Political Correctness Watch 
The creeping dictatorship of the Left..

THIS may be the ultimate example of Political Correctness -- from the Unhinged Kingdom  

HOME (Index page)



Sarah Palin is undoubtedly the most politically incorrect person in American public life so she will be celebrated on this blog

Gender is a property of words, not of people. Using it otherwise is just another politically correct distortion -- though not as pernicious as calling racial discrimination "Affirmative action"

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.

Juergen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, "Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter."

Consider two "jokes" below:

Q. "Why are Leftists always standing up for blacks and homosexuals?

A. Because for all three groups their only God is their penis"

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

The latter "joke" is not a joke at all, of course. It is a comparison routinely touted by Leftists. Both "jokes" are greatly offensive and unfair to the parties targeted but one gets a pass without question while the other would bring great wrath on the head of anyone uttering it. Why? Because political correctness is in fact just Leftist bigotry. Bigotry is unfairly favouring one or more groups of people over others -- usually justified as "truth".

One of my more amusing memories is from the time when the Soviet Union still existed and I was teaching sociology in a major Australian university. On one memorable occasion, we had a representative of the Soviet Womens' organization visit us -- a stout and heavily made-up lady of mature years. When she was ushered into our conference room, she was greeted with something like adulation by the local Marxists. In question time after her talk, however, someone asked her how homosexuals were treated in the USSR. She replied: "We don't have any. That was before the revolution". The consternation and confusion that produced among my Leftist colleagues was hilarious to behold and still lives vividly in my memory. The more things change, the more they remain the same, however. In Sept. 2007 President Ahmadinejad told Columbia university that there are no homosexuals in Iran.

It is widely agreed (with mainly Lesbians dissenting) that boys need their fathers. What needs much wider recognition is that girls need their fathers too. The relationship between a "Daddy's girl" and her father is perhaps the most beautiful human relationship there is. It can help give the girl concerned inner strength for the rest of her life.

The love of bureaucracy is very Leftist and hence "correct". Who said this? "Account must be taken of every single article, every pound of grain, because what socialism implies above all is keeping account of everything". It was V.I. Lenin

On all my blogs, I express my view of what is important primarily by the readings that I select for posting. I do however on occasions add personal comments in italicized form at the beginning of an article.

I am rather pleased to report that I am a lifelong conservative. Out of intellectual curiosity, I did in my youth join organizations from right across the political spectrum so I am certainly not closed-minded and am very familiar with the full spectrum of political thinking. Nonetheless, I did not have to undergo the lurch from Left to Right that so many people undergo. At age 13 I used my pocket-money to subscribe to the "Reader's Digest" -- the main conservative organ available in small town Australia of the 1950s. I have learnt much since but am pleased and amused to note that history has since confirmed most of what I thought at that early age.

I imagine that the the RD is still sending mailouts to my 1950s address!

Germaine Greer is a stupid old Harpy who is notable only for the depth and extent of her hatreds

The PERMALINKS to this site have been a bit messed up by new blogger. The permalink they give has the last part of the link duplicated so the whole link defaults to the top of the page. To fix the link, go the the URL and delete the second hatch mark and everything after it.

Email John Ray






















Of Interest 3

There are also two blogspot blogs which record what I think are my main recent articles here and here

Cautionary blogs about big Australian organizations:

St. George bank
Bank of Qld.
Queensland Police

Mirror for this blog

Mirror for "Dissecting Leftism"
Alt archives
Longer Academic Papers
Johnray links
Academic home page
Academic Backup Page
General Backup
General Backup 2

Selected reading



Rightism defined
Leftist Churches
Leftist Racism
Fascism is Leftist
Hitler a socialist
What are Leftists
Psychology of Left
Status Quo?
Leftism is authoritarian
James on Leftism
Irbe on Leftism
Beltt on Leftism

Van Hiel
Pyszczynski et al.

(My frequent reads are starred)

10 o'clock scholar
11 Day Empire
50th Star
Aaron rants
Abercrombie Chick
About Politics
Across Atlantic
Albion's Seedling*
Also Canadian
Always Right
American Indian Movement
American Mind
American Outlook
American Thinker
American Realpolitik
Anal Philosopher*
Anthropology & Econ
Baby Troll
Bad Eagle
Beautiful Atrocities
Belmont Club*
Betsy's Page
Between Coasts
Bill Keezer
Bill Quick
Bits blog
Bleeding Brain
Blissful Knowledge
Blogs against Hillary
Blood & Guts
Bob McCarty
Booker Rising
Brian Leiter scrutinized
Brothers Judd*
Brussels Journal
Camp Katrina
Campus Newspaper Confab
Canadian Comment
Candle in dark
Chez Joel
Chomsky demolished
Civilian Gun Self defense
Classical Values
Clayton Cramer*
Climate audit
Climate science
Colby Cosh
Cold Fury
The Commons
Common-sense & Wonder*
Conservative Eyes
Conservative Grapevine
Conservative Oasis
Conservative Philosopher
Conservative Pleasure
Conservative Voice
Conservatives Anonymous
Country Store
Critical Mass
Culture Battles
Daly Thoughts
Damian Penny
Dancing Dogs
Dean's World
Deinonychus antirrhopus
Dhimmi Watch
Dick List
Dick McDonald*
Discover the networks
Dodge Blog
Drink This
Dr Helen
Dr Sanity
Ed Driscoll
Eddy Rants
Electric Venom
Elephants in Academia
Enter Stage Right
Eugene Undergound
Evangelical Ecologist
Everything I Know
Fighting in the Shade
Fourth Rail
Free Patriot
Free Rain
Free Speech
Frizzen Sparks
Galvin Opinion
Gates of Vienna
Gay and Right
Gay Patriot
Gene Expression*
Ghost of Flea
Global warming & Climate
GM's Corner
One Good Turn
Gold Dog
GOP & The City
Grumpy Old Sod
Gust of Hot Air
Hall of Record
Happy Carpenter
Hatemongers Quart.
Heretical Ideas
R. Hide MP
Hitler's Leftism
Hoosier Review
Hugh Hewitt
Hummers & Cigarettes
Illumination Inc
Infinitely Prolonged
Intellectual Conservative
Interested Participant
Jackson's Junction
Jihad Watch
Jim Kalb
Junk Food science
Junk Science
Just One Minute
Keeping it Simple
Kim Du Toit
Knowledge is Power
Ladybird Deed
La Shawn
Let it bleed
Liberal Wrong
Liberty Cadre
Little Green footballs
Logical Meme
Lost Tooth Soc
Lone Wacko
Lubos Motl
R. Mandel
Margaret Thatcher Foundation
Market Center
Mark Nicodemo
Maverick Philosopher
Medicine World
Miami Review
Michelle Malkin
Midwest by DC
Moderate Voice
More Sense than Money
Moved Truth
Mr Minority
Mrs Blessed
Museum of Left Lunacy
My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
National Center
National Security
Neo Con Blogger
Neo Neo-Con
Never Yet Melted
New Media Journal
News Buckit
New Sisyphus
New Victorian
New Zeal Pundit
No Credentials
Norm Quantum Weatherby
Northeastern Intelligence Network
Not PC
OC Register blog
On the Right Side
Pajama Editors
Panic Watch
Parable Man
Patriot Watch
PC Stupidity
Pedestrian Infidel
Petrified Truth
Poli Pundit
Political Psychology
Political Theory Review
Pragmatic Libertarian
Prof Bainbridge
Proportional Belief
Publius Pundit
Random Observations
Rand Simberg
Random Jottings
Raving Atheist
Reagan Baby
Red State
Redwood Dragon
Regions of Mind
Rhymes with Right
Right Faith
Right Nation
Right Reason
Right Spin
Rightwing Troll
Right Thinking
Right Wing news
Ron Hebron
Sayet Right
SCSU Scholars*
Sean Lafreniere
Sharp Blades
Sharp Knife
Should Know
Silflay Hraka
Silent Running
Sine Qua Non
Smallest Minority
Spelled Sideways
Squander 2
Stephen Frank
Steve Sailer
Stop and Think
Stop the ACLU
Stuart Buck
Talk Climate Change
Talking Head
Tim Worstall
Townhall C-log
Truth Laid Bear
Two-Four Net
Unca Dave
Urban Conservative
Vdare blog
Verbum Ipsum
Viking Pundit
Vodka Pundit
Voices in Head
Watt's up with that
Western Standard
Bill Whittle
What If
Whym Rhymer
Winds of Change
World of Reason
Write Wing Warrior
You Big Mouth
Zero Intelligence

Education Blogs

Early Childhood Education
Education Wonks
Homeschool Blogger
Joanne Jacobs*
Marc Miyake*
No 2 Pencil
Weary Teacher

Economics Blogs

Adam Smith
Arnold Kling
Chicago Boyz
Cafe Hayek
Environmental Economics
Environmental Economics & Sust. Devel.
Innocents Abroad
Jane Galt
S. Karlson
D. Luskin
Marginal Revolution
Mises Inst.
Robert Musil
Truck & Barter

Australian Blogs

Aussie Political Report
Tim Blair
A E Brain
Brookes news
The Bunyip
Currency lad
Daily Constitutional
Emotional Rex
Evil Pundit
Fortress Australia
Kev Gillett
Hissink File
L. Hissink's Crazy World
Little Tin Soldier
M4 Monologues
M Jennings
Mangled Thoughts
Media Dragon
Oz Conservative
Rational Thoughts
Tao of Defiance
Voice of Pacific
Wog Blog
The Yobbo
Bastards Inc
Paul & Carl
It's A Matter of Opinion
Cyclone's Sketchblog
Niner Charlie
The Dog Blog
Welcome to the Asylum
Chris Berg


Anglo Austrian
Blithering Bunny
BNP and Me
Britain & America
British Interest
Burning our Money
Campaign Against Political Correctness
Campaign for English Parliament
Conservative Comment
Cynical Libertarian
Daily Ablution
England Project
EU Serf
Norm Geras
House of Dumb
Liberty Cadre
Limbic Nutrition
Majority Rights*
Melanie Phillips
NHS Doctor
Oliver Kamm
Mike Power
Right to be Free
Sean Gabb
Natalie Solent
Sterling Times
Walking the Streets
Wayne Smallman
Rich Webster
Englishman's Castle


Freedom & Whisky
Highland Warrior
A Place to Stand


Brit Nats in Wales


Conservative Dubliner
Tangled Web
Hot Air Forum


Ice & Fire
Great Auk


Israel Pundit
Not A Fish
Steven Plaut
Think Israel

The Portuguese connection

A Razao das Coisas
Avaliando o mundo
Blogoesfera Internacional
Boticario de Provincia
De Direita
Nadando contra a mare
O Intermitente
O Reacionario
O Blog do Alex
Portugal Liberal
Super Flumina
Ser Portugues
Tempestade Cerebral
Valete Fratres

Other Europe

Daily Bork
Davids Medienkritik
European Family Health
No Pasaran
Le Guerre Civili
Tommy Funebo


Almost Supernatural
Ethiopian Pundit

Best of Web
Business Review Weekly
Business Week
Centcom (Iraq)
Courier Mail
Dilby News
Dinkum Oz
Free Republic
Front Page
Human events
International Business Times
National Review
Sydney Morning Harold
Telegraph (London)
Thunderer (London)

Site Feed

Site Meter


03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003 04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003 05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003 07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003 08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003 09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003 10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003 11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003 12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004 01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004 02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004 03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004 04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004 05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004 06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004 07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004 09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004 10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004 11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004 12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005 01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005 02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005 03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005 04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005 05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005 06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005 07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005 08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005 09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005 10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005 11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005 12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006 02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006 03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006 04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006 05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006 06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006 07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006 08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006 09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006 10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006 11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006 12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007 01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007 02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007 03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007 05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007 06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007 07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007 08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007 09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007 10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007 11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007 12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008 01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008 02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008 03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008 04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008 05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008 06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008 07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008 08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008 09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008 10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008 11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008 12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009 01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009 02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009 04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009 05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009 06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009 07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009 08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The battle over eminent domain is a civil rights issue

Few policies have done more to destroy community and opportunity for minorities than eminent domain. Some 3 to 4 million Americans, most of them ethnic minorities, have been forcibly displaced from their homes as a result of urban renewal takings since World War II.

The fact is that eminent-domain abuse is a crucial constitutional rights issue. On Tuesday, the Alabama Advisory Committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights will hold a public forum at Birmingham's historic Sixteenth Street Baptist church to address ongoing property seizures in the state. The church was not only a center of early civil rights action, but also, tragically, where four schoolgirls lost their lives in a bombing in 1963.

Current eminent domain horror stories in the South and elsewhere are not hard to find. At this writing, for example, the city of Clarksville, Tenn., is giving itself authority to seize more than 1,000 homes, businesses and churches and then resell much of the land to developers. Many who reside there are black, live on fixed incomes, and own well-maintained Victorian homes.

Eminent domain has always had an outsized impact on the constitutional rights of minorities, but most of the public didn't notice until the U.S. Supreme Court's 2005 ruling in Kelo v. City of New London. In Kelo, the Court endorsed the power of a local government to forcibly transfer private property to commercial interests for the purpose of "economic development."

The Fifth Amendment requires that such seizures be for a "public use," but that requirement can be satisfied, the Court ruled, by virtually any claim of some sort of public benefit. Many charge that Kelo gives governments a blank check to redistribute land from the poor and middle class to the wealthy.

Few protested the Kelo ruling more ardently than the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In an amicus brief filed in the case, it argued that "[t]he burden of eminent domain has and will continue to fall disproportionately upon racial and ethnic minorities, the elderly, and economically disadvantaged." Unfettered eminent domain authority, the NAACP concluded, is a "license for government to coerce individuals on behalf of society's strongest interests."

Some earlier civil rights champions, by contrast, often ignored, or worse helped to undermine, the rights of property owners. Ironically, the same U.S. Supreme Court which handed down Brown v. Board in 1954 also issued Berman v. Parker, in which the Court allowed the District of Columbia to forcibly expel some 5,000 low-income African-Americans from their homes in order to facilitate "urban renewal." It was Berman that enabled the massive urban renewal condemnations of later decades, which many critics dubbed "Negro removal" because they too tended to target African-Americans.

Four years ago, the city of Alabaster, Ala., used "blight" as a pretext to take 400 acres of rural property, much of it owned by low-income black people, for a new Wal-Mart. Many of the residents had lived there for generations, and two other Wal-Mart stores were located less than fifteen miles away. Several of the landowners, particularly those who lacked political clout and legal aid, ended up selling out at a discount.

In the three years since Kelo, 42 states, including Alabama, have enacted new laws limiting eminent domain power, but many of the new laws contain loopholes that make them easy to circumvent. Some 19 states have forbidden takings for "economic development" but continue to permit the exact same kinds of condemnations under the guise of alleviating "blight" a concept defined so broadly that virtually any property the government covets can be declared "blighted." If takings end up becoming a key constitutional rights issue for minorities in the 21st century, it will be fitting that the crusade against them begins in Alabama, where their victims have suffered most greatly. And there are few better places to kick off the debate than the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where the modern civil rights movement was born.


Please send more complaints

Otherwise how will Canada's taxpayer-funded hate police manage to keep their cozy sinecure?


Last week's letters page included a missive from Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., chief commissioner of the Canadian "Human Rights" Commission, defending her employees from the accusation of "improper investigative techniques" by yours truly. Steyn, she writes, "provides no substantiation for these claims," and then concludes:
"Why is this all important? Because words are important. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free rein. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."
Hmm. "History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes." Commissar Lynch provides, as she would say, "no substantiation for these claims." But then she's a "hate speech" prosecutor and, as we know, Canada's "human rights" procedures aren't subject to tiresome requirements like evidence. So she's made an argument from authority: the great Queen's Counsel has risen from her throne in the Star Chamber and pronounced, and let that suffice. Those of us who occupy less exalted positions in the realm might wish to ponder the evidence for her assertions.

It's true that "hurtful actions that undermine freedom" and lead to "unspeakable crimes" usually have some fig leaf of intellectual justification. For example, the ideology first articulated by Karl Marx has led to the deaths of millions of people around the planet on an unprecedented scale. Yet oddly enough, no matter how many folks are murdered in the name of Marxism-Leninism, you're still free to propound its principles at every college in Canada.

Ah, but that's the Good Totalitarianism. What about the Bad Totalitarianism? You know, the one everybody disapproves of: Nazism. Isn't it obvious that in the case of Adolf Hitler, "hateful words" led to "unspeakable crimes"? This argument is offered routinely: if only there'd been "reasonable limits on the expression of hatred" 70 years ago, the Holocaust might have been prevented. There's just one teensy-weensy problem with it: pre-Nazi Germany had such "reasonable limits." Indeed, the Weimar Republic was a veritable proto-Trudeaupia. As Alan Borovoy, Canada's leading civil libertarian, put it:
"Remarkably, pre-Hitler Germany had laws very much like the Canadian anti-hate law. Moreover, those laws were enforced with some vigour. During the 15 years before Hitler came to power, there were more than 200 prosecutions based on anti-Semitic speech. And, in the opinion of the leading Jewish organization of that era, no more than 10 per cent of the cases were mishandled by the authorities. As subsequent history so painfully testifies, this type of legislation proved ineffectual on the one occasion when there was a real argument for it."
Inevitably, the Nazi party exploited the restrictions on "free speech" in order to boost its appeal. In 1925, the state of Bavaria issued an order banning Adolf Hitler from making any public speeches. The Nazis responded by distributing a drawing of their leader with his mouth gagged and the caption, "Of 2,000 million people in the world, one alone is forbidden to speak in Germany."

The idea that "hate speech" led to the Holocaust is seductive because it's easy: if only we ban hateful speech, then there will be no hateful acts. But, as professor Anuj C. Desai of the University of Wisconsin Law School points out, "Biased speech has been around since history began. As a logical matter, then, it is no more helpful to say that anti-Semitic speech caused the Holocaust than to say organized government caused it, or, for that matter, to say that oxygen caused it. All were necessary ingredients, but all have been present in every historical epoch in every country in the world."

Just so. Indeed, the principal ingredient unique to the pre-Hitler era was the introduction of Jennifer Lynch-type hate-speech laws that supposedly protect vulnerable minorities from "unspeakable acts." You might as well argue that Weimar's "reasonable limits" on free speech led to the Holocaust: after all, while anti-Semitism is "the oldest hatred," it didn't turn genocidal until the "reasonable limits" proponents of the day introduced group-defamation laws to Germany. 'Tween-wars Europe was awash in prototype hate-crimes legislation. For example, the Versailles Conference required the new postwar states to sign on to the 1919 Minorities Protection Treaty, with its solemn guarantees of non-discrimination. I'm sure Canada's many Jews of Mitteleuropean origin will be happy to testify to what a splendid job that far-sighted legislation did.

More here

Hatred of Technology

But it's all theory. Who cares about silly old facts?

Susan Greenfield's lower lip pouts as if to blow a raspberry. Then, in soothsaying mode, the solemn utterance: "The global cyber world promises a more reassuring, safer option than the messy world of in-your-face three-dimensional life. But the IT technologies are already blurring the cyber world and reality." The hooded eyes readjust from Delphic oracle to larky chick as she flashes a face-splitting grin. "There are people," she chortles, "who can't believe, eh! that the planes crashing into the twin towers were actually real, eh!" The punctuating "eh!" prompts you to agree.

Professor Greenfield, promoter extraordinaire of science, has written a book that makes routine auguries - global warming, economic downturns - look like mere gloomy hand-wringing. A specialist in brain degeneration, Greenfield is predicting that our teen generation is headed for a sort of mass loss of personal identity. She calls it the Nobody Scenario. By spending inordinate quantities of time in the interactive, virtual, two-dimensional, cyberspace realms of the screen, she believes that the brains of the youth of today are headed for a drastic alteration. It's as if all that young grey cortical matter is being scalded and defoliated by a kind of cognitive Agent Orange, depriving them of moral agency, imagination and awareness of consequences.

"They are destined to lose an awareness of who and what they are: not someones, or anyones, but nobodies, eh!" That expressive mouth widens again, the lower lip ripens. "The time is well nigh," she says, "to explore the impact of these technologies." ....

Greenfield has elaborated a theory about the influence of IT on young brains. Given the time young people spend gazing into screens, small and large - reckoned to be from six to nine hours daily - she believes the minds of the younger generation are developing differently from those of previous generations. "The brain," she says, "has plasticity: it is exquisitely malleable, and a significant alteration in our environment and behaviour has consequences."

She sets out a catalogue of repercussions: the substitution of virtual experience for real encounters; the impact of spoon-fed menu options as opposed to free-ranging inquiry; a decline in linguistic and visual imagination; an atrophy of creativity; contracted, brutalised text-messaging, lacking the verbs and conditional structures essential for complex thinking. Her principal concern is how computer games could be emphasising what she calls "process" over "content" - method over meaning - in mental activity.

Her theory goes like this. The more we play games, the less time there is for learning specific facts and working out how those facts relate to each other. This can result, she maintains, in a failure to build highly personalised individual conceptual frameworks - the whole point of education and the basis of individual identity. If the purpose of a game, for instance, is to free the princess from the tower, it is the thrill of attaining the goal, the process, that counts. What does not count is the content - the personality of the princess and the narrative as to why and how she is there, as in a storybook. Greenfield avers that emphasis on process in isolation becomes addictive and profoundly mind-changing.

Here is her hypothesis. A natural brain chemical called dopamine is involved in all forms of addiction. Dopamine contributes to feelings of wellbeing on attaining a goal, especially when gratification repeatedly deferred is finally delivered. Falling levels of dopamine accompany the opposite situations, when gratification has been frustrated (for example, waiting for a phone call that never comes).

The area of the brain crucial to the dopamine hits is called the nucleus accumbens, which is associated with the prefrontal cortex, an area at the front of the brain. An under-functioning prefrontal cortex is linked with types of behaviour marked by total absorption in the here and now, and an inability to consider past and future implications. According to Greenfield, excessive dopamine can reduce the activity of brain cells in the prefrontal cortex, leading to its partial shutdown. She is speculating that the intense subjective "here and now" feeling, prompted and accompanied by dopamine "rewards" in computer play, creates a euphoric, self-centred ego boost, the pleasure of which can lead to craving and addiction.

What lasting effect does this repeated neglect in the prefrontal cortex have on the brain, and hence the mind? "Excessive dopamine hits might reduce activation in the prefrontal cortex, and in so doing tip the balance away from awareness of the significance, the meaning, of our actions," she says. So playing games in which I slaughter scores of all-comers with my trusty sword, as in the Tarantino movie Kill Bill, deals not with the significance of beheading and disembowelling of hordes of Japanese villains, but with the process - the action separated from meaning and consequences. "When those teenagers kicked that goth girl to death in the park recently," she says, "was it like a computer game for them? The buzz of the moment? Were they thinking of her as a person with feelings, with parents and siblings? Were they thinking of the implications for themselves the next day?"

For the mind to operate fully, Greenfield asserts, the prefrontal cortex must be active, and content must be a high priority. The world and oneself are then redolent with meaning. How do the young attain unique and enriched identities? "Through the world of focused conversation, nursery rhyme repetition, recitation and rote learning, of reading and writing interspersed with bouts of physical activity in the real world, where there are first-hand and unique adventures to provide a personal narrative, personalised neuronal connections. This is education as we have known it."

And what if "education as we have known it" fails? It will lead, she predicts, to the ultimate triumph of process over content: the Nobody Scenario. "For the first time in human history, individuality could be obliterated in favour of a passive state, reacting to a flood of incoming sensations - a `yuck' and `wow' mentality characterised by a premium on momentary experience as the landscape of the brain shifts into one where personalised brain connectivity is either not functional or absent altogether." .....

Greenfield tells me that she has friends who have faith and she quizzes them endlessly - Ed Stourton, the broadcaster, Jack Valero, Opus Dei's spokesperson in Britain, and a neighbour whose faith is helping him and his family overcome a serious illness. She pauses outside New College. This is the college of Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion and professional antagonist of religion.

That Delphic lower lip is active again. "I'm not at all saying that all religious believers are fundamentalists; but what distinguishes the believing brain of the extreme kind - I mean the fundamentalist and the totalitarian - from the non-fundamentalist brains," she ventures, "is the emotion of disgust, eh. "The anti-Semitic imagery of the Nazis was associated with a virus, a stealthy and elusive infection [What complete and utter nonsense! The Nazis just applied German thoroughness to a belief that had been normal in Europe for centuries]. So combating such a difficult enemy in the struggle for community hygiene isn't just a punch-for-punch slugging it out. The enemy is a sickness. You've got to be on constant guard. You don't just get angry with disease - you destroy it, exterminate it." She nods towards New College. "The invisible viral foe could invade your body and, most importantly, your brain. That's the language used by Dawkins, who's developed non-belief into a belief system all of its own, and who constantly refers to religion as a virus." ....

For people in midlife, she asserts, the identity problem is affluence. "The reason we crave more clothes, cars, goods, brands, is that they'll say something about us, symbolise our distinct, preferably superior identity." [Typical Leftist boilerplate]


A Leftist to be missed

By Mark Steyn

The Australian columnist Pamela Bone died of cancer this weekend. She was a feminist, an atheist and most of the other -ists you might expect from a western woman of her general disposition (she was a recipient, among many other awards, of something called the "UN media peace prize").

But in her final years she came to see that the Islamization of the west represented a profound challenge to everything she believed in. It began fairly tentatively. She seems almost to be thinking aloud in this piece for the Melbourne Age on the British subjects born and bred who self-detonated on the London Tube:

In Melbourne the day after September 11, Muslim students at a state high school danced on the desks with glee. What are these young people being taught by their decent and law-abiding parents? Literature being sold at a store attached to a Brunswick mosque tells Muslims they should "hate and take as enemies" Jews, Christians, atheists and secularists, and that they should "learn to hate in order to properly love Allah". How many Muslims complain when they see this kind of hate literature? Did the large Sydney audience complain when Sheikh Feiz Muhammad charged recently that because of the way they dressed, women had only themselves to blame if they were raped? No, they applauded him.
The column ends as follows:
Perhaps it is time to say, it's been wonderful, but a few things need to be made clear. Perhaps it is time to say, you are welcome, but this is the way it is here.
"This is the way it is": That kind of talk is anathema to the multiculti elites in Oz, Canada, America, Britain and Europe. But Ms Bone saw no good in tolerant multiculturalists colluding with the avowedly unicultural and intolerant. She was especially tough on the two-tier sisterhood:
LET it be recorded that in the last decade of the 20th century the brave and great movement of Western feminism ended, not with a bang but with a whimper... I don't hold much hope on this International Women's Day of seeing big protests in Australian cities against female genital mutilation; or against honour killings, stonings, child marriages, forced seclusion or any of the other persecutions to which women are still subjected. The fire of Western feminism has quietly died away, first as a victim of its success, lately as a victim of cultural relativism, of anti-Americanism and reluctance to be seen to be condemning the enemies of the enemy.
She summed up the strange alliance between western progressives and a theocratic tyranny that stones women and executes homosexuals in this piece:
Why, in short, have Left and Right changed places?
I didn't agree with Pamela Bone on most things, even at the end. But she understood in a way that too few of the left do that her culture and her civilization need defending and that the relativist mush of the age (not to mention The Age) is insufficient to the task. I shall miss her, and I wish there were more like her.



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.


Comment (1) | Trackback

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

British Muslim 'bullied' for converting to Christianity

British police no help, of course. Muslims are a protected class

A British citizen who converted to Christianity from Islam and then complained to police when locals threatened to burn his house down was told by officers to "stop being a crusader", according to a new report.

Nissar Hussein, 43, from Bradford, West Yorkshire, who was born and raised in Britain, converted from Islam to Christianity with his wife, Qubra, in 1996. The report says that he was subjected to a number of attacks and, after being told that his house would be burnt down if he did not repent and return to Islam, reported the threat to the police. It says he was told that such threats were rarely carried out and the police officer told him to "stop being a crusader and move to another place". A few days later the unoccupied house next door was set on fire.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a British human rights organisation whose president is the former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken, is calling on the UN and the international community to take action against nations and communities that punish apostasy.

Its report, No Place to Call Home, claims that apostates from Islam are subject to "gross and wideranging human rights abuses". It adds that in countries such as Britain, with large Muslim populations in a Westernised culture, the demand to maintain a Muslim identity is intense. "When identities are precarious, their enforcement will take an aggressive form."


British bureaucratic tyranny tightens

Post below recycled from Prof. Brignell. See the original for links

To get the following into context it is important to remember that it refers to a time when violent crime is worse than ever. Children are shooting and stabbing each other in the streets and burglaries, theft and shoplifting are carried out with impunity in the almost total absence of police on the streets. We are governed not by elected representatives, but by officials.

In the Democratic Socialist Republic of Hull a mother was fined o75 for dropping a piece of sausage roll when feeding her toddler. It was immediately gobble up by pigeons.

Draconian laws that were forced through Parliament as being absolutely necessary to track criminals and terrorists have been used for a variety of quite different purposes. A couple and their three children were put under surveillance without their knowledge by Poole Borough Council for more than two weeks. Their crime (of which they were innocent) was to be suspected of the grievous middle class sin of trying to do their best for the children in defiance of rules of socialist equality.

The common characteristic of these tawdry tales is the employment of enormous numbers of people at the taxpayers' expense, a non-productive army who are dragging down the already precarious economy. They have no connection with police or judiciary, yet are empowered to act as judge and jury in the imposition of fines on a scale that is out of all proportion to those imposed for what were once real crimes.

For this is Envirocrime, Orwellian Newspeak for a whole new raft of offences, mostly inspired by EU directives (but don't let the public know that, because our leaders like to maintain the pretence that they are still in charge) which have given rise to an era of surveillance and oppression that realises Orwell's nightmare. This leads us to:

A father of four in Cumbria now has a criminal record. His crime is to overfill his refuse bin so that the lid was ajar by all of four inches. The prosecution claim that this was in fact seven inches (clearly a hanging offence). Perhaps his offence would have been mitigated if it were for ten centimetres.

Here in West Wiltshire we received a full colour leaflet with the mind-numbing headline Exciting developments in recycling. One of the pleasures of moving here had been to find that the binmen were so helpful; nothing was too much trouble. Then recently, they were accompanied by a man with a clipboard, clearly teaching them how to be intractable. We are not only to have two different bins, but we are provided with plastic crates for recyclables. How is anyone who walks with a stick supposed to carry a crate? A separate large refuse vehicle, fully manned and spouting dreaded pollution, collects cardboard only. One poor old lady was seen this week struggling down to the community recycling bins with a large plastic bag in one hand, because she could not carry a crate through her house. In some areas people who leave for work before 7 am are faced with fines for putting out their rubbish too early.

Elderly people live in fear of breaking complicated rules that they do not understand and do not seem to make any sense. They do not realise that the whole purpose is to force them into ritualistic behaviour for reasons of religion. Madness, or what?

Women must be protected from Islamic brutality

A report that publicises the plight of Saudi women

THE first and second time her husband shot her, the distressed woman in her 30s rejected advice to file a complaint. To do so, she explained, would require the presence of her obligatory male guardian, who happened to be...her husband. Without him, her testimony would not be legally valid. Besides, the all-male police might accuse her of "mixing" with the opposite sex, a crime in the eyes of most Saudi judges. The third time her husband shot her, she died.

This tale, told by a Saudi social worker in a new report on women's rights in the kingdom, is particularly harrowing. Yet it dramatises the more mundane plight of millions of Saudi women who are unable by law to study, work, travel, marry, testify in court, legalise a contract or undergo medical treatment without the assent of a close male relative, be he a father, husband or, less commonly, a grandfather, brother or son.

That Saudi women are banned from driving is well-known. But it is the imposition of male guardianship over adult women, affirms the detailed report by Human Rights Watch, a New York-based monitoring group, that is the biggest obstacle to female advancement. As the report points out, half the kingdom's citizens are treated in effect like children or the mentally ill for the duration of their lives. Worse, the guardianship policy creates a paradox: women may be held legally responsible for a crime, even though they are not deemed to have full legal capacity.

Oddly enough, there appear to be no written statutes mandating male guardianship for women. In the religiously conservative kingdom, where Muslim sharia law is held to override all other rules, the practice stems instead from extremist Wahhabi interpretations of Muslim scripture, particularly from a Koranic passage that describes men as the "protectors and keepers of women". Sadly for Saudi women, the all-male Saudi judiciary is made up entirely of Wahhabi extremists.

Despite having signed various international charters for women's rights, the Saudi government has done little either to modify the system or to enforce the minor reforms it has sponsored. Theoretically, for instance, women above the age of 45 no longer need a male guardian's permission to travel, yet airport officials routinely demand it anyway. A judge may, in theory, release a woman from the guardianship of an abusive parent or spouse, but only 1-2% of such appeals succeed, says a lawyer in the report. More than half of university students are women, yet they make up a tiny fraction of the workforce. This year will see the first-ever crop of female law graduates, but the justice ministry is unlikely to license any to practise, and judges are even less likely to allow them in their courtrooms.

Liberal-minded Saudis have long criticised such foibles, comparing the kingdom unfavourably to Muslim and Arab neighbours where women are far less restricted. Even those Saudis who uphold their traditions as defending female "honour" may take note of another woman's testimony to Human Rights Watch. A mother tells her daughter why she remarried: "I sold my body so that my paperwork can get taken care of. It tarnished my reputation and dignity, but our affairs are getting resolved."

Optimists say the mere fact that the Saudi authorities let Human Rights Watch compile its report in situ is progress; four years ago the idea would have been damned as foreign interference. Last month, senior representatives from eight ministries met people from the rights group in Saudi Arabia and politely discussed the report ahead of publication, insisting that they could all "work together". The Saudis' officially sanctioned National Human Rights Commission, set up four years ago, privately agreed with many of the recommendations, predicting, among other things, that women would be allowed to drive cars "in the near future"-but such hopeful assurances have been given before. And, though one newspaper, the relatively liberal al-Watan, has aired parts of the report, the Saudi media have generally ignored it.



Given the often-appalling outcome of the recently enacted British bill of rights, one would hope not but many starry-eyed Leftists are pushing for it amid hope that our new Centre-Left government can be led down that path. Below are two counterblasts to the idea -- one from a conservative commenter and one from a centre-Left commenter. That they say largely the same thing is rather encouraging

Beware the galloping imperialist judiciary

By Janet Albrechtsen

Do not mistake the unseasonal rush of warmth over the weekend with global warming. Put it down to those advocating a charter of rights for Australia at the 2020 Summit in the nation's capital. Their aim is to bathe us in the warm language of human rights so that, ultimately, we will soporifically sign up to a new federal charter of rights.

The heat will be cranked up over the next few years. Having found a good friend in the Rudd Labor Government, and buoyed by success in Victoria and the ACT where charters already operate, charter enthusiasts have finessed one heck of a sneaky strategy to seduce us. What is at stake is Australia's traditional democratic deal where parliaments make laws on behalf of the people and judges interpret those laws. Charter enthusiasts have a different post-democratic model in mind. This class of lawyers, human rights activists and academics distrust the people as too unenlightened to embrace their preferred social agenda. Hence they want to vest power to decide major social issues in an unelected group of guardians of the greater good: the judiciary.

Armed with a charter, these social engineers can seek out a sympathetic judge to legislate their agenda from the bench, unfettered by the messy business of taking their agenda to the people. Here is their strategy. First, promise public consultation, as Kevin Rudd has done. If genuine debate follows, that will be a fine thing.

Unfortunately, as we know from Victoria and the ACT, the so-called independent committees entrusted to consult with the people were stacked with so many charter supporters, they operated like one-way steering committees. Neither Victoria nor the ACT trusted the people's view enough to put the charter to a referendum.

And keep your eye on academic and Labor aspirant George Williams. Having slogged away at a charter for years, he oversaw Victoria's charter of rights. Ditto Hilary Charlesworth, another charter lover who chaired the ACT committee. If they pop up on the federal committee, I'll bet my house on the outcome. Talk that Malcolm Fraser may join them only confirms the one-way debate in store for us.

That "debate" goes something like this. "How can a reasonable person be against a charter of human rights?" they ask rhetorically. Human rights are not controversial, right? Wrong. A moment's reflection reveals that rights are as diverse as people themselves. And this exposes one of the greatest con jobs practised on us by the modern human rights industry: the assertion that human rights are universal, clear and immutable. Even that most basic right - the right to life - is highly contestable. Defining what is a right and the ambit of those rights is where reasonable people can and do disagree.

The charter raises one simple question: when deciding these contestable issues, should we count the votes of the Australian people or those of a handful of judges? It's a no-brainer. These are political questions for the people to determine. Sending political questions to the judiciary does not transform them into legal questions.

Relax, say the charter advocates. A charter of rights is a tame little law, a modest one which will not transfer power from the people. Just look at Britain, they say. Britain has a special provision in its Human Rights Act to ensure parliament is not stripped of power: that there is simply a "dialogue" between the judiciary and parliament. Courts in Britain can only issue a declaration of incompatibility, telling government that a law offends their Human Rights Act. On paper, that's right. Governments can ignore the courts. However, the political reality is different.

Only a brave government will ignore a declaration of inconsistency from a court. And as NSW Attorney-General John Hatzistergos said a few weeks back, the only meaningful dialogue for parliament should be with the people, not judges.

By all means take a close look at Britain. In Britain, after enacting the Human Rights Act to much fanfare, former PM Tony Blair changed his tune, promising a battle with the judiciary when British courts put out the welcome mat to radical Muslims, using charter rights to ignore British immigration laws. More recently, present PM Gordon Brown canvassed the need for amendments to the HRA to include responsibilities because the rights fetish was taking Britain in the wrong direction.

Not to worry, say the charter supporters. Look to Canada, they say, where a special provision in their Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows governments to specifically exclude charter rights from a specific law if that is their intention. In other words, the power of parliament is preserved. Look a little closer at Canada, I say. This clause has never been used, not once since the charter was introduced more than 20 years ago. Yet, this clause was the clincher when the charter was being proposed to Canadians. Charter advocates in Canada said it would protect parliamentary sovereignty.

Sound familiar? In fact, it has been politically untouchable for a government to draft legislation which apparently infringes the "rights" of Canadians in the charter. Williams knows that. He has written about it. And why do you suppose most Canadians now express a desire to elect their judges? The Canadian charter has siphoned power away from the people to unelected judges. Nothing modest about it.

These are not obtuse legal wrangles. They go to the heart of how Australia will be governed: by the people or by judges. The real stealth bomb in a charter of rights is the interpretation clause. Hang in there if it all sounds a bit dry. Charter advocates will hope you start tuning out right about now. Section 3 of the British Human Rights Act - more or less repeated in the Victorian Charter - says that "So far as it is possible to do so, primary legislation and subordinate legislation must be read and given effect in a way which is compatible with the Convention rights." This is an open invitation to judges to ignore even the clearest of parliament's intent. The House of Lords has said so, describing this innocuous little "reading down" provision as "dangerously seductive", and "unusual and far-reaching in character".

Charter devotees are all in favour of a galloping imperial judiciary; it is integral to their postmodern democratic model where power is stripped from politicians they regard as too stupid and too slow to mould the perfect world. Done under the guise of protecting human rights, this power play where the lawyer class triumphs over the masses is just the most recent reminder of H.L. Mencken's warning that the "urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule". Remember that when the charter bandwagon comes to a town near you.


Lawyers are already drunk with power

By Bob Carr (A former Labor party Premier of NSW -- pic below)

Call it the first swallow of summer. Last week I met a lawyer who said while she opposed a charter of rights, all the barristers on her floor supported it, and for the obvious reason: the intoxicating whiff of litigation. A bill of rights, or a charter, will lay out abstractions like the right to life, or privacy, or property, and thus enable judges to determine - after deliciously drawn-out litigation - what these mean.

A shift in power from elected parliaments to unelected judges, by a process of "judicial creep", is part of the bill of rights package. Canada has had its Charter of Rights and Freedoms since 1982, planted in the constitution. Before that there was only a legislative version. Clearly this is something the zealots want to see happen here: the first step only a law, but followed by constitutional entrenchment.

Like Australia, Canada also has a shortage of doctors in rural areas. British Columbia came up with a scheme to encourage doctors to practise there, with a finely tuned system of incentives. The provincial Supreme Court struck it down, citing section 6 ("mobility rights") and section 7 (the "right to life, liberty and security") of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Canada's rural population is still under-served by doctors, thanks to judges who want to write society's rules.

That's the trouble. A menu of abstractions - that is, any attempt to list rights - wrenches from the cabinet table and the legislature and delivers to the courtroom things that ought to be determined by governments. Thus, in the most recent burst of judicial activism, judges in Britain have determined that the justice secretary can no longer block a parole board decision to release a dangerous prisoner. Judges also determined that failed asylum-seekers in Britain could have access to the National Health Scheme, again something that should be a matter for elected politicians.

In Scotland, because of a delay in placing toilets in prison cells, the Scottish Law Reporter estimates that prisoners may be entitled to awards totalling pound stg. 76 million ($158.7 million) because their cells violated the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Government had been caught up with another priority, expanding drug rehabilitation programs for inmates. Last year, pound stg. 750,000 was paid to 197 heroin-addicted prisoners who successfully argued that cutting short their treatment while in prison breached their human rights.

But there's another phenomenon that perverts proper process: police and bureaucrats in Britain anticipate getting overruled on human rights grounds and start to shape their responses. Pity the factory owner who, this month, had to pay pound stg. 20,000 to bailiffs to remove 40 Gypsies who had torn down a 2.4m fence and occupied his factory land. The police refused to act so as not to breach the travellers' human rights.

A friend of mine who sits in the House of Commons says when his constituents talk about loutish behaviour in the streets or around housing estates, they say: "I suppose the police can't do anything about it because of their human rights." Thus creeping judicial activism around a charter of abstractions renders negative a concept that should sit nobly and proudly in the lexicon.

When Kevin Rudd looks at the 2020 Summit's endorsement of a bill or charter, he'll be politically astute enough to know a move to enact a charter or bill in any form would meet the same commonsense opposition that doomed it in 1988, when Australians voted it down 69 per cent to 31per cent.

Consider the objectors. Business knows it just represents another layer of uncertainty; what judges will do with "a right to property" is anyone's guess. Churches are becoming aware their immunity from anti-discrimination laws - a justified immunity - will end with a charter or a bill of rights. Church leaders can democratically lobby parliaments and cabinets, but not non-elected, tenured judges. The most obvious effect of a charter is to add opportunities to defence lawyers in criminal matters.

I look forward to advising victims of crime groups of the consequences of a bill or charter. The power of police to stop and search people for a knife, and remove the knife, which we enacted in NSW in 1998, would not survive judicial activism based on freewheeling interpretations. And the decisive life sentences imposed on the state's worst killers (who were originally given indeterminate "never to be released" sentences) would also be found to contravene prisoners' rights, as in Britain.

Perhaps, as former justice minister Michael Tate seemed to foreshadow in The Australian last week, we will see a proposal for a list of rights to be overseen by a parliamentary committee, not by judges. A big retreat, but it will still be objectionable. I and others will take issue with any attempt by a group of zealots to arrogate to themselves the power to define, codify and nail down their definition at this time of what they think ought to be our rights. Talk about elitism.

Rights count. So much so they need the give and take of the common law, rowdy parliaments and the ebb and flow of public opinion. It's the commonsensical ethos of a people - temper democratic, bias offensively Australian - not a declaration of abstractions that will keep us free.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Monday, April 28, 2008

Super-correct South Africa

A programme investigating initiation schools was retracted by the SABC on the grounds that stakeholders needed to be consulted before it was aired. Special Assignment, a weekly investigative documentary show, planned to broadcast a story on the death of 25-year-old UCT graduate Buntu Majalaza, who went to the bush to be initiated into adulthood, but died two weeks later on January 6 from septicaemia because of a botched circumcision. The programme focuses on the dangers of informal initiation schools where some students died.

The show was meant to be aired on Tuesday but was retracted two hours before the scheduled time. It is believed that the SABC refused to allow the show to go on air because of its controversial nature and its potential to offend traditional leaders. But SABC spokesperson Kaiser Kganyago said on Thursday that the show had not been banned but that the broadcaster had wanted to "consult stakeholders". He said they had had a similar situation last year when they had failed to consult stakeholders and had then "experienced big drama around cultural issues". He could not say when the SABC planned to air the show as the consultation was an "ongoing process".

Jason Stanier, a friend of Majalaza's who was interviewed for the report, said he hoped they would go ahead with the broadcast. "I want the show to be aired because I think it is an important story that needs to be told. There are people dying out there and we have the opportunity to tell the story. "From what I heard it was going to be a great show. "The producers had managed to get a few first-hand testimonies of the many outrageous things that are happening to these men who go to the bush.

"Maybe it's just me, but when did not wanting to offend people become more important than exposing the countless deaths that are occurring in these schools?" he said. Producer Hazel Friedman said she was very passionate that Majalaza's story be told.


Poor white boys are victims too

By Trevor Phillips (The black chairman of Britain's Equality and Human Rights Commission)

To be sure, the problems of racial discrimination against minorities haven't gone away - black and Asian young men are still up to seven times more likely to be arrested by the police; Pakistani men will earn more than a quarter of million pounds less than their white equivalents over a lifetime; and young Bangladeshi women are having to settle for jobs for which they are overqualified. But we are also confronting for the first time in my lifetime an equality deficit not much talked about at Westminster. I am referring to the growing underclass of poor white boys - a forgotten group who also face a kind of institutional racism. I am deeply worried that they will grow into poor, disillusioned, alienated white men.

Why should the Equality and Human Rights Commission care? Many people, including our friends, think that it exists largely to shout the odds for anybody who is not male, white, straight and able-bodied. But that is wrong on every count. We aren't a minorities' pressure group. We work for the whole of society, not just those at the margins - though those who suffer most disadvantage have a right to come first in the queue for our support. (And let's remember that some of those who face systematic inequality aren't small minorities - women are a majority, most of us will become parents and virtually all of us will get old.)

What we are is a body that attacks unfairness wherever it sees it. That's why some of the wider trends that may be leading to greater inequality are right at the top of our agenda - economic change, the skills gap and, above all, migration.

Let me be unambiguous about this last issue. I am pro-immigration. The British people's experience is that managed migration has brought great advantages to the country, not the tide of hate that Powell prophesied. But immigration has also raised important issues - not least that if we aren't careful, the benefits from it will fall into the hands of employers, shareholders and middle-class professionals, while any burdens are left to be borne by the poorest in society.

So we have to ensure that the positive impact of migration is not offset by the costs - such as public services under increased pressure and an infrastructure that is struggling to cope. Let these issues languish in the tray marked "too difficult to talk about", and resentment will grow. We also need to be clear that worrying about the consequences of immigration does not make you antiforeigner. And we must tackle a vital question: why are some groups in society not getting the chances they deserve? Last week two reports highlighted again the issue of underachievement. A report by the Bow Group, the Conservative think tank, showed that in the past 10 years almost 4m pupils left school without gaining the basic qualifications of five good GCSEs.

The cost to the economy of low educational attainment - and low social mobility - is 32 billion pounds a year, or 1,300 to the average family, according to Reform, the independent think tank. Its report spoke of the "why bother?" generation - people who feel shut out by the system. If people feel shut out, they will try to find someone easy to blame: the outsider, the immigrant.

At the commission, we are doing research on educational underachievement and its link to ethnicity. Initial findings reveal that, for example, Bangladeshi and black African students at school outperform their white peers from comparable economic and social backgrounds. Statistics also show that black African, Bangladeshi and Pakistani students achieve higher GCSE scores than equivalent white students. We know that it is not only white children from poorer background who are struggling. Black Caribbean children are also underachieving.

In the autumn, after our research is published, we will host a conference on white working-class boys. We want to listen to the pupils themselves, the teachers and the parents. And we need to demonstrate that fairness is about equal treatment for all - black, white or Asian. It is only in tackling these issues that we take the toxicity out of debates on immigration, race and socio-economic underachievement. Fair treatment and equal chances are everyone's right. No one should feel the work of the commission is "not about me".


Council of Europe Declares Unlimited Abortion an Unconditional Right for all of Europe

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has passed a resolution to declare unlimited legal abortion an unconditional right. The Assembly passed the resolution with 102 to 69 votes with 14 abstentions. Amendments seeking to make the resolution less extreme in its promotion of abortion were rejected. In preparation for what is being described as a rushed vote, the Assembly restricted plenary session speeches to three minutes, amendment speeches to 30 seconds and denied the Assembly's legal affairs committee any scrutiny. Only 185 of the 318 members of the Assembly were present for the vote.

Pat Buckley of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, who was present at today's debate, said, "Today is a tragic day for Europe, not least because this report in favour of even more killing of unborn children was rushed through the Assembly without proper scrutiny...The only consolation is that the resolution is not legally binding." Nigel Dodds, MP and MLA for Belfast North, deputy leader of the Democratic Unionist Party and a minister in the Northern Ireland executive, said, "It's a sad day for the unborn child in Europe, but the fight goes on."

Assembly member Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, representing Malta, a country which upholds the right to life of all children, born and unborn, opposed the resolution, warning that "a society which destroys its young condemns itself to oblivion."

The Assembly, the oldest of the pan-European organisations, has no power to compel compliance among member states, but its recommendations are nonetheless influential in other bodies such as the European Court of Human Rights. Buckley continued, "Nothing in the European Convention on Human Rights recognises a right to abortion or confers on individuals a right to require a state to permit or facilitate abortion. The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the issue of when the right to life begins is a question to be decided at national level. It follows that the legal protection afforded to early human life must also be decided at national level."

The PACE committee met in late March to discuss a report that called for the total elimination among European Union member states of any legal restrictions on abortion. The report called for "access to safe and legal abortion" and urged all the member states to "guarantee women's effective exercise of their right to abortion." The committee's report criticised even the legal restrictions not specifically restricting abortion, saying, "The repeated medical consultations required, the time allowed for changing one's mind and the waiting time for the abortion all have the potential to make access to abortion more difficult, or even impossible in practice".

"The ban on abortions does not result in fewer abortions, but mainly leads to clandestine abortions, which are more traumatic and more dangerous. The lawfulness of abortion does not have an effect on a woman's need for an abortion, but only on her access to a safe abortion," the report said. It also recommended that countries make "sex-education" mandatory for young people, a strategy that precipitated in Britain one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in the western world.


Dutch Gov't to Marriage Commissioners: Won't do Gay "Marriages"? Then No Natural Marriages Either

The dogmatic Dutch love their homosexuals

The Netherlands equality commissioners have ruled that if a civil marriage commissioner refuses to conduct wedding ceremonies for homosexual partners, they must be barred from conducting ceremonies between men and women as well. The Equal Treatment Commission (CGB) ruled yesterday that local authorities are "not violating the equal treatment law if it refuses to appoint a marriage registrar who does not wish to marry persons of the same sex on grounds of religion".

The judgment comes after the municipality of Langedijk placed advertisements for two marriage registrars and demanded that applicants be prepared to conduct wedding ceremonies for natural couples and for same-sex partners.

The Christian Union party called the ruling an "unnecessarily harsh approach." The party, Christen Unie, is a Dutch orthodox-protestant and Christian-social party that holds "conservative" social views and centre left ideas on economic, migration, social and environmental issues. A party spokesman said, "This ruling does not help us further in the search for a careful balance between groups in society with differing beliefs" about homosexual "marriage".

When it comes to freedom of conscience for Christians and anyone who objects on moral grounds to homosexuality, however, it seems that homosexual political activists are only willing to apply tolerance to those who agree with their views.

In 2007 in Canada, homosexual activists fought efforts to allow marriage commissioners the right to exercise their freedom of conscience. When a Conservative MLA in New Brunswick tabled a piece of legislation meant to protect Christians and others who objected to the imposition of "gay marriage", homosexual activists responded with outrage, saying the legislation would grant rights to individuals who "discriminate" and would be an affront to the "equal marriage" movement.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pet correctness in Switzerland

It is a world in which the goldfish are never lonely, the dogs are always obedient and the guinea-pigs are never tormented by children. Under a new Swiss law enshrining rights for animals, dog owners will require a qualification, anglers will take lessons in compassion and horses will go only in twos. From guinea-pigs to budgerigars, any animal classified as a "social species" will be a victim of abuse if it does not cohabit, or at least have contact, with others of its own kind. The new regulation stipulates that aquariums for pet fish should not be transparent on all sides and that owners must make sure that the natural cycle of day and night is maintained in terms of light. Goldfish are considered social animals, or Gruppentiere in German.

The creator of this animal Utopia is the Swiss federal parliament, the Bundesrat, which adopted a law this week extending to four legs the kind of rights usually reserved for two. The law, which comes into force from September 1, is particularly strict over dogs: prospective owners will have to pay for and complete a two-part course - a theory section on the needs and wishes of the animal, and a practice section, where students will be instructed in how to walk their dog and react to various situations that might arise during the process. The details of the courses are yet to be fixed, but they are likely to comprise about five theory lessons and at least five sessions "in the field".

The law extends to unlikely regions of the animal kingdom. Anglers will also be required to complete a course on catching fish humanely, with the Government citing studies indicating that fish can suffer too. The regulations will affect farmers, who will no longer be allowed to tether horses, sheep and goats, nor keep pigs and cows in areas with hard floors. The legislation even mentions the appropriate keeping of rhinoceroses, although it was not clear immediately how many, if any, were being kept as pets in Switzerland.

Animal protection groups have greeted the news enthusiastically, but critics say that it means an extra financial burden on taxpayers and animal owners, and that it will be impossible to monitor the implementation of the rules. Farmers' associations have protested, arguing that the law will have a negative effect on the economy and decrease their competitiveness on the international market.

One tabloid newspaper has accused the Government of pandering to the needs of guinea-pigs while ignoring more important animal issues, such as its failure to enforce a ban on dangerous dogs. But Hans Wyss, head of the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office, said: "The aim is not only to ensure treatment of animals appropriate to each species, but also to decrease the risk of attacks by dangerous dogs. Inappropriate treatment could lead to behavioural disorders."

Doris Leuthard, the Economics Minister, assured pet owners that the authorities would not be visiting people's homes to enforce the law - although in extreme cases officials would have the power to intervene - but would count on the results of the training and a positive response from an "informed population". "We do not want to create a surveillance state," Mrs Leuthard said. She added that, in an age of consumer concern for animal welfare, farmers would benefit from the new law.

The attitude of the Government is in sharp contrast to some alleged practices in Switzerland: activists campaigning for a ban of the production and trade in cat fur products claim that tens of thousands of cats are killed each year to satisfy a growing domestic and foreign market fuelled by the belief that cat fur can alleviate the pain of rheumatism. The cats are skinned by specialised tanneries for various products, ranging from 30 pounds for a single fur to 200 for a cardigan and more than 800 for a large blanket - which might explain the total absence of stray cats in the country. There have also been reports coming from France about cats disappearing from areas along the Swiss border.

Should pet owners require advance guidance as to what will be expected of them, a goverment website provides it. One entry reads: "Guinea-pigs are very sensitive social animals. They are interesting to look at, but not at all appropriate to be cuddled or carried around by children." And a word of warning for those planning a mercy killing for their goldfish: special chemicals will be required "to put them to death". Flushing them down the loo is no longer an option.


Homosexual Sex Kills

Can you imagine officials at a middle school, junior high or high school setting aside a day to promote "tolerance" for heavy smoking and drinking among children? How about a day where teachers encourage kids to "embrace who they are," pick up that crack pipe and give it a stiff toke? Neither can I. The public would go ballistic, and for good reason.

But that hasn't stopped officials in thousands of schools across the country from promoting other politically correct and socially "in-vogue" behaviors that - both statistically and manifestly - are every bit as dangerous as the aforementioned frowned-upon behaviors. That's exactly what the homosexual activist "Day of Silence" is all about - advancing, through clever, feel-good propaganda, full acceptance among children of the homosexual lifestyle.

By recently admitting that "HIV is a gay disease," Matt Foreman, outgoing Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, acknowledged what the medical community has known for decades: the homosexual lifestyle is extremely high-risk and often leads to disease and even death. In fact, multiple studies have established that homosexual conduct, especially among males, is considerably more hazardous to one's health than a lifetime of chain smoking.

