The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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Postmodernism is fundamentally frivolous. Postmodernists routinely condemn racism and intolerance as wrong but then say that there is no such thing as right and wrong. They are clearly not being serious. Either they do not really believe in moral nihilism or they believe that racism cannot be condemned!

Postmodernism is in fact just a tantrum. Post-Soviet reality in particular suits Leftists so badly that their response is to deny that reality exists. That they can be so dishonest, however, simply shows how psychopathic they are.


31 October, 2007

The Two Americas

There are two Americas, John Edwards likes to say. He's right, but the difference is not between rich and poor, but between free and less free. You can desecrate the sacred rite of communion in a Catholic church, as some mocking gays in nuns' habits did in San Francisco, and enjoy the explicit support of the mayor. However, you can't erect a manger scene on public property during Christmas. You can't say a prayer in a public school. If your city seal has any remotely religious image on it, your city will be sued by the ACLU.

You are free to kill an innocent child in the womb. However, you are not free to discourage that violent act within a few hundred feet of facilities where it occurs or where it is encouraged.

You are free to attend the college of your choice. If you attend Harvard, you can take classes studying gender differences in government and sociology. However, if you are the president of Harvard, and suggest that there are differences between the way men and women think, which is obvious to anyone who has more than a one-weekend relationship with a member of the opposite sex, then you can be hounded from your position by radical feminists and their allies.

You can even be the leader of a nation that hates this one, a leader who supplies terrorists with the weapons to kill American soldiers and innocent civilians, a leader who denies the Holocaust that thousands of Americans gave their lives to end, a leader who openly pursues nuclear weapons and threatens neighboring nations with them, and still be invited to speak before students at Columbia University.

However, if you're a member of a citizen organization dedicated to stopping illegal immigration, and you, too are invited to speak at Columbia University, you won't get very far. You will be heckled, shouted down, accosted, and strong-armed off the stage by protestors in the time-honored tradition of fascists.

If you're a student at Columbia who has made the selfless and noble decision to dedicate a portion of his life to the defense of this country, you are free to participate in the ROTC program, but only since Columbia was forced by federal law to make that program available. But you will be required to leave campus, hop a subway to a remote location, and attend your ROTC classes somewhere other than the university that enjoys federal subsidies because Columbia's administration wants to make the path of the patriot as difficult as possible.

This is the ultimate irony, because the freedoms Americans enjoy are defended by those very Americans who make the choice that Columbia University and the Left so disdain. USA Today this week noted that those who serve and have served in the military are more likely to vote than those who have not. Perhaps this is because they know the cost of freedom, having paid it themselves.


Liberals vs. the First Amendment

Until the FCC scrapped the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, it required broadcasters to provide equal time to all sides of "controversial" issues. In practice, this led to what Bill Monroe, a former host of NBC's "Meet the Press," called "timid, don't-rock-the-boat coverage." On radio, Newsweek's Howard Fineman notes, it "effectively kept partisan shows off the airwaves," so that in 1980 there were a mere 75 talk radio stations. Today there are 1,800.

But the Fairness Doctrine has always had fans in the corridors of power because it gave incumbents a way of muzzling their opponents. The Kennedy administration used it as a political weapon. Bill Ruder, Kennedy's assistant secretary of commerce, explained: "Our strategy was to use the Fairness Doctrine to challenge and harass right-wing broadcasters and hope that the challenges would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue." The Nixon administration similarly used the doctrine to torment left-wing broadcasters.

Democrats who have become "Fairness" mongers insist they simply want to restore civility and balance to the airwaves. Al Gore, in a typically overheated speech last year bemoaned "the destruction of [the] marketplace of ideas" which he blamed in part on the repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, after which "Rush Limbaugh and other hate-mongers began to fill the airwaves."

Sen. Dianne Feinstein rails against "one-sided programming" that has pushed the American people into "extreme views without a lot of information." She thinks Americans deserve to know "both sides of the story." Isn't it enough that National Public Radio, subsidized by the government, serves as a vehicle for liberal voices in just about every community in the country?

True, commercial radio is dominated by conservatives, but perhaps that's because liberal arguments in their full-throated glory just haven't sold as well. Air America, the liberal talk radio network that debuted in 2004, is in perpetual financial trouble. Then there's the GreenStone talk radio network started last year by feminists Jane Fonda and Gloria Steinem. It offered cutting-edge liberal thinking pitched to a female audience--and flopped completely.

Rep. Pence says he knows all about the power of talk radio because he used to host a statewide show in Indiana, where he describes himself as "the decaf Rush Limbaugh." He believes the Fairness Doctrine would "amount to government control over political views expressed on the public airwaves." In June his first effort to impose a one-year moratorium on any revival of the Fairness Doctrine by the FCC passed, 309-115, with nearly half of House Democrats voting in favor. But a one-year moratorium was an easy vote, because there is no reason to expect the Fairness Doctrine to make a comeback before 2009, when a new president--perhaps a Democrat--appoints a majority of FCC commissioners.

That's why Mr. Pence is proposing the Broadcaster Freedom Act, a bill that would permanently bury the Fairness Doctrine. Because House Democratic leaders are unlikely to allow it to come to the floor for a vote, Mr. Pence has launched a "discharge petition," a device to bypass House committees and move the bill directly to the floor. He needs 218 members--a House majority--to sign the petition. He has collected 185 signatures, but all from Republicans. Democrats are being told by their leadership that signing such a petition would undermine their control of the House.

Mr. Pence, says that "freedom should not be a partisan issue" and that he is optimistic that he can collect the signature of every Republican and then pluck off some 20 of the Democrats who voted for his one-year moratorium last summer (he'd need at least 18). The stakes are high. "Lovers of liberty must expose calls to restore the Fairness Doctrine for the fraudulent power-grab that they plainly are," writes Brian Anderson, editor of the Manhattan Institute's City Journal.

That's because the attempts to control the airwaves won't stop with so-called equal time rules. Al Franken, the liberal former Air America host who is now running for the Senate in Minnesota, is already slipping into the role of potential legislative censor of his old industry. "You shouldn't be able to lie on the air," he told Newsweek's Mr. Fineman earlier this year. "You can't utter obscenities in a broadcast, so why should you be able to lie? You should be fined for lying."

In fact, you can be "fined" for lying, if the person you lie about successfully sues for defamation. But the First Amendment makes it exceedingly difficult for defamation plaintiffs to prevail, especially if they are public figures--and for good reason. Under a more pro-plaintiff legal regime, "the pall of fear and timidity imposed upon those who would give voice to public criticism is an atmosphere in which the First Amendment freedoms cannot survive," Justice William Brennan wrote in New York Times v. Sullivan (1964). Justice Brennan used to be a liberal hero. If he were alive today, he would surely be dismayed to learn that liberals seem to have concluded they have no use for the First Amendment.


Our Depressogenic Media

Can the media make you sick? It is a real question. Do you read a news headline and get that sinking feeling in your stomach? Or have you learned to avoid those headlines completely? I know one woman who can burst into tears from reading the newspaper. A medical doctor I know feels close to despair on an everyday basis, set off by media headlines --- most of which are dubious or plain false. Other people I know hate George W. Bush, not because of anything real, but because they have been constantly indoctrinated with media falsehoods, day after day after day.

The recent smear campaign against Rush Limbaugh provides an excellent example: Even though the facts were entirely clear, the mainstream media reports still suggested that Rush had insulted the US military. No knowledgeable person believed that, since Rush has his own mass media megaphone to counter the lie. Anyone could find out the truth simply by turning on the radio or reading the web. But the established media still peddled a plain lie. Only the really indoctrinated fell for this particular piece of disinformation. But those are the people who cannot exercise normal skepticism when it comes to the news. They would never just fall for a used car sales pitch or a Nigerian email scam. But they are constantly victimized by the depressogenic media, which are about as objective on political issues as an email scammer. The liberal media harm their own gullible audiences most of all.

"Depressogenic" is one of those overly long medical words, meaning "to cause depression." We know what causes depression in many individuals --- it is the overly harsh and constantly repeated self-criticism that many of us train ourselves to rehearse in our minds, and which can become automatic and uncontrollable after years of practice, in much the way that an annoying little habit can become uncontrollable. Musicians often develop such little out-of-control habits; Glenn Gould could not stop himself from singing during his piano recitals, as can be heard on his studio recordings. That is even more true for habits like our inner monologue, which we rarely understand to be habits. We tend to take our inner monologue for granted.

For decades, research has shown that excessive self-critical thoughts can lead to depression. A little self-criticism is obviously healthy. Out-of-control and unrealistic self-criticism can be pathogenic. People sometimes commit suicide because of depression, and those with a biological predisposition could actually kill themselves statistically more often, because of the atmosphere of gloom that is constantly spread by our established media, which are almost sadistic in the intensity of their anti-American hatred. It is a pathogenic condition, just as one can see pathogenic situations in families and organizations.

It is the high achievers in the world who are often the most self-critical, and therefore the most vulnerable to self-inflicted depression. The habit of compulsive self-criticism allows high achievers to leap hurdle after hurdle in schools and careers. But the psychological cost can be a kind of out-of-control self-loathing, self-doubt, and discounting of one's own achievements. Ultimately nothing is good enough. Some high achievers have a pervasive feeling of being impostors, always having to prove to themselves that they are really as good as everyone else believes them to be.

The media do to our national conversation what depressed people do in their inner monologue. They are compulsively self-critical to the point of national self-hatred. It is not far from the truth to talk about our self-loathing media, except that the media don't loathe themselves: They exempt themselves from criticism. Instead, they hate our country, and teach millions of their psychological victims to do the same. This pattern has now gone way beyond the healthy self-criticism that any nation needs. It has turned into the compulsive anti-Americanism of the American media. (The Europeans are all too happy to echo our own anti-American media, which makes them feel a lot better about themselves.)

The sources of our media self-hatred are not as important as the solution. Depressed people don't have to dig into the history of their self-critical thoughts. Rather, they just need to gently guide their thoughts into saner and less self-destructive directions. Psychiatrists have long helped depressed people learn to spot their excessively self-critical thoughts, and to "argue" against them in the inner monologue.

We have a depressogenic media. Diagnosis is a useful step toward a cure. For better national mental health we need a balanced or even an optimistic media, in exactly the same way individuals thrive with an optimistic or at least a balanced attitude to themselves. News consumers are finally figuring out the media's sadistic "flagellate-America" style. They are now changing in droves to more constructive media voices. That process should accelerate and snowball, with new media emphasizing a more balanced understanding of America's virtues, and more constructive solutions for our problems. The present established media are far too stuck to change. We need a New Media for improved national mental health. The media could start by taking a long course in saner thinking themselves.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

The Selective Censorship of Speech

Since this country's inception a variety of our rulers have, from time to time, impinged Americans' freedoms of expression. For example, John Adams' Sedition Act outlawed critical writing and speech against the U.S.; a 1907 Supreme Court decision favored nationalism over property rights and free expression; in 2001, a reporter was interrogated by the Secret Service for writing an editorial asking Jesus Christ to smite George W. Bush; and in 2006 a man was jailed for assault after telling Dick Cheney U.S. policy in Iraq was reprehensible. While there have been numerous governmental freedom faux pas, the truth is we are blind to the true stewards of censorship -the American public.

Granted, our public servants make much better boogeymen, but it is our own cowardice that facilitates the further erosion of freedom. Every time we say, "There ought to be a law," apologize for expressing ourselves or use our right of expression to stifle someone else's views, we are guilty. Perhaps it has always been this way. Maybe somewhere along the line a great many people simply decided they have the right not to be offended. They took donations, formed groups and greased the palms of those who passed legislation on so-called hate speech and decency legislation when all these citizen tyrants needed to do was ignore the insulting material, thereby removing its power.

First they changed "manhole cover" to "person-hole cover," and "chairman" to "Chairperson." The next thing you know, retarded people are no longer retarded, they're mentally challenged. And while I'm still white, blacks are now African American--regardless of whether they were born in Idaho or Sudan. And while I was born in America, I am not a native American, and I'm still not sure whether to refer to Indians-feathers, not dots-as Indians or Native Americans.

In his book N*gger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, Randall Kennedy discusses the controversy over who can and cannot employ the so-called N-word. The idea that there exists a race-specific license on what words one can and cannot use is nearly as frightening as it is ridiculous. And, as asinine, juvenile and repulsive as I find people who dislike others based on race, religion or sexual preference, they have every right to engage in free speech, even the hateful kind. As with every other infringement on liberty, those oppressors claim to stifle us for our own safety and mental health. Of course, the result from subjective enforcement is an evermore skewed sense of who can say what and when.

Even more contradictory is the disparity between epithets the PC police will and won't allow. While I can get away with saying "Redneck, whitey, cracker, Canuck, pollock, flapdragon, frog, limey, Mohawk and mongrel," no one would stand for me calling an Irishman a "mic" or an Italian a "wop." And before you break out the "Death to Gohs" stationery, I'm not dropping slurs just for the hell of it. My job consists of words, language and the nuances therein. And few things terrify me more than being told I am barred from using certain aspects of the language simply because I may offend someone. If I cannot write or say one word today, then what won't I be able to write or say tomorrow?

I'm not calling for people to start dropping F-bombs or N-words willy-nilly in newspapers, on TV or radio, and I'm certainly not begging Buddha to bugger Bush, but when a radio shock-jock loses his job for saying, "Nappy-headed hoes," or anti-freedom zealots 'round the country scream for the head of the editor of a college rag who used "Fuck" in a headline, political correctness has gone too far.

I doubt not for a second that Imus' poor word choice hurt some feelings, but if he would have made nasty comments about fat people, white people, Canadian people or gays, he would today remain unscathed-Now where is the decency in that?

Like Spencer Tracy's character Henry Drummond in "Inherit the Wind" said, "I don't swear for the hell of it. Language is a poor enough means of communication. We've got to use all the words we've got. Besides, there are damn few words anybody understands." Following is a three-step emergency plan for those of you easily offended by free speech:

1. Stock up on tissue paper - Warning: Excessive weeping may require something more absorbent such as a beach towel or bedspread.

2. Do not turn off the radio nor close the offending book or newspaper - the side effects of doing so include personal responsibility and diminished indignation.

3. Punch yourself in the stomach, because you are a whiny little dork and I don't have time to do it for you - Repeat as necessary.

Even with all the expletives, slang and jive on the planet, there is nothing more damaging to the fruition of ". . . liberty and justice for all" than the censorship of free expression.


It's Not About Freedom, But Whose Freedom

Freedom is the ultimate double-edged sword. It can allow us to reach our dreams or construct our nightmares. It allows people to make something of their lives or make their lives a mess. It allows governments to become havens for happiness or dens of despair. It permits politicians to wax eloquently or spew rubbish. Freedom allows us to be informed and entertained or deceived and indoctrinated. It can provide our children with a better future or no future at all. It cannot be destroyed; it can only be redistributed.

Liberal Hobby

Liberals love to wail on about freedom of this and freedom of that, waving a litany of freedoms we are on our way to losing it we do not blindly follow their lead. That litany typically includes freedom of speech, freedom of lifestyle, freedom of choice, freedom from religion and so on. As usual, liberals live by presenting themselves as saviors of freedom, noble knights out to slay the intolerant, racist, greedy and insensitive dragon of conservatism. Conservatives eat our freedoms for lunch, the liberals tell us.

We are warned of phone-tapping, violations of privacy, random searches, profiling, invasions into our private lives and bedrooms and all manner of foul and sinister wounds on our freedom at the hands of conservatives. At the end of the day, liberals are nothing but sly mechanics who wave a little oil in the finger as a sign that we need major car repairs and we better have them service our car at regular intervals as well. They are not about where our freedom can take us but rather how our freedom can be taken from us. Oh, by the way, they are the ones taking our freedom. Ironic, isn't it?

It is About Redistribution

I have come to believe that freedom is never lost from the scene; it is merely redistributed. The freedom you lose is the freedom someone else gains. If I put you in prison or stop you from expressing yourself, I am taking your freedom from you but using that freedom for myself. I am creating a freedom, albeit destructive, for myself to confine or shut you up.

The liberal will tell you that freedom of speech should be protected, but he will therefore protect and defend speech that harms someone else's freedom from vulgarity, treason or invasion of their family unit. Meanwhile, that same liberal will use his freedom to censor someone else's freedom of speech should that speech offend the liberal. In the end, it is not about freedom at all but rather redistributing labels and concepts as needed. Hate speech is what I hate to hear. Intolerance is when you do not tolerate my views. Diversity is my kind of diversity.

In the end, liberals are not fighting for freedom. Rather, they are merely fighting to redistribute your freedom back to themselves, giving them the right to control, censor, moderate and define the issues, conversations and path that our national debate takes. You can dispel any doubts on this point by asking yourself if liberals are interested in conservatives being free to express their views on any topic. The next time a liberal tells you that he is about freedom, mention The Fair Use Doctrine.

It's My Freedom and I Can Cry If I Want To

We have been told many times over that liberals are intellectual babies, that they think that they are always right and that they want things their way or no way at all. Since liberals have convinced themselves that conservatives are simple-minded, superstitious hicks holding a Bible on one hand and moonshine on the other, it should be no surprise that they wonder why anyone should be exposed to any conservative's opinions about whiskey, much less society, politics, law, justice, religion and immigration.

Remember the Columbia University affair a while back when imbeciles stormed the stage to prevent Jim Gilchrist from speaking about border security? They claimed to be fighting for freedom from "racist intolerance" and "hate speech" even as they trampled on Gilchrist's right to speak. What more evidence do we need of just how absurd, hypocritical and selective liberals' definition of freedom really is?

In a Perfect World

In a perfect world, people would be able to enjoy their freedom within the confines of decency, some semblance of social and civic order and respect for life, family, nation and tradition. In case you have not noticed, this is not a perfect world or society. Here we have people abusing their freedom by turning it into a vehicle of selective hypocrisy, legislative and judicial abuse, wanton treason against our national self-interest and betrayal of much of what this nation should stand for.

Liberals are not just seeking to sell the farm; they are trying to sell it to our worst enemies and have us pay those same foes rent as tenants of that which we once owned. Liberals are not just slapping our troops in the face; they are mocking the blood that our brave military have shed over the long history of this nation. Nobody should be surprised to see liberals mocking and disrespecting our troops in Iraq. After all, did they not do the same in Vietnam?

Liberals tell us that they are for freedom against racism, yet history shows that the Democratic Party created the KKK and the Democratic Congress was the greatest obstacle to much of the civil rights legislation that came down the river since then. Liberals tell us that they are for freedom from discrimination and patronization, yet their affirmative action policies and entitlement programs merely spread closet racism, victimization and patronization under the guise of governmental and institutional compassion.

Finally, liberals speak of protecting our national interest and freedoms, yet they passionately fight to transfer our freedom as citizens and lawful residents of this great nation to those who mock our laws, spit at our flag and invade our country unlawfully. They take the freedom of a family lawfully in this country to send their child to college at a reasonable cost and transfer that freedom to a family unlawfully in this country. The next time a liberal tells you that he is about freedom of education at a fair, just cost for our lawful residents, mention the Dream Act.


This is not a discussion about freedom. It is, however, very much a discussion about whose freedom, and that is where each of us has to draw the line in the sand and choose a side. One side believes that freedom is a beautiful gift that must be earned through lawful respect, reasonable civility, loyalty to nation, awareness of a noble history and humble obedience to a Higher Power. This is the freedom to achieve dreams through hard work and obeying our laws and loyalty to flag and country. Simply put, it is the freedom to apply everything our founders intended and demonstrate everything they believed.

The other side believes that freedom is an entitlement conferred only upon those who toe the line, buy the script and accept the spin. Their freedom is the freedom to practice blatant hypocrisy, selective tolerance and disrespectful arrogance. It is the freedom to point fingers and not look in mirrors. It is the freedom to expect entitlements and handouts, preferences and labels and embrace patronization and victimization as the easy way to goals. At the end of the day, one side defines freedom as the right to serve this great nation while enjoying and recognizing its great gifts while the other defines that same freedom as the right to walk down a street naked or crawl under a border fence. Freedom never disappears; it is just defined in different ways.


Poverty exaggerations

AUSTRALIA'S welfare lobby is at it again. In a report issued last week, an alliance of welfare groups claimed that more than 11 per cent of Australian households are living in poverty, and that their numbers are rising. The Uniting Church president described this as scandalous. A St Vincent de Paul activist said it shows the need for a national vision instead of piecemeal programs. And the head of the Australian Council of Social Service came right to the point by demanding more funding for essential services.

Working people in this country are paying tax to support more than 700,000 disability support pensioners, about 600,000 welfare parents, nearly half a million unemployed and two million aged pensioners, not to mention more than three million families claiming Family Tax Benefit.

While unemployment figures are at 30-year lows, total welfare dependency is at record highs. A workforce of 10million is supporting two million welfare claimants of working age, plus another two million aged pensioners. The cost is phenomenal: more than $70 billion on social security and welfare payments alone. Yet ACOSS says we should be spending even more.

Few Australians begrudge helping those who really need support, but they do resent paying for people who could be supporting themselves. Research a few years ago found 56 per cent think the welfare state makes people less willing to look after themselves, and only 34 per cent want more of their taxes spent on welfare benefits for the poor.

The welfare lobby is well aware of this public resistance to higher welfare spending. That's why it persists in producing wildly exaggerated and misleading reports about the size of our poverty problem. They think if they can get us to believe that huge numbers of our fellow citizens are suffering, our sense of fairness will lead us to support their demands for more government spending. They even called their latest report Australia Fair.

There are two reasons why we should refuse to go along with this.

The first is that their definition of poverty is entirely arbitrary. They say anyone is poor who has less than half the median income. On this definition, 11 per cent of Australians are poor. But their report also says you could define poverty as an income less than 60 per cent of the median income, in which case 19 per cent of Australians are poor. We could play this game indefinitely. To increase your poverty estimate, simply draw your line at a higher level.

What this report is really doing is measuring income dispersion, not poverty. It shows that the proportion of the population receiving less than half the median income has grown from 10per cent to 11 per cent during the past three years. It calls this an increase in poverty, but all it really means is incomes have become slightly more spread out.

Comparing the incomes of people at the bottom with those higher up tells us about the difference between them, but it tells us nothing about whether they are poor or rich. This slight increase in the income spread has actually coincided with a rapid rise in real incomes at all levels, so everyone has been getting better off. To describe this as a growth of poverty (and even as sad and scandalous, as the Uniting Church did) is clearly absurd.

The second reason for taking this report with a pinch of salt is that it takes a static snapshot rather than looking at people's incomes over time. Household incomes fluctuate, so most people who appear under any arbitrarily drawn poverty line do not stay there long. Research following a panel of Australian households for several years found 12 per cent had less than half the median income in the first year, but only 6 per cent had an income this low for two years running, and just 4 per cent stayed under the line for three years. Sustained poverty, as against a temporary income drop, is thus much lower than the welfare lobby would have you believe.

Moreover, people adjust to fluctuating incomes through their lifetime by changing their pattern of borrowing, saving and spending, so their living standards actually vary much less dramatically than their incomes do. Research at the Melbourne Institute has found people on low incomes do not necessarily consume less food, clothing, transportation, gas, electricity, health insurance, alcohol, meals out or home maintenance than other people do. Living temporarily on a low income does not necessarily translate into poor living standards.

The Melbourne Institute study combines income and consumption into a single measure of poverty. It finds that only 3 per cent of the population comes out as poor at any one time on this measure, and just 1 per cent remains poor over two successive years. The study concludes: "Existing income-based measures (of poverty) are seriously in error. The results they give are much too high."

Some of us have been saying this for a long time, but it is not a message the welfare pressure groups seem willing to listen to.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

KKK's 1st targets were Republicans

Dems started group that attacked both blacks, whites -- something else that the Leftist control of history teaching has ALMOST removed from memory

The original targets of the Ku Klux Klan were Republicans, both black and white, according to a new television program and book, which describe how the Democrats started the KKK and for decades harassed the GOP with lynchings and threats. An estimated 3,446 blacks and 1,297 whites died at the end of KKK ropes from 1882 to 1964.

The documentation has been assembled by David Barton of Wallbuilders and published in his book "Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black & White," which reveals that not only did the Democrats work hand-in-glove with the Ku Klux Klan for generations, they started the KKK and endorsed its mayhem. "Of all forms of violent intimidation, lynchings were by far the most effective," Barton said in his book. "Republicans often led the efforts to pass federal anti-lynching laws and their platforms consistently called for a ban on lynching. Democrats successfully blocked those bills and their platforms never did condemn lynchings."

Further, the first grand wizard of the KKK was honored at the 1868 Democratic National Convention, no Democrats voted for the 14th Amendment to grant citizenship to former slaves and, to this day, the party website ignores those decades of racism, he said. "Although it is relatively unreported today, historical documents are unequivocal that the Klan was established by Democrats and that the Klan played a prominent role in the Democratic Party," Barton writes in his book. "In fact, a 13-volume set of congressional investigations from 1872 conclusively and irrefutably documents that fact.

"Contributing to the evidences was the 1871 appearance before Congress of leading South Carolina Democrat E.W. Seibels who testified that 'they [the Ku Klux Klan] belong to the reform part - [that is, to] our party, the Democratic Party,'" Barton writes. "The Klan terrorized black Americans through murders and public floggings; relief was granted only if individuals promised not to vote for Republican tickets, and violation of this oath was punishable by death," he said. "Since the Klan targeted Republicans in general, it did not limit its violence simply to black Republicans; white Republicans were also included."

Barton also has covered the subject in one episode of his American Heritage Series of television programs, which is being broadcast now on Trinity Broadcasting Network and Cornerstone Television.

Barton told WND his comments are not a condemnation or endorsement of any party or candidate, but rather a warning that voters even today should be aware of what their parties and candidates stand for. His book outlines the aggressive pro-slavery agenda held by the Democratic Party for generations leading up to the Civil War, and how that did not die with the Union victory in that war of rebellion. Even as the South was being rebuilt, the votes in Congress consistently revealed a continuing pro-slavery philosophy on the part of the Democrats, the book reveals.

Three years after Appomattox, the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting blacks citizenship in the United States, came before Congress: 94 percent of Republicans endorsed it. "The records of Congress reveal that not one Democrat - either in the House or the Senate - voted for the 14th Amendment," Barton wrote. "Three years after the Civil War, and the Democrats from the North as well as the South were still refusing to recognize any rights of citizenship for black Americans." He also noted that South Carolina Gov. Wade Hampton at the 1868 Democratic National Convention inserted a clause in the party platform declaring the Congress' civil rights laws were "unconstitutional, revolutionary, and void." It was the same convention when Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the KKK, was honored for his leadership.

Barton's book notes that in 1868, Congress heard testimony from election worker Robert Flournoy, who confessed while he was canvassing the state of Mississippi in support of the 13th and 14th Amendments, he could find only one black, in a population of 444,000 in the state, who admitted being a Democrat.

Nor is Barton the only person to raise such questions. In 2005, National Review published an article raising similar points. The publication said in 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican, deployed the 82nd Airborne Division to desegregate the Little Rock, Ark., schools over the resistance of Democrat Gov. Orval Faubus.

Further, three years later, Eisenhower signed the GOP's 1960 Civil Rights Act after it survived a five-day, five-hour filibuster by 18 Senate Democrats, and in 1964, Democrat President Lyndon Johnson signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act after former Klansman Robert Byrd's 14-hour filibuster, and the votes of 22 other Senate Democrats, including Tennessee's Al Gore Sr., failed to scuttle the plan.

More here

Competitive sport making a partial comeback in British schools

In Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857), written by an alumnus of Rugby school during Thomas Arnold's headship, the eponymous hero states: `[F]ootball and cricket, now one comes to think of it, are such much better games than fives or hare-and-hounds, or any others where the object is to come in first or to win for oneself, and not that one's side may win.' It's not therefore competition per se that was deemed morally suspect, but self-interest - hence the emphasis on team sport. Moreover, the moral claims made on behalf of certain team sports drew on their intrinsically competitive nature, indeed, made of it a virtue. Instrumental it may be, but the ends are not extrinsic to the means.

Adding a touch more Empire to this morally robust mix, a later Victorian homilist, TL Papillon, was equally certain of sport's value to a public school boy, especially one who, lacking academic aptitude, `has devoted a great part of his time and nearly all his thoughts to athletic sports': for he will still bring `away something beyond all price, a manly straight forward character, a scorn of lying and meanness, habits of obedience and command and reckless courage. Thus equipped, he goes out into the world, and bears a man's part in subduing the earth, taming its wild folk, and building up the Empire.' (4) It is doubtful that any equivalent rhetoric exists for pedometers.

In an article published in The Tribune in December 1945, George Orwell famously echoed the sentiments above. But he did so darkly: `Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting.' (5) The occasion for such a tirade may have been Arsenal's defeat of Dynamo Moscow, but it doesn't take a historian to figure out that the context of recent World War, and incipient Cold War, provided the frame through which Orwell rendered competitiveness as the essence of militarism. Furthermore, the focus of Orwell's declamation is illustrative. For it is always in terms of the competitive element, the very element both regulated and exalted in sport throughout its nineteenth-century development, that sport is judged. The disparagement of school sport during the late 1980s and 90s is no exception. On the basis that competitive sport cultivated selfishness, competitive sports days appeared as free-market induction sessions. While many lost their livelihoods during the 1980s and early 90s, in the anti-competitive parallel sporting universe, wrongs were to be set right by ensuring that eggs were glued to spoons.

But times change. `It was an absurd and perverse political correctness which caused competitive sports to be banned in some schools and I hope we never see a return to such nonsense' announced then education secretary Alan Johnson earlier this year (5). Indeed, school sport has rarely been so high up the policy agenda, nor investment so forthcoming. As last year's School Sport Survey extolled: `Physical Education (PE) and sport play an important role in school life. They help to raise standards, improve behaviour and health, increase attendance and develop social skills.' In other words, school sport does a lot of things the government is keen on doing. Not only that, it also seems to be pretty successful. As David Conn reported, in 1994, only 25 per cent of primary and secondary school pupils in Britain were doing the recommended two hours of PE a week (6). The figure is now 86 per cent (7).

There's no doubt that the stats are impressive. But it's what is driving the newfound sporting zeal that is more troubling. As with many other aspects of education, school sport seems to be acquiring its current meaning in a context of social estrangement. In this sense it appears as no more than a vital mediation between the dislocated state and the populace it seeks to manage. But in the process of reducing school sport to a policy mechanism, a management tool, the authorities run the risk of emptying sport of content, reducing it to an abstraction, units of exercise applicable to everyone - sporty or not. As such it can just about refer to anything that involves a degree of movement, hence its ability to colonise informal aspects of kids' lives - dance or skateboarding, say - and institutionalise them as another school sport.

Likewise, competition changes meaning, and becomes more of a byword for participation, a demand that children find something they're good at. To wit, James Purnell, secretary of state for culture, media and sport: `Schools are offering a greater variety of sports than ever before and children now have more opportunities to try out and find a sport which is right for them.' (8) That is by no means a terrible thing, but as the deathlessly quantitative nature of the research indicates, the aim seems to be to increase the numbers participating in `sport' without thinking about what they're actually participating in. Ed Balls at least has the advantage of honesty here: `The way in which schools provide sports after [the age of 11] has a big impact on participation. Particularly for girls. If you have a wider range of sports on offer, more alternative sports, more things like frisbee or yoga which are as health driving as any other in schools.' (9)

Though Orwell or Thomas Arnold would have argued about the worth of sport, they would at least have agreed that such meaning as it had lay in its inherently competitive nature, and the self-realisation and expression that entails. Today's notion of school sport is in danger of limiting the latter to aerobics.


Scotsmen criticizing Scots is "racial hatred"??

Sir Jackie Stewart, the former motor-racing world champion, has accused his fellow Scots of being lazy and overdependent on public sector "jobs for life". The racing legend, from Dumbarton, who now lives in Buckinghamshire and Switzerland, said he was astonished at how workshy his countrymen had become. Stewart, the son of a garage owner who overcame dyslexia to become one of the country's greatest sportsmen, said he rarely heard a Scottish voice when he visited hotels and restaurants in his native country.

Praising Poles and Australians, who he said were prepared to work hard in the service industry, he accused Scots of relying on cosy jobs in the country's burgeoning public sector. "I am constantly disappointed by the fact that the Scots don't want to work," he said. "In things like the service sector which is absolutely vital for tourism, I'm served by South Africans, Australians, New Zealanders and Polish people who are really working hard.

"I think social services are too prolific. If you have a job in government you're not going to be sacked. You have a job for life. You don't have to work too hard and you don't have to present yourself well because it is not competitive."

The 68-year-old's comments have reignited the debate provoked by Kelvin MacKenzie, the former editor of The Sun, who claimed Scotland was a nation of subsidy junkies. As a panellist on the BBC's Question Time programme earlier this month, MacKenzie, whose grandfather was born in Stirling and was allegedly a Highland Games champion, accused Scots of living off wealth created in the southeast of England. "Scotland believes not in entrepreneurialism, like in London and the southeast. The reality is that the Scots enjoy spending it, they don't enjoy creating it, which is the opposite of down in the south," he said.

MacKenzie, who is being investigated by police for allegedly inciting racial hatred, said he was delighted a prominent Scot had now endorsed his comments. "The Scots may not want to take notice of someone like me but I hope they take notice of someone like Sir Jackie," he said. "When their own countrymen and someone who has made a success of their life starts making these statements then maybe Scots should think a bit more rather than hitting out. I am not anti-Scot but I am anti the fact we are subsidising a part of the country that should be able to look after itself."

In a separate interview Stewart recalled his own youth when he used to serve petrol in his father's garage in Scotland. "I have heard too many of my compatriots saying: `Oh, I wouldn't want to do that job, it's too menial'," he said. "But I was proud to be involved in a service industry, it taught me how to communicate, gave me confidence, and encouraged me to be positive, because I knew that if I was nice to people, they would like it and give me a bigger tip."

Other Scots disagreed. Sir Tom Hunter, Scotland's richest man, said: "Everyone is born with the same intelligence, just some are dealt a bad hand in terms of opportunity. No one wakes up and thinks they don't want to work, or go on the dole. It just happens that some people find themselves in tough situations. Sometimes they just need a little bit of extra help." Gordon Ramsay, the Glasgow-born celebrity chef, added: "Scots have tenacity, hunger and determination and, most importantly, a pair of balls. That costs nothing and that is how they will succeed


Evangelical atheism

Richard Dawkins's campaign urging atheists to `come out' and be counted, is oddly reminiscent of an evangelical rally where born-again Christians are implored to rush down to the stage.

Closet atheists in the pious USA and worldwide are to be welcomed with open arms into the sceptical fold. And if sales of Dawkins's The God Delusion and other recent books like it are anything to go by, there is no shortage of people ready to join up. While some critics have labelled Dawkins and co `atheist fundamentalists', the real similarity between atheism and religion today is less fanaticism than a palpable yearning to belong. There is nothing wrong with this very human impulse, but non-belief is an odd basis for belonging.

Of course, the resurgence of interest in atheism is a reaction to the perceived rise of religion, whether in the form of Islamic fundamentalism or US-style Christian conservatism. But in taking their cue from resurgent religions, atheists also adopt something of their inward-looking focus. From attempts to popularise the term `bright' as a positive identity to calls for atheists to be included on the roster of BBC Radio 4's `Thought for the Day', it seems that some want to establish atheism as an alternative, non-religious camp for people to belong to. But atheism itself ought to be the least interesting thing about atheists, who surely have various and often conflicting beliefs and passions of their own.

The most promising term used by some atheists to describe a more positive outlook is humanism, evoking a rich tradition going back to the Renaissance. But this won't serve as a label for the non-religious for the simple reason that humanism does not preclude religious faith. Indeed, those of us with a positive belief in the human potential do not especially need to distinguish ourselves from others who share that belief while also identifying with a religious tradition. Certainly we will object to religious bigotry, but then so do most avowedly religious people. And equally, we will share opposition to antihuman ideas propagated by some atheists, such as biological determinism: the idea that humans are little more than fleshy machines.

The desire to establish atheism as an alternative identity is ultimately conservative. Rather than joining together with others who share a positive vision of the future, self-styled atheists define themselves against an external threat. Worse, it is no longer the conservatism of religion that worries non-believers, but its radicalism, its seemingly irrational passion. Where once religion was disdained as `the opium of the people', today it is seen as more akin to the alcopop of the people: a dangerous and toxic influence that makes people behave in irrational ways. If coming out as an atheist means subscribing to an ersatz religion with the fire taken out, atheists can expect to remain in the cold.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Media myths about the Jena 6

By Craig Franklin

By now, almost everyone in America has heard of Jena, La., because they've all heard the story of the "Jena 6." White students hanging nooses barely punished, a schoolyard fight, excessive punishment for the six black attackers, racist local officials, public outrage and protests - the outside media made sure everyone knew the basics.

There's just one problem: The media got most of the basics wrong. In fact, I have never before witnessed such a disgrace in professional journalism. Myths replaced facts, and journalists abdicated their solemn duty to investigate every claim because they were seduced by a powerfully appealing but false narrative of racial injustice.

I should know. I live in Jena. My wife has taught at Jena High School for many years. And most important, I am probably the only reporter who has covered these events from the very beginning.

The reason the Jena cases have been propelled into the world spotlight is two-fold: First, because local officials did not speak publicly early on about the true events of the past year, the media simply formed their stories based on one-side's statements - the Jena 6. Second, the media were downright lazy in their efforts to find the truth. Often, they simply reported what they'd read on blogs, which expressed only one side of the issue. The real story of Jena and the Jena 6 is quite different from what the national media presented. It's time to set the record straight.

Myth 1: The Whites-Only Tree. There has never been a "whites-only" tree at Jena High School. Students of all races sat underneath this tree. When a student asked during an assembly at the start of school last year if anyone could sit under the tree, it evoked laughter from everyone present - blacks and whites. As reported by students in the assembly, the question was asked to make a joke and to drag out the assembly and avoid class.

Myth 2: Nooses a Signal to Black Students. An investigation by school officials, police, and an FBI agent revealed the true motivation behind the placing of two nooses in the tree the day after the assembly. According to the expulsion committee, the crudely constructed nooses were not aimed at black students. Instead, they were understood to be a prank by three white students aimed at their fellow white friends, members of the school rodeo team. (The students apparently got the idea from watching episodes of "Lonesome Dove.") The committee further concluded that the three young teens had no knowledge that nooses symbolize the terrible legacy of the lynchings of countless blacks in American history. When informed of this history by school officials, they became visibly remorseful because they had many black friends. Another myth concerns their punishment, which was not a three-day suspension, but rather nine days at an alternative facility followed by two weeks of in-school suspension, Saturday detentions, attendance at Discipline Court, and evaluation by licensed mental-health professionals. The students who hung the nooses have not publicly come forward to give their version of events.

Myth 3: Nooses Were a Hate Crime. Although many believe the three white students should have been prosecuted for a hate crime for hanging the nooses, the incident did not meet the legal criteria for a federal hate crime. It also did not meet the standard for Louisiana's hate-crime statute, and though widely condemned by all officials, there was no crime to charge the youths with.

Myth 4: DA's Threat to Black Students. When District Attorney Reed Walters spoke to Jena High students at an assembly in September, he did not tell black students that he could make their life miserable with "the stroke of a pen." Instead, according to Walters, "two or three girls, white girls, were chit-chatting on their cellphones or playing with their cellphones right in the middle of my dissertation. I got a little irritated at them and said, 'Pay attention to me. I am right now having to deal with an aggravated rape case where I've got to decide whether the death penalty applies or not.' I said, 'Look, I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With the stroke of a pen I can make your life miserable so I want you to call me before you do something stupid.'" Mr. Walters had been called to the assembly by police, who had been at the school earlier that day dealing with some students who were causing disturbances. Teachers and students have confirmed Walters's version of events.

Myth 5: The Fair Barn Party Incident. On Dec. 1, 2006, a private party - not an all-white party as reported - was held at the local community center called the Fair Barn. Robert Bailey Jr., soon to be one of the Jena 6, came to the party with others seeking admittance. When they were denied entrance by the renter of the facility, a white male named Justin Sloan (not a Jena High student) at the party attacked Bailey and hit him in the face with his fist. This is reported in witness statements to police, including the victim, Robert Bailey, Jr. Months later, Bailey contended he was hit in the head with a beer bottle and required stitches. No medical records show this ever occurred. Mr. Sloan was prosecuted for simple battery, which according to Louisiana law, is the proper charge for hitting someone with a fist.

Myth 6: The "Gotta-Go" Grocery Incident. On Dec. 2, 2006, Bailey and two other black Jena High students were involved in an altercation at this local convenience store, stemming from the incident that occurred the night before. The three were accused by police of jumping a white man as he entered the store and stealing a shotgun from him. The two parties gave conflicting statements to police. However, two unrelated eye witnesses of the event gave statements that corresponded with that of the white male.

Myth 7: The Schoolyard Fight. The event on Dec. 4, 2006 was consistently labeled a "schoolyard fight." But witnesses described something much more horrific. Several black students, including those now known as the Jena 6, barricaded an exit to the school's gym as they lay in wait for Justin Barker to exit. (It remains unclear why Mr. Barker was specifically targeted.) When Barker tried to leave through another exit, court testimony indicates, he was hit from behind by Mychal Bell. Multiple witnesses confirmed that Barker was immediately knocked unconscious and lay on the floor defenseless as several other black students joined together to kick and stomp him, with most of the blows striking his head. Police speculate that the motivation for the attack was related to the racially charged fights that had occurred during the previous weekend.

Myth 8: The Attack Is Linked to the Nooses. Nowhere in any of the evidence, including statements by witnesses and defendants, is there any reference to the noose incident that occurred three months prior. This was confirmed by the United States attorney for the Western District of Louisiana, Donald Washington, on numerous occasions.

Myth 9: Mychal Bell's All-White Jury. While it is true that Mychal Bell was convicted as an adult by an all-white jury in June (a conviction that was later overturned with his case sent to juvenile court), the jury selection process was completely legal and withstood an investigation by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. Court officials insist that several black residents were summoned for jury duty, but did not appear.

Myth 10: Jena 6 as Model Youth. While some members were simply caught up in the moment, others had criminal records. Bell had at least four prior violent-crime arrests before the December attack, and was on probation during most of this year.

Myth 11: Jena Is One of the Most Racist Towns in America. Actually, Jena is a wonderful place to live for both whites and blacks. The media's distortion and outright lies concerning the case have given this rural Louisiana town a label it doesn't deserve.

Myth 12: Two Levels of Justice. Outside protesters were convinced that the prosecution of the Jena 6 was proof of a racially biased system of justice. But the US Justice Department's investigation found no evidence to support such a claim. In fact, the percentage of blacks and whites prosecuted matches the parish's population statistics.

These are just 12 of many myths that are portrayed as fact in the media concerning the Jena cases. (A more thorough review of all events can be found at www.thejenatimes.net - click on Chronological Order of Events.) As with the Duke Lacrosse case, the truth about Jena will eventually be known. But the town of Jena isn't expecting any apologies from the media. They will probably never admit their error and have already moved on to the next "big" story. Meanwhile in Jena, residents are getting back to their regular routines, where friends are friends regardless of race. Just as it has been all along.


The Leftist media mistake Vietnam movies for real life

Because they know so little of real life. Article below by Peggy Noonan

"I love chicks that have been intimate with EDS's," he announced to his fellow soldiers sitting in the chow tent in Camp Falcon in Baghdad. "It really turns me on--melted skin, missing limbs, plastic noses." The soldiers laughed so hard they almost fell from their chairs. They enjoy running over dogs in Bradley Fighting Vehicles, luring them in and then crushing their bones as they whelp. When a soldier comes upon a mass grave, he picks up a human skull, places it merrily on his head, and marches around.

This is from the now-famous "Baghdad Diaries," in The New Republic, carrying the byline of soldier-writer Scott Thomas. They are an attempt to capture the tragedy and dehumanization of war, how it coarsens men in ways that you, safe in your bed, cannot fathom. They are a lost generation, battered by war, and struggling, with the real weapons of war's survivors--mordant wit, pitiless humor, the final surrender to nihilism--to survive in a world they never made. Do I overwrite? Do I sound like an idiot? I'm just trying to fit in.

To read the Thomas pieces was, simply, to doubt them. And to wonder if its editors had ever actually met a soldier on his way to or from Iraq, or talked to any human being involved in the modern military. The diaries appear to be another case of journalistic fabulism. This week came word, via the published transcript of a telephone conversation between "Thomas," who is actually Scott Thomas Beauchamp, and his editors. It is actually painful to read. The editors almost plead with him to stand by his work, after months of critics' picking them factually apart. He won't do it. He doesn't want to talk to "the media." He's said enough

Everyone in journalism thought first of Stephen Glass. I actually remember the day I read his New Republic piece on the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington in 1997, a profile of young Republicans as crude and ignorant pot-smoking alcoholics in search of an orgy. It, um, startled me. After years of observation, I was inclined toward the view that there's no such thing as a young Republican. More to the point, I'd been to the kind of convention Mr. Glass wrote about, and I thought it not remotely possible that the people he painted were real. I also thought: Man, this is way too convenient. The New Republic tends to think Republicans are hateful, and this reporter just happened to be welcomed into the private world of the most hateful Republicans in history.

On the Thomas stories, which I read not when they came out but when they began to come under scrutiny, I had a similar thought, or a variation of it. I thought: That's not Iraq, that's a Vietnam War movie. That's not life as it's being lived on the ground right now, that's life as an editor absorbed it through media. That's the dark world of Kubrick and Coppola and Oliver Stone, of the great Vietnam movies of the '70s and '80s.

If that's what you absorbed during the past 20 or 30 years, it just might make sense to you, it would actually seem believable, if a fellow in Iraq wrote for you about taunting scarred women, shooting dogs, and wearing skulls as helmets. This is the offhand brutality of war. You know. You saw it in a movie. If you'd had a broader array of references, and were less preoccupied by the media that is the great occupying force in our own country, and you were the editor of the Thomas pieces, you might have said, "Whoa." Just whoa.

I'll jump here, or lurch I suppose, to something I am concerned about that I think I am observing accurately. It has to do with what sometimes seems to me to be the limited lives that have been or are being lived by the rising generation of American professionals in the arts, journalism, academia and business. They have had good lives, happy lives, but there is a sense with some of them that they didn't so much live it as view it. That they learned too much from media and not enough from life's difficulties. That they saw much of what they know in a film or play and picked up all the memes and themes.

In terms of personal difficulties, they seem to have had less real-life experience, or rather different experiences, than their rougher predecessors. They grew up affluent in a city or suburb, cosseted in material terms, and generally directed toward academic and material success. Their lives seem to have been not crowded or fearful, but relatively peaceful, at least until September 2001, which was very hard.

But this new leadership class, those roughly 35 to 40, grew up in a time when media dominated all. They studied, they entered a top-tier college, and then on to Washington or New York or Los Angeles. But their knowledge, their experience, is necessarily circumscribed. Too much is abstract to them, or symbolic. The education establishment did them few favors. They didn't have to read Dostoevsky, they had to read critiques and deconstruction of Dostoevsky.

I'm not sure it's always good to grow up surrounded by stability, immersed in affluence, and having had it drummed into you that you are entitled to be a member of the next leadership class. To have this background in the modern era is to come from a ghetto, the luckiest ghetto in the world, a golden ghetto beyond whose walls it can be hard to see. There's much to be said for suffering, for being on the outside or the bottom, for having to have fought yourself up and through. It can leave you grounded. It can give you real knowledge not only of the world and of other men but of yourself. In some ways it can leave you less cynical. (Not everything comes down to money.) And in some ways it leaves you just cynical enough.

Journalistically, I was lucky enough to work at CBS News when it was still shaped by the influence of the Murrow boys. They knew and taught that "everyone is entitled to his own opinions"--and they had them--"but not his own facts." And I miss the rough old boys and girls of the front page, who'd greet FDR with "Snappy suit, Mr. President," who'd bribe the guard to tell them what the prisoner said on the way to the chair, and who were not rich and important but performed an extremely important social function.

They found out who, what, where, when, why. And they would have looked at the half-baked, overcooked junior Hemingway of Scott Thomas Beauchamp and said, "That sounds like a buncha hooey."



In the cause of equal rights, feminists have had much to complain about. But one striking piece of inequality has been conveniently overlooked: lifespan. In this area, women have the upper hand. All round the world, they live longer than men. Why they should do so is not immediately obvious. But the same is true in many other species. From lions to antelope and from sea lions to deer, males, for some reason, simply can't go the distance.

One theory is that males must compete for female attention. That means evolution is busy selecting for antlers, aggression and alloy wheels in males, at the expense of longevity. Females are not subject to such pressures. If this theory is correct, the effect will be especially noticeable in those species where males compete for the attention of lots of females. Conversely, it will be reduced or absent where they do not.

To test that idea, Tim Clutton-Brock of Cambridge University and Kavita Isvaran of the Indian Institute of Science in Bengalooru decided to compare monogamous and polygynous species (in the latter, a male monopolises a number of females). They wanted to find out whether polygynous males had lower survival rates and aged faster than those of monogamous species. To do so, they collected the relevant data for 35 species of long-lived birds and mammals.

As they report this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society, the pattern was much as they expected. In 16 of the 19 polygynous species in their sample, males of all ages were much more likely to die during any given period than were females. Furthermore, the older they got, the bigger the mortality gap became. In other words, they aged faster. Males from monogamous species did not show these patterns.

The point about polygyny, according to Dr Clutton-Brock, is that if one male has exclusive access to, say, ten females, another nine males will be waiting to topple the harem master as soon as he shows the first sign of weakness. The intense competitive pressure means that individuals who succeed put all their efforts into one or two breeding seasons.

That obviously takes its toll directly. But a more subtle effect may also be at work. Most students of ageing agree that an animal's maximum lifespan is set by how long it can reasonably expect to escape predation, disease, accident and damaging aggression by others of its kind. If it will be killed quickly anyway, there is not much reason for evolution to divert scarce resources into keeping the machine in tip-top condition. Those resources should, instead, be devoted to reproduction. And the more threatening the outside world is, the shorter the maximum lifespan should be.

There is no reason why that logic should not work between the sexes as well as between species. And this is what Dr Clutton-Brock and Dr Isvaran seem to have found. The test is to identify a species that has made its environment so safe that most of its members die of old age, and see if the difference continues to exist. Fortunately, there is such a species: man.

Dr Clutton-Brock reckons that the sex difference in both human rates of ageing and in the usual age of death is an indicator that polygyny was the rule in humanity's evolutionary past-as it still is, in some places. That may not please some feminists, but it could be the price women have paid for outliving their menfolk.


Suburbs attacked because the middle-class hates plumbers in big houses

Comment by Michael Duffy, from Australia. When I lived in Sydney, the electrician I used for maintenance jobs on my properties lived in Vaucluse -- an elite suburb. But he was very clever at his job and a fast worker so he earned it fair and square

Sixty years ago this month something happened on Long Island near New York that was to help shape Australian cities. It deserves to be better known. The first homeowners moved into Levittown, a 17,000-residence housing estate built by Bill Levitt. Essentially, Levitt applied the principles of Henry Ford's production line to housing. In the process he brought prices down so much that suburbia became available to the working class. This did more than perhaps anything else to democratise the prosperity of the postwar economic boom.

Of course, Levitt couldn't put a house on a production line. So what he did was bring the production line to the house. He broke up the construction process into several dozen separate tasks. Then he broke up his workforce into teams, each specialising in just one task. Each team would do its job on one lot and then move on to the next house and do it again. (Levittown had just three house designs.)

When those around him refused to share his passion for cutting costs, he simply went around them. The unions didn't like his work practices so he hired non-union labour and paid them top dollar. When suppliers wouldn't give him satisfactory discounts for his bulk purchases he bought forests and timber mills and nail factories to supply himself. He reformed conveyancing practices to help low-income clients who had never been able to afford a lawyer before.

