The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

The primary version of "Political Correctness Watch" is HERE The Blogroll; John Ray's Home Page; Email John Ray here. Other mirror sites: Greenie Watch, Dissecting Leftism, Education Watch, Gun Watch, Socialized Medicine, Recipes, Australian Politics, Tongue Tied, Immigration Watch, Eye on Britain and Food & Health Skeptic. For a list of backups viewable in China, see here. (Click "Refresh" on your browser if background colour is missing). See here or here for the archives of this site.

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 July, 2013

Feminism as a form of racism

Below are some angry and foul-mouthed comments from Clementine Ford, an Australian feminist.  She is fired up about women getting more "recognition".   But how is that different from racism?  She sees herself not as an individual, but as a member of a valued group.  In her Fascist mind, people are divided into two groups: Men (evil) and women (virtuous):  Not all that different from Hitler.  Men by contrast don't think of themselves as primarily "men".  They think of themselves in much less broad categories.  My most common self-description, for instance, is "a born academic".  It never occurs to me to mention that I am a male.

And this refusal to treat people as just people, but instead  obsessing over what lies between their legs, is irritating. Feminist assertion tends to produce a backlash. Mostly men just shake their heads at it but, given anonymity, they may say what they really think of it and of the shrews who utter it.  Many people object to racism.  It is equally reasonable to object to feminism

Note her use of "we" in the last paragraph.  It could have come from a Hitler speech and is equally deluded and equally angry.  She just can't think of herself as an individual.  Her illusory "tribe" is all.  Women are in fact quite prone to hating one-another, as we see here.  And read here the scorn that a female literary critic heaps on Jane Austen!

When UK journalist and co-founder of The Women's Room Caroline Criado-Perez spearheaded a campaign to replace Charles Darwin’s image with Jane Austen’s on a British banknote, her efforts were rewarded by a sustained Twitter attack from some of the more repugnant turds excreted by society’s sulphurous bottom.

Within hours, Criado-Perez’ experience reinforced what female users of Twitter have known since its launch - that the social media site woefully fails to support the vast network of women who are subjected to abuse (often graphic and violent) simply for daring to have claim space in the ‘conversation’ that Twitter positions itself as being the locus of. She is now leading a campaign similar to the #fbrape one conducted a few months ago, with the intention of having Twitter become more accountable for the way their platform is used. Twitter has been threatened with a mass boycott on August 4 from prominent celebrities, MPs and writers should they continue to sidestep responsibility over the issue. (So far, Twitter UK general manager Tony Wang has responded by stating that they are looking at simplifying the process of reporting offensive tweets.)

The question of what can be done to counter gendered online abuse is routinely painted as a woman’s problem to solve with the most frequently offered directive being to ‘just ignore it’. Having experienced such unwelcome intrusions on repeated occasions, I am familiar with those responses aimed at discrediting the justifiable anger of being told, for example, that even though you’re too ugly to rape, you probably still deserve it. ‘Don’t pay attention to them’, such advice dictates. ‘You’re only giving them the attention they want.’ Or, ‘You have X number of followers, and this person only has a handful. Why are you abusing your power like this?’

Occasionally, I have been lectured on my attempts to ‘shut down free speech’ - as if it is my objection to sexual assault being used as a warning that threatens the fabric of society, and not the fact that some people still find it a useful tool of debate.

Criado-Perez quite rightly calls bullshit on this tactic, advocating instead a commitment to ‘shout back’. Ignoring abuse doesn’t make it go away. Believe me, I know. What it does is make you feel invaded, powerless and (if the troll in question seems to have a greater than usual insight into your online activities) vaguely paranoid. Too often, trolls are left untended simply because they are invisible. They are the Peeping Toms of the online world - they can peer through your windows, but you can’t see their faces. So to stop them from salivating over your distress, you become weathered against their hatred.

These misogynists ejaculate their rage all over the internet, using their threat of both a rutting penis and the denial of it to try and keep women in their place. It happened to Lindy West when she criticised the abundance of jokes about rape. It happened to Marion Bartoli when she won Wimbledon, and viewers decided she was too ugly and unf--kable to deserve this honour......

Well, women aren’t going to roll over and ignore it. We’re not going to enable their entitlement by keeping our mouths shut. Like Criado-Perez says, we’re shouting back - and if these misogynist troglodytes don’t like the sound of one banshee standing up for herself, they’re going to really hate it what it sounds like when millions of us do it together.


An Englishman in England might go to prison for calling an MP a coward

This story deserves as much coverage as possible.  Think about it. A man called Alex Cline is being prosecuted simply for calling an MP a coward.

I am not blaming the MP whose complaint led to this grotesque prosecution, though I hope even his party faithful refuse in disgust to vote for him at the next election. No, he did not decide that Mr. Cline should be prosecuted. In any case, I am grateful for this prosecution - because we now know how authoritarian English law has become. Except only readers of the Brighton and Hove local press do. The news may have travelled as far as Eastbourne or Worthing and it also reached someone who put it on on Facebook, where I came across it.

It is the law I criticise, but much more the culture and thinking from which the law springs. Rod Liddle a few months ago wrote with characteristic brilliance about this law here.

Liddle is witty but there is nothing light-hearted about the subject of freedom of speech, which is far more important than sex equality or the state of Britain's hospitals. I wrote about the threats to freedom of speech a few days ago here, but I am no longer sure that threats is the right word. In many ways freedom of speech no longer exists in the UK, though it flourishes in the former Communist countries, such as Romania, for the time being.

What an increasingly fascist society England now is. Not just a fascist state, but a fascist society, that goes along with this kind of thing. The suggestion that the police and the courts  are not justified in preventing people being offended is very alien to the spirit of modern day England. The idea that the state can run businesses has been debunked but not the idea that it can tell people how they should live. The idea that extensions of state power limit freedom does not make a lot of sense to most English people any more, provided that the state's intentions are supposedly benign. Mussolini's definition of fascism is largely true of English society:

“Everything in the state, nothing outside the state.”

William Pitt the Elder famously said that the poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. Why don't Prime Ministers say things like this any more instead of talking about schools and hospitals and economic growth?

Partly because there are all sorts of reasons why the forces of the Crown or other authorities can enter the poor man's cottage without a warrant or process of law or tap his telephone or read his correspondence. They can demolish his cottage and they certainly insist that it is fitted with fire alarms that go off continually if the poor man leaves the kitchen door open while cooking his meagre breakfast.

Actually, the poor man left his cottage long ago and it was bought by a rich stockbroker who only spends the occasional weekend there, but this is beside the point. The poor man does not repine. He no longer goes to his local public house, where he discussed politics with his pals, because it was closed due to the ban on smoking, so he sits at home drinking lager from the supermarket, which will soon become more expensive when minimum alcohol pricing becomes law. He spends his evening watching propaganda on television or pornography on the internet. He is content.


"Appropriate Thought" in the media

Fred Reed

People sometimes ask me why the media are so obtuse, why they seem to have so little grasp of the country they live in, and why the internet is eating them alive. 

I ask them to think of Tom Clancy. He wrote a book that with its children would be worth many, many  millions of dollars, and shopped it around the publishing houses of New York. They all bounced it. No interest. It probably got no further than a first reader, a recent co-ed at Barnard who thought a submarine was a sandwich. Clancy? Some crackpot who thinks he can write.

He sent it to the Naval Institute Press, which published it. It took off hugely. Only then did New York get involved.

You might ask: Why did the sophisticated (one would think) professionals of publishing, highly intelligent, very educated, with long years in the book racket—why did they not grab at The Hunt for Red October? Certainly it wasn´t a conspiracy. Nobody conspires not to make money.

The answer: They live in a bubble. They eat together, drink together, talk to each other. They think in unison. They largely went to the same schools, Ivies. They could all join Mensa if they wanted, but they don´t, because in New York you don´t have to hunt for smart company. They all know who Zola was. They can tell Goya from El Greco at a glance.

But they have never worked night shift in a gas station on a lonely road in Tennessee, shopped at Walmart, been in the same room with a firearm much less hunted deer, or been more than twenty feet from a flush toilet. The Hunt for...what? Some book about—some sort of submarine thing, wasn´t it? Who would read that?

So with the media. They are concentrated in Washington and New York. They don´t get out much. Editors naturally tend to hire people who agree with them, so everyone does. (I knew a couple of closet conservatives in the newsroom of the Washington Post, but they kept their heads down.) Papers say they want diversity in the newsroom, but by this they mean people of different colors who think the same things.

And of course diversity in the newsroom means homogeneity in the news: If you are, say, a white man sitting in a room with blacks, lesbians, real women, homosexuals and Chicanas, you can´t say anything that might offend any of them, because you have to sit next to them again the next day.

Reporters don´t have much curiosity. Go to NBC Washington and ask the editor whether she has been to Idaho to get to know the militias, (”Jesus, those crazies?”) or spent enough time in a police car to learn what actually goes on (“Oh god, oh god, I can´t put that on the air.”), or been in the military (“No, I was at Swarthmore.”), or spent a week in a cheap hotel in Bluefield, West Virginia to see what people think.

If she did go, she would overdress, seem a virtual space alien to the locals, and know so little of the culture that she couldn´t really talk to people. She would have her laptop, though, so she could read Salon.

The dinosaur media lose out to the internet because they not only don´t want to but can´t deal with things that most stir the populace: race, wars, guns, abortion, separation of church and state, evolution, immigration. The velvet noose of political correctness ensures that only Appropriate Thought can be published. Those who deviate will be fired.

If you deal in opinion, you have to avoid upsetting the editor, the advertisers, your colleagues, the victim groups, and above all be politically correct. In columnists, papers want slot-fillers—the female liberal, female conservative, black liberal, and so on—who can be relied on not to say anything unexpected or controversial. Editors want adventure without danger. Thus the rule for an aspiring columnist for print publications is to choose a spot on the political spectrum and never deviate from it, even though he knows that much of it is nonsense. This keeps columnists boring.

It also creates huge openings for writers on the web. No paper on the planet would publish Fred on Everything, which means that it has no organized competition. Yet I have far more circulation than I did in what I once thought of as serious journalism. And this is why you can find better, more expert, and more thoughtful commentary on line than in the (as we say) Major Media.

And of course micropublications can afford to be as specialized as they choose in point of view, subject matter, and level of intelligence. A micropub doesn´t have to sacrifice quality of content to maximization of circulation to keep advertisers happy.

And so the bright drift to the web, leaving newspapers to clippers of grocery coupons and television to the semiliterate and below. It isn´t universal, but it is the trend line. The majors have a product with all the flavor of wallpaper paste and, now, a busted monopoly. Any mutt in Mexico with a computer and time on his hands can play Clark Kent, and it really is  the Daily Planet since that´s where people can read his outflow. My oh my.


Old Cancer-Sick Fan Rejected at Legoland Because He Didn't Bring a Kid


This is 63-year-old John St-Onge, a man who became a devoted Lego fan playing with his children many decades ago. Sick with cancer and diabetes, John and his now-adult daughter Nicole went to fulfill a dream: to visit Legoland Discovery Center in Toronto. He was denied entry.

Legoland employees told them that he couldn't get in because he didn't have any kids with him. The park cited child protection policies that prevent adults to get alone inside, stupidly implying that he—or any adult Lego fan—may be some kind of sexual predator. And they did so even while he was visiting the park with his daughter, who later said her dad was devastated by the rejection.

The whole episode is terribly unjust and sad. Lego is a company that appeals to everyone, from one- to 100-year-old people. And the park's direction is very aware that adult Lego fans are some of the company's highest spending clients. We love their product with a passion.

What's really weird is that I've been alone in the mothership's Legoland when I was a 36-year-old man, with no special press badge. I spent hours there and nobody batted an eyelid. John's episode doesn't make any sense.

Yet, in Legoland Discovery Centers—you can see part of the one in Westchester, New York in this image—adults can't get in to see the models. Apparently, that's the rule and there's no exceptions. Not even for cancer patients.

Sadly, John's too sick to travel to a big Legoland park. His dream was to go to the one next to the mothership, in Billund, Denmark. Perhaps Legoland should make an exception in some extreme cases like his.


Toronto's Legoland Discovery Center has published this in its Facebook page:

Thank you for all of your feedback in relation to our adult policy. All comments have been directed to the appropriate members of the extended team. We have been speaking with John and his daughter directly and can confirm that John is very much looking forward to his forthcoming visit to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Toronto, where he will enjoy one of our regular adult evening events. We look forward to welcoming him back soon.



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.



30 July, 2013

More multiculturalism in Britain

Yannick Ntesa, 25

A gang who laughed as they doused a woman in acid while she walked her six-year-old twins home from school have been jailed for a total of 44 years.

The attackers was heard laughing as the noxious liquid was sprayed at the screaming mother in front of her two boys outside Upton Cross Primary School in Upton Park, east London.

Speaking after the attack the woman, who suffered horrendous burns to her face and body, said: 'I saw a man approach me who was carrying something in a bottle.

'He threw it over me and after a few seconds it started burning. I was crying: "Please help me! Please help me!"'

The 44-year-old mother, from Plaistow, fled to a neighbour's home where water was poured over her burning clothes.  Some of the acid burnt her son's satchel while another mother also suffered minor injuries in the attack on March 24, 2011.

The victim was rushed to the Royal London Hospital and later transferred to a specialist burns unit in Chelmsford, Essex.  She suffered 16 per cent chemical burns and is still receiving medical treatment.

Following a six week trial at Blackfriars Crown Court a jury convicted Ntesa, Motno and Miah of conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and throwing a corrosive fluid on another with intent.

No motive was given for the attack but Detective Inspector John Reynolds, of Newham CID, said: 'This was a truly shocking attack on a mother who had her two very young children with her at the time.

'It was only by chance that those children were not seriously injured. They did however suffer terrible shock from seeing their own mother so horrifically assaulted.


Sniffer dogs offend Muslims in Britain

POLICE sniffer dogs trained to spot terrorists at railway stations may no longer come into contact with Muslim passengers – after complaints that it is against the suspects’ religion.

A report for the Transport Department has raised the prospect that the animals should only touch passengers’ luggage because it is considered “more acceptable”.

In the Muslim faith, dogs are deemed to be spiritually “unclean”. But banning them from touching passengers would severely restrict their ability to do their job.

The report follows trials of station security measures in the wake of the 2005 London suicide bomb attacks. In one trial, some female Muslims said the use of a body scanner was also unacceptable because it was tantamount to being forced to strip.

British Transport Police last night insisted it would still use sniffer dogs – which are trained to detect explosives – with any passengers regardless of faith, but handlers would remain aware of “cultural sensitivities”.

Critics said the complaints were just the latest example of minority religions trying to force their rules and morals on British society.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: “As far as I am concerned, everyone should be treated equally in the face of the law and we cannot have people of different religious groups laying the law down. I hope the police will go about their business as they would do normally.”

News of the security setback came as the Government yesterday admitted that installing 100 per cent airport-style screening at rail and Tube stations was “not feasible”.

Instead extra sniffer dogs and X-ray machines will be used to search passengers.

During the trials, passengers stopped in London had the exterior of their bags checked by dogs. But in Brighton, dogs patrolled the station concourse and were walked past passengers by their handlers.

The report concluded: “The use of sniffer dogs was generally problem­atic for Muslim respondents on rel­igious grounds if there was the potential for the dog to make direct contact with them.”

When Muslims have washed for certain forms of worship, they would have to repeat the ritual if they came into contact with a dog.

One young Asian man told re­searchers: “We are not supposed to have dogs. It is against our religion.”

Another Asian man said: “I don’t mind dogs in the park or walking near me, but sniffer dogs? I don’t think that’s right, on the station, the way they use them.”

Massoud Shadjareh, chairman of the Islamic Human Rights Com­mission, said even dogs touching baggage would be an issue for a Muslim preparing to pray. But he stressed that it should be easy to allow dogs to check passengers without physical contact.

“There is a way of dealing with this and we just need to be sensitive,” he said.

In another trial on the Heathrow Express platform at Paddington station in London, there were inst­ances when the body scan – which creates an image on a monitor – was considered unacceptable by female Muslims, the report said.

One Muslim woman complained: “Sometimes I wear clothing which is not so tight. It will be shown on (the monitor) and somebody is looking at it. It defeats the whole purpose of me covering up.”

The report, on five rail security trials in 2006, also showed that some Asians and black people felt they could be selected for tests because of their ethnicity.

A Transport Department spokes­man said the use of sniffer dogs was a matter for the police. But he stressed that the report was only a conclusion of passengers’ views.

A British Transport Police spokes­man said sniffer dogs would continue to be used with any passenger but officers would be considerate where appropriate.

He added: “We are obviously aware of, and sensitive to, cultural sensitivities. BTP officers do have the power to stop and search anyone under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act.

“This also covers the use of dog handlers and dogs, which are used to ‘indicate’ any substance they have been trained to detect.

“As a force we obviously look at any or all feedback about how people from all faiths and backgrounds view the use of dogs, and how we can incorporate that into how the dogs and their handlers interact with people.”

Announcing new security measures to screen Tube and mainline rail passengers, the Government said yesterday that surveys had shown the public would be unlikely to accept major delays to journeys.

People also wanted to ensure their personal privacy was protected.

British Transport Police said it was enhancing its existing stop and search capabilities with the use of X-ray equipment for screening bags, along with the deployment of more sniffer dogs. It said a proportion of passengers and their bags would be searched with minimal delay and inconvenience to the public.

Transport Minister Tom Harris said: “We will continue to work with British Transport Police and rail operators to assess the effectiveness and impact of these new measures.

“We will use this evidence, and that from elsewhere in the UK and abroad, to develop further ways of keeping the travelling public secure using proportionate measures.”


Israel freezes co-operation with EU in Palestinian territories

Move follows European Union directive banning funding for bodies linked with Israeli settlements

Israel has frozen co-operation with the European Union on work in the Palestinian territories in retaliation for an EU directive banning funding or grants for bodies with links to Israeli settlements.

The move, authorised by the defence minister, Moshe Ya'alon, affects all projects requiring permits from the Civil Administration, which governs Area C, the 60% of the West Bank under full Israeli control; access of EU diplomats and representatives to Area C and Gaza; and joint meetings.

No permits have been issued to EU humanitarian aid workers to enter Gaza for several days, according to a western diplomatic source.

"We are freezing the relationship on everything," said an Israeli official. "We did this as soon as we heard [about the directive]. We can't act like nothing happened."

The EU provides aid and equipment to Palestinian communities in Area C, many of whom are threatened with displacement and the demolition of their homes, animal shelters and other structures. The EU also helps train Palestinian security forces.

The directive, published in Brussels last Friday, bans the award of grants, funding or prizes to Israeli institutions located in or with links to settlements across the pre-1967 line. It was met with a furious reaction in Israel, with some claiming it could derail moves towards resuming peace negotiations.

The EU is also considering guidelines for its member states on the labelling of goods and produce which hail from settlements in order to allow consumers to make informed choices on purchases.

The EU was "concerned by reports that the Israeli ministry of defence has announced a number of restrictions affecting EU activities supporting the Palestinian people", said an EU source in Israel. "We have not received any official communication from the Israeli authorities. Our delegations on the spot are seeking urgent clarifications."

The EU and the Civil Administration are thought to have had constructive dialogue over projects in Area C, despite the demolition and threatened demolition by the Israeli military of a number of structures, such as solar panels, funded by European NGOs.

In April, the EU missions in Ramallah and Jerusalem issued a statement criticising the destruction of 22 structures in eight locations in Area C.


Arab values in multicultural Australia

Inaizi is an Arab surname so I think we can guess Harbi's religion.  And we know what that religion teaches about women.  So Harbi is a perfectly upright citizen by his own predatory values.  He probably feels quite hard done by.  "Harbi" does mean "unbeliever" so he may not be a Muslim but he has clearly absorbed the culture

HE is accused of making sleazy comments to female passengers, lying about his driving history, overcharging, snubbing a customer with a guide dog and running a cyclist off the road then deliberately reversing over his bike.

But, despite on paper being a candidate for Sydney's worst cabbie, Harbi Inaizi still thinks he should be able to keep his taxi licence.

The 48-year-old yesterday made a last-ditch plea in the Administrative Decisions Tribunal to overturn a decision to strip him of his cab licence.

Roads and Maritime Services took Mr Inaizi's licence away after a woman, referred to only as Tracey, came forward about his "inappropriate comments of a sexual nature" during a taxi trip last year.

She claimed when she got in his Silver Service cab the driver kept veering across the road while trying to look at her in the back seat.

She said he started asking, "do you have a man at home waiting for you?" before telling her he "had sex with a girl from New Zealand four months ago ... it was good".

"I f ... better at 47 than at 20," he allegedly said before his passenger asked him to stop and she jumped out of the taxi.

Mr Inaizi earlier appealed the ban, saying he needed to keep his licence because he had a family of five to support.

He claimed there was no proof he was the driver in the Tracey incident, despite GPS records showing his cab made the trip, and said he would never speak to a woman that way.

But, in a decision earlier this year, the tribunal believed the woman's version of events and declared the cabbie unfit to keep his licence.

Mr Inaizi had previously been given a warning after a series of complaints dotted throughout his decade-long taxi history.

In 2011 a woman complained the driver told her "no, don't do that - I like it" after she pulled down her skirt while getting into his cab.

He was accused of running into a cyclist then backing his cab over the man's bike and destroying it when the rider caught up to him.

He also failed to reveal a string of traffic offences, including three in one four-month period, on his licence renewal forms and kept driving his taxi after failing to return his suspended permit.

In a letter to the RMS, Mr Inaizi said he remembered the complaints and none of them were true, noting most of them came from ethnic minorities, not "Aussie people".

He said he told the other woman who complained that he liked "short fares" not "short skirts" and she had probably made up the comments.

Yesterday his lawyer David Wetmore said Mr Inaizi had never actually touched Tracey or "directly" suggested any sexual conduct.

The tribunal will give its final decision at a later date.



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.



29 July, 2013

Another British bitch  -- false rape claims  are constant in Britain

Cab driver falsely accused of rape saved by his phone app

A woman who falsely accused a taxi driver of a knifepoint sex attack has been jailed after he exposed her lies using an app on his mobile phone.

Mohammed Asif was left in tears in a police cell after Astria Berwick told officers he had carried out an assault on her in his cab.  But the 34-year-old eventually proved his innocence with a voice recording app he was using in his taxi because his CCTV was broken.

Berwick, of Bingham, Notts, was sentenced to 16 months in prison after admitting perverting the course of justice.

Nottingham Crown Court heard she had used Mr Asif's taxi on February 20, then called police to say she had been the victim of a serious sexual assault.

Judge Michael Stokes QC, The Recorder of Nottingham, said: "This was outrageous behaviour by the defendant against a wholly innocent man who had been saved by the recording on his phone."

Berwick had invented the story for "some unaccountable reason", he added.

Mr Asif, a father-of-two from Carlton, Nottingham, said the experience had torn his life apart, leaving him unable to face working again for a month, having problems sleeping and causing him to lose a stone in weight.

He said: "She changed my life. I'm completely different now. I'm scared to go out.  "I keep thinking, 'I just dropped her off, she was just a normal passenger, why has she done that?"

He said he felt "really lucky" he had switched on the app on the day of the alleged attack, as without it he believed he would now be on remand waiting to face trial.

He added: "If I ever met her again, although I don't want to, I'd just ask 'why?'"


BBC faces referral to Parliament's sleaze watchdog over pay-offs

The BBC could be referred to Parliament's sleaze watchdog after refusing to comply with an order to give MPs the names of 150 senior managers who received six figure pay-offs.

Earlier this month Public Accounts Committee used its powers to demand the identities of those who had received the pay-offs, a quarter of which had been found by the National Audit Office to be excessive.

However, on Tuesday the BBC wrote to the committee to say it would not be disclosing the information because it wanted to protect the privacy of the former managers and the corporation's independence.

Stephen Barclay, a Conservative member of the PAC, said: "It is shocking that the BBC has got so powerful that it thinks it can chose when it is accountable. Why are they trying so hard to shut this down if they have nothing to hide?"

In September, MPs on the committee are likely to vote on whether to refer the BBC's refusal to supply to the information for debate in the House of Commons.

MPs in the Commons can then agree to refer the matter to the the Committee of Privileges, which would decide on whether the corporation should be formally rebuked.

In a letter to the committee Andrew Scadding, the BBC's head of corporate affairs, said the corporation was willing to name the executives and managers who authorised the pay-offs, but not the individuals.

It said that the names could only be released with the permission of the individuals because of their right to privacy under the data protection act.

Mr Scadding wrote: "To meet our legal obligations we must therefore look at the circumstances of each individual case, which involves contacting each recipient to seek their consent to disclosure or give them the opportunity to raise objections."

He also raised concerns that by agreeing to supply the information the BBC could jeopardise its independence by becoming "directly accountable for its management to the PAC and thus to Members of Parliament".

MPs argue that there is a public interest in releasing the information and that the sovereignty of Parliament supersedes the data protection act.


Australia: Brain-dead politicians want new laws to cut the power of scalpers

People who buy from scalpers complain about high prices.  But without scalpers they would have to do without tickets altogether

NEW laws cracking down on ticket scalpers will be introduced to protect sports and music fans from dramatically inflated prices to events like the NRL Grand Final and Pink's rock concerts.

The O'Farrell government is close to finalising an aggressive new approach as the world's biggest online ticket exchange, the Swiss-based viagogo, ramps up operations in Australia to sell scalpers' tickets.

Viagogo began selling NRL grand final tickets this week at double the official price - even before tickets were released to the general public.

Tickets to rock star Pink's shows in Sydney are "sold out" through the official agent Ticketek, but dozens of different ticket options are available online, as long as you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars extra.

Cricket chiefs also face a fan backlash, with Ashes tickets to the first three days of the Sydney Test, which sold out in two hours last week, now selling on viagogo for twice the price.

An angry Sports Minister Graham Annesley has launched a stinging attack, telling The Daily Telegraph scalpers were "unscrupulous profiteers motivated only by greed".

Frustrated NRL bosses yesterday cancelled 100 grand final tickets that sprung up on eBay, where a scalper was trying to reap a quick $9500 profit by selling $165 tickets for $260 each.

But scalping is notoriously hard to police - one scalper claimed yesterday he purchased 20 State of Origin tickets from a team official before one of the matches in Brisbane last year. The scalper, who declined to be named, said he gained preferred access to grand final tickets this week by buying dozens of different NRL season ticket programs from different clubs throughout the year.

Under the proposed new laws, sports organisations and event promoters would be given the power to set and enforce their own terms and conditions on ticket sales to different events.

NSW Fair Trading Commissioner Rod Stowe said the promoters would be given the legal power to refuse entry to fans who purchased tickets in breach of the terms. Promoters would have the flexibility to allow fans to onsell tickets at a capped mark-up price or ban the practice all together.

Ticket sellers using websites such as eBay and viagogo would have to post a photograph of the ticket, clearly showing the seat number, enabling promoters to trace the source of scalped tickets.

"We're looking for a light approach from government by passing responsibility over to the sports codes and promoters," Mr Stowe said.

Sports organisations including the NRL, the Australian Rugby Union, Cricket Australia and the Football Federation of Australia are hailing the proposed laws as "best in class".

Ticket scalpers also targeted the recent Lions rugby tour and last week's Manchester United match in Sydney, which sold out in seven minutes late last year. FFA officials told the state government between 200 and 300 ManU match tickets were regularly on sale on eBay at inflated prices at any one time.

Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts and Mr Annesley, who pushed for anti-scalping laws as a former NRL employee, are planning to announce the crackdown during September's football finals series, although it is unlikely legislation would be passed in time for the grand final.

"We want to give fans a fair go at buying tickets, while also protecting fans from rip-offs and fraud," Mr Roberts said.

Mr Annesley said the government did not want to attack the secondary market providers, such as eBay, which helped genuine fans offload tickets if they were unable to attend the event.

Several official ticket agents, including Moshtix, Ticketmaster and Showbiz, believe the industry should be self-regulated, but required to provide important customer protections, such as tools to enable fans to transfer tickets to friends and sell-back tickets.

"I haven't seen the proposals but I don't believe governments should be involved in a free market," Showbiz chief executive Craig McMaster said.

eBay is also opposed, pointing to the 2010 Commonwealth Consumer Affairs Advisory Council study into scalping which found additional consumer protection laws were not merited because reselling tickets in Australia "does not cause significant consumer detriment".

eBay argues that sometimes promoters limited tickets to the public due to commitments to sponsors and corporate partners, pointing to a Justin Bieber concert in the US in February in which only 7 per cent of tickets went on public sale.

Tanya Ilkiw, 22, a Sydney advertising executive, said she purchased tickets to electronic performer Flume on eBay in April because it was convenient and she paid no more than the official price.

"I trust sites like eBay or gumtree as opposed to purchasing on the street because you can track it," she said.

Some ticket operators say cracking down will drive "scalpers back to the pubs", wiping away protections that exist online. Anti-scalping laws in Queensland have proven to be ineffective - dozens of different ticket options are available for Pink's shows in Brisbane on viagogo.com, while Ticketek is only offering a limited number of $400 VIP packages.

Viagogo has eluded government control in other countries. When the British government banned the resale of Olympic tickets last year, it simply packed up its UK operation and moved to Zurich where it was exempt from the law.


South Australian Senator Cory Bernardi spells out his six F-word solutions to save Western civilisation

THE pillars of Western society are under threat, and Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi has a plan to prop them up.

Mr Bernardi has written a Bible for conservatives based on the ‘f words’: Faith, Family, Flag, Free enterprise, Federation and Freedom.

“I believe we need to re-establish the primacy of the family, the social and economic virtues that seem to have been neglected for at least two generations, yet are as innate within the human spirit today as they have ever been,” he told The Advertiser.

TELL US: What do you think of Senator Bernardi’s solutions?

“Only by returning to conservative principles can our nation confidently confront the significant challenges that face us, endure times of hardship and prosperity with equanimity, and work towards an Australia which is dynamic, confident and growing in international stature.

“This will require a radical departure from the growing and all-pervasive acceptance that critical and discerning moral judgement is somehow unfair.”

Senator Bernardi is number one on the Liberal’s Senate ticket, but moved to the backbench after a furore over his views on same-sex marriage.

He is a prolific blogger and has written the book under the working title of The Conservative Revolution.

He said it details why the pillars are important and need to be restored and the “possible consequences if they are not”.

“I hope it will spark debate about our nation’s future and encourage people to become more active in contributing to public policy,” he said.

In today’s Advertiser Senator Bernardi also discusses some of the more controversial topics that have propelled him into the headlines.

While he has been accused of being anti-Islam - particular after he called for a ban on burqas - Senator Bernardi said his criticism of the religion is based around its fundamentalist principles, and that if he was born into a Muslim country he would be Muslim himself.

He said he was first confronted by women being “hidden away” when he was working in Northern Africa, which helped shape his views.

“(The burqa) is a flag of fundamentalism, a symbol of oppression. We had men in Afghanistan fighting to liberate women from this oppression yet we’re allowing it to flourish here,” he said.

During the lunchtime conversation he also spoke about his comments on polyamory and bestiality, saying his points - which seemed to link them to same-sex marriage - may have been “clumsily made” but were also “wilfully misinterpreted”.



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.



28 July, 2013

Daniel Hannan: We celebrate the Royal family because it symbolises our liberty

The monarchy may reign over us, but it too is subject to the rule of ancient law

 'Félicitations, monsieur!” boomed my normally morose Brussels newsagent.

 Eh? What had I done? “The baby, the prince: you must be delighted!”

 Oh, rather, yes, quite. Decent of you to mention it: très gentil.

 He beamed at me all the way out of his shop. The birth was almost as big an event in the Belgian media as in our own and, like many Bruxellois, the newsagent believed that a little smudge of the happiness that must adhere to every Briton had rubbed off on him through our exchange.

 The night before, within an hour of the prince’s arrival being announced, an American news channel had interviewed me. The universal assumption – from the studio presenter to the sound engineer who tested the volume – was that I had surely stepped away from a street party, to which I’d return, pint in hand, the moment the interview was over.

 Ask a friend overseas what he or she associates with Britain and the chances are that the monarchy will come up within seconds. The Crown defines our brand, in the sense that it is thought to say something about the rest of us. Foreign coverage over the past week has been less about the baby than about the way the British are perceived: as traditional, formal, hierarchical, tied to ancient institutions.

 There’s an element of truth in that caricature. The monarchy is indeed hugely popular: opinion polls show support for a republic to be low and unfluctuating, at around 18 per cent. Although our political arguments are as vigorous as any country’s, we are at least agreed on the legitimacy of the regime: we conduct our arguments, in other words, within rules that almost everyone accepts. When you think of how many different varieties of European government have risen and fallen during the reign of the present Queen alone, this is no small thing,

 Only recently, though, has the monarchy become a unifying national institution. The peoples of Britain spent most of their history being ruled, in effect, by foreigners. For three-and-a-half centuries after the calamity of 1066, French was the language of the English court, and the early kings spent most of their reigns across the Channel. Under the Stuarts and the early Hanoverians, anti-monarchists tended to make their case using nationalist rhetoric. A dying echo of such sentiments can be heard in the republicanism of the BNP.

 The domestication of the British monarchy can be seen in the story of Prince George’s earliest namesakes. The first two Georges, who never mastered our language, were seen as alien and contingent. “George my lawful king shall be / Except the Times shou’d alter,” says the Vicar of Bray, prepared, as always, to abandon the dynasty at the drop of a hat. Not until the final defeat of Jacobitism in 1745 was there broad agreement on who should fill the throne. Our national anthem, which we now think of as a symbol of familiarity and continuity, has, in its full version, a panicky line dating from that year: “Lord, grant that Marshal Wade / May, by thy mighty aid, / Victory bring…”

 It was during the long reign of George III that the British developed something like their present attitude to the monarchy: familiar, proprietorial, half-humorous. As the historian Linda Colley showed in her great book, Britons, the gentle teasing of monarchs, far from being subversive, tended to enhance the sense that they belonged to the nation.

 This aspect of British royalism is almost impossible to explain to foreigners – except those from the Dominions who, of course, are not properly foreign. Royal occasions have a play-acting, imaginative quality that my Brussels newsagent and my American interviewer simply couldn’t see. We Britons know that there is something faintly ridiculous about plucking a baby by genetic lottery and making him the exemplar and repository of our national story. Yet that doesn’t make our support for the institution any the less sincere. The philosopher Roger Scruton put it well when he likened the magic of monarchy to the enchanting light at the top of a Christmas tree, which we perfectly well remember, having climbed up to place it there ourselves.

 This enchantment depends on the sovereigns being – or at least appearing to be – unflashy and unintellectual. When George V, great-great-great-grandfather of the new Prince George, toured an exhibition of French Impressionists, he boomed at his queen, “Look at this, May, this’ll make you laugh!” The idea that we like our monarchs to be blunt and simple is again, in my experience, difficult to get across to people outside the Old Commonwealth.

 Hardest of all, though, is to challenge the idea that Britain is a hidebound, heritage-obsessed nation – an idea that many Britons themselves now fall for. For most of our history, we saw ourselves in precisely converse terms, as a restless, adventurous, innovative race. It is hard to think of a country that has invented and exported so many things: parliamentary democracy, the Boy Scouts, the stock exchange, the spinning jenny, golf, habeas corpus, horse racing, the internet. A single Cambridge college has produced more Nobel Prize-winners than France.

 If our institutions seem old, it’s because they work. The United Kingdom was the only European country to have fought in the Second World War and not, at one time or another, lost. In consequence, we did not have to start afresh in 1945. Our political system had not failed us.

 What we sometimes think of as our character is bound up intimately with our political system. A national culture is not something that hangs numinously alongside institutions; rather, it is a product of those institutions. Ours was the country that came up with the idea that rulers were subject to the law rather than the other way around, and that we should be governed through MPs whom we could hire and fire. Royal rituals that strike so many as medieval flummery – the State Opening of Parliament, for example – are there to exalt that idea.

 British identity subsists in the countless bodies that are too old to be claimed as property by our political leaders: counties, Army regiments, ancient universities, churchwardens, jury trials. These institutions remind us that our government has been kept in check. A monarchy that we simultaneously chuckle at and respect underlines that relationship.

 In the European Parliament, I am often struck by how many of my colleagues grew up under dictatorships. Not just those from the former Comecon states, but the Spanish, the Portuguese, the Greeks and a few of the older Germans and French. Liberty under the rule of law is not the natural state of an advanced society, nor even of an advanced Western society. It is a very specific product of English-speaking civilisation. As late as 1943, democratic freedom was more or less confined to the Anglosphere.

 And that, deep down, is what we’re cheering when we cheer the birth of a new royal baby. Over many centuries, as we have watched our neighbours traumatised by dictators and revolutions, we have been able to feel as you might feel when, warm in your house, you hear the storm shake your windows. We developed and exported the sublime idea that taxes ought not to be raised, nor laws passed, save by our own representatives. That idea was not dreamt up, as in most European constitutions, by a recent convention of bigwigs: it is a birthright inherent in each of us, which the new prince happens to symbolise. That, surely, is something worth cheering.


LGBT Groups Object to New Chairman of Int'l Religious Freedom Watchdog

Princeton University Jurisprudence Professor Robert George, the newly-elected chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, is a leading Catholic thinker and ethicist, but homosexuality advocacy groups are unhappy about the position going to an opponent of same-sex marriage.

The USCIRF is an independent, statutory body established to promote and defend religious freedom abroad. Its remit does not include marriage – or any other domestic issue – in the United States.

Still, George’s election this week to chair the nine-member bipartisan commission for the next year has not pleased some same-sex marriage proponents.

Reporting on the development Thursday, LGBTQ Nation, which describes itself as “America’s most followed LGBTQ news source,” observed that the USCIRF, in its announcement of George's election, failed to mention George’s role in founding “the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM).”

LGBTQ Nation – the acronym stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and queer/questioning – was also unhappy that the USCIRF had not mentioned George’s association with the Manhattan Declaration.

George co-authored the 2009 document, initially signed by more than 150 Christian leaders – and many more subsequently – who said that civil disobedience may be needed to defend life, marriage and religious freedom in the United States.

After noting that George was also a co-author of the original Federal Marriage Amendment – a bid to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, introduced in Congress numerous times since 2002, without success – LGBTQ Nation added pointedly that “[t]he USCIRF is funded entirely by the federal government on an annual basis and its staff members are government employees.”

In the comments section below the news story, several dozen LGBTQ Nation readers made clear their strong views on the matter overnight.

Created under the 1999 International Religious Freedom Act (IDFA), the USCIRF is tasked with making recommendations to the executive and legislative branches about promoting religious freedom abroad.

Its commissioner are unpaid private sector figures, and are appointed in line with a set-down formula – two by the president, two by congressional leaders of the president’s party, and four by congressional leaders of the party not in the White House.

When George was first appointed in March 2012 – by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) – the nation’s largest LGBT advocacy group protested.

“For the Speaker to appoint someone who embodies NOM’s deep seated anti-gay animus is the wrong thing to do,” Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese said at the time. “This appointment is counter to the commission’s stated mission because George represents a narrow and exclusionary ideology.”

George, who has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights, will succeed as chairman Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation (named for her father, the late Rep. Tom Lantos), and a teacher of human rights and foreign policy at Tufts University.

Swett, who was appointed to the USCIRF by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and has chaired the commission for the past year, will now serve as one of two vice-chairs.

The other incoming vice-chair is M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the “anti-Islamist” non-profit American Islamic Forum for Democracy, and an appointee of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).

Swett praised George as “a true human rights champion whose compassion for victims of oppression and wisdom about international religious freedom shine through all we have accomplished this past year.”

A key function of the USCIRF is to make recommendations to the administration about designating “countries of particular concern” (CPCs) for egregious violations of religious freedom. Under the IRFA, such countries may face sanctions or other measures designed to encourage improvements.

Currently designated CPCs are Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan.

The USCIRF supports those designations but has also been prodding the State Department, without success, to add Egypt, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Vietnam to the list.


Poll: 67 Percent of Americans Do Not Believe Race Should Play Any Part  Whatsoever in College Admissions

Gallup’s most recent finding shows that more than two-thirds of Americans believe students applying to college should be evaluated “solely on merit” -- and that skin color should be wholly irrelevant during the admissions process (via Nick Gillespie):

I’m inclined to stand with the majority on this question. Of course this is not to belittle or ignore the nation’s long and complicated history of American race relations. For example, who among us can forget the famous photograph of Alabama Governor George Wallace standing defiantly at the University of Alabama’s auditorium in 1963 in order to prevent two black students, James Hood and Vivian Malone Jones, from registering for classes solely because of the color of their skin?

Institutionalized racism existed in this country -- in one form or another -- for more than a century after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed into law, and admittedly, exists to a certain extent in latent form today. At the same time, it’s my personal opinion that affirmative action and other such laws were once necessary -- namely, around the time the great Civil Rights statutes of the 1960s were signed into law. But remember, the reason the Supreme Court tossed out Section Four of the 1965 Voting Rights Act as recently as last month was because, in Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion, “our country has changed.” In other words, antiquated laws crafted with the best of intentions fifty years ago -- in order to protect blacks against discrimination and exploitation -- are no longer necessary in twenty-first century America. Isn't this a good thing?

By the way, a question worth asking is do affirmative action laws actually help minority students succeed? Perhaps. But there’s also a preponderance of evidence suggesting otherwise. Here’s Dr. Thomas Sowell writing on the subject, a brilliant and accomplished academic who spent many years of his professional life studying these kinds of issues:

    "My view of affirmative action in college admissions is that it mismatches black students with colleges whose standards they do not meet, leading to unnecessary failures, when these students are perfectly qualified to go to some other colleges where they are more likely to succeed and graduate."

Martin Luther King, Jr. famously remarked that he wanted to live in a nation where his children would not be judged “by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Racial quotas on college campuses therefore seem to be anathema to Dr. King’s vision of a more meritocratic and egalitarian society. Still, there will always be those who believe affirmative action is sacrosanct, and anyone wanting to change these entrenched laws or shake up the status quo are motivated only by racism. But isn’t it telling that nearly 70 percent of Americans already want students evaluated “solely on merit” when they apply to U.S. colleges and universities? This seems to me a huge step forward -- even if most liberals wouldn't agree.


House Refuses to Fund ‘Atheist Chaplains’ at Defense Department

 House members voted Tuesday to bar the use of federal funds to hire “atheist chaplains” at the Department of Defense after Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) reminded his colleagues that the concept didn’t make any sense.

“It’s just total nonsense, the idea of having a chaplain who is an atheist,” Fleming told fellow House members. “When it comes to the idea of an atheist chaplain, which is an oxymoron – it’s self-contradictory – what you’re really doing is now saying that we’re going to replace the true chaplains with non-chaplain chaplains.”

Speaking about the current DOD rules for chaplains on the House floor, Fleming said: “Chaplains must possess appropriate education credentials, two years of religious leadership experience, and more importantly, must receive an endorsement from a qualified religious organization attesting to the tenants of the endorser’s faith…In June this body twice affirmed that the military is not permitted to appoint atheist chaplains.”

The House voted Tuesday to approve Fleming’s amendment to the 2014 DOD Appropriations Act  (See H.R. 2397.pdf) which he said was an effort to “…define what a chaplain is. A chaplain is a minister of the faith -- someone who believes in a deity of a spiritual life who is assigned to a secular organization.”

The amendment passed with 227 Republicans and 26 Democrats voting in favor of passage.

Fleming introduced the amendment in response to an earlier proposal by Rep. Rob Andrews (D–NJ) that stated: “The Secretary of Defense shall provide for the appointment, as officers in the Chaplain Corps of the Armed Forces, of persons who are certified or ordained by non-theistic organizations and institutions, such as humanist, ethical culturalist, or atheist.”

“Basically, the standard is to be recognized as a church by the Internal Revenue Service,” Jason Torpy, president of the Military Association of Atheists and Free Thinkers explained.



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.



27 July, 2013

"British" gang warfare

Some of the gang members concerned

Greek police investigating the fatal stabbing of a 19-year-old British tourist on Crete have charged a man with the killing, as they claimed the death was the result of 'gang warfare'.

Myles Litchmore-Dunbar has been charged with the murder of Tyrell Matthews-Burton, from Leyton, East London, as well as possession of a weapon.

The London-based 19-year-old is a male model and is studying towards an Economics degree at Northampton University, according to a profile on a modelling website.

Police attributed the murder to gang violence between rival groups from Britain.

'They had scores to settle long before they arrived here,' said a police officer, Yannis Phillipakis, in Heraklion, the island's capital. 'Unofficially, what we are hearing is that they brought their gang warfare to Crete.'

Another Briton also allegedly confessed on Wednesday to participating in the killing, reports The Guardian.

More than a dozen British tourists have also appeared in court on the Greek holiday island after a mass brawl in which Matthews-Burton was pinned down and stabbed to death 'execution-style'.

The youths were taken to stand before the prosecutor on Crete today following the death of 19-year-old Tyrell Matthews-Burton, who was stabbed through the heart.

Today relatives of those arrested said Greek police had simply rounded up everyone who had visited the club that night, irrespective of whether they had been involved or even there at the time of the brawl.

The mother of one of the Britons arrested told MailOnline: 'In those clubs you need ID to get in, so the police simply went around all the hotels arresting everyone who had been there that night, including my son.

'My son didn't know the man who died, and wasn't there when it happened - he had left earlier with some girls.  But they arrested him and put him in handcuffs to take him to court.'

Several of the young men arrested rang their families to tell them they were asked to appear before the court one by one so that a lawyer could decide if they were to be charged or not.

One mother said: 'My son was privately-educated and he is a stockbroker. He had nothing do with it but has been arrested anyway.  The police just rounded everyone up.'

A friend of one of the young men who had blood on his shirt said he was a friend of Mr Matthews-Burton, who had tried to help the teenager after he was fatally injured.

He said: 'He and Tyrell were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.  It was nothing to do with gangs - they had just gone on holiday with a group of five friends and it was just bad luck.'

An ambulance was called to the brawl outside the closed bar in the popular town of Malia, which is known for its wild nightlife, but the young man is believed to have died on his way to hospital.

Today Greek coroner Manolis Michalodimitrakis said: 'There were two stab wounds, to the back and to the chest.  'He was clearly pinned down and killed execution style - there were no defence wounds.  'The knife punctured his lung and heart. He lost almost half of his blood.'

Harry Nye, 18, from Kent, said he witnessed the fight, which is understood to have taken place outside the Safari Club in the resort.