To the consternation of "gay" activist flat-earthers and homosexual AIDS holocaust deniers everywhere, one such study - conducted by pro-"gay" researchers in Canada - was published in the International Journal of Epidemiology (IJE) in 1997. (see the study here: http://ije.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/reprint/26/3/657.pdf )

While the medical consensus is that smoking knocks from two to 10 years off an individual's life expectancy, the IJE study found that homosexual conduct shortens the lifespan of "gays" by an astounding "8 to 20 years" - more than twice that of smoking. "[U]nder even the most liberal assumptions," concluded the study, "gay and bisexual men in this urban centre are now experiencing a life expectancy similar to that experienced by all men in Canada in the year 1871. . [L]ife expectancy at age 20 years for gay and bisexual men is 8 to 20 years less than for all men." This morose reality makes a strong case for a fitting redefinition of so-called "homophobia," that being "Homophobia: The rational fear that 'gay sex' will kill you!"

The fact that we don't have mandatory surgeon general warnings on the side of condom wrappers is a testament to the power and influence wielded by the radical homosexual lobby. (Warning: Male-male anal sodomy has been proven to shorten your lifespan by up to 20 years.)

Not surprisingly, that same homosexual lobby and its codependent enablers in the mainstream media moved quickly to sweep the IJE study under the rug. Under tremendous pressure, the researchers who conducted the study even jumped into the political damage control fray issuing a statement which read, "[W]e do not condone the use of our research in a manner that restricts the political or human rights of gay and bisexual men or any other group."

Of course, that's all just worthless fluff. All the political spin in the world doesn't change reality, nor does it eliminate the study's disturbing conclusions or practical implications. The research left ZERO wiggle room for anyone who would argue that homosexuality is a "perfectly normal and healthy alternative sexual orientation."

The risks associated with homosexual conduct are so drastic, in fact, that U.S. health regulations prohibit men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have had sex with MSM, from even donating blood. Consider that, according to the Food and Drug Administration, MSM, "have an HIV prevalence 60 times higher than the general population, 800 times higher than first time blood donors and 8,000 times higher than repeat blood donors."

Adults and children who engage in homosexual conduct, especially males, are also susceptible, at an astronomical rate, to nearly all other forms of sexually transmitted disease (STD). For example, the Hepatitis B virus is about five to six times more prevalent among "gays," and Hepatitis C is twice as common.

But perhaps most shocking are today's syphilis rates among homosexual men and adolescents. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that although homosexuals comprise only a fraction of the population (one to two percent), they account for an epidemic 64 percent of all syphilis cases.

In light of the irrefutable medical facts, it should be considered criminally reckless for educators to teach children that homosexual conduct is a normal, safe and perfectly acceptable alternative form of sexual expression (or "sexual orientation").

But instead, the "gay" lifestyle is vigorously promoted in our public schools. Sexually confused children who suffer from gender identity disorder and same-sex attractions are told to "embrace who they are," and are encouraged to entertain deviant and dangerous sexual temptations. "But always use a condom!" liberal educators bellow. (Forget that condoms have a perilously high failure rate and are incapable of preventing numerous STDs such as the HPV virus.)

On April 25, 2008, the pro-homosexual indoctrination of your children comes to a boil. Homosexual activists and like-minded liberal educators will be pushing the so-called "Day of Silence" on kids in thousands of schools across the country. The "Day of Silence" (DOS) is organized by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), one of the most militant and well-funded of the powerful homosexual pressure groups. DOS purports to confront the alleged systematic harassment and bullying of children who self-identify as homosexual, bisexual or "transgender."

To be sure, bullying and harassment should not be tolerated against anyone, anywhere for any reason, and those who engage in such activities should be firmly disciplined. However, DOS has very little to do with "bullying" and has everything to do with propaganda....

Children are impressionable. Their young minds are fresh clay ready for molding, and these adult homosexual activists know it. Your child's spiritual, emotional and physical well-being belongs in your hands, not in the hands of liberal activists and elitist educators with a deceptive and destructive political agenda. It's time to shatter the silence with truth.


Anti-human Overpopulation Hysteria

In a recent column Albert Mohler, the current president of the prestigious Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, comes out swinging against what he calls (echoing the words of Malcolm Muggeridge), "The Great Liberal Death Wish.". Mohler's column was prompted by an apocalyptic piece that appeared in USA Today, entitled "Might our religion be killing us?". In the article Oliver "Buzz" Thomas argues that the commandment, given to Adam in the Garden of Eden, to "be fruitful and multiply" is leading to the destruction of the planet, and suggests that instead of encouraging procreation religions ought instead to be promoting smaller families, at a limit of two children. He also suggests that governments ought to introduce tax incentives for those who limit their families, instead of for those who have children.

Thomas draws a parallel between Christianity and the religion of the Aztecs, the latter of which demanded mass human sacrifice and encouraged widespread violence, and which ultimately contributed to the demise of the Aztec civilization. "We moderns are far more sophisticated, of course," says Thomas, "but if we persist with some of our religious practices, we could be heading down the same disastrous dog trot."

"Consider the Roman Catholic Church's continued opposition to modern birth control or the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' (i.e. Mormons) encouragement of large families," he says. "This might not alarm you unless you realize that nearly one in every five humans on the planet is Roman Catholic and that the Latter-day Saints belong to one of the fastest-growing religions in the Western Hemisphere. Many Orthodox Jews and some Muslims also eschew birth control.

"Population growth hits hardest in the poorest nations, and as poverty increases, public health declines. I am quite certain that God is not the author of human misery, but by preaching against birth control at the same time we are preaching against abortion, it seems that we're making God out as cruel, a buffoon, or both." "We must stop having so many children," he concludes. "Clergy should consider voicing the difficult truth that having more than two children during such a time is selfish. Dare we say sinful?"

Mohler, however, retorts that Thomas's article "fails on multiple grounds," and instead points out, "The real population problem the world is almost certain to face in the future is too few babies being born - not too many." "Russia," observes Mohler, "is experiencing a net decrease in population, a situation that could threaten social stability. In China, the nation's disastrous 'one child only policy has led to a dramatic gender imbalance.and the rapid aging of the population means that basic social needs will present a crisis." "In reality, population growth is already subsiding on a global basis." This decrease in population will have particularly disastrous consequences for the developed world, says Mohler, asking, "What happens when the number of retirees approaches the number of workers? That economic experiment cannot work."

Mohler accuses the ilk of Thomas as promoting an approach to population control that "is rooted in an elitist distaste for larger families and an ambition of some to control the reproductive destiny of others." "In any event, a couple deciding to have additional children will often reflect a rational approach to getting out of poverty - not the cause of poverty in itself. Put bluntly, even in economic terms children usually bring greater economic benefits than costs over the long term."

He concludes, "For Christians, far more than economics is at stake. The far larger issue is the glory of God in the birth and maturation of godly progeny. Children are to be received - and conceived - as gifts, not as threats of environmental disaster."


More British Catholic Adoption Agencies to Close Doors instead of Bowing to Sexual Orientation Regulations

When the Labour government's Sexual Orientation Regulations were passed last year, the leadership of the Catholic Church in England and Wales warned that the new law would spell the end of Catholic involvement in social service, particularly adoption. Now the first of the UK's Catholic adoption agencies affected are announcing they will close their doors for good rather than betray religious principles and their guiding principle of the good of the child.

Bishop Malcolm McMahon said his diocese of Nottingham would be cutting ties with the their adoption agency, the Catholic Children's Society, because of the law that forces them to consider homosexual partners as equally qualified to adopt as people in natural heterosexual relationships. "We have been coerced into this, I am not happy about it at all," the bishop told Catholic News Service April 18. "The regulations have coerced the children's society into going against the church's teaching, and we don't wish to do that."

The Nottingham agency, together with that of the Northampton Catholic diocese, will become a secular institution "with a Christian character" by merging with the adoption agency of the Anglican Diocese of Southwell and Nottingham in October. The parish churches of the diocese will no longer solicit funds to support the agency. The Nottingham agency was founded in 1948 by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace and placed 25 children a year with adoptive families.

Contrary to common accusations that Catholics are trying to unjustly discriminate against homosexuals, the Catholic Church holds that its motivation is rather the desire to protect the best interests of children. The Church teaches, according to recent documents from the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, that allowing a child to be adopted by homosexual partners "would actually mean doing violence to these children" by placing them into a situation where their full social and spiritual development would be threatened.

Homosexual partners have had the legal right to adopt children in Britain since 2002. The new law, however, removes the right of Catholic and other Christian agencies to decline to consider homosexuals for adoption.

The move by the Nottingham diocese follows similar decisions made elsewhere in Britain. In the summer of 2007, shortly after the legislation was passed, the Leeds-based Catholic Care, which placed 20 children a year with adoptive families, voted to pull out of adoption services. Bishop Patrick O'Donohue of Lancaster announced at the same time that the Catholic Caring Services, an adoption agency working in Lancashire and Cumbria, will likely close rather than bow to the regulations.

When the legislation passed in 2007, Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, attempted to find a compromise in which Catholic adoption agencies would be exempt. Tony Blair, later to be received into the Catholic Church by the same Cardinal, refused to consider an exemption. Instead Blair offered his own version of a compromise: Catholic agencies had a year to adjust to adopting children to gay partners or close. That deadline comes at the end of this month.

The conflict comes at the same time that local branches of government continue to discriminate against Christians who volunteer to take in foster children. In November 2007, Vincent and Pauline Matherick, a Christian couple who had fostered children for years, were told by their Somerset council that they would no longer be allowed to continue because of their religious objections to homosexuality. They were later reinstated but only after a media furor and notices to the council by a Christian lawyers' group.

In February this year, it was reported that a Christian couple in Derby, Eunice and Owen Johns, is suing the local council after their application to foster children was refused because of their religious objections to homosexuality. In addition, the Labour-controlled council adoption panel was said to be "upset" that the couple insisted that children in their care would be required to accompany the family to church on Sundays.

In September 2007, an independent investigation revealed that a local council's fear of being labelled homophobic had allowed a total of 19 boys to be placed with a pair of homosexual child molesters. Despite growing reservations by staff and complaints from the mother of two of the boys, the Wakefield council placed the children into the care of Ian Wathey and Craig Faunch who were convicted in May 2006 of molesting and filming eight-year-old twins and two 14 year-old boys.



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.


Comments (5) | Trackback

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Liberal Hate Speech May Doom Dems' Election Hopes

First it was Rev. Jeremiah Wright's expletive-laced sermons and anti-Semitic rants that plunged the Obama campaign into full damage-repair mode. Then Barack triggered an uproar when he remarked about down-on-their-luck voters, "And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." That's right, the reason those yahoos place their faith in a Higher Power is because they can't find themselves find a decent job.

Then Obama turned on Hillary. During a Pennsylvania campaign stop he twice stuck his opponent with the harsh, "Shame on her." Mocking her new-found support for gun rights, he compared her to a warmed-over Annie Oakley. So much for Barack the Unifier.

Candidate Hillary Clinton has made her share of caustic remarks as well, often directing her barbs at members of the male species. Shortly after she announced her candidacy, Clinton traveled to Iowa to press the flesh. In response to a question about persons like Osama bin Laden, she responded with a sly grin, "And what in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?" And hours before she pulled off her New Hampshire primary upset, Hillary regaled the audience with this biting stereotype: "the remnants of sexism are alive and well."

Not so long ago, liberalism was synonymous with tolerance and open-mindedness. If you weren't of the liberal ilk, you were almost suspected of being a closet bigot. But in the last decade, the good name of liberalism has gone to the gutter. Remember the racist, thick-lipped caricatures of Condi Rice when she was named Secretary of State? Recall former University of Colorado professor Ward Churchill who blamed the 9/11 attack on the victims themselves? And how is it that modern liberalism has come to embrace resurgent anti-Semitism?

Then there's the suppression of free speech on college campuses. At Colorado College, the Feminist and Gender Studies Program produces the Monthly Rag. The latest issue featured an excerpt from The Bitch Manifesto and a vulgar discussion of "packing" in which a woman creates the appearance of a male genitalia under her clothes. But when a group of men issued its own flyer satirizing the Monthly Rag, progressive administrators charged the students with violating the campus speech code.

So how did liberalism devolve into a wellspring of potty-mouth rants, crude stereotypes, and campus intolerance? Part of the reason, I'm convinced, is the ever-strengthening grip of radical feminist ideology on the liberal conscience. Were you in New Orleans this past weekend? If not, do you realize you missed Jane Fonda's reading of The Vagina Monologues at the Super Dome? Actress Kerry Washington was also there. She was particularly touched because the Monologues compares a woman's vagina to New Orleans and the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. (I'm not making this up!)

Recently I had the unpleasant task of reading Catherine MacKinnon's 1989 tome, Toward a Feminist Theory of State. Now required reading in women's studies programs, the book is best described as the Mein Kampf of the radical feminist movement. While Mein Kampft blamed Aryans' woes on an alleged international Jewish plot, Toward a Feminist Theory of State sees men as secretly aligned in a vast anti-woman conspiracy. MacKinnon alarms the reader with improbable statistics such as "85% of working women will be sexually harassed," and "one-fifth of American women have been or are known to be prostitutes." She then concludes that "the major distinction between intercourse (normal) and rape (abnormal) is that the normal happens so often that one cannot get anyone to see anything wrong with it." By reducing females to docile and helpless creatures who lack moral agency, MacKinnon does an enormous disservice to women. In the end, her high-octane screed epitomizes gender intolerance at its worst.

Five years after MacKinnon's book was published, along came Sen. Joe Biden's Violence Against Women Act. That became the occasion for another round of male-bashing.

Newspaper reports openly portray men as wily batterers. But when singer Amy Winehouse admits to using her husband Blake as a punch-bag, persons look the other way. "I'll beat up Blake when I'm drunk. . If he says one thing I don't like then I'll chin him," she once bragged.

Just imagine, I once believed the Democratic agenda would bring about a kinder, gentler existence to our planet. Now I'm beginning to have my doubts. I suspect many Americans will feel the same way come Election Day.


Balanced approach to homosexuality in Singapore

They don't supervise your bedroom but you are not allowed to promote homosexuality

A Singapore television station has been fined for airing a show that featured a gay couple and their baby in a way that "promotes a gay lifestyle," the city-state's media regulator said. The Media Development Authority fined MediaCorp TV Channel 5 some 15,000 Singapore dollars ($11,600), it said in a statement on its website.

The station aired an episode of a home and decor series called Find and Design that featured a gay couple wanting to transform their game room into a new nursery for their adopted baby. The authority said the episode contained scenes of the gay couple with their baby and the presenter's congratulations and acknowledgment of them as a family unit "in a way which normalises their gay lifestyle and unconventional family setup".

The episode was in breach of rules on free-to-air television programming, which disallows content that promotes, justifies or glamourises gay lifestyles, the statement said. Earlier this month, the authority fined a Singapore cable television operator, StarHub Cable Vision $S10,000 for airing a commercial that showed two lesbians kissing.

Under Singapore law, gay sex is deemed "an act of gross indecency" punishable by a maximum of two years in jail. Despite the official ban on gay sex, there have been few prosecutions. But authorities have banned gay festivals and censored gay films, saying homosexuality should not be advocated as a lifestyle choice.


Europe or Eurabia?

By Daniel Pipes

THE future of Europe is in play. Will it turn into "Eurabia", a part of the Muslim world? Will it remain the distinct cultural unit it has been for the past millennium? Or might there be some creative synthesis of the two? The answer has vast importance. Europe may constitute a mere 7 per cent of the world's landmass but for 500 years, 1450-1950, for good and ill, it was the global engine of change. How it develops in the future will affect all humanity, especially daughter countries such as Australia that still retain close and important ties to the old continent. I foresee potentially one of three paths for Europe: Muslims dominating, Muslims rejected or harmonious integration.

* Muslim domination strikes some analysts as inevitable. Oriana Fallaci found that "Europe becomes more and more a province of Islam, a colony of Islam". Mark Steyn argues that much of the Western world "will not survive the 21st century and much of it will effectively disappear within our lifetimes, including many if not most European countries". Such authors point to three factors leading to Europe's Islamisation: faith, demography and a sense of heritage.

The secularism that predominates in Europe, especially among its elites, leads to alienation from the Judeo-Christian tradition, empty church pews and a fascination with Islam. In complete contrast, Muslims display a religious fervour that translates into jihadi sensibility, a supremacism towards non-Muslims and an expectation that Europe is waiting for conversion to Islam.

The contrast in faith also has demographic implications, with Christians having on average 1.4 children a woman, or about one-third less than the number needed to maintain their population, and Muslims enjoying a dramatically higher, if falling, fertility rate. Amsterdam and Rotterdam, in about 2015, are expected to be the first large majority-Muslim cities. Russia could become a Muslim-majority country in 2050. To employ enough workers to fund existing pension plans, Europe needs millions of immigrants, and these tend to be disproportionately Muslim due to reasons of proximity, colonial ties and the turmoil in majority-Muslim countries.

In addition, many Europeans no longer cherish their history, mores and customs. Guilt about fascism, racism and imperialism leaves many with a sense that their own culture has less value than that of immigrants. Such self-disdain has direct implications for Muslim immigrants, for if Europeans shun their own ways, why should immigrants adopt them? When added to the existing Muslim hesitations over much that is Western, especially concerns about sexuality, the result is Muslim populations who strongly resist assimilation. The logic of this first path leads to Europe ultimately becoming an extension of North Africa.

* But the first path is not inevitable. Indigenous Europeans could resist it and, as they make up 95per cent of the continent's population, they can at any time reassert control should they see Muslims posing a threat to a valued way of life. This impulse can be seen at work in the French anti-hijab legislation or in Geert Wilders's film, Fitna. Anti-immigrant parties gain in strength; a potential nativist movement is taking shape across Europe as political parties opposed to immigration focus increasingly on Islam and Muslims. These parties include the British National Party, Belgium's Vlaamse Belang, France's National Front, the Austrian Freedom Party, the Party for Freedom in The Netherlands and the Danish People's Party.

They are likely to continue to grow as immigration surges ever higher, with mainstream parties paying and expropriating their anti-Islamic message. Should nationalist parties gain power, they will reject multiculturalism, cut back on immigration, encourage repatriation of immigrants, support Christian institutions, increase indigenous European birthrates and broadly attempt to re-establish traditional ways.

Muslim alarm is likely to follow. US author Ralph Peters sketches a scenario in which "US Navy ships are at anchor and US marines have gone ashore at Brest, Bremerhaven or Bari to guarantee the safe evacuation of Europe's Muslims". Peters concludes that because of Europeans' "ineradicable viciousness", the continent's Muslims "are living on borrowed time". As Europeans have "perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing", Muslims, he predicts, "will be lucky just to be deported" rather than being killed.

Indeed, Muslims worry about just such a fate; since the 1980s they have spoken overtly about Muslims being sent to gas chambers. European violence cannot be precluded, but nationalist efforts will more likely take place less violently; if anyone is likely to initiate violence, it is the Muslims. They have already engaged in many acts of violence and seem to be spoiling for more. Surveys indicate, for instance, that about 5 per cent of British Muslims endorse the 7/7 transport bombings. In brief, a European reassertion will likely lead to ongoing civil strife, perhaps a more lethal version of the 2005 riots in France.

* The ideal outcome has indigenous Europeans and immigrant Muslims finding a way to live together harmoniously and create a new synthesis. A 1991 study, La France, une chance pour l'Islam (France, an Opportunity for Islam), by Jeanne-Helene Kaltenbach and Pierre Patrick Kaltenbach, promoted this idealistic approach. Despite all, this optimism remains the conventional wisdom, as suggested by an Economist leader in 2006 that dismissed, for the moment at least, the prospect of Eurabia as scaremongering. This is the view of most politicians, journalists, and academics, but it has little basis in fact.

Yes, indigenous Europeans could yet rediscover their Christian faith, make more babies and again cherish their heritage. Yes, they could encourage non-Muslim immigration and acculturate Muslims already living in Europe. Yes, Muslim could accept historic Europe. But not only are such developments not under way, their prospects are dim. In particular, young Muslims are cultivating grievances and nursing ambitions at odds with their neighbours.

One can virtually dismiss from consideration the prospect of Muslims accepting historic Europe and integrating within it. American columnist Dennis Prager agrees: "It is difficult to imagine any other future scenario for western Europe than its becoming Islamicised or having a civil war." But which of those two remaining paths will the continent take? Forecasting is difficult because the crisis has not yet struck. But it may not be far off. Within a decade, perhaps, the continent's evolution will become clear as the Europe-Muslim relationship takes shape.

The unprecedented nature of Europe's situation also renders a forecast exceedingly difficult. Never in history has a civilisation peaceably dissolved, nor has a people risen to reclaim its patrimony. Europe's unique circumstances make the outcome difficult to comprehend, tempting to overlook and virtually impossible to predict. With Europe, we all enter into terra incognita.


Fear of democracy

West stands by idly as its foundations are being rent asunder. Last Friday the UN's Human Rights Council took a direct swipe at freedom of expression. In a unanimous 32-0 decision, the Council instructed its "expert on freedom of expression" to report to the Council on all instances in which individuals "abuse" their freedom of speech by giving expression to racial or religious bias. The measure was proposed by paragons of freedom Egypt and Pakistan. It was supported by all Arab, Muslim and African countries - founts of liberty one and all. European states abstained from the vote.

The US, which is not a member of the Human Rights Council tried to oppose the measure. In a speech before the Council, US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Warren Tichenor warned that the resolution's purpose is to undermine freedom of expression because it imposes, "restrictions on individuals rather than emphasiz[ing] the duty and responsibility of governments to guarantee, uphold, promote and protect human rights."

By seeking to criminalize free speech, the resolution stands in breach of the UN's Declaration of Human Rights. Article 19 of that document states explicitly, "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

The Europeans' decision to abstain rather than oppose the measure seems, at first glance rather surprising. Given that the EU member states are among the UN's most emphatic champions, it would have seemed normal for them to have opposed a resolution that works to undermine one of the UN's foundational documents, and indeed, one of the most basic tenets of Western civilization. But then again, given the EU's stands in recent years against freedom of expression, there really is nothing to be surprised about. The EU's current bow to intellectual thuggery is of course found in its response to the Internet release of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders' film "Fitna."

The EU has gone out of its way to attack Wilders for daring to utilize his freedom of expression. The EU's presidency released a statement condemning the film for "inflaming hatred." Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenendeissued statements claiming that the film "serves no other purpose than to cause offense." Then too, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon blasted the film as "offensively anti-Islamic."

These statements follow the EU's quest to restrict freedom of speech following the 2005 publication of cartoons of Muhammed in Denmark's *Jyllands Posten* newspaper. They also come against the backdrop of the systematic silencing of anti-jihadist intellectuals throughout the continent. These intellectuals like Peter Redeker in France and Paul Cliteur in the Netherlands, are threatened into silence by European jihadists. And the governments of Europe either do nothing to defend and protect the threatened thinkers or justify the intellectual blackmailers by sympathizing with their anger.

It is axiomatic that freedom of expression is the foundation of human freedom and progress. When people are not allowed to express themselves freely, there can be no debate or inquiry. It is only due to free debate and inquiry that humanity has progressed from the Dark Age to the Digital Age. This is why the first act of every would-be tyrant is to take control over the marketplace of ideas. Yet today, the nations of Europe and indeed much of the Western world, either sit idly by and do nothing to defend that freedom or collaborate with unfree and often tyrannical Islamic states and terrorists in silencing debate and stifling dissent. There are two reasons that this is the case.

In the first instance, the political Left, which rules supreme in the EU's bureaucracy as well as in most of the intellectual centers of the free world, has shown through its actions that it has no real commitment to democratic values. Rather than embrace democratic values, the Left increasingly adopts the parlance of democracy cynically, with the aim of undermining free discourse in the public sphere in the name of "democracy."

Writing of the leftist uproar against Wilders' film in Europe in Der Speigel, Henryk Broder noted that almost across the board, the European media has castigated Wilders as "a right wing populist." As Broder notes, on its face this assertion is absurd for Wilders is a radical liberal. In "Fitna," the outspoken legislator shows how verses of the Koran are used by jihadists to justify the most heinous acts of mass murder and hatred. His film superimposes verses from the Koran calling for the murder of non-Muslims with actual scenes of jihadist carnage. It also superimposes verses from the Koran vilifying Jews with footage of Islamic clerics repeating the verses and with a three year old girl saying that she learned that Jews are monkeys and pigs from her Koran classes. "Fitna" concludes with a challenge to Muslims to expunge these hateful, murderous religious tenets from their belief system.

While arguably, but not necessarily inflammatory, Wilders' film serves an invitation to Europe and to the Islamic world to have an open debate. His film challenges viewers - both Muslim and non-Muslim - to think and to discuss whether Islam accords with the notions of human freedom and what can be done to stop jihadists from exploiting the Koran to justify their acts of murder, tyranny and hate.

As Broder notes, by calling Wilders a "right-wing populist," the Left seeks to silence both him and his call for an open discourse. The underlying message of such labeling is that Wilders is somehow beyond the pale of polite company and therefore his message should be ignored by all right thinking people. If you don't want to be intellectually isolated and socially ostracized like Wilders, then you mustn't watch his film or take it seriously. Doing so would be an act of "right-wing populism" - and everyone knows what that means.

Like all anti-democratic movements, today's political Left seeks to silence debate and so undermine democracy first by demonizing anyone who doesn't agree with it and then, by passing laws that criminalize speech or override the people's right to decide how they wish to live. In the EU, the Lisbon Treaty effectively regurgitated by bureaucratic fiat the constitution that was rejected by voters in France and Holland and was set to be defeated by the British. In Britain, Parliament has labored for years to pass a law which would criminalize the act of insulting Islam. Then too, one of the first acts the Brown government took after entering office last summer was to prohibit its members from talking about "Islamic terrorism."

As in Europe so too, in Israel, the Left goes to extraordinary lengths to undermine democracy in the name of democracy. In just one recent example, this week, leftist law professor Mordechai Kremnitzer warned the Knesset not to pass a law enabling a referendum on the partition of Jerusalem and the surrender of the Golan Heights. As Kremnitzer sees it, "If the verdict of a referendum is determined by a small majority, that includes Arab voters then a certain sector whose view was not accepted is liable to attempt to reject the legitimacy of the referendum and may fight against it violently." That "certain sector" Kremnitzer was referring to, of course are the Jews who oppose the partition of Jerusalem and the surrender of the Golan Heights by a large majority.

Kremnitzer's argument is both ridiculous and self-serving. It is ridiculous because he knows that in 2004, Likud members held a referendum of the government's planned withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria. Then prime minister Ariel Sharon pledged to abide by the results of his party's vote. But then, when 65 percent of Likud voters rejected his plan, he ignored them. And public's the reaction, while strong, was completely non-violent.

The only force that used sustained force and intimidation in the run-up to the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria was the government. It deployed tens of thousands of policemen to break up protests, bar protesters from travelling to lawful demonstrations, and jailed protesters without trial for months. In its overtly anti-democratic and legally dubious actions, the government was ably defended by Kremnitzer and his colleagues who either stood by as the civil liberties of the protesters were trampled or enthusiastically defended the government's abandonment of democratic values by calling the protesters "anti-democratic." Indeed, in his testimony Wednesday, Kremnitzer parroted that argument by claiming that referendums "are a recipe for harming democracy."

Aside from being factually and theoretically wrong, Kremnitzer's argument -- like the arguments of the EU bureaucracy which sidelined Europe's citizenry by passing the Lisbon Treaty -- is transparently self-serving. Like his EU counterparts, he knows full well that his support for an Israeli surrender of Jerusalem and the Golan Heights is a minority view. So his actual concern is not the health of Israeli democracy, but the power of the political Left to determine policy against the interests and wishes of the public.

The second reason that the Left acquiesces to the silencing of speech is because its members are just as concerned about the threat of Islamic supremacy as their political opponents. But unlike their opponents, they are too cowardly to do anything about it. This point was made clear too, in the wake of the release of Wilders' film.

This week a delegation of Christian and Muslim Dutch religious leaders travelled to Cairo to speak to religious Islamic leaders. Speaking to Radio Netherlands, Bas Plaisier, who heads the Dutch Protestant Church said that the delegation's mission was to "limit the possible consequences" of Wilders' film. The consequences he was referring to, of course, are the prospects of violent Muslim rioting and attacks against the Dutch and against Christians worldwide. Radio Netherlands reported that Plaisier "has been receiving disturbing reports from Dutch nationals all over the world, including ones about fear of repercussions among Christians in Sudan, the Middle East and Indonesia."

So the real reason the Dutch Protestant Church decries the film not because it thinks Wilders is wrong, but because its leaders believe that Wilders is absolutely right. It's just that unlike Wilders, who has placed his life in danger to express his views, they are too cowardly to defend themselves, and so, they travel to Cairo to genuflect to religious leaders who daily oversee the preaching of hate and Islamic supremacy in Egyptian mosques. They go on bended knee to coo before those who coerced the institutionalization of Egypt's religious persecution of its Christian Coptic minority and its silencing of liberal critics of the Mubarak regime and the Muslim Brotherhood.

And that is the rub. By squelching debate - out of loathing for their non-leftist political opponents and out of fear of jihadists and the regimes that promote them -- the West as a whole undermines not only its own values and foundational creeds. It also undermines the non-jihadists of the Islamic world, who, if ever empowered, would work to promote a form of Islam that does not respond to challenge with violence but rather with the discourse of reason and mutual respect for differences of opinion.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Friday, April 25, 2008

Like-Minded, Living Nearby

BOOK REVIEW of "The Big Sort" By Bill Bishop. "Like flocks with like" rediscovered. "Diversity" unpopular

The more diverse America becomes, the more homogeneous it becomes. No, that's not a misprint; it is the thesis of "The Big Sort," Bill Bishop's rich and challenging book about the ways in which the citizens of this country have, in the past generation, rearranged themselves into discrete enclaves that have little to say to one another and little incentive to bother trying. "As Americans have moved over the past three decades," Mr. Bishop proclaims, "they have clustered in communities of sameness, among people with similar ways of life, beliefs and in the end, politics."

It is an idea that has all but obsessed Mr. Bishop since he began thinking about it years ago in his hometown of Austin, Texas. In his Austin neighborhood, he observed, there were virtually no Republicans. In another community of similar size nearby there were very few Democrats. Thirty years earlier, he was willing to bet, nothing like that uniformity would have been possible. Values, ideology and partisanship would have mingled more variously in even the most compact neighborhood, ward or district.

This hunch and others led Mr. Bishop to write a series of widely discussed newspaper articles, and now, finally, a full-length presentation of the argument. I have always been skeptical about the clustering thesis myself, but there is one simple statistic, rightly seized on by Mr. Bishop, that is difficult to explain away. It is this: In 1976, less than a quarter of the American people lived in so-called "landslide counties" - that is, counties in which the spread between the two major presidential candidates was 20 percentage points or more. By 2004, nearly half of us lived in this kind of politically tilted territory.

How could this be? Well, we know one thing: It isn't gerrymandering. Nobody redraws the boundaries of a county every 10 years; they often stay the same for a century. Nor does it have much to do with natural population increase, which might push one group or another into a new proportional dominance within a certain geographical area. As it happens, there has been relatively little population growth in most parts of the country. The longer one thinks about it, the more seriously one has to consider Mr. Bishop's claim: that the local landslide effect has been largely the result of demographic resorting.

Why in recent years and not before? In Mr. Bishop's view, resorting is what happens when individuals in a society become more affluent, better educated and freer to make their own personal and political choices. But he also believes that the Big Sort has been a form of escape. As the country attracts more and more immigrants, and as large metropolitan areas become multiracial and multilingual, people feel a strong desire to retreat to the safety of smaller communities where they can live among those who look, think and behave like themselves.

"Americans," Mr. Bishop writes, "lost their sense of a nation by accident in the sweeping economic and cultural shifts that took place after the mid-1960s. And by instinct they have sought out modern-day recreations of the 19th-century 'island communities' in where and how they live." Not red and blue states, he is quick to insist; he calls that clich‚ an illusion. The reality is red and blue wards and precincts, suburbs and counties.

To be sure, a few obstacles confront anyone who wishes to accept this argument in toto. Research by the political scientist Morris Fiorina, for example, shows that, on most important issues, one doesn't find a wide ideological division according to geography. Counties do differ in their attitudes toward Iraq, abortion and foreign trade but not by nearly as much as Mr. Bishop's Big Sort would suggest. Mr. Fiorina argues that it's the political parties and their leadership that are fomenting political culture wars, not rank-and-file voters.

I accept the validity of this research, but I don't think it necessarily undermines Mr. Bishop's thesis. What if voters looked at the candidates in 2004 and decided - in clusters - that one of the nominees was the kind of person that they would like to have as neighbor, tennis partner or fellow-parishioner - and the other one simply wasn't? This is how Mr. Bishop explains the results in 2004, and he makes a decent case.

Certainly it is a case that the two major parties have come to accept. Soon after the 2000 election, Bush pollster Matthew Dowd reported to Karl Rove that there wasn't much point in focusing any campaign on independents or moderate voters anymore. The country was too polarized, essentially along the cultural lines that Mr. Bishop lays out. "If you drive a Volvo and do yoga, you are pretty much a Democrat," Bush campaign manager Ken Mehlman said in 2004. "If you drive a Lincoln or a BMW and you own a gun, you're voting for Bush." Mr. Bishop would agree. He would simply add that the yoga people have clustered in one set of culturally segregated enclaves and the gun owners in another.

Mr. Bishop has drawn a painstaking, and in my view, accurate picture of the first eight years of this century - certainly of its politics. Whether he has described the next eight years is not so clear. George Bush has been a deeply polarizing political leader. John McCain doesn't seem to be one; Barack Obama is determined not to be one; and Hillary Clinton has spent much of the past six months looking for ways to cast herself as a less polarizing figure than she has been in the past. If any one of them succeeds in campaigning and governing on such terms, "The Big Sort" may turn out to be a captivating account of recent history rather than an enduring explanation of American social life.


Leftists don't need facts

In his upcoming biography of Jesus, "Basic Instinct" director Paul Verhoeven will make the shocking claim that Christ probably was the son of Mary and a Roman soldier who raped her during the Jewish uprising in Galilee. An Amsterdam publishing house said Wednesday it will publish the Dutch filmmaker's biography of Jesus, "Jesus of Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait," in September. It will be translated into English in 2009, Marianna Sterk of the publishing house J.M. Meulenhoff said. Verhoeven hopes it will be a springboard for him to raise interest in making a film along the same lines, she said.

The 69-year-old director, who also directed "Showgirls" - starring Elizabeth Berkley in one of the most panned films of the '90s - and sci-fi action hits like "Total Recall" and "RoboCop," as well as the sci-fi bust "Starship Troopers," claims he and co-biographer Rob van Scheers have written the most realistic portrayal of Jesus ever published. In addition to suggesting that the Virgin Mary may have been a rape victim, the book will also say that Christ was not betrayed by Judas Iscariot, one of the 12 original apostles of Jesus, as the New Testament states.

Catholic League President Bill Donohue called Verhoeven's claim about Mary "laughable." "Here we go again with idle speculation grounded in absolutely nothing," Donohue told FOXNews.com. "He has no empirical evidence to support his claim, which is why they say 'may have.'" Donohue also mocked the fact that Verhoeven - best known for directing the famous Sharon Stone crotch scene in "Basic Instinct" - reportedly worked on the book for 20 years, only to come up with a "probably."

"He's been working 20 years trying to sell this argument and hasn't come up with anything," Donohue said. "This won't make a dent with Christians, nor with scholars somewhat wary of the biblical account. "It's a European version of Hollywood. He should go back to Sharon Stone's legs."

Kirk Bingaman, director of the pastoral counseling program at Fordham University's Graduate School of Religion, said the idea that Mary was raped and that the rapist was Jesus' father is not new. "The idea goes back to ancient sources from the 1st or 2nd century; I personally don't put a lot of stock in it. How would we ever know? We don't have any empirical proof. I subscribe to the Apostles' Creed that Jesus was conceived of the Virgin Mary," he said.

Over the years, Verhoeven, who is Catholic and holds a doctorate in mathematics and physics from the University of Leiden, was a regular attendee of the Jesus Seminar, which was co-founded by the late religion scholar Robert W. Funk. The seminar called into question miracles and statements attributed to Jesus. "The Jesus Seminar was big in the '80s and somewhat in the '90s," Donohue said. "They have been very controversial in challenging the accepted biblical account of Jesus. The goal is to question the divinity of Christ - to say he was nothing but a happy carpenter who worked at Lowe's or Home Depot."


Blessing vs. Damning America

"I've spoken of the shining city all my political life.... [I]n my mind it was a tall, proud city built on rocks stronger than oceans, wind-swept, God-blessed...." - President Ronald Reagan, Farewell Address, January 11, 1989

"'God Bless America?' No, no, no, God d--- America.... God d--- America.... God d--- America!!" - Jeremiah Wright, pastor to Barack Obama for two decades
The spiritual mentors of Ronald Reagan shaped his understanding and vision of America's role in the world. Why would anyone assume the same does not hold true for Barack Obama?

Americans have always been a religious people, with the vast majority believing in God and a consistent majority attending religious services -- from the founding to today. The so-called worldview and even politics of many Americans are frequently shaped, guided, or reinforced by what they hear week after week from behind the pulpit, from the person of God they respect and usually admire as their pastor. A pastor leads the flock. A good pastor reads and applies Scripture to the times -- to the events of the day. Pastors hold an immense responsibility, as they can very well mold a citizen, leader, and even that rarest of congregants who have the extraordinary potential to become president of the United States.

Academics who study religion and politics talk about "civil religion." Jean Jacques Rousseau maintained that no state had ever been founded without a religious basis, nor could it survive without appealing to its citizens through some form of religion, or, as he put it, through some form of "civil religion." Citizens need a transcendent cause, something larger in which to believe. For most typical states, civil religion is understood as an infusion of sacred principles drawn from a nation's own civil traditions and from those of a conventional, organized religion -- a kind of mixture of political allegiance and religious sentiment.

America itself is a good illustration of this. In American history, civil religion has been associated with positives images -- America as a promised land and new Jerusalem, Americans as a chosen people, to name just two. In fact, many left-leaning academics do not like how this fusing of the political and the religious has led, in their view, to excessive patriotism, in which America is seen as possessing a dangerous notion of divine mandate that can err on the side of self-righteousness and imperialism. And of course, that's a balance that any American leader needs to be careful to keep in mind. Nonetheless, overall, this sort of civil religion perceives America positively.

To the contrary, there is another admixture of faith and politics that strays in the other direction -- a kind of un-civil religion, I suppose. This brand draws from America's worst sins, real and imagined, and employs them to construct a terrible America, one that has been a force for hell and havoc in this world -- so bad that it deserves the worst calamities that befall it, like everyday business people being ignited into flames and violently dislodged from atop the World Trade Center buildings on September 11, 2001. Rather than an image of America whose first leader knelt in the snow of Valley Forge to seek the counsel of Divine Providence, here's an America whose men in charge border the demonic, heading to the lab to manufacture everything from crack cocaine to the AIDS virus so they can kill black Americans.

This view of America is the one, of course, perpetuated by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor to Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination and quite possibly the next president of the United States. It is a toxic brew that we can only hope and pray has not sunk deep into the marrow of the bones of Senator Obama. That hateful view of an insidious, malevolent America might be contrasted with the kind of America that President Ronald Reagan -- regularly ranked as one of our most beloved presidents -- learned about from the pulpit:

Reagan was heavily influenced by his pastor in Dixon, Illinois, a man named Ben Cleaver, who was a father figure to the young Reagan. Cleaver had attended the University of Chicago, near Obama and Wright's church, and learned to read Hebrew and classical Greek. He was well read and curious, intellectual, and patriotic, harboring a faith in the American founders, given to invoking the likes of Washington and Lincoln. On one such speech to the local American Legion in February 1927, Cleaver spoke of the decidedly different upbringings of the two presidents, emphasizing that neither man's background, whether rich or poor, stopped him from making his mark on history.

Cleaver, a member of the Disciples of Christ denomination, was influenced by church leaders like Alexander Campbell. For Campbell and other 19th century Disciples, America's destiny was often prophetically interpreted, and the nation had a democratic mission to save the world from autocrats. Campbell believed the world's fate rested on America. In July 1830, Campbell declared the world "must look" to America "for its emancipation from the most heartless spiritual despotism ever." "This is our special mission in the world as a nation and a people," said Campbell, "and for this purpose the Ruler of nations has raised us up and made us the wonder and the admiration of the world." Campbell confidently predicted the "speedy overthrow" of "false religion [and] oppressive governments." He spoke of America as a "beacon," a "light unto the nations."

This was the kind of instruction that Ronald Reagan got from his church and the pulpit of Rev. Ben Cleaver, not to mention similarly uplifting messages from additional pastors, like the Rev. Cleveland Kleihauer, who pastored Reagan's church in Hollywood when Reagan was at an age comparable to Barack Obama during his time with Rev. Wright.

From his religious instruction and own reading, Ronald Reagan came to view America as "A Shining City Upon a Hill," which he anchored in his understanding of the Old and New Testament and from his knowledge of what John Winthrop had proclaimed aboard the Arabella off the Massachusetts coast in 1630, the latter of which Reagan recited by heart. The message Reagan took from Matthew 5:14-16 (New Testament) is especially telling. The passage reads:
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men....
A nation that reflects God is not a nation to be hidden under a bowl, Reagan held, just as one would not light a lamp and then cover it with a bowl, not shining its light and extinguishing itself in the process. There's no point to lighting a lamp merely to cover it. Likewise, there's no point to a nation that's a beacon hiding itself. The faithful are not to harness the light only for themselves and their own warmth, but to share and spread it. One must bring that light to where it is needed -- to cast it upon the darkness. For Reagan, that would mean (especially) upon the Soviet Union - an empire he called "evil," and a land he dubbed "the heart of darkness."

Reagan both privatized and nationalized -- and even internationalized -- Matthew 5:14-16. He spoke of the "city on a hill" in this passage as a "Shining City Upon a Hill," as a "beacon." This is what Reagan wanted America to be: a model for all others, a guiding light . He saw America as divinely blessed and chosen to lead the world to freedom. "I've always believed that this blessed land was set apart in a special way," Reagan said literally innumerable times, "that some divine plan placed this great continent here between the two oceans." It was a divine edict to bring freedom to the world-one that Reagan sought to fulfill. As he summed up in his Farewell Address from the Oval Office on January 11, 1989: "We stood, again, for freedom.... We meant to change a nation, and instead, we changed a world." In short, Reagan's optimistic view of America would compel him to lead a positive America to create a better world. Reagan looked at America and saw freedom, not slavery.

And that's the kind of thinking that Ronald Reagan took from his religious instruction, beginning with the pulpit of Ben Cleaver. It is not the view of America that Barack Obama has taken from his pulpit of choice. In Obama's case, we can only hope he wasn't ever listening to Pastor Jeremiah Wright's deranged, angry sermons, or that these rants somehow managed to have no effect whatsoever on the senator, his wife, and his children. What are the chances of that?

In a July 1983 speech, Ronald Reagan noted that "two visions of the world remain locked in dispute." One was the American vision, said Reagan, which "believes all men are created equal by a loving God who has blessed us with freedom." The other vision was the Soviet one. Here today, we have two visions of America locked in dispute, and poised to produce very different fruit. I prefer the image of a blessed Shining City over the view of an America that is deservedly damned.


Who Says You Can't Whip City Hall?

City attacks Christian church -- loses

In these times, there is gloom and doom in almost every article that comes from the pen of conservatives, religionists, political pundits of all stripes including Dem's, GOP's and all the rest of the political parties. Then throw in the global warming crowd and their fellow tree hugging snail darting bunch along with all of the other isms, asms and spasms. Frankly, who even wants to get out of bed in the morning? You've got an Egg McMuffin ulcer before you leave McDonald's now, because they even have TeeVee's in the dining area. And yet, in the midst of all of this defeatism, a small church in Indianapolis with less than thirty members took on the largest city in the State of Indiana with a population of one million, and with the help of the Phoenix based Alliance Defense Fund whupped up on the home of the 500 Mile Race big time. In Biblical language, what they did comes right from those powerful words found in the great hall of faith chapter of Hebrews where it says, "and by faith they subdued kingdoms."

The City of Indianapolis didn't want much from the little congregation. The city fathers just wanted them to bow down and recognize them as little tin horn gods and get a zoning variance or be fined $2500 per day. Pastor Anthony Digrugilliers said "No way," stood on his First Amendment grounds, and won the day for Christ and Religious liberty. The following article by Pat Stegman, Associate Editor of The Trumpet Newsletter, tells the whole thrilling story in detail. Read it, and give thanks to the God of the Bible, the men who gave us the First Amendment, and those like Pastor Digrugilliers and the ADF who are still believe in it and are willing to fight for it.

"Victory Upon Victory": Judge Barker Forced to Reverse Ruling

Pastor Anthony "Toby" Digrugilliers called it a "victory upon a victory" when his church won a zoning case brought against the City of Indianapolis. The US Court of Appeals for the 7th District remanded the case back to the U.S. District Court for reversal, giving Digrugillier and his congregation the right to assemble and worship in their existing location without the burden of applying for a zoning variance.

The Baptist Church of the Westside, a satellite of the Indianapolis Baptist Temple, has been leasing a small house located in a commercially-zoned neighborhood since July 2005. In February 2006, Indianapolis city officials sent a letter saying that the "religious use" of the property violated the city's zoning code. In order to meet at that location, officials explained, they would have to obtain special permission. The city indicated that they would pursue legal action against the church, which could result in an injunction preventing them from worshipping in addition to fines up to $2,500 a day.

Pastor Digrugilliers, on behalf of the church, moved for a preliminary injunction to keep the city from shutting the church down while they proceeded with a court case based on the city's violation of the Constitution and a federal law known as RLUIPA. RLUIPA, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, forbids a local government to "impose or implement a land use regulation in a manner that . . . . treats a religious assembly or institution on less than equal terms with a nonreligious assembly or institution." Since comparable secular uses within that zoning area, such as senior citizen centers, assembly halls, and civic groups, would not require a zoning variance, neither should a religious use.

David Langdon, an attorney associated with the Alliance Defense Fund, handled the church's legal appeals. He contended that the city's actions violate the Constitution because they do not require nonreligious groups to obtain special permission. "They treat religious uses much more onerously than they treat other very similar uses," he asserts. "For example, any kind of assembly hall or any place where people might gather to discuss politics or [hold a meeting such as] Kiwanis, [are] permitted to meet in most places in the city," Langdon explains. "Whereas a church, no matter where it is - whether it's a residential district, a commercial district, anywhere in the city - they have to get special permission."

The Lord must have been waiting for this one. In His great wisdom, the case came before none other than Sarah Evans Barker, Chief Federal Judge of the Southern District, Indianapolis - the same judge whose ruling against the Indianapolis Baptist Temple resulted in the 2001 seizure of the church. Barker refused to halt enforcement of the zoning ordinance, basing her decision in part on her contention that allowing a church to locate in that zoning area could therefore interfere with other land uses - specifically, if a liquor or pornography establishment decided to take up residence within 200 feet of the Westside Baptist Church.

She also relied - erroneously, according to the Circuit Court of Appeals - on a court case called Civil Liberties for Urban Believers ("CLUB") v City of Chicago. Digrugilliers noted that "this case does not apply, because the city of Chicago required everyone - secular or religious - to get a variance. In our case, Indianapolis only required a religious variance."

Digrugilliers appealed to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. "The fact of the matter is," he emphasized, "that the City of Indianapolis did discriminate against our Church on the grounds of religious content and speech."

An unexpected ally showed up when the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department filed an Amicus ("friend of the court") brief in April 2007, arguing that Indianapolis had violated the RLUIPA by refusing to permit religious assemblies in a commercial area while allowing similar secular uses. The Justice Department stated, "The District court erroneously concluded that the Church's RLUIPA and Constitutional claims were identical and the District Court erred when it concluded that the zoning ordinances treated religious groups on equal terms with non-religious groups." They further stated that the denial of the Preliminary Injunction should be vacated by Judge Barker.

The Biblical Law Center (BLC), founded by Al Cunningham, worked with David Langdon's law firm handling this case in Indianapolis. "The BLC was consulted regularly and made known the fact that the caption on the case was wrong," commented Barbara Ketay, BLC's Legal Associate. "There was a Declaration of Trust in place, and the caption on the case had to reflect Pastor Digrugillier's position pursuant to the Declaration. It was amended and filed, and the position of the Pastor before the Court was perfected."

When the church's lease came up for renewal, Judge Barker noticed that the lease did not reflect the Declaration of Trust, and ordered that it be drawn according to the parameters set forth in the Declaration. In the Indianapolis Baptist Temple case in 2002, Barker totally ignored the Declaration of Trust of the IBT, ruling in favor of the government. In this case, the same judge was made to recognize the importance of the very Declaration of Trust that she had ignored in the IBT case. The Circuit Court did not merely make a favorable ruling, but actually sent Barker's ruling back to her court for reversal.

As a result of the court case, Indianapolis changed the ordinance to comply with RLUIPA and removed the onerous restrictions for religious use. Another concern for Westside was parking restrictions, but a city councilman came to their aid and threw those restrictions out of the ordinance as well.

Throughout their ordeal, the congregation continued to meet at the church building. "Our landlords have been wonderful," said Digrugilliers. "During the winter months, they reduced our rent so we could stay."

"This ruling is beneficial to anyone that's in a similarly zoned area," noted Digrugilliers. "When churches realize the far-reaching implications of this, they can go back and force their local governments to rescind the requirements for a zoning variance." As for the little church known as the Baptist Church of the Westside, the case confirmed what they knew all along: "God is good. All the time."



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.


Comments | Trackback

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The E-Word Versus The Truth

By Bob Parks

There is this cutesy little web encounter by four prominent media women lamenting the fact that the Obamas are being unfairly labeled as "elitists". To be fair, many candidates attempt to label each other "out of touch" with their potential constituents. Some are born with the ol' silver spoons in their mouths; some are nouveau riche, and some cash-in during and after their terms of office.

But it would appear the ladies, Joan Juliet Buck (Vogue), Lesley Stahl (CBS), Liz Smith (NY Post) and Whoopi Goldberg (The View), don't think the elitist criticism is fair when applied to Barack and Michelle Obama.
JOAN: What is this thing of Obama being perceived as an elitist? Is it important? Is it going to harm him? What do you think?

LIZ: I think it does harm him. And the National Review story on Michelle Obama complaining to ladies in Ohio about how could the two of them live on $500,000 a year, and how they couldn't pay for their children's tennis and dancing lessons, or piano lessons, or something. But, honestly, you have to admire the Obamas. They're an upscale, young American couple. They're a model for every downtrodden person in America. So, I think a little elitism goes a long way. But do I think the Obamas are intellectual elitists, probably. They're smarter than the rest of us.
It's a rather lengthy four-way, and you can check it out at your leisure. However, there was one exchange within that interview that prompted me to do some digging. You see; one of the side effects of being an elitist seems to be the belief that you're smarter than everyone else. That could be one reason (aside from the "evil" component) that politicians tell tall tales, believing that the consumers of those whoppers are too stupid (and in awe of them) to discern fact from fiction. Hillary Clinton obviously believed she could get away with her Bosnia delusion, while Barack Obama stated he never personally witnessed a negative Pastor Wright sermon. When publicly presented with the facts, they both recanted.

In the conversation, Whoopi Goldberg appears to have committed a similar offense.
WHOOPI: No, but that's the way it is with us. And I'll tell you something, this thing that happened at that dopey John Kerry fundraiser .

JOAN: What thing?

WHOOPI: I was accused of doing something that I didn't do on stage. And not one Democrat stood up and said, "I was there, that's not what happened." Nobody said .

LIZ: You were accused of making a nasty remark about George Bush. Is that right?

WHOOPI: I was accused of making disgusting, rude, ugly, crappy remarks about the president. And that's not what happened. And before I got off the stage it was already on the AP wires. And there were people making ugly, crude, nasty remarks about the president that night. But I wasn't one of them.

JOAN: But it stuck to you and nobody stood up for you?

WHOOPI: None of them. None of them stood up and said, "Wait a minute. That's not what happened! This is not what went down."
Apparently, a lot of people got it wrong then, Whoopi. If we were all fed a load of hooey, how come she didn't sue the Associated Press, as well as all the other media outlets that repeated the "slander"? Celebrities sue the National Inquirer all the time when misquoted.

According to Reuters, "The New York Post said of Goldberg's appearance at the event: `Waving a bottle of wine, she fired off a stream of vulgar sexual wordplays on Bush's name in a riff about female genitalia.'"
Bad-Taste Digs at W During Dem Gala Cost Big Fat Gig

Whoopi Goldberg was. canned (yesterday) by the makers of SlimFast over her X-rated barbs about the President. Goldberg stoked outrage last week with an extended filthy rant (involving jokes based on the sexual connotations of President Bush's last name and Vice President Cheney's first name), which delighted the partisan crowd that packed a. Democratic fund-raiser....

- N.Y. Daily News, July 15, 2004
If her comments never happened, she could have sued the hell out of SlimFast.
"Ads featuring Ms. Goldberg will no longer be on the air."

- Terry Olson, Slim-Fast General Manager
So who are we to believe? The many Hollywood celebrities who reportedly laughed their butts off at her comments at that infamous fundraiser?
Kerry could be seen laughing uproariously during part of Goldberg's tirade - and neither he nor Edwards voiced a single objection to its tone when they spoke to the crowd.

- Fox News, July 10, 2004
The problem with elites is their egos. As they believe they know more than the rest of us, they believe they can tell us whatever they wish, as it's usually for our own good (and their personal self-aggrandizement). The problem is, for all they believe they know, there are some of us out here who will take the time and do the research, and blow their little lapses in judgment out of the water. Just ask Dan Rather.

Elitism isn't the problem. The elitist allergy to the truth is, right Whoopi


The Leftist media have not won yet

Smoothstone says "changing the lexicon restores truth to the Middle East narrative." He is exactly right. We have not only to change the lexicon in the ME, but in every place the multi-cults have distorted reality with their use of euphemisms and their cries of `racist' or `intolerant' when someone tells the truth. It helps to create a positive reality by using constructive terms. Conservative Swede once referred to himself as a "kafircon" -- a term that is humorous and much better than "islamophobe." To affirm what is good about *us* is much more generative of creativity than to point to the things we fear.

I fear the undermining of Western culture by an aggressive worldview founded on a principle of scarcity; a nomadic, primitive, tribal mentality arising from a harsh desert environment. Tribal beliefs (even those adapted by the politically correct to designate who is acceptable and to exclude those who are not) weaken the ties that bind community. And the sense of community is essential to our survival as civilized beings. For his example blogger Smoothstone uses part of this editorial from last week's Jerusalem Post writer, Michael Freund:
Amid all the doom and gloom that seems to fill the news of late, here is a neat little statistic that offers a glimmer of hope. Despite years of relentless propaganda and concerted media indoctrination, a majority of Israelis continue to hold patriotic views.

In its latest monthly peace index survey for March 2008, Tel Aviv University's Steinmetz Center for Peace Research found that, by a wide margin, the majority of Israeli Jews view Judea and Samaria, the heartland of the Jewish people, as "liberated" rather than "occupied" territory. Summarizing their findings, the researchers noted that, "We were surprised to discover that even though, over the years, the concept of `occupation' has become more common both in the political discourse and the media, today a majority of the Jewish public defines the West Bank as `liberated territory' (55%) and not as `occupied territory' (32%)."

This is an astonishing and welcome bit of data, for it demonstrates unequivocally just how strong and resilient the bond still is between the people of Israel and their land. Even with the onslaught of negative portrayals of Jewish settlers over the years, and the persistently poison pens of various Israeli journalists, the bulk of Israelis have remained immune to the venom. They continue to see this land as ours and have not allowed the mainstream media's cynicism and disapproval to cloud their most basic of instincts.

No less interesting were several other findings contained in the survey, which further underline the durability of the public's patriotic leanings. By a margin of 57% to 23%, or more than two to one, Israeli Jews oppose a return to the pre-1967 borders, and a clear plurality (47% vs. 40%) now agrees that the Oslo peace process was "a mistake."

Not surprisingly, the authors of the survey suggest that "the hard-line positions that most of the Jewish public now takes" are attributable to "pessimism", as though recognizing that Oslo has failed is merely a function of mood swings, rather than taking a cold, hard look at reality.