As a result of the innovations Levitt and other developers introduced, house prices tumbled. At a time when the average manufacturing worker was earning $US2400 a year, Levitt was selling a basic Cape Cod for $US7990. He went on to build other large housing estates, providing decent accommodation for hundreds of thousands of (white) working class Americans and inspiring developers in other countries, including Australia.

Another legacy of his success was the vitriolic criticism he attracted from intellectuals, people such as academics, writers, professionals, and government policy experts. The negative attitude to the outer suburbs that formed then has persisted to this day.

Lewis Mumford, the most respected writer on cities of his time, was particularly contemptuous. He said Levittown was socially "backward", inhabited by "people of the same class, the same incomes, the same age group, witnessing the same television performances, eating the same tasteless prefabricated foods, from the same freezers, conforming in every outward and inward respect to a common mould manufactured in the same central metropolis." This criticism of suburbia was to be repeated by thousands of intellectuals around the world from then to now. The grounds for the criticism have changed a bit over time, with environmentalism now providing the flavour, but the level of hostility has been pretty consistent.

A persisting feature of the criticisms of the intellectuals is that most have been mere assertions without basis in fact, and have been proved wrong once anybody bothered to test them. Eventually a sociologist named Herbert Gans went to live in one of Levitt's estates and published a book called The Levittowners in 1967, disproving just about all the assertions of Mumford and the other critics. He found there was a rich diversity of human beings living there - but his findings were largely ignored by the intellectuals, who continued to be unable to see beyond the buildings to the people living in them.

A similar blindness affects much criticism of so-called suburban sprawl today. For years it has been asserted by intellectuals that the outer suburbs, compared with areas closer to the city, are socially and environmentally inferior. There are now numerous studies disproving this (for example, the recent one showing lower density improves sociability, by Jan Brueckner and colleagues at the University of California), yet the intellectuals continue to assert it. Why so?

It comes down to self-interest. First, jobs: most of the criticism of sprawl is used to justify an alternative vision of the city where intellectuals of various kinds would play a strong role in planning and regulation. The media is happy to promote this view because a planned city, with all the reports and regulations and formalised disputes this entails, is much easier to report on than a city made of the spontaneous decisions of thousands of individuals.

Another reason for the persistent anger is middle-class status anxiety. Most intellectuals are members of the middle class, which defines itself in part by possession of an old inner-city pad or a nice house and garden in an inner-ring suburb. To see mere tradesmen in the 1980s acquiring bigger houses than those owned by many lawyers and academics sent a shiver through the middle class, and helped create an audience for absurd criticisms of prole housing, of the sort embodied in the term McMansion.

Does any of this matter? I suspect it does. I believe that over time the relentless criticism of the new suburbs helped create the intellectual and then the political environment in which governments were able to impose massive levies and taxes on new homes for the first time in history. This was one of the worst cases of intergenerational inequity this country has seen, and did much to produce the housing affordability crisis we face today. I suspect governments were able to get away with this only because the intellectuals had denigrated new suburbs to the point where they had almost no defenders among the ranks of the powerful and the influential.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Must support homosexuality to be a foster parent in Britain

A Christian couple who have taken in 28 children have been forced to give up being foster parents after they refused to promote homosexuality. Vincent Matherick, 65, and his 61-year-old wife Pauline were told by social services that they had to comply with legislation requiring them to treat homosexuality as equal to heterosexuality.

They said that officials had advised them that if children in their care expressed an interest in homosexuality, they would be expected to take them to gay support group meetings.The couple said that while they would neither condemn nor condone homosexuality, they could not actively promote it because of their religious beliefs. The couple, who faced being removed from the carers' register, decided to stop fostering early. As a result, their 11-year-old foster son is being moved to a children's unit.

Mr Matherick, a Christian minister and a primary school governor, said: "We have never discriminated against anybody but I cannot promote homosexuality when I believe it is against the word of God. It's terrible that we've been forced into this corner. "They were saying that we had to be prepared to talk about sexuality with 11-year-olds, which I don't think is appropriate anyway, but not only that, to be prepared to explain how gay people date."

Mrs Matherick said: "We feel we are being discriminated against as Christians, and many others are finding themselves in our position." The Mathericks, who have three children of their own, are ministers at the non-conformist South Chard Christian Church, near their home in Chard, Somerset. They have cared for 28 children through Somerset County Council's social services department.

In February this year a social worker told the couple that the council was obliged to implement the Government's sexual orientation regulations. The rules, enacted this year, make it illegal for the suppliers of goods or services to discriminate on the grounds of sexuality.

David Davies, the Tory MP for Monmouth, said: "It's absolutely horrendous that Christian men and women doing their bit for the community are being discriminated against because of their beliefs. I'm quite certain that social services would never dare to ask a member of any other established religion to agree to such a stance on homosexuality."

Valerie Riches, the founder president of Family and Youth Concern, said: "This is rather typical of the distorted view of equality that this Government seems to have."

A spokesman for Somerset County Council said that it was obliged to implement the regulations. "I am not suggesting that it is not very difficult for some people, but there is still an obligation under the law," he said. A spokesman for the council's children's and young people's directorate said it was about "equality issues" not homosexuality. "It is not about promoting homosexuality, it is about foster carers being aware of equality issues," he said, adding that the council did not expect to lose any more carers as a result of the rules.


Federal attack on property rights and local control

Woe betide you if you own property in one of the huge new "heritage" areas

Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the "Celebrating America's Heritage Act" (H.R. 1483) which would send over $135 million of federal pork to special interest groups in select members' districts. The bill would create six new national heritage areas, including the controversial Journey Through Hallowed Ground (JTHG) heritage area, and increase federal funding for nine existing heritage areas by 50 percent. The bill passed by a vote of 291-122, along mostly party lines.

Although the bill passed, the measure faced more opposition than any heritage area bill in 13 years, a sign that the momentum is now against such boondoggles, says the National Center for Public Policy Research. "It is encouraging to see a growing number of congressmen reject this brand of pork barrel self-dealing," said Peyton Knight, director of environmental and regulatory affairs for The National Center for Public Policy Research. "However, far too many in Congress would still rather load the coffers of pet special interest groups at the expense of fiscal sanity, local rule and the rights of property owners."

National heritage areas are creations of Congress in which special interest groups, whose work at times has been funded through secret congressional earmarks, team up with the National Park Service to influence decisions over local land use previously made exclusively by elected local governments and private landowners.

"The House was asked to choose between the rights of constituents and the demands of lobbyists, and 291 members chose the lobbyists," said David Ridenour, vice president of the National Center for Public Policy Research. "Celebrating America's Heritage Act is a bill by lobbyists, for the benefit of lobbyists, with the taxpayer picking up the tab."

Donald Pongrace, a lobbyist with Akin Gump, wrote the legislative language for JTHG and serves on the board of the JTHG Partnership, according to the group's website. JTHG is one of the special interest groups that would receive $1 million per year under the initiative. Mr. Pongrace's wife, Olwen Pongrace, works at the JTHG Partnership as vice president. Earlier, the JTHG Partnership received a one million-dollar earmark through the 2005 transportation bill. At the time, the group was not incorporated. "A $1 million earmark buried among 6,372 others to an unincorporated group ought to raise a huge red flag," said David Ridenour. "This leaves open the possibility that taxpayer funds were used to lobby for more taxpayer funds."

H.R. 1483 passed despite the objections of Representatives Roscoe Bartlett (MD), Virgil Goode (VA), Robert Goodlatte (VA), Thelma Drake (VA), J. Randy Forbes (VA) and Joe Pitts (PA), who represent three of the four states that would be affected by The Journey Through Hallowed Ground heritage area designation. The heritage area would cut through Representative Barlett's and Representative Goode's districts, posing a direct threat to the rights of their constituents. It could present problems for constituents of Representatives Forbes, Pitts, and Goodlatte, as the members' districts are near the Route 15 corridor. House members were provided with a map number (P90/80,000), but not the map, outlining the heritage area's boundaries.

"Representatives Bartlett and Goode asked that their districts be removed from the heritage area, but their request was rejected in Committee," said Peyton Knight. "To refuse such a reasonable request is a rather stunning breach of House tradition."


Incompetent scholarship

A few excerpts below from a very thorough review by Walter Russell Mead of "The Israel Lobby" by John J. Mearsheimer, Stephan M. Walt

Summary: Sloppy execution means "The Israel Lobby," however commendable the intentions of its authors, will have the opposite of its desired effect: impeding new thinking about U.S. policy in the Middle East rather than advancing the debate

What was true for Clinton in 2006 was true overall. Pro-Israel PACs contributed slightly more than $3 million to House and Senate candidates in the 2006 election cycle -- less than one percent of total PAC spending in that cycle. There were a few individual races in which pro-Israel contributions played a significant role -- especially Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman's -- but in the overall context of U.S. campaign finance, "pro-Israel" money is a drop in the bucket. Moreover, in both 2000 and 2004, much more "pro-Israel" money went to Democratic candidates than went to Republican candidates, and Jewish voters overwhelmingly opposed George W. Bush. If Jewish voters overwhelmingly voted against Bush in both elections, and pro-Israel political groups gave much more money to Democrats than Republicans, how, exactly, did the lobby later control the Republican Congress it so signally opposed? And why should it bear particular blame for the policies of a president whose election it tried and failed to block?

None of this means that the role of pro-Israel groups in campaign finance should not be studied, or that relatively small amounts of money strategically placed and timed cannot have an impact. But Mearsheimer and Walt do not even list, much less take on, the various topics that an examination of the limited role "pro-Israel" money plays in U.S. politics would have to address. This is not serious scholarship.


As one might expect from international relations specialists, the book treats the geopolitics of the Middle East more professionally than U.S. domestic politics. Mearsheimer and Walt concede that U.S. and Israeli interests overlapped during the Cold War; for somewhat different reasons, both the United States and Israel wanted to keep the Soviets out of the region. They argue, however, that the strategic link weakened significantly after 1989. They find the close U.S.-Israeli relationship since then increasingly anomalous; the two countries' interests, they believe, are diverging even as U.S. policy remains firmly aligned with Jerusalem. Since this alignment, Mearsheimer and Walt argue, is not driven by common strategic interests or common moral values, it must be driven by the power of the Israel lobby.

Their geopolitical analysis of Israel's position is interesting and in many respects useful. But Mearsheimer and Walt seem not to see how it undercuts the importance of the Israel lobby. According to them, Israel is the dominant regional power, and its enormous advantages in weapons and technology are so great that it has relatively little need for U.S. support at this point. Both the military and the economic aid that the United States offers, Mearsheimer and Walt tell us, can be substantially reduced or even eliminated without undermining Israel's security. But they do not carry this point through to its logical conclusion: if U.S. aid is of relatively limited value to Israel, then threats to trim or withhold that aid will have relatively little impact on Israel's behavior. And if such aid is of relatively little importance in the regional power balance, then the efforts of the Israel lobby to extract more aid from the U.S. Congress are not really that important. In short, U.S. aid does not change the power balance, and withholding that aid would have little impact on Israel's negotiating position -- meaning that the Israel lobby, whatever its makeup or power over the U.S. political system, plays no significant role in determining the course of events in the Middle East.

Mearsheimer and Walt also significantly underestimate the importance of the U.S.-Israeli alliance to the United States. If Israel determined that U.S. foreign policy was shifting in a hostile direction, it would have the option of diversifying its great-power base of support. Given Israel's overwhelming military position in the Middle East, and its ability to provide a new partner with advanced U.S. weapons and intelligence information, China, Russia, and India might find an alliance with Israel well worth the cost in popularity points across the Arab world. Israel has changed partners before: it won the 1948-49 war with weapons from the Soviet bloc, partnered with France and the United Kingdom in 1956, and considered France (the source of Israel's nuclear technology) its most important ally in 1967. This potential shift is of major concern to the United States. One of the key U.S. objectives in the Middle East since World War II has been to prevent any other outside power from gaining a strategic foothold there. Alliances between other great powers and Israel -- the dominant military power in the world's most vital and crisis-ridden region -- could create major problems for U.S. foreign policy and significantly reduce the United States' ability to advance the Middle East peace process. Accordingly, maintaining the United States' relationship with Israel while managing its costs is the real challenge for U.S. policy in the Middle East.

Mearsheimer and Walt are correct that returning Israelis and Palestinians to the negotiating table -- with proposals based on but in some ways going further than those that President Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak presented at Camp David in 2000 -- is probably the best way to go. But as Mearsheimer and Walt show, Washington cannot simply impose that agenda on Israel by making threats. Israel cannot be compelled to negotiate on U.S. terms; it must be persuaded. Mearsheimer and Walt's goal of a fresh start in the peace process requires carrots, not sticks. And if and when those carrots are put on the table, will Mearsheimer and Walt denounce the offer as yet another triumph for the Israel lobby, or will they see it as an instance of the United States promoting its interests by coordinating policy with an indispensable local power in one of the world's most explosive regions?


Domestic politics, geopolitics: next is cultural politics -- and especially the question of anti-Semitism. There have already been public charges of anti-Semitism, and more will come. Let me be unambiguously clear: those charges go too far. Mearsheimer and Walt state very clearly that they are not anti-Semites, and nothing in this book proves them wrong. That said, some of the criticism that they will receive on this score is the result of their own easily avoidable lapses in judgment and expression. A little more care on their part could have done wonders in keeping what was bound to be a very heated discussion focused more tightly on the merits of the case.

The authors do what anti-Semites have always done: they overstate the power of Jews. Although Mearsheimer and Walt make an effort to distinguish their work from anti-Semitic tracts, the picture they paint calls up some of the ugliest stereotypes in anti-Semitic discourse. The Zionist octopus they conjure -- stirring up the Iraq war, manipulating both U.S. political parties, shaping the media, punishing the courageous minority of professors and politicians who dare to tell the truth -- is depressingly familiar. Some readers will be so overpowered by this familiar bugbear that they will conclude that the authors are deliberately invoking it. In fact, Mearsheimer and Walt have come honestly to a mistaken understanding of the relationship between pro-Israel political activity and U.S. policy and strategic interests. It is no crime to be wrong, and being wrong about Jews does not necessarily make someone an anti-Semite. But rhetorical clumsiness and the occasional unfortunate phrase make their case harder to defend.

One problem is that Mearsheimer and Walt decontextualize the activity of Jews and their allies. Attempts by pro-Zionist students and pressure groups to challenge university decisions to grant tenure or otherwise reward professors deemed too pro-Arab are portrayed as yet another sign of the long reach and dangerous power of the octopus. In fact, these efforts are part of a much broader, and deeply deplorable, trend in American education, by which every ethnic, religious, and sexual group seeks to define the bounds of acceptable discourse. African Americans, Native Americans, feminists, lesbian, gay, and transgendered persons -- organizations purporting to represent these groups and many others have done their best to drive speakers, professors, and textbooks with the "wrong" views out of the academy. Zionists have actually come relatively late to this particular pander fest, and they are notable chiefly for their relatively weak performance in the perverse drive to block free speech on campus.

The authors also end up adopting a widely used tactic that has a special history in anti-Semitic literature. When anti-Semitic writers and politicians make vicious attacks, Jews are in a double bind: refrain from responding with outrage and the charge becomes accepted as a fact, express utter loathing at the charge and give anti-Semites the opportunity to pose as the victims of a slander campaign by venomous Jews. Nazi propagandists honed this into an effective weapon. Anyone who lived through or has immersed himself in the history of the golden age of European anti-Semitism is keenly aware of this tactic, and when one sees it employed in writing about Israel or the Israel lobby, one naturally assumes the worst: that the use of a tactic long popular among anti-Semites is a sign that a contemporary writer shares their deplorable worldview. The greatest living practitioner of this passive-aggressive form of provocation (and not just against Jews) is former President Jimmy Carter, whose recently published Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid set off a firestorm by implying a parallel between the Israel of today and apartheid South Africa. Mearsheimer and Walt wag their fingers at those awful Jews who "smeared" the meek and innocent Lamb of Georgia. How dare the lobby be provoked by Carter's provocation!

A mental disorder that invades minds, bodies and society

A review of "The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion" by Bernard Harrison

In this absorbing book, Harrison examines the New Antisemitism as it manifests today on the Left Liberal side of the political spectrum, with special reference to the BBC and publications like The New Statesman, The Guardian and The Independent. In the opening chapter, he defines the meaning, differentiating between "social" and "political" Antisemitism. The political variety is that in which Jewish people collectively are viewed as being involved in a conspiracy to promote political agendas objectionable to those on the Liberal Left. They are moreover seen as an obstacle to world peace because of the existence of the State of Israel.

In the second chapter he dissects the January 14, 2002 issue of The New Statesman with its infamous cover art and articles by Dennis Sewell and John Pilger, as well as the faux apology by editor Peter Wilby that followed reader complaints. The brilliance of this chapter lies in the understated and tactful way that Harrison exposes the rhetorical techniques employed to slander the Jewish people under the guise of criticizing Israeli actions. In the same cautious manner he reveals the lies, inconsistencies and contradictions of people like Robert Fisk and others.

Chapter 3: Jews Against Israel, demonstrates the absurdity of the notion that all Jews support Israel. Harrison calls it "diversity denial", which is nothing else but an aspect of racism that has always been a feature of political Antisemitism. He deals not only with the overwhelming evidence of Jewish sympathy with the plight of the Palestinian Arabs versus the lack of such by Arabs towards Jews, but also with those vicious Jewish enemies of the Jewish people and the state of Israel like Karl Marx, Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, with reference to the work of Sartre, Alan Dershowitz and French author Daniel Lindenberg amongst others.

The next chapter explores the ways in which moral hyperbole and deliberate disinformation are used to demonize Israel. Quoting Thomas Friedman, he queries why this stance, which draws upon a phony humanitarian justification, is so universal amongst the liberal elites in the arts, academia and media. Criticism of Israel is not Antisemitism, but singling out Israel out of all proportion to the situation in the Middle East and the world at large definitely is. In the rest of this chapter he refutes many of the smears against Israel based on concepts like colonialism and the single state solution, the proponents of which ignore the massacres, acts of terror and statements of Arab leaders before and after 1948. Also discussed is the 1919 agreement between Emir Faisal and Chaim Weitzmann.

Next, Harrison looks at definitions of fascism. The phenomenon is not confined to the political Right, since the USSR was as fascist as the Third Reich. Nor is it absent in the Third World. The inability to distinguish between people and their leaders is a fallacy often made by patronising Western intellectuals. As for the accusation that Israel is a "racist, apartheid" state, the author argues that it is instead a nearly textbook example of a multicultural society. There are Black Israelis and Arab Jews and anyone can convert to Judaism. In Israel the holy places and right to worship of all religions are respected, which is not the case over vast areas of the planet.

One reason for the hysterical criticism is that the Left has abandoned economics and history for morality. Chapter 8 deals with the notion of guilt and shows how extravagant the Left has become in its moral condemnation and accusation. The grotesqueries of inter alia Orla Guerin of the BBC and Robert Fisk of The Independent are examined here. In this view, all Jewish Israelis are "guilty" while the Arab World bears no responsibility whatever for the plight of the Palestinian Arabs. See also Can We Trust the BBC? by Robin Aitken.

The concluding chapter attempts to find the reason for this state of affairs. Harrison believes that a longing for simple answers and instant moral conviction - the easy soundbite - is part of the problem. But he also shows that much of the nature of the criticism resembles the "old" Antisemitism - same assumptions, imagery and concepts are employed. The fad of Moral Relativism is not applied to both sides; it is used for justifying suicide/homicide bombings but never to the measures taken by Israel to defend itself. Some victims are more equal than others.

The Appendix is a bibliography of books and articles devoted to carefully documented examples of the New Antisemitism, including La Nouvelle Judeophobie by Pierre-Andre Taguieff, The Return of Anti-Semitism by Gabriel Schoenfeld, The New Anti-Semitism by Phyllis Chesler and Occidentalism by Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit. On the subject of Jews opposed to Israel, Jewish Divide Over Israel, edited by Edward Alexander and Paul Bogdanor and Those Who Forget the Past by Ron Rosenbaum and Cynthia Ozick are excellent books. UK government sources and the relevant website addresses of the two main political parties in the UK are also provided. The book concludes with an index.

Despite the disturbing subject matter, The Resurgence Of Anti-Semitism is a gripping read on account of its eloquence. As a polemic, it perhaps treads too softly, trying to persuade by reason. I agree with Andre Glucksmann that the concept of a contagion of hatred must be taken literally as a mental disorder that invades minds, bodies and society. Such an outbreak inoculates itself against those who oppose it and is immune to reason.

It is interesting to compare Harrison's approach with that of Nick Cohen in What's Left?. In my opinion, the most valuable book on Antisemitism, exploring all its shape-shifting manifestations down the ages and across the political-religious spectrum, is Why the Jews? The Reason for Antisemitism by Dennis Prager and Joseph Telushkin, as it engages with the neglected spiritual dimension of this mental disease. I recommend The Dawn: Political Teachings of the Book of Esther by Yoram Hazony, to learn how to deal with it.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007


I now have at the bottom of each day's postings a comments facility. This is the last of my blogs where I have enabled that. What appears here seems likely to provoke comments, however, so the facility may be useful. Comments are not moderated but anyone posting personal abuse will be IP banned.

U.S. House Approves Race-Based Government for Hawaii

The U.S. House of representatives today approved a far-reaching bill that would create a race-based government with substantial power over the affairs of the state of Hawaii. The "Native Hawaiian Government Reorganization Act of 2007" (H.R. 505, also called the "Akaka Bill") was adopted by a 261-153 vote.

Members of the Project 21 black leadership network say the legislation directly conflicts with the spirit of inclusion and equality that civil rights activists fought so hard to create. "It is contemptibly dishonest, not to mention completely disingenuous, for the very politicians who are best known for decrying racial division to eagerly push legislation to institutionalize race as the guiding principle for a body of government within our United States," said Project 21 Chairman Mychal Massie. "Surely, such a radical proposal deserves more attention and certainly a lot more debate."

The Akaka Bill, which has not been adopted by the Senate, would create a native Hawaiian government with sovereign immunity akin to that enjoyed by Indian tribes. This proposed government is likely to be determined on racial terms, restricting eligible voters exclusively to those of Hawaiian ancestry. Experts say this limits the voting pool to approximately 400,000 Americans nationwide - roughly 160,000 of whom do not even reside on the Hawaiian Islands. Critics say the proposal would create a virtual caste system on the Hawaiian Islands and might even allow those affiliated with this race-based government to ignore various laws and safety regulations.

President Bush has said he will veto the measure should it reach his desk. Gerald Reynolds, chairman of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, has said the Akaka Bill "would authorize a government entity to treat people differently based on their race and ethnicity... This runs counter to the basic American value that the government should not prefer one race over another." [And the 14th Amendment] The U.S. Supreme Court overwhelmingly ruled in 2000 that a similar "Hawaiian only" provision for voting for the trustees of the state's Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) was unconstitutional.

A May 2006 poll commissioned by the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii found almost 67 percent of the population of Hawaii opposed the Akaka Bill as introduced in the previous session of Congress, while over 80 percent generally oppose race-based preferences. Almost 70 percent of Hawaiian residents also preferred a statewide referendum on such a proposal rather than having it decided by the U.S. Congress. "Polls have been conducted and federal Civil Rights Commission hearings have been held that find strong and legitimate public opposition to the Akaka Bill. Rushing a vote now is dismissive and disrespectful," added Project 21's Massie, "Instead of representing all people equally, regardless of race and ethnicity, it seems congressional leaders want to ram this legislation through before logic and cooler heads can prevail."


Crooks OK because they're Asian?

Asian-American groups don't like the increased public scrutiny that Hillary Clinton's mysterious Chinese dishwasher donors are getting. To which I say, in words that should be universally understood: Boo-freaking-hoo.

In the wake of eye-opening investigations by the New York Post and Los Angeles Times of more dubious foreign funny money flowing into Hill's coffers, ethnic grievance organizations are stepping forward to condemn these stories as examples of "negligent journalism." Yep. The newspapers are guilty of "negligence" because they actually broke news instead of covering it up.

Both papers uncovered dishwashers, cooks and other suspect Hillary campaign contributors in New York's Chinatown, Flushing, the Bronx and Brooklyn who were limited-income, limited-English-proficient and smellier than stinky tofu. One Asian donor admitted to the Los Angeles Times "to lacking the legal-resident status required for giving campaign money." Another, Hsiao Wen Yang, told the New York Post she was reimbursed for her $1,000 donation -- setting off clear alarm bells over yet another possible straw donor scheme on the heels of Norman Hsu-gate.

The reports prompted Asian & Pacific Islander American Vote, a "national nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that encourages and promotes civic participation of Asian Pacific Islander Americans in the electoral and public policy processes at the national, state and local levels," to issue a press release this week carping about the media's "undue scrutiny on a specific ethnic subgroup." Lisa Hasegawa, APIAVote board member, expressed her dismay over the campaign finance probes zeroing in on New York City's Chinatown: "We are alarmed by the potential negative impact of irresponsible reporting and the harm it may have on legitimate political participation by members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. It is imperative that the media approach these serious allegations with deliberation, focus and the highest levels of journalistic integrity. As the Asian American and Pacific Islander community embraces their right to participate in the civic process, it is important that the greater balance and responsibility be taken when addressing this important issue." Translation: Lay off the Chinese Dishwashers for Hillary, you racist, xenophobic, ethnic smear-mongers!

The only ones guilty of irresponsible behavior here are the political apologists for Hillary and the media organizations that would rather kowtow to political correctness than follow in the journalistic footsteps of the New York Post and Los Angeles Times. The Clinton campaign is counting on left-wing editors to capitulate under heat from Asian-American groups who want to deflect attention away from suspicious foreign donations. "I'm going to keep reaching out to everybody in our country. I want to be a president to everybody," said a defiant Hillary in defense of her indiscriminate fundraising. "Asian-Americans in Chinatown and Flushing have the same right to contribute as every other American," Howard Wolfson, a campaign spokesman, told several newspapers. "We do not ethnically profile donors."

"Ethnic profiling" is the rhetorical bugaboo the Clintons hope will stave off more investigations and invocations of Asian-American donor scandals past. Learning well from their far-left minority counterparts, these Asian-American groups have tried to turn the debate away from candidate and donor responsibility to the collective "rights" of the entire "Asian American and Pacific Islander community."

The identity politics tribe can call it "ethnic profiling." I call it learning from history. We've been here so many times before. With convicted DNC fundraiser John Huang and Charlie Trie and Pauline Kanchanalak and Maria Hsia. With the Chinese Buddhist monks and nuns who helped engineer a Gore campaign reimbursement scheme and shredded documents related to their temple fundraiser. With former Chinese-American Democrat governor of Washington, Gary Locke, who also took money from Chinese temple donors who couldn't speak English, couldn't remember when they donated or couldn't be located.

Democrats apparently believe that only Americans should be saddled by Byzantine campaign finance regulations while foreign donors get a pass. Asian-American lobbyists apparently believe minority groups should get less scrutiny from the media than everyone else -- lest "their right to participate in the civic process" be undermined.

If it's "ethnic profiling" to be extra-careful of Chinatown donors who can't speak English, live in dilapidated buildings, have never voted, can't tell Hillary Clinton from Hunan Chicken or simply can't be found, then "ethnic profiling" should be the standard procedure of every responsible campaign. Discrimination is not a dirty word when it comes to keeping dirty money out of American politics.


The Marxist doctrine of equality still dominant in Western society

Professor Helmuth Nyborg at Aarhus University did research which revealed that there are differences between the sexes when it comes to intelligence. This triggered massive resistance and accusations, later disproved, of flawed scientific practices. According to Nyborg -
"Within the realms of psychology you are not allowed to talk about intelligence. You cannot measure intelligence and you cannot rank people according to intelligence. The entire field of intelligence is a so-called `no-go-area.'"
If you still choose to proceed, you are a bad person, one who is willing to rank other human beings according to their worth. If you also look at differences between groups of people, sexes or races, you are simply immoral.

According to Professor Annica Dahlstrom, an expert in neuroscience, men are found at the extremes of high and low intelligence, and although female geniuses do exist, they are much less frequent than their male counterparts. She has also stated that children should be left primarily in the care of their mother during their first years of living. The feminist establishment are angry and claim that she has misused her position as a scientist to reinforce gender stereotypes.

As Dahlstrom says, "The difference between boys and girls, in terms of their biology and brain, is greater than we could ever have imagined." Differences between the sexes emerge even in fetuses and are clearly recognizable at the age of three. The centers of the brain dealing with communication, the interpretation of facial expressions, body language and tone of voice are more developed in girls even at this early age. Forcing boys to behave like girls are vice versa is unnatural and will inevitably hurt them. Such a policy could even be viewed as "mental abuse" of children in her view. Yet this is exactly what is happening, and sometimes with government support.

Journalist Kurt Lundgren reported on his blog about a magazine aimed at preschool teachers who take care of children between the ages of 0-6 years old. It included recommendations to promote "gender equality" and "sexual equality." He said that in a kindergarten in Stockholm, parents were encouraged by the preschool teachers 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 to be worse than political propaganda:
"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."
This is presented as sexual liberation, but it is actually about breaking down the traditional Judeo-Christian culture and the nuclear family. Such practices leave the state more powerful since it can regulate all aspects of life and indoctrinate children without undue parental influence.

In Norway, a specialist in early childhood education stirred debate by supporting "sexual games" for children of pre-school age. "The only thing that is absolutely certain is that children, sooner or later, will play sexual games and examine each other," pre-school specialist Pia Friis said. She thought children should be able -
"to look at each other and examine each other's bodies. They can play doctor, play mother and father, dance naked and masturbate. But their sexuality must also be socialized, so they are not, for example, allowed to masturbate while sitting and eating. Nor can they be allowed to pressure other children into doing things they don't want to."
Family therapist Jesper Juul conceded that "many are disturbed by children's sexuality, but I think it's important to put it on the agenda."

Most Norwegians send their children to the kindergartens before they begin school at age six, and many average citizens were shocked by this. "I thought at first that this was a joke," said Karin St†hl Woldseth, a spokesman for the Progress Party. "Children don't need more exposure to this in kindergartens. We think it will damage their health."

Child psychologist Thore Langfeldt in an interview apparently admitted that these sex games were encouraged by those who feared we could become infected by conservative Christian groups and wanted to make children immune to Christian morality as early as possible.

I do not believe sex in itself is sinful and disagree with the celibacy rules of Catholic priests because I don't think it is natural for most human beings, men in particular, to totally repress these instincts throughout their lives. However, being civilized means precisely that you have to control your urges and natural impulses. Sex in this situation isn't "natural," it is specifically being used for destructive ideological purposes.

This sexualization of childhood is prevalent all over the Western world. A report published by the American Psychological Association (APA) warned against the early sexualizing of young girls, especially through media and marketing. They also found that teachers and parents are among the influences in the over-sexualization of children. Joseph D'Agostino of the Population Research Institute (PRI) wrote that radical feminism teaches girls that chastity is a form of oppression:
"They have taught that there are no natural limits to sexuality. Based on feminist principles, why shouldn't little girls sexualize themselves? And why shouldn't adult men and women view them as sexual if there is no such thing as unnatural sexuality?"
One interpretation of this trend is that its promoters want to destroy any form of civilization whatsoever. French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau believed civilization corrupts human beings. This could be a reflection of the Rousseauan idea of liberation through dismantling all forms of social restrictions imposed upon us by society. Perhaps it is also the result of people who lack any religion and transcendental purpose to their lives. Eric Hoffer has explained this in his book The True Believer:
"Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life. Thus people haunted by the purposelessness of their lives try to find a new content not only by dedicating themselves to a holy cause but also by nursing a fanatical grievance. A mass movement offers them unlimited opportunities for both."

"There is perhaps no more reliable indicator of a society's ripeness for a mass movement than the prevalence of unrelieved boredom. In almost all the descriptions of the periods preceding the rise of mass movements there is reference to vast ennui; and in their earliest stages mass movements are more likely to find sympathizers and support among the bored than among the exploited and oppressed."

"It is obvious that a proselytizing mass movement must break down all existing group ties if it is to win a considerable following. The ideal potential convert is the individual who stands alone, who has no collective body he can blend with and lose himself in and so mask the pettiness, meaninglessness and shabbiness of his individual existence. Where a mass movement finds the corporate pattern of family, tribe, country, etcetera, in a state of disruption and decay, it moves in and gathers the harvest. Where it finds the corporate pattern in good repair, it must attack and disrupt."
Hoffer encapsulates well what is happening in post-Christian Western Europe. However, I suspect the obsession with equality in Socialist nations such as Sweden comes from the influences of Marxism, at least Marxism in a particular form.

Marxists theoretician Gramsci concluded after WW1, when the Revolution in Russia failed to spread, that the Marxist was blocked by the "Christian soul" of the West. Hence, breaking down this identity became a matter of great importance. In 1919, cultural Marxist Georg Lukacs became Deputy Commissar for Culture in the short-lived Communist regime in Hungary. He set plans to de-Christianize the country by undermining Christian sexual ethics among children.

It is not difficult to hear an echo of this strategy now. The sexualization of children is promoted in order to break down their sense of modesty. However, some of the people advocating this show much more respect for Islam than for Christianity. Muhammad married a six year old child, so maybe sexualizing children is a form of soft-Islamization?

In general, Leftists hate Judeo-Christian values far more than they like Islam. Perhaps they think they can control Islam, or perhaps they are attracted to its totalitarian mindset. Either way, it is a fact that many of them are more aggressive against Christianity than against Islam.

Maybe I have a conspiratorial mindset, but the way left-wingers condemn Christianity and praise Islam is so consistent and aggressive that I cannot help but ask whether some of them have deliberately set out to uproot the plague of Christianity from our culture once and for all. They ridicule it at any given opportunity and destroy the values of the native culture, and at the same time they import a rival religion and groom it to replace the traditional one. When the day comes that people get sufficiently tired of nihilism, Christianity will have become so discredited as to have been eliminated as a viable alternative, and people are left with Islam.

In Sweden, the natives have been subject to ridicule of Western culture -- and Christianity in particular -- for generations. They are supposed to abase themselves in front of immigrants and tell them how worthless their culture is, or alternatively how much they lament the fact that they don't have a culture. Swedish girls are told to be sexually liberated and end up getting raped and called " infidel whores" by Muslim immigrants. Meanwhile, Swedish boys are taught to be as "gender neutral" as possible.

To sum it up, I see some indications that our obsession with non-discrimination is rooted in classical liberalism, which became more radical after the Second World War. However, there are also impulses from Marxism at work. The notion that men and women are identical would have been considered ridiculous by most human cultures throughout history. It was pushed in the West by radical Leftists groups, but has since become adopted by society as a whole. In this case, conservatives fought a rearguard battle which they have constantly lost. At best they have managed to slow down the advances of ideas emanating from the Left, without ever being able to stop them.


"Progressive" myths encourage child abuse

Comment from Australia:

The initial reference below is to a recent and notorious Australian case in which an underclass mother shook her toddler to death and then dumped his body in a pond. The toddler was Aboriginal (black). Welfare authorities knew of the case before the killing but probably threw up their hands from the beginning as Aboriginal families are very commmonly severely dysfunctional, with child abuse frequent. And it is absolutely VERBOTEN to take children away from black families. That used to be done sometimes but in recent years the Left set up a huge howl about "The stolen generation" (the black children fostered out to white families) in reference to the practice. The authorities obviously now feel that it is better to let black kids die than risk any more of that abuse

The family of the dead toddler Dean Shillingsworth this week gathered by the Ambarvale pond where his body was found stuffed into a suitcase. In his honour they launched a small boat on which was written: "An eye 4 an eye." As one of the relatives told this newspaper's Jordan Baker: "There is a lot of emotional blaming."

Since Dean's body was discovered last week and his mother, Rachel Pfitzner, was charged with his murder, there has indeed been a lot of blame going around. But the idea which seems to have taken popular hold, that the Government, or "the system", is entirely to blame for the two-year-old's tragic end is a sign of something amiss with our concept of personal responsibility. As one reader asked me in an email: "Who actually killed the child in the duck pond? A social worker? A clerk? A policeman? A member of Parliament?"

While the NSW Department of Community Services has been an incompetent bureaucratic basket case for years, you have to have some sympathy for the minister, Kevin Greene, when he says there is "no foolproof way" for DOCS to prevent all child deaths. DOCS has failed in the past to intervene when children were in danger, so the suspicion it has failed again is not unreasonable. But reflexive attacks on overloaded social workers, regardless of the evidence, not only absolves families of the prime responsibility for their children but also deflects attention from the growing community dysfunction which is the root cause of child abuse. However, Greene's absurd claim that one in five children in NSW has been reported to DOCS as being "at risk", does make you worry about the department's judgment.

It is no secret what kind of social conditions breed child abuse and neglect, so you would expect public servants with limited resources to narrow their focus if they are going to be any use. It might suit progressives babbling on ABC radio to claim abuse and neglect occurs in all families, and it's just that the richer ones "hide it behind closed doors". The facts say otherwise, and efforts to soft-soap them are part of the intellectual corruption of the elites, which has trickled down to the bottom of the social heap and wreaked such havoc over the past 40 years. It is stating the obvious to say child maltreatment occurs predominantly in the welfare-dependent underclass, whether it's in a remote indigenous community in the Northern Territory or a public housing suburb on the outskirts of Sydney.

Joblessness, jail and illegitimacy are a way of life for so many people in these chaotic parts of Australia that what the Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson describes as the "basic social cultural norms that underpin any society" have collapsed. The expectations that children will be brought up safely, of mutual obligation between citizen and society, of public order and safety that the rest of us take for granted, do not exist.

The solution is "structure", says the sociologist Peter Saunders, from the Centre for Independent Studies. "There is no doubt that work is what puts structure and discipline in people's lives. It is what makes people get up in the morning and have a shave. "You sound like a wowser [killjoy] when you say this but it's rules, responsibility, consequences for actions. You've got to enforce laws when laws are broken - including the drug laws." A life of welfare dependence "undermines autonomy and capacity and encourages you to believe you have no control of your life". It underpins the breakdown of social organisation in communities, the "anomie" described by the 19th-century French sociologist Emile Durkheim.

As a social libertarian, Saunders has always believed that people should be free to do whatever they want as long as they are not harming others. But he is coming to the more complex idea "that you have to have one rule for one population and another for another. You've got to start discriminating." While aiming to increase the autonomy and freedom of individuals in society we should recognise that we need "paternalistic intervention . for those who don't cope at the bottom or their lives will descend into chaos".

For instance, Saunders and readers of this newspaper might agree with the plan by Sydney's Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, to liberalise drinking laws to allow more small bars to open in Sydney, while also supporting the Government's crackdown on grog in the Territory, as alcohol has caused such distress and dysfunction in indigenous communities.

To avoid the charge of hypocrisy, Saunders says we need to distinguish between those who are competent to manage their affairs and the minority who "engage in such self-destructive behaviour that any reasonable person would understand the need to intervene". It is natural to feel squeamish about demanding restraints on the behaviour of others down the social scale that you would not tolerate for yourself. But warnings from conservatives that the social upheavals of the past 40 years would have their most tragic consequences on the most vulnerable have been ignored. The elites have grabbed the social freedoms to which they feel entitled, devaluing the role of fathers and the value of the old-fashioned nuclear family and proclaiming tolerance of all lifestyles as the greatest virtue.

The trickle-down effect has been disastrous, as recounted in Theodore Dalrymple's book Life at the Bottom. There is no doubting parents in the underclass love their children, but for too many, their child-rearing philosophy is what Dalrymple, a former British prison psychiatrist, calls "laissez-faire tempered by insensate rage". They "live in a torment of public and private disorder [which is] the consequence of not knowing how to live". It is the behaviour and lifestyle of these parents, particularly the mothers, which leads to the abuse and neglect of their children. So government social policies need to be focused on changing that behaviour, rather than sanctioning it by providing welfare without obligations, and refusing to be judgmental about lifestyles that are obviously detrimental to children.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

The foolish Dutch

On October 14, a female police officer was working in the police station in the Amsterdam neighborhood of Slotervaart. Her job that day: she had to help civilians at the counter. She had helped several people that day when a 22-year old Moroccan Dutch, Bilal B., entered the office. He walked towards her, jumped over the counter, pulled a knife and stabbed her in her neck. When she fled, he stabbed her twice more in her back. A male colleague tried to help her, but to no avail: he too was stabbed by Bilal, in the neck and chest. The heavily wounded female police officer felt that there was only one way to stop Bilal B. from killing both her and her colleague, pulled out her gun, and shot the attacker. Bilal B. died.

Shortly after the attack and death of Bilal, reports came out that he was a troubled young man: he suffered from schizophrenia, he was institutionalized in the past and even committed voluntarily the week before the attack, saying that he was suicidal. After one day, however, he escaped from the mental hospital, a run which ended in his premature death. But there was more. Bilal also had contact with members of the terrorist group the Hofstadgroup. Dutch intelligence officers had kept an eye on Bilal and had even considered `stalking' him. This means that they would monitor his behavior, but not just yet, they would let him know that they were watching him. It had been decided, however, that although he had contact with Hofstadgroup members, it was not necessary to devote much time and attention to him.

Following the attack, the two severely wounded police officers were brought to the hospital where they underwent surgery. Shortly after, word came out that their lives were no longer in danger. Instead of mourning the loss of Bilal B. - by all accounts a tragic figure - and celebrating the survival of the two police officers, Moroccan youth took the streets, burned down cars and attacked the police station in their neighborhood, destroying windows and, generally terrorizing Slotervaart. It even got so bad that the president of the neighborhood Slotervaart, Marcouch (who is of Moroccan descent himself), called on the police to adopt a zero tolerance policy.

Strangely, however, the police in Amsterdam refused, for a long time, to do so. They favored a `soft policy' which meant that they hoped that Slotervaart's `buurtvaders' (the neighborhood fathers who serve as an `example' to the children of immigrants because they're integrated well and generally behaving in accordance to the laws of this country) would talk to the Moroccan-Dutch youth who were terrorizing the city. The police thought that the buurtvaders would be able to calm things down.

Ironically, the buurtvaders agreed with Marcouch and wanted the police to arrest the trouble makers and to use force if necessary. The buurtvaders understood that there is only one thing these thugs listen to: power. The police, sadly, did not. The result is that Moroccan-Dutch thugs terrorized Slotervaart three nights in a row, burning down cars in front of police officers and destroying whatever comes in their way.

This continued until Wednesday night, October 17 when finally, the Dutch police decided to act and arrested eight individuals. However, although they were arrested, the youths were released shortly afterwards which enables them to cause trouble time and again. According to the head of the police in Amsterdam, there are some 35 Moroccan-Dutch delinquents between the ages 12 and 15 at the core of the violence and he has now warned the rest of the country that what happened in Paris last year, may happen here now as well. Obviously, the intention of the police is to prevent that from happening, but in order to do so, the youths causing the trouble, breaking the laws and burning down the cars, have to be arrested and taken off the streets, and not treated with kid gloves.

What we have learned from the riots in France is that the police has to act immediately. If they allow the rioters to go on for a couple of days, until things are so bad that even the most conciliatory elements in the government considers it necessary to act, they've already waited too long. Whatever the police do at that point will only serve as fuel on the fire. Right now, there is still time to act, but the police should do what the buurtvaders are urging they should do: get tough, starting now. Pulling them off the streets the one night, only to put them back on the following morning is neither tough nor effective.

We Dutch have displayed enough patience with our badly integrated Moroccan-Dutch minority. We have displayed enough tolerance, we have given them everything they wanted except for a second Morocco. Zero tolerance should be our policy from now onwards; not just in Amsterdam, but in the entire country.


Permissiveness is degrading English civility

To understand the opening comments below, you need to know that Rugby is a form of football favoured by middle to upper class Brits while "football" (soccer") is working class. The bad behaviour of English soccer fans abroad is notorious. The author, Janet Daley is American born. Her surname is Irish. It is unlikely that an English person would comment on class differences so forthrightly. She is nonetheless a frequent writer in English conservative publications

So the England rugby fans apparently managed to find their way out of Paris without wrecking a single bar, overturning a single car or bottling a single South African supporter - let alone waging a pitched battle on the Champs-Elysees with a squad of armoured police. Even those who arrived without tickets, drank with abandon and were reduced to sleeping rough in the streets - a sure-fire prescription for carnage if this had been a football World Cup - made no trouble for the authorities.

There are a few commentators who staunchly insist that this is not about class: that the difference between what Dave Tattoo and his mates would have done to Paris after losing a football World Cup final, and what the sad but non-violent rugby fans did, is nothing to do with the ugly social divide that still pervades Britain.

Well, delude yourself if you like - but this is about class. What confuses the issue now is that class is not all about money. Many thugs who travel abroad in fervent pursuit of the ultimate football fan's trophy - a charge of grievous bodily harm - are high earners, at least by the standards of their parents' generation. (After all, how else could they afford the trip?)

But what is so devastatingly depressing is that the class barrier in Britain is so immutable that even relative affluence cannot touch what lies at the heart of it. Since I arrived in this country, there has been a succession of optimistic prophesies about the end of the class system. When I got here in the 1960s you were in the midst of one: a great wave of creativity had arisen from the proletarian provinces - John Lennon and David Hockney, John Osborne and Kingsley Amis. Surely this was the dawn of a new age of egalitarian meritocracy in which it was positively fashionable to have working-class roots? Look at the photographs of the England football team who won the World Cup in 1966. How respectable and middle class they appear - and how gentlemanly was their behaviour on the pitch by comparison to the rich sociopaths who now dominate the game.

Whatever happened to the decency and civility that was personified by Bobby Moore and the Charlton brothers? What happened to the desire of young working-class men to rise above the violence and borderline criminality that lay in wait for people of their backgrounds whose self-discipline was allowed to slip?

It disappeared under a new wave of garbage culture and what seemed to me - a shocked outsider - like a positive conspiracy to maintain the separateness of working-class life, engineered jointly by sentimental media hokum and patronising middle-class guilt.

Whole genres of television programmes, whole tranches of truly appalling down-market magazines appeared on the scene, all apparently designed to celebrate the most degrading forms of working-class life. And as cynical and manipulative as these cold-blooded marketing exercises were, to criticise them was to invite charges of snobbery: as if no form of "entertainment", however debased, should be regarded as too low to be an insult to this audience.

Schooling, which should have been the real answer to it all, was dominated by an educational establishment steeped in bourgeois guilt. I can remember having heated arguments with teachers and education officials who were adamant that children's ungrammatical regional dialects should not be corrected. "Correct" English, they insisted, was just a middle-class fetish which should not be imposed on children from "other" backgrounds. So generations of working-class children had their feet set in social and cultural concrete by schools that refused to teach them how to speak and write their own language properly.

It happened again and again: in the 1980s there was another burst of meritocratic aspiration which saw a further wave of people break free from the limitations of their backgrounds - only to be ridiculed as "Essex men" whose vulgar tastes and flashy wives still put them beyond the pale no matter how much they earned.

Now we have a new incarnation of the old division with "chavs" [flashy working class youths] and reborn Sloane Rangers. And a poll at the weekend states that 89 per cent of respondents believe that people in Britain are still judged by their class.

The Labour Government, convinced (rightly) that education is the answer to this, is trying to force universities to accept students whose schooling has been so inadequate that they cannot even achieve the low level of qualification needed to be admitted legitimately. Social engineering is too subtle a term for this distortion of university entrance criteria: it is not so much a bending of the system as a bludgeoning that threatens to devalue what makes higher education so worthwhile. If education is the answer, then it must be allowed to do what only education can do: provide the rite of passage to an examined life.

That life requires an attitude which takes self-respect and the value of personal achievement for granted. Implant and nurture those things and the rest - aspiration, motivation and social mobility - will follow.

In Danny Danziger's book Museum, a collection of essays by people who work at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, there is a revelatory chapter by the head of security. The uniformed guards in the galleries at the Met are all graduates. This may be why they exercise far more discipline over the groups of schoolchildren than their British equivalents do: first, they feel more real commitment to the art, and second, they see no reason why everyone - from whatever background - should not be expected to behave in a museum.

Two of them became so involved with the objects they were guarding that they went back to university to get higher degrees and became museum curators. Ask yourself what the chances would be of that happening here, and even what response there would be to the suggestion that all museum guards should have higher education?

Forgive the homily, but it seems to be necessary to say this: self-respect comes to people from the expectations of others. If you, as a society, do not expect correct speech, decent behaviour and a sense of responsibility from some of your fellow citizens - do not, in other words, demand from them what civilised life requires - then you deny them the chance to enter that life more effectively than if you had barred the gates to every centre of learning in the land.


You're Insensitive About My Insensitivity

We live in a day and time where a person must be excruciatingly careful of what the say and how they act. One mistaken word or act can bring down a torrent of criticism the likes of which have never been seen before. "You should go to tolerance camp" is becoming a more prevalant phrase. How tolerant is "tolerance"? Does the fact that I don't like illegal immigrants make me intolerant? Does it make me a bad person? Does the fact that I believe homosexuals should have a ceremony different from marriage to consecrate their union make me an intolerably bad person? Just because my beliefs differ from yours, does that make it necessary for you to tell me I need to go to tolerance camp?

You cannot give tolerance to some people and deny it to others. If you are going to be tolerant of all ideas, then you must also be tolerant of the people whose ideas differ from yours. You may believe in opening our borders to every living, breathing creature on the planet whether they be innocuous or terrorist. I don't. Does that make me any worse of a person than you? HArdly. I just view things differently. That is what gets me about these tolerance toting people out there. They will be tolerant as long as your beliefs follow theirs. And if your beliefs don't? Well, then you're simply a narrow minded pig who needs to learn tolerance.

But there are some things, and some people, who should not be tolerated.

Illegal immigrants - I have nothing against LEGAL immigrants, because they follow the laws. They rightfully belong in this country. They pay taxes for the services they recieve. Illegals don't. And when they get hurt and are sent to the hospital, who is paying for their treatment? MY tax dollars are. Not theirs because they don't pay taxes. As for the arguement, "No one else will do the jobs they do." We currently have an unemployment rate of something like 6%? That's a whole lot of people who would like a job right now.

Racism - Okay, yes, racism is still alive in this country. It's also alive in every other country around the world. But when you have this many people, or so many diverse backgrounds in one area, you're bound to have conflict. But then again, I think people like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson hype up racism to the point where it seems like where back in the pre-Civil War era. Seriously, get real. If you even look at a minority group member wrong, you're immediately labeled as a racist. But then, should you call a white person "white trash" or get involved in reverse racism, no one really cares. The easiest group to attack in America where you don't have to fear repercussions? White men. Who knew?

Homosexuals - Okay, love is love one way or another. Some people condemn it, some people love it, some people just don't care one way or another. I feel that marriage is solely between a man and a woman. Punto. If homosexuals want to come up with some other kind of sacred ceremony for themselves, go ahead. I'm not going to be one to stop you. I think that's one of the biggest problems today. People are expecting too much change too fast for too diverse of a population. One thing at a time ladies and gents. The ending of slavery and the sufferage of woman wasn't gained over night. And it is still not what it should be. Everything takes time, but demanding everything all at once isn't going to make things any better or easier.

Tolerance is a two way street. You either have to tolerant of all people, or you are not completely tolerant.


Deadly airline OK for Australia?

This is just politics. Must not offend Muslim Indonesia

GARUDA will be allowed to continue carrying tens of thousands of Australians to Bali and Jakarta despite Federal Government warnings that Indonesia's aviation standards do not measure up. Garuda, along with all Indonesian airlines, was banned earlier in the year from using European airspace by European Union aviation authorities concerned about their abysmal safety record.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) yesterday ducked calls for a ban locally amid widespread dismay at how badly the Garuda pilots got it wrong in the Yogyakarta crash that killed five Australians. The authority said it would not review the airline's access to Australian airspace until it had read the full crash report.

