The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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31 May, 2007

Marriage in America: The frayed knot

As the divorce rate plummets at the top of American society and rises at the bottom, the widening “marriage gap” is breeding inequality

THE students at West Virginia University don't want you to think they take life too seriously. It is the third-best “party school” in America, according to the Princeton Review's annual ranking of such things, and comes a creditable fifth in the “lots of beer” category. Booze sometimes causes students' clothes to fall off. Those who wake up garmentless after a hook-up endure the “walk of shame”, trudging back to their own dormitories in an obviously borrowed football shirt, stirring up gossip with every step.

And yet, for all their protestations of wildness, the students are a serious-minded bunch. Yes, they have pre-marital sex. “I don't see how it's a bad thing,” says Ashley, an 18-year-old studying criminology. But they are careful not to fall pregnant. It would be “a major disaster,” says Ashley. She has plans. She wants to finish her degree, go to the FBI academy in Virginia and then start a career as a “profiler” helping to catch dangerous criminals. She wants to get married when she is about 24, and have children perhaps at 26. She thinks having children out of wedlock is not wrong, but unwise.

A few blocks away, in a soup kitchen attached to a church, another 18-year-old balances a baby on her knee. Laura has a less planned approach to parenthood. “It just happened,” she says. The father and she were “never really together”, merely “friends with benefits, I guess”. He is now gone. “I didn't want to put up with his stuff,” she says. “Drugs and stuff,” she adds, by way of explanation.

There is a widening gulf between how the best- and least-educated Americans approach marriage and child-rearing. Among the elite (excluding film stars), the nuclear family is holding up quite well. Only 4% of the children of mothers with college degrees are born out of wedlock. And the divorce rate among college-educated women has plummeted. Of those who first tied the knot between 1975 and 1979, 29% were divorced within ten years. Among those who first married between 1990 and 1994, only 16.5% were.

At the bottom of the education scale, the picture is reversed. Among high-school dropouts, the divorce rate rose from 38% for those who first married in 1975-79 to 46% for those who first married in 1990-94. Among those with a high school diploma but no college, it rose from 35% to 38%. And these figures are only part of the story. Many mothers avoid divorce by never marrying in the first place. The out-of-wedlock birth rate among women who drop out of high school is 15%. Among African-Americans, it is a staggering 67%.

Does this matter? Kay Hymowitz of the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think-tank, says it does. In her book “Marriage and Caste in America”, she argues that the “marriage gap” is the chief source of the country's notorious and widening inequality. Middle-class kids growing up with two biological parents are “socialised for success”. They do better in school, get better jobs and go on to create intact families of their own. Children of single parents or broken families do worse in school, get worse jobs and go on to have children out of wedlock. This makes it more likely that those born near the top or the bottom will stay where they started. America, argues Ms Hymowitz, is turning into “a nation of separate and unequal families”.

A large majority—92%—of children whose families make more than $75,000 a year live with two parents (including step-parents). At the bottom of the income scale—families earning less than $15,000—only 20% of children live with two parents. One might imagine that this gap arises simply because two breadwinners earn more than one. A single mother would have to be unusually talented and diligent to make as much as $75,000 while also raising children on her own. And it is impossible in America for two full-time, year-round workers to earn less than $15,000 between them, unless they are (illegally) paid less than the minimum wage.

But there is more to it than this. Marriage itself is “a wealth-generating institution”, according to Barbara Dafoe Whitehead and David Popenoe, who run the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. Those who marry “till death do us part” end up, on average, four times richer than those who never marry. This is partly because marriage provides economies of scale—two can live more cheaply than one—and because the kind of people who make more money—those who work hard, plan for the future and have good interpersonal skills—are more likely to marry and stay married. But it is also because marriage affects the way people behave.

American men, once married, tend to take their responsibilities seriously. Avner Ahituv of the University of Haifa and Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute found that “entering marriage raises hours worked quickly and substantially.” Married men drink less, take fewer drugs and work harder, earning between 10% and 40% more than single men with similar schooling and job histories. And marriage encourages both spouses to save and invest more for the future. Each partner provides the other with a form of insurance against falling sick or losing a job.

Marriage also encourages the division of labour. Ms Dafoe Whitehead and Mr Popenoe put it like this: “Working as a couple, individuals can develop those skills in which they excel, leaving others to their partner.” Mum handles the tax returns while Dad fixes the car. Or vice versa. As Adam Smith observed two centuries ago, when you specialise, you get better at what you do, and you produce more.

Perhaps the most convincing work showing that marriage is more than just a piece of paper was done by Mr Lerman of the Urban Institute. In “Married and Unmarried Parenthood and Economic Wellbeing”, he addressed the “selection effect”—the question of whether married-couple families do better because of the kind of people who marry, or because of something about marriage itself.

Using data from a big annual survey, he looked at all the women who had become pregnant outside marriage. He estimated the likelihood that they would marry, using dozens of variables known to predict this, such as race, income and family background. He then found out whether they did in fact marry, and what followed.

His results were striking. Mothers who married ended up much better off than mothers with the same disadvantages who did not. So did their children. Among those in the bottom quartile of “propensity to marry”, those who married before the baby was six months old were only half as likely to be raising their children in poverty five years later as those who did not (33% to 60%).

Changes in family structure thus have a large impact on the economy. One of the most-cited measures of prosperity, household income, is misleading over time because household sizes have changed. In 1947, the average household contained 3.6 people. By 2006, that number had dwindled to 2.6. This partly reflects two happy facts: more young singles can afford to flee the nest and their parents are living longer after they go. But it also reflects the dismal trend towards family break-up. A study by Adam Thomas and Isabel Sawhill concluded that if the black family had not collapsed between 1960 and 1998, the black child-poverty rate would have been 28.4% rather than 45.6%. And if white families had stayed like they were in 1960, the white child poverty rate would have been 11.4% rather than 15.4%.

Since the 1960s, the easy availability of reliable contraception has helped to spur a revolution in sexual mores. As opportunities for women opened up in the workplace, giving them an incentive to delay child-bearing, a little pill let them do just that without sacrificing sex. At the same time, better job opportunities for women changed the balance of power within marriage. Wives became less economically dependent on their husbands, so they found it easier to walk out of unhappy or abusive relationships.

As the sexual revolution gathered steam, the idea that a nuclear family was the only acceptable environment in which to raise a child crumbled. The social stigma around single motherhood, which was intense before the 1960s, has faded. But attitudes still vary by class.

College-educated women typically see single motherhood as a distant second-best to marriage. If they have babies out of wedlock, it is usually because they have not yet got round to marrying the man they are living with. Or because, finding themselves single and nearly 40, they decide they cannot wait for Mr Right and so seek a sperm donor. By contrast, many of America's least-educated women live in neighbourhoods where single motherhood is the norm. And when they have babies outside marriage, they are typically younger than their middle-class counterparts, in less stable relationships and less prepared for what will follow.

Consider the home life of Lisa Ballard, a 26-year-old single mother in Morgantown. She strains every nerve to give her children the best upbringing she can, while also looking for a job. Her four-year-old son Alex loves the Dr Seuss book “Green Eggs and Ham”, so she reads it to him, and once put green food colouring in his breakfast eggs, which delighted him. But the sheer complexity of her domestic arrangements makes life “very challenging”, she says.

She has four children by three different men. Two were planned, two were not. Two live with her; she has shared custody of one and no custody of another. One of the fathers was “a butthole” who hit her, she says, and is no longer around. The other two are “good fathers”, in that they have steady jobs, pay maintenance, make their children laugh and do not spank them. But none of them still lives with her.

Miss Ballard now thinks that having children before getting married was “not a good idea”. She says she would like to get married some day, though she finds the idea of long-term commitment scary. “You've got to definitely make sure it's the person you want to grow old with. You know, sitting on rocking chairs giggling at the comics. I want to find the right one. I ask God: ‘What does he look like? Can you give me a little hint?’”

If she does find and wed the man of her dreams, Miss Ballard will encounter a problem. She has never seen her own father. Having never observed a stable marriage close-up, she will have to guess how to make one work. By contrast, Ashley, the criminology student at the nearby university, has never seen a divorce in her family. This makes it much more likely that, when the time is right, she will get married and stay that way. And that, in turn, makes it more likely that her children will follow her to college.

Most children in single-parent homes “grow up without serious problems”, writes Mary Parke of the Centre for Law and Social Policy, a think-tank in Washington, DC. But they are more than five times as likely to be poor as those who live with two biological parents (26% against 5%). Children who do not live with both biological parents are also roughly twice as likely to drop out of high school and to have behavioural or psychological problems. Even after controlling for race, family background and IQ, children of single mothers do worse in school than children of married parents, says Ms Hymowitz.

Children whose father was never around face the toughest problems. For those whose parents split up, the picture is more nuanced. If parents detest each other and quarrel bitterly, their kids may actually benefit from a divorce. Paul Amato of Penn State University has found that 40% of American divorces leave the children better (or at least, no worse) off than the turbulent marriages that preceded them. In other cases, however, what is good for the parents may well harm the children. And two parents are likely to be better at child-rearing because they can devote more time and energy to it than one can.

Research also suggests that middle- and working-class parents approach child-rearing in different ways. Professional parents shuttle their kids from choir practice to baseball camp and check that they are doing their homework. They also talk to them more. One study found that a college professor's kids hear an average of 2,150 words per hour in the first years of life. Working-class children hear 1,250 and those in welfare families only 620.

Co-habiting couples have the same number of hands as married couples, so they ought to make equally good parents. Many do, but on average the children of co-habiting couples do worse by nearly every measure. One reason is that such relationships are less stable than marriages. In America, they last about two years on average. About half end in marriage. But those who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce.

Many people will find this surprising. A survey of teenagers by the University of Michigan found that 64% of boys and 57% of girls agreed that “it is usually a good idea for a couple to live together before getting married in order to find out whether they really get along.” Research suggests otherwise. Two-thirds of American children born to co-habiting parents who later marry will see their parents split up by the time they are ten. Those born within wedlock face only half that risk.

The likeliest explanation is inertia, says Scott Stanley of the Centre for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, Colorado. Couples start living together because it is more fun (and cheaper) than living apart. One partner may see this as a prelude to marriage. The other—usually the man—may see it as something more temporary. Since no explicit commitment is made, it is easier to drift into living together than it is to drift into a marriage. But once a couple is living together, it is harder to split up than if they were merely dating. So “many of these men end up married to women they would not have married if they hadn't been living together,” says Mr Stanley, co-author of a paper called “Sliding versus deciding”.

Most American politicians say they support marriage, but few do much about it, except perhaps to sound off about the illusory threat to it from gays. The public are divided. Few want to go back to the attitudes or divorce laws of the 1950s. But many at both ends of the political spectrum lament the fragility of American families and would change, at least, the way the tax code penalises many couples who marry. And some politicians want the state to draw attention to benefits of marriage, as it does to the perils of smoking. George Bush is one.

Since last year, his administration has been handing out grants to promote healthy marriages. This is a less preachy enterprise than you might expect. Sidonie Squier, the bureaucrat in charge, does not argue that divorce is wrong: “If you're being abused, you should get out.” Nor does she think the government should take a view on whether people should have pre-marital sex.

Her budget for boosting marriage is tiny: $100m a year, or about what the Defence Department spends every two hours. Some of it funds research into what makes a relationship work well and whether outsiders can help. Most of the rest goes to groups that try to help couples get along better, some of which are religiously-inspired. The first 124 grants were disbursed only last September, so it is too early to say whether any of this will work. But certain approaches look hopeful.

One is “marriage education”. This is not the same as marriage therapy or counselling. Rather than waiting till a couple is in trouble and then having them sit down with a specialist to catalogue each other's faults, the administration favours offering relationship tips to large classes.

The army already does this. About 35,000 soldiers this year will get a 12-hour course on how to communicate better with their partners, and how to resolve disputes without throwing plates. It costs about $300 per family. Given that it costs $50,000 to recruit and train a rifleman, and that marital problems are a big reason why soldiers quit, you don't have to save many marriages for this to be cost-effective, says Peter Frederich, the chaplain in charge.

Several studies have shown that such courses do indeed help couples communicate better and quarrel less bitterly. As to whether they prevent divorce, a meta-analysis by Jason Carroll and William Doherty concluded that the jury was still out. The National Institutes of Health is paying for a five-year study of Mr Frederich's soldiers to shed further light on the issue.

Americans expect a lot from marriage. Whereas most Italians say the main purpose of marriage is to have children, 70% of Americans think it is something else. They want their spouse to make them happy. Some go further and assume that if they are not happy, it must be because they picked the wrong person. Sometimes that is true, sometimes not. There is no such thing as a perfectly compatible couple, argues Diane Sollee, director of smartmarriages.com, a pro-marriage group. Every couple has disputes, she says. What matters most is how they resolve them.

At the end of the day, says Ms Squier, the government's influence over the culture of marriage will be marginal. Messages from movies, peers and parents matter far more. But she does not see why, for example, the government's only contact with an unmarried father should be to demand that he pay child support. By not even mentioning marriage, the state is implying that no one expects him to stick around. Is that a helpful message?


Britain: The rise of the contingent racists

After Margaret Hodge's recent comments, how true is it to say that the working class are more prone to racism than the middle class? Maybe the difference lies in different experiences. As the old New York saying goes: A conservative is a liberal who was mugged last night

Margaret Hodge says that white working-class voters in her Barking constituency are being tempted by the BNP. Mrs Hodge told BBC Radio 4's The World This Weekend: "The political class as a whole is often frightened of engaging in the very difficult issues of race and ... the BNP then exploits that and try to create out of a perception a reality which is not the reality of people's lives." She said the area's "difficult" change from a white area to a multi-racial community had caused some people to seek out "scapegoats".

There are more and more respected voices suggesting that the indigenous working classes may not be benefiting from competition in the labour market from immigrant competitors (see, for example, the work of Harvard economist George Borjas).

The left-leaning Young Foundation has controversially argued that administration of local housing policy has benefited newcomers, causing resentment among the white working class and contributing to the rise of racism in Tower Hamlets through the 1980s and 1990s. Ms Hodge's remarks on housing policy, that it should favour those who were born here, even have some pedigree in the left.

So it seems that, arguably, the white working classes might very well not be profiting from immigration in the way that Britain as a whole is said to be benefiting. The middle classes, however, seem to be doing very well from it of course: they must be gleeful at the increased competition in certain quarters of the labour market (such as among waiting staff in restaurants and housecleaners).

My question is about the middle classes. Are we right to keep identifying the white working class as more prone to racism than the middle classes? Are Margaret Hodge and others who use essentially the same language effectively saying that the middle classes do not show racism because they do not have to confront "difficult change" locally, to use her language, because such change never visits the leafy seclusion of comfortable areas of north London or the other tidy neighbourhoods where the middle classes live? When I asked a friend if this was right, her answer was that it was a lack of education that made the white working class seek out scapegoats and that the middle classes had this tendency educated out of them.

But does that ring true or is the truth rather more uncomfortable? Do we all bear a latent tendency towards racism, which manifests itself only when we have personally lost something tangible because of immigrants, such as a job or a housing allocation? If that's the case, then maybe the only thing keeping the middle classes from showing racist proclivities is that their homes are indeed getting cleaned, their restaurant tables being served and their dry-cleaning getting done. In other words, are the middle classes contingent racists, whose racism is held at bay by a decent standard of living, but who could turn nasty the day they have to do their own dirty work.


Foolish scapegoating of majority white society

ABORIGINAL culture isn't just nice dot paintings, it includes binge drinking and wife bashing. The facts are that tribal ways do not work, writes Andrew Bolt from Australia

An Aboriginal woman interrupted the Prime Minister's "reconciliation" ceremony in Canberra on Sunday to give him a reconciling spray. "We have been genocided . . . by your Government, your court," she shouted. And newspapers confirm: "The crowd erupted in loud applause."

How they clapped, those "genocided" Aborigines, with government cheques in their pockets and a government lunch in their bellies. That's genocide? Let them confront what's really killing young Aborigines. And it's not some white politician. No, it's their fantasy that you can live tribal ways and get Western outcomes. That Aborigines don't have to choose between "blackfella ways" or health and wealth.

Read Prof Helen Hughes's new book, Lands of Shame. See where black suffering is worst? Where we'll most likely find children sick or neglected, women bashed, men unemployable, and so many parents drunk or idle? It's not among the many Aborigines assimilated to Western culture. It's among the Aborigines who live furthest from it, leading lives more truly "Aboriginal", as deemed by spokesmen with well-funded jobs, white partners and suburban homes.

Labor leader Kevin Rudd now glibly vows to close the black-white gap in life expectancy "within the next generation", and was cheered by the same Howard hecklers for nothing but words. If kind wishes were dollars, Aborigines would be rich. Rudd's promise of a "sorry" and $261 million more in health and education spending to add to the $3.3 billion a year already spent by the Government on Aborigines will solve nothing.

No, we must instead end our love affair with the Noble Savage. You want Aborigines to be richer and healthier? Then give them every help to make lives in Western society and to leave the shattered tribal homes and culture that destroy so many. Already people who have dedicated their careers to black causes are suggesting what was once unsayable.

Prof Peter Sutton, anthropologist and author of the searingly frank The Politics of Suffering, asks how much longer Aborigines can remain in "racially segregated communities" and avoid the need to change their culture. That culture isn't just nice dot paintings, he says. It can also include binge drinking. Or wife bashing. Or letting children decide whether to go to school or -- mostly -- not. Or favouring relatives over better workers. Or blaming sorcerers for avoidable deaths. Or rejecting delegated authority. Or . . . Writes Sutton: "So many are in denial over the need for cultural change if indigenous disadvantage is to be addressed at its roots."

Hughes agrees and attacks decades of apartheid policies that gave us this failed "socialist homeland model" -- a string of cultural ghettoes which leave many Aboriginal children unable even to speak English, their futures destroyed. Cultural change hurts. For Aborigines, assimilating implies a rejection of their past. BUT assimilation will also be fought by intellectuals, whose own culture, as famed psychologist Prof Steven Pinker says, "is loath to admit that there could be anything good about the institutions of civilisation and Western society".

So corrupt is that intellectual culture that a privileged crowd cheers even preposterous claims that Aborigines are being "genocided" by their trying-hard Western government. So corrupt, that it praises instead the broken tribal culture that truly destroys black children. For shame.



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.


30 May, 2007

Legal discrimination against heterosexuals now in place in Australia

This is a rather fun ruling. It would seem to open the way for bars in working class areas to exclude homosexuals on similar grounds -- that they make the heterosexual patrons feel uncomfortable. After that, what is to stop homosexuals being sent to the back of the bus? The body responsible for the ruling below is however as bent as a pretzel so any consistency or application of principle cannot be expected from them. They are guided by Leftist politics not law. It is they who prosecuted two Christian pastors for quoting the nasty bits in the Koran!

A MELBOURNE pub catering for gay men has won the right to refuse entry to heterosexuals in a landmark ruling at the state planning tribunal. The owners of Collingwood's Peel Hotel applied to ban straight men and women to try to prevent "sexually based insults and violence" towards its gay patrons. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal last week granted the pub an exemption to the Equal Opportunity Act, effectively prohibiting entry to non-homosexuals.

VCAT deputy president Cate McKenzie said if heterosexual men and women came into the venue in large groups, their number might be enough to swamp the gay male patrons. "This would undermine or destroy the atmosphere which the company wishes to create," Ms McKenzie said in her findings. "Sometimes heterosexual groups and lesbian groups insult and deride and are even physically violent towards the gay male patrons." Some women even booked hens' nights at the venue using the gay patrons as entertainment, Ms McKenzie said. "To regard the gay male patrons of the venue as providing an entertainment or spectacle to be stared at, as one would at an animal at a zoo, devalues and dehumanises them," she said. "(This exemption) seeks to give gay men a space in which they may, without inhibition, meet, socialise and express physical attraction to each other in a non-threatening atmosphere."

The Peel manager Tom McFeely [McFeely -- interesting name for a homosexual!] told the tribunal the plan to refuse entry had been advertised at the hotel, with no objections received. Mr McFeely said most of the regulars at the hotel had responded positively.

A spokeswoman for the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Lobby Group said she believed the ruling made the Peel one of only two men-only venues in Melbourne. "This exemption was not sought to exclude members of the community but to try to maintain a safe space for men to meet," the spokeswoman said. She said gay men at the Peel had recently been ostracised and made to feel like "zoo animals". "It's sad that members of our community would have to go to the VCAT to preserve their rights," the spokeswoman said. "This is one of the only free venues with live music in the area, so certainly some people may feel a bit unhappy about the decision."

The Peel attracted criticism in April over an ad for a gay Anzac Day party that showed a near-naked man in a slouch hat. The hotel used a Shrine of Remembrance guard as the unwitting star of an ad for an Anzac Day eve bash. The ad was published in gay magazines and on the venue's website. It was withdrawn after intense criticism from the Victorian RSL, which called it a "desecration of the Anzac spirit".


Official sex abuse of little kids in Sweden

I was planning to take a break from writing about Sweden, but I just couldn't help it. Swedish journalist Kurt Lundgren had a noteworthy story on his blog this week. A friend told him about a magazine published by L,rarf"rbundet, the Swedish Teachers' Union, the largest union for teachers and heads of schools in the country. The magazine, aimed at preschool teachers who take care of children between the ages of 0-6 years old, included recommendations to not only promote "gender equality" but also "sexual equality" at this tender age. Mr. Lundgren considers the suggestions that are sent out to kindergarten and preschool staff to be clear-cut sexual abuse of children:

"A three-year-old doesn't have to learn queer theory, a four-year-old shouldn't have to be force-fed lectures on gay sex by some sex freak from the Teachers' Union. Children are supposed to play and discover their roles entirely on their own. Children are defenseless and shouldn't be exposed to indoctrination, neither regarding sex nor politics.. (.) One wonders whether parents are aware of the abuses against preschool children that that Teachers' Union's magazine Pedagogiska magasinet is encouraging."

In a kindergarten in Stockholm, the parents were encouraged by the preschool teachers - apparently ideological pioneers - to equip their sons with dresses and female first names. There are now weeks in some places when boys HAVE TO wear a dress. Lundgren considers this sexual indoctrination as worse than the political: "The political nonsense is seeking to alter opinions - the sex freaks seek to alter the children's personality, their mentality and their entire constitution."

After posting this, Lundgren soon received a threatening email: "I have been in touch with the Teachers' Union. They are considering reporting you to the police for what you wrote about queer and gay sex as abuse of children."

Lundgren wrote in reply: "To give sex education to preschool children, to force them to have an opinion on gay sex and queer (lesbians, transsexuals, bisexuality, fetishism, cross over, sex change etc.) I regard as abuse of children. (.) Little children, we are talking about three to six-year-olds here, cannot in the preschool protect themselves from these sexual assaults. Their parents are not there, the children are totally left to themselves. (.) Little children need to be left alone, they are supposed to play without adult supervision."

Some comments left by his blog readers:

"There won't be a police report about this. The Socialist Teachers' Union will probably think twice before doing so. There could be a backlash if the media start writing about queer [theory] directed against children and the parents will open their eyes to what's going on with their loved ones."

"My 11-months-old son will never be allowed to go to a kindergarten. I and my cohabitant reserve the right to raise our son into a thinking, rational and independent individual. He will definitely be allowed to wear a Superman costume, play with cars and build wooden houses if he wants to. I will never force him to wear a princess costume against his will. Presumably it won't be long before parents like us will have our children taken away from us, to be raised in accordance with sound, Socialist doctrines."

"My 13-year-old son had `equality day' [in school] and had to listen to a transvestite. I have myself never encountered or talked to one during my considerably longer life. Why is this important? Today's children know nothing about the crimes of Communism, but everything about the sexual orientation of transvestites."

This last comment is quite literally true. A poll carried out on behalf of the Organization for Information on Communism found that 90 percent of Swedes between the ages of 15 and 20 had never heard of the Gulag, although 95 percent knew of Auschwitz. "Unfortunately we were not at all surprised by the findings," Ander Hjemdahl, the founder of UOK, told website The Local. In the nationwide poll, 43 percent believed that Communist regimes had claimed less than one million lives. The actual figure is estimated at 100 million. 40 percent believed that Communism had contributed to increased prosperity in the world. Mr. Hjemdahl states several reasons for this massive ignorance, among them that "a large majority of Swedish journalists are left-wingers, many of them quite far left."

Meanwhile, Antifascistisk Aktion in Sweden, a group that supposedly fights against "racists," openly brag about numerous physical attacks against persons with their full name and address published on their website. According to AFA, this is done in order to fight against global capitalism and for a classless society. They subscribe to an ideology that killed one hundred million people during a few generations, and they are the good guys. Those who object to being turned into a minority in their own country through mass immigration are the bad guys.

British historian Roland Huntford wrote a book in the early 1970s about Sweden called The New Totalitarians. Huntford notes how equality between the sexes was aggressively promoted from the late 1960s and early 1970s:

"When sexual equality was promulgated, and it was decided that a woman's place was not at home but out at work, there was a rapid change in the language. The customary Swedish for housewife is husmor, which is honourable; it was replaced by the neologism hemmafru, literally `the-wife-who-stays-at-home', which is derogatory. Within a few months, the mass media were able to kill the old and substitute the new term. By the end of 1969, it was almost impossible in everyday conversation to mention the state of housewife without appearing to condemn or to sneer. Swedish had been changed under the eyes and ears of the Swedes. Husmor had been discredited; the only way out was to use hemmafru ironically. Connected with this semantic shift, there was a change in feeling. Women who, a year or so before, had been satisfied, and possibly proud, to stay at home, began to feel the pressure to go out to work. The substitution of one word for the other had been accompanied by insistent propaganda in the mass media, so that it was as if a resolute conditioning campaign had been carried out. Very few were able to recognize the indoctrination in the linguistic manipulation; in the real sense of the word, the population had been brain-washed."

This was closely linked to a campaign for sexual liberation:

"Indeed, the word `freedom' in Swedish has come to mean almost exclusively sexual freedom, product perhaps of an unadmitted realization that it is absent, or unwanted, elsewhere. Through sex instruction at school for the young, and incessant propaganda in the mass media for the older generations, most of Sweden has been taught to believe that freedom has been achieved through sex. Because he is sexually emancipated, the Swede believes that he is a free man, and judges liberty entirely in sexual terms. (.) The Swedish government has taken what it is pleased to call `the sexual revolution' under its wing. Children are impressed at school that sexual emancipation is their birthright, and this is done in such a way as to suggest that the State is offering them their liberty from old-fashioned restrictions."

By old-fashioned restrictions, read Christianity and Christian morality. Huntford notes that this came together with efforts to downplay or attack Western culture prior to the French Revolution. According to Mr. Olof Palme, who was Swedish Socialist Prime Minister until 1986: "The Renaissance So-called? Western culture? What does it mean to us?"

"The State," in the words of Ingvar Carlsson, then Minister of Education, "is concerned with morality from a desire to change society." Mr. Carlsson, who was Swedish Prime Minister as late as 1996, has also stated that "School is the spearhead of Socialism" and that it "teaches people to respect the consensus, and not to sabotage it."

"We have no ethical standards in education, and no rules for sexual behaviour," in the words of Dr G"sta Rodhe, the then head of the department of sexual education in the Directorate of Schools, and thus in some ways the executive officer of government sexual policy. "You see, since there's a lack of tension in Swedish politics, younger people have got to find release and excitement in sexual tension instead."

This was in the early 1970s. Things have gotten worse in the two generations since then. Socialists and state authorities present this policy as liberation of women and sexual liberation. What it is actually about is breaking down rival sources of power: The traditional Judeo-Christian culture and the nuclear family. This leaves the state more powerful, since it can regulate all aspects of life and, most importantly, can indoctrinate the nation's children as it sees fit, without undue parental influence. The state replaces your entire nuclear and extended family, raises your children and cares for your elderly.

- - - - - - - - - -

As writer Per Bylund observes: "A significant difference between my generation and the preceding one is that most of us were not raised by our parents at all. We were raised by the authorities in state daycare centers from the time of infancy; then pushed on to public schools, public high schools, and public universities; and later to employment in the public sector and more education via the powerful labor unions and their educational associations. The state is ever-present and is to many the only means of survival - and its welfare benefits the only possible way to gain independence."

Socialist pioneer Alva Myrdal is the hero of the modern Swedish preschools. She wanted comprehensive education for special child carers who could provide children with competent guidance all day long. What the social engineers discovered later was that despite decades of state-sponsored gender equality propaganda, boys and girls still behaved differently. This disturbed them. Instead of concluding that maybe there are genuine, innate differences between the sexes, which sensible people would do, they decided to indoctrinate children more thoroughly, starting at an even earlier age, to eradicate gender differences.

Toy researcher Anders Nelson at Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology has warned that toys have become increasingly gender-segregated over the past fifteen years: "People often explain [their toy purchases] by saying that boys and girls want different things. But in order for children to be able to reflect on [the toys] they receive, adults have to open their eyes to [inherent gender] structures. To children, these [gender] roles are more unquestioned and instinctual." Mr. Nelson encouraged parents to give more gender neutral Christmas presents. In other words, no Barbie dolls for girls and no cars for boys.

The Swedish Consumers Association reacted angrily to a star-shaped,pink ice-cream because it represented gender-profiling. "Girlie, GB's new ice pop, is pink and has make-up inside the stick. It says a lot about what GB thinks about girls and how they should be," the association said in a statement. According to them, Sweden does not need more products that reinforce existing prejudices about sex roles, so they asked the producer to make the product less gender specific.

Again, this has thus absolutely nothing to do with "tolerance or diversity." It's done in order to break you down and to mold you into a new human being. Great emphasis is placed on destroying the Christian heritage of the native population. Pupils are taught that they have been liberated from the superstition and oppression of Christian nonsense. However, while Christianity has been ridiculed and demonized for generations, so much that some Swedish Christians complain about persecution, Islam is presented in textbooks as a benevolent and tolerant religion, and Islam is granted a high degree of respect in the public sphere.

A bus driver in the increasingly Muslim-dominated Swedish town of Malm" has been fired from his job following revelations that he stopped a woman from boarding his bus because she was wearing full Islamic face-covering, which made her hard to identify. In Sweden, it is thus unacceptable if girls are presented with pink ice-creams or Barbie dolls because this reinforces gender stereotypes, but the burka is just fine. Meanwhile, Sweden is in the midst of the most explosive rape wave in Scandinavian history, largely caused by immigration. While Swedish girls are called "whores" by Muslim immigrants, Swedish boys are told to wear a dress and study queer theory.

Sweden is supposedly the most "gender equal" country in the world. It's also one of the nations most eagerly (at least officially, all other viewpoints are banned) embracing Multiculturalism. Promoting "sexual equality" alongside a rapidly growing Muslim minority is going to become an increasingly challenging balancing act. Sharia-supporters and transvestites of the world unite!


Mainstream media still trying to trash the Duke Lacrosse players

The Washington Post's Mike Wise most unwisely celebrated the Memorial Day Weekend by trashing the members of the 2005-2006 Duke University Men's Lacrosse Team, in a tasteless article entitled "Continuing Conflicts" (apparently without a care about the undeserved anguish that it inflicts). With the current Duke Men's Lacrosse Team in the national collegiate semi-finals, Mr. Wise reported:

"Mike Pressler and his family are planning on moving into their newly purchased home in Rhode Island this weekend. The only event that may tear him away is a trip to Baltimore on Monday to watch the lacrosse team he led for 16 seasons play for a national title.

"Remember Pressler? He was the original fall guy in an unseemly American docudrama that pitted the privileged frat-boy culture of a private university against a black single mother, a college student who made a poor career choice to support her children. Stirred by a bungling prosecutor -- and a media contingent overzealously ready to believe him -- a cauldron of race, sex, class and law boiled over and scalded everyone."

Mr. Wise's agenda is obvious: (1) trash the Duke lacrosse scholar athletes for "a poor entertainment choice" (hiring strippers and stripping for hire are legal in North Carolina, even though I wish they were not); (2) extol the false accuser as a loving parent whose only mistake was "a poor career choice" (nothing about her criminal history, mental history or her prior claim to have been gang raped); (3) whitewash the white guy who shamelessly played the race card to win a Democrat primary by suddenly becoming a hero to Durham County, North Carolina's blacks (District Attorney Michael B. Nifong) as "bungling" (as though his grossly prejudicial, pre-primary pretrial public statements, refusal to consider exculpatory evidence and to question Ms. Mangum, agreement with Dr. Brian Meehan to exclude exculpatory evidence from a report on DNA testing and various misrepresentations to judges and defense counsel and threats to defense counsel were simple clumsiness instead of contemptible calculation); (4) excuse the media's rush to misjudgment as the result of overzealousness; and (5) make "everyone" victims.

Give Mr. Wise his due for trying to sell this baloney: "When Duke plays Cornell in today's NCAA semifinal, the focus will be on a team emerging from a travesty, how a group of kids who did not have a lacrosse program to call their own a year ago are two wins away from everything Pressler always wanted for them. But after everything has played out -- from the kids who went from vilified to exonerated, from the D.A. who went from legal crusader to Keystone Cop -- the story of the Duke lacrosse team still doesn't feel right. The more you think about it, the more it conjures up all these conflicting feelings."

Mr. Nifong as Keystone Cop? NOT! (The man is cunning. Example: as I reported last October, Mr. Nifong was so concerned about the then upcoming "60 Minutes" Duke case expose to be broadcast on October 15, 2006 that even before it was broadcast, he demanded that Durham police detectives arrest someone for the killings in a Durham quadriple murder case to deflect local attention from the "60 Minutes" Duke Case expose. Shameless, yes. A Keystone Cop? NO!)

Mr. Wise did include some sympathy for "those kids": "It's not right what Durham District Attorney Mike Nifong did to those kids, and it's not right former and future players have to bear that burden. Their names should have never been sullied like that. It's hard to imagine being the parent of a son wrongly accused of a heinous crime such as rape, the hurt they had to endure. And every letterman affiliated with Duke lacrosse the past few years, whether or not he attended that fateful party, is going to have an indelible stain on his resume."

But Mr. Wise crassly continued: "At the same time, it's hard to embrace everyone as a victim. With all due respect to those 'INNOCENT' bracelets worn around Durham this year, this isn't 'To Kill a Mockingbird II.'"

All of the members of the team WERE victims, Mr. Wise. They were either blamed or even prosecuted for imaginary crimes without good cause (because they were white males from well-to-do or wealthy families). They were accused either of kidnapping, raping and sexually offending or covering up for kidnappers, rapists and sexual offenders. FALSELY accused.

Fortunately, there was no trial. There was not a good reason for a trial of those indicted and to date no authority has had the gumption to try the false accuser for false accusation or the rogue prosecutor for any crime he may have committed in connection with the Duke Hoax. Fortunately, the North Carolina Attorney General, Roy Cooper, publicly acknowledged that Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans were innocent of all the felony charges against them. That's exactly what the bracelets proclaimed. (The bracelets set forth the numbers of the indicted players together with the word "INNOCENT," an obvious reference to the pending felony charges against those players. The words "perfect" and "sinless" were not included on the bracklets.)

Much more here

Multiculturalism entrenched discrimination for Australia's blacks

In 1967, a constitutional referendum gave Aborigines full Australian citizenship -- a bit like America's civil rights act of the same era

THE 1967 referendum, rather than propelling Aborigines into the national mainstream, was followed by an apartheid-like regime in which Aborigines descended into a world of poverty, illiteracy and violence, according to economist Helen Hughes. In a new book, Lands of Shame, Hughes, a former senior director of the economic analysis department at the World Bank and senior fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, argues that after 1967, two main approaches towards Aboriginal people were emerging, one liberal and the other socialist.

"Those liberally minded considered that with the referendum's end to legislated exceptionalism, Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders would be able to integrate into the economic mainstream," she writes. "It was thought that Aboriginal lives would be enriched by participating in the technological and social advances that led to high living standards." Values such as individual freedom and equality between men and women were evolving. Immigration was leading to an ethnically plural society with a reduction in racial discrimination. Aboriginal art, dance and music were being embraced in a broader Australian culture, enabling indigenous traditions to flourish. "Thus it was thought that Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders would not only be able to look back to enjoy their traditions and links with the country, but also look forward to participating in the life of reason that would free them from sorcery and fear of spirits."

Instead, she writes, the Whitlam and Fraser governments steered Aborigines towards the socialist "homeland" model championed by former Reserve Bank governor HC "Nugget" Coombs that wove together anthropology and Marxism. Rather than ending discrimination, it would be "the culmination of 200 years of exceptionalist and separatist indigenous policies". Former prime minister Malcolm Fraser said last night it was "totally and absolutely absurd" to suggest his government allowed a form of apartheid to develop. He said his government had tried to "respect and understand the difference" between indigenous and non-indigenous people.

One of the leaders of the referendum campaign, Faith Bandler, said she had "tended to support" the Coombs approach, but generations of social engineering by governments had rarely taken account of Aboriginal opinion. "It's difficult for one group of people, whose skin is white, to plan and make decisions for another group, whose skin happens to be black," she said.

But confronting critics, including Mr Fraser, who say policies of assimilation and integration from the 1930s to the 1970s not only failed but contributed to the destruction of Aboriginal families, Hughes writes: "It is not true that various policies have been tried and have failed. Policies have always been discriminatory, treating Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders differently from other Australians. "Sadly, the most damaging discrimination in Australia's history has been the exceptionalism of the last 30 years that was intended to make up for past mistreatment."



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 May, 2007

The incorrectness of beautiful women

See Wicked Pics for pictures of some of the ladies concerned -- including Miss Sweden. Amusing that it took a Greek to organize any contest at all in Sweden

This year's Miss Universe pageant is missing one of its most noted contestants: Miss Sweden, a statuesque blonde whose country is one of the few to win the crown three times. Isabel Lestapier Winqvist, 20, has dropped out because Swedes say the Miss Universe competition, airing live Monday night from Mexico City's National Auditorium, is degrading to women and weighed down by scandals.

"We're taking a big beating by being linked to it," said Panos Papadopoulos, the organizer of the Miss Sweden contest, which scrapped its swimsuit competition and allowed women to apply for the position like any other job after heavy criticism from feminists.

Participants in the pageant also are breaking the mold. Miss Jamaica, 25-year-old Zahra Redwood, is the contest's first Rastafarian and the first to appear in dreadlocks. She wants judges to see her as a "Rastafarian promoting the message of peace, love and unity throughout mankind." Miss Tanzania, Flaviana Matata, an electrical technician whose country is participating for the first time, is also challenging stereotypes of beauty with her shaved head [Yuk!]. "I never let anyone define me neither by hair nor clothing as I believe God made me perfect as a pure, natural African woman," she said.

Donald Trump, who now co-owns the contest with NBC, says the Miss Universe Organization has redefined beauty pageants. "With each passing year our ratings continue to get better because of the beautiful and intelligent women who participate in our competitions," he declared.

But the Miss Universe competition is still judged solely on an interview and swimsuit and evening gown competitions, continuing a tradition that began with a spat over a swimsuit more than 50 years ago. California's Pacific Mills clothing company launched the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants after the 1951 Miss America, Yolande Betbeze, refused to pose in its swimsuit.

Miss Universe is considered a wilder rival to Miss America, which offers scholarships and values its talent contest more than its swimsuit competition. Other than Vanessa Williams, who stepped down in 1984 after Penthouse published her nude photographs, Miss America has had relatively few scandals. But risque photos and public drunkenness have increasingly landed Miss USA and Miss Universe contestants in the tabloids.

Miss Nevada USA Katie Rees was dethroned from this year's competition after her racy pictures emerged on the Web. Miss New Jersey USA Ashley Harder resigned when she got pregnant. And before Tara Conner handed her crown to the latest Miss USA, Tennessee journalism graduate Rachel Smith, the telecast opened with a string of news clips about Conner entering rehab for boozing at New York clubs.

Even the outfits in this year's contest have raised eyebrows. Miss Mexico Rosa Maria Ojeda was forced to change her gown to a fruit-and-vegetables motif after Mexicans were outraged by the bullet-studded belt and images of hanging bodies and firing squads in her skirt's original design, which referred to the bloody Cristero war, a Roman Catholic rebellion in the 1920s. Miss Jamaica donned a Bob Marley T-shirt to honor her country's culture, while Miss Ecuador, Lugina Cabezas, appeared holding a fake, bloodstained banderilla, a colorful barbed stick stuck in the back of bulls during bullfighting, outraging animal rights groups.

Organizers say the Miss Universe contest carefully selects women who are intelligent, well-mannered and cultured, and dispute the notion that beauty queens are clueless about international issues. The pageant's Web site notes that Miss Universe 2000, Mpule Kwelagobe, helped build a 400-bed pediatric AIDS hospital and orphanage in her native Botswana, while Miss Universe 1981 Irene Saez of Venezuela went on to become mayor of a municipality and later ran as president, losing to President Hugo Chavez in 1998. "We do change with the times," said Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization. "It really opens doors for people. It's nice for us to pick somebody who is not known, give them a shot and change their life forever."

Sweden is a three-time Miss Universe winner, behind only the United States, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. But Papadopoulos, owner of the Panos Emporio brand swimsuits, which in 2004 bought the rights to the Miss Sweden contest, said Trump's pageant doesn't fit with Miss Sweden's new, more professional image. "The modernization of the international competition has been significantly slower than the Swedish contest, although we see signs of change on the horizon," Papadopoulos said. Miss Universe organizers took it in stride. "We will miss you," Papadopoulos said they told him by e-mail, "and we will miss Miss Sweden."


Responsible censorship in China?

I have some sympathy for this. Upsetting little children is hard to excuse

China has launched a crackdown on scary children's stories including the popular Japanese "Death Note" comic book series, state media said Saturday. Authorities are ordered to seize "illegal terrifying publications" from vendors ahead of China's Children's Day on June 1, the Xinhua News Agency and China Daily newspaper reported.

Communist authorities regularly launch sweeps to seize publications deemed pornographic or socially harmful. They are especially concerned about the influence of foreign books, movies and other pop culture on Chinese children.

One target in the latest crackdown is "Death Note," a Japanese series of comic books about a notebook that can kill people whose names are written in it. The story "misleads innocent children and distorts their mind and spirit," said Wang Song, an official of the National Anti-piracy and Anti-pornography Working Committee, quoted by the China Daily. "Death Note" publications have been seized in Shanghai and areas across central and southern China, the newspaper said.


Free Speech and Hate Speech

Leftist lawyer Gloria Allred likes to say that there's a difference between "free speech" and "hate speech" - the former being protected by the U.S. Constitution, while the latter must be criminalized. Such slogans are easy to make, but where must the line be drawn? Is free speech a radical version of what we like, while hate speech is anything we oppose?

I. Free Speech - Burning the American Flag; Hate Speech - Insulting the Koran

The Left has been near-uniformly opposed to a law or Constitutional Amendment banning flag burning. It has repeatedly been held by Courts that flag-burning is legitimate speech because it expresses one's opposition to American policies, government, people and/or culture.

Burning American flags, spitting on them, walking on them has been a normal part of "welcoming" U.S. Presidents and high-ranking diplomats in the Middle East, Latin America and other parts of the world. It is treated as normal, and American officials claim that such "speech" is welcome because it shows that the "welcoming people" have a mind of their own, and the lack of response from Washington is a sign democracy.

Several months ago, however, someone stuffed the Koran into a toilet at Pace University in New York. The University and mainstream media went on full-alert. PU promised to leave no stone unturned to catch and punish the offender. The Left was in uniform agreement that such acts cannot be allowed.

As such, a distinction was drawn - burning, spitting at and walking on the American flag, the symbol of the United States, is "free speech" to be praised, but placing a Koran, the symbol of Islam, in a disreputable place is "hate speech" that must be criminalized.

II. Painting Jesus in urine and Mary in feces - free speech; Cartoon where Muhammad complains that of being followed by extremists - hate speech

Several years ago, New York's Museum of Modern Arts (MOMA) put up a painting of Virgin Mary in horse dung. Rudy Giuliani and social conservatives protested government funding of this project, as well as a previous painting of Jesus in urine.

Rudy was immediately condemned as a bad lawyer who does not understand the basics of U.S. Constitutional law, while social conservatives were described as "religious nuts" that are destroying the very nature of America by infringing on the Constitutional right to a freedom of speech, free of of religious expression, and separation of Church and State.

Mind you that these so-called "religious nuts" were not opposed to anti-Christian paintings, but rather the government funding of such. Yet, this was too much for the Left - apparently, there's something in the American Constitution which makes it mandatory for the government to sponsor anti-Christian art.

And yet, when anti-Muhammad cartoons were published - first in Denmark, then elsewhere in Europe - it was debated whether such was a hate crime. Several Europeans were dragged into court to face criminal charges and civil suits for insulting Islam. Charlie Hebdo was sued in France for "public insults against a group of people on the basis of religion" after publishing two of these cartoons. This was described by the Great Mosque of Paris as "an act of deliberate aggression" against Muslims.

To its credit, the Time Magazine started its article at the time of these trials, "Voltaire must be spinning in his grave." Others, however, discussed how far Europe should go to be culturally more sensitive and closer to those who believe that they are entitled in burn cars and kill innocents in response to any negative speech about them. Here, freedom of speech did not apply. Muhammad cartoons are hate speech, while paintings of Virgin Mary in feces in free speech.

3. Kill the honkie - free speech; race and gender are not social constructs, but actual biological facts - hate speech

Prof. Steven Pinker of Harvard University, a superstar experiment psychologist and cognitive scientist, wrote a book in 2002 entitled "The Blank Slate" where he describes the interference from the Left in scientific research. College Professors from Departments of Sociology, Politics and Education, who are usually completely ignorant when it comes to science, insist that science Professors repeat the politically-correct mantras that not only are gender and race differences non-existent, but even the concept of gender and race is nothing more than a "social construct" invented by White Male Racists/Sexists.

The humanities Professors insist that since there's an overlap in almost every quality (e.g., some men have larger breasts than some women; some rare Whites have darker skin than some rare Blacks), then race and gender do not exist.

Thus, a scientist cannot state that male hormones cause boys to have a growth spurt during puberty that is unseen in girls. Indeed, even stating that men are on average taller than women is politically incorrect. Saying such immediately draws a response to the effect of: "It's not true that on average men are taller than women. Some women are taller than some men."

That this person does not understand the concept of "average" is ignored as the Left cheers, grateful that someone "proved" that there's no correlation between male hormones and height. [Some women are taller than some men, but that is normally not because of testosterone, but rather due to genetics: tall parents may have a daughter who's 5-foot-8, while short parents may have a son who's 5-foot-5. Nevertheless, the tall girl would be even taller if she were born male, while a short boy would be even shorter if he were female].

Noticing that men are taller than women, that they have different temperaments, different crime rates, different interests and different abilities is considered offensive hate speech. Luckily, it is not criminalized in the United States as of yet. However, saying such will get a humanities Professor fired from college and a college student may be forced into "sensitivity training" or even get expelled.

Noticing that races and ethnicities are different in some ways is even worse, and would make one an unrepentant racist. Never mind that evolution means adjusting to your environment, so groups faced with different environments will wind up being different (meaning that Leftist ideology is a denial of the very concept of evolution).

Defending the idea that human groups may be culturally and environmentally different would get one driven out from academia so fast, it would make your head spin.

And yet, when African-American Professors incite their Black students against Whites, they are praised. The Professor, Nikki Giovanni, chosen to eulogize the victims of Virginia Tech Massacre wrote the following poem:

Can a nigger kill a honkie
Can a nigger kill the Man
Can you kill nigger
Huh? nigger can you kill
Do you know how to draw blood
Can you poison
Can you stab-a-Jew
Can you kill huh? nigger
Can you kill
Can you run a protestant down with your `68 El Dorado (that's all they're good for anyway)
Can you kill
Can you piss on a blond head
Can you cut it off
Can you kill
A nigger can die
We ain't got to prove we can die
We got to prove we can kill
They sent us to kill Japan and Africa
We policed europe
Can you kill
Can you kill a white man
Can you kill the nigger
in you
Can you make your nigger mind die
Can you kill your nigger mind
And free your black hands to strangle
Can you kill
Can a nigger kill
Can you shoot straight and
Fire for good measure
Can you splatter their brains in the street
Can you kill them
Can you lure them to bed to kill them
We kill in Viet Nam for them
We kill for UN & NATO & SEATO & US
And everywhere for all alphabet but BLACK
Can we learn to kill WHITE for BLACK
Learn to kill niggers
Learn to be Black men

Prof. Giovanni has been celebrated as Ebony Magazine's Woman of the Year; received keys from New York, Dallas, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Los Angeles; and dozens of other awards and honors.

Telling young Black students that they are "niggers" unless they kill "honkies" is, thus, free speech. Admitting that some diseases may effect some racial and ethnic groups more than others (making it easier to cure ill people) is hate speech.