To be sure, not all the results were encouraging. The poll found that strong support remains for the establishment of "two states for two people" despite the Palestinians' ongoing failure to curb terror and halt anti-Israel incitement and violence. But even there, a dose of realism has begun to creep in. For the results also showed that nearly three-quarters believe that even if an agreement is signed with the Palestinians, "it will not, from the Palestinians' standpoint, end the historic conflict with Israel." In other words, deep down, most Israelis acknowledge that the thrust of the conflict with the Palestinians is not about land, but about our very existence.

What are we to make of all this? Consider the following: if more than 40 years after the Six Day War, just a third of Jewish Israelis consider the territories to be "occupied," then it means that however vocal and strident the Left might be, they remain nothing more than a small and unpersuasive minority in this country. For all the sympathetic coverage, reports, articles and editorials that have amplified its position over the years, the Left has clearly failed to do more than dent the nation's underlying attachment to places such as Hebron, Bethlehem and Shiloh.

This represents a colossal failure on their part in the battle for public opinion. While they may have succeeded in altering the reality on the ground by establishing the Palestinian Authority and supporting the Gaza withdrawal, the Left has not succeeded in wearing down our faith. And, as Menachem Begin pointed out in The Revolt, "Faith is perhaps stronger than reality, for faith itself creates reality."

The findings of the peace index also point to a tremendous opportunity. They underline the fact that Israelis are not "suicidal" or "lemmings," as some on the far right are wont to believe. Rather, they continue to hold on to a healthy set of nationalist values and beliefs, however unpopular these might be among our media elites.

Perhaps that is precisely why the media does its best to shut us up and shut us out. Indeed, just think what would happen if Israel had a more impartial media, one that actually gave equal time and respect to those who remain loyal to the Land of Israel. Imagine the difference it would make if there were one - even one! - major media outlet that allowed Israel's right to air its views alongside those of the left. It would, quite simply, revolutionize the entire political system.

In the United States, media baron Rupert Murdoch tapped into the disconnect between the liberal media and America's conservative impulses by creating Fox News Channel. Within a few years, Fox had rocketed to the top of cable news ratings, leaving CNN and MSNBC in the dust. In an October 2006 interview with the Financial Times, Murdoch explained the secret of Fox's success. He said, "The real story about Fox is the business story. The real thing is by being fair and balanced - by putting on both sides all the time - we really have changed the political equation in this country." "People think we're conservative," he added, "but we're not conservative. I mean that it has given room to both sides, whereas only one side had it before. I think people are responding to that very strongly."

There is no doubt that Israelis would too. Just imagine if Israel had its own version of Fox News - balanced yet patriotic, fair yet loyal. It would further energize the country's underlying nationalist and Zionist proclivities, and possibly even invigorate the near-dormant political right. Hence, establishing such a channel should become a top priority for those who wish to preserve the land of Israel and protect her from harm. For, if the peace index teaches us anything, it is that the right must never make the mistake of writing off the Israeli public or giving up on them as a lost cause. The public can see through the mainstream media's left-wing political agenda, and they are obviously hungering for something new and different.

Now is the time to do something about it. And a good place to start would be to change the channel, and give the Israeli people a media they can be proud of. One that isn't ashamed to wave the flag and boost the country and its values. What a breath of fresh air that would be.
The faith I point to has nothing to do with religiosity or with organized denominational faith. When Menachim Begin said "faith is perhaps stronger than reality, for faith itself creates reality," he was not referring to the cult, the code or the creed of the varieties of Jewish religious belief. He meant the commitment we have as human beings in the project of fostering what is best in ourselves. That exploration is more crucial than anything merely technological In fact, the engine of our endlessly creative work in technology is simply our human nature. What has so distorted extremist Islam is its refusal to allow scope for this basic imperative. They are reduced to finding new and creative ways to kill.

For the sake of this particular discussion, I don't care if we just randomly "happened" or if there is some larger force, which spun us out of clay and set us going. The important truth is that we ourselves still spin miracles out of gossamer. Isn't that amazing?

Meanwhile (indulging in a little "racist" profiling), I would love to see an Israeli channel similar to Fox News. For certain, shortly after its creation there would appear a second Israeli-type Fox News, one that could argue with the first version. Whatever else they might be, those would be lively places, full of sparking quarrels, rhetoric and alarums -- all the better for broadening our knowledge and experience. The world would be a richer place. Why, I might actually buy a television


Mormon Case Trips Alarm among liberty-lovers

I wrote earlier this month about the fundamentalism Mormon sect whose ranch was raided by Texas authorities on suspicion of child abuse. Libertarians have been up in arms regarding what they regard as “police state tactics” on the part of Texas, holding more than 400 children separate from their parents on the basis of a single, anonymous phone call alleging that an underage girl was forced to bear children and needed the state’s protection.

Developments in the story prompt me to come down on the side of the alarmists. During the hearing regarding whether the children should remain in the state’s custody pending further investigation, child psychologist and state witness Bruce Perry testified that the group’s belief system is abusive.
Earlier Friday a cult expert told the judge in the West Texas polygamous sect child custody hearing that the group’s belief system is abusive. Psychiatrist Bruce Perry testified that teen girls don’t resist early marriages because they are trained to be obedient and compliant.

Perry took the stand in a hearing concerning 416 youngsters removed this month from a polygamist compound near Eldorado and placed with Texas Child Protective Services. Perry, who’s an expert on children in cults, says while the teen girls believed they were marrying out of free choice, it’s a choice based on lessons they’ve had from birth.
This is a matter of concern to me. Who wants the state to have the right to decide which beliefs are “abusive” and which are not? Crimes usually address behaviors, not beliefs. The state has every right to investigate abusive behaviors. But abusive beliefs? I’m sorry, we’ve just stepped over a line that civil liberties cannot tolerate. How long will it be, do you suppose, before the state decides that teaching that homosexuality is offensive to God constitutes an abusive belief? Should the state be able to declare a belief system “abusive” if a church teaches that wives should be submissive toward their husbands? Is it possible that the state may eventually decide that to teach teenagers that premarital sex is wrong and that adults should refrain from sexual activity until marriage, constitutes an abusive belief system? Keep in mind, I’m not asking if you think that’s abusive — I’m asking if the state should be permitted to make that assessment.

The psychologist in question acknowledges that the individuals he interviewed seemed psychologically healthy. He just thinks the beliefs are abusive. Too authoritarian, you see. I’d probably agree, but if the state can take my children away because they dislike my beliefs, liberty is an illusion.

Members of the sect have reportedly been evasive about who is married to whom, so it’s unclear to whom specific children belong. The court has ordered the children held for genetic testing so they can determine whether the law was broken. If you’ll recall, the law in Texas says that young women may not marry before the age of 16, with or without their parents’ consent. Furthermore, the legal age of sexual consent in Texas is 18 outside of marriage. Consequently, girls who are pregnant before they turn 16 constitute prima facie evidence that a crime has been committed. I have no libertarian objection to the state of Texas proceding in this direction; they have appropriate probable cause that a crime has been committed, and they’re exercising due diligence.

Also in the “due diligence” department, Texas Rangers are investigating the possibility that the original distress call might have come from a disturbed individual who has a history of calling in false alarms. They’re seeking a “person of interest” in Colorado Springs who may have been the source of the original complaint. Police originally received a call from someone who claimed to be Sarah Jessop Barlow, a 16-year-old who was beaten and forced to cohabit with an older man. Police have not located anybody of that name, and members of the Fundamentalist LDS church claim that she does not exist.

This is a difficult arena. Cult groups push the envelope of what behaviors the state can tolerate, while hiding behind a completely appropriate shield of religious liberty. The massacre of the Branch Davidians in Waco, back in 1993, marked a sort of extreme reaction we all want to avoid. Today, Texas is skirting the edge of allowable law enforcement; we need to speak up about which parts of their conduct are appropriate, and which cross libertarian alarm wires.


Will Muhammad image ignite holy war?

'Why We Left Islam' 1st American book to picture 'prophet' on cover

WND is already being denounced as a hate site by radical Muslims in anticipation of its release next Tuesday of "Why We Left Islam," the first U.S. book ever to feature an image of Muhammad on the cover.

"This book is put out by WND Publishing (sic), which promotes hate every day on its extremist anti-Muslim hate site," Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told the New York Daily News. "The editor is a guy who suggested air-dropping pig's blood over Afghanistan. There are 7 million American Muslims and over a billion worldwide who love Islam and practice it peaceably on a daily basis."

Joseph Farah, an Arab-American and the only person ever to serve as editor of WND, said, in response, he has never advocated air-dropping pig's blood over Afghanistan.
"CAIR can always be counted upon to make wildly untruthful and reckless claims about others, while maintaining a hypersensitivity about its own concerns," said Farah. "Here, for example, Hooper makes this claim that WND promotes anti-Muslim hate on its site every day, offering only one example - and that one is totally untrue. Why other responsible media outlets continue to offer CAIR a platform for making such outrageous statements is beyond me. How many CAIR staffers and officials need to be indicted and convicted before my colleagues recognize these people as the extremists they are?"
But it's not just the cover of the new book, which sports a 10th century mosaic image of Muhammad, that has the Islamist lobby apoplectic. "Why We Left Islam" also contains brutally honest testimonies from former Muslims who have left the religion despite the threat of death. "Why We Left Islam" shows the potentially ugly realities of living under the Islamic yoke. The book is edited by British journalist Susan Crimp and Islam expert Joel Richardson, using a pseudonym because he already has had death threats against him.

"If Muslims rioted around the world after a Danish newspaper published a political cartoon making fun of Muhammad, what will they do in response to this?" wonders Farah, himself a former Middle East correspondent of Lebanese and Syrian ancestry.

The book is filled with first-person stories of former radicals who began to question the Quran and ultimately changed their lives. Khaled Waleed, for instance, said he was indoctrinated with the same type of teaching as fellow Saudi Arabian Osama bin Laden. "Our teacher and other Islamic scholars told us that as Muslims, we are the best people in the world," he writes. "I listened to my imams and was disturbed when they used abusive language to describe non-Muslims as the grandsons of monkeys and pigs ... [they] told me that it was my duty to revile and ridicule non-Muslims."

Waleed says the attack on the World Trade Center changed him: "On Sept. 11, 2001, I saw the real face of Islam. I saw the happiness on the faces of our people because so many infidels were slaughtered so easily. I saw many people who started thanking Allah for this massacre."



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.


Comments | Trackback

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A real Dr Strangelove

A doctor at the renowned Children's Hospital Boston has launched a new program to drug children to delay puberty so they can decide whether they want a male or a female body, according to a report today in the Boston Globe. Pediatric endocrinologist Norman Spack, 64, says he started the Gender Management Service Clinic because he found himself encountering 20-somethings who were "transgendered" and in good shape socially, "but they were having trouble getting their physique to conform to their identity. "I knew the 20-somethings could have better chances of passing if they were treated earlier," he said.

"We don't think that demonic is too strong a word to describe this," said a statement from the pro-family Mass Resistance organization. "It brings us thoughts of the Nazi doctors who thought they were doing good things."

WND has reported previously on some of the controversies prompted by the belief that a man can be born in a woman's body, or vice versa, including in Montgomery County, Md., where county officials have adopted a law that precludes those who provide public accommodations from discriminating based on that "gender identity." Voters there have petitioned to have a vote on that law because they fear men who "decide" they are female walking into women's restrooms and locker rooms.

"Is this our future?" asked Mass Resistance in a commentary. "Dr. Norman Spack runs a clinic for young children who've 'decided' they are transgendered. Among other things, the clinic administers powerful hormones to delay (or even stop) puberty in order that the children more easily undergo operations that mutilate their bodies to 'change' them to the opposite sex." "This is going on at the world-renowned Children's Hospital in Boston - not some backwater clinic. This is the elite of the medical profession," the organization said.

In a question-and-answer session with Globe columnist Pagan Kennedy, she starts the apologetic for doing surgery on children by saying, "Little boys sob unless they're allowed to wear dresses. The girls want to be called Luke, Ted, or James." "Until recently, children with cross-gender feelings rarely received modern medical care - and certainly not hormone shots. After all, who would allow a child to redesign his or her body?" she asks. But Spack, she wrote, has started a clinic that "is one of the few in the world to give children treatments that change their bodies."

She reports he uses drugs to delay puberty, "granting them a few more years before they develop bodies that are decidedly male or female." Spack tells the interviewer he's seen "preadolescents" who have been dressing in underwear of the opposite sex "for years." "The puberty-blocking drugs work best at the beginning of the pubital process, typically age 10 to 12 for a girl and 12 to 14 for a boy," he said. He's based some of his work on a Dutch model for sex-change, and said the recommendations there are age 16 for hormones that forever change a child's body.

But "for others," he wrote, "you lose opportunities if you wait. [One of my patients, a] transgendered girl from the UK, was destined to be a 6-foot-4 male. With treatment, she's going to end up 5-foot-10." He said such treatments not only change the physical characteristics of the growing children, but also could leave them sterile for life. "You have to explain to the patients that if they go ahead, they may not be able to have children. . But if you don't start treatment, they will always have trouble fitting in," he said.

"This isn't conjecture," Mass Resistance' commentary said. "It's happening now. And 'transgenderism' is being promoted to kids by homosexual/transgender activists in the public schools." Children as young as 12 already have been given the treatment.

Meanwhile, LifeSiteNews has reported that Spack previously acknowledged that only about 20 percent of children who claim to have a confusion over their gender hold those feelings in adulthood. The hospital itself calls the program "unique in the Western hemisphere." "This will be the first major program in the country that . [is] also welcoming young people who appear to be transgendered and are considering medical protocols that might help them," Spack said.



By Barry Rubin

The Middle East today is driven by five big conflicts: Among states for power; the Iran-Syria alliance's war on everyone else; the struggle between Arab nationalists and Islamists to control each country, and the Sunni-Shia and the Arab-Israeli conflicts. No wonder there's so much turmoil.

To many in the West, this seems a time-wasting matter of "false consciousness." One need merely explain their true interests to the Iranian and Syrian governments, to Hamas or Hizballah, to Arabs and Muslims, so they can rise to moderation. Western sins will be atoned by throwing out Israelis, Lebanese, and Iraqis with the bath water.

How can the doctrine now dominating Western discourse possibly understand these issues, especially when the song of the siren is heard in the land? Call it Lennonism, not the Leninism of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, known as Lenin, but of former Beatles' member, John Lennon. His blueprint for utopia would be a better theme song for the European Union than its current anthem: "Imagine there's no countries/It isn't hard to do/Nothing to kill or die for/And no religion too/Imagine all the people/Living life in peace...." One can only refer here to George Gershwin's earlier lyrics: "It ain't necessarily so."

There are several problems with Lennonism. First, contrary to current wisdom, love of country and belief in religion can be a very productive thing, although of course that depends on specifics.

Second, despite the misdeeds committed in the name of deity and country, those doing them today are rarely from Western democracies. Ironically, those in Western societies, who are most likely to use them to good purpose are also those most eager to abandon them. After centuries, the West developed a tolerant form of patriotism and religion. Why abandon what you've already tuned properly? Having transcended the problems associated with religion and nationalism, the democratic world doesn't need to discard them.

Third, it's quite true that some use God to justify their own will and terrible deeds but, as Fyodor Dostoevsky reminded us in 1880, if God doesn't exist morality is on a weak basis. Consider the case of Phil Spector, who produced the record of "Imagine." While he beat the charge of first-degree murder of a woman who resisted his advances, the trial brought out his likely guilt, madness, violent propensity, and massive drug and alcohol abuse. What Lennon glorified as "Living for today," usually means mindless consumerism.

For Karl Marx, religion was merely the masses' "opiate," a drug keeping them from realizing they should instead be overthrowing the ruling class and installing a socialist utopia. Marx was disagreeing with the proto-Zionist Moses Hess who called religion an opiate in the sense that it was a healing balm that reduced life's pain.

Finally, patriotism might be the scoundrels' last refuge, as Samuel Johnson said in 1775, but hating one's country and religion is the first.

At any rate, the Middle East is not ready for this Lennonist vision. For those confronting the real threat of radical Arab nationalism and Islamism, Lennonism is unilateral disarmament. The more Lennonist the West, the more contemptuous and certain of victory are its enemies. To make matters worse, Lennonists give the Middle East a free pass, arguing that Arabs and Muslims have such compelling grievances that they cannot be expected to indulge in this elevated philosophy. In effect, the Lennonists accept the notion that Western civilization is an empty cart which must give way at the bridge to the full cart of those who really believe in nationalism and religion.

According to this view, those who want to kill you are reacting to past oppression and so that makes it okay. The West must destroy its own patriotism and religion while appeasing that of those who "really mean it." And let's not forget that if you ridicule Christianity and Judaism or slander America or other democratic states no one will cut off your head. Instead, you will become a hero to the intellectual and cultural elite. Thus, those who worship diversity define it at home as a situation in which no one dares disagree with them, and define it abroad as supporting quaint customs like dictatorship, lies, and oppression.

In Barack Obama, America now has its first Lennonist presidential candidate. He recently accused average small-town Americans of being bitter over economic problems so that "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." This is a version of the Marxist concept that anything other than determination to pursue economic well-being through a leftist utopian solution is "false consciousness." Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini explained thirty years ago that anyone thinking Islamist revolution's purpose was "to lower the price of housing or watermelons" was a fool.

Of course, Obama didn't mind listening for 20 years to anti-American, anti-Semitic, anti-middle class, and anti-white rants from his minister-mentor, who played on his congregation's bitterness quite effectively to explain their frustrations in other terms. Poor Lennon himself was murdered by a deranged fan who listened to all the talk of peace and love, then responded in his own way.

The real world is tough. Conflict is real, hate effective, and there are people out there trying to kill you. Better hope there are some on your own side motivated enough by patriotism, religion, and love of liberty that they'll put their bodies between you and the bullets because they think there is something worth killing and dying for. Lennonism is intoxicating: believe in change; all can be okay if we just keep apologizing and don't offend anyone. Unfortunately, though, nowadays there are many who, to quote Lennon, "dream the world will be one." And the world they envision as one would be living under a caliphate.


Selective Leftist attention to the truth

By Bob Parks

I touched on this over the weekend, but the more I think about it, the more I feel the need to expend a long-simmering rant. I saw this op/ed in the Burlington Free Press by a now-enlightened Hector J. Vila, assistant professor in writing at Middlebury College . "I have entered into an agreement with my mother and one of her friends: If Hillary Clinton is the nominee of the Democratic Party we won't vote in the national election."

The writer then goes on to enumerate the many things the Clintons have done during and after their presidency. What really gets me is his tone, which gives readers the impression that he's tipping us off to things we did not know. For example, he talks about Hillary's now-laughable story of her serpentine under enemy sniper fire in Bosnia: "Sidestepping the truth is in the Clintons' DNA. Continuing down this road will drain us emotionally and spiritually. My mother, her friends and I are exhausted."

Over the years, I've been called a "sell out" and "Uncle Tom" for being a Republican, but it was precisely my intellectually honest fatigue of blindly defending the Clinton escapades of the 90's that prompted me to change my party affiliation in 1995. I too was tired of lying for them. Thirteen years later I am, all of a sudden, not alone.?

As I peruse the Daily Kos and Huffington Post prop up all things Obama, they now lecture us about Hillary and the Clinton family trait of dishonesty. What galls me is that these were the very people who called people like me a "Clinton hater" for simply doing what they are doing now. These Democrats act like we should have known this about the Clintons long ago. Many of us did.

As I am not officially a betting man, I can't come right out and say that Obama WILL be the Democrat presidential nominee, because I know the Clintons won't take defeat lying down. If I may bring up a talking point of the recent past, when people dared expose a Clinton malfeasance, they where subject to the three D's: deny, delay, and destroy. Barack Obama is only in the "delay" phase right now.

"Hillary is asking voters to take a look at her baggage because the Republicans have attacked it and she has come through this test victorious. Indeed -- there is Whitewater and Travelgate and Filegate, and the circumstances around Vince Foster's death. A cloud hangs over Hillary. Old news, perhaps, but if we stop and take a closer look, we see a couple that has miraculously escaped condemnation, legal or otherwise."

The only reason that Bill and Hillary came through the test victorious was because so many Democrats were willing to have a suspension of belief when it came to the many scandals that popped up, one after another after another, during the Clinton administration. There was Cattlefuturegate, Indonesiagate, Pardongate, and maybe this fall we'll hear from all the people who fled the country to avoid testifying against them.

While progressives demand we give women the respect and honor they deserve, Bill Clinton was defended by his minions as the many women who gave uniform descriptions of his boorish tendencies were discredited, attacked, and accused of being lying, Republican operatives. One Hollywood actress who claimed to be a victim of Bill's "touch" left the country instead of subjecting herself to the liberal love. By the way, I wonder if Juanita Broaddrick will soon become an honored speaker at the next Yearly Kos Convention?

"Hillary claims that Obama is out of touch, an elite. But the Clintons have skirted reality -- our mounting debt and the fear that we are transitioning into a new age where America is no longer "top gun" but something else, lagging behind China and India. Neither Clinton nor Obama are addressing this reality. This and the war plague the American consciousness."

Alas, the fear in which America is no longer "top gun" lagging behind China. We "Clinton haters" were accused of gross exaggeration while we were screaming about the possible treason that was "Chinagate". Maybe now, Assistant Professor Vila will newsflash the details behind that little gem, details that he probably dismissed as Republican fantasy and hate.

It's sad that Democrats, who are now suddenly defenders of all things proper, now want to warn us about the very Clinton past they vilified us for while they were happening. I guess better late than never.


Canada: "Human Rights" update

"Everybody favours free speech in the slack moments when no axes are being ground," 20th-century American journalist Heywood Broun once wrote. The real test of mettle is allowing free speech to thrive while axes aggressively grind. Just ask Canadian publisher Ezra Levant and author Mark Steyn. In February 2006, Levant's conservative magazine, the now-online-only Western Standard, reprinted the Danish Muhammad cartoons. Shortly thereafter, Syed Soharwardy, the national president of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, filed a Koranic-verse laden complaint against Mr. Levant with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission, claiming discrimination.

Canada's Human Rights Commissions (HRC) are government agencies, not courts. They were set up, starting in the 1960s, to fight job and housing discrimination - offensive acts, not words. Borne of good intention, some argue they have paved a path to politically correct hell. Those behind the creation of the commissions maintain they were never meant to impede free speech - a right guaranteed under Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms - and that "thought crime" cases represent a fraction of the commissions' work. As many of those complaints were brought against crackpot anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, or Christian fundamentalists expressing extreme antigay views, few Canadians wasted a moment worrying about them. Therein lies the cautionary tale. The odious have to be free to speak - provided they are not inciting violence - or none of us are.

With limited exceptions, the aforementioned cases received little attention. Then along came Levant. Even those to whom he is not beloved are waking up to the dangers of a lumbering system in which there are no real rules of procedure, the accused must pay their own way and could ultimately be compelled to pay a fine and apologize, while the complainant relies on taxpayers to protect his or her "human right" to not feel offended.

Levant is preternaturally media savvy, and when he made his appearance before the Alberta commission - this January - he had it videotaped, promptly posting the recordings on YouTube. Some 400,000 people have watched his bristly exchanges with the hapless commission representative. Levant, a lawyer, peppered her with questions of his own and reminded her of the freedoms that the HRC was trampling upon: "For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights, and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values."

The resulting publicity proved too much for Imam Soharwardy. He dropped his complaint after two years and much public money spent, stating his newfound appreciation for the values of his adopted country: "I understand that most Canadians see this as an issue of freedom of speech, that that principle is sacred and holy in our society." Levant still faces a similar complaint from the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities.

This, in turn, has brought unprecedented scrutiny to complaints against Maclean's, a mainstream magazine that's a mix of Time and US Weekly. Though some call it right-of-center, its main agenda appears to be getting attention. (Last fall, Maclean's ran a cover story critical of the war in Iraq featuring President Bush made to appear as Saddam Hussein.) In October 2006, Maclean's ran an excerpt from Mark Steyn's book, "America Alone: The End of the World as We Know It." (Mr. Steyn is a Maclean's columnist.) Bothered by the Steyn reprints, four law students (since joined by a fifth) asserted that Maclean's presented an inflammatory view of Islam. The students met with Maclean's editor Kenneth Whyte, and asked him to publish a lengthy response, as though a magazine editor were required to cater content to indignant readers.

Mr. Whyte, quite rightly, refused - 27 letters to the editor regarding Steyn's story had already been published. So the students, with the backing of the Canadian Islamic Congress (CIC), filed complaints against the magazine. If the HRC found Levant's YouTube clips formidable, it won't know what hit it when media mogul Ted Rogers, the owner of Maclean's, fights back - if the case gets that far.

Since January, op-eds supportive of Maclean's and Levant's positions from even left-leaning newspapers have abounded. A motion has been put forth in Canada's parliament to remove the section of the Human Rights Act that prescribes speech. Organizations such as the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and PEN Canada (some of whose members can't abide Levant's and Steyn's politics) have called for similar amendments and for the complaints against Maclean's and Levant to be dropped.

The reverberations don't end there. The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation recently did something it was too craven to do two years ago. During a news segment regarding the HRC, Canada's public broadcaster aired - briefly, fleetingly - the Danish cartoons. This is heartening. Much of the Canadian - and Western - left has seemed far too eager in recent years to buckle in the face of, and even sympathize with, Islamist extremism. Let's hope these cases bring about an understanding of what's at stake.



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.


Comment (1) | Trackback

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

British government obliged to give prisoners heroin substitute

Taxpayers have footed a 1 million pound compensation bill after almost 200 drug-addicted prisoners sued the Government, claiming that denying them a heroin substitute breached their human rights. The prisoners claimed that their rights were infringed when they were deprived of methadone and had to go "cold turkey". A High Court test case involving six prisoners was going ahead two years ago but the Government agreed to settle out of court and pay 750,000 to 197 inmates in jails in England and Wales. The compensation payments averaged 3,807 pounds per prisoner, with four in Wymott jail in Lancashire receiving a total of 15,228 and three at Preston prison 11,421. The overall bill to the taxpayer of 1 million includes the compensation payments plus the estimated lawyers' fees.

The Government decided against fighting the compensation claims to minimise costs. It had been warned that if the case had gone to court the prisoners could have won even larger amounts of compensation. The prisoners had been using methadone paid for by the Government but it was decided that they should go through cold turkey detoxification instead. They claimed that their human rights had been breached under Articles 3 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which bans discrimination, or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

At the preliminary hearing in 2006 Richard Hermer, a human rights lawyer specialising in group actions against the Government, told the court: "Many of the prisoners were receiving methadone treatment before they entered prison and were upset at the short period of treatment using opiates they encountered in jail. Imposing the short, sharp detoxification is the issue." The addicts said that their treatment was handled "inappropriately" with the consequence that they "suffered injuries" and had "difficulties" with their withdrawal. They claimed that the treatment constituted trespass and accused the Prison Service of clinical negligence.

A Prison Service spokeswoman said that the payments made were in response to a minority of the claims. "We successfully defended the majority of claims. We make payments only when we are instructed to do so by the courts or where strong legal advice suggests that a settlement will save money," she added. Latest figures show that compensation payments to prisoners have fallen from a total of 4.4 million in 2005-06 to 2 million in 2006-07.


Where Are The Liberals When You Need Them? Not In Missouri...

Post below recycled from Discriminations. See the original for links

At their best, liberals have defended free speech for those with whom they disagree; defended the rights of workers to organize even when they didn't like the unions the workers were likely to choose; and defended voter registration drives even if they suspected the newly registered voters would support candidates the liberals opposed. Liberalism, that is, has in the past been as concerned with fair and democratic procedures as with politically appealing, i.e., Democratic, results. Now that sort of liberalism has, alas, been largely displaced by a results-oriented partisanship, famously derided by one of the founders of the ACLU, Roger Baldwin, as "civil liberties for our side only."

Take Missouri (Please!). I have already discussed at length how Robin Carnahan, the Democratic Secretary of State, and Jay Nixon, the Democratic Attorney General, have engaged in massively outrageous and illegal conduct in an attempt, unsuccessful so far, to block the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative from getting on the ballot. But enough about that.

Sometimes, as now, what Democratic office holders and their acolytes in the big newspapers (in this case, the St. Louis Post Dispatch and the Kansas City Star) don't do and don't say is far worse than what they do and say. As I write, right now, they are doing nothing and saying nothing while the organized defenders of racial preferences are importing and paying to thugs to intimidate, disrupt, and prevent supporters of the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative from gathering the signatures necessary to place that discrimination-banning measure on the ballot. An acquaintance who prefers not to be names emails from the Missouri battlefield:
If you have never seen a blocking operation, it involves individuals who are opposed to the initiative setting up shop adjacent to petition circulators and doing everything possible to keep citizens from signing the petitions being circulated.

The strategy of our opponents is to keep us off the ballot. By Any Means Necessary made it very clear when we started this campaign that such would be their approach. They are now even more aggressive, often sending out three and four physically intimidating individuals to threaten our circulators. In addition, they are sabotaging our efforts by falsely signing petitions.
Harry Stein, who has followed the state battles over civil rights carefully, writes in the current City Journal:
Democratic secretary of state Robin Carnahan, charged with what is normally the routine certification of ballot measures, instead went to work on this one, eliminating its straightforward language, derived from that of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and substituting wording that pleads the other side's case. The question, as she wanted to pose it to voters, was whether to amend the state's constitution to "ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education." So egregious was this subterfuge that a liberal county circuit judge took the unprecedented step of throwing out Carnahan's rewrite and reinstating the original language almost intact.

Still, as [Ward] Connerly observes, "all the forces of the Left are converging in Missouri-Acorn and the rest of the race industry, the feminists, the unions, the contractors who feed off this stuff-and George Soros is providing a lot of the funding. They're enlisting the whole vast left-wing conspiracy-and, believe me, it's a lot vaster than the supposed right-wing one." The ugliness is most evident on the streets, where supporters of the ballot initiative are busy gathering signatures. Opponents' chief tactic is to use "blockers"-often burly union men-to shadow signature gatherers and scare off potential signers by charging not only that the initiative is racist and has the support of the Ku Klux Klan, but also that the signers risk identity theft. In addition, the pro-preferences sources have dispatched their people to sign petitions with false names and addresses, so that they will be invalidated later.
Where is the liberal outrage against this anti-democratic thuggery? Where is their vaunted concern for fair and democratic procedures? Perhaps I've missed the editorials in liberal newspapers calling attention to these ongoing attacks on the rights of citizens to engage in the democratic process. Perhaps I've missed the attempts of unions to reign in their members who are being used to disrupt the petition-gathering process. If so, please out to me what I've missed.

Meanwhile, we can do two things. First, take comfort in what produces this thuggish behavior from opponents of colorblind equality: they know that they would lose if citizens are given the opportunity to vote for or against race preferences. They can't win an election, so they choose to try to prevent it, By Any Means Necessary.

Second, you, or anyone you know or can enlist, can volunteer to go to Missouri right now (the deadline for submission is May 4) and gather signatures. And you can do well by doing good: earn up to $1000 a week for the next several weeks!

Clintons And Dems Face The Monster They Created

Why is propaganda dangerous? I believe it is because it has two elements that can get out of control real quick. First it tries to harness mob think, creating a false sense of emergency in tandem with labeling some group as the root cause of the emergency. This focuses the mob's anger and resentment onto the political opposition. It was used to great extent in Nazi Germany to make the Jews the source of all Aryan problems past, present and future.

The second component is what makes it hard to stop - it is built upon lies. Once someone buys into the lies many will refuse to face the fact they may have been duped or wrong, so they hold to the lie until something shakes them so soundly they can face the truth. This personal vesting in the propaganda makes it hard to stop. The fact it is built upon lies makes it escalate. As for some they have to become further invested in the lies so as to avoid the pain of being wrong. In some cases the lies are so outlandish in order to hold back reality to the outside (and still untouched) observer it seems like insanity to believe such garbage.

But if you build up the lies slowly, over time they can seem incredibly reasonable. Look at the Palestinians after decades of being brain washed. Now I have used extreme comparisons to make my point because a broad range of people can easily appreciate them. But deep down we are no different humans than Germans and Palestinians - so we too are susceptible to manipulation if we are not careful.

And so I get to the point of my post. After decades of the Democrats feeding the far left incredible propaganda, including how the GOP wants to starve people by throwing them out of welfare and school programs to the idea Bush and Cheney invaded Iraq for oil based on forged documents and 9-11 was actually committed by them, we have the expected results. An angry out of control mob, which has been told for decades the GOP is trying to kill people (while giving tax cuts to the "rich"). They are backed up by a military industrial complex which has been compared by democrat leaders to the Nazis, Pol Pot and Stalin relative to GITMO, have been accused of terrorizing women and children in the night, have committed acts reminiscent of Genghis Khan.

The heroes of the far left are now propagandists who can create the best lies about evil America, the ones who ran to the guns and bible in their evil bitterness. The old time heroes are those who "God Damn" America and who set bombs on the symbols of power back in the 60's - killing to prove a point. After decades of creating the mindless mob think on the left, which exists on pure fantasy (I know, I used to believe in them), the Clintons and the Dems are shocked at how they have turned on them, for simply trying to be occasionally reasonable in the battle against the evil GOP.
At a small closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton blamed what she called the "activist base" of the Democratic Party - and MoveOn.org in particular - for many of her electoral defeats, saying activists had "flooded" state caucuses and "intimidated" her supporters, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The Huffington Post.

"Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] - which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."
Emphasis mine. It is true the radical far left wanted us to take our licking on 9-11 and apologize for being stronger and more productive than the rest of the planet. They want America punished - for what who knows and honestly who cares. They have issues with America, irreconcilable ones if massacre is the only answer for them. The Democrats created this monster out of laziness and indefensible policies, replacing debate on issues with propaganda to keep their base `energized' - which equates to keeping the mob angry. They had to feed more exaggerated lies to keep the anger focused and the voters coming out over a period of decades. They had to feed their beast.

By contrast Reagan rallied his base on optimism and thanks for our great nation. Sadly even the far right has succumbed at times to trying to generate anger in the mob instead of reason on the issues. I hope it wakes up and realizes America is not a mob-think country but a diligent, hard-working, caring testament to mankind's potential. We are not evil, just human. When we makes honest mistakes it natural because humanity is as imperfect as nature. But when we use exaggeration and propaganda to rally the mob against political opponents we are undoing all we have done before. This is not an honest mistake, it is criminal negligence.

The far left monster is out of control now. It feeds on extrapolations from the propaganda to make new propaganda (such as the idea 9-11 was an inside job). There are also those in the Democrat Party with no scruples and a lust for power that blinds them to the dangerous game they are playing. And there are those who know exactly what they are doing, building a new world power structure where they reign supreme. The monster is out and out of control.

All I can say to the Clintons and Dems is you should have thought about what you were doing when you were raising this beast. Now that it has a mind of its own and is destroying the Democrat Party it is too late to moan about the monster. The true irony in all of this is the only way to destroy it is to ally with the GOP and start destroying the mythology the beast thrives on. By destroying the propaganda and bringing the GOP back to respectable status the beast loses its power.

Same for the baby-beast on the right, though that one does not seem to be surviving. McCain is beating down that proto-monster nicely, mainly because everyone on the right still basks in the sunshine of Reagan's optimism. The right respects individual accomplishments, it still sees the shining city on the hill. If it can jettison the purity wars and go back to respecting diversity and losing debates with honor and integrity (instead of propaganda of its own) it will survive to lead America again. The left. They seem to be a lost cause.


A Leftist argues for English nationalism

Good to see in many ways -- as long as it does not go down the Fascist path. I tend to think that only conservatives can be trusted with nationalism. Leftists take to extremes anything that they adopt -- and we have already seen where one brand of national socialism ended up. Note: Wednesday is St George's Day, the day of England's patron Saint and the English flag (of St. George) is below. There is a discussion from a conservative viewpoint of the need for an English parliament here

There are certainly plenty of reasons to be suspicious of nationalism, and plenty of historic examples of its dark side. There are reasons, too, to be concerned about some of those who take on the mantle today, many of whom do come from a dark political place. But wait a minute: how have the Scottish managed to get themselves a government that is both nationalist and left-wing? How is it that the French are able to invoke '‚tat from the left as well as the right? Why do the Zapatistas in Mexico, who talk proudly of their Mexican as well as their indigenous identity while conducting armed insurrections against the state, attract the admiration of young English radicals? Why is nationalism good in Venezuela or Cuba but not here? And why is talk of identity and culture admired among our ethnic-minority communities, yet when the English as a whole discuss such ideas, the spectre of Enoch Powell and the British National Party is immediately conjured up?

It is customary at this point to invoke George Orwell, who wrote, nearly 70 years ago, that "England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality". The average English liberal, he observed, was so out of touch with popular culture that he considered it "a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings". Orwell is still worth the reference, because this attitude is one of the few things that doesn't seem to have changed much in England in seven decades.

Still, among some of the more regressive strands of the English left, the self-loathing continues. We will probably see it on 23 April, Shakespeare's birthday and St George's Day, as ageing liberals are wheeled out to instruct us that "English culture" does not even exist, that everyone is an immigrant anyway, that morris dancing was invented by the Victorians, that St George was Lebanese and that, besides, we're all "multicultural" now, so talking about it will probably offend somebody (though it will never be specified exactly who).

But decades of such cultural self-harm have had three dangerous consequences. The first is that the far right has been able to colonise Englishness for itself, conflate it with whiteness and make us all even more nervous about discussing it. The second is that the genuine political injustices under which England currently labours are not being addressed by the left. And the third is that the door has been flung wide open for global capitalism to gleefully tear up what remains of the English landscape, both physical and cultural, and replace it with strip malls, motorways, corporate farms and gated communities for the rich. England is losing its soul, and the left has had far too little to say about it.

I would argue that there are two strong cases for an English nationalism of the left: a political case and a cultural one. Since 1997, the political landscape within the UK has changed dramatically as a result of devolution to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. These devolutions were the right thing to do. They responded to a desire, particularly in Scotland, for increased self-governance, a desire which sprang both from a sense of national identity and a sense of injustice and which was articulated in Scotland by the Scottish National Party and in Wales by Plaid Cymru, both nationalist parties of the left.

Yet the devolution process was flawed because it confused Britain with England. The UK contains four nations. Three of them now have governments separate from, though answerable to, the British government. The fourth - England - does not. The English, as a result, have a problem.

Instead of our own elected parliament or assembly, England today is governed by eight unaccountable, undemocratic and largely unknown "regional assemblies", stuffed with corporate shills and political placemen, which make hugely important decisions on housing, spatial planning and transport. Meanwhile, at Westminster, Scottish and Welsh MPs are making decisions about the future of England for which they will never have to answer to their constituents - though English MPs cannot do the same in those countries.

This, the hoary old "West Lothian question", has already had a gravely undemocratic impact on the people of England. In 2003, for example, Tony Blair's controversial bill creating foundation hospitals, rejected by the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, was imposed on the English despite the opposition to it from a majority of English MPs: new Labour drilled its Scottish and Welsh MPs into the lobbies to force upon the English something their own people had already rejected. The next year, university top-up fees (also rejected in Scotland and Wales) were forced down the throats of the English by just five votes - the votes of Scottish MPs.

England, the only British nation without any form of democratic devolution, is also, startlingly, the only nation in Europe without its own parliament or government. It receives less money from the Treasury per head of population than the other British nations (the poorest part of Britain, incidentally, is in England; it is Cornwall) and has fewer MPs per head of population, too. Despite devolution, the British government has ministers for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - but no minister for England.

Growing numbers of English people are angry about this, and Gordon Brown's clumsy campaign to promote "Britishness" should be seen as a deliberate attempt to fend off growing English demands for political justice, which would torpedo new Labour's (largely Scottish) power base. Yet the point here is not to criticise the Celtic nations, to be "anti-Scottish" or anti-anyone. The point is to be pro-justice and pro-democracy.

Then there is the cultural case. In today's England we are losing what makes us who we are, at a frightening rate. Some of the world's most rapacious corporations, in a cosy alliance with an overcentralised government in love with the notion that business values are national values, are tearing meaning and character from the landscape. The independent, the historic and the diverse are everywhere being replaced by the corporate, the bland and the controlled.

Consider some of the casualties. The English pub, probably the best-known international symbol of our folk culture, is dying; 57 pubs shut up shop every month. Under new Labour we have lost 30,000 independent shops (including half of our independent bookshops), half of our orchards, a quarter of all our post offices (with many more to come) and 40 per cent of our dairy farms. The number of out-of-town shopping centres has increased fourfold in 20 years. We are seeing the streets of our major cities sold off to private corporations. Inner-city markets that serve poor communities are being cleared to make way for executive flats. Property prices have risen so sharply since 1997 - in some places by almost 400 per cent - that entire communities have simply shrivelled and died. This is a huge, and in some cases irreversible, cultural loss, a loss of the everyday culture of the people.

Political justice for England, then, and economic and cultural justice, too: this should be the rallying cry for a new breed of English nationalists. Most of us, Tory or Labour or anything else, would agree that the BNP should not be allowed to hijack our national identity (the BNP, as the name makes clear, is a British, not an English, nationalist party).

But if this is the case, why should we also allow the more respectable right-wingers to have it all to themselves? English folk culture belongs to all of us; the political injustices of the current constitutional settlement are injustices whoever you vote for. Why should those who consider themselves "left-wing", however they define that term, not be able to consider themselves English nationalists, too?

In truth, there is no good reason, other than fear and prejudice. It is time to reclaim both England and the proud tradition of radical nationalism, rooted but not chauvinistic, outward-looking but aware of our past, attached to place not race, geography not biology. The need to belong - the need for a sense of place and culture - is a basic human impulse. It should not be denied, and neither is it a bad thing unless it is perverted. If we don't want it to be perverted we need to see that it isn't, by claiming it for all of us.

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.


Comments | Trackback

Monday, April 21, 2008

Racial-Preference Ballots Go National

With race looming as a key issue in the fall elections--perhaps a pivotal one, assuming that Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee--diehard defenders of the racial status quo are going to unprecedented lengths to prevent voters from having their say on government-sponsored racial preferences. Leftist activists are lining up to fight four state ballot initiatives that, if passed on November 4, will outlaw preferential treatment based on race, gender, and national origin in public university admissions as well as government hiring and contracting. Knowing that such anti-preference initiatives enjoy strong public support--in fact, they have already passed overwhelmingly in three of the nation's bluest ! states--the activists have zero interest in waging these fights on the merits. Rather, their goal is to keep the initiatives off the ballot by any means necessary, up to and including political chicanery and outright physical intimidation.

The states where anti-preferences forces are aiming to be on the ballot are Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, and Nebraska. Leading the campaign, dubbed "Super Tuesday for Equal Rights," is California businessman Ward Connerly, long the nation's leading advocate for colorblind government policies. In 1996, Connerly launched the first such measure, the California Civil Rights Initiative, or Proposition 209; he was drawn to the issue by his realization, as a trustee of the state's university system, that race was routinely the key determinant in whether a student was accepted or rejected at California's public colleges. Following a bruising campaign, marked by Prop. 209 opponents' relentlessly attacking supporters as racist, the initiative passed by 8 points. Two years later, a near-identical measure won by 16 points in Washington State. And in 2006, despite a powerful Democratic tide, the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative likewise passed by a decisive 58 to 42 percent.

In fact, so powerfully does the issue resonate with voters as a matter of elementary fairness that its support everywhere cuts across traditional party lines. In liberal Washington State, for example, the anti-preferences initiative was backed not only by 80 percent of Republicans and 62 percent of independents, but by 41 percent of Democrats; this in the face of liberal opposition that--abetted by such local corporate behemoths as Eddie Bauer, Microsoft, and Starbucks--massively outspent supporters of the measure. The Michigan Civil Rights Initiative similarly passed despite the fierce opposition of a liberal-left coalition of 180 groups, ranging from the League of Women Voters and the United Auto Workers to the Arab-American Institute. After the Michigan initiative's passage, the leader of the most radical of the opposition groups, By Any Means Necessary, declared that the only way to stop anti-preference measures was to ensure that they never reached the voters.

While Connerly's troops have gone about the difficult and costly process of placing the state initiatives on the ballot this November, preference defenders have seized on unprincipled strategies to block them, focusing in particular on two swing states with large minority populations: Colorado and Missouri. In Colorado, the pro-preference side first mounted a series of challenges to the legal basis of the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative (CCRI), alleging that it deceptively misappropriated the term "civil rights" and also claiming that "preferences" did not in and of themselves equal "discrimination"--so that in seeking to outlaw both, the measure supposedly violated the state's "single-subject" rule governing ballot initiatives.

When these arguments failed to pass muster with the electoral commission and state courts, preference defenders tried an even more novel approach, deceptive in intent yet heavy-handed in execution: a ballot initiative of their own, a shadow version of the anti-preference measure clearly intended to confuse voters. Indeed, its first sentence is identical to that of the anti-preference measure: "Shall there be an amendment to the Colorado Constitution concerning a prohibition against discrimination by the state, and, in connection therewith, prohibiting the state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, and public contracting?" But as Connerly notes, "it proceeds in the second sentence to say that, notwithstanding the first sentence, any public agency in Colorado would be free to leave preferences intact."

After considerable back-and-forth, the state's title board disallowed the language in the shadow amendment, and preference supporters are currently trying to come up with alternative wording. But given the need to submit upward of 76,000 valid signatures to place an initiative on the state ballot, the clock is running out. Meanwhile, CCRI supporters have already submitted 50,000 more signatures than required, so the genuine anti-preferences initiative will definitely be on the ballot.

So, almost certainly, will the measures in Nebraska and in John McCain's home state of Arizona. Connerly remains confident about Missouri as well, though the opposition there has been even more aggressive in its tactics. Democratic secretary of state Robin Carnahan, charged with what is normally the routine certification of ballot measures, instead went to work on this one, eliminating its straightforward language, derived from that of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and substituting wording that pleads the other side's case. The question, as she wanted to pose it to voters, was whether to amend the state's constitution to "ban affirmative action programs designed to eliminate discrimination against, and improve opportunities for, women and minorities in public contracting, employment and education." So egregious was this subterfuge that a liberal county circuit judge took the unprecedented step of throwing out Carnahan's rewrite and reinstating the original language almost! intact.

Still, as Connerly observes, "all the forces of the Left are converging in Missouri--Acorn and the rest of the race industry, the feminists, the unions, the contractors who feed off this stuff--and George Soros is providing a lot of the funding. They're enlisting the whole vast left-wing conspiracy--and, believe me, it's a lot vaster than the supposed right-wing one." The ugliness is most evident on the streets, where supporters of the ballot initiative are busy gathering signatures. Opponents' chief tactic is to use "blockers"--often burly union men--to shadow signature gatherers and scare off potential signers by charging not only that the initiative is racist and has the support of the Ku Klux Klan, but also that the signers risk identity theft. In addition, the pro-preferences sources have dispatched their people to sign petitions with false names and addresses, so that they will be invalidated later.

Earlier this year, such methods took their toll in Oklahoma, which was to be the fifth state holding such an initiative and where, with the measure polling at close to 90 percent, it would surely have won. In the end, though, the number of signatures gathered exceeded the required number by only a few thousand. Since typically only 72 percent of any petition's signatures are valid, and since the ACLU and NAACP were importing teams to challenge every one, Connerly chose not to proceed. "We had a choice of spending a quarter of a million dollars to defend the signatures we had, with the likelihood of not succeeding," he says, "or fight another day. Eventually we'll have to sue to change that process." But Oklahoma is a special case, with the toughest ballot requirements anywhere: all signature gatherers must be state residents, and they have a mere 90 days to get an unusually high number of signatures.

Connerly is taking no chances in Missouri. The fight against Carnahan's rewrite of the initiative ate up considerable time, and with a May 4 deadline looming, he has put out a call for opponents of racial preferences to come to the state over the next few weeks and lend a hand. "I don't blame the Democrats for being scared of these initiatives," he says with understatement, "especially on the heels of Jeremiah Wright."

Though the racial-preference ballot measures are officially nonpartisan, they stand to make a dramatic impact on the fall campaign. With the question of racial preferences effectively nationalized by its presence on multiple state ballots, neither party's presidential candidate will be able to evade the issue. While this might pose a dilemma for McCain--who, like most Republicans, has long shied away from the topic and might worry about jeopardizing Hispanic support--it could be catastrophic for Obama. As Connerly says, "This is a guy who's tried awfully hard for a long time not to appear what he is--just another left-winger who supports preferences."


'Expelled' film-makers go on offensive against 'thought police'

Movie producers seeking court ruling refuting copyright claim

A court challenge to the new movie "Expelled: No Intelligence allowed," by Ben Stein is nothing more than an attempt on the part of the pro-evolution believers in the science community to stifle the free expression and debate of ideas, movie officials say.

"We are not surprised that opponents of our film are attempting to interfere with its important message," said Executive Producer Logan Craft. "As the movie documents, similar tactics are being used across the country against many of the researchers, scientists, and professors who want to engage in free debate within science but have inadequate resources to challenge the Establishment." Craft, who also is chairman of Premise Media, continued, "However, we do have the platform to confront the 'thought police,' and we will work tirelessly to open the doors of free speech and inquiry."

The groundbreaking movie is scheduled to open in more than 1,000 theaters on Friday. But it is facing an allegation of "unfounded copyright infringement" from representatives of XVIVO, LLC, a scientific animation company, over the movie's use of "original animation Premise Media created for the documentary." Instead of waiting, Premise Media went to court this week in a pre-emptive effort to get the issue resolved. Its lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, seeks a declaratory judgment that there is no copyright or other infringement. "Premise Media also seeks its attorneys' fees in responding to the XVIVO claims," the company said today.

The action resulted from "unfounded claims recently made by representatives of XVIVO. These claims have received wide distribution as part of an ongoing campaign attempting to discredit the film and its producers," the Premise announcement said. "Premise Media has also learned of grassroot efforts that are under way to try to influence the ranking of Internet searches regarding 'EXPELLED' by those wanting to learn about the film. Their stated goal is an attempt to counter-site those searchers to other websites that criticize the themes in the movie," the company said.

"Said Executive Producer Walt Ruloff. "It is interesting that these efforts are made less than 10 days before the movie debuts and involve those who continually seek to thwart open debate. "While bullying tactics may work against some individuals who are trying to explore the origins of life, it will not work against us. We certainly will not allow a small group of self-appointed gatekeepers to infringe our rights of free speech and our obligation to expose them for what they are -- namely, intellectual thugs unwilling to accept any dissent from Darwinian orthodoxy," he said.

Stein said it was unlikely he'd pull his punches about the movie based on such claims, either. "I came to this project unsure what I would find," said Stein, "I am now amazed at the intolerance of many academic elites. I feel that it is my mission to speak out on behalf of targeted dissenters and fight for their freedom of speech and freedom of inquiry." .....

XVIVO officials have alleged a segment of the movie portraying the complexity of the cell is patterned on segments of their own animation. Expelled officials say they created their own animation. The claims of copyright infringement have been publicized largely by pro-evolution organizations such as the National Center for Science Education and prominent atheist Richard Dawkins.

"This is not a scientific battle; this is a worldview battle," "Expelled" producer Mark Mathis told WND Columnist Jill Stanek. "'Expelled' connects atheism and Darwinism with no missing link, one of the film's two major flashpoints," she wrote. "Darwinism is a specific evolutionary theory that excludes everything but material processes in the design of all life forms. No Intelligent Design allowed." "What's driving it is Darwinism is a foundational principle - scientific validation of secularism, atheism, liberalism - and that it strikes at the core of who they are," said Mathis.

"Secondarily, these scientists are the high priests of the biggest question ever asked. They have all the authority, knowledge, power, funding," continued Mathis. "This is ground they own exclusively. They look down their elitist noses at the unwashed ignorant religious masses and scoff. That's why they respond with such extreme hostility. They are very concerned that if this monolith cracks, then the whole thing could crash." "Not only is Darwinism foundational to atheism, it is foundational to eugenics, the other reason for the left's apoplexy against 'Expelled,' according to Mathis. They cannot tolerate the connection 'Expelled' draws between Darwinism and Adolf Hitler," Stanek wrote. "Or Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood."


Swedes finally facing reality

Yousif Emad had learnt a little Swedish in the past eight months -- enough to know that the four-page official letter meant the end of his dreams. The 46-year-old Christian, who fled Baghdad after repeated threats to force him to convert to Islam, yesterday became one of the growing number of Iraqis to be refused asylum in Sweden, which until recently was the most welcoming European country for refugees. He thought it would be a formality to join the 6,000-strong Iraqi community in Sodertalje, a small town near Stockholm, which is known locally as Little Iraq. Fellow exiles fish in the ornamental lake for their dinner in the town, which has taken more of his countrymen than Britain or the United States.

"I sold my house and gave $17,000 (œ8,523) to a smuggler to get to Sweden because I heard they wanted immigrants," said Mr Emad after breaking the news of his rejection to his wife and three children in Syria. "If they send me back to Baghdad I will be killed."

Sweden granted full refugee status to 24,799 Iraqis from 2003-07 compared with 260 by Britain. Another 2,680 were given humanitarian or discretionary leave to remain in the UK.

Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, wants the EU to do more to help the Iraqi Christians, many of whom are among the two million refugees in Syria and Jordan. Yesterday her Interior Minister outlined plans to resettle more Iraqis in Germany. But as Sweden -- in particular Sodertalje -- has learnt, the region is suffering from compassion fatigue. Anders Lago, the Mayor of the town, went to Washington last week to tell a congressional committee that his schools and apartment buildings could no longer cope.

"It was fantastic as a mayor of a small town in Sweden coming to the big USA to give a speech in Congress," said Mr Lago, 51. "I told them that it was not us who started the war but today we are taking a great responsibility for Iraqi refugees. Barack Obama told me he was ashamed that the US did not take more care for refugees. "I asked if there was some way the US could help Sodertalje - but the war has cost the people in the US a lot so I do not think they will be sending any money here for taking care of the refugee problem." Mr Lago's reward came when the US Ambassador to Sweden visited his town of 80,000 people yesterday, where the college has built four classrooms to give Swedish lessons.

Mr Lago is also concerned by "white flight" as local people start to move away from Iraqi districts. At Helenelunds school on a neat housing estate, six more Iraqi children turned up this week. Karin Alberg, the head teacher, said: "When I have visitors I have to explain why there are very few blonds in our school. But I think it is really good for us because the children from Iraq want to learn more than any other children and their motivation is infectious." Meena Qudsi, 12, who wants to be a doctor, said: "Baghdad is beautiful but here is safe. My family used to be in Baghdad but now we are separated."

The generous welfare system in Sweden - with handouts of 6,000 kronor ($1,000) a month to those granted asylum as well as work experience and 550 hours of free Swedish lessons -- attracted 36,200 asylum-seekers last year. Of the 222,900 asylum claims to the EU, one in six was to Sweden.

Because of the influx, migration courts were introduced, which decided last year that Iraq was no longer a war zone and ended automatic asylum. Each applicant must now prove that they are in grave personal danger. Sweden also signed a return agreement with Iraq in February and has begun sending failed asylum-seekers back in greater numbers to deter economic migrants. Tobias Billstrom, the Migration Minister, said: "The conclusion by the Swedish Government is that we can help some people but we cannot help everybody who is in trouble and so there has to be a more evenly shared responsibility among the countries of the EU and the US."

Sweden is so upset by other EU countries that it has vowed to push for a fair distribution of asylum-seekers. "We have reached the conclusion that there should be a common European asylum system and we will make this a priority during our presidency of the EU in 2009," Mr Billstrom said. "We will also call for the European Court of Justice to have the final word so that the European Commission can say that a country is falling behind when it comes to asylum. Every country in the EU has to look into themselves and consider what their obligations are in this situation," he added.

Mr Emad will appeal against his asylum rejection but feels his case is hopeless. "We were threatened but how can I show it? We had a letter telling us to leave but my brother was so angry he tore it up," he said.


American Democracy v. European Oligarchy

Post below recycled from Brussels Journal. See the original for links

As the American Primary/Caucus season cranks into a frenzy of campaigning, claim, counter-claim, low blow and moments of pathos (or, in the case of Hillary Clinton, a carefully contrived moment of pseudo-lachrymosity), take heed of the rude good health of American democracy. How unlike some aspects of our own but more particularly European democracy, it is.