He told the Daily Mirror: 'We saw one guy having his head stamped on and this other lad just fell straight. I've never seen that much blood.'

A spokesman for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: 'We can confirm the death of a British national in Malia, Greece on 23 July.  He added: 'We are aware of the arrests of a number of British nationals in Malia, Crete, on July 23.  'We are in touch with the local authorities and stand ready to provide consular assistance.'

Authorities on the island which is popular with young British tourists on a budget said a post-mortem would be conducted on Crete before the body was repatriated.


Abercrombie & Fitch face legal action in France for only employing 'good looking' staff at flagship Paris store

I don't think this will get far in Paris

American fashion giant Abercrombie & Fitch is under investigation for only employing good looking sales staff at its flagship store in Paris.

Some of the best looking sales assistants in the French capital end up on staff at the shop, which is on the Champs Elysee. Many are so stunning that they often parade topless, inside the store or on the pavement outside.

But now the ‘Defender of Rights’ – an independent watchdog which aims to protect ordinary people from discrimination – says that ugly, fat people should be allowed a job too.

Spokesman Dominique Baudis said that solely employing handsome people not only discriminates against the aesthetically-challenged, but sent out the wrong message to those buying Abercrombie & Fitch’s products.

‘While essential and decisive professional requirements can justify taking physical appearance into account when recruiting models, it is different for sales positions,’ said Mr Baudis.

Mr Baudis highlighted comments made by Mike Jeffries, the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO, in which he said he wanted to recruit ‘good-looking people’ because they attracted ‘other good-looking people’.

Mr Baudis was at the centre of another stir earlier this year when Robin Lewis, author of ‘The New Rules of Retail’, said Jeffries ‘doesn’t want larger people shopping in his store’.

The enquiry into Abercrombie & Fitch has already raised eyebrows in Paris, where everything from shops to restaurants are known for an obsession with style and beauty.

‘Paris didn’t get to become the most beautiful city in the world by employing uglies and fatties,’ said one fashion retailer, who asked not to be named.


British bureaucracy at its best

Boy, 10, sent home from hospital with two legs in plaster but is refused a wheelchair because he 'doesn't live close enough'

A hospital sent a young boy home with both legs in plaster, but refused to give him a wheelchair.

Maddison Warwick, 10, had an operation after being diagnosed with Perthes’ disease - a condition which causes the top of the thigh bone to soften and break down.

But when he was sent home from Royal Bolton Hospital, Greater Manchester, he was told he could not have a wheelchair because he lives in the wrong area.

Maddison lives just five miles from the hospital, but his home is in Radcliffe, Bury, and therefore outside the Bolton boundaries.

He had an operation at Royal Bolton Hospital on July 9 and was sent home two days later.

Both of his legs are covered in plaster and there is a bar between them, meaning the Radcliffe Primary School pupil cannot walk.

But his mother, Jill Warwick, said she was told Maddison could not have a wheelchair because he did not live in Bolton.

Miss Warwick, aged 31, of Ainsworth Road, said: “I asked if I lived in the Bolton borough, would I get a wheelchair, and they said yes. That’s the only reason that they wouldn’t give me a wheelchair.  'We are being discriminated against because we don’t live in Bolton.  'I feel really upset and let down. The hospital knew he would be having the operation there and a care plan should have been put in place.

'I had no choice but to go to Bolton, because there is no children’s unit at Fairfield.'

Maddison will have to spend six weeks in the double-leg cast and Miss Warwick says it is very difficult to take him out of the house.  Miss Warwick, who has two other children, said: 'I have to lift him to move him and he’s sleeping on the sofa. It’s a real struggle.

'Maddison is getting a little bit fed up because he can’t get out. He’s frustrated and upset.'

Sue Ainsworth, the hospital’s professional lead for children’s services, said: 'It is standard practice that we are only able to provide wheelchairs to patients who are Bolton residents.

'As Maddison lives outside the Bolton area, arrangements have been made for a wheelchair to be provided through the paediatric community nursing team in Bury.'

However, Miss Warwick said the nursing team has not given her a wheelchair and she has resorted to paying more than £100 to hire one.


Woman, 21, accuses barber shop of sexism after staff refused to cut her hair because she wasn't a man

Nuisance woman -- to be avoided

A woman has accused a barber shop of sexism after they refused to cut her hair - because she wasn’t a man.

Alice O’Toole wanted to get her 5in-long blonde hair shaved off and patterns shaved into her hair but was left angry and confused' when staff at a barbers told her: 'We don’t do girls'.

Miss O’Toole said she felt 'humiliated' after asking for a Grade 2 or 3 cut with hair stenciling at Razor’s Edge barbers in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

The 21-year-old teaching assistant said: 'I do a lot of exercise and got a bit fed up with getting hot all the time.  'So I decided to get my head shaved and possibly get some hair art, with tribal patterns cut into it.

'I’d heard Razor’s Edge had a very good reputation so decided it would be the perfect place to nip into, but when I went in they refused to serve me.

'They refused in front of a shop full of people, which was very embarrassing - on the grounds that I’m a woman.  'I already had very short hair, so it wasn’t a particularly big job I was asking them to do.

'I thought nothing of going to a barber’s, essentially I wanted a haircut that is typically given to men so surely the best place to go was a barber’s.  'But apparently not. I was told they would not give me essentially a male haircut as I am a woman.

'The receptionist looked very embarrassed as I asked for an explanation and all she could offer is "We don’t do girls", whatever the cut.

'When I asked wasn’t this a bit sexist even she admitted it was. It’s not like I asked for a perm or a girl’s haircut.

'My immediate reaction was: ‘Are you joking?’. It was so humiliating to be told that in front of a shop of 15 people, plus staff, all looking at me.

'I walked out and went to the nearest hairdressers and they gave me a Grade 2, but couldn’t offer the hair art so I didn’t get what I wanted.  'The staff there were disgusted at the way I’d been treated.'

Under the Equality Act 2010, businesses must now justify giving a single-sex service.  This means, for example, a barber shop might say they could not give a woman a perm because it was a style they would not normally do.

Razor's Edge Portsmouth has apologised and the manager said the barber's does not operate a no-women policy or sexist agenda

In a statement, manager Lloyd Hughes said: 'We had a no women policy introduced 20 years ago after being threatened with legal action after trimming a girl’s fringe.

'If we have inadvertently broken the law we will endeavour to put this right immediately.  'The member of staff who served Alice has unfortunately shown ignorance of this change of law in 2010, which we support.  'We do not operate a no-women policy or sexist agenda.

'Cutting women’s and men’s hair does require very different skills and knowledge and hairdressers across the world are trained up specifically as a male or female cutter.  'However we should have provided that service because Alice asked for a men’s cut.  'I am deeply embarrassed and have apologised personally to her.  'She was let down by ignorance of the law and poor customer service.'

Miss O’Toole, from Gosport, Hampshire, later got a tribal freehand pattern at another barber shop, which she is happy with.

She added: 'I was angry and confused as to why I was refused service just because I am a woman.

'I was willing to pay good money for my haircut and give someone the opportunity to get creative with some stencilling in my hair.

'I’ve got no problem with going into a salon and seeing a man getting his haircut there, so why can’t I have the same treatment?

'Lots of women have said to me they have had a similar experience, but if a man can get the same cut there’s no way a business can justify turning a woman away.'



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.



26 July, 2013

Sisters make you conservative?

There has been a bit of talk from both sides of politics about a recent study which appears to show that having sisters makes you conservative.  I am mildly amused that the feminists at Mother Jones deigned to notice it.  Don't they see women as a radicalizing influence?  If not, do they concede that they are not representative of women in general?  Sounds like lose, lose for them to me.

A basic problem seems to be a failure to stick to what the study actually found.  To help clarify that I reproduce the journal abstract below:
Childhood Socialization and Political Attitudes: Evidence from a Natural Experiment

By Andrew Healy & Neil Malhotra

Scholars have argued that childhood experiences strongly impact political attitudes, but we actually have little causal evidence since external factors that could influence preferences are correlated with the household environment. We utilize a younger sibling’s gender to isolate random variation in the childhood environment and thereby provide unique evidence of political socialization. Having sisters causes young men to be substantially more likely to express conservative viewpoints with regards to gender roles and to identify as Republicans. We demonstrate these results in two panel surveys conducted decades apart: the Political Socialization Panel (PSP) and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY). We also use data collected during childhood to uncover evidence for a potential underlying mechanism: families with more female children are more likely to reinforce traditional gender roles. The results demonstrate that previously understudied childhood experiences can have important causal effects on political attitude formation.

What the abstract above does not make entirely clear is that if your YOUNGER sibling was a sister, you were found to be more conservative than if you had a younger brother.  The study looks not at sisters generally but only at younger sisters.

I am afraid that I have to ask:  What about elder sisters?  Or indeed what about total sisters?  This focus on younger sisters only seems fishy to me.  My provisional conclusion has to be that they reported on younger sisters because it was only younger sisters who showed any effect.  In that case something totally different from what the authors infer is going on.  I would draw no conclusions from the study.

Below is part of the Mother Jones comment on the study:

Lots of people have been looking to science to explain the differences between Democrats and Republicans. Mother Jones' Chris Mooney has published a rundown of all the brain differences suspected in the gulf between liberals and conservatives. But a new study by researchers from Loyola Marymount University and Stanford University's business school suggests another factor may play a role in forming the political brain: the gender of one's siblings. According to the study, boys with only a sister were 15 percent more likely to identify as a Republican in high school, and they were 13.5 percent more conservative in their views of women's roles than boys who only had brothers.

The reason for this difference? Not genes or neural pathways, but something more mundane: housework. The researchers speculate that boys take their cues about women's roles from an early age, and that girls tend to be assigned more traditional chores when they have a brother. Watching their sisters do this housework "teaches" boys that washing dishes and other such drudgery is simply women's work. Boys with only brothers don't seem to have this problem because the chore load at home tends to be spread around more equally. The impact on men's gender perceptions is long term, but the stark partisanship fades somewhat as men get older, the researchers say.

Perhaps even more important than the impact sisters have on men's political views is the way sisters may influence how their brothers turn out as husbands. The study found that boys with sisters grow up to be men who don't help much around the house. The researchers' data show that middle-aged men who grew up with a sister are 17 percent more likely to say their spouses did more housework than they did compared with men who had only brothers. The study suggests this might mean men's views of gender roles are permanently affected by their childhood environment. Girls weren't affected by having brothers or sisters.

The results seemed to surprise the researchers, who thought having a sister would have a liberalizing effect on boys.


Whitehall's straight talk: Civil servants told to stop using jargon that confuses people about what the Government are doing

It looks like the end of the road for ‘facilitating’ policies, ‘engaging with stakeholders’ and ‘disincentivising’ waste.

Civil servants have been told to stop using meaningless jargon that confuses people about what the Government is doing.

Instead of peppering policy announcements with buzzwords, Whitehall officials have been told they must address the public in ‘plain English’, according to new guidance.

It is accompanied by a list of more than 30 banned words and phrases which recall the worst of Sir Humphrey in Yes Minister.

Among the banned words and phrases are ‘slimming down’; ‘strengthen’ unless referring to a bridge or other structure; ‘drive’ a policy; or hold a ‘dialogue’ when they mean speaking to people.

Also unacceptable are ‘foster’ unless it refers to children, ‘deploy’ unless it’s a lethal weapon, and ‘deliver’ - the guidance says ‘pizzas, post and services are delivered - not abstract concepts like ‘improvements or priorities’.

The online style guide is published on the government’s new website www.gov.uk which has replaced those for individual departments, so all the information the public need is one place.

However it is not to be referred to a ‘one stop shop’ - that term is firmly on the banned list, accompanied by the advice ‘we are government, not a retail outlet’.

Civil servants are told announcements will be wasted if no-one can understand them.

‘We lose trust from our users if we write government ‘buzzwords’ and jargon. Often, these words are too general and vague and can lead to misinterpretation or empty, meaningless text.’

Instead they should use ‘buy’ instead of ‘purchase’, ‘help’ instead of ‘assist’, ‘about’ instead of ‘approximately’ and ‘like’ instead of ‘such as’, it says.

‘This isn’t "dumbing down"', they are told. ‘Be open and specific. All audiences should understand our content...this is opening up government information to all.’

Although recent announcements suggest some departments still have a way to go.

One from the Home Office about improvements to the visa system says it will give ‘the option for key businesses to complete the biometric enrolment part of applications for their staff from within their own offices, a significant service development that has facilitated the investment of nearly £2bn into the UK.’

Another recent announcement from the Cabinet Office reads: ‘The government is establishing a Global Learning Exchange on impact investment. Impact investment provides capital to deliver both social and financial results.

‘This multi-stakeholder exchange will focus on sharing best practice on ‘what works’ in impact investing. It will provide a shared platform to debate and create ideas as well as inviting new voices to the field.’

But there seems to have some been some improvement since environment department attracted ridicule last year for press notice when began: ‘The High Level Panel on the ‘Global Assessment of Resources for Implementing the Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020’ released its first findings at ‘COP 11’ of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) today.’

Steve Jenner, from the Plain English Campaign, said the new rules were welcome after officials have spent years announcing government policies in ‘departmental gobbledygook’.

He said: ‘The fact that much of this is unintentionally hilarious suggests how bad things had become. The Plain English Campaign applauds this attempt to encourage clarity, though, and would be happy to assist any government department in this.’


For years I fought against secret courts breaking up families. At last there's hope

For a long time now, thousands of British families of every class and background have been secretly torn apart by this country’s child protection system in one of the biggest scandals of our age.

Children have been dragged off by the State into the care system and, despite the pleas of their parents, often given to adoptive families.

This has been happening increasingly frequently in a process overseen by a network of Family Courts, which operate in secrecy in every town and city in the land, violating the principle of openness which has underpinned British justice for centuries.

As a result of the decisions of these courts, as many as 12,000 children and babies are taken into care in England each year, the equivalent of 230 or so every single week.

Some are newborns seized by social workers (invariably, flanked by police) in the hospital ward while the mother is breast-feeding or having her first cuddle with her baby.

Many children are removed on the basis of flimsy accusations by social workers: that the parent might shout at the child when he or she becomes a teenager (potential emotional abuse); that the mother has taken a sickly child to the doctor too often (fabricated illness syndrome); or — extraordinarily — simply because the mother has been in the care system herself or suffered depression as a teenager.

In one appalling case in a quiet corner of England, a middle-class mother is currently being threatened with having her children forcibly adopted after she was raped by her husband, who was imprisoned for his crime a few weeks ago.

Social workers say that, despite the fact that her husband has been sentenced to six years and the couple are about to divorce, the wife allowed herself to be raped and therefore cannot protect their children in the family’s home.

It is bad enough that such cruel decisions are being made at all. The fact they are happening in courts where rulings are made in secret is chilling.

Of course, the family courts have an unenviable job — often asked to rule on the most challenging of cases. And some of the parents appearing before them are certainly cruel to their children and ill-equipped to raise a family.

Equally, too many mistakes have been made in a system which can be stacked against the innocent. And the reality is that without transparency, no one will know the truth.

A parent who publicly talks about the hearings (even to a neighbour over the garden fence) or gives documents from the case to their MP, risks prison for contempt — and many have been incarcerated for such ‘crimes’.

And it is not just British parents who have suffered at the hands of secret family courts.

Two weeks ago, representatives of 34 countries, including four ambassadors, gathered at the House of Commons to voice their grave concern to a sympathetic MP, John Hemming, over the astonishing rate that children of foreign families living in the UK are being taken into foster care or sent for adoption.

And last Friday, foreign parents marched to Downing Street to protest about the 6,500 children born here to overseas families who have been taken into care.

Now, after a decade-long campaign against the secrecy of the family courts by this newspaper, there has been a landmark decision by Lord Justice Munby, the most senior family judge in England and Wales.

The veil is to be lifted and light shone onto the 95,000 hearings held each year which decide the lives of so many children.

For the first time, judges’ written reports (or judgments) on custody battles, care orders and the question of whether a child should be re-homed will be published after each hearing — though not including the families’ names — unless there are ‘compelling reasons’ not to do so.

Parents found innocent (or even those who believe their children have been wrongly removed) will be able to apply to speak publicly and tell their story when the hearing is over.

Local councils running the child protection teams forcibly adopting or putting children in care will have to be named in the published judgments.

Also, the medical ‘experts’ hired at a cost of many thousands of pounds by the councils to produce psychological or health reports on the families, will lose their anonymity.

Many of these experts have long ago given up their ‘day jobs’ in the NHS or private practice to live off their lucrative court work. Sometimes, they produce a report on a family  without even meeting them.

And what of the social workers? They are accused by campaigners of distorting evidence against parents to make a stronger case to take children for adoption, thereby winning brownie points with their council bosses. With more openness in the courts, it will be harder for a rogue social worker to push his or her own agenda based on fiction or fabrication.

The new guidance will also extend to cases which affect the welfare of vulnerable adults in the equally shadowy Court of Protection.

Here, life-or-death decisions such as whether to turn off a life-support machine or whether a woman should be forced to take contraception, are also made by a judge in closed hearings. And those who speak publicly about the case are also threatened  with imprisonment.

The UK is the only country in Europe to allow adoption against the will of parents — except ‘possibly Portugal’, according to Baroness Hale, Britain’s most senior female judge, who spoke on the issue in the House of Lords.

In extreme cases of abuse on the Continent, children are given to long-term foster carers or placed in a specialist children’s unit, but the whole ethos is to support troubled families and try to keep them together.

In contrast, parents in Britain — most of whom are never convicted of a crime — are punished with what amounts  to a life sentence by losing  their children.

Yet despite the huge number of children seized here, a fifth never go to an adoptive family — there are simply not enough to go round. They spend their childhoods inside the care system, living either in children’s homes or with frequently changing foster parents.

While this new guidance is an important step in helping to redress some of these wrongs, there is one crucial area it does not address. In the criminal courts, the accused is presumed innocent until found guilty by a jury. In the family courts, this cornerstone of justice does not exist. Guilt is decided on the balance of probabilities.

Campaigners want to see this changed. As one family court lawyer told me recently: ‘Parents accused of harming their children would rather face a criminal trial with a jury, and have their guilt or otherwise decided on proper evidence given under oath, than take their chances in the family court, where it is a complete lottery as to whether you lose your child or not.’

Jean Robinson, a director of the Association for Improvements in the Maternity Services, who has witnessed scores of babies being taken from their mothers by social workers at birth, says the system is stacked against the innocent.

‘This same group of child protection “professionals” go round the courts,’ she explained. ‘The council social workers know the so-called medical experts and are paying them to give evidence to bolster their case. The judges know them all. It is far too cosy and secretive.’

Lord Justice Munby has rightly declared his determination to alter the public’s view that these family hearings are ‘a system of unaccountable justice’.

His changes — currently in draft but expected to be implemented imminently — are long overdue.  Too many innocent parents are still  being dragged through these closed trials with no one to hear their voices.

But the truth is that nothing will turn back the clock for the generations of children who will never know, or have long ago forgotten, what a happy family life means.


Unsung Black People

Ann Coulter

It must be hard for young black males to always be viewed as criminals by people who notice crime statistics. We've jawboned that sad story for 40 years. Last week, President Obama ran it around the block again in another speech about himself in reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict.

Let's give that beloved chestnut a rest for a day and consider another way blacks have it harder than whites. Only black people are expected to never speak against their community. Might we spend five minutes admiring the courage of blacks who step forward and tell the truth to cops, juries and reporters in the middle of our periodic racial Armageddons? This one is never discussed at all.

In December 1984, Bernie Goetz shot four black men who were trying to mug him on the New York City subway. (About a year later, one youth admitted that, yes, in fact, they "were goin' to rob him." They thought he looked like "easy bait.")

A few days after the shooting, The New York Times got the racism ball rolling with its "beneath the surface" reporting technique: "Just beneath the surface of last week's debate was the question of whether the shooting may have been racially motivated."

Hoping for support for its below-the-surface thesis, the Times visited the mother of Darrell Cabey, the young man paralyzed from the shooting. As the Times summarized the feeling at the Claremont housing project where Cabey lived, "many people said the four teen-agers were troublemakers and probably got what they deserved."

Cabey's mother had received one letter that said: "[Y]ou get no sympathy from us peace-loving, law-abiding blacks. We will even contribute to support the guy who taught you a lesson, every way we can ... P.S. I hope your wheelchair has a flat tire."

The Washington Post also interviewed Cabey's neighbors. Eighteen-year-old Yvette Green said: "If I'd had a gun, I would have shot him." Darryl Singleton, 24 years old, called Cabey, "a sweet person," but added, "if I had a gun, I would have shot the guy."

As white liberals (and Al Sharpton) screamed "racism!" how'd you like to be the black woman called by the defense at Goetz's trial? Andrea Reid, who was on the subway car during the shooting, testified: Those "punks were bothering the white man ... those punks got what they deserved."

Reid had met the mother and brother of one of Goetz's muggers at a party. But she took the stand and told the truth.

Juror Robert Leach, a black bus driver from Harlem, was one of Goetz's most vehement defenders in the jury room, even persuading the others not to convict Goetz for unlawful possession of any guns, other than the one he used in the shooting. In the end, three blacks and one Hispanic on the jury voted to acquit Goetz of all 13 charges except for the minor one of carrying an illegal firearm.

More brave blacks stepped forward in the Edmund Perry case a year later.

Perry, a black teenager from Phillips Exeter Academy, along with his brother, mugged a cop and ended up getting himself killed. When Perry's brother Jonah was prosecuted for the mugging, two of the witnesses against Jonah were his black neighbors.

One neighbor testified that Jonah told him the night of the incident that his brother was shot when they were mugging someone. Another neighbor said Jonah told her that night that he tried to beat up a guy who turned out to be a cop. This was in a courtroom full of rabble-rousers, amen-ing everything defense lawyer Alton Maddox said.

They told the truth knowing they'd have to go back to the neighborhood. Whatever happened to them? Why aren't they the heroes? Where's their Hollywood movie? There was a movie about the Perry case. It was titled: "Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story." (The grand jury had no difficulty finding the motive: The cop was being mugged.)

In the middle of one of these racial passion plays, it takes enormous courage for a black person to step forward and say, "Yeah, I heard him say he mugged the cop," "If I had been Bernie Goetz, I would have shot them, too," or "I know George, he's my friend."

That last one was Elouise Dilligard, George Zimmerman's final defense witness. Clear as a bell, this black woman spoke warmly about "my neighbor George" and went on to describe his nose being disfigured and bloody right after the shooting.

You won't see her on CNN, though. In fact, you'll never hear a peep about any of these courageous black people, unless you obsessively research every "race" case of the last 30 years, as I did for my book Mugged: Racial Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama. (All these black heroes appear in my book.)

Whites never need to be brave this way. There's absolutely no pressure on white people to root for their race. In fact, there's often pressure to root against their race. Instead of being asked to weep over President Obama's ever having been looked at suspiciously (probably by Jesse Jackson), could we reflect on the fortitude of ordinary black citizens who resist "racial solidarity" and speak the truth?



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

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



25 July, 2013

A revitalised monarchy fills the chasm left by Britain's dreary politicians

At not quite two days old, the new Prince is already a national debt-buster. Though hardly Keynes in nappies, the future king is doing his bit for the economy. Bells and cash registers ring in his honour as a jubilant (if hard-up) populace prepares to sink £243 million into buggies, booties and beer over the next fortnight. This monarch-in-waiting, ushered into the world by a proclamation on a golden easel and a tide of tweets, was born on a cusp of history and modernity.

His arrival heralded the legal change allowing a first-born daughter to be Queen. He will, assuming Commonwealth leaders concur, be free to marry someone of any faith or none. The country he will inherit will be a land of blazing summers and technological marvels, in which white Britons may be a minority.

Not long ago, republicans dreamed of another tweak. They imagined that by 2070, when this prince might expect to reign, Britain would have abolished an institution long stained by scandal. In 1817, the Morning Chronicle called upon royal bachelors to marry for the sake of the succession, imperilled because not one of the 56 grandchildren of George III was legitimate. In 1936, a king abdicated for love. In 1997, a prime minister bailed out the monarchy from what, under the modern media strobe light, seemed its gravest crisis.

Tony Blair, who announced in his first manifesto that “Labour has no plans to replace the monarchy”, helped rescue a Queen estranged from her people after Diana’s death. The Windsors never pardoned him for that PR feat and other perceived impertinences, leaving him – and Gordon Brown for good measure – off the guest list for Prince William’s wedding.

The nadir of royal fortunes, when only 48 per cent of Britons thought the nation would be worse off without the monarchy, gave way to a spike of popularity after the Queen’s Jubilee. The current carnival atmosphere, coupled with reverential BBC coverage of a future king’s birth, suggests that many voters, given a choice, might choose to hang on to their Royal family but dump their politicians.

While no monarchy dare rely on the vagaries of public opinion, the British model, dating back to King Egbert in the 9th century, has survived partly because it realises that republics take over only when monarchies have become unsustainable. Thus, the Royal family has changed, albeit in an incremental (some would say sclerotic) manner. The “magical monarchy” may, in the view of the constitutional historian, Vernon Bogdanor, end up as a “practical monarchy”.

That may not mean bicycles and bus passes, but it would rightly involve more scrutiny. By the time Baby Cambridge takes over, funding may be tighter and more transparent. It is hard to see how the king could continue to be head of an established Church to which most of his countrymen do not subscribe. Though flying cars and glass coaches may co-exist, and though birthright may still bedevil a fairer society, any shrewd monarch knows that survival depends on renewing one’s lifeline to the people.

Political leaders have yet to absorb that lesson. In piecemeal ways, such as bringing in gay marriage, David Cameron has altered Britain, but he has not changed a Tory party whose future is contested by an immutable old guard and a hard-edged group of newcomers who see the Eighties as a golden age that must be recreated if Britain is again to prosper.

For Labour, the Thatcher years led to what Stewart Wood, Ed Miliband’s senior strategist, calls “the exhaustion of the old settlement”. On Monday, shortly after the royal baby was born, Ed Miliband headed to a sweltering meeting room to explain how he planned to propel Labour into the 21st century. Ending the automatic affiliation of three million trade unionists and persuading them to opt in to party membership looks either bold or suicidal, since only one in eight Unite members polled by Lord Ashcroft plans to join Labour.

Mr Miliband, sleeves rolled up in shop-floor style, berated Lynton Crosby, the PM’s strategist, and “a politics that stinks”. While some trade unionists and activists applauded his changes, others in the audience warned of financial meltdown. Yet others reported apathy from voters who thought all political parties seemed the same. Those voices are the ones Mr Miliband should heed. Labour’s plan for primaries and community-based resurgence will be popular only if the wide swathe of voters he seeks to court think change has something to offer them.

This has been a grim few weeks for Labour. The senior figures heading off for holiday speaking reassuringly of a “brief Tory resurgence” and the “nasty politics” underpinning that recovery should be fearful. Labour’s lack of clear direction and Mr Miliband’s inability to define himself in the public’s mind have allowed Mr Crosby too often to use him as a blank screen on to which the Prime Minister can project the (unfair) picture of a weak and struggling leader.

However reckless Mr Miliband’s big idea may be, his sentiment is flawless. As he told his audience on Monday: “We want to let the people back in.” Inclusivity, or the semblance of it, has allowed the monarchy to reinvent itself down the ages, while the mausoleums of centralised politics have shut out an electorate that has learnt to glory in estrangement. Whether Mr Miliband can really throw open Fortress Labour depends on whether the people want to “come back in” or throw rocks from the perimeter fence.

Success or failure rests much less on his planned spring showdown over union reform than on whether he can now offer a life-changing deal to voters who, by and large, are more interested in Liam Gallagher and Nicole Appleton than the battered marriage of Mr Miliband and Len McCluskey. As the party leaders head off on holiday, with suitcases full of solemn beach reads and half-drafted conference speeches with gaps for the “policy nuggets” being gestated (they hope) in supportive think tanks, they should keep in their minds the image of a Britain whose emotions they rarely, if ever, witness at first hand.

This Britain is a nation of tolerant optimists, who cheer on Ashes victors even if they don’t like cricket, who laud a Tour de France winner even if they last cycled when three-speed Sturmey-Archer gear sets were cutting edge, and who smile on a royal birth even if they would have been content for the monarchy to expire with Ethelred the Redeless.

Some of those celebrating the arrival of the royal baby have the Union flag tattooed on their souls. For others, cupcakes, bunting and an event with which all citizens can identify help fill the chasm left by politicians who are struggling, and so far failing, to inspire hope for the future while touching human lives.

The monarchy is not simply the celebrity wing of the constitution, there to sell bibs and Babygros and appeal to the maudlin nature of sentimental crowds. As an emblem of stability and renewal in hard times, it is also proof that institutions that fail to modernise will surely die. For all its flaws, our monarchy has much to teach our politicians.


Five prison officers suspended after Lee Rigby murder suspect Michael Adebolajo loses two teeth 'in melee' at Belmarsh high-security wing

Suspending the officers was just a politically correct pretence that there was wrong on both sides

Five prison officers have been suspended after one of the men accused of hacking off-duty soldier Lee Rigby to death in Woolwich had two teeth knocked out.

The men were suspended from their duties from top-security Belmarsh Prison in south London after the alleged attack on Michael Adebolajo, 28, three days ago.

He had refused to obey officers’ instructions and had to be restrained, according to prison sources.

It is understood that five officers have to be on hand when Adebolajo leaves his cell.

Four of the officers were suspended on Thursday, while the fifth was suspended yesterday.

All of the officers are on full pay pending the results of the investigation.

Peter McParlin, chairman of the Prison Officers Association, accused the Ministry of Justice of over-reacting to the situation.

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: 'We have spoken to our members and on the basis of what our members have told us they have done absolutely nothing wrong.

'We are concerned that the Ministry of Justice have over-reacted due to the notoriety of this prisoner.'

Mr McParlin criticised the MoJ for failing to 'correct false reporting of the incident at Belmarsh.

He said restraint techniques were designed to minimise injuries to staff or prisoners 'but sometimes there are unforeseen consequences in any violent incident'.

Mr McParlin added: 'Some people have the idea that somehow it's a sitcom like Porridge. I'm afraid the reality of the modern prison system is far different from that.

He told the Times: ‘We feel that the Ministry of Justice have let the staff down here.

‘They have suspended five of our members but that does not necessarily mean they are guilty of anything.’

Adebolajo’s brother Jeremiah said Adebolajo telephoned after the incident, saying that he was bleeding and had lost the teeth.

A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Justice confirmed that police are investigating the incident.

She said: ‘I can confirm five members of staff have been suspended while there is a police investigation on going.’  She added that this was ‘not unusual’.

Adebolajo has been charged with murder and possession of a revolver, and also charged with the attempted murder of two police officers.

His alleged accomplice, Michael Adebowale, is charged with murder and possession of a firearm for the May 22 attack outside Woolwich barracks.

In a statement earlier this week, the POA said the officers involved 'strenuously deny any wrongdoing' and that the prisoner had been 'subjected to restraint using techniques' which are 'only used where necessary'.

It added: 'The POA will be supporting them legally and emotionally during this difficult time.

'The use of restraint is only used where necessary when dealing with incidents up and down the country.

'The POA will fully co-operate with any police investigation and are hopeful that this matter will be resolved quickly and we expect the officers to be completely exonerated.'

Adebolajo, from Romford, east London, complained about his treatment at the hands of prison staff during a court appearance last month.

During the June 5 hearing via video-link from the prison, he was flanked by prison officers in full riot gear.

Belmarsh staff asked for him to be handcuffed on the basis he was ‘unpredictable’ and had refused to comply with their orders.

The judge, Mr Justice Sweeney, terminated the video-link after Adebolajo launched into a series of rants against prison staff.

The unit in which he is being detained has the highest security classification in the country, and holds notorious terror suspects and dangerous felons.

Inmates have included Al Qaeda preacher Abu Qatada until his deportation earlier this month, and fanatic Abu Hamza, who was extradited to the US last year.

The cost of keeping each inmate in the unit is estimated at £65,000 a year.

A November 2009 inspection report on Belmarsh criticised the ‘extremely high’ amount of force used to control inmates at the prison, and said large numbers of inmates claimed they had been intimidated by prison staff.

A Prison Service spokesman said: ‘The police are investing an incident which took place at HMP Belmarsh on July 17.

‘It would be inappropriate to comment while the investigation is ongoing.’

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘We can confirm that an allegation of assault was passed to the Metropolitan Police on July 17 by Belmarsh Prison. An investigation has been started.’

Rigby, 25, a father of one from Middleton, Rochdale, died from multiple wounds after he was attacked in the street.


Coverup:  The 102 top firms who hired hackers... but the police won't name them

The true extent of the ‘secret’ phone-hacking scandal involving law firms, insurers and high-profile business people was laid bare last night.

More than 100 companies and individuals are suspected of fuelling the trade in illicit information obtained by hacking, blagging and theft.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency finally handed an explosive list containing 102 names to MPs yesterday.  But, to the fury of members of the Commons Home Affairs Committee, it insisted that it remain secret to protect those involved.

Last month it emerged that as long ago as 2008 Soca compiled a dossier outlining how firms and individuals hired ‘unscrupulous’ private investigators.

They broke the law to obtain sensitive information including mobile phone records, bank statements and other personal data.

However, the report – which showed the practices went far wider than the media – was suppressed and did not form part of Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry. He refused to admit the documentation, saying it was outside his narrow terms of reference.

Critics question why the media has been the subject of a public inquiry and multi-million-pound criminal investigation while others ‘got away with it’.

Lawyers, insurers, money exchanges and high-profile individuals fuelling the trade for sensitive information were never prosecuted.

But journalists were dragged out of their beds at dawn, arrested and questioned over allegations of phone hacking and bribing public officials.

No one at Soca appeared to push the report forward as three Scotland Yard inquiries focused almost entirely on the media.

Last night, after weeks of demands from MPs for the identities of businesses and individuals involved to be published, Soca finally agreed to let the Home Affairs Committee see the list – but only under strict rules of confidentiality.

It demanded the list be ‘kept in a safe in a locked room, within a secure building and that the document should not be left unattended on a desk at any time’.

Initially, Soca wanted only committee chairman Keith Vaz to have access to the documents.

Officials claimed that publishing the names could harm the commercial interests of those involved and even ‘breach their human rights’.

In theory, the move prevents the committee from making public the names or referring to them in any subsequent report.

But last night Mr Vaz, who has led questioning of Soca’s shortcomings, said he would try to find a way of releasing the names.

He said: ‘Those companies or individuals who either instructed private investigators to break the law or did nothing to stop them must be held to account.’

Mr Vaz said police had claimed any publicity could undermine ongoing or future criminal investigations, but added: ‘These events took place up to five years ago. I will be writing to the police to ask in how many cases their investigations are ongoing.’

Committee member James Clappison attacked the secret arrangements, saying: ‘I do not believe the full extent of phone hacking has been brought out.

‘We need complete transparency and the public needs to know what has been going on. The public were very concerned about the original phone-hacking revelations. There is no reason they should not be concerned about these new revelations.’

Pressure is now mounting on Soca to explain why, at the height of the phone-hacking scandal in 2011, it made no attempt to alert ministers that lawyers, insurance companies and other blue-chip firms were also involved.

In an exchange with Tory MP Nicola Blackwood, Soca director general Trevor Pearce admitted the Home Office had not been contacted to highlight the 2008 report. He said it had been passed to then Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, and that had been considered sufficient. But Mrs Smith and the Labour government had departed, and the current Home Secretary, Theresa May, had no way of knowing what had been going on.

It meant that when the Leveson terms of reference were being drawn up, ministers were in the dark about the activities of legal firms, insurers and others.

Last night Miss Blackwood said: ‘In a separate report in 2010, Soca identified private investigators as one of four key sources of police corruption.  ‘I cannot understand why they did not make these points to the Home Office when the Leveson Inquiry terms of reference were being set.’


Making poor people poorer

Why do those concerned about low incomes never criticise sin taxes?

The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) has released a new report on the state of household finances. The Effects of Taxes and Benefits on Household Income, 2011/2012 contains many valuable nuggets of information and different commentators across the political spectrum have found something to gloat about.

So, for example, in a pointed prod at left-wing journalist Owen Jones, Toby Young in the Telegraph blogs about the fact that income inequality has fallen in recent years, to the point where one measure of inequality, the Gini coefficient, is now back to 1986 levels. On the other hand, left-leaning Twitter users have noted that tax takes a bigger slice of income for the poorest 20 per cent of the population (36.7 per cent of gross income) than it does for the top 20 per cent of earners (34.5 per cent of gross income). (See this snapshot from the report.)

How can that be? The difference comes from indirect taxes - that is, taxes on expenditure rather than income and property. On income taxes alone, the richest 20 per cent pay three-and-a-half times as much tax, as a proportion of income, than the poorest. Yet that progressive taxation is completely reversed by the effect of tax on spending. The biggest expenditure tax is value-added tax (VAT) at 20 per cent. For poorer people, over 10 per cent of their gross household income goes on VAT. So cutting VAT would be a big boost to lower-income groups.

But nearly seven per cent of gross income for poorer people goes on what might be loosely defined as ‘sin’ tax - that is, tax on boozing, smoking and driving. If you really wanted to help out households that are strapped for cash, you could start by reducing taxes that are justified as an attempt to change our bad habits. However, it seems unlikely that anti-poverty groups will have much to say on the matter.



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.



24 July, 2014

Thousands of British career criminals let off with Community Orders immediately re-offend by committing burglaries and robberies

Thousands of career criminals let-off with a slap on the wrist are immediately committing new burglaries, robberies and other offences.

In a damning report, the Ministry of Justice revealed that – even when offenders had 16 or more convictions – the courts were still handing them a Community Order.  Unsurprisingly, the response of the hardened convicts was to carry on offending.

More than half – the equivalent of 10,000 convicts – were caught breaking the law all over again within 12 months.

The revelations will re-ignite the debate over soft justice.  An estimated 60,000 criminals escape jail despite having committed at least 15 previous crimes.  But instead of severe punishment these repeat offenders regularly emerge from court with community sentences, suspended jail terms or fines.  Of these, around 20,000 got a community order.

They are supposed to consist of tough community payback, but have long being derided as too ‘soft’ by critics.

The report says that 51 per cent of offenders with 16 or more previous convictions given a Community Order re-offended.  This compared with only four per cent of those with no previous convictions. Overall, 35 per cent of convicts on community orders broke the law again within 12 months of being released.

There were also huge differences in between different types of criminal.  Some 56 per cent of thieves, burglars and fraudsters went on to commit a new offence. For sex offenders, this fell to 11 per cent. More than half of offenders on community orders who had abused drugs reoffended.

Separate national figures show more than three quarters of criminals given a prison sentence had previously received a community order in 2012.

Ministers also published figures showing that -  when criminals were tipped back on to the streets after serving a jail sentence of less than 12 months - six out of every ten reoffended.

Currently anybody imprisoned for less than a year is released with no probation monitoring.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling is changing the rules so that, for the first time, anybody released from prison from a shorter sentence will be supervised, normally by a charity or the private sector.  He said the research showed the urgent need for a change to the system.

Criminals given slightly longer than 12 months behind bars, who therefore qualified for supervision under the old regime, were up to 17 percentage points less likely to reoffend than those given the shorter sentences.

Mr Grayling said: ‘These figures show supervision works. It is vital that offenders receive proper through-the-gate support so they can begin facing up to the issues causing them to commit crime after crime, creating misery in our communities.

‘Our depressing reoffending rates have dogged successive governments for decades and we must act now to finally turn the tide on this unacceptable problem.’


Britain's  Work and Pensions Secretary blasts BBC for 'politically-motivated' criticism of his benefits shake-up

Cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith today accused the BBC of launching a ‘politically-motivated’ attack on government plans to cap benefits at £26,000.

In an extraordinary on-air blast, the Work and Pensions Secretary accused the Corporation of using ‘lots of little cases’ to claim that limiting welfare payments would not get people back to work.

The confrontation live on Radio 4’s Today programme marks a significant escalation in the political row between Mr Duncan Smith and the BBC over reforms to the benefits system.
Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith accused the BBC of trying to undermine his welfare reforms

From today the maximum amount of benefits a family can claim will be capped at £26,000 a year – a figure equal to a pre-tax salary of more than £34,000.

A poll today reveals that almost three-quarters of the public back the cap, with two-thirds saying it will help get people on benefits back into work.

Mr Duncan Smith was grilled by BBC presenter John Humphrys, after the Today programme aired an interview with one benefits claimant who said she did not want to leave her home in London to find work.

As the debate heated up, Mr Duncan Smith insisted many working people who commute long distances every day.

He added: ‘The reality is there are plenty of families out there working and paying their taxes who will be asking this question: “Why are we arguing about this, why having a debate as to whether or not somebody should be earning more than they are on welfare payments not working?”’

Mr Humphrys intervened to argue: ‘But that’s not the point I am putting to you.’

Mr Duncan Smith then tore into the BBC’s attempts to undermine his reforms. He hit back: ‘No, cos what you are doing as always happens in the BBC is seeking out lots of little cases from people who are politically motivated to say this is wrong.’

Mr Humphrys said: ‘There are facts and beliefs and you can believe whatever you like.’

The minister responded: ‘The facts we have got, the fact is that people will not be earning more than average earnings sitting out of work unless they are in the exempt categories.

‘The way to resolve that is to go back to work, to earn your money so that as a result of that you no longer are capped. This is the incentive to take the right choices, it’s fair to taxpayers.’

Under the benefits cap, couples and lone parents will not receive more than £500 a week under the new cap, with single people limited to £350 a week.

The coalition argues it is fair on people who do work and pay taxes that those on state-funded benefits do not receive more than the average working family.

An Ipsos Mori poll commissioned by the Department for Work and Pensions found that just 11 per cent of the public think the benefits system is working effectively.

Some 59 per cent said they wanted politicians to do more to cut Britain’s welfare bill. A total of 74 per cent said they supported the benefits cap.

However, during today’s radio clash Mr Humphrys insisted: ‘We are arguing because it isn’t working. Nobody argues with the principle, that people who are capable of working, they should work.

‘The question is whether your scheme is going to do what it sets out to do, and the evidence such as it is - admittedly little so far - seems to suggest it doesn’t work.’

Mr Duncan Smith, who repeatedly interrupted to insist his reforms are working, responded: ‘I believe we are right.  ‘That what we are seeing, and this is the view of lots of people working in Jobcentres.

‘That they are getting people who were notified of the cap, their belief – this is advisers, they talk to me., I have been out on the ground, I have seen it myself, I talk to people actually in the Jobcentres – our belief generally is that they are going to seek work where they might not have sought work.’

Relations between the senior Tory and the BBC deteriorated in April after he was ambushed on air over whether he was challenged over whether he could live on £53-a-week by market trader David Bennett.  But questions were later raised about the true level of Mr Bennett's income.

Mr Duncan Smith has also heavily criticised the BBC's use of the phrase 'bedroom tax' to describe changes to housing benefit.

The government says it is ending the 'spare room subsidy' for people receiving taxpayer support for rooms they do not need.

But the Corporation took to using Labour's 'bedroom tax' slogan, which Mr Duncan Smith said was a 'disgrace'.

However, charities criticised the introduction of the benefits cap. Matthew Reed, chief executive of the Children's Society, accused the Government of trying to use a 'blunt instrument' to solve a complex problem.

He added: 'The debate around this cap has focused solely on workless adults, but the reality is that children are seven times more likely than adults to lose out.

'140,000 children, compared to 60,000 adults, will pay the price as parents have less to spend on food, clothing and rent.

'We fully support efforts to make work pay. But it is not right to do this by putting more children on the breadline. Instead, the Government should do more to help families by tackling the sky high rents in some parts of the UK and making childcare affordable.'


Homeland Insecurity

If there's any doubt the FBI's gone soft on Islamic terror and may be overlooking more Boston-style plots, witness the bureau chief's recent Hill testimony.

In a testy exchange with Republican lawmakers on the House Judiciary Committee, FBI Director Robert Mueller reluctantly acknowledged FBI counterterrorism training materials have been purged of references to "jihad" and "Islam" and that counterterrorism agents have been restricted from doing undercover investigations at mosques.

These outrageous policies likely contributed to the FBI missing signs of radicalization in the Muslim community — including that of the Tsarnaev brothers in Boston. The marathon bombers operated in plain sight of the FBI before killing three and wounding 260.

During the hearing, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, blasted Mueller for concluding his agency had done an "excellent" and "thorough job" protecting the public and for saying he didn't know what more could have been done to disrupt the marathon bombing plot.

Gohmert also read aloud from IBD's recent editorial on the subject, "Obama's Snooping Excludes Mosques, Missed Boston Bombers."

Mueller confirmed that instead of investigating the militant Boston mosque where the bomber brothers were radicalized, the FBI partnered with it for political "outreach."

Asked if he was aware the mosque was co-founded by a convicted terrorist cited by the Treasury Department as an al-Qaida fundraiser, Mueller sheepishly replied, "I was not."

The same mosque also has graduated several other convicted terrorists. The FBI helped put all these terrorists behind bars, yet didn't tie them back to the mosque. If the bureau had, it would have seen something rotten with the leadership there.

FBI documents recently released from the 9/11 investigation of al-Qaida cleric Anwar Awlaki reveal he was a close associate of the current lead imam of that same Boston mosque. Yet agents still reached out to the imam as a trusted "partner."

The FBI, moreover, had the Tsarnaev brothers on its anti-terrorist radar — thanks only to a tip from Russian intelligence — yet didn't track them back to the mosque or monitor their behavior at that mosque.

Even with the brothers' photos and case files in the FBI database, the bureau had to appeal to the American people to ID the evil jihadists on national TV.

It's a sorry — and scary — state of affairs when the director of the FBI and his field agents know less than the public about major threats from Islamic fanatics living among us.

Mueller wasn't always Mr. Magoo. Who put the PC blinders on him? Eric Holder.

In October 2011, the attorney general quietly put in force two policies that have made the nation far more vulnerable to homegrown terrorism.

For one, he set up a special review committee to curb mosque investigations, classifying the names of the reviewers, who reportedly may include outside parties.

Also that month he ordered a review of all FBI counterterrorist training manuals "to identify and correct any material that may be construed as offensive to someone of the Islamic faith," according to a directive sent to all FBI field offices.

Reviewers proceeded to purge references to "jihad" and "Islam" in connection to terrorism.