So what is free speech and what is hate speech? Free speech is radical speech we enjoy, with positive statements about groups like and negative about those we do not. Hate speech is any negative statement about favored people, or positive expression about politically-incorrect groups and ideas.

Criminalization of "hate speech" should be opposed for many reasons - most basic is the Constitutional right to say what we please so long as it does not physically harm someone.

This is usually countered on the Left with a statement that one is not allowed to yell fire in a movie theater. But yelling "fire" in a movie theater is not mere speech - it is an act. The only reaction one might expect from this is to scare people into running out and potentially injuring one another in the hysteria. Likewise, calling someone to tell them, "give me money or I will kill your child" is not merely speech, it is an act of aggression against a family.

But burning the American flag or the Koran is speech. It is speech meant to express one's opposition to the United States, to Islam, or to the policies promoted by Americans or Muslims. Seeing a burning flag or a burning book does not cause one the same harm as knowing your child will die unless you pay ransom. It does not necessarily cause hysteria that one would expect in an allegedly burning movie theater. That some people choose to react in violent ways is not the fault of the speaker - it is the fault of those who choose to riot and even murder in response to political cartoons.

But just as importantly, we must recognize that any time the government interferes in our speech, it will necessarily take sides with the ideas that are currently politically correct against those thoughts presently deemed morally wrong. That reason alone should be enough to limit government intervention to the absolute minimum.


Only White People Can Be Racists

Canada, lacking a heritage of slavery, is not afflicted with institutional racism. That's what Canadians have always believed, and that's what has put them on the moral high ground vis-…-vis their southern neighbor. Until very recently, since Canada had almost no ethnic minorities other than Native Canadians, this was an easy position to maintain. No ethnics, no racism, no problem!

However, for the last few decades, Canada's new multicultural immigration policies have allowed it to acquire its fair share of fashionable ethnic groups. And now - surprise! - the new immigrants aren't convinced of Canada's lack of institutional racism. No matter how many diversity initiatives are launched, regardless of mulitcultural outreach and dialogue, despite the passage of "hate speech" laws that protect the new groups from even the most tenuous of insults, it's not enough. Canadian minorities are moving resolutely down the path of "No Justice! No Peace!"

The latest skirmish in the ethnic culture wars came about because of a group called New Black Youth Taking Action, which decided to hold a rally in Queen's Park in Toronto on May 15th.

New BYTA is no ordinary hands-across-the-world multi-culti mushmouth liberal anti-racist organization. These people mean business. Their demands include the "[i]mmediate establishment of K-12 black-focused schools; change in the current K-12 curriculum to establish truth; immediate diversion of the $250 million from Brampton (super) jail; and immediate repeal of Safe Schools Act".

The Safe Schools Act was passed in an attempt to cut down the rising level of black-on-black violence in Canadian secondary schools. While I was in Toronto this past week there was a shooting at a local high school in which a 15-year-old African Canadian boy was killed. I gaped in disbelief as I watched the story on the local TV news - how could this happen in Canada? Everyone knows that Canada has banned guns!

But somehow, despite the ban, a gun made its way into C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute and killed a black kid. The Toronto police have identified a suspect and are reportedly close to an arrest, but since the police spokesman makes no mention of "racism" when referring to the crime, one has to assume that the prime suspect is also black.

This is exactly the kind of violence which the Safe Schools Act was trying to stop, but BYTA considers such initiatives to be inherently racist, and wants the act repealed.

Make no mistake: when BYTA calls for the "establishment of K-12 black-focused schools", they mean blacks-only schools. The president of the group is Nkem Anizor, and she is a member of the Nation of Islam, whose separatist views are well known. If a white group called for separate schools for whites and blacks, he would immediately run afoul of Canada's hate speech laws. But, as usual, the favored victim groups are exempt from such rules.

It was only natural that BYTA, in solidarity with its comrades to the south, decided to invite NOI leader Malik Zulu Shabazz to be their main speaker at the May 15 rally. That's when the trouble started.

Mr. Shabazz, like many other Nation of Islam leaders, has a well-documented history of uttering inflammatory anti-Semitic remarks. According to the Anti-Defamation League:

During a protest in front of the B'nai B'rith building in Washington, D.C. (April 20, 2002), Shabazz led chants of:

"death to Israel," "the white man is the devil," and "Jihad." Shabazz also said, "Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel!
Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!"

Despite Mr. Shabazz' impeccable credentials as a certified victim of American racism, this was to big a pill for even Canada to swallow. Canadian B'nai B'rith protested his visit, and the authorities discovered a previous misdemeanor arrest in Mr. Shabazz' history, allowing them to bar him from the country on a technicality.

The rally went on without its celebrity star, but Ms. Anizor gained a huge new weapon with which to bludgeon the charge of "racism" into Canada's obsequious ‚lite opinion makers. Black voices in Canada were being silenced, and the sinister machinations of the Zionist lobby were to blame! ......

There's no denying a history of white racism. There's also no denying a history of black racism, Chinese racism, Arab racism, etc., etc. Heck, there are probably even Hottentot racists - Those stupid Bantus! How many Bantus does it take to put in a light bulb? How do you tell the bride at a Bantu wedding?

But where does it end? When the last white racist either dies or repents of his evil ways, will all the black non-racist anti-Caucasians change their tune?

When current demographic trends play out, and whites become a persecuted minority in a country, will the black people in the same country automatically become racists? Will their white victims automatically have the "racist" stigma removed from their collective character?

What does it profit the black grievance industry to peddle this kind of nonsense? Does their vitriol persuade even a single white person to change his beliefs, and accept blacks as equals? Or - more likely - do their angry accusations generate "racist" feelings where none existed previously?

The ugly fact is that racial grievance-mongers do not serve their own ethnic group well, nor do they reduce anybody's "racist" sentiments.

As Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton have amply demonstrated, race-baiting is simply a ticket to a lucrative career. It's the shakedown to end all shakedowns.

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.


28 May, 2007

Remembering Memorial Day (and Danny Dietz)

For much of the news media in this nation and, unfortunately, a majority of its citizens, Memorial Day has become the "start of summer vacation" or "the day of the first barbecue." The news media might write up a little sidebar story on the meaning of Memorial Day or broadcast stations get a little ceremonial "B-roll" for filler in the newscasts, but the real emphasis is elsewhere and, even worse, many American citizens think it is a day to honor all dead - not a day to honor the men and women warriors who died defending and fighting for this nation.

U.S. Major General John A. Logan is the man credited as being the most responsible for founding the official Memorial Day holiday with his issuance of General Order No.11 on May 5, 1868. Southern states refused to officially acknowledge the day as a holiday at first. However, the Confederate Memorial authorized by President William H. Taft and the efforts of former Union officer and President William McKinley to tend to the Confederate dead at the National Cemeteries did illustrate a U.S. reconciliation with its past, but southern decoration days in June remained unchanged until after World War I when Memorial Day evolved beyond a day of tribute to Union soldiers.

It finally became a day to honor all Armed Forces personnel who died in service to the United States. While the Southern states still maintained their own decoration days to honor their sons who had served the Confederacy, the descendants of those men continued the patriotic tradition of their families in the U.S. military and are now among the honored dead we commemorate.

Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Danny P. Dietz 25, of Littleton, Colorado joined the ranks of the fallen we honor on Memorial Day a couple of years ago. Dietz died while conducting counter-terrorism operations in Kunar Province, Afghanistan while serving with a Navy SEAL team. A Taliban force that tremendously outnumbered them attacked the SEAL team and a fierce battle ensued that cost the lives of many American soldiers. The Navy report stated: "Despite this terrible loss, the SEALs on the ground continued to fight. Although mortally wounded, Petty Officers (Matthew G.) Axelson and Dietz held their position and fought for the safety of their teammates despite a hail of gunfire. Their actions cost them their lives, but knowingly gave one of the other SEALs the opportunity to escape."

The location of the U.S. warrior's body lay unknown for seven days. He was recovered during a combat search and rescue operation on July 4, 2005. For his actions under fire, he was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross, which is the Navy's second highest military decoration. PO 2nd Class Dietz was returned home to his family for burial where family and friends watched him laid to rest with full military honors. The city of Littleton, Colorado decided to honor his bravery by erecting a statue of Dietz in uniform holding his rifle.

A group of politically correct citizens, however, launched an immediate protest. Their argument was that erecting a statue of a fallen soldier with a gun in his hand would send the wrong message to the community. Why? Because of the Littleton school shootings in 1999. It seems that political correctness puts an American warrior, who courageously died on the field of battle with honor defending his nation, on the same level as Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who criminally murdered 15 people.

The opponents have said they would rather see a "peace dove" or a "soldier holding a child" because they are tired of the violence in the world and a "gun" sends the wrong message. In other words, the men and women who have put their lives on the line for this nation, embodied the American warrior tradition and gave their lives in the line of duty are now being categorized in a sub-criminal class by these "virtuous" peace-loving people in the name of political correctness. It is a message growing in volume as some national broadcast personalities and newspaper columnists have spewed the same rhetoric.

I have spent most of my life as a military affairs reporter, interviewed and count among my friends numerous Medal of Honor recipients and soldiers who embody what is best not only about the United States, but of the warrior tradition. To think we don't or morally should never need them is a flawed logic that cannot be explained in this short space.

Korean MOH Lee Mize told me once there are three things that lose wars: disrespect for the enemy, indecision and low morale. The latter is usually brought on by the other two. It is a message that has worked on battlefields throughout the ages and applies to the battle currently waging against political correctness.

The reaction of the opponents to the memorial statue honoring the heroic service of Navy P.O.2nd Class Danny Dietz and the efforts to stop its construction is inexcusable and to use the Columbine shootings as a reason to prevent it is beyond the pale of decency. Mrs. Patsy Dietz, who is Danny Dietz's widow, has stated repeatedly the statue should be a way for parents "to teach their children the difference between two thugs who murder their classmates and a soldier who died fighting for their freedom."

God Bless Mrs. Dietz for the comment. Parents HAVE to be the ones to teach their children the differences, as we know we cannot trust that message to the public school system or those pundits who blame the instruments of destruction for crimes and not the person or persons wielding them. Finally, hats off to the city of Littleton for standing by what is just and honorable and not listening to the voices of ignorance. On July 4, 2007 - two years to the day this brave soldier's body was recovered from Afghanistan - the city will dedicate the life-sized statue of Danny Dietz - rifle in hand.


Respect those who died for their country? Forget it in Gwinnett County, Georgia

Sikhs are allowed to drive buses wearing their turbans in a lot of places but ... No exceptions for the most deserving people of all

A Gwinnett County bus driver wanted to show support for veterans who lost their lives fighting for our country. So today, the last day before Memorial Day, he wore a patriotic hat. Gary Rolley, who's a vet himself, said he was ordered to take the hat off. A supervisor told him it wasn't part of his uniform.

Rolley is proud of the four years he served in the Navy. He is proud to be an American. "I love my country," he said. Rolley said he is paying tribute to all veterans by wearing his American Legion hat, but the he said that didn't' go over well with his bosses at the Gwinnett County Transit Authority. "The supervisor said, 'You are you have uniform; you have to take that hat off.' I explained this was a hat I wear for the holiday."

Rolley said he continued to wear the hat on his bus route. "As we were going down the road, a second supervisor radioed me. He said, 'What do you have on your head?' I said, "Why are you asking me that?" And he said 'Take that hat off now,'" Rolley explained.

Rolley said he turned the bus around and went back to headquarters. "I said 'I'm sorry, I got sick over this. I'm sick to my stomach, and I'm going home sick'," Rolley said. "I turned around and I left." Rolley said patriotic hats have been allowed in the past, and Santa hats are allowed at Christmastime, so he doesn't understand why the rules have changed. "It's just to me a slap in the face to our veterans," Rolley said. He said he wore the hat on Friday because he has the day off on Monday -- Memorial Day. He said he plans to spend Monday honoring American veterans.

The general manager of the Gwinnett County Transit Authority said that Rolley was asked nicely to wear the proper uniform, and he opted to go home. John Autry said there is a standard issue hat that all bus drivers are required to wear.


Heather Mac Donald flames the Bush DOJ

Post lifted from Michelle Malkin. See the original for links

The Bush Justice Department is going after the New York City Fire Department because minorities can't pass the FDNY written exam. Intrepid Heather Mac Donald blows the whistle on career DOJ bureaucrats chasing phantom racism:

"How much longer are public and private institutions going to be held hostage to black and Hispanic academic failure? The Center for Constitutional Rights and other racial advocacy groups point to urban fire departments that have a higher percentage of minorities to prove that the FDNY is discriminating. But these departments have simply caved in to similar law suits and discarded their qualifications criteria to a degree that New York has not. Organizations around the country are under relentless pressure to change merit standards because of black and Hispanic underachievement, and most have capitulated to some degree. Almost none have been willing to make the case that disproportionate racial representation stems from the lack of qualified candidates, not from hidden sources of bias.

Many a police or fire department, under litigation pressure, has simply dropped its entrance requirements across the board, insuring a lower skill level for the entire department, rather than a sub-group within it. At some point, public safety will suffer...

...What is the Bush Administration thinking? The FDNY suit is clearly the product of career attorneys within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the DOJ, whose life mission consists in going after phantom racism. But any such suit must surely be cleared with higher-ranked political appointees; indeed, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that he defended the department to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, according to the New York Daily News. Republican susceptibility to race-mongering is well-documented, but after 9/11, one might have thought that emergency responders would get a pass on racial pandering from an administration that claims preeminence in homeland security.
Racial and ethnic pandering that endangers homeland security and public safety. It's becoming the Bush Legacy. Speaking of which, the president will be holding a news conference shortly (scheduled for 11am) to push for the security-undermining, ethnic pandering shamnesty.


La Shawn Barber is all over the story and notes that "We've been down this road before:"

In New York City Fire Department to Lower Hiring Standards, I told you that FDNY decided to drop certain qualifications in 2006 and intended to water down the written test to recruit more minority applicants.

Tests that measure a job candidate's ability to reason and comprehend are, in my opinion, more important than people think, and here is where people get it twisted. There is more to fighting fires than merely turning on a hose and pointing. Fire fighters must be able to understand written instructions, directions, and evacuation plans. They must be able to navigate buildings and generally have good spatial abilities. Reasoning skills come in handy when you're under pressure, trying to save lives.

Evaluating an applicant's ability to reason well and understand is not racist nor discriminatory. It is a legitimate part of the job, any job, even one as "simple" as putting out a fire.

Reader R.F. writes:

My son (Caucasian) decided 2 years ago to become a firefighter. First he had to pass an Entrance Exam. He did (score 87%). Note: average is 69%. 70% is passing. He had to go to Junior College part-time (while working during the day to support himself) and get an AA Degree in Firefighting (2 yrs). He then had to take an EMT (emergency medical technician) course and pass (3 months). He then had to pass the National EMT test. He has now been accepted to the Firefighting Academy and is scheduled to attend for 3.5 months in August 07. He has been saving his money as he will not be able to work while he attends the Academy. In the meantime he is a volunteer for Anaheim, CA firefighting 1 day/week at no pay. He applied, in the meantime, to bolster his chances, and was accepted for employment by Care Ambulance Co. Care is employed by many firefighting city departments. He is paid a whopping $10.95 per hour.

Why should anyone receive preferential treatment? My son has had to work his tail off to get this far. This career needs to be color blind. Each person must be based on ability alone. Our lives depend on it.

Pockets of Christianity left in the Church of England

"Strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" -- Matthew 7:14

Ninety-five per cent of Britons are heading for hell, according to the principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, who has been under fire from some staff for taking one of the leading Anglican theological training colleges in a conservative direction.

Richard Turnbull, appointed two years ago, made the claim in a speech to the annual conference of Reform, a conservative evangelical pressure group within the Church of England. If he truly believes it, the figure would encompass at least all non-evangelical Christians, including many members of the Church of England, and those of all other religions and none.

A recording of the speech, made in October last year and seen by the Guardian, was posted last night on the Thinking Anglicans liberal website. In it, Dr Turnbull also warns against the danger of liberalism in the church, talks of "the strategic nature" of evangelical control of training colleges and calls on conservatives to syphon off 10% of their financial contributions to the Church of England to help pay the costs of like-minded colleges. The message excludes even evangelicals who are regarded as more liberal in their beliefs.

Dr Turnbull told them: "We are committed to bringing the gospel message of Jesus Christ to those who don't know [him] and in this land that's 95% of the people: 95% of people facing hell unless the message of the gospel is brought to them."

Traditionally Wycliffe, a permanent private hall of Oxford University founded in 1877, has trained evangelical Anglicans for the clergy, but its reputation has been as an open evangelical college, welcoming would-be ordinands from a wide range of theological and liturgical beliefs.

Critics within the college have accused the principal of taking it in a much more restrictive and exclusionary direction. At least a third of the academic staff have resigned and its best-known member, the Thought for the Day contributor Elaine Storkey, has been threatened with disciplinary action, allegedly for raising concerns at an internal staff meeting.

In his speech, the principal criticised the Church of England for "restrictive trade practices" in limiting funding for its students and added: "I view [my] post as strategic because it would allow influence to be brought to bear upon generations of the ministry...capture the theological colleges and you have captured the influence that is brought to bear." He warns that unless like-minded parishes fund colleges such as his own, they face closure within 10 years. At the same conference in Derbyshire, Reform members agreed to remain within the Church of England for the time being but to set up an advisory panel to support conservative clergy and encourage ordinands of their viewpoint. They were told by one senior member, the Rev David Holloway, vicar of Jesmond, that the church was a dysfunctional body with incompetent leadership.

In an article to be published in tomorrow's Church of England Newspaper - a more broadly-based evangelical publication - Dr Turnbull's message appears rather more tolerant. He writes: "For me and for Wycliffe, inclusive means exactly that, rather than the exclusion of particular views. So issues which divide ... have to be debated in the open, albeit with care and sensitivity ..."



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 May, 2007

Absurd British "human rights" laws to be suspended?

John Reid faced growing anger as he signalled the Government was ready to declare that Britain faced an "emergency" over terrorism and opt out of human rights legislation. As the recriminations flew over the disappearance of three radical Islamists who had been on control orders, he made clear his determination to bring in tougher curbs on terror suspects. The Home Secretary said that could mean "derogating" from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) so he could impose tougher control orders on suspects. The convention, which entered British law via the Human Rights Act, allows countries to suspend parts of the ECHR in "time of emergency".

Control orders, which restrict movements and contact with other people for terror suspects who cannot be brought to court, were introduced two years ago. They replaced the detention without trial of the "Belmarsh detainees," which was ruled illegal. The latest disappearances bring to six the number of people on control orders who have vanished in the past year and have left the control-order system in disarray.

A major police search was under way last night for Lamine Adam, 26, his brother Ibrahim, 20, and Cerie Bullivant, 24, after they went missing this week. Police believe they may try to travel to Iraq or Afghanistan. A third Adams brother, Anthony Garcia, 25, was jailed for life last month for his part in the "fertiliser bomb" plot to attack targets including a shopping mall and a London nightclub. Bullivant is due to stand trial over claims he breached his control order on 13 occasions over the past 10 months. All three had been assessed at the lower end of risk, but the fact that they co-ordinated their disappearances has alarmed the police.

Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said: "Nobody can be perfectly satisfied they are not a risk to the public here, but the intelligence is pointing in another direction." However, Mr Reid had said the men were "not considered at this time to represent a direct threat to the public in the UK".

News of the absconders triggered fiery clashes over the control-order system in the Commons. The Home Secretary admitted that he would prefer to detain terror suspects or deport those who are foreign nationals, but said he was constrained by legal and political opposition to that approach. He said he wanted to impose tougher control-order regimes, but was hampered from doing so by court judgments under the ECHR. Mr Reid said he wanted the convention modernised by European leaders to reflect the realities of the terrorist threat. But he added: "We will consider other options, which include derogation, if we have exhausted ways of overturning previous judgments on this issue."

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "By threatening to derogate from the European Convention on Human Rights, John Reid reveals a worrying mix of sloppy thinking and buck-passing." He said it was "wildly inaccurate to claim that the three escapees were somehow helped by our respect for human rights".

David Davis, the shadow Home Secretary, said the escapes were caused by the Government failing to use existing powers, such as tagging suspects. He also said the delay in releasing the identities of the fugitives had allowed them to flee abroad. "He is now blaming his own Human Rights Act when he has not even tried to derogate under its provisions. He can blame the courts and the opposition, but the problems are of his own making," Mr Davis said. Shami Chakrabarti, the director of the campaign group Liberty, said: "This is last year's rhetoric from yesterday's Home Secretary."


Claims are mounting against child-rearing "experts"

CLAIMS are mounting that child-rearing experts such as Supernanny and Gina Ford are damaging family life by undermining parents' authority in the home. There was growing confusion among parents over how to bring up children because of the parenting advice "industry", a leading sociologist has warned. He said that relying on techniques from the so-called experts could be destroying some parents' confidence in their own child-rearing abilities, weakening their control over their offspring.

Professor Frank Furedi also cautioned that the spread of the nanny state was adding to bewilderment among parents. The Kent University sociologist was among academics to challenge increasing interference in family life at a two-day conference at the British university. He claimed figures including TV Supernanny Jo Frost, whose discipline techniques include the "naughty step", portrayed mothers and fathers as incompetent. "They basically assume the high ground 'I am the supernanny, unlike you, the incompetent, bumbling idiot'," Professor Furedi said.

But he warned that the wealth of advice available, from Frost and others including the no-nonsense author Gina Ford, risked demoralising parents. "Parents who don't believe in themselves are not going to be very confident," he said. "The main thing is that it leads to estrangement. Mothers and fathers become estranged from each other and their children. Rather than a family developing a strong sense of itself, it is looking too much to the outside."

Professor Furedi, author of Paranoid Parenting and the Culture of Fear, went on to accuse governments, particularly the British Labour Government, of politicising parenting. "Over the past 10 years, virtually every aspect of childrearing is turned into a problem that requires their support or intervention," he said. "This undermines parents' confidence. "Targeting parents has become a national sport. New Labour politicians appear to take the view that almost every social problem is caused by bad parenting. This allows failed politicians to avoid confronting their policy failures - in health, in education and in community building."

He also criticised as patronising advice booklets published by the British Government. For example, a "Dad Pack" published last year advised men not to have affairs during their partner's pregnancy. Professor Furedi added: "Parenting has become an industry. It's no longer about the relationship with your children, it's something for politicians and professionals to have an opinion about."


Britain: Comparing apples and oranges

A multiculturalism debate didn't get off the ground last week - mainly because the panellists failed to define what they were talking about

On Friday night I attended a charity fundraiser where the big draw was a debate with Trevor Phillips and Kenan Malik arguing that "multiculturalism encourages separateness", and the MP Sadiq Khan and Arun Kundnani arguing that it doesn't. When questions were invited from the floor, I castigated the panel for their failure to define "multiculturalism", which had resulted in a dog's dinner of a debate with rambling monologues at cross-purposes. The subsequent attempts by each of the panellists to define the word were rather revealing.

Reminding them of last week's Rowntree report, produced by the New Policy Institute, I raised one particular finding. The income poverty rate of the British population as a whole stands at around 20%. The same rate for Bangladeshis is about 65%. The researchers had discovered that half of the difference was due to the fact that huge numbers of Bangladeshi women were not in paid work. I asked Khan if this was because values in that community were keeping women from going out to work?

Khan's response was to enumerate a litany of complaints about racism, discrimination in employment, unfair housing policy and all the rest of it. Khan must have been very tired when he read the report (or its summary) because he evidently failed to note that the report itself states that half of the difference is the figure it arrives at after taking into account those very factors that Khan mentioned. Clearly Khan, like the other panellists, was more comfortable discussing vague terms like multiculturalism, especially when they're left undefined.

When the chair pressed them to define the term, Arun Kundnani said that multiculturalism was "ethnic pluralism recognising difference between groups within the public sphere". Sadiq Khan said multiculturalism was "mutual respect based on common ethics". Trevor Philips said that multiculturalism was "valuing the things that divide us more than the things that unite us". Finally, Kenan Malik spoke of multiculturalism as consisting of "policies of cultural diversity which require us publicly to celebrate difference".

There we have it: a plurality of definitions and no two the same. This is Babel. It's not possible for two people to have a debate about the truth of a proposition, if they are both considering different propositions: you ask me if I think apples are tasty, and I tell you that oranges are delicious. The debate was ultimately farcical, a mix-up, a fruit-salad of a debate. Philips was talking about apples, Malik about oranges, Kundnani about pears and Khan about goodness knows what.

Take Khan's definition, "mutual respect based on common ethics". Who on earth would think that "mutual respect based on common ethics" could encourage separateness? Surely not even Trevor Philips, the bane of multiculturalists? And isn't Khan's definition as far from Philips's as you can get? Khan's "common ethics" might arguably be opposed to Philips's "valuing the things that divide us more than the things that unite us". Here are two almost diametrically opposed and certainly inconsistent definitions.

Which definition is right is irrelevant: the point is that without a common definition, there's no sensible debate, just a multiculturalism debate gone mad. When pressed, we see that the panellists reached for "thin" definitions, which invariably are not robust or controversial enough for divisions to show or which, alternatively, build in the arguments their advocates seek to advance.

There is, however, a way out of these sorts of thin and unsatisfying discussions. But it requires courage, something touched on by Malik, who brought a shaft of light in an otherwise dreary debate. Multiculturalists, he said, want public affirmation of cultural difference and this undermines much of what is good about diversity as a lived experience. By affirming those differences, we limit the scope of disputes, of a healthy kind, from taking place. After all, Malik observed, what is diversity good for? "It allows us to consider alternatives and thereby enhance debate. These clashes and conflicts are what multiculturalists most fear."

We need culture clashes and conflicts, not race riots but lively debate and discussion. While we discuss abstract distended nouns of unwieldy "ismic" proportions, like multiculturalism, we must make greater space to pose challenging questions and say difficult things about "thick values". Are women being held back by your culture's values? Your culture doesn't value marriage and that's wrong. Do you value friendships with non-Pakistanis as much as you value your friendships with Pakistanis? Your culture doesn't value family enough: you abandon your elderly.

Creating space for a diversity of views means ending the state- and establishment-endorsed fetish for celebrating diversity of ethnicity and faith. But a diversity in the views we ventilate is not an end in itself. Clashes and conflicts are vital for creating the circumstances in which citizens engage in a discussion about values so that society and culture can evolve in directions that draw everyone in.


Australia's most "incorrect" politician is back

Former One Nation party founder Pauline Hanson has put her name to a new party which she hopes will help her win a Senate spot at the next election. More than a decade after she first entered federal Parliament, Ms Hanson has launched a new political party - Pauline's United Australia Party. The party structure will help the former fish and chip shop owner improve her chances of stealing a seat from the bigger parties. "I am standing as a Senate candidate for Queensland and it was essential for me to have a party structure so I can have my name placed above the line on the ballot paper," Ms Hanson said. As an independent, she would only get votes from people bothered with numbering their entire ballot paper.

Ms Hanson entered politics in 1996 when she won the federal Queensland seat of Oxley as an independent candidate after being dumped by the Liberals for her strong views. She shocked many when, in her maiden parliamentary speech, she warned Australia was in danger of being "swamped by Asians". Ms Hanson attacked the big parties as untrustworthy and indicated she retained her firm views on immigration.

"Labor's union thugs will bash up small business and the farmers, and we will all suffer. "Mr Howard has sold us out by not halting further Muslim immigration and dumping hapless refugees from Africa on us without any consultation. "Australia must withdraw ASAP from the 1951 UN Convention on refugees."

She warned Queenslanders of the threat they faced from Labor at both state and federal levels. "Queensland coalminers and their families and all those involved in the industry are under threat from Mr Rudd and his greenie mates while another Rudd mate Peter Beattie is creating havoc with council amalgamations and his inability to solve our water problems," Ms Hanson said.

Ms Hanson predicted she would be attacked for standing up for ordinary Australians. "I will be attacked by all the usual suspects but I am used to that," she said. "I intend standing up for all those ordinary Australians who have been ignored by the big party politicians for so long."



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 May, 2007

Arrogant and life-threatening British bureaucracy gets a well-deserved black eye

These walking anal orifices cared more for their precious little bureaucratic procedures than they did for the life of a distressed person. You wonder if they are really human beings

A Citizens Advice Bureau adviser who was dismissed after she broke confidentiality rules to help to save the life of a suicidal caller has won her claim for unfair dismissal. Terri King, 58, of Southampton, had acted after a distraught client called the service to say she had taken an overdose of pills because she could not deal with her debt problems. Rather than following the time-consuming procedure of contacting her manager, who would then have had to consult a committee for advice, Mrs King immediately alerted the caller's GP, who was able to get to the woman and treat her.

Despite her lifesaving actions, the divorced mother of three was dismissed from her 13,000 pound-a-year job, on the ground of breaching confidentiality. Peter Wales, her boss at the Lymington branch of the CAB in Hampshire, said that she had made an "irrational and emotional error", the hearing was told.

Delivering a judgment yesterday, the tribunal chairman, Ian Soulsby, condemned the management's attitude towards the incident, which tested the extent to which patient confidentiality should be respected in the event of an emergency. Mr Soulsby said it was ridiculous to say that Mrs King's actions had been an irrational error. "Viewed objectively, there is no criticism of the claimant to act in this way. A life may have been in imminent danger. From any point of view this was a sensible course of action to take."

Mrs King was granted damages of a little more than 18,000 pounds by the Southampton Employment Tribunal, which said she had done the right thing in phoning the caller's doctor. The hearing was told that Mrs King had worked for five years at the bureau.


Pew: Disingenuous (Dishonest?) Survey Report on racial preferences

Post lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links

The Pew Research Center For The People & The Press recently released its wide-ranging survey of American political and social attitudes and values. Its findings, generally favorable for the Democrats and unfavorable for Republicans, are interesting, but even more interesting, at least to me, is the disingenuous, verging on dishonest, manner in which Pew reports some its most important findings regarding race. Imagine both my interest, and my concern, when I read the following recently on TPM Cafe:

"While the public is divided over "racial preferences," 70% of the public support some form of "affirmative action programs to help blacks, women and other minorities to get better jobs and education," a significant increase since 1995 when only 58% of the public supported affirmative action to deal with discrimination.
Wow! 70% support affirmative action! This sounded quite striking, and it led me (once I got around to it) to Pew's summary of its survey findings, which certainly seemed to confirm the TPM Cafe report:

Divides on some once-contentious issues also appear to be closing. In 1995, 58% said they favored affirmative action programs designed to help blacks, women, and other minorities get better jobs. That percentage has risen steadily since, and stands at 70% in the current poll. Gains in support for affirmative action have occurred to almost the same extent among Republicans (+8), Democrats (+10), and Independents (+14).
Amazing! Still curious, and frankly baffled by these results, which seem to run counter to most opinion polls, I decided to look at the results themselves, at least as published by Pew. The reality - or what I regard as the most important part of the reality of opinion about "affirmative action" as measured by Pew - turns out to be considerably different. True, the survey does in fact find that

[s]even-in-ten Americans say they favor "affirmative action programs to help blacks, women and other minorities get better jobs and education." That is a 12-point increase since 1995, with support increasing among most demographic and political groups.
But note what it also finds, and what was conveniently left out of Pew's summary of these findings cited above:

Despite this shift, however, most Americans (62%) disagree with this statement: "We should make every possible effort to improve the position of blacks and other minorities, even if means giving them preferential treatment." [Note: only 34% agree with the statement, according to the accompanying graph.] Even half of those who favor affirmative action programs dissent from the idea that minorities should be given preferential treatment.
Note that "even half," as though it is somehow surprising even to pollsters like Andrew Kohut (director of this survey) who presumably have their ears to the ground that people who favor "affirmative action" when it is defined as "help[ing] blacks, women and other minorities get better jobs and education" nevertheless oppose preferential treatment based on race or gender, and by substantial margins. Also missing from Pew's summary of Pew's findings were the following:

.... Not only do most Americans reject racial preferences, but 45% also believe that "we have gone too far in pushing equal rights." Opinions on this issue have fluctuated over time, but this is virtually the same number that agreed with this statement in 1987 (42%) ....

The differences between blacks and whites in opinions of preferential treatment for minorities, while somewhat narrower than in the past, remain substantial. Currently, 57% of African Americans say the country should make every effort to improve the position of minorities, compared with 27% of whites. The 30-point gap between races is largely unchanged from 2003, but is somewhat smaller than in the 1980s and 90s.

.... Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to support using preferences to improve the lot of minorities; even so, fewer than half of Democrats (42%) endorse preferences, compared with just 17% of Republicans.
Even so.... Even (I would say) a substantial majority of Democrats oppose racial preferences. And only (I would say) 57% of blacks support racial preferences. Indeed, even the survey itself, as opposed to the separately published summary, is disingenuous here. Note that it says "57% of African Americans say the country should make every effort to improve the position of minorities, compared with 27% of whites," leaving out the operative qualifier, "even if it means giving preferential treatment," thus implicitly making whites appear callous and uncaring. Pew's findings may well be reliable, but its reporting of them definitely is not.

Australia: Mr Incorrectness speaks sense again

Says Aboriginal kids must learn English. That's probably even more "incorrect" than an American leader saying that Hispanics must learn English -- but it is very realistic

INDIGENOUS people had no hope of being part of mainstream Australian society unless they could speak English, Prime Minister John Howard said today. Mr Howard backed a proposal by Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough to ensure indigenous children in remote communities learned English, and said the best way to ensure they became proficient in the language was to send them to school. Mr Brough is drawing up a Cabinet proposal that would require indigenous parents to ensure their children attended school or risk losing welfare payments. He said today there was a lot of support from Aboriginal communities for the plan.

Mr Howard said: "Indigenous people have no hope of being part of the mainstream of this country unless they can speak the language of this country. "If you require them to go to school they'll have to learn English." The children of non-English speaking immigrants learnt English through their contact with the school system and so should indigenous children, Mr Howard said. "In the case of indigenous people, none of them come to Australia as mature-aged people. They were all born in this country, in that sense they're different from migrants," he said. "The children of Chinese and Vietnamese immigrants are forced to learn English because they go to school. Equally, Aboriginal children should learn English because they should be required to go to school."

Mr Brough told today's The Australian newspaper that Aboriginal people should follow the example of Greek and Italian migrants and become bilingual. He said this - coupled with a "basic grasp" of mathematics and improved school attendance - would allow Aboriginal children living in deprived communities to find work and economic independence. "Most of the children (in many communities) don't speak any semblance of English," Mr Brough said. "So what chance have they got?" "They speak the language that in many cases only a handful of people do," Mr Brough said.

Defending his plan on ABC radio this morning, he said: "If we are all going to aspire, as most politicians say they do, that all Aboriginal children should have the same life expectancy, the same capacity to enjoy the bounty of this nation, then we are just living a lie if we don't ensure that they have the first fundamental that they need to be mobile citizens of Australia, and that is the English language. "These children, like all Australian children, will benefit from a strong grasp of English which allows them to make choices in their lives which they simply don't have when they only speak a language which only a handful of people can understand."

Mr Brough's proposal was met with amazement by NSW's first Aboriginal MP, Linda Burney. "I think that he needs to understand that culture and country is incredibly important to Aboriginal people and they will be protected at all costs," she said on ABC radio. "Aboriginal kids do need to be bilingual but it's a bit rich coming from a person who actually is part of a government that took away funding for bilingual programs in the Northern Territory."

Mr Brough said school attendance was essential and he would look into ways to encourage indigenous children to go to school, including stopping parents' welfare payments if their children were truants. "I am looking at welfare changes which can help with school attendance," he said. "I will look at anything at all, both incentives as well as things such as welfare quarantining, to assist the circumstances." "This is probably the number one issue I get from grandparents in remote communities," he said. "It's been pushed at me. Particularly the grandmothers, the grandfathers, they are so adamant. They understand the value of English and they understand the value of an education."

Mr Brough's comments come two days before the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum which allowed Aborigines to be counted as Australians and gave the federal government the power to make laws for them.



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

Female chauvinist sows at work again

Post lifted from Taranto. See the original for links

What you are about to read is shocking but true. In the 21st century, in America, there are still institutions of higher education that refuse to admit students simply because they belong to a minority. And in the pages of the Boston Globe, the president of one such college, Joanne V. Creighton, has the temerity to defend this discriminatory policy:

A woman's college . . . is the equivalent of Virginia Woolf's "room of one's own," a college of women's own, free of many of the inhibiting presumptions of the male-dominated world. With its own powerful traditions, norms, and values, and a sense of wholeness sui generis, a women's college helps to develop in students a sense of confidence, competence, and agency. Graduates are more able to see gender-repression when they encounter it and to distinguish between personal and systemic barriers to success. Women's colleges are not about separating women from the world but about encouraging them to be active agents within it.

Well, gosh, when you put it that way, maybe it's not so bad to have a few female-only colleges. Vive la diff‚rence and all that. Knock yourselves out, gals--but how about extending us guys the same courtesy if, say, we want to join a boys-only private club?

Palestinians are victims -- victims of their own fanatics and of other Arabs

TERROR in Tripoli. Havoc in Gaza. Palestinians assassinating the innocent and blaming it on their own victimization. Sounds a lot like 1982. Except that yesteryear's political hit-men are now fanatics. And the Palestinians have blown yet another chance - to the relief of their fellow Arabs. No Arab potentate wants the Palestinians to build a successful, rule-of-law state that co-exists with Israel. Nor does a single Arab ruler like democracy in Lebanon.

The Lebanese army's siege of the Nahr el-Bared refugee camp in Tripoli is an act of desperation. Forced to accept the autonomy of Palestinian bastions on Lebanese soil, a succession of Beirut governments has had to watch the growth of Islamist radicalism as rich Arab states played up the Palestinian cause - and ignored flesh-and-blood Palestinians. The camp under fire (by the way, the shelling isn't indiscriminate - the Lebanese gunners just aren't very good shots) has 32,000 registered residents. The real number may be closer to 50,000, all crammed in a ghetto where poverty reigns and ignorance rules - exactly the kind of situation in which Saudis, Syrians and Gulf Arabs like to keep Palestinians. The destitute camp - really, an urban slum - would seem to be a perfect recruiting ground for fanatics. Yet most of the local refugees, who have lived in Lebanon for a full generation, are siding with the Lebanese government. They don't like being shelled, but they want the terrorists gone. For their part, the terrorists hope the fighting will spread to other camps.

And who are these terrorists whose actions brought the Lebanese army down on their heads? Fatah al-Islam is one of those countless splinter groups right out of Monty Python's "Life of Brian" - except for its murderous bent. Aligned with al Qaeda and backed by Syria, its immediate mission is to make Lebanon ungovernable. So the bodies pile up as the buildings burn.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian try at self-government in Gaza is an even greater shambles. When Israel withdrew its forces in 2005, Palestinian leaders had an unprecedented chance to prove that they could govern competently. With aid in the pipeline (from the West, of course) and goodwill abounding, they could have given the people they ruled a chance. Instead, they gave them anarchy, economic collapse, rampant criminality, a return to "honor killings" and a society broken by blood feuds and internecine hatred.

Last week, the Gaza fighting spun out of control, and Fatah forces, whose leadership now quietly leans on Israel for support, proved tougher than the Hamas thugs expected. With newly trained security-forces in play, Fatah threatened to seize the local initiative. Hamas responded by launching waves of missiles against civilian targets in Israel. By week's end, the Hamas barbarism had become intolerable. Israel responded by killing dozens of Hamas terrorists - including senior figures - with stand-off weaponry. The result? A fragile truce to which Fatah had to agree in the name of Palestinian solidarity. But the Pal-on-Pal fighting will resume soon enough. After winning the last election, Hamas outed itself as a pure-terrorist organization obsessed with killing Israelis and grabbing power for itself - not a party dedicated to improving the lives of the people.

Average Palestinians would like to get on with the shabby lives left to them. And some are staging a quiet rebellion against Hamas: A significant number of the targets Israel struck over the past several days were identified via Palestinian tip-offs.

Arab societies have a genius for self-destruction (look at Iraq), but President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah party may prove readier to deal sensibly with Israel than any Palestinian faction in the past. Abbas recognizes that, today, the greatest danger comes from within, not from Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. As for the mess in Lebanon, Syria's inability to refrain from deadly mischief is a blessing in at least one respect: It makes it harder for the advocates of phony Realpolitik (such as former Secretary of State Jim "Have you hugged your dictator today?" Baker) to push us back into yesteryear's cozy relationships with genocidal Arab despots.

But who really are the victims here? Obviously, Israelis continue to suffer from Arab terror-as-self-actualization. But the global media hates Israel. So don't expect to hear much about the rockets raining on Sderot, beyond a perfunctory aside from a dismissive anchor-babe. Of course, the Lebanese have been the long-standing victims of meddling Arab powers and the refusal of larger and far richer Arab states to give Palestinians hope for better lives. If the Saudis love the Palestinians so much, why not build a model city in the Kingdom for the 400,000 or so stranded in Lebanon? (Actually, few Palestinians would choose to live in such an oppressive place.) And couldn't the tasteless Donald Trumps of Dubai spare at least one of those gold-plated, gated condo developments for deserving Palestinians?

The truth is that other Arabs want the Palestinians to continue to suffer. It's useful as an excuse for all their failings. They have about as much sympathy for the refugees as all those good Germans had for the Jews whose real estate was suddenly available. But the ultimate victims of this round of Palestinian violence are the Palestinians themselves. After passing up so many chances for peace and statehood, they can no longer be classed as victims of Zionism. Yet the Palestinians are victims - of the other Arabs who exploit them and neglect them. And of the madmen spawned from their own kind.

If you need someone to blame for the current carnage, blame the Palestinian terrorists for whom violence has become a way of life (and death). Forget the rage of the dispossessed and all that sanctimonious claptrap. For the Palestinians preying upon their brethren, terror's a business. And business is good.


Muslim pests driving cabs in Australia too

Applying their version of Sharia law in defiance of Australian law. Decent people are kind and helpful to blind people but kindness and helpfulness must have got left out of the Koran

TAXI drivers regularly refuse to carry blind passengers with guide dogs - including Australia's Human Rights Commissioner - with many citing religious reasons, or other excuses like allergies. Human Rights and Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes, who is blind and reliant on his guide dog Jordie, is a regular Sydney cab user and said he was refused service on average once a month, including twice in two days recently. He has been told on a number of occasions that it would be against a driver's religion to allow a dog in the cab. Mr Innes has also been refused by drivers claiming to be allergic to dogs - or afraid of them - and was even left clutching at air on busy Market St by one belligerent driver who told him he had to take the non-existent cab in front.

Mr Innes yesterday received the backing of Vision Australia (VA), which said taxi drivers refusing to carry blind passengers with guide dogs happened with "too much regularity". VA policy and advocacy head Michael Simpson said that the problem was worse in the Sydney metropolitan area where there were more drivers unwilling to carry dogs based on Muslim objections. "It is fair to say that the (Islamic) religion has made the problem worse in the metropolitan areas than regional areas, where I've found taxi drivers are generally excellent," he said.

Mr Simpson, who has been blind for 30 years but uses a cane instead of a guide dog, said he was refused service at the airport because his two companions had dogs. "We asked the driver for his accreditation number and he gave us the wrong one," he said. It was only because an airline staff member had accompanied us that we got the right number and could properly complain about being refused."

Mr Innes was compelled to speak out after the Daily Telegraph last week revealed how an intellectually impaired man had been slapped with $1000 in train fare evasion fines even though he cannot understand what the offence is. He called for better training for all front-line public transport staff in NSW in dealing with disabled passengers. "I'm a lawyer and I know exactly what my rights are so I force the issue but my concern is for those for whom a refusal can be a damaging experience and discouraging," Mr Innes.

NSW Taxi Council spokeswoman Tracey Caine said complaints about refusing guide dogs were rare. "The problem has been much worse in Melbourne," she said. Ms Caine said all NSW drivers were spoken to by disability advocates as part of their training and there had been a number of awareness campaigns in the industry publication Meter Magazine: "It is illegal to refuse to take a guide dog and all drivers know it."


The anti-democratic Leftist media

Comment below by Greg Sheridan

THIS week I had the considerable pleasure of meeting a genuine hero, a military hero and a democratic hero, a moderate Muslim and a hero in the struggle for democratic self-determination. I refer to Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari. A long-time Kurdish freedom fighter, he has been an indefatigable campaigner for Iraqi human rights and democracy.

Note, therefore, this incredible occurrence. Zebari held a joint press conference with Foreign Minister Alexander Downer on Monday. Yet The Age in Melbourne, the nation’s most left-wing newspaper and the paper that has most strongly opposed every aspect of the coalition action in Iraq, did not see fit to print a word about it on Tuesday. This is as glaring a case as you could imagine of simply not reporting the facts because they don’t fit your preconceived narrative.

The Age has spent tonnes and tonnes of newsprint excoriating the coalition efforts to liberate Iraq from the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein and give it a chance of establishing democracy. But it certainly did not want to hear the views of an Iraqi who has the legitimacy of 12 million Iraqis voting three times so that he could be Foreign Minister.

This is, sadly, all too representative of the irrational turn the Iraq debate has taken, where nobody is the slightest bit interested in any evidence that does not support their already held position.

The Australian carried my interview with Zebari yesterday and I don’t intend to recapitulate it here, except for one central consideration. This is what he said would be the result of a rapid pullout from Iraq by the coalition forces led by the US and including Britain and Australia. Zebari said a rapid coalition pullout would mean: “The country would disintegrate, it would be divided. There would be civil war, slaughter, sectarian war. There would be mayhem. International terrorists would find there would be a safe haven in Iraq, a much more important and sympathetic safe haven than they found in Afghanistan, and they will attack others from there. Iraq’s neighbours will be tempted to cross its borders and establish zones of influence there.”

Now here’s the thing. If Zebari is right, rapid withdrawal would be an unmitigated strategic disaster. It would be a tremendous victory for the terrorists and nothing would be more likely to cause conflict within the Middle East. Yet that is the logic of Labor’s position under Kevin Rudd, with the important qualification that Rudd would withdraw Australian troops after consultation with the US and not necessarily suddenly.

This is an issue that very few people discuss honestly. This is a US-led operation and the key question is when the Americans leave. Either they will leave because their own political will collapses or because the Iraqis can finally take care of security themselves. If it is the former, then the disastrous results that Zebari sketches are a strong possibility. If it is the latter, then the whole Iraq mission has been redeemed and the infamy of a genocidal tyrant justly brought to a close.

But in much of the Western debate, not least in Australia, you get the impression that commentators hate George W. Bush and John Howard more than they love the Iraqi people. Just as the international Left cared not a fig for the human rights of Vietnamese, Cambodians or Laotians, and in general didn’t mind a genocide or two once the communists were in power, so too you get the feeling they will rapidly lose interest in any amount of suffering by Iraqis provided the Americans and their allies have been comprehensively humiliated.

The other intriguing aspect of Zebari’s visit was his general praise for the Australian troops in Iraq and his report that they enjoyed a very high reputation in Iraq. This is significant in part because it echoes what several other critically credible sources have said in the past few weeks. It also demolishes the proposition of the Australian Left that somehow or other our participation in Iraq, which by the way is under the authorisation of a UN resolution, is somehow damaging our international reputation.

Ali A. Allawi, a former defence and finance minister in recent Iraqi governments, has written the definitive account of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, entitled, appropriately, The Occupation of Iraq. In it he deplores the amateurism and incompetence of some of the staff of the Coalition Provisional Authority under the leadership of Paul Bremer. However, he goes out of his way to contrast this with the professionalism of the Australians, especially the Australians involved in reconstruction.

Similarly, the recently published memoirs of the former chief of the CIA, George Tenet, are instructive on this point. Tenet has become a critic of Bush and his memoirs are designed to limit his guilt by association with the Iraq operation and put as much distance as possible between himself and the Bush administration. His remarks on Howard, though - again, strangely unreported - are instructive. He says that he and Bush agreed to delay the announcement of his resignation as CIA chief because Howard was due to visit and they didn’t want to detract from the attention the US media should pay to Australia’s Prime Minister. Tenet writes: “Howard had been one of our closest allies. Not only had he deployed troops to Iraq, but he’d also had the enormous political courage to say that he’d gone to war in Iraq not because of what the intelligence said but because he’d believed it was the right thing to do. The President didn’t want to do anything to step on Howard’s visit. Nor did I.”

This is much how many people see Howard internationally, unless they are dedicated haters of the coalition operation in Iraq. Australia, and Australia’s Government, are seen as immensely successful internationally.

