mark Steyn

THERE is a moment of cultural dissonance towards the end of Stephen Ambrose's book, Band of Brothers, his hugely popular World War II history of the men from Easy Company, 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the US 101st Airborne Division. The Americans, who had jumped into Normandy, toughed out the siege of Bastogne and muscled their way into Adolf Hitler's Eagle's Nest, unexpectedly found themselves admiring the spirit and tenacity of the German people. Their army defeated, their empire in ruins, their most treasured myth of the Aryan superman exploded by a mongrel alliance, the Germans nevertheless wasted no time in applying themselves to the mission of rebuilding and recovery, in stark contrast with the French civilians the troopers had encountered earlier in the war. In some ways, the men of Easy Company found the Germans to be ``just like us''.

Lawrence E. Harrison would not have found the comparison odious or even surprising. For the former US aid official, now a senior research fellow specialising in culture and development at Tufts University in Massachusetts, the Americans had stumbled across a cultural connection running much deeper than the violent fracture that separated the Nazi super state from the world's foremost liberal democracy. With everything stripped from them by a war they had initiated, the German people were forced to fall back on the few sources of strength that could be summoned from their bedrock culture. In 1945 this meant making neat piles of the burning rubble that had been their homes. Within two decades it delivered them an economic miracle.

Even in East Germany, where the dead hand of socialism lay so heavily, the national character traits of efficiency, hard work and punctuality delivered a standard of living that was observably higher than anyone else enjoyed or endured behind the Iron Curtain, even if it did lag far behind the West.

Lest anyone accuse Harrison of espousing some sort of Protestant bigotry, he also points out that the Japanese, firebombed and nuked into a modern stone age, drew on a deep well of Confucian virtue through the same period to create their own story of redemption.

Until recently Japan and Germany were cited by the champions of the war in Iraq as examples of how democracy could be transplanted into a society with no experience of anything but tyranny. Like Britney Spears, that particular theory ain't looking quite so tasty these days. But the core lesson of Harrison's book, which has ignited a willing and occasionally furious debate in the US, is that the transplant theory was not necessarily wrong. It's just that in some patients rejection is inevitable.

To reduce Harrison's argument to a hard little bullet of contention: some cultures are doomed to fail. The corollary of this unforgiving and most politically incorrect conclusion is that some cultures are almost bound to succeed. They are -- deep breath, now -- better.

At this point, before a legion of readers turn on Harrison as some sort of neocon ideologue preaching a gospel of Western superiority -- a less bloodthirsty version of, say, Victor Davis Hanson in Why the West has Won: Carnage and Culture from Salamis to Vietnam -- they should understand that he is less the author of this book than its co-ordinator. The Central Liberal Truth is a compendium of reflections on and simple restatement of original research carried out by more than 60 contributors -- some would say co-conspirators -- across dozens of nations. Beside the many academic researchers represented here, Harrison has called on the efforts of journalists, business people, aid officials, politicians and development specialists. They attempt to answer the vexed question of how those societies that appear irretrievably damned might be raised out of the sinkholes of madness, desolation and despair to which they have been consigned.

The discourse does not always run smoothly, with some of the more delicious moments to be had when what might be thought of as a dominant paradigm of cultural relativism confronts the bleak realities of failed cultures. Indeed, the price of admission to this debate is almost immediately recouped by the exchange between University of Chicago cultural anthropologist Richard Shweder and Cameroonian economist Daniel Etounga Manguelle.

Shweder's world view has been described as a cultural absolutism, a belief in the supreme ethical value of all cultures, except perhaps the West's. He had complained of ``disgruntled insiders'' from the Third World, that is, people such as Manguelle, running down their own cultures for the edification of the ``global-hopping managers of the world system''. Whitey, to be blunt about it.

Contrasting his own, superior claim to speak on behalf of the downtrodden, Shweder asked: ``After all, whose voice is more `indigenous'? The voice of a Western-educated MBA or PhD from Dakar or Delhi, who looks down on his or her own cultural traditions and looks up to the US for intellectual or moral guidance and material aid? Or the voice of a `Western' scholar who does years of fieldwork in rural villages in Africa or Asia and understands and sees value in the traditions of others?''

It's not uncommon to find breathtaking chutzpah and inverse racism on the academic Left, but it's not quite so often that you get a rejoinder as powerful and succinct as Manguelle's. Identifying himself as one of Shweder's disgruntled insiders with ``some diffidence'', as this would mark him out as being less indigenous than the white man from Chicago, the Cameroonian replied with deadly sarcasm: ``We Africans really enjoy living in shanty towns where there isn't enough food, health care or education for our children. Furthermore, our corrupt chieftaincy political systems are really marvellous and have permitted countries like Mobutu's Zaire to earn us international prestige and respect.

``Moreover, it would certainly be boring if free democratic elections were organised all over Africa. Were that to happen, we would no longer be real Africans, and by losing our identity -- and our authoritarianism, our bloody civil wars, our illiteracy, our 45 years life expectancy -- we would be letting down not only ourselves but also those Western anthropologists who study us so sympathetically and understand that we can't be expected to behave like human beings who seek dignity ...

``We are Africans, and our identity matters! So let us fight for it with the full support of those Western scholars who have the wisdom and courage to acknowledge that Africans belong to a different world.''

Different worlds and their relative merits are the unavoidable reality of this book. Argentinian scholar and journalist Mariano Grondona provides the basis for a typology that can help to distinguish between those cultures that are resistant to progress and development and those that are more favourably disposed.

Harrison and three other participants in the project expanded Grondona's matrix to cover 25 indices such as a culture's attitude to such practical concerns as education, the role of women, the importance of frugality and the creation of wealth. Other, less tangible matters can also be of prime importance, however. Whether a culture or religion encourages a fatalist view of destiny can have a profound effect on how its inhabitants or practitioners view and act in the world.

Haiti, for instance, by any measure -- and Harrison deploys a lot of them -- is a benighted hellhole. A complex blend of factors underlie this, but partly to blame is the influence of voodoo over the island's people. Not only does it nurture irrationality, according to Harrison and his researchers, ``it also nurtures a sense of impotence and fatalism and discourages the entrepreneurial vocation. It focuses on the present not the future. It is also essentially without ethical content.''

The Central Liberal Truth is replete with harsh, unforgiving judgments such as this, occasionally sounding like the toughest of tough-love counsellors in an international Narcanon meeting. The Protestant ethic is one reason why Protestant countries, including Australia, enjoy vast material advantages over other countries. Catholic countries, particularly those in Latin America, lag economically. The Islamic world lags even further.

``The development of black identity [in the US] among teens often entails learning to process mainstream America as an alien realm deserving of contempt,'' Harrison writes. Everyone in Italy expects everyone else to act unfairly, and thus nobody has any incentive to do so themselves. Costa Rican parents really need to get their act together. The United Fruit Company was good for South America.

There is little compromise here, but neither is there bigotry. The value judgments that Harrison and his colleagues make are backed up by tonnages of empirical data. And although the purpose of the project is avowedly economic -- the authors are concerned with the material betterment of demonstrably poor societies -- there is an irreducibly political element.

