The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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

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


31 December, 2009

After the Airline Bomb Scare, Is It Time to Start Ethnic Profiling at Airports?

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," December 28, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated

ERIC BOLLING, FOX NEWS GUEST HOST: In the "unresolved problem" segment tonight, is political correctness to blame for allowing that would-be bomber from Nigeria on the Northwest Airlines plane? Think about it. The guy was on a watch list. He paid cash for his ticket. He had no luggage. Meantime, elderly grandmothers are getting stripped searched before they can board. Is it time to start profiling passengers?

Joining us now is Ann Coulter, author of the book "Guilty: Liberal Victims and their assault in America" now in paperback. And from L.A., Matthew Littman, a former senior advisor for the Obama campaign.

Ann, I'm going to start with you. Boy, you know, so what if we profile? They're trying to kill us. Jihadists are doing whatever they can, pulling things out of the book trying to kill us. And it's like we're fighting with one or two hands behind our back. Profiling, good or bad?

ANN COULTER, ANNCOULTER.COM: No, I've been a big proponent of it for quite some time. I mean, we should have started 20 years ago with the Pan Am flight 103 that went down over Lockerbie. We certainly should have started after 9/11. And instead, as always happens when there is a terrorist attack like this, there are a billion inconvenient procedures put on two million passengers a day only in the United States. Think of this. For seven years, we've been opening our computers, turning over lip gloss, taking off sweaters and jackets. And this guy gets through? And now they have more useless procedures they're coming up with, not allowing passengers to go to the bathroom for the last hour of the flight. Well, okay. Blow it up two hours before the flight lands. Ending the in flight entertainment. Allowing no one to have anything on a lap during that last hour. It's just - it's - it is the perfect solution from politicians who don't have to fly commercial air and let the rest of us be treated like sheep for no purpose whatsoever.

BOLLING: Right. Matthew, what about it? So what if I profile a guy who is really, you know, I mean, let's face it. There are Islamism jihadists out there. I don't hear the Christian groups looking to blow planes up over Yemen.


BOLLING: Why is that such a bad thing?

LITTMAN: Well, first, I actually am surprised myself. I did agree with some of what Ann said, which shocks me. But I think in this case, it's just a question of more competence rather than profiling. I mean, this guy was on a list of a few hundred thousand people as a potential terrorist. So he is somebody who should have been stopped at the airport, fully searched and not allowed to fly into the United States. We don't need anybody on that list to fly into the United States.

So, I don't think it's necessarily an issue of profiling. I think it's an issue of competence. And right now, look, Ann is right. For seven years, we've had to take off our shoes at the airport. Can't go to the bathroom for the last hour of a flight. You know, we keep getting lucky with some of these terrorists that they're incompetent that the guy chose not to blow up the plane from the bathroom, but went to his seat. I have no idea why. Maybe to make a bigger deal out of it, but we're lucky in that they're incompetent. We're not always going to be lucky.


LITTMAN: We have to be able to - I'm sorry.

BOLLING: Well, no, let me throw it over to Ann real quick. You know, we have three Navy Seals in January, who are going to go to trial and try not to be court martialed for trying to get some information out of a man...


BOLLING: ...who killed four people in Iraq. So, again. Go ahead, go ahead.

COULTER: I mean, we also have, you know, the Army doctor at Fort Hood, who had been talking about how we need to cut - it's his religious duty to cut off the heads of infidels and pour hot oil down their throats. And the war on terrorism is a war on Islam.

The problem is, I mean, it isn't just competence. Once you start down the line of saying we not only will not consider whether the Army doctor is a crazed radical Islamist, or whether the passenger who bought his ticket with cash in Nigeria and who's own father has warned us, it's -- once you start (INAUDIBLE) will not consider whether the person is an Islamic radical, you inevitably end up with the situation we're in now.

And I also would like say, especially with a former Obama advisor on the program, I mean, this is - this was part of the selling point of for Obama liberal. Andrew Sullivan pointed out, you know, what are these radical Islamists going to do when they look and see the president of the great Satan. And you know, he has brown skin. And he attended madrassas. And he talks about how he's so moved by the call to prayer five times a day. He used to hear in Indonesia. If anyone can say we're going to look for radical Islamists, it ought to be President Obama. If he does that, if he institutes racial profiling at the airports, I'll vote for him.


Bowing to Muslim demands for special treatment just encourages the fanatics

Generally speaking, showing respect to other cultures and religions is a great virtue that can create peace and harmony among different civilizations. However, it is vital to distinguish between, for example, traditional dancing and the stoning of women until death as parts of various cultures. Tolerance for the former is useful; however, tolerance of the latter is entirely destructive. It is also fundamental to know the effects of respecting some cultural or religious aspects on those who belong to the culture or follow a particular faith. There is a delicate balance between showing respect and showing weakness to some cultures.

For example, after the publishing of the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad by the Danish newspaper in late September of 2005, there were no violent demonstrations by Muslims for a four-month period. The violent response to the cartoons occurred in early February of 2006; only 72 hours after the magazine apologized for publishing the cartoons. This apology was likely perceived by radical Muslims as weakness, and thus initiated a wave of Islamic violence that spread to many parts of the world.

Similarly, making concessions to Islamic Shariah law can serve as a provocation to radical Islam, as it gives the radicals the impression that the West should bow to their Islamic laws. These radicals will remain unsatisfied until the West complies with all of their demands to practice additional aspects of Islamic Shariah law, including cruel punishments and discrimination against women, gays and non-Muslims.

For example, if the decision-makers in U.S. were to accept that Muslim taxi drivers should be allowed to refuse to transport passengers carrying dogs or alcohol with them on the grounds that doing so is "un-Islamic" (as Muslim taxi drivers demanded in Minneapolis in 2007), then these decision-makers should also be ready to exempt other Muslims from paying taxes in the U.S., assuming that the Muslims considered paying such taxes "un-Islamic"! Are the decision-makers here ready to allow this to happen under the banner of religious freedom?

Another crucial point in this regard is the question of how much we should change our laws to accommodate the Islamists' demands. Making concessions to Shariah law is a potentially endless process that could ultimately result in the passage of unconstitutional and barbaric laws within the U.S. If every religious group in the U.S. is allowed to practice its own tribal or religious law instead of constitutional law, then the whole notion of a unified country will no longer exist.

In addition, the decision-makers in the U.S. need to realize that allowing mosques inside secular institutes such as universities was one of the earliest steps that aggravated the phenomenon of Islamism in other parts of the world, as it allowed radicals to have easy access to, and enough time to meet with and radicalize, motivated young Muslims. The U.S. must be aware of this possibility and reject the Islamization of its secular institutes under the banner of religious freedom.

In 2008, to accommodate Muslim students, Harvard tried having women-only gym hours. This could be seen as a form of discrimination against male students, who had to change their workout schedules as a result of the new policy. This is a clear form of sex discrimination. Furthermore, what if the Muslim students ask that gays not be permitted in the gym at any time, as homosexuality is a grave sin in Islam? Will the university bow to this as well to respect the religious demands of such Muslims?

Harvard should be also ready to apply the same principle if some followers of a certain faith ask the university one day to prevent Muslims from entering the gym as, in their view, the presence of Muslims in the gym offends their feelings and goes against their religious values. In such a case, would the university also accommodate the religious demands of this religious group -- just as it accepted the demands of Muslim students -- and prevent Muslims from entering the gym? The only way to get out of this dilemma is to ask both Muslims and non-Muslims to fit themselves within the non-discriminatory framework of the university.

In brief, accepting the idea that our constitutional laws can be broken to satisfy the Muslim population can actually open the gate for both discrimination against non-Muslims and the practice of many unconstitutional and inhumane Shariah laws.

We also need to distinguish between religious values, such as fasting, that predominantly affect the person who practices them, and those religious values that have a negative effect on others. The U.S. must insist that Muslims here practice their faith and fit it within the borders of the American legal system, and not the other way around.


PC Brigade's threat to Britain's fire service: Harman's 'equality' drive will discriminate against middle-class areas

Fire stations in middle-class neighbourhoods are set to close under 'class war' plans being drawn up by Harriet Harman. The Equality Bill being pushed by Labour's deputy leader will impose on councils the duty to allocate fire protection on the basis of social class. The Bill, described as 'socialism in one clause', has already created controversy by forcing local authorities to tackle 'socio-economic disadvantage' when making decisions on 'spending and service delivery'.

But ministers have admitted it also means fire chiefs will also have to prioritise the poor when drawing up plans. The theory is poorer areas need better cover because they tend to suffer from a greater number of fires owing to the worse state of their homes and a lack of smoke alarms.

Fire authorities are funded by a levy on council tax - and middle-income homes already pay more for their fire cover through having higher council tax bills. Yet fire chiefs could be forced to downgrade fire stations and their equipment in middle-income areas in order to concentrate their limited cash on the threat of 'chip pan fires' in poorer neighbourhoods.

The new rules will affect around half of the fire authorities in England and Wales - and Miss Harman is actively considering extending them to all authorities. Michael Foster, a minister in Miss Harman's Government Equalities Office, revealed in a Parliamentary answer: 'The duty will apply to local authorities, and therefore to fire and rescue authorities (FRAs) where these form part of a local authority. 'We are discussing with the Fire and Rescue Service and other appropriate stakeholders whether the duty should be extended to all FRAs.'

The plans will first hit fire authorities in shire areas with county councils - namely Tory territory.

Miss Harman's plans are expected to exacerbate dramatically the number of fire station closures across rural and middle England.

Former deputy prime minister John Prescott made it easier to close stations as part of Labour's 'modernisation' process of the fire service. Fire chiefs were told to concentrate their efforts on 'local authority and housing association' properties, 'single parent families' and 'drug abusers'.

The Queen's local fire station in Windsor, Berkshire, is being closed at night - despite the devastating 1992 Windsor Castle fire.

The decision to impose the same obligations on fire chiefs as councils was quietly slipped through last month when the Equality Bill was making its way through the Commons. The Bill returns for its committee stage for three days in January, and officials say that Miss Harman is 'very determined' to see the legislation pass before the General Election. The Liberal Democrats have said they support the decision to extend inequalities obligations to the fire service.

But Caroline Spelman, Tory communities spokesman, said: 'The public will be shocked that Harriet Harman's new law may force cuts to local fire stations and fire protection for certain homes just because they don't tick the right box for Labour ministers. 'It is already the case that local fire stations have been axed thanks to Whitehall rules imposed by Labour. These proposals have nothing to do with fairness and everything to do with Labour's obsessive class war. 'Given fire coverage is paid for by a levy on council tax, every home deserves fair and proper coverage to keep families safe whatever their background. 'The public want to see fair play, not special treatment for narrow partisan advantage.'

The Government has justified the Equality Bill on the grounds that 'social class still holds a powerful grip over people's lives'. A spokesman for the Government Equalities Office said: 'Everyone benefits from a fairer, more equal society. The socio-economic duty is about providing fair opportunities for everyone, regardless of their background. 'It will not mean less resources, it will actually mean authorities will need to consider how they deliver their services.'


Teach Your Children to behave

Rampant discussion swirls through our society as to whether or not there has been a degradation of cultural values. The question of whether civility has been sacrificed to the altars of personal convenience and “non-judgmentalism” concerns many Americans who are entrusted to pass this value to future generations. If you want to see the struggle in its full majesty, enter one of our modern theatres of community interaction – the family restaurant.

Since the passage of civil rights legislation in the 1960s, the family restaurant has become a center of shared communality. There may be other places, but nothing allows multiple generations to interact across cultural and economic levels quite like a moderately-priced local restaurant. Unfortunately, the rules of civil behavior seem to be disintegrating before our very eyes. This devolution has manifested itself through our children.

It has become apparent that while today’s parents want to take their children to restaurants, they are often unwilling to instruct their kids how to properly behave in this public forum. It used to be that children would go to a restaurant and stay in their seats. If a child started to misbehave, one parent would take the youngster out of the restaurant until he (or she) settled down. Regrettably, that no longer appears to be standard behavior.

After observing frequent occurrences of children aimlessly walking, climbing over the back of seats and generally disrupting other diners’ peaceful enjoyment of their meals, it was time to consult the professionals and see if standards had really changed.

I started with the servers, and the large majority stated that they had observed a significant change in how parents control their children. Their general impression was that standards have slipped substantially, and they often feel frustrated and helpless as they watch parents allowing their kids to run rampant. Servers must often move through small spaces while carrying large food platters. They prefer – if only for everyone’s safety – that patrons stay out of their pathways. They are reluctant to confront parents because they’re concerned both about what management might say as well as the impact on their tips (which are often a significant portion of their compensation). So they leave the matter to management.

Management feels a little less helpless, but not much. One restaurant manager with 30 years in the industry described how basic manners have deteriorated in the past 15 years. Children, she said, frequently disrupt restaurant operations and the parents too often are unwilling to rein in their behavior. Managers, she continued, were in a difficult position because people don’t like to be told how to raise their kids. If the manager confronts the parent, they risk losing a loyal customer. But if they don’t, it’s the other patrons who start to get upset.

That sometimes leaves it to the customers themselves to make comments. Occasionally this occurs and a war can break out. One manager stated that she recently had to break up an argument between a regular customer seeking a peaceful meal and another patron unwilling to control their child. The manager had to arbitrate the dispute knowing that one of the customers would probably be lost for good. A choice had to be made and, unfortunately, the real loser was the restaurant.

This manager suggested that perhaps this was regional behavior, principally related to the loose interpretation of proper parenting often found in Southern California. But when the same question was asked of restaurant employees around the country, it was found that sadly, the manager was incorrect – in fact, bad behavior appears to be occurring everywhere. Parents appear increasingly unwilling to rope in their children, and fellow patrons are suffering the effects.

The importance of this is larger than one might first perceive. Children have often misbehaved at home, but parents would always make sure they respected others in a public forum. Last week, a friend related a story about his own children. He was told how well-behaved his kids were by someone who saw them frequently. The man replied that he wished they acted that nicely at home. But he didn’t really understand the larger issue – all children are challenging at home, but it’s most important how they act in public environments.

If children of today aren’t given any guidance about proper behavior in public, what will be their guideposts when they get older? How will they act when they go away to college or move away from home? If they aren’t taught by their parents that being considerate of others in public forums is essential behavior for a civil society, where and when will they learn?

Graham Nash wrote a song called “Teach Your Children” that had a different focus, but I suspect he would not have thought that our society would be faced with such basic challenges as controlling young children in public. If we cannot accomplish this as a society, where are we headed?



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


30 December, 2009

The 20,000 snooper army: Vast number of town hall bureaucrats get power to enter British homes without a warrant

As many as 20,000 town hall snoopers have assumed powers to enter people's homes without a warrant and search for information, a survey revealed last night. The research details for the first time how a raft of intrusive laws has allowed council staff to barge into homes and businesses uninvited.

The bureaucrats are benefiting from the 1,043 state powers of entry in primary and secondary legislation – more than 400 of which have been created by Labour. These include checking for fridges which do not have the correct eco-friendly energy rating, making sure a hedge is not too high and inspecting a property to ensure 'illegal or unregulated hypnotism' is not taking place.

Alex Deane, director of Big Brother Watch, which carried out the research, said: 'Once, a man's home was his castle. Today, the Big Brother state wants to inspect, regulate and standardise the inside of our homes. 'Councils are dishing out powers of entry to officers for their own ease, without giving due thought to the public's right to privacy and the potential for abuse. There needs to be a much closer eye kept on the number of officers granted the right to barge into private premises without a warrant.'

Using Freedom of Information laws, Big Brother Watch, a new privacy campaign group, asked councils in Britain to reveal the number of staff they had authorised to conduct property searches. The research, entitled 'Barging In', found there were at least 14,793 officers with that power – the equivalent of 47 officers in every local authority in Britain. More than a quarter of councils either refused or failed to answer the FOI requests.

But based on the responses given by other town halls, there are 20,000 snoopers with the power to enter a person's home or business. The survey relates only to town hall staff. If police officers, paramedics and firefighters are included, the total would be in the hundreds of thousands. Northamptonshire County Council and Glasgow City Council have the most officers able to enter your home, with almost 500 each.

Councils have been handing out the powers despite the fact Gordon Brown has expressed concern about the practice. In 2007, the Prime Minister said: 'I share the concerns about the need for additional protections for the liberties and rights of the citizen.'

Town halls are also carrying out thousands of 'spying' missions under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act. The law was passed nine years ago to fight terrorism, but access to the spy powers has been extended to 653 state bodies - including 474 councils. Cases uncovered by the Mail include Kent County Council carrying out 23 telephone subscriber checks as part of probes into storing petrol without a licence and bringing a dog into the UK without putting it into quarantine.


Britain's public prosecutor is forced to defend his socialist past

Britain's top prosecutor faced charges he is a 'socialist' yesterday after he flatly rejected Tory plans to give homeowners the right to kill burglars. Keir Starmer, the controversial Director of Public Prosecutions, said he could see no case for a change in the law, despite public outcry at the recent jailing of a man who beat up an intruder. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling called for stronger rights for householders after Munir Hussain was sentenced to 30 months for assaulting a gang member who held his family hostage at knifepoint in their home.

The intervention was the second time Mr Starmer, a former left-wing human rights lawyer, has publicly denounced Tory policies on crime. The DPP risked further controversy yesterday by repeating his support for the Human Rights Act, which the Conservatives have vowed to revoke. Mr Starmer's double outburst provoked claims that he has politicised the post – which has traditionally been seen as independent of politics.

The DPP, who edited left-wing publications in his youth, was forced to defend himself against the charge of bias. BBC interviewer Martha Kearney said: 'You have published magazines called Socialist Alternatives. You have had a political background.'

Mr Starmer replied: 'These are things of 25, 30 years ago now. They're not relevant to the work I do now. I hope that since I've been in office I've made it absolutely clear that every single decision is made absolutely independently.'

The DPP, who was named after former Labour politician Keir Hardie, said it was 'a little bit unfair' to brand him left-wing because of his name. But he then went on to dismiss Tory plans to help homeowners out of hand, when he could have stated simply that his job is to uphold whatever laws governments pass.

Current rules mean that homeowners can use 'reasonable force' against intruders. The Tories say they want to change the law so that prosecutions would only occur if homeowners used 'grossly disproportionate' force. But Mr Starmer said: 'The current test works very well. I can't really see the case for a change in the law at this stage. 'I have faith in the current arrangement which is the use of reasonable force. There are many cases, some involving death, where no prosecutions are brought. 'We would only ever bring a prosecution where we thought that the degree of force was unreasonable in such a way that the jury would realistically convict.'

He insisted that the case of Munir Hussain was different because he had pursued the intruder down the road and then assaulted him. 'What the law doesn't allow is for individuals after the event having pursued someone who may have been an intruder to then seek some sort of summary justice,' he said. 'We can't allow our system to be undermined by those exacting summary judgment in that way.'

Privately, party officials were furious that Mr Starmer had again been drawn into a public denunciation of their policies. 'He is there to enforce the law,' one said. 'He is not there to make the law.' A Tory spokesman added: 'It is for Parliament to make the law. We are still committed to reviewing the law if the Conservatives win the next election.'

Mr Starmer tried to insist that he had 'neither agreed nor disagreed with the government or the opposition' on human rights law. But he then went on to make clear his fears for the consequences of tearing up the law, which the Tories would replace with a British Bill of Rights, which is blamed for a host of politically correct court rulings to help terrorists and criminals.

'My concern is with victims and witnesses,' Mr Starmer said. 'The Human Rights Act has been a very effective instrument in progressing the rights of victims and witnesses. I'm anxious that there isn't any halting of that progress.'

In his interview, Mr Starmer said he is still looking at submissions to a public consultation on the law on assisted suicide. The DPP has drawn up guidelines for courts, which have been dismissed as a killer's charter.

And he said that decisions on whether to charge MPs and peers with fraud and other 'dishonesty type offences' over their expenses claims would be made 'in the reasonably foreseeable future'.

It is perhaps inevitable that Keir Starmer finds himself on a collision course with the Tories. Named after socialist firebrand Keir Hardie, Mr Starmer, 47, spent his formative years as what a former flatmate called a 'hard left' campaigner, running a group called Socialist Alternatives. He published the group's magazine, widely regarded as an impenetrable collection of left-wing jargon.

But it was good training for a man who would go on to befriend Cherie Blair and forge a reputation as one of Britain's foremost promoters of the developing area of human rights law. In 2007 he successfully challenged Home Office control orders against two terrorist suspects on human rights grounds.

His appointment as Director of Public Prosecutions in July 2008 was seen by critics as among the most blatant attempts by New Labour to pepper the establishment with those who share their ideological commitment to European human rights law, which is blamed for a host of politically-correct rulings.


Palestinian prof admits Arab denial of Temples is baloney

Before Israel founded, 'Muslims would not have disputed connection Jews have'

A prestigious Palestinian professor told WND that the Muslim denial of a Jewish connection to the Temple Mount is political and that historically Muslims did not dispute Jewish ties to the site. "If you went back a couple of hundred years, before the advent of the political form of Zionism, I think you will find that many Muslims would not have disputed the connection that Jews have toward [the Mount]," said Sari Nusseibeh, president of Al-Quds University in eastern Jerusalem. "The problem began arising with the advent of Zionism, when people started connecting a kind of feeling that Jews have toward the area with the political project of Zionism," Nusseibeh stated.

Zionism refers to the political movement that supports the reestablishment of the Jewish state in the land of Israel.

According to sources inside the Palestinian Authority, Nusseibeh has come under some PA pressure for writing in a recent study that Jews historically revered the Temple Mount before the time of Muhammad and Islam. The PA sources denied any security threats against Nusseibeh but conceded that PA President Mahmoud Abbas' office had asked the professor to issue a clarification acknowledging the Palestinian line denying Jewish ties to the Mount. The sources indicated that if Nusseibeh did not issue a clarification his position as Al-Quds' president could be in jeopardy.

Nusseibeh, however, denied that he has received any threats over the matter. "I am surprised that people are surprised by what I wrote. There is nothing in Islam that denies the fact that Judaism is one of the religions of the book," he said.

Nusseibeh contributed to an Israeli-Palestinian study about the Temple Mount entitled, "Where Heaven and Earth Meet: Jerusalem's Sacred Esplanade." In the study, Nusseibeh does not affirm the existence of the Jewish Temples on the site but writes the Mount was revered by Jews before the time of Muhammad.

The PA long has denied any Jewish historic connection to the Temple Mount or Jerusalem. In a previous WND interview, Chief Palestinian Justice Sheik Taysir Tamimi declared the Jewish temples never existed and Jews have no historic connection to Jerusalem. He also claimed the Western Wall really was a tying post for Muhammad's horse, the Al Aqsa Mosque was built by angels, and Abraham, Moses and Jesus were prophets for Islam. Tamimi is considered the second most important Palestinian cleric after Muhammad Hussein, the grand mufti of Jerusalem.

"Israel started since 1967 making archeological digs to show Jewish signs to prove the relationship between Judaism and the city, and they found nothing. There is no Jewish connection to Israel before the Jews invaded in the 1880s," said Tamimi. "About these so-called two temples, they never existed, certainly not at the [Temple Mount]," Tamimi said during a sit-down interview in his eastern Jerusalem office.

The Palestinian cleric denied the validity of dozens of digs verified by experts worldwide revealing Jewish artifacts from the First and Second Temples throughout Jerusalem, including on the Temple Mount itself; excavations revealing Jewish homes and a synagogue in a site in Jerusalem called the City of David; or even the recent discovery of a Second Temple Jewish city in the vicinity of Jerusalem.

Tamimi said descriptions of the Jewish Temples in the Hebrew Tanach, in the Talmud and in Byzantine and Roman writings from the Temple periods were forged, and that the Torah was falsified to claim biblical patriarchs and matriarchs were Jewish, when they were prophets for Islam. "All this is not real. We don't believe in all your versions. Your Torah was falsified. The text as given to the Muslim prophet Moses never mentions Jerusalem. Maybe Jerusalem was mentioned in the rest of the Torah, which was falsified by the Jews," said Tamimi. He said Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses and Jesus were "prophets for the Israelites sent by Allah as to usher in Islam."

Asked about the Western Wall, Tamimi said the structure was a tying post for Muhammad's horse and that it is part of the Al Aqsa Mosque, even though the Wall predates the mosque by more than 1,000 years. "The Western Wall is the western wall of the Al Aqsa Mosque. It's where Prophet Muhammad tied his animal, which took him from Mecca to Jerusalem to receive the revelations of Allah." The Kotel, or Western Wall, is an outer retaining wall of the Temple Mount that survived the destruction of the Second Temple and still stands today in Jerusalem.

Tamimi went on to claim to WND the Al Aqsa Mosque , which has sprung multiple leaks and has had to be repainted several times, was built by angels. "Al Aqsa was built by the angels 40 years after the building of Al-Haram in Mecca. This we have no doubt is true," he said.

The First Temple was built by King Solomon in the 10th century B.C. It was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C. The Second Temple was rebuilt in 515 B.C. after Jerusalem was freed from Babylonian captivity. That temple was destroyed by the Roman Empire in A.D. 70. Each temple stood for a period of about four centuries.

The Temple was the center of religious worship for ancient Israelites. It housed the Holy of Holies, which contained the Ark of the Covenant and was said to be the area upon which God's presence dwelt. All biblical holidays centered on worship at the Temple. The Temples served as the primary location for the offering of sacrifices and were the main gathering place for Israelites.

According to the Talmud, the world was created from the foundation stone of the Temple Mount. It's believed to be the biblical Mount Moriah, the location where Abraham fulfilled God's test to see if he would be willing to sacrifice his son Isaac. The Temple Mount has remained a focal point for Jewish services for thousands of years. Prayers for a return to Jerusalem and the rebuilding of the Temple have been uttered by Jews since the Second Temple was destroyed, according to Jewish tradition.

The Al Aqsa Mosque was constructed in about A.D. 709 to serve as a shrine near another shrine, the Dome of the Rock, which was built by an Islamic caliph. Al Aqsa was meant to mark what Muslims came to believe was the place at which Muhammad, the founder of Islam, ascended to heaven to receive revelations from Allah. Jerusalem is not mentioned in the Quran. It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible 656 times.

Islamic tradition states Muhammad took a journey in a single night on a horse from "a sacred mosque" – believed to be in Mecca in southern Saudi Arabia – to "the farthest mosque" and from a rock there ascended to heaven. The farthest mosque became associated with Jerusalem about 120 years ago.

According to research by Israeli Author Shmuel Berkovits, Islam historically disregarded Jerusalem as being holy. Berkovits points out in his new book, "How Dreadful Is this Place!" that Muhammad was said to loathe Jerusalem and what it stood for. He wrote Muhammad made a point of eliminating pagan sites of worship and sanctifying only one place – the Kaaba in Mecca – to signify the unity of God. As late as the 14th century, Islamic scholar Taqi al-Din Ibn Taymiyya, whose writings influenced the Wahhabi movement in Arabia, ruled that sacred Islamic sites are to be found only in the Arabian Peninsula and that "in Jerusalem, there is not a place one calls sacred, and the same holds true for the tombs of Hebron."

A guide to the Temple Mount by the Supreme Muslim Council in Jerusalem published in 1925 listed the Mount as Jewish and as the site of Solomon's Temple. The Temple Institute acquired a copy of the official 1925 "Guide Book to Al-Haram Al-Sharif," which states on page 4, "Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute. This, too, is the spot, according to universal belief, on which 'David built there an altar unto the Lord.'"


Old-fashioned standards live on in Africa

A gay couple was jailed for "gross indecency" in Malawi after the country's first same-sex public wedding ceremony over the weekend, as several African states were clamping down on homosexuality. A police spokesman said that Tiwonge Chimbalanga and Steven Monjeza, the first Malawian gays to publicly wed in a symbolic ceremony on Saturday "will appear in court soon to answer charges of gross indecency".

Homosexuality is banned in the conservative southern African country where the public discussion of sex is still taboo. Malawi's penal code outlaws homosexuality and sodomy, which is punishable by a maximum of 14 years in jail.

Countries such as Uganda, Senegal and Burundi have intensified their efforts to repress homosexuality in a continent where 38 out of 53 countries have criminalised consensual gay sex.

Hundreds of people attended Saturday's ceremony held at a guesthouse in Blantyre and spiced with traditional and hip-hop music. The couple wore traditional robes. "I went there to see for myself a gay couple," Finiasi Chikaoneka, one of the hundreds of people who thronged the venue, said. "There were many people who were just curious about the whole affair because this was the first time that gays have come out openly," he added. Monjeza told the crowd he and Chimbalanga had been living together for five months, having first met at church.

The Malawi Law Society, a grouping of some 150 lawyers in Malawi, has condemned the wedding, saying it was illegal and "against the order of nature". The society's secretary, Mercy Mulele, was quoted by the Daily Times urging police action as the wedding was "against the laws of Malawi".

Gift Trapenze, who heads the Centre for the Development of People (CEDEP), which fights for gays, prostitutes and prisoners, defended the couple, saying "they were expressing their legal rights". He said the wedding was aimed at "testing" Malawi laws which were silent on such matters. "The two individuals were expressing their sexual orientation as human beings. The police should not interfere in this matter," he said.

The government does however recognise the existence of gays in Malawi and often calls on them to come out so as to help in the fight against AIDS, which affects around 14 per cent of the 13 million population.

Trapence said 21.4 per cent of gays were infected with HIV. He said gays had been driven underground because of fear of the anti-gay culture and imprisonment.

The anti-homosexuality laws on the continent have sparked condemnation from local and international rights groups. The Ugandan government drew worldwide condemnation for its proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill that would punish homosexuality with life imprisonment, and threatens anybody who promotes homosexuality with jail.

In Senegal a group of 24 men were arrested on Christmas Eve for allegedly engaging in homosexual acts and holding an authorised party. They were released the following day but remain under investigation.

In April, Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza promulgated a bill that made homosexuality an offence punishable by up to two years in prison. Human rights groups have condemned the move, saying the government's treatment of gays and lesbians is worsening.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


29 December, 2009

Leftist bigot resents popular Jewish songs

JEWISH SONGWRITERS have created some of the most enduringly popular songs of the season -- Irving Berlin's "White Christmas," of course, but also "The Christmas Song," "Silver Bells," and "I'll Be Home For Christmas," among others. Some people might view that as a heartening, only-in-America expression of interfaith goodwill and warmth. But not Garrison Keillor:

"All those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck," he fumed in a recent column for the Baltimore Sun. "Christmas is a Christian holiday -- if you're not in the club, then buzz off." His piece bore the sour headline: "Nonbelievers, please leave Christmas alone."

Remember the days when Keillor was endearing and witty? It's a shame to see him grown so cranky and intolerant. What kind of grinch thinks "White Christmas" is "dreck?"

Well, here's hoping that all the songs written by those "Jewish guys" didn't put too big a damper on Keillor's Christmas this year. And let's hope no one ruined it entirely by letting him know that the Jewish connection to Christmas didn't start with Irving Berlin.


British photographers issue plea to end police hostility towards them

More than 350 photographers have issued a joint plea to end the "hostile" and "humiliating" use of anti-terror laws to prevent them taking pictures in public. The professional and amateur photographers have signed a letter, published in The Sunday Telegraph, calling on ministers and the police halt the practice of them being stopped and searched while they are taking images in public places.

Their plea comes despite a warning from senior police to junior officers and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) not to misuse the controversial legislation.

The letter, whose signatories include Rosemary Wilman, the president of the Royal Photographic Society, and the photographer and historian Professor John Hannavy, says: "Rather than treat photographers as terrorists, the Government should amend the Anti-Terrorism Act to prevent its misuse and explain to police forces that a hostile attitude towards photographers is unwelcome."

It said those using cameras in public were frequently being searched, which they found "humiliating". Among those to have been targeted by police is Grant Smith, one of the country's leading architectural photographers, who was apprehended by seven officers while taking pictures of a church in the City of London.

Earlier this month, the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) sent a warning to the chief constables of 43 forces in England and Wales to remind them that "unnecessarily restricting photography, whether from the casual tourist or professional, is unacceptable".

In response its treatment of photographers, the City of London Police earlier this month released details of an arrest made by officers who spotted a man filming on his mobile phone, which it said had helped to avert a terrorist attack on the capital. Footage shot on the Algerian man's Nokia N95 mobile phone showed he had filmed at railway and tube stations and shopping centres. Senior officers said it was a "hostile reconnaissance" video. Counter-terrorism police and MI5 discovered that the man and his brother, in their 40s, entered Britain on false passports a decade ago. The pair have since been deported after being convicted of fraud charges and serving their sentences.

In a separate reminder to his own officers, assistant Metropolitan Police commissioner John Yates said: "These are important yet intrusive powers. They form a vital part of our overall tactics in deterring and detecting terrorist attacks. We must use these powers wisely. Public confidence in our ability to do so rightly depends upon your common sense."


British Equality Bill: Will A New Law Essentially Outlaw Evangelical Christianity And Roman Catholicism In The U.K.?

Did that headline get your attention? It should. A new law is dangerously close to becoming law in the U.K. that would essentially outlaw evangelical Christianity and Roman Catholicism. Not that "The Equality Bill" specifically designates those faiths as illegal in the legislation itself. Rather, the bill outlaws specific beliefs and practices that are fundamental to both evangelical Christianity and Roman Catholicism. In fact, experts are saying that "The Equality Bill" would create a volcanic eruption of litigation in U.K. courts and would ultimately force those who wish to continue to practice anything that even looks like traditional Christianity to go underground.

So just what is the Equality Bill? The Equality Bill allegedly aims to consolidate all existing anti-discrimination laws into a single legal framework. However, it actually goes much farther than any "anti-discrimination" laws in the U.K. have ever gone before. On the surface, this legislation seems like a good idea. After all, who wants to discriminate against old people or people of other races? You can read a summary of this legislation put out by backers of the bill right here. It actually contains a few good proposals.

But it is also a vicious attack on traditional Christianity. The Telegraph quotes a top level official from the "Ministry for Equality" as saying the following when he was asked whether the Equality Bill would lead to legal action between churches and atheists.... "Both need to be lining up [their lawyers]," he said. "The secularists should have the right to challenge the church."

Secularists should have the right to challenge the beliefs and practices of the church? What in the world? So exactly what would the Equality Bill mean for churches in the U.K.?

Evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics would be wide open not only to lawsuits but also to unlimited government fines and even criminal prosecution if....

* They are found to discriminate against homosexuals or transsexuals in any area of employment - including the hiring of pastors and priests.

* They are found to discriminate against homosexuals or transsexuals in any preaching or teaching.

* They are found to discriminate against hiring married men or women as priests as the Roman Catholics have done for centuries.

* They are found to insist that pastors or priests remain celibate (as in the case of Catholics) or only have sex within marriage (as in the case of evangelicals).

* They are found trying to prevent any of their clergy from entering into same-sex civil partnerships.

* They are found to be trying to prevent their pastors or priests from having sex change operations, living openly promiscuous lifestyles or engaging in any other form of sexual expression.

So essentially, if the Equality Bill is fully implemented, no religious organization is the U.K. will be able to preach or teach against sexual immorality, will be able to discriminate against the sexually immoral when hiring clergy or will be able to take a formal moral stand against sexually immorality in any way whatsoever.

Some analysts are even claiming that if the Equality Bill is adopted, all hiring for church positions that do not spend at least 51 percent of their time leading worship and preaching would be subject to regulations that would ban discrimination against those from other religions. So, for example, a Baptist church would be forced to consider an Islamic candidate for a position that ministers to the youth but that also performs other non-teaching functions much of the time as well.

Basically the Equality Bill would be a total nightmare for both evangelical Christians and Roman Catholics in the U.K. The fact that the law is written in such vague terms would open up the floodgates for all kinds of endless litigation. If the Equality Bill becomes law, free speech and free expression in churches in the U.K. would be deeply chilled as church leaders struggle with the never ending threat of lawsuits, fines and criminal prosecution.

* The days when churches in the U.K. could openly preach against sexual sin would be over.

* The days when churches in the U.K. could openly have any say over the sexual behavior of their clergy would be over.

* The days when churches in the U.K. could openly discuss what the Bible says about "right" and "wrong" would be over.

* Thus this would essentially mean that end of legal evangelical Christianity and legal Roman Catholicism in the U.K.

That sounds quite dramatic, but that is the truth of the matter. In fact, Baroness O'Cathain, a Tory lawmaker and an evangelical Christian, said last week that the Equality Bill is the "single most damaging Bill to come before the House in my 18 years as a Member".

Are you starting to get the idea? We are living in the last days, and the truth is that Christian persecution is exploding all over the world. Christians in western nations have always thought that it was something that happened "over there", but now Christian persecution is moving forward with blinding speed in places such as the U.K. Ultimately, there will be no escaping persecution. If you plan to be a Christian in the last days you will face persecution as long as you are on this earth. You better get ready for it. If you are a Christian and you are not already being persecuted, you will be soon.


The Leftist version of "openness" in Australia

As Obama has vividly shown, saying one thing and doing the opposite is the Leftist way

KEVIN Rudd's government has refused more freedom of information requests in its first full financial year of power than John Howard's did in its last full financial year in office despite Labor's stated program to increase transparency of public information. The annual report of the Freedom of Information Act, which was quietly released just before Christmas, shows that 1530 requests, or 6.09 per cent, were refused in the 12 months to June 30. In the 12 months to June 30, 2007, the last full financial year of the Howard government, 1499 requests were refused, or 4.39 per cent. The refusal rate in the past financial year was also higher than in the power change-over year of 2007-08 when 1368 requests were refused, or 4.36 per cent. The percentage of requests granted in full in the past financial year compared with 2006-07 also declined, from 80.6 per cent to 71 per cent.

However the government's response times improved. In the 12 months to June 30, 83.29 per cent of FOI requests were dealt with in less than 30 days, compared with 67.89 per cent in the previous financial year and 77.15 per cent in 2006-07.

The Prime Minister's own department granted full access to 12 of 32 requests (38 per cent), while in 2006-07 Mr Howard's department granted full access to six of 16 requests (37.5 per cent).

The tighter flow of information came despite the government embarking on a series of major reforms of the FOI Act, including the abolition of conclusive certificates, which allowed ministers to veto FOI releases without any reasonable public interest explanations for their actions.

The opposition seized on the figures and accused the government of keeping a tighter rein on the flow of information. Opposition legal affairs spokesman George Brandis said the Rudd government's performance on FOI was "yet another example of the mismatch between the government's rhetoric and the reality of its performance". "Early this year, the then Special Minister of State Senator (John) Faulkner launched a new FOI policy and promised a fundamental change towards a pro-disclosure policy," Senator Brandis said. "But it has sunk without trace and has not been prosecuted by the new minister, Senator (Joe) Ludwig. "The heroic pro-disclosure rhetoric stands in stark contrast to the cold, hard statistical reality that would show that there is less freedom of information under the Rudd government than under the Howard government."

A spokesman for Senator Ludwig said the government remained committed to FOI reform.

The report said that about 80 per cent of FOI requests related to personal information, with Centrelink (37 per cent), Veterans Affairs (22 per cent), and Immigration and Citizenship (21 per cent) receiving the most requests.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


28 December, 2009

People are happier in non-traditional relationships?

The article below says so but I add some skeptical comments at the foot of it

It is what women have been saying for decades but men have not wanted to hear - the key to a happy marriage is doing the dishes together. Researchers have found that couples who share household chores are happier than those where one partner is the breadwinner and the other is the home-maker. According to new research, neither partner should ideally take on more than 60 per cent of domestic chores, from cleaning to childcare.

As a result, the traditional family in which the husband goes to work while his wife remains at home to look after the children and do all the housework is less likely to result in a happy marriage, says the research. It found that the ‘working husband and stay-at-home wife’ relationship puts pressure on him to provide and leaves her feeling unfulfilled at not contributing more financially. A non-earning wife also feels more vulnerable and fears ending up on her own, whether as a widow or divorcee, it adds. But a family in which the wife is the breadwinner and the husband looks after the house is also problematic because the man is unhappy and unhealthy and the woman is too stressed.

The findings by Canadian academics follow a 2006 study by the British Economic and Social Research Council, which concluded that most women are happier with non-traditional domestic arrangements and do not want to be housewives or stay-at-home mothers.

The Canadian researchers analysed national surveys in which nearly 50,000 adults answered questions about their lives, including the amount of paid and unpaid work they did. The academics from the University of Western Ontario estimated the levels of happiness experienced by the participants, taking their personal circumstances into account. The happiest couples share equally the unpaid work, are most likely to be both working and either do not have children or have older children who do not need constant care.

The research found that religious families are most likely to stick to traditional roles, with the husband working and the wife staying at home and doing most of the chores, which academics called the ‘augmented complementary traditional model’. However, reversing the roles does not work because the man is unfulfilled and the woman feels the pressure to provide as a breadwinner.

The research also looked at other types of partnership. It found that women who are both the major breadwinner and do housework – called the ‘women’s double burden model’ - are stressed and have low levels of satisfaction. Men who are the breadwinner and also take on their fair share of housework - the ‘men’s double burden model’ - suffer poorer health, though the women have low stress.

The study concludes: ‘For both men and women, the highest average level of happiness and satisfaction with life occurs within the shared-roles model.’

Lead researcher Rod Beaujot said the findings showed the value of providing equal opportunities in the workplace and better childcare, and the benefit of men taking an active part in domestic chores. ‘Adequate childcare facilities and equal opportunities for parental leave should be a focus of public policy,’ he added. ‘By supporting the shared-roles model, there would be support for the type of family model that many would prefer, with less burn-out.’

Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent, said: ‘This research shows that it is very important for both parties to have something in their lives from which they derive a sense of independence and accomplishment. ‘But if in addition they do things in common – which could be the domestic chores or the childcare – it creates a bond that facilitates closeness, communication, emotional warmth and, most importantly, trust.’


The full research report is "Models of earning and caring: Trends, determinants and implications" by Beaujot et al. It is online here. The first thing to note is that it is based on self-reports -- so couples where both work do REPORT that they are happier and more satisfied with their lives -- and that is hard to challenge. But self-reports in general can be unreliable. Such people could, for instance, feel that they SHOULD be happier and report accordingly. I myself did a lot of self-report research so do see some value in it if it is approached cautiously -- but I am also conscious that it is fairly weak evidence of anything.

There are however methods of increasing the validity of self-reports -- such as using social-desirability controls -- but I see no evidence of such methods being used in the study above. As an experienced survey researcher and a former teacher of research methods in sociology, I suspect that the researchers simply found what people believe to be the case, which may not be the case in reality. Anchoring family type to actual real-life outcomes (such as divorce) rather than self reports would be much, much more persuasive. I note that the research is an official report rather than an article that has passed peer review and been published in an academic journal. That an official report to the Canadian government should offer politically correct conclusions is of course supremely unsurprising.

A final note: It is very common for parents to complain of the burdens of parenthood without making any reference to the satisfactions of it -- perhaps out of embarrassment about those satisfactions. Yet even big complainers readily admit that they would not have missed having their children for all the world. So there is a bias for parents to complain -- perhaps out of a feeling that they do not get enough appreciation. It could well be that what the study above has picked up is simply the selective and biased way parents talk about their satisfactions and dissatisfactions -- yet another example of the caution needed in evaluating self-reports

Leftist British PM told to drop class hatred

Gordon Brown has been warned by cabinet colleague Tessa Jowell to abandon his "hideous" class war against David Cameron. Ms Jowell, the Olympics Minister, urged the Prime Minister to stop attacking the Conservative leader for having a privileged background as such personal insults only alienated voters and risked bringing politics into disrepute.

The outspoken plea from the veteran former Blairite is the latest sign of serious concern at the highest level of the Government about Mr Brown's general election strategy. Ms Jowell's intervention came days after reports of a rift between Mr Brown and Lord Mandelson who has warned the Prime Minister that he disagrees with his plan to fight the election on a message of "Labour investment versus Tory cuts". The Business Secretary was also said to be concerned about the Prime Minister's use of class war rhetoric against Mr Cameron.

Ms Jowell, who is also Minister for the Cabinet Office, spoke out to urge Mr Brown to abandon the class war strategy in a wide ranging interview with The Sunday Telegraph in which she revealed that she was pushing for reform of public services to be at the heart of the Labour manifesto.

In a clear signal that former Blairites are trying to persuade Mr Brown to do more to reassure the middle classes - and to desist from resorting to a core Labour vote strategy - Ms Jowell said Labour had to remain the party of "aspiration, linked to opportunity". Asked about Mr Brown's attacks on Mr Cameron for being an Old Etonian, she said: "I hope that our campaign, and I believe it will be, will be a decent campaign which is engaging the British people in a conversation, not a hideous to and fro of personality attack.

"I don't think anybody can be responsible for the school they went to. "Most people don't give it a thought for one day to the next whether Eton exists. I don't think this should be an election campaign about the 1960s intake to Eton, or whatever it was, I really don't. "This should not be a sort of head on personality clash between David Cameron and Gordon Brown. It should be a proper and intelligent debate."

Ms Jowell said that rather than criticising Mr Cameron for having gone to Eton, her party should focus on exposing the fact that he "said one thing and did another" and was "not the real McCoy".


Comeback for religion among Australian politicians

The grumpy article below is by Leftist historian Ross Fitzgerald but does lay out some interesting facts. Australia as a whole remains overwhelmingly secular, of course

SUDDENLY, religion is making inroads again into Australian politics and our secular society. Not only have we now got a devout believer as Prime Minister but the Opposition Leader is even more devout.

The biggest influence is in NSW. When Catholic World Youth Day descended on that state in July last year, many taxpayers resented being forced to pay $20 million in security charges for the event and $40m for the use of Randwick racecourse. The reason that atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Anglicans and even a few Catholics were being forced to go along with this was essentially because then premier Morris Iemma and many of his fellow committed Catholics in the NSW ALP Right were born into that religion. They didn't want a confrontation with Catholic Archbishop of Sydney George Pell over a cheaper location.

The idea that NSW taxpayers could be forced to fund a Scientology convention or a Rastafarian smoke-in would be laughable. But they're both bona fide religions in their own right and meet roughly the same criteria as Christianity and Islam for all the lurks and perks. Why was there little organised opposition, then, to this unpopular rort [abuse]? The main reason was that there was no significant dissent from within the parliament.

On the opposition side, a man who reputedly is influential in the NSW Liberal preselection processes, upper house MP David Clarke, is very strong in some of his Catholic views. Two other devout Christians, Fred Nile and Gordon Moyes, happened to sit on the all-important cross-benches in the upper house, with the result that the propriety of handing $60m in NSW taxpayers' money to support an already wealthy religion could have been better examined.

More recently, Clarke and Nile were guest speakers at last month's Australia's Future and Global Jihad conference in Sydney, alongside Danny Nalliah from the Catch the Fire Ministries. Other attendees were Peter and Jenny Stokes from the fundamentalist Christian morals group Salt Shakers Inc and Emmanuel Michael from the Assyrian Federation of Australia. Why would one of the Liberal Party's top policy-makers be at such a conference, which was backing the notion that our Christian heritage was under attack from evil forces? And what about Kevin Rudd's attendance at the Australian Christian Lobby's annual general meeting last month?

The secular Nathan Rees's elevation to the premiership in NSW afforded a glimmer of hope that the state's politics would not be dominated by conservative Christian ethics.

But those hopes were dashed by the recent ascendancy of another devout Catholic to the top job in NSW. Sporting a strange mix of American accent and fashion chic, Kristina Keneally boasts a BA in political science and religion and a masters degree in feminist theology from Ohio. She met her Young Labor husband at Catholic World Youth Day in Poland in 1991, which says much about her leanings.

The election of Christian hard-liners to positions of power and influence in NSW doesn't stop at Macquarie Street. NSW Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione is a devout Baptist who worships at the influential Hillsong Church. He is responsible for the first official police Bible, bound in police blue with an official NSW Police crest on the cover. On Scipione's watch, all new NSW police graduates from the Goulburn Academy are routinely offered one of these special Bibles.

While Scipione is doing good work in trying to curtail alcohol-based violence, he has made no secret of the fact he brings his Christian faith into his policing work. Out at Hillsong that means treating homosexuality as a disease to be cured rather than an identity to be lived. But is it a fair whack that taxpayers are funding police Bibles? Will they also produce a Koran with a NSW Police logo for Muslim officers? With 38 per cent of our federal politicians being members of the devout Parliamentary Christian Fellowship, and a half-dozen well-known journalists in the press gallery claiming Jesus as their saviour, the non-believers, infidels, atheists, secularists and our many slightly spiritual but anti-organised religion citizens need to be delivered from this anti-intellectualism.

The final word on the Christianisation of Australian politics surely comes from the head of the Australian Christian Lobby, former SAS officer Jim Wallace. Unlike some stakeholders, Wallace has publicly claimed to have had regular contact with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy - Catholic - as Conroy developed his unpopular model for filtering our internet.

Last month Wallace sent out a media release urging other parties to preference the Australian Sex Party last in the Bradfield and Higgins by-elections, as they had done with One Nation. The Sex Party came third in Bradfield and a close fourth in Higgins. Wallace needs to take a cold shower. That there is now an Australian political party prepared to challenge the pious claptrap that dominates most of the other parties is refreshing.

The Newspoll survey published last month showed that 32 per cent of NSW voters thought there was too much religion in politics. With the orchestrated rise of Keneally and Tony Abbott, that figure may have risen.


Australian blacks sidetracked from owning their own homes

Leftist governments want to keep blacks government-dependant -- a familiar theme in the USA

CAPE York leader Noel Pearson has called on the Rudd government to urgently realign its policies on Aboriginal housing, predicting that the many billions currently being spent on building public housing in remote communities will result in wastage on an enormous scale and little improvement in the livelihoods of indigenous people.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin's "obsession" with negotiating 40-year leases to provide secure tenure for public housing assets was "completely inconsistent with home ownership", Mr Pearson said. As The Australian revealed this week, negotiations over 40-year leases in Queensland have stalled, with Cape York mayors refusing to sign the leases and seeking legal advice.

Legislative changes introduced by the Bligh government more than 18 months ago to encourage home ownership have so far failed to result in one home loan being issued. "The priority at the moment is to vest 40-year leases in the Queensland Department of Housing, for public housing, and that is what all of the bureaucratic energies are directed towards," Mr Pearson said. "So home ownership is on the backburner and it's not a priority."