The final word, though, belongs to Zebari. One of his most likable traits is loyalty to friends. I asked him if he had any sympathy for Paul Wolfowitz, the former US deputy defence secretary and a key architect of the operation in Iraq, who resigned this week as head of the World Bank. Zebari told me he had a lot of sympathy for Wolfowitz: “We Iraqis consider him a friend. He was a believer in Iraqi democracy. He has been criticised very unfairly. He was a close and determined friend of the Iraqi people and he never wavered in his commitment to our cause.” It is of course entirely right to receive a lesson in loyalty and consideration for a friend from a distinguished Iraqi democrat.



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 May, 2007

The contradictions of socialism

(Old hands will recognize in the title above a reference to a favourite Marxist theme: "The contradictions of capitalism")

By George Will

ARSON is a form of commentary favored by the French left, so at least 1,000 vehicles were torched by disappointed supporters of the Socialist presidential candidate Segolene Royal after she was defeated 53-47 by Nicolas Sarkozy. Last spring, rioting was the left's economic argument when the government proposed, then retreated from, legislation that would have made it somewhat easier for businesses to fire younger workers in the first two years of employment. The idea behind the legislation was that employers would be more likely to hire workers if it were not a legal ordeal to fire them. The rioters were, of course, mostly young.

France's unemployment rate is 8.7 percent, nearly double the U.S. rate of 4.5 percent. Among persons under 25, a cohort that supported Royal, the rate is 21.2 percent, and is apt to stay there unless Sarkozy can implement reforms that irritate rioters.

Sarkozy has a mandate from an 84 percent turnout. Seen, however, in the flickering glow of smoldering Peugeots, his chances of fundamentally reforming France seem fragile, and his idea of fundamental reform - he remains an ardent protectionist - seems pallid. Nevertheless, his attempt merits Americans' attention because he is confronting, in an especially virulent form, a problem that is becoming more acute here: the cultural contradictions of the welfare state.

Two decades ago, the sociologist Daniel Bell wrote about "the cultural contradictions of capitalism" to express this worry: Capitalism flourishes because of virtues that its flourishing undermines. Its success requires thrift, industriousness and deferral of gratifications - but that success produces abundance, expanding leisure and the emancipation of appetites, all of which weaken capitalism's moral prerequisites.

The cultural contradictions of welfare states are comparable. Such states presuppose economic dynamism sufficient to generate investments, job-creation, corporate profits and individuals' incomes from which come tax revenues needed to fund entitlements. But welfare states produce in citizens an entitlement mentality and a low pain threshold. That mentality inflames appetites for more entitlements, broadly construed to include all government benefits and protections that contribute to welfare understood as material well-being, enhanced security and enlarged leisure.

The low pain threshold causes a ruinous flinch from the rigors, insecurities, uncertainties and dislocations inherent in the creative destruction of dynamic capitalism. The flinch takes the form of protectionism, regulations and other government-imposed inefficiencies that impede the economic growth that the welfare state requires.

So welfare states are, paradoxically, both enervating and energizing - and infantilizing. They are enervating because they foster dependency; they are energizing because they aggravate an aggressive (think of burning Peugeots) sense of entitlement; they are infantilizing because it is infantile to will an end without willing the means to that end, and people who desire welfare states increasingly desire relief from the rigors necessary to finance them.

Twenty-five years ago, President Francois Mitterrand, a socialist who had won election by promising to "break with the logic of profitability," was keeping that promise and, in the process, killing socialism. He promised stimulative spending through expanded entitlements, a short workweek with no reduced compensation, job-creation through public spending, and higher taxes on the investing classes. So productivity fell and unemployment rose.

Statism, the inevitable concomitant of government attempts to administer France's three ideological incompatibles ("liberty, equality, fraternity"), continued. And 47 percent of the French electorate just voted for Royal's promise of much more of it, even though France's 2006 growth rate was lower than that of 21 of the (then) 25 members of the European Union.

Sarkozy wants to lower taxes and eliminate the tax on overtime work. That tax, along with government snoops patrolling companies' parking lots to detect antisocial industriousness, enforces the 35-hour workweek. Even before Sarkozy was elected, public-sector unions (government organized to pressure itself to fatten itself) threatened a paralyzing national strike because he opposes allowing 500,000 employees of government-controlled firms to retire earlier than private-sector employees, and with larger pensions.

During the 25 years that the French left and some right-wing nationalists have spent reviling "cold, heartless impoverishing Anglo-American capitalism," France's per capita GDP has slumped from seventh in the world to 17th. Sarkozy's task is to persuade the French that their government's solicitousness on behalf of their security and leisure explains the work they must now do to reduce their insecurity.


A Communism for the 21st Century

By Fjordman

I've received some criticism for trying to figure out the ideological and historical roots of Multiculturalism. Critics claim that it's all about hate, about a desire to break down the Established Order at any cost. Many of the proponents don't believe in the doctrine of Multiculturalism themselves, so we shouldn't waste any time analyzing the logic behind it, because there is none. A desire to break down Western society is certainly there, but I do believe there are some ideas about the desired end result articulated as well.

On one hand, we're supposed to "celebrate" our differences at the same time as it is racist and taboo to recognize that any differences between groups of people exist at all. This is hardly logically coherent, which is why Multiculturalism can only be enforced by totalitarian means. Perhaps it boils down to the fact there are no major differences, just minor quirks, all cute, which should be celebrated at the same time as we gradually eradicate them.

We are told to treat cultural and historical identities as fashion accessories, shirts we can wear and change at will. The Multicultural society is "colorful," an adjective normally attached to furniture or curtains. Cultures are window decorations of little or no consequence, and one might as well have one as the other. In fact, it is good to change it every now and then. Don't you get tired of that old sofa sometimes? What about exchanging it for the new sharia model? Sure, it's slightly less comfortable than the old one, but it's very much in vogue these days and sets you apart from the neighbors, at least until they get one, too. Do you want a sample of the latest Calvin Klein perfume to go with that sharia?

We should remember that this view of culture as largely unimportant is essentially a Marxist view of the world, which has now even been adopted by segments of the political Right, united with Leftists in the belief that man is homo economicus, the economic man, the sum of his functions as worker and consumer, nothing more. Marxism doesn't say that cultures or ideas are of absolutely no consequence, but that they are of minor or secondary importance next to structural and economic conditions.

I have heard individuals state point blank that even if Muslims become the majority in our countries in the future, this doesn't matter because all people are equal and all cultures are just a mix of everything else, anyway. And since religions are just fairy-tales, replacing one fairy-tale, Christianity, with another fairy-tale, Islam, won't make a big difference. All religions basically say that the same things in different ways. However, not one of them would ever dream of saying that all political ideologies "basically mean the same thing." They simply don't view religious or cultural ideas as significant, and thus won't spend time on studying the largely unimportant details of each specific creed. This is Marxist materialism.

The unstated premise behind this is that the age of distinct cultures is over. All peoples around the world will gradually blend into one another. Ethnic, religious and racial tensions will disappear, because mankind will be one and equal. It's cultural and genetic Communism. Nation states who create their own laws and uphold their own borders constitute "discrimination" and an obstacle to this new Utopia, and will gradually have to be dismantled, starting with Western nations of course, replaced by a world where everybody has the right to move wherever they want to and where international legislation and human rights resolutions define the law, upheld by an elite of - supposedly well-meaning - transnational bureaucrats managing our lives.

What the proponents of this ideology don't say is that even if it were possible to melt all human beings into one people, which is in my view neither possible nor desirable, this project would take generations or centuries, and in the intervening time there would be numerous wars and enormous suffering caused by the fact that not everybody would quietly allow themselves to be eradicated.

All aspects of your person, from language via culture to skin color and religion, are treated as imaginary social constructs. We are told that "all cultures are hybrids and borrow from each other," that we were "all immigrants" at one point in time and hence nobody has a right to claim any specific piece of land as "theirs."

Since "we" are socially constructed, we can presumably also be socially deconstructed. The Marxist "counter-culture"of the 1960s and 70s has been remarkably effective at attacking the pillars of Western civilization. It is, frankly, scary to notice how much damage just one single generation can inflict upon a society. Maybe it's true that no chain is stronger than its weakest link. Our education system is now used to dismantle our culture, not to uphold it, and has moved from the Age of Reason to the Age of Deconstruction. Socialism has destroyed the very fabric of society. Our countries have become so damaged that people feel there is nothing left fighting for, which no doubt was the intention. Our children leave school as disoriented wrecks and ideological cripples with no sense of identity, and are met with a roar of outrage if they demonstrate the slightest inkling of a spine.

Codie Stott, a white English teenage schoolgirl, was arrested on suspicion of committing a section five racial public order offense after refusing to sit with a group of South Asian students because some of them did not speak English. She was taken to Swinton police station, had her fingerprints taken and was thrown into a cell before being released. Robert Whelan of the Civitas think-tank said: "A lot of these arrests don't result in prosecutions - the aim is to frighten us into self-censorship until we watch everything we say."

Bryan Cork of Carlisle, Cumbria in the Lake District, was sentenced to six months in jail for standing outside a mosque shouting, "Proud to be British," and "Go back to where you came from." This happened while Muslims were instituting sharia laws in British cities and got state sponsorship for having several wives.

Antifascistisk Aktion in Sweden, a group that supposedly fights against "racists," openly brag about numerous physical attacks against persons with their full name and address published on their website. According to AFA, this is done in order to fight against global capitalism and for a classless society. They subscribe to an ideology that killed one hundred million people during a few generations, and they are the good guys. Those who object to being turned into a minority in their own country through mass immigration are the bad guys.

The extreme Left didn't succeed in staging a violent revolution in the West, so they decided to go for a permanent, structural revolution instead. They now hope that immigrants can provide raw material for a violent rebellion, especially since many of them are Muslims who have displayed such a wonderful talent for violence and destruction. The Western Left are importing a new proletariat, since the previous one disappointed them.

A poll carried out on behalf of the Organization for Information on Communism found that 90 percent of Swedes between the ages of 15 and 20 had never heard of the Gulag, although 95 percent knew of Auschwitz. "Unfortunately we were not at all surprised by the findings," Ander Hjemdahl, the founder of UOK, told website The Local. In the nationwide poll, 43 percent believed that Communist regimes had claimed less than one million lives. The actual figure is estimated at 100 million. 40 percent believed that Communism had contributed to increased prosperity in the world. Mr. Hjemdahl states several reasons for this massive ignorance, among them that "a large majority of Swedish journalists are left-wingers, many of them quite far left."

I have personally read statements by leading media figures not just in Sweden, but all over Western Europe, who openly brag about censoring coverage of issues related to mass immigration and the Multicultural society.

The Muslim writer Abdelwahab Meddeb believes that as a result of French influence, the whole of the Mediterranean region "is suited to becoming a laboratory for European thought." First of all, I don't think Islam can be reformed, and even if it could, France currently lacks the cultural confidence to lead such an effort. Behind their false pride, they are a nation deeply unsure about themselves, and still carry psychological wounds from their great Revolution of 1789. And second: A bridge can be crossed two ways. Will France be a bridge for European thought into the Islamic world or for Islamic thought into Europe? Right now, the latter seems more likely. And finally: I greatly resent seeing tens of millions of human beings described as a "laboratory." Unfortunately, Mr. Meddeb is not alone in entertaining such ideas.

Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt has said: "Belgium is the laboratory of European unification." What kind of confidence does it inspire in citizens that their supposed leader talks about their country as a laboratory? Are their children guinea pigs? Apparently, yes.

In 1960, 7.3% of the population of Belgian capital Brussels was foreign. Today the figure is 56.5%. Jan Hertogen, a Marxist sociologist, can hardly hide his excitement over this great experiment in social engineering, and believes this population replacement "is an impressive and unique development from a European, or even a world perspective." Yes, it is probably the first time in human history that a nation demographically has handed over its capital city to outsiders without firing a single shot, but judging from trends in the rest of Europe, it won't be the last. The European Union and the local, Multicultural elites will see to that.

The Dutch writer Margriet de Moor provides another example of why Multiculturalism is a massive experiment in social engineering, every bit as radical and dangerous as Communism. Ms. de Moor lives in some kind of alternate reality where "Europe's affluence and free speech" will create an Islamic Reformation. But Muslim immigration constitutes a massive drain on the former, and is slowly, but surely destroying the latter:

"When I'm feeling optimistic I sometimes see the Netherlands, a small laconic country not inclined towards the large-scale or the theatrical, as a kind of laboratory on the edge of Europe. Now and then the mixture of dangerous, easily inflammable substances results in a little explosion, but basically the process of ordinary chemical reactions just continues."

What kind of person refers to her own country as a laboratory? Ms. de Moor sounds like a scientist, dispassionately studying an interesting specimen in her microscope. I'm sure Theo van Gogh would be pleased to hear that he was basically a lab rat when he ended up with a knife in his chest for having "insulted" Islam, along with that of the "racist" Pim Fortuyn the first political murder in Holland for centuries. What was once one of the most tolerant nations in the world is now being ruined by Muslim immigration. But hey, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet, right? These murders were an unfortunate business, no doubt, but one mustn't call off the entire Multicultural experiment because of a few minor setbacks.

We all told that Arabs triggered the Renaissance in Europe. Michelangelo was commissioned by the Pope to paint the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel within the Vatican. He painted God creating Adam. Did any of the Caliphs or Sultans ever commission an artist to pant the image of Allah in Mecca? Why not, if all cultures are one and the same? Likewise, the political works of the ancient Greeks were never translated to Arabic, as they presented systems such as democracy where men ruled themselves according to their own laws. This was considered blasphemous to Muslims. The same texts were later studied with great interest in the West.

Far from being irrelevant, culture is a massively important factor in shaping a society. Islam's hostility to free speech is why Muslims never had any Scientific or Industrial Revolution, for instance. If you believe in evolution, isn't it then also likely that some cultures are more evolved than others? That kind of blows Multiculturalism away, doesn't it?

British PM Tony Blair is stepping down after having ruined his country more in one decade than arguably any other leader has done before him. He ran on the platform of New Labour, but as it turned out, his party was still wed to the same old ideas of international Socialism.

According to the writer Melanie Phillips, "He is driven by a universalist world view which minimises the profound nature of the conflicts that divide people. He thinks that such divisions belong essentially to a primitive past. (...) Hence his closely-related obsession with `universal' human rights law. Hence also his belief that national borders no longer matter, that mass immigration is a good thing and that Britain's unique identity must give way to multiculturalism. This is the way, he thinks, to eradicate conflict, prejudice and war, and create a global utopia. What a profound misjudgment. It is, instead, the way to destroy democracy and the independent nations that create and sustain it."

Marie Simonsen, the political editor of the Norwegian left-wing newspaper Dagbladet, wrote in March 2007 that it should be considered a universal human right for all people everywhere to migrate wherever they want to. This statement came just after a UN report had predicted a global population growth of several billion people to 2050.

It doesn't take much skill to calculate that unlimited migration will spell certain death for a tiny Scandinavian nation - not in a matter of generations, but theoretically even within a few weeks. Ms. Simonsen is thus endorsing the eradication of her own people, and she does so almost as an afterthought. Her comments received no opposition from anyone in the media establishment, which could indicate that most of them share her views, or at least have resigned themselves to the fact that our death as a people is already inevitable.

Karl Marx has defined the essence of Socialism as abolishing private property. Let's assume for a moment that a country can be treated as the "property" of its citizens. Its inhabitants are responsible for creating its infrastructure. They have built its roads and communications, its schools, universities and medical facilities. They have created its political institutions and instilled in its people the mental capacities needed for upholding them. Is it then wrong for the citizens of this country to want to enjoy the benefits of what they have themselves created?

According to Marxist logic, yes.

Imagine you have two such houses next to each other. In House A, the inhabitants have over a period of generations created a tidy and functioning household. They have limited their number of children because they wanted to give all of them a proper education. In House B, the inhabitants live in a dysfunctional household with too many children who have received little higher education. One day they decide to move to their neighbors'. Many of the inhabitants of House A are protesting, but some of them think this might be a good idea. There is room for more people in House A, they say. In addition to this, Amnesty International, the United Nations and others claim that it is "racist" and "against international law" for the inhabitants of House A to expel the intruders. Pretty soon, House A has been turned into an overpopulated and dysfunctional household just like House B.

This is what is happening to the West today. Europe itself could become a failed continent by importing the problems of Africa and the Islamic world. The notion that everybody should be free to move anywhere they want to, and that preventing them from moving into your country is "racism, xenophobia and bigotry," is the Communism of the 21st century. And it will probably lead to immense human suffering.

One of the really big mistakes we made after the Cold War ended was to declare that Socialism was now dead, and thus no longer anything to worry about. Here we are, nearly a generation later, discovering that Marxist thinking has penetrated every single stratum of our society, from the universities to the media. While the "hard" Marxism of the Soviet Union may have collapsed, at least for now, the "soft" Marxism of the Western Left has actually grown stronger, in part because we mistakenly deemed it to be less threatening.

Ideas about Multiculturalism and de-facto open borders have achieved a virtual hegemony in public discourse. By hiding behind labels such as "anti-racism" and "tolerance," Leftists have achieved a degree of censorship they could never have achieved had they openly stated that their intention was to radically transform Western civilization and destroy its foundations.

According to the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, "the lofty idea of `the war on racism' is gradually turning into a hideously false ideology. And this anti-racism will be for the 21st century what Communism was for the 20th century: A source of violence."

Alexander Boot, a Russian by birth, left for the West in the 1970s, only to discover that the West he was seeking was no longer there. This led him to write the book How the West Was Lost. Boot believes that democracy, or in the words of Abraham Lincoln, the government of the people, by the people and for the people, has been replaced by glossocracy, the government of the word, by the word and for the word.

In a culture where language is power and words are used as weapons, those who control the most fearsome of these weapons control society. In the West, where equality in all walks of life is the highest virtue and "discrimination" is a mortal sin, the "racist" is the worst of creatures. Those who control the definition of "racist," the nuclear bomb of glossocracy, have a powerful weapon they can utilize to intimidate opponents. The mere utterance of the word can destroy careers and ruin lives, with no trial and no possibility of appeal.

Currently, the power of definition largely rests in the hands of a cartel of anti-racist organizations dominated by the extreme Left, often in cooperation with Muslims. By silencing all opposition to mass immigration as "racism," they can stage a transformation of society every bit as massive as that of Communism, yet virtually shut down debate about it.

Boot totally rejects the claim that Marxism has been misunderstood: "Any serious study will demonstrate that Marx based his theories on industrial conditions that either were already obsolete at the time or had never existed in the first place. That is no wonder, for Marx never saw the inside of a factory, farm or manufactory. [...] Whatever else he was, Marx was not a scientist. [.] Marx ideals are unachievable precisely because they are so monstrous that even Bolsheviks never quite managed to realize them fully, and not for any lack of trying. For example, the [Communist] Manifesto (along with other writings by both Marx and Engels) prescribes the nationalization of all private property without exception. Even Stalin's Russia of the 1930s fell short of that ideal. In fact, a good chunk of the Soviet economy was then in private hands [...] Really, compared with Marx, Stalin begins to look like a humanitarian. Marx also insisted that family should be done away with, with women becoming communal property. Again, for all their efforts, Lenin and Stalin never quite managed to achieve this ideal either. So where the Bolsheviks and Nazis perverted Marxism, they generally did so in the direction of softening it."

The former Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovksy, who has warned that the European Union is on its way to becoming another Soviet Union, thinks that while the West won the Cold War in a military sense, we lost it in the context of ideas: "Communism might have been dead, but the communists remained in power in most of the former Warsaw bloc countries, while their Western collaborators came to power all over the world (in Europe in particular). This is nothing short of a miracle: the defeat of the Nazis in 1945 quite logically brought a shift to the Left in world politics, while a defeat of communism in 1991 brought again a shift to the Left, this time quite illogically."

Bukovksy is right: We never had a thorough de-Marxification process after the Cold War, similar to the de-Nazification after WW2, and we are now paying the price for this. Many Marxist ideas have been allowed to endure and mutate, such as the notion that culture is unimportant or that it is OK to stage massive social experiments on hundreds of millions of people. The Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm has stated that had the Soviet Union managed to create a functioning Socialist society, tens of millions of deaths would have been a worthwhile price to pay. But Marxist ideals of forced equality can only be enforced by a government with totalitarian powers, and will thus inevitably lead to a totalitarian society. There is no "enlightened Marxism," and the idea that there is has ruined more lives than probably and other ideology in modern history.

Marxism is an organized crime against humanity.

The Australian writer Keith Windschuttle warns that the consequence of cultural relativism is that if there can be no absolute truths, there can be no absolute falsehoods, either, which explains Western weakness when confronted with Islamic Jihad. Our sense of right and wrong has been deeply damaged by Marxist thinking. Windschuttle praises Greek historian Thucydides' writings about The History of the Peloponnesian War from the 5th century BC:

"Rather than being impelled by great impersonal forces, political history reveals the world is made by men and, instead of being `absolved of blame', men are responsible for the consequences of their actions. This was the very point that informed Thucydides' study of the Peloponnesian War: the fate of Athens had been determined not by prophets, oracles or the gods, but by human actions and social organisation."

Ideas matter. Individuals matter. Cultures matter. Truth matters, and truth exists. We used to know that. It's time we get to know it again, and reject false ideas about the irrelevance of culture. We are not racists for desiring to pass on our heritage to future generations, nor are we evil for resisting to be treated as lab rats in social experiments on a horrific scale. We must nip the ideology of transnational Multiculturalism and unlimited mass migration in the bud by exposing it for what it is: A Communism for the 21st century.



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 May, 2007

More on the ham sandwich "hate crime"

I mentioned this previously on Education Watch -- scroll down

When is a failure to respect the deep religious beliefs of a group regarded as a hate crime? In the state of Maine, we have an answer, one that ought to provoke outrage. In today's America, some groups are more equal than others, and media and local authorities seem unified in accepting this as fair, just, and normal.

Although the national media has been virtually silent on the subject, Lewiston, Maine has been rocked by a controversy over an alleged hate crime at the local high school cafeteria. Lewiston, you see, has become the host community for over 2000 Somali refugees, a very large number for a community as small as Lewiston (population approximately 36,000, with another 20,000 in neighboring towns including Auburn*). So when a student tossed a ham sandwich on a table in the cafeteria where a group of Somalian students were sitting, all hell broke loose.

That small community has see front-page newspaper stories, one student suspended and others under suspicion, with the Lewiston Police opening an investigation and (of course) something called the Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence is working with the school to create a response plan. Ultimately, the determination was made that it was not a hate crime [But the school punished the student anyway], but the degree of seriousness with which this rather stupid and petty act was treated sends its own message. The blogger Bookworm provides some needed perspective:

Americans, especially students, find it hysterically funny to throw food. Heck, this propensity has been enshrined in several movies, starting with Laurel and Hardy, and moving up to the present time, with Animal House being a great recent example. While there's usually an element of aggression in throwing food at people, for the most part Americans consider it a great sport. (Indeed, back in the 1960s, my concentration camp experienced mother was absolutely horrified to learn that, at my sister's junior high school, an egg toss was considered a perfect fund raiser. She quickly got the PTA to put a stop to that kind of food waste

Blogger Tom McLaughlin, who writes opinion columns for several Maine newspapers, provides an excellent post on the incident and quickly gets to the meat (if you will) of the question:

There have been no reports I know of about how Muslims may be offended by classes teaching that homosexual behavior is normal and natural. Several public schools sponsor assemblies in which homosexual and transgender behaviors are natural too. Certainly there have been no front page headlines. Jews and Christians may be offended by such material also but our media is virtually silent about it.

He goes on to point out that in fact Christian students at various high schools have themselves been persecuted for daring to even voice their religious objections to homosexual behavior:

A week after the ham incident, over five thousand public schools across the country observed a "Day of Silence" in support of homosexuality. Students at all these schools were encouraged to be silent for a day to protest purported harassment of gay and lesbian students. They were also encouraged to wear T-shirts and buttons supporting homosexuality. Events of this nature have been sponsored by public schools for more than ten years. Though no homosexuals were harassed that day, Christian students who were offended by the school's orchestration of homosexual propaganda were. After peacefully expressing their opposition to what they consider brainwashing, dozens were suspended in several districts around California. In the Sacramento area, more than three thousand students stayed home to avoid exposure to pro-homosexual indoctrination. According to the Catholic news service lifesitenews.com:

"Other students concerned about the one-sided messages determined to wear clothing and distribute literature which peacefully highlighted the dangers of homosexuality. Dozens of religious students were disciplined for expressing their viewpoints at Inderkum, Rio Linda and San Juan high schools."

McLaughlin points out that it was not the eating of ham sandwiches that got the Lewiston students in trouble (that is still legal, for now - but don't try this in Saudi Arabia), but rather the flaunting of ham - bringing it into close proximity in a manner intended to offend. But that is precisely the sort of behavior that is not just tolerated but indeed encouraged when it comes to offending those who have religious objections to homosexuality.

Let me go ont eh record here: I think it was a boorish act of the Maine students to put the ham sandwich on the table. It was rude and offensive. Some punishment - perhaps an admonition for the first offense - was in order. To call in a group with the title "hate violence" in its name and open a police file is overkill. But the same goes for students who flaunt their sexuality (any sexuality!) in schools.

In today's America, we have elevated some groups to a position of dominance over others, when we insist that their religious sensitivities be respected, while those of other groups are repressed by school authorities. A transparent agenda is at work, one that seeks to punish the religious beliefs of the majority of Americans while exaggerating the regard that must be paid to a minority's beliefs. Breaking the hold of Christianity on the majority populace is a priority who seek to transform America into a very different kind of country.

I await the appearance of a Muslim imam in Lewiston or Minneapolis who would fire up his adherents in the cause of expressing offense at public displays of homosexuality in the schools. The sound of "progressive" heads exploding would be music to my ears. I am likely to wait a long time, however, because the game being played is obvious, and the time is not yet right. Dhimmitude comes one step at a time.


New evidence that British blacks really are madder

Three years ago an official inquiry into the treatment of black people within Britain's mental health services concluded that the system was riddled with institutional racism and blamed the Department of Health for ignoring what it called "this festering abscess... a blot upon the good name of the NHS".

But now senior psychiatrists, some themselves from ethnic minorities, are hitting back, arguing that labelling psychiatric services as racist is both wrong and counter-productive. Professor Swaran Singh, a consultant based in Birmingham says, "the high rates of psychosis and the high rates of detention are not a result of racism", he insists.

The experiences of black people in mental health services are undoubtedly shocking: black men up to 18 times more likely to be diagnosed with psychotic illness than whites and four times more likely to find themselves locked up under the Mental Health Act. Understandably, for many within the black community the figures are powerful evidence that services are profoundly racist.

Professor Singh's view has seen him accused of setting psychiatry back 20 years, but he is adamant. He says the term "institutional racism" damages the very people it purports to help and "is erroneous and too simplistic an explanation for ethnic differences. What it does is it creates a wall of mistrust between between service users and service providers."

But in the last few months, research by the Institute of Psychiatry in London has turned the argument on its head. The largest-ever study of psychosis tested the theory that psychiatrists wittingly or unwittingly allowed their clinical judgment to be influenced by the colour of their patients' skin. Researchers removed the ethnicity of a patient from their notes and asked a doctor to assess them. What they found was that psychosis was still diagnosed nine times more often in black people from the Caribbean - almost exactly the same rate as their presence within mental health services.

Professor Robin Murray from the Institute says the evidence is remarkable. "We have pretty well excluded the possibility that this is a result of misdiagnosis", he says. In fact, the results suggested the opposite. "Psychiatrists in the UK are less likely to diagnose psychosis in somebody who is black than white with the same symptoms", argues Professor Murray.

The real explanation for so many more black people in mental health services, it is claimed, is that they suffer from higher levels of mental illness. The reasons for that are thought to be social: fractured families, exclusion, poor education, unemployment and cannabis use - all problems which particularly affect the black community.

Research also came up with an explanation for the higher rates of detention under the Mental Health Act. Black people are twice as likely as white patients to be referred to a psychiatrist by the police or a court rather than their GP. In other words, black patients arrive in the system when their condition is much more serious, requiring their detention. According to some psychiatrists, the consequence of wrongly blaming racism for black people's high representation in mental services is that the real causes of mental ill health in the black community are ignored.

Just as concerning is the claim that some dangerously ill black patients are discharged into the community because white mental health tribunals are worried they may be accused of racism. Dr Shubulade Smith, a consultant psychiatrist at the world-famous Maudsley Hospital in South London says an all-white panel wouldn't listen to her arguments about one of her black patients. "He was really at risk getting hurt because of the illness that he had, and the tribunal discharged him", she says. "I don't know what was going on in their minds other than they were too scared of thinking that they might be being racist towards him."

Dr Smith, herself a black woman, believes psychiatry needs to focus less on internal racism and more on helping deal with the real causes of mental illness out in the community. "Let's do something about those factors that increase the likelihood of people becoming unwell in this way," she says. "Let's do something about that."


No justice - Australian rape victim's father

What is not mentioned below is that the victim of the rape was treated exceptionally poorly because the NSW justice system went into overdrive to water down severe sentences handed to a Muslim gang. Being kind to Muslims was the driving priority in the matter -- anything to achieve that

THE father of one of the Sydney women raped seven years ago by Bilal Skaf's gang says rape victims should avoid court, and take matters into their own hands instead. The father, who cannot be named, said criminal justice in the state was so biased against victims of crime that rape victims should have nothing to do with it. "Do not go to court. Sort it out outside of the court, if you get my drift," he said. "Once you get to court, you will not get justice. It is a justice system in name only."

This father's damning assessment was delivered after a man known as MG was acquitted of raping his daughter, who can be identified only as Miss C. While MG was acquitted of raping Miss C, he did not walk free. He is serving two 15-year sentences for his role in other rapes. Skaf and other members of his gang are already serving prison sentences for attacks on Miss C.

Her father's advice to avoid the justice system prompted the NSW Rape Crisis Centre to call for urgent reforms to ensure people are not tempted to take the law into their own hands. "Violence solves nothing," said manager Karen Willis. "I empathise with this man's position. What his daughter has gone through for seven years would be appalling. It shows we still need more changes such as special sexual assault courts to ensure people do not take the law into their own hands."

Miss C's father said his daughter had received "horrific" treatment by the courts and defence lawyers. "They subpoenaed her medical records and even said in court that she had an orgasm during one of the rapes. How in the hell would they know?" he said. "She now rarely goes out. She won't go out in crowds and when she does, she won't go out for very long. "She hates being outside, particularly when she sees Muslims. She is so anti-Islam it is unbelievable, and to be honest, so am I."

The fact that the MG case dragged on for more than five years meant he no longer had any faith in the adversarial system of justice. "The prosecution are hindered in what they can do, whereas the defence can rip these girls apart," he said. "It took seven years and my daughter could not do it any more and she was one of the strongest of the lot."

Miss C abandoned her involvement in the MG case because of delays and the removal of top prosecutor Margaret Cunneen. Her father said it was time to switch to a more inquisitorial system to stop defence lawyers dragging out cases. He also called for a better system of selecting judges. "They say the law is equal. Don't believe it," he said.

During his daughter's ordeal in the court system, he had taken his concerns to the NSW Law Society and both sides of state politics. He said he had been "spoken down to" by the Law Society, ignored by then Attorney-General Bob Debus and told by the state Opposition that real reform would require constitutional change.

He contacted The Australian after the NSW Court of Criminal Appeal wrote to this newspaper last week about the MG case. Miss C's father said he rejected the court's statement that Ms Cunneen's removal had not triggered his daughter's decision to walk away from the case.



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 May, 2007

The British decay

Meanwhile, in London . I open this morning's papers to find that our next prime minister Gordon Brown's first policy announcement is that he intends to build 5 environmentally-friendly `eco-towns' which are totally self sufficient in energy generated by solar and wind power.

One would have thought that Brown would have other priorities on taking over from Tony Blair at Number 10. Immigration is out of control, with bogus asylum seekers, East European ex-cons and sex offenders failing to `report back' to the immigration authorities after their initial processing on arrival. (Last month some minister came up with the daft proposal to serve these people deportation notices by SMS text!). Perhaps linked to that problem is the staggering leap in gun crime and knifings in our streets. (Jewish areas have had to enlist private security to cope with a crime wave of 30 armed raids on Jewish homes in recent weeks.) And perhaps linked to both those problems is that this country has also run out of prison cells. This means that criminals are being let out early to make way for new offenders who may expect even earlier parole as the crime wave rises even higher. All of which goes to less deterrence to criminals who are no longer afraid of being caught.

This of course assumes that the baddies are actually caught. But that's increasingly unlikely since the government has been closing police stations at breakneck speed as if it were some important target. Over 25% of local police stations have disappeared in the last 10 years.

And let's not forget that the erosion of border controls and policing is not just attracting criminals. Even more serious is the infiltration of Islamic terrorists and the free movement of the British-born Asian youths they have incited to mass killing on our streets and transit systems. The security services have admitted to the existence of dozens of terror cells under various levels of investigation. One must wonder how many may have escaped their attention.

But despite all of this, the leaders of the two biggest political parties in the UK are battling to save the planet. The vital question is: which party offers the smallest carbon footprint? Which is why I am more likely to find a council recycling inspector checking my garbage bin than a police officer checking my street.

Whilst our cuddly leaders fret over carbon and ozone, evil despots are busy with other elements in the Periodic Table. Beneath schools and hospitals in Iran, hundreds of German-built centrifuges are humming away 24/7 in reinforced bunkers, refining a new final solution to the Jewish Problem and the means to enslave the West by nuclear blackmail. Let's stop worrying about the planet and start worrying about ourselves.


More British craziness -- BBQ police

The Primrose Hill community centre in north London has been hosting a popular annual summer festival for the past 30 years. Yet this year, in order to qualify for the 400 pound grant from Camden Council that helps to make the festival a reality, the centre is having to jump through some pretty strange hoops.

The centre is being asked to fulfil a string of new requirements. These include making sure that five per cent of festivalgoers fill in a questionnaire to say whether they enjoyed themselves; inviting `under-represented groups' to participate as stall-holders or performers; hiring only professional caterers who must be registered with their local authority; making sure all staff, artists and volunteers have a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check to ensure they do not have a history of harming children; and using only a gas barbeque. Under no circumstances may the Primrose Hill community festival use their traditional coal barbeque, even though it has not caused any accidents over the past three decades.

Alongside New Britain's speech police, health-and-safety police and ethnic quotas police we can now add the Barbecue Police: council officials whose job it is to ensure that only the right kind of barbecue is used in the right kind of way by the right kind of people. Another bit of fun goes up in smoke.

More here

A toxic view of working-class parents

Commentators heaped praise on Sue Palmer's Toxic Childhood. Didn't they spot its poisonous arguments about a 'dead-eyed', over-breeding underclass?

I put off reading Sue Palmer's "Toxic Childhood: How the Modern World is Damaging Our Children and What We Can Do About It" for as long as I could. But the book, which was held up as a great insight into the state of childhood today by numerous public figures, just kept on coming up.

First published in 2006, the book got good reviews everywhere. And there was that letter to the government, published in the Daily Telegraph and signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and a hundred or so others who agree that so-called junk culture is `poisoning our children'. Indeed, Palmer could hardly have found a finer club of supporters; it included former children's laureate Anne Fine and Marion Dowling, president of the British Association of Early Childhood Education.

I was mainly put off by the book because the title bothered me. Where did this idea come from, that we're all being poisoned? The book seems to issue a challenge; first you de-toxed your diet, now it's time to de-tox your children. And once the kids are de-toxed, you still won't be able to take it easy because you'll also have to de-tox your home (the Wi-Fi is scrambling your brains, in case you didn't know). I even heard the keynote speaker at a leading early years conference a few years ago telling everyone to get their houses rewired to avoid damaging their children with electrical currents running beneath their bedrooms. Strangely, all those concerned with such dangers neglect to mention any of the real cases of toxicity today. To take just one example, the thousands of children in the developing world poisoned by the use of glycol to sweeten counterfeit medicines never even get a mention.

Once I got round to reading the book, I found that it mostly gives perfectly good, straightforward analyses and advice about the state of childhood today. Yet it left me feeling I had been held up somewhere rather unpleasant for a few hours. Underneath all the nice stuff about the importance of good fresh food, outdoor play and parents giving time, love and attention to their children, there is a nasty stench. Do right by your children, the book seems to say, but at the same time beware the savage children of the underclass - the `feral' kids who `don't have children's faces - they're pinched and angry with dead eyes'.

So you slip quickly from the spurious notion that there is something called `toxic childhood syndrome' (both `toxic' and `syndrome' have proper medical definitions, but here they are used as pseudo-medical jargon) to some far more familiar ideas. Parent-bashing by teachers, for example: the problems in school today, the argument goes, are basically the fault of an underclass of parents. What else would you expect from them - `deprived, uneducated, often scarcely more than children themselves.often junkies, alcoholics, involved in crime'?

This group of parents is seen as a lot of feckless infants. They eat the wrong food, they don't take their children out on the right trips to broaden their horizons - they don't even talk properly. There is even a dire warning about the `soaring' birth rate of these have-nots, whilst the `educated classes' fail to reproduce in comparable numbers. The reader is thus softened up for the idea that the state must step in and `detoxify other people's children' - or else there will be `serious civil unrest within a generation'.

Palmer's language is eloquently nasty. She writes about children in poor neighbourhoods who are `huge, heavily-built and lumbering', and `teenage mums devouring taxpayers' money'. It's perfectly pitched to upset and even terrify anyone who is trying their best to bring up their children well.

Palmer is more than matched by the teachers she approvingly quotes - but are these teachers always right when they blame everyone else for children's apparently poor development? If the state of childhood really is as dire as Toxic Childhood makes it out to be, then don't schools play any part in this? The image of a group of inner-city headteachers sitting around with Palmer telling her that `something really awful will happen soon' makes me think it's time to get the hysteria under control and get a grip. What hope can anyone hold for children's education and moral growth in schools if the headteachers are so cynical and brutalised?

This is not to say that Toxic Childhood is without its insights, which come from careful research and are expressed with clarity and verve. I think that Palmer is right to identify one of the fundamental problems with the nature of childhood today: society's increasing sense of fearfulness about children. Many parents are afraid to set limits and control their children's behaviour. Most of us are afraid to let our children play outdoors. Neighbours and shopkeepers are afraid to intervene to stop bad behaviour. Palmer captures this hopeless fearfulness well.

But in the end, Toxic Childhood just generates even more fear - fear for one's own children, laced with terror about other people's. It addresses the problem that parents aren't feeling authoritative, and then suggests that this should be remedied by taking away even more of their responsibility and giving it to the state. It addresses the problem of relationships between schools and families, by indulging in the sort of parent-bashing that has always characterised the staffrooms of the worst schools I have worked in or visited.

Rather than putting forward an inspiring vision of childhood, for all children, Toxic Childhood stirs up a fear of the basest kind - that other people's children are sub-human. Their existence today is nothing more than a prediction of savagery and mindless civil unrest in the future. It is an unashamedly insular book, obsessing over the supposed toxicity of texting, instant messaging and pre-teen fashion, whilst ignoring the genuine mass poisonings experienced every day by poor children around the world.

Anyone who writes about a fast-breeding, barely-human underclass that will cause the collapse of society, and then argues that we need a more interventionist and authoritarian state, is leading us somewhere we've already (and only recently) been in western Europe. We need to pause for a moment's thought.



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 May, 2007

Accusers show their own bigotry

By STEVE CABLE (President, Center for American Cultural Renewal)

Bigot: a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

Hate: intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.

Intolerant: 1: unable or unwilling to endure. 2: unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters.

Slander: to harm the reputation of by libel or slander.

In Bill Lofy's shrill and distorted response to "The O'Reilly Factor"'s impromptu interview of Bill Lippert, he accuses both of his targets — Bill O'Reilly and local conservative radio host Paul Beaudry — of hate, intolerance, slander and bigotry without a shred of evidence ("O'Reilly's bigotry has no place in Vermont", commentary, May 17). Ironically, his own statements are a perfect template for all four repugnant behaviors. Alas, he is not alone.

Lofy's accusations are loaded with highly charged terms like "gay-bashing," "anti-gay vitriol," "hateful and threatening rhetoric," "anti-gay agenda," and "homophobia," even labeling Beaudry's show a "veritable hate-fest," yet Lofy offers no verifiable quote to substantiate his claims (this is slander). Lofy hypocritically accuses O'Reilly and Beaudry of "hate" speech, yet closes his attack with demands that O'Reilly "take Paul Beaudry and his gay-bashing bigots with you" (this is hate and intolerance). Pretty strong stuff from one who identifies himself as a "communications consultant" for the "leadership of the Vermont House and Senate."

Why the intolerant protest of O'Reilly and Beaudry? Simply put, they dare to ask questions and state facts the left simply cannot tolerate. The typical response? Bigotry, plain and simple.

Such deliberate twisting of the terms of debate has been prominent since civil unions were first publicly discussed. Rather than engage in civil, truthful dialogue with the majority who disapprove of homosexual behavior, homosexual advocates eagerly resorted to character assassination, employing terms and tactics identical to Mr. Lofy's. Such tactics intentionally silence rational debate and obliterate real freedom of speech: It is easier to dismiss someone as "hateful" than to listen to their reasoned arguments.

Lofy and Lippert wallow in the fact that Lippert has received ugly hate mail, and shamelessly characterize all of their opposition by the reprehensible behavior of a few truly hateful people — behavior which Lofy actually suggests O'Reilly invites. This behavior is hardly limited to those opposed to special homosexual rights. At the height of the civil unions debate, our organization was the object of a targeted attack by pro-homosexual militants. Examples include being repeatedly targeted by a man with a high-powered rifle, phone calls from people claiming that they were "coming to f—-ing kill" us, and feces and used condoms mailed to us with a note saying "I hope you die of AIDS." One of our female employees so feared for her life that she kept a can of Mace ready at all times. These acts necessitated police protection from people who eagerly labeled us as "intolerant bigots."

Emulating Lofy and Lippert by characterizing all pro-homosexual advocates by such behavior would be immoral and irresponsible. Honest criticism of O'Reilly's tactics and Beaudry's statements are fair game, but such yellow journalism is beneath the standards of even the Rutland Herald. Shame on Mr. Lofy for such underhanded tactics, and shame on the Rutland Herald for being a willing partner to such unsubstantiated slander. One must wonder how the Vermont Democratic leadership feels justified in retaining the services of a "communications consultant" so inclined to real hate speech.



"Dear Robert, Brigette and Paul (Williams),

"Were any of you threatened in any way, specifically for carrying the Islamberg story?" asked a blogger, who copied Canada Free Press (CFP) last night. Robert is Robert Spencer, the director of Jihad Watch, a project of the David Horowitz Freedom Center, and author of two New York Times bestsellers on Islamic Jihad. Brigette is Brigette Gabriel, a Lebanese Christian and Middle East correspondent, who is Director of American Congress.

Paul Williams, prolific writer and author of the newly released Day of Islam, wrote a CFP cover story published May 11, detailing a radical Muslim paramilitary compound that flourishes in upper New York State. The story, posted by Michael Savage and carried by dozens of blogs, including www.littlegreenfootballs.com, was virtually ignored by the mainstream media.

Someone didn't like the story and that someone threatened the life of U.S. war veteran and blogger Scott Grayban. Grayban publishes blog.borgnet.us. in Spokane, Washington. CFP receives thousands of emails from readers. The one from Grayban's blogger friend caught our immediate attention. The blogger, whose name is being withheld by CFP, hoped flagging the Internet might protect Grayban's physical safety if someone publicized the two threats made on his life over the telephone. That is the reason for this story.

Grayban received two phone calls on Sunday night from a foreigner, threatening his life. "The caller used a hacked phone (or internet line) to disguise the location from which he was calling. (Please see jpeg of record/caller ID attached at bottom of page). "The caller told Scott the precise street on which he lives, that he lives across from an auto shop, that he has a solar panel in his apartment window and the make of the car he drove to the mall on Saturday." As the blogger pointed out, "These aren't details anyone could obtain from Google Earth."

Someone is following Scott Grayban in Washington State. Yet the local FBI office told him to call the police. The local police told him to call the FBI and his phone carrier (Vonage) said there's no way to trace the call. There might be a way to trace the call with a court order, but it's unlikely that Grayban could ever get one. Cold comfort for a man who's being stalked and threatened.

The blogger made the decision to "publicize this threat has occurred" and sent out an email to ask if anyone else who carried this story has also been threatened. No one at CFP, who originally ran the Williams' story, has been threatened. The writer of this article was unable to reach Paul Williams at his Pennsylvania home at press time and is convinced that she would have heard from the author if he had been threatened.

Williams and Northeast Intelligence Director and private investigator Doug Hagmann, scouted out a Jihadist camp dubbed Islamberg, at the foothills of the Catskill Mountains on the outskirts of Hancock, New York, last summer. "Islamberg is not an ideal place for a summer vacation unless, of course, you are an exponent of the Jihad or a fan of Osama bin Laden," Williams wrote in CFP on May 11, 2007.

Very few visitors come to Islamberg, where a sentry post has been established at the base of the hill. "Islamberg is a branch of Muslims of the Americas Inc., a tax-exempt organization formed in 1980 by Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, who refers to himself as "the sixth Sultan Ul Faqr". Gilani has been directly linked by court documents to Jamaat u-Fuqra or "community of the impoverished", an organization that seeks to "purify" Islam through violence.

"Islamberg is not as benign as a Buddhist monastery or a Carmelite convent. Nearly every weekend, neighbors hear sounds of gunfire. Some, including a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, have heard the bang of small explosives. None of the neighbors wished to be identified for fear of "retaliation". "We don't even dare to slow down when we drive by", one resident said. "They own the mountain and they know it and there is nothing we can do about it but move, and we can't even do that. Who wants to buy a property near that?"

"Even though Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been involved in terror attacks and sundry criminal activities, recruited thousands of members from federal and state penal systems, and appears to be operating paramilitary facilities for militant Muslims, it remains to be placed on the official US Terror Watch List. On the contrary, it continues to operate, flourish and expand as a legitimate nonprofit, tax-deductible charity."

It seems that Williams and company raised a hornet's nest in their visit to Islamberg and some of the hornets went buzzing all the way to Spokane, Washington. Meanwhile the blogger who tipped off CFP about the threats to Scott Grayban, emailed to say a report was finally taken by Spokane Washington police. The SPD report number is 07-132-368. Let's hope that Grayban remains safe from harm.



There’s been much made recently about the vaunted Cuban medical system since propagandist Michael Moore traveled to Havana with 9/11 heroes in tow searching for "free" health care. It’s Mr. Moore’s idea of a clever way to criticize America and the capitalist system he exploits so brilliantly. Of course, it never actually occurred to him that while he was "free" to film in Cuba there were political prisons suffering in Castro’s gulags simply for doing exactly what Moore thinks is his sole universal right; speaking out. A big mouth coupled with a small mind is a dangerous combination.

That Moore would use his craft to spew the Castro party line isn’t surprising when you consider they are both geniuses at hypocrisy and self-promotion. Castro supposedly wanted power in order to depose a dictator and re-establish the "power of the people," but nearly five decades later without an election, he has become one of history’s most despicable tyrants, the full indictment of whom won’t be known until the inevitable fall of his particularly vehement brand of communism in Havana. Moore, for his part, pretends to care about social issues so long as he makes bundles of cash; only pathologically anti-American leftists don’t seem to notice or care.

Unfortunately for Moore, the totalitarian regime’s misinformation machinery doesn’t work quite as efficiently as it did when Castro was at the helm. So Thursday morning, in the middle of Moore’s defiant defense of Castro and his "accomplishments," Raul, perhaps in one of his notorious drunken stupors, ordered the detention of Gorki Aguila. For those unfamiliar with the Cuban punk rock scene, which would mean just about everyone, Mr. Aguila is the outspoken lead singer of "Porno for Ricardo," a punk rock band profiled recently by CNN. (That CNN would air any internal criticism of Castro is in itself incredible).

Gorki, an unlikely threat to the state, had the gumption to criticize the Cuban system so longingly worshipped by Michael Moore. Yet unlike Moore, who gets to challenge a former senator and likely presidential candidate to debate, Gorki gets a prison term. I guess the US system isn’t quite so terrible after all, Mr. Moore.

So now that Mr. Moore has decided to immerse himself into Cuban politics debate, when will he and the rest of the activist American left begin calling for the release of Gorki Aguila? The short answer is "never." Our elitist protesters are nothing more than self-serving narcissists who can only dream of having the courage of a Gorki Aguila.

Speaking out against America is cheap and easy but is far from courageous. America doesn’t have a secret police or nasty little military to anchor a leader’s repression regardless of the disturbed claims from an unhinged left to the contrary. Courage means facing consequences; real consequences not simply a dip in the popularity scale.