Both sides of Australian politics urged the Indonesians to consider laying charges against the pilots who ignored 15 alerts before the crash on March 7. Transport Minister Mark Vaile warned that safety standards in Indonesia were below those in Australia. "Australians travelling overseas should understand that that level of safety doesn't necessarily exist in every country across the world," Mr Vaile said.

Garuda carries about 80,000 passengers to Bali every year, with daily flights from Sydney, Melbourne, Perth and Darwin.

CASA tried to downplay any threat to Australian lives, saying Garuda had not put a foot wrong since the March crash. [Big deal!]

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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Why Islamic Fascists Get Away With Hate Speech

By Mike S. Adams

When, in class one day, a student said that "hate speech" was not free speech, I asked him the following: "Can you even define hate speech?" After a long silence, I assured him that I, too, was unable to define hate speech. But, since then, I think I have come up with a suitable definition that helps me understand both the failure of speech codes and the success of Islamic terrorism.

My new understanding of hate speech comes from a recent speech given by my boss Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo. As usual, Rosemary was trying to do damage control as a result of her most recent administrative blunder. The current controversy intensified when the President of the Faculty Senate fired off a couple of nasty emails to the Provost copying the entire faculty in the process. The angry missives correctly criticized the upper administration for making major decisions affecting the faculty without properly consulting them through the Faculty Senate.

At our next university-wide faculty meeting, the Chancellor addressed the controversy without any reference to the substance of the charges against her administration. Instead, she responded to the criticism by talking about the need to maintain "civility" and a "collegial environment," which, she said, could not be appreciated fully until it was lost. Many, including myself, thought that a lecture by our chancellor on the topic of civility carried as much weight as a lecture by Al Gore, Jr. on the topic of obesity - or perhaps a lecture on good puns by Mike Adams.

Everything was put in proper perspective when a liberal sociologist properly characterized references to "civility" in higher education as intentional efforts to avoid substantive discussions. In other words, he seemed to be generalizing beyond DePaolo to all of those who play the "civility card." I resisted the temptation to talk about sociologists who play the racism card and feminists who play the sexism card.

But I recognized immediately the connection between the sociologist's observation and the campus speech code movement, which seeks to ban "hate speech." And, after letting his words sink in, I formed this new definition of hate speech: Hate speech is verbal communication that induces anger due to the listener's inability to offer an intelligent response.

Because this inability to offer an intelligent response is due to one of two reasons, there are really two different types of hate speech: 1) Speech that is too dumb to merit an intelligent response, and 2) Speech for which the listener is too dumb to offer an intelligent response.

Instances of the former are numerous in the society-at-large. For example, when a member of the KKK says "I may not be much, but at least I'm not a nigger" there is really no way to respond intelligently. Nor is there much hope that any response will be understood and appreciated by someone ignorant enough to make such a remark. So the speech can be properly characterized as hate speech.

Instances of the latter are numerous in academia. For example, three years ago this week, I wrote a piece explaining how speech codes produce a form of reverse Darwinism. I argued that only those who are emotionally unfit are likely to become uncomfortable simply by hearing a contrary point of view. I argued further that they are indeed quite emotionally unfit if they actually remain upset long enough to file a complaint aimed at enforcing a speech code.

Of course, after I wrote my piece a feminist started crying and went to the feminist (now former) chair who, in turn, gave me a lecture about civility. In other words, the feminists weren't smart enough to address the substance of my remarks. Shocking, isn't it?

Hence, I accurately predicted that the codes seek to weed out the speech of the emotionally stable majority - those who do not cry at work - through the vehicle of complaints filed by the emotionally unstable - those who cry at work but never file complaints directed towards the suppression of their own views.

The similarity between the two principal forms of hate speech is obvious: They both induce anger in the listener, regardless of whether the speaker expressed his view with any feeling of hatred or animosity.

And this leads to an understanding (see bold sentence below) of the apparent hypocrisy of gays and feminists who a) cry "hate speech" (while actually crying in some cases) against conservatives who do not wish to kill gays and feminists, and b) tolerate "hate speech" by Islamic fascists who really do wish to kill gays and feminists.

Islamic advocacy of violence is not classified as "hate speech" because it induces fear, not anger.

This, of course, explains the failure of speech codes (and probably multi-culturalism in general). Since the enforcement of the codes relies largely on the emotional reaction of the listener rather than the content of the speech, the codes create insurmountable problems within both the First and Fourteenth Amendments.

And, of course, it explains the success of Islamic terrorism. It is indeed a strategy that induces fear in an effort to destroy the proper function of the First Amendment through threats and intimidation too serious to simply ignore. But, of course, this is not as it should be. And I intend to offer a solution to the problem when I speak during Islamic Fascism Awareness Week. Like true First Amendment terrorists, some Muslims are trying to prevent the week's events from happening. But the true American patriots who outnumber them will not be deterred. They simply will not provide the fear necessary for the survival of their tyranny and the destruction of our precious liberty.

Dr. Adams' speech will take place at Clemson University on Thursday, October 25th. It will begin at 7 p.m. in Room 100 of Hunter Hall. Anyone in the audience who does not want to risk being shot should wear an orange cap.


Multiculturalism threatens democracy, says leading British Rabbi

Multiculturalism promotes segregation, stifles free speech and threatens liberal democracy, Britain's top Jewish official warned in extracts from his book published Saturday. Jonathan Sacks, Britain's chief rabbi, defined multiculturalism as an attempt to affirm Britain's diverse communities and make ethnic and religious minorities more appreciated and respected. But in his book, "The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society," he said the movement had run its course.

"Multiculturalism has led not to integration but to segregation," Sacks wrote in his book, an extract of which was published in the Times of London. "Liberal democracy is in danger," Sacks said, adding later: "The politics of freedom risks descending into the politics of fear."

Sacks said Britain's politics had been poisoned by the rise of identity politics, as minorities and aggrieved groups jockeyed first for rights, then for special treatment. The process, he said, began with Jews, before being taken up by blacks, women and gays. He said the effect had been "inexorably divisive." "A culture of victimhood sets group against group, each claiming that its pain, injury, oppression, humiliation is greater than that of others," he said.

In an interview with the Times, Sacks said he wanted his book to be "politically incorrect in the highest order." But Sacks defended his strong support for Jewish schools in Britain, saying the promotion of Jewish education was compatible with integration. Photogenic and outspoken, Sacks is highly regarded in Britain and makes frequent appearances on television, radio and in the national press. His reputation among Britain's 260,000-strong Jewish community is more varied. Ultra-orthodox believers were dismayed by the suggestion in Sacks' earlier book, "The Dignity of Difference," that the faith did not contain the absolute truth, according to The Times.

In 1997, he outraged many among his more liberal-minded constituents when he criticized the late leader of the Reform movement as a "destroyer of the faith" in a letter leaked to the media. Sacks also raised hackles when, in 2002, he said in an interview that there were many things that happened in Israel that made him "very uncomfortable as a Jew."


The propaganda war against Israel

And the need for a more robust response to it

On June 9, 2006, a beach in Gaza was rocked by an explosion that killed seven members of a Palestinian family. Shortly afterward, Palestinian Authority television released a horrific video showing a 10-year-old girl shrieking amidst the dead bodies on the beach, and Palestinian hospital workers and spokesmen angrily blamed Israel Defense Forces (IDF) artillery fire for the deaths--even though no investigation had been conducted, and the Palestinian accusers had no way of knowing what caused the explosion. The exultant declarations of an Israeli massacre were reported as fact in newspapers and television broadcasts around the world; human rights groups joined in the condemnations; and once again Israel found itself the object of international outrage over the issue of civilian casualties.

If this story and its origins fit a predictable pattern, so did Israel's reaction to the crisis: The IDF immediately ceased military activity in Gaza, and Israeli officials at the highest levels reflexively assented to the IDF's culpability and promised an investigation of the incident.

The last chapter of the story is equally familiar: It was ultimately determined that the Palestinians on the beach were not killed by the IDF. Rather, Hamas had mined the section of beach where the explosion occurred, hoping to defend their arsenal of Kassam rockets against Israeli commando missions. After the explosion, Hamas men combed the beach, removing shrapnel that could be used as evidence. The sensational video that captured the sympathies of credulous journalists and set off a wildfire of opprobrium turned out, upon objective evaluation, to be a mangled skein of spliced footage and puzzling anachronisms. It was, in other words, a fake. The explosion itself occurred some ten minutes after the last IDF artillery shell had been fired into the area, and the shrapnel found in the victims' bodies was not from Israeli munitions. Hamas, in a sloppy attempt at defending Gaza, had almost certainly killed its own citizens.

In the end, none of the exculpatory evidence mattered in the least: Israel had been tried and convicted in the court of world opinion in the first few days after the incident. And, as has happened so often before and since, Israeli officials had helped their enemies make their case.

Israel has an image problem. Beginning with the 1982 Lebanon War, and accelerating rapidly after the start of the second Intifada in 2000, the Jewish state has come to be viewed in many quarters of enlightened opinion as a sinister presence on the world stage. Founded on principles of human rights, Israel is now seen as the oppressor of another people; once considered a courageously open society in a region of tyrants, Israel today is portrayed as a brutish garrison nation; once lauded as a beacon of civil rights and democracy, Israel is called an apartheid state. Zionism itself has become an important target of this rhetorical violence. At one time considered a heroic answer to pogroms and genocide, Zionism is now blamed for granting ideological absolution for the perpetration of those very crimes. All of these caricatures aim to redefine the basic character of Zionism and the state it helped create, thus undermining both the legitimacy of the Jewish state in its current form and the moral and ideological basis for its creation.

And this re-definition has most assuredly been successful: In a 2007 BBC World Service poll, respondents in dozens of countries were asked to rank 27 nations according to their positive or negative influence on the world. Israel ranked dead last--even lower than Iran--with only 17 percent saying that they viewed Israel as a "mainly positive" influence. Among Western countries, Israel barely fared better: In Australia, Italy, the United Kingdom, France, and Greece, Israel is viewed as a "mainly negative" influence by almost two-thirds of the people, and in Germany by over three-quarters of the people. Similarly, a 2003 poll found that, among Europeans, Israel is considered the most dangerous country in the world.

The handmaiden of this phenomenon is what could be called, if one wishes to be polemical, the anti-Israel lobby, or, more accurately, a dominant culture of opinion shared by human rights organizations, NGOs, Middle East Studies departments and campus groups, the United Nations, "progressive" Christian organizations, and the overwhelming majority of the British and European media and cultural elite. These factions operate in a state of more or less permanent antagonism to Israel, and in no previous era of the Jewish state's history has such a lavishly funded, mutually reinforcing international axis existed to challenge its very legitimacy. Today, in much of Europe and the UK, and in some parts of America, a caricature of Israel that once flourished only on the ideological fringes has been mainstreamed: Israel is believed to be a sadistic oppressor, a wanton slaughterer of civilians, a relentless Middle Eastern warmonger, and a grave strategic liability for the United States and the Western world.

The popularity of this way of thinking did not evolve naturally. It has been assiduously cultivated over the course of several decades, with the many battles waged against Israel during that time serving as important opportunities for those whose goal is the delegitimization and isolation of the Jewish state. The death of twelve-year-old Muhammad al-Dura in the opening weeks of the second Intifada was a first salvo and a defining one. Al-Dura was killed in a Gaza crossfire between IDF troops and Palestinians who opened fire on their position. A Palestinian cameraman working for the French news station France 2 captured the firefight on film, and this video was edited by France 2 and then released, free of charge, to other media organizations, accompanied by the declaration that the IDF not only had killed al-Dura but had done so intentionally. How did France 2's reporters know this? They did not. Their claim was based on the statement of one man, the cameraman, who could not have known whose bullets actually struck al-Dura, much less whether he was intentionally targeted. Not surprisingly, al-Dura was buried before an autopsy, bullet removal, or ballistics tests could be performed.

Also not surprising was Israel's handling of the crisis. The IDF, itself having conducted only a most cursory investigation, announced that it was "probably responsible" for the killing. Amnesty International blamed Israel as well, giving an imprimatur of objectivity to the Palestinian and French accusations. Largely owing to the cinematic sensationalism of the incident, images of al-Dura's death were seized upon in the Arab world and by the European media as icons of Palestinian victimhood and Israeli cruelty, as distilled truths revealing the entire character of the Arab-Israeli conflict in a single, frozen moment. Governments throughout the Middle East stoked the crisis by issuing postage stamps, commissioning poems and songs, and re-naming roads in al-Dura's honor. Even Osama Bin Laden recognized an opportunity to contribute to the firestorm, warning a month after the 9/11 attacks that "Bush must not forget the image of Muhammad al-Dura."

Subsequent investigations have shown that the carefully edited France 2 video was wholly inconclusive, that al-Dura could not have been hit by Israeli fire, and that, like so many incidents that would follow, the galvanizing story of his death was in fact a ghoulish fabrication, intended as one more barrage in the larger war to destroy the moral standing of Israel and the IDF.

Less than two years later, Israel once again found itself the object of an Orwellian Two Minutes' Hate over another invented atrocity, this time in the West Bank city of Jenin. At the height of the Intifada, during Operation Defensive Shield, IDF forces entered a section of Jenin in order to clear it of terrorists who were responsible for sending a disproportionate number of suicide bombers into Israel. Intense house-to-house fighting ensued. Over fifty residences had been rigged with explosives, and while the obvious tactic would have been to follow recent examples set by other Western militaries fighting in Somalia, Bosnia, and Afghanistan and use artillery or air strikes to neutralize the threat, the IDF chose instead to press on with ground forces --at the cost of the lives of twenty-three of its infantrymen--all in order to minimize Palestinian civilian casualties. Fifty-two Palestinians were killed, almost all of whom were armed combatants. (For a detailed analysis of the battle, see Yagil Henkin, "Urban Warfare and the Lessons of Jenin," Azure 15, Summer 2003). But in the aftermath of the battle, none of these facts were considered by the media or the international establishment to be of the slightest relevance.

The narrative of what happened in Jenin had already been decided upon, and it demanded stories of mass slaughter and war crimes. The official Palestinian news agency declared that the "massacre of the twenty-first century" had been perpetrated. The UN envoy to the Middle East, Terje Roed-Larsen, described Jenin as "horrifying beyond belief" and concluded that "Israel has lost all moral ground in this conflict." Derrick Pounder, an Amnesty International "forensic expert," commented upon entering Jenin that "the evidence before us at the moment doesn't lead us to believe that the allegations are anything other than truthful and that therefore there are large numbers of civilian dead underneath these bulldozed and bombed ruins that we see."

In America, National Public Radio, CNN, and The Los Angeles Times breathlessly repeated stories of atrocities, and in the New York Times ex-president Jimmy Carter accused Israel of "destroying" Jenin "and other villages." In Britain, the press was the most gratuitous. "The sweet and ghastly reek of rotting human bodies is everywhere, evidence that it is a human tomb," effused Phil Reeves in the Independent. "The people say there are hundreds of corpses, entombed beneath the dust." The Daily Telegraph's David Blair reported that IDF troops had summarily executed nine men, who were stripped to their underwear, "placed against a wall and killed with single shots to the head."

In the end, the only massacre that had been committed was conducted by the UN, international aid organizations, and the international press--a massacre of the truth that was intended, exactly as the UN envoy had so smugly declared, to destroy Israel's moral standing in its fight against the Palestinian terror offensive.

Most recently is the case of the Second Lebanon War, the fallout from which has concentrated Israeli attention on military and political failures. This self-criticism has largely ignored a third failure, namely the ease with which Israel was once again defeated in the media. Within days of the start of the war, and without conscious coordination, Israel's enemies set about undermining Israeli self-defense: Kofi Annan announced, with no evidence whatsoever, that Israel had intentionally killed four members of UNIFIL; human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW) churned out scores of reports condemning Israel's war effort, alleging war crimes, and largely ignoring Hezbollah (Kenneth Roth, the executive director of HRW, accused Israel of waging "indiscriminate warfare" and added, with no credible substantiation, that "In some instances, Israeli forces appear to have deliberately targeted civilians"); and journalists gave flood-the-zone coverage to Lebanese civilian casualties, producing false reports on the Qana bombing, doctored photographs, and news stories that were arranged and directed by Hezbollah. In its battlefield tours for reporters, Hezbollah went so far as to fabricate ambulance drive-bys, as apparently the payoff from using these vehicles as props for the international press was preferable to using them to help wounded Lebanese.

The Israeli response to the calumnies so predictably sent its way was sometimes adept, but too often fell back on familiar and self-destructive tactics: Gratuitous apologies and self-criticism, servility in the face of hostile journalists, and an inability to make the basic case that Lebanese civilian casualties were one of Hezbollah's central goals in the conflict, precisely because of their propaganda value. Astonishingly, after the Qana bombing Israel pledged to suspend its air campaign for 48 hours, a gesture to its enemies and allies alike that at the highest levels of government there festered a deep ambivalence about the war effort.

By the halfway point in the conflict, the narrative of the war had been skewed from one in which Israel was defending itself from attack by an Iranian-backed terrorist organization to one in which Israel was, once again, savagely killing civilians. A survey by Harvard University's Shorenstein Center found that of the 117 stories the BBC ran during the conflict, 38 percent identified Israel as the aggressor, while only 4 percent identified Hezbollah as such. As Harvard's Marvin Kalb reported in a recent study, "On the front pages of The New York Times and The Washington Post, Israel was portrayed as the aggressor nearly twice as often in the headlines and exactly three times as often in the photos."

The pattern revealed by these events displays a disturbing record of Israeli failure, but also suggests a course of corrective action. Whether the crisis was al-Dura, Jenin, Lebanon, or the Gaza beach explosion, the Israeli response distinguished itself by the same blunders: A reflexive assumption of guilt; pre-emptive apologies, unnecessary self-criticism, promises of investigation, and suspension of military action; a weak-kneed treatment of precisely the kind of incendiary charges that require a forceful response; the assertion of innocence only after the media storm had passed; and finally, the refusal to push back rhetorically or otherwise against the individuals and organizations who have turned slandering Israel into such a disgracefully undemanding sport.

Several reforms, both conceptual and structural, are imperative. The first is in regard to the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, the small group within the Israeli military that handles media relations. In wartime, its citizen soldiers are charged with the weighty responsibility of explaining Israeli military actions to the world. More than any other, the Spokesperson's Unit is in desperate need of expansion and improvement. It must become one of the most elite units in the IDF, proactive, creative, and aggressive--in other words, a match for Israel's equally determined foes. A branch office should be created in Jerusalem, where a large contingent of the foreign press corps is located, in order to encourage the cultivation of relationships with journalists. Its staff should be re-configured to consist of professionals who have extensive experience in the media, journalism, and public relations.

Currently, the unit is composed largely of young conscripts and older reservists who, to put it bluntly, are simply out of their league. The new Spokesperson's Unit must include a task force dedicated to aggressively--and very publicly--debunking false and biased media coverage. Finally, a liaison office should be created in order to coordinate media strategy and message between the IDF and the government, with the goal of crafting a unique communications strategy to complement every major military operation.

For these changes to leave their mark, the Israeli government itself must adopt a more disciplined communications process. Today, Israel has no united communications infrastructure; each government ministry and branch of the IDF offers up its own spokespeople to the press, and the result is an anarchy of statements and messages that frequently leave Israel on the defensive and appearing guilty in the face of unrefuted accusations.

On the conceptual level, Israeli strategists and spokespeople must come to understand the immense influence of symbolism, theater, and the repetition of defining anecdotes in modern warfare. This means that Israeli war planners must consider the role played by those NGOs and news organizations engaged in deliberate false reporting. These actors can no longer be conceptually grouped as third parties or neutral observers during conflicts; they are deeply implicated in the warfare itself, and as parties to a conflict their presence must be treated with the utmost seriousness.

For over a year, the IDF has been conducting air strikes in Gaza that are intended to thwart Kassam rocket fire into Israel, and because Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists intentionally operate among civilians, these strikes invariably kill bystanders and create damaging news stories. It would be extraordinarily easy for the prime minister, for example, to hold a press conference in Sderot in front of a school destroyed by Palestinian rocket fire and explain to the cameras that while Israel is striking Hamas in order to protect the lives of Israeli children, Hamas is sending its children on suicide missions to operate those very same rocket launchers. Every time thereafter that Israel strikes at terrorists in Gaza, Israeli spokespeople could hammer home the damning fact that Hamas uses children in terrorist attacks. Repeated often and forcefully enough, the average Westerner may not be inspired to like Israel, but at least he will come to understand the nature of its struggle--and the macabre reality of Palestinian "resistance."

Finally, it is long past time that Israel pushed back against the worst of the journalists, activists, and NGO employees who have made a cottage industry out of operating in the Jewish state under false pretenses. More disturbing than the fraudulent coverage of al-Dura, Jenin, Lebanon, and the Gaza beach explosion is the fact that Israel did nothing to punish those who so eagerly participated in the dissemination of propaganda. The journalists who wrote sensational fabrications of an Israeli massacre in Jenin kept their press passes, and the offices of the news organizations for which they worked remained open. In the same manner, the human rights and NGO activists who provide journalists and the UN with their fig leaf of false objectivity consistently retain their work visas.

In refusing to hold this rogues' gallery of repeat offenders responsible, Israel succeeds only in emboldening the ambitions of those who have made careers out of working to destroy Israel from within its own borders. Should Israel expel journalists simply on the basis of negative coverage? Absolutely not; the freedom to criticize remains the essence of democratic debate. But there is a fundamental difference between criticism and defamation, and the Israeli government should make no apologies for refusing to make its country a haven for unscrupulous activists masquerading as reporters.

At the heart of the problems of organization and discipline that are so prevalent in Israel's failure to address its image problem, there is ultimately a conceptual failure in the inability to recognize the changed nature of modern warfare. In our age of global communication and the disproportionate influence of easily manipulable photographs and video, a new theater of war has been created, one in which the battle is not fought over territory or against armies and terrorists. The battle is over images, narratives, and beliefs, and the tactics and strategies required to fight it bear little resemblance to conventional war. The stakes for Israel are far greater than the repercussions of one particular crisis; what hangs in the balance is Israel's strategic position among democratic nations; its ability to sustain its own sense of moral clarity and national confidence against its enemies; the perseverance of Zionism as the animating ethos of the Jewish state; and the fulfillment of the central aspiration of creating a country in which Jews no longer feel intimidated by their assailants. Israel cannot change its enemies, but it must change how it fights them.


Australian Leftist leader rejects homosexual marriage

This is in line with his general adherence to the status quo but it may also show that he still retains some sensitivity to what the workers want -- instead of being totally in the grip of the Left intelligentsia

KEVIN Rudd has rejected homosexual marriage, insisting the institution should be reserved for men and women. But the Labor Leader has also insisted on equal legal rights for homosexual couples in all other areas, including superannuation and inheritance.

Mr Rudd today took his campaign for the November 24 election to younger voters with an appearance on Sydney radio 2Day FM and heard controversial broadcaster Kyle Sandilands demand gays be allowed to marry. Mr Rudd: "Look I know it's not a popular opinion on this program and with you, but I actually believe that marriage is between a man and a woman. "But when it comes to the other legal discriminations which exist, we're committed ... to making sure that all those things are taken away. "But on the institution of marriage itself our view is this _ it's an institution between a man and a woman and that's just been our traditional continuing view.''

Asked what he would do if one of his three children way gay, Mr Rudd said he would "love them equally''. "When it comes to respecting same-sex relationships I understand the absolute important of that _ absolute importance,'' he said. "But on the institution of marriage I think it's important that we articulate a clear view on that. "But I don't think at all that people in such relatiobships are in any way second class citizens at all.''



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Sick Britain: Too dangerous for firefighters to climb ladders

Firefighters have backed out of a long-standing agreement to take down their town's festival bunting because health and safety rules no longer allow them to climb ladders to remove it. Green and white flags are still fluttering over the streets of Ampthill, in Bedfordshire, four months after the annual gala day. The town council has insisted that Bedfordshire and Luton Fire and Rescue Service must go through risk assessment procedures, despite their expertise with ladders. "Yes, it sounds like the world has gone mad," said Graeme Smith, deputy chief fire officer. "Firefighters will climb ladders to rescue people from burning buildings, but not to remove bunting after a festival.

"One is a 999 job, where to save lives we will take calculated risks. The other is a property maintenance job, which is covered by standard health and safety rules that we would have to abide by, the same as everyone else. That could mean closing the road and using a platform to reach the bunting. "Unfortunately, if we went down that route people might ask why we are paying firefighters to use our top-level rescue equipment to remove a few flags, when a local contractor could do the job just as well."

The regulations no longer allow the use of ladders to hang or remove decorations, and the work must be done by technicians using hydraulic platforms. Specialist testing gear must be used to assess the safety of bolts anchoring decorations such as Christmas lights, and lampposts have been deeemed unsuitable for hanging decorations. Mark Smith, a councillor, former mayor and member of Ampthill's festival committee, said in his blog: "The festival committee has always appreciated [the firefighters'] assistance in the past and is working towards getting them down, although I still find them quite cheery."

He had, however, received complaints that the bunting was starting to look tatty. Residents used the online Ampthill Today forum to express their bemusement. Charlie Garth wrote: "What the blazes? I'm sure our brave firemen aren't frightened about falling off a piddling little ladder. They have never looked afraid of heights to me. "After all, they are used to climbing giant turntable ladders with choppers in their hands and rescuing cats from the tops of tall trees."

The costs associated with safety testing and installation of decorations have influenced plans to mount displays of Christmas lights for traders' groups and local councils around the country. An increasingly litigious culture had caused the cost of liability cover to rise, the Association of British Insurers said. In turn, insurers were insisting on sticking to rules by the letter, and rising insurance premiums to cover Christmas decorations were becoming too high for traders and local councils to meet, the Federation of Small Businesses said.

In Clevedon, near Bristol, North Somerset Council told traders that lights could no longer be attached to lampposts or buildings, making a display unworkable. In Sandwell, West Midlands, traders were told that lights could not be hung across roads in case the cables broke. In Bodmin, Cornwall, the council faces a 1,200 pounds bill to train two workers to test all 150 bolts holding lights or cables, using a cherry-picker. On top of that the council must cover wages and the cost of hiring the equipment, and shut town-centre streets while the work is done. In Dereham, Norfolk, traders face a bill of more than 10,000 pounds for Christmas lights. Health and safety issues have contributed heavily to the cost.


That's 'hate speech,' you religious creep!

For decades now the left has issued hysterical pronouncements to Americans, warning that conservatives and Christians were out to silence their First Amendment free speech rights. With talk radio under assault by Congress itself, maybe it's time to examine their claims. After the leftist hysteria is cleared away, what are we really looking at?

Publicly funded chocolate syrup orgies on stage, the figure of Christ or the Virgin Mary immersed in urine, and most recently the famous Leonardo Da Vinci painting, "The Last Supper" portrayed as a homosexual orgy. These are all examples of the speech we'd have to do without - if obscenity were not "protected speech."

There's a reason, of course, the left has fought so hard to protect obscenity as "free speech": If it weren't for obscenity, what would the left have to say to America? Their arguments about the real issues are incoherent and infantile. Their "facts" are grounded in lies and based on coerced "research" - all publicly funded, of course - where only the politically correct line of research stands any chance of being funded. In the end, the left's most earnest and emotive appeals might as well be based on the side effects of whatever drug they happen to be abusing today; they make that much sense.

So how does the left deal with real debate? Well, think back in history. How did Stalin, Hitler and Mao deal with debate? They killed it. Problem solved. That's exactly what the left - using their bought-and-paid for surrogate mouthpieces in the Democratic Party - are doing right now in the United States Congress. "Hate crimes" - ordinary, unpleasant actions that happen to be directed against the left's favored icons instead of the rest of us - have already been expanded to include "hate speech." (Some of the animals on the farm are more equal than others.)

What's hate speech? It's anything the left wants it to be! And at the top of their list is speech that tells the truth about just who and what the left really is. In other words, because the left cannot counter the reasoned arguments conservatives have mounted in favor of public policies the left finds disagreeable, discussion of these topics is to be labeled "hate speech" and is therefore off limits. Problem solved.

Think that border-jumping illegals should become citizens the old-fashioned way - by following the immigration laws? "Why, that's hate speech, you filthy, stinking bigot!" Demanding that public officials follow the law or be punished? "You can't say that!" Do you think God is less than fond of homosexuals preaching in the church pulpit or frolicking around the marriage bed? "Hate speech," you religious creep. Don't you know we can't talk about that? Yes, whatever the left's pet perversion du jour is, suddenly discussion of that perversion's benefits to our culture will be - you guessed it! Hate speech.

The next step, of course, is quite predictable. The left has been using this tactic for decades. The "dialogue" goes like this: "There doesn't seem to be any opposition; we haven't heard any complaints. ... I guess if no one seems to object ..."

You get the picture. With no possibility of debate, Americans are going to love every bit of the left's filthy, degenerate agenda, wrapped in the "hate speech flag" of whatever Democratic political figurehead bent over the farthest for the left's latest "blessing." Thus, in the minds of the left, right is wrong, black is white, up is down and two plus two equals whatever you think it should, little Johnny. Self-esteem is all that matters, you know. "As a man thinketh, so he is."

And so it is that in the hands of the left, political speech - which the Constitution went to great lengths to protect (for it is the lifeblood of a free society) - becomes illegal. On the other hand, base, vile and degenerate behavior - both verbal and physical - become protected speech, wrapped in the mantle of the Constitution



By Jeff Jacoby

In civilized circles it is considered boorish to speak of Jews as Christ-killers, or to use language evoking the venomous old teaching that Jews are forever cursed for the death of Jesus. Those circles apparently don't include the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center, an anti-Israel "peace" organization based in Jerusalem, or its founder, the Anglican cleric Naim Ateek.

Sabeel and Ateek are highly regarded on the hard-line Christian left, and regularly organize American conferences at which Israel is extravagantly denounced by numerous critics. So far this year, such conferences have been held in Cleveland, Berkeley, Calif., and Birmingham, Ala.; another begins Friday at Boston's Old South Church.

Just as critics of the United States are not necessarily anti-American bigots, critics of Israel are not necessarily biased against Jews. But Sabeel and Ateek's denunciations of Israel have included imagery explicitly linking the modern Jewish state to the terrible charge of deicide that for centuries fueled so much anti-Jewish hatred and bloodshed. "In this season of Lent, it seems to many of us that Jesus is on the cross again with thousands of crucified Palestinians around him," Ateek has written, envisioning "hundreds of thousands of crosses throughout the land, Palestinian men, women, and children being crucified. Palestine has become one huge Golgotha. The Israeli government crucifixion system is operating daily."

In a sermon titled "The Massacre of the Innocents" Ateek similarly condemned the "modern-day Herods" in Israel's government -- a reference to the evil king who the New Testament says slaughtered the babies of Bethlehem in an attempt to murder the newborn Jesus. In another sermon, Ateek portrays Israelis as having "shut off the Palestinians in a tomb ... similar to the stone placed on the entrance of Jesus' tomb." In Ateek's metaphorical telling, in other words, Israel is guilty of trying to murder Jesus as an infant, of killing Jesus on the cross, and of seeking to prevent his resurrection. To use "this imagery in reference to the Jewish state is inexcusable," says Dexter Van Zile, a layman in the United Church of Christ who serves on the executive committee of Christians for Fair Witness on the Middle East. Millions of Christians would doubtless agree.

Writing in the Journal of Ecumenical Studies in 2004, Adam Gregerman observed that "liberation theologians" like Ateek and others whose work has been published by Sabeel "perpetuate some of the most unsavory and vicious images of the Jews as malevolent, antisocial, hostile to non-Jews.... These critiques lead to a demonization of the Jews.... As such, liberation theology impedes rather than fosters any serious attempt at understanding or ending the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians."

Exemplifying Sabeel's grotesque demonization of the Jewish state is the theme of its Boston conference: "The Apartheid Paradigm in Palestine-Israel." It is hard to imagine an uglier slander. Apartheid was the racist and dictatorial system through which South Africa's white minority government ruthlessly repressed the country's large black majority, systematically denying them political rights and relegating them to third-class education, housing, and employment.

Israel, by contrast, is a flourishing democracy based on tolerance, individual liberty, and the rule of law. Israeli citizens of every race, ethnicity, and religion -- and both sexes -- exercise the right to vote and enjoy identical civil and political liberties. Within Israel's parliament, about 1 member in 10 is Arab; there is even a mosque within the Knesset for the benefit of Muslim parliamentarians.

Arabs and other non-Jews serve in Israel's government ministries and foreign service, on its courts, and in the military. From the Arab beauty who was crowned Miss Israel to the country's Arab soccer stars, from Israel's lively Arabic-language media to the Arab students in Israeli universities, the evidence of Israel's democratic equality is overwhelming and ubiquitous.

It is true that in response to deadly terrorist attacks by Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza, Israel has been forced to adopt stringent security measures, such as the protective fence between the West Bank and Israel proper, or the checkpoints at border crossings. These are unpopular and inconvenient, but they have saved many Israelis -- Arab and Jew alike -- from being murdered or maimed. Checkpoints and fences can always be removed when the bombings and incitement end, but lives lost to suicide bombings can never be replaced.

None of this is to say that apartheid doesn't exist in the Middle East. In some Arab and Muslim countries, harsh discrimination against non-Muslims, women, or homosexuals is enshrined in law. But rather than explore such all-too-real apartheid, Sabeel's conferees instead denounce the freest nation in the Middle East. As they gather in Boston this week, they might reflect on the words of Martin Luther King: "I see Israel as one of the great outposts of democracy in the world," King declared in 1968, less than two weeks before his death, "and a marvelous example of what can be done, how desert land can be transformed into an oasis of brotherhood and democracy."

The dogmatic religion behind most "racism" accusations

James Watson, the geneticist who helped unravel the structure of DNA, came under fire for saying that Africans are not as intelligent as Westerners. Aside from his remarks being deemed baseless and unscientific, he has quite predictably been labeled "racist." Why, some thought police even want him charged under Britain's Orwellian "racial hatred laws" (Watson is conducting a speaking tour in Britain presently). He has apologized, and averred, "I cannot understand how I could have said what I am quoted as having said."

In light of this tendency to apply the "R-word," one that claims as victims late sportscaster Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder, manager of the Cincinnati Reds Dusty Baker, former baseball commissioner Al Campanis, late NFL player Reggie White and many others, I have a question. What is "racism"?

Is it simply voicing beliefs about differences among races? Am I a racist if I say that blacks have darker skin and frizzier hair? No, I suppose not. What about if I point out that blacks commit a disproportionate amount of crime and that 70 percent of black children are born out-of-wedlock, versus 27 percent for whites? Well, in our culture that is borderline. But why? On what basis should we determine what is "racist"?

One might think that pointing out negative characteristic qualities or the weaknesses of a race makes a person a racist, but even this cannot be so. After all, we take pains to emphasize that sickle cell anemia is unique to blacks and that they are more likely to develop heart disease. Then there is the fact that Tay-Sachs Disease is found only among certain distinct groups, mainly Jews. In fact, were we to claim that these crosses are borne equally by all, we would be labeled "racist" for ignoring what ails minorities. It would be said that we really didn't care if they lived or died. This gets confusing, though; on the one hand we're castigated for pointing out differences, on the other we're complimented for doing so.

It might seem that we mustn't bring to light differences when doing so can lead to discrimination, but not so fast. When we emphasize the fact that only certain groups suffer from certain diseases, they receive attention and funding that others will not. Moreover, showcasing disparities in performance among the races has long been used to justify quotas and set-asides.

So, this is where one must start to think that there is more here -- or less -- than meets the eye. Is it that we cannot point out differences which, when brought to light, can lead to discrimination that doesn't benefit politically-favored groups? Ah, now we're getting somewhere. That certainly is part of the equation. What, though, should be our standard? Well, it cannot be discovered by analyzing what has been said about Dr. Watson but, rather, by what is usually left unsaid. As was the case with the reception given to The Bell Curve, critics tend to take the position that the issue should not be raised, much less debated.

And that brings us to the crux of the matter. All intellectual inquiry, be it scientific or philosophical, should be a search for Truth. This search must be sincere and remain unfettered by agendas or dogmas, and we do otherwise at our own peril. This is why the politically correct thought police are so destructive. When they criticize a man like Watson, not only do they rarely say his statements are untrue, but the Truth of the matter doesn't even seem to enter their minds. No, it doesn't because they are blinded by their agenda.

Oh, having an agenda or hypothesis doesn't make them unusual, but an intellectually honest seeker of knowledge will alter his hypothesis when the data contradicts it. To these folks, however, their agenda is deified and takes precedence over Truth; thus, when the Truth contradicts their agenda, instead of altering the latter, they simply suppress or rationalize away the Truth. Or, that is, anything they may fear is Truth.

It's ironic, too, because these leftists are the same people who usually condemn Christianity for stifling scientific enterprise (a false claim). How many times have we heard about Galileo (his story has been mischaracterized)? But who is stifling scientific inquiry and open debate now? Even more egregiously, these modern-day inquisitors would imprison those who violate their dogma. They have become guilty of what they decry.

The Truth is that the outrage here isn't Dr. Watson's remarks; they're either true or not. What's outrageous is that we're suffering under the yolk of those to whom Truth means nothing -- the practitioners of a dark faith. They don't care if a statement is correct, only whether it's politically correct. They hate the Truth when it contradicts their agenda, and they'll stop at nothing to still the tongues of those who would dare voice it. Racists? These miscreants are infinitely worse. They are Truthists.

And what is the Truth about racial differences? For one thing, is it logical and rational to claim that, except for appearance and a few diseases and conditions of the body, every group is the same in every way? This is the left's implication, and it's absurd. It seems especially odd when you consider that most of these inquisitors are secularists who subscribe to the theory of evolution. Yet, despite their belief that different groups "evolved" in completely different parts of the world, operating in different environments and subject to different stresses, they would have us believe that all groups are identical in terms of the multitude of man's talents and in every single measure of mental capacity. Why, miracle of miracles, all these two-legged cosmic accidents, the product of a billions-of-years journey from the primordial soup to primacy among creatures, whose evolution was influenced by perhaps millions of factors, wound up being precisely the same. It's really the best argument for God I've ever heard, as such a statistical impossibility could only exist if it was ordained by the one with whom all things are possible.

Lastly, if we really care about a race's welfare, shouldn't we "diagnose" its condition -- whatever that condition may be -- properly so that its gifts may be best utilized, its inherent weaknesses best mitigated and its problems best remedied? If this makes sense with physical crosses such as sickle-cell anemia and heart disease, it makes sense for all crosses, be they spiritual, social or, dare I say, intellectual. Stating this isn't wrong or racist, and it shouldn't be repressed. And as Dr. Watson might say, that's something you don't have to be a Sherlock to understand.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

PC Mr Men not so masculine

My stepdaughters always used to identify me as "Mr Forgetful" -- which I am in daily life -- so the Mr Men do help children to cope with their world

LONG-loved children's book characters Mr Men have had a radical transformation in the name of political correctness. Thirty-five years since Mr Strong, Mr Grumpy and others first hit the bookshelves, they are having digital cosmetic surgery to appear on TV. Fans of the original books will see roly poly Mr Lazy trimmed down to a a new skinny self. Other Mr Men have undergone sex changes to address the gender imbalance. [!!!!]

Only 25 of the original 83 Mr Men and Little Miss characters are in the new TV series. British company Chorion, which owns the rights to Mr Men, said characters were modernised to attract a new audience.

One manager of Children's book store Mary Martin said it was ridiculous to change Roger Hargreaves' much-loved characters. "It's treating children like idiots and makes everything bland," Kelly Heald said. "Next on the chopping block will be the hungry caterpillar for encouraging binge eating."

The Mr Men TV series will be on Foxtel's Cartoon Network next year.


Martin Amis: Another Leftist who has seen the light

Put your hands up, said Amis, if you think you are morally superior to the Taliban. When a minority of the audience did so, Amis muttered: `About 30 per cent.' His implication is that, in our current relativistic climate, it is taboo to assert your superiority to anything - even the Taliban. Anyone who values freedom, Amis says, should have a problem with Islamism. He graphically went through some of the feudal punishments that the Taliban metes out to women who step out of line. `We're in a pious paralysis when we can't say we're morally superior to the Taliban', he said. His attack on cultural relativism is welcome, and it certainly exposed moral sheepishness amongst the assembled at the ICA. But I couldn't help thinking: is that it? Is that what it means to be `Enlightened' and principled today - to be Not-The-Taliban? Amis didn't go any further on the matter.

Islam, in Amis' view, `is a religion that's having a nervous breakdown'. And Islamism is a variation on a death cult - an `ideology within a religion, a turbo-charge, steroid version of murderous belief'. He made some interesting points about suicide bombing, describing it as a `paltry' act, signifying nothing but a `besplattering' of the self. What the Islamic world needs, he said, is dramatic progress: `Martin Luther, John Calvin. religious wars, then Enlightenment, then you enter the modern world 300 years after that.' He argued that it is the Western world that is giving Islamism its power to commit atrocity, even helping to legitimise that atrocity, by trying to `understand it'. Society does not question or interrogate Islamist values openly out of fear of becoming the target. Amis, however, is the Dirty Harry of the literary world. Come on, mad mullah, make my day. `I want to be a target. There are no Switzerland positions here', he said.

Amis was particularly scathing in his assessment of certain Western liberals who, in the course of `listening' to Islamist grievances, end up treating the views of Osama bin Laden - and those who blow themselves up at his bidding - with respect. Bin Laden, he announced, `is the Che Guevara of the current age, the poster boy for this amoral doctrine'. Amis argued that some admire bin Laden's ascetic lifestyle. `He lives in a cave, drinks contaminated water, suffers.' It's eco-friendly, borderline holy. But in truth, Amis said, Osama and his crew are not only murderous criminals, they are completely ridiculous figures. `At one time', he said, all Osama's henchmen `had one eye. They are tin-legged zealots, amputeed mullahs, they're all in bits. Osama is a very stupid man. But he did at least have the wit to stay in one piece.'

John Pilger, the veteran investigative journalist, also came in for a hiding, as did London Mayor Ken Livingstone. Amis quoted Ken's words: `[T]he Palestinians don't have jet planes, don't have tanks, they only have their bodies to use as weapons. In an unfair balance, that's what people use.' Amis then puckered up his lips and blew a fully formed raspberry of disgust. Is blowing yourself up really going to help matters, he asked?

There are many problems with Amis' argument. It is juvenile to melt down Islamism with Nazism and Stalinism into one big cauldron of evil - first, because these are three very different things; and second because violent Islamism, certainly of the al-Qaeda variety, remains a pretty insignificant threat to the Western way of life. Nor can the threat of Islamism simply be countered by Western liberals telling the Islamic world what to do about it (`Luther, Enlightenment, wait 300 years', etc). Indeed, over the past 50 years Western intervention itself - in Egypt, the Middle East, Afghanistan - did a great deal to nurture Islamic zealots as a counterweight to genuinely secular and anti-imperialist mass movements. Some of the very zealots who Amis loves to hate are a product of not-very-Enlightened policies on the part of Western governments. I would rather trust the people of the Islamic world to sort these zealots out, rather than officials in London or Washington or notable authors seated on the stage of the ICA.

And yet, it is important that Amis is allowed to speak as freely and as radically as he pleases. And he is only made to look better by the petty attacks that have recently been launched upon him. Towards the end of the debate at the ICA, a curly-haired member of the back row asked Amis for his views on the Muslim Brotherhood. Was he saying they're all murderers? `I think Islamists subscribe to a murderous ideology', Amis replied. `So you mean they're all murderers?' demanded guerrilla comedian Chris Morris (for it was he!). `No, but I believe the ideology they subscribe to is murderous', Amis restated.

This went on and on - Amis sticking to his guns, while `TV's greatest satirist, the shaggy-haired Swift of our age' got more and more upset. `What about Palestine?' Morris wanted to know. Amis muttered something about Israel being surrounded by hostile countries but was instantly cut off with a wail from Morris: `Oh my God, he's defending Israel now!' It seems that in our era of bland consensus, even liberal medialand can't bear to hear anything that smells like an alternative view.


US Court Rules Pharmacists Must Have Rights of Conscience Respected

The rights of pharmacists and other health care professionals to refuse to dispense abortifacient drugs have taken a step forward, according to a statement from the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ). A long running dispute between the state of Illinois, pharmacy owners such as Walgreens and Walmart stores and several pharmacists who refused to dispense abortifacient drugs has resulted in an agreement that pharmacists must be allowed to opt out.

In 2005, Walgreens pharmacist Rich Quayle was suspended from his job and said he would look for other work rather than agree to dispense the "morning after pill" in accord with a recently passed law. In April 2005, Governor Rod Blagojevich said that the "right of conscience does not apply to pharmacists" and issued an edict attempting to force all pharmacists in the state to distribute the drugs.

In response the ACLJ filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging that Walgreens engaged in unlawful religious discrimination by suspending indefinitely Quayle and two of his colleagues who requested accommodation of their religious objections to dispensing the "morning-after pill."

By the end of 2005, the ACLJ was involved in a series of interconnected legal actions in the matter, including suing Walgreens, Walmart and Governor Blagojevich on behalf of seven pharmacists on the grounds that the governor's rule violated pharmacists' constitutional and statutory rights under Health Care Right of Conscience Act.

The ACLJ issued a media release this week saying that the state of Illinois has agreed that the Governor's rule "does not apply to individual pharmacists, and that the state will never apply it to individual pharmacists". ACLJ lawyer Frank Manion said that despite cases still pending against Walgreens and Walmart, "we've now got his attorney general's office on our side when it comes to the question of whether or not pharmacists are covered by the Right of Conscience Act".

"Considering what we we've been up against in this state, these are all significant developments," he wrote. The governor has "been forced to retreat from his original position" and recognize pharmacists as health care professionals with a right of conscientious objection. The state must now find a way to try to acknowledge their objections and establish a procedure to accommodate most situations.

Manion wrote, "We forced the most pro-abortion Governor in the country to eat his words and to backtrack a long way from his April 2005 bluster and we've now got his attorney general's office on our side when it comes to the question of whether or not pharmacists are covered by the Right of Conscience Act."

The question of exactly how the rule will apply is still open but, Manion writes, "The major question has been settled." "Objecting pharmacists cannot be threatened, harassed, or forced to dispense Plan B against their conscientious convictions without their employers a) violating the state's Rule; b) violating the Health Care Right of Conscience Act."


This is the sort of thug that Australia's major Leftist party intends to put into Federal Parliament

This is one of several who have now been unmasked. How many more of their numerous union candidates are this type?

A LABOR candidate has been forced to resign on the eve of Kevin Rudd's crucial televised election debate with Prime Minister John Howard. Labor campaign headquarters forced the candidate for the Queensland seat of Maranoa, Shane Guley, to quit after allegations he acted as a union thug, assaulting one of his managers and routinely intimidating co-workers. Mr Rudd has pledged to adopt a "zero-tolerance" policy towards "violence or thuggery in any workplace."

The resignation follows a concerted campaign by John Howard in which the Prime Minster has claimed Labor is controlled by the unions and that Mr Rudd will be powerless to stand up to them if he wins government. The claims have been backed by an advertising blitz pointing out that 70 per cent of the Opposition frontbench have union backgrounds.

Queensland State Secretary Milton Dick confirmed the resignation. Mr Guley's letter read: "Dear Milton, I write to tender my resignation as the endorsed Australian Labor Party candidate for Maranoa. I take this step in response to the re-surfacing of allegations made against me more than six years ago. These matters were dealt with by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, and my claim was upheld. However, I take this step today so that my candidacy does not distract in any way from the election of a federal Labor Government. Yours sincerely, Shane Guley". Mr Dick said in a statement: "Nominations for Maranoa will be re-opened on Monday and we expect to have a new candidate in the following days."

Mr Guley is a former AMWU delegate who held a number of union positions and worked for Queensland Rail at the Rockhampton Railway Workshops. It's now been revealed that, in 2001, he was sacked after years of persistent violent behaviour that included:

* Assaulting a manager in a pub in front of several work colleagues;

* Making a threatening phone call to the same manager, saying: "I will f****** get rid of you, you're No 1 on my hit list ..."

* Threatening to call in his political connections in the Queensland Labor government to get rid of people on his "hit list";

* Threatening and intimidating a work colleague who had made allegations against him of bullying and harassment;

* Intimidating investigators brought in to investigate employee complaints against him, and;

* Allegedly making vexatious and vindictive allegations against other employees in response to their legitimate complaints.

Following two Queensland Rail investigations confirming Mr Guley's repeated bullying and threatening behaviour, he made an unfair dismissal claim to the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission. The QIRC upheld his claim on a due process technicality but found he had engaged in repeated bullying and intimidation of co-workers. It refused his application for reinstatement on grounds that his conduct "was unacceptable and inappropriate behaviour to the extreme."



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Leave working tipplers alone

By John Mortimer (creator of "Rumpole")

The true sickness of our times is not that we eat too much, smoke cigarettes or knock off a bottle of wine in an evening. It is the ever-growing tendency of medical boards, government officials, politicians and other groups who seem to have nothing better to do than tell us how to lead our lives. It is as if we are a nation of miscreant mortals who have to be constantly lectured on how to behave.

We have now been told by the Liverpool's Centre for Public Health that the middle classes consume too much wine in their homes. At dining tables in leafy towns and affluent suburbs, too many hard-working professionals are enjoying "hazardous" if not "harmful" amounts of alcohol night after night. British Public Health Minister Dawn Primarolo seized on these findings as another chance to boss us all about. "Most of these are not young people. They are 'everyday' drinkers who have drunk too much for too long," she warns darkly. "This has to stop."

It was in the summer that the Government first suggested it was planning to do something about middle-class drinkers who enjoy a bottle of wine at home in the evening. Now action seems even more likely. What can we expect? An army of local council officials with breathalysers and clipboards knocking on our doors as soon as the sun passes the yardarm, and then returning to see if we are splashing too much cognac about after supper? Perhaps they will kill two birds with one stone, and take advantage of us in our Falstaffian merriment to snoop round our houses. They wouldn't approve of us smoking in our homes, either. Any of us who are caught might be banished from our own drawing rooms into the garden.

The absurdity of a government that allows thousands to become infected and die from superbugs in filthy hospitals, and then worries about how much wine we drink at supper in our homes, should be obvious.

Perhaps the situation needs clarifying. Yes, drinking is a possible danger to your health. But then so is rock climbing, sailing, deep-sea diving, parachuting and motor racing. Are all these activities to be forbidden by law because they are possibly dangerous?

Drinking is legal and the Government must realise that you are entitled to pursue any activity that you enjoy, even if it is at some risk. Nothing seems able to persuade our public officials of the true limits of government. Governments are there to regulate the economy, provide public services and make sure that the drains are working. But we are run by a bunch of snivelling puritans in a government that has made a speciality of poking its nose into every corner of our lives and trampling all over our civil liberties. In my view, many of them would benefit from a drink or two.

It is true that alcohol turns many of us into crashing bores. But a politician who enjoys his drink is likely to be far more fun and relaxed about life. George Brown, Harold Wilson's permanently drunk foreign secretary, may have overdone it, but at least he left us with the story - almost certainly apocryphal - of the evening reception at which he approached a figure in a purple dress for a dance. "There are three reasons why I will not dance with you," came the reply. "One, you are very drunk. Two, they are playing my national anthem. And three, I am the Archbishop of Lima."

But it is not only alcohol that they want to stop us drinking at home. Fresh milk is also out. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs this week said we should be swapping revolting UHT milk for fresh pints - it would save on refrigeration and cut down on carbon emissions. So when the officials come round as we are passing around the peanuts with our pre-dinner drinks, they will want to poke about in our fridge in the national interest.