I have always loved the language of the American Constitution and of its siblings, the constitutions of the original American colonies that formed the earliest of the United States. As we have just witnessed the Primary in New Hampshire (motto: `Live free or Die'), this gem of a Preamble from its 1776 constitution will suffice to demonstrate their lustre:
WE, the members of the Congress of New Hampshire, chosen and appointed by the free suffrages of the people of said colony, and authorized and empowered by them to meet together, and use such means and pursue such measures as we should judge best for the public good; and in particular to establish some form of government, provided that measure should be recommended by the Continental Congress: And a recommendation to that purpose having been transmitted to us from the said Congress: Have taken into our serious consideration the unhappy circumstances, into which this colony is involved by means of many grievous and oppressive acts of the British Parliament, depriving us of our natural and constitutional rights and privileges; to enforce obedience to which acts a powerful fleet and army have been sent to this country by the ministry of Great Britain, who have exercised a wanton and cruel abuse of their power, in destroying the lives and properties of the colonists in many places with fire and sword, taking the ships and lading from many of the honest and industrious inhabitants of this colony employed in commerce, agreeable to the laws and customs a long time used here.

The sudden and abrupt departure of his Excellency John Wentworth, Esq., our late Governor, and several of the Council, leaving us destitute of legislation, and no executive courts being open to punish criminal offenders; whereby the lives and properties of the honest people of this colony are liable to the machinations and evil designs of wicked men, Therefore, for the preservation of peace and good order, and for the security of the lives and properties of the inhabitants of this colony, we conceive ourselves reduced to the necessity of establishing A FORM OF GOVERNMENT to continue during the present unhappy and unnatural contest with Great Britain; PROTESTING and DECLARING that we never sought to throw off our dependence upon Great Britain, but felt ourselves happy under her protection, while we could enjoy our constitutional rights and privileges. And that we shall rejoice if such a reconciliation between us and our parent State can be effected as shall be approved by the CONTINENTAL CONGRESS, in whose prudence and wisdom we confide.

Accordingly pursuant to the trust reposed in us, WE DO Resolve, that this Congress assume the name, power and authority of a house of Representatives or Assembly for the Colony of New-Hampshire [.]
It is interesting to note that, though a formidable casus belli is set out at first, there remained, at least with the denizens of New Hampshire, a strong desire to seek some compromise with Britain. Though events and the effluxion of time would soon sweep this away, one does wonder if there had been a more emollient response from Parliament and the British Government and greater willingness to compromise whether matters might have turned out rather differently.

Today we might expect with modern communications that the problem would not have been allowed to fester and grow but then, when a letter or petition would take many weeks to cross the Atlantic and many weeks to garner a reply, those with a mind to do so had much time in which to preempt any response which might then be made to seem niggardly when it finally did arrive.

One feature of American democracy is that a considerable amount of political discourse is founded on the Constitution which thus remains a living and breathing embodiment of both the spirit of a Revolution and of the modern United States.

For example, the rights of states to conduct and legislate upon their own affairs is something which continues to engage politics and trouble the Supreme Court, with States fiercely protecting their own rights as against the Federal power with terrier-like tenacity. Or one might think of the current arguments which revolve around the highly contentious (and to the rationalist, bizarre and worrying) issue of whether the `theory' of intelligent design (or `creation' science) might be taught in schools which, despite the ruling in Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987), its advocates still seek to achieve, notwithstanding the apparent separation of Church and State which the Constitution enshrines.

The point is that Americans set great store by the terms of their Constitution and it remains the touchstone by which so much of what is done has to be measured. It is tested time and again by political discourse and yet remains a thing of great facility, simplicity and beauty. I bet that many Americans can recite much of it by heart, not something you could do with the Treaty of Lisbon and its many thousands of words of gobbledygook.

European Oligarchy

In contrast the bombastic overblown popcorn rhetoric of the Constitution of the European Union is routinely debauched by a largely self-perpetuating oligarchy which mouths the mantras of democracy and transparency but which behind closed doors subverts that very same democracy. And given the deliberate obscurity and bloated nature of its language, no citizen of the Union will find himself inclined to use the Constitution as a touchstone for anything: he is, given its sheer size and weight, more likely to use it as a door-stop.

If you bridle at the phrase `self-perpetuating oligarchy', just ask yourself what the current government of Belgium, which lost the general election in June 2007 but has recently been reappointed is if it is not such?

And given the general tendency for European States to have systems of election which favour, indeed encourage, ever-revolving coalitions, it is no surprise that most governments within the Union are, for the most part, elaborate games of Buggin's Turn with the same tired old faces turning up time and again in this or that post over twenty or so years of active political life. Even Germany has lately succumbed to the politics of emollience, compromise with policies predicated on the basis of being the least offensive to everyone, with an effectively oppositionless administration.

And as for the practice of subverting democracy behind closed doors, what better example could you have of that than the bullying by Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel of the hapless Jos‚ S¢crates, the Portuguese Prime Minister, who had apparently been entertaining hallucinatory thoughts of holding a referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon?

As the Times reports today:
A referendum on the controversial redrafted EU constitution was ruled out by Portugal yesterday after pressure from Gordon Brown and President Sarkozy.

The Prime Minister and Mr Sarkozy called Jose Socrates, the Portuguese Prime Minister, to insist that a popular ballot was not necessary.

The decision by Portugal not to hold a referendum but to ratify the treaty through its parliament will come as a huge relief to Downing Street and the Elysee Palace, which feared extra pressure on them to hold a public vote. The revelation of top-level phone calls will, though, only increase suspicions that the European political elite have coordinated efforts to avoid a repeat of the referendums in France and the Netherlands in 2005 that sank the proposed constitution and plunged the EU into a two-year crisis.

Mr Socrates is also understood to have called Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, to ask her view before announcing his decision.

He told Portuguese MPs: "A referendum in Portugal would jeopardise, without any reason to do so, the full legitimacy of the ratification by national parliaments that is taking place in all the other European countries."
This weak-minded individual has lately been weaned off that particular drug by some less-than-democratic boot-boy tactics by two of the men with most to lose if anything should go wrong with the process of ratification: Brown, because if the Portuguese hold a referendum, it makes his resistance to one in the UK all the more weak and Sarkozy because he wants nothing to get in the way of a Union constructed according to the model of his predecessor Giscard d'Estaing which France intends to dominate and operate for its own benefit.

Richard North has already commented on the topic at EUreferendum as has Tony Sharp at Waendal Journal and I shall not here go over again greatly the ground upon which they have so usefully trod.

But I do add this: unlike the American Constitution which is, as I have described it, the touchstone of political life in the USA, the Constitution of the European Union is something which the Gauleiters and Pr‚fets such as Brown and Sarkozy think of as to be ignored, evaded, manipulated or just plain overthrown at will whenever the need arises. When the Constitution speaks thus:
The Union is founded on the values of respect for [.] freedom, democracy, [.] the rule of law and respect for human rights,

Every citizen shall have the right to participate in the democratic life of the Union. Decisions shall be taken as openly and as closely as possible to the citizen.
those are mere empty words on the page which must never, ever be allowed to get in the way of the aims of the powerful oligarchs who now decide upon our fate, which is to have unfettered power over the lives of us all.

How else, pray, could you describe the process by which, instead of the eleven million citizens of Portugal deciding on whether they wish to be bound by this Treaty, it was done for them by Jos‚ Socrates, Nicolas Sarkozy, Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel, only one of whom is Portuguese, in a series of telephone calls? The Portuguese people?: "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche!" [Let them eat cake!]. Or to put it another way, we shall soon be forced to admit, as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon once declared in the wake of the Revolutions of 1848, that:
We have been beaten and humiliated [.] scattered, imprisoned, disarmed and gagged. The fate of European democracy has slipped from our hands.
We must not allow democracy to slip thus from our hands.

In Britain we do not do revolutions. That messy business has been avoided by hundreds of years of careful, progressive evolutionary development of democracy. What we called the `Glorious Revolution' was, in reality, a carefully scripted transfer of power and rule from one r‚gime to another and our only serious flirtation with dictatorship, that of Oliver Cromwell, was booted out with sighs of relief but no great revolutionary bloodletting.

But whilst we are not revolutionaries, we do now, after proper reflection, share many of the sentiments which gave birth to the American Revolution and most of us now would acknowledge that the thirteen colonies were being given a raw deal by the home country and that their bid for redress or freedom was entirely justified.

Which is why, if this is how our masters intend to do business from now on, our abjuration of revolution might yet change. Nothing is forever.


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.


Comments (3) | Trackback

Sunday, April 20, 2008

British swimming pool bars father and son from its 'Muslim-only' swimming session

This was put down to a "misunderstanding" and there was no action taken against the "misunderstanders" -- but imagine the retribution if a Muslim had been banned

A father and his five-year-old son were turned away from their local swimming pool because they were the wrong religion. David Toube, 39, and his son Harry were told that the Sunday morning session was reserved for Muslim men only. Hackney Council, which runs the Clissold Leisure Centre in Stoke Newington, north London, claimed staff there had made a mistake. However, the Muslim-only session was advertised on its website.

Mr Toube, a corporate lawyer, described his experiences on a blog. "I arrived at the pool to discover that they were holding what staff described to me as "Muslim men only swimming"," he wrote. "I asked whether my son and I could go as we were both male. I was told that the session was for Muslims only and that we could not be admitted. I asked what would happen if I turned up and insisted I was Muslim. "The manager suggested that they might ask the Muslims swimming if they minded my son and I swimming with them. If they didn't object, we might be allowed in."

A few days later, Mr Toube, who lives with his wife, 38-year-old barrister Samantha, and their two sons in Stoke Newington, North London, spoke to another leisure centre employee. "He gave me an identical story. His explanation was that it was a requirement of the Muslim religion that Muslims could not swim with non-Muslims." Mr Toube joked: "I asked him whether Clissold Leisure Centre would institute Whites Only swimming for racists. His answer was that they would if there was sufficient demand."

He added: "I spoke to a number of Muslim friends, and none of them had heard of a religious prohibition on swimming with non-Muslims. "One friend was so disgusted with Hackney for trying to segregate Muslims and non Muslims that he suggested that he take his little daughter swimming with us, just to prove the point."

However, Dr Taj Hargey, chair of the Muslim Education Centre of Oxford, said it was not true that Muslims could not swim with non-Muslims. "There is no Koranic verse or any statement from the sources of Islam that says different religions should be segregated," he said. "The only requirement is that when women swim they should be modestly clad." The Prophet Mohammed is recorded as saying that it is a Muslim's duty to learn to swim as it could save his or her life.

The swimming sessions for male Muslims were advertised as taking place every Sunday from 8am to 9.30am. Leaflets stipulated: "It is compulsory for the body to be covered between the navel and the knees. "Anyone not adhering to the dress code or rules within the pool will not be allowed to swim. All brothers welcome.'

A leisure centre spokesman said staff were wrong to refuse entry to Mr Toube. He added: "The member of staff the user spoke with at the time was mistaken when referring to the session as Muslim-only. "The men's modesty session is not a private hire and is, therefore, open to the public. "Staff cannot ask your religion on entrance and you won't be refused entry if you don't appear to be Muslim."

A spokesman for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: "Segregating services may amount to unlawful discrimination and could create a sense of unfairness, inadvertently increasing community tension."


UK Muslim Airport Porters Refuse to Handle Israeli Luggage

This outrageous story from e-mailer Beryl Dean has been verified and is absolutely true:
My friend Miriam Bedein traveled to Britain early in April. She arrived on British Air from Israel, and as she arrived at the baggage claim, she observed that there were no porters at the site.

She asked what was happening of the gentleman who was taking her to the baggage carousel, and he said "Ooh, the porters are Muslim and they will not handle any luggage coming from Israel" (In Britain, the porters take the luggage off the carousels and take them to your cab, etc.) While it was not his job, the gentleman was kind enough to get her luggage for her.
She is writing British Air about this incident, asking why they tolerate, and what they are doing about, this unacceptable situation. I urge my readers to write, particularly to British Air and Heathrow Ariport. But I have another solution, as well: DON'T GO TO BRITAIN.

It's essentially a Muslim Nation--Dar Al-Islam. Let them have halal bangers and mash all they want, but not our dollars. This situation is in place, because--as with all things--the Brits kowtow to Islam and have allowed this intolerable behavior


Loathing for one's own kind

A friend emailed me today with the subject "Loathing for one's own kind". He gave me permission to publish on condition that his name not be used. He did ask me to leave out part of it, even though he couldn't be identified, because he's concerned about employment. (This is what a pass we've come to, that expressing your opinions can get you fired. More evidence that increasing diversity means decreasing freedoms.) He wrote:
As I was riding to work a few minutes ago, I heard Garrison Keillor on his Writers Almanac radio show read a poem that made me sick. I don't think I've ever heard such loathing for America. White America, that is, because the white American poet excludes blacks and immigrants from her disdain. Note especially the stanzas that start "You can see it in their white faces at the supermarket..."
The poem he refers to is here. It begins:
The puzzled ones, the Americans, go through their lives Buying what they are told to buy, Pursuing their love affairs with the automobile,
What follows is the usual leftist whining about the shallowness of ordinary people who actually enjoy life, written of course in free, unrhymed verse, the only kind untalented poets seem to be capable of. (And by arranging it into stanzas of three lines each, it becomes "poetry".) Further on, we read:
You can see it in their white faces at the supermarket and the gas station - Not the immigrant faces, they know what they want, Not the blacks, whose faces are hurt and proud -

The white faces, lipsticked, shaven, we do try To keep smiling, for when we're smiling, the whole world Smiles with us, but we feel we've lost

That loving feeling. Clouds ride by above us, Rivers flow, toilets work, traffic lights work, barring floods, fires And earthquakes, houses and streets appear stable

So what is it, this moon-shaped blankness? What the hell is it? America is perplexed. We would fix it if we knew what was broken.
See, it's us white folks that are the problem. For all the complaining that I (and others like me) do about mass immigration and the various social pathologies which certain minorities have in abundance, America wouldn't be in the predicament that it is without those whites who, like the "poet" just cited, "loathe their own kind". Much has been made, for example, about the anti-white racism of Barack Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright, and by extension, Obama himself, but most of Obama's supporters are white. Most of them are, I imagine, simply deluded into thinking that a charismatic black man is a cool choice for president, but many of them must be like our poet. The Ice People are simply unworthy of ethnic solidarity, unworthy of having a nation to themselves, not only because they are all closet racists, but because they have no soul.


Our Racist Selves?

Nicholas Kristof writes in the NY Times:
To my horror, I turn out to be a racist. The University of Chicago offers an on-line psychological test in which you encounter a series of 100 black or white men, holding either guns or cellphones. You're supposed to shoot the gunmen and holster your gun for the others.

I shot armed blacks in an average of 0.679 seconds, while I waited slightly longer - .694 seconds - to shoot armed whites. Conversely, I holstered my gun more quickly when encountering unarmed whites than unarmed blacks.

Take the test yourself and you'll probably find that you show bias as well. Most whites and many blacks are more quick to shoot blacks, no matter how egalitarian they profess to be.
Naturally Kristof takes the whole thing at face value; not only in that it shows that many people (virtually everyone?) harbor latent racial prejudice, but in that shooting at armed blacks more quickly than shooting at armed whites - mind you, in an online test - is ipso facto evidence of racism. Kristof "shot" blacks 15 milliseconds faster than whites. So did James Collier:
In reality, the stereotype at play here, black men as more dangerous, is accurate and the heightened sensitivity this brings is only natural, and would, on average, aid those who might otherwise add themselves to the wrong end of the homicide statistics.


Australia: New Aboriginal organization a 'white man's dream'

Just another gravy train for Leftist parasites, in fact

A new national Aboriginal organisation is "a white man's dream", says indigenous leader Warren Mundine. The former ALP national president has also described Labor policy guaranteeing a new representative body as "a big challenge" for the Rudd Government. Mr Mundine said he would strenuously argue against the reintroduction of a large taxpayer-funded elected body, such as the abolished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, supported by its own bureaucracy. He said the idea of an indigenous assembly was popular among academics, intellectuals and sections of the indigenous leadership, but "that's a white man's dream", he said. "I don't think there's much grassroots support for it."

While indigenous leaders such as South Australia's Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement, Klynton Wanganeen, have argued Aboriginal people have been robbed of representation at regional, national and international level, Mr Mundine said the abolition of ATSIC meant "sweet bugger all" to most Aboriginal people and it was more important to develop leaders and entrepreneurs in Aboriginal communities.

Continuing his attack on the idea, which is expected to be prominent at the 2020 Summit, Mr Mundine said talk about a new peak body would distract from discussion about the crisis gripping Aboriginal Australia, including high levels of child trauma and illiteracy, as well as the economic opportunities presented by a minerals boom occurring on Aboriginal land.

It is Labor policy to establish "a national representative body and regional representative structures for indigenous Australians", to "empower indigenous Australians to hold all levels of government to account through this national body and regional structures". But Kevin Rudd responded coolly to the push for a new body. The Prime Minister said 2020 delegates should feel free to discuss the issue, but the Government's view of ATSIC was clear.

Brendan Nelson was scathing, saying "we've already had that experiment and it failed". The Opposition Leader said that during the ATSIC years "the money intended for Aboriginal people was like a whale carcass dragged through a pool of sharks". "A bit was taken out at every step of the way before it got to the people for whom it was intended," Dr Nelson said.

Wesley Aird, a member of the Howard government's National Indigenous Council, which replaced ATSIC as a forum for indigenous advice, said he feared the outcome of the summit was "as predictable as a Zimbabwean election". "The issue of Aboriginal Australia at the moment is disadvantage; the issue is not representation," he said. "They just get it so back to front all the time. "I think what we're going to hear this weekend is a pleading to return to the past, which is quite unfortunate. At some stage we're just going to have to say the old days weren't that good, there was abuse and disadvantage under ATSIC, it's not going to change if we reinvent anything like it, let's move on."



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.


Comments | Trackback

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Australia: Dangerous to photograph ticket machines??

Restrictions on photography in the name of "security" are now common and are often misused by cops and bureaucrats to cover up their own misdeeds and bungles

Trainspotters and tourists could be forcibly removed from train stations if they take photographs of "transport infrastructure" because Queensland Rail guidelines may deem it an act of terrorism. The guidelines, which were updated last September, state members of the public must identify themselves to rail staff before they start taking photographs of trains, platforms and, even Go Card machines.

Under QR's guidelines, no photographs at all are to be taken during peak periods or at busy train stations. And anyone using a camera, should refrain from wearing a safety vests or wearing red, yellow or green near signals. [Why?]

Yesterday, QR staff at Toowong station forced ABC breakfast host Spencer Howson to delete several images, which included one of a Go Card machine, on his digital camera or he risked being fined.

"This afternoon, there were no fewer than seven ticket inspectors. The bloke inside the ticket box said they were 'in training'. Fair enough, I thought," Spencer wrote on his ABC blog. "I'd love to show you the photo I took, but one particularly insistent ticket inspector forced me to delete the pic from my camera. "If not, he said, he would issue me with an on-the-spot fine under the anti-terrorism act!"

More here

Britain: Innocent photographer or terrorist?

Misplaced fears about terror, privacy and child protection are preventing amateur photographers from enjoying their hobby, say campaigners.

Phil Smith thought ex-EastEnder Letitia Dean turning on the Christmas lights in Ipswich would make a good snap for his collection. The 49-year-old started by firing off a few shots of the warm-up act on stage. But before the main attraction showed up, Mr Smith was challenged by a police officer who asked if he had a licence for the camera. After explaining he didn't need one, he was taken down a side-street for a formal "stop and search", then asked to delete the photos and ordered not take any more. So he slunk home with his camera.

"People were still taking photos with mobile phones and pocket cameras, so maybe it was because mine looked like a professional camera with a flash on top," he says. "I wasn't very pleased because I was taken through the crowd and through the barriers at the front and people were probably thinking 'I wonder what he was doing.' "To be pulled out of a crowd is very daunting and I wasn't aware of my rights. "It's a sad state of affairs today if an amateur photographer can't stand in the street taking photographs."

But he's not the only snapper to fall foul of the authorities while innocently pursuing a hobby or working. Austin Mitchell MP has tabled a motion in the Commons that has drawn on cross-party support from 150 other MPs, calling on the Home Office and the police to educate officers about photographers' rights. Mr Mitchell, himself a keen photographer, was challenged twice, once by a lock-keeper while photographing a barge on the Leeds to Liverpool canal and once on the beach at Cleethorpes. "There's a general alarm about terrorism and about paedophiles, two heady cocktails, and police and PCSOs [police community support officers] and wardens and authorities generally seem to be worried about this."

Photographers have every right to take photos in a public place, he says, and it's crazy for officials to challenge them when there are so many security cameras around and so many people now have cameras on phones. But it's usually inexperienced officers responsible. "If a decision is made to crack down on photographers, it should be made at the top. It's a general officiousness and a desire to interfere with people going about their legitimate business."

Steve Carroll was another hapless victim of this growing suspicion. Police seized the film from his camera while he was out taking snaps in a Hull shopping centre. They later returned it but a police investigation found they had acted correctly because he appeared to be taking photographs covertly. And photography enthusiast Adam Jones has started an online petition on the Downing Street website urging the prime minister to clarify the law. It has gained hundreds of supporters. He says it has become increasingly difficult to take photos in public places because of terrorism fears.

Holidaymakers to some overseas destinations will be familiar with this sort of attitude - travel guides frequently caution readers that innocently posing for a snapshot outside a government building could lead to some stern questions from local law enforcers. But in Britain this sort of attitude is new. So what is the law?

"If you are a normal person going about your business and you see something you want to take a picture of, then you are fine unless you're taking picture of something inherently private," says Hanna Basha, partner at solicitors Carter-Ruck. "But if it's the London Marathon or something, you're fine." There are also restrictions around some public buildings, like those involved in national defence.

Child protection has been an issue for years, says Stewart Gibson of the Bureau of Freelance Photographers, but what's happened recently is a rather odd interpretation of privacy and heightened fears about terrorism. "They [police, park wardens, security guards] seem to think you can't take pictures of people in public places. It's reached a point where everyone in the photographic world has become so concerned we're mounting campaigns and trying to publicise this."

It seems to be increasing, he says. "There's a great deal of paranoia around but the police are on alert for anything that vaguely resembles terrorism. It's difficult because the more professional a photographer, paradoxically, the more likely they are to be stopped or questioned. "If people were using photos for terrorism purposes they would be using the smallest camera possible."

The National Union of Journalists has staged a demo to highlight how media photographers are wrongly challenged by police. In May last year, Thames Valley Police overturned a caution issued to photographer Andy Handley of the MK News in Milton Keynes, after he took pictures at the scene of a road accident.

Guidelines agreed between senior police and the media were adopted by all forces in England and Wales last year. They state that police have no power to prevent the media taking photos. They state that "once images are recorded, [the police] have no power to delete or confiscate them without a court order, even if [the police] think they contain damaging or useful evidence."

And in the case of Phil Smith, an official complaint about the Christmas lights incident helped sort matters out. Not only did he receive a written apology from Suffolk Police, but also a visit from an inspector, who explained that the officer, a special constable, had acted wrongly. And there was one consolation for Mr Smith as he trudged home while lamenting the shots of Letitia Dean that never were - she didn't turn up anyway.


Bill Maher Demonstrates Liberal Insecurity With Religion

A note on the conspicuous "sensitivity" which a Leftist hater displays in his comments about a revered religious leader

Liberals wallow in a severe inferiority complex when it comes to people of religion, especially those in the Catholic religion. I guess it is part of their sustained juvenile revolt against authority pointing out that some of their self absorbed behavior (drugs, infidelity, etc) is more often than not a net negative on them and those around them. But it seems clear the anger at religion comes more from insecurity than anything else, since one can tolerate differences in opinions and life choice without belittling others when they have an innate confidence in their own life choices.

The latest insecure liberal to demonstrate this childish reaction to diversity is Bill Maher, who has to be one of the most insecure people on the planet given his need to bash someone who is really just trying to do what he thinks is best for humanity:
Comments by HBO's Bill Maher insulting the Pope and calling Catholicism a "cult" that promotes "organized pedophilia" have stirred resentment among many American Catholics upset he would say this the week before Pope Benedict XVI visits the United States.....

Bill Maher compared the Texas scandal and its latest alleged abuse with the sexual abuse scandal that rocked the Catholic Church in the United States in 2002.

"I'd like to tip off law enforcement to an even larger child-abusing religious cult," Maher told his audience. "Its leader also has a compound, and this guy not only operates outside the bounds of the law, but he used to be a Nazi and he wears funny hats. That's right, the Pope is coming to America this week and, ladies, he's single."
What a pathetic display of inferiority compensation. I am not religious. I was raised Roman Catholic but have issues with the Church which keeps me independent of organized religion. However, I am not scared, nor do I feel inferior to those who embrace Christianity and I know they do a lot of good in the world. So I feel no need to bash them as a way to defend my own choices on religion. In fact I respect them for their good works while I take issue with some of their stands.

But then again I got over my teen years and the insecurity about how others with differing views are an threat to my views. Diversity doesn't scare me like it clearly does Maher.


An interview with Kenneth Minogue

By Bernard Chapin

As a long time reader of The New Criterion, I've come across Kenneth Minogue's name several times. Not only is he the author of excellent essays, unlike the average conservative commentator, he is also a member of the professorate. Currently, he is an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics, and began his career at the college in 1954 as an Assistant Lecturer in Political Science. Mr. Minogue was born in New Zealand and primarily attended school in Australia; although, he also took an Economics degree from London University. In 2003, he was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for services to political science. He is the author of numerous papers, essays, and books such as The Liberal Mind, The Concept of a University, Alien Powers: The Pure Theory of Ideology, and Politics: A Very Short Introduction. The interview:

BC: Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions, Mr. Minogue. Let me begin by asking you that, as someone with an extensive background in the university, indeed as someone who wrote The Concept of the University in 2004, what should be the defining characteristics of such institutions?

KM: The basic point about universities is that they are reflective rather than practical institutions. Nothing in them is ever urgent. The current decadence of most places calling themselves universities is that they are full of unsophisticated people with opinions about how society and its members ought to conduct themselves - along with a passion to entrench those opinions in binding rules. Many professors today are simple moral dogmatists who think that we at last know for certain what is right and wrong. The only thing we may actually be confident about is that, in a generation or two, these opinions will be replaced by others.

BC: Does it make one an incurable romantic to argue that higher education's purpose is to search for truth? How anathema is such a notion today? How prevalent are those "scholars" whose primary interest is not truth but the practice of indoctrinating their students?

KM: As the classic formulation had it, universities are distinguished by the "disinterested pursuit of truth" - a somewhat risky pursuit at times. Amid the current vulgarity, many students would not even understand the word "disinterested." Scholarship and reflection can certainly be found patchily all over the place, but all too many professors are merely peddling some form of political salvationism. Universities used to be stocked by the unworldly and the rich. Both sets of people were valuable because they were not trying to "get on" by trying to please future employers. This gave the academic world in earlier times a sense of adventure, of openness.

BC: What do you make of political correctness? There are those who would argue it's a thing of the past. Frankly, I don't see how that's possible. It seems to me that cultural Marxism is more regnant than ever, would you agree?

KM: In my time, a great deal of what used to be intuitive and instinctive (such as good manners) has been replaced by the rule-bound and rationalised. Political correctness is a politicised version of good manners offering power to the kind of meddlesome people who want to tell others how to behave. As to Marxism, it was merely one more illusion that purported to be the key to life. It is significant in that it reveals one of the dominant passions still at work in our civilisation - the passion to create happiness by technology in the hands of a supposedly enlightened elite.

BC: If you were to rewrite The Liberal Mind, what specifically has changed since its original publication? Many of us, in America, insist that conservatives are the real liberals, and refuse to make use of term "liberal" when describing the left. Do you think that it's misleading, in an age of hate crime legislation and creeping socialism, to pretend that a statist disposition equates with liberal tendencies?

KM: The Liberal Mind was a critical account of precisely what Americans call "liberalism", which is a sentimental kind of egalitarianism. My targets today would focus even more directly on the fake compassion diffused by politicians trying to sound like men of the people. It is vital never to forget (if I may adapt Scott Fitzgerald) that "the powerful are different from us." Turning politics into a kind of soggy public benevolence at the expense of taxpayers does no service to anyone.

BC: Forgive my non-detachment, but what a magnificent article you penned this month for The New Criterion. It's called "Democracy and Political Naivet‚" for those who may not have read it. One of your central arguments is that "some classes of people are more dangerously na‹ve than others." I had to laugh when I saw it as it would definitely offend every cultural commissar in existence, but could you tell readers why this is the case?

KM: "Democracy and Political Naivete" was concerned with contemporary pieties. Piety is a form of respect for one's religion, as when the Romans admired "pious Aeneas." In politics, piety is merely corrupt, largely because it is focused on abstract classes of people such as Gays, Blacks, Women and others who sometimes package themselves as victims. Don't get me wrong - some of my best friends are Gays, Blacks, Women etc. but I don't have to genuflect every time they are presented as suffering, and often suffering because of White Male brutes like me. One should always be alert to the targets of ridicule and derision in public life (authority, pharmaceutical companies, corporations, evangelists) on the one hand, and those who automatically evoke pity on the other.

BC: How much has widespread female participation in electoral politics to blame for the triumph of emotion over reason in regards to government's stance on the big issues of the day?

KM: Yes, the abstract class of "women" has quite a lot to answer for. Plenty of women are of course bright, amusing and hard headed, but there is a lot of wimpish sentimentality being peddled by professional women. Harvard has become a laughing stock because of the Larry Summers affair, with some women going faint at the suggestion that women - as a class - might not be naturally good at maths. The problem results from the Annie Oakley view of women as able to do exactly what men do (which obviously they can't) and which sells everything valuable about female distinctiveness down the river in exchange for an absurdity. One consequence has been to sentimentalise life and diminish important virtues (by no means exclusively male) such as courage and self-control.

BC: You mention that the male chauvinist position is that men are more creatures of reason than are women, but it seems to me that it is also the feminist position. Is not the truly sexist position one which asserts that Woman, by nature of her genitalia, has something more important to say about politics than Man?

KM: As I said in the piece mentioned above, some women have a distinct and valuable talent for politics. I think the French, for example, lost a trick in going for the Salic Law (excluding female rules) in the Middle Ages. But my guess is that more women than men want to spend taxpayers' money in supposedly improving the lives of those who cannot do much for themselves.

BC: Is "intellectual" wholly a term of derision nowadays? Is there any merit to the concept of certain individuals maintaining the role of intellectual in society? This question has perplexed me ever since I read Paul Johnson's work on the subject.

KM: Public intellectuals are journalists, and professors are a lot closer to journalism today than they used to be. Being a journalist used to be a deadly insult in academic terms; no longer. It used to be the case that the French had intellectuals, and the English were merely educated. These days we have intellectuals coming out of our ears. And they are useful, no doubt, in turning public issues into matters of rational debate. Even in answering your questions, I am behaving rather like an intellectual. Few of us today can resist the pleasure of having opinions on subjects we know little about. That is why we need Socratic irony so badly.

BC: What are you working on at the moment?

KM: I am currently working on a book that tries to track the way in which our moral sentiments have evolved in the last century or so. Moral integrity in our dealings with our immediate associates - family, friends, colleagues - has become of less significance than taking up an "ethical" attitude to strangers who are supposedly in need, such as the poor and those living (according to one of those idiotic statistics diffused by charitable lobbies) on "less than a dollar a day." The dominant strain in morality is philanthropic: it admires devoting one's life to caring for others. It is "ethical" in a political sense, and no doubt in some ways admirable, but it suits best those who don't really have a life of their own to lead.

BC: Lastly, and I generally ask this question, do you think that conservatives have a chance to win the culture war? If not, can we at least roll back some of the gains made by the left?

KM: I regard Conservatives as people in touch with reality, and radicals as people aspiring to improve the world. In a sense, I suppose, we need both, though the dominance of improving political radicalism in Western countries these many decades seems to me to have made most things worse. Human beings, as Eliot said, can't bear much reality, so conservatives had better resign themselves to being a kind of saving remnant. Reality seldom wins votes. So we can't win, but winning isn't everything. Integrity is much more important.



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.


Comment (1) | Trackback

Friday, April 18, 2008

Hackers attack Christians, promise punishment

'Because of threat to our staff, we're working off-site pending investigation'

Staff members for a prominent pro-family organization that has been key to the battle against California's mandated homosexual indoctrination programs for public schools are working off-site while an investigation is conducted into threats that someone would arrive at the office and "punish" them, officials confirmed today. The investigation into the threats follows several days of aggressive attacks on the website for Capitol Resource Family Impact, which has restored the site multiple times, only to see another hacker attack disable the location.

Karen England, chief of the organization that has played a prominent role in a challenge to the implementation of SB777, a legislative plan to mandate only positive messages about homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality in public schools, confirmed the web attacks, and the subsequent threat. "Last night CRI's website was hacked again by the same vandals that have been attacking our website and e-mail servers for the last several days," she said in a notification to supporters. "One of our internet savvy supporters has been investigating the source of the hacks and discovered that several hacker websites are taking credit for the attack on our organization.

"These hacker websites encourage other hackers to not only deface our web site (and gives them instructions on how to do so), but they threaten to send someone to our office to 'punish' us," she said. "Because of the physical threat to our staff safety, we will be working off-site until authorities have investigated the threats," she said. "The hackers intend to stop our work and intimidate our staff. This proves that we are being effective!" she said. "Although this attack has caused us some headaches, we are moving forward, undeterred." "History has shown that the fiercest persecution comes when you're having the greatest impact on culture. While we will take precautions for our safety, we will also boldly continue our fight for families!" she said.

The website attacks apparently were launched late last week. At that time, a reporter was visiting the site, and his standard virus protection program was triggered, with more than a dozen warnings and alerts. Capitol Resource, however, could not prevent the attack that was developing, and staff members spent the weekend rebuilding and restoring the site, officials said. "Out website technician worked all weekend to fix the problems and as soon as he had fixed the site, another hack would occur almost immediately. As a result, we had to make significant changes to our website and e-mail services," England said. "Our website was literally wiped bare by the hackers. It's going to take us many days to replace the content that was destroyed."

WND has reported on Capitol Resource's work notifying Californians when the legislature wanted to criminalize parents who spank their children, as well as when a lawmaker proposed allowing communism to be taught in schools. But the organization's highest profile recently has come as part of its Save Our Kids campaign to assemble enough petition signatures in the state to put SB777 on the state election ballot. That plan was adopted by the Legislature last year and signed into law by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "SB777 is a mandate for every school district, ending local control on sensitive issues," the organization says on the SOK website. "SB777 normalizes homosexuality, bisexuality, and transsexuality across the state, without room for local discretion on addressing these issues."

England told WND that the law is not a list of banned words, including "mom" and "dad." But she said the requirement is that the law bans discriminatory bias and the effect will be to ban such terminology. "Having 'mom' and 'dad' promotes a discriminatory bias. You have to either get rid of 'mom' and 'dad' or include everything when talking about [parental issues]," she said. "They [promoters of sexual alternative lifestyles] do consider that discriminatory." The California plan still is facing a court challenge on its constitutionality in addition to the possible vote of the people.

The organization notes earlier state law already "establishes equal protection for every California public school student," so that SB777 was unnecessary. It specifically requires: "No teacher shall give instruction nor shall a school district sponsor any activity that promotes a discriminatory bias" against homosexuality, bisexuality and transsexuality."

While there's no indicate of any connection to the current situation Capitol Resource is facing, WND has reported in the past on a public threat from a homosexual activist to the organization. "If you continue your efforts, we will BURY you," said an e-mail from Ben Patrick Johnson of Equality California, to his "colleagues" at the CRI, according to a statement from the Christian organization.

"For a group that purports to expand tolerance and civil rights, Equality California is not practicing what it preaches," CRI said at the time. "This type of language evokes images of Communist leader Nikita Khrushchev pounding his shoe on the podium of the United Nations when he declared that Communism would bury America," said CRI. "The irony is not lost on us - Communists squelch all opposing speech, just as the modern 'intolerance' movement seeks to silence all opposing viewpoints. "Johnson then threatens 'we have every intention of yours [group] going down, as have others who oppose decency and human rights.' It is shameful that a group that represents itself as promoting tolerance and civil rights would stoop to the very tactics it accuses CRI of using. Not once has CRI personally attacked opponents in such a degrading and vicious manner," said the organization.

"In a video diatribe against CRI posted on his website, Johnson declares that CRI and its supporters are 'hate peddlers' and 'conservative, religious prejudice peddlers.' He further declares that we are 'smirky, self-righteous folks' who have 'launched an aggressive campaign against legislation to protect gay youth in California's and ultimately America's schools.' This statement reveals not only the vitriolic language this supposed 'tolerance' group uses, but also the true agenda behind such legislation as SB 777. The radical homosexual agenda intends on sweeping the nation. California is merely the first step in the campaign to stifle free speech and stamp out opposition to 'alternative lifestyles,'" CRI said.

The e-mail from Johnson, according to CRI, said: "Dear colleagues at the Capitol Resource Institute, "I am a firm supporter of freedom of speech, and therefore I support yours, even if it in direct contrast with my own. However, we all use the media and the internet to spread our message: and with no hubris intended, I advise you -- if you continue your efforts, we will BURY you ... with public opinion, with media, and ultimately with legislation. EQCA passed NINE bills last year to protect basic dignities and we have every intention of yours going down, as have others who oppose decency and human rights. "Today, over 150,000 Californians will receive the following message via email blast, MySpace, YouTube, and iTunes -- in other words, we're everywhere. I invite you to subscribe to my daily webcast, not because you agree with what I/we have to say, but for your own information ... so you can see what thousands of Californians are hearing and seeing about you."


American optimism underestimated

Margaret Carlson, die hard founding member of the liberal SurrenderMedia, is starting to wake up and see how the race for President will unfold, and why the dems have no chance of winning. She realizes that the race depends on your view of America, and your view of where you want to see it go:
As I was watching General David Petraeus being questioned in congressional hearings, I finally got why Senator John McCain has an even chance of being president in spite of supporting a war that most Americans are against. As he'd done so many times before, McCain said we can win if we just pull up our socks and banish our defeatism. "We can now look ahead to the genuine prospect of success,'' he said, ensuring "that the terrible price we have paid in the war, a price that has made all of us sick at heart, has not been paid in vain.'' Don't I wish? Don't we all? I don't buy his take on the war but, like half of America, I want to.
The signs of success have been building for a year now. If we remain diligent the chances are very high we will win. Last year at this time the fact was if we remained diligent we had a chance to turn things around - nothing more. But a year later al-Qaeda is all but vanquished. And no amount of misinformation about Sadr and his failed Iranian backed revolution can change the fact Sadr's forces are being decimated and he is being political neutered (in fact, it may have already happened).

McCain can base his optimism on months and months of progress in security and political reconciliation. The Dems have to pretend none of that happened to make their case. They have to create fictional outcomes that have little likelihood of coming to fruition to say `get out now before all hell breaks loose'. Sadly, it is clear after this week if we get out now all hell will break lose. McCain is winning over America and it is easy to see why:
Internal polling data, presented privately last week at the Republican National Committee's state chair meeting and provided to Politico, shows John McCain with a solid lead over both his potential general election rivals. Powered by the same appeal to Democrats and independents that fueled his primary election success, McCain is leading Barack Obama 48 percent to 42 percent and Hillary Clinton 51 percent to 40 percent according to RNC polling done late last month.
And if this is beginning momentum, which I think it is, going into the summer Americans will ponder two options: dark and dismal defeatism sprinkled with payback investigations into Bush's presidency; a tough fight to succeed and show al-Qaeda democratic freedom is still the winner of all time in mankind's history. I am pretty sure American are not ready to roll over and quit, not yet. It is even harder to quit when the Iraqis are still fighting the war we started, and Americans know that as well. It was all of us who gave the green light, we need to finish what we started.


The Irish Model

Dean Godson reviews the memoirs of Jonathan Powell, the Tony Blair aide who helped negotiate the Irish power-sharing agreement.
One of the most striking things about the world according to Jonathan Powell is his approach to the role of the security forces in Northern Ireland. He treats the Army, in particular, as though it was another paramilitary faction to be squared - rather than as the legitimate arm of the state operating in support of civil power. Having spent thousands of hours with the Sinn Fein/IRA leadership, he starts talking like them. Thus, his vocabulary is littered with republican terminology such as `demilitarisation', `securocrats', `collusion' and `Volunteers'. As Powell observes of Blair and himself, `we were of a younger generation and the war against Irish terrorism was not our war'.
It's important to appreciate that many in the British government see this experience as a model for future dealings with radical Muslim groups in the Middle East and inside Europe. And they will be pushing that model on a President Obama - very hard and probably very successfully.

Indeed, one could say that in many ways the debate over Obama's proposals to talk to Iran is a proxy debate for this coming debate over applying the Irish model to Islamic extremism and terrorism. Talking to Iran after all is not really so radical a departure: The US is talking to Iran now, and has wanted to talk to Iran for years. The big issues are: Should the US be talking to Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, the Taliban, and ultimately al Qaeda?

In today's Financial Times, columnist Philip Stephens channels the emerging British official view.
Democratic governments, for example, should always be willing to talk, albeit sometimes in secret, to their enemies, even when such contacts seem to offend common decency. Were Mr Powell still in 10 Downing Street, he would be advocating a dialogue with Hamas.

Rightly so. Talking is not the same as surrendering - nor, indeed, as negotiating. If terrorist groups do put their weapons to one side, Mr Powell continues, the imperative is to keep everyone in the room. This requires constant attention and engagement. Eventual success in Northern Ireland flowed from a strategy of "never letting the talking stop". There is a moral to be drawn here for the US administration's stop-go efforts to broker peace between Israelis and Palestinians. ...

Mr Blair [and Mr. Bush] sometimes spoke in ... Manichean terms [about Islamic terrorism] , evoking a global ideological struggle that could be with us for generations. The effect has been to impose a homogeneity on armed groups in the Islamic world that defies the realities of their very different aims and methods. ... In real life, there is a lot more light and shade. Not all Muslims - even among those prepared to use violence in pursuit of their cause - think alike. ...

To make such points is not to argue that the Islamist fundamentalism espoused by al-Qaeda and its associates is anything less than a serious threat. There are plenty of dangerous Islamists for whom the only response will be military force. Nor should western policy be held prisoner to its impact on Muslim opinion. Driving al-Qaeda from Afghanistan was the right thing to do.

Yet a mindset that lumps together Hizbollah with al-Qaeda, Hamas with Iraq's Shia militia or Kurdish separatists with the Taliban under the rubric of a single struggle is one that does al-Qaeda's bidding. It excludes recognition of genuine grievances, ignores the impact of western policy and rules out any prospect of some extremists being won over to politics.

The change of administration in Washington will give the US and its friends a chance to reflect and recalibrate. The starting point is to stop talking about a war.
I think a President Obama will find this point of view very appealing. In many ways, that is the true ballot question this November: Is it time for the US to stop fighting Islamic terrorists - and start negotiating with them? Time to quit dismissing their vision of the future as unacceptable - and to start treating it as debatable?


For Obama, Not All Hateful Rhetoric Is Equal

The Illinois senator's campaign persuaded a delegate to step down after she called her neighbor's African-American children "monkeys." Was the remark just a poor choice of words - or was it more insensitive than Reverend Jeremiah Wright's controversial sermons?

If you are homicidally-minded, (not too famously) anti-Semitic, white-bashing, and prone to attacking the United States, Barack Obama can forgive you. There are some lines, however, that it seems even the Obama campaign doesn't want crossed.

This past weekend, Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski - a Carpentersville, Illinois village trustee elected as an Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention - was encouraged by the Obama campaign to resign for inflammatory speech. Ramirez-Sliwinski did not assert that America was run by hate groups. She did not state that the country deserved terrorist attacks; nor did she indict our government with conspiracy theories of racial genocide. And she didn't try to goad followers into snuffing out a man's life for running a legal business she does not like.

What Ramirez-Sliwinski did do was tell children to stop playing in a small magnolia tree "like monkeys." The two children are African-American. The mother of one of the two children called the police over the slight, which Ramirez-Sliwinski insists was not racial in nature. Ramirez-Sliwinski was issued a citation for disorderly conduct, even though she claimed to have acted on behalf of the safety of the boys.

For the weekend slight, the Obama campaign convinced Ramirez-Sliwinski to resign on Monday. She has since reversed her decision, and decided to fight the disorderly conduct charge and remain a delegate. The mother of one of the children has stated that if Ramirez-Sliwinski fights the disorderly conduct change she will "involve" the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, though it's unclear what purpose would be served by having the civil rights group take sides in a case pitting one minority it serves against another.

Barack Obama's presidential campaign been pounded for weeks for revelations that his pastor of 20 years, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, used inflammatory language in sermons that have been characterized as being anti-American, anti-Semitic, and racist. Wright has retired, but Obama's current pastor at Trinity United Church of Christ, Rev. Otis Moss, wasted no time in using race to defend Wright by equating criticism of Wright's language with a public lynching. Obama has publicly refused to sever ties with Wright or Trinity United Church of Christ.

Another Chicago minister strongly supportive of Obama is James Meeks, who is also an Illinois state senator. Meeks has come under fire for his own choice language and positions. The minister has drawn the ire of gay rights advocates for his strident stands against homosexuality, which some critics categorize as homophobic. Meeks has refused to denounce the bashing of whites, even referring to white American mayors as "slave masters." He has also called African-American ministers he sees as working for the current system "house n*ggers." Despite these points of friction and intolerance, the Obama campaign has not severed ties from Meeks. Instead, it has sought to merely downplay his statements.

Then there's the Rev. Michael Pfleger, who has helped set Barack Obama's "moral compass" for 22 years - which is longer than Obama has known Wright. Pfleger also happens to be a radical apologist for the Nation of Islam, and he has asked followers to murder (his exact word was "snuff") a firearms retailer because he's against the ownership of firearms. Despite calling for the death of John Riggio for engaging in lawful commerce and his own history of anti-Semitic diatribes, Pfleger is still featured on the campaign's People of Faith for Obama page.

Infamous anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan is one of the few radical Obama supporters who has been rejected by the presidential candidate. Although this only happened after Obama was badgered about that support in a debate with Hillary Clinton.

Considering Obama's historical support from radicals and his record of hesitatingly distancing himself from them (if at all), it was curious that Ramirez-Sliwinski found herself in discussion with Obama staffers Monday about her status as a delegate for the campaign. Especially since it was over a statement that most are willing to write off as an unfortunate word choice.

Or perhaps it isn't surprising at all. Although the controversy over Jeremiah Wright's sermons still resonates across American society, Obama will not risk damaging his long-established relationships with local Chicago firebrands. This is because they assure his future after this one long-shot presidential election bid. Wright, Meeks, Pfleger, and other Obama supporters like them in Chicago are part of the local power base that assured his assent from local politics to the U.S. Senate. No matter how venomous their rhetoric, these acidic relationships also protect his reelection. Obama is wise enough to plan for the long term.

People on the edges of Obama's campaign like Linda Ramirez-Sliwinski may make mistakes and be guilty of nothing worse that a poor vocabulary choice. But with the candidate's judgment and relationships already in question, "just words" may now be enough for his campaign to throw supporters to the wolves.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Canadian "human rights" again: The burdens of being an employer in Canada

How to discourage people from employing anyone. No wonder unemployment is higher in Canada than in the USA

In Canada, human rights legislation provides that employers have a duty to accommodate disabled workers unless such accommodation would cause "undue hardship" on the employer. A recent case involving McDonald's Restaurants before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal illustrates the high standard of accommodation expected of employers. It also shows the kinds of proactive measures employers may have to take before accommodation is considered "undue hardship." In the case, the tribunal found that McDonald's improperly terminated the employment of a long-time employee. McDonald's didn't do enough to accommodate the employee who developed a skin condition that prevented her from working and meeting the restaurant's hand-washing policy.

Beena Datt started working at McDonald's within three months of moving to Canada in 1981. After working at the same restaurant for 20 years, she developed a skin condition. As a result, over the next three years, she was unable to work for long periods of time. She was on disability benefits and unsuccessfully attempted to return to work three separate times. She tried various treatments as well as working with gloves, but nothing helped. She was always eager to return to work. Ms. Datt's doctor eventually stated that she couldn't work in a restaurant. McDonald's then terminated her employment. To support the termination, McDonald's argued that:

* it has strict hand-washing policies to meet health and food safety requirements;

* restaurant employees work as a team, and all positions must help out as needed;

* it had accommodated three lengthy absences and return-to-work attempts;

* and the employee's own doctor had determined that she couldn't work in a restaurant.

McDonald's claimed that it had therefore met its duty to accommodate Ms. Datt and that the termination wasn't in breach of the B.C. Human Rights Code since allowing her to come back to work would cause them "undue hardship." The tribunal didn't accept McDonald's' arguments and found that the company had breached its duty to accommodate Ms. Datt's disability.

Since Ms. Datt no longer wanted to work for McDonald's, the tribunal didn't order reinstatement. But she was awarded damages of $55,000. The damages included lost wages and profit sharing, extra compensation for the tax effect of a lump-sum payment, reimbursement of some expenses, and $25,000 for injury to "dignity, feelings, and self-respect." Also, the tribunal noted that, if she had provided expert evidence about her employability and earnings potential, she could have been awarded an amount for future wage loss as well. The tribunal's decision was based on several key findings:

* While the doctor had said she couldn't work in a restaurant, he had never been provided with job descriptions or summaries of job duties for the different jobs in the restaurant.

* McDonald's relied on its disability insurance provider's assessment, but the insurer had never been fully informed of the jobs at McDonald's.

* There was no true functional assessment of Ms. Datt's capacity to meet job requirements.

* The doctor said that Ms. Datt couldn't tolerate "frequent" hand-washing and that she was to have "minimal detergent and water contact," but McDonald's didn't inquire about how often she could wash her hands or what level of detergent and water contact was acceptable.

* There was no real attempt to see if any alternative work or modified duties were available for Ms. Datt and no direct contact by McDonald's to discuss returning to work. For example, McDonald's didn't explore the possibility of finding appropriately fitted gloves (e.g., "salad preparation gloves") that Ms. Datt may have been able to use without aggravating her condition.

* There was no evidence of:
* the relationship between food contamination and hand-washing;

* the risk to the public if Ms. Datt's hand-washing was limited; and

* other employees being adversely affected by Ms. Datt's limitations.
Lessons for employers: It can be argued that Canadian human rights tribunals are insensitive to the practicalities of operating a business and accommodating members of a workforce who may or may not have realistic expectations of how their unique situations might be handled. Nonetheless, this case is a reminder that employers in Canada should follow a comprehensive process to review accommodation options for disabled employees. It also provides useful guidance on the standards of accommodation expected. The tribunal made several statements in this regard:

* An employer must be "innovative, yet practical, in considering how to accommodate a disabled employee."

* "An employer must patiently and carefully assess a disabled employee's condition and this can only occur if there are discussions with that employee."

* An employer must consider what jobs are available or could be modified or differently organized.

* An employer has an obligation to consider the bundling of duties, which might result in a "new" position being created.

* "Ms. Datt was not entitled to a perfect solution, but she was entitled to a fulsome consideration of her restrictions and how those restrictions intersected with the hand-washing policies and the jobs that were available."

The Tribunal noted that employers should be proactive and consult with the injured employee. The tribunal stated its displeasure with McDonald's because of its "lack of consultation" with Ms. Datt as follows:
I do not accept that [McDonald's] was open to considering what Ms. Datt had to say, her suggestions for a possible change in her duties or whether there were any other jobs available that she could perform . For example, it did not consider if Ms. Datt could perform some of the duties of a swing manager, work in the drive thru and then perhaps act as hostess. Taking these steps would not have caused it undue hardship.

'Gay' study: Marriage makes little difference

'Same-sex relationships must be unique, not like oppressive heterosexual norms'. The claim that homosexual relationships are generally better than normal marriages is just hogwash, however. It is often covered up but the reports of violence in homosexual relationships that have emerged suggest that such violence is common

A new study on homosexual and lesbian couples that has been promoted as showing committed same-sex couples are "more satisfied" with their partners than married heterosexuals also reveals that among same-sex partners, marriage matters little. In a startling revelation that could take the wind out of the sails of activists demanding same-sex "marriage" as a right, the study found, "In general, there were few differences between same-sex couples who could get married in Massachusetts and couples who could have only marriage-like relationships in California and Vermont."

The study was done by Esther Rothblum of San Diego State University, who specializes in same-sex issues. The school's announcement about the study was headlined: "Committed Same-Sex Couples More Satisfied With Their Partners than Married Heterosexual Couples." "The study showed that same-sex couples reported greater relationship quality, compatibility, intimacy and lower levels of conflict than married couples. The research, published in the January issue of Developmental Psychology, is the first study to follow same-sex couples in civil unions over time," the publicity release said.

"The reasons for this could be varied but when you have two women or two men in a couple, they have been socialized similarly and so they're both from 'Venus' or both from 'Mars,' so to speak," said Rothblum, study co-author and professor in SDSU's department of women's studies. "Because of this they may not have to negotiate the huge barriers that men and women do in terms of how they view conflict, provide emotional support or handle childrearing."

The study was one of several documents cited by columnist Julie Sullivan of The Oregonian in a column that trumpeted the higher happiness levels for same-sex duos. "Same-sex couples are more honest about monogamy and sex, researchers say. They're also more mature, considerate and fairer to each other than heterosexual couples. They're funnier and more affectionate when they argue. Less controlling. They don't take everything so personally," she wrote. She also cited research done at the Gottman Institute in Seattle, which has a number of studies posted on its website that address same-sex relationships. She quoted Rothblum: "[A] difference in how long [same-sex] couples stayed together cannot be attributed to the civil union itself."

The study itself, available online at Rothblum's university web page, expands on her conclusion that there are "few differences" among same-sex couples who can get married or not. The study said only Massachusetts homosexuals are allowed actually to "marry," and that process still is in its early stages there. And the study said the study of duos from Vermont, California and Massachusetts was "the first to compare three states that . are identical in their same-sex legislation at the legal level." "This study is more about who chooses to have a legalized relationship and less about how being in a marriage, civil union, or domestic partnership changes a relationship," the study said. "Some same-sex couples marry or perform commitment ceremonies to be accepted by families of origin; others do so as a form of rebellion," it said.

In addition, under the headline "Do Same-Sex Couples Want to Get Married?" the study noted that marriage is "controversial" within the homosexual community. "The radical position asserts that marriage is an oppressive institution and that same-sex relationships should be unique and freely chosen, not mimicking heterosexual norms," the study said. "Books such as 'That's Revolting!' . argue that mainstream issues such as marriage have drained LGBT communities of power and cultural identity.

"As Canadian gay magazine editor Mitchel Raphael stated about gay marriage in Canada: 'I'd be for marriage if I though gay people would challenge and change the institution and not buy into the traditional meaning of 'til death do us part' and monogamy forever. .'" the study quoted. "Results indicate few differences between same-sex couples in civil unions and those not in civil unions.," Rothblum continued.

Rothblum says her research and writings have focused on "women's mental health and relationships with a specific focus on (1) sexual orientation, (2) the stigma of weight and (3) academic procrastination." In the category of sexual orientation, "My research has focused on methodological issues, including factors unique to lesbians as well as ways that gender and sexual orientation intersect."

The study also raised questions about the issue of "discrimination" against homosexuals. Under "Discrimination," the study summarized: "There were no significant gender or interstate effects for having LGB people at work, having had problems at work as a result of being LGB, having lost or been refused a job as a result of being LGB, or having been refused a place to live as a result of being LGB."

The Oregonian column followed the lead of the news release from the university employing Rothblum, noting that her study and another "found much the same - including that same-sex partners are generally happier than their straight siblings who are married." With heterosexual couples, you really have to translate what your partner is sayinig because they grew up in different worlds," Rothblum said. "They socialized in different ways. That's where same-sex couples have an advantage." The Gottman organization said it has found that "workshops tailored to gay and lesbian couples can have a strong impact on relationships."


It takes an actress to defend Western civilization from encroaching Medieval ignorance??