That some cultures are better, much better, than others at realising the full potential of their members is not simply a conclusion of The Central Liberal Truth, it is a defining premise. White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants are a major beneficiary of this self-evident truth, but so too are Jews and anyone lucky enough to be born into a Confucian society. On the other hand, Catholics, Muslims and voodoo practitioners start their race with some heavy handicaps. As Louis Nowra pointed out in last month's ALR, so do many Aborigines, especially women and children.

Religion, of course, is not the end of the culture story and secular cultural factors can be decisive, such as, for instance, the Nordic passion for open, flattened, consultative political structures, or the emergence of key leaders at crucial junctures such as Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew or Spain's King Juan Carlos. Nonetheless, religion haunts this book, as it does the modern world in a way not seen since the Age of Reason dawned.


Religion is less a ghost in the machine of Mark Steyn's America Alone than a screaming banshee at the gates of the civilised world. For Steyn, however, only one faith, Islam, is worth worrying about because it remains the only major religion with an avowed partiality for violent conquest. Like Harrison, Steyn is unapologetic in pushing his revealed truths, but he is not fair. Balance is not the operating principle of America Alone, unless it's deployed to comic effect.

``Yes, yes I know Islam is very varied,'' he concedes at one point, ``and Riyadh has a vibrant gay scene, and the Khartoum Feminist Publishing Collective now has so many members they've rented lavish offices above the clitorectomy clinic.''

Steyn is less a disinterested academic than a wild-eyed prophet with a story to sell, that story being the death of European civilisation from the combined effects of cultural ennui and the rise of an aggressive, confident successor population, the radical Muslims of Londonistan and Eurabia. The Canadian author is infinitely more entertaining to read than Harrison, being one of the funniest commentators working the mainstream media but, oddly, reading him is also more dispiriting.

As witty and even savagely humorous as he can be, Steyn is at heart a pessimist. His task is to awaken readers to what he sees as an inevitable disaster, with all of the medieval bloodletting and horror that Europe thought itself beyond. Unlike Harrison, he doesn't see radical Islam as a culture that is amenable to reform, in the same way, for example, that Kemal Attaturk built the modern, secular Turkish state on the bones of the Ottoman Empire.

Indeed, if anyone needs reforming in Steyn's opinion it is the weak, flabby, intellectually bankrupt citizens of countries such as France, who have neither the will nor desire to rouse themselves from the mass grave they've stumbled into. They will not even acknowledge there is a problem, preferring to characterise the intifada in France towards the end of 2005 as being nothing more than the work of disaffected ``youths''.

When Steyn pointed out the media's reluctance to identify the rioters as Muslim, he was flooded with emails arguing ``there is no Islamist component, they're not the madrassa crowd, they may be Muslim but they're secular and Westernised and into drugs and rap and meaningless sex with no emotional commitment, and rioting and looting and torching and trashing just like any healthy Western teenagers''.

He replied generally that given the demographic destiny of France was already settled, one day the rioting ``youths'' would be on the beach at St Tropez, ``and if you and your infidel whore happen to be lying there wearing nothing but two coats of Ambre Solaire when they show up, you better hope that the BBC and CNN are right about there being no religio-ethno-cultural component to their `grievances'''.

As different as they are in execution and intent, these two books do attack the same shibboleth of multiculturalism, Harrison's implicitly, Steyn's explicitly. For the latter writer extreme multicultural policy is a yawning breach in the castle wall through which our enemies will charge. Steyn isn't silly enough to foretell of a new caliph, riding at the head of a vast army and sweeping across the plains of Europe. But he does see the possibility of a new caliphate stretching from Iberia to Arabia in a couple of generations, as demographic trends play out and old, Christian, rationalist Europe simply lies down and dies.

Harrison, on the other hand, is less alarmist, but no less willing to compromise on the idea that to succeed, some cultures must change so fundamentally that they would no longer be recognisable to their current inhabitants. It might be to outsiders, perhaps, who see exotic culture in terms of funny headdress or interesting little restaurants, but not to those who see themselves as keepers of the faith.

One of the strengths of the West, as widely defined, including even those Catholic countries with which Harrison finds fault, is that they remain open systems. Even Ireland, whose people were suffered to backwardness for centuries by the influence of the church, has drawn on countervailing Western cultural strengths, such as rationality and openness to critique, and has reformed. In the process the Irish have grown much wealthier but more tellingly, they have also become more confident, and no longer export their children around the world.

It may be that the assault on extreme multiculturalism, as personified by academics such as Shweder, has moved on from cultural warriors such as Steyn or the phalanx of reactionary opinionistas in this country who share his views but not his skill in expressing them. It may be that after 9/11 the true professionals have moved in on this debate, people such as Harrison and his researchers, whose work involves much more than cheap and obvious and very funny shots at easy targets like Shiek Taj Din al-Hilali.

For as tough as Steyn talks, or quips, it is professionals such as Harrison who will redefine the debate over multiculturalism, shining a hot, bright spotlight on its many faults as well as its demonstrated benefits.

The above article appeared in "The Australian" on April 5, 2007

U.K.: Prolonged daycare harms young kids

Children in full-time nursery care are more likely to display antisocial tendencies and anxiety than those who stay at home or attend part-time, a government study has found. An evaluation of a 370 million pound government neighbourhood nurseries scheme found that toddlers spending more than seven hours a day in daycare were more prone to be bossy, tease other children, stamp their feet, obstruct other playmates and get anxious when toys or refreshments were being handed round. The research, from the University of Oxford and the Institute for Fiscal Studies, has reignited the debate on whether overexposure to formal childcare is bad for children, and is likely to spark fresh concerns over whether government pressure on new parents to return to work is eroding family life.

The results coincided yesterday with a warning from teachers that children were in danger of becoming institutionalised as a result of government plans to offer "wraparound" daycare that would allow pupils to spend 50 hours a week in school. Under the Government's "extended services" agenda, all schools will have to open from 8am to 6pm to give state school pupils the same opportunities as those in the private sector.

Cecily Hanlon, a nursery level teacher from Leeds, questioned whether the policy was alienating children from their families. "It is possible to access full daycare from the age of three months and then spend most of childhood there," she told the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers in Bournemouth. "Will the extended schools agenda and the increasing provision of holiday pay schemes further erode family ties? Are parents being led to believe that the best thing for their children is to be in peer groups looked after by other people?"

Richard Martin, of Invicta Grammar School in Leeds, said the debate was not about criticising working parents. He supported a motion passed by the conference calling for more research on the effects of the Government's extended services policies. "It does worry me when you hear stories of infants of only a few months being cared for in a nursery for ten hours a day, five days a week, 48 weeks a year," he said. Shirley Crowther, of Sowerby village Church of England primary school in Calderdale, West Yorkshire, was concerned about the pressure on parents to use wraparound childcare. "It's the parents who should be wrapping their children in their loving arms and not expect other people to do it for them," she said.

But Alan Johnson, the Education Secretary, said that it was "ludicrous" to suggest that mothers were harming their children by going to work. Expanding childcare provision and subsidies was a way of ensuring that children from deprived backgrounds got the best start in life, he said. He did not accept that all mothers should stay at home to look after their children and said that two years of good early care could boost development by up to six months at the age of 5. "What we are trying to do is to ensure that parents, mothers in particular, have a choice . . . and have an opportunity to combine their professional life with other commitments," he said.