So despite the self-aggrandizing calls from a George Clooney to "keep making courageous films," these faux activists are cowards. While Clooney may ask for help in Darfur, he doesn’t dare criticize the biggest accomplice to the tragedy, China. He understands fully that the consequences of criticizing the Chinese government might mean a ban on his movies; so he walks a fine line instead calling on President Bush to "stop the genocide" as if the US had any control. But such is the modus operandi of the "courageous" Clooney who has always been outspoken and quick to criticize the US, where, of course, there are no consequences. So will George Clooney speak out for the release of Gorki Aguila and other political prisoners in Castro’s prisons? Not likely, at least not unless Raul cozies up to the wicked "big oil" cabal and its cohort, the CIA. Until then, the brave Clooney will take a "courageous" stand and rid the world of the evils of the ruthless paparazzi. Good luck with that, Captain Courage.

Perhaps Dixie Chick Natalie Maines will step up and demand for Gorki Aguila the same freedom she enjoys. Surely she must appreciate that criticizing your government is a fundamental right, if not for every citizen, at the very least for artists like her. There but for the grace of God go you, Natalie. His lyrics of protest are not much different than your own. Gorki is in prison merely for suggesting to others not to choose communism (as if Cuba had "chosen" communism). Luckily, or predictably, your nemesis was an American president and not the Castro brothers who would not have taken it well had Gorki made a similar suggestion of "shame" for their leader. Weak record sales and low attendance figures are the least of his worries.

Code Pinkster Cindy Sheehan won’t dare criticize Castro and his minions for incarcerating Gorki for simply speaking his mind. Cindy apparently believes it’s okay for her to stage very long, very public protests outside an elected official’s home and call for his execution but a Cuban resident, somehow her inferior, must shut his mouth or have it shut for him. What is even more hypocritically appalling is that Cindy must think that her loss of a son is much more tragic than the losses of "The Ladies in White" who she refused to meet with or even acknowledge on her recent publicity stunt to the island prison instead choosing to embrace the man responsible for the murder and imprisonment of their loved ones. Cindy Sheehan and Code Pink have a greater solidarity to a heartless repressor of human rights than to the mothers of his victims. So don’t wait for Cindy or the "elitist communists" of Code Pink to denounce Gorki’s imprisonment and call for his release, he and his opinions like the many lives of the relatives of the "Ladies in White" mean nothing in their political end game.

Regrettably, we will not hear a single American "activist" call for the release of Gorki Aguila or any other Cuban political prisoner for that matter. Regrettable because Gorki Aguila is just like them; an activist artist. Yet, unlike our Hollywood elite, Gorki faces real consequences. There is no courage without consequences and Gorki Aguila has shown more courage in a single interview than Michael Moore, George Clooney, Natalie Maines and Cindy Sheehan have shown in a lifetime.

Gorki Aguila is courageous; they are cowards.



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 May, 2007


Really a problem of government-enforced uniformity

France, England, Holland, Germany and some other countries are reeling from it now. It is the controversy over young Muslim women wearing the veil in schools. But I do not agree with a recent reviewer, David A. Bell, in The New Republic, who exclaimed, "This is one of the strangest, most philosophically rattling, controversies in recent European memory ..." He said this after observing that "Jack Straw, the leader of the British House of Commons, recently attacked the wearing of veils as a 'visible statement of separation and of difference,' and requested that women remove them when visiting him."

The reason this is little more than hyperbole is that a philosophically rattling controversy would have to be far more basic, bear on far more fundamental issues, than does the one about wearing veils in public. For example, "Is there a God?" or "Are human beings free?" or "Can the human mind understand things as they really are?" Now those would be philosophical.

This isn't to say that the veil issue is insignificant. But there is a plain enough solution to it and in America that solution has been tried in some areas of our highly diverse culture. This is to significantly diminish the public square. If one keeps much of society-church, home, work, recreation, travel and the like-within the private sector, there can be an unexpected measure of diversity about how people comport themselves without this posing any kind of controversy. Yes, in America we also face the (by no means philosophically but otherwise) bothersome controversy of what to do with young people who are herded into public schools as a matter of the nearly one-size-fits-all public policy of coercive and publicly funded education. But that's kind of a relic and all the fuss about school choice and charter schools and independent schools testifies to this fact.

In a bona fide free country different groups of people with their different religious and philosophical convictions, habits, rituals and such have no trouble following their own ways. That is because of the institution of private property rights! Yes, Virginia, the right to private property accommodates all such peaceful differences among a citizenry. Only when people are drafted, conscripted into some sphere, such as primary and secondary schools, do troubles arise. (Just ask the Amish about all this; they'll tell you a sorry story.) Indeed, ever since the U. S. military has eliminated conscripting young citizens into the services, they, too, no longer face this problem of the impossible, uncomfortable, often offensive mix. American society, with its innumerable ethnic and religious and other culturally divers groups manages to do quite well provided people aren't coercively made to mingle. Of course, when you extort money from everyone, via taxes, so as to pay for various practices that some object to, such as stem cell or climate change research, abortion, publishing propaganda in support of (or against) sex education and so forth, then trouble is not far away. That's because peaceful mingling is, well, peaceful but coerced mingling produces considerable acrimony.

If so-called public resources or public spheres are utilized for some purposes but not others, those among the public not favoring the purpose that benefits from such resources or is provided space in such spheres will be upset. To use what is "ours" for goals that are not in fact ours at all is naturally going to be found objectionable. Why should Roman Catholics, whose religion rejects abortion, have to pay for abortion clinics? It places them into a morally unacceptable situation, namely, funding what they consider morally wrong. Why should a school that wants to make it possible for all students to learn without distraction have to admit and make room for a few who insist on displaying their faith for all to have to confront?

In a free country, however, these problems are solved by the institution of the right to private property-different groups can practice their ways without imposing them on others within their own borders. In the very few public places, such as, say, a court house, the rules of the public realm would apply to all equally! And that is hardly a source of major displeasure. But the same isn't true when it comes to such phony public places as a community swimming pool. There, if one is coerced into some uniform practice of, say, wearing a certain kind of bathing garb, members of some groups will object and justifiably feel put upon.

So, it turns out Europe's main philosophically troubling controversy is manageable along lines shown by much of American society-place borders around groups so they can exclude those who refuse to conform and subject only the very few public spaces adhere to uniform policies.


Before CAIR and the Flying Imams, the Islamic Society of Boston had already pioneered the use of lawsuits to silence their critics and the media

You are a graduate of Egypt's Al-Azhar University, the foremost religious school in Sunni Islam. You've grown up in Egypt, earned a BA, MA and PhD from the prestigious academy, and have spent your life as a believing and devout Muslim in the heart of the religious establishment. Your religion, and your belief that Islam is a force for good in the world, is something you've built your life around. You believe there is no contradiction between your faith, democracy, and modern standards of human rights, and you dedicate yourself to writing and speaking in support of your beliefs.

And it's for those beliefs that a canonical court expels you from Al-Azhar. You are imprisoned for a short time by the Egyptian Government. Finally a Wahhabist fatwa calling for your assassination forces you to flee the country. You flee to political asylum in America, where you can, you hope, continue to explore your beliefs and practice your religion without fear for life and limb at the hands of fanatics. Then one day you visit a local mosque..

In late 2003, after visiting the local Islamic Society of Boston mosque in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Ahmed Mansour and his wife emerged in what can only be described as a state of shock. Mansour's wife had attended a religious lesson and Mansour himself browsed the literature on display. According to the affidavit of Dennis Hale (PDF), Episcopal Lay Minister, Boston College Professor and founder of Citizens for Peace and Tolerance, Mansour informed him that "both the religious lesson and the Arabic newsletters inside the mosque were full of hateful references against the West and Jews." In particular, he noted that the mosque was touting a fund-raising endorsement for their new mosque project featuring infamous Wahabbi cleric and pitch-man for the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradawi.

Shocked to see that the poison he thought he had left behind, the poison he thought was an ocean away but was following him to America, Mansour spoke out about what he had seen. As thanks for stepping forward, Mansour has found himself a defendant in a wide-ranging defamation lawsuit, a lawsuit that has involved television and print media outlets, activist organizations, and individuals - anyone, it seemed, who had dared speak or repeat anything less than complimentary about the Islamic Society of Boston. What the Wahhabis had failed to do in Egypt, the exploitation of the American legal system threatens to do here - ruin the life of a moderate Muslim and anyone who stands with him.

A Flawed Founding

The Islamic Society of Boston was founded in 1982 by then university student Abdurahman Alamoudi, who became its first president. Ten years later, according to the Hale document, Alamoudi "appeared in a videotaped rally in Washington, D.C. where he publicly supported Hamas and Hezbollah." In "2003 and 2004, Alamoudi was indicted and pled guilty to a series of terrorist-related charges arising from a fraudulent scheme to assist Libya in raising money to assassinate Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia." This scheme included, according to a background piece appearing in The New Republic, "providing approximately $1 million to an organization that supports Al Qaeda." Alamoudi "was sentenced to 23 years in prison."

The ISB was organized under the tax exempt umbrella of the Islamic Society of North America, which was itself a spin-off of the Wahhabist Muslim Student Association, and has been called "an influential front for the promotion of the Wahhabi political, ideological and theological infrastructure in the United States and Canada."

"This is how it should be. Religion must lead the war. This is the only way we can win."

From humble beginnings came big plans. A 2003 Boston Herald article quotes an ISB attorney as saying their new project had been in the works for a decade. According to the article:

A project update in the Islamic Society of Boston's May 2000 newsletter reported that in the previous month alone, the group raised $2 million in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states.

One source familiar with the project who spoke on the condition he not be named said the leaders of the Islamic society have made it clear that virtually all the financing for the cultural center is coming from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Gulf states.

Many mosques and Islamic institutions in the U.S. are funded by wealthy individuals and foundations in Saudi Arabia. Those financiers are almost without exception followers of Wahhabism, a harsh Saudi-based fundamentalist interpretation of Islam, and they make sure the American mosques they bankroll adhere to the sect's anti-Western ideology.

In fact, the Boston Herald, with its two part special report (both articles available here, on the web site of The David Project: Radical Islam: Outspoken cleric, jailed activist tied to new Hub mosque, Under suspicion: Hub mosque leader tied to radical groups) was one of the first major media outlets to pick up on what was soon to become a burning controversy, pulling into the public consciousness something that had up until then been passing well under the radar.

The articles noted the involvement and history of terror-connected Abdurahman Alamoudi in the ISB, as well as, and just as disturbingly, the involvement of the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual adviser, Sheik Yousef Al-Qaradawi. Qaradawi is quoted as supporting terrorist attacks against Israelis and Americans. He has boycotted interfaith efforts where Israelis were invited. He has justified the stoning of homosexuals. He has called for a "Day of Rage" following the Danish Cartoon Crisis. He has said the following:

"They fight us with Judaism, so we should fight them with Islam. They fight us with the Torah, so we should fight them with the Koran. If they say `the Temple,' we should say `the Al-Aqsa Mosque.' If they say: `We glorify the Sabbath,' we should say: `We glorify the Friday.' This is how it should be. Religion must lead the war. This is the only way we can win.".

"Everything will be on our side and against Jews on [Judgment Day]; at that time, even the stones and the trees will speak, with or without words, and say: `Oh servant of Allah, oh Muslim, there's a Jew behind me, come and kill him.' They will point to the Jews.

On and on like that goes Qaradawi's record. He is regularly referred to, without intentional irony, as a "moderate" in his Middle Eastern milieu. Qaradawi, according to the Herald, was listed as an ISB board member for at least three years, and was, and still is, a proposed trustee on the real estate trust as well. In a widely circulated response to the series, including in a comment on my blog, the ISB stated that his inclusion had been in effect an "administrative oversight," and that Qaradawi does not accept such positions in any case. The point, it seems to me, is that they wanted him. He was, according to the statement, invited due to his "popularity within the Muslim community."

The ISB maintains a page in response to the articles on their own web site. They claim no significant connections to either Alamoudi or Qaradawi. In fact, they claim no contact with Alamoudi since he left Boston in 1984, though discovery brought about by the ISB's lawsuit (more on that later) has uncovered a check on behalf of the ISB to pay Alamoudi's expenses for a speaking engagement in late 2000, and ISB Trustee Osama Kandil (himself targeted in the Herald series with accusations denied by the ISB) signed the "Free Abdurahman Alamoudi" petition - a petition that calls the terror-supporting Alamoudi "our community leader" - sometime in `03 or `04.

"Connections to radicals have plagued the Mosque."

Following the ISB's denial of a Qaradawi connection, the Herald uncovered the fact that the Sheik's endorsement was used in an Arabic-only fundraising brochure in 2003 which the paper obtained and had independently translated. Other apparent connections to radicals have plagued the Mosque. For instance, the group has invited the Muslim Brotherhood connected Dr. Salah Soltan as a speaker. Soltan is an advocate for suicide bombing, and has praised terrorist Sheik Al-Zindani among other things. Another society guest has been Imam Siraj Wahaj, a character witness for the "blind sheik" Omar Rahman, and a man who "calls for replacing the American government with a caliphate."

But perhaps the most embarrassing series of episodes involved Saudi Arabia-based ISB trustee, Dr. Walid Fitaihi. After an initial charm offensive targeted at Boston's Jewish Community which had prominent Rabbis singing Fitaihi's praises, disturbing facts soon came to light which had the community humming a different sort of tune. It emerged that Fitaihi, in more comfortable surroundings back home, had been more candid about his feelings. The Middle East Media Research Institute had found some of Fitaihi's writings. Shortly after September 11, Fitaihi had written:

"Despite the attacks of distortion coordinated by the Zionist lobby, to which it has recruited many of the influential media, there are initial signs that the intensive campaign of education about Islam has begun to bear fruit.Jewish institutions have begun to contact Muslim institutions and have called on us to hold dialogues with them and cooperate [with them]. They are afraid of the outcome of the Islamic-Christian dialogue through the churches, the mosques, and the universities."

"Thus, the Muslim community in the U.S. in general, and in Boston in particular, has begun to trouble the Zionist lobby. The words of the Koran [3:113] on this matter are true: `They will be humiliated wherever they are found, unless they are protected under a covenant with Allah, or a covenant with another people. They have incurred Allah's wrath and they have been afflicted with misery. That is because they continuously rejected the Signs of Allah and were after slaying the Prophets without just cause, and this resulted from their disobedience and their habit of transgression.'"

"The great Allah spoke words of truth. Their covenant with America is the strongest possible in the U.S., but it is weaker than they think, and one day their covenant with the [American] people will be cut off."

When confronted with this information, Fitaihi's response was to claim he was a victim of a false, "insulting," translation. The Herald, ever on the case, commissioned their own translation, and found MEMRI's interpretation of Fitaihi's writing to be correct.

"Jews will be `scourged' because of their `oppression, murder, and rape of the worshipers of Allah.'"

Fitaihi and the ISB retreated into embarrassed silence. Seven months later, the ADL got involved, sending a letter to the ISB with their concerns, calling upon them to "seize the opportunity to condemn and disassociate expressions of anti-Semitism," and noting that, "In the absence of such a clarification, other allegations against the ISB are gaining greater resonance, and there remains a contradiction between your values statement and your actions." The Boston Globe also noted that the ADL had a further translation of Fitaihi's writing, stating that he "wrote that Jews will be `scourged' because of their `oppression, murder, and rape of the worshipers of Allah.'"

The ISB finally responded with a clarification that still appears on their web site today, dated September 2004 (it's not clear why this pre-dates the ADL's October statement): ".the articles were intended to condemn particular individuals whom he believes were working to destroy one of Islam's holiest sites, killing innocent children, and thereby blocking the possibility of peace in the Middle East; the articles were not meant to incite hatred of an entire faith or people." In other words, "He wasn't talking about you GOOD Jews, he was talking about those BAD Jews." No better was ISB Board Chairman, Dr. Yousef Abou-Allabans response in a conversation with the Boston Phoenix about the incident:

Judging from Abou-Allaban's comments, its a stretch to say any repudiation actually took place."So how about Fitaihi's comments in the original Arabic? `We are against the statement as it was quoted in the paper,' he replied with a chuckle."

Ha ha.

More here

Australia: Muslim outrage at citizen test

MUSLIMS are outraged that prospective citizens will have to acknowledge the Judeo-Christian tradition as the basis of Australia's values system. Australia's peak Muslim body said the proposed citizenship question - revealed in the Herald Sun - was disturbing and potentially divisive. Australian Federation of Islamic Councils president Dr Ameer Ali said the "Abrahamic tradition" or "universal values" would be less divisive ways of describing the nation's moral base. Dr Ali said use of the term Judeo-Christian was the result of "WWII guilt", and before 1945 Australia would have been called only Christian. "That question must be rephrased," he said.

Dr Ali was backed by Democrats senator Lyn Allison, who said the answer to the question was highly debatable. But Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews stood firm on the merit of the question. Mr Andrews said Australia's Judeo-Christian heritage was indisputable historical fact. "We are not asking people to subscribe to the Judeo-Christian ethic," he said. "We are simply stating a fact that this is part of the heritage of Australia in terms of its foundation. "This is not an exercise in political correctness. It is trying to state what has been the case and still is the case."

But Health Minister Tony Abbott confused the issue, saying the modern Australian values system was secular, or of no particular religion. The Herald Sun yesterday revealed 20 key questions, developed in consultation with Mr Andrews, that are likely to be asked of would-be citizens. Mr Andrews said the test, to begin by September, would help immigrants integrate into society better. "We celebrate diversity and people are free to continue their own traditions, but we are also very insistent that we have to build and maintain social cohesion," he said.

Dr Ali said he would request a meeting with Mr Andrews to discuss the question. "It is the wrong message we are sending," he said. Senator Allison said the test was pointless. "I don't see what it's going to achieve," she said. "It doesn't say anything about people's character, whether they are going to be good citizens." Opposition immigration spokesman Tony Burke said Labor agreed in principle with the test, but wanted details.



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 May, 2007


By Jeff Jacoby

Such is the state of education today that I guess I should explain that the heading above refers to what Abraham Lincoln said in his second inaugural address: "With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in"

By a vote of 237 to 180, the House of Representatives voted on May 3 to broaden the federal hate-crime law, extending it to violent attacks based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. During the emotional debate on the bill, majority leader Steny Hoyer offered the familiar argument that crimes motivated by hatred are worse than other violent crimes and therefore deserve harsher punishment.

"Some people ask: Why is this legislation even necessary?" said Hoyer, a Maryland Democrat. "Because brutal hate crimes motivated by race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation and identity, or disability not only injure individual victims, but also terrorize entire segments of our population and tear at our nation's social fabric."

When they introduced similar legislation in the Senate two years ago, Senators Ted Kennedy and Gordon Smith made a related argument: "Hate crimes . . . send the poisonous message that some Americans deserve to be assaulted or even murdered solely because of who they are. . . . These are crimes against entire communities."

But is a fixation with "hate" the right way to punish crime? Two days after the House vote, as if to drive home the brutal reality of hate crimes, the Associated Press reported on a recent surge in violent, sometimes lethal, attacks by young thugs against members of an exposed and vulnerable minority group. Among the incidents described were the fatal bludgeoning of August Felix by three teenagers in Orlando last year; the bloody assault by punks with baseball bats on 58-year-old Jacques Pierre in Fort Lauderdale; the murder in Spokane of a one-legged man who was burned to death in his wheelchair; and the drowning of a woman in Nashville by two men who shoved her off a boat ramp into the Cumberland River.

The sickening attacks recounted by the AP undoubtedly have the capacity to "terrorize entire segments of our population," as Hoyer puts it. The victims in these cases, to use Kennedy and Smith's formulation, were "assaulted or even murdered solely because of who they [were]."

Yet the hate-crime bill making its way through Congress wouldn't have done a thing about these attacks. In the four cases above, as in scores like them around the country every year, the victims were homeless people -- and not even the most horrific assaults on the homeless are covered by federal hate-crime legislation.

To be sure, it doesn't take a federal law to make it a crime to beat a homeless man to death with baseball bats. But that's true of every violent crime, including the ones that would be covered by the bill in Congress. So why should "hate crimes" motivated by racial, religious, or sexual bigotry be punished more severely than equally hateful crimes motivated by contempt for the homeless? If vicious hoodlums murder a man by setting him on fire in his wheelchair, what moral difference does it make whether they despised him for being disabled (covered by the new bill) or for being a street person (not covered)? Is it worse to douse a man with gasoline and strike a match while shouting, "We hate cripples!" than to do the exact same thing while shouting "We hate the homeless" -- or, for that matter, "We hate skinheads" or "We hate Communists" or even "We hate Yankees fans"?

It is indecent for the government to declare that a murder or mugging or rape is somehow more terrible when the murderer or mugger or rapist is motivated by bigotry against certain favored groups. The inescapable implication is that murders, muggings, and rapes committed against other groups are *less* terrible. In a society dedicated to the ideal of "equal justice under law" -- the words are chiseled above the entrance to the Supreme Court -- it is immoral and grotesque to enact legal rules that make some victims of hatred are more equal than others.

In fact, the law has no business intensifying the punishment for violent crimes motivated by bigotry at all. Murderers should be prosecuted and punished with equal vehemence no matter why they murder -- whether out of hatred or sadistic thrill-seeking or revenge or the promise of money. It is not the criminal's evil thoughts that society has a right to punish, but his evil deeds.

There are a host of other problems with the bill passed by the House -- it is of dubious constitutionality, it federalizes prosecutions that belong at the state level, and any act it would apply to is already illegal. But its most grievous failing is the one it shares with all hate-crime laws: By turning the criminal code into an affirmative-action schedule, they undermine social justice. They treat equal victims unequally. And they give too much weight to the beliefs of an attacker -- and too little to the brutality of his attack.


Three of most widely-covered recent news narratives revolve around the same fundamental issue: the failure of bureaucratic institutions to meet challenges involving their basic missions.

The British Navy, a force that embodies the term "legendary", was taken by surprise and humiliated by a militia in speedboats. Virginia Tech proved itself, despite years of warnings, unable to provide the minimal level of security necessary for the safety of its faculty and student body. The war on terror, worst of all, is hobbled by bureaucratic strictures and habits of mind.

What these problems have in common - apart from being disasters of various magnitudes - is that they are all bureaucratic in nature. The rules and habits by which each of the organizations operate came in conflict with events, and rather than adapting or reacting or even hollering for help, each of the organizations involved fell apart.

This, according to anthropologist Robin Fox, one of the more formidable intellects of our era, is inevitable. Some years ago Fox published "Why Bureaucracies Fail" (available in his essay collection Conjectures and Confrontations) an analysis of the faults of bureaucracy originally presented as a lecture to select military officers. And fail they do, constantly and without letup:

"They are indeed self-perpetuating and can bumble along for quite some time... But they do not work in the sense of fulfilling their purposes, aims, or goals."

The reason bureaucracies fail, Fox tells us, is "...because they are, in some sense, inhuman." By this he doesn't that they are vicious or cruel (although they can be), but that they are, by their very nature, at odds with human nature as it exists. Bureaucracies operate according to a certain fixed set of procedures. They are an attempt - heroic or otherwise - to force the world to conform to a rational system. But human beings, much as we pride ourselves on our rational thinking, are actually a grab-bag of instincts, intuition, and habit, with a handful of rationality thrown in to pull everything else together. This serves us well because it matches how the universe actually works, but it also means that there will always be a conflict between bureaucracies and human beings. The relationship starts out on the wrong foot and gets worse as it goes along.

And that's considering only normal, everyday individuals. What happens with people who deliberately kick the chessboard over? Or someone so monstrously twisted he can't even grasp the rules of the game?

The Royal Navy

The Royal Navy's duties in the Persian Gulf were utterly routine: inspecting shipping en route to Iraq to assure that no arms or other contraband was being smuggled in. More the mission of a coast guard than a navy, and that may well have been the root of the problem. Because everyone involved, including the crews, the naval hierarchy, and the government beyond, began viewing Gulf operations as routine. The Gulf was the "safe end" of the Iraqi theater. Nothing could be expected to happen there. It was okay to slack off.

But the Shatt al-Arab was in truth a war zone, one encompassing not one but two distinct conflicts: the Iraq war and against Al-Qaeda and friends, and the long cold war against the Iranian mullahs. As an endless parade of pacifists, philosophers, and diplomats have told us, nothing is more irrational than warfare. We practice it only because it can accomplish things that rational behavior can't. The British forgot this. The Iranians did not.

Following the ambush, the first action of the HMS Cornwall's commander, Jeremy Woods, was to call Whitehall to ask what to do. When told to do nothing, he obeyed. Years before he became a legend, Horatio Nelson received an order while in battle that he thought mistaken. So he put his telescope to his bad eye and pretended he didn't see it. He went on to do what he'd been planning in the first place, and he won that battle. "Turning the blind eye" has been an unacknowledged British naval tradition ever since. At least until the Shatt al-Arab, when Jeremy Woods acted as a bureaucratic cog rather than a sailor.

Bureaucratic functionalism had taken the place of the military virtues. Somehow the Iranians sensed this. Perhaps by observing the routine, perhaps by intercepting radio traffic. Perhaps simply through noticing that women were driving the boats. Seeing that they were not, in the strict sense, dealing with a military operation, they made their move, and they got away with it.

So there should be no surprise at how the British sailors behaved in captivity and afterward. (At least three and perhaps four of the Royal Marines acted much better, as an examination of the turnover photos clearly reveals. The fact that this has gone almost unmentioned speaks volumes about British attitudes.) A bureaucracy simply does not command the high loyalty that a military force does. And so a legendary navy, the navy of Gravelines, and Trafalgar, and the Falklands, the navy that destroyed the slave trade and the Nazi U-boats, is gone with scarcely a whimper.

Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech was not so fortunate. Cho Seung-hui had been shambling around the campus for years frightening everyone - students, faculty, administration - that crossed his path. So strong was the impression he made that when news of the shooting spread, everyone on campus immediately guessed who it must be. (Except for the local cops, who wasted their time tracking down an innocent third party who happened to be a legal gun owner.)

Cho had been thrown out of classes. He had been caught taking surreptitious photos of female classmates. He was discovered stalking two other girls, and in fact was kept overnight at a mental health clinic as a result. He was found to be obviously disturbed but was released the next morning on the grounds that he was "not an imminent threat". (A fine example of the bureaucratic mentality at work can be found in this debate on the meaning of "imminent" at James Taranto's "Best of the Web".)

What further response was there? Next to nothing. You see, there were rules. In this case, the "Buckley Regulations", after a law sponsored thirty years ago by Senator James Buckley, New York State's last conservative senator. The Buckley Regulations completely seal a student's record. Nothing can be revealed to any outsider - not even the parents - concerning a student's activities or behavior under any circumstances. In the past this has led to nervous breakdowns, suicides, and expulsions. Now we can add mass murder to the mix. (It's difficult to imagine, at this distance in time, what Buckley was thinking, or how such a law fits in with a conservative philosophy.

The single exception to the university's inertia was Prof. Lucinda Roy, a living monument to human decency who went out of her way not only to tutor Cho after he was dumped by another teacher (the world's greatest poetess Nikki Giovanni, whose contribution appears to have been to tighten the screws a notch or two), but to attempt some form of human contact. That she failed cannot be held against her - there appears to have been no one else willing to make the effort. Numbers count in these situations. Another person's interest may have lent enough weight to break through whatever barrier separated Cho from normal reality.

So with this human bomb in their midst, what did the administration of Virginia Tech decide to do? They declared the campus a "gun-free zone", apparently under the impression that stating the fact would make it so. This assured Cho that he could operate without being interfered with in any way whatsoever. (The legacy media has failed to grasp that "gun-free" also applied to the school's security forces, who were effectively disarmed.)

And when the day came, after whatever trivial incident at last set Cho off (what it was we can only guess, but as the street poet Charles Bukowski once wrote, "It's not the dead child but the broken shoelace that drives a man mad"), and the killing started with two lonely bodies, how did the campus elite respond? They turned to that most quintessential of bureaucratic actions - they called a meeting. After an hour's discussion - a talented playwright could turn out an extremely dark comedy with that material - they decided to e-mail a warning across campus. Why they didn't use fourth-class bulk rate mail is anybody's guess.

After Columbine, there is no excuse for second-guessing in this kind of situation. We live in a society where a first-grader can be suspended and forced into counseling for cocking a finger. So what was wrong with the VT staff? Simply this: they were thinking bureaucratically, according to the rules. They were attempting to pit rational thought against a lunatic with a gun.

In the meantime, Cho was able to make a final video, mail it to NBC, load up, walk across the campus untroubled by the cops, and fire over a hundred rounds into thirty-two innocent people.

Jack Dunphy, acting in the spirit of pure collegiality, has attempted to defend the Blacksburg police department's actions after the first murders. But it doesn't work. Anybody who has ever stumbled unknowing onto a crime scene vicinity and spent the ensuing fifteen minutes explaining themselves to one cop after another knows exactly what I mean. For some reason - one that we'll probably never hear - standard procedure wasn't followed at VT.)

The War on Terror

Air travelers have personally experienced so many examples of bureaucratic thinking and behavior that the point needs little elaboration. The problem is everywhere. Recall the Pentagon lawyer who refused to okay the attack on Mullah Omar in 2001. Recall that no military police officer ever got around to walking the short distance from headquarters to the Abu Ghraib prison to see for himself what was going on. Recall all the little PC rituals surrounding current airport security procedures.

If you want a capsule illustration of the effects of bureaucratic thinking, contrast Norman Minetta's boldness on 9-11 - "Bring all planes down immediately" - with his ineffectual pussyfooting in the ensuing months.

The problem is, we're depending on this form of organization for our survival - and it is failing us. Bureaucracy is a major tool of our civilization, to a greater extent than any other before us. We can't get by without it, but we're rapidly approaching a point where we can't live with it either.

It used to be understood that there were situations where you threw out the rulebook. When FDR wanted to start a covert operations service, he ignored the established bureaucracy and turned instead to "Wild Bill" Donovan, a Manhattan businessman (and Republican to boot). The result was the Office of Strategic Services, a ripe gaggle of New York socialites, lawyers, communists, homosexuals, and adventurers who got the job done while breaking every rule in existence. As soon as the war was over, the OSS was rolled up - there was never any hope it would fit in with a peacetime bureaucracy.

It appears that we've lost that capacity. As a society, we seem content to believe that bureaucracy is the only possible method of doing things, at least as far as governments go. And that could be fatal.

Short of the genius who will rework our entire concept of management (and who will appear eventually, though no one can say when), what can we do? There is no possibility of reform. "The `internal contradictions' of bureaucracy," Fox tells us, "are indeed chronic; they are incurable. No amount of social science tinkering is going to do more than cover the patient with bandaids."

Any attempted reforms will be carried out under bureaucratic procedure. They will meet all the criteria, they will be approved by every committee, and they will be perfectly satisfactory right up until the appearance of the next maniac with a pistol or gang of Jihadis attempting to flatten an American city.

Similarly, there's little point in asking for higher-quality, more spirited personnel. Such individuals will seldom attempt a career as a bureaucrat in the first place, and when they do, the bureaucracy often moves heaven and earth to stymie them. (See the recent adventures of Paul Wolfowitz.) In the end we'll simply have to depend on ourselves. Forget all the bureaucratic procedures, promises, and guarantees. Events have proven them empty.

There's a story that went unmentioned in the mainstream media (though covered elsewhere) involving Appalachian Law School, a campus only a stone's throw from Virginia Tech. In 2002, yet another lunatic attempted to shoot up the place only to be intercepted and disarmed by two students who happened to be gun owners.

That's what we need to return to -- the American taproot, the spirit of individualism in the service of community. It's the spirit of Flight 93, the spirit evident in Iraq and Afghanistan every single day. It's an element of the American character that has never failed us, one that will still be going strong long after all the study groups and committees have issued their statements and filed their reports and gone home. There is a reason, after all, why the Iranians didn't attempt their little tricks against our Navy.

Otherwise, we can look forward to still more deterioration, under the circumstances of war, where error leaves no room for second chances. A final thought from Robin Fox: "Good departments do not necessarily get better, but mediocre ones of necessity get worse." I believe we have been so advised.



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 May, 2007

Political correctness marginalizes history

Being the editor of a magazine often gives me the opportunity to talk to publishing houses and their representatives about new book releases. At a recent meeting with one regarding the publication and release of a book dealing with a particular state's military history, I was told their company had enjoyed little success with "counter-culture" material and were being cautious as to how they approached marketing this new book. Now being a writer for most of my life, I was used to hearing phrases such as "there's no interest," "no market for it" or "not our specialty," but saying a collection of stories on the individual accomplishments of citizen-soldiers was "counter-culture" came as a shock to me.

How many generations were raised on stories of the biblical David, Samson and Gideon, the story of Alexander the Great, Hannibal, Al Saladin, Admiral Nelson, George Washington, Patton, and so forth? The stories of their individual accomplishments and lives have been rather definitive of the cultures we became or a result of it - not counter to it.

One could deduce this is a simple pacifist mentality that will fade in time, but this is a flesh and blood example of political correctness working itself into the marketplace. Reader Rick Williams came across this stunning definition of political correctness on the Yorktown University web site in Denver, Colorado. It states: "Political Correctness is an ideology that politicizes scholarship by holding it to standards other than the pursuit of truth, amazement in discovery of reality, and inquiry grounded in reason."

In short, it is an Orwellian prophecy come true that seems to be going viral and spreading like a cancer. If it was only a national phenomenon, it would not be of concern, but U.S. influence is felt around the world and the disease is worsening.

Last year Mongolia decided it wanted to erect a statue of Genghis Khan outside their embassies as a symbol of their nation. They take pride in Genghis Khan, whom they regard as Mongolia's most famous contribution to the world and, by all accounts, they are correct. After more than 60 years as a Soviet satellite, which was bent on revising and outright destroying the history of the Asian nation, Mongolia decided they wanted to reestablish themselves culturally in the world and create a viable, attractive tourist venue that told the Mongol story. The little nation had managed to hang on to it's precious past in darkened corners and, once the Soviet Union dissolved, they began the long road back to reclaiming their colorful heritage.

With that knowledge, who could deny this little nation in noting, with some measure of pride, it had once been a major world player and gave rise to a man, who will live forever in the annals of human history? The U.S. "P.C." machine is the short answer to that question.

It was a firestorm among supposedly dispassionate college and university professors inter-viewed by news organizations. They claimed it improper for Mongolia to choose "that man" as a national mascot because of Genghis Khan's "ruthlessness and imperialistic" attributes. They said he conquered and killed untold thousands of people and individuals such as that do not deserve recognition. The story of Genghis Khan, who started off in life completely impoverished and ended up controlling most of the known world of his time, is a story of incredible individual and military achievement. The Mongolians will hopefully ignore what's been said here in the states and move forward with their project.

The academic distaste for military heroes has been evident in this nation since the anti-war protesters of the 1960s and 70s started moving into the ivory towers and becoming professors and teachers. There has been some "scholarly" work over the years, but it has been marginalized in most corners. In fact, according to surveys, many modern professors of history and government believe and have instructed students in the philosophy "had there never been a Genghis Khan, a George Washington, a Thomas Jefferson or a George Patton, history would have created one. Therefore their stories are less important than the social movements of the era in which these men lived."

It is such a wonderful collectivist mentality that strips away the essence of individual achievement and truly strikes at the heart of this nation's identity, especially in matters of military achievement and history. It won't be long before this insidious historical philosophy is applied to artists, businessmen and women, scientists, statesmen, and inventors. We have even allowed the word "hero" to be redefined in this culture as anyone who puts on a uniform of any kind or has a good thought. It no longer describes a man or woman who faces adversity and overcomes incredible odds and circumstances to succeed.

The "P.C." mentality, which is so prevalent among modern scholars and their students, is dangerous and threatens this nation's existence by rewriting a glorious past to conform to a collaborative academic standard that almost seems embarrassed by America's success. It is time to end it and time for U.S. citizens to sit up and start putting our historical house back in order. We have one Hell of a story to tell the world and, if we let it sink into the mire of politics, posturing and academic intolerance, it will be lost forever.


A religion of evil

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is arguably the bravest and most remarkable woman of our times. To understand why this 37-year-old woman is extraordinary, she must be assessed in the context of the forces pitted against her in her twin struggles to force the Western world to take note of Islam's divinely ordained enslavement of women, and to force the Islamic world to account for it.

A series of incidents this week placed the forces she battles in stark relief. Sunday Muslims shot up the Omariyah elementary school in Gaza. One man was killed and six were wounded in the onslaught. The murderers attacked because the UN-run school in Rafah had organized a sports day for the children, in which little boys would be playing with little girls. The idea that that boys and girls might play sports together was too much for the righteous believers. It was an insult to Islam, they said. And so they decided to kill the little boys and girls.

On May 3, in Gujrat, Pakistan, Muslims detonated a bomb at the gate of a girls' school. Their righteous wrath was raised by the notion that girls would learn to read and write. That too, they felt, is an insult to Islam.

On April 28, US soldiers in Iraq discovered detonation wires across the street from the newly built Huda Girls' school in Tarmiya, north of Baghdad. They followed the wire to its source and discovered the school had been built as a deathtrap. The pious Muslims who constructed the school had filled propane tanks with explosives and buried them beneath the floor. They built artillery shells into the ceiling and the floor. To save the world for Allah, they decided to butcher little girls.

And the brutality is not limited to the Middle East. Last month in Oslo, Norway, Norwegian-Somali women's rights activist Kadra was brutally beaten by a crowd of men piously calling out "Allah Akhbar." She was attacked for exposing the fact that inside their mosques in Norway, Norwegian imams praise female genital mutilation in the name of Allah.

LATE LAST year Hirsi Ali published her memoir, Infidel. In describing her own life, what she actually explains are the two competing human impulses - conformity and individualism. In her own life, the clash of the two has been played out on the stage of Islamic ascendance and Western cultural collapse. Hirsi Ali was born in Somalia to a politically active father who sought to free his country from Said Barre's Marxist dictatorship. Forced to flee the country with her family, Hirsi Ali's childhood in Arabia and Africa revolved along the axis of Islamic ascendance at the hand of the Saudi-financed Muslim Brotherhood and Khomeini's Iran.

Hirsi Ali's rebellion against Islam was personal, not political. As a young girl and later as a young woman, she found herself abused and stifled by the dictates of Islam just as her youthful spirit wished most to take flight. As a five-year-old in Somalia, she screamed in pain and shock when her grandmother tied her down and had a man with a knife mutilate her genitals. Living in Saudi Arabia she was struck by the oppressiveness of the "true Islam." Why, she wondered were she and her mother and sister prohibited from leaving their apartment without a male relative escorting them? As an adolescent in Nairobi she wondered why the enjoyment she felt in the company of boys was sinful.

Why did her mother need to suffer the humiliation of polygamy? Why could she not choose her own husband? Why was she told by one and all that her normal human impulses to seek love, respect and compassion and think for herself were sinful and evil?

More here

The Subjection of Islamic Women -- And the fecklessness of American feminism

The subjection of women in Muslim societies--especially in Arab nations and in Iran--is today very much in the public eye. Accounts of lashings, stonings, and honor killings are regularly in the news, and searing memoirs by Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi have become major best-sellers. One might expect that by now American feminist groups would be organizing protests against such glaring injustices, joining forces with the valiant Muslim women who are working to change their societies. This is not happening.

If you go to the websites of major women's groups, such as the National Organization for Women, the Ms. Foundation for Women, and the National Council for Research on Women, or to women's centers at our major colleges and universities, you'll find them caught up with entirely other issues, seldom mentioning women in Islam. During the 1980s, there were massive demonstrations on American campuses against racial apartheid in South Africa. There is no remotely comparable movement on today's campuses against the gender apartheid prevalent in large parts of the world.

It is not that American feminists are indifferent to the predicament of Muslim women. Nor do they completely ignore it. For a brief period before September 11, 2001, many women's groups protested the brutalities of the Taliban. But they have never organized a full-scale mobilization against gender oppression in the Muslim world. The condition of Muslim women may be the most pressing women's issue of our age, but for many contemporary American feminists it is not a high priority. Why not?

The reasons are rooted in the worldview of the women who shape the concerns and activities of contemporary American feminism. That worldview is--by tendency and sometimes emphatically--antagonistic toward the United States, agnostic about marriage and family, hostile to traditional religion, and wary of femininity. The contrast with Islamic feminism could hardly be greater.

Writing in the New Republic in 1999, philosopher Martha Nussbaum noted with disapproval that "feminist theory pays relatively little attention to the struggles of women outside the United States." Too many fashionable gender theorists, she said, have lost their dedication to the public good. Their "hip quietism . . . collaborates with evil."

This was a frontal assault, and prominent academic feminists chastised Nussbaum in the letters column. Joan Scott of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton pointed out the dangers of Nussbaum's "good versus evil scheme." Wrote Scott, "When Robespierre or the Ayatollahs or Ken Starr seek to impose their vision of the 'good' on the rest of society, reigns of terror follow and democratic politics are undermined." Gayatri Spivak, a professor of comparative literature at Columbia, accused Nussbaum of "flag waving" and of being on a "civilizing mission." None of the letter writers addressed her core complaint: Too few feminist theorists are showing concern for the millions of women trapped in blatantly misogynist cultures outside the United States.

One reason is that many feminists are tied up in knots by multiculturalism and find it very hard to pass judgment on non-Western cultures. They are far more comfortable finding fault with American society for minor inequities (the exclusion of women from the Augusta National Golf Club, the "underrepresentation" of women on faculties of engineering) than criticizing heinous practices beyond our shores. The occasional feminist scholar who takes the women's movement to task for neglecting the plight of foreigners is ignored or ruled out of order.

Take psychology professor Phyllis Chesler. She has been a tireless and eloquent champion of the rights of women for more than four decades. Unlike her tongue-tied colleagues in the academy, she does not hesitate to speak out against Muslim mistreatment of women. In a recent book, The Death of Feminism, she attributes the feminist establishment's unwillingness to take on Islamic sexism to its support of "an isolationist and America-blaming position." She faults it for "embracing an anti-Americanism that is toxic, heartless, mindless and suicidal." The sisterhood has rewarded her with excommunication. A 2006 profile in the Village Voice reports that, among academic feminists, "Chesler arouses the vitriol reserved for traitors."

But Chesler is right. In the literature of women's studies, the United States is routinely portrayed as if it were just as oppressive as any country in the developing world. Here is a typical example of what one finds in popular women's studies textbooks (from Women: A Feminist Perspective, now in its fifth edition):

The word "terrorism" invokes images of furtive organizations. . . . But there is a different kind of terrorism, one that so pervades our culture that we have learned to live with it as though it were the natural order of things. Its target is females--of all ages, races, and classes. It is the common characteristic of rape, wife battery, incest, pornography, harassment. . . . I call it "sexual terrorism."

The primary focus is on the "terror" at home. Katha Pollitt, a columnist at the Nation, talks of "the common thread of misogyny" connecting Christian Evangelicals to the Taliban:

It is important to remember just how barbarous and cruel the Taliban were. Yet it is also important not to use their example to obscure or deny the common thread of misogyny that connects them with Focus on the Family and the Christian Coalition. . . .

In a similar vein, journalist Barbara Ehrenreich characterizes Christian evangelical movements as "Christian Wahhabism," using the name of the sect that is the state religion of Saudi Arabia and the inspiration for Osama bin Laden. Eve Ensler, lionized author of The Vagina Monologues, makes the same point somewhat differently in her popular lecture "Afghanistan is Everywhere":

We all have different forms of enforced burqas. Every culture has it. Whether it's an idea or a fascist tyranny of what women are supposed to look like--so that women go to the extremes of liposuction, anorexia and bulimia to achieve it--or whether it's being covered in a burqa, we all have deep, profound, ongoing daily forms of oppression.

On most American campuses there are small coteries of self-described "vagina warriors" looking for ways to expose and make much of the ravages of patriarchy. Feminists like Pollitt, Ehrenreich, and Ensler can cite several decades of women's studies research supporting the charge that our culture is ruinous for women. Many scholars--including Camille Paglia, Daphne Patai, Noretta Koertge, Diana Furchtgott-Roth, Christine Rosen, and myself--have questioned the quality of the findings and warned that the studies are twisted and unreliable. But academic feminists rarely engage with such criticism. They dismiss it as "backlash."

Soon after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Katha Pollitt wrote the introduction to a book called Nothing Sacred: Women Respond to Religious Fundamentalism and Terror. It aimed to show that reactionary religious movements everywhere are targeting women. Says Pollitt:

In Bangladesh, Muslim fanatics throw acid in the faces of unveiled women; in Nigeria, newly established shariah courts condemn women to death by stoning for having sex outside of wedlock. . . . In the United States, Protestant evangelicals and fundamentalists have forged a powerful right-wing political movement focused on banning abortion, stigmatizing homosexuality and limiting young people's access to accurate information about sex.

Pollitt casually places "limiting young people's access to accurate information about sex" and opposing abortion on the same plane as throwing acid in women's faces and stoning them to death. Her hostility to the United States renders her incapable of distinguishing between private American groups that stigmatize gays and foreign governments that hang them. She has embraced a feminist philosophy that collapses moral categories in ways that defy logic, common sense, and basic decency.

Eve Ensler takes this line of reasoning to equally ludicrous lengths. In 2003 she gave a lecture at the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University in which, like Pollitt, she claimed that women everywhere are oppressed and subordinate:

I think that the oppression of women is universal. I think we are bonded in every single place of the world. I think the conditions are exactly the same [her emphasis]. I think the nature of the oppression--whether it's acid burning in one country, or female genital mutilation in another, or gang rapes in the parking lots in high schools of the suburbs--it's the same idea. . . . The systematic global oppression of women is completely across the globe.

Though Ensler's perspective is warped, her courage and desire to help are commendable. She went to Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban and smuggled out now-famous footage of a terrified woman in a burqa being executed at close range by a man with an AK-47. Ensler has firsthand knowledge of the unique horrors of Islamic gender fascism. But her "feminist theory" obliterates distinctions between what goes on in Afghanistan and what goes on in Beverly Hills:

I went from Beverly Hills where women were getting vaginal laser rejuvenation surgery--paying four thousand dollars to get their labias trimmed to make them symmetrical because they didn't like the imbalance. And I flew to Kenya where [women were working to stop] the practice of female genital mutilation. And I said to myself, "What is wrong with this picture?"

A better question is: What is wrong with Eve Ensler? These two surgical phenomena are completely different in both scale and purpose. The number of American women who undergo "vaginal labial rejuvenation" is minuscule: There were 793 such procedures in 2005, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. By contrast, a World Health Organization 2000 fact sheet reports: "Today, the number of girls and women who have undergone female genital mutilation is estimated at between 100 and 140 million. It is estimated that each year, a further 2 million girls are at risk of undergoing FGM."

The women who elect laser surgery, moreover, are voluntarily seeking relief from physical irregularities that cause them embarrassment or inhibit their sexual enjoyment. The practitioners of genital mutilation, in countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia, believe that removing sensitive parts of the anatomy is the best way to control young women's sexual urges and assure chastity. Genital cutting causes great pain and suffering and often permanently impairs a female's capacity for sexual pleasure. Thus, the intentions of the handful of American adults who choose labial surgery for themselves are exactly the opposite of those of the African parents and elders who insist on cutting the genitals of millions of girls.

Given her capacity for conceptual confusion, it is perhaps not surprising that Ensler cites "gang rape in a suburban high school parking lot" to show how women in America are menaced. Yes, that is an atrocity. But it happens rarely, and America's allegedly "misogynist" culture reacts to it with revulsion and severe punishments.

Happily, not all women's groups follow the lead of the Enslers, the Pollitts, and the women's studies theorists. The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) has been intelligently fighting the mistreatment of women in the Muslim world for several years. In 1997, in a heroic effort to expose the crimes of the Taliban, Eleanor Smeal, the president of FMF, with the help of Mavis and Jay Leno, created a vital national campaign complete with rallies, petitions, and fundraisers. It was a good example of what can be achieved when a women's group seriously seeks to address the mistreatment of women outside the United States. The FMF, working with human rights groups, helped to persuade the United States and the United Nations to deny formal recognition to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. It helped convince the oil company UNOCAL not to build a pipeline across Afghanistan, and it brought the oppression of women living under radical Islamic law into clear relief for all the world to see.

But Smeal and her organization soon found themselves attacked by the same monitors of rectitude who disparaged Martha Nussbaum. Ann Russo, director of women's and gender studies at Chicago's DePaul University (writing in the International Feminist Journal of Politics), accused the FMF of practicing a kind of "imperial feminism." Said Russo:

The FMF's campaign narrative is one of colonialist protection rather than of solidarity. . . . [It] capitalizes on the images of prominent white Western women, like Mavis Leno, Eleanor Smeal and other women politicians and celebrity figures, who construct themselves as "free" and "liberated" and thus in the best position to "save" Afghan women.