Mr Pearson said providing more public housing should not take priority over schemes that encouraged indigenous people to build their own homes or invest in homes that already existed, as risk encouraged responsibility. "We have got to get skin in the game by families, and the best way of getting skin in the game is through some form of home ownership. The second issue is, we've got to bring the construction price down, and the third issue is what the government has made its first issue, which is the urgent need for more housing."

Mr Pearson said the housing policies of successive federal governments had created an "irrational" housing market that made home ownership unattainable for most indigenous people, reflecting a government view that home ownership was only for the privileged Aboriginal few.

People living in Cape York - who, under Queensland policy, must buy the land they effectively already own before they can even think about building a house - have to spend an average of $500,000 to own a house. "It is an irrational housing market that governments are paying for here where the default position is always the most expensive option," he said.

A long-time advocate of private home ownership, Mr Pearson - a lawyer and founder of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership - rejected the notion put forward by the federal statutory body Indigenous Business Australia that native title issues were creating insurmountable complexities in the process of achieving home ownership in Cape York.

Ms Macklin said the government was committed to addressing unacceptable housing shortages in remote indigenous communities, including through encouraging home ownership. "The Australian government is keen to support as many indigenous Australians as possible to achieve their aspirations to own their own home," Ms Macklin said. "Home ownership can bring important social and economic benefits."



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


27 December, 2009

Hypocritical British Left performs U-turn on love and marriage ahead of election

Gordon Brown is preparing to pitch Labour as the party of marriage and the family in an audacious bid for core Tory votes. In a shift in strategy ahead of the general election, the government is abandoning its long-standing ambivalence towards wedlock, conceding that children fare better if their parents are together. A green paper to be published in January will outline new measures to shore up “stable parental relationships”.

Labour’s 11th-hour acknowledgment of the importance of marriage has been derided by the Conservatives, who accuse the government of ignoring evidence about the benefits for the past decade. The Tories are preparing their own green paper on promoting family units, setting the scene for an election battle for the parental vote.

Since 1997 Labour has directed resources at children rather than their parents, fearing voters would see attempts to shore up the declining traditional family unit as discriminatory or judgmental. Ed Balls, the schools secretary, now admits the strategy was a mistake. “Because we knew it was complicated we ended up not talking about families and talking about children instead. One of the things that we lost a little bit is that actually, while supporting children is very important, adult relationships are very important too,” Balls said.

Speaking to The Sunday Times ahead of the launch of the green paper, he announced that his department was “changing the direction and face of [family] policy”. “In the past I think our family policy was all about children. I think our family policy now is actually about the strength of the adult relationships and that is important for the progress of the children,” he said.

Labour’s change in policy comes amid concern over the number of children brought up in broken homes. One in four now lives in a single-parent family, compared with one in 14 in the early 1970s. Almost half of children are born outside wedlock. Married couples became a minority in Britain this year for the first time since records began.

While Labour will stop short of saying marriage is “superior” to other committed relationships, the new policy will highlight how much better children fare if their parents stay together. Balls, who is married to Yvette Cooper, the work and pensions secretary, said: “One of the big signifiers of whether children do well is if there are strong adult relationships in the home. We want to look at what more we need to do to support and nurture family relationships.”

In compulsory sex and relationship lessons to be introduced from 2011, children from the age of seven will be taught about the “nature and importance of marriage and stable relationships for family life and bringing up children”.

The green paper is expected to suggest more resources for marriage counselling services such as Relate and to propose a change in culture in public services away from “mother and baby” to “mother, father and baby”. Balls is particularly keen to find ways to prevent partnerships from collapsing during the weeks after a baby is born.

Balls admitted that he backed marriage: “Yvette and I are married. I personally think it is better but I certainly would not say that to other people.” He has been consulting a panel of “agony aunts” about how the government can reduce divorce rates and help children whose parents are splitting up. There will be no softening of the government’s opposition to tax advantages for married couples. Ministers say this would discriminate against the 4m children brought up by non-married parents. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has pledged to recognise the importance of marriage through the tax system.

David Willetts, the party’s family spokesman, said: “It is extraordinary that after more than a decade in which Labour has focused exclusively on children, the penny is finally dropping. “All the evidence is that marriage is strongly linked to greater stability for the child.”


Media falsely reporting Bethlehem Christmas

Like clockwork, every year at this time reporters file misleading and, in some cases, outright false reports about the state of Christmas in Bethlehem. They claim Israeli policies have wreaked havoc on the city's economy and that Israel is responsible for the massive flight of Christians from Bethlehem. Yet the news media completely ignore Muslim intimidation and get their facts wrong on documented history and the true state of affairs in this ancient town.

A widely circulated Reuters article, for example, laments "Christmas cheer hasn't spread to all of Bethlehem's residents," squarely blaming "an Israeli wall" for the town's misfortunes. Britains' Press and Journal also paints a dismal picture of Bethlehem, claiming the city is "divided by a huge wall" and that the "26ft-high security wall completes the isolation of Bethlehem and prevents it from ever expanding." The piece also wrongly states that about 2 percent of Bethlehem's population is Christian.

An opinion piece by Austen Ivereigh in the London Guardian, meanwhile, also claims Bethlehem is "shuttered and depressed" by an "Israeli separation wall." "I don't just mean the structure itself – 30 feet high, bristling with watchtowers and formed of grey concrete slabs – but where it is built, deep into the town itself, far into the West Bank, severing Bethlehem from Jerusalem and ensuring the relentless expansion eastwards of Jewish-only settlements built on land seized from Palestinian farmers," the Guardian piece claims. Regarding the "wall" that "surrounds" Bethlehem: Israel built a fence in 2002 in the area where northern Bethlehem interfaces with Jerusalem. A tiny segment of the barrier, facing a major Israeli roadway, is a concrete wall that Israel says is meant to prevent gunmen from shooting at Israeli motorists.

Israel had good reason to build the wall in that one small area, since terrorists in 2000 and 2001 routinely shot and killed Israeli motorists at the adjacent roadway. The rest of Bethlehem is not encircled by any wall or fence. Actually, unless one enters the city from the area interfacing Jerusalem, a traveler coming in from any other entrance will not even encounter the barrier.

The barrier, most of which is a fence, was constructed after the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada, or terror war, launched after the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat turned down an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state. Scores of deadly suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis were planned in Bethlehem and carried out by Bethlehem-area terrorists. At one point during a period of just 30 days in 2002, at least 14 shootings were perpetrated by Bethlehem cells of Arafat's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists, killing two Israelis and wounding six.

Many times Muslim gunmen in the Bethlehem area reportedly took positions in civilian homes in the hilltops of Christian Beit Jala, which straddles Bethlehem. Beit Jala afforded the terrorists a clear firing line at southern sections of Jerusalem and at a major Israeli highway below, drawing Israeli military raids and the eventual building of the security barrier there.

Another popular theme of the mainstream media in recent years is that Bethlehem's Christian population is dwindling because of the "barrier." Amazingly, Ivereigh's piece in the Guardian falsely claimed: "Bethlehem is shuttered and depressed not because of Koran-wielding thugs but because the wall has smashed its economy. The town has become a ghetto, severed from lands to the north and west by the wall, and to the south and east by settler-only roads and a forest of checkpoints, leaving it barely able to trade."

Simple demographic facts disprove this contention entirely. Israel built the barrier seven years ago. But Bethlehem's Christian population started to drastically decline in 1995, the very year Arafat's Palestinian Authority took over the holy Christian city in line with the U.S.-backed Oslo Accords. Bethlehem was more than 80 percent Christian when Israel was founded in 1948. But after Arafat took control, the city's Christian population plummeted to its current 23 percent. And that statistic is considered generous since it includes the satellite towns of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. Some estimates place Bethlehem's actual Christian population as low as 12 percent, with hundreds of Christians emigrating each year.

As soon as he took over Bethlehem, Arafat unilaterally fired the city's Christian politicians and replaced them with Muslim cronies. He appointed a Muslim governor, Muhammed Rashad A-Jabar, and deposed of Bethlehem's city council, which had nine Christians and two Muslims, reducing the number of Christians councilors to a 50-50 split. Arafat then converted a Greek Orthodox monastery next to the Church of Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus, into his official Bethlehem residence. Suddenly, after the Palestinians gained the territory, reports of Christian intimidation by Muslims began to surface.

Christian leaders and residents told this reporter they face an atmosphere of regular hostility. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spoke of instances in which Christian shopkeepers' stores were ransacked and Christian homes attacked. They said in the past, Palestinian gunmen fired at Israelis from Christian hilltop communities, drawing Israeli anti-terror raids to their towns.

In 2002, dozens of terrorists holed up inside the Church of the Nativity for 39 days while fleeing a massive Israeli anti-terror operation. Israel surrounded the church area but refused to storm the structure. Gunmen inside included wanted senior Hamas, Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terrorists reportedly involved in suicide bombings and shooting attacks. More than 200 nuns and priests were trapped in the church after Israeli hostage negotiators failed to secure their release.

Some Christian leaders said one of the most significant problems facing Christians in Bethlehem is the rampant confiscation of land by Muslim gangs. "There are many cases in which Christians have their land stolen by the [Muslim] mafia," Samir Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem Christian leader and owner of the Beit Sahour-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station, told WND in an interview in 2007. "It is a regular phenomenon in Bethlehem. They go to a poor Christian person with a forged power of attorney document, and then they say we have papers proving you're living on our land. If you confront them, many times the Christian is beaten. You can't do anything about it. The Christian loses, and he runs away," Qumsiyeh told WND, speaking from his hilltop television station during a recent interview. Qumsiyeh himself said he was targeted by Islamic gangs. He said his home was firebombed after he returned from a trip abroad during which he gave public speeches outlining the plight of Bethlehem's Christian population.

One Christian Bethlehem resident told WND her friend recently fled Bethlehem after being accused by Muslims of selling property to Jews, a crime punishable by death in some Palestinian cities. The resident said much of the intimidation comes from gunmen associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization.

A February 2007 Jerusalem Post article cited the case of Faud and Georgette Lama, Christian residents of Bethlehem who said their land was stolen by local Muslims, and when they tried to do something about it, Faud was beaten by gunmen.

One religious novelty store owner recently told WND that Muslim gangs regularly deface Christian property. "We are harassed, but you wouldn't know the truth. No one says anything publicly about the Muslims. This is why Christians are running away."

Lastly, a main news media contention this year has asserted that the "wall" in Bethlehem has devastated the city's economy. But last year scores of mainstream news reports documented how Bethlehem's economy had its best year since 1999. This year's economic downturn in Bethlehem is largely due to the reliance of the city on tourism, which is down worldwide due to a global economic crisis – a fact not mentioned in a single news report that WND reviewed about Bethlehem's woes.

Last year, even the New York Times was forced to admit Bethlehem's economy was doing well. A Times article datelined Bethlehem was titled "Palestinians work to jolt West Bank back to life." The piece allows, "Both Israeli and Palestinian officials report economic growth for the occupied areas of 4 to 5 percent and a drop in the unemployment rate of at least three percentage points. The improved climate has nearly doubled the number of tourists in Bethlehem and increased them by half in Jericho." The Times quotes Victor Batarseh, the Palestinian mayor of Bethlehem, triumphantly declaring: "It has been the best year since 1999." "Our hotels are full, whereas three years ago there was almost nobody. Unemployment is below 20 percent," he said.


Radical Islam’s Defiling of Christmas

Posted by Joe Kaufman on Dec 25th, 2009

Today, while Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas, radical Muslims will be gathering in Atlanta, Georgia for the beginning of their annual hatefest. The irony of this cannot be understated, as the group sponsoring the event, ICNA, and its followers openly denounce Christians and propagate material cursing and calling for violence against Christians.

ICNA or the Islamic Circle of North America was created nearly 40 years ago as the American affiliate to the terror-related Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan. But while JI has focused the majority of its faith-based ire on Hindus, the religious groups of choice for ICNA’s attacks have primarily been Jews and Christians.

One of the main functions of ICNA is the spread of Islam. The group does this via its dawah or religious outreach program, Why Islam (WI). Too many times, though, ICNA’s religious outreach is used as a venue for the worst of bigotry. Common targets include Jews, Americans, Israelis, homosexuals, fellow Muslims and Christians. The following quotes are presently found on WI’s web forum discussing the latter:

* “First of all, muslims do not believe in the G-d of the corrupted Bible, but we do believe in Allah… Anyone who says ‘la ilahe ilallah’ (there is not god but Him)… is guaranteed with eternal life in heaven… Abt penalty, there is no penalty to be done for our sins. This is [sic] wat u christians made up!!”

* “[T]he Americans don’t care about their Allies… Even though, speaking Islamically, they are our enemies and not allies… no Kaffir can be an Ally to a Muslim against a Muslim… Like Allah says in the Quran, Baqarah 2, ‘Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you… till you follow their religion’… [T]hey are not friends of anyone besides themselves… their friendship is an illusion.”

* “[T]he Christ that Christians believe will come before the Rapture is actually the anti-Christ who the Zionist-Jews will think to be their promised-Messiah… Most Christians don’t know this. They live in their capsule of ignorance that is hardened by the western main-stream media… [T]heir greed and covetousness for consumption is likened only with Satan in the Bible.”

These statements are horrific on their own, but what makes the situation even worse is that the moderators for the group have used similar – even worse – rhetoric themselves, defending Hamas and discussing committing violence against American troops.

Why Islam is not the only entity comprising ICNA. The organization also encompasses a youth group, an educational facility, a multimedia division, a magazine, and a number of smaller local chapters. One of the chapters, the Southern California office (ICNA-SC), uses religious materials to propagate hatred and violence against non-Muslims.

Hadiths for Muslims are vital, as they are only second to the Quran in importance with regard to Islamic religious texts. ICNA’s versions of the Hadiths contain rabidly anti-Christian bigotry. A current example of this is from a Hadith book entitled Malik’s Muwatta, found within ICNA-SC’s online library. It states, “May Allah fight the jews and the christians. They took the graves of their Prophets as places of prostration. Two deens shall not co-exist in the land of the Arabs.”

On its website, ICNA-SC has many other hate manuals as well. One, entitled Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase, is written by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. In Priorities, al-Qaradawi lauds Hamas as being “steadfast” and “brave.” In the text, al-Qaradawi also talks about his belief that Christians should give up their rights and be ruled by Islam. He writes, “Christians and other religious groups will not come to any harm if they give up their right so that their Muslim compatriots may rule themselves by their religion and effect the laws of Allah in order to gain His Grace.”

Another of ICNA’s chapters, its Atlanta, Georgia office, this weekend beginning today, will be celebrating its annual function, featuring its normal list of extremist speakers. It’s a major event for ICNA, as the organization is advertising it atop its national website. The theme for this year is ‘Save Family – Save Society.’ In reality, society needs to save itself from ICNA.

The above quotes are only a small illustration of the bigotry that is spread by ICNA against Christians (and others). And so it is ironic, if not offensive, that ICNA would use Christmas to launch its hateful affair.

While ICNA desecrates Christianity this day, its leaders and members will thrive off of the goodwill of a generous American public that is ignorant of ICNA’s sinister goals and terror-related history. Hopefully the government will be giving us all the best Christmas present we could ask for – an investigation leading to ICNA’s closure.


Boy molests younger brother; Old-fashioned "cure" unacceptable

In some societies, sending a boy to a prostitute for his first sexual experience is traditional

An Australian father who is accused of forcing his teenage son to have sex with a prostitute — out of fear that he was gay — may face rape charges.

As the rest of the family celebrated Christmas 2007, the father allegedly took his son to a motel in North Rockhampton, where he paid the prostitute to have sex with his son, according to The Morning Bulletin, a newspaper in Rockhampton. He left the room, demanding that the boy show him a used condom as proof he finished with the prostitute.

A magistrate decided on Tuesday that there was enough evidence to bring the father to trial.

“First [he] didn’t want to say anything to me,” the boy's mother testified. “Then he told me his father took him to a motel room and there was a prostitute there. He wouldn’t talk, he just started crying.”

Detective sergeant Christine Knapp said police first became aware of the situation when the father tried to report his son to authorities six months later, in May 2008, saying the boy was abusing his younger brother. The father said he “tried to sort it out himself by taking his son to a prostitute” to no avail.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


26 December, 2009

Help knock out CAIR in Round 1

It’s the unbelievable story you won’t hear about anywhere else

The media, from Fox News to CNN to ABC and the New York Times, are all pretending there is no threat to the First Amendment being made by the Council on American-Islamic Relations – the Muslim Brotherhood's walking, talking public-relations factory based right here in Washington. CAIR is trying to end-run freedom of the press in America by challenging the publication of a breathtaking expose of the group by WND Books and authors P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry.

It's called "Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That's Conspiring to Islamize America" – and not one news agency in America other than WND has had the guts or the chutzpah even to tell you the amazing revelations found in it. That's right. There's been a total media blackout – including by Saudi-friendly Fox News. (You've probably heard about Rupert Murdoch's deal with Prince Al-Walid bin Talal – a story also broken exclusively by WND.)

Instead of telling you the truth about CAIR – namely that it is an unindicted terrorist front group operating with impunity in America – the media have allowed CAIR easy and open access to airwaves to spread their pro-Hamas, pro-Muslim Brotherhood propaganda. But now, thanks to WND and the brave work of the "Muslim Mafia" authors, all that might be about to change.

CAIR sued author Gaubatz and his son, who penetrated CAIR's inner circle operations, posing as an intern and ferreting out thousands of pages of documents headed for the shredder. WND sprang to their defense, bringing in a remarkable legal team, including Martin Garbus, Daniel Ellsberg's attorney in the Pentagon Papers case. As a result, CAIR is now on the run.

This week, CAIR found itself on defense – facing accusations that it has no standing to file suit. It's not even a legal corporation in Washington, D.C., as it claims, WND's legal team pointed out. In other words, CAIR doesn't even legally exist!

It seems just two weeks after CAIR was named by the Justice Department in May 2007 as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorist finance case in U.S. history, the organization changed its name to the Council on American-Islamic Relations Action Network, explains attorney Daniel Horowitz in a motion to dismiss the case filed in federal court in the nation's capital. But that's not the organization that sued over "Muslim Mafia."

A federal judge in Washington issued a restraining order Nov. 3 barring the Gaubtazes from further use or publication of the material – 12,000 pages of documents along with audio and video recordings – and demanding that they return it to the Muslim group's lawyers. But the FBI also has shown interest in the material, stepping in with a warrant Nov. 23 to examine the papers and recordings, apparently as part of its concern about CAIR and its terrorist links to Hamas.

Of course, none of this is newsworthy, according to the rest of the media - including Saudi-friendly Fox.

* A book that exposes a supposed civil-rights organization for Muslims as a terror front.

* A suit filed against the authors that attempts an end-run around the First Amendment.

* The FBI steps in to subpoena the documents before they go back to CAIR under court order.

* Now the defense team shows CAIR has been masquerading not only as a Muslim civil-rights group, but even as a legal corporation in the nation's capital.

Not a story here? Right! Honestly, my expectations are that the rest of the media will continue to bury their heads in the oil-rich Saudi sand, so to speak.


Britons shun PM's roadshow to "define" Britishness

After his government has done its best to destroy all that is traditionally British, this nut thinks he can re-invent it

Gordon Brown’s national roadshow to promote the concept of Britishness has turned out to be an expensive flop. The public, councillors and even ministers have declined to attend events organised to determine if there is a case for a full British Bill of Rights and duties, or a written constitution.

The Conservatives say ten members of the public turned up to the first event in Leicester in December 2007, which cost £37,000 and was hosted by Jack Straw. They say that after that embarrassment, his Ministry of Justice restricted attendance at Governance of Britain events to people selected, and even paid, by the ministry.

They also claim that councillors have increasingly spurned the events. A total of 21 local authority representatives turned up in Leicester, but attendance fell at subsequent events to 11, then 10, 7 and 2. Finally, at an event in Newcastle on November 21 this year no councillors or officials turned up.

Even ministers are understood to have snubbed the roadshow. Nick Brown, the Labour Chief Whip and Minister for the North East, pulled out of last month’s event. Michael Wills, the Justice Minister, who had attended the previous events, also failed to attend.

Eleanor Laing, the Shadow Justice Minister, said: “Since 2007 we have had gimmick after gimmick on what it means to be British . . . Now, the public has spoken: Gordon Brown’s Britishness roadshow is a colossal waste of money. With the public finances in a mess, any plans for an even bigger nationwide non-event should be scrapped now.”

Mr Brown laid out his vision of a Britishness roadshow in his first statement to Parliament as Prime Minister. “It is right to involve the public in a sustained debate,” he said, urging Britons to consider their common values and the case for going farther with a single document codifying the duties and rights of citizens.

Mr Wills hit back yesterday at the Conservatives. “It’s disappointing that they have such little regard for what it means to be British and the importance of this identity in a challenging world,” he said. The total bill for the Britishness events was expected to be less than £1 million, he added.

Labour officials denied that the public had snubbed the events. They claimed that 457 of the 500 people invited to the first five events had attended; and 225 of the 240 invited to return for the reconvened events had done so. They insisted that small payments were the norm in research of this kind, to recognise the time and commitment that participants had given.


British hunters have another win

Judge casts doubt on legality of covert filming by anti-hunt activists

Scores of foxhunters can sit easier in their saddles on the biggest day of the sport’s calendar today after a judge cast doubt on the legality of covert filming by anti-hunt activists. The ruling, in a case that cannot yet be reported, lays down that covert surveillance by third parties must be authorised in line with procedures in the Regulation of Investigating Powers Act (Ripa).

The Home Office says that the Act must be used in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights. “It also requires, in particular, those authorising the use of covert techniques to give proper consideration to whether their use is necessary and proportionate,” official guidance states. This suggests that the type of speculative surveillance carried out by some organisations and hunt monitors cannot be authorised because it is not necessary or proportionate for the prevention or detection of an offence under the Hunting Act.

The Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) is so anxious that forces may be acting unlawfully that it has asked for advice from the Crown Prosecution Service. Richard Crompton, Chief Constable of Lincolnshire and Acpo’s spokesman on rural affairs, said that until the prosecutors’ guidance had been received, police would continue to accept information from members of the public and third parties if they believed that the Hunting Act had been broken.

Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance, however, has written to all chief constables to notify them about the court ruling. He said: “It means that police forces are regularly being presented with evidence unlawfully gathered without authorisation under Ripa. Most examples of covert surveillance we are aware of in relation to hunting could never be authorised whoever was carrying it out as the surveillance was in no way proportionate to what it sought to achieve.”

As more than 300 hunts gather in towns and villages for Boxing Day meetings, the ruling should help to make the mood the most optimistic it has been for years. Enthusiasts are also convinced that this is the last season when the ban on their sport will be in force. The Conservatives have pledged a free vote on repealing the legislation if they win the election.

Julian Barnfield, huntsman with the Heythrop Hunt, in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, is a frequent target for anti-hunt activists. He said: “To be frank, I am plagued by them. They don’t just film me and the hunt openly and covertly, some are verbally vile.” Four charges against him of illegal hunting have been dropped for lack of evidence. Covert footage was used but Mr Barnfield and his lawyers did not make an issue about the legality of it because they were unaware that there might have been a problem. Mr Barnfield, 46, has raised the issue with David Cameron and said that the Tory leader was sympathetic. “He doesn’t hunt with us any more but he supports us,” he said.


The Illegal-Settlements Myth

The conviction that Jewish settlements in the West Bank are illegal is now so commonly accepted, it hardly seems as though the matter is even open for discussion. But it is. Decades of argument about the issue have obscured the complex nature of the specific legal question about which a supposedly overwhelming verdict of guilty has been rendered against settlement policy. There can be no doubt that this avalanche of negative opinion has been deeply influenced by the settlements’ unpopularity around the world and even within Israel itself. Yet, while one may debate the wisdom of Israeli settlements, the idea that they are imprudent is quite different from branding them as illegal. Indeed, the analysis underlying the conclusion that the settlements violate international law depends entirely on an acceptance of the Palestinian narrative that the West Bank is “Arab” land. Followed to its logical conclusion—as some have done—this narrative precludes the legitimacy of Israel itself.

These arguments date back to the aftermath of the Six-Day War. When Israel went into battle in June 1967, its objective was clear: to remove the Arab military threat to its existence. Following its victory, the Jewish state faced a new challenge: what to do with the territorial fruits of that triumph. While many Israelis assumed that the overwhelming nature of their victory would shock the Arab world into coming to terms with their legitimacy and making peace, they would soon be disabused of this belief. At the end of August 1967, the heads of eight countries, including Egypt, Syria, and Jordan (all of which lost land as the result of their failed policy of confrontation with Israel), met at a summit in Khartoum, Sudan, and agreed to the three principles that were to guide the Arab world’s postwar stands: no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel. Though many Israelis hoped to trade most if not all the conquered lands for peace, they would have no takers. This set the stage for decades of their nation’s control of these territories.

The attachment of Israelis to the newly unified city of Jerusalem led to its quick annexation, and Jewish neighborhoods were planted on its flanks in the hope that this would render unification irrevocable. A similar motivation for returning Jewish life to the West Bank, the place where Jewish history began—albeit one that did not reflect the same strong consensus as that which underpinned the drive to hold on to Jerusalem—led to the fitful process that, over the course of the next several decades, produced numerous Jewish settlements throughout this area for a variety of reasons, including strategic, historical and/or religious considerations. In contrast, settlements created by Israel in the Egyptian Sinai or the Syrian Golan were primarily based initially on the strategic value of the terrain.

Over the course of the years to come, there was little dispute about Egypt’s sovereign right to the Sinai, and it was eventually returned after Nasser’s successor Anwar Sadat broke the Arab consensus and made peace with Israel. Though the rulers of Syria have, to date, preferred the continuance of belligerency to a similar decision to end the conflict, the question of their right to the return of the Golan in the event of peace seems to hinge more on the nature of the regime in Damascus than any dispute about the provenance of Syria’s title to the land.

The question of the legal status of the West Bank, as well as Jerusalem, is not so easily resolved. To understand why this is the case, we must first revisit the history of the region in the 20th century.

Though routinely referred to nowadays as “Palestinian” land, at no point in history has Jerusalem or the West Bank been under Palestinian Arab sovereignty in any sense of the term. For several hundred years leading up to World War I, all of Israel, the Kingdom of Jordan, and the putative state of Palestine were merely provinces of the Ottoman Empire. After British-led Allied troops routed the Turks from the country in 1917-18, the League of Nations blessed Britain’s occupation with a document that gave the British conditional control granted under a mandate. It empowered Britain to facilitate the creation of a “Jewish National Home” while respecting the rights of the native Arab population. British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill later partitioned the mandate in 1922 and gave the East Bank of the Jordan to his country’s Hashemite Arab allies, who created the Kingdom of Jordan there under British tutelage.

Following World War II, the League of Nations’ successor, the United Nations, voted in November 1947 to partition the remaining portion of the land into Arab and Jewish states. While the Jews accepted partition, the Arabs did not, and after the British decamped in May 1948, Jordan joined with four other Arab countries to invade the fledgling Jewish state on the first day of its existence. Though Israel survived the onslaught, the fighting left the Jordanians in control of what would come to be known as the West Bank as well as approximately half of Jerusalem, including the Old City. Those Jewish communities in the West Bank that had existed prior to the Arab invasion were demolished, as was the Jewish quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

After the cease-fire that ended Israel’s War of Independence in 1948, Jordan annexed both the West Bank and East Jerusalem. But, as was the case when Israel annexed those same parts of the ancient city that it would win back 19 years later, the world largely ignored this attempt to legitimize Jordan’s presence. Only Jordan’s allies Britain and Pakistan recognized its claims of sovereignty. After King Hussein’s disastrous decision to ally himself with Egypt’s Nasser during the prelude to June 1967, Jordan was evicted from the lands it had won in 1948.

This left open the question of the sovereign authority over the West Bank. The legal vacuum in which Israel operated in the West Bank after 1967 was exacerbated by Jordan’s subsequent stubborn refusal to engage in talks about the future of these territories. King Hussein was initially deterred from dealing with the issue by the three “no’s” of Khartoum. Soon enough, he was taught a real-world lesson by the Palestine Liberation Organization, which fomented a bloody civil war against him and his regime in 1970. With the open support of Israel, Hussein survived that threat to his throne, but his desire to reduce rather than enlarge the Palestinian population in his kingdom ultimately led him to disavow any further claim to the lands he had lost in 1967. Eventually, this stance was formalized on July 31, 1988.

Thus, if the charge that Israel’s hold on the territories is illegal is based on the charge of theft from its previous owners, Jordan’s own illegitimacy on matters of legal title and its subsequent withdrawal from the fray makes that legal case a losing one. Well before Jordan’s renunciation, Eugene Rostow, former dean of Yale Law School and undersecretary of state for political affairs in 1967 during the Six-Day War, argued that the West Bank should be considered “unallocated territory,” once part of the Ottoman Empire. From this perspective, Israel, rather than simply “a belligerent occupant,” had the status of a “claimant to the territory.”

To Rostow, “Jews have a right to settle in it under the Mandate,” a right he declared to be “unchallengeable as a matter of law.” In accord with these views, Israel has historically characterized the West Bank as “disputed territory” (although some senior government officials have more recently begun to use the term “occupied territory”).

Because neither Great Britain, as the former trustee under the League of Nations mandate, nor the since deceased Ottoman Empire—the former sovereigns prior to the Jordanians—is desirous or capable of standing up as the injured party to put Israel in the dock, we must therefore ask: On what points of law does the case against Israel stand?



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


25 December, 2009

Not all tidings are of great joy

As far back as the 5th century, the Monastery of Abu Fana in Upper Egypt was renowned, in the words of one travel guide, for its "exceptional splendor and prestige." In the 21st century, that grandeur is gone and the monastery has become instead a symbol of the abuse and degradation to which Egypt's ancient Coptic Christian community is regularly subjected.

On May 31, 2008, a band of Bedouin Muslims armed with automatic weapons stormed Abu Fana, destroying a small church and burning the monastery's farm. Nine monks and monastery employees were wounded, and four others were abducted. "One of the [abducted] monks had his arm and legs broken," the Egyptian lawyer and human-rights activist Nagib Gabriel later testified. "The other two were tied together with ropes, suspended from a tree, and severely beaten with hoses and sticks. Afterwards, they were placed -- upside down and still tied together -- on the back of a donkey and shoved off. The monks were further commanded to spit on the cross and proclaim the shahada [the Muslim credo that "there is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is his prophet"], beaten every time they refused, and even threatened with death."

Two millennia after Jesus was born in the Middle East, Christians living there often suffer greatly for their faith. Egypt is home to the oldest and largest Christian population in the region, yet the indignities heaped on them are many: They are prevented from building or repairing their churches, barred from many government positions, and treated with disdain when they seek help from the police or the courts. In the wake of the Abu Fana assault, the government arrested two Coptic brothers, who were held for 14 months and released only after the monastery agreed to "reconcile" with the Bedouins -- i.e., not to press criminal charges against those who had actually attacked the monastery.

When President Obama spoke in Cairo last June, he noted obliquely that "among some Muslims, there's a disturbing tendency to measure one's own faith by the rejection of somebody else's faith." But there was nothing oblique about the violence at Abu Fana, or about other recent attacks on Egyptian Christians, including the vandalizing of a Christian center in Ezbet Boshra-East in June, the torching of a Coptic church in Ezbet Basilious in July, or the looting and destruction of Christian-owned businesses in Abou Shousha and Farshoot last month.

What is most tragic about the plight of the Copts, however, is that they comprise only a fraction of the estimated 200 million Christians in 60 countries worldwide who face persecution because of their religion.

In Iraq, Christians in the northern city of Mosul are being driven out by a wave of violence that has worsened with the approach of Christmas. In recent weeks, a car bomb exploded outside the Church of the Annunciation, grenades were thrown at a nearby Christian school, and terrorists operating in broad daylight leveled the Church of Saint Ephrem. What is underway, says the Archbishop of Kirkuk, is a campaign of "ethnic and religious cleansing." Last week an anonymous source told Asia News: "The Christian community is destined to die."

In China, Christians who decline to worship in government-affiliated "patriotic" churches are systematically harassed. "At least 40 Roman Catholic bishops or priests remain imprisoned, detailed, or disappeared," the US Commission on International Religious Freedom noted in its 2009 annual report. "The Beijing Gospel Church, with a membership of 1,000 people, was raided by officials from four different agencies. . . . Local police raided the Chengdu Qiuyu Blessings Church . . . telling church [officials] they were suspected of 'illegal religious practices' and confiscating Bibles, hymnals, and other education materials."

In Somalia, at least 11 Christians who had converted from Islam were beheaded in 2009 by the jihadist group al-Shabaab. Another Christian convert was executed in Mogadishu last month; when his body was recovered, it "showed signs of torture," the Compass Direct news service reported. "All of his front teeth were gone, and some of his fingers were broken."

To such horrors could be added many others -- in India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Eritrea, Laos, North Korea, Saudi Arabia. It has been more than 2,000 years since the shepherds abiding in the fields near Bethlehem were told by an angel of the Lord, "Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy." But for millions of persecuted Christians, the fears are all too real. And so therefore is their need for prayer and solidarity from all of us, Christian and non-Christian alike, who seek to be our brother's keeper.


Cut the Power of America's Family Courts

Do you think judges should have the power to decide what religion your children must belong to and which churches they may be prohibited from attending? We have long suspected that family courts are the most dictatorial and biased of all U.S. courts, routinely depriving divorced fathers of due process rights and authority over their own children, but this December a Chicago judge went beyond the pale.

Cook County Circuit Judge Edward Jordan issued a restraining order to prohibit Joseph Reyes from taking his 3-year-old daughter to any non-Jewish religious activities because the ex-wife argued that would contribute to "the emotional detriment of the child." Mrs. Rebecca Reyes wants to raise her daughter in the Jewish religion, and the judge sided with the mother.

As Joseph Reyes' divorce attorney, Joel Brodsky, said when he saw the judge's restraining order: "I almost fell off my chair. I thought maybe we were in Afghanistan and this was the Taliban." The lawyer is appealing.

Doesn't the First Amendment extend to fathers? Apparently not, if they are divorced. This case sounds extreme, but it is a good illustration of how family courts, the lowest in the judicial hierarchy, have become the most dictatorial of all courts because of the tremendous number of families and amounts of private money they control and the lack of accountability for their decisions.

In another divorce case this year, a family court in New Hampshire (where the state motto is "Live Free or Die") ordered 10-year-old Amanda Kurowski to quit being homeschooled by her mother and instead to attend fifth grade in the local public school. Judge Lucinda V. Sadler approved the court-appointed expert's view that Amanda "appeared to reflect her mother's rigidity on questions of faith" and that Amanda "would be best served by exposure to multiple points of view."

Where did family court judges get the power to decide what church and what school the children of divorced parents must attend? Family court judges have amassed this extraordinary power by co-opting and changing the definition of a time-honored concept: "the best interest of the child."

This rule originally came from English common law as compiled by William Blackstone in 1765, and meant that parents are presumed to act in their own children's best interest. For centuries, English and American courts honored parents' rights by recognizing the legal presumption that the best interest of a child is whatever a fit parent says it is, and should not be second-guessed by a judge.

When states revised their family-law statutes in the 1970s, the "best interest of the child" became disconnected from parents' decisions, and family courts assumed the discretion to decide the best interest of children of divorced and unmarried parents.

The notion that persons other than parents should decide what is in a child's best interest is illustrated by the slogan "It takes a village to raise a child." Those who use that slogan understand "village" to mean government courts, government schools or government social workers.

The trouble with the best-interest rule is that it is totally subjective -- it's a matter of individual opinion. Parents make hundreds of different decisions, and should have the right to make their decisions even if they contravene the self-appointed experts.

Whether the decision is big (such as where to go to church or school) or small (such as playing baseball or soccer), there is no objective way to say which is "best."

Since judges are supposed to base their decisions on evidence presented in open court, and there is no objective basis for deciding thousands of questions involved in raising a child, judges call on the testimony of expert witnesses. A big industry has grown up of psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, custody evaluators, and counselors who are eager to collect fees for giving their opinions.

Having opinions produced by persons with academic degrees is a way to make subjective and arbitrary judgments appear objective. With the volume of cases coming through family courts, judges can evade responsibility for controversial decisions by rubber-stamping opinions of these court-appointed experts.

Scientific American Mind published a scholarly paper in October 2005 by three noted psychologists who explained that the practice of allowing courts to be de facto decision makers "is legally, morally and scientifically wrong. ... Parents should determine their children's lives after separation, just as when they are married. ... Parents, not judges or mental health professionals, are the best experts on their own children."

It's time to call a halt to the practice of letting family court judges make decisions that are rightfully the prerogative of parents.


FGM Goes Mainstream In Britain!

I call this ‘the norming of f*cking savagery!’ FGM or female genital mutilation has been going on under the radar in every white Christian nation for at least a decade, probably quite a bit more. Britain, who seems committed to putting themselves out of existance in the near future has added an exciting new wrinkle to this process, official recognition!

Hundreds of British schoolgirls are facing the terrifying prospect of female genital mutilation (FGM) over the Christmas holidays as experts warn the practice continues to flourish across the country. Parents typically take their daughters back to their country of origin for FGM during school holidays, but The Independent on Sunday has been told that “cutters” are being flown to the UK to carry out the mutilation at “parties” involving up to 20 girls to save money.

That’s not the worst part, this part from a British Home official is… "We have appointed an FGM co-ordinator"

My God, what has happened to these people that they can no longer see savagery and understand what it is and that it must be fought, not welcomed, fought!

And as you prepare to celebrate diversity in your classrooms this “holiday” season please take note that this is what the Muslims think of your precious diversity… "Several leadings Imams have openly condemned the practice. This, though, does not deter its proponents, who maintain that it is their inalienable right to live according to their traditional beliefs and customs, rather than conform to British values. Indeed, some argue that the freedom to carry out FGM is a fundamental principle of our multi-cultural society".

And as of 1990 the CDC estimated that there had been as many as 168,000 cases of FGM here in the States. How does that comport with your values? Did your immigrant forefathers start cutting on your grandma? Is that why no one is talking about this? Do you want Saudi values practiced in America? Because they are and their adherents can’t imagine why that would be a bad thing.

Here’s the bottom line: if we have Muslims in our country these practices will follow right behind them, and then what? We essentially kept Muslims out of this country for just that reason, and until recently the only Arabs we tended to let in were Christians who were being persecuted by Arab Muslims.

So now we’re imported the savages and quelle surpise! They are conducting themselves as savages do, is this how we best model Classical Western values? Is this how we best preserve white civilization? I say no, what say you?


Holier than Thou: Leftist hypocrisy about religion in Australia

Christmas is a time when people grow even more tired of politics than usual, but it is also a time when the politically desperate take increasingly cheap shots at others in a ploy to divert media attention from their own failures.

This happened last Monday when ALP Senator Kate Lundy was despatched from the Labor dirt unit to make fun of Tony Abbott's strong Christian faith. Sent out to attack using focus group tested lines, Senator Lundy made a big mistake, and consequently a bigger fool of her emperor Kevin Rudd.

In a humiliating display, Senator Lundy inserted Mr Rudd's name where she was told to insert Mr Abbott's. Here's what she said: "What I think is important here (is) that we challenge Mr Rudd on his propensity to want to inflict his personal religious views, very strongly held, on the rest of the Australian population."

Now if it wasn't for the pointed attack on religious beliefs, pandering to the secular left, in a clumsy attempt at dog whistle politics, perhaps the faux pas could be excused. But how can we excuse the hypocrisy of Kevin Rudd, sending out the lamentable Lundy to attack a man of deep faith whilst claiming to be one himself.

But then again Kevin Rudd has claimed to be many different things in recent times. He was an economic conservative before he became a Christian socialist on his way to becoming a social democrat. He was a Catholic before becoming an Anglican but still demands communion from the Catholic Church, coincidently on the eve of Australia's first Saint being proclaimed.

Rudd condemned the 'political orchestration of organised Christianity' in his essay on Dietrich Bonhoeffer but insists upon doing doorstops in front of church almost every Sunday morning. In one ABC interview he even blamed others for the fact he had to take his faith public.

Kevin Rudd's religious beliefs are his business but he insists upon showcasing them to suggest he is a man of great virtue. Personally I am pleased he considers himself to be a Christian but is it about time we saw the real Kevin Rudd?

Rudd has repeatedly demonstrated himself to be a 'man for all seasons'. He will change his beliefs to suit the climate and is happy to send the unwitting to do his grubby work.

Notwithstanding Mr Rudd's supreme embarrassment at his Copenhagen failure, his attempt to play the religious card to attack his opponent at Christmas time gives another insight into the character of our Prime Minister. I am sure that an increasing number of Australians don’t like what they see.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


24 December, 2009

Italian Constitutional Court tells ECHR to take a hike, asserts national sovereignty

Forza Italia!

The first blow has been struck against the encroaching tyranny of the European Union and it is a significant one. In fact, one member state has defiantly drawn a line in the sand and signalled that it will not tolerate erosion of its sovereignty. Although it attracted little attention when it was published last month, now that commentators have had an opportunity to analyse Sentenza N. 311 by the Italian Constitutional Court, its monumental significance in rolling back the Lisbon Treaty is now being appreciated. (Hat tip, as they say, to Dr Piero Tozzi.)

The Constitutional Court ruled baldly that, where rulings by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) conflict with provisions of the Italian Constitution, such decrees “lack legitimacy”. In other words, they will not be enforced in Italy. Although this judgement related to issues concerning the civil service, the universal interpretation is that the ECHR’s aggressive ruling in Lautsi v Italy, seeking to ban crucifixes from Italian classrooms, shortly before, was what concentrated the minds of the judges in the Italian Supreme Court.

In fact, sources close to the Italian judiciary have informally briefed that the decision was a warning that activist rulings by the ECHR “will not be given deference”. The juridical principle at issue here is nothing less than national sovereignty. Where an alien court has the right to overrule a national constitution, sovereignty has de facto ceased to exist. Citizens may go to the polls at a general election to elect an administration, but the “government” they choose will be no more than a municipal council. This, of course, was always the intention of the Lisbon Treaty and its supporters.

Europhile politicians and commentators in Britain, after the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty and the ratting by the Vichy Tories on their promise of a referendum, were masochistically resigned to the United Kingdom becoming a province of Brussels. Now the Italians have overthrown the fatalistic notion of the irresistible march of Eurofederalism. They have simply said: if it encroaches upon our national sovereignty, it won’t fly here. This is excellent.

Can we rely on our own New Labour-designed Supreme Court to take an equally robust stance in defence of the British Constitution? Ay, there’s the rub. An incoming Tory government (if we had a Tory party) should be committed to abolishing this alien tribunal and restoring jurisdiction to the House of Lords.

But such considerations should not blind us to the fact that the sovereignty of European states has been given a crucial boost by the Italian ruling. It is also likely to bolster resistance in Ireland, where a similar activist case from the ECHR is expected to attempt to impose abortion on a state that has rejected it. Not everyone would have expected the first roll-back of Lisbon to come from Italy; but it has, so we should be heartened. Eurofederalism – just say no!


Strange Muslim censorship row in Britain

In what must rank as one of the literary world's most unusual disputes, Index on Censorship, which campaigns for freedom of speech, stands accused of censorship. The organisation published an interview with Jytte Klausen, the Danish author of The Cartoons That Shook The World, a book about the illustrations of Muhammad that caused a furore, but chose not to reproduce them in its magazine.

"In refusing to publish the cartoons, Index is not only helping strengthen the culture of censorship, it is also weakening its authority to challenge that culture," fumes Kenan Malik, the author and broadcaster.

Jonathan Dimbleby, the presenter of Any Questions?, who is chairman of Index, says: "The board does not readily interfere in the day-to-day editorial decisions taken by the Index on Censorship staff, but this case was different. "The board's main concern was both for individual members of the Index staff and those who worked for the other organisations which share our Free Word premises, and who would have been equally on the receiving end of any attack."


British lawyers do something right

The Leftist British government is trying to pull off an enormous injustice so it can keep feeding more and more bureaucratic fat cats

A ground-breaking legal action has been started by the Law Society over a change that has forced people found “not guilty” in criminal trials to pay their own legal costs in full. The society has instructed the law firm Kingsley Napley to start proceedings, accusing the Government of “misusing its powers for an improper purpose”.

The action comes over a new rule that took effect in October preventing acquitted defendants from recouping the full legal costs of defending themselves. Instead, they can only claim back legal aid rates, which can be as little as a third of the true cost. The change will save an estimated £25 million a year.

The Law Society, which represents 100,000 solicitors in England and Wales, has warned that the new rule will deter innocent people from seeking advice to clear their names and could lead to miscarriages of justice. Robert Heslett, president of the society, said: “This will hit hardest the ordinary citizens — teachers, postal workers, nurses — people who do not have big incomes, but who still need representation.”

The Police Federation of England and Wales is backing the action because police officers are more often subject to criminal proceedings.


Lone British politician campaigns against political correctness

A Tory MP has bombarded the government's equalities watchdog with a series of extraordinary letters about race and sex discrimination, in a one-man campaign against "political correctness". In the latest of 19 letters sent since April 2008, and likely to dismay equal rights campaigners, Philip Davies asks Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission: "Is it offensive to black up or not, particularly if you are impersonating a black person?" In a postscript to the letter, he asks "why it is so offensive to black up your face, as I have never understood this".

Davies, MP for Shipley and "parliamentary spokesman" for the Campaign Against Political Correctness lobby group, also asked:

• Whether the Metropolitan Black Police Association breaches discrimination law by restricting its membership to black people. He compared this to the BNP's whites-only policy, which the far-right party has now agreed to change.

• Whether the women-only Orange prize for fiction discriminates against men. • Whether it was racist for a policeman to refer to a BMW as "black man's wheels".

• Whether it was lawful for an advert for a job working with victims of domestic violence to specify that applicants had to be female and/or black or ethnic minority.

• Whether a "Miss White Britain" competition or a "White Power List" would be racist, after Phillips justified the existence of Miss Black Britain prizes and the Black Power List. "Is there any difference legally or morally than publishing a white list? Do you think this entrenches division?"

• Whether anti-discrimination laws ought to be extended "to cover bald people (and perhaps fat people and short people)".

Phillips (or on one occasion an adviser) answered each letter at length, with the exception of the last query, to which the EHRC chairman gave a succinct reply: "The answer to your question is no."

On the Metropolitan Black Police Association, Phillips said its membership criteria might be protected as a professional, trade or members' organisation, although this would be for a court to decide.

Answering another letter from Davies a year later on the difference between the Black Police Association and the BNP, he wrote: "The BNP only permits white people to become members of the party and … this is unlawful under the Race Relations Act 1976 … The Metropolitan Black Police Association … is not a political party and therefore is not directly comparable with the BNP. We are, however, interested in any organisation which appears to act in breach of the equality enactments and thank you for drawing this matter to our attention."

Regarding the domestic violence job, Phillips wrote: "It is not clear that this advertisement is unlawful because there appears to be a reasonable argument that the requirement to be female and/or from the BME [black and minority ethnic] community was a genuine occupational requirement for the roles in question."

On Miss Black Britain, Phillips wrote that such competitions "clearly seek to celebrate black and minority ethnic people in the UK, who often suffer discrimination from mainstream providers".

Regarding the Black Power List, Phillips wrote: "'Racist' is used to describe material which is derogatory and insulting, which this publication clearly is not."

Two letters sent by Davies on the subject of Carol Thatcher's infamous "golliwog" comment were not received by the commission, the correspondence shows.

A reply to Davies's question about blacking up is not in the correspondence, which was obtained through a freedom of information request. A spokesman said the reply was on its way to Davies. The spokesman added: "There are many writings produced by scholars about blacking up, arguing that minstrel shows lampoon black people in derogatory ways, and many people clearly find blacking up to portray minstrels or black people offensive." Blacking up is often viewed as racist because of its connections to the minstrel shows of the 19th and 20th centuries, which promoted the mocking stereotype of a grinning, happy-go-lucky, infantilised black rascal.

Davies regularly addresses Phillips as Sir Trevor, leading the EHRC chair to eventually add a handwritten note to one reply: "Thank you for the 'knighthood' but HM has – probably rightly – never extended that honour to me!!" Davies replies with his own handwritten PS: "Surely your knighthood is only a matter of time! You heard it here first!"

Davies said: "Anybody who follows my career in parliament knows I'm concerned with the issue of political correctness. I'm merely pursuing a subject I raise more regularly than anyone else in parliament. "It's one of my bugbears. Lots of people are castigated for being racist when that's not their intention." He said he believed in equality and as such disagreed with "positive discrimination". "That builds up a resentment that doesn't exist before."

Asked what David Cameron made of his views, he said: "I've absolutely no idea. If he doesn't agree with me about it, it won't be the first time he didn't agree with me." He added that he was a "humble backbencher" who didn't speak for his party.

Davies established in 2008 that male staff at the commission were paid on average £4,500 more a year than female staff, and that white staff were paid £1,800 more a year than black and other ethnic minority staff. He also protested at moves at the BBC to fast-track ethnic minority staff.

Peter Herbert, the chair of the Society of Black Lawyers, said: "This correspondence seems a complete and utter waste of time. Half of this stuff, he should go and get legal advice, and the person that's meant to action these are the individuals who feel aggrieved. If he wishes to have recourse to law he shouldn't be using the Human Rights Commission as basically a source of legal advice, which is what he appears to be doing."

He said Davies had the right to raise issues on behalf of his constituents with the commission, or issues of great national importance. But he added: "These are not important points of public policy at all. They are all of the same generic type. It looks very much like an effort to find fault with the Human Rights Commission for political point-scoring."

When the Conservative party was asked for a view on Davies's campaign, a spokesman said: "For over a decade the Conservatives have made the case for fairness, not special treatment. We will continue to argue that Britain's strength is the freedom it offers and its steadfast commitment to tolerance, respect for the individual and democracy."



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


23 December, 2009

Libs scold black conservatives

By Lloyd Marcus

A young married couple, Paul and Nancy, were neighbors of mine back in the seventies. Nancy was extremely excited. An unexpected opportunity arose for her to attend college. This would broaden her horizons and enable her to pursue opportunities beyond her current minimum wage jobs. Paul was dead set against it. He confided in me, "I'm afraid if she gets educated, she may not want me anymore". I thought, "So rather than allowing Nancy whom you profess to love to be all she can be, you would prefer to keep her down".