There has been a long line of reports suggesting that children who spend a long time in daycare are more likely to show behavioural problems. The latest study, led by Kathy Sylva and Sandra Mathers at the University of Oxford, examined 810 children in 100 neighbourhood nurseries and identified a "tipping point" in time spent at daycare for behavioural issues. Children who attended for 30 hours or more a week were rated as more antisocial, while children who attended for 35 hours or more displayed more worried and upset behaviour.

The report said that putting toddlers in mixed age groups was upsetting for the emotional adjustment of those aged under 3®. Teresa Smith, one of the report's principal researchers, said that parents should not be too anxious about the findings as there were some positives. Children who spent a long time in daycare tended to be more confident and sociable.


British "safety" fanaticism hurting kids

Hobby clubs have become victims of "heavy-handed" child protection rules, according to a report that has found that many are now closing their doors to young people. Some of the most popular clubs in Britain, which teach adults and children to fly model aeroplanes or climb mountains, routinely tell all under18s that they must be accompanied by a parent if they want to attend. They are also running out of volunteers prepared to coach younger people because of the mountain of checks and paper-work that are now required.

The research was conducted by the Manifesto Club, a group that campaigns against red tape, which examined how Britain's 780 model-aircraft clubs were coping with new child protection laws. Josie Appleton, author of the report, said that most of the clubs would not now allow children to attend without a parent in tow, and that this had led to a collapse in attendance among under-18s. "Clubs reported that the number of under18s attending has plummeted from about ten or twenty to one or two, or even none, following their decision to require parents to come too," Ms Appleton said. She said that the Government could not possibly achieve its ambition of getting more teenagers to join sports and hobby clubs unless it changed child protection laws.

The Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, which comes into force next year, requires hobby clubs to conduct Criminal Records Bureau checks on all coaches and volunteers, or face a fine of 5,000 pounds. They must also appoint a child welfare officer, who must be trained for the role. Coaches must complete forms on why they wish to work with children and provide two written references from "persons of responsibility" that must then be checked.

John Bridgett, a member of the Retford Model Flying Club in Nottinghamshire, said that almost all the under-18s had left his club. "Due to the ridiculous situation now, not only must parents remain with their children but they too must join as a member of our flying club," he said. "The net result is that junior membership has declined from fifteen down to one over a two-year period." Stuart McFarlane, the chairman of a flying club in Shropshire, said that no one was prepared to allow criminal-record checks, "hardly surprising when we discovered that the CRB had made a few mistakes and wrongly labelled people". He also said that no one was prepared to become a child welfare officer.

Ms Appleton said that although her research concentrated on model-aircraft clubs, other clubs were complaining bitterly. Young mountaineers, for example, were finding it difficult to find adults to accompany them on expeditions. Cameron McNeish, editor of The Great Outdoors magazine, said that it was virtually impossible to find volunteers to take young people mountaineering. "How do young people get experience of winter routes to-day? When I was a kid you joined a club and there was always someone who was willing to take young people out. Clubs don't do that any more as they are scared of the litigation and paedophilia angle."

The Manifesto Club started to examine the impact that the laws were having on hobby clubs after it was contacted by a number of model-aircraft flyers. "Over two or three years child protection policies have meant that flying clubs have closed their doors to children," the report concluded. "As clubs keep children out, and adults become wary of helping them, young people are deprived of experiences that would help them develop into adults."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


5 April, 2007

Leftist corruption of the term "Evangelical"

Rush Limbaugh has said “words mean things” for years, but what’s left out is that some definitions evolve and change over time. The intent of the radio talk giant’s oft-invoked principle is to delineate the boundaries for which words can and cannot be used, and then illustrate how certain words are misused — usually by the scourge of his being, liberals. For example, many leftists apply the term “racism” only to white people, usually conservatives. In explaining the true meaning of the word, Limbaugh shows why anybody is capable of it.

One classification that hasn’t really narrowed things down much — for decades, at least — is nevertheless the popular descriptor for most Americans’ faith: Christian. The term was first used for the followers of Jesus at Antioch, as recounted in the Book of Acts chapter 11. Today, far removed from that time when it had precise meaning, “Christian” can mean anything from devout adherent to simple do-gooder. Doctrinally and politically it distinguishes no one. For a long time there were names that differentiated groups within Christianity, with Protestant, Orthodox, Catholic, and Fundamentalist being a few.

Another category of Christian, however, is rapidly losing its traditional identity in our culture: Evangelical. While it never made distinctions on theological grounds, that term could always be counted upon to identify those Christians who are conservative, Protestant, culturally influential and outspoken about their faith. With recent developments, however, the defining elements of Evangelical may soon go the way of the much-encompassing Christian.

Why? Because some who purport to speak for all evangelicals are being sucked into marginal issues that are usually harped on by America-hating liberals. And because conservative Christians are allegedly being divided, the mainstream media is eating it up. In reality, what is happening is that journalists are hailing political frauds like Jim Wallis, who largely promotes “social justice” (in other words, socialism) through his organization Sojourners, as one of many who are supposedly taking evangelicalism in a new direction.

Not far behind in the media fanfare is their advocacy of the National Association of Evangelicals, which has adopted global warming alarmism as one key issue for emphasis. “Great scientists are people of imagination,” said Rev. Richard Cizik, the NAE’s vice president for governmental affairs. “So are people of great faith. We dare to imagine a world in which science and religion work together to reverse the degradation of creation. We will not allow it to be progressively destroyed by human folly.”

What NAE fails to envision is the potential for devastating economic setbacks in dozens of countries, if tax-raising, income-redistributive policies are implemented because of a theory that divides the scientific community. Similarly, NAE endorsed a statement on U.S. policies regarding the torture of detainees in the War on Terror, written by something called Evangelicals for Human Rights. “Tragically, documented acts of torture and of inhumane and cruel behavior have occurred at various sites in the U.S. war on terror,” the statement says, “and current law opens procedural loopholes for more to continue.”

The list of signatories to the statement, unsurprisingly, is no “Who’s Who” of recognized conservative Christian leaders; it’s more like a “Who’s That?” And Evangelicals for Human Rights defends itself preemptively on its Web site, claiming “any fair-minded review of the names of our drafters would have to say that we represent voices from the evangelical center-right, center and center-left.” Comforting, huh?

The mainstream media ignores such nuance, instead portraying conservative Christians as split, because it serves their liberal agenda to do so. They practice the same thing when they identify a liberal Republican or two as dissenters from the rest of the party, and then break news that the GOP is divided. The media allow the liberals’ dubious claim to “evangelical” to go unchallenged, because it gives them the controversy they crave, while weakening a powerful conservative entity they disdain.

One historical credo for traditional evangelicals is that they stand on the truth, first grounded in the Bible, and secondarily in measurable, incontrovertible evidence. Human-induced global warming doesn’t pass either test, and what constitutes unreasonable treatment for prisoners also bleeds into a massive grey area. If evangelical is allowed to go the way of Christian, we may need to develop yet another identifier. Conservagelical, anyone?