What else they find will, of course, become the subject of vital inquiry. Eggs, streaky bacon and sausages are serious causes of obesity, which might jeopardise our chances of being treated on the National Health Service.

Is there any reason why being fat should be regarded as some sort of sin? Shakespeare's Julius Caesar had, it seems to me, an extremely sensible view: "Let me have men about me that are fat: Sleek-headed men and such as sleep o'nights; Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous." Winston Churchill, who brought us through the war, was fat. Fat Falstaff is one of Shakespeare's most memorable and likeable characters.

Food without wine is an unattractive prospect and few people in France or Italy would indulge in it. It is true that the 18th century habit of drinking seven or eight bottles of port after dinner could be thought excessive, but puritanism is not the answer. This behaviour could be avoided if the young of today devoted themselves to the acquisition of some useful life skills, such as the best way to enjoy a bottle of fine wine and how to identify the precise point at which it is time to refuse another glass - a subject that should, I believe, be included in the high school syllabus, with the study of champagne reserved for A-level.

Learning to drink properly can be a painful, although necessary experience. In my first term at Oxford, my friend Henry Winter and I managed to drink several bowls of sherry and then boil blue Bols and creme de menthe in an electric kettle and drink the horrible result. Since then, no gin, lime, Bols, sherry or creme de menthe has passed my lips - champagne has overwhelmingly replaced them in my affections.

But now the government would like to see off my pleasure altogether. Well, I am too old to take any notice. This morning at 6am, I started as I always do with a glass of champagne. I am writing this article with a glass of white wine by my side. And I hope to drink some more at dinner. I have only this to say to our rulers: "Get on with your jobs and leave the rest of us to eat, drink and be merry."


Furore over school giving kids condoms

A NATIONAL furore has erupted in the US after a school decided to provide children as young as 11 with access to birth control. The state-funded health centre at Portland's King middle school in Maine, which caters to grades six, seven and eight - typically children between 11 and 13 - has been handing out condoms to students for seven years.

But this week's decision caused an uproar not only because the Portland School Committee voted 7-2 in favour of providing birth control but that students in some instances will be able to get contraception without their parents' knowledge. Under state law, a child can be treated for sexual or mental problems or substance abuse confidentially, prohibiting medical staff from informing their parents.

The school, however, requires parental approval for the child to be treated at all at the campus health centre. Parents who do not wish their children to have access to the pill or condoms must also be willing to deny them any treatment at the centre, putting them in a dilemma.

During a heated public debate before the school committee voted, Diane Miller, a former school nurse, spoke against the measure; her words reflected the outrage throughout the US yesterday. "We are dealing with children," she said, "I am just horrified at the suggestion." Internet chat boards and radio talk shows were filled with angry responses to the decision, many noting that the age of consent for sexual relations is 16 and that in Maine it is a crime to have sex with a person under 14. Others raised the issue of links between cancer rates and birth control pills.

But proponents of the move said some students at the middle school were sexually active and that the greater issue was unwanted pregnancies. Portland's three middle schools reported 17 pregnancies since 2003 but that number did not include miscarriages or abortions that were not reported to the school nurse. "This is a service that is totally needed," head nurse Amanda Rowe was quoted as saying in a local newspaper. "It's about very few kids, but they are kids who don't have the same opportunities and access as other students." Richard Veilleux, a public health official, denied it would encourage kids to have sex. "This is about the kids who are engaging in sexual activity."

Some defended the decision. "I have an 11-year-old daughter. I got pregnant when I was 16," one woman wrote on CNN's website. "I remember being 13 and having sex. I knew it was wrong. I also know that knowledge is power. And empowering children in being responsible while having sex." Others said that relying on parents to raise children was too unpredictable and that government intervention in social life was necessary. More, however, complained that schools should be places of education, not social experimentation.


America's surrender

In a monumental nod to political correctness, the Empire State Building is to be lit up green in honor of the Muslim holiday Eid. The separation of Islam from terror is officially complete. Six years ago, Islamic terrorists screamed "Allah is Greatest!" as they slammed fuel-laden jumbo jets into two other New York skyscrapers. Six years ago, New Yorkers were worried about the Green Menace. Now, for the first time, New York's remaining famous skyscraper will be aglow in green - the color of Islam - to mark the end of Ramadan, a month of intense Islamic renewal. Officials say it'll be an annual event, in the same tradition of the yearly skyscraper lighting for Christmas and Hanukkah. What's next, Ground Zero festooned with crescent moons and stars?

Political correctness is running amok. Last week, the White House held a Ramadan dinner for Muslim leaders and activists, even though we are still waiting for them to condemn Islamic terror groups by name. To their delight, President Bush praised, and even suggested we all worship Allah. "I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian or any other religion, prays to the same God," he said, adding "I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace."

A nice sentiment. But militant Muslims believe peace cannot be attained until Islam dominates the globe. And they make up much of the Muslim establishment in America. We know this by the words they've been caught on tape mouthing to Muslim audiences. We know this by their radical associations. But more damning, investigators recently uncovered smoking-gun documents revealing that many founders of the major Muslim groups in the U.S. were involved in a secret plot to take over the U.S. by using our religious and political freedoms against us.

They call themselves Americans, but they view our system of government, our way of life, as an abomination to Allah. They've devised a scheme to sabotage our "miserable house" from within and dismantle it piece by piece, replacing it with "Dar al-Islam" - the House of Peace. Then, and only then, will there be the kind of peace the president believes Islam represents today.

Ignorance and blind tolerance only make it easier for the Islamists to make inroads. Inch by inch, sharia is creeping into our society. We see it:

* At airports, where authorities have agreed to Muslim taxi drivers' demands to build footbaths in public restrooms for Islamic washing and praying.

* On college campuses, where trustees have agreed to demands by the Saudi-tied Muslim Student Association to add Islamic holidays, prayer rooms and footbaths.

* In Congress, where officials have set aside a room for a growing number of Muslims to meet and pray inside the otherwise high-security Capitol building.

* At Quantico, where Marine brass have agreed to build an Islamic center at the request of a former Gitmo imam who previously insisted on Islamic meals, Qurans, prayer beads, oils and other amenities for the terrorists held there.

* At West Point, where Army officials have followed Quantico's lead and set up their own mosque for Muslim cadets.

* In Brooklyn, where school officials agreed to provide local Muslims and Arabs with their own publicly funded madrassa.

* In Detroit, where city planners have caved to demands to let mosques broadcast the call to prayer in Arabic five times a day, including the early-morning hours, noise ordinances be damned.

And on and on . . . until we, too, resemble Eurabia.


Another Muslim serial rapist in Australia

Gets only nine years. If a Muslim serial rapist (such as Bilal Skaf) gets a really long sentence, the legal establishment turns itself inside out to overturn the sentence -- though they don't seem to have been able to do anything about the disgusting Hakeem Hakeem -- so I suppose this is the best we can hope for

A man has been jailed for at least nine years for raping four women and attacking two others. Sedat Avci, 21, of Broadmeadows, terrorised women in the northern suburbs between April and August 2005. Most victims were walking alone in the evening and were subjected to terrifying sex attacks. Avci had pleaded guilty to seven counts of rape.

County Court Judge Jeanette Morrish said yesterday Avci had waged a "cowardly, aggressive and violent campaign" on vulnerable women but believed his prospects of rehabilitation were good because of his youth and his return to the Muslim faith. She sentenced Avci to 16 years in jail, with a minimum of nine. The maximum term for rape is 25 years.

Crime Victims Support Association president Noel McNamara slammed the jail term and said he planned to write to the acting Director of Public Prosecutions, Jeremy Rapke. "That's 1.5 years each for six women who have got life sentences -- it's a terrible disgrace," Mr McNamara said. "It's a great insult to the victims and the community." Mr Rapke will review the case.

Avci was just 19 when he violently assaulted women in Coburg, Coolaroo, Brunswick and Hawthorn. One victim was about to drive off when Avci asked to use her mobile phone. He then forced his way into her car and repeatedly raped her. In a victim impact statement read in court, the woman said her life had been turned upside down. "I will have to work every day of my life to make sure this doesn't define who I am," she said. A victim who was raped twice while walking her dogs said the memory of the attack haunted her.

Avci also pleaded guilty to a count of aggravated burglary and another charge of robbery after attacking a pregnant woman in front of her children, aged three and four.

The serial rapist was arrested in August 2005 after police matched his fingerprints to those on a newspaper at the scene of an attack. A psychiatric report revealed Avci did not have a mental impairment at the time of the attacks, but was using amphetamines. Avci threatened most of his victims with a knife and in one case told a woman who tried to escape he would shoot her if she tried again.

In a letter of apology to his victims, Avci said he had "no good excuse" for what he had done. "To say sorry is not enough to heal the heartache and pain I have caused to your lives and your families' lives," he said.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Another Liberal Noose-ance

by Ann Coulter

Liberals are so invigorated by the story about a noose being found on an obscure Columbia University professor's door that now nooses are popping up all over New York City. Liberals love to make believe the Night Riders are constantly at their doors.

I'll be shocked by a noose appearing on a college campus the day an actual racist does it. Could Columbia at least produce one student or professor who supports racism before holding another "rally against racism"? Every concrete example of the racism allegedly sweeping the nation's campuses keeps turning out to be a fraud. Far from "institutional racism," there is "institutional racial hoaxism" run amok in this country. Will anyone rally against that? Out of legions, here are just a few hoax hate crimes on college campuses.

-- In 1997, at Duke University, a black doll was found hanging by a noose from a tree at the precise spot where the Black Student Alliance was to be holding a rally against racism. Two black students later admitted they were the culprits and were immediately praised for bringing attention to the problem of racism on campus. Indeed, four years later the president of Duke gave a baccalaureate address nostalgically describing the hoax as a "protest" against racism. Next stop: the Nobel Peace Prize.

-- In 2003, vile racial epithets were scrawled on the dorm room doors at Ole Miss, producing mass protests and a "Say No to Racism" march. And then it turned out the graffiti had been written by black students, against whom no charges were brought. A "Say Yes to Racism" rally at Ole Miss was later canceled due to lack of interest.

-- In 2005, obscenity-laced racist and anti-Semitic messages appeared on dormitory walls at the College of Wooster in Ohio. The fliers were instantly blamed on "typical white males," even though all the letter I's in the epithets were dotted with little hearts. Breadcrumbs left by the culprits included the message "Vote Goldwater" among the obscenities. The matter was dropped and flushed down the memory hole when the perpetrators turned out to be a group of leftist students led by a black studies major.

-- Just this year, anti-Muslim fliers were put out on the George Washington University campus -- by leftists, including a member of "Iraq Veterans Against War." When it was thought the leaflets were from the conservative group Young Americans For Freedom, the dean called for the expulsion of the culprits and the university demanded that YAF officers sign a statement disavowing "hate speech." But when it turned out leftists had distributed the fliers, the matter was dropped faster than Larry Craig was dropped from Mitt Romney's campaign.

The one real example of racism on a college campus in recent memory was perpetrated against white men of the Duke lacrosse team. As that injustice was being perpetrated, gender and ethnic professors at Duke kept droning on about the "racism and sexism" students "live with every day" -- as the professors put it in an open letter that falsely presumed the players were guilty of rape. We don't expect a rally against the prejudiced professors, but an apology might be nice.

Playing the game of He Who Is Offended First Wins, Americans seek status not by claiming to be rich or of royal lineage, but by portraying themselves as victims. In one recent hoax hate crime, a white woman professor at Claremont McKenna College said her car had been vandalized with racist and anti-Semitic graffiti, with the words "Shut Up!" spray-painted on the hood of her car. She was not black or Jewish, but had recently converted to Judaism and spoke out against racism. So she was a victim! After the vandalism of her car, she promptly became Queen for a Day. Far from "silenced," this anonymous mountebank was given a national microphone to bore us with her race-gender-culture theories. The campus was shut down for a day for anti-racism rallies in the charlatan's honor. Then eyewitnesses identified her as the one who had spray-painted her own car, and the pity party was over.

These liberal racism-hunters are like dirty old men who spend their days poring through pornography in order to better denounce it -- but enough about the Warren court.

Assuming against all reason and experience that the Columbia noose is not another hoax by a high-status victim, how is it that a pimply adolescent can cause such tumult in liberal New York City? Liberals claim to believe the Klan has established a beachhead at Columbia University, Bill O'Reilly is head of the Manhattan branch, Rush Limbaugh despises the troops, I'm planning a pogrom from the heart of Manhattan, and George Bush is establishing fascism in America.

Some anonymous liberal hag on Air America Radio, which no one knew was still on the air, fell down outside her Park Avenue apartment this week, and her liberal colleagues were claiming it was Kristallnacht. If it rains after a liberal washes his car, they say it's a right-wing dirty trick.

Liberals love nothing more than these constant self-righteous-athons -- as if they would ever have the courage to stand up for any cause not universally supported by everyone around them.


Sociologists Discover Religion

Religious belief and practice helps people prevent conflict by showing them a mutual sacred purpose and vision, leading sociologists said recently in a conference session hosted by the Heritage Foundation. Associate Professor Dr. Jeffrey Ulmer from Pennsylvania State University examines the degree to which religiosity increases self-control. He points out that religious observance builds self-control and substance use is lower in stronger moral communities.

Dr. Ulmer argues that self-control is a cognitive resource and that it is a product of social learning. Psychologists have developed a `muscle' or a `strength' model of self-control, he explained at the symposium which was co-sponsored by Child Trends and The Baylor Institute for the Studies of Religion. Dr. Byron Johnson from Baylor also points out that religiosity decreases drug use and pre-teen religiosity increases religious involvement.

Similarly, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Scott Desmond from Purdue University states that church attendance is important for adolescents. Those who don't have any self-control lack care and decision-making skills.

Those who attend church frequently are less likely to use alcohol and drugs if they have self-control. Meanwhile, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Bradford Wilcox from the University of Virginia asserts that parental religiosity doesn't foster self-control after controlling for family structure, family process, and adolescent religiosity. Young adults' attendance to church is affected by their family's life styles, he contends.

Dr. Marc Musick from University of Texas at Austin points out the fact that religious service attendance produces volunteering. At times, he states volunteering for religious organizations can be secular in nature and volunteering in certain ways lead to opportunities for volunteering in others.


Kindergarten Children should be Encouraged to Dance Naked and Masturbate

According to perverted Norwegian Child "Expert"

An Oslo pre-school teacher, backed by child psychologists, has suggested that kindergarten children be encouraged to “express” their sexuality through “sex-play” and games, including dancing naked and masturbating, in pre-school and day-care centres. The English language edition of Norway’s Aftenposten newspaper reports that Pia Friis, the respected operator of an Oslo kindergarten, told an interviewer that children should be able “to look at each other and examine each other's bodies. They can play doctor, play mother and father, dance naked and masturbate”. “But their sexuality must also be socialized, so they are not, for example, allowed to masturbate while sitting and eating. Nor can they be allowed to pressure other children into doing things they don't want to,” Friis said. Friis also faulted some staff of day-care centres and kindergartens who, she said, might react negatively to children expressing their sexuality. “When the personnel are uncertain, that passes on to the children, and it can be negative.”

Friis’ opinion was backed up by Norwegian child psychologist Thore Langfeldt, who said, “Children must learn about sexuality, otherwise things can go very wrong.” “Children can't object to something they don't know about, and children can more easily and readily report assaults if they already are aware of their own sexuality.”

In the US earlier this year, a report published by the American Psychological Association (APA) warned against the early sexualizing of young girls, especially through media and marketing. The APA task force found that teachers and parents are among the influences in the over-sexualization of children and that girls often end by seeing themselves as sexual objects. The results can include increased risks of depression, eating disorders and low self-esteem.

Joseph D’Agostino of the Population Research Institute (PRI) wrote that the APA report did not go far enough in exploring the effects of radical feminism on teaching children to see themselves sexually. In a PRI weekly briefing, he wrote, “The politically correct view is that the sexualization of girls and feminism are opposing forces, but in fact they have gone hand-in-hand.” He wrote that feminism teaches girls that chastity is a form of “oppression”. “They have taught that there are no natural limits to sexuality,” he wrote. “Based on feminist principles, why shouldn’t little girls sexualize themselves? And why shouldn’t adult men and women view them as sexual if there is no such thing as unnatural sexuality?”

Others have made the connection with early sexualizing of children with child sexual abuse. Cathy Wing, of Media-Awareness, a non-profit educational organization for media literacy said that sexually explicit advertising or products aimed at pre-teens naturally leads to adults treating children as sexual beings ready for exploitation. Wing told the Toronto Sun, “Perhaps when we surround ourselves with sexualized images of young people we shouldn't be surprised that a segment of the society think that it is okay to have sex with children,”

The suggestion by Norwegian child experts follows a larger trend in many countries of the European Union to raise the level of sexual activity in every area of the culture. In May 2006, the German government was blasted by dozens of human rights groups and experts in human trafficking for building new brothels and “sex huts” in time to service fans at the World Cup soccer tournament in Berlin. It was estimated that 40,000 women were added, with official approval, to the existing 400,000 who already plied Germany’s legal prostitution or “sex-trade”.

In July 2007, the German Ministry for Family Affairs was accused of “state-encouraged incest” when it issued a pair of education booklets encouraging parents to sexually massage their children as young as 1 to 3 years of age. One of the booklets recommended that fathers should “devote attention” to the sexual organs of young daughters and another suggested teaching children the movements of copulation.


'Corrective' sex education may make sexual offenders more dangerous

While it is commonly thought that men with low IQs sexually offend because of a lack of knowledge or sexual deviance, new research has found the men may sexually offend because of their exposure to "corrective" sex education previously taken.

A team of North American researchers compared two samples of individuals with and without an intellectual disability and a history of sexual offence and found that sexual offenders with intellectual disability who had committed a serious sexual offence, such as rape or pedophilia, actually demonstrated a greater sexual knowledge than non-offenders. This increased sexual knowledge may be from "corrective" sex education that the offender was given in the past. It can then be concluded that the higher level of knowledge of those who had committed some form of sexual offence was the direct result of their exposure to formal or informal sex education.

The data indicates that there may be two categories of persons with intellectual disabilities that sexually offend: Individuals who are knowledgeable and who offend in more serious ways and Individuals who appear to have a lack of sexual knowledge and whose offence may be the result of that lack of knowledge. The latter is termed counterfeit deviance. "We simply cannot treat all sex offenders as 'counterfeit deviant' and excuse their behavior as a result of inadequate knowledge," says Shelley Watson, a graduate student from the University of Alberta. "We need to establish whether sex education is needed as an element of a comprehensive treatment package."

As supported in this study, people with intellectual disability were also found to be typically very conservative when it came to sexual attitudes. However, the researchers found that serious sex offenders actually expressed much more liberal attitudes when it came to sex, including same-sex relationships, than sex offenders who only committed sexual inappropriate behaviors, such as public masturbation or inappropriate touching. "This study provides support for the need to assess sexual knowledge, sexual attitudes and prior sex education when an individual commits a sexual offence," says Watson. "Only a careful diagnosis will reveal whether the offence is motivated by sexual urges and fantasies consistent with serious sexual offence or by other factors."



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

A different Nobel prize-winner: Doris Lessing on political correctness

Her early Leftism seems to have morphed into clear-sightedness with the benefit of experience -- as so often happens. Lubos Motl comments below:

Doris Lessing, the winner of the 2007 Nobel prize for literature, has been described as an epicist of the female experience. You might think that she is just another colorless feminist, the kind of literary foam that has been awarded many recent awards. That would be highly inaccurate, to say the least.The New York Times re-published her op-ed from 1992, the last year when her writing was readable, according to the newspaper. She describes political correctness as the most obvious legacy of communism that hasn't yet been eliminated. Language is the first aspect to see this fact: both spiritual frameworks like to fill pages with mind-deadening jargon that lacks any content.

Those of us who have lived through communism can surely recognize a few clich‚s such as the "interpenetration of opposites", a universal principle of Marxist dialectics. ;-) Lessing argues that many Western journalists have been writing in a purely Marxist style without realizing it. Needless to say, many more journalists and sociologists are doing so today.

Another part of the communist or politically correct writing is that the journalists assume that every writer (or everyone) should be doing the same thing - when they ask "What should writers do...?" A popular universal clich‚ from the Marxist discourse is "commitment" and its newer variation, "raising consciousness". Lessing uses exactly these words. It just happens that the IPCC and Al Gore have received a Nobel prize for "raising consciousness" yesterday. Only Lessing and a small percentage of enlightened readers of the New York Times realize that these are Marxist mind-deadening, propagandist pseudoideas.

Al Gore should get a proper thrashing rather than an award for these methods.

"Raising consciousness", "political correctness", and "commitments" are continuations of the old bully, namely the communist party line, she explains - even though this is certainly not a new revolutionary discovery for your humble correspondent. ;-)

Lessing argues that most of the contemporary literary critics are Marxists as well. A typical aspect of their attitude is their opinion that a novel must be "about something". So they always invent one topic that your novel is "all about": the Palestinian problem, or AIDS, or something else. This is a way of thinking directly inherited from socialist realism where novels had a clear goal in the scheme of propaganda. A story written for the sake of storytelling is a "reactionary" concept. ;-)

Lessing speculated that "political correctness" was born exactly when "communism" was dying because the emitted communist methods of thinking and controlling the society were simply absorbed by different people, often without admitting it. She argues that arts are incompatible with these rigid frameworks and with witch hunts because they are always unpredictable, maverick, and tend to be uncomfortable (or, using modern adjectives, inconvenient).


Leftist discomfort with the facts again

Post below lifted from Taranto. See the original for links

Does "affirmative action" work? Its proponents don't want to know, Fox News reports:
An explosive study that suggests it does not is pitting the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights against the State Bar of California in a battle over admissions data that could determine once and for all if racial preferences help or hurt minority students.

"Currently only about one in three African-Americans who goes to an American law school passes the bar on the first attempt and a majority never become lawyers at all," says UCLA law professor Richard Sander.

In an article published in the Stanford Law Review, Sander and his research team concluded several thousand would-be black lawyers either dropped out of law school or failed to pass the bar because of affirmative action.

Known as the "mismatch" effect, Sander claims students who are unprepared and whose academic credentials are below the median are admitted to law schools they are unqualified to attend. If those same students instead were to go to less elite or competitive schools, more would graduate, pass the bar and become lawyers.

"This is a serious issue and we need to see more research in the area of mismatch," argues Gail Heriot, a professor of law at the University of San Diego and a member of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. "What we need now is more cooperation from the California Bar" Association.
But the Bar is refusing to turn over the data it has collected "over the last three decades on student test scores, law school admissions, academic performance and bar passage rates":
Law Professor Vikram Amar at UC Davis believes the Bar rejected Sander's request because the study is "controversial," examining the huge disparities in bar passage among different racial groups attending the same law school. Law schools do not disclose attrition, graduation and bar passage rates to minorities admitted through preferences and have opposed pressure to do so.
As a constitutional matter, race discrimination is supposed to be subjected to "strict scrutiny," but advocates of racial preferences demand that they be subject to no scrutiny at all. If these actions are so "affirmative," why not put them to the test of social science?

Genocide? What Genocide?

Critics are right that Congress has no business weighing in on historical controversies. But there is no controversy here

By Mark Krikorian (who is of Armenian ancestry)

The House Foreign Affairs Committee has passed a non-binding resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, and Turkey is in a tizzy. A few thoughts.

First of all, it is simply inarguable that the Ottoman Empire tried to eradicate the Armenian people under the cover of World War I. Despite the Turkish government's efforts to purchase a different historical narrative (by, for instance, using government funds to endow chairs in Turkish Studies at American universities), genocide denial is finding an increasingly small audience. As the International Association of Genocide Scholars has put it, "to deny its factual and moral reality as genocide is not to engage in scholarship but in propaganda."

But that, of course, doesn't give House members much direction in considering whether to vote for the actual resolution that will soon reach the House floor. It wouldn't matter much one way or the other if Congress were voting on whether to condemn the Mongols' extermination of 90 percent of Persia's population in the 13th century, for instance, because that doesn't have much political saliency. But, for whatever reason, the modern Turkish Republic has adopted a monomaniacal position of genocide denial, similar to the ChiComs' insistence on the fiction of "One China," or the Greeks' obsession with FYROM, or the Arabs' demand that we pretend Jerusalem is not the capital of Israel. This is despite the fact that the genocide was the policy of a long-defunct state and its architects were actually condemned to death in absentia by Turkish military courts specifically for committing the genocide. The smart thing would be to simply acknowledge the crimes of the ancien regime, and move on.

Nonetheless, Turkey will brook no argument. Simply asserting the existence of the Armenian Genocide there is a criminal offense, and just yesterday two Turkish-Armenian journalists were convicted on such charges, including the son of another journalist murdered earlier this year for asserting the reality of the genocide.

As a result of the House committee vote, Turkey has temporarily recalled its ambassador and Washington fears that if the genocide measure passes the full House, Turkey will limit our use of an air base in southern Turkey used to supply troops in Iraq. They may well make good on their threat, though the Turkish government's pique is likely to be short-lived, since they need us more than we need them. And we've coped just fine with earlier efforts at Turkish obstruction of our efforts in Iraq; in 2003, Turkey refused to allow U.S. troops to pass through on their way to overthrow Saddam. What's more, Turkey is moving toward sending its own troops to invade Kurdistan, the only part of Iraq that isn't at war, in order to flush out separatist guerrillas.

The context for Turkey's reaction to the House resolution is the fact that Turks are the most anti-American people on Earth. A 47-nation Pew survey earlier this year showed that ordinary Turks had the least favorable view of the United States, more negative than even the Palestinians or Pakistanis. Mein Kampf is a bestseller there, and the luridly anti-American and anti-Semitic film Valley of the Wolves - Iraq drew record audiences and thumbs-ups from Turkey's political leadership. The Turkish people's deep-seated hatred of America obviously wouldn't get any better because of passage of the genocide resolution, but it couldn't get any worse.

Back home, it's particularly amusing to see opposition to the genocide resolution from those who want to use American foreign policy to promote human rights abroad. If you're going to stick your nose in other people's business, and tell Burma's junta how to behave, and pass judgment on every nation's commitment to religious freedom, etc., this is what you're going to be stuck with. In other words, once you start moving along the spectrum toward foreign-policy Idealism, don't be surprised when this sort of thing happens.

If there's any real problem with the genocide resolution it's precisely that it feeds into an excessively idealist view of foreign policy. While its many findings are largely restatements of facts in the public record, its "Declaration of Policy" states that "The House of Representatives - (1) calls upon the President to ensure that the foreign policy of the United States reflects appropriate understanding and sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights, ethnic cleansing, and genocide documented in the United States record relating to the Armenian Genocide and the consequences of the failure to realize a just resolution." Our foreign policy is already reflects inordinate "sensitivity concerning issues related to human rights" - we hardly need more of it.

None of this would have happened if subsequent presidents had simply followed Ronald Reagan's lead in commemorating the Armenian Genocide along with the Holocaust, without lots of specific "findings," without declarations of policy, without even mentioning Turkey or the Ottomans. Our policy toward modern Turkey should have nothing whatsoever to do with acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide. But caving to Turkish pressure never to use "Armenian" and "genocide" in the same sentence is what has given the current resolution its impetus.

Critics are right that Congress has no business weighing in on historical controversies. But there is no controversy here. This isn't even a matter of the polite fictions necessary to international diplomacy. Denying the Armenian Genocide is simply a lie, and a lie propagated at the behest of a foreign power. It's unworthy of us.


Foolish hysteria about "racism"

Anti-racist students and staff at Columbia University's Teachers College were outraged last week about a hangman's noose on a black professor's office door, and protested it as a "hate crime." They also lambasted the climate on campus as "racist," chanting, "No diversity, no university!" One sign declared: "Protest Racist Lynch Rope Provocation."

Madonna Constantine, the professor, who's an expert on race, racial identity and multiculturalism, was catapulted to instant fame. She was interviewed on TV news shows because she would "not be silenced" or cowed by the noose - a racist badge of intimidation directed at the black community. Although she was warned in advance by an eagle-eyed colleague about the noose and did not happen upon it when entering her office, Constantine was nonetheless shocked, hurt and, she says, "embarrassed" by it.

I've never found a noose on my office door, but if I had, I would have handled it differently - and not because it wouldn't have been a startling discovery. Had someone told me in advance about such a thing on my door, I would have told them to toss it where it belongs, in the trash. Had I come upon it on my own, I would have done the tossing myself. Symbols don't scare me. And they should not, in this day and age, frighten or intimidate any black person, much less an expert on race and racial identity.

Had I been a professor at Teachers College, I would have recoiled at, rather than encouraged, the taunts in headlines about how my elite university was "Poison Ivy." However one rates Columbia, it is not a racist institution, and New York City is not a remnant of the Old South, where mobs ruled and strung up blacks on a whim, where blacks had no protection in law, much less were feted on an Ivy League campus.

So, as a black American, I must dissent from the surge of racial histrionics and hysteria over the discovery of a hangman's noose at one of our campuses. I must dissent from the hard and fast conclusion about the incident as a "hate crime," even before the investigation is complete. And I must question the motivations of those who've rushed to the judgment that this was not an isolated incident or even a prank by a malcontent or just an ordinary despicable individual. As a New Yorker, I resent the stain of racism against my city and against one of the finest universities in our nation, even if the university officials can't defend their reputations for fear of offending angry blacks.

Indeed, if there is any racism on that campus, it does not take the form of mobs full of hate carrying ropes. It is the kind of racism that takes the form of paternalism directed at black students and black faculty - the attitude that blacks are fragile and need special protections from the foul deeds of social misfits.

We blacks have gotten too soft and too sensitive over symbolic speech - burning crosses, the "n" word and the hangman's noose. We are too quick to label a school "racist" and inhospitable because blacks are "only" 12 percent of the student body. I more resent blacks who band with "anti-racist" whites to support hate speech codes and to cut off controversial speakers on campus than I could ever resent "offensive" speech from students or faculty who contend blacks have been quota-ed in and are beneficiaries of a double standard in admissions to Ivy League campuses.

That's because I am a race expert, and I know better. I know the truth about preferential treatment and the real history of lynchings in America - where blacks, for no other crime than being visible and vocal, were strung up, beaten, bombed and torched. What-ever happened on Columbia's campus was no such hate crime, regardless of what the rope symbolizes.

It may shock the university officials, but blacks by and large are not impressed, much less reassured, when a college president - as did Teachers College's Susan Furhman - pledges racial tribute in the form of "more scholarships" and renewed efforts at diversity. Recruiting and retaining minority group students and staff are legitimate efforts in their own right, but illegitimate as a means for buying racial peace.

When will Columbia learn its lesson? What chances are there that it will ever learn not to overreact to overblown racial rhetoric when, in the face of challenges to its core values, even its race experts deem every hostile word or symbolic expression of ignorance as prima facie evidence of a culture and climate of racism fit for either censorship or punishment?

We blacks don't need any special protections or double standards of justice. And surely we can do without foolish comparisons of racist antics today on a liberal campus with that of an era when wanton racist violence directed against blacks was unbridled, and when American blacks, according to the law, had no rights to any, much less equal, protection of the laws.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

California Governor Schwarzenegger Veto of Gay "Marriage" Made Meaningless by Other Bills

While most media coverage has been devoted to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's veto of homosexual 'marriage', he has in fact nullified his own veto giving all the rights of marriage to other unions. His opposition to the bill redefining marriage was based on the passage of Proposition 22 a referendum in 2000 which protected the traditional definition of marriage.

On Friday Gov. Schwarzenegger signed AB 102, which awards married names to unmarried couples. AB 102 allows homosexual couples to hold themselves out as married by permitting them to choose the same surname upon registration of their "domestic partnership." The bill awards unmarried couples married last names, such as "Mr. and Mr. Smith" and "Mrs. and Mrs. Jones."

"Schwarzenegger and the Democrat politicians have created the public image of homosexual 'marriages' in California," said Randy Thomasson, president of Campaign for Children and Families (CCF), in response to the signing of AB 102. "It's hypocritical for Arnold Schwarzenegger to veto homosexual 'marriage' licenses and at the very same time aggressively promote the public image of gay and lesbian 'marriages' in every community for every child to see."

In addition, Schwarzenegger signed AB 14, which requires more California businesses, as well as some churches and nonprofit organizations, to support and promote transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality.

AB 14 prohibits state funding for any program that does not support transsexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality. This means state-funded social services operated by churches and other houses of faith, which provide essential services to children and adults, could dry up.

Negatively impacted will be religious-based day care, pre-school and after-school programs, food and housing programs, senior services, anti-gang efforts, job programs, and more. Throughout California, there are faith-based services that receive government funding that simply do not and will not accept transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality.

Infringing on matters of personal and religious conscience, AB 14 also forces every hospital in California -- even private, religious hospitals -- to adopt policies in support of transsexuality, bisexuality, and homosexuality. Under AB 14, private country clubs, tennis clubs and racquet clubs will be forced to support these sexual lifestyles on their premises. AB 14 also opens up nonprofit organizations to lawsuits if they exclude members that engage in homosexual, bisexual, or transsexual conduct. This certainly threatens the Boy Scouts, which is a membership organization as well as a nonreligious nonprofit.

"It's the height of intolerance to punish individuals, organizations, businesses, and churches that have moral standards on sexual conduct and sexual lifestyles," said Thomasson, in response to the signing of AB 14. "This is another insensitive law that violates people's moral boundaries."

"Arnold Schwarzenegger demonstrates the negative consequences of electing a liberal Republican to office," Thomasson concluded. "Schwarzenegger fooled many California conservatives into voting for him. Yet now he's flip-flopped and stabbed them in the back."


Study Finds that Among Teachers, Male Homosexuals are Most Likely to Sexually Abuse Students

A male homosexual was the teacher most apt to have sex with his pupils in a study encompassing 7 countries. Overall, 43% of teachers who made the news for having sex with their pupils over the last 27 years engaged in homosexuality. Homosexual teachers violated 1,925 (56%) of the 3,457 pupil-victims. Women were 11% of perpetrators, but a heterosexual female teacher was least apt to have sex with pupils. Sexual abuse incidents are frequently kept hidden by victims out of fear and shame and so the actual numbers of such teacher abusers are likely substantially greater.

Lexis-Nexis was searched from 1980 through 2006 uncovering 902 teachers who were known to have had sex with pupils. Teachers who engaged in homosexuality constituted 63% of perpetrators in Ireland, 62% in New Zealand, 60% in Canada, 54% in Scotland, 48% in Australia, 47% in England, and 35% in the U.S. The figures are especially significant given that homosexuals at any one time make up only a tiny 3%-5% of the population.

"Astounding," said Dr. Paul Cameron of the Family Research Institute, a Colorado Springs think-tank, who conducted the investigation: "Similar results have been reported in U.S. studies from 1978 through 1996."

Prior studies included two polls of superintendents (homosexuals were 27% and 29% of perpetrators), convictions in 10 states (homosexuals were 32% of perpetrators), a poll of principals (35% of complaints were about homosexual teachers), and adults reporting on their experiences as students (23% of reports involved homosexuality). It's unusual to get such consistency from method-to-method, much less country-to-country."

Most (54% of 810 male, 83% of 92 female) teachers violated only opposite sex pupils, and 1,889 (55%) of the 3,457 victims were boys. The study was published in the new, free-access, on- line, peer-reviewed Empirical Journal of Same-Sex Sexual Behavior. See the full study online here


The war against the Jews

The venomous animosity displayed by the UN towards Israel has been amply documented (if generally ignored). Now John Dugard, the UN human rights envoy for the Palestinian Territories, has vented a stream of this poison. BBC Online reports him saying that he will urge the world body to withdraw from the Quartet of Middle East mediators unless it addresses Palestinian human rights, since the US, EU, UN and Russia were failing to protect the Palestinians.
`Every time I visit, the situation seems to have worsened,' he said in a BBC interview. This time, I was very struck by the sense of hopelessness among the Palestinian people.' Mr Dugard attributed this to `the crushing effect of human rights violations', and in particular Israeli restrictions on Palestinians' freedom of movement.
Yes, the Palestinians' situation has worsened. This is principally the result of two things. a) The regime of terror instituted by the Hamas administration for which the Palestinians so unwisely voted and which is progressively making their lives a misery; and b) the restrictions imposed by the Israelis to counter the rockets which the Palestinians are lobbing at Israeli towns from Gaza, and the human bomb attacks they are ceaselessly attempting to perpetrate against Israelis. Strangely, Dugard makes no mention of either.
He said that although Israel did have a threat to its security, `its response is very disproportionate'.
Let's see now: checkpoints to stop its citizens from being murdered? Very disproportionate. Targeted assassinations, to kill terror godfathers while sparing innocent Palestinians as far as possible? Very disproportionate. Sitting on Israeli hands while rockets fired from Gaza slam into southern Israeli towns? Very disproportionate.

And what does Dugard have to say about Palestinians murdering other Palestinians? Last Saturday, Palestinian Authority forces shot dead two Palestinians, including a 5-year-old boy in Qalqilyah on the West Bank. Last month, masked gunmen attacked an 28 year-old Christian woman in Gaza city and looted a church.What does Dugard say about such crimes? Nothing. How very disproportionate.
He said the purpose of some of the checkpoints in the middle of the West Bank was to break it up `into a number of cantons and make the life of Palestinians as miserable as possible'.
The checkpoints are there for one reason only; to protect innocent Israelis from murderous Arab savagery. If there was no Arab violence, there would be no checkpoints.
The South African retired professor of international law said the response of the Quartet was weak because it was `heavily influenced' by the US.
Ah; now would that be the same US whose Secretary of State is currently saying:
`It's time for the establishment of a Palestinian state'
and intends to force Israel to agree, even while the Arabs in this putative state are showing what they would use such a state for by continuing even now to attack Israel by bomb and rocket - thus rewarding annihilatory terror and throwing Israel to the wolves?
The Quartet failed to engage properly on human rights, he said, and was also failing to deal with the current rift between the rival Palestinian factions of Fatah and Hamas. The militant Islamist movement Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in June, ousting Fatah, which is led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Mr Dugard said the rift was threatening the Palestinians' right to self-determination, and that the UN `should be playing the role of the mediator'. `Instead the international community has given its support almost completely to one faction - to Fatah,' he said. "That's not the role the UN should take.'
Of course not. It should give its support equally to a group that stands not just for the destruction of Israel and the murder and ethnic cleansing of Jews but the Islamisation of the entire region and its subjugation to tyranny.
Mr Dugard said he saw a greater danger - that of the Palestinian Authority raising expectations too high in the Palestinian community. `If those expectations are not met, I fear there may be serious consequences,' he added. The consequences include the possibility of a third `intifada, a large-scale, violent uprising against the Israelis, he said.

Mr Dugard said this should be no surprise.' Inevitably in a military occupation, there are likely to be those engaged in resistance.' These people may be labelled terrorists, Mr Dugard added, but history treats them differently. He cited the example of the French Resistance during World War II, and those in Namibia who fought occupation by South Africa. `Now,' he said, `they are in government and treated as heroes.'
So there we have it: a UN adviser who is endorsing and justifying a further campaign of genocidal mass murder against Jews by totalitarian Islamists, which he equates with the French resistance against Fascism. And people wonder why the world is teetering on the edge of catastrophe.


Can Australia's Leftist leader ever stop his whining?

Leftists just can't stand criticism

By Andrew Bolt

CRITICISM in politics is not just healthy. It's essential. So can Kevin Rudd stop his whingeing? ["Whingeing" is a British/Australian term roughly translatable as "whining". Spoilt or overtired little children are said to "whinge" (complain)] On Sunday, in his first speech of this election campaign, the Labor leader just couldn't stop complaining about being criticised. "In the days and weeks ahead, the good people of Australia are going to be bombarded with the mother of all negative fear campaigns," he moaned.

But while it was meant as a complaint, it turned out to be a promise. You see, Rudd went on to devote precisely 458 words, or 31 per cent of his speech, to a negative fear campaign, attacking Prime Minister John Howard as "old", "stale", out of ideas and "negative". By the time he'd fielded questions as well, he'd used an astonishing 1820 words, or more than half his comments, berating Howard.

Howard, by contrast, devoted just 125 words - or 20 per cent of his own election announcement -- to criticising Rudd. Same story the next day. Howard went positive, announcing a $34 billion plan to slash taxes over three years. Rudd's line for the day? An absurd scare-'em claim that a re-elected Howard might force state employees on to individual contracts. Yeah, right. So, who's really peddling scares?

Mind you, Rudd's spin sure is working. Here, for instance, is The Age's Michelle Grattan commenting on the two leaders' opening speeches: "Resting heavily on the crutch of negatives, he (Howard) played up the inexperience of the Rudd team . . ."

But why criticism is suddenly a negative anyway is a mystery. For years, Howard has been subjected to one of the most brutal negative campaigns in Australian politics, with the happy participation of the very people complaining he's now going "negative" himself. Remember these lines? Howard is a "liar", a "racist" who "doesn't like Asians", a "suckhole", an "a---licker" and the rest. A Liberal Party elder badly injured in a car crash was "deformed". A conservative columnist and Howard supporter was a "skanky ho". All from Labor.

Rudd, to his great credit, has cracked down on Labor's tradition of vitriolic personal attack, best exemplified by Paul Keating, long a media darling. But more civilised though Rudd is, he certainly isn't above implying Howard is up to his neck in lies and even bribery. Here, for instance, is Rudd on Monday: "This is the Prime Minister who's never accepted a skerrick of responsibility for children overboard, a Prime Minister who's never accepted a skerrick of responsibility for taking us to war in Iraq . . . and a Prime Minister who's not taken a skerrick of responsibility for $300 million worth of bribes being paid to Saddam Hussein to buy guns, bombs and bullets for later use against Australian troops."

Some sledge. But do I criticise Rudd for being negative? Not at all. I accuse him merely of being a hypocrite. In fact, Howard indeed deserves some criticism over those very issues and it's Labor's job to hold his joggers to the fire. Rudd has done that brilliantly. Good on him. From criticism comes better performance. And we need politicians not just to advertise their best, but their opponents' worst, because unless we know the best and the worst of both, how can we wisely choose?

But if Rudd thinks criticism of Howard is legitimate, why is criticism of Rudd not? Lord knows he deserves the scrutiny, and here's why. Few of us really know what Rudd is like, and what a leader he'd make. I've had coffees, lunches and dinners with him, so am better placed to tell than most of you, and even I don't know. I admire his ferocious hard work, his self-discipline, his intelligence, his civility, and his apparently conservative bent - well, conservative for a Labor leader. His family seems a great tribute to him. But what does he really stand for?

So far, the best we know is that he's a mini-Howard. A me-too man, who said me-too when Howard booted out Mohammed Haneef, intervened in Aboriginal communities, sold off the last of Telstra, and tricked up the Murray Darling Basin plan. He also copied Howard's policy to send troops to Afghanistan, keep training troops in Iraq, and maintain logging levels in Tasmania. He even did a me-too on Howard's May Budget.

How much of that was sincere? Take Rudd's most recent me-toos - on the Government's decisions to take in fewer African refugees, approve a pulp mill and keep up funds to private schools. Was that politics or principle? Here's a more troubling example. Just before last week's Bali bombing anniversary, Rudd ran into strife over his policy to lobby everywhere against the death penalty, even for terrorists. He responded not only by junking his policy, but by waving a Liberal document on TV, and protesting: "The Liberal Party's policy, like Labor's policy, is identical." Identical to Howard's? That's all right then. But who will Rudd copy when Howard is gone?

Of course, you might like all this if you are a conservative, as I am, and thought Rudd was sincere. Yet even Leftist commentators are no longer sure of Rudd. Some are now even hoping he's just a fake. Take Professor Robert Manne, who on ABC TV reassured the Left that Rudd might still be their man, despite all his astonishing me-toos. "I think that we will only know what the Rudd government will do in three or four years time because at the moment the Rudd government is avoiding the kind of polemical stoushes with Howard because it knows it can't win ... when he gets into government then we'll begin to see the differences again."

Moralising Manne clearly hopes that when Rudd says me-too, he's just putting the con in conservative. So too, it seems, does the Sydney Morning Herald's political editor, Peter Hartcher, who claimed: "Rudd's me-tooism is his way of refusing to respond to Howard's agenda." Actually, no, Peter. Rudd isn't refusing to respond to Howard's agenda, he's adopting it. Or do you, too, believe he's just lying?

And that's precisely why Rudd, more than most Labor leaders, will face criticism - a "negative" campaign. When his policies to date are so close to Howard's, even on Iraq, the key difference between the two leaders must come down to believability. In Rudd's case we must ask - along with his supporters - whether he really means what he says. Is me-too a promise or a trick? And does he have the strength, the smarts and especially the team to deliver what's promised? That's not being "negative". That is asking the fundamentally important questions of a man who in November may well be our prime minister. Rudd's response should not be to complain, but explain. Oh, and do a little negative campaigning of his own.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007


By Matthias Kuentzel

This is the lecture that the University of Leeds tried to suppress. On March 14, 2007, Kuentzel was due to address the University of Leeds in England on the topic `Hitler's Legacy: Islamic Antisemitism in the Middle East.' However, several hours before the talk was due to take place, the talk was unexpectedly cancelled due to "security concerns," following protest e-mails from some of the university's Muslim students. Excerpts only below. Full text here. Background on Kuentzel here

Despite common misconceptions, Islamism was born not during the 1960s but during the 1930s. Its rise was inspired not by the failure of Nasserism but by the rise of Fascism and of Nazism. It was the Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928 in Egypt, that established Islamism as a mass movement. The significance of the Brotherhood to Islamism is comparable to that of the Bolshevik party to communism: It was and remains to this day the ideological reference point and organizational core for all later Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda and Hamas or the group around Sidique Khan.

It is true that British colonial policy produced Islamism, insofar as Islamism viewed itself as a resistance movement against "cultural modernity." Their "liberation struggle", however, had more in common with the "liberation struggle" of the Nazis than with any kind of progressive movement. Thus, the Brotherhood advocated the replacement of Parliamentarianism by an "organic" state order based on the Caliphate. It demanded the abolition of interest and profit in favour of a forcibly imposed community of interests between capital and labour.

At the forefront of the Brotherhood's efforts lay the struggle against all the sensual and "materialistic" temptations of the capitalist and communist world. At the tender age of 13, the pubescent al-Banna had founded a "Society for the Prevention of the Forbidden", and this is in essence what the Brothers were and are - a community of male zealots, whose primary concern is to prevent all the sensual and sexual sins forbidden according to their interpretation of the Koran. Their signature was most clearly apparent when they periodically reduced their local night clubs, brothels and cinemas - constantly identified with Jewish influence - to ashes.

Gripped by this phobia, the Society of Muslim Brothers, from the day of its foundation, provided a haven for any man dedicated to the restoration of male supremacy. At the very time when the liberation of women from the inferiority decreed by Islam was gradually getting under way, the Muslim Brotherhood set itself up as the rallying point for the restoration of patriarchal domination.

It was on the one hand a conservative religious movement: For al-Banna, only a return to orthodox Islam could pave the way for an end to the intolerable conditions and humiliations of Muslims, and newly establish the righteous Islamic order. It was at the same time a revolutionary political movement and as such in many respects a trailblazer. The Brotherhood was the first Islamic organization to put down roots in the cities and to organize a mass movement able in 1948 to muster one million people in Egypt alone. It was a populist and activist, not an elitist movement and it was the first movement that systematically set about building a kind of "Islamist international."

The Islamists' answer to everything was the call for a new order based on Sharia. But the Brotherhood's jihad was not directed primarily against the British. Rather, it focused almost exclusively on Zionism and the Jews. Membership in the Brotherhood shot up from 800 to 200,000 between 1936 and 1938. In those two years the Brotherhood conducted only one major campaign in Egypt, a campaign directed against Zionism and the Jews.

The starting shot for this campaign, which established the Brotherhood as an Anti-Semitic mass movement, was fired by a rebellion in Palestine directed against Jewish immigration and initiated by the notorious Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini. The Brotherhood organized mass demonstrations in Egyptian cities under the slogans "Down With the Jews!" and "Jews Get Out of Egypt and Palestine!" Their Jew-hatred drew on the one hand on Islamic sources. First, Islamists considered, and still consider, Palestine an Islamic territory, Dar al-Islam, where Jews must not run a single village, let alone a state. Second, Islamists justify their aspiration to eliminate the Jews of Palestine by invoking the example of Muhammad, who in the 7th century not only expelled two Jewish tribes from Medina, but also beheaded the entire male population of a third Jewish tribe, before proceeding to sell all the women and children into slavery. Third, they find support and encouragement for their actions and plans in the Koranic dictum that Jews are to be considered the worst enemy of the believers.

Their Jew-hatred was also inspired by Nazi influences: Leaflets called for a boycott of Jewish goods and Jewish shops, and the Brotherhood's newspaper, al-Nadhir, carried a regular column on "The Danger of the Jews of Egypt," which published the names and addresses of Jewish businessmen and allegedly Jewish newspaper publishers all over the world, attributing every evil, from communism to brothels, to the "Jewish danger."

The Brotherhood's campaign used not only Nazi-like patterns of action and slogans but also German funding. As the historian Brynjar Lia recounts in his monograph on the Brotherhood, "Documents seized in the flat of Wilhelm Stellbogen, the Director of the German News Agency affiliated to the German Legation in Cairo, show that prior to October 1939 the Muslim Brothers received subsidies from this organization. Stellbogen was instrumental in transferring these funds to the Brothers, which were considerably larger than the subsidies offered to other anti-British activists. These transfers appear to have been co-ordinated by Hajj Amin al-Husseini and some of his Palestinian contacts in Cairo.

To summarize our first trip into history: We saw that the rise of Nazism and Islamism took place in the same period. This was no accident, for both movements represented attempts to answer the world economic crisis of 1929 and the crisis of liberal capitalism. However different their answers may have been, they shared a crucial central feature: in both cases the sense of belonging to a homogeneous community was created through mobilizing against the Jews.

Initially, however, European Anti-Semitism had proved to be an ineffective tool in the Arab world. Why? Because the European fantasy of the Jewish world conspiracy was foreign to the original Islamic view of the Jews. Only in the legend of Jesus Christ did the Jews appear as a deadly and powerful force who allegedly went so far as to kill God's only son. Islam was quite a different story. Here it was not the Jews who murdered the Prophet, but the Prophet who in Medina murdered the Jews. As a result, the characteristic features of Christian Anti-Semitism did not develop in the Muslim world. There were no fears of Jewish conspiracy and domination, no charges of diabolic evil. Instead, the Jews were treated with contempt or condescending tolerance. This cultural inheritance made the idea that the Jews of all people could represent a permanent danger for the Muslims and might control the media and politics in league with Freemasons seem absurd. This brings us to our second point: The transfer of European Anti-Semitism to the Muslim world between 1937 and 1945 under the impact of Nazi Propaganda.

Islamism and National Socialism.

Amin al-Husseini, the infamous Mufti of Jerusalem, who was closely connected to the Muslim Brotherhood, was already seeking an alliance with Nazi Germany as early as spring 1933. At first, however, Berlin was dismissive. On the one hand, Hitler had already stated his belief in the "racial inferiority" of the Arabs in Mein Kampf while, on the other, the Nazis were extremely anxious not to jeopardise British appeasement. In June 1937, however, the Nazis changed course. The trigger was the Peel Plans two-state solution. Berlin wanted at all costs to prevent the birth of a Jewish state and thus welcomed the Muftis advances. Arab antisemitism would now get a powerful new promoter.