Today, the Feminist Majority Foundation continues to support Muslim women around the world, but the effort has lost much of its momentum. Most of the foundation's current work is directed against what it perceives as injustices suffered by women in America.

On February 20, 2007, a Pakistani women's rights activist and provincial minister for social welfare, Zilla Huma Usman, was shot to death by a Muslim fanatic for not wearing a veil. And he had a second reason for killing her: She had encouraged girls in her community to take part in outdoor sports. The plight of women like Usman does not figure in NOW's "Six Priority Items," although Global Feminism is one of the 19 subjects it designates as "Other Important Issues." NOW hardly mentions Muslim women, except in the context of the demand that the U.S. military withdraw from Iraq. So what sort of issue does the flagship feminist organization consider important?

NOW has just launched a 2007 "Love Your Body" calendar as part of its ongoing initiative of the same name. The body calendar warns of an increase in eating disorders and includes a photograph celebrating the shape of pears. There is also an image of the Statue of Liberty with the caption, "Give me your curves, your wrinkles, your natural beauty yearning to breathe free." The calendar bears these inspiring words: "None of us is free until we are all free."

To breathe free, college women are encouraged to organize "Love Your Body" evenings. NOW suggests they host "Indulgence" parties: "Invite friends over and encourage them to wear whatever makes them feel good--sweat suits, flip flops, pajamas--and serve delicious, decadent foods or silly snacks without the guilt. Urge everyone to come prepared to talk about their feelings and experiences."

This is pathetic. To be sure, serious eating disorders afflict a small percentage of women. But much larger numbers suffer because poor eating habits and inactivity render them overweight, even obese. NOW should not be encouraging college girls to indulge themselves in ways detrimental to their well-being. Nor should it be using the language of human rights in discussing the weight problems of American women.

The inability to make simple distinctions shows up everywhere in contemporary feminist thinking. The Penguin Atlas of Women in the World, edited by geographer Joni Seager, is a staple in women's studies classes in universities. It was named "Reference Book of the Year" by the American Library Association and has received other awards. Seager, formerly a professor of women's studies and chair of geography at the University of Vermont, is now dean of environmental studies at York University in Toronto. Her atlas, a series of color-coded maps and charts, documents the status of women, highlighting the countries where women are most at risk for poverty, illiteracy, and oppression.

One map shows how women are kept "in their place" by restrictions on their mobility, dress, and behavior. Somehow the United States comes out looking as bad in this respect as Uganda: Both countries are shaded dark yellow, to signify extremely high levels of restriction. Seager explains that in parts of Uganda, a man can claim an unmarried woman for his wife by raping her. The United States gets the same rating because, Seager says, "state legislators enacted 301 anti-abortion measures between 1995 and 2001." Never mind that the Ugandan practice is barbaric, while the activism surrounding abortion in the United States is a sign of a contentious and free democracy working out its disagreements. Besides which, Seager's categories obscure the fact that in Uganda, abortion is illegal and "unsafe abortion is the leading cause of maternal mortality" (so states a 2005 report by the Gutt macher Institute), while American abortion law, even after the recent adoption of state regulations, is generally considered among the most liberal of any nation.

On another map the United States gets the same rating for domestic violence as Pakistan. Seager reports that in the United States, "22 percent-35 percent of women who seek emergency medical assistance at hospital are there for reasons of domestic violence." Wrong. She apparently misread a Justice Department study showing that 22 percent-35 percent of women who go to hospitals because of violent attacks are there for reasons of domestic violence. When this correction is made, the figure for domestic-violence victims in emergency rooms drops to a fraction of 1 percent. Why would Seager so uncritically seize on a dubious statistic? Like many academic feminists, she is eager to show that American women live under an intimidating system of "patriarchal authority" that is comparable to those found in many less developed countries. Never mind that this is wildly false.

Hard-line feminists such as Seager, Pollitt, Ensler, the university gender theorists, and the NOW activists represent the views of only a tiny fraction of American women. Even among women who identify themselves as feminists (about 25 percent), they are at the radical extreme. But in the academy and in most of the major women's organizations, the extreme is the mean. The hard-liners set the tone and shape the discussion. This is a sad state of affairs. Muslim women could use moral, intellectual, and material support from the West to improve their situation. But only a rational, reality-based women's movement would be capable of actually helping. Women who think that looking like a pear is an essential human right are not valuable allies.

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.


17 May, 2007


The libel laws are an abomination. They favour rich, litigious bullies at the expense of free expression. Even a website for mothers to chatter on is fair game to this draconian law. Last week mumsnet.com was forced to pay a five-figure sum for comments posted on its chat site. It stood by the comments but this law is such an ass that the burden of proof rests solely with the defendant. Meanwhile, claimants can make their allegations free from evidential proof. Their opinion is all that counts. They do not have to prove the comments are false. They don't even have to show any harm to their reputation. I can think of no other area in law in which an individual's spurious opinion outweighs the greater public good of truth and justice.

The Mumsnet case makes clear how libel affects everyone, not just journalists or those working in the traditional media. More and more of us, thanks to the growing ubiquity of blogs, chat groups and web forums, are vulnerable to this nefarious law. And while big media groups have deep pockets, the individual hasn't. If the damages don't get the writer, then legal costs certainly will. Most writers are not rich people and so they must settle. Result: vibrant debate is quashed, truth inevitably suffers. The law is so heavily weighted against freedom of expression that all writers (even those hosting blogs) are being urged to buy libel insurance; the freelance chapter of the National Union of Journalists is inundated with inquiries about its new policy.

No matter that the publishers of Mumsnet didn't even write the comments that the author Gina Ford claimed defamed her. Under the Defamation Act 1996 nonauthors can be held liable if they fail to expeditiously remove comments someone thinks are defamatory. But how quick is quick? The Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts said that the comments were taken down after little more than 24 hours. Yet the vagueness of the law means she would have to go to court to prove this was a reasonable time period.

As a result we now have a culture where the default position is not free speech but censorship. After the 2001 case Godfrey v. Demon Internet Ltd, all internet service providers became vulnerable to libel lawsuits if they failed to immediately censor comments that a person claimed were defamatory. Whether or not the words are true is irrelevant.

England's libel laws have never been about protecting individuals - at least not poor or helpless individuals. They are about protecting the rich and the powerful. A fair law would be one in which the claimant has to prove falsity, harm and malicious intention, while providing a defence for truth, reasonable care and the public interest. Then both reputations and freedom of expression could be protected. Until then, mum's the word.


APA Panel Convened to Discuss Abortion After Effects is Stacked with Deniers

Does the fact that the American Psychological Association has agreed to examine the possible adverse effects of abortion on women's mental health mean the organization is reconsidering the issue? Warren Throckmorton, a psychology professor, counsellor and writer says, "Very likely, the answer is no."

The APA has convened a panel of experts to examine the possibility that women might be psychologically traumatized after abortion. Throckmorton points out, however, that each has gone on the public record saying there is no evidence that abortion has any long-term negative consequences for mental health.

Dr. Throckmorton warns that the APA's committee is necessarily biased, pointing to the APA's longstanding advocacy of abortion. In 1969, the Association declared that "termination of unwanted pregnancies" is a mental health issue, and resolved that "termination of pregnancy be considered a civil right of the pregnant woman."

The committee is charged with reviewing the published scientific literature on the impact of abortion on women's mental health and will report its findings in 2008. Given the APA's stated bias, however, it seems unlikely even to some of its members that an objective examination of the facts is possible. Dr. Rachel MacNair, an APA psychologist who calls herself a "pro-life feminist," told Throckmorton, "Although the APA included two experts on the trauma of domestic violence and an expert on methodology, three members have clearly stated ideological commitments to the `pro-choice' perspective."

MacNair said, "Only if the report comes out with conclusions opposite to what one would expect with the ideological commitment of half of its members would it have credibility; if it comes out as would be predicted, the absence of balance on the task force will be a problem for its scientific credibility." MacNair relates that she has experienced women who have claimed a connection between their abortions and subsequent psychological distress and been dismissed because of the APA's official pro-abortion position.


Huge expansion of intervention in people's lives under Blair's "New Labour" government

From 'fetal ASBOs' to calorie-counting on the curriculum: the Blairites intervened in family life in ways the Tories never dreamed of

I was one of Thatcher's children. I started school in 1980 and did my GCSE exams in 1991; a childhood and adolescence spent entirely under that Tory prime minister's beaky nose, absorbing all the emotional anti-Thatcherism of the times. I remember Thatcher as a pantomime villain, like the child-catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, immortalised in the Spitting Image puppet that gave you nightmares. When she resigned, it seemed like a happy ending in the making.

But the Blair years have been worse. As a young person under Thatcher, at least you knew where you stood - you hated her, and you assumed that she hated you. Blair seems the opposite - a devoted daddy who wants to get down with the kids and help their parents, who professes to appreciate us and feel our pain. In reality, his reign has been a constant process of family-fiddling and therapeutic intervention, which has undermined parents and unsettled childhood. For example:

When Margaret Thatcher famously argued, back in 1987, that `there is no such thing as society; there are individual men and women, and there are families', this was understood as the apex of Thatcherite individualism. Forget the poor, the needy, the lonely - Eighties Britain was a place of sink or swim, and the family was seen as life-raft enough. That government's promotion of Victorian values and the virtues of home ownership, backed up by its intolerance of more `diverse' lifestyles or family forms (remember the ill-fated war on single parents?), have all entered the liberal lexicon as examples of just how bad the Tories were at looking after families. But Thatcher was more likely to leave us in peace and privacy than Blair's lot.

Blair's government had been in office a mere year when it published the consultation document Supporting Families. (One critique of the document had the apposite headline `Supporting Families like a rope supports a hanging man'.) As I have previously argued on spiked, the document's `message was clear: for too long, it has been assumed that families are best left alone to live their lives in private. Now the state should become more involved - through processes called supporting, helping and advising families - to encourage people to live their lives in the right way.' (See What future for the family?)

Under New Labour, the dynamic towards greater state involvement in everyday family life has intensified year on year. You can see this in initiatives such as the planned creation of a national database that effectively puts alls children under state surveillance (see Children: over-surveilled, under-protected), in the routine use of parenting classes and the more punitive parenting orders, and in the Sure Start scheme, which purports to be an anti-poverty childcare provision initiative but in reality is about sitting by the elbows of low-income parents and guiding them in the right way to bring up their kids (see A Sure Start for the therapeutic state). Parents under Blair are treated like irresponsible children, in need of constant guidance and monitoring by the state. If this is what is meant by society `supporting families', we'd be better off cut adrift.

One of Thatcher's most famous `nasty' moves was her decision, when education secretary in Edward Heath's government, to abolish free school milk: earning her the childish nickname `Thatcher Thatcher, Milk Snatcher'. But at least she never went down the Blairite route of demanding `Let them eat carrot sticks', and sending in a sort of Obesity Special Branch to check the contents of children's school lunchboxes.

The obsession with children's diet, formalised in New Labour's healthy schools initiative, is to me one of the most depressing aspects of bringing up children in today's society. Given a hysterically high profile by the celebrity chef Jamie `Parents Are Tossers' Oliver, the question of what children put into their mouths at breaktime is now considered of utmost political and educational importance. School prospectuses burble on about how keen they are to follow the government's healthy eating agenda and advise parents to ask themselves if their children really need a midmorning snack; reports by the schools inspection body Ofsted rate educational institutions on how well pupils are doing on their diet-and-exercise programmes and whether skinny-limbed kids come home refusing to eat their dinner because some teacher has told them that sausages are `bad foods' and chips `aren't healthy'.

Most parents are more concerned that their kids are eating enough than that they will turn into doughnuts, and we relish the enjoyment that children get out of eating the food they like. The Blair government's mean-spirited attitude to children's food is already poisoning the atmosphere around the dinner table and providing a bitter distraction from the fact that, when schools are not shoving the National Fruit Scheme down children's throats, they are filling their heads with junk. Yes, Thatcher messed about with the curriculum and got on the wrong side of most teachers. But she did not create a situation where calorie-counting was considered more important than maths.

Thatcher was hardly considered a teenager's best friend. Hers was the party of law'n'order as well as (unofficially) the party of youth unemployment, which would later, under John Major, push through the Criminal Justice Bill, widely perceived as a law against the `repetitive beats' of rave culture and other activities beloved of young people. But Thatcher never tried to give teenagers a criminal record while still in the womb.

In September 2006, Blair unveiled plans to identify and intervene in `problem families' at the earliest possible stage, to prevent their children becoming criminals later on in life. The UK media branded the scheme `fetal ASBOs' - a new extension of the Blair government's Anti-Social Behaviour Orders, which are used to whip teenagers into line for such offences as hanging out on the street. This has also been a government that issues on-the-spot fines for all manner of trivial misdemeanours and sends parents to jail if their children play hooky from school (see Parents: we are not the law). The politics of behaviour is promoted through a policy of `Respect' - as though the long arm of the law is any way to get teenagers to respect anything. (See Respect for what?)

Already it is reported that teenagers wear their ASBOS as a `badge of honour', and if they have stopped wearing hooded tops it is presumably not because of the government's sartorial advice on the subject. But it all creates a climate of conformity in which the young, typically more adventurous and energetic than the rest of society, might find themselves in counselling simply for wanting to cross the road.

Of course, none of this means that I pine for the Thatcher era. I remember it as being quite grey and bleak, with the sense of any political alternative crumbling before one's eyes. But the chrome-covered Blair years have been unable to disguise the mistrust, the lack of vision, and the narrow authoritarianism that has powered this government's regime. And now it's about to go Brown..



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 May, 2007

Congressional Democrats prepare another assault on free speech

A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll shows 6 in 10 Americans think the Democratic Congress "hasn't brought much change." Eager to change this impression, the Democrats are frantically trying to pass legislation before Memorial Day. First on the agenda is a bill restricting lobbying, which is heading for the House floor with lightning speed. The House Judiciary Committee is expected to pass it tomorrow, sending it to the full House for a final vote next Tuesday or Wednesday.

When a bill moves that quickly, you can bet an someone will try make some last-minute mischief. Hardly anyone objects to the legislation's requirement that former lawmakers wait two years instead of one before lobbying Congress. Ditto with bans on lobbying by congressional spouses and restrictions on sitting members of Congress negotiating contracts with private entities for future employment.

But the legislation may be amended on the floor to restrict grassroots groups that encourage citizens to contact members of Congress. The amendment, pushed by Rep. Marty Meehan of Massachusetts, would require groups that organize such grassroots campaigns to register as "lobbyists" and file detailed quarterly reports on their donors and activities. The law would apply to any group that took in at least $100,000 in any given quarter for "paid communications campaigns" aimed at mobilizing the public.

The same groups that backed the McCain-Feingold law, limiting political speech in advance of an election, are behind this latest effort to curb political speech. Common Cause and Democracy 21 say special-interest entities hide behind current law to conceal the identities of their donors, whom they would have to reveal if they were lobbying Congress directly. "These Astroturf campaigns are just direct lobbying by another name," says Rep. Meehan, who is resigning from the House this summer and views his bill as his last hurrah in Congress.

But the First Amendment specifically prohibits Congress from abridging "the right of the people . . . to petition the Government for redress of grievances." The Supreme Court twice ruled in the 1950s that grassroots communication isn't "lobbying activity," and is fully protected by the First Amendment. Among the groups that believe the Meehan proposal would trample on the First Amendment are the National Right to Life Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union. The idea goes too far even for Sen. John McCain, who voted to strip a similar provision from a Senate lobbying reform bill last January.

The possible outcomes are disturbing. For example, Oprah Winfrey operates a website dedicated to urging people to contact Congress to demand intervention in Darfur. If her Web master took in over $100,000 in revenue from Ms. Winfrey and similar clients in a single quarter, he might be forced to make disclosures under the law.

"It's huge," Jay Sekulow of the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, told The Hill newspaper. "It's the most significant restriction on grassroots activity in recent history. I'd put it up there with the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act"--the formal name for McCain-Feingold.

McCain-Feingold itself is riddled with loopholes, producing a slew of unintended consequences. Its provisions allowing candidates who compete against wealthy opponents who spend their own money to accept larger-than-normal legal contributions in order to compete inexplicably don't apply to the race for president. That means Mitt Romney and John Edwards, both of whom are independently wealthy, have a clear advantage should they run low on cash and need to inject funds into their campaigns quickly.

"Judged by the most visible results on promises like getting big money out of politics or cleaning up politics, campaign finance reform has been, to put it mildly, a disappointment," admits Mark Schmitt, a supporter of such reforms who has written a thoughtful essay in the journal Democracy. He urges reformers to now focus on expanding the "range of choices and voices in the system" and to take seriously the worries of those who fear that McCain-Feingold's restrictions on "election communication" have the potential to squelch important political speech. The Supreme Court is set to rule next month on a case addressing precisely that issue, and Justice Samuel Alito may be more inclined to view McCain-Feingold skeptically than was Sandra Day O'Connor, who was part of a 5-4 majority upholding the law.

Given the checkered history of campaign finance reform, its frequent use by one side of a political debate to hobble opponents, and the prospect that courts may yet find portions of McCain-Feingold unconstitutional, it would be a travesty for a Congress desperate for a quick-fix legislative accomplishment to circumscribe the First Amendment with little debate and even less understanding of what the consequences will be.


British police madness government-driven

Police officers are being driven to make "ludicrous" arrests for trivial incidents to bolster government targets, the new Justice Secretary will be told. The leaders of 130,000 police officers have drawn up a dossier of "lunacy" on Britain's streets. They say that children are being arrested for throwing cream buns and bits of cucumber while adults are getting criminal records for offences that merit nothing more than a ticking-off. The pressure to get results is so bad, they say, that officers are criminalising and alienating their traditional supporters in Middle England and many are so disillusioned that they are considering quitting.

What police describe as a target-driven criminal justice culture will come under attack today as Lord Falconer of Thoroton, QC, who was appointed Secretary of State a week ago, faces a debate at the annual conference of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers in England and Wales. The conference in Blackpool will consider whether the drive to meet targets is destroying police officers' traditional discretion to deal with minor offences on the streets without fuss or bureaucracy. Officers say that ten years ago a minor incident involving someone without a criminal record would have led to "words of advice". Now, the federation says, performance targets mean that the people involved are becoming criminal statistics.

Jan Berry, the chairman of the federation, said: "We have police officers who are considering leaving the service over this because it is not the job they signed up to do. "These examples we have compiled are ludicrous, but when people are being pushed to show results they will use anything they can to demonstrate they are doing a good job." She added: "Just talking to people and giving them a few words of advice cannot be counted as easily as a ticket. But sometimes it is just as effective as taking someone to court."

A spokesman for the federation added: "We have got into the situation where everyone is so busy chasing targets and securing ticks in boxes we are on the verge of distancing ourselves from Middle England." He said: "The cases we have compiled show incidents where an officer has been under such pressure to deliver that it has resulted in an arrest or caution when even the officer themselves thinks it is ludicrous. Understandably, when the public hears about this they ask: `What the hell is going on?'." The spokesman added: "It is a government agenda that is going down this avenue. Officers are saying they are forced to make arrests or cautions because the Government believes they should be judged by what can be counted."

Chief constables have also complained about the increasing pressures to meet both national and local targets. Last autumn the Home Office issued 30 general targets that police must meet, as well as more specific figures. Earlier this year John Reid, the Home Secretary, who will be speaking at the conference on Wednesday, promised that he would cut some of the targets.

But last month officers in Greater Manchester were warned about issuing fixed-penalty notices to drunks for public order offences so that they would count towards their target of two detected offences a month. Home Office research last year found a nationwide increase in drunks being penalised for causing harassment, alarm or distress. Researchers concluded that the trend may have been driven by government target-setting. Notices issued for offences such as causing harassment, alarm or distress count as a "violent crime" and an "offence brought to justice" for the purposes of Home Office statistics. The alternative, lesser charge of being drunk and disorderly does not count towards police detection targets.


Australian PM Howard shows the way on Zimbabwe

It's time somebody did, says Melanie Phillips:

JUST what was that ghostly and unfamiliar noise we heard over the weekend? Good heavens - it was the sound of a country's political leader actually exercising leadership. The Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, ordered his nation's cricket team to pull out of a scheduled tour of Zimbabwe in September and even threatened to suspend the players' passports if the sport's governing body did not abide by his decision. His reason was that the proposed tour would be an "enormous propaganda boost" to Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, a "grubby dictator" who was behaving "like the Gestapo towards his political opponents". Despite the fact that for more than two decades the population of Zimbabwe has been starved and brutalised by Mugabe's tyranny, this is the first time a government has actually stopped its sportsmen playing there.

At a stroke, Mr Howard has thus exposed the supine hypocrisy of the rest of the world's leaders who, faced with Zimbabwe's escalating agony, have done nothing except wring their hands. What a difference, for example, from the behaviour back in 2004 of the British Government, whose supposedly "ethical" foreign policy did not stretch to stopping the England cricket team touring Zimbabwe.

Britain's cravenness is particularly shameful given that Mugabe is President of Zimbabwe only because the British put him there. A government that was intended to liberate people from repressive minority white rule has instead enslaved them through corruption, violence and tyranny.

In recent months, hundreds of Zimbabwe's opposition members, supporters and activists have been arrested, abducted or tortured. Earlier this month, a group of lawyers was beaten up by police in Harare outside the Ministry of Justice, where they were trying to present a petition against the unlawful arrest and detention of two of their colleagues. In March, the Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and beaten. In the same month opposition activist Nelson Chamisa was brutally attacked on his way to attend an EU-African, Caribbean and Pacific meeting in Brussels - while three regime members were allowed to attend despite an EU ban against Zimbabwe's Government travelling to Europe.

Moreover, Tony Blair recently told senior Labour colleagues that Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF party should be permitted to attend an EU-Africa summit in Portugal next autumn, again in flagrant breach of the EU ban - on the grounds it was better to "confront" Mugabe than exclude him.

The rest of the world has been similarly spineless. Despite South Africa's enormous influence over Zimbabwe, its President Thabo Mbeki has refused to exert pressure on Mugabe to relinquish power. Elsewhere in the sporting world, according to Zimbabwe's own state-run newspaper, football's governing body FIFA has given South Africa permission to allow visiting teams to base themselves in Zimbabwe during the 2010 World Cup. And to cap it all, Zimbabwe has recently been chosen - grotesquely - to head a key United Nations committee on the environment, while it so foully desecrates its own.

In such a morally degraded world, John Howard's initiative is so rare as to be utterly startling. Yet it is very much in line with his general political approach, in which he stands up for what he thinks is right without fear of any hostile reaction and simply calls a spade a spade. This confident outspokenness derives from a quality that is very rare in Western leaders -- being entirely comfortable in his own cultural skin.

So much of our political class is paralysed by guilt for what it perceives to be the West's original sin of colonialism. Indeed, the reason Mr Blair gave for suggesting Zimbabwe should attend this autumn's summit was that Britain's colonial past made it hard for the UK to criticise Mugabe's regime. Mr Howard, in sharp contrast, is entirely free of such absurd and crippling cultural cringe. He believes in Australia and its Western values. He thinks these values are superior to any alternatives. And it is this total absence of equivocation in upholding the national interest which explains his robust defence of both Australian identity and Western civilisation against attack.

He is an unwavering ally of America in Iraq and Afghanistan - while others are withdrawing troops from Iraq, he has sent more. He has introduced tough anti-terrorism laws, and has no truck with attempts to use human rights laws to weaken Australia's national security. And he and his senior ministers have spoken out against Islamic extremism in Australia, stating there will be no acceptance of sharia law, turning down a proposal to build a mosque with Saudi Arabian money and declaring that anyone who does not want to live by Australian values should go elsewhere. With the US presidential elections coming up next year, there is a vacancy for the leadership of the Western world. What a pity John Howard can't apply.


Australia: Far too much government secretiveness

IT is a perverse fact of modern life that as technology dissolves the barriers to instant and limitless communication, the response of governments in Australia has been to increase the limits on what information can be made public. This ranges from a clampdown on simple public service information, such as which restaurants have failed council health checks, to the more sinister pursuit and prosecution of genuine whistleblowers who speak out for community good. It is a sobering statistic that Australia ranks 35th on a global index of media freedom by Reporters Without Borders, behind Latvia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, South Korea and Ghana, among others. The clampdown on the media's ability to report, and the community's right to know, reflects both a cynical manipulation of freedom of information regimes by successive state and federal governments and a power grab by law enforcement agencies under the guise of the war on terror. The combined result has been a trend that, allowed to continue unchallenged, threatens to undermine the foundations on which Australian democracy is based.

Concern has been raised formally by Australia's major news publishers and broadcasters, including News Limited. In an address to the Australian Press Council last week, Fairfax Media chief executive David Kirk outlined the pernicious way in which the anti-terror laws operate against press freedom. Federal police have been given the right to require any person, including journalists, to produce documents, based on the suspicion that they might assist the investigation of a terrorist offence, without having to produce a warrant.

It is a criminal offence to report that such a request has been made, punishable by up to two years in prison. Just as it is a criminal offence, punishable by up to five years in prison, to report that a preventive detention order has been made in relation to a detainee or any information conveyed by the detained person. While there will always be competition between public disclosure and secrecy when it comes to issues of national security, the increasing trend towards lessening the role of the judiciary in making that decision, such as the need for a warrant to be issued, is to be deplored. It is equally clear that neither national security nor public interest is always the prime concern of governments when it comes to keeping secrets. While Attorney-General Philip Ruddock has made public concessions to press freedom, promising shield laws to protect journalists from having to reveal their sources, the commonwealth's approach is flawed.

As the case of former Customs officer Allan Kessing demonstrates, giving protection to journalists from having to reveal sources is of little use to whistleblowers, who remain at risk of being rooted out and prosecuted within the public service. Mr Kessing is facing up to two years in prison after being found guilty of making public a classified report that the prosecution argued formed the basis of a series of reports in The Australian which led to a $212 million upgrade of national airport security. The report detailed near anarchy at Sydney airport. Mr Kessing was a contributor to the report, which was apparently shelved for two years after going through the appropriate chain of command for action. The newspaper has never revealed if Mr Kessing was its source. Under NSW legislation, a whistleblower would be protected for acting in the public interest in making such a report public if his or her superiors had failed to act.

Meanwhile, two Herald Sun journalists, Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus, are awaiting sentence after pleading guilty to contempt of court for refusing to reveal a source. Harvey and McManus have refused to reveal who provided information that the Government had accepted only one-sixth of the recommendations of a wide-ranging review into veterans' entitlements and had planned to short-change veterans of $500 million. A man convicted by a Victorian County Court jury of leaking the information was given a suspended sentence but was later acquitted of the charge by the state's Court of Appeal.

There is no obvious reason why the Government could not have come clean in the first instance. The guiding principle for good governance should always be that material be made publicly available unless there is a pressing national interest reason for it to be kept private. Any decision to keep information secret or restrict publication should be subject to judicial overview. The public service must be just that, not a law unto itself.



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 May, 2007

NYPD Frisking too Few Blacks

"Reverend" Al Sharpton - can't you just have a heart attack and die already? There may be a race-related problem in New York City. But apparently Al Sharpton is confused about what it is. He thinks the problem is that the NYPD is racist. (Really, he probably thinks that all white people are racist - so his actions suggest). And he wants to file a lawsuit. He just loves lawsuits. What's the reason? 55.2% of the people subject to "stop and frisk" searches by the NYPD have been black. Only 25% of New York's population is black.

Why is Sharpton dumber than Paris Hilton? He's neglected the fact that out of all the alleged criminals described by victims and witnesses, 68.5% were black. So if 68.5% of reported suspects are black, but only 55.2% of the people stopped by the NYPD were black, what is the basis of thinking that the NYPD is racist? If we're going for proportionality, the NYPD should be frisking more blacks.

Maybe I should file a class action lawsuit against the NYPD for charges of racism. Why? Because while 11.1% of the people who are stopped and frisked are white (44% of New York's population is white), only 5.3% of reported suspects are white.

What's really going on here? Who knows. Maybe the NYPD is actually being over-zealous in searching white people because crazies like Al Sharpton keep trying to convince everyone that the NYPD is biased against blacks. If the primary purpose of the police force is to catch criminals and in doing so deter further crime, perhaps this is the real problem. It is, in any case, certainly more serious than the one Al Sharpton is trying so hard to invent out of thin air.

My suggestion to Al Sharpton: If you actually care about anything other than getting your name in the news for fighting imagined racism, you should look into the problem of why it is that 68.5% of reported criminals suspects are black when only 25% of the population is black.


Bill requires hiring homosexuals and cross-dressers

'Perceived sexual orientation or gender identity' protected

Following on the heels of an 'anti-discrimination' plan Christians insist would virtually outlaw their religious beliefs comes another proposal - introduced by openly homosexual U.S. Rep. Barney Frank - that requires businesses to give special privileges to "gay" and "transgendered" individuals.

Shari Rendall, director of legislation and public policy for Concerned Women for America, the nation's largest women's public policy group, said H.R. 2015, the "Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 2007," would be a disaster. "This bill would unfairly extend special privileges based upon an individual's changeable sexual behaviors, rather than focusing on immutable, non-behavior characteristics such as skin color or gender. Its passage would both overtly discriminate against and muzzle people of faith. Former Secretary of State Collin Powell put it well when he said, 'Skin color is a benign, non-behavioral characteristic. Sexual orientation is perhaps the most profound of human behavioral characteristics. Comparison of the two is a convenient but invalid argument,'" Rendall said.

The proposal, from U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., follows H.R. 1592, the House-approved plan that would add sexual orientation and gender identity to a list of valid arguments for allegations of a "hate crime" and allow the federal government to intervene when those occur, or even in order to "prevent" one.

The White House has issued a statement saying the proposal is "unnecessary and constitutionally questionable" and the president's advisers would recommend a veto if it advances to his desk. The new bill's goals are within the same agenda, critics say. "According to proponents, this bill merely seeks to insulate people who choose to engage in homosexual behaviors ("sexual orientation") or who suffer from gender confusion ("gender identity") against employment discrimination," said the CWFA station. "But regrettably this legislation would effectively codify and encourage the very thing it purports to prevent - workplace discrimination."

It would apply to any business with 15 or more employees and would declare "it shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer . to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment of the individual, because of such individual's actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity."

"This bill would force Christian, Jewish or Muslim business owners to hire people who openly choose to engage in homosexual or cross-dressing behaviors despite a sincerely held religious belief that those behaviors are dangerous, sinful and not in keeping with basic morality," added Matt Barber, policy director for cultural issues for CWFA. "ENDA would essentially force employers to check their First Amendment protected rights to freedom of religion, speech and association at the workplace door. It's absurd! For instance, female employees would have to endure both systematic sexual harassment and a hostile work environment by being forced to share bathroom facilities with male employees who get their jollies from wearing a dress, high heels and lipstick," Barber said. "Over the years, the homosexual lobby has done a masterful job of co-opting the language of the genuine civil rights movement in their push for special rights. This bill represents the goose that laid the golden egg for homosexual activist attorneys," he said.

Peter LaBarbera, of Americans for Truth, also suggested voters contact Congress and urge members to reject ENDA "and the insanity of forcing businesses across the nation to accommodate and subsidize gender confusion in the name of 'civil rights.' "Several giant corporations have already settled on pro-'transgender' bathroom and dress policies - probably the same companies who would subject their employees to biased, pro-homosexual 'diversity' lectures - but can you imagine inflicting these 'transgender' regulations on small and mid-level companies through federal law via ENDA?" LaBarbera asked. "What female employee wants to share the company restroom with a big-boned man claiming to be 'transitioning' to 'womanhood?' Will companies have to build 'transgender male' and 'transgender female' restrooms?"

He said there are some unsatisfactory exemptions for religious-oriented employers, but secular companies whose owners choose to run their operations on biblical guidelines would have no option. The law would require companies to allow workers to use the restroom of the sex they "present." "What about the privacy rights of [a transgender's] female co-workers? Don't they have the right not to feel personally invaded as they go to the restroom at their job?" he asked. "Of course, the larger goal here - shared by the 'gay' and 'transgender' lobbies - is to change your mind and heart regarding gender-confused conduct. The law is merely a tool in their never-ending quest to overturn America's Judeo-Christian norms regarding family, sex and marriage," he said.


British "diversity" dogma in trouble

Since Macpherson, few institutions in British society have escaped the charge of institutional racism, with some even revelling in the charge as a kind of mea culpa. The former head of the BBC, Greg Dyke, famously declared the BBC to be `hideously white'. New Labour arts minister, David Lammy MP, has accused museums and galleries of being `too white'. Lord Patel recently accused the mental health sector of institutional racism, while the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) is currently investigating the Department of Health to see whether it is institutionally racist.

Official anti-racism has been implemented with full legal force. The Race Relations Act 1976 outlawed direct and indirect discrimination and victimisation in a range of areas such as education, housing and employment. Over 20 years later, the Race Relations Amendment Act 2000, which extended the law to cover 43,000 public authorities, was significant in that it placed a general duty on them to `have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, and to promote equality of opportunity and good relations between persons of different racial groups'. The main significance is that the duty requires bodies to take action to prevent acts of racial discrimination before they occur, meaning pre-emptive measures or racialisation have proliferated throughout public life.

Under New Labour, diversity management has flourished to become an effective strategy of behaviour management. The seemingly innocuous injunction to `respect diversity' has become common in workplaces, schools and hospitals, voluntary organisations and civic venues such as churches, charities and local neighbourhood associations. Most organisations in the public sector have a diversity manager in place, as do large private sector firms. Targets for making workforces more `diverse' have become accepted norms, despite the obvious drawbacks of positive discrimination. At the micro-level of workplace interaction, people have acquiesced to the regulation of their speech and behaviour towards others with little resistance, because it has been done in the name of tolerance. Diversity training - once viewed as a bizarre and probably inappropriate import from America - has now become a growth industry.

The thrust of identity politics was already strong prior to New Labour taking power in 1997, coming as it did off the back of social fragmentation and the weakening of older political and collective identities. Lobby groups and `community leaders' representing religious, ethnic and minority communities were already entering the political domain and vying against each other for resources. In 2001, the Cantle report into the northern mill town riots in Oldham, Bradford and Burnley pointed to the way in which local authorities' policies had deepened segregation in parts of Britain.

New Labour further institutionalised this trend and turned identity into the cornerstone of political engagement. Local and national state institutions developed `partnerships' with community groups and leaders, offering recognition of their supposedly different needs. This process has encouraged a demand amongst groups for recognition of their difference, and in some cases, the protection of difference.

The most obvious case is that of the Muslim lobby in the guise of the Muslim Council of Britain, which gained significant encouragement by New Labour in its early years and particularly after the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001. From being marginal players, the MCB leaders began to assert their importance, claiming to hold the votes of Muslims in the palm of their hands. MCB head Iqbal Sacranie was rumoured to have turned down requests to meet with lower level ministers, insisting instead on meeting with the prime minister himself.

The MCB has since fallen out of favour, but its shortlived success reflected the strategic importance of `community leaders' under New Labour, as a way to engage the citizenry. In the case of Muslims, this engagement has not led to a rise in political engagement but an exacerbation of their political alienation. Like most young people, Muslims are disillusioned with the political elite. But their cynicism has grown exponentially due to the government's engagement with unelected, and largely irrelevant community leaders who are themselves out of touch. This cynicism no doubt fuels the aggressive anti-politics of some younger Muslims.

Of course, identity politics is something that exists far beyond young Muslims - most other ethnic groups have joined the fray and demanded their own recognition and protection. New Labour's Religious Hatred Bill was supported by an alliance of religious groups who share only their sense of vulnerability and victimhood in common. These momentary alliances coexist with the moments of heated conflict, most recently between gay groups and the Catholic Church over the sexual orientation law and adoption agencies - begging the question of whose identity required the greatest protection. As the state has gradually intervened into the private world of belief and identity, so now it is called in to manage those differences and act as the arbiter.

Many of the trends discussed so far will no doubt inform the work of the new Commission for Equality and Human Rights (as the CRE is renaming itself), which starts operating this autumn. Its extended powers to bring cases and enforce anti-discrimination measures will encourage even greater regulation between individuals and groups, possibly exacerbating rather than ameliorating tensions.

More broadly, recent criticisms of multiculturalism and fears of social fragmentation have led to a new phase in New Labour's approach, already being nurtured by prime-minister-in-waiting, Gordon Brown - the call for a new national identity. But lacking any political vision and burdened with the obligation to protect its own cherished diversity policies, New Labour has struggled to show what this identity might look like. No doubt we can look forward in the coming years to various contrived measures such as `Britishness Day', the rebranding of bank notes, or the celebrations for the 2012 Olympics, in the hope of bringing national identity to life.

The word `multiculturalism' may be increasingly unpopular these days but all the things it gave rise to - as outlined above - are still in place. They need to be tackled with a more universalist approach.

More here

Gasp! Hard-Left public broadcaster funds anti-Moore doco

What a blunder for them. No way would they have funded it they had known how it would turn out!

A controversial documentary about Oscar winner Michael Moore, which is creating hot debate in North America, was partly funded by Australian money. The film, Manufacturing Dissent, explores Moore's life and questions some of his ethical practices during the making of documentaries including Bowling For Columbine and Fahrenheit 911. Although the filmmakers were initially supporters of Moore who simply wanted to explore his remarkable career, the documentary eventually turns nasty, claiming Moore has fudged some facts in his famous docos to drive home his agenda. Moore, who is considered the most powerful documentary maker in the world, is said to be outraged by the film's emerging profile on the documentary circuit.

Although it was made by Canadian filmmakers Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine, the movie was completed only because of early funding from SBS in Australia. While Manufacturing Dissent takes a few easy pot shots at Moore's phenomenal wealth, it also raises questions about ethical documentary making. The documentary had its premiere in North America nearly three weeks ago, with film fans queuing for hours in the hope of gaining entry to the screening.

The film is expected to be one of the biggest drawcards on the global film festival circuit this year, with every likelihood it may screen at one of Australia's key film festivals before being aired on SBS this year. A spokeswoman from SBS confirmed the Australian link to the project, saying early funding had helped the filmmakers finish the Moore project. SBS executives pre-bought the licence to the film. "The money for that is given at an early stage in the filmmaking, which guarantees some funding to the filmmaker so they can finish the program," the spokeswoman said.

Moore is yet to comment publicly on the documentary, but in at least one segment of it, his minders are seen forcing the crew to stop filming.



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 May, 2007

The decline of motherhood

As we celebrate Mother's Day, we should pause to consider the social factors that keep more and more women from having children

Hiking along the northern reaches of British Columbia's Sunshine Coast last week, my sister and I passed by the home of a woman recently taken by cancer. As dignified deaths go, it was exemplary. Predeceased by her husband, her care was assumed in turns by her four grown children. She died peacefully, surrounded by them and her beloved ocean views.

For the generation that's brought Canada's fertility rate to below replacement levels, such idylls can only become increasingly rare. With 1.5 children per couple, our best hope is a quiet death in a clean facility where the immigrant workers speak our language. And that's only the human face of demographic decline. The economic face is hardly more appealing: unfilled labour markets, reduced GDP and no tax revenues to pay for health care -- to name a few.

Canada isn't the only country in this predicament. According to America Alone, Mark Steyn's self-described and penetrating rant on "demography, Islam and civilizational exhaustion," the developed world has gone from 30 per cent to 20 per cent of global population. Greece has 1.3 births per couple -- the "lowest low" from which no society has ever recovered; Russia, where 60 per cent of pregnancies are terminated, has the fastest-growing rate of HIV in the world and, by 2050, 60 per cent of Italians will have no brothers, sisters, cousins, aunts or uncles. In the developed world, only the United States, with a 2.1 birth rate, is replacing itself.

How did it come to this? In Canada, one answer is infertility. This affects one in every 15 Canadian couples (in Britain one in six are affected), who spend some $30 million a year on in-vitro fertilization alone. Defined as failure to conceive after one year of trying, infertility can result from many factors affecting both males and females, but according to the government of Canada's Biobasics website, the two biggest factors are delayed childbearing and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Today, mothers giving birth average 29.5 years of age. Since women are born with a given number of eggs that decline in quality and quantity from the age of 30, it is no surprise that for the growing proportion of 30-plus women attempting pregnancy, it is much more difficult to conceive and carry a child. Compounding the problem, earlier and increased sexual activity means a greater likelihood for contracting gonorrhea or chlamydia. In women, pelvic inflammatory disease and, in turn, blocked fallopian tubes or ectopic pregnancy may result. In men, sterility is possible. According to healthyontario.com, rates of STD infection are up 60 per cent since 1997, with girls between the ages of 15 and 19 incurring the highest rates. In 2003, 20,000 new cases of chlamydia were reported in Canada.

Some infertility problems are preventable, but larger social and economic forces make it difficult. Industrialized food production and environmental degradation are taking their tolls. Most recently, a Harvard School of Public Health study implicated trans fats while another from the University of Rochester has raised yet more questions about hormone-treated beef. Clear connections exist between obesity and ovulatory cysts. Combined with the genetic complications already associated with delayed pregnancies, concerns about the ability of future generations to reproduce are valid. Ominously, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is calling for genetic testing of all pregnant women, not just those over 35.

Nor do infertility statistics take into account those deciding not to have children or those resigned to missing the boat. On this front, Mark Steyn blames the "progressive agenda" -- abortion, gay marriage, endlessly deferred adulthood -- and he's right. He doesn't get into many specifics but they are easily identified. In the U.S., 48.5 million abortions since Roe v. Wade only slightly exceeds the estimated 47 million civilians lost in the Second World War. And, as the University of Calgary's Rainer Knopf predicted, gay marriage means any public distinction between procreative and non-procreative sexuality is now totally abandoned. The latest sad example? A hero's welcome on MTV for porn king and intersexual sodomy "expert" Ron Jeremy.

So we pump our young with pills, wrap them in condoms and, coming soon, jab them with vaccines hoping to prevent unwanted pregnancies, STDs and, now, cervical cancer. This in the name of denying their capacity for personal responsibility by advocates who wouldn't shake hands with each other if they had a cold.

In other words, the infantilization continues and the price tag increases. Fertility clinics offer hope, but a growing number of ethicists confirm that any rearguard action by science produces as many problems as it solves. Will Assisted Human Reproduction Canada, newly opened in Vancouver to deal with such problems, also address infertility prevention? Who will?

Universal screening may be the only solution for the STD epidemic. And if smoking can be stigmatized, so can other behaviours. Cleaning up our air, water and food and, while we are at it, the airwaves too, would also help. Those who want pornographic services should be required to fetch them elsewhere.

Parents need meaningful support from civil society as well as government. Housing prices that require two incomes make starting a family untenable -- a problem exacerbated by immigration policies that raise real estate prices while ostensibly compensating for the children we aren't producing. But within one generation, immigrants adopt our reproductive habits. Oh, and have an especially happy Mother's Day. Soon, there may be few mothers left to celebrate.


'Alternative family' killing Europe?

In the late 1960s, warnings of a "population" bomb that would doom Earth's inhabitants spawned movements of fervent activists prone to wag a finger at strolling couples with multiple offspring in tow. Nearly 40 years later, crunching the demographic numbers reveals a looming catastrophe - but of the completely opposite kind, some contend.

Conveyors of a major world gathering commencing today in the Polish capital argue Europe - the progenitor of Western civilization - is on a steep population decline that will make the continent increasingly hard to recognize in the coming decades. With plunging birthrates coinciding with rejection of the "natural family" that for millennia has anchored cultures worldwide, a "demographic winter" is descending over Europe, contends Allan C. Carlson, founder and international secretary of the World Congress of Families, hosting more than 3,500 delegates from 75 nations through Sunday. Prague was the site of the first congress in 1997, followed by Geneva in 1999 and Mexico City in 2004.

"If Europe is lost to demographic winter and radical secularism, much of the world will go with it," says Carlson and the international team that planned the event. Meanwhile, into the vacuum comes a flood of Muslim immigrants led by many on a mission to spread the rule of Islam over the planet, writes Mark Steyn in his book "America Alone." The result already is becoming clear, Steyn insists: "Europe will be semi-Islamic in its politico-culture character within a generation." In his book, Steyn warns one of the fastest demographic evolutions in history already is making our views of European outdated. While it takes a fertility rate of at least 2.1 for a nation to replenish itself, countries known for big families, such as Greece and Spain, have fertility rates of 1.2 and 1.1 respectively.

By 2050, Steyn says, 60 percent of Italians, for example, will have no brothers, no sisters, cousins, no aunts, no uncles. "The big Italian family, with papa pouring vino and mama spooning out the pasta down an endless table of grandparents and nieces and nephews, will be gone, no more, dead as the dinosaurs," he writes.

But in Warsaw this weekend, an optimistic gathering of activists says it's looking "beyond demographic winter," promoting the "natural family" as the "springtime of Europe and the world." The World Congress says it is buoyed by the fact "courageous pro-family champions and organizations exist in every European country, even in hotbeds of militant secularism such as France, Sweden and Spain."

Several recent members of the European Union have elected strong "pro-family governments," including Poland, Latvia and Slovakia. "Poland saved Europe before" by lifting the Turkish siege of Vienna in 1683 and helping to demolish the Soviet empire three centuries later and it is likely "she will save Europe again," the World Congress planners hope - though not without inevitable backlash from the European Union. Legislation, for example, recently proposed by Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych that limits "homosexual propaganda" in schools was met with a resolution of condemnation in April by the European Parliament 325-124, with 150 abstentions. Arguing for his bill, Giertych, who will address the congress today, explained: "One must limit homosexual propaganda so that children won't have an improper view of the family."

During debate on the European Parliament resolution, deputies described the Polish legislation as "repulsive" and "hateful." These "diatribes ... must stop," said member Rour Martine. "These are not Europe's values." World Congress founder Carlson countered "normalization of homosexuality is a value of Europe's elite." "The 'values' of a majority of the European Parliament are one reason Europe has the lowest birthrates in the world," he said. "If it had a self-preservation instinct, the EP would be promoting the natural family, instead of castigating Poland for its defense of family values."

The Congress has a counterpart, in fact, the Council on Contemporary Families, which says it seeks to "deinstitutionalize marriage" and affirm an increasing number of women who choose not to marry and have children. Carlson contends "the failure of CCF's vision can be seen in the family crisis in Europe." "Due to the Euro-elite's embrace of the CCF's anti-family ethic, fewer and fewer Europeans are marrying and having children," he said. "Those who do are choosing 'egalitarian unions,' where the emphasis is on self-fulfillment, rather than having and nurturing children. As a result, the European family is disappearing."

In March, 19 members of the European Parliament urged a State Department official scheduled to speak at the Congress today to withdraw. Ellen Sauerbrey, appointed by President Bush as the U.S. assistant secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration, will address a plenary session on "Promoting Strong Families As A Policy Goal."

A letter from the parliament members March 28 told Sauerbrey: "We urge you to withdraw from this conference because your participation provides an official U.S. government stamp of approval to extremist and intolerant views held by some participants and attendees. These extremist and intolerant views include prejudiced attitudes toward foreigners, people from other religions, homosexuals, and the inclusive vision of what represents a family unit that has been developed by the United Nations and the European Union." Sauerbrey, who spoke at the Mexico City Congress, says the World Congress of Families has had "a huge impact" by the "networking of people around the world with shared values and concerns about the deterioration of the family structure."

Meanwhile, a think tank in the UK published a report this week that urged Britons to have fewer children in order to help save the world from what it sees as the biggest threat to civilization, "global warming." "The greatest thing anyone in Britain could do to help the future of the planet," said John Guillebaud, co-chairman of Optimum Population Trust, "would be to have one less child."


Opening a racial Pandora's Box in California

Post lifted from American Thinker . See the original for links

Yesterday, America moved one baby step closer to apartheid, a society in which racial groups are officially considered unequal and consigned to their own separate spheres under the law. California's supreme court granted a temporary stay in a murder trial about to begin, on the unprecedented ground that the county where the crime took place and the trial was to be held does not have enough residents of the same color as the defendant, who is black. In other words, the underlying theory is that a defendant may be entitled to a jury of his or her own race, at least in some as yet undetermined minimal percentage. No showing is exclusion of jurors on the ground of race need be shown if a change of venue is granted. Mere demography could become a criterion in presumed prejudice.

Since we are guaranteed a jury of our peers, if the stay is upheld and a change of venue required by the California supremes, the justices would in effect be ruling that being of a different race can make one not a peer and unable to judge fairly in the eyes of the law. From this sort of ruling one can logically derive many corollaries establishing in law the principle that we are not in fact all equal irrespective of race. This case looks like a genuine Pandora's Box.

The details are complicated: the man on trial, Renato Hughes of San Francisco, did not kill anyone. He was one of three persons who allegedly robbed a pot dealer in rural Lake County and severely beat a child living in the alleged dealer's home, inflicting permanent brain damage. One of the victims then shot and killed two alleged accomplices. Under California's provocative act" murder doctrine, which holds accomplices responsible if their partners are killed while committing a crime, Hanlon faces murder charges. But these legal complexities are not the basis of the temporary stay.