More British hot air

Pious talk, talk, talk, but no action -- when existing policies have clearly failed to protect Jewish students and supporters of Israel from Muslim and Leftist harassment

The government today strongly urged university vice-chancellors to meet MPs to discuss what can be done to stamp out anti-semitism on campuses. At the same time the communities minister Phil Woolas "urgently" referred the issue to the government's cross-department hate crime taskforce "to look at possible ways forward". Although the government has again said that it "deplores" any attempts to target Jewish students at British universities, it stepped back from recommending any new hardline measures against student or academic activities deemed to be anti-semitic.

Instead ministers, responding to a report on anti-semitism published last year by the all-party parliamentary inquiry, have reiterated that universities should adopt existing guidance from both the government and Universities UK, the organisation that represents vice-chancellors, on how to tackle hate crime and incidents involving extremist groups. The government also reminded university governing bodies that under race relations legislation they have a statutory duty to produce a race equality policy, which sets out how they intend to prevent racial discrimination and promote good race relations on campus.

Speaking to members of the all-party committee of MPs, ahead of today's response document, Mr Woolas said: "Open and public debate is one thing, but rhetoric with an undercurrent of hate and racism is quite another. Perhaps this is most worrying on university campuses." Campuses should be places for constructive dialogue and exchange of views where "differences and diversity" should be welcomed, he said. But he added: "There is increasing evidence of activities well beyond what could be labelled freedom of speech or normal youthful behaviour. These cross the line into anti-semitism. "It is not acceptable for Jewish students to be attacked in this way, either verbally or physically. And it is not acceptable for people to incite this kind of behaviour among students."

The government said it supported the all-party group's comment that any moves for UK universities to boycott links with academics working in Israel would be an attack on "academic freedom and intellectual exchange". The government also backed MPs who were opposed to any moves to "de-legitimise Jewish societies on campus". The report also agreed with the party's conclusions that while the issue of anti-semitism is taken seriously by universities the "practice is not consistent across the sector."

But the government failed to endorse the European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia's (EUMC) definition of anti-semitism on the grounds that it was a "work in progress." The EUMC, now the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, defines anti-semitism as the expression of hatred towards Jews, their property and Jewish community institutions and religious facilities. More contentiously, it adds "such manifestations could also target the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity".

The Union of Jewish Students' campaign director, Mitch Simmons, said the government report was a "major step and valuable". But he was disappointed that the government and MPs had failed to address the issue that some universities fail to take up incidents of anti-semitism raised by the student union because they believe the organisation is separate to the university. He said: "Some universities think that the student union is a separate body to the university and as such when something happens in the student union the university will say that it isn't covered by its guidelines. "The other problem which was not addressed is that student unions are not recognised as public organisations and as such are not included under the Race Relations Amendment Act." He added: "On a lot of campuses the university will work with the student union but really it's quite diverse and haphazard - in some places it works very well and in others it is dreadful. I can't say I'm disappointed with today's response but it's irritating that they haven't been thinking 'outside the box'."

The president of UUK, Prof Drummond Bone, said universities were already "playing an active part in strengthening community cohesion - this involves combating all forms of intolerance on campus, including anti-semitism". He added: "Universities have a legal obligation to ensure academic freedom. In the rare instances where this freedom is being abused to discriminate against one particular race or religion, our institutions take firm action. This will include working with police and other authorities where, and if, necessary." He said its guidance, Promoting Good Campus relations: dealing with hate crimes and intolerance, and advice published by the Department for Education and Skills provide universities with "practical and useful information", which was "robust" and had been widely circulated and used.


A British ignoramus

And a privately educated one at that. The ignoramus was even more ill-informed than she seemed, however. Eggs and rabbits are associated with Easter because Easter is a Christian adoption of an old pagan fertility celebration. Eggs=Fertility; Rabbits=Fertility. Rather obvious, isn't it? Christ expected his followers to celebrate Passover, not Easter (1 Corinthians 11:25)

A supermarket chain got itself into a huge muddle over the meaning of Easter yesterday in its attempt to sell more chocolate eggs. “Brits are set to spend a massive 520 million pounds on Easter eggs this year — but many young people don’t even know what Easter’s all about,” said the press release from Somerfield after a survey. It then went on to claim that the tradition of giving Easter eggs was to celebrate the “birth” of Christ. An amended version changed this to the “rebirth” of Christ. Finally a third press release accepted Church teaching that Easter celebrated the resurrection of Christ.

The press release was written by Hayley Booth, 30, of the PR agency Brando. Ms Booth, who was privately educated, told The Times that she had corrected the release as soon as she became aware of the error. An explanatory note on her second release read: “Please find below the amended story revealing Britons’ mounting ignorance regarding Easter. Note the references to rebirth (not birth) as previously stated. Apologies for any confusion.” Hurried consultations with the Church of England followed and Brando finally issued a correct release.

Pete Williams, head of PR at Somerfield, said: “We spoke to the Church of England press office, who suggested we use the word resurrection, in keeping with the Church’s teaching. We were happy to do that.” Ben Wilson, in the Church of England press office, said: “It was a genuine mistake, if a rather unfortunate one. I clarified with them that it would probably be best to refer to Easter as a celebration of Christ’s resurrection rather than His birth.” It has been suggested that Easter eggs represent the stone rolled in front of Jesus’s tomb. But the tradition has pre-Christian roots: in ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Persia eggs were dyed for spring festivals.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


4 April, 2007

The new politically correct British police force is actually an office-worker force

Only one in 40 police officers on duty in some forces is available to respond to 999 calls, according to a study published yesterday. The report, from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), found that only 2.5 per cent of uniformed officers in one area were allocated to "response duties". This meant that out of 800 officers at work only 20 were free for emergency response, which included patrolling alcohol-scarred towns and cities at night. In another force, which was also unnamed, 50 officers were on duty but only three - six per cent - were allocated to "incident management".

The HMIC findings, in a report entitled Beyond the Call, will reignite the debate over bureaucracy and station-bound duties which keep the vast majority of the record 140,000 officers in England and Wales off the streets. The inspectorate now plans a study of bureaucracy, including a look at concerns that not enough experienced constables and sergeants are available to supervise a front-line presence of probationers and newly-qualified officers.

Yesterday's report found that some patrol officers failed to make good use of their time on duty unless closely supervised by their sergeant. This was a "highly inefficient use of scarce resources", it said. It also found difficulties in the way forces handle the flood of 999 calls, which has risen steadily in recent years. It showed that police dispatchers routinely downgraded emergency calls. HM inspectors were told that patrol officers sometimes questioned why they were being sent on some calls. Some officers even failed to respond.

"In some cases, where patrols do not respond or make themselves unavailable, dispatch or control staff admit that they downgrade incidents in order to alleviate pressure on themselves," it said. "In other cases, they upgrade non-emergency incidents in the knowledge that only immediate and priority calls will have any chance of being resourced." The extent to which the police deal with callers only by telephone also emerged.

The report encouraged "telephone resolution" but warned that it has to be carried out in a way that does not leave the public dissatisfied. "A number of forces have developed strategies around telephone resolution, thereby releasing valuable resources to engage in emergency response or in longer-term, pro-active problem-solving initiatives," it said. "Some eight million incidents per year are being resolved without officer attendance."