In the eighties, I was a member of a team of six artists at a Baltimore TV station. They hired a new kid. Jeff was talented, enthusiastic and ambitious. Whenever someone came in the art department with a request and our supervisor was unavailable, (while other artists ignored them, thinking it's not my job) Jeff stepped up and took care of them. Jeff's attitude caused tension between him and our union. While the union could not nail Jeff for doing anything outside of the restrictions of our contract, the consensus was he was too friendly with management and eager to do things beneficial to the company. The real conflict was that Jeff's nature drove him to excellence and our union encouraged group mediocrity.

I shared these two stories as examples of attempts to stifle personal greatness. Folks, liberals (black and white) have been stifling black American individuality and greatness for years, deceptively shrouded in compassion. In reality, liberals' true attitude towards independent blacks is, "Who the heck do you think you are? How dare you achieve success without us?"

Liberals use intimidation and punishment to rein in blacks who bypass their formula for success. Dr King believed in personal responsibility. He required his fellow marchers to be clean, sober and even tempered. He marched and gave his life for fairness, not special concessions.

The liberal media celebrates black achievement only when it comes from an, "I made it in spite of America's racism" point of view. Blacks who proclaim, "I achieved because America is the greatest land of opportunity on the planet for all who choose to go for it" are vilified by the media; branded Uncle Toms and traitors to their race.

The Left's message is clear. To be authentically black and faithful to their race, blacks must not achieve on their own, view themselves as eternal victims and reserve at least a minimal resentment against white America.

While in the supermarket checkout line, I saw Rev. Al Sharpton, the poster child of the "America Sucks for Blacks" campaign, on the cover of Ebony magazine. Gag me.

I searched the internet. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas have never been featured on the cover of Ebony magazine. Think about that. Before the election of Obama, the two most powerful blacks in America, (Rice was the most powerful woman in the world) have never graced the cover of black America's most prestigious magazine. Why? Because most black media outlets wish to keep the "blacks need liberals to achieve" thing alive. Rice and Thomas achieved their phenomenal success the old fashioned way; they earned it.

Sharpton on the cover of Ebony magazine is typical of liberal black media's betrayal. They have been feeding their people spin and untruths for years, all of which is designed to keep blacks on the government dependency plantation and voting for Democrats.

Imagine how empowering it would be for blacks if Ebony featured a self made black conservative on its cover. When I say, "self made", I do not mean without any assistance. No man is an island and all who succeed had help along the way. I am talking about achieving through education, hard work and doing the right things, as opposed to the liberal demeaning path to success which is lowered standards, playing the victim card and affirmative action.

Frustratingly, entrenched false paradigms are difficult to break. The Republican party was partly founded to end slavery. Historically and today, Republicans have proven themselves to be far greater friends to blacks than the democrats. And yet, most blacks believe Republicans are racists. Despite numerous mega-rich blacks and America electing a black president, most blacks mindlessly embrace the liberal lie that America has not changed much since the 1950s. Compassionately, I want to grab black America by the collar and slap it while yelling, "Wake up...snap out of it!"

I know two black brothers. The elder has a factory job which he hates for 20 years. His mind is infected with liberal rhetoric, "The American system is designed for blacks to fail". Meanwhile, his younger brother ignored the lies and started his own successful janitorial business shortly after graduating high school.

Life is about choices. Liberals do a great disservice to minorities by constantly attempting to convince them they are eternal victims unable to achieve without liberal intervention. It has been said, "If you love someone, set them free".


Church of England vicar revises the Ten Commandments

"Thou shalt not steal"? Another desperate grab for attention from a church that has lost its way

The Ten Commandments include a fairly straightforward instruction: Thou shalt not steal. Now a Yorkshire vicar has come up with an interesting interpretation, advising the more hard-pressed of his parishioners to shoplift.

They should do it only from big shops, the Rev Tim Jones said, and it would probably be best if they did not take any more than they needed. Inevitably, some less spiritually enlightened individuals, including North Yorkshire Police, have taken his remarks in entirely the wrong way, assuming that by advising people to shoplift he is in some way encouraging shoplifting.

Father Tim’s remarks came in his Sunday sermon at the Church of St Lawrence, York, when he said that stealing from large national chains was sometimes the best option open to vulnerable people. It was far better for people desperate during the recession to shoplift than to turn to prostitution, mugging or burglary, he said. “My advice, as a Christian priest, is to shoplift,” he told the congregation. “I do not offer such advice because I think that stealing is a good thing, or because I think it is harmless, for it is neither. “I would ask that they do not steal from small family businesses but from large national businesses, knowing that the costs are ultimately passed on to the rest of us in the form of higher prices. I would ask them not to take any more than they need, for any longer than they need.

“I offer the advice with a heavy heart and wish society would recognise that bureaucratic ineptitude and systematic delay have created an invitation and incentive to crime for people struggling to cope.”

Arguing that society had failed the needy, Father Tim, 41, continued: “My advice does not contradict the Bible’s Eighth Commandment because God’s love for the poor and despised outweighs the property rights of the rich. Let my words not be misrepresented as a simplistic call for people to shoplift. Rather, this is a call for our society no longer to treat its most vulnerable people with indifference and contempt. Providing inadequate or clumsy social support is monumental, catastrophic folly.”

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Police said: “Shoplifting is a criminal offence and to justify this course of action under any circumstances is highly irresponsible. Turning or returning to crime will only make matters worse. We recognise that some people find themselves in difficult circumstances but support is readily available and must be sought.”

Anne McIntosh, the Conservative MP for Vale of York, who has campaigned in Parliament for stronger sentences for shoplifters, admitted that there had been an overcommercialisation of Christmas that encouraged people to spend, but she said: “I cannot condone inciting anyone to commit a criminal offence. Shoplifting is a crime against the whole local community and society.”

The British Retail Consortium agreed. A spokesman said: “Shoplifting is wrong and it is not more or less wrong depending on who the victim is. It is the job of our welfare system, which retailers support with the billions they pay each year in tax, to help vulnerable people. There are no excuses for stealing.”


Leftist Britain is super-soft on crime

One in three violent crimes results in a caution

One in three violent crimes results in a caution and only half of all burglars caught by police are ever charged with an offence, official figures have disclosed. The statistics were highlighted by the Conservatives, who said the disclosure would further undermine public confidence in the criminal justice system. Data disclosed in a parliamentary answer showed that many crimes go unsolved by police, and even when offenders are identified, they are often dealt with by “out of court” penalties like cautions and fines.

In 2008/09, the detection rate for offences against the person – which include assault, wounding and grievous bodily harm – was 47 per cent, the lowest since 2000/01. Of those offences that were detected and dealt with by the police, 31 per cent resulted in a caution. Someone who is cautioned does not have criminal record, although details are stored on a police database.

For sexual offences, the detection rate was 32 per cent, up on the previous year but down from 43 per cent in 2000/01. The caution rate for detected sexual crimes was 17 per cent. For burglary, the detection rate was 13 per cent, the highest for a decade. But only 50 per cent of detected burglaries led to a criminal charge being brought. Six per cent led to cautions and the rest, 44 per cent, were “taken into consideration” with other offences.

Chris Grayling said the figures showed ministers are letting criminals “get away with it.” He said: “12 years of Labour Government has systematically undermined our criminal justice system allowing more criminals to get away with it and leaving more and more victims with a huge sense of injustice. We desperately need change if we are to rebuild public confidence.”

Mr Grayling said that too often, the authorities seek a caution to avoid the time and trouble involved in seeking a full conviction. He said that a Conservative government would give the police more discretion about bringing criminal charges for minor offences, and cut the paperwork associated with prosecution.

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, has said he is “increasingly concerned” about the “inappropriate” use of cautions and other "out of court" penalties. Last week, he announced how cautions and on-the-spot fines are used for serious crimes. Despite Labour's famous promises to be "tough on crime," prison overcrowding has led to a string of measures aimed at keeping criminals out of jail. Last month, it was revealed that more than half a million serial criminals have been let off with repeated cautions.


British safety killjoys ban reindeer from Christmas display... because it might snow

As natives of the Arctic Circle, reindeer are pretty used to trotting about in wintry weather. So you might not have thought a market town in the East Midlands would pose much of a problem for them. But health and safety officers had other ideas after 12 were booked to entertain shoppers in Market Harborough.

They banned the animals from parading round the town square after ruling it was too dangerous --because it might snow. Officials put up posters saying: 'There is a risk of slips and falls to attendees at the event, when the conditions get worse.'

The sudden cancellation only three hours before the reindeer were due to arrive in the Leicestershire town for the council-organised event left shopkeepers fuming. Malcolm Lever-Jones, independent traders' spokesman, said: 'It is health and safety gone barmy and completely ruined the festive mood. 'Hundreds of people had come from up to 40 miles away and were dreadfully disappointed. 'The council said there was a risk of snow and ice to pedestrians but with or without the reindeer the streets were still icy. None of the town centre was cordoned off. It just made no sense.' He estimated the cost to the taxpayer of cancelling Friday's event at around £10,000.

A Harborough Council spokesman said: 'Obviously, the reindeer would have loved the snow. But sadly we decided to cancel because of the possible danger to people, including young children.'



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

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

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


22 December, 2009

Oppressive British libel laws again

Drug giant General Electric uses libel law to gag doctor

General Electric, one of the world’s biggest corporations, is using the London libel courts to gag a senior radiologist after he raised the alarm over the potentially fatal risks of one of its drugs. The multinational is suing Henrik Thomsen, a Danish academic, after he described his experiences of one of the company’s drugs as a medical “nightmare”. He said some kidney patients at his hospital contracted a potentially deadly condition after being administered the drug Omniscan. GE Healthcare, a British subsidiary of General Electric, has run up more than £380,000 in legal costs pursuing Thomsen.

“I believe the lawsuit is an attempt to silence me,” he said last week. “It’s dangerous for the patient if we can’t frankly exchange views.”

The company admits its product has been linked to serious side effects in some patients, but said Thomsen accused the company of suppressing information in a presentation at a scientific congress in Oxford in October 2007. A summary of Thomsen’s presentation for the High Court writ, provided by GE Healthcare, appears to show that it was an even-handed account of his clinical experience.

When asked by The Sunday Times to highlight any part of the presentation that explicitly stated wrongdoing by GE Healthcare, a spokeswoman for the company was unable to do so. The writ states that the defamation may have been “by way of innuendo”.

His case will trigger a fresh row over the draconian use of Britain’s libel laws to stifle scientific debate and silence critics. Thomsen now refuses to discuss the possible risks of the drug in any UK public forum. Evan Harris, a former hospital doctor and the Liberal Democrat science spokesman, who is leading the parliamentary campaign to reform the libel laws, said: “It is hard to conceive a stronger public interest than scientists and clinicians being able to discuss freely their concerns about drugs or devices used on patients. Libel laws should not be used in this way.”

More than 48m doses of Omniscan have been given worldwide and it is safe for the vast majority of people. It is one of a number of “contrast agents” containing the potentially toxic metal gadolinium, which are used to enhance images for magnetic resonance imaging scans. Omniscan and other products have been linked with a skin condition in kidney patients, known as nephrogenic systemic fibrosis. Sufferers can be confined to a wheelchair and may even die from related causes. Regulators in Europe and the US are now taking action over the potential risk from Omniscan and two similar products.

Five people in Britain have died from possible side effects after being administered Omniscan, according to the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency. Patients have launched legal actions in America involving more than 170 deaths where it is claimed Omniscan and similar drugs may have been a factor. Safety problems with the drugs have been highlighted in the US by the independent investigative news organisation ProPublica.

Paul Flynn, the Labour MP, said, “It is a scandal that a company should take action against someone acting in the interests of patients.”

GE Healthcare said it had launched a libel action against Thomsen as a “last resort”. It is also suing Thomsen for an article in a medical magazine published in Brussels, but he said his name had been put on an article that he had not written. The company said it encouraged scientific debate, but had to act when it was publicly defamed. It said it had worked hard to uncover incidents of any side effects from its drug, which may have inflated the number of cases linked specifically to Omniscan. It added that the product was safe for more than 99% of patients.


How I failed Britain's citizen test (the questions were mostly about political correctness and how to claim benefits...)

As one of Britain's top historians, Dominic Sandbrook has impeccable credentials, including a first-class history degree from Oxford and a prize-winning PhD from Cambridge. And as the author of two hugely acclaimed bestsellers on Britain, he ought to know as much as anybody about the society we live in. But when the Mail asked him to sit the official test for those wanting to become British citizens, the results weren't what he expected...

Two thousand years ago, the proudest boast in the Western world was the phrase 'Civis Romanus sum' - I am a Roman citizen. To don the toga of citizenship was not merely a sartorial privilege: it meant that the wearer could vote in assemblies, hold property, stand for public office and defend himself at a public trial. The citizen even had the right of immunity from certain taxes, and, like St Paul, the right to be beheaded instead of crucified.

Roman citizenship has long been an inspiration to us here in Britain. And in 1850, when Lord Palmerston took us to war with Greece over the alleged harassment of Don Pacifico, a Gibraltar-born British citizen, he famously insisted that a British subject, whatever his background, must have all the rights of his classical forbears. 'As the Roman, in days of old, held himself free from indignity when he could say Civis Romanus sum,' thundered Palmerston, 'so also a British subject, in whatever land he may be, shall feel confident that the watchful eye and the strong arm of England will protect him against injustice and wrong.'

Sadly, any chance that Gordon Brown might take Britain to war if I were cheated by a Greek waiter has now disappeared. For this week I had a go at the latest version of the Home Office's UK Citizenship Test, a multiple- choice exam that all applicants must sit if they want to become British citizens.

Devised by David Blunkett when he was Home Secretary, the test costs £34, takes 45 minutes and involves 24 questions. Those taking the exam need to study a special textbook, Life In The United Kingdom, which you might expect to have everything you need to know about our national culture - though you would be wrong.

When the test was launched four years ago, the Government claimed that it represented a 'more meaningful' way of allowing people to become British citizens. Former Home Office minister Tony McNulty even insisted that it was the ideal measure of applicants' 'preparedness to become citizens', although he ominously added that it was 'about looking forward, rather than an assessment of their ability to understand history' - a typical bit of New Labour indifference to the past.

In any case, I was so confident that I would pass that I attempted double the usual number of questions, convinced I would sail through with flying colours. My feeble score in the UK Citizenship Test - just 27 right answers out of 48 - shows I lack 'sufficient knowledge of life in the United Kingdom'.

But while I applaud the Home Office's efforts to get immigrants to learn a few basic facts about their new country, I wonder whether this is really the best way to do it. For like so many exams, their test is essentially asking candidates to regurgitate their textbook - in this case, a monumentally soporific and politically correct one.

To look back through the Home Office's questions, in fact, is to get a very bizarre and skewed version of Britishness. It is nice to see that they ask applicants to name the year of the Gunpowder Plot and the date of St George's Day. But most of the questions betray a weird obsession with immigration, multiculturalism and the intimate workings of the welfare system. It beggars belief, for example, that to become a British citizen, I would need to know exactly how many refugees from South East Asia have settled here since 1979 - but not the name of a single Shakespeare play or Dickens novel.

Weirdly, I would also need to know by heart the percentage of practising Muslims in the UK, the number of seats we hold in the European Parliament, the proportion of people who have ever taken drugs, and the ages at which children take SATS, as well as details of the Government's New Deal.

As it happens, I got all of those questions wrong. I also made a mess of the statutory paternity leave, the maximum hours that a 15-year-old can work during the school week, and the exact minimum wage for 21-year-olds - though I did at least know where Scousers come from.

My guess is that with the possible exception of some particularly obsessive bureaucrat, very few born-and-bred Britons would manage to pass this test, let alone get all the questions right. What the examiners want is merely the regurgitation of their welfare and immigration-obsessed textbook - even though most of their cherished facts can be found on the internet in seconds. Immigrants should certainly be taught about our history, culture, traditions and customs, which are almost entirely absent from the Home Office's handbook.

But the truth is that citizenship, as the Romans understood, should be earned, not taught. Membership of a community is not something that can be tested by multiple-choice questions; it should be demonstrated through charity and voluntary work, membership of church organisations and political parties, or participation in local clubs and activities. It should be a reward for months of service, not for hours revising the world's dullest textbook. Citizenship should be the ultimate prize, recognising a newcomer's commitment to his adopted homeland.

But if all you need to get it is the ability to remember the difference between the Jobseeker's Allowance, an education support grant, then who among us will still be proud to say 'Civis Britannicus sum'?


Leftist hatred of Israel

Exclusively siding with the Palestinians or the Israelis is counter productive. The Canadian national media is not as neutral as they'd have us believe-check the numer of articles listed in this site, for starters. Chances are if the organization is left leaning, their editorials, news reports, special programs will not take the side of the Israels and in many cases they will join their leftist brothers in siding with anyone but Israel.

One must ask, in all honesty, if newspapers which are biased or perhaps even agents of left leaning propaganda, should be found in Ontario schools, where young impressionable students are trying to develop a world view based upon sobriety of opinion and not on spin?

Many Jews believe the left hates Israel. Unfortunately this lament is largely based on reality. Most radical leftist groups today oppose the very existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East. And as the recent federal parliamentary debate showed, many representatives of the centrist Australian Labor Party (ALP) also hold little sympathy for Israel. See here.

Historically, orthodox socialism has always been opposed in theory to Zionism and other forms of Jewish nationalism. However, at least prior to 1967, this leftist anti-Zionism was balanced by a genuine concern for Jews as an oppressed group. It would never have occurred to the early left to denounce Zionism as a racist ideology because Jews were themselves the foremost victims of racism.

The 1967 Six-Day War changed everything. The left discovered the Palestinians, and the romance with the PLO began. Israel was stereotyped as a powerful oppressor state and a tool of western imperialism involved in suppressing the national rights of the Palestinians.

Leftist anti-Zionism soon spread beyond the radical left to mainstream social democratic parties. In 1974-75 the Australian Union of Students motions calling for the liquidation of Israel.

The antisemitic rhetoric used at the United Nations Conference in Durban and the various proposals for academic boycotts of Israel suggest an increasing leftist hostility not only to Israel, but also to Jewish supporters.

The anti-Zionist left also ignores the differences between the Palestinians and other commensurate resistance movements.

Few on the left are willing to take into account the views of those who are victims of terrorism. The left prefers to ignore the potential genocidal implications of what it advocates.

As usual when Israel fights back at terrorists, Canadian leftists are lining up behind the men in the masks and suicide vests. But no one has disgraced himself — and his organization — quite so much as Sid Ryan, president of the Ontario section of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)... Where, we ask, were the CUPE boycotts against academics from Russia, China, Sri Lanka, or any of the many other nations whose battles against terrorists have resulted in a far greater civilian toll?Nowhere. On this file, Mr. Ryan and his fellow CUPE leaders care about demonizing only one country: the Jewish state. There’s a name for that kind of bigotry, isn’t there? Remember to speak its name plainly next time you meet a CUPE Ontario employee.


Australia: "Merry Christmas" makes a comeback after Council dumps "Seasons Greetings" signs

COUNCILS have turned their backs on political correctness, reinstating the "Merry Christmas" greeting to its rightful place. Parramatta Council, in Sydney's west, has taken down its "season's greetings" banners in favour of posters wishing "Merry Christmas". The move came after the council produced Christmas cards and 50 banners for five years without mentioning Christmas once.

Councillors believe the politically correct banners reflected "a secular view of Christmas" instead of the "traditional Australian view of Christmas". "Our community is fed up with this erosion of the true meaning and essence of Christmas through this ridiculous pre-emptive surrender of the real Christmas on the basis it may offend someone," councillor Michael McDermott said. "All we do is offend the great majority of our residents by this politically correct nonsense and watering down of the historically accurate view of Christmas. "This is not some puerile statement, it is a debate that our communities need to have about the essence of Christmas and the manner in which political correctness is used to attack and erode it."

He put forward a move to reinstate the phrase "Merry Christmas" on banners, websites, booklets, leaflets, and for Christmas events, as well as to cover the words "season's greetings" on all banners within the Parramatta CBD with "Merry Christmas". Staff were asked to design a range of banners that illustrated "the traditional notion of Christmas, and the nativity version and traditional Christian notion of Christmas".

A council spokesman said four new "Merry Christmas" posters would be hung at selected sites and new Christmas banners would be made next year.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


21 December, 2009

BBC succumbs to feminist pressure over age of onscreen presenters

Not allowed to do what they think will get them most audience

First she swapped her newsreader’s chair at ITN for a Scottish ancestral seat, becoming Lady MacGregor of MacGregor, wife of the Gregor clan chief. Now Fiona Armstrong is one of three middle-aged women being hired by the BBC to counter claims of ageism. Armstrong, 53, who also spent time on the GMTV sofa, joins Julia Somerville, 62, a former presenter of ITN’s News at Ten, and Zeinab Badawi, 50, who used to anchor the Channel 4 News with Jon Snow.

It is an about-turn by the BBC which angered viewers by dropping Moira Stuart from her newsreading role after more than 30 years. “I’m delighted that the BBC has gone for such talent,” said Joan Bakewell, the broadcaster and government adviser on older women. “They are all supremely qualified to interview, say, Hillary Clinton one minute and Clint Eastwood the next.”

Last summer Bakewell went directly to the BBC’s director-general, Mark Thompson, to tell him that it was wrong to employ many men over 50 to present TV news or current affairs programmes, but just a couple of women.

Yet there is some disappointment that none of the three new recruits will front a main bulletin such as the Six or Ten O’Clock News or a current affairs programme such as Newsnight. Initially, at least, all three will be presenters on the BBC News Channel. None of the three recruits applied for the post, though hundreds of others from inside and outside the BBC did. All three women were approached. The BBC said: “It’s important not to rest on our laurels and to reflect the public we serve.”


Muslim whiner loses out in Britain

He was just playing the "Muslim card" in hope of a payout. Now he will be paying

A Muslim chef who lost a claim of religious discrimination against Scotland Yard after complaining he was forced to cook sausages and bacon faces a legal bill of more than £75,000. Hasanali Khoja accused the Metropolitan Police of failing to consider his Islamic beliefs when he was asked to handle pork products as a catering manager at a police station. The £23,000-a-year chef claimed suggestions by his bosses that he should wear gloves and use tongs left him 'stressed and humiliated'. Muslims are banned from eating pork under Islamic law. But Mr Khoja, 62, lost his claim in May after a police employee told an employment tribunal how she saw Mr Khoja eat bacon rolls and sausages.

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has now won a ruling ordering Mr Khoja to pay its costs, which total at least £76,200. In its costs claim, the Met said Mr Khoja 'knew that he had asked for a bacon roll two or three times for personal consumption before bringing his claim and throughout the conduct of his claim'. 'The fact that he had knowingly come into contact with pork products before bringing the claim shows that the claim had no reasonable prospect of success from the outset.'

Judge Michael Southam agreed and ruled Mr Khoja should pay costs, though these would be determined at a later date at a county court.

Mr Khoja, from Edgware, North London, who is still employed by the Met, claimed at a hearing in Watford that he could afford to pay only £80 a week as he has little income, lives in rented property and is struggling with £30,000 legal bills of his own. But the court discovered he had sold another home last year, splitting profits of almost £200,000 with his wife and two sons.

The decision is another setback for the police chef, who believed he was on course for a large settlement when he launched his case in 2007. Mr Khoja, who sits on a Foods Standards Agency advisory committee on Muslim issues, decided to take action after Scotland Yard chiefs placed him on unpaid leave for a year after his refusal to work with pork. He said he was then given work in a different building but his role was downgraded.

But his case fell apart when another caterer, Mary Boakye, told the court she served him bacon rolls 'two or three' times at the Met canteen at Heathrow in West London. When she told him she was surprised because his religion banned him from eating pork, Mr Khoja allegedly replied: 'I eat them once in a while.' Another chef said he saw Mr Khoja once happily eat a sausage dish and told the court 'he was not as strict as some Muslims'. Judge Southam also heard how Mr Khoja had made 'wild and baseless' allegations about a human resource manager, allegedly making racial facial gestures.

Mr Khoja is one of several ethnic minority staff to launch racial discrimination claims against Scotland Yard. The most high-profile was former Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur, who last year accused Sir Ian Blair of excluding him from the upper echelons of the force because of his skin colour. Mr Ghaffur retired after receiving an out-of-court settlement and dropped the allegations.


Men ARE better than women at parking: Feminist scientists proves what sexist motorists have known all along

Male drivers have long boasted they are superior to women, particularly when it comes to parking. And now their claims have been borne out by the first scientific study into the subject. Psychologists asked 65 volunteers to park a £23,000 Audi repeatedly in a sealed-off university car park.

The results, which are bound to reignite long-running arguments between couples, found that women took up to 20 seconds longer to park in the same space. But although they were more cautious about edging into position, it did not make them any more accurate, and they tended to end up much closer to the edge of the bays than the male drivers.

Scientists from Ruhr University in Bochum, Germany, found men were better at driving both head-on into the space and reversing into it. However, the biggest difference was in parallel parking, where men were found to be five per cent better in their handling and positioning of the vehicle. Researchers concluded the men had better co-ordination and spatial awareness because their brains could process the changing speed and position of the car more quickly.

Dr Claudia Wolf, who co-wrote the study, said she was prompted to investigate the subject after getting fed up with chauvinistic jokes about female drivers. She told The Mail on Sunday: ‘These prejudices exist and as a scientist I decided to find out if they are true or based on myth. ‘I don’t think that feminism or the cause of women is in any way set back by these findings. It only proves what previous studies about the spatial differences between men and women have shown. ‘Besides, it is not as if there was a massive failing by women. It is just about parking - not the triumph of men over women.’

The drivers - who had varying degrees of driving experience, but were of similar ages and intelligence - were asked to park an Audi A6 Limousine automatic, a large, family saloon, in a 15ft by 6ft space. The scientists measured both the time between the car’s first movement and the driver turning off the engine and how close the car ended up to the white tape marking out the bays. The more central the car ended up in the space, the better.

The psychologists admitted they were surprised that females’ extra caution did not bring better results. Their paper noted: ‘The marked difference in parking duration could be explained in terms of general driving habits. Several studies prove that men take greater driving risks. ‘However, a sex difference in risk-assessment leading to women parking more cautiously, and thus more slowly, does not explain why women’s final parking position was less accurate than men’s, especially for parallel parking. Slower driving should lead to a better and not worse result.’


When 'Spiritual Elevation' Is the Law

Authoritarianism is not dead in Germany either

The Germans are so strong on their family values they want the state to enforce them. They're debating now whether shops should be shuttered on Sunday by law. It's a burning issue in coffee shops, on the street and in the newspapers, hotter than whether Angela Merkel should send more troops to Afghanistan.

Germany's highest court has ruled that keeping Sunday a day of rest benefits everyone, like it or not. So buying a head of lettuce, repairing a bike or purchasing a pair of shoes is not for Sunday. The ruling is especially disappointing to Berlin shopkeepers who find flexible Sunday hours particularly profitable.

Most clergymen, eager to reach the multitudes (the more parishioners in the pews, the louder the hymns), have greeted the ruling with enthusiasm if not awe. The initial complaint against extended Sunday hours was filed by leaders of both Protestant and Catholic churches, who argued that a clause in the German constitution supports the day of rest as important to "spiritual elevation." The labor unions pushed for Sunday as a family day that even atheists could enjoy. Under the ruling, shops will no longer enjoy Berlin's expansive policy of staying open 10 Sundays a year, including the four consecutive Sundays before Christmas, although it did not completely overturn the principle for some Sunday openings. Curbs on hours are expected in other cities, too.

Fortunately for the thousands of tourists who flock to Germany from all over the continent for the traditional Christmas markets, the new regulations aren't effective this Christmas season -- and they can visit retail shops on Sunday, too. More than 2,500 such markets have opened across Germany this year, and shoppers are expected to leave a lot of Euros behind. A typical shopper to a Christmas market spends about 30 Euros, almost $50, and if my own haul of scarves, toys and jewelry is typical, that's a modest estimate.

Dozens of little wooden huts, or stalls decorated with tiny, twinkling Christmas lights, typically stand in neat rows on town squares and plazas. They're tucked into alleys, courtyards and side streets, traditionally offering wooden toys, tree ornaments, nativity scenes and an enormous array of holiday food: gingerbread in Munich, figurines fashioned of dried plums in Frankfurt and stollen, a Christmas cake, in Dresden. It's even possible occasionally to find a hand crafted Hanukkah menorah.

In a typical Christmas market in Dortmund, Hans-Peter Arens sells famous hams, and his son nearby offers mulled Gluewein, the popular seasonal wine. They're among four generations of the family operating a Christmas market. "I know that the church encourages reflection," he tells der Spiegel, the German news magazine, "but I can only be reflective when the cash register is ringing."

It's easy to see why the state-enforced day of rest is not popular with merchants. The Chamber of Commerce scoffs that the court is "out of touch with reality" and argues that eliminating shopping days in a recession doesn't make business sense. Tourists who come to the city only on weekends will take their Sunday business elsewhere, or buy online where there are no restrictions.

"This ruling is like Marie Antoinette saying, 'Let them bake cake,'" complains a querulous patron at a bakery counter, eager to return to buy fresh bread on his day of rest. But support for the ban cuts across political and religious lines, left and right. Many Germans, religious and not, support Sunday's "specialness," if not its sanctity.

"The judges did not just endorse the division of time marked by Christianity," observes Die Welt, a conservative newspaper. "We people as social animals are duty bound and justified in dividing our time (by being) together." The left-leaning Die Tageszeitung agrees, noting that those who want "to play cards, go for a walk or simply laze around" can use a quiet Sunday, too. The center-left Suddeutsche Zeitung concedes the decision sounds antiquated because it runs against the "economic liberal zeitgeist." But that's all right because the enforced day off is a benefit to everyone.

Germans, like other Europeans, often sneer at American capitalism for commercializing culture around the clock, but as in so much other attitudinizing, where you stand always depends on where you're sitting. Europeans generally don't like to work as hard as Americans, who demand marginal tax rates and economic incentives that Germans, French and Italians can hardly fathom.

Americans prize family values, too, and attend church and synagogue at much higher rates than anywhere else in the world. Fights over Sunday closing, enforced by "blue laws," were once a staple of small-town America, too. We no longer rely on the government to tell us how to enjoy our Sundays, but it's hard to find figurines of dried plums in Peoria.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


20 December, 2009

A verdict for sanity in Seattle

This week was significant in the fight against terrorism. The case against Naveed Haq went to verdict. Haq is the Muslim man who walked into the office of the Seattle Jewish Federation in 2006 and went on a shooting rampage moments after uttering, "I'm a Muslim-American, and I'm angry at Israel."

The case is important because of what it says about how ordinary Americans view fundamentalist Islam. Many in the media have excused murderous behavior in the name of Islam as the actions of a "crazy" person. For proof, look no further than the reaction of the chattering classes to Maj. Hasan's murder spree at Ft. Hood last month. With Haq, the jury had the "crazy" label handed to them on a silver platter. Even the prosecution acknowledged that Haq suffered from a history of mental illness.

The twelve men and women in proudly liberal Seattle, however, rejected the politically correct cop-out. Though Haq was not facing terrorism charges, the jury found him guilty on Tuesday of aggravated first-degree murder, five counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of unlawful imprisonment and one count of malicious harassment, which is Washington state's hate-crime law.

The verdict suggests that even in deep blue pockets of the country, a terrorist's stated motives will be taken at face value. Even if that isn't the same as those same people willing to make terrorism a political priority, it does at least indicate that delusional denial isn't as widespread as we might fear.

It helped that in this trial the prosecution was able to play damning audiotapes of phone calls Haq made to his family after the shooting. In one of the ten recorded phone calls, Haq told his mother that he was "a soldier of Islam." In the 911 tape, Haq told the dispatcher, "I don't care if I die." Haq explained that the world was ignoring the suffering of Muslims, so his reason was "just to make a point."

By finding Haq guilty when the insanity defense could have won so easily, the Seattle jury "made the point" that common sense can prevail when it's needed most.


Propaganda as journalism

JAMES TARANTO suggests that "AP" now stands for "Authoritarian Propaganda" instead of "Associated Press"

See if you can guess the source of this quote: "Once, not so long ago, the planet's prevailing voices were those of the experts--the people who, right or wrong, had years of training to back up what they said. Then came the Internet, and everything changed."

Wrong, it's not Al Gore lamenting the effects of his invention. It's an Associated Press dispatch by Ted Anthony. Readers of this column know that the AP, once the gold standard in straight, factual reporting, has grown increasingly opinionated over the past few years, under the rubric of "accountability journalism." Yet the AP's editors insist they're not publishing opinion. What you get in a dispatch like this, then, is a perfect distillation of left-liberal orthodoxy--of the assumptions that go unquestioned by those who imagine themselves to be "experts" or to be speaking on their behalf. As Anthony continues:
Consider the global warming debate: The skeptics shout. The skeptics' opponents shout back. The scientists insist they have research in their corner. And public debate shifts from the provable and the empirical toward the spectacle of argument.

Democracy in action? That's one way of seeing it. But is something deeper afoot? As the amplification of human opinion becomes more democratic, is the suspicion of the expert and the intellectual--a long-held trope in American society--going globally viral?
Hmm, if the global-warming debate has prompted "suspicion of the expert and the intellectual," could it have something to do with the recent revelations that climate scientists manipulated and withheld data and conspired to suppress alternate hypotheses? Incredibly, Anthony not only doesn't answer the question, he doesn't even mention the revelations that prompt it. Anthony quotes a purported expert on expertise:
Greil Marcus, an American cultural historian and co-author of "A New Literary History of America," remembers watching TV in the 1950s, "when there were all these TV dramas about science vs. religion." And, he says, "science always won." No more, Marcus says. Instead, cacophony now prevails and the right to be heard trumps what is being said. "Welcome to the new Dark Ages," he says.
But the reason "science" no longer "wins" is that what often poses as science today is different from the real thing. To take an easy example, supposedly science-minded people often scoff at those who do not "believe in evolution." The problem with this is not that they are wrong to defend evolution, but that they mistake evolution, a scientific theory, for a belief system. When you demand adherence to a set of beliefs, you are no longer doing science but something that has the form, if not the substance, of religion.

Similarly, what is clearest from the University of East Anglia emails is that climate science has become more political than scientific. Researchers have been abusing the scientific process in order to produce support for an ideologically predetermined outcome. And global warmism has strong religious overtones too, as evidenced by this headline in London's left-wing Guardian: "This Is Bigger Than Climate Change. It Is a Battle to Redefine Humanity."

Anthony concludes by arguing that skepticism has long been a problem for science:
Consider the case of the Italian physicist faced with a barrage of criticism from skeptics to the point where he faced legal action that dogged him for the rest of his life. We know him as Galileo, the father of modern astronomy.
But of course Galileo's antagonists were not skeptics at all. Rather, they were believers in established dogma and upholders of authority. Skepticism lies at the heart of real science--and, for that matter, of real journalism. "Accountability journalism" turns out to be neither accountability nor journalism, merely propaganda on behalf of those the AP regards as authorities.


Australian conservative leader says all children should be taught about the Bible

BIBLE classes should be compulsory so children have a fundamental understanding of Christianity on leaving school, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says. "I think everyone should have some familiarity with the great texts that are at the core of our civilisation," Mr Abbott told the Herald Sun. "That includes, most importantly, the Bible.

"I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity. "That doesn't mean that people have to be believers."

But former Howard government Islamic advisor Dr Ameer Ali, said Mr Abbott's remarks were "over the top". "It's one thing to say every child needs a good knowledge of history and geography or science," Dr Ali said. "But it is something else to say all children should have a knowledge of the Bible. That might hurt other people who have their own holy scriptures," he said.

And the Australian Education Union's federal president, Angelo Gavrielatos, said that religion was not a priority for schools. "There is a place for comparative studies of religion in the curriculum, but ultimately we consider it a private matter for parents and their children," he said.


Australia: More rapes by "refugee" Africans?

Ethnicity of offenders is zealously suppressed these days but the last sentence seems to give the game away. Lebanese Muslims are also known for callous pack rapes but Arabic interpreters should not be hard to find.

I like to do all I can towards defeating censorship. I aim at that on all my blogs. And if I get it wrong, the fault lies with the secrecy, not me.

A TEENAGE boy charged over the pack rape of two 15-year-old girls told police he'd done nothing wrong and the girls wanted it, a court heard today. The 16-year-old boy, one of two charged today with the pack rape involving up to 10 males in Melbourne in October, had shown no remorse, police informant Detective Dave Newman told a children's court.

"It seemed in the interview any girl outside at night and drinking alcohol is fair game and I have a major concern he could do this to other people," he told the court. "I am quite disturbed and have major concerns about that attitude being back on the streets and going straight back to reoffending with members of the public or witnesses."

The 16-year-old boy from Broadmeadows was charged with four counts of rape and a 17-year-old boy from Coolaroo has been charged with two counts of rape.

The court heard a graphic account of how the girls were raped repeatedly and taunted by up to 10 males. Someone close to the defendant had talked about burning the girls' house down while the defendant talked about "buying the girls" to get himself off, the court heard.

A lawyer for the boy told the magistrate he had no criminal history and should be granted bail as two other males involved in the case had been. A magistrate said she was concerned the boy was a risk and was convinced that the two girls were petrified and remanded him in custody until another hearing next month.

The 17-year-old will apply for bail next week and will spend the weekend behind bars after an interpreter could not be found to appear in court.


Tinsel Taliban strikes as British Court Service ban staff from decorations

Forget nativity scenes and crosses. Even tinsel can be politically incorrect in authoritarian Britain

The 'Tinsel Taliban' have struck in Britain's courts. The Tories claim court officials have been banned from putting tinsel around front office-counters amid fears it will 'offend other religions'. Tinsel and other Christmas decorations have been outlawed at the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Nuneaton, where people pay fines.

But last night the Government denied the charge that the ban had been put in place to ensure Muslims were not offended. They said it was because they would be insensitive for criminals to have to pay fines in a room surrounded by tinsel.

However, one courts worker wrote to community cohesion minister Sayeeda Warsi to say he had been told the ban had been imposed because tinsel would 'break the Court Service Diversity Policy'. This commits court service managers to 'creating a culture where equality and diversity forms an integral part of everyday working life' and 'incorporating equality and diversity into day-to-day management activities'.

Baroness Warsi spoke out after receiving a letter from a worker at the centre who said: 'I work as an admin officer in the county court and we have been told that we can't put tinsel around our counter window as it might offend other religions, according to HMCS diversity policy.'

The Warwickshire Justice Centre houses police officers, the Crown Prosecution Service, four magistrates courts, the probation service, the local youth offending team and witness support services. The Court Service is headed by justice minister Bridget Prentice, who is spearheading a campaign to ban pink toys being sold because they are not sufficiently 'progressive' and 'funnel girls into pretty, pretty jobs'.

Baroness Warsi said: 'First toys; now tinsel. Labour's PC killjoys are determined to kill off Christmas. 'This has nothing to do with diversity; it's about the very opposite - a stultifying grey conformity. 'Non-Christians don't want to see Christmas banned, and they're fed up of being patronised by Labour.'

Last night a source at the Ministry of Justice admitted that tinsel had been banned at the front-office counter at the Nuneaton office. 'Over the counter, yes, where sensitive business like fine payments takes place,' he said. 'For that reason. Otherwise there is tinsel and stuff elsewhere. 'Nothing was removed for religious or diversity reasons. 'One piece of tinsel was removed from a counter where it was getting in the way. The rest of the tinsel remains there as festive as ever.' And he claimed: 'I have it on good authority that the court is one of the most festive places one could go, perhaps outside Lapland.'

The Conservatives have long accused Labour of bowing to PC concerns over Christmas - such as the famous example of Birmingham rebranding the religious festival as 'Winterval'. But two weeks ago, David Cameron faced embarrassment when it emerged the Tory website was selling Christmas cards with the PC message Season's Greetings. This is despite the fact he has in the past derided such cards as being 'insulting tosh'.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


19 December, 2009

The "cultural sensitivity" of the British police kills woman

Twice, in the weeks before she was murdered by her father, Tulay Goren told the police that she feared for her life. And twice she was ignored. Mehmet Goren, who was convicted of murder yesterday, killed his 15-year-old daughter because she had fallen in love with an “unsuitable” older man. To Mehmet, the affair made her a “worthless commodity” who could not be married off for a £5,000 dowry. The authorities did nothing to protect her, even though the police became involved when her father attacked her boyfriend, and even though Mehmet demanded in front of police officers that his daughter take a virginity test. Only a decade after her murder in 1999 has justice been done.

“Honour killings” in Britain? Impossible. To many people the case of Tulay Goren will come as a shock, but not to me. I know from personal experience, and from working with victims, that such “honour” crimes are a huge social problem in this country. The shame is not just that it is happening on such a large scale, but that it is so often covered up for fear of upsetting cultural sensibilities. Serious crimes are being treated as a matter for diversity officers rather than for the police and the courts.

There are measures in place to help potential victims of honour crimes, but they are not being used to anything like the extent that they should be. In 2007 Parliament passed the Forced Marriage Act, which enables magistrates to issue protection orders to stop women and girls being married against their will. If necessary, victims, a third of whom are under 16, can be taken into care. Passports can be confiscated, and parents can be forced to reveal the whereabouts of daughters who have gone missing from school, most likely because they have been taken abroad to be coerced into marriage. According to a recent Home Affairs Select Committee report, 2,500 British girls have gone missing from schools and are believed to be at risk.

But the law will have been in vain if authorities refuse to use it for fear of being accused of being racist. Up until last month, 86 forced marriage protection orders have been issued, yet not one of them was in Bradford, Leicester or Tower Hamlets. Is this because forced marriage is not a problem in those areas, all of which have some of the largest Asian populations in Britain? Or is it because authorities there are failing to use the powers for fear of creating offence? I am afraid it is the latter.

Two years ago Cleveland Police set up a helpline for victims of forced marriage. In that time it has received more than 300 calls. If that is the scale of the problem in an area where only 3 per cent of people are from ethnic minorities, imagine how many calls police in areas with large Asian populations would get if they became more proactive.

If a white child went missing from school or rang a helpline to complain that she was being taken away to be married, you can be sure it would be followed up. But I have seen at close quarters what happens when the child is Asian. Many schools and social service departments decline to act. Recently, I tried to get posters put up in schools around Derby, but the headteachers refused on the grounds that they didn’t want to upset the local communities. A lot of people still consider forced marriage to be part of Asian culture and that it is offensive to intervene. But it is not part of anyone’s culture to be abused.

Since the Government set up its forced marriage unit in 2005, 400 victims of forced marriages have been repatriated from abroad. One third of them were minors. But we are still only scratching the surface because people are very unwilling to face up to these “honour” crimes. Consider this: Tulay’s mother took ten years to report her daughter’s killing. And I know only too well the guilt and shame that prevents victims of “honour” crimes talking about what has happened to them.

In 1981, aged 15½, I was taken out of my school in Derby and told by my parents that seven years earlier I had been promised in marriage to a man from Punjab. They showed me a photograph of him. They had not even met him themselves, but they wanted me to marry him because they knew it would give them great status to be able to get this man into Britain and gain him citizenship.

When I refused to go through with the marriage I was locked in a room. My mother told me: “unless you marry who we say, you are dead in our eyes”. Unknown to my parents I had a boyfriend, and I ran away with him to Newcastle where we slept in a car and washed in public toilets before we managed to find a bedsit.

I spent seven years in hiding and it was only when I heard that my 24-year-old sister Robina had set fire to herself rather than suffer the shame of leaving a violent arranged marriage, and had died as a result, that I returned to Derby to campaign against forced marriage. Even now my brother and surviving sisters will cross the road rather than talk to me.

I was lucky compared with many victims. When I was on the run in Newcastle I told my story to a policeman who agreed not to send me back home. Unfortunately, the police often fail to believe girls who tell them they are in danger; they are treated like stroppy teenagers who have fallen out with their parents. Tulay Goren begged to be put into a children’s home. If she had been listened to she would be alive now.

Over the past 20 years attitudes towards domestic violence among the white population have changed immeasurably. No longer do police say “it’s just a domestic” when they receive a call from a woman who is being attacked by her husband. Sadly, different standards still apply to violence among Asians. While it is too late for Tulay Goren, I hope that the story of her appalling and avoidable death will finally wake us up to the abuse taking place in our midst and that we will stop trying to excuse forced marriage as just a price to pay for multicultural diversity.


Beyond mere hatred

Palestinian anti-Semitism has long been recognized as a vehicle of hatred. From academics teaching that Judaism permits murder and rape of non-Jews, to religious leaders teaching that Islam demands the extermination of Jews, Palestinian anti-Semitism is a compelling force driving hatred and terror.

The Palestinian Authority depicts Jews as the archetypal force of evil throughout history. Jews are said to be responsible for all the world's problems: wars, financial crises, even the spreading of AIDS. Jews are a danger to humanity.

Whereas this paradigm has been used before, the Palestinians take it a step further, turning demonization of Jews into the basis for Palestinian denial of Israel's right to exist and a central component of Palestinian national identity.

Because of Jews' evil nature, according to this Palestinian principle, nations of the world have been involved in continuous defensive actions to protect themselves. The anti-Semitic oppression, persecution and expulsions suffered by Jews throughout history are presented as the legitimate self-defense responses of nations.

Ibrahim Mudayris, a PA religious official, delineated this ideology: "The Jews are a virus similar to AIDS, from which the entire world is suffering. This has been proven in history... Ask Britain!... Ask France!... Ask Portugal... Ask czarist Russia - who invited the Jews and they plotted to murder the czar!... Don't ask Germany what it did to the Jews, since the Jews are the ones who provoked Nazism to fight the entire world" (PA TV, May 13, 2005).

The apex of this Palestinian ideology, and possibly its purpose, is to use this demonization of Jews as the basis for denying Israel legitimacy and to present Palestinians as the ultimate victims. According to this Palestinian model, the Jews, who are said to have no history in the land, would never have considered coming to "Palestine": Europeans created Zionism as the final act in the long series of self-defense measures, to rid themselves of the "burden" of the Jews.

Political commentator Fathi Buzia recently explained this on official PA television: "Europe, led by Britain, founded Israel... The Jews in the time of Herzl caused European societies to lose sleep. They wanted to be rid of them, and implanted them in Palestine" (PA TV, June 17). Dr Riad al-Astal, a history lecturer at Al Azhar University in Gaza, explained it this way: "In aiding Zionism, Britain's first aim was to be rid of the Jews, who were known to provoke disputes and disturbances and financial crises in Germany, France and other European states" (PA TV, December 28, 2003).

THIS DEMONIZATION of Jews as the reason for delegitimizing Israel has been an integral part of Palestinian ideology, voiced by political, academic and religious leaders since the establishment of the PA. Already in 1998 the official PA daily described both Hitler's attempt to exterminate the Jews and British support for Zionism as defensive measures: "Hitler did not have colonies to send the Jews so he destroyed them, whereas Balfour... [turned] Palestine into his colony and sent the Jews. Balfour is Hitler with colonies, while Hitler is Balfour without colonies. They both wanted to get rid of the Jews... Zionism was crucial to the defense of the West's interests in the region, [by] ridding Europe of the burden of its Jews" (Al-Hayat al-Jadida [Fatah], June 12, 1998).

This is not merely incitement; this is the foundation of Palestinian ideology. Israel is denied legitimacy and Palestinian victimhood becomes the foundation upon which a Palestinian national identity is created. Therefore, the Palestinian anti-Semitism construct is so problematic and hard to dislodge. Since the aim of Palestinian anti-Semitism is not merely to promote hatred, but part of a systematic demonization of Jews to deny Israel's right to exist, proving that Jews are evil has become an element of the ongoing Palestinian narrative.

Indeed, even in the period of the Annapolis Conference, the PA has never stopped disseminating a steady diet of hatred of Jews and Israelis. It has accused Jews and Israel of spreading AIDS among Palestinians, causing drug addiction among youth, planning to destroy the Aksa Mosque, and murdering Yasser Arafat. Jews are said to have lived in ghettos not because of European hatred, but because they see themselves as superior and do not want to mix with non-Jews, while the Palestinian chief religious justice recently said that the Koran warns of the Jews' inherently evil traits. Zionists are said to have forced Palestinians to undergo "selections" during the War of Independence, whereby the fit were put in labor camps and the unfit killed - some even burned alive.

All this and much more, since the renewal of the peace process.

The tragic reality is that this Palestinian anti-Semitism and its conclusions may already be ingrained in Palestinian society. During a talk show for teens on official PA TV, a young girl explained the reason Jews live in Israel: "About the problem of the Jewish presence: You'd agree that the Jewish presence in the land of Palestine was nothing but the liberation of all the countries of the world from the source of evil. The evil that is found in the Jews has become a germ among us, which is a cancer that buried us and is still burying. And we are the ones who suffer from this cancer" (PA TV, June 23, 2002). The adult moderator did not correct her. And why should he? She was merely reiterating the basis of Palestinian national identity.

IN OTHER countries, anti-Semitism has been a tool to promote hatred for a variety of internal reasons. As such, when hatred was no longer necessary, anti-Semitism as a government policy could be eradicated, as in post-Nazi Germany.

But the goal of PA demonization of Jews transcends mere hatred. Anti-Semitism is its political tool to defame Zionism, deny Israel's right to exist and create victimhood as the glue that cements Palestinian national identity. Because this political goal will exist as long as Israel exists, Palestinian anti-Semitism will be much harder to uproot.

If there is ever to be peace in the region, Palestinians must define a new Palestinian national identity - one that doesn't rely on anti-Semitism and the eradication of Israel's legitimacy as its foundation.


Australia's proposed internet filters 'thin end of the wedge'

I don't agree with Justice Kirby often but I do on this one

Former High Court judge Michael Kirby has criticised the Federal Government's internet censorship agenda, saying it could stop the "Berlin Walls of the future" from being knocked down.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, announced he would introduce legislation before next year's elections forcing ISPs to block a secret blacklist of "refused classification" (RC) websites for all Australian internet users. Most experts agree that Conroy's policy will not result in any meaningful dent in the availability of harmful internet content, will create significant freedom of speech issues and will be prone to abuse by politicians.