French former film star Brigitte Bardot went on trial on Tuesday for insulting Muslims, the fifth time she has faced the charge of "inciting racial hatred" over her controversial remarks about Islam and its followers. Prosecutors asked that the Paris court hand the 73-year-old former sex symbol a two-month suspended prison sentence and fine her 15,000 euros ($23,760) for saying the Muslim community was "destroying our country and imposing its acts".

Since retiring from the film industry in the 1970s, Bardot has become a prominent animal rights activist but she has also courted controversy by denouncing Muslim traditions and immigration from predominantly Muslim countries. She has been fined four times for inciting racial hatred since 1997, at first 1,500 euros and most recently 5,000. Prosecutor Anne de Fontette told the court she was seeking a tougher sentence than usual, adding: "I am a little tired of prosecuting Mrs Bardot." Bardot did not attend the trial because she said she was physically unable to. The verdict is expected in several weeks.

French anti-racist groups complained last year about comments Bardot made about the Muslim feast of Eid al-Adha in a letter to President Nicolas Sarkozy that was later published by her foundation. Muslims traditionally mark Eid al-Adha by slaughtering a sheep or another animal to commemorate the prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son on God's orders.

France is home to 5 million Muslims, Europe's largest Muslim community, making up 8 percent of France's population. "I am fed up with being under the thumb of this population which is destroying us, destroying our country and imposing its acts," the star of 'And God created woman' and 'Contempt' said. Bardot has previously said France is being invaded by sheep-slaughtering Muslims and published a book attacking gays, immigrants and the unemployed, in which she also lamented the "Islamisation of France".


Republicans and Blacks

By Thomas Sowell

If Senator John McCain needed to prove that he is a real Republican, he did it when he continued an old Republican tradition of utterly inept attempts to appeal to black voters. Senator McCain was booed at a recent memorial on the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In typical Republican fashion, he tried to apologize but the audience was not buying it and let him know it. Why would Senator McCain choose a venue where his rejection was virtually guaranteed? Not only did he not get his message out, the message that came out through the media is that this black audience rejected him, which is readily portrayed as if blacks in general rejected him.

The Republican strategy for making inroads into the black vote has failed consistently for more than a quarter of a century. Yet it never seems to occur to them to change their approach. The first thing that they do that is foredoomed to failure is trying to reach blacks through the civil rights organizations and other institutions of the black establishment. The second proven loser is trying to appeal to blacks by offering the same kinds of things that Democrats offer— token honors, politically correct rhetoric and welfare state benefits. Blacks who want those things know that they can already get them from the Democrats. Why should they listen to Republicans who act like imitation Democrats?' These are not the blacks whose votes Republicans have any realistic hope of getting. Nor do the Republicans need the votes of all blacks. If just 20 percent of blacks begin voting Republican, the Democrats are lost.

The question then is how to have a shot at getting the votes of those blacks who are not in thrall to the current black "leaders" and who on many issues may be conservative. First of all, you don't get their votes by approaching them from the left, when that is neither their orientation nor yours. Issuing stamps honoring Paul Robeson and Kwanzaa are not the way to reach those blacks whom Republicans have any realistic chance of reaching. Trying to reach blacks through civil rights organizations that are totally hostile to your message is like a quarterback trying to throw a pass to a receiver surrounded by opposing defenders. That just leads to a lot of interceptions and touchdowns for the other team. That is essentially what has been happening to the Republicans, as far as the black vote is concerned, for decades on end. Someone once said that a method which fails repeatedly may possibly be wrong.

The truth is something that can attract people's attention, if only for its novelty in politics. There is no need for Republicans to try to pose as saviors of blacks. Democrats do that and they have more experience doing it. A sober presentation of the facts— "straight talk," if you will— gives Senator McCain and Republicans their best shot at a larger share of the votes of blacks. There is plenty to talk straight about, including all the things that the Democrats are committed to that work to the disadvantage of blacks, beginning with Democrats' adamant support of teachers' unions in their opposition to parental choice through vouchers. The teachers' unions are just one of the sacred cow constituencies of the Democratic Party whose agendas are very harmful to blacks.

Black voters also need to be told about the tens of thousands of blacks who have been forced out of a number of liberal Democratic California counties by skyrocketing housing prices, brought on by Democratic environmentalists' severe restrictions on the building of homes or apartments. The black population of San Francisco, for example, has been cut in half since 1970— and San Francisco is the very model of a community of liberal Democrats, including green zealots who are heedless of the consequences of their actions on others.

Then there are the effects of tort lawyers in raising prices, liberal judges turning criminals loose and other influential Democratic Party constituencies whose effects on blacks are strictly negative. Where should these and other messages be delivered to blacks, if not through the existing black organizations?

That message can be delivered as part of televised speeches addressing other major issues facing the country. It can be delivered as part of advertisements in the general media and separately in advertisements in newspapers, magazines and television programs with a black audience. Logistics are not the problem. Insistence on following a repeatedly failed game plan is



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.


Comments | Trackback

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stupid Leftist domestic violence laws in Britain

Thousands of women are at risk of assault because new laws to curb domestic violence have backfired, deterring victims from seeking help,The Times has learnt. Since legislation was introduced in July to criminalise domestic abuse at least 5,000 women have failed to report violent partners, judges have claimed. Under the Domestic Violence Act 2007 a breach of a non-molestation order is now a criminal offence and not dealt with in the civil courts. But battered wives, and sometimes husbands, are reluctant to seek an order for fear of giving their partners a criminal record and, potentially, a prison sentence of up to five years.

The judges' concerns have prompted talks at the highest level between Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, and Sir Mark Potter, President of the Family Division. The alarm was raised by both circuit judges and the Association of District Judges, whose members deal with domestic violence cases. A Ministry of Justice spokesman said that an urgent meeting with Sir Mark would be held to discuss his fears. "We would be concerned if the courts were not making protecting orders," he said. A spokesman for Sir Mark said: "The president is very concerned that, for whatever reason, the legislation appears to have led to a reduction rather than an increase in the protection afforded to victims of domestic violence as a result of the change of the law." Sir Mark felt it important that judges "at the sharp end seeing its impact" were able to flag up their concerns, he added.

Judge John Platt, a circuit judge with more than 20 years' experience of domestic violence cases, has drawn up a report reflecting the judges' views for the president. He told The Times that he estimated that the number of [mostly] women seeking non-molestation orders had fallen by between 25 and 30 per cent since July 2007. Judges were doing their own informal surveys and "every judge I have spoken to thinks there has been a drop", he said. In 2006 there had been 20,000 such applications - so a 25 per cent drop meant 5,000 women had not come forward to ask for the courts' protection. "Obviously this is a very worrying figure. Either offenders have changed their behaviour - which seems extremely unlikely - or the victims do not want to criminalise the perpetrators."

Victims in a close relationship with a violent partner, who was perhaps the father of their children and the bread-winner, would not want them to have a criminal record, he added. "It's human nature." Women were deterred from the moment they walked into a lawyer's office and were told what the new laws meant. "It is obviously very worrying," he said.

Formerly, judges could add a power of arrest to a non-molestation order. A victim could then ring the police and complain of a breach and the man would be arrested, he said. Some simple breaches were dealt with within 24 hours but most within 14 days in the county courts as a contempt of court. Offenders might be given a second chance and ordered to report back to court, he said. They could be given a suspended sentence of up to two years, jailed for up to two years or, rarely, fined. Now, however, there appear to be few prosecutions, and some offenders are being dealt with by conditional cautions, said Judge Platt. "What we can say is that there are far fewer prosecutions than there would have been arrests if the old legislation was still in place."

The Crown Prosecution Service denied that prosecutions had dropped. A spokesman said that the most recent figures showed that both numbers of cases and the conviction rate were up on previous years. However, these predate the new Act. The spokesman added that conviction rates had risen from their lowest recorded point of 46 per cent in 2003 to 59 per cent in 2005, up to 66 per cent in 2006 - up year on year by 7 per cent and 20 per cent over three years. The spokesman added: "The fact that the Government has increased the number of specialist domestic violence courts to 64 is an indication of the number of cases that are being prosecuted and the seriousness with which it's regarded."

Judge Platt said that a third problem was severe delays in special domestic violence treatment programmes, which judges felt were effective. He added that a community penalty was often best in a family context. But without the special programme, either the woman would remain at risk or the offender would have to be jailed.


British couple who spank their daughter as 'last resort' cannot be foster parents

A couple have been prevented from fostering children after insisting on the right to smack their own daughter "as a last resort". David and Heather Bowen told an adoption panel that they would never smack a foster child but might physically chastise their own daughter "once or twice a year". Despite initially being recommended as good candidates by social workers, the couple were turned down for fostering after refusing to reconsider their position. The couple, from Taunton, Somerset, were told by the panel that they would not be allowed to take in children because of their approach to "behaviour management".

Mr and Mrs Bowen, who are both volunteers at their church and local schools, are appealing against the decision by Somerset county council. Mr Bowen, 42, said: "Based on the evidence presented to the council, we cannot understand why we are unsuitable and it seems that we have been excluded on the basis that we physically chastise our birth child, in accordance with our beliefs and UK law. "I'm sure other parents would have just lied."

He added: "Our birth daughter is only chastised physically as a last resort amongst a whole range of other forms of behaviour management strategies which include rewards and sanctions. The council has made us feel we are bad parents and yet we do nothing that hundreds of thousands across the UK do as loving and responsible mothers and fathers." Parents are legally allowed to smack their children if it is considered a "reasonable chastisement" and provided they leave no more than a "transitory" mark.

The Government ruled out a total ban after reviewing the law in 2000. Mr and Mrs Bowen fear that the ruling against them will mean thousands of children will be denied access to good foster care because potential foster parents smack their own children. The Bowens have a nine- year-old daughter, Emma, and felt they were good candidates for fostering after failing to conceive following the death of their second child, Jonathan, from a rare illness.

They were turned down last month following a 14-month approval process. Mrs Bowen, 47, said: "We felt we had room to give more love to other children. As the outcome sank in we began to grieve again, feeling a tremendous sense of loss that we would not be allowed to complete our family and provide a loving home to a child in need."

The British Association for Adoption and Fostering said it believed smacking was generally inappropriate, particularly for vulnerable children who may have been abused in the past. John Simmonds, its director of policy, research and development, said: "The expectation is that you treat foster children as one of your own. You can't set one standard for your own children and another for the foster child."

Linda Barnett, the head of children's services at Somerset county council, said: "In common with most other local authorities, Somerset has a Foster Carer's Agreement which describes our belief about parenting. Where carers have a very strong personal belief that differs from the Foster Carer Agreement, it is potentially unfair to expect them to operate to a set of guidelines which conflicts with this."

Smacking remains legal but the law on it was toughened up in 2004 in response to pressure from children's campaigners. The Children Act removed the defence of "reasonable chastisement" from parents who left more than a "transitory mark" on their child. Causing a bruise, reddened skin or psychological injuries can result in an assault charge and five years' jail. However, earlier this year the Sentencing Guidelines Council, which sets down rules for magistrates and judges, appeared to signal a change of opinion. It called for leniency, recommending light sentences for parents who are prosecuted for smacking but did not intend to hurt their child.

Campaign groups such as the NSPCC and the National Children's Bureau continue to press for tougher laws, however. The Children Are Unbeatable! alliance wants an outright ban.


Australia: Muslim majority wants secular law

By Shahram Akbarzadeh (A Western-trained academic of Iranian origins)

The following may well be a true and reasonable account of the Muslim majority in Australia but it would help if it were backed by evidence rather than mere assertion. One would hope for better than mere assertion from an academic. He does not in any case offer any guidance to dealing with the troublesome minority. How are we expected to know which Muslims are haters and which are not? On the "precautionary principle" much-loved by the Green/Left in other contexts, we would assume that ALL Muslims are bad eggs

There is a presumption about Muslims' inability to live under secular rule that rests on the view that they live by strict Koranic codes that are incompatible with the modern way of life in Australia. This is false on two grounds.

First, most Australian Muslims are not affiliated with any religious organisation, do not attend mosque or send their children to Islamic schools. They may pray in the privacy of their homes but would not wear their religion on their sleeves. This group is best described as cultural Muslims. Islam is the religion they are born into and proud of, and anything short of this would be tantamount to rejecting their heritage. Islam is part of their identity, as is social-familial status, political affiliations and ethnic background. But Islam is not the sole pillar of identity. This group is as comfortable with the laws that govern Australia as any of their non-Muslim neighbours; that is, they drive over the speed limit on occasion and try to dodge taxes if they can.

A lot of public debate about Muslims ignores this large demographic group. Instead, the focus is often on the more religiously devout and organised sections of Australian Muslims. There is a good reason for that. Cultural Muslims are the silent majority, as they don't organise and present their case under the rubric of Islam. It is not that cultural Muslims lack organisational skills. But as far as they are concerned, why form an Islamic society when they could form an ethnic or social club? The latter is more inclusive and allows for a broader cultural appeal than religiously oriented associations.

But by going down this path, cultural Muslims have been excluded (wittingly or unwittingly) from the public debate on Islam. The Coalition government effectively ignored ethnic Muslim groups when forming the Muslim Reference Group. These communities were not seen as representing the interests of Australian Muslims. But the reality was the reverse. The appointed reference group was drawn from a small pool of religious leaders and had little authority in the ethnically diverse Muslim communities, least of all among youth. This was a critical flaw. The Rudd Government seems more sensitive towards the question of community representation, although the public debate is still confined to religious associations.

Second, devout Muslims who attend mosques and Friday prayer on a regular basis have a much more nuanced view of their place in Australia than that with which they are credited. Contrary to the views of former treasurer Peter Costello, devout Muslims do not champion the establishment of sharia law in Australia. What is important for them is no different to other groups. Education opportunities and employment prospects for themselves and their kids rates much higher than any other concerns. There is a persistent pattern of expression among devout Muslims.

Being religiously minded, ideas and views are often expressed using Islamic terminology. For example, it is common to say inshallah (God willing) if one wishes for something. This comes naturally to devout Muslims but to outsiders it could be confronting, even scary. Why invoke a foreign God when God has been pushed to the private sphere under Australia's secular rule?

Devout Muslims are comparable with other religiously devout groups. They emphasise their religious affiliations and don't shy away from expressing their religious beliefs. But this does not mean that they neglect other duties and responsibilities to their family, community and society as a whole. One may even argue that religious devotion makes Muslims more conscientious about their social duties as moral citizens.

The irony is that devout Muslims feel more comfortable living under secular rule than any other system because the Australian political and judicial system allows equal freedom to all religious and non-religious groups. Devout Muslims appreciate that and live by that rule. There is widespread acknowledgment among devout Muslims that Australia's secular laws are the best guarantee they have for practising Islam freely. To be sure, there are sporadic complaints about media representation of Islam and discrimination. But these do not negate the fundamental fact that the overwhelming majority of Islamic organisations view Australian law as their protector and appeal to it for redress.

Australian Muslims, whether cultural or devout, value the fair-go spirit of Australia. This spirit resonates with their cultural and religious beliefs. It would help us all if we paused to look at values that bind us together.


Australia: A rare display of spine from an Anglican archbishop

Though expressed in a suitably Anglican way, of course. If he had been a North American Anglican bishop he would probably have been ogling the boys concerned by now

The head of the Anglican Church has backed a Brisbane school's decision to turn down the request of gay students to bring male partners to a school dance, as Queensland Premier Anna Bligh welcomed debate on the issue. Several of the Anglican Church Grammar School's 215 Year 12 students want to take their gay partners to their end-of-year dance on June 19. However, under current policy, the young men may only attend the ball with a female partner.

Headmaster Jonathan Hensman said the policy had never been challenged and it had always been the tradition that boys took girls to their matriculation dance. However, Mr Hensman said he was open to discussing the matter with students and encouraged those concerned to raise the issue in writing so he could refer it to the school council for debate. No complaint has yet been lodged with Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission.

Anglican Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, who is president of the school council, said he supported the headmaster's decision. "I have no personal objection to a school deciding to allow boys to take friends who are boys or girls to take friends who are girls to school formals," Dr Aspinall told ABC Radio. "But I understand in this particular instance the school has decided that its approach is to emphasise the interaction of young men and young women and providing them with an opportunity to do that in this kind of formal setting. "And I have no objection to that either. I think that's a reasonable and legitimate approach." Dr Aspinall said all students should be treated with respect and care.

Ms Bligh said she supported the school's decision to discuss the issue within its community. "These are very difficult issues for schools to manage and I can understand why it's not a clear-cut matter," Ms Bligh told reporters in Brisbane today. "Parents will inevitably have strong views, both ways. "I can certainly say that as (a past) education minister I'm aware that many teachers and many guidance officers and school support staff face the reality of talking to young people about their sexuality. "We can't put our head in the sand on this. "As young people develop from their early teenage years through to young adulthood the question of sexuality will emerge and it will arise."



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.


Comments | Trackback

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Jerusalem" hymn banned by politically correct clergy

It's probably the hymn I love best: "And did those feet in ancient times.... ''. With the marvellous William Blake writing the words and the music by Parry, it had to be good. Comments below by the Revd Dr Peter Mullen, Rector of St Michael's, Cornhill

Funny how the "liberals" in the Church have developed this fondness for banning things. First they banned their own modern Alternative Service Book after only 20 years in use. Now, the Very Reverend Colin Slee, the Dean of Southwark, has banned the hymn Jerusalem from his cathedral because it is "not in the glory of God" and is too nationalistic. But surely there is the radiance of divinity in "And was the Holy Lamb of God on England's pleasant pastures seen"? The pseudo-scholarly clergy don't like that line because they deny the Glastonbury legend about Jesus coming to England with Joseph of Arimathea. This shows a numbskull literal-mindedness.

When I preach the Resurrection on Easter Day, I try to evoke the Lord's appearances around Galilee, and on the walk to Emmaus, as if they had happened in my beloved Yorkshire Dales. Blake didn't think Jesus came to England, either. He was a poet and his lines are the stuff of imaginative allusion. But imagination is a bit beyond the reach of the polite mechanicals among the modern clergy.

Christians in England are redeemed by Christ, as surely as the first disciples were redeemed by him in Galilee. Blake's magnificent poem is a way of bringing this home to us, building the truth of the experience into our hearts and minds by using homely, national imagery. The spirit of God breathes all through Jerusalem. Take the fervent line, "Bring me my chariot of fire." It is straight out of the Bible, the ecstatic vision of the prophet Elijah carried up to heaven in the whirlwind (II Kings 2:11). "Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand" is clearly a reference to "the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God" (Ephesians 6:17).

What the modern clergy can't stand is the powerful evocation of England. When they see the word "England" they don't hear the music of ancient Albion. They see patriotism and national pride, which to them are the next worse things to fascism and expansionary imperialism. But, as Chesterton said, if a man won't love his country, it is difficult to believe he loves anything. Blake's hymn was a prelude to Milton, and he knew that Paradise Lost, the Fall of Man, happens down the Old Kent Road as definitely as anywhere else.

Odd, the trendy clergy's preference for abstractions and internationalism when it was abstracted international communism under Stalin and Mao which slaughtered millions more even than the ueber-nationalists in the Third Reich.

There is nothing abstract or theoretical about Blake's hymn. He wasn't writing a report for the General Synod. As a poet of genius, he knew that the way to convey spiritual realities is to incarnate them in things: swords, chariots, clouded hills, mountains green. St Margaret's, "Parliament's church" in Westminster, disapproves of the line about "dark satanic mills" only by misunderstanding it. No English literature scholar imagines for a minute that Blake was referring to the cotton mills and weaving sheds in Lancashire.

One of our finest biblical commentators, Tom Wright, Bishop of Durham, says: "The 'dark satanic mills' were not the cotton mills and steel mills of the new, noisy and smoky industrial revolution. They were the great churches, such as Westminster Abbey and St Paul's Cathedral, which Blake saw as being hopelessly in thrall to the follies of the world, follies he saw all too clearly in the great thinkers of what was already calling itself the Enlightenment. He faced down the scorn of Voltaire and Rousseau against the deep mysteries of faith. 'You throw the sand against the wind,' he wrote, 'and the wind blows it back again.'?"

Now, at last, we are getting close to understanding this sour prejudice against Jerusalem among so many clergy. For Blake is attacking them - those who, though they promised at ordination to challenge the follies of the age, actually aid and encourage them. It is the Jerusalem haters who have swallowed whole all the dogmas of Rousseauism and the secular superstitions of the Enlightenment in its most recent form: political-correctness.

If Blake could hear for five minutes these people banging on about their true preoccupations, the follies of the age - anti-racism, gender egalitarianism, compliance, the foreign aid industry and the paranoid fantasy of global warming - he would sing all the more loudly against this lot: "Bring me my bow… bring me my arrows… bring me my sword…"


Deportation ruling enrages spy chiefs

British court says bin Laden's 'ambassador' can remain in London

Britain's intelligence chiefs - John Scarlett of MI6 and Jonathan Evans of MI5 - are warning Prime Minister Gordon Brown that judges in an appeals court have "seriously damaged the war on terrorism," The court ruled that Abu Qatada, one of the world's most dangerous terrorists and described by a Spanish court as Osama bin Laden's "ambassador in Europe," cannot be deported to Jordan to face further terrorist charges because to do so would "breach Britain's human rights laws." The infuriated intelligence chiefs have told Brown the decision has "left Britain's anti-terror laws in tatters and raised serious questions in Washington and European capitals about Britain's commitment to fight terrorism."

Abu Qatada, a heavily bearded Jordanian father of five, has been linked to a number of global terror conspiracies. But the Court of Appeal said he cannot be deported to face prosecution in his native Jordan "because the alleged evidence against him there may have been obtained under torture."

The court ruling means not a single terrorist has been forcibly deported from Britain since the London bombing attacks -- despite a Memorandum of Understanding secured by the Home Office from Jordan and other countries that terror suspects would not face torture.

While Abu Qatada remained in a high security prison, the intelligence services had spent three years putting together what one officer called "irrefutable evidence" that he is closely linked to bin Laden and Ayman Al Zarqawi, the deputy leader of al-Qaida. Videos of Abu Qatada's virulent sermons were found in the Hamburg flat of Mohammed Atta, one of the members of the 9/11 terrorists. German intelligence, BND, passed them to MI6 to strengthen the case against Abu Qatada.

Both MI6 and MI5 also provided evidence seen by the Court of Appeal that Abu Qatada, 44, who was born in Bethlehem, had arrived in Britain under a forged United Arab Emirates passport. He claimed asylum and was granted refugee status. He also received monthly welfare benefits.

From his home in Acton, West London, he called on British Muslims to "martyr yourselves in a holy war on British oppression." When he was first arrested in 2001, he was found to have about $1.4 million in his possession, including $1,600 in an envelope marked "for the mujahedin in Chechnya."


Prescription For Quotas

Post below recycled from Discriminations. See the original for links

If I weren't a product of both undergraduate and graduate programs at Stanford, I would be critical of this report ("Latinos underrepresented in medical profession") of quota-mongering at the Stanford Medical School. But since I am, I am both ashamed and embarrassed as well as critical. The Stanford Daily article begins by noting that
Latino Americans only make up five percent of California's doctors, according to a recent study at UC-San Francisco, though they constitute one-third of the state's population[,]
and goes rapidly down hill from there.
Fernando Mendoza, Associate Dean for Minority Advising and Programs at the Stanford School of Medicine, said the lack of diversity within the medical profession can actually reduce the effectiveness of physicians. "A lot of work has been done that's shown how physicians communicate with patients and the barriers to that communication," he said. "Studies have reported that there are biases in health care and that they are quite often unconscious; in order to deal with those unconscious biases, we need to diversify the work force and develop more culturally competent positions."
Along with their diplomas, perhaps medical schools and/or state medical licensing boards could begin issuing certificates of cultural competence. Of course, before they could do that they would have to develop a curriculum in it, devise tests to measure it, etc. Or in the alternative, they could simply let skin color or ethnicity (visible or claimed) be a certified proxy. (What? You say they're already doing that? Oh well...) In any event, after the Stanford Medical School or the California Medical Association develops a valid test for "unconscious biases," I hope they will share it with the world. But I digress. Let us listen to Dr. Mendoza's prescription:
In order to increase diversity in the medical school student population, Mendoza ... encourages the admission office to evaluate potential candidates on a broader spectrum of criteria. "One thing I think is evident," he said. "We're well behind the curve and have a long way to go to get the number of Latino physicians up to where they represent the proportion of the general population.
Note that Dr. Mendoza does not say that he endorses quotas. Defenders of affirmative action never say they they endorse quotas, and usually hotly deny that they do. No, Dr. Mendoza doesn't call for quotas. All he wants is for the number of Latino students admitted to the Stanford Medical School, and the number of physicians practicing in California and presumably the rest of the United States, "to represent [their] proportion of the general population."

And while we're speaking of proportional representation (not quotas!), if the goal (not quota!) is for the proportion of doctors who are Latino to reflect the proportion of Latinos in the general population, then Stanford and the remainder of the medical establishment must take some rather dramatic steps to reduce the proportion of admitted medical students and physicians who are Asian or Jewish, since those groups are now substantially "overrepresented" at Stanford and everywhere else.

Weeding out the Jews and Asians, however, can be a tricky business. Asians are usually easy to spot, even where their names are not giveaways, but Jews are not always so obvious. We don't all have Jewish-sounding names, and many Jewish-sounding names aren't even Jewish. Nor is photographic evidence, even in profile, completely reliable.

And even if those problems were solved (if Stanford can combat "unconscious bias," surely it can come up with ways to spot Asians and Jews), what of the "Latino" category itself? Should all of the "Latino" physicians in California be Mexican or Mexican-American, or do Dr. Mendoza and his Stanford colleagues think that, say, Cuban-Americans are "culturally competent" enough to treat Mexicans?

Sorry, but that's all I have time for right now. I'm off to meet with our accountant re taxes, though now I'm worried that he's not culturally competent enough to figure out how the tax code applies to us.


Roger Clegg of the Center for Equal Opportunity has posted this comment on the Stanford Daily's web site:
Aggressive outreach - casting a wide net--to make sure that you get the best qualified applicants possible, of all colors and socioeconomic backgrounds, is fine. Getting rid of conscious or unconscious bias in selection is fine, too. So is making sure that your selection criteria really produce the best, most qualified students.

But weighing ethnicity to decide which applicants are admitted is not. If you give weight to ethnicity, then you are no longer admitting the best qualified people. That shortchanges future patients--of all national origins.

It is wrong to discriminate in order to ensure that the med school looks like the general population, and it makes no sense to do so. Cultural competence can be taught to doctors of any color. Gentiles and non-Asians have not suffered from the historical "overrepresentation" of Jewish and Asian doctors. A quota is a quota is a quota.
What he said. And you can quot[a] me on that.

American protected classes don't include us. We are targeted for genocide

Bertolt Brecht has a poem in which the leaders of the former East Germany say to the people: “You have disappointed us. We are going to go out and elect another people.” Is nature imitating art, as Oscar Wilde claimed?

The United States Constitution provides for a bill of rights for "individuals." It had no intent to provide or define special protected classes of people or organizations that got privileged treatment. That intent has failed to be realized. That failure of our government has created classes of people and organizations that have no concern for our nation. Their only concern is for their specific group. Their greed serves to divide our nation into warring tribes for its ultimate destruction.

Inalienable God given American freedoms are being eroded one at a time. The first to go for "unprotected" classes is freedom of speech. American Citizen Free Speech is dead. Free speech is now defined as hate speech by Marxists and Corporate Globalists who want to destroy the United States. The only people who can speak their mind in this new world of big brother are protected classes that include everyone but us. We are the unprotected classes targeted for submissive destruction.

The only groups not classified as a "protected" classes are the: American (male or female of any age) Citizen of European Descent; or, of a color designated as "White;" or, not queer in their sexual preference; or, with the Christian faith as their belief regardless of race or national origin.

If you belong to this group or any of its subgroups, it is perfectly all right to beat you, force you into silence or even kill you. You will be designated as a racist hater and will be openly shunned and banished from society if you do or do not defend your self. Your silence used to defend yourself hastens your demise.

The major identifier of these non protected class groups is their magnanimous acceptance of this horrid treatment by privileged protected classes of all other races, religions and national origins, including non citizens. The new victim non protected classes willingly accept their fate without complaint. They are individually isolated by their attackers in the news media and government.

Victimized non protected classes of American Christian Citizens (white, black, non queer), appear to willingly accept their "punishment" for supposed wrongs their ancestors allegedly committed. The only reason this is occurring must be because of widespread psychological conditioning that creates a self hatred in maligned citizen groups. That strategy was used to suppress blacks in America for a long time. It is an effective tool of most tyrants.

Tyrannical attackers only succeed when victims permit their victimization and remain silent. Evil comes for us now. World War II German Activist Pastor Martin Niemoller's address to the U.S. Congress as reported in the Congressional Record: October 14, 1968, page 31636:

"When Hitler attacked the Jews I was not a Jew, therefore I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the Catholics, I was not a Catholic, and therefore, I was not concerned.
And when Hitler attacked the unions and the industrialists, I was not a member of the unions and I was not concerned.
Then Hitler attacked me and the Protestant church -- and there was nobody left to be concerned."

The only thing that will save non-protected class groups or any group targeted for genocide from annihilation with destruction of their national heritage, and rule of law; is continued silence and failure to fight this outrage in every way possible.

We must start immediately with trials and sentencing to death of our treasonous elected officials that promote this racial and religious hatred and criminal genocidal attempts to destroy us. You must fight for your rights.

Common sense and a long history of relationships between species and between human beings resulted in a natural fear of those things and beings that bring harm to us. A zebra is naturally wary of lions lurking in the grass because they have been attacked and seen other zebras killed. Human beings have a natural fear of snakes and falling. These natural and learned fears are safe guards against harm.

Only a fool without any natural survival instincts would live in a world where they fail to recognize inherent dangers from society and specific races. FBI statistics indicate a rise in black on white crime and rate of crime of black on white crime is much higher than white on black crime. The news media fails to report that fact.

Presidential candidate Hussein Obuma should discuss these disparities when he defines one as a racist if they fear someone demanding money from them in an aggressive manner as his white grandmother reported. That is not racism that is self protection based on a reasonable suspicion of potential harm. His grandmother was no more racist than a zebra is when they automatically run when a lion approaches. Failure to be aware of the risks can only result in harm.

It is natural to have innate fears of known risks. Ask the Asian student who was fleeing from a black gang last Friday, if it was reasonable to run when they attacked him. Too bad he can't answer he is dead. If Obuma wants to end the fears between the races he must end the black attacks on other citizens of all races.

If that doesn't provide Obuma with the understanding he clearly lacks, ask those black victims of black crime if they have a natural fear of black men who dress or behave in a particular way. Or ask those who have family members beheaded by Muslim murderers if they have a fear of the Muslims. Survival is not about race, religion or any other criterion. It is about being safe instead of sorry based on available data in a dangerous world.

The status quo is no longer acceptable. Government designed plans to destroy our nation with racial population politics is evident. Illegal alien invasion, black on white crime, a restorative justice system that punishes victims of crime instead of the criminals are all a part of the Marxist communists' efforts to promote disharmony and racial conflict to advance their objectives.

World corporatists share that agenda for different reasons and join the Marxist to subjugate all of us under one world government rule. We the non protected class victims can not let false accusations of racism or haters hinder our resistance to this evil murdering millions around the world.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Monday, April 14, 2008

Is there any limit to British battiness?

Pirates can claim UK asylum so may not be detained by the navy

The Royal Navy, once the scourge of brigands on the high seas, has been told by the Foreign Office not to detain pirates because doing so may breach their human rights. Warships patrolling pirate-infested waters, such as those off Somalia, have been warned that there is also a risk that captured pirates could claim asylum in Britain. The Foreign Office has advised that pirates sent back to Somalia could have their human rights breached because, under Islamic law, they face beheading for murder or having a hand chopped off for theft.

In 2005 there were almost 40 attacks by pirates and 16 vessels were hijacked and held for ransom. Employing high-tech weaponry, they kill, steal and hold ships' crews to ransom. This year alone pirates killed three people near the Philippines. Last week French commandos seized a Somali pirate gang that had held a luxury yacht with 22 French citizens on board. The hijackers were paid off by the boat's owner and then a French helicopter carrier dispatched 50 commandos to seize the hijackers and the ransom money on dry land.

Britain is part of a coalition force that patrols piracy stricken areas and the guidance has troubled navy officers who believe they should have more freedom to intervene. The guidance was sharply criticised by Julian Brazier MP, the Conservative shipping spokesman, who said: "These people commit horrendous offences. The solution is not to turn a blind eye but to turn them over to the local authorities. The convention on human rights quite rightly doesn't cover the high seas. It's a pathetic indictment of what our legal system has come to."

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "There are issues about human rights and what might happen in these circumstances. The main thing is to ensure any incident is resolved peacefully." The guidance is the latest blow to the robust image of the navy. Last year 15 of its sailors were taken prisoner by the Iranians and publicly humiliated. In the 19th century, British warships largely eradicated piracy when they policed the oceans. The death penalty for piracy on the high seas remained on the statute books until 1998. Modern piracy ranges from maritime mugging to stealing from merchant ships with the crew held at gunpoint.


Truth on trauma in abortion

Comment by His Eminence George Pell

SOMETIMES light begins to shine into corners where there has been darkness for a long time, perhaps generations. Today, in Australia, the public is being offered much more information on the causes, side-effects and consequences of abortion. Surveys have brought us more information on the role of fathers, on the reluctance of most mothers who abort, and on the almost contradictory views of the majority, who simultaneously support the right of a woman to abortion but are deeply uneasy about the extent of the practice.

Pregnancy is not a disease or illness, but a natural event. A woman's body is programmed to nurture and sustain life, and her whole psychology changes, with her body, during the nine months of pregnancy. She can feel drawn in different directions, marvelling at the mystery of new life, but overwhelmed by the prospect of so much responsibility; worried by concerns about health or finance, but excited by the prospect of a new human being to be loved.

Abortion is another matter altogether, when a mother is violently disconnected from her child. This is a genuine trauma, an unnatural death, where a mother has often violated her natural instincts as well as her moral sense. Occasionally, we hear of tragic situations where a father is unable to stop the abortion of his child by the mother. This is rare, as the boot is often on the other foot. Statistics indicate there is a high level of coercion driving women into unwanted abortions and that the male partner plays acentral role in 95 per cent of abortion decisions. The 2005 Post Abortion Review by the Elliott Institute in the US claimed 80 per cent of women would give birth if given support. An abortion clinic security guard testified that women were threatened or abused by men who took them to there and, in the US, murder is the number one cause of death among pregnant women.

In the past, the psychological and spiritual agony experienced by many mothers after abortion was ignored by the media, denied by mental-health professionals and scorned by the women's movement. Women were told that abortion would bring them relief, but often found only depression and grief whose causes they did not recognise. The woman's loss is often secret, preventing help from family and friends. In any case, society generally doesn't want to know.

For some years, evidence hasbeen published in top-level journals such as the British Medical Journal about post-abortion traumas in the US, Britain and Finland. This complements New Zealand research by Professor David Fergusson about a higher suicide risk, more depressive psychoses, nightmares, flashbacks and emotional numbness. In 1989, a panel from the American Psychological Association concluded unanimously that legal abortion "does not create psychological hazards for most women undergoing the procedure". Such a claim is no longer valid.


Australia: Church-school students urged to fight ban on homosexual partners

It's a private school. If they don't like its rules, they can go elsewhere. The school will lose a lot of enrollments if it caves in

ANGLICAN Church Grammar School students have been urged to confront the administration over a ban on boys taking gay partners to the senior formal. A Year 12 student, who said he was not gay but that he took up the issue on behalf of his gay friends, told The Courier-Mail: "Let's take this to the administration on the first day back next term. "Demand an end to this oppression of the only remaining minority that is still legal to oppress."

The student said when he first raised the subject with a senior Churchie teacher, he was told the rules would quietly be changed provided he did not make a big deal about it. Several students at Churchie have made it known they want to escort boyfriends to the June 19 formal, but the school is insisting they take a member of the opposite sex. Churchie headmaster Jonathan Hensman said none of the students had approached him directly, but a staff member had raised the issue on their behalf.

"The senior dinner dance is an opportunity for our young men to escort a young woman in a formal school environment," Mr Hensman said. "We don't intend to change our practice. As well as being a social occasion, it's an education forum and to that end the school decides what is appropriate behaviour and what is not." Mr Hensman said the issue had not "formally" arisen in the past, that he could recall, but the question was not unexpected given "the changing times". "Not all students take their girlfriends. Some take a female friend. It's about protocols and decorums," he said. But Mr Hensman said if any of Churchie's seniors approached him formally, he would consider taking the request to the school council. State schools made their own decisions on guidelines for school formals, a Queensland Education spokesman said.

Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Susan Booth said sexuality discrimination was unlawful, and that applied to private and public schools as well as other organisations. However, Churchie is not alone in its stand against same-sex couples attending school formals, with Queensland Catholic Education Executive Director Mike Byrne saying their schools would not allow it either. Mr Byrne said Catholic schools were committed to modelling behaviours in keeping with the values and principles of a Catholic institution. "As such we would not see it as appropriate for couples in a same-sex relationship to attend an event such as a school formal," he said. "Where young people are concerned, there are often matters associated with sexuality and relationships - both heterosexual and homosexual - where schools provide a range of support services for students."

Although Ms Booth could not comment specifically on the Churchie case because it was "a potential complaint", the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner said schools should not treat students differently on the basis of their sexuality. "What we hope is that there can be a discussion about the issue, that's what happens in the commission, and that's where we hope the matter can be sorted out."

The Queensland Education spokesman said schools "consider the Inclusive Education policy when planning a range of activities, including school formals . . . and that requires schools to foster learning environments where all students are valued for their diverse backgrounds".

Queensland University of Technology School of Justice lecturer Dr Angela Dwyer said Churchie's stand on the issue of same-sex formal partners would be "devastating" to those involved. "We're talking about someone's identity here. The way that they feel and the way that they express themselves is basically being squashed by the school," said Dr Dwyer, who is writing a research paper on "How queer young people are policed". Another expert on sexuality and education, Iain Hay from the University of Canberra, said it would be very stressful for gay students prepared to come out in front of their peers, to then be told it was "inappropriate".


An affirmative action meltdown in an Australian police force

Bias and bigotry in favour of a woman did nobody any good

FROM senior constable to superintendent in one jump, Megan McGowan's meteoric rise within NSW's police ranks was unprecedented. At the time, she felt like she was on top of the world. But after leaving the job she loved, disillusioned and dejected, in 2006, the former fraud squad commander and child-abuse campaigner has launched legal action against her former employer, seeking damages in the millions. The claim, based on Ms McGowan's assertion that she was elevated too far, too quickly and beyond her ability, has the potential to stir as much controversy in policing circles as her promotion did, police insiders say.

Five days into her new $90,000- a-year role in April 1998, then superintendent Megan Hungerford confidently said: "I feel humble but I can do the job." But speaking from her home on the Central Coast last Thursday, Ms McGowan, 46, said she had more recently struggled to cope with life after policing. "I've been very sick with stress-related illness and right now my only option is to take it easy and await further instructions from my legal team," she said. "I can confirm the case is going ahead but I have placed everything in the hands of my lawyers and their advice is that I shouldn't make any comment at this particular stage." A court date for the action is still to be confirmed.

Ms McGowan's promotion at the age of 36 came via her appointment as chief of staff to the force's crime agencies commander and assistant commissioner Clive Small. Beating two vastly more experienced inspectors and two detective-sergeants to the prized job, she emerged as the state's youngest superintendent of police. To do so, she faced what was described as a rigorous selection process. The system, which replaced a long-standing tradition of seniority-based promotion, was touted by then commissioner Peter Ryan as more fair, equitable and transparent.

But what it was not was overly resistant to malpractice. Within two years of Ms McGowan's promotion, exam cheating by her fellow officers was widespread and in 2001 the NSW Police Integrity Commission launched its Operation Jetz inquiry, which left nine officers facing disciplinary action. Further changes were foreshadowed the following year, signalling a return to the age-old emphasis on street credibility rather than police looking good on paper. Promotions are now only allowed one rank at a time.

Ms McGowan, whose father Brian was a former ALP state MP, graduated as a probationary constable at Balmain police station in 1985. Two years later, she found herself working at the force's criminal investigations bureau and became a first-class constable in plain clothes after transferring to Hornsby in 1988. By 1991, she was specialising in child protection and then media and marketing and spent several years relieving for more senior officers. Then came the big jump: "If I get the least bit jaded, I move," she was quoted as saying in mid-1999. "But it would have to be something pretty amazing to compete with here," she said. Earlier, she had campaigned vigorously for a central police agency to investigate pedophilia and in 1996 had attracted some attention after heavily criticising the force while testifying on the subject as an expert witness at the Wood royal commission on the NSW police.

Yesterday, a spokesman for Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione said: "As this matter is now the subject of legal proceedings, it is inappropriate for the NSW Police Force to comment." Police Association of NSW secretary Peter Remfrey said he had not spoken to Ms McGowan and was unaware of her civil action. "For that reason, it would be wrong for me to comment."



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.


Comments | Trackback

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Planned Parenthood - Racist Donations Welcome: We Abort Black Babies

A new video reveals Planned Parenthood employees in both Oklahoma and New Mexico complying with an undercover "donor" requesting that his money be used specifically to abort an African-American child who might someday steal his own child's spot in college through "affirmative action." When James O'Keefe, the undercover "donor," asked if a donation could be used for aborting a black child, a PP staffer from Tulsa responded, "We can definitely designate it for an African-American."

"Planned Parenthood has no shame in accepting donations to purposely abort minority populations. People have forgotten the organization was founded on these principles and has continued to operate under these same racist views for decades," Lila Rose, editor of The Advocate, the pro-life UCLA publication responsible for the investigations, told LifeNews.com. Planned Parenthood founder, Margaret Sanger, once stated, "We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population."

"It's a jolting reminder that abortion is a big business, regardless of what the politicians and the special interest groups say and given that Planned Parenthood receives over $300 million in federal funding every year, it's time Congress investigate these extremely disturbing business practices," stated Rose. "Planned Parenthood must be held accountable for their actions. No one is calling them out - including supposedly minority civil rights groups like the ACLU and NAACP - for their despicable actions."

In late February, the Advocate released a transcript of a recorded conversion with Autumn Kersey, vice president of marketing for Planned Parenthood of Idaho, in which Kersey accepted money specifically to eliminate an African-American child who could pose a threat to the son of the white "donor" through "affirmative action."

Last Spring, Rose posed as a 15-year-old seeking an abortion for the child conceived with her 23-year-old "boyfriend," played by O'Keefe. Rose recorded a Santa Monica, CA PP employee encouraging her to lie about her age so that the organization would not have to report her situation as statutory rape. The Advocate's undercover investigations are only part of a series of shocking PP behavior that have caused many to call for extensive examination of the organization that reported receiving $336 million in taxpayer funding during 2006.

To avoid possible construction boycotts or other protests, the Aurora, Illinois PP presented itself as on building permits as Gemini Office Development before opening as the largest PP facility in the United States. PP of Kansas and Mid-Missouri is facing a 107-count criminal complaint relating to the manufacturing or forging of documents and the abortion of post-viable children. The California affiliates are facing a suit filed by a former PP vice president exposing $180 million in fraud. The national PP organization closed two South Florida PP affiliates itself after reports from employees regarding improper accounting of funds.


For Rome it is Very Clear - Pro-Abortion Politicians 'Must' be Denied Communion

Some Catholic Bishops in North America seem to be on a different page from the Vatican when it comes to reception of Communion for Catholic politicians who support abortion. Since the controversy came to a head in the 2004 US federal election, most Catholic bishops in the US have either remained silent on the issue, or have made softer statements than the authoritative word from Rome: a word that has been re-affirmed many times and continues to be reasserted regularly. Most recently, Francis Cardinal Arinze, speaking at a Catholic family conference in Ohio last November, referred to a letter on the subject sent by then-Cardinal Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, who said that such politicians "must" be "refused" Communion.

Video footage, posted recently by the conference organisers and made available on YouTube, shows Cardinal Arinze, the head of Vatican office of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, replying to the question of pro-abortion politicians and the inaction of their bishops. He said "You may have heard about the letter which the present Holy Father, as prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, sent to American bishops on that issue, so the matter is very clear." He told those in attendance that the question is not one of Church teaching, but of the immutable divine law of God. "It isn't just that they [the politicians in question] have gone against church teaching, but they have gone against divine law; thou shalt not kill."

But since the insistence of Rome has failed to induce positive action from most bishops in the North American hierarchy and abroad, reporters continue to ask the same questions. Romans in the know, however, repeat that the Pope's letter on the matter has solved the issue. LifeSiteNews.com spoke last month about the issue with Msgr. Andrew R. Baker a professor at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum) in Rome, one of Rome's major historic institutions. Professor Baker told LifeSiteNews.com, "Certainly you'd have to apply that famous canon of 915 that says one who persists in manifest grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion." "And I think the possibility of looking at the moral principles outlined in the letter attributed to Cardinal Ratzinger that came a number of years ago - those are good moral principles to apply that canon 915."

Professor Baker's opinion is a repetition of that given in Ohio by Cardinal Arinze, who told conferees that he agrees action ought to be taken against bishops who refuse to enforce Canon 915. Arinze elicited much laughter and applause when he made the analogy, "To the person who says, 'Personally I'm against abortion, but if people what to do it, I'll leave them free', you could say, 'You are a member of the senate or the congress, personally I'm not in favour of shooting the whole lot of you, but if somebody else wants to shoot all of you in the Senate, or all of you in Congress, it's just pro-choice for that person, but personally, I'm not in favour.'

"That is what he is saying. He's saying he's personally not in favour of killing these millions of children in the womb, but if others want to do it, that's pro-choice. That's what he is saying. "And then you ask, what does the Holy See do? Why doesn't the Pope send 12 Swiss Guards to arrest them all?" Arinze said that he is regularly asked if a person who votes for abortion can receive Holy Communion. He replies, "Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?

"Get the children for first Communion and say to them, 'Somebody votes for the killing of unborn babies, and says, I voted for that, I will vote for that every time.' And these babies are killed not one or two, but in millions, and that person says, 'I'm a practising Catholic', should that person receive Communion next Sunday? The children will answer that at the drop of a hat. You don't need a cardinal to answer that."


FCC puts muzzle on TV profanity

It is easy these days to look at TV programming and feel the urge to clean house. Crime shows lay out the most grisly of acts committed by real or imaginary violent criminals. Reality shows peer into the most embarrassingly personal details (again, real or imaginary) of the lives of would-be or former celebrities. But when the government decides it should do the cleaning in the name of public decency, everyone should be concerned about where we are headed as a nation.

This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the case of the Federal Communications Commission vs. Fox Television Stations, in which the agency fined Fox over "fleeting" use of profanities on live awards shows aired in 2002 and 2003. Fox, with support from ABC, CBS and NBC, sued the commission, saying that it went against its own policy about one-time utterances by imposing the fines. A lower court sided with Fox, prompting the FCC and the Bush administration to appeal to the high court. For the record, the profanities were variations on the "f-word" and "s...," uttered by Bono, Nicole Richie and Cher, words this newspaper chooses not to spell out - the operative word for purposes of this editorial being "chooses."

This would be the first case on broadcast decency to go before the Supreme Court in 30 years, and it may be that the justices agreed to hear the case because the appeals court suggested the FCC's policy violates the First Amendment to the Constitution. In our opinion the policy is, indeed, unconstitutional. The guarantees of free speech in the First Amendment are broad, and the only clear exceptions as determined by the Supreme Court over the years have been speech that libels or defames a private individual, or speech that risks public safety. So when government opts to decide what words may or may not be spoken, it treads on rights intended by our nation's founders.

Certainly, that is not to say that the words in this case constitute great family entertainment. But when it comes to speech and the marketplace of ideas, it is those in the marketplace itself - the broadcast networks and the viewers - who should be allowed to police themselves. The networks all have departments of standards and practices to patrol the content of their programming. In the past few years, they have all adopted video and audio delay of several seconds for live broadcasts to black out or bleep out offensive material. And they have the very critical influence of commercial sponsors, most of whom do not want to alienate any group of viewers.

On the viewing side, there is an array of controls available for parents to monitor and block shows from their children, and adults who may be offended can choose for themselves what to watch.

What does the FCC vs. Fox case mean in practical terms? Fox wants to be able to continue to air live programs without fear of fines, which can run as high as $325,000 per incident. If the court finds against the networks, some of their executives have suggested they would cease live broadcasts. Shows such as the Academy Awards and Grammys would be edited and aired sometime after the event. That might not be such a big loss, in the minds of many viewers. The point is to keep speech free. Once the government can decide what is obscene, they can easily move on to what is "dangerous" speech because it disagrees with the politics of the current administration. The other word for it is censorship, and that is a dirty word, indeed.


A 12-Step Program For Recovering Liberals

by Burt Prelutsky

Most 12-step programs start out by requiring that people have to understand that they're powerless over their addiction and that only by turning their lives over to a Power greater than themselves can they be restored to sanity. Far be it from me to suggest that I am that Power, but clearly someone has to step in and try to rescue these poor liberal souls. Even the most harebrained among them deserves that much.

First, though, they have to acknowledge that Ted Kennedy, Nancy Pelosi, John Murtha, Dick Durbin, Charles Rangel, Harry Reid and Charles Schumer, are not moderates, but, rather, leftists with a Socialist agenda. Furthermore, they must recognize that the New York Times, the Washington Post, the L.A. Times, CNN, the three major networks, the news magazines and the New Yorker, are not objective in their reporting of political events, and neither are Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann and Bill Maher, in their commentary. If these entities and individuals are not on the payroll of the DNC, they certainly should be. They certainly put in longer hours than Howard Dean.

Step #1: It is high time that every American be guaranteed the right to speak freely. It is not reserved solely for left-wing college students who wish to take advantage of the first amendment to shout down conservatives. At the same time, they must not construe the conservative's right to dismiss them as arrogant idiots as censorship.

Step #2: Affirmative action argues that African Americans and Latinos are intellectually inferior and are unable to compete academically unless other students are handicapped because of their race. Interestingly enough, when blacks and Hispanic students are given these unfair advantages, it's rarely at any cost to white students, whose rate of college admissions remains constant; instead, it's nearly always another minority group, Asians, who pay the price. This is what left-wingers refer to as leveling the playing field.

Step #3: Liberals always claim to be in favor of higher taxes, agreeing with Bill Clinton that the government invariably spends money more wisely than those who actually earn it. However, such prominent proponents of higher taxes as George Soros, Ted Kennedy and Mr. and Mrs. John Kerry, protect their own otherwise taxable income through trusts and offshore accounts. Obviously, any American who believes higher taxes are a good thing can do the honorable thing by spurning all deductions and paying Uncle Sam everything up to 100% of his income.

Step #4: Even the most secular of liberals seems to believe that Jimmy Carter is a saint. The evidence for this seems to be that he has on occasion posed with a hammer in his hand at Habitant for Humanity building sites and is constantly walking around with a expression on his face that suggests he has just forgiven Pontius Pilate for betraying him. This is the same fellow, let us never forget, who called Yasser Arafat his good friend and who has accepted untold millions of dollars from Arab cut-throats, who ask nothing in return except that he go on insisting that there would be peace in the Middle East if only those darn Israelis would disappear from the face of the earth.

Step #5: Stop insisting that all wars are bad. It only makes you sound daft. Carrying signs that equate a U.S. president, any U.S. president, with Adolph Hitler is not only rude, but suggests you're certifiably nuts. Every president has left office right on schedule. Aside from FDR, who just happened to get elected four times, not one of them has remained in office beyond eight years. On the other hand, Hitler ran Germany for 12 years and only death and the allied forces brought that to an end; Stalin ran the Soviet show for 31 years; while that hero of the left, Fidel Castro, held the reins, not to mention the whip, for about 50 years.

Step #6: Repeat after me, "Separation of church and state" exists nowhere in the Constitution. The first amendment does not require the removal of Christmas trees from the village green, the 10 Commandments from court house walls or "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. All it does is forbid Congress from establishing a state religion, such as the Church of England, and anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar and, most likely, a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

Step #7: Stop using the word "big" as a pejorative. There is nothing intrinsically bad about big oil, big agriculture or big pharmaceuticals. Overall, they do a very good job of keeping our cars on the road, food on our tables and most of us over 50 alive and functioning. On the other hand, big government, which so many liberals simply adore, represents a usurpation of the allegedly inalienable rights of individuals. A quick perusal of the Constitution should convince you that beyond declaring war, forging treaties, overseeing patents, printing money, running the post office, collecting taxes and protecting our borders -- and a few other things that Washington doesn't do at all well these days -- the federal government has very limited responsibilities.

Step #8: Acknowledge that the United Nations is, in the main, an aggregation of venal diplomats who live high off the hog in New York City while representing the most corrupt and vicious regimes in the history of the world. Only a fool or a diplomat would continue to suggest that this gang of well-dressed thugs possesses anything resembling moral authority.

Step #9: Do not keep insisting that at a time when nearly all the large scale evil in the world is being perpetrated by Muslims that racial profiling is anything but a sensible approach to airport security. During WWII, Swedish Americans were not suspected of performing espionage for the Axis powers and for a very good reason; namely, because they weren't performing espionage for the Axis powers. These days, their Swedish American children and grandchildren are not suspected of trying to blow up airlines, but the smarmy bureaucrats insist on pretending that they're every bit as likely to be up to mischief as a bunch of 25-year-old Osama bin Laden look-alikes from Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

Step #10: Stop trying to pretend that illegal aliens are the same as legal immigrants just so you can claim the moral high ground and accuse those of us who are opposed to open borders of being racists.

Step #11: Once and for all, stop forgiving murderers. Whether or not you're in favor of capital punishment, only the victim of a crime has the right to grant forgiveness. And inasmuch as the killer has deprived his victim of that ability, don't take it upon yourself. It doesn't prove how compassionate you are, only that you're as sanctimonious and as self-aggrandizing as, say, Jimmy Carter.

Step #12: Stop bashing the U.S. military and the Boy Scouts. The only reason you have the ability to shoot your mouth off is because men and women braver and better than you sacrificed life and limb for your right to do so. As for the Boy Scouts, they are absolutely right to keep homosexuals from taking youngsters on camping trips. While it's true that many gays are perfectly fine people and that very few homosexuals are pedophiles, there's no reason on earth to take unnecessary risks just so we can all prove how broadminded we are. For what it's worth, as decent as most Catholic priests are, I wouldn't let them take youngsters into the woods, either. It's fine to be compassionate and understanding, but let the gays among us be understanding for a change and acknowledge that, every so often, commonsense should trump political correctness.

And, finally, making this a baker's dozen, Step #13: Let us all agree that while being a woman, a black, a Jew, a Catholic, a Mormon or even a gay, for that matter, should in no way preclude anyone from being elected president of the United States, none of those things constitutes a very good reason to vote for someone.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Children Told they are Dogs during Mosque Visit

A primary school in Amsterdam wished to provide its pupils with an understanding for other cultures. But during a visit to a mosque, the children were told they were dogs.

With a view to developing understanding and respect for other cultures among children, primary school De Horizon regularly organises outings to various religious organisations. The chairman of the El Mouchidine mosque told the children from group 7 (aged 10) and their chaperones however that non-Muslims are dogs.

In a letter to the children's parents, the school expresses its regret at the incident: "We are shocked that during the guided tour, the mosque's chairman told the children and chaperoning parents that non believers were dogs. We consider this statement as unacceptable since we allow our children to partake in this project to develop respect for freedom of religious choice".

In the meantime, the school's management has addressed the mosque on the undesirable behaviour of the chairman. Both parties will say nothing further on the matter. "We will resolve the matter amongst ourselves and I have no inclination whatsoever to discuss the matter with the media", as newspaper De Telegraaf quoted the school's spokesperson Mariet ten Berge. "We have been to the mosque before and it always went well".

Angry parents had sent the letter on to De Telegraaf but were reportedly rapped on the knuckles by the school's management. "The school wishes to play this down. That is precisely the problem", as one mother commented.


Misleading the Supreme Court on affirmative racism

Some means are by no means necessary. That's what Federal District Court Judge David Lawson decided last month about the efforts of a Michigan advocacy group that calls itself the "Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for EqualityEqual-Pay-No-Way by Any Means Necessary" or, more simply, "BAMN."