The inspectors, who looked at 999 calls and other calls to police, amounting to 67 million a year, also criticised the way officers kept victims updated about progress on investigating crimes. Their report suggested continuing to use technology such as text messages and the internet to make improvements.

Police in England and Wales deal with 33 million incidents a year. Of those, 17 per cent are classed as emergencies requiring an immediate response, with 20 per cent as "priorities" requiring a response within the hour.

Yesterday's findings echo the conclusions of independent research for the Police Federation, and reported recently in The Daily Telegraph, that as few as three uniformed police officers were available to patrol the streets, respond to 999 calls and tackle night-time disorder in some towns. The federation research showed that officers were heavily diverted into work to meet Home Office targets and provide the Government with statistics.

David Davis, the shadow home secretary, said: "These alarming statistics prove what we have been saying all along - that as a result of constant Government interference and diktats our police are operating nowhere near as efficiently as they could."

The Liberal Democrat home affair spokesman, Nick Clegg, said: "This is what comes from tying up police officers in reams of paperwork and Government tick-box bureaucracy. Both the police and the public want our police officers ready and able to respond to emergency calls, not locked in a station filling out forms."


But the new politically correct British police have still got plenty of time to waste on nonsense like this:

A father launched a furious attack against the police yesterday for investigating claims that his 10-year-old son had called a schoolfriend "gay" in an email. Company director Alan Rawlinson said he was astounded after two police officers arrived at his home in Bold Heath, Cheshire, to speak to his son George. The officers were called after a complaint from the parent of another boy at his son's school in Widnes.

"They told me they considered it a very serious offence," said Mr Rawlinson, 41. "I thought they were joking at first. I am furious about what has happened. It just seems the politically correct brigade is taking over."

But Inspector Nick Bailey of Cheshire Constabulary defended the decision: "The matter was reported to police as the parents of the boy believed it was more sinister than just a schoolyard prank." He said that they would not be pursuing the complaint any further, commenting: "We would be hard-pushed to say this is a homophobic crime."


The problem with banning words

If people don't like the thing or group concerned, even permitted words used to describe it will soon become derogatory too.

New York New York, so good they named it twice, led the world for most of the last century and is clearly determined to stay ahead. It has blazed a new trail. It has banned a word. Just as you may not paint your New York cab any colour but yellow, or appear on New York television with bad teeth, so you may no longer use the word "nigger". The other words in my merry little song are fine, apparently, but not nigger. Nigger is just too insulting.

The English language has never lacked insults. Consider the development of "queer". Because it meant odd, it was applied to homosexuals. And because a lot of people were upset by homosexuality, the word queer became an insult. Homosexuals then decided they'd like to be called something more cheerful, so they appropriated the word "gay". Inevitably the same thing happened. Gay lost its former connotations and became a synonym for homosexual. And for people who were upset by homosexuality, it too became an insult.

But that's not the end of it. Gay has since moved on. The young now use gay to describe anything they don't like. In the language of a 15-year-old, "don't be gay" has lost all suggestion of homosexuality. Meanwhile, the word queer has become acceptable. Queer eye for the straight guy is now mainstream language. Queer is no longer pejorative. The point is that meaning shifts. It shifts constantly and unpredictably and history shows that it is beyond the power of any authority to control it. Nevertheless, the city fathers of New York are trying to control it.

I presume that they have banned "nigger" because it recalls the slave trade, and the apartheid that was practised in the southern states till well into my life time. Nigger derives from the Latin for black. New Yorkers are still allowed to use the word "black", but even that is frowned on. The term du jour is African American. As it happens, most African Americans are about as African as I am. For sure their ancestors came from Africa, but so, if you go back far enough, did mine. Like me, most African Americans have long since got used to living elsewhere, and like me, most African Americans have never been to Africa. But African American it is. And using that term instead of nigger or black will not reduce prejudice one jot. Indeed, if prejudice persists, it won't be long before the term African American becomes as offensive as nigger.

The authorities are guilty of three fundamental errors. First they are inconsistent. If nigger is to be outlawed so should every insult in my song, along with a million others, including ginge, chubbychops and motor racing fan. Second, and more importantly, the authorities have confused the word with the attitude. Words embody what is in people's heads, rather than the other way round. The fault never lies in the word. It lies in the heads. Third, and even more importantly, the authorities are trying to control thought by limiting language. They will fail but the precedent is dangerous. I do not want to use the word nigger but it is essential that I make for myself the decision not to use it. If I am legally banned from using it my autonomy is reduced. I am forced into a straitjacket of verbal orthodoxy. Have the New York authorities never read 1984?

Several New Yorkers have already fallen foul of the law. Most are black rap singers, who have adopted the word nigger ironically. Authorities never cope with irony.

Words have been banned before. In dynastic China you were not allowed to speak the Emperor's name. The penalty for doing so was death by slicing - which took a while. Now, if you say nigger in New York you will not be sliced to death. At present there is no penalty specified. But New York authorities are pushing for rappers who say nigger to be barred from the Grammy awards. If they succeed, who knows what will happen? Today, no Grammy, tomorrow, no passport, and the day after a trip to a re- education camp in Guantanamo Bay? This law will do nothing to reduce racial prejudice. And it is capable of leading to far worse.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


3 April, 2007

Carl Cohen pisses into the wind

I agree with Prof. Cohen's statements below but why he thought it would do some good to address them to President Mary Sue Coleman of the University of Michigan rather perplexes me. He must have little understanding of the compulsions that drive his fellow academics. I am sure Mary Sue does, though. Post below lifted from Keith Burgess Jackson's blog -- which see for links

As a defense of race preference, the alleged compelling need for racial diversity is entirely without merit. That defense has been advanced and accepted only because there is no other way, under the U. S. Constitution, to rescue the drive to expiate white guilt. We are told repeatedly, by people who seem not to fear embarrassing themselves, that diversity is the very heart of educational excellence. The compensatory payments by race that cannot otherwise be defended are saved by a dreadful argument.

That the diversity defense is no more than a stratagem is made manifest by the history of this controversy. Diversity was hardly ever mentioned until the compensatory justification was thrown out by the courts. The evidence in the Michigan cases (Grutter and Gratz) exposes and highlights the ruse. If a "critical mass" of minority students (what was claimed to be a compelling need) in the black minority requires, let us say, 50 blacks among the entering law school class, how can it be that only 25 are needed for a critical mass of Hispanics? And only five for a critical mass of Native Americans! I wish not to offend, President Coleman, but candor compels the admission that all our talk about using preference to achieve a "critical mass" of students in each minority for the sake of educational excellence is-in the words of four members of our Supreme Court-a "sham." It is a device, the only device available with which we can continue to satisfy the inner compulsions of white guilt.

(Carl Cohen, "Open Letter to the President of My University," Academic Questions 19 [fall 2006]: 78-82, at 80-1 [italics in original])

Re-educating Jihadis?