A central role in the propaganda offensive was played by a Nazi wireless station, now almost totally forgotten. Since the 1936 Berlin Olympics, a village called Zeesen, located to the south of Berlin, had been home to what was at the time the worlds most powerful short-wave radio transmitter. Between April 1939 and April 1945, Radio Zeesen reached out to the illiterate Muslim masses through daily Arabic programmes, which also went out in Persian and Turkish. At that time listening to the radio in the Arab world took place primarily in public squares or bazaars and coffee houses. No other station was more popular than this Nazi Zeesen service, which skilfully mingled Anti-Semitic propaganda with quotations from the Koran, and Arabic music. The Second World War allies were presented as lackeys of the Jews and the picture of the "United Jewish Nations" drummed into the audience. At the same time, the Jews were attacked as the worst enemies of Islam: "The Jew since the time of Muhammad has never been a friend of the Muslim, the Jew is the enemy and it pleases Allah to kill him".

Since 1941, Zeesens Arabic programming had been directed by the Mufti of Jerusalem who had emigrated to Berlin. The Muftis aim was to "unite all the Arab lands in a common hatred of the British and Jews", as he wrote in a letter to Adolf Hitler. Anti-Semitism, based on the notion of a Jewish world conspiracy, however, was not rooted in Islamic tradition but, rather, in European ideological models.

The Mufti therefore seized on the only instrument that really moved the Arab masses: Islam. He invented a new form of Jew-hatred by recasting it in an Islamic mould. He was the first to translate Christian Anti-Semitism into Islamic language, thus creating an "Islamic Anti-Semitism". His first major manifesto bore the title "Islam-Judaism, Appeal of the Grand Mufti to the Islamic World in the Year 1937". This 31-page pamphlet reached the entire Arab world and there are indications that Nazi agents helped draw it up. Let me quote at least a short passage from it:

"The struggle between the Jews and Islam began when Muhammad fled from Mecca to Medina. The Jewish methods were, even in those days, the same as now. As always, their weapon was slander. They said that Muhammad was a swindler, they began to ask Muhammad senseless and insoluble questions, and they endeavoured to destroy the Muslims. If the Jews could betray Muhammad in this way, how will they betray Muslims today? The verses from the Koran and Hadith prove to you that the Jews were the fiercest opponents of Islam and are still trying to destroy it."

What we have here is a new popularized form of Jew-hatred, based on the oriental folk tale tradition, which moves constantly back and forth between the seventh and twentieth centuries. This kind of Jew-hatred is used today by the British group Hizb ut-Tahir. In 2002 this organization reproduced a leaflet in its website saying: "The Jews are a people of slander, a treacherous people; they fabricate lies and twist words from their right context. Kill them wherever you find them." .......

Islamism is not motivated by a concept of reason but by a cult of death. It does not strive for emancipation but for oppression. It uses the flag of anti-colonialism to promote Anti-Semitism. It is true that today there is no other anti-capitalist or anti-Western movement that is able to mobilise and influence so many people. Bin Laden's latest message builds on this reality. But it is for this very reason all the more essential for every responsible person to draw an inseparable line between a concept of change that is rooted in the traditions of the Enlightenment and emancipation, and a concept of change that is aimed in a fascist way at destroying the development of societies and the freedom of the individual. You can be in favor of or against Islamism and Fascism, but you cannot be anti-Fascist and pro-Islamist at the same time....

Former Member of National Abortion Rights Action League Speaks out for Life at Princeton University

Karen Shablin, a former member of the National Abortion and Reproductive Rights Action League (NARAL), told an audience at Princeton University on Tuesday evening, that greater support during pregnancy, not abortion, is what women need and want.

The Daily Princetonian, the prestigious university's campus paper, reports that Shablin, a speaker for Feminists for Life Campus Outreach programme, was invited to speak as part of the campus pro-life group's Respect Life Week.

She said that her own abortion had been a result of fear of joining the ranks of black single mothers that so often remain in poverty. Shablin said she now "oppose[s] abortion with every thread of my being," but decries the lack of resources and support available to women in unexpected pregnancies, saying, "Women deserve better (than abortion). I deserve better. And certainly you, male and female, deserve better."

Shablin, who is described by Feminists for Life as a former "card carrying" member of NARAL and a health policy expert, recounted her conversion to the pro-life cause that occurred when she worked as Medicaid director for the state of New Jersey. At that time, the state held a "family cap" policy refusing assistance to families who had more children while remaining on welfare, but at the same time, the state paid the fees for welfare recipients to have abortions.

She described herself as "heartbroken" when she heard of women having as many as four abortions in a year under the policy. Women, she said, needed access to practical resources and education to avoid the trap.

Most abortion-supporting organizations offer pregnant women only abortion for which they charge fees. Multitudes of pro-life organizations like Toronto's Aid to Women and Birthright, offer practical material and medical assistance free of charge to help women carry their babies to term and support them after the birth.

Shablin said she speaks on campuses about her own experiences because, "every life counts." She says, "I can't undo my mistakes over the years - having an abortion, advocating abortion, but I can help others to learn from my mistakes."



Read the three reports of the same event below. I initially read just the first report below on the general News Corp site but immediately smelt a rat because such a thing has never happened in Australia before to my knowledge. Googling turned up the other two reports below -- one of which mentions Muslims and the other of which mentions Africans. Was it Africans versus Muslims or just Africans?

(1). Six people have been arrested while shops and a cinema in Melbourne's west were forced to close during a brawl involving more than 150 people. Police were first called to the Highpoint Shopping Centre in Maribyrnong when a brawl, lasting an hour, erupted inside the cinema at 5pm (AEST) yesterday. Officers helped eject a number of fighting youths then returned to Footscray police station.

But the officers were soon called back, when a second brawl, now involving more than 150 people, broke out. Scores of police cars blocked the shopping centre's entrance as officers from 15 stations attended, and the cinema and shops on level one were shut down as the fighting continued. Six people were arrested, some of whom were dragged away, and capsicum spray was used to subdue the crowd. Those arrested face charges including hindering police and resisting arrest. Police will review video footage of the incident as investigations continue.


(2). Police have denied Highpoint shopping centre is a problem area for ethnic gangs after a wild post-Ramadan brawl at the weekend. It is believed the fight between up to 20 youths erupted about 5pm on Saturday after several members of the group were ejected from the Hoyts cinemas because they were caught without tickets. The group then spilled into the centre's food court where several girls began fighting each other. By the time police arrived to disperse the group, numbers had swelled to more than 100.

Sen-Sgt Dave Byrt, from Footscray police, said the group had gathered to celebrate the end of Ramadan. "Saturday night was just one out of the box in terms of one cultural group coming together in the one place," Sen-Sgt Byrt said. Police arrested six people and were forced to use capsicum spray to subdue sections of the crowd.

Sen-Sgt Byrt denied there was a problem with ethnic gangs at the centre. "In terms of Highpoint we wouldn't have any more trouble there than at any other centre," he said. One trader disagreed, saying some of his staff were too intimidated to work weekend night shifts. "A lot of the girls just won't work nights, we have mostly guys on because they know what can happen," the trader said.


(3). Restaurant patronage next to a cinema complex in Melbourne's west was yesterday said to be down, following a series of violent confrontations between rampaging teenagers and at least one altercation with police on Saturday night. African youths were among the crowd of at least 150 teenagers who confronted police in a series of fights that culminated in two brawls at the Highpoint shopping centre, in Melbourne's west, on Saturday. Teenagers charged at police as they arrived to contain a series of fights at the ground-floor entrance to the Hoyts cinema complex, off the Maribyrnong centre's Warrs Road car park, just after 5pm.

Six people were arrested for hindering police after a series of fights broke out between groups of African youths. Police yesterday said about 10 officers were initially called to the scene. They ejected about 30 people from the Hoyts complex and arrested four others. But after clearing the scene, 20 police in a convoy of more than 15 vehicles returned to the shopping centre less than an hour later to clear a crowd of 150 that had gathered outside. They arrested another two youths and used capsicum spray on a group of 20 who charged at them, then shut the cinema and nearby shops as the brawls continued. No police were injured.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

BBC blinkered, say Scotland Yard

The battering of the BBC continued yesterday with Scotland Yard calling the organisation blinkered and arrogant. The attack came after the Independent Police Complaints Commission cleared the police of claims made in a BBC documentary about Stephen Lawrence, who was murdered at a South London bus stop in 1993. The documentary said that the Metropolitan Police withheld testimony about a corrupt officer from the inquiry into the bungled murder investigation that followed. The commission said: "We have found no evidence in support of the allegations made during the programme."

A senior Scotland Yard insider said: "It was sensationalism, it was arrogant. They became blinkered into believing what they wanted to believe." The BBC, however, released a statement saying it stood by its programme. "We considered it our duty to bring these serious allegations before the public and fully reflect the response of the police."

Mr Lawrence's family offered their support to the BBC yesterday


Even a "Raving Atheist" Can Be Pro-Life - Interview

The following, until now unpublished, interview was conducted with the popular blog personality "the raving atheist". The blogger, a lawyer who will not divulge his real name, has nonetheless acquired pseudonymous fame. He is featured, as "the raving atheist" in the anti-Christian documentary film 'The God who wasn't there". His pro-life convictions are based solely on scientific evidence for the life of the unborn. He is firmly opposed to belief in God. The interview is published here as it provides interesting insights.

Is it lonely being a pro-life atheist?

The pro-life position is certainly a minority one among atheists. It's also a minority position in my state, New York, which is the abortion capitol of the world. But the internet makes finding company easy, with sites such as that maintained by the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League. And a handful of pro-life atheists, such as Nat Hentoff, have surfaced in the mainstream media.

Nevertheless, I did feel a great sense of alienation and rejection from the readers of my blog when I started regularly posting on abortion. The topic was already painful, almost disabling, from me to write about, and it was discouraging to see my efforts met with vicious personal attacks. Ultimately, it was for the good: I decided to write less and devote the extra time to volunteering at a Crisis Pregnancy Center. I also formed close friendships with a number of Christian pro-life bloggers, who assisted me (and let me assist them) in other advocacy and outreach efforts.

Your blog examines "how religious devotion trivializes American law and politics". How do you think that applies to the abortion debate in America?

In the late 1960's the pro-choice movement made a deliberate, strategic decision to trivialize the abortion debate by dismissing all pro-life arguments as mere Catholic dogma. This made it easy to gloss over the inconvenient, undeniable scientific embryological fact that human life begins at conception in favor of specious arguments regarding church/state separation and accusation that religion "is being forced down our throats." Planned Parenthood today still insists that the question of when life begins is a religious one which varies from woman to woman, apparently mind-dependent rather than reality-dependent. They do draw the line at the old Mayan practice of throwing infants into volcanos, although I don't see why, under their theory, that wouldn't be a protected exercise of religion as well.

Has the pro-life movement done a good job of countering that strategy?

Yes. I've seen more of a reliance on science - embryology, ultrasound - on the pro-life side than on the pro-choice side. In fact, the mainstream pro-choice organizations oppose showing women who are considering abortion ultrasound pictures of the child on the grounds that they are "confusing."

It should be noted that the pro-choice side isn't opposed to raising religious arguments when it suits them. Planned Parenthood has hired clergy to promote abortion from a theological standpoint. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice devotes its very existence to that endeavor. Ironically, even the atheistic Freedom from Religion Foundation employs a religious argument when it comes to abortion - it argues that the practice should be permitted because it isn't expressly forbidden by the Bible.

I think most people now view abortion as a straight moral issue rather than as a religious one. They recognize that although there may also be established religious doctrines against abortion -- just as there are against theft, adultery and other forms of killing -- those doctrines aren't the sole reasons against the practice. They don't care if some people see them as God's reasons, because they withstand human scrutiny as well.

What tips would you give Christians who want to win atheists and agnostics over to the pro-life side?

Familiarize yourself with the purely secular arguments made in the essays like those available at the Atheist and Agnostic Pro-Life League website. There are also plenty of religious sites which provide the same arguments. They are the only ones which will appeal to non-believers. Quoting the Bible or trying to convert an atheist is a waste of time.

The most common argument that you should be prepared to counter is the one that asserts that a prohibition against killing after conception can only be accepted if one believes that the fetus has a "soul." You can respond by asking if an eight month old fetus has a soul, if a newborn baby has a soul, if a teenager has a soul, if an adult has a soul. If they respond "yes," you can point out that they are relying on an equally religious argument. If they deny the existence of souls, you can ask if that makes it okay to kill anyone at any time.


Muslim inmate sues Missouri jail, claims he was fed pork product

A Muslim inmate is suing a southwest Missouri jail, claiming the facility's administrators violated his religious rights by feeding him sandwiches with a pork product concealed in them. Odell M. Edwards, who as a Muslim is not allowed to eat pork, filed his lawsuit against the Greene County Justice Center this past week in U.S. District Court in Springfield. Jail officials maintain that the jelly is made with fruit pectin extracted from plants. Pectin is a natural substance that thickens jams and jellies.

The sandwiches in question were served to Edwards and other Muslim inmates during the holy month of Ramadan. Jail Director C.E. Wells said officials consulted with a Muslim spiritual adviser when planning the Ramadan menu, and the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches were preapproved. But Edwards said the jelly in the sandwiches contained gelatin, which is often extracted from pig tissue. He appears to be seeking $250,000 per day for the period in which he was served the jelly.

Edwards, a federal prisoner, is awaiting trial in Springfield on drug charges. He's been an inmate since April 2006. It's not clear whether the court will dismiss the lawsuit as unfounded - which is what happens to many such cases - or allow it to proceed. Edwards said in a court filing that jail guards told him on Sept. 12 that his meals contained pork and had for some time. Edwards filed a request for remedy with the jail, asking to see the jelly ingredients and demanding a cultured cook or a dietitian that handled Muslim and pork-free foods. "I would also like to be compensated for the foul act!" he wrote.

Wells sent a written response to Edwards telling the inmate that the jelly contained fruit pectin and not gelatin. Wells said Edwards didn't just have a problem with the jelly. In his court filing, the inmate also complained that an overabundance of peanut butter in his diet had led to stomach pain and constipation, Wells said. "It's sad that your only answer to this problem is an unhealthy amount of peanut butter or don't participate in Ramadan," Edwards wrote. "Again it is my duty and right to share in Ramadan but not to be tricked and bullied by an unhealthy diet!"

Wells said Edwards knew what the special meals for Ramadan would include when he signed up for them. Ramadan is from Sept. 13 to Oct. 13. During that time, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset each day. They break their fast each evening with a celebratory evening meal.


Abortion and Crime: One has an effect on the other, but it may not be the effect you think


Violent crime in the United States shot up like a rocket after 1960. From 1960 to 1991, reported violent crime increased by an incredible 372 percent. This disturbing trend was seen across the country, with robbery peaking in 1991 and rape and aggravated assault following in 1992. But then something unexpected happened: Between 1991 and 2000, rates of violent crime and property crime fell sharply, dropping by 33 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Murder rates were stable up to 1991, but then plunged by a steep 44 percent.

Several plausible explanations have been advanced for the drop during the 1990s. Some stress law-enforcement measures, such as higher arrest and conviction rates, longer prison sentences, "broken windows" police strategies, and the death penalty. Others emphasize right-to-carry laws for concealed handguns, a strong economy, or the waning of the crack-cocaine epidemic.

Of all the explanations, perhaps the most controversial is the one that attributes lower crime rates in the '90s to Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 decision to mandate legalized abortion. According to this argument, the large number of women who began having abortions shortly after Roe were most likely unmarried, in their teens, or poor, and their children would have been "unwanted." Children born in these circumstances would have had a higher-than-average likelihood of becoming criminals, and would have entered their teens - their "criminal prime" - in the early 1990s. But because they were aborted, they were not around to make trouble.

This is an attention-grabbing theory, to be sure. But a thorough analysis of abortion and crime statistics leads to the opposite conclusion: that abortion increases crime.

Debate about the relationship between abortion and crime was greatly influenced by a Swedish study published in 1966 by Hans Forssman and Inga Thuwe. They followed the children of 188 women who were denied abortions from 1939 to 1941 at the only hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden. Their study compared these "unwanted" children with another group, this one composed of the first child born at the hospital after each of the "unwanted" children. They found that the "unwanted" children were much more likely to grow up in adverse conditions - for example, with divorced parents, or in foster homes. These children were also more likely to become delinquents and have trouble in school. Unfortunately, the authors never investigated whether the children's "unwantedness" caused their problems, or were simply correlated with them.

Forssman and Thuwe's claim, notwithstanding the limits of the data supporting it, became axiomatic among supporters of legalized abortion. During the 1960s and '70s, before Roe, abortion-rights advocates attributed all sorts of social ills, including crime and mental illness, to "unwanted" children. Weeding these poor, crime-prone people out of the population through abortion was presented as a way to make society safer.

Recently, John Donohue and Steven Levitt - a law professor and an economist, respectively - revived the debate. They presented evidence that supposedly demonstrated abortion's staggeringly large effect on crime rates, and argued that up to "one-half of the overall crime reduction" between 1991 and 1997, and up to 81 percent of the drop in murder rates during that period, was attributable to the rise in abortions in the early to mid 1970s. If that claim was accurate, they had surely found the Holy Grail of crime reduction.

Most people who challenge the "abortion reduces crime" argument do so on ethical grounds, rather than trying to rebut the empirical evidence. But it is worth looking at the data, too - because they do not prove what they are supposed to.

To understand why abortion might not cut crime, one should first consider how dramatically it changed sexual relationships. Once abortion became widely available, people engaged in much more premarital sex, and also took less care in using contraceptives. Abortion, after all, offered a backup if a woman got pregnant, making premarital sex, and the nonuse of contraception, less risky. In practice, however, many women found that they couldn't go through with an abortion, and out-of-wedlock births soared. Few of these children born out of wedlock were put up for adoption; most women who were unwilling to have abortions were also unwilling to give up their children. Abortion also eliminated the social pressure on men to marry women who got pregnant. All of these outcomes - more out-of-wedlock births, fewer adoptions than expected, and less pressure on men "to do the right thing" - led to a sharp increase in single-parent families.

Multiple studies document this change. From the early 1970s through the late 1980s, as abortion became more and more frequent, there was a tremendous increase in the rate of out-of-wedlock births, from an average of 5 percent (1965-69) to over 16 percent twenty years later (1985-89). Among blacks, the number jumped from 35 percent to 62 percent. While not all of this rise can be attributed to liberalized abortion laws, they were certainly a key contributor.

What happened to all these children raised by single women? No matter how much they want their children, single parents tend to devote less attention to them than married couples do. Single parents are less likely than married parents to read to their children or take them on excursions, and more likely to feel angry at their children or to feel that they are burdensome. Children raised out of wedlock have more social and developmental problems than children of married couples by almost any measure - from grades to school expulsion to disease. Unsurprisingly, children from unmarried families are also more likely to become criminals.

So the opposing lines of argument in the "abortion reduces crime" debate are clear: One side stresses that abortion eliminates "unwanted" children, the other that it increases out-of-wedlock births. The question is: Which consequence of abortion has the bigger impact on crime?

Unfortunately for those who argue that abortion reduces crime, Donohue and Levitt's research suffered from methodological flaws. As The Economist noted, "Donohue and Levitt did not run the test they thought they had." Work by two economists at the Boston Federal Reserve, Christopher Foote and Christopher Goetz, found that, when the test was run correctly, it indicated that abortion actually increases violent crime. John Whitley and I had written an earlier study that found a similar connection between abortion and murder - namely, that legalizing abortion raised the murder rate, on average, by about 7 percent.

The "abortion decreases crime" theory runs into even more problems when the population is analyzed by age group. Suppose that liberalizing abortion in the early 1970s can indeed explain up to 80 percent of the drop in murder during the 1990s, as Donohue and Levitt claim. Deregulating abortion would then reduce criminality first among age groups born after the abortion laws changed, when the "unwanted," crime-prone elements began to be weeded out. Yet when we look at the declining murder rate during the 1990s, we find that this is not the case at all. Instead, murder rates began falling first among an older generation - those over 26 - born before Roe. It was only later that criminality among those born after Roe began to decline.

Legalizing abortion increased crime. Those born in the four years after Roe were much more likely to commit murder than those born in the four years prior. This was especially true when they were in their "criminal prime," as shown in the nearby chart.

The "abortion decreases crime" argument gets even weaker when we look at data from Canada. While crime rates in both the United States and Canada began declining at the same time, Canada liberalized its abortion laws much later than the U.S. did. Although Quebec effectively legalized abortion in late 1976, it wasn't until 1988, in a case originating in Ontario, that the Canadian supreme court struck down limits on abortion nationwide. If the legalization of abortion in the U.S. caused crime to begin dropping 18 years later, why did the crime rate begin falling just three years after the comparable legal change in Canada?

Even if abortion did lower crime by culling out "unwanted" children, this effect would be greatly outweighed by the rise in crime associated with the greater incidence of single-parent families that also follows from abortion liberalization. In short, more abortions have brought more crime.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Attempted censorship increases interest in terrorism book

In late July, Cambridge University Press settled a U.K. libel suit brought against it by Saudi businessman, Sheikh Khalid Bin Mahfouz. Bin Mahfouz had disputed statements in Cambridge's 2006 book, Alms for Jihad: Charity and Terrorism in the Islamic World, by J. Millard Burr and Robert O. Collins, that he had been involved in financing terrorist groups.[3] A press release by Bin Mahfouz's lawyers at Kendall Freeman[4] announced that, in addition to publishing a comprehensive apology, paying substantial damages, and pulping unsold copies of the book, "Cambridge University Press is taking the almost unprecedented step of . writing to over 200 libraries worldwide which carry the book telling them of the settlement and asking them to withdraw the book from their shelves."

Two weeks later, Cambridge Intellectual Property Director Kevin Taylor followed through with a letter to libraries known to hold the book, asking them to remove it.[5] Cambridge, apparently recognizing that librarians would almost certainly not comply, included an errata sheet with the letter. If libraries would not remove the book, Cambridge insisted that they insert the errata page. Alms for Jihad quickly disappeared from U.S. bookstores and online suppliers.[6] What about the shelves of U.S. libraries?

Cambridge guessed right-librarians did not remove the book. To the contrary, they seem to have gone out and bought up the last elusive copies. More copies of Alms for Jihad were on library shelves in mid-September than before Taylor sent his August 15 letter.[7] U.S. holding libraries range from Harvard and Yale to Dearborn's Henry Ford Community College.

The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom issued a statement encouraging librarians to stand firm. "Libraries," ALA noted, "are considered to hold title to the individual copy or copies, and it is the library's property to do with it as it pleases. Given the intense interest in the book, and the desire of readers to learn about the controversy first hand, we recommend that U.S. libraries keep the book available for their users."[8]

A quick poll of library directors at Michigan academic libraries brought similar responses: We paid for the book, we own it, we're going to keep it. "The book itself," one director noted, "has now become part of the conversation." A commentary had become an artifact. These librarians were affirming the profession's commitment to preserving and disseminating the "Great Conversation" of recorded knowledge. Academic libraries don't adjudicate debates, but on their shelves preserve and foster them....

Librarians have been taking steps to protect this suddenly rare book. Charles Hamaker, Associate University Librarian at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, reports that "my library, like many academic libraries, has placed Alms for Jihad in a reserve collection to keep it available for current and future users." The University of Michigan recalled its two circulating copies and put both on reserve-housed, as an added precaution, in separate locations. A search of their online catalogs reveals that Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, as well as the University of California-San Diego, have also placed their copies on reserve. Ohio State and Cornell put Alms for Jihad in non-circulating rare book collections. Prudent moves: the $30 book now has a market value of more than $500.[11]

Jonathan Rodgers, head of the University Michigan's Near East collections, reports that the message traffic among Middle East Librarians Association members has been uniformly supportive of protecting copies and resisting any request to return the book. Riedlmayer of Harvard and others believe it would be reasonable to insert the errata page. But the consensus view among U.S. librarians is to resist any request to remove Alms for Jihad from library shelves.

No librarians interviewed objected to Cambridge University's settling the lawsuit. Some accepted the firm's explanation[12] that the book contained erroneous statements which defamed Bin Mahfouz. Most understood Cambridge's reluctance to spend money on a suit it was likely to lose. Cambridge, too, recently announced plans to expand sales in the Gulf region and perhaps feared that any defense of the book would alienate potential customers.[13]

But librarians do object to the terms of the settlement. Cambridge University Press is the self-described "oldest printer and publisher in the world."[14] Yet this distinguished firm agreed to a virtually unprecedented insult to free inquiry: a request to academic libraries to be complicit in the suppression of a published work. Some wondered if Cambridge's request might portend more aggressive attempts at redress in future cases. In previous suits no settlement had included an attempt to suppress library copies. Some also worried about the potential chilling effect of these cases on lesser publishers who may become reluctant to accept manuscripts on terrorism issues.[15]

While questions are regularly raised about books in school or public libraries, challenges to books in academic collections are rare. A request to remove a book initiated by its publisher is virtually unheard of.[16] ....

If the Cambridge edition of Alms for Jihad has now become rare, its contents will not be so for long. Authors Burr and Collins have re-secured their copyright to the manuscript,[24] and several U.S. publishers are interested. Soon an even wider circle of readers will have the opportunity to evaluate the authors' arguments for themselves-without having to travel to New Zealand.


A very noisy "silence" among Australia's "censored" Leftist intellectuals

Unless you listen to them worshipfully, they claim that they are being "censored". They are like spoiled children. They should encounter REAL censorship -- like the difficulty a conservative has in getting a job teaching a Humanities subject in a university

Seldom in the history of public debate have the allegedly silenced been so vocal. Last Friday the ABC Radio National Australia Talks program ran a session from the recent Brisbane Writers Festival. It was one of those familiar taxpayer-subsidised events where members of the left intelligentsia gather to have their prejudices confirmed.

On this occasion the Australia Institute executive director, Clive Hamilton, essentially agreed with the social researcher Hugh Mackay who essentially agreed with the journalist David Marr about contemporary Australia. Needless to say, the audience had a ball. Especially when Hamilton argued that pokie taxes at the Rooty Hill RSL should be increased to fund 1000 public intellectuals. In certain circles, there is a lot to be said for redistribution of income which takes money from lower-income earners in the suburbs and uses it to fund inner-city types who like to describe themselves as public intellectuals.

Hamilton and Sarah Maddison are the editors of Silencing Dissent (Allen & Unwin, 2007), which argues that the Howard Government is controlling public opinion and stifling debate. In keeping with the forum's format, Marr agreed with Hamilton that John Howard was intent on silencing his critics. No one in the audience appeared to query how this could be the case when both men had a gig at the Brisbane Writers' Festival and their thoughts would be preserved for posterity, courtesy of the taxpayer-funded public broadcaster.

It was much the same message on Sunday night when SBS ran an episode of Pria Viswalingam's documentary series titled Decadence. Early in the program, footage was shown of the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz with the now familiar link to modern Australia. Also, the presenter primarily interviewed members of the left intelligentsia who agree with him that Australia has become a decadent democracy. Then the academic Robert Manne joined Hamilton in alleging that dissent was not allowed under the Howard Government.

The very existence of Viswalingam's taxpayer-subsidised documentary indicates that, whatever its intentions, the Howard Government has not prevailed in the culture wars. However, the likes of Hamilton and Manne used their interviews on prime time television to argue that people like them are not heard.

The opinion polls provide the only scientific evidence about the likely outcome of the forthcoming election. They indicate that the Howard Government is heading for a devastating loss. Moreover, Kevin Rudd and many Labor candidates - especially Maxine McKew, who is hoping to defeat the Prime Minister in Bennelong - have experienced a most friendly media throughout the year. This would not have been possible if Howard either controlled public opinion or stifled debate.

The argument that the Howard Government is silencing dissent has now gone so far that ministers are criticised for taking on their critics. No such standard was ever required of the former governments headed by Paul Keating, Bob Hawke, Malcolm Fraser and Gough Whitlam.

Last Tuesday the Herald and The Age gave page one coverage to a report called Australia@Work, which was funded by Unions NSW and the Australian Research Council. The study, which is critical of the Howard Government's industrial relations reforms, was soon attacked by the Workplace Relations Minister, Joe Hockey, and the Treasurer, Peter Costello. They drew attention to the fact that the project was partly funded by the trade union movement and that two of its authors, Brigid van Wanrooy and John Buchanan, have worked for trade unions in the past.

Hockey and Costello were soon hit with the allegation that they were attempting to silence dissent - in spite of the fact that their comments were accurate. Writing in The Age last Thursday, journalist Michael Bachelard went so far as to suggest that the Howard Government had somehow sanctified the report because it was partly funded by the Research Council and because van Wanrooy had once worked in the Commonwealth Public Service "under Peter Reith", the former Howard Government minister for industrial relations. The previous morning Buchanan had run a similar line when interviewed by Fran Kelly on Radio National Breakfast.

The fact is that funding by the council does not imply Government support for the findings of publicly financed research. What's more, the fact that someone once worked in the public service has no connection whatsoever with the views of any minister - Coalition or Labor. It is disingenuous to imply otherwise.

The Australia@Work report was severely criticised in The Australian last Friday by academics Sinclair Davidson and Alex Robson. The important point about Buchanan and his team at Sydney University is not that the report was partly funded by Unions NSW or that he is on record as being a Howard-hating socialist (witness his Politics in the Pub speech of February 18, 2005). Rather, what matters about Buchanan is that he is a long-term opponent of industrial relations reform, under both the Howard and Keating governments (see his article in the June 1999 issue of the Journal of Australian Political Economy).

In other words, Buchanan's dissent has not been stifled under either the Keating or Howard governments. Nor was Manne ever silenced - not even when he wrote in 1992 that the Hawke Labor government had "put Australia in a situation from which it is genuinely difficult to foresee a non-disastrous exit". Nor was Hamilton quietened when, in 1991, he called for a "healthy" inflation rate of 7 to 8 per cent.

The fact is that many one-time opponents of the economic reform process remain credible today because neither Labor nor the Coalition ever implemented such advice. This applies to Hamilton, Manne, Buchanan and more besides. But the refusal of a government to follow (flawed) advice does not amount to censorship. Just good sense.


Homosexual Australian judge wants more judicial law-making

THE High Court's most vocal dissenter, Michael Kirby, has lashed out at the backwardness of his fellow judges, identifying freedoms that he says would never have been won under the chief judge, Murray Gleeson. In a bold speech, even by Justice Kirby's standards, he spoke out yesterday on behalf of "stirrers and troublemakers" and criticised a tendency by the Australian public to only recognise heroes after they died. "I often ask myself whether the Mabo decision in 1992 or the Wik decision in 1996 . would be decided by the High Court the same way today," he said.

After listing a series of developments that emerged from dissenting judgments, including expanded freedoms of the press, free speech and rights to a lawyer, Justice Kirby said: "The answer to all of these questions of whether such cases would be answered the same way today seems to be: probably not. "The surprising feature of the decisions of the present High Court is . that there are not more differing voices than mine amongst the other justices given the major questions and inherent disputability of the issues commonly presented for the court's decision."

At an annual speech in Adelaide to honour Bob Hawke, Justice Kirby called for a charter of rights and praised the freedoms developed under the stewardship of Sir Anthony Mason, chief judge from 1987 to 1995. "Australian citizens and Australian lawyers who know of these decisions of the Mason court know that law does not inevitably have to be unjust, out of date and unequal," he said. "It does not have to sustain unquestioningly the power of the past. Law can be modern, human rights-respecting, equal in its treatment of minorities and attentive to the rights to equality of all individuals."

Justice Kirby, who is the court's most frequent dissenter, said dissenting judges frequently offered a beacon whose views were ultimately accepted as correct by subsequent courts. "Occasionally progress is only attained by candid disclosure of differences; by planting the seed of new ideas; and waiting patiently to see if these eventually take root."

Justice Kirby said judges were independent and free of political influence and expediency and were therefore in a position to break with consensus opinions. This had encouraged courts to expand freedoms for women, Asians and non-white immigrants, gays and sexual minorities, and prisoners. "Other changes only gathered pace when the independent courts broke the spell of the existing consensus and injected a new dynamic," he said.


Wishy washy Australian Methodist church fading away

AUSTRALIA'S third-largest Christian denomination wants senior church leaders to make way for a more youthful flock to arrest a numbers crisis and reverse the effect of a congregation ageing so rapidly that half the membership could be dead within 15 years. Thirty years after the church deliberately pushed women to the fore of its leadership councils [Thus denying the Gospel], the Uniting [Methodist] Church in NSW has approved a proposal to discriminate in favour of leaders aged 50 and younger in order to encourage youth into the greying church.

The church wants to bring to its next synod in 2008 plans to allocate half of its key representative positions to those aged under 50 - or at least 60 years - during the next seven years. A draft blueprint for greater youth involvement includes the possibility that all future ministers would require experience working with young churchgoers and that the next moderator be "gifted and aged under 40".

The NSW church has been urged to reallocate the assets of disbanded inner-city parishes to new congregations in boom suburbs in Sydney's south and north-west that have no church legacy. It is also being encouraged to explore a "gradually introduced tithe" on congregational income for new mission initiatives.

The Uniting Church was one-third of the size it was 15 years ago, had experienced a 17 per cent decline in attendance since 2001, and based on present trends would probably see half its membership dead by 2002, its leaders were warned this week. Ruth Powell, director of National Church Life Survey Research, delivered a bleak prognosis to the church's NSW synod this week. "If nothing changes, the Uniting Church in NSW will halve its current size in the next 25 years," she said. "This is no time for fiddling. We have to take courageous steps now to face this future." Calling for fresh ways of expressing faith, Dr Powell said the Church of England, the Methodist Church and the United Reform Churches in Britain had all had some success in turning membership around.

Almost double the number of Uniting Church attenders were involved in practical community care and welfare as other churchgoers in other denomination and at least one-third of the synod's churches were growing. [The evangelical ones]

"The Uniting Church still has the potential to be the most relevant, connected church for Australians to explore a faith journey," Dr Powell told the Herald. "It has to celebrate and end well the institutional infrastructure suitable for a previous era and burst new structures, new leaders and hand over assets and responsibilities to a new generation to be part of a church relevant for the current context."

The incoming NSW moderator, the Reverend Niall Reid, said the church needed to stop worrying about dying, and express faith in new ways. "If we follow our calling, like Jesus we may die. But be assured, it will change the world," he said. "Our commitment has to be, whatever the outcome, to be people of grace, who do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God and if that means we die so be it." The outgoing moderator, Jim Mein, said the church's future lay in connecting with the wider community. Lay leaders needed to be part of the "tsunami of change".



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Trendy Anglicans are dividers and the enemies of ecumenism

Because they are only marginally religious (to put it politely), many of the "modernizers" both inside and outside the Church of England have the twin goals of throwing out scriptural restrictions and of promoting ecumenism -- the state where Christians become all one big happy family. The two goals are however in fundamental conflict. Throwing out the Bible splits Christians. It does not unite them. And the consistent opposition of Rome to modernizing doctrines ensures that the long-sought reconciliation between Rome and the Anglicans is completely wiped off the agenda

I want to mount an unfashionable argument: that the Anglican Church in Australia's decision to allow the ordination of women as bishops is an unqualified disaster. For a generation that takes the principle of equal opportunity for granted, it's often hard to understand why it shouldn't be universally applicable. But nature constantly reminds us of the category distinction by which people are equal by virtue of their humanity but nonetheless irreducibly different by virtue of their sex.

Along with all the other religions that explicitly see their foundations as supernatural, Christianity has a distinctive view of sexual difference that it takes to be definitive, divinely inspired and beyond the reach of any modern notions of human rights. Compared with Hinduism, where opinion is still divided over the question of whether women have wholly autonomous souls, Christianity's take is radical. St Paul told the Galatians that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free man, neither male nor female, for all are one in Christ".

This is an amplification of the parable: "I am the vine; you are the branches." But it is by no means the kind of category collapse that some feminists make it out to be, any more than the notion of the priesthood of all believers subverts the exclusively male priestly order that has characterised the church since its origins. Of course there have always been powerful women in positions of authority in the church. Even so, from a feminist perspective, it's hard to conceive of Christianity as anything short of a patriarchal conspiracy, complete with an obdurately male God the father, God the son and the Paraclete, described in the Nicene Creed as "the Lord and giver of life".

It's scarcely surprising that since the '80s, whenever they've had the chance, feminists of both sexes have attempted to reinvent Christianity in their own image and likeness. They've used sexually inclusive language to mistranslate the Bible and neuter the divine persons to whom prayers are addressed ("Our parent, who art in heaven"). American Episcopalians have been particularly brazen in their attempts to feminise the Paraclete as Sophia and likewise commissioned statues of "Christa".

The more deracinated orders of Catholic nuns have not been far behind, with a global network agitating for the ordination of women and 57 varieties of Wiccan or Mother Earth spirituality.

Pope John Paul II watched with horror the slow internal collapse of Anglicanism, in large part precipitated by debates over the entitlement to ordination of women as priests and men in active homosexual partnerships as bishops. He was moved to forbid any further discussion of the ordination of women in the Catholic Church, declaring that it had no precedent in scripture or tradition and was thus ultra vires, completely beyond the church's authority or power. Both the Anglo-Catholic and evangelical branches of Anglicanism share that view and are implacably opposed to the ordination of women.

High Church Anglicans have other theological grounds for objection. They believe, along with Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox Church, that when a priest celebrates the Eucharist he offers the consecrated elements in a sacrifice that is an extension and re-enactment of Calvary. He acts in persona Christi and his role in relation to the church is a variation of the relationship between Christ the bridegroom and his mystical bride, an inevitably gendered matter in which only male persons are canonically competent.

Many Anglo-Catholics also believe that when the second person of the Trinity took human form he chose a male form, consistent with his nature as the divine son. They believe he also chose males as his apostles and at the Last Supper enjoined them, and no one from among his female disciples, to follow his sacramental example.

From an orthodox Christian perspective, these were not choices to be explained away as circumstantial or dictated by Jewish attitudes of the times but rather to be seen as deliberate, freely chosen and divinely ordered elements of what theologians call the economy of salvation. Although this may well strike non-believers as so much mumbo jumbo, the point that has to be stressed is that theological questions demand to be considered on their own terms and can't be settled on the basis of the latest abstractions the UN has to offer on human rights.

Evangelicals believe strongly in the principle of male leadership of the church. However, their sense of a hierarchy and a distinctive priestly role is vitiated by a Calvinism that would have appalled even Thomas Cranmer. For example, in the Sydney diocese there has been much discussion of late over the desirability of laymen presiding and invoking the consecratory formulas, with little doubt in evidence that this would result in valid sacraments.

Valid sacraments are at the heart of the debate over female ordination. Certainty about the validity of the sacraments is something to which the faithful are entitled and that is often being cruelly denied them. Many well-educated Anglican laypeople cannot in conscience accept that it is proper to ordain women as priests. They do not believe that women have the authority to bless, to absolve or to consecrate and that only their baptisms are valid because in principle any baptised Christian can perform that function.

Neither the synod nor the appellate tribunal strikes most of these people as competent to judge the legality or validity of orders that the Pope himself declared was beyond his powers to authorise and no one in Christendom -- apart from a crackpot bishop in Hong Kong during World War II -- purported to confer until the '70s.

It follows that a great many Anglicans have been marginalised and sacramentally disenfranchised to placate a group of women whose belief that they had priestly vocations would have been regarded as plainly delusional throughout almost all of Christian history. Because women are now entrenched in the priesthood in many but not all Australian dioceses, it has often been argued that the time for argument is over and that everyone should concentrate on peaceful coexistence. However, the imminent prospect of women as diocesan bishops in Australia, after a 4-3 split decision last week from the appellate tribunal, is a grim reminder of how the problem of invalid orders will compound through time.

Before long, just because they can, Anglicans of a latitudinarian-liberal bent will elect a woman to an Australian see. But many Anglicans will be uncertain at best and often wholly unconvinced about the validity of her orders. That uncertainty will tend to contaminate any of her purported ordinations of other bishops, priests or deacons and all her confirmations. In a church whose apostolic succession and ordinal have already been definitively rejected by Rome, whatever the orthodox say, doubts about valid orders among many of the Anglican Church's most theologically literate laypeople presage institutional collapse.

It is only human nature for people given positions of authority to assert it. Many who have suffered at the hands of authoritarians of a left-liberal disposition can attest that they are apt to be more relentless -- by both temperament and habit -- than comparably placed conservatives. Pity help the Anglicans who first find themselves under a female bishop and pleading for alternative pastoral supervision because they can't in conscience, with all due respect, accept what's on offer.

Tom Frame, an Anglican bishop who commented on these matters on the Opinion page of The Australian on Monday, acknowledged the problem. "Because the church has not, and will not, make provision for alternate episcopal oversight -- so-called flying bishops with a roving brief -- the church faces a difficult pastoral challenge in caring for those opposed to the innovation."

This sounds more a matter of polite regret than heartfelt sympathy with the problems of those with conscientious objections. Are the winner-takes-all tactics that have been such a constant feature of Australian Anglicanism never to end? I'd have thought that now was precisely the time to be arguing the case for flying bishops, an expedient that would surely be preferable to the threat of breakaway movements and schism.

Frame puts his own position on the issue in a latitudinarian way. "Throughout their long and sometimes bloody history, Anglicans have shown a capacity to accept diversity of conviction and custom and have realised the perils of attaching ultimate significance to non-core beliefs and practices." By what stretch of the imagination, his Catholic and Eastern Orthodox colleagues will be wanting to know, can valid ordinations and valid sacraments be construed, in the political cant of the times, as non-core?

I've concentrated mostly on why women bishops are a disaster for Australian Anglicanism as a denomination and for many faithful Anglicans. It's also one more substantial impediment to Christian unity, both because it's internally divisive and because it will alienate the churches that take the apostolic succession seriously. On the latter ground alone, I can't see how anyone seriously committed to ecumenism could support it.


Australian Cardinal condemns wishy washy "Donald Duck" religion

THE Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, has stepped up his criticism of Catholics who support contraception, abortion and stem-cell research on the basis of their own moral conscience as proponents of a "Donald Duck heresy". In a compilation of 10 short essays to be published this week, Cardinal Pell also warns that the pill has created a "contraceptive" mentality with "evil consequences" for the world, including a plummeting fertility rate in which many children will one day know no siblings, aunts, uncles or cousins. He says a new approach is needed to combat unacceptably high levels of abortion, including the possibility of television advertisements to encourage women to proceed with a pregnancy by framing it as a means of regaining control of their lives, rather than it ruining them....

Cardinal Pell also disclosed that the church would contribute $15 million to $20 million of the $100 million-plus costs of World Youth Day in Sydney next July.

God and Caesar is the first academic title written by Cardinal Pell, and it returns to his regular theme of rampant liberal secularism and warns that anti-life attitudes are infiltrating the church, a traditional champion of pro-life causes. He disputes that there has ever been a traditional Catholic Church teaching on truth and personal conscience, which gives the ultimate right to Catholics to make moral judgments based on individual conscience, even if it is in error.

This argument lies at the heart of debate in the church over contraception and moral and ethical questions surrounding bioethics, euthanasia and abortion. It was aired recently when Cardinal Pell controversially called on state politicians to follow church teaching and not their conscience on issue of stem-cell research.

Referring to the work of the English historian Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Cardinal Pell said he was concerned about the consequences of support for a Donald Duck heresy. "Too many Donald Ducks produce the feel-good society which works to remove personal guilt, anything that would make people feel uncomfortable so that complacent self-satisfaction becomes a virtue; confession is replaced by therapy and self-reproach by self-discovery."


In Praise Of Competition

I would like to know the name of the buffoon who first decided that competition was a bad thing. Who was the silly goose who woke up one morning with the goofy notion that kids shouldn't keep score in their games so that the members of the losing team wouldn't suffer from low self-esteem? And what fathead decided that high schools shouldn't have valedictorians because all the other seniors would feel like a bunch of underachievers?

No doubt it was the same idiot who determined that a level playing field didn't really mean equal opportunity, but equal results. But who was he? Could it possibly have been, as I suspect, Dr. Spock? And, if so, why wasn't he ridden out of town on a rail?

It's not that I'm unaware that there can be a dark side to competition, but that's only when the wrong people decide that the ends always justify the means, whether those means involve lying, stealing or back-stabbing. However, honest competition brings out the best in most people. It's what leads some individuals to invent, and leads others to refine those inventions. Whether people are driven to excel in pursuit of money, fame, glory or out of more altruistic motives, makes no difference to me. Whatever led to the creation of "The Brandenburg Concertos," the internal combustion engine, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," the pacemaker or the microchip, I suspect that competition of some sort played a major role in bringing them about.

When I worked as an advertising copywriter for Doyle Dane Bernbach way back in the 1960s, the agency insisted that their clients be able to point to a product difference, something that made them unique, and in some way better than their competitors. I recall in one instance that the product was salt. Salt, for god's sake, is salt. Expecting to have a competitive edge struck me as absurd. But I was mistaken. What the agency did was to design a superior container. After all these years, I don't recall what made it better, whether it was more functional or merely a much more attractive package, but I do know that the consumer was provided with a legitimate reason to buy our salt, aside from a clever advertising campaign.

On the negative side of the ledger, we have certain baseball players who have resorted to performance-enhancing drugs in order to out-do the competition. In the case of Barry Bonds, we've been told that he was so jealous of the attention being paid to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as they battled to break Roger Maris's home run record that he figured the only way to fight fire was with fire. Only in this case, it was a matter of fighting steroids with steroids.

To be fair, Bonds claims he thought he was actually using flaxseed oil, although I don't believe he ever said why. To me, that sounds like a cocaine addict claiming that he believed that the white stuff he'd been snorting was really flour or talcum powder. But, perhaps when Bonds finally hangs up his cleats, he can take that competitive spirit to Washington, D.C., a town where a man with a flair for lying and cheating can easily carve out a distinguished career


Pervasive British antisemitism

Who said this on a visit to America last week ? "When you think how fantastically successful the Jewish lobby has been . they more or less monopolize American foreign policy, as far as many people can see." Mahmoud Ahamdinejad? No: it was Professor Richard Dawkins, speaking at the Atheist Alliance convention in Crystal City, Virginia.

Mr. Dawkins has embarked on a campaign to give atheists a louder voice in the American public square. He appears to be unaware of the irony involved in his chosen method of attracting attention - which is to repeat the anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of the Islamic fundamentalists.

As holder of the chair of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, Mr. Dawkins has even less excuse for holding such opinions than the Islamofascists. After all, Oxford academics, known as "dons," are exposed to a wide range of views, aren't they? They devote their lives to the disinterested pursuit of truth, distinguish between fact and fiction, tolerate dissent, defend freedom of speech and thought, don't they? Well, no, actually:aJewishfriend of mine who taught at Oxford until recently told me that he found the atmosphere there to be oppressive for anybody who did not buy the Palestinian narrative. His colleagues simply weren't interested in hearing the truth. They were tolerant, yes, but only of rabid anti-Semites such as the poet Tom Paulin, who called for "Brooklyn-born settlers" in Israel to be "shot dead." They were intolerant of those whose scholarship treated Zionism objectively. So, sadly, my friend left the university.

This is the context in which the British University and College Union voted to boycott Israeli academics - though last week the union backed off, after legal advice warning its leaders that such a boycott would infringe anti-discrimination laws. But why did the academics require one of the most expensive lawyers in Britain, Anthony Lester, to tell them what their consciences ought to have told them instinctively?

Part of the explanation is that these academics are, like the rest of Europe, busily appeasing the Islamists. Their forms of appeasement are more offensive than, say, the Sainsbury supermarket chain permitting its Muslim checkout staff to refuse to sell alcohol to customers, but the reflex is the same. It matters hugely, of course, when the free circulation of scholarship is stopped by the scholars themselves engaging in a deliberate act of sabotage. Let me give one very striking example. In the September 17 issue of the Weekly Standard, the German academic Matthias Kuentzel wrote a brilliant article on the Nazi roots of Islamism, "Jew-Hatred and Jihad," which I recommend to anyone who wants to understand the pathological motives and ideological provenance of our present enemies.

Readers of this column may recall that last March I wrote about how Mr. Kuentzel was prevented from giving a public lecture on the same topic at Leeds University in England, because the administrators claimed to be worried about "security" - meaning that they had received threats. Even if this had been true, it would have been a shameful capitulation to blackmail, but it emerged that no such threats had, in fact, been received. The Kuentzel case deserves to be a cause celebre in the debate on academic freedom.

Next month Mr. Kuentzel's book, "Jihad and Jew-Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11," will be published by Telos Press. In it, he will show that Al Qaeda in general, and especially Mohamed Atta, leader of the Hamburg-based terrorist cell that carried out the attacks on September 11, were motivated by a Nazi belief in Jewish world domination. Atta "considered New York City the center of world Jewry, which was, in his opinion, Enemy No.1."

Amazingly, American and European authorities have completely failed to take cognizance of the anti-Semitic nature of the ideology that led to September 11, despite the wealth of evidence that has emerged since. Yet some of us were warning people about this elephant in the room at the time. On September 11, within hours of the attacks, I was writing the main oped article for the Daily Telegraph, which appeared the next day. This is what I wrote: "Let there be no mistake: global Islamic terrorism is rooted in global anti-Semitism. This was, in many ways, the most vicious blow aimed at the Jewish people since the Holocaust. New York is not only the richest city on earth, the capital of capitalism; it is also the largest Jewish city . The collaboration of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem with the Nazis is only the most notorious instance of a long line of Judaeophobic Arab leaders."

Why did the American authors of the "9/11 Commission Report," published in July 2004, fail to notice any of this? Why has the British academic establishment shunned the minority of scholars, such as David Pryce-Jones, Emanuele Ottolenghi, Matthias Kuentzel, and Efraim Karsh, who have consistently warned against this dangerous Islamofascist nexus?

The answer is that anti-Semitism has quietly insinuated itself into British social and cultural life again. On Saturday the chairman of Chelsea Football Club, one of the most famous soccer teams in the world, publicly protested about anti-Semitic abuse by the fans of the new manager and coach, Avram Grant. Mr. Grant had been in the job for just one week. His crime? To be an Israeli and a distinguished former coach of the national team.

This week the word from the White House was that President Bush has given up on Gordon Brown. He prefers Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel. Something is rotten in the state of Britain. And I fear that the ugly prejudices of Professor Dawkins are not only typical of Oxford academics, or even of evangelical atheists, but of many more of his - and my - compatriots



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

British charity: Pupils risk prosecution for 'gay' slur

Children who call their classmates "gay" risk being arrested for committing a hate crime even if they do not know what the word means, a leading charity warned last night. Under new proposals issued by Justice Secretary Jack Straw, it will be illegal to use threatening words or behaviour on the grounds of sexual orientation. Those convicted would face up to seven years in jail.

But Kidscape, which helps bullied and vulnerable children, said police officers must use "common sense" when called in to investigate whether pupils had broken the proposed law. The charity warned many youngsters who used "gay" as an insult did not even know what it meant. Claude Knights, the charity's training manager, said to many children the word now meant only "the opposite of cool". She insisted the legislation if it reduced true homophobic bullying, but added: "The word is almost at the point where it has become a general insult, the opposite of cool. Children say things like, 'Your trainers are gay.' "It is almost in youth culture now. You get kids in primary school using it and they don't have any idea what the word means. "If we are going to have consequences [to the new law] we have got to have common sense in how it is applied."

The proposed new law would be the first to cover a specific offence of homophobic incitement. To date the 1986 Public Order Act - which makes it an offence to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour in a way likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress - has been used to arrest people for "homophobic" comments. The new Criminal Justice Act could be used where public order laws fail.

On Monday Mr Straw told MPs the new "gay hate" law would be drafted in such a way to ensure that only those who intend to pose a threat are prosecuted, and not those who mean to be merely abusive, mocking or insulting. However, there have already been cases where children have been arrested for using the word "gay" in the playground. In April four policemen were sent to deal with 11-year-old George Rawlinson from Widnes, Cheshire, after he called one of his schoolfriends "gay". Two were sent to his primary school and two to his home. Cheshire police only dropped the matter when the boy explained he meant his friend was "stupid" rather than as a homophobic insult. Schools have also been told to clampdown on use of the word as a playground slur amid fears it legitimises homophobia.