Almost 20,000 people have voted in a Fairfax Media poll on internet censorship and 96 per cent of respondents oppose the filters, which the Government itself has admitted could be easily bypassed and do not cover peer-to-peer, instant messaging or other communications protocols. Nearly 120,000 Australians signed a petition against internet censorship by online activist group GetUp.

In an interview with Fairfax Radio this morning, Kirby said some circles feared the controversial policy would be "the thin end of the wedge of the Government moving in to regulating the actual internet itself". "Once you start doing that you get into the situation of Burma and Iran where the Government is taking control of what people hear and what information they get," he said, adding that Australia's approach hadn't been attempted anywhere else in the world.

Google has also entered the debate, saying yesterday the scope of the content to be filtered went too far beyond child pornography and that the "heavy handed" approach would restrict freedom of expression. "Refused Classification (or RC) is a broad category of content that includes not just child sexual abuse material but also socially and politically controversial material - for example, educational content on safer drug use - as well as the grey realms of material instructing in any crime, including politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia," Google Australia's head of policy, Iarla Flynn, said. "This type of content may be unpleasant and unpalatable but we believe that government should not have the right to block information which can inform debate of controversial issues."

Kirby and Google's concerns mirror that of Sydney University Associate Professor Bjorn Landfeldt, who said yesterday that there was no clear definition of "refused classification" and the goalposts dictating what content is prohibited could be substantially widened in future. Already, the refused classification category includes a significant proportion of legal material such as regular gay and straight porn sites, fetish sites, euthanasia material and innocuous sites that have been mistakenly prohibited.

"It was through 'public complaints mechanisms' like the one Conroy is proposing, that classic literature such as The Catcher in the Rye, Ulysses and The Story of the Kelly Gang were once banned in Australia," GetUp said.

Landfeldt also criticised the pilot trial report used by the Government to justify the policy, saying the trials were designed to succeed from the outset, presented no new information and were now being used by the Government to further its political agenda.

The Government has said 15 other Western democracies have implemented the same filtering plan but most of the other countries have made the scheme voluntary for ISPs and the blacklisted content is limited to child pornography. "Australia's proposed regime would uniquely combine a mandatory framework and a much wider scope of content, the first of its kind in the democratic world," Flynn said.

In a phone interview, Flynn said it was too early to say what effect the filters would have on Google's services but "if you were to look at YouTube today and ask: 'Is there material on YouTube which could be considered refused classification?', the answer would have to be 'yes' ".

Conroy's policy has attracted significant ridicule from international commentators and media, with news headlines such as "Australia plans Chinese-style internet filtering" and "Joining China and Iran, Australia to filter internet" appearing on the Telegraph.co.uk and FOXNews websites.


Politically correct = not saying what’s often true

Political correctness is a cancer on the heart of America. Like the real cancer, it is slowly killing us and all that we stand for. It is our death knell. Political correctness, or PC, was hatched decades ago by left-wingnuts posing as peaceniks and bra burners. And like that lone bandit cell that grew into a tumor, it became a monster that metastasized throughout our society. The monster today is the multi-headed special interest groups and their ACLU attorneys who have become the law of the land and the thought police.

That this is so has never been more evident given the news that is in the forefront in our modern day Crusade against the Islamic forces of evil. This wording is most appropriate because it is in fact what it appears to be: A de facto religious war. To sugarcoat it would be to surrender to the forces of political correctness and their inherent evil.

That surrender has been manifested most recently by the mass murder by an Islamic terrorist insider who infiltrated our Army at Ft. Hood, Texas. We knew about the major’s murderous intentions before he killed those 13 people. It is a common tactic applied by his jihadist brothers in the Iraqi army and police forces.

But we failed to act because we didn’t want to be seen by the world and Islam as anti-Muslim. For that very same reason, we are putting three of America’s finest and most self-sacrificing warrior SEALs on trial for “allegedly” punching a despicable terrorist bastard in the stomach.

Strong language, I know. I also know that he was one of the masterminds that led to the capture, murder, and hanging from a bridge the burned and mutilated bodies of four American contractors employed by our government to protect government officials and diplomats over there.

And now, we have five jailed terrorist recruits who are American-born Muslims -- men of dogs who put their version of a religion over their country.

The United States is the Great Satan that gave them unparalleled opportunities through a life of promise through education. And now, our primary concern is bringing them “home” for a fair trial, as opposed to an uncertain fate in Pakistan. These bastards are guilty of nothing less than treason, but you can bet there is a plethora of slime-ball lawyers lining up to throw doubt on their “original” intentions, so that they may again walk the streets of freedom conspiring to act out their next deeds against us, free to infiltrate our society. Why? Political correctness: We want the world to see us as fair and just, and not anti-Muslim.

Whatever happened to our sense of crime and punishment; our sense of actions and consequences; our sense of doing time for a crime? Liberals may spout from their “kiss and make up” lips that we are fair and just, unlike our enemies. But I ask, where is the justice? Ask the Fort Hood 13 and their loved ones and friends; ask the three Navy SEALs and their brothers in arms.

These are but the most recent. Throughout this Mid-East war are multitudes of our troops who have not received fair and just treatment from their own forces and government for alleged violations of the rules of engagement and the treatment of captured murderous prisoners. There is absolutely nothing fair and just about this war. Political correctness is the booby trap that has ambushed America and its defenders, and continues to do so.

Weak-kneed armchair generals and admirals, from the Pentagon to the rear echelon Battlefield, have abandoned our “boots on the ground.” That, for the sake of career promotions made possible by kissing the rear ends of liberal, left wing Congressional power brokers and keepers of the military purse; they who wallow in the dirty sty of political correctness.

This is but one huge example in a sea of examples of the national suicide that is destroying America. Like the smoker who should not be surprised with a diagnosis of lung cancer, America should not be surprised with a death dealing diagnosis of PC cancer. It is slowly killing us, and if we don’t stop it now, later will be too late.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


18 December, 2009

Australian local council avoids naughty word: "Christmas"

Sunshine Coast Council has defended its decision to exclude the word "Christmas" from its 2009 corporate Christmas cards. Mailed and emailed cards wish their recipients "seasons greetings" and "all the best for the festive season and the New Year", but no reference to Christmas.

Defending its generic message, council initially said it had no policy to remove Christmas but was "mindful of people’s different backgrounds and beliefs". A further statement added: "Council’s vision is to be Australia’s most sustainable region vibrant, green, diverse. With diversity of belief and cultural background in mind council seeks to promote goodwill and peace during the festive season."

Noosa Christian Outreach Centre pastor Michael Clift said he was baffled as to why council would choose not to acknowledge the very season that provided the reason for it to mail cards. "I’d also then ask why they are sponsoring our Christmas carols concert?" Pastor Clift said. "Dear me, at the end of the day why sponsor that event as they do every year when we will be giving Christmas one heck of a belting?"

He said anyone offended by use of the word Christmas should not take a holiday on December 25. "Rock up to work on Friday the 25th and, for goodness sake, don’t have the following Monday off as that would really be hypocritical," he said.

"If the ethos is to avoid offending people then they’ve already done it. "I’m offended they’ve not had the courage to encourage Christmas."

Noosa District Catholic Parish Father Mark Franklin was similarly perplexed. "It sounds a little crazy if you ask me," he said. "I cannot see the sense in sending cards to wish people a happy or merry anything unless it is about Christmas, seeing that is why we have a holiday. "I know that lots of people from our church would find this strange."

Rev Scott Ballment of Tewantin and Sunrise Beach Uniting Churches said it was a shame Council had taken the stance it had, but he added that it would not stop his congregation celebrating Christmas. "It does seem strange that if you’re sending out Christmas cards to only use season’s greetings," he said. "It’s certainly somewhat odd. It’s a shame they’ve removed it but we will still be celebrating in full force."

A former Noosa Council staffer told The Noosa Journal the old council had no policy against use of the word Christmas and had used the word on cards in previous years.

University of the Sunshine Coast lecturer in public relations Dr Amalia Matheson said companies and councils ran the risk of being "bland" in their corporate messages in a bid to try to please all sections of the community with their choice of words. "At least they have not gone for the American `happy holidays’," she said.


British Health and safety killjoys remove village Christmas tree... "in case it distracts motorists"

Highway officials have been branded festive killjoys today after removing a village Christmas tree because it could distract passing motorists. The 8ft tree, which was covered with decorations, had been placed in the middle of a drab roundabout by residents in Dobwalls, Cornwall. But officers from the Highways Agency moved in overnight and took the fir down claiming it was an 'unauthorised item'. They said they had taken the tree away over health and safety fears.

Initially, residents thought that their new tree, complete with baubels and tinsel, had been stolen, but the agency confirmed it had taken it away to a depot. Sylvia Crome, who helped erect the tree, branded the agency 'Scrooges'. She said: 'It's Christmas and with all the terrible things happening in the world they have to do something like this.

'A Highways Agency van drove past us when we were putting it up and they took it away in the dead of night two days later - they didn't even tell us. 'I think they are being quite petty, they have no Christmas spirit. 'I think it's absolutely pathetic, I really don't believe it.'

Peter Scott, 56, who runs Heads or Tales newsagents, added: 'We thought we'd try to brighten up the roundabout for Christmas and put up the tree, complete with baubles and tinsel. 'We tried to make an effort to brighten things up. It is just unbelievable it has happened - the tree was doing no harm to anyone and certainly wasn't any sort of risk.'

He added that the 8ft Norwegian Spruce, which was donated by a farmer, was wedged securely two feet into the ground and that all the decorations were tied on with cable ties. He said: 'We were very careful not to put anything in there that wasn't securely attached and we didn't want anything that was a hazard in any way. 'The tree itself was two feet in the ground and was wedged into the ground. The wedges were driven in with a sledgehammer.' Robert Newton, chairman of the parish council, said: 'It's supposed to be the season of goodwill - where is theirs?'

The tree was put up on Sunday night by villagers, but had disappeared by 6am yesterday morning. A Highways Agency spokesman said the tree could be a danger to road users. He said: 'Our policy is to ensure the safety of road users by removing any unauthorised items placed on our roundabouts or roads. 'Anything that causes a distraction or impairs visibility presents a real danger to motorists on high speed roads.

'The tree has been taken to a nearby depot, where it can be collected by the owner. 'Alternatively, if the owner wishes, we can arrange to have the tree taken to a suitable site, where it can be enjoyed safely by the local community.'


Investigate EVERY crime report, British police are ordered in new crackdown on 'no crime' scandal

A political force to become a real police force? This is going to cut into the time they have for their more favoured pursuits -- such as harassing photographers and Christians

Police are to be forced to investigate all crimes reported by the public. Tough new rules will end the scandal of officers writing off thousands of assaults and thefts under the heading 'no crime'. This happens when police dismiss a person's report of an offence without making even cursory inquiries, in effect deciding the victim is either wrong or lying.

There was an outcry when it emerged in October that up to 6,000 cases of serious violence had been wrongly 'no crimed' - denying victims the chance of anyone being punished. They included a woman left battered and bruised after her partner slapped her, grabbed her by the neck and threw her on the floor, and a man who needed six stitches in a head wound after a street attack.

One force - Devon and Cornwall - admitted that an internal audit had found 40 per cent of violent incidents marked 'no crime' should not have been. Overall, it is estimated that around 200,000 complaints are 'no crimed' each year.

Now ministers have ruled that, in future, crime reports can not be written off unless there is hard proof the offence did not take place. This could include CCTV footage showing that it could not have happened - for example film of a drunk falling before claiming he had been assaulted. Home Secretary Alan Johnson said in a statement that 'no crime' rulings must have 'hard' evidence such as CCTV footage. 'Soft' evidence, like an officer's belief that the complainant was lying, was not enough.

The ruling will delight campaign groups, who say victims have for too long been ignored by the police and Government. But police are concerned it will burden them with even more bureaucracy, and that time which could be spent on patrol will be spent trawling through CCTV footage.

Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, said: 'We are going to end up investigating every incident to prove no crime has happened. 'We need to trust the officer's discretion. All we are doing is making the process more bureaucratic.'

Critics questioned the timing of the Government's announcement, which follows a blistering report on 'no criming' by Her Majesty's Inspector of Constabulary. It is likely to lead to a rise in crime figures as cases which were previously written-off are included in official statistics. But this will not happen until after a General Election.

The ruling will also do nothing to end the separate police practice of 'screening out'. This happens when officers accept a crime has taken place, but decide there is little or no chance of securing a prosecution. As a result, they do not bother to carry out a full investigation. Last year, police chose not to investigate 1.5million reported crimes under this system including sex attacks, robberies, drug use, fraud and thefts.

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'This Government's reputation over its use of crime figures is so shot to pieces that frankly most people will think that Labour Ministers are engaged in yet another attempt to massage figures.'

A spokesman for Victim Support said: 'We are glad the government is taking this issue seriously, because if victims feel their experience of crime is being dismissed that risks adding insult to injury. 'But as well as making sure crimes are recorded properly, the police need to do more to promote the help available to victims and witnesses.'


You're not worthy: Council snubs move to honour British Army's most decorated regiment

The usual Leftist hatred of the military

They have fought bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan and count Victoria Cross hero Johnson Beharry among their number. But the troops of the most decorated regiment in the British Army are the victim of an extraordinary snub by a council in Surrey, which says they are not 'appropriate' recipients of a public honour.

More than 2,000 people in Epsom have signed a petition to hand the freedom of the borough to the soldiers of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment, which has won 57 Victoria Crosses in its 350-year history.

But a furious row has erupted after Liberal Democrats and independent councillors united to block the move - which would not cost taxpayers a penny - because the regiment, based in nearby Guildford, is 'not local enough'.

The regiment said it would be a 'huge honour' to have the freedom of the borough and march through the streets of the town when they come home from fighting the Taliban. More than 30 other councils have bestowed the same honour on the regiment, including Tunbridge Wells in Kent, 50 miles away.

Guest of honour at a homecoming parade in Tunbridge Wells was Lance Corporal Johnson Beharry, who won the Victoria Cross in 2004 for saving 30 colleagues by guiding them through an ambush in Iraq.

The Epsom and Ewell council committee that voted to snub the soldiers last conferred the freedom of the borough on their own retiring chief executive, while other previous recipients include a man who ran Epsom buses, the wife of a leading trade unionist, and two local businessmen.

Critics said the objection was rooted in political prejudice, because the move was proposed by a Tory councillor, and bureaucracy. On Tuesday night the council agreed to hold a special meeting to make a final ruling in the coming weeks but it will not be open to the public, and councillors are overwhelmingly opposed to the idea. Jean Steer of the Residents Association council group conceded that the regiment regularly signs up recruits from Epsom but said that granting them the freedom of the borough would be 'inappropriate'. 'It would be a nice thing to do but it's a high honour,' she said. 'I would love to see them marching through the borough but I don't think they should be given the honour. It has to be appropriate.'

Sean Sullivan, the Tory councillor who is pressing to honour the troops, said: 'The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment contains what used to be the East Surrey regiment. This is a local regiment. 'It would be wrong and downright offensive to refuse to honour this regiment.'

Three soldiers in the PWRR were killed during the Iraq War, including Private Lee O'Callaghan, 20, of London, who was killed in Basra during an attack by insurgents in 2004. Last night his mother Shirley said: 'To refuse them this honour seems so petty and shows a lack of gratitude for what they are doing.'

The PWRR, also known as 'The Tigers', has a long and illustrious history in Britain's Armed forces. It has been involved in virtually every theatre of war since The Battle of Tangier in 1662. For recent service in Iraq soldiers have also been awarded three Conspicuous Gallantry Cross medals, two Distinguished Service Orders and 16 Military Crosses.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


17 December, 2009

More evidence of anti-Israel bias at Britain's Foreign Office

It is frequently said that all FO people understand the Arab penchant for clandestine homosexuality and quite a few share it. Hence the ingrained pro-Arab bias

One of Britain's most eminent historians has assailed the country's policy towards Israel, questioning why Queen Elizabeth II has visited a host of despotic regimes but has never made an official visit to the Holy Land. Speaking at the Anglo-Israel Association dinner in central London last week, Andrew Roberts suggested that the Foreign Office had a de facto ban on royal visits to Israel.

"The true reason of course, is that the FO [Foreign Office] has a ban on official royal visits to Israel, which is even more powerful for its being unwritten and unacknowledged," he said. "As an act of delegitimization of Israel, this effective boycott is quite as serious as other similar acts, such as the academic boycott, and is the direct fault of the FO Arabists."

Roberts, whose work includes biographies of Churchill and Chamberlain, as well as Hitler and Roosevelt and a look at the relationship between Napoleon and Wellington, said that Britain had been at best "a fair-weather friend" to Israel.

The 400 attendees at the dinner, held at the prestigious Grosvenor House Hotel on Park Lane, included ambassadors, diplomats, lords and Christian leaders celebrating the 60th anniversary of the AIA, the oldest organization of Anglo-Israel friendship in the UK.

Roberts told them that he wanted to try to strip away some of the myths surrounding the relationship between Israel and Britain. "It is, therefore, no coincidence that although the Queen has made over 250 official overseas visits to 129 different countries during her reign, neither she nor one single member of the British royal family has ever been to Israel on an official visit," he said. Even though, he said, Prince Philip's mother, Princess Alice of Greece, was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations for sheltering a Jewish family in her Athens home during the Holocaust, and is buried on the Mount of Olives, Prince Philip did not visit her grave until 1994 - "and then only on a private visit."

Roberts questioned the Foreign Office's attitude to Israel, because it is the Foreign Office that organizes and sanctions royal visits. The Foreign Office has responded that Israel was not unique in not having received an official royal visit, as "many countries have not had an official visit," Roberts said. "That might be true for Burkino Faso and Chad, but the FO has somehow managed to find the time over the years to send the queen on state visits to Libya, Iran, Sudan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Jordan and Turkey. So it can't have been that she wasn't in the area.

"Perhaps her majesty hasn't been on the throne long enough, at 57 years, for the Foreign Office to get round to allowing her to visit one of the only democracies in the Middle East. "At least she could be certain of a warm welcome in Israel, unlike in Morocco, where she was kept waiting by the king for three hours in 90-degree heat, or at the Commonwealth heads of government meeting in Uganda the time before last, where they hadn't even finished building her hotel."

Roberts, whose current book The Storm of War: A New History of the Second World War reached No. 2 on the Sunday Times best-seller list, also attacked those who accuse Israel of responding "disproportionately" to provocation. "William Hague [a Conservative MP] called for Israel to adopt a proportionate response in its struggle with Hizbullah in Lebanon in 2006, as though proportionate responses ever won any victories against fascists," he said. "In the Second World War, the Luftwaffe killed 50,000 Britons in the Blitz, and the Allied response was to kill 600,000 Germans - 12 times the number and hardly a proportionate response, but one that contributed mightily to victory. Who are we therefore to lecture the Israelis on how proportionate their responses should be?"

He then questioned how Britain would respond to similar provocations faced by Israel. "Very often in Britain, especially when faced with the overwhelmingly anti-Israeli bias that is endemic in our liberal media and the BBC, we fail to ask ourselves what we would do placed in the same position? "The population of the UK is 63 million - nine times that of Israel. In July 2006, to take one example entirely at random, Hizbullah crossed the border of Lebanon into Israel and killed eight patrolmen and kidnapped two others, and that summer fired 4,000 Katyusha rockets into Israel which killed a further 43 civilians. "Now, if we multiply those numbers by nine to get the British equivalent, just imagine what we would not do if a terrorist organization based as close as Calais were to fire 36,000 rockets into Sussex and Kent, killing 387 British civilians, after killing 72 British servicemen in an ambush and capturing a further 18?

"I put it to you that there is absolutely no lengths to which our government would not go to protect British subjects under those circumstances, and quite right, too. So why should Israel be expected to behave any differently?"


Father Christmas turned away from British asylum centre

Police were called in to prevent a clergyman dressed as Father Christmas from delivering presents to children at an asylum centre due to fears he posed a security threat. The Rev Canon James Rosenthal, dressed in a red robe with a long white beard and holding a bishop's mitre and crook, was refused entry by guards at Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre in Bedfordshire.

After gently protesting that he was not a threat, he started to bless the £300 worth of gifts donated by congregations of several London churches. But after an unedifying stand off, the security guards then called the police on the visitor, who was accompanied by one of Britain's most distinguished clerics.

Mr Rosental, who is the Anglican church’s leading expert on St Nicholas, said he was “extremely disappointed” that 35 boys and girls at the centre were denied a pre-arranged visit by the patron saint of children and the imprisoned.

"St Nick has never been turned away from anywhere before," he said. "So I was extremely disappointed not to be able to hand deliver the gifts to the children detained at Yarl's Wood. I hope the kids realise that they will be firmly in my prayers."

Mr Rosental is writing a formal letter of complaint to the centre about how it handled the visit and the heavy-handed tactics employed by the guards who patrol the perimeter fence.

Serco, a private security company that operates Yarl’s Wood, referred questions to the Home Office. A spokesman said that only people subject to stringent security checks can be allowed into the detention centre and there can be no exceptions.

But the St Nicholas Society, of which Mr Rosental is patron, said that Serco did not respond to numerous requests before the visit earlier this month to discuss how a handover of presents could be carried out and also refused requests to provide details about the 35 children in the centre so they could receive appropriate presents.

Serco also refused permission for the two clerics to enter the centre to visit two refugee families later the same day, as it had previously agreed. They were handed letters from Dawn Elaine, contracts manager at Yarl's Wood, saying permission had been revoked because of "concerns about your conduct".

Mr Rosental said: "If this is how visitors are treated, I shudder to imagine what else transpires inside Yarl's Wood.”

He was accompanied on the trip earlier this month by the Rev Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, canon theologian at Westminster Abbey.

He said: "This was about bringing a moment of joy to kids locked up in a deplorable situation. I can't help but contrast the smiles and wonderment on the faces of the children St Nicholas visited at a local primary school with the sad fate of those kids who will be locked up in Yarl's Wood over Christmas."

The presents were eventually loaded into an unmarked van by staff who refused to provide a name, number or receipt for the gifts. Mr Rosental asked one "guard" his name and the man said "write down 'Father Christmas'".


Why equal pay does not equal happy employees

Some people need an economist to tell them these things

Equal pay can cause resentment and low productivity in the workplace, a study has revealed. The research found that hard-working members of staff resent staff who make less effort for the same money. Economists say this creates low motivation and morale, causing dedicated employees to slacken their work rate to create what they see as fairer working conditions. This in turn can spell disaster for companies' productivity.

The findings, from the highly regarded Nottingham School of Economics, raise a question mark over the ideal of equal pay, which has governed the thinking of public sector employers and the courts since the 1990s.

The study asked almost 150 volunteers to play the roles of employers and employees. Each employer was given a fixed amount of money, assigned two workers and told to pay them according to their efforts. In the first experiment the manager paid identical wages, regardless of effort. In the second he was allowed to set individual wages based on performance.

The study's co-author, Dr Johannes Abeler, found workers who were paid individually worked almost twice as hard as those who got the same pay. But those who put in more work while remaining on the same pay as lazier colleagues subsequently slowed their work rate.

Dr Abeler, an expert in behavioural economics, added: 'Hard workers get discouraged under equal pay and reduce their effort levels to those of low-performing colleagues. 'But under individual pay the high performers keep working hard - and the low performers change their behaviour and get better.'


The nanny state turns nasty

From smoking bans to sin taxes, Scotland has proved itself a willing victim for the nanny state’s angrier successor: the bully state

At the start The Bully State, his rambunctious account of the nanny state’s recent history, Brian Monteith argues that the term ‘nanny’ is too cuddly a word for the alliance of ‘puritans, control freaks and prohibitionists’ who are waging war on individual freedom on both sides of the Atlantic.

Nanny, he says, has lost her patience with us. Her policies of re-education have failed to ‘nudge’ us towards government-approved behaviour. Targets have not been met. Too many calories are being consumed. Too many units of alcohol are being knocked back. Some of us are even smoking and using offensive language. Not so much disappointed as angry, she has now turned bully. What happens now is going to hurt us a lot more than it hurts her.

In some ways, Monteith has written a British companion to David Harsanyi’s self-explanatory "Nanny State: How Food Fascists, Teetotalling Do-Gooders, Priggish Moralists and Other Boneheaded Bureaucrats Are Turning America into a Nation of Children" (2007). Both books take a chapter-by-chapter swipe at the ongoing battles over diet, alcohol, smoking, motoring and surveillance, and both feature an interchangeable cast of professional reformers. Wielding spurious research and chanting their ‘think of the children’ mantra, these neo-prohibitionists will be familiar to anyone who has read a newspaper in the past decade.

If California provided Harsanyi with the richest seam of big-government meddling to mine, that role is fulfilled here by Scotland, much to the chagrin of its author, a former Conservative member of the Scottish parliament. It is a sign of how quickly nanny has been working that many of the policies merely being proposed by those wacky Californians when Harsanyi wrote his book (banning incandescent lightbulbs, banning the smacking of children, banning teenage sunbed use) have since become law in Scotland. It is an irony not lost on Monteith that Scottish devolution did not so much lead to a Braveheart-inspired dash for freedom so much as a rush to become the international bellwether for what he calls ‘lifestyle fascism’.

While the Scots embrace the bully state with ‘Calvinist relish’, other countries strive to keep pace. Politicians around the world now regard being the first to ban an activity as ‘a symbol of a town or country’s virility’. When New York City banned trans-fats in restaurants, a distraught Chicago alderman said: ‘I’m disappointed we’re losing bragging rights to be the first city in the nation to do this.’ (Perhaps he took consolation when Chicago was later ranked number one in Reason magazine’s list of America’s most illiberal cities.)

A true libertarian, Monteith identifies the seat-belt and motorcycle helmet laws introduced 30 years ago as the first tentative steps down the slippery slope. Various parliamentarians warned that the ‘for your own good’ argument that lay at the heart of these laws would open a Pandora’s box of meddlesome legislation. They were ignored. Wearing a motorcycle helmet was, after all, a sensible precaution and the freedom to not wear one was a small freedom indeed. Who would miss it?

One person who did miss it was the Second World War veteran Fred Hill who had always worn his beret while motorcycling and was not going to let this new-fangled law change the habit of a lifetime. Like Norman Stanley Fletcher, Hill accepted the occasional prison term as an occupational hazard even if, in the more innocent times of the 1970s, the local police force often turned a blind eye. On one occasion the desk sergeant left his cell door open and told Hill to ‘bugger off when no one’s looking’.

In the years that followed, countless campaigners, do-gooders and moral guardians invoked the precedent set by the helmet and seat-belt laws to compel other members of society to do what was thought best for them. Ever-dubious estimates of the money smokers, drinkers and motorists were costing the National Health Service were used to justify a raft of regulations, bans and ‘sin taxes’. Each new restriction inspired another. Few expected the ‘sin tax’ on cigarettes to inspire campaigns for higher taxes on alcohol, petrol, meat, sunbeds and carbon dioxide. Who really believed that schools would ban Marmite from being served inside and ice-cream from being sold outside? Even five years ago, the idea of forcing shopkeepers to hide their tobacco products from view or banning pub-goers from standing at the bar would have been almost universally mocked (the first of these will soon become UK law, the second has been trialled in several towns).

If the mandatory wearing of helmets and seat-belts marked the beginning of the nanny state, the smoking ban raised the curtain on the bully state. The smoke-free legislation was such a blatant attempt to discourage and ‘denormalise’ a legal activity that the fig-leaf of passive smoking could barely disguise the overt paternalism that lay behind it. In keeping with nanny’s transformation from Mary Poppins to Biffa Bacon, no exemptions could be permitted and no tolerance could be shown. Rather than being told to ‘bugger off when no one’s looking’, ‘smoke-ban rebels’ like Hamish Howitt and Nick Hogan were driven to the brink of bankruptcy after being convicted of ‘permitting smoking to take place’ on their premises.

The smoking ban represented a milestone because it successfully pitted a largely ambivalent majority against a dwindling and cowed minority, while blurring the distinction between public and private property at the same time. The coalition of government agencies, professional reformers and state-funded charities that engineered the smoking ban set the template for the neo-temperance campaigners, green activists and food faddists who came in their wake.

These activists – or ‘storm troopers’ as Monteith’s describes them – are far closer to the government than the public is led to believe, both in ideology and funding. Action on Smoking and Health, Alcohol Concern, Barnardo’s and dozens of other ‘campaigning charities’ receive so much money from the state that they could almost be considered the government in drag. Through the use of rigged public consultations, dubious opinion polls and policy-based evidence, this self-serving elite manufactures a demand for greater state power.

A favoured tactic is to float a new piece of Draconia in the press and if it is met with anything less than howls of derision, it gets the go ahead. The public, says Monteith, are then fed ‘a steady stream of news releases, PR stunts, giveaways and junk science dressed up as authoritative research from quangos and politically active charities that have morphed into lobby groups’. If, on the other hand, the idea gets shot down (such as the plan to force people to buy smoking licenses or banning people from buying more than three drinks in a pub), it is popped into a file marked ‘Too Soon’, to be reopened at a later date.

The book covers much ground. Eating, drinking and smoking feature prominently, since they have been propelled into the frontline by an over-mighty public health lobby. But, as Monteith argues, this regulation of lifestyle is a symptom - albeit a far-reaching one – of a wider shift of power from the individual to the state. The expansion of CCTV, the erosion of trial by jury, identity cards, censorship, health-and-safety hysteria and the DNA database constitute a ‘bullies’ charter’ made more dangerous by the ‘jobsworth mentality’ of British officialdom.

At the heart of Monteith’s thesis are the ‘neo-socialists’ who have, he says, ‘forsaken their jackboots, their boiler suits and their AK-47s and are instead using surveillance, regulation, guidance, inspection, by-laws, and local summary justice as weapons to subjugate us’. This argument will have an allure for some, even if the author tends to view the Thatcher era through rose-tinted spectacles. The Iron Lady did, after all, give us the seat-belt law and was keen to issue identity cards to football fans.

Monteith does, however, accept that what he calls ‘lifestyle socialism’ has infected all political parties. While he hopes that a future Conservative government will put nanny back in her box, he ruefully concedes that many Tories harbour their own patrician hobbyhorses. He has little faith in the Liberal Democrats ever living up to the first half of their name and despairs of the Scottish Nationalists and Greens doing anything other than putting their own authoritarian stamp on the legislature wherever they get the chance.

Far from being the preserve of the authoritarian left, then, big government appeals to politicians and activists of all persuasions. Indeed, it is the very fact that the bully state serves so many vested interests that makes it so formidable. Although he is convinced that any system of government built on repression and prohibition will be doomed to failure, Monteith paints a convincing picture of a many-headed beast comprising ‘fake charities’, government departments, NGOs, ‘earnest do-gooders’ and ‘malevolent power grabbers’, to say nothing of the over-eager epidemiologists and the ‘monstrous’ British Medical Association.

Some are motivated by their own obsessions, some by government targets and others by the need to keep the grant money rolling in. Their one shared characteristic is a complete lack of humour, not an accusation that could fairly be levelled at Monteith himself, who proves to be an affable and gregarious guide throughout, liberally scattering his narrative with personal anecdotes and stories of the ‘you couldn’t make it up’ variety.

Readers who have not visited Britain for several years may be shocked by the lurch towards authoritarianism described in this book. Those who have witnessed the creep of the bully state first hand will be enraged, amused and informed in equal measure. Californian politicians can simply use it as an instruction manual.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


16 December, 2009

Perverse British justice again: The criminal gets a much better deal than the victim

Man who fought off a knife-wielding burglar is jailed while the intruder is let off! No allowance made for the fact that many normal men would lose their rag if their family had been so badly treated and threatened. If the habitual criminal involved can be let off, why could not the victim be let off too?

A millionaire businessman who fought back against a knife-wielding burglar was jailed for two-and-a-half years yesterday. But his attacker has been spared prison. Munir Hussain, 53, and his family were tied up and told to lie on the floor by career criminal Waled Salem, who burst into his home with two other masked men.

Mr Hussain escaped and attacked Salem with a metal pole and a cricket bat. But yesterday it was the businessman who was starting a prison sentence for his 'very violent revenge'. Jailing him, Judge John Reddihough said some members of the public would think that 56-year-old Salem 'deserved what happened to him' and that Mr Hussain 'should not have been prosecuted'. But had he spared Mr Hussain jail, the judge said, the 'rule of law' would collapse.

He said: 'If persons were permitted to take the law into their own hands and inflict their own instant and violent punishment on an apprehended offender rather than letting the criminal justice system take its course, then the rule of law and our system of criminal justice, which are hallmarks of a civilised society, would collapse.'

Salem, who has previous convictions, has already been given a non-custodial sentence despite carrying out what the judge called a 'serious and wicked' attack.

Mr Hussain's nightmare began on September 3 last year when he, his wife, 18-year-old daughter and two sons aged 18 and 15 returned from their mosque during Ramadan to find three intruders in their home in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

They were tied up and told to get on the floor if they did not want to be killed. One of Mr Hussain's sons managed to escape and alerted Mr Hussain's younger brother Tokeer, 35, who lived a few doors away. Mr Hussain made a break for freedom by throwing a coffee table at his attackers. He and Tokeer chased the gang and brought Salem to the ground in a front garden.

Reading Crown Court heard how Mr Hussain and his brother then beat Salem while he lay on the ground, using a cricket bat, a pole and a hockey stick - leaving him with a fractured skull and brain damage following the 'sustained' attack.

What is the law on defending your home? If you use force which is 'not excessive' against burglars then the law is on your side. Last year's Criminal Justice and Immigration Bill contained clauses to protect people from prosecution if they act instinctively and out of fear for their safety. Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: 'Law-abiding citizens should not be put off tackling criminals by fear of excessive investigation. 'For a passer-by witnessing a street crime or a householder faced with a burglar, we are reassuring them that if they use force which is not excessive or disproportionate, the law really is behind them.'

Salem's condition meant he was unable to enter a plea to false imprisonment. He was given a non-custodial sentence-in October. Salem, of Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, did not give evidence at Mr Hussain's trial. Michael Wolkind, QC, representing Mr Hussain, who runs a soundproofing company, said his client's actions were 'taken in the agony of the moment' and that his 'calm judgment was not available'. 'If there was a call to arms it was down to the extreme moment of stress,' he said. Mr Wolkind said Mr Hussain, a devout Muslim, blamed himself for the attack and felt guilty for not protecting his family properly. 'It will take him a number of years to recover,' he said.

The court also heard from psychiatrist Dr Phillip Joseph who said Mr Hussain was a calm person who kept himself in control, but that his body had chosen the 'fight rather than flight' option....

Razi Shah, Mr Hussain's solicitor, said his family were devastated but hoped the conviction could be overturned at appeal.

Last night an MP condemned the decision to jail Mr Hussain as 'perverse'. Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: 'It's absolutely disgraceful. The public are sick to the back teeth of this kind of decision. 'Whatever the rights and wrongs, the starting point should be that this man's home was violated. He must have been absolutely petrified. 'A person who inflicts this kind of misery is free to go out and do it again somewhere. It's always the same, the real criminals get away scot free.'


More evidence the Anglican episcopate doesn't believe in anything

They are just dressup queens playing a role and fishing for popularity

THE new bishop for Britain's armed forces voiced regret today if he caused offence by saying the Taliban could be admired for their religious conviction and sense of loyalty. Stephen Venner said his comments in a newspaper interview appeared "incredibly insensitive," as he underlined his support for British troops battling Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The Anglican clergyman nevertheless argued that it would be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war in Afghanistan if the Taliban insurgents were all portrayed as "pure evil." "There's a large number of things that the Taliban say and stand for which none of us in the West could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation because it's not honest," he told the Daily Telegraph. "The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other."

In clarifying his comments, Bishop Venner told BBC television that the words were were from a short section of a long interview. "The way it's come out .... makes it look incredibly insensitive and if that has caused offence, I am deeply grieved by it because that's the very last thing that I would want to do," he said.

The British Government's strategy in Afghanistan includes attempting to divide the Taliban insurgency by splitting off mercenaries from the Islamist militant hardcore and encouraging them into the democratic fold.

Bishop Venner gave his "full support" to the British troops and their allies. "The way that the Taliban are waging war in Afghanistan is evil, both in their use of indiscriminate killing and their terrorising of the civilian population. No religion could condone their actions," he said.

The conflict has claimed the lives of 100 British soldiers this year alone, and 237 since the Taliban was ousted from power in 2001.


Where Australian conservatives went wrong

By Peter Coleman, an "eminence grise" of Australian conservatism

IT would be a fatal mistake to blame the recent mess in the Liberal Party on its leaders. They must take their share of the blame but the problems go deeper than politicians, even the best of them. Most critics blame Malcolm Turnbull, whose experience shows that leadership calls for more than brains and drive, of which he has plenty. Others blame John Howard, who was a highly successful prime minister but failed on the great test of settling the succession. Others go back further, even to Malcolm Fraser.

But the real failure of Australian conservatism lies not with its parliamentary leaders. It is conservatives themselves. It is the job of the conservative public to point the politicians in the right direction and then trust them, the practical parliamentarians, to navigate through the political currents. In Australia the conservative public has left it to the politicians to create the guiding ideas, something very few of them are good at.

There are four traps into which politicians fall when they are thrashing around in opposition in search of policy. The first is adopting dogma or ideology. It is usually an act of desperation, although it may for a moment seem the solution. John Hewson's Fightback was a great example. It led to a catastrophic defeat in the election.

The second trap is opportunism. A classic case is the decision of the Liberals in the NSW parliament to oppose the privatising of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Authority. There may have been a political dividend -- the frustration of the Iemma Labor government in NSW -- but the loss of credibility in the abandonment of principle was high and reinforced a growing sense of a party without principles.

A third trap is demagoguery. This is the politics of big gestures. The recent example is Turnbull's espousal of the emissions trading scheme. It will do nothing for global warming and it would burden Australians with new taxes and regulations. But it seemed a splendid gesture at the time.

This sometimes leads to a fourth trap: uncritical loyalty. If the rank-and-file conservatives are uncertain, they are inclined to accept the leader's decisions. This was notably the case with the ETS. Most conservatives were always suspicious of the ETS, of the dislocation, unemployment, controls and taxes involved.

Loyalty is or can be a source of great strength, but there are occasions when the conservative public, the rank-and-file party members or their parliamentary representatives, must stand up, as L. S. Amery did in the House of Commons in 1940 and called out to his leader (Neville Chamberlain): "In the name of God, go!" If enough of them had done this when Howard was plainly losing his touch as prime minister, the Liberal party would not be as devastated as it has been. The same sort of misplaced loyalty prolonged the Turnbull agony. The vast majority of rank-and-file Liberals did not agree with him on global warming but they remained loyal until the last days.

What is to be done? The guiding principle, as always, is: Trust the People! It is to them, to the rank-and-file conservatives, that we must look for solutions. I recall vividly how, after Gough Whitlam's defeat of the Liberal government in 1972, the new Liberal leader, Billy Mackie Snedden, organised a huge canvass of every Liberal branch and member seeking their ideas of what went wrong and how to fix it. The Labor party guffawed. Some Liberals had nothing to tell Snedden. But it was a step in the right direction. It shook up the party and its shibboleths. It placed the onus of reform not on parliamentarians but on liberals and conservatives at large. It contributed enormously to the rout of the Labor party soon after.

I do not suggest a repeat performance under Tony Abbott. We now have what we did not have back then: a range of think-tanks, issue groups, magazines and blogs working successfully in the conservative interest. Their influence has been great and salutary. There would probably have been no privatisation, deregulation or tax reform if it had been left to politicians. It was the think-tanks ranging from the Centre for Independent Studies and the Institute of Public Affairs to the Institute for Private Enterprise and the Sydney Institute, or pressure groups such as the H. R. Nicholls Society, magazines such as Quadrant and publishers such as Connor Court that laid the foundation for the reforms in industrial relations, financial regulation, taxation and indigenous policy.

What would have been the state of the debate on global warming and the ETS without the think-tanks and a few independent journalists? No matter how sound or fraudulent may be the science supporting the Rudd-Turnbull ETS, there was for years little serious attempt to expound or expose it in the parliament. When Ian Plimer wrote the major critical Australian book on the subject, Heaven and Earth: Global Warming: The Missing Science, it was a small and little-known Melbourne show, Connor Court, and the IPA that published it. It is an international bestseller.

In recent years the conservative public and its organisations have too often dropped the ball. How else to explain their quiet when the Howard government committed itself to centralisation in Canberra and the abandonment of federalism? If ever there were a conservative principle, it is the diffusion of political power summed up as federalism. But on issue after issue the government centralised power: in industrial relations, taxation, education. To dress this up as nationalism is an abuse of nationalism.

The first step in the revival of philosophical liberal and conservative ideas will be the strengthening and expansion of the think-tanks, policy groups and magazines. The second step is taking their message to the public at large. Magazines such as Quadrant continue to play a major role. But in the age of the internet, the blog has become a key medium. (Andrew Bolt's blog has been a major player in these debates.)

But there is still one task that is appropriate to the Liberal party itself, whatever support it may draw from outside its ranks. That is the statement and restatement of the underlying philosophy of the Liberal party. I do not mean a crib that tells politicians what to do next. I mean the ideas that broadly guide Liberals in and out of parliament.

This is an old story. The Liberal Party has often over the years set up a philosophy committee to help revitalise the party's ideas and rescue it from the temptations of opportunism. Time and again the committee members spend months on meetings, discussions, drafts. In due course the committee reports to the party. The party then thanks the committee for its important work. Then nothing more is heard of the report. I have a humble example. Some 20 or more years ago when I was doing a stint in the federal parliament, I chaired a philosophy committee charged with the task of drawing up a set of fundamental principles. We dutifully did so. We nutted out 15 of them. (The inevitable crack was that we produced one more than US president Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points.) Our charter was duly debated, amended, and adopted, and then filed and forgotten. Worldly MPs believe that philosophy is no substitute for political savvy.

Yet philosophy is like Freud's unconscious. You can repress it but it will come out somewhere. We have inherited a free, prosperous and peaceful society. But there are always mischiefs and faults to be corrected.

Some call this sort of approach pragmatism and trace it to Edmund Burke or David Hume or Thomas Hobbes or some other conservative philosopher. But most liberals and conservatives call it it simple realism. They prefer an unsystematic approach.

Whatever you call it, the task of the conservative and liberal public is to see to it that the parliamentary party does not abandon realism or fall into the traps of dogma, opportunism or demagoguery, supported by appeals to loyalty. Our present discontents are due to the fact that it has fallen into one of these traps and the conservative public has let them get away with it.

This is well documented in The Howard Era, a new collection of essays on the successes and failures of the last Coalition government. It is edited by Keith Windschuttle, David Martin Jones and Ray Evans and published by a new publishing company, Quadrant Books. The book's first theme is the absolute rightness of John Howard's boast on the night of his defeat in 2007 that he was bequeathing to the incoming Rudd government "a stronger and prouder and more prosperous country" than it had been when he came to office in 1996.

But the book's second theme is how often the Howard government fell into the same traps to which oppositions are prone. It was centralist dogma that led it to undermine the federal compact. Most notorious was the use of the corporations power to justify the centralising WorkChoices legislation. In education policy, Martin Jones argues that one federal minister for education after another set out to centralise or socialise our universities and undermine the classical liberal education.

The government also became increasingly prone to opportunism. The most telling example was the Howard government's last-minute adoption in 2007 of an ETS without any serious attempt to prepare the party or explain it to the public. It was, writes Ray Evans, "an ignominious finale to a distinguished career". When the government did at last adopt a good policy in Aboriginal affairs -- the Northern Territory intervention -- a sceptical electorate suspected more opportunism.

But there is no occasion for despair. When Peter Costello asked Lee Kwan Yew of Singapore why he no longer believed Australians were becoming the white trash of Asia, his answer was: "You've changed!"

It was liberals and conservatives who together brought about that change. They can do it again, provided they remember the war is too important to be left to the generals.


For history buffs, a note from Rafe Champion: "I have one quibble, Peter blamed the excesses of the Fightback package for losing the unlosable election in 1993. I think that was a magnificent package, and it united the party after years of ruinous division between wets and dries.

Two factors killed it, one was the GST, "a bridge too far" that was too easy to ridicule by hostile commentators.

The other was the commentariat, the media and working journalists. They demonstrated for the first time the extent to which they are hostages to a political party, committed partisans in the contest. They are our biggest problem in generating any kind of rational debate. They have sold out their principles and their credibility and the nation will pay a heavy price if they do not lift their game."

Why "Merry Christmas" Matters to America

The New York Times recently revealed that, before abandoning the idea, Barack and Michelle Obama had considered eliminating The White House’s traditional nativity scene as part of an effort to celebrate a “non-religious” Christmas. In light of that story, it wasn’t entirely surprising to learn that this year, for the first time, the President’s Christmas card contains neither any mention of Christmas itself nor a quote from the New Testament. Obviously, the Obamas aren’t fans of overt displays of Christian religiosity.

The White House has told Fox News Radio that the card represents nothing but an attempt to recognize that Americans are celebrating other holidays at this time of year – not just Christmas. No doubt that approach is imbued with politically-correct, multicultural sensitivity, but it also, perhaps, reflects a world view that’s out-of-step with most regular Americans – and even America’s heritage.

For starters, the use of the term “Christmas” doesn’t seem to be as offensive as the politically correct would have us believe. A recent Rasmussem Report found that fully 72% of Americans preferred “Merry Christmas,” compared to 22% who favored a more generic greeting, like “Happy Holidays.” And a December 2008 USA Today/Gallup poll found that 93% of Americans celebrate Christmas. How offended could Americans be by a reference to a holiday that they themselves are celebrating?

Even setting aside the overwhelming predominance of Christmas observance in this country, it’s not clear why the elimination of “Christmas” (or any Bible reference) on the Obamas’ card is deemed necessary. How many reasonable Christian people would be upset by the use of “Happy Hannukah” in Israel or “blessed Ramadan” in a majority Muslim country? Would a normal Christian be incensed – even in a majority-Christian country like America – by being wished a “Happy Hannukah” by a Jewish person (or president!) or a “blessed Ramadan” by an observant Muslim one? Let’s hope not. After all, those are benedictions, not curses.

Efforts to promote “season’s greetings” and “happy holidays,” both in The White House and the larger culture, seem to rest on the assumption that “Merry Christmas” will offend those of other faiths, or of none. But is it truly so intolerable to be confronted with the indicia of a religion that is not one’s own? In a country that was founded on the concept of religious tolerance by all and toward all, it’s not clear why this should be the case.

What’s more, why should a religious holiday like Christmas be deemed unique in its potential to offend? In contrast to their apparent reticence to highlight the Christianity inherent in Christmas, the Obamas apparently perceive no insensitivity in celebrating holidays – like St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo – that point up specific ethnic differences among Americans. Historically, our country has suffered far more internal turmoil based on race and ethnicity than on religion – and we have a far larger number of different ethnicities than religions. The difference in approach makes no sense.

Ultimately, it doesn’t matter whether a President uses the specific word “Christmas” on a card, as opposed to a Bible verse or some other religious element. What does matter is when the occupant of the highest office in the land attempts to transform the Christmas (or Hannukah or Ramadan) season into nothing more than a great big “happy holidays” opportunity. Intentionally or not, that approach serves to replace religiosity with some variety of civic secularism that swaps belief in God for a diffuse and undefined “holiday spirit.”

And for America, that’s a dangerous path. Religion not only provides meaning to life and illuminates life’s larger truths; it also helps a free people remain free by providing them with ways to govern themselves individually, without having to resort collectively to the heavy hand of government.

So permit me to say what the Obamas’ card does not: Merry Christmas.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


15 December, 2009

Day to mourn, not celebrate, human rights

THIS year has been another bad year for human rights, and there is little to celebrate on International Human Rights Day. Mass killings have continued in Darfur, the Congo and elsewhere in Africa, with only minor and sporadic attention from the media or the UN. Dictatorships in North Korea and Burma terrorise their citizens daily, with no end in sight.

In Iran, a rigged election brought thousands of democracy protesters into the streets, where they were attacked (at least 70 people, including Neda Agha-Soltan, were reportedly killed) and arrested, followed by Stalinist show trials designed to intimidate these advocates.

Tragically, Human Rights Day, which marks the anniversary of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Genocide Conventions, now serves as a reminder of the abject failure of the international community in living up to its moral commitments. Ignoring the pleas of victims around the world, the UN Human Rights Council is locked on to a political agenda that uses the rhetoric of international law as a weapon in the political war targeting Israel.

The Organisation of the Islamic Conference, which controls the UNHRCs agenda and chooses its officials, has no interest in opening a discussion of the systematic oppression of women or minorities in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Libya, Gaza, etc. Israel is a convenient diversion, which explains the obsessive focus on "war crimes" claims, including the biased mandate of the Goldstone report on the Gaza conflict.

To make matters worse, the non-governmental human rights watchdogs that were created to offset the unethical behaviour and biases of governments, have become accomplices in promoting oppression. Superpowers like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the Paris-based International Federation of Human Rights and similar groups with multi-million-dollar budgets work closely with and support the agendas of the UNHRC and other international frameworks. Instead of speaking truth to this blatant abuse of power, officials of these self-proclaimed human rights groups are part of the problem, remaining largely silent while the abuses in Africa, Asia or the Arab world continue.

The past year has seen even greater co-operation between the UN and the NGOs in twisting human rights values beyond recognition. Human Rights Watch was caught attempting to raise funds from wealthy members of Saudi Arabia's elite.

Instead of leading the campaign against the abuses imposed by the Wahabi religious police, this "watchdog" hosted a member of the Shura council at a dinner which featured more Israel-bashing and dark warnings of the power of "pro-Israel pressure groups".

Other scandals, including the suspension of HRW's "senior military analyst", and unanswered questions about his professional qualifications, further tarnished this organisation. In parallel, Amnesty International and the other groups have accelerated the effort to transform human rights and international law into ideological platforms used against Western democracies and open societies.

Like HRW, a highly disproportionate percentage of Amnesty's reports and campaigns focus on criticising the US and NATO countries for alleged infractions in Iraq and Afghanistan, while terrorists and their state supporters get relatively little attention. This is a paternalistic and patronising distortion, which assumes that Muslims in al-Qa'ida or Afghan Taliban "militants" are exempt from human rights requirements, and are held to a lower standard.