The Saudi way

Abu Suleiman fought with Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and endured more than four years' captivity in Guantanamo Bay. But now, thanks to an extraordinary experiment in his native Saudi Arabia, he has been reintegrated into society. Aged 33, he recently married, has a job as an analyst for a stockbroker and is full of regret for his past. His conversion from jihadist to model citizen is part of a re-education campaign in the birthplace of al-Qaeda, where hundreds of Islamic terrorist suspects are being released into society after intense indoctrination to lead them back into Islam's mainstream. "I prefer to forget what happened to me in the past - it destroyed my life," said the reformed militant who speaks English learnt from his American military jailers.

His story is typical of hundreds of young Saudi men who have been drawn to the cause of militant Islam. At 20 he left home to join the Mujahidin and went to the Philippines before settling in Afghanistan, where he fought alongside bin Laden until the final battle in late 2001 at Tora Bora, the al-Qaeda mountain stronghold. "He [bin Laden] was a quiet guy but he could create magic when he talked," said Abu Suleiman, who asked not to be identified by his real name. As the battle intensified, the young Saudi recalled that bin Laden was the first to flee the area, escaping to the Afghan province of Gardez. Abu Suleiman and many others were captured by Pakistani forces, who handed him over to the Americans.

The former jihadi admitted that when he was sent home last year, among 65 Saudis repatriated from Guantanamo, he feared the worst. The kingdom has a poor human rights record and opponents of the regime can languish in jail for years, suffer torture and even face the death penalty. Instead, according to Abdulrahman al-Hadlaq, head of the rehabilitation programme, Abu Suleiman became one of more than 700 Saudi militants who have been set free after volunteering to be reeducated. Only nine have since reoffended. "We have found that military action is not the only solution to this problem," Mr al-Hadlaq said. "We are waging a war of ideas."

The multimillion-pound programme employs dozens of clerics, psychiatrists and other specialists, who try to persuade the young men that their behaviour goes against the fundamental teachings of Islam.Once free, the Government helps former inmates to find work and in some cases even a wife.

Arguably the toughest job falls to people such as Sheikh Muhammad al-Najeemi, who is in charge of religious indoctrination. He tells the men that jihad (holy war) is admissible in Islam only if it is waged with the consent of the country's leader, the permission of both parents and if a fatwa (religious decree) is issued. It can take weeks to convince a prisoner. "Sometimes you have tough questions to answer, like why was it permitted to wage jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan but not the Americans," said Sheikh Muhammad. He explains that the situation is different. The Soviet Union conquered Afghanistan and imposed a communist, atheist regime. Saudi Arabia encouraged men to go and fight, but today Riyadh supports the Islamic Government in Kabul.

Western diplomats in Saudi Arabia are impressed with the campaign, which they say has contributed to the defeat of al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia. Four years ago, when the group launched a wave of attacks against government targets, scores of people were killed. Western workers fled in their thousands. The authorities struggled to cope and there were doubts about the regime's survival. Today, the expatriates are back, the atmosphere in Riyadh, the capital, is relaxed and the number of terrorist incidents has declined sharply.

Nevertheless, a hard core of the estimated 1,400 security detainees has refused to enter the reeducation programme. Many are takfirs, Muslim fanatics who do not consider Arab states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan true Islamic nations and therefore justify killing fellow Muslims. Clerics admit that it is difficult to win a theological debate against what they describe as an irrational ideology. "We are winning, but it is a very slow. It is going to take a few more years," said Mr al-Hadlaq.


The perennial incorrectness of attractive women

The film star Russell Crowe is facing a backlash from male fans after bowing to pressure from his wife and sacking scantily clad cheerleaders from his rugby league team in Australia. Crowe, 41, best known for macho roles in films such as Gladiator and Cinderella Man, banned the pompom-twirling cheerleaders from his South Sydney Rabbitohs team, in which he bought a 75% stake last year, because his wife Danielle, 37, disapproved of them. Crowe presented his decision as a "progressive" move for the game. Cheerleaders "make women feel uncomfortable", he said, "and it makes blokes who want to take their sons to the football uncomfortable".

A "multicultural" band of 16 male and female drummers replaced the cheerleaders at last Sunday's match in Sydney's Telstra stadium. "We examined game day and wanted to contemporise and make the focus football," explained Crowe. "The whole idea of percussion will be exciting for the crowd." As the players ran on, the drummers beat out an accompaniment that sounded like tribal war drums. But they idled on the sidelines for much of the match, occasionally building up a chant.

Their performance split the sexes. While 59% of women in a poll on the Sydney Daily Telegraph website agreed that the pompom girls should go, 61% of men gave the drummers the thumbs down. "I've been to so many games when Souths are getting crushed," said David Reynolds, a fan, "and there's nothing better than seeking solace in a bunch of beautiful girls to take your mind off the debacle." The only consolation for the pompom girls was to see themselves on the YouTube website, where hundreds of videos pay homage to their technique.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


2 April, 2007

Brussels Prosecutes Aramaic Priest and Fugitive for Islamophobia

One of the rare Belgian churches that is packed every weekend is the church of Saint Anthony of Padova in Montignies-sur-Sambre, one of the poorest suburbs of Charleroi, a derelict rust belt area to the south of Brussels. Holy Mass in Montignies is conducted in Latin and lasts up to four hours. Yesterday over 2,000 people attended the service by Father Samuel (Pere Samuel). The priest's sermon dealt with his persecution. The Belgian authorities are bringing the popular priest to court on charges of racism.

Father Samuel has been prosecuted for "incitement to racist hatred" by the Belgian government's inquisition agency, the so-called Centre for Equal Opportunities and Opposition to Racism (CEOOR), because of a remark he made in a 2002 television interview when he said:

"Every thoroughly islamized Muslim child that is born in Europe is a time bomb for Western children in the future. The latter will be persecuted when they have become a minority."

Last Thursday the Belgian judiciary decided that the priest will have to stand trial before the penal court in Charleroi. He reacted by repeating his time bomb statement and added that he would be honoured if he had to go to jail for speaking his mind. He added that Jesus, too, had been convicted. During yesterday's sermon he called upon the faithful to accompany him to court. "We will turn this into an excursion, driving there in full buses."

Father Samuel's passport gives his name as Charles-Cl‚ment Boniface. That is not entirely correct. He was born in 1942 in Midyat, Turkey, as Samuel Ozdemir. The latter is a surname the priest dislikes because, he explains, it was imposed on his family by the Turks. Samuel was a Christian: "At home we spoke Aramaic, the language of Jesus." The Aramaics are a Catholic minority in Syria and Turkey. They speak an old Semitic language, which Jesus and the apostles used and which Mel Gibson had his actors use in his movie The Passion of the Christ.

Young Samuel became a Catholic priest. In the mid-1970s he fled to Belgium, claiming that the Aramaic Christians were being persecuted in Turkey. He became a Belgian and adopted the surname of Boniface - "he who does good things." He was appointed to the diocese of Tournai, but soon became caught up in the culture war between Christians and secularists. Tournai is a thoroughly secularised, modernist diocese. Father Samuel clashed with the bishop, who suspended him in 2001. He then bought the St-Antoine-de-Padoue church in Montignies-sur-Sambre. There he conducts the Mass according to the traditional rites of the Catholic Church.