Children's Secretary Ed Balls published guidance earlier this month designed to clamp down on homophobic bullying, while a survey by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers showed a huge rise in use of playground insults like "poof" and "lezzie". Mr Balls said: "I reject any notion that addressing homophobic bullying is political correctness for its own sake. "Even casual use of homophobic language in schools can create an atmosphere that isolates young people and can be the forerunner of more serious forms of bullying."


We gays are not so weedy that we can't take insults

Matthew Parris writes from Britain

It's tempting to cheer Jack Straw's promise in the Commons this week that incitement to homophobic hatred is to be made a crime, along with incitement to racial or religious hatred. But I'm not so sure. Seriously threatening language - of any kind - is already a crime; but once the law starts limiting free speech in matters of honest opinion, where does it stop?

The Bible says homosexuality is an abomination; God puts the city of Sodom to the torch; the present Pope calls it a "disorder". Such views, however civilly expressed, are inherently hate-inciting, but should their expression be a crime? Then why should we remain free to sneer, in ways inciting hatred, at a person's being Welsh, or Irish?

"Spastic" or "cripple" are hateful expressions that nobody should use as insults, but if the use of "batty boy" or "queer" is to invite prosecution, what is the argument against making disablist insult a matter for the police too? And how about language that incites hatred of women?

Lines of absolute principle are hard to draw, but some groups may be so weak and fragile as to need the law's protection from hateful speech. I'd like to think we gays are no longer among them.


Hillary Talks About 'It': Would she defend Rush Limbaugh's speech rights against the left?

In an interview in yesterday's Washington Post, Hillary Clinton said she had contributed to the country's mood of bitter partisanship and wants to "put an end to it." The senator hedged her words for future revision by referring to the problem throughout the interview only as "it." Thus, she spoke of "having gone through it, having been on the receiving end of it and in campaigns that were hard fought maybe on the giving end of it . . ." When the reporters pressed her to explain her views on polarization, she said: "I've talked about it a lot, and I think I will continue to talk about it in a lot of different ways."

It's a start. I would like to put a question to the senator: Would you defend Rush Limbaugh's speech rights against the pressure that was brought upon him on the floor of the Senate by your colleagues Harry Reid and Ken Salazar? Colorado's Sen. Salazar went so far last week as to say he'd support a Senate vote to "censure" Mr. Limbaugh. Rhymes with censor.

When Sen. Reid attacked Mr. Limbaugh on the floor of the Senate, some felt that Mr. Limbaugh was a big boy and perfectly capable of defending himself. I'm not so sure. If Mr. Limbaugh and his critics at Media Matters want to have a street fight, that's their business. But Sens. Reid and Salazar aren't just a couple of opinionated guys; they are agents of state authority, and they were leaning hard on Mr. Limbaugh. If you are Media Matters, if you are a man or woman of the Left, does state pressure on someone's political speech discomfort you? Or is it a welcome, even defensible, repression of harmful right-wing speech?

This controversy over talk-show hosts is usually fought around Democratic efforts of late to resurrect the Fairness Doctrine. The purpose of this effort--the reason Sen. Reid has attached himself to it--is to suppress voter turnout on the right and lift it on the left. Political talk-radio since its inception has energized voters on the right. In the 2000 presidential election, the left found its own voter-turnout instrument in Howard Dean's Web-based "netroots," now led by MoveOn.org and other leftwing or "progressive" sites such as Daily Kos and Media Matters.

Some of the left-wing sites, however, also do fund raising and political organizing, as in the netroots campaigns against Democratic politicians who didn't hear that dissent is dead. Talk radio does neither. Its hosts mainly excite people. Reimposing the Fairness Doctrine, essentially a toxic cocktail of boredom, would cause a narcotized right-wing base to sit on its hands, handing an advantage in the turnout wars to the (properly) unregulated political organizers of the left-wing Web.

While Mr. Limbaugh fought off the Democratic Senate in one corner, the commentator Juan Williams also found his speech and job status under pressure from Media Matters. In the same week that Mr. Williams, a Fox commentator, appeared on Bill O'Reilly's show to speak critically of black culture, his bosses at NPR rejected a White House request to have Mr. Williams interview President Bush on race.

In a Media Matters posting on all this, Eric Boehlert wrote that "real damage is being done to NPR by having its name, via Williams, associated with Fox News' most opinionated talker." Noting that Mr. Williams supported Clarence Thomas's nomination, Mr. Boehlert said there are "better advocates for genuinely liberal positions," and suggested "now is the time for [NPR] to address the growing problem."

In a now-famous remark this summer at the Kos convention of progressive bloggers, Sen. Clinton described "a real imbalance in the political world" and praised the growth of "progressive infrastructure--institutions that I helped to start and support like Media Matters."

Who threw the first stone in these media-driven bloodlettings? Good question. But to my knowledge the right has no equivalent to "repressive tolerance," the aggressive theory of scorched-earth political argument laid out in the hothouse years of the 1960s by the late left-wing political philosopher Herbert Marcuse. Just last November, in an admiring essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education, the left polemicist Stanley Fish aptly summed up Marcuse's assertion that "liberal" notions of tolerance for political speech should be overturned. The rationale for this notion is that standard tolerance is rigged against the left. In practice, tolerance extends only to the ideas and beliefs of the powerful, while it shuts out ideas on behalf of the weak or "marginalized"--the poor, minorities, women and the rest. Mr. Fish says liberals fail to see "the dark side of their favorite virtue."

Prof. Fish has an alternative to traditions of tolerance, and to anyone awash in American politics today it will sound familiar: "That is to say, and Marcuse says it, anything the right does is bad and should not be tolerated; anything the left does is good and should be welcomed." This would explain the emotional intensity and animosity in politics now: The other side no longer deserves minimal respect. It's not enough to disagree with conservative viewpoints; one has to undermine and delegitimize them. Mock them. Put them beyond the pale. Incidentally, Marcuse, Fish and others on the left who want to "withdraw" tolerance from the speech and ideas of their opponents count centrist Democrats among them. That is what happened to Joe Lieberman.

Digital technology now fixes someone's random remark forever in the ozone amber of the Web or YouTube. It's easy to make anything anyone may say, such as "macaca," a weeks-long campaign to diminish or even destroy the sayer. Wherever the nonbeliever Marcuse is now, this tool would have put him in heaven. I find it putting us closer than I'd like to be to an American "Lives of Others," media monitors always listening for the vulnerable spoken word.

Sen. Clinton this week told the Post, "I intend to build a centrist coalition." That may depend on how one defines centrist. For her progressive bloggers at Media Matters the center on tolerating speech likely falls closer to Prof. Marcuse than John Locke. So which is it? This summer Sen. Clinton said she was a founder of Media Matters, and this week she said she was a centrist. That doesn't compute. Perhaps in a year we'll know which side she's on.


Australia: Leftist approach to black history rejected by both major parties

Some Australian Leftists claim that white Australians should "apologize" to the descendants of Australia's original black inhabitants -- even though nobody now alive had any hand in the white colonization of Australia. So the demand is pure Leftist racism: Whites are targeted not because of anything they personally did but just because they are white. The push is an Australian counterpart to the "reparations" demand in the USA

MILLIONS of Australians will never entertain saying sorry to Aborigines because they think there is nothing to apologise for, John Howard said today. The Prime Minister has promised to hold a referendum within 18 months, if re-elected, on formally recognising indigenous Australians in the constitution.

Indigenous groups view the promise as a step in the right direction but say reconciliation will not be achieved unless Mr Howard apologises on behalf of non-indigenous Australians for past treatment.

But the Prime Minister today ruled out an apology, saying millions of non-indigenous people would never entertain such a thing. "I have always supported reconciliation but not of the apologetic, shame-laden, guilt-ridden type," Mr Howard said on Southern Cross radio. "I think in the past we have become obsessed with things like apologies and there are millions of Australians who will never entertain an apology because they don't believe that there is anything to apologise for. "They are sorry for past mistreatment but that is different from assuming responsibility for it." ....

In a joint statement last night, Labor leader Kevin Rudd and indigenous affairs spokeswoman Jenny Macklin said that while they would like to see details of Mr Howard's plan, the ALP would offer bipartisan support to the concept "in the spirit of the 1967 referendum".



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Wotta guy! Equality rejected at HOLLYWOOD!

He had to backpedal, of course, but deeds will speak louder than words

THE President of Warner Brothers Pictures has caused an uproar in the US after allegedly declaring that the studio will no longer make films with a female in the lead role. Warner Bros. head Jeff Robinov made the order following the disappointing box-office takings for two recent female vehicles - Jodie Foster's The Brave One ($US42 million worldwide) and Nicole Kidman's The Invasion ($14 million). US newspaper LA Weekly has reported the story, quoting three separate Warner Bros. producers.

Women's rights activists are fuming at the studio boss's remarks after struggling for so long to win equal pay. "If that's what he said, when movies with men as the lead fail, no one says we'll stop making movies with men in the lead," said noted attorney Gloria Allred. "This is an insult to all moviegoers and particularly women. It is truly unfortunate that women get blamed for decisions which are made by men. "Instead of taking responsibility for their own lack of judgment about which scripts to make, directors to hire and budgets to OK, some men in the movie industry find it easier to place blame for their lack of success on women leads and to exclude talented female actors from the top employment opportunities in Hollywood in favour of macho males."

But Robinov yesterday denied the reports and blamed poor execution and bad timing for The Invasion, which both Kidman and co-star Daniel Craig refused to promote. As for The Brave One, Robinov said he is "proud of the movie", which Foster continues to support around the world. But Robinov said he is still willing to put a female star into an action role.


Gutless Dutch politicians

The Germans walked all over the Dutch in WW2 and the Muslims are now doing the same

Unlike the British, who have gotten used to the idea that faraway events can affect them, the Dutch, at least in this century, are more insular. That helps explain why, in 2006, the Dutch government tried to revoke Hirsi Ali's citizenship over an old immigration controversy, and why her neighbors went to court that year to have her evicted from her home (they claimed the security threat posed by her presence impinged upon their human rights). But although she did finally move to the United States, the argument continued in her absence. Last week, the Dutch government abruptly cut off her security funding, forcing her to return briefly to Holland.

The reasons given were financial, but there was clearly more to it. To put it bluntly, many in Holland find her too loud, too public in her condemnation of radical Islam. She doesn't sound conciliatory, in the modern continental fashion. Compare her description of Islam as "brutal, bigoted, fixated on controlling women" with the German judge who, citing the Koran, in January told a Muslim woman trying to obtain a divorce from her violent husband that she should have "expected" her husband to deploy the corporal punishment his religion approves. Hirsi Ali herself says she is often told, in so many words, that she's "brought her problems on herself." Now the Dutch prime minister openly says he wants her to deal with them alone.

Fortunately, Hirsi Ali is already back in the United States, under professional, full-time, well-resourced and for the moment privately organized protection. But this week, the Dutch parliament is due to debate her status once again. And once again, the Dutch will be confronted with the facts that Hirsi Ali remains a Dutch citizen; that the threat to her life comes at least in part from groups based in Holland; that she lives abroad because the Dutch political situation forced her to; and that when she speaks out, she does so in defense of what she believes to be Dutch values.

Whether or not the Dutch like it -- and I'm sure most of them don't -- revoking her police protection will send a clear message to the world: that the Dutch are no longer willing to protect their own traditions of free speech. Resources will be found, and she will recover. But will Holland?


Beware Muslim doctors

Some Muslim medical students are refusing to attend lectures or answer exam questions on alcohol-related or sexually transmitted diseases because they claim it offends their religious beliefs. Some trainee doctors say learning to treat the diseases conflicts with their faith, which states that Muslims should not drink alcohol and rejects sexual promiscuity. A small number of Muslim medical students have even refused to treat patients of the opposite sex. One male student was prepared to fail his final exams rather than carry out a basic examination of a female patient.

The religious objections by students have been confirmed by the British Medical Association (BMA) and General Medical Council (GMC), which both stressed that they did not approve of such actions.

It will intensify the debate sparked last week by the disclosure that Sainsbury's is permitting Muslim checkout operators to refuse to handle customers' alcohol purchases on religious grounds. It means other members of staff have to be called over to scan in wine and beer for them at the till.

Critics, including many Islamic scholars, see the concessions as a step too far, and say Muslims are reneging on their professional responsibilities.

This weekend, however, it emerged that Sainsbury's is also allowing its Muslim pharmacists to refuse to sell the morning-after pill to customers. At a Sainsbury's store in Nottingham, a pharmacist named Ahmed declined to provide the pill to a female reporter posing as a customer. A colleague explained to her that Ahmed did not sell the pill for "ethical reasons". Boots also permits pharmacists to refuse to sell the pill on ethical grounds.

The BMA said it had received reports of Muslim students who did not want to learn anything about alcohol or the effects of overconsumption. "They are so opposed to the consumption of it they don't want to learn anything about it," said a spokesman.

The GMC said it had received requests for guidance over whether students could "omit parts of the medical curriculum and yet still be allowed to graduate". Professor Peter Rubin, chairman of the GMC's education committee, said: "Examples have included a refusal to see patients who are affected by diseases caused by alcohol or sexual activity, or a refusal to examine patients of a particular gender." He added that "prejudicing treatment on the grounds of patients' gender or their responsibility for their condition would run counter to the most basic principles of ethical medical practice".

Shazia Ovaisi, a GP in north London, said one of her male Muslim contemporaries at medical school failed to complete his training because he refused to examine a woman patient as part of his final exams. "He was academically gifted, one of the best students, but gradually he got in with certain Islamic groups and started to become more radical," said Ovaisi. "You could see there was a change in his personality as time went by. During the final exams he was supposed to treat a female patient in hospital. He refused to do it, even though it would have been a very basic examination, nothing intrusive. "But he refused and as a result he failed his exams. I was quite shocked and disappointed about it because I don't see there being anything in our religion that prohibits us from examining male and female patients."

Both the Muslim Council of Britain and Muslim Doctors and Dentist Association said they were aware of students opting out but did not support them. Dr Abdul Majid Katme, of the Islamic Medical Association, said: "To learn about alcohol, to learn about sexually transmitted disease, to learn about abortion, it gives us more evidence to campaign against it. There is a difference between learning and practising. "It is obligatory for Muslim doctors and students to learn about everything. The prophet said, `Learn about witchcraft, but don't practise it'."


Australian PM hits out at 'jihad' Muslims

JOHN Howard has strongly criticised aspects of Muslim culture, warning they pose an unprecedented challenge for Australia's immigration program. While he remained confident that the overwhelming majority of Muslims would be successfully integrated, the Prime Minister said there were two unique problems that previous intakes of migrants from Europe and Asia did not have. "I do think there is this particular complication because there is a fragment which is utterly antagonistic to our kind of society, and that is a difficulty," Mr Howard told The Australian. "You can't find any equivalent in Italian, or Greek, or Lebanese, or Chinese or Baltic immigration to Australia. There is no equivalent of raving on about jihad, but that is the major problem."

The Prime Minister also expressed concern about Muslim attitudes to women. "I think some of the associated attitudes towards women (are) a problem," he said. "For all the conservatism towards women and so forth within some of the Mediterranean cultures, it's as nothing compared with some of the more extreme attitudes. "The second one of those things is a broader problem, but to be fair to them, it's an attitude that is changing with the younger ones."

The comments are contained in a new book to mark the 10th anniversary of Mr Howard's rise to power. Written by The Australian's team of journalists and commentators, The Howard Factor -- a decade that changed the nation will be published on February 27 and launched by the Prime Minister on March 2. Mr Howard gave a series of interviews for the book on December 9, the final sitting day of the parliamentary year for 2005. This happened to be just two days before the race riots in the Sydney beachside suburb of Cronulla.

The Prime Minister did not specify which Muslim source nations he was concerned about. By placing Lebanese immigrants in the same integrated category as the Italian, Greek, Chinese and Baltic, he appears to have been referring to the Christian rather than the Muslim intake from the Middle East.

The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Ameer Ali, said the conservative Muslims about whom Mr Howard was talking represented only a "tiny fraction". "There is (also) a tiny fraction of Australians who believe in white supremacy," said Dr Ali, who chairs Mr Howard's Muslim advisory group. "I think he (Mr Howard) understands that the large majority of Muslims are like everyone else. "In any society there are immigrants who try to hold on to their traditions, and it takes time to change. My faith is in the following generation -- the next generation will be more adaptive."

In the interview, Mr Howard was upbeat about the immigration program. Australia crossed two immigrant thresholds in 2003-04, which is the latest year for which Bureau of Statistics tables are available. The overseas-born population rose to 24per cent -- its highest proportion since the 1890s. And the European share of the immigrant total fell below 50 per cent for the first time. The previous Labor government of Paul Keating had the overseas-born at 23 per cent of the population, and the European component was 57 per cent. Mr Howard seemed genuinely pleased when the numbers were read out to him. "Really? I think what it demonstrates is that we have run a truly non-discriminatory immigration policy."

After slashing immigration in his first term between 1996 and 1998, Mr Howard has steadily ratcheted up the intake to levels that now exceed those under Labor's Bob Hawke in the 1980s. As Opposition leader in 1988, Mr Howard attacked Asian immigration. He later apologised and conceded the move cost him his job at the time. His comment in August that year was: "I wouldn't like to see it (the rate of Asian immigration) greater. I'm not in favour of going back to a White Australia policy. I do believe that if it is -- in the eyes of some in the community -- that it's too great, it would be in our immediate-term interest and supporting of social cohesion if it were slowed down a little, so the capacity of the community to absorb it was greater."

Mr Howard's latest observations on Muslim culture are not in the same category, because they do not suggest the rate of Muslim immigration should be slowed down in the interests of social cohesion. "The public sometimes mixes up attitudes to immigration with attitudes to our identity and our history," he told The Australian. "I think one of the reasons why people have been accepting of all of this is that they feel they have a Government and a Prime Minister that is in favour of what I might call a slightly less zealous multiculturalism than was practised by my predecessor. "Not a return to assimilation so much, but somewhere in between, which is what people want. "What resonates most with people, I find, is they don't mind where new people come from, as long as they've got skills, and as long as they become Australians when they arrive. "But that doesn't mean they should forget where they were born."



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Disgusting ideologues

Post below lifted from Taranto. See the original for links

"A new project in which university anthropologists study tribal customs in Iraq and Afghanistan for the US military has prompted a fierce backlash among academics, some of whom accuse their colleagues of engaging in a wartime effort that violates their professional ethics," the Boston Globe reports:
The handful of anthropologists working with so-called human terrain teams designed to help commanders navigate the cultural thickets of both countries are being accused of "prostituting science" and presiding over the "militarization of anthropology," the study of the social practices and cultural origins of humans.

Internet blogs oppose the project, urging "anthropologists of the world, unite!" Academic journal articles with titles such as "Anthropologists as Spies" criticize the efforts. And some of the scientists under attack fear they could be blackballed by their profession. . . .

The US forces' superficial understanding of local tribal customs and ancient ethnic and sectarian rivalries has hampered their efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan. An outstretched arm, palm facing forward, for example, means "stop" in most Western cultures, but in Iraq it's considered a sign of welcome. Confusion over the signal has had deadly consequences, leading US troops to open fire at Iraqi civilians who didn't stop at checkpoints.
The Paris edition of the New York Times, reporting from Shabak Valley, Afghanistan, has more on the program:
Colonel Martin Schweitzer, commander of the 82nd Airborne Division unit working with anthropologists here, said the unit's combat operations had been reduced by 60 percent since the anthropologists arrived this spring. He said the focus had shifted from combat to improving security, health care and education for the population. "We're looking at this from a human perspective, from a social scientist's perspective," he said. "We're not focused on the enemy. We're focused on bringing governance down to the people."
What explanation can there be for academics' objecting to this, other than animus toward the U.S. military or America itself? They are determined to keep U.S. servicemen ignorant, and are willing to see Iraqis and Afghans die if that is what it takes.

What's next, a new name for Halloween?

How did you celebrate the holiday formerly known as Columbus Day? Some of Madison 's Italians celebrated Monday by firing off fiery e-mails after learning the Dane County Board, at its last meeting, had renamed their ethnic pride day Indigenous People 's Day. Really. Before you write this off as an "only in Madison " kind of thing, note that Berkeley, Calif., also celebrated Indigenous People 's Day on Monday with a Pow Wow and an Indian Market.

According to Berkeley 's Web site, the new holiday replaces Columbus Day because of "overwhelming evidence that Columbus himself took personal leadership in acts that would today be called genocide. " In Madison, Frank Alfano called the motion "an insult to Italians, ' ' while Catherine Tripalin Murray threatened to march around the Capitol Square with a protest sign.

Dane County Chairman Scott McDonell said in an e-mail that no slam against Italians was intended by the resolution, introduced by Progressive Dane Ald. Ashok Kumar. "In no way was our action intended as a slight to Italian Americans, " McDonell wrote. "Rather, it was a positive message about the Native Americans, which passed unanimously on the county board floor. " McDonell offered to sponsor a resolution proclaiming the entire month of October as Italian heritage month.

"That 's some pretty fast backpedaling, " UW School of Medicine and Public Health professor Dan Malone said on Monday. Don 't be ethnically confused: His grandpa 's name was Melone until it was changed by his Irish street crew boss. "This whole thing of blaming Columbus for the atrocities of the last 500 years is idiotic, " Malone said. Malone said Italians see the slams against Columbus as insults to Italian-Americans, "and we weren 't even here ' ' during most of the Indian atrocities because most Italians didn 't arrive on this continent until after 1880.

Given the broken promises and terrible acts committed against native people, you could dedicate an entire century to Native Americans and it wouldn 't make up for it. But insulting another group 's holiday isn 't the way to go.

On Saturday, the Italian Workmen 's Club gave its "Columbian Medal " at its annual Columbus Day Dinner to former Randall School teacher Mark Wagler. He taught his students the history of the old Greenbush neighborhood, where Italian-, African-, Jewish- and Irish-Americans lived together. Wagler 's students pushed for Madison to celebrate "Greenbush Day " every March 21. Better hope no one decides to rename Greenbush Day as Ethnically Diverse Neighborhood Eradicated by Misguided Urban Renewal Day.


Columbus Day Celebrates Western Civilization

Columbus Day, observed this year on October 8, will celebrate the 515th anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America. "Although in recent decades Columbus Day has fallen out of favor in many circles, it is vitally important that we continue to celebrate this holiday with pride," said Thomas Bowden, an analyst at the Ayn Rand Institute. "Columbus Day is, at root, a celebration of the worldwide spread of Western civilization--a value that is under attack from multiculturalists at home and Islamic totalitarians abroad.

"Multiculturalism, which rejects the idea that some cultures are superior to others, makes it possible for American Indian activists to get away with castigating Columbus as a 'cultural imperialist,' calling for abolition of his holiday and replacing it with 'Indigenous Peoples Day.' This is outrageous. Contrary to the multiculturalist position, it is possible to demonstrate objectively that one society is superior to another--by the standard of what benefits human life. By this standard, modern industrial society is incomparably superior to the barbaric, tribalistic Stone Age culture of the Indians who predated Columbus.

"Those who attack Columbus Day are attacking the distinctive values of Western civilization that America so proudly embraces--reason, science, individual rights, and capitalism. This is especially dangerous at a time when those exact values are under assault from Islamic totalitarians who terrorize us as part of their quest to destroy our civilization and replace it with a worldwide Islamic theocracy.

"Americans need to understand that their lives and happiness are at stake in the struggle to uphold the core values of Western civilization--a struggle that is epitomized by the continuing controversy over Columbus Day. "We need not evade or excuse Columbus's flaws--his religious zealotry, his enslavement and oppression of natives--to recognize that he made history by finding new territory for a civilization that would soon show mankind how to overcome the age-old scourges of slavery, war, and forced religious conversion," Bowden said. "On Columbus Day, we must continue to celebrate that civilization, and declare our resolve to defend it against both its intellectual and political enemies."


Still some old-style patriotism left in Britain -- just not in the chattering classes

Botham is a man of great fame and accomplishment. Something the chatterers would like to be but are not

Early yesterday morning, as the fast train from Darlington clattered towards London, Ian Botham seemed unusually thoughtful. His words were carefully measured and savoured as he remembered his very first train journey to London 36 years ago. In August 1971, at the age of 15 and on his way for a trial to join the ground staff at Lord's, he had travelled with his mum.

"They offered me a place immediately and I was back down again, on my own, the following Monday. That's when my adult life started - leaving home to become a professional cricketer. And that's what makes it so special to have my mum coming back to London this week to join us when me and [my wife] Kath and our grandsons go to the Palace."

Tomorrow morning, plain old Beefy will arise as Sir Ian Terence Botham after he receives his knighthood and, yesterday, noticing the perspiration in the creases of his brow, I asked him if he was nervous. "I'm actually excited," he grinned. "It will be the greatest day of my life. When I think how far I've come these 36 years I feel extraordinarily honoured."

Botham flicked away a bead of sweat with the old nonchalance. "They're coming up with all kinds of names for me now and Sirloin of Beef was the first good one. I don't mind. The monarchy stands for everything that makes me proud to be English. I'm a massive royalist." My eyes, presumably, had begun to glaze at that point because a Beefy fist came crashing down. "I listen to all these republicans," Botham thundered, "and if it was down to me I'd hang 'em! I honestly would. It's a traitor's game for me."

Botham's candour, however, can be moving rather than just amusing. He contemplated, with rare seriousness, the prickly selfishness and contrasting selflessness which underpin not so much his knighthood as his life. In sporting terms Botham is an undisputed colossus and his cricketing success was built on the back of a single-minded belief, and sheer selfishness, that hurt his family terribly. But, for all his faults and failings, he has also raised 10m pounds for research into leukaemia.

In his new autobiography he details the pain he caused Kath for decades. "We've been married 30 years and I put Kath through hell. Brian Close was one of the first people we told we were getting married and he was perceptive. He knew how tough it would be for Kath. He could see I had the narrow-mindedness to get to where I wanted to be as a cricketer and Kath did not stand a chance against that - and her sufferance of my selfishness, her patience, her bringing up three children I hardly saw, could only have been endured by an exceptionally strong person. We're still together - and that's down to Kath. I hold my hand up. I screwed up and nearly lost the person who was the best mate I ever had. But I don't believe in regret because I think everything happens for a reason." Would Kath feel the same? "I'm not sure I'd want to ask Kath that question. But from my point of view we're stronger and closer than ever."

Botham insists that his generous charity is not linked to a subconscious guilt about his sporting ego. "I really don't think so. I just came across four young boys dying of leukaemia in a hospital ward in 1977. I was ignorant and couldn't believe these kids would soon be dead. I'd also just broken the bone in my foot so my mind was off cricket. Maybe that's why I became so absorbed and asked all these questions. And one of the qualities I do have is that when I start something I finish it. I'm as heavily involved in leukaemia as ever. It feels like my life's work."

This comes from a man who cheerfully admits that at school in Yeovil he was called Bungalow - "Meaning," Botham grins as he taps his head, "nothing upstairs". Yet his poignant friendship with John Arlott, a man as bright and cultured as Botham could be crude and reactionary, contains some of the most affecting pages in his book. "I met John when I was 17 and took his picnic basket up to the commentary box. There were four bottles of Beaujolais in that basket. Being a cider-boy I thought wine was a namby-pamby drink. But I was gripped as John started talking to me, this dumb yokel, about wine. His command of English just rolled off him. He got out some cheese and said this goes best with that wine. 'Go on,' he'd say, 'have a taste.' Our incredible friendship started and he became my mentor. These days they call 'em 'life-gurus' or some such crap."

It is hard to imagine Kevin Pietersen befriending a man as different to him and Botham as the former Guardian writer. "But John was a proper person. In the last seven years of his life when we both had places on Alderney I had two meals a day with him whenever I was on the island. At six minutes past nine every morning the phone would ring. John would say, 'C'mon over - and bring your thirst with you.' "At the end when the emphysema took over and he was struggling with speech he had an oxygen mask and I often had to empty his bag for him. But he liked me being there because I knew to wait and let him finish his sentences between gasps. I didn't try to say the words for him because I knew how much they mattered. That was strange for me - to be patient and quiet. But I always wanted to listen to John."

Arlott's one cricketing regret was retiring from commentary a year before the Ashes Test of Headingley in 1981 and Botham's miraculous innings of 149 just after resigning the captaincy. "There was some anger in that knock because when I announced my resignation Alec Bedser [the chairman of selectors] said, 'We were about to fire him.' I thought 'You plonker!' To be brutal, the establishment was never happy some guy from an ordinary school in Somerset was captaining England. They were glad to see the back of me.

"When the press asked me who should take over I said 'Bring back Mike Brearley.' They listened to me but bloody Bedser took the praise for that. The cheek of the tosser! How did he ever get a knighthood? So at Headingley I put up my finger at the establishment and the press and I came back into the dressing room after the fourth day, having scored my century [off 87 balls], and got out a cigar and had a smoke. I was knackered but, as for Bedser and that lot, I thought bollocks to you. I don't need any of you."

That streak of rebellious genius remained. Botham played an even better innings of 118 at Old Trafford later that summer and in subsequent years he would conjure up other unlikely feats - returning from a three-month ban for admitting smoking cannabis to take a wicket with his first long-hop of a ball back in Test cricket. His final delivery, as a professional cricketer, was equally Bothamesque. "I was playing for Durham, against the Aussies, and David Boon faced my last-ever ball. Booney was struggling for his Test place and was deadly serious. But he just about fell over laughing and shouted, 'Beefy, you can't do this to me.' I was midway though my run-up and he'd spotted that I'd unzipped my fly and hauled out the meat and two veg. The old man was dangling in the wind as I steamed in. If I'd got it on target I would've bowled him. I thought it was a nice way to go out."

It is not an anecdote he will share with the Queen. "I'll be on my best behaviour. She actually invited me for tea in 1981. It was a bit like me and John Arlott. I sat and listened. To be honest she probably would've preferred spending time with one of her racehorses rather than me, but I loved it. [Tomorrow] will be even better. "When Kath picked up our grandsons from school and told them that grandad was going to become a knight she asked if they wanted to come to the Palace. The one boy, James, was very thoughtful. He said, 'Is that when she uses the sword?' Kath said yes and he asked, 'Is it a sharp sword?' Kath looked at him but he kept going: 'What if the Queen slips? Would she cut off grandad's head?' Kath said, 'I don't think so, James.' He didn't say anything for 30 seconds but then he looked up and said, 'Yes, I will come. Just in 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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

New attack on free speech in Britain

Post below lifted from Midnight Sun. See the original for links

Worldwide suppression of free speech - is it possible? On the first of this month (October) in Great Britain, an upgrade to existing `hate crime' legislation came into effect by which a British blogger can be imprisoned for seven years and slapped with an unlimited fine for criticizing any religion, which of course means Islam.
The new Act was passed to close a loophole: To date, only Jews and Sikhs were protected by the provisions of incitement to racial hatred. According to the Government, some extremists exploited this loophole, using religious terms to identify victims whom they would have previously identified using racial terms. From next month, the law will extend protection to followers of all religions.

However, the Act is a diluted version of the bill that was first introduced by the Government to Parliament after a high-profile campaign by free speech advocates including comic actor Rowan Atkinson.

The bill originally outlawed words and behavior that insulted or abused religious groups. The House of Lords removed those provisions and limited the offense to those who used threatening words or behavior only. They also removed the `reckless' element of the offense, restricting it to intentional offenses. The Government's failure to overturn these amendments was blamed on miscalculations by Government whips, who had not called in sufficient MPs to win the vote.

The new offense can be committed by broadcasting, writing in a blog or on a website, recording sounds which are threatening, or in the performance of a play if there is an intent to stir up religious hatred. Offenses can be punished by a prison term of up to seven years and an unlimited fine.
Basically the original law was introduced. It was protested by free speech advocates (joined by `Mr Bean' - Rowan Atkinson) so the government amended it. While they seem to be making it fairer, they've actually added more provisos. Lawyers say it leaves room for free speech: There is a wide exemption for freedom of speech. The Act states:
"Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytizing or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practicing their religion or belief system."
Sounds pretty subjective and open to interpretation and manipulation to me. And why are they making this kind of law to start with? Something is changing and if you're following global trends, it's certain to be another step downhill.

Here's how I think it's going to play out. The law has been changed to include `discrimination' against Muslims. There are plenty of British blogs which would fall into this category. They'll pick on the most politically incorrect ones first, possibly the BNP connected ones, and this will break down any community resistance. Then it's going to game on for all right wing blogs (which they always connect with `racism' anyway both politically and in the broader community). British bloggers will run for higher ground as Belgian bloggers have done and move their blogs to international servers to avoid detection.

Sooner or later, the E.U. will opt for standardization across the board in Europe. Then, as the E.U. pushes for more power as they have been lately, they will push for variations of the same law to be enacted worldwide. The governments we have right now might resist, but elections are coming up. What will future governments do?

Now add to that the rise of Jihadi gangs in prisons and their attitude towards those incarcerated for religious `vilification' and you've got a time bomb the implications of which don't bear thinking about. Now I've got myself into trouble making predictions in the past and I could be wrong here, but I'm just setting out a hypothetical scenario.

A fight against independent thought

By Ruben Navarrette:

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas may be the ultimate Rorschach test. Americans look back at what transpired in that Senate hearing room in October 1991 and see what they want to see. For those who believed Anita Hill's claims that Thomas - while serving as her boss at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission - made advances and created a hostile work environment, the hearings were about sexual harassment. In a recent interview tied to the release of his new book, "My Grandfather's Son," Thomas said the treatment he received was really about abortion and the lengths to which the pro-choice lobby will go to keep a pro-life justice off the court.

I prefer a third explanation. These events were really about freedom - the freedom of affirmative action babies to engage in independent thinking and draw their own conclusions about whether racial entitlements actually benefit the folks they're supposed to, or are not worth preserving. That's not easy to do when you have to put up with silly accusations that you're pulling up the ladder behind you if you criticize affirmative action.

What ladder? Does anyone really think that under the status quo - where powerful, and mostly white teachers unions are derailing higher standards for Latino and African-American students - minorities are enjoying an educational windfall that they must preserve at all costs?

Oh great. Now I'm going to be in trouble, too. As a Mexican-American Harvard graduate, I have benefited from the very educational system I'm criticizing. And I've been accused of "selling out" my own people because I oppose racial preferences and bilingual education. I also support the education reform law, No Child Left Behind, which empowers Latino students and yet which a host of Democratic presidential candidates promised, during a recent Spanish-language debate, to overhaul or scrap.

But wait, shouldn't I have the right to process all available information and reach my own conclusions just like anyone else? Dream on. White liberals won't allow it. And many of them aren't beneath insinuating that - without the opportunities that they alone provided me, out of the goodness of their hearts - I'd be out hawking oranges at an intersection.

You should read the mail I got from liberals who were furious at me - oops, I mean, "disappointed" in me - for defending former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. I'll summarize: "You got your job because you're Mexican. Gonzales got his job because he was Mexican. So naturally, one Mexican defends another. Have a nice day."


Britain: Hats now incorrect

According to a report in London listing magazine Time Out, a growing number of London establishments are enforcing a `hat ban' on customers wishing to drink on their premises. It is one thing for pot-bellied landlords to tell customers they've had `too much to drink' and `clear off home'. It's another thing serving up strong sartorial diktat. Just who do they think they are? Don't they want our hard-earned cash and custom?

`We operate a smart casual dress code', a barmaid told me at the busy Porterhouse pub in Covent Garden in central London. `And that means no hats allowed in the pub.' Surely a nice trilby hat or a cream fedora hat fits the criteria of `smart casual'? She replied with unblinking primness: `We can't have one hat rule for some and one hat rule for others.' In other words, whether you are sporting a chavtastic Burberry cap or some designer item of millinery straight out of Royal Ascot, you won't be heading to the bar in a hurry. If Rat Pack stars like Frank Sinatra were around today, they would no doubt be turfed out of such premises for their anti-social headgear, no matter how much cash they were prepared to put across the bar.

Needless to say, the `smart casual' policy at the Porterhouse and some branches of All Bar One in central London is not really the justification for this ludicrous hat ban. It seems publicans have taken their cue from shopping centres such as Bluewater on the outskirts of London. Security staff there ban shoppers from wearing hoodies on the basis that any covering of the face prevents the wearer from being identified on closed-circuit television cameras (CCTV). `Yes, that's true', says the Porterhouse pub's barmaid, agreeing with Bluewater's policy on hooded tops. `Hats do obscure someone's face and CCTVs need to see them in case there's any trouble.' She's not alone with this explanation either. A barman at an All Bar One told Time Out: `We don't allow hats to be worn in the bar. We absolutely don't allow it. We need all faces to be seen by the CCTV.' (1)

Whilst such nit-picking bans might be a shock to the good liberals at Time Out, it seems this development has been in operation throughout the country for a while now. In March 2006, retired teacher Betty Wilbraham was told by staff at The Hereward pub in Ely, Cambridgeshire, to remove her black rain hat because `its CCTV camera would not be able to see her face clearly enough'. Pub licensee Tony Love said it was pub policy to always ask people to remove their hats. `It's all to do with the CCTV. We have 13 cameras inside the pub and we cannot be seen to be discriminating between the youths and the elderly people.' (2) Elsewhere at The Wheatsheaves in Frome, Somerset, one publican failed to get into the Christmas spirit last year by banning anyone who wore Santa Claus hats for the same reason. The Wheatsheaves' publican, Sam Ingram, proved that the deadhand of Scrooge was alive and kicking by bluntly stating: `Just because they're dressed up as Santa doesn't mean they couldn't start a riot.' (3) No doubt Ingram spends his time behind the bar on Christmas Day crying `Humbug!' to anyone who'll listen.

Is it really the case that hats of any description obscure someone's face? If so, what will be next? Will Amy Winehouse be refused entry into pubs because her perfectly coiffured beehive obscures her face? Will bowl-headed indie kids be ordered to have their fringes cut before they can get served? And why does it matter if someone's face is obscured anyway? Why this poisonous presumption that pub dwellers are automatically out to cause trouble?

The enforcement of such a bizarre rule as the `hat ban' may be an attempt to assert control in the name of tackling crime - there has always been a `Little Hitler' tendency among door staff and publicans. But the fact that such a ban seems to have been accepted at all shows how a demand for security and safety permeates society at present. It's interesting that while respectable pensioners have kicked up a fuss at the hat ban, younger people have tended to acquiesce to the demand to remove their headgear. In fact, surveillance is more or less seen as acceptable if it leads to a greater sense of security. And if that means toning down the headgear in the name of peace and quiet, then so be it. The way landlords justify the ban is also a kind of artificial `zero tolerance' policy where bouncers or staff are seen to flex their authority by telling a customer what is and what isn't permissible. A barman from an All Bar One branch in Soho told me, `a customer would think twice about causing trouble if a doorman has already told them off. The hat ban acts as a deterrent.'

What lies behind such demand for safety and security is a perception that individual autonomy is problematic in and of itself. Thus all individuals need some kind of rules and regulation because anyone can suddenly `get out of hand'. Forcing pub goers to remove their personal choice of headgear is done to constrain someone's free will and independence, lest that free will leads to aggro and arguments - the dress code implies a behaviour code, too. Indeed, there is something servile about forcing customers to `remove their hats', with ugly echoes of the `doffing your cap' reverence to society's supposed `betters' in the past. In this case, it's a reverence to New Britain's principles of authority, order and knowing-your-place. At root lies nothing but contempt for pub-going folk, as the aforementioned `I predict a riot' publican makes abundantly clear.

To be fair, other establishments are strongly against this growing fad for hat bans in pubs. As one barman from Bar Soho told me: `In this pub we leave it up to the individual to think for themselves. It's not our job to tell people what they should or should not wear.' Nevertheless, the fact that there's a growing number of pubs operating a hat ban at all reveals much about the overwhelming Culture of Unfreedom in the UK. It's not simply the property of a crudely authoritarian government like New Labour, but something that influences all aspects of society.

So the government hasn't made wearing hats in pubs illegal (yet), nor have the authorities adopted the logo of Eighties one-hit-wonders Men Without Hats and stuck it in all pub windows. But despite the smoking ban, pubs are still relatively unregulated public spaces and so jumpy landlords and bouncers apparently feel the need to issue such daft rules. When such a ban is introduced, even in a few establishments, it invites further and more heavy-handed intervention from the authorities, too. How long before a politician proposes on-the-spot fines for wearing hats `in closed public places'? Making people take their hats off isn't the end of the world - but it fits into a corrosive, creeping process of restricting our freedoms, large and small. One of these days, this endless procession of Looney Tunes restrictions on our liberties will deprive us of any meaningful rights - or as Bugs Bunny might say: `Hat's all, folks!'


Modern Heroes

Our soldiers like what they do. They want our respect, not pity

I'm weary of seeing news stories about wounded soldiers and assertions of "support" for the troops mixed with suggestions of the futility of our military efforts in Iraq. Why aren't there more accounts of what the troops actually do? How about narrations of individual battles and skirmishes, of their ever-evolving interactions with Iraqi troops and locals in Baghdad and Anbar province, and of increasingly resourceful "patterning" of terrorist networks that goes on daily in tactical operations centers?

The sad and often unspoken truth of the matter is this: Americans have been conditioned less to understand Iraq's complex military reality than to feel sorry for those who are part of it. The media struggles in good faith to respect our troops, but too often it merely pities them. I am generalizing, of course. Indeed, there are regular, stellar exceptions, quite often in the most prominent liberal publications, from our best military correspondents. But exceptions don't quite cut it amidst the barrage of "news," which too often descends into therapy for those who are not fighting, rather than matter-of-fact stories related by those who are.

As one battalion commander complained to me, in words repeated by other soldiers and marines: "Has anyone noticed that we now have a volunteer Army? I'm a warrior. It's my job to fight." Every journalist has a different network of military contacts. Mine come at me with the following theme: We want to be admired for our technical proficiency--for what we do, not for what we suffer. We are not victims. We are privileged.

The cult of victimhood in American history first flourished in the aftermath of the 1960s youth rebellion, in which, as University of Chicago Prof. Peter Novick writes, women, blacks, Jews, Native Americans and others fortified their identities with public references to past oppressions. The process was tied to Vietnam, a war in which the photographs of civilian victims "displaced traditional images of heroism." It appears that our troops have been made into the latest victims.

Heroes, according to the ancients, are those who do great deeds that have a lasting claim to our respect. To suffer is not necessarily to be heroic. Obviously, we have such heroes, who are too often ignored. Witness the low-key coverage accorded to winners of the Medal of Honor and of lesser decorations.

The first Medal of Honor in the global war on terror was awarded posthumously to Army Sgt. First Class Paul Ray Smith of Tampa, Fla., who was killed under withering gunfire protecting his wounded comrades outside Baghdad airport in April 2003. According to LexisNexis, by June 2005, two months after his posthumous award, his stirring story had drawn only 90 media mentions, compared with 4,677 for the supposed Quran abuse at Guantanamo Bay, and 5,159 for the court-martialed Abu Ghraib guard Lynndie England. While the exposure of wrongdoing by American troops is of the highest importance, it can become a tyranny of its own when taken to an extreme.

Media frenzies are ignited when American troops are either the perpetrators of acts resulting in victimhood, or are victims themselves. Meanwhile, individual soldiers daily performing complicated and heroic deeds barely fit within the strictures of news stories as they are presently defined. This is why the sporadic network and cable news features on heroic soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan comes across as so hokey. After all, the last time such reports were considered "news" was during World War II and the Korean War.

In particular, there is Fox News's occasional series on war heroes, whose apparent strangeness is a manifestation of the distance the media has traveled away from the nation-state in the intervening decades. Fox's war coverage is less right-wing than it is simply old-fashioned, antediluvian almost. Fox's commercial success may be less a factor of its ideological base than of something more primal: a yearning among a large segment of the public for a real national media once again--as opposed to an international one. Nationalism means patriotism, and patriotism requires heroes, not victims.

Let's review some recent history. From Sept. 11, 2001, until the middle of 2003, when events in Afghanistan and Iraq appeared to be going well, the media portrayed the troops in an uncomplicated, positive light. Young reporters who embedded early on became acquainted with men and women in uniform, by whom they were frankly impressed. But their older editors, children of the '60s often, were skeptical. Once these wars started going badly, skepticism turned to a feeling of having been duped, a sentiment amplified by the Abu Ghraib prison scandal.

That led to a different news cycle, this time with the troops as war criminals. But that cycle could not be sustained by the facts beyond the specific scandal. So by the end of 2004, yet another news cycle set in, the one that is still with us: the troops as victims of an incompetent and evil administration. The irony is that the daily actions of the troops now, living among Iraqis, applying the doctrines of counterinsurgency, and engaged regularly in close-quarters combat, are likely more heroic than in the period immediately following 9/11.

Objectively speaking, the troops can be both victims and heroes--that is, if the current phase of the war does indeed turn out to be futile. My point is only to note how the media has embraced the former theme and downplayed the latter. The LexisNexis statistics reveal the extent to which the media is uncomfortable with traditional heroism, of the kind celebrated from Herodotus through World War II. If that's not the case, then why don't we read more accounts about the battlefield actions of Silver Star winners, Bronze Star winners and the like?

Feeling comfortable with heroes requires a lack of cynicism toward the cause for which they fight. In the 1990s, when exporting democracy and militarily responding to ethnic and religious carnage were looked up upon, U.S. Army engineering units in Bosnia were lionized merely for laying bridges across rivers. Those soldiers did not need to risk their lives or win medals in order to be glorified by the media. Indeed, the media afforded them more stature than it does today's Medal of Honor winners. When a war becomes unpopular, the troops are in a sense deserted. In the eyes of professional warriors, pity can be a form of debasement.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

'Merry Christmas' equal to murder?

Mosque tells members greeting amounts to congratulating killer

A Canadian mosque has warned followers that wishing someone a Merry Christmas is like congratulating a murderer, reports the Toronto Star. The e-mailed alert went out on the Khalid Bin Al-Walid mosque's Internet message service on Christmas day, stating that congratulating non-Muslims on their festivals "is like congratulating someone for drinking wine, or murdering someone or having illicit sexual relations and so on." It instructs its readers to stop greeting colleagues on Christmas with "Merry Christmas" and to avoid Christmas parties.

"If they greet us on the occasion of their festivals, we should not respond, because these are not our festivals and because they are not festivals which are acceptable to Allah," the message states, according to the Star. "Whoever wishes someone a 'Merry Christmas' exposes himself to the wrath and anger of Allah," the notice continues.

Mosque director Abukar Sheikh Hussein told the Star the e-mail had been sent out by a junior employee without his approval. This is not our position," agreed Said Omar, one of the mosque's board members who was called in to speak with a Star reporter. "We didn't give permission to the person who sent this e-mail. We love the prophet Issa (Jesus Christ) more than anyone else because he is one of the prophets of Allah."

However, two regular worshippers at the mosque who were also brought in to speak to the reporter, agreed with the message. "For myself, it's a sin exactly," said Salah Suad, an immigrant from Iraq. "Wishing someone a merry Christmas goes against what the prophet Muhammad advised: 'Do not share any celebration with non-Muslims, for if you share with them, on the Day of Judgment you'll be with them too.'" Fellow worshipper Alfaaz Karamat added: "This is no one else's concern. This is our belief and we have the right to practice in that way."

Members of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a group formed six months ago to promote a liberal and pluralistic Islam in Canada, denounced the message as shameful hate-mongering. "These are the kind of bigots we don't need in our religion and we don't need in Canada," Syed Sohail Raza told the Star. Raza is a founding member of the group who fled Pakistan for Canada in 1989 to escape religious persecution.

"Although Canada is a democratic society, there is no room for hate-mongering and inciting people against other faiths. If I can't wish you a 'Merry Christmas' on your most holy day, what kind of relationship am I going to form with co-workers and neighbors and with school children? This is the kind of thing that has to stop," he said. Another founding member, Tarek Fatah, said the e-mailed message contradicted the spirit of pluralism espoused in the Quran. "The Quran very specifically states - chapter 109, line 6 - 'To you, your religion, to me mine,'" he said. "This is the hijacking of my religion," he added.


Marriage is good for you

Or maybe it is better-functioning people who marry

Marriage may be out of fashion but it still confers considerable benefits to adults and children, according to a comprehensive study on the state of the family. The Office for National Statistics has published definitive proof that married couples live longer, enjoy better health and can rely on more home care in old age than their divorced, widowed, single and cohabiting peers. Children who live with their married parents are also healthier, and can expect to stay in full-time education for longer, whatever their economic background.

It has always been thought that marriage had a positive effect on health, but the findings are the most solid evidence yet that, despite rapidly changing social attitudes and an end to the stigma of divorce and lone-parenting, marriage is still good for you. It will add fuel to an already heated political debate on the family. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has promised tax cuts for married couples, and to change the tax credit system so that couples with children receive as much as single parents. Labour has said that the money should be directed to the poorest families regardless of whether they are married, divorced or headed by single parents.

The ONS study, Focus on Families, suggests that married couples will be outnumbered by cohabiting couples and single-parent households within a generation if present trends continue. It found that the number of cohabiting couples had risen by 65 per cent in the past ten years to 2.3 million, while single-parent families increased by 8 per cent to 2.6 million. Over the same period, the number of married couples fell by 4 per cent to 12.1 million.

When the data on family structure was merged with health statistics, it emerged that widowed men and single mothers had the worst health, suffering more acute and chronic conditions. Married people of both sexes enjoyed the best health.

Mortality rates are also greatly affected by marital status. The mortality rate among single men under 34 is about 2® times higher than that for young married men. Widowed and divorced men over 80 have a mortality rate one third higher than married men. Single, widowed and divorced older women all have higher mortality rates than their married peers.

Children who have married parents, no matter their social background, are more likely to be in full-time education at 17 than any other group. Children's risk of long-term illness was highest in the care system, and in single-parent households. It was lowest in married-couple households.

The benefits of marriage are also marked when it comes to care in illness and old age. Across all age groups, the provision of unpaid care by married adults for sick or elderly relatives and disabled children was higher than for cohabiting couples.

Experts said that that had profound implications for government plans, since the present system relied on unpaid relatives providing most care. Mike Murphy, Professor of Demography at the London School of Economics and one of the authors of the report, said he had expected that society's greater acceptance of divorce and single-parenthood would have eroded the benefits of marriage, on health in particular, but this did not appear to be so. "The evidence of both mortality and morbidity data suggest the link between health and the family remain strong," Professor Murphy said. "Some of the benefits of marriage can be explained by wealth, as the marriage rate is higher in higher socio-economic groups. But all the evidence shows that there is something in marriage itself that is a benefit."

Iain Duncan Smith, the former Tory leader who heads the party's Commission for Social Justice, said that the ONS study confirmed his findings. "In the two reports we have published we have noted that marriage confers enormous benefits on adults and children. There is a higher rate of break-up among cohabiting couples with young children compared to their married equivalents, and higher rates of crime, drug abuse and debt are strongly lined to family breakdown," he said. "The decline of marriage is a difficult social trend to reverse. It would be too simplistic to argue that a tax break will reverse this trend and we have made 29 recommendations on the subject, including more education on how to sustain relationships."

Most of the data used by the ONS predates the introduction of civil partnerships in 2005. In any case, the effects of civil partnerships on health have yet to filter through.


Australian policy on troublesome African immigrants defended

Both the conservative government and the Leftist Opposition are defending the big cut in the number of African refugees accepted. No glass jaw over "racism" allegations in evidence in Australia

Colleagues have leapt to the defence of embattled Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews, while Labor admitted to agreeing with the new policy on Sudanese refugees. Mr Andrews' decision to cut the number of Sudanese refugees coming to Australia was not racially based, Deputy Prime Minister Mark Vaile says. Mr Andrews has been accused of racism while defending the government's decision last week to cut the quota of Sudanese refugees.