In a sweeping opinion, Lawson rejected every one of the legal arguments that BAMN and other opponents were hoping to use to strike down Michigan's new amendment barring the use of racial preferences. Lawson's decision takes the steam out of the multiple legal challenges that have dogged the new amendment almost from the day it passed in November, 2006....

Lawson's about-face was no accident. Pre-trial discovery was turning up evidence that the extensive use of racial preferences at Michigan universities was directly causing racial disparities in grades, majors, graduation and professional examination results. Far from helping the case for racial preferences, pre-trial discovery was undermining it.

The new evidence was the result of efforts of UCLA Law Professor Richard Sander. Sander had donated his services as an expert to Eric Russell, one of the parties in the case represented by my firm, the Center for Individual Rights. Last fall, Sander had submitted his preliminary findings to the court, including the revelation that minority students at the UM Law School failed the bar at more than eight times the rate of white students during the years 2004, 2005 and 2006.

According to Sander, this data contradicted sworn testimony by UM experts during the trial in Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court case challenging the use of race-based admissions at the UM law school. When called as an expert witness in that case, then UM Professor Richard Lempert testified that...

The evidence Sander was beginning to develop seemed to undermine the well-financed effort by the UM to reassure the Supreme Court that the racial preferences employed by the UM law school were a comparatively modest effort that produced benefits for the law school and for minority law students. Sander's analysis suggested just the opposite: the preferences were extreme and directly harmed the academic prospects of minority students. If Sander's analysis held for other years, it would have undermined both the UM's expert testimony and the Supreme Court rulings based on that testimony.....

There is much more and it is not pretty for the affirmative racism lobby. The harm these preferences were doing to minority students was as great as it was to non minority students who were excluded because of the preferences. The bar association should undertake an investigation of the evidence that was produced for the Supreme Court to determine whether a fraud has been perpetrated on the Court.


Photographers Denied the Freedom To Choose What They Photograph

Post below recycled from The Volokhs. See the original for links

Elaine Huguenin co-owns Elane Photography with her husband. The bulk of Elane's work is done by Elaine, though she subcontracts some of the work some of the time. Elane refused to photograph Vanessa Willock's same-sex commitment ceremonies, and just today the New Mexico Human Rights Commission held that this violated state antidiscrimination law. Elane has been ordered to pay over $6600 in attorney's fees and costs.

I haven't seen any written statement of reasons, but the order must implicitly rest on two interpretations of state law: (1) This sort of photography company constitutes a "public accommodation," defined by state law "any establishment that provides or offers its services, facilities, accommodations or goods to the public, but does not include a bona fide private club or other place or establishment that is by its nature and use distinctly private." (2) A refusal to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony constitutes sexual orientation discrimination, which New Mexico law forbids. These may or may not be sensible interpretations of the statutory text. But the result seems to me to likely violate the First Amendment (though there's no precedent precisely on point).

Photography is an art, and Huguenin is an artist. It may not be high art, but it embodies a wide range of artistic choices (especially since she says she takes a "photojournalist" approach, rather than just doing normal staged photos). And though she sells the art to its subjects, that is of course part of a long and continuing tradition in the arts, including painting and sculpture, as well as photography. Certainly many of the works protected by the First Amendment (books, newspapers, movies, and the like) were created for money and distributed for money.

Yet the New Mexico government is now telling Huguenin that she must create art works that she does not choose to create. There's no First Amendment case squarely on point, but this does seem pretty close to the cases in which the Court held that the government may not compel people to express views that they do not endorse (the flag salute case, West Va. Bd. of Ed. v. Barnette, and the license plate slogan case, Wooley v. Maynard).

For whatever it's worth, Huguenin also says she exercises political judgment in deciding what to photograph (for instance, she reports that she refuses to make photographs that put horror films in a positive light, or to take photographs that positively portray abortion, pornography, or nudity, as well as same-sex marriage). I don't think that sort of political selectivity should be required for photographers to be protected as artists, but it seems to me to highlight the scope of the artist's judgment, and the artist's constitutional right to exercise such judgment (just as a bookstore has the right to choose which books to stock).

Consider also a hypothetical analogy: Say that instead of Willock's trying to hire a photographer, Willock was trying to hire a solo freelance writer (or a writer in a two-person freelancing partnership) to write materials for Willock's (hypothetical) same-sex marriage planning company. The writer refused on the grounds that she didn't want to promote such a company.

I take it the law would cover the writer as much as it would cover the photographer (why wouldn't it?). Yet wouldn't requiring writers -- even writers of press releases and Web sites -- to write words that express views they reject violate the First Amendment? And if not, what's the difference between that and requiring photographers to take photographs that implicitly but strongly express views they reject? (Wedding photographs, of course, express views celebrating the event being photographed.)

Does the ACLU Believe in the Separation of Mosque and State?

Post below recycled from STACLU .

The ACLU says they are actually looking into this I'm absolutely shocked they would even make a statement like this. I'll be even more shocked if they actually file suit on this. They usually only apply separation of church and state issues to Christianity.
TIZA has many characteristics that suggest a religious school. It shares the headquarters building of the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, whose mission is "establishing Islam in Minnesota." The building also houses a mosque. TIZA's executive director, Asad Zaman, is a Muslim imam, or religious leader, and its sponsor is an organization called Islamic Relief.

Students pray daily, the cafeteria serves halal food - permissible under Islamic law - and "Islamic Studies" is offered at the end of the school day.
Just subsitute everywhere it says Muslim with Christian, and mosque with chapel and you should realize exactly how quick the ACLU and like groups would be jumping up and down with lawsuits.
The department is set up to operate on a "complaint basis," and "since 2004, we haven't gotten a single complaint about TIZA," Brown said. In 2004, he sent two letters to the school inquiring about religious activity reported by visiting department staffers and in a news article. Brown was satisfied with Zaman's assurance that prayer is "voluntary" and "student-led," he said. The department did not attempt to confirm this independently, and did not ask how 5- to 11-year-olds could be initiating prayer. (At the time, TIZA was a K-5 school.)
TIZA's operation as a public, taxpayer-funded school is troubling on several fronts. TIZA is skirting the law by operating what is essentially an Islamic school at taxpayer expense. The Department of Education has failed to provide the oversight necessary to catch these illegalities, and appears to lack the tools to do so. In addition, there's a double standard at work here - if TIZA were a Christian school, it would likely be gone in a heartbeat.
An Ol' Broad reads my mind:
Oh, you betcha! There would be groups like the ACLU and Freedom From Religion all up in arms, threatening expensive lawsuits in order to shut down anything that vaguely resembles Christian doctrine.

I'm all for the 1st Amendment. If one taxpayer funded school is going to focus on Islam, then other taxpayer funded schools should be able to teach Christianity and Bible based lessons, or the Torah, or any number of the various religions which are dominant in this country. All, or none!

Silent E says:
The ACLU is looking into it??? What a laugh. It's not a Christian school so it will be overlooked.
Also see Michelle Malkin


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.


Comments | Trackback

Friday, April 11, 2008

Muslim sex offenders to be let off therapy?

Muslims convicted of sex offences could opt out of treatment programmes intended to stop them offending because open discussion of their crimes is against their religion. Ahtsham Ali, the prison service's Muslim adviser, said that there was a "legitimate Islamic position" that criminals should not discuss their crimes with others. The move could result in Muslim sex offenders being able to avoid sex offender treatment programmes run by the prison service, which involve group discussion of crimes.

Mr Ali is now planning to hold discussions with officials in the Ministry of Justice over the issue. He told Inside Time, the prisoners' newspaper: "I will be taking it forward as a matter of some urgency with colleagues, including those with policy responsibility for the sex offender treatment programme, who are very willing to discuss these issues."

The possibility of an exemption for Muslims came to light after a prisoner wrote to the newspaper asking for clarification of the position of Muslims on the programme. He wrote: "I have always insisted that it was against Islamic teachings to discuss your offence [with] anyone, let alone act it out within a peer group."

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: "We are seeking to ensure that the policy for the sex offender treatment programme is sensitive to the diversity of religions within the prison context." However Mark Leech, editor of the Prisons Handbook, said that a change could lead to Muslims spending longer in prison because their risk of reoffending could not be assessed. [Good one!]


Boring buildings, courtesy of your neighborhood elitists

Have you ever wondered what ever happened to the creative, interesting architecture of yore? To my taste, so many modern buildings are glass and steel boxes -- works of engineering, without any aesthetic value to speak of. Well, this hardly constitutes a definitive study, but a New York magazine article on an unlikely sounding condo/hotel project in New York City's SoHo by Donald Trump, the comb-over king himself, and his partners offers a peek into the motivations behind dull construction.
There would be no architecturally forward design: It would be a simple, approval-friendly box, the way Trump likes it. "In New York," he says, "I can build a box as-of-right [within existing regulations]. Or I can get a creative design, go through ten years of community boards, and still get refused 32 to zero. Given that choice, I'll build a box."
Huh ... So you can put up boring buildings without a hassle, but creativity requires special permission and delay? I think I see a problem here. And just who are the local activists behind all this delay? Who are these civic-minded folks who the Donald Trumps of the world want to dodge through boxy designs that bypass review?
Once he grasped the scope of the project, no one was more outraged by the news than Sean Sweeney, the director of the Soho Alliance. Sweeney's group arguably created Soho as we know it, by pushing for "artist zoning" in the seventies and coining the very name "Soho" at its inaugural meeting. A slight and excitable man in wire-frame glasses, Sweeney occupies a Greene Street penthouse crammed with custom contemporary furniture and leads a life seemingly devoted to squashing out-of-context construction. "In 1990," he says, pointing out the window and across West Broadway, "they wanted to build a hotel there. I said, `Hey, you'll ruin my view!' We fought, and it stayed an empty lot for twelve years." The building that finally did go up is a modest-size condo, with a politely recessed top story. Trump Soho stands a few blocks beyond, splitting the sky in two.

Sweeney rallied other downtown groups, got the zoning-committee chairman at Community Board 2 to pledge support to the cause, and launched an aggressive campaign against the invader. He likes to frame his opposition to Trump Soho in vintage class-warfare terms. "We didn't fall off the pumpkin truck. He moved into the wrong neighborhood. We're a phoenix, and Trump is a vulture," he told me. Sometimes, though, his civic outrage crosses over into a more particular anti-Trump animus. Never mind that a number of other large-scale projects are already under way or being planned nearby. (The "manufacturing" designation, which allows hotels but not condos, has done precisely the opposite of what it was supposed to do. Within blocks, five hotels are being built right now, and six more are being talked about.) Sweeney seems more intensely alarmed by the brand, and the people it attracts, than anything else. "We don't want airline hostesses here," he says, "or people coming from Europe or Asia for a couple of weeks. Who was the first buyer in that building-a Croatian-Swedish soccer player? Trump represents everything we hate. Bad taste. D‚class‚. He's uptown, we're downtown, and never the two shall meet."
Wow. It takes a special kind of person to make Donald Trump seem like a sympathetic character. But Sweeney sounds like he's prick enough for the job. Under the circumstances, I'd build a boring box too.


Life experiences bring former Feminist back to the Church

The young Lorraine V. Murray had not been prepared for the "onslaught of atheism" awaiting her in the world of secular academia when she left her sheltered Catholic home. The author and columnist told Carl E. Olson of Ignatius Insight, the website of Ignatius publishing, that the "one thing" that might have prevented her losing her faith was proper preparation in Christian apologetics, a work of the Church largely abandoned after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960's. "When I went away to college, the dragon of nihilism pounced on me," she said. "No one had prepared me for the onslaught of atheism that awaited me at the University of Florida." Her influences in her college philosophy classes were 20th century atheists like Jean-Paul Sartre and the feminist writer Simone de Beauvoir.

"One thing might have helped me," she said, "some knowledge of the arguments against theism and Christianity, and ways to counteract them." Murray is the author of "Grace Notes: Embracing the Joy of Christ in a Broken World", "Why Me? Why Now?: Finding Hope When You Have Breast Cancer", and "How Shall We Celebrate?". Her essays on Christian themes appear in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Georgia Bulletin, and The National Catholic Register.

Murray was interviewed to promote her new book, "Confessions of An Ex-Feminist", which is about her explorations in faith and return to the Catholic fold. Murray, born in 1947, is among many of her generation who was seduced away from Catholicism in university in the 1960s, the time when secularist anti-Christian philosophies were first becoming de rigueur in academia.

She describes herself as having been "a radical feminist, championing the belief that there was no such thing as innate masculine and feminine natures". It is not widely understood by Christians that feminism has moved far away from its origins in the movement simply to grant women the right to vote. Murray describes her radical feminism, also called "gender feminism", as the idea "that social conditioning produced the obvious differences between male and female behavior. Thus, to equal the playing field between men and women, one had to tweak the conditioning of children."

From their origins in the radical feminism described by Murray, gender feminist theories have become the foundation of the homosexualist political movement and philosophies. "The feminist agenda" she said, "emphasized that conflict, unhappiness and misery were part of every woman's journey, and then placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of men."

She says that "free sex" is essential to the feminist philosophies. "Radical feminists generally disparage marriage and family," she said, "seeing them as restricting women's freedom, so sex without commitment is somehow a positive thing," a belief she describes as "poisonous".

Gender feminism, she says, has become entrenched in academia and "women's issues" are "synonymous with a rigid creed" extolling lesbianism, transgenderism and paganism and in which abortion is essential to freedom. When Catholics and other Christians "point out the blinding light of the obvious," that abortion destroys a human life, radical feminists "see traditional religion as some monstrous conspiracy to keep women unhappy".

After gaining a doctorate in feminist philosophy, Murray taught philosophy in college, in which capacity she carried out a "personal vendetta against God and the Catholic Church... and touted feminism as the cure for many social ills." But her first idea that feminist theories were wrong came after an abortion, which she describes as a "shattering" experience.

Her journey back to the Faith, she said, began when she came to an abrupt realization. "I realized I had never prayed for the repose of my parents' souls, although they had been dead many years," she said. After that, she says she experienced a "mysterious sense of someone reaching into my life and tugging at me." She re-entered the Catholic Church as a "cafeteria" Catholic, retaining much of her feminist ideas, including the support for abortion. After suffering breast cancer and fearing she would die, she says her life transformed. She found a spiritual director, a priest, who carefully explained the rationale behind the Catholic doctrines she found problematic.

Murray was influenced by the Catholic American author Flannery O'Connor whose letters defended Catholicism from the fashionable nihilism of the 1950's and 60's. She describes her final return to the fullness of the Catholic Faith in connection with finding spiritual healing and forgiveness for her abortion.


Christians have a win for once: Insulting works removed from atheist's exhibition in Vienna Cathedral Museum

If it's OK for Muslims, it should be OK for Christians too

Outrage from viewers and readers of online coverage, including that of LifeSiteNews.com, has prompted Vienna's Dommuseum, the art gallery attached to St. Stephen's Catholic cathedral, to remove some of the works in a blasphemous exhibit of paintings and sculptures. One of the worst paintings in the exhibit depicts Christ and his Apostles as homosexuals engaged in an orgy. The Gloria TV website carried a short film of the exhibition and Catholics around the world responded condemning the depiction of Christ as an active homosexual.

The artist, Alfred Hrdlicka, a Marxist and self-proclaimed atheist, had titled the exhibition of his work "Religion, Flesh and Power," and said that he was pleased it was being displayed in the Catholic museum. He told Reuters, however, that he had been surprised that the museum had agreed. "For me it was quite surprising the museum wanted to show the piece in the first place," he said. "If the Cathedral Museum is having problems now, it's not really my affair, it's for the Cathedral Museum to deal with."

The museum's curator, Bernhard Boehler, replied to the complaints saying, "I don't see any blasphemy here. People can imagine what they want to." He referred to a depiction of the flagellation of Christ that showed a Roman soldier holding the Lord's genitals. Boehler told Reuter's news service that the work that drew the most complaints was the painting of the Last Supper that depicted Christ and his Apostles in a homosexual orgy. The museum said many of the complaints came from overseas where people had read about the exhibition online. Boehler added, "We look for art on biblical themes, but we can't always choose how the artist will interpret them."

But many have asked how the exhibition could have been accepted in the first place, given the reputation for orthodoxy of the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schoenborn. US conservative columnist Rod Dreher wrote on his widely read religion blog, "I wouldn't have guessed that, given his reputation, a man like Schoenborn [sic] would have stood for this abomination for half a second." "I take it that Vienna's Cardinal Archbishop Christoph Schoenborn must be deceased or imprisoned, because I can't imagine that an actual bishop would allow a desecration like this in a church museum, much less the one belonging to his cathedral (and next to his residence)," Dreher wrote.

A statement from the Cardinal's office said that the removal of the works "has nothing to do with censorship, rather corresponds with the understood 'reverence for the sacred'". The Cardinal's spokesman made no statement condemning the works, saying merely, "It is also an act of respect towards those believers who feel this portrayal offended and provoked them in their deepest religious sensitivity."

The verbal complaints from Catholics around the world were compared by Boehler and Hrdlicka to the riots, bombings and killings that followed the publication of the Danish newspaper cartoons of Mohammed. Dreher continued, "I'm glad that we don't have to worry about Catholic mobs worldwide burning down Austrian embassies and attacking screenings of 'The Sound of Music' to protest this blasphemy. But quietism from church authorities in the face of something like this - and not only quietism, but tacit endorsement, given the venue! - sends a powerful message of how deep the rot has gone."



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.


Comments | Trackback

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The New Liberal Taboo

What a spectacle. It is now respectable for Democrats to assert, even to welcome, military defeat (see here). But if a Presidential campaign functionary so much as hints at support for free trade, he's banished to policy exile.

That's the meaning of Sunday's sacking of strategist Mark Penn from Hillary Clinton's campaign. In his noncampaign job with a PR firm, Mr. Penn had met with Colombia's ambassador to the U.S. to discuss the free trade agreement that President Bush sent to Congress yesterday. When word of that meeting leaked to a Wall Street Journal reporter last week, big labor went bonkers and Mrs. Clinton gave him the heave-ho despite more than a decade of loyal service. Maybe if Mr. Penn had called General David Petraeus a con man, he'd still have a job.

Mr. Penn's dismissal follows the previous humiliation of Barack Obama's economics adviser, Austan Goolsbee, for telling Canadian diplomats that Mr. Obama's anti-Nafta talk was merely campaign jive. Mr. Goolsbee has since all but entered the witness protection program. The grownups in both campaigns realize that free trade is good for the country, yet they must take a vow of public silence.

As recently as the 1990s, Bill Clinton's support for free trade was seen as a sign of his economic centrism and that he understood global competitive realities. In the 2008 campaign, free trade has become the primary Democratic taboo.



By Jeff Jacoby

The unfettered "right to choose" is a progressive value, we are instructed by the abortion lobby -- one indispensable to the empowerment of women. But a new study in PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) prompts an awkward question: How exactly are American women empowered when abortion is deployed to prevent the existence of American girls?

Population experts have documented for years the use of abortion for sex selection in regions of the world where sons are more highly prized than daughters. The problem is particularly acute in Asia, and especially in China and India, the world's two largest countries. The natural sex ratio at birth is slightly male-biased at roughly 1.05-to-1, meaning that about 105 boys are born for every 100 girls. But in China the current ratio at birth is about 120 boys per 100 girls -- and in more prosperous parts of the country, such as Guangdong and Hainan, the imbalance has reached an even more lopsided 135-to-100.

In India, census data from 2001 show that among children younger than 6, there are just 927 girls per 1,000 boys. There too, the greater the prosperity, the greater the discrepancy: In the high-income state of Punjab, notes Joseph D'Agostino of the Population Research Institute, there are only 793 girls for every 1,000 boys. He cites a report by UNICEF, which calculates that "7,000 fewer girls are now born in India each day than nature would dictate, and 10 million have been killed during pregnancy or just after in the past 20 years." In 2006, the Boston Globe reported on the growing "girl deficit" in India; researchers, it said, estimate that 500,000 unborn females are aborted in the country each year.

There is nothing new about the high cultural premium placed on sons in developing countries. What is relatively new is easy access to cheap ultrasound scans for determining the sex of an unborn child, and the availability of inexpensive abortions for parents who don't want a baby of the "wrong" sex.

Consider Vietnam, where a decade ago the sex ratio of newborns was a normal 1.04-to-1. Today, with the rise of ultrasound and abortion clinics, the number of newborn males has surged ahead of females. "Vietnamese women who find they are carrying an unwanted female baby often head immediately to an abortion clinic," the Straits Times of Singapore reported last fall. "A walk-in abortion at a state hospital can be performed for $10, and at private clinics for about $20." The story went noted that there are now as many abortions in Vietnam each year (1.35 million) as live births, and that "the number of aborted female fetuses greatly exceeds the number of aborted male ones."

Most Americans rightly regard sex-selective abortions as odious; in a 2006 Zogby poll, an overwhelming 86 percent of Americans agreed that such abortions should be illegal. But they're not illegal -- and as economists Douglas Almond and Lena Edlund indicate in the latest issue of PNAS, they are now occurring in the United States, too.

Almond and Edlund examined the ratio of boys to girls among US children born to Chinese, Korean, and Indian parents. For the first children of these Asian-American families, the sex ratio was the normal 1.05-to-1. But when the first baby is a girl, the odds of the second being a boy rose to 1.17-to-1. After two sisters, the likelihood of the third being a son leaped to 1.51-to-1. This is clear "evidence of sex selection, most likely at the prenatal stage," the authors write. Prenatal sex tests for pregnant women are now available earlier, more cheaply, and more conveniently than ever, "raising the prospect of sex selection becoming more widely practiced in the near future."

The destruction of unwanted daughters is appalling everywhere, but at least in places like India and China parents may have rational reasons for preferring a son. In China, for example, daughters routinely join their husbands' families and parents rely on sons to take care of them as they age. In India, families are often expected to pay crushing dowries when their daughters marry. Facing intense government pressure to have no more than one or two children, many parents resort to sex-selective abortion (or infanticide).

But nothing can excuse such abortions in the United States -- nothing except the unwavering theology of "choice," which elevates the right to an abortion above all other considerations. You don't have to be a feminist, after all, to know that being a girl is not a birth defect, or to be horrified by a practice that lethally reinforces the most benighted forms of sexism and sexual discrimination. For what kind of feminist would it be who could contemplate the use of abortion to eliminate ever-greater numbers of girls, and not cry out in horror?


Australia: Boys in blue say ditch 'small, scared' girls

A bit of realism about the dickless Tracys is long overdue

The feminising of Victoria's police force has been listed as one of its three biggest problems in a survey of serving officers. The survey - done by the Herald Sun - found two in three officers had considered leaving the force in the past year. Many respondents lashed out at the number of women in the force. "Get more males into the academy, not more females," one officer said.

More women than men graduated from the police academy last year, the first time the boys in blue had ever been outnumbered by female recruits. The percentage of women in the force has jumped from 15 per cent to almost 23 per cent in the seven years since Christine Nixon became Victoria's first female chief. That's still below the national average of 31 per cent. Victoria Police has said it intends continuing to encourage female recruits so it can reach that figure.

But frontline police are not happy with the strategy. "There are too many females who put male members at risk out on the street," one said. "I have been injured three times in the past 12 months fighting drunken idiots and getting no backup from my female partner, who is too small or too scared to help."

Another said there were too many promotions of women based on gender rather than ability. "We have this emphasis on promoting females through non-operational positions and putting them in operational supervisory positions with minimal operational experience," the officer said.

Many police also regretted there was no longer a minimum height requirement for recruits, and that the force had scrapped some aspects of the physical training to make it easier for women to pass. "They have dropped relevant components to allow below-standard persons in," one officer said. "I'm tired of carrying the workload of incompetent people. Also, bring back the physical component. Even as a female, I'm embarrassed."

A force spokeswoman defended recruiting women and their performance. She said only one other state had a lower percentage of female officers, and an Auditor-General's report in 2006 recommended attracting and retaining women should be a priority. She said of 20 police service areas with 25 per cent or higher female representation, 14 were in the top-performing half of all police service areas. On average, 77 women (0.6 per cent of the force) were on maternity leave each financial year. Men averaged more carer and personal leave.


Profoundly thuggish Polynesians

Polynesians (Maoris and Pacific islanders) have a high rate of criminality in Australia but that is normally kept from public consciousness by the customary media reluctance to make ethnic identifications. The group below seem mostly to be of Tongan origin. More background on them here. Anybody who knows Maoris well from personal experience (as I do) will be aware of their different ethical system. The whole idea of personal private property seems to be alien to most of them. If something is accessible to them they usually seem to think that they are entitled to have it

They were arrested at gunpoint but that was not enough to put fear into five teenage boys who allegedly rampaged through a school armed with baseball bats, machetes and samurai swords. The boys, aged 14 to 16, treated their arrest as a joke and even plotted further crimes while in police custody, a court was told yesterday. The allegations were made in documents tendered in Parramatta Children's Court outlining why the teenagers were refused police bail over an attack at Merrylands High School on Monday morning.

The teenagers refused to appear before a magistrate yesterday and were formally refused bail. They will face court again on May 22. A 14-year-old from Auburn, two 15-year-olds from Carramar and Merrylands, and two 16-year-olds from Merrylands and Seven Hills, face a total of 101 charges, including assault, affray, causing malicious damage of property worth more than $15,000, and participating in a criminal group. The teenagers allegedly stormed the school while an assembly was being held at 8.50am, forcing the school into lockdown before smashing their way into classrooms and assaulting students and teachers.

In the case of four of the boys - bail documents regarding a fifth were missing - police alleged each offender had treated police with contempt. "The young person has shown no remorse," police wrote on a bail form. "While in custody he treated the matter as a joke and used his time in custody to plan further criminal enterprises."

The documents alleged the teenagers showed "contempt" towards the community and police. "The premeditated actions of the the young persons were an attack on one of the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Australians on a daily basis - to attend school in an atmosphere of safety and security. "The damage inflicted by the young persons will take years to repair." While the boys were being taken from the court complex, one of them gave a rude gesture to waiting media.

As authorities yesterday began a review of security at Merrylands High School, the State Government moved to shore up laws against school invaders. Premier Morris Iemma said he had asked Attorney-General John Hatzistergos to consider a new offence of damaging property "in company" in schools, carrying a much stiffer penalty.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Root Cause of Why Some Liberals Are Unresponsive to Logic and Debate

The purpose of this column is to understand those liberals who cannot be reasoned with, the ones who wholly dispense of facts and logic, even when they've previously demanded it, and who would most likely discount the fact that the sky is blue, were it a part of a conservative platform. Understanding the reason for this absurd, yet all too common behavior, is the only way to truly know how to effectively dialogue with them.

Conservatives have long been amazed by liberals who ask, indeed demand, of every conservative they meet to give reasons for each and every of their views, yet when faced with logical answers that astound them, either retort with some jibberish that bears no relevance to the issue being discussed, make some snide remark, or immediately seek to change the subject that they themselves so insistently started.

In these situations the conservative ends up somewhat taken aback. He or she wants to tell the liberal counterpart: "You demanded logic and I gave it to you. It's clear that you have nothing to retort, yet you continue to be adamant not only that you're right and that I'm wrong, but that I'm the closed-minded one, even though I'm the only one discussing facts." Similarly, conservatives marvel at how the same liberals who seemingly decry bigotry will utter such sordid and untrue blanket statements about "the religious right." Another baffling matter is how almost all liberals in this category start fuming whenever the word "Bush" is mentioned, yet can speak civilly and at length (if not intelligently) about Bin Laden. Their refusal to analyze scientific data while discussing "science" is also quite puzzling and we can go on and on.

Like many others, I'm tempted to say "Who cares?" and give up on speaking about these issues with those who refuse to discuss the very facts that they themselves had demanded moments earlier, yet who somehow have the boldness to say that you're the one being obstinate . Yet we must not give up. To do so is to end all dialogue, give up hope of ever getting through to them on any issue, widen the already enormous divide and allow foolishness and absence of fact to promulgate.


The reason why so many (though again, not all) liberals act this way is remarkably simple. In fact, for all those who've become so baffled by their seemingly inexplicable conduct, you may wonder how it has escaped you all these years (probably because it's so easy to get so frustrated by their conduct that noticing the reason behind it becomes a matter not worth considering). The answer is bigotry. They're prejudiced. Am I being ridiculous? Is liberalism the new bigotry? No, and yes!

Think about it. What would cause a person to naturally and seamlessly find fault in everyone of a certain creed? What would cause someone to discount all facts and logic with a defensively offered snide remark? What would cause them to harp on every bad thing one member of the creed said or did and to ignore worse actions committed by the other side? What would cause someone to parrot the most illogical arguments of one side and to accept their talking points as gospel while reflexively seeking to attack even the most logically offered analysis of the other? Finally, what would cause someone to view everyone and everything belonging to one side as good and everything having to do with the other as bad? Deep seated bigotry, that's what.

A bigot seeks any way to back up his or her illogical assertions and does so reflexively and with strong emotion. At times, their whole being may seem to be caught up in defending their illogical creed. The kind of liberalism that gives way to such a reaction is no different.

For example, when bigotry is directed against a certain race, say against red freckled green people (an example given so that only a few Berkeley professors will take offense), the bigot will adamantly point out everything bad that anyone of this race has ever done. By contrast, everyone else is good. When one of them causes trouble, or gets into it, the bigot will yell "see how bad these people are" with a weighty air of "I told you so." Other members of the race or creed in question, who've done nothing, will be viewed as suspicious at best. "He can't be as good as they say. His father was a red freckled green person, after all." All non-emerald people, by contrast, are viewed as "nice," "good" or in this case, at least less jaded. (Kind of reminds you of those liberals talking about "those terrible conservatives," doesn't it? "How good can he be? He is a Republican after all." Indeed..)

This is also the reason that such liberals harp on everything bad that a Republican or a conservative has ever done, while making excuses for similar or worse acts committed by members of their creed. This is similar to racists pointing out the wrongdoings of a one member of the race or creed that's the object of their scorn. It resembles a bigot who looks to find fault in someone they'd otherwise like or agree with but who is of the "wrong" race or creed. Wouldn't anything that person says or does become the object of scorn? Wouldn't all their deeds be seen as sinister, albeit for no apparent reason? Would the preposterousness of it all still not be enough to stop the bigot from making up the most fantastic scenarios as to why this seemingly good person who happens to be green is anything but good? Would anything stop other bigots from believing the fancy tales that would naturally be made up about our emerald colored friend?


By understanding that the root causes of the radical liberal's predictable game playing while debating facts and their irresponsiveness to same are bigotry and a strong desire to hold onto their self-destructive hedonist lifestyle, we can know how to deal with these issue.

1) Don't take it personally. Remember that their rantings are those of a bigot, and one who thinks that he or she has a lot on the line.

2) Don't become frustrated. The radical liberal isn't trying to discuss facts or to discover another viewpoint. They're just trying to convince you of their "superior" ways because as long as you don't subscribe to them, they're reminded of the doubts they have in their own philosophy.

3) Keep the dialogue going. Just as racists can see the error of their ways over time, the radical liberal can become receptive to the truth, but it takes a while. In the meantime, you'll reach those who are open to logic and to discussion.

4) When debating specific issues, challenge the reason for their refusal to accept facts with a simple statement. If prior to debating them, say as follows: "I'd love to discuss this with you. But first, please understand and bear in mind that decisions on an issue as important as (the environment, the economy, tax policy, war and peace, educational proposals etc.) must be dealt with based on facts and logic, that only unbiased and thorough analysis of facts can lead us to a right decision and to a better society. With that in mind, I am willing to explore this issue." After they then renege on their commitment (as will happen 90% of the time), or if you've already delved head on into a debate and they keep playing the tricks that radical liberals so uniformly do play, simply state:

"This issue (the economy, etc.) is too important to decide other than based on facts. I've presented mine and you don't seem to have much to counter. When you're ready to commit to deciding these important issues based on facts and reasoning, I'll be happy to reexamine this with you. Until then I just don't see the point so we may as well agree to disagree."


The Left needs black anger

What the Left has done to black people in the last fifty years is a kind of emotional abuse -- a constant, obsessional reliving of the traumatic past. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Acts, Democrat politicians, professors and preachers are still intent on rubbing salt into those old, painful wounds. It has now become institutionalized. Reliving the past is a major reason for Black Studies Departments all over the country, just as Women's Studies are designed to perpetuate an everlasting cry of pain and rage about the fate of women throughout history. Those constant rehearsals of reasons for rage and resentment do not to help people; they just exploit their pain for political gain. As a result, the Left still gets the black vote more than 90% of the time, in exchange for fuzzy promises like "hope" and "change;" or worse, for welfare programs that undermine rather than strengthen black families and individuals.

It always works on at least some people when you rile up resentments That is why there was an NAACP TV commercial exploiting a dreadful hate crime in Texas to smear George W. Bush. It is why ethnic groups in the Balkans never stop hating each other. It is how the Rwanda genocide happened among Tutsis and Hutus. Around the world, demagogues exploit old grievances because they don't want them to be solved. That is why the Palestinian mess cannot be solved; it has turned into an billion dollar boondoggle for the elites. There's always a lot of money to be made off the poverty and resentment of large groups.

People who suffer from mental trauma have a right to our humanity and compassion. But we have no moral obligation to support a campaign to constantly revisit old grievances. Such campaigns just perpetuate the old abuse. The new abusers of black people are the leaders of the racial Left. That is why Senator Obama's siren song of hope and change is just another piece of hype, not a cure. For two centuries now we've been having a "conversation about race." The most deadly war in American history was fought over race. Fifty years after the Civil Rights Acts we constantly hear that even today, nothing has changed. Senator Obama's slogan that we must have yet another "conversation about race" is historically bizarre.

It is high time to move beyond racial games. You don't do that by running a race-based candidate for president with the promise of soothing the wounds. We have heard those promises before. Even if Obama were elected, the Al Sharptons and Jeremiah Wrights will be happy to keep those old wounds bleeding. They don't score any points by telling people that we have finally solved the conflict. And they and their allies are the beneficiaries of the ineffective programs of liberalism offered in to assuage the anger being constantly revisited.

The racial establishment hasn't done black Americans any favors by obsessively rubbing more salt into old wounds. The traumas of the past don't have to be constantly picked over. Instead, like Condi Rice, people need to acknowledge the past and still move beyond it. Every successful black person in the country has found a way to do that. So has every other ethnic and racial group.

If political parties could be sued for malpractice the Democrats would be in court for a long time to come. The fact that Senator Obama is steeped in the grievance culture of the Left (as his twenty years being the mentee of mentor Jeremiah Wright attests) is the biggest problem with his candidacy.


"Destroy the family, and you destroy society" (Lenin)

Why is the American family in crisis? Taken Into Custody argues that the most direct cause is the divorce industry: a government-run system that tears apart families, separates children from fit and loving parents, confiscates the wealth of families, and turns law-abiding citizens into criminals in ways they are powerless to avoid. Taken Into Custody explores:
* Why the "deadbeat dad" is not only a myth but a hoax, the creation of government officials and lawyers who plunder parents whose children they have taken away * How hysterical propaganda about domestic violence is destroying families, endangering children, and making criminals of innocent parents

* The real causes of child abuse and how the abuse industry willfully ignores them

* What drives the rash of "parental kidnappings"

* How family courts operate as if there is no Bill of Rights, denying parents their constitutional legal protections
Taken Into Custody exposes the greatest and most destructive civil rights abuse in America today. Family courts and Soviet-style bureaucracies trample basic civil liberties, entering homes uninvited and taking away people's children at will, then throwing the parents into jail without any form of due process, much less a trial. No parent, no child, no family in America is safe.

Stephen Baskerville, Ph.D., is assistant professor of government at Patrick Henry College and Earhart Fellow at the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society. A graduate of the London School of Economics, he is the author of more than eighty articles on fatherhood and family issues and has appeared widely on national radio and television programs. Stephen Baskerville was recently interviewed by Albert Mohler. As he (Baskerville) points out (in Advice to Young Men: Do Not Marry, Do Not Have Children), the divorce industry
makes it very attractive for your spouse to divorce you and take your children. (All this earns money for lawyers whose bar associations control the careers of judges.) While property divisions and spousal support certainly favor women, the largest windfall comes through the children. With custody, she can then demand "child support" that may amount to half, two-thirds, or more of your income. (The amount is set by committees consisting of feminists, lawyers, and enforcement agents - all of whom have a vested interest in setting the payments as high as possible.) She may spend it however she wishes. You pay the taxes on it, but she gets the tax deduction.

The cultural "liberals" infesting Australia's public broadcaster are a mainstream unto themselves

There can be little doubt things have improved at the ABC since the appointment of Mark Scott as managing director and the appointment of Maurice Newman as chairman. A new broom has swept aside some of the egregiously obvious problems of bias and a more professional approach has supervened. There have been new programs that increase debate, including the ill-fated, experimental Difference of Opinion, to be replaced with a new question and answer program, based on the lively and controversial BBC show Question Time. Media Watch is not as politically partisan. Paul Chadwick has been appointed as director of editorial policies to try to ensure that the ABC fulfils its statutory obligations under the ABC Act to be accurate and impartial. In terms of balance, Middle East correspondents Matt Brown and David Hardaker are marked improvements. For anybody who believes that the taxpayer-funded broadcaster needs to be impartial and accurate, balanced and fair, this is all to the good.

The two main issues for the ABC are those of bias and genuine diversity. The culture of the ABC is clearly left of centre. Bias has not been so much party political as cultural. It is often not deliberate but bespeaks assumptions, mind-sets, that are far from the concerns of the mainstream Australia that pays for the ABC and that, in return, the ABC is supposed to serve and be fair to in its range and content. It is not the job of the taxpayer-funded national broadcaster to act as a counterweight to other media or mainstream ideologies perceived to be too right wing by a staff whose centre of gravity is way to the left.

Why is it that the only intentionally liberal-conservative program on Radio National is titled Counterpoint? It is a counterpoint to a way of thinking that dominates the culture of the ABC in the assumptions of the "people like us" who broadcast to other "people like us".

In 1968, German student leader Rudi Dutschke, drawing on the idea of hegemony of Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci and of Marxist critical theory, suggested "a long march through the institutions" of power to create radical change from within government and society by becoming an integral part of it; as critical theorist Herbert Marcuse put it, "working against the established institutions while working in them". The countercultural capture of cultural institutions meant the emergence of what Swinburne University sociologist Katharine Betts calls a "new class" whose object was not old wealth. Instead, Betts writes in her 1999 book The Great Divide, "the attack was concentrated on the Australian mass and its materialism, racism, sexism and insularity".

A noticeably homogenous class of inner city, tertiary-educated social professionals, often referred to as the chattering classes, has an identity that developed together with mass tertiary education. While the old Left emphasised economic reforms to help the working class, the new class focused on issues such as refugees, multiculturalism, reconciliation, civil liberties and so on. This new class of social professionals includes teachers, academics, public servants and welfare workers who adopt distinct ideological positions and values that serve as social markers for the new class. The "knowledge class", which includes ABC journalists, is an important segment within the new educated class that has more distinct values that increasingly set them apart from business and the general community.

I mention this not because I think the ABC has no diversity at all but because it's a trend embedded within the institutional culture that will take another "long march" to reverse, this time in the opposite direction towards the centre. It's a march that has begun from the top but needs to infuse its way to the bottom.

A Four Corners program, Dangerous Ground, broadcast on March 10, illustrates some of these issues. The program began with problems about setting up an Islamic school in Camden. Those against a Muslim school being set up are described in primarily racist terms. In the next suburb, according to the blurb, "Aussie-born sons of the Middle East bitterly complain of being treated like enemies in their own country. Now some community leaders", the program blurb continued, "are warning of a nasty backlash due to the hostility that young men like these feel is aimed against them. The program is concerned that counter-terrorism and security could actually be increasing the threat of breeding home-grown terrorists."

Erring on the side of aggression - just to be on the safe side - can radicalise and alienate the people who are targeted, analysts tell Four Corners. An expert suggests radicalisation occurs because of "young people feeling under siege from police and wider public. His fear is this could morph into an agenda for violent change", Four Corners asserts. Finally, it suggests, "defeating terrorism presents not just a policing issue but also a challenge to core community values of pluralism and tolerance".

No mention of Muslim cleric Taj Din al-Hilali and those more extreme than him or the effect of Muslim fundamentalism and propaganda, or the role played by police and security forces in protecting us from Muslim extremism. The only actors of any consequence for Four Corners are those who buy the narrative that the causes of Muslim extremism lie in the West. It is a problem of criminality, law enforcement, poverty and racist behaviour towards suspects of Middle Eastern appearance.

Of course, there are legitimate issues here to debate, but I am pointing to the one-sided narrative that suffuses this program and others that does not take Muslim extremism seriously in its own right but mainly as due to its exacerbation by us.

That the Labor and Liberal parties receive similar treatment on the ABC demonstrates that there may not be cultural bias towards one mainstream party rather than the other. It is true that the ABC has criticised both sides through the years, but that may be because it comprises cultural liberals who are to the left of both the main parties, in the direction of the Greens.

The ALP has been the victim of the ABC while in government. During the 1991 Gulf War, the ABC employed Robert Springborg, associate professor of Middle Eastern studies at Macquarie University, as its expert commentator for The Gulf Report. In an article in the Melbourne Sun, Springborg equated the modes of government of Saddam Hussein and Bob Hawke. Hawke's decision to send ships to the Persian Gulf was "every bit as much of a one-man show as is the country we may be fighting".

Eleven years of the Howard government, basically bipartisan estimates critiques in the Senate and an ABC board comprising conservative and centrist members have made some difference to all this. The much-mooted number of ideologically conservative members has not translated into a conservative agenda for the ABC.

However, I am pleased to note that this culture does not dominate all parts of the ABC. In news and current affairs, PM is fair, balanced, impartial and professional. I think Lateline casts a wide net and is generally fair and balanced, as is The World Today. The ABC should not advocate causes left, right or politically correct but should be a repository for a genuine diversity of views in addition to being accurate and impartial.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

What's More Important: Blue Jeans or Being Blown Up?

It's hard to satirize a lot of media coverage about Israel and the Arab-Israeli or Israeli-Palestinian conflicts. The truly dreadful stuff is in the details, the small stories and big assumptions on which they are based, rather than in any "scoops" or blockbuster articles. There are basically two types of such articles. In one, the author's basic and extreme political bias comes out clearly. The writer is consciously determined to slam Israel. This happens more often in large elements of the European press and in Reuters.

A Reuters reporter called me and told me that they were writing a story on how Israel destroyed the Palestinian economy. I suggested that perhaps they should do an article about the problems of the Palestinian economy rather than assume the answer. When the story came out, my short quote was represented fairly, but the rest of the article was totally biased, trying to prove a thesis, and even misquoted a World Bank report. In the article, the report blamed Israel for the problems but the actual text--available online--said the opposite.

Another personal experience. Australian Broadcasting Company, that country's main and official television network interviewed me on the main events of the Middle East in 2007. I said that the most important single thing was Hamas's takeover of the Gaza Strip, an action which set back the chances for peace by many years, even decades. When the story was broadcast it had been edited so that I appeared to be saying that Israel policy had set back the chances for peace by many years, even decades.

I filed an official complaint and in the end they came down on my side, sort of. The decision was that the piece had been carelessly edited or something like that. In the online correction, however, they didn't even say that but merely that I had asked that an explanation be added to make clear my point was not about Israeli policy. Of course, the reporter had done it on purpose.

But most silliness, especially in the U.S. media, is based on the blindness of assumption: of course Hamas could become moderate, of course the Palestinians want peace, of course Fatah is moderate, of course Israel treats them unfairly. So we get AP items like Laurie Copans, "Israeli-Palestinian Trade Suffers," March 28. Oh dear, suffering trade. That's bad. Wouldn't more trade be good for everyone?

The article is very long for AP, 22 paragraphs. It tells us a touching story about how--due to the fact that "the Palestinian driver did not have a permit through an Israeli military checkpoint and the X-ray machine at a crossing was broken," a shipment of blue jeans for the Israeli market "arrived 8 1/2 hours later." Silly me. I expected the reporter would then compare a delayed shipment of blue jeans with the danger of dozens of Israeli civilians being murdered. Nope. Let me explain: this is wartime, safeguarding lives is more important than expediting clothing. If the Palestinians are not happy with the delays let them crack down on terrorism so that roadblocks aren't needed.

Does the article make this point? Hardly, and even then only in a derisive way. Here is paragraph four. Note how it tells you about the real story in a way that says it is totally unimportant: "Israel agreed this week to issue more permits for Palestinian laborers and merchants, but has yet to take down any of the hundreds of West Bank checkpoints it says are necessary to stop suicide bombers. With little real progress on the peace front and violence persisting, Israeli-Palestinian business ties are discouraged."

Now is it so unproved, a mere Israeli assertion, that checkpoints are necessary to stop suicide bombers, not to mention other forms of terrorism? It is well established that past terrorists have come through checkpoints yet this is treated as some possibly wild or at least unproven Israeli allegation.

Are Israelis quoted for balance after all the quotes from Palestinians toeing the party line? Sure, but only if the Israelis say what the author wants: "`Israel has an interest in not having hungry neighbors,' [economist Ephraim] Kleiman said. `Israel has a vested interest in the economic well-being of the Palestinians. It's much more important than any moral obligation.'" Not Kleiman's fault. What he said is right in context. But the reporter didn't put it into context. Instead the message is: Trade is vital for peace and human needs. The Palestinians are hungry, if the Israelis hold up the jean deliveries it verges on being a crime against humanity, and security is either an illusory factor or an outright excuse.

Oh, and there is also the big ending. Here it is: "A harrowing incident made [Israeli designer Irit] Levzohar...thankful for the Israeli security. "Once, when she made the trip to the West Bank herself, she discovered a stack of guns after she pulled her bags of clothing out of a Palestinian driver's truck. "`I began to shake all over and I dropped the bags,'" Levzohar said. "`All I could think about was my children.'" "She confronted her Palestinian supplier, who promised never to work with that driver again, and reported the incident to the Israeli military. Now Levzohar says she only picks up clothes at authorized crossings. "`You can't gamble for business,'" Levzohar said."

Yeah, that seems a relevant consideration, doesn't it? Perhaps it isn't just an Israeli claim about the need for roadblocks to stop terrorists and weapons from getting into Israel. But that's stuck in at the end (the part most likely, as AP editors know, to be cut by newspapers to make a piece fit) rather than made part of the lead. And probably it got in only because it was a colorful anecdote that spiced up the article.

In many cases, pieces like this don't even have that ending but stick to the usual framework. Trade is good; Palestinians are hungry; Israel is bad. The key elements involved here--terrorism is central, extremism among Palestinian leaders incites and organizes it, Israel wants piece while Palestinian groups don't--is absent from most of the articles written on these issues.

No wonder so many in the West find the Middle East incomprehensible. A lot of the coverage makes it seem that way precisely because the reporting ensures that viewers don't understand what is going on or how things work. Reminds me of what a very cynical Washington Post reporter once told me: "That's why they're called stories"


Rehabilitating Communism

Wednesday the California Senate Education Committee held a hearing on SB 1322, which allows members of the Communist Party USA to teach and hold meetings in California's public schools. This measure, authored by state Sen. Alan Lowenthal, a southern California Democrat, has left many puzzled.

The Sacramento Bee endorsed the bill and mocked those who regarded the prospect of Communists in the classroom as a cause for concern. On one level, it isn't. The Communist Party USA is pretty much a dead parrot, and few people outside American university faculties, theological seminaries, insane asylums, and homeless shelters actually believe in Communism. Unfortunately, the bill is historically misleading.

It implies that the Communist Party USA was just like other parties. It wasn't, despite ad copy to the contrary. The CPUSA was an anti-American hate group and wholly owned subsidiary of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. During the Stalin Era and beyond, the CPUSA served the USSR as an alibi armory, defending a murderous regime at the nadir of its brutality.

Whatever they said for the record, members of the CPUSA did not believe in democracy, the Constitution, or due process under American law. They were not liberals or freethinkers and the Party persecuted members who deviated from the politically correct line. Neither were they idealists who hoped only for a better world. They knew full well the record of mass death, poverty and misery, but remained slavish totalitarians, and that holds true even if they are someone's beloved relative or friend. That they tricked out Communism in populist pieties only adds to the indictment against them.

Communism itself has not exactly been swept into the ashcan of history where it belongs. A Communist regime still exists in the planet's most populous nation, China, which operates espionage rings in this country. (See "Sentence issued in military data case," Los Angeles Times, March 25, 2008.) A Stalinist with nuclear weapons holds sway in North Korea. Cubans must endure a hereditary Communist dictatorship which, by 2010, will allow them to purchase an electric toaster.

In America, meanwhile, Communists, Fascists, Nazis, Ku Kluckers and the like enjoy full rights to believe what they want and associate with those who believe likewise. They have no right, however, to a captive audience in California schools, use of public-school facilities, nor a salary from the public purse. Senator Lowenthal would do better to craft a more diverse bill aimed at those with proven terrorist and totalitarian associations. Otherwise his SB 1322 amounts to nothing more than a Communist Rehabilitation and Revisionism Act.

History is something to be studied, not created after the fact. The push is on to portray CPUSA members as misunderstood but essentially noble idealists, persecuted by evil capitalist America. California law should not be an accessory to that enterprise. Sen. Lowenthal's bill, however, does have value. It confirms that California needs to do a better job teaching about the major mass movement of our time.

To teach this subject better, the emphasis should be on historical accuracy, not political correctness. The reading list should include books such as Anne Applebaum's Gulag: A History, also The Great Terror, The God That Failed, and The Black Book of Communism, which estimates the global victims of Communism at 100 million. "They are dead, you are alive," Alexander Solzhenitsyn wrote. "The world must know all about it." SB 1322 is part of the evidence that the world doesn't yet know all about it. That knowledge gap needs to be filled, sooner rather than later.

As George Santayana said, "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." And now abides revisionism, political correctness, and ignorance, but the greatest of these is ignorance.


Harvard races to embrace Islam

Harvard embraced Nazism in the 1930s so I suppose they are consistent

The symbolism could not be more striking: Harvard College, an institution founded for men by men has, for the first time in its history, banned men. For six hours every week, only women will be allowed in one of the university's three major gyms--a new policy implemented in response to a request by female Muslim students, who were uncomfortable exercising around men.

Since announcing the new policy, the university has been besieged by vitriolic criticism, with some commentators characterizing the decision as "appeasement" and "capitulation" to the demands of "radical Islam." One blogger, in a post entitled "Slouching toward Constantinople," compared the decision to the Turkish conquest of that city in 1453. One commentator called it Harvard's "Islamofascist gym." Even Atlantic blogger Andrew Sullivan lamented the onslaught of "Sharia at Harvard."

Though these reactions are clearly alarmist, the decision raises significant questions about how far universities must bend to accommodate religious observance, and the extent to which political correctness is beginning to overshadow other liberal values on American campuses.

One of the most surprising aspects of this story is how detached Harvard's Islamic community was from a decision for which it is being castigated. The impetus came from Howard Georgi, the master of one of Harvard's residential houses, who told me via e-mail that he was approached by one of the house administrators--he couldn't remember which--who had been contacted by "some of the Muslim women in the House." He then sent an e-mail to Susan B. Marine, the Director of the Harvard College Women's Center, asking her to look into the policy. Ola Aljawhary, the student Marine asked to confirm the interest on behalf of the Muslim community, told me that she casually consulted with friends "who certainly didn't mind the idea"--which administrators took as sufficient demand to adopt the policy. Neither Georgi nor Marine spoke directly to the women who requested the policy in the first place. The Harvard Islamic Society--the active campus organization for undergraduate Islamic affairs--did not know about the change until it was being formalized and in its final stages, according to the society's president. This clearly wasn't Harvard "capitulating" to Islam, considering how minimally Muslim students were involved in the decision.

But the decision put Harvard in the awkward position of having to arbitrate what constitutes legitimate religious practice. Marine claims there was a "moral and ethical responsibility" for the administration to act on this request, telling the Associated Press last month that "it's a pretty big breach of their moral and religious code ... and it's just not possible for them to be in a mixed environment." But according to Aljawhary, "It's not like we can't work out when men are around." In fact, "we were not 'demanding' women-only hours," Aljawhary said. If the administration had said no, she said, "it would have been okay."

Universities are often forced to alter their policies to accommodate the religious views of students--such as changing test dates on religious holidays or accommodating special dietary restrictions. But what happens when students hold a relatively extreme version of religious practice? And perhaps more importantly, what happens when that practice comes into conflict with other values important to the university?

Yale faced this question in 1997 when five Orthodox Jewish students filed a lawsuit against the university for not exempting them from Yale's rule requiring freshmen and sophomores to live in dormitories. Yale refused, claiming the on-campus requirement was essential to the college experience, and the students eventually lost their case. The incident's most striking aspect was the university's confidence in asserting its own imperatives. Dick Brodhead, then Dean of Yale College, wrote a letter to The New York Times declaring, "Yale College has its own rules and requirements, which we insist on because they embody our values and beliefs."

In the Harvard case, as in the Yale case, religious observance clashes with another important value: equality. Since when is a subjective criterion of "discomfort" surrounding an issue that is not essential to a student's academic experience a good enough reason to exclude a large part of the undergraduate population from common space? A private institution like Harvard should certainly respect religious differences and take reasonable steps to accommodate religious needs. In fact, as Harvard tried to justify this decision, it cited the precedent of prayer rooms for Hindu and Muslim students, and dining halls that serve kosher and halal food. But the obvious difference between these policies and the gym ban on men is that anyone can take part in a Hindu prayer or eat a Kosher meal. They do not exclude.

Even if Harvard decided this were a necessary accommodation, there are certainly better ways for it to have been executed. MIT, for example, recently implemented single-gender swim lanes for two hours each week--women on Tuesdays, men on Thursdays. Though women requested the policy, men-only hours were also included in the interests of equality. Additionally, though Muslim women initially requested the policy, the university involved several religious communities in the decision, including Muslim, Jewish, and Christian groups. "I didn't register any opposition here," said MIT chaplain Robert M. Randolph--a sharp contrast to the way Harvard's decision was regarded on campus.

In what seems to be a hasty nod to political correctness, Harvard missed an opportunity to implement a gender-sensitive interfaith initiative that might have been welcomed on campus. Furthermore, the resulting media frenzy has put the Muslim community at Harvard in an unnecessarily bad position. According to Shaheer Rizvi, the president of the Harvard Islamic Society, the group's initial positive reception of the arrangement eventually gave way to the "shocking realization that the media would pounce on these issues and turn it into a picture of Harvard buckling under Muslim pressure." "I'm tired of having to justify myself," Aljhawary says.

When even the people who were supposed to benefit from the change in gym rules are unhappy, it's clear that Harvard has handled itself poorly. The policy will be subject to a reassessment in April. The school should give serious consideration to overturning it.


Fighting Anthropologists Anger Lefties

Fighting anthropologists ... the idea seems laughable, but there are indeed anthropologists in Iraq, helping protect our troops. And that ticks of the left. As the leftist news compiler AlterNet explains it, their work sounds like a good thing:
The Human Terrain Systems (HTS) program, in operation for several years, was significantly expanded by the United States military last September. It has recruited anthropologists to be embedded with U.S. troops at brigade and division level in Iraq and Afghanistan. ... [T]he program takes anthropologists, some of whom are not experts in the relevant cultures, and charges them with advising commanders to prevent them from misreading local actions and -- potentially violent -- situations. The idea is to reduce casualties.

The New York Times reported on 5 October 2007 on an anthropologists' contingent involved in a major operation meant to reduce attacks against U.S. and Afghan troops. The anthropologists identified many widows in the target area and surmised that their young male relatives would be under pressure to support them and would be likely to join the attackers out of economic necessity. A job-training program for the widows led to a reduction in attacks.
Sounds pretty good, doesn't it; an elegant approach to diminishing the violence against not just our troops but also the citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan. Certainly one would think that understanding the enemy is better than just killing them. But the left doesn't share the view.First, there's the technical issue:
The anthropological profession has a code of ethics which, like the Hippocratic oath, mandates no harm to people who are studied, and requires their informed consent in participation in research. This is impossible under combat conditions, where there is no opportunity for embedded anthropologists to identify themselves with ordinary people.
So the left apparently would be happier if the military just shot up the young sons of the widows rather than breaking the obligation to inform subjects of "research." The word is in quotes because by no stretch of the imagination can this work be defined as research; its intent is not to crunch data and publish papers, but to make quick decisions to help save lives. Then there's the whole leftist aversion to spying:
And the work looks enough like intelligence work to cause people to view anthropologists as spies (even under ordinary conditions), inhibiting their scientific mission.
First of all, their mission isn't scientific here; it's humanitarian and military, but really, looks enough like spying? Spying doesn't look like something; it is something; it has a definition, and this program isn't it. "Observing" is different from snooping, eavesdropping or taking on assumed identities in order to get information. So guess what the anti-war anthropologists named their new little group? The Network of Concerned Anthropologists. How creative of them to use "network" instead of "union." Their pledge: Not to participate in counter-insurgency. Isn't that pretty much the same thing as supporting insurgency? What makes insurgency acceptable and counter-insurgency not?

Now the peaceniks do have a good idea:
She advocated the establishment of a large research program leading to a socio-cultural knowledge database, recruitment of young cultural analysts into government service and establishment of a clearing house for cultural knowledge. None of these would be a problem.
They wouldn't for me either -- in fact, I wish we had done this before Iraq so we would have understood this whole tribal dynamic a bit more. The problem, though, is that Saddam would have killed them all before they finished their research, which kind of makes it a better idea to team up the anthropologists with the soldiers, where they can actually do good and save lives. Unfortunately, "saving lives" apparently also means "helping the US," so the ivory tower dwellers in our formerly great bastions of higher education must take up arms ... pens ... against the few, the sensible, the good members of their profession.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Monday, April 07, 2008

God Bless "Racist" America

I see there have already been some interesting and inflammatory comments in my previous post. While we're in truth telling mode - might as well address the whole silly "racism" deal. Is America racist? Let's pose a better and more interesting question - though perhaps impossible to answer: Name one country that isn't? In some it festers quietly below the surface. In others it erupts in mass murder. Mankind has been tribal since his beginning and we will never fully transcend that.

That doesn't mean that we will always, or should ever discriminate based on race, or any other factor. But the notion that factors like race just shouldn't exist is absolutely ridiculous and an impossible reality to achieve. Were America not racist, there would be no "Black candidate" for the Democrat nomination - Obama would be just another individual. One can read any article on Obama today and see that isn't the case.

The idiot liberals betray their incredible inability to reason or be honest through their positions. Think about it. On the one hand they claim their goal is a "color blind" society - yet, at the very same time, they preach preserving every archaic and mostly useless custom, tradition and myth for every culture that comes through America's broad and welcoming door. Well, which is it, you idiots? Are we all the same? Or is each so uniquely different we need to indulge stupidity like Kwanza, or Cinco de Mayo through national declaration? Because, what you morons haven't figured out, or won't admit, is that you can't have it both ways.

The reality is, before modern liberalism took hold - America actually was less racist than it is today. Of course, that comes with the notable exception of the Black experience in America, shrouded in a unique evil because of the practice of slavery in America. But even there, what do many liberals support? Reparations? Forget that it's an idiotic idea - what it reveals more is liberals unwillingness to forget any grievance, or move on from the past, as it provides a home for their imbecility. The only thing they seek to "move on" from is the winning of a war, because that would celebrate America's strength - as opposed to nurturing any potential weakness in her national fabric. And that's what today's liberal is really about.

They don't want a strong or good America. They long for one wretched, watered-down world where no one and nothing is any better then the next. Somehow they think that would make for a utopia, instead of the soulless, dead and devoid of choice a world it would be. Today's liberals are hypocrites, liars, idiots, and, yes, traitors. They lack honor as much as they lack any sense. And when you confront their unreasonableness with reason, they spin off like tops, ultimately destined to wobble and fall when they lose momentum.

As for the notion of racism, well what is it, really? It is the ability to distinguish an individual based upon his race - nothing more and nothing less. And it will never go away so long as "races" exist. I rather suspect that will be for a long, long time. And how any one individual might feel about this or that race might lower itself to being repugnant, the fact is, it isn't the government's damned business.

I am not arguing for institutionalized racism - that's wrong. Formal policies and or regulations of government and business should indeed be "color blind." But any one man's heart is what it is - and it is for him to decide that. Not some nanny state government, or kvetching, crying liberal.

If you want to dislike or distrust one race - I'd argue, that's your loss, as you close yourself off to many fine people who might have something to contribute to your world. But it's your cross to bear, not mine, and certainly not the governments. Yet, liberals, who supposedly detest organized religion, would have the government be the authoritative preacher in the most dangerous congregation of them all: the socialist state.

And so, my friends, as we celebrate the realities above, I say, God Bless a racist America, long may she reign - and to Hell with the morons who comprise the Left today. As they aren't worth the salt it took God to make them, let them burn in the fires of the vapid, illogical perdition they've created for themselves through a lack of clear thinking and reason. It's really no great loss to the world and represents absolutely no loss to me.


Islamic racism

In a UK murder trial, the court heard that a Muslim gang claimed responsibility for `killing a white man.' Christopher Yates, was brutally murdered for no apparent reason other than his skin color. The court heard that after the attack Zulfiqar shouted, in Urdu: "We have killed the white man. That will teach an Englishman to interfere in Paki business."

The story becomes more noteworthy because of similarities to previous incidents elsewhere. In Australia a rash of rapes and assaults by Muslim gang were initially claimed as a racist smear.'
So now we know the facts, straight from the Supreme Court, that a group of Lebanese Muslim gang rapists from south-western Sydney hunted their victims on the basis of their ethnicity and subjected them to hours of degrading, dehumanising torture. The young women, and girls as young as 14, were "sluts" and "Aussie pigs", the rapists said. So now that some of the perpetrators are in jail, will those people who cried racism and media "sensationalism" hang their heads in shame? Hardly.
In some circles, virtue excludes the mistreatment of others. An excellent overview of the Australian rape story can be found here. Predictably, feminists were not happy with the conviction of the rapists.
In Sydney Australia, two men, Pakistan-born Muslims, were found guilty of gang rapes of two teenage girls. This comes as strict justice for a growing problem in this region. Muslim men have been roaming Sydney gang, raping non-Muslim women, calling them "Aussie pigs" and "sluts" who ask for it. If previous jail sentences are any indication of their punishment, a 55 yr long jail term is in their future as was given to Balil Skaf.

This, of course, is a victory for women's rights. Especially in Pakistani culture, where honor killings take place, the shame is often placed on the rape victim not the aggressor. One would think feminists would embrace such a court ruling. But feminist reaction was not praise; it was hostility. Those in the audience at the conference that announced the news cried the convictions were "nothing but racist prosecutions." They were outraged over the "racism" of the strict punishments given to the Muslims rapists.

To these feminists, protection for Muslims - to stop "racist" comments about Muslims - out-trumps justice for rape victims. The Anti-Discrimination Board in Australia pumped out pamphlets chastising the media for "Anti-Muslim" bigotry - meanwhile non-Muslim women have to worry about being brutally raped by a gang of Muslim thugs.
If feminists really cared about women in the Middle East, they would strike at the root of the problem: the current interpretation of Islam. Despite what Shirin Ebadi says, the problem for women in the Middle East is not "the patriarchy," it is the Islam that serves dysfunctional regimes. The regimes, who now control the interpretations and the kind of Islam that is taught, have given Muslims a free pass to do whatever they want - including rape, looting restaurants in France that sell food not approve by the Koran, wine shops, etc.

Unless moral people start speaking up - not cowering in fear, worried about being called a "racist" - this and other issues like it (not the least of which is terrorism) will only extend the conflict. As in the Middle East an extended conflict will only serve to escalate the problem, as the Israelis have learned.

Succinct, to be sure- especially when you consider that many believe (with good reason) that there is a rape epidemic in Norway and Sweden. Not everyone may see the world through Fjordmans' eyes, but the numbers don't lie. He goes on to observe:
An Islamic Mufti in Copenhagen sparked a political outcry after publicly declaring that women who refuse to wear headscarves are "asking for rape." Apparently, he isn't the only Muslim in Europe to think this way: The German journalist Udo Ulfkotte told in a recent interview that in Holland, you can now see examples of young, unveiled Moroccan women with a so-called "smiley". It means that the girl gets one side of her face cut up from mouth to ear, serving as a warning to other Muslim girls who should refuse to wear the veil. In the Muslim suburb of Courneuve, France, 77 per cent of the veiled women carry veils reportedly because of fear of being harassed or molested by Islamic moral patrols.
Gates of Vienna followed up on the manipulation of the rape numbers, also written by Fjordman. There does appear to be a direct correlation between Jihad, imposed superficial values and rape and no amount of AOS (American Ostrich Syndrome) can change that reality. See The Rape Jihad, by Robert Spencer.


More love for Muslims from the ACLU

I'm sure I just don't understand the strict requirements of the Muslim religion. If someone does their prayer time 20 minutes earlier or later than the exact, correct time of the day, is Allah not available to listen? Does they have a penalty placed on their prayer or something? I'm sure someone can show me something in the Koran where mutilation or decapitation is required for penance, but what I really don't understand is how a prison providing meals and schedules to all their prisoners equally violates the First Amendment.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming that a Wyoming State Penitentiary policy restricting prisoners' mealtimes violates the constitutional rights of two Muslim inmates. The ACLU filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of Joseph Miller and Hurie Purdiman Jr., two inmates serving time at the penitentiary in Rawlins.

At issue is an alleged "20-minute rule" requiring inmates to eat their meals within 20 minutes after the food is delivered to a cell or common dining area, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit seeks for the inmates to be exempted from the rule because it forces them to choose between eating and practicing their religion.

Miller and Purdiman claim that meals have arrived at the same time of day that they're practicing prayers according to their Muslim faith. On other occasions, meals arrived during a period of religious fasting and then were confiscated before the fast ended at sunset. "If someone has started their prayer, unless they're willing to interrupt their prayer and leave at that moment, they forgo their meal because (the guards) won't go back and open their cell doors," said Jennifer Horvath, staff attorney for Wyoming Chapter of the ACLU. "It's not unreasonable to ask for some extra time to finish their meals. They have a right to practice their religion, and the prison has been treating it as a privilege."

The lawsuit names Robert Lampert, director of the Department of Corrections, and Michael Murphy, warden of the Wyoming State Penitentiary. It claims the prison's policy violates the First Amendment and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000. Lampert said he hadn't seen the lawsuit and couldn't comment directly on its claims. But he said the prison has measures in place to accommodate inmates' religious or health needs.

He said trays and utensils are generally collected less than 30 minutes from when they were delivered to inmates so the dishes can be washed in time for the next meal. "If an inmate has a medical reason that requires additional time to consume their meal, we take that into account, or if it's for a religious purpose, we accommodate those needs," Lampert said. "I think those issues are pretty well addressed through our policy, but I'll look and see what actual lawsuit alleges."
So, someone please tell me how a prison providing meals and clean-up according to a schedule is Congress making a law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.


Britain: Women in their reproductive years have a legal licence to exploit their employers and fellow workers

Brass neck is the phrase that comes to mind on contemplating the newsreader Natasha Kaplinsky. She is the woman who accepted 1m pounds a year for a new job as “the face of Five News” and who, only six weeks into her contract, announced that she was 12 weeks pregnant. If I were running Five I would be beside myself with rage. Undisclosed sources say her bosses are indeed dismayed that she will be out of action so soon after starting on this hugely paid and hugely publicised role. Apparently she is taking maternity leave in September, for “a few months”, although of course she will have the option of extending her leave and may never return.

Meanwhile, instead of the ferociously sexy on-the-ball babe that Five hired, Kaplinsky will be becoming larger and mumsier, she may have a nauseous or difficult pregnancy requiring lots of time off, and at some point her brain will be affected by the amnesia of pregnancy. This is a phenomenon that is now widely admitted, even by feminists (although it is equally often denied when inconvenient); there is even a nasty new fashionable word for a woman in this state - preghead. Luckily there is, of course, Autocue at Five News. And an expensive stand-in will have to be found.

The proper word for all this is exploitation. It is women such as Kaplinsky, appearing so flamboyantly unreliable and unapologetic, who make working life much harder for the rest of us - working mothers, childless women and, of course, all employers. To add insult to injury, employers are not even allowed to say so. On the contrary, a top man at Five has said that he is “genuinely delighted” and indeed he could have said nothing else. It would probably have been illegal - discrimination against women - even to hint at any other response.

I have not tried to count the weeks and figure out the moment of Kaplinsky’s conception; somehow it seems rather rude. It may be that when she signed her contract she wasn’t - quite - pregnant. However, she must have been when she started work and she may well have known it. In any case she must surely have been aware of her own hopes and intentions about having a baby, presumably sooner rather than later, unless this infant was a “mistake”. This strikes me as unfair to her employers, unless they knew and accepted this risk in advance.

When I was interviewed for a traineeship at the BBC, the panel asked what my plans for having children were and how I would combine children with work. It seemed to me then (and still does) a reasonable question. I was married and 27, which at that time was considered late to start having babies. However, the woman from personnel told me not to answer; she said the question was sexist and impermissible. It would now, like many such reasonable questions, be illegal although, oddly, it is legal (although entirely unreasonable) to ask people about their sexual orientation when they apply for Arts Council grants.

Sir Alan Sugar was right when he said recently that women should tell their employers about their reproductive plans. In doing so he made himself unpopular. However, it is surely unfair - and commercially disastrous - to expect an employer to take on, unknown, the risks to his business that new mothers are likely to impose on him. Perhaps Kaplinsky discussed this with Five; but the point is that women in their reproductive years have a legal licence to exploit their employers and fellow workers.

The fact that Kaplinsky will not be entitled to maternity pay from Five because she works as a freelance means only that her employers will not pay her a huge fee for work she does not do. They will have to find and negotiate with someone else, they will have to pay for massive publicity for someone else, having just met the bills for all the PR hoopla they bought to launch Kaplinsky. Then that other newsreader, having been starred up at their expense, will take the results to a competitor. They will have to endure the internal disruption that will follow the departure in only a few months of their star and with her the possible loss of her ratings.

It is depressing, from a woman’s point of view, that the pendulum has swung so quickly from one unfair extreme to another. In the 1960s women were harassed and underpaid and their problems with childcare were overlooked. While there are plenty of low-paid women for whom that is still true, these days the boot is usually on the woman’s foot and she puts it in when she can. Many women seem to expect extraordinary rights and allowances so that they can keep their jobs whatever the cost and inconvenience to their employer and to be equally paid when they are not always of equal value. Government and public opinion support them.

Yet I have several professional women friends, committed feminists, who dread hiring women for all the obvious reasons. The most pressing are their long periods of maternity leave and the extreme difficulty of replacing them temporarily in demanding service industries such as publishing and law with equally good people, who will then have to be dropped.

Last week there was an interesting controversy about women doctors in the pages of the British Medical Journal. A brave doctor claimed on the Radio 4 Today programme on Friday that three female doctors need to be trained to produce the same “work time output” as two male doctors (because of maternity leave, time off and early retirement). Furthermore, for the same reasons, women doctors cause disruption in the continuity of care and face problems in maintaining their practical skills, such as in surgery, with an interrupted career path.

All this is extremely difficult and I am very uncertain as to what, if anything, can reasonably be done. However, surely the most important first step in dealing with such intractable problems is to be free to admit what they are. When hiring women of childbearing age is more problematic than hiring men or other women, employers should be allowed to say so. They should not be forced to pretend that it isn’t so, while at the same time making special allowances for working mothers and offering equal pay for what may not be equal services.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Sunday, April 06, 2008

"UK is European center of anti-Semitism"

For a historian, this guy should know better than to dwell on British history as particularly antisemitic. Going back in history all the way to 1290 to make your point is quite pathetic. Britain has a far greater record of tolerance than most European countries. There was neither a Dreyfus case nor a holocaust in Britain -- but there WAS a Disraeli. And nor is the recent upsurge of antisemitism peculiar to Britain. As I understand it, the biggest exodus of Jews from Europe to "safer" (!) Israel is in fact from France. Such obvious hatred of Britain undermines the credibility of all that this fool says

Britain has become the epicenter for anti-Semitic trends in Europe as traditional, age-old anti-Semitism in a country whose literature and cultural tradition were "drenched" in anti-Semitism has developed into a contemporary mix of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, an Israeli historian said Monday. The problem of anti-Semitism in Britain is exacerbated by a growing and increasingly radical Muslim population, the weak approach taken by a timid British Jewish leadership, and the detachment of the British from their Christian roots, said Hebrew University historian Prof. Robert S. Wistrich in a lecture on British anti-Semitism at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. "Britain has become the center point for the meeting of anti-Semitic trends in Europe," Wistrich said.

In a wide-ranging two-hour address, the Cambridge University-educated historian, who has just completed a book on global anti-Semitism, traced the roots of British anti-Semitism to its history, culture and literature going back to medieval times. "Anti-Semitism in Great Britain is at least a millennial phenomenon and has been around for 1000 years of recorded history," Wistrich said. [as it has elsewhere]

He noted that the expulsion of all Jews from Britain in 1290 by King Edward I following years of anti-Semitic violence was the first major expulsion of any Jewish community in Europe. Jews were banned from Britain until 1656, when Oliver Cromwell, who had overthrown the monarchy, authorized their return.

Wistrich noted that a Jewish presence was not required in Britain to produce potent and resonating anti-Semitic stereotypes in classic English literature, including in works by Chaucer, Marlowe, Shakespeare, Dickens, Trollope, T. S. Elliot, and D. H. Lawrence, which he said continues to impact British society hundreds of years later today. "The authors are conveying and transmitting to a future generation an embedded anti-Semitism whose influence is impossible to underestimate," Wistrich said. "English literature and culture is in fact drenched in anti-Semitism," he said, adding that British intellectuals fail to understand the long-term impact of this phenomenon.

During World War II, the British refusal to rescue the Jews of Europe and their decision to close the gates of Palestine stemmed not only from a policy of realpolitik but by anti-Semitic sentiments, he said. "Nothing was to be construed as fighting a Jewish war," he said. He noted that the famed British wartime leader, Winston Churchill's, record on Zionism was "far from brilliant, rhetoric aside" noting that he promoted the infamous White Paper, which severely limited Jews from immigrating to Palestine during World War II.

The recent controversial contemporary theory of a Jewish lobby controlling American government policies in the wake of the 2003 Iraq War actually had its antecedents a century earlier, and dated back to the infamous anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, while anti-Israel activities on British campuses was going "strong blast" in the 1970s, he said.

In his address, Wistrich said that today's British media had taken an almost universally anti-Israel bias, especially but not exclusively on the BBC, with context removed from description of Israeli military actions, and Islamic jihadist activity such as suicide bombing never connected to ideology. "Under no circumstance will a Palestinian act of terrorism be referred to as terrorist, They are militants similar to the floor-shop dispute in Liverpool whose workers have decided to go on strike," he said. "Palestinian terrorism is portrayed as a minor pin-prick compared to 'massive' retaliation of this 'rogue' state [Israel]," he said. "You cannot read a British newspaper without encountering a variant of the libel that Zionism is racism or Zionism is Nazism," he said, describing a culture of "barely disguised hatred" when the subject of Zionism of British Jewry or Anglo-Israel relations is broached, unless they are "the good anti-Zionists."

With the media and the elites skewed against Israel - aided by former Israeli academics who routinely condemn the Jewish state and who have attained "historic dissident status and are listened to as the authentic voice of Israel" - the whole discussion of anti-Semitism had become distorted in Britain, with the accuser becoming the accused, he said. "The self-proclaimed anti-racists of the [London Mayor Ken] Livingstone brand lead the pack when it comes to the prevailing discourse about Israel and by implication Jews." "If you bring up the subject of anti-Semitism you are playing the anti-Semitism card and you are [seen as] a dishonest deceitful manipulative Jew or lover of Jews who is using the language of anti-Semitism to disguise hide or silence criticism of Israel," he said.

The tenure of former prime minister Tony Blair - considered to be the most favorable British premier to the State of Israel - was a paradox of the British situation today, Wistrich said. He said that Blair's support for Israel during the Second Lebanon War was "the straw that broke the camel's back" for a British premier who had already supported the Iraq War and was closely allied with US President George W. Bush, and helped bring about his downfall.

Today, the rapidly growing Muslim community in Britain numbers at least 1.6 million, compared to about 350,000 Jews. Wistrich faulted British-Jewish leadership for taking a "softly softly approach," which he said was "very strange" and did not bear fruit in contemporary times. "There is a long tradition of doing things behind closed doors and it is different to break with tradition but it should be broken," he said.

The historian noted that the straying of the British from their Christian roots has also created a changed reality in the Anglo-Israeli relationship with no Bible-based reasons or raison d'etre for a Jewish presence in the Holy Land. He cited the recent support of the archbishop of Canterbury for the adoption of parts of Sharia, or Islamic law, in Britain - the same country, which, he noted, was once the birthplace of the US evangelical movement. "The loss of Christian identity in what was the most Bible-believing culture in its day is one of the deeper layers of what has happened here," he said.

He noted some of the biblical remarks of prominent British leaders such as Lord Balfour and Lloyd George would be viewed as anathema today. "You cannot speak or act that way today, or you would be considered the 'biggest threat to civilization' as American evangelicals are."


The fruit of the "Fitna" video

Nobody disputes that terrorist attacks are being carried out around the world by people claiming to act in the name of Islam. But while many commentators, both Muslim and non-Muslim, accuse the terrorists of hijacking Islam for their nefarious ends, Wilders' contention is that these terrorists are simply doing what the Koran exhorts them to do.

These arguments have been well-rehearsed. So why the outrage? The views expressed in the film are no different to those expressed in countless blog posts, and there are plenty of films on the internet that are as provocative, if not more so. What's significant is that the controversy began when talk about the film left the confines of the blogosphere and entered the mainstream media, and it's a fact that appears to bear out Wilders' complaint about the reluctance of Western governments and the media to discuss the issues his film raises.

In a recent interview for the UK's Spectator magazine, Wilders hypothesised on the response of European governments were he to make a film critical of Christianity:
Would there be extra meetings of the government? Would there be evacuation plans of our embassies in Rome, Berlin and Brussels? Would there be bishops like grand muftis who say there would be bloodshed?. The answer of course is "no". So it proves my point already. All the reactions of the Islamic world, even unfortunately from the Dutch government, show that Islam is something different, has to be treated differently, as something entirely beside our own culture and values.'
The point Wilders feels has been proved is one that's long been made by many columnists, bloggers and other commentators who believe radical Islam poses a threat to the West: that our political and media elites either avoid talking about difficult issues relating to Islam - whether terrorism or the failure of Muslim immigrants to integrate into Western society - or apply a double standard that's the product partly of intimidation by extremists, and partly of the corrosive effects of political correctness and multiculturalism. And whatever you think of the specific accusations Wilders levels against Islam, it's hard to disagree with his claim that these wider issues aren't getting a fair hearing.

In the same way that far-right political parties have attracted increasing support in some European countries because indigenous communities believe the welfare of Muslim immigrants is being put before their own concerns, the timidity of the Western media has created a market for far-right polemicists like Wilders (who of course is also a politician) on the internet. As Mark Steyn wrote at The Corner ".a film such as Fitna might not even be necessary were the western news organizations not so absurdly deferential toward Muslim sensibilities that they go out of their way to avoid showing us anything that might cause us to link violence with Islam."

But the debate about Wilders' unremarkable film generated enough momentum to break out of the blogosphere. Whether or not Wilders intended things to work out this way, millions of people who would never have heard of Fitna , or Geert Wilders, have now seen the film. More significantly, stories portraying Islam as angry and intolerant, and Western institutions as indulgent and submissive, are on every TV news bulletin and website, and on the front pages of newspapers. The politicians and news organisations are being forced to engage in the very discussion they've sought to avoid and, like the Islamists, they're none too pleased: hence the `outrage'.

Much of Wilders' criticism is directed mainly at the Dutch government, but it could equally be directed at the political/legal/media establishments of any of the other nations in Europe that are struggling with disaffected Muslim minorities and terrorist threats (although in fairness to Denmark, sections of that establishment have been fairly robust in its defence of the Mohammed cartoonists). And the issues he raises also have implications for countries beyond Europe - Australia, Canada and ultimately the United States.

Goings-on in the Netherlands are being watched with particular interest in Britain, which has a long-standing reputation as a soft-touch for Islamic extremists. And there can be no better example of the reluctance to confront radicalism identified by Wilders than the recent decision by the UK government to stop using the phrase `Islamic terrorism' altogether, and instead refer to terrorist attacks carried out by Muslims as `un-Islamic activity'. It's simply the latest manifestation of the notion that Islamic terrorism `has nothing to do with Islam'.

Such obfuscation is also regularly employed by sections of the British media, who go out of their way to avoid using the `M' word in stories that might reflect badly on Islam, whether reporting on terrorist attacks or cultural issues such as honour killings. When, recently, newspapers and broadcasters reported government concerns that `Asian' teenagers were being forced into arranged marriages, one commenter was moved to point out that: "Bradford does NOT have a substantial Asian population, it has a substantial MUSLIM population. It really annoys Hindus and Sikhs that we're always put in the same boat."

The double standard also manifests itself when the sensitivities of other religions - most often Christianity - come under assault. The BBC, for example, whose softly-softly approach to all matters Islam is legendary, had no problem with screening Jerry Springer: The Opera which featured Jesus wearing a nappy and pretending to be gay, despite protests from Christian groups. Few artists, on the other hand, have been willing to address the subject of Islam, extreme or otherwise - the authors Salman Rushdie and Martin Amis are two notable exceptions. More typical is the attitude of cross-dressing artist Grayson Perry, whose work features sexual and religious imagery, and who admitted in an interview with the UK Times that he would never risk offending Muslims. He has a point - writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, Peter Hoekstra contrasted the reaction of Muslims to Wilders' film and other perceived slights to that of US Christians similarly provoked:
In 1989, when so-called artist Andres Serrano displayed his work "Piss Christ" - a photo of a crucifix immersed in a bottle of urine - Americans protested peacefully and moved to cut off the federal funding that supported Mr. Serrano. There were no bombings of museums. No one was killed over this work that was deeply offensive to Christians.
Nor, Hoekstra might have added, was Mr Serrano denounced by the heads of the United Nations and the European Union.

Most observers, even those who blame the West for some of Islam's problems, agree that initiatives to counter the radicalisation of Muslims need to come largely from within Islam itself. But reform is unlikely to happen as long as Western governments and the media continue to make excuses for, or ignore completely, extremist behaviour. After all, if we won't acknowledge that there's a problem, why should they? If Wilders' intention was not primarily to draw attention to the threat posed by radical Islam, but rather to draw attention to the failure to acknowledge and respond to the threat, then he's succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.


Why the special Muslim privileges?

By Georgie Anne Geyer

If a writer were to make the ultimate satiric remark about Islam's increasing presence in America, he would say something like, "And soon they'll be having the 'call to prayer' in Harvard Square." But the line is neither ironic nor humorous: The call to prayer of a Muslim muezzin or priest was broadcast in Harvard Yard at the Widener Library in Cambridge several times in February, as well as on earlier occasions. The undergraduate college has this winter also restricted one of the three largest gyms on its main campus to "women only" at special hours. The reason? Because a small group of female Muslim students felt that workout clothes violated the prescription that both sexes wear modest dress in shared environments.

What is going on at America's most iconic university that we should have these two rather strange events coming at the same time? What we are seeing is a wave of arrogance sweeping into America with the wave of Muslim immigrants and students. One searches in vain for an individual or organized Muslim voice showing real respect or even a minimal liking for America or American customs. Instead – and the Harvard situation is only one of many examples – the predominant attitude toward America is characterized by a sense of rights unrequited and by an attitude of superiority that demands that we abide by Muslim wishes in place of our traditions.

This from the offspring of societies that, according to numerous studies including those of Arab scholars themselves, lie at the bottom of the world scale in everything from education levels, productivity and industry to the development of universities, scientific research and the rights and education of women.

And so now, in a country that prides itself on its separation of church and state, and which goes so absurdly far as to (in many cities) forbid the public display of the Christ child's creche at Christmas, we accommodate religious traditions from countries, most of which do not even permit Christian worship and many of whose citizens are now following their most radical brethren's cry – not to pray for conciliation with America but to wage war against it.

It is not clear yet why Harvard made this odd decision, but apparently the request by a handful of Muslim women students reached the Harvard College Women's Center, and it was then decided that one of the college's least used facilities should be made available only to women on Mondays from 3 to 5 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8 to 10 a.m. The decision will be re-evaluated in June; meanwhile, both the gym restrictions and the calls to prayer have become the center of debate and protest.

The United States is not alone as a target of opprobrium and barely veiled distaste on the part of Muslim students. The situation in Europe is even worse. What to make of all of this? The major problem, it must be said, is not the foreigners but America and Europe themselves. Both have essentially lost their grit in terms of protecting and defending their own principles and polities.

This fight with Islam is only beginning – and it is in many ways far more important, ultimately, than the war in the Middle East. Until America and Europe regain their voices and their self-respect, this problem, exemplified by the situation at Harvard, will only continue to grow.


Some good thoughts on kids from Rabbi Boteach

In this election year it bears repeating that the major changes all of us seek will not come from politicians so much as parents, not from senators so much as teachers. Politicians change big things. But in America it's the little things - our marriages, raising children, finding individual purpose - where we most fail. With so many social ills afflicting our culture, it is time that we made fundamental changes to our values. Here is a list to revamp the values with which we raise our children:

Stop asking children what they want to do, and start asking them who they want to be.

The first question speaks to occupation. The second speaks to character. Our children see right through our hypocrisy. We pretend to be interested in the kind of people they will become, but seem upset only when they don't get into Harvard. But whether your children become garbage collectors or president of the United States is subordinate to whether or not they are ethical people.

Let's stop giving them mixed messages by always prodding them about the careers they will choose as opposed to the goodness they will live. The moral question always comes first. Dale Carnegie demonstrated definitively in How To Win Friends and Influence People that what people most wish is to be good. Our responsibility is to attune our kids to their inner voice of conscience.

Focus children on a calling rather a career.

Once we parents deliver the message to our kids that we want them to be good even more than we want them to be "successful," our educational system can follow suit by guiding our children toward a calling over a career. Career focuses on self-aggrandizement and accumulation. It encourages narcissism and fosters insecurity. The child is encouraged into a life of self-absorption as he measures his success by how far along he is in comparison to his peers. He is trained to be outward-oriented, determining his self-worth by his position on the career ladder and viewing his companions as competitors.

By contrast, a calling teaches the child to fixate on his unique gift, the special contribution with which he is endowed to enrich the world, thereby developing his individuality. A child with a calling encourages the success of others, but a child with a career always feels threatened by another's success.

Value intellectual curiosity as opposed to grades.

Here is a paradox for you to ponder. How is that 60 percent of Americans have a college degree, but an equal number can't find Iraq on a map? Americans are more educated and more ignorant than ever. Here's why. They are trained to perform rather than to know, to ace exams rather than love knowledge, to specialize in particular subjects rather to be curious about life as a whole. As a result, their existence bores them. After four years of higher education, they settle down to a life of Access Hollywood and People magazine. Kids who are attentive in class come home and sit with jaws agape as they watch the same mind-numbing videos over and over again. They don't read books unless they are required to by school.

I would rather have a child who goes to a community college and is a sponge for information than a child who goes to Harvard but has no passion for history, ideas or current events. Business success stories bear this out. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Larry Ellison all dropped out of school. They were successful because of their limitless curiosity, not their earth-shattering SAT score.

Our grades fixation is undermining our children and turning them into circus monkeys designed to perform. We have to start telling our kids that grades are only one barometer of a far more important issue: their curiosity about life. As I tell my kids repeatedly, "All I want to know is that you want to know."

Stress purpose as opposed to happiness.

Mothers and fathers telling their children "I just want you to be happy" is one of the silliest parenting mantras ever. What if being a lazy beachcomber makes the kid happy? What if womanizing does it for him, or drugs? This is aside from the fact that the only thing that brings real happiness is a sense of purpose, as Viktor Frankl compellingly argues in his 20th-century masterpiece Man's Search for Meaning. A child must be taught that his life has to be directional, other-oriented and purposeful. If he devotes his life to a worthy cause, then personal fulfillment and happiness will naturally follow. But if he squanders his potential, his life will be filled with misery. The pursuit of happiness makes a child a burden to himself. The pursuit of purpose, however, liberates our talents and brings joy.

Put family before friends.

Placing friends before family is yet another destructive modern value. Friends love you for your virtue, your sense of loyalty, your sense of humor. But family loves you for just being you. A child's formative years requires the unconditional love that only family can offer, rather than the more tentative love that friendship affords. This is not to say that friendship is not important, rather that the ratio of friendship-time to family-time in after-school hours must be at least five to one.

Seek love as opposed to attention.

Everyone today wants to be famous, especially our kids. I am convinced that the lust for attention is a result of the death of love. Hollywood celebrities have the adoration of the cameras. But they can't seem to stay married or keep themselves or their kids out of rehab. That's because the love of the masses is fickle and dependent on your ascendant or waning fortunes. It exploits human insecurity and leaves you feeling used.

Our children need to know that attention is a cheap forgery of love, a flimsy imitation of the real thing. They must learn to love people without expecting anything in return. To be the hero without the spotlight. To do right because it's right, when no one is looking, and where no recognition will follow from their virtuous act. Lending dignity to others is the surest way to acquire it yourself.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Cartoon stopped by the pusillanimous Dutch government

Post below lifted from GoV. See the original for links

It appears that the government of the Netherlands is loath to face another firestorm like the one brought on by Fitna, and has squeezed Ehsan Jami hard enough to persuade him not to release his planned animated cartoon about the Prophet's pedophilic marriage to Aisha.
Thanks to the intervention of the Dutch government, a second anti-Islam movie will not see the light, at least for now. "I can confirm that Mr Ehsan Jami has decided not to broadcast his controversial film," Ayhan Tunja, a member of the Muslim Coordinating Council of the Netherlands, told IslamOnline.net Tuesday, April 1, over the phone. "He has announced his decision on Dutch television," he added.

Jami, a former Muslim of Iranian origin, told the Netwrek TV show he has decided not to release his cartoon film, The Life of Muhammad, as expected on April 20. The film would have reportedly shows a sexually aroused prophet.

A clip from the film aired on a Dutch television channel last week showed a man said to be the prophet in the company of a 9-year-old wife on their way to a mosque to allegedly deflower his bride.

Jami said Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin has talked to him about repercussions of the film release on social harmony and coexistence in the Netherlands as well as it national interests. "The minister told Mr Jami he will be responsible for what happens," said Tunja.
So the government of the Netherlands, the leadership of a sovereign European state, has declared that people who perpetrate violence are not responsible for their behavior. Has it really come to this? Notice has now been given: cartoonists are to be held responsible for the destructive and murderous behavior of religious zealots. Total dhimmitude has now arrived in Holland:
The leaders of the Muslim minority, estimated at nearly one million, welcomed the new development. "I'm pleased that Mr Jami has decided to listen to the minister's advise [sic]. It is a wise decision," said Tunja.

He was particularly thankful for the government for its swift intervention in the issue. "We were planning a meeting with the justice minister to make it clear that Mr Jami's film was totally unacceptable and would trigger violence across the world," the Muslim activists told IOL. "We are very pleased that the minister acted fast even before our meeting."
But the rest of us can learn from Mr. Jami's mistake - unlike Geert Wilders, he allowed snippets of his movie to be revealed in advance. That gave the Dutch government a pretext for censoring him:
"Nobody saw or knew the content of Mr Wilders documentary in advance and that's why the government could do nothing," explained the Muslim activist. "But segments of Mr Jami's cartoon were shown on TV and that's why the government was able to complaint that its content was unacceptable," he added.
And the punchline?
"This is how freedom of expression works in the Netherlands."
Yes, I suppose it is.

Diagnosing the New British Disease

By Hal G.P. Colebatch

BEFORE MARGARET THATCHER made great moves to set British Industry to rights, the "British Disease" meant strike-happy unions, obsolete industrial plant and work practices, low productivity, and industries ripe for foreign takeovers. After eleven years of New Labour government, Thatcherism is looking like an anomalous interlude of relative social health between two rather different kinds of social pathologies. The new British Disease, in many ways more potentially totalitarian and threatening to British identity and traditional values than the old, is also rather harder to diagnose.

Further, while the Labour government of Gordon Brown is obviously on death row, it is hard to be confident that a change of government will tackle many of the problems with a sufficient degree of new thinking: Britain appears to be in a late phase of a successful Gramscian campaign to capture not merely parliamentary power (the British electorate shows itself highly distrustful of ideological extremists at general elections), but, probably more importantly, the institutions of power and ideology at local government and quango levels. Although David Cameron is now looking a better and more effective leader than pessimists-including me-previously thought, these are not things which either the Tory Party or the conventional political processes in general seem really geared to dealing with. The conflict taking place over what sort of country Britain will be in the future is social and cultural at least as much as it is political in the sense of conventional party activity at the national level.

New nanny-state intrusiveness at the local government level seems to be reported every day. Among the latest developments are that every town hall in Britain has been ordered to send out surveys demanding local residents' personal information including details of their children, mortgage, ethnic background, religion and sexual orientation. While this would be outrageous enough if the information were kept confidential, there is no assurance that it will be. Ministers have even given instructions that local councils must try to disguise their involvement in the survey to avoid attracting criticism. The questioning will be paid for out of council taxes and carried out every two years.

Questions on ethnicity and sexuality are intended to be used in government initiatives to promote greater numbers of local councillors from ethnic and sexual minority groups (which presumably means that potential local councillors not from such minority groups will be penalised). Town halls are also assembling a database called ContactPoint to contain details of every child in the country, including information on health and education.

I am waiting for some sign of anger at or defiance of this demand. I think I know how a demand from city hall bureaucrats to publicly disclose one's sexuality would be replied to in the USA, and I certainly hope I know how it would be replied to in Australia-the reply would be short and to the point. Perhaps the fact that more than 300,000 people turned out in Britain over the Christmas holidays to defy the ban on fox-hunting is a hopeful sign of some kind of fightback.

Meanwhile, it has been revealed that 80 per cent of new jobs are being filled by foreign workers. Poles and other well-educated and motivated Eastern Europeans are seen as more desirable employees than are the products of the British education system.

More than one in five births in Britain are now to immigrant mothers and, strikingly, more than half of British babies are now born outside marriage. All these statistics are significant but it seems to me that the last is the most important because it indicates how widespread the breakdown of conventional family life has become. It symbolises the "broken society", with an explosion of juvenile crime, drug abuse and alcoholism, gangs of fatherless feral children in the cities and mothers leading half-lives on welfare in inner-city slum apartments. The Daily Telegraph reported recently:
"Every year, almost 50,000 girls under 18 fall pregnant, leading critics to claim that government-led efforts to encourage safer sex are backfiring. The number who conceive is at its highest level since a multi-million-pound teenage pregnancy crackdown almost a decade ago. Britain has the highest per capita rate of teenage mothers in western Europe, despite also having a record number of school-age abortions .

"In the 1970s, rates were similar across western Europe, but while other states have had marked success in bringing down the numbers of pregnancies, Britain now has the highest teenage birth rate: six times that of Holland, four times that of Italy and three times higher than in France.

"The Government committed itself in 1999 to halving the teenage pregnancy rate among 16- and 17-year-olds by 2010, compared with 1998 figures.

"However, by 2005-the last year for which full figures are available-the rate fell by only 11.4 per cent. The same figures show that between 1999 and 2005 the overall number of 16- and 17-year-olds becoming pregnant increased from 39,247 to 39,804. When girls aged between 13 and 15 were added, the total rose from 46,655 to 47,277, more than when Labour launched the strategy in 1999.

"In 2005, 47 per cent of pregnancies among 16- and 17-year-olds were terminated, compared with 42 per cent in 1998. Among younger girls, the rate rose from 53 per cent to 58 per cent."
It has been pointed out repeatedly for years that government taxation and welfare policies are not only encouraging unmarried teenage mothers but are also penalising marriage heavily, despite the government's professed commitments to families and family values. In the 1970 fewer than one in ten children were born outside marriage and in the 1950s fewer than one in fifty. Marriage among the indigenous British population has slumped to the lowest level since records began to be kept more than 150 years ago. Evidence of the positive benefits of intact conventional families both for the well-being of children and the efficient delivery of social support is too overwhelming to need re-statement, yet this seems to have no effect on the government's anti-family incentives. Tory spokesman Iain Duncan Smith has said this "has done more to damage the prospects of children than at any time for more than 100 years".

In the past three years 4368 children have been admitted to hospital because they drank too much. Another study in 2007 showed that girls aged between eleven and thirteen are consuming almost double the amount of alcohol that they were seven years ago. The number of alcohol-related hospital admissions has increased by almost a third in two years with new twenty-four-hour drinking laws. More than 500 people a day are now being admitted to hospitals in England after drinking too much.

AS SCHIZOPHRENIC as the government's family policies has been the granting of knighthoods and other honours to icons of the drug culture, while declaring "war on drugs". In its attitude to the defence forces, it has committed more troops to war service overseas than any government since the Second World War, yet has stinted the defence forces of money and equipment and treated defence personnel so shabbily that recently all five former chiefs of the defence forces publicly condemned it. A number of military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan have been blamed directly on stinted and inadequate equipment, and complaints about equipment issued to servicemen on active service have been made by responsible senior officers for at least a decade. In a recent incident which seems to epitomise the shoddy treatment of servicemen, amputees and others mutilated by war wounds have had to go to public swimming-baths for rehabilitation, where in at least one case they have been verbally attacked by other pool-users offended by the sight.

Decline in educational standards, particularly physics and other "hard" subjects, is endemic. A third of university physics departments have closed in the past few years. Journalist Jeff Randall wrote of strategies announced in the 2005 budget to restore Britain's technological expertise:
"[Chancellor, now Prime Minister, Gordon Brown is] going to open 250 after-school science clubs. No, don't laugh, he means it.

"Truancy rates are running at their highest level since 1994, 55,000 pupils miss classes every day, despite the government having spent œ900 million to tackle the problem.

"With so many children refusing even to turn up for school, persuading them to stay behind for lessons on splitting the atom looks challenging ... "
Increasingly the government appears to tackle social problems by announcing a series of gimmicks which no one, including the government itself, even pretends to take seriously. There is something like Eastern Europe circa 1988 about this.

Two stories from the same edition of the British Weekly Telegraph of October 17, 2007, made ominous reading, the more so when one considered the fact that something like them could be read almost every week. One article stated that one child in seven was unable to write his or her own first name or say the alphabet after a year in school. An analysis of 535,000 five-year-olds showed that 76,500 could not write simple words such as mum, dad or cat. The other article was a feature by senior journalist Charles Moore on public health standards:
"Florence Nightingale's famous Notes on Nursing, published in 1859, state that "the greater part of nursing consists in cleanliness". In my edition, the foreword points out that much of Miss Nightingale's writing, excellent though it is, is now out of date. In particular, the need for cleanliness is well understood. That foreword was written in 1946.

"Now it is 2007, and we learn that nurses in the hospitals run by the Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells National Health Service Trust told patients suffering from diarrhoea to "go in their beds". Between 2004 and 2006, 90 patients died from Clostridium difficile, and the disease was a factor in the death of a further 241. "Were it not for bad nursing, bad medical attention and bad administration, none of these patients need have died. Indeed, they would not have contracted C. difficile at all unless they had gone into hospital. So, after 150 years' advance of education, technology, prosperity and science, we have lost what Florence Nightingale taught ."
Having been part of a government which has initiated or condoned attacks on most aspects of Britain's traditions, Prime Minister Gordon Brown now declares: "I want to see an Institute of Britishness so that we can discuss, debate and celebrate the ideas and writings that have made Britain the great country that it is . We must always strive to go further in understanding, valuing and celebrating our national history."

At the same time, Mr Brown more-or-less secretively signed the European Reform Treaty which constitutional experts say has further severely reduced Britain's sovereignty by handing a further swathe of power to the European Union. This suggests cognitive dissonance on an almost Fuhrerbunker scale.

The break-up of the union with Scotland, quite unthinkable in serious political circles a few years ago, has now never looked more probable.

Some commentators have drawn attention to the fact that Mohammed, or some variation thereof, is on track to become the most popular boys' name in England and Wales. The name was second only to Jack in 2007, which has been top for the last thirteen years. This says something about Britain's immigration policies over the last few years, and has implications about its future demographics. Further, there is a great deal of evidence that British-dwelling Muslims, particularly the young, are becoming more, not less radicalised with the passage of time. There are plans for a gigantic new "super-mosque" which will overshadow much of London. Conservative columnist Peter Hitchens wrote recently:
"The deeply English, deeply Christian city of Oxford, one of the homes of free thought, is now being asked to accept the Islamic call to prayer wafting from mosque loudspeakers over its spires and domes.

"If that is not a threat to our "way of life", then I don't know what is. Allowing the regular electronic proclamation of Allah's supremacy in a British city is not tolerance, but a surrender of the sky to a wholly different culture. Just you wait and see what opponents of this scheme are accused of."
However, I find it at least equally significant as the popularity of the name Mohammed the fact that in 2007, Alfie made it into the top ten for the first time in recent years. This, according to the press, may have been influenced by the hit single Lily Allen wrote about her brother, Alfie, as well as the remake of the film Alfie.

Alfie? In English history Alfred the Great was a noble, wise and heroic king, the deliverer of the nation, a patron of learning, an intrepid warrior, a champion of Christianity, one of the brightest lights of the Dark Ages whose darkness he did much to dispel, and whose achievements and fame have resisted all efforts at debunking or revisionism. Alfred is a name anyone might be proud of. Even today it has echoes of majesty and heroism. But Alfie? That it should be so rising in popularity speaks volumes about cultural infantilism, and not anything very pleasant. I have not seen the re-make of the film Alfie, but in the original film, starring Michael Caine, Alfie was a working-class lecher who got his friend's vulnerable wife pregnant and forced her to have an abortion. A hero for our times?

Meanwhile, the government's "equality" tsar, Trevor Phillips, has claimed British history should be re-written to make it more "inclusive". An example suggested was that it was actually the Turks, not Sir Francis Drake and co, who saved Britain from invasion by the Spanish Armada, a suggestion which a leading Turkish historian, Professor Mete Tuncay, is quoted as saying, "is not known at all".

The points I have listed here-and there are many more I might add-might be criticised as being not obviously connected, but I think this is not the case. Most of these things point in the same direction-to a slow but definite many-sided cultural breakdown.



By Jeff Jacoby

The global jihad is unpleasant. Consequently "Fitna," the controversial new film about the Koran and jihadist violence produced by the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, is also unpleasant. Parts of it are graphic and violent, and you might find it difficult to watch. But watch it you should (you can readily access it online), if only to remind yourself of two things the media are generally too intimidated or politically correct to dwell on: Jihadists are waging a bloody and barbaric war, and they are waging it with explicit reference to their religion.

Wilders's 16-minute film intersperses quotations from the Koran with scenes of Islamist atrocities, such as the Al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Madrid, the beheading of Nick Berg, and the "honor killing" of women. To drive home the point that such horrors are committed in the name of Islam by fervent Muslims, "Fitna" includes footage of Islamic preachers exhorting their followers to crush the infidels and win the world for Allah. ("Throats must be slit and skulls must be shattered," urges one. "This is the path to victory.") There are also clips indicating how pervasive such hateful indoctrination can be: In a scene aired on Saudi TV, a 3-year-old girl repeats what she has been taught: that according to the Koran, Jews are apes and pigs.

Yet what has been controversial about "Fitna" is not the abhorrent behavior it depicts, but that Wilders links such behavior to the Koran. Why that should be so notorious is unclear -- after all, the jihadists themselves emphatically cite the Koran to justify their violence.

Nevertheless, "Fitna" has been widely condemned. The Dutch prime minister issued statements in Dutch and English saying the film "serves no other purpose than to cause offense." UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pronounced it "offensively anti-Islamic." The European Union's Slovenian presidency blasted it for "inflaming hatred." Australian Foreign Minister Stephen Smith described it as "an obvious attempt to generate discord between faith communities."

There were denunciations aplenty, of course, from the Muslim world as well. Reuters reported that Iran's foreign ministry labeled the film "heinous, blasphemous, and anti-Islamic," while the Indonesian government declared it "an insult to Islam." In Jordan, 53 members of parliament demanded the expulsion of the Dutch ambassador. The Organization of the Islamic Conference denounced "Fitna" as "a deliberate act of discrimination against Muslims" meant to "provoke unrest and intolerance."

Granted, there is nothing subtle about Wilders's film. Anyone who didn't know better might think after watching it that Islam is irredeemably violent, or that all Muslims seethe with religious hatred. Neither is true. "Like all great religions," the scholar Daniel Pipes has written, "Islam is subject to a number of interpretations, from the mystical to the militant, from the quietist to the revolutionary. . . . The terroristic jihad against the West is one reading of Islam, but it is not the eternal essence of Islam." Zealots who insist that Islam itself is the enemy condemn us, in effect, to a war without end. They also betray the anti-Islamist moderates of the Muslim world, who are as repelled by the fanatics as non-Muslims are.

Still, it isn't as though Wilders had to invent anything. The violence "Fitna" portrays is horribly real, and the fanatics who commit it are explicit in saying they do so as Muslims. Where is the Islamic world's outrage against that? When has Iran's foreign ministry ever excoriated the beheading of a hostage, or the poisonous sermon of a jihadist imam, as "heinous, blasphemous, and anti-Islamic?" How often has the Organization of the Islamic Conference thundered its disapproval of "honor killings" or Islamist anti-semitism? When Theo van Gogh was murdered in public, when the Taliban turned Afghanistan into a repressive terror state, when fatwas were issued for the murder of Danish cartoonists -- where was the chorus of Muslim anguish *then?*

Nor is "Fitna," whatever its flaws, as dangerously misguided as the eagerness with which Western governments rushed to denounce it. Panicked at the prospect of Islamist violence, desperate to appease extremists who respond to "insults" with mobs and mayhem, they ostentatiously deplored Wilders's exercise of free speech instead of defending it. They would never have reacted that way to a film that criticized Christianity or the United States or European tradition -- and the Islamists know it. Cringing before bullies is not the way to defend Western civilization. There is room for "Fitna" in the marketplace of ideas. Heaven help us if we are too timorous to say so.


Bleeding Hearts but Tight Fists

Sixteen months ago, Arthur C. Brooks, a professor at Syracuse University, published "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism." The surprise is that liberals are markedly less charitable than conservatives. If many conservatives are liberals who have been mugged by reality, Brooks, a registered independent, is, as a reviewer of his book said, a social scientist who has been mugged by data. They include these findings:

Although liberal families' incomes average 6 percent higher than those of conservative families, conservative-headed households give, on average, 30 percent more to charity than the average liberal-headed household ($1,600 per year vs. $1,227).

* Conservatives also donate more time and give more blood.

* Residents of the states that voted for John Kerry in 2004 gave smaller percentages of their incomes to charity than did residents of states that voted for George Bush.

* Bush carried 24 of the 25 states where charitable giving was above average.

* In the 10 reddest states, in which Bush got more than 60 percent majorities, the average percentage of personal income donated to charity was 3.5. Residents of the bluest states, which gave Bush less than 40 percent, donated just 1.9 percent.

* People who reject the idea that "government has a responsibility to reduce income inequality" give an average of four times more than people who accept that proposition.

Brooks demonstrates a correlation between charitable behavior and "the values that lie beneath" liberal and conservative labels. Two influences on charitable behavior are religion and attitudes about the proper role of government.

The single biggest predictor of someone's altruism, Willett says, is religion. It increasingly correlates with conservative political affiliations because, as Brooks's book says, "the percentage of self-described Democrats who say they have 'no religion' has more than quadrupled since the early 1970s." America is largely divided between religious givers and secular nongivers, and the former are disproportionately conservative. One demonstration that religion is a strong determinant of charitable behavior is that the least charitable cohort is a relatively small one -- secular conservatives.

Reviewing Brooks's book in the Texas Review of Law & Politics, Justice Willett notes that Austin -- it voted 56 percent for Kerry while he was getting just 38 percent statewide -- is ranked by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as 48th out of America's 50 largest cities in per capita charitable giving. Brooks's data about disparities between liberals' and conservatives' charitable giving fit these facts: Democrats represent a majority of the wealthiest congressional districts, and half of America's richest households live in states where both senators are Democrats.

While conservatives tend to regard giving as a personal rather than governmental responsibility, some liberals consider private charity a retrograde phenomenon -- a poor palliative for an inadequate welfare state and a distraction from achieving adequacy by force, by increasing taxes. Ralph Nader, running for president in 2000, said: "A society that has more justice is a society that needs less charity." Brooks, however, warns: "If support for a policy that does not exist . . . substitutes for private charity, the needy are left worse off than before. It is one of the bitterest ironies of liberal politics today that political opinions are apparently taking the place of help for others."

In 2000, brows were furrowed in perplexity because Vice President Al Gore's charitable contributions, as a percentage of his income, were below the national average: He gave 0.2 percent of his family income, one-seventh of the average for donating households. But Gore "gave at the office." By using public office to give other people's money to government programs, he was being charitable, as liberals increasingly, and conveniently, understand that word.



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

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

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH 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.


Comments | Trackback

Friday, April 04, 2008

Homosexuals as a favoured class in Britain

And too bad about privacy

Theatreland will have to give up its bedroom secrets in the quest for funding, under new Arts Council requirements. Organisations applying for grants are being asked to state how many board members are bisexual, homosexual, heterosexual, lesbian or whose inclinations are "not known". Audrey Roy, the director of grants, said that the council needed to understand who its audience was and to whom its funding was going. "We see diversity as broader than race, ethnicity, faith and disability," she said. Question 22 of the Grants for the Arts forms, relating to sexual orientation, was not compulsory, she added, although the form states that it must be answered.

The question caused anger and bemusement among leading figures of the arts world yesterday. The Oscar-nominated actor Sir Ian McKellen, who is openly gay, said: "It sounds extraordinary. It shouldn't be on a form. It's quite inappropriate." Vanessa Redgrave, the actress and human rights campaigner, said: "Everyone should put down `trisexual', whoever you are. Britain has become the world's leading population of trisexuals."

Michael Frayn, the author of the farce Noises Off, suggested boxes to "specify how many members are longsighted or shortsighted, how many wear black socks or brown socks". Christopher Hampton, whose adaptation of God of Carnage is showing in the West End, said: "It's bureaucracy and political correctness gone mad."

The application form notes that the question is for government purposes only and will not enter into the grant decision, but that claim was contradicted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Its spokesman said: "We appreciate that, as a responsible public body they need to monitor their overall grant-making programmes. But it is absolutely not the case that sexual orientation monitoring is a government requirement."

Condemnation of the question spanned the arts. Julian Spalding, the former director of galleries and museums in Sheffield, Manchester and Glasgow, said: "I can't see what relevance it's got. It's a horrible invasion into one's personal and private life." He added: "What they like to do in bed is not the Arts Council's business."

Maggi Hambling, the painter who describes herself as "queer", said: "It's insidious, insulting and quite outrageous for the Arts Council to consider anyone's sexual orientation of any kind to be their business. It appears to be somewhat Hitlerian in its suggestion that grants will be given if, among the applicants, there is a nice smattering of dykes and queers."

Nicolas Kent, the artistic director of the Tricycle Theatre in London, said: "This is ridiculous. It has no relevance. The Arts Council is prone to huge overregulation, as seems to be the case with the whole of society. But the Arts Council has caught it very badly. They should advance the arts instead of ticking every box they invent."

Referring to the recent protest over the council's decision to cut the grants to prominent companies, Simon Callow, the gay actor, said: "The Arts Council comedy continues. What is difficult is to divine to what conceivable use they could put this information. I love the presence of a category for the Not Known - a despicable heresy, surely, in 2008?"

Almost a year ago James Purnell, then the Culture Secretary, vowed to relieve arts organisations of the burden of meeting "crude targets" as a condition of funding. Yet the Arts Council's application form also asks about ethnic backgrounds. The council said that the answers were confidential and exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act. It said that it does not issue guidelines on how to persuade board members to reveal details of their sex lives.


BBC is too scared of Islam, says novelist Ben Elton

Ben Elton has accused the BBC of unjust political correctness by allowing jokes about vicars but vetoing gags about imams. Elton, whose children attend a church school, said that the BBC was too "scared" of Islam and of jokes about Islam to let them pass.

Asked about the new law on religious hatred, and whether too much deference was being shown to religious people, he said: "I think it all starts with people nodding whenever anyone says, `As a person of faith . . .' "And I believe that part of it is due to the genuine fear that the authorities and the community have about provoking the radical elements of Islam. "There's no doubt about it, the BBC will let vicar gags pass but they would not let imam gags pass." He said the BBC might pretend that this hesitancy had something to do with moral sensibilities. "But it isn't. It's because they're scared."

Elton said the situation was so bad that even everyday sayings were frowned upon: "I wanted to use the phrase `Mohammed came to the mountain' and everybody said, `Oh, just don't! Just don't! Don't go there!' "It was nothing to do with Islam, I was merely referring to the old proverb, `If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain'. And people said, `Let's just not!' It's incredible."

The writer, whose latest novel, Blind Faith, addresses the cult of the individual in postmodern society, continued: "I'm quite certain that the average Muslim does not want everybody going around thinking, `We can't mention you. We've just got to pretend you don't exist because we're scared that somebody who claims to represent you will threaten to kill us.'" The comedian, who was interviewed by Third Way, a Christian culture magazine, admitted believing in "almost nothing", even though his children attend a church school.

He said people should be taught the essentials of Christianity, if only for cultural reasons. But he also said that "lack of faith" should be taught in schools. "I think the concept that faith in itself is a good thing should be questioned from day one. There's a presumption that if you're a religious leader you are in some way already halfway up to the moral high ground and your opinion has more relevance than anyone else's."


Muslims' fury forces schools to shelve homophilic storybooks for 5-year-olds

Christians have been complaining about this stuff for years but they don't count, of course

Two primary schools have withdrawn storybooks about same-sex relationships after objections from Muslim parents. Up to 90 gathered at the schools to complain about the books which are aimed at pupils as young as five. One story, titled King & King, is a fairytale about a prince who turns down three princesses before marrying one of their brothers. Another named And Tango Makes Three features two male penguins who fall in love at a New York zoo.

Bristol City Council said the two schools had been using the books to ensure they complied with gay rights laws which came into force last April. They were intended to help prevent homophobic bullying, it said. But the council has since removed the books from Easton Primary School and Bannerman Road Community School, both in Bristol. A book and DVD titled That's a Family!, which teaches children about different family set-ups including gay or lesbian parents, has also been withdrawn.

The decision was made to enable the schools to "operate safely" after parents voiced their concerns at meetings. Around 40 are said to have gathered at Easton to speak to staff and another 50 at Bannerman Road. Members of the Bristol Muslim Cultural Society said parents were upset at the lack of consultation over the use of the materials. Farooq Siddique, community development officer for the society and a governor at Bannerman Road, said there were also concerns about whether the stories were appropriate for young children.

"The main issue was there was a total lack of consultation with parents," he said. "The schools refused to deal with the parents, and were completely authoritarian. "The agenda was to reduce homophobic bullying and all the parents said they were not against that side of it, but families were saying to us 'our child is coming home and talking about same-sex relationships, when we haven't even talked about heterosexual relationships with them yet'. "They don't do sex education until Year Six and at least there you have got the option of withdrawing the children. "But here you don't have that option apparently. You can't withdraw because it is no particular lesson they are used in."

He added: "In Islam homosexual relationships are not acceptable, as they are not in Christianity and many other religions but the main issue is that they didn't bother to consult with parents. "The issue should have been, how do we stop bullying in general, and teaching about homosexuality can be a part of that. "This was completely one-sided. "Homosexuality is not a priority to parents but academic achievement is. This just makes parents think 'What the heck is my child being taught at school?'."

He said the two schools were 60 to 70 per cent Muslim but pointed out that non-Muslim parents were among those who complained. Traditional Islamic views condemn homosexuality but there are liberal movements, such as the Al-Fatiha Foundation, which is dedicated to gay Muslims.

The schools used materials promoted by the No Outsiders project, led by academics at Sunderland University. A spokesman for Bristol City Council said: "All Bristol schools have a legal duty to report and deal with homophobic harassment as part of the curriculum since April 2007." She said the council had "temporarily withdrawn" the use of the materials in question and was liaising with various groups to "ensure that the topic can be addressed in an inclusive manner in the curriculum". Ben Summerskills of gay rights group Stonewall said: "The small number of parents who make a fuss will cause children to think there is something wrong."


States of the Mindless

MARK STEYN on the Leftist preference for dreams over reality

There was a sad little interview in the New York Times the other day. Carmen Pelaez is a playwright and, therefore, a liberal, but she's also a Cuban-American, and she was a little disappointed in her ideological soulmates' reaction to her latest play. Rum & Coke examines in part the West's cultural fascination with Castro and the revolution that time forgot. You know the sort of thing - the Che posters decorating the Obama campaign offices in Houston; Michael Moore's paean to Cuban health care, though it doesn't seem to have worked out so great for Fidel. The enduring sheen of revolutionary chic is in forlorn contrast to the decrepitude of the real thing. "When I started writing the play, I thought people just didn't know what was happening in Cuba," Miss Pelaez told the Times. "But the longer I live here, the more I realized, they don't care. . . . They would rather keep their little pop revolution instead of saying it is a dictatorship. I had somebody come to me after a show and say, `Don't ruin Cuba for me!' Well, why not? They're holding on to a fantasy."

"Don't ruin Cuba for me" the way the Vietnamese ruined Vietnam for Tom Hayden. The old leftosaurus went back for the first time in 32 years to see the country he and his then-wife, fair Hanoi Jane, had saved for Communism. Alas and alack, he found the ingrate natives in the midst of a capitalist frenzy. It's been like that awhile on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. A few years back in South Kensington, I ran into Mrs. Thatcher's daughter Carol looking for a taxi to Heathrow. This was in the grey days following the Conservatives' act of matricide, when the Iron Lady's wan successor, John Major, was trying to keep the party's ramshackle show on the road. "I'm off to Hanoi," said Carol, cheerily. "It's a boom town. These Vietnamese chaps seem to have got the hang of capitalism a lot better than the Tories." As he glumly informed readers of The Nation, Tom Hayden did not enjoy hearing his old revolutionary chums regaling him with a lot of stuff about GDP per capita: Don't ruin Vietnam for me.

"Pop revolution" is a fine coinage. Pop stars have been peddling revolution for nigh on half a century, and they're still doing it. At the Live 8 all-star gala for Africa a couple of years back, Madonna urged us to "start a revolution." Like Africa hasn't had enough of those? Along with her fellow members of the aristorockracy, Madonna lives in a whirl of hyper-capitalism - agents, managers, lawyers, accountants, publishers, all tussling over rights to her songs, her children's books of recent years, her sex book of earlier years with the nude photographs of her bottom hanging over the garden wall while a gay black dance troupe cavorts below with a German wolfhound, her digitally remastered mouthwash gargles . . . For a quarter century, every aspect of Madonna's life has been lawyered up to the hilt and leveraged to the max. In real revolutions, the mob rises up, pillages the CD factory, torches your inventory. Royalty statements become optional and occasional. All a bit of an inconvenience frankly. Still, if you can hold the revolution somewhere else, I'll certainly wear the T-shirt. And, anyway, where's the harm in it for Somalia or Congo? When you ain't got nothing, you got nothing to lose. Don't ruin Africa for me.

"They're holding on to a fantasy," says Carmen Pelaez. But, once a fantasy's taken hold, it's hard to dislodge. On the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, 55 percent of Iraqis polled by ABC and the BBC said their lives are going well. True, 73 percent of Kurds and 62 percent of the Shiites reckon things are swell, compared with only 33 percent of the Sunnis, but that's what happens when you spend the first few years after liberation pining for the ancien r,gime. Did that poll get a lot of play in your local paper? Didn't think so. Don't ruin Iraq for me. The Code Pinkers at Berkeley know it's a Bush quagmire, even if the Iraqis don't.

What is Iraq? What is Vietnam? What is Cuba? Well, each is a state, but it's also a state of mind - or mindlessness. These are real places where real people live, real Iraqis and Vietnamese and Cubans, but they're vague and amorphous, like the anonymous natives in the British Empire yarns of my boyhood, disposable extras filling out the background and only rarely getting to play a scene with a star - as when Cameron Diaz was obliged to apologize to the citizens of Peru for swanning about Machu Picchu with an attractive designer bag bearing a red star and the Maoist slogan "Serve the People." Unfortunately, the last time a bunch of Maoists showed up in the Andes, it was the Shining Path guerrillas, and instead of serving the people they slaughtered them, 70,000 or so.

Well, what do the Peruvians know, or the Vietnamese, the Cubans, any of them? Don't ruin the frisson of vicarious revolution for me. Meanwhile, the careless disdain for the peasantry gets closer to home. The archbishop of Canterbury says the introduction of sharia is inevitable in the United Kingdom, which is a tough break not just for those Brits who believe in quaint concepts like common law, but also for Muslims who left their moribund homelands in search of free societies unencumbered by Islamic jurisprudence. Don't ruin Britain for me? Hey, sometimes radical transformation isn't just for T-shirt slogans.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Thursday, April 03, 2008

British police worker who fought forced marriages is facing dismissal for speaking publicly about their plight

A police worker praised by MPs for protecting thousands of girls from forced marriages is facing dismissal for speaking publicly about their plight. Philip Balmforth has been removed from his duties and faces a disciplinary hearing next week after giving an interview to The Times about Asian children who go missing from schools in Bradford. The former police inspector, regarded as a national authority on "honour-based" violence, stands accused of "damaging the reputation" of West Yorkshire Police by speaking to a newspaper without consent.

It is understood that the force, which has investigated 176 cases of forced marriage in the past year alone, took action against Mr Balmforth after receiving a complaint from Bradford council. Senior figures on the local authority are said to have claimed that his high-profile work was damaging the city's image and was "bad for regeneration".

Last week 56 MPs signed a Commons early day motion praising Mr Balmforth. It was tabled by Ann Cryer, the MP for Keighley and a campaigner for the welfare of ethnic minority women. The motion applauds his work "in protecting thousands of vulnerable girls in the Bradford district" and commends the police "for having the foresight to engage Philip 12 years ago, thus enabling him to give so many young women the right to choose whom and when to marry". Ninety per cent of the victims who have been dealt with by the Government's Forced Marriage Unit are from a Pakistani or Bangladeshi background and the majority are taken to their families' countries of origin to be married, often to a first cousin.

Mr Balmforth, a full-time police support worker whose post as vulnerable persons officer (Asian women) is partly funded by Bradford social services, has been contacted for help by more than 2,000 local women in recent years. He was interviewed by The Times this month after the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into domestic violence established that 33 pupils had vanished from schools in Bradford. Mr Balmforth suggested that every education authority in the country should be asked: "How many children did you lose last year? And where are they?"

The comments are telling, especially from local people:

"Bradford council refused to comment most probably because there are so few councillors that can speak English. I would be very surprised if Mr Balmforth ever returns to his role as he has committed the most heinous of hate crimes in this country today. He has turned over a rock and told us what **** under it, which this government absolutely hates".


British child psychologist warns that digital-age children should be left to take risks

Asked by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to investigate the new dangers to children being brought up in the digital age, Tanya Byron last week produced a 224-page report. The child psychologist's recommendations included a cinema-style system of classification for video games and a thorough public education campaign. However, she warns that protecting children against all risks stunts their development and an important part of growing up is learning to assess and deal with danger

Shortly before she published a report last week on keeping children safe in the online age, Dr Tanya Byron was invited to lunch with Gordon Brown at Chequers. It was a family affair: Byron, her husband Bruce, who plays DC Terry Perkins in The Bill, and their two children, Lily, 12, and Jack, 10, all went along. Lunch at the prime minister's country estate is the sort of occasion when any parent would want their little ones to be bright, presentable and on their best behaviour. But not even Byron, a child psychologist who has advised millions on parenting through her television series, is immune from modest rebellion.

"My son piped up just before we were going and he said, `Mummy, I could take my PlayStation and I could really make you scared in front of the prime minister'. He could. The prospect of son Jack smuggling in some dodgy game and whipping out his portable PlayStation to blast away in front of the prime minister had Byron "feeling slightly twitchy". That's not surprising given that she was about to advise Brown on how to protect young children from unsuitable computer material. But in typical calm style she simply said: "No, darling. You don't play those games, so let's not go there."

A tall, curvaceous woman with wide eyes and a warm smile, Byron must be as annoying as hell to all those postfeministas who say you can't have it all. She is clever, articulate, attractive and a natural performer, as well as being a mother and government adviser. Although most people know her from television programmes such as Little Angels and The House of Tiny Tearaways, she is no pop-psycho with more beauty than brains. She did her first degree at York, a masters at University College London and a doctorate at University College hospital and Surrey University. For 18 years she worked in the National Health Service, rising to be a consultant for children with severe mental disorders. She still works one day a week as a consultant in child mental health, although most of her time is taken up filming with the BBC.

Glamour, fame, acclaim - yet Byron, 41, also retains the common sense of an ordinary mum: making her the perfect candidate for a report into children growing up in a world where the risks, as well as benefits, of the internet and computer games are all-pervasive. "When I came to doing the report . . . concerns were very much fuelled by a lack of understanding of the technology. People were asking, is it all big, bad and scary out there? I know a lot more than I did six months ago. It's made me feel more positive and confident and less anxious."

Of course she recognises the dangers - from paedophiles to porn, violence and cyberbullying. In her report, which arrived with much ministerial fanfare last week, she carefully examines the scientific evidence about how children are affected by nasty computer games or hardcore porn. Research, she concludes, shows mixed results.

Although, for example, there is a correlation between aggression and playing violent computer games, it's not clear that there is a causal relationship - that violent games make children more violent. Convenient, since any kind of ban would be a political minefield. In person, though, she is more forthright. "I'm really clear that adult content is harmful and inappropriate for young children particularly," she says. "They do not have the neural networks in place to be able to critically evaluate the content, to differentiate fantasy from reality." Byron would like the law on such matters to be clearer and to be applied with more vigour: "I am saying clarify the law . . . be clear about when there is content on websites that is breaking the law."

She also encourages parents to challenge the classification of computer games if they think they are inappropriate: "It's important to have a system where there can be a challenge, where people can complain."

A less astute person might have let such conclusions suck them into recommending censorship of violent games or websites. Byron knows that won't work: "If you go down the censorship route, the content would still be there somewhere. Children would go online to websites outside the UK, to unmoderated sites." And parents, already struggling to keep up, might have even less idea what their youngsters are doing. "The rapid pace at which new media are evolving has left adults and children stranded either side of a generational digital divide," she says. Older people may still regard the internet as a parallel universe that somehow arrives through a machine at the office or home, but for youngsters it's a seamless part of their lives. They are the cyborg generation.

The answer, Byron believes, is to trust in the better side of human nature. Families can navigate the risks provided they are informed and sensible. "I'm more of a `half-full' girl than a `half-empty' girl. That's how I like to live life," she explains. Her report, which runs to more than 200 pages, is packed with recommendations some of which the government has promised to adopt. Key measures include a UK council on child internet safety to develop voluntary codes of practice for the industry and better information for the public; teaching adults about "parental control" systems on computers; a new classification of computer games like those used for films; and courses in schools to teach children "e-safety".

It's hard to argue against any of it (although whether the portly public sector needs yet another quango is debatable). Byron, using common sense, already regulates her children's use of computers: "They don't have a computer in their own rooms. We have got some in the office and one downstairs in the kitchen. Gaming and going online is good . . . but in a way that is right for their age and stage of development. It's something you do after your homework. It never takes place instead of a family meal. When my son is gaming and I'm cooking, he's there and I know what he's doing."

Her daughter, two years older, is given more leeway and Byron admits that she does not know exactly what her daughter does online: "We have a good relationship and I respect her privacy. In the same way I don't know entirely what's in her diary. But I know my child; I know when something has upset them or when they are distressed." They talk, they work it out, just as they would some other problem. That, in a nutshell, is how Byron believes parents should approach bringing up children in the digital age. You can buy software to block websites, you can spy on children's internet history, you can restrict access when they are young - but in the end children are going to go out into the big wide world and need to be able to look after themselves.

"We live in a risk-averse culture, but risk is a developmental imperative of childhood and I think we need to recognise that. It's about fostering the independent child. What I want to get across is that [dealing with the online world] is similar to how we would parent children in the offline world."

That old world has its own temptations, for adults as well as children. It's clear that Byron enjoys the cameras and corridors of power: "I really like advising politicians. I really liked saying to the PM this morning, `The UK child internet safety council, you set it up, we could take a global lead, what do you reckon?' And he says, `Okay'."

Is she going to be on the internet safety council? "Oh no," she laughs. "I'm outta here. It's all about kids for me. I'd much rather work on behalf of children." So she doesn't want to be a politician? She gives that big disarming smile again: "Do you know, I really like advising them . . ." She has already become too much of a politician to say no.


Conservatives are happier

This is a very common finding. Leftists are the miseries of the world. Discontent is Leftist

American parents are much more likely to be happy than non-parents. This is for two reasons, argues Mr Brooks, an economist at Syracuse University. Even if children are irksome now, they lend meaning to life in the long term. And the kind of people who are happy are also more likely to have children. Which leads on to Mr Brooks's most controversial finding: in America, conservatives are happier than liberals.

Several books have been written about happiness in recent years. Some have tried to discern which nations are the happiest. Many more purport to offer a foolproof guide to self-fulfilment. Others wonder if the obsessive pursuit of happiness is itself making people miserable. Mr Brooks offers something different. He writes only about Americans, thus avoiding the pitfalls of trying to figure out, for example, whether Japanese people mean the same thing as Danes when they say they are happy. And he writes intriguingly about the politics of happiness.

In 2004 Americans who called themselves "conservative" or "very conservative" were nearly twice as likely to tell pollsters they were "very happy" as those who considered themselves "liberal" or "very liberal" (44% versus 25%). One might think this was because liberals were made wretched by George Bush. But the data show that American conservatives have been consistently happier than liberals for at least 35 years.

This is not because they are richer; they are not. Mr Brooks thinks three factors are important. Conservatives are twice as likely as liberals to be married and twice as likely to attend church every week. Married, religious people are more likely than secular singles to be happy. They are also more likely to have children, which makes Mr Brooks confident that the next generation will be at least as happy as the current one.

When religious and political differences are combined, the results are striking. Secular liberals are as likely to say they are "not too happy" as to say they are very happy (22% to 22%). Religious conservatives are ten times more likely to report being very happy than not too happy (50% to 5%). Religious liberals are about as happy as secular conservatives.

Why should this be so? Mr Brooks proposes that whatever their respective merits, the conservative world view is more conducive to happiness than the liberal one (in the American sense of both words). American conservatives tend to believe that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can succeed. This makes them more optimistic than liberals, more likely to feel in control of their lives and therefore happier. American liberals, at their most pessimistic, stress the injustice of the economic system, the crushing impersonal forces that keep the little guy down and what David Mamet, a playwright, recently summed up as the belief that "everything is always wrong". Emphasising victimhood was noble during the 1950s and 1960s, says Mr Brooks. By overturning Jim Crow laws, liberals gave the victims of foul injustice greater control over their lives. But inasmuch as the American left is now a coalition of groups that define themselves as the victims of social and economic forces, and in as much as its leaders encourage people to feel helpless and aggrieved, he thinks they make America a glummer place.

So much for right versus left. Mr Brooks also finds that extremists of both sides are happier than moderates. Some 35% of those who call themselves "extremely liberal" say they are very happy, against only 22% of ordinary liberals. For conservatives, the gap is smaller: 48% to 43%. Extremists are happy, Mr Brooks reckons, because they are certain they are right. Alas, this often leads them to conclude that the other side is not merely wrong, but evil. Some two-thirds of America's far left and half of the far right say they dislike not only the other side's ideas, but also the people who hold them.

Oddly for a political writer, Mr Brooks thinks his country is doing pretty well. Americans are mostly free to pursue happiness however they choose with little interference from the state. Well-meaning coercion is less common than in Europe, though it can still backfire spectacularly. He cites this example: a county in Virginia recently banned giving food to the homeless unless it was prepared in a county-approved kitchen, to prevent food poisoning. Churches stopped ladling soup, and more homeless people were forced to scavenge in skips. This hurt not only the hungry, but also the volunteers who might have found satisfaction in helping them. The surest way to buy happiness, argues Mr Brooks, is to give some of your time and money away.


The penny drops about the sexual revolution

Conservatives said all this stuff from the outset but from time to time women gulled by Leftist emptiness realize that they were had. One speaks below:

Women really screwed themselves, metaphorically speaking, into an unwinnable position when we separated love and marriage from sex in the sexual revolution. We thought we were being so clever about it. Turns out all we've done is liberate men, not ourselves.

Men have strong biological urges - their sex drive. Women also have a very strong biological urge - to bear children. Normally this works out well for both sexes. However. cue the `60s and the sexual revolution. Now the social norm is to be sexually active long before marriage.

A 60 Minutes report last night called DIY Mums got me thinking. When our mothers in the `60s declared themselves equally capable of sex without love and marriage we liberated a whole generation of men to have sex with us without any commitment. In the old days there was a courtship, some steamy make-out sessions and then an engagement, a wedding and finally the consumation of the relationship. Now when women want to have children men are nowhere to be seen, despite being in abundance during our promiscuous 20s.

Companies are meeting increasing demand selling donor sperm over the internet so women can become single mothers. A milk urn arrives on the doorstep with the frozen samples inside. You take the syringe and draw up the semen and then insert it where it's supposed to go. Then play the waiting game. The commercialisation of the process aside, are women doing themselves, not to mention their future children, a huge disservice by becoming a single-parent family? But these women claim they have no choice. It's this way or it's no way. And motherhood is too strong a call to ignore.

I totally understand the compulsion to mother. As your 20s begin to fade you hear the rising tick tock of the biological clock that causes a near-daily panic of arithmetic: "If I meet Mr Right today, we could go out for a year, get engaged for a year, be married for a year before I get pregnant, so I'll only be 28 when I get pregnant - whew". As the years pass things get abbreviated, "If I meet him today, we could go out for six months before getting engaged, have a six-month engagement and then get pregnant six months into married life. Then I'll still be a mother by the time I'm 35." Gulp.

For many women, as 30 comes and goes with no man on the horizon, or at least not one who wants children, a job and a happily ever after, the sums start getting a little more frantic. When 40 looms the deadline is getting really uncomfortably close. It's now or never. But why would men want to get married and have children? Marriage and kids used to be the price to pay for getting your girlfriend to have sex with you. Now it's a matter of, `why buy the cow if you get the milk for free?'.

Now I know there are lots and lots of upstanding guys who really do want to have children. And that's great. But you're a diminishing breed. Every day we read a story in the paper about how hard it is to find a bloke, even more so to find one who'll get married and have kids.

Maybe it's time for the women's movement to move forward again and reclaim some things that were lost. Exchange our sexual freedom for commitment to what we want, not what men want. To put it very bluntly, in order to enjoy regular sex men must marry us. Of course, for this to happen we must stop having sex before we get married. Before you start tapping out `prude' to me in an email, think about what we get back - men may actually want to get married again. Coz right now they don't. Every night there seems to be a TV show about 20 women vying for one man's marriage proposal. Heck, even the Scud was in a position to choose from a bevy of babes and I mean really, can you imagine? I'm not positive but I think he gets his monobrow waxed daily.

Parenting is one of the greatest joys I've known. It's not for everyone. But for those women who know that's what they really, really want, to be robbed of it because of a hippie-based social movement more than 30-odd years ago seems cruel and ironic. It was seen as a great leap forward for women and equality. Turns out we didn't see what we were giving up and we may actually have lost far more than we gained. Come on, sisterhood. Let's do something - viva la revolucion!



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.


Comments | Trackback

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

UK Muslim Bus Driver Kicks Passengers Off Bus...So He Can Pray!

I'm not sure this story is a good idea so soon after the Fitna flap that had Ace so exercised, but maybe this could act as a good test post. There is nothing wrong with objecting to unreasonable intrusions of religion in public life, and that's what, IMHO this is:
The white Islamic convert rolled out his prayer mat in the aisle and knelt on the floor facing Mecca. Passengers watched in amazement as he held out his palms towards the sky, bowed his head and began to chant. One guy whipped out his cell phone to videotape the special moment from outside the bus. The video can be viewed at The Sun Online.

"Eventually everyone started complaining. One woman said, `What the hell are you doing? I'm going to be late for work'."

After a few minutes the driver calmly got up, opened the doors and asked everyone back on board. But when the already unnerved passengers saw the driver's rucksack on the floor, they refused to get back on. "One chap said, `I'm not getting on there now'". "An elderly couple also looked really confused and worried.

"After seeing that no-one wanted to get on he drove off and we all waited until the next bus came about 20 minutes later. I was left totally stunned. It made me not want to get on a bus again."
Perhaps they were being paranoid. But as one person said in the comment section: "You can't fault anyone for not wanting to get back on after the rucksack came out - the London bombings are still very much with the general public and it is a legitimate concern that we all have to live with. The world IS a much different place post 9-11/7-7."

Also, judging from the comments, people would very much like to see this bus driver "sacked". I totally agree.


An anti-civil-rights commission in Michigan

Post below lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links

The citizens of Michigan rose up in 2006 to protect their own civil rights by passing Proposition 2, prohibiting their state from discriminating against or granting preferential treatment to any individual based on race. They still, however, are in desperate need of protection from those appointed to watch over those rights, the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, and even from those whose task is to watch over the watchers, the press.

First, some background. Several years ago, as discussed here, the Young Republican Club at Michigan's Grand Valley State University held a satirical but politically pointed bake sale to highlight the unfairness of racial preferences, offering cupcakes blacks and women at a lower price than they charged men. These "bake sales" were a popular form of protest against racial preferences on college campuses across the country, and they were often effective enough to elicit outrage and even outright repression.

The effect at Grand Valley State, however, was unusual, and a bit more extreme, since the protesters and their faculty advisor were complicit in the suppression of their rights. The Club's leaders resigned. As I wrote at the time, quoting an article that no longer seems to be available:
Paul Leidig, the club's faculty adviser, said "the club supported the idea of the bake sale as a satirical form of expression against affirmative action." But Leidig, who also is chairman of the Ottawa County Republican Party, said he did not know the students planned to use a racially biased price scale when he approved the event. "Had I known that, I would have not approved it," he said.

As a result of the controversy, Leidig said he advised the students to consider a leadership change to acknowledge they respect the fact people were offended by the bake sale.
With faculty advisors as clueless as Paul Leidig, who needs clueless administrators? But GVSU had the latter in droves, who proceeded to bring charges against the students for violating the school's anti-discrimination policy. The Republican Club, acting like many leaders of the state's Republican Party, apologized, groveled, and ultimately disbanded. As the Grand Rapids Press reminds us in an article today,
Valley State University clamped down three years ago when a student group attempted to apply affirmative action principles to cupcake pricing. White men were charged $2; blacks and white women were charged 75 cents; Asians and Latinos were charged 50 cents and American Indians were charged a nickel.

Many potential customers complained the bake sale was just plain tasteless, and university officials put the College Republicans on probation for violating a policy requiring financial transactions be nondiscriminatory.
You might think that a state civil rights commission would have been on the case from the beginning, stepping in to protect the First Amendment rights of students to parody university behavior they find objectionable. If you did, you would have course been wrong. Well, half-wrong; the Michigan Civil Rights Commission remains alert and on the case, but on the wrong side.
The Michigan Civil Rights Commission will meet Monday at GVSU's Allendale campus to take testimony about what can be done to create a learning environment that's amenable to all. "Free speech and hate speech can be difficult to balance," said Harold Core, the commission's spokesman.
I have only two problems with this observation: 1) A "bake sale" parody (actually, it's more a direct reflection than a parody) is not "hate speech"; 2) GVSU didn't "balance" anything; it put students on probation for exercising their First Amendment rights, thus destroying their organization. And who is watching these watchers, holding them up to the ridicule they deserve? Not the Grand Rapids Press, whose reporter writes with a pseudo-profundity that echoes the emptiness at the core of the Civil Rights Commission:
The bottom line: One student's right to free speech often straddles another's right to live and learn on a hate-free campus. Sometimes it is not easy to separate what's acceptable and what's not.
Perhaps eventually some fearless GVSU students will put on a parody of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission, portraying it as actually supporting rather than opposing discrimination based on race.

Let's worry about Islamofascism

A comment from India

The resolution adopted by Muslim theologians representing the various schools of Islam at the All-India Anti-terrorism Conference organised by Darul Uloom, Deoband, 'denouncing' terrorism but condoning radical Islam's ghastly excesses, apart from remaining silent on Islamist terrorism in India which continues to extract a terrible price, is of a piece with the Observatory Report on Islamophobia released by the Organisation of Islamic Conference at its recent meeting in Dakar, Senegal. Both documents seek to justify manufactured Muslim rage and lay the blame for the resultant death and destruction at the doors of everybody else but Muslims.

It is ironical that Darul Uloom, Deoband, should have taken it upon itself to preach to others the virtues of tolerance - Deobandis are known for neither tolerating others or their faith nor allowing Muslims the freedom to subscribe to modernism and its attendant values. Indeed, Deobandi madarsas at home and abroad, especially in Pakistan, are known to breed Islamofascists whose dark thoughts and darker deeds generate Islamophobia against which the OIC has demanded an international law. Of course, Islamofascism must remain unrestrained and Islamofascists must be allowed the right to practice their ideology of hate. To contest this would amount to Islamophobia, and Islamophobes, as we have now been told, have no right to exist. So, like the proverbial lamb, we should meekly surrender to our slaughter. The least we can do is believe the bogus declaration issued by mullahs who gathered at Darul Uloom, Deoband.

Here's a confession: There was a time of innocence when I believed in the thesis that there is more than one Islam. There were those with whom you could swap ideas, share jokes and even the cup that cheers. A decade later, during which time I spent three years in Cairo and travelled more than once into the heart of Islam - well, almost, since non-Muslims are not allowed beyond Jeddah, the gateway to Mecca and Medina - I stand converted to the view that any talk of there being a moderate Islam or Islam as a religion of peace merely because of the salutation sa'laam is so much bunkum.

In any event, the ummah sees Islam as a religion that demands absolute submission, which is not really the same as a religion that is predicated on peace and equality. And although the Quran does not stress on compulsion, it does not overflow with kindness towards those who do not submit to god's will either. The best they can hope for is to be protected by a treaty (dhimmah), which in this day and age would mean unlimited appeasement, and the privileges of the dhimmi are purchased by paying jiziya apart from humiliating conditions of subservience, for instance communal budgeting and a 'Muslim first' policy, as is being done in our country.

The manufactured rage over Pope Benedictine's comments at a German university about how the Sword of Islam cleared the way for Islam's march beyond Arabia - he was quoting from an obscure Byzantine text - revived memories of the late Aurobindo Ghosh (he spent his last years waging an intellectual battle against Islamofascism from his perch in Texas) and his painstaking research to prove that Islam and peace never co-existed; that the sword of Islam is as much a reality today as it was in the distant past. In a sense, he was right, as much as the Byzantine text the Pope quoted is correct in pitilessly stating a fact that we tend to overlook in our zeal to draw distinctions between moderate and fanatical Islam to cover up for the crimes of the latter more than anything else.

Indeed, India's history records this fact in the most lurid colours. The mass slaughter of Hindu men and enslavement of Hindu women and children, the destruction of Hindu antiquities and temples (of which the best examples are Somnath, Ayodhya, Kashi and Mathura), the brutal efforts to efface Hindu tradition and the rapacious means adopted to expand the frontiers of Islamic rule - Jadunath Sarkar and RC Majumdar have chronicled how Muslim invaders, and later those who sat on the masnad of Delhi, were relentlessly engaged in waging jihad against Hindus - are too well-known to require elaboration.

The bloodletting in Jammu & Kashmir, the ethnic cleansing of the Valley to lay the foundation of Nizam-e-Mustafa, the bombings in Mumbai and elsewhere, the persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh and Malaysia by preachers of fanatical Islam who have now come to dominate the centrestage of politics in those countries and the pathetic, craven approach of accommodation and concession adopted by the political class of India which was, and continues to be, reluctant to confront the truth, should fashion any honest critique of Islamism and highlight its fascist character. This is not about indulging in Islamophobia, which so agitates the OIC and its cheerleaders, but about coming to grips with the true dimensions of Islamofascism, which should be of over-riding concern for those who believe in freedom and cherish the values of modernism that collectively form the foundation of free and plural societies.

Yes, there will be strident criticism and staunch opposition to any attempt to expose Islamofascism for what it is. And the most strident criticism and the staunchest opposition will not come from the OIC and the mullahs of Darul Uloom, Deoband, but from those who wilfully ignore facts to foist fiction which encourages bigoted hate mongers to typecast those who are appalled by Islamofascism as Islamophobes. The protest will primarily come from two quarters:

The Lib-Left intelligentsia, which continues to labour under the self-perpetuating myth that all of Islam is a religion of peace and only an insignificant, fringe minority is to be blamed for distorting the great faith that was born in the sterile sands of Arabia; and,

The so-called moderate Muslims who till now have skilfully used doublespeak to position themselves as representatives of the ummah, more so in liberal democracies. Their status is now seriously threatened by those who have no hesitation in acknowledging the true nature of Islam both as a faith and a weapon of subjugation.

Those who believe in liberty and freedom of thought need not fear either. Being charged with Islamophobia is a small price to pay for securing our future.


Criticism and Islam

By AFSHIN ELLIAN (Mr. Ellian, who fled Iran in 1983, is a professor of legal philosophy at Leiden University in the Netherlands)

Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders put the 15-minute movie about the Quran on the Internet Thursday night. But for weeks before anyone saw it, the Dutch flag was burned around the Islamic world. Iran's undemocratically-elected parliament endorsed a boycott of the Netherlands, and Web sites linked to al Qaeda called for terrorist attacks. Americans may be accustomed to images of angry bearded men setting their flag alight. The Dutch aren't. In response, the government raised the national terrorist threat level to "substantial" while Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende distanced himself from the movie. Until the last moment, he urged Mr. Wilders not to show the film.

The message of "Fitna" is that the Quran is the living inspiration for jihadists. Without the Quran's violent passages, the film suggests, Islamic terrorism would not exist. Mr. Wilders shows verses from the Quran alongside hate speeches by imams and graphic images of Islamic terrorism -- from 9/11 to the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the London attack a year later. He uses footage from the video-taped beheading of a hostage by Islamic terrorists. He also shows the most famous of the Danish cartoons (the one with a bomb on Muhammad's head) that triggered demonstrations across the Muslim world two years ago.

The Western world long ago learned to criticize, even mock, religion. Think of such movies as "The Life of Brian" and "The Da Vinci Code" or more serious texts on Christianity by Nietzsche, whose famous phrase "God is Dead" is part of popular culture. Competition of ideas is fundamental to the Western way of life. The Islamic world isn't accustomed to such discussions.

As in other countries, the terrible attacks of 9/11 raised existential questions in the Netherlands that remain the subject of heated debate to this day. They paved the way for the political rise of Pim Fortuyn, a flamboyant, openly gay former university professor and writer. Fortuyn fulminated against the dark sides of political Islam -- terrorism, the subjugation of women and homosexuals, and anti-Semitism. His murder in 2002 by an extreme leftist was seen as an assault on Holland's democratic order.

That shock was compounded in 2004 when in Amsterdam, the capital of freedom and tolerance, a Dutch Muslim of Moroccan descent shot and nearly decapitated filmmaker Theo van Gogh. The murderer declared that Islam demanded of him to kill Van Gogh, who had made a short movie that criticized the mistreatment of women in Islam. After the murder, the filmmaker's collaborator, Somali-born parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, was put under 24-hour police protection.

When Ms. Hirsi Ali went to live in the U.S. in 2006, Geert Wilders picked up the baton. He takes a hard stance on Islamic terrorism and calls for a stop to immigration, at least until Dutch Muslims are better integrated. Some of his arguments are pure polemic. For instance, he says the Quran is a "fascist" book. Since it is illegal in the Netherlands to publish Hitler's "Mein Kampf," he argues, so it should be illegal to publish the Quran. One can have a debate about the Quran, but to ban the book altogether is ridiculous, and he knows it.

Yet his outrageous remarks have stirred a constructive discussion about the Quran and Islam in the Netherlands that is more vigorous than in any Western or, for that matter, Muslim country. And uncomfortable as they may be for Dutch Muslims, they help them view their religion in a more critical light. Notwithstanding the growing appeal of radical Islam, the political participation of moderate Muslims is on the rise, a positive sign of integration. For the first time in Dutch history, two Muslims are in the cabinet.

Dutch Muslims have so far reacted calmly to "Fitna." There have not been any demonstrations, peaceful or violent, in the Netherlands. Perhaps this is further evidence that the hard debate has helped Dutch Muslims to understand Western values.

The issue isn't really Mr. Wilders's movie, or whether it incites hatred, which I doubt. It's whether we are capable of defending our values against the intolerance of radical Muslims. Some people wanted "Fitna" banned before seeing it. That's disconcerting. Dutch law prohibits a priori censorship. A strand in Western society -- a combination of European nihilism, self-loathing and timidity -- favors appeasement. It is not the strength of our enemies but our weakness that might be our ruin.

Should "Fitna" lead to violence and protests against the Dutch, Europe will hopefully show more solidarity than it did with the Danes during the cartoon crisis. Any weakness in the resolve to defend our democratic legal order should be seen for what it is: Betrayal and cowardice.



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.


Comments | Trackback

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Canadian 'hate crimes' laws affecting Americans

"Hate crimes" laws were defeated in Congress just a few months ago. Just a few weeks ago, Frank Wright of the National Religious Broadcasters Association warned, "We must be one in Christ to face the days ahead" because "hate crimes" laws would create untold new liability for Christians. Now a major Christian ministry has confirmed that such "hate crimes" laws already are setting limits on what it can broadcast. The issue is "hate crimes" laws in Canada, and they are affecting U.S. Christian ministries that broadcast into that nation.

WND reported just a week ago on a Christian ministry based in Canada that essentially was ordered shut down under that nation's "hate crimes" laws which prevent Christians from expressing Biblical opinions on a wide range of issues. So what used to be called MacGregor Ministries with offerings in how to recognize and eliminate "faulty fads" in Christian churches has been re-created in the United States, and now operates under the name MM Outreach Media Ministries, according to spokeswoman Lorri MacGregor. "Canada has very strong hate laws," she told WND.

She said the ministry points out the differences between Christianity and various cult beliefs, but also with respect, and never as a proponent. She said the work always is in response to a question or issue. "When a group such as Jehovah's Witnesses said of our doctrine we're worshipping a freakish three-headed God (the Trinity), we should be able to respond," she said. "We say, 'Here's the doctrine of the Trinity and here is where it is in the Scripture.'" [Where? The word "trinity" does not appear in the Bible]

That, however, violates Canada's hate crimes laws, and the ministry was ordered to either make wholesale changes in its presentations, or shut down. "There was nothing we could do that would please them," she said. "They wanted us every time we criticized something to say, 'So Christianity is equal to Buddhism, Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses. Just decide for yourself.'" "We cannot do that," she said of the work she and her husband, Keith, have spent their lives assembling.

Now comes confirmation from the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family, one of the largest Christian publishing and broadcasting organizations in the nation, that it has been reviewing, and if necessary editing, its broadcasts to avoid complications with Canadian "hate crimes" laws. In a statement attributed to Gary Booker, director of global content creation for Focus, the organization confirmed that broadcast standards have a "dynamic nature."

"Our staff at Focus on the Family Canada works proactively to stay abreast of the dynamic nature of broadcast standards, Canadian Revenue Agency legislation and both national and provincial human rights laws," the statement said. "Parameters regarding what can be said (and how it should be said) are communicated by Focus on the Family Canada to our content producers here at Focus on the Family in the U.S. To the best of our ability, programming is then produced with Canadian law in mind," Focus continued.

"In particular, our content producers are careful not to make generalized statements nor comments that may be perceived as ascribing malicious intent to a 'group' of people and are always careful to treat even those who might disagree with us with respect. Our Focus on the Family content creators here in the U.S. are also careful to consult with Focus on the Family Canada whenever questions arise. Focus on the Family Canada, in turn, monitors the content produced in the U.S. and assesses this content against Canadian law," the group said. "Occasionally, albeit very rarely, some content is identified that, while acceptable for airing in the U.S. would not be acceptable under Canadian law and is therefore edited or omitted in Canada," Focus said.

Focus broadcasts programs on thousands of radio stations across the continent, publishes dozens of magazines and newsletters and provides a wide range of other resources to Christian families and churches. Wright had told the NRB that the U.S. version of "hate crimes" that was blocked from the 2008 Defense Authorization Bill last year originally would have made religious broadcasters liable for various criminal acts. The subject of homosexuality, specifically, was provided protections in the U.S. proposal, and is one of the issues that Canadian law addresses.

WND previously reported when the the Canadian Family Action Coalition confirmed activists who claim they have "hurt feelings" are demanding and getting penalties imposed against those who oppose the homosexual lifestyle. "We today have a major national magazine, a federal political party leader and a registered political party, a major Catholic newspaper (Catholic Insight) and an internationally renowned journalist all of whom are being investigated by appointed 'hate speech therapists' from the commissions," the group said.

The journalist is Mark Steyn, according to CFAC spokesman Brian Rushfeldt, and the newest case involves Canada's national Catholic magazine of news, opinion and analysis. The publication has been told it is being targeted by a complaint from Edmonton resident Rob Wells, who alleges the publication has offended homosexuals. But Rushfeldt confirmed the result of any such dispute is up in the air, because ordinary courts don't handle such complaints, they are taken on by various Human Rights Commissions in Canada. They are set up to take action if anything "indicates discrimination" or "is likely to expose to hatred or contempt."

Rushfeldt noted that Alberta's provincial law, for example, orders: "No person shall publish, issue or display or cause to be published, issued or displayed before the public any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that (a) indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against a person or a class of persons, or (b) is likely to expose a person or a class of persons to hatred or contempt bcause of the race, religious beliefs, colour, gender, physical disability, mental disability, age, ancestry, place of origin, marital status, source of income or family status of that person or class of persons."

"You see if my feelings are hurt and I feel discriminated against due to my 'religious orientation' then surely I must have a right and entitlement to have an appointed group of people in the Human Rights Commission at taxpayers' expense, intervene and force the activist to pay me compensation for my feelings. This is really not bullying is it? Or is it more like extortion?" said a commentary by the Family Action organization. "How can I prove my feeling are hurt? I don't need to prove it. I just say it is so and it is so. Do I need to provide truth? No, not under the functions of the Human Rights Act. . Section 3(1) states that if something 'indicates discrimination' and 'is likely to expose to hatred or contempt' is a basis for action."

Similar restrictions have been found valid for broadcasting, officials said. And websites and books also will have to be edited, since those were the primary issue affecting MMOutreach when it used to operate in Canada. "They said if we were just preaching our own Gospel, and weren't criticizing anybody else, we could continue," Mrs. MacGregor told WND in the earlier case. "If you're going to defend the Gospel, you've got to criticize sometimes." For example, the ministry addresses the issue of "fads," including a "creeping Eastern mysticism" appearing in some churches, "turning meaningful prayer meetings into mind-emptying rituals called contemplative prayer promising experiences of a spiritual nature." "Feelings have often replaced the solid word of God," their website warns.

Mrs. MacGregor told WND the government ultimatum was that she would have to preach that "all religions are equal," but she could not work within such restrictions. "We wrote on Feb. 7 and voluntarily revoked our [license] ourselves," she said. "We said this auditor requires us to compromise our Christian faith, which we cannot do." "You're not allowed in Canada to speak in a persuasive way about your own faith," she said.

The U.S. proposal was launched in the House of Representatives as H.R. 1592 and would have punished crimes based on the "actual or perceived religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability." The immediate concern - and still unresolved worry - expressed by Christian radio broadcasters, ministers and others was: If someone attacks a homosexual, will those speaking against homosexuality also be charged for inciting violence?


Satanic Verses play upsets German Muslims

German Muslims have expressed "regret" that a theatre near Berlin plans to stage the world premiere of a play based on Salman Rushdie's novel The Satanic Verses. "We regret that the religious sentiments of Muslims are being treated in a provocative manner," the president of the German Islamic Council, Ali Kizilkaya said, after his organisation publicly complained about the performance.

Iran's late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini issued a fatwa - or religious decree - in 1989 calling on Muslims to kill Mr Rushdie for perceived insults against Islam in his novel. Mr Rushdie, an Indian-born Muslim who was educated in Britain, was forced into hiding for nearly a decade. He was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 2007, a move that sparked a new wave of protest across the Muslim world.

The play, adapted from Mr Rushdie's 1988 book, was reworked for the stage by the manager of the Hans Otto Theatre in the eastern city of Potsdam, Uwe Eric Laufenberg, and dramatist Marcus Mislin.

Amid heavy media coverage of the upcoming premiere, the general secretary of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, Aiman Mazyek, has urged followers of Islam to remain calm over the staging of the play and engage in a "critical and constructive dialogue" about the issues it raises. But he also questions whether the play might go too far. "Freedom of expression and of art is importance but offences against what is sacred in a religion is not something we value," he said.

A police spokeswoman says authorities plan to step up security around the theatre during the performance. The team in Potsdam say they had received permission from Mr Rushdie to adapt his novel and have invited him to the performance but they say it is unclear whether the author will attend.


Pope, Wilders Hope for Murdered Nuns and Priests?

Mollie Z. Hemingway at Get Religion is confounded by an obnoxious Newsweek essay by Christopher Dickey titled "Christian Rage and Muslim Moderation." In it, you can see the Cold War echoes in it, with Newsweek taking up the usual schtick: the American (or conservative, or anti-Islamic) side is being clumsily, pointlessly, tastelessly provocative, while the Ayatollahs are calmly, reasonably planting seeds of a new detente. But it's Muslim rage, not the headlined Christian rage, that Dickey is suggesting that the "wrong" side is hoping to foment:
Pope Benedict XVI, an exiled Egyptian journalist, a bleach-blond Dutch parliamentarian and Danish cartoonists all have something in common with a Teddy bear named Mohammed. They have been at the center of that seething storm called Muslim rage in the last few months, and, with the exception of Mohammed T. Bear, they appear to be testing that anger to see if it will erupt . yet again.

If it does, the crisis could peak just as Benedict begins his visit to the United States in mid-April. As he preaches world peace before the United Nations, once more we'll witness scenes of books and flags and effigies burning in the world of Muslims. If precedent holds, rioters may die in Kabul, a nun could be murdered in Somalia, a priest might be gunned down in Turkey. All this is all too predictable, as provocateurs like the peroxide blond must certainly know.
This is a really toxic charge that Dickey is implying, that the Pope and Geert Wilders (the "bleach-blond Dutch parliamentarian") are hoping to provoke a violent crisis in which priests, nuns, and rioters die. Newsweek ought to know better than unload this kind of balloon-full-of-blood smear - what with their own history of phony-Koran-flushing stories in 2005, not to mention Adm. Jeremy Boorda committing suicide in 1996 after Newsweek "provocatively" investigated whether his combat medals were fraudulent. (Oops, that also ended in hypocrisy.)

Does Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who regularly unfurls long cover stories on religion and appears on television as a religious expert, really hope Americans will tune into Newsweek.com for his "Popecast," his online narration of the papal visit, when he approves this kind of article? "Please watch me describe the Holy Father, who seeks the death of priests and nuns at the hands of radical Muslims for the church's advance"?

Mollie first took issue with page two, and how blatantly Dickey dismisses how Wilders is a waste of his time and space, a human void, and his film Fitna isn't worth much more:
There's no use wasting much space on the Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, the dyed blond with ugly roots who is promoting a film he says will prove his belief that "Islamic ideology is a retarded, dangerous one." What to say about a politician reminiscent of Goldmember in an Austin Powers film who claims the Qur'an should be banned like Adolph Hitler's "Mein Kampf"? No Dutch television network will show his little movie, so he released it on the Internet this week, reportedly drawing 2 million page views in the first three hours. The general reaction in Holland thus far has been little more than shoulder shrugging.
Dickey also thinks the Danish cartoonists are reprehensible human beings only caring for their own fame:
Danish cartoonists and editors previously unknown to the wider world garnered international attention when they published caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005 that brought on bloody riots in several Muslim countries in 2006. Having sunk once again into obscurity, the editors decided to publish one of the cartoons again last month, reportedly after the arrest of an individual plotting to kill the cartoonist. Great idea. Take one man's alleged crime and respond with new insults to an entire faith.
But Dickey was really offended by Pope Benedict's provocation, baptizing Magdi Allam on the Easter Vigil:
The most problematic event of late, however, was Pope Benedict's decision to baptize the Egyptian journalist Magdi Allam in Saint Peter's on the night before Easter, thus converting a famously self-hating Muslim into a self-loving Christian in the most high-profile setting possible. Perhaps Benedict really thought, as the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano opined, that the baptism was just a papal "gesture" to emphasize "in a gentle and clear way religious freedom." But I am not prepared to believe for a second, as some around the Vatican have hinted this week, that the Holy Father did not know who Allam was or how provocative this act would appear to Muslim scholars, including and especially those who are trying to foster interfaith dialogue.

Ever since 2006, when Benedict cited a medieval Christian emperor talking about Islam as "evil and inhuman," and the usual Muslim rabble-rousers whipped up the usual Muslim riots, more responsible members of the world's Islamic community have hoped to restore calm and reason. And now this. "The whole spectacle, with its choreography, persona and messages provokes genuine questions about the motives, intentions and plans of some of the pope's advisers on Islam," said a statement issued by Aref Ali Nayed, a spokesman for 138 Muslim scholars who established the Catholic-Muslim Forum for dialogue with Rome earlier this month.
This is where Mollie stepped in and really let Newsweek have it:
The most problematic event was the baptism of a journalist? For an article trying to argue that Muslims are moderate and Christians and those in the West are not, I'm having a really hard time here.

If Newsweek is going to run this type of first-person-journalism-with-an-edge thing, could they pick people who are less cowardly? People who care about freedom of religion, the press, etc.? A reporter who gets why these values are important would do a much better job arguing that Pope Benedict XVI was being sinful when he baptized a prominent Muslim convert.
Mollie's also right on in scolding Dickey for suggesting Allam was speaking for Pope Benedict in saying the Vatican's been "too prudent in converting Muslims." Dickey also suggests Allam is provoking Muslims so he can cash in:
Allam claims he is hoping his public embrace of Catholicism will help other converts to speak out in public. But that hardly seems likely. The more probable scenario is that others will feel even more vulnerable, while Allam's books, like many Muslim-bashing screeds that preceded them, climb the best-seller lists.
Mollie concluded:
And to say that Allam's public conversion was because he is greedy? That's a bit much, isn't it? As for the idea that Allam's conversion makes "others . . . feel even more vulnerable," it's not the best way to end a piece arguing that moderation carries the day in Islam. Or maybe I don't get why these "others" might feel so "vulnerable."


West slowly awakening from suicidal slumber?

It is, by any measure, a sunny day when moralising elites are forced to eat their words. Only a few short years ago many were busily deriding Australia as an "international pariah" on immigration. Indeed, only last year our new citizenship test was labelled as nasty stuff by people such as journalist David Marr and former Liberal PM Malcolm Fraser.

Enter the British Labour Government, which last month announced its intention to introduce tough new citizenship tests and, get this, bring in immigration controls "based on the Australian model". Far from pariah-dom, Australia is a role model on how to control immigration and integrate migrants. More important, as Western nations learn from one another, each new step taken looks more confident and assertive than the previous one.

Finally, perhaps, the West is realising, as Britain's Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks said late last year, that "it is confidence in your own heritage that allows you to be generous to those of another heritage".

Old ideas that should have never been discarded are being revisited. Although the Brown Government is pitching this as a "vision of British citizenship for the 21st century", it is, in reality, an old one. Prime Minister Gordon Brown's vision of British citizenship as one "founded on a unifying idea of rights matched with responsibilities" marks a long overdue turning point in Western thinking, a return to more sensible times where basic Western values were asserted with confidence.

For the past few decades, the progressive fad of minority rights, fuelled by multiculturalism, has flourished. Once a hard form of multiculturalism took root, one that treated all cultures as equal, the values of the host country were effectively under attack. Cultural relativism morphed into a virulent strand of Western self-loathing where tolerance was reinterpreted to mean tolerating those intolerant of Western culture and values. Brown's reforms are aimed at overturning that rights fetish, a counterproductive and indeed dangerously one-sided notion where people could demand of the state but the state could not demand of them.

These days the multiculti crowd is dwindling to a few stragglers. But they include people who should know better. Last month, Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, called for the introduction of some aspects of sharia law into Britain and told the BBC that Muslims should not be required to choose between "the stark alternatives of cultural loyalty and state loyalty".

The cultural loyalty that Williams robustly defended explains why parts of British society are already unofficially dispensing their own form of sharia law. A few weeks ago London's Daily Mail exposed how parallel courts were operating in Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Manchester, Dewsbury, Birmingham and other towns settled by the 43,000-strong Somali population. Violence within the Somali community is dealt with by groups of elders who meet to hand out punishments in the form of an apology and compensation to the victim. Aydraus Hassan, a Somali youth worker from Woolwich, told the Daily Mail that families rarely called in the police because they preferred their own system of justice. "This is how we have dealt with crime since the 10th century. This is something we can sort out for ourselves," he said.

Cultural loyalty also explains the heartbreaking reports of female genital mutilation among African communities in Britain. Last month, a Liverpool newspaper reported that, despite new laws to prohibit FGM, up to 90 per cent of women in some ethnic communities are mutilated. African tribal elders are being flown into Britain to perform the mutilation. This is happening under the noses of authorities for the simple reason that Western nations such as Britain succumbed to the scourge of cultural relativism where migrants were allowed to openly spurn Western values.

Brown's reforms are a small but important step in reasserting the traditional three-way contract: majority tolerance, minority loyalty and government vigilance in both directions. That contract, well understood by migrants in the 1950s and '60s when they arrived with a sense of obligation to the new country, knowing what was expected of them, was scuppered by multiculturalism. In a sign that the British Government is finally learning the lessons of the past three decades of multicultural mayhem, the 60-page green paper published by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith mentions the M-word only once, as follows, quoting from an Aberdeen participant: "Multiculturalism is a two-way street; they must accept us and change too."

As Brown outlined in his speech in London to launch the reforms, British citizenship will depend on migrants entering into a contract where rights are matched with responsibilities. For example, he says, people are protected from crime but in return agree to obey the law. People can expect and receive services but in return will pay their fair share of taxes and have an obligation to work. Britain will support families but will expect families to take care of their own. Importantly, the Brown Government will consider amending its Human Rights Act to create a new British bill of rights and responsibilities that will detail "not just what people are entitled to but what they are expected to do in return".

In line with Brown's notion of "earned citizenship", a new category of probationary citizens will not be entitled to full rights associated with citizenship. The Brown Government will explore whether some services - such as the right to post-18 education, the right to public housing and social security benefits - will apply only on full citizenship. Probationary citizens will be required to donate to a fund to help finance local public services.

The Brown Government's reforms are an acknowledgment of the "progressive dilemma" - the conflict between solidarity and diversity - outlined a few years ago by David Goodhart, editor of the progressive Prospect. Coming from a member of the Left, Goodhart's observations packed a punch. He talked about us not just living among strangers but having to share with them. "All such acts of sharing are more smoothly and generously negotiated if we can take for granted a limited set of common values and assumptions," he said.

The changes outlined by Brown are unashamedly about cementing solidarity, outlining a common identity and expecting migrants to sign on to the traditional social contract in an era of globalisation where more and more people born in one country want to live in another. It is Goodhart's thesis writ large and long overdue.

That Western governments are forced to articulate the importance of Western values and the traditional social contract tells you how far these core principles fell into disrepair. But at least, finally, it suggests that the West is slowly waking from its suicidal slumber.



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.


Comments | Trackback


The Real Politically Incorrect Net Ring

This net ring exposes political correctness for the fraud that it is and advocates universal values of individual freedom, free speech, and equal rights for all.


[Prev Site] [Stats] [Random] [Next 5 Sites] [List Sites] [Next Site]

This page is powered by Blogger.