But at the end of 2009 there are some signs of hope for the human rights community. The "halo effect" that had protected powerful groups from research and criticism has begun to break down. HRW founder Robert Bernstein published an oped in The New York Times in which he denounced his own organisation for betraying its moral principles.

Although HRW officials launched a campaign to discredit Bernstein and other critics (particularly NGO Monitor), in order to restore their lost credibility, others realise the need for an entirely new and unbiased leadership, particularly in activities related to the Middle East. On another front, the Canadian government has moved to halt the funnelling of millions of taxpayer funds to organisations that exploit the rhetoric of human rights in order to promote radical ideologies that undermine these values.

In the 1970s, radical groups that claimed to promote "social progress" and "solidarity" politics were able to obtain substantial funding from sympathetic officials in Canada and in liberal European governments.

By putting an end to this inversion, the Canadians can also contribute to a return to the core moral and universal principles of human rights. For people committed to the substance, and not only the language, of human rights, these developments suggest that a tipping point has been reached. The absurdity of a Libyan official chairing UN human rights sessions in which Iran, Darfur and China are erased from the agenda, with the assistance of groups like Amnesty and HRW, may finally be too great to ignore.


Big Brother Britain's sham backdown

Vetting shambles: Ed Balls' U-turn exempts 2 million adults from criminal checks... but 9 million parent helpers will still fall into the net

Millions of parent helpers will still have to undergo paedophile and criminal checks after a 'sham' U-turn by Ed Balls. The Schools Secretary confirmed that laws requiring criminal records checks on adults who work with children will be watered down after a public outcry that they were 'strangling school life'. Two million people will no longer have to be checked by the Vetting and Barring Scheme. But the VBS - set up to prevent paedophiles working with children - will still apply to around nine million.

Mr Balls said he had accepted all the recommendations of an independent review. Adults will have to be vetted only if they are working with the same group of children once a week or more, rather than once a month at present. But critics said schools were almost certain to demand the checks in case they were sued. A father who helps out with his school football team every week or a mother who volunteers at her child's nursery will still have to be vetted.

A pledge that families who host foreign exchange students would escape vetting turned out to mean only those who have spoken to the foreign family and agreed the exchange. Exchanges organised through schools will still involve vetting.

Tory spokesman Tim Loughton said: 'It will take a bigger shift in this juggernaut of over-control before schools and sports clubs feel confident that they don't have to vet every adult in sight. 'The point is that because the Government has gone overboard on this, everyone else thinks they need to go even more overboard.'

Mr Balls ordered a review of the vetting scheme by Sir Roger Singleton, chairman of the Independent Safeguarding Authority, following a storm of complaints that volunteers were being deterred from working with children. The outcry was led by children's authors, including Philip Pullman, who were told they would have to be vetted if they gave readings in schools. They will now escape vetting, unless they take part in 'workshops' with children.

Mr Balls yesterday denied making a U-turn, saying there had been a 'ludicrous over-reaction' from some schools and organisations. He told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show that parents trust schools and organisations to look after their children and it was right to ensure their trust was not misplaced.

But Josie Appleton, director of the Manifesto Club, which campaigns against over-regulation, labelled the climbdown 'a sham'. She said: 'The policy would still require ISA registration of the father who helps out at his son's football team every week, or the mother who volunteers at her children's nursery. 'Ordinary people will still have to register on this vetting database - and be subjected to constant criminal records vetting - for carrying out the most natural and everyday activities.'

Philip Pullman welcomed the changes but said that such regulation was still 'fundamentally unhealthy'. He said: 'The whole thing seems to be based on the feeling that you can't trust anyone, that everyone is a suspect until they're proved innocent, and of course you can never entirely do that, so everybody has to remain a suspect.'

John Dunford, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, also welcomed the move and said the system was now 'more proportionate to risk'.

The ISA's checks are more stringent than those of the Criminal Records Bureau. The CRB looks for previous convictions but the ISA also looks at lists of people barred from working with vulnerable adults, which were previously held by separate government departments. The vetting scheme was recommended by the Bichard review into failures by police and social services involved with Soham murderer Ian Huntley. It is being phased in across England, Wales and Northern Ireland and will be compulsory from next November.


Mailmen refuse to deliver parcels in bureaucratized Britain

The aim of all bureaucrats is to maximize their funding and minimize their workload

Postmen across the country are deliberately failing to deliver parcels, a study reveals today. Householders expecting a package are routinely left 'Sorry you were out' cards without so much as a knock on the door. More than half of customers - 55 per cent - claim to have received one of the cards despite being at home when the postman called. Nearly a quarter - 23 per cent - say that this has happened at least three times in the past year, according to the study by customer watchdog Consumer Focus.

There are suspicions postmen are leaving parcels in the office to lighten their load for the day - and a leaked Royal Mail internal memo acknowledges staff are discarding parcels 'without any attempt to deliver the packet'. The practice means postmen are shifting the inconvenience of collecting packages to residents. Customers who get a card are forced to travel to delivery offices, often miles away and operating restricted opening hours, and stand in line to collect their goods.

Publicly, Royal Mail chiefs have played down the problem suggesting there are only a few isolated incidents. But a postal expert at Consumer Focus, Robert Hammond, said: 'There's a growing body of evidence that the "Sorry You Were Out" card issue is far from a series of isolated incidents as Royal Mail has claimed. 'This issue has to be thoroughly investigated and the problem stamped out. 'The high regard many of us have for Royal Mail will fade rapidly if they can't find a way of delivering parcels conveniently.'

The stories of some of the customers let down by the system will feature on BBC Panorama tonight. Research scientist Dr Andrew Curtis, from Bristol, tells the programme: 'I heard the letters drop through the postbox. 'I went to check immediately and there was a card there saying "We tried to deliver a parcel to you but unfortunately you weren't in". Obviously-I had been in - I'd been sat next to the front door. I hadn't heard the door bell ring, hadn't heard a knock.'

Panorama has seen an internal Royal Mail memo warning staff the practice must stop. Royal Mail operations director Paul Tolhurst said: 'It shouldn't be happening if customers tell us that it's happening, we will discuss that in the local office with the local postmen and we will try and put that right. 'That is not what they should be doing, but of course it does happen, and I'm not saying that it doesn't.'


No joking in humourless Leftist Britain

Top comedians and wits, including Alexei Sayle, Ricky Gervais and Stephen Fry, say Britain is being turned into a “global laughing stock” because of its draconian libel laws. They are the latest critics to call for reform of the legislation which is stifling free speech. Sayle says he endured a “horrible experience” after he was sued for libel. He eventually won the case, but said he risked financial ruin because of the high costs of defending himself in the London courts. The comedian said yesterday the case racked up thousands of pounds in costs, which he never recovered even after successfully defending the action. “It would have been cheaper if I’d just stabbed the f*****,” he said. “The most I would have got was an Asbo barring me from certain parts of Croydon.”

Sayle said the libel writ was issued after he wrote a graphic novel called Geoffrey the Tube Train. Someone who worked with Sayle in the comedy business claimed one of the characters resembled him and his reputation had been sullied. “I was determined to fight the case,” said Sayle. “But everything you own hangs on a philosophical discussion about the meaning of words. I risked losing everything. “The penalties of a libel case — both in terms of awards and legal costs — are completely distorted and out of proportion to any offence.”

Sayle and other comedians are supporting a campaign for an overhaul of the libel laws. They say the threat of a ruinous writ means comedians, as well as scientists and other individuals and bodies, are having to sanitise their output.

Robin Ince, a stand-up comedian and television panellist, said lawyers hired by TV channels were routinely censoring comic material because of libel fears. He said: “England is the envy of the world for anyone who wants to crush dissent. “It means you now have this hideous mire of lawyers and there is a constant fear [of a possible action]. They err on the side of over-caution.”

The Sunday Times has highlighted how British libel laws are being used to threaten scientists publishing critical research and to prevent scrutiny of rich and powerful figures based overseas.

Last week Dara O’Briain, the presenter of BBC2’s satirical show Mock the Week, launched a Libel Reform Campaign petition. He said the libel laws were a “dangerous joke” being used to silence or censor writers. O’Briain said he was most concerned by the threat to scientific research and comment but had also feared for his own performances. “I think in a couple of cases the people in question thought, ‘We will just look stupid if we take action’,” he said. “But this is essentially a poker game because even if you are right you will lose a six-figure sum. It’s ludicrous.”

Dave Gorman, the comedian and author, said: “The costs of a libel action silence people because you cannot afford to fight. We should have a legal system that gives redress to people whose reputations have been damaged, but this isn’t it.”

Other comedians supporting the campaign include Ricky Gervais and Stephen Fry, the presenter and wit, who said Britons should “cringe with embarrassment” at existing legislation that made the UK a “global laughing stock”. “Our laws can be manipulated to protect the corrupt and to hide the truth,” he said.

A public backlash against the libel laws began after the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) sued the science writer Simon Singh for describing chiropractic remedies for some childhood ailments, including asthma, as “bogus” since there was insufficient clinical evidence. He has appealed against a preliminary judgment against him but has already racked up legal costs of £100,000.

Mr Justice Eady, who presides over many libel cases, is a popular judge with many claimants. In a preliminary hearing in Singh’s case, he ruled the word “bogus” in an article meant the science writer was accusing the BCA of dishonesty, which Singh disputes and certainly never intended. Eady has also allowed foreign claimants to pursue cases against overseas publications, bolstering London’s reputation as a centre for libel tourism. Lawmakers in several American states have passed laws to protect their citizens from UK courts.

Eady defended the libel courts at a legal conference earlier this month, saying there were very few cases involving foreign claimants. Campaigners point out that the mere threat of a London libel action by a rich individual or powerful corporation is often enough to quash criticism, so most cases are unlikely even to reach Eady’s court.

It has also emerged that respected American newspapers are considering pulling their London editions because of the risk of a costly libel action. An Oxford University report published last year found libel court costs were 140 times higher in Britain than in the rest of Europe.

The Libel Reform Campaign — backed by English PEN, the Index on Censorship, Sense about Science and Reporters without Borders — wants capped damages, strict controls on costs and a stronger defence of public interest. The petition, launched last week, states: “Journalists, authors, academics, performers and blog-writers cannot risk extortionate costs, which means they are forced to back down.”

Jonathan Heawood, director of English PEN, which promotes literature and human rights, said: “There is growing public anger. It’s wrong that writers are being intimidated into silence.”



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


14 December, 2009

George Soros says UK Muslims are Europe’s most patriotic

Georgy-porgy is up to his tricks again. No mention of the sampling method. You can prove anything you like without random sampling

Muslims in Britain are the most patriotic in Europe — but more than a quarter in some parts of the country still do not feel British, according to a new study. The report, funded by George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, found that on average 78% of Muslims identified themselves as British, although this dropped by six points in east London. This compares with 49% of Muslims who consider themselves French and just 23% who feel German.

The findings, based on more than 2,000 detailed interviews, suggest that Muslims may be better integrated in Britain than in other parts of the European Union.

The report will reopen the debate about the merits of multiculturalism, a policy that has actively promoted cultural and religious differences among minorities in Britain but has been criticised as a barrier to integration by Trevor Phillips, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

France prides itself on its secular notion of citizenship and has banned Muslim pupils from wearing the hijab, or headscarf, in classrooms. Yet the study, by the Open Society Institute, found only 41% of Muslims in Paris see themselves as French.

The report appears to contradict previous research in the UK suggesting some Muslims are failing to embrace British values. A Populus poll in 2006 claimed that 7% of British Muslims believed suicide attacks on fellow civilians could be justified. The debate about the integration of Europe’s 20m Muslims was thrown into sharp relief last month when the Swiss controversially voted to ban the building of new minarets.

Many Europeans worry that aspects of Islam — such as women’s rights — clash with their own values. A survey conducted last week for Le Parisien newspaper found only 54% of French people think Islam is compatible with their society.

The Soros study, however, found that strength of religious belief made no difference to how patriotic Muslims feel. Conducted over two and a half years, the report involved 2,200 in-depth interviews and 60 focus groups in 11 cities across Europe with large Muslim communities. The cities were chosen to be representative of varying levels of integration and cohesion across the continent.

In Britain, researchers focused on Leicester, which is often held up as a successful model of multiculturalism, and Waltham Forest, east London, where bungled police raids on nearby Forest Gate in 2006, targeting suspected extremists, had alienated many Muslims.

The survey found that levels of patriotism are much higher among second-generation Muslims. In Leicester, 72% of Muslims born abroad said they felt British; this figure jumped to 94% among UK-born Muslims.

Experts believe that Muslims in Germany may feel less patriotic because they have only been allowed citizenship since the 1990s. France’s divisive history with its colonies, such as Algeria, could explain its lower levels of patriotism.

The report also discovered that 55% of Muslims across the EU believe that religious and racial discrimination have risen in the past five years. “There is a disturbing message that emerges from these findings,” said Nazia Hussain, director of the research project. “Even though Muslims overwhelmingly feel British, they’re not seen as British by wider society. That said ... there has been a policy of trying to accommodate difference here and it appears to be paying off.”


Throw out the race card

by Jeff Jacoby

WHATEVER ELSE might be said about Tiger Woods, he has never confused his ethnic and racial makeup -- he is part Asian, part black, part American Indian, and part white -- with his identity. "My parents have taught me to always be proud of my ethnic background," he said as a 19-year-old U.S. Amateur champion in 1995, but "the critical and fundamental point is that ethnic background and/or composition should not make a difference. It does not make a difference to me. The bottom line is that I am an American."

Race didn't turn Tiger Woods into a great golfer any more than it made him a serial philanderer, and it is hard to imagine anything less relevant to his current marital turmoil than skin color. Yet from the Associated Press comes a report headlined "Tiger's troubles widen his distance from blacks" -- an entire news story devoted to "the race of the women linked with the world's greatest golfer." Apparently they have all been white. Apparently some people think that matters.

It isn't just the AP. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson suggested last week that "the most interesting aspect" of Woods's humiliating fall is "the whole Barbie thing." Robinson disavows any desire "to pronounce judgment on Woods's moral fiber" -- he would rather dwell instead on "how much the women who've been linked to Wood resemble one another" and why none of them have "yellow or brown skin."

Is that really what matters in the Tiger Woods drama -- the racial diversity of the women he has allegedly slept with? Must everything be turned into a matter of race?

Few cultural ideas are more pernicious than the race fetish -- the regard for skin color or ethnicity as the most significant factor in human behavior. Few falsehoods have caused more misery. If anything ennobled 20th-century liberalism, it was the conviction that human beings ought to be treated without regard to the hue of their skin or the shape of their eye. As Thurgood Marshall argued in a 1948 brief for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, "Classifications and distinctions based on race or color have no moral or legal validity in our society."

America's greatest modern domestic achievement was to transform itself from a society in which invidious racial classifications were entrenched in law and custom -- a society in which the "wrong" skin color was a bar to everything from decent schooling to political power -- to one in which blacks can be anything: judges and entrepreneurs, journalists and lawmakers, billionaire golfers and four-star generals -- and president of the United States.

Over the past two generations, in a blink of history's eye, America was transformed from a nation in which the race card trumped nearly everything to one in which it trumps nearly nothing. So why do so many people keep trying to play it?

When US Representative Artur Davis, an Alabama Democrat, voted against the House leadership's health care bill last month, he was denounced in racial terms by members of his own party. "You can't vote against health care," Jesse Jackson told a Congressional Black Caucus reception, "and call yourself a black man."

When posters appeared in which President Obama's face was Photoshopped to resemble Heath Ledger's creepy Joker from the Batman movie The Dark Knight, it was promptly slammed as racist. "All that's missing is a noose," wrote LA Weekly's Steven Mikulan -- despite the fact that Ledger was white, the Joker is white, and the poster's one-word message -- "Socialism" -- had nothing to do with race.

Or is "socialism," too, a racial issue? In an essay the Christian Science Monitor published in October, University of North Carolina professor Christopher Lee insisted that Obama's critics use the S-word to disguise their true "xenophobic, hypernationalistic, and, yes, racist" views.

It is so odious, this impulse to make everything a racial matter. Whether it comes from right or left, whether the context is congressional legislation or celebrity gossip, the race card invariably diminishes and divides us.

"There is not a Black America and a White America and Latino America and Asian America," declared Barack Obama at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. "There's the United States of America." True, we may not be there yet. But isn't the surest way to an America in which race makes no difference to stop speaking and acting as if it does?


Apple-Pie Jihad

They are named David. They are clean-shaven dental students and attendees of community colleges. They study hard, play sports, and open Facebook accounts. Their friends call them "normal Joes." And they're being arrested in ever-growing numbers, would-be terrorists plotting to kill their fellow Americans and conduct "holy war" at home and abroad. Wednesday's arrest in Pakistan of five Muslim-American men attests to a growing phenomenon: the radicalization of young American Muslims on American soil.

When the New York Police Department first issued a 90-page report in August 2007 asserting that what it called "homegrown radicalization" was destined to become a major terrorist threat, many of the nation's civil libertarians, self-proclaimed Muslim spokesmen, and even law enforcement officials were outraged. Civil libertarians warned that the NYPD's conclusions would lead to religious and ethnic profiling in policing. Muslim groups demanded and got meetings with senior NYPD officials. FBI analysts and officials disputed the NYPD's findings in interviews and congressional testimony.

But the department stood its ground, and police commissioner Raymond W. Kelly backed his troops. The department's intelligence division continued its research, and the report gradually found supporters in Washington. With the arrest of the five young Americans in Pakistan, and with the charges filed last month against recruiters from al-Shabaab alleged to have enlisted Somali teens in Minnesota to fight in the Somali civil war, the report's once-controversial conclusions appear to be all too true.

At a Tuesday conference for Operation Shield, an NYPD program that shares intelligence and security tips with local businesses and private security firms, Mitchell D. Silber, the NYPD's director of intelligence analysis, outlined his analysts' updated findings. His bottom line hadn't changed, he told the audience of over 200. While al-Qaida remained a vital source of "inspiration and an ideological reference point," the more insidious terrorist threat was younger Muslim men between the ages of 15 and 35 who had no direct al-Qaida connection but who had become radicalized by exposure to extreme interpretations of Islam. The NYPD had seen nothing that would mitigate its concern that members of New York's diverse Muslim population of 600,000 to 750,000 people--about 40 percent foreign-born--might be vulnerable to radicalization.

What was new, Silber said, was the department's understanding of the growing importance of the "spiritual sanctioner"--a religious figure who provides justification for violence, often through mosque lectures or radical websites. A prime example, he said, was Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Sunni imam who had preached at Dar al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Virginia in 2001 and 2002. The 9/11 Commission concluded that two of the 9/11 hijackers--Hani Hanjour and Nawaf al-Hazmi--had worshipped at that mosque in spring 2001. So, too, did Major Nidal Hasan, the army psychiatrist whom the government has charged with the murder of 13 fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas last month. Silber added that al-Awlaki's radical tracts had been linked to plotters in three other terrorist schemes: plans by six radical Islamists in 2007 to attack the Fort Dix military base in New Jersey; the 2006 plot to blow up multiple jet aircraft in flight; and the plot by the so-called "Toronto 18" to detonate po! werful truck bombs in downtown Toronto in 2005 and 2006.

Silber said that the key plotters in 30 of some 33 plots that the NYPD had examined, or 90 percent, had been radicalized in the West and were targeting the country in which they had been radicalized. In the past year alone, Silber went on, U.S. authorities had uncovered nine plots that had elements of homegrown radicalization, indicating that radicalization was an ongoing problem in the U.S. In half a dozen of these cases, he said, people who had contemplated traveling abroad to carry out violence decided instead to try to do it within the United States. This kind of threat "is substantially greater than what we have seen in the past," Silber said.

I was reminded of a Pew poll of American Muslims three years ago that showed that a third of American Muslims between the ages of 18 and 29 said that they supported suicide bombings.

Still, there may be some good news buried in the NYPD's graphs and charts. First, the number of al Qaida-inspired, homegrown terrorist plots against the West peaked in 2004 (experts are still hotly debating why that year saw such a high number - perhaps as a reaction to the 2003 Iraq invasion). Second, almost none has succeeded. Except for the case of Major Hasan, who may or may not have had links with a militant Islamic group, there have been no lethal terror attacks in the West since the bombings of the London Tube and train stations in July 2005.

Consider the five Muslim Americans arrested in Pakistan this week. Pakistani officials said that the five had used their American passports to travel to Pakistan to meet with representatives of Jaish-e-Muhammad, a banned Pakistani militant group with links to al-Qaida. The young men were said to be seeking training to conduct jihad in northwestern Pakistan and against American troops in Afghanistan. One had even recorded a farewell video to his family. Their overtures to terrorist groups were rejected, Pakistani officials said, because they lacked the requisite references from trusted militants.

What's encouraging is that the families of the five had reported them missing to law enforcement officials, and that a Muslim-American group, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which itself has been accused by Steven Emerson and other terrorism analysts of helping radicalize American Muslims, encouraged the families to contact the FBI. And Nihad Awad, CAIR's cofounder--who had previously been reluctant to acknowledge that the Muslim-American community had a problem with potential radicalization--finally acknowledged as much this week. The incident in Pakistan should remind us that in addition to the intelligence-led policing efforts of the NYPD and the FBI, our most powerful defense against Islamic radicalization and terrorism is the efforts of mainstream Muslim-Americans to help prevent extremists from carrying out their plots.


Insane Indonesian pilot freed to fly again

It's just typical Indonesian face-saving on behalf of an Indonesian airline. The pilot ignored the plane’s automated warning system as it sounded alarms fifteen times. He also ignored calls from the co-pilot to go around and make another approach. There have been suggestions that his Muslim beliefs were responsible for his actions and that the crash was deliberate -- a successful attempt to kill lots of "infidels".

An Indonesian court has overturned the criminal negligence conviction of a Garuda pilot whose plane crash landed in 2007, killing 21 people including five Australians. The Yogyakarta High Court today announced its verdict on the appeal brought by Marwoto Komar, who was convicted and sentenced to two years' prison in April.

The court said prosecutors had failed to prove Komar "officially and convincingly guilty of a crime". The panel of five judges ordered the charges against Komar be dropped and that his "position" and "dignity" be returned.

Komar's lawyer Muchtar Zuhdy applauded the court's move. "The defendant tried to make a maximum effort as a captain to save the plane and the passengers," Zuhdy said. "He is not guilty." Zuhdy believes the court's order that the charges be dropped means prosecutors will not be able to appeal the decision. "That means this decision is the final decision," Zuhdy said.

Komar's Boeing 737 slammed onto the runway at Yogyakarta airport, careered into a field and exploded in flames on March 7, 2007. Five Australians were killed in the crash: diplomat Liz O'Neill, AusAID official Allison Sudradjat, Australian Federal Police officers Brice Steele and Mark Scott, and Australian Financial Review journalist Morgan Mellish.

Investigators had argued Komar ignored a series of warnings not to land the plane as he brought it in at about twice the safe speed. But Komar blamed the disaster on mechanical problems.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


13 December, 2009

Irish court recognizes genetic realities

And cocks a snook at EU law

The Irish Supreme Court has ruled that a gay man who donated his sperm to a lesbian couple who decided to move to Australia should be permitted to see his three-year-old son regularly, in part because Ireland's constitution does not recognise the lesbians as a valid family unit.

The ruling is a legal first in Ireland, where homosexuality was outlawed until 1993 and gay couples are denied many rights given to married couples. Critics contend the case highlights how Ireland's conservative Catholic constitution dating from 1937 conflicts with contemporary European norms and fails to address the reality that hundreds of gay couples in Ireland have children.

In their unanimous decision, the five judges of Ireland's ultimate constitutional authority said a lower court erred by trying to apply the European Convention on Human Rights in favour of the lesbian couple. They concluded that when the two are in conflict, the Irish constitution is superior to European human rights law.

In her written judgment delivered on Thursday, Justice Susan Denham said the lesbian couple provided a loving, stable home for their son, but the constitution defined parents as a married man and woman, and gays were not permitted to marry in Ireland. She said Irish law did identify the sperm donor as the father and he therefore had a right to have a relationship with his son. ''There is benefit to a child, in general, to have the society of his father,'' Justice Denham wrote in the ruling. ''I am satisfied that the learned High Court judge gave insufficient weight to this factor.''

In April last year the High Court's Justice John Hedigan ruled in favour of the couple and rejected the man's application to have visitation or guardianship rights. The man immediately appealed. The man, whose identity has been concealed throughout the two years of legal wrangling, attended Thursday's judgment and said he was overjoyed with the verdict. The couple did not attend.

The Supreme Court appealed to both sides to negotiate an agreement on when the man could begin visiting his son. It referred the question of granting the man full guardianship rights back to the High Court.

The man testified that the couple had been his good friends and he agreed to donate sperm to one of them on condition that he would be treated as the family's ''favourite uncle''. But after the 2006 birth, both sides agreed, their relationship soured, reaching breaking point when the two women decided to move to Australia with the boy. The man successfully sued to prevent them from leaving Ireland pending a ruling on custody of the child.

Ireland's parliament has yet to pass laws that effectively regulate fertility clinics or define the clashing parenting rights of gay couples versus sperm donors. Last week the Government opened second-stage debate on a proposed civil partnership bill that, if passed, would give gay couples many marriage-style rights, particularly in relation to property, finances and inheritance. However, it offers no legal recognition of their right to be parents.


Is Obama Treating Palestinian Violence as an Inevitability?

The president may have inadvertently encouraged attacks against Israelis for their settlement policies. Late last month, upon receipt of news that Israel was proceeding with a program of urban construction for Jews in parts of Jerusalem lying beyond the old 1948 armistice lines, President Barack Obama said that he opposed it because it could be “very dangerous.”

There is not a person inside or outside the region who does not know that such language, in this context, is a euphemism for the threat of Palestinian violence. It is therefore astonishing — or ought to be astonishing — that Obama did not couple this observation with any statement on the unacceptability of such rioting or terrorism, or, if he believed it likely, did not publicly counsel against any Palestinian resort to violence. Such a failure encourages the very thing that prompted Obama’s warning.

In recent days, both before and since his statement, senior Palestinian Authority officials from Mahmoud Abbas down have foreshadowed a return to violence. For example, former PA Prime Minister Nabil Sha’ath said two days before Obama’s comments that:
Today we have the right to return to the armed struggle in order to restore our rights. … [W]e have the right to turn back to the alternative [routes]. … If negotiations fail, we will turn to armed struggle. This is our right, as I have said. … International law stipulates that, when an occupying [force] takes one’s land and harms one’s honor, one has the right to resort to armed struggle.
So what prompted Obama to admonish the Israelis but not the Palestinians? The U.S. and Israel have never seen eye-to-eye on Jews moving beyond the pre-1967 armistice lines that divided Jerusalem. Contrary to the view of successive Israeli governments, left and right, and the bulk of the Israeli public, the U.S. acts as if there is, or should be, a prewar-style gentleman’s agreement to prevent Jews from entering certain neighborhoods.

But then the U.S. and much of the world believe, or pretend to believe, that the Arab war on Israel is really a purely national conflict about territory, not an ideological conflict about Israel’s existence.

That being the case, and faithful to his position, Obama nonetheless could have said, “I do not agree with this policy because I want Israel to divide Jerusalem in the context of a full peace treaty with the Palestinians. At the same time, I warn against any exploitation of this development by extremists and urge the authorities, Israeli and Palestinian, to take all steps to prevent violence.” Prudence alone would have dictated no less. But he didn’t.

It is therefore as if Obama was saying that there is some correspondence between the alleged offense of Israelis building apartments and Palestinians resorting to riots — or worse — on this pretext. This amounts to suggesting that Palestinian violence is a natural and excusable reaction to Jews building houses. For the American president to say or imply this is itself, to coin a phrase, “very dangerous.”

History shows that much of this conflict has been exacerbated by this brand of amoral neutrality toward violence that has allowed extremists to set policy:

1921: In British-controlled Palestine, after rumors present an intra-Jewish clash as an anti-Arab uprising, Arabs riot in Jaffa, killing Jews. The British response? A temporary suspension of Jewish immigration into Palestine.

1929: The Palestinian leadership incites large-scale pogroms against Jews throughout Palestine, based on trumped-up stories of Jews attacking Muslims and Muslim shrines. The British response? A commission of inquiry recommends curtailment of Jewish immigration.

1996: Palestinians riot in Jerusalem following trumped-up rumors circulated by Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority that Israel’s opening of a Jerusalem archeological tunnel is designed to harm the mosques on Temple Mount. The international response? Criticism of an unnecessary Israeli provocation and renewed pressure on Israel to make further concessions.

2000: A pre-arranged visit to Temple Mount by Israeli politician Ariel Sharon is distorted by Palestinian media as being gratuitous violation of Muslim sanctuaries, producing riots and a terror wave. The international response? Condemnation of Israeli provocation and demands for more concessions in on-going peace talks.

Common to these examples (and others) is this clear fact: Palestinian violence, often based on lies fomented by unscrupulous men, is turned into a paying proposition. Far less clear is why President Obama would wish to encourage this time-honored Palestinian stratagem.

Even allowing that his comments stem from a background of pro-Palestinian partisanship, they are devoid of common sense and finesse, since Obama is seeking to reconvene peace talks. (The absence of such talks is itself the result of this policy of demanding a Jewish construction freeze that the Palestinian Authority never made a pre-condition for talks until Obama himself did, before backtracking — but only somewhat). Yet resuming talks, useful or useless as these might be, cannot occur if Obama assists a resort to violence by Palestinians.

To treat Palestinian violence as a social inevitability, like common theft, best dealt with by not attracting the thieves’ notice is to put a premium on it and to ensure its recurrence. Can Obama actually want this? And where then will his Arab/Israeli policy be?


Australia: The hate-motivated party

Comments below by Andrew Bolt. One thing Andrew fails to note is that displaying a flag upside down is a sign of disrespect for it

NOW put some clothes on the lady and explain to me the difference - but slowly, so even I can understand. Let's start with Sam. Last year Channel 9 Footy Show star Sam Newman stuck a picture of a female sportswriter's head on a bikini-clad mannequin, and that was so wickedly sexist that he had to be hounded off air, formally counselled and slagged off by every sanctimonious blowhard in the land. "Punt the bastard," screamed a typical headline, over a piece by Michael Costello, former chief of staff to Labor leader Kim Beazley. Costello was sure feeling righteous on that day. Speaking on behalf of outraged women and their more unctuous gallants, he raged at the "low, sad, pathetic antics of sickos such as Newman".

Now fast forward to this week, when many of this same Costello's Labor cronies, Beazley included, crammed into the Guillame at Bennelong restaurant at the Sydney Opera House to celebrate the 80th birthday of former Labor prime minister Bob Hawke. There they all gathered, these black-tied representatives of the party that inflicted on us so many anti-discrimination laws and hired so many anti-discrimination police to nick the Newmans of this wayward world.

(God still laughs that Hawke, that once notorious womaniser, in 1984 gave Australia the Sex Discrimination Act, presumably as a public sign of repentance.)

There was Paul Keating, for instance, and Simon Crean, as well as Gough Whitlam, the always breathless Maxine McKew and glowering Greg Combet, the fiercest global warming moralist, with his new partner. Naturally, Pope Kevin Rudd turned up to give the blessing, since he's always hogging microphones and always up for a moral sermon, delivered in words of the deadest bureaucratese, like this: "It's very important for sporting organisations across the country to show leadership in demonstrating proper respect towards women."

And then it was party time. The band struck up ... and, golly, the clothes came off. See, a model - far fleshier than Newman's mere mannequin - hopped on to the stage as a treat for bawdy Bob from wife Blanche and stripped down to her bikini, while using an Australian flag, carried upside down, for some peekaboo. And on her head she had not a picture of sportswriter Caroline Wilson, stapled to her skull, but a latex mask of John Howard, the second-longest-serving prime minister of this country, after Sir Robert Menzies.

Hur, hur, hur. That'll cut Howard down to size, turning him into just a girl. Into just a bimbo. Because that was the joke, right: Howard was demeaned, because being a woman is demeaning. Even better, Howard's Labor haters - or at least the men - could at last now really do him over, at least in their fervid minds.

So did Hawke reel away in horror, shouting for his sex discrimination police to come arrest all those responsible? Did Beazley or his old chief of staff thunder denunciations of such "low, sad, pathetic antics"? Did Pope Rudd rise from his throne to counsel "leadership in demonstrating proper respect towards women"?

I've gone through the pictures of that night but all I can see is leers, smirks, mouths wide open with guffaws, people clapping and taking glad snaps, and Rudd with glasses gleaming and jacket off like he was once more back at Scores strip club, and this time could see.

How strange, then, that a paid clown like Newman is required to set a higher moral example than are the men who've run - and again run - this country. But how often we see the great deftly excuse themselves from laws meant for the small.

Yet this is not just a "let them eat cake" teachable moment, or a chance to show that our new moral laws are often more a weapon than a principle. What strikes me most from Hawke's bouncing birthday treat is just what a tribe will excuse itself when bonding - and how tribal a collectivist party such as Labor really is.

And, yes, this is indeed something you'd expect from Labor rather than the more individualist Liberals. Could you really imagine the Liberals using John Howard's 80th birthday for some raucous group-hate of Kevin Rudd, let alone hiring some stripper to strut around with Rudd's picture over her scone? Gentlemen, please. Ladies, shame! And hand over that flag.

But see what the tribe permits itself when in need of some some boyo bonding. THINK how much more it permits itself when its members are such to-the-knife rivals (think Keating and Hawke, Beazley and Crean) that they're best united by a common hatred than a common passion. No wonder such a tribe could forgive - even applaud - a stripper in a Howard mask.

But would these Labor moralisers have forgiven their dancer had she done her jiggle on the Footy Show instead, wearing, say, a Barack Obama mask - or even Caroline Wilson's picture, glued to her nose? Or take the other details of the act. Could Rudd have resisted delivering an improving sermon had he seen a stripper use the Australian flag as a prop not at Bob's bash, but at some bump-and-grind club?

The difference is that a tribe must hate, and hate licences what love could never excuse.


Official Britain's hatred of photography

Real crooks are too difficult for the British police but cameras are a gladly-seized excuse to harass ordinary people

On Tuesday morning, a sunny day in London, Grant Smith decided to make use of the good light and set out to take some photographs of Christ Church on the corner of Newgate and King Edward Street. Australian-born Smith has lived in the capital for more than 25 years. He is an award-winning architectural and construction photographer, but this was a personal project.

'I've been making a study of the Wren churches in the City,' he explains. 'The church was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 17th century after being destroyed in the Great Fire. 'It was heavily damaged during the Blitz, so all that remains are two walls and a steeple - there's a public garden where the rest of the church once stood - and it's beautiful.'

But not everyone approved of this innocent activity. Smith was standing on the corner with his cameras when he was approached by a security guard from the neighbouring Bank of America Merrill Lynch building. 'He asked me for ID,' says Smith. 'I politely explained that I didn't need to provide ID as I was standing in a public place. Then another, more senior, security guard came out. 'Again, I said that I didn't have to say who I was, and withdrew to the other side of the road.'

Smith was then approached by a Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) who demanded to know what he was doing. Their conversation was cut short by the noisy arrival of blaring police sirens bearing down from the east and west. As Smith watched in astonishment-three police cars, lights flashing frenetically, as well as a police riot van containing armed police officers, swerved into view and pulled up to investigate the 'incident' - which consisted of nothing more than a man taking pictures of a church in the capital in broad daylight.

Fortunately, as a professional photographer, Smith knew exactly what was going on, so he was more angry than distressed. This had, after all, happened to him before. Nor is he the only one. Up and down the country, every day, people whose only 'crime' is to be carrying a camera and using it to take harmless snapshots of landmarks - or even, in one extraordinary case, a fish and chip shop - are being stopped, questioned by the police and asked to give their personal details. Sometimes, they are told (wrongly) that they are not allowed to take photographs - despite being in a public place. On occasion, the police have even (illegally) asked people to delete photographs from their camera. This is happening to tourists, day-trippers, sightseers and amateur photographers, as well as professionals.

The reason for this absurdity is a controversial piece of legislation known as Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. Section 44 gives police the right to stop and search anyone within certain geographical areas without the usual requirement of reasonable suspicion. It was brought in as a counter-terrorism measure. But, increasingly, members of the general public are complaining that because of it they are being treated like potential terrorists on reconnaissance missions.

'It's an issue that has affected our readers a lot,' says Chris Cheesman, news editor of Amateur Photographer magazine. 'Some of the reports that come in are bizarre. 'One man from Kent, for example, was visiting relatives in Hull and while he was there decided to have a wander in the city centre. He was taking pictures when he was stopped and told not to, on the grounds that some of the buildings were sensitive.'

Jeff Moore, chairman of the British Press Photographers Association (BPPA), concurs. 'It's a constant thing. It's particularly prevalent in London and around Westminster. 'I'm asked to speak at lots of events across the country and this subject comes up again and again. I hear about it from landscape photographers, members of the public, reams of people - anyone of any description who might have a camera. 'There was one case of a professor of history who was stopped because he was taking a photograph of a park bench in South London, for goodness sake.'

The thinking behind Section 44 was that by giving each force the opportunity to designate entire areas of their region as 'stop-and-search-zones' it would help police protect places considered to be vulnerable to terrorist attacks - for example, railway stations, power plants and government buildings. The trouble is, because areas covered by Section 44 are often kept secret - for fear that it would help terrorists plan attacks - it is impossible to know whether you are in one or not. Indeed, we are not even allowed to know how many such areas there are nationwide, nor how many square miles they cover.

Many feel there is also a problem with over-zealous policing, particularly by Community Support officers and junior police officers; others blame the imprecise legislation. Two campaign groups, www.notacrime.com and 'I'm a photographer not a terrorist', set up to provide information for those uncertain of their rights, have each attracted support from several thousand people over the past few months.

There is certainly no shortage of ridiculous examples of innocent photographers being stopped and questioned in a way that many find intimidating. Two weeks ago, BBC photographer Jeff Overs was standing outside the Tate Modern by the Thames in London, taking pictures of sunset over St Paul's Cathedral, when he was approached by a policewoman and a community support officer who said they were 'stopping people who were taking photographs as a counter-terrorism measure'.

Overs was asked to give his name, address and date of birth and issued with an anti-terrorism stop-and-search form - this in a place full of people enjoying a classic view of the capital, many of them recording it on their camera or mobile phone. 'I was outraged at such an infringement on my liberty,' says Overs. 'Foreign tourists must think Britain has become a police state.'

Indeed. In April, two Austrians were taken aback when they were stopped at Walthamstow bus station in East London where, like so many millions of other visitors to Britain before them, they had been taking pictures of London's famous red buses. They were asked to delete their pictures and, unaware that police have no authority to enforce this without a warrant, they complied. If they had not, there is no guarantee that their perceived hostility would not have got them into a tighter corner.

Alex Turner, from Kent, discovered the cost of questioning police authority in the summer, after he was stopped by two men on Chatham High Street while taking a picture of a fish and shop called Mick's Plaice. According to Turner's account the men refused properly to identify themselves. When he continued to question their authority, they summoned uniformed police. He took pictures of the two officers as they approached him - and was then arrested, held handcuffed in a police van for more than 20 minutes, searched, and interviewed by two plain-clothes officers.

As Andrew White, from Brighton, points out, it all seems a terrible waste of resources at a time when public services are already stretched to the limits. Mr White was taking photographs of the Christmas decorations in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, as he walked to work when he was stopped and asked for his details. He says: 'I don't think taking too many photos in the street warrants being considered as some kind of terrorist threat. Surely the money spent on getting PCSOs to harass me in the street could be better spent elsewhere.'

The situation is all the more ridiculous when you consider that many of those who are stopped are taking pictures of streets or buildings that are already documented and available to anyone to search online, thanks to Google's photographic 'Streetview' project. Google sent a fleet of vehicles to take pictures of every street in major cities.

Austin Mitchell, MP for Grimsby, tabled an Early Day Motion condemning police action against lawful photography in public places. 'This is pure officiousness,' he says. 'Photography is a joy and a pleasure, not something to feel furtive and persecuted about. People have the right to take photographs and particularly of historic landmarks and buildings. 'Here we have PCSOs and also junior constables inhibiting people from taking them. It's nothing to do with terrorism, it's just a desire to throw weight around.' Mitchell also blames the law: 'If you pass legislation like that, you get silly consequences.'

A Home Office spokesman insists: 'We have no intention of Section 44 or Section 58A being used to criminalise ordinary people taking photos or legitimate journalistic activity. 'We have issued guidance to all police forces, advising that these offences should not be used to capture an innocent member of the public, tourist or responsible journalist taking a photograph of a police officer. These offences are intended to help protect those in the frontline of our counter-terrorism operations from terrorist attack.'

But Shami Chakrabarti, the director of civil rights pressure group Liberty, believes the law needs to be reassessed. 'Section 44 stops are not based on reasonable suspicion,' she says. 'And we know that less than one per cent result in arrest. 'Hassling photographers and preventing them from carrying out perfectly ordinary assignments helps nobody, but blame must rest squarely with Parliament. It is time for this blunt and overly broad power to be tightened.'

Some fear that if the situation continues, a gradual process of attrition will mean that in a few years' time people will feel too nervous about what they are and are not allowed to do, and that they will stop taking photographs of public buildings altogether. 'There is a danger to journalism,' says the British Press Photographers Association's Jeff Moore, 'because this is impeding the way we can report. And what about our pictorial history?

'When we think of the past, we think of iconic images, like the one taken by Bert Hardy of two women sitting on railings on the seafront with their skirts blowing around their waist. But if things go on, we run the risk that the visual history of our country will not be recorded. 'We won't have anything like that in future. It will only be recorded by the state, through police pictures, or security firms, through CCTV cameras.' Then Big Brother really will have triumphed.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


12 December, 2009

Black crime in Britain: Stop shooting messengers and face the truth

Sometimes knowledge is uncomfortable. But it is the mark of a civilised society that we do not sweep it under the carpet

In 413BC a traveller sat down in a barber’s shop in Piraeus, the Athenian port, and readied himself for a shave. He commiserated with the locals for the loss of their recent military expedition to Syracuse. The horror dawned; the traveller was first with the news. The barber flung down his tools and ran to the city, crying the news. His reward? The Athenians refused to believe that their navy had been destroyed, that their sons and brothers were dead or working as slaves in Sicilian mines. As Plutarch tells us, the barber was “fastened to the wheel and racked”.

This is how we so often treat those who tell us the truth we do not want to hear. History is littered with examples of messengers being shot, tortured and pilloried, literally and metaphorically. To quote Sophocles’ Antigone: “No one loves the messenger who brings bad news.” To misquote Corporal Jones: “We don’t like it up us.”

We assume that we are different from our forefathers; more tolerant and more willing to allow uncomfortable truths to be aired. We have a liberal democracy and we congratulate ourselves on a commitment to freedom of speech. Yet when the truth sits uncomfortably with our notions of what is right, when it clashes with our dearly held notions of tolerance, we are as squeamish as any of our ancestors. Few are as intolerant as the self-consciously tolerant.

Vitriol, if not bodily torture, awaited the columnist Rod Liddle who wrote on a blog for The Spectator this week: “The overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community.”

A predictable storm engulfed Liddle, with accusations of racism flying. Yet here are the statistics from the Ministry of Justice. Some 12 per cent of London’s population is black. In 2007-08 black people accounted for 31.2 per cent of arrests for violence against the person; 31.4 per cent of arrests for sexual violence; 58.1 per cent of arrests for robbery; 29.8 per cent for theft and handling; 39.8 per cent for fraud and forgery 22.1 per cent for criminal damage, 38.7 per cent for drugs.

Liddle’s phrase “overwhelming majority” may be a distortion for effect, but there is undoubtedly some awkward reading in these figures for a society that wants to be colour blind, and has honed its righteous anti-racism. But what do we do with these figures? Stick our fingers in our ears and hum the National Anthem? Ignoring the truth is an insult to the victims and the perpetrators of these crimes. Both are products of something rotten in the state of urban black culture. Only by confronting the truth can we hope to address it.

But we draw away, afraid of the consequences of acknowledging the bald statistics. Truth meets our preconceptions and quails. In science, Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, describes this as “uncomfortable knowledge”: the idea that research can cause us to question how we order our society.

There is much uncomfortable knowledge to be found in genetics, and in our increasing understanding of the brain’s miraculous workings. Take the notion that men and women’s intelligence is different: women cluster around the average where men display more extremes of intelligence. Helena Cronin, a philosopher at the London School of Economics, calls it the “more dumb-bells, more Nobels” effect. I shudder at being the average shadow of more brilliant men, but I have no wish to shuffle the theory under a carpet and sit on it.

Our ever-deepening understanding of behavioural genetics throws up uncomfortable knowledge. It’s the old nature-nurture argument writ large, but with the implication that we are prisoners of our genes.

There is growing evidence, for example, that genes play a role in criminality: an idea that smacks dangerously of the determinism of Victorian phrenologists. A range of behavioural traits from depression to aggression has been linked to genes. A study in Nature this month found that obesity can be linked to a specific genetic defect.

Genetic research is in its relative infancy, and there is much still to understand about the interaction of our genes with our environment. But the implications are obvious and extreme. If intelligence is written in our genes, why aim for equal opportunities? Can criminals be culpable if they are genetically predisposed to be criminals? If genes are so dictatorial, what is free will? If fat is a genetic issue, sod it, I’ll have a Crunchie.

But there is a difference between the possession of uncomfortable knowledge and what we do with it. We can rise above our genetic inheritance and choose to have a society that celebrates the acquisition of knowledge, and the airing of truth, even when it hurts.

There seems to be a rising acceptance that unpalatable truths should be aired. Speech must be free, even where it is impolite to speak. A judge this week dismissed a case against a Christian hotelier couple accused of verbally abusing a Muslim guest. Their remarks were offensive, but not criminal. Sharon Vogelenzang told Ericka Tazi that her Islamic dress was a form of “bondage and oppression”. Less an uncomfortable truth, more an uncomfortable opinion, but one widely held.

We must fight against the type of dogma that does not allow itself to be challenged; whether it is of an isolationist Islam or Western middle-class cultural relativism. We must be braver about facing the truth, wherever it is found. A racist can look at the crime statistics and reach an abhorrent conclusion. A liberal can look at the same statistics and wonder how we can change them. Only a fool ignores them.


British Court Declares Judaism "Racist"

Given my frustration with First Things magazine’s registration problems, I probably should wait until this essay comes out from behind the registration wall to tell you about it. However, my disgust at the British Court’s recent rulings against Jews trumps my aggravation at First Things clunky on line registration glitches.

I have received the print edition for January 2010. Having read this appalling news, I am compelled to let you know about it. I can’t provide a URL for this essay, but next month it should be available (and by then I’ll be no less apoplectic about the UK court but perhaps the website issues of First Things) will have been resolved. David Goldman writes (and I am forced to transcribe by hand):
Since Oliver Cromwell allowed Jews to settle in England in 1656, Britain’s Jews have often suffered indignities, but have they ever undergone a legal assault on the practice of their religion within their own institutions? Certainly they have now.

On June 26, a British court of appeals labeled “racist” a founding premise of Judaism: the election of Abraham and his descendants and the determination of Jewish status by matrilineal descent. That the court’s decision is preposterous is the least of the matter. Not since the Middle Ages have Jews had to defend their religion before state authorities. And not since the Treaty of Westphalia have states claimed the right to compel changes in religious doctrine. For the first time in many years, a secular liberal state has arrogated to itself the right to determine the legality of millennia-old practices of a monotheistic religion.

Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, was apoplectic, declaring, “An English court has declared [the religious definition of Jewish status] racist, and since this is an essential element of Jewish law, it is in effect declaring Judaism racist. To be told now that Judaism is racist is distressing. To confuse religion and race is a mistake.”
The leaders of the various forms of Judaism - Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform - have joined Rabbi Sacks in his condemnation of this ruling.

The Catholic Education Services of England and Wales gave public support to their Jewish colleagues. Oona Stannard, the director, said:
It is important that the right to determine who is a member of any religions ought to lie with the religious…I am extremely dismayed that the ruling has so far gone against our Jewish colleagues/providers of schools with a religious character. England’s chief Catholic prelate…fully backs the CES statement.
So what does the Archbishop of Canterbury say? Birds chirp in the bare, ruined choirs. Silence. They won’t be issuing a statement is what they said.

Meanwhile, that segment of Judaism known as the suicidal Jews (probably with a few Unitarians thrown in for good measure) hailed the ruling (warning: barf bag moment coming up here) because it would make Judaism “more inclusive”. There goes the idea of God’s chosen people, right down the chute with the rest of those who would attempt to differentiate themselves. Lovers of their own culture, nationalists, believers in sovereignty, those who thought the wall between Church and State was pretty well established...Forget it; we’re all racist hamburger now.

Except the Muslims, of course. They can continue to make their arrogant, in-your-face demands for their religious tenets. No pork, no Christmas, disruptive five-times-a-day prayer (wherever), separate schools, separate hospitals, separate pools, different rules, public threats to destroy the UK…that all pales beside the Jewish law regarding matrilineal descent.

This is a new low-water mark for British jurisprudence. You can read the full essay shortly, when it becomes the “current issue” on line at First Things. Meanwhile, I’ll close with Mr. Goldman’s final statement:
More than any other major Jewish population in the Diaspora, Britain’s Jewish community has attempted to steer clear of controversy - for example by keeping its distance from the state of Israel…but much as Britain’s Jews have tried to avoid trouble, trouble has come looking for them.
There is a moral in that somewhere…one that I hope Israel considers very carefully before it hands over any flu vaccines to Gaza. Just one Muslim death and the bombs will be flying, Jews will be dying.

Such perverted altruism has to stop before it gets any more people killed. Just as the rest of the world, particularly America, has got to take off its blinders regarding zombie jihadists like Major Hasan. We knew with fair certainty he was psychotic, but in the name of saving his superiors’ precious careers, we let him go on his merry way, until he had killed enough of us for people to take notice. Even then, it’s “shush, shush, can’t say it aloud/killing kufar makes the Jihadist proud”. No, the mantra is, instead: “wrong, wrong, you Islamophobes. The Religion of Peace shall rule the globe.”*

Close your eyes, cover your ears, yell real loud. Then when the blade is on your throat, or the bullet lodged in your son’s heart, you won’t be able to feel it till everything is over. Painless, right?

What a price to pay for a deeply false sense of security: a paralyzed fear that cannot speak its name.