Hughes' attorney, San Francisco lawyer Stuart Hanlon, requested a change of venue purely on the basis of the what the San Francisco Chronicle describes as the

"racial imbalance" of overwhelmingly white Lake County -- a land where dirt roads and double-wides coexist with wine country aspirations.

While the snide double-wide verbiage, redolent of scorn for less affluent Caucasians as rednecks, is employed by Chron writer Patricia Yollin, I find the statements of Hanlon troubling for signs of the same bigoted invidious stereotypes based purely on race.

"There are few black people in Lake County, so people rely on stereotypes," said defense attorney Stuart Hanlon of San Francisco. [....]

In an emergency request filed May 4 with the state Supreme Court, Hanlon wrote, "Lake County, a primarily Caucasian community in a rural setting, is presented with its greatest fear: a young, black male from a big city, coming to their town and invading one of their residents in the middle of the night, attacking his family, his girlfriend, 11-year-old daughter and two sons."

Hanlon even attributed the recent influx of city people to Lake County (where real estate prices are comparatively low, but which is reasonably close to the Bay Area and scenic to boot) to "white flight." Given the realtively small percentage of blacks in the Bay Area's population, and the obvious economic and lifestyle appeal of Lake County, this is ludicrous and evidence of racial prejudice on Hanlon's part.

I hope that Supreme Court speedily vacates this stay and allows Hughes to be judged by a jury of his peers in the location where the crime occurred. To do otherwise takes us down the path where only blacks can judge blacks and whites can judge whites. And if one happens to be Tiger Woods, one cannot be tried by any jury, unless 12 Cablanasians can somehow be rounded up.

The Zionism equals racism scam

Alex Grobman's "Nations United, How the United Nations Undermines Israel and the West", looks at the history of this remarkable fraud and how the UN came to vote on it. It is a story of how the Soviet Union used Israel as a pawn in its war with the west, beginning with its initial backing of the Jewish state when the area was still part of the British mandate. That backing included allowing Czechoslovakia to supply military equipment to the Jews who reestablished Israel as a state.

Later the success of Israel contrasted with the lack of success of its client Arab states that purchased weapons from the Soviets in great quantity caused the Soviets to switch sides and it was they who first pushed the Zionism as racism trope. The allegation was ridiculous on its face, but that did not stop the UN from adopting a resolution saying that.

Thus from the successors to the fraudulent Elders of Zion, came the sequel in the form of a UN resolution condemning a state that they had helped reestablish itself.

The Arabs were all over the resolution and angry at the US for saying it was an infamous act and a lie. The Saudi ambassador to the UN was indignant about the Balfour agreement that recognized an Israeli homeland and President Truman's backing of Israel and he was not too happy about God either.


As to the Jewish claims that God gave them Palestine because they are "exclusive," he wondered "since when is God in the real estate business...? Show us the title deed. And since when did He give M. Balfour and Mr. Truman powers-of-attorney to transfer land that does not belong to them? ... I don't think that any of the Zionist have direct or indirect communication with God Almighty.


It probably never occurred to him to ask the same question about the Palestinian claim on the land. The competing parties for the land both saw the other as squatters. If one were relying on real estate law, both would now claim their title through adverse possession, if they ignored the deed set forth in the Bible. Since the Israelis are now in possession under that doctrine it is theirs.

Other slanders followed including the one embraced by Jimmy Carter that the Israelis had created an apartheid society. This is in the face of the Palestinians who do not want any Jews living in their neighborhood at all, and States like Saudi Arabia that want even let Jews enter the country much less have houses of worship. In the Middle East the apartheid is practiced by the Muslim religious bigots in several Arab countries.

Alex Grobman has compiled an interesting read in a relatively short volume. If he does a sequel, I would like to see more information about how the UN has been responsible for creating dependency by the Palestinians that has robbed them of any enterprise of value and left them with their most significant product being human ordinance sending their young people out to explode next to Jews.

The Palestinians are in desperate need of "welfare reform" that would get them off the charity dole and put them to work creating something of value. Right now the UN and the NGO's are subsidizing terrorism, and they are doing no favor for the Palestinians.



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 May, 2007

Getting Our Minds Right

Post lifted from Gates of Vienna . See the original for links

Fjordman has coined the term "Glossocracy" for the systematic alteration and debasement of language by the Marxist and Multicultural ideologues who control most of the public institutions in the West. When you make it difficult to describe the world except in terms that are ideologically pre-defined, you also make it difficult to think in any other way.

At the same time, ordinary citizens are conditioned not to publicly express their unacceptable ideas. When "hate speech" can cause you to lose your career, or your pension, or even land you in jail, you become very careful of what you say.

It doesn't require the full repressive apparatus of a totalitarian state to effect these conditions. What Fjordman calls a "soft totalitarianism" will do just as well. Soft totalitarianism has already come to maturity in the European Union, and it is well underway here in the United States.

Finland's Ombudsman for Minorities is a case in point. for KGS from Tundra Tabloids has translated the Finnish version of Mikko Puumalainen's interview on today's Finnish state TV news website, in which the Ombudsman discusses the need to school Finnish law enforcement personnel and the judicial and prosecuting services in the use of the country's anti-racism laws.

KGS points out that there is also a version of the story in English, Ombudsman: Anti-Racism Laws Not Used Effectively, at the same website. The English version is shorter and has a different emphasis

To recap the highlighted portions of the article:

* "What the differences in the statistics tell of the justice department's indifference towards racism has yet to be researched."

* Even so, "it can be assumed that only two percent of racism-related crimes go reported."

* And, most importantly, "part of the basics in crime investigation is to find out the motive of the suspect."

Try to get your mind around what's being said here.

1. If only 2% of reported "racism crimes" result in judicial action, it proves that there is systemic racism, or at best an ignorance of the law, within the criminal justice apparatus. It does not mean that 98% of the accused were innocent of the crimes.

2. We will act on the conclusions from #1, even though we officially acknowledge that we don't know the reason for the statistical discrepancies.

3. Knowing what's in the mind of a criminal is part of the basics of crime investigation. And when the crime is "racism", there is no crime other than what is in the mind of the putative criminal.

The adjective "Orwellian" does not even begin to describe this pernicious process.

The average, normal, commonsensical person loves his homeland, prefers people who speak the same language, and feels an affinity for his own people. That's not racism; it's normal human nature. It shouldn't be a crime to say, "I'm glad I live in Finland. I'm proud to speak Suomi. I think Finland is better than other countries. I think that people who come to live here should learn to be like us." There's nothing wrong with that.

But we've all been trained for the last forty years or so to instinctively feel that there is something wrong with it, to feel a twinge of guilt if we even think it. That's how well the Glossocracy has done its job. First you are made afraid to speak the simple truth, and then you are subjected to absurd lies, over and over again. You have to pretend to believe them. You have to repeat them in school. You are subjected to them at work. You hear your government officials assert them as established facts.

Taken to an extreme, this kind of indoctrination destroys the sense of self and can derange your cognitive processes. The Soft Totalitarians aren't just interested in how you behave; they're after what's in your mind. They want to make sure that you get it right.

Proof of Racism: Asians Make More Money

I've already explained (many times) why these arguments don't make sense, but people are still making them: `Gaps' in income and education between `racial groups' prove that America is still racist. It's `institutionalized racism' (whatever that means, which is probably nothing) because they can't find enough actual evidence of racism to say that it is still a problem. Oh well. They make the arguments. But they are inconsistent. According to the Census bureau:

12% of hispanic adults have college degrees.
17% of black adults have college degrees.
30% of white adults have college degrees.
49% of asian adults have college degrees.
Median income for black households: $30,939
Median income for hispanic households: $36,278
Median income for white households: $50,622
Median income for asian households: $60,367

Racism against whites?

According to the "Look, a disparity!!" argument, educational and income disparities are evidence of racism. So it should follow that blacks and hispanics suffer the most from racism, followed by whites given the fact that asians are, on average, doing so much better. And it's not an insubstantial difference either - in fact, the gap between asians and whites in terms of college degrees is bigger than the gap between whites and blacks or whites and hispanics. So if we buy the income/education gap argument, then whites can join the ranks of the victims of racism in America.


Japan rejects meddling with family life

Plans to urge Japanese mothers to breast-feed and sing lullabies to their babies and for families to turn off the TV during meals have been scrapped, Kyodo news agency reported. Mothers were urged to look into their baby's eyes while breast-feeding in a draft of a report by a government panel that was due out this week. It had also warned that the internet and mobile phones give children a "direct connection with the evils of the world".

But the release of the report by an education reform panel was called off at the last minute in an apparent response to criticism that it went too far in meddling with people's private lives, Kyodo reported.

Improving education has also been a priority in efforts to boost Japan's faltering birthrate. The fertility rate - the average number of children a woman bears in her lifetime - hit a record low of 1.26 in 2005. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged when he took office last year to reform Japan's education system by reviving patriotism in the nation's classrooms.

The education system came under fire earlier this year after a series of student suicides linked to bullying, and parliament enacted a law in December aimed at encouraging schools to teach patriotism.


Australia's public broadcaster presents Leftist propaganda as history

Bastard Boys, the story of the 1998 waterfront dispute, screens on the ABC tomorrow and Monday. It's well made and should get a good audience in an election year where industrial relations is again an important issue. There has been extensive publicity about the series, and its makers have been keen to stress its impartiality. These claims are nonsense. The series is the most blatant union propaganda. It's a very strange use of public money by the ABC and the other government agencies involved: the Film Finance Corporation, the NSW Film and Television Office and Film Victoria.

Simple mathematics suggests the scale of bias. The miniseries is divided into four equal segments, each told from the viewpoint of one participant. Two are union officials (the then Maritime Union of Australia national secretary John Coombs and the ACTU's Greg Combet), one is a Labor lawyer, and one is Chris Corrigan, the head of Patrick Stevedores. The Corrigan segment contains far more from the union perspective than from his. So about 80 per cent of the story is told from the union point of view. Impartial?

What makes it worse is that a lot of time is devoted to the private lives of the union characters, with many scenes of them falling in love or reading to their children. So they emerge as warm, fully rounded people. All those images of Combet racing to pick up his daughter from child care will do him no harm with female voters in his new political career. In contrast, Corrigan is portrayed as a gawky and ridiculous loner without friends, or even associates. We often see him being driven around in the back of a dry-cleaning van (for security) but we never see him talking to his board of directors. The treatment of his family life is perfunctory. Almost the only time we see anyone on his side is when they're ratting on him. He is a man without context, implausible as both a human being and a successful entrepreneur.

In the opening minutes of the show, just after paramilitary figures with dogs rush onto the wharves, Combet introduces Corrigan as an "evil genius". Corrigan then explains what he was doing when the members of the Maritime Union of Australia were thrown off his docks. "I was asleep," he says. Indeed, he was dreaming "about this mad old Hungarian refugee I worked for as a kid. He employed a lot of local kids - well, we were cheap, of course - and he'd get us out in his market garden at 3am in the Mittagong winter freezing our balls off, cutting celery. He used to say, 'Work a little harder, bastard boys.' " Clearly, given the show's title, this is meant to compare Corrigan with the mad market gardener and the wharfies with the wretched Mittagong child labourers, with all the irony implied by such a comparison. But this is madness.

In 1998 the members of the Maritime Union of Australia were the aristocracy of the working class, earning in the top 5 per cent of all employees. They were also among the laziest waterfront workers in the world, with their all-important crane lift rate among the lowest in the OECD. The series doesn't go into this. It doesn't give us any sense of the years of failed efforts by Corrigan to make the wharfies see reason. We don't see the MUA, backed by the union movement and the Labor Party, assuring the public that crane lift rates could not be lifted from 18 to 25 an hour. (They reached that level two years after the dispute ended.) Without such context, this is poor drama and also poor history.

A voice missing from Bastard Boys is that of the many Australians affected for decades by the laziness and corruption on the wharves. We hear a lot in the series about the glorious traditions and history of the union. We hear nothing of its notorious record in undermining the war effort during World War II, all the looting, the go-slows and the strikes. We see unionists being kind to small children but hear nothing of how they held the country to ransom for decades. One example: a man I know well used to bring in containers during the 1970s. They took longer to clear the dock in Sydney than they did to travel from Germany by sea, until he started to bribe the wharfies.

For balance, Bastard Boys might have replaced one of its main union characters with one of the workers who briefly replaced the wharfies. These were often farmers driven off the land by economic reforms. Some sold their houses in the country and moved to the city to work on the wharves, then found themselves unemployed again when the courts ordered Patrick to reinstate the members of the MUA. These men and women, portrayed in the series as "scabs", suffered more than anyone else in this conflict.

Like the biopic Curtin, another piece of Labor hagiography recently screened by the ABC, Bastard Boys is bound to be used by schools to teach history for years to come. It continues the film and television industry's use of public money to remove the non-Labor view from Australian history. I believe the protestations of the makers of Bastard Boys that they did their best to achieve impartiality. The most interesting thing about the result is not that they failed but that they seem completely unaware that they failed.



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 May, 2007

Muslims must assimilate, says Australian PM

Would any American political leader be straight enough to say the same? He would probably be called a "racist" if he did

PRIME Minister John Howard said today he unapologetically used the word "assimilate" when it came to absorbing Muslim citizens into the community. Mr Howard said assimilating new citizens into the wider community helped tackle radicalism among a minority of Muslims. In Tuesday's Budget, Treasurer Peter Costello allocated $461,000 to programs that help Muslim communities integrate.

"I think it's in the interests of everybody," Mr Howard said on Southern Cross radio. "There's every reason to try and assimilate - and I unapologetically use that word 'assimilate' - a section of the community, a tiny minority of whose members have caused concern. "After all, once somebody's become a citizen of this country the best thing we can do is to absorb them in the mainstream."

But he denied the measure was about trying to assimilate people's religious beliefs. "The reason that religion is used as a descriptor is it's a small category of radical Muslims that have adopted attitudes that we think are bad for the country and the most sensible thing to do is try and change those attitudes."


Bible or Koran?

This seems a practical matter only to me. Swearing on the Bible originated as a way of making the oath more important to the swearer. If the Koran can do that, why not. Swearing on a book that is not holy to you would surely do little

If North Carolina is going to let people use a religious text when taking an oath in court, the Bible shouldn't be the only book allowed, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union argued in court Tuesday. A lawsuit filed by the ACLU of North Carolina challenges a state policy that allows only the Bible to be used in such court procedures. "If the state is going to get into the religious oath business, the state has to be fair," said Seth Cohen, the ACLU's lead counsel on the case.

But an attorney from the state Attorney General's Office urged Wake County Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway to dismiss the case. "The main complaint of the ACLU and the plaintiff is a political one, not a legal one," attorney Valerie Bateman said.

Filed in July 2005, the lawsuit argues that state law is unconstitutional because it favors Christianity over other religions. It names Syidah Mateen, a Muslim woman who said she was denied the use of the Koran in court. The ACLU is seeking a court order clarifying that the law is broad enough to allow the use of multiple religious texts, or else rule the statute unconstitutional. The group expects Ridgeway will issue a ruling as early as next week.

State law allows witnesses preparing to testify in court to take their oath in three ways: by laying a hand over "the Holy Scriptures," by saying "so help me God" without the use of a religious book, or by an affirmation using no religious symbols. The state law gives Christians three options "and everybody else two options," Cohen said. The ACLU and the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations had called for a statewide policy permitting use of the Koran and other religious texts in courtrooms.

But the director of the state court system refused, saying the General Assembly or the courts needed to settle the issue. Bateman said changing the law would require the court to make determinations on what writings could be used. "That's just too much entanglement for the court to be involved in," she said, adding that it might be more appropriate for legislators to resolve the issue.

A bill filed this session by Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, after the appeals court decision would allow sacred texts besides the Bible to be used to administer courtroom oaths. But the bill has only been referred to a committee.

A trial court judge dismissed the ACLU's lawsuit in December 2005, ruling it was moot because there was no actual controversy at the time that warranted litigation. In January, the ruling was reversed by a unanimous three-judge panel of the state Court of Appeals. The panel noted Mateen's claim that her request to place her hand on the Quran as a witness in a domestic violence case in Guilford County was denied in 2003.

Several Jewish members of the state chapter of the ACLU have filed affidavits indicating they would prefer to swear upon the Old Testament, one of the religious texts of their faith, according to court documents.

The ACLU has said an 1856 state Supreme Court decision sets a clear precedent for oaths with religious texts. The court decision noted that North Carolina's oath-taking statutes were written for Christians but do not limit others from taking oaths in the way they deem most sacred. The ACLU said a change in the law in 1985 further supports that point. Before then, the law was called "Administration of oath upon the Gospels" and stated that someone to be sworn was to lay his or her hand on "the Holy Evangelists of Almighty God." Legislators took out "the Gospels" in the title and changed the language to simply read "Holy Scriptures." The ACLU contends the change signals that legislators were trying to be more inclusive.



Dead sperm donor liable for lesbian child support

A SPERM donor who helped a lesbian couple conceive two children is liable for child support under a state appellate court ruling that a legal expert believes might be the first in the US. A Superior Court panel last week ordered a Dauphin County judge to establish how much Carl Frampton Jr would have to pay to the birth mother of the eight-year-old boy and seven-year-old girl. "I'm unaware of any other state appellate court that has found that a child has, simultaneously, three adults who are financially obligated to the child's support and are also entitled to visitation," New York Law School professor Arthur Leonard, an expert on sexuality and the law, said.

Mr Frampton, 60, of Indiana, Pennsylvania, died suddenly of a stroke in March, leaving lawyers with different theories about how his death might affect the precedent-setting case.

Jodilynn Jacob, 33, and Jennifer Lee Shultz-Jacob, 48, moved in together as a couple in 1996 and were granted a civil-union licence in Vermont in 2002. As well as conceiving the two children with the help of Mr Frampton - a longtime friend of Ms Shultz-Jacob's - Ms Jacob also adopted her brother's two older children, now 12 and 13. But the women's relationship fell apart and Ms Jacob and the children moved out of their Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, home in February 2006. Shortly afterwards, a court awarded her about $1000 a month in support from Ms Shultz-Jacob. Ms Shultz-Jacob later lost an effort to have the court force Mr Frampton to contribute support - a decision the Superior Court overturned on April 30.

Ms Jacob, who now lives in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said Mr Frampton gave some support over the years and gradually took interest in the children. "Part of the decision came down because he was so involved with them," Ms Jacob said today. "It wasn't that he went to the (sperm) bank and that was it. They called him 'Papa'."

In his written opinion requiring Mr Frampton to help pay for the children's support, Superior Court Judge John Kelly Jr noted that Mr Frampton spent thousands of dollars on the children, including toys and clothing. They knew he was their biological father but Mr Frampton opposed the effort to compel support from him.


Australian journalists' sources to be protected

FEDERAL laws protecting journalists' sources will be introduced before this year's election, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock promised yesterday. The announcement of the new shield laws followed the launch of a free speech campaign initiated by News Limited, publisher of The Australian, and unveiled by media bosses in Sydney yesterday.

The unprecedented campaign is aimed at both sides of politics to remove restrictions on free speech. It is backed by Fairfax Media, the ABC, the commercial radio and television industries, SBS, Australian Associated Press and Sky News. More organisations are expected to join the free speech campaign within days, News Ltd chief executive and chairman John Hartigan said. The group will commission an audit of restrictions on the media, produce a green paper on areas that need reform, and will recruit a chairman to lead their lobbying efforts. Mr Hartigan warned that restrictions on free speech meant Australia was "a lightweight democracy" compared with countries such as Canada, New Zealand and Britain. "Two international studies ranked Australia 35th and 39th on a world press freedom index," he said. "We should be up there with other democracies that are way in front of us." Mr Hartigan said the campaign was not intended to target any particular political party as both sides of politics had allowed press freedom to erode.

Mr Ruddock said the commonwealth intended to press ahead with shield laws regardless of whether state governments overcame objections to the commonwealth's scheme. "We will shortly introduce legislation to protect journalists when they are dealing with confidential sources, within certain limits," he said. Mr Ruddock's spokesman said the Government still hoped the states would introduce similar shield laws, but the commonwealth would legislate unilaterally if necessary. "I can promise that the legislation will be introduced. Whether it passes before the election is another matter," Mr Ruddock's spokesman said. Mr Ruddock has been unable to win support for his scheme from all states because of concerns that it may not work unless accompanied by federal protection for public service whistleblowers.

The Attorney-General said free speech was very important but "no freedom is absolute". "Governments and the judiciary have to balance different rights and responsibilities," Mr Ruddock said. He said it was important to protect people's privacy and reputations, as well as national security.

Labor's legal affairs spokesman, Joe Ludwig, said the Government had permitted the development of a culture of concealment and cover-up. The party's platform commits a Labor government to introducing "proper" freedom of information laws and shield laws to protect whistleblowers and journalists' confidential sources. A Labor government would also review federal laws that criminalise the reporting of matters of public interest. [Given the freedom from information policies of many Labor-run State governments, Mr Ludwig would seem to be talking to the wrong people]



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 May, 2007

Just the sight of a chicken can offend in Britain

A playwright has been told he must warn audiences his one-man act features a roast chicken - for fear of offending vegetarians. Doug Devaney, 41, of Roedale Road, Brighton, has toured the city for years with his play Mein Gutt, a black comedy about a man's losing battle against obesity. But the vegetarian Sanctuary Cafe in Hove has told him the show can only go on if the audience is warned beforehand that there is a dead chicken involved.

Mr Devaney said: "I phoned up as a matter of courtesy to let them know I used a chicken as an essential part of the show but they got back to me a few days later to say I would have to give the audience a warning. "I've heard of strobe lighting or nudity being cause for audience concern but never sugar-roasted chicken. "Do people really need that much protecting? I wonder what they do when they walk past the rotisserie at Asda? "I'm happy to do it - I just consider it weird. Will Shakespeareans have to warn theatre-goers about eye-gouging in King Lear from now on? It takes some of the surprise of theatre away and how sensitive are we?"

Sandra McDonagh, who organises events at the Sanctuary Cafe, said: "Essentially we just don't want to cause offence so we want to give out a warning beforehand. "I had to run it past the cafe owners and they asked for a warning in case somebody stands up and says, I wasn't told about this'. "People would definitely assume there was no meat on the premises but it will be nowhere near the kitchen or any food preparation area. "There will always be one person who will be sensitive enough to complain. I have come across staunch vegans in my time who will kick off about most things and it's better to cover yourselves."

The play, which Mr Devaney said was about "the way people change their attitude to you when you become a man of size", will be performed every Friday throughout the Brighton Festival Fringe at 9.15pm in the cellar room.

Source. (H/T Interested Participant)

Hate Crimes Hypocrisy at the ACLU

The ACLU has just jettisoned principle and sacrificed civil liberties on the altar of political correctness in supporting the federal hate-crimes bill. Historically, the ACLU has opposed many federal laws against crime, citing civil-liberties concerns, such as the Constitution's ban on double jeopardy (double jeopardy is when a person is tried twice for essentially the same crime).

The ACLU feared that the creation of federal crimes would give prosecutors two bites of the apple, enabling a federal prosecutor to indict an accused person even after a state court jury has found him not guilty of a similar state crime. (A divided Supreme Court created a gaping loophole in the constitutional protections against double jeopardy, ruling in the Bartkus case that the double-jeopardy protection against being tried twice for the same crime only applies when both prosecutions are brought by the same unit of government, not when the first is by the state and the second is by the federal government). For this reason, the ACLU in the past declined to endorse federal hate crimes laws, recognizing (in its longstanding policy #238a) that such federal laws create the danger of double jeopardy.

Now, however, the ACLU is endorsing a federal bill banning "hate crimes" based on sexual orientation, sex, race, religion, and disability. Apparently, while the ACLU believes that criminals in general should receive every constitutional protection imaginable (and many protections that have no basis in the Constitution: the ACLU opposes the death penalty, "three-strikes" laws, victims' bills of rights, and the building of many new prisons), it believes that those accused of "hate crimes" are not entitled to the constitutional protection against double jeopardy.

As I have explained earlier and elsewhere, portions of this bill exceed Congress's power to regulate under the Commerce Clause, and the Equal Protection Clause, in light of its decision striking down the Violence Against Women Act in United States v. Morrison (2000) and limiting the reach of the federal arson statute in Jones v. United States (2000).

The ACLU has given no reason for its unprincipled about-face on double-jeopardy protections. But ACLU leader Paul Hoffman gave a possible explanation years ago in urging the ACLU to create a "civil rights exception" that would deny double-jeopardy protections to people accused of hate crimes. Writing in the 1994 edition of the UCLA Law Review, Hoffman argued that constitutional protections against double jeopardy should be overridden in hate crimes cases, because society has a "compelling societal interest" in preventing hate crimes (by contrast, Hoffman apparently saw no compelling interest in preventing non-hate crimes, even murders).

The ACLU's about-face on double jeopardy is similar to its prior about-face on free speech, which it now regularly attacks. As I have noted earlier, the ACLU once took free speech to an unbounded extreme. It sued the owners of the Alpine Village Inn for not allowing neo-Nazis to display swastikas in their restaurant, and sued a private shopping mall in Connecticut for not letting the Klan proselytize on its property.

By contrast, today's ACLU seeks to use government power to silence "hate speech." In the Aguilar v. Avis Rent-A-Car System case, the ACLU argued that racial slurs are not speech, but just "verbal conduct." In that case, it helped convince a divided California Supreme Court, in a 4-to-3 ruling, to uphold an injunction banning any use of racial slurs in a private workplace, based on racial insults that the trial judge himself conceded had stopped years earlier. In another case, it argued that the Establishment Clause limits the free speech rights of purely private employers.


Court ruling does support incest, polygamy

Time admits critics of 'gay' rights decision were right

When the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Texas prohibition on homosexual sodomy, leaders including then-Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., warned the decision would be used in support of incest, adultery and polygamy. While Santorum got "holy hell" for his prediction, a media leader of no less influence than Time magazine now admits that he was right.

"It turns out the critics were right," the magazine said in a recent article addressing the use of the precedent in a series of other cases. "Plaintiffs have made the decision the centerpiece of attempts to defeat state bans on the sale of sex toys in Alabama, polygamy in Utah and adoptions by gay couples in Florida." Also, in Ohio, a man's conviction of incest for having sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter also is being challenged based on the Lawrence vs. Texas decision, the magazine said.

Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby noted that just one of the warnings about the Texas ruling, which essentially struck down all state laws in the nation banning homosexual sodomy, came from Santorum. "If the Supreme Court says you have the right to consensual sex within your home," Santorum said at the time, "then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

As Jacoby noted, Santorum was given "holy hell" and handed "nail-spitting" by some critics. "When the justices, voting 6-3, did in fact declare it unconstitutional for any state to punish consensual gay sex, the dissenters echoed Santorum's point. 'State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are . called into question by today's decision,' Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the minority," Jacoby wrote.

Writing for the majority, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said the Texas law "demeans" the lives of homosexuals. "The state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime," Kennedy wrote. At the time of the 2003 decision, Time, in its "A Yea for Gays," said, "Lawrence v. Texas turns an issue that states have historically decided for themselves into a basic constitutional tenet." "The decision was not, strictly speaking, a 'liberal' one," the magazine said then, noting, "Thus the activists' notion that gay marriage is an inevitable outcome of the ruling may be little more than wishful thinking."

The magazine also at that time questioned whether there even was a "culture war" that would involve moral issues. "It is clear . that the court has taken sides in the culture war,' Justice Antonin Scalia wrote last week in his abrasive dissent from the Supreme Court's decision to decriminalize homosexuality. Excuse me, but what culture War?" the magazine wrote. "Most Americans aren't extremists, and they are not at war. The lovely paradox of 21st century America is that we seem to be increasingly united by the celebration of our differences. That is what the Supreme Court acknowledged in its decisions on homosexuality and affirmative action last week," the magazine wrote then.

But with same-sex marriage now on the books in Massachusetts, and pending in several other states, the magazine's position has changed. "Now, Time magazine acknowledges: 'It turns out the critics were right.' Time's attention, like the BBC's, has been caught by the legal battles underway to decriminalize incest between consenting adults," Jacoby wrote.

"In Lawrence, the court had ruled that people 'are entitled to respect for their private lives' and that under the 14th Amendment, 'the state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime.' If that was true for the adult homosexual behavior in Lawrence, why not for the adult incestuous behavior in the [new] case?" Jacoby wrote.

Time, in its article, "Should Incest Be Legal," noted that so far most of the challenges have been unsuccessful. "But plaintiffs are still trying, even using Lawrence to challenge laws against incest." Jacoby noted he'd reported several years ago on an incest case, in which the brother and sister involved were prosecuted. "But the next [case] to come along, or the one after that, may not lose. In Lawrence, it is worth remembering, the Supreme Court didn't just invalidate all state laws making homosexual sodomy a crime. It also overruled its own decision just 17 years earlier (Bowers v. Hardwick, 1986) upholding such laws," Jacoby wrote. "If the court meant what it said in Lawrence - that states are barred from 'making . private sexual conduct a crime' - it will not take that long for laws criminalizing incest to go by the board as well."

In an analysis after the Lawrence decision was announced, Santorum said what he feared had happened. "What I feared the Court would do in Lawrence in striking down the Texas sodomy statute is finally and completely eliminate marriage as a privileged institution in our laws and simply expand the zone of privacy in sexual conduct to all consenting adults. That is exactly what they did: Marriage has now completely lost its special place in the law. The Court said in effect that marriage has not only outlived its legal usefulness, it said it is discriminatory to treat people differently based on such an outdated social construct. Therefore, over the past generation, it has decided to change the zone of sexual 'privacy' from one man and one woman in marriage to consenting adults, period. . If consent is now the only standard to have your sexual behavior protected by the Constitution, then how can the Court prohibit any consensual sexual behavior among two, three, or more people? The answer is logically, judicially, that you cannot - for other than arbitrary reasons," he wrote.



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 May, 2007

The destructiveness of the race "card"

Sometimes, when seeking justice, a news conference, an elevated voice and questions relating to racial inequality are vital tools to get results. Using these tactics, the Sacramento branch of the NAACP was an indispensable public servant in the effort to shed more light on abuses at Sacramento's Main Jail. But sometimes justice requires discretion. Sometimes the best way to help people is to shield them from the lights instead of joining them on stage.

Those thoughts came to mind last week in the wake of a controversy at Goethe Middle School, where a science teacher and a 14-year-old boy were embroiled in an ugly he-said/he-said. It made national news: The student urinated in a Gatorade bottle in class, said he had to because the teacher wouldn't let him go to the bathroom. The teacher denied it. The boy was African American; the teacher was not.

The child's family approached the local NAACP, whose leaders were quick to publicly excoriate the teacher, asking that he be fired and have his credential taken away. And what was the outcome? Was justice secured? Were the best interests of a 14-year-old really served? We may never know. Last week, the district backed the teacher, cleared him of wrongdoing. Meanwhile, the story petered out, the media moved on, but the damage was done. To the teacher, the student, the media, the reputation of the NAACP and the cause of racial equality -- which is more subtle and daunting than ever....

Which brings us back to Goethe Middle School and the notion of picking your battles and choosing your weapons of equality more carefully. It's critical because the stakes are so high. Because if you're going to focus that kind of attention on a complex issue, you have the obligation to be right. If you're not, you foster a sense of cynicism in people who would like to support you. You give the bigots a chance to deny anything is wrong. People stop listening and they need to listen.

Is this an indictment of the local NAACP? No way. Leaders such as Reggie Fair and Rory Kaufman seem sincere. But it's also clear that while there may be deeper issues needing attention at Goethe, a dispute between a teacher and student is a dubious way to attack them. Because we may never know what happened here. We may have nothing more than a student and teacher who simply didn't get along and whose interests would have been better served behind closed doors. Do you feel more enlightened by the coverage of this issue? I don't, and I don't know who to believe. The only emotion here is regret -- for the teacher, the student and for the enduring cause of equality.


Department of Euphemism Abatement

Here is an idea I offer gratis and for nothing to all those socialistically-inclined politicians looking for novel ways to tax people. What I have in mind is a tax on the public utterance of politically correct euphemism. Why not? Great Britain used to tax windows, for heavens sake. Why not euphemism? Like the tax on tobacco, this tax would have the triple advantage that modern bureaucrats look for in their efforts to expropriate your property: it would 1. fill the government's coffers; 2. deprive people of more of their hard-earned dollars, thus increasing their dependence on the state; and 3. reinforce everyone's sense of self-righteousness--though in distinction to the tax on tobacco, a tax on politically correct euphemism would conduce only to one's practice of truthfulness, one's mental as distinct from one's physical well being.

I had this splendid idea when reading a story in today's Australian newspaper about French preparations for riots in case Nicholas Sarkozy should, as almost every poll predicts, win the French presidency. Let me put my cards on the table and say that I very much hope Sarkozy does win. He would be the first non-anti-American French president in my memory. He also, unlike his rivals, seems to have some appreciation for political and social reality. Would his victory spark riots? Maybe. Everyone knows that one of the most popular French recreations is striking. The French government contemplates raising tuition for college by 3 euros a semester: Outrage! Everyone strikes. A scheme is floated to allow people to work more than 35 hours per week: Incroyable! Everyone strikes. Someone suggests that something must be done to fix the welfare system before it completely implodes: Can you believe it?! Everyone strikes. Striking has been a national pastime in France for decades. A relatively new innovation, however, is the widespread tendency to riot, accompanied by car burning. Two years ago, readers will remember, riots, avec car burning, erupted in many parts of France after a couple of Muslim teenagers were accidentally electrocuted. Theodore Dalrymple, writing in The New Criterion, set the scene:

"Two young criminals, who with others were interrupted by the police while attempting to break into a warehouse, thought they were being chased by the police (whether they actually were being chased has yet to be established) and took refuge in an electricity transformer, the modern equivalent of medieval sanctuary. To gain access to the transformer, they had to climb over two walls replete with warnings of danger. There, they were electrocuted to death.
(Read the whole thing here--registration may be required.) Result: thousands upon thousands of toasted Renaults. But I digress. Here's what caught my eye in the Australian:

Fears of a repeat of the rioting that swept France two years ago intensified as the final opinion polls pointed to an overwhelming victory for Sarkozy. A crowd of up to 40,000 Sarkozy supporters was expected on the Champs Elys,es in central Paris to celebrate the result. Police believe that gangs of youths from the suburbs might confront them.

Sarkozy has promised a "fraternal" republic but said last week that he did not regret having described young delinquents as "scum" in 2005 in remarks widely believed to have ignited the rioting.

There are two phrases worthy of note. The first is "gangs of youths," by which, of course, the paper (perhaps quoting the French police) means gangs composed mostly of radical Muslim teenagers and young adults, aided and abetted by other radicalized elements. But "gangs of youths" is so much more pleasingly non-specific: it doesn't put the onus on any particular "youths"--that might be discriminatory--and it allows one to sound hard-headed and realistic ("We've got theses gangs of youths threatening us, Mabel!") while actually avoiding facing up to the realities of the situation altogether. Humphrey in Yes, Prime Minister couldn't have devised a more anodyne phrase.

The other phrase worth noting moves in the opposite direction on the spectrum of candor: I mean Sarkozy's description of the car-burning miscreants as "scum"-- impolitic, possibly, but definitely le mot juste. And this leads me to the second and final part of my proposal for the commonweal. Just as The Australian (and the French police, if they originated the phrase) should be taxed for describing Muslim thugs as "youths," so Mr. Sarkozy should be rewarded somehow for having the courage to call things by their right name. I admit that administering the system would be complex, but after all the French invented the word bureaucracy: I am sure that a new government Department of Euphemism Abatement would be able to rise to the challenge. And what a service for the rest of Europe--the rest of the Western world--they would perform by acting to curb euphemism while also encouraging candor!

Update: A savvy friend proposes this excellent addendum (the best, or at least most gratifying, sentence is the last):

Actually, we could take it a step further by borrowing a concept from the global warmers, who propose a cap and trade system for using carbon dioxide emissions. If you want to use a portion under your allotted cap, you can sell it to someone else. Under this regime, we could have a cap and trade system on politically correct utterances. The government could allocate a sum of such utterances, and CBS could sell some of its unused portion to Rush Limbaugh, etc, or even to Don Imus. Al Sharpton might even get an allocation either to use or to sell. There could be a commission appointed which decides who gets how much of what, and what constitutes a politically incorrect utterance. After a time, we might reverse it and do the same about pious pronouncements concerning equality so that the person who says that a cheese pizza is as good as Shakespeare would have to buy an allotment of such utterances from those who would rather die than say something so politically correct as that. Under such a regime, of course, colleges and universities would have to allocate a large share of their endowments to underwrite the writings and teachings of their faculty members.


Biased EU court is pro-homosexual

Polish President Lech Kaczynski has been found guilty of violating the European Convention on Human Rights in a ruling released today by the European Court of Human Rights. Kaczynski was found to have violated the Convention for having banned a homosexual activist 'Gay Pride' demonstration in 2005 as the then-Mayor of Warsaw. A press release by the court noted that in the case known as Baczkowski and Others v. Poland (application no. 1543/06), the court ruled unanimously that there had been:

* a violation of Article 11 (freedom of association and assembly) of the European Convention on Human Rights;

* a violation of Article 13 (right to an effective remedy) of the Convention; and

* a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination).

The case was launched by the homosexual activist group Foundation for Equality. The ruling was made by seven judges including Judge Lech Garlicki from Poland. Either party may appeal the ruling to another hearing of the full court of 17 judges.

The Court release noted that "it attached particular importance to pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness."

Pro-family observers however scoff at the Court's vision of broadmindedness since in the last few years, the court's rulings have demonstrated a hostile closedmindedness towards those holding traditional life and family values.

* In March of this year, the same court ordered Poland to compensate a mother who was denied abortion.

* The court also denied an application from two cohabiting sisters to receive tax benefits granted to homosexual couples

* In 2002, the court forced the UK to recognize a man who had had a sex change as a woman and to permit him to marry another man.

* Last year the court ruled states may deny parents the right to home school their children


Government cannot be the parent

Restrict violence on television?

Television shows have gotten so violent and sexually oriented that the FCC recommends banishing some programming to the after-9 p.m. time slot. But what about the crime stories on the 6 p.m. local news? In an April 25 report, the Federal Communications Commission said exposure to violence in the media can increase aggressive behavior in children; at least, in the short term. The FCC suggested possibly restricting "excessively" violent TV content to hours when children aren't likely to be watching. The FCC also suggests that customers be able to "opt in" or be able to receive - and pay for - only that programming that they are comfortable bringing into their homes.

"We recognize that violent content is a protected form of speech under the First Amendment, but note that the government interests at stake, such as protecting children from excessively violent television programming, are similar to those which have been found to justify other content-based regulations,'' the commission said.

While various surveys, such as a 2004 Kaiser Family Foundation report, show a majority of parents say they are very concerned about the amount of sex and violence their children are exposed to on TV, free speech is a paramount concern and should not be sacrificed by telling programmers when they can and can't run certain shows.

Should newscasts showing violence taking place in the Iraq war not be shown until after prime time? Where will the line be drawn? "It's a difficult issue because the social studies on whether minors' exposure to violence has harmful effects are unsettled,'' said David Hudson, an attorney and scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville. "The federal courts have been unreceptive to extending obscenity-type regulations of sex to violence.''

In a 1975 report, the FCC told Congress that violence was unlike obscenity because of the totally different statutory framework involved. It said that, in the absence of any prohibitions on violence in programming, "industry self-regulation" was preferred. This should still hold true today. In its April 25 report, the FCC said that, in addition to time channeling, another possible means of protecting children from violent TV content is to strengthen blocking technology, particularly the "V-chip" system. "However, out of a total universe of 280 million sets in U.S. households, only about 119 million sets in use today, or less than half, are equipped with V-chips,'' the report said.

Surely, programmers cannot be blamed for that fact. In this matter, parents also must play a role in what their children watch. As FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate of Nashville said in her statement on the report: "We parents must take responsibility for the media that is viewed inside our homes, but also must be active in changing the media landscape outside our homes. "I encourage all parents to let your local TV station know when something you find inappropriate is aired, and be sure to notify your representative in Congress. If enough parents speak out, perhaps ... we will actually see an increase in the amount of family-friendly, uplifting and nonviolent programming being produced.'' The issue needs a family-oriented - and family-initiated - approach. The matter should be driven by decisions in the home, not in the highest seats of government.



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 May, 2007

Meehan Grassroots Bill Will Leave Lobbyists, Lawyers Laughing All The Way to the Bank

Says GrassrootsFreedom.com -- press release below:

The following is a statement by GrassrootsFreedom.com and Mark Fitzgibbons regarding grassroots legislation, H.R. 2093, recently introduced to be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives as part of lobbying reform:

"H.R. 2093, the grassroots lobbying bill introduced by Congressman Marty Meehan should be called the `Special Interest and Lobbyist Cloaking Act of 2007,' or SILC.

"The Meehan bill is actually designed to give wealthy special interests a leg up on financing grassroots communications to the general public, yet violates five First Amendment rights (speech, press, association, petitioning and religion) of genuine citizen activists. Helps lobbyists, hurts citizens. Where have we heard that before?

"Insider lobbyists who apparently wrote this bill for Congressman Meehan have used various misrepresentations to deceive the public and Congress to bite for this legislation. Among their many misrepresentations is that this would close the last Jack Abramoff "loophole." It does no such thing, as I explain in my May 3 letter to the House Judiciary Committee, posted at GrassrootsFreedom.com. In fact, the Meehan bill is so favorable to Washington insiders that it could have been written by Jack Abramoff himself.

"This bill will harm populist, citizen-critics of Congress, the White House and other power centers in Washington, yet will allow billionaires such as George Soros, corporations, labor unions and wealthy organizations that actually lobby to continue to spend unlimited, undisclosed and sometimes tax-deductible sums of money on grassroots policy communications.

"The word `hypocrisy' is insufficient to describe how this bill, promoted as `sunlight,' was written by or `leaked' to favored Washington insiders, including lawyers for Mr. Meehan himself, yet withheld from grassroots opponents until the last minute. If Members of Congress or their staff were complicit in a fraud on the public and an attempt to violate the Constitution, then Speaker Pelosi must initiate an investigation.

"The Meehan bill will leave lobbyists and lawyers for big special interests laughing all the way to the bank. This is exactly the type of business-as-usual Speaker Pelosi pledged she would end. Washington insiders are trying to silence grassroots critics so they can keep Washington as their own little playground and money machine."

Hate all those haters

I want Randy Newman prosecuted for a hate crime. Seriously, if our elected cockroaches are insisting on the expansion of our existing hate crimes laws I think Randy Newman should pay for his song, "Short People" from the Little Criminals album. Granted, that was over twenty years ago, but, get this:

In that song he clearly says that short people have no reason to live, that they've stubby little fingers and dirty little minds, that they've got tiny voices going peep peep peep and little cars that go beep beep beep, and that - now get this - they wear platform shoes on their nasty little feet.

Hatemonger. Lock him up. Make the law retroactive. I firmly believe that because of that song short people are discriminated against by a vast silent conspiracy of haters and because of that they can't....they can't, uh....well, I'm sure that they can't do something because of it and besides, just saying the words should be enough to get you in trouble whether actual harm can be shown or not. There oughtta be a law. So let's make one. Let's get the government even MORE involved in our lives.

And while we're in the business of expanding our hate crimes laws, let's do this right. Let's cover all the stuff that should be covered.

Hate your ex-wife or ex-husband? Well, if you say it out loud you should go to jail. Hate is just so....ugly. It just doesn't fit into our politically correct version of How The World Should Be. Ever referred to your heartless landlord as a fat bastard? Now that's truly insensitive and should constitute a hate crime because we all know that the obese, through no fault of their own, are gravity disadvantaged. You hate the obese, don't you? Hater. Prosecution for you, Hitler.

What about all those poor people who hate the rich? Or vice versa? I say put them in a cell together and teach them to love each other. Or eat each other. Whatever. And what about the gays who hate the straights and refer to us as "breeders?" I'm offended. That's hate speech. They should go to Big Gay Al's Big Gay Jail for that. Fascists. That knife should cut both ways. Say something bad about gays = hate crime. Say derogatory things about straights = ditto. Jail. Period.

The list goes on and on. There is just so much hatred out there and so little time to prosecute it all. It doesn't really matter if we can't show that actual harm was done. Just the act of offending someone should be enough to constitute hate speech.

So, why don't we all join hands and sing Kumbaya and never, ever voice our personal opinions about other human beings and their behavior again? Because if the politically correct left has its way that may be all we're allowed to do. We are slowly losing our right to free expression, our right to be observant, and our right to just plain be angry about something and spout off about it. Unless, of course, you spout off from the left side of the fence. Then it's okay.

The end result of all this hate crime hysteria is that it gives the government even more right to stick their noses into our everyday business. Don't you hate it when that happens?


Querying the Homintern

By Justin Raimondo -- for younger readers, the reference is to the Comintern -- the old Communist International

The idea that gay people are an oppressed minority would be laughable if so many otherwise intelligent people didn't take it so seriously. Just look at what happened to Tim Hardaway, when, during an interview, he said "I hate gay people." The iron fist of political correctness wasn't long in coming down, full force, on his head. The former Miami Heat star was banned from the Las Vegas all-star game, and forced to recant: no doubt he'll have to attend a reeducation class. Not only that, but he'll have this "hate crime" to live down for a long time to come.

I wonder what would happen if the sneaker was on the other foot: imagine if, say, newly-"out" NBA player John Amaechi declared "I hate straights." What would happen to him is . nothing! He sure wouldn't be forced to apologize, and he wouldn't be demonized, as Hardaway was: everyone would say, "Oh, the poor guy - see what `homophobia' has done to him!"

In Europe, it is against the law to say what Hardaway - in a moment of honesty - said. Asked about Amaechi, he averred: "First of all I wouldn't want him on my team. Second of all, if he was on my team I would really distance myself from him because I don't think that's right and I don't think he should be in the locker room when we're in the locker room."

Like most straight guys, Hardaway thinks gay men -all gays, everywhere-are just waiting for the chance to see him in the altogether. They all want him. And that makes him uncomfortable. This is what it boils down to: a barbaric conceit and crudeness typical of his milieu-but he should at least be allowed to express it.

The lesson of this whole episode isn't that gays are in an especially bad position. Quite the contrary: it underscores their social power, i.e. their ability to make their avowed enemies suffer. Just as they made the state of Colorado suffer when voters there rejected legislation outlawing discrimination against homosexuals in housing and employment. Colorado was boycotted, for years, and dubbed "the hate state." And for what?

Anti-discrimination ordinances attempting to legislate "tolerance" for homosexuals are about as effective as the 1964 Civil Rights Act was in eliminating racism - i.e. not at all. To begin with, there is no way to know when "discrimination" is occurring - did that real estate company not rent to you because you're gay, or is it because there was something in your financial record that made them think twice about it? Did you fail to get that job because you were wearing too much Armani - or because you're just not qualified to be a sheet metal worker? All this legislation, whether it applies to gays, blacks, or Estonians, assumes that everyone has perfect knowledge of everyone else's motives and innermost thoughts: to these arbiters of socio-sexual equality, we are all mind-readers. The problem is, we aren't mind-readers, and a lot of what passes for "discrimination" is nothing of the sort.

Another problem with this legislative "remedy" for the problem of "homophobia" is that it is a double-edged sword: it forbids gays from discriminating against heterosexuals. Thus, a homo homeowner who wants to keep his or her neighbor a pinkish shade of lavender is forbidden - officially - from selling only to one of his gay brothers or sisters (although everybody knows this happens all the time). Likewise, a lesbian nightclub is obliged to serve a bunch of heterosexual male sailors out to paint the town red - until, of course, they try to pick up the girlfriend of the butchest dyke in the joint, and it comes down to fisticuffs, flying furniture, and a visit from the fuzz.

A classic justification for "civil rights" legislation in the area of housing and employment has been the claim that certain groups are automatically, and through no fault of their own, put at an economic disadvantage by "discrimination" (i.e. the free choices of employers and/or landlords). Government, goes the reasoning, must therefore have a hand in "leveling the playing field."

I won't go into the arguments against this here, but will instead content myself with pointing out the obvious: homosexuals hardly qualify as an economically disadvantaged class. Lesbians and gay men have demonstrably higher incomes than heterosexuals, who are burdened, at least some of them, with the costs of raising children. With more disposable income, a higher level of education, and ubiquity in the arts, academia, and the professions, gays constitute an elite class that has nothing to complain about when it comes to the bottom line. In terms of homo economics, gays have a lot to be gay about. Of course, it's only in the West, where capitalism and the (relatively) free market prevail, that a gay subculture has been allowed to develop - again, due entirely to the elite status of gays relative to the rest of the population.