Mueller told Gohmert that the names of the Islamic "subject matter experts" who helped conduct the review remain classified.

What this means is that shadowy and unaccountable Islamic sympathizers are now effectively running counterterror programs. Feel safer?

It's plain that political correctness is hindering efforts to stop Islamic terrorists before they strike.

Until we purge PC from law enforcement, we won't truly be safe from future Bostons.


Told that Norway is the West’s most anti-Semitic country, diplomat lashes out at Israel

A prominent Norwegian historian and a senior diplomat from her country wrangled over the Scandinavian’s country’s anti-Semitism and anti-Israel record, trading barbs at a heated panel discussion in Jerusalem.

Hanne Nabintu Herland, a historian of religion, bestselling author and self-described “social pundit,” accused Norway of being “the most anti-Semitic country in the West” and attacked the government in Oslo for “biased support for only the Palestinian views.”

Representing the Norwegian Embassy in Tel Aviv, deputy head of mission Vebjørn Dysvik rejected the claims yet admitted that his government had work to do regarding anti-Jewish sentiment within Norwegian society. He also said that Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and 1978 invasion into Lebanon — which he said was “not Israel’s finest hour” — contributed to a mainly negative view of Israel among ordinary Norwegians.

“The degree of anti-Israelism in Norway today on the state level, in the media, in the trade unions and at the universities, colleges and schools is unprecedented in modern Norwegian history,” Herland said at a panel organized by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. “The powerful individuals that have pushed for these negative and biased attitudes in Norway are today responsible for creating a politically-correct hatred towards Israel that today portrays my country internationally as the most anti-Semitic country in the West.”

Herland quoted several surveys and anti-Semitism reports that showed, among other worrying trends, that “Jew” is the most often used curse word in Oslo schools and that a third of Jewish children feel continuously bullied. She also mentioned a widely-quoted June survey that showed that 12 percent of Norwegians harbored “strong anti-Jewish prejudices” and that more than a third of the population believes Israel’s treatment of Palestinians “was analogous to Nazi actions against Jews.”

About 2,000 Jews live in Norway, concentrated mostly in Oslo and Trondheim.

Dysvik, a minister counsellor at Oslo’s Tel Aviv embassy, responded to Herland’s remarks by portraying his country as one that does not tolerate anti-Semitism but was trying to be an honest broker in the Middle East peace process. Norway only chaired the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, which coordinates development assistance to the Palestinians, because both sides in the conflict explicitly asked for Oslo’s help in implementing a two-state solution, he asserted. Dysvik did not, however, pretend that relations with Israel are smooth or that most Norwegians have a positive image of Israel.

Norway’s vote was crucial in Israel’s joining the United Nations and initially, Oslo was a staunch supporter of the Jewish state, he said. But in the 1970s and 1980s, things changed: Israel captured and occupied the West Bank and, in 1978, invaded south Lebanon, seeking to restrain Palestinian terrorism emanating from this area.

“The occupation of the Palestinians is the defining factor in the relationship between Norway and Israel,” Dysvik said, in a comment atypical for diplomats of allied countries, who usually focus on shared history or common goals and values when describing bilateral relations. “A 45-year-long occupation of the Palestinian territory is redefining the relationship.”

The Foreign Ministry noticed the unfriendliness of the diplomat’s remarks but said it was used to such statements from Oslo.

“It’s quite unusual for a diplomat to speak so harshly, but he’s not saying anything we don’t know,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said. “This is precisely what we protest about Norwegian politicians and diplomats — that they make it a one-issue relationship, one-dimensional, and define it in what we think are unfair terms.”

But Herland, the Norwegian historian and author, suggested that Oslo’s stance toward Israel and Norwegian anti-Semitism were closely related: “Anti-Israelism is anti-Semitism’s new face in Europe,” she proclaimed during Monday’s panel.

Wearing a large golden Star of David around her neck, Herland slammed Norway for refusing to create a national list of groups recognized as terrorist organizations. “Today, the radical left-wing government silently accepts Hamas’s demand for ethnic cleansing of the Jewish minority, while foreign ministers like Jonas Gahr Støre pose no major remarks — until a late interview in 2011, as if the political pressure was so great that he felt obliged to at least say something. But even then the talks [with] and support for Hamas continued.”

Norway, which is not a member of the European Union, has a policy of engaging with Hamas, because the group “represents a significant part of Palestinian society” and is “a social, political, religious, and also a military reality that will not simply go away as a result of Western policies of isolation,” according to Støre. “There are constituencies within Hamas that seem open to dialogue and there are signs that these parts of the movement might be willing to support a two-state solution and recognize Israel’s right to exist,” he wrote last year in an article.

“It is not surprising,” Herland said, “that anti-Semitism and hostility towards Israel is a major problem in a country where even on state level there is such biased support for only the Palestinian views of the conflict,” she said.

However, the diplomat admitted that there was work to be done. Oslo was very disturbed by the survey’s finding that 38 percent of Norwegians compare Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Nazis’ treatment of Jews, he said. “This means that we are failing probably in our schools, both to teach people about what’s happening in Israel today but also of course maybe we really need to step up our efforts in teaching people about the Holocaust. The government is doing precisely that.”



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.



23 July, 2014

British government encourages sex attacks on women

Populists and knowalls generally treat it as revealed truth that pornography encourages sex crime.  Academics have long argued that porn could in fact REPLACE sex crimes.  The evidence  has now been in for some time now.  It does  (See also the article following the article below).  So Britain's porn restrictions will have the opposite effect to that intended.  What a plague on society are people who "just know" the truth

Every householder connected to the internet will have their access to online porn blocked unless they ask to receive it.

In a victory for the Daily Mail, David Cameron will announce the move today among a series of measures cracking down on against the tide of web sleaze.

The Prime Minister will warn that internet pornography – much of it easily accessible to youngsters – is ‘corroding childhood’.

By the end of next year, all 19million UK homes currently connected to the net will be contacted by service providers and told they must say whether family-friendly filters that block all porn sites should be switched on or off.

From the end of this year, all new customers setting up a broadband account or switching provider will have the filters automatically switched on unless they opt to disable them to allow sites with ‘adult content’.

‘The Daily Mail has campaigned hard to make internet search engine filters “default on”. Today they can declare that campaign a success,’ Mr Cameron said.

‘We are taking action to help clean up the internet and protect a generation of children from often extreme online pornography.’

Other measures being announced by Mr Cameron today include adult content filters on all new mobile phones, a bar on accessing adult content through public wi-fi and calling in Ofcom to regulate industry progress. Internet giants such as Google will be told they have a ‘moral duty’ to do more to stop child abuse images being accessed.

Pornography involving simulated rape will be banned both online and offline, and online videos will be subject to the same rules as those sold in sex shops.

There will be stronger powers for watchdogs to investigate the ‘hidden internet’ – heavily encrypted forums and pages that allow abusers to cover their tracks

There has been growing alarm at evidence that a third of children have accessed online pornography by the time they reach ten. Six in ten parents now say they are worried or very worried about their sons and daughters seeing violent and sexual material on the web.

In his landmark speech at the NSPCC, Mr Cameron will say action is more urgent than ever because web access has ‘changed profoundly’ in recent years.

‘Not long ago, access to the internet was mainly restricted to the PC in the corner of the living room, with a beeping dial-up modem, downstairs in the house where parents could keep an eye on things,’ he will say.

Today, there is material freely available that is a ‘direct danger to our children’.

The Prime Minister will add: ‘I’m not making this speech because I want to moralise or scaremonger, but because I feel profoundly as a politician, and as a father, that the time for action has come. This is, quite simply, about how we protect our children and their innocence.’

Mr Cameron will announce that in future deciding about family-friendly filters will be a required part of the set-up process for installing an internet connection.

When existing web users are contacted, family-friendly filters will be pre-selected. Only an adult will be able to change the filter settings and the account holder will receive a confirmation email. Some ISPs are offering text alerts, in case children hack into the account.

Any adult ignoring the alerts will have filters installed automatically.

‘By the end of this year, when someone sets up a new broadband account the settings to install family-friendly filters will be automatically selected. If you just click “next” or “enter”, then the filters are automatically on,’ Mr Cameron will say.

‘And, in a really big step forward, all the ISPs have rewired their technology so that once your filters are installed, they will cover any device connected to your home internet account.

‘No more hassle of downloading filters for every device, just one click protection. One click to protect your whole home and keep your children safe.

‘Once those filters are installed, it should not be the case that technically literate children can just flick the filters off at the click of a mouse without anyone knowing. So we have agreed with industry that those filters can only be changed by the account holder, who has to be an adult. So an adult has to be engaged in the decisions.

‘But of course, all this just deals with the flow of new customers – those switching service providers or buying an internet connection for the first time. It does not deal with the huge stock of existing customers – almost 19million households. So this is now where we need to set our sights.

‘Following the work we’ve already done with the service providers, they have now agreed to take a big step.

‘By the end of next year, they will have contacted all of their existing customers and presented them with an unavoidable decision about whether or not to install family friendly content filters. TalkTalk, who have shown great leadership on this, have already started.

‘We are not prescribing how the ISPs should contact their customers – it’s up to them to find their own technological solutions. But however they do it, there will be no escaping this decision.

‘And they will ensure it is an adult making the choice.’

‘I’m asking Ofcom, the industry regulator, to oversee this work. If they find that we are not protecting children effectively, I will not hesitate to take further action.’

Mr Cameron will announce further measures to tackle extreme pornography, which depicts violence against women, including simulated rape.

‘These images normalise sexual violence against women – and they are quite simply poisonous to the young people who see them.

“The legal situation is that although it’s been a crime to publish pornographic portrayals of rape for decades, existing legislation does not cover possession of this material – at least in England and Wales.

‘Well I can tell you today we are changing that. We are closing the loophole – making it a criminal offence to possess internet pornography that depicts rape.

‘And we are doing something else to make sure that the same rules apply online as they do offline. There are some examples of extreme pornography that are so bad that you can’t even buy this material in a licensed sex shop. And today I can announce we will be legislating so that videos streamed online in the UK are subject to the same rules as those sold in shops.  ‘Put simply – what you can’t get in a shop, you will no longer be able to get online.'

Holly Dustin, of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said:

'We are delighted that David Cameron has responded to the call by experts and women’s groups to ban pornographic images of rape that promote and eroticise violence against women.

'The Coalition Government has pledged to prevent abuse of women and girls, so tackling a culture that glorifies abuse is critical for achieving this.

'The next step is working with experts to ensure careful drafting of the law and proper resourcing to ensure the law is enforced fully.'


More Porn, Less Rape

Over the past two decades, as pornography has become much more easily accessible over the Internet, the rate of rape and sexual assault has declined by about 60 percent, according to the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

The BJS conducts an annual National Crime Victimization survey of more than 100,000 households, asking if anyone has been the victim of various crimes in the past year. In 1995, the rape/sexual assault rate was reported as 5 per 1,000 American women over age 12. In 2011, the rate had fallen to 1.8 rapes/sexual assaults per 1,000.

Meanwhile access to pornography has dramatically increased. “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a person in possession of a fast Internet connection must be in want of some porn,” the journalist Sebastian Anthony joked last year on the website Extremetech. Dozens of porn platforms are among the top 500 sites in terms of traffic, according to Google’s Doubleclick Ad Planner. The largest, Xvideos, draws 4.4 billion page views per month—three times more than CNN or ESPN, and twice as many as Reddit.

A comprehensive 2009 review in the journal Aggression and Violent Behavior by the Texas A&M International University psychologist Christopher Ferguson and the University of Texas at San Antonio criminologist Richard Hartley concluded that easy access to porn does not cause rape. “Considered together, the available data about pornography consumption and rape rates in the United States seem to rule out a causal relationship,” Ferguson and Hartley wrote in their summary of the academic literature. “One could even argue that the available research and self-reported and official statistics might provide evidence for the reverse effect; the increasing availability of pornography appears to be associated with a decline in rape.”

The Clemson economist Todd Kendall, in a 2006 study supported by the National Bureau of Economic Research, concluded that “Internet access appears to be a substitute for rape; in particular, the results suggest that a 10 percentage point increase in internet access is associated with a decline in reported rape victimization of around 7.3 percent.” Kendall found that “there is no statistically significant relationship between internet access and any individual FBI index crime (other than rape), including murder, robbery, aggravated assault, robbery, larceny, and auto theft.” Crime rates are plummeting all over, but it’s only rape that appears to be pegged to online connectivity.


Britain's animal Gestapo again

No sense of proportion whatsoever

A retired vet woke to find a police torch being shone into his face when officers raided his home after the RSPCA received a tip-off that his two pet dogs were being maltreated.

A total of 13 officials – police, firemen and RSPCA officers – turned up unannounced in six vehicles at 70-year-old John Spicer’s home and broke down the door to get in while he was asleep.

His sheepdogs Puppy and Little Boy were taken away and Puppy was destroyed immediately.

Mr Spicer was arrested on suspicion of causing unnecessary suffering to an animal.

He had his fingerprints, DNA and mugshot taken and was held in a police cell for 24 hours before being released.

Yesterday he criticised the RSPCA for being heavy-handed and said he has still not been told what has happened to Little Boy.

‘The whole episode was a total over-reaction,’ Mr Spicer said. ‘I was asleep inside and the first thing I knew was a torch being shone six inches from my face by a police officer.

‘I was put barefoot in the back of a police van and told I was being arrested. I was in a cell at a police station for 24 hours.

‘This was the first time ever I’ve been taken to a police station in my life, I have been left shaken by it. It was completely over the top.’

Mr Spicer, who lives in the village of Gobowen near Oswestry, Shropshire, was released after being questioned by officers from the animal welfare charity.

Yesterday an RSPCA spokesman refused to say whether Mr Spicer would face prosecution as the investigation is ongoing.

His ordeal began at around 5pm on July 8 when two RSPCA officers in separate vans, two constables, a sergeant and two PCSOs from West Mercia Police in two cars and a van, plus a fire engine with six firemen on board, turned up at his whitewashed terraced home.

After using a fire engine ladder to peer inside an upstairs window, they broke down the door and let themselves in.

They took away 12-year-old Puppy, which had been suffering ill health due to a spinal injury and had partly lost the use of its legs, as well as ten-year-old Little Boy, Puppy’s brother, claiming they were not being looked after properly.

But Mr Spicer, who was a vet for 30 years, said he had been treating Puppy’s illness, which he described as ‘complicated,’ himself and the dog had been improving.

He said: ‘The police decided there was no case to prosecute. I’ve heard nothing since from the RSPCA.’

Mr Spicer, a bachelor, added that he doesn’t know how he will live without his dogs. ‘I’ve not lived in my house without a dog for 30 years,’ he said. ‘At some stage it is going to hit me that the house is empty.’

Neighbour Mark Breeze, 47, said: ‘I’ve never seen John mistreat an animal in my life, he always looks after his dogs very well. He’s very cut up about it.’

A spokesman for the RSPCA said they had attempted to contact Mr Spicer on numerous occasions after receiving several calls about the welfare of his dogs. It is understood he was reported to the charity several times by a concerned local.

‘We will always attempt to work with owners to safeguard the welfare of their animals,’ the spokesman said.

‘The dog was put to sleep by an independent vet – on their advice as nothing more could be done to help it.

‘A second dog still belongs to the man, it has not been taken permanently, but it will remain in RSPCA care while the investigation continues.

‘The conditions the dog had been living in were not suitable and it is now being treated for a skin condition.’

Anne Kasica, who runs the Self-Help Group, an organisation for animal owners ‘experiencing difficulties with the RSPCA’, said: ‘It’s appalling that an elderly man can be treated this way, but unfortunately we’ve seen it all before.

‘All the RSPCA seem to care about is prosecutions because they bring in donations through publicity.’

Tory councillor David Lloyd, who represents Gobowen, said: ‘Many villagers were angry at the heavy-handed way in which the reclusive Mr Spicer appears to have been treated.’

Tory MP Simon Hart, a former head of the Countryside Alliance, claims the RSPCA is pursuing an ‘aggressive political agenda’ against pet owners which is ‘at odds with animal welfare’.


Police won't name big firms and lawyers who hack phones - to protect their human rights

Lord Justice Leveson's report into hone hacking did not mention blue-chip companies

Police are refusing to publish  the names of law firms, blue-chip companies and celebrities accused of hiring private investigators to break the law – to protect their ‘human rights’.

The Serious Organised Crime Agency has a list of those accused of paying private eyes to dig for information, including using illegal means such as phone hacking.

But yesterday it emerged that the agency, dubbed Britain’s FBI, is suppressing the names, claiming that to publish them might breach the Human Rights Act. It cited Article 8, the right to a private and family life.

The agency also claimed that publishing the list could damage the firms’ commercial interests by tainting them with guilt.

Last night one Tory MP called for the heads of Soca to be sacked if they continue to block the release of the list.

And senior MPs who are investigating the scandal criticised the agency for its lack of transparency.

Labour’s Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, wrote to Soca to ask for ‘all the information Soca holds on private investigators and their links with the police and private sector’.

He said: ‘Soca has indicated that it is prepared to give the client list to us in confidence. This has still not been received. It is a disappointment that this is yet another document the committee has had to receive in secret from Soca.’

He added: ‘In view of the public interest, openness and transparency may be the only way that the public can be reassured that no one is above the law and [that] Soca have done all they can to address this issue.’

Mr Vaz said he will write to the leading 100 legal firms and every firm in the FTSE 100 to ask them if they have ever commissioned private investigators and for what.

On June 24 he wrote to Sir Ian Andrews, the chairman of Soca, to ask him to ‘provide the committee with a list of clients who hired private investigators to break the law that Soca is aware of’, setting a deadline of June 28.

In a letter dated July 12, published on the committee’s website on Wednesday, Sir Ian – a former Ministry of Defence mandarin – said publishing the information could ‘substantially undermine the financial viability of major organisations by tainting them with public association with criminality’. 

The evidence has now been ‘formally classified’, he added.

Detailing his reasons, he said there was a ‘lack of certainty’ over whether the investigators’ clients had ‘guilty knowledge’ and were aware of what was going on. And he said naming them could undermine their right to a private  and family life under the Human Rights Act.

He also cited the ‘possible prejudice which any publication might have on ongoing criminal investigations and future regulatory action’.

He wrote: ‘This reflects the fact that the information it contains, if published, might prejudice individual security or liberty, impede the investigation (or facilitate the commission) of serious crime or substantially undermine the financial viability of major organisations by tainting them with public association with criminality.’

The list of clients stems from a Metropolitan Police investigation codenamed Operation Millipede which led to the jailing of four  private detectives in January last year.

The court heard personal information was ‘blagged’ by private investigators who impersonated targets while phoning banks, building societies and telephone companies.

But no details of the men’s alleged clients came out in court.

Last month it emerged that a Soca report into private investigators that was submitted to the Leveson Inquiry – but not mentioned in Lord Justice Leveson’s report or published on the inquiry website – alleged widespread misbehaviour by businesses other than the media.

The confidential document, codenamed Project Riverside, contained intelligence material on the wider use of private investigators outside the media.

It alleged that law firms, insurance companies, wealthy individuals and even councils were paying for information.

One hacker reportedly said that 80 per cent of his client list was blue-chip companies and high-profile individuals, with the rest relating to the media.

Questions have been asked on why little apparent action has been taken either to disrupt this trade in information or to target those paying for it.

They are reported to include a corporate giant, a celebrity broadcaster, a media personality and a wealthy businessman.

Both Sir Ian and Trevor Pearce, the agency’s director general, were summoned to return before the MPs after details of what the agency knew, which date back six years or more, came to light.

The agency has agreed to allow Mr Vaz and members of the committee to see a copy of the list of names, on the condition it is not made public.

Backbench Tory MP Rob Wilson called for both Sir Ian and Mr Pearce to be sacked if they continue to block the release of the list of names.

The MP for Reading East said in a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May last night: ‘It is entirely unacceptable for Soca to put its own reputation and commercial interests before its duties to the public in tackling serious criminality.

‘Many people will rightly see Soca’s actions as an abuse of the Official Secrets Act and the Human Rights Act. It appears that Soca is in danger of losing its way in taking the decisions it has.

‘Tackling serious and organised crime is an incredibly important function in a civilised country. It will be difficult for the public to have confidence in Soca while it appears there is one law for the rich and powerful, and another for the rest.’

Scotland Yard’s continuing investigations into newspapers are expected to cost nearly £40million by the time they conclude in  April 2015



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.



22 July, 2014

Coroner condemns British paramedics who refused to save drowning man in ditch 'for health and safety reasons'

Emergency workers of a sick country.  Concern about "Health and Safety" is a major and most destructive form of political correctness in Britain

A coroner has condemned paramedics who refused to jump into a drainage ditch to treat a dying man because they would not break health and safety rules.

Young farmer Michael Thornton had been knocked unconscious when a Land Rover he was in crashed and overturned in the water.

But when paramedics arrived they made a snap 'risk assessment' and refused to get into the 10ft-wide canal.

The 30-year-old eventually died as a result of drowning and his head injuries.

Michael Rose, the coroner for West Somerset, said: 'I will not say what I think of health and safety regulations.  'I was brought up in a country where men risked their own lives to save the lives of others.  'That was a period in our history which has almost ceased.'

Mr Rose recorded an accidental death verdict and did not say his life could have been saved if the paramedics had gone in the water to reach him.

Driver Matthew Braddick and his friend Jason Cheal managed to escape and haul Mr Thornton on top of the upturned vehicle, where they attempted CPR.

A policeman who arrived at the scene minutes later had no hesitation and immediately plunged into the water.

He helped pull Mr Thornton to the road where the paramedics were waiting but they were unable to revive him.

An inquest heard that the primary cause of his death was drowning coupled with reduced consciousness and a traumatic head injury.

But despite their refusal to jump in, bosses at South Western Ambulance Trust insisted the crew made exactly the right decision and performed admirably.  A spokesman said: 'The trust is confident the crew made an appropriate risk assessment on arrival at the scene and administered the best possible care in what were particularly difficult circumstances.'

Coroner Mr Rose said the Land Rover had not been travelling at more than 30 mph and may well have swerved to avoid an animal on the country road.

Mr Thornton was a young farmer who had his own agricultural businesses.

At the time of his death his mother Mandy Phillips, 53, said: 'It still doesn't seem real and I expect him to walk back through the door. We will miss him terribly.  'He always had a smile on his face and he lived for his tractor driving.'

His partner Liz Richardson, 35, added: 'He was a very hard worker and would do anything for anyone. He loved his job, his work and being out in the countryside.'

The inquest heard that Mr Thornton's friends were unable to carry the knocked-out victim up the slippery slopes of the 10ft-wide rhyne [drainage ditch].

An ambulance eventually arrived but the paramedic refused to climb down into the shoulder-high water, citing health and safety.

But as soon as PC Leslie Day arrived he jumped in and between them managed to get injured Mr Thornton out of the rhyne for proper medical assistance.

In a statement to the inquest Mr. Braddick's statement described his shock at the medic's refusal to enter the water.


Racist British bureaucrats

Isabelle Coad couldn’t have wished for a happier childhood – despite being abandoned at birth in her native Sri Lanka by her 16-year-old mother who had been raped.

She was adopted  by an English couple who brought her to Britain and raised her along with their natural sons in the leafy suburbs of Loughborough.

She realised that her life had been so enriched by the experience that at the age of 23 she decided to follow in her adoptive parents’ footsteps and adopt a foreign child so she could transform his life.

But she hadn’t bargained for  the politically correct bureaucracy that plagues Britain’s adoption process.

Even though Isabelle had been happily brought up in a mixed race family, she found that the adoption authorities seemed obsessed by ‘colour matching’.

Nathaniel had been born in Uganda and dumped in a skip at about 18 months old before being taken to an orphanage. When Isabelle found him she planned to save him from the life of poverty and pain that could have been her own fate. But the adoption authorities in the UK advised her ‘not to bother’ because the colour of his skin differed from hers.

‘They asked how I could look after his Afro hair and skin when it was so different from my own,’ says Isabelle, 30.

‘And then they asked how could I feed him according to his cultural needs. I don’t think Nathaniel was going to complain about not being served Ugandan food. For him, any food was a luxury.

‘When he was found he was suffering from malnutrition, malaria and rickets, was covered in scars from being beaten and had a cataract in his left eye.

‘He spoke a strange dialect that no one understood, and while he knew how to wash clothes, he didn’t know how to play with toys.

‘I really don’t think he would have survived if he had been left in Uganda as a street kid.  ‘Some are drafted into child  slavery while others become child soldiers. And there is still child  sacrifice in Africa.

‘But the UK has a fixation with having the perfect arrangement when it comes to inter-racial adoption. They want parents from exactly the same background as the child. It’s ludicrous.’

Isabelle, a learning support worker, fought a five-year battle to adopt Nathaniel, at one stage moving to Uganda to ensure she could become his mother. She almost lost him to pancreatitis and narrowly escaped death herself when she was attacked by masked gunmen who opposed mixed race adoption.

But finally she was able to bring Nathaniel, who is now seven, to live with her in Loughborough.

It is testimony to Isabelle’s bravery and steely tenacity that she has been able to adopt her son and now she is equally determined to bring about a change in the law to ensure that other British families, trying to adopt within the UK, don’t fall foul of the same bureaucracy.

‘I went through hell, but I am one of the lucky ones,’ she admits. ‘The whole adoption process here is ridiculous. It needs to be reformed and made less stringent. There are so many loving families willing to take in a needy child.

‘Should we really prevent that from happening just because their skin is a different colour?’

The situation stems from the fact that the majority of children on the adoption register in the UK are from minority ethnic backgrounds, while those wishing to adopt are predominantly white. Currently 4,600 needy and abandoned children are waiting for new parents.

It takes nearly two years to  adopt a white child in Britain, but almost a year longer to adopt a black child because of the inter-racial problem.

Education Minister Michael Gove – who was himself adopted – recently called for an urgent overhaul of the system, describing current law as ‘misguided’ and insisting that ‘ethnicity must not stand in the way if there is a loving family, ready and able to adopt a child.’

The Department of Education hopes the reforms, which include cutting the time it takes for a child to be adopted, are made law by the first quarter of 2014. But Mr Gove faces opposition from some of Britain’s adoption charities, which continue to insist that children’s culture and ethnicity should not be dismissed.

Isabelle’s parents, Adrian and Elisabeth, faced no such problems when in 1983 they adopted her  from Sri Lanka, along with another baby, Miriam, who had been abandoned on the steps of a school.
Adrian had worked in Sri Lanka and, at that time, Britain had an adoption agreement with the country. The couple had two boys of their own – Gregory, then six, and Alexander, three. They wanted a larger family but Elisabeth was unable to have more children.

Mr Coad, 65, recalls: ‘We wanted two girls so they could have each other. There was no problem with the inter-racial thing.’

Isabelle was never keen on  having children of her own but became interested in adopting when she volunteered to work at the Amani Baby Cottage orphanage in Uganda. Nathaniel arrived there in 2006, in an appalling physical condition.

It was a time when Madonna and Angelina Jolie were adopting  children from different ethnic  backgrounds, making the process look easy. The reality, however, was vastly different. When the British Embassy in Kampala failed to provide any information on adoption and Isabelle drew a blank on the internet, she phoned Leicestershire County Council for help.

‘They basically told me not to do it and questioned my ability to look after an African child,’ she says. ‘That’s when they asked the ridiculous question about being able to tend to his hair.’

After working at the orphanage for several months, Isabelle was no stranger to the atrocities that people inflicted on unwanted children. One baby had been thrown into a latrine and lay there for several days before being found. Another premature baby was found in a sealed plastic bag, out in the rain. He was placed in a broken incubator and kept warm with a kerosene lamp. Miraculously, he pulled through.

Amid such atrocities, Nathaniel’s story hardly stood out but, after nursing him back to health over several months, Isabelle developed a deep bond with him.  ‘I didn’t go to Africa with the intention of adopting a child, but I just knew then that God wanted me to adopt Nathaniel,’ she says.

Back home, Isabelle began research and discovered that under Ugandan law, any prospective parent must become a resident of the country for a minimum of three years in order to foster a child before adopting them. So in 2008 she decided to move there to foster Nathaniel, unsure of when or if she would return to Britain.

She found work as a teacher in an international school and was soon fast-tracked to become its co-ordinator on a much higher salary. This infuriated many locals, some of whom were also unhappy about her adoption bid.

Nathaniel was taken away from her twice before the attack by masked gunmen, who broke into Isabelle’s compound at 3am.

‘I had to run through the grounds to let the security guard in,’ Isabelle says. ‘I didn’t think about being shot, I just ran for my life.’ The thugs fled. ‘I was told if they come with guns they’re there to kill you. And afterwards I was told it was because of the adoption. But I wasn’t prepared to give up; I couldn’t just leave Nathaniel as an orphan again.’

Isabelle is convinced she was given a hard time by the Ugandans because she was [South] Asian – a hangover from former dictator Idi Amin’s days, and his expulsion of the country’s 80,000 Asians in 1972.

In 2009, after two failed attempts, Isabelle, who is single, finally brought Nathaniel to England for six months just in time for Christmas. By this time she had established legal guardianship. ‘It was so special and such a relief to be home,’ she says. ‘He kept talking about the Christmas lights and also saw snow for the first time.’

Then in April 2010, Nathaniel  was rushed to hospital with a suspected perforated bowel and spent five days in intensive care. Doctors diagnosed pancreatitis caused by an infection. Luckily, he has suffered no lasting effects.

The pair never returned to Uganda and, instead, later that year Isabelle decided to adopt him in Britain. Initially she was told she was unlikely to succeed but in December 2011, and completely out of the blue, she received a letter from Nottingham County Court, inviting her to celebrate Nathaniel’s adoption.  ‘I was not expecting that at all,’ Isabelle says. ‘I called my dad and then went to Nathaniel’s school to tell him. He was so happy.’

Looking at Nathaniel today, no one would believe what he’s been through. Dressed in a smart Ralph Lauren shirt – ‘an eBay bargain’ – he zooms around chatting in perfect English. His laughter fills the family’s four-bedroom house, but he listens attentively to his story – his mother has never tried to hide it from him.

He never wants to return to Uganda. Hugging Isabelle, he says: ‘It’s a scary place.’

Yesterday a Leicestershire County Council spokesman said: ‘We work hard to find secure and loving homes for the children in our care. The priority for adoption agencies across the UK is the welfare of each child, and although we have no record of this discussion, it would be normal to explore people’s suitability as an adopter.’


Sikhs in Britain told to halt weddings over homosexual rights

The future of traditional Indian weddings in Britain is in doubt because of the fallout from gay marriage passing into law, it has emerged.

Sikh temples have been advised to halt all civil marriage ceremonies on their premises to protect them from possible legal challenges for refusing to conduct same-sex weddings.

It is the first example of a religious group altering its marriage practices to avoid potential litigation based on equalities or human rights law.

Other groups, including the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church and the orthodox Jewish organisation United Synagogue, also resisted the legislation, but they have not indicated that they will go as far as to surrender their marriage licences.

The Government has given repeated assurances that legal ­provisions should prevent anyone being forced to act against their religious teachings.

The warning comes in a letter to Sikh places of worship, known as gurdwaras, from Sikhs In England, a specialist advisory body. It urges them to consider deregistering as a venue for civil weddings — which would leave gurdwaras performing wedding rites with no legal force.  Couples would have to attend a separate ceremony in a register office or other venue recognised by their local council.

Although the advice is not binding, it is understood that it is being taken seriously.

Lord Singh, the director of the Network of Sikh Organisations, told the House of Lords that he feared opponents of same-sex marriage would be “coerced” into accepting the new legal definition of marriage.

The network also advised members that it believes faith groups could end up being “bullied” into conducting same-sex marriages.

The same-sex marriage Act, which received Royal Assent this week, contains provisions to prevent individuals and groups from being compelled to carry out such unions, under a so-called “quadruple lock” of legal protections.

But Sikhs In England has told supporters that such assurances could be swept away by a challenge in Strasbourg. Harmander Singh, principal adviser to Sikhs In England, said: “We are concerned that the quadruple lock isn’t going to be worth the paper it is written on.

“In the longer term, as soon as there is an issue and it goes to the European Court of Human Rights, no one can be sure, because the quadruple lock means nothing under subsidiarity.”

In common with many churches, mosques and synagogues, gurdwaras are registered with councils as venues to conduct weddings.  It enables them to combine the civil formalities of the marriage with a religious ceremony.

If Sikh places of worship deregister, it would lead to a situation similar to that in France, where couples have a civil wedding at the town hall with a church service as an optional extra.

“We have no authority, neither has the Government, to change our scriptures,” said Mr Singh. “We are bound by our religious teachings and we have been put in a difficult situation.”

He added: “Civil marriage is, with respect, a paper exercise.”


CDC Study: Use of Firearms For Self-Defense is ‘Important Crime Deterrent’

“Self-defense can be an important crime deterrent,”says a new report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The $10 million study was commissioned by President Barack Obama as part of 23 executive orders he signed in January.

“Studies that directly assessed the effect of actual defensive uses of guns (i.e., incidents in which a gun was ‘used’ by the crime victim in the sense of attacking or threatening an offender) have found consistently lower injury rates among gun-using crime victims compared with victims who used other self-protective strategies,” the CDC study, entitled “Priorities For Research to Reduce the Threat of Firearm-Related Violence,” states.

The report, which notes that “ violent crimes, including homicides specifically, have declined in the past five years,” also pointed out that “some firearm violence results in death, but most does not.” In fact, the CDC report said, most incidents involving the discharge of firearms do not result in a fatality.

“In 2010, incidents in the U.S. involving firearms injured or killed more than 105,000 Americans, of which there were twice as many nonfatal firearm-related injuries (73,505) than deaths.”

The White House unveiled a plan in January that included orders to the CDC to “conduct research on the causes and prevention of gun violence.” According to the White House report, “Research on gun violence is not advocacy; it is critical public health research that gives all Americans information they need.”

The Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council released the results of their research through the CDC last month. Researchers compiled data from previous studies in order to guide future research on gun violence, noting that “almost all national survey estimates indicate that defensive gun uses by victims are at least as common as offensive uses by criminals, with estimates of annual uses ranging from about 500,000 to more than 3 million per year.”

“Most felons report obtaining the majority of their firearms from informal sources,” adds the report, while “stolen guns account for only a small percentage of guns used by convicted criminals.”

Researchers also found that the majority of firearm deaths are from suicide, not homicide. “Between the years 2000 and 2010, firearm-related suicides significantly outnumbered homicides for all age groups, annually accounting for 61 percent of the more than 335,600 people who died from firearm-related violence in the United States.”

African American males are most affected by firearm-related violence, with “32 per 100,000” deaths. Risk factors and predictors of violence include income inequality, “diminished economic opportunities . . . high levels of family disruption” and “low levels of community participation.”

The report expresses uncertainty about gun control measures, stating that “whether gun restrictions reduce firearm-related violence is an unresolved issue,” and that there is no evidence “that passage of right-to-carry laws decrease or increase violence crime.” It also stated that proposed  “gun turn-in programs are ineffective.”

Instead, researchers proposed gun safety technologies such as “external locking devices and biometric systems” to reduce firearm-related deaths.

“I thought it was very telling that this report focused so heavily on . . . futuristic technology that’s not been brought to the market in any kind of reliable form that consumers have any interest in,” John Frazer, director of research and information at the National Rifle Association (NRA), told CNSNews.com.

These “smart gun” technologies are “designed to prevent misuse, to prevent either accidents or crimes committed with stolen guns,” Frazer noted. “Obviously it wouldn’t have any effect on crimes committed with a gun purchased by the criminal. It obviously wouldn’t have any effect on suicides by people who bought the guns themselves.” However, “it could have a huge burden on self-defense rights of law-abiding people if they’re forced to use an unproven technology.”

The CDC’s findings - that guns are an effective and often used crime deterrent and that most firearm incidents are not fatal - could affect the future of gun violence research..

The report establishes guidelines meant only for future “taxpayer-funded research,” Frazer said. However, “the anti-gun researchers out there who want to study and promote gun control are perfectly free to get funded to do that by [New York] Mayor Bloomberg or by any number of other organizations or foundations.”

“It depends on who’s doing the research,” Frazer added. “I would be very concerned that a lot of the follow-up research that might come from this agenda would be more of what we’ve seen from the anti-gun public health establishment in the past.”

Calls and an email from CNSNews to the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence were not returned..

According to a National Academies press release, organizations supporting the CDC study have close ties to Obama.

When contacted by CNSNews, the Annie E. Casey Foundation issued a statement reaffirming its support for the study, which “is in keeping with our work to collaborate with public agencies, nonprofit organizations, policymakers and community leaders to make a positive impact on the lives of kids, families and communities.” Patrick Corvington, the foundation’s former senior associate, was nominated by Obama and confirmed in 2010 as CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service.

Other supporters include The California Endowment, which has been  promoting Obamacare; The Joyce Foundation, on whose  Board of Directors Obama served for eight years prior to his Senate run;  and Kaiser Permanente, which contributed over half a million dollars to his presidential campaign.



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.



21 July, 2014

Senate Committee Passes ENDA, Which Would Lead to Meritless Litigation and Erode Free Speech

by Hans Bader

A Senate Committee has voted 15-to-7 to approve the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, “a bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity,” reports the Huffington Post. We previously explained why the bill would encourage meritless litigation through one-way fee-shifting — through the so-called Christiansburg Garment rule — and would undermine free speech about sexual-orientation-related issues in religious bookstores, and within religious broadcasters and newspapers (This is because under it, the courts might allow gay employees who overhear theologically-conservative viewpoints about gay marriage or sexual relations or morality, or are exposed to religious books and commentary in bookstores or radio or TV shows containing such viewpoints, to bring “hostile work environment” claims, as I also explain further below).

More coverage of the bill is provided in The Hill, The Washington Post‘s Plum Line, and Daily Kos.

Although ENDA purports not to include disparate-impact claims, even some courts that construe “hostile work environment” claims as being solely a species of intentional discrimination, i.e., disparate treatment, rather than disparate impact, have nevertheless allowed sexual harassment claims under existing federal laws such as Title VII that really more akin to disparate-impact claims, in that they involved comments or displays that were not aimed at the plaintiff because of her sex, but which merely were overheard by the plaintiff. See, e.g., Reeves v. C.H. Robinson Worldwide, Inc., 594 F.3d 798 (11th Cir. 2010) (en banc)(unanimously allowing sexual harassment lawsuit largely over comments not aimed at the plaintiff, such as offensive radio programs played in plaintiff’s workplace). Based on such logic, an arbitrator in one case allowed a female employee who worked for a broadcaster to collect damages over offensive broadcasts she was exposed to in the course of her job. In another case criticized by civil-libertarians, a college initially found a student guilty of racial harassment for reading a history book about the Ku Klux Klan.

By parity of reasoning, these courts could sharply restrict religious expression about things like gay marriage, sodomy laws, adoption by gay couples, or same-sex unions, that is offensive to gays who overhear it, by interpreting it as a violation of ENDA, even though ENDA purports not to authorize disparate impact claims. Local civil-rights agencies have occasionally charged employers with sexual-orientation harassment for speech that is not even aimed at a gay complainant. For example, an employer was charged with sexual-orientation harassment under Seattle’s gay-rights ordinance partly for listening to Rush Limbaugh on the radio, which offended a gay employee, even though the charges were controversial, to say the least. (While the Title VII rulings I discussed earlier allowing employees to sue over speech not directed at them are dubious as a matter of statutory construction, they are likely to be followed by courts interpreting ENDA, unless and until constitutional objections are successful raised, since ENDA is largely modeled on Title VII.)

This raises First Amendment problems, since such restrictions on religious expression are constitutionally more suspect in the eyes of many judges than bans on sexual expression in the workplace, compare Meltebeke v. BOLI, 903 P.2d 351 (Or. 1995) (voiding religious harassment fine for unintentionally offensive religious speech that created a religiously-hostile work environment as violation of state religious-freedom guarantees) with Robinson v. Jacksonville Shipyards, 760 F.Supp. 1486 (M.D. Fla. 1991) (upholding injunction against pornography in workplace to remedy sexual harassment). In short, hostile-environment claims are likely to be viewed as constitutionally problematic more often under ENDA than under existing federal law.

For a discussion of the broad range of speech that hostile-environment harassment law already reaches, see the writings of U.C.L.A. Law Professor Eugene Volokh, which you can find here and here. Volokh is the author of First Amendment textbooks and is widely cited by American judges and law reviews, including in opinions that have been joined in by every sitting U.S. Supreme Court justice. Courts have occasionally blocked hostile-environment racial or sexual harassment lawsuits over core political speech — like the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Rodriguez v. Maricopa Community College, 605 F.3d 703 (9th Cir. 2010), blocking a racial-harassment suit over anti-immigration emails — but generally, the courts have allowed the concept of a “hostile work environment” to reach a broad range of speech, and out of ingrained habit, courts are likely to continue that practice when they interpret ENDA, paving the way for constitutional clashes. (The Supreme Court has never squarely addressed the issue, as Justice Thomas noted in his opinion in Avis Rent-A-Car System v. Aguilar, thus leaving enormous uncertainty in just how far political or religious speech can be restricted in the name of preventing a hostile work environment.)

One common misconception promoted about ENDA is that its exclusion of disparate-impact claims would prevent meritless statistically-based suits against employers saying they haven’t hired enough gay employees on a numerical basis. This reflects the misconception that statistical cases can only be brought under a disparate-impact theory. In reality, gross statistical disparities can also give rise to a lawsuit under an intentional-discrimination theory, too, if the disparity is significant enough, although in such cases, the employer is theoretically allowed to defend itself by giving innocent reasons for the disparity. See International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324 (1977). Even flawed statistical evidence is admissible in the eyes of many courts under the Supreme Court’s 1986 Bazemore decision, and even an innocent employer risks a finding of liability based on sloppy regression analyses that do not include all relevant variables. The possibility of flawed statistical evidence is particularly great under ENDA, because the percentage of gay Americans — unlike the percentage of black Americans — is not subject to precise calculation, and is often massively overstated by the public including (no doubt including judges and jurors).

The possibility of pressure to hire-by-the-numbers cannot be ruled out under ENDA. Activists have already pressured President Obama to mandate sexual-orientation-based hiring goals for government contractors. The Supreme Court’s decision in International Brotherhood of Teamsters v. United States, 431 U.S. 324 (1977), permits employers to be held liable for “disparate treatment” (not just “disparate impact”) if circumstantial evidence in the form of workplace racial imbalances suggests that the employer is guilty of discrimination. Statistical disparities are treated as creating a “prima facie” case of “disparate treatment” if the racial or sexual composition of the employer’s workforce is at least two standard deviations away from the purported norm. But no one knows exactly what that norm is for sexual orientation. As the leading pollster Gallup notes, Americans tend to vastly overestimate the percentage of the population that is gay. As Garance Franke-Ruta of The Atlantic notes, Americans systematically overestimate the percentage of the population that is gay or lesbian: “‘U.S. adults, on average, estimate that 25 percent of Americans are gay or lesbian,’ Gallup found,” even though “fewer than 5 percent of Americans identify as gay or lesbian.” In short, due to widespread misconceptions about the percentage of gay Americans, ENDA could lead to meritless statistically-based suits against employers under a Teamsters-style pattern-or-practice (or “statistical disparity”) theory.

We share the Senate Committee’s disapproval of prejudice towards LGBT Americans. But if federal lawmakers wanted to help LGBT Americans, they should have focused on repealing their own discriminatory laws against gays and lesbians (we have criticized federal discrimination against gay people in the past, here, here, here, and here), rather than imposing new burdens on American business, which is perfectly happy to hire gay employees, and has a much better record of fairness based on sexual orientation than Congress itself. As we noted earlier, “American business is quite happy to hire gay and lesbian employees, and needs no federal mandate to do so. Virtually all Fortune 500 companies already ban sexual orientation discrimination in their own hiring and firing, and have done so for years.”


Up to half of crimes written off by Scotland Yard

But use insulting language in public -- even to a horse  -- and they will be down on you like a ton of bricks

Almost half of all reported crime is being written off by Scotland Yard, figures show, fuelling fears that victims are being ignored.

In some offence categories as many as eight in ten reports are “screened out”, according to figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.

Screening out means that while the reported offences are included in official crime statistics no concerted effort is made to investigate them beyond an initial consideration, mainly because officers believe the culprit will not be found.

The Metropolitan Police “screened out” 346,397 reported crimes in 2012/13 – some 45 per cent of all offences.

Some 40 per cent of burglaries were written off, almost a quarter of robberies and 80 per cent of bicycle thefts.

Roger Evans, the Conservative member of the Greater London Assembly, who obtained the figures, said: “It’s a disgrace that the Met Police are refusing to investigate a huge number of acquisitive crimes.

“A victim of crime shouldn’t feel that the police have no interest in them unless you are physically or sexually assaulted.

“Resources are tight; but crimes such as burglary are, in no way, minor. They can have a devastating impact on the confidence and well-being of the victim.

“Moreover, many criminals’ illegal activities escalate each time they get away with it so we are sending out a very dangerous message.”

The figures also showed more than one in ten common assaults and assaults with injury were screen out last year – the equivalent of 11,000 violent attacks.

Some 23 per cent of robberies were written off as were three quarters of car thefts and 85 per cent of thefts from cars.

Mr Evans added: “If you are a thief in London, you can rest assured that over three quarters of your crimes, reported by victims, will be ignored by police.

“With the high availability of CCTV in London there is no excuse for this lackadaisical attitude.

“We need a dramatic shift in the way police see these crimes – they may not be exciting to investigate but they are serious.”

Mr Evans said victims of crimes should be able to appeal to their local safer neighbourhood boards – groups of local volunteers working with local police which come into existence from 2014 – if the police decide not to investigate their crime.

A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said: “It is incorrect that the MPS does not investigate a high number of crimes. The MPS investigates every single allegation of crime that it receives.

“A number of crime allegations will require secondary investigation once the initial investigation is complete.

“The MPS currently conducts secondary investigations in approximately 60 per cent of all crime allegations, as compared to the national average of 45 per cent.

“The MPS is concentrating on improving the quality and rigour of initial investigations in order to improve the service to victims by reducing the need for follow up visits.”

Last year the HM Inspectorate of Constabulary warned that up to one in four incidents completely ignored by the police should have been recorded as a crime.

Separate to “screening out”, forces will also designate some reported offences as “no crimes”, after an initial assessment concludes no crime was actually committed.