Hundreds of faithful from all over the country and even from the north of France attend Sunday Mass in Montignies-sur-Sambre. The congregation includes African immigrants, a large number of young people and many young families with small children. In his sermons and on his website Father Samuel speaks out against secularism, but also fights on another front of the three-way culture war, warning against "the islamic invasion" of the West. He says he has witnessed in Turkey what the future has in store for Europe. He claims Muslims are invading Europe and warns for an impending civil war. According to Father Samuel "so-called moderate Muslims do not exist."


The enslavement of history

The abolition of Britain's part in the slave trade was one of the most principled and inspiring events in this country's history. Yesterday's 200th anniversary of the Act that banned slavery in the British Empire should have been an occasion of national congratulation. But from the orgy of breast-beating which has marked it, you would have thought instead that this country had actually invented slavery rather than played such a historic role in stopping it.

Tony Blair said yesterday that slavery was among history's most 'shameful enterprises' and that Britain's participation was a matter of `deep sorrow and regret'. A national memorial service is to be held at Westminster Abbey tomorrow. An exhibition entitled Resistance And Remembrance is being held at the British Museum.

The church seems hardly to stop apologising for its part in the slave trade. The BBC, which has been running programmes about slavery for weeks, could barely contain its excitement at the opportunity for so much Britain-bashing. And people walked from Hull to London in chains or wooden yokes and wearing T-shirts bearing the legend `So sorry'.

But apparently Britain had not scourged itself sufficiently for its past iniquity. The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, yesterday said the Prime Minister should make a formal apology for the slave trade and criticised him for not going far enough. The Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Amos, told a commemorative event in Ghana that the slave trade was one of the UK's most 'shameful and uncomfortable chapters'. More perversely still, the Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, drew a link between slavery and the murder of black teenager Anthony Walker at the hands of racist thugs. The more he studied history, said the bishop, the more he believed `that our racism is rooted in the dehumanising treatment of black people by white people'. So a country which had led the way in abolishing slavery was now being damned as racist because, 200 years previously, it had taken part in it.

Bishop Jones should surely study history a little more. Yes, slavery was and is an evil. Yes, Britain did participate in it. But so did a host of other countries for whom slavery was until then an accepted and unchallenged way of life. The whole point of this anniversary was that Britain took a historic lead in challenging and stopping it. This initiative, which sprang from Christian principles about the equality and dignity of every human being, gave the lead for other similar movements against slavery around the western world. Furthermore, it did not merely abolish the British slave trade, but provided the template for a host of other social reform movements during the 19th century, from the democratic franchise to votes for women and the abolition of child labour, along with the great campaigns against poverty, drinking and prostitution.

The anti-slavery movement was thus nothing less than the motor of social justice and decency with which Britain came to be identified. It forged a sense of collective conscience, encapsulating the belief that society could be changed for the better and evil deeds resisted - the belief which lies at the very heart of progressive politics and a civilised society.

Yet this country seems to find it impossible to celebrate its achievements; impossible to take pride in anything in its past. It seems only to want to denigrate itself at every opportunity. And to do so it rewrites history. The very mention of the term `British Empire' seems to drive certain people wild. They appear to think that the Empire produced only bad things, and that all bad things started with the Empire.

But the assumption that the slave trade started with Britain's colonial adventures is simply false, as is the related belief that it involved only black victims of white slave-traders. Slavery is as old as human history, involving many different societies. In ancient times the Greeks, the Romans and the Egyptians were all at it. Many slave-traders were in fact black and some of the slaves were white. The Arab slave trade, which stretched from Saharan Africa across the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, pre-dated and was more longstanding than the European trade across the Atlantic. There were also African slavetraders, particularly in East Africa, which was a fertile market for slaves sold to the Middle East and elsewhere.

Yet for decades, British schoolchildren have been taught that black people were only ever victims and white people only ever oppressors. Such distortion has bred division and resentment and given rise to an unending clamour for apology - and even for financial compensation. Across the world, the demand by black lobby groups for reparations for the slave trade amounts to an eyewatering $777 trillion.

But who precisely is to compensate whom, and for what? No one is alive today who profited from the transatlantic slave trade, or who personally suffered from it. Yet whole cities are being told to make amends, as indeed is the whole of Britain. Well, why stop there? Shouldn't we demand that the Greeks, Egyptians or Italians (on behalf of the Romans, who sadly are no longer with us to take their share of the blame) apologise for all the people they enslaved around the world? Shouldn't the Scandinavians say sorry to us for the rape and pillage of ancient Britain by the Vikings? Or how about the Queen making reparations to the Catholics for the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in the 16th century? Shouldn't we all simply apologise to everyone for everything that has ever happened?

The absurdity of all this was underlined when David Pott, one of those who walked to London in chains and who has taken it upon himself to apologise to Africa for Britain's part in slavery, acknowledged on BBC Radio Four's Moral Maze that he was aware he had thus apologised to the descendants of African slave-traders as well as slaves. But this was only right and proper, he said, because unlike the colonial British, the black slave-traders had no option but to buy and sell slaves.

This attitude, which utterly demeans black people by stripping them of equal responsibility for their own actions, fuels the wider culture of victimhood which ludicrously blames slavery for absent black fathers, black gang culture or even black-on-black crime.

To their credit, many black people refuse to go along with such a grotesque excuse, realising that it traps them in a culture of resentment which prevents them from making progress. And it has taken an Asian cleric, Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali, to point out that if a civilisation is constantly denigrated in this way, its virtues will eventually be destroyed.

Slavery has not disappeared. It exists today all over the world. In the Sudan, where Africans are enslaved by the Islamic government; in Mauritania, where Muslims enslave other Muslims; and in Eastern Europe, where millions of women and children are trafficked - and from where they are sold into prostitution, shamefully, in 'slave auctions' at Britain's very own airports.

Slavery has been turned into yet another attack upon the West. But it should not divide us in this way. It is an evil that still exists throughout the world; and all decent people, of all colours and creeds, should unite to fight it - just as our ancestors did 200 years ago.


Stupid ACLU tokenism

What does it matter if a cop uses a baton or a flashlight to slow down a suspect?

We read:

LOS ANGELES police have unveiled their latest tool in the fight against crime - a flashlight powerful enough to stun suspects but too lightweight to beat them with. The new flashlight, developed specifically for the Los Angeles Police Department and expected to be acquired by police forces around the world, replaces the heavy 13-inch (33-cm) metal flashlights controversially used by city officers to strike a car theft suspect three years ago...

The American Civil Liberties Union welcomed the new flashlights, which were purchased by the city for $1 million and will be distributed to all LAPD officers starting in June. "The LAPD's swift response shows what can happen when police seek innovative solutions to reduce misconduct. The old flashlight sent the wrong message to the community, and the new, smaller version can be a powerful symbol of the department's commitment to reform," ACLU executive director Ramona Ripston said.

But I guess batons will now be forbidden too. Must make it easy for crooks!


Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


1 April, 2007

Is the American experiment dead?

King George III would be so proud. He and his aristocratic friends laughed at America’s quaint “experiment” with self-government. To them it was unthinkable that common people were enlightened enough to rule themselves. Today that experiment is the envy of a world where people in fewer than 100 countries live under democratic governments. Yet here in the United States, old King George may yet be right.