Yet some people are just so hard to please, and gay political leaders have chosen to affect a stance of perpetual dismay; like a nagging wife, they're never satisfied. Now they are demanding the "right" to get married. I emphasize that it's the leaders, and the political activists, who are making 99 percent of the noise around this issue. The overwhelming majority of gay men - like all men, of all types and "orientations" - have no desire to get hitched. What they want is an endless series of sexual encounters, preferably with a different partner each time - although a few repeats might be merited - for as long as they can keep it up (so to speak).

This whole "gay marriage" business is a conspiracy to make homosexuality just as boring as the most conventional vision of heterosexuality: the husband/boyfriend, the jointly-owned San Francisco Victorian, the matched set of poodles, and - inevitably - the sordid little affairs and one-night stands, artfully concealed. Gay political leaders really believe they can do a makeover of their constituency, and convince Middle America that most gays live an idealized vision of domestic bliss. Gays, they aver, are just like everyone else.

The irony of all this is that domestication of the gay male could conceivably lead to his near-extinction. After all, it is the sexual freedom his homosexuality makes available to him that makes the lifestyle so attractive, at least to the young. As a recruiting device, the supposed appeal of gay married bliss is no match for the allure of rampant sexuality. Once they have managed to make homosexuality boring, bourgeois, and banal, gay leaders will likely find themselves with a considerably reduced constituency. Why oh why do some gay men want to ruin it for the rest of us? Think of it: endless sex-without responsibility. What red-blooded male would want to give that up - and for what?

I'll tell you for what: the advent of gay marriage will see the rise of a truly ugly phenomenon - gay divorce. Watch out world - you don't know what kind of genie you're letting out of the bottle! How many aging gay guys will be trapped by money-hungry twinks? Why, the little gold-diggers will have a veritable field day! Which means that if gays of a certain age weren't economically disadvantaged before they got their "civil rights," then they'll certainly be in the poorhouse by the time the gay rights activists enshrine gay marriage as a legally-recognized institution.


IMA Slams British Doctors' Boycott Call

The Israel Medical Association rejected a call for a boycott of the Israel Medical Association by 130 British physicians and its expulsion from the World Medical Association, which is an umbrella organization of national medical associations that, ironically, is headed by IMA chairman Dr. Yoram Blachar.

The doctors, led by Prof. Colin Green, a surgeon at University College London, and Dr. Derek Summerfield, who has consistently attacked Israel in the British Medical Journal, claimed in a letter to The Guardian newspaper: "The IMA has forfeited its right to membership of the international medical community. [It] has a duty to protest about war crimes... but has refused to do so. Appeals to the World Medical Association and the British Medical Association have also been rebuffed," they said.

The move followed a call by 18 Palestinian health organizations that appealed to fellow professionals abroad in March to recognize that the IMA "has forfeited its right to membership of the international medical community."

The British doctors expressed "grave concern" about the health-related impact of Israeli policy on Palestinian society. "Persistent violations of medical ethics have accompanied Israel's occupation. The Israeli Defense Forces has systematically flouted the fourth Geneva Convention guaranteeing a civilian population unfettered access to medical services," they said.

They claimed that instead of being given immunity, medical staff had been killed, with hundreds of ambulances fired upon by Israeli troops, and said the passage of essential medicines like anti-cancer drugs and kidney dialysis fluids were blocked.

IMA chairman Blachar rejected all the claims, saying that his association does not serve as an arm of the government. "This is yet another in the series of fantasies in which Mr. Derek Summerfield lives," he said. He noted that dozens of Palestinian ambulances have transported explosives into Israel and that only some of them were caught in time. The IMA, Blachar continued, has always acted to ensure health services to civilians in the territories, and a document prepared by the IMA with legal experts reformulated ethical guidelines for treating civilian populations in areas of confrontation and was adopted as mandatory by the WMA.

The IMA suggested that the Palestinian Medical Association sign a joint declaration based on the document, said Blachar, but it refused.

Whenever it receives a report from Israel Physicians for Human Rights or other organizations, he continued, the IMA takes action in every case in which the right to medical treatment has allegedly been violated. Blachar added that the Palestinian Authority refused to accept from Israel drugs and dialysis solutions that it was ready to transfer.



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 May, 2007

British bombers more Leftist than Islamic

`This grandson of a British Army Colonel loved Man Utd and fish'n'chips and dreamed of playing cricket for England. He could have picked any career.. HE CHOSE TERROR.' So says the British tabloid the Sun about Omar Khyam, the middle-class leader of the fertiliser bomb plotters from Crawley in Sussex, England who were found guilty this week of conspiring to bomb targets in the UK. Just as in the wake of 7/7, political commentators are struck by how British the plotters seem: one dreamt of overnight celebrity and becoming a male model; another loved greyhound racing. Many are now wondering out loud how these men, who seem `as British as Tizer, and queues, and Y-fronts and the Changing of the Guard', came to be warped by a killer foreign ideology.

The search for a foreign explanation for the plotters' antics misses the point about `homegrown terrorism'. Since 7/7, when three British-born Pakistanis from Leeds and their friend from Huddersfield killed themselves and 52 others on Tube trains and a bus, British society has woken up to the fact that terrorism is very often `homegrown'. But there's still too much emphasis on looking for a foreign catalyst for the twisting of Our Boys' minds. The finger of blame is pointed at wacky Islamic sects like al-Muhajiroun or Pakistani `Mr Bigs' who are said to have transformed chip-eating, cricket-playing young men from Leeds or Crawley into wannabe killers. In fact, homegrown terrorists often seem to have been shaped by trends and outlooks that are homegrown, too. Consider the Crawley plotters: they harboured prejudices that were very British indeed.

The plotters talked about attacking British civilians - and their choice of civilians is striking. They discussed blowing up nightclubs and the Bluewater shopping centre [a sort of British Wal-Mart] in Kent. They also floated the possibility of poisoning beer and burgers and selling them to unwitting football fans and setting up a bogus takeaway service which would sell poisoned food. One plotter, Jawad Akbar, suggested the gang should target the Ministry of Sound in London, one of Britain's biggest nightclubs, as `no one can turn round and say "oh they were innocent", those slags dancing around'. Another, Waheed Mahmood, preferred the idea of getting a job as a beer vendor at a football ground. `You just put poison in a syringe, injecting it in a can.[or] you could stand on street corners selling poison burgers and then just leave the area.'

The plotters would not have had to listen to a sermon by some bearded crank or travel to Pakistan to arrive at the conclusion that `slags' and football fans and big mall shoppers in Britain are somehow lesser people. It has become de rigueur recently, particularly among the chattering classes, to slate sections of the British working classes for their binge-drinking and generally bad behaviour. Officials fret over the sight of young girls in mini-skirts falling down drunk (that's `slags' to some people) while TV documentaries and newspaper articles expose the apparently seedy and violent life of `football hooligans'. For some, Bluewater has in recent years come to symbolise all that is vacant and violent about suburban Britain. When it opened a Bishop described it disparagingly as a `Temple of Consumerism'. In 2005, Bluewater became a testing ground for zero tolerance policies against anti-social behaviour when its managers, encouraged by MPs, banned the wearing of hooded tops and baseball caps and even swearing as part of a `crackdown on unacceptable behaviour'

For those who consider consumerism to be the great evil of our age - from those headline-hogging anti-Tesco campaigners to the green-leaning Buy Nothing brigade - Bluewater is pretty much the seventh circle of hell. An online publication that keeps track of `Chav Towns' describes Bluewater as being full of `Burberry-clad hordes', `the most chav-infested place on the face of the Earth': `It is not unlike the mall in the original Dawn of the Dead with chavs instead of zombies shuffling aimlessly around, making inhuman noises, looking for trainers and hoop earrings rather than human flesh.' (4) The image of shoppers as zombies is a common one these days. The Crawley plotters - one of whom was so keen to bomb Bluewater that on one occasion he said `let's do it tomorrow' - would not have had to look far for the idea that Bluewater and its inhabitants are deserving of punishment.

If you listen to radical Islamists - from those who deliver half-baked sermons in the backrooms of mosques to those who actually become, or try to become, terrorists - you'll notice that they often seem most outraged by hedonism and consumerism, those twin pillars of our apparently `decadent society' (5). In this, at least, they have much in common with mainstream thinkers and commentators. From radical Islamists to moderate Muslim groups to Tory commentators to New Labour ministers: there seems a curious consensus that sections of British society are greedy and badly behaved and in need of some sort of corrective education, or possibly even punishment.

The Muslim Council of Britain says many Muslims are concerned by a culture `which often seems to justify instant gratification, such as binge-drinking and promiscuity'. The New Labour government shares this concern. It has made tackling binge-drinking and promiscuity the main plank of its youth policy, bringing in tougher policing of town centres on Saturday nights and launching various propaganda poster campaigners warning teens of the dangers of sleeping around. In 2005, a group of six Tory MPs wrote a letter to the Spectator in which they said that Muslim clerics who describe Britain as decadent are `right': `Whether it is lawlessness, family breakdown, the menace of drugs, binge-drinking, teenage pregnancies or merely the coarse brutishness which has infested British culture.the results of years of woolly-minded liberal thinking are plain to see.' It seems there is a fine line these days between a ranting Muslim cleric and a Daily Mail-reading concerned Conservative.

The Crawley plotters may have learned bomb-making skills in Pakistan; but it was here in Britain that they would have been surrounded by messages about how uncaring and out-of-control British people have become. Should these plotters, and other homegrown terrorists who have expressed disdain for Britain's drug culture and its inhabitants' unhealthy lifestyles, be considered the extreme wing of today's obsession with anti-social behaviour? Where the government pursues the `politics of behaviour', seeking to change the way we live and think and even eat, perhaps the Crawley group's foiled plot could be considered the `terrorism of behaviour' - a planned scream of bloody rage against decadent, binge-drinking, slaggish British society, a kind of `Anti-Social Behaviour Outrage' designed to punish a feckless and stuff-obsessed population.

Many now ask how these men could have hated people so much that they planned to blow up nightclubs and shopping centres. It's a very good question. But let's not forget that many others hate those sorts of people, too.


The hate-filled academic accusers are Crying Wolf over the Duke lacrosse disgrace

In an effort to position themselves as the true "victims" of the lacrosse affair, an extremist faction within the Group of 88 has alleged a "concerted" effort or a "conspiracy" targeted against them, characterized chiefly by threatening e-mails or phone calls. Some Group members have received vile anonymous e-mails. (I have as well.) Such e-mails are a terrible side effect of the anonymity the internet can provide.

The Group's claim, however, that others are endorsing violence against them is more than a bit ironic coming from the very same professors who signed an April 6, 2006 statement saying "thank you for not waiting and for making yourselves heard" to protesters who had, among other things, carried banners reading "Castrate" and "Measure for Measure" and who had distributed a vigilante poster around campus.

Moreover, the Group's "evidence" that the e-mails form part of a conspiracy against them has been rather . . . sparse. In Monday's Chronicle, William Chafe made the preposterous claim that "bloggers who targeted the `Group of 88'" had sent threatening e-mails and made threatening phone calls. When asked for evidence to substantiate his allegation-his charge, in effect, that one or more of the dozen or so bloggers who have publicly criticized the Group have engaged in criminal activity-Chafe could supply none.

The Group also has demonstrated what could charitably be termed a flexible conception of what e-mails they receive contain. I learned this first-hand last October, when Group member Alex Rosenberg told the New York Sun that this e-mail accused him of prejudging the case. (He added, "Blogs like yours do little but preach to the converted, and when the converted are largely the selfish rich for whom conservatism is but a rationalization for the maintenance of their unearned advantages, it's really a waste of your time.")

The latest example of creatively interpreting what constitutes "harassing" e-mails comes from the newly elected chairwoman of the Academic Council, Paula ("No to Due Process") McClain. A Free Republic reader sent two emails to McClain. The first asked for comment about the end of the case; the second said that she had been "hoisted on the petard of Political Correctness, racial identity politics, gender determining feminism and what [the writer] coined as `Tawana Brawley Syndrome'."

The reader continued, "Aside from the fact that petty tyrants like you have turned US college campuses into little ivy covered North Koreas, I suspect that you were seeking to appropriate PC bonus points and obtain instant moral authority by championing the cause of the "other" (marginalized black exotic dancer) against racist male chauvinist members of the privileged white elite. A case of cultural Marxist Class warfare that boomeranged. GOD how I love it so!!!!!"

I would not have sent the e-mail above. It had an unfortunate gloating tone. And while McClain might be a caricature of a race/class/gender "diversity" advocate, terming her a cultural Marxist seems oversimplistic. That said, the e-mail contained no threats of any kind. Nor did it use racist or sexist language. Here's how McClain responded:

Your continued messages have now moved into the realm of harassment and I have reported you to your service provider for using abusive and inappropriate language in your email which was sent through their servers.

The ISP must have wondered what she was talking about. Can Chafe and McClain seriously contend that any e-mail criticizing their positions on the lacrosse case is indistinguishable from anonymous, threatening e-mails? Theirs is, to put it mildly, a peculiar strategy.


Refugee craziness: From Haiti to Australia?

As if Australia doesn't already have enough trouble with the high rate of crime and welfare dependancy among Sudanese refugees. And at least the Sudanese were mostly real refugees -- unlike the Haitian economic emigrants

On La Gonave, few people even know where Australia is. But it has become the talk of the Haitian island since Canberra signed a deal with the United States last month to swap refugees. The US and Australian governments agreed to exchange Cuban and Haitian refugees held at the US naval base at Guantanamo in Cuba for refugees detained by Australia on the Pacific island of Nauru. The deal only covers migrants who have been given official refugee status because they have a proven fear of persecution, and was aimed at deterring people-smuggling. Under the agreement, some refugees who had wanted to go to Australia could end up in the United States, and some who had hoped to reach Miami could end up in Sydney.

The pact could spur more Haitians to flee their impoverished and unstable Caribbean homeland in the misguided hope of being resettled in Australia, critics say, increasing the chance of disasters at sea like Friday's, in the Turks and Caicos islands, when dozens of Haitians drowned after their sloop capsized. An exodus may already be happening. The US Coast Guard intercepted or rescued 704 Haitians trying to reach the United States by sea in April, compared to just five in March. That is almost as many in one month as the 769 Haitians the Coast Guard stopped at sea in all of 2006.

On La Gonave, only a few residents say they have a clue where Australia is located on a world map. But many have heard of the Australian-US refugee deal. "I don't know where it is, but they told me Australia is a rich country," said Virginie Saint-Clair, 28. "I think if a Haitian like me gets there, life will be better," said Saint-Clair declining to say whether she was ready to attempt the dangerous sea crossing to Florida.

Many of La Gonave's 110,000 inhabitants have relatives in the United States or have tried to get there themselves over the past two decades. "If I have the possibility I will take my chance," said Jean Leonard, who lives in the La Gonave port of Anse-A-Galets. "We Haitians have the strength to work and we'll make our way wherever on the earth there is life." Ti Lundi, 34, who called himself "Met lanme", meaning "Master of the sea" in Creole, said he had tried to get to the United States before and would now try again. "Maybe it is going to be my last try," he said.

US policy toward Haitian migrants has not changed despite the Australian deal. Few Haitians would likely be entitled to be recognised as official refugees fleeing persecution. The vast majority are simply looking to leave the hemisphere's poorest country for a better life. But Haiti's Minister for Haitians Living Abroad Jean Geneus said that message wasn't getting through. "Those (people) smugglers who organise clandestine trips to the US might be misleading people about this agreement," Geneus said. "The population, which is not really aware of the situation, might be tricked."

Human rights groups have criticised the US-Australian refugee swap. New York-based Human Rights Watch said it amounted to bargaining human lives while Amnesty International said it feared families could end up being separated. Haiti's Fusion for the Social Democrats party regarded the measure as immoral, said spokesman Micha Gaillard. "It is immoral because it is a lure and a trap for people who are led to believe there is a third country solution, when it is not the case," Gaillard said. US embassy officials in Port-au-Prince were not available for comment.


Australia: Muslims seek restraining order on hardline cleric

MUSLIM leaders in Canberra will take out a restraining order against a hardline cleric who is accused of inciting violence and "anti-Western" sentiment among his followers. The move by the Islamic society of ACT to ban Sheik Mohammed Swaiti from Canberra's Abu Bakr Mosque comes after a Muslim leader was bashed by a group of the cleric's supporters.

The council's secretary, Kurt Kennedy, yesterday told The Australian he was set upon by nine men aged in their 20s, including Palestinian-born Sheik Swaiti's son, at the mosque's front entrance last Friday. The bashing followed the council's decision to remove the imam from his position as the mosque's spiritual head. Mr Kennedy had announced Sheik Swaiti would no longer deliver Friday sermons.

Shortly after the announcement Sheik Swaiti stood in front of his worshippers and screamed "I am the imam of the mosque, I will be here until the day I die", Islamic Society of ACT vice-president Mohammed Berjaoui said yesterday. Mr Kennedy, 35, who was pushed and threatened by Sheik Swaiti's followers inside the mosque following his announcement, was beaten up while waiting for a lift home. He was treated for cuts on his face and head at Canberra Hospital. "There was a lot of blood coming out of the cut across my left eye-brow," said Mr Kennedy, who converted to Islam 11 years ago. "What sort of teaching (has Swaiti) been doing to raise young children like this?"

Mr Berjaoui yesterday said his organisation would this week seek a restraining order against Sheik Swaiti, who is being investigated over claims he failed to pay income tax on thousands of dollars he allegedly received from the Saudi Embassy. "We will ban the imam and his followers from coming to the mosque," Mr Berjaoui said. "Our aim is to take out a restraining order, because he's the one who is inciting violence."

The Islamic council's push to replace Sheik Swaiti with a full-time moderate Turkish-born imam, Yahya Atay, came after The Weekend Australian reported last month that Sheik Swaiti praised mujahideen (Muslim holy warriors) in his sermon. A defiant Sheik Swaiti, who works full time at the Australian Tax Office, rejected the council's notice to vacate his office by last Friday, Mr Berjaoui said.

The Pakistani embassy in Canberra backed Sheik Swaiti to stay on as spiritual leader in a letter obtained by The Australian. The council wrote back to the Pakistani embassy advising it against meddling in community affairs. Council president Sabrija Poskovic wrote to Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, urging action against the embassy. Mr Berjaoui accused Sheik Swaiti of preventing Canberra's Muslim community from integrating into the mainstream.

Sheik Swaiti has been spiritual leader at Abu Bakr mosque, which is run by the Islamic Society of ACT, for 13 years. The tax office, which refused to comment on its inquiry into Sheik Swaiti, is investigating allegations that he failed to declare clerical allowances of up to $US30,000 ($36,000) a year, allegedly paid to him by the Saudi Government's Dawah (donations) Office.



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 May, 2007

The Truth of Interracial Rape in the United States

Even white rapists don't fancy black women. Interracial rape is black on white

Like Ahab's search for the Great White Whale, liberals' search for the Great White Defendant is relentless and never-ending. When, in 1988, Tawana Brawley's and Al Sharpton's then year-old spectacular charge that several white men including prosecutor Steven Pagones (whose name Brawley had picked out of a newspaper article) had abducted and raped the 15 year old was shown to be completely false, the Nation said it didn't matter, since the charges expressed the essential nature of white men's treatment of black women in this country. When the Duke University lacrosse players were accused of raping a black stripper last year, liberals everywhere treated the accusation as fact, because, just as with the Nation and Tawana Brawley, the rape charge seemed to the minds of liberals to reflect the true nature of oppressive racial and sexual relations in America.

To see the real truth of the matter, let us take a look at the Department of Justice document Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2005. (Go to the linked document, and under "Victims and Offenders" download the pdf file for 2005.)

In Table 42, entitled "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," we learn that there were 111,590 white victims and 36,620 black victims of rape or sexual assault in 2005. (The number of rapes is not distinguished from those of sexual assaults; it is maddening that sexual assault, an ill-defined category that covers various types of criminal acts ranging from penetration to inappropriate touching, is conflated with the more specific crime of rape.) In the 111,590 cases in which the victim of rape or sexual assault was white, 44.5 percent of the offenders were white, and 33.6 percent of the offenders were black. In the 36,620 cases in which the victim of rape or sexual assault was black, 100 percent of the offenders were black, and 0.0 percent of the offenders were white. The table explains that 0.0 percent means that there were under 10 incidents nationally.

The table does not gives statistics for Hispanic victims and offenders. But the bottom line on interracial white/black and black/white rape is clear: In the United States in 2005, 37,460 white females were sexually assaulted or raped by a black man, while between zero and ten black females were sexually assaulted or raped by a white man. What this means is that every day in the United States, over one hundred white women are raped or sexually assaulted by a black man.

The Department of Justice statistics refer, of course, to verified reports. According to the Wikipedia article on rape, as many as half of all rape charges nationally are determined by police and prosecutors to be false:

Linda Fairstein, former head of the New York County District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit, noted, "There are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen.... It's my job to bring justice to the man who has been falsely accused by a woman who has a grudge against him, just as it's my job to prosecute the real thing."

No wonder there was such absolute belief in the guilt of the Duke students among the leading sectors of liberal America. A drug-addled, half-deranged, promiscuous black stripper accused three young white men of raping her. There are virtually zero rapes of black women by white men in the United States, and half of all rape charges against specific individuals turn out to be false. But in the gnostic, inverted world of liberal demonology, the white students had to be guilty.

Meanwhile, in the real America, week after week, the newspapers report the rapes of white women by black men—though, of course, without ever once using the words, "a white woman was raped by black man." Just last week in the New York Post there was a story about a serial black rapist who invaded women's apartments on Manhattan's Upper West Side; you knew the rapist was black from a police drawing accompanying the story, and you knew the victims were most likely white from the neighborhoods where the attacks occurred. But even when news media's reports of black on white rape make the race of the perpetrator evident (which the media only does in a minority of instances), no explicit reference is ever made to the racial aspect of the case. Each story of black on white rape is reported in isolation, not presented as part of a larger pattern. There is never the slightest mention of the fact that white women in this country are being targeted by black rapists. In the inverted world of liberalism, the phenomenon does not exist.


The self-destructiveness of black racism

Last week in The New York Sun, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow John McWhorter offered a thought-provoking column on contemporary black urban culture. In the piece, McWhorter criticized what he terms the "stop snitching Zeitgeist," which encourages blacks not to report the criminal activity of fellow blacks to the police, as well as the casual use among black youth of the degrading epithets "nigger" and "bitch" as terms of solidarity and friendship. McWhorter is well known for his sharp critiques of black urban culture, and this piece was no exception. But McWhorter's analysis of the roots of this destructive culture, in my opinion, is incomplete.

McWhorter first argues that, "ironically, the eclipse of open racism and segregation" is "one reason black America has reached this point." How so? According to McWhorter, "these days there is more room for acting out" by blacks, because white society no longer oppresses blacks through violence and intimidation, and "all humans like acting out when they can." So, on McWhorter's reading, blacks "act out" because their natural human impulse to do so is no longer being squelched by whites. This explanation is not very persuasive, however, because it fails to address the serious problems caused by such "acting out" in the black community (e.g., crime, illegitimacy, poverty, etc.) that are not experienced to nearly the same degree in non-black communities. If "all humans like acting out when they can," as McWhoter claims, why do such discrepancies exist?

Here, McWhorter blames the Great Society, which he argues "sowed the seeds for a black identity based on being bad." The destructive effects of the welfare state on black Americans (indeed, on all Americans) are well documented. But it is not at all clear that dependency on government, unemployment, and fatherless homes, as bad as they are, necessarily lead to gangbangers, crack cocaine, misogynist rap lyrics, and the like. After all, many European countries have even more expansive welfare states than we do. But, other than in Great Britain, they do not experience the same levels of social pathology that black Americans do. Something more is needed to explain this situation.

That something more, according to McWhorter, is a post-1960s culture that "made the upturned middle finger into an icon of higher awareness." This, surely, is a large part of the problem. The anti-bourgeois agenda of the left-wing activists, who over the past four decades have conducted a "long march" through America's cultural institutions (the media, the schools, the arts, and the entertainment industry), has excused -- even ratified -- many of the harmful behaviors that are increasingly common in our society (e.g., sexual license and infidelity, divorce, illegitimacy, a preference for meaningless pleasure over lasting achievement, and a generally selfish and irresponsible attitude towards life). Again, however, this explanation does not account for the higher incidence of social pathology among black Americans.

Where McWhorter's analysis comes up short, in my opinion, is in failing to acknowledge the obstacles posed by black racial consciousness in a majority white society. Certainly he is aware of the problem. Indeed, he noted in his piece that many of the features of black urban life he criticizes are facets "of a larger phenomenon: a sense among black teens and 20-somethings that being aggressive toward the opposition is the soul of being authentic." Although he does not say so explicitly, "the opposition" to which McWhorter is referring here is white society. The idea that black youths are simply "anti-authoritarian" (to use McWhorter's description) is at best disingenuous. On the contrary, the problem McWhorter points to, but for some reason does not state openly, is that many black Americans are anti-white, and certain behaviors (e.g., refusing to report crimes to the police, who are seen as agents of white society) only make sense when explained in such grossly racial terms.

Hence, I agree with McWhorter that the civil rights reforms of the 1960s created "more room for acting out" by blacks. But the resulting "acting out" -- which has been so destructive for black individuals, families, and communities -- should be understood as being motivated, at least in part, by the animosity that some blacks feel for the institutions and norms of "white society." Unfortunately, since the 1960s, this animosity has been fostered and rationalized and institutionalized through the work of black nationalists and white multiculturalists alike. While such feelings may be understandable from a historical perspective, the social and economic consequences of such feelings have been harmful in the extreme. Consider, for example, the negative attitudes that many black students have towards academic success, which is seen as "acting white." Such attitudes inevitably lead to academic failure. Not coincidentally, black academic achievement has declined since the 1960s. This is a clear example of the self-destructive consequences of black animosity towards "white society."

Without question, being an easily recognizable minority group in a society that mistreated your people for hundreds of years is a truly difficult and unenviable position. But racial separatism is a dead end. Without a sense of fellow feeling among all members of society, without a shared allegiance to the same basic institutions, values, and standards of behavior, a successful multi-ethnic society is not possible. This is what the original civil rights movement was all about. This is the worldview that inspired Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.

Sadly, a different worldview has taken hold among elites in this country, one that emphasizes the intractability of racial and ethnic differences. Perversely, by equating existing American society -- the richest and most powerful society in human history -- with white Americans (usually in a negative light), this worldview encourages black Americans to reject mainstream life, even as more and more opportunities for equal participation become available. Yet the only alternative to "white society" is the very urban culture that McWhorter rightly criticizes. As a result, "being bad" (in McWhorter's words) becomes the essence of being "black." The gangbanger or pimp is seen as more "authentically" black than the storekeeper or engineer. The true irony is that the mentality of white racists today is embraced by white and black "progressives" and their followers. A more self-defeating frame of mind is hard to imagine.

In short, what McWhorter clearly recognizes, but does not openly acknowledge in his column, is that racial consciousness itself has had harmful consequences for the black community in this country. Granted, identifying with and assimiliating into mainstream society may be difficult for black Americans, for a host of reasons. It may even seem unfair to expect them to do so. Ultimately, however, so long as the very conditions necessary for success in life -- getting an education, not having children out of wedlock, staying out of trouble with the law, and so on -- are perceived as "acting white," then the black community will continue to be plagued by the problems that McWhorter decries.



Are we all on the same page when it comes to "racism?" No. Sometimes it is used to imply that one race thinks they are superior to others. Another dictionary definition is discrimination against people of a certain race or races. But in today's world, it means just about anything a court, a group, an action committee, or any other faction wants it to mean in order to denigrate the other party (the one doing the offending, which by the amount of space devoted to it in media, is a full-time occupation of most European-heritage Americans who aren't even thinking about it). What is even more confusing is that when "racist" is an epithet hurled at someone because they are allegedly anti-Islamic, then "Islam" becomes a race rather than a religion. The same is true of people of Mexican origin, although Mexican is a nationality, not a religion and not a race.

If this sounds somewhat confusing, that is because it is. Special interest groups have made sure it's confusing. This isn't the first time I've said that I've never liked a race of people in my life. First, I've never met a whole race of people. Second, I've disliked as many people of the misnamed "white" race as I have of any other, and probably more because I've met more "white" people. However, that statement contains a flaw, because I've never met anyone who is "white" compared to a sheet of white paper or a can of white paint. I've met people of light skin who are of European heritage. But I've also met people who are Mexican who are lighter than some hyphenated Euro-Americans of say, Greek or Romanian ethnicity.

Now, if certain people of Mexican descent and probably nationality come and take over 40 acres of property that I own under the laws of our land, is it "racist" to dislike that act and take action against it? Let's test it not by just the issue, but by another, more modern standard: would I be just as angry if the people who came and grabbed off 40 acres of grazing land to which I own title are Finnish, is that "racist?" If you answer yes to the first and no to the second proposition, you have a big inconsistency and furthermore, a ridiculous answer. Neither you, whoever you are, nor I, are going to like a person or a group of people who come nabbing 40 acres. It just happens to be a way to defeat my objection to yell "racist" if the people belong to one group as opposed to another. It diverts attention away from the real issue, which is the nabbing of 40 acres of my land, to a supposed feeling I have against the nabbers because they have a different ethnic background and are perhaps of a different color. It shifts the crime from them (land-nabbing) to me (racism).

Isn't that a clever way to becloud the issue and shift the crime from the perpetrator to the victim? Of course. That's why it is being used in multiple nations, in numerous cases, for countless reasons, in increasing incidents, all over the Western world. Legal issues such as immigration according to the laws of the land have been made subservient to the supposed attitude of the landowners and citizens toward certain "races" of people, such races being in fact nationalities, religions or various skin colors. Justice peeks from behind that supposed blindfold.

The word "racism" is a ploy being used to effect the redistribution of peoples around the globe. Once people settle in another land in sufficient numbers to have a league of their own for defending their supposed rights above others, they have a hold on that land, its political flavors and its cultural climate. Yet any suggestion that the immigrant peoples be moved back to their homeland is defeated, met with profuse apologies for such racist conduct, and the citizens who are (take your pick) Dutch, British, Belgian, French, Spanish, Italian, or other European nationality, are fined, reprimanded or have to resign their position and take cover elsewhere.

The United States of America is importing people of other races, ethnicities and colors (other than light tan) so that the formerly European, and largely Anglo-Saxon, Irish or Germanic, heritage and homogeneous cultural background of "America" doesn't mean the same thing as it did thirty or forty years ago. There is a cultural dilution occurring, of which the open borders are a large part. And it isn't by accident.

Cultural redistribution will result in the erasure of borders so that this conglomerate of people, now all called American or some hyphenation of it (which is absurd and technically incorrect) will be a geographic region rather than a nationality with distinct laws. The laws of the land are, or will be, superseded by the higher law of the Globalist government, administered by the United Nations or some international court.

And there went the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, habeas corpus, and all the other protections that American citizens over forty years of age recall, even if somewhat vaguely.

This has been a rather cursory explanation of the ploy of "racism" to achieve cultural dilution rather than equity before a court of law or other tribunal. The fact that it exists should be obvious to anyone who is capable of observation.

What I will not do is tag this as being "right" or "wrong" for one reason, and one only: The founders of the United States warned that the price of liberty is eternal vigilance and traditional "Americans" (European heritage, light skin darked in tanning parlors) have been too lazy and taken too much for granted about their land. They have trusted politicians which is ignorance gone to seed. They've let their comfort zones dictate their attitudes about standing up for their country, so if it's lost (and it is) to the multiculturalism agenda of the Global Governance crowd, they have no one to blame but themselves. Hundreds of internet writers and bloggers have warned of what was coming years ago, and to no avail.

Notice also that Asia is not mentioned in this article, and China is (at last glance) in Asia. Yet we have millions of Asians coming into this country very, very quietly, while all the noise comes from the other corner of the house where the argument is over someone's lettuce patch or grape vines.

America as it was is preserved in the films of the 1930's through the 1970's, when the agenda began to surface. And an agenda it is, otherwise we'd still be living under American law and heritage. At least we've gotten rid of one obsolete notion, sauce for the goose is not sauce for the gander.



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 May, 2007

After Imus: No more witch burnings for PC offenses

Don Imus, Bernard McGuirk, Trent Lott, Larry Summers, the Duke lacrosse team, Jimmy the Greek, the kid who yelled "water buffalo" at Penn, Howard Cosell, Jon Stewart, Chief Illiniwek, Jackie Mason and "South Park" all have in common only one thing: They have not been Politically Correct. Some were brought down by it, and some have made a living from it. Today, there are people who even say that the satire on shows such as "South Park" or the "Daily Show" have made political correctness a harmless amusement. We have become so cool that we can simultaneously abide PC's merciless strictures against saying the wrong things about the right people even as we laugh at our subjugation to PC.

Despite the ironic mockery, political correctness still packs a punch. Say the wrong thing today and you can be gone tomorrow, your status as a top broadcaster, university president or politician obliterated. It happens in the small space of a sentence--defrocked, banished, gonzo. Outside a courtroom, I'm not aware of many other forces in American life that can do that.

Don Imus thought he had banked enough social capital to call black women "hos" for a laugh. Weirdly unplugged from the two-second tape delay in the back of his brain ("Don't do it"), he blurted something only black hip-hop singers get to say about black women.

In what for our time is the equivalent of burning witches, the broadcasting careers of Mr. Imus and of his producer Bernard McGuirk were then put to the torch. It took them about a week to die, but with Al Sharpton stoking the flames and the parsons of the press pouring on gasoline, they finally expired, allowing most of us to disperse back to jobs and careers whose abrupt termination generally requires a statutory felony rather than merely hurting someone's feelings.

Then last week the Imus incineration took an abrupt and unexpected turn: Russell Simmons, a famous hip-hop music promoter whose stature in recent years has swelled to cultural wise man, announced to the hip-hop "community" that it was time to retire the "h", "b" and "n" words. For the eight or nine Journal readers who don't listen to the rhymes of hip-hop, "b" rhymes with witch, and "n" rhymes with bigger.

Few would disagree that it would be a good thing if Don Imus became the last man in public to call a black woman a "ho." Few in the civilized world would miss hearing rappers rhyme women with "witch" and "bigger." And as a result, some would say, see, political correctness really does have its uses. It bans what nearly anyone would consider hateful, tasteless, insulting, abusive, disgusting language.

Right. That used to be known as good taste before the left delivered PC into the world. Over the years, political correctness has seemed to wax and wane, without ever disappearing. It was a relief when it offered a few laughs. What has never gone away, though, is the fact that ultimately political correctness is toxic.

Exhibit A is the Duke lacrosse team. Exhibit B is the annihilation of Harvard President Larry Summers. All the other exhibits are the forgotten professors, DJs and commentators whose jobs ended with a wrong phrase.

Duke was a particularly virulent strain of PC. It was breathtaking how fast the Duke incident broke into a politically correct scenario: privileged, women-baiting white males humiliate and assault a disadvantaged black female. Once rooted in the press, this "narrative" crushed the lives of the accused students, ruined the career of the team's coach and almost trumped the criminal justice system. For a falsity, that's pretty potent.

At a scholarly meeting two years ago, then-Harvard President Larry Summers suggested that women are underrepresented at the top of science and engineering because of what he described as the evidently more men than women who are "three and a half, four standard deviations above the mean." I recall back then reading the transcript of Mr. Summer's remarks, which is filled with caveats, obeisances, impenetrable prose and tangled logic. From this morass, it was possible to extract a big PC faux pas. But to think Mr. Summers was led from this turgid speech to the pyre, where his entire career as president of Harvard was immolated is, well, striking.

This is the way we live now: The only place where speech can occur without fear of job loss is on a cartoon show or in stand-up comedy. This means only the self-identified nuts can say what they want. Welcome to the asylum.

The left doesn't mind if comedians savage PC. So what? You get to laugh at the cartoon version but they use the real stuff to fire and eliminate whomever they wish. Thus do we all become their sheep.

Most people subscribe to the soft form of PC, which holds that the world will be a better place when we all have a little more equitable love in our hearts. Fine. But the hard form, played out at Duke and Harvard, is not about evening the odds; it's about exercising power, about reversing the odds. Thus, when a Larry Summers or Trent Lott trips up, the velvet glove of niceness comes off and the enemy is annihilated, abetted by a First Amendment media OK with executions for wrongful speech.

The result is that people sympathetic to PC's nominal goals are taken aback at its virulent results. Kind of like hip-hop. So in the spirit of Russell Simmons's overdue H-B-N ban, a proposed PC truce: Short of prosecutable acts, violations of PC should not lead to loss of livelihood. No more summary executions. No more firings. No more allowing the Al Sharptons to decide who makes a living and who doesn't. Don Imus is financially set, but not so the average college prof or schmo sports commentator. With this no-job-loss rule in place, Mr. Summers's enemies would have had to overthrow him on the merits of his presidency, not PC.

This won't solve all the depredations of political correctness, or its penchant for imposing lifelong stigma on offenders. But it would stop the zombies who serve as administrators, executives and advertisers from being instruments of career destruction. Sanctions or suspensions can be meted on a case-specific basis. "Nappy-headed hos" deserved at least a pistol-whipping.

Imus is hardly a casualty to mourn, but Duke was a PC travesty, which we shouldn't allow to slip down the memory hole. So was the Summers case. It's long past time to make political correctness politically correct.


TSA and Tyranny: Connecting the Dots

As with most bureaucracies, what the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) claims to accomplish and what it actually does accomplish are entirely different things. The excuse it offers for patting us down and rifling our belongings at airport checkpoints is that these shenanigans protect us -- from terrorists, if not from sexual predators and thieves. In reality, the TSA exists to control us. Theory tells us that, and so do the facts when we connect several recent but isolated events.

First, the TSA's screeners have once again failed to stop undercover agents from smuggling fake weapons through their checkpoints. This is becoming so habitual that we should add it to death and taxes as life's only certainties. The TSA routinely flunks tests of its ability to intercept weapons. Flamingly. We're talking failure of 90 percent on those rare occasions when it isn't a full 100 percent.

The latest example comes from Denver International Airport. In February, federal investigators packed simulated explosives in their carry-on bags and taped fake improvised explosive devices (IED) to their bodies. Then they sashayed past the checkpoints: "In one test, sources told [Denver's TV] 9NEWS an agent taped an IED to her leg and told the screener it was a bandage from surgery. Even though alarms sounded on the walk-through metal detector, the agent was able to bluff her way past the screener." Overall, Denver International's warrantless searching failed to discover the counterfeit contraband an astounding 90 percent of the time.

Results at Newark International Airport were similar. Last October the team that stumped Denver's screeners pulled the same stunt in New Jersey. Newark especially resonates with Homeland Security types because one of the doomed flights departed from there on 9/11. Nevertheless, its screeners failed 20 of 22 tests, about the same rate as their cohorts further west.

But both Denver and Newark can preen in comparison to the 21 unnamed airports tested in March 2006. When the Government Accountability Office (GAO) tried smuggling IEDs past their checkpoints, no screener anywhere detected even one.

Since 2002, when the TSA began operations, the GAO, the Department of Homeland Security, and even the TSA itself have tested airport screening hundreds of times. And the TSA has flopped hundreds of times. Its abysmal inability to do what it claims -- "We look for bombs at checkpoints in airports... [Yep, and that's all they do: they certainly don't find them]" -- is consistent. The TSA cannot and does not protect us.

What It's Really Up To

So why isn't it disbanded? Because the agency controls us far more effectively than it finds bombs. To wit: On March 29 Shane James Deighan "fled" the Lanai Airport in Hawaii when baggage screeners found 43 Hawaiian driver's licenses sporting "35 different names, addresses, and Social Security numbers" in his bag. Cops "tracked" him down the next morning. They "seized 19 credit cards, of which 11 matched one of the Hawaii driver's licenses, three other Hawaii driver's licenses, two Texas driver's licenses, three Social Security cards, two blank checks, one military identification and a Canadian birth certificate." He was arraigned on charges of forgery April 10.

Deighan isn't the only TSA victim facing imprisonment because of a warrantless search. Some will probably say, "Great! Looks like screeners caught an identity thief who's guilty as heck!" But should we also eviscerate the Fourth Amendment when passengers are carrying drugs the government doesn't like? Screeners groping Michael James Cade at San Jose International Airport claimed to find three pounds of methamphetamine on him. (Since the search took place in a "private screening area," away from witnesses, we -- and the judge hearing his case -- are taking the TSA's word on this.) Never mind the extremely thorny constitutional problem of rummaging for evidence without provocation or a warrant: Cade was charged in U.S. District Court.

Police must rejoice at airport screening. Hanging around checkpoints, waiting for "criminals" to come to them rather than chasing down alleys and streets, searching citizens without the bother and paperwork that warrants require certainly makes policing easier. And far less dangerous, too. But it's lethal to liberty. The list of items the state doesn't want us to have extends well beyond phony IDs and drugs to such innocuous things as bookmarks and money. That list will keep growing as the government does.

But the TSA has even more chilling uses. On March 1 Walter F. Murphy, the McCormick professor of jurisprudence emeritus at Princeton University and a Marine veteran, "tried to use the curb-side check in" when boarding a flight to Newark. He "was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. ...I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to ... American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked ... offered a frightening comment: `Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that.' I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. `That'll do it,' the man said."

When confronted with these allegations, the TSA pooh-poohed the idea that it targets dissenters. Spokeswoman Ann Davis dismissed Murphy's trials as a case of mistaken identity due to his common last name. She added, "There has been a lot of speculation as to how individuals are placed on the No Fly list, but the only criteria [sic] is posing a risk to civil aviation or national security. Having certain political views is not going to result in placement on the No Fly list."

Really? Tell that to the other political dissidents the TSA has harassed. Indeed, intimidating troublemakers may be its most valuable service to the state, one that guarantees the TSA will be oppressing us for a long time to come. The TSA's dotty rules reassure some Americans. But connecting those dots reveals the outline of tyranny.


Is "Blame whitey" one of the world's greatest speeches?

We read some words of wisdom from Australian Leftist pundit and wealthy art collector Phillip Adams:

"Radio National [Part of Australia's Left-leaning public broadcaster, the ABC] invites listeners to name the greatest speech. Six thousand respond, their hundreds of nominations including Ronald Reagan, Yitzhak Rabin, William Pitt the Younger, Vaclav Havel, Bill Clinton, Salvador Allende, Mahatma Gandhi, Arundhati Roy and Thomas More.....

Anglican archbishop Peter Jensen discusses the impact of acoustics on a great speech, covering the range from the windblown Sermon On The Mount to sermons from amplified pulpits. Interestingly, his favourite speech is secular rather than sacred - Queen Elizabeth I's effort to her last Parliament in 1601: "Though you have had, and may have, many mightier and wiser princes sitting in this seat, yet you never had, nor shall have, any that will love you better." And Jensen is deeply affected when re-reading Keating's address at Redfern: "I was amazed by its high moral purpose, ripping into our conscience and our hearts."

Judith Brett, professor of politics at La Trobe University, feels as strongly for the Redfern speech, while Carr's greatest enthusiasm is for Lincoln's second inaugural address.

The hall is hushed as I tear open the envelope announcing the top 10.

Tenth: Queen Elizabeth I's rallying of the troops at Tilbury on August 8, 1588, as the Spanish Armada approached. "I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king."

Ninth: Gough Whitlam's dismissal speech, Parliament House steps, November 11, 1975.

Eighth: Henry V's St Crispin Day speech before the Battle of Agincourt in Shakespeare's Henry V. "We few, we happy few, we band of brothers."

Seventh: Earl Spencer's funeral oration for his sister, Princess Diana, September 6, 1997.

Sixth: John F. Kennedy's inaugural address, January 20, 1961. "Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country."

Fifth: Lincoln's Gettysburg address during the American Civil War, November 19, 1863. "Four score and seven years ago."

Fourth: Churchill's "We shall fight on the beaches", June 4, 1940, to the House of Commons.

At Number Three: Paul Keating's Redfern address, December 10, 1992.

Number Two: Jesus's Sermon On The Mount, circa 27.

And the Oscar goes to. Martin Luther King for "I have a dream", August 28, 1963, in Washington DC.

I will not argue with nos. 1 and 2 -- though I myself would have put the wonderful Ronald Reagan's "Challenger" speech as no. 1 (it always moves me to tears when I read it) -- but I am quite disgusted by no. 3, a speech by that foul-mouthed past-master of Leftist abuse, Paul Keating. You can read the speech concerned here. It is just standard Leftist "blame whitey" crap. If it is a classic anything, it is a classic of talk being cheap.

Despite the fact that indigenous black Australians (Aborigines) are substance-abusers on an epic scale and often seem to be grossly lacking in any ability to think ahead about the consequences of their own actions, it is the fault of white Australians -- most of whom would never have even met an Aborigine -- that blacks find themselves in an undoubtedly bad state?

I grew up with Aborigines around and have repeatedly had them as tenants (what a "racist" thing to do!) so I do know the realities involved.

The logic of the Keating speech crumbles upon encounter with the most basic history. If the "dispossession" of their ancestors is the cause of the degraded state of Aborigines, how come:

1). The Anglo-Saxons did not crumble when they were taken over by the invading Normans 1000 years ago? They in fact insisted on continuing in their traditional values and eventually absorbed the Normans.

2). How come the Chinese did not crumble when they were taken over by the invading Mongols nearly 1000 years ago? They in fact insisted on continuing in their traditional values and eventually absorbed the Mongols.

3). How come the Germans did not crumble when they were taken over by the invading Allied powers in 1945? They in fact insisted on continuing in their traditional values and eventually emerged as German and as prosperous as they ever had been. Many of them even survived the gross oppression of Communism and emerged in a reasonably intact state.

And if "discrimination" is responsible for the degraded state of the Aborigines, how come the undoubtedly heavy discrimination that the Chinese and Jews endured in Australia up until relatively recently did not cause the Chinese and Jews to sink into hopeless and self-destructive apathy? Both groups are in fact extremely successful components of Australian society by almost any criterion you choose to name.

All my questions above have only one answer of course. Aborigines are DIFFERENT. All men are NOT equal. Whether the differences are due to culture or genetics need not concern us here. The point is that it is Aborigines who are responsible for the state Aborigines are in. It is not the fault of whites. If other ethnic groups have emerged from dispossession and discrimination in a flourishing state, it is not disposession and discrimination that is responsible for Aborigines being in a disastrous state. It is the Aboriginal difference that is responsible for the state that they are in, nothing else.

And perhaps most particularly to the point, decades of Left-inspired attempts to "help" Aborigines have clearly done more harm than good. Aborigines once had some dignity. Many of them have very little of that today. Is more of such deluded "help" needed?


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 May, 2007


By Jeff Jacoby

When the BBC invited me onto one of its talk shows recently to discuss the day's hot topic -- legalizing adult incest -- I thought of Rick Santorum. Back in 2003, as the Supreme Court was preparing to rule in Lawrence v. Texas, a case challenging the constitutionality of laws criminalizing homosexual sodomy, then-Senator Santorum caught holy hell for warning that if the law were struck down, there would be no avoiding the slippery slope. "If the Supreme Court says you have the right to consensual sex within your home," he told a reporter, "then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."

It was a commonsensical observation, though you wouldn't have known it from the nail-spitting it triggered in some quarters. When the justices, voting 6-3, did in fact declare it unconstitutional for any state to punish consensual gay sex, the dissenters echoed Santorum's point. "State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are . . . called into question by today's decision," Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the minority. That opinion too was scorned by the politically correct. But now Time magazine acknowledges: "It turns out the critics were right."

Time's attention, like the BBC's, has been caught by the legal battles underway to decriminalize incest between consenting adults. An article last month by Time reporter Michael Lindenberger titled "Should Incest Be Legal?" highlights the case of Paul Lowe, an Ohio man convicted of incest for having sex with his 22-year-old stepdaughter. Lowe has appealed his conviction to the Supreme Court, making Lawrence the basis of his argument. In Lawrence, the court had ruled that people "are entitled to respect for their private lives" and that under the 14th Amendment, "the state cannot demean their existence or control their destiny by making their private sexual conduct a crime." If that was true for the adult homosexual behavior in Lawrence, why not for the adult incestuous behavior in the Ohio case?

The BBC program focused on the case of Patrick and Susan Stubing, a German brother and sister who live as a couple and have had four children together. Incest is a criminal offense in Germany, and Patrick has already spent more than two years in prison for having sex with his sister. The two of them are asking Germany's highest court to abolish the law that makes incest illegal. "Many people see it as a crime, but we've done nothing wrong," Patrick told the BBC. "We are like normal lovers. We want to have a family." They dismiss the conventional argument that incest should be banned because the children of close relatives have a higher risk of genetic defects. After all, they point out, other couples with known genetic risks aren't punished for having sex. In any event, Patrick has had himself sterilized so that he cannot father any more children.

Some years back, I'd written about a similar case in Wisconsin -- that of Allen and Patricia Muth, a brother and sister who fell in love as adults, had several children together, and were prosecuted, convicted, and imprisoned as a result. Following the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence, they appealed their conviction to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, where they lost. Lowe will probably lose too.

But the next Lowe or Muth to come along, or the one after that, may not lose. In Lawrence, it is worth remembering, the Supreme Court didn't just invalidate all state laws making homosexual sodomy a crime. It also overruled its own decision just 17 years earlier (Bowers v. Hardwick, 1986) upholding such laws. If the court meant what it said in Lawrence -- that states are barred from "making . . . private sexual conduct a crime" -- it will not take that long for laws criminalizing incest to go by the board as well. Impossible? Outlandish? That's what they used to say about normalizing homosexuality and legalizing same-sex marriage.

Parts of Europe are already heading down this road. In Germany, the Green Party is openly supporting the Stubings in their bid to decriminalize incest. "We must abolish a law that originated last century and today is useless," party spokesman Jerzy Montag says. Incest is no longer a criminal offense in Belgium, Holland, and France. According to the BBC, Sweden even permits half-siblings to marry.

Your reaction to the prospect of lawful incest may be "Ugh, gross." But personal repugnance is no replacement for moral standards. For more than 3,000 years, a code of conduct stretching back to Sinai has kept incest unconditionally beyond the pale. If sexual morality is jettisoned as a legitimate basis for legislation, personal opinion and cultural fashion are all that will remain. "Should Incest Be Legal?" Time asks. Over time, expect more and more people to answer yes.

British decay discredits mainstream parties

In a very British way, the article below is a reluctant endorsement of the anti-immigrant British National Party -- the only distinctly conservative party left in Britain today. As the BNP is well outside the current British consensus, however, an outright endorsement of it would simply not have been published in "The Times"

Today some in my town will cast a vote for the Epping Community Action Group. Sounds reasonable enough. Run from a flat near the station, ECAG wants to rejuvenate the high street and save small shops by relaxing our parking laws, it opposes fortnightly collection of household rubbish and would not build on green belt land. All for that. It has campaigned for the Co-op to smarten itself up (it was an eyesore), for the local adult learning centre to reopen and to stop town centre premises becoming an endless parade of chain coffeehouses and takeaways. My kind of people. And, yes, ECAG is run by a former chairman of the National Front but, hey, you can't have it all ways.

Ian Anderson, a man whose commitment to neighbourhood issues would seem the perfect antidote to disillusionment with party politics, was chairman of the NF from 1990 to 1995. Something more then a juvenile dalliance, it would appear. He says he has had no connection with extreme right-wing politics in ten years, a statement that is open to debate, not least because he stood for an NF splinter group at the Uxbridge by-election in 1997. Anderson's dubious background is known locally but is increasingly considered not to matter in an area where six British National Party members sit on the local council.

In a part of the world that should be the happiest, clappiest little market town this side of all the other cosy corners of southern England, the mismanagement, incompetence, mediocre thinking and muddled priorities of modern-day life have created a situation in which descendants of the far Right can thrive. I have election literature from all the main parties saying they support the green belt, and a school playing field at the bottom of my garden, half of which has been sold for housing. At the door, every activist said his candidate was opposed to it, yet none, if elected, can do anything about it.

And I am not saying I could ever bring one fibre of my being to consider voting for a former fascist reinvented as a green-belt conservationist; but I'm saying I understand.

Saw my first rat last Sunday. That was a thrill. I remember them from third-year biology, white and clean in a glass case in the science lab. This, however, was mangy and diseased and in something of a free-range situation close to the house. It looked quite startled. We both did. Not as startled as my 70-year-old mother would have been, mind you, had it chosen to take a bow at her surprise birthday party that afternoon. What a bash that would have been. We jump out; then the rat jumps out; then two ambulancemen jump out and cart her off to the nearest cardiac unit. Now that's what you call a surprise.

We don't get rats, you see, even in a relatively rural area, because we have cats. Not our cats, but Ebony next door and Ginger's brother from over the road and the mean cat from a few doors down and assorted others that have kept our property pest-free for more than ten years. We don't even get mice, the gateway rodents forming the advance party for heavy-duty vermin. Then again, until last summer, we had not been cut to fortnightly rubbish collection with the resulting stench and maggot infestations; which could explain why some folk are considering supporting a man who has stood for election on a ticket that advocated a different form of recycling involving humans and known as repatriation.

And I'm not saying I could bring myself to place an X next to that name on a ballot paper, even at gunpoint; but I'm saying I understand.

Then there was the swarm of bees (I know what you're thinking, in which ward does this man vote, Epping Biblical?) that settled in an adjacent tree while the couple were out, at the funeral of Frank, a good old boy from down the road who had died at the age of 92. A decent innings, one might say, except Frank was not delivered to hospital on death's door. He went in to have a pacemaker fitted and died of MRSA. Frank performed volunteer work at the local hospital where he was entrusted to clean the theatre until you could eat your dinner off the operating table. Maybe someone did. In the coroner's report it will probably say he died of irony.

Then, on Sunday, we saw another old friend, Peter, who has not been well lately. He fell from a ladder and badly injured his back and, after contracting MRSA and septicaemia in hospital, is back on his feet after seven operations. The last was to find out why he kept getting MRSA and septicaemia. It is intriguing that so many NHS trusts will not operate on the overweight because, looking at Peter, if you want to shed a stone or five, hospital is the place to be. Not that Peter was large to begin with but you could fit two of him in the suit he was wearing at the weekend. He pulled out a cigarette and said he had started smoking again, and all things considered it was a shame he gave up, because if the hospital had refused to operate on him for having a puff they might not then have had the chance to half-kill him seven times over. He has been advised to sue but says that action would only divert more money from an overstretched NHS. That is the inherent decency of mankind.

So I would love to be one of the people on these pages who thinks our world is wonderful. I would love to be the guy that sneers at the negativity in the Daily Mail, with its scares and its rats and its MRSA. I would love to be wiping a sentimental tear at the memory of ten years of Tony Blair; but the school playing field was sold and I did see the rat and Frank is dead and Peter is lucky to be alive and in my part of the world the far Right is winning. And I am not saying I would not implore you to set fire to your ballot paper and run screaming from the hall rather than cast a vote for National Front extremism, in any form; but I'm saying I understand.


Australia: Another perverted Mohammed

Muslims have huge sex hangups

A TEENAGER will appear in a Victorian court today charged with indecently assaulting a woman feeding her newborn baby in a change room at a Melbourne shopping centre.

Mother-of-three Janelle, who did not give her surname, told police she was breastfeeding her one-week-old son about 3.45pm (AEST) last Monday in a curtained-off area of the family room at Broadmeadows Shopping Centre, when the alleged attack happened. The 37-year-old, from Romsey, northwest of Melbourne, told police that a man pulled back the privacy curtain claiming to be looking for his sister before asking personal questions about breastfeeding. Janelle said she tensed up and when her baby came off the breast, the intruder leant forward and touched her before leaving.

Broadmeadows detectives tonight charged 18-year-old Broadmeadows man Mohamed Chkhaidem with one count of indecent assault and four counts of stalking in an out-of-sessions hearing before a bail justice at Broadmeadows police station this evening. Chkhaidem was remanded in custody to reappear at the Broadmeadows Magistrates Court today.

Earlier, the mother called for better safety measures in shopping centre changerooms. "In a feeding room doing something natural, feeding your own child, you should be able to do (it) in privacy and peace," she said. "Maybe it's a silly extreme to go to but (what) we might need to look at doing is having a panic alarm in the rooms or proper locked cubicles like toilets, rather than the curtain - but we shouldn't have to go to that extreme."


Australian bar owners defend race ban

Publicans faced with racial realities are not allowed to do anything about it. Drunken Maoris are an extremely troublesome group. As a former boarding house proprietor, I know all about it.

ANGRY publicans have defended their right to choose who drinks in their hotels - regardless of whether they offend racial minorities. As Islanders who were deemed too violent for Scruffy Murphy's last night called the shut-out brazen racism, the industry claimed police encouraged taking action against some ethnic groups. "Police are not averse to going to publicans and saying 'you need to do something about this particular racial group or a gang'," Australian Hotels Association deputy chief executive David Elliott said yesterday. "Police advise me on regular occasions that the main offenders in violent city crimes are certain minority groups and we pass that on to hotels."

Mr Elliott said publicans should be able to act on information given to them by police. "It's only fair that hoteliers remain vigilant about the racial descriptions they are given," he said.

However Steven Thomas and Alex Tosic, both of Maori descent, were ashamed of the pub's Islander bouncers turning on their own kind to enforce the exclusion policy, which has since been scrapped. "That Islander brother (Benji Tupou) was bumped out by his own bro and that's just wrong," said Mr Thomas, who was last night drinking at the Newmorlent Hotel in Botany.

Alex Tosic, 23, said she could understand if the pub didn't let someone in if they were causing trouble or even if they knew them to have caused problems in the past. "But I have lots of close friends and relatives who are not troublemakers at all and for them or I not to be allowed into a venue because of that is the worst form of racism," Ms Tosic, of Petersham, said.

The Daily Telegraph also asked drinkers at Scruffy Murphy's - facing claims of discrimination at the Equal Opportunity Tribunal - their views on the ban introduced in November 2005 and scrapped last year. "The ban is not racist - they cause a lot of trouble in this area and people have had enough. I'm in favour of the ban if it stops trouble," said lunchtime drinker Patrick Pool, 22.

While hotels tried to shift blame to police, senior officers slammed excluding patrons on the basis of race. "There is no provision within the legislation for the refusal of entry to, or removal from, licensed premises, of patrons on racial or ethnic grounds," said Detective Superintendent Frank Hansen, manager of the drug and alcohol co-ordination unit



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 May, 2007

Diversity only means Different

"Diversity" means "different." That's all it means. Why in the world would I celebrate "different." Mass murderers (thank God) are "different." Democrats celebrate mass murderers. Whether they are Che Gueverra or Tookie Williams, the Democrat adores the mass murderer.

Drug addicts are "different." The Democrats adore drug addicts. In fact, the reason they so hated Rudolph Giuliani in New York -- called him "Hitler," of course -- was because he wouldn't allow the drug-addicted prostitutes to continue to mug people in Times Square.

Sexual perversions are "different." Democrats promote sexual perversion at every turn -- with Robert Redford choosing a movie about a man who was having sexual relations with his horse to be honored with a slot at "The Sundance Film Festival."

You see, when mere "differentness" is the criteria for celebration, a good society that which is "different" is going to be bad. In a society that respects others, disrespect is "different." In a society where literacy is the norm, "ebonics" is what becomes the stuff of "celebration."

I'm am not an illiteracy-ophobe, or a sexual perversion-a-phobe or a mass-murderer-a-phobe. I just know the difference between right and wrong, good and evil and the behaviors that I want celebrated so that my children recognize that what is being honored is good, not just different.


Identity Politics Gone Wild (or, how to use political pressure to threaten the integrity of an artistic vision)

Post lifted from Protein Wisdom

From The Rocky Mountain News, "Salazar joins critics of series on WWII":

Sens. Ken Salazar of Colorado and Robert Menendez of New Jersey have joined Hispanic veterans and others who say that an upcoming PBS documentary on World War II doesn't include enough contributions of Hispanics and American Indians. The seven-part series, directed and produced by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, explores "the experience of war and combat through the personal accounts of more than 40 men and women," according to Burns' production company. "Sen. Salazar became aware that the PBS documentary on World War II did not include Latinos, and that was of concern, not just to his constituents, but to him personally," Salazar's spokesman, Cody Wertz said.

And there, in a nutshell, is the trouble with PBS: if the project is at all funded by the government, the government feels free, it seems, to cast aside the First Amendment and begin applying soft pressures to make sure that "misguided" film makers like Ken Burns provide each and every grievance group with annoited representation in Congress with their own little slice of the narrative pie-however thin, and however perfunctorily it's doled out.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear next of Barney Frank's concern that the film doesn't do enough to detail the contributions of homosexual soldiers at the Battle of the Bulge. It's part of the new American historiography: we teach what feels good and raises self-esteem among the greatest number of people. And if that means the larger lessons need be watered down for the purposes of egalitarian inclusiveness, so be it. In the union between fact and emotion, fact is content to let the act speak for itself. Whereas emotion just needs to be held after, I guess. As for truth? Well, who cares that the contributions of Latinos might not be the story a particular filmmaker wishes to tell, or that s/he decides to devote his or her time to those who had a more obvious impact? That's just racist!

In a statement, Burns responded to the criticism. "The film was never meant to be a definitive or comprehensive treatment of the subject," said Burns, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker who has produced and directed several acclaimed historical documentaries. "As we say at the outset of each episode, `The Second World War was fought in thousands of places, too many for any one accounting,' " However, the filmmaker and PBS have said that new footage about Hispanics and American Indians would be included.

-As a bow to political pressure which never should have been brought in the first place. Because not dealing with the roles played by Latinos or Native Americans in a documentary on World War II is an editorial decision. And members of Congress shouldn't presume to do the job of the filmmaker in order to pander to the egos of their perpetually-aggrieved swing voting groups.

There is no bias being alleged here other than bias by omission. And given that the film can't cover every aspect of World War II, these criticisms by Salazar and Menendez smack of pure political opportunism-the very kinds that stoke "racial" and ethnic animus and perpetuate the grievance culture that must never, ever be healed (lest these panders lose key constituencies).

Wertz said that Salazar would keep a watchful eye on the production and that the senator has called for a meeting with PBS President Paula Kerger. "I think the appropriate action is to fully incorporate our contributions into the body of the documentary," said Cipriano Griego, commander of the Mile High Chapter of the GI Forum, a national Hispanic veterans organization. "We are not a footnote."

Actually, you are a footnote, statistically speaking-and the irony is, you are such by your own doing. Because by separating yourselves out as "Latinos" who fought in WWII, you have distanced yourselves from the pluralistic "Americans" who fought and won the thing-and in doing so, you have denied yourselves the national pride that comes with such an achievement, hoping instead for the tribal pride that comes with separation.

James Cates, head of the National Native American Veterans Association, is also critical of the series. "He didn't do a very good job of researching his material," he said about Burns' initial decision not to include American Indians in the series. "There was Ira Hayes, who helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima, and the Code Talkers of the Navajo, Comanche, and Choctaw tribes."

Indeed. And there was a major motion picture about the Code Talkers, and plenty has been written on the the inability of the enemy to break the cypher. This was a significant strategic advantage-and represented an very important contribution to WWII-but it is so well-known by now that perhaps Burns didn't feel like rehashing it, given that it's been one of the more frequently-cited of recent WWII stories.

At any rate, I doubt his decision was based on "insensitivity" or "racism"-all of which is moot, given that this in not something Congressmen should be dealing with in the first place. The fact that Salazar will be keeping a "watchful eye" on the program and will be meeting with the PBS president-presumably to make sure that the film is "fixed" with an eye toward some make-believe "equality"-is precisely the kind of thing that people from both sides of the political aisle should be condemning.

How multiculturalism is betraying women

Do you believe in the rights of women, or do you believe in multiculturalism? A series of verdicts in the German courts in the past month, have shown with hot, hard logic that you can't back both. You have to choose. The crux case centres on a woman called Nishal, a 26-year-old Moroccan immigrant to Germany with two kids and a psychotic husband. Since their wedding night, this husband beat the hell out of her. She crawled to the police covered in wounds, and they ordered the husband to stay away from her. He refused. He terrorised her with death threats.

So Nishal went to the courts to request an early divorce, hoping that once they were no longer married he would leave her alone. A judge who believed in the rights of women would find it very easy to make a judgement: you're free from this man, case dismissed. But Judge Christa Datz-Winter followed the logic of multiculturalism instead. She said she would not grant an early divorce because - despite the police documentation of extreme violence and continued threats - there was no "unreasonable hardship" here.

Why? Because the woman, as a Muslim, should have "expected" it, the judge explained. She read out passages from the Koran to show that Muslim husbands have the "right to use corporal punishment". Look at Sura 4, verse 34, she said to Nishal, where the Koran says he can hammer you. That's your culture. Goodbye, and enjoy your beatings.

This is not a freakish exception. Germany's only state-level Minister for Integration, Armin Laschet, says this is only "the last link, for the time being, in a chain of horrific rulings handed down by the German courts". The German magazine Der Spiegel has documented a long list of these multicultural verdicts. Here are just a few:

A Lebanese-German who strangled his daughter Ibthahale and then beat her unconscious with a bludgeon because she didn't want to marry the man he had picked out for her was sentenced to mere probation. His "cultural background" was cited by the judge as a mitigating factor.

A Turkish-German who stabbed his wife Zeynep to death in Frankfurt was given the lowest possible sentence, because, the judge said, the murdered woman had violated his "male honour, derived from his Anatolian moral concepts". The bitch. A Lebanese-German who raped his wife Fatima while whipping her with a belt was sentenced to probation, with the judge citing his ... you get the idea. Their victims are forced to ask - like Soujourner Truth, the female slave who famously challenged early women's rights activists to consider black women as their sisters - "Ain't I a woman?"

In Germany today, Muslim women have been reduced to third-class citizens stripped of core legal protections - because of the doctrine of multiculturalism, which says a society should be divided into separate cultures with different norms according to ethnic origin. Too often this issue is mixed up with other debates and gets waved through for the sake of politeness. The right loves mashing "mass immigration and multiculturalism" into one sound-bite. Well, I think Britain should take more immigrants and refugees, not fewer - but multiculturalism is a disastrous way to greet them.

These German cases highlight the flaw at the core of multiculturalism. It assumes that immigrants have one homogenous culture which they should all follow - and it allows the most reactionary and revolting men in their midst to define what that culture is. Across Europe, many imams are offering advice to Muslim men on how to beat Muslim women. For example, in Spain, the popular Imam Mohammed Kamal Mustafa warns that you shouldn't use "whips that are too thick" because they leave scars that can be detected by the "infidels". That might be Mustafa's culture - but it isn't Nishal's. It isn't the culture of the women who scream and weep as they are beaten.

And yes, we should admit that this is disproportionately a problem among Muslim, Sikh and Hindu immigrants who arrive from countries which have not had women's rights movements. Listen to Jasvinder Sanghera, who founded the best British charity helping Asian women after her sister was beaten and beaten and then burned herself to death. She says: "It's a betrayal of these women to be PC about this. Look at the figures. Asian women in Britain are three times more likely to commit suicide than their white friends. That's because of all this."

Yet the brave campaigners who have tried to help these women - like the Labour MP Ann Cryer - have been smeared as racist. In fact, the real racists are the people who vehemently condemn misogyny and homophobia when it comes from white people but mysteriously fall silent when it comes from black and Asian men.

Indeed, in the name of this warm, welcoming multiculturalism, the German courts have explicitly compared Muslim women to the brain-damaged. The highest administrative court in North Rhine-Westphalia has agreed that Muslim parents have the "right" to forbid their daughter from going on a school trip unless she was accompanied by a male family member at all times. The judges said the girl was like "a partially mentally impaired person who, because of her disability, can only travel with a companion". As the Iranian author Azar Nafisi puts it: "I very much resent it when people - maybe with good intentions or from a progressive point of view - keep telling me, 'It's their culture' ... It's like saying the culture of Massachusetts is burning witches." She is horrified by the moves in Canada to introduce shariah courts to enforce family law for Muslims.

Multiculturalists believe that they are defending immigrants. But in reality, they are betraying at least 55 per cent of them - the women and the gays. It is multiculturalists, for example, who are the biggest champions of the Government's massive expansion of "faith" schools, where children will be segregated according to parental superstition and often taught the most literalist and cruel strain of a "faith". What will girls and gay pupils be taught there? Will they have Sura 4, verse 34 drilled into them, along with the passages from the hadith where Mohammed calls for gay people to be executed? We know Catholic schools often push the most vile aspects of their faith at children; why should Muslim schools be different?

We desperately need to empower Muslim women to reinterpret the Koran in less literalist and vicious ways, or to leave their religion all together, as they wish. But multiculturalism hobbles them before they even begin, by saying they should stick to the "authentic" culture represented by the imams. Yes, it would be easy to keep our heads down, go with this multicultural drift, and congratulate ourselves on our tolerance of the fanatically intolerant. But I can give you a few good reasons not to. Their names are Nishal and Ibthahale and Zeynep and Fatima, and, yes, they were women.



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 May 2007

Is the U.S. Government Out to Undermine English?

by Newt Gingrich

Our friend Paul Weyrich at the Free Congress Foundation had a distressing story last week for anyone who is concerned about the future of the English language in our country. It's a story about a charity whose good works exemplify Christian-based dedication and compassion. It's a story about an employer who tried to do the right thing -- to encourage its employees to learn and speak English. And it's a story of a misguided federal agency that is using taxpayers' money to punish those who encourage English, rather than reinforcing English as the language of American success and cultural unity.

Government Lawyers Sue the Salvation Army for Requiring English

The Salvation Army operates thrift stores across the United States. In keeping with its mission to help the less fortunate, these stores both cater to lower income customers and often employ people who might have difficulty finding work elsewhere. The Salvation Army has a policy that requires its employees to speak English on the job. In a 2003 opinion, a federal judge in Boston approved of the policy as a legitimate business practice. The next year, a Salvation Army store in Framingham, Mass., did what I think most of us would agree was the right thing to do: It gave two of its employees who spoke very little English a year to achieve a level of English proficiency required to do the job.

It's important to note that the Salvation Army didn't summarily fire these two employees. Quite the opposite. Counting the five years they had already worked there, the employees had a total of six years to learn English. But when they had failed to do so by 2005, they were let go.

That's when the U.S. government sued. That's right. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a taxpayer-funded government commission, is suing the Salvation Army, a private, charitable, religious, non-profit group. The government is alleging that the Salvation Army discriminated against the two employees by requiring them to speak English on the job, thus inflicting "emotional pain, suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, embarrassment, humiliation and inconvenience."

Now ask yourself two things: Why is the government undermining the efforts of charities to encourage people to learn English? And doesn't it have better things to do with our tax dollars?

The Department of Justice Also Undermines English

There's another way the U.S. government is wasting our resources in order to undermine English in America: By filing lawsuits charging discrimination that no one has alleged, in order to protect voters who never asked for protection.

All of us are aware of the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act, which gave Americans who had previously been illegitimately denied the right to vote the opportunity to participate in democratic self-government. But as I've argued before in "Winning the Future," the Voting Rights Act has been misapplied in recent years. One section, for example, requires something I have long advocated be repealed: the printing of foreign-language ballots. And the reason I advocate this is simple: If U.S. citizenship is a precondition for voting, and knowing English is a precondition for citizenship, then why would any citizen exercising his or her right to vote need a foreign-language ballot?

Bean Counting for Lawsuits

It turns out that, when the Department of Justice (DOJ) is monitoring a city or a county under the Voting Rights Act to see if foreign-language-speaking voters are getting the assistance they need to vote, they don't wait for anyone to complain that they're being discriminated against. They just comb through the voter registration lists, count the number of foreign-sounding names, and see if it matches up with the number of foreign-language-speaking poll workers. If the ratio of foreign-sounding names to foreign-language-speaking poll workers isn't what the Department of Justice thinks it should be, they sue.

The DOJ filed just such a lawsuit against the town of Springfield, Mass. Not a single voter had complained of lack of access to the polls due to a lack of foreign-language assistance. Still, the government demanded that Springfield add more foreign-language-speaking poll workers in order to ensure that foreign-language-speaking voters "understand, learn of, and participate in all phases of the electoral process."

The government sent federal workers to monitor the election, too. They counted 92 instances of foreign-language "voter assistance" -- 92 out of more then 16,000 voters who went to the polls. And "voter assistance" is defined as someone saying anything in a language other then English, such as asking for a ballot or complaining about the weather. The price tag for the taxpayers for the lawsuit? $435 per voter. And that's just the federal tab.

As Edward Blum, writing in The Weekly Standard correctly put it (subscription required), "The Justice Department has embraced the legal tactics of a sue-happy plaintiff's lawyer: dig through a jurisdiction's election data looking for an improperly low number of bilingual poll workers, file a lawsuit, then muscle the local government into a consent decree and settlement -- another scalp to add to the pile."

Better Ways to Spend Our Tax Dollars

No legitimate American voter should be denied access to the polls. And no person should be discriminated against on the basis of his race or national origin at his place of work. But don't we want a federal government that reinforces English -- not one that searches for lawsuits against learning and using English?

A far better -- and more humane -- use of our tax dollars would be for Congress to first make it clear that employers are permitted to require that English be spoken for legitimate business purposes while on the job, as long as the policy is clearly posted and known to employees before they are hired. Congress should also require that the DOJ receive a complaint before filing a lawsuit for alleged voter discrimination.

And then Congress should create a voucher program for adult immigrants to receive intensive English instruction. Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee has proposed such a program, which would allow immigrants who want to become citizens to meet their residency requirements in less time, thus giving them an incentive to learn English.

Allowing employers to require English on the job and insisting that English be the official language of government does not reject or undermine the importance of our heritage as a nation of immigrants. In Benjamin Franklin's day, German was very widely spoken in Pennsylvania. In the 19th Century, Italian, Yiddish and Polish became common languages in many neighborhoods. Today, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean, Chinese and dozens more foreign languages are spoken by Americans who are proud of their heritage. Every American should be encouraged to learn a foreign language in order to better understand the world. Promoting English as the official language of government is part of supporting everyone's having an equal opportunity to pursue happiness and prosperity.

As you have heard me say many times before, English is the language of American success and cultural unity. Americans, new and old, deserve nothing less than a government that seeks to protect and preserve English, to defend the need for employers to require English on the job and to help those who want assistance in learning English. That would be a story we'd all like to hear.



Was prosecutor Michael Nifong simply an over-rated ambulance chaser who rose to his level of incompetence? Was he a scheming opportunist who needed to boost his flagging re-election chances? Or did his dogged prosecution of the Duke Three reflect a deeper, more systemic problem in our criminal justice system?

Here's the dirty little secret of D.A.s who prosecute sexual assault and domestic violence cases: many of the claims they pursue are as flaky as a pie crust and their chances of winning a jury conviction are slim. So why do they bother to go after the case? Because - get ready for this -- they believe "we are encouraging abused women to come forward and confront their oppressors."

So according to that neo-Marxist logic, if we want to get really tough on say, bank robbers, what we need to do is randomly accuse innocent persons of burglary and then parade them through the streets, denouncing them for a crime they did not commit.

Of course, rape is a terrible crime. Equally terrible are false allegations of rape. According to Linda Fairstein, former head of the New York County District Attorney's Sex Crimes Unit, "There are about 4,000 reports of rape each year in Manhattan. Of these, about half simply did not happen."

But sadly, many innocent men have been wrongfully put behind bars. Just this week Jerry Miller of Chicago was exonerated after serving 24 years for a rape he didn't commit. His release helped inspire a national campaign dubbed "200 Exonerated, Too Many Wrongfully Convicted," an effort designed to spur state reforms of the criminal justice system. [Read]

Many persons have heard of the Violence Against Women Act -- VAWA for short. But most are unaware of the extent to which VAWA-mandated programs have biased our judiciary and chipped away at the presumption of innocent until proven guilty. VAWA's tentacles reach deep and wide, reshaping our nation's laws on immigration, welfare, and public housing. The Act defines domestic violence broadly, so sexual assault and rape fall within its purview. VAWA authorizes $50 million each year for its Sexual Assault Services Program, which contributed to the Duke fiasco in many ways. First, VAWA pays the legal bills of alleged victims of sexual assault. Want to guess how much money goes to help men accused of rape? Nada.

That sets the stage for a prosecutorial shake-down that works like this: Find a guy who can't afford a million-dollar legal defense team. Smear his good name with an accusation of rape. Then settle for a plea bargain conviction on a lesser count of sexual assault. The attorneys get their money and the D.A. can add another notch to his (or her) belt.

Second, did you wonder why Michael Nifong never required accuser Crystal Gail Mangum to take a polygraph test? Simple: the Violence Against Women Act prohibits it. Section 2013 states, "no law enforcement officer, prosecuting officer, or other government official shall ask or require an adult, youth, or child victim of an alleged sex offense to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth telling device."

Third, VAWA funds training programs for prosecutors, judges, and law enforcement personnel. To say the content of these programs lacks a scientific basis is generous. This past November the West Virginia Coalition Against Domestic Violence sponsored a conference. First one of the speakers made light of a Florida incident in which a young man was sexually assaulted by a female teacher. The presenter then turned around and used the terms "scum bag" and "douche bag" to refer to men accused of abuse.

At an earlier New Jersey training session, one presenter openly encouraged judges to ignore due process protections: "Your job is not to become concerned about all the constitutional rights of the man that you're violating as you grant a restraining order. Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back, and tell him, `See ya' around.'"

Fourth, VAWA's overly-aggressive prosecution measures have been found to be flatly ineffective in stopping abuse. Still, these measures have instilled a legal of climate of "every man is a potential rapist" - ignoring the equally ridiculous corollary that "every woman is a potential false accuser."

Fifth, VAWA's unstated belief that women can only be victims dissuades prosecutors from going after false accusers. As Massachusetts district attorney David Angier once argued, "If anyone is prosecuted for filing a false report, then victims of real attacks will be less likely to report them." And failing to prosecute women who make malicious accusations only means that men will continue to be falsely accused, charged, prosecuted, convicted, sentenced, and jailed.


When will we British learn to stop appeasing terror?

By Melanie Phillips

The ending of the Al Qaeda fertiliser bomb plot trial has posed crucial questions about the competence of MI5. In particular, the assurances we were given after the 7/7 bombings, that the perpetrators had been unknown to the security service, have been shown to be utterly false.

Disturbing as that is by itself, the case also raises yet more pressing questions about whether Britain is even now acting effectively enough against the threat to this country from Islamist terrorism. The fact is that Al Qaeda now sees Britain as both its principal target and its principal recruiting ground. By its own admission, MI5 is monitoring no fewer than 200 terrorist networks, 1,600 identified individual terrorists and 30 known terrorist plots. It says British Muslims are being indoctrinated with horrifying speed, and more terrorists are being recruited every day.

In truth, as our leading counterterrorist police officer, Peter Clarke, said last week, this country is facing a terrorist threat of a nature and scale it has simply never seen before. This terrorism is part of a global holy war - and the dreadful thing is that it is recruiting British-born boys as its foot-soldiers against their own fellow citizens. When my book Londonistan was published a year ago, my claim that we were in a state of denial about the unprecedented emergency we were facing from home-grown terrorism and extremism was dismissed in some quarters as unwarranted alarmism. Since then, public opinion has shifted. Many have realised that what I wrote was, if anything, an understatement of the true position.

But our official class is still failing to take the action that is necessary to defeat this threat to our whole way of life. Certainly, it is now aware of the enormous scale of the terror threat. But it is still fighting it with both hands tied behind its back. In particular, the Human Rights Act continues to make effective anti-terror policy almost impossible. Only last week, the Government was prevented from deporting two Libyan terrorist suspects, even though they came here illegally and are deemed to pose a serious threat to our lives, because our judges have said no one can be sent anywhere that might not uphold their human rights.

The Government was originally begged by our security services not to pass the Human Rights Act precisely because of the danger it would pose to national security by tying us in such knots. Ministers merely dismissed their concerns. Now the same security services face the nightmare that Islamist terrorists will obtain a nuclear or other dirty bomb to use against Britain, with a human rights law that makes it more difficult to thwart such a terrible outcome.

Even worse than this, ministers seem to have no idea about the need to attack the ideology driving all this. It is simply not enough to flush out the terrorist cells, vital though that clearly is. We have to defeat the ideas driving some British Muslims to commit these acts in the first place. The Government has started paying lip service to this. It has spoken against the extremism of the Muslim Council of Britain, and is encouraging a wider range of truly moderate Muslims to speak up. And a few more extremists are being arrested. But at the same time, it is still appeasing radicalism.

It has become a cliche to say that most British Muslims are moderate. Certainly, most of them undoubtedly would have no truck with terrorism or violence and encouragingly, a growing number are speaking out against Islamist extremism. But extremist views are not confined to a few rogue elements. Opinion polls suggest that more than 100,000 of our Muslim citizens think the July 2005 attacks in London were justified. A report by the Policy Exchange think-tank revealed that around one third of British Muslims thought that if Muslims left the faith, they should be killed; and 37 per cent of 16-to-24-year-olds wanted to live in Britain under Sharia rather than English law. These numbers subscribing to such extremist views are deeply disturbing. They swell the sea in which terrorism swims.

If this tide is to be held back, Islamist extremism in Britain must be stopped and British values reasserted and stoutly upheld. To defeat such extremism, we have to make it abundantly clear that we will not give an inch to those who want to destroy our values. But we appear instead to be doing nothing to stop the spread of radical Islamism. Indeed, in a myriad different ways we are giving out the lethal message that we have neither the will nor the courage to defend our way of life. British Muslims are being recruited in large numbers to terror because next to nothing is being done to stop it.

Last January, a Channel Four television Dispatches programme revealed that at certain mosques which were assumed to be moderate and which were even prominent in talking to other faiths, material was being preached and disseminated advocating such horrors as the murder of homosexuals, the beating of women and hatred of Christians and Jews. Despite the Prime Minister's promise to outlaw the radical group Hizb ut Tahrir (which believes that Britain should be an Islamic state), the Government refuses to do so. Yet, Ed Husain, an extremely brave former radical who has recanted, chillingly documents in his new book The Islamist the enormous influence of this group in telling countless British Muslims it's their duty to wage holy war, and that Muslims have a corresponding duty "to be prepared to launch attacks on Britain from within".

Not only are we failing to halt the spread of such lethally extremist views, we are also failing to hold the line for our own values. Above all else, we should absolutely refuse to countenance the spread of Sharia law, which is not only inimical to our own deepest principles but aims to supplant our own laws. Yet we are turning a blind eye to the steady Sharia-isation of our country. We have ignored the development of informal parallel Sharia jurisdictions, enforced by Sharia courts, in areas heavily populated by Muslims. We have not only turned a blind eye to the polygamous marriages they sanction in Britain, but now give extra welfare benefits to husbands settling here with multiple wives - even though bigamy is a crime.

Despite the fact that thousands of Muslim women are terrorised by the threat of "honour killings", only a few of these horrific cases result in prosecutions - because our police are terrified of being accused of "racism" if they pursue them.

Now Gordon Brown has said Britain should become the centre of global Islamic banking. But this is heavily backed by Saudi Arabia which will use it to further its objective of Islamising the West - and may even provide a cover for the financing of further terror. This craven appeasement of extremism gives Islamists the unmistakable message that Britain is theirs for the taking. Thus truly moderate Muslims are betrayed, and all of us are put in infinitely greater danger - not just from terrorism, but from a culture that still seems to be sleepwalking to oblivion.



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 May, 2007

PC demands on the Queen

One hopes that the organizers realize that the Queen does not involve herself in politics

The Queen is being urged to apologise for the slaughter of American Indians and the introduction of slavery when she visits Virginia this week as guest of honour to mark the 400th anniversary of the first English settlement in the New World at Jamestown. She will be landing in the middle of a row over political correctness after officials in Virginia banned the use of the word "celebration" for the anniversary. It is being called a "commemoration" out of respect for the suffering of native Americans, who were attacked after the colonists arrived in 1607.

Africans begin to appear in the English settlement's records as indentured servants in 1619 and were later codified in Virginia's statutes as slaves. Virginia passed a resolution earlier this year expressing "profound regret" for the enslavement of millions of Africans. "Leaders and heads of state have a responsibility to set the tone and it would be a welcome move for the Queen to express regret," said Virginia state representative Donald McEachin, a descendant of slaves, who sponsored the resolution. The Queen is to meet survivors of the Virginia Tech massacre in Richmond, and will refer to the shootings of 32 students and teachers in her speech to the state assembly on Thursday.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said she would also meet "native Americans and representatives of the African American community to recognise that they formed part of the early history of America and not necessarily in a particularly constructive way". He added: "It is not an entirely backwards looking gesture but is one that recognises the diversity of Virginia today."

From Richmond, the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh will travel to the Jamestown settlement where Captain John Smith's life was saved by Pocahontas, the daughter of an Indian chief who was portrayed in a Disney film. Dr Linwood Custalow, author of The True Story of Pocahontas and a descendent of Indian chiefs from the Mattaponi tribe - part of the Powhatan nation - hopes to be introduced to the Queen. "She should definitely apologise," he said. "The first Americans were very welcoming to the colonists, but they launched a war against them." Mary Wade, a native American member of the Virginia Council on Indians, said: "You can't celebrate an invasion. Whole tribes were annihilated."

The Jamestown exhibition portrays the Indians as "in harmony with the life that surrounds them" while Britain is described as a land of "limited opportunity" ravaged by unemployment and low wages and run by a "small elite" of aristocrats. The first 107 colonists arrived in three small ships in the midst of a drought. By the end of a year, disease and starvation had reduced their numbers to 38 and they fought the native Americans for scarce resources. By 1609, full-scale war had broken out.

Jim Horn, a British historian at Colonial Williamsburg, who helped to organise the exhibition, said: "The English wanted to develop fair trade with the Indians but they quickly resorted to violence when they needed to." Rex Ellis, vice-president of Colonial Williamsburg, added: "Jamestown is the birthplace for America and the birthplace for chattel slavery in America."


Motherhood trumps feminism in Britain

The first evidence of an end to the "have-it-all" generation of women emerges today with thousands of nursery places empty because mothers are choosing to care for young children themselves. Almost a quarter of nursery places are now vacant. The ideal of a woman juggling a full-time career with the demands of motherhood is going out of fashion as a new era of flexible parenting rights takes root.

At least a million parents have taken up their "right to request" part-time work instead of leaving their babies to return to the work-place full-time after it was introduced four years ago. The trend is expected to develop as mothers take advantage of their new right to a year's maternity leave.

The first concrete evidence that parents are choosing to care for babies themselves emerges in a report about nurseries by the leading market analysts Laing & Buisson. Their study showed that there were 160,000 vacancies in nurseries last year. That amounts to 22.5 per cent of all places, compared with a vacancy rate of 11 per cent in 2002. The total number of nursery places has nearly doubled over the same period as demand was overanticipated. The Government still plans to create thousands more. The soaring vacancies are all the more striking as the birthrate has risen to its highest level since 1992, with 1.79 children per woman.

The term "have-it-all woman" is attributed to Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, in her 1982 book Having It All. The aspiration for women to juggle their lives came from Nicola Horlick, the financial expert, who explained her superwoman philosophy in a 1997 book. "I timed the conception of my children so that my maternity leave could include the Christmas holidays," she explained.

Susan Anderson, director of human resources policy at the CBI, pointed to a new culture of flexible working introduced by employers over the past decade. "There are certainly far more choices for women now," she said. "Previously you were either at home full-time or at work. Women can now have longer periods off when the child is first born. "Employers should claim the credit because they are providing a lot of flexitime, nine-day fortnights and teleworking [using computers to work away from the office]. There has been a long-term shift towards women having a choice." Ninety per cent of requests for part-time work are being accepted.

The days of mothers rushing back to work the moment that a child is born are over. Only 18 per cent of nursery places are full time and only 7 per cent of children in day care are now under a year old.

As well as better maternity packages, parents have been alarmed by warnings that putting young children in full-time nursery care can make them antisocial and anxious. A government evaluation of nurseries found that toddlers spending more than seven hours a day in daycare were more likely to be bossy, tease other children, stamp their feet, and get anxious when toys or refreshments were handed round.

Despite surplus places, however, the Government plans to create thousands more [How unsurprising!] as it nears its goal of building 3,500 children's centres for the under5s by 2010. Laing & Buisson found that fees remained stubbornly high for parents, especially in London and the Home Counties, where they are charged an average of 168 pounds a week.


Oxfam coffee 'harms' poor farmers

Some Australian conservatives are copying Leftist tactics and getting the legal system into the act

TWO Melbourne academics have lodged formal complaints against Oxfam Australia over the sale of Fairtrade coffee, saying it should not be promoted as helping to lift Third World producers out of poverty because growers are paid very little for their beans. Tim Wilson, a research fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs, and Sinclair Davidson, professor of institutional economics at RMIT University, have asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to investigate Oxfam, saying it is guilty of misleading or deceptive conduct under the Trade Practices Act.

Mr Wilson said there was evidence that Fairtrade products could do more harm than good for coffee producers in undeveloped nations. He cited reports alleging producers had been charged thousands of dollars to become certified Fairtrade providers and some labourers received as little as $3 a day. In order to lodge the complaint, Mr Wilson purchased a 250g pack of Fairtrade organic decaf ground coffee from the online Oxfam shop. "We purchased this product in good faith, with the aim of lifting people out of poverty while enjoying our favourite brew," Mr Wilson said, in his letter to ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel.

Mr Wilson and Professor Davidson have long held doubts about whether Fairtrade products help coffee, tea and cocoa producers in undeveloped nations. Sales of such products in Australia total about $8million. The complaint to the ACCC refers to an article published in the Financial Times last September, which said Fairtrade coffee beans were "picked by workers paid below minimum wage". It claimed workers received the equivalent of $3 a day. The coffee is sold at a premium to people concerned about Third World poverty.

The academics quote an analysis of Fairtrade, published in the US-based Cato journal, which says coffee producers in poor nations are charged $3200 to become certified Fairtrade providers. The producers' costs are therefore higher than on the open market. The Fairtrade campaign aims to manage the international coffee trade by fixing prices at $US1.26 ($1.64) per pound (454g) and eventually fixing supply.

"Oxfam says the Fairtrade coffee allows growers in developing countries to sell coffee 'at a decent price' but we don't accept that the Fairtrade system can work," Mr Wilson said. "Our primary complaint is that this is an unsustainable system. The only sustainable mechanism is through free trade. They are artificially cooking up the international coffee trade, to promote the interests of the Fairtrade brand and the people who sign up to it." Fairtrade coffee is stocked by Coles and the Hudson coffee chain. Origin Energy and Orica make Fairtrade coffee available to staff in their Australian offices.

Oxfam rejected the academics' claims. It is this week promoting a Fairtrade Fortnight. To mark the event, Oxfam Australia invited Costa Rican coffee farmer Guillermo Vargas to a series of lectures on Fairtrade. Oxfam's Neil Bowker rejected criticism of the Fairtrade coffee project, saying: "It's all audited and monitored, from beginning to end, and we've got no doubts about the effectiveness."



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 May, 2007

Regulation-mad Britain

Even Mussolini was more permissive than this

A baker has been forced to rename her novelty pig tarts - because they don't contain any pork. Val Temple, who runs Sgt Bun Bakery, Weymouth, says officers from Dorset's trading standards department also told her she must swap the name of robin tarts as they are not made from robins. And she claims she was instructed to rename her paradise slice because ... it's not from paradise.

Mrs Temple has made the novelty cakes in the shape of pigs and robins as a treat for her customers for years. She said: "It's a joke. "The officers came in and said they had had a complaint [From a Muslim?] and I must change the names because they didn't contain pork, robin or paradise. "It's an insult to the public. Of course they don't contain pig, robin or paradise.

"The trading standards officers have been coming into this shop for 26 years and now the name has been picked up. "It's absolutely ridiculous. Are they going to start banning Christmas cake because it doesn't have Jesus in it? "You could apply it to everything. It's so silly. "And as for the paradise slice, that recipe is 120 years old and it's always been known as Paradise Slice. "They said they were going to come back in and check, so I've changed the names now. "But people are still coming in and calling them by their proper names." Mrs Temple said she had swapped the name of her animal-inspired tarts to novelty tarts with jam and fondant and the paradise slice to almond, fruit and nut slice.

Ivan Hancock, the county's trading standards manager, said: "The fact is that piece of food needs to be properly described so that the consumer can tell what it is. "There's nothing wrong with using other names but it must be accompanied by the true name of the food. "Consumers have the right to know what is in food."

But Mrs Temple, who runs the bakers with her husband Ian, denied she was told this. She said: "The way they came in and said the names had to be changed didn't give me the impression you could keep the names. "I'm sure other places haven't been told they should list all the ingredients. It's ridiculous having a long list of ingredients - of course customers are not going to think I put robin and pork in a cake."


Update on the campaign against anti-male advertising

By Glenn Sacks

The advertising industry has reacted to our recent protest of Arnold Worldwide's TV commercials with great hostility. Our campaign seeks to convince Volvo to reject Arnold's bid for its pending $150 million advertising contract. We oppose Arnold because of its track record of denigrating men and fathers, particularly in its recent Fidelity TV commercials. The industry has protested loudly, but the industry doth protest too much.

In 2004, we organized a similar campaign against a Verizon ad which featured a father being humiliated in front of his daughter. Over 2,000 protesters contacted Verizon, the story made 300 newspapers, and the ad stopped running a few weeks later.

During both protests, many in the advertising industry accused me of being a humorless zealot with no appreciation for their clever ads. But if these advertising professionals really believe that it's all just a harmless joke, shouldn't they allow women to join in on all the fun? And when we can turn on the TV and see women routinely being portrayed as lousy, irresponsible mothers, will it still be funny? Will we still be laughing when commercials tell us that women aren't as smart as men? Or aren't as mature? Will it still be funny when women are always wrong and their husbands must continually correct them?

There is a justifiable consensus in our society that it's harmful to depict African-Americans as being mostly either criminals, drug addicts or ne'er-do-wells. We agree that it's harmful to portray women as being incapable of being scientists or mathematicians. Yet these same principles are not applied to men, the last politically acceptable group to portray in an unfavorable light.

Advertising professionals tell me that this is as it should be, since men are privileged and make up the majority of CEOs, politicians and powerbrokers. Yet when we say men are "privileged," we are only looking up. If we look at the bottom of our society--the homeless, the imprisoned, the suicide victims, those who die young, the school dropouts--most there are male, too. While some critics have told me to "stop whining" and to "be a man," I've rarely heard the phrase "be a man" connected to anything that was in a man's best interests.

We certainly don't seek to cut out all ads which poke fun at men-what we want instead is balance. Everybody should get a roll in the barrel. The industry assures us that there's no problem with current practices, but if this is true, why have several thousand men and women joined our protests? And while critics try to dismiss us as a male backlash, many of our biggest and most articulate supporters are women, particularly the mothers of boys. One protester, a mother of two boys, dismissed the ad industry's ludicrous pretense that these ads have no effect on how our society views men, telling Volvo: "What kind of world are we creating for our boys when all they see on TV are irresponsible, immature men incapable of being good husbands or good fathers?"

When protesters write me, they often tell me of their pet peeve ad. Like the "humorous" new Sprint commercial where two men play a friendly joke on their female boss, who then assaults both, sending them to the hospital with head wounds. Or the Emerald Nuts commercial which aired during the 2005 Super Bowl, where a dad lies to his little daughter rather than give her some nuts, and is scolded for his years of deceptions. Or the Shaw's supermarket commercial where a woman tackles and kicks a man who apparently took her lunch from the office cafeteria.

When we did the Verizon campaign, critics said it was unfair to target Verizon because it was McGarrybowen, their ad agency, who created the ads. Now Arnold CEO Fran Kelly criticizes our campaign and many of Arnold's defenders insist that it's wrong to blame the agencies, since we should instead be blaming Fidelity. In the advertising industry, apparently the buck stops nowhere.

Upton Sinclair once said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." The ad industry has a problem. If industry executives develop a plan to solve it, we'll applaud them. But until the industry learns to regulate itself, we'll continue to pressure it to do the right thing. And Mr. Kelly, if your agency does happen to lose out on that $150 million Volvo contract, remember-take it like a man.


Italian Politician misrepresents Catholic view of homosexuals

Italy's Giusto Catania launched an attack on the Catholic Church from the floor of the European Parliament Wednesday. Catania, a Member of the European Parliament, joined in a debate on homophobia to say that the European governing body must stop intolerance.

"We cannot allow these signs of intolerance," said Catania, "we cannot allow such statements to be made as made by the Polish Minister." Those statements he referred to were those of Polish Education Minister Roman Giertych, who has proposed legislation to forbid promotion of homosexuality in schools. "One must limit homosexual propaganda so that children won't have an improper view of family," said Giertych.

Catania said that the necessity to stop such intolerance "is true for politics but also for the Clergy and the Church."

Despite the fact that the Catholic Church officially teaches it sinful to hate anyone, enemy or friend, sinner or saint, Catania claimed the Church hates homosexuals. Catania said the Clergy and the Church, "never miss an opportunity to express their hatred of homosexuals and they harass these people and regard them as sinners."



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.