However, a study by the HMIC said that, nationally, one in seven "no crimes" was dismissed wrongly but in the worst offending force, the Metropolitan Police, it was as high as one in four.


The weird patriotism the British Left attach to their decrepit  health service

Three years ago, at the very moment that he was presiding over the abominations at Mid Staffs – and, as we now know, several other hospitals – Andy Burnham, then Health Secretary, was calling me ‘unpatriotic’ for pointing out the poor performance of the NHS in international league tables.

I mention it, not to have a go at the poor fellow – the rest of the country is already doing that – but to explore the connection between the tendency to shout down any criticism of the NHS and the number of British hospitals which are, as the Keogh Report put it, ‘trapped in mediocrity’. Any organisation that is treated as being beyond reproach is bound in time to become flabby, self-serving and producer-centred. It happened to the mega-charities. It happened to the United Nations. It would be surprising if the NHS were an exception.

In today’s Guardian, Simon Jenkins writes:

    "Lobbyists for the NHS have resisted reform by appealing to public emotion since its foundation. It has served them well – especially the consultants."

Indeed. Which is why the NHS remains stuck in the 1940s: an era of conscription, rationing, identity cards and unprecedented government control. It is why, while every other Western European country developed a mixed system of public and private provision, Britain clung to a state monolith. (This, incidentally, was the sixty-year old mistake I once criticised: the decision, wisely opposed at the time by the Conservatives and the BMA, to nationalise private, charitable and foundation hospitals rather than allowing them to form part of a pluralist system.) And it's why all the parties in Britain regard as normal a situation which only Communist parties in Europe support; no mainstream Social Democrats want to adopt a British-style system.

For a fair chunk of the British Left, a state-run NHS is beyond criticism. It is not a question on which different parties may reasonably disagree (‘Stop treating the NHS like a political football!’) Rather, it is seen, as in Andy Burnham’s formulation, or in Danny Boyle’s Olympic opening ceremony, as a test of patriotism. The same people who are quick to deplore the sentiment ‘my country right or wrong’ often take precisely such an attitude to the NHS. They don’t use those words, of course. What they say is ‘Instead of criticising the NHS, why don’t we all work together to improve it?’ But, if you think about it, it amounts to much the same thing.

Supporters of the status quo know that they have powerful human instincts on their side. We are, by nature, change-averse. We seem to be born that way (‘Would you like to try this, darling?’ ‘No!’) Our day-to-day encounters with the NHS are, as they jolly well ought to be in a country as wealthy as Britain, satisfactory, and we don’t want to seem ungrateful by complaining. While the OECD ranks our healthcare system poorly against those of other developed countries, it is by no means the worst in the world. And so we stick with what we know. Indeed, there is a respectable Burkeian argument that our irrational attachment to a familiar institution matters more than a strict calculation of what is the most efficient model.

The trouble is that a general attachment to the status quo has been twisted into a vicious, even violent, intolerance of any suggested alternative. When I pointed out that the NHS fared badly by most international comparisons three years ago, my since-deceased mother was harassed by Left-wing journalists. I suppose I should be grateful that her grave has not been vandalized – as happened to the mother of the woman who drew attention to the barbarities in Mid Staffs.

That, thank Heaven, was an isolated case. But listen to the language habitually used by those opposed to change. Consider the shrill, shouty way in which Labour MPs behaved in the House of Commons during the Health Secretary’s statement yesterday. A foreign observer would not have believed that this was a legislature assembled to debate tragic and unnecessary deaths.

Watch the video below, brought out in response to Andrew Lansley’s modest attempt to bring decisions slightly closer to patients. Or read the comments at the HandsOffOurNHS hashtag on Twitter. They don't constitute a reasoned defence of a state-run healthcare system. Again and again, they assert that ‘evil’ and ‘greedy’ people want to ‘privatise’ the NHS. No one specifies what is meant by ‘privatise’. Do they imagine that the Tories would sell shares in the NHS? Who would be mad enough to buy them?

But, of course, this isn’t about different policy options. It’s about preventing any serious discussion from beginning. And it’s precisely this intolerance of dissent that helped create the horrors at Morecambe, Mid Staffs and the rest. I know that's not how you meant things to work out comrades; but it's what happened.


The British state’s ‘uncivilised’ treatment of volunteers

It is the government’s policy of suspicion towards carers that it is undermining help for older people

Lib-Con health minister Norman Lamb has called for Neighbourhood Watch and other local groups to help care for elderly residents in their area - providing companionship, and help with feeding and washing. Lamb criticised the ‘uncivilised’ abandonment of the elderly, leaving them to live ‘miserable’ and solitary lives.

Yet this ‘uncivilised’ abandonment has been fomented by the state itself. For many years, it has insisted on criminal-records checks on anyone who offers such ‘care and companionship’ to elderly people in their area. This is because elderly people are defined as ‘vulnerable adults’, and anyone offering help is asked to prove that they are not seeking to ‘take advantage’ of their ‘position of trust’.

So it is now commonplace for local organisations going to the houses of elderly people to vet all volunteers. Camden Council in north London has even demanded that elderly people volunteering to telephone other elderly people for a chat be subjected to criminal-records checks. Other volunteers elsewhere are subjected to other procedures built on suspicion - such as the requirement that volunteers driving elderly people to the shops always work in twos, so they can keep an eye on each other.

These checks turn volunteers off, and have led to the collapse of essential support services. One volunteer organisation in Hampshire - which for years had run a local service driving elderly people to the shops - collapsed after the council demanded that the leader run Criminal Records Bureau checks on all volunteers.

So yes, it would be wonderful if people did more to help their elderly neighbours, and yes, the current abandonment is ‘uncivilised’. But if Lamb wants to get to the root of this problem, then he would do well to look at the uncivilised policies propagated by government, which treat help or care as a potential abuse situation requiring strenuous state regulation.



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.



19 July, 2014

Black and Leftist bigotry

Do you know that if you’re white (or whitish), there is apparently a pretty large segment who thinks it’s plausible you’d just grab a gun and say, “I’m going to go shoot me a black kid!” They don’t think of you as fellow human being with normal motivations they can relate to; they think of you as this inhuman, sociopathic monster. It’s insane.

For some reason, people are still stuck looking for the racist villains of 1960s and thus completely missing all the brand spanking new racist idiocy we have going on today. And since that racist idiocy is being ignored, it’s able to grow. The racism we’re dealing with today isn’t the racism of when the KKK walked around unopposed; it’s the racism of a country where a large majority elected an incompetent black man thinking that would solve everything. It’s a brand new stupidity that we haven’t quite categorized or understand yet.

Anyway, the motivations of Zimmerman were quite easy to understand if you cared to. He lived in a neighborhood with a lot of break ins and the police were ineffective to stop it. So he tried to help out, and when he saw a teenager he didn’t recognize, he confronted the kid and talked to the police. Now, you can question whether Zimmerman’s actions were sensible, but his motivations are very easy to comprehend if you’re interested in treating him like a fellow human being.

But no. A lot of people want to see him as this inhuman monster who just decided to murder a minority. They are bigots, and bigotry keeps them from seeing others as a human being. And these same bigots questioned everything about Zimmerman’s story while being really unconcerned about what led Trayvon to bashing a man’s head into the pavement. Because, again, they’re bigots; they’re not operating with rational minds.

But it’s not like I’m worried about getting discriminated at by these bigots; that’s not the big problem. Bigots hurt themselves more than anyone else. They’re locked into a cycle of hate and scared of the good people around them. They’re dysfunctional. And we are going to continue to have racist problems in this country until we take on not just the bigotry of decades ago but the new and rising bigotry we have today.

The election of Obama didn’t help race relations because the electing of him was racist. Someone like him would not have been elected in a colorblind society. One of these days we’re going to have to confront that.


Words and Deeds

Celebrity chef Paula Deen was professionally lynched for having once used a racist epithet at home 30 years ago when referring to the black man who robbed her at gunpoint. This came in a legal deposition prompted by an extortionist $1.25 million discrimination lawsuit filed by a white female former employee who admitted she hadn’t heard Ms. Deen use racist language. Shortly before filing suit, the same woman even wrote to thank Ms. Deen for the time she had worked for her, praising “Aunt Peggy” for the “opportunities” Ms. Deen created for her.

There is no evidence that Ms. Deen has ever racially discriminated against anyone. In fact, she has not only employed black workers but donated dozens of tons of free food to Atlanta’s Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless. She also backed Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.

But facts and context were irrelevant to the political-media-corporate mob intent on crucifying Ms. Deen for being honest under oath about one 30-year-old verbal indiscretion. For self-anointed politically correct speech cops, the glass isn’t 99.9 percent full – it’s 0.1 percent empty. These zealous purists are the most intolerant people of all. Such witch-hunters exhibit the same totalitarian drive to neurotically monitor everyone’s private speech as displayed by the French Revolution’s Jacobins, Lenin and Stalin’s Bolsheviks, Mussolini’s Fascists, Hitler’s Nazis, Mao’s Red Guards, Castro and Che Guevara’s communists, and Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge.

Yet ideological fanatics fail to realize that people are not morally black or white, but many shades of gray. And far more important than words are deeds. Indeed, in Matthew 7:16 (KJV), Jesus Christ teaches us that “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” The Bible also says we’re all sinners, and history is full of complex figures whose private bigotry is dwarfed by great actions.

President Abraham Lincoln uttered loads of racist statements about blacks, but went on to free all black American slaves. When President William Taft was governor-general of the Philippines, he called the Filipinos his “little brown brothers.” He also racially integrated his office’s functions, wrote a constitution and bill of rights for the Philippines, ended Filipino slavery, brought civilian rule to the colony, upgraded public health, redistributed land to the poor, and provided public education for all Filipinos. They called him “Santo (Saint) Taft.”

President Harry Truman made anti-Semitic remarks and, when living in his mother-in-law’s house, obeyed her rule of not inviting Jews over. Yet his business partner (and close friend) was Jewish, and President Truman did more than any American to create the modern nation of Israel.

President Richard Nixon made many anti-Semitic remarks as well. Yet his top adviser, best speechwriter, and most important lawyer were all Jews: Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, William Safire, and Len Garment. Most importantly, President Nixon helped save Israel from the savage Egyptian-Syrian surprise attack in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. His emergency airlifting of supplies and putting U.S. nuclear forces on alert deterred the Soviets from direct involvement.

You think Israeli Jews care that Presidents Truman and Nixon didn’t always speak Kosher? As President Bill Clinton declared in his eulogy for the latter, “May the day of judging President Nixon on anything less than his entire life and career come to a close.” Isn’t that what we all want – and deserve?

The superb trumpeter Miles Davis made some anti-white remarks, yet most of this black jazz giant’s bands featured at least one Caucasian. And I hardly think the demanding Mr. Davis had an affirmative action plan for whites. He ultimately judged each musician on individual merit.

My grandparents lived in a Jim Crow time and absorbed Jim Crow attitudes. Yet they gave far more food and clothing to poor black folks and had way more contact with them than any PC white liberals I’ve ever known who tend to live in an exclusively bourgeois, lily-white world.

Does God judge us based on isolated ugly remarks taken out of context or by the totality of our lives, especially our actions? He certainly doesn’t choose perfect people to serve His ends. Adam and Eve broke the one commandment He gave them, yet Adam was blessed with 930 years. Noah got drunk, yet was selected to build the Ark. Moses was a murderer who God still picked to lead His chosen people to the Promised Land. David was an adulterer who arranged for Bathsheba’s husband to die in battle, yet he was still blessed to remain the king of the Jews. Jesus’s favorite disciple, Peter, denied his savior three times, yet was still favored to be a major leader of the faithful. And the Apostle Paul persecuted Christians before his conversion en route to Damascus propelled him to become the most important Christian leader after Christ.

In Matthew 7:1-3, Jesus teaches us to “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” Indeed, as Christ told the mob ready to stone a woman caught in adultery: “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her” (John 8:7). Amen.


Britain’s gone from nanny state to naggy state

Do we really need to be told to drink water or avoid getting sunburnt in hot weather?

Blimey it’s hot; and thank goodness the announcer at my railway station was thoughtful enough to remind me to drink water, otherwise it might never have crossed my mind. On a relatively short journey into the office yesterday, I heard the following message played on four occasions: “This is a special announcement. During the current warm weather, we advise passengers to carry a bottle of water with them while on the train.”

Who decided that we need to be told to carry water, and why? Is the train company being sponsored by Evian or Highland Spring? If so, they must be doing pretty poor business, as I did not see anyone actually clutching a bottle. In fact, no one took any notice at all apart from me, who just found it irritating. We are so inured to being hectored all the time that it is just background noise for most people now.

We are also regaled with colour-coded heat-health and UV warnings along with the weather forecast. How did people survive in the millennia before Carol Kirkwood was around to tell them that direct sunlight can burn and hot weather is uncomfortable? It is not that these observations are untrue; but we already know them to be true and do not need to be told as much constantly by a bunch of semi-official nags.

Whenever it rains, we are informed that the station concourse will be wet and therefore slippery. During the winter, such cautions are issued every five minutes. My all-time favourite was when the clocks went back last October. “Here is an announcement. The hour has changed this weekend which means that it may be darker than usual when you return home at your normal time. Please take care.”

Is there a special committee that sits in secret to anticipate every change of season and temperature in order to formulate a series of warning messages for an infantilised nation? Perhaps they are the equivalent of the wartime posters like “Keep Calm and Carry On” and “Careless Talk Costs Lives”, but at least those were justified by the gravity of the country’s predicament.

Indeed, the paternalism that we experience today can be traced back to the Second World War and the idea of cradle-to-grave social provision. By the mid-Sixties, Iain Macleod was referring to this phenomenon as “the nanny state” in his Spectator column, a phrase that has stuck.

In the 50 years since, government intrusion has grown beyond anything Macleod had in mind; after all, he was writing before it became illegal not to wear a seat belt in a car or a crash helmet on a motorbike. Yet apart from a few ultra?libertarians, no one would suggest those laws should be repealed, since they must have saved many lives.

So what about plain cigarette packs or minimum alcohol pricing? Both of these measures, promoted in the name of public health, have been abandoned by the Government in recent days, amid controversy. Doctors have reacted furiously, especially to the decision not to introduce plain or standard packaging for tobacco products, shorn of any manufacturer’s logo. In a letter to this newspaper, leaders in the field accused ministers of “a tame surrender to lobbying by the tobacco industry and its well-funded front groups”.

There have been suggestions that Lynton Crosby, the Australian campaign guru now working for the Conservatives, was behind this move because of his links to a PR company working for tobacco conglomerates. But if Crosby was involved, his motivation is more likely to have been political – getting the Tories to drop the sort of nannying that gets the goat of those traditionalist Conservatives now crossing over to Ukip in large numbers.

Those keen to see standardised packaging say polls show a majority in favour, which is hardly surprising since most people don’t smoke. It’s also rather beside the point. Tobacco is a legal product and the argument that manufacturers pitch their packaging at children may well be true. But it is illegal to sell cigarettes to people under the age of 18, so the answer is to enforce the law. Moreover, the arguments about plain packs differ fundamentally from the ban on smoking in public places, in that the latter was introduced ostensibly to prevent harm to others, even if it has had the additional, and beneficial, consequence of stopping people smoking.

Still, those who see these two policy retreats as representing the high?water mark of the nannying tide will be disappointed. At the weekend, there was talk of banning packed lunches for schoolchildren because parents were incapable of giving their offspring a balanced diet. Ministers are now considering the provision of free meals for all pupils up to the age of 16.

Perhaps we secretly enjoy being nannied. Macleod, let us remember, belonged to a generation and a class for whom the nanny was a beloved and benign influence, not a pernicious one. When he coined the term “nanny state”, he did not necessarily mean it to be pejorative, but rather an acknowledgement that we need to be cared for collectively.

Eubie Blake, the American jazz composer who lived to the age of 96 (he claimed to be 100), said that if he’d known he would live so long, he would have taken better care of himself. Now we can go through life happy in the knowledge that there are thousands of people working hard to ensure we avoid the mistakes that he made. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t carry a water bottle around on a hot day.


Homosexual marriage clears the House of Lords

Gay marriage is set to become law after clearing the House of Lords.  The Queen is expected to be asked to give her approval to the Bill – one of the most radical pieces of social legislation of her reign – by the end of this week.

It opens the way for the first legally recognised same-sex weddings to take place in England and Wales by next summer and brings the centuries-old understanding of marriage as being solely between a man and a woman to an end.

Peers gave their assent to the third reading of the Government’s same-sex marriage bill without a formal vote after a short debate in the Lords, also backing plans for a review of pension arrangements for gay couples.

Baroness Stowell, the Government spokesman who steered the bill through the Lords, told a chamber packed with peers wearing pink carnations, that it was an “historic” achievement.

But opponents accused the Government of using a parliamentary “bulldozer” to speed the change through.

The passage of the Bill brings an end to one of the most acrimonious debates of recent years which has divided the Conservative party and, at times, pitted Church against State.

Speaking earlier, Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, claimed that despite huge controversy, most people would soon be asking: “What was all the fuss about?”.

But the Coalition for Marriage, the group which orchestrated opposition to the Bill, is now set to transform itself from a single-issue campaign into what could be one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the country.

The C4M has built up a database of around 700,000 supporters through its petition against the redefinition of marriage.

Its leaders now believe they have enough support to influence the outcome of the 2015 election.

They have compiled a list of 39 of the most marginal seats they plan to target and in which enough people signed the C4M petition to suggest they could swing the election result.

They plan to challenge candidates of all parties to back a list of commitments to introduce new legal protections for workers such as teachers and registrars who hold to a traditional line on marriage.

They will also be campaigning to open up civil partnerships to allow family carers and unmarried siblings to benefit from the same inheritance tax exemptions as married couples.

Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, said: “It’s impossible to express how much joy this historic step will bring to tens of thousands of gay people and their families and friends.

“The Bill’s progress through Parliament shows that, at last, the majority of politicians in both Houses understand the public’s support for equality – though it’s also reminded us that gay people still have powerful opponents.”

But Colin Hart, campaign director of the C4M said: “Mr Cameron needs to remember that the Coalition for Marriage has nearly 700,000 supporters, nearly six times the number of members of the Conservative Party.

“They are just ordinary men and women, not part of the ruling elite. They are passionate, motivated and determined to fight on against a law that renders terms like husband and wife meaningless and threatens one of the foundations of the institution of marriage: fidelity and faithfulness.

“These concepts may not matter to the leaders of the three main political parties, who are drawn from a very narrow liberal political class, but they do matter to people up and down the country who believe that marriage is special, unique and the bedrock of stable families.”

In what was, at times, an emotional debate, Lord Alli, the Labour peer, said it had been “truly humbling” to play a leading role in driving the bill through the Lords.

Speaking of his 15 years as a peer, he thanked the House of Lords, adding: “As a gay man over those 15 years you have changed my life.

"You have given me dignity where there was sometimes fear. You have given me hope where there was often darkness and you have given me equality where there was sometimes prejudice.  "This is a special place and I am proud to have figured in it."

Lord Lester of Herne Hill, the Liberal Democrat QC, said it would have been "quite inconceivable" for the Lords to have approved such legislation 20 years ago.  "It would have been fairly impossible 15 years ago," he added.  “What has changed for the better has been the modernisation through appointments to this House.”

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, who leads the bishops in the Lords said that despite the Church’s opposition to gay marriage legal recognition for gay relationships had made society “healthier”.

He said it was "no secret" that the majority of Christian churches and other world faiths "don't believe same-sex marriage accords with their understanding of marriage itself".

But he added: "Many of us do welcome the social and legal recognition of same-sex partnerships and believe our society is a better and healthier one for such recognition."

Lord Cormack, the former Tory MP, who opposed the bill, said it would be “churlish” not to accept that the supporters had won.

He said: “I want to congratulate all those who have campaigned for this measure upon their success.

“But in doing that I would just ask them to bear in mind that although this may be a day of unqualified rejoicing for them, there are many in our country who by no stretch of the imagination could be called either homophobic or bigoted who are unhappy about this Bill.

They are unhappy about this Bill because it does strange the structure of society by changing the definition of marriage.

“I hope that all those who enter into marriage under its new definition will indeed live happily ever after.

“But the sincerity of that wish in no sense prevents my saying to them I understand that you feel euphoric today but please have a thought for those who have different views.

“Please have a thought to the many, not just thousands but millions of people in this country for whom marriage will always be equated with what remains the Christian definition of marriage and I hope that in recognising that they will always remember the great Churchillian motto: magnanimity in victory.”

Mr Clegg told the website PinkNews.co.uk: "Of course … it has come about in a blaze of controversy [and] I think that was probably always going to be inevitable.

"[But] my own sense is once the bill is actually on the Statue Book and once you start seeing same-sex marriages up and down the country – as I hope we see as quickly as possible – then I think actually people will look back on it and think ‘what was all the fuss about’, very quickly it will seem entirely normal.”



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.



17 July, 2014

More multiculturalism in Britain

The final member of a 16-strong mob convicted of killing a 15-year-old schoolboy in an attack planned on Facebook was jailed for 11 years today.

Junior Bayode was 16 when he helped hunt down Sofyen Belamouadden, who was stabbed to death in front of hundreds of horrified rush hour commuters at Victoria Station in London.

Witnesses said the teenage victim was chased into the Tube station ticket hall in a scene likened to an 'infantry charge' and attacked with a terrifying arsenal of weapons including knives and a samurai sword.

Bayode, now 19, was one of those armed with a blade and was caught on CCTV surrounding the victim on the floor as he was hacked to death.

Mr Belamouadden died after suffering fatal wounds to his heart and right lung on March 25, 2010.

Bayode was convicted of manslaughter at the conclusion of a trial last October, but a jury were unable to agree on a more serious charge of murder. Judge Christopher Moss QC refused permission for a retrial and prosecutors lost an Appeal Court challenge.

Today, more than three years and three months after the killing, Bayode was formally acquitted of murder after the Crown offered no evidence and jailed.

Bayode was the twentieth suspect to go before the courts and the sixteenth to be convicted of his part in the killing.

Judge Moss said he reduced Bayode’s sentence from 12 years to 11 years for manslaughter because he is suffering from lymphoma, although it is now in remission.

The judge added: ‘I have no doubt you travelled to Victoria expecting a violent confrontation which in fact took place and prepared to take part in it.

‘You joined the group of killers, you set upon Sofyen as he lay helpless and defenceless on the floor of the ticket hall. It is said that you were yourself armed with a knife.

‘The killing of Sofyen Belamouadden took place in dreadful circumstances in a public place. You played your part in the death and you stand convicted of his manslaughter.’

Bayode was also sentenced to seven years for conspiracy to cause GBH.

His conviction came at the conclusion of a series of five trials spanning nearly two years and comprising the biggest case the Crown Prosecution Service has ever dealt with.

Fifteen others have already been jailed for a total of 129 years.

The massacre had been planned the night before using Facebook and - in a chilling foreshadow of the 2011 London riots - the instant messaging feature on the killers’ BlackBerry mobile phones.

Det Ch Insp John McFarlane from Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: ‘Had it not been for social media - for BlackBerry messaging, Facebook and telephone usage - they wouldn’t have been able to organise and get the weapons and numbers and the situation would have been able to defuse.

‘A quarter of a mile from Buckingham Palace, half a mile from Scotland Yard and at one of the busiest railway stations in the country in front of hundreds and hundreds of eyewitnesses they are brandishing weapons and carrying out extreme violence.

Mr Belamouadden’s murder was the result of ‘simmering tensions’ between pupils at St Charles Sixth Form College in Ladbroke Grove, west London, and teenagers from Henry Compton School in Fulham, where Sofyen was studying.

His attackers used a £3.99 five-piece knife set bought from Argos, as well as batons, iron bars and a Samurai sword in an act of ‘indescribable aggression’.

This ferocious attack was captured on CCTV inside the station and showed the teenager being knocked to the floor and set upon.

The attacking group, many of whom wore a single glove on their left hand to identify themselves, thought of the station as their territory.

Facebook was used to recruit troops and weapons, with one attacker asking online friends for a ‘flick-up ting’ and asking an older friend to ‘buy some nanks from Argos’, referring to a box set of kitchen knives.

Others, who communicated by BlackBerry Messenger and text message, talked about the ‘madness’ that was going to unfold the next day.

Victoria Osoteku, who had then just turned 18, bought the weapons from a branch of the chain store the following day, alongside pastor’s son Femi Oderinwale, 19.

Osoteku, now 20, and Oderinwale, along with Adonis Akra and Samuel Roberts, both 19, were each jailed for 12 years after they were convicted of manslaughter in a series of five trials spanning nearly two years.

The police presence at the station had been stepped up following an assault the previous day, but officers were unable to prevent the ferocious violence that followed.

Witnesses said the attacking group had a ‘pack mentality, a collective sense of common purpose, as though they were a team’ and used an ‘indescribable’ level of aggression.

Sofyen and his friends tried to flee, but he made a ‘fatal mistake’ and headed into the Tube station ticket hall where he was surrounded and stabbed at least nine times.

Samson Odegbune, now 19, was seen brandishing a ‘Japanese-style sword’ with a blade up to a foot long during the chase, during which he told his victim: ‘I’m going to f*** you up.’

He had bragged on Facebook the previous night: ‘I will bring my Samurai’.

He was on bail at the time of the killing after he was arrested as part of a gang who had been brandishing a similar sword on a bus - though he was never charged.

Odegbune, along with Christopher Omoregie, also 19, and Obi Nwokeh, 20, were each sentenced to detention at Her Majesty’s pleasure - the juvenile equivalent of a life sentence - with a minimum term of 18 years after they were convicted of Sofyen’s murder. Odegbune’s minimum term was later reduced to 16 years by the Court of Appeal.

Odegbune did not attack Sofyen but instead led others who chased the victim’s friends away from the station.

Following the attack 12 of the 20 suspects boarded a bus and appeared ‘hyper’ and ‘pumped up’ to other passengers. One of them was overheard telling a friend: ‘Didn’t you see me run in to the station and shank him?’

Police officers stopped the bus and found a selection of knives as well as blade-sharpening steels and a schoolbag.  Other bloodied knives were found in a knife amnesty bin on Victoria Street.

Before officers boarded, one of the youths passed a knife covered in a cardboard sheath to a young mum.  She later took the weapon home, cleaned it and disposed of it but police were able to recover it after she reported the incident.


Conservatives consider plans to cap child-related benefits at two children

The Conservatives yesterday announced a move to reinstate controversial plans that would see child-related benefits for the unemployed capped at two children.

The Tory Party chairman Grant Shapps argued the move would put jobless parents in the same position as people who choose not to have another child because they can't afford a large family.

The plans would send a message to jobless youngsters who choose to have more than two children that "welfare is not going to fund that choice," he said.

In another proposal, Mr Shapps said under-25s who are unemployed should be denied housing benefits and forced to stay living with their parents instead of using tax payers' money to fund a place of their own.

Both policies were considered last year by the Conservatives but were shelved after Nick Clegg distanced the Liberal Democrats from the plans.

Mr Shapps told the Daily Mail that taking housing benefit away from under-25s would end the "bizarre incentive" that currently makes it easier for the unemployed to move out of home than for those who save their earnings to afford to do so.  He insisted the plans could be implemented despite Lib Dem opposition.

Meanwhile it emerged that Chancellor George Osborne is considering a further cut to the benefit cap level as part of a pre-election pledge to reduce welfare costs.

It is understood he could lower the amount households can receive in benefits by another £6,000 as backbenchers call for an even tougher stance on welfare.

A benefit cap was yesterday imposed across Britain for the first time, meaning families will only be able to get job seekers’, child and housing benefit up to a maximum of £26,000 a year.  However, the Chancellor is facing calls for it to be cut again, to £20,000.

One of Mr Osborne's aides said they'd had "representations" on lowering the cap.  "We want to see how the policy beds in," he said. "But clearly over time, lowering the cap is an option."

Iain Duncan Smith has claimed unemployed people are already going back to work because of the £500-a-week benefit cap.

The Work and Pensions Secretary said he strongly believed the benefit cap was encouraging more people to find jobs, despite claims from the UK Statistics Authority said there was no evidence this was true.

In a separate report, a group of Conservative MPs known as the 40 group – the Tories who hold the 40 most marginal seats in Parliament – have recommended that teenage mothers should no longer automatically be entitled to council housing or housing benefit as part of a drive to reduce teen pregnancy.

The report, which has been welcomed by David Cameron, also recommends a drive to cut the number of "repeat abortions" by getting health workers to encourage the use of long-active reversible contraception, such as the injection or implant.


The straight scouts of America?

Recently, millions of Americans were shocked and saddened when the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) disgracefully bowed to left-wing political pressure and became something it had never before been: a hyper-politicized, aberrantly sexualized petri dish for social and sexual experimentation.

Created in 1910 to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes,” the BSA, on May 23, 2013, inexplicably voted to welcome into its ranks “open and avowed” homosexuality (boy-on-boy sexual attraction and behavior), thereby disavowing the “morally straight” Scout Oath its members have been sworn to uphold for over a century.

Even worse, and in so doing, the BSA effectively waived the only legal defense it once had to preclude openly homosexual Scout leaders and gender-confused girls from its ranks: religious and moral conviction. It’s only a matter of time until the BSA is forced to capitulate to sexual extremists’ political demands and allow adult males who define their identity based upon carnal appetites for other males to take your boys on overnight camping trips.

This is particularly disquieting when you consider that homosexual assaults against boys occur at an alarmingly disproportionate rate when compared to heterosexual assaults. Of course, not every “gay” man – self-identified or otherwise – is a pedophile, but, and despite baseless claims to the contrary, many studies indicate that a disturbing percentage of same-sex-attracted men are.

Consider, for instance, a study published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, of over 200 convicted pedophiles and pederasts. It found that “86 percent of offenders against males described themselves as homosexual or bisexual.” This demonstrates, as notes Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, that “homosexual or bisexual men are approximately 10 times more likely to molest children than heterosexual men.”

That’s the bad news. Here’s the good news: As the BSA leadership of fools rapidly sinks, those who desire a safe, non-sexualized alternative to the Boy Scouts now have a life raft. On Saturday, June 29, I, along with nearly 50 top Christian, youth and scouting leaders from across the nation, took part in a private, landmark meeting in Louisville, Ky. The meeting was convened to lay the groundwork for a principled, values-based scout-like youth character development program for young men. Although some finishing touches remain (such as the organization’s official name), a press conference was recently held in Washington, D.C., to announce the launch of this exciting new organization. (See video announcement here).

“Our vision is to be the premier national character development organization for young men which produces Godly and responsible husbands, fathers, and citizens,” notes the news release.

“The new program will be an exciting and motivating outdoor-based program focused on leadership and character development for boys and founded on principles and values that reflect a Christian worldview.

“It will be open to all boys irrespective of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin,” continues the release. “Parents from all faiths are welcome to place their children in the program. While boys may come from every religious background, adult leaders in the program – from the National Board level to individual unit volunteers – will adhere to a standard statement of Christian faith and values.

“The program and themes will teach practical life skills, an appreciation for the outdoors, service to others, leadership, and character development.

“The new organization’s name is currently in development and undergoing an extensive process of legal research and trademark protection. The organizational structure and primary programs are also currently being developed.”

The mission statement reads as follows: “Our mission is simple and clear: to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others, and experience outdoor adventure.”

The new organization’s inaugural national convention will be held in Nashville, Tenn., on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6 and 7, 2013.

At the convention, the name, logo and branding information will be announced, along with other details.

The announcement continues: “In late November of this year the registration process for chartering new units will be announced along with a transition plan for scouting units interested in the new organization. We will be distinctly different from the Boy Scouts although there will be some similarities. For instance, rank advancements earned within the BSA will be transferable.

“In addition, the organization’s membership policy will focus on sexual purity rather than [so-called] sexual orientation. The policy will read, in part: ‘the proper context for sexual relations is only between a man and a woman in the covenant of marriage.’”

This means that boys who struggle with same-sex temptation – a subjective experience that, from a statistical standpoint, frequently dissipates over time – will, of course, be allowed to join. Still, “open and avowed” homosexual identity and socio-political activity, which are both an explicit violation of the Judeo-Christian sexual-ethic, will not be permitted.

I am so very honored to be on the ground floor of this incredible new youth organization. As someone who works daily to counter the cultural damage of the sexual anarchist lobby, I can assure you that homosexual activists’ interest in scouts and scouting was never about the boys, but, rather, was always about selfish adult political ambitions.

Like a swarm of locusts, secular-”progressives” target that which is righteous and God-honoring, fly in, devour it, and fly away in search of the next Truth-based target.

Sadly, the Boy Scouts of America is but their latest victim.

Still, as we are promised in Romans 8:28: “[A]ll things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

The official sendoff for this exciting new scout-like organization – something very good indeed – will take place on Jan. 1, 2014.

As goes the adage: “Out with the old, in with the new.”


Pedophiles want same rights as homosexuals

Claim unfair to be stigmatized for sexual orientation

Using the same tactics used by “gay” rights activists, pedophiles have begun to seek similar status arguing their desire for children is a sexual orientation no different than heterosexual or homosexuals.

Critics of the homosexual lifestyle have long claimed that once it became acceptable to identify homosexuality as simply an “alternative lifestyle” or sexual orientation, logically nothing would be off limits. “Gay” advocates have taken offense at such a position insisting this would never happen. However, psychiatrists are now beginning to advocate redefining pedophilia in the same way homosexuality was redefined several years ago.

In 1973 the American Psychiatric Association declassified homosexuality from its list of mental disorders. A group of psychiatrists with B4U-Act recently held a symposium proposing a new definition of pedophilia in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders of the APA.

B4U-Act  calls pedophiles “minor-attracted people.” The organization’s website states its purpose is to, “help mental health professionals learn more about attraction to minors and to consider the effects of stereotyping, stigma and fear.”

In 1998 The APA issued a report claiming “that the ‘negative potential’ of adult sex with children was ‘overstated’ and that ‘the vast majority of both men and women reported no negative sexual effects from  childhood sexual abuse experiences.”

Pedophilia has already been granted protected status by the Federal Government. The Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act lists “sexual orientation” as a protected class; however, it does not define the term.

Republicans attempted to add an amendment specifying that “pedophilia is not covered as an orientation;” however, the amendment was defeated by Democrats. Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Fl) stated that all alternative sexual lifestyles should be protected under the law. “This bill addresses our resolve to end violence based on prejudice and to guarantee that all Americans, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability or all of these ‘philias’ and fetishes and ‘isms’ that were put forward need not live in fear because of who they are. I urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this rule.”

The White House praised the bill saying, “At root, this isn’t just about our laws; this is about who we are as a people. This is about whether we value one another  – whether we embrace our differences rather than allowing them to become a source of animus.”

Earlier this year two psychologists in Canada declared that pedophilia is a sexual orientation just like homosexuality or heterosexuality.

Van Gijseghem, psychologist and retired professor of the University of Montreal, told members of Parliament, “Pedophiles are not simply people who commit a small offense from time to time but rather are grappling with what is equivalent to a sexual orientation just like another individual may be grappling with heterosexuality or even homosexuality.”

He went on to say, “True pedophiles have an exclusive preference for children, which is the same as having a sexual orientation. You cannot change this person’s sexual orientation. He may, however, remain abstinent.”

When asked if he should be comparing pedophiles to homosexuals, Van Gijseghem replied, “If, for instance, you were living in a society where heterosexuality is proscribed or prohibited and you were told that you had to get therapy to change your sexual orientation, you would probably say that that is slightly crazy. In other words, you would not accept that at all. I use this analogy to say that, yes indeed, pedophiles do not change their sexual orientation.”

Dr. Quinsey, professor emeritus of psychology at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, agreed with Van Gijseghem. Quinsey said pedophiles’ sexual interests prefer children and, “There is no evidence that this sort of preference can be changed through treatment or through anything else.”

In July, 2010 Harvard health Publications said, “Pedophilia is a sexual orientation and unlikely to change. Treatment aims to enable someone to resist acting on his sexual urges.”

Linda Harvey, of Mission America, said the push for pedophiles to have equal rights will become more and more common as LGBT groups continue to assert themselves. “It’s all part of a plan to introduce sex to children at younger and younger ages; to convince them that normal friendship is actually a sexual attraction.”

Milton Diamond, a University of Hawaii professor and director of the Pacific Center for Sex and Society, stated that child pornography could be beneficial to society because, “Potential sex offenders use child pornography as a substitute for sex against children.”

Diamond is a distinguished lecturer for the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality in San Francisco. The IASHS openly advocated for the repeal of the Revolutionary war ban on homosexuals serving in the military.

The IASHS lists, on its website, a list of “basic sexual rights” that includes “the right to engage in sexual acts or activities of any kind whatsoever, providing they do not involve nonconsensual acts, violence, constraint, coercion or fraud.” Another right is to, “be free of persecution, condemnation, discrimination, or societal intervention in private sexual behavior” and “the freedom of any sexual thought, fantasy or desire.” The organization also says that no one should be “disadvantaged because of  age.”

Sex offender laws protecting children have been challenged in several states including California, Georgia and Iowa. Sex offenders claim the laws prohibiting them from living near schools or parks are unfair because it penalizes them for life.



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.



16 July, 2014

New human rights farce as British police are afraid to release crooks' mugshots despite national guidelines

A new secret justice row broke out last night after The Mail on Sunday discovered that hundreds of thousands of convicted criminals are having their identities protected by police.

More than half of forces in England and Wales refuse to publish mugshots of offenders unless they have been jailed – in defiance of national guidelines.

Some insist on sentences of more than three years before they release a custody photo to the press, citing concerns about data protection and the criminals’ human rights.

This means just a tiny handful of the 1.2?million people sentenced in criminal courts each year have their pictures published or put online, even though it is widely acknowledged that publicity can link offenders to other crimes and prevent more from being committed.

It comes after The Mail on Sunday revealed ‘secret arrest’ plans by police chiefs, backed by Lord Justice Leveson and now put in place across the country, to prevent forces revealing the names of suspects they have detained.

Following this newspaper’s investigation, the Association of Chief Police Officers’ senior officer in charge of media policy wrote to all 43 chief constables in England and Wales urging them to release more photos of sentenced offenders.

Andy Trotter, the chief constable of British Transport Police, said last night: ‘I’m a little disappointed and hence I’ve written to chiefs today.

‘I am disappointed to find a variety of responses to your inquiries and I’m reminding chiefs that this is the policy. I’m reminding forces of the existing guidance that encourages openness and co-operation.

‘We’ve got a good story to tell – crime is down, the prisons are full – and we want to see more court results in newspapers, not fewer. The default position ought to be we release photos unless there is a specific prohibition such as the person is a juvenile.’

He added that the length of an offender’s sentence should be ‘immaterial’ in deciding whether or not their image is released. It is not an infallible measure of the seriousness of a single crime because the sentence may be influenced by a previous record.

‘That doesn’t make sense to me and I think that is arbitrary and I don’t think should be used as any sort of criterion to be applied to the release of images,’ said Mr Trotter.

Although the existing guidelines developed by ACPO in 2009 are not legally binding on forces, they encourage officers to release custody images to the media.

The guidelines state that publicising a criminal’s identity is justified if it serves a purpose such as aiding the detection of crime, encouraging witnesses and victims to come forward, reassuring residents, increasing confidence in the justice system or preventing future offences.

Although police are told to bear in mind the nature of the crime and the impact of releasing an image on the perpetrator and their family, there is no reference to sentencing thresholds.

However, a survey by this newspaper of 39 of the 43 police forces in England and Wales has established that 28 require an offender to be given an immediate custodial term at the very least before their image can be released.

Of those 28 forces, six will publish mugshots only of those given terms of two years or more, and another six – Merseyside, North Yorkshire, Northamptonshire, Cleveland, Durham and Staffordshire – insist on three years or longer.

Of the 1.2?million people sentenced in 2012, 98,047 (eight per cent) were given custodial terms. Of these, 10,731 were sentenced to more than three years behind bars.

One force, Dorset, even insists that media organisations remove photos of criminals from their websites a month after sentencing to ‘ensure proportionality’.

Most forces added that they would release images for those given shorter jail terms in exceptional cases if the press requested them.

A further 11 forces, including the Metropolitan Police, said they followed ACPO guidelines and considered each case individually rather than making custodial sentences a prerequisite.

New guidance on relations between police and the media will be finalised this summer and approved by the College of Policing, the new professional body for the force.

In one well-known case, Derbyshire Constabulary refused to release photographs of two murderers who had fled from an open prison, arguing that they had likely left the area and therefore posed no risk to residents.

Pictures of Jason Croft and Michael Nixon were eventually published by another force.


Islamic extremists threaten to stab inmates who eat pork in front of them at one of Britain's toughest prisons

Islamic extremists threaten to stab fellow inmates who eat pork in front of them at one of Britain's toughest jails, a prisoner has claimed.

The 'long serving prisoner' at HMP Long Lartin said cooking pork at the communal kitchen is 'deemed dangerous, even a threat to your life'.

The anonymous man made the claims in a letter to prisoners' magazine Inside Time.

He claims inmates at the jail are being radicalised but the issue is not being addressed by prison bosses.

'Terror' preacher Abu Hamza and radical cleric Abu Qatada have both been held at the prison.

The inmate wrote: 'The kitchen is usually occupied by 90 per cent Muslims and we have been told if we cook pork we will be stabbed. There have been incidents here where people have been targeted and pressured and bullied into converting to Islam.

'Young Muslim men are being radicalised in here and one day they may commit acts of terrorism in this country.

'There seems to be nothing being done here to stop it and people are scared to speak out.'

The man also claimed Muslim inmates celebrated the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby at the Category A prison.

The young soldier was stabbed to death in the street in broad daylight as he returned to Woolwich Barracks on May 22.

The prisoner said when the news was broadcast on television some Muslim prisoners praised the murder.

He wrote: 'What I have come to realise in this prison is that these extremist views are not frowned on by other Muslims.'

Long Lartin in Worcestershire is a maximum security prison where some of Britain is most notorious inmates have been held, including serial killer Jeremy Bamber, who murdered five members of his family, and Mark Dixie, who murdered and raped model Sally Ann Bowman in 2005.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: 'The Government takes a zero tolerance approach in tackling radicalisation and bullying in our prisons.

'All high security prisons have dedicated counter-terrorism units, who work in partnership with the Police and security services to root out extremism.

'We also have a team of Muslim chaplains across the estate who work with prisoners to prevent radicalisation.

'We already take steps to isolate those who seek to radicalise others, and this Government is planning further action to make sure that no prisoner is allowed to promote extremist ideology.'


Standby for another high tech lynching

You're going to hear the name Tristan Breaux frequently in the coming days.  He's the Norfolk, Va NAACP President and his blackness will soon be questioned:
It seems much of the country is gripped by the George Zimmerman murder trial. As it comes to a close, many in Hampton Roads are upset about a Facebook post by a local head of the NAACP.

    "To the majority of the African-American community, I would find it offensive," said Norfolk City Councilman Paul Riddick.

    Tristan Breaux, 25, was sworn in as president of the Norfolk NAACP in January. He is the youngest president in the branch's history, but members of the organization are calling for him to step down.

    "He obviously does not have the maturity when to speak and when not to speak," Riddick added.

    The controversy started Friday morning. Breaux's posted a comment on his personal Facebook page about the George Zimmerman trial. The remark quickly spread.

    "My initial reaction was that it wasn't true, that somebody had gone on his Facebook and had planted this," Riddick said. "I just couldn't imagine the president of the Norfolk branch of the NAACP making a statement like that."

    "I wonder why it is that we are always willing to say someone who clearly had a shaky past, was the victim," Breaux asked in the Facebook post, referring to Trayvon Martin.

    "I think this should be tried in the courtroom and not on social media," said former Norfolk NAACP President Bob Rawls.

    Rawls says he is worried how the statement reflects on fellow members.

    "If he had been talking to another person or two or three people and voiced his personal opinion that's different," Rawls added. "When you put it on social media so somebody in Florida, California, Oregon or New York is reading, this, that is wrong."

    The post went on to ask if people are blinded to why Trayvon was staying with his dad and why he wasn't at home at at time of the shooting.....

    "I think that the national office should come into this," Riddick said. "It would be an effort to silence this fellow. I don't know how recall process works, but I think they should recall him."

You'll note that the piece didn't include the allegedly offensive post in its entirety.  I found it here:

The young Mr. Breaux needs to brace himself.  He has sinned deeply in the eyes of the race pimps and race baiters and there will be no redemption.

And I doubt seriously the President will step in and suggest that if he had a son, he'd look like Tristan Breaux.


Limbic Linguistics

Earlier this year, legislators in Washington state engaged in an emotional orgy of fatuity by passing a bill to erase 40,000 words from the overstuffed bindings of their state statutes. Given the sacrosanct pronouncements that, among other things, forbid the use of x-rays in the realm of shoe fitting, one might find it shocking that any of the verbiage could be safely be removed. After all, we're not talking about mere county hijinks, where you'd expect a law making it a felony to annoy Sasquatch or any of the creature's crypto-compatriots; we're talking about state laws. That's where our overlords get down to the real business of serving the public, and the Washington crew didn't disappoint. They're serving by severing -- and what they're severing is a whole host of degenerate, gender-biased language.

This yeoman's effort took six long years to manage. State Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles sponsored the new mandate. “Mankind means man and woman,” she said, which is why we must remove “man” from our vocabulary.

Washington wasn't the first state to man-up. Florida, North Carolina, and Illinois legislatures fathered the idea and many other states are at various stages of unmanliness. Apparently, grammatical castration is the trendy talisman statists adore.

Washington's Code Reviser's Office is manned by 40 bureaucrats, who mindlessly set about pruning the offending combinations of letters. The word “freshman” is among the casualties. It's replacement: “first-year.” While sophomore, junior, and senior will likely be acquitted of maniacal overtones, their usage may also be replaced by the wordier replacements “second-year,” “third-year,” and “fourth-year.” Such manipulated language ends up being drab and lifeless, the government buildings of lexicography.

The task is daunting, since the code revisers must examine each specimen of 40,000 sections of code. They're tired but managing. They've already faced down the intimidating signalman. In its place we are left with “signal operator.” Ah, signal operator . . . doesn't it sound more inclusive? It's a long overdue remedy to patriarchy. Let the atonement begin!

Fisherman too is no more. The sanitized term is now “fisher.” Piscicapturist was in the running, but the revisers could never agree on whether it meant one who catches fish or one who collects urine samples. Similarly, fireman has been supplanted by the omnisexual “firefighter.” Speaking of fighters, the military in the state, ironically gets to keep “seaman,” despite the word's overtly male homonym.