Meanwhile, Labor has admitted to agreeing numbers of African refugees should be cut, but also denies its policy is race-based. Mr Andrews said the decision had been made due to concerns that they were failing to integrate and were becoming involved in crime.

Mr Vaile said the government's intake of migrants was greater than any other Australian government and it had a choice of who to accept. "This decision is absolutely not racially based," Mr Vaile told the Nine Network today. "Every government in Australia's history has always had the opportunity to adjust the mix if you like in the immigration policies of the day to benefit the nation and to benefit the migrants coming in and particularly refugees," Mr Vaile said.

He said he respected the view of Victoria' federal member for Mallee John Forrest that there should be more Sudanese refugees accepted into Australia. "He comes from an electorate where historically they've always been stretched in terms of getting a solid unskilled workforce if you like to work in their industries in the Sunraysia," [Fruit picking] Mr Vaile said. However, Mr Andrews' decision took in the interests of the broader community, he said, despite Labor's insistence the decision was born of incompetence.

Mr Andrews drew accusations of racism earlier this week when he declared Australia had reduced its African refugee intake because some, particularly Sudanese people, were failing to integrate and were becoming more involved in crime. His statements were totally at odds with his reasons in August for reducing the African intake - namely that Australia needed to accept more refugees from countries like Burma and Iraq and it had already filled its African quota to July 2008.

Labor agreed with the government's decision to cut back the African intake, but immigration spokesman Tony Burke today said he was mystified as to why Mr Andrews' had used this "new rhetoric". "I don't understand it," Mr Burke told ABC television. "I've got to say I think with Kevin Andrews you can't look past the possibility of incompetence. "I don't think you can discount incompetence in him misrepresenting the reasons that have been given." Asked if he thought the government was playing racist politics, Mr Burke said: "I hope not with something like this, I genuinely hope not. "I hope they're not dealing with it in that way." Mr Burke said police Not police in general. Just one very ideological police chief], who have disputed Mr Andrews' assertion that Sudanese people are over-represented in crime statistics, were a "more reputable source". "(Mr Andrews) has provided anecdotal evidence but he hasn't been willing to put publicly or provide directly to the opposition all of that information, he's just put out snippets of information," Mr Burke said.


What Australia's "noble savages" are really like right now -- after years of politically-correct "respect"

An excerpt from a recent speech by Mal Brough,Federal minister for Indigenous Affairs

Recently I was in South Yarra with about 200 people for breakfast, and I gave them a warning before I spoke that I would be honest with them, I'd be frank with them and, as such, some of them may find that a little difficult to take their breakfast, because there is nothing palatable whatsoever about what you see and hear in indigenous communities. And unless the rest of Australia actually understands that, the depth of despair that people are in, and the lack of culture that is resulting as a direct result of that despair, then we are going to lose not only another generation, we are in fact going to lose the last remnants in many places of what was a very rich culture.

The focus has been on the Northern Territory, and there are those who like to think this is just a problem of remote Australia, but last week I was not in the Northern Territory, I was in Western Australia. And I'm here to tell you the circumstances in Western Australia, not just the East Kimberleys, not just the Pilbara, but also the Central Desert and also in the suburbs of Perth, are worse than many of the circumstances in the Northern Territory.

And those who have not read the report, Little Children are Sacred, its two authors visited 45 communities in the Northern Territory. They didn't find sexual abuse in some of those communities, they didn't find it in most of those communities, they found it in every single community; 45 out of 45. Think about that, the enormity of that for a moment. People coming forward with the most horrendous stories. We have children as young as three with gonorrhoea, we have twenty-four year old grandmothers, we have so many babies being born with alcohol foetal syndrome that their - a capacity to pass on the oral history of their people is gone before they're even born. We have physical and sexual abuse of boys and girls and men and women. It knows no boundaries. That is the reality in the Territory and it also in South Australia, it is also in Western Australia, it is in New South Wales and Queensland to differing degrees.

The reason that the Federal Government has acted in the Northern Territory is simply because we have the capacity and the power to do so. Let me answer right up front the allegation that is thrown at me and thrown at the Prime Minister as to why didn't you do this for the last 11 years? Well, this time last week I was in South Australia before 700 indigenous childcare workers. And the first question that was thrown at me was by a white woman who said you have stood before us today and said that most of these interventions have come from direct requests from indigenous people to you, and that's true. And I'll articulate some of those as we go through.

She said, but tell me who told you to breach the Racial Discrimination Act, the Human Rights Act, and the Land Rights Act? I said, well, funny thing that, no-one, because no-one talks about it in those sort of terms when the children haven't been fed or they've been bashed the night before, or the situation they're living in is just horrendous. They actually talk about surviving. They talk about not being stabbed. They talk about some form of normality around their circumstances. And the crowd actually all applauded her for asking that question, long and loud, because I have breached the Racial Discrimination Act in a positive sense.

So the last question that was put to me on that morning was first of all the lady said I'm from Darwin. She said the first thing I want to say is thank you for what you've done. Then she went on to say that why didn't your government do this some time in the last 11 eleven years. And there was the same raucous applause, and I thought isn't it interesting the same audience can have two totally different perspectives. One, why did you breach the Racial Discrimination Act, and point up that that's wrong, and then 15 minutes later applaud when challenged for why I didn't breach it 10 years ago.

Now, that is what we get every single day. People dress up, and I think the comments by Noel Pearson that were quoted at the outset say it all: they dress up self-determination, they dress up land rights, they dress up all sorts of nuances of arguments that really in their heart are saying that the right of a child to be born and to be safe and to have an education and to have an opportunity in this country is somehow below that of these other niceties that don't even reflect anything of what occurs in their life.

Do you know how many times that I've had raised with me the issues of the stolen generation? Once in the Northern Territory in Darwin by a woman who wanted to be connected to family. The other time was at ANU by people who are not part of the stolen generation.

Treaties: never is it raised to me by Aboriginal people in the communities, it's raised by white people in universities. They don't seem to understand the disconnect between where people are today and where they want to be and the fog that they're living in. Most of you probably don't realise that there is a thing called kava. Kava is used in the South Pacific for ceremonies, and it is coma inducing. That's what it does. People sip it. But no, in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory it's been legal for years. Why? Because it stops people having violent outbursts. Instead, they're just comatosed under trees, they don't feed their children. Their children don't go to school and white fellas thought that was a better outcome because there were less people going to hospital.

When I discussed that with Galarrwuy Yunupingu, who was one of the champions of land rights, who is one of the most powerful lawmen in the Northern Territory, and I said, well, I understand why they did it, is to protect people from the violence of alcohol, and he said that's rubbish. I said, how do you mean? He said the reality is that the women are so comatose they get raped, but the difference is they don't actually fight back. He said this is another insidious drug that white man has inflicted upon us that needs to go. Alcohol needs to go, marijuana or ganja, as it's known, needs to go. Kava needs to go.

Let me take you to Kalumburu. Kalumburu is up in the East Kimberleys. It is a town of about 300. There are only 90 males in Kalumburu. It's isolated by the wet for a good part of every year. The wet will set in some time this month. Of those 90 men, in the last two months 15 have been charged with child sex offences. Fifteen out of 90 men. These are the charge sheets. Not one page, not two pages, not three pages, four pages. They're all an offence against a child, predominantly penetrating a girl or a boy under the age of 13. Who were these 15 men? They were the mayor, the deputy mayor, two other councillors, the police liaison officer, a truancy officer, two wardens. What does that tell you? These are people of authority. These are the people that white fellas like me and bureaucrats turn up to, who go to consult with about answers to their communities, who we give money and more empowerment to and we walk away saying, haven't we done a good thing.

I was one of them. I went there 18 months ago and I thought that this place had a smell of decay about it. It worried me. But you talk to the leaders. One of those leaders, who was the police liaison officer, was a man who I had great faith in. He was a man that the local police sergeant had great faith in and thought he would be an indigenous sworn police officer soon. He and his wife were doing good things. They asked for money from me to assist them to take young boys out of the community who had been truant or had come with brushes to the law to take them back onto the homelands to teach them cultural ways. We provided that money to him.

He has been procuring children as young as five and six. He sat before the police sergeant who he had worked with - and you need to hear this - and said to him, and by the way, there are no paedophile rings in these places they tell me. But you tell me what this is. He said, a friend of mine told me how to procure children. He said, what you do is you say to a six year old, a seven year old, a 12 year old, here, here's some cigarettes, here is some ganja, come with me. And they came with me, he said, and it worked. I tried it and it worked, so I did it. The depths of depravity, if you wish to look at them, are in these charge sheets. That's bad enough.

This week, or last week, I went back. Last week I went back because Magistrate, Dr Sue Gordon, who's heading up our work in the NT and is dealing with all the women's groups, she is a children's magistrate in Western Australia. She said to me, the problem with Kalumburu is that so many adults have just left their children behind. The adults have gone and left their children behind, just blown through. She said we can't actually find the parents to deal with these issues. This community needs some of your support. They need to know that you care, they need to know that even though we've got these criminals out of there, that we can do more.

So Professor Judy Atkinson, we organised for her to do some healing work up there over the next few years. I organised for the AFL, Australian Football League, to go up and to actually do work with the kids. But on Monday of last week, the one child protection officer discovered that the six and seven year olds in the community were running amok in a really unreasonable fashion. And it came to light on Monday of last week that eight six and seven year olds had been sexually penetrated by 11 to 15 year olds. They've been charged this week. What does that tell you about the society in that town, is that not only has it been passed from one generation to another, but it's been seen to be so normal that it is happening between children. Not just when they're becoming adults, but child to child.

This isn't a culture. This is not part of indigenous culture. This is not part of any sane culture. This is a culture that is being destroyed. And the people that stood outside there today were not prepared to come in here and hear this, because they're confronted by it. We should all be confronted by it.

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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

BBC fed youngsters Al Qaeda propaganda

Britain's former spy chief accused the BBC of "parroting" Al Qaeda propaganda to children as young as six. Dame Pauline Neville Jones, who is also a former BBC governor, is infuriated at the stance the corporation's Newsround programme took on the September 11 attacks. She accused the flagship children's news bulletin of feeding an "ugly undercurrent" which suggests the terrorist outrage was somehow justifiable.

Newsround is aimed at viewers aged between six and 12. On its website it answered the question concerning 9/11, "Why did they do it" by saying: "The way America has got involved in conflicts in regions like the Middle East has made some people very angry, including a group called al Qaeda - who are widely thought to have been behind the attacks."

After the public complained, the text was amended. It now reads: "Al Qaeda is unhappy with America and other countries getting involved in places like the Middle East. "People linked to al Qaeda have used violence to make this point in the U.S.A, and in other countries."

Dame Pauline, who headed the Government's Joint Intelligence Committee and is described as the most formidable female diplomat Britain has produced, said the new version was even worse. "It still says it's all America's fault, and now for daring to be involved in the Middle East at all," she said. "It wasn't 'people linked to' al Qaeda who killed 3,000 people that day, it was al Qaeda itself. "Osama bin Laden even boasted of the attacks. Is the BBC really saying that if you're 'unhappy' it's quite normal behaviour to murder people? "Is the BBC so naive as to take al Qaeda's propaganda at face value? Or is there something more sinister at work here?"

Dame Pauline, who is now a shadow security spokesman, added: "Al Qaeda make the manifestly false claim that America is part of an enormous Jewish-Christian conspiracy to dominate the world and kill Muslims. "This is no secret - Osama bin Laden has said as much himself. "We know that in the long run the struggle against terrorists is a battle for hearts and minds. "How can we expect to win when our national broadcaster is parroting their line to our own children? "There is only one set of people who are ever to blame for terrorist attacks and that's the perpetrators themselves."

Dame Pauline said the BBC was a "national treasure" and she had been proud to serve as a governor. "But from time to time I have found myself asking questions about BBC's attitude to terrorism. It even orders its journalists not to use the word terrorist," she added. "Although almost everyone in Britain quite rightly reacted with horror to the attacks of September 11, there was an ugly undercurrent that blamed America for being attacked. "Just two days after the attacks the BBC screened an edition of the Question Time programme where they invited an anti-American audience that laid into the American ambassador, leaving him close to tears. In fairness, the BBC apologised for that outrage. "Even though this was an appalling example of knee-jerk prejudice, at least it was meant for adults. "I never imagined the rot would spread to the BBC's children's programmes. I was wrong."

Dame Pauline has complained to the BBC's head of journalism Mark Byford, who is understood to have defended the text as "clear and concise". Sinead Rocks, editor of the Newsround programme, said the first version of the text was several years old and should no longer have been available. But she defended the new version, insisting it was not an attempt to "justify" the events of September 11. "We feel it is entirely legitimate to question the motives of the people who carried out the attacks," she said. "Our contact with our audience has shown that their understanding is helped by events being put into some kind of context. "We often have to translate complex and emotive issues into language appropriate for children. It's a responsibility we take very seriously."


Amazing: Ramadan at the Pentagon

It was a Washington Times story about the military's Ramadan service that actually caught my eye. Or, rather, it was the name of the presiding imam, Navy Chaplain Abuhena M. Saifulislam. "Saifulislam" means "Sword of Islam." It seems that Lieutenant Commander "Sword of Islam" led 100 Islamic faithful, kneeling toward Mecca, in prayer to Allah to celebrate Ramadan at the Pentagon. And that was about it as far as the story went.

But is that all there is to say? In our post-grown-up world of pretend, no one is supposed to mention the uncomfortable fact that the al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the Pentagon would have fit right into the Pentagon ceremony; no one is supposed to make the connection. Nor is anyone supposed to stumble over the moniker "Sword of Islam," a name that conjures up not ecumenical cheer, but scimitars of jihad. Nor is anyone supposed to notice that acts of Islamic terrorism precede acts of Islamization: Al Qaeda strikes, Islamic sensitivity courses follow; bombs in the Tube, racial profiling is denounced; the "war on terror" drags on, the Pentagon institutes Ramadan services.

If such politically incorrent thoughts do slip through the PC filter, one is supposed to suppress them, drawing on big, self-satisfied feelings of inclusiveness to drive away the willies.

Uneasy nonetheless, I went on read a few other stories about Lt. Cmdr. Saifulislam and discovered he has a notable record as Islamic chaplain. The first such chaplain at Guantanamo Bay, he set up what is essentially the Islamic system under which detainees live, pray and eat according to Islamic law. He is also credited with the notion of opening a mosque at the Marine Corps Base at Quantico. Me, I would like to know whether he believes in bringing sharia, or Islamic law, to the United States.


Australia: Muslim pedophile case reviewed

It clearly needs appeal, not "review". What was the asshole doing in bed with an 11-year old boy anyway?

A JUDGE'S decision not to record a conviction against a medical student who pleaded guilty to attempting to indecently deal with a boy has caught the attention of Attorney-General Kerry Shine, who is reviewing the case. If he does lodge an appeal in the next month, the matter would be decided by Queensland's Court of Appeal, which has the power to change the original sentence. Third year medical student Shakee Mirza, 26, was punished with 12 months' probation when he appeared in Brisbane District Court on Wednesday over his conduct in late 2005 involving a boy, 11.

At the time, sentencing judge David Searles agreed with a request from Mirza's lawyer that a conviction for the offence not be recorded. If a conviction was recorded, it could have jeopardised Mirza's student visa status. His future registration as a doctor is now a matter for authorities to consider.

The court was told the offence came about as a result of Mirza volunteering for community group Aunties and Uncles - a mentoring organisation for families in need. On the day of the incident, Mirza, the 11-year-old complainant and his brother were watching TV while lying on a single bed when the accused massaged the boy's head before saying "this would feel better if I did it on your penis". But the boy said no and pushed his hand away and the incident stopped.

There was said to be no planning involved in the incident and Mirza, who provided glowing references to the court, has no criminal history. His lawyer characterised the offending as a moment of stupidity - a description accepted by Judge Searles. Mirza reportedly said the offence was almost done in a "joking" fashion.

Judge Searles said after considering all of the submissions from both sides, he was satisfied the circumstances of the case were "exceptional" and out of the realm of an actual custodial sentence. He said he did not think the circumstances warranted a jail sentence and recording a conviction could impact on Mirza's career and put his student visa status in jeopardy.

Anti-child abuse campaigner Hetty Johnson said she contacted Mr Shine's office yesterday about whether an appeal would be lodged and was told the Attorney-General had received a report from the DPP on the matter and would be considering it in coming weeks.


Australia: Leftist public broadcaster attacks abuse revelations

"Noble savages" don't abuse children! Oh No! So the shakiest of grounds can be used to attack reports of it happening

The ABC's Media Watch program has appealed for help from the Northern Territory Government to attack The Weekend Australian over a report on two Aboriginal girls who fell pregnant at the age of 12. The article, "Girls who become mums at age of 12", appeared on the front page of The Weekend Australian on August 18 and detailed issues relating to children in Aboriginal communities becoming sexually active at a young age. In it, journalist Simon Kearney reported that two girls, Marisa Marshall and Marisa Brown, fell pregnant at age 12 in the community of Papunya, northwest of Alice Springs. Permission to name the girls was sought and received from their parents and an aunt.

Aboriginal Territory Labor MP Malarndirri McCarthy yesterday confirmed she had spoken to Media Watch in general terms about the media's coverage of the Howard Government's intervention in indigenous communities. Ms McCarthy, a former ABC journalist, said she did not know the details of this particular case but had concerns about naming children in such circumstances. "Naming of a child when you are talking about sexual abuse or alcohol or substance abuse, of course, I have serious concerns in regards to that," she said. "But this is not about two media organisations fighting. This is about our children and let's see what we can do to fix this and make this (intervention) work, and that includes the coverage."

A Territory Government spokesman said the Government had no wider role in the Media Watch story beyond passing on a request for comment to an MP. "The first I heard about this was when Media Watch contacted me this afternoon," he said.

In written questions, Media Watch story editor Michael Vincent asked Kearney in what language permission was sought for the girl to tell her story, why it was necessary to identify the two girls by name and whether he considered the "further long-term embarrassment" of publication. Kearney was also asked a hypothetical question about whether he would have published the name of a non-indigenous girl living in Sydney who had become pregnant and had an abortion at the age of 12. "In the same circumstances, yes," Kearney replied. Vincent's fifth question to Kearney centred on the "vulnerable" community of Papunya allegedly having a limited understanding of the publicity of the story.

"In my experience, the residents of these communities are not that naive," Kearney replied. "The Central Land Council appears to go out of its way to show people in communities stories about them that appear in the national media. The general level of distrust of the media and the lengths you need to go to gain trust indicates that they are no less naive than anyone in the wider community." Vincent said Media Watch would not comment when contacted yesterday by The Weekend Australian.

The Weekend Australian's editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell said: "As usual, Media Watch is off on a political frolic. "The program would be better off asking why more people in the media had not questioned Clare Martin's $80 million spending shortfall in Aboriginal affairs rather than pushing an unfounded allegation against the national daily, the only media outlet committing the sort of resources needed to fairly report the federal Government's intervention."

Papunya council chief executive Rod Richardson said while he did not know the girls personally, he did not have a problem with their names being used if permission was granted. "I didn't hear anyone running around complaining about it," said Mr Richardson, who said he was also contacted by Media Watch in relation to the issue. The same story is the subject of a complaint to the Australian Press Council, with a complainant expressing concern about the "rights of a child who is a member of a vulnerable population".



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007


More Massachusetts arrogance

They're watching you right now. They counted every beer you drank during last night's Red Sox game. They see you sneaking out to the garage for a smoke. They know if you've got a gun, and where you keep it. They're your kids, and they're the National Security Agency of the Nanny State. I found this out after my 13-year-old daughter's annual checkup. Her pediatrician grilled her about alcohol and drug abuse. Not my daughter's boozing. Mine.

"The doctor wanted to know how much you and mom drink, and if I think it's too much," my daughter told us afterward, rolling her eyes in that exasperated 13-year-old way. "She asked if you two did drugs, or if there are drugs in the house." "What!" I yelped. "Who told her about my stasher, I mean, `It's an outrage!' " I turned to my wife. "You took her to the doctor. Why didn't you say something?" She couldn't, she told me, because she knew nothing about it. All these questions were asked in private, without my wife's knowledge or consent. "The doctor wanted to know how we get along," my daughter continued. Then she paused. "And if, well, Daddy, if you made me feel uncomfortable."

Great. I send my daughter to the pediatrician to find out if she's fit to play lacrosse, and the doctor spends her time trying to find out if her mom and I are drunk, drug-addicted sex criminals.

We're not alone, either. Thanks to guidelines issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics and supported by the commonwealth, doctors across Massachusetts are interrogating our kids about mom and dad's "bad" behavior. We used to be proud parents. Now, thanks to the AAP, we're "persons of interest." The paranoia over parents is so strong that the AAP encourages doctors to ignore "legal barriers and deference to parental involvement" and shake the children down for all the inside information they can get.

And that information doesn't stay with the doctor, either. Debbie is a mom from Uxbridge who was in the examination room when the pediatrician asked her 5-year-old, "Does Daddy own a gun?" When the little girl said yes, the doctor began grilling her and her mom about the number and type of guns, how they are stored, etc. If the incident had ended there, it would have merely been annoying. But when a friend in law enforcement let Debbie know that her doctor had filed a report with the police about her family's (entirely legal) gun ownership, she got mad. She also got a new doctor.

In fact, the problem of anti-gun advocacy in the examining room has become so widespread that some states are considering legislation to stop it. Last year, my 7-year-old was asked about my guns during his physical examination. He promptly announced to the doctor that his father is the proud owner of a laser sighted plasma rifle perfect for destroying Throggs. At least as of this writing, no police report has been filed.

"I still like my previous pediatrician," Debbie told me. "She seemed embarrassed to ask the gun questions and apologized afterward. But she didn't seem to have a choice." Of course doctors have a choice. They could choose, for example, to ask me about my drunken revels, and not my children. They could choose not to put my children in this terrible position. They could choose, even here in Massachusetts, to leave their politics out of the office.

But the doctors aren't asking us parents. They're asking our kids. Worst of all, they're asking all kids about sexual abuse without any provocation or probable cause. The American Academy of Pediatrics has declared all parents guilty until proven innocent. And then they wonder why we drink.


British firemen demoted and fined for shining torch on outdoor homosexual activity

Disrupt lawbreaking in Britain and YOU will get prosecuted, not the lawbreakers

Firemen who shone their torches at four men they found having sex in bushes have been disciplined by their bosses. The crew spotted the men engaged in illegal 'dogging' - outdoor sexual activity with strangers - on parkland known as the Downs in Bristol late one night. After embarrassing the men by pointing their torches at them, the crew continued on their way to their fire station.

But one of the 'doggers' complained to Avon Fire and Rescue, ultimately accusing the four-man crew of being homophobic. The firemen, who have 26 years of service between them, were then suspended on full pay for three months during an internal investigation. Yesterday it emerged that two have been fined œ1,000 each, another demoted to a rank which will see him forfeit a similar amount of money, while a fourth has received a stern written warning.

It is believed Avon Fire and Rescue plans to give the money raised from the fines to a gay rights charity. Among those being considered is the Jamaican Forum for Lesbians All-Sexuals and Gays. The crew have been transferred to other stations and ordered to attend an equality course. But no action has been taken against any of the men believed to have been involved in the dogging. The one who complained is said to be 'happy' at the outcome of the disciplinary proceedings in which the firemen were charged with bringing the service into disrepute and misuse of fire equipment.

The firemen, formerly members of Avon Fire Service's Blue Watch at Avonmouth station in Bristol, have been banned from discussing the incident, which took place at about 10.30pm on June 27. But one of their colleagues said yesterday: 'This is a complete farce. All four officers have been let down by their senior officers when they needed their support the most. 'They have been treated as the criminals and it has been forgotten that they witnessed criminal activity occurring in a public place.'

Another fireman said: 'There are a lot of firefighters in Avon who feel the four involved have been treated very unfairly so the service can be seen as being politically correct.' Fire chiefs were alerted to the incident by the Terrence Higgins Trust, which has supported the man allegedly seen performing the sex act. Simon Nelson, the charity's acting regional manager, said: 'The member of the public simply wanted to know why the fire service was on the Downs at that time of day. We passed on that complaint.'

Avon's chief fire officer Kevin Pearson said: 'There was no justifiable reason for that appliance to be in that location at that time. They should not have been there and there was no operational justification for their actions. 'We received a complaint about the behaviour of our staff and a full inquiry was conducted as a consequence. 'We investigated and the crew were found to be in breach of our internal policies.' He added that the investigation would have had the same outcome if the complainant had been heterosexual. The police confirmed they had not been made aware of the incident.


Phony Soldiers and Phony Senators

By John E. O'Neill

Recently, at least 41 Democratic Senators, joined by a howling mob including George Soros' Media Matters, sought to silence Rush Limbaugh because of his reference to "phony" anti war soldiers. Limbaugh's comments, taken in context, referred to Jesse Macbeth, a confessed and convicted phony, whose faked but graphic war crimes confessions received far wider media notice than his later confession. He had been discharged in boot camp after 40 days of service.

Macbeth follows a grand tradition of fake soldiers whose "war crimes" confessions have been used by the Left to slander the service of our troops. For example, Micah Ian Wright, author of the 2003 anti war best seller "You Back the Attack," was an Army Ranger and Combat veteran feted at USC's Annenberg School and in media like the Washington Post until he was finally "outed" as a complete fake. Many similar examples of phony "soldiers" used by the Left for war crimes confessions are documented in B.G. Burkett's bestseller Stolen Valor. Indeed, the problem was so endemic that a Republican Congress in 2005, at the urging of many veterans, passed "The Stolen Valor Act" finally criminalizing activities such as those of Macbeth.

There is no one more injured by phony war crimes charges lodged by phony veterans than veterans themselves whose service is dishonored by the slander. I know. In 1971, in addition to listening to John Kerry from our unit falsely compare our forces in Viet Nam to "the Army of Jhengiz Khan," I heard Al Hubbard, the president of Kerry's VVAW, appearing with Kerry in forums such as Meet the Press and Congress confess to war crimes such as bombing innocent villages. Hubbard was an Air Force pilot, who appeared on national television wearing the Distinguished Flying Cross and many other medals while confessing our guilt in Viet Nam. Except he was none of these things, having left the Air Force as a Sergeant, never serving in Viet Nam at all.

Military personnel all over the world thank God for Rush Limbaugh's stout defense of our military from these fakes. In 1971, there was no one to defend us from the John Kerrys and the Al Hubbards. Indeed, it is the U.S. Senate that is a Potemkin Village. It is a body whose failure to condemn Hubbard's and Kerry's 1971 libels is deafening. It is also a place on whose floor active duty soldiers have been compared to the assassins of the Khmer Rouge (Senator Deck Durbin); people who terrorize women and children (Senator Kerry); and (in close proximity) cold blooded murderers (Rep. John Murtha). Hypocrisy and cowardice are terms too kind for those who demean our soldiers without regard to the consequences to them. This conduct when coupled with the effort to silence Limbaugh a stout defender of the troops, can be best described with two words: What phonies.


Africans unwelcome says popular Australian politician

PAULINE Hanson has backed Kevin Andrews' views on African migrants - saying he was right to be concerned about crime and other issues. The former One Nation icon and current Queensland Senate candidate says the government needs to protect the ``Australian way of life''. Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews has cut the African migrant intake, saying there appears to be specific problems with them fitting in to Australian society. His remarks prompted passionate feedback from couriermail.com.au readers on both sides of the debate - and Premier Anna Bligh accused Mr Andrews of being racist.

Speaking at a Gold Coast Media Club function today, Ms Hanson said she welcomed Mr Andrews' move ,adding, ``It's been recorded in Victoria that there is a 25 per cent increase in HIV. ``There is TB, and a case of leprosy which has been recorded in South Australia.''

Ms Hanson said the federal government had a responsibility to ensure the safety of Australians. ``You can't bring people into the country who are incompatible with our way of life and culture,'' she said. ``They get around in gangs and there is escalating crime that is happening.'' Ms Hanson, who has formed a new political party, Pauline's United Australia Party, for this year's election, said Australia should send aid to Sudan instead of accepting refugees. ``If we want to do things for the Sudanese people, then let us send medical supplies, food, whatever they need over there - but let them stay in their own country,'' she said.

Ms Hanson said she would make an election issue of placing a moratorium on immigration into Australia. ``I receive emails and letters from people of all ages, including young people, who agree with my stance on this,'' she said.

Ms Bligh, whose own electorate of South Brisbane has a strong Sudanese community, eafrlier today said Mr Andrews' views were disturbing. "It has been a long time since I have heard such a pure form of racism out of the mouth of any Australian politician," she said. "When it comes from the immigration minister it is particularly disturbing." She said police statistics showed very low levels of crime among Sudanese people in southern Queensland. "To hear this sort of attack on these people is frankly something that belongs to the deep south of America in the 1950s," she said.

Mr Andrews last night accused Sudanese migrants of fighting each other in bars, forming gangs and congregating in parks to drink alcohol. He did not provide statistics to back up his claims. He had earlier announced that the federal government is to cut the number of African refugees it accepts from 50 per cent of the total to 30 per cent, allowing more asylum seekers from other troublespot around the world to come to Australia. "Having a more equal focus across Africa, the Middle East and Asia hardly constitutes racism," Mr Andrews said.

Most of Queensland's 6000-strong Sudanese community are located in the Brisbane suburbs of Moorooka, Annerley, Yeronga and Coorparoo, as well as in Toowoomba. Brisbane Liberal MP Gary Hardgrave said his community was "exhausted" by the influx of African refugees and needed a break.

Sudanese immigrant Jacob Gai Kuai, who settled in Brisbane with his wife and five children in 1998, yesterday accused Mr Andrews of racism. "I ask myself what integration the Minister means," Mr Kuai said. "From what he's saying, it seems that he's a racist." Mr Kuai said Sudanese migrants were thriving in their new homes and were productive members of their communities. The Sunnybank Hills father of five, who fled war-torn southern Sudan with his family more than a decade ago, said Mr Andrews was pandering to undercurrents of racism to win votes at the looming election.

Prime Minister John Howard described as "contemptible" any suggestion his party was playing race politics, despite police saying Sudanese refugees were not over-represented in crime statistics.

Also today, the Anglican Archbishop of Adelaide, Jeffrey Driver, called on the federal government to review a decision to cut the number of refugees coming from Africa. Archbishop Driver said he would be deeply saddened if there was a drastic cut in the number of Sudanese refugees. ``I do understand that Australia has a primary responsibility to its own region, and that it may be time for a reduction of numbers from Africa,'' he said. ``However, Australia made a commitment to the Sudan when it opened the way for something like 30,000 refugees to come to this country. ``I do not believe we can cut that commitment suddenly.''



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Threat of punishment can deter bad behaviour (Who knew?)

The fear of being punished makes people less likely to violate social norms, according to a study by Swiss and German researchers. Using scanning technology, the scientists were able to show which parts of the brain react to the threat of punishment, highlighting that lesions in these regions might lead to antisocial behaviour. The study, published on Wednesday in the brain research journal Neuron, aimed to understand the effects of potential punishment on the decision-making process.

"Our societies have clear definitions of what is appropriate," said Ernst Fehr, an economist at Zurich University and one of the authors. He points to norms such as fairness, cooperation and honesty. "Most people are willing to comply with these norms in the absence of punishment," he told swissinfo. "But a significant minority will only do so if threatened."

Fehr gives telling the truth as an example of a social norm that most people understand. That doesn't stop anyone from lying at some point though. The researchers focused on how prepared people were to comply with the fairness norm using a money allocation game. A person had to decide how much of a certain amount of money they were prepared to share with another. In one case, there was no punishment for an unfair division of the funds, while in the other the recipient could decide to financially punish the giver. The activation of certain areas of the brain when punishment was an option was highlighted using so-called functional magnetic resonance imaging. This technique can show neural activity by detecting blood flow in the brain.

"People who primarily comply with a norm because of the threat of punishment probably have to suppress their egoistic impulses more strongly, which then activates this region of the frontal lobe more strongly," said Fehr. "This result extends previous results we found showing that egoistic decisions are more likely to be made if this area of the brain is suppressed in its activity."

For the researchers, the implications of their study go beyond highlighting that some people only respond to threats. In many young people, the regions of the brain involved are not fully developed, perhaps explaining why potential punishment does not prevent anti-social behaviour. "Our findings suggest that courts should be more careful in determining the penal responsibility of teenagers and young adults," added Fehr. In most European countries - including Switzerland - this responsibility is set at age 18, or even 20. In the United States, it is often much lower.

The authors suggest that their findings could help understand psychopathic behaviour. They say this is because people with lesions in the social compliance circuitry highlighted by their research are incapable of behaving in appropriate ways even though they understand social norms.

Fehr warns though that using scans to determine whether someone is dangerous for society is not enough. "I think that if the brain is permanently damaged, a criminal should not be released," he told swissinfo. "But you do not lock someone up for life based on a scan; it's just one possible element that can intervene in a judgement."

He added that society plays a vital role in how norms are respected. "Our biology allows us to comply with social norms. But these norms are conditioned by society," he said.


The profound Leftist dishonesty and corruption exposed by the Duke U Lacrosse team prosecution

Stuart Taylor, a distinguished lawyer and legal affairs writer, and K. C. Johnson, a Professor of History at Brooklyn College who has faced the politically correct army of the left over his own job, have written a brilliant, engrossing and comprehensive history of the Duke travesty. In the end, Michael Nifong's greed cost him his job, his reputation, and a brief jail stay. It cost Duke University a significant amount of money ($20 million or more in payouts), and did great damage to its crawl up the prestige ladder of elite higher education.

More importantly, the case exposed the rot at the core of the humanities faculties in many colleges across America -- an angry collection of professors with few classes to teach, little useful research to conduct, but plenty of time to agitate. In the case of the gender and women's studies and African American studies faculties at Duke, it is clear that in the haste to promote faculty diversity, candidates with scant scholarly achievement were given jobs. Left wing faculty members, whom one might think would be sensitive to abuse of the rights of the accused, cared not a whit for due process in the case of the accused team members. They saw an opportunity to focus the case into a teaching moment -- with a bright light focused on what they believed was really at issue here: white rich student athletes abusing low income women of color.

The charges against Reade Seligmann, who had an airtight alibi that should have cleared him from the beginning, David Evans, and Collin Finnerty have now all been dropped, and their innocence proclaimed by the state's Attorney General. But reading this book provides a look into a very frightening period, when lacrosse team members feared for their lives as militant feminists, encouraged by the faculty blowhards, chanted "Castrate!" and black militants threatened to shoot the team members.

One student later appointed to a commission by Duke President Richard Brodhead threatened the lives of the children of the lacrosse coach Mike Pressler. Brodhead fired the coach at the same time he cancelled the lacrosse team's season. But never disciplined the student issuing the threat to children. He also never attempted to protect Coach Pressler and his family or the students whose lives were threatened.

The picture of Brodhead revealed in this book makes Lee Bollinger of Columbia look like a man of great courage and vision by comparison. Brodhead leaped on a high horse to condemn the lacrosse team for alcohol abuse (imagine that at Duke!) and for hiring a stripper. This lacrosse team stripper party was one of more than 20 such parties at Duke in this particular academic year. One of them was held by the Duke men's basketball team, coached by he holy of holies at Duke, Mike Krzyzewski, a man strangely silent as another elite Duke team was ruthlessly trashed on campus.

Most students soon figured out that no rape occurred at the stripper party. They defended the team members and the three accused players. Coach of the women's lacrosse team Kerstin Kimel and her team members were particularly visible supporters of the three accused. So were writers for the Chronicle, the Duke student paper, and the writers covering the case for the Raleigh News and Observer. And the lawyers for the accused were as good as one could ask for. Especially noteworthy were the roles of Brad Bannon, Joe Cheshire and Kirk Osborn. Less well off students who could not afford such quality counsel might now be serving 30 year jail sentences for crimes they did not commit.

If the three players had gone to jail for a crime they did not commit, that would likely not have troubled the souls of either cable news blowhard Nancy Grace or Bill Keller, New York Times editor-in-chief, and his team of writers and columnists, all of whom who let loose fusillades of abuse at the lacrosse team for months. When the first Times reporter assigned to the story called it straight in his first thee articles (just the facts), he was pulled off the story for a more compliant team who would emphasize in each story the race, class, and gender angle.

The Times enabled Nifong's folly, as did the radical Duke faculty and President Brodhead. As Nifong's case began to collapse, the Times hung in with him, trying to resuscitate his image with a long story based on a fraudulent police report prepared by Mark Gottlieb, a Duke-hating cop. The report contained demonstrably false and inconsistent information, and the Times bought it whole. So much for the paper of record. No Times editorial has ever been published condemning Nifong. The Times ombudsman called the coverage in the paper fair.

On Tuesday of this week, the Times editorial page and sports columnist Harvey Araton (who harshly condemned the Duke lacrosse team before knowing the facts) weighed in on what is obviously a big story for the Times -- saving the job of Mets manager Willie Randolph, following the team's end of season collapse . The Times applauded the firing of Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler, who was an honorable and honest man and a good coach. But Randolph of the Mets is black and Pressler is white. And that really is all that matters for the Times.

And in the end, that is the story that Taylor and Johnson tell: For the American left and a prosecutor run amok, justice is not meant to be color-blind. If you are white, and especially if you are a white male, and even worse, one from a family with money, you are guilty and stand accused. Your social standing is crime enough. They used to call it "bad class origins" in Stalin's Russia and Mao's China.


Russian Orthodox Patriarch Explains Stand on Homosexuality to Council of Europe "Love the Sinner, Hate the Sin"

In his first visit to the Council of Europe on a mission to discuss inter-religious dialogue, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Alexy II, gave a spirited defence of Christian morality. He noted that the notion of human rights in Europe stems, at least in part from Christian morality. "Yet today there occurs a break between human rights and morality, and this break threatens the European civilization," he warned. "We can see it in a new generation of rights that contradict morality, and in how human rights are used to justify immoral behavior," he stated.

The remarks prompted British Liberal Democrat council member David Russell-Johnston to demand an explanation of the Russian Orthodox leader's opposition to the Moscow "gay pride" march. "When persistent attempts were made to hold a homosexual parade in Moscow, we believed that that meant propaganda and advertisement of sin," Alexy replied before the Council. The Patriarch compared homosexual sex acts to kleptomania and asked, "Why then (does) no one advertise kleptomania while homosexuality gets advertised via gay parades?" "It is advertisement that is being forced on people who are a very long way from it," Alexy added.

The Patriarch stressed that persons who have such temptations and engage in homosexual acts are nonetheless loved by Christians. They are he said, "sinners whom we love while we hate their sin." "But at the same time we Orthodox Christians cannot depart from what is taught by the Bible and by the apostolic tradition of the church," he added. "Nobody must try to force me or my brothers and sisters in faith to be silent and [to prevent us from] using the word sin for something that is called sin in God's Word."

Several Council of Europe members including the Russian representative applauded these remarks by the Patriarch, much to the chagrin of Mr. Russell-Johnston. The irate councilman called the Patriarch's analogy between kleptomania and homosexuality "ridiculous" and dismissed the Patriarch's remarks as merely having "repeated his aggressively intolerant position." "What was regrettable was that a lot of people applauded him," Russell-Johnston told the International Herald Tribune.

During his speech the Patriarch warned of just such intolerance of morality leading to Europe's demise. "If we ignore moral norms, we ultimately ignore freedom too," said Alexy. "Morality is freedom in action. It is a freedom brought into reality as a result of responsible choice, in which human person restricts his or her self for the good of that very person and broader society."

"Moral principles secure societal vitality and growth, as well as unity of society," he added. "And whenever moral norms are trespassed and declared to be relative, it may undermine the whole worldview of the Europeans. They may draw nigh to a disastrous moment when European nations risk losing their spiritual and cultural identity and ultimately their own place in history."


Amazing: No penalty for pedophilic Muslim -- free to work with children!


A medical student who tried to give an 11-year-old boy a "penis massage" will be allowed to undertake pediatric training as part of his degree after a Brisbane judge spared him a criminal conviction. Defence counsel for Pakistani-born Shakee Mirza, 27, this morning suggested the would-be doctor may have been inspired to touch the boy's genitals after watching sci-fi comedy film Spaceballs.

Mirza, a University of Queensland student in Australia on a study visa, was charged in February last year with attempted indecent treatment of a child. The District Court was told he had been assigned as a mentor to his victim's younger brother in 2005 by the Lions Club of Queensland under its "Aunties and Uncles" program for at-risk youth. Mirza was booted out of the scheme several months later because the organisation felt he had become too close to the family. But Crown prosecutor Vicki Loury said the part-time school tutor continued to have contact with the boys at their mother's invitation and would visit several times a week. He was also given permission to sleep in their beds.

The court heard Mirza had been watching television in a bedroom with his victim and had been massaging the child's head when he told the youngster "it would feel better" if he massaged his penis instead. The child said no, but Mirza tried to force his hands down his pants and was only stopped when the boy pushed his hand away. Despite pleading guilty to the offence, Mirza today escaped a jail term and a criminal conviction after his lawyers convinced Judge David Searles that it would ruin his future medical career, including a compulsory pediatric rotation as part of his degree. He had also donated much of his spare time to charity work and had never been in trouble before.

"Given my client's impeccable background ... he really can't offer much of an explanation," defence barrister Brad Farr said of the incident, which he stressed did not involve actual contact with the child's penis. "It was almost done in a joking fashion. "Coincidentally, they were watching a movie called Spaceballs - whether that put the idea in his head, I don't know."

Mirza was sentenced to 12 months' probation. Outside court, the boy's mother said the lack of a recorded criminal conviction meant Mirza could keep his blue card - or security clearance - allowing him close contact with children. "We've now placed our community at high risk," the woman, who cannot be identified, told the media. "I definitely feel he should have been stripped of his blue card, because the blue card allows him to become a doctor and a pediatrician." She also blasted the organisers of the "Aunties and Uncles" program for not properly "screening" mentor candidates before placing them in people's homes. "They've wiped their hands clean," she said.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007


Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court Justice, is a born story-teller. At a small dinner organized by Rebecca Hagelin and Thomas' wife, Virginia Lamp Thomas, in a wood-paneled room at the Heritage Foundation, the judge relaxed among friends, telling stories and laughing deeply when someone else delivered a punch line. Around Thomas were friends, old and new. National Review's Kate O'Beirne and Weekly Standards' Bill Kristol have known Thomas for years. Among Thomas' new friends were the best in bloggerdom: James Joyner, Tim Graham, James Taranto, Mary Katharine Ham, Sasha Volokh, LaShawn Barber, Erick Erickson, Paul Mirengoff , and Robery Bluey.

Before I get to the stories, here is the one-liner that will probably be all over the Internet tomorrow. Thomas was talking about how surprisingly positively he has been received in campuses around the country over the past two decades. It is mostly the faculty, not the students or the public that are tough on him. Of course, there are some law schools he does not expect an invitation from. "About the only way I would get invited to Columbia is if I was a Middle East dictator with nuclear weapons."

But it is his personal stories, some of which appear in his new book My Grandfather's Son: A Memoir that should force even his harshest critic to rethink their views. It is a tough and honest book and will draw you in.

When he said he enjoyed traveling across country in an RV-style bus, I asked him if he ever gets recognized by truckers. "The short answer is rarely." Then he proceeded to tell some stories. While driving his massive bus (and towing a Corvette behind), he stopped at a Flying J truck stop in Georgia. An intense black truck driver approached him. "Is there anyone famous on that bus?" "No, it is just me." Oh, he said and walked off. A few minutes later, the man came back. "Are you sure that there isn't anybody famous on that bus?" "No, only me." Not taking the hint, the man insisted that Thomas take his card and give it to his famous passenger. The Justice nonchalantly pocketed his card.

At another truck stop, a teamster approached him. "Did anyone ever tell you look a lot like Clarence Thomas?" Thomas wasn't sure what to say. "You must get that a lot, huh?" he said, walking away.

Some of the stories were revealing. At a gathering of black lawyers, Thomas, from the podium, could see a man in the front row, with his arms crossed and his face cross. Naturally, he shot his hand up as soon as the question session began. A long speech in lieu of a question followed, essentially asking how he can interpret the law by relying so heavily on the Founding Fathers when they did not recognize the rights of blacks? "The 13th amendment," Thomas said, citing the constitutional amendment that freed the slaves and provided for their equal rights under law. Thomas went on to take other questions. At the end of session, the man again raised his hand. In the course of an hour, his view on Thomas had changed. "They lied about you. What are we going to do?"

Thomas said that others have approached him at events, saying that their views about him had changed just by meeting him. In fact, Thomas said pointedly, he has been treated graciously everywhere he went. In the black community, most of all. It is only among Washington partisans and professors that he creates any controversy at all, he said.

He proudly said that we would not meet with the Supreme Court press corps to promote his book. He explained by garbling a line from Mark Twain (which he misattributed to Jefferson): It is like teaching a pig to sing. Pigs can't sing. You only make a fool of yourself and annoy the pig. Other justices, especially Kennedy, crave the worshipful attention of the New York Times and other elite media.

Bill Kristol, editor the Weekly Standard magazine, asked Thomas if there was any way he would consider running for president in 2012? Thomas laughed and said no. If he could have any other job, what would he want to do? He said that he would like to own "a small or medium sized business" somewhere in the south and "be a part of my community."

I believed him. He likes his Corvette and his bus and being out in the country and gets a charge out of meeting university football players. "You know, when they first meet you, there is this gap," he says, but it quickly dissipates when he chides them about last week's game. "Then you are really talking, about grades and life." I couldn't help but think that Thomas is a 19th century American in some ways, a Cincinnatus who is happy to return to the plow. There aren't many like him in public life anymore. Our Leviathan state attracts men who like power and crave the approval of other authorities. Thomas clearly couldn't care less. "I am the freest man on the court," he declares.

He also took issue with the press myth that the members of the court do not get along. In fact, they get along better than ever, thanks to the initiative of Sandra Day O'Connor. When Thomas joined the court, justices lunched alone or with their clerks. Under the constant prodding of O'Connor-here he did a dead-on imitation of her voice: "Now, Clarence, you know you have to come to this lunch"-the judges began to eat together and talk to each other more. All eight of the other justices will be attending a book event for Thomas' new book on Wednesday, a unprecedented event.

Another thing that bothers him about the court is its fixation on Ivy League pedigrees. He told a story about a woman working her way through American University law school at night. Somehow, she became an intern at the court and asked him for advice. Later, when she was in desperate straits, she applied for a secretarial job at the court. Thomas backed her, but made her promise to finish law school in four years. She did. She went on to clerk for two other federal judges. When she applied to clerk for him, he accepted her. Immediately, court watchers said she was "unqualified." Thomas shot his eyebrows up. He is clearly mad at the memory. "Unqualified? They had not seen her work. It was only because she was not a member of their [Ivy League] club." The fact that she went to law school at night must really have irked them.

He went on to talk about that over-emphasis on Ivy League degrees. Though he does hire his share of clerks from the elite law schools, he is happy to look outside it. What matters more, he said, is receiving a recommendation from someone he knows and respects. Five or six years after he arrived on the court, Thomas had lunch with C. Boyden Gray, Bush's judge-picker, at the University Club. (Back in the 1990s, I would sometimes see him in the club's well-appointed locker room, watching football or laughing at one of Judge David Sentelle's hilarious animal-rights jokes.) Thomas asked him if he (Thomas) was really the most qualified person for the opening at the Supreme Court. The idea that he might have been nominated because of his race gnawed at him. (Pause for a moment and listen to the pain in his question.) "Yes," said Gray. "Why?"

"Well," Gray explained. "No one asked what the criteria was." The president wanted someone who would not bend in office to suit the sirens at the New York Times. Thomas had endured more than 30 hostile hearings when he was chairman of the EEOC and he never backed down. He did what he thought was right and let the chips fall where they may. Whatever your views on Clarence Thomas, isn't that the singular quality we want in a Supreme Court justice?


Democrat hypocrisy on homosexual rights

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been doing a brisk business in harassing, entrapping, lashing, imprisoning and executing homosexuals since nearly the moment it came to power in 1979, with little notice in the West beyond the occasional human-rights report. So when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the startling claim at Columbia University last week that "we do not have homosexuals in Iran like you do in your country," it offered what could have been a learning opportunity to those who think Iran is just another misunderstood regime with an equally misunderstood president.

Such wishful thinking. The Democratic Party's presidential hopefuls spent a fair bit of time Wednesday night debating what to do about Iran, without once mentioning Ahmadinejad's peculiar world view. These are the same debaters who in August went before a gay audience to denounce Bush administration policies as "demeaning" and "degrading" toward gays. In the Nation--a magazine that excoriated Ronald Reagan upon his passing for his "inaction and bigotry against gays"--editor Katrina vanden Heuvel has nothing to say about the subject either. Instead, she devotes her latest column to denouncing last week's symbolic Senate vote to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization.

In the Guardian, another crusading voice from the left on gay rights, foreign-affairs columnist Martin Woollacott lambastes Columbia's president Lee Bollinger for his "mean-spirited" remarks to the Iranian president, which he takes as an indication that "it is still difficult to suggest that Iran has arguments and interests worth considering on their merits." But again, no mention of Mr. Ahmadinejad's attitude toward gays, much less its "merits." And on "progressive" Web sites like Democratic Underground, there are earnest debates about exactly what Mr. Ahmadinejad meant by the word "like," as if he were merely making an academic cultural comparison rather than denying the existence of an entire category of his own citizens.


Australia: Attempted coverup of African gang problem

Just what one would expect from Victoria's politically correct Lesbian police chief

IMMIGRATION Minister Kevin Andrews has accused senior police of trying to paper over a serious Sudanese gang problem, but has refused to release evidence to back up claims African migrants were a major crime threat. Despite Victorian Chief Police Commissioner Christine Nixon said Africans committed just a fraction of crime in the state and were not a problem, but Mr Andrews said anecdotal evidence suggested otherwise. The Immigration Minister cited "cabinet in confidence" for not releasing a report that he said detailed a serious problem among African refugees.

Announcing a freeze on refugees from troubled nations such as Sudan, Mr Andrews said the inability of Africans to adjust to the Australian lifestyle was a factor in the decision, which was first flagged in The Australian in February. "The advice on which we made the decision was largely material which was provided in submissions to cabinet and, as you know, cabinet submissions are confidential. But can I say that there was widespread examination of this, including by an interdepartmental committee particularly in relation to the settlement issues."

Mr Andrews said Victorian police had to admit there was a problem with violence among young African migrants. "I have anecdotal reports from police which indicate that there is a gang culture in Victoria, in some parts, and they are concerned about it," Mr Andrews said. "It concerns me that, at an official level, this seems to have been played down. But ignoring the problem won't make it go away." Police might be underplaying the seriousness of gang-related violence and refusing to label it as such in the interest of creating "a perception of community harmony", Mr Andrews said. "But the reality is that there's evidence that this is occurring," he said. "The best way to deal with it is to name the problem, for a start. If you don't name the problem, you're not going to adequately be able to deal with it."

Mr Andrews' comments came after Ms Nixon said young African men accounted for less than 1per cent of the state's crime statistics and did not present a major difficulty for law enforcement. "Even the Sudanese group, there's only really a particular group, about 100 of them actually, who are repeat offenders," Ms Nixon said. "And so they're the ones we're strongly focusing on."

Ms Nixon's official line was at odds with comments from police on the beat in Melbourne's southeast last week. "They walk around in packs," said an officer who wanted to remain anonymous. "It's a real problem at the moment for us."

John Howard said the decision to reduce intake from Africa was made as the Government adjusted its refugee program this year to favour Middle Eastern and Asian refugees, including Iraqis displaced by the war. "It's not in any way racially based but the program is just going to be rebalanced and one of the consequences of that is the reality that there will be no more people coming from Africa until at least July of next year," Mr Howard said yesterday. Mr Andrews said reducing the number of African refugees into Australia was to indicate that "we've got a challenge, we need to find a solution for it".