Obama the antisemite

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Pamela Geller, founder, editor and publisher of the popular and award-winning weblog AtlasShrugs.com. She has won acclaim for her interviews with internationally renowned figures, including John Bolton, Geert Wilders, Bat Ye’or, Natan Sharansky, and many others, and has broken numerous important stories — notably the questionable sources of some of the financing of the Obama campaign. Her op-eds have been published in The Washington Times, The American Thinker, Israel National News, Frontpage Magazine, World Net Daily, and New Media Journal, among other publications. She is the co-author (with Robert Spencer) of the soon to be released, The Post-American Presidency: The Obama Administration’s War on America (forward by Ambassador John Bolton).

FP: Pamela Geller, welcome back to Frontpage Interview. I would like to talk to you today about Obama, his administration and anti-Semitism. Let’s begin with Obama’s anti-Israel policies, your thoughts on them and what you think explains them. Tie this into the role of his friends and advisers.

Geller: Obama had a disturbing track record from the beginning. The Obama landscape, the landscape of his personal and professional associations, is littered with anti-Semites and rife with Israel haters.

Only three weeks after Barack Hussein Obama took office, Israeli pundit Caroline Glick noted that “since it came into office a month ago, every single Middle East policy the Obama administration has announced has been antithetical to Israel’s national security interests.”

Obama in April 2009 asked Congress to revise American laws preventing financial aid to terrorist organizations so that the United States could keep funding the Palestinian Authority even with Hamas as part of the government.

Then in May 2009 came the revelation that the United States and allied military, under the command of Lt. Keith Dayton, was training 1,500 Palestinian troops. Would American-trained Palestinian troops one day go into battle against the forces of American ally Israel? It was possible.

On September 23, 2009, Barack Obama made a speech at the UN that former UN Ambassador John Bolton called “the most radical anti-Israel speech I can recall any president making.”

Obama was the most anti-Israel President the United States had had since the State of Israel was formed. Yet American Jews voted in large numbers for this man. They should have known better.

FP: Tell us about some of Obama’s advisers in this context.

Geller: Well, let’s begin with one Obama foreign policy adviser, Samantha Power, who, in a 2002 interview with Harry Kreisler of the Institute for International Studies at Berkeley, called for military action against Israel to secure the creation of a Palestinian state.

Power said that establishing a Palestinian state would mean “sacrificing — or investing, I think, more than sacrificing — billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence.” She said that this would “require external intervention.”

Many observers quite reasonably concluded that in this Power meant that the United States should invade Israel in order to secure the creation and protection of a Palestinian state. Confronted about this during the Obama presidential campaign, Power made no attempt to explain or excuse her statement: “Even I don’t understand it…This makes no sense to me….The quote seems so weird.” She assured supporters of Israel that she did not believe in “imposing a settlement.”

But Power was not alone. The anti-Israel statements of Robert Malley, whom Obama tabbed for an important mission right after he was elected President, were even worse than Power’s.

Early on in his campaign, Obama named Robert Malley one of his primary foreign policy advisers – to the immediate consternation of Israeli officials. One Israeli security official noted in February 2008: “We are noting with concern some of Obama’s picks as advisers, particularly Robert Malley, who has expressed sympathy to Hamas and Hizbullah and offered accounts of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations that don’t jibe with the facts.”

Once Obama was elected President, he sent Malley to Egypt and Syria. “The tenor of the messages,” explained an aide to Malley, “was that the Obama administration would take into greater account Egyptian and Syrian interests.”

Malley had nothing on Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Adviser during the Carter Administration. Obama consulted Brzezinski for advice during his campaign, calling the octogenarian Brzezinski “one of our most outstanding scholars and thinkers” and saying that he was “someone I have learned an immense amount from.”

Bizarrely, Brzezinski called for the United States to protect Iran from an Israeli strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. “We are not exactly impotent little babies,” he declared in a September 2009 interview. If the Israelis struck Iran, he said, “they have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?” Brzezinski advocated military action against Israel to stop it from striking Iran: “If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not.”

Brzezinski holds no official position in the Obama Administration. But Rosa Brooks does: she is an advisor to the undersecretary of Defense for policy. Brooks is venomously anti-Israel. During Israel’s defensive action in Gaza in January 2009, Brooks wrote an op-ed in the Times entitled, “Israel can’t bomb its way to peace.” Stephen A. Silver of the media watchdog Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America pointed out that while Brooks gave the number of Palestinian casualties in this conflict, she didn’t mention that most of these were combatants, not innocent civilians. “She also takes no interest,” noted Silver, “in the fact that Hamas fires missiles at Israeli civilians from the midst of Palestinian population centers — a double war crime specifically intended by Hamas to manufacture Palestinian civilian casualties for public relations purposes whenever Israel tries to defend itself from Hamas terror.”

Former Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) would probably have agreed with Brooks. According to the Jerusalem Post, he was “one of a handful of senators who frequently didn’t sign AIPAC-backed letters related to Israel and the peace process during his time in the Senate and opposed additional sanctions on Iran.” In the Senate he amassed a significant track record as one of a hardline hater of Israel who would not affix his name even to the most innocuous pro-Israel initiative. In late October 2009 Obama appointed Hagel co-chair of his Intelligence Advisory Board.

These were Barack Hussein Obama’s closest advisers. And the effect of all this showed in his policies, beginning almost immediately when he took office.

FP: What explains this hatred of Israel in Obama’s administration? What is it that is motivating Obama and these anti-Semites around him?

Geller: Obama’s anti-Semitic associations go all the way back to the beginning of his career: the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who worked with Louis Farrakhan and gave him an award from Trinity United Church of Christ; Bill Ayers, whose Communist rhetoric from the 1960s – the Weather Underground manifesto Prairie Fire — was full of anti-Semitic attacks on Israel; and others. Israel has always been an ally of the United States and was an enemy of the Soviet Union and socialist internationalists. Barack Obama is a socialist internationalist, as are the people he has surrounded himself with. It’s no surprise in light of that that his administration would be so anti-Israel.

Little attention is paid to Obama’s childhood study of Islam and his Koranic studies in Indonesia. Knowing what we know about Islamic anti-Semitism and Jew-hatred in the Koran, it may have been a powerful influence on Obama’s attitudes towards the Jewish homeland.

More here

The Privatization of the First Amendment

President Obama’s nomination of Chai Feldblum to be a member of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) represents one of the most serious threats to religious freedom we have seen in a long time. True, we have seen other radical homosexual activist nominated to significant posts (see Kevin Jennings, among others), but the current political and cultural climate, the particular position, Feldblum’s reputation among the liberal elites and her extremely radical views are a lethal combination. Lethal for the First Amendment, that is.

Feldblum is a radical homosexual activist whose views on “homosexual rights” are among the most extreme. Although our right to religious freedom is expressly guaranteed by the Constitution, Feldblum argues that the “homosexual rights” judges have read into the Constitution should be held higher. She has said, “As a general matter, once a religious person or institution enters the stream of commerce ... I believe the enterprise must adhere to a norm of nondiscrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity….”

Under Miss Feldblum’s view, a Christian person running a daycare could not refuse to hire a man who dresses as a woman from a job taking care of your kids. You, as the owner of that business, must suppress your religious beliefs, which are again expressly guaranteed by the Constitution, just because you want to work to take care of your family.

The reason Feldblum is so dangerous is because she tries to appear “reasonable” and argues that she understands that religious people have rights, but she believes in the end “homosexual rights” should win out. She said, “While I was initially drawn to the idea of providing an exemption to those enterprises that advertise solely in very limited milieus (such as the bed & breakfast that advertises only on Christian Web sites), I became wary of such an approach as a practical matter….”

Her view of the Constitution demands that you renounce your God publicly if you want to be part of society. But don’t worry, you can still believe whatever you want privately. I guess the next “evolution” of the Constitution is the privatization of the First Amendment.

The position to which she is being nominated is also very important because there was another important figure in our history who served in this office early in his career. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was Chairman of the EEOC from 1982 to 1990, before becoming a judge at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and later a Justice of the Supreme Court. Feldblum’s liberal reputation and credentials put her in prime position to follow a similar path.

She has worked for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the radically pro-homosexual Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is a law professor at the Georgetown University Law School, clerked for First Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Frank M. Coffin, and also clerked for Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun – the infamous liberal activist who authored the disastrous Roe v. Wade decision.

Her comments on her experience at the Supreme Court also reveal a distorted view of the law. Even liberal scholars today agree that Roe was essentially made-up law. And Feldblum apparently agrees with that, but doesn’t really care. In a New York Times piece on Justice Blackmun, she acknowledges that his “ability and desire to look behind the law and see the people is not the classic way to do law,” and said, “He brings a sense of caring and compassion that will be missed” (emphasis ours).

She has apparently learned well as she now tries to impose the new judicially made-up “homosexual rights” over our expressly guaranteed right to the free exercise of religion. If she were ever to become a judge it would be disastrous to our foundational principles of liberty. No question we have here the makings of a judicial activist all too willing to “look behind the law” to achieve “progress.”

If you pay attention to politics at all, you are well aware that the current political atmosphere provides the best possible climate for the development of Feldblum’s radical ideals. Liberals control both the House and the Senate with ample margins and their agenda has gone as far left as they can push it. The recent passage of federal “hate crimes” laws is a prime example. And the upcoming attempt to enact the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which Feldblum helped to write — represents another weapon that she will be able to use in playing her role at the EEOC.

After a lifetime of radical activism for “homosexual rights,” does anybody doubt where her focus will be when working for “equal employment?” The government should not use its power to advocate one group of people over another, especially when that advocacy infringes on fundamental constitutional rights. This week, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is set to take up Feldblum’s nomination, and unless we make our voices heard, her nomination will go through unscathed, and we will pay the consequences for years to come.

No matter what your political party, no matter your religion or if you have none at all, we should all be concerned about loosing our most cherished liberties. It is those liberties that lie at the foundation of everything we believe as a nation.

That is what is at stake with the nomination of Chai Feldblum to the EEOC. And every senator should approach it with that type of urgency. But it is up to us to make sure senators know we are watching and that we will remember how much they value our religious freedoms.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


11 December, 2009

Misleading description of homosexual child rapist

And that's despite the victim being black. Homosexual perversion must be protected at all costs. And this is from the university that raised the roof with condemnation of the imagined deeds of innocent white Lacrosse players

Over the course of the last few weeks, I have received several requests for an update on the Frank Lombard case. Lombard is the (now former) Duke administrator who was accused last summer of attempting to allow, and even arrange for, strangers he met on the internet to rape his adopted child.

A few days ago, WRAL, a Raleigh-based news station, released an update on the case. That update is worth re-printing here, along with my commentary, both for what the update says and what it does not say:
“A former Duke University employee has agreed to plead guilty to a federal charge of sexual exploitation of a minor, authorities said Tuesday.”
Here, the “sexual exploitation of a minor” is not described in any great detail. That is good because the sexual exploitation Lombard inflicted upon his own child is simply too graphic to reprint fully. I have read all of the documentation in this case. It contains descriptions of conduct, which can only be described as sub-human.
“Frank M. Lombard, 42, of 24 Indigo Creek Trail in Durham, will enter the plea in federal court in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 17, authorities said. He likely will face 15 years in prison, authorities said.”
It is interesting that the first demographic mentioned is age, as opposed to race or sexual orientation. As I proceed with my commentary it may be worthwhile to ask, once again, a question I will ask now: Is Frank Lombard’s age the most relevant demographic variable in relation to the charges to which he agreed to plead guilty?
“Authorities on Tuesday filed a criminal information in the case, indicating that they were negotiating a plea and didn't want to pursue an indictment against Lombard. According to the filing, Lombard coerced a minor, identified only as ‘M.L.,’ into engaging in sexual conduct so that Lombard could transmit a live video of it over the Internet.”
And now we have another mention of the “minor” followed by the assertion that the criminal information only identifies the minor as “M.L.” But WRAL knows precisely what the “L” in “M.L.” means. It means Lombard. It is his adopted black son.

But to acknowledge that “M.L” is the son, not daughter, of Frank Lombard is to acknowledge that Lombard is gay. And the Gods of Diversity frown upon the notion that males can be victims of rape and that the perpetrators can be homosexual men. And to acknowledge the race of the victim is to suggest that homosexuals might be capable of committing hate crimes, even if they do not play Lacrosse. Hate crimes legislation is supposed to protect, not prosecute, gay men.

And, finally, there should be no mention (yet) that his son was adopted. The public, when confronted with such information, might use it to form dangerous opinions – such as the opinion that gay men should not be adopting little boys.

According to the news media, the general public is not capable of processing all of this information. People in the news media are the only ones who can be trusted with all of the benefits (and responsibilities) that attach to the full disclosure of information.
“Lombard was arrested in June after authorities said Washington police caught him in a sting operation soliciting an adult to have sex with his adopted 5-year-old child.”
This is certainly odd. WRAL finally mentions that Frank Lombard’s child was adopted. But they fail to mention his sex or his race. In fact, the way this paragraph is worded, it is not entirely clear that the incident leading to his arrest is the incident leading to the information – or that it led to any formal criminal charges.

So let me clarify this very sloppy portion of the WRAL release. The child coerced into engaging in sexual conduct on a webcam was Frank Lombard’s adopted black son. Lombard performed oral sex on every portion of the little boy’s body that was capable of expelling human waste. I hope this clarifies any ambiguity. I will withhold further details.
“Duke fired Lombard in July from his position as associate director of the university's Center for Health Policy.”
I think we can now see why WRAL has withheld certain relevant information. Lombard was a high-level administrator in the area of health policy. To reveal his sexual orientation would raise certain questions, which might violate someone’s right to feel comfortable at all times. For example, “Are certain sexual practices both detrimental to individual health and prevalent in the gay community?” And, “Could such practices, if widely adopted (no pun intended), be detrimental to the public health?” Finally, “Is a homosexual man the best candidate available to help run a Center for Public Health and teach a course about AIDS at Duke University?”

According to the people at WRAL, and many at Duke University, Frank Lombard is no ordinary white racist. Nor is he an ordinary white rapist. He is gay and entitled to special treatment in the court of public opinion. To refuse to treat him differently would promote hatred and discrimination.

And that would send a dangerous message to small children. Above all else, we must protect small children from danger.


'Freedom of speech' victory as Christian hoteliers are CLEARED of insulting Muslim woman

Aggressive accuser attempts to play the "Muslim card" -- but is unconvincing

Christian hoteliers accused of insulting a Muslim guest for wearing the hijab and berating her for her beliefs were dramatically cleared this afternoon. Benjamin and Sharon Vogelenzang denied using threatening, abusive or insulting words which were religiously aggravated against white British Muslim convert Ericka Tazi, 60.

District Judge Richard Clancy, who heard the case in the absence of a jury, told the couple that religion and politics was the 'tinderbox which set the whole thing alight and it would appear because of strongly entrenched positions that is what has happened here'. Explaining his reasons for dismissing the case, he said Mrs Tazi's claim that she was verbally attacked by the couple for up to an hour had not been borne out by other prosecution witnesses, who suggested that any discussions lasted around seven minutes.

Judge Clancy also highlighted Mrs Tazi's use of language. When describing how she was provoked by the couple about her hijab she used words to the effect of: 'Would you prefer it if I got my tits out?' He said: 'I mention this because when I read that together with what she said about 'them taking the piss' it doesn't quite form the same religious view that was put to me on the stand'. Judge Clancy said: 'I'm not satisfied on the facts that this case has been made out.'

His decision was greeted by prolonged applause from the couple's supporters in the public gallery. Outside, Sharon Vogelenzang told reporters: 'We've been found innocent of any crime. It has been a very difficult nine months and we are looking forward to rebuilding our business and getting on with our lives. 'We would like to thank all those who have supported us, our family, our friends, our church and Christians all around the world, and non-Christians. 'And as Christmas approaches we wish everybody peace and goodwill.'

Mrs Tazi told the court yesterday that she was left traumatised after being insulted by the couple while a guest at The Bounty House Hotel in Aintree, Liverpool, on March 20. She said they laughed at her when she came down wearing a hijab on her final day at the hotel and shouted at her, saying her Islamic dress was a form of bondage and that she had provoked an argument by wearing it.

Mrs Tazi, who converted to Islam when she married a Muslim 18 months ago, was staying at the hotel while she attended a pain management clinic at Aintree Hospital for her fibromyalgia. She claimed Mr Vogelenzang called the prophet Mohammed a murderer and a warlord and likened him to Saddam Hussein and Hitler. But the couple denied her version of events and claimed Mrs Tazi told them Jesus was a minor prophet and that the Bible was untrue.

Earlier, the court heard how the Vogelenzangs' B&B had suffered as a result of the case. Benjamin Vogelenzang, 53, accused Mrs Tanzi of trying to ruin his business during heated scenes in court. The hotelier raised his voice and thumped the witness box before he was told to behave by Judge Clancy. His 54-year-old wife, Sharon, told the court that takings were down by 80 per cent since they were prosecuted for a public order offence.

Benjamin Vogelenzang told prosecutor Anya Horwood in cross examination: 'At the time I was persuaded she (Ericka) was quite a nice person.' Raising his voice, and thumping the witness box for emphasis, he continued: 'I was mistaken, you know why? She wasn't a nice person, she wasn't a loving person, she ratted to the police and is trying to make us lose our business.' His outburst prompted Judge Clancy to tell him: 'Behave yourself please.' When Mr Vogelenzang returned to the dock to sit alongside his wife he bowed his head and cried.

The court heard that the couple, who have five adopted children and have fostered a Muslim boy, returned to the hotel after a holiday in Scotland three days before the alleged incident on March 20. They learned from the hotel manager that guests had engaged in robust debates about religion over the dinner table, with Mrs Tazi and a self confessed 'happy clappy Christian' taking the lead.

Mr Vogelenzang told his defence counsel, Hugh Tomlinson QC, that, on the morning of March 20, he spotted Mrs Tazi wearing the hijab, the traditional Islamic dress, and told her: 'You look tiny' before walking off. He said that, when he next saw her, she was talking to his wife and told the court he overheard the following conversation: 'Her wording was, in essence, 'I've tried all the religions, I've tried Jesus, it didn't work for me but the Bible is untrue anyway and Jesus is a minor prophet'. 'She called Our Lord a minor prophet. My reaction was 'You haven't prayed alone and asked God to prove himself to you'. 'Because she was a small person I sat next to her and just gently said that to her.'

He admitted that his wife may have referred to the hijab as a form of bondage and said Mrs Tazi replied: 'My husband doesn't even want me to wear it, but I wear it as I love Allah.' He told the court: 'Great, that's fine. At least she wears it because of the love she has.'

Mr Vogelenzang said Mrs Tazi then went off into the dining room and he belatedly went after her to make light of the situation. He told the court he reeled off a list of historical figures, including Caesar, Nero, Hitler, Mao and Saddam Hussein. Mr Vogelenzang said: 'She took the examples of history and she started provoking me by saying 'Oh, will you tell me then that I'm a murderer, that I'm a Nazi? You're telling me I'm a terrorist?' 'I never meant it this way.' He denied shouting at her or referring to the prophet Mohammed as a warlord.

Mr Vogelenzang told Ms Horwood that Mrs Tazi was not in tears but left the hotel 'as cool as a cucumber' and that he had the ability 'not to take offence'.

Mrs Vogelenzang told the court that Mrs Tazi seemed determined to get a response from her about her hijab. She said the guest approached her and said: 'You didn't know I was a Muslim, did you?'' The hotelier replied that she had known, the court heard. Mrs Vogelenzang said Mrs Tazi then came up to her and said she 'was still the nice, kind Ericka you know'.

She said she was 'stopped in her tracks' when she heard Mrs Tazi say to her husband that, 'Jesus was a minor prophet and the Bible was not true'. She told her: 'I'm afraid we'd have to disagree with you there. We believe Jesus died on the cross for our sins.'

Mrs Vogelenzang said Mrs Tazi told her: 'It's my choice to put this outfit on' and said she replied: 'I can't understand why you would want to put yourself into bondage.' She explained that she used the phrase 'bondage' because she understood that Muslim women lacked the freedom to make many choices in their lives.

Mrs Vogelenzang also told Mr Tomlinson, her defence counsel, that she went into the dining room after hearing raised voices and, when Mrs Tazi spotted her, 'she charged towards me with her hand thrust up at my face and said 'Get away from me, get out of my face''.

Yesterday, Christians gathered outside Liverpool magistrates' court to support the couple.

Mrs Tazi, who suffers from the chronic pain condition fibromyalgia, spent a month at the hotel earlier this year while attending a course of therapy at a nearby hospital. The former Roman Catholic from Warrington, who converted to Islam last year, gave evidence after swearing an oath to Allah and kissing the Koran. She wore a hijab and ankle-length gown in court similar to the outfit she was wearing on the day of the alleged confrontation. She told the court she had worn Western clothes until the final day of her course.


Sarkozy defends Swiss minaret decision

THE French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has voiced sympathy for Switzerland's controversial decision to ban the building of minarets, calling on religious practitioners to avoid "ostentation" and "provocation" for fear of upsetting others. Mr Sarkozy said he was surprised by the widespread criticism of the outcome of last month's referendum in Switzerland, when 57 per cent voted to proscribe the building of minarets in a country that has four, and is home to 400,000 Muslims.

The French Foreign Minister, Bernard Kouchner, promptly denounced the Swiss decision last week, saying he was shocked and scandalised and calling for the ban to be reversed.

But writing in Le Monde on Tuesday, Mr Sarkozy defended the Swiss in arguing for the necessity of the contentious debate on national identity he has sponsored in France. "How can you not be amazed at the reaction that this decision has produced in certain media and political circles in our own country," Mr Sarkozy said. "Instead of condemning the Swiss out of hand, we should try to understand what they meant to express and what so many people in Europe feel, including people in France."

He was the first national leader in Europe to offer a detailed opinion on a decision that the Swiss Government has criticised as discriminatory and probably illegal, if implemented. Mr Sarkozy called for discretion from France's 6 million Muslims, the biggest Muslim population in Europe, in their observance of religion, while pledging to fight discrimination.

"Christians, Jews, Muslims, all believers regardless of their faith, must refrain from ostentation and provocation and … practise their religion in humble discretion." Muslims would need to find a way of integrating in France "without conflicting with our social and civic pact" while moderate Islam would fail if Muslims sought to challenge the country's republican value system or Christian heritage.

Mr Sarkozy's intervention in the Swiss case, Europe's first direct vote on Islam, came in the midst of the bout of navel-gazing over French national identity begun by his government last month. "This muffled threat felt by so many people in our old European nations, rightly or wrongly, weighs on their identity," he said. "We must all speak about this together, out of fear that, if it is kept hidden, this sentiment could end up nourishing a terrible rancour."

The French national identity debate is running in tandem with proposals to ban the burqa, and critics argue that Mr Sarkozy's initiative has degenerated into a populist proxy debate on immigration, with the President seeking to outflank the extreme right and steal their votes.

A conference on national identity is to be held in Paris in February after the debate moved to parliament on Tuesday, preceded by town hall meetings and heated internet discussions over the past month.

Next month parliament is also to consider whether the burqa should be banned, and in Marseilles there is dispute over the planned construction of a grand mosque with a 25-metre minaret.

The leader of the opposition Socialist Party, Martine Aubry, says Mr Sarkozy is making a calculated attempt to stir xenophobia by calling for the public debates. Disapproval of Mr Sarkozy's policies has risen to the highest level since his election in May 2007, an Ifop poll for Paris Match magazine found. A total of 61 per cent of respondents in the poll published this week said they disapproved of Mr Sarkozy's policies. That was up 6 percentage points from October.


The Racism of the Black Community

According to allies of President Obama, all opposition to Obama's policies is driven by racism. "We think all of it is!" shouts Gwen Dawkins, a Democratic "activist" from Michigan. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Texas) explains that "As far as African-Americans are concerned, we think most of it is." Rep. Mike Honda (D-Calif.) agrees, stating that "There's a very angry, small group of folks that just didn't like the fact that Barack Obama won the presidency. With some, I think it is [about race]." As Jimmy Carter famously stated, "I think an overwhelming portion of the intensely demonstrated animosity toward President Barack Obama is based on the fact that he is a black man, that he's African-American."

Apparently, racism must be spreading like wildfire. According to a Gallup poll released this week, only 47 percent of Americans now approve of President Obama's job performance. Only 42 percent of independents approve. In the white community, according to a Nov. 24 Gallup poll, his approval rating has slipped from 61 percent in January to 39 percent. In the black community, his support has actually increased, from 90 percent to 91 percent.

The fact is that it isn't the racism of the white community that explains President Obama's plummeting job approval -- the skyrocketing deficit, unemployment rate and inflation take care of that.

It's the racism of the black community that explains his approval rating's continued buoyancy. How can blacks truly approve of Obama more highly than they did when he was elected? The black unemployment rate is 15.6 percent today, as opposed to 11.9 percent in December 2008, over 50 percent higher than the white unemployment rate. There is no rhyme or reason to the continued support for a man who has driven the economy off the rails. But there is racism.

President Obama fulfills the three requirements to receive the approval of the black community: he is black; he is not currently having sex with a white woman; and he is liberal. And he receives the lifelong and unwavering loyalty of the black community for it.

By contrast, the black community hates another prominent half-black man. This half-black man happens to be a political independent who has sex with white women. His name is Tiger Woods.

Just listen to the black community's evisceration of Woods. Tom Joyner, a syndicated black radio host, ran a parody suggesting, "Thankfully, Tiger, you didn't marry a black woman. Because if a sister caught you running around with a bunch of white hoochie-mamas." Then there's Denene Millner, author of books on black relationships, who writes, "Why is it when they get to this level … they tend to go directly for the nearest blonde?"

There seems to be less consternation in the black community about the fact that Woods cheated on his wife than the fact that his wife is white and his mistresses are white. Nobody in the black community has claimed that Shawn Kemp, the former NBA star who famously sired seven children out of wedlock, is a racial sellout. But according to the Associate Press, 26-year-old black woman Ebonie Johnson Cooper says that Tiger, who has so far fathered zero children out of wedlock, is "quote-unquote not really black." That's because "we still see [Tiger] as a black man with a white woman, and it makes a difference."

Not coincidentally, Cooper explains, "Had Barack had a white wife, I would have thought twice about voting for him."

This is a country still torn apart by racial tensions. But those tensions largely spring from the black community these days, not from the white community. It is approval for President Obama that evidences greater racial animosity these days than opposition to President Obama's policies.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


10 December, 2009

Swiss ban on minarets a vote for tolerance & inclusion

The Swiss vote highlights the debate on Islam as a set of political and collectivist ideas, not a rejection of Muslims

By Ayaan Hirsi Ali

The recent Swiss referendum that bans construction of minarets has caused controversy across the world. There are two ways to interpret the vote. First, as a rejection of political Islam, not a rejection of Muslims. In this sense it was a vote for tolerance and inclusion, which political Islam rejects. Second, the vote was a revelation of the big gap between how the Swiss people and the Swiss elite judge political Islam.

In the battle of ideas, symbols are important.

What if the Swiss voters were asked in a referendum to ban the building of an equilateral cross with its arms bent at right angles as a symbol of the belief of a small minority? Or imagine a referendum on building towers topped with a hammer and sickle – another symbol dear to the hearts of a very small minority in Switzerland.

Political ideas have symbols: A swastika, a hammer and sickle, a minaret, a crescent with a star in the middle (usually on top of a minaret) all represent a collectivist political theory of supremacy by one group over all others.

On controversial issues, the Swiss listen to debate, read newspapers, and otherwise investigate when they make up their minds for a vote. What Europeans are finding out about Islam as they investigate is that it is more than just a religion. Islam offers not only a spiritual framework for dealing with such human questions as birth, death, and what ought to come after this world; it prescribes a way of life.

Islam is an idea about how society should be organized: the individual's relationship to the state; the relationship between men and women; rules for the interaction between believers and unbelievers; how to enforce such rules; and why a government under Islam is better than a government founded on other ideas. These political ideas of Islam have their symbols: the minaret, the crescent; the head scarf, and the sword. The minaret is a symbol of Islamist supremacy, a token of domination that came to symbolize Islamic conquest. It was introduced decades after the founding of Islam.

In Europe, as in other places in the world where Muslims settle, the places of worship are simple at first. All that a Muslim needs to fulfill the obligation of prayer is a compass to indicate the direction of Mecca, water for ablution, a clean prayer mat, and a way of telling the time so as to pray five times a day in the allocated period. The construction of large mosques with extremely tall towers that cost millions of dollars to erect are considered only after the demography of Muslims becomes significant. The mosque evolves from a prayer house to a political center. Imams can then preach a message of self-segregation and a bold rejection of the ways of the non-Muslims.

Men and women are separated; gays, apostates and Jews are openly condemned; and believers organize around political goals that call for the introduction of forms of sharia (Islamic) law, starting with family law. This is the trend we have seen in Europe, and also in other countries where Muslims have settled. None of those Western academics, diplomats, and politicians who condemn the Swiss vote to ban the minaret address, let alone dispute, these facts.

In their response to the presence of Islam in their midst, Europeans have developed what one can discern as roughly two competing views. The first view emphasizes accuracy. Is it accurate to equate political symbols like those used by Communists and Nazis with a religious symbol like the minaret and its accessories of crescent and star; the uniforms of the Third Reich with the burqa and beards of current Islamists?

If it is accurate, then Islam, as a political movement, should be rejected on the basis of its own bigotry. In this view, Muslims should not be rejected as residents or citizens. The objection is to practices that are justified in the name of Islam, like honor killings, jihad, the we-versus-they perspective, the self-segregation. In short, Islamist supremacy.

The second view refuses to equate political symbols of various forms of white fascism with the symbols of a religion. In this school of thought, Islamic Scripture is compared to Christian and Jewish Scripture. Those who reason from this perspective preach pragmatism. According to them, the key to the assimilation of Muslims is dialogue. They are prepared to appease some of the demands that Muslim minorities make in the hope that one day their attachment to radical Scripture will wear off like that of Christian and Jewish peoples.

These two contrasting perspectives correspond to two quite distinct groups in Europe. The first are mainly the working class. The second are the classes that George Orwell described as "indeterminate." Cosmopolitan in outlook, they include diplomats, businesspeople, mainstream politicians, and journalists. They are well versed in globalization and tend to focus on the international image of their respective countries. With every conflict between Islam and the West, they emphasize the possible backlash from Muslim countries and how that will affect the image of their country.

By contrast, those who reject the ideas and practices of political Islam are in touch with Muslims on a local level. They have been asked to accept Muslim immigrants as neighbors, classmates, colleagues – they are what Americans would refer to as Main Street. Here is the great paradox of today's Europe: that the working class, who voted for generations for the left, now find themselves voting for right-wing parties because they feel that the social democratic parties are out of touch.

The pragmatists, most of whom are power holders, are partially right when they insist that the integration of Muslims will take a very long time. Their calls for dialogue are sensible. But as long as they do not engage Muslims to make a choice between the values of the countries that they have come to and those of the countries they left, they will find themselves faced with more surprises. And this is what the Swiss vote shows us. This is a confrontation between local, working-class voters (and some middle-class feminists) and Muslim immigrant newcomers who feel that they are entitled, not only to practice their religion, but also to replace the local political order with that of their own.

Look carefully at the reactions of the Swiss, EU and UN elites. The Swiss government is embarrassed by the outcome of the vote. The Swedes, who are currently chairing EU meetings, have condemned the Swiss vote as intolerant and xenophobic. It is remarkable that the Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, said in public that the Swiss vote is a poor act of diplomacy. What he overlooks is that this is a discussion of Islam as a domestic issue. It has nothing to do with foreign policy.

The Swiss vote highlights the debate on Islam as a domestic issue in Europe. That is, Islam as a set of political and collectivist ideas. Native Europeans have been asked over and over again by their leaders to be tolerant and accepting of Muslims. They have done that. And that can be measured a) by the amount of taxpayer money that is invested in healthcare, housing, education, and welfare for Muslims and b) the hundreds of thousands of Muslims who are knocking on the doors of Europe to be admitted. If those people who cry that Europe is intolerant are right, if there was, indeed, xenophobia and a rejection of Muslims, then we would have observed the reverse. There would have been an exodus of Muslims out of Europe.

There is indeed a wider international confrontation between Islam and the West. The Iraq and Afghan wars are part of that, not to mention the ongoing struggle between Israelis and Palestinians and the nuclear ambitions of Iran. That confrontation should never be confused with the local problem of absorbing those Muslims who have been permitted to become permanent residents and citizens into European societies.


Britain's Batty Hatty's wrong again - marriage IS a big deal

Harriet Harman has launched a sneaky attack on Tory plans to give tax breaks to married couples. Ms Harman claims that David Cameron will end up stigmatising families who don't fit the traditional two-parent model. The Tories, she argues, have got no business telling other people how they should live their lives. Heaven forbid! That's Harriet's job.

Let's forget Batty Hatty's breathtaking hypocrisy for a moment. What really makes me want to shake Labour's deputy leader is that she knows full well that being brought up by married parents gives a child the best possible chance in life. That's not a political prejudice, it's a fact. Kids who are raised by a mum and a dad, even if they live in poverty, are far less likely to end up with mental health issues or go to jail. They do better at school. They have fewer drug and alcohol problems, and fewer teenage pregnancies. They are also more likely to stay married themselves, and to stick around for their own children.

That doesn't mean single or divorced parents can't do a great job of raising their kids. I know plenty who do. It just makes it a damn sight harder. And there are far too many feckless individuals out there who don't even try. One in three British children whose parents split up over the past 20 years has lost contact permanently with their dads. It's such a cruel statistic. An amputation of the heart. The emotional carnage that loss causes each young person is appalling, let alone the long-term collateral damage to society.

We know that one in ten children from broken families is left feeling suicidal by the rift, while many more seek solace in drink, drugs and crime.

Are you listening, Harriet, with your gushing and complacent 'We don't favour one way of family life over another'? Well, children favour one way of family life over another. Or don't their feelings count because they can't vote for New Labour?

Most Britons would not willingly put the clock back to an era when you risked being a social outcast if you chose to leave a dead or abusive marriage. Yet if we believe Batty Hatty and treat all family arrangements as equal to avoid hurting people's feelings, where do we end up?

With Karen Matthews and her seven kids by five different dads, all supported by a warped tax and benefits system which actually discriminates in favour of the unmarried and the irresponsible. Madness.

To his credit, on Monday, David Cameron entered the lioness's den, telling the single-parent charity Gingerbread that government cannot remain 'neutral' on the issue of family. The tax and benefits system, he said, has 'got to send long-term signals about commitment' and the value of marriage.

Some people may feel that the Tory leader didn't go nearly far enough. Why didn't he point out the calamitous effect that fatherlessness, in particular, has had on our underclass?

I happen to think David Cameron is doing something that is as brave as it is unfashionable. He's saying something because he believes it's right - especially for children - not because it's what people want to hear. He's telling the men and women who are financially worse off because they're married that they are not fools to try to stick together.

'No one needs a Tory tax incentive to value their marriage,' says Harriet Harman. Perhaps not. But anything that makes marriage and long-term commitment look attractive to people has got to be worth a try.


More British "elf n safety" extremism

In an age of Big Brother, the nanny state and elf 'n' safety, this cycle path in South London is a very definite sign of the times. Most cyclists venturing on to the thoroughfare in Elephant and Castle would have been left in little doubt as to who was allowed to go where.

Vigilant workmen used gallons of paint to mark out hundreds of bicycles and 'SLOW' notices along the route on the New Kent Road. A bicycle appears roughly every 7 - 10 feet.

Despite the extra indication of which direction cyclists should travel, one commuter proved that there are always exceptions to the rule as he appeared to be going the wrong way. Perhaps it proves that despite the best intentions, people won't always toe the dotted line.

The increased visibility could be in response to a sharp rise in cyclist deaths. Recent Department of Transport figures reveal that 820 cyclists lost their lives or were seriously injured in the three months to June - an increase of 19 per cent on the same time span last year.


Australia: Some stupid comments on the monarchy

By Barry Everingham -- "a Melbourne writer and commenter on royalty". All he has is hostility. He doesn't even know the difference between Sandringham and Balmoral. Sandringham is in Norfolk, not Scotland. Note for American readers: The Queen is Queen of Australia as well as Queen of England. Australia is a monarchy and there is strong popular support for it remaining so -- much as Australian Leftists hate that

Dear oh dear – the Queen of Australia and her other realms and territories beyond the seas – is very angry. She’s sick and tired of the paparazzi lurking behind the clipped hedges at Sandringham – her multi million pounds holiday house in Scotland – taking pictures of the rollicking royals on their Christmas break. Privacy? What privacy?Privacy? What privacy?

So angry is the Australian head of state, she’s threatening to invoke laws if any of the snappers are caught in the royal grounds – there’s nothing she can do if they stay outside the castle’s fences so the guess is ladders will be the orders of the day.

What the Queen fails to understand is that she, along with the other members of her family are nothing more or nothing less than paid public servants. They get their fortnightly cheques from Whitehall – which are taxed these days – and they go about doing what they are paid to do: open; open fetes, cut ribbons, launch ships and other important day to day duties....

More HERE, if you want to read drivel.


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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


9 December, 2009

Rap music, goat curry and why crying racism won't help us beat black crime

Rod Liddle is what Americans might call a 'shock jock'. He's a journalist who has cornered the market in boorish controversy. In normal circumstances, his inflammatory comments are best taken with a large pinch of salt. But his latest outburst, delivered on his online blog, has caused particular offence.

Responding to a news story about two black youths who conspired to push a pregnant woman into a canal as part of a failed murder plot, he wrote that 'the overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community.'

In return for all this crime, says Liddle, the black community has given Britain 'rap music, goat curry and a far more vibrant and diverse understanding of cultures which were once alien to us. For which, many thanks'. (Sarcasm is one of Liddle's trademarks).

Even by his own standards, these comments have created a firestorm of controversy, inciting outrage and accusations of racism from all quarters. Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney, has compared him to fascist leader Oswald Mosley, while Bonnie Greer, the playwright who appeared on Question Time with Nick Griffin recently, said: 'My response would be to say that the overwhelming majority of paedophiles, murderers, warmongers and football hooligans are white males and all we got in return was beans on toast and Top Gear.'

The whole furore has descended into name-calling and crude accusations. Which is a sadness, because behind the overblown rhetoric from both sides there are some profound issues at stake - not least of which is freedom of speech.

We live in a free country and journalists should be able to write what they like, within reason. You may not admire Mr Liddle's style of writing, nor agree with his views, but that does not mean that he should be sacked from the magazine for which he writes, as some have suggested. It is his job to provoke. And that is exactly what he has done.

But beyond that most precious civil liberty lies a more uncomfortable truth, for the fact is that in his own clumsy way, Liddle has touched on a very real problem - the disproportionate number of young black men who commit crime. Ministry of Justice figures for 2007/2008 show that while only 2.2 per cent of Britons aged ten or above are black, 14 per cent of criminal cases tried in a crown court involve black suspects. For some crimes, the figures are even more alarming. One controversial report conducted by Scotland Yard last year found that more than half of teen knife crime offences in the capital involve black suspects. Small wonder, then, that two years ago the Commons home affairs committee warned of a 'serious crisis' among Britain's young community.

It's no use howling 'racism', this is a real problem confronting our society - and despite her politically correct posturing, Diane Abbott knows it. On her blog, Abbott writes: 'Sadly 80 per cent of gun crime in London is "black on black", often involving boys in their teens. As a black woman and the mother of a teenage son, this is frightening and wholly unacceptable.' So frightening and unacceptable, indeed, that despite her hard-Left credentials, she chose to send her children to a fee-paying school, rather than to a local state secondary. In her own words, 'too many black boys were unsuccessful within inner-city state schools'.

Why is it acceptable for Ms Abbot to raise such issues, but not Mr Liddle? Yes, he may have expressed his views in rather inflammatory terms, but he has touched on a vital issue: Why do so many young black men in our cities turn to crime?

This is more than just about race and underachievement. It concerns culture and the direction of modern Britain. When people from the West Indies first came to Britain in the late Forties, they were as law-abiding, and often as well-educated, as the indigenous population. What happened to this immigrant community is a snapshot of what happened to Britain in the intervening decades, although the situation is much worse among some of the new immigrants.

First of all, there has been a spectacular increase in family breakdown. The traditional British family in many parts of the country simply doesn't exist. This has been noticed by organisations such as the Centre For Social Justice. In a study they published in 2007, the organisation observed that crime has a direct correlation with family breakdown - 70 per cent of young offenders are from lone-parent families. Yet for many years these observations have been derided by a liberal media, too privileged to care about something which seems so alien to them.

Secondly, an almost deliberate assault on education in the past few decades has created a terrible situation. Our schools, particularly those in the inner city, have lost many of the characteristics which made British education famous throughout the world. The abolition of grammar schools in the Sixties made the problem worse. Children from less privileged backgrounds were even less likely to find a ladder up the social scale, and so social mobility in Britain declined.

Thirdly, a bloated welfare system ensured that there was no real incentive for people to get out of their situation. Together, these three factors create a toxic cocktail which has enabled a large class to be created which has no real stake in the country. And unfortunately, a large proportion of this class - often called the 'underclass' - is from the immigrant population who came to Britain in the Fifties to better their lives. Indeed, they have affected the Afro-Caribbean community more than any other.

The ultimate irony is that the Britain in which those West Indian immigrants had aspired to live has changed beyond recognition. And their children and grandchildren are the ones worst affected.

Ultimately, though, it is foolish to view this kind of social breakdown exclusively through the prism of race. It is true that young Afro-Caribbean males in the larger cities have a particular problem, but the issue is one which confronts the whole country. Ignorance and violence are a blight across the nation, from multi-racial London to less diverse places such as Newcastle and Sunderland. Any inhabitant will say how these towns have become more frightening places to live. Any person in any town in Britain will tell the same story about how it is no longer safe to go out at night. This is not just a 'black problem', it is a national one.

I would suggest that these problems, and particularly those of the Afro-Caribbean community in our cities, stem from the fact that this breakdown has largely been ignored by the political class. The chattering classes and their friends in government abolished grammar schools, refused to support the idea of the family, expanded the welfare state and fostered chaotic immigration policies.

Through flawed ideology and a failure to promote traditional values, the Left made the situation for all those at the bottom of the heap far worse - whatever the colour of their skin. As Liddle himself has said: 'There is an important argument to be had about crime levels in London, Manchester and Birmingham which are down to culture.'

Neither his boorishness nor the knee-jerk reactions of the anti-racist mob really help that debate. There is a need to have a national discussion about how to solve a serious problem. We should be able to have that discussion in a rational, mature way.


The ultimate British "elf n safety" madness

Sell you a sandwich? Sorry, you might choke, says train steward

Chris Haynes had gone to the buffet car after the crew announced that everyone on board would get a free soft drink as compensation for the train breaking down. After suffering the long delay and a lengthy queue to be served, Mr Haynes was understandably hungry. He saw some egg sandwiches on sale behind the bar that looked appetising, but when the 58-year-old came to order he was astonished to be told he couldn't buy one.

Mr Haynes explained that he was not trying to get a free meal and was happy to pay, but the steward again told him that he could not sell him a sandwich. Recalling the bizarre exchange yesterday, Mr Haynes said: 'When I asked the man why not he said it was for health and safety reasons. 'I told him I didn't understand how health and safety came into selling a hungry stranded passenger an egg sandwich on a broken-down train.'

Mr Haynes said that when he asked for an explanation a second time, the steward replied: 'Don't you see? If the train has to be evacuated you could choke to death on the sandwich.' Mr Haynes, a bar manager himself, said: 'I've never, ever heard anything so ludicrous in my life. There was a queue of people behind me and they all looked shocked.'

The grandfather, who is about to emigrate to New Zealand to run a tour company, said he was astonished by the steward's reaction to his simple request. 'First Great Western were quite happy to give out free drinks but weren't prepared to sell egg sandwiches for health and safety reasons,' he added.

Mr Haynes had been travelling back to London from a day at Newbury-Racecourse in Berkshire when his packed evening train came to a standstill less than half way into the journey. First Great Western run a special service to Newbury Racecourse on race days. The train last Saturday, carrying racegoers from the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury Races, eventually arrived at Paddington Station two and a quarter hours late. 'Everything was going well until we broke down somewhere around Reading,' Mr Haynes said.

A spokesman for First Great Western said yesterday that she was not aware of the incident. She added: 'It is not our policy to refuse to serve customers on these grounds.'


"Child protection"?

Foster kids treated to 'slapstick orgasm', swearing in Christmas play

KIWI foster kids got a big serve of swearing and sex talk in a risque Christmas play put on by the country's child protection agency. New Zealand's Child, Youth and Family service is batting off criticism after arranging a theatre performance that gave 130 Wellington foster children more than just a little Christmas cheer.

The free festive play, performed mostly to kids under 10, contained the use of the "f" word and one character spoke of losing her virginity and mimed a slapstick orgasm. "She loses her virginity. She shuddered and he lifted her higher, higher," the children heard.

The theatre group, Downstage Theatre, defended the criticism, saying it left the adult themes in as it did not want to be condescending to children.

Child Youth and Family's deputy chief executive Ray Smith, who took his child to the play, admitted to being a little shocked but supported the performance. "Yes, there were small sections of the show that took us all a little by surprise," Mr Smith said. "However, when seen in context, they did not detract in any way from what was a truly amazing and spectacular show for the kids in our care."


Hatred blinds Australia's Leftist academics to reality

The election prophecies of the Canberra psephologist Malcolm Mackerras are really just harmless entertainment. Last week he predicted that the Greens candidate Clive Hamilton would defeat the Liberal Kelly O'Dwyer in the byelection for the Melbourne seat of Higgins on Saturday, and prophesied that Liberal Paul Fletcher would be forced to preferences in Bradfield on the north shore.

Of greater concern are the byelection predictions of some social science academics who are employed to teach politics to fee-paying students at taxpayer-subsidised universities. Both O'Dwyer and Fletcher increased the total Liberal vote, after the distribution of preferences, over that which was obtained in the 2007 election.

Labor did not run candidates and the Greens were not able to match the combined anti-Liberal vote of two years ago. Yet some academics predicted not only a dismal showing for the new Liberal leader, Tony Abbott, in his first electoral test but also the demise of his party.

In a bizarre article in The Australian on Friday, Robert Manne, a politics professor at La Trobe University, canvassed not only a victory for his friend Hamilton but also "the destruction of the Liberal Party" this week. Manne acknowledged some of his views were "fantasy" but it was difficult to work out what part of his article was fantasy and what was academic analysis. Most teachers would fail a paper like this if it were presented as a university essay.

Manne also made his position clear on the Liberals, referring to the party's "troglodyte-denialist wing" and Abbott as the "troglodyte-in-chief". Such language seems acceptable in the La Trobe University politics department.

Judith Brett, Manne's professional colleague, did not throw the switch to fantasy or engage in labelling. Even so, her analysis was very similar to Manne's. Writing in the Herald on Saturday, she said that "the Liberals risk becoming a down-market protest party of angry old men in the outer suburbs". She also said the Liberals were "the natural party of the big end of town and of the big producer groups".

In fact, big business and the big producer groups are willing to co-operate with whichever party is in government. The core of the Coalition's support turns on medium to small business, farmers and middle-income earners.

According to O'Dwyer, the Liberals gained votes in such suburbs as Carnegie and Murrumbeena, which are not the high socio-economic parts of Higgins, where she received strong support from young married women. So much for Brett's analysis. Or perhaps fantasy is a better word.

Manne and Brett are not alone. Brian Costar, a professor of political science at Swinburne University, said he expected Higgins would go to preferences. And Paul Strangio, a member of the Monash University politics department, wrote in The Age that "Abbott's leadership will need emotional intelligence - a quality in short supply in the Liberal Party in recent times".

Manne, Brett, Costar and Strangio are all left-of-centre or leftist academics who comment on the Liberal Party as part of their professional career. A reading of their analyses this week reveals the pitfalls of projection. Manne, Brett, Costar and Strangio dislike Abbott's social conservatism and his rejection of the Rudd Government's emissions trading scheme. They made the familiar error of projecting their views on to the voters in Higgins and Bradfield.

There is also an unpleasant double standard here involving Tony Abbott's Catholicism. On Friday Manne wrote that "very many Australians will not vote for a Catholic party leader whose religious convictions fashion their politics". Manne was the chairman of The Monthly when it ran Rudd's essay on the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer in 2006, and enthusiastically endorsed Rudd's religious convictions at the time. The views of Rudd and Abbott on social issues are not far apart. Yet it seems, according to Manne, Rudd's religious convictions are acceptable while Abbott's are not.

Come to think of it, the fantasy surrounding last Saturday's byelections has not been confined to academics. This year, the Radio National program Breakfast has been giving publicity to Fiona Patten's new Australian Sex Party. As recently as last Friday it was suggested on Breakfast that the party could win a seat in the Senate. Not on Saturday's vote it couldn't. Patten scored 3.3 per cent of the primary vote, finishing behind the Democratic Labor Party candidate John Mulholland. This is a breakaway from the original DLP, which was formally wound up three decades ago.

Few would expect that Abbott could lead the Coalition to victory in next year's election. His task will become more difficult following the decision of Malcolm Turnbull to adopt the stance taken by such former Liberal leaders as John Gorton, Malcolm Fraser and John Hewson and become a public critic of the party he once led.

Turnbull's announcement that he would cross the floor and support Labor's emissions trading scheme is a blow to the Coalition. But it does not overturn the fact that, based on last week's Liberal Party secret ballot, 75 per cent of Coalition parliamentarians support Abbott's approach on climate change.

The Liberal vote at the weekend indicates that Abbott is capable of at least stabilising the Coalition vote at the level of the 2007 election and perhaps increasing it somewhat. Moreover, Abbott's approach may attract support among the lower socio-economic groups who elected Robert Menzies in 1949, Fraser in 1975 and John Howard in 1996. This is a fact that the left-of-centre academy has invariably been slow to appreciate.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


8 December, 2009

Australia: An old-fashioned Leftist bemoans the new moralistic (but not moral) Leftism

See here for research on how and why the Left use moral talk

IT'S popular to call Clive Hamilton, the Greens' candidate in the Higgins by-election, a left-winger. In fact, he's further to the right than the Liberal candidate. It's a sign of the decline of Left politics that a reactionary, pro-censorship sexual moraliser who hates the idea of working people enjoying a higher material standard of living could ever be considered left-wing.

Left-wing politics is based on the idea that all wealth is created by working people. However, the means to produce that wealth -- factories, call centres, bulldozers, production lines and so on -- is owned by capitalists, and so working people must work for a living. Different strands of Left thought call for different solutions, from working people having a larger share of the wealth they create, to working people revolting and taking over society and the economy and running it themselves. But all the different types of left-wing thought have one ideal in common: that working people deserve a better life, with more material wealth if they want it, and more freedom to decide how they should live.

Unfortunately that dream, and the word Left, have been captured by people such as Hamilton, who have more in common with old-style Catholic haters of the modern world than with left-wing supporters of an industrial society and all the benefits that it brings working people.

Hamilton was chosen by the Greens as their candidate in Higgins for his views on climate change and his ability to push that point of view forward in public debate. As is well known, Hamilton has said that "emergency" responses such as the suspension of democratic processes may be necessary to stave off what he sees as the threat of climate change.

This is not because, like many left-wingers, he doubts that parliament will respond to what working people actually need and want, but precisely because he does not trust ordinary working people to support the measures he deems necessary. Hamilton clearly is looking for the man on horseback who can save the environment, something that all genuine left-wingers distrust.

Hamilton is also proud of being the architect of the Rudd government's plan to censor the internet. Once again this reveals a deep distrust of ordinary people. By beating up a moral panic about pornography available on the internet, and by denying people have the ability to make their own moral judgments and decisions about what they look at, Hamilton rejects the self-responsibility that real leftists demand for themselves and others, and instead insists that the government do that job for us. This view is far to the right of even most people who vote for the Liberal Party.

He also hates the sexual freedom that was won by breaking down the old, oppressive social structures that existed before the 1960s. In his essay Rethinking Sexual Freedom he claims that the only two choices available to us are a "moral free-for-all" or the "careful exercise of restraint". Like a wowser complaining about the behaviour of others, Hamilton refuses to agree that people need to work out for themselves if they want to be restrained or not.

Hamilton's book Affluenza reveals his contempt for people who want to enjoy a higher material standard of living. We are, he says, in the "grip of a consumption binge" and our " whole society is addicted to overconsumption".

A real left-winger would celebrate the fact that people have more pleasure, more tools and more opportunities opening up to them than ever before. But Hamilton, like someone far more right-wing than a mere Liberal, hates the idea and wants us to retreat to a simpler age.

It's time that left-wingers stood up for their beliefs, rejected reactionaries like Hamilton and once again proudly said that we support industrial civilisation, the modern world, and more freedom and more material wealth for the working class. Any left-winger voting in the Higgins by-election this Saturday would do well to put Hamilton where he belongs: at the bottom of their preferences.


British marriage to become a meaningless ceremony?

Are there any rights and obligations of marriage that will not be extended to "shacked up" couples?

Two million unmarried couples need new legal rights to protect them from injustice if they separate, the new senior judge in charge of law reform has said. In many cases long-term partners cannot be adequately protected by existing laws, according to Lord Justice Munby, chairman of the Law Commission. It was time that the law was brought up to date with changes in society. “It is a fact that the number of people marrying today is less than it has been for over 100 years,” he said.

The comments by Lord Justice Munby, who was giving his first interview since taking up the post, will boost the case for a reform of the law pending a decision expected next year from the Government. The judge also indicated that there should be a review of the law on how a married couples’ finances are split on divorce. The Law Commission would soon be consulting on its next programme of work, he said, and the Court of Appeal had said that this area of law should be looked at.

Senior judges had consistently called for reform in this area after a series of “big money cases” with large awards and settlements. The Law Commission would therefore have to “think very carefully” and come up with good reasons for not doing it. Such cases have prompted accusations of unfairness, with wives taking large shares of their husband’s fortune. It was unsatisfactory, he said, that there was a single set of criteria for dividing the wealth of all couples, however large the sum involved. “It might be an advantage having an approach for each.”

On unmarried couples, Lord Justice Munby said that a very significant proportion of children were conceived and born out of wedlock and the family unit was “very, very different from when I grew up”. Many children lived with step-siblings or others to whom they were not related, and were brought up by single mothers whose children were by different fathers. “We cannot blind ourselves to the reality of this, particularly — and this has been the experience of judges — when the consequence of this, and the undying myth of the common law marriage, is that the lack of [legal arrangements] can cause serious injustice.” Couples “assume they will have some kind of protection,” he said.

“An astonishing number of people believe that there is something called common law marriage which will entitle them to a share of finances and property.” He said that one way to tackle this myth was to educate people to understand the situation. But in his 35 years of professional practice such efforts had clearly had no effect — and “these injustices continue”.

The comments from Lord Justice Munby, who recently took up his three-year post in charge of the law reform watchdog, come as the Government awaits research findings from Scotland, where since 2006 unmarried couples have been granted legal rights on separation. The Law Commission of England and Wales, which he now heads, put forward proposals in 2007 for extending some legal rights where couples have children or would suffer hardship without a financial settlement.

Two months ago it put forward separate reforms under which unmarried couples would automatically inherit some of their partner’s estate on his or her death. Lord Justice Munby, a judge since 2000 in the family and administrative divisions of the High Court, said he did not believe that giving unmarried couples legal rights on separation as proposed by the Law Commission would undermine marriage. “I don’t believe [they do],” he said. “Lawyers — and I would have thought it was the same for the Law Commission — have to have regard to the society in which we live; and it is a fact that our society has changed in some respects immensely, even in the time I have been a practising lawyer.”

Lord Justice Munby said that the days had long since gone when the business of judges was to enforce morality.

Although ultimately such changes were for Parliament, that did not mean the Law Commission should wash its hands. It had to recognise realities and come up with suggestions for reform, if the law created injustice. He added that the Law Commission would shortly announce a “very exciting project consultation on adult social care”, or all the law relating to the care that people can receive in their own homes, from meals on wheels to help with washing and dressing. The reforms would save millions in bureaucracy and red tape, he said.


British police use 'tricks' to 'fiddle' crime figures

Police forces are using a series of tricks to manipulate crime figures to give a false picture of their performance, a former senior detective has revealed. The techniques – dubbed "gaming" – are used to create the illusion that fewer crimes are being committed and that a bigger proportion are being solved. Rodger Patrick, a retired Detective Chief Inspector, claimed that the methods are tacitly approved of by senior officers, police watchdogs and the Home Office.

The claims will reignite the debate about the validity of crime statistics after recent figures suggested that crime fell four per cent in the second quarter of this year, and following the admission by a police watchdog that some forces are failing to record violent crime properly. The techniques identified by Dr Patrick include:

:: "Cuffing" – in which officers make crimes disappear from official figures by either recording them as a "false report" or downgrading their seriousness. For example, a robbery in which a mobile phone is stolen with violence or threats of violence is recorded as "theft from the person", which is not classed as a violent crime.

:: "Stitching" – from "stitching up", whereby offenders are charged with a crime when there is insufficient evidence. Police know that prosecutors will never proceed with the case but the crime appears in police records to have been "solved".

:: "Skewing" – when police activity is directed at easier-to-solve crimes to boost detection rates, at the expense of more serious offences such as sex crimes or child abuse.

:: "Nodding" – where clear-up rates are boosted by persuading convicted offenders to admit to crimes they have not committed, in exchange for inducements such as a lower sentence.

Dr Patrick, who researched the subject for a PhD, said: "The academics call this 'gaming' but police officers would call it fiddling the figures, massaging the books or, the current favourite term, 'good housekeeping'. It is a bit like the police activities that we all thought stopped in the 1970s."

Serving police officers confirmed that the tricks were being used and gave examples of how they had been implemented. In one case, an offender shot at another man at close range but missed and broke a window behind his target. The offence was recorded as criminal damage rather than attempted murder. In another example, a man robbed in a city's red-light district – an area he had been innocently passing through – was told by officers they would be unable to record the crime without informing his wife he had been the area, leading to the complaint being withdrawn.

One detective, who declined to be named, said: "Name any crime and I'll tell you how it can be fiddled."

Simon Reed, vice-chairman of the Police Federation, which represents front line officers, said: "This research demonstrates that senior officers are directing and controlling widespread manipulation of crime figures. "The public are misled, politicians can claim crime is falling and chief officers are rewarded with performance-related bonuses."

Last month Denis O'Connor, the Chief Inspector of Constabulary, published an official report into the way police record violent crime and admitted the figures may be skewed by "perverse incentives" around government performance targets.

Dr Patrick's research highlighted figures from his own former force, West Midlands, which reveal what happened when senior officers cracked down on one of the gaming techniques. Rank and file officers were told in 2002 that informal police warnings could no longer be counted as a detection for common assaults. Within 12 months the number of recorded common assaults dropped from 22,000 to 3,000 while thousands more crimes switched to the category "other woundings". "Such a rapid adjustment indicates the organisational nature of the phenomenon and suggests some form of co-ordination and direction by management," the research said. "The scale of the 'gaming' behaviours measured in this thesis ... suggested senior officers were either directly orchestrating the behaviour or turning a blind eye to it."

Dr Patrick believes other gaming techniques are still being used in forces across the country.

The report also warned that the use of "stitching" was "significant", while "cuffing" had continued after the introduction of Home Office rules which were supposed to guarantee and standardise the way crimes are recorded. "Cuffing" can involve a situation where a victim of crime is accused of making a false crime report, and is therefore treated like a suspect rather than an injured party, Dr Patrick said. "You cannot have members of the public who have been victims of crime coming to the police for help and being treated like suspects. That is not right and it will erode confidence in the police," he said.

Dr Patrick found that watchdogs such as Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and the Police Standards Unit had a "general tendency to underplay the scale and nature" of gaming. He was scathing of HMIC's failure to tackle the problem, noting there were no examples of chief police officers being publicly criticised by inspectors for this type of crime figure manipulation. HMIC tended privately to refer examples of widespread gaming to the Home Secretary or the police authority rather than "hold the chief constable to account" because of the risk of political embarrassment, he said.

Dr Patrick concluded that HMIC inspectors should be made accountable to Parliament rather than the Home Office, and suggested they should be drawn from other professions rather than solely from senior police ranks.


The false rape claims never stop in Britain

Cheating wife cried rape in text message to husband after fit of guilt over affair

A wife who cried rape because she felt guilty about cheating on her husband in their home was spared jail yesterday. Helen Dalby went to extraordinary lengths to stand by her false claim, having a full medical examination and even helping create an e-fit of her imaginary attacker.

But despite wasting £3,800 of public money and showing little regard for two men arrested, she was given a ten-month suspended jail sentence after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Judge David Tremberg told 35-year-old Dalby: 'The men (who came under suspicion) no doubt will have wondered what might have happened to them if this nightmare did not go away. Your lies diverted a massive amount of precious police time and resources from proper duty.' Dalby's behaviour risked weakening the cases of genuine rape victims and allowing dangerous offenders to be acquitted, he added. In similar cases prison sentences of up to two years have been imposed. But the judge ruled this case was 'exceptional' because Dalby did not act out of 'spite or malice', and imposed a more lenient sentence.

Yesterday she was back home with her husband Isaac, who has faithfully stood by her. Problems with their sex life caused by his long hours at work had driven Dalby into the arms of another man, he said. 'I've been hurt by Helen but I don't want to lose her,' added 35-year-old cleaner Mr Dalby. 'She realises she is lucky not to go to prison. It is terrible what has happened for these two men and their families.'

Dalby had a three-month affair with a man she met through a telephone dating service, the court heard. On 15 August, she had consensual sex with her lover at home in Grimsby before texting Mr Dalby to tell him she had been raped by a stranger.

David Cammies, prosecuting, said she later pretended to police that a man had followed her home, pushed her inside and attacked her in a bedroom. Officers launched an investigation, seizing clothes, bedding and a cigarette butt. Two innocent men - including her lover - were arrested and spent 'many hours' in custody before her lies were exposed, the court was told.

Outside Grimsby Crown Court, Dalby said: 'I am very, very sorry. It is the biggest mistake of my life. I didn't want to hurt anybody. Once I had said it, Isaac said we should call the police. It just snowballed.'

Police expressed surprise at the sentence and urged victims not to be put off from reporting genuine sex attacks.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


7 December, 2009

Childcare kids are more naughty

This guy does not seem to know much about the research literature on his subject. What he is almost certainly detecting is that kids in childcare are more stressed than children cared for in a loving home. Maybe he should Google "cortisol" and "childcare" together in order to educate himself

CHILDREN in childcare may be learning to throw tantrums from other youngsters, according to the author of a study that found children looked after by their parents are better behaved. Andrew Leigh of the Australian National University said children kept home were a "couple of months" ahead when it came to good behaviour. "They seem to be a smidgin better behaved but the effect isn't big," Professor Leigh said. Children in childcare were more likely to throw temper tantrums, responded worse to unfamiliar circumstances and gave up more easily, he said.

His research, which used data from the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Children, will be presented at the Growing Up in Australia conference this week. The survey followed 5000 children born in 2004. When they were aged between two and three, parents were questioned about their behaviour. "Perhaps kids who are only exposed to their parents do not learn that if you pick up a heavy toy and throw it across the room, it will make a loud noise and utilise attention," he said.

However, it was not clear whether childcare caused the behaviour or whether it was something to do with the sort of parents of the children.

Professor Leigh found children from wealthier and well-educated backgrounds were the most likely to behave badly, while children in centres with higher staff ratios tended to perform better.

But Professor Leigh cautioned parents not to rush into changing their care arrangements. "This isn't research that should cause parents to pull their kids out of day care. My wife and I certainly won't take our son out of daycare," he said.


The Left’s War Against the Boy Scouts

by Dennis Prager

Watching the left attempting to undo the greatness of American medicine and dismantle the unprecedentedly powerful American economic engine built almost entirely on non-governmental entrepreneurial effort, I realize once again that the left is far better at destroying than building.

I first realized this as I watched the left — and here I sadly include the whole organized left from liberal to far left — do whatever it could to destroy one of the most wonderful organizations in American life, the Boy Scouts of America . From Democratic city governments to the New York Times and other liberal editorial pages to the most destructive organization on the left, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), there has been the most concerted effort to break the Boy Scouts.

When challenged about this, fellow Americans on the left respond that this is a false accusation, that they have no desire to destroy the Boy Scouts, only to coerce the organization into accepting as scouts and scout leaders boys and men who have announced they are gay.

This is not an honest response, however, because the left is in fact doing whatever it can to destroy the Boy Scouts until the Boy Scouts change their policy on gays. The left-wing position is that if the Boy Scouts do not change a policy that has been in place since the inception of the organization, they do not deserve to exist.

Therefore it is entirely accurate to state that the left wishes to destroy the Boy Scouts as that organization now exists. No matter how much good the Boy Scouts have done and continue to do for millions of boys, for the left, all this good amounts to nothing.

For the left in this instance, as in most instances, the attitude is: Destroy the imperfect in order to build the perfect. There is no left-wing Boy Scouts. The left knows best how to crush the non-left Boy Scouts, but it has never made a boys organization of its own.

Likewise with individual lives devoted to the poor. Sure, there are secular and left-wing organizations devoted to the poor, but the individuals who give up their lives to the poorest in America and the world, like the members of Salvation Army at home and the Mother Teresas abroad, are overwhelmingly religious (and to be fair, Christian).

I just spent Thanksgiving week in Zambia and benighted Zimbabwe with my teenage son to help an organization give out mosquito nets and seed to the poorest of the poor. The organization that brought us there, Rock of Africa, is a Christian organization that works with the destitute in Zimbabwe . As with a larger, also Christian-based, organization that I have worked with for nearly two years (full disclosure: It periodically sponsors my radio show), Cure International, all those affiliated with the organization get nothing or almost nothing for their work.

Why do the doctors who work at, and those who build, Cure International’s hospitals in places like Honduras , Uganda and Afghanistan and the volunteers of Rock of Africa do their work? Because they believe that their faith demands that they do (I have no religious agenda here, as I am Jewish, not Christian). The number of Christians and Christian organizations doing self-sacrificing work around the world is large and impressive. Now, there are also secular organizations doing magnificent work in the poorest parts of the world — Doctors Without Borders is a well-known example — but I would bet that the number of religious individuals who give their lives for virtually no pay to the worst off in America and around the world is far greater than the number of irreligious individuals.

And just as there is no left-wing Boy Scouts, there is no Salvation Army built and manned by people with left-wing values. Nor has there ever been a left-wing country as magnanimous, as willing to die for others, as opportunity-giving to people from all over the world, as America , whose greatness comes from its traditional secular values and its Judeo-Christian values. As with the Boy Scouts, the left can bring an America down, but it cannot build one.


Photographer questioned by British police under anti-terror laws... for taking 'too many' pictures of town centre Christmas lights

The rabid war on photography continues

An amateur photographer taking pictures of Christmas lights was questioned by police under anti-terror laws. Andrew White, from Brighton, was taking pictures in a busy town centre in nearby Burgess Hill when he was spotted and followed by two Police Community Support Officers. They stopped him and asked why he had been taking pictures and if he was a professional photographer.

Mr White, 33, asked why they wanted to know and was told it was to do with counter-terrorism legislation. Police said he was stopped for 'taking too many photographs in a busy shopping area'. The PCSOs demanded his personal details, including his name and address.

Mr White said: 'I had nothing to hide so I just provided the details. Now I'm concerned about where those details are going to end up. 'I only took one or two photos but even if I had taken more, who are they to say what is too many? 'I don't think taking too many photos in the street warrants being considered some kind of terrorist threat, which is what they were suggesting. 'I think the money spent on getting PCSOs to waste my time and harass me in the street could be better spent elsewhere.' Mr White said the officers were polite but they insisted that they had to take his details because they had stopped him.

A Sussex Police spokesman said they spoke to Mr White because they were concerned he was taking too many photographs in a busy shopping area. The spokesman said: 'They were acting in good faith, balancing individual liberty against the need to ensure public safety.' Under the 2002 Police Reform Act, PCSOs have the power to demand the name and address of a person suspected of committing a criminal offence or for antisocial behaviour.


Australia: Yet more government meddling in people's lives proposed

Walk the dog or face time behind bars

PET owners could be punished for not walking their dogs, under radical new laws being proposed by the RSPCA. Under the legislation, they would have to regularly exercise dogs, ensure animals are not kept chained up and give their pets adequate food and water.

If the proposal becomes law, dog and cat owners across Australia would face prosecution, fines of up to $12,000 fines for animal cruelty and magistrates could consider jail in extreme circumstances.

Dr Hugh Wirth, head of RSPCA Victoria, is one of four experts the Federal Department of Agriculture's welfare division has appointed to draft national animal welfare guidelines. "The draft will tell people what they have to do rather than what they want to do," Dr Wirth said. "The new standards would be regulatory, therefore a breach of the standards is a breach of the law." The proposed new laws are designed to formalise the national code, which states dogs must be walked at least once a day.

Dr Wirth said jail sentences would not be handed out for a first offence, but it would something available for magistrates to consider. "I would be amazed if a magistrate ordered jail time on the first offence, but, like every other offence under cruelty legislation, jail is an option," Dr Wirth said.

The proposed laws would be designed to help overcome the problems animal inspectors have had penalising bad owners. The working party is designed to create a national standard, but ultimately the laws would be have to be passed by State Governments.

A spokesman for the federal Department of Agriculture said the working group was one of six set up to look at animal welfare. "One of the goals of the Australian Animal Welfare Strategy is to develop national standards and guidelines for the care of different kinds of animals," the spokesman said. "The states and territories are ultimately responsible for legislating for animal welfare, not the Commonwealth."



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


6 December, 2009

"Rapper" morality at work

Rather what one would expect from what they "sing"

A teenage rap star and his best friend have been jailed for a total of 32 years after plotting to kill the pregnant girlfriend he feared would ruin his career. Brandon Jolie, 18, a rising rap producer, was determined nothing would stand in his way. When his 15-year-old girlfriend became pregnant and refused to have an abortion, Jolie recruited Kingsley Ogundele to 'eliminate' the problem he feared would '**** up' his life.

The pair lured the girl to a secluded canal tow path where Ogundele, 18, battered her over the head with a metal pole before pushing her into the water and holding her head under as she cried out: 'Please don't, I'm pregnant.' She only survived when a passer-by interrupted the attack and hauled her from the freezing water in North London.

The schoolgirl, now 16, later gave birth to a healthy baby boy but suffers nightmares about the attack last November. She said: 'I thought I was going to die. I could feel myself giving up.' At the Old Bailey yesterday Jolie, now 19, was jailed for 14 years for conspiracy to murder, whilst Ogundele got 18 years.

Judge Paul Worsley QC told Jolie: 'You feared your blossoming music producing ambitions would be frustrated and your lifestyle would be severely disrupted. 'Those selfish concerns gnawed away and you explained your problems to Ogundele. Together you decided she should be murdered, together with her unborn child.'

The judge described the victim as a 'bright and attractive girl' who is likely to suffer long-term psychological distress. In a statement to the court, she said: 'I cannot walk out the house without my mum. When I go out in the daytime I am always looking behind me. This often makes me panic and my heart races. 'I do not trust boys any more. This incident took place because I became pregnant to Brandon Jolie. I didn't want to marry him but I did want him to be part of my baby's life. 'Now I don't ever want him to see my baby. How can I explain that his father tried to kill us both just because I was pregnant?' ....

Detective Inspector Helen Williams said: 'If it wasn't for the courageous intervention of a passer-by I strongly believe this would have been a murder investigation. 'It's hard to comprehend the casual way in which Ogundele and Jolie plotted to kill the victim - all because they didn't want Jolie's aspirations of fame to be affected.'


Equality snoopers to keep files on Britons' sexuality

People will be routinely asked to answer sensitive questions about their sexuality so a Government quango can compile a massive 'equalities' database, it emerged last night. The Equality and Human Rights Commission is to take information given in confidence by millions and place it on a huge 'Lifestyle Database'. It will draw information from sources including visits to A&E departments, government surveys and the reporting of crimes to police.

In order for bureaucrats to measure whether gay or straight citizens are suffering greater 'inequality', the EHRC said everybody should be asked to provide information about their sexual identity. They will be asked if they are heterosexual/straight, gay/lesbian, bisexual or other.

Campaigners said the establishment of the 'Big Brother' database - which will be available on the quango's website - would alarm the public. Alex Deane, Director of Big Brother Watch, said: 'This intrusive database is being built without even the smallest consideration for privacy. 'When people go to hospital, they don't think that information about their illness is going to be shared with the EHRC. 'What possible right does the EHRC have to build this database, and then share what they've gathered with other people on their website?'

Details of the plan emerged after the EHRC, led by chairman Trevor Phillips, began the tendering process for establishing the database. Freedom of Information requests, obtained by the Old Holborn blogger, then revealed what the scheme involved.

Equalities bosses have decided they must work out whether citizens are suffering inequality based upon various different factors. These include age, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion and belief, transgender status, ethnicity and social class. Citizens' characteristics will be checked through their answers to various government surveys and information on whether they need hospital care or have called the police. It will allow bureaucrats to check different groups are not more likely to die young, be murdered, suffer illness, or violent crime. Checks will also be made of happiness, healthy living standards and educational attainment. Any minority groups considered to be losing out can then be targeted for Government help.

It will not be possible to identify individuals from the information on the database. But what is alarming campaigners is the way the information will be compiled. Staff are planning to take data which is given to a list of 45 different sources by members of the public. This includes their A&E records, the British Crime Survey, the British Election Study, the Census, Childcare and Early Years Parents' Survey and the Citizenship Survey. The information is not provided in the knowledge it will be handed over to an equality quango.

But the EHRC's report on the way the database should be established says the sexual identity question should become a standard part of major surveys 'as soon as practicable'. An EHRC spokesman said: 'Crime rates, poor hospital treatment, lack of childcare places and inadequate housing are some of the things that British people are worried about. 'Looking at each of these problems in isolation doesn't tell the whole story, as these factors may combine together to have a bigger effect on our lives. 'By looking at all the issues together, our framework will show what needs to be done to make Britain a fairer place to live.'


Tilting the Scales Towards Racial Bias

He is the vice chairman of the radical Justice at Stake Campaign, which since 2004 has received nearly $3 million from Obama consort George Soros' Open Society Institute. He has also received an additional $1.5 from Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett's left-wing Joyce Foundation. He has twice been rejected by the voters of North Carolina for a seat on that state's Supreme Court. And he has openly attacked America's judiciary system for being "disproportionately white and male."

"He" is North Carolina Court of Appeals Judge James A. Wynn. And he has now been nominated by Barack Obama for a pivotal seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.

Don Todd, editor of the popular ALG Research publication "NomineeAlert" has written of Wynn, "He is another Obama nominee who appears to be more concerned about the color of one's skin than their ability to perform on the job." And with good reason.

In his ponderous book, with the equally ponderous title Perspectives: Judicial Elections Versus Merit Selection: Judicial Diversity: Where Independence and Accountability Meet, Wynn wrote:
"Indeed, the American judiciary is disproportionately white and male. These white men disproportionately make judgments affecting African-Americans, women, and other minorities… More important than a perception of bias, however, is that the absence of diversity creates (in fact) a judicial partiality to the values and stories of the groups overrepresented - white men - in its midst."
And one can almost see the learned judge checking under the bed for "white men" in hooded robes.

Clearly, if one of Judge Wynn's dreaded "white men" penned such a scathing excoriation of "black men," that unabashed bigot would be lucky to get a job judging dog shows. Yet, now – unless the Senate Republicans stand firm – James Allen could soon be lifting the blindfold off Lady Justice and tilting the scales towards racial bias.


Muslim Mafia

The Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian based Islamic terrorist organization appears to be alive and well and cloaking itself in legitimacy in our nation’s capitol under the guise of a front group say intrepid undercover agents P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry in their new book, Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America (World Net Daily Books 2009). Investigative journalism reaches new levels in doughtiness and concludes with a shocking crescendo in this tome, as Gaubatz, his son Chris and Paul Sperry infiltrate the shady Washington, DC based organization known as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR); the nation’s largest and purportedly mainstream Muslim-American “civil rights” advocacy agency. The frightening facts published in this book are supported by more than 12,000 pages of confidential CAIR documents and hundreds of hours of video captured in this unprecedented undercover operation.

Through painstaking and nuanced research of internal memos and documents the authors establish the fact that CAIR is the ideological cousin of the notorious Muslim Brotherhood and their leadership is inextricably tied to the promulgation of an explosively violent “jihadist” agenda. Utilizing double speak and a wide variety of cleverly devised subterfuges, CAIR manages to ostensibly present itself as a law abiding, pro-American organization, however the authors expose their unbridled mendacity in its most egregious form.

Mr. Gaubatz served for twelve years as a former agent with the US Air Force Office of Special Investigations and is a career military counterterrorism specialist as well as a US State Department trained Arabic linguist. Joining him on this six month long covert foray into the nefarious machinations of CAIR and it’s overt ties to Muslim terrorists of all stripes are his son Chris who worked undercover as a convert to Islam and Paul Sperry, a veteran investigative journalist and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

This book could effortlessly take it’s rightful place among classic hair raising espionage thrillers if it’s tragic geo-political realities weren’t so terrifying. The authors scrupulously document CAIR’s foreign fundraising sources including exceedingly large donations from the Wahabi dominated Saudi Arabian government that gave birth to the 9/11 hijackers. Not to be outdone, CAIR also assumes the role of benefactor, as the recipients of their financial largesse include such heinous terror organizations as Hamas.

Moreover, the authors offer shocking revelations about CAIR’s infiltration of key US law enforcement agencies including local police departments, the FBI, the CIA and the State Department as well as their heavy handed influence operations against members of homeland security committess on Capitol Hill and their insertion of Islamic spies in congressional offices. According to the authors, FBI wiretaps reveal that, “During a secret Muslim Brotherhood meeting he organized last decade, CAIR founder and former chair Omar Ahmad expressed the need to strengthen “the influence with Congress.” He argued for using Muslims as an “entry point” to “pressure Congress and the decision makers in America” to change US foreign policy in the Middle East and other policies.”

CAIR’s far reaching tentacles have even permeated corporate America, say the authors, as they and their sister organization, the Islamic Society of North America blackmail Wall Street firms who do not comply with Islamic financing principles. The authors also spotlight CAIR’s use of intimidation tactics in silencing their political opponents as evidenced in their efforts to unleash a vitriolic campaign to blacklist such media personalities as Bill O’Reilly, Dr. Laura Schlesinger, Glenn Beck and Michael Savage while pressuring the National Review to acquiesce to their demands.

While elected officials from both sides of the aisle, including former president George W. Bush, have legitimized the dubious organization with governmental recognition and ceremonial gravitas, CAIR’s underlying credo remains seditious and rabidly anti-American until this very day. The authors remind us that in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, President Bush appeared alongside officials from CAIR and other outwardly benign Muslim groups that weren’t properly vetted at the Islamic Center of Washington in a display of “unity”. The unsuspecting former president announced, “It is my honor to be meeting with leaders who feel just the same way as I do. They’re outraged, they’re sad. They love America just as much as I do.”

These words would come back to haunt the president as facts concerning CAIR’s zealous legal representation of Muslim Americans charged with terrorist activities came to the fore and as history would record, certain members of CAIR’s own leadership would turn out to be unindicted co-conspirators in helping to finance terrorist organizations.

As the burgeoning and pernicious scourge of global radical Islam continues to proliferate in an unfettered manner, it is clear that within our borders the threat to our cherished democratic values and principles are all too real. The release of this book of paramount importance by authors Gaubatz and Sperry hasn’t come a moment too soon. To say that the information published in these pages is a real eye opener is an understatement of monumental proportions. It is a must read for anyone, the world over, who still clings to the hope of freedom, peace and liberty that Western civilization represents.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


5 December, 2009

Something's wrong with this rights case

Ten years ago, Ali Tahmourpour, an Iranian-born Canadian, was accepted into the RCMP's training program for cadets. He flunked out after 12 weeks and has been fighting the decision ever since. He believes he was a victim of discrimination based on his background and religion (he is Muslim) and deserves another chance. The RCMP maintains he was dismissed because of poor performance.

Last year, in a high-profile decision, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal declared victory for the would-be Mountie. It ordered the RCMP to give him another shot and to pay him at least half a million dollars – an amount that was meant to cover several years of back pay, plus promotions. The force was also ordered to develop a cultural-sensitivity program.

Rights groups hailed the decision, which drew sympathetic coverage across the country. “People come to Canada to escape oppression, and you hope not to have to deal with that oppression again,” Mr. Tahmourpour was quoted as saying. “I just hope that after this, the RCMP can again become a national icon that we can be proud of.”

Almost no one covered what happened next. The RCMP appealed to the Federal Court, and last month a judge threw the whole thing out for lack of evidence. He found that the entire case against the Mounties rested on Mr. Tahmourpour's feelings and perceptions. “A finding of discrimination must require more than just a complainant's own perception that he has been identified as different,” he wrote. He ordered the human-rights tribunal to start all over again.

The Mounties are by no means blameless on such matters, and have made their fair share of settlements. But some visible-minority Mounties want it known that they have no sympathy at all for the complainant in this case. “As a high-ranking member of the RCMP and a visible minority, I was relieved by the recent decision,” says one of them, who doesn't want his name used because members of the force aren't supposed to comment. “In my two decades with the RCMP, I have seen a number of visible minorities advance through the ranks and in some cases minorities have even set precedents for early promotions. I have never felt I was treated any differently because of the colour of my skin. Remedies through the human-rights commission should be reserved for true victims of discrimination and not those who are plagued with performance issues.”

In the meantime, our courts and tribunals have spent more than a decade chewing over one man's 12 weeks in boot camp – with no resolution in sight. Mr. Tahmourpour says he will appeal the latest decision. If he wins, he can sign up for boot camp again. If he loses, the case will go back for another tribunal hearing.

This is not the first time Mr. Tahmourpour has been a human-rights litigant. In the mid-1990s, he lodged a complaint about discrimination he had allegedly suffered in his job as a student customs inspector. The rights commission declined to hear it, so he appealed twice in Federal Court, and was twice rejected.

After he washed out of the RCMP, he complained to the human-rights commission. Again, he was rejected, for lack of evidence, and again he appealed to the Federal Court. On the second appeal, he found a sympathetic judge who agreed with him, and ordered the tribunal to hear the case. Mr. Tahmourpour is now batting 2 for 8. He is so distressed that he hasn't held a steady job since the Mounties failed him 10 years ago.

We all believe in fairness, equality and due process. But what we have in this country is due process run amok. Mr. Tahmourpour's lawyer, Paul Champ, says it's not unusual for human-rights cases to drag on for a decade. That can't be fair to anyone, least of all to taxpayers who are footing most of the bills. It's impossible to tell how much money Mr. Tahmourpour's unfortunate experience has cost the system. The cost to its credibility is even higher.


Paperwork strangles British policing

It is late one midweek evening in sleepy Ruraltown when Mikey O’Brien throws a brick through the window of Beachtastic Breaks, the travel agent in the High Street. Mikey, 17, is off his face on cheap cider. He has numerous convictions for similar offences (last week it was a bus stop window, and the week before he ran a screwdriver along the doors of 40 cars in Old Road). The whole event has been witnessed by a taxi driver, a waiter at an Indian restaurant and two people walking home. It has also been recorded on CCTV.

The CCTV operator is still watching, and radios through to a police patrol as Mikey lobs the brick and then sits down on the pavement. Mikey doesn’t run away — why bother? He knows nothing will come of it when it finally gets to court.

When the patrol arrives, the first thing he does is admit the whole thing. “Yep, I done it,” he says. “Nicci works there, innit, and she’s a bitch.” Nicci is his “partner” and they have had a row. After a scuffle, the patrol arrest him on suspicion of criminal damage and he is taken to the station. A relatively simple job, you might think. Not in the crazy world of British policing. Here’s a list of the paperwork required from the patrol:

• a full, handwritten, pocket notebook entry detailing the incident, the grounds for Mikey’s arrest and anything that he said about the incident;

• a typed arrest statement containing exactly the same information, only in more detail;

• a typed form requesting the release of CCTV tapes. We don’t need the CCTV, but must view it. If we don’t, Mikey’s lawyer will claim that it contains evidence exonerating his client of the offence that four people and the CCTV operator saw him commit and to which he has confessed;

• a handwritten custody “search and booking-in” form;

• a property sheet, listing the contents of his pockets;

• a typed persistent offender form, containing the same information as the arrest statement;

• a typed young offender form, containing the same information in another format;

• a typed or verbal “update” for the computer log held by the control room;

• a typed crime report, with the same information as in the notebook, arrest statement and young offender form, but with the details in different fields;

• at least two manual of guidance forms for the case file, summarising all the above;

• witness statements;

• a check of all his previous convictions;

• a witness statement from Beachtastic Breaks saying that Mikey did not have permission to smash its window;

• an “intelligence report” about the incident;

• a typed domestic violence form (because Nicci was mentioned) with all the same information again, and a complete risk assessment for her;

• the paperwork for Mikey’s fingerprinting and DNA record, running into four pages;

• the custody record, which is at least ten pages long;

• the brick will have been seized as evidence: there will be forms and statements to be filled out for that;

• a typed “update” on the “night-time economy incident” diary sheets;

• a handwritten two-page form for the licensing officer, discussing where Mikey might have purchased the alcohol.

There will also be a “control sample” of the broken glass, to prove it was that window that he smashed. We then take it to the sergeant, who looks at it and then fills out another huge tranche of forms and writing.

We collect all of this because we live in fear of Mikey saying in court: “I didn’t do any of this. I just said I did because the police bullied me.”

It’s about worst-case scenario policing: every job we go to, we have to assume that it is going to go really bent at trial. This isn’t a triple murder, it’s a smashed window. A smashed window that Mikey has already admitted breaking.

We need paperwork. We need to know that the police are not fitting people up, or maltreating them in custody. We need to keep a close eye on domestic violence offenders. I don’t know a single police officer who believes otherwise. But do we really need all of this?


British Conservative leader attacks the Left's 'pathological' refusal to accept that marriage is the key to happy families

Labour was accused of a 'pathological' opposition to supporting marriage by David Cameron yesterday as he promised a Tory government would reward every wedded couple. The Conservative leader drew battle lines for the general election with a scathing attack on Children's Secretary Ed Balls, who had said marriage was not the key to a happy family.

Mr Cameron told the Daily Mail that 'celebrating' and 'encouraging' marriage was the norm in most European countries and a Tory government would follow suit by changing the tax system. He dismissed speculation that the Conservatives might limit their long-standing commitment to support marriage to couples with children, or those on low incomes. All those who tie the knot or enter a civil partnership would qualify, he insisted.

Signalling that Labour also regards the family as a key election battleground, Mr Balls said yesterday that government proposals to be published next year will assert that children's welfare is not necessarily best protected through marriage, but instead through 'stable and lasting relationships between parents'. The married father of three added: 'I think marriage is really important, but you cannot say "We will have a family policy which is only about marriage". 'That ignores the well-being of relationships where there is not a marriage, either due to divorce, separation or whatever. 'The Tory policy is that marriage is first-class and any other relationship is second-class. That is fundamentally not in the interests of children. We should be about supporting strong and stable relationships.'

The traditional family unit also came under attack from the Family and Parenting Institute, a state-financed organisation set up by Labour to speak for parents and children. Its head Dr Katherine Rake suggested that the model of the nuclear family is no longer 'the norm' and said there would be no such thing as a 'typical family' in the next ten to 20 years. In her first major speech, Dr Rake predicted that mothers would play less of a role in their children's lives due to work pressures, meaning 'communal parenting' will become commonplace in many families, with siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles stepping in. She declared: 'What policy-makers must not do is fall into the trap of investing large sums of money trying to reverse the tide of trends by trying to encourage more "traditional" families'.

Mr Cameron said: 'Labour's pathological inability to recognise that marriage is a good thing puts them on completely the wrong side of their own dividing line. Ed Balls seems to see marriage as irrelevant. I don't think it is. 'I think marriage is a good institution. I don't need an opinion poll to tell me whether it is or is isn't. That's just what I think.' He stressed, however, that specific proposals by former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith to allow married couples to combine their tax allowances, which the Treasury says would cost nearly £5billion, had never been adopted as party policy.

It looks increasingly likely that Shadow Chancellor George Osborne will opt for a less-expensive tax break for marriage because of the catastrophic state of the public finances. But Mr Cameron said he would not budge from his belief that all married couples should be rewarded through the tax system. 'There are all sorts of different ways of doing it,' he said. 'My point is that evidence shows marriage is a good institution which helps people stay together, and commit to each other. A society that values marriage is a good and strong society. That's why we will recognise marriage in the tax system.'

Mr Cameron said he did not believe voters who are not married would be put off by his pledge. 'People make their own choices in life. I just think as a society, saying that marriage is a good thing and celebrating it and encouraging it, including through the tax system, is something that most societies do in Europe. It's very sensible for us to do as well. 'There's a long-term benefit in trying to have a tax and a benefit system that supports commitment and couples and families.'

Of Mr Duncan Smith's proposals, drawn up by his Centre for Social Justice, Mr Cameron said: 'Sometimes I think Labour takes something a think tank has said and immediately assumes that's Conservative policy, which is not the case. 'It would be wrong to say that they are Conservative Party proposals. I have said we are going to recognise marriage in the tax system and we will. It is a pledge that will be delivered.'

David Willetts, Tory spokesman for family policy, dismissed the idea that the 'nuclear family' will disappear by pointing to evidence showing that most young people still aspire to be married. Surveys show that almost nine in ten still want to wed, as do three-quarters of cohabiting couples under 35. Mr Willetts said the Conservatives believe it should be the role of public policy to help them to do so. He told the Family and Parenting Institute: 'The long-term commitment of two adults to each other so they can raise their children together is not going the way of the bowler hat or Woolworths. 'It is wrong to misinterpret specific social changes such as most women being in paid work and the growing role of grandparents as meaning that the so-called nuclear family is disappearing when it is not.

'Sticking together and raising our children together has shifted from being seen as just part of the natural order to being thought of as more like climbing Mount Everest – a triumph of heroism and endeavour accomplished by few. 'But it is a mainstream aspiration, which we should respect, admire and help people to fulfil.'

Labour's Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liam Byrne MP said: 'A transferrable tax allowance for married couples would cost £4.9billion and would benefit high earners most. With this marriage tax break and their inheritance tax cut for the richest estates, the Tories' tax and spending plans are mounting up. 'George Osborne must come clean about what he'll have to cut to pay for them.'


British politicians reject “Cornish” nationality on 2011 census

A snooper government but information about historic Britain is unwelcome, apparently

MPs have rejected a bid to allow people to list their nationality as "Cornish" on the 2011 census. Cornwall North's MP Dan Rogerson had put forward the proposal as MPs debated the Draft Census Order 2009 for England and Wales. A Facebook campaign Cornish Tickbox for the 2011 Census has been backed by Mr Rogerson and more than 3,000 people.

But as MPs rejected it by 261 votes to 49, they approved questions the Tories say amount to "bedroom snooping".

The government says the issue of Cornish language and identity was "considered" by the Office for National Statistics but was "not included in the proposals for the 2011 census". But Lib Dem MP Mr Rogerson had attempted to introduce it as an amendment to the Draft Census Order 2009 for England and Wales.

There will be no tick box for people to put their nationality as "Cornish" on the next census, set to be carried out on 27 March 2011. Instead, they will have to tick "other" and then write in their response. Critics say many people will not realise they can do this, and will select English, Scottish, Welsh, Northern Irish or British. MPs voted by 298 to 127 to approve the new census questions, which had previously been criticised by the Conservatives as "intrusive".

Questions will include the number of bedrooms in a home and the name, age and sex of any overnight visitors. The statistics watchdog rejected the Tory attack and said they would help show overcrowding and give a more accurate picture of the population.

The census, which is conducted every 10 years, is designed to give an accurate snapshot of demographic and social changes in the UK.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


4 December, 2009

Coverup of black crime ratchets up in Britain

Photos of criminals now banned -- adding to the ban on any written mention of origins

In a move critics say puts the privacy of criminals before public protection, forces have been told they must remove details of crimes from their websites after a month. Criminals' personal details and their offence should be routinely published, but their photographs can only be put on the web if there is a specific reason, the Ministry of Justice said.

And fresh Government guidance states police and councils should take into account the impact on the offenders' families of seeing their crimes detailed.

Data protection and human rights laws also restrict what can be published. The new rules state officials should also consider whether it is 'proportionate' to make the verdicts and sentences public and whether publishing details could have an 'unjustifiably adverse effect' on the criminal.

With minor crimes or first time offenders, police will be restricted from revealing details. But instead of putting it on the web, forces can hand out leaflets or make information available at public meetings.

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said: 'If people are to have confidence in our criminal justice system, justice must be done - and be seen to be done. 'Individual crimes often get a lot of media coverage and news can spread across communities quickly. However, the news that someone has been caught, prosecuted, convicted and sentenced does not travel as far. 'This guidance explains that authorities can publish the details of crimes and the punishments criminals have received, and that the Government encourages them to do so.'

But Shadow Justice Secretary Dominic Grieve said: 'This is too little, too late. We have long called for new rules to make it crystal clear that public protection - for police, prison and probation officers - comes before the privacy of criminals. 'That guidance should be clear and user-friendly for those on the front line, not vague and riddled with uncertainty.'


Australian Conservative leader's real trouble is with the sisterhood, not women in general

Apparently, Tony Abbott has woman trouble. Despite the fact he has three daughters, a wife, two sisters and a mother who adore him, the popular perception of the new Opposition Leader is that women can't stand his blokeish, confrontational style.

In just about every interview since he was elected to the Liberal leadership on Tuesday, he has been asked about his lack of appeal to the fairer sex. Kerry O'Brien on The 7.30 Report asked: "Coming back to that hardline image of yours, for a lot of women, you're not exactly a pin-up boy, are you, as a political leader?"

On A Current Affair, Tracy Grimshaw gave him a hard time about contraception, abortion and making divorce harder to get. The Business Spectator e-zine claimed: "Abbott's aggressive approach will do little to sway the female vote at the next election . . . a significant number of women only see an arrogant hardliner . . . it's not surprising that young women are loath to support him."

Women journalists across the country railed to each other that Abbott was "the devil". The female twitterverse was almost universally condemnatory. Former Cleo editor Mia Freedman's attitude was typical: "Oh, Tony Abbott also anti-IVF," she tweeted. "Seems like his Speedos are the least reprehensible of his crimes against women." The ex-Dolly editor Marina Go tweeted: "I would rather eat my first born than vote for Abbott . . . what concerns me most [is] his anti-free choice views . . . [Tweetfems are] outraged that a man with Abbott's beliefs could possibly head up a major political party in Australia in 2009."

Yet, as Abbott pointed out to Grimshaw, polls shows his women problem is a myth. "The last poll showed me somewhat more popular among women than men," he said. "People will make judgments based on what they see now, not some caricature they heard some years ago."

A Newspoll taken last week shows, while Abbott's overall popularity is low compared with Joe Hockey, there is no significant gender gap: Abbott had a 19 per cent following among women, and 18 per cent among men.

And when it came down to a choice between Abbott and his predecessor Malcolm Turnbull, whose appeal to women went unquestioned, guess who was the clear front runner, especially among young females? Abbott was more popular with women at 41 per cent, compared with Turnbull's 39 per cent. For women aged 18 to 34, Abbott picked up 43 per cent, compared with Turnbull's 35 per cent.

One female Coalition MP, an Abbott fan, said yesterday that support for him in the party room this week was "gender neutral". "Tony's the quintessential Australian bloke . . . but he's matured a lot. In the end people will judge Tony for his ideas as a conviction politician."

The fact is, Abbott's so-called woman trouble is with a particular subset of female - the aggressively secular, paleo-feminist, emasculating Australian broad, for whom unabashed red-blooded blokeishness is an affront of biblical proportions. They are unrepresentative of women, and disproportionately influential, because they either work in the media or politics or have high-profile, heavily networked careers, which mean they are quoted in the media, and their opinions sought after.

For them, abortion on demand, no matter what the circumstances, is a bedrock article of faith. This is the essence of their visceral, red-fanged rage against him. They hold firm to an outdated, 1970s view of feminism that requires unquestioning belief in abortion as a social good.

Abbott's pronouncements on abortion in the past have been considered, mild and unthreatening to the legal status of the procedure, but to paleo-feminists, the fact that he is a male practising Catholic who dares to express his private beliefs is secular apostasy punishable by social and political death. His actual words are unobjectionable. In his book Battlelines, he wrote he "never supported any move to recriminalise abortion, because that would have stigmatised millions of Australian women". "Every abortion is a tragedy and up to 100,000 abortions a year is this generation's legacy of unutterable shame," he said in 2006.

Two years earlier, he honestly grappled with a taboo subject that affects the Christian majority of Parliament, including the ostentatiously Anglican (formerly Catholic) Kevin Rudd, in a speech. "Even those who think that abortion is a woman's right should be troubled by the fact that 100,000 Australian women choose to destroy their unborn babies every year . . . I fear there is no satisfactory answer to this question . . . Governments can't legislate for virtue but shouldn't be indifferent to it either."

This led to protesters hurling themselves at him, wearing T-shirts with slogans such as "Get your rosaries off my ovaries". But he was echoing the feelings of many people, whose opinions have been suppressed as successfully as in any totalitarian state. Polls have found Australian support of abortion on demand vacillating between about 53 and 61 per cent for 20 years, according to the 2007 Australian Election Study by Australian National University and Deakin University researchers.

But drill down and attitudes are more nuanced. A 2006 poll commissioned by the Australian Federation of Right to Life Associations found, similarly, that 60 per cent of Australians support abortion on demand. But it found just 39 per cent support abortion for financial or social (non-medical) reasons; just 20 per cent agree with partial birth abortion; 54 per cent believe abortion involves the taking of a human life; and 57 per cent believe a 20-week-old foetus is a person with human rights.

And, reflecting the change Abbott introduced as health minister, to fund a pregnancy support national phone counselling service, 95 per cent of those polled agreed women should receive free independent counselling before abortion. The extremist viewpoint is not Abbott's but that of abortion fundamentalists posing as feminists who are his most strident critics.


BBC ignores Christmas

Our trip to the toy shop on Saturday inspired more gasps of wonder than normal from my two-year-old son, when he clapped eyes on a traditional wooden Nativity scene in the midst of heaving shelves of Christmas goodies. As we travelled home, he was eager to know just who that baby lying in a crib was, why there were cows in his ‘bedroom’ and — inevitably from a clued-up kid who is obsessed with presents — what gifts did he receive?

I explained as best as I could about the birth of Jesus in a stable, his parents, Mary and Joseph, and the arrival of the Three Wise Men bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.

As I watched his attention wander, I knew the best way to bring the story alive for his young mind would be for us to sit and watch it dramatised on television this month. That was how I came to love it at my mother’s knee when I was small.

The BBC, I thought, is bound to be showing lots of child-friendly Nativity programmes, which inspire nostalgia and affection in parents of all religious persuasions, and give real meaning to the festival behind today’s blatant consumerism. After all, the BBC has a charter which compels it to provide us with religious programming. But I was in for a shock. Despite a daily 13-hour output on its pre-school channel, CBeebies, the Corporation hardly plans to mention the Nativity during its Christmas coverage.

Laughably, the sole programme completely dedicated to the birth of Christ, the Tikkabilla Nativity, will be broadcast on Christmas Day when, for once, toddlers will be too busy opening parcels and spending precious time with family to watch TV. (Tikkabilla — whose name is drawn from the Indian word for a game like hopscotch — features a male and female presenter and .. . a fluffy hand puppet.) Won’t it be a bit late by December 25 to be explaining one of the most important dates in the Christian and British calendar? It’s like closing the stable door after the donkey has bolted.

As the mum of a ‘more, more, more’ two-year-old, I am desperate to teach him there’s ‘more, more, more’ to this time of year than unwrapping toys. My attempts so far have stretched to My First Nativity Book at bedtime, a shepherd-like tea towel on his head which he thought was a game of ‘boo!’, a trip to church, and a glue-and-glitter cardboard star of Bethlehem. But none of those was as engaging as a well-made and informative programme would be to a young mind.

The BBC may claim its website for youngsters will contain references to the Nativity, but how many tots do you know who can log on to the internet, resist the temptation to fiddle with the keyboard and sit still for long enough to take it in?

Aside from Tikkabilla, the BBC has proudly informed me that one part of one episode of a programme called the Green Balloon Club will feature the Nativity. That’s slim pickings compared with the channel’s wealth of festive specials and trailers of snow, gifts, and Santa.

By failing to adequately include Mary, Joseph and Jesus, the BBC’s message to children is this: ‘It’s a special time of year, but we’re not going to tell you why.’

Perhaps the BBC doesn’t want to be accused of ramming religion down children’s throats. But if that’s the case, then why is it so keen to boast about its new pre-school series for 2010 called Let’s Celebrate, which will focus on religious and cultural festivals around the UK, including Chinese New Year and Hinduism’s Diwali? The Punjabi festival of Vaisakhi, Islam’s Eid, the Hindu celebrationof Holi, Buddhism’s Wesak and the Jewish festival of Purim will also be included and — gasp — so will Christianity’s Easter and Christmas. Nice of them to be so inclusive as to include the most profoundly symbolic festivals of this country’s faith.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘We try to make religion an all year round part of CBeebies to reflect the lives of the children and their families that are watching us.’

In doing this, the BBC is utterly missing the point. Christmas is not just another example in a religious roll call. It’s our cultural denominator; a part of who we are. I’m all for inclusivity. Every child’s creed should be represented by the nation’s public broadcaster — that’s why Christmas should be linked with Christianity. Indeed, the Archbishop of Canterbury this year warned the BBC it must not ignore its Christian audience. Sadly, his plea has fallen on deaf ears.

A spokesman for the Church of England told me: ‘It’s important for young children to have an understanding of Christmas and its meaning, both culturally and for the message of hope it brings. 'We would look to the BBC to cover Christmas appropriately, and we will be reviewing its programming over the festive period.’

I’m not saying the BBC should bash its young viewers over the head with a Bible; however, there is room in the scheduling, beyond its current tokenistic effort, to explain the inherent connection between Christmas and Christianity. After all, my son has grasped the concept of Father Christmas delivering presents (as long as he behaves himself) so why shouldn’t he be able to understand the simple story of the birth of Jesus?

Instead, the BBC is treading a silly, politically correct path — and, sadly, it’s a well-worn one. Library story-time sessions dare not drop in on Bethlehem any more for fear of excluding non-Christian parents. Councils prefer to flash up illuminated ‘winter wonderland lights’ made up of Christmas stockings and snowmen rather than risk displaying ‘offensive’ images of wise men and angels.

But why should the Nativity story offend anyone? It can be told and interpreted by parents to their children depending on their own background and beliefs; as the cornerstone of the Christian story; as an interesting historical saga; as a moving fable — or just as a way for other cultures and religions to understand Christian Britain.

As the UK’s most-watched channel for the under-sixes, CBeebies has a responsibility to reach out to the majority who come from a Christian background, and to take part in the telling of this important story.


Christmas tree removed from California courthouse

The removal of a Christmas tree from the Orange County Superior courthouse Monday has prompted a petition among court employees to have the tree – connected to a gift drive for poor children – put back. The six-foot artificial tree, which was adorned with tags seeking toy donations to 'Operation Santa Claus,' was removed Monday after a member of the public complained about the tree being in the courthouse, court spokeswoman Gwen Vieau said. "It's a public building and we have to serve the diversity of our community,'' she said.

The tree had been put up in the courthouse every holiday season for about 20 years, said Orange County Sheriff's Special Officer Cynthia Guerrero, who runs the courthouse's 'Operation Santa Claus' effort. She was ordered to take down the tree.

Members of the public would come and grab tags – which sought donations for specific children. Last year, the courthouse got 374 presents for the toy drive.

But courthouse employees want the tree back up, and are circulating a petition among courtrooms. As of this afternoon, about 30 people had signed the petition. "That tree holds the cards that contain the wishes and needs of those less fortunate than we are and shame on those who want to take that away from those of us who wish to give ..." the petition says. "Now at the court's darkest hour, our symbol of hope has been taken away from us."

Though the tree is gone, the donation opportunity is still available. The courthouse has set up a table in the lobby for individuals who want to sponsor a needy child and provide him/her with a gift for the holidays.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


3 December, 2009

British Christian loses sex therapy case

A relationship counsellor who refused to offer sex therapy to gay couples has lost his unfair dismissal appeal. Gary MacFarlane, 47, from Bristol, was sacked by marriage guidance service Relate after he said he could not do anything to promote gay sex. He alleged Relate had refused to accommodate his Christian beliefs.

The service's chief executive Claire Tyler said: "The appeal judgement validates Relate's commitment to equality of access to our services."

Mr MacFarlane, a former church elder, was appealing on the grounds of religious discrimination at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Bristol. He started training with Relate in May 2003 and said he enjoyed good relationships with clients and colleagues.

Mr MacFarlane was suspended in October 2007 after meetings with his manager, in which he claimed he was asked to state his views regarding same-sex couples. After the suspension was lifted he said he was labelled a "homophobe" and, following a further disciplinary hearing, was dismissed on 18 March.

The tribunal, chaired by employment judge Toomer, dismissed Mr MacFarlane's claims of harassment. Ms Tyler, from Relate, added: "Relate's trusted service, both in Avon and across the country, relies on making sure that all members of society, regardless of their gender, age, race, religion, sexual orientation or relationship status, are able to access respectful and professional counselling and sex therapy. "Relate is committed to supporting all religious beliefs working within Relate.

"However, our primary consideration is to our clients who often need complex advice and assistance. "We cannot allow anything to damage our clients, or to undermine the principle of trust that underpins our work." [Irrelevant bulldust. Who was asking her to damage her clients, or to undermine the principle of trust that underpins her work?]


Thanks for the Puritans

I'm Catholic, no apologies, I'm of the opinion that the Roman Church is closer to the straight skinny than any other church. That said, thank God for Protestantism and Puritanism. Without them the concept of liberty wouldn't exist.

Did you know Odin was a king's god, Thor a peasant's? Check every pagan religion as they were practiced in the old days and you will find similar dichotomies: gods for the bosses, a different set of gods for the peasants. The Catholic Church continued this tradition with the custom of people asking the Saints to pray for them. The kings pray to Jesus, the peasants ask Mary and Joseph (and often a Christianized local godling) to pray to Jesus for them.

By dumping veneration of the Saints (correctly or darkest heresy) Protestants put us all to worshipping the one Triune God. We are all brothers in Christ, king or commoner doesn't matter. The beginning of egalitarianism.

Division of Church from State could not have occurred if everyone was Catholic, there would have been no need for freedom of religion, at best tolerance for Jews, Moslems and Orthodox Christians.

The biggest advance of course was the Puritans. They questioned whether it was proper for a sinner (Say Chuckie Stewart I) to be the head of the Church over Saved. This leads to the need for separation of Church and State. The process begun by splitting the church between Catholic and Protestants leads to the recognition that the head of the State should not be the head of the Church.

This finally leads to the idea that there should be no established Church, not toleration of other Churches but the freedom to practice whatever religion the Spirit leads you to. From here the step to intellectual freedom and freedom of speech and press becomes almost inevitable.

The need for intellectual freedom makes people realize that men (and women) cannot have masters, that we must be free. This came full circle when in the 1980's the Catholic Church became the center of resistance to the Communist rulers of Poland.

The same Church whose leaders had so often geeked for tyrants, the same Church whose breakup was needed to start the flood of freedom become the rallying point of those who needed to be free. How times change.


Feminist bitch reined in by British tribunal

The head of a government task force for women in business was ordered to pay compensation yesterday after a tribunal found that she had bullied a string of workers, including women. Glenda Stone had a “dictatorial and intimidating” approach towards her female employees that was known to make them cry and left her personal assistant depressed, the Central London Employment Tribunal heard.

The tribunal awarded £28,567.17 to David Collier, a former projects officer at Mrs Stone’s recruitment company, Aurora Gender Management, after he successfully claimed that he was unfairly dismissed because he had accused her of bullying.

Mrs Stone, 42, who was appointed co-chairman of the Women’s Enterprise Task Force in November 2006, founded the annual Where Women Want to Work Top 50 and is a member of a small business forum set up by Lord Mandelson. Her remit at the task force was to promote and encourage women in business. Women employees told the tribunal that they were bullied by Mrs Stone, with one developing a “nervous twitch” at the sight of her.

The three former employees, who criticised her “micromanagement” approach and accused her of being “dictatorial and intimidating”, all lost their jobs within days of falling out with Mrs Stone. In its conclusions, the tribunal accepted their evidence as true. It found that Mrs Stone had lied to Mr Collier when claiming that he was being made redundant for financial reasons and had dismissed him because he complained of mistreatment.

He was employed by Aurora, a company owned by Mrs Stone and her husband Leigh, 38, for 2½ years until January this year when he was told he was being made redundant. Mr Collier said yesterday that he had been forced to resign because of threats to cut his salary from £40,000 to £25,000 during a row on January 30, but later rescinded his decision. That evening Mrs Stone drafted a letter dismissing him, claiming that it was a redundancy for “financial reasons” — which the tribunal rejected.

Mr Collier told the tribunal that Mr Stone had sworn at him across the office and Mrs Stone had made “disparaging comments about the standards of my work”.

The hearing was also told by Mrs Stone’s former personal assistant, Janette King, that she was dismissed by e-mail when she confronted her boss and said she was a bully. “I developed a nervous twitch, which I did not have before and which stopped as soon as I stopped working there,” said Mrs King. Marianna Karas, 35, a witness and a former employee said: “Glenda was controlling and her approach to management was bullyish, intimidating and inflexible.”

Simon Auerbach, the chairman of the panel, said that it had been “unimpressed” with some of Mrs Stone’s claims when she gave evidence. Mrs Stone had denied all claims against her.

The Women’s Enterprise Task Force has already concluded its work but as part of her role, Mrs Stone attended the Government’s Small Business Forum. A statement from the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills last night indicated that she would no longer be a member. It said: “Yesterday Lord Davies advised the Small Business Forum that he wanted to refresh its membership and asked for suggestions of new members from attendees. Representation of women’s enterprise issues will be considered in this context.”

Mr Collier, from Ilford, East London, said that he had received “numerous e-mails” from former employees who “were talking about similar circumstances to my case”. The tribunal found there had been some merit in claims that Aurora’s business had suffered because of economic circumstances.


My generation created the sexual revolution - and it has been wrecking the lives of women ever since

Comment from Britain. A 60s scene below

When the novelist Martin Amis said recently that it was the sexual revolution of the Sixties and Seventies that destroyed his 'pathologically promiscuous' sister Sally, an alcoholic who died in 2000 aged 46, he provoked a wave of controversy. His views were ridiculed by his critics, who claimed that his sister 'was out of control. It was her doing, not the culture.'

Well, I was part of that culture too. As a university student between 1966 and 1969, I experienced first-hand the impact of the sexual revolution, and the sweeping changes it wrought between men and women. To suggest any individual was immune from that tidal wave of change, or from the pressures that came with it, for women in particular, is frankly wrong.

Yet Amis has hit a nerve, with liberals in particular, who rightly read his comments as a criticism of everything they believed in and fought for through the massive social upheavals of those decades. It was not 'the free love culture' which caused her death, they insist, but her own self-indulgence. After all, we all have choices, don't we?

To me, this is one of the most fascinating issues of our time - raising so many questions about freewill, and cause and effect. I'm always amazed at the way the liberal Left (a broad church, with which I'd have once identified) is eager to make excuses for any dubious results of their progressive ideas.

Yet the damaging consequences of that Sixties revolution are obvious in the society we now live in - ranging from the utter mess made of education in this country (directly attributable to the overturning of traditional ideas in the Seventies, an orthodoxy which still prevails), to the dangerous 'anything goes' attitude which challenges any idea of restraint in speech or behaviour.

I happen to believe Martin Amis makes an interesting case. Who is to say he isn't right and that in a less 'liberal' society his sister might have behaved differently, or might have been safer?

Of course any individual is a unique, complex, multi-faceted creation - shaped by family, by personal reactions to events, and by the random nature of sex and love. Nevertheless it's absurd to suggest that we exist in isolation, that we are not shaped by the culture we inhabit. The zeitgeist is the defining mood or spirit of a particular period in history and shaped by the ideas and beliefs of the time. Nobody can escape it.

So Amis asks us to pose this question: what were the pressures on a particular girl - his sister - who turned 20 in 1974? And, equally important; what is the ongoing effect on the society of today? Oh yes, they were heady days, out of which many good things came. But at university I could see close-up the impact of the sexual revolution and the 'new' pressure to sleep around. It was expected; nobody wanted to be called 'uncool' or 'uptight'.

People have always had sex before (and illicit sex within) marriage. You only have to think of the excesses of the first sexual revolution - the 'roaring' Twenties. But our sexual revolution was more sweeping and long-lasting. The university Student Health Centre handed out the Pill like sweeties. So you wouldn't get pregnant - good. But at the same time you had no reason to be careful - bad. Most of us embraced the hippie-esque idea that sexual freedom was a beautiful thing to be celebrated. 'Seize the day,' we shouted, and threw old notions like fidelity out of the window.

But beneath all those naive and high-sounding ideals, the sexism of supposedly radical and free-thinking men on the left could be summed up with: 'A woman's place is underneath.' As the writer and feminist pioneer Rosie Boycott has said: 'What was insidious about the underground was that it pretended to be alternative. But it wasn't providing an alternative for women. It was providing an alternative for men in that there were no problems about screwing around.' The artist Nicola Lane, another young woman of the age, adds: 'It was paradise for men - all these willing girls. But the problem with the willing girls was that a lot of the time they were willing not because they particularly fancied the people concerned but because they felt they ought to. There was a lot of misery.'

An acceptance of casual sex was central to the spirit of the age, and it was not easy for a young woman to escape that influence, whether it made her uncomfortable or not.

One cultural historian of the Seventies, Howard Sounes, writes: 'The after-effects of the great social and cultural changes of the Sixties, like waves created by rocks tossed in water, rippled out through society.'

Today, those of us who express doubts about the long-term effects of such cultural changes are dismissed as prudes suffering from a permanent moral panic-attack. The denial of the liberals is ongoing: a blinkered refusal to admit the causes and effects of history.

But this is what the distinguished historian Eric Hobsbawm writes about the shift in standards in his authoritative book, Age Of Extremes: 'The crisis of the family was linked with quite dramatic changes in public standards governing sexual behaviour, partnership and procreation... and the major change is datable and coincides with the Sixties and Seventies.'

No wonder the Seventies saw an unprecedented explosion in writing about sex. The air-brushed innocence of Sixties Playboy gave way to the gynaecological explicitness of Penthouse and a host of imitators. Sex, which in previous eras was private (even taboo), became public, with the result that women were expected - in their love lives - to demonstrate the expertise of prostitutes. Except these 'liberated' women gave it away for free.

Alex Comfort's The Joy of Sex: A Gourmet Guide To Lovemaking, came out in 1972, and that same year the first issue of British Cosmopolitan changed women's magazines for ever.

I was working on a glossy magazine at the time and we all looked askance at this brash newcomer with its philosophy that women should do anything to be sexy and get a man. (By the mid-Seventies, I was writing for it - although the Cosmo of those days was relatively innocent compared with now, when the magazine is often covered up in American stores because of the explicitness of its cover lines.)

Books such as Cosmo's Steamy Sex Games: All Sorts Of Naughty Ways To Have Fun With Your Lover' (and countless others) carried the message that if you don't want to do this stuff, well, there's something wrong with you. To be a 'nice girl' was to be looked on as a freak. The truth was, however, the new permissiveness gave men permission to exploit you. These are the pressures which, according to Martin Amis, contributed to his sister's ruin. It may be cruel to say it, but today's young girls primping and un-dressing for Saturday night, when they will get drunk and get laid (and feel doubly bad in the morning) are the inheritors of her destiny.

Bleakly, Amis commented: 'It's astonishingly difficult to find a decent deal between men and women and we haven't found it yet.' I suggest it is impossible to find that 'deal' when we are living with the worst aspects of the sexual revolution - which has not encouraged mutual love and respect between the sexes but instead has given us the trashy 'pornogrification' of our society. As the young American writer Ariel Leve has said: 'Even though this new world of beer and babes feels foreign to Sixties revolutionaries, it is actually... a repercussion of the very forces they put into motion.' She's right. We did start it - and those who followed paid the price, and are paying it still.

In her book, Bodies, psychotherapist Susie Orbach writes: 'Girls as young as four have been made bodily self- conscious and are striking sexy poses in their mirrors which are more chilling than charming.'

The question we must all ask ourselves is - what made them so bodily self-conscious? I'm afraid we know the answer. When Tom Cruise and his wife are stupid enough to permit their three-year-old daughter to totter out in silver high heels, what hope is there for those millions of fans who see them as heroic role-models? Nowadays, parents (the ' grandchildren' of the sexual revolution) have no compunction about dressing their little girls as mini-hookers and taking them along to see sexually explicit acts like the Pussycat Dolls, where dancers mimic sex on stage.

Those girls grow up to post pictures of themselves posing like porn stars on the internet. Indeed, a third of teenage girls, we learnt this week, text sexually explicit pictures of themselves, too. And so it goes on.

Is it any wonder that the phenomenon of young teenage boys expecting their girlfriends to provide sexual gratification at any time (on a school bus, for example, according to Susie Orbach) leaves girls feeling abused and full of hate for their bodies - the very bodies so cynically exploited for commercial gains throughout a sexualised media? There is sexual pressure on women as never before and no matter how much women achieve in the boardroom or as helicopter pilots, it makes a nonsense of equality.

In 2007, the American Psychological Association issued a report citing innumerable contributing causes to the sexualising of young girls, including music videos, TV and advertising. Are they to be accused of 'moral panic'?

When a magazine like Zoo can run a competition in which men send in pictures of their girlfriends' breasts along with a picture of the celebrity breasts they most admire, and the prize is a remodelling of the girlfriend's to match the ideal breasts - then something is very, very wrong.

The ongoing sexual 'revolution' is, in truth, as selfish and reactionary as those groovy Seventies men were, when Martin Amis's sister was young. She, like so many others, was conned by the talk of freedom into abandoning all self-respect. The sad thing is young women today are still being conned - victims of the pervasive sex industry which uses 'liberation' as a mask for degradation.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


2 December, 2009

Switzerland bans mosque minarets

Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a constitutional ban on minarets on Sunday, barring construction of the iconic mosque towers in a surprise vote that put Switzerland at the forefront of a European backlash against a growing Muslim population.

Muslim groups in Switzerland and abroad condemned the vote as biased and anti-Islamic. Business groups said the decision hurt Switzerland's international standing and could damage relations with Muslim nations and wealthy investors who bank, travel and shop there. "The Swiss have failed to give a clear signal for diversity, freedom of religion and human rights," said Omar Al-Rawi, integration representative of the Islamic Denomination in Austria, which said its reaction was "grief and deep disappointment".

About 300 people turned out for a spontaneous demonstration on the square outside parliament, holding up signs saying, "That is not my Switzerland," placing candles in front of a model of a minaret and making another minaret shape out of the candles themselves. "We're sorry," said another sign. A young woman pinned to her jacket a piece of paper saying, "Swiss passport for sale."

The referendum by the nationalist Swiss People's Party labeled minarets as symbols of rising Muslim political power that could one day transform Switzerland into an Islamic nation. The initiative was approved 57.5 to 42.5 per cent by some 2.67 million voters. Only four of the 26 cantons or states opposed the initiative, granting the double approval that makes it part of the Swiss constitution. Muslims comprise about six per cent of Switzerland's 7.5 million people. Many are refugees from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s and about one in 10 actively practices their religion, the government says.

The country's four standing minarets, which won't be affected by the ban, do not traditionally broadcast the call to prayer outside their own buildings.

The sponsors of the initiative provoked complaints of bias from local officials and human-rights group with campaign posters that showed minarets rising like missiles from the Swiss flag next to a fully veiled woman. Backers said the growing Muslim population was straining the country "because Muslims don't just practice religion". "The minaret is a sign of political power and demand, comparable with whole-body covering by the burqa, tolerance of forced marriage and genital mutilation of girls," the sponsors said. They said Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan compared mosques to Islam's military barracks and called "the minarets our bayonets". Erdogan made the comment in citing an Islamic poem many years before he became prime minister.

Anxieties about growing Muslim minorities have rippled across Europe in recent years, leading to legal changes in some countries. There have been French moves to ban the full-length body covering known as the burqa. Some German states have introduced bans on head scarves for Muslim women teaching in public schools. Mosques and minaret construction projects in Sweden, France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Germany and Slovenia have been met by protests. But the Swiss ban in minarets, sponsored by the country's largest political party, was one of the most extreme reactions.

"It's a sad day for freedom of religion," said Mohammed Shafiq, the chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, a British youth organisation. "A constitutional amendment that's targeted towards one religious community is discriminatory and abhorrent." He said he was concerned the decision could have reverberations in other European countries.

Amnesty International said the vote violated freedom of religion and would probably be overturned by the Swiss supreme court or the European Court of Human Rights.

The seven-member Cabinet that heads the Swiss government had spoken out strongly against the initiative but the government said it accepted the vote and would impose an immediate ban on minaret construction. It said that "Muslims in Switzerland are able to practice their religion alone or in community with others, and live according to their beliefs just as before". It took the unusual step of issuing its press release in Arabic as well as German, French, Italian and English.

Sunday's results stood in stark contrast to opinion polls, last taken 10 days ago, that showed 37 per cent supporting the proposal. Experts said before the vote that they feared Swiss had pretended during the polling that they opposed the ban because they didn't want to appear intolerant.

"The sponsors of the ban have achieved something everyone wanted to prevent, and that is to influence and change the relations to Muslims and their social integration in a negative way," said Taner Hatipoglu, president of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Zurich. "Muslims indeed will not feel safe anymore."

The People's Party has campaigned mainly unsuccessfully in previous years against immigrants with campaign posters showing white sheep kicking a black sheep off the Swiss flag and another with brown hands grabbing eagerly for Swiss passports.

Geneva's main mosque was vandalised on Thursday when someone threw a pot of pink paint at the entrance. Earlier this month, a vehicle with a loudspeaker drove through the area imitating a muezzin's call to prayer, and vandals damaged a mosaic when they threw cobblestones at the building.


Minarets are not an essential part of Islam

The Swiss vote does not infringe Muslim religious rights

By Taj Hargey (Dr Taj Hargey is the chairman of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford and the imam of the Summertown Islamic Congregation in Oxford)

Switzerland’s referendum vote to ban minarets is needlessly xenophobic but it does not infringe the religious liberty of Swiss Muslims. Minarets remain emblematic of mosques in the Muslim heartlands but there is no theological reason why houses of worship in the West have to incorporate such towers.

Their original purpose was to relay the prayer call with the unamplified voice. Today this is done by modern technology, so minarets are not integral to contemporary mosque design. European mosques should stop mindlessly mimicking Eastern design and create prayer halls that blend into the landscape.

Muslims who have settled in Switzerland (and elsewhere in Europe) should not confuse culture with creed. To become integrated into their surroundings, they must relinquish the cultural baggage of their ancestral homelands. They should practice a Swiss Islam that is rooted in the society in which they live.

Although the Swiss have been convinced by right-wing zealots that minarets are a problem, local Muslims should not embrace a victim mentality. They must confront the toxic radicalisation of their faith that is imported from overseas.

The Wahhabi denomination (and its kindred sects), which has unlimited petrodollars and exclusive jurisdiction over Islam’s holiest mosques, engenders rampant misogyny, anti-democratic obscurantism and an archaic legal code, which includes an un-Koranic prohibition on non-Muslim religious buildings in Islamic lands. Switzerland now joins Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan in banning the buildings of non-dominant faiths.

When European Muslims unthinkingly endorse this warped theology by desiring medieval Sharia, defending honour killings, stoning to death, forced marriages, Muslim exceptionalism and a separatist society, they only invoke fear and exacerbate anti-Muslim sentiment. When Europe’s Muslims extol such un-Koranic doctrines as the niqab (face veil), they exclude themselves from the mainstream.

Only when Muslim immigrants and converts in Europe reject the twisted ideology of a fundamentalist male clergy will the chief causes of anti-Muslim prejudice in Europe recede. Meanwhile, despite the Islamophobic minaret ban, the religious rights of Swiss Muslims remain intact. They do, however, have a rare opportunity to cut the link with the dominant theology of the East and to restore Islam’s pristine beliefs.


British coverup culture going strong

The dinner lady sacked after revealing to a pupil’s parents that their daughter had been viciously bullied has lost an appeal to win back her job. The school had tried to cover up the full scale of the incident, in which the seven-year-old was tied to a fence and whipped by four boys, leaving her with rope burns. The girl’s parents Scott and Claire David were merely told she had been hurt in an incident with a skipping rope. They did not learn the truth until a chance conversation with dinner lady Carol Hill, who had found the sobbing girl.

But a shocked Mrs Hill, 60, was then accused of breaching pupil confidentiality and subsequently sacked from her job at Great Tey Primary School, near Colchester in Essex. And on Friday her appeal to win her job back was dismissed. She said she was ‘bitterly disappointed’ at the ‘unbelievable’ decision.

It is all the more surprising because a day before the hearing Schools Secretary Ed Balls wrote to Robert Deal, the chairman of the governors, demanding an investigation into the school’s ‘totally inadequate’ handling of the affair. Mr Balls wrote: ‘Despite previous correspondence from the Department in which we have set out our expectations that there were lessons to be learned, the school appears to have once again dismissed the concerns of Mr & Mrs David. 'There is more that the school should be doing. Your written response to Mr David’s complaint is totally inadequate and does not follow the school’s published procedure.’

Emerging from the appeal hearing close to tears, Mrs Hill said: ‘I told the truth and acted with the best interests of the child in my heart. I don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong any more. I feel very badly about the way the school’s treated me.’ She said she had been overwhelmed by support from well-wishers and intended to take the case further.

Mrs Hill said: ‘I found Chloe tied to a chain-link fence with a skipping rope. Two seven-year-olds were standing guard, while two older boys had a rope in their hands. I’ve never seen that level of bullying before.’ Yet Chloe’s parents were simply informed in a note from headmistress Deborah Crabb: ‘Chloe was hurt by some other children so to reassure you they missed part of their lunch time.’ The version of events recorded in the school accident book, however, says: ‘Chloe has been tied up and then hit with a skipping rope – red marks on right leg and right wrist.’

Mr David, 33, a steel worker, said: ‘I’m disgusted that the school has been able to cover everything up. We back Mrs Hill totally.’

Further questions were raised after it emerged that a parent of one of the alleged bullies is a governor at the school. The governors have now been told by Mr Balls to initiate a complaints process by December 4 and complete it within 15 days. Several of Mrs Hill’s supporters have threatened to withdraw their children from the school, and say they hope Ms Crabb will face disciplinary action.


Jihad, Inc. Domestic terrorism is not the end of the Islamists’ American project

As we struggle to come to terms with the Fort Hood massacre, the first thing to do — if we want to prevent such terrorism from becoming a regular event — is to understand why it happened and who or what is to blame for it. Despite the mainstream media’s efforts to present Fort Hood as an unfortunate episode of random violence — a crazed gunman just happened to shout “Allahu akbar!” — there was nothing random about it. Rather, it was the preordained, indeed inevitable, outcome of the cancerous growth of radical Islam in America. Nor is Major Hasan’s transformation into a jihadist willing to murder his fellow citizens an isolated case. In the last six months alone, at least 20 homegrown Muslim extremists were arrested by the FBI for planning terrorist attacks in Colorado, Detroit, New York City, Dallas, and Newburgh, N.Y. Like Major Hasan, who was radicalized in Islamist mosques in Falls Church, Va., and Silver Spring, Md., these American Muslims embraced terrorism upon being radicalized by American imams and mosques.

So we must begin by trying to understand what radical Islam is, what it’s not, and how it turns American-born Muslims into jihadist time bombs. The problem is not simply that in radical Islam this country faces a well-entrenched domestic enemy, but that the current administration, like the three that preceded it, has not shown any sign of understanding this reality, let alone a willingness to confront it.

Simply put, radical Islam, though operating under the guise of religion and claiming to work in religion’s behalf, is less a religious movement than a revolutionary ideology akin to 20th-century totalitarian creeds like Nazism and Communism. It seeks religious legitimacy by embracing violent, reactionary, and obscurantist sharia doctrine — along with extremist interpretations of Islam, such as Wahhabism and Salafism — but it is quintessentially totalitarian in that it denies the legitimacy of Western civilization and the secular democratic order; these it considers to be jahiliyya — “barbarism” — in the words of the patron saint of Islamism, Sayyid Qutb. What is new in the Islamists’ presentation of the West as the implacable enemy of Islam is the framing of Islam’s conflict with it in apocalyptic, Manichean terms. The result is the demonization of the West as a subhuman civilization that must be destroyed if Islam is to survive and triumph. This demonization is coupled with the outright rejection of the possibility of peaceful coexistence between Islam and any other religion or ideology in the long term. Here it is important to note that radical Islam sees itself as the perfect, God-ordained fusion of state and religion (din wa dawla) and, therefore, non-religious doctrines such as nationalism, socialism, and capitalism are seen as threats equal to those presented by other religions.

Like its erstwhile totalitarian confreres, radical Islam advocates a millenarian utopia — to take the form, in this case, of worldwide Muslim rule by the “Caliphate.” Interestingly, the concept of the Caliphate is nowhere to be found in either the Koran or the Sunna; it bears more resemblance to the perfected societies dreamed of by Western dictators. Another concept borrowed by Islamism from European totalitarianism is the Leninist doctrine of the vanguard party. Much like Lenin vis-à-vis the proletariat, Sayyid Qutb (1906–1966), who first applied Lenin’s vanguard theory to radical Islam, did not put much stock in the revolutionary potential of the Muslim masses. He believed that a small core of professional Islamic revolutionaries was essential to the success of the Islamist movement. Qutb’s Islamist-vanguard theory, as further developed by today’s leading Islamist ideologue, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, is a key to understanding the role of Muslim Brotherhood activists and affiliated organizations in making radical Islam the dominant idiom of the Muslim establishment in America.

And it is impossible to grasp Islamist ideology without understanding that Islamic extremists consider Muslims who do not share their radical views no less the enemy than the infidels. The practice of declaring a practicing Muslim who does not agree with you an apostate (takfir) was first propounded by the founder of Wahhabism, Abd al-Wahhab, in the 18th century, but it was Sayyid Qutb who developed the theory of a “Muslim jahiliyya” and proclaimed that Muslim rulers and societies that have not imposed sharia rule are apostates to be treated accordingly. This not only stands the Koran on its head but is largely responsible for the fact that the vast majority of the victims of Islamic violence in the past decades have been other Muslims — a fact whose continuing truth is lamentably demonstrated, on a daily basis, by the Taliban.

Islamists believe that to achieve their objectives they must first destroy Western civilization — beginning with the United States, its most powerful protector. This does not mean that violence is always the first resort. Violence is invariably seen as an essential instrument in the Islamist arsenal, but, in the current state of Islamic weakness and American strength, the preferred tactics are proselytism, indoctrination, infiltration, and undermining American society from within. Islamists seek to destroy the West “with their [i.e., the West’s] own hands,” as one Muslim Brotherhood document put it — which is to say, by exploiting the rights and freedoms our democratic system guarantees.

It is important to keep in mind that while terrorism is the inevitable outcome of Islamic extremism in America, it is not the primary objective — or even a very important objective — of the organized Islamist networks insinuated into our society. Terrorism takes place, and will continue to take place, because individuals who have been indoctrinated by radical imams to hate their country and compatriots as the very incarnation of evil will often take things into their own hands. But for the leaders and ideologues of radical Islam, domestic terrorism could prove tactically counterproductive to the achievement of their larger objectives; they do not, as rule, encourage it explicitly.

This is not to say that leading U.S. Islamists and Islamist organizations disapprove of violence or suicide terrorism at all. On the contrary, most of them wholeheartedly support virtually all overseas terrorist groups, such as Hamas and the Taliban, both morally and financially, as testified to by the large number of American Islamists already sitting in jail. To judge the role of radical Islam in America on the basis of whether it is involved in direct support for domestic terrorism is to dramatically underestimate a vastly greater threat this fifth column represents to our security. Terrorism is only a symptom of the underlying malignancy of Islamic extremism, and to deal with it while ignoring the malignancy is akin to fighting cancer by alleviating the pain it causes.

Armed with their radical ideology and amply endowed with Saudi funds, committed cadres of professional revolutionaries from the Muslim Brotherhood descended on America in the early 1960s and, as they did throughout the West, began to build an infrastructure for radical Islam, starting with the Muslim Students Association (MSA) in 1963. In short order, a great number of Islamist organizations, professional associations, youth groups, publishing houses, and charities were spun off from this “student” association, allowing it to boast that, under its auspices, “nearly every other major Muslim organization (in America) was formed.” Their formation was anything but haphazard. They were conceived as integral parts of a larger network designed to serve a clearly defined purpose. The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), for example, was envisioned as an umbrella organization that would become the “nucleus for the Islamic Movement in North America.” The North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) was vested with control of Wahhabi-funded institutions, while the Islamic Circle of North America was designed to be the primary outreach agency for Subcontinental Muslims, with Urdu its official language.

The network has expanded greatly since then, with the MSA alone boasting 1,000 chapters in North America. ISNA and NAIT directly control many hundreds of mosques. Each of these groups is part of the same radical-Islamic construct. What all have in common, apart from their common roots and the ideology they share, is their persistent claim to be independent and mainstream representatives of American Muslims, a claim that is all too often accepted uncritically by government institutions and even law-enforcement agencies. And while all these groups routinely deny having sympathy for or ties to radical Islam, they don’t go out of their way to hide their true beliefs or their intimate ties to other members of the network. This is evident in their identical policy positions, their close and synergistic cooperation, and their vehement opposition to all U.S. policies seen as detrimental to Islamist objectives. It is especially evident in the network of interlocking directorships that links their close-knit leaders (or “vanguard,” in Qutb’s terms) — a network that leaves no doubt that they are indeed one and the same organization.

They also share a source of funding. It is impossible to understand the explosive growth of these radical networks — in both the U.S. and Europe, at a time when Muslim populations were still relatively small — without considering the role of Saudi money. Flush with cash after the 1973 oil embargo, which resulted in a nearly hundredfold increase in the kingdom’s oil revenues over the following ten years, the Saudis dramatically boosted their financial support for radical Islam worldwide, especially in the West. According to Saudi government figures, Riyadh provided $48 billion to support Islamic activities abroad between 1975 and 1987, or some $4 billion per annum. All in all, these figures show that in the period between 1973 and 2002, Saudi Arabia spent more than $80 billion to promote Islamic activities in the non-Muslim world alone. This truly colossal sum has built a huge network of radical Wahhabi-controlled institutions, including more than 1,500 mosques, 150 Islamic centers, 202 Muslim colleges, and 2,000 Islamic schools — all of these in non-Muslim countries. As a result, there is hardly a city of any size in America or Europe today that does not have a Saudi-controlled institution preaching extremism and spewing hatred against Western civilization, directly or indirectly advocating its destruction.

In practical terms, the Islamist networks in America have focused their efforts on several areas and produced results that, taken together, account for much of the radicalization of American Islam over the last three decades. These efforts included imposing their ideology on American Islam, taking over moderate Muslim institutions, radicalizing mainstream believers, indoctrinating the young, aggressively proselytizing among the infidels, infiltrating government institutions and the political establishment, and organizing support for extremist causes and jihad overseas.

In many of these areas, the Islamists have been hugely successful. On the issue of ideological penetration, Hudson Institute scholars Nina Shea and Paul Marshall have documented the universal spread of Wahhabi/Salafist ideology and literature in American mosques. Here are a few examples of the kind of religious wisdom they found disseminated:

— “Democracy is an evil system” and the “very embodiment of unbelief,” so Muslims must reject it.

— Interfaith dialogue is a “sinful call” because it “breaks down the wall of resentment between Muslims and unbelievers.”

—Freedom of religion is forbidden because “it allows denial of Islam.” Accepting any religion other than Islam makes you “an apostate, and you should be killed because you have denied the Koran.”

—“Believers must hate [the infidels] for their religion . . . and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law.”

—“Whoever believes that Christians and Jews worship God is an infidel.”

—“Innovative” imams are “heretics and their prayers are invalid.”

—“Muslims must be protected from the barbarian culture of Europe.”

Indoctrination (known as tarbiya) in Islamist ideology has been a main concern of radical groups. They seek to spread their ideas across all levels of Muslim society, with a special emphasis on children and youth. Today, unbeknownst to the vast majority of Americans, there are schools in the United States that start their morning Pledge of Allegiance with “I pledge allegiance to Allah and his Prophet.”

The proselytistic effort to convert the infidels to Islam, known as dawah in Islamic jargon, is an important enterprise for the radical networks, and special dawah departments exist in virtually all Islamist organizations. Proselytizing campaigns are far from random; some social groups are deemed more responsive to the Islamist message than others and accordingly subjected to special attention. They tend to be groups seen as aggrieved and alienated from society, such as minorities and prison inmates. Black Americans became an early focus and were considered especially promising. Two subgroups of the black population were targeted in particular: those in the penitentiary system, and members of the Nation of Islam. Reliable figures about the success of this campaign are difficult to obtain, but circumstantial evidence seems to point to significant progress of dawah efforts among blacks. Prison officials, for instance, estimated in the mid-1990s that between 10 and 20 percent of the nation’s 1.5 million inmates — who are disproportionately black — identified themselves as Muslims, and some 30,000 black Americans were reported to convert to Islam in prison every year.

Last and most disturbing, radical Islam has without a doubt made significant inroads in its quest to infiltrate our government and institutions. Consider the case of Abdurahman Alamoudi, which is typical of the Islamist modus operandi. In October 2004 he was sentenced to 23 years in prison for terrorism-related activities, and he is currently in a federal penitentiary. Prior to that, he had been a kingpin of the Islamist network: He was a top official in a dozen major Islamist organizations and in five charities suspected of funding terrorism. Despite that, he evidently enjoyed unimpeded access to the White House under Presidents Clinton and Bush (43). He also served as a State Department “goodwill ambassador” in the Middle East and as a U.S. Information Agency speaker abroad. Most important, he founded an organization called the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council and established it as the exclusive authority for endorsing Muslim chaplains in all branches of the U.S. armed forces, enabling it to place extremists in the military virtually at will.

It was within this vast subversive enterprise that Major Hasan, like thousands of others, became radicalized — long before the war in Iraq came along. It is not difficult to trace his transformation into a mass murderer by simply looking at the institutions in which he was indoctrinated: First, Dar al-Hijrah in Falls Church, Va., one of the largest and most radical mosques in the country, where his mentor was Imam Anwar al-Aulaqi, an American-born advocate of jihad and suicide bombing; then the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, Md., under Imam Faizul Khan, another Muslim extremist, an influential figure in the Washington Islamist scene and an official at both the Islamic Society of North America (an unindicted co-conspirator in a terror-finance trial) and the Saudi-backed Muslim World League.

This troubling picture will surely get worse unless the U.S. government, at long last, decides to take a close look inside radical Islam within the United States.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


1 December, 2009

Racial Classification ...

... begets hypersensitivity to race

From today’s Columbia Spectator (sent by a reader), about new federal requirements for the collection of racial data from educational institutions:
Now, members of some campus groups are dismayed to see their complex ethnic identities boiled down to a simple box, one they say is both demeaning and inaccurate....

The campus Arab students’ organization Turath expressed dismay with this new set of guidelines and Yasmina Raiani CC ’12, the group’s secretary, sent a personal message replying to University survey requests, saying she would not participate in a classification system that she found both insulting and inaccurate.

“It clumps individuals of North African and Middle Eastern descent into ‘white,’ which is not only superficially inaccurate—in that the actual skin tone range of North African and Middle Eastern peoples is more akin to that of Hispanics/Latinos than it is to Caucasians—but also historically insensitive,” Raiani wrote to the University. “To identify Arabs as ‘white’ is to disregard our history as members of the colonized world and to dismiss all acts of racial discrimination against our community.”
The group, Raiani says, objects “to any identification system that requires people to fit themselves in a category that they cannot be defined according to their individual experiences.”

What a relief! All these years I’ve thought that the sense of “otherness” imposed on me at Stanford reflected some personal failing. Now I know that it’s because I was deprived of the opportunity — no, right! — to define myself on any application or form as “American/Southern/Jewish.” And, now that I’ve asked her, I learn that my wife has been a long-suffering victim of the same hegemonic oppression, since Penn never allowed her to define herself as Half Jewish/Half Irish.

Jessie, our soon-to-be Ph.D. daughter, is barely aware of the fact that she’s half-Southern, three-quarters Jewish, one-quarter Irish, but I blame that not on her upbringing, such as it was, but on the fact that neither Bryn Mawr nor Caltech ever allowed her to confront and express her true identity.


Planned Parenthood drops lawsuit against former director

Planned Parenthood has quietly dropped its lawsuit against the former director of its Bryan health center who quit her job after observing an abortion procedure. Among other accusations, Planned Parenthood falsely claimed she violated a confidentiality agreement and breached an employment contract, though she never had one with the clinic. ADF attorneys provided legal assistance to Johnson and the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life.

“This was the latest in a series of national Planned Parenthood scandals,” said ADF Senor Legal Counsel Steven H. Aden. “It wasn’t about one woman or one clinic. Planned Parenthood is a national organization that has been kept afloat by hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer funding. The American people need to understand that this organization has been involved in scandal after scandal and has never owned up to them. Like so many Planned Parenthood lawsuits, this lawsuit was baseless, so we are pleased that it has been withdrawn.”

The order withdrawing the lawsuit, Planned Parenthood of Houston and Southeast Texas v. Johnson, was issued by the Brazos County District Court, 85th Judicial District.

Employed with Planned Parenthood for eight years, Johnson, the 2008 employee of the year for Planned Parenthood’s southeast Texas region, says she was put under duress by her employer in August when her clinic was economically pressured to perform more abortions to raise profits. After recently being required to assist in an ultrasound-guided abortion procedure which she observed on screen, Johnson decided to resign.

Johnson says she changed her view about abortion after seeing the pre-born child--of 13 weeks--in the ultrasound curl away from the abortion instrument inserted to end his or her life. She has since accepted employment with the Brazos Valley Coalition for Life, a community-based Christian pro-life organization.


British paedophiles continued as social workers because of watchdog failings

The bureaucracy can harass ordinary blameless Brits but not deal with actual offenders in its own ranks

Social workers who abused children were left free to carry on working because of critical failings by the watchdog in charge of them, an inquiry has found. Hundreds of social services staff accused of disciplinary breaches, including paedophile offences, were left free to look after vulnerable people while decisions about whether they should be suspended or struck off were delayed.

Hearings into their cases were put off for months, and in some cases years, so that the regulator could delay paying the costs, according to a report for ministers. Some of the most serious cases were abandoned with "little or no" investigation, by staff who felt under pressure to shelve cases regardless of the dangers to the public.

The head of the General Social Care Council (GSCC) was quietly sacked this month after investigators unearthed a catalogue of failings by the watchdog. Mike Wardle, the organisation's chief executive, was dismissed under the GSCC's own conduct procedures.

On Tuesday, the Government will announce proposals to extend training for junior social workers, and to increase pay for the most experienced practitioners on the front line. Ed Balls, the Children's Secretary, has defended his handling of the Baby Peter scandal and said a new Royal College of Social Work would speak up for the profession.

Among the social workers who remained free to work for months after allegations were lodged with the GSCC were individuals who were later struck off for sexually abusing their own children, or for repeated attacks on young girls in care homes, according to evidence seen by The Sunday Telegraph.

Delayed cases for which adjudications have been published by the GSCC include:

– Senior social worker Douglas Makey, struck off in September for grooming and sexually abusing girls at a children's home in Gravesend, Kent, stayed on the social work register for eight months after the complaint against him went to regulators.

– A man struck off last month for a seven-year campaign of sexual abuse of his partner's young daughter, remained on the register for 11 months after the allegations were raised. Another who abused his three-year-old son was only suspended three months after the complaint was lodged.

– It was three months before Christopher Hardman, from Batley, Yorkshire, was removed from the register after regulators were told he had encouraged vulnerable teenagers to pose naked for cash.

– Craig McLoughlin, from Sheffield, was free to work for four years after an incident in which he encouraged a recovering alcoholic to drink whisky, while informing pubgoers that he was the man's social worker.

– The GSCC's conduct committee said it was "lamentable" that Andrew Forbes McLauchlan, from East Sussex, had carried on working for three years with complaints against him pending. A charge of dishonesty was upheld but no sanction was imposed, due in part to the time elapsed.

In the two years ending in March, the average delay between a complaint being lodged and a resulting suspension was more than seven months. Most complaints against social care staff are handled by councils, but the most serious allegations, such as those relating to child abuse, are referred to the GSCC, which holds the register for social workers. Ministers ordered an investigation after the watchdog was discovered to have built up a backlog of hundreds of complaints. A report to Parliament says:

* Staff at the regulator felt under pressure to delay or abandon complaints against social workers, "regardless of the public protection implications," in order to ensure the regulator kept within its budget.

* The risks of allowing social workers accused of abuses to continue working were ignored, or decisions were left to junior clerical staff.

* Many cases were abandoned before reaching disciplinary proceedings, with little or no attempt to seek information from police or the councils employing the social workers. In some instances, even evidence of criminal convictions went unprobed.

* One case was dropped on the insistence of the social worker under investigation that there was no danger to the public – with no corroborating evidence.

Ministers ordered the investigation by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE)- an independent body which reports to Parliament – after a backlog of 200 complaints was discovered at the GSCC. The inquiry's report concludes that the watchdog's practices were so poor that it was impossible to estimate the level of danger posed to the public by social workers whose conduct failings were delayed or never fully investigated.

The CHRE found that a backlog of disciplinary allegations against social workers had been allowed to grow for several years. By early 2007, more than 700 disciplinary proceedings against social workers were "delayed in the system".

But the CHRE identified a deliberate change in policy immediately after the appointment of Mr Wardle, a former private secretary to David Blunkett, as GSCC chief executive in September of the same year, when the board decided not to schedule any conduct hearings until the start of the next financial year – six months later – in order to save money. Investigators said: "All the staff we spoke to within the conduct team were consistent in informing us that they felt pressured by the executive in 2007/2008 into not proceeding with conduct cases, regardless of the public protection implications, because of budget restrictions". Board meetings noted the change in policy from September 2007.

Of a backlog of 200 cases found in July this year, many had not been risk-assessed, and 21 were quickly identified by the GSCC as involving an "ongoing risk of harm" to members of the public. The regulator insists employers were aware of and "managing the risks" or the person was no longer working as a social worker – as far as the council which had previously employed them was able to ascertain.

The inquiry found that cases involving serious allegations, and even cases where social workers had already been convicted in criminal courts, were closed with "little and sometimes no attempt" to seek further information from employers or police.

Norman Lamb, the Liberal Democrat health spokesman, described the investigation's findings as "absolutely shocking". He said: "The situation the report describes is a total abdication of responsibility, which has left children, and vulnerable adults at risk. These failures bring the whole system of social work into disrepute."

The GSCC's chairman, Rosie Varley, appointed last November, said: "As soon as we identified potential risks to public protection, we took immediate action to address these. We now risk-assess all cases within 24 hours of receipt and apply for an interim suspension order within 48 hours. The backlog of cases is cleared and our chief executive has been dismissed."

Harry Cayton, chief executive of the CHRE, which carried out the inquiry, said investigators were shocked to discover that the whole operation of the regulator was "fundamentally flawed". He accused the GSCC of a "significant failure of governance" in allowing the situation to develop.

The Department of Health said it was working closely with the social work regulator to ensure it had the right systems in place to carry out its duties.


Kneejerk British regulators lose one

It has survived a cocaine scandal, incontinent elephants and vandals in its world-famous garden, so perhaps the odds were always against Blue Peter being sunk by Gordon Brown. Yet that is exactly what the BBC feared would happen when they heard of Whitehall reforms that would have banned children under 14 from taking part in factual television programmes.

Senior broadcast executives and programme-makers are said to have “nearly had a fit” after learning of the Government’s plans to ensure that younger children could appear on television only if they were singing, acting or dancing.

Now the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) has scrapped the plans after being told that it would make long-running and respected programmes such as Blue Peter and Newsround impossible to produce.

The industry lobbied to scrap the proposals, which were introduced after concern about the treatment of children in shows such as Boys and Girls Alone, a Channel 4 programme in which primary school children were filmed fighting and crying as they apparently lived without adults. The proposal was to be published in September but was postponed after broadcasters, including the BBC and Channel 4, presented ministers with a list of more than 100 programmes that they claimed would be unworkable. They said that shows such as Junior Masterchef and Me and My Movie, a CBBC programme in which children send in their own productions, would have to be withdrawn.

Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for Children, telephoned senior broadcasting executives this month to say that the plans had been abandoned. It is understood that ministers did not want another public spat in which they were accused of extending the nanny state, after an embarrassing row over whether parents who look after each other’s children should have to register with Ofsted, the education watchdog. A committee of experts will now be formed to draw up a report on the issue.

John McVay, the chief executive of Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television (Pact), which represents independent production companies, said: “This is a victory for common sense. The industry has really got itself together and demonstrated that it can all pull together in the right direction.”

The child protection lobby is angry about the decision to scrap the plans, and is also unhappy with a ruling by Ofcom last week that ITV had not broken broadcasting rules when Hollie Steel, 10, to burst into tears after she forgot the words to a song while performing on Britain’s Got Talent. The watchdog said that due care had been taken of Hollie’s welfare and that of other child contestants on the show.

One group, led by Melanie Gill, the forensic child psychologist, called for an ethics panel to be set up under Ofcom that would have the power to block children participating in programmes considered not psychologically safe.

The DCSF said: “The Department has been working closely with broadcasters, local authorities and other stakeholders in reviewing the Children’s Entertainment Regulations to identify whether the rules dating back to 1960s need updating. “This is not about clamping down on popular talent programmes but making sure that the regulations and guidance, which haven’t been updated in 40 years, enables children to take full advantage of the opportunities television and other forms of entertainment can offer in a safe and sensible way.” [Bulldust, Bulldust, Bulldust]



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 or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

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."

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amedment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

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