Gone are sexist terms such as “penmanship” and “journeyman.” They have been replaced by the less-lordly alternatives “handwriting” and “journey-level.” Use of the former will be limited to male chauvinists trying to romanticize a bygone era of information dominance.

According to Liz Watson of the National Women's Law Center, this isn't just semantics. "This is important in changing hearts and minds." And perhaps changing – or rather controlling – minds is the purpose behind this maneuver.

Like other forms of politically correct societal gerrymandering, the effort to neuter vocabulary imposes a form of self-censorship. Forming thoughts becomes the equivalent of walking through a minefield. Germane words are countermanded by an internal watchman screaming, “Stop! You can't use that.” Thus, the act of thinking will be avoided, since the danger of thinking will be manifest.

I would be willing to bet Senator Kohl-Welles imagines herself a champion of the little guy . . . er, gal, a helmsman leading the ship of state into more female-friendly, androgynous waters. She's not. Her limbic linguistics are simply a form of necromancy that will not advance the cause of women. Instead, her efforts will further the enslavement of both sexes, as we all are forced into the mold of unthinking mannequin.



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.



15 July, 2014

Some Sri Lankan multiculturalism in Britain

A senior doctor used his iPhone to secretly film women in public places – including the police officer who arrested him, a medical tribunal heard.

Dr Thilanga Kasun Iddamalgoda was arrested by a plain-clothes WPC who noticed he was behaving suspiciously as he sat on the steps of London’s Trafalgar Square.

After he was arrested and the phone was analysed, the officer found out that she was one of his victims.

The 32-year-old doctor, a clinical research fellow at Imperial College London, used his mobile to capture videos of women’s thighs, chests and groin areas as he sat in the bustling square last August.

He sat outside the National Gallery, surrounded by women dressed for the sunny weather in vest tops, skirts and shorts, a hearing was told.

The medic, who is pursuing research into heart conditions, later accepted a police caution for outraging public decency. Giving evidence before a misconduct hearing at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester, PC Tiffany Anderson said she was ‘disgusted and upset’ to realise she had been a victim.

The officer said she had been on duty at the square with two fellow officers at 4.45pm. She first noticed the doctor sitting near her on the steps but he moved to sit closer to a couple sitting a step up from him.

Miss Anderson said: ‘There was a woman with a very short skirt on. The movement to me seemed unusual.

‘He was also shielding his phone. He couldn’t have been shielding it from the sun because there was a lot of shading. He was shielding the screen very closely, so he didn’t want people to see. He didn’t appear to be reading a text message.

‘He appeared to have his phone  to his right, it appeared to be in the direction of the lady in the short skirt. He was sitting two steps in front of me. I caught a glimpse [of his phone] and it was on camera video.’

Iddamalgoda, who qualified at the University of Aberdeen in 2005, then made his way to Nelson’s Column where he continued to hold his phone and manoeuvre it around him at waist height. Miss Anderson said: ‘The angle of the iPhone appeared to be waist to chest height. There was one woman in a see-through top doing up her shoelaces and the phone stayed at that level.’

Miss Anderson and the other  officers approached the doctor.  Miss Anderson explained she was a police officer and told him she had been watching what he was doing. She said: ‘I believe his words were, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, it is the first time”, and “I’m sorry, please don’t arrest me”. I arrested and cautioned him.’

The officer found four videos on the doctor’s phone which confirmed her suspicions. She said: ‘There was one by the fountain of a lady sitting there in a black skirt. Had she uncrossed her legs, it would have been a very clear view of up her skirt.’

Another video was of the women he recorded on the steps –  but Miss Anderson was shocked to find he had also zoomed in on her own legs.

She said: ‘The same film moved on, the phone had gone round to the left filming myself and my legs sitting on the steps behind.

‘I was quite pleased that my jumper and bag were between my legs as I was wearing a short skirt. I was disgusted and upset.

‘I told him, “That’s me”, and I think he said, “I’m sorry, it is the first time.”’

Iddamalgoda was not at the misconduct hearing, which continues.


Political correctness and free speech

Representative Don Young is the congressional court jester and nobody much in Congress or in Alaska for that matter cares or is surprised at what comes out of his mouth. As an environmentalist, it has been my longstanding argument that we are better served by a fool than someone who is not. The flap over Congressman Young’s oafish gaffe about “wetbacks,” however, speaks to a problem that has become a pernicious part of American culture.

One can imagine the fireworks if there were organizations like the National Council of The Race, the Anglo-American Legal Defense Fund, or the National Association for the Advancement of White People. What if the Huffington Post had a section called “White Christian Voices”? Political correctness is an obvious double standard and is often used by minorities to stifle debate and advance their own, often-suspect agendas. The surest way to put someone on the defensive is to call him and/or her a racist or a bigot no matter that most of those who do it cannot correctly define the terms. Political correctness is an enemy of free speech. It is hard for me to believe that Don Young is a “racist” or a “bigot” given that he was married to and had children with an Alaska Native woman. My guess is that what his detractors were really up to was to discredit his views on immigration.
300x250 Anchorage Concert Association

Political correctness is part of the mix that has brought American society to a standstill because it detracts from the substance of debate. Americans are so thin-skinned that is seems that we do not have anything better to do than to be uptight all the time. Even the President cannot call a “babe” a “babe” without being labeled sexist. His own self-description as an African-American in itself evidences our double-standard, because he is half-Caucasian (not to mention that Caucasians also have their genetic roots in Africa). So should not we all be African-Americans or in the President’s case an African-Euro-American?  The fact we are becoming a society of hyphenated names underscores the split personality of America.

Another recent piece of silliness is the fuss over the Mexico Barbie Doll. Come on folks—I do not hear an outcry about the Holland Barbie. … and while on the subject, why is it not ok to say “Jewed down”—as unflattering as that might be—but ok to say “Dutch treat” or “get Scotched”? As a Scottish-Something-Something-American, I am not in the least offended of being denigrated for being frugal and will refer readers to The Millionaire Next Door for a more detailed discussion of the subject. There may be some Scots who are offended, but I have not met any. There are also the “Mics,” “Wogs,” “Frogs,” “Itis,” “Newfies,” and “Kaffirs”—too many to list them all, but in time they all will be forgotten to be replaced by other epithets.  How come Mel Brooks can get away with breaking the bounds of political correctness while the rest of us can’t?

Labels can only mean something if we allow them to.  We all have been called names that we do not like. It is not right but it part of being living in a social environment.  What happened to “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me”? People who know their worth rise above it, but there are those who want to stew in it and in some cases make careers out of it.  Who are these self-appointed gatekeepers anyway, and why do we let them get away with controlling the dialogue by dictating the use of vocabulary? Political correctness is as bad as its opposite, and it detracts from what we really should be concerned about


America's Sociopath Fetish

Michelle Malkin

I would like to declare a war on women -- namely, all those cringe-inducing ninnies who lust after every celebrity criminal defendant with big muscles, tattoos, puppy-dog eyes or Hollywood hair.

You know who I'm talking about, right? America's Bad Boy groupies. They're on the courthouse steps with their "Free Jahar" signs, cooing over how "hot" and "cute" the bloodstained Boston Marathon bombing suspect is. He "can blow me up with babies," one moral reprobate quipped shortly after his capture. "I'm not gonna lie, the second bombing suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is hot. #sorrynotsorry," another young girl boasted.

Among the callous accused killer's victims, in case you'd forgotten: 8-year-old boy Martin Richard, who had been cheering on his dad and other family friends at the race. But who cares about an innocent dead child blown to bits by pressure cooker bombs in the name of Allah?

Far from a minuscule fringe, the Ja-harem is a growing social media phenomenon. Its members mimic Justin Bieber's Beliebers, adopting the last name of their Tiger Beat terrorist and doodling hearts around his mug shot. In heat or in jest, these depraved females continue to spread viral photos, memes and hashtags of their Islamist Idol. One woman showed up at Tsarnaev's court appearance Wednesday donning a "Free the Lion" T-shirt. Another sported a "Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is innocent" tee, while her gal pal shouted, "Exonerate!"

For those ladies who prefer jocks to jihadis, there's accused murderer/NFL star Aaron Hernandez. He's "fine as wine," one woman lusted. He's "too damned sexy to go to prison," another lamented. "He can come to jail at my house," sighed yet another. In response to one of gangsta Hernandez's Glock-wielding Instagram pics, one sick chick slavered, "Soooo hot with the combination handgun-mirror selfie."

Fugitive cop-killer Christopher Dorner also had his own fan club. Parked in front of their TV sets, women cheered on the "kinda sexy" homicidal maniac as he terrorized Southern California before perishing in a cabin inferno. "I'd honestly hide Dorner in my house," one fan girl enthused. Tens of thousands "liked" Dorner's various support pages on Facebook.

Harmless Internet chitter-chatter? Don't kid yourselves. While some of the murderers' panting minions may be joking, it's irresponsible women like these who end up enabling, marrying and conspiring with public menaces.

They're your neighbors and relatives, suburban gals like Colleen "Jihad Jane" LaRose and Jamie "Jihad Jamie" Paulin-Ramirez of Colorado, who agreed to wed Muslim terrorists and conspired to kill Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. Paulin-Ramirez dragged her 6-year-old (whom she renamed "Walid") to Ireland to assist with the plot. Family members said she was "easily influenced" and that "any man that came along ... she kind of followed like a lost puppy."

It would be one thing if these morally stunted followers segregated themselves in enclaves outside the American mainstream. But some of these damaged goods end up on juries, entrusted to weigh evidence fairly, digest complex instructions, and render impartial verdicts in matters of life and death. Indeed, they are aggressively sought after by predatory defense lawyers. I'll never forget the female jurors of the first murder trial of confessed parent-killers Lyle and Erik Menendez. Star-struck by "glamorous" defense lawyer Jill Abramson, the women of the Menendez jury told Los Angeles reporters that "they admired her wardrobe and biting wit."

Their swooning for the hunky Menendez brothers, whom they praised as "bright" and "nice," was obscene. After a mistrial was declared, Abramson arranged for "her jurors" to meet the boys. Soon after, talk show queen Sally Jesse Raphael hosted a program on "women who would leave their husbands to marry a Menendez."

From Menendez mania to Free Jahar, the pathologies persist: Easily led. Emotion-driven. Desperate for male approbation. Prone to acting with their lady parts instead of their lady smarts. Heckuva job, feminism! All the equalization and parity in education and the workplace are for naught if women can't distinguish right from wrong and "hot" from evil.

Lesson learned: You can indoctrinate generations of American women in the ways of gender empowerment, but you can't make a goodly portion of them think straight. Hormones trump basic human decency and good judgment in the crowded coven of sociopaths.


Now that Britain's got rid of Abu Qatada, let's tackle the radical mosques

Most mosques in Britain teach traditional Muslim virtues, but a minority pursue a more radical agenda

At last we seem to gaining the upper hand in the wearying fight against the radical Muslim preachers who have taken advantage of our liberal free speech traditions to peddle their hateful dogma on the streets of Britain.

After last year's successful deportation of Abu Hamza to the US to stand trial on a variety of terrorism charges, Home Secretary Theresa May has now succeeded in closing the embarrassing saga of Abu Qatada, another radical cleric who has led the British a merry – and costly – dance for more than a decade as he impeded attempts to have him deported to Jordan, where he is wanted on terrorism charges.

After Qatada's removal from these shores in the early hours of Sunday morning, Mrs May indicated that she intends to tighten the law to prevent other radical preachers from pursuing similar legal challenges.

But as my colleague Philip Johnston points out in his column this morning, we still have a long way to go before we have proper protection against the poisonous ideology espoused by the likes of Abu Qatada.

While the Government's focus is rightly centred on tightening up our liberal immigration laws, there is another area that requires urgent attention.

The majority of this mosques in this country preach the traditional virtues of Islam, but there remains a minority that continue to subscribe to a more radical agenda, and are highly influential in persuading impressionable young Muslims – many of them British citizens who cannot be deported to places like Jordan – to take up the cause of jihad against the West.

It is estimated that around 500 British Muslims have gone to fight with extreme Syrian rebel groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra - which is closely affiliated to al-Qaeda – after being radicalised in British mosques. Similarly scores of British jihadists went to fight in the recent Libyan conflict, and have now signed up with radical Islamic groups that are undermining attempts to bring stability to post-Gaddafi Libya.

We should also not forget that the two men charged with the murder of a British soldier in Woolwich in May are believed to have been radicalised in Britain.

Thus, if we are to deal effectively with the modern curse of Islamist extremism, we need to pay as much attention to the ideology of hate as our immigration laws.



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

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



14 July, 2014

The church of England is now led by a genuine man of God

Most unusual

'It’s such a lovely day, let’s go into the garden,” says the Archbishop of Canterbury. Carrying a tray heavy with coffee cups, he leads us down the wide steps of Lambeth Palace round to its wider lawns. Justin Welby is the fourth Archbishop I have met in this place; though new in the job, he is by far the most relaxed.

He answers everything with the same directness. Since he is an evangelical, I ask him whether he can speak “in tongues” – the “charismatic” spiritual gift recorded in the New Testament. Oh yes, he says, almost as if he had been asked if he plays tennis, “It’s just a routine part of spiritual discipline – you choose to speak and you speak a language that you don’t know. It just comes. Bramble! Go and find Peter [the Welbys’ second son, one of five living children, and brother of Johanna, who died in a car crash as a baby], you idiot!” The last bit of these remarks is addressed to his exuberant six-month-old Clumber spaniel who has rushed up to him.

I am amazed. I first saw this man 40 years ago, when we were both pupils at Eton. Later, I was with him at Trinity College, Cambridge. He was the shyest, most unhappy-looking boy you could imagine. Now he is 105th in the line that began with St Augustine. He seems to be loving it. I remark on the change, and he agrees. “That’s something to do with the Christian faith,” he says.

Is it necessary, I ask, for a true Christian to have had a personal conversion experience? “Absolutely not. There is an incredible range of ways in which the Spirit works. It doesn’t matter how you get there. It really does quite matter where you are.”

Is it like suddenly realising that you love someone and want to marry that person? The Archbishop laughs: “That’s not what happened with Caroline [his wife] and me! And it’s not what happened with Peter, who got engaged to a lovely girl two days ago. That’s been a gradual thing.”

But it did happen to him, in New Court, Trinity College, during the evening of October 12, 1975. At Eton, he had “vaguely assumed there was a God. But I didn’t believe. I wasn’t interested at all.” That night in Cambridge, though, praying with a Christian friend, he suddenly felt “a clear sense of something changing, the presence of something that had not been there before in my life. I said to my friend, 'Please don’t tell anyone about this’, because I was desperately embarrassed that this had happened to me, like getting measles.”

Since then, there have been long periods with “no sense of any presence at all’’, but he has never gone back on that night’s “decision to follow Christ’’. This is not his doing: “It’s grace. Grace is a reality: feelings are ephemeral.”

To understand the change in Justin Welby’s life, you need to know what happened before. His father, Gavin Welby, was a fantasist and a fraud. Justin was an only child. His parents separated when he was a little boy. In his teens, he lived mainly with his father in rented London flats. He was never in one place, except school, for more than a week at a time. Life was “utterly insecure’’.

Money came and went, mostly went. In his last two years at Eton, the school waived the fees. Once, living in a flat so small that Justin had to camp in the sitting room, “We did a moonlight flit’’, probably, he guesses, to escape creditors. “I still use the cheap suitcases from Woolworth in which we packed our things.”

His father had a stroke when Justin was in his mid-teens, and was an alcoholic. “Living with someone who is severely abusing alcohol is very unpredictable indeed. You never know what might happen next. The letters he wrote me could be very affectionate or immensely abusive.”

His father died when Justin was 21. Then he found his passport and discovered that Gavin was 11 years older than he had claimed. It was only after he had become Archbishop that he learnt that his father was not really called Welby, but Weiler, of Jewish descent. “When I went to the Holy Land last month, I discovered that I’ve got enough Jewish blood to have been picked up in Hitler’s Germany.”

Of his strange and lonely youth he says: “At the time, it felt horrible. Now it feels hugely valuable. God doesn’t waste stuff.” Out of the insecurity has come the confidence of his faith. Does he know Jesus? “Yes. I do. He’s both someone one knows and someone one scarcely knows at all, an utterly intimate friend and yet with indescribable majesty.”

And when he talks to God, is he speaking to Jesus or God the Father? “I don’t ask for his passport,” says the Archbishop, unconsciously echoing what he has told me about his father’s age. “I haven’t quite done the theology of this, but I think such communication is the work of the Spirit of God.”

Because he came to faith dramatically, he has few prejudices about which tradition to inhabit. “I am a spiritual magpie,” he says. As well as speaking in tongues (a Protestant practice), he adores the sacrament of the eucharist (a Catholic one). He also says the morning and evening office, Book of Common Prayer version, in the chapel of the palace, every day. “Today it was Psalm 51, which is penitential. If you come in thinking how brilliant you are, it’s good to say that psalm.”

The routine of regular prayer is immensely important in overcoming the ups and downs of human moods, he thinks. For his own spiritual discipline, Justin Welby uses Catholic models – the contemplation and stability of Benedictines, and the rigorous self-examination of St Ignatius. And, in a choice that could not possibly have been made since the 16th century – until now – the Archbishop’s spiritual director is Fr Nicolas Buttet, a Roman Catholic priest.

The Archbishop recently visited the new Pope, Francis, and was thrilled. “I think he is extraordinary. Unpredictable. He’s not John XXIII or anyone else. He’s Francis. He has deep humility and a consciousness of the complexity of things. He has Ignatian and Franciscan spirituality.”

It is spirituality that the two men share, and it is overcoming the divisions of 500 years: “One of the most exciting trends in western Christianity is that the Sprit of God is drawing Christians together.”

Where will his discussions with the Pope lead? “I haven’t a clue,” he says, disarmingly. He thinks that the ordination of women bishops, though he vigorously supports it, is the biggest obstacle to unity with Rome, but he also believes that both Churches now accept that they must “walk together’’. Besides, “Rome is semper eadem [always the same], but infinitely flexible when it needs to be.”

Fr Buttet is a Swiss former lawyer and politician, who became a hermit. He founded a community that helps life’s “wounded’’, especially those in long-term psychiatric care. I ask the Archbishop whether, given his own family history, he too is wounded. He pauses for a very long time, and sighs, as if the question hurts. At last he says: “I assume that I am, but I also assume that the grace of God is extraordinarily powerful in the healing of one’s wounds.”

The other half of Justin Welby’s background is quite different. His mother, Jane Portal, was Winston Churchill’s secretary, and he remembers going to tea, as a small boy, with the great man. Now she is married to the banker, historian and Labour peer, Charles Williams.

His grandmother, Iris Portal, was the sister of the Conservative statesman “RAB” Butler, and herself a biographer. At home in Norfolk, she provided the young Justin with the only security he knew, and a liberal acceptance of different people and traditions. He listened rapt to her tales of life in British India, where she nursed Indian soldiers during the Second World War. “She always said that India was civilised when we were running around painting ourselves blue.”

From this background, the Archbishop has developed a non-partisan fascination with politics. (''I am a classic floating voter – and now I don’t vote.’’) He speaks almost like the practical executive he once was: “What interests me is what makes things work. Why, for example, was Mrs Thatcher so transformative?”

What does he think of her? “Genuinely, I don’t know the answer. When I was in the oil industry in the Eighties, I thought she was brilliant. When I was a clergyman in the North [Liverpool and Durham], I had a different view. But I think she had a discontent with drift which is really important, and an optimism about this country.” He feels the same: “The more I travel, the happier I am to come back.”

But hasn’t the credit crunch made everything gloomy? He does not see it that way, although he agrees that it has done terrible damage. He sees it as producing spiritual hunger, which will lead to spiritual wealth. “A society which has built its life on the material will sooner or later be deceived by the gods in whose hands it has put itself. That’s what we did.” Now, with “the toppling of the idols’’, there is an opportunity. It’s not that prosperity and growth are not good things: “It is a matter of what you put your ultimate security in.”

I object that the Church of England, even under him, still seems to mouth the secular platitudes of the post-1945 settlement. He half-acknowledges the criticism, and doesn’t want welfare dependency either, but he thinks “the worst financial crisis since 1947… is a bad time to be cutting the bills significantly’’. Lots of people are trapped by lack of opportunity and there is a “severe imbalance between the richest and the poorest parts’’.

The Church, I say, is good at talking, but not at actually doing things to improve the social order.

“RUBBISH!” shouts the Archbishop, genially. “It is one of the most powerful forces of social cohesion. Did you know that each month all the Churches – roughly half of the numbers being Anglican – contribute 23 million hours of voluntary work, outside what they do in church? And it’s growing. There are now between 1,200 and 2,000 food banks in which the Church is involved. Ten years ago, there were none. There are vicars living in every impoverished area in the country. This springs out of genuine spirituality. We’re not just Rotary with a pointy roof.”

The Church of England, of course, cares also for the mighty. The Established Church underpins the monarchy. Any day, the heir to the heir to the heir will appear, the eventual Supreme Governor of his Church. “I respect and admire the monarchy more than I can say. Many leaders would do well to learn from the Queen’s sophisticated and thoughtful approach.”

He loves the integration of the spiritual and the constitutional. Recently he preached the sermon for the 60th anniversary of the Coronation. “I felt almost surprise, reading the order of service for 1953, that it opened with her own private prayer. Extraordinary. Her own allegiance to God was given ahead of our own allegiance to her.”

All the time, this active, wounded, happy man is trying to find new ways in which this country, despite the secular age, can give its allegiance to God again.


Carnival committee accused of 'political correctness gone mad' after scrapping bonny baby contest because parents of those who lose might become upset

A carnival committee has been accused of 'political correctness gone mad' after scrapping the traditional 'bonny baby' contest because it is unfair to judge kids on their looks.

The organisers of Devizes Carnival, in Wiltshire, ruled that the baby and toddler pageant is 'no longer an appropriate item' to include in a contemporary carnival programme.

But some mothers are so furious at the decision they have organised their own 'unofficial' bonny baby contest instead.

The alternative pageant has even won the backing of Devizes Mayor Pete Smith, who said the event brings the community together.

He said: 'The mums said it was political correctness gone mad and I agree - it's bloody stupid.  'I will always agree with the mums - they always know best after all. What's better than a beautiful little baby? It is just marvellous.  'It brings the community together and I don't think we should lose it.'

Stephanie Gale, 28, of Market Lavington, whose son Toby was the winner of last year's carnival baby show, said: 'It's a bit of fun and everybody likes looking at pictures of babies.'

The full-time mother is already planning to enter son Teddy, six months, in this year's event.  She said: 'I suppose I can see how some people don't think it should go ahead, but it is just a bit of fun.

'Devizes is quite a quaint little town. It's not the most modern and metropolitan place - so the baby show fits in quite well with a traditional market town.

'I entered Toby because some of my friends had entered in previous years, and of course like all mums I think my baby is beautiful.  'It was really exciting to see him win and in the paper and things, and it was just a bit of fun.

'Seeing as it is a baby competition, and I think the oldest the child can be is 18 months, the children won't get upset if they don't win - they won't know. It is just nice for them to play with the other little ones.

'And as for worries mums will get upset, I think that if you think you would get upset if your baby didn't win, you should just not enter.  'To give that as a reason not to run the competition is a bit of a cop out. Everyone knows their own baby is the most beautiful anyway.

'The decision to cancel was just a bit silly and I am glad it has been rescued.'

But Dave Buxton, artistic director of Devizes Outdoor Celebratory Arts which organises the carnival, said committee members were unanimously against the bonny baby contest.

He said: 'Devizes Carnival is a really modern carnival with hundreds of people taking part.

'Do you really think it is a good idea to judge babies and decide which ones are the best? The whole committee felt that.  'We are a community arts organisation and it is not really appropriate. There are some people that want it, but it is a handful of people.

'If you look at the carnival over the years, all sorts of things have come and gone - fashions change.

'It just doesn't seem a very nice thing to do. Everyone believes that their baby is the best baby. How do you feel if your baby isn't the one that has won? I think you would walk out not feeling very good.'

Committee members have also abolished the role of Carnival Queen as it does not 'fit with the ethos' of the event.

The carnival procession will be held on Saturday August 31 but the unofficial 'Mayor's Baby Show' will now take place on August 27.

Former Devizes Carnival chairman Jeanette Von Berg has organised the alternative pageant after seeing a demand from parents.  She said: 'I was really upset when it was cancelled. I asked mums in the town if they wanted a baby show and they did.  'They said they didn't agree with the carnival committee's decision. I am pleased the mayor Pete Smith agreed to put his name to it.'

Mayor Smith added: 'There are certain people on the carnival committee who want to change things I don't think for the better.  'That's why I have stepped in to call it the Mayor's Baby Show.

'The committee are doing a good job and that, but people like the old fashioned stuff. They like to take their kids along and say "Granny did this when she was a little girl".'


Groups Say Religious Liberty in U.S. Military is in Danger

There is a clear and present danger to religious liberty within the military, says a coalition of groups who believe the Obama Administration is pushing a secular, anti-religious culture on the nation’s armed forces.

“Christians who choose to live out their faith find themselves incompatible with the secular view of this administration,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “We’re establishing a beach head for religious liberty and the evidence points to a very deliberate attack.”

Representatives of 14 groups concerned about religious liberty joined Reps. John Fleming R-La., Jim Bridenstine R-Okla., and Louie Gohmert R-Tex. on Capitol Hill to urge support for Fleming’s military religious freedom amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act.

The amendment protects the rights of servicemembers to not only hold religious beliefs but to act on them and speak about them. Fleming’s amendment has bipartisan support but the Obama Administration issued a statement “strongly objecting” to the legislation.

The amendment comes as more than 170,000 Americans signed petitions calling for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to protect the religious liberties of military personnel through policies that guarantee those liberties.

“We want to make this the first key battle to restore religious liberty back to the American people,” Fleming told Fox News. “It sets the tone for a broader war to fight back against this government that is infringing on our religious liberty.”

Perkins and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, the FRC’s executive vice president, released a nine-page document detailing anti-religious behavior in the military.

“Unfortunately, pressures to impose a secular, anti-religious culture on our nation’s military services have intensified tremendously during the Obama Administration,” the FRC report states.

“We will stand with servicemembers who wish to exercise their First Amendment rights of religious liberty,” Boykin said. ‘We must do all we can to ensure that our servicemembers have the right to practice the very freedoms that they risk their lives to defend.”

The Family Research Council said it is evidence of an attempt to “scrub the military of religious expression, through which the chilling effect of punishment and potential career destruction lie at the back of everyone’s mind.”

The document, titled, “A Clear and Present Danger: The Threat to Religious Liberty in the Military,” dates back to 2005 when Mikey Weinstein became a major critic of the United States Air Force Academy.

Among the incidents:

In 2010 Perkins, a Marine veteran and ordained minister was disinvited to address the National Prayer Luncheon at Andrews Air Force Base after he publicly spoke in opposition to the administration’s effort to repeal the ban on open homosexuality in the military.

In May, 2010, Franklin Graham, the son of Billy Graham, was disinvited to the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer service by the Army because of his comments about Islam.

In July 2011, Christian prayers were banned at military funerals. Rep. John Culbertson R-Tex. said he had “witnessed volunteer members of the honor guard from the Veterans of Foreign Wars being prohibited from using any references to God.”

On Sept. 1, 2011 the Air Force Chief of Staff sent a service-wide memorandum chilling religious speech. “Leaders at all levels must balance Constitutional protections for an individual’s free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and its prohibition against governmental establishment of religion,” wrote Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz.

On Sept. 14, 2011 Walter Reed National Military Medical Center issued an official patient and visitor policy banning Bibles. The policy was later revoked after a political firestorm erupted in the House of Representatives.

On Jan. 29, 2012 Catholic chaplains were told not to read a letter from the Archdiocese of Military Services urging them to resist implementation of the HHS contraceptive and sterilization mandate in Obamacare. Instead, chaplains were instructed to read a version edited by an Obama Administration official.

The Family Research Council’s evidence includes the Army labeling Evangelical Christians and Catholics as extremists and banning the sale of military-themed Bibles. The Army ordered a cross and steeple removed from a chapel in Afghanistan and an Air Force officer was told to remove a Bible from his desk.

Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Lee told a gathering in Washington, D.C. that religious liberty was being threatened by Pentagon lawyers and service members were being told to “hide their faith in Christ.”

“As one general so aptly put it – they expect us to check our religion in at the door – don’t bring that here,” Lee said. “Your armed forces, the sons and daughters of the men and women like you – are being told to hide that light under a basket.”

Perkins told Fox News their plan is to let the American public know what’s happening in the military.

“Members of the military are coming to us confidentially with further reports of attacks on religious liberty,” he said. “This is just a sampling of the cases that have been made public.”

Among the groups aligning with the Family Research Council are the American Family Association, Center for Security Policy, Media Research Center, Liberty Counsel Action, Center for Military Readiness, Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, Judicial Watch, American Values, Family-Pac, Ohio faith and Freedom Coalition and the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers.


Why does the "impartial" BBC not tell the story of the great majority?

Our self-righteous national broadcaster is woefully detached from voters’ real lives

Stuart Prebble, ex-BBC, has this month produced a report for the BBC Trust on “Breadth of Opinion Reflected in the BBC’s Output”. Explaining his approach, he says that most attacks on the impartiality of the BBC are “based on the notion that it is largely run by a group with similar backgrounds and attitudes, loosely describable as 'liberal progressives’ – and, of course, I am one”.

Why “of course”? Is it unimaginable that the BBC would commission anyone other than one of their own sort to write a report on their own impartiality? Well, yes, perhaps it is.

But Mr Prebble goes on to reassure the doubters. “… in common with the overwhelming number of journalists within the BBC…, I leave my personal politics at home when I go to work”.

What does it mean to leave one’s “personal politics” at home? It might be relatively easy to put aside a particular party allegiance at work, but what is the point of forming knowledgeable views about politics, holding a job as a broadcaster in the political sphere, and then ignoring one’s own views? It is like a doctor saying “I never take my medical views to the surgery”. It is comical.

It also raises a question. If the place of “personal politics” is to be kept firmly in the home like the Eastern European au pairs on whom so many media power couples depend, why is that most of the people behaving in this way are, to use Mr Prebble’s terminology, “liberal progressives”? If personal politics are irrelevant, why do people with the same personal politics keep getting chosen to work for the BBC?

The answer, I suggest, is that one of the most important elements in the creed of “liberal progressives” is that they are fair and open-minded, and the rest of us aren’t. With beautiful, circular logic, it follows that the only people who can be trusted to ensure that there is a proper breadth of opinion in BBC coverage are liberal progressives. Mr Prebble’s considered finding is that impartiality “runs through the BBC veins like Blackpool through a stick of rock”. Of course it does: the place is run by liberal progressives! QED.

This in turn means that anyone who lacks liberal progressive opinions cannot be employed by the BBC. This is not because their opinions cannot be aired – everyone, says Mr Prebble, almost no matter how bonkers, must be allowed his or her shout in what BBC jargon calls the “wagon wheel” of opinion – but because the people who hold such opinions cannot be relied upon to be impartial. If I, for instance, applied for a job in the BBC, and they knew that I was anti-abortion, anti-gay marriage, pro-hunting, climate-change-sceptical, and pro-Israel, they wouldn’t say “Oh, we can’t employ someone with such disgusting views”. They would say, “Charles has his own agenda, and therefore would undermine our impartiality”. I might not leave my repulsive opinions at home; I might bring them in to work, like someone who turns up at the office with his dirty laundry spilling out of his briefcase.

To be fair to Mr Prebble, he does note occasions where the BBC has failed to reflect breadth of opinion. He points out, for example, that not everyone in the United States who opposes gun control can be described as a “gun nut”. And he does gently reprove the impartiality section of the BBC’s College of Journalism website for including lots of clips from a former BBC environment correspondent “entirely devoted to sustaining the case that climate change is 'settled science’”. He says it “might have been helpful” to have added “a line or two” that climate change “dissenters (or even sceptics) should still occasionally be heard”. This, in an organisation wholly opposed to corporal punishment, is as close as we are ever going to get to a rap on the knuckles.

But if I am correct that the BBC is self-righteous – in the exact sense that it identifies its corporate identity with righteousness – it follows that “breadth of opinion” is not the key concept that needs examining here. It is relatively easy to rustle up people on both sides (or even four or five sides) of an argument. The BBC often tries conscientiously to do this.

It is other aspects of the programmes that need to be examined. The first question is, “Who is in the dock?” In almost all major stories, you can tell very quickly who this is. On the Today programme yesterday, for example, it was reported that the Government has decided to delay any action to ban cigarette brand packaging. The official view was duly represented by a Tory backbencher, Mark Field. The banning enthusiasts were represented by Harpal Kumar, the chief executive of the charity Cancer Research UK. Mr Kumar made some pretty extreme assertions, such as that the tobacco industry was “entirely dependent on recruiting children” to addiction. This was unchallenged by James Naughtie.

But when Mr Field made bold to suggest that the health lobby – and not just the tobacco lobby – was itself powerful and well-funded, you could almost hear Naughtie’s lips pursing, and he moved in to correct Mr Field. Mr Field’s claim was “an extraordinary comment”, said Mr Kumar. It was clear who had been convicted of being “inappropriate”.

My objection is not that Mr Field was made to squirm. It was that Mr Kumar was not, and that his kind never is. Charities and pressure groups, in the BBC’s approach to life, are to be trusted, because they do not make profits. People who do, are not.

The even more important question is, “What makes a story?” In the BBC’s view, some form of institutional validation is almost always required. The story must arise from a government report, a court judgment, a statement by the Royal College of this and the National Union of that. In religion – a subject specifically covered by Mr Prebble’s report – it cannot think about belief or prayer, but about Bishops’ Conferences, General Synods and Councils of Mosques. In politics, it can handle the indescribably dreary game of lobby journalism, but not the relation of politics to what voters need or feel.

This is because the BBC is itself a vast institution, so it is happiest speaking to other institutions, like mastodon bellowing to mastodon across the primeval swamp. Its absolute favourite is the device by which the big cheese from the big body in question – the Government, the CBI, Unite – comes on, says his bit and then departs, leaving omniscient persons like Nick Robinson, Robert Peston or Stephanie Flanders to explain to us idiots what he was really talking about.

In its great scheme of things, the BBC knows how to report clearly defined victims – pensioners cheated by PPI, formerly abused children, “whistleblowers”. What it cannot understand is the position of the great majority of the people watching it – that they pay tax, and they keep paying more of it. Seldom do they see the story in a tax rise, in energy bills or planning delays, in their own stupefying executive pay-offs. Seldom do they expose the rise in the national debt or investigate why it is that, despite “cuts” every day, government spending still grows bigger all the time. The one entity, in short, in which the BBC feels permanently uninterested is the individual citizen.

It is not surprising that the BBC takes him for granted, because it can. It takes his money by law, and without his consent, in the form of the licence fee. Until this ends, the BBC will, with the finest impartiality, refuse to tell his story.



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.



12 July, 2013

The multiculturalism never stops in Britain

A teenager who murdered a 'promising' A-level student as he tried to recover a stolen smartphone has been jailed for a minimum of 13 years.

Dogan Ismail, 17, suffered a single stab wound to the heart as he tried to get back a BlackBerry robbed from another 15-year-old during an altercation two days earlier.

Today his killer, Dawda Jallow, 15, from Peckham, London, was ordered to serve at least 13 years of a life sentence after he was found guilty of murder by a jury.

Before passing sentence at the Old Bailey, Judge Christopher Moss took the unusual step of lifting an order granting him anonymity as a minor.

The judge told Jallow that the attack was carried out with 'force and ferocity' but added that he could not be sure whether he intended to kill his victim.

Wearing a blue polo shirt and jeans, Jallow stared at the ground as his sentence was read out with members of his and his victim’s families looking on.

Jallow had been caught carrying a knife twice before the attack took place on December 30 last year, the court heard.

His mother had sent him back to the Gambia, where they are originally from, in a bid to keep him out of trouble but when he returned he was 'disruptive' at school.

Judge Moss described him as a 'troubled boy who appeared to have a difficult background' due to the lack of a relationship with his father.

'You have said you recognise the effect that your actions have had on those who loved him (Dogan) and I can only hope that is the case,' he said.

In a victim impact statement read out in court on her behalf, Dogan’s mother, Ozel Ismail, said the killing had plunged her and her family into a 'living nightmare'.  Speaking of the love she felt for her first-born child, she said he had been 'worth every sleepless night'.

She described him as a 'highly ambitious' boy with dreams of setting up a business of his own, adding: 'He was responsible, caring and a young man with integrity.'

'I had dreams with Dogan - his first job, his first car, his first serious girlfriend,' she said.  'Those dreams have been stolen from me and have died with Dogan.'

The crime happened after another 15-year-old had his BlackBerry stolen on the Aylesbury Estate in Walworth, south London, on December 28 last year.  On December 30, Dogan and the smartphone’s owner went back to the estate in an attempt to reclaim it.

They confronted Dogan’s killer, who went into a flat and returned with what police described as a 'large' knife.

The Walworth Academy sixth-form student was found outside Latimer House in Beaconsfield Road by paramedics, but despite their efforts he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police decided to name Jallow as a suspect on New Year’s Eve and pictures were later released of him travelling on the number 35 bus from Camberwell Green to Newington Causeway eight hours after the killing.

After two weeks on the run, he handed himself in to police and later admitted manslaughter and theft before being found guilty of murder by a jury.

Detective Chief Inspector Matt Bonner welcomed the sentence for what he described as an 'appalling and violent attack'.  'Jallow did all he could to evade capture in the weeks following the attack, until he realised there was nowhere left to run,' he said.

'He will now spend a significant amount of time behind bars for the callous crime that he has committed.'


The danger is we've become immune to Human Rights lunacy. It's vital Britons stay angry, says MAX HASTINGS

Human Rights legislation has become a great divider of the British people, a definer of identities. On one side of the argument stand the Liberal Democrats; Cherie Blair as a standard-bearer of the legal profession which waxes fat on HR spoils; and all those want to remake Britain as a model of Scandinavian social rectitude.

In the other camp is almost everyone who believes that Britain is, on the whole and of its own making, a decent place upholding decent values.

The stranglehold which HR now exercises on the way we conduct our affairs, to the advantage of no one save terrorists and the aforesaid lawyers, has become a very bad joke. It makes some people shrug despairingly, as they do about Health & Safety.

But it is absolutely proper that we should stay angry at big wrongs, and harry politicians who claim that it is impossible to right them.

Yesterday’s verdict from the European Court of Human Rights, branding whole-life tariffs for murderers in British prisons as ‘inhuman and degrading’, represents an insulting intrusion into our national affairs, made by people who are quite unfit to influence them.

Of course, this is merely the latest of many foolish and inappropriate judgments, but that does not make it more acceptable. The European Convention was adopted in 1950, the Court created in 1959.

Those were days when many countries — the Soviet Empire notable among them — routinely imprisoned, tortured and executed people, often without trial. Franco’s Spain was still garrotting domestic critics.

The democratic nations of Europe sought to establish standards for civilised behaviour, and the Court in Strasbourg achieved some success in doing so. For decades it caused Britain little trouble, because it recognised that we were not what it was there for.

But gradually, like so many unaccountable institutions, it grew out of its boots.

Today, its website proudly proclaims that it ‘has made the Convention a living instrument capable of applying to situations that did not exist or were inconceivable at the time it was drafted ..... The Convention is a resolutely modern treaty that can adapt to contemporary social issues’.

In practice, this means that every year, a raft of British cases reaches Strasbourg — almost invariably involving legally aided appellants at a cost to the public purse of hundreds of thousands of pounds — of a kind of which no one would have dreamt six decades back.

The potential beneficiaries of yesterday’s ruling were Jeremy Bamber, who murdered his entire family for cash gain; Peter Moore, who killed four gay men in pursuit of sexual gratification; and Douglas Vinter, who murdered his wife soon after he’d completed a sentence for killing a colleague.

Parliament passed legislation in 2003, allowing for some sentences involving heinous crimes to mean life imprisonment without review.

This measure had overwhelming public support, following a succession of deplorable cases, in which violent criminals were released thanks to philanthropic review boards, only to exploit their freedom to commit ghastly new crimes.

The issue here is the right of Britain, as a state with a responsible and long-proven legal system, to adopt its own policies about appropriate punishments for criminals. What we do with our murderers has absolutely no influence on the right of other nations to make different arrangements.

If the Swedes, for instance, want to parole killers after five years, or the Italians decide to keep them in solitary confinement, their dispensation may be better or worse than ours, but it is surely everyone’s right to make their own choices. It seems intolerable that 16 Strasbourg judges should dictate to Britain how it addresses crime and punishment. And what judges!

I looked up the list, which includes Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos from Greece, Dragoljub Popovic from Serbia, Nona Tsotoria from Georgia, Nebojsa Vucinic from Montenegro.

The court includes one British member named Paul Mahoney. He spent most of his career as a law lecturer, with a couple of years as a practising barrister, and a spell as a visiting professor at the University of Saskatchewan. He then attached himself to the great European gravy train by becoming an administrator at the Court of Human Rights, before gravitating to a judgeship.

I have nothing against Saskatchewan, and I am sure Paul Mahoney is a fine, upstanding Eurocrat. But I cannot for the life of me think of any reason why he is an appropriate person — any more than is Nebojsa Vucinic — to decide whether Jeremy Bamber should, or should not, have any claim to a review of his life sentence.

Human rights, once a fine phrase defining a noble cause, has been debased by foolish judges at home, as well as abroad. It was our own Supreme Court which decided last month that the families of British soldiers killed in action should be able to sue the Government, if negligence had contributed to their deaths.

This was a decision as remote as Mars from common sense. Sensible lawyers say that our judges show ever-increasing symptoms of being afflicted by the madness of Strasbourg; that the British judiciary bears a heavy responsibility for gold-plating human rights decisions. Judge-made law is an ever-increasing threat to the conduct of a sensible society, and to respect for the wishes of parliament and the British people.

The European Convention on Human Rights pre-dates the Common Market, and the Strasbourg Court has no direct link with Brussels. Thus the EU cannot be held responsible for its follies and mischief-making. But diplomats and civil servants warn that, even if Britain quit the Convention, there would be major consequential problems with our European partners.

This may be so, but surely the ECHR nonsense cannot indefinitely continue. The Strasbourg Court takes pride in the fact that it is constantly extending its remit, which means its interference in domestic affairs.

Other countries are protected, to some degree, by domestic judges who are more robust than our own in upholding national interests, especially on security matters. Who can imagine France, for instance, dallying for years as did Britain and its courts over the deportation of the appalling Abu Qatada?

The Home Secretary, Theresa May, deserves full credit for her persistence in fighting the human rights fanatics until at last, albeit at huge cost to the taxpayer, Abu Qatada was flown to a Jordanian prison last weekend.

Mrs May told the Commons on Monday that every option, including withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights, must be on the table to prevent any repetition of the Abu Qatada farce and Strasbourg’s ‘crazy interpretation of human rights laws’, and most of Britain applauded loudly.

The Liberal Democrats currently block any legislative attempt to escape from the human rights quagmire. David Cameron at least threatens to withdraw from the Human Rights Act if Strasbourg does not stop its meddling, although Whitehall delivers dire warnings about the practical difficulties.

It seems intolerable for this country to remain in thrall to the Strasbourg Court, and its ever more intrusive and absurd judgments.

It is grotesque that a cluster of ill-qualified judges, several of them drawn from the most corrupt and ill-governed nations in Europe, should abuse their powers to lay down law, quite literally, to the Government of Britain.

Theresa May is right to say that, whatever the difficulties, we must break the chains of thralldom to Strasbourg.



Simon Wiesenthal Center Slams ‘Khaybar’ Miniseries After Video of Actors Spewing Hate Surfaces

Actors from an anti-Semitic miniseries set to air this month in the Arab world have further confirmed their show’s hateful message in a series of interviews compiled by theMiddle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

MEMRI released video Tuesday of the stars of ‘Khaybar,’ set to air in Egypt this month, that captures them making inflammatory and anti-Semitic remarks. One actor says that all Jews think about ‘is making money.’ Another says that Jews ‘have no moral values,’ while another explains that the purpose of the show is to portray Jews as the enemy of Islam.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner that the mainstream appeal is deeply unsettling and that it proves that ‘Jew has become a dirty word in the world.’

‘The fact that we now have the proliferation—and if you will the fine-tuning—of this kind of hateful imagery on satellite TV and on the internet is devastating. To undo that kind of hatred will take at least a generation. And the spillover is dramatic,’ he said.

‘We’re not talking about rabble rousers in the streets. This is a sophisticated production that will have commercials attached to it and it shows its becoming embedded in their cultures,’ he added.

One of the show’s writers, Yusri al-Jindy, attempted further to validate the corrosive intent of the series, saying in an interview in June with Al-Masry Al-Youm , an Egypt-based daily news­paper, that it is meant  ‘to expose the naked truth about the Jews and stress that they can­not be trusted.’

Anonymous blogger Elder of Ziyon has written extensively about the program and has even spearheaded apetition against it. In an email to The Algemeiner he slammed the international community for its silence on the issue.

‘The video shows clearly that the series is not meant to be a historical drama, but a thin excuse to incite Arabs and Muslims against Jews. The screenwriter says so and the actors know it. This is a violation of international law, as specified in The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that ‘Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.’’

Last month he oversaw the delivery of the petition to the New York City headquarters of both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. Thus far he says that both organizations have failed to respond to his overtures.

‘It is outrageous that such blatant incitement stirs so little interest from human rights organizations. This is not just a speech, or a newspaper article, or a book — this is a highly anticipated media event. The hype in the Arabic media resembles the week before Iron Man 3 was released in the US. In only the past week, Al Jazeera has written three different articles about Khaybar.’

Cooper similarly criticized both organizations for not vocally condemning the show.

‘We can come with the ‘J’accuse’ for two reasons. If they would say something it might have some impact in our own society, and secondly it would send a signal to civil societies in the Arab countries.’

Neither Human Rights Watch nor Amnesty International had responded to detailed requests from The Algemeiner for comment as of this writing.


British woman is finally jailed after FIVE false rape allegations against her ex-boyfriends in eight years

A woman who repeatedly accused her ex-boyfriends of raping her was today jailed after escaping justice for nearly a decade.