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

European Court Upholds Decision to Penalize Poland for Pro-Life Law

Asserts supremacy of EU standards over sovereignty of individual nations and their laws

In June of this year, the Polish government appealed the ruling of a European Human Rights Court that ordered the largely pro-life nation to pay restitution to a woman who was not permitted to obtain an abortion under strict Polish abortion law. According to the Irish Times, the court yesterday rejected Poland's appeal and confirmed the previous ruling essentially granting a higher acknowledgement to European Union (EU) standards over the sovereignty of individual nations and their laws.

As previously reported by LifeSiteNews.com, the woman in question, Alicja Tysiac, claims that in 2000 she found out that she was pregnant with her third child. At that time, according to her complaint, she was warned by numerous doctors that her pregnancy and delivery of another child could result in the deterioration of her myopic eye condition. Poland is a largely pro-life nation and permits abortion only in cases of serious health risk for the mother, when the unborn baby is conceived as a result of rape or if the baby is determined to be "seriously" handicapped.

When Tysiac's case was dismissed in Poland's courts, she then sought legal recourse with the European Court of Human Rights. The European Court initially ruled in March of this year that Poland's laws had provided for a "wrongful birth" and the country must pay the woman a compensatory sum of 25,000 euros. Ms. Tysiac's complaint had also alleged that "no procedural and regulatory framework had been put in place to enable a pregnant woman to assert her right to a therapeutic abortion, thus rendering that right ineffective." Polish officials appealed the ruling contesting that Polish law did not allow for a "right to abortion." The European Court of Human Rights has not yet released the official documentation of the "wrongful birth" appeal rejection.

Poland is also embattled with another authority in the hierarchy of the EU. Poland's EU representatives are objecting to the European Commission's recent proposal to institute a European Day Against the Death Penalty. The Polish delegation says the EU needs to instead promote a day dedicated to the protection of all human life.


Christianity "Disestablished" in Canada

Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, the highly influential editor of First Things magazine, has written that the Christian faith in Canada has become completely "disestablished". After returning from his annual summer vacation in his native Ottawa Valley, Neuhaus wrote in First Things, "It is true to say that, in most aspects of public life [in Canada], Christianity has been not only disestablished but also banished."

In an interview with the National Post, Neuhaus linked the erosion of the Christian foundation of Canadian society with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms imposed by the late Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Referring to the Charter as a "thoroughly American" document, Neuhaus told the Post's Charles Lewis, that it "is riddled through and through with the radically individual notion of the unencumbered self and equality enforced by state power." "I think Canada has suffered from it grievously. All of Canada is a fascinating case study in terms of the meaning of modernity relative to religion generally and Christianity in particular."

Fr. Neuhaus is a staunch pro-life supporter and has been a leader in forming a deep intellectual and cultural foundation for the pro-life philosophy. At the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC earlier this year, he called the "contest between the culture of Life and the culture of Death" the "greatest, moral, political, cultural contest of our time."


Boycott on Miller Beer Working

Miller supported parade featured stripper in cage hoisted above church during mass

The Catholic League in the United States which, along with 200 supporting groups, last week launched a boycott of Miller Brewing Co. has indicated that the boycott is having an effect. The boycott was launched as the result of the beer company's sponsorship of a sadomasochistic gay street parade which features full nudity and public sex acts witnessed by children who attend the parade.

The Folsom Street Fair took place yesterday with the same notorious features for which it is known. Catholic League president Bill Donohue described the scene as reported in the San Francisco Chronicle saying, "couples led each other up and down the street with dog collars and leashes, men in thong underwear played Twister..' There was also a man who was flogged to such an extent that 'red lash marks covered his back.' Other gay men decided to 'walk around naked' in front of women and children."

In a startling revelation Donohue said "there was a female stripper who was hoisted in a cage over a Roman Catholic Church on a Sunday when Masses were being said."

The response from Miller to the boycott, "has been encouraging, though incomplete," said Donohue. "The Milwaukee brewer issued a news release on September 26 saying it took exception to the use of its logo on an offensive poster (for the parade) mocking the Last Supper. Today, it extended its original statement by apologizing for the misuse of its logo, 'particularly [to] members of the Christian community who have contacted us to express their concern.'" The apology from Miller also indicated the company was reviewing its policies on event sponsorship. "We are conducting an immediate audit of our procedures for approving local marketing and sales sponsorships to ensure that this does not happen again," it said.

"We called Miller today asking for clarification of this statement, and we are pleased to note that a full-scale review of all its promotional policies is underway," said Donohue. "It is not certain at this time whether Miller plans to sponsor events like the Folsom Street Fair in the future. Accordingly, while we are not calling off the boycott, we are tabling a serious course of action that we were going to announce today. We expect that Miller will resolve this issue before too long."

To express concerns to Miller Brewing Co., go here


Detoxing Childhood: poisonous 'advice'

In the follow-up to Toxic Childhood, Sue Palmer peddles the same fears and prejudices of incompetent parents and damaged children.

Sue Palmer’s Toxic Childhood: How the Modern World is Damaging Our Children and What We Can Do About It, published in 2006, was broadly held up as a great insight into the state of childhood today. At a recent event to promote her latest book, Detoxing Childhood: What Parents Need to Know to Raise Happy, Successful Children, Palmer, who is a writer, broadcaster and education consultant, revealed that ‘detoxing childhood’ would really mean detoxing adults. The picture she paints is one of parents, well-meaning or otherwise, just too incompetent to bring up their children in a safe and proper manner. Apparently what parents need is the advice of self-styled experts such as Palmer.

According to Palmer, children’s development is under threat from three areas of change in the modern world: the increasing isolation of families, the rapid development of technology and the rise of competitive consumerism. The negative consequences of these factors dovetail together, damaging children in various ways. Children are less able to play co-operatively; their ability to sustain attention in activities requiring patience, such as reading, is impaired; and children and adults are encouraged into a mindset of destructive rivalry by aggressive advertising aimed at ever younger audiences.

It is true that neighbourhoods have changed and maybe people do live in a more isolated environment, without the kind of support and help that may have been offered by extended families in the past. It may also be true that more children live in one-parent households. But why is it automatically assumed that these changes must necessarily be damaging for children and for family life? One of my parents’ main motives for emigrating to England from India was to escape the confines of close-knit family and community life. For them, at that time in their lives, anonymity and distance from their families offered them a freedom to live their lives and choose friends on their own terms. Moreover, changes outside our immediate control will always happen - surely it is the way we deal with such events that will have a bigger impact on our children?

Palmer’s second bugbear is too much technology, too soon. According to Palmer, we adults may be able to cope with new technology and even enjoy the benefits. But when it comes to children she paints a nightmare scenario of kids wrapped up in their own on-screen worlds, unwilling or unable to communicate with anyone else. For Palmer, the high speed of computer games and television programmes results in children being far less patient, lacking the ability to appreciate that activities like reading or cooking require time. Children - impatient? Who’d have thought! Palmer seems to fantasise about a return to a golden age where children sat patiently round the family dinner table or quietly waited for cakes to rise.

Personally, I’m not at all convinced that children read less today. Just consider the rise of children’s publishing, children’s book clubs and so on. If children really are more inattentive in class today, that may be more a consequence of changes wrought in education more generally than of children’s increasing access to new technology. Due to the imposition of bureaucratic targets in education, teachers have less time and autonomy to establish the relationships and environment necessary to teach certain skills at optimal stages of children’s development. Add to this the way the curriculum is continually amended to include an increasing amount of moralising platitudes, such as compulsory classroom discussions on healthy eating and obesity, then it’s no wonder children are inclined to switch off. These cack-handed interventions into the classroom are unlikely to inspire the inquisitive imagination of children.

As for mealtime conversations en famille, again, the reality belies the simplistic picture Palmer paints. Eating together is no guarantee of joy and harmony - it can be rather tortuous times for some children and parents. Even seemingly blissful meals with extended family and friends in Italian olive oil advert-like settings cannot guarantee that a young child won’t be itching to be off and away into his or her own world.

And not eating together is not in itself a recipe for rearing dysfunctional children. Most people probably do eat together when they can. There is the popular urban myth of those feral children who cannot use cutlery at the age of six, but I suspect this is based less on reality than it is a projection of our own insecurities and prejudices. If there is the odd child who really cannot use cutlery, surely someone can teach him or her. Do we really need to see isolated examples such as this as a premonition of social chaos to come?

A prominent contention in Detoxing Childhood is that we are all far more individualised than in the past; we mistrust and fear other people more. I wouldn’t disagree with her description, but I do take issue with Palmer blaming this trend on the effects of ‘competitive consumption’. In short, Palmer argues that television and other media bombard us, and children, with ads that make us want more and more to get one up on everyone else. I was amazed at such a simplistic view of both the media and the public. In media effects theory, the injection model of people passively absorbing whatever advertisers tell us - and become short-fused rivals as a consequence - has long been discredited.

Any cursory observation of children would show that they are quite capable of playing for hours on the computer or watching television by themselves, asking pertinent, as well as daft, questions about the world, and then meeting up with friends to play games based on shared experiences of playing similar computer games or watching the same programmes.

Having accused most people of being uninterested in anyone else than themselves because they are too busy being competitive and consuming, I wonder if Palmer has given a thought to the large percentage of the world who are unable to consume much at all? And for whom technological development is painfully slow?

Palmer would probably refute the accusation of being a technophobe and she is vociferous in condemning government intervention into teaching or parenting. She is a big supporter of people getting together informally to solve problems - as long as we accept her definitions of what constitutes ‘a problem’.

She advocates, for example, mums getting together to discuss banning Bratz dolls and protecting children from peer pressure. I suspect she would not endorse mums getting together to feed burgers or chips to their children. Personally, I would be more concerned about what message a group of adults taking Bratz so seriously gives to children. If Palmer does not want young girls to play with Bratz, wear mini skirts and crop tops, why can’t she just say so as a matter of her opinion (or prejudice)? Does she assume that a mother is (or should be) so insecure, so unable to cope with a tantrum, that she can only do this if all the other well-informed mums support her in her private choice and join her in condemning those who disagree? It would seem so. And herein lies a far more deep-seated problem.

In as much as there is growing recognition that trying to create a totally risk-free environment may hamper or delay children’s ability to develop their own skills in recognising and dealing with potentially harmful situations, it is hard to see how Palmer’s analysis and proposed remedies will help. Palmer underestimates children’s resilience and adaptability and she overestimates the potential of adults to irrevocably harm them, intentionally or not, in the early years of life.

Adults, especially those who deal with children, have been undermined to the point where parents are seen as in need of advice on every aspect of child rearing. For example, even as basic an activity as watching television with your child now requires expert intervention. (Palmer suggests playing games with children such as ‘spot the advert’ - can you imagine the look of pity on your child’s face?). We do not need to turn watching television together with our children into a media studies class, and leaving children unsupervised in front of the telly will not result in them becoming passive blobs. Palmer’s assertions on such matters sometimes border on the hysterical.

The kind of catch-all ‘advice’ from Palmer is not only pointless and counterproductive - another thing for parents to add to their checklist of dos and don’ts - it is also pernicious. It is clear that her fears for children are really just that: her fears – but in her books, they are projected onto the masses. The appeal of her ideas lies less in their veracity but more in the way they fuel a contemporary climate amongst parents where we are encouraged to feel more confident through judgement and condemnation of those who don’t conform. This divisive outlook is truly poisonous.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

A new moral panic in Britain

Families endangered by do-gooders again. Note that in one of my more widely-cited papers, I found no relationship between attitude to animals and attitude to people

Does harming an animal suggest that you would harm a child? Many people wouldn’t think that one kind of behaviour would necessarily be linked to the other. Yet, it is claimed that agencies are now taking children away from their parents based on this very thinking, which appears to have become remarkably mainstream in academic and professional thought.

This latest development has echoes of the Satanic abuse moral panic of the late Eighties and early Nineties, when a substantial number of children were removed from their homes on the basis of allegations of ritual abuse - arguably on the basis of panic rather than evidence. Some cases of ritual abuse, then and since, are real, but the frequency of such reports has not been maintained, which suggests that the incidence of Satanic abuse at that time was as much perceived as real. In a BBC documentary broadcast in 2006, Real Story: When Satan Came to Town, the agencies responsible stated that such a sequence of events could ‘not be repeated [as] in the intervening years the whole landscape of child protection has changed’, citing better line-management; improved inter-agency co-operation; and a more professionalized work force.

For all that, it is now claimed that a small number of children have been removed from their families by professional agencies because an ‘abused’ animal is living in the same house. Meanwhile, vets are encouraged to check animals for sex abuse, a practice suggested to be fairly widespread (1). The assumption behind these actions is that violence is linked (and therefore predictable), and an abused animal indicates the likely presence of abused children. This new ‘moral panic’ resembles the earlier one, and the confidence of those claiming ‘it could never happen again’ appears misplaced.

Satanic panic

The concept of a moral panic was developed by Stanley Cohen in 1972. It is understood as a pattern of mass behaviour, based on the false or exaggerated perception that some cultural behaviour or group of people, frequently a subculture, is deviant and a menace to society. Moral panics are fuelled by media coverage, framed in terms of morality, and expressed as outrage rather than fear. They often revolve around issues of sex or violence, and involve elements of legend.

However moral panics are theorised, contemporary ones have a tendency to cluster or ‘stick’ to other panics sharing overarching concerns, which makes it much more difficult to identify them at an early stage and to argue against them coherently. So, the ‘paedophile panic’ (2), and ‘child killer’ panic (3), co-exist with both the Satanic and the ‘links’ panic.

The idea of a highly organised cult of Satanists intent on the sexual abuse and murder of children appeared in the early 1980s. Child sexual abuse is an obvious candidate for contemporary moral panics, being defined not merely as a social ill, but as evil. The Satanic panic, based on the belief that children were being subjected to ritualised sexual abuse, can be traced back to a nursery in California. A psychiatrist, Lawrence Pazder, was writing a book about a patient (later his wife) who had reported abuse by a Satanic cult earlier in her life. The story of the nursery was reported by the media, which eventually led to Lawrence Pazder being invited to comment. Padzer claimed that the accused nursery worker was central to an international Satanic conspiracy. The Satanic panic was launched, but while there were many twists and tales in this story, the nursery worker was later cleared of all accusations.

At the time, many professionals readily believed that organized networks of Satanists were engaged in brainwashing and abusing victims. Others judged it wise to downplay Satan’s role, but still thought it likely that networks of ritualised abuse were commonplace. While some elements of the story seem bizarre (involving sharks and dragons killing children, babies cooked in ovens etc), over a short period social workers on both sides of the Atlantic took large numbers of children ‘into care’. Specialist teams were formed (with 80-90 such cases across the UK), and within a relatively short time many groups of social workers and others were convinced that children were caught up in a conspiracy involving, among others, freemasons and police officers. Britain’s major child protection charity, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) published so-called ‘Satanic indicators’, to help case workers identify a likely profile (4).

Eventually, cases in the UK (and elsewhere) died away and few today consider them to have the credibility they were once granted. This is not to deny the fact that children are abused, that abuse in some cases is ritualistic, and that some children remained in care for perfectly good reasons. But it is no accident that the huge majority of the families caught up in this panic lived in relative poverty, leading some to describe it as a ‘penalisation of the poor’. Although the responsible agencies claim to have learned from these mistakes, today in the same countries many now seek a cross-reporting protocol aimed at ensuring children can be removed from their families if an ‘abused’ animal lives in their household.

Links panic

There are similarities between the Satanic panic and this more recent manifestation which is based on the cultural myth that ‘violence breeds violence’. Causal links have been elaborated in the ‘cycles of abuse’ model of family therapeutic literature and, although the hypothesis is highly contested, it has acquired the status of a truism. Many accept uncritically that all violence is linked: thus adults who harm animals also harm children, and such relationships are clear cut, consistent, and predictable.

However, there are a number of difficulties with this approach. There is evidence that people deal with the experience of violence in diverse and unpredictable ways. The language of abuse fails to acknowledge that ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ varies between classes, cultures and sometimes sexes. Harming animals is morally complex and culturally ambiguous, yet research and practice tends to treat it as simple and unproblematic. Few studies provide a satisfactory definition of what is to be classified as animal abuse and this is compounded by disputes about what counts as child abuse.

The UK’s main animal welfare organisation, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), currently prosecutes up to 1,000 people a year, but the majority of these cases involve neglect not violence. To assume that neglecting an animal can be linked to violence towards a child appears even more spurious. Accounts often report the same few infamous criminals (Jeffrey Dahmer, Fred West, the Boston Strangler, Jamie Bulger’s killers) who have admitted to harming animals, but such sensationalist ‘evidence’ cannot hide the absence of serious base-line data. The links panic is reliant on the kind of consequential fallacy which would be noticed by most undergraduate philosophy students: all serial killers have mothers but not everyone who has a mother is a serial killer.

The problem is further compounded by whether the kind of people sampled in this research are likely to be telling the truth. Owning up to harming animals is difficult but a criminal sample, with a hard image to maintain, will readily admit to such behaviour. The essentially individualistic approach that characterises most of the links and cycles arguments emphasises individual pathology. As before, the NSPCC have produced guidelines (5). Broader issues concerning the socio-economic context of violence towards animals are disregarded – and again families caught up in this panic tend to be poor.

The links panic also has its origins in the US. A small number of academics have promoted ‘the links’, mainly via conferences, since the mid-1990s. Belief in the argument is now so strong that to publish academic papers to the contrary in most US or UK violence-orientated journals is challenging, as most of the likely referees take links for granted. The missionary zeal stands comparison with those who supported the earlier Satanic panic.

As a participant at the first such conference held in England (Making the Links, NSPCC and RSPCA, February 2001), I attempted to distribute a brief questionnaire asking participants (mainly animal and child welfare workers) to specify their occupation, and to note down the worst thing (if any) they had done to an animal, and to post their anonymous responses in a box at the back of the conference room (a similar exercise with groups of trainee social workers had proved informative). This was prohibited at the last moment, in spite of prior permission having been granted. Given that the links argument relies on the assumption that harming animals is a predictive variable in indicating an individual who is likely to be exceptionally violent towards people in the future, suppressing such information is suspect, and suggests doubts about research funded by organisations with a particular brief. Yet such agencies seek ‘a cross-reporting protocol’ between animal welfare and child protection agencies, an idea and practice based on a presumption of links.


The UK government has recently reviewed the risks of employing sex offenders and has determined that the category of people requiring ‘vetting’ should be extended to cover anybody ‘whose work… places them in a position of trust in relation to children’ (6). This could reasonably be expected to include bus drivers, shop workers, cinema ushers, and even other children’s parents. Some aspects of the UK’s current vetting includes ‘soft’ intelligence (eg, police information on convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings and even allegations) as if all these are equally significant (7). If cross-reporting procedures are extended to include information of those cautioned and/or prosecuted for neglecting an animal, the potential for major miscarriages of justice is apparent.

As a result of previous research and publication, I have been approached by a number of individuals and representatives of a self-help group for those experiencing difficulties with the RSPCA. They claim: ‘Very often people who come to our help-line say that the RSPCA turn up on their doorstep in the morning and take their animals, and social services arrive in the afternoon to take their children, saying that they have been informed of the studies linking the two abuses. ’ If this is the case, this seems perilously close to similar actions during the Satanic panic. However, these processes go unreported in the UK context, because while reporting animal abuse is widespread, child care proceedings remain sub judice.

While it would be foolish to claim that there is never a ‘link’ between violent behaviours, extreme or exotic cases cannot provide secure foundations for generalised arguments, predictions, or policies that can safely or ethically be applied to the mass of the population. Recent discussions have treated the Satanic panic as a modern day witch-hunt with little foundation, and I suggest that, in retrospect, similar comments will be directed at simplified forms of the links argument and the panic it has induced.

How many under-resourced individuals and families will have their lives disrupted or ruined in the meantime? How many children will have their lives wrecked by those very vetting procedures which it is claimed are in place to protect them? How much collateral damage is acceptable?


Reject the Lie of White "Genocide" Against Native Americans

Few opinions I've expressed on air have produced a more indignant, outraged reaction than my repeated insistence that the word "genocide" in no way fits as a description of the treatment of Native Americans by British colonists or, later, American settlers.

I've never denied that the 400 year history of American contact with the Indians includes many examples of white cruelty and viciousness --- just as the Native Americans frequently (indeed, regularly) dealt with the European newcomers with monstrous brutality and, indeed, savagery. In fact, reading the history of the relationship between British settlers and Native Americans its obvious that the blood-thirsty excesses of one group provoked blood thirsty excesses from the other, in a cycle that listed with scant interruption for several hundred years.

But none of the warfare (including an Indian attack in 1675 that succeeded in butchering a full one-fourth of the white population of Connecticut, and claimed additional thousands of casualties throughout New England) on either side amounted to genocide. Colonial and, later, the American government, never endorsed or practiced a policy of Indian extermination; rather, the official leaders of white society tried to restrain some of their settlers and militias and paramilitary groups from unnecessary conflict and brutality.

Moreover, the real decimation of Indian populations had nothing to do with massacres or military actions, but rather stemmed from infectious diseases that white settlers brought with them at the time they first arrived in the New World. UCLA professor Jared Diamond, author of the universally acclaimed bestseller "Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies," writes: "Throughout the Americas, diseases introduced with Europeans spread from tribe to tribe far in advance of the Europeans themselves, killing an estimated 95 percent of the pre-Columbian Native American population. The most populous and highly organized native societies of North America, the Mississippian chiefdoms, disappeared in that way between 1492 and the late 1600's, even before Europeans themselves made their first settlement on the Mississippi River (page 78)....

"The main killers were Old World germs to which Indians had never been exposed, and against which they therefore had neither immune nor genetic resistance. Smallpox, measles, influenza, and typhus rank top among the killers." (page 212). "As for the most advanced native societies of North America, those of the U.S. Southeast and the Mississippi River system, their destruction was accomplished largely by germs alone, introduced by early European explorers and advancing ahead of them" (page 374)

Obviously, the decimation of native population by European germs represents an enormous tragedy, but in no sense does it represent a crime. Stories of deliberate infection by passing along "small-pox blankets" are based exclusively on two letters from British soldiers in 1763, at the end of the bitter and bloody French and Indian War. By that time, Indian populations (including those in the area) had already been terribly impacted by smallpox, and there's no evidence of a particularly devastating outbreak as a result of British policy.


Faith and Liberal Fundamentalism

In human society, there are many elements of behavior and philosophy that contrast with one another. In this essay, the subject is an element I refer to as "faith in the future". That is not to say specifically faith in God, or faith in a philosophy, but faith in general.

In this context, faith can be defined as a belief that there is something bigger, more important in the world than one's self, and that the future is something we should strive to make better. A lack of faith, therefore, is a belief that one is powerless and that things won't get better, no matter what one does.

In the advanced Western societies, the proportion of people with faith in the future is declining. I believe this growing loss of faith is caused by a philosophy which has overgrown its practical limitations and robbed people of their ability to have dreams that involve anything more than personal success and money. I call this philosophy Liberal Fundamentalism. It is, most specifically, a belief that mankind can control society positively with bureaucracy alone.

In practical terms, Liberal Fundamentalism has replaced all forms of faith with the idea that society should be run according to rules set down by a vaguely defined group of supposedly intellectually superior people whom I shall refer to as the Liberal Fundamentalists. Please take note that my tongue is in my cheek. These people are not elected, not constrained by any written text and are free to change their philosophy at any time. They make up a small part of society, but are basically socialists in political perspective.

They strongly reject religion, as should be expected, because religion is in direct competition with their goals; indeed, religion is their direct opposite in every important way, since religion has a more defined structure and written text as a basis for that structure. They are true socialists, in that their philosophy allows no other. They embrace capitalism only because it's a way through which to control society.

The Liberal Fundamentalists have a noble goal, which is to make the world a better place. They do not, however, understand the real concept of faith. They believe that they KNOW the truth, they have reasoned it out, and therefore they expect people to have faith in them -- something that is impossible, as you cannot have faith in an undefined philosophy by an undefined group.

Societies in Balance

In Western Europe, we can see from history that the concept of democracy that began in Greece has flourished best when it operated in conjunction with capitalism, religion and freedom in a society in balance (hereafter referred to as Western Civilization). In Western Europe, this reached a level of success that was truly world-changing. The contrasting socialist dictatorship in the USSR simply could not compete or achieve the same levels of accomplishment. In the US, this reached a high level of success, and it was transplanted into Japan after World War II. The success of Japan with its own version of this balance is a truly amazing chapter in human history.

Now this success is eroding. Western Europe was the first to begin this decline, which is best seen in the creation of the European Community, the design of which has removed much of the effect of religion in society and created a socialist, and basically non-democratic, bureaucratic form of government - call it Social Capitalism, run by Liberal Fundamentalists. They removed religion's influence in the EC by eroding its foundations, and then replacing its functions and finally its daily influence. Through both the media and the school systems, the citizenry now are taught to believe that it's the government's job to create a stable society, correct imbalances, fix problems, help the poor, teach the children and make all decisions regarding the difference between right and wrong in all areas of human life. The government should have the power to redistribute the earnings of the more successful. When this fails, it is the fault of either one particular leader, or perhaps a party, but never the system.

The citizenry are taught to distrust capitalism, distrust business, distrust successful people (except Liberal Fundamentalists), distrust religion and to place all responsibility for control of their lives in the government. The intellectually elite Liberal Fundamentalists control the government, as they largely control the media and the bureaucracy, but they remain aloof. They assign blame when things do not go right. They are never wrong, and technically they don't exist as an entity. Their ranks change with the wind. There are no elections.

It's Happening Here, Too

In the US, this process is gaining momentum. It is most easily seen in the concept of "Politically Correct" - a term that's astonishing in its honesty. PC is more strict than religion and much, much more powerful. It has no basis in anything. It changes with the weather. If you go against it, you are punished more severely than if you break an actual law, and there is no trial. Your only defense is to blame childhood abuse or drug addiction and go into rehabilitation. I do not mean that as a joke.

Because most people don't see the process for what it is, they are not organized to resist it. Liberal Fundamentalism is a basic philosophy, not an organization. It is in the ACLU. It is in Hillary's "Village" vision. It is in our schools and slowly it is taking root in society. The media has largely succumbed to the concept, because it is so easy to think that government should make things right. They do not see that by giving over too much power to the government, freedom is lost, as is our faith in the future.

The subject of right and wrong is worth exploring in this context. Today we consider people whose behavior is abominable to be "victims." (Just think of the unending spectacles provided by the likes of Paris Hilton and Brittany Spears. We are coming to believe that dirt is news, rather than events and changes in society.) But when we don't hold people responsible for their behavior we lose our own faith. If one sees no penalty for a behavior, one is likely to do it regardless of the injury it may cause another. In the past, religion placed boundaries on our behavior - and with it, faith that if we behaved better, society would be better. Liberal Fundamentalism has been unable to provide such boundaries, except with political correctness. It's a sad state of affairs.

Perhaps the problem can be best seen in young Blacks. The disproportionate number who are unskilled, poorly educated and unambitious is not due to anything genetic. It stems from a lack of faith in the future due entirely to a widely held belief that their future is desperate and they can't do anything to make it better. One Black man commented to me: "It is embarrassing to see blacks come here from the Caribbean and Africa and work hard, save their money and become successful in a generation, with so many of my fellow American blacks not making the effort."

The Liberal Fundamentalists have made it clear: this problem is due to slavery 150 years ago and to prejudiced Whites today. But while slavery can easily be seen as the root so long ago, and prejudice had a powerful effect in the more recent past, the rest of their perspective is completely wrong. If a young Black works hard today, he or she can succeed just as any other member of society can. The challenge is a bit greater, but he or she can succeed.

In the 1960s the Liberal Fundamentalists came up with a "solution" called welfare. I once heard a Black man on television refer to welfare are one of the most poorly thought-out government programs of all time, as it took away self-respect. He went on to say that Affirmative Action was the worst program of all. That's because it caused people to achieve positions they were not due, and took away their pride of accomplishment. He also added that it caused every successful Black to acquire a stain, the question being whether the success he or she had achieved was deserved or not.

What is "Faith"?

My friend, a Methodist minister, once told me a response he's developed to religious questions from people who doubt their faith. He asks: "Do you admire people you see as better people than yourself? Do you have a set of rules you follow regarding the way you treat others? Do you try to live a better life, to be a better person? Do you believe that there are things, be it country, right and wrong, or society, more important than you in this world? If you do, you have a faith. It may not be religion, but you have faith."

Consider the issue of falling birth-rates: Why are populations shrinking throughout Western civilization? Some will say the pressures of a two-career household result in fewer children. Some say women who want "careers like men have" are at fault. Some say it is due to economic pressures. In my opinion, it's a combination of factors -- but one we cannot ignore is faith. When you have little faith in the future being better, you have little interest in bringing children into it. For a society to maintain its population levels, the average birth rate per woman should be between two and three children. This allows for death, infertility and those who choose to not have children.

If you look at liberal leaders in this country, how many have even two children? How many have three or more? The Clintons are a perfect example. With Hillary's "village" philosophy, we must wonder if she spent a lot of time raising her own daughter.

In contrast, birth rates are much higher than ours in societies with strong religious beliefs. For example, if current trends continue Moslems will be in the majority in France, England, and indeed throughout much of Western Europe. The population of India, and of other countries with strong religious beliefs, is growing while Western civilization is shrinking. They look to the future; we live in the present.

Most importantly, they believe in a higher spirit, while our society has largely fallen into a belief that we are just a bunch of molecules, formed at random. That nothing really matters. "I might as will live for today, for my own personal pleasure. Why bring children into this rotten world?"

Faith requires we NOT accept the idea that people are not responsible for their actions --except corporate executives, politicians and generals. Faith requires that we believe things can get better. Faith requires that we take responsibility for our own actions, and hold others accountable for theirs.

We must honor those members of our society who are productive and strong, and encourage our young to admire them. Finally, rather than intellectualizing about the future - as the Liberal Fundamentalists are always doing - we must learn from what has worked so well in the past. Experiments are fine, but success is truth.



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Black SCOTUS judge Clarence Thomas on Leftist racism

Thomas's most deeply felt opinions are about race, and he pulls no punches. For Thomas, the menacing racists who donned white sheets in the segregated South of his childhood are as bad or worse as the northern liberal zealots in suits and ties. "These people who claim to be progressive . have been far more vicious to me than any southerner," Thomas says, "and it is purely ideological."

Thomas talks about the virulent racism he encountered growing up in the segregated South, when blacks were considered second-class citizens and kept separate from whites by law, and he equates those attitudes with the stereotypes he believes people hold today. "People get bent out of shape about the fact that when I was a kid, you could not drink out of certain water fountains. Well, the water was the same. My grandfather always said that, 'The water's exactly the same.' But those same people are extremely comfortable saying I can't drink from this fountain of knowledge," Thomas says. "They certainly don't see themselves as being like the bigots in the South. Well, I've lived both experiences. And I really don't see that they're any different from them."

He says his critics - the people who question whether he is smart or qualified to be on the Court or who suggest he merely does what a white Supreme Court colleague dictates - are as also as bigoted as the whites of his childhood in the deep South. "People feel free to say about me what they think about lots of blacks," Thomas said in an interview in his chambers at the Supreme Court. "Because of the heterodox views I've taken, they have license to say it about me with impunity."

Sixteen years after the bitter confirmation hearings that would forever put the name "Anita Hill" in any story written about him, Thomas remains one of the most compelling and divisive figures in public life. That is both ironic and inevitable for a man who, on the surface, appears to be a study in conflicts. He is black, but a conservative. He is contrarian and independent, but wants deeply to connect with people. He holds a job he never wanted, but has strong ideas about how to do it. He fiercely protects his privacy, but has written a book that is intensely personal and, at times, anguished.

Thomas's life and experiences - growing up in the Jim Crow South, integrating all-white public schools as the only black student, confronting more latent racism after he fled to what he hoped would be "utopia" in the North - clearly have influenced how he views the law and social policies like affirmative action. His brutal 1991 confirmation battle only reinforced those deeply held views. He says he believes every discussion of race in America is fundamentally dishonest. "It's even more dishonest than the '60s," he says.

He is adamantly opposed to affirmative action, but for entirely different reasons than white conservatives who drive the debate by arguing it's unfair to white people. Thomas says affirmative action instead has hurt blacks. It not only sends them into environments in which they are doomed to struggle instead of soar, but it also perpetuates negative stereotypes that whites hold today that all blacks are inferior to them and don't belong - just as whites in the South assumed 50 years ago.

"These ideologies that claim to be so warm toward minorities actually turn out to be quite pernicious," Thomas says. Under affirmative action, Thomas says, whites will forever believe blacks enroll in top schools or hold good jobs only because the institutions lowered their standards to accept them - regardless of whatever qualifications an individual may actually have. The assumption is that blacks, Thomas says, are not and cannot be as good as whites. "Once you start making these decisions and judgments about people's capabilities based on race, it is forever locked in," Thomas says. "And you can see it play out throughout my confirmation and throughout the subsequent years that I've been on the Court."

And he says he believes the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearings into Anita Hill's allegation of sexual harassment - when 14 white Senators asked excruciatingly private questions about pornography and penis sizes - would not have occurred had they both been white. "I doubt it," he says forcefully. "Can you think of any other examples?" In discussing the hearings into Hill's allegations, Thomas's angriest words are for Democratic senators, the liberal interest groups and the media. He turns a blowtorch on each, blasting them in turn for their respective roles in what he calls "the most inhumane thing" that ever has ever happened to him.

At the time, he saw those hearings in a racial context. Time has only made him more assured. "I'd grown up fearing the lynch mobs of the Ku Klux Klan; as an adult I was starting to wonder if I'd been afraid of the wrong white people all along - where I was being pursued not by bigots in white robes, but by left-wing zealots draped in flowing sanctimony," he wrote in his book.

In the interview at his home, with his wife Virginia at his side during part of it, Thomas talks in detail about the hearings and how he believes they perpetuated the vilest stereotypes about black men - stereotypes about sexual aggression that had long condemned them to death in the South and had been recounted by African-American novelists in harrowing detail. It all, he says was an effort to destroy his nomination and keep him off the Court.

He says he had to be "dehumanized" and "destroyed," because he held views considered heretical for a black man - because, as he puts it, he was in a different ideological neighborhood and refused to buy into the views that whites had "disseminated as the prevailing view for blacks." "I saw it for what it was, and I still see it for exactly what it was," Thomas says. "I think it was an effort to keep me in my place."

No justice in modern American history has been subjected to such vitriolic personal attacks as Clarence Thomas. Many liberal blacks view him with anger or disgust and consider him a traitor to his race, suggesting he is doing the bidding of white conservatives seeking to undo a generation of progress on civil rights. He been portrayed as a lawn jockey, a 'house slave," and repeatedly called an "Uncle Tom," including by prominent black officials.

Many white liberals, on the other hand, view him with disdain, questioning his intellect and qualifications - questions, incidentally, that aren't typically raised about Thomas by blacks. Even when presented with hard documentary evidence - memos and notes taken by Justice Harry Blackmun - that Thomas has been independent of Justice Antonin Scalia from the beginning and has influenced the Court in a number of areas, many white liberals refuse to acknowledge it.

Thomas views it all through a racial lens. He says he is not wounded by the criticisms of his fellow blacks that he is uncaring about other members of his race, which he dismisses as akin to a racial slur hurled from"from a bus driving by or a pickup truck on a rural road." But at the same time he says he is hurt - saying he wishes someone would just hear him and what he is trying to say.

"Why else would you take on virtually everybody, and take on the prevailing notions about race? Why would you take the criticism if you didn't care? I mean it's easy to go along with the crowd and sort of play that game - that doesn't require any courage or backbone," Thomas says. "It took a lot more to say, 'I think something is wrong.'"

Instead of being a hypocrite for opposing affirmative action after supposedly benefiting from it, a frequent charge, Thomas says affirmative action actually harmed him and that he believes he should be able to criticize it. "Once we're set on something that's the accepted wisdom, other people like me, who have questions, suddenly become heretics - you can't talk about it, you can't say, 'Look, I have good intentions, too. I just don't agree with you,'" Thomas says. "Why wouldn't it be just as easy to say, 'Well, here's somebody who went through it, and he has some problems with it based on his experience, and his intentions are as good as the people who are the authors of the initial policy?' But that doesn't happen."

But Thomas is much more critical of the white liberals who have dismissed him as an intellectual lightweight. "It's similar to what you had in the South, you know: 'you're stupid because you're black,' that 'you smell bad because you're black.' I mean, it's all the same thing," Thomas says. "And I don't understand why people . buy into it and don't see the long-term damage."

He believes whites again have created a system where blacks have to stay in a certain place - this time ideologically, not geographically. Slavery evolved into segregation; segregation evolved into an entrenched system of racial preferences, paternalism and condescension - a modern-day system, Thomas says, that also keeps blacks inferior and ideologically segregated. "Whites can think anything they want, and we can have opinions about frivolous things, like I could be a (Washington) Nationals fan, as opposed to being an (Baltimore) Orioles fan, Oh, that's ok. But if it's important, if you're black, you all have to think the same thing," Thomas says. "Can you imagine someone saying that about whites, that, 'well, you're white, you're all supposed to think the same thing.' That would be considered ludicrous."

And the discussion of affirmative action, he says, is particularly damaging. It's become an issue that pits blacks against whites, liberals against conservatives - to the point that it's almost impossible to honestly debate its impact, Thomas said. Thomas spoke at length about how his own experiences as a black conservative and a black justice prove his point. Because he was admitted to Yale Law School under affiramative action after graduating in the top two percent of his class at Holy Cross. benefited from affirmative action at Yale Law School, he said people have questioned his qualifications and discounted his achievements, he says. Even as a Justice, he says, people continue to believe he merely has "followed" Justice Scalia because a black man couldn't possibly hold those views or be smart enough to come up with them on his own.

"Give me a break. I mean this is part of the - you know, the black guy is supposed to follow somebody white. We know that," Thomas says. "Come on, we know the story behind that. I mean there's no need to sort of tip-toe around that . The story line was that, well I couldn't be doing this myself, he must be doing it for me because I'm black. That's obvious. "Again, I go back to my point. Who were the real bigots? It's obvious," Thomas says.

More here


Spotted on the London Underground: an Amnesty sticker demanding "Stop raping Darfur". Who was that aimed at: commuting Sudanese militiamen? Or was it just there to turn our work journey into another guilt trip?

Some of those on Sunday's London march for action on Darfur wore blindfolds, supposedly to symbolise the West's refusal to face the truth. To me it rather symbolised the blind ignorance of the pro-intervention lobby. Why are those who protest against the disastrous intervention in Iraq demanding more of the same for Sudan? Do they really think it will be all right if Brown and Sarkozy lead the charge instead of Bush and Blair? Duhh-fur!

The crusaders won't learn the lesson that such interventions do not work. They perpetuate conflicts, turn civil wars into international theatres where local actors compete to win outside support, and impose hopeless states. Never mind Iraq, look at "success stories" such as Kosovo or East Timor.

The pro-interventionists drown out these inconvenient truths with pop videos and atrocity stories. As Professor Mahmood Mamdani, of Columbia University, points out, their presentation of the Darfur conflict looks more like a voyeuristic "pornography of violence", spiced up with promiscuous claims of deaths - now 120,000, now a quarter of million, now 400,000.

But then, the liberal crusaders for Darfur are really driven more by events over here, seeking a foreign cause to provide a sense of outraged moral righteousness. They are drawn to Africa as a stage on which to strike dramatic poses and draw the clear line between Good and Evil that seems elusive at home. So the interventionist script reduces the historical and political complexities of the Darfur conflict to a fairytale.

As George Clooney informs us: "It's not a political issue. There is only right and wrong." Or as a bloke from the British pop group Travis, who went to Darfur for Save the Children, writes: "Africa is a very complex place, but the Darfur crisis is quite simple." Thanks for the analysis - send in the troops!

I have been among those few on the Left who opposed such self-serving moral crusades, from Bosnia to Darfur, because turning these crises into moral melodramas can only make matters worse for those on the receiving end of compassionate militarism. It is not so easy to get a bandwagon rolling after Iraq. Mr Brown will support the UNAfrican Union forces, but won't be Gordon of Khartoum. Yet the crusaders maintain the imperial illusion that is "our" job to save Africa from itself. "Don't look away now" is their campaign slogan. For once, they have a point. Let's not look away, but face up to the hard truth about interventions and conclude, as they say: never again.


Absurd pandering to Muslim attention-seekers in Britain

MUSLIM supermarket checkout staff who refuse to sell alcohol are being allowed to opt out of handling customers' bottles and cans of drink. Islamic workers at Sainsbury's who object to alcohol on religious grounds are told to raise their hands when encountering any drink at their till so that a colleague can temporarily take their place or scan items for them. [What a useless employee!] Other staff have refused to work stacking shelves with wine, beer and spirits and have been found alternative roles in the company.

Sainsbury's said this weekend it was keen to accommodate the religious beliefs of all staff but some Islamic scholars condemned the practice, saying Muslims who refused to sell alcohol were reneging on their agreements with the store. Islam states that Muslims should not consume alcohol, but opinion is divided on whether it is permissible to be involved in the sale of it. Mustapha, a Muslim checkout worker at the company's store in Swiss Cottage, northwest London, interrupts his work to ensure that he does not have to sell or handle alcohol. Each time a bottle or can of alcohol comes along the conveyor belt in front of him, Mustapha either swaps places discreetly with a neighbouring attendant or raises his hand so that another member of staff can come over and pass the offending items in front of the scanner before he resumes work.

Some of the staff delegated to handle the drink for Mustapha are themselves obviously Muslim, including women in hijab head coverings. However, a staff member at the store told a reporter that two other employees had asked to be given alternative duties after objecting to stacking drinks shelves. Mustapha told one customer: "I can't sell the alcohol because of my religion. It is Ramadan at the moment."

His customers did not appear to have any objection to his polite refusal to work with alcohol. One said: "I have no issues with it at all, it really doesn't bother me."

However, some senior Muslims were less approving. Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, director of the Muslim Institute and leader of the Muslim parliament, said: "This is some kind of overenthusiasm. One expects professional behaviour from people working in a professional capacity and this shows a lack of maturity. "Sainsbury's is being very good, they are trying to accommodate the wishes of their employees and we commend that. The fault lies with the employee who is exploiting and misusing their goodwill. It makes no difference if it is only happening over Ramadan."

Ibrahim Mogra, chairman of the inter-faith committee of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said: "Muslim employees should look at the allowances within Muslim law to enable them to be better operating employees and not be seen as rather difficult to cater for."

A spokeswoman for Sainsbury's, confirming Mustapha's stance, said: "At the application stage we ask the relevant questions regarding any issues about handling different products and where we can we will try and accommodate any requirements people have, but it depends on the needs of the particular store."



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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 October, 2007

Having forgotten their God and his people Israel, old mainstream Methodists lust after the pagan righteousness of Leftism instead

The Evil One himself would be proud of reasoning which defends Israel's attackers and says that only Israel can do wrong

The United Methodist Church's official lobby office is urging church agencies and members to divest their holdings in Caterpillar Inc. because the company sells bulldozers to Israel. United Methodist General Board of Church and Society sponsored the resolution, accusing Caterpillar of facilitating Israel's destruction of Palestinian property. Caterpillar, along with Israel, was the target of a lawsuit by the family of Rachel Corrie after the activist was crushed by a bulldozer in 2003 while attempting to block the destruction of a Palestinian home used to facilitate arms smuggling. The resolution will go before the United Methodist General Conference in April 2008.

The 7.9 million member church's pension agency reportedly has $5 million in Caterpillar stock out of $15 billion in assets. Other mainline churches, including the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Church of England, recently have rejected similar measures. The denomination's General Assembly had voted 431-62 to divest from the Jewish state. At the time, the PCUSA was believed to be the largest organization or institution to join the divestment campaign against the Jewish state. It was the first Christian denomination to do so, but later decisions reversed that.

As WND reported in June, the United Church of Christ's General Synod adopted a resolution "in support of a renewed and balanced study and response to the conflict between Palestine and Israel." Previously, the United Church of Christ had approved resolutions calling for the tearing down of walls constructed by Israel to protect itself from terrorist attacks coming from the Palestinian Authority territories and for divestment from the Jewish state.

Mark Tooley of the IRD, said the Methodist Church is out of step. "How bizarre that the United Methodist Board of Church and Society now is jumping aboard a long-stalled bandwagon by endorsing anti-Israel divestment against Caterpillar, when other churches are moving in the opposite direction," he said. "And does anyone really think that punishing Caterpillar will help create a peace in the Middle East?" Tooley urged the Methodist board to examine a 2006 resolution approved by the church's Pacific Northwest Conference noting "some church groups have selectively advocated divestment of firms doing business with Israel while ignoring severe human rights abuses by the governments of Israel's neighbors."

The Northwest resolution affirmed the Jewish state as "nearly the only long-standing democracy among its neighbors in the Middle East" and declared that "selective attention to Israel's mistakes will not create peace in the Middle East."


Ben Stein to battle Darwin in major film

Ben Stein, the lovable, monotone teacher from "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" and "The Wonder Years" is back in the classroom in a major motion picture release slated for February 2008.

But this time, the actor will be on the big screen asking one of life's biggest questions: "Were we designed, or are we simply the end result of an ancient mud puddle struck by lightning?"

That's right. Evolution - and the explosive debate over its virtual monopoly on America's public school classrooms - is the focus of the film "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed."

In the movie, Stein, who is also a lawyer, economist, former presidential speechwriter, author and social commentator, is stunned by what he discovers - an elitist scientific establishment that has traded in its skepticism for dogma. Even worse, say publicists for the feature film, "along the way, Stein uncovers a long line of biologists, astronomers, chemists and philosophers who have had their reputations destroyed and their careers ruined by a scientific establishment that allows absolutely no dissent from Charles Darwin's theory of random mutation and natural selection."

"Big Science in this area of biology has lost its way," says Stein. "Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-American, it's anti-science. It's anti-the whole concept of learning."

As "Expelled's" official website asks: "What freedom-loving student wouldn't be outraged to discover that his high school science teacher is teaching a theory as indisputable fact, and that university professors unmercifully crush any fellow scientists who dare question the prevailing system of belief? This isn't the latest Hollywood comedy; it's a disturbing new documentary that will shock anyone who thinks all scientists are free to follow the evidence wherever it may lead."

"Expelled" is produced by Premise Media, and being marketed by Motive Entertainment, which has spearheaded major previous Hollywood blockbusters, including "The Passion of the Christ," "Polar Express" and "The Chronicles of Narnia." It will be distributed by Rocky Mountain Pictures, with numerous box-office successes to its credit.

"Expelled" documents how teachers and scientists alike are being ridiculed daily, denied tenure and even fired believing there is evidence of "design" in nature and challenging the current orthodoxy that life is entirely a result of random chance.

For example, Stein meets Richard Sternberg, a double Ph.D. biologist who allowed a peer-reviewed research paper describing the evidence for intelligence in the universe to be published in the scientific journal Proceedings. Shortly after publication, officials from the National Center for Science Education and the Smithsonian Institution, where Sternberg was a research fellow, began a coordinated smear-and-intimidation campaign to get the promising young scientist fired. The attack on scientific freedom was so egregious that it prompted a congressional investigation.

In the film, Stein meets other scientists like astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez, who was denied tenure at Iowa State University in spite of an extraordinary record of achievement. Gonzalez made the mistake of documenting the design he has observed in the universe. And there are others, like Caroline Crocker, a brilliant biology teacher at George Mason University who was forced out of the university for briefly discussing problems with Darwinian theory and for telling the students that some scientists believe there is evidence of design in the universe.

Unlike other popular documentary films, "Expelled" isn't one-sided - it confronts scientists like Oxford evolutionist Richard Dawkins, author of "The God Delusion," influential biologist and atheist blogger P.Z. Myers, and Eugenie Scott, head of the National Center for Science Education. In fact, the creators of "Expelled" spent two years traveling the world and interviewing scores of scientists, doctors, philosophers and public leaders for the film.

According to the New York Times, Dawkins, Scott and other evolutionists are now claiming the film's producers deceived them into going on camera by hiding the "Intelligent Design" orientation of the film.

But Stein denies misleading anyone. "I don't remember a single person asking me what the movie was about," he told the Times.

In the end, say the film's publicists, the production delivers to viewers "a startling revelation that freedom of thought and freedom of inquiry have been expelled from publicly funded high schools, universities and research institutions."

"The incredible thing about 'Expelled' is that we don't resort to manipulating our interviews for the purpose of achieving the 'shock effect,' something that has become common in documentary film these days," said Walt Ruloff, co-founder of Premise Media and the film's co-executive producer. "People will be stunned to actually find out what elitist scientists proclaim, which is that a large majority of Americans are simpletons who believe in a fairy tale. Premise Media took on this difficult mission because we believe the greatest asset of humanity is our freedom to explore and discover truth."


Special laws for homosexuals

One wonders how a similar mockery of Islam would have been treated? The full force of "obscenity" and other laws would no doubt be brought to bear on the mockers

Following the discovery of an ad for a sadomasochistic street parade in San Francisco which mocked the Last Supper replacing Christ and His Apostles with leather-clad (and unclad) homosexuals, Concerned Women for America (CWA) and other groups called on California legislators to denounce the anti-Christianity. Rather than denounce the ad, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has derisively dismissed any concerns.

Drew Hammill, Pelosi's press secretary, responded to media questions on the offensive ad saying, "As a Catholic, the speaker is confident that Christianity has not been harmed."

The offensive ad was put together by organizers of San Francisco's partially taxpayer funded and Hedonistic Folsom Street Fair - sponsored by Miller Brewing, Co. - which will take place this Sunday. Over 400,000 people are expected to attend.

"As if the add itself isn't offensive enough," said, Matt Barber, CWA's Policy Director for Cultural Issues, "we have photographic evidence that the San Francisco government suspends indecency and child abuse laws for a day allowing fair goers to parade the streets of San Francisco, fully nude, engaging in illegal public sex while tax-payer funded police stand-by and do nothing."

"Children are allowed to - and do - attend this event and are exposed to this activity which is illegal child abuse," added Barber. "We're a nation of laws, and we're calling on Mayor Gavin Newsom to enforce the law and for San Francisco police to arrest lawbreakers on Sunday."


Australia: More hatred of childhood

CHILDREN are being banned from dressing as their favourite superheroes in Victorian kindergartens and preschools. Batman, Shrek and Wonder Woman are being outlawed in pre-school care in a clampdown on childish behaviour. Parents have been told to leave their children's dress-ups at home for fear they could cause violence and injury in the playground. There are concerns a child may try to fly like Superman or scale a building like Spider-Man, causing serious injury and sparking legal proceedings.

Bentleigh early learning centre director Tracey Young said the costumes were not allowed because they could trigger violence. [so could frustration with stupid rules] "Our main reason has always been it permits quite rough and outlandish behaviour," she said. "They are role-modelling their . . . play to become violent when they are dressed as a superhero."

Swinburne Childcare spokeswoman Janelle Blaess said many centres banned the costumes because they distracted children. "They can find it difficult to differentiate between what is reality and what is fiction," she said. [Well how about helping them to learn? Or are they not supposed to learn at school?] "The safety issues related to that are a real concern."

Several kindergartens contacted by the Sunday Herald Sun said they had banned costumes in the playground. Some strongly encouraged a no-costume policy and others were considering bans. The issue is being taken so seriously it was discussed at a statewide kindergarten conference this month. Kindergarten Parents Victoria president Meredith Carter said that bans on toy knives and guns were becoming more common in schools.

But a ban on dress-up costumes, which are hugely popular among young children, could turn them against preschools. "Small children will take risks no matter what," she said. "It's not the costume doing the damage; it's just that children will always find a way to test the boundaries."



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 INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL 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.