Astonishingly, today’s Americans expect government to care for us from cradle to grave, the way commoners once expected a benevolent king to care for his subjects. We treat people as members of groups rather than as individuals, insidiously devolving into the very class system against which the founders rebelled. In a deeply disturbing sense, Americans are voluntarily surrendering the very freedoms that millions fought and died to establish and protect. James Garfield once said the most common form of death in politics is suicide. After a noble 225 year history, is the American experiment dying at the hands of its own people?

Many of the “long train of abuses” that led to our rebellion from the British Crown in 1776 are eerily similar to our own government’s excesses. The Declaration of Independence listed a host of grievances against the King that are all too familiar today. The authors accused the King of refusing “his assent to laws… necessary for the public good,” of forbidding locals to pass laws “of immediate and pressing importance,” even of dissolving local representative bodies. How different is that from today’s “supreme” federal system that routinely over-rides local and state laws, especially by federal court orders and “constitutional” rulings based on premises not in the Constitution? The Crown had “obstructed the administration of justice” by controlling judges’ tenure and salaries; today’s government does so by empowering judges to usurp legislative powers -- to make up new laws rather than interpret laws passed by the people’s representatives. It is a more modern technique, but with the same anti-democratic result

King George had “erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.” In 2007 the federal government has more than 4 million employees and costs taxpayers almost 3 trillion dollars a year. The King “combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution,” much as modern leaders compromise our sovereignty to institutions like the UN, international courts, and foreign trade commissions.

The founders said government should protect private property, but today’s Supreme Court lets government take private property and sell to developers, take away the value of land by denying the right to use it, and force landowners to give their land for endangered species habitat, parks, trails, and “open space.” The first “inalienable right” in our Declaration was the right to life, but today’s courts prohibit states from protecting it. If we still believe “all men are created equal,” how can we justify racial preferences in school admission, government contracts and congressional re-apportionment? Freedom of speech is central to the Bill of Rights, but Congressmen now deny that right to those who want to speak about them, or other candidates, like politically correct thought police.

“The policy of the federal government,” wrote President Jefferson, “is to leave her citizens free -- neither aiding nor restraining them in their pursuits.” Today, we are not allowed to plan our own retirement, design our own health insurance, or even devise our own children’s education. The endless intrusion reaches every facet of our lives from where we can hike in the woods to how our hamburgers must be cooked. Both parties instinctively look to government as the first answer to all problems. Even Republicans propose solving issues like illegal immigration by hiring 30,000 new federal employees.

There is one crucial difference: unlike our colonial ancestors, contemporary Americans voluntarily agreed to all these usurpations with their votes. We have been warned frequently to be alert. In 1835 Tocqueville wrote, “the American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public's money.” Sadly, that day has long since come.

We are left with an unresponsive government millions of Americans do not recognize as theirs, or feel moral obligation to support. That trend could be the death knell of the founders’ ideas. It is not too late to rediscover our “experiment” in self-government, but Americans must first decide whether they care.


"Is Your Baby Gay?" article sparks furor

The president of the leading Southern Baptist seminary has incurred sharp attacks from both the left and right by suggesting that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven and that prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified. The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., one of the country's pre-eminent evangelical leaders, acknowledged that he irked many fellow conservatives with an article earlier this month saying scientific research "points to some level of biological causation" for homosexuality.

Proof of a biological basis would challenge the belief of many conservative Christians that homosexuality, which they view as sinful, is a matter of choice that can be overcome through prayer and counseling.

However, Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., was assailed even more harshly by gay rights supporters. They were upset by his assertion that homosexuality would remain a sin even if it were biologically based and by his support for possible medical treatment that could switch an unborn gay baby's sexual orientation to heterosexual. "He's willing to play God," said Harry Knox, a spokesman on religious issues for the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay rights group. "He's more than willing to let homophobia take over and be the determinant of how he responds to this issue, in spite of everything else he believes about not tinkering with the unborn."

Mohler said he was aware of the invective being directed at him on gay rights blogs, where some participants have likened him to Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor notorious for death-camp experimentation. "I wonder if people actually read what I wrote," he said in a phone interview. "But I wrote the article intending to start a conversation, and I think I've been successful at that."

The article, published March 2 on Mohler's personal Web site, carried a long but intriguing title: "Is Your Baby Gay? What If You Could Know? What If You Could Do Something About It?" Mohler began by summarizing some recent research into sexual orientation and advising his Christian readership that they should brace for the possibility that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven. Mohler wrote that such proof would not alter the Bible's condemnation of homosexuality but said the discovery would be "of great pastoral significance, allowing for a greater understanding of why certain persons struggle with these particular sexual temptations."

Mohler said he would strongly oppose any move to encourage abortion or genetic manipulation of fetuses on grounds of sexual orientation, but he would endorse prenatal hormonal treatment, if such a technology were developed, to reverse homosexuality. He said this would no different, in moral terms, to using technology that would restore vision to a blind fetus. "I realize this sounds very offensive to homosexuals, but it's the only way a Christian can look at it," Mohler said. "We should have no more problem with that than treating any medical problem."

Mohler's argument was endorsed by a prominent Roman Catholic thinker, the Rev. Joseph Fessio, provost of Ave Maria University in Naples, Fla., and editor of Ignatius Press, Pope Benedict XVI's U.S. publisher. "Same-sex activity is considered disordered," Fessio said. "If there are ways of detecting diseases or disorders of children in the womb, and a way of treating them that respected the dignity of the child and mother, it would be a wonderful advancement of science."


Australia: Parents told kids' homosexual talk should start at age three

PARENTS should teach their children about gay relationships from the age of three or four, an expert says. But one family group says any attempt to normalise homosexuality is little more than a recruitment drive. Pop idol Anthony Callea, 24, this week announced he was gay, prompting a flood of support - and some shock - from fans.

Deakin University health and education lecturer Dr Maria Pallotta-Chiarolli said children as young as 13 were coming out. The author of When Our Children Come Out: How to support gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered young people, said parents should tell their children there was nothing wrong with same-sex relationships. That way, if they were gay, children would feel comfortable coming out to friends and family. She said that by contrast, families in which parents condemned homosexuality often struggled to cope.

Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli advises parents to raise the issue when children are three or four. She did not advocate raising the sexual aspect, just a simple explanation of male-male and female-female relationships.

Family Council of Victoria secretary Bill Muehlenberg said young children didn't need to know about homosexuality. He said just as you wouldn't tell children an adult was a heroin addict, you wouldn't tell them someone was gay. Mr Muehlenberg said attempts to educate children about homosexuality were little more than a recruitment drive.

Family First leader Senator Steve Fielding said it was inappropriate for parents to discuss such issues with three or four-year-olds. Focus on the Family CEO Andrew Boutros said children aged three to four were too young to hear about homosexuality. "We have concerns about whether a child aged three or four would be able to understand the concept of a gay relationship, let alone the moral issues associated," he said.

Melbourne-raised Nigel Giles, 41, who came out when he was about 20, agrees with Dr Pallotta-Chiarolli. Homosexuality wasn't discussed when he was a child, but his family was supportive. "If I'd grown up in a society where homosexuality wasn't demonised and marginalised, I wouldn't have had any problems. It's as simple as that," Mr Giles said.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.