Leanne Black made false rape claims against five different men over a period of eight years, but escaped justice until now.

The 32-year-old used the rape allegations to get revenge on her partners after arguing with them - but a judge accused her of harming genuine rape victims with her lies.

Black was sentenced to two years in prison at Newport Crown Court after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice.

In one case, she told police that her ex had drugged and raped her, and in another she claimed that a boyfriend had kidnapped her before violently abusing her.

The innocent men could have faced up to five years in jail if they had been found guilty of raping her.

In the most recent case, the court heard, Black's boyfriend Kevin Crowley was arrested on suspicion of rape in March after he called police to their flat to report that she had thrown plates at him in their flat in Cwmbran, South Wales.  But when police arrived at the scene of the row, she invented an allegation against him, according to prosecutor David Wooler.  'When she was questioned by police she told hem her boyfriend had raped her while she slept at his flat,' he told the court.

'It was the most recent in a number of repeated false rape allegations against men since 2005.'

The first claim dated back to June 2005, while in July 2006 she said that her then-partner had raped her twice and also claimed to have been kidnapped.  In 2009 she made a third false rape allegation, and the next year invented a story about having been drugged by an attacker.

Judge William Gaskell told Black that her history of made-up rape claims had made it more difficult for genuine rape victims to be believed.  'Police have to take all allegations of rape very seriously,' he said. 'Women who make false allegations like you undermine the whole system and police investigations.

'It undermines the public's belief in the truth when allegations are truthfully made.'

Gareth Driscoll, defending, said Black had entered an early guilty plea and had made a full and frank admission of the facts.

Mr Gaskell told Black she would serve half her two-year sentence before being released on licence.

Inspector Rory Waring, of Gwent Police, said after the hearing: 'Today's sentence should serve as a warning to anyone thinking of making false allegations of rape.

'As well as causing distress to innocent people accused of this terrible crime, cases like this distract officers from supporting real victims and prosecuting real offenders.

'Those who have suffered from genuine offences are also undermined.'

A spokesman for Rape Crisis (England and Wales) said: 'While stories like this are undoubtedly shocking and sad, it is important to remember that, contrary to popular perception, false allegations of rape are very rare.

'A Crown Prosecution Service report released in March this year estimated that they may make up as little as 0.6 per cent of all reports of rape to the police. At the same time, only around 15 per cent of the 85,000 women raped in England and Wales every year ever report to the police.

'The Rape Crisis movement has been providing specialist, independent support services to these women for 40 years and during that time they have consistently told us that a major factor in their reluctance to report is the fear of not being believed.'

Siobhan Blake, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service Wales, said: 'False allegations of rape are extremely uncommon, but where they do occur they are serious offences. Such cases will be dealt with robustly and those falsely accused should feel confident that we will prosecute these cases wherever there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to do so.

'Earlier this year, the CPS published a report highlighting how rare false allegations of rape and domestic violence are. We must not allow these cases to undermine our work to support victims of rape and domestic violence.'



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.



11 July, 2013

More multiculturalism in Britain

A young mother turned detective to get her violent boyfriend jailed after he avoided prison by faking a glowing reference.

Gemma Jarman, 24, was angry when Jesse Fleischer, 38, was let off with a suspended sentence despite admitting beating her up in front of their toddler daughter at the home they shared in Southampton.

Miss Jarman had seen how the judge at Winchester Crown Court had been impressed by a character reference from a hotel her boyfriend had worked at - a reference she knew was fake.

The intensive care nurse had suffered a fractured cheekbone and broken tooth in the attack, which left her and her daughter Freya, now two, 'living in fear'.

She told police that Fleischer had not worked at the Marwell Hotel in Colden Common, Hampshire, for two months, and went on to prove that the letter was a forgery.

Miss Jarman said: 'I was in court when they read out the reference and I knew straight away it wasn’t right - he wasn’t working there any more.  'He had been sacked on the day he battered me, and wrote the reference himself saying he was an amazing citizen.

'He wrote that if he went to jail we would lose a great citizen of society and that he should be dealt with in society and not go to prison.

'I’ve seen the letter since, and it’s all spelt wrong, there’s no grammar, and it’s signed off ‘Thank you’.

'Jesse simply brought this faked letter in on plain A4 on the day and handed it over - I was absolutely disgusted that he was allowed to walk away a free man the first time, I couldn’t believe it.'

Miss Jarman found out no-one at the hotel had written or signed the letter and told the police.  She said: 'I went to the police and the officer I spoke to said: "That’s not right, I’m going to fight for this".  'They managed to get statements saying the hotel staff didn’t support Jesse in any way.  'That was lucky for me, because otherwise I would still be sitting here scared out of my wits.'

Winchester Crown Court had heard how Fleischer ‘completely lost it’ when Miss Jarman tried to break up with him on March 13.

Miss Jarman said: 'He begged me to stay but I couldn’t take it any more.

'He pulled me by my hair and pushed me onto the sofa and punched me about 12 times.  'I was up against the wall, trying to get away from him, when he picked up a statue from the mantelpiece and started swinging it around.

'I went to get a cloth from the kitchen for my face and he started saying that if he couldn’t have us, his family, then nobody could.

'Freya was crying, but he only shouted "Shut up, shut up, stop being stupid".

'It was a terrifying attack and one which he subjected me to in front of our daughter, who was just 22 months old.  'He terrified my daughter and me.  We have been living in fear ever since, looking over our shoulders, fearing what he might do next.

'I just couldn’t let him get away with it.  I am just relieved he is finally behind bars and can live my life now - I have been living in fear for the last five months.'

Fleischer, who had pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm and possessing cannabis with intent to supply in May, was brought back to court.

The same judge, Recorder Michael Parroy QC, sentenced Fleischer to two years and four months in prison after he admitted perverting the course of justice.

The judge told Fleischer he would have been locked up in the first place without the complimentary reference that he had faked.

Miss Jarman said: 'The whole episode has been traumatising. I didn’t leave the house for the two months after Jesse attacked me because I was so in fear of him.  'When I moved to a different town to get away, he followed me, and I have a panic alarm fitted in my house in case he came here to hurt us again.

'I have only just managed to get Freya back into a routine and sleeping in her own bed again, for ages she wouldn’t step away from my side.

'I am so glad that he’s been put away at last.'


Surviving Asiana 214 was no miracle

Asiana Flight 214 crash-landed at San Francisco International Airport on Saturday, killing two people and injuring more than 180 other passengers.

Two.  More than 99 percent of the 307 people aboard that airplane survived the crash.

I am not alone among the people who are in awe of that statistic, which was years in the making by aircraft designers, pilots and the National Transportation Safety Board.

"Just two of the 307 people aboard Asiana Flight 214 died in the fiery wreck on the runway," wrote Susanna Schrobsdorff in Time magazine.

Schrobsdorff said there had not been a jumbo jet crash landing in the United States since 2001.

Engineers always point out that there is no such thing as an accident. At least one thing happens along the way to create a collision.

On Saturday, pilot error may be to blame, but I will let the experts at the transportation board determine that. This is one federal agency that indeed saves lives.

Viewing photographs of that wreckage, I realize how horrifying that afternoon was.  But members of the flight crew kept their heads and calmly evacuated all but two passengers to safety.

I also tip my hat to the men and women who designed and built and maintained that aircraft.  "Thirty years of design improvements have made a huge difference in the ability to get everyone off the plane in less than two minutes," Larry Rooney told Time magazine.

Rooney, a veteran pilot and National Transportation Safety Board-trained accident investigator, is executive vice president of the Coalition of Airline Pilots Association.

Emergency crews also showed their training, which also was based on years of lessons learned in similar airplane crashes with a greater number of casualties.

Pilot training also saved lives.  Readers may remember Chesley Burnett "Sully" Sullenberger III, the pilot and safety expert who landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River on Jan. 15, 2009, with a loss of none of the 155 people aboard.

He correctly credited decades of aviation safety work by many people and agencies for that perfect landing.  For example, the aircraft remained afloat long enough for rescue crews to whisk away the passengers and crew members.

Sullenberger shared with CBS News his observations about the San Francisco airport on Saturday.

"In fact, the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) classified it as a special airport, along with other airports worldwide that involve mountainous terrain or other special challenges.

"It is surrounded by water, and of course water is a featureless terrain where depth perception can sometimes be difficult. There are shifting winds, low visibilities, so there are several things that make it special, plus high terrain just past it."

And yet pilots land dozens of planes carrying thousands of passengers at that airport each day without incident.

When the United States hockey team bested the Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics, announcer Al Michaels asked, "Do you believe in miracles?"  I don't believe in miracles. I believe in hard work.

That 305 of the 307 people aboard survived the crash of Asiana Flight 214 was remarkable, but it was no miracle.

Over the decades, people built better planes, better airports, better emergency operations and better training of pilots and flight crews. Together, they made surviving such a crash survivable.

Thank God for all those wonderful people who worked to make that outcome possible.


Dozens of Britain's worst killers set to launch bids for freedom after European Court of Human Rights rules we DON'T have the right lock them up for life

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling today launched a furious attack on European judges who ruled Britain's most notorious murderers could not be told to die in jail because it breaches their human rights.

The Tory minister said the original authors of the Human Rights Convention 'would be turning in their graves' at the ruling which means dozens of killers could launch bids for freedom.

Judges in Strasbourg ruled locking up murderers without any prospect of being released was unlawful.

The extraordinary legal challenge was brought by murderer Jeremy Bamber and two other killers, Douglas Vinter and Peter Moore, who claim that condemning them to spend the rest of their lives behind bars without a review is cruel, inhuman and degrading.

Downing Street said that David Cameron was 'very, very disappointed' at the ruling.  'He profoundly disagrees with the court's ruling. He is a strong supporter of whole life tariffs,; the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

Judges at the European Court of Human Rights disagreed with the killers in January, but the Strasbourg-based court's Grand Chamber agreed to hear a further appeal and today backed the murderers' legal bid.

By 16 to one votes, the judges ruled that giving murderers no hope of being released was in breach of their human rights.

The ruling puts the UK government on a collision course with judges in Strasbourg, with ministers adamant that life sentences must be available to British courts.

Mr Grayling said: 'The British people will find this ruling intensely frustrating and hard to understand.

'What the court is saying is that a judge can no longer tell the most appalling criminals that they will never be released.

'I think the people who wrote the original Human Rights Convention would be turning in their graves at this ruling.  'I profoundly disagree with the court and this simply reinforces my determination to curtail the role of the Court of Human Rights in the UK.'

Home Secretary Theresa May also expressed her 'dismay' at the decision.  She told the Commons: 'I think not only members of this House but the public will be dismayed at the decision that has come from the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights today in relation to whether or not it is possible for life to generally mean life.

'And it is also, I have to say, a surprising decision given that last year we saw a number of cases where the European court had decided in extradition cases that it was possible to extradite on the basis of potential life sentence without parole. So this is on the contrary to the decision they seem to have taken last year.'

Inmates responsible for some of Britain's most gruesome and depraved murders had been told they will never be released.

They include Moors murderer Ian Brady, who killed five children with Myra Hundley in the 1960s, Steve Wright, dubbed the Suffolk Strangler after killing five prostitutes in Ipswich, and Dennis Nilsen, who killed 15 men and boys from 1978 to 1983.

The Grand Chamber found that for a life sentence to remain compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights there had to be both a possibility of release and a possibility of review.

It raises the prospect of around 50 convicted killers told they will die behind bars now having the chance to challenge their sentence.

However, the panel of 17 judges added: 'In finding a violation in this case, however, the court did not intend to give the applicants any prospect of imminent release.' 

In their ruling, the judges said it was up to the national authorities to decide when the review of sentences should take place.  However existing rules mean a review would have to take place after the murderer has spent 25 years behind bars.

Under current UK law, whole-life tariff prisoners will almost certainly never be released from prison as their offences are deemed to be so serious.

They can be freed only by the Justice Secretary, who can give discretion on compassionate grounds when the prisoner is terminally ill or seriously incapacitated.

The appeal was brought before the Grand Chamber by Vinter, who stabbed his wife in 2008.  Vinter was released from prison after serving nine years for the 1995 murder of work colleague Carl Edon, 22 - but just three years later he stabbed his wife Anne White four times and strangled her, and was given a whole-life order.

Sadiq Khan, Labour’s shadow justice secretary, said: 'Those who brought the case were found guilty of some of the most heinous crimes possible and maintaining the public's safety has to be our number one priority.

'We will need to study this long ruling from the European Court of Human Rights in detail. Labour changed the law to ensure life means life for the most serious horrific and violent crimes and it is crucial for public safety that we maintain this power.'

The ECHR ruled earlier this year that condemning people to die in jail was not ‘grossly disproportionate’.  The Court held by four votes to three on January 17 that there had been no violation of Article Three of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Prisons minister Jeremy Wright said in December: 'As long as we are ministers in the Department, its policy will remain that whole-life tariffs should be available.'

Today's ruling comes after Mrs May voiced her frustrations with the European courts in the House of Commons in the wake of the lengthy and costly fight to boot radical cleric Abu Qatada out of the country.

Mrs May said something had to be done to address the 'crazy interpretation of our human rights laws' to prevent similar battles from happening again - and placed much of the blame on decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights.

She told the Commons yesterday: 'I have made clear my view that in the end the Human Rights Act must be scrapped.

'We must also consider our relationship with the European Court very carefully, and I believe that all options - including withdrawing from the Convention altogether - should remain on the table.'

Earlier this year, Mrs May vowed to give all cop killers a minimum whole-life jail term - a pledge thrown into disarray in light of the ECHR's ruling.

The current starting point for anyone convicted of the murder of a police officer in the line of duty is 30 years.  But the Government proposed that this should be increased to a life sentence without parole.

There have been 12 direct killings of police officers in the course of duty since 2000 - including the murder of PCs Fiona Bone and Nicola Hughes by Sean Cregan in Greater Manchester last year.


British internet troll who threatened to murder 200 US schoolchildren in Facebook message is jailed for two years

A hostile loser and a coward  -- a classic bully

An internet troll whose 'grossly offensive' Facebook postings included threats to kill 200 US children has been jailed for more than two years after a judge heard how he spread terror in local schools.

Reece Elliott, 24, left abusive comments on tribute pages set up for two teenagers who died in car accidents.

But when he was challenged he sent more nasty messages directly to pupils living in Warren County, Tennessee, in February.

After a deputy sheriff contacted him to say he would shut the page down, curly-haired Elliott sparked a security crackdown at local schools by threatening to shoot 200 children.

With sensitivities heightened in the US following the Newtown shooting which saw 20 children and six adults killed in an elementary school, hundreds saw Elliott's message and almost 3,000 pupils missed classes the next day, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Tennessee police began investigating, along with the FBI and Homeland Security.

Elliott, from South Shields, South Tyneside, contacted his solicitor and walked into his local police station to admit what he had done when he realised the outcry he had caused.

At a previous hearing he admitted one count of making threats to kill and eight Communications Act offences.

Prosecutor Bridie Smurthwaite said Elliott left 'grossly offensive' messages to two tribute sites.

On one for a teenage girl killed by a drink driver, he wrote: 'F****** fat c*** deserves to die.'

And on another for a teenager who died in a car crash, he said: 'Hip, hip, horray, he is dead motherf******. Huge brain injuries. Stupid motherf****** b****. I hope you rot in hell.'

When Elliott's fake Facebook profile received a friend request from a local deputy sheriff, the officer was branded a 'paedo'.

After the lawman said he would shut down Elliott's page, the father-of-one went online again, with severe consequences for him.

He wrote on the teenage girl's tribute page: 'My father has three guns. I'm planning on killing him first and putting his body in the dumpster.  'Then I'm taking the motor and I'm going in fast.

'I'm gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself. So you want to tell the deputy, I'm on my way.'

Because it was posted on the site's public wall, many hundreds of people probably saw it, the court heard.

School officials were swamped with calls and texts from concerned staff, parents and pupils so security was stepped up, with only restricted access to sites.

Nevertheless, 2,908 out of 6,654 pupils, or 44 per cent of the register, missed classes at schools in the county the next day.

One girl, now 16 and whose identity cannot be reported, received a private message from Elliott which said: 'You have been chosen tomorrow at school to receive one of my bullets.'  She replied: 'Screw off dude.'

Elliott said: 'The doctors will have to unscrew the bullet from your skull b****.'

The girl then offered to pray for her abuser, saying: 'Wow, you need serious help.'

She told police afterwards: 'I think it should be taken very seriously, even though he was miles and miles away in another country, I was still scared and I didn't want to come to school even after they caught him.'

After his arrest, Elliott said he was an internet troll, the purpose of which was to provoke arguments and reaction.

Miss Smurthwaite said he told officers 'it was a massive mistake'.

Elliott has 17 convictions for 28 offences, including at the age of 16 an attempted robbery on a bookmakers when he was armed with an axe, and a racially aggravated public order offence in a pizza shop.

John Wilkinson, defending said Elliott was described by a psychiatrist as emotionally immature and impulsive.  'As he says himself "It's time I finally grew up and started to act like an adult",' Mr Wilkinson told the court.

Mr Wilkinson said Elliott could not explain his behaviour, which the defendant said was 'idiotic, childish and pathetic'.

Elliott bowed his head and wept as Judge James Goss QC, the Recorder of Newcastle, passed a two years and four month sentence.

He told Elliott: 'During the first week in February this year, with what seems to be no more than self-indulgent nastiness, you posted a series of grossly offensive comments on Facebook.'

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Ged Noble, who led the investigation, said officers were about to arrest Elliott when he walked into the police station.

The FBI contacted colleagues in England after discovering that the threats were coming from the North East.

He said: 'Police officers were about to go to the identified address when we were notified by a local solicitor that Reece Elliott wanted to hand himself in.'

Mr Noble continued: 'Investigating reports of criminal behaviour on social network sites has its challenges but we have staff who are trained in navigating these systems and identifying who the offenders are.

'New guidelines on dealing with people who post offensive messages using social media have been released by the Director of Public Prosecutions and we will continue to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service to take action against those who cross the line from their right to free speech to committing criminal offences.'



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.



10 July, 2013

More multiculturalism at work

Footballer Nile Ranger has been charged with rape, it was revealed today.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: ‘A rape was reported to police on January 24, 2013, and relates to an incident which happened in the early hours of January 23, at a hotel in Jesmond.’

Former Newcastle United striker Nile Ranger, 22, of Harringay, north London, is due to appear before Newcastle Magistrates' Court just over six weeks from now on August 21.

Ranger was released by Newcastle in March and is yet to be signed by a new club.

He played a part in the Magpies winning the Championship in 2009-10 but struggled to win a permanent place in the first team once the club was established back in the Premier League.


Another drug dealer bites the dust - good!

By Richard Littlejohn

Azelle Rodney was a violent drug-dealer on his way to rob a rival gang at gunpoint when he was shot dead by police. Oh dear, how sad, never mind.

The car in which he was travelling with two associates was intercepted by armed officers. There were three firearms in the vehicle.

A marksman feared he was reaching for one of the weapons and fired six shots from point-blank range. Four of the bullets hit Rodney in the head and he died instantly.

He was wanted in connection with a double stabbing in Ealing, West London, where he plied his evil trade. He had no fixed abode and had never held down a proper job.

Rodney, aged 24, was estranged from his immediate family and lived on and off with a girlfriend, who gave birth to his child on the day of his funeral. He had three convictions for what are described as ‘low level’ offences and embarked on a life of crime aged just 15.

He was notorious on his manor for carrying guns and selling hard drugs. It is fair to say that he was ‘known to police’, which is why they were following him on the day he died.

Sane people might conclude that he lived by the gun and died by the gun. No great loss. The world is a better and safer place without Azelle Rodney.

The two other men in the car, who escaped unscathed, were subsequently convicted and jailed for firearms offences.

In a well-ordered universe the cops involved would have returned their weapons to the armourer, typed up their reports and then repaired to The Feathers for a bit of post-match analysis and to congratulate themselves over a few large ones on a job well done.

But since when did sanity have anything to do with what passes laughably for British justice these days? After a three-month long public inquiry, at a cost of goodness-knows-how-much to the taxpayer, a retired judge has ruled that Rodney was killed unlawfully.

The policeman who fired the fatal shots, a decorated officer who had been putting himself in the line of fire for two decades, may now face prosecution, even though a previous independent investigation decided that he had no case to answer.

Entirely predictably, Rodney’s estranged family has come crawling out of the woodwork with a multi-million-pound claim for com-pen-say-shun. His mother, Susan Alexander, is alleging that her son was ‘executed’ by the Met.

Oh, for heaven’s sake. If you were the mother of a lowlife scumbag like Azelle Rodney you would be ashamed to show your face in public, never mind staging a tearful press conference, complete with begging bowl.

As the late, great Sir John Junor, formerly of this parish, used to remark: Pass the sick bag, Alice.

Naturally, the usual suspects are lining up to turn this vile little gangster into the latest cause celebre to bash the Old Bill. BBC London, Channel 4 and the Guardianistas are filling their boots.

By now you may have gathered that Azelle Rodney was black, so the race card is being played cynically at a time when the Stephen Lawrence case has yet again come back to haunt Scotland Yard.

Let’s be quite clear what we are dealing with here. Azelle Rodney is no Stephen Lawrence.

Stephen was an innocent young man with a bright future, who was murdered by racist thugs because of the colour of his skin and was failed by the initial police investigation.

Azelle Rodney was a two-bob ‘gangsta’ who was killed on his way to rip off a rival drugs gang.

In his line of work, getting shot is an occupational hazard. If it hadn’t been the Old Bill, it may well have been a Colombian hitman. Or one of his closest associates, off his face on heroin.

No one would ever accuse this column of being an apologist for the police. But in this case, my sympathies are entirely with the officer who shot Rodney.

I’ve been on a police firearms course and know how little time officers have to assess the situation. It is often, quite literally, kill or be killed — a split-second decision.

That’s not to say I want the streets of London turned into the Wild West and cowboy cops gunning down every suspected bad guy as a basis for negotiation.

But I’m thankful we’ve got brave policemen and women prepared to carry guns and put their lives on the line so that we don’t have to.

Of course, the Yard didn’t do themselves any favours by trying to have the inquiry held in secret on the grounds that it could compromise intelligence sources.

There was no need for them to default to secrecy. They had nothing to be ashamed of. Candour is the best disinfectant, especially in a potentially toxic case like this.

Let’s hope Met Commissioner Bernard Hyphen-Howe holds his nerve and backs the officer concerned, instead of throwing him to the wolves for the sake of  political expediency.

I have no more sympathy for Azelle Rodney than I had for the IRA terrorists shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar in the Eighties. They all knew what they were getting into. We don’t need grand-standing ex-judges or grasping relatives exploiting Rodney’s demise to our collective detriment.

His death was unfortunate but probably inevitable, given his chosen profession. And at least he got shot before he had the chance to shoot anyone else.

Oh dear, how sad, never mind.



Who Is Racist?

Thomas Sowell

I am so old that I can remember when most of the people promoting race hate were white.

Apparently other Americans also recognize that the sources of racism are different today from what they were in the past. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, 31 percent of blacks think that most blacks are racists, while 24 percent of blacks think that most whites are racist.

The difference between these percentages is not great, but it is remarkable nevertheless. After all, generations of blacks fought the white racism from which they suffered for so long. If many blacks themselves now think that most other blacks are racist, that is startling.

The moral claims advanced by generations of black leaders -- claims that eventually touched the conscience of the nation and turned the tide toward civil rights for all -- have now been cheapened by today's generation of black "leaders," who act as if it is all just a matter of whose ox is gored.

Even in legal cases involving terrible crimes -- the O.J. Simpson murder trial or the charges of gang rape against Duke University students -- many black "leaders" and their followers have not waited for facts about who was guilty and who was not, but have immediately taken sides, based on who was black and who was white.

Among whites, according to the same Rasmussen poll, 38 percent consider most blacks racist and 10 percent consider most whites racist.

Broken down by politics, the same poll showed that 49 percent of Republicans consider most blacks racist, as do 36 percent of independents and 29 percent of Democrats.

Perhaps most disturbing of all, just 29 percent of Americans as a whole think race relations are getting better, while 32 percent think race relations are getting worse. The difference is too close to call, but the fact that it is so close is itself painful -- and perhaps a warning sign for where we are heading.

Is this what so many Americans, both black and white, struggled for, over the decades and generations, to try to put the curse of racism behind us -- only to reach a point where retrogression in race relations now seems at least equally likely as progress?

What went wrong? Perhaps no single factor can be blamed for all the things that went wrong. Insurgent movements of all sorts, in countries around the world, have for centuries soured in the aftermath of their own success. "The revolution betrayed" is a theme that goes back at least as far as 18th century France.

The civil rights movement in 20th century America attracted many people who put everything on the line for the sake of fighting against racial oppression. But the eventual success of that movement attracted opportunists, and even turned some idealists into opportunists.

Over the generations, black leaders have ranged from noble souls to shameless charlatans. After the success of the civil rights insurgency, the latter have come into their own, gaining money, power and fame by promoting racial attitudes and actions that are counterproductive to the interests of those they lead.

None of this is unique to blacks or to the United States. In various countries and times, leaders of groups that lagged behind, economically and educationally, have taught their followers to blame all their problems on other people -- and to hate those other people.

This was the history of anti-Semitic movements in Eastern Europe between the two World Wars, anti-Ibo movements in Nigeria in the 1960s, and anti-Tamil movements that turned Sri Lanka from a peaceful nation into a scene of lethal mob violence and then decades-long civil war, both marked by unspeakable atrocities.

Groups that rose from poverty to prosperity seldom did so by having racial or ethnic leaders. While most Americans can easily name a number of black leaders, current or past, how many can name Asian American ethnic leaders or Jewish ethnic leaders?

The time is long overdue to stop looking for progress through racial or ethnic leaders. Such leaders have too many incentives to promote polarizing attitudes and actions that are counterproductive for minorities and disastrous for the country.



Racial Morality Play

There is nothing the cable channels love more than a good murder trial, especially if the violence is spiced with the irresistible seasoning of race. But you don't understand much about America if you don't know that only some racial recipes are newsworthy. If the victim is white and the killer is black, it's not interesting (unless the killer is a celebrity). If the victims are both white, it's only interesting if the victim or the murderer is a comely blond female (preferably a nymphomaniac). If the victim and killer are both black, it's a yawn. If the victim is black and the killer is white -- make way for sweeps week!

While several channels were providing real time coverage of the George Zimmerman trial in Florida, a Howard University student was murdered in Washington, D.C. The story of Omar Sykes didn't make it to television news except in Washington, D.C. The story of his murder was noted only in the Washington Post's Metro section, provoking this question: If a white student at any college in Washington, D.C. had been murdered on the street on the night of July 4, would it have been only a local story?

Doubtful. A liberal columnist, noting this disparity, would very likely attribute it to vestigial racism. I think it's probably something else. There is a daily death toll of young African-Americans in America's cities. In Chicago alone, more than 200 people (mostly black) have been killed in just the past six months. These deaths are not treated as major news events, I suspect, because the press is squeamish about drawing attention to the fact that the overwhelming majority of the perpetrators of this violence are black. If these victims had been killed by white people, it's a certainty that it would have been a major national obsession. (Recall the frenzy during the '90s when it seemed that white arsonists were firebombing black churches. They weren't, but that's another story.)

Young black males account for 1 percent of the population, yet they comprise 16 percent of murder victims. They also represent 27 percent of homicide offenders.

Omar Sykes's murder deserved more attention, more outrage, than it received. I don't think he and I would agree on much. The Post account suggested that he had a strong interest in "social justice." I tend to agree with Frederick von Hayek who said that putting word "social" before anything else wholly destroys the meaning of the word it modifies. But never mind.

A friend of Sykes described him as someone who "always had a hug and a smile, every single time he saw me." Another said, "He was probably the most well-liked guy in my life. ... The world just lost someone pretty amazing." He was business marketing major and would have started his senior year in the fall. He was also someone's child, brother and grandson.

The world did lose something amazing. Honesty requires us to admit that the relative indifference to the violence among black inner city residents arises at least in part from the perception that most of the young blacks who die in the gunfire are criminals themselves. Most are. But so what? They don't deserve a death sentence because they snatched a purse or two. Some are children. Between 1980 and 2008, 41 percent of infant homicide victims were black. Some are elderly. Some, like Sykes, are college students. For every victim, there are thousands who live in fear in neighborhoods blighted by crime. The crime rate makes poverty more intractable; businesses are reluctant to locate in such neighborhoods, insurance is more expensive, and civil society institutions, like churches and clubs, must divert time, energy, and expense for security.

The murder rate has declined over the course of the past 20 years. But it remains a scandal that African-Americans continue to live disproportionately under the shadow of violent death. There are many reasons for the slaughter -- with family disintegration topping the list. But misplaced delicacy about discussing the toll -- for fear of "blaming the victim" -- may be helping to perpetuate the wrong.

Blacks should be up in arms about this, as we all should be. The killer on July 4 was not a victim. Omar Sykes was the victim. It was a front-page outrage relegated with a shrug to the local pages -- just another unsettling black-on-black crime that doesn't fit the script of our preferred racial morality plays.



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.



9 July, 2013

Bureaucracy is strangling Britain

Our great projects are being stalled by endless consultations and grinding bureaucracy

By Boris Johnson

Well isn’t that just brilliant? Isn’t that grand, eh? We have always known that Peter Mandelson was a modern Blackadder — the only politician who actively rejoices in his reputation for being as cunning as a fox who has just been appointed the Regius professor of cunning — but this takes some beating. Old Mandychops has pulled the rug out from under HS2 — the very scheme he helped to invent in the last days of Gordon Brown’s government.

It turns out the whole thing was a gimmick. They didn’t have a clue about the economic case for the gigantic new railway. They hadn’t even vaguely tested whether anyone wanted to get to Birmingham a full five minutes faster, or whether they would be just as happy with their laptop and internet connection. They just plucked it from the air, because it sounded like a bold and forward-looking wheeze for the manifesto of a washed-up government.

But as a general principle it is obvious that both London and other cities would benefit from better and faster connections. The problem, as Peter Mandelson has indicated, is cost. This thing isn’t going to cost £42 billion, my friends. The real cost is going to be way north of that (keep going till you reach £70 billion, and then keep going). That is why the Treasury is starting to panic, and the word around the campfire is that Lord Mandelson is actually doing the bidding of some fainthearts in Whitehall who want to stop it now – not the first or second Lords of the Treasury, clearly, but the bean-counters. So there is one really critical question, and that is why on earth do these schemes cost so much?

Doug Oakervee is a brilliant man to have in charge of HS2, and if anyone can deliver it, he can. But he is dealing with a system of building major infrastructure projects that is holding this country back. Talk to the big construction firms, and they will tell you the problem is not the cost of actually digging and tunnelling and putting in cables and tracks. Those are apparently roughly the same wherever you are in the world.

It’s the whole nightmare of consultation and litigation – and the huge army of massively expensive and taxpayer-financed secondary activities that is generated by these procedures. It is the environmental impact assessments and the equalities impact assessments and the will-sapping tedium and cost of the consultations. Did you know that in order to build HS2 we are going to spend £1 billion by 2015 — and they won’t have turned a single sod in Buckinghamshire or anywhere else?

That is a billion quid going straight down the gullets of lawyers and planners and consultants before you have even invested in a yard of track. To understand the prohibitive costs of UK infrastructure, you need to take this haemorrhage of cash to consultants, and then multiply it by the time devoted to political dithering.

Look at the Turks. They have decided that they need a new six-runway airport at Istanbul, so that they can take advantage of the growing importance of aviation to the world economy. They are almost certainly going to do it for less than 10 billion euros, and long before we have added a single runway anywhere in the South East. Or look at Chep Lap Kok, the airport Doug Oakervee built for Hong Kong. The authorities announced it in 1989 — and opened it nine years later! If you want to get a sense of our sluglike pace in the UK, we announced Heathrow Terminal 5 in 1988, and it took almost 20 years to create; not an airport, just a new terminal, for heaven’s sake (and if anyone thinks the advantage of a third runway at Heathrow is that it would be a “quick fix”, they frankly need their heads examining).

Other countries have clear plans for their infrastructure needs over the long term, and the talent and managerial firepower is being moved from one to the next. We don’t have a plan; we have a list of schemes, each of which causes politicians such heeby-jeebies that they waste billions – literally – in optioneering when what they need to do is decide on the right course and crack on with it. We have proved with Crossrail and the Olympics that we have the expertise to deliver big infrastructure projects. But time is money: we spend far too long on bureaucratic procedures and then enormously multiply that expense by a political failure to blast on with the task in hand.

The result is that we are being restrained from giving this country the improvements it needs at an affordable price. We are like Laocoon wrestling with the serpents, or like some poor bondage fetishist who has decided to tie himself up in knots — and then realised, too late, that he has gone too far. We tug at our bonds with our teeth and pathetically hope the neighbours will come. Of course they won’t! Our neighbours are out there investing in airports, while we are investing in consultants.


Banning the term 'gay’ is an insult to free speech

Michael Gove, the impressive Secretary of State for Education, has just decreed that the term “gay” cannot be used as an insult. It’s “outrageous and medieval” to do so.

I wonder what he’d have done at the fabulous wedding we attended, last Saturday. A young guest in morning suit used his iPhone to snap a friend in similar attire. He peered at the result: “Oooooooh you look sooooooo gay!” The word, clearly, was interchangeable with “naff” and “chav”: but henceforth, if Mr Gove gets his way, would it land the boy on a sinister register of “hate speakers” – disqualifying him as an applicant for just about any job?

Only the day before, as he faced UK immigration officials, Mr Tony Miano had been afraid of precisely that: was his name on a secret register, and would he be stopped from leaving the country? The American street preacher had been arrested outside Centre Court shopping centre in Wimbledon on July 1. He had been reading from St Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians, which condemns homosexuality. A passer-by called the police. Three officers arrived and arrested Mr Miano, a retired deputy sheriff from California, for disorderly conduct.

The irony of being marched to the Wimbledon nick after having spent 20 years as a law enforcer was not lost on Mr Miano. He told me over the phone: “The booking process held no surprises.” He had his DNA and fingerprints taken (and was relieved of his wedding ring) and was then locked up in a small cell for seven hours.

In the police station, he was granted his request for a Bible and for a lawyer from Christian Concern, a group that fights cases involving religious freedom. Then the police asked if he’d ever feed a homosexual, or do them a favour.

“I said yes, of course: the Bible taught that I should love my neighbour as myself,” Mr Miano told me. “The policeman asked if I believed homosexuality was a sin and I realised that I was not only being interrogated about what had happened but about what I believed.”

Mr Miano could have pointed out that, while preaching at the shopping centre, he had condemned pornography and slushy novels, too; but it was clear to him that the police were only interested in one “thought crime”, just as Mr Gove seems only interested in one kind of insult. You can believe that homeopathy cures ailments but not that homosexuality is a sin.

You can call someone a bigot, but not say something’s “gay”.

Homophobia deserves to be condemned. But muzzling freedom of speech is the wrong way about it. When the Government decided last January to drop Section 5 of the Public Order Act, which criminalised “insulting language”, the move was hailed rightly as a victory for free speech. But if Mr Gove now says that he supports free expression only if it doesn’t offend gays, he undermines the gains made in ditching Section 5.

He also sets an alarming precedent. Tolerance will come with caveats, freedom with clauses. Today, Mr Gove and his Government prioritise the gay lobby; tomorrow, it could be the fat lobby to persuade the authorities that discrimination against their members damages pudgy youngsters growing up in a climate of hostility. We’ll inhabit a world where people cannot say “fatty” or “fatso” for fear of ending up on a secret register or in the Wimbledon nick.

In the end, Mr Miano was released without charge. He asked if he could keep the Gideon Bible that he’d received in prison. When it turned out to be the only copy, he asked if he could provide a few more. The following day, he dropped off 10 copies of the Good Book at Wimbledon police station.

That’s tolerance for you.


Is Paula Deen the Worst American Ever?

As practically everyone knows by now, multimillionaire TV chef Paula Deen was yanked from the pinnacle of free-market success after admitting to a lawyer taking a deposition in a racial and sexual harassment lawsuit (already Orwellian) that she had used what is referred to as “the N-word” some 25 years ago.

“The N-word”? Here we give the Victorians a run for their word-mincing money. The offending word, of course, is “nigger,” and no matter how ugly it is, it is hardly taboo when a quick search of iTunes pulls up 2,000 entries for sale featuring the term.

According to the deposition, Deen said the word when telling her husband about the man who had stuck a gun to her head during a robbery at the bank where she worked years ago. She also admitted to using the slur at other non-specific times but said, “It’s been a long time,” adding: “That’s just not a word we use as time has gone on” (unless “we” are in the music business).

So, like President Obama on homosexual marriage, Deen claims to have “evolved,” or at least learned some manners. Nonetheless, her admission disqualified Deen from further participation in public life – at least according to the titans of corporate America. En masse, they ended their lucrative business relationships with Deen. Food Network cut ties with her. Then Smithfield Foods. Major retailers – Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, J.C. Penney, QVC – announced they would no longer sell Paula Deen merchandise. Random House also canceled Deen’s forthcoming cookbook even as it was already, in pre-release, the No. 1 top-selling book on Amazon.

Watching Deen’s long fall is almost unbelievable. Judging by these swift, unforgiving actions by corporate America, there is nothing worse than what Deen did (said). That would include, for example, giving aid and comfort to the enemy in North Vietnam while American POWs were being tortured by captors in Hanoi, and while other Americans were still fighting and dying during the Vietnam War. This, of course, is exactly what actress Jane Fonda did before amassing her own exercise-based media empire.

I couldn’t help noticing that in the same People magazine issue that features a Deen cover story (“Inside Her Fall”), actress Winona Ryder offers readers a list of her favorite books. One happens to be “My Life So Far,” a memoir by Jane Fonda. Ironically, Random House is Fonda’s publisher. Another Ryder must-read is “Scoundrel Time,” a memoir by writer Lillian Hellman, who admired and even shilled for Stalin, the Soviet dictator who killed some 20 million people.

Fonda and Hellman, however, make public-square-approved bedtime reading. It is Deen who is anathema, now and probably always. Why? Whether she is as far left as Fonda and Hellman, Deen is no conservative – the most common cause of cultural leprosy. What gives?

The answer lies in the superpowers of the left to shape and guide our responses to all cultural stimuli, something I discuss at length in my new book, American Betrayal.

Deen, 66, may have supported President Obama in 2008, but she is an old, white Southerner, which, in good, ol’ fashioned Marxist-Leninist terms, is still a class of person best defined as “enemy of the people.” Detestable. Expendable. Throw her under the “limousine liberals’” limousine while they, admiring enemies of the Constitution (or U.S. troops), whiz by us in cultural camouflage all the way to the reliably capitalist bank.

And speaking of the reliably capitalist bank, don’t forget Alec Baldwin. The notoriously bad-mouthed actor (and left-wing People for the American Way board member) volcanically erupted on Twitter recently, hurling expletive-laced homosexual insults at a journalist. However, Baldwin, too, remains a public-square-anointed one, apparently secure as pitchman for Capitol One.

It gets more ironic. Also out this month is a Town & Country cover story about Armand “Armie” Hammer, the 26-year-old star of a new Lone Ranger movie. The headline is, “Lone Ranger in Love: He’s from an American Dynasty, but for the New John Wayne, Money and Fame Aren’t Everything.”

American dynasty? The new John Wayne? Young Armie, of course, has nothing to do with the formation of said dynasty, and probably less to do with the writing of the glossy headline. In short, Armie is beside my point, which is this: The Hammer “Dynasty’s” formation was anything but “American” given its deep, twisted roots in Soviet wheeling and dealing.

Armie’s great-grandfather was Armand Hammer (1898-1990), a legendary Soviet “agent of influence” whose fortune began to accrue while in effect laundering money for Lenin’s nascent Soviet Union – no fan, of course, of the bourgeois likes of Town & Country. Then there’s the magazine’s invocation of John Wayne, a legendary patriot and anti-Communist. So outspoken was Wayne, film historian and Wayne biographer Michael Munn tells us, the actor was actually targeted for assassination by Stalin. p>

Town & Country’s headline isn’t just an example of tone-deafness. By such discordant chords, our history is written over and forgotten, leaving us oblivious to everything – except, of course, that Paula Deen is a racist.


Political Correctness Is Cultural Marxism

The excellent AT article "Conservatives Pushing Back" by Bruce Walker explored what we conservative thinkers (We are, after all, American Thinkers) have known for quite some time: political correctness (PC) is to culture what Marxism is to economics.  To recognize that fact arms us with what we need in order to push back.  As Walker says (emphasis added), "[t]hese marketplace ballots are the key not only to the survival of a non-totalitarian America, but also to the final defeat of those whose minds and wills are chained with hard, cold manacles of leftism."

Walker's article is (pardon the pun) right on the money.  So, in an effort to further understand PC, exploration of its similarities to Marxism is in order.

Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) was a German socialist.  Marx's social, economic, and political theories proclaimed that societies progress through class struggle.  His focus was upon economics, so Marx concentrated on the conflict between an ownership class that controlled production and a proletariat that provided the labor for production.  He referred to capitalism as the "dictatorship of the bourgeoisie."  The proletariat, the oppressed workers, were supposed to be the beneficiaries of a social revolution that would place them on top of the power structure.

Marx's key concept was "class struggle."  That's where PC comes in.  PC seeks to impose a uniformity of thought and behavior, just like Marxism, on all Americans and is, therefore, quite totalitarian in nature.  PC is, in concept, similar to Marxism, but its focus is upon culture, rather than economics, as the class struggle environment.

PC, just like Marxism, forces people to live a lie by denying reality.  PC takes a political philosophy and says that on the basis of the chosen philosophy, certain things must be true, and reality that contradicts its "truth" must be forbidden -- eradicated since it disputes PC, exposes as untrue what PC says is true.  People are reluctant to live a lie, so they use their eyes and ears to see reality, to say, "Wait a minute.  This isn't true.  I can see it isn't true; the power of the state [PC] must be put behind the demand to live a lie."  Marxism, by denying economic reality, did exactly the same thing.

PC, just like Marxism, has a method of analysis that always provides the answer it wants.  For PC, the "answer" is found through deconstruction, which takes any situation, removes all meaning from it, and replaces it with PC's desired meaning.  Walker references this point when he says, "[T]hat her [Paula Deen's] devout Christian faith is more the real target than past use of an unhappy word which did not keep Robert Byrd from remaining, by election of his fellow Senate Democrats, the most powerful Democrat politician in America."

PC, just like Marxism, depends upon defining what it considers good and bad groups.  It defines good groups as "victims" of bad groups.  The victims can never be anything but good, regardless of what their actions may be.  Witness what the Black Panthers did in Philadelphia, PA in 2008 and 2012.  Any group identified as good by PC (homosexuals, blacks, Hispanics, illegal immigrants, feminist women, mentally and/or physically challenged people, the poor, environmentalists, the list goes on and on) must be shown deference, both physically and linguistically.  They must not be offended, must not be insulted.

Any group identified as bad by PC, such as white males or any Christian group, can be offended.  This offense, PC practitioners say, "makes up" for past offenses certain to have been committed in the past by bad groups.  And what's worse is that the PC practitioners get to define the offenses committed by the bad groups.  This situation, by definition, is a "self-fulfilling prophesy."

Rush Limbaugh, in 2010, said, "Our politically correct society is acting like some giant insult has taken place by calling a bunch of people who are retards, retards."  The PC crowd labeled Limbaugh's statement offensive and insulting.  Imagine that.  Limbaugh was just "calling a spade a spade."  Like it or not, PC cannot prevent mental retardation, cannot alter reality.  But that doesn't stop them from trying.

PC, just like Marxism, depends upon expropriation.  PC is literally taking over our language, and woe be unto him/her that dares speak the truth.  When Marxists took over Russia, they expropriated the bourgeoisie by confiscating their property.  Similarly, when PC takes over our culture, quotas are set.  The so-called bourgeoisie are told whom they can and can't hire, and in what quantities they can hire.  As an example, see what the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is currently up to.  And let's not forget affirmative action, a system of expropriation if there ever was one, another PC favorite.  When a black or Hispanic student (or some other "victim"), who isn't as well-qualified as a white student, gains university admittance through affirmative action, the white student's admittance is expropriated.

PC, just like Marxism, has a single factor explanation of all of history.  PC says that all history is determined by power, by which groups have power over which other groups.  Nothing else matters.  Period.  PC is all about gaining power for the good groups that it defines.  To further that goal, PC literally rewrites history.  And PC says that the Bible is actually about race and gender.  Nothing is beyond the PC crowd.

As an example of what PC has done and is currently doing, examine the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case/trial.  First, always PC, Dear Leader Barack Hussein Obama said, "You know, if I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."  Then, ever PC NBC doctored the 911 recording; thus, "NBC created this false and defamatory misimpression using the oldest form of yellow journalism: manipulating Zimmerman's own words, splicing together disparate parts of the recording to create the illusion of statements that Zimmerman never actually made."  Here is what PC tried to do before the trial.  "Many viewed the early lack of charges against Zimmerman as unequal justice for a black victim.  More than 2 million people signed an online Change.org petition demanding 'Justice for Trayvon Martin.'"  Now, the prosecution is trying to say that Zimmerman is a liar, that his injuries were not life-threatening.  I'm quite certain that AT readers can cite numerous other examples.

The U.S. has become an ideological state, a country with an official state ideology and history that has been defined by PC.  People convicted of "hate crimes" as defined by PC are currently serving jail sentences for political thoughts contrary to PC.  And it's only getting worse -- PC continues to spread.

Marx believed his ideology, his economic system to be true.  But, reality contradicted his system.  His ideology did not adjust to reality.  Hopefully the PC ideology will soon suffer a similar fate.  It is, as Walker points out, a corrupt ideology.  The only problem is that we will have no country, will have an economic disaster once people are confronted with reality, when enough people say, "Wait a minute.  This isn't true."  Meanwhile, the Democrats/Progressives/Liberals who will not adjust to reality continue the PC ideology.  And they have convinced the MSM and enough low-information voters to continue to empower them as all three groups continue to ignore reality.

Charlton Heston once said, "Political correctness is tyranny with manners."  Tyranny, yes, but practitioners seem to have forgotten the manners part.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


8 July, 2013

Church of England must accept gay rights, Archbishop Welby says in first speech to Synod

His Grace is obviously better at wearing funny hats than he is at heeding Bible teachings

The Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday warned leaders of the Church of England that they must learn to accept the sexual revolution over gay rights.

The Most Reverend Justin Welby said there is hostility to the churches because of their opposition to gay rights and same-sex marriage, adding that some of the criticism was ‘uncomfortably close to the bone’.

He said that ‘pretending that nothing has changed is absurd and impossible’.

He told the Synod that the change of thinking in the nation was brought home to him when he voted against same-sex marriage in the Lords debate on David Cameron’s new marriage law last month.

‘The cultural and political ground is changing,’ he said. ‘Anyone who listened to the Same Sex Marriage Bill second reading debate in the House of Lords could not fail to be struck by the overwhelming change of cultural hinterland.

‘The opposition to the Bill was utterly overwhelmed. There was noticeable hostility to the view of the churches.

The Church has been deeply opposed to same-sex marriage legislation, saying that marriage should remain a bond between a man and a woman.


Marry, Marry Quite Contrary

Not long ago, Princeton alumna Susan A. Patton bucked current conventional wisdom by advising women to find a husband in college and get married young. The backlash against this advice was immediate, with expert after expert indignantly citing research “proving” that women who get married young are doomed to lives of poverty and divorce, while women who wait longer to marry will be wealthy and successful. This was the gist of a column in Women’s Health magazine, which advised women to wait until at least age 30 to get married. The column was reprinted on the website Healthy Black Woman, offering black women the same counsel.

Well, advocates of later marriage can relax: their dreams are coming true. Men and women are waiting longer than ever to get married. The average age of a first marriage is now 27 for women and 29 for men, and of course a growing number of Americans are not getting married at all. But despite the promises of experts, this trend has not been associated with happier, wealthier families, particularly in the black community.

There is of course nothing inherently wrong with two individuals marrying in their 30s instead of their 20s. But encouraging everyone, particularly black women, to wait until at least age 30 to marry as a matter of principle is terrible advice. Furthermore, the data used to support this advice must be considered in context.

The unfortunate reality is that marriage prospects for black women are at an all-time low. A recent study by Yale University tells us that 42% of black women have never been married, while a study by the National Center for Health Statistics put the number at 55%. Marriage prospects for everyone begin to decline significantly after age 30, and so women (particularly black women) who follow the experts’ advice and delay marriage may end up forgoing it altogether.

While it is true that women who marry later make more money, on average, than women who marry young, the real story is a little more complicated. The left-leaning Brookings Institution recently held a forum to discuss the report Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage. The findings, in a nut shell, were that women who marry later do make more money, but they are not necessarily happier.

The report revealed that married people in their 20s are less likely to be depressed and more likely to be happy than their single (and unmarried but cohabitating) counterparts. Furthermore, women who marry in their mid-20s are more likely to describe their unions as “very happy” after several years than women who marry in their 30s or 40s (or teens).

The income picture is a little more complicated too: while women who marry later do indeed make more money individually, this doesn’t mean they actually have higher household income than women who marry younger. This is because men who marry younger make more money than men who marry later, and women who do not marry in their twenties are much more likely not to marry at all. In short, a woman who doesn’t marry before 30 may personally make more money than a young wife, but the wife has access to her husband’s earnings as well.

Later marriage is also evidence of a larger cultural shift. There was a time when almost everyone believed that sex was supposed to be saved for marriage. This encouraged (or even pressured) young people to follow a pattern: grow up, find someone appropriate and settle down. For most young men, sex was directly associated with becoming responsible enough to persuade a woman that you were worthy of marriage.

Now conventional wisdom recommends that young people wait to marry until they have achieved most of their career goals, gratifying urges along the way with temporary romantic relationships, or even just friends “with benefits.” Thanks to this change in behavior, there are now—according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—20 million new STD infections reported each year (at least 110 million infections total), costing at least 16 billion dollars in medical care, not to mention tens of millions of children born out of wedlock. For those responsible enough to delay childbearing along with marriage, infertility becomes a distressing and costly issue. (Black women are now nearly twice as likely as white women to report infertility issues.)

It is time for us to reevaluate the advice we are giving our young people about marriage. For too long we have suggested that delaying marriage is a responsible decision with no downside. But prolonging singlehood has trade-offs, and those trade-offs are long overdue for serious examination and discussion. Would it be such a bad thing if parents, pastors and community leaders focused on preparing both men and women to be mature enough to marry earlier? Perhaps that would be a step in the right direction.


Amanda Vanstone furious as UK press lambast 'misogynist' Australian politics

Colonialist condescension from the British Left.  No surprise there.  I commented on the rubbish last month

TO suggest Amanda Vanstone is angry would be an understatement.  The former South Australian senator from the Howard government is as mad as hell and she is not going to take it anymore.

Her fury is directed at the Fleet Street press in the UK and in particular opinion writers who for the last week have been making broad statements about the Australian male, all but describing them as resting on the evolution chain somewhere between homo erectus and homo neanderthalensis.

The apparent British summation has been coming after prime minister Julia Gillard was ousted as leader, a move many British commentators have blamed solely on the perceived misogynist nature of Australian men generally, and politicians specifically.

Much of the commentary has cited an opinion piece written by Ms Gillard's former Scottish-born media adviser John McTernan who said his boss was driven out of office by "deep-rooted misogynist forces in society" and the Aussie male had brought the country down.

Ms Vanstone arrived on holidays in the British capital this week and was disturbed by what she read each day and yesterday decided enough was enough and began ringing Fleet Street papers to offer a few choice words and offer a column "to set the record straight".

"As the longest serving female Cabinet minister I think I know a thing or two about it," Ms Vanstone told News Corp Australia yesterday.

"I am furious. It really is atrocious that they are making out Australia as a colony, a hick country, a back water where men guzzle beer all day and are rude about women. They are going on this misogynist thing as if that was the reason why she (Gillard) was ousted. That's not right and I want to set the record straight. They are perpetuating the myth.

"I was there in government and Cabinet, it's a bit blokey you know but what do you expect? When they are talking about rugby or whatever they are not being misogynist but what do you want them talking about, cake recipes? They maybe don't know any or are not interested. I mean this is the sort of thing you have everywhere in the world, its not particular to Australia and the British press are suggesting it is."

Ms Vanstone, travelling with her husband Tony, would be staying in the capital long enough to write opinion pieces and or letters to the editors of the British press to paint a "truer picture" of the Aussie bloke from a political perspective.


Australia:  Businesses face unfair dismissal cases for sacking thieving staff. Yes, you read that right

Employee theft tends to be far more prevalent than is reported, with many business owners reluctant to report staff with whom they are likely to have developed a close personal relationship.

This type of theft has many guises. It includes theft of property, such as stationery or larger items like computers or power tools, as well as data theft and fraud. But how should small-business owners react in this situation?

Norman Ohl has established and sold a number of small businesses over the years and says he has had many cases – proven and unproven – of employee theft.

"The difficulty is that under current regulations a single case of theft is not grounds for dismissal,” he says. "So you must make an assessment and risk analysis on the level of cost to the business and devise a strategy based on risk.”

Ohl cites the example of a bookkeeper he once employed who was stealing from an operational cash float.

"This was probably going on for some time as a bookkeeper can cover this type of thing up,” he says. "I discovered a shortfall when a foreman rang me with a concern. I confronted the bookkeeper, who cried and pleaded with me not to call the police and not to sack her.”

Ohl says that while a dishonest bookkeeper is an unacceptable risk, if he had sacked her he would likely have faced an unfair dismissal case. Instead he gave her the choice to either resign or face criminal charges – her resignation was on his desk within 10 minutes.

"The real tragedy of this 'business decision' is the very real likelihood that she will go on to do it to some other poor bastard and, with this experience under her belt, will probably be a better thief,” Ohl says.

"When it comes to employee theft, the system is broken and the system dictates behaviour. The number of employees who have stolen from me over the years would be in the double digits.”

Andrew Douglas, principal with M+K Lawyers, says the bottom line is that any theft is a case for summary termination under Fair Work regulations. The problem, however, is in proving it was a theft.

"For most small-businesses owners it is an assumption rather than a fact that an employee has stolen from them,” Douglas says. "If they want to prosecute they need to find proof, otherwise the charge will be set aside.”

For example, Douglas says there is nothing wrong with installing surveillance cameras above tills to try to obtain proof.

"There are different varieties of theft and this will affect how you go about getting proof,” he says. "What you do find is usually the person doing the stealing is in a position of trust, such as in charge of accounts.”

There are ways to avoid employee theft, says Douglas. He advises dual signatories on cheques, have the banking done by different people every day, and dual cash handling.

"It's interesting that public companies have to report any thefts because of due diligence but small businesses tend to think of two things before they do,” Douglas says. "They think about whether it's worthwhile to report it and quite often they just let the employee go quietly, or they think about the reputational damage it may do to their business and decide not to prosecute because of it.”

David Henderson, of professional advisers ROCG, says employee theft is a difficult area to deal with. He has had a number of clients who have been affected and says workplace theft is more prevalent than many realise.

"We had one case where an employee was sacked and provided the opportunity to repay the funds after being caught with their hand in the till, with the police being involved if they didn't,” Henderson says.

"In this case the employee committed suicide the next week. This is an extreme example and the business closed within a year as they were devastated by it.”

Henderson says it is important to have the right controls and systems in place.

"If two people are working in concert it is difficult to spot a theft happening,” he says. "It also tends to go unreported because if you sack an employee for theft without pressing charges you may find yourself with an unfair dismissal case on your hands.”

Douglas says the sad part is that when the theft is detected, it is rarely found to be random. "Usually the person has stolen a little bit and when they've got away with it they steal a bit more and a bit more. Having better systems and controls in place can really help.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


7 July, 2013

On to the next target: Polygamy!

I recall being mocked for pointing out the obvious: as soon as the goal of same-sex marriage was achieved, "progressives" would move on to group marriage. The logic of this was obvious all along,
and yet I was told I was being absurd when I pointed this out. Well, a major web outlet like Slate is now running pieces arguing:

"While the Supreme Court and the rest of us are all focused on the human right of marriage equality, let’s not forget that the fight doesn’t end with same-sex marriage. We need to legalize polygamy, too. Legalized polygamy in the United States is the constitutional, feminist, and sex-positive choice. More importantly, it would actually help protect, empower, and strengthen women, children, and families....

"The case for polygamy is, in fact, a feminist one and shows women the respect we deserve. Here’s the thing: As women, we really can make our own choices. We just might choose things people don’t like. If a woman wants to marry a man, that’s great. If she wants to marry another woman, that’s great too...

"And if she wants to marry a man with three other wives, that’s her damn choice... [Apparently the only invalid choice one can make today is to choose to believe that not all choices are equally good!]

"So let’s fight for marriage equality until it extends to every same-sex couple in the United States—and then let’s keep fighting. We’re not done yet."

Over course, the progressive project can never, ever be "done." Its goal is to create heaven on earth, and since the goal can't ever be achieved, or ever, really, even be approached, every "victory" will always be met with yet another "we're not done yet": human life is not yet perfect, so some other, existing social arrangement must be altered according to the current progressive ideology. (It is only recently that progressive ideology exalted "choice": one hundred years ago, the altering of society would have been done on the name of "the social good," and any absolute right of individual choice would have been ridiculed as a reason for a piece of legislation.)

Now, as I have said before, I don't pretend to know whether same-sex marriage is a good idea or not. There are certainly good arguments for it. But belief in the childish cult of progress does not provide one.


British Liberal leader should visit the streets of fatherless kids where I grew up to see the madness of rewarding single mums while refusing tax breaks to boost marriage

The comment was the sort that most people would have found deeply shocking, but it was all too typical of attitudes in the part  of South London where I was brought up.  Talking about her future, a young woman neighbour told me: ‘Everyone is going to be a single mother in the  end — you just have to find the  right donor.’

Her view was shared by many of those who lived in the various council estates where I grew up.  Single parenthood was the normal method of rearing children.

While my own father left our home when I was young, my mother, who has lived in Britain since emigrating from Jamaica with my grandparents, has been devoted to her children.

Although my father was a good dad and maintained contact, lots of my friends were not so fortunate. Few had any involvement with their fathers.

In many of these homes, the State was almost invariably the main breadwinner, with the families in receipt of welfare cheques.

With the State providing unceasing financial support, there was little thought given to the costs and responsibilities of having children.

For example, a 15-year-old girl at my school happily told me that her ambition was to have a baby before she reached the age of 18 — a goal she easily achieved.

Another said that she was trying for a baby with her boyfriend who she didn’t expect to hang around after the birth. In both cases, they knew that social security would look after them.

Such attitudes were common among my school contemporaries and were compounded by the fact that the school itself had depressingly low expectations of pupils.

Indeed, at times it felt more like a youth centre, somewhere to hang out and pass the time, than a place of education.

Because I qualified for free school dinners, many teachers assumed I was devoid of potential. No one talked to me of university or even A-levels.

Many of the girls I knew were encouraged to do courses in childcare, hair or beauty.

While other girls, elsewhere in the country, considered university applications, many at my school merely talked about having babies — though there was never any discussion of the jobs or money required to provide for them.

One girl liked the idea of having twins. She realised the chances were slim, so she reasoned that the best thing to do was to have a baby and then try for a second child straight after, because two babies born nine months apart was the next best thing.

I am now 32, and those contemporaries have teenage children of their own.

For myself, I was lucky to find a job at a High Street bank after leaving school. Since then I have worked consistently and have now gone back to education — studying for my first degree.

I proved my teachers wrong, but many of the girls I went to school with have conformed to an education and benefits system that expects little of them.

The welfare state was meant to be a symbol of civilised society, giving support to the genuinely poor and vulnerable. Today, though, it too often acts as a gigantic engine of social breakdown. Costing more than £220?billion a year, it simply incentivises personal irresponsibility and family collapse.

Far from rescuing people from disadvantage, it traps many claimants and their children in the destructive cycle of welfare dependency, where values such as ambition and commitment are lost. It should come as no surprise that in the parts of the country where welfare dependency and joblessness are most prevalent, fatherhood is the exception rather than the rule. 

A report published last month by the independent think-tank, the Centre for Social Justice, showed that the number of lone-parent families is increasing by 20,000 every year, with the total expected to reach  two million by 2015. Incredibly, in some areas of the country, such as Riverside in Liverpool or Ladywood in Birmingham, more than 70 per cent of households with dependent children are headed by lone parents.

Children who grow up in these places rarely come across a male role model.

Today, around half of British births take place outside wedlock, while just over a quarter of all families are headed by lone parents.

Despite a wealth of evidence that absent fathers put children at a disadvantage, I find it deeply depressing that the political class is terrified of taking any action to shore up family life.

Even the tentative proposal from the Tories this week to introduce a modest tax-break for married couples has provoked anger from the Lib Dems.

Nick Clegg moaned that the incentive to married couples would be ‘unfair’. Trying to explain his point, he said: ‘I have never understood the virtue of a policy that says to people who are not married, “you will pay more tax than people who are married”.’

The Deputy Prime Minister is either deluded or wilfully obtuse.

I just wish he would travel the few miles from his home in Putney, South-west London, to my neighbourhood in Bermondsey and spend a day there. He would witness the devastating effect on people of a society that does not value marriage.

I’m sure he would learn that the idea of a tax-break for  married couples is something that benefits all of us by  sending a message that society values the family and the  commitment, stability and self-sacrifice that goes with it.

Why doesn’t Clegg recognise this? After all, he is an admirably devoted family man and a good father to his children. So why would he not want to encourage that happy model across wider British society?

Moreover, he is utterly wrong to claim that an injustice would be created by such tax breaks worth up to £200 a year. In truth, this would be a small compensation for the way that our tax system penalises married couples and would be a long-overdue recognition of those parents who bring commitment to bringing up children together. 

Clegg blathers about not wanting to discriminate against certain taxpayers, but in practice, a tax system that recognises the social value of marriage would actually save the country a fortune through re-establishing the role of fatherhood in family life.

The truth is that family breakdown costs the State billions of pounds by having to spend money on the resulting social problems such as crime, drug abuse, educational failure, and teenage pregnancy.  

For years, governments of all parties have poured money into welfare, yet nothing radical has been done to reward mothers and fathers who make a commitment to each other.  Indeed, just the opposite is true.  

Due to the perversities of the tax and benefit system, couples who remain together are often worse off than single parents in the same income bracket. 

This is common knowledge among the more streetwise mothers in the neighbourhoods where I grew up.  ‘Don’t put the father’s name on the birth certificate,’ was one of their golden rules.

If the father were known, then the State might expect him to provide financial assistance. Far better to just put ‘unknown’ on the birth certificate and let the taxpayer pick up the tab. 

As one of my friends ruefully put it to me: ‘I can have sex with a different man every night, even have children with some of them, and the Government will see that I’m OK. But as soon as I want to build a real family with one of these men, then I’m penalised.’ She knew that she would receive more financial support as a single mother than as one half of a couple and would be more likely to receive a council house.

Men cynically play the system just as cannily. Deadbeat dads know that any children they spawn will be supported by the social security system.   

That truth was vividly brought home to me by the behaviour of one father I know, who has children in both Britain and an African country. 

Because there is no welfare state in that country, he sends money to the mother of his children there.  Yet he refuses to give any money to the mother of his children here in Britain.

Whatever Mr Clegg may say, the truth is that the absence of fathers has had disastrous consequences for our society.

Single-parent households are more likely to be without work, to be on welfare and to be living in relative poverty. The annual cost of family breakdown has been estimated to be £46?billion.   

And, of course, family breakdown exacts a heavy toll on children.  

Many single parents do a heroic job, but too many children are growing up in fatherless households without effective discipline, guidance, and support. Some of these children, lacking a father figure to keep them in line, join street gangs as an act of teenage rebellion.

Researchers have found that many such boys admit that they have suffered from an absent father.

One boy told a study carried out by the charity Rota (Race On The Agenda): ‘Dads would do a better job than mums ... as a boy you’d look up to your dad and listen to him more than  a mum.’

Another said: ‘Fathers are more abrupt ..... when my dad says something I just do it. When my mum does, I just try and argue out of it.’

I can honestly say that in all my years living in South London, I have never once met a gang member who had a father living at home.

Girls join gangs for similar reasons. I saw girls, lacking a father to guard them, turn to neighbourhood gangs for protection.

The same applies to sex.

A girl from a stable, two-parent home is less likely to engage in under-age sex or become pregnant — not least because her father will be keeping an eye on her. One youth worker recently told me of the case of an 11-year- old girl who’d had an abortion. She said many young girls now have sex before they are physically ready and  are inflicting real damage on their bodies.

Not that sex education in schools is the answer. At my school it was assumed that pupils would have sex at a young age, and so the emphasis was on ‘safe sex’.

In an attempt to reduce the high teenage-pregnancy rate in the borough, we were taught how to put fruit-flavoured condoms on cucumbers. It was excruciatingly embarrassing and, looking back, it did nothing to curb pregnancies among the schoolgirls.

A host of studies have also shown that children in lone-parent families tend to have lower levels of educational achievement and more behavioural problems at school.  

The other day I spoke to a local single mother who told me that her son is failing at school because ‘he is a bit thick’. But it turned out that he was not stupid at all. What he lacked, to be frank, was any support at home.

There was no father around to help, and his mother, who worked from eight in the morning to six at night, was too exhausted to give him any help over his school work. With two parents, he might have had stood more of a chance.

We cannot go on like this.

Politicians must show some courage and introduce measures for them to promote family life. A welfare system that incentivises single-motherhood must be reformed.

This should not stigmatise lone mothers but, instead, offer them more support by insisting that the men who father their children take their share of responsibility.

Welfare-dependency has already wreaked so much damage. As I see daily on the streets where I grew up — streets that are alien to Nick Clegg — the welfare state can never be a substitute for real, caring fatherhood.


The BBC’s left-wing bias is alive and well and living in Radio 4 comedy

Marcus Brigstocke's Radio 4 series isn’t satire, it’s a text-book example of the kind of noxious lefty bias the BBC has only just found itself culpable of.

The tone of sardonic, smug, self-righteous preachiness – usually kept in check on his happily contained sometimes pithily amusing turns on The Now Show – is there in earnest from the outset. “We’re all in this together,” posh-boy Brigstock sneers – “so said George Osborne to the rest of the people in his Jacuzzi full of champagne.”

Within three minutes, he has taken a pop at the Daily Mail for being, one infers, racist – before revealing “they’ve put me in charge of a hospital”. It’s going to be OK, he reveals, even though he’s got rid of those pointless manager folk. “As long as no one else in the UK gets ill for the next four years we should be ready to be either shut down or sold to a private firm, because if there’s one thing ill people like it’s competition on the open market. You ask any ill person and they’ll usually say. ‘I would love to get better, sure, but mostly I want to see privatised health providers benefiting from my illness.’ ”

Yup, that’s the level it works at – little short of a licence-fee funded attack on Coalition policy and an ill-disguised rant against anyone so rash as to want to reform the NHS, damning reports into and criticisms of which he studiously avoids. By laughable way of balance, he offers: “Perhaps private enterprise will prove hugely beneficial for the NHS... take some of the fat off it, nibbling away at the excess... slimming it down from within – like a tapeworm does.”

By the time Brigstocke had started conjecturing about a hospital run along the lines of a no-frills airline, I’d almost lost the will to live but on and on he droned, with all the subtlety of a first-time student union debater. “Anyone sensible enough to listen to UKIP, Migration Watch and a bloke called Terry down the pub already knows for certain that on a Wednesday afternoon in late 2013 at around 4.30 the entire populations of Bulgaria and Romania will arrive at a hospital near where you live” etc. “These are facts people and if you don’t believe me look in the Spectator.” Right-on there, Marcus.

Laying aside his bizarre attempt to wave away concerns about health tourism as only 0.15 per cent of the total NHS budget – “not such a big deal” – the moment when I began shrieking at the radio begging to be put out of my misery came with the sermon-like wrap-up. “You need to put back the administrators – and stop pissing about with the system… We have strong opinions on healthcare because it affects almost all of us,” he advised piously.

Oh, please, pass the sick-bag, nurse. This isn’t satire, it’s drivelling propaganda and the Beeb should have been ashamed to broadcast it.


Australia's first Muslim frontbencher takes his oath on Koran

This is putting a religion of hate on the same plane as Christianity

The Prime Minister's new parliamentary secretary, Ed Husic, has been subjected to a torrent of abuse online for being sworn in to his position with a Koran.

Mr Husic became Australia's first Muslim frontbencher on Monday when he was appointed to Kevin Rudd's new-look ministry as parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister and parliamentary secretary for broadband.

"This is a wonderful day for multiculturalism, and everything it stands for in our country," Governor-General Quentin Bryce told Mr Husic during the swearing-in ceremony in Canberra on Monday.

However, after receiving dozens of messages of congratulations on his Facebook page, the comments quickly turned to disgust and outrage that he had chosen to be sworn in on the Muslim holy book.

One user, Anna Dean, claimed his decision to be sworn in on the Koran undermined "our culture and country and constitution in this way".

Another user, Carrie Forrest, accused him of disregarding Australia's constitution and pushing for sharia.

Mr Husic played down the abuse on Tuesday afternoon by saying that people were entitled in a democracy to question his choice to be sworn in using a Koran and the public should not necessarily jump "because of harsh words out of dark corners".

"[People] may have questions and they may have concerns and people are right to raise that," he said. "But I also think you’ll have, from time to time, people of the extremes. There are people that are definitely extreme ... and they will always try to seek ways in which to divide people. The important thing is [that] mainstream Australia wants everyone to work together."

He said he had been "heartened" by the huge number of congratulatory messages.

Mr Husic has previously said that he is a moderate Muslim who does not involve himself heavily with most of the religious customs and behaviours of the faith.

Asked about his religion in 2010, he told the ABC: "If someone asks me, 'Are you Muslim?' I say yes. And then if someone says, 'Well do you pray and go to a mosque and do all the other things that are associated with the faith?' I say no.

"I often get told that I describe myself as non-practising when in actual fact I don't go round saying that. Like I just say 'I'm Muslim.' "

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said people should respect Mr Husic’s choice. "I respect his choice," he told reporters in Melbourne. "I think the Australian people should as well."

President of the Anti-Discrimination Board and chairman of the NSW Community Relations Commission Stepan Kerkyasharian said it was "a sad day for any society" when someone is abused because of their religion.

He said Mr Husic could act as a valuable bridge between the Muslim community and would put Australia at an advantage in the international community.

"It should be an interesting and positive milestone that someone of migrant heritage has come to Australia and has now, through our democratic process, reached a position of leadership," he said.

Mr Husic, 43, the son of Bosnian Muslim migrants, became the first Muslim to be elected to Parliament when he won his western Sydney seat of Chifley in the 2010 election with 51.58 per cent of votes, almost double that of his next competitor.

In 2010, he was sworn into Federal Parliament alongside members from several religions. Kooyong member Josh Frydenberg and Melbourne Ports member Michael Danby were sworn in on the Jewish bible.

Lawyer and community rights advocate Mariam Veiszadeh said there was too often an assumption that being a good Australian citizen and a good Muslim were "mutually exclusive concepts".

"You can be a devout Jew and a good Australian parliamentarian who serves your country just as equally as you can be a practising Muslim and a good Australian citizen and politician," she said.

"It is ignorant for people to conflate irrelevant issues and it stems from the Muslim bashing that has been going on in this country for a decade."



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


5 July, 2013

MORE multiculturalism in Britain

A dangerous fugitive wanted for a knife attack on a teenage girl has taunted police by setting up a new Facebook page - and posting a photograph of himself posing in a wig and glasses.

The picture shows brazen thug Michael Easy, 27, sporting the fancy dress items while pressing his finger to his lips - apparently mocking police for failing to track him down.

But the silver wig and Dame Edna Everage-style sunglasses do little to hide the identity of the man who has been on the run since May following the attack on the 19-year-old in Southampton.

Easy is a prime suspect in the incident, which saw a 19-year-old woman's neck cut outside a party.

The 27-year-old, who has a history of attacking women, allegedly punched her in the face and kicked her in the thigh before cutting her neck with an eight-inch knife.

Detectives immediately launched a manhunt as the serial offender, who has more than 27 convictions on his record, went on the run.

Police have branded him a danger to the public and will make a national TV appeal to try and catch the fugitive.

He has repeatedly taunted detectives on the internet since he went on the run five weeks ago.

After the alleged attack, Easy, who is of no fixed abode, vanished - but took time out while in hiding to update his Facebook profile, which he holds under a different name.

He previously uploaded a new photograph of himself just 24 hours after allegedly unleashing a terrifying knife attack on the teenager.

In his latest stunt he has set up a new Facebook account under the name 'Michelle Dirt', running in tandem with his original account, which bears the name 'Michael Dirt'.

Police refused to comment on the account, but Sergeant Al Dineley, from the integrated offender management team, is hopeful that the national appeal will help.

He said: 'We have carried out extensive local inquiries and liaised with other police forces across the country to track Michael Easy down.

'We have had positive responses to our local appeals but we want to expand our appeal to the whole country now.  'We have used Crimewatch successfully many times before and we are hopeful that the programme will generate further sightings and bring in fresh information for us.

'I would urge Michael Easy - or anyone who knows where he is - to get in touch with police.  'We have teams of officers working to locate him and we are not going to give up trying to find him.'

The teenage victim was hit in the face and suffered a thigh injury in the knife attack which took place in the early hours of Sunday, May 26.

Detectives have also advised two women feared to be at risk from Easy to move house.

They believe Easy may no longer be hiding in Southampton and want to raise awareness in London where the Metropolitan Police have been working with detectives.

His string of previous offences includes an unprovoked attack on his girlfriend in front of her toddler son nearly four years ago.


School prizegiving days are un-Christian and should be scrapped, says clergyman

Prizegiving ceremonies that recognise the achievements of outstanding pupils should be scrapped from Church schools because they are 'un-Christian', a clergyman has said.

The Rev Dr Hugh Rayment-Pickard argued that singling out the brightest pupils for praise left those students not receiving prizes with the 'gently corrosive sense of being not quite good enough'.

Dr Rayment-Pickard, who co-founded an education charity with the aim of getting young people from disadvantaged backgrounds into university, said prizes cultivate an 'individualistic and competitive attitude to success', which he described as being at odds with the 'servant ethics' of the Christian kingdom.

Writing in the Church Times, the former parish priest said prizegiving ceremonies, by allowing only a chosen few to 'bask in the warm glow of success', had a negative impact on the rest of a school's pupils.

In his opinion piece, entitled 'Why not "all must have prizes"?', Dr Rayment-Pickard cited a Bible passage which says the contribution made be individuals should be honoured - but that all should be treated as honourable.

He highlighted a ceremony he attended at an East London school during which he presented certificates to each pupil leaving the school that year, and praised the fact that 'every single young person came on stage to have his or her particular achievements celebrated'.

Church of England spokesman Steve Jenkins said: 'How schools operate is decided not by the Church of England but by their headteachers and governors, and I'm sure they will consider the Rev Dr Hugh Rayment-Pickard's thoughts as they would any one else's in education.'

The charity IntoUniversity, of which Dr Rayment-Pickard is co-founder and director of development and external affairs, sets up local learning centres designed to support young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in gaining a university place or other aspiration.


The BBC has been outpaced by reality, and has become unsustainable

The BBC has been closed down.  The furore and shock such a headline would stir up is almost unimaginable. Questions would be yelled in Parliament, Polly Toynbee would sob blue murder in the pages of the Guardian and parts of Twitter would solidify into pitchforks and burning torches.

Far-fetched as it may seem, last week Greeks awoke to their own national equivalent of such news. The state broadcaster, ERT, was closed with immediate effect by the Prime Minister as unaffordable and unviable.

Of course, Greece is Greece - once a byword for classical ruins, now a byword for modern economic ruin. Extreme measures are to be expected in a country in which the outright majority of young people are unemployed and a delegation of European Central Bank officials hold unaccountable control over fiscal policy.

It could never happen here, could it?

It seems highly unlikely that it would ever happen in Britain for the reasons it happened in Greece (unless Ed Balls gets a really long stretch as Chancellor, in which case all bets on the state of the nation's finances are off). But for deep-rooted reasons, the BBC has serious trouble ahead; we just don't like to admit it.

Turning a blind eye

Human beings - and the British in particular - are naturally small-c conservative creatures. We may gripe and grumble, or wish for various things to be improved, but an institution has to be very obviously flawed and failing before we will accept that its very future is in doubt.

Ironically, this preference for the comfort of things we know rather than the discomfort of revolutions tends to result in crises. Instead of identifying problems which can be fixed or planned for, we sit in blissful ignorance until they are too large and too immediate to ignore any longer.

This is the reason why so many disasters seem to spring from nowhere, leaving people wondering why no-one saw them coming. Consider the banks which plunged almost immediately from untrammeled success into total disaster - or the Euro, which some British commentators still refuse to accept is fatally flawed. Anyone who remembers the titanic nationalised industries of the pre-Thatcher period will recall the air of permanence which hung about them for so long - and the remarkable speed with which they were torn down.

So it may be with the BBC.

We all know Auntie. It has become a calendar for our lives. Most of us were raised on a staple diet of Blue Peter, then Grange Hill, growing up to shout at Question Time, choking on our cornflakes out over the Today Programme and eventually find ourselves wondering if listening to the Archers means we are officially old. The BBC News website is one of the most read news sites in the world. Our lives are shot through with the Corporation's output.  But its size belies its growing weakness.

Outpaced by technology

Technological changes mean that the television licence funding model is swiftly becoming unenforceable and outdated.

Funding the BBC through compulsory licences was first conceived 86 years ago, in the form of the radio licence (later fully replaced by the television licence). It was a simple solution in a simple market. At the time, the Corporation was the only broadcaster in the entire country - if you bought a device to receive broadcasts, you were by definition using its services and you were easy to identify in the shop.

Now, as the BBC's tenth decade approaches, that model is broken.

The simplicity of the system was first fractured by the advent of commercial TV channels and radio stations. Ever since, the Television Licensing Authority (TVLA) has fought a war to enforce payment. While those of us with TVs are assailed with untrue stories of detection vans which can prove that your aerial is receiving a signal, people who prefer not to own a TV have found themselves bombarded with letters from officials who refuse to believe them.

But it is the advent of the internet which rings the death knell for the licence fee. This week, a Freedom of Information request revealed that there are now more than 400,000 households in Britain who inform the TVLA each year that they do not need to buy a licence - and that's just the number who actually respond to the hectoring letters they receive.

Many may well be people who don't watch TV, but it seems clear that a growing number are watching exclusively through the internet. It's perfectly legal to watch catch-up services, rather than live broadcasts, online without a licence. With the fee rising just as incomes have been squeezed it is unsurprising that many have chosen to do so.

I first noticed this among my friends four or five years ago. A growing number were buying a TV, hooking it up to their laptop or Playstation and watching shows through that, legally and licence-free. And why not? Plenty of others were watching live TV online in outright breach of the rules, and yet the TVLA proved unable to prove they were doing so.

Self-destruction, on-demand

Ironically, it is the BBC itself which has pioneered this way to avoid paying. It is now many years since the Corporation focused solely on broadcasting, and it has expanded into every conceivable form of media.

As part of that policy, along came iPlayer - the incredibly useful, legally free to access, online catch-up service. With broadband connections spread across much of the country, it runs like a dream - and is proving to be a nightmare for the TVLA. In terms of the service it offers, iPlayer is precisely the right response to the digital age - it offers flexibility and choice, rather than fixed schedules, it is easily searchable and browsable. In short, it provides a service completely out of keeping with the compulsory licence fee model.

Technology - and particularly the technology we use to consumer media - is moving swiftly away from top-down, one-size-fits-all paying and consuming. In music, not only has the physical been replaced by the digital, the bulk purchase in the form of an album has been replaced by micro-purchasing, song by song. At a click of a button I can buy any particular episode of any commercially available TV show, or any film, that takes my fancy - or I can rent access to them for the weekend. I can design my own TV package through Sky or Vigrin - choosing not to pay for sport or children's television if I don't intend to use it.

So not only is the television licence now legally unenforceable, it is clunky and out of step with the wider world. As consumers become used to building their own digital radio stations based on personal preference, having access to a thousand times the capacity of an old-fashioned video shop through their laptop, or picking and choosing the form of their cable TV packages, more will start to wonder why they pay £145.50 for the BBC at all.

There are plenty of other arguments to be had about whether the BBC is a good or bad thing.

It does produce much high quality drama - though notably much of that has been made in partnership with American cable companies or to pursue international profits. And the need for it to generate poorer quality products like "Hotter Than My Daughter" or "Snog, Marry, Avoid" is questionable to say the least.

There is also clear evidence of political bias withing its reporting of the EU, green policies, fiscal issues among other topics. I tend towards the cock-up rather than the conspiracy explanation, in that I suspect this is the product of groupthink and the impractical idea that one organisation can represent all views at the same time. Whatever the cause, the impact of unfairly slanted reporting from a state broadcaster is both sizeable and negative.

And we are all aware of the series of scandals which has struck at the BBC's greatest asset - the trust people place in it. From the horrifying facts of the Savile case, through the vast amounts paid to ineffective senior executives, to the disgraceful treatment of Lord McAlpine, the Corporation has lost much of its friendly reputation.

But whatever your view may be on its quality, bias or scandals, none of them poses the greatest threat to the Corporation's future. Many would make a case for the BBC's abolition, while plenty of others would line up to defend it to the death. In reality, either case is irrelevant. It is a simple truth that the BBC as we know it - licence-funded, compulsory, immovable - is unsustainable, a dead Auntie walking.


BBC a total waste of money: more evidence

By James Delingpole

Dear Jonathan, I like you but you're so wrong about the BBC.

The last two or three occasions I've been on Any Questions, Jonathan Dimbleby has introduced me by quoting some disobliging lines I have written somewhere or other about the BBC. "No single institution has done more damage to Britain," he reads out in a disbelieving, "we've-got-a-right-one-here, folks" voice which always guarantees a chortle from the studio audience.

Of course he thinks that way. He's a Dimbleby. But I'm right and he's wrong and here's yet another reason why:  "The BBC has been criticised by the National Audit Office for paying out £25m to 150 senior BBC managers in severance payments."

Expressing outrage and disgust about this kind of epic waste and incompetence does not mean you're against the Shipping Forecast, the Today programme, beautifully shot nature documentaries from BBC Bristol, the Proms, Dr Who, lavish Glasto coverage et al, any more than being against the NHS means that you're for accident casualties lying untreated in the streets, old ladies being denied walking frames or children dying of leukemia. It simply means you've grasped the basic fact that public sector provision will always and inevitably lead to more waste, less efficiency, more tenured incompetence, more useless idiots on unjustifiably inflated salaries, and more cock-ups than would ever be tolerated within the private sector:

    "The National Audit Office (NAO) found that the BBC had breached "its own already generous policies on severance payments".

    Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said: "Weak governance arrangements have led to payments that exceeded contractual requirements and put public trust at risk.

    The BBC Trust also came in for criticism, with the NAO noting "decisions to award severance payments that exceed contractual entitlements have, until recently, been subject to insufficient challenge and oversight"."

"Weak governance arrangements". Yes. Is anyone remotely surprised by this? This is what happens when you get an institution featherbedded with free money (confiscated from the taxpayer or licence-fee payer) and utterly unaccountable to its customers. Over the years this has led to the creation of a top-heavy management culture imperiously aloof to the point of contempt over what its audience wants, likes or needs, and splendidly indifferent to the kind of efficiencies it would certainly need to adopt were it subject to the disciplines of the private sector. (And if you think the BBC's bad, check out its uglier more bloated sister ABC in Oz.)

The BBC Trust, as the NAO has twigged, is the definitive example of "Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?" In other words, as Juvenal would no doubt have said had he been around today, it's as useless as a chocolate fireguard.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


4 July, 2013


In Britain, many couples these days have children even though they are not married.  It is perfectly accepted on the whole.  Part of the reason for that has to be an awareness of what a huge burden to men current divorce laws can be.  Men just balk at the thought of tying themselves up in that way.  So it would seem that onerous divorce laws are to a degree self-defeating -- in that people evade them by not marrying in the first place.  And the incidence of ex-nuptial births seems to be steadily increasing.

There is a reasonable case to be made that being born and bred within a marriage is beneficial for children.  In that case governments should be reversing the anti-marriage stance embodied in their divorce laws and become actively pro-marriage.  A marriage should at least not expose either of the participants to  major legal penalties if it breaks down.

In the interim, it would be a helpful development if some of the churches offered a full traditional marriage service that did not end with the signing of government paperwork.  The wedding would then be a solely religious service, not a service of the State.  That would be a reversion to how marriage was for many centuries.  The couple could perhaps sign some private paperwork of their own or the church's devising at the conclusion of the ceremony.

The availability of such an option should hasten the demise of state-registered marriage and perhaps encourage revision of penalties attached to it  -- JR

Guess the missing word below

GREENSBORO, N.C. — A massive fight in downtown Greensboro Saturday night has some city leaders taking a hard look at bringing back the teen curfew.  Nearly 400 people were involved in the several fights that happened along Elm Street.

Greensboro police arrested 11 people ranging in age from 16 to 20-years-old. Officers had to use pepper spray and a stun gun to try to get the crowd under control. Greensboro Police Department had to call UNCG Police and Guilford County for extra help.

Some officers minor injuries following the fights. As soon as one fight stopped another started.

The security cameras outside of Syn and Sky nightclub caught many of the brawls. The footage shows two groups of teens walking toward each other on Elm Street and several people running away into the streets.

Mike Carter is the owner of Syn and Sky and thinks it’s about time to reenact the 11 p.m. curfew that was enforced in 2011.
“It makes no sense for teenagers to be out roaming around on a Friday or Saturday night, or any night for that matter,” Carter said.


The missing word is a color

Black barber didn't like competition

A barber has been spared jail after he beat up a rival hairdresser with a beer bottle when he stole a customer after opening a new salon next door.  Melusi Sithole, 35, owner of Big Daddy's became angry when former trainee Salah Barani opened his own business next door.

A court heard the last straw for Sithole came when he saw one of his customers going for a £8 trim at the new salon called Pill Barber Shop.

He went into the shop and shouted at Shane Davis for taking his custom to his new rival.  Sithole then hit Mr Barani, 29, over the head with a beer bottle which the victim claimed left him with long-term amnesia.  Sithole punched and kicked Mr Barani while he was on the floor.

He was also accused of hitting him with a three-foot metal pole used for shelving during the attack on January 6 last year, but was found not guilty of possessing an offensive weapon.

Prosecutor Ieuan Morris said: 'It was a vicious attack which left Mr Barani with a cut to his left ear and a wound on the right shoulder blade.  'He is still suffering from memory loss more than 18 months later.'

The attack took place in the docklands suburb of Pill, Newport, South Wales.

Mr Barani told the court: 'I still don’t know what I’m doing, I still don’t know who I am.'

But Sithole told police he acted in self-defence after being punched by his rival.

He told Newport Crown Court Mr Barani threw a punch after he had asked regular customer Mr Davies why he was having his hair cut at the rival shop.

Sithole said the bottle of Budweiser he had been drinking 'just broke' on his rival’s head and denied beating him with a metal pole.

Sithole, of Newport, South Wales, was found guilty of unlawful wounding but was cleared of wounding with intent and possessing an offensive weapon.

He was given an 18-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, and must complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

Sithole, who has since closed his shop, was also ordered to pay £800 in compensation to Mr Barani.


Quentin Letts "gets it" about fathers and daughters

I treasure the magical bond between father and daughter - so I weep for Pierce Brosnan

One photograph shows a grown-up Charlotte Brosnan in 1999. She is walking down a street with her stepfather Pierce Brosnan, hugging him tight while he kisses the top of her head.

The other photograph shows her in 1980 when she was nine and the actor had just married her widowed mother.  Little Charlotte shelters inside his arm, her expression one of trusting adoration in her new family.

Though there are 19 years between the two snapshots, Charlotte’s smile barely changes. It is one of devotion to a man who, though not her biological father, is plainly a source of immeasurable support.  He is her security, her safety, her rock. And she is his bonny little girl.

Charlotte Brosnan died this week of ovarian cancer, aged just 42. As I looked at these two photographs yesterday I must confess I found it damnably hard to keep an even keel.

Why should this be? I never met Charlotte Brosnan. I know her father only from his work as a film actor.  Really, it should be none of my business to presume such sorrow over their private misfortune. How dare my stranger’s eyes well?

Yet, as a father of two daughters (aged 14 and ten), I found myself deeply affected by those photographs. It touched a nerve deep within me, a nerve I barely realised I had.

The death of a youngish mother — Charlotte leaves two young children — is always sad, but why did this story resonate so strongly?

The answer says more about human nature and, I suspect, the survival instinct than it does about some refined sensibility on my own insignificant part.

It may also tell us something that sits awkwardly with the egalitarianism of our age. We are told to be blind to gender. We try. We observe the protocols of feminism. We are all Suffragettes now.

But the fact of the matter remains: there is a special tie between girls and their fathers, one that political dogma will never surpass.  Exceptions will no doubt exist. Some fathers are feckless and some daughters are unloving. But can the majority of dads deny it?

There is, between daughters and their male parents, a special connection. If it is not too bad a pun, given Pierce Brosnan’s best-known role, you could call it a magic bond. Here is the chemistry of that most powerful of human units, the family.

Shortly before our second child was born in 1998, a colleague asked me if my wife and I hoped for a boy or a girl.

I did that usual thing of saying we did not mind what gender the infant was, as long as mother and babe were in good health. We already had a boy, aged one. We told ourselves we did not mind if he acquired a brother or sister.

How lucky I count myself that we had a girl. Eveleen was born in the middle of a hot August night. By the time I reached the hospital she had been tidied up and was presented to me wrapped in swaddling bands, or the NHS modern equivalent thereof.

She had a shock of inky black hair and was bright red, covered in wrinkles.

‘She’s a hoot!’ the midwife said. I looked down at that tiny ‘hoot’ and, far from seeing the angry lavatory brush she no doubt resembled, I saw only instant, overwhelming serenity.

It is a moment — a smiting, a thunderbolt — I can practically taste to this day, even as I type these words. I can remember clearly the room, the angle at which Eveleen lay in my arms  and the striking concept of something special.

I realised that the all-suffusing, protective love I was feeling for her was unlike what I had felt the first time I held my son just 13 months earlier.

When he had been born, I was chuffed, relieved, daunted, happily energised and more —you know, proud Pop lights a cigar and all that.

But here, holding a daughter, it felt quite, quite different. This, in my arms, was not a future scallywag, a little cricketer, a prospective partner for my middle-aged trips to the pub.

This was a daughter. This babe was someone to be shielded. Yes, the protective reaction was quite definitely strong.

Saying that, I almost feel I should apologise to today’s equality practitioners.

How can we fathers start to explain this distinctive response to daughters?  I felt the same in 2003 when our second daughter, Honor, arrived in our lives.

Is it still the old caveman in us? Is it that we regard boys as future hunting partners — heavens, perhaps even rivals — while girls will need to be guarded so that they can continue our lineage?

An anthropologist might know the answer to that, but I suspect there is also a historic tenderness that we fathers feel towards women, one that the past half-century of thrusting feminism has not entirely eroded.

Is it unfair on our sons to say this? Might boys not feel left out by this state of affairs?

I hope not. I could not be prouder of our son Claud, now 15. He has had a few problems in life — not the least of which has been having this Anglo-Saxon stuffshirt for a father — but I love him as an English father will his lad, ie without too much ostentatious fuss.

Claud, himself being as English as roast beef, seems content with things as they are.

My daughters, meanwhile, have a different relationship with me from the one they have with my wife.  It is no better or worse. Just different.

So much for the relationship of parent to child. What about that of daughter to dad?

When my dear father was on his deathbed three years ago, I saw the radiant sensitivity with which my sisters responded to him.

I comprehended that my relationship with him was not precisely the same.  I did not love him less, but I loved him in a male way. It was the same with my wife and her late father.  From those photographs of the Brosnans, I am confident that it was the same with them, even though Pierce was Charlotte’s stepfather.

Is this about male role models in human relationships? Is it about the way families work?

Does it explain why that line in Edith Nesbit’s The Railway Children, when the adolescent Roberta sees her long imprisoned father and runs down the platform crying ‘Daddy! My Daddy!’, has us weeping buckets every time?

Perhaps it also explains why, for me, the premise of Shakespeare’s King Lear — a father disowning his youngest daughter, and two of his daughters turning viciously on their father — is so hard to accept. I’ve never really ‘bought’ the plot of Lear.

The photos of the Brosnans helped me to understand a little why. More than anything, this week’s story was of one famous man’s immense personal sadness.

Pierce Brosnan, far from living down to the stereotype of the selfish film star, has been a magnificent parent.  He cared for Charlotte after he married her mother Cassandra (Charlotte’s father having died). Love displaced disaster.  Then, in 1991, Cassandra died aged 43, also from ovarian cancer. Pierce became the orphaned Charlotte’s even closer stepfather.

Now, dread fate has again smashed the Brosnans’ lives. We behold this tale and we surely tremble.

Yet amid the awful grief the family must be feeling, a grief on which we should beware intruding any further, there is also the redeeming, golden thread of paternal love.


Australia:  NSW bill to ignite debate over abortion

Good ol' Fred.  He never gives up

A controversial bill giving legal rights to an unborn child will be supported by the O'Farrell government under a deal with Christian Democrat MP Fred Nile in exchange for his support for crucial state budget legislation to privatise Newcastle Port.

The Reverend Nile said the government had promised to pass through the upper house "Zoe's Law", which creates a separate criminal offence for causing harm to or the destruction of a foetus and stemmed from the deaths of unborn children in driving accidents.

The government told Mr Nile it reserved the right to amend the bill in the lower house.  Upper house MPs were caught by surprise when the government supported an urgency motion to debate Zoe's Law on Thursday.

The day before, the government won Mr Nile's support for its ports bill, with the privatisation of Newcastle Port worth at least $700 million.

Mr Nile's bill is already creating disquiet in the O'Farrell government. Liberal MP Marie Ficarra told Parliament that, although she personally supported the bill, "government members are in a quandary about this bill."

She said no one expected to be debating it, and MPs were "deeply concerned" by it. "It is about valuing the life of a woman and her unborn child and the life of the foetus at all stages," Ms Ficarra said.

Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi said the bill was "extremely worrying" and a step in the wrong direction for the right of women to control their bodies.

"This bill clearly gives the foetus a personhood status and seems to be a wedge for the anti-abortion lobby," Ms Faruqi said. "It creates a distinct criminal offence that relates to the foetus and is unrelated to the woman."

Current law deals with vehicle accidents involving pregnant women by recognising the crime of aggravated injury to the woman if her foetus is harmed or dies.

The government refused to comment on any deal with Mr Nile.

Mr Nile said the government had not given him details of the amendments it might make in the lower house but said he would not accept changes to the bill's essence.  "The essence is to grant legal status to the unborn child in the womb," Mr Nile said.

He denied the bill was about abortion. "Some Labor women are nervous and saying I am trying to ban abortion, but I have put in an exemption to all medical procedures."

The bill was targeting vehicle accidents and "all violent acts" such as attacks on women by violent partners, he said.

A quarter of the O'Farrell cabinet is comprised of women, and the issue is likely to be highly contentious among Liberal moderates.

Brodie Donegan, the mother of Zoe, for whom the bill is named, previously told Fairfax Media she did not support Mr Nile's bill and he had not spoken to her about it.

Ms Donegan was eight months pregnant when she was run down by a drug-affected driver in 2009, and Zoe was stillborn.

The Labor government in 2005 amended the Crimes Act to expand the definition of grievous bodily harm to a woman to include the destruction of a foetus, after earlier rejecting a proposal to create a new criminal offence of killing an unborn child.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


3 July, 2013

In sickness and in health? That’s too religious for a civil wedding in Britain

In the circumstances it is slightly surprising that the couple  did not wed in a church.  I did last time around and insisted on the full 1662 "Book of Common Prayer" service -- JR

But as Gary and Louise Lidington, from London, made final preparations for their wedding last weekend, they received an urgent telephone call from council registrars warning that they could not legally say the words “in sickness and in health”.

Officials in Tower Hamlets, east London, said that the phrase, which is used around the world, was too “religious” for a civil ceremony.

The couple, were forced to rewrite their vows, which they chose because of their traditional ring, just hours before the wedding, which took place on Saturday.

The phrase “to have and to hold” was also deemed too Christian, because of its echoes of the marriage service in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

But, after discussion, the council ruled that to it would be acceptable to say “to hold and to have”.

And they were allowed to replace “in sickness and in health” with “in sickness and when we are well”.

The couple said they had no choice but to agree to the change of wording or face having to call off their wedding.

But they were so baffled by the change that Mr Lidington, a barrister, stumbled over his lines as he said the new vows, while his wife, a public relations executive, was overcome by a fit of giggles.

The debacle shines the spotlight on confusion over the law on civil weddings in which religious elements such as hymns or Bible readings have been officially forbidden since 1837.

But the rules were relaxed eight years ago, as part of a wider overhaul of the civil weddings system, allowing couples to choose secular songs with religious references such as Aretha Franklin's “Say A Little Prayer” or Robbie Williams's “Angels”.

Wedding websites and books list a range of sample vows suitable for civil ceremonies including several which feature the traditional phrases chosen by Mr and Mrs Lidington.

The council apologised for the confusion but said they were concerned the vows did not comply with “with the relevant legality process”.

Arrangements for the wedding, held in Wilton’s Music Hall, in the east end, the oldest surviving Victorian theatre of its type, had been agreed for months.

Formalities such as the vows, had also apparently been approved at a meeting with registrars in February.

But on Friday afternoon Mrs Lidington, 39, received an urgent message on her mobile phone warning that there were legal problems.

“It was the registrar to say that she would not be able to marry us with these words and could I rewrite them over the phone,” she said.

Mrs Lidington explained they had chosen the vows from a website specifically because they were traditional without being overtly religious.  “I was horrified by it because they are so important,” she said.

“They have just stood the test of time, they sound like poetry, they flow beautifully and they are just the form of words that you expect at a wedding.  “Ever since I was 11 I just imagined that they would be the words I would use when I married my husband.

“It just seems ridiculous that words which don’t mention religion could be so problematic.”

But she added: “I just thought: 'I can’t be rude, I can’t be offensive because I have got stand in front of her tomorrow and pledge my life to my husband'.”

In the end the couple laughed off the legal difficulties and Mr Lidington, 43, surprised his wife during the speeches by asking her to join him by reciting the vows they had originally intended.

“Taking his lead, during my speech I said the words that we had originally chosen to him,” explained Mrs Lidington.  “It was incredibly romantic, and got a standing ovation from our guests.”

Kate Thompson of the popular weddings website confetti.co.uk – which includes almost identical vows among its list of suggestions - said: “I’ve never come across anything like this before – it does sound ridiculous to me and I do feel sorry for the bride and groom that this happened at the 11th hour.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We apologise for the short notice that Mr and Mrs Lidington received regarding changes to their chosen vows.

“It was important that their civil ceremony complied with the relevant legality process, and we worked closely with the couple to ensure that the vows they exchanged on their special day were as close as possible to those initially chosen by them.”

The council later pointed to a handbook for registrars which recommended avoiding phrases from the Prayer Book.


Trivialities that distract from bad policy

James Delingpole

A few weeks ago I drove to Market Harborough for my test as a potential Ukip candidate. The process was very thorough. There was a media interview section, where one of my examiners did a bravura impersonation of a tricksy local radio presenter (he even did the traffic bulletin beforehand). Then came a test on the manifesto. Finally, there was the bit where I nearly came unstuck: the speeches.

My problem was that the stern lady interviewing me had seen me speak before. It was at one of Nigel Farage’s boozy fundraisers at the East India Club. Coming out as a Ukip member, I had vouchsafed to the audience, had been as thrilling as finally admitting you’re gay and realising you now have the pick of London’s finest fisting clubs.

The analogy — it just came splurging out: do such specialist venues even exist? — seemed to go down well with the lairier half of the room. But not the more sedate half. ‘It’s just as well my husband doesn’t know what fisting is!’ my examiner rebuked me. The impression I got — though we parted on excellent terms — was that she wasn’t 100 per cent sure I was the kind of person she’d like to be representing her party in Westminster or Brussels.

It’s a reasonable concern, I think. Polished, smoothy-chops, Shakespeare–quoting Dan Hannan I ain’t. Nor am I as clever or fluent or subtle as Michael Gove; nor as capable and diligent as Owen Paterson (who holds the parliamentary record for most questions tabled on a single subject: over 600 on badgers); nor as funny and charismatic as Boris Johnson; nor as palpably decent and admirable as Frank Field; nor as mad-keen dedicated to constituency work as Rory -Stewart; nor as brutally effective as, say, George Galloway or Alex Salmond.

What’s more, I don’t even like politics. It’s ideas that interest me, not committee meetings and backstabbing and negotiation and compromise and other people’s crap speeches. I think it’s as well that my potential supporters are aware of this before we go any further: if you vote James Delingpole what you’re going to get is James Delingpole — not ‘James Delingpole does a half-arsed impression of what other people think a politician should look like’. Let me tell you some of things I won’t do. Peter Hain — my perfect anti-role-model — gave me some excellent examples on Any Questions? the other day. One is the cloying, sanctimonious speech designed to Show How Much You Care. Because we were in Machynlleth, scene of the murder of April Jones, Hain just couldn’t resist grandstanding about how sincerely he felt everyone’s pain.

Hain has form in this regard. This was, as far as I’m aware, the first time in recorded history where Hain didn’t use Any Questions? to cram in at least five mentions of the heroic and selfless role he played as a young man in the struggle against apartheid. But I suppose that wouldn’t have left space for the three mentions he managed to squeeze in of another of his pet topics – the expensive, pointless, environmentally destructive Severn Barrage project.

Don’t get me wrong. I get as upset by a child’s senseless murder as the next sentient human being. What I can’t bear, though, is this formulaic parading of empathy that so many politicians feel is required of them these days. Especially when it’s followed by a posturing demand for yet more intrusive and counterproductive government -legislation.

Cant — that’s what politicians like Hain specialise in. (Change the odd letter and it also describes what they are.) And I absolutely refuse to engage in it, no matter how much cheap applause it wins me, because it’s intellectually dishonest, morally wrong and, worst of all, conducive to ill-considered, knee-jerk policymaking.

The electorate, I fear, are as much to blame for this as the political class. We pay far too much attention to surface trivia, like how much MPs claim in expenses or how nicely they answer your letter grumbling about the potholes in their constituency, and far too little about what matters most: the social and economic consequences of their bad decisions.

Consider just one example: the 2008 Climate Change Act — drafted by hard-left environmental activist Bryony Worthington, voted for by all but five MPs — will cost the taxpayer £18.3 billion every year for the next forty years, driving up the cost of energy but doing absolutely nothing to solve the largely imaginary problem of ‘climate change’. Do you know how many £1,600 ornamental duck houses you could buy with that every year? More than 11 million.

No one benefits if politicians are forever worrying about what some chippy, resentful git might think about their salary or their travelling first class. Nor if they are forever treading on eggshells to avoid saying or doing anything at which some lefty pressure group or some hysterical Twitter troll might choose to take offence. God knows, our political class are far too dull and career-safe as it is.

But what I do think they ought to be terrified of, all the time — to the extent that it keeps them awake at night, sweating cold fear — is enacting poor policy. You can be the most devoted constituency MP in the world with the most parsimonious expenses record in Westminster, but if you’ve spoken up for or voted for something as ill-thought-through and damaging as HS2 or renewable energy policy, then, quite simply, you have failed your country and your name deserves to live in infamy.

So that’s where I stand. There’s the deal. Take me or leave me: I really don’t mind which.


The judge was biased:  He was anti-press

He didn't care about misdeeds by others

Lord Justice Leveson has been plunged into new controversy after a police whistleblower revealed he was prevented from exposing how senior officers used the media to smear each other.

Peter Tickner, a former anti-fraud investigator, said he wanted to reveal dirty tricks campaigns within Scotland Yard to the Leveson Inquiry into media ethics last year – but was gagged from doing so.

Speaking publicly for the first time, the official claims senior figures within the Met Police prevented him from ‘speaking a truth that no one wanted to hear’.

Mr Tickner says he told Lord Justice Leveson that he wanted to reveal how senior officers leaked information to the media to discredit rivals and promote their own careers.

But days before he was due to give his evidence he was told by a member of the inquiry team he would be denied the chance to do so.

The judge made his ruling after objections by the Metropolitan Police.

The controversy follows recent claims of double standards at the inquiry, launched in response to phone hacking by Rupert Murdoch’s News International newspapers.

But in recent weeks, it has emerged that phone hacking is commonly used by other non-media businesses, including law and insurance firms, yet was largely ignored by Leveson, with only a passing reference in his final report.

The judge has also has been criticised for refusing to investigate claims of a conflict of interest over the love affair between Carine Patry Hoskins, a barrister at the inquiry, and David Sherborne, who represented hacking victim Hugh Grant.

Last night, Tory MP Rob Wilson said: ‘It is a matter of great concern that the Leveson inquiry ruled out potentially significant evidence about the conduct of the police.

‘It is increasingly clear that it focused on the press, while going soft on wrongdoing by others. It raises concerns as to whether Leveson gave a balanced account.

This is very worrying given recent disturbing revelations about police conduct. Mr Tickner’s evidence must be properly looked at.’

Mr Tickner was the former director of internal audits at Scotland Yard investigating the misuse of funds, but left the Met in 2009.

He signed a confidentiality agreement before he left, which prevented him from going public about his concerns, so says the Leveson Inquiry was the only forum which granted him protection from speaking out.

Mr Tickner took early retirement in 2009 to set up his own investigative and audit business.

In a draft statement to Leveson, he told of three high-profile cases in which he believed senior officers used their access to confidential material to leak information to newspapers in a bid to destroy internal rivals.

The leaks apparently related to a bungled raid by counter-terrorism police in Forest Gate, East London in which a suspect was mistakenly shot; the expenses of former head of counter-terrorism, Andy Hayman; and former Commissioner Sir Ian Blair’s links to a friend who won £3 million police contract.

Mr Tickner says he wanted to speak out at the inquiry after police chiefs rejected his pleas to track down officers responsible for smears.

He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I told the police I wanted to be an official witness to the inquiry about relations between the police and the press.

'When they ignored me, the only way I could raise the issue was by going directly to the Leveson team. The effect was to gag me from speaking.’

Lord Justice Leveson said in his two-page judgment that he couldn’t hear Mr Tickner’s evidence because he didn’t have the resources, the time to investigate the claims fully, and that it was partly irrelevant.

But Mr Tickner says this decision kept his ‘highly relevant’ claims secret. ‘Lord Justice Leveson denied me a public platform where I could have spoken without fear of any legal action against me for speaking a truth no one wanted to hear.’

Metropolitan Police lawyers told Leveson it would be ‘unfair’ to senior officers, including Sir Ian Blair and Sir Paul Stephenson, his deputy and later successor, if Mr Tickner was allowed to give evidence.

The Met’s QC told the inquiry that the evidence was aimed at ‘settling old scores’.

Mr Tickner said: ‘Whoever suggested that clearly doesn’t know me. All I cared about was whether officers had behaved stupidly or badly with public funds.

‘Senior police officers should be acting in the public interest, not running personal agendas at the taxpayer’s expense.

'The public needs to know that the behaviour of some senior officers was not acceptable. They should be accountable for their actions but in my experience rarely were.’

‘I saw it as my duty to give evidence about unacceptable relations between senior officers and the press.’

A spokesman for Lord Leveson last night said the judge had given a ‘comprehensive explanation’ of why Mr Tickner was not called to give evidence to the inquiry.  He added: ‘The ruling could have been challenged at the time and was not.’

However, Mr Tickner said he could not afford any legal representation to make such a challenge.


Yes There Sure Is a Slippery Slope

Not only do the homosexual militants go ballistic when you mention a slippery slope in action, but even friendly critics advise that we not use the term. Well, I do not care much about the mere terminology – it is the reality which I really am concerned about here.

And there most certainly is a slippery slope in action. If you don’t like the term, use another, such as the open door effect. It is real and it is happening all the time. The more the militants deny it is happening, the more we see it taking place.

When the US Supreme Court handed out its decision on marriage last week, including its attack on the Defence of Marriage Act, the polyamorists instantly came out in force. They demanded – quite logically – that if homosexual marriage is a goer, then there is no reason why group marriage cannot be legalised as well.

One article on this written just before the Court decision offers some revealing quotes: “Anita Wagner Illig, a longtime polyamory community spokesperson who operates the group Practical Polyamory, is unsure of the direct impact of a ruling that would legalize same-sex marriage nationwide. Until recently, she noted, ‘the polyamory community has expressed little desire for legal marriage,’ but now more options seem possible in the future. ‘We polyamorists are grateful to our [LGBT] brothers and sisters for blazing the marriage equality trail,’ Illig said.

“Illig believes there is indeed a ‘slippery slope’ toward legal recognition for polygamy if the court rules in favor of nationwide same-sex marriage, an argument typically invoked by anti-gay marriage advocates. ‘A favorable outcome for marriage equality is a favorable outcome for multi-partner marriage, because the opposition cannot argue lack of precedent for legalizing marriage for other forms of non-traditional relationships,’ she said.”

George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who is representing a polygamist family, said this: “There is no reason that the decision should impact polygamy and particularly the Brown case in Utah. Polygamists are where homosexual couples were before 2003 and the Lawrence [v. Texas] decision” – a case striking down laws against homosexual relations.

Another article quotes more excited polyamorists: “Anne Wilde, a vocal advocate for polygamist rights who practiced the lifestyle herself until her husband died in 2003, praised the court’s decision as a sign that society’s stringent attachment to traditional ‘family values’ is evolving. ‘I was very glad… The nuclear family, with a dad and a mom and two or three kids, is not the majority anymore,’ said Wilde. ‘Now it’s grandparents taking care of kids, single parents, gay parents. I think people are more and more understanding that as consenting adults, we should be able to raise a family however we choose.’

“‘We’re very happy with it,’ said Joe Darger, a Utah-based polygamist who has three wives. ‘I think [the court] has taken a step in correcting some inequality, and that’s certainly something that’s going to trickle down and impact us.’

“Noting that the court found the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional because the law denied marriage rights to a specific class of people, Darger said, ‘Our very existence has been classified as criminal… and I think the government needs to now recognize that we have a right to live free as much as anyone else’.”

Wilde can see the clear logic in all this, and the clear slippery slope in action: “I’m not a fortune-teller, but it seems like if more people are accepting of gay marriage, it would follow that polygamist marriage wouldn’t be criticized quite so much.”

Even the Economist magazine, which is in favour of homosexual marriage, had an article on this recently, and yes they too used the term “slippery slope” at the very outset. “Now that the federal government recognises the marriages of same-sex couples from enlightened states, what’s next? Polygamy? Well, polygamists are hopeful. And it does stand to reason. DOMA was struck down in no small part because it picks out a certain class of people and, by denying them recognition of their marriages, denies their families equal freedom and dignity.

“Can it be denied that polygamous families, whose marital arrangements are illegal, much less unrecognised, are denied equal liberty and are made to suffer the indignity active discrimination? Joe Darger, a Utahn with three wives, has said, ‘Our very existence has been classified as criminal… and I think the government needs to now recognize that we have a right to live free as much as anyone else’.”

Matt K. Lewis of the Daily Caller asks: “What’s magical about the number two?” Quite right. Once you jettison gender in the marriage equation, why not abandon number as well? Indeed, why worry about things like age as well?

The Economist piece concludes with a hearty endorsement of polyamory: “Same-sex-marriage activists have wisely sought to separate themselves from advocates of even more exotic marital arrangements. However, as Mr Lewis suggests, the idea that marriage is an inherently heterosexual institution is less plausible than the idea that it is inherently exclusive to couples. If a man can love a man, a woman can love a woman and a man. And if they all love each other… well, what’s the problem? Refraining from criminalising families based on such unusual patterns of sentiment is less than the least we can do.

“If the state lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a heterosexual definition of marriage, it seems pretty likely that it likewise lacks a legitimate rationale for imposing on Americans a monogamous definition of marriage. Conservatives have worried that same-sex marriage would somehow entail the ruination of the family as the foundation of society, but we have seen only the flowering of family values among same-sex households, the domestication of the gays. Whatever our fears about polyamorous marriage, I suspect we’ll find them similarly ill-founded. For one thing, what could be more family-friendly than four moms and six dads?”

When mainstream journals like the Economist start talking this way, then you know we have a slippery slope in action. The militant homosexuals can keep pretending it does not exist, but as I have just documented here, and in so many other articles, the slope is most certainly alive and well.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


2 July, 2013

The antisemitic British establishment again

A local Jewish student was denied entry into the United Kingdom late last month. After being detained for more than nine hours, he was put back on a plane to the United States by customs officials. During that time he was never told why he was being denied entry. He was told his photo and fingerprints have now been placed in a database that will make it difficult for him to obtain entry into the U.K. or any other E.U. country.

The U.K. man who had offered Louis “Chip” Cantor summer work experience and is not Jewish, Kevin Shilling, said the U.K. Border Agency agent he spoke to in his attempt to get Cantor admitted into the country made more than one anti-Semitic comment to him during the telephone conversation they had.

Chip Cantor told his story to two local television stations last week. On Tuesday, June 4, the 23-year-old student told KMBC he was traveling to the U.K. to visit and gain summer work experience and to participate in a fundraiser for a child who has cancer. He left Kansas City on Wednesday, May 29, on an early-morning flight and waited in line to go through customs after landing in the country after 10 p.m. London time. When he got to the front of the line, a female customs agent began looking at his passport and treated him courteously. The routine exercise ended when she noticed the two pages in his passport with Israeli visas.

“I spent my freshman year studying abroad in Israel,” he said.

Cantor is no longer speaking publicly about the incident.

“I am feeling ‘publicized out’ at the moment,” he commented via email.

In the same email, Chip wrote that he never really wanted to tell his story publicly.

“My only real goal with this fiasco is to get my fingerprints and picture removed from their database and the blacked out stamp in my passport removed as well,” he said.

Cantor said he understands people with Israel visas are frequently denied entry into countries all over the world.

“Usually with very little explanation as to why they are being denied entry. It is sad, but it is the reality we are living in. This will, of course, never change my love for Israel, it will only make it grow stronger,” he said.

The Cantor family has contacted the office of Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts for assistance in getting Chip Cantor’s name cleared.

The customs nightmare

Chip’s father Chuck Cantor said his son told him the female customs agent — who for some reason was not dressed in a customs uniform — was very pleasant toward him until she saw the Israel stamps in his passport. Then she simply walked away with his passport without speaking a word to him. Chip told his father he estimates she was gone 45 minutes to an hour. He never saw her again.

“He has a lot of Israel stamps,” Chuck said. Chip has been to Israel several times including two programs sponsored by Young Judaea — the six-week Machon program and a gap-year program. Chip Cantor graduated from Shawnee Mission East High School in 2009 and will be a senior in the fall at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Finally, according to Chuck, a different, uniformed customs agent came to see him. Chip was told they were taking his bags and detaining him for questioning. He was not told why.

Once in the interview room Chip told his father that he was told if he changed any of his answers to any questions, he was going to go to prison.

“He said, ‘Why would I change my answers? I told you the truth,’ ” Chuck said.

Chip wasn’t allowed to be in sight of his luggage and eventually was put into what he described to his father as a detention cell.

“At some point a woman who was wearing a burka came to the cell to photograph him,” Chuck said. At that point he was fingerprinted as well.

As she’s doing this, she said to him, “We’re putting your name and fingerprints and photos into a database. From now on it is going to be very difficult for you to ever travel in the United Kingdom or anywhere in the E.U. It will be up to each individual country to decide if they want to admit you,” Chuck said his son was told.

Chuck said Chip kept telling the customs agents he had not committed any crimes or done anything wrong. Eventually another agent came to tell Chip he was being deported. Now several hours after he was detained, Chip was given the opportunity to call his father.

Chuck said he advised his son to ask to speak to someone from the American consulate or the U.S. embassy. Those requests were denied.

At this point, Chuck asked to speak directly to the customs agent and was connected with Philip G. Yeomans.

“I was trying to get my son into that country. I was very calm. I called him sir, I was very respectful,” said Chuck, who continued to explain that he was sure his son had the appropriate paperwork to enter the country.

After Chuck spoke to Yeomans, he contacted Shilling in the U.K. for assistance. It was about 3 a.m. U.K. time. Shilling called Yeomans.

Shilling noted the conversation didn’t accomplish anything. Several times, however, Yeomans made anti-Semitic comments to Shilling. At one point, when Shilling was explaining the reason Chip was in the country, the customs agent told Shilling that Chip should have lied to the customs agent, adding, “A Jewish kid would find that easy,” Shilling reported.

Yeomans the custom agent also told Shilling any additional attempts to aid Cantor would be useless and “the little Jew will be on his way back to his rich daddy,” in a matter of hours.

Chuck Cantor said during the time Chip was in detention, he was given only a half of a sandwich and very little water. When Chip asked for more food and water over several hours, he was alternately denied, told to “stop pestering” them, and told he could have water “only if you say please.”

In the morning, Chip was escorted to the plane by another customs agent for a flight back to the United States. At this time Chip asked the agent for his passport and was refused.

“The guy walks him onto the plane and in front of everyone, like a prisoner, he says here is this man’s passport. Do not give him his passport until you land in the United States,” Chuck said he was told. The American Airlines purser told Chip that, in 17 years flying internationally, he had never seen anything like it.

Less than 36 hours after leaving Kansas City, Chip was back in town.

Shilling, Chip’s would-be employer in the U.K., is helping the Cantors try to clear the young man’s name there. When contacted by The Chronicle Shilling said, “I’m really so sorry for Chip and the way he was treated. I want to reassure all your readers that if they plan a visit to the U.K., once they get past the U.K. Border Agency they will find friendly, welcoming people, without prejudice.”


It cost one brave JP her job - but  ALL Britons are victims of the Great Cannabis Con

The Government and the courts are lying to you. Officially, cannabis is against the law. In practical fact, this is largely false.

This country is running a covert experiment in marijuana legalisation, which makes Amsterdam look puritan and severe.

But officially the law stays on the books. This allows Ministers to make grandiose claims that they are still fighting to protect your children from drugs, when in truth they have surrendered to the cannabis culture.

It also allows the Government to claim it is honouring the treaties that oblige us to ban marijuana. This fake law is one of the biggest lies in modern politics, so big that it is almost impossible to expose it. I have many times tried, though my recent detailed and carefully researched book on the subject was ignored or crudely smeared in most of the media.

But perhaps this will persuade you. This week a Manchester magistrate, Yvonne Davies, was forced from her job because she pleaded with a convicted cannabis grower, Christopher Duncan, to mend his ways. She did so because her own brother, Glen Harding, died tragically after becoming a habitual cannabis user.

Mrs Davies had no doubt that her brother’s disastrous descent was the result of this extremely dangerous and potent drug – crazily viewed as ‘soft’ by our culture. Just as in the years when science first began to link cigarettes with lung cancer, direct causal evidence is lacking. But the correlation is so strong that no responsible person can ignore it.

So there was Mrs Davies, enforcing the law as it is written down, trying to do a bit of good by sharing her own grief. And what happened?

Peter Reynolds, leader of a campaign to weaken the cannabis laws, lodged a complaint. I know Mr Reynolds. He is a charming, plausible and determined pest. I sometimes get the impression he thinks he is cannabis in person, so sensitive is he to criticisms of it.

Actually, he is not a very good advocate for his greasy and dangerous cause, and is easily countered by facts and logic. I and my friend David Raynes (a former Customs officer who knows about drugs) have beaten him in debate, and before an audience of students, too.

He has also complained (unsuccessfully so far) against me to the Press Complaints Commission.

Yet his attack on Mrs Davies succeeded. The allegedly tough and allegedly Conservative ‘Minister of Justice’, Chris Grayling, and the Lord Chief Injustice, the overpraised Lord Judge, agreed she should be reprimanded, a serious sanction. They said: ‘The views expressed in court were inappropriate. The Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chief Justice agreed and concluded that her combined actions fell below the standard of behaviour expected of a magistrate.’

The complaint from Mr Reynolds was supported by several retired magistrates, who ought to be profoundly ashamed of their behaviour.

Mrs Davies said it was ‘astounding that the views of a pro-cannabis campaigner were used to build a case against me. As far as I am aware, cannabis is still very much illegal in Britain.’

But it isn’t really. Like so many kind, dutiful, respectable people, she still has no idea of the depth and fury of the revolution which is still scouring its way through all our institutions.

One of its most vindictive and hateful aspects is its worship of human selfishness. And one of the main symbols of this new and ugly faith is the stinking weed called cannabis. Its cult is summed up in the words so often spat out by sulky adolescents of all ages: ‘I can do what I want with my own body. It’s none of your business!’

As Mrs Davies knows very well from her own bitter experience, it is our business, as a society and as individuals. The grief caused by her brother’s sad suicide in a canal, the grief caused to parents, children, brothers and sisters when family members go permanently mad after using cannabis, is real.

Many people write to tell me of such things. And a wise society would praise Mrs Davies for trying to hold the line against this evil, to help the young resist the tremendous peer pressure to risk their sanity by drug-taking.

But we are not a wise society, and those who sit in the seats of power are not fit to be trusted with that power. Now you have seen how they acted in this case, and which side they took in this quarrel, will you at last believe me?


A Jamaican contribution to diversity in Britain

A man who raped a pensioner in her bedroom 16 years ago has been jailed for life following a retrial under the double jeopardy law.

Wendell Baker, 56, had previously walked free from court when he went on trial in 1999 for attacking 66-year-old Hazel Backwell because a judge ruled out DNA evidence.

But he went on trial again this year after a DNA match was found 'in the order of one in a billion'.

Baker, who was unanimously found guilty by jurors after deliberating for just over an hour on Tuesday, refused to come out of the cells to attend his sentencing at the Old Bailey.

Judge Peter Rook said he would serve a minimum of 10 years and six months before being considered for parole.

Ms Backwell, who died in 2002, suffered a 'terrifying ordeal' when Baker broke into her home in Stratford, east London, as she slept in January 1997.

He tied her hands behind her back with flex, beat and raped her, then ransacked her house before leaving her bound and trapped in a cupboard.

Ms Backwell was found by chance by neighbour George Walpole the next evening, 'terrified' and thinking she was going to die.

The attack left her too afraid to continue living alone or go out by herself and she 'died with a very sad and broken heart', her family said.

Judge Rook said: 'It must be the case that but for the fact that it was a Thursday and Mr Walpole passed by, she was likely to have died as a result.

'It seems to me it’s difficult to find a case of more serious rape during the course of a burglary, short of where the victim is either killed or caused very serious harm.'

The judge said Ms Backwell 'went through hours of torment thinking she had been left to die'.  He went on: 'This was a particularly grave case of the rape of a woman in her own bedroom, you having broken into her home at night. Up until then she had always felt safe and secure in her home.

'This was a planned offence to steal money. When you could not find any, you decided to punish her with a brutal and vicious attack and by raping her.'

He added that Ms Backwell was beaten 'black and blue' by Baker. 'Her face was unrecognisable even to her own son who only recognised her by her voice.'

Baker was arrested in October 1998 on suspicion of rape and provided a DNA sample which matched the DNA profile of swabs taken from Ms Backwell.  He had previously provided a DNA sample in January 1998 which also matched samples taken from Ms Backwell.

But he walked free from court after the judge decided the case could not proceed following legal argument at the start of the original trial in 1999.

A change in the law in 2005 allowed a person cleared of a serious offence to face retrial in certain circumstances, but when the case was reviewed in 2007, it was found that much of the evidence had been lost or destroyed.

The case was then reopened in 2009 and Baker, from Walthamstow, north east London, but of no fixed address, was arrested in 2011.

He gave further DNA samples matching that found on swabs taken from Ms Backwell with a probability 'in the order of one in a billion', the court heard.

Jamaican-born Baker denied raping Ms Backwell, telling the court he had been framed by police, whom he claimed had hounded him for years.  The court heard he has been in and out of prison since the 1970s for a range of offences including burglary, theft and actual bodily harm.

Today her son David Backwell was in court to see his mother's attacker sentenced.

A statement on behalf of Ms Backwell’s family was released by the Metropolitan Police, which said the 'violent and depraved attack' had ruined her life and she died with a broken heart.

It said: 'My mother was a brave and strong woman. She survived the attack and was able to give a detailed account of what Wendell Baker put her through but her life was never the same again.  'She found it difficult to remain in her much-loved home and she moved into a warden-assisted flat and this began her demise.

'My mother sadly passed away lonely, with a broken heart and a shadow of her former self, and was never able to see the man who caused her so much pain jailed for what he did.

'My mother felt as if she had been raped a second time when Wendell Baker was first acquitted. She could not understand what had happened and was left devastated. Baker was a free man and was allowed to continue with his life as if nothing had ever happened.

'Today Baker is no longer able to walk the street a free man and will have to face the stark reality of his actions. Justice has definitely been served today.'

The statement said Ms Backwell’s family had been 'sad and upset' when they were told that much of the evidence had been lost.  It added: 'We worried about what this meant for my mother’s case but today’s outcome is what is important. What happened is now in the past and today is about my mother.

'My mother suffered and it saddens me that she is not here to witness this momentous day. Instead I stand here on her behalf. Today is a good day for our family but it will always be tinged with sadness.'

Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Burgess said: 'This has been an extremely complex and difficult case to bring before the court and we welcome the (lengthy) sentence that has been handed down today.

'Wendell Baker mistakenly believed that he had got away with this horrific crime back in 1997 but the Special Casework Investigations Team has worked tirelessly to ensure that he will now spend a considerable amount of time in jail for the crime he has committed.

'The sentence handed down today reflects the awful nature of the offence and I am pleased that David Backwell - Hazel’s son - has been given the opportunity to represent his mother today and to see justice being served.'


Australia:  The contemptuous political class

The political class has contemptuous attitude towards the Australian public. And I am not talking about our new Prime Minister. The case in point is the upcoming referendum on whether to recognise local government, which in reality expands the powers of the Commonwealth.

The referendum seeks to amend section 96 of the Australian constitution to read: ‘Parliament may grant financial assistance to any State, or to any local government body formed by a law of a State, on such terms and conditions as the Parliament thinks fit.’

If the referendum is successful, not only will the Commonwealth have expanded powers into areas that have traditionally been the responsibility of the states, but it will duplicate state bureaucracies at a federal level.

The expansion of government power is coupled with a $32 million public information campaign that treats the public with utter contempt.

The contempt arises from the fact that $31.6 million of taxpayer funding is for the ‘Yes’ campaign, while only $0.5 million is for the ‘No’ campaign.  If the case for reform were strong enough, such asymmetrical financial support would not be necessary.  By way of comparison, for the republic referendum, the ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ campaigns each received $7.5 million.

The political class is spending your money to convince you that they should be more powerful.

Despite the excessive spending on a public information campaign, there is evidence that government ministers don’t even understand the logic behind the efforts to expand Commonwealth powers.

With overwhelming electoral and financial support for the referendum from the political class (with several exceptions), it is important for individuals, communities and civil society at large to organise themselves against the further encroachment of government into their lives.

If you want to get involved in the ‘Yes’ campaign, you can read more on the Australian Local Government Association’s campaign website,  and if you want to get involved with the ‘No’ campaign, visit the Vote No To Canberra’s Power Grab website.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


1 July, 2013

EDL leaders arrested on "suspicion of obstructing officers"

In Britain these days you can be arrested on suspicion that you might do something!  How Soviet!

Two English Defence League leaders were arrested today as they planed to visit the spot where Drummer Lee Rigby was killed last month.

EDL leader Tommy Robinson and his co-leader Kevin Carroll were detained by police on suspicion of obstructing officers in east London as they planned to stage what they claimed was a charity walk to Woolwich Barracks via the East London Mosque.

The Metropolitan Police yesterday put conditions on the march and imposed a route between Hyde Park Corner and Old Palace Yard, opposite the House of Lords.

In a statement posted on the EDL’s Twitter feed, the group said: 'Tommy Robinson & Kev Caroll arrested for obstructing the police and carted off.'

Scotland Yard yesterday said it was imposing conditions due to fears that both the march and gathering would 'result in serious public disorder and serious disruption to the life of the community' and a breach of the conditions would be a criminal offence.

The police force issued two notices under the Public Order Act based on 'current community tensions, the current intelligence picture about Saturday and recent marches and protests held by similar groups'.

It also said that attempts had been made to liaise with the EDL to facilitate the march and gathering and offered them two alternative routes that avoided Tower Hamlets, home to the East London Mosque.

Alan Green, chairman of the Tower Hamlets Inter Faith Forum, said that an open day was taking place at the mosque today.

He said: 'We are aware that there are those who are fearful of Islam and who seek to undermine the harmony that exists between the faith communities in this borough. Our unity here today makes it very clear that they will not succeed.'

Earlier this week, two American political activists who founded an anti-Muslim group were banned by the Home Secretary from entering the UK following reports they were to attend this weekend’s march.

Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, who set up Stop Islamisation of America and run the website Jihad Watch, have been forbidden from entering the country on the grounds their presence would 'not be conducive to the public good'.

The police also banned the British National Party (BNP) from marching from Woolwich Barracks earlier this month and ordered it to move its protest to Westminster.

The event saw rival protesters clash outside the Houses of Parliament, as BNP supporters and anti-fascist campaigners came to blows.


British "Mohammed" jailed for swindling thousands of pounds from bogus mortgage and insurance claims

More of that lovely "diversity"

A senior police officer was branded 'thoroughly dishonest' by a judge as he was jailed for making a string of bogus mortgage and insurance claims.  Inspector Mohammed Razaq, 53, swindled thousands of pounds relating to four houses he owned or managed.

Last month a jury at Manchester's Minshull Street Crown Court found him guilty of six counts of fraud, three counts of money laundering, and a charge of failing to disclose information.

Judge Jeffrey Lewis said Razaq, who was based at GMP's Bolton division, showed 'brazen guile' when committing his crimes and immediate custody was the only option.

Jailing the officer for 18 months, Judge Lewis added: 'It's a matter of bitter regret that I see before me a police officer whose honesty and integrity should be beyond reproach. Sadly that's not the case here.

'You've shown yourself to be a thoroughly dishonest man in many respects. It's always an unpleasant, painful and onerous duty for a judge to deal with a police officer who's broken the law, and in your case so blatantly and repeatedly.'

The offences took place from 2008 until 2011, when he was arrested and his office was raided by GMP's counter corruption unit.

The fraud charges related to a series of claims for damage and mortgage applications on four properties that he owned or managed. The houses were in Bradford Road, Great Lever, where he lived with his wife and three children, Bowker Street, Higher Broughton, and Duncan Street, Salford.

Between May 2008 and March 2011, Razaq made three false insurance claims against his portfolio of properties. He profited £13,000 from two of the claims, but the third claim for more than £20,000 was rejected as being 'excessively exaggerated'.

The fourth fraud conviction related to the withholding of claims information to secure more favourable terms on his property insurance.

He was also convicted of two mortgage frauds.

He denied the allegations but was found guilty after a six-week trial, and sentenced yesterday. The court heard how Razaq had health problems, and was also the main carer for his ill 83-year-old father.

David Nuttall, defending, told the court: 'He's going to suffer because of this conviction, because his standing as a man in the community, which he has worked so hard for, has been shattered and he's going to have to live with that.'

Assistant Chief Con Dawn Copley said: 'There is no doubt that the actions of Inspector Razaq have brought discredit to Greater Manchester Police and reflect badly on our officers and police staff who are honest and work tirelessly for the people of Greater Manchester.'

It us understood understood Razaq, who is still a serving officer on suspension, will face an internal hearing with GMP on Monday.


Voters back British welfare crackdown, finds poll

A welfare crackdown unveiled by George Osborne wins strong backing from voters in a new opinion poll.

The ICM survey for The Sunday Telegraph also shows that the public backs the Chancellor’s plans to leave the state pension out of an overall “cap” on welfare payments.

The findings come as ministers prepare to announce measures this week to stop foreigners abusing free NHS treatment and curbs on rogue landlords who rent properties to illegal immigrants.

The poll gives the Conservatives a boost because of the support for measures outlined by Mr Osborne in the Spending Review, last week, although Labour has increased its overall lead over the Tories.

ICM Research interviewed a sample of 2,006 adults aged 18+ online on 26-28th June 2013

Using the company’s “Wisdom Index” method, which asks voters to predict the result of the next election rather than which party they would back, Labour is on 34 per cent, up two points on last month. The Tories are unchanged on 29 per cent, with the Liberal Democrats down one point on 15 per cent. The UK Independence Party is down to 13, adding to evidence that its recent surge is fading.

David Cameron and Mr Osborne are viewed as the best team to manage the economy by 30 per cent of voters, comfortably ahead of Ed Miliband and Ed Balls on 23 per cent, but the poll is far from a ringing endorsement of the Tory duo because 33 per cent chose neither team.

Mr Osborne wins the support of nearly two thirds of voters — 64 per cent — for his plan for an overall cap on benefits spending which would exclude the state pension. Just 23 per cent say the cap should include the state pension, a move which Mr Balls has floated.

More than half of voters believe that universal benefits, including the winter fuel allowance and free bus passes, should no longer be paid to all pensioners. Fifty-six per cent say the payments should be restricted to “those who really need them” while 38 per cent believe they should continue to be paid for all. Unsurprisingly, older voters are keener to preserve their universal status than younger people.

A range of welfare measures announced by Mr Osborne last week wins high levels of support, with 87 per cent backing the cutting of benefits for jobless immigrants who refuse to take English lessons and 63 per cent supporting moves to make lone parents attend Jobcentres and “prepare for work” when their youngest child reaches three.

Just over half — 53 per cent — favour making new claimants wait seven days before they get their first payment, while a move to end automatic pay rises for public-sector staff is backed by 47 per cent.

Tory strategists, who are keen to focus attention on welfare, on which it believes the Opposition is weak, hailed the poll results. Grant Shapps, the Tory co-chairman, said: “This shows that the public overwhelmingly back the Conservative idea that people who want to work hard and get on in life should be given every opportunity.”

Labour sources said many of the measures unveiled by Mr Osborne last week had already been suggested by the Opposition.

This week ministers will announce moves to close loopholes that allow migrants and other foreigners who are not entitled to free NHS treatment, to avoid being charged. They will include a new registration and tracking system and “tightening up” of the European Health Insurance Card system which is used to claim back costs from visitors’ governments.

The current system fails to identify thousands of Europeans every year, effectively giving them free health care, according to sources at the Department of Health.

In 2011/12 the NHS estimated that foreign nationals should have paid around £33million, while insurers have put the annual cost of abuse of the system at between £50million and £200million.

Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said: “No one expects health workers to become immigration guards and we want to work alongside doctors to bring about improvements, but I’m clear we must all work together to protect the NHS from costly abuse.”

Ministers plan to target private landlords who fail to make checks on new tenants to make sure they are not illegal immigrants.


Julia Gillard:  A failed feminist flop and a warning to women in politics

The Australian Labor Party (ruling Leftists) has just switched leaders, dumping Julia Gillard (left above) and installing Kevin Rudd (right above)

Before she is totally forgotten in Australian politics (yesterday?), I thought I might point out an unintended truth in La Gillard's claim that her term in office has made it easier for other women in politics.  She has indeed.  She has shown them what NOT to do.

She didn't even start out well.  She gained power not by winning an election in her own right but by being propped up by turncoat conservative independents.  The voters of the two electorates represented by the said independents voted overwhelmingly AGAINST the Labor party but got Julia anyhow.  So she led what was essentially an illegitimate government.  From the very beginning she was not much of an example of female success.

And what does one make of the fact that Kevvy got nearly double  her poll numbers as soon as he replaced her?  That is about as harsh a reproof as one can get in politics.

What led to her final downfall, however, was her feminism. When half the voters are men, feminist ideas have to be promoted gingerly.  Julia did not do so and her final poll numbers among men were around 20%!

Her first big gaffe was the one that got her most praise at the time.  It was the speech that gave feminists orgasms worldwide, the speech where she condemned Tony Abbott as a misogynist. 

Unfortunately for her, however, she gave examples of where she thought the conservative leader had uttered misogynisms, and they were the sort of thing that would cause many men to say: "Hey!  I think that too".  She was in effect  criticizing Abbott for saying that men and women are different.  That may amount to misogyny among feminists but for most people it is just commonsense.  It is even commonsense that is amply backed up by science.  So she got a bit more of the feminist vote (which she mostly had already) but showed herself as a feminist extremist to most other people.  And that is a big "most".  Feminists of Gillard's stripe are still a small and cranky minority.

And then she really blew it with her "blue tie" speech, in which she claimed that her loss of power would lead to Australia being led by men in blue ties to the permanent exclusion of women. Tony Abbott, like many conservatives, often wears a blue tie.

The claim was however never plausible in any way.  The deputy leader of the opposition conservative parties is the very effective Julie Bishop, an unmistakeable female!  And because Australia is a monarchy, the ultimate legal authority in Australia  -- as Gough Whitlam found out to his rage -- is the Governor General, who also happens to be female.  And are we forgetting federal parliamentary conservatives like Jane Prentice, Natasha Griggs, Karen Andrews, Nola Marino etc.?

Julia's little bit of hysteria about her own importance did however have one amusing sequel.  Kevvy embraced it.  He has been wearing blue ties ever since!  It was indeed men in blue ties who took power from her, though not the group she foresaw.

So that speech was the last straw for a lot of men.  Her poll numbers among men dropped off a cliff almost immediately.  Most men give feminism some leeway but hysterical feminism was too much.

And right to the end she was pushing feminism -- setting up a commission of inquiry into how badly treated women are.

So the reasons for her disastrous poll ratings and her ignominious dismissal are clear, and I think they show  that women with leadership aspirations should do as Margaret Thatcher did:  campaign on the rightness of her policies, not on the basis of what she has between her legs.

There is  a rather amusing attempt to vindicate La Flop by one of her advisers, a British Leftist,  John McTernan.  He attributes her downfall to "a brutal and unfair misogynist culture" that we apparently have in Australia.  No mention of her poll numbers or the fact that it was the LEFT who deposed her. Those misogynist Leftists!

He has a point however in saying that she was a good "parliamentary performer".  Her ability not to answer questions was indeed non pareil. She was the queen of bluster instead.  I once saw Tony Abbott ask her the same question three times in a row without him getting an answer on any of those occasions. Verbal fluency she had.  Honesty would have been better.


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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine).   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

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.

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

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

Consider two "jokes" below:

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

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

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

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

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

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

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

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE

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

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans