Political Correctness Watch 
The creeping dictatorship of the Left..

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

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

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

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

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

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

Consider two "jokes" below:

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

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

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Freaked by the BNP! British PM pledges to house local people first

But isn't that "racist", Gordo? It is when the BNP advocate it!

Gordon Brown is to try to win back Labour’s core supporters with a pledge to give priority on housing waiting-lists to local residents. A proposal to require councils to take account of applicants’ connections to the area when allocating homes is central to a policy blueprint. The populist measure risks reviving the controversy over Mr Brown’s call for “British jobs for British workers” .

A housebuilding programme is also to be announced today as Mr Brown seeks to regain the political initiative. Extra cash for social housing will come from a £500 million switch in spending, outlined in the new programme, Building Britain’s Future, The Times has learnt.

Resentment at needs-based rules under which newly arrived migrants are believed to be placed at the front of housing queues has long been cited by Labour MPs as eroding support among its core working-class voters. Housing is an important issue in the Labour heartlands, with 1.6 million households on council waiting lists — four million people in England and Wales. In some areas, a quarter of households are queueing for a home. Disaffection among traditional Labour supporters was plain at the recent council and European elections, at which British National Party MEPs were elected. Mr Brown’s decision to oblige councils to give priority to those with local connections who have been waiting a long time is being dubbed “British homes for British people”.

Senior government sources insist, however, that the policy is consistent with a new emphasis on entitlement to key public services. The measure will not require primary legislation, it is understood, but will be subject to consultation.

Other policies being announced today include guarantees of a maximum 18-week wait for a hospital appointment, limited to two weeks for cancer patients, and free health checks for the over-40s. The NHS will be placed under statutory obligations to meet what are currently only targets. [which will just lead to yet more fudging of the figures]

Mr Brown previewed the theme of the government paper in an interview with The Times last week, when he said that he would not flinch from taking on “any vested interest that stands in the way of better services”.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is expected to take up the theme of entitlement tomorrow with the publication of a White Paper extending a guarantee of one-to-one tuition in maths and English for struggling pupils from primaries to the early years of secondary schools. It will also propose that league tables be replaced by a “report card” detailing schools’ performance on behaviour, truancy and parental satisfaction alongside exam results. Mr Balls is expected to duck the issue of whether schools should be ranked on a single grade. Critics claim such a move would diminish the emphasis schools place on academic performance.

Today’s policy blueprint, which will also include economic measures as well as the draft legislative programme for the last session before the general election, comes in the midst of a fierce row over public spending.

Yesterday Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told the BBC that ministers wanted to improve accountability in the public services. Challenged in a Politics Show interview on what would happen if entitlements were not met, she said the punishments would depend on the service concerned. Refusing to comment on whether hospitals would have money taken away if they failed, Ms Cooper said: “There are . . . areas, in which you do have penalties, where actually you don’t get the services improved, but this will depend on particular areas.”


Outdated airport security is leaving the door open to bombers

If we want to stay safe, we need to be smarter. The first step is to put aside our qualms about passenger profiling

The terror threat has changed greatly but airport security is still stuck in the past, combating the terrorism of the 1960s and 1970s. Worse still, the antiquated approach to security is aiding and abetting terrorists. The huge queues caused at checkpoints as staff check that mummy’s make-up is put into a plastic bag create an ideal target for suicide bombers: why try to board a flight when you can blow up thousands in the terminal?

The security checkpoints we know today first became widely deployed in the late 1960s and early 70s. They proved their effectiveness in the United States in tackling hijackings of flights to Cuba. Then the hijackers were armed with handguns, knives or grenades. The archway metal detector and the X-ray machine were perfect for detecting dense, metallic objects carried on the person or in baggage. More than 40 years later, the same technologies are the workhorse of the airline passenger screening process.

But the archway metal detector cannot find explosives — plastic or liquid in form — or any weapons made out of ceramic, wood, glass or polycarbonate. And while significant improvements have been made to X-ray machines they have yet to prove effective in detecting improvised explosive devices.

Nonetheless, we take a bizarre degree of satisfaction that we now screen all luggage using an unproven technology. The best that can be said is that these archaic tools act as a deterrent. But if we are serious about security, we need to think more boldly and look elsewhere to learn some useful lessons.

In 1968 an El Al aircraft was hijacked from Rome to Algiers by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Following that incident, the Israelis introduced two measures: they deployed sky marshals on every flight and profiled passengers before they boarded, with the aim of identifying passengers with malign intent. No El Al aircraft has since been successfully hijacked.

We need to introduce profiling. But whenever it is proposed, it is shot down as racist: “Doesn’t it mean we’ll be picking on young Middle Eastern or Asian men?”

But one only needs to look to the Israeli experience to appreciate that, if that were the case, the system would have failed. When Japanese Red Army terrorists attacked Lod Airport in 1972, the Israelis realised that the system had to be modified to identify “intent” through behavioural analysis, rather than focus on target groups. And it worked. In 1986 Israeli security agents identified a pregnant Irish woman as a potential threat to an El Al flight bound from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

She was far from being the stereotypical threat, yet she was unwittingly carrying an improvised explosive device that her lover had infiltrated into her bag. The bag, by the way, had been X-rayed without the bomb being detected. That incident heralded the introduction of the “Who packed your bags?” question.

In 2001 Richard Reid, the shoebomber, was prevented from boarding a flight from Paris to Miami because security agents had suspicions about him, providing further proof of the benefits of profiling; he returned the next day and managed to board his flight. Luckily, he failed to detonate his device.

Profiling already takes place at airports all the time. Customs and immigration agents intercept people on a daily basis — but at the end of a flight. They know the signs to look for. So why, when our lives are at stake, do we not screen people using this proven, common-sense methodology before people board a flight?

The answer is that the regulators want to treat everybody the same. In doing so, they are making security predictable and easier to penetrate. The regulators want a system that they can test, but gut feeling can’t be tested.

So what would a profiler see as “cause for concern”: it’s not simply the nervous passenger biting his fingernails or young Muslim men travelling solo. It is a summary of a host of factors — everything from clothing, behaviour, baggage, accompanying persons, ticket and passport data, confidence and to what extent the suspect is typical of passengers flying on a given airline, on a given route, on a given day. From these clues, an experienced profiler can build up a picture of a passenger.

If we were serious about profiling, it would allow security staff to use new technology, such as body scanners based on X-ray or millimetre wave imaging, that would be impractical to use on everyone in terms of cost and time. We could also start screening people at the boarding gate. This would allow security staff to better profile passengers. At present the screeners are viewing passengers bound for a host of destinations in the same light, even though passengers bound for Sydney differ from those going to Reykjavik, and those heading to Bangkok are different from those flying to Lagos.

Drug traffickers, especially “body packers” (who swallow or vaginally or anally insert their illicit loads) manage to circumvent airport security daily with quantities of narcotics that far exceed the minimum weight for an explosive charge — only to be picked up by customs professionals. These traffickers want to live. What will we do when a terrorist, who wants to die, carries his or her device internally on to an aircraft? Start deploying gynaecologists at checkpoints?

No, but we need to wake up. Our current screening process is fundamentally flawed because it is concerned with what people are carrying rather than what their intent is. There is no reason for every typical family going on a package holiday or business traveller heading for a meeting, who act and look the part, to be asked to remove their shoes and belts for inspection. And the expanding list of prohibited items diverts the attention of screeners from the real objective: finding metal and liquid-free terrorists.

I don’t advocate the Israeli approach. It’s unworkable for most international airports. But unless we start injecting a dose of common sense into the security process, we’ll do what we’ve always done — be reactive rather than proactive, allowing the terrorists and misguided civil libertarians to set the timetable.


Why boys will pick Bob over Barbie - children are genetically programmed, say scientists

It takes some people a long time to recognize the obvious

Boys are genetically programmed to prefer Bob the Builder to Barbie dolls, say scientists. Tests involving children as young as three months suggest biological differences and not social pressures dictate which toys children like to play with.

The U.S. study looked at babies aged three to eight months - before they can identify even the gender of other people. Researchers placed a doll and truck inside a puppet-theatre style box and showed them to 30 children - 17 boys and 13 girls - for two ten-second intervals.

The findings, from researchers at Texas A&M University, overturn conventional wisdom that children's toy preferences are down to social conditioning. The academics believe that society's expectations do play a major part in influencing how children play. But subtle cues from parents and peers merely reinforce a pre-disposition for masculine toys among boys and feminine for girls.

One theory is that these innate preferences are linked to traditional male and female functions dating back to the dawn of the species. Boys are thought to prefer playing with cars and balls because they involve moving objects and rough and tumble play. These activities may be linked to their ancestors' skills in hunting for food and finding a mate.

Girls, on the other hand, are thought to like red or pink toys because a preference for those colours enhanced their abilities to nurture infants, thus aiding their family's survival.

For the study, led by Gerianne Alexander, researchers set up a presentation box similar to a puppet theatre and placed a doll and truck inside. Eye-tracking technology measured how many times and how long the babies focused or 'fixated' on each object. The researchers found that 'girls showed a visual preference for the doll over the toy truck and boys compared to girls showed a greater number of visual fixations on the truck'.

The study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, added: 'The findings from the present research are consistent with the hypothesis that males and females may show different patterns of attention to toys because they are attracted to different visual characteristics of objects. 'It seems unlikely that object interests in infants younger than nine months of age are a result of internal motivation to conform to external referents of gender role behaviour.'

It is believed that exposure to sex hormones in the womb has a bearing on toy preferences, as it does many other aspects of gender-related behaviour. The study reinforces the findings of previous research by Dr Alexander involving green vervet monkeys. Male monkeys spent more time playing with traditional male toys such as a car and a ball than did female monkeys. The female monkeys, however, spent more time playing with a doll and a pot than did the males. Both male and female monkeys spent about the same amount of time with 'gender neutral' toys such as a picture book and a stuffed frog.

Her co-researcher for this study, Professor Melissa Hines, of Cambridge University, outlined the findings at a recent conference on the value of toys and play in London.

A further study, by researchers in the US state of Georgia, involved rhesus monkeys being offered two categories of toys - one with wheels such as wagons and other vehicles, and the other dolls and cuddly toys including Winnie the Pooh. The male monkeys spent more time playing with the wheeled toys, while the 23 females played with the cuddly and wheeled toys equally.


Homosexuality still despised in India

In a stifling room adorned with rainbow curtains and glamour posters, Mani - a high school student from Delhi's outer suburbs - submits to painful eyebrow threading with all the poise of a seasoned groomer. A regular at the Pahal Beauty Parlour - India's first gay beauty clinic cum drop-in centre - the 19-year-old says he will be marching this Sunday in Delhi's Gay Pride parade. But like many others he will do so behind a mask, notwithstanding the day's preening efforts.

While Mani identifies himself as a Kothi - or effeminate gay man - he says his parents don't know he is gay and would probably throw him out if he told them. They think his waxing is all part of his passion for religious dancing, chuckles Rahul Singh, a gay counsellor at the parlour and co-founder of the Pahal Foundation behind the venture. Not so amusing is Mani's fate as a lower caste gay Indian man. Asked about marriage, he says he will soon submit to family pressure and live a double life. It's a common dilemma in India, where homosexuality is a criminal offence under section 377 of the penal code, punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment.

Men at least have the option of a double life, says Singh, who at 32 is a veteran campaigner for the gay rights movement. "But Indian society still defines women strictly through marriage and family. Most women are married off so young they don't have time to think of themselves as sexual beings." Gay and lesbian suicides are a serious problem in India, and women who attempt to flee an enforced marriage often end up facing criminal charges.

Final year law student and gay rights activist Ponni Arasu has worked on many cases where one woman is charged with kidnapping another by the parents. "You have to go to court and prove she didn't kidnap her," says Arasu. "We also have to actively cover up the nature of the relationship because that's not something we can say in a courtroom today while it's still criminalised."

After years of fighting police harassment and blackmail, along with social and political discrimination, India's gay movement is on the verge of a breakthrough. Delhi's High Court is expected to hand down a judgment next month on a petition by a coalition of lawyers and gay rights groups challenging the legality of Section 377.

Gautam Bhan, another young, gay rights veteran and a leader of the push to repeal the law, says he is "very optimistic" the judgment will go their way. "If we win it's a hugely symbolic victory for us, because it's a law under which every kind of discrimination from psychological abuse to police harassment and violence becomes justified," says Bhan, 28. "Ending 377 won't change the daily life of a lot of queer Indians and their negotiations with parents, doctors, colleagues, landlords and police, but it will change the way queer people see themselves. The big impact will be what we do with it."

He is amazed by the pace of change in urban Indian attitudes in the past decade. "If you had told me 10 years ago there would be a gay pride march in Delhi I would have laughed." Kolkata has staged a gay pride march every year since 2003, but last year was the first time a march had been held in Bangalore, Mumbai or the country's conservative capital.



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

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

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


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Monday, June 29, 2009

Some socialist policing to inspire you

After 12 years of Leftist government, Britain's police no longer care about ordinary crime but if you call a homosexual something derogatory, you are sure to get a visit. The Australian State where I live has also been Left-run for a long time (since 1989 with one brief interruption) and they are even worse than the police in the story below. The Queensland police refused to take any interest when I handed them an ID card dropped by a person who had stolen my car. No "lack of evidence" excuse there. Their excuse was that the thief had "No form" (no criminal record). One wonders how anybody ever gets any "form" in that case. I am very familiar with the complete lack of police interest in crime reported by the woman below

A family have criticised a police force which claimed it could not investigate a theft at their home - even though they live just 70 yards from the local police station. Paula and David Whitfield, who works as a carer, were confident local officers would investigate after a pony cart, worth £500, was stolen from outside their house. But after reporting the theft and told not to disturb any potential evidence the couple waited in vain for officers to come round, take a statement and check for fingerprints.

Four days after the Whitfields' reported the crime they were stunned to get a letter from police saying they had closed the case. Exasperated Mrs Whitfield, 38, said: 'I couldn't believe they were disregarding a crime which happened on their own doorstep. 'We live so close to the police station that we can even hear the cell doors. Officers going to and from the station actually walk past our house. 'What's the point of them being there if they don't do their jobs?'

The letter from Hampshire Police said they had 'recorded' the theft at the Whitfields' home in the heart of New Forest. It added: 'Unfortunately we are unable to take any action. 'This is because there is not enough evidence available at this stage to make a case for prosecution and so your case has been closed.'

Mrs Whitfield rang police to complain when she received the letter on Saturday and was told an officer would visit. But when she had still not heard anything by Tuesday evening she walked around the corner to the police station but was told the relevant officer was in a meeting. Eventually Mrs Whitfield received a call from the officer but said she was still given no assurance that the theft of the cart would be properly investigated. She said: 'I got the impression from her attitude that she did not think it was important, that they would not trace the cart and that it would just be a waste of police time. 'A crime has happened in their own back yard and their attitude has been an absolute joke.'

Hampshire police have now said the letter was sent 'in error' and promised the crime would be investigated. However, their belated response has failed to impress the mother of four who plans to make a formal complaint to Hampshire police. She said: ''Some scenes of crime officers have been round but they say they only managed to get a partial fingerprint. 'That's hardly surprising because they finally came more than a week after the theft and it's rained a couple of times since then. 'They know they've mucked up and are attempting to cover their tracks. 'I'm 100 per cent convinced they've only decided to investigate the theft because the media have got involved. 'It makes me think I should try to investigate matters myself in future.'

Mrs Whitfield and her husband have abandoned any hope of being reunited with the cart, which they used to break in New Forest ponies. Despite being chained up it was stolen from a small garden beside their semi-detached house where their son Mitchell, 15, had spent several months rebuilding it. A police spokesman has since admitted the letter had been generated too early and sent in error. He said: 'When the crime was reported there weren't many lines of inquiry because the victims didn't see or hear anything. The theft will be investigated.'

Asked why police did not visit the couple the spokesman said the personnel involved did not work at that particular police station and had no way of knowing the Whitfields lived so close to the building. Chief Inspector Gary Cooper said: 'It is important to note that all incidents reported to police are dealt with in accordance with a grading system. 'Proximity to a police station does not qualify anyone for a preferential service. 'Upon receiving reports of the theft of a pony cart from an address in Lyndhurst, several unsuccessful attempts were made to re-contact the owners by telephone.'


Team of Researchers Blames Children's Films for Perpetuating "Heteronormativity"

Errr... How can I put this? Heterosexuality IS normal. Only a tiny minority are deviant from that

Researchers at the University of Michigan have concluded that the love stories told in classic Disney and other G-rated children's films - such as the Little Mermaid - are partially to blame for the pervasiveness of what they label "heteronormativity."

"Despite the assumption that children's media are free of sexual content, our analyses suggest that these media depict a rich and pervasive heterosexual landscape," wrote researchers Emily Kazyak and Karin Martin, in a report published in the latest issue of the Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) publication Gender & Society.

Kazyak and Martin said they studied the role of heterosexual relationships in several of the highest-grossing G-rated films between 1990-2005. The results, say the researchers, illustrate two ways that the children's films "construct heterosexuality": through "depictions of hetero-romantic love as exceptional, powerful, transformative, and magical," and "depictions of interactions between gendered bodies in which the sexiness of feminine characters is subjected to the gaze of masculine characters."

"Characters in love are surrounded by music, flowers, candles, magic, fire, balloons, fancy dresses, dim lights, dancing and elaborate dinners," the researchers observed. "Fireflies, butterflies, sunsets, wind and the beauty and power of nature often provide the setting for - and a link to the naturalness of - hetero-romantic love."

The SWS press release on the research blamed what they called the "old ideals" of romantic relationships, specifically those found the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, which in many instances inspired the films' storylines, for "such heavily gendered depictions and glorified portrayals of heterosexual relationships."

The team says the results point to heterosexuality achieving a "taken-for-granted status" "because hetero-romance is depicted as powerful." "Both ordinary and exceptional constructions of heterosexuality work to normalize its status because it becomes difficult to imagine anything other than this form of social relationship or anyone outside of these bonds," they concluded. "These films provide powerful portraits of a multifaceted and pervasive heterosexuality that likely facilitates the reproduction of heteronormativity."

The SWS press release concluded: "President Obama may have declared June to be Gay Pride Month, but entertainment for children therefore continues to perpetuate a less inclusive message, leaving those outside its confines with little to build their own dreams of happily ever after."

Sexuality expert Dr. Judith Reisman told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) yesterday that the "politically correct" study reveals "the growing dominance of Heterophobia within academia and the spread of heterophobes among female professionals."

"Now, if the Ladies of the Sociology Society think pornography is becoming the heteronorm and that Disney is contributing to that form of what is really Heterophobia, they might have an argument," Reisman noted. "However, the Ladies of the Sociology Society appear to favor Homoerotic child propaganda, as the current academic party line dictates."


Why women need a high-income husband

(Such as a plumber, electrician or a government "consultant")

The latest edition of the Jean Hailes Foundation magazine came out yesterday and it has a really good article, called “Great Expectations”, dealing with all the ridiculous stuff that women push themselves to achieve and which ultimately don’t matter at all. (I hope that sentence makes sense). Their resident psychologist, Mandy Deeks, answered some “typical” questions, and one in particular struck a chord with me:
“Question: Trying to work and raise a family is pushing me to breaking point! At work I feel guilty for not being with my children, and by the time I get home, I’m so drained that I don’t have the energy to interact with the kids. Who are these women who ‘have-it-all’? Answer : Many women try to ‘have-it-all’ but end up feeling torn and not good enough. Ask yourself these questions:

• Do I have realistic expectations of myself?

• What is important to me? (e.g. relationships, family, career)

• What values are important to me? What kind of mother, partner, worker or friend do I want to be?

• How do I want to look after my health?

Answering these questions can help give you some direction and highlight where you may need to make changes.”
Whilst I’m lucky enough now to work from a home base, and largely dictate the hours that I work to fit around school/young child requirements (which, translated, means that I do as much work as ever but now do a fair portion of it in the early am hours), this time last year I was working a 9 – 5 (plus some evenings) office-based role and trying desperately to juggle work commitments around daycare opening and closing times. All the while I was wondering whether my three children were better off being emotionally scarred from days spent with non-family carers, or better off being denied toys, travel and the education experience of childcare. Despite being a financial planner that was one equation that I just couldn’t perfectly solve.

Giving up work to look after the kids sounds wonderful as a concept, but for many of us it isn’t financially practical. Even if it is financially achievable by selling the house or taking no holidays for the next ten years, it’s often still not attractive - swapping work stress for financial stress doesn’t necessarily make us happier. But then getting home late at night, tired and snappy isn’t a perfect outcome either. Talk about neverending parental guilt!

Personally, I’ve sacrificed some income to work part-time, figuring that that will give my kids the best of both worlds.


The Malice of Mondoweiss

Argument by example has no status in science or logic -- except as an illustration of an already clearly established generalization. You can find examples to "prove" just about anything you like. But such constraints don't bother Leftist agitators. Their motivation is hate and hate is blind to logic

On June 4, Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana released on the Internet, via Mondoweiss and The Huffington Post, their now infamous video “Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem.” The video presented a visual compendium of college-age, drunken Jews, in restaurants and on the street, spewing undeniably and phenomenally ignorant, ugly, and racist comments about Barack Obama. All of the young men and women shown ought now be committed to spending a healthy measure of their coming adulthoods to overcoming the shame of their outing as dimwitted bigots.

The video received mostly negative attention, though it was roundly praised by the Israel-hating commenting community at the Mondoweiss blog. Some people tried to account for the awful behavior by offering the bogus, distracting excuse for the students that they were drunk. Serious criticisms of the video itself, however, were that the young people in the video could hardly be considered representative, of anything – while the clear intent, later expressly confirmed both by Blumenthal and Mondoweiss’s co-bloggers, Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz , was that it did, indeed, represent something characteristic – and that the video seemed to be intending a criticism of Israel (the raison d’etre of Mondoweiss) while the students were all, in fact, not Israelis, but American Jews.

The video’s content is so ugly and pathetic, the rationale for it so wrongheaded and dishonest, that within hours Huffington Post removed it from the site. Reported Blumenthal later about the decision: “I don’t see that it has any real news value,” the administrator told me. “For me it only proves that one can find drunk people willing to say just about anything. Especially drunk, moronic people.” YouTube followed suit.

A couple of days later, Blumenthal justified himself on Mondoweiss, declaring himself to have been “censored” by Huffington. This kind of puerile and disingenuous posturing is typical of all the actors involved. They all do much serious chest puffing about being “journalists,” but still Blumenthal feigns that a publisher’s choice not, in fact, to publish something, or its decision to correct a publishing error, is something other than editorial judgment at work – the kind of judgment by which journalists and other writers are regularly denied publication. No legal authority blocked public access to the video. Blumenthal is free to contract with whoever is willing to show his work. The video is visible in snippets, still, all over the Internet. The rapper 50 Cent posted it on his website, where it reaped the predictable whirlwind of counter racist scatology back. But characterizing Huffington’s decision as “censorship” – like a high school student newspaper editor denied the subversive wish to publish this week’s issue in virtual-cow-shit Smell-O-Vision – is representative of the hysterical vocabulary and devious propagandizing of Blumenthal, Weiss, and Horowitz.

All throughout Blumenthal’s defense of himself, and that offered by Weiss and Horowitz four days later, the low, dishonest confusion of categories continues. Israeli is elided into Zionist, Zionist into American Jew supportive of Israel’s existence, that category into American Jew who attends Yeshiva, into one who makes aliyah to Israel, into one of the dopes in the video. Blumenthal wants to undermine the moral legitimacy of Israel and he attempts it by substituting American Jewish students on drunken holiday. The intellectual rigor is awe inspiring, the journalistic method beyond reproach. Read Israeli blogger Yaacov Lozowick’s description of the area where the video was shot.

Said Blumenthal, “I do not and have never claimed that the characters that appeared in my video were representative of general public opinion in Israel. They reflect only a slice of reality, which is reality nonetheless.”

One can never be sure whether the arguments are consciously deceitful or the product of remarkably unconscious prejudice – or if these guys aren’t, one must say, really, very smart. The whole intent of the video is to stain the Israeli nation, and beyond that the Zionist belief in the need and justness of a Jewish state that is the basis of an Israeli nation. Of course, Blumenthal is claiming representativeness. The video is otherwise purposeless. And he does it by substituting some American Jews for Israel and never understands that the difference matters. The “slice of reality” – which isn’t, anyway, by that virtue alone significant – is deceptive. Blumenthal cannot see this. All of the cultural, sociological, and political distinctions are meaningless. The students are all Zionists. Enough said.

The obvious reality, historically demonstrated far more forcefully than Blumenthal’s petty propagandistic distortions, is that if one sought it out, one could find the same vile bigotry voiced by (non-Jewish) whites against blacks, French and Dutch against Algerians and Muslims, Italians against Albanians – oh, dear, need I go on? And dare I say – Palestinians against Jews? (One small example, via Jeffrey Goldberg, from the late Nizar Rayyan: “I asked him if he believed, as some Hamas theologians do [and certainly as many Hezbollah leaders do] that Jews are the ‘sons of pigs and apes.’”)

What we see in the video are, according to Blumenthal, “the painful consequences of prolonged Zionist indoctrination.” (Indoctrination – that’s a good loaded word. Nothing, I’m sure, that Blumenthal would imagine going on anywhere in Palestinian schools, let’s say. Nothing, theologically, I don’t know, about, say – pigs and apes?) It is all “the disturbing spectacle of young Jews behaving like fascist soccer hooligans in the heart of the capitol of Israel and the spiritual home of the Jewish people,” where “vitriolic levels of racism are able to flow through the streets of Jerusalem like sewage” and “the grandsons of Holocaust survivors feel compelled to offer the Shoah as justification to behave like fascist street thugs.”

Gracious. Where to begin when a journalist uses words so carelessly, so maliciously? The increasingly ubiquitous “fascist” we can take here as merely a synonym for the then redundant “thugs,” which I guess is a little weightier in menace than “hooligans,” though aren’t those “soccer hooligans” usually prone to riot and violence? Don’t believe I saw any behavior like that anywhere in the video. And the racism flows “through the streets of Jerusalem like sewage.” (straight from the United States, actually, but shh!) All this occurring before the delicate, we know, Jewish nationalistic and religious sensibilities of Blumenthal, in the – hear the deflation of the poor man’s will – “heart of the capitol of Israel and the spiritual home of the Jewish people.”

Oy, what a thespian. And fraud. Think Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman.

Much more HERE


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

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

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


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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Could this happen in Britain?

I doubt that many modern day Brits would have the ticker for it anyway but if they did the guy concerned would not be praised by the authorities. He would be bawled out and punished in some way for breaching "Elf 'n Safety" rules. You must go through the "proper channels" before doing anything. Story below from Australia

Firefighters have praised a Williamstown diner for single handedly extinguishing a potentially fatal warehouse blaze.

Joe Vetesi was dining with three friends at Williamstowns Satorini restaurant when he heard a call for help about 10pm. Noticing a fire in a Parker St warehouse he ran to help. "I have 29 years CFA experience so I'd like to think I know what I'm doing," Mr Vetesi said.

Mr Vetesi scaled a three metre high fence to gain entry to the warehouse and sourced water to extinguish the blaze. "My first concern was that people were inside but once I realised the warehouse was unoccupied I went about putting the fire out," he said.

Two fire crews attended the scene. Newport senior station officer Shane Rhodes praised Mr Vetesis actions. "When we arrived the fire was basically extinguished - he did a good job," he said.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (1)

It's part of the Marxist hate they learn in social work schools: The middle classes are the enemy and the "worker" can do no wrong. Too bad if the occasional child get brutalized and killed

Social workers in Doncaster failed to intervene before a father snapped the spine of his 16-month-old daughter despite being aware she was at significant risk, an inquiry has found. Amy Howson was punched on numerous occasions by her father, James, leaving her with fractures to her arms, legs and ribs. Basic procedures that might have prevented her death were not followed. The 25-year-old was later sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in prison.

A serious case review into the way social services dealt with the family revealed that there had been sufficient information about the father’s violence for action to have been taken. It was one of two serious case reviews published today into the deaths of youngsters murdered in the borough of Doncaster, South Yorkshire. There was such concern at the inadequacy of the children’s services that, earlier this year, the Government sent in a leadership team to manage the council’s social services department and the then mayor, Martin Winter, made it clear he would not be seeking re-election. In total the deaths of eight children known to the town’s social services since 2004 are being investigated.

In a separate serious case review into the death of Alfie Goddard, who died from head injuries in May last year at 11 weeks old, agencies were criticised for failing to heed warning signs. The child’s father, Craig Goddard, 24, a man who struggled with alcohol and drugs, threw the child to the floor because he was crying. He was known to have had issues over controlling his temper.

The report’s authors concluded that agencies failed to recognise that anger, mental health problems, substance use and domestic violence could be risk factors for children. Individual bodies, including social services and health workers, generally acted in isolation. “There was very little communication between agencies and no co-ordinated involvement with the family,” said the report. "There was also a tendency for agencies to concentrate on the needs of the parents without considering the impact on the children.”

It was the shockingly violent death of Amy Howson in December 2007 that pushed Doncaster’s social service provision onto the national stage. In the report’s conclusion, the authors suggest: “The murder of Child B (Amy Howson) by her father was not predictable given the information and knowledge held on him and other family members by agencies. “However, there was sufficient information and knowledge on family members, including (the father), held by individual agencies to conclude that, on balance, both Child B and (and another child) were at risk of significant harm from him. “Some agencies within the Doncaster multi-agency child protection system failed to follow basic safeguarding procedures and did not take proper and effective action to safeguard and promote the welfare of Child B and (another child).”

The report also suggested that the Doncaster Community and Schools Social Worker Service, the Youth Inclusion Support Service and the Doncaster PCT Health Visiting Service missed key opportunities to intervene to help the child. The borough’s children’s services, which received only one star in the Audit Commission’s assessment last year, remain under the control of the Government’s intervention team.

Gareth Williams, the director of children’s services, insisted that plans are now in place to offer an effective service run by experienced staff. However, he admitted that there were still problems with recruitment. Julie Bolus, director of quality and clinical assurance for NHS Doncaster, said that changes to working procedures have been made, including how information is shared with other agencies.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (2)

Social services are in the dock again after a toddler was left to die at the hands of a schoolboy babysitter despite repeated warnings that she was in grave danger. Demi-Leigh Mahon, two, was punched, kicked and bitten by 15-year-old Karl McCluney, while her drug-addict mother was out collecting child benefit. The little girl suffered at least 68 separate injuries.

As McCluney was convicted of murder the catalogue of failings by social services was finally revealed. An independent report found that social workers should have taken action. They knew that Demi-Leigh was being raised in a drugs den. Members of the public and neighbours had told children's services that the child was left crying a lot and that her mother, Ann-Marie McDonald, was injecting heroin and was unable to care for her. Police had reports of domestic abuse.

Yet at no point did social services intervene, and Demi-Leigh was never placed on the 'at risk' register. The case is the second in two years in which Salford social services - branded inadequate by Ofsted in 2007 - have been found to be at fault. However, no one has been disciplined over the errors which enabled Demi-Leigh's mother to leave her daughter with McCluney, who had previously threatened to beat up a teacher and stab another man.

In March last year 31-year-old Miss McDonald - known as Sindy - was given a rehabilitation order after being convicted of supplying heroin and cocaine from her flat in Eccles, near Manchester. But she failed to comply and took Demi-Leigh to a friend's flat, resulting in a warrant for her arrest.

On July 15, she left her daughter with McCluney at his father's flat. It was his 15th birthday. When Demi-Leigh began crying he flew into a rage. He subjected the defenceless toddler to an appalling assault, punching her in the face, biting her and kicking her. When Miss McDonald returned after an hour and a half, Demi-Leigh was barely breathing. She died in hospital two days later.

McCluney admitted manslaughter but a jury at Manchester Crown Court found him guilty of murder. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

Last night Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, and grandmother, Frances Gillon, said they twice contacted the council up to six months before the toddler's death. Mrs Gillon, 68, said: 'It is a disgusting failure by social services. 'They should have done something. There was no communication and they need their back sides kicking.'

Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, who left the family home when she was just three months old and now lives in Morecambe, Lancashire, said: 'Demi was a much-loved and wanted child. She smiled so much she looked like a Cheshire Cat.'

In a statement Miss McDonald said: 'I always tried to do my best and I'd do anything I could for Demi but sometimes I feel I didn't get the help and support I needed.

Ministers told Salford social services bosses last year to make improvements or be removed following Demi-Leigh's death and a report on failings which led to the death of a twoyearold boy in a blaze at his home. Additional social workers have now been recruited and the improvement notice has been lifted.

John Merry, the leader of Salford council, said: 'I do not want to make excuses, but the report's sad conclusion is that this tragedy could not have been foreseen and it could not have been prevented.'


Israel will not sacrifice its security

By Greg Sheridan

BARACK Obama has become ahero to the Palestinians. Meanwhile, a poll published in The Jerusalem Post shows a minuscule 6 per cent of Israelis believe Obama's administration and policies are pro-Israel.

This week I spent a morning in the Palestinian West Bank capital of Ramallah. Unlike most of the West Bank, Ramallah is a thriving city of shopping malls, new apartment buildings and designer brands.

Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority's Foreign Minister, cites Obama's attitude as the biggest positive change in the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Another Palestinian politician, Mustafa Barghouti, tells me he found Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo inspiring: "We were especially touched when President Obama compared the Palestinian struggle with that of African Americans for civil rights, or blacks in South Africa under apartheid. That was new language. We saw some fairness in the US President."

Israelis point out that Obama didn't actually equate those diverse situations but, rather, urged Palestinians to commit to non-violent political processes. It may well be that Palestinians will wind up disappointed by what Obama can ultimately deliver to them. And it may equally be that Israelis will ultimately be reassured about Obama's commitment to their security.

But there is no doubt that Obama has stirred a frisson of hope among the Palestinians and anxiety among the Israelis. He has done this through his Cairo speech, his administration's repeated criticism of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and his sustained advocacy of a more urgent peace process.

In response, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a speech in which he accepted the need for a Palestinian state. He had done this before in his political career but not since becoming Prime Minister (for the second time) a few months ago. This is especially telling because Netanyahu's Likud Party split when its former leader, Ariel Sharon, embarked on a disengagement plan to unilaterally withdraw from Palestinian territories. Netanyahu stayed with, and led, the Likud hardliners who opposed Sharon's plan.

The Palestinians are unhappy with aspects of Netanyahu's speech. But the speech does mean that all the big Israeli parties are now committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

One of the key figures in Israeli politics whose backing was essential for Netanyahu to make his landmark speech was the sleek, smooth figure of Gideon Sa'ar. Sa'ar is Israel's Education Minister, the No.2 ranked politician in the Likud Party, widely seen as Netanyahu's logical successor and a future prime minister. In a long discussion with Sa'ar at his Jerusalem office, I ask whether he is happy with Netanyahu's speech. "Happy is not the right word," he says. "But I support the Prime Minister. I thought he stood on the right red lines: Jerusalem, refugees, defensible borders."

What Sa'ar means is that Netanyahu insisted that Jerusalem would remain an Israeli city, Palestinian refugees and their descendants (now numbering several million) would not be allowed to return to Israel proper, and that an independent Palestinian state would have to be a demilitarised state.

"It's quite clear that today the dispute in Israel is not between those who favour territorial compromise and those who don't," Sa'ar says. "The argument is more about the extent of the compromise and the powers that this entity (a Palestinian state) will hold. The real argument inside Israel is not so big. Those who support a (Palestinian) state support a state minus, others support an entity plus."

Sa'ar, like Netanyahu, insists a Palestinian state must be demilitarised, which means limited rights to sign military alliances, control its own airspace or import certain weapons systems.

Other influential figures inside Likud still oppose a Palestinian state. Danny Danon, a young Likud politician and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, who is thought to have a big future, tells me he believes an independent Palestinian state will reproduce the toxic syndrome of Hamas control of Gaza. This would engage in terrorism against Israel, which would require Israeli military intervention. That does not mean he wants Israel to rule the Palestinians forever. In Danon's vision, the West Bank will eventually go back to Jordan and the Gaza Strip to Egypt.

But the Israeli consensus is now with Netanyahu and Sa'ar. For his part, Sa'ar does not see an independent Palestinian state emerging quickly: "Everyone agrees today it's quite dangerous to step to a solution now. It's just not practical at this time." Sa'ar comes to this conclusion because he believes Palestinian institutions cannot yet enforce security or run a state. He thinks, therefore, that the American focus on stopping all building in Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 borders will not enhance peace.

"Some people believe that if Israel does X - withdraws to the '67 borders, uproots the settlements - then we'll have peace," Sa'ar says. "The truth is that our will, or our willingness to make concessions, is not the most important factor. A deep change in Palestinian and Arab society is the most important thing. Until now they never recognised Israel's right to exist."

Netanyahu has lately insisted that the Palestinians and neighbouring Arab governments recognise Israel as a Jewish state. All of Israel's Arab interlocutors have refused point blank to do this. Israel's population is 75 per cent Jewish, the only majority Jewish state in the world. Recognising Israel as a Jewish state would seem to be no more controversial than calling Italy a Christian state or any of the Arab nations Muslim states.

Sa'ar explains its significance: "The UN decision of 1947 (to create Israel) is all about a Jewish state." He argues that without explicit recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the demands for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank are really a disguise for a strategy aimed at the destruction of Israel in stages.

Sa'ar argues, controversially, that the peace process of the past decade and a half has made things worse for both Israelis and Palestinians: "After 16 years of the peace process we stand in a place where we have less security than before and the Palestinians have less of an economy. "The truth is, without working at the grassroots to change the reality on the ground, we can't build reliable processes. We need to change the Palestinian economy, create jobs, build a better standard of living, build a Palestinian administration. Until now, the peace process exists in political meetings, not between the people, and on the ground things don't get better."

One area where Israelis and Palestinians could co-operate, Sa'ar believes, is in encouraging tourism to the great Christian sites, such as Bethlehem, on Palestinian land.

Sa'ar is equally determined to reject the American demand for a freeze on any building in Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 borders: "We don't intend to expand the settlements. We just want people there to live normally and raise their children until negotiations are complete. The demand for a complete freeze on all building actually pre-judges the outcome of negotiations. It is not a demand the international community would put on any other nation."

Sa'ar points out that Israel's unilateral withdrawal of all settlements from the Gaza Strip, and the associated closing down of several settlements in the West Bank, brought no peace or stability.

The government of Netanyahu and Sa'ar is to some extent locked in a battle of wills with the Obama administration over a total freeze on building in the settlements. It is by no means clear how that battle of wills will be decided. The air of steely resolve that Sa'ar exudes will play its part.


Nazi lovers? Not us, say David Cameron’s new EU friends in Latvia

The trek across Eastern Europe to find David Cameron’s Nazi-loving friends came to a wholly unsatisfactory conclusion yesterday. It turns out they are just a bunch of sweeties. Instead of inhabiting a dimly lit beer cellar echoing to the sound of steel-studded jackboots, the headquarters of the Fatherland and Freedom Party is about as menacing as a maternity ward.

Their three-room apartment is right next to the best hot-chocolate shop in Riga, the 100-year-old Café Kuze, and that’s where you go if you want to talk about new alignments in the European Parliament. “Hi,” says a chubby man in a Hawaiian shirt. “We’re the Tories of Latvia.”

Perhaps the party used the same line when they met William Hague in London in March. Certainly the party, which has served in Latvian coalition governments for the best part of eight years, seemed a plausible enough member of the Gang of Seven, the Conservative and Nationalist Parties that make up the newly minted European Conservatives and Reformists Group in Strasbourg.

This was to be Mr Cameron’s first roll of the European dice, his way of demonstrating that he was not going to be a pushover in matters of deeper EU integration. Somehow though the grouping has come to resemble the cocktail party from Hell: in one corner there are breakaway Belgians, in another homophobic Poles, a sprinkling of Bulgarians, some fully clothed Czechs — and yes, sure enough, supposedly Nazi-sympathising Latvians. “I don’t know where all that Nazi stuff comes from,” says Janis Tomels, 39, the international co-ordinator of the party.

Actually, there is in the view of the Western press and experienced Nazi-hunters such as Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a pretty simple explanation. The Fatherland and Freedom Party supports a march every year of veterans of the Latvian Legion from the tall Freedom Monument in Riga to the cathedral. In the past they have worn their old uniforms. I visited an old legionnaire officer and he proudly opened a cupboard to show me his mothballed uniform — complete with the distinctive runes of the Waffen SS, for the legion had been incorporated into Hitler’s army in 1943. “We weren’t fighting for him,” said the former colonel, “but against the Soviets.”

The legion was a ragbag of soldiers and they included, among the well-trained and disciplined infantry and grenadiers, some members of the Arajs gang, Latvians who had either personally killed hundreds of Jews or who had helped the Germans to carry out the massacres. About 80,000 Latvian Jews lost their lives in the war. “We have submitted the names of 13 suspects who deserve serious investigation,” says Dr Zuroff. “So far there has been no sign of the Latvian state prosecutor taking up the cases.”

The problem, then, is whether a party remains a credible ally of the Conservatives as long as it glorifies the legion. How tainted are the war heroes of the Baltic, and how modern are the East European parties that present themselves as Conservative allies in the European Parliament?

Latvian politicians across the spectrum condemn the Arajs killers and hail the rest of the legion as patriots. The slaughtering of the Latvian Jews occurred, they say, on German orders and was conducted before the legion was set up. There can, therefore, be no collective guilt for the legionnaires. In 1950 the US declared: “The Waffen SS units of the Baltic states are to be seen as units that stood apart and were different from the German SS in terms of goals, ideologies, operations and constitution.” “That is why the American and the then Labour Government in Britain allowed surviving conscripts to settle in Britain and the US as political refugees after the war,” says Roberts Zile, who represents the Fatherland and Freedom Party in Strasbourg.

Gunta Sloga, political correspondent for the liberal Diena newspaper, said: “My grandfather wriggled out of serving for the Soviets, was conscripted by the Germans and after doing time in an Allied PoW camp, he returned home in 1947. I should have the right to commemorate him — and just about every Latvian is in a similar situation.”

One supporter of the veterans’ march is a former European Commissioner, Sandra Kalniete. Her family was deported to Siberia where she was born in 1952: she lost three of her grandparents in the enforced exile. Paying tribute to the legion, she says, is not a way of denigrating the Holocaust but simply acknowledging a historical truth.

The problem is mainly about how Latvia should deal with the Russians. Altogether the European Union has almost a million Russians living within its borders and many of them are unhappy. It is only a matter of time, say analysts in Riga, before the Kremlin tries to put pressure on the Baltic states to be nicer to them. Mr Tomels says: “If the Russians don’t like it here, they are free to leave.” And a chill enters the voice of Mr Cameron’s man in Riga.



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

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

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


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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jewish school broke race laws by refusing boy whose mother had converted

This is muddled thinking even by the standards of modern British law. Despite what the judges said, Jews are a religion, not a race. There are Jews of all races. And the fact that the school was willing to accept a convert shows that the discrimination was not based on ancestry. It was based on religion. How can you be converted into a different race??? Even Michael Jackson couldn't manage that. The school just wanted the conversion to be up to orthodox standards and not some token thing

A leading Jewish state school broke race laws by refusing to admit a boy whose mother had converted to the religion, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday. JFS, formerly the Jewish Free School, is highly oversubscribed and has turned away several pupils for not meeting its criteria of Jewishness. Previous court hearings have supported its stance. Yesterday, however, the court ruled in favour of the parents of a boy named only as M. The school, in Brent, northwest London, rejected the 12-year-old child because his mother converted to Judaism at a Progressive rather than Orthodox synagogue. M’s father is Jewish, but custom dictates that the faith line passes through the mother.

The judges said that “the requirement that if a pupil is to qualify for admission his mother must be Jewish, whether by descent or by conversion, is a test of ethnicity which contravenes the Race Relations Act”.

The ruling will have widespread implications for other faith schools and puts the court on a collision course with the Office of the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, from which the school takes its definition of which children are Jewish. It strikes at the heart of whether being Jewish is a religious or racial question and means that such schools will now have to adopt a religious practice test.

JFS said that it was “disappointed” and would seek leave to appeal to the House of Lords — a decision supported by Sir Jonathan. “I have advised the leadership of JFS that they have my full personal support,” he said.

Other Jewish groups, however, welcomed the ruling, saying they had been marginalised and discouraged from speaking out. Rabbi Danny Rich, the chief executive of Liberal Judaism, said: “The JFS, a state comprehensive funded by taxpayers, has been exclusively following one Jewish religious authority and ignoring the rest. We object to standard-setting by just one section of the community to the detriment of the rest. The JFS will now be open to children from all types of Jewish background.”

The court ruling stated: “It appears to us clear that Jews constitute a racial group defined principally by ethnic origin and additionally by conversion and that to discriminate against a person on the ground that he either is or is not Jewish is therefore to discriminate against him on racial grounds. “If for theological reasons a fully subscribed Christian faith school refused to admit a child on the ground that, albeit practising Christians, the child’s family were of Jewish origin, it is hard to see what answer there could be to a claim for race discrimination. The refusal of JFS to admit M was accordingly, in our judgment, less favourable treatment of him on racial grounds.”

John Halford, who represented the boy’s father, said: “It is unlawful for a child’s ethnic origins to be used as the criterion for school entry. Such a practice is even more unacceptable in the case of a comprehensive school funded by the taxpayer.” Many other Jewish schools operate according to similar policies and will be affected by the court’s decision.

David Lightman’s daughter was also turned away by JFS because it did not accept her Jewish status, even though her mother is head of English at the school. Mr Lightman, an Orthodox Jew, said yesterday: “This is a victory for common sense and religious freedom. We are talking about two Jewish children who want an education. If the school thinks it’s worth spending millions of pounds to stop that happening, then they need to re-examine what Judaism is about.”

JFS is one of Britain’s oldest Jewish schools and is the largest Orthodox Jewish school in Europe, with 2,000 pupils. It is described by Ofsted as outstanding and is oversubscribed every academic year.


More arrogant British bureaucrats

'I was turned into a pariah for complaining about a yob' -- Woman blacklisted by her local council. And the council would not admit that they had got it wrong. She had to go all the way to the High Court to slap them down. Legal costs: Half a million pounds -- to be paid by the council's insurers. I'm guessing that when the insurance policy comes up for renewal they will have to pay a huge premium to get any insurance cover at all

Jane Clift saw it as her public duty to report a drunk she saw trampling flowers in a park. But her efforts led to a surreal nightmare in which she was branded potentially violent and put on a council blacklist with thugs and sex attackers. Her details were circulated to an extraordinary range of public and private bodies, including doctors, dentists, opticians, libraries, contraceptive clinics, schools and nurseries. Their staff were advised not to see her alone. The 43-year-old former care worker was forced to withdraw an application to become a foster parent and, eventually, to leave the town where she had lived for ten years.

Now, after a bitter four-year legal battle with Slough Council, the stain on her character has finally been removed. The High Court ordered the council to pay her 12,000 pounds in libel damages after a case which has cost taxpayers an estimated 500,000 in legal fees. Mrs Clift said last night: 'I hope this means others will never have to go through the hell I have suffered.'

Jane Clift, 43, was 'outraged' in December 2005 on learning she had been put on the council's 'register of potentially violent persons', with officials warned only to approach her in pairs, a High Court jury heard during a week-long trial. Her QC, Hugh Tomlinson, said she was unfairly branded a trouble-maker in order to 'get rid of her' due to her persistence in pursuing complaints against the council and its staff.

The court heard in August 2005 Mrs Clift confronted an abusive drunk in the town's Sheffield Road Rest Gardens after she objected to a small boy vandalising a flower bed. Her deadlock with the council developed over Mrs Clift's claims that staff in its anti-social behaviour unit took no action over her complaints.

Former care worker, Mrs Clift, claimed damages for libel from the council and its then head of public protection, Patrick Kelleher, both of whom denied the claims. Each insisted that they acted in good faith. On Wednesday the jury rejected allegations that Mr Kelleher had acted maliciously, but upheld Mrs Clift's libel claim, awarding £12,000 damages.

Ms Clift sued for libel over the insertion of her name on the violent persons' register, and over an email distributed by Mr Kelleher. The jury found the disputed register entry and email were not 'substantially true', but cleared Mr Kelleher of allegations of malice in composing the email.

She said she had no idea such a register even existed before her name was added to it. The entry expired after 18 months but by then she had been forced to leave Slough. Mrs Clift, who now lives in Birmingham, said: 'I am not and never have been violent - as the jury have found. 'It has taken me four years to clear my name and I hope Slough and other councils never again misuse their registers.'

Simon Davies, from the human rights watchdog Privacy International, said: 'This just shows the megalomania of these local authorities. This poor woman was subjected to a Kafkaesque ordeal because of an incorrect allegation made by one official. 'It is the sort of behaviour that we would have condemned if it came from China or Russia. Our councils seem to be out of control.'

During the eight-day hearing the court was told Mrs Clift had told another council worker that, as far as she was concerned, Miss Rashid could 'drop down dead'. She followed up with a letter in which she wrote: 'I felt so filled with anger that I am certain I would have physically attacked her if she had been anywhere near me. I truly am not of that nature and so, surely, this should act as a wake-up call to the borough as to the capacity she has for offending people.'

But her counsel, Hugh Tomlinson, said the letter was misinterpreted and the decision to put her on the register had been 'completely ridiculous'. Her name was added to the blacklist because she was 'a thorn in their side' and the council thought the move would mean no-one would take her seriously.

Mr Justice Tugendhat ordered Slough to pay the legal costs of the case, estimated at between 450,000 to 500,000 pounds. Mrs Clift brought the action under a 'no win no fee' arrangement with her legal team.

A council spokesman said later: 'The jury found that what we recorded about Mrs Clift was not true, but they were not prepared to find that we acted in bad faith. 'We will reflect carefully on how we need to respond.'

See here and here (The Daily Mail article was incomplete so I have inserted part of a report on the case above from another newspaper)

Stupid feminist ideology puts theory before reality -- as usual

Swedish parents keep 2-year-old's "gender" secret

A couple of Swedish parents have stirred up debate in the country by refusing to reveal whether their two-and-a-half-year-old child is a boy or a girl. Pop’s parents, both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few – those who have changed the child’s diaper – nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.

In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction. “We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”

The child's parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female. Pop's wardrobe includes everything from dresses to trousers and Pop's hairstyle changes on a regular basis. And Pop usually decides how Pop is going to dress on a given morning. Although Pop knows that there are physical differences between a boy and a girl, Pop's parents never use personal pronouns when referring to the child – they just say Pop. "I believe that the self-confidence and personality that Pop has shaped will remain for a lifetime," said Pop's mother.

But while Pop’s parents say they have received supportive feedback from many of their peers, not everyone agrees that their chosen course of action will have a positive outcome. “Ignoring children's natures simply doesn’t work,” says Susan Pinker, a psychologist and newspaper columnist from Toronto, Canada, who wrote the book The Sexual Paradox, which focuses on sex differences in the workplace. “Child-rearing should not be about providing an opportunity to prove an ideological point, but about responding to each child’s needs as an individual,” Pinker tells The Local. “It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to keep this a secret for long. Children are curious about their own identity, and are likely to gravitate towards others of the same sex during free play time in early childhood.”

Pinker says there are many ways that males and females differ from birth; even if gender is kept ‘secret,’ prenatal hormones developed in the second trimester of pregnancy already alter the way the child behaves and feels. She says once children can speak, males tell aggressive stories 87 per cent of the time, while females only 17 per cent. In a study, children aged two to four were given a task to work together for a reward, and boys used physical tactics 50 times more than girls, she says.

But Swedish gender equality consultant [A "consultant". Wow! That sounds authoritative! They would have got a different response if they had consulted me -- and I DO have a doctorate in Psychology] Kristina Henkel says Pop’s parents' experiment might have positive results. “If the parents are doing this because they want to create a discussion with other adults about why gender is important, then I think they can make a point of it,” Henkel says in a telephone interview with The Local. “You can talk about there being a non-stereotypical gender; if you are a girl you can do the same as a boy, and if you’re a boy you can do the same as a girl.”

Henkel also says a child's sex can deeply affect how they are treated growing up, and distract them from simply being a human being. “If the child is dressed up as a girl or boy, it affects them because people see and treat them in a more gender-typical way,” Henkel explains. “Girls are told they are cute in their dresses, and boys are told they are cool with their car toys. But if you give them no gender they will be seen more as a human or not a stereotype as a boy or girl.” She says that without these gender stereotypes, children can build character as individuals, not hindered by preconceived notions of what they should be as males or females. “I think [No harm in thinking but what evidence does she have?] that can make these kids stronger,” Henkel says.

Anna Nordenström, a paediatric endocrinologist at Karolinska Institutet, says it’s hard to know what effects the parents' decision will have on Pop. “It will affect the child, but it’s hard to say if it will hurt the child,” says Nordenström, who studies hormonal influences on gender development. “I don’t know what they are trying to achieve. It’s going to make the child different, make them very special.” She says if Pop is still ‘genderless’ by the time he or she starts school, Pop will certainly receive a lot of attention from classmates.

“We don’t know exactly what determines sexual identity, but it’s not only sexual upbringing,” says Nordenström. “Gender-typical behaviour, sexual preferences and sexual identity usually go together. There are hormonal and other influences that we don’t know that will determine the gender of the child.”

Both Nordenström and Pinker refer to a controversial case from 1967 when a circumcision left one of two twin brothers without a penis. Dr. John Money, who asserted that gender was learned rather than innate, convinced the parents to raise 'David' as 'Brenda' and the child had cosmetic genitalia reconstruction surgery. She was raised as a female, with girls’ clothes, games and codes of behaviour. The parents never told Brenda the secret until she was a teenager and rebelled against femininity. She then started receiving testosterone injections and underwent another genetic reconstruction process to become David again. David Reimer denounced the experiment as a crushing failure before committing suicide at the age of 38. “I don’t think that trying to keep a child’s sex a secret will fool anyone, nor do I think it’s wise or ethical,” says Pinker. “As with any family secret, when we try to keep an elemental truth from children, it usually blows up in the parent’s face, via psychosomatic illness or rebellious behaviour.”

But with a second child on the way, Pop's parents have no plans to change what they see as a winning formula. As for Pop, they say they will only reveal the child's sex when Pop thinks it's time.


Australia: Deadly bureaucracy

Ineptitude of self-serving know-all bureaucrats caused many deaths in the Victorian bushfires

The bureaucratic ineptitude being revealed at the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission is at once extraordinary and infuriating. The lessons have implications for every aspect of government in Australia and demand a radical rethink about the dominance of politicised bureaucracies within our lives. The emerging picture eerily imitates Franz Kafka's The Trial.

Government fire services furtively developed their doctrinaire rules, then enforced them with mindless zeal. Fire and emergency supremos were provided with limitless authority to bend citizens and communities to their rigid controls without effective scrutiny or supervision. What emerges is a layer of self-styled bureaucratic intelligentsia devising policies that became sacrosanct in themselves regardless of their original purpose. Ideological processes left no room for common sense, pragmatism or compassion, and opportunities to help vulnerable people were wasted. Policies bore testimony to the assumption that the population was so imbecilic as to need greater protection from itself than from raging wildfire.

Sound familiar? This mindset is magnified by its ubiquity in modern Australian government and alarm bells should be ringing. Failures equally significant but less conspicuous are probably simmering away beneath the whole gamut of populist government decision-making. The danger is fanned by the speed and dimension of decisions that are made under of a veil of urgency associated with recession, security and other confected emergencies.

Day after day, emergency service tsars present themselves to the royal commission as though they are the stars atop the tree of knowledge. The Country Fire Authority seems genuinely bamboozled that a handful of head office executives did not prove to be wiser than its thousands of volunteers who have intimate knowledge of local roads, properties and personalities. Directions, strategies and resources were issued and controlled by executives far removed from the horrific reality that their edicts and regulations created. Volunteers and citizens were left to fend for themselves after bureaucratic strategies descended into chaos.

Rigid and enforced controls were relaxed only when they were mocked into submission by a recalcitrant inferno. The winding trail of blunders growing from stubbornly centralised remote control defies the imagination. Emergency call centres were overwhelmed while extensive volunteer networks lay idle. NSW firefighters were called up with media fanfare and weren't provided with so much as a map. One homeowner was relieved to see a NSW bushfire tanker arrive at his front gate, only to learn it was lost.

ABC radio had been anointed the official emergency broadcaster with little regard for the millions who listen to commercial radio. Descriptions of the official information feed provided to the broadcaster conjure visions of a garbage chute funnelling ad hoc faxes, phone calls, emails and web bulletins. Producers and announcers consumed valuable time piecing together the scraps of intelligence.

To his credit the CFA chief officer continues to roll up to the royal commission to take his medicine. It will be interesting to see if his past and present ministers will also be required to testify and give an account of their stewardship. Neither justice nor recovery will be served if the bureaucrats are hung out to dry by themselves.

The vast body of evidence suggests a great deal of loss and destruction could have been avoided if local knowledge, experience and commitment had been respected and used. Instead, the politicians and their bureaucrats shared a motivation to exert close and uncompromised control. An aggressive resistance to contestable advice allowed policy-makers to deny the existence of culpable knowledge. The mandarins eventually succumbed to their own intoxicating publicity and stared down the risk of their knowledge deficit. Dysfunctionality bred like a virus in a hotbed of intellectual conceit.

The implications are sobering for every aspect of government policy. School principals especially must be crying tears of blood as they witness the obscene waste of money occurring under the ridiculously rigid policies of the so-called Building the Education Revolution.

Of course the critical role of bureaucracy must be respected and communities are happy to oblige. However, such respect does not establish government entities as the sole repository of wisdom. People don't expect governments to be omniscient but they are entitled to hold them to a lie as much as a truth. Including communities in practical policy formulation must go far deeper than the cosmetic consultation most Australian governments practise.

It must also go deeper than community cabinet meetings and a prime ministerial revival of an imagined Australian lexicon. It also goes beyond the federal government's notion of "umpire politics" where decisions are designed to mute the lobbyists rather than genuinely serve the nation.

Real change requires courage and creativity that is shared and accepted with a parity of worth. The view that these qualities are vested exclusively in parliamentary and bureaucratic empires is a dangerous and culpable vanity that Australia simply cannot afford.



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

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

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


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Friday, June 26, 2009

Power-mad British bureaucrats again

Thou shalt NOT show individual initiative: Gardener who spruced up council car park for free faces legal action for criminal damage. The "criminal" greenery below

A public-spirited gardener has been told she could face prosecution for criminal damage after sprucing up a neglected patch of land in a car park. Green-fingered Jayne Bailey gave the concrete island on her housing estate a makeover as the 30-year-old cobbles were coming loose and becoming a safety hazard. So she removed the stones and replaced them with flowers from her own garden and from friends, turning a crumbling eyesore into a bright display that won praise from some of her neighbours.

However, she has since been told by Cornwall County Council to rip out the flowers and replace the cobbles herself - or foot the bill for contractors to do it. 'In a letter I have been told I have 28 days to replace it or they will come out and do the work and send me the bill,' said Mrs Bailey, who is in her 50s. 'They also threatened that they would go to the police and report me for criminal damage. 'This is bureaucratic madness. The little area was showing its age and the entire thing was a crumbling mess, covered in weeds and rubbish. Some of the local children had taken to removing the cobblestones to play with because it was in such a dilapidated condition. 'It now hosts an assortment of sun-loving plants suited to that area which are all thriving.

'The centre-piece is a eucalyptus with other plants such as jasmine, buddleia and fuchsias, which were all planted on a budget and designed to fill that space over the coming years with minimal maintenance.'

Many of Mrs Bailey's neighbours in Bodmin have welcomed the new greenery. Naomi Luke said: 'It looks a lot nicer. It was disgusting before. In fact it was a hazard. Now it is somewhere everyone can enjoy and looks pretty.'

It is not Mrs Bailey's first brush with town hall bosses for showing the kind of initiative that many would see as entirely praiseworthy. Five years ago she planted an overgrown area on the estate that was being used for fly-tipping. 'They threatened me then too,' she said. 'I do not want to make a claim on the land - I just don't want it turning into a dumping ground. 'I was told to replace it then but I didn't - how do they expect me to get brambles that I cut down?'

Mrs Bailey added: 'The council is more than happy for areas to remain an eyesore but they cannot even carry out basic repairs that have been high on the residents' list for many years.'

A spokesman insisted the council backed residents who wanted to spruce up the public areas around them but added: 'This is done in partnership with ourselves to ensure appropriate plants and maintenance.' He said: 'In this particular case no agreement was sought to carry out the works. Several complaints from residents have been received concerning the planting.'

However, his comments suggest the council's approach might not be as draconian as the letter to Mrs Bailey had threatened. 'A council horticulturist has been asked to look at the suitability of the planting,' he said. [Publicity brings a backdown, as usual. The children of the light love the light and the children of the darkness love the darkness (See John 3:19-20). If they had been decent human beings, they would have started out with a polite and courteous personal approach -- but impersonal accusations and threats are so much more pleasing to the diseased bureaucratic mind]


Conviction of Gypsy family reduces crime rate in a British county to 20-year low

A county's crime rate fell to a 20-year low after a notorious criminal family was jailed, police revealed yesterday. The Johnson family was a ruthless gang of travellers who carried out countless crimes over two decades, from cash machine raids to sheet metal thefts. Their most profitable targets, however, were country mansions, from which they stole antiques and works of art worth £30million. One of their raids, in which they targeted a multi-millionaire property tycoon, is thought to be the biggest ever burglary of a private home.

Since they were jailed last year, Gloucestershire Police said the county's crime rates have plummeted to levels last seen in the 1980s. Figures show there were 44,136 recorded crimes in Gloucestershire in 2008-09, down from 45,685 in 2007-08 - a fall of 3 per cent.

This followed an even bigger decrease from 2006-07, when 52,388 crimes were recorded - the year the Johnsons committed some of their most brazen thefts. Chief Constable Dr Timothy Brain said of their arrest: 'What that operation showed is that no one is untouchable.'

The Johnsons would stake out country mansions and stately homes for weeks at a time, to pinpoint the best means of entry and escape. Their targets included the 17th-century Wiltshire mansion of property tycoon Harry Hyams, where they stole property worth £23million in a raid described as Britain's biggest burglary of a private home. In February 2006, they smashed their way inside with a 4x4 vehicle and stripped the home of one of the country's largest private collections antiques, jewellery and china in ten minutes. Mr Hyams, who has an estimated fortune of £320 million, was not at home when the raid took place.

The month after the Hyams raid, police received an anonymous tip-off which led them to a bunker in Warwickshire where the Johnsons had stored some of their booty. A third of the property taken from Mr Hyams's house was found there.

Members of the Johnson family were last year found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary between April 8, 2005 and October 13, 2006. Ricky Johnson, 54, was jailed for eight years while his two sons, Richard 'Chad' Johnson, 33, and Albi Johnson, 25, were sentenced to 11 years and nine years respectively. Ricky's nephews, Danny O'Loughlin, 32, and Michael Nicholls, 29, were jailed for 11 years and ten years.

The notoriety of the Johnsons had been cemented when a BBC film crew spent weeks on the family's caravan site for a documentary in 2005. The family made clear their contempt for the law - but insisted they were scapegoats for crime in the area. Chad said: 'Don't get me wrong, I have committed a few burglaries and pinched a few handbags, but you grow out of it, get a family and settle down. I've got no GCSEs. 'I just know street life and gipsy life - that is all I know.'

The family's other targets included Warneford Place in Wiltshire, the home of Formula One advertising tycoon Paddy McNally, an old flame of the Duchess of York. The raid netted items worth £750,000. In all, detectives investigated 116 offences of country house burglaries, cash dispenser and metal thefts.


The domestic violence myths are still going strong

“Sentence first, verdict afterwards!” Remember that memorable line from Lewis Carroll’s classic, Through the Looking Glass? And if we take a recent Department of Justice report to heart, we will soon be marching to the tune of “Accusation first, incarceration next!” Adding to the absurdity, the DoJ report was written not by a recognized university researcher, but by a former probation officer who was once indicted on charges of stealing probation fees to set up a personal slush fund.

The Department of Justice report, “Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research,” purports to pull together the research on partner abuse, a sort of handy-dandy guide for police officers, prosecutors, and judges. But the document ends up making a mockery of objective science and an impartial judiciary.

To understand where this 96-page report went wrong, you have to realize that the domestic violence industry has created a separate universe, a parallel legal system that puts on a fine show of respecting due process. But in this world the judicial outcome is virtually predetermined -- especially if the accused is a male.

As you ponder the many bloopers in this report, keep in mind the fact that all the research shows women are just as abusive as men. And men are unlikely to report the incident to law enforcement, so police reports are of questionable value.

So let’s peer through the looking-glass to find out what the Practical Implications report wants us to believe.

In the document, there is no such thing as a false allegation of abuse. So save yourself the trouble. Once an accusation of abuse is made, it’s simply a matter of meting out the proper punishment – the modern-day equivalent of “Off with her head!” Don’t look too hard for the word “alleged,” because that implies the accused person might actually be innocent.

And don’t expect the report to accurately summarize the studies, either. In some cases, the DoJ paper states the exact opposite of what the research really says. A couple examples…

The DoJ report informs us on page 11, “arrest deters repeat reabuse, whether suspects are employed or not.” But go back to the published research study and here’s what said it really says: “This research found no association between arresting the offender and an increased risk of subsequent aggression.”

In regard to restraining orders, we’re told that such orders “do not appear to significantly increase the risk of abuse” (page 59). But the study cited by the DoJ stated the opposite: “women with temporary protection orders in effect were [four times] more likely than women without protection orders to be psychologically abused.”

Other times the Justice report is flatly misleading. On page 45 the DoJ report discusses mandatory prosecution, claiming the research “suggests most prosecutors should be able to significantly increase successful prosecutions.” But the paper highlighted in the DoJ report actually found in two out of four cites, no-drop prosecution had no impact on conviction rates. Zilch, zero, nada.

At one point the DoJ paper turns positively Orwellian, lecturing us on page 15 that we need to avoid any “overrepresentation of female versus male arrests.” But remember, the whole domestic violence system is geared to accusing and incarcerating men, innocent or not, so the real problem is widescale unnecessary arrests of men.

I could highlight many other examples of bias, but I think you get the point. And what about the former probation officer?

The Practical Implications document was written by a fellow named Andrew R. Klein. According to a Boston Globe report, Mr. Klein had to resign as the probation chief in Quincy, Mass. following a state investigation into alleged misuse of funds. He was later indicted on seven counts of diverting $100,000 in probation fees to a private bank account.

But hey! That happened 10 years ago, and I’m sure it’s no reflection on Mr. Klein’s honesty and integrity.

The DoJ report is not the first time that the abuse industry has come down with a bad case of Ms.-Information. In fact the field has become so riddled with wild exaggerations and outright falsehoods that legitimate researchers such as professor Richard Gelles of the University of Pennsylvania dismiss such claims as “factoids from nowhere.”


'1984' + 60

by Jeff Jacoby

NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR OPENS with one of the most famous first lines in modern English literature -- the vaguely unnerving "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." The line it ends with is even more famous, and considerably more sinister: "He loved Big Brother."

George Orwell's brilliant, bitter novel turns 60 this month, but after all these years it has lost none of its nightmarish chill. Its hero is the decidedly unheroic Winston Smith, a weak and wistful man who lives in the totalitarian police state of Oceania, which is ruled by the Party -- personified in Big Brother, whose intimidating image is everywhere -- and in which the Thought Police ruthlessly suppress any hint of dissent. The Party enforces its will through constant surveillance, relentless propaganda, and the annihilation of anyone who rebels against its authority, even if only in private thoughts or conversation. Winston engages in such thought-crimes, first by secretly recording his hatred of Big Brother in a diary, then through a love-affair with a young woman called Julia. Eventually he is arrested, interrogated, tortured, broken.

Nineteen Eighty-Four was Orwell's warning of what unchecked state power can become -- a warning informed by the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, with their contempt for human life and conscience, their cult of personality, their unremitting cruelty and deceit. "I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe . . . that something resembling it could arrive," Orwell wrote shortly after the book was published. "I believe also that totalitarian ideas have taken root in the minds of intellectuals everywhere, and I have tried to draw these ideas out to their logical consequences."

Orwell himself was a committed socialist, and he insisted that Nineteen Eighty-Four should not be taken as an attack on socialism or parties of the left. And, in truth, though the ruling ideology in the book is named Ingsoc ("English Socialism" in Oceania's fictional language of Newspeak), the Party's aims have nothing to do with collectivizing wealth, or creating a workers' paradise, or any other socialist prescription.

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake," Winston is told by O'Brien, the Party official who interrogates him. "We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. . . . We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?"

Whether or not poor Winston understood, the totalitarians (and would-be totalitarians) of 1949 certainly did. Stalin's Pravda blasted Nineteen Eighty-Four for its supposed "contempt for the people," while the American Communist journal Masses and Mainstream, in a review titled "Maggot-of-the-Month," trashed it as a "diatribe against the human race" and "cynical rot." But in most of the free world it was acclaimed as an instant classic. "No other work of this generation," declared The New York Times in its review, "has made us desire freedom more earnestly or loathe tyranny with such fullness."

Even now, it is hard to think of any novel that can match Nineteen Eighty-Four in its insight into the totalitarian mindset. Orwell captured so much of it: The insatiable lust for power. The lies incessantly broadcast as truth. The assault on free thought as both sickness and crime. The corruption of language. The brazen rewriting of history. The use of technology to make privacy impossible. The repression of sexuality. Above all, the zealous crushing of individual identity and liberty. "If you want a picture of the future," O'Brien tells Winston during his interrogation and torture, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever."

From "Big Brother" to "Thought Police" to "unperson" to "doublethink," it is no coincidence that so many of the terms Orwell coined for Nineteen Eighty-Four -- to say nothing of the word "Orwellian" itself -- have become part of our lexicon for life without freedom. Tragically, Orwell died at 46, just seven months after Nineteen Eighty-Fourappeared, but 60 years later his great work survives, its power undiminished, its warning more urgent than ever.



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

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

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


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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Police have let us down, say three in four Britons in damning Whitehall survey

Confidence in the police used to be extraordinarily high in Britain -- but not now that 12 years of Labour government has turned them into political police and form-fillers. You will get a visit from the police if you use a forbidden word in Britain but if your car is stolen, who cares?

Three quarters of the population believe the police have failed to get to grips with anti-social behaviour and drink-fuelled violence, a damning Whitehall survey showed yesterday. It found police forces and other public services are said to neither listen to what people say about crime and rowdiness nor do anything to stop it.

The poll of more than half a million adults also suggested that councils are out of touch, unpopular, and take too much of residents' money. The inquiry, conducted in more than 300 council areas, found only a quarter of respondents thought police were willing to listen when they complained about crime and disorder. The same proportion said they believed the police and other local services were dealing properly with drunken violence, vandalism and local drug dealing.

The survey said a majority are dissatisfied with the way their town hall goes about its business, and two thirds do not believe local government gives value for money. Fewer than a third think they have any say over what the town hall does, according to the poll carried out by councils themselves for the Department of Communities and Local Government.

The findings appear to reflect deep disillusion with years of promises that initiatives such as ASBOs and greater efforts by the police and the justice system would make streets safer. They suggest the great majority do not believe everyday crime has been successfully tackled. They also point to public disaffection through the impact of high council tax and a widespread view that town halls are arrogant and incompetent.

The findings drew a rebuke for councils from Local Government Secretary John Denham, who said: 'The improvements we have seen in local services are not being reflected in people's perception of their council. 'I want to see local councils do more - and gain more power - to shape the services offered in their area. 'There is an untapped demand for local people to have more say in what goes on.'

Tory local government spokes-man Caroline Spelman said: 'Under Labour, satisfaction with local councils has plummeted. 'It is no surprise that local residents are so unhappy given council tax has doubled thanks to Gordon Brown, while frontline services like weekly rubbish collections have been slashed back due to Whitehall diktats.'

The Place Survey was carried out by more than 300 councils which collected nearly 544,000 filled-in questionnaires. Only 33 per cent agreed that their local authority gave value for money, while 45 per cent said they were satisfied with the way their council ran things. Fewer than three in ten, 29 per cent, said they thought they could influence council decisions.

The survey said that 78 per cent were happy with their refuse collections - a finding at odds with other surveys and with election results that have punished councils introducing wheelie bins and fortnightly collections. But fewer than half were satisfied with transport information, sport facilities, museums or theatres run by councils.

The Local Government Association, the umbrella body for councils, said: 'This survey shows that the vast majority of residents are happy with services which their councils provide.'


Are we sure that it is the BNP who are the Fascists?

What would it be like to live under Fascists, I wonder:-

They’d make sure everyone carried identity papers and you’d be arrested if you failed to show your papers to a policeman, a policeman who would be armed with stun guns and two handled billy clubs and who’d beat unarmed demonstrators to the ground if they protested government policy. The police would be granted the right to intern suspects without charge for months and if anyone spoke out against the government they’d be arrested as “terrorists”.

There would be constant monitoring of every citizen by CCTV on every street corner, the government would have access to your emails and phone messages, crikey, they might even do crazy stuff like implanting computer chips in your bins to monitor your rubbish!

Anyone who happened to dislike some aspects of the government’s social policy would be forced out of business and making jokes or speaking your mind about certain protected classes of people could see you losing your job or even your children.

The state would gain control over the lives and livelihoods of tens of millions of citizens and anyone who deviated from “acceptable” standards of behaviour would be punished by being deprived of health or welfare assistance.

The state run media would be intimidated into parroting government spin and lies and everyone from doctors and nurses to teachers and neighbours would be expected to report to the government any behaviour which was deemed to be outside government decreed standards.

Who knows they might even go crazy and start invading other countries.

From a comment on IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL. Those who know modern-day Britain will recognize in the description features of Britain as it already is

Why Women Are Unhappy

The National Bureau of Economic Research released a study to be published soon in the American Economic Journal that shows women's happiness has measurably declined since 1970. It's no surprise that this has stimulated much comment.

This study covers the same time period as the rise of the so-called women's liberation or feminist movement. The correlation demands an explanation. You can read the entire study at www.eagleforum.org/links.

One theory advanced by the authors, University of Pennsylvania economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, is that the women's liberation movement "raised women's expectations" (sold them a bill of goods), making them feel inadequate when they fail to have it all. A second theory is that the demands on women who are both mothers and jobholders in the labor force are overwhelming.

I'm neither an economist nor a psychologist, but I'll join the conversation with my own armchair analysis. Another theory could be that the feminist movement taught women to see themselves as victims of an oppressive patriarchy in which their true worth will never be recognized and any success is beyond their reach.

Feminist organizations such as the National Organization for Women held consciousness-raising sessions where they exchanged tales of how badly some man had treated them. Grievances are like flowers -- if you water them, they will grow, and self-imposed victimhood is not a recipe for happiness.

Another theory could be the increase in easy divorce and illegitimacy (now 40 percent of American births are to single moms), which means that millions of women are raising kids without a husband and therefore expect Big Brother government to substitute as provider. The 2008 election returns showed that 70 percent of unmarried women voted for Barack Obama, perhaps hoping to be beneficiaries of his "spread the wealth" policies.

In the pre-1970 era, when surveys showed women with higher levels of happiness, most men held jobs that enabled their wives to be fulltime homemakers. The private enterprise system constantly produces goods that make household work and kiddie care easier (such as dryers, dishwashers and paper diapers).

Betty Friedan started the feminist movement in the late 1960s with her book "The Feminine Mystique," which created the myth that suburban housewives were suffering from "a sense of dissatisfaction" with their alleged-to-be-boring lives. To liberate women from the home that Friedan labeled "a comfortable concentration camp," the feminist movement worked tirelessly to make the role of fulltime homemaker socially disdained.

Economic need played no role in the feminist argument that marriage is archaic and oppressive to women. A job in the labor force was upheld as so much more fulfilling than tending babies and preparing dinner for a hard-working husband.

Women's studies courses require students to accept as an article of faith the silly notion that gender differences are not natural or biological but are social constructs created by the patriarchy and ancient stereotypes. This leads feminists to seek legislative corrections for problems that don't exist.

A former editor of the Ladies' Home Journal wrote in her book "Spin Sisters" that the anorexic blondes on television are every day selling the falsehood that women's lives are full of misery and threats from men. Bernard Goldberg calls the mainstream media "one of America's most pro-feminist institutions."

According to feminist ideology, the only gender-specific characteristic is that men are naturally batterers who make all women victims. On that theory, the feminists conned Congress into passing the Violence Against Women Act (note the sex discriminatory title), which includes a handout of a billion dollars a year to finance their political, legislative and judicial goals.

The feminists whine endlessly using their favorite word "choice" in matters of abortion, but they reject choice in gender roles. The Big Mama of feminist studies, Simone de Beauvoir, said: "We don't believe that any woman should have this choice. No woman should be authorized to stay at home to raise her children ... precisely because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one."

The feminists have carried on a long-running campaign to make husbands and fathers unnecessary and irrelevant. Most divorces are initiated by women, and more women than men request same-sex marriage licenses in Massachusetts so that, with two affirmative-action jobs plus in vitro fertilization, they can create a "family" without husbands or fathers.

Despite the false messages of the colleges and the media, most American women are smart enough to reject the label feminist, and only 20 percent of mothers say they want full-time work in the labor force. I suggest that women suffering from unhappiness should look into how women are treated in the rest of the world, and then maybe American women would realize they are the most fortunate people on earth


Notes From the Liberal Front

by Burt Prelutsky

The question that’s been weighing on my mind is, who is best suited to study those strange beings known as liberals? It strikes me that they’d be fit subjects for psychiatrists, who might be in a position to figure out why they revere the people they do -- people such as Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Al Gore and Ted Kennedy -- men who haven’t a single notable accomplishment to their name, aside from either winning elections or eliminating them altogether. Perhaps it would be more appropriate for biologists to delve into the left-wing organism, and determine how it is possible that creatures without brains could have survived so long in an often hostile environment.

If you don’t believe that liberalism is a serious malady, consider that Paul Krugman of the New York Times, when addressing Sonia Sotomayor’s remark about a Hispanic woman being better qualified than a white man to be a judge, said that she was merely entertaining. Even if Mr. Krugman is, as his comment suggests, more easily entertained than a backward three-year-old, I have a feeling that he wasn’t nearly as forgiving when Trent Lott, on the occasion of Strom Thurmond’s 100th birthday in 2002, said it was a shame that the old Dixiecrat hadn’t been elected president in 1948.

Yet another recent example of liberalism in action took place at Harvard, where bright young people go to have their brains exchanged for a pound of hay and humongous egos. It seems that the mucky-mucks at the university found $1.5 million lying around and decided that the best possible use for the money was to create a visiting professorship in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender studies. I guess the good news is that if Barney Frank decides to do us all a big favor and get out of politics, there’s a job opening at his alma mater.

Speaking of liberal goofiness brings us inevitably to Barack Hussein Obama, as he now proudly identifies himself -- at least when he’s addressing Muslims, praising Muslims and, as usual, slandering America. By the way, isn’t it the least bit odd that he never condemns Muslims for clinging to their religion and their suicide bombs? Even if you’re a liberal, doesn’t it seem peculiar that during his speech in Egypt, he didn’t take a moment to mention how much blood and national treasure America has spent -- and, I would suggest, wasted -- defending Muslims in Somalia, Kuwait, Iraq, Kosovo and Afghanistan? But, then, we mustn’t forget that this is the same chap who went to France and took the opportunity to apologize for America’s arrogance without once mentioning the number of American G.I.s who died making sure that the French wouldn’t have to give up wine and foie gras for beer and bratwurst.

By the way, do you think the day will ever come when he’ll quit apologizing for America’s arrogance and apologize for his own?

Before setting off for the Middle East, where he gave a thumbs-up to Iran’s nuclear program while condemning Israel for building houses, Obama mentioned that America is home to one of the world’s largest Muslim populations. As anyone with even a passing interest in facts would know, there are roughly three million Muslims in the United States. Just to give you some idea of how far off Obama was, Indonesia has 195 million, Pakistan has 160 million, India has 154 million. Even Burkina Faso, a place you’ve never even heard of, has seven million. There are, as one of his advisors should have told him before he shot off his mouth, roughly 40 countries in the world saddled with larger Muslim populations than America.

But, then, as we all know, Obama has notoriously weak math skills. It certainly explains why he announced during the campaign that that the U.S. is made up of 57 states. Heck, it may even help explain the way he tosses around our money. It’s a scary thought, but isn’t it just possible that he can’t really tell the difference between million, billion and trillion? Of course an even scarier thought is that the president actually knows what $1,000,000,000,000 is, and that by burying this nation in insurmountable debt, he can make the 1,000,000,000 Muslims in the world adore him.



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

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

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


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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Does your child have Nature Deficit Disorder?

A new book says that children today need to get outside more - and that, despite the perceived dangers, parents should let them play without being watched over... Jeeezuz! This lady is talking about the carefree world of the '80s. It would probably make her hair stand on end to hear what I did freely and unsupervised as a kid of grade-school age in the '50s! Routinely standing on the slimy lip of a cross-river cable ferry as it made its crossings; wading knee deep through the mud of mangroves, wandering barefoot through towering fields of sugarcane that were also home to various poisonous creatures; walking around casually on high-up pitched roofs, etc. etc. My parents rarely knew where I was or what I was doing when I was out and about but looked after me well in other ways. It was just a time when kids were allowed to be kids and what I chose to do was fine as long as I got home in time for tea. Mothers in those days used to go out to their front fence and "call in" their kids at the time of the evening meal -- assuming that their kids were somewhere in the neighbourhood playing with other kids but without knowing at all exactly where the kids were or what they were doing.

It was easier for the neighbourhood when my brother Christopher was a kid, however. He was and is very popular and was always doing interesting things with Ko Karts etc. So all the neighbourhood kids would always be at our place playing with Christopher. So, come tea-time, local parents would just amble down to our place and call their kids from our front fence. I led a much more solitary life than my brother but, because I wandered about more, I think that may have exposed me to a wider range of experiences -- and I certainly enjoyed my life. And I am glad that the great trust that my parents obviously reposed in me never went remotely awry in the small country town where we lived -- JR

In a sunlit corner of the London Wetland Centre in Barnes, south-west London, my daughter, Clemmie, two, is bending perilously over a pond. "Mummy! Green stuff! Fishies," she coos. Entranced, her sister, Sasha, four, stares at a butterfly. "He is my friend," she declares. Watching them, my heart swells with delighted relief. Like most parents, I am terrorised by images of my 21st-century children growing up sun-starved and chubby, wedded to their Nintendo console and thinking that bacon comes from cows and that milk is concocted in a backroom lab at Tesco.

Next month the pressure to give our children more access to nature will intensify further with the UK publication of Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv. A huge bestseller in Louv's native US, the book caused a mini revolution when it was first published in 2005, leading to the forming of the international Children and Nature Network, campaigning to reconnect with the outdoor world.

A former journalist, Louv coined the phrase "nature deficit disorder", arguing that children suffer physically and mentally from lack of contact with nature and pointing out that today's generation are the first to be raised without "meaningful contact with the natural world". Louv's is by no means a lone voice. A recent report by Play England, the campaigning group for children, showed that the "radius of activity", meaning the distance from home children are allowed to play unsupervised, has declined by 90 per cent since the Seventies. Another report by Natural England revealed that 81 per cent of children would love more play outside. Eighty five per cent of parents agreed, but said fears about traffic and predatory strangers deterred them.

Certainly, the difference between my early-Eighties childhood and today's paranoid world is marked. My brother and cousins spent holidays at our granny's in the Scottish Borders where we enjoyed a Just William-type existence: paddling in the river, exploring derelict buildings and scratching our legs on brambles. Only recently did I realise that just a few miles away, at this time, 11-year-old Susan Maxwell was abducted, raped and murdered by the serial child killer Robert Black. The following year he did the same to five-year-old Caroline Hogg, just 27 miles from us in Portobello, Lothian. I ask my mother if she was worried or even knew of Black's activities.

"I was aware, but I wasn't really concerned. You were in the middle of nowhere, who was going to swoop in and kidnap you? But I think my post-war generation has a different concept of danger to people today." Indeed they do. "We live in a tiny village in Devon, where everyone knows everyone, but my neighbours are always saying, 'You can't be too careful these days,' whereas I think you definitely can be too careful," says Tom Hodgkinson, father of three children aged nine, seven and four, and author of The Idle Parent.

"We let our children wander as far as possible before the traffic gets too dangerous, but people tell them off and say: 'Go home, where are your parents?' You have to fight the prejudices of friends and neighbours who've been told constantly how awful the world is and who've understandably let it sink in." Yet most parents know from experience that the easiest way to calm fractious children is to go outside. Louv backs this up by citing the biophilia theory, coined by a Harvard biologist in 1984, which says that humans are still essentially hunters and gatherers, who biologically require natural contact to thrive.

Louv believes that dozens of maladies from depression to attention deficit disorder can be triggered by alienation from nature and remedied when the contact increases. "The woods were my Ritalin," he writes. Dozens of studies have shown significant decreases in blood pressure in people looking at an aquarium or surveying an open landscape.

Louv also points out that while children today worry about saving the Amazon rainforest, few have ever lain on a forest floor, and that the epidemic in childhood obesity has coincided with the huge rise in children's organised sport which – ironically – leaves no spare time to run around aimlessly.

Nigel Lowthorp knows first hand the transformative effects of nature. At Hill Holt Wood, near Norton Disney, Lincolnshire, Lowthorp has founded a centre for up to 20 boys, aged mainly between 14 to 16, who have been excluded from mainstream education, many of whom have been involved in crime, are illiterate and come from troubled homes. After two years of coppicing overgrown trees, clearing dead undergrowth and chopping logs in the 34-acre wood, the vast majority go on to higher education or employment, an achievement few schools can rival. "Most will have never been in a rural environment before and it absolutely calms them. When they have their mad moments we send them off into a clearing to sit under a tree and listen to the birds and just think, and the rage vanishes."

Louv believes that children who are not allowed to take risks with nature are more likely to lack creativity and confidence and to court danger in other ways. Lowthorp agrees. "We give 14-year-olds a bill hook, saw and slasher to cut down rhododendrons and show them the basic idea, but a lot of it is about having a go. Sometimes the knife slips and they cut themselves. We have boys who've been carrying around knives in gangs, who faint when they see their own blood. It's how they learn a knife can cause serious damage and to use it responsibly."

The advantages are felt much younger too. A representative from Louv's Children's and Nature Network recently visited the Farley Outdoor Nursery in Salisbury, Wilshire, where children spend virtually all day outside, whatever the weather. Even the six-month-old babies spend much of the day in the sandpit or napping in prams with a view of the sky.

Tracy Frick, whose son, Rafe, four, has attended the nursery for two years, is evangelical about the children's bravery. "They know that nettles sting, that ponds can be dangerous, but they are not frightened. So many parents put the fear of God into their children and wrap them in cotton wool but these children know the consequences of their actions, they know that nature can be dangerous but in a very level-headed sort of way. They pick blackberries from the hedge but my son tells me: 'I can't eat too many or they'll make me ill and I can't eat some berries at all.' "

While such stories are inspiring, I can't help wondering if Louv will only encourage earnest parents to add "building campfires" to their children's activity list, alongside Mandarin and flute. Hodgkinson, for one, has found it challenging to convert his eldest son to wholesome activities. "I have to physically pull Arthur away from his computer to play in the tree house I built – in fact I've seriously thought of installing a broadband connection to lure him in. He'd far rather look at an ornithology website than go outside and see a real bird. Humans have striven for the past 500 years to better nature with technology so it's hardly surprising our children are seduced by it."

Nor is it just children. Back at the Wetlands, Clemmie and Sasha are blissfully collecting wild flowers and clamouring to play Pooh sticks. Meanwhile – despite my free-range childhood – I am wondering how I can sneak off for a coffee and to read the papers. "My children are always telling me off for spending too much time on the computer," Hodgkinson sympathises. "I'm a fireside lurker at heart, not an outdoorsman. The trick is to start them building a log cabin and, once they've got going, you can rush inside and check your emails."


British police on the side of the wrongdoers again

Father convicted for assault after suffering years of abuse from youths who threatened to rape his daughter, 7

A father who stood up to youths after a two-year campaign of abuse has been convicted of assault after reaching the 'end of his tether'. David Magson told a court he was forced to endure months of abuse and vandalism from a gang - including a threat to rape his seven-year-old daughter. The father-of-two marched outside his Leicester home with a rounders bat to have it out with youths who had 'tormented' him and his neighbours for years. But he found himself in the dock on an assault charge after striking one of them with the bat and pushing him over.

The bus driver was handed an 18-month community order at Leicester Crown Court and told to attend an anger management course after he admitted causing actual bodily harm and being in possession of an offensive weapon.

Today he said youths from a local hostel had been responsible for the trouble - but the authorities had failed to deal with them. He and his neighbours had repeatedly complained to the police, the hostel and the city council about their behaviour, but nothing was done, he said. Mr Magson said: 'Personally I think it's wrong that people can run amok and do what they want and terrorise people. It's about time the police were given the authority to deal with these people. 'Due to drugs and alcohol, they are not thought to be responsible for their actions.

'People such as me and you, if we go out and confront them, because we are sensible, decent and hard-working people we have to take responsibility for our actions.' He added: 'I've had eggs thrown at my windows. On the night in question it was the third time my car had been vandalised. They've tried to mug me twice. 'One day I got a smack in the face on my way to work. On another occasion, when I went to complain, I was urinated on from an upstairs window.'

On March 21, as he was watching television at home with his young children James,11, and Katie, seven, a neighbour rang to tell him his car was being vandalised. Mr Magson went outside, armed with the bat, to complain to hostel staff. He was confronted and goaded by a number of youths and Mr Magson struck out. His victim suffered a minor head injury when he was pushed.

Police officers arrived and the resident told them he was a member of a community group who were fed up with the incessant problems. But he was arrested and later charged. Sentencing him, Judge Ian Collis said: 'I'm sure you were at the end of your tether. I accept you were under extreme provocation.'

Mr Magson said the situation in his street has improved since his brush with the law. Police patrols have been stepped up and a change of management has seen the behaviour of the hostel's residents improve, he said. But he added: 'It's a pity it involved me being prosecuted, before anything was done about the problem.'

Mr Magson could soon find himself in court again, however, as a victim of violent crime. Five days after his arrest, he was left nearly blind in one eye when he was attacked with a pint glass in Leicester city centre. His defence lawyer Rebecca Herbert, told the court: 'He cannot say the youths who glassed him had anything to do with the hostel, but he has his suspicions.'


Why ads paint dads as buffoons

In commercial after commercial on TV, the image of the modern husband and father is one of the buffoon - trapped in a shed he built without doors, staring blankly at spilled juice, gorging on dog cookies until his ever-capable wife comes to the rescue.

Such ads are a mainstay because they work: They make viewers laugh, and they sell. And, also, critics argue, because such stereotyping remains socially acceptable. "WASP men are the greatest target in advertising. The reason I say that is they are the only safe target in advertising," said Terry O'Reilly of Pirate Toronto, a leading audio advertising firm, and host of The Age of Persuasion, a CBC radio show. "When you make fun of a white, Anglo-Saxon male, husband, dad, you don't get a single letter of complaint."

In his 30-year career in advertising, Mr. O'Reilly has never received a letter from anybody offended by the gentle fun he pokes at dads. But in an age when fathers are expected to take on a greater role at home -- changing diapers and clipping coupons, while also earning a paycheque -- portrayals of Dad as a bumbling fool are troubling to those who would like to see more equality in the domestic realm. "It's deeply sexist, but what's even more troubling is that it's invisible as a form of sexism," said Dr. Kerry Daly, who runs the Fatherhood Involvement Research Alliance at Guelph University. "They laugh, and it's funny, so there's the licence to laugh without the concern for the impact that it has. And I think it does have a significant impact, in continuing to reinforce negative behaviours associated with fathering and men's behaviour."

Fathers' rights advocates have begun boycotting companies that run ads they deem offensive. Since 2004, the Advertising Standards Council of Canada, the advertising industry's regulatory agency, has upheld seven complaints against advertisers accused of treating men unfairly. In one of the cases, a father in Calgary filed a complaint against home-improvement store Rona. The spot showed a female customer lamenting that her husband does not help around the house. A female salesperson responded, "They're all like that, aren't they?" The advertising council deemed the clerk's comment "disparaging" because it implied all husbands are lazy.

Such depictions of men frustrate Don Dymond, a fathers' rights activist and chemical engineer in Fort St. John, B.C. One night last January, he sat in front of his television and took notes as he watched how often men were portrayed as "smart," or "dumb" or "neutral." Tallying his notes, he concluded the ads portrayed men as dumb five times more often than women.

One of the offenders in his admittedly unscientific survey was Bounty paper towels. In the ad, a man and his son watch spilled liquid seeping towards a rug, as a glass still lays on its side in front of them. As they debate how many paper towel sheets it will take to clean up the spreading mess (three- or four-sheeter?), Mom capably settles the debate, ripping off one sheet of paper towel and walking over to clean up.

"Once you open your mind to it, and you sit and you watch every single commercial on TV, anybody would start seeing this," said Mr. Dymond. He fears the effect they will have on his young sons. "What message are we sending out? ... If none of this turns around, what do we think it's going to be like in 20 years?"

Alison Thomas, a college professor of sociology in B.C., ponders the same question. Her own husband often cringes when offending ads flash on their television screen. For years, Prof. Thomas has studied the depiction of parental roles in Mother's Day and Father's Day cards. Her research, gleaned from studying hundreds of greeting cards, shows that fathers are typically characterized as flatulent, lazy shirkers who are subordinate to their wives and flounder with household tasks. Mothers, on the other hand, are portrayed as always there, always busy and always right.

Such humourous messages could have far-reaching consequences for both genders, Prof. Thomas said. "It reinforces for women and men alike the idea that this really isn't men's normal home turf, that they're not able to be good at it, and therefore, why bother?" Prof. Thomas said. "As a feminist, I find that problematic, because while it appears to be empowering women - saying women are superior, women are supermoms, they can do everything, men can't really do this stuff -- what's the outcome going to be? That women carry on doing it all."


Australia: Old lady penalized by government for having a small amount of savings

If she had blown all her money on "recreational" drugs, she would have got a tick of approval!

Astrid Bieler is 72 and has four screws in her spine, but in less than three weeks Housing NSW will evict her from the flat where she has lived for the past 10 years. When she was among the first to move into the Tweed Heads development for over 55s, Ms Bieler hoped to remain in her new home for the rest of her days. The flat was purpose built for aging singles like her, she had friends in the area where she had lived for 12 years and she could manage the $130-weekly rent.

In July the landlord, Alby Ross, who had built and run her complex, advised his tenants that he was putting the Banora Point property on the market... It was quickly bought by Housing NSW, which then screened the tenants to work out who could stay and who must go. Ms Bieler desperately wanted to stay but was told that even though she was on a full pension she was too young [at 72??], not sick enough and, with life savings of $20,000 and 5000 Telstra shares [worth $16,000 at current market value], too wealthy.

The department gave her six months to find somewhere else, and when she failed to move, gave her a final month. It has now advised her she will have to leave to make way for someone more deserving unless her last-minute appeal to a Housing Appeals Committee is successful. A spokeswoman for the Housing Minister, David Borger, confirmed Ms Bielder would have to move out but denied she was eligible for public housing, a claim Ms Bielder says is simply wrong. "I was approved for public housing and put on the waiting list in Tweed Heads in August," she said.

Mr Borger's spokeswoman said the department regretted evicting aging tenants but Ms Bielder's savings meant she had to make way for others less fortunate. "Unfortunately, the reality is that there are many people who are doing it tough who need help from Housing NSW - people with no assets at all, no family and who also suffer serious health problems." The department has been trying to help her find accommodation, suggesting options such as caravan parks and places for sale. [What could she buy with $20,000??]

"I just want to stay where I live, where I have my friends," she said. "I can't understand why a government department is doing this to someone my age."



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

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

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


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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It’s all them Damn Jews Fault!

By Arlene Peck

I don’t claim to be a maven on anything. Well, maybe in a past life I used to take pride in being a world class shopper. Actually, I’d consider myself to be a pretty basic person. But, I’ve come to the conclusion that if I listened to the pundits and our present and past governments, everything would be solved if that “obstacle to peace” the Israelis ‘settlements” in Judea and Samaria would just go away and then all of us would have the world peace for which we’ve been yearning. Of course, nobody ever mentions that the strip of land that they want to settle G-d knows how many millions of Arabs into is about the size of Disneyland.

Forget the fact that North Korea is making daily threats with their nuclear warheads putting them on a collision course with the rest of the world. Forget they are striving to reach our shores as soon as possible. I think I just read somewhere that they are almost ready to be able to reach Hawaii.

Is Ahmadinejad and the riots going on from his free ‘election’ with millions of dissents taking to the streets, of concern for Obama? Naw. Why should Obama speak out on the need for freedom and democracy in Iran when there are apartments being built in Judea and Samaria that need immediate tearing down? Because, if not, then, according to the leaders of our country, starting with our President and working its way to Miss Hillary, the Middle East will never have a solution to the problems that envelop it.

When I hear friends, and even Israeli friends, tell me that “We are tired of fighting we don’t need the settlements.”, then G-d help me. I want to scream! When I listen to those that aren’t Jewish go on about “the Jews and their state” who are causing all the problems, I know that they are the anti-Semites that somehow electively overlook all that is really going on now with the gathering storm. I used to wonder why everybody hates ‘the Jews’ and wrote it off to plain old jealousy. But, now, I think it goes deeper than that. And, I don’t think that land has a damn thing to do with it. For heaven’s sake… take a look at the map! Sure these savages ‘need’ that land…riiiiight. And, I’ve got some swamp land I’d like to sell you too.

The Jews gave the world a conscience. Before Moses came down from that hill with the Ten Commandments, everyone was decadent, but they were happy, running around sleeping with their sisters and partying with sheep. And, then let’s not forget that Hagar, Ishmael’s mother could never accept the fact that sibling rivalry between Ishmael and Isaac was caused by the fact that her kid, who later became the father of the new nation of Islam, did not have the legitimacy of being his father’s ‘favorite’ son.

These same friends, who went on ad-nausea about the hope and change that was going to transform our lives into something wonderful just as soon as Barak Hussein Obama took charge are strangely quiet now. You would not believe how I was attacked when I even suggested that I truly believed him to be a Muslim and he just might not be all they expected.

Why does Israel have to be a sounding board for public opinion for the Arabs? A recent LA Times opinion article in the biased anti-Semitic Los Angeles Times was headed, “Israel Tussle Tests Obama. Deal may be near on settlements issue.” But any U.S concessions could undercut the president’s credibility.” Credibility with whom? The Arab world? In it the article describes how the public quarrel with Israel over the growth of Jewish settlements in the West Bank is developing into a test of the U.S. leaders international credibility, say foreign diplomats and other observers”. Wow, I wonder who they could be. More importantly, why should BiBi Netanyahu even consider bowing to Obama when it comes to the security of the future of Israel? For Obama’s poll numbers in the Arab world or with our resident Nazi former President Jimmy Carter?

Apparently, the Arab world is being vocal that the ‘concessions not only disappointed the Arabs who the president has been courting, but also will be read by US adversaries around the globe as a signal that the president can be forced to back down.”

Frankly folks, I don’t give a diddly-squat what the Arab world, or even the free world is thinking about Obama’s plans for Israel might be. I know whatever they might be are not going to be anything but the advocate to demise of the Jewish state. Land never has had anything to do with it. The Arab world makes no secret about its intent. They won’t be happy until Israel does not exist whether as the State of Israel or the Jewish State of Israel. They want every last Jew gone! DEAD! Of course, since our new leader has announced that the United States is no longer a Judeo/ Christian country that might include the Sunday people also. Ya think?

What I don’t understand is why Israel bends and bows every time this group who I lovingly refer to as the ‘coven’ orders BiBi and company to give up something in the name of ‘peace’ and like fools they do it?

When Israel mentions a few basic suggestions of its own, such as the recognition of their country as a Jewish state with the right to exist, they are labeled as obstructionists of peace. Or, maybe when they sometimes say, they might want some of the Arab world to live up to any of their previous promises and agreements, they are totally ignored. Worse, the former inept leaders of Israel had opened the jails and let out hundreds of the terrorist tigers from their cages in one of their ‘good will ‘gestures.

I don’t care about ‘goodwill concessions’ from the Arabs because, it doesn’t mean a thing anyway. And, now that I feel we have an muslim in the White House, the United States isn’t trustable either. Last month, under Obama’s direction, Sec of State Madam Hillary Clinton declared that Obama opposed any settlements’ growth’ saying that he “wants to see a stop to settlements—not some settlements, not outpost, not ‘natural growth ‘exceptions’ Lovely. And, this from the woman that the Jewish community thought was going to be their ‘friend’ in the White House.

Except, who is she, or who is any US political official to hold the future of the Jews of Israel via Obama’s power? Doesn’t anyone who is supposed to be watching the store remember what happened the last time they listened to assurances from the Arabs and the U.S. about how wonderful it would be and peace could finally come to the region if only the interlopers in the ‘settlements’ in Gaza would just move out?

Received by email from Arlene [bestredhead@earthlink.net]

Another horror from hate-filled British social workers

They subject a woman to extreme provocation and then condemn her for becoming angry

A mother had her twin babies taken from her by social workers after she joked that their caesarean birth had ruined her body. She and her husband endured five rounds of IVF costing £38,000 to start a family, only to have social services take their children within weeks. The parents insist social workers acted needlessly, but have been warned their six-month-old boy and girl could be put up for adoption following a secret Family Court hearing last week.

The babies, who were born six weeks prematurely, were taken into care after hospital staff warned that the first-time parents were struggling to care for them. Nurses reported that the mother appeared to feel ' bitter' towards her children after her joke about the caesarean's effect on her body. And when the desperate woman lost her temper at social workers who had taken her babies, officials said she had 'anger problems' and could pose a threat to her twins.

The babies were born in December, at the height of nationwide fury that social workers had failed to step in and halt the abuse and tragic death of Baby Peter in Haringey, North London. The alarm over Peter's death has raised the prospect that some innocent families have been caught up in the backlash.

The couple, from Hornchurch, Essex, can be identified only as Mr and Mrs N to protect the identity of their children. They are allowed only supervised contact for ten hours a week with their son and daughter, and have been warned that the babies could be handed to strangers for adoption if a judge rules they cannot care for them.

Mrs N, a 36-year-old who has been told she cannot try for more children for medical reasons, said: 'Social services should step in where there's violence or abuse but we would never hurt our children.' Her 42-year- old husband added: 'No one is born with parenting skills - you have to learn them.' The couple have been married for five years.

A childhood infection left Mrs N suffering from a rare hormone disorder and unable to conceive naturally, and she suffers from short-term memory loss because of a car accident when she was a teenager, but doctors said there was no reason why she should not undergo IVF treatment. The babies were delivered on December 30 after Mrs N was admitted to Whipps Cross Hospital in East London with high blood pressure. They both weighed little more than 3lb and were kept in incubators at the NHS hospital's neonatal unit, where their parents were eventually able to help feed and care for them.

But staff became concerned that they were not giving the twins enough milk or changing them often enough. On January 29 a senior nurse referred the family to social services.

Mrs N said: 'The hospital could see we were struggling but they made no attempt to help us. They just decided we didn't have the parenting skills to look after the babies. 'They wrote down everything we did and said so they could use it against us. They twist everything. I remember talking to my son while he was in his cot, and saying jokingly, "You want to see what you have done to your Mummy's body". 'It didn't mean I felt bitter towards him or didn't want him - I've never wanted anything as much as I wanted children - I was just joking about the state of my stomach.'

Social workers visited the couple and asked to take the children into foster care. When the parents refused, Havering Borough Council took the case to court and in February was granted an interim care order to give the twins to a foster carer. Mr and Mrs N were allowed to visit but have found it difficult to see their babies in a stranger's care, and Mrs N admits she has shouted at the foster mother and social workers during angry confrontations over the twins' welfare.

The petite, 5ft 2in woman was accused of throwing her mobile phone at a social worker, and officials once called the police during an angry case conference. Mrs N said: 'Who wouldn't be emotional, watching another woman with my children? How am I supposed to stay calm? I'm terrified that they are going to take my babies away. 'Of course I get frustrated and I sometimes lose my temper, but never with the children. We don't drink, smoke or take drugs. Neither of us has a criminal record. All we wanted was to have a family.'

A council spokesman said: 'Only in exceptional circumstances would we seek to separate a child of any age from their parents. This decision was undertaken with a great deal of thought [about how to justify hurting middle class parents] and following thorough assessment.'


Sharia Continues to Strangle Free Speech

I am being patted down by a female Danish security officer in the basement of the parliament building in Copenhagen and I have a thought. I have just triggered the metal detector -- my heels, I'm sure -- en route upstairs to the Landstingssalen, formerly the parliament's upper house. There, I am scheduled to deliver a speech at the invitation of the Danish Free Press Society, or Trykkefrihedsselskabet. (Say that three times fast -- or slow.)

Indeed, I am holding the text of my 20-minute address inside a folder in one of my hands, now rigidly outstretched as I am being searched. The speech is called "The Impact of Islam on Free Speech in the U.S.," but as I am checked for bombs and knives and whatnot, my thought is of the impact of Islam on free society everywhere.

Such a thought surely tops the heights of "political incorrectness," I know. But what should I do -- not express it? Not think it? Not even notice that Western civilization, in skewing to accommodate the jihad threat of Islam within, has already traded away too much precious freedom?

As the security officer continues patting me down, I follow this forbidden train of thought to the realization that it is only due to the incursions of Islam into the West -- Islam with its death penalty for criticism of Islam -- that I am now standing here under guard. Here we are (for there is a long line behind me by now), participants in a conference to consider Islam's censoring impact on free speech, and Danish security is doing its best to prevent Islam from censoring the speech of anyone here permanently. This strikes me as an exceedingly hard way to prove a point.

Not that there are many people likely to try outside the elegant, security-ringed conference room upstairs. In PC lingo, security in the basement is looking for "terrorists" or "extremists" -- those postmodern designations for perpetrators of Islamic jihad that, presto, turn everything Islamic into something generic. Still, with Islam comes jihad, and with jihad comes Islamic law (Sharia), no matter what "experts" tell you. And because Islam is a growing presence in the West, Western countries must now and presumably forever expend vast sums of money and manpower to manage -- not defeat, just manage -- the jihad that can break out in acts large and small at any time. Increasingly, this also means deferring to Sharia.

Finally, my pre-conference frisk is over. Hallelujah, I am no threat to society and allowed to pass. I go on to meet for the first time the great author Wafa Sultan, and meet again the great Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, the two most illustrious speakers on the conference roster.

Both Sultan and Wilders, of course, live under unrelenting, permanent and Islamic threat of death for their critiques of Islam, in a very real way suffering every day for defying Sharia's prohibition against criticizing Islam. But does the outrageousness of their plight resonate with their fellow citizens? I don't think so. I think we've all grown much too used to it, and dully complacent. But imagine if I had written, circa 1970, that for his critique of communism, Ronald Reagan lived under unrelenting, permanent and communist threat of death in his beloved California, that he couldn't travel the streets of Los Angeles without a massive security retinue, that he could no longer even sleep in his own home. Wouldn't Americans have become rightly agitated over the communist enemy within?

I think the answer would have been yes, but the point is, no such mortal homeland danger existed at that time for those who spoke against the leading threat to Western-style liberty. Today, a mortal homeland danger does exist. I won't tell you what it was like to slip in and out of the Wilders security bubble during the course of his stay in Copenhagen, but suffice it to say, it is both a veritable shame and an outrage that his life depends on that bubble, and that for speaking his mind in defense of Western-style liberty he has lost his own freedom.

The same goes for Wafa Sultan, who, for attacking the repressiveness of Islamic law (under which she existed for 30 years in Syria), also lives privately a similarly wary, hunted life that necessitates protective security measures.

Remember, this is happening in the "Free World." Whether in Denmark, Holland or the United States, the heavy hand of Islamic law is pressing in on its leading critics, squeezing the freedom out of their existence. It is time to say enough -- literally enough, for example, and stop Sharia by stopping Islamic immigration -- and throw off the rising chokehold of jihad-advanced Sharia. I guarantee it will take a lot more effort than just patting down the occasional free speechnik, but I also guarantee that for the sake of free speech it is worth it.


Australia: Homosexuals shoot themselves in the foot

They've just got the equality they agitated for but don't like it -- so now they want special privileges

July 1 should be a day of celebration for the nation's same sex couples, when their relationships will become formally recognised under many federal laws. But many gay and lesbian Australians are finding that equality comes at a price - literally. From next Wednesday, when the law starts to recognise de facto gay couples, Centrelink [Federal welfare office] will also begin taking into account gay partner's incomes when considering eligibility for benefits. So for a university student who lives with a full-time worker, they may lose their Youth Allowance cheques.

But more concerning, for the gay community, is the effect the new laws will have on elderly couples, who could be forced to go from receiving two single pensions to one couple's pension. [which is considerably lower]

Stephen Page, a partner with Harrington Family Lawyers, who runs an Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog, said the law change contained a clear "sting in the tail" for those now too old to return to work. "The Government's view is that when they first flagged these changes in 2007, it would allow people time to make a financial adjustment. "But the reality is people have planned their long-term futures on this and the government has changed the rules."

Ray Mackereth, publisher of Q News, a Brisbane-based gay and lesbian newspaper, said suddenly foisting equality on people who'd been discriminated against their entire lives didn't seem fair. [Good Lord! Talk about wanting to have your cake and eat it too!] He said for many years elderly gay people had missed out on family tax benefits, medicare benefits, partner benefits or family assistance. "Despite having paid higher taxes all their lives and not being recognised as a same sex couple, now they're going to receive less money in their retirement when their planning was done many years ago," Mr Mackereth said.

"Gay and lesbian people don't want any more than equality; they don't want special rights; they just want to be treated the same as everybody else. "But when somebody's been treated poorly for their entire life and then suddenly the laws are going to treat them poorly again, that makes it awfully tough on those people, especially older people.

Mr Page called on the government to install a grandfather clause, so that people affected kept their current benefits until their situation changed. He said he realised it could be politically difficult to continue paying a gay couple more than a heterosexual couple when they were now recognised as the same by the law. "I can understand the argument but when (a heterosexual couple) decided to retire they would have done research and assessed their finances and they knew what the rules were," Mr Page said. "Gay and lesbian couples did the same thing but now the government has changed the rules. "It's sad that this is happening."

Mr Mackereth said he hoped the issue wouldn't cloud what should otherwise be a great day for the gay and lesbian community. "Equality is a huge thing to celebrate and for most people this is truly a wonderful time," he said. "However there are a few people that will be extremely adversely affected financially, despite their best planning, and we can't let those people fall through the cracks."



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

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

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


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Monday, June 22, 2009

White is right

Wage gap linked to customer bias

Researchers have helped solve the mystery of why white men continue to earn 25 percent more than equally well-performing women and minorities. Managers and business owners must pay a premium for white male employees because customers prefer them, says David Hekman, assistant professor in the Sheldon B. Lubar School of Business at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM).

The study will be published in the Academy of Management Journal. "Customers, from students buying textbooks to patients in an examining room, are consistently biased in favor of white men," says Hekman. "Because customer satisfaction is critical for organizational survival, business owners and managers will hire white men when possible and will pay lower salaries to the women and minorities they do hire."

Hekman and colleagues at four other North American business schools showed customers a video featuring either a black male, a white female, or a white male actor playing the role of an employee helping a customer. Those viewing the white male not only reported being 19 percent more satisfied with the employee's performance, but also they were more satisfied with the store's cleanliness and appearance. This despite the fact that employees demonstrated the same scripted behaviors and the store background, camera angles and lighting were identical.

These findings were also borne out through more than 10,000 medical patients' ratings of their doctors. Patients who received e-mail from their doctor were more satisfied with their doctor's competence and approachability, but only if the doctor was a white man.

The findings also reveal some potentially devastating, unintended consequences of the Paycheck Fairness Act (H.R. 12 and S. 182), introduced in 2009 to narrow the wage gap and now awaiting action by the U.S. Senate. "Because customers prefer white men employees, even when women and minorities perform equally well, there is a real danger that increasing women's wages so that they are equal to those of white men may cause managers to hire fewer women," Hekman explains.

The researchers say the act could be more effective if it also addressed ways to reduce the linkage between biased customer opinions and employee pay because more than 60 percent of employees have at least some of their pay directly linked to customer satisfaction survey results.

Hekman and colleagues offered straightforward policy suggestions in the Academy of Management Journal. Among them: make sure customer satisfaction surveys target specific employee behaviors. For example, don't ask customers if they would recommend a physician; ask them how many times the doctor asked a patient if she had additional questions or understood key medical terms.

No more anonymous customer feedback surveys, either, urge the researchers. These can significantly affect the pay scale in many industries. "Make sure customers are identifiable and therefore at least somewhat accountable when they provide ratings," says Hekman. "People may do all sorts of bad things when they are anonymous - just check out the reader postings on any blog."


Church of England to confront BBC over treatment of Christianity

The BBC faces a clash with the Church of England over claims that its new head of religious broadcasting has given preferential treatment to minority faiths

Concerns over the appointment of Aaqil Ahmed, who was poached by the corporation from Channel 4 last month, will be raised in a Church document to be published tomorrow. It calls his move to the BBC a "worrying" development and accuses the corporation of treating religion like "a freak show".

Senior bishops have signalled their backing for the paper, which is set to trigger a debate at the General Synod, the Church's parliament, over the alleged marginalisation of religious broadcasting.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, met with Mark Thompson, the BBC's director-general, in March to challenge him about the issue. Now a motion prepared for the Synod calls on the corporation to explain the decline in its coverage of religion and its failure to provide enough programming during key Christian festivals.

The document accompanying the motion, published ahead of next month's General Synod in York, criticises the lack of regular religious programmes on BBC television and alleges that Mr Ahmed, a Muslim, displayed anti-Christian bias while in charge of commissioning at Channel 4. "The regular BBC Television coverage of religion consists of just two programmes." the Church paper says. "BBC 3 tackles religion rarely but does so from the angle of the freak show, and many of the Channel 4 programmes concerned with Christianity, in contrast to those featuring other faiths, seem to be of a sensationalist or unduly critical nature. "From this point of view it is worrying that the Channel 4 religion and multicultural commissioning editor, Aaqil Ahmed, who is a Muslim, is soon to be responsible for all the religious output from the BBC."

Last summer, Channel 4 screened a week of special programmes on Islam including a feature-length documentary on the Koran, and a series of interviews with Muslims around the world talking about their beliefs.

The main Christian documentary broadcast for Easter that year, called The Secrets of the 12 Disciples, cast doubt on the legitimacy of the Pope's leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

Nigel Holmes, a General Synod member and former BBC producer, who has tabled the motion and who wrote the paper, said that the Church needed to tackle the issue at a time when the future of religious broadcasting was under threat. "There is an element of uncertainty at the BBC with all of the changes there, and the appointment of Aaqil Ahmed gives rise to an element of concern," he said. "He has been involved with programmes that have tended to look at the fringes of Christianity where it can be brought into disrepute. "Religion is higher on the political agenda than ever before and we are crying out for programmes that give a moral view." Mr Holmes attacked the BBC for the lack of religious television programmes at Easter, but said that ITV has also failed to give enough coverage.

The Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, has signalled he would support the motion. He told The Sunday Telegraph that Mr Ahmed is "duty bound to provide adequate time and fair representation to the Christian faith and to Christian concerns".

The Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, has previously accused the BBC of "overlooking" Good Friday. "Many people want an appropriate marker of religious significance, whether it is life and death or Easter and Christmas," he said.

While the BBC's total output of television hours has doubled over the past 20 years, the amount of religious coverage has fallen by nearly 15 per cent, from 177 hours in 1988 to 155 in 2008. Critics of the corporation are upset that respected programmes such as Everyman and Heart of the Matter have not been replaced. They argue that well-produced and promoted programmes can attract a large audience. The Passion, which received a big budget and prime-time slot, attracted more than five million viewers when it was broadcast last year...

The Rev Jonathan Alderton-Ford, vicar of Christ Church, Bury St Edmunds, and a General Synod member, said that he would support the motion. "It gives voice to the concerns many of us have about the drift of the BBC over the last decade," said Mr Alderton-Ford, who has advised the Church on media issues. "The BBC's bias permeates its programme-making, so that the Christians get criticised while the minority faiths escape the same treatment. It's necessary that we debate this."

A spokesman for the BBC said that Mr Ahmed was the best-qualified candidate for the role and rejected claims that religious affairs has been covered in a "sensationalist manner". She added: "The BBC's commitment to religion and ethics broadcasting is unequivocal. As the majority faith of the UK, Christians are and will remain a central audience for the BBC's religious and ethics television and other output."


British registrar demoted to receptionist because she refused to "marry" homosexuals

A Christian registrar was demoted to receptionist because she refuses to preside over gay ‘marriages’ – and last night claimed she is facing dismissal. The case parallels that of 48-year-old Lillian Ladele, the registrar who won a similar battle last year against Miss Davies’s employers – Islington Council in North London. Miss Davies has worked for the council for 18 years and was a friend and colleague of Miss Ladele in the same department.

She will send a strongly worded letter to all members of the House of Lords tomorrow, highlighting her plight and complaining of a ‘militant political-sexual libertarian lobby’ at the council. Miss Davies told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Britain is supposed to be a nation that respects freedom of conscience. But my conscience is not being respected. If Islington Council believes in dignity for all, why can’t my beliefs be accommodated and why is my dignity not being respected? ‘I have nothing against homosexuals. My colleagues in the office will tell you that – and the openly gay ones have no problem with me. All I am asking is that the system can be arranged so I do not have to perform civil partnerships.’

At one point Miss Davies, who is not married, rose to deputy superintendent registrar – third in the hierarchy in the 16-strong department – although she then chose to return to the role of deputy registrar. After the introduction of civil partnerships in December 2005 she told her bosses her beliefs would preclude her from performing same-sex ceremonies. While her position was being discussed, she felt under so much pressure that in June 2006 she took four months’ sick leave with stress.

On her return she says she was told that she would have to be demoted to an entry-level job on reception or face dismissal. Believing that she had no choice, she accepted and worked as a receptionist for the next two years, despite finding it humiliating. She said: ‘I was shocked because I knew that if they had wanted to they could have accommodated me. ‘I know of other councils that have allowed Christian registrars to carry on by ensuring that colleagues are given civil partnerships – but I was told this was not Islington’s policy. ‘I was very disappointed, very saddened and angry. It was humiliating to be back on reception, where I had started.’

When Miss Ladele won her employment tribunal case against Islington in July last year, Miss Davies was moved on to the general rota, though she had few marriages to conduct. She was even put back on to the full marriage rota – but in December Islington Council won an appeal against Miss Ladele, upholding its right to insist that staff carry out civil partnerships. Miss Ladele is now taking her case to the Court of Appeal.

In January this year Miss Davies failed to conduct a civil partnership ceremony for which she was rostered – it was carried out by colleague instead – and a staff member complained. In March, John Lynch, the head of her department, told her to perform civil partnerships or she would be removed from the marriage rota. Last week, she was told she was being demoted to a reception job for a second time as part of a ‘restructuring’.

With the backing of the Christian Legal Centre, Miss Davies is now launching a grievance procedure against the council, arguing that she has been the victim of discrimination on the grounds of her religious beliefs. She said: ‘Doctors can opt out of performing abortions on conscience grounds so why can’t I opt out of civil partnerships?’

When the Government introduced new laws to criminalise the stirring up of hatred against gays and lesbians last year, Lord Waddington forced through an amendment to safeguard people’s rights to make reasonable comments about homosexuals. But the Government is now trying to remove this amendment. In her letter to peers, Miss Davies urges them to block the Government’s attempt to do so.

An Islington Council spokesman said: ‘Following detailed discussions with Miss Davies, a year ago she accepted another job in the same team that did not require her to conduct civil partnerships or marriages. ‘Miss Davies made no formal response to a recent consultation on a restructure in the registrars’ department, and we have no reason to think she was unhappy with her role. ‘Islington council expects employees to provide services to all sections of the community.’


Florida Security Council sues Marriott Corporation over Wilders Free Speech Summit

Tom Trento, executive director of the Florida Security Council (FSC) and Rebecca Bynum, New English Review (NER) editor were interviewed by 1330AMWEBY "Your Turn" host Mike Bates and Jerry Gordon, contributing editor of the NER on the eve of the FSC filing its suit against Marriott Corporation for breach of contract.

The suit arose as a result of the Marriott Delray Beach operators, Island Properties, Ltd. ejecting the Free Speech Summit in late April that FSC organized honoring Dutch politician and anti-Islamist advocate, Geert Wilders, leader of the PVV (Freedom Party). As we noted in a post this week, the FSC Marriott matter was preceded by an attack against Florida House Majority Leader Rep. Adam Hasner by CAIR and United Voices for America founder, former Tampa CAIR chapter leader, Ahmed Bedier, a one time spokesperson for convicted terror financier, former USF Professor Sami al-Arian. They had the chutzpah to request that Florida Governor Charles Crist 'fire' Hasner because of his association with Wilders, the Free Speech Summit and the March 10th rebuttal to Muslim Day at the State Capitol in Tallahassee.

The FSC ejection is analogous to one that the New English Review experienced in late May in Nashville, when the Loews Vanderbilt hotel general manager, Thomas Negri gave notice that it was cancelling a long term contract for the symposium, "Understanding Jihad in Israel, Europe and America", in part because of a video featuring Wilders remarks extended to attendees. The alleged reason for the Nashvile NER symposium event cancellation by Negri, was to protect the 'health and safety of its employees and guests". This breach by Loews is being reviewed for possible action by the New English Review and its parent board, the World Encounter Institute, a 501 c3 tax exempt organization.

This NewsMax.com report, "Counterterrorism Group Sues Marriott Over Wilders Event,"provides background on the FSC suit against Marriott and its implications vis a vis the similar breach by Loews for the NER Nashville symposium.
The cancellation of the event came as a complete surprise to security council Director Tom Trento, who stated, "The fact that the Marriott sent me an e-mail at 7 p.m. on a Friday night canceling our well-planned event made it very plain to me that something was up. I suspected there was more here than a breach of contract."

The lawsuit that the security council filed against Ocean Properties Ltd., owner and operator of the Delray Beach Marriott, contends there may have been external circumstances involving unnamed groups and individuals that pressured the Marriott into canceling the contract.

"We think there may be some evidence pointing that way," Trento said Wednesday at a news conference in West Palm Beach, Fla., where the lawsuit was filed. “We’re not playing games here, and this breach of contract suit is going to enable us to use the full force of the law, and the full force of our capability to use our investigating assets to look into whether or not the Marriott unilaterally, within and of themselves, breached our contract, and if they did, for what reasons."

Just a few weeks after the scheduled event in South Florida, which was moved to nearby Boca Raton, Wilders' participation in another free speech summit and conference on Islam at a Loews hotel in Nashville, Tenn., in May, also was canceled, raising the Florida Security Council's concerns that something was amiss.

Negri refused to say what prompted his concerns, except to refer to the Web site of the New English Review, the group organizing the conference, which features articles that warn about radical Islam.

Negri wrote to the organizers, saying that the hotel had “not received any information related to a specific security threat concerning this event,” and declined to provide any justification for canceling it at the last minute.

"Currently, we have no evidence that CAIR or anyone pressured the Marriott into cancelling the Florida Security Council's Free Speech Summit," Trento said. "That is a possible theory in light of the facts."

Security council attorney Peter Feaman said, "This is a very clear-cut case of corporate breach. It’s hard to find a breach as overtly outrageous."

Conservative radio talk show host Joyce Kaufman, a prime organizer of the April free speech summit in South Florida, addressed the news conference Wednesday by saying, "Any efforts by any outside groups, Muslim or not, to suppress our right to free speech will not go unanswered. We simply will not allow anyone to repress our First Amendment rights, regardless of who they may be."



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

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

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


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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Britain's "caring" social worker bitches again

Mother of disabled daughter told they would take her into "care" if she doesn't take away her daughter's toys. Putting "care" into the hands of government employees is a sick joke

A mother is distraught after being told her disabled daughter could be taken into care if she does not take away her collection of toys. Maureen Wright was sent a letter by the council telling her to make "significant adjustments" to the way she looked after daughter Michelle. Among these adjustments was an order to move Michelle's collection of soft toys out of reach in case she "ingests fibres".

She was also told to be more accommodating to her daughter's three full time carers, who spend up to 21 hours a day with Michelle, 38, who suffers from genetic condition Cri du Chat syndrome. The letter was sent by the team leader of the council's joint community learning disability team, Linda Lines.

In the letter Ms Lines wrote: "I am aware that you are keen for Michelle to remain living at home. "This is something that the local authority will support provided Michelle's care needs are being fully met. "In the event that Michelle's needs are not fully met we have been advised to make an application to the Court of Protection, which may result in Michelle being moved to residential accommodation. "Unless significant adjustments are made now ... it is likely that she will have to be moved into residential care."

Maureen, 65, says the letter has left her feeling like a bad mother, despite providing many years of loving care for her daughter. It also asked her to ensure Michelle is fed a varied diet including fresh vegetables - even though Maureen claims she already does this. She said: "I'm extremely angry and very upset. I just don't know what to do about it. "Of course I don't want Michelle to go into care but if they keep writing me letters and making demands I don't know how I can keep up with it." She says she will abide by the council's demands but has been left distraught at the insinuation she is not providing her daughter with everything she needs.

Maureen, of Queens Road, Thornton Heath, said: "Michelle is so happy at home. She wouldn't survive in care. "She's 38 now and I've been looking after her since she was born. "I know what to do. I'm her mother."

A spokeswoman for Croydon Council defended the letter being sent out. She said: "The council has a responsibility to safeguard the wellbeing of all disabled people living at home with carers and this is always our number one priority. "We have been working closely with Mrs Wright and her daughter to ensure that Michelle's welfare and wellbeing comes first in any decisions or changes as regards her care." [What a mealy-mouthed hypocritical bitch!]


Virulent new strain of anti-Semitism rife in UK, says Chief Rabbi

Britain is in the grip of a “virulent” new strain of anti-Semitism, according to the Chief Rabbi. Sir Jonathan Sacks told The Times in an interview that in January the number of anti-Semitic incidents reached the highest level since records began. Jews have been physically attacked, schools targeted and cemeteries desecrated.

“I was in the synagogue a few months ago when one of the members came in visibly shaken: somebody had just shouted at him, ‘It’s a pity Hitler didn’t finish the job’,” the Chief Rabbi said.

Although the new “mutation” was different from the anti-Semitism promoted by Hitler, it was dangerous because it was international, he said. “The internet means that we no longer have national cultures; we have global cultures and the new anti-Semitism is very much a phenomenon of the global culture.”

Whereas in the past, hatred was focused against Judaism as a religion or Jews as a race, the focus this time was on Jews as a nation. The rise in the number of attacks in January took place at the same time as Israel’s assault on Hamas in Gaza. “It begins as anti-Zionism — but it is never merely anti-Zionism when it attacks synagogues or Jewish schools,” Sir Jonathan said. “In the post-Holocaust world the single greatest source of authority is human rights — therefore the new anti-Semitism is constructed in the language of human rights.”

In a new book, Future Tense, he describes a “virulent new strain of anti-Semitism”. A worrying alliance had developed between radical Islamists and anti-globalisation protesters, he said. [i.e. the extreme Left]

The UN had also fanned the flames. At the World Conference against Racism in Durban in 2001, he said, “Israel was accused of the five cardinal sins against human rights — racism, apartheid, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity and attempted genocide. So the old myths are recycled they are alive and well but they are done in a new kind of vocabulary.”

The media should also be more careful in coverage of the Middle East: “I do think too little of the history has been set out and people don’t really understand what’s at stake, so the Jewish community has felt quite vulnerable because of that.” Asked whether he thought the BBC had shown anti-Israeli bias, he replied: “No comment.”

Sir Jonathan said that the mood had changed after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre in 2001. His daughter, who at the time was studying at the London School of Economics, “had gone to an anti-globalisation rally which quickly turned into a diatribe against Israel and Jews. She came home weeping and said, ‘Dad they hate us’. I never expected that to happen in the 21st century,” he said. “There had been after the Holocaust a kind of taboo and that began to break. Within 24 hours of 9/11 people said it was ‘Mossad wot done it’.

“Then the anti-Semitism went viral and it became very worrying. There started to be synagogue desecrations, cemetery desecrations and Jews attacked on the street. We had a rabbinical student who was on the top floor of a bus in Stamford Hill quietly studying the Talmud. Somebody stabbed him many times — he was lucky to live. The guy who was convicted said, ‘Israel is persecuting us so I decided I had to persecute him’.”

Mark Gardiner, of the Community Security Trust, said that the number of attacks in January — 250 — was double the highest previous monthly total and the level had stayed well above average. Figures began to be compiled in 1984. “We have repeatedly seen a surge of anti-Semitic attacks every time there is turmoil in the Middle East,” Mr Gardiner said. “It’s a ridiculous situation that British Jews should feel vulnerable in relation to a conflict thousands of miles away.”


Isn't This Racism?: Buy Black Goods Only Campaign

This movement has been picking up steam in Detroit in recent years, and it dovetails on a Black Expo, in which the "buy Black products" campaign has been pushed. There's nothing wrong with supporting your local community, but when you do so based only on skin color (and drive miles out of your way to avoid buying from White people), there's a term for it: racism. It's no different than those who would urge the purchase of only White goods and products.

I wonder if the people supporting this will agree not to use any medicines, inventions, and other conveniences that were invented by and/or are produced by non-Blacks. I doubt it. They aren't just racists. They're hypocrites.
Maggie Anderson drives an average of 16 miles each way to buy groceries. She drives another 20 miles to shop at a general merchandise store and then an additional 16 ½ miles to buy her children's clothes. The long trips are part of Anderson's efforts to shop exclusively at black-owned firms.

Anderson, an Oak Park, Ill., attorney, and her husband John, decided in January to begin a yearlong campaign to support black merchants, professionals and products made by blacks.

The Andersons [were] in Detroit . . . touting their Empower Experiment program and urging others to become part of it.
More like Empower Racism Experiment.
"We want to give back to our community," Anderson said Wednesday. "The black community has the worst (statistics) whatever the problem is. We have the highest unemployment rate, the highest dropout rate, the highest incarceration rate." Anderson said the campaign is about trying to save black businesses and not exclude others.
Sorry, but when you drive miles out of your way to avoid buying from Black people, it is exclusionary.
Anderson said she has invested $39,000 in Chicago-area black-owned businesses this year. She and her husband, a Detroit native, write down every purchase they make. "We're asking them to buy more black (goods and services)," Maggie Anderson said. "We're asking people to make little sacrifices. Pledge to try to spend more with black-owned businesses. For example I'm going to find black dry cleaners ... a black caterer for the family reunion."
Again, how would they like it if White people refused to buy from them or Black businesses because they want to support the White community, which doesn't get affirmative action, minority set-asides, and other benefits in this poor economy?

They'd be shouting, "RACISM!"

But these racists were allowed to push their campaign at a Detroit area church and another establishment, where anti-White racism is apparently acceptable.


Media ignore the Leftist ideas of the murderous von Brunn

In its obvious zeal to create a one-party state, the Democrat-Media Complex (the natural coalition of the Democratic Party and the mainstream media) last week seized upon the horrific murder of a security guard at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington as an opportunity to ascribe blame to the American conservative movement and to further marginalize the Republican Party.

In record time, the media's blind partisans and their feral friends in the left-wing blogosphere used the alleged "lone wolf" act of James W. von Brunn - an 88-year old self-avowed racist and anti-Semite - to try to affirm the controversial Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report that posited " right-wing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president" and are a becoming a growing domestic terror threat.

The networks, CNN, MSNBC and the New York Times - the usual obnoxious suspects - toed this specious ideological slander, even though it smacks of the kind of profiling that the left rejects. Even Shepard Smith of Fox News jumped to the same conclusion by offering a surge of nasty notes in his in-box as proof. (You should check my e-mail, Shep!) If a newsreader on Fox News thinks it's true, triumphal lefties crowed, then it must be!

While Mr. von Brunn is afforded the descriptor of "alleged" perpetrator before a court of law convicts him, the conservative movement is granted no such due process. In a country where the individual is "innocent until proven guilty," conservatives have been forced to actively disassociate themselves from an ideological lineage to white supremacists, anti-Semites and other racist miscreants. And these days there's less and less media space for them to fight this unfair accusation.

Rush Limbaugh, the bete noire of the Democrat-Media Complex, came under fire last week for disclaiming von Brunn from the mainstream political right. Mr. Limbaugh, no stranger to such high-level orchestrated slanders, righteously challenged President Clinton and his media abettors for connecting nonexistent dots between right-leaning AM talk radio and Timothy McVeigh's bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1994.

Fifteen years later, the glaring media double standard of putting only "right-wing" groups on public "guilt by association" trial is still on display for all who care to see. "Why was it outrageous 'guilt by association' to connect Barack Obama to a domestic terrorist like Bill Ayers and an anti-Semite like [the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.], but it's perfectly mainstream to associate all conservatives with this nut job?" asked Jonah Goldberg, best-selling author of "Liberal Fascism" and a nationally syndicated columnist.

Or what about the countless terrorist attacks by unaffiliated Muslim groups or individual jihadists that the media explains away as isolated incidents? Somehow the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its media defenders win the day with their collective cry: "Don't rush to judgment!"

But, turnabout is fair play, right? While Mr. von Brunn is currently being made out to be the poster child of the Republican Party, even a cursory look at his professed views shows he is the avowed enemy of the GOP in its current incarnation. Among many others, Mr. von Brunn hates Rupert Murdoch, Fox News (that means you, too, Shep!), George W. Bush and John McCain. And according to the FBI, Mr. von Brunn even had in his vehicle the address of the Weekly Standard, home base of the dreaded "neo-cons."

Seems Mr. von Brunn wasn't a big fan of the Iraq War and also believed that 9/11 was an "inside job." Given this political sketch, Mr. von Brunn would feel at home at Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehan's antiwar outpost in Crawford, Texas, and at the Daily Kos convention, rather than partaking in a National Review cruise with pro-Israeli war hawks Mark Steyn and Victor Davis Hanson.

It's not Charles Lindbergh's Republican Party any more. And it hasn't been for more than a half-century. But don't tell that to the facile minds at the DHS and CNN.

The inconvenient truth is that David Duke and James von Brunn currently share more in common with Markos Moulitsas and Arianna Huffington than with Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer. But the right wouldn't be so crass or foolish to try to blame the political left for the existence of - or motivation behind - haters like Mr. von Brunn.

No one is suggesting Mr. von Brunn was doing hip rolls at the Huffington Post pilates tent during the Democratic National Convention, but his underlying philosophy, when examined and detailed, shares eerie similarities to the dominant "multicultural" mind-set at the liberal American college campus and on prominent left-wing blogs.

Change the word "supremacy" to "studies" and you'll understand the separatist mold dominant in humanities departments across the land. Women's Studies, Queer Studies, African-American Studies and Chicano Studies all produce culturally acceptable separatist and supremacy mind-sets and countenance movements that resemble those of white supremacists.

La Raza, Mecha and the Black Panthers all have prominent places at the academic table. Professors like Michael Eric Dyson and Cornel West make a handsome living baiting people unfortunate enough to be born with white skin. President Obama's "wise Latina" choice to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter exemplifies how the post-structuralist, racialist lunatics have taken over the asylum.

Right now, the Democratic-Media Complex is using the single act of a lone lunatic far removed from the political mainstream to split this country on racial grounds in the pursuit of its own political advantage. With the listless Republican Party lacking in any vocal leadership, it will probably succeed.



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

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

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


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Pretentious Liberal Snobs

Let’s put aside the fact that David Letterman’s jokes about Sarah Palin and her daughters were sexist, as NOW and other feminist groups have acknowledged. We should also ask why he thought it was a cutting insult to compare Palin to a flight attendant—and other normal Americans that upper-crust liberals would never associate with.

The obvious answer: they’re snobs.

It’s why they laughed along with another Letterman monologue likening Palin to members of the lowly working class. “She looks like the waitress at the coffee shop who draws a little smiley face on your check,” he said. “She looks like the dip sample lady at Safeway. She looks like the nurse who weighs you and then makes you sit alone in your underwear for 20 minutes.” This was funny to people who look down upon nurses and grocery store workers.

It’s why the status-obsessed Keith Olbermann brags about his “Ivy League” credentials when he actually went to a state school affiliated with Cornell—as if there were something shameful about a public education.

It’s why Michael Moore writes book after book haranguing Americans for being racist, lamenting in Stupid White Men, “[I’m] trying to clock how long it is before I spot a black man or woman who isn’t wearing a uniform or sitting at a receptionist’s desk.” But as of 2005, Moore was spending two-thirds of his time in Central Lake, Michigan—a town that doesn’t have a single black resident.

Obviously, penning sanctimonious screeds about American racism is the job of rich liberals. But actually living in racially diverse neighborhoods is for the working class. (This also explains why popular vacation destinations for the liberal elite, such as Aspen and The Hamptons, are almost entirely white. Conversely, you’ll never see Ted Kennedy or Nancy Pelosi hanging out at the Jersey Shore or other spots frequented by riffraff.)

It’s why a group of Hollywood aristocrats, including Barbra Streisand and David Geffen, illegally constructed fences to keep ordinary people off the public beaches near their Malibu homes. They’re all about the interests of the “little guy”—just as long as the peasants don’t obstruct their view of the ocean.

It’s why the Queen of Liberal Pomposity, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, suggested that George Bush was unfit for the Presidency because her friends made disparaging remarks about him at a Georgetown cocktail hour—as if any normal person cares about liberals’ insipid chitchat at their little parties. (The average home price in Georgetown: $1,435,180.)

It’s why they sneered at former Representative Tom Delay for building a successful pest extermination company (how blue-collar!). They instead admire people who inherited or sued their way to wealth, like John Kerry and John Edwards.

It’s why the liberal media elite fawn over Michelle Obama’s designer shoe collection, while joking that Sarah Palin looks like she belongs “at a TGI Friday’s happy hour.”

Hilarious, but only to liberal snobs who wouldn’t be caught dead hanging out at TGI Friday’s—or any other place they might encounter the “little guys” they claim to represent.


British corruptocrats still trying to hide

MPs were shamed yesterday after the much vaunted opening of their expenses files produced a humiliating cover-up of the most serious abuses. Parliament and its officials were accused of colluding in a £2 million ($4 million) operation to protect the greedy as the supposed new era of transparency was drowned in a sea of black ink.

More than a million pieces of paper - bills, receipts and claim forms - were posted on the House of Commons website shortly before 6am, but thousands of them were indecipherable. Much of the information was blacked out as the MPs, helped by the authorities, censored incriminating material, citing security and privacy. The redactions included addresses, making it impossible to tell from the official version which MPs "flipped" their second homes to maximise returns from the taxpayer or changed the designation of their homes to avoid paying capital gains tax.

Even so, the exposure produced more dramatic developments in a saga that has shaken politics to the core. It was slipped out last night that about 200 MPs had rushed to pay back nearly £500,000 because of public outrage over their claims.

In four years Labour MPs have channelled £235,000 of taxpayers' money to a computing consultancy that operates from party headquarters. Several Cabinet ministers have used their Commons allowance to pay Computing for London to manage communications in their constituency offices.

The papers revealed that Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, asked his accountants to change the wording of an invoice for tax advice before he submitted it to the fees office and controversially claimed it back on expenses.

David Cameron said that he would repay almost £1,000 in overpayments on mortgage, electricity and phone bills. He blamed the overpayment on an "inadvertent administrative error".

The expenses scandal has already ended the careers of 20 MPs, and more are expected to follow.

The cover-up shocked campaigners. Commons officials had removed references to previously revealed absurdities such as the cleaning of moats and the purchase of houses for ducks. The names of companies providing goods and gardening services were also blanked out to avoid having to show where the work was done.

Without earlier disclosures no one would have known that Hazel Blears claimed second home expenses for three different properties in a year, or that the second home of Margaret Moran, who claimed £22,000 to treat dry rot, was in Southampton, 100 miles from her constituency. The official record would not have exposed the Labour MPs David Chaytor and Elliot Morley, who claimed thousands of pounds against mortgages that had already been paid off. This only emerged after their addresses were cross-checked against Land Registry records.

Nevertheless, the political establishment was smarting as the full tawdriness of its claims was laid bare to a public audience. By 4.30pm 250,000 people had visited the website and clicked on 1.5 million pages.

The receipts revealed that the Conservative MP Graham Brady claimed £71 to get back into his house after being locked out and that the former minister John Reid claimed £29.99 for a book explaining basic economics.

Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister, spent £260 on shredding as he wound up his parliamentary affairs, and claimed £6,990 for repairing the roof of his constituency home two days before leaving No 10. The fees office reduced his claim to £4,453. Others spent a fortune on paper clips, matches, milk frothers, assertiveness training courses and the Racing Post.

MPs themselves were hugely embarrassed by the cover-up. Vince Cable, of the Liberal Democrats, said: "If people had had to rely on this information to find out about their MPs they would have been faced with swaths of black ink rather than information about the flipping of homes and the avoidance of capital gains tax. “It took a huge amount of effort from campaigners, my Liberal Democrat colleagues and other independent-minded MPs to get even this much information released. It's a shame that it is still far less transparent than it could have been."

The Commons authorities spent more than £140,000 trying to avoid publishing the expenses before being defeated in the High Court in May last year. The process of scanning and editing all the receipts from 2004-08 has cost a further 2 million pounds and taken 13 months to complete. Sir Stuart Bell, of the Commons Commission, described the disclosure as unprecedented and said that it was right that information was blacked out to protect MPs' privacy and security.

Maurice Frankel, of the Campaign for Freedom of Information, said: "The mood of the House of Commons was that they did not want any of this information to be published and, failing that, as little as possible."


Britain: Scandal of killers on probation

Criminals are just misunderstood, don't you know?

THE justice secretary, Jack Straw, was facing a scathing attack on Labour’s prison policy this weekend after it emerged that criminals on probation are charged with one in seven murders in Britain.

The Tories unearthed figures which show that in the past three years at least 300 criminals on parole have been charged with murder. A further 130 have faced trial for attempted murder or conspiracy.

Dominic Grieve, the shadow justice secretary, said the figures shattered Straw’s recent claim that the fiasco surrounding the brutal murder of two French students was a one-off case.

Gabriel Ferez and Laurent Bonomo, who were stabbed more than 200 times in a sadistic attack in London last June, were killed by Dano Sonnex and Nigel Farmer. Sonnex should have been in jail at the time in connection with an earlier crime he had committed while on probation.

“We are now learning the true scale of the systematic failings revealed in the tragic Sonnex case. Gordon Brown has released serious offenders early and relaxed the monitoring of those on probation,” Grieve said.

“Dangerous criminals under diluted probation supervision are now being charged with a shocking one in seven of all homicides in Britain. This amounts to a reckless dereliction of this government’s duty to protect the public.

“Only this week, the justice secretary claimed the Sonnex case was a one-off. This now looks complacent in the extreme, not least since the number of murders committed by those on probation is in fact rising,” he added.

The figures show that 129 criminals on parole were charged with murders in 2006-7. A further 107 faced murder charges in 2007-8, with an additional 64 charged in the six months to last September, the latest period for which figures are available.

Probation failures have proved a constant embarrassment to Labour ministers. They were highlighted by the killing of John Monckton, a City financier, at his home in Chelsea, London, in 2004.

He was killed by Damien Hanson and Elliot White, who were both supposed to be under the supervision of the probation service at the time.

After the Sonnex case, David Scott, the head of London probation, resigned. Straw insisted the failures which led to the murders could not be blamed on lack of resources.


Obama, Iran, and the Tiananmen playbook

by Jeff Jacoby

IS BARACK OBAMA channeling George H. W. Bush? Twenty years ago this month, the first President Bush refused to condemn China's communist rulers when they unleashed a violent assault on pro-democracy demonstrators in the streets of Beijing.

For weeks Bush had refrained from encouraging the student-led reform movement that had blossomed around the country. "Clearly we support democracy," he said, but it wouldn't be appropriate for an American president to endorse the protesters' pleas for more freedom. "Exactly what their course of action should be," he demurred, "is for them to determine." Even after the massacre in Tiananmen Square, Bush -- unwavering in his commitment to engagement with Beijing -- would say nothing that might offend the Chinese government. "Not the time for an emotional response," he told reporters. He even spoke respectfully of the Chinese troops. "The army did show restraint. . . . They showed restraint for a long time."

In reacting to last week's rigged Iranian election and the protests that erupted after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the runaway victor, the Obama White House seems deliberately to be taking a page from the elder Bush's 1989 playbook.

"The administration has remained as quiet as possible," the Washington Post reported on Monday, even as images streaming out of Iran showed the mullahs' basij thugs beating and bloodying unarmed protesters. Vice President Joseph Biden told "Meet the Press" on Sunday that while there were "doubts" about the election's fairness, the administration was "going to withhold comment" until a more thorough analysis could take place. But even if he election results were fraudulent, engagement with Iran's theocratic regime would go forward. "The decision has been made to talk," Biden said.

Not until Monday evening did Obama himself finally address the crisis in Iran, and when he did it was Bush-on-Tiananmen all over again -- halting, mealy-mouthed, passive. "I want to start off by being very clear that it is up to Iranians to make decisions about who Iran's leaders will be," he said, as if that isn't precisely what the mullahs rigged the election to prevent. "I am deeply troubled by the violence that I've been seeing on television," he continued, without a word of censure for the despotic government committing that violence, let alone a demand that it stop.

Like Bush Sr. in 1989, Obama made it clear that he was not going to lift a finger for the courageous throngs in the streets -- and that he was keen to engage the junta, no matter how vicious or contemptible its behavior. "We will continue," he said, "to pursue a tough, direct dialogue between our two countries." Yesterday he repeated that while he does not like to see "violence directed at peaceful protesters," it would not be "productive" for the president of the United States "to be seen as meddling" in Iranian affairs.

But neutrality is not an option. By not unequivocally supporting the Iranian protesters, Obama is aiding their oppressors. Reporting from Tehran the other night, CNN's Samson Desta noted that Iranian students have repeatedly approached him to say that "they want to appeal to President Obama. They say, 'Is he going to accept this result? Because if he does, then we are doomed.'"

Should it really be so difficult for a president who campaigned for office on the themes of hope and change to raise his voice on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of brave Iranians who are risking their lives to bring hope and change to their country? Where is the president who proclaimed on his first day in office that those "who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent . . . are on the wrong side of history?" If he could say it at his inauguration, why can't he say it now?

"Engagement" with the foul Ahmadinejad and the turbaned dictators he answers to has always been a chimera; if that wasn't clear before last week's brazenly rigged election results, surely it is clear now. Iran's ruling clerics, headed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, didn't just endorse the Ahmadinejad approach -- the pursuit of nuclear weapons, the vile anti-Semitism, the demonization of America, the partnership with terrorists, the trampling of human rights. They unreservedly embraced it. Ahmadinejad's fraudulent re-election was hailed by Khamenei as "a divine blessing" and "a glittering event." With such a regime, no compromise is possible. Neither is impartiality. Like the Bush White House in 1989, the Obama White House must make its choice. Will America stand with the mullahs and their goons, or with the long-suffering people of Iran?



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

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

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


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Friday, June 19, 2009

Amazing British government racism

This makes America's "affirmative action" seem weak-kneed

Want to see a GP? Gipsies come first as NHS tells doctors that travellers must be seen at once. Gipsies and travellers should be given priority in NHS hospitals and GP surgeries, doctors have been told. They will be fast-tracked for doctors, nurses and even some dentist appointments above all other patients. GPs have also been told to see any travellers who simply walk in without an appointment, even if all consultation times for the day are full.

They will also be given longer consultations than other patients. Five or ten minutes is the average but travellers will be given 20 minutes and allowed to bring relatives into the consulting rooms. Staff will be given 'mandatory cultural awareness' training so they can fully understand what it is like to be a traveller or gipsy.

It raises the prospect that other patients will suffer worse healthcare and have to wait even longer to see their GP. The guidelines have been introduced because, under race laws, gipsies and travellers are defined as minority ethnic groups and the NHS is obliged to consider their special needs and circumstances. Yet no special treatment is promised for other groups such as those from the Asian sub-continent or Africa.

The guidance also encourages Primary Care Trusts to establish new services for travellers if none exist, and to designate a senior manager to be a named lead for 'Gipsy and Traveller Health'. The rules form part of the Primary Care Service Framework, drawn up by the NHS Primary Care Commissioning - an advisory service for local health trusts - to help all PCTs understand the Department of Health's policy.

It will go on trial for between three and five years, Although PCTs do not necessarily have to follow the guidelines, they could be breaking human rights law and the Race Relations Act of 2000 if they do not. Groups covered by the framework include Scottish gipsy travellers, Welsh gipsies, bargees, circus and fairground showmen and new travellers.

Tory health spokesman Andrew Lansley said: 'No one should get priority treatment in the NHS apart from our Armed Forces, to whom we owe a special debt of gratitude. 'Decisions about who should be treated first should be based on a patient's medical needs, not their ethnic group. 'NHS managers need to get off doctors' and nurses' backs and start letting them get on with what they do best - looking after sick people. 'Such a policy of fast-tracking one section of society over another goes against the founding principles of the NHS.

Labour's botched handling of the new GP contracts and obsession with a tick-box target culture in the NHS mean many people find it difficult to get a GP appointment quickly. 'Families will feel aggrieved that it will now be even harder.'

Mark Wallace, from the Tax-Payers' Alliance, said: 'This kind of special treatment is totally uncalled-for and utterly unjustified. 'The NHS is meant to treat people equally so matter who they are or whatever their race. 'The only priority should be how ill someone is, not their politically-correct concerns. 'This will be incredibly frustrating for people who have paid tax all their lives to fund the NHS and are left struggling to get a doctor's appointment and prompt treatment. 'Hardworking people will be outraged at this double standard.'

The NHS estimates there are 120,000 to 300,000 gipsies and travellers in the UK but there are no firm numbers as the census does not include them as a category.

Traveller spokesman Gratton Puxon, from the illegal camp at Crays Hill in Essex, welcomed the initiative. He said: 'The problem stems from years ago when there was simply no access to healthcare, but things have greatly improved. Health workers visit the site quite regularly if people have chronic problems.'

The Department of Health said: 'We are aware that gipsies and travellers have experienced tremendous difficulties in accessing primary care. 'Partly as a result, community members experience the worst health inequalities of any disadvantaged group. 'The framework suggests fast-tracking for two reasons. First, as a matter of urgency, inroads need to be made into the health problems of gipsies and travellers. 'Second, if mobile community members are not seen quickly, the opportunity could be lost as they move on or are moved on. This should not be to the detriment of service provision to the settled community.'


British Police 'illegally' stopping white people to racially balance stop-and-search figures, watchdog claims

The political correctness news from Britain never stops coming

Police are making unjustified and 'almost certainly' illegal searches of white people to provide 'racial balance' to Government figures. Lord Carlile, the independent reviewer of terror laws, said he knew of cases where suspects were stopped by officers even though there was no evidence against them. He warned that police were wasting time and money by carrying out these 'self-evidently unmerited searches' which were an invasion of civil liberties and 'almost certainly unlawful'.

The searches of, for example, 'blonde women' who fit no terrorist profile come against a backdrop of complaints from rights groups that the number of black and Muslim people being stopped by police is disproportionate. Lord Carlile suggests whites are being needlessly stopped in order to balance the books. Last year, the number of whites searched under anti-terror laws rocketed by 185 per cent, from 25,962 to 73,967. Whites made up around two-thirds of all those stopped, although, compared to the overall population, blacks and Asians remain far more likely to be stopped and searched.

Lord Carlile, a Liberal Democrat peer and QC, condemned the wrongful use of Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 in his annual report on anti-terror laws. He said police were carrying out the searches on people they had no basis for suspecting so they could avoid accusations of prejudice. Lord Carlile wrote: 'I have evidence of cases where the person stopped is so obviously far from any known terrorism profile that, realistically, there is not the slightest possibility of him/her being a terrorist, and no other feature to justify the stop. 'In one situation the basis of the stops was numerical only, which is almost certainly unlawful and in no way an intelligent use of the procedure.

'I believe it is totally wrong for any person to be stopped in order to produce a racial balance in the Section 44 statistics. There is ample anecdotal evidence this is happening. 'I can well understand the concerns of the police that they should be free from allegations of prejudice, but it is not a good use of precious resources if they waste them on self-evidently unmerited searches. 'It is also an invasion of the civil liberties of the person who has been stopped, simply to 'balance' the statistics. 'The criteria for section 44 stops should be objectively based, irrespective of racial considerations: if an objective basis happens to produce an ethnic imbalance, that may have to be regarded as a proportional consequence of operational policing.'

Lord Carlile later said the number of Section 44 searches could be cut by half in London without damaging national security. He added: 'If, for example, 50 blonde women are stopped who fall nowhere near any intelligence-led terrorism profile, it's a gross invasion of the civil liberties of those 50 blonde women. 'The police are perfectly entitled to stop people who fall within a terrorism profile even if it creates a racial imbalance as long as it is not racist."

Officers in England and Wales used the powers to search 124,687 people in 2007/8, up from 41,924 in 2006/7 and only 1 per cent of searches led to an arrest. Nearly 90 per cent of the searches were carried out by the Metropolitan Police which recorded a 266 per cent increase in its use of the power. Lord Carlile said he could see no reason for the whole of Greater London to be permanently designated an area where the power could operate.

He added: 'I repeat my mantra that terrorism related powers should be used only for terrorism related purposes; otherwise their credibility is severely damaged. The damage to community relations if they are used incorrectly can be considerable.'

Shadow Security Minister Baroness Neville-Jones said: 'It is a hallmark of this Government that powers available under terrorism legislation are used for reasons entirely unrelated to those for which they were put on the statute book. 'Inappropriate use of stop and search power is the surest way to lose public support and damage community relations. Lord Carlile rightly condemns this. 'The Government needs to make absolutely sure that anti-terrorism powers are used proportionately and only for terror-related purposes.'

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: 'We must row back from random and excessive use of stop and search and reach out to the communities we most rely on for intelligence in the fight against terrorism.'

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the Metropolitan Police had already begun to review how Section 44 was used across the whole of the capital, including a pilot of its more restricted use.

Today's report also warns of the continuing terrorist threat to the UK. Lord Carlile says there is evidence of ‘small, dissent active and dangerous’ paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland. The Peer also remains pessimistic about ‘the future of international terrorism as promulgated by violent Islamist jihad’.


The Green Dam Phenomenon

Governments everywhere are treading on Web freedoms

The Chinese government may be backing down from its plan to install new "filtering" software, Green Dam, on all Chinese computers. But it would be naïve to think that scrapping the Green Dam mandate means the end of headaches for computer- and device-makers world-wide. More and more governments -- including democracies like Britain, Australia and Germany -- are trying to control public behavior online, especially by exerting pressure on Internet service providers. Green Dam has only exposed the next frontier in these efforts: the personal computer.

First, some context: China currently has the world's most sophisticated and multi-layered system of Internet censorship. Objectionable content on domestic Web sites is deleted or prevented from being published, and access to a large number of overseas Web sites is blocked or "filtered." Decisions about what to censor are based on the Chinese Communist Party's desire to maintain power and legitimacy. There is no transparency or accountability in the censorship system, no public consultation in developing block lists or censorship criteria, and no way to appeal the blockage or removal of Web content.

Green Dam purports to take censorship to a whole new level. A report by the Open Net Initiative, an academic consortium dedicated to the study of censorship and surveillance, finds the Chinese government's mandate of censoring software at the PC-level "unprecedented." Companies installing the software risk becoming part of the existing opaque extension of regime power, at the other end of the chain that already includes Internet service providers, Web hosts and Web content companies.

But Green Dam is only an extreme example of a global trend: The Internet censorship club is expanding and now includes a growing number of democracies. Legislators are under growing pressure from family groups to "do something" in the face of all the threats sloshing around the Internet, and the risk of overstepping is high.

In Germany, Internet users and civil liberties groups are fighting proposed legislation mandating a national censorship system. The Bundestag votes today on a bill authorizing German police to establish and maintain a list of Web sites that Internet service providers would be required to block. In a petition against the bill, German civil liberties groups call it "untransparent and uncontrollable, since the 'block lists' cannot be inspected, nor are the criteria for putting a Web site on the list properly defined." These concerns aren't unfounded: Some German politicians have already suggested extending the block list to Islamist Web sites, video games and gambling Web sites, while book publishers have suggested it would also be nice to block file-sharing sites too.

Since 2007 Australia's Labor government has advocated a policy of mandatory national filtering. In the face of fierce public criticism the censorship plan may be downgraded to a voluntary industry initiative. But critics remain concerned the block list will not be selected and maintained in a transparent or accountable way -- and that the process for appeal is very unclear, making it likely that some Web sites will be blocked in error or that "mission creep" could take place without adequate public supervision.

In Britain, a "block list" of harmful Web sites, used by all the major Internet Service Providers, is maintained by a private foundation with little transparency and no judicial or government oversight of the list. At least one British family protection group, Mediamarch, has already spoken out in support of the Green Dam concept of moving censorship from the network down to the device level.

Back in China, the silver lining of the Green Dam mandate is that it has unleashed a passionate nationwide debate over the appropriate role of the government, the IT sector, media, parents and educators in protecting children from real threats. While some argue that the threat requires national mandates and tougher enforcement, others counter that draconian crackdowns and technical "auto-parent" solutions are no substitute for good parenting and teaching -- and that decisions about what children can or can't do and see must be left to individual families and schools. Sound familiar?

There are no easy answers. The argument will never end, but the right to keep arguing is an essential component of a functioning democracy. In a world that includes child pornographers and violent hate groups, it is probably not reasonable to oppose all censorship in all situations. But if technical censorship systems are to be put in place, they must be sufficiently transparent and accountable so that they do not become opaque extensions of incumbent power -- or get hijacked by politically influential interest groups without the public knowing exactly what is going on.

Which brings us back to companies: the ones that build and run Internet and telecoms networks, host and publish speech, and that now make devices via which citizens can go online and create more speech. Companies have a duty as global citizens to do all they can to protect users' universally recognized right to free expression, and to avoid becoming opaque extensions of incumbent power -- be it in China or Britain.

A new multi-stakeholder initiative called the Global Network Initiative aims to help companies do the right thing. Founded by Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft in conjunction with human-rights groups, socially responsible investment funds and academics, the initiative centers around a set of core principles for protecting users' right to free expression and privacy around the globe and helps companies to uphold those principles. Participating companies agree to develop robust human-rights policies, conduct human-rights impact assessments and be held accountable. While the initiative supports efforts to protect children and fight crime, they should "be narrowly tailored and subject to the rule of law" to prevent infringement of users' rights.

It is very encouraging that a coalition of industry groups has pushed back publicly against the Green Dam mandate, calling on the Chinese government to reconsider. But the Green Dam incident is yet another example of why it behooves companies to think ahead about how they are going to uphold their larger responsibility to society. Industry has a choice: be reactive -- and be forced into growing complicity with government censorship and surveillance around the globe. Or be pro-active, develop robust human-rights policies, and consider how to responsibly handle the inevitable pressures by all kinds of governments to serve as national auto-parent, if not auto-cop.


Australia: Bosses show bias against ethnic applicants

People are always going to be most comfortable with people like themselves. You are never going to be able to alter that

THE key to nailing a dream job may be all in a name - your name. New research has found job seekers with ethnic-sounding names have a harder time securing an interview than their Anglo-Saxon colleagues. Researchers from the Australian National University sent more than 4000 fake CVs to employers hunting for staff through job advertisements as part of a 2007 experiment.

Professor Alison Booth said the researchers varied just the names on CVs to take a gauge of "hiring discrimination" and found people with ethnic names were less likely to be called up for an interview.

Job hunters with Anglo-Saxon names had a 35 per cent hit rate with employers in getting a phone call in response to their application. But aspiring workers from different backgrounds had to work more than twice as hard in some instances to get a call back. "To get the same number of interviews as an applicant with an Anglo-Saxon name, a Chinese applicant must submit 68 per cent more applications, a Middle Eastern applicant must submit 64 per cent more applications, an Indigenous applicant must submit 35 per cent more applications, and an Italian applicant must submit 12 per cent more applications," Professor Booth said.

In Brisbane, the research suggested Chinese job hunters faced the greatest discrimination, having to send out more than double the number of applications to get the same results as their Anglo-Saxon counterparts. Italian workers fared better in Melbourne and Sydney but in Brisbane were forced to post almost a third more applications to get the equivalent number of interviews.

The level of discrimination also varied between job types with hospitality employers much less likely to give interviews to Middle Eastern and Chinese workers. Chinese women also had a harder time securing interviews than Chinese men. That trend was reversed for Italian women, who had a better success rate than the opposite sex.

Among the last names surveyed were Rosso, Ferrari and Romano (Italian), Chen, Huang and Chang (Chinese), Kassir and Baghdadi (Middle Eastern) and Tjungarrayi (Indigenous). They were pitted against Anglo-Saxon last names including Abbott, Adams and Johnson.



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

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

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


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fighting fascism with fascism

People have taken to the street to fight fascism with, er, fascism. Last week's attack on free speech by the UAF (Unite Against Fascism) organization (which sounds suspiciously like an Irish paramilitary wing) was truly anti-liberal and purely fascist in action. It is a tactic that has been increasingly used by the left throughout time: the control of language and the threat of violence against those who do not obey.

Both sides of this argument mirror each other in their actions and their desired outcomes. On one side we have a collection of individuals coalesced around their fear of the unknown, namely ethnically different persons. On the other we have a group who do not understand the most basic human right: free speech. Both groups should be vigorously opposed by all, yet one is openly endorsed by the mainstream parties. Is it any wonder that people choose to vote BNP when they show such a disdain for rights?

It was by ignoring the BNP that allowed them to sneak under the radar and attract voters. The state's role in the demonstration also calls into question the changing relationship between right and wrong protests. The state is rubber stamping protests it approves of by standing aside and allowing this to happen. Equality before the law has vanished. The only way to defeat them is by engaging them and discussing their griefs so you can enlighten them. The current approach will not work especially as it merely looks like the establishment wanting to protect their right to use violence either via the police or approved protestors against a 'differently' oriented minority.


Only in Britain: An official kangaroo court

Mothers are having children taken away after a court hearing at which they are not allowed to be legally represented

A SECOND case has emerged of a woman who has had her children taken away from her and been prevented from objecting because she was judged “too stupid” by the authorities. Lawyers acting for the 24-year-old from Nottingham, who has had two daughters adopted, say she has since shown herself far brighter than was believed when the original judgment was made. But it is now too late for her to go back to court for the return of her children.

Last month, The Sunday Times reported a similar case of a mother deemed too unintelligent to care for her child.

The plight of the women has highlighted the role of the official solicitor, the state lawyer appointed to represent them, but who declined to contest either case.

New figures show that hundreds of parents have had the official solicitor, currently Alastair Pitblado, imposed.

Since January 2006 his department has been brought in to represent 588 parents deemed to “lack the mental capacity” to instruct lawyers in cases where their children faced the possibility of adoption.

Last month The Sunday Times highlighted the case of Rachel, also a 24-year-old from Nottingham, who is taking her legal challenge to the European Court of Human Rights after her three-year-old daughter was ordered to be adopted because she was ruled not to be intelligent enough to care for her.

In the latest case the mother’s two daughters were both adopted in 2006 after a health worker noticed that her living conditions were unsatisfactory.

Before the case was finalised in court, however, it was decided that the woman lacked the intelligence to instruct her own lawyer, which led to the official solicitor being brought in. A psychologist’s report gave her a low IQ but said her learning disability would improve in time.

The mother insisted that she wanted to keep her girls but the official solicitor said she did not have a case at the time and did not contest the adoptions on her behalf.

Her solicitor, Simon Leach, who runs Nottingham Family Law Associates, said: “I would have liked her to have given evidence, or certainly have someone speak on her behalf, so it could be explained at length why she should keep her children. But the system would not allow it.

“At that time she had little or no understanding of what her children needed but she was very loving of her children and still is.

“But I sat down with her last week and she was using words she could never have used before. It was clear to me that her level of understanding had improved considerably.”

Leach said there were still question marks over whether she would be able to care properly for the girls but since the adoption had already happened the issue could no longer be addressed. “It’s too late now,” he said. He added that his firm had been involved in up to 20 cases in which their clients were handed over to the official solicitor.

The official solicitor typically declines to contest any final care orders.

Leach said this was because the system did not allow the official solicitor to do so.

He said: “I think the official solicitor should be able to put a case. It’s not just about justice, it’s about justice being seen to be done.”


Free to walk British streets, the war criminals Britain cannot deport because of their human rights

Hundreds of war criminals are walking the streets of Britain with impunity, a shocking report reveals today. Around 300 people suspected of war crimes or genocide have been referred to the immigration services or police for action, said the Aegis Trust. But glaring legal loopholes mean they cannot be deported because sending them home to face a possible death penalty would breach their human rights.

The trust, an independent group working to eliminate genocide, said the suspects cannot be prosecuted here because only British residents can be arrested and charged under the Government's war crimes legislation. And the law only applies to crimes committed after 2001 - despite many of the worst genocides taking place before this, including in Bosnia and Rwanda.

The report's authors unearthed asylum and immigration case files relating to suspects living in the UK. These included an alleged Zimbabwean torturer, an Iraqi torturer who worked for the Saddam Hussein regime, a member of the Sudanese militia and a Sri Lankan Tamil Tiger assassination squad driver.

Also found was a member of the Sierra Leone 'Mosquito' rebel group notorious for murder, rape, looting, burning, sexual slavery and forced amputations. Other immigration files list child soldiers from Sierra Leone, officers in Charles Taylor's army in Liberia, a Somali warlord, a member of the Serb militia 'Arkan's Tigers' and a rebel from Angola implicated in hostage-taking.

In April, four men accused of mass murder in the Rwandan genocide won their battle to stay free in Britain. The four are wanted to stand trial for their part in the 1994 massacre in which 800,000 people were killed in 100 days. But the High Court ruled that there was 'a real risk they would suffer a flagrant denial of justice' if returned to Rwanda.

Nick Donovan, head of research for the Aegis Trust, said: 'There are two 'impunity gaps' in UK law which prevent prosecution for international crimes. 'Those suspected of genocide, crimes against humanity and most war crimes cannot be prosecuted in the UK if they committed those acts before 2001. 'And non-residents such as students, tourists or asylumseekers without residence status can't be prosecuted even if those acts were committed after 2001. 'This is not a hypothetical issue. It's about individuals suspected of heinous crimes: individuals who this country needs to bring to justice if we do not want to remain a haven for war criminals.'

Proposals to close the loopholes have been tabled in Parliament by the Liberal Democrat Peer Lord Carlile. But ministers have only said they are prepared to debate changes.

The Aegis report came as ministers faced a separate attack over deportation. In a report today, Parliamentary spending watchdogs warn the backlog of asylum cases is growing fast because efforts to deport foreign prisoners are swamping detention spaces. The Public Accounts Committee said the backlog doubled to 8,700 last year. This does not include hundreds of thousands of 'legacy cases', some of which have been stuck in the Home Office system for years.


We've never had it so good. Why then are we so downhearted?

In our affluent age, family, church and dusty old virtues seem redundant. But they gave us a sense of contentment we now lack

As the general election nears, an implicit question threads its way through the discussion of Labour's record and the opposition plans for change; is Britain getting better or worse? As luck would have it, this is precisely the issue addressed by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation in its study of “new social evils”. One big theme to emerge from it is that the greatest evil is the retreat of society in the face of rampant individualism.

We live in a time of profound social pessimism. There is a widening gulf between our view of ourselves and of society at large. Nine in ten of us are optimistic about our family's prospects, yet fewer than one in five feels optimism about other people.

The contemporary feeling of social unease is undeniable; the dark seam exposed by the foundation is the same one mined by David Cameron in his talk of a broken society. Yet, despite the recession, a latter-day Harold Macmillan would have every reason for proclaiming that we have never had it so good.

It isn't simply that we live longer, earn more, travel farther, enjoy more recreation than our parents or grandparents. We are also more tolerant, better educated, more compassionate, overall, than our Victorian counterparts.

There are two obvious ways to resolve this paradox. Maybe social pessimism simply reflects higher expectations and the opportunity we now have to wallow in our doubts. Conversely, isn't what matters what we feel? We are twice as rich as our grandparents but no more content.

The truth may be more subtle. It is the way things have got better that makes us feel worse. Avner Offer, the economic historian, sums up this argument in one line: “Affluence breeds impatience and impatience undermines wellbeing.” Offer means by this that affluence makes us feel as though we no longer need the social norms, conventions and institutions that encourage us to look to our own and society's long-term interests.

He calls these cultural safeguards “commitment devices”. We can include in them not just institutions such as the family, the Church and welfare state, but also the values associated with those institutions: unfashionable ideas such as thrift, temperance and duty. The weakening of these commitment devices has been implicated in the rise of a culture of instant gratification, inauthentic communication (advertising, PR, spin doctoring) and unearned entitlements.

But, as we are starting at last to realise, it is impossible for society to thrive, and for most of us to get what we want, without commitment devices. Progress has its costs. Women's economic emancipation may weaken the extended family; social mobility leaves behind a less self-reliant and self-respecting working class.

But why have we failed to understand what we were losing in the forward march of individualism? An explanation may lie in the disjuncture between human evolution and history. While evolution is slow and incremental, history is accelerating in leaps and bounds. The brains that did fine for us for the first 200,000 years of our existence find it hard to cope with the revolutionary changes of the past century. For most of our existence as a species there was no long term: we hunted, we gathered, we died young. We are hardwired to be short-termist. That's why behavioural economists (the people who brought us the idea of the “nudge”) argue the only way for governments to get us to save more for retirement is to trick us into it.

Many civilisations collapsed, in part, because the elite - the only ones who lived with plenty - succumbed to self-indulgence and a loss of vitality and authority. Today most of the UK's population have more disposable income than they need, not only to survive, but to enjoy good health and opportunities for leisure and self-development. But we have exhibited a mass version of the decadence that history has taught us to associate with the fall of the Roman Empire. There was a “chickens coming home to roost” feel in much commentary about the economic downturn.

Could it be that this period of rampant individualism and hyper-consumerism is transitional? Human beings have spent most of their existence producing just enough to survive. We have only had a few years to see that plenty creates as many problems as it solves. So are we starting to ask a different question: what do we truly need to live the good life? After all, this is what we tend to do in our own lives; we crave something we are denied, we over-consume it when we have unlimited access and then realise (in my grandmother's favourite bon mot) that “enough is as good as a feast”?

The idea of a transition between excessive consumption and the emergence of higher goals echoes Maslow's famous “hierarchy of human needs” that puts self- actualisation at its peak, well above material need. It also chimes with “the environmental Kuznets curve” - which suggests that nations are indifferent to the degradation of the natural world when they are on the road to growth. However, as nations become richer they start to value and protect the environment because social needs are seen as being as important as individual self-interest.

From this perspective our problems with affluence, and our susceptibility to social pessimism, reflect not just the power of new technology and the allure of its consumer goods but also a more general frailty as we go through what some have caricatured as the adolescence of Enlightenment Man.

Our susceptibility to excess may not be the only zone of transition. For nearly all human existence we have lived in relatively homogeneous communities, largely ignorant of the rest of the world. But as technology, commerce and transport widen our horizons, conflicts arising from the clash of cultures and identities reverberate from the Swat Valley to the European election results. Over the longer term will we adjust, developing a truly global model of citizenship, one that is able, for example, to tackle climate change?

A third journey may help to explain the crisis besetting our political system. After millennia of worshipping earth and sky gods, royal dynasties and, much more recently, elected leaders, we are no longer willing to look up to authority. We find ourselves unwilling to be governed but not yet willing to govern ourselves.

Lives are better today but our unease is real. There are new social evils. The better future waiting for us will only come about if we acknowledge the ways current thinking and behaviour are failing us.



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

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

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


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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

$6,000 for being a Muslim

£3,000 for Muslim cocktail waitress who had to work in 'sexy' dress (but who didn't mind appearing on Facebook wearing a skimpy top)

You can see as revealing or more revealing dresses at Royal Ascot. It's a disgrace that she got a cent. It's just Muslim pandering. Below are a couple of pictures of very proper English ladies at Ascot

A Muslim cocktail waitress who quit after refusing to wear a ‘sexy’ dress has won almost £3,000 in compensation for sexual harassment. A tribunal accepted that Fata Lemes genuinely believed that the short, lowcut red dress was ‘disgusting’ and made her look ‘like a prostitute’. But the panel rejected her claim that it was ‘sexually revealing and indecent’. Her compensation claim of £20,000 – including £17,500 for hurt feelings – was branded ‘manifestly absurd’.

Miss Lemes told London Central Employment Tribunal that she ‘might as well be naked’ in the dress, adding: ‘I was brought up a Muslim and am not used to wearing sexually attractive clothes.’ However, a photo on the Facebook social networking site shows her wearing a lowcut T-shirt.

She was awarded £2,919.95 for hurt feelings and loss of earnings. It is not known whether the panel saw the Facebook photo before making their judgment. The tribunal panel ruled that bosses at Rocket bar and restaurant in Mayfair should have made allowance for her feelings and their insistence that she wear the dress amounted to sexual harassment.

It concluded that the Bosnian Muslim ‘holds views about modesty and decency which some might think unusual in Britain in the 21st century’. However, it found that Miss Lemes, 33, ‘overstated’ her trauma at being asked to wear the sleeveless dress. Her claim that she was left with no choice but to walk out of her job at the bar after only eight days was rejected by the panel.

Miss Lemes, who was paid £5.52 an hour, also said she was pestered for sex by clients at the bar. She alleged that bosses ran Rocket ‘like a sex club’ and allowed clients to think that ‘waitresses could be treated as prostitutes’. She told how on one shift two men told her they were looking for a blonde ‘for one or more nights’. ‘I considered the company must be indicating to guests that the bar was the type of bar where they could make sexual offers to staff,’ she said.

Tom Grady, the lawyer for the Spring & Greene-owned bar, told the tribunal: ‘There is no evidence to support the suggestion that it is a sex club or some sort of seedy brothel.’

The panel said Miss Lemes’s perception that wearing the dress would make her feel as if she was on show ‘was legitimate and not unreasonable’. But it rejected her claim of constructive dismissal, saying the employment was ended by mutual consent ‘once it became clear that there was no prospect of the differences over the dress being resolved’.

Miss Lemes, of Camden, North London, was also judged to have overstated the injury to her feelings. ‘We do not accept that it was reasonable for her to decide, as she told us she had done, not to consider any form of waitressing again,’ the panel said. ‘Her sincere feelings about being required to wear a red dress when working in a Mayfair bar could not reasonably have caused her to rule out employment in, for example, a cafe or fast-food restaurant.’

The company failed to pay Miss Lemes for her shifts but handed over £255 during the hearing at the suggestion of the tribunal panel.


Dutch divided over Geert Wilders as radical MP eyes premiership

Until last week, the Bernard family had the normal concerns of any middle-class Dutch family – putting their teenage children through university, living a greener life, and paying the mortgage. But that has all changed since the European election – and the triumph by Geert Wilders, the right-wing populist and outspoken critic of Islam who in February was banned from entering Britain as a threat to "community harmony".

To many abroad Mr Wilders, a Dutch MP, appears an old-fashioned racist whose views put him on a par with other far-Right politicians elsewhere in Europe. Yet in its first ever test of national electoral support among the normally tolerant Dutch, his anti-immigration Party for Freedom which he founded in 2006 won 17 per cent of the votes – making it the second biggest party. That has shaken the country to its core – opening up the real possibility that, through the Dutch coalition system, Mr Wilders could win power at the next general election.

Now, like many others in the Netherlands, the Bernards are desperately worried. "This has the feeling of what happened to Germany in the 1930s," said Alfred Bernard, 52, a lawyer. "Wilders blames foreigners for everything. People are disoriented because of the economic crisis. Everywhere there is dissatisfaction with mainstream politicians. "After this I really believe that Wilders could become prime minister in the 2011 parliamentary elections, or at least set the political agenda."

In an interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Mr Wilders, 45, was frank about that ambition. Asked about the prospect of taking power in two years' time, he said: "That is our biggest job. We had an enormous success last week and our biggest task is to keep up momentum. I am very confident that we will have an excellent result. "If my party becomes the biggest party, I would be honoured to be prime minister."

Sitting in his office in the Dutch parliament building in The Hague, protected from the threat of assassination by 10 armed secret service bodyguards, he summed up his antipathy to the religion of many immigrants to the Netherlands. "Islam wants to dominate our society," he said in fluent and only slightly accented English. "It's in opposition to freedom. "If people are offended, that's not my aim. I don't talk about Muslims but about Islam. Everything I say is against the fascist Islamic ideology."

To the charge that to many his views appeared to be racist, he responded: "If that was true, we would never have been the second biggest party in the European elections."

Why, then, did Moroccans and Turks living in the Netherlands so fear him? "As long as they don't commit crimes, it's a baseless fear," he said. "If you adhere to our laws, if you act according to our values, you are free to stay. We will help you to integrate. "But if you cross the red line, if you start committing crimes, if you want to do jihad or impose sharia, we want you to be sent out of the Netherlands and we will get rid of your permits to stay."

An admirer of Churchill and Lady Thatcher, he is charismatic as well as combative. Holland's conventional politicians – mostly dull men in suits – have no idea how to counter his politically incorrect taunts, which outrage the parliamentary chamber but delight his supporters. He has come a long way since the days when he could be lightly dismissed as an eccentric fringe politician with an extraordinary blond quiff, known mainly for baiting Muslims.

"Half of Holland loves me and half of Holland hates me. There is no in-between," Mr Wilders said. "This is a new politics, and I think it would have a great chance of success in other European countries. We are democrats. On economic and social issues we are centrist. We want tougher laws on crime and we want to stop Holland paying so much money to the European Union. "We would stop immigration from Muslim countries and close Islamic schools. We want to be more proud of our identity."

He admitted that he is frustrated at his image abroad, especially in Britain, a country which he admires. He claimed to believe in freedom above all else and pointed out that he is despised by Holland's Neo-Nazis, who dubbed him the "blond Zionist" because of his links to Israel – a country which he has often visited and where he counts politicians among his friends. He is still angered at being banned from entering Britain, where he had been invited to show his controversial 17-minute film linking the Koran with the September 11 terror attacks. Muslim groups were among those who campaigned against his admission, and he dismissed the Home Office ruling as an attempt at "appeasement" of Islam.

Dutch liberals groaned when the British Government refused entry, because they knew Mr Wilders would milk the decision to generate massive publicity at home. He is also being prosecuted in Holland for promoting hate crimes, a case which is thought unlikely to succeed but which has allowed him to pose as a martyr.

In the European Parliament his four MEPs will not ally with the British National party, he said, claiming he had never met a BNP Member. "I understand they talk a lot about blacks and whites. This is disgusting," he said.

Then a dreamy look of a man convinced of his own destiny came into his eyes as he launched into a fresh tirade about the threat to Western civilisation from Islam. "Samuel Huntingdon was being too positive when he talked about a clash of civilisations," Mr Wilders said. "It is civilisation against barbarity."

His conviction explains why families like the Bernards, who know what happened next door in Germany during the 1930s, find Mr Wilders so unsettling. In the past, the Bernards always had confidence in the post-war Dutch dream of equality and tolerance. But now Mr Bernard and his librarian wife Marjina, also 52, have been forced to ask whether their country is fundamentally changing. The day after the results were announced, Mrs Bernard joined a mainstream political party for the first time in her life because she thinks that if Mr Wilders is to be opposed, ordinary politics must first be revived. "It is getting scary," she said. "He is becoming more extreme. He has made it respectable to speak out against Muslims."

They live in an airy ground-floor flat in a neat suburb of Rotterdam, Europe's biggest port with a population of 580,000, about four out 10 of whom are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. On current birth rates, the city is expected to become Europe's first with a Muslim majority in about 2020. That has put it firmly at the centre of Holland's anguished debate about race, immigration and Islam – a debate which is apparently being won by Mr Wilders.

The young watch his irreverent attacks on YouTube, relishing the novelty of a politician who can make them laugh. His older supporters are fiercely loyal to a leader who is bold enough to voice what they think, but for years dared not say. "I voted for him because immigration isn't working here in Holland any more," said Ben De Reus, a 40-year-old bus driver from Rotterdam. "He wants to get rid of the Turks and they don't belong here," said an elderly woman supporter in a prosperous southern suburb – wrongly, since Mr Wilders says he would "encourage" repatriation but wants the expulsion only of immigrants convicted of crimes.

Some 15 per cent of the Dutch population of 16.5 million are from ethnic minorities – many from Morocco and Turkey.

Most of the Party for Freedom's 17 per cent of the vote was cast in Holland's four big cities, where the immigrants live and where white voters grumble about high crime rates, chaotic foreigners who don't understand orderly Dutch ways, and Muslim families who refuse to learn the language and fit in. But it did well in parts of rural Holland too. It polled highest – 39.8 per cent – in Volderdam, a picturesque, overwhelmingly white town surrounded by windmills and tulip fields, where there are no burkhas but tourists queue up to take photos of women in clogs.

His rhetoric has delighted many voters, the ones who fear that their beloved Dutch values are under attack from an alien way of life. Dutch tolerance has shaped the Party of Freedom to be quite unlike most European Right-wing movements: its election campaigning championed the victims of gay-bashing gangs of Moroccan youths, and Mr Wilders talks often about the threat from Islam to women's rights. His success is a sign of how the political landscape has changed. Even Dutch left-wingers now have to admit that there is a problem with Moroccan street gangs, and liberals wring their hands about the failure of immigrants to integrate since the first were admitted during the 1960s and 70s – many from Morocco and Turkey.

"Everybody assumed that immigrants would go home once they had finished their work here. But instead they stayed and brought their families," said Rita Van Der Linde, a spokeswoman for the Rotterdam municipality. The city's large Moroccan population have found jobs harder to come by in recent years. Unemployed, and often feeling unwelcome, they have become more Islamic and retreated to the security of the mosques in their communities, in the older, scruffier parts of the city where they are isolated from mainstream Dutch life. "This development has made white Dutch people nervous of them, especially since September 11th 2001," Ms Van Der Linde said.

Hopes for harmony on the streets have been invested in a new mayor, Ahmed Aboutaleb, a member of the Dutch Labour Party whose parents came from Morocco. He has broken with multiculturalism by urging immigrants to learn the language and fit in, or get on a plane out. He has also pledged to crack down on Moroccan criminals, using language which Right-wingers say would get them branded as racists if they used it. But in office he has tried to remain aloof from the fray, leaving the field almost clear for Mr Wilders to argue against immigration, which in reality has slowed to a trickle.

Not everyone believes there is enough substance to the Party of Freedom for it to have a chance of achieving real power. In a little café in Rotterdam which proudly serves only traditional Dutch dishes, owner Martin Voltuees, 46, said of Mr Wilders: "He has a lot of good one-liners but no solutions. We have always been a culture of immigrants ever since the Jews arrived. The difference is that in the past people brought their skills, but now we have immigrants who just bring their poverty. "Twenty years ago there were plenty of jobs in Rotterdam in the shipyards, and we needed them. That's gone now. But you see in Holland black and white, Muslims and Christians, intermarrying, so perhaps these problems are solving themselves."

Others are less sanguine – not least the Dutch citizens who feel themselves to be under fire. Omar Kirac, 19, an engineering student at a Rotterdam university whose Turkish parents moved to the Netherlands before he was born, said: "Wilders hates people like me, and of course I hate him. I voted against him – it was the blond people who voted for him. "We think he could become the prime minister and that would be dangerous for us, and dangerous for the Netherlands. "Politicians need to focus on the economic crisis, not blame Muslims for everything."


Australia: Pervasive violence is part of traditional Aboriginal life

And only integration and assimilation into mainstream culture offers any prospect of reducing it. The Leftist belief in the "noble savage" is a cruel myth

In his address to the National Press Club in 2003, Mick Dodson claimed that "violence is not and never was part of Aboriginal tradition ... We have no cultural traditions based on humiliation, degradation, and violation. Let me make this point abundantly clear. Most of the violence, if not all, that Aboriginal communities are experiencing today [is] not part of Aboriginal tradition or culture."

That denies the reality. Pre-contact Aboriginal society was very violent, and that violence and the cultural norms that sustained it continue to generate the extreme levels of violence in today's remote communities.

There is little point in criticising traditional Aboriginal Australia, unless traditions pose dangers for today's Aborigines, and unless we incorporate this reality into policy responses.

Despite considerable evidence that pre-contact Aboriginal Australia had high levels of violence, and that traditional norms concerning violence still operate, policy distortion continues because of a resistance to consider traditional norms of violence.

Even among intellectuals such as Joan Kimm and Louis Nowra, who have bravely pointed to pre-contact origins of today's high rate of Aboriginal violence, evoking the policy implications is resisted.

To secure a less violent, more positive future for Aborigines, today's restrictive conditions on inquiry and policy need to end.

The particularly high level of violence against women in pre-contact Aboriginal Australia can no longer be denied. First-contact explorers and colonists noted with distress the terrible scars and bruises that marked the women due to the frequent brutality of their menfolk.

Stephen Webb's palaeopathology studies of cranial and post-cranial remains verify that before European arrival, violence against Aboriginal women was prevalent across the mainland continent, with women suffering significantly more cranial injuries than men.

The level of Aboriginal violence particularly against women remains shocking. In 2004-05 across four states where records were kept, "indigenous females were 44.1 times more likely to be hospitalised for assault than non-Indigenous females".

To open up this restrictive research climate, we need to de-couple some falsely linked concepts.

In his book Race and Culture, African-American economist and social commentator Thomas Sowell writes that the horror of racial oppression and hatred cannot be denied: "It is difficult to survey the history of racial or ethnic relations without being appalled by the inhumanity, brutality, and viciousness of it all.

"But there are no more futile or dangerous efforts than attempts to redress the wrongs of history."

Sowell also argues that morality and causation are confused: "What is most morally revolting, or morally inspiring, about a given situation may not be what is the most important causal factor" and that "no group was a tabula rasa to begin with".

In the case of Aboriginal Australians, the most "morally revolting factor" might well be the white colonisation of this country.

However, insistent blaming of white colonisation as a primary generator of high Aboriginal violence suppresses the uncomfortable fact that within Aboriginal culture, violence continues to have strong, traditional legitimacy.

Hence, reducing Aboriginal violence to around mainstream levels will entail further shifts away from traditional beliefs, norms, power structures and behaviours.

A key upsetting aspect about critical assessment by Westerners and their intervention in Aboriginal violence is that it seems to ring hollow. What allows westerners to take the moral high ground given their history of imperialism and violence?

People are very malleable regarding their attitude and capacity to tolerate violence. It is culture and its associated belief systems, power structures and norms that largely determine people's tolerance and attitudes concerning violence. The key difference between the West and traditional Aboriginal culture is that only very recently, Western culture developed effective philosophies and associated political and legal systems that could effectively reduce violence.

In contemporary liberal democracies, violence is forbidden. For private citizens there is no legitimised violence apart from self-defence. Within traditional Aboriginal culture, there was considerable legitimate scope for people to use violence. Dreamtime law functioned above all else to protect country against sacrilege and to uphold the social order. Enforcement of correct ceremonial procedures and obligations included harsh violent punishment, sometimes death. Moreover, violence as a means to set things right extended beyond the sacred, rendering family and kinship conflict a dangerous realm too. In this traditional zeitgeist, there was no "individual right" to counter this.

Ceremonial mistakes and violations were very frightening events for traditional Aborigines because they triggered the wrath of the powerful ancestral creation beings, threatening the country on which life depended.

In such a context, causation rather than intention was the primary consideration, and members of the tribe, particularly male elders, had the right and obligation to carry out punishment against the wrongdoers. Even accidental sacrilegious acts could be subject to the death penalty.

Furthermore, the identity of a guilty party could be determined through irrational sorcerous or magical means. In one instance described by T.G.H. Strehlow, relatives make a spindle from a murdered man's hair, and watch for when it breaks while it spins into a hair string.

The distance and the direction of the spindle's travel indicate the murderer. Disputes regarding the identity of culprits identified through sorcery could lead to deadly vendettas.

Sacred law discriminated on the basis of sex, with more prohibitions placed on women. Certainly, men faced restrictions on pain of death to many sacred places, objects and ceremonies. However, for a woman, there were more sacred objects that she could not see or touch, more sacred sites that she could not be in or near, and more sacred ceremonies that she should not participate in or witness, even accidentally, on pain of death.

Surely most nerve-racking, this could affect essential daily tasks such as water collection. As noted by the Strehlows, "even waters open to women and children, if they were at all near a sacred site, had to be approached carefully".

W. Lloyd Warner detailed several examples of east Arnhem Land's Murnjin men and women being killed for willing or accidental totemic and ceremonial transgressions, noting that "if women look at a totemic emblem they are killed by their own group".

Even husbands were expected not to save their "guilty" wife, although there were brave husbands who did.

Despite the misogyny of the 18th and 19th century western world, white colonial officials and explorers were shocked by what they saw.

In the 1840s, explorer and magistrate Edward John Eyre wrote very critically of the white occupation of Australia, which he called aggression: "To sanction this aggression, we have not, in the abstract, the slightest shadow of either right or justice; we have not even the extenuation of endeavouring to compensate those we have injured, or the merit of attempting to mitigate the sufferings our presence inflicts."

Eyre's ability to see the colonial injustice and aggression against Aboriginal Australia did not compromise his ability to decry the subjugated status of the Aboriginal women.

"Women are often sadly ill-treated by their husbands or friends, in addition to the dreadful life of drudgery, and privation, and hardship they always have to undergo; they are frequently beaten about the head, with waddies, in the most dreadful manner, or speared in the limbs for the most trivial offences.

"No one takes the part of the weak or the injured, or ever attempts to interfere with the infliction of such severe punishments ... Few women will be found, upon examination, to be free from frightful scars upon the head, or the marks of spear wounds about the body.

"I have seen a young woman, who, from the number of these marks, appeared to have been almost riddled with spear wounds."

Sadly there are thousands of examples of legitimised injurious violence, debilitating beliefs and misogyny of traditional origin that continue to give power to some and to hurt many others in Australia's remote Aboriginal communities.

What shocks outsiders is often seen as ordinary by the communities. This other country is a dangerous country.

Joan Kimm and David McKnight, within their respective fields of legal history and anthropology, recount how the tolerance of violence or thepropensity to behave violently can increase markedly in the same people when they move out of the mainstream and into traditional community. In his book From Hunting to Drinking, McKnight relates how Mornington Island youths were able to treat their white girlfriends well in the mainstream context but became violent towards them in the traditional context.

This suggests that when and where to be violent is a matter of choice. It is a strong indicator that the violence has less to do with Aboriginal men's loss or brokenness due to white colonisation, such as separation from their spiritual lands or being directly affected by the Stolen Generation; or the need for anger management or cultural healing; or even the curse of alcohol or other violence-promoting substance abuse.

No doubt these realities can be contributing factors. Nevertheless, it has more to do with traditional expectations, mores and permissions to be violent.

No matter how unfairly they, their family or their community have been treated or continue to be treated by mainstream Australia, it is - in seeming irony - the mainstream context where Aboriginal violence is more effectively suppressed and less tolerated by Aborigines themselves.

It is in the traditional context, on lands of dreams and ideals hard-won after years of political battles with their white conquerors, where violence is legitimised as a proper tool to uphold male dominance over women.

People generally want to conform to their culture. They tend to be as violent and as tolerant of violence as their culture expects and allows. Strategies to ensure that Aborigines no longer endure cultural contexts where violence is normal just have to be implemented. But the nation's thinkers and policy-makers have been baulking at the task.

In her book A Fatal Conjunction, Kimm laments in her concluding chapter that "the continuing public denial that violence is part of traditional culture remains a large part of the 'root of the problem"'.

Kimm also urges the need to place women's rights above cultural rights in law and sentencing.

However, the powerful implications of Kimm's book - that addressing Aboriginal violence requires strategies that tackle its traditional, cultural roots - are circumvented in her last chapter by her insistence that policy stay within the tenets of self-determination and community control of programs.

Kimm emphasises the need to ensure that Aboriginal women themselves determine their own responses, and points to the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Women's Council of Central Australia, in a positive light.

Australian Crime Commission figures compiled by Jane Lloyd, an expert in remote indigenous domestic violence, show that 28 years after the establishment of the NPYWC, the violence on the NPY lands remains catastrophic, clearly indicating that women's initiatives and other responses are not working.

Women from the NPY regions are "67 times more likely to be a domestic violence related homicide victim".

Despite the power of the rest of Kimm's book, one is left with the sense that community violence at higher than the mainstream rate is inevitable, and Aboriginal women's empowerment is about community women themselves running the sadly necessary community women's shelters and night patrols and legal centres to secure some safety. There is no breakthrough here and it sounds little better than surrender. Is this the best we can do as a nation for the Aborigines of remote Australia?

Adjustment to the mainstream is not about taking anything from Aborigines. It is about implementing policies and programs that reverse Aboriginal exclusion from mainstream culture, because this is the only effective broad-scale strategy for the acquisition of strong norms against violence. It is critical that governments encourage integration, otherwise Aborigines are condemned to dangerous traditional norms of violence. Those norms not only cause misery and suffering, they also limit the life chances that many Aborigines could enjoy within contemporary Australia.


British "Big Brother" State under attack

ID cards will come under further high-level attack today. A retired law lord will today make a withering attack on the Government's 'ridiculous' and far-reaching attacks on civil liberties.

Lord Steyn reserves his most stinging criticisms for the £5billion ID cards scheme, which he will say are 'unnecessary' and un-British and should be scrapped. But he will also fired a broadside at the DNA database and the use of surveillance cameras, including CCTV.

In a London memorial lecture, Lord Steyn will warn that ID cards, and the national identity database which will store the personal data, are steps towards a 'Kafkaesque' society.

He accuses the Home Office of introducing the cards step by step as a way of 'conditioning' and 'softening up' public opinion. The cards, already in use for foreign nationals coming to Britain, will be available to anyone living in Manchester from later this year. Trials are also due to begin at Manchester and City Airport in London this autumn.

Ministers say the scheme will help fight terrorism, crime and illegal immigration and help people easily prove their identity. But Lord Steyn says there is 'absolutely no evidence' they would protect the country against terrorism. Their introduction was an unjustified 'invasion' of civil liberties, the former judge adds. He will say: 'The commitment, by and large, of the British people to European constitutional principles and ideals does not require us to adopt an ID card system. 'In my view a national identity card system is not necessary in our country. No further money should be spent on it. The idea should be abandoned.

'The Home Office now proudly asserts that comprehensive surveillance has become routine. If that is true, the resemblance to the world of Kafka is no longer so very distant.' 'To illustrate the scale of the surveillance, one can refer to the estimated 4.2 million CCTV cameras in operation in this country. It is said that a person living and working in London is likely to be filmed about 300 times on an average day. 'The cost to the taxpayer is several hundred millions of pounds. No doubt CCTV coverage has, in some cases, proved effective in combating crime. But it is unclear how cost effective generally the system is. Some of the types of surveillance introduced by the State border on the ridiculous.'

In a speech today, Shadow security minster Baroness Neville-Jones will launch her own withering attack on the Government's privacy record. Miss Neville Jones will promise to 'substantially curtail' the number of people who can make use of the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act - used by councils to spy on dog foulers and people putting their bins out on the wrong day. She will also pledge to move away from huge centralised databases containing vast amounts of the public's most sensitive personal information.

Miss Neville-Jones said: 'The individual is the rightful owner of personal information and the state is merely possessor and should behave as a responsible custodian. We need to roll back the advance of Big Brother and restore this fundamental right of our citizens. 'Restoring privacy today must mean a clear statement on the part of those who have custody of personal information of their purpose in retaining it and of their commitment to its proper management. 'This will involve a review of most of the Government’s centralised databases.'



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

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

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


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A new desideratum for the modern age

Comment from Britain

In case you missed it, one of Martin Amis’s girlfriends from the 1970s has published an article about his womanising ways and the girls he loved and left. It has caused a minor storm because Amis is arguably our most famous living author — and certainly the most glamorous — and because Marty gave his approval for this kiss-and-tell.

There are plenty of people who would go to court not to have details of their private lives revealed in print. But Amis not only doesn’t care, he positively welcomed the exposure. This got me thinking: wouldn’t it be great to be so confident of your sexual history — so sure that your lovers numbered the smartest, most attractive people of your generation — that naming them could only make you look better? How rare must that be? Thanks to Amis, we now have a new definition of success: having a sexual history that you can afford to boast about, with no exceptions.

The importance of racking up a sexual history that you can be proud of is not something they teach you in school, but it has to be more useful in the long term than metalwork. Look around and the world is roughly divided into people whose SH has held them back and people who don’t need to lie in bed at night wondering if anyone is going to find out about the heroin dealer/sex pest/con artist/embarrassing loser they lived with for six months after college.

The truth is, nothing damages a girl’s respect factor faster than a dalliance with Calum Best (oh Lindsay, how could you?). And if you’re a bloke, it’s probably better to have had a three-month stint inside for pension fraud than a fling with the former Mrs Paul McCartney. Take Sienna Miller — lovely girl, but her SH is so dodgy, it has affected her karma and left her looking like a romantic liability. And George Clooney is a super guy but for one niggling detail: the line-up of strikingly unremarkable exes.

To score high in the sexual-history stakes, you don’t have to be the opposite of promiscuous, or even faithful — you merely need to demonstrate that you have good taste and the power to pull people worth pulling (it’s a bonus if, like Marty, you leave all your lovers “numb and shattered”, but at the very least, the experience needs to have been memorable). And a quality sexual history works for both parties. We don’t like to admit it, but how you rate the women in your man’s past (and who dumped who) directly affects your perception of them. If you admire the girls who came before you, then it’s okay to be tainted by association. But if your boyfriend’s exes are a pretty sad bunch who tend to be the ones to leave, and you definitely wouldn’t want to borrow their clothes, it can’t help but make you question if he’s worth it.

Maybe that’s the point in the end. I don’t particularly want to be able to say I’ve slept with Mick Jagger, but I wouldn’t mind being lumped in a category with the young Marianne Faithfull, Marsha Hunt, Sophie Dahl, Carla Bruni... Best stop there on account of the lawyers.


There is ONE crime that the British police will respond promptly to

Any attack on one of their own. It shows what could be done (but rarely if ever is) when other people are under attack. Many complaints to British police result in no action at all

There are often complaints about the length of time it takes for the police to respond to an emergency call. In the interest of balance and fairness, I must point out that such a miserable experience is by no means a universal one.

A cacophony of angry, shouting male voices, accompanied by the loud barking of dogs the other day, quite naturally drew me to the window, outside of which there was indeed a serious-looking altercation, half-obscured down an alley.

I'd barely taken a step towards the phone when a car carrying four armed police skidded to a halt, and the occupants waded into the fray. Impressive.

But it didn't stop there. Another armed response unit soon arrived on the scene, followed by three regular squad cars and five police vans, one little, four big. There were so many police it was impossible to count them all, and they were soon marching the small group of miscreants into some of the dizzying choice of available vehicles.

The alley in which the captured youths had congregated is notorious for its open drug dealing and its crude dogfights. Residents were amazed that such routine activity, long-since recognised as nothing we should trouble the police too much about, had finally attracted the undivided attention of the law.

Later, it emerged that two police on the beat had, unusually, challenged the assembled group, and that more than one had been moronic enough to take a swing at them. It's good to know that there are some crimes serious enough to be addressed with efficiency, passion and unlimited manpower. Sort of.


Defending America’s First Amendment

As limited government advocates fight to preserve individual liberties amid the onrush of President Barack Obama’s “Era of Obscenely Big Government,” one fundamental American freedom that we must be increasingly vigilant in protecting is the freedom of speech. After all, every imposition of this basic right is a threat against our ability to protect all of the others.

Sadly, under the Washington banner of “campaign finance reform,” Americans have seen their right to free political speech materially impeded upon in recent years. Meanwhile, President Obama’s “Internet security” efforts could be the next politically-correct “buzz-term” for speech suppression. And speaking of which, let’s not forget the so-called “P.C. police” – i.e. the TV talking head enforcers of our nation’s new lexicon of “P.C.” phraseology, who are always on alert for fresh “violations.”

Yet even as our leaders fail to recognize – and fully protect – free speech amid these evolving encumbrances, those who advocate for virtually every belief under the sun recognize its sanctity.

One reason for free speech’s unwavering public support is the relative inviolability of the First Amendment at all points along our nation’s political spectrum. As the expression goes, we may not like what others have to say, but we will zealously defend their right to say it. And that’s how it has to be. Otherwise, one of our bedrock national freedoms would be left to the shifting sands of today’s “political discourse,” which is perhaps what many Washington politicians are hoping for.

Recently, though, another threat to Americans’ freedom of speech has emerged – this time from the other side of the ocean. An egregious pattern of global “venue-shopping” on libel cases is taking shape, with Americans being sued for defamation in British courts – by people who aren’t citizens of either country.

These lawsuits are filed in Great Britain because of the nation’s notoriously backward libel laws, which start with the presumption of guilt against publishers. Making matters worse from an intimidation standpoint, British courts force those publishers who manage to successfully “prove their innocence” to pick up the tab for legal fees. Neither of these concepts fit even remotely within the American definition of First Amendment jurisprudence– but that’s not stopping British courts from holding Americans liable all the same.

In fact, in a recent case an American author was convicted of libel in a British court and ordered to pay damages to a Saudi Arabian businessman – a ruling which has obviously had a chilling effect on American publishers. According to this author’s attorneys, British libel law “is being used as a tool to silence critics and endanger (America’s) national security.”

Far from hyperbole, if this trend is allowed to continue we could quickly find ourselves in a situation where terrorists are able to preemptively suppress investigations into their activities simply by filing "defamation" suits in British courts. Also, any American individual or entity that makes even the most dubious connection to Great Britain could use the English courts as a speech suppression tool for domestic purposes.

Not surprisingly, the real medium of concern here isn’t published books, it’s the Internet. “The global nature of the (Internet) means that anything published anywhere could quite easily be claimed to lead to damages under UK law,” one web forum recently noted.

That’s a truly frightening prospect – whether you’re editing web copy for CNN or FOX News, writing a blog for Townhall or the Daily Kos, or simply posting an update to your social networking page. Do we really live in an information age where all it takes to wind up on the receiving end of a costly lawsuit is a single Briton accessing our Facebook page?

This is precisely the sort of speech suppression that American libel laws are designed to safeguard us against – but if censors have found a way around those laws, can our freedom of speech truly be called safe?

It can’t – which is why Americans of all political persuasions must demand that their right to free speech be preserved, protected and defended against all enemies, foreign and domestic.


Why may no-one be proud to be White?

Someone finally said it. How many are actually paying attention to this? There are African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, etc.

And then there are just Americans. You pass me on the street and sneer in my direction. You call me 'White boy,' 'Cracker,' 'Honkey,' 'Whitey,' 'Caveman'... and that's OK.

But when I call you, Nigger, Kike, Towel head, Sand-nigger, Camel Jockey, Beaner, Gook, or Chink .. You call me a racist.

You say that whites commit a lot of violence against you... so why are the ghettos the most dangerous places to live?

You have the United Negro College Fund. You have Martin Luther King Day. You have Black History Month. You have Cesar Chavez Day. You have Yom Hashoah. You have Ma'uled Al-Nabi. You have the NAACP.

You have BET... If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we'd be racists. If we had a White Pride Day, you would call us racists. If we had White History Month, we'd be racists. If we had any organization for only whites to 'advance' OUR lives, we'd be racists.

We have a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Black Chamber of Commerce, and then we just have the plain Chamber of Commerce. Wonder who pays for that??

A white woman could not be in the Miss Black American pageant, but any color can be in the Miss America pageant.

If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships... You know we'd be racists.

There are over 60 openly proclaimed Black Colleges in the US. Yet if there were 'White colleges', that would be a racist college.

In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights. If we marched for our race and rights, you would call us racists.

You are proud to be black, brown, yellow and orange, and you're not afraid to announce it. But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.

You rob us, carjack us, and shoot at us. But, when a white police officer shoots a black gang member or beats up a black drug dealer running from the law and posing a threat to society, you call him a racist. Why is it that only whites can be racists??

From a widely circulated email


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

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

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


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Monday, June 15, 2009

Fear and hatred on the streets of Luton

Anger that "hate speech" by whites can get you arrested in Britain but hate speech from Muslims is OK. Britain's politicized police have a lot to answer for

When troops returning from Iraq marched through Luton, all hell broke loose. Muslims protested, white residents rioted and the Sikh mayor was viciously attacked. Can this multicultural community ever find peace — or is this eruption of long-simmering tensions a sign of even worse to come?

Later that day, after the soldiers’ parade had dispersed, Kier was walking across St George’s Square in his England shirt — “Eng-er-land! Eng-er-land! Eng-er-land!” the crowd had been chanting at the protesters. Kier was still feeling wound up by what he had just witnessed back by the Arndale. He had a cousin in the army, a family friend who had been killed in action. Bloody Muslim extremists, Kier was thinking to himself. How dare they!

Then he saw the mayor crossing the square, walking high and proud in his robe and chains. He was Asian. So far as Kier was concerned, he was a Muslim too, and it was all his fault. He was the head of the council; the council had given permission for the extremists to make their protest. F*** it, Kier thought. Kier ran up to him and fly-kicked him in the back. Councillor Lakhbir Singh, the mayor of Luton, a Sikh by faith, not in fact a Muslim at all, stumbled and fell forward, putting out his hands to stop himself falling. Kier turned around and, before the police could do anything, he ran through them and was away.

It would be farcical if it were not so sad and unpleasant, that brief moment in the life of modern, multicultural Britain. A Sikh in a turban had been mistaken for a Muslim by a white youth too ignorant to know any better, and apparently too angry to express himself other than with a kick.

The incident had been caught on camera, but it took the police a while to catch up with Kier. He was finally arrested six weeks later, outside Luton Town Football Club, which is slap bang in the middle of Bury Park, the predominantly Muslim area of the town. Kier McElroy, a white youth aged 18, had been attending a reserves match against Peterborough United.

In the weeks preceding Kier’s arrest, for some unexplained reason, the assault on the mayor was kept a secret and the mayor himself kept under wraps. He would not talk to me for this article, and I only found out about the attack through a contact in the town after Kier had been charged.

“It’s political correctness, innit,” Kier told me, after being released from custody. “We feel we’re being treated differently. They won’t nick the Asian lads, will they?” “We”, of course, were the white lads. Luton has been sharply divided along racial lines by recent events. Many of the town’s white youth are restless and incensed, and those other extremists, of the far right — the National Front (NF) and the British National Party (BNP) — are circling like vultures. Not for the first time, many of the town’s 30,000 or more Muslims are fearful of the backlash provoked, as they would see it, by the actions of the few Islamic extremists, or “troublemakers”, as I often heard them called....

Everyone was blaming everyone else. The whites blamed the authorities for letting it happen and the police for not doing anything about it — why didn’t they arrest them? The moderate Muslims blamed the extremists, the extremists blamed the moderate Muslims for not having the courage of their convictions; the authorities blamed the media for its inflammatory coverage of the parade and the intemperate language it tended to use when writing about Muslims...

Sayful had no hesitation in seeking to protest at the soldiers’ homecoming parade. He also says he knew that people would be upset by the protests and tried to have a low-key presence, out of harm’s way.

The police had agreed with the group that they would meet in the town at 12.30. The police would examine their placards and agree a place for them to stand, just away from the march past, where they would barely be noticed.

Things began to go wrong when the group did not arrive in town together, but became separated on the journey from Bury Park, so that while half of them took up the agreed position, by the Don Millers bakery, the delayed group got caught on the outside of the procession route and could not immediately be walked through to join the others. This second group were held in position by the police at the back of the town hall, at the top of Gordon Street, much closer to the march past.

Still, a journalist I spoke to who filmed along the whole route did not at first notice the protesters or capture them on film. It was only when he got down to St George’s Square — where the mayor was saying the soldiers should not be blamed for the war in Iraq — that the cameraman heard trouble and went back around the town hall to find out what was going on. According to the police, the split in the protest group had prevented them from properly examining their placards: “Anglian soldiers butchers of Basra”. “Anglian soldiers criminals, murderers, terrorists”. “Anglian soldiers go to hell”. “British government, terrorist government”. “Muslims rise against British oppression”.

Of course, half the country was against the war in Iraq, white, Asian, black, Muslims, Christians alike. But those placards, as no doubt intended, were provocative statements against the soldiers and their friends and families who had turned out to see the march. White people, young and old, male and female, who were there for the march past were incensed by the protesters’ placards and their shouting. “Anglian soldiers, baby killers!” was one call that particularly upset the soldiers and some of the several thousand people who were there to see them, though most would have been oblivious to the protests at the time. To the protesters, a regiment that had fired a total of 36,000 rounds in Iraq ought to share responsibility for the many civilian casualties — mothers and children among them — in that country. The army and its supporters would argue that the protesters should take their grievances to the government, which had promoted the war, and leave alone the soldiers, who had merely been following orders. But this was not good enough for Sayful Islam. “Would we excuse the Nazi soldiers who carried out atrocities because they were just obeying orders?”

The divisional commander of Luton, Chief Superintendent Andy Frost, would later think long and hard about the decisions taken before and during the day. Should he have banned or arrested the protesters? Well, they had turned out before with their banners and their megaphone — at the Luton Faith Walk and the Holocaust Memorial Day — and there had never been any real threat to public order. “Normally they turn up, start off their protest against the war, most people ignore them, and everyone moves on.” Next time, mind you, he might think differently.


Prince defeats ugly modern architecture

He is a true "tribunus plebis" in such matters. I congratulate him -- JR

The Prince of Wales has forced a Qatari development firm to withdraw its application for a controversial £3 billion housing project at the Chelsea Barracks site in West London. The Prince, a famously outspoken critic of modern architecture, had criticised Lord Rogers of Riverside’s design for Britain’s most expensive housing development as “unsympathetic” and “unsubtle”. He also wrote to the Emir of Qatar to voice his concerns at the plans for the glass and steel complex opposite the Royal Hospital in Chelsea.

Yesterday, less than a week before the application was due to go before the planning committee of Westminster Council, the site’s owner Qatari Diar, a property company, withdrew the application.

Lord Rogers, who designed the Millennium Dome in East London and the Pompidou Centre in Paris, blamed the Prince for the project’s collapse. The architect told The Times: “After two and a half years of extensive consultation with the local community and statutory consultees, and the publication of an exceptionally complimentary report on the Chelsea Barracks application from planning officers at Westminster City Council, it is extremely disappointing that this application has been withdrawn in response to Prince Charles’s views less than a week before the council was due to consider it.”

The leader of Westminster Council, Colin Barrow, said the Prince acted as a lightning rod for objections and encouraged others to come forward. He said: “I think the Prince of Wales gave voice to some misgivings that many people had about the architecture. It enabled people to say things that they were otherwise reluctant to say. Many more people came out against the architecture after that.”

More than 450 complaints were received by the council from residents concerned about the scale of the project, which would have included 548 flats, a hotel, two restaurants and a sports centre on the 12.8-acre site.

Qatari Diar bought the site for nearly £1 billion in January last year, and will now be seeking new designs. One architect who submitted a sketch in the initial competition was traditionalist Quinlan Terry. His design was recommended by the Prince of Wales as a preferable alternative. Prince Charles’s Foundation for the Built Environment will be consulted over new submissions.


The Plan for Government-Funded Socialist Media in America

Back in the 1970s, I learned what journalism was all about when I studied from Curtis MacDougall's classic textbook, Interpretative Reporting. I understood then that a massive shift had taken place from objective news reporting to interpretative and advocacy journalism. Curtis MacDougall and his textbook trained several generations of journalists, and we are seeing the results

MacDougall taught at Northwestern University, where he was a journalism educator and political activist. He ran on the Communist-controlled Progressive Party ticket. His son, Kent, also a journalist, came out as a Marxist, after working at the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, and he then became a professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

We have just obtained Curtis MacDougall's 319-page FBI file, showing he was on the "security index" of the FBI and under surveillance because of his affiliation with many communist fronts. As early as 1950, an informant was telling the FBI that MacDougall was guilty of "pro-Communist teaching" and that he followed the Communist Party line.

MacDougall's Interpretative Reporting textbook criticized the media for being too soft on Senator Joe McCarthy. It was the perfect primer for a generation of liberal journalists and taught journalists to think that anyone opposed to communism or socialism was an extremist. No wonder "McCarthyism" has become a dirty word and still serves to squelch solid reporting into such matters as influence through Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis on President Obama himself.

Last fall I debated media bias on eight college campuses, and surveyed the left-wing textbooks and other books used in journalism and communications courses. One, Media Control, is by Noam Chomsky, a leading member of the Communist Party spin-off, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism. Another popular book in journalism classes is What Liberal Media?, by Eric Alterman, who contends that liberal media bias is a myth.

One of my debating opponents, Jeff Cohen, founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, now teaches journalism at Ithaca College and runs the Park Center for Independent Media, where he just gave out an "Izzy Award," named after the identified communist and Soviet agent I.F. Stone, to Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! Bill Moyers promptly had Greenwald and Goodman on his Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) show.

In terms of media, our only hope is not so much highlighting the errors and omissions of the other side, but in getting our own story out. The problem is the other side has billions of dollars in federal-and big liberal foundation- money.

Through AIM we urged reductions of the budget of the Corporation for Public Broad-casting; we failed, the CPB is requesting $483 million for Fiscal Year 2011. CPB funds 356 public TV stations through the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) and 860 public radio stations through National Public Radio (NPR). The funding was only at $340 million when Bush took office.

In addition to National Public Radio, the "progressives" also can tap the Pacifica Network, consisting of five stations owned by the Pacifica Foundation, one associate station, and close to 150 affiliated stations. The Pacifica Foundation, which gets about $1.4 million a year in federal money, puts about $46,000 into Democracy Now!, hosted by Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez. This radio/TV show itself got $150,000 from Bill Moyers' Schumann Center for Media and Democracy. Goodman says her show is airing on over 750 stations and has a bigger audience than Larry King on CNN or the MSNBC cable channel. Her Democracy Now Productions! ran on a $2.4 million budget in 2007.

Meanwhile, the Ford Foundation is a major underwriter of the Center for Social Media of American University, a project headed by left-wing activist Patricia Aufderheide, who says that "Taxpayer funds are crucial..." to creating new "public media." This group got money under a $50 million Ford Foundation program to create and strengthen "public media."

This is the direction many of the "progressive" groups are going. In fact, a socialist-oriented "media reform" group with ties to the Obama Administration has called for new federal programs and the spending of tens of billions of dollars to keep journalists employed at liberal media outlets and to put them to work in new "public media."

The group, which calls itself Free Press, is urging "an alternative media infrastructure, one that is insulated from the commercial pressures that brought us to our current crisis."

However, Free Press, at this May 14 summit, didn't say one word about the well-documented liberal bias that has contributed to the decline in readers and viewers for traditional media outlets and has enabled the rise of the Fox News Channel, conservative talk radio, and the Internet. Instead, Josh Silver of Free Press attacked the "bellowing ideologues" on the air and declared that "The entire dial is empty of local news in many communities."

New Strategy

This was a tip-off that, in order to take conservative radio hosts off the air, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will be flooded with complaints that "local news" has been shortchanged by stations airing conservative personalities with national programs.

Free Press, whose June 2008 "media reform" conference in Minneapolis turned into a virtual Obama for President campaign rally, is in a position to provide those complaints to the FCC. It claims nearly half-a-million supporters and a staff of 30, mostly in Washington, D.C.

As part of the proposed new "media infrastructure," Free Press is calling for a $50 billion "Public Media Trust Fund" to underwrite the creation of new jobs for journalists and the use of the existing federal AmeriCorps program "to include journalistic activities as part of its mission" in the form of "journalism positions" and "journalism projects." AmeriCorps is a federally-funded national and community service agency.

The group is also urging a direct federal bailout of liberal media institutions, declaring that "The Department of Labor could design a program aimed at keeping reporters employed at existing news organizations or at new outlets." Free Press explains, "If the government were to subsidize 5,000 reporters at $50,000 per year, the cost would be $250 million annually, a relatively modest sum given the billions coming out of Washington."

In addition to the $50-billion "Public Media Trust Fund," another one of the proposals from the Free Press group is a $50-million "government-seeded innovation fund for journalism," described by Craig Aaron of Free Press as "a taxpayer-supported venture capital firm that invests in new journalism models."

The socialist nature of the proposals should not be surprising. Aaron is one of two Free Press staffers who have been employed by the socialist magazine In These Times and previously worked at Ralph Nader's Congress Watch. The group's policy director, Ben Scott, has been an aide to Senator Bernie Sanders, an openly declared socialist who has criticized the media for covering both sides of the global warming debate.

All of the controversial recommendations are included in the new 285-page book, Changing Media: Public Interest Policies for the Digital Age, officially released at the May 14 Free Press summit held at the Newseum, a museum dedicated to the journalism profession.

Although Free Press didn't want to examine the problem of liberal bias contributing to the decline of traditional media, the Newseum's fifth floor, the News History Gallery, includes a film about liberal media bias.

The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), which is already subsidized by the U.S. taxpayer through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (which itself gets $400 million a year in federal payments), wasn't good enough for acting Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Michael Copps, who delivered a keynote speech.

He declared that we need a PBSS-"a Public Broad-casting System on Steroids"-based on the extraction of more dollars from hard-pressed American taxpayers. "That can't be done on the cheap, and we'll hear laments that there's not a lot of extra cash floating around these days," Copps said. "But other nations find ways to support such things."

Targeting Talk Radio

Copps ruled out the FCC bringing back the so-called Fairness Doctrine, which enabled bureaucrats during the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations to mute or silence on-air conservative personalities. "The Fairness Doctrine is long gone and it's not coming back-as much as some conspiracy theorists see it lurking behind every corner," he said. However, he did say that the FCC would force broadcasters to sell media properties to approved women and minority groups. He called this "equal opportunity" and "diversity."

At the same time, Copps said that the FCC will have "to get serious about defining broadcasters' public interest obligations and reinvigorating our license renewal process." He said broadcasters need to be held to "clear standards that can be fairly but vigorously enforced" and should have to renew their licenses every three years, instead of every eight.

Under such a scheme, "progressive" groups could thwart a license renewal by claiming that a local radio station was airing too much conservative programming.


Restoring America's Marriages

by Harry R. Jackson, Jr.

Last week marked a nadir in the battle for biblical marriage. Two huge events occurred. First, former VP Dick Cheney voiced his support for same-sex marriage. Second, New Hampshire became the sixth state in the Union to legalize gay marriage. Despite these two events, nationalizing same-sex marriage is absolutely not inevitable. Gay marriage proponents are only too aware that the recent California Supreme Court ruling that the 2008 Proposition 8 victory will stand guarantees that a fresh round of marriage amendments, initiatives, and referendums will undoubtedly be levied in the states that have scored temporary victories for same-sex marriage.

I must admit that Cheney’s defection from his party’s long-term stance on marriage was especially disappointing. His open admission of his transition to same-sex marriage advocacy - which places him left of President Obama - seemed especially hypocritical in light of his second term ascension to power on the wings of the same sex-marriage controversy. Perhaps this admission explains why the Bush administration ran out of steam on the issue shortly after their 2004 victory. Numerous pro-family groups who have supported the GOP for years are questioning where their values will find a new political home.

While these groups meditate on the political ramifications of recent marriage regulations and decisions, new alliances are being formed and millions of nameless and faceless Americans will soon join the struggle to affirm biblical marriage. The New Hampshire legislature muddied the waters in the marriage debate by attempting to throw the religious community a bone, declaring that conservative ministers would not be forced to perform same-sex marriages.

Despite the New Hampshire governor’s attempt to paint this as a compromise position, the religious services exemption is tantamount to giving pro “biblical” marriage proponents the sleeves out of one’s vest. In most cases openly gay people will not seek out conservative ministers to perform their weddings. Only activists seeking a precedent setting case would even entertain coercing a biblically faithful minister.

Knowledgeable pro-traditional marriage advocates understand that the real danger lies with the unintended consequences of gay marriage on the next generation. Redefining marriage, redefines family, the redefinition of family changes the definition of parenting, the definition of parenting changes the dynamics of education. As a result, in the state of Massachusetts, eight-year olds are reading Heather has Two Mommies. To make things worse, their parents cannot opt out of these classes.

In California five-year olds are asked to become gay “Allies” and they can join such a club, which meets during breaks in their elementary classrooms. These kinds of ill-advised social experiments may produce a host of unexpected consequences. If gay marriage is allowed, the nation will soon begin to experience more and more degradation of the nuclear family - resulting in fewer kids being raised by both a mom and a dad. There have been no studies that suggest that any other marriage arrangement beats the power of having one mom and one dad investing in their own biological children.

What will the landscape of America look like if same-sex marriage is legalized across our nation? According to the writings of Dr. Stanley Kurtz, nations who have gone this way see a dramatic increase in out of wedlock births, long-term singleness, and other symptoms of the devaluation of the institution. If the American family loses the presence of its birth dad in the home, there will be several huge consequences.

Consider these statistics. Over half of Americans studied in a survey in 2001 by Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government believe that the high number of single-parent families is a major cause of poverty. Studies also reveal that most Americans believe that welfare programs encourage single-parent families and teenage pregnancy.

Malcolm D. Williams in 1997, used a sample of 1,610 10-13 year-olds in a study. He found that children who learn to share significant ideas with their fathers had fewer behavior problems and developed stronger cognitive abilities than their peers.

Similar results were found in a 1995 study of 254 black adolescents living with both of their biological parents. Ninety-six percent of these boys said their fathers were their role models. In this study, only 44 percent of black adolescents who were not living with their fathers said their fathers were their role models.

The Journal of Family Psychology in 2000 reported a study of 116 African American students ages 10-13. The boys with married parents were found to have much higher levels of self esteem and a better sense of personal power and self-control compared to single-mother homes.

Repeatedly, scholarly studies focused on adolescence show that early onset of puberty in girls is a major problem. It is associated with negative psychological, social, and health problems. Depression, alcohol consumption, and higher teenage pregnancy rates are some of the results. An eight year study of girls and their families showed that a father’s presence in the home, with appropriate involvement in his children’s lives, contributed to later pubertal timing of the daughters in the seventh grade.

These studies and scores of others suggest what most Americans have always known: that both boys and girls, are deeply affected in both biological and psychological ways by the presence of their fathers. We have emphasized the father half of the biblical duo called “parents,” assuming the mother is intact within the family setting.

In conclusion, let me cite the fact that even former Vice President Al Gore sees the need for strong fathers to remain in the nuclear family. In June 2000 he said, “Don’t ever doubt the impact that fathers have on children. Children with strongly committed fathers learn about trust early on. They learn about trust with their hearts. They learn they are wanted, that they have value, and that they can afford to be secure and confident and set their sights high.”

Most gay activists do not seem to understand that two mommies or two daddies cannot replace the balance of one mother and one father. Despite the incredible adaptability of children, our entire culture should advocate for family structures which promote the most positive environments of our next generations.

Let’s set our sights high. Let’s not fall victim to the inevitability argument of our opposition. We need simply need an army of bi-partisan leaders to strategize, organize, and prioritize the protection of marriage!



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

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

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


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Sunday, June 14, 2009

The British far-Left do their best to generate publicity and sympathy for anti-immigration party

What they really want is self-publicity but they just succeed in showing who the real thugs are

When Nick Griffin was pelted with eggs outside Parliament this week, the protest divided public opinion over whether it was a legitimate expression of anger or a foolhardy stunt that handed unwarranted publicity to the British National Party. It has also widened a rift in the anti-fascist movement over how to combat the rise of the far-right party.

United Against Fascism (UAF) is planning a series of physical demonstrations over the coming months based on Tuesday’s confrontation, which forced Mr Griffin, the BNP leader and newly elected MEP, to abandon his victory press conference. The approach has frustrated seasoned anti-BNP campaigners, who believe that the stunt allowed Mr Griffin to portray himself as a martyr.

There were violent tussles between the protesters and supporters of Mr Griffin and Andrew Brons, who won the BNP’s second European seat in Yorkshire and the Humber region, and police are investigating two allegations of common assault. UAF, which was set up five years ago as an umbrella organisation for anti-racism groups and trade unions, says that it will picket Mr Griffin wherever he goes. It accepts that there is potential for further violence but insists that the action is necessary to combat the BNP.

Searchlight, a separate organisation that has campaigned against the BNP and its predecessors since the 1960s, is cautious about such protests and says that a more “constructive” approach is needed. Searchlight initially joined UAF when it was created but broke away following policy differences. This week it launched a widespread digital media initiative called Not In My Name. The organisation is being advised by Blue State Digital, the internet strategy firm responsible for President Obama’s winning US campaign, and plans a variety of online initiatives to raise awareness and funds.

This weekend an appeal video featuring various celebrities will be posted online to urge the public to donate. More than 84,500 people have already signed up to its database, making it bigger than those of any of the mainstream political parties.

The Royal British Legion yesterday accused Mr Griffin of trying to politicise “one of the nation’s most beloved symbols” after he repeatedly wore a red poppy during the European election campaign. The charity is demanding that Mr Griffin stop wearing the poppy, after private appeals to his “sense of honour” were ignored. In an open letter to The Guardian, the charity wrote: “True valour deserves respect regardless of a person’s ethnic origin . . . Stop it, Mr Griffin.”

Campaigners are also organising a petition to take to the European Parliament next month, saying that while the BNP has won seats, it does not represent Britain. The number of signatures had exceeded 56,000 by Wednesday, only two days after it was begun. Campaigners aim to surpass 132,094, signatures — the number of votes that Mr Griffin attracted in the North West region.

Searchlight is hoping to raise enough money to wage its biggest campaign against the BNP, from advertisements on buses to leaflets aimed at areas where voters are BNP-friendly. Nick Lowles, the campaign coordinator, said it was a positive way to express discontent. “We need to harness people’s anger in a constructive way, rather than throwing eggs at the BNP,” he said.

However, Anindya Bhattacharyya, a spokesman for UAF, claimed that the strategy was not adequate to defeat the BNP. “If fascists simply organised on the internet then it would be fine. But they foment their race hatred on to the streets. That’s where we have to stand up to them,” he said. UAF is planning an emergency national conference in Manchester on July 18 and aims to picket events such as the BNP’s annual rally in August. Mr Bhattacharyya defended the tactics displayed on Tuesday. He said: “I think the far greater danger is that he [Mr Griffin] becomes legitimised.”


Arrogant feminist who thinks men should bring up babies to represent "families" in Britain

A hardline feminist has been chosen as the Government's new chief spokesman on families. Dr Katherine Rake, who wants to see men bring up babies, will head the Family and Parenting Institute, a heavily state-financed organisation set up by Labour to speak for parents and children. The Institute boasts that it 'brings alive the real issues for families' and 'listens to parents and carers across the country'.

But critics said the appointment of Dr Rake, currently director of the women's equality campaign group the Fawcett Society, showed the Institute was out of touch with the concerns of ordinary families.

The organisation was set up in 1999 by then Home Secretary Jack Straw to shore up family life and encourage parents. Last year it received nearly £8million from Ed Balls's Department for Children, Schools and Families towards its declared mission of 'supporting parents in bringing up children'.

Dr Rake, who will take over from the Institute's founding chief executive Mary MacLeod, has long declared her intention is not to support parents as they are, but to revolutionise their lives. Writing in The Guardian three years ago, she said: 'We want to transform the most intimate and private relations between women and men. 'We want to change not just who holds power in international conglomerations, but who controls the household budget. 'We want to change not just what childcare the state provides, but who changes the nappies at home.' Dr Rake added: 'It is only when men are ready to share caring and work responsibilities with women that we will be able to fulfil our true potential to form equal partnerships in which we have respect, autonomy and dignity.'

Under the direction of Dr Rake, a former London School of Economics lecturer, the Fawcett Society has campaigned for a 'changing role' for men. The group, which is chaired by prominent gay rights campaigner Angela Mason, says the role reversal should be backed by longer paid parental leave, official encouragement for men to apply for flexible work hours, and the opening of mother and toddler groups to stay-at-home fathers. It has complained that women will never achieve equality with men at work without 'challenging the traditional roles of homemaker and breadwinner'.

Fawcett has also condemned Tory plans to give tax breaks to married couples, complaining that 'it penalises all those children living with unmarried parents or with one parent'.

The appointment of Dr Rake, who is likely to earn £60,000 a year, comes at a time of growing pressure on mothers to go out to work. Despite overwhelming evidence that a majority would prefer to stay home to bring up young children, ministers have piled pressure on them to take jobs and warned that those who fail to do so, and who rely on the income of a husband or partner, are likely to face poverty.

Only two million mothers now bring up their children full time. Official figures show that two out of three children aged three and four now spend at least part of their week in nurseries.

Jill Kirby, of the centre-right think-tank Centre for Policy Studies, said: 'This appointment to a body which is supposed to speak for the interests of ordinary parents and families shows how out of touch the leadership of the organisation is with real life in Britain. 'Katherine Rake's agenda is more about reversing sex roles than helping parents.'

The chairman of the National Parenting Institute is Fiona Millar, long-term partner of Tony Blair's former spokesman Alastair Campbell. She said that Dr Rake 'has a strong track record in research, policy and campaigning and will be a great asset to the organisation at a time when the recession is putting extra pressure on families up and down the country'.


The U.S. Department of Injustice

by Michelle Malkin

The seal of the U.S. Department of Justice bears a Latin phrase: “Qui Pro Domina Justitia Sequitur. The motto refers to the Attorney General “who prosecutes on behalf of Lady Justice.” But under Barack Obama’s politically corrupted DOJ, Lady Justice is getting the shaft. To wit: Let’s examine the uproar over Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to protect hate-mongering thugs who harassed and bullied precinct workers and voters on Election Day in Philadelphia. Oh, wait. There’s been no uproar. Let me tell you why.

Two weeks ago, in a highly unusual move, Holder dismissed default judgments his department had won against two of three defendants charged with violating the Voting Rights Act. On November 4, 2008, a billy club-wielding militant in military-style boots and beret stood outside a Philly polling location with a similarly-dressed partner. Citizen journalists from the Pennsylvania-based blog Election Journal captured the menacing duo on video. One of the watchdogs observed: “I think it might be a little intimidating that you have a stick in your hand.”

That was an understatement. Witness Bartle Bull, a Democratic lawyer who organized for Bobby Kennedy and worked for the civil rights movement in Mississippi, signed a sworn affidavit decrying the Election Day brutishness. Serving as a poll watcher that day, he called the behavior of Samir Shabazz and Jerry Jackson “the most blatant form of voter discrimination I have encountered in my life.”

One of them, Bull reported, taunted poll observers: “[Y]ou are about to be ruled by the black man, cracker.” If the pair had been dressed in white sheets, all hell would have broken loose. But the ebony-clad thugs were members of the New Black Panther Party who had been dispatched by Malcolm X wannabe Malik Shabazz to “guard” the polls. Translation: Protect them from scrutiny. Shield them from sunlight. Keep independent voters and observers out.

Who is Malik Shabazz? The bespectacled race hustler grabbed the spotlight in the weeks after the September 11 terrorist attacks by defending Osama bin Laden, blaming President Bush for 9/11, bashing Israel, and blasting our founding fathers as “snakes.” His group also infamously rallied behind the Duke University lacrosse rape hoaxer. And on the day before the presidential election last fall, one of Shabazz’s “field marshals,” Minister Najee Muhammad, held a “black power” rally promising to send his forces to polls across the country “to ensure that the enemy does not sabotage the black vote.”

The Bush DOJ filed suit against Malik Shabazz, Samir Shabazz, and Jerry Jackson in early January 2009. None of the defendants filed an answer to the lawsuit, putting them all into default. Instead of taking the default judgment that DOJ is entitled to against all of the defendants, the Obama team fully dismissed the lawsuits against Malik Shabazz and Jerry Jackson. Jackson, you should know, is an elected member of the Philadelphia Democratic Committee and was a credentialed poll watcher. Witness Greg Lugones told me “Obama campaign operatives were on site throughout the entire episode.”

Former Justice Department official and voting rights scholar Hans Von Spakovsky added: “I have never heard of the Department dismissing a case it has already won by default. They have…sent the message that hurling racial epithets and slurs at voters and intimidating and threatening voters at the polls is fine with the Holder Justice Department – at least if you are African-American. I seriously doubt that would have happened if the races had been reversed in this case.” Exactly. And to repeat: The harassment was aimed not just at voters, but at white poll workers trying to ensure a fair and lawful process in a city infamous for machine politics and street money pollution. Who are the racial cowards, Attorney General Holder?

On the heels of this voter intimidation protection plan, the Obama Justice Department issued another decision that undermines electoral integrity – but bolsters Democratic voter drives. The department this week denied the state of Georgia the ability to enact strict citizenship voter verification rules previously approved by two federal courts. As the Georgia secretary of state Karen Handel explained: “DOJ has thrown open the door for activist organizations such as ACORN to register non-citizens to vote in Georgia’s elections, and the state has no ability to verify an applicant’s citizenship status or whether the individual even exists.”

On top of all that, Holder recently politicized the legal review process involving the contentious issue of D.C. voting rights. After careful study, the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel had issued an opinion that a House bill on the matter was unconstitutional. Holder, who supports D.C. voting rights along with President Obama, overrode his staff lawyers’ ruling—and simply ordered up an alternative opinion that fit the White House agenda. Lady Justice is now protected by a security force armed with billy clubs and lawyers who serve the cause of protecting the re-election of Barack Obama over the rule of law.


Australian child protection agencies are picking on soft targets and ignoring real problems

By Sara Hudson

The case of the Northern Territory teenager known as Kunmanara is yet another example of the failure of government to protect children from abuse. Meanwhile, a Queensland man is facing child-abuse charges for downloading a video of a swinging baby and publishing it on a video sharing site. Both these cases highlight the absurdity of the child abuse laws in this country.

Despite everybody from police, Family and Community Services (FACS) and health services being aware that Kunmanara was in danger they did nothing to protect her. No one seemed to notice that she did not attend school for nearly a year. The fact that she tested positive to two sexually transmitted diseases at the age of 13 did not stop FACS staff assessing the teenager as “safe.”

While the man at the centre of the Queensland case may have acted stupidly in publishing the video of the swinging baby he surely does not deserve the maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment for his actions. He is arguing that the video is not child-abuse material but is a “training film for a Russian circus family.”

Interestingly, I remember viewing a program on ABC about a young Russian weight lifter. The program showed shots of her as young baby being swung by her father as part of a ‘training’ regime he had devised to make her stronger. No one took ABC to task for republishing such footage. It is ludicrous that Police resources are being spent on prosecuting this case when many officials seem to be turning a blind eye to real cases of child abuse. It is difficult to be 100% accurate and mistakes in judgement will inevitably occur. But too often child protection agencies focus on soft targets like this Queenslander, while the really serious cases are neglected in the "too hard" basket. The challenge for people working in this field is to know when something is a distraction and when something needs a full and serious investigation.

The above is a press release dated June 12 from CIS


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

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

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


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Saturday, June 13, 2009

Arrogant British social workers again: Making a mockery of the "care" they are supposed to provide

D-Day hero, 93, starved himself to death after care home 'refused to let him go home to wife'. Since he had been living at home satisfactorily before he became ill, there was no reason to prevent him from returning home after his illness. The bureaucratic love of power was what killed him

A veteran of D- Day starved himself to death after being held against his will in a care home. Alfred Tonkin, 93, went on hunger strike when he was prevented from being reunited with his wife of 68 years, Joyce. The great-grandfather, who lost a leg to a Nazi machine gunner, was initially admitted to hospital with a blood disorder.

But social services claimed he was suffering from dementia and insisted that a round-the-clock care package would need to be arranged before he could go home. He was transferred to a care home and was still there four months later when he was taken to hospital with dehydration and malnourishment. Mr Tonkin died six days later on June 3 - three days before the 65th anniversary of D-Day.

His son Ian said yesterday: 'It was a dreadful experience. My dad thought we had betrayed him but we were in social services' hands because they knew the rules and we didn't. 'The care he received at the hospital and care home was excellent but social services were useless.'

The 60-year-old, who works for Royal Mail, added: 'Dad told me he was going on hunger strike and even refused to eat for me. Then he stopped drinking too. 'My dad starved himself to death.'....

On December 6 last year, Mr Tonkin was taken ill at his home in St Albans, Hertfordshire, and admitted to Watford Hospital with a blood disorder. He spent four weeks there before Hertfordshire County Council social services moved him to Wilton House Nursing Home in Shenley, six miles outside St Albans, while they arranged 24-hour home care.

On May 28, a GP wrote to social services to protest at the time it was taking for him to be reunited with his wife and recommended he be immediately discharged. The letter warned that his intense frustration over the delays had led to him refusing food. Three days later, Mr Tonkin was admitted to Watford Hospital with renal failure and died days later.

The family have made an official complaint to Hertfordshire County Council's adult care services and are being supported by St Albans Tory MP Anne Main.

An adult care services spokesman said: 'Equipment and care services had been purchased and commissioned and we were in the process of putting them in place but sadly Mr Tonkin died before he could return home.'


Traveller (gypsy) sites are booming as they exploit Britain's Human Rights Act to defy the law

The number of illegal traveller sites has soared since Labour introduced the Human Rights Act, figures showed yesterday. A new site is appearing every three days as travellers use the controversial legislation to sidestep planning laws. They buy cheap green-belt farmland and construct sites without planning permission, then contest any efforts to evict them as a breach of their human rights. The figures show a particularly sharp increase in illegal sites ' tolerated' by councils which feel helpless to challenge them.

When Labour introduced the Human Rights Act in 1999, fewer than 300 illegal sites were tolerated on land in England owned by travellers. By January this year that had risen more than fourfold to 1,279. The total number of illegal sites - including those built on other people's land - soared by 1,166 to 3,680. This is equivalent to more than one new site every three days for almost a decade.

Conservative critics warned last night that planning rules are straining community relations. They called for a return to 'fair play' where the same rules apply to everyone.

The Human Rights Act made it possible to fight cases in British courts using the European Convention on Human Rights instead of having to travel to the European Court in Strasbourg. Travellers have used their right to respect for their homes and family lives under the Act to stop councils evicting them from illegal sites.

Critics also blamed planning guidelines introduced in 2005. These ordered local authorities to consider 'diversity and equality' in planning matters and to take 'positive action' to avoid discriminating against any groups.

By contrast, homeowners face masses of red tape in order to build an extension, and often have to demolish buildings put up without planning permission.

Some of those who have written protest letters about camps have had their complaints dismissed because they are deemed racist.

The figures from the Department of Communities and Local Government show the number of illegal sites in England on land owned by travellers rose from 729 in January 2000 to 2,365 this year. With a further 1,315 illegal sites established on other people's land, the total number in England has risen from 2,514 to 3,680. That does not include the 4,820 authorised sites provided by local councils at taxpayers' expense.

With more travellers buying land and then abusing the planning laws, there is evidence councils are losing their appetite for enforcing the rules. Since 2006, the number of sites where officials are trying to evict the travellers has fallen from 1,440 to 1,086. But the number of 'tolerated' illegal sites rose from 964 to 1,279.

Bob Neill, Tory local government spokesman, said it was wrong that law-abiding homeowners face huge bureaucracy to build an extension while travellers flout the rules. 'The perception of unfairness this breeds causes tension in local communities,' he added. 'We need fair play, with the same planning rules for everyone, rather than special treatment for certain groups.'

Last month, the Mail reported how 50 travellers descended on the Gloucestershire village of Newent at 5pm one Friday, just as council offices closed for the Bank Holiday weekend. They spent three days and nights concreting over a beauty spot and installing sewerage, toilets and electricity, all without permission. It followed a series of similar incidents in which travellers have exploited holidays to move in.


A new Yalta

Yalta was where FDR gave Stalin Eastern Europe

IN his bid for re-election, Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran is a nuclear power, ready (and entitled) to take an active role in running the world. Whether he will be re-elected today remains to be seen, but Iran's nuclear ambitions preceded Ahmadinejad and will undoubtedly continue with his successors.

Assuming Iran succeeds in its goals, what would the world look like under the shadow of an Iranian nuclear arsenal? Does Iran seek nuclear capability merely as an instrument of dissuasion against what it sees as powerful and threatening enemies? Or is the bomb an instrument to fulfil Iran's hegemonic ambitions in the Middle East? Can Iran be deterred, much like the Soviet Union was?

To answer, we must grasp the nature of Iran's regime.

Thirty years after its revolution, Iran's regime remains devoted to its founding ideals: not just the establishment of an Islamic order inside Iran, but also its export to the region, in open antagonism with the established Sunni Arab powers, and beyond, in the name of a Shia brand of anti-Western revolutionary zeal.

In the context of Islam, Iran's aim no doubt is to redress what is clearly perceived as a terrible injustice of Islamic history: the dominance of Sunni over Shia Islam.

While traditional Shia Islam sees the origins of this schism - the martyrdom in Karbala of the prophet Mohammed's grandson at the hands of his political adversaries - as a tragedy to mourn, the fiery brand of revolutionary Shiism espoused by Iran's revolutionary clergy viewed it as an injustice to be redressed. This indicated that the era of Sunni dominance could be challenged; under Iran's leadership the Shia would regain its leadership at the expense of the other powers, whose monarchical rule Iran's revolution viewed as the iniquitous outcome of that schism.

Iran's revolutionary world view thus poses a direct challenge to Sunni dominance in the world of Islam and Sunni monarchical rule in the heartland of Islam: Saudi Arabia and the other Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf. But this should not be construed, simplistically, as evidence of Shia hatred for Sunni Muslims or proof of the irreconcilable nature of the Shia-Sunni divide.

Iran's revolution seamlessly blended the subversive and the divine - Shia revivalism alongside Marxist revolutionary doctrines - turning Iran into a power constantly searching for a new regional status quo. This synthesis transcended both Iran and Shiism. Its goal was to put Iran at the helm of a revolutionary front stretching across the barrier of Persian-Arab, Shia-Sunni and East-West divisions, in the name of a common struggle against imperialism, the dominance of Western values and their underlying international economic and political order. It proclaims Iranian leadership in a worldwide front of anti-colonial and anti-imperialist forces and it seeks to limit or nullify the influence of its enemies in the region and beyond.

The new world that Iran seeks to create will be dominated by Tehran. It will be characterised by fierce competition with the US for hegemony over the gulf and by efforts to cement alliances to confront Iran's ideological antagonists: America and Israel.

Challenging the regional status quo and the economic, legal and political foundations of the international order remain today at the heart of Iran's revolution. Iran's quest for nuclear weapons must be understood and explained within this context.

Iran's nuclear ambitions do not necessarily serve the logic of apocalyptic politics, though its shrill rhetoric suggests otherwise.

The fact of the matter is, an Iranian bomb would enable Tehran to fulfil the goals of the revolution without using it. For if there is one purpose for nuclear capability, it is power projection; a nuclear bomb is a force multiplier that, as US President Barack Obama aptly said, constitutes a game changer. Iran's success will forever change the Middle East, and for the worse.

Once obtained, an Iranian bomb will set Iran on a collision course with its regional adversaries and its ideological banes. Terrorists will act with impunity under Iran's nuclear umbrella; and neighbours will seek nuclear capability in response. These are givens. Less understood are the dynamics that will emerge even if Iran chooses not to use the bomb against its enemies. Little does it matter that Tehran may act rationally.

Yes, the Western arsenal and an explicit threat to use it may deter Iran against initiating a nuclear strike. But the possibility of an uneasy peace that a nuclear equilibrium may guarantee tells us next to nothing about the conventional proxy wars nuclear powers wage against one another. During the Cold War, the price of nuclear equilibrium - never settled, always fragile - was the recognition of spheres of influence.

If Iran goes nuclear, the Western world will have to negotiate a Middle East Yalta with Tehran, one that may entail a retreat of US forces from the region, an unpleasant bargain for the smaller principalities on the Gulf's shores and an unacceptable one for Israel and Lebanon's Christians. Middle East crises that are difficult to resolve today will become intractable, much like conflicts in Africa and central America had to wait for the collapse of the Soviet Union in order to be resolved.

And in the end, we may not avoid a conflict, either. Even the Soviet Union and the US teetered on the brink of nuclear war at least once, during the Cuban missile crisis. It happened between two countries who knew each other well, had diplomatic relations, and kept important official and discreet channels of communication open even as they competed for ideological dominance.

Iran and many of its prospective nuclear adversaries do not share such luxury: no Israeli or American embassy in Tehran, no hotline between the supreme leader and the Saudi king. The potential for misreading, misunderstanding and miscalculating is immense, especially as Iran will aggressively pursue its revolutionary aims of changing the region to its own ideological image under the shadow of the bomb.

We can ill afford this risk. That is why Iran must be stopped.


Sotomayor and the Politics of Race

Americans thought they were electing a president who would transcend grievance


President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court points to a dilemma that will likely plague his presidency: How does a "post-racialist" president play identity politics?

What is most notable about the Sotomayor nomination is its almost perfect predictability. Somehow we all simply know -- like it or not -- that Hispanics are now overdue for the gravitas of high office. And our new post-racialist president is especially attuned to this chance to have a "first" under his belt, not to mention the chance to further secure the Hispanic vote. And yet it was precisely the American longing for post-racialism -- relief from this sort of racial calculating -- that lifted Mr. Obama into office.

The Sotomayor nomination commits the cardinal sin of identity politics: It seeks to elevate people more for the political currency of their gender and ethnicity than for their individual merit. (Here, too, is the ugly faithlessness in minority merit that always underlies such maneuverings.) Mr. Obama is promising one thing and practicing another, using his interracial background to suggest an America delivered from racial corruption even as he practices a crude form of racial patronage. From America's first black president, and a man promising the "new," we get a Supreme Court nomination that is both unoriginal and hackneyed.

This contradiction has always been at the heart of the Obama story. On the one hand there was the 2004 Democratic Convention speech proclaiming "only one America." And on the other hand there was the race-baiting of Rev. Jeremiah Wright. Does this most powerful man on earth know himself well enough to resolve this contradiction and point the way to a genuinely post-racial America?

The Sotomayor nomination suggests not. Throughout her career Judge Sotomayor has demonstrated a Hispanic chauvinism so extreme that it sometimes crosses into outright claims of racial supremacy, as in 2001 when she said in a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, "a wise Latina woman . . . would more often than not reach a better conclusion [as a judge] than a white male."

The White House acknowledges that this now famous statement -- both racist and dim-witted -- was turned up in the vetting process. So we can only assume that the president was aware of it, as well as Judge Sotomayor's career-long claim that ethnicity and gender are virtual determinisms in judging: We need diversity because, as she said in her Berkeley lecture, "inherent physiological or cultural differences . . . make a difference in our judging." The nine white male justices who decided the Brown school-desegregation case in 1954 might have felt otherwise, as would a president seeking to lead us toward a new, post-racial society.

But of course "post-racialism" is not a real idea. It is an impression, a chimera that grows out of a very specific racial manipulation that I have called "bargaining." Here the minority makes a bargain with white society: I will not "guilt" you with America's centuries of racism if you will not hold my minority status against me. Whites love this bargain because it allows them to feel above America's racist past and, therefore, immune to charges of racism. By embracing the bargainer they embrace the impression of a world beyond racial division, a world in which whites are innocent and minorities carry no anger. This is the impression that animates bargainers like Mr. Obama or Oprah Winfrey with an irresistible charisma. Even if post-racialism is an obvious illusion -- a bargainer's trick as it were -- whites are flattered by believing in it.

But the Sotomayor nomination shows that Mr. Obama has no idea what a post-racial society would look like. In selling himself as a candidate to the American public he is a gifted bargainer beautifully turned out in post-racial impressionism. But in the real world of Supreme Court nominations, where there is a chance to actually bring some of that idealism down to earth, he chooses a hardened, divisive and race-focused veteran of the culture wars he claims to transcend.

I have called Mr. Obama a bound man because he cannot win white support without bargaining and he cannot maintain minority support without playing the very identity politics that injure him with whites. The latter form of politics is grounded in being what I call a challenger -- i.e., someone who presumes that whites are racist until they prove otherwise by granting preferences of some kind to minorities. Whites quietly seethe at challengers like Jesse Jackson who use the moral authority of their race's historic grievance to muscle for preferential treatment. Mr. Obama has been loved precisely because he was an anti-Jackson, a bargainer who grants them innocence before asking for their support. So when Mr. Obama plays identity politics -- as in the Sotomayor nomination -- he starts to look too much like the challenger. Still, if he doesn't allow identity to trump merit so that he can elevate people like Judge Sotomayor, he angers the minorities who so lavishly supported him. So far he is more the captive of America's ongoing racial neurosis than the man who might liberate us from it.

Judge Sotomayor is the archetypal challenger. Challengers see the moral authority that comes from their group's historic grievance as an entitlement to immediate parity with whites -- whether or not their group has actually earned this parity through development. If their group is not yet competitive with whites, the moral authority that comes from their grievance should be allowed to compensate for what they lack in development. This creates a terrible corruption in which the group's historic grievance is allowed to count as individual merit. And so a perverse incentive is created: Weakness and victimization are rewarded over development. Better to be a troublemaker than to pursue excellence.

Sonia Sotomayor is of the generation of minorities that came of age under the hegemony of this perverse incentive. For this generation, challenging and protesting were careerism itself. This is why middle- and upper middle-class minorities are often more militant than poor and working-class minorities. America's institutions -- universities, government agencies, the media and even corporations -- reward their grievance. Minority intellectuals, especially, have been rewarded for theories that justify grievance.

And here we come to Judge Sotomayor's favorite such ingenuity: disparate impact. In the now celebrated Ricci case the city of New Haven, Conn., threw out a paper and pencil test that firefighters were required to take for promotion because so few minorities passed it. In other words, the test had a disparate and negative impact on minorities, so the lead plaintiff, Frank Ricci -- a white male with dyslexia who worked 10 hours a day to pass the test at a high level -- was effectively denied promotion because he was white. Judge Sotomayor supported the city's decision to throw out the test undoubtedly because of her commitment to disparate impact -- a concept that invariably makes whites accountable for minority mediocrity.

Challengers are essentially team players. Their deepest atavistic connection is to their aggrieved race, ethnicity or gender. Toward the larger society that now often elevates and privileges them, they carry a lingering bad faith -- and sometimes a cavalier disregard where whites are concerned, as with Judge Sotomayor in the Ricci case.

With the Sotomayor nomination, Mr. Obama has made the same mistake his wife made in her "This is the first time I am proud of my country" remark: bad faith toward an America that has shown him only good faith.



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

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

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


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Friday, June 12, 2009

British ambassador to Poland under fire for promoting homosexual rights

Homosexuals are widely despised in Eastern Europe

The British ambassador to Poland has sparked a diplomatic incident after promoting a controversial gay pride march due to take place in Warsaw on Saturday. Ric Todd has been told by the country's civil rights ombudsman that he has 'exceeded his authority' and Roman Catholic groups have accused the ambassador of representing the 'homosexual lobby'.

The problem arose after Mr Todd, who has been our man in Warsaw for almost two years, gave gay rights leaders a UK Guide To Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual And Transgender People And Their Rights, translated into Polish, earlier this week. It was adapted from the so-called Transgender Toolkit, a political correctness manual for civil servants that the Foreign Office funds with taxpayers' money. It came ahead of the gay pride march scheduled for this weekend.

But the move has provoked a storm of protest. 'Ambassador Todd has exceeded his authority,' Janusz Kochanowski, the Polish civil rights ombudsman, told The Daily Mail. 'He is being improper and doesn't understand the role of a diplomat. He represents the UK, he is not meant to intervene here in the way that he chooses.' Mr Kochanowski added that Polish homosexuals do not live in fear of discrimination as the British ambassador seemed to be implying.

Slawomir Skiba, editor of Christian Polonia, a Catholic newspaper, agreed: 'The ambassador has demonstrated an extreme lack of diplomacy and absolute ignorance of the values by which the vast majority of our society lives.' He added that Mr Todd should confine himself to represent the interests of Britain, not the ' homosexual lobby'.

Poland is arguably Europe's most traditional country and is strongly influenced by the Catholic church. Family values are largely intact, and the country has relatively low rates of abortion, divorce and underage pregnancy. A previous gay pride march was banned by president Lech Kaczynski while he was serving as the mayor of Warsaw.

It is not the first time Mr Todd, who has a wife and three children, has found himself criticised for his stance on gay rights. Last year, he hoisted a 'rainbow flag' - a symbol of gay rights - next to the Union Flag in front of the British embassy, causing some British expatriates in Warsaw to dub him 'Rainbow Ric'. A spokesman for the Foreign Office said the ministry 'does have a policy of promoting LGBT ( lesbian gay bisexual transgender) rights' abroad.'

Asked whether he would raise the rainbow flag at the British embassies in Iran or Saudi Arabia, Mr Todd said: 'I have made a judgment-about what I should do in Poland, and in my opinion this is the appropriate thing to do in this country. 'I am not interfering in Polish politics or society nor am I criticising it. Foreign Office policy is clearly spelt out and I am acting in accordance with policy. 'We have achieved a lot of good things around the world on the subject of LGBT rights. 'None of this is any suggestion by me or the Foreign Office that the Polish policy on LGBT rights is wrong. 'After all the pride organisers met with me and that shows that Poland is a tolerant society.'


Misusing the word "racist"

The Democrats fling it about willy-nilly on the slightest of pretexts but you must never brand one of them that way, apparently. Comment by Jeff Jacoby below. He seems to think that if Republicans show restraint, Democrats might too. "No chance", I would say

ONE DAY after President Obama nominated federal judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich labeled her a racist. "Imagine a judicial nominee said 'my experience as a white man makes me better than a Latina woman' new racism is no better than old racism," he wrote on Twitter, referring to Sotomayor's now infamous statement that a Latina woman is likely to make a better judge than a white man. "White man racist nominee would be forced to withdraw. Latina woman racist should also withdraw."

It was a wretched thing to say, and Gingrich wasn't the only conservative Republican to say it. Rush Limbaugh called Sotomayor a "reverse racist" on his radio program; Fox News Channel's Glenn Beck announced that "she sure sounds like a racist." There were similar comments from controversialist Ann Coulter and former GOP congressman Tom Tancredo, and the Washington Examiner headlined an editorial "The racist jurisprudence of Sonia Sotomayor."

Sotomayor's views on race and ethnicity are certainly deplorable. She is apparently an unapologetic chauvinist who believes not only that a judge's perspective is hard-wired to gender, race, and ethnicity -- judging is affected by the "inherent physiological or cultural differences" of color, she says -- but that the "Latina" perspective is especially to be celebrated. Those views are odious to anyone who believes that justice, to be just, must be colorblind. Unfortunately, that is not what contemporary liberals believe. Sotomayor deserves to be questioned closely about her embrace of such benighted identity politics. She did not deserve to be smeared as a racist.

The comments of Gingrich, et al., quickly triggered a backlash. "What the hell is going on here?" demanded Chris Matthews on MSNBC after playing a clip of Limbaugh calling Sotomayor "an angry woman . . . a bigot . . . a racist." In The New York Times, columnist Charles Blow denounced the "fringe Republican race-baiting," and called the "racist" charge "shameful and defeatist." Senator Diane Feinstein of California lamented that "to call someone a racist . . . is just terrible" and only adds a "visceral and terrible heat" to public discourse. David Axelrod, a senior Obama adviser, condemned the accusation as "particularly offensive. . . . It certainly doesn't represent the appropriate language, attitude, orientation."

To his credit, Gingrich retracted his slur after a few days. "The word 'racist' should not have been applied to Judge Sotomayor as a person, even if her words themselves are unacceptable," he wrote on June 3. He now agreed, he said, with those who "have been critical of my word choice."

The demonizing of Sotomayor as a racist was outrageous, and liberals and Democrats were right to decry it. And if they now agree that such political hate speech should have no place in public life, perhaps they will insist on apologies from those in their own ranks who have been guilty of comparable slanders.

Starting with Senator Ted Kennedy.

It was on July 1, 1987, just 45 minutes after Ronald Reagan nominated Judge Robert Bork to the Supreme Court, that Kennedy uncorked a poisonous assault on one of the nation's most distinguished legal thinkers. "Robert Bork's America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens' doors in midnight raids," Kennedy charged. Bork's thinking was "neanderthal" and "ominous," he said; confirming him would empower censors and slam the doors of the federal courts "on the fingers of millions of citizens."

They were despicable libels, as even admirers of Kennedy acknowledge. "The Bork of Kennedy's speech was a wild-eyed fascist and Bork the nominee was not," writes Kennedy biographer Adam Clymer, a veteran Washington correspondent. Ethan Bronner, who covered the story for the Boston Globe, later described Kennedy as having "shamelessly twisted Bork's world view" -- not in the heat of debate, but with malice aforethought.

The same malice would be visited subsequently on other conservative judges nominated by Republican presidents. In 1991, Clarence Thomas was slimed as a traitor to his race for having married a white woman, and accused of being a mouthpiece for white supremacists. "If you gave Clarence Thomas a little flour on his face," declared Carl Rowan, "you'd think you had David Duke talking." Judge Charles Pickering, a longtime voice of racial reconciliation, was defamed by Senator John Kerry as a "forceful advocate for a cross-burner" and by Senator Charles Schumer for his "glaring racial insensitivity."

In some left-wing precincts, accusations of racism are flung about with astonishing recklessness. The recent "Tea Party" protests by fiscal conservatives around the country, seethed actress/activist Janeane Garofalo, were "about hating a black man in the White House ... racism straight up." The Fox News Channel, says Keith Olbermann, is "as dangerous as the Ku Klux Klan." Gingrich himself has been a victim. When, as a Georgia congressman, he led House Republicans to victory in the 1994 elections, New York magazine's Jacob Weisberg blasted his policies as "a proxy for race-baiting," and added: "George Wallace was big in rural Georgia, too."

Few weapons of character-assassination are as abhorrent as the "racist" label falsely applied. Those who grow angry when conservatives apply it to liberals should be equally scandalized when liberals do it to conservatives. And, it should go without saying, vice versa.


The Liberal War on Science

by Ben Shapiro

Liberals pretend to be the advocates for science. President Barack Obama has repeatedly portrayed himself as the world’s leading advocate for scientific progress; in fact, he has consistently touted himself as the man who will “restore our commitment to science.” So why are liberals so ignorant of science?

Ignorance is the only possible way to explain a recent liberal program considered in the United Kingdom. The Department for Children, Schools and Families is discussing a plan drawn up by a teen sex “advice service” designed to increase the use of condoms by teens. Teens as young as 12 will be subjected to full-scale sex ed, then handed “condom credit cards” that allow them to pick up free condoms at soccer fields, barbers’ shops and “scout huts.”

The logic underlying this program and similar programs like it -- read: American comprehensive sex education -- is that adolescents can be trusted to make adult decisions. As former Clinton Administration Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders puts it, “Education is the best contraception.”

There’s only one problem: science shows that adolescents simply don’t have the brains to use condoms. Literally. According to virtually all scientific studies concerning adolescent neural mechanisms, teens are biologically incapable of inhibiting risky behavior. “(T])e major sources of death and disability in adolescence are related to difficulties in the control of behavior and emotion,” explains Ronald E. Dahl, Staunton Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Although adolescents’ brains have developed enough to allow them the capacity to reason better than children, adolescents are biologically driven toward risky behavior and sensation-seeking by their functionally mature limbic systems. And the part of the brain that generally controls such risky behavior -- the prefrontal cortex -- is not yet fully developed. In other words, despite the fact that teenagers are smart enough to recognize the dangers of risky behavior, their brains ignore the risks when things get hot. Thus, teenagers are morons.

Yet liberals insist that teens are fully capable of making informed choices on subjects ranging from sex to abortion to pot smoking. Even if the science doesn’t back them up, liberals say that we must assume that teenagers are logical, and that they will use discretion -- and condoms -- if told of the risks of unprotected sex. This unscientific philosophy has created an epidemic of sexually transmitted disease and teen pregnancy, and the attendant teen abortions and teen suicides. At least, however, teens are not being grounded by their unhip parents. That would be uncivilized.

Leftist allegiances to disproved myths aren’t restricted to teen rationality. Liberals also ignore the science with regard to the early development of fetuses -- cell differentiation begins in days 18 through 24. By the end of the fourth week of pregnancy, embryos are already visible to the naked eye, and their brains, spinal cords, hearts, and organs have begun to form. During week 10 of pregnancy, the baby’s brain will produce 250,000 neurons each minute. No wonder abortion providers like Planned Parenthood have attempted to block the use of 4D ultrasounds in pregnancy clinics -- they don’t want mothers realizing that their fetuses aren’t merely a bunch of undifferentiated cells. Just another example of liberal ideology triumphing over science.

Want more? How about liberals’ bizarre insistence that men and women are identical, and that gender is merely a social construct? That entirely false belief is the basis for the gay marriage movement, which states that a child with two mommies has essentially the same upbringing as the child of a traditional mother-father coupling. The gay marriage movement also asserts that sex is the equivalent of race -- they say that the differences between men and women are equivalent to the differences between African-Americans, for example, and Caucasians.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Men and women have different brain structures, which have real effects on behavior and perception. “In mammalian species numerous sex differences in brain structure and function have now been documented,” writes Judy L. Cameron of the University of Pittsburgh Departments of Psychiatry, Neuroscience, and Cell Biology & Physiology. “Behaviors showing documented sex difference include behaviors associated with reproduction (mating and maternal behaviors), aggression, activity, and various cognitive functions including spatial cognition, verbal skills, and various aspects of learning and memory.” But this is science liberals don’t like. And so it is largely ignored.

For years, liberals have complained that conservatives ignore science. The truth is that mainstream conservatives often refuse to accept dubious science (e.g. global warming and population bombs). Far more often, it is liberals who ignore hard science in order to promote their agenda of irresponsibility, consequence: free living, and destruction of traditional family values.


It's a Muslim thing

by Arlene Peck

Growing up in Georgia, the Holocaust and all its horrors seemed a million miles away. My dad and uncles were in the armed forces. When they returned from the war, they didn't talk about it much. As I grew up, I wondered how something so horrible and evil could have happened. Today, we see another evil on the rise that almost makes the Nazis look civilized. They may have put Jews in ovens, but this modern-day evil lives for death and beheads any who stand in its way.

I remain plagued by how an entire nation of supposedly educated people could do nothing - just let it happen. I have been told educated Jews of that time didn't take the approaching Nazi threat seriously. Their mantra was, "We're Germans, not Jews." "We're too important; nothing will happen to us." Today, that same apathy is evident in the form of "political correctness".

Our nation is so dumbed down, people buy whatever hate-filled propaganda is tossed their direction by Muslim journalists who have made deep inroads into our press. When they write that Israel no longer needs to be a Jewish state in order to bring peace to the Middle East, they mean it should be free of Jews. President Barack Obama and Madam Hillary Clinton are demanding Israel empty the villages and towns in Judea and Samaria. They call these Jewish cities "obstacles to peace". They want all Jewish citizens living there removed to make room for millions of Arabs they intend to move onto Jewish land. These are cities! Lovely cities with almost 400,000 people living in lovely homes, with all the trimmings.

It's not about land anyway. It's about a culture that lives for the death of all who fail to live their barbaric tenth-century lifestyle. Emptying those towns is the last thing Israel's leaders should consider. Israel does not jump or ask "How high?" when Obama or any other politician snaps their fingers or barks orders.

I am astounded when I hear Israeli or American Jewish friends tell me that Obama is still their hero. I was even more astounded when I saw that almost 80% of Jews voted for this dangerous man or donated money to his power grab. Why are we our own worst enemies?

Yeah, I'm intolerant of other cultures. California schools strain under open border policies. California hospitals suffer as well. Taxpayers wait for hours and get billed a fortune, while illegals get free treatment for anything. And don't get me started on how our prisons have become Muslim training grounds, incubating home-grown jihadists.

In my book, Prison Cheerleader: How a Nice Jewish Girl Went Wrong Doing Right, I wrote of my time leading a Jewish discussion group at the Atlanta Federal Prison in 1976. Then, there were only about 6,500 Muslims in the whole country. I was unaware of the jihadist plan for world domination, but they were already infiltrating America. Today, the training starts much earlier. I watched in disgust while Barack Hussein bowed in respect to the Saudi King. The very king who makes sure the money America sends to Saudi Arabia, via our oil consumption, is used to fund Islamic schools, many of which turn around and fund the terrorists building more tunnels, funding more suicide bombers and preaching hate against Christians, Jews and all other "infidels".

While apologizing to the Muslim world for "the poor behavior of the United States," Obama should have also brought up the hate taught from the womb to the tomb in those savage countries. We send tax dollars to aid them while they teach hatred in their schools, mosques - and even in our own prisons. They teach their people to kill Jews and Christians. We hear Obama tell his Arab audience that America is no longer a Judeo-Christian country, but one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. Exactly when and by whom was that decided?

Consider the three fields the Muslim communities are now directing their children to study - media, politics and education. Notice, next time you read the paper, how many reporters have Arab names. Notice how many programs on Arab studies, etc. are taught by Arab teachers at American universities. And the grand finale, notice how Muslims now have an American president to call their own. The Islamic heritage Obama worked so hard to conceal during his campaign is now his "key to the city".

Did anyone notice during the election that if someone dared refer to him as Barak Hussein Obama it was "racism"? When an Israeli friend came over to me and said, "I know you're from the south and southerners feel differently about Blacks," I went ballistic. "It's not a Black thing. It's a Muslim thing!" I shouted. And now that the election is over, Obama's speeches to his Muslim brothers are full of acknowledgments of his Muslim "roots".

Meanwhile, our moronic press looks at the ecstatic response from Muslims as a wonderful breakthrough in a part of the world where we have not been very popular. Hey, how could they not like a man who, in such a short time, has not only brought our country to its knees spending us to the edge of poverty, but also trashed Israel in a dozen obvious ways, snubbing the Jewish state and cozying up to everyone from Iran to Saudi Arabia?

I wish Israel would stop acting like a banana republic and start reminding the world that the Middle East has always had a Jewish presence. Don't you remember that Jews lived for hundreds of years in all of these Arab states? What do you think happened to them? They were expelled with the clothes on their backs, leaving vast amounts of property and wealth behind. These countries became Judenrein - Jew free - overnight, just like they now want their 23rd Arab Islamic state to be.

Look at a map, folks! Israel is so small you can barely see that sliver of land; a country which is surrounded by 22 hostile Arab nations with oil and cash reserves. They don't give a diddly-squat about having a "Palestinian state". They just want the Jews gone. Christians, too. Remember Bethlehem? Look how these same 'peace-makers' have murdered, militated, raped and intimidated the Christians there, running them out of town. Today, Christians living in Bethlehem make up about four percent of the total population of what was once a Christian city.

Jews were never compensated for what they were forced to abandon. No one ever mentions it anymore. But the Arabs who fled Israel (by their choice) in 1948 constantly talk about being compensated for what was never theirs; they were simply squatters.

As far as I'm concerned, Israel is too nice to its Arab enemies - allowing them in the Knesset, giving them more rights than among any of their Arab neighbors, and now, possibly, handing them a country. They came from Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt - let them go back.

Israel is a sovereign state. It's time they stood up and made their decisions. If anyone should remember that, it's Bibi Netanyahu. If he doesn't learn from past mistakes, then G-d help them. It's time to remember: with the friends Israel has, they don't need enemies.



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

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

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


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Thursday, June 11, 2009


The increasingly indispensable Muqata blog has published an impossible story.

As we know, those wild-eyed Jewish "settlers" living in Judea and Samaria--ohhh, pardon me, "the West Bank"--want nothing more than to expell all those Ayyrabs they can't murder, and of course steal their precious olive trees, goats and chickens. We know this because the lamestream media relentlessly pounds this into our heads, day after day, month after month, decade after decade. So how can we reconcile Jameel's story of dozens of "settlers"--joined by the equally eeeeeevil Israeli "occupation soldiers" --successfully working with Arab rescue teams to save the lives of several Arab passengers involved in an horrific car crash? As Jameel brilliantly notes:
"I've been present at accidents before where there was cooperation between Jews and Arabs in the West Bank. This wasn't the first time I've worked side by side with Palestinian Red Crescent EMTs. However, what struck me as unique was the teenage volunteers.

Teenagers in Israel volunteer for a myriad of activities -- among the popular ones in the settlements are Magen David Adom emergency medical service, and the Fire Department's Fire and Rescue service. These teens spend their free time helping others in some of Israel's most mission critical assignments; saving lives. These teenagers came as part of the ambulance and fire rescue crews and cooperated fully, professionally, and ethically -- as one would expect.

Except: These same teenagers were the exact same ones on the Outpost hilltops...the Ramat Gilad hilltop I posted about last week. The same teenagers vilified by Israel's Leftist establishment.

The same settler teenagers who build the land and defend the land, are the same ones who save lives...of Jews and Arabs alike."
Well said.

I must take issue with one assertion of Jameel, who wrote that it was "irrelevant" that all of the victims were "Palestinian." No, amigo, it is NOT irrelevant when the multitudinous forces of evil of the world, mindlessly assisted by the even more multitudinous cowards and moral cretins, are constantly accusing you of genocide, attempted genocide, and conspiracy to commit genocide against the noble Balesdinian beoble.

When America's disgusting and disgraceful President spewed out his recent 17-hours-long "address to the Muslim world" in Cairo, he didn't take issue with one single blood libel, didn't ridicule a single insane anti-Jewish Arab rumor, didn't knock down a single vulgar lie propagated by the gutter Arab press. So publishing truthful, day-in-day-out stories like this, and specifically noting the good works of those eeeeeevil settlers towards the Balesdinians, is NOT irrelevant. It needs to be said, if only to make up for the intellectual vacuum left by our morally cretinous President and his Judenrat/collaborator posse.


Genetic links in a criminal chain

THE idea that a person's genes or hormones can lead to criminal behaviour has long been out of favour and provokes hostility among most criminologists. Yet startling discoveries in genetics and neurology that have prompted a biological turn in other social sciences also have led to the emergence of a subfield incriminology.

Biocriminology, or biosocial criminology, emerges from the shadows of eugenics and social Darwinism, long condemned as pseudo-scientific and vilified for stoking the German Nazi movement.

In the late 19th century, Italian "father of criminology" Cesare Lombroso claimed he could prove scientifically that criminality was inherited and criminals uncurable. For him they were evolutionary throwbacks who could be identified by "atavistic stigmata" such as beaked noses, fleshy lips and shifty eyes: features suspiciously suggestive of race. As recently as the 1960s the criminal "feeble-minded" in American asylums were forcibly sterilised.

Such precursors do not benefit biocriminology, the study of how biological and social causes of crime intersect. While the biosocial approach is only nascent, it "promises to dominate criminology and other behavioral sciences for decades to come", writes Nicole H. Rafter, a senior research fellow of criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston, the US, in her recent book, The Criminal Brain: Understanding Biological Theories of Crime (New York University Press, 2008). Her reasoning: The new biosciences are coming on so strong that criminology will be unable to ignore them. Rafter's book attempts to describe the new field and separate the wheat from the chaff. While she finds that a good deal of the new research consists of naive attempts to dip into large surveys of social and biological information and pull out statistically significant links, on balance, she says, the new approaches hold great promise.

By taking into account that humans are not just social and cultural creatures but biological ones, too - in fact, biologically inclined to be social and cultural - criminologists will learn more about the sources of crime, she says, and that should lead to better policy.

Rather than insisting that biological and character traits are hard-wired into individuals and groups, biocriminologists wish to explore the interactions of human biology and environments - both staggeringly complex - and how various conditions may influence any biological predispositions people may have.

"The environment is still critically important," says Kevin M. Beaver, an assistant professor of criminology at Florida State University in the US. "Genes and environment are completely entwined."

Beaver enjoys a reputation as the most prolifically published biocriminologist. His work is designed to clarify why only some people with particular genetic or social characteristics commit crime. That has led him and several US colleagues - including Matt DeLisi, of Iowa State University; Michael G. Vaughn, of Saint Louis University; and John P. Wright, of the University of Cincinnati - to study large databases of biological and social information. Beaver and his colleagues have looked, for example, at the interactions between experiences such as childhood sexual abuse or contact with the criminal justice system and biological factors such as whether subjects possess genes that have been associated with aggression or low self-control.

They emphasise that links between behaviour and such interactions do not mean that those interactions lead inevitably to criminality; rather, the links identify what is possible or probable. That, they say, is how their approach differs from the determinism of eugenics.

Biocriminology has been criticised, in fact, for lacking focus and methodological rigour and for taking on a broad range of phenomena, including whether people with certain genes also have low heart rates or levels of the hormone cortisol, itself associated with aggression. Studies have focused on chromosomal, neurological and hormonal abnormalities, drug and alcohol abuse and poor diet. All those factors, biological and social, may interact to make criminal behaviour likelier, biocriminologists argue.

Beaver and others in the field say they have been inspired by pioneers such as psychologists Terrie E. Moffitt and Avshalom Caspi, who both hold appointments at Duke University in the US and King's College London, and Adrian Raine of the University of Pennsylvania in the US. The work of Raine, a professor of criminology, psychiatry and psychology, suggests how complex the new approaches can and perhaps need to be. Using brain imaging and neuroendocrinology, he focuses on how conditions including poverty and mental illness may provoke traits such as aggression and antisocial personality disorder.

Only one or two dozen biocriminologists are publishing actively. But many graduate students, reared in the age of genetics and neuroscience, are flocking to the field, despite its lack of institutional strongholds.

Publishers report strong sales of books and journals in the field. But mainstream criminologists are not eager to adopt biosocial perspectives. Beaver says that peer reviewers for criminology journals have objected to his articles on ideological grounds. He often publishes in other kinds of journals, including publications devoted to public health and to psychology.

Simon A. Cole, an associate professor of criminology, law and society at the University of California at Irvine, says he and other mainstream criminologists are likelier simply to ignore the articles that are published by biocriminologists. "They are almost never cited by anyone other than the authors themselves," he says.

Looking for biological causes of criminal behaviour is a waste of time and money, says Cole. "Even a cursory glance at the phenomenon we call crime would suggest that, if it is caused by gene-environment interactions, the environment seems to be doing a whole lot more work than the genes," he says. The exception may be the "sociopathic, Hannibal Lecter-type murderer" who is "essentially irrelevant from a public policy perspective".

Biocriminologists, he adds, are on an age-old holy grail quest for a ready developmental, psychological, and biological explanation of all antisocial behaviours and disorders. But putting biology in the foreground will usher in "cheap, technical, pharmaceutical solutions that allow government to once again evade addressing the causes of the overwhelming majority of criminal acts: poverty, inequality and other social conditions", he says.

Exactly, says Jeff Ferrell, a professor of sociology at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, US, and editor of the New York University Press series Alternative Criminology. The discipline's main goal, he says, has been to explain that what societies take to be delinquent or criminal behaviour is constructed out of elaborate, complex cultural forces that include, among other things, folk tales, mass media and changing legal codes. Biocriminology, by looking inside human bodies rather than at the inherent ambiguity of crime's social context, "strikes me as misguided at a minimum, if not morally and politically questionable", he says.

Even some biocriminologists question their field. Among them is Guang Guo, a professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who has expertise in the biosciences that is rare among biocriminologists. In 2008 he and colleagues published a paper based on data in the US National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, an extensive, federally financed survey of social, environmental and biological factors begun in 1994 and much mined by biocriminologists. His findings, he says, were modest and led him to take stock of some difficult issues in biocriminology.

One was that while the biosciences require an extremely high level of statistical significance in findings of, say, genetic links to disease, biocriminologists accept weak indications of causation. A second stumbling block appeared crippling - small population samples yield questionable results, yet, as sample sizes grow, researchers are less able to control for environmental factors that may influence behaviours.

Some practitioners of the new approaches worry, along with their critics, that demagogues could distort and misuse their findings. The danger is all the greater, they say, given how readily the public has accepted tools such as DNA testing.

Could the increasing sophistication of biological and behavioral information lead the public to accept early childhood screening for criminal tendencies and the medication of children with certain genes? To genetic engineering or the abortion of foetuses identified as having problematic genes or hormones? What may be done under the banner of "helping people"?

Certainly, says Rafter, the new findings will provoke policy debates. Some biocriminologists hope for a future study that would identify the genetic links to psychopathology. Others foresee contributions from another emerging field, social neuroscience, which studies how biological systems influence social processes and behaviours, such as the way that humans are able to think about one another's thoughts. "Unless suddenly the floor drops out of genetic and neuroscientific research, we'll probably continue to see the parallel trend in criminology," Rafter says.


In Cairo, the president pandered

by Jeff Jacoby

PRESIDENT OBAMA went to the Middle East, he said, to speak frankly and forthrightly about the issues that bedevil America's relations with the Muslim world. "Part of being a good friend is being honest," he had said in an interview just before his trip. He warned his Cairo audience that he intended to be blunt. "We must say openly the things we hold in our hearts and that too often are said only behind closed doors," he declared; so he was going to "speak as clearly and plainly as I can."

About some things, the president was indeed direct. He conveyed his impatience with those -- there are many in the Middle East -- who blame the 9/11 terrorist attacks on a Jewish or American conspiracy. "Let us be clear: Al-Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day" and "the victims were innocent men, women and children. . . . These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with."

He was even more scornful about Holocaust denial, which is also rife in the Arab world. "Six million Jews were killed" by Nazi Germany, Obama said -- "more than the entire Jewish population of Israel today. Denying that fact is baseless, ignorant, and hateful."

Would that the rest of his remarks had been equally plain-spoken. As the first American president with Muslim roots, Obama benefits from much acclaim and goodwill in the Middle East. Rarely has a president had a better opportunity to openly address the pathologies and prejudices that drag Islamic societies backward, trapping so many of the world's Muslims in cultures that are unfree and unenlightened. As a candidate for president, Obama had argued that his experience of Muslim life gave him the moral authority to speak truth to Islamic power. "I can speak forcefully," he told The New York Times, "about the need for Muslim countries to reconcile themselves to modernity in ways they have failed to do."

Alas, that is just what he didn't do. Instead Obama pandered to his audience. He repeatedly praised Islamic history and teachings, repeatedly drew attention to American or Western shortcomings -- and repeatedly avoided speaking frankly about the dysfunctions in contemporary Islam.

He spoke of democracy, for example, but only in gauzy platitudes about "the freedom to live as you choose" and the need for "government of the people and by the people." Obama could have mentioned that democracy is almost entirely absent from the Arab world, or called for the release of imprisoned dissidents. He could have used his bully pulpit to urge an end to Egypt's repressive "state of emergency," which has lasted 28 years. He could have contrasted Iraq's hard-won constitutional democracy with the Middle East's ugly autocracies and dictatorships. He could have offered hope and encouragement to persecuted reformers and pro-democracy activists. Why didn't he?

"I want to address . . . women's rights," the president said, as well he might, given the appalling subjugation of women in so many Muslim countries. But about that subjugation -- the gender apartheid in Saudi Arabia, the fanatic misogyny of the Taliban, the widespread female genital mutilation, the "honor" killings of women who get pregnant out of wedlock -- he spoke not a word. The closest he came to denouncing the thugs who blow up girls' schools and murder their teachers was to observe tepidly that "a woman who is denied an education is denied equality." He disagreed, he said, with those who think "that a woman who chooses to cover her hair is somehow less equal." But what about women who are forced to wear a hijab? About them, Obama was silent.

Most astonishing of all, Obama never spoke the words "Islamist" or "Islamism." In a speech directed to Muslims worldwide, he made no effort to refute radical Islam's endorsement of global jihad. He spoke only of "extremists" -- as in "violent extremists who pose a grave threat to our security" -- but said nothing about the totalitarian religious ideology that drives them. For Obama, speaking in the heart of the Arab world at a seat of Muslim learning, it was the perfect moment to strike an intellectual blow against radical Islam. It was the ideal venue to implore Muslims to rise up, vocally and en masse, against the jihadists who preach and commit violence in the name of Islam.

What the Brandenburg Gate was for Ronald Reagan in 1987, Cairo University could have been for Obama. Reagan seized the moment, spoke the truth, and helped liberate half a continent. All Obama did was give a speech.


Australia. Racial tensions in Sydney: Sydney police in denial

Indians are a generally polite and unaggressive people (remember Mahatma Gandhi's gospel of non-violence? The Mahatma is still revered throughout India) and that makes them targets for more predatory groups. In Melbourne the attacks on them mostly emanate from young African men but in Sydney it is young Lebanese Muslim men. In both cities the Indians know who their attackers principally are and have become hostile towards their oppressors. Only energetic police pursuit of all wrongdoers could quieten the situation but that looks like too much work to them

Progress in Victoria: Victoria's chief cop has now admitted that much of the violence is racial and is promising increased police action. We will believe that when the prosecutions of the attackers begin

Two people were arrested and more than 100 others were told to move on after an Indian community in Sydney's west held a protest against racial violence last night. Up to 150 Indian people from the community stormed the streets of Harris Park about 8 pm in protest against claims of years of racial slurs and attacks in the area. Police were forced to close of an entire block of Harris Park around Marion and Wigram Streets.

This comes after a young Indian men and some middle eastern men clashed in the same area on Monday night. They chanted "justice" as police told them to stay calm. At one point officers told a large group to walk away and when they refused threatened to arrest them for not complying. No-one was injured and talks are expected to be held with police about the violence in the area.

The Daily Telegraph spoke to the protesters last night, many of whom said they would form their own vigilante-like groups to patrol the streets at night. Harris Park local Kush Ghai, 22, said the local Indian community held the protest last night because they wanted more police protection after claims of years of racial abuse. "We want peace, justice and protection," Mr Ghai said. Sarabjot Singh, 25, said Indians living in Harris Park have been victimised for the last few years and accused police of doing nothing about it. "This (the attacks) is the story every day. But now we cant take it anymore," he said. By 10:30 pm, all the protesters had been moved on from the area by police.

Within hours of another great hosedown in this city - police declaring the disturbance in Harris Park on Monday was not race-driven - groups of Indians and Lebanese again began circling each other in the suburb's streets. Again police intervened to separate them and again it was hosed down as an incident of no great note.

Then this, from a Lebanese woman who walked into one of the few remaining Lebanese shops in Harris Park: "It has become unbearable." Her tolerance dead, she was speaking of the Indians who stand in the street when she wants to park her car and refuse to make way for her. "One of them attacked me one day," she said. "He left his car and came walking towards me and people were sitting there and they didn't even want to stop it."

She did not want to give her name. "I am not scared of giving my name but I have got no trust in them," she said. "Keep your distance. That's it."

The authorities' formal dismissal of Monday's incident as being of no great gravity has done exactly the reverse of what police and the NSW Government had hoped. It has inflamed tensions. Both populations now feel even more slighted by a society refusing to acknowledge their problem.

Across the road, Bhavin Jadav spoke for an Indian population feeling persecuted by young Lebanese men. He said Indian students are seen as a "soft target" by these men, who prey on their civility. "That's why they attack Indian students, they don't believe in violence," he said. He was robbed last year when a group of Lebanese men took mobile phones and wallets from his group of friends. Then, just the other day, a petrol bomb was launched at an Indian home on Albion St. The Lebanese are the problem, he said, with much the same authority in his voice as Joseph Gitani when he declared: "It's mini-Bombay, to be honest with you."

Mr Gitani is 49 and was born in Australia but is of Lebanese descent. Yesterday he went to the scene of Monday's disturbance. As each side vented its anger at the other, a 16-year-old Lebanese boy was at home, sleeping off the night before. With three friends, he was returning from dropping a girlfriend at home when they turned into a group of 300 protesting Indians. As bad timing goes, this about tops it. The Indians were drawing attention to another racial attack they believe went unrecognised earlier that evening. According to Mr Jadav, about 15 Lebanese men had attacked a young Indian man walking in Wigram St. "Just near those three cars," he said.

So the Indian population rallied, peaking when a car carrying young Lebanese men turned into their path. The Indians rocked their car until eventually a door was opened and the 16-year-old was hauled out. Two others were also dragged out, while the last broke free. All were punched and kicked and eventually ended in hospital with superficial injuries. They were shouting, "You Lebanese bastards," said Joseph Gitani, who, like everybody - on both sides - has had enough. It was his son being attacked.



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

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

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


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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Liberal Sexist Pigs

by Ashley Herzog

Brace yourselves, readers, because it’s not over yet. This year has been Misogyny Mania for liberals who claim to be “pro-woman.”

First there was the character assassination of Miss California Carrie Prejean, in which liberals thought a deft response to her anti-gay marriage comments was to call her a slut. By saying that marriage should be between a man and a woman, Prejean did nothing more than restate the official position of Barack Obama, Joe Biden, John Kerry, Bill Clinton—and every other male politician liberals adore. There’s no doubt that Prejean’s femininity determined how the media treated her. As Miss USA owner Donald Trump said, “If her beauty wasn’t so great, nobody really would have cared.”

That’s how liberal woman-haters think. Male politicians are allowed to have opinions; young beauty pageant contestants aren’t. Even Feministing.com editor Jessica Valenti acknowledged that they were “fighting homophobia with misogyny.”

Then, last week, the pigs at Playboy magazine published a list of ten conservative women they’d like to “hate f-ck,” because “we may despise everything these women represent, but goddammit they’re hot.”

A “hate f-ck” sounds like rape to me, which I assume was Playboy’s point. The list was filled with leering observations about the women’s “tight bodies” and “saucy looks,” and concluded with each woman’s “hate f-ck rating.”


This is coming from a magazine that claims to respect women. In 2005, Hugh Hefner’s daughter Christie told feminist author Ariel Levy that Playboy works to promote “sexual liberation” for its models, and Hugh himself has declared that women were the main beneficiaries of the sexual revolution. The Playboy Foundation is a major supporter of reproductive rights and other progressive causes.

So Playboy is obviously a cheerleader for gender equality—as long as you’re a naked sex object who needs an abortion. Just don’t express any opinions. Then liberals will openly discuss their desire to put you back in your place with a violent sexual encounter.

It’s no surprise that Michelle Malkin was number one on Playboy’s gross list. Malkin enrages racist liberal woman-haters because she doesn’t conform to their porno fantasies of a passive, compliant Asian woman. As she discussed at length in her 2005 book Unhinged, she is often subjected to racialized sexual denigration from liberals who call her a “mail-order bride” and a “whore” for the Republican Party. Every time Malkin opens her mouth, you can practically see their jaws drop: Who does this little Asian woman think she is? (Playboy referred to her as a “highly f-ckable Filipina.”)

It doesn’t matter whether they’re forbidding Carrie Prejean to say things Joe Biden is allowed to say or fantasizing about raping overly opinionated conservatives. Sexist liberals have always been open about their desire to prevent women from talking. Two years ago, some slobbering loser responded to one of my Townhall columns by writing, “I don't know Ashley Herzog. Never heard of her before today. I would, however, go so far to say that I would date her if she promised not to say anything.”

Nice work. Especially from people who are constantly screaming about the right’s “war on women.”


Obama vs the Pope

by David Goldman ("Spengler")

Obama’s failure to mention the historic tie of the Jewish people to the land of Israel elicited outraged comment from Jewish sources, for example this one from this morning’s editorial in the Jerusalem Post:
In his Cairo address the day before to the Muslim and Arab worlds, the president had justified Israel’s right to exist on the basis of the Holocaust: “The aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted,” he said, “in a tragic history” that culminated in the Shoah.

At Buchenwald, he said: “The nation of Israel [arose] out of the destruction of the Holocaust.” That rationale, standing alone, set the stage for Obama to assert: “On the other hand, it is also undeniable that the Palestinians… have suffered in pursuit of a homeland.”

What the Holocaust proved is that the world is too dangerous a place for Jews to be stateless and defenseless. But we Zionists were making that argument long before Hitler came to power.
The same point was made by some prominent American rabbis in Shabbat sermons, and it is absolutely correct. As the cited editorial said,
SO YOU see, Mr. President, long before Christianity and Islam appeared on the world stage, the covenant between the people of Israel and the Land of Israel was entrenched and unwavering. Every day we prayed in our ancient tongue for our return to Zion. Everyday, Mr. President. For 2,000 years

At every Jewish wedding down through the centuries, the bridegroom has crushed a glass beneath his foot while declaring: “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem…”
My memory is not perfect, and I do not read every Jerusalem Post editorial, but this is the first time I recall the newspaper citing Jewish prayer as the basis for a political position. That is encouraging. In the June-July issue of First Things, I argue that Jewish holiness, rather than the Holocaust, must be the foundation of our claim for support from the Christian world. Of course, I had no inkling of Obama’s coming offense when I wrote “Jewish Survival in a Gentile World,” but the President’s speech in Cairo exemplified the point. If all the Jews want is for the rest of the world to abhor the Holocaust, Obama said in effect, I’ll do that all day and all night. What a rotten thing the Holocaust was! And what stinkers are they who deny it happened! Now, you got what you paid for. Get over the barrel.

Pope Benedict XVI also had occasion to irritate the Jews during his trip to Israel and Jordan last month, particularly by complaining that the security barrier that separates Israel from the West Bank and has helped keep Palestinian terrorists away from Israeli targets. The Pope has a Christian Arab constituency on the West Bank who suffer from the same security restrictions that Israel has imposed upon the territories as a matter of sad necessity. It is quite in character for him to deplore the human effects of such measures.

Nonetheless, what should be kept in mind is that the pope went to Israel precisely because of its Biblical significance, and visited the Jewish people in their divinely-appointed homeland precisely because he believes that the Jews were elected by God to comunicate to all humanity knowledge of the true and unique God.

In a May 6 Newsweek column, George Weigel called attention to
the most salient personal fact about the pope’s journey—that it’s a pilgrimage by a man of the Bible to the land of the Bible. While pundits and partisans will interpret Benedict’s comments and actions according to the varying political winds and their own agendas, a real understanding of his pilgrimage must start at the true source of Benedict’s own thinking: Scripture.
Weigel added,
Ratzinger’s intense encounter with the Hebrew Bible and the Christian New Testament over more than half a century has given him both a deep reverence for the Bible and a theologically grounded reverence for living Judaism—which is the most solid basis possible for genuine friendship and mutual regard. Benedict knows that the Hebrew Bible is integral to Christianity.
Benedict believes that the Jews should be in Eretz Yisrael for the same reason that the Jerusalem Post does: because it is divinely mandated. Obama reinforces the Arab claim that Israel is the product of European guilt over the Holocaust. Who is the friend of the Jews, and who is the enemy?

In the cited article in the June-July issue, I argued that Jews should make common cause with the Pope. It won’t be available online for another two months, so if you want to read it now, you will have to subscribe. I suppose I could make it available for free, but sorry — as the conductor Otto Klemperer said to the Israel Philharmonic, I’m too Jewish for that.


Clinton Invites Controversial Muslim Leader on Conference Call

A Virginia legislature candidate who once praised "the jihad way" was invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to participate in a conference call of Muslim leaders last week.

A Muslim leader invited by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to participate in a conference call after President Obama's speech in Cairo last week once told a crowd that "the jihad way is the way to liberate your land."

Esam Omeish, a surgeon and community leader who is running for Virginia state assemblyman, made the statements in 2000 at pro-Palestinian rally where he spoke out against Israel and urged Muslims to support the Palestinian liberation movement.

"We the Muslims of the Washington Metropolitan area are here today in sub-freezing temperatures to tell our brothers and sisters in (Palestine) that you have learned the way, that you have known that the jihad way is the way to liberate your land," Omeish said, just three months into the Al-Aqsa uprising that would claim over a thousand lives through Palestinian terrorist attacks. "We are with you, we are supporting you and we will do everything that we can, insha'Allah (God willing), to help your cause."

After footage of the speech was released in 2007, Omeish was forced to resign from a Virginia state immigration commission to which he had been appointed by Gov. Tim Kaine.

Omeish is now running for state assemblyman in a closely-fought primary election to be held Tuesday. On his Web site, he touts the support of influential Muslim politicians and civic leaders, and his presence on the Clinton call.

The State Department has not replied to questions as to whether it was aware of Omeish's past comments when he was selected as one of approximately 100-200 invitees to participate in the conference, which included academics and Muslim leaders.

Jim Hyland, the Republican candidate for the seat Omeish is running for, said Omeish was a poor choice to represent his region's growing Muslim community. "What criteria were they using to select people?" he said. "I think (his views) come from a small-minded perspective -- got to fight Israel and all that sort of rhetoric. Some people have tried move beyond that."

Omeish, who is preparing for the Democratic primary, was not available for comment, but shortly after video of his speech appeared online two years ago he told the Washington Post he had been the victim of a "smear campaign." "It was not a call for violence. It was never any condoning of terrorism or any violent acts," he said. The word "jihad" has multiple meanings, and can be defined as a holy struggle by a Muslim for a spiritual or political goal.

John Carroll, an attorney running against Omeish in the primary, said his opponent's comments were known by many voters in his district, but neither he nor the two other Democratic candidates had used them against Omeish. "I was surprised (when I watched the video). He's about as nice a guy as you can meet," said Carroll. "He's really championed health care for the uninsured."

The Republican Party of Virginia declined to comment on Omeish's comments in 2000. "We'll wait to see who comes out of the primary," said party spokesman Tim Murtaugh.

Omeish was born in Libya but moved to Virginia with his family as a teenager, according to an interview he gave to the Baltimore Muslim Examiner last month. He is the chief of general surgery at INOVA Alexandria Hospital.

When Kaine accepted Omeish's resignation from the Virginia Commission on Immigration in 2007, Kaine commented, "Omeish is a respected physician and community leader, yet I have been made aware of certain statements he has made which concern me."

In the conference call with Clinton last week, which was advertised as a forum to discuss how to bridge the divide between the United States and the Muslim community, Omeish expressed support for President Obama and offered that Muslim-Americans needed to get more involved in politics. "I am hopeful that the my friends on the far right and even some of those in the media, that continue to try and distort my record and my name, and continue to distort public perceptions of the Muslim community, will realize that we have a president and an administration, along with most of the American people, that are ready to move beyond divisive politics," he said on the call, according to a press release from his campaign office.


Obama Nation's Low View of Christianity

President Obama’s comment to French television on June 1 that the United States is “one of the largest Muslim countries in the world,” plus his Islam-praising speech in Cairo, Egypt on June 4, raise anew questions about his own faith and how he views America.

Questions can also be asked about his math. The CIA Factbook estimates America’s Muslim population at 0.6 percent, or about 1.8 million, which puts it in 58th place among nations’ total Muslim populations. Even if you take the Islamic Information Center’s high estimate of 8 million, that still puts the U.S. at 29th out of 60 nations.

In Cairo, Obama quoted from the Koran, used his middle name of Hussein, and indicated that the United States and Muslim nations have the same commitment to tolerance and freedom. To fathom the absurdity, think about the possibility of the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution springing from the pens of Islamic scholars Thomas al-Jefferson and James al-Madison.

Over the past three years, Obama has made it his business to insist that “we are no longer a Christian nation.” He has said it in many places, here and abroad. In 2006, in Washington, D.C., he said, “Whatever we once were, we are no longer a Christian nation. At least, not just.” He posted the same sentiment on his campaign website.

At the Compassion Forum at Messiah College in Pennsylvania on April 13, 2008, he said, “We are not just a Christian nation. We are a Jewish nation; we are a Buddhist nation; we are a Muslim nation; Hindu nation; and we are a nation of atheists and nonbelievers.”

In Turkey, at a press conference on April 10, he said: “Although we have a large Christian population, we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation or a Muslim nation. We consider ourselves a nation of citizens who are bound by ideals and a set of values. I think modern Turkey was founded with a similar set of values.”

During the presidential campaign, the media pounced on anyone who inquired into Obama’s Muslim upbringing in Indonesia, his two Muslim fathers or his later 20-year attendance at radical pastor Jeremiah Wright’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. Now, his Muslim roots are touted as an asset.

No one can say for sure what Obama actually believes, since only God can know the human heart. So we are left examining his words and actions.

The media-enforced line for the past three years has been that he is a self-described mainstream Christian, end of story. Even when Obama badly distorted Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount into a clarion call to accept homosexuality, the press yawned. They yawned (or cheered) when he mocked the Bible’s relevance for politics in that 2006 Washington, D.C. speech:

“Which passages of Scripture should guide our public policy? Should we go with Leviticus, which suggests slavery is okay? Or we could go with Deuteronomy, which suggests stoning your child if he strays from the faith, or should we just stick with the Sermon on the Mount, a passage which is so radical that it’s doubtful that our own Defense Department would survive its application. Folks haven’t been reading the Bible.”

More cheers came when he spoke the language of unity while taking a shot at his political opponents during a speech at the United Church of Christ convention in 2007:

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it's because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who've been all too eager to exploit what divides us.

“We can recognize the truth that's at the heart of the UCC: that the conversation is not over [God needs an editor]; that our roles are not defined [men in dresses, unite]; that through ancient texts and modern voices, God is still speaking [yes, we’re ripping out pages of the Bible daily to suit our appetites], challenging us to change not just our own lives, but the world around us …hate has no place in the hearts of believers.”

Is it not hateful to suggest that people who disagree with you are full of “hate?” Is it unifying to accuse opponents of inventing fights that they didn’t start?

More odd things have been happening since Obama’s election that should give pause to even the most cynical observers. On the Saturday before Obama’s swearing-in, V. Gene Robinson, the openly homosexual Episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, gave an invocation at a pre-inaugural event at the Lincoln Memorial. The New York Times interviewed him beforehand: “Bishop Robinson said he had been rereading inaugural prayers through history and was ‘horrified’ at how ‘specifically and aggressively Christian they were.’ Bishop Robinson said, ‘I am very clear that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.’”

As one of his first judicial appointments, Obama named Indiana federal judge David Hamilton to the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Hamilton, who had ruled that a pastor could not invoke the name of Jesus in an opening prayer for the Indiana legislature, said that, on the other hand, invoking Allah at a public event is fine.

In April, it was reported that Obama appointed Harry Knox, a Catholic-bashing homosexual activist, to the Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Knox, who directs the religion program at the largest gay pressure group, the Human Rights Campaign, described Pope Benedict and other Catholic clergy as “discredited leaders” because of their stand for traditional marriage, and called the Knights of Columbus “foot soldiers of a discredited army of oppression” because of their support of California’s Proposition 8 marriage amendment.

On April 14, 2009, the Obama team had Georgetown University cover up the Greek letters IHS, which stand for Jesus, so they would not show up when he spoke in front of them.

On May 7, Obama declined to hold any White House event to mark the National Day of Prayer, a decision hailed by Barry Lynn’s hard left Americans United for the Separation of Church and State.

In his eloquent commencement speech at Notre Dame on May 17, Obama sounded a conciliatory note, lamented, sort of, the abortions that he wants taxpayers to fund, and gave more clues that Christianity will move over and shrink before a universalist moral relativism: “The size and scope of the challenges before us require that we remake [not “reform” or “restore,” but “remake”] our world to renew its promise; that we align our deepest values and commitments to the demands of a new age. “Your generation must decide how to save God's creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it….. And we must find a way to reconcile our ever-shrinking world with its ever-growing diversity -- diversity of thought, diversity of culture, and diversity of belief.”

If diversity in and of itself is god, where does that leave Jesus Christ – the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, the Alpha and the Omega, the Way, the Truth and the Life, through Whom all things were created?

Well, the Obama Nation might just ask Him to change his name to … Allah.



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

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

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


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Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Is one Jewish state one too many?

This month a consortium of Canadian universities and institutions will be sponsoring a conference at York University in Toronto that will effectively conclude that one Jewish state in the world is one too many.

The conference, innocuously named "Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace," will ostensibly debate whether a "one-state" or "two-state" solution is the best way to advance peace. But the conference's symbol is a map of Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, with a zipper sewing up the seam lines between them. And a close look at the speakers and the abstracts of their intended speeches show that the overwhelming consensus will be that Israel should cease being a Jewish state and morph instead into a binational one.

It is a rich irony indeed that the conference is ostensibly proposing that Israel annex the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - a position that once might have been considered solely in the domain of the most right-wing Israelis. But as the program speeches make clear, the proposed solution is not to simply allow Israel to annex territory. Rather, it is to strip the Jewish state of its Law of Return (allowing Jews to immigrate) and uproot the country from its Jewish foundations.

York University's program makes only a nominal attempt to stir genuine debate. The program is riddled with speakers who take as a given that Israel is an apartheid state that discriminates against Palestinians and that is fundamentally "unjust." A number of the speakers are recognizable as organizers and advocates of the movement to boycott Israel. Indeed, the handful of notable professors who do not believe that Israel should cease to exist as a Jewish state stand out like vegetarians at a slaughterhouse.

Belatedly realizing the nature of the conference, some have begun to pull out.

Conference defenders have been quick to point to the right of free speech and the value of academic debate to support the program. And it is clear that when discussing Israel and the Palestinians passions are likely to run high. But the issue is not freedom of expression or the value of hearing alternate viewpoints. The issue is not York University's right to hold such a conference, but rather its desire to do so.

A CONFERENCE is not held in a vacuum. Against a backdrop of the ascendency of Iran calling to destroy Israel, Hamas consolidating its hold over the Gaza Strip and continuing to rain rockets against southern Israeli cities and a global increase in anti-Semitism, is it possible that York University doesn't understand that a conference calling on Israel to cease being a Jewish Zionist state plays into the hands of those seeking to annihilate it completely?

Never mind that the proposed "one-state" solution is completely unrealistic. Never mind that there is not a single mainstream Israeli political party that would ever endorse it - and that it will therefore simply never materialize. Never mind that a conference held at the end of June, with few students on campus, is mostly an exercise of academics preaching to the converted. The pernicious nature of this conference is not measured by its efficacy at promoting its solution. It's measured by the legitimacy it confers on those who will build upon it to promote genocide.

This conference, if unopposed, will be copied. The notion that for the sake of peace and justice Israel must be denuded of its Jewish character will be lent the imprimatur of a respected university. In time, nongovernmental organizations, quasi-governmental bodies and international institutions may well quote the conclusions of such conferences, and the movement to boycott Israel will be immeasurably strengthened. Groups like Hamas and Hizbullah will seize on its conclusions immediately, using them to excuse their terrorist activities against the Jewish state.

One need not cut off debate, or the presentation of alternative viewpoints. But is it really too much to expect respected universities not to endorse the destruction of Israel as the world's only Jewish state?


Wanted: A Vaccine for Liberalism

by Burt Prelutsky

Whenever I have suggested that left-wingers aren’t normal human beings, and have wondered if perhaps they’re some weird interplanetary life form like the pods in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," the liberals accuse me of indulging in ad hominem attacks, and I suppose I am. But I am honestly bewildered. It just doesn’t seem plausible that Americans could find good things to say about tyrants like Castro, Chavez and Ahmadinejad, while at the same time reviling the likes of Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh and General Petraeus.

Left-wingers side with the so-called Palestinians and insist that their country was stolen from them by the Jews, but when you ask them just exactly where the country was located, what their flag looked like and who their president was, they huff and they puff and they denounce you as a tool of the Jewish lobby.

Liberals argue for the sanctity of the 1st amendment as if they had personally invented free speech, but they’re the same people who’d like to use the Fairness Doctrine to turn off the microphones of conservative talk show hosts. Furthermore, they are so terrified of hearing or letting other people hear the words of those who disagree with them that they boo their opponents into silence on those rare occasions when conservatives are invited to speak on college campuses.

When George W. Bush and the GOP were in control from 2000-2006, the Democrats complained, generally without cause, that they didn’t have enough influence, that the Republicans didn’t reach out to them, even though John McCain, to name one, spent so much time reaching out that Cindy McCain began to worry that she’d lost her husband to Russ Feingold or Ted Kennedy. These days, those same Democrats are so eager to disenfranchise Republicans that they’re ready to do anything up to and including sending the entire stimulus package to Minnesota if only they’ll make Al Franken a senator.

Speaking of senators, what’s the idea of Republicans Martinez, Bunning, Hutchinson and Brownback, announcing that this is their last term? If I could suck it up and vote for McCain last November, the least these four can do is sign on for another six years. It’s not as if being a U.S. senator calls for any heavy lifting. Heck, if Robert Byrd can do it, Sam Brownback certainly can. This is simply no time for Republicans to go AWOL.

I admit that I’ve been delighted to see Nancy Pelosi catching some heat for lying about not knowing that waterboarding was taking place. Initially, I think she claimed she was confused by the term, believing it meant that the prisoners at Gitmo were learning to surf. But things didn’t get a lot better when it came out that she had only bothered attending one of about 70 congressional meetings where the subject was discussed. I suppose she was busy getting Botox injections. But that doesn’t mean I want to see the Democrats replace her. I mean, it’s not as if they’d give the job to Eric Cantor or John Boehner. I’m sure they’d simply replace the incompetent Speaker of the House with someone like Barney Frank, the embarrassing lisper of the House.

Left-wingers are always wringing their hands over separation of church and state. What we should all be arguing for is separation of communication and state. What right does the federal government have supporting NPR, PBS and the NEA? Frankly, I’d be opposed to the feds spending taxpayer dollars to fund public radio, public TV and the arts, even if they weren’t all run by left-wingers. I’m sure liberals think I’m lying, but I’m not. Nowhere in the Constitution is the government given the authority to meddle in these matters, and once it does, it opens itself up to charges of censorship or collusion. Is there anyone who believes that NPR or PBS will ever question anything President Obama says or does? Of course not. Liberals in the media claim they speak truth to power, which sounds good, but would sound a lot better if they ever spoke truth when their own darlings were the ones in power.

It’s bad enough when NBC goes into the tank for the president, but NBC is not subsidized by the American taxpayer. If the liberals want to disseminate left-wing propaganda, I say let them do it the old-fashioned way. Let Howard Dean and the entire DNC crawl to George Soros and ask him to pay for it.

Finally, whenever someone gripes about the pay raises, perks, health care and pensions that politicians provide for themselves, we’re told how much more money these “public servants” could make in the private sector, and I have to laugh. These egotistical dunderheads would have to be running major corporations -- assuming there will be any of those left by the time Obama gets done -- to have the kind of fiefdoms that come with being in Congress. Can you seriously imagine Barbara Boxer, Arlen Specter or John Murtha, running a store, let alone a major corporation? For that matter, can you even imagine Barbara Boxer, Arlen Specter or John Murtha, being hired to sweep out a store?


Belief Without Borders


On any list of nonfiction authors that many people may not know but should, Robert Wright would rank high. Among his books are "The Moral Animal" (1994), which argues that natural selection rewards principled behavior and is gradually improving human ethics; and "Nonzero" (2000), which argues that history is moving in a positive direction: Social, political and economic forces, the book said, can operate in a "nonzero" rather than a "zero sum" way. In short, it is not necessary for A to gain at the expense of B; rather, both can gain.

Now Mr. Wright completes the circle by finding roughly the same promising trend in higher affairs. "The Evolution of God" -- really about religion rather than the divine -- supposes that, for all their faults, the monotheistic faiths have prospered because they encourage people to get along.

Mr. Wright begins "The Evolution of God" by wondering not whether faiths are true but why they proliferated in early society. His conclusion is that the initial impulse of faith was the self-interest of its administrative class. "Whenever people sense the presence of a puzzling and momentous force," he writes, "they want to believe there is a way to comprehend it. If you can convince them you're the key to comprehension, you can reach great stature." Shamans pretended to understand nature, the leading mystery of ancient days. But the claim was just a way for them to earn a living, Mr. Wright asserts; surely few shamans actually believed that they knew why storms came or disease struck.

What is the contemporary equivalent to the tribal shaman? Stockbrokers. Like shamans, stockbrokers claim the ability to augur hidden forces -- and, like shamans, Mr. Wright says, their advice is almost always worthless. In general, customers (ancient farmers needing rain, modern investors) want to believe that someone has secret, mystic knowledge of a powerful unknown (the natural world, Wall Street). Like investment advisers today, mediums of the far past claimed mystic knowledge and charged for it. In some old tribal cultures, Mr. Wright adds, the word shaman meant roughly "politician." Angling for religious power was thus essentially the same as angling for tribal leadership.

This, Mr. Wright infers, is how most religion began. Not exactly a glorious moment of revelation upon a mountaintop. Is the theory persuasive? Mr. Wright is prone to supposing that strong conclusions regarding precivilization can be drawn from the writings of anthropologists. Maybe anthropology is correct at times, but the field is chronically speculative and inferential -- building theories of history on it may be building on sand. For instance, Mr. Wright finds it significant that the earliest Buryat and Inuit cultures, in Siberia and the Arctic, viewed shamans as we now view politicians. But the Inuit also believed that their society was descended from invincible giants. Roll such points together and you have -- I am not sure what.

The closer Mr. Wright's analysis draws to the Common Era, the more forceful it becomes. The most striking contention in "The Evolution of God" concerns St. Paul, Christianity's first administrative leader. Ancient religions died off, Mr. Wright claims, because they were designed for specific ethnic groups and possessed no appeal outside them. Judaism spoke to those born into the faith, limiting its potential scope. Paul wanted Christianity to become a global faith, appealing to anyone from any land or ethnic group. So he offered something no faith had offered to that point -- universal brotherhood. Did Jesus intend to start a new, broader-based religion? That's hardly clear -- Christ never used the word "Christian" or instructed his disciples to promote a new faith. Paul, by contrast, actively wished to start a cross-borders, proselytizing system of belief. His innovation, according to Mr. Wright, was to realize that the promise of brotherhood could appeal to the whole world -- and as a Roman citizen, Paul thought in whole-world terms.

"The Evolution of God" goes on to analyze the spread of Christianity -- and, later, Islam -- in language that at times strains to sound of the moment: Had Pauline thinking failed, Mr. Wright observes, "another version of Christianity probably would have prevailed, a version featuring the doctrine of interethnic amity, the doctrine that realized the network externalities offered by the open platform of the Roman Empire."

But there is no doubt that Paul's core idea of brotherhood-based faith, intended to overcome delineations between people and groups, was a tremendous success in historical terms. Centuries later, Islam would emphasize some of the same qualities as early Christianity, especially the embrace of anyone from any nation. Broadly, Mr. Wright argues that religions act fierce or nationalistic when adherents feel threatened. But "when a religious group senses an auspicious non-zero-sum relationship with another group, it is more likely to create tolerant scriptures or find tolerance in existing scriptures." As the world grows ever more interdependent, this sentiment is an especially propitious one.

In the course of a long work ostensibly about God, Mr. Wright never tells the reader whether he believes that a supreme being exists. After extended hemming and hawing on this essential point, he proffers only that a person who accepts God as actual is "not necessarily crazy." Talk about praising with faint damnation! But taken together, "The Moral Animal," "Nonzero" and "The Evolution of God" represent a powerful addition to modern thought. If biology, culture and faith all seek a better world, maybe there is hope.


A really sad story from Mike Adams

About a Paradise lost

In the summer of 1980, I was looking forward to turning 16 and getting a driver’s license. All of my friends were looking forward to driving but none as much as me. My friends would be driving used Mazdas and Toyotas that got good gas mileage. But my dad bought me a 1970 GTO. He didn’t care that it got nine miles to the gallon. It looked like it was going thirty miles an hour when it was just sitting in the driveway.

Even though that old GTO was fast it had worn hydraulic lifters that were sucking away horsepower and badly wearing down the stock Pontiac cam shaft. Nonetheless, I put the pedal to the floor and burned rubber every chance I got – that is, as long as the Houston Police were nowhere in sight.

One night on Highway Three I began to hear an unfamiliar sound just after I floored the accelerator. I didn’t realize it at the time but I had merely dented the flywheel cover running over something in the road. But the sound it was making – coupled with the fact that it started just after I hit the accelerator – made me think I had spun a bearing on the crank shaft.

So dad and I went into the garage and pulled out the motor. After it was secure on the engine lift we could see the source of the noise. And we knew we could just pull off the flywheel cover and hammer out the dent to fix the problem. But we also knew it would be so much more fun to rebuild the old motor. My dad must have figured that if I was going to finish at the bottom of my class academically I might as well have the fastest car among the 3300 students at Clear Lake High School.

For weeks, after I got home from school – and my dad got home from work – we toiled away on that engine. First we started with the internal restoration. A Crane Blazer camshaft was the first high-performance extra installed. That went with new rings and bearings, new lifters, and a nice valve job – on 10-to-1 heads with 2.11-inch intake valves.

Then we got to all the really unnecessary aftermarket items. A Holly double pump carburetor sat on a new Edelbrock manifold. Headmond headers ran just below the stock chrome valve covers. We topped it off with a small chrome air filter that allowed people to better see what we had beneath the hood (plus, you could hear it sucking in air from inside the passenger compartment). Finally, there were nice Thrush mufflers to let people know we were coming long before we got there.

When we were done, my friend Jim Duke joked that he hoped his dad would hurry up and have a midlife crisis - so he could build him a hot rod, too. My buddy Terry Cohn said I had the coolest dad in town. Terry has always been wise beyond his years.

That GTO had other benefits, too. The first time I asked Jane out on a date she said she’d go because she heard I had a cool car. When I picked her up she said “This is it?” She was disappointed that it wasn’t much to look at. But after I laid waste to a few Corvettes and Trans Ams she changed her mind.

Those nights in Houston were legendary. Like the time I buried the speedometer at 140 on Interstate 45 on the way to Galveston. Or the time I beat James Armand’s 1970 Camaro in a race up Falcon Pass. That night, I took everyone’s money on the Clear Lake High School soccer team. Those were the days.

But my reign as the king of Falcon Pass would end in less than a year. Billy Peters had a cool dad, too. He bought him a 1967 Camaro with a 427 engine. Billy had all the extras put on that engine, too. And he topped it off with something I didn’t have; namely, a 4.11 posi-traction rear axle.

People always said that car would be the death of me. But, ironically, it saved my life – along with my buddy Wes Armour - in the summer of 1984. A fellow tried to end an argument using a 12-gauge shotgun in the parking lot of Burger King. We left the guy standing, literally, in a cloud of tire smoke. His Jeep wasn’t going to catch up with that GTO.

A few years later, cancer – under the vinyl top, in the trunk, and behind the wheel wells – would claim that old GTO. We would take the Holly and the Edelbrock and bolt it on top of the 400 engine in our mint condition 1973 Grand Am.

But things were never the same. In 1971, Congress would put a halt to the golden era of great muscle cars in America. Emissions requirements would flood the market with low compression, two-barrel, single exhaust versions of the old cars we used to love. They were merely shadows of their former selves.

Now President Obama is determining the compensation of GM employees. He’s getting rid of board members at GM and replacing them with those of his choosing. He’s preparing to impose new fuel economy requirements. He’s even using the IRS to make people buy cars they really don’t want.

Congress started steering the auto industry in the wrong direction many years ago. This new president is merely pushing down the accelerator and keeping steady hold upon the wheel. Meanwhile, our memories of the glory days, like so many youthful dreams, are fading in the rear view mirror.



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

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

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


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Monday, June 08, 2009

UK faces backlash over 'libel tourists'

US politicians try to protect citizens from British court, claiming foreigners use law to bring expensive defamation cases

American politicians are pushing through free speech laws to protect US citizens from libel rulings in British courts that have been accused of stifling criticism of oligarchs and dictators. The development follows claims that foreigners flock to the UK to begin hugely expensive defamation cases even though they have little to do with this country.

Claimants who have indulged in so-called “libel tourism” include a Ukrainian businessman who sued a Ukrainian language website based in his homeland for £50,000, simply because its contents could be viewed in Britain. An Icelandic bank successfully sued a Danish newspaper in the British courts for publishing unflattering stories about the advice it gave to clients, despite collapsing six months later.

Now lawmakers in several American states, including New York and Illinois, have moved to block the enforcement of British libel judgments in the United States. Congress is also considering a bill that will allow defendants of foreign libel suits to counter-sue for up to three times the damages sought by a claimant if their right to free speech, enshrined in the First Amendment, has been violated.

Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, Global Witness, Index on Censorship and representatives of Oxfam and Christian Aid are all known to be alarmed by the way UK courts are being used to challenge their reports. “Our libel laws have made Britain a place where any of the world’s bullies and wealthy celebrities can wander into court 13 \ and launder their reputations,” said Mark Stephens, a partner at the law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, which advises many non-governmental organisations (NGOs). “In the US you can still be sued but claimants pay for their own lawyers, fewer spurious claims go to court and freedom of speech is enshrined in law by the First Amendment. Some NGOs are seriously considering moving their publication people out to the States to protect themselves.”

London has long been regarded as a claimant-friendly place for libel actions because defendants are deemed “guilty” until they have proved their innocence, the opposite of the usual burden of proof in criminal cases. Damages are also typically higher in the UK and the costs so expensive that defendants often feel compelled to settle out of court, even though they may be in the right. Because there is no legal aid for such cases, the government has allowed libel and privacy claimants to sue under “no win, no fee” arrangements. This enables lawyers to claim a 100% “uplift” on their normal rates. One of London’s leading libel lawyers charges up to a total of £1,200 an hour.

“The reports NGOs (write) take many months, even years, to put together and rely on anonymous sources who fear for their lives,” said Jo Glanville, of Index on Censorship. “These are not people you can just pull into a courtroom. “By contrast, many of these libel tourism claims are not about disputing factual errors, they are really about shutting up critics who have exposed serious abuses.”

Global Witness, an environmental and human rights pressure group, faced legal action in London from Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso, son of the president of Congo-Brazzaville. The NGO published a report, based on Hong Kong court papers, which suggested Sassou Nguesso had bought more than $100,000 of designer clothes and other luxury goods using a credit card paid for by public funds. Sassou Nguesso hired Schillings, a London law firm, in an attempt to suppress the report. His application for an injunction did not succeed, but Global Witness has been left with legal costs of £50,000.

The Commons culture, media and sport select committee is conducting an inquiry into libel, privacy and press standards. “I have been left in no doubt that the high cost of libel claims is having a damaging effect on the good work of some NGOs,” said John Whittingdale, its chairman. Jack Straw, the justice secretary, has also admitted that no-win no-fee agreements for claimant lawyers are having a serious effect on free speech.

Mr Justice Eady, a High Court judge, has delivered a series of rulings that have bolstered privacy laws and encouraged libel tourism. He awarded Max Mosley, the Formula One president, privacy damages of £60,000 over the News of the World’s exposé of his sex life.

Most recently, Eady has been accused of “stifling” scientific debate after he ruled in favour of a trade body for chiropractors against a science writer who had accused the body of promoting “bogus treatments”. Eady said that Simon Singh, the writer, had effectively accused the body of dishonesty.

In a landmark decision five years ago Eady gave judgment for Khalid bin Mahfouz, a Saudi banker, who had sued Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American academic. She suggested in a book that the banker had links to the financing of terrorist groups. Ehrenfeld had not published or promoted the book in this country but 23 copies sold over the internet were shipped to Britain. She decided not to defend the case, but Eady ordered her to pay £130,000 in costs and damages.

He also ruled that any copies of her book must be pulped. This judgment almost single- handedly launched the American freedom of speech backlash against UK libel laws.


BOOK REVIEW of United in Hate: The Left’s Romance with Tyranny and Terror, by Jamie Glazov. Review by BRUCE S. THORNTON

Jamie Glazov exposes the Left’s long history of cozying up to political murderers

The long romance of Western leftists with some of the bloodiest regimes and political movements in history is a story not told often enough, and Jamie Glazov’s United in Hate tells it particularly well. Glazov, managing editor of FrontPage, holds a Ph.D. in U.S., Russian, and Canadian foreign policy. He also is an immigrant from the Soviet Union, where his parents were active in the dissident movement. Both intellectually and personally, he’s well qualified to document and expose the Left’s destructive behavior.

United in Hate begins with a brief survey of the many leftists who since 9/11 have rationalized jihadist terrorism and blamed the United States for the attacks: “From Noam Chomsky to Norman Mailer,” Glazov writes, “from Eric Foner to Susan Sontag, the Left used 9/11 to castigate America,” seeing the 3,000 dead in Manhattan as “merely collateral victims of the world’s well-founded rebellion against the evil American empire.” But similar attitudes are also found in the Democratic Party itself. From Jimmy Carter’s courtship of Hamas to the Democratic congressional leadership’s eagerness to declare the Iraq War a failure—even as millions of Iraqis voted in free elections—the presumably “moderate” Democratic leadership has regularly created obstacles to defeating a murderous jihadist ideology that opposes every ideal the liberal Left supposedly embraces.

Before returning to the subject of Islam and the Left in greater detail, Glazov surveys the long history of the Left’s “useful idiocy.” Western political pilgrims to post-revolutionary Russia gushed like schoolgirls over Lenin and Stalin, even as torture, terror, and famine were inflicted on the Russian people. New York Times reporter Walter Duranty stands as perhaps the quintessential fellow-traveler, killing news reports of famine and writing that Ukrainians were “healthier and more cheerful” than he had expected, and that markets were overflowing with food—this at the height of Stalin’s slaughter of the kulaks. Today’s Times continues to list Duranty among the paper’s Pulitzer Prize winners. Other abettors of terror and famine, both famous and obscure, make their appearance in Glazov’s hall of dishonor. They include George Bernard Shaw and Bertholt Brecht, who, he writes, “excused and promoted Stalin’s crimes at every turn,” and American sociologist Jerome Davis, who said of Stalin, “everything he does reflects the desires and hopes of the masses.” The same delusions clouded the vision of Western fans of China’s Mao Tse-tung, whose butcher’s bill of dead, tortured, starved, and imprisoned eclipses Hitler’s and Stalin’s combined.

The next generation of leftists in America, the so-called “New Left,” may have become disillusioned with the Soviet Union after Khrushchev validated every anti-Communist charge, but they still clung to the ideology that had justified and driven Communism’s crimes. They simply shopped around for new autocrats to worship. Castro’s Cuba became, and to some extent has remained, the Shangri-La for starry-eyed American leftists, despite its half-million political prisoners—“the highest incarceration rate per capita in the world,” Glazov points out—and its execution of 15,000 enemies of the state. Vietnam for a time inspired pilgrimages as well, lauded by intellectuals like Susan Sontag and Mary McCarthy despite the Viet Cong’s bloody record of torture, forced depopulation, and murder. The bloody dénouement of Saigon’s fall—the purges, executions, refugees, and a holocaust in neighboring Cambodia—soon diverted the Left’s adulation to the next revolution de jour, in Nicaragua. Fans of the thuggish Sandinistas, or the “sandalistas,” as critics dubbed these “political tourists,” did not seem to mind the regime’s 8,000 political executions, 20,000 political prisoners, forced population relocations, or regular use of torture on state enemies. Indeed, about 250,000 Americans went to Nicaragua to work for the Sandinista government.

In 1990, the Sandinistas faced a reasonably fair election and were voted out of power. When China began easing toward greater economic freedom, the only full-blown Communist regime left besides Cuba’s was that of North Korea’s lunatic Kim Jong Il, whose mad dictatorship even American leftists struggled to idealize. However, some found in the resurgent Islamic jihad the next supposed victim of American imperialism and capitalism that, Glazov writes, “would fill the void left by communism’s collapse.” The first stirrings of this unholy alliance between leftists and jihadists were visible after the Iranian revolution of 1979. Again displaying a remarkable myopia about their new heroes’ crimes—the mullahs in Iran killed more people just in the span of two weeks in 1979 (about 20,000) than the hated Shah had in 38 years—Western radicals like French philosopher Michel Foucault indulged both their noble-savage idealization of the non-Western “other” and their usual adolescent worship of “revolution.”

The Left’s flirtation with Islamists is particularly bizarre. Unlike Communist tyrannies, which at least paid lip service to the ideals of social justice and equality, the jihadists in word and deed continually displayed their contempt for feminism, human rights, cosmopolitan tolerance, and democratic freedom—everything the Left claims to stand for. Yet American feminists, who can become enraged over a single masculine pronoun, find all sorts of rationalizations for gender apartheid, honor killings, genital mutilations, wife-beating, polygamy, and other medieval sexist abuses sanctioned by Islam, Glazov shows. Duke professor Miriam Cooke, for example, asserts, “What is driving Islamist men is globalization,” and she praises female suicide bombers for manifesting “agency” against colonial powers. In response to the high incidence of Muslims raping Norwegian women, Professor Unni Wikan of the University of Oslo recommends that Norwegian women wear a veil. And Nation columnist Naomi Klein calls on leftists to join in solidarity with Muqtada al-Sadr, the Iraqi Shiite who has fomented violence against the American military and fellow Iraqis. The only villain in the leftist melodrama remains the capitalist, colonialist, imperialist, Christian West. Hence the surreal sight of American feminists marching against the Iraq War and George W. Bush, though the hated president had freed more women than all the activists and women’s studies professors combined.

Glazov’s repeated exposure of such irrational hypocrisy is his book’s most valuable achievement. Less useful, to my mind, are his psychological explanations. Some leftist “true believers” might hold their convictions because they fuel “the rage and fury that is already at the root of [their] psychological makeup.” But this can’t be true of all of them. I’ve known plenty of sweet, mellow leftists. Glazov is on firmer ground when he focuses on larger cultural trends such as noble-savage multiculturalism, the transformation of Communism into a “political religion” that compensates for the decline of faith, and the adulation of the violent, “authentic” revolutionary inspired by Romanticism. This broader, less personal analysis of pathology also helps explain the jihadists’ motives. “Misogyny and the fear and hatred of women’s sexuality” perhaps might explain the actions of individual terrorists, but the doctrines and traditions of Islam, as Glazov correctly points out, are ultimately explanation enough.

United in Hate is a valuable aid for those wishing to understand one of the strangest spectacles in history: a large number of a society’s most privileged people, who enjoy unprecedented freedom, education, material well-being, and leisure, relentlessly attacking the institutions and ideals that make such benefits possible—and extolling enemies who seek to destroy all of these goods. Americans should closely heed the warnings of United in Hate.


The Roots Of Liberalism

The movement may be 100 years old, but conservative ideas are even more deeply rooted in America's history

A near quadrupling of the federal deficit in 2009 alone. The nationalization of the Detroit automakers. The reduction of the biggest banks in the country to mere factotums. Plans to force legislation through Congress this very summer that would amount to a government takeover of health care, which makes up one-seventh of the entire economy.

May I ask a question? Where does President Barack Obama's agenda come from? Just a generation ago, you will recall, Reagan revitalized the nation, and then the Soviet Union, long calcified and staggering, at last collapsed. Free markets were good; statism, futile. Didn't everybody learn that lesson? Didn't it prove, in some utterly basic way, decisive?

I repeat, where does Obama's agenda come from? Charles Kesler knows the answer. Obama's agenda, he explains, has emerged from a set of beliefs about the proper role of government that date so far back in American history that a lot of people--your correspondent included, though Kesler is too polite to name him--simply overlook them.

"The 20th century was really the liberal century," says Kesler, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, and the editor of the Claremont Review of Books. "Conservatives came on the scene very late--remember, there was no organized conservative movement until William F. Buckley Jr. in the '50s--but the liberal effort to expand the state dates back 100 years. What Barack Obama is trying to do is complete an old project."

Liberalism, Kesler argues, established itself in three distinct stages. The first wave, which Kesler calls "political liberalism," rolled in just after the turn of the last century.

The liberals in this first wave, also known as progressives, "regarded the Constitution and the old forms of American politics as outmoded," Kesler says. Whereas the old order valued "tranquility," a word that appears in the preamble to the Constitution, progressives valued movement, dynamism, change. They wanted "to take the American people in hand, showing them the New Jerusalem."

President Woodrow Wilson, a leading progressive, spoke often of his "vision," introducing a term that has now become central to our understanding of presidential politics. Wilson believed, as Kesler puts it, "that to become a leader you have to have a vision of the future and communicate that vision to the unanointed, mass public. You have to make them believe in your prophetic ability."

The second wave of liberalism, which Kesler calls "economic liberalism," crashed over the country during the Great Depression, informing Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal.

Economic liberals quickly came to consider the original Bill of Rights insufficient. Americans, they believed, needed a second set of rights--economic rights. "A right to a job, a right to health care, a right to a home, a right to an education. All these things," says Kesler, "became as fundamental to liberals as the rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness' that we find in the Declaration of Independence."

Kesler calls the third wave of liberalism "cultural liberalism." It roared in during the '60s, right along with the birth control pill, psychedelic drugs, no-fault divorce, free love and hippie festivals like Woodstock. Liberals, Kesler argues, now came to believe that "the purpose of government is to take charge of your necessities so you can live in a new kind of freedom, the freedom of liberation, which is really freedom from responsibilities."

They also came to believe in identity politics. "Women's liberation," Kesler explains, "could not be the liberation of individual women alone. It had to be the liberation of the sisterhood. Individual homosexuals could not be fully liberated. They needed the support of their peers. So what began as individual kinds of liberation became group forms of liberation."

Which brings us back to Obama's agenda. In his eagerness to expand the role of the federal government in the economy--the commandeering of the Detroit automakers, the plans to rush through national health care legislation and the whole list of outrages with which I began this column--Obama is simply elaborating an "economic liberalism" that dates back some eight decades.

In his nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, a step calculated to appeal to Hispanics and women, the chief executive is merely playing upon the identity politics of a "cultural liberalism" that has been with us for almost half a century.

And in presenting himself as a transcendent, almost messianic figure--in championing "Change We Can Believe In"--Obama is displaying the style of leadership advocated by "political liberals" such as Woodrow Wilson, a man born four years before the Civil War.

"Conservatives," says Kesler, "made the mistake of assuming that the victory Reagan won was a permanent victory. But the liberal victories of the past century changed American politics deeply."

What, then, are conservatives to do? "Conservatives today," says Kesler, "need to go back to the deeper sources of the American political tradition, rediscovering the founders, and Lincoln, who was always looking back at the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. Conservatives need to go back to the order that liberalism was invented to replace."

Liberals have Woodrow Wilson, the welfare state and the hippie movement. Conservatives have the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and Abraham Lincoln. This is a fight from which conservatives need not shrink.


Government Fundamentalism

In the last year or so, when I have advocated free-market solutions to specific problems, I’ve more and more frequently been dismissed as a “market fundamentalist.” By hiding behind that term, the person on the other side deftly avoids actually addressing the specific case I’m making.

But an even bigger problem is the use of the term “fundamentalist.” I understand Christian fundamentalists to be people who, as Bryan Caplan writes in The Myth of the Rational Voter, “ignore or twist the facts of geology and biology to match their prejudices.” So wouldn’t a market fundamentalist be someone who distorted facts to make the case for markets? We can certainly imagine such a person, but I’m not one—nor are many of the people who are strong advocates of free markets. It’s not that I think markets will always work perfectly. It’s just that they work so much better than the coercive solutions that are proposed by those who call me a “market fundamentalist.” Of course, there are times when standard free markets might not work well, but in many of those cases, voluntary charitable activity and simple fellow feeling fill the gap. We don’t think of it as a market transaction, for example, when a stranger in a strange city gives me directions to my hotel. But it certainly is an exercise of his freedom, and it generally works pretty well.

Government Fundamentalists

What should we call people who seem to regard government as the solution regardless of the evidence? I propose the term “government fundamentalists.” How would you identify a government fundamentalist? One characteristic would be a tendency, after the person points out market failures, to argue for government intervention as the solution. Rarely does anyone who proposes a government solution spell out how the incentives will be set up so that the government will actually solve the problem. Even many economists who are strongly committed to free markets will agree that economic freedom can underprovide defense from foreign attackers because of the notorious free-rider problem: Those who refuse to pay will get the same defense as those who pay, giving all an incentive not to pay. The possible result is that national defense is underprovided. But I’ve yet to find an advocate of government provision of defense who can explain how incentives will be set up so that government actually defends us and doesn’t simply engage in national “offense,” picking fights with a dictator in Iraq or a demagogue in Panama, to cite two examples of the U.S. government’s so-called defense.

But given that even some passionate advocates of economic freedom approve of government solutions to problems caused by market failure, we need another characteristic to distinguish government fundamentalists. Here’s the characteristic I propose: a tendency to advocate government solutions even in the face of evidence that those very solutions have not worked.

Take the tax on gasoline. The original idea for taxing gasoline was that users of roads would pay for them. Even at its best, though, the gas tax was not a great solution. The revenues were put in a big pool and politically allocated. There was no necessary connection between where people valued having roads and where roads were built, a connection that automatically would have existed had the revenues been collected with tolls. Tolls, after all, are prices not taxes.

It got worse. In the late 1960s, governments started diverting some gasoline-tax revenues to other uses. The first big diversion was to government-run mass transit that couldn’t survive on its own without subsidies. Later, more funds were diverted for bicycle lanes and lanes on roads and freeways that were dedicated to money-losing bus service. So the whole idea of user-supported roads has been steadily undercut.

Moreover, in response to higher gasoline prices, people have reduced their driving and shifted towards higher-fuel-economy vehicles. Because the federal tax on gasoline is in cents per gallon, revenues fell slightly, from $21.053 billion in fiscal year 2007 to $20.982 billion in fiscal year 2008, a drop of $71 million. In most years, by contrast, revenue grows as the number of drivers grows.

What should be done? If you notice how politicized road construction is, if you notice that a gasoline tax that was supposed to be used only for roads is now used for other things, and if you notice that the shift to higher fuel economy is reducing the growth of revenues for road-building, you might consider a market solution. You might consider taking the issue out of politics, allowing private entrepreneurs to build roads and charge tolls for their use. You might realize that doing so would forever free road construction and maintenance from the vicissitudes of gasoline tax revenues and from the politically powerful governments that grab the funds for their money-losing projects.

More Government Will Fix Failed Government?

But what do many people advocate when they notice this problem? Higher gasoline taxes. If you assume that government solutions are better than free-market solutions, you would naturally conclude that the gasoline tax should be increased. But if you are to avoid being a government fundamentalist, shouldn’t you actually look at the evidence on how well or badly gasoline taxes and government provision of roads have performed? Shouldn’t you also look at the how well or badly toll roads work?

That’s not what many people have done. Take political writer Thomas Frank. In a January 28 article in the Wall Street Journal, “Toll Roads Are Paved with Bad Intentions,” Frank wrote that few state governments “are willing to raise the gasoline taxes which pay for the repairs” to government-owned roads. In other words, Frank sees that there is no necessary connection between the need for repairs and the willingness to raise gasoline taxes. Isn’t this failure to fund roads a strike against government-funded roads? Not in Frank’s mind. He points out a problem with an incomplete system of toll roads: Tolls will price some drivers out, and some of these drivers will then spill over to nontoll roads. But this wouldn’t be a problem if all roads were toll roads. Frank, though, does not consider such a system.

Economist Jeff Hummel recently captured the essence of government fundamentalism this way: If markets don’t work, have government intervene. If government intervention doesn’t work, have government intervene further.

Notice the irony. Many free-market economists like me are quite willing to admit that markets don’t work perfectly and to examine and accept government solutions if their advocates can show how governments can be motivated to actually carry them out. And yet we are called market fundamentalists. On the other hand, many people who call us that are unwilling to change any of their views about the efficacy of government intervention no matter how badly the intervention works. Who are the fundamentalists here?



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

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

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


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Sunday, June 07, 2009

Anger as British school tells children aged five about homosexual issues...to the sound of Elton John

Pupils as young as five were left 'confused and worried' after a school assembly to explain homosexuality. Teachers played a recording of Elton John's Your Song before explaining that the singer is homosexual and what the term means. The children were then shown images of same-sex couples.

Parents said the experience left some pupils afraid to cuddle each other in the playground in case other children thought they were gay. They have complained they were not consulted over the content of the assembly. Although it may have been appropriate for older children, they say it left the little ones confused and self-conscious about being friends with classmates of the same sex. When parents complained to the headmaster, they claim they were treated as 'homophobic' for even raising the issue.

The assembly, given to pupils aged from five to 11 at Bromstone Primary, in Broadstairs, Kent, aimed to steer them away from homophobic bullying. It also covered bullying on the grounds of race, language and weight.

Gemma Martin, 28, whose children, Chloe, seven, and Danny, four, attend the school, said some pupils were now worried 'about being friends with each other'. 'Little girls often cuddle each other if one of them is crying or has fallen over, and now they are afraid to do that in case the others think they are gay,' she said.

Michelle Cosgrove, 33, said some parents felt they were treated as homophobic just for asking why they had not been consulted about the assembly. Her three children, Jasmine, ten, Luke, seven, and Freya, five, attend the school. She said the example of two boys holding hands and two boys kissing was mentioned in the assembly - held the day after the International Day Against Homophobia. She found herself answering questions on homosexuality when her children raised it at home. 'There is no way on this earth I'm homophobic - I just want the choice as a parent to talk to my children about this when the time is appropriate,' she said.

Headmaster Nigel Utton said the 30-minute assembly contained only a small section on homosexuality which was appropriate for the age of the children. It was part of an initiative spearheaded by Kent County Council, he said. Other parents had approved of the assembly, he said. It had not been necessary to consult them beforehand. 'Five-year-olds understand about relationships and about liking people,' he said.

Kent education officer Lynne Miller said: 'This was an assembly about bullying and parents have praised the school for its handling of such a sensitive matter. 'Young children are exposed at a very early age to homophobic language. If language is not challenged it makes it much more difficult to address homophobic bullying in secondary schools.'


Sotomayor’s Left-wing and Racist Connections

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has flip-flopped, saying that he regrets calling Judge Sonia Sotomayor a racist. But documents submitted by Obama's Supreme Court nominee indicate that she is not above throwing around the racist label when it suits her political purposes. Sotomayor is on record as making the inflammatory claim that capital punishment, which purges cop-killers and child-killers from society, is somehow racist.

Sotomayor lists among her policy statements a Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund letter to New York Governor Carey in 1981 "opposing the reinstatement of the death penalty."

A recent Associated Press story forced this disclosure. The AP had already uncovered the letter, noting that "As a director of a Puerto Rican advocacy group in the 1980s, Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor was part of a three-person committee that equated capital punishment with racism. The Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund argued in a 1981 letter to the governor of New York, Hugh Carey, that 'capital punishment represents ongoing racism within our society.'"

So Obama's pick has made her mind up on an issue that will come before the Court. This disclosure alone is enough to sink her nomination.

The documents submitted by the judge confirm that she has been affiliated with two controversial organizations with racial if not racist agendas. She acknowledges that she has been a member or officer of the National Council of La Raza and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund.

She describes the Council simply as working to "improve opportunities for Hispanic Americans" when, in fact, if you go to the organization's website you will currently find on the home page an attack on former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo for daring to challenge the organization's agenda. "We can stop the nonsense," the Council says about Tancredo's comments.

Tancredo had called the Council a Latino KKK because the commonly accepted definition of the term "La Raza," meaning "the race," has clear connotations of a racial or racist agenda. The Council insists that "La Raza" has been "mistranslated" and only means "the people" or "community." But whatever the definition or translation, the term still refers to putting group rights above individual rights. Membership in such a group helps explain why Sotomayor could vote to deny white firefighters their rights in the New Haven case now before the Supreme Court. Sotomayor seems to have not only a racist view that white people should be denied their equal rights but that America is itself a racist society and that judges have a duty to change it.

Sotomayor describes the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund as providing "legal resources for Latinos," which indicates that it, too, is dedicated to advancing the rights of only one ethnic group. But involvement in an organization promoting "white rights" would automatically be considered as racist and disqualify any nominee associated with it.

That Obama nominated such a candidate demonstrates not only that a double-standard exists but that the President believes that with the media's help he will get away with it. What's more, he may also believe there's a political benefit to nominating such an individual.

A visit to the website of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund discloses that it has filed a petition with the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleging that the United States is violating the human rights of Latinos living within the country's borders. This seems to be a novel use of international or foreign law that Sotomayor could decide to apply on the Supreme Court.

Senate documents that she submitted describe a "Conference on International Law" sponsored by St. John's Law School at which she "participated on a panel with foreign judges" and "spoke about the permissible use of international law by American courts."

Only about a month before she was nominated by Obama to the Supreme Court, Sotomayor participated in a forum on the subject of "How Federal Judges Look to International and Foreign Law Under Art. VI of the U.S. Constitution." This is how she described it in documents given to the Senate.

It is not clear from this brief description what role she sees for foreign law in deciding U.S. court cases. But Sotomayor wrote the foreword for a controversial book entitled The International Judge. According to an analyst on the Foreign Policy magazine website, "Sotomayor took what seems to be a positive view toward the construction of international courts and legal institutions." And her rulings suggest that "Sotomayor sides with those who believe that foreign case law should at least be considered when applicable."

Sotomayor acknowledges that she gave her talk on foreign and international law at an event sponsored by the far-left ACLU of Puerto Rico. In line with her stated opposition to the death penalty, the "Action Center" section of the ACLU of Puerto Rico site encourages people to act to save the life of convicted cop-killer Troy Davis. He is on death row in Georgia.

A supporter of independence for Puerto Rico since her college days, when she wrote a 1976 senior thesis on Puerto Rico, Sotomayor lists attendance at an event called the "Puerto Rico Dependence of State Fourth of July Celebration Award." It is not precisely clear what this was all about, but it seems to suggest that the people of Puerto Rico are somehow oppressed by the U.S. This would fit in precisely with the view she seems to hold that the U.S. is a racist society.

It is also the Fidel Castro view. Castro sponsored a terrorist group called the Puerto Rican FALN as part of a communist campaign to bring about independence for the U.S. territory.

In another controversy, Sotomayor lists an appearance before the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy, a left-wing group funded by the Open Society Institute of George Soros, the AFL-CIO, the Service Employees International Union, Ted Turner's Better World Fund, and the Barbra Streisand Foundation. Sponsors of the American Constitution Society have included the ACLU Foundation, the pro-abortion Center for Reproductive Rights, and the National Lesbian & Gay Law Association.

If there were ever any doubt about Sotomayor's left-wing credentials, her involvement with the American Constitution Society clears it all up.

Additional evidence of her political approach can be found in the title of one of her speeches-"Being the Change We Need For Our Communities." She also presented a lecture at an event that was held under the title of "Lawyering for Social Justice."

Can there be any serious doubt about her liberal political and judicial activist agenda?

If journalists take the time to examine the material submitted to the Senate and explain what is there to the American people, the public will understand that the evidence is in and the case is closed. This is a nominee that wants to use the law, even foreign law, to move America in a left-wing direction.


Obama's Arabian dreams

By Caroline B. Glick

By his words as well as by his deeds, not only has Obama shown that he is not a friend of Israel. He has shown that there is nothing that Israel can do to make him change his mind

US President Barack Obama claims to be a big fan of telling the truth. In media interviews ahead of his trip to Saudi Arabia and Egypt and during his big speech in Cairo on Thursday, he claimed that the centerpiece of his Middle East policy is his willingness to tell people hard truths. Indeed, Obama made three references to the need to tell the truth in his so-called address to the Muslim world.

Unfortunately, for a speech billed as an exercise in truth telling, Obama's address fell short. Far from reflecting hard truths, Obama's speech reflected political convenience.

Obama's so-called hard truths for the Islamic world included statements about the need to fight so-called extremists; give equal rights to women; provide freedom of religion; and foster democracy. Unfortunately, all of his statements on these issues were nothing more than abstract, theoretical declarations devoid of policy prescriptions.

He spoke of the need to fight Islamic terrorists without mentioning that their intellectual, political and monetary foundations and support come from the very mosques, politicians and regimes in Saudi Arabia and Egypt that Obama extols as moderate and responsible.

He spoke of the need to grant equality to women without making mention of common Islamic practices like so-called honor killings, and female genital mutilation. He ignored the fact that throughout the lands of Islam women are denied basic legal and human rights. And then he qualified his statement by mendaciously claiming that women in the US similarly suffer from an equality deficit. In so discussing this issue, Obama sent the message that he couldn't care less about the plight of women in the Islamic world.

So too, Obama spoke about the need for religious freedom but ignored Saudi Arabian religious apartheid. He talked about the blessings of democracy but ignored the problems of tyranny.

In short, Obama's "straight talk" to the Arab world, which began with his disingenuous claim that like America, Islam is committed to "justice and progress; tolerance and the dignity of all human beings," was consciously and fundamentally fraudulent. And this fraud was advanced to facilitate his goal of placing the Islamic world on equal moral footing with the free world.

In a like manner, Obama's tough "truths" about Israel were marked by factual and moral dishonesty in the service of political ends.

On the surface Obama seemed to scold the Muslim world for its all-pervasive Holocaust denial and craven Jew hatred. By asserting that Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism are wrong, he seemed to be upholding his earlier claim that America's ties to Israel are "unbreakable."

Unfortunately, a careful study of his statements shows that Obama was actually accepting the Arab view that Israel is a foreign — and therefore unjustifiable — intruder in the Arab world. Indeed, far from attacking their rejection of Israel, Obama legitimized it.

The basic Arab argument against Israel is that the only reason Israel was established was to sooth the guilty consciences of Europeans who were embarrassed about the Holocaust. By their telling, the Jews have no legal, historic or moral rights to the Land of Israel.

This argument is completely false. The international community recognized the legal, historic and moral rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel long before anyone had ever heard of Adolf Hitler. In 1922, the League of Nations mandated the "reconstitution" — not the creation -- of the Jewish commonwealth in the Land of Israel in its historic borders on both sides of the Jordan River.

But in his self-described exercise in truth telling, Obama ignored this basic truth in favor of the Arab lie. He gave credence to this lie by stating wrongly that "the aspiration for a Jewish homeland is rooted in a tragic history." He then explicitly tied Israel's establishment to the Holocaust by moving to a self-serving history lesson about the genocide of European Jewry.

Even worse than his willful blindness to the historic, legal, and moral justifications for Israel's rebirth, was Obama's characterization of Israel itself. Obama blithely, falsely and obnoxiously compared Israel's treatment of Palestinians to white American slave owners' treatment of their black slaves. He similarly cast Palestinian terrorists in the same morally pure category as slaves. Perhaps most repulsively, Obama elevated Palestinian terrorism to the moral heights of slave rebellions and the civil rights movement by referring to it by its Arab euphemism, "resistance."

But as disappointing and frankly obscene as Obama's rhetoric was, the policies he outlined were much worse. While prattling about how Islam and America are two sides of the same coin, Obama managed to spell out two clear policies. First he announced that he will compel Israel to completely end all building for Jews in Judea, Samaria, and eastern, northern and southern Jerusalem. Second he said that he will strive to convince Iran to substitute its nuclear weapons program with a nuclear energy program.

Obama argued that the first policy will facilitate peace and the second policy will prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Upon reflection however, it is clear that neither of his policies can possibly achieve his stated aims. Indeed, their inability to accomplish the ends he claims he has adopted them to advance is so obvious, that it is worth considering what his actual rationale for adopting them may be.

The administration's policy towards Jewish building in Israel's heartland and capital city expose a massive level of hostility towards Israel. Not only does it fly in the face of explicit US commitments to Israel undertaken by the Bush administration, it contradicts a longstanding agreement between successive Israeli and American governments not to embarrass each other.

Moreover, the fact that the administration cannot stop attacking Israel about Jewish construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, but has nothing to say about Hizbullah's projected democratic takeover of Lebanon next week, Hamas's genocidal political platform, Fatah's involvement in terrorism, or North Korean ties to Iran and Syria, has egregious consequences for the prospects for peace in the region.

As Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas made clear in his interview last week with the Washington Post, in light of the administration's hostility towards Israel, the Palestinian Authority no longer feels it is necessary to make any concessions whatsoever to Israel. It needn't accept Israel's identity as a Jewish state. It needn't minimize in any way its demand that Israel commit demographic suicide by accepting millions of foreign, hostile Arabs as full citizens. And it needn't curtail its territorial demand that Israel contract to within indefensible borders.

In short, by attacking Israel and claiming that Israel is responsible for the absence of peace, the administration is encouraging the Palestinians and the Arab world as a whole to continue to reject Israel and to refuse to make peace with the Jewish state.

The Netanyahu government reportedly fears that Obama and his advisors have made such an issue of settlements because they seek to overthrow Israel's government and replace it with the more pliable Kadima party. Government sources note that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel played a central role in destabilizing Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's first government in 1999, when he served as an advisor to then president Bill Clinton. They also note that Emmanuel is currently working with leftist Israelis and American Jews associated with Kadima and the Democratic Party to discredit the government.

While there is little reason to doubt that the Obama administration would prefer a leftist government in Jerusalem, it is unlikely that the White House is attacking Israel primarily to advance this aim. This is first of all the case because today there is little danger that Netanyahu's coalition partners will abandon him.

Moreover, the Americans have no reason to believe that prospects for a peace deal would improve with a leftist government at the helm in Jerusalem. After all, despite its best efforts, the Kadima government was unable to make peace with the Palestinians as was the Labor government before it. What the Palestinians have shown consistently since the failed 2000 Camp David summit is that there is no deal that Israel can offer them that they are willing to accept.

So if the aim of the administration in attacking Israel is neither to foster peace nor to bring down the Netanyahu government, what can explain its behavior?

The only reasonable explanation is that the administration is baiting Israel because it wishes to abandon the Jewish state as an ally in favor of warmer ties with the Arabs. It has chosen to attack Israel on the issue of Jewish construction because it believes that by concentrating on this issue, it will minimize the political price it will be forced to pay at home for jettisoning America's alliance with Israel. By claiming that he is only pressuring Israel in order to enable a peaceful "two-state solution," Obama assumes that he will be able to maintain his support base among American Jews who will overlook the underlying hostility his "pro-peace" stance papers over.

Obama's policy towards Iran is a logical complement of his policy towards Israel. Just as there is no chance that he will bring Middle East peace closer by attacking Israel, so he will not prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by offering the mullahs nuclear energy. The deal Obama is now proposing has been on the table since 2003 when Iran's nuclear program was first exposed. Over the past six years, the Iranians have repeatedly rejected it. Indeed, just last week they again announced that they reject it.

Here too, to understand the President's actual goal it is necessary to search for the answers closer to home. Since Obama's policy has no chance of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it is apparent that he has come to terms with the prospect of a nuclear armed Iran. In light of this, the most rational explanation for his policy of engaging Iran is that he wishes to avoid being blamed when Iran emerges as a nuclear power in the coming months.

In reckoning with the Obama administration, it is imperative that the Netanyahu government and the public alike understand what the true goals of its current policies are. Happily, consistent polling data show that the overwhelming majority of Israelis realize that the White House is deeply hostile towards Israel. The data also show that the public approves of Netanyahu's handling of our relations with Washington.

Moving forward, the government must sustain this public awareness and support. By his words as well as by his deeds, not only has Obama shown that he is not a friend of Israel. He has shown that there is nothing that Israel can do to make him change his mind.


Anatomy of a child pornographer

What happens when adults catch teenagers "sexting" photos of each other? The death of common sense

On a chilly Tuesday morning in November 2007, 16-year-old Alex Davis was taking a shower before school when his mother, Betty, knocked on the bathroom door. There was someone downstairs, she said, a New York state trooper who had come at 7 a.m. to the family’s farm outside Rochester. “She said, ‘I think it’s about Laurie,’ ” Alex recalls. “My stomach kind of dropped, and I thought, ‘This is not going to be good.’ ”

The previous Friday, after coming home from football practice with a few teammates, Alex had exchanged text messages with Laurie, a 14-year-old freshman (whose name has been changed in this story, as has Alex’s and his family’s). While his friends played Guitar Hero on his PS2, Alex, captain of the football, basketball, and tennis teams, read a message from Laurie saying she wanted to be a cheerleader.

“I said, well, I needed a cute cheerleader this year,” recalls Alex, a deep-voiced kid with an open face, dark eyes, and the synaptic quickness of a natural athlete. “And she said, ‘Oh, yeah? Well, is this cute?’ And then…”

And then Alex made what he now calls “that little two-second decision to mess up my whole life.” He opened photos Laurie took of herself with her cell-phone, in her bra and panties, and then just her panties. Alex texted back, asking for more and noting that the reception on his Verizon LG phone was crap. No problem, Laurie replied. She would send the photos to his email address. They soon arrived along with a bonus attachment: a video clip of Laurie performing a striptease. Alex was happy to receive the images and says Laurie seemed happy to send them, “like she was willing and she wanted to show more, I guess.” That might have been the end of it, had the files not, as digital files will, leaked onto the Internet. Within a day after Alex saw them, so did Laurie’s mother, who phoned Betty to say, “You need to talk to your son.”

So Betty and her husband Bill sat Alex on the stump that serves as a stool before the hearth of the home where three generations of Betty’s family have lived and asked Alex, a leader of their church youth group and recipient of several good citizen awards, what had happened. Alex told them. He said he was sorry and wanted to apologize. Betty called Laurie’s mother, who told her that an apology would be insufficient. Alex texted Laurie to ask what was going on. She answered that her father really wanted “to lay down the law.”

And now the law stood at Alex’s front door, asking on behalf of the Genesee County Sheriff ’s Department how the pictures came to be distributed. Alex explained that he had left the email inbox open on his Dell desktop. His buddy had forwarded the images to his own address. (According to Alex, he hadn’t shown the photos to anyone or posted them to his MySpace or Facebook pages, so he assumed this was how they made their way onto the Net. Later he would learn he was one of four boys who had received snapshots from Laurie and from whose computers the images had, like mononucleosis, spread exponentially.)

The trooper printed Alex’s statement on a printer he’d brought with him and watched while Alex signed it. Charges, he said, were pending....

This practice might be considered relatively harmless, the 21st-century version of “you show me yours, I’ll show you mine,” if it weren’t for federal and state laws that deal harshly with those who traffic in child pornography. The federal statute criminalizes the production, distribution, and possession of images depicting underage subjects engaged in sexually explicit conduct; depending on the charges, it mandates sentences of five to 30 years in prison. Because the technology that allows sexting is new, age-appropriate punishments have yet to be hammered out. Instead, laws designed to thwart middle-aged people who prey on children are being applied to the children themselves.

Sexting cases are piling up in courtrooms across the United States. Three Pennsylvania girls, ages 14 and 15, who took semi-nude pictures of themselves with their phones and sent them to their boyfriends are awaiting trial on charges of distributing child porn. (The boyfriends are charged with possession.) Last October a 15-year-old Ohio girl was taken in handcuffs to a juvenile detention facility after sending nude photos of herself to classmates. “I wasn’t really thinking when I did it,” she told the court, which threatened felony charges that would require her to register as a sex offender, charges that were dropped when she agreed to have her cell phone and Internet use monitored. Two teenagers in Florida were not as fortunate: In 2007 a state appeals court upheld their convictions for producing child porn. Although the pair didn’t pass around the snapshots, which showed them engaged in an “unspecified sex act,” the judges found a “reasonable expectation that the material will ultimately be disseminated.” Were that to happen, they observed, “future damage may be done to these minors’ careers or personal lives.” They did not say anything about the potential impact on their lives from a child pornography conviction.

Alex’s case isn’t even the first to arise in his part of the country. Genesee County, with a population of about 60,000, has seen “a dozen, 15 maybe” in the last two years, according to Assistant District Attorney Will Zickl. “I’m glad they didn’t have this technology when I was in high school,” he says. “Once you put your image out there, it’s out there. God knows where it can go. As computer-savvy and Net-savvy as kids are, they don’t think about that.”

Or maybe they do, and they just don’t care. While it’s hard to argue that it’s an awesome idea for teenagers to launch pictures of their genitals into cyberspace, the sheer number who do so suggests that they don’t share the concern for privacy that held sway over previous generations. When they close their bedroom doors, it is not necessarily to be alone. It might be to hook up with the whole world....

Alex deleted the files as soon he realized his and Laurie’s virtual encounter was about to have very real consequences, consequences Splain knew could be extremely serious. “We’re talking about C, D, and E-level felonies,” he says. “A C-level is a mandatory minimum three and a half years in state prison and up to 15. In our system, Alex wasn’t a juvenile. He was a youthful offender. If you’re 16 or older, you’re treated as an adult.” The Davises could have agitated for a charge against Laurie of disseminating indecent materials to minors in the second degree—a class E felony—but they declined, and they have had no further communications with her family.

Adults who have been drawn into the drama of kids and their cell phones tend to be caught between the desire to punish and the reality that kids can flout conventional standards of decency, morality, or what-have-you and still grow up to be productive members of society. “Schools are really struggling at the policy level, as are the courts, to establish a body of case law and guiding legal principles for what is acceptable,” says Samuel McQuade, graduate program coordinator at the Rochester Institute of Technology’s Center for Multidisciplinary Studies. His 2008 Survey of Internet and At-Risk Behaviors, which polled about 40,000 upstate New York students, charts the online intersections between kids and sex, which are seemingly infinite. “The last thing we want to do for youth is to clog up our juvenile justice systems with the massive amounts of computer-enabled crime,” he says. “It’s not possible to do it, nor would you want to do it. The answer is through education.”...

Meanwhile, law enforcement officials are learning that the tough-guy approach can do more harm than good. Splain describes how one local D.A. is handling cases. “He’s like, ‘I get a call almost every day from the school resource counselor in Genesee [County], saying they’ve intercepted another phone with these pictures,’ ” Splain says. “They’ve taken the tack, we don’t want to hurt anybody. We want the school resource officer to intercede and put the fear of God in these kids. If there are further problems, let us know, but word is going out to the parents that the school is handling it internally.”

That isn’t what happened in Alex’s case. Three months after receiving the pictures, Alex was arrested. Splain called Bill Davis and asked him to bring his son to the station. There, the trooper who had taken the initial report at the Davis house joined the father and the attorney as Alex was being led away for fingerprinting. Splain recalls: “The trooper said to me, ‘Tom, when we were that age, we snuck a look at our dad’s Playboy and passed it around. What do they expect?’ ”...

What might have been settled quickly between the families—with apologies, or confiscation of cell phones, or a smack upside the head and the words, “What’s wrong with you?”—instead became a prolonged and anxiety-ridden ordeal. Bill and Betty worked assiduously to contain the damage and did everything Splain, their attorney, told them to do. They agreed to pay if Laurie needed counseling, for instance, a recollection that causes Betty to widen her eyes in incredulity. They took Alex to a sex counselor, a $350 meeting that ended with the counselor telling Betty what she already knew: “There’s no sex problem with your son.”

Then there were the things they could not control, such as the confiscation by police of the computer belonging to the dean of students at Alex’s school. The dean had requested the images in an effort to sort things out—but that made him a suspect, a turn of events that enrages Bill to the point that he appears to levitate in his chair. “They don’t make better people than this man,” he says. “I was worried he’d lose his damn job! There’s the death of common sense, is how I refer to it.”

And there was the ongoing specter of prosecution. The D.A. had yet to press charges, but the worst-case scenario was three felonies, including passing child pornography, which would require Alex to register as a sex offender. “How can you go to college?” asks Betty, the pitch of her voice rising as she recalls her fear and umbrage. “How can you do anything with this on your record?”

For several months, it looked as though it might all go away. Then, in February, Splain called to say that Alex would be charged. “The officer said I could bring [Alex] down at a time convenient for both of us,” says Bill, his voice thickening with tears. “So I waited for him after basketball practice, and we went there. We walked in the door, and when I tried to go in with [my son], an officer said, ‘No, you have to stay here.’ ”

Betty says she put her faith in God and knew it was going to be OK. Which, as these things go, it was: Alex was charged with endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor that doesn’t require serving time. If he stayed out of trouble for six months, the record would be sealed.

Around Alex, the supposition that kids who swap naked photos shred social decency while laying waste to their own futures falls apart. If there’s blame to be assigned, he’s ready to take it. “It’s kind of like that for everything,” he says. “Like when I play basketball. If we lose, it feels like I did what I had to do but I still have most of the blame on me. I’ve learned to deal with it.”

And he would have dealt with it, whether it meant going to jail or delaying college (where he plans to study business administration, with the goal of helping run his family’s farms) or apologizing to Laurie’s parents. The latter doesn’t seem to be in the cards. When they see him, it seems to Alex they avoid eye contact, and he hasn’t been sure they want to hear anything from him, including that he’s sorry. “But I think one of these days I will apologize, just for how everything went down,” he says. “I don’t want her family to think I’m that type of kid.”

Alex pauses, broad-shouldered and loose-limbed, wearing sweats on a Saturday morning after winning the big game. While the photos may have been a big deal to the grown-ups, to him and Laurie they weren’t. “I mean, this is my senior year, and I just want to have fun with it,” he says. “I see her. She’s a star cheerleader. We don’t let it faze us.”

More here


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

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

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


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Saturday, June 06, 2009

'Stifling' British libel laws attacked by celebrities and scientists after writer is sued by chiropractors for saying unproven treatment is 'bogus'

Scientists and celebrities joined yesterday in an attack on Britain's libel laws. They called for free speech in science after a judge ruled against a writer who accused chiropractors of using 'bogus treatments'. The resulting outcry among leading scientists has drawn support from showbusiness stars Stephen Fry, Ricky Gervais and Harry Hill and Left-wing figureheads such as lawyer Baroness Kennedy and columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.

The ruling against Dr Simon Singh came from controversial judge Mr Justice Eady, already the focus of strong criticism over his interpretations of human rights and libel laws.

Dr Singh wrote in the Guardian last year that the British Chiropractic Association was 'the respectable face of the chiropractic profession and yet it happily promotes bogus treatments'. The association sued for libel, demanding an apology and a retraction. In a preliminary ruling last month Mr Justice Eady said the use of the word 'bogus' meant Mr Singh had accused the association of dishonesty and supporting treatment it knew would not work.

The campaign to help Dr Singh in an appeal has the support of many eminent scientific names, including biologist Richard Dawkins, astronomer Jocelyn Bell, geneticist Steve Jones, Royal Society president Lord Rees and former Government chief scientist Sir David King. Professor Dawkins said: 'The English libel laws are ridiculed as an international charter for litigious mountebanks, and the effects are especially pernicious where science is concerned.'

Sir David King questioned Mr Justice Eady's opinion over the word bogus. He said: 'It is ridiculous that a legal and outmoded definition of a word has been used to hinder and discourage scientific debate.' Stephen Fry said: 'When a powerful organisation tries to silence a man of Simon Singh's reputation, anyone who believes in science, fairness and the truth should rise in indignation.'

Dr Singh's article attacked chiropractors for claiming that they could treat complaints and conditions unconnected to back problems. The British Chiropractic Association says its techniques 'improve the efficiency of the nervous system and release the body's natural healing ability'. It said in a statement that Dr Singh 'could have retracted the remarks and apologised and the debate would have continued away from the legal world. He chose not to do so. 'To stifle scientific debate would clearly be wrong. However, with rights comes responsibility, and scientists must realise they cannot simply publish with impunity what they know to be untrue and libellous.'

Mr Justice Eady has been accused of promoting 'libel tourism' after finding for a Saudi banker against an American author whose book had not even been published in Britain.

The decision provoked deep criticism in the U.S. Several states have responded to Britain's strengthened libel laws by stopping their courts enforcing foreign libel judgments.


Accent still matters in Britain

Teenager 'forced out of job at upmarket shirt shop because her Coronation Street accent was too common'

A teenager claims she was forced to quit her job at a top store after bosses said her regional accent was not posh enough. Danielle Snelgrove, from Salford, Manchester, was told to listen to staff at a nearby John Lewis for tips and not to copy the language heard at a McDonald's outlet. The 18-year-old feared she was about to be sent on elocution courses by management at men's outfitters T M Lewin before she decided to resign. Miss Snelgrove said: 'I'm proud of where I come from and here they were telling me to bury my roots.

'It wasn't that they were deliberately unkind, it was just that I had a month of being told my accent didn't fit. 'I'd had enough when the manager and supervisor told me I needed to go to John Lewis to see how assistants speak to customers and then McDonald's to see how not to do it.' She broke down in tears and immediately called her mother, Sue, 42, who drove to the Trafford Centre shopping mall in Manchester to pick her up.

Mrs Snelgrove said: 'She phoned in tears so I rushed down to collect her. She was almost hysterical and thoroughly demoralised. 'Of course, she has a local accent - she comes from the area. What did they expect and who do they think they are?'

Miss Snelgrove said she was pleased when she passed two interviews to get the job and said she had worked hard to beat her weekly sales targets.

The move has also infuriated staff at the nearby McDonald's restaurant in the Trafford Centre. Rachael Carrington, deputy manager, said: 'It is insulting. I started work at McDonald's in Macclesfield when I was 18 and waiting to go to university to study law. 'I stayed on, and am now 21, earning 21,000 pounds a year and with promotion that goes up to 24,000. This is the busiest McDonald's in the north west, it took 500,000 over Christmas and 3.7m last year.' She said: 'We have 125 members of staff who come from all over the North West. 'If they have difficulty with their English - and I'm not saying that is the case with this lady - we help them, rather than criticise.'

A spokesman for T M Lewin said an internal inquiry was underway but refused to discuss Miss Snelgrove's case in detail. He said: 'We are aware that an employee has made claims and this is currently under investigation. It is not appropriate, or within our policies, for us to comment on an individual case.

'However, we wish to confirm that employee welfare is of paramount importance to us. We recruit people from all backgrounds and actively embrace regional diversity, all of which is encapsulated in our equal opportunities and diversity policy. 'We also aim to provide the very best standards of customer service. We thus train our employees to understand what constitutes excellent service. At no time do we use other companies to demonstrate our service expectations.' He said: 'Moreover, we believe that good service usually comes from individuals, not companies, and that allowing the individual to shine is often what generates a good reputation for the company. 'We treat any concerns relating to employee welfare extremely seriously but would like to reiterate that we are committed to recruiting and training local people and providing the opportunities for all employees to reach their full potential.'


Sharia law 'same' as gangster's rule, says Lord Tebbit

Veteran Tory Lord Tebbit provoked anger among Muslims yesterday by comparing Islamic sharia courts to gangsters. He likened the tribunals to the 'system of arbitration of disputes that was run by the Kray brothers'. Lord Tebbit told the Lords: 'Are you not aware that there is extreme pressure put upon vulnerable women to go through a form of arbitration that results in them being virtually precluded from access to British law?'

The intervention from Lord Tebbit, the former Tory chairman and cabinet minister whose leading role in the Thatcher years has made him a revered figure for many in the party, reignited the row over Islamic courts and their role in the British justice system. Muslim critics called his remarks 'baseless and ignorant'.

Last autumn, ministers confirmed that sharia tribunals may deal with family and divorce disputes among Muslims, and that sharia decisions need only the briefest scrutiny in a law court to win full legal effect. Five sharia courts currently operate mediation systems approved under the 1996 Arbitration Act. Their decisions on divorce, money and children can be approved by a family court if they are submitted to a judge for approval.

Orthodox Jewish religious tribunals settle similar disputes and have a similar legal status.

Lord Tebbit - who drew controversy in the 1990s after he recommended a 'cricket test' to assess the loyalty to Britain of immigrants - spoke after ministers confirmed the role of sharia courts. Warning that women could be shut out from the protection of the law, he asked Justice Minister Lord Bach: 'That is a difficult matter, I know, but how do you think we can help those who are put in that position?'

His comparison with the intimidation and violence used by the Krays to run their gangland empire brought an angry response. Inayat Bunglawala, of the Muslim Council of Britain, said: 'We can only wonder whether Lord Tebbit has ever set foot in a sharia council to see what they actually do before making such a baseless and ignorant comparison with the workings of the Kray brothers. 'Both Muslim sharia councils and Orthodox Jewish Beth Din courts exist to try and help resolve civil disputes amongst individuals through a voluntary process of arbitration. They are entirely legal and have to operate firmly within the law.'

But Lord Tebbit's scepticism over sharia law was backed by UKIP peer Lord Pearson of Rannoch, who called on the Government for 'a clear assurance that sharia law will never be allowed to take precedence over British law.'

Lord Bach admitted a problem 'undoubtedly exists' over the treatment of women in sharia courts. But he added: 'The fact is that any decision made by anybody that is outside English law cannot stand against English law. If consent is sought, for example, for some issue around children or to do with family assets, then the English courts decide. 'Other councils - not courts - can, if the parties want to make that agreement, make that agreement and that applies across the board. But always behind that is the fact that those agreements can't be enforced except by an English court.'

Last year, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, said the full establishment of sharia law 'seems unavoidable'. In July 2008, the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Phillips said the principles of sharia law could be the basis for resolving family and business disputes.


What pathetic wimps modern-day university students must be

All these memories have been prompted by this week's news that Cambridge is to abandon its 300-year-old tradition of informing students of their exam results by posting them on the Senate House notice board. Apparently, this is too 'stressful' and 'upsetting' for the students of 2009, who fear the 'humiliation' of learning their results at second-hand or standing next to fellow examinees who have done better.

Give me strength! What a generation of delicate flowers we seem to have bred! What useless, pathetic, good-for-nothing wimps!

My point in banging on about my late father is that he always was, and still is, an impossible act to follow. He'd stood out at Corpus for two reasons: one, he'd been totally blind from the age of nine, bearing his disability with a charm and total lack of self-pity which inspired everyone who met him; and, two, he was the most dazzlingly brilliant student of his age, who graduated with the only starred double-first in history awarded at Cambridge in his year. As my wife will testify, I have a hideously competitive nature. But how can you better the highest degree it's possible to achieve? You can't, of course - and in my case, reading my father's subject at my father's college and knowing I couldn't match him in a million years - this meant I didn't even try.

That's my shameful excuse, anyway, for squandering my time at Cambridge - and my generous grant from taxpayers (thank you all, belatedly, from the bottom of my heart) - spending my days in bed or lolling in a punt on the River Cam and my nights on the tiles. So it was, when the day dawned for the Finals results to go up at the Senate House. I was expecting a Third. But, oh, it was even worse than that. Reader, I was awarded a 2:2.

For those who weren't there, I should explain a silly Cambridge snobbery in my day, which held that a Third was more respectable than a lower second, since it didn't necessarily reflect on the examinee's intelligence. It could just mean that he or she had done no work at all. A 2:2, on the other hand, suggested at least a little work. To put it brutally, it meant a lower second-class mind.

So, yes, it wasn't the happiest moment of my life when my humiliation was displayed at the Senate House for all to see. But humiliation was the price I richly deserved for all the fun and idleness I'd enjoyed in those blissful years. Like everyone else who'd done badly, I took it on the chin.

Is today's generation incapable of doing the same? What with dumbed-down school exams and prizes for all on sports day, have we so completely banished the concept of failure from young people's lives that they just can't accept it when it stares them in the face from a public notice board? If so, we should worry very seriously about our country's future in this cutthroat, competitive world.

Indeed, the education establishment devotes far too much of its time and energy to worrying about the feelings of losers like me, when it ought to be bringing on the winners like my dad. Did the Cambridge authorities give any thought to them or their feelings when they decided to scrap the age-old ritual on results day?

I've often imagined the huge joy and satisfaction my father must have felt when he stood in the throng by the Senate House and learned that he'd picked up the most glittering degree Cambridge had to offer. As it happens, he once told me that in the course of his career, not a single one of his employers ever asked him what class of degree he'd been awarded - and he was far too modest to volunteer the information. So that moment in the early Forties, when word spread through the crowd that this young blind man had graduated summa cum laude was the first and last occasion when he could bask in the full glory of his academic achievement.

No such luck for me. In the early years of my career, the first question each of my editors asked me was how I'd done at Cambridge. I just had to blush and come clean. The shame of it! Oh, well, like my father, I got my just deserts.

The Cambridge authorities should take a leaf from the great Mr Jaggard's book. They should sing the praises of the gentlemen and scholars, as their predecessors have done for 300 years. And, they should stop being afraid to call a prat a prat!



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

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

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


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Friday, June 05, 2009

Why are women so horrible to each other?

Some time back in the '70s I read a newspaper article that was extraordinarily scathing in its comments about Margaret Thatcher. It was so extraordinarily negative -- criticizing her for everything from her shoes to her hair -- that I remarked about it to my wife at the time. She said: "I'll bet it was written by another woman". I looked at the byline and she was right. So it seems to me that female solidarity has always been just another feminist myth. The article below certainly confirms that impression. The author below does not provide an answer to the question in her title but I very wickedly suspect that it is in the nature of women -- perhaps to do with competition for the most desirable men

What's happened to female solidarity? Today, every newspaper, magazine and website is full of women criticising other women for their weight, their shoes, their handbags, their wrinkles - or lack of them. Anna Wintour, the editor of American Vogue revealed recently that she told Oprah Winfrey to lose weight before appearing on the cover of her magazine because she would feel 'more comfortable'. Amazingly, Oprah, who is one of the richest women in America and is on the cover of her own magazine 'O' every month, apparently went along with this and lost the weight.

As Oprah's struggle with her weight has been going on most of her life, it shows that Anna Wintour must really be as scary as the character she inspired, played by Meryl Streep in The Devil Wears Prada.

But the area where women really line up against each other is motherhood and childcare. Anyone who has ever logged on to Mumsnet.com, or sites of that kind, will know how furious its participants become with anyone who dares question their views on breastfeeding, bonding, controlled crying, co-sleeping and the like.

I wrote an article recently for this newspaper where I suggested that while breastfeeding was the best way of feeding your baby in the early weeks, it was not always easy and sometimes the best thing to do was give the baby a bottle. I said no one should be made to feel guilty for doing so. Within minutes I became public enemy number one on Mumsnet, the subject of some pretty colourful cyber abuse by mothers who are clearly adept at fulfiling their children's every need while sat at a computer keyboard.

Of course, anyone who writes for a national newspaper can expect to be disagreed with. What I find depressing is the lack of tolerance that the people on these websites show to any women who don't do things their way. It's hard enough being a mother of small children without other women criticising your every move. Surely if you choose to give your child a dummy, introduce solid foods before six months or give it a bottle in the middle of the night, that is nobody's business but your own?

With a few horrible exceptions, all mothers want the best for their children. What gives the fundamentalists of Mumsnet the right to criticise other mothers, simply because they have chosen to do things differently? There is no one right way to bring up your children, only guidelines, and the best person to make choices for a child is the person closest to it - its mother.

Perhaps one of the reasons why women are so critical of each other is that we have already won so many battles. A hundred years ago, women could not vote and could not even sue for divorce on the grounds of adultery alone, unless their husband had also shown unusual cruelty, or had engaged in an unnatural act such as bestiality. Only 50 years ago it was standard practice for women to have to choose between a career and motherhood. Even 30 years ago your chances of having a healthy baby were a great deal less than they are now. And just ten years ago, the idea of men doing their share of the housework was a pipe dream, now it is fast becoming a reality.

Despite all of the whingeing they do, today's young women really do have a better chance of achieving their dreams than any generation before them. So why do we spend our time attacking other women for their cellulite, their hairstyles, childcare arrangements or recycling habits? Is there any more terrifying feeling than walking into a room full of strange women and knowing that each one will be assessing you, not on your lifetime achievements but on your shoes?

Now that WAGs [wives and girlfriends of prominent sportsmen] are wearing Seventies maxi-dresses and platforms again, perhaps it's time that we revived female solidarity, too. Who cares if Demi Moore has cellulite or that Posh's shoes are too high or that Madonna doesn't look like your average 50-year-old? Are we really so envious of successful women that we have to snipe about every aspect of their appearance? It's time we all grew up, and if that means a bit of old-fashioned consciousness-raising, then bring it on.


Feminist delusions

One of these days, women really ought to make up their minds about what it is exactly they want. Then they could do us all a big favour by stating, unequivocally, what they have decided it is they want. And then they could cover themselves with glory by sticking to what they say. In other words, it's about time women - especially their self-appointed mouthpieces - started behaving like fully grown-up adults and citizens. Or is that asking too much? Apparently, it is.

A survey published this week tells us that women today are far from happy with their lot and wish they could live more like their mothers and grandmothers - not having to work so much and free to spend more time with their children. The survey, The Paradox Of Declining Female Happiness, reports that women of all ages and income are less happy than women of 40 years ago and less happy than today's men.

Despite sexual and marital liberation, massively increased career opportunities and earning power, educational privileges and the wholesale demolition of the inhibiting conventions that restricted the lives of women in the past, today's women report themselves as feeling a low sense 'of life satisfaction and well-being'.

Well, men might be entitled to retort, welcome to the real world, sweethearts. What you are complaining about is the very same life that you promoted and celebrated when you were swanking around chanting 'sisters are doing it for themselves'. One woman commentator perfectly expressed the problem illustrated by this report, explaining: 'It's almost as if, in some ways, we got it all and then found out it wasn't quite exactly what we wanted.'

This is exactly what I have been predicting - against a torrent of vilification and derision from feminists - for more than 20 years. My book, No More Sex War: The Failures Of Feminism, was not only the first radical, egalitarian, progressive critique of the ideology of feminism (the last and most durable of the 20th century's false secular faiths, like the Marxism from which it drew its cardinal tenets).

The book also analysed in detail the intolerable consequences that were bound to result for women if they were expected both to contribute substantial earnings to family life and, at the same time, be solely or even chiefly responsible for child-care. It has been obvious to me for some 25 years that social and political equality for women (which I wholeheartedly and unreservedly welcome) could not work unless men became equal as parents at home.

The selfish, conceited, man-despising yet predatory 'have-it-all' feminism of the Cosmopolitans was always a recipe for insupportable burdens for women, for intolerable stress, for a self-rebuking, guilt-laden failure to cope and, in the end, for being downright miserable about it all. The fact is, lady, if you do succeed in having it all, the effort and the burden will probably break your back.

Before we sympathise with this sad plight, however, perhaps we should remind ourselves of the multitude of unprecedented benefits, blessings and advantages that have been showered upon the modern women who are now whingeing about the poverty of their 'life satisfaction'.

They have become the most privileged, the most cosseted and indulged women in the history of humanity. They are the first to live their whole lives without threat of war or plague. They are the first women ever born who could control and regulate their fertility with complete reliability, and they are the first to have the means and the right to choose an abortion if they slipped up or changed their minds about being pregnant. They are the first to be free of any constraints in dress or manners, and the first for whom no limit exists to the heights to which they can aspire in any pursuit - be it politics, public service, commerce, the professions, the arts and sport.

You would never think it if you listened to feminists, but the truth is that every one of those benefits has been advanced and secured for women by men.

Motivated by conscience and a desire for justice and equality, it was primarily men who revolutionised the position of women. I can see your jaw dropping at this peculiar idea, but if you don't believe it, ask yourself these questions: how many women MPs were sitting on the benches of the House Of Commons when, by a majority of two-to-one, Parliament passed the Bill in 1918 which extended the franchise to women? Answer: not one. Who was responsible for the Abortion Act of 1967 and the Divorce Reform Act of 1969? Men. Who brought into law the Equal Opportunities Act and the Sex Discrimination Act? Men.

Yet women of our time have lived all their lives with an unquestioning belief that they are members of an oppressed class of victims who have had to struggle heroically for liberation against a society cruelly organised by men for the benefit of men ('Women are the n*****s of the world,' as that irredeemable twit Yoko One once declared).

This is the unpardonable fault of feminism. Of all the disservices to our age fostered by that pernicious and poisonous ideology, none has been more ruinous than this preposterous lie - that men keep women down in order to preserve their own powers. The manifest truth of the past 200 years is that men wanted change for women as much as they wanted it for themselves.

It is because we all go along with that feminist fiction that we cannot even begin to recognise the inequalities and the disadvantages of men in family life. It simply doesn't register on our barometer of injustice that unmarried men still have no automatic rights in law as parents. Similarly, because we suppose that all gender injustice and inequality is to be found in the position of women, we don't take any notice of the inequalities of men in divorce.

In survey after survey, men report that they resent the demands of work and that they wish they could have more time with their growing children. Yet the law continues to discriminate against fathers in the provision of time away from work to care for children.

We don't even count it as an intolerable injustice and inequality that men are still required to work five years longer than women before they become eligible for a state pension (it is entirely typical of feminists' capacity to pervert the truth that Germaine Greer once described that inequality as an advantage for men).

Men don't go on about it, but the truth is that things aren't entirely wonderful for us, either. The difference is that we don't suppose we've got a God-given right to blame women for it.


'Power' move by male students ruffles U. of C.

A group of University of Chicago students think it's time the campus focused more on its men. A third-year student from Lake Bluff has formed Men in Power, a student organization that promises to help men get ahead professionally. But the group's emergence has been controversial, with some critics charging that its premise is misogynistic.

Others say it's about time men are championed, noting that recent job losses hit men harder and that women earn far more bachelor's and master's degrees than do men. "It's an enormous disparity now," said Warren Farrell, author of "The Myth of Male Power" and former board member of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women. He noted, among other things, an imbalance in government and private initiatives that advance the interests of women and girls.

Further, Farrell said, just because some men are doing well is hardly a reason not to applaud efforts to boost the careers of other men. "It's like saying 'is it OK for the Yankees to keep recruiting new players because the Chicago Cubs have not won as often?' "

Steve Saltarelli, the president of Men in Power, wrote a satirical column in March in which he suggested forming such a group. "Anyone with an interest in both studying and learning from men in powerful positions, as well as issues involved with reverse sexism, may become a member of MiP," he wrote. Shortly after the column ran, Saltarelli started getting e-mail messages from men eager to join. "Mainly people are just excited about the idea that men can have a group as well," Saltarelli explained.

Sharlene Holly, associate dean of students and the director of student activities, said the University of Chicago has approximately nine women's advocacy groups on campus; this group would be the first male advocacy group.

Saltarelli said some 125 students -- including a few women -- have joined the group via its Facebook page. He said the group would host pre-professional groups in law, medicine and business, foster ties with alumni, bring in speakers to discuss masculinity and mentor local middle school students as part of its "Little Men in Power" program.

Holly said she expected to approve the organization's application this week. As a registered student organization, Men in Power could then apply for event funding. The group plans to hold its first event, a student panel discussion titled "Gender and Media: Trespassing the Taboo," on June 2.

Saltarelli, who plans to attend law school, said the emergence of Men in Power has angered some students, especially "people very set in their ways." To be sure, its title attracts attention. "The name implies some things that I don't love," said Liz Scoggin, a third-year student who joined the group a couple of weeks ago and now heads its outreach efforts. "I feel like it implies there aren't enough men in power or that kind of thing." But Scoggin, who is close friends with Saltarelli, said she joined after learning more about the group's aims and after she felt assured that the organization would not pursue a sexist agenda.

Jessica Pan, president of Women in Business and a fourth-year student, questioned whether Men in Power's goals were being met by existing student groups. "I'm not sure we really need another student organization that focuses on pre-professional development for men," Pan said, noting that, in just the area of business, there were five or six students groups that were gender-neutral.

Similarly, Ali Feenstra, a third-year student and a member of the Feminist Majority, questioned Men in Power's utility. "It's like starting 'white men in business' -- there's not really any purpose," she said.

Fred Hayward, founder of Men's Rights Inc., would disagree. Hayward, who is based in Sacramento, Calif., started his men's group in 1977. Then and now, he said, women have not paid enough attention to what it means to be a man in modern society. Hayward said one of the biggest myths borne of the women's movement was that men like to help each other out. "We are competing directly for access to women and jobs," he said.

The group's birth comes at a time when the recessionary ax has fallen especially hard on men. In April, the national unemployment rate for men was 10 percent compared with 7.6 percent for women, said Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan in Flint. That gap is an "all-time historical high," said Perry, who attributed it in part to a loss of jobs in male-dominated fields such as manufacturing and construction. At the same time, he noted, women today hold about three out of the four jobs in education and health care -- both stable or expanding job fields.

Future employment is also an issue, some experts say. Since 1981, women have collected 135 for every 100 bachelor's degrees awarded to men, according to Perry. The gap is even wider at the master's level, with women trumping men 150 to 100, he said.

Saltarelli hopes Men in Power will help more men get ahead while raising awareness of the male experience. "If we have good men in our society, everyone benefits," he said.


Don't call me Schweinhund! Man faces charge for insulting his German neighbour in her own language

Under British law, this would seem clearly to be a "racially aggravated" offence. I doubt that it is more offensive than some English expressions, however.

A man brought his German-born neighbour close to tears by twice calling her a schweinhund, a court heard yesterday. Clive Robinson is accused of racial harassment for deliberately using the insult, which translates as pig dog, against Christine Hurst because of her nationality. Mrs Hurst, a magistrate who moved to the UK as a student more than 20 years ago, said the word was 'extremely offensive' to a German and had left her so upset that her English husband had to call the police. She told a jury that the insult was connected to her nationality because 'otherwise he would have sworn at me in English'.

Robinson, 45, later admitted to police that he had made the remark - which was once commonly used in war films and comics - but claimed he was referring to one of his Great Danes.

The Hursts and the Robinsons live on neighbouring smallholdings in Weston Hills near Spalding, Lincolnshire, but relations between them broke down four years ago after Robinson was served with a noise abatement order, the jury was told. It followed complaints from Mrs Hurst and her husband Peter after Robinson's son and his friends staged banger races in old cars on nearby land.

Giving evidence, Mrs Hurst said that in the past Robinson had delivered an obscene one-fingered salute while walking by her home. He had also once mounted a novelty plastic hand, similar to the type sometimes worn by fans at sports events, on the roof of his home with the middle finger pointing up in the air. Bavarian-born Mrs Hurst, who married in 1986 after her move to the UK, told the jury the gesture was Robinson's 'trademark'.

Lincoln Crown Court heard that relations between the Hursts and Robinson and his wife Marlah had 'broken down completely' over the incidents. Mrs Hurst admitted: 'We are not on speaking terms. I have written to Mrs Robinson to try to sort it out, but I have never got a reply.'

In January last year she said she had gone into her garden to bring in her washing when she encountered Robinson. 'I saw his car parked on our verge. When he saw us he reversed into his property. He got out and basically shouted at us,' she said. 'He looked at me and shouted "schweinhund!". Then a couple of seconds later he said it even louder. 'Schweinhund is a German word. It means pig dog. For a German it is extremely offensive. My husband phoned the police straight away, because I was close to tears.'

Mrs Hurst, who has been a magistrate in Spalding for four years, denied she was oversensitive, insisting: 'It was so offensive. I could not believe he had said that. I was so upset. It's the way I feel - I'm a German and I'm being sworn at with a German swear word.'

Defence barrister Michael Rudd suggested to Mrs Hurst that schweinhund was in common usage in the UK in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. He added: 'People of a certain age in the UK might be familiar with that word from war movies and from comics and magazines.' Mrs Hurst replied: 'It's an extremely offensive word.'

Earlier Catherine Chasemore, prosecuting, told how relations between the families fell apart after the noise abatement order was served in 2005. She told the jury: 'Those of us who get on with our neighbours are lucky. You are going to hear from Mrs Hurst that unfortunately she did not. 'This defendant was well aware of her German heritage. He did not say what he said in English. He said it in German. Mrs Hurst was quite shocked. Schweinhund is an insult in German.'

Robinson denies a charge of racially-aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress on January 24 last year. He also denies an alternative offence of using threatening words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.



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

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

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


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Thursday, June 04, 2009

Religions owe their success to suffering martyrs

This is rather in accord with psychiatrist H.F. Stein's view that Jews need their persecutors to maintain their separate identity

WHAT is the difference between Jesus Christ and Superman? The content of religions and popular tales is often similar, but only religions have martyrs, according to an analysis of behavioural evolution published this week.

When religious leaders make costly sacrifices for their beliefs, the argument goes, these acts add credibility to their professions of faith and help their beliefs to spread. If, on the other hand, no one is willing to make a significant sacrifice for a belief then observers - even young children - quickly pick up on this and withhold their own commitment. "Nobody takes a day off to worship Superman or gives money to the Superman Foundation," points out Joseph Henrich, an evolutionary anthropologist at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.

The more costly the behaviour, the more likely it is to be sincere: few would willingly give their life for an ideal they did not believe in, and devotees who take vows of poverty or chastity are clearly putting their money where their mouth is. Such credibility-enhancing displays are even more effective if performed by a high-status individual such as a priest or other leader, says Henrich.

Once people believe, they are more likely to perform similar displays themselves. Henrich created a mathematical model to test his ideas and showed that this self-reinforcing loop can stabilise a system of beliefs and actions, and help them persist through many generations (Evolution and Human Behavior).

This dynamic helps explain why so many religions involve costly renunciations. For example, Henrich notes that the persecution of early Christians by Roman authorities may have spread Christian beliefs by allowing believers to be martyred for their faith - the ultimate credibility-enhancing display.

The principle applies to other social movements too. Studies of 19th-century utopian communes such as Hutterites and Shakers show that those making the strictest demands on their followers were most likely to persist, says Henrich. "You can see the changes in action. The number of those costly commitment rituals increases over time."

Henrich's analysis fills an important hole in our understanding of the rise of religions, says Richard Sosis, an anthropologist at the University of Connecticut in Storrs.

The hypothesis still needs to be tested, for example with lab experiments on belief transmission, and historical studies of religions. But if Henrich is right, churches that liberalise their behavioural codes may be sabotaging themselves by reducing their followers' commitment [That is certainly true in practice]. This may explain why strict evangelical Christian churches are expanding in the US at the expense of mainstream denominations. "To be a member you've got to walk the walk and talk the talk," says Henrich. "And this transmits deeper faith to the children."


Big Brother HAS gone too far ... and that's a British ex-spy chief talking

The former head of MI6 has hit out at 'striking and disturbing' invasions of privacy by the Big Brother state. Sir Richard Dearlove, who led the Secret Intelligence Service from 1999 to 2004, claimed some were an 'abuse' of the law. He attacked the 'loss of liberties' caused by expanding surveillance powers and described some police operations as 'mind-boggling.' The former spy chief joins a growing number of high-profile critics warning that individual freedom and privacy are being seriously eroded by the Government's disproportionate efforts to guard against terrorism.

Sir Richard was particularly critical of what he claimed were inadequate laws to regulate some surveillance powers. Commenting on the massive surge in police use of stop-and-search powers in London, he highlighted the fact that Scotland Yard officers have carried out more than 150,000 searches since 2007. This compared with fewer than 300 in Manchester. Sir Richard said: 'That is a mind-boggling statistic. That may well be an abuse of the law. 'I am a great believer in proportionality and as a citizen I worry about the loss of my liberties.'

He questioned the legal constraints on the use of millions of CCTV cameras across Britain, saying: 'We have constructed a society which has great technical competence - and some of that competence isn't particularly regulated. 'I think the important thing in the UK is that there should be very strict legislation and strict legislative oversight.'

Sir Richard, who spoke out during a question-and-answer appearance in front of 800 people at the Hay on Wye Festival, was a career intelligence officer who joined MI6 in 1966. He was in charge of the agency at the time of the September 11 attacks, and oversaw the response to the emerging threat from Al Qaeda. When he left MI6 and became Master of Pembroke College, Cambridge, officials said he would not be giving interviews or making public appearances. But in recent months he has spoken at a number of events.

Sir Richard's remarks echo concerns voiced recently by terrorism watchdog Lord Carlile who criticised the number of stop-and-searches and said it risked gravely undermining relations with the Muslim community.

The House of Lords Constitution Committee recently called for the state's Big Brother powers to be rolled back, while Information Commissioner Richard Thomas has condemned the spread of surveillance, particularly the UK's 4.5million CCTV cameras. He said Home Office plans for a vast internet surveillance database were 'a step too far for the British way of life'. Sir Richard said he believed the U.S. response to September 11 had been disproportionate.

George Bush's administration detained and tortured hundreds of suspected terrorists in foreign jails under the extraordinary rendition programme. Sir Richard said: 'I'm a great believer in proportionality, and while what happened on 9/11 was a dreadful and serious event, in no way did it threaten the integrity of western civilisation.'

Asked about Britain's involvement in the CIA's rendition programme, Sir Richard told the festival audience that MI6 would have sought ministerial approval of any cases involving British citizens or residents. He said: 'The intelligence and security community act in sensitive situations with political cover'. Sir Richard admitted he had been aware of a number of rendition cases while he was head of MI6, but claimed the Americans had not passed on lists of names. He added: 'Yes, I think we were certainly aware. I mean we were not aware of the detail, we were aware of some individual cases.' He said he had known of no cases involving British nationals, and dismissed suggestions that the UK had run its own rendition programme to move terror suspects abroad to be questioned and tortured.

The former spy chief said: 'No British minister would ever have agreed a rendition action by us because I think the legal advice in the UK would have been that under common law this was very questionable. U.S. lawyers gave different advice.'

Sir Richard insisted Britain's position condemning torture remained secure, adding: 'I do not know of any violations. 'We don't use torture and in instances where we know that, let's say, a foreign government is not handling a case in line with our legal procedures then we would express our disagreement and our disapproval.'


Muslim team defile British cricket

Typical Muslim petulance

An umpire was beaten with stumps when tempers flared during a cricket match. Police were called after violence broke out during a Sunday league game between Sheffield Alliance Cricket Club and the Shimla Cricket Club, from Bradford. Three members of the Shimla team, apparently unhappy at a decision by the umpire, Matthew Lowson, 19, are alleged to have attacked him at the Phoenix Cricket Club in Rotherham. The attack happened towards the end of the match, when the Bradford side appealed for a catch but the umpire called “Not out”. Players surrounded him and witnesses say that he was punched, kicked and hit with stumps. He escaped serious injury after members of the home team used themselves as human shields.

A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed officers attended the ground at Brinsworth, Rotherham, and said officers were speaking to three people from West Yorkshire but no arrests had been made. She said: “Three men are accused on confronting the umpire and it is believed one of them may have struck the umpire in the face.”

Stuart Granger, chairman of South Yorkshire Cricket League Umpire’s Association and secretary of the English Cricket Board’s Association of Cricket Officials for the South Yorkshire Branch, said: “This club must be banned from all cricket and the players must appear before a disciplinary committee for the league. We shall be seeking to have them expelled. We are not prepared to accept this against a 19-year-old lad.

“This is totally unacceptable in any level of cricket. It is totally against the spirit of the game. Players should have respect for their colleagues, umpires and other players.” The Barnsley-born umpire Dickie Bird condemned the incident and said he hoped that strong disciplinary action would be taken against any players found to have taken part.

He said: “Cricket is a civilised sport played by gentlemen. It saddens me to hear of anyone being attacked on a cricket field over a decision. What is the game coming to?”


A Modern Witch Trial

By Theodore Dalrymple

Men may be created equal, but not all murders are equal. Some are quickly forgotten, except by those immediately affected by them, while others--by no means always political assassinations--have a lasting political impact. Among the politically significant kind was the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a young black man, in a London suburb on the evening of April 22, 1993. Five or six white youths set upon Lawrence and a friend, Duwayne Brooks. One of the attackers supposedly shouted, "What, what, nigger?" immediately before Lawrence was stabbed to death. Brooks managed to evade the attackers, who ran away.

Despite considerable circumstantial evidence against several suspects, the perpetrators escaped conviction. The police investigation into the murder was a model of incompetence of the kind that every Briton now expects of our boys in blue. Over the investigation there also hung a pall of suspected corruption, for one suspect was the son of a rich drug trafficker who, on a previous occasion when his son stood accused of a stabbing, had tried (unsuccessfully) to bribe and threaten the victim into altering his evidence.

But the Lawrence murder took on a wide social significance because of its racial overtones. The botched investigation became a cause celebre--the presumption being that racism alone could explain the police's failure to bring the perpetrators to justice--and the government launched an official inquiry to "identify the lessons to be learned for the investigation and prosecution of racially motivated crimes." There followed a festival of political and emotional correctness the likes of which have rarely been equaled. It would be impossible, at less than book length, to plumb the depths of intellectual confusion and moral cowardice to which the inquiry plunged. In 1999, it released a report of its findings that won almost universal praise despite its risible shortcomings.

This year, on the tenth anniversary of the report, the press and professional criminologists are celebrating it for, as one put it, bringing about a "paradigm shift" in the sensitivities of British police about "diversity"--police now think about race all the time, it seems. The report's real effect, however, was to demoralize further an already demoralized police force, which, immediately after the report appeared, retreated from stopping or searching people behaving suspiciously and watched street robberies increase 50 percent.

Perhaps the fact that the inquiry was open to the public had something to do with the nature of the resulting report. The public gallery regularly overflowed with activists and extremists, who did not hesitate to jeer and mock the witnesses with whom they disagreed; the head of the inquiry, Sir William Macpherson, rarely admonished these spectators, thus creating an officially sanctioned atmosphere of intimidation. Among the self-congratulatory sentences that opened the report ("We believe that our procedures did ensure fairness"; "The contributions of the Inquiry's Advisers to the Report and to the conclusions to the Report . . . have been imaginative, radical and of incalculable worth") was the following, a flash of lightning in the darkness: "We thank the officers from the Walworth Police Station, who in difficult and sometimes dangerous circumstances have helped to keep order when emotions ran high." An incipient riot is not a situation in which the truth is likely to emerge or to be uppermost in people's minds.

The report's contention was that the mishandled Lawrence case illustrated the "institutional racism" of the London police force. Poor Sir William tied himself in knots trying to explain the notion of institutional racism, relying in part on that great moral authority on race relations, Stokely Carmichael, the onetime "prime minister" of the Black Panthers. As Macpherson admitted, he could point to no actual instance of racist behavior by the officers involved in the case, though evidence of incompetence and delay was abundant. But if he had concluded from the lack of evidence of racist behavior that the police were not racist, he doubtless would have become an object of execration by all the people who think the right thoughts. Thus Macpherson's redefinition of racism: "Failure to adjust policies and methods to meet the needs of policing a multi-racial society can occur simply because police officers may mistakenly believe that it is legitimate to be 'colour-blind' in both individual and team response to the management and investigation of racist crimes."

On the very next page, however, Sir William quoted approvingly the assertion of an association of black police officers: "Institutional racism leads officers to act, albeit unconsciously, and for the most part unintentionally, and treat others differently because of their ethnicity or culture." In other words, if you treat people the same, you are racist; but if you treat them differently, you are racist. It is clear that we are here in the realm not of the rule of law but of the Malleus Maleficarum, and that Macpherson is acting not as judge but as witchfinder-general.

The evidence of institutional racism that Macpherson uncovered would be laughable, had the liberal press not taken it so seriously. For example, when the police arrived at the murder scene, Brooks snarled: "Who called you fucking cunts anyway, pigs, I only called an ambulance." That the police did not feel entirely reassured that Brooks was a respectable, upright citizen, and ignored the fact that he was also a victim of the attack, became for Macpherson a sign of their racist stereotyping, not a natural response to such vile abuse, which is not a normal way for the law-abiding to address the supposed guardians of the law--or, indeed, anyone else.

Further evidence, in Sir William's view, was that some of the detectives refused to accept that the Lawrence murder was "wholly racist," though none denied at least a racist element. Of course, since no one had actually been convicted of the murder, the murderer's motive could not be known for certain. And even if the suspects--a violent group, certainly--were indeed the culprits, was racism the sole, or even primary, cause of their violence? One suspect--David Norris, the drug trafficker's son--was almost certainly guilty of that earlier stabbing in which his father became illegally involved, as the report observed. But there the victim was white. Norris and two other suspects in the Lawrence murder had also been suspects in another assault, this one on two brothers, both white. In both instances, Norris got off because of incompetent prosecutions.

Macpherson did not draw the obvious inference, and if he did, the liberal intelligentsia would not have applauded.

Let us assume that Norris was indeed one of Stephen Lawrence's murderers. If the prosecution of Norris's earlier crimes had not been so incompetent, and if he had received an adequate sentence if found guilty (an unlikely outcome in contemporary Britain), then Lawrence would now be alive.

At one point, the inquiry listened to secretly recorded conversations among the Lawrence suspects. The conversations were racist in the crudest possible way, but they were not purely racist. Norris said, for example, "If I was going to kill myself, do you know what I'd do? I'd go and kill every black cunt, every Paki, every copper, every mug that I know." The police in London are not predominantly minorities; it is also unlikely that "every mug" that Norris knew was a minority. Norris's propensity to racism was probably caused by his propensity to violence, rather than the other way around.

So on every possible ground, the police who dismissed the idea that the murder was "wholly racist" were right, at least factually. Their error was political or even metaphysical--beyond the realm of mere empirical evidence. On Macpherson's view, the police should act more as defenders of politically correct orthodoxy than as keepers of the peace and searchers after the truth.

Further confirmation of Sir William's moral cowardice was his uncritical acceptance of everything that Stephen Lawrence's mother said. Now, Mrs. Lawrence had lost her son to murder, and the police had failed to solve the far from insoluble crime; she was understandably distraught and angry. But that did not make her the arbiter of truth; common sense, indeed, should have suggested the contrary. One might have hoped that a judge would have shown some judgment.

At the beginning of the report, Macpherson defended the unusually "adversarial" manner in which the inquiry was conducted. "Cross-examination of many officers was undoubtedly robust and searching," he wrote. A few pages later, without noticing any contradiction, he mentioned that when one Mr. Gompertz, the counsel for the police, was questioning Mrs. Lawrence, "The nature and content of the questions made Mrs. Lawrence protest that her perception was that she was being put on trial. Wisely Mr. Gompertz desisted." In short, only the accused could be questioned.

Mrs. Lawrence had already demonstrated that, no doubt in her distress, she was willing to go beyond the facts. In her statement to the coroner's court, she said (and later repeated the assertion to Nelson Mandela when he visited London): "In my opinion what had happened was the way of the judicial system making a clear statement to the black community that their lives are worth nothing and the justice system will support any one, any white person who wishes to commit any crime or even murder against a black person, you will be protected, you will be supported by the British system."

Even if we leave aside the question of why she bothered to participate in the system at all if it really was as she described it, she ought to have known that she was exaggerating. I quote from the report, which sought to show that Lawrence's was not the only racist murder in the area:

In February 1991 a white man named Thornburrow murdered a young 15 year old black youth named Rolan Adams. . . . He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

On 11 July 1992 an Asian boy called Rohit Duggal was stabbed to death by a white youth named Peter Thompson. . . . Thompson was found guilty of the murder in February 1993.

Mrs. Lawrence should have known about these sentences. If she did not, she was ignorant; if she did, she was lying. But all that Macpherson said of her incendiary charge was that it showed the depth of her feeling--not that it was inaccurate and misleading. Her victimhood had to be immaculate.

Mrs. Lawrence further said that she felt condescended to by the police and ascribed this condescension to their racism. Macpherson showed--surprisingly, for a judge--no recognition of the obvious difficulties in accepting such feeling as evidence of anything. He did not even demand that her feelings have some objective correlative: if she felt condescended to because of racism, she was condescended to because of racism.

Among the report's many pernicious recommendations was the following: "The definition of a racist incident should be any incident which is perceived as racist by the victim or any other person." Nothing could be better designed to destroy the possibility of easy--dare I say normal--relations among people of different races. For the notion that racism is so pervasive and institutionalized that it is everywhere, even where it appears not to be, induces in the susceptible a paranoid state of mind, which then finds racism in every possible situation, in every remark, in every suggestion, in every gesture and expression. It is a charge against which there is no defense.

Two incidents in my clinical experience illustrate this nonfalsifiability. In the first, the lawyers for a black defendant asked me to appraise his fitness to plead. The defendant faced charges of assaulting another black man, out of the blue, with an iron bar. The man was obviously paranoid, his speech rambling and incoherent; his lawyers could obtain no sensible instructions from him. I argued that he was unfit to plead. Whereupon the man's sister denounced me as a racist: I had reached my conclusions, she charged, only because her brother was black. Her 15-year-old daughter started to describe to me her frequent difficulties in understanding her uncle, only to be told to shut up by her mother. The lawyers had been unable to obtain instructions from the defendant only because they were white, the sister persisted. Give her brother black lawyers, and he would be perfectly reasonable. Of course, if I had said that he was fit to plead, she could have claimed with equal justice (which is none) that I came to that conclusion only because he was black.

The second case, far more serious, ended in a man's death; the blame was partly mine. A black man in his mid-twenties arrived at our hospital with severely cut wrists. He was nearly exsanguinated and needed a large blood transfusion; his tendons also needed an operation to repair. By all accounts, he had been a perfectly normal man, happily employed, a few weeks before, but suddenly he had stopped eating and become a recluse, barricading himself in his house until police and family broke in to reach him. His suicide attempt was not one of those frivolous gestures with which our hospitals are all too familiar. If ever a man meant to kill himself, this man did.

His mother was by his bedside. I told her that her son should remain in the hospital for treatment (you'd hardly have to be a doctor to realize this). At first she was perfectly agreeable; but then a friend of the young man, himself young and black, arrived and instantly accused me of racism for my supposed desire to lock the patient up. I tried to reason with this friend, but he became agitated and aggressive, even menacing. Whether from conviction or because she, too, felt intimidated, the mother then sided with the friend and started to say that I was racist in wishing to detain her son.

I could have insisted on the powers granted to me by law--asking a court to have social services replace the mother as the patient's nearest relative for the legal purpose of keeping him in treatment. But I did not fancy the process: the young friend had threatened to bring reinforcements, and a riot might have ensued in the hospital. Instead, I agreed to the demand that I let the patient go home. The two said that they would look after him, and I made them sign a paper (of no legal worth) acknowledging that I had warned them of the possible consequences.

This piece of paper they screwed up into a ball and threw away immediately outside the ward, where I found it later. I had made copies, and it was one of these that I sent to the coroner when, six weeks later, the young man gassed himself to death with car exhaust. The notion of ubiquitous, institutionalized racism resulted in his death; and I resolved that it would never intimidate me again.



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

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

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


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Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Rebels to the Death

A definitive, updated history of West Germany’s depraved Baader-Meinhof terrorists. A BOOK REVIEW of "Baader-Meinhof: The Inside Story of the R.A.F.", by Stefan Aust. Review by JACOB LAKSIN

The Weather Underground, a leftist terrorist group from the 1970s, played a bit role in last fall’s presidential election through the association of unrepentant former Weatherman Bill Ayers with his fellow Chicagoan, Barack Obama. That kind of connection would have come as no surprise in Germany, where the Weather Underground’s far more deadly counterpart, the Red Army Faction (RAF), also known as the Baader-Meinhof gang, continues to cast a shadow over the country’s politics.

In 1985, German journalist Stefan Aust published the definitive book on the RAF, The Baader-Meinhof Complex. His book has since been turned into a successful feature film of the same name, which was nominated last year for a foreign-language Oscar and is slated for U.S. release this summer. Aust, a former editor of Der Spiegel, has now reissued his earlier work, changing the title to Baader-Meinhof and updating it with information that has come to light since the end of the RAF’s reign of terror in West Germany 30 years ago. The new edition deserves attention, and not just because Anthea Bell’s deft translation preserves the dynamic, detail-rich prose that made Aust’s original read like a real-life thriller. Dense with insights into the psychology of terrorism, this history of West Germany’s struggle against RAF radicals also serves as a cautionary tale for the West in its war against the modern threat of jihadist terror.

From the day of its founding in 1970, the Baader-Meinhof gang wasn’t what it appeared to be. Though Andreas Baader was the group’s leader (along with his lover-cum-comrade Gudrun Ensslin), the leftist journalist Ulrike Meinhof was always a secondary figure. Indeed, the RAF was something of a personality cult built around the volatile Baader. More sociopath than socialist, the speed- and LSD-addled Baader parlayed a troubled youth as a car thief and street hooligan into a career as the RAF’s “general,” leading the guerilla group on everything from combat training missions in Jordan under the tutelage of Palestinian terrorists to bombing raids on German department stores and police stations and U.S. military bases in Frankfurt and Heidelberg. An RAF slogan—“Madmen to arms!”—was as apt a description as any of Baader’s modus operandi.

The contrast with Meinhof was striking. Ten years Baader’s senior, the cerebral Meinhof hailed from a respectable middle-class family famous for producing Protestant theologians. She joined the RAF after her increasingly militant writings in the left-wing journal konkret led her to practice what she preached. But Meinhof was never fully accepted into the RAF’s senior command; Baader especially tormented her with accusations that she was a would-be class enemy and a “knife in the back” of the RAF. The abuse had its effect. In one of the RAF’s routine exercises in “self-criticism”—a Maoist practice in which members were expected to engage—Meinhof denounced herself as a “hypocritical bourgeois bitch.” Meinhof remained the RAF’s main ideologist, producing most of its political writings, but there was never any doubt about who was in charge.

Like its supposed dual leadership, the RAF’s revolutionary political agenda was something of a chimera. In theory at least, the group had come together to oppose the Vietnam War abroad and what it decried as the nascent police-state of West Germany at home. (This as opposed to the actual police state of communist East Germany, whose much-feared Stasi secret police aided and abetted the RAF.) The RAF’s solution was communist revolution, and the group peppered its aggressively unintelligible political manifestos with Marxist clichés about the evils of capitalism, “American imperialism,” and the “state oppression” of West Germany.

Yet, as Aust clearly shows, for Baader in particular and for the RAF generally, revolutionary politics were soon subordinated to the thrill of direct action. Whether it was stealing cars, committing countless bank robberies, or merely the adrenaline rush of being on the lam, the RAF found liberation in lawlessness. Even the group’s favored euphemisms—a bank heist became an “expropriation action”—could not disguise its criminality, which became an end in itself. It was no oversight that the RAF’s chief political manifesto, The Urban Guerilla Concept, had more to say about the urgency of fighting one’s enemies than what one should be fighting for. The RAF were rebels without a cause.

For many on the Left, that did not seem to matter. Thus the Nobel Prize-winning author Heinrich Böll defended the group as “desperate theoreticians” driven into a “corner” by the German authorities, and famously romanticized what he called the war of “six against 60 million” West Germans. Absurd on its face—it was the RAF that was terrorizing the West German state, not the other way around—this David-vs.-Goliath storyline was enthusiastically embraced by the young and politically naïve. In a famous 1971 poll, one in four West Germans under 30 admitted to “a certain sympathy” for the RAF. Germans of an older generation had fewer illusions. Nevertheless, guilt-ridden about Germany’s Nazi past, they were reluctant to condemn a group that styled itself, however improbably, as a resistance movement fighting the Third Reich’s political heir.

Ironically, the RAF had its most devastating impact only after it had been defeated. In 1972, the core leadership—including Baader, Ensslin, and Meinhof—was arrested in rapid succession. Imprisoned in Stuttgart’s Stammheim prison, they became instant symbols of resistance, inspiring followers in a way that their reader-proof political tracts never could. At the time of their arrest, the group reportedly had a few dozen members. By 1974, when the RAF existed only in prison, police were searching for some 10,000 RAF sympathizers.

It was this “second generation” of the RAF that was responsible for the worst period of violence in Germany’s postwar history: the so-called “German Autumn” of 1977, a 44-day terror spree that saw the kidnapping and subsequent murder of German Employers Association president Hans Martin Schleyer and the hijacking of a 91-passenger Lufthansa airliner by RAF-linked Palestinian terrorists. Aust reconstructs the events in vivid detail. For Germany, he writes, the fall of 1977 was the equivalent of the September 11 attacks.

In these parallels to today’s terrorism, Aust’s book seems as timely as when it was fist published. Over 30 years ago, West Germany anticipated many of the challenges facing democratic states as they confront terrorists who spurn the rules of war and exploit legal restraint for lethal ends. Long before American policymakers debated the merits of wireless wiretapping and coercive interrogations, German politicians deliberated whether it was going too far to bug the RAF in their prison cells and whether solitary confinement was a form of torture. West Germany’s experience offers some valuable lessons.

One is that, too often, excessive caution proved counterproductive. Kidnap victim Schleyer, for instance, might have been saved had police been allowed to search the Cologne apartment where he was being kept. For 11 days, police had suspected Apartment 104 as Schleyer’s likely location; one investigator even rang the doorbell. Bureaucratic timidity prevailed, however, and the required search warrant was never issued. Several weeks later, Schleyer’s lifeless body would turn up in France in the trunk of an abandoned Audi.

More assertive measures yielded results, especially the counter-terror program devised by Horst Herold, the unacknowledged hero of Aust’s book. Herold was a former public prosecutor from Nuremberg who became the chief of the Bundeskriminalamt, the German equivalent of the FBI, and almost singlehandedly brought down the RAF. His major contribution was to design a COMPSTAT-like computer program that recorded data on all aspects of RAF terrorism—names, dates, targets, escape routes, methods, car registrations, residences—and distributed it to regional police departments, ultimately allowing them to close in on the group.

Alas, Herold received little thanks for his efforts. Derided for creating a “Big Brother” monitoring system, he was forced into early retirement in 1981. Allegations that he presided over the creation of a “surveillance state” were overwrought even then, but they continue to be repeated today. Aust himself, in an unfortunate departure from his carefully objective approach, echoes the repellent claim that there was some moral equivalence between the RAF’s indiscriminate terrorism and the security services’ precisely targeted response to it. This is a rare lapse, however. Aust is anything but an admirer of the RAF—not least because the group targeted him for assassination after he helped return Meinhof’s children to her estranged husband. She had previously arranged for them to be raised in a Palestinian refugee camp.

The RAF died as violently as it began. On October 18, 1977, an elite German counter-terrorism unit stormed the hijacked Lufthansa airliner, freeing the passengers and ending any chance that Baader and his cohorts may have had of being released in exchange for the hostages. Later that day, what remained of the RAF leadership (Meinhof had earlier hanged herself in her cell) killed themselves in a prearranged suicide pact. It was a grimly fitting conclusion: a senseless act of destruction that foretold the tactics of the RAF’s Islamist successors. Three decades hence, no one has told that story better than Stefan Aust.


Why do my son's books tell him all men are useless?

Sitting on the sofa, with my four-year-old son Billy, I was reading aloud to him from a book by Anthony Browne. He's our favourite male children's author. We love reading together. For one thing, it's about bonding. My son asks me about the world and I try to explain it to him. It's a classic moment between father and son. This particular book is called Gorilla. It's about a girl called Hannah who is obsessed with gorillas and whose father takes no notice of her.

There he is, the awful man, introduced on page two, sitting at the breakfast table, hiding behind his newspaper. His daughter wants to talk to him, but he's not interested. He's there, physically, at the table. But in all other respects, he's absent. 'He didn't have time for anything,' writes the author Browne. On the next page, the father says: 'Not now. I'm busy. Maybe tomorrow.' And as I read this out to my son, he looked puzzled. 'Why?' he asked, gazing up towards me for an answer. 'I don't know,' I said.

Later, I considered my son's question in more detail. And I realised that it wasn't just some dads. It was lots of dads. Why? Why is the dad in Zoo, another book by Browne, about a family trip to the zoo, such an idiot? Not just an idiot, but a grumpy, overweight idiot who tries to make jokes, but is never funny and, what's more, is always on the verge of ruining things for everybody else. He's a greedy slob, just like Homer Simpson. He's more childish than his children, even though he has hair sprouting from his ears. Then there's the dad in Into The Forest, another book by this author. This one's about a dad who goes missing. He is clearly a weakling. He walks out of the family home and goes to stay with his mum.

A recent academic study confirmed that men - particularly fathers - are under-represented in almost all children's books. And when they do appear, like the fathers in Gorilla and Zoo, they are often withdrawn, or obsessed with themselves, or just utterly ineffectual.

Take our favourite female author, Julia Donaldson. I started with her most famous book, The Gruffalo. The Gruffalo is male and he's also a dad. His main characteristic is that he's an idiot. A complete fool. The butt of the book's jokes. He's outsmarted by a mouse. Actually, the mouse outsmarts various other animals, too - a fox, an owl and a snake. They're all male. But we never get to know if the mouse is male or female. The mouse is just a mouse. Again, I thought of my son's question. Why? Why are so many male characters in books such idiots?

I don't think Julia Donaldson is a male-basher. But still, a gentle thread of male idiocy runs through her books. Two of our favourites are The Snail And The Whale and Tiddler. Both are about adventurous young creatures. The snail travels the world on the back of a whale, and is smart and resourceful at every point. Tiddler, a little fish, also has adventures. But this fish is a bit of a dreamer and eventually gets caught up in a trawler net. Tiddler is lucky to escape. Whereas the snail calls the shots and ends up saving the whale's life. And guess what? The snail is female. And Tiddler is, of course, a guy.

As the penny dropped, I looked at all the other books I've been reading to my son. There's The Selfish Crocodile, by Faustin Charles and Michael Terry. It's about a male crocodile who wants everything for himself, thereby ruining the lives of all the other animals in the jungle. And, then, there's Giraffes Can't Dance, in which a giraffe called Gerald tries to dance and looks like a total idiot.

And something else began to strike me as I looked at these stories - the stories I use to introduce my son to the ways of the world. Not only were they full of bad male stereotypes - deadbeat dads, absent fathers, idiots, wimps and fools - but I have been totally colluding with them. It didn't bother me at all. Until I started to think about it, it had seemed normal to me.

What are men like? Dumb. I just accepted it. For instance, in another of our favourites, Benedict Blathwayt's The Runaway Train, the driver is called Duffy. And what does he do? He gets out of the train, forgetting to put the brake on, and the train rolls off without him. A driverless train - what a powerful symbol of male inadequacy! Yet this seems quite normal. We sit on the sofa and laugh.

'Why does Duffy forget the brake?' my son asked me. Why? Stories require fall-guys. They need some people to be malign or foolish or weak. And it just so happens that these people, in these stories, are male. It just so happens that it wouldn't seem right, to me, if these malign, foolish or weak people were female. Somehow, they have to be male. And symbols of male inadequacy are so deeply embedded in other parts of our culture. So much so, in fact, that nobody notices it any more.

For years, I've laughed at hopeless Homer Simpson and his dangerous son Bart, and the attempts of the female characters in the family to clean up after them. For years I've accepted that Wally, in the Where's Wally? books, is, in fact, a bit of a wally. That's the point of him, surely? And it never mattered to me that the one thing that defines Tinky Winky, the only identifiable male in the Teletubbies, is his general ineffectuality. And it's also never bothered me that Iggle Piggle, in another children's TV programme In The Night Garden, seems like a drunk, and that most of the Mr Men are deeply inadequate.

Why had this never bothered me? Because it's all around us, everywhere we look. For years, men in our stories - not just for children, but adults, too - have been losing their authority. Not just years - decades. It's crept up on us and now it's everywhere. Remember when movie stars were strong and decisive? That was a long time ago now: John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn. Then came a new, softer type - Cary Grant and James Stewart were strong, yes, but against a background of self-doubt. And then came Jack Lemmon, Dustin Hoffman, Woody Allen, Bill Murray, Kevin Spacey - neurotic, bumbling, deeply flawed anti-heroes.

Think of Kevin Spacey in American Beauty. The deadbeat dad, smoking dope in the garage because he can't take the pressure of family life. For a long time now, something has been happening to the way we portray men. And wherever you look, things seem to be getting worse for guys. In a survey of 1,000 TV adverts, made by writer Frederic Hayward, he points out that: '100 per cent of the jerks singled out in male-female relationships were male.'

So does this mean that there is something wrong with the way we portray men? Or - much more seriously - is there some deep trouble with men themselves? I can't bear to have that thought. Can you? Yet that's certainly what our culture seems to be telling us. And it's what certain feminist writers seem to be telling us, too.

Take the American writer Susan Faludi. In her book Stiffed, she says that men have lost something essential to their self-esteem - their role as hunters and frontiersmen. For the past 100 years or so, male qualities, she says, have been getting less and less important. These days, in our safe, modern, information-based society, we don't need the classic male qualities of brute strength and aggression. We don't need people flexing their muscles and jutting their chins out. No, what we need are female qualities, such as empathy and multi-tasking. And this, Faludi suggests, is having a weird effect on lots of men. She writes about gangs of violent male teenagers, and sad, gung-ho sports fans, and the cult of bodybuilding. She says that men feel betrayed by modern society, that men, as a group, are facing a crisis. That men are essentially falling apart.

But is this something I should be telling my son? That men are useless and getting more useless? When I first read Faludi's argument, part of me did not want to accept it. I even wrote an article saying she was wrong. The reason that men were being portrayed as idiots and losers, I said, was because they were strong - and they could take it. You wouldn't mock a woman, as it would be offensive. Men could cope. Men, as a group, were not falling apart. They were fine. Fine, I tell you!

I'm not sure if I believed this argument of mine. But it made me feel good. Anyway, I thought, men can't be falling apart. If they were, surely they would try to do something about it. Surely they would say something. But then I read work by another American writer, Warren Farrell, who made rather a chilling point. When men feel powerless, he said, they don't talk about it. That's because they're men. For men, showing weakness is a no-no. Men have fragile egos, but they are programmed not to talk about it.

Sure, twice as many women are diagnosed with depression as men. But this is partly because lots of men won't admit to being depressed. Often, they try to deal with the situation on their own. By boozing. By brooding. By walking away. By disappearing behind the newspaper at the breakfast table. But is this something I should be explaining to my son? That men, who hunted for millennia while women gathered, are now, slowly but surely, becoming redundant?

Of course, I could read him stories featuring another of his favourites - Bob The Builder. I say his favourite, and not mine, as I don't like Bob much. Bob is so essentially male he might as well be a machine, like Trevor The Tractor. Bob and Trevor have almost no personality - they are automata.


This "American Freedom Thing" Makes People Uncomfortable

American freedom is spiraling out of control, and it needs to be reigned-in. Right?

I don’t know any American who would actually say such a thing - at least not in so many words. But far too many Americans have succumbed to a certain “sickness” these days. It’s the perverse notion that their lives will be improved, and that they will be made to “feel better,” when the freedom of other American individuals and groups is diminished. This nonsense not only makes for some nasty politics, but is also shaping the ways in which many Americans view the world around them...

Our current President ran an incredibly successful campaign, driven in no small part by his promises of punishing certain groups of Americans. “Rich people,” “overpaid corporate executives,” “the oil companies,” and “pharmaceutical manufacturers” were all targets of Barack Obama’s vicious attacks.

And his message to the rest of us about these select groups of Americans was clear: I’ll make your life better, by constraining their freedom - - making “rich people” less free to create and possess wealth, making companies less free to produce a profit, limiting how much an individual can earn at their job, and so forth. These ideas make for absurd economic policy, in that no President, not even dear leader Barack, can simply re-distribute the nation into prosperity - at some point, somebody has to actually “produce wealth.” But as political rhetoric, it resonates, which means that at least some Americans really like the idea of taking away other people’s freedom.

In my current hometown of Phoenix, Arizona, there is further evidence of this sickness. After the irrational run-up in Phoenix area real estate prices earlier this decade, followed by the devastating foreclosure crash over the past 18 months, homes in Phoenix are finally starting to sell again. But one of the challenges facing realtors and buyers is what to do with the “damaged” foreclosures.

It’s a bit of an epidemic. Americans, living in Arizona, who, upon losing their otherwise nice, suburban house, on their way out the door go about breaking all the windows, stealing hardware and appliances, and in some instances - - just to “get even,” I suppose - - urinating and defecating on carpets, and burning walls and cabinetry with matches and lighters. Once again, evidence of “the sickness” presents itself - -“I’ll feel better by restricting somebody else’s freedom” - in this case, the next owner’s freedom to enjoy the house.

The sickness also impacts the ways in which some Americans view the world. While hosting talk radio at Phoenix, Arizona’s Newstalk 92-3 KTAR, I spoke last Friday about Recording Artist Tyrese Gibson’s absurd performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA playoff game the night before. Where the lyric reads “the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there..,” Gibson sang “..that our Lakers were still there..” It was disrespectful, it was nonsensical, and I said as much on the show.

But talk show caller Darren, an Army veteran, declared that he fought for “everything that flag represents” - and then explained that Gibson should be “imprisoned for six months” for his stupidity. “When you were in the Army, were you protecting and upholding the U.S. Constitution?” I asked. “Of course I was” Darren explained.

“Did that include the First Amendment, or did you leave that one out?” I asked. After a few more seconds of discussion, I thanked Darren for his service in the Army, and assured him that constraining somebody else’s First Amendment rights - - even if that person is “an idiot” - - does NOT make his life any better. Americans need to become “okay” with freedom again - - not only their own freedom, but that of their fellow Americans.


Barack Obama is blind to his blunders over Islam

The new President's approach discourages change in Middle Eastern countries that need it most

By Amir Taheri

For the past week or so, the Middle East has been abuzz with speculation about Barack Obama's “historic address to the Muslim world” to be delivered in Cairo on Thursday. During his presidential campaign, Obama had promised to make such a move within his first 100 days at the White House.

In the event, the first 100 days came and went without Obama delivering on his promise. Nevertheless, he granted his first interview as President to Saudi television and, later, made a speech at the Turkish parliament in Ankara. On both occasions he highlighted the Islamic element of his background and solemnly declared that the “United States is not and will never be at war with Islam”.

Obama has aroused more curiosity in the Middle East than any previous US leader, partly because of his Arabic-Islamic first and middle names. The choice of the date for Obama's address indicates his attention to detail. It coincides with the anniversary of the start of the first battle between Islam, under Prophet Muhammad, and Christendom in the shape of a Byzantine expeditionary force in AD629. The “address to Islam” also marks the 30th anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhallah Khomeini's demise and the appointment of Ali Khamenei as the new “Supreme Guide of the Islamic ummah”. More importantly, it also coincides with the rebuilding of the Ka'abah, the stone at the heart of Mecca, which had been destroyed in a Muslim civil war.

Rich in symbolism, Obama's “address to Islam” is also full of political implications. Obama is the first major Western leader, after Bonaparte, to address Islam as a single bloc, thus adopting the traditional Islamic narrative of dividing the world according to religious beliefs. This ignores the rich and conflict-ridden diversity of the 57 Muslim-majority nations and fosters the illusion, peddled by people such as Osama bin Laden and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Islam is one and indivisible and should, one day, unite under a caliphate.

By adopting the key element of the Islamist narrative, that is to say the division of humanity into religious blocs, Mr Obama also intends to send a signal to the Middle East's nascent democratic forces that Washington is abandoning with a vengeance George W. Bush's “freedom agenda”.

Mr Bush's analysis had been simple, or as Mr Obama suggests, simplistic: the 9/11 attacks were the result of decades of US support for repressive regimes in the Middle East that had produced closed systems in which terror thrived. In an address to university students in Cairo in 2005, Condoleezza Rice explained the “Bush doctrine” in these terms: “For 60 years, the United States pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East - and we achieved neither. Now we are taking a different course.”

That different course transformed the US from a supporter of the status quo to an active agent for change - including the use of force to remove two obnoxious regimes in Kabul and Baghdad. It also coerced traditional Arab states to adopt constitutions, hold elections, grant women the vote, ease pressure on the media, and allow greater space for debate and dissent.

Mr Obama has started scrapping that policy in the name of “political realism”, the currently fashionable phrase in Washington. The “political realist” school could also be called the “let them stew in their juices” school. It argues that Arabs, and other Muslims, are not ready for democracy and may not even like it if they encountered it. Rather than trying to shock “traditional societies” out of their sleep of centuries, Western powers, especially America, should try to maintain stability.

In her recent visit to Cairo to prepare for Mr Obama's visit, his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, made no mention of human rights, democratisation and good governance. Vice-President Biden's visit to Lebanon, where a crucial election is due on June 7, was designed to hammer home a similar message: Mr Obama is more interested in the country's stability than the victory of democratic forces.

The problem is that the status quo in the Middle East was and remains unstable. Sixty years of “political realist” support for the regimes in the region produced five Arab-Israel wars, civil wars in Lebanon and Yemen, military coups d'état in eight Arab countries, the Islamic revolution in Iran, and two wars between US-led international coalitions and Iraq under Saddam Hussein.

Richard Nixon tried to promote a new architecture of stability aimed at helping Washington's regional allies to maintain the status quo. Ultimately, this Nixon doctrine also failed because it ignored the region's explosive desire for change.

Is Mr Obama similarly hoping to build a bloc of Arab states led by Egypt and supported by Turkey and Israel? Or, as some Arabs fear, is he reaching out to Iran to resume its position as “the local gendarme”? The policy of “engaging Iran” cannot exclude a regional leadership position for the Khomeinist regime.

In trying to prove that he is not George Bush, Barack Obama has committed big mistakes on key issues of foreign policy. His Cairo address, and his “one-size-fits-all” Islam policy, is just the latest. It encourages Islamists and ruling despots, discourages the forces of reform and change and, ultimately, could produce greater resentment of the United States among peoples thirsting for freedom, human rights and decent governance.



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

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

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


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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Four months in a British jail -- on charges that were based on an uncorroborated accusation from one person and later dropped

Otis Ferry on the politically correct British police: 'They put me in jail for my beliefs' Because he supports hunting to hounds

Ferry, 26, who has inherited the good looks and quiet charm that led to his father being labelled the "coolest living Englishman", remains "sickened" that he was locked up for four months in a Category B prison with murderers, rapists and robbers, while awaiting trial on a charge of perverting the course of justice, which was later dropped.

The dismay of Prisoner RB7994 is not, however, directed at his fellow inmates, most of whom he says he liked, but at the police and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) which he claims targeted him unfairly. "This has been politically motivated. I am a Tory-supporting master of foxhounds, and the current Government is anti everything that someone like me stands for. This is a socialist Government and I am the epitome of everything they detest.

"The police and Crown Prosecution Service were baying to screw me over as hard as they could. The Gloucestershire constabulary are notorious celebrity-hunters – not that I consider myself a 'celebrity'. I hate the word. The pressure from the Crown Prosecution was not normal. They put an enormous amount of effort and money into a bog-standard case."

It is not just Ferry and his supporters who think he was hard done by. Even the judge who had presided over his case after Ferry was accused of perverting the course of justice could not hide his anger at the defendant's treatment when the charge was dropped.

Ferry is no stranger to controversy, and has been arrested at least five times for his pro-countryside and hunting protests. In 2002, he was seized at 4am as he approached Tony Blair's constituency home "armed" with pro-hunting posters. Two years later, he led a famous assault on the House of Commons chamber when he and seven other pro-hunting protesters disrupted the parliamentary debate.

His latest woes began on November 21 2007 when he had been due to ride out with the South Shropshire Hunt, of which he is joint hunt master. Because his hounds were ill, Ferry called off his own hunt and, along with his girlfriend, Francesca Nimmo, and another huntsman drove to nearby Gloucestershire to ride out with the Heythrop Hunt.

However, he arrived late and was struggling to find the main group when he came across an incident in which a pro-hunt supporter clashed with two hunt monitors – widely known as "antis" or saboteurs to the hunting community. What exactly happened next is disputed, but Ferry admits that he instinctively went to the aid of the pro-hunt supporter in his scuffle with two women who were seeking to gather evidence of a breach of the Hunting Act 2004.....

Ferry was taken by police car to Gloucester police station, where he was interviewed and, later, released. In April last year, Ferry was charged with robbery and common assault and a trial date was set for September. Matters then escalated from bad to worse for Ferry, the eldest of four brothers, who was educated at Marlborough College before leaving school after passing 11 GCSEs.

Ferry says he received a mobile message from an anonymous texter just days before the trial, saying that he or she was going to be interviewed by the police. Ferry says he rang the number out of curiosity and found himself speaking to his former groom, David Hodgkiss. He says he was puzzled that Hodgkiss had contacted him, but was unperturbed, especially as the groom had not witnessed the dispute. However, when the police turned up to take the statement, Hodgkiss told them he had been warned by Ferry not to give evidence against him.

Days later, on the first morning of Ferry's robbery and assault trial, Hodgkiss's statement was revealed to the court. The hearing was adjourned until the next day when Ferry was again arrested, this time on suspicion of perverting the course of justice through "witness nobbling". He was interviewed at Stroud police station and, at the insistence of the CPS, refused bail and detained overnight in a police cell. The next day in court, the prosecution lawyer again opposed bail on the grounds that Ferry might re-offend. Judge Martin Picton remanded Ferry in custody, which meant he had to go to Gloucester prison, a Category B institution that houses murders, rapists and violent criminals.

"This really sent a shiver down my spine," says Ferry. "I was handcuffed and booked into this prison with 400 other people. I was absolutely petrified because I had no idea what I might be up against." Initially, he thought he would be in his single cell for just a night. But the jail was to become his home for the next four months. In his 12ft-by-7ft cell, he had a bed, sink, lavatory and colour television. "The first week was a blur. I just could not believe that this was happening to me."

His worst moments were changing from his prison uniform – a grey tracksuit – into his suit to go to court expecting to be released on bail, only to be returned to jail: "Going to court to be denied bail is one of the most crushing experiences anyone will ever experience. It happened to me four times and was completely soul-destroying." ....

Ferry found that most prisoners were pro-hunting. "I hope I did a good PR job for the hunting community – and public schoolboys." He says that fellow prisoners offered him drugs – there was an abundance of cannabis and heroin in the jail. It was an offer he found easy to decline.

In January, after four months in jail, Ferry's lawyers persuaded the judge to released him on bail subject to a £25,000 surety, a pledge to live with his mother in west London, and Ferry reporting to the police twice a week. Two months later, the prosecution indicated in court that it was unhappy with witness "inconsistencies" relating to the perverting the course of justice charge against Ferry. This incensed Judge Martin Picton, who described Ferry's custody as "nonsensical and farcical".

Finally, nine days ago, the Crown accepted Ferry's pleas of not guilty to robbery and common assault charges. He admitted a public order offence and was given a one-year conditional discharge for causing "fear, stress and upset" to one of the hunt monitors. He was also fined £350 with £100 costs. Today, he concedes he was responsible for an "error of judgement" and regrets getting involved in the dispute.

Ferry is unclear about his future but remains committed to country pursuits. "I love animals more than people," he says. "I have always been fascinated by the countryside." He admires foxes but says hunting is important for conservation, as it picks off the weakest, oldest animals, unlike shooting, which can kill a fox in its prime. He says the countryside feels "betrayed, victimised and cheated" by the Government, and, as a Conservative supporter, he is now tempted to pursue a career in politics.

"Hunting is like religion in the countryside. I don't think there is anything I could enjoy more than running my hounds and the hunt. The question I now have to answer is whether I feel I have an obligation to other people to try to safeguard rural traditions."


The chaos of British justice

Largely the fruit of 12 years of Labor party government

Two children a week, on average, die in this country as a result of abuse in the home: sadly, the only remarkable thing about the Baby Peter case was the political and public obsession with it – a consequence of the fact that the death was the second in recent years of a child known by Haringey council to be at risk. Against this background it was always likely that the sentences handed down to those involved in Baby Peter’s death would in turn be the subject of a frenzy of attention – and so it has proved.

The Daily Mail and The Sun have mounted instant campaigns of outrage against what they see as the leniency of the sentences handed down by Judge Stephen Kramer nine days ago. Jack Straw, the justice secretary, initially held the line, stating: “The judge has been clear about the minimum terms they must serve, and such decisions must be for the judiciary.”

Characteristically, the government has now retreated in the face of a further media barrage, and the office of Baroness Scotland, the attorney-general, announced last week that she had “called for the papers in this case since [she ]has the power to refer certain sentences to the Court of Appeal, if after looking at all the facts she thinks the sentence was unduly lenient”.

So here are the facts. It is a recent law, passed in 2004, that obtained a custodial conviction for Baby Peter’s mother. Before it was passed, in fatal child abuse cases where each of two partners denied guilt and blamed the other, and neither could be proved to have caused the fatal injury, there was little the courts could do to hold either (or indeed both) directly responsible for the killing.

Baby Peter’s mother and her boyfriend were convicted under the 2004 act, which introduced a new offence of “causing or allowing death”. Kramer sentenced Baby Peter’s mother to a “minimum” term of five years in prison, which meant little more than three when the almost two years she had already spent in custody were taken into account.

This is what has caused so much outrage. However, the public does not seem to have been made aware of the other aspects of Kramer’s sentencing of Peter’s mother. He, in fact, declared a sentence of 10 years, but under the government’s own rules – which automatically release prisoners by executive order after they have served only half their sentence – that arbitrarily comes down to a custodial “minimum” of five.

Kramer further indicated that he would have passed a higher sentence had not Baby Peter’s mother pleaded guilty to the charge of “allowing” the death of her son and had she not on two occasions sought medical help for Baby Peter unprompted.

Most significant of all, the judge also passed on her an “indeterminate [sentence] of imprisonment for public protection”. What this means is that she will never be released unless, as the judge put it, “the parole board determine . . . you are deemed no longer to be a risk to the public and in particular children”.

The indeterminate sentence for public protection is also a recent form of punishment – it was proposed by David Blunkett as home secretary and became law in 2005. At the time it was suggested that it would apply to only a small number of offenders, but since then judges have handed down almost 11,000 “indeterminate” sentences, and so far fewer than 50 such prisoners have been released. Some indeterminate sentences have been imposed on people whose “minimum” term is less than 12 months: such prisoners are now known as “short-term lifers”.

It is not hard to guess why judges have taken up these sentences with such enthusiasm. Not only are they under perpetual pressure from the Home Office to keep fixed sentences as low as possible because of overcrowded prisons, but they also know that any fixed sentence they pass (itself limited by guidelines) is immediately halved by executive order.

In other words, they are statutorily prevented from ensuring that the punishment fits the crime. No wonder many of them seize on indeterminate sentences as a way of passing the buck to the parole board. Then, if the released prisoner reoffends violently after he has been judged by the parole board to be “no longer a risk to the public”, it is not the judge who will be held responsible.

It is in any case simply a bureaucratic fiction that any parole board knows the likelihood that a released prisoner will reoffend. My wife’s cousin, John Monckton, was murdered by Damien Hanson in 2004, only weeks after Hanson had been released halfway through his sentence for attempted murder, following a parole board recommendation. The board had been impressed by the way that Hanson had attended “anger management classes” in prison: the fact that he would have known such attendance was the sort of visible act that impressed parole boards shows how vulnerable the system is to manipulation.

By contrast, the wrongfully convicted man who refuses to acknowledge his “guilt” can be kept in prison indefinitely. The continued pleas of innocence by Sean Hodgson, released in March after 27 years for a murder he did not commit, had kept him inside long beyond the time served by many dangerous killers – it was only the advent of DNA evidence that showed he had been telling the truth.

One prison psychologist told me, after many years of bitter experience: “We know that a small proportion of prisoners we release on probation will go on to commit rape or even murder; the trouble is, we have no idea which ones they will be.”

He is contemptuous of the fashion for short minimum terms accompanied by an indeterminate sentence, arguing that such custodial packages “don’t take sufficiently seriously what the offender has done, and take too seriously what he might – and therefore might not – do”.

It is very different from the American system, in which indefinite sentences are becoming rare and long fixed sentences without possibility of early release are common. This is at least honest and open: the hallmarks of good justice. Both the public and the criminal know exactly how things stand, which is not the case with the paradoxes and evasions of the English system.

The advocates of our system maintain that it is more humane, since it allows for the prisoner who displays penitence to be released much earlier. Sixty years ago CS Lewis demolished this conceit in his essay The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment. He pointed out that a sentence based solely and inflexibly on the wickedness perpetrated – the concept of just desert, which was increasingly being denounced as “mere retribution” – was the only way of linking punishment and justice.

By contrast, said Lewis, if sentences served were based on a subjective assessment of the rehabilitative process, “grumpy unrepentant prisoners” could be consigned to perpetual incarceration while those cunning enough to “cheat with success” would be freed.

The dystopia foreseen by CS Lewis is now the English system of justice.


Marrying money

A woman with two daughters, a stepson, a large mortgage, a big job and no time was rifling in a tidying — not a nosy — way through some of her new husband’s papers recently and found a wish list he had made. And there, with a star next to it, was the line: “Make enough money so that [she] doesn’t have to do a job she hates.”

“That meant so much to me,” she says. “It’s one of the reasons this relationship works and my last one didn’t.” Her first marriage was to a “creative” type, a fascinating and wild man who rarely met his half of the mortgage; a man who had such an exciting schedule he was never awake for sex when she was, or able to pick up the kids from school when she or the au pair couldn’t. She could be a case study for the book Smart Girls Marry Money: How Women Have Been Duped into the Romantic Dream — and How They’re Paying for It. It was written by two fortysomething professionals who want to tell younger women some home truths about the postfeminist dream. One is a doctor with an MBA, Daniela Drake, the other an Emmy-winning television producer, Elizabeth Ford.

“It is not a how-to guide,” Ford says. “It is simply two educated and well-meaning women who are just going, ‘What the hell did we do?’” The marry-money thesis is the latest in a list of many that have appeared in the past 10 years — the idea that women can’t have it all and need to revert to more traditional female role play with men has been swilling around controversially in the homespun-philosophy section of the self-help genre. A steady flow of modern marital philosophers are urging women to return to prefeminist states of reliance and supplication (The Surrendered Wife, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands) and manipulative feminine wiles (The Rules, The Princessa, Why Men Marry Bitches). Before that, an awful lot of mothers were saying the same things to their daughters.

Smart Girls Marry Money comes off as a big-sisterly catalogue of things they wish their mother had told them. The title contains their two main arguments. First, that money and the marrying of it is essential for women, because, given the current working culture, women are rarely able to earn as much as men — especially after children. And should their marriage end — as nearly half do — in divorce, it’s a fact that women rarely bounce back, either professionally or financially, as easily as men. The female divorcée, they cruelly add, is unlikely to spring back romantically either, unless she is some kind of a Liz Hurley version of a fortysomething. It’s a satirical book, full of puns and wisecracks. Less gag-laden but similar reading is found in recent research by Professor Stephen Jenkins, director of the Institute for Social & Economic Research, who found that five years after divorce, men were 25% richer, whereas women still had less money than they did pre-split; and that 31% of mothers receive no payment for children. His conclusion is that until true equality exists in the labour market, in the division of labour at home, and in the way people come out of divorce, women remain at a disadvantage.

Ford is a single parent, whose husband, after 13 happy years of marriage, “traded up for a younger model”, as she puts it. She swears she is not bitter, but “being a single mom is really hard. It’s just that if I knew [then] what I know now... There’s a lot of great and essential things you can get from a man — financial things like being able to own a house and pay for great childcare”.

Their second big tub-thump is more singular: that romantic love is a stupid thing to base a marriage on. Drake split from her first husband because she felt the passion (ergo, love) had gone from their relationship, and regrets it. “Things might have been different if I’d known then that love is transient, that it doesn’t exist, that [a lack of it] is not a reason to get out of your marriage.” Gallingly, her first husband “has now gone on to be quite rich”.

“There is a corrective purpose to this work,” Drake says. “In the late 1800s, when parents began allowing their children to marry for romantic love, social commentators guessed, rather presciently, that the divorce rate would rise to 50%. Their reasoning: if being in love is a reason to marry, then being out of love is a reason for divorce.”

The book contains a lot of other advice that the average mother wouldn’t care, or dare, to hand down: that sexual fulfilment is dependent on discovering yourself through masturbation; that it is imperative to marry young, while you have the seductive powers of the sexually attractive and fecund; to be aware that men are prone to trading up, “once you no longer have great skin or look great in jeans”. They even advise sleeping with your boss if you calculate that you can do so without harming your feelings or prospects. They advise that men don’t want high-earning women, and not to be too ambitious, while also lambasting the male-driven era of greed that has brought down the global economy. It’s a far-reaching book, backed up with a lot of research and argument, packaged as bouncy self-help for the chick-lit market. But do we have to look backwards for the answer to our modern woes? Or are there changes we can make to our lives that do not involve falling into regressive roles?


Australia: A bill of rights would do more harm than good

THE battle lines over an Australian bill of rights are being drawn with a polarisation that will disturb the Rudd Government, which made the tactical decision to defer the republic campaign and give priority to the rights debate.

What do former Australian chief of army Peter Cosgrove, former governor-general Ninian Stephen and original chairwoman of the Northern Territory Emergency Task Force Sue Gordon have in common? They are the Australians who launched, wrote the foreword and the afterword to the new book Don't Leave Us with the Bill, the case against the bill of rights.

In his launch speech this week Cosgrove said he believed the issue was "possibly more important" than the republic. He warned that the Australian public was unimpressed with "me-tooism", being lectured that it must have a bill of rights when such laws "have made not a jot of difference to crushing inequities" in other societies.

"Enduring laws ought not to be a fashion statement," Cosgrove said on Monday when he declared: "Don't leave us with the bill."

Pledged opponents in this book are: Queensland Chief Justice Paul de Jersey; former High Court judge Ian Callinan; former solicitor-general David Bennett; former NSW judge and past president of the Australian Bar Association Ken Handley; historians John Hirst and Geoffrey Blainey; former chief of operations in Iraq Jim Molan; West Australian Attorney-General Christian Porter; University of Sydney professor of law Helen Irving; former Keating minister Gary Johns; the leader of the Catholic Church in Australia, George Pell; deputy president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry John Levi; Australian Christian Lobby head Jim Wallace; former PM John Howard; and shadow attorney-general George Brandis, among others.

The message is that Australia's most prominent opponent of the bill of rights, former NSW Labor premier, Bob Carr, has strong support on both his flanks. The new book from the Menzies Research Centre, co-edited by its executive director Julian Lesser and lawyer Ryan Haddrick, penetrates the fog of polemic around this issue, created by a self-interested legal lobby and human rights industry.

The arguments against a bill of rights are powerful, intellectual and populist. The Rudd Government will commit an act of folly by ignoring them. There is a chance that Frank Brennan, chairman of the consultation panel on the rights issue, may offer the Government an exit strategy.

But if Attorney-General Robert McClelland is allowed to proceed Kevin Rudd will find himself engulfed in a culture war over power, rights and values, with unusual dividing lines.

Virtually every group is split internally, yet there will be strong opposition from the Liberal and National parties, the churches, which are frontline targets, indigenous leaders aware that "rights" arguments are the main barrier to reform in Aboriginal communities, law enforcement authorities, sections of the Labor Party hostile to this undemocratic manoeuvre, and citizens who see this is a power transfer from the people and parliaments to judges.

There are three themes in the Menzies Centre book: the bill of rights is not the best way for society to protect rights; it constitutes an unwise shift in Australia's governing institutions; and, most significantly, the campaign is not primarily about rights but is best understood as an ideological movement that recruits the human rights cause to win social and economic policy changes that would never attract majority support from the public.

Hirst is impolite enough to say there is a "widespread belief" in Australia "that the disadvantaged and minorities have been given far too much attention" and a bill of rights will give them even more. He says leaders such as Howard and Mark Latham were wary of this: witness Howard's "For all of us" 1996 slogan and Latham's warning against "subdividing society into a collection of single identities based on race, gender and sexuality".

This goes to a core point: a bill of rights may assist a few individuals but will diminish society.

Bennett argues the defect lies in thetension between the general rule and the exception: witness the Catholic Church's exemption from discrimination on religious grounds because it wants clergy and teachers to be Catholics. This is "justifiable discrimination", but such decisions should rest with politicians, not judges. How does one balance the right to life with the right to self-defence? How does one balance the right to avoid detention without conviction with the view of every Australian government that on rare occasions detention without conviction is essential for public security?

Defying the power grab by the legal profession, Callinan, de Jersey and Handley insist that non-elected judges should not be asked to resolve such social and economic issues.

Claims they do this now are false. The bill of rights envisages a new role for judges that, as Callinan says, departs from Australian practice.

"Under a human rights act, although it may take a while, the court eventually becomes the master," Handley says.

Howard says that in 2004 his government changed the Marriage Act to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But in Canada, as he explains, the courts purport to make such decisions, and this required override action by Canada's parliament.

The most stunning insight into this entire debate, however, is Brennan's recent and separate attack on Victoria's rights charter, supposedly the model for a national bill. Brennan's conclusion is that Victoria's law has failed its first test: the need to uphold freedom of conscience.

Brennan's concern was clause 8(1)(b) of the Abortion Law Reform Bill that, in defiance of Australian Medical Association ethics, overrode a physician's freedom of conscience and compelled a doctor who had a conscience objection on abortion to find and recommend to the patient a doctor willing to perform the operation. As Brennan said, the law requires "compulsory referral by a conscientious objector" or, in shorthand, leave your morals at the surgery door.

Brennan's conclusion is that Victoria's rights charter "failed spectacularly" to defend a core human right when it conflicted with the progressive-Left political agenda on abortion law and bioethics. He nails the issue: Victoria's law is not primarily about human rights. It is "a device for the delivery of a soft-Left sectarian agenda" and it will be discarded whenever "the rights articulated do not comply with that agenda".

In short, the rights debate is an ideological instrument for causes the Left knows the public may not embrace. Brennan sees it and said it. Presumably, this must influence his report to McClelland.

It goes to the real issue in the national debate: the advocates want certain rights to be advanced and other rights to be cut back.

It is time to ask what this means for society if extra rights are invested in the causes surrounding feminism, asylum seekers, gays, national security suspects, law breakers, secularism and Aboriginal guarantees as anti-intervention devices.



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

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

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


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Monday, June 01, 2009

Evil British social workers again

They really are the spawn of Satan. Their contempt for ordinary people knows no bounds

A MOTHER is taking her fight to the European Court of Human Rights after she was forbidden from seeing her three-year-old daughter because she is not “clever enough” to look after her. The woman, who for legal reasons can be identified only by her first name, Rachel, has been told by a family court that her daughter will be placed with adoptive parents within the next three months, and she will then be barred from further contact.

The adoption is going ahead despite the declaration by a psychiatrist that Rachel, 24, has no learning difficulties and “good literacy and numeracy and [that] her general intellectual abilities appear to be within the normal range”.

Her daughter, K, was born prematurely and officials felt Rachel lacked the intelligence to cope with her complex medical needs Baby K was released from hospital into care and is currently with a foster family. Her health has now improved to the point where she needs little or no day-to-day medical care.

Rachel said last night: “I have been totally let down by the system. All I want is to care for my daughter but the council and the court are determined not to let me. “The court here has now ordered that my contact with my daughter must be reduced from every fortnight until in three months’ time it will all be over and I will never see her again.”

Rachel has now lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights, which has the power to stop the child being given to another family. She has also applied for a judicial review of the adoption order.

Her attempts to fight Nottingham city council’s adoption of her daughter have been hampered because her case was taken over by the official solicitor, the government-funded lawyer who acts for those unable to represent themselves. He was brought in to represent Rachel’s interests because she was judged to be intellectually incapable of instructing her own solicitor. He declined to contest the council’s adoption application, despite her wish to do so.

After the psychiatrist’s assessment of Rachel, the court has now acknowledged that she does have the mental capacity to keep up with the legal aspects of her situation. It has nevertheless refused her attempts to halt the adoption process.

John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, who is campaigning on Rachel’s behalf, said: “The way Rachel has been treated is appalling. She has been swept aside by a system that seems more interested in securing a child for adoption than preserving a natural family unit.”


Christians risk rejection and discrimination for their faith, a study claims

Christians are facing discrimination at work, and ridicule and rejection at home, according to new research. The first poll of Britain's churchgoers, carried out for The Sunday Telegraph, found that thousands of them believe they are being turned down for promotion because of their faith. One in five said that they had faced opposition at work because of their beliefs. More than half of them revealed that they had suffered some form of persecution for being a Christian.

The findings suggest a growing hostility towards religion in this country, which has been highlighted by a series of clashes between churchgoers and their employers. Church leaders, including the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, have urged Christians to "wake up" and defend their beliefs after the suspension of Caroline Petrie, a community nurse, for offering to pray for a patient.

Churchgoers are likely to be further concerned by new guidelines that warn that employees face dismissal if they share their faith with colleagues at work. Employers have been given new advice in a campaign, funded by the Government's equality watchdog, that says people who evangelise in the workplace are "highly likely" to be accused of harassment. The guidelines have been drawn up by the British Humanist Association (BHA), an atheist group, with the help of a £35,000 grant from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), a taxpayer-funded body.

Andrew Copson, director of education at the BHA, claimed that attempts to convert colleagues could amount to harassment under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. He said: "The law specifically protects people from being intimidated or confronted with a hostile environment in the workplace. "Systematically undermining someone's beliefs or persistently attempting to convert someone would lead to the creation of a hostile environment." However, legal experts have attacked the guidelines as "nonsense" and Christian groups have condemned them as "propaganda".

Churchgoers interviewed in the ComRes poll said that they are already facing discrimination at work and one in 10 churchgoers said they have been rejected by family members because of their religious beliefs. As many as 44 per cent said they had been mocked by friends, neighbours or colleagues for being a Christian, and 19 per cent said they had been ignored or excluded for the same reason.

They also claimed that they are being discriminated against at work, with five per cent saying they had been turned down for promotion due to their faith. The same number said they had been reprimanded or cautioned at work for sharing their faith.

There has been a series of cases over recent months featuring Christians who have been suspended after expressing their religious views, including a teacher who complained that a staff training day was used to promote gay rights. Churchgoers believe that these incidents reflect growing intolerance towards Christianity in Britain. Nearly three out of four of those questioned said that there is less religious freedom in the UK now than 20 years ago, and one in five said persecution of Christians is worse in this country compared to other European nations.

Although the EHRC declined to comment on the content of the BHA guidelines, a spokesman said: "The commission's funding programme supports a wide range of organisations, both faith and non-faith groups, in keeping with its aim of promoting good relations and a better understanding between those from different religions and beliefs. "This is one of many such projects to that end. This isn't about supporting a particular belief or lack of belief over another, but encouraging debate." [Threatening Christians who talk about their faith is a great way to encourage debate, of course]

ComRes asked 512 worshippers between April 21 and May 1. The respondents were selected through different Christian media, from liberal publications through to evangelical websites. The results are weighted to the exact denomination and churchmanship profile as defined by the 2005 Church Census.


Women less happy after 40 years of feminism

Despite wealth, health and opportunity, men still more content says study by US National Bureau of Economic Research.

On the long and winding road to having it all, Helen Parker is making good progress. At 27 she’s forging a career as an executive with a transport company in London, she has a steady boyfriend, and together they are buying a flat. One day the prospect of starting a family will beckon. By many standards, she’s thriving. So is she happy?

“Um, I’m reasonably happy,” she said. “And I’m optimistic about the future. But there will always be sacrifices. “There’s plenty more opportunities for women than there used to be — but then again, that means you are always questioning whether the moves you have made are correct, or whether you should have done something else.”

Like many women, her sense of wellbeing and life satisfaction do not match up with advances in social circumstances and material comforts. After 40 years of fighting for equality, it seems that women are no happier. In fact, women in many countries have been growing steadily unhappier compared with men, according to a study published this month by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States.

In The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness, Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers of the University of Pennsylvania, begin by noting the gains. “By many measures the progress of women over recent decades has been extraordinary: the gender wage gap has partly closed; educational attainment has risen and is now surpassing that of men; women have gained an unprecedented level of control over fertility; (and) technological change in the form of new domestic appliances has freed women from domestic drudgery,” they wrote.

Yet Stevenson and Wolfers have found that in America women’s happiness, far from rising, has fallen “both absolutely and relatively to that of men”. Where women in the 1970s reported themselves to be significantly happier than men, now for the first time they are reporting levels of happiness lower than men.

In Europe, people’s sense of happiness has risen slightly, but less so for women than men. In 12 European countries, including Britain, the happiness of women has fallen relative to that of men.

The authors readily admit that measuring happiness is necessarily a subjective task, but the overall trend from the data, compiled from social surveys conducted over many years, is clear and compelling.

The work builds on earlier research by Andrew Oswald, professor of economics at Warwick University, who has a particular interest in the study of happiness. He said: “What Betsey and Justin have done, which is a valuable addition, is to show that the trend is found rather widely. For most of the post-war era, happiness surveys showed women noticeably happier than men. That difference has now eroded to zero.”


Psychologising the Jewish question

In the past few years an interesting mode of discourse has gained currency among some critics of Israel. It consists in characterizing most Israelis, and the Jews who are concerned about Israel's continued existence, as suffering from a deep collective psycho-pathology that conditions them to commit or to endorse systematic brutalization of the Palestinians. It takes Israel and its supporters to be acting out the effects of a long term historical trauma that reached its climax in the Holocaust. They are deflecting the intense anger, helplessness and shame accumulated over centuries of persecution in Europe on to innocent Arab victims in Israel/Palestine. These victims are surrogates for the real but no longer accessible oppressors of the Jews. The analogy driving this discourse is that of the abused child who grows into an abusive adult, imposing his childhood experiences of violence on members of his family and his adult environment.

Three clear examples of this psychologized view of the Israel-Palestine conflict are Jacqueline Rose's book The Question of Zion(Princeton University Press, 2005), Caryl Churchill's play Seven Jewish Children, recently staged at the Royal Court Theatre, and Anthony Lerman's article 'Must Jews always see themselves as victims' (The Independent, March 7, 2009). Rose argues that Zionism, and the country that it created, derive from the the same psychological disorder that generated the false messianism of Shabbtai Zvi and his followers. She regards it as a form of mass hysteria generated by the inability of Jews to respond rationally to prolonged suffering. Churchill adapts this diagnosis of Zionism to Israel's recent offensive in Gaza. She portrays Jewish children as obsessively raised with the collective memory of historical trauma as the pervasive background against which Israeli acts of murder and expulsion are justified or denied. Lerman invokes the work of Israeli political psychologist Daniel Bar Tal to claim that the inability of Israelis and Jews to deal adequately with the experience of the Holocaust has given rise to a persecution complex that is responsible for Israel's perverse behaviour towards the Palestinians, as well as the willingness of Jews abroad to support this behaviour.

There are at least five features of the psychologizing discourse worth noting. First, it provides an ostensibly scientific basis for attributing negative properties to an ethnic group. Inter alia, most (but not all) Israelis, and many of their Diaspora Jewish supporters suffer from a blood lust. They are insensitive to the suffering of innocent Palestinians. They are exclusively concerned with the welfare of their own people. They engage in illicit lobbying and hysterical political campaigning to promote a narrow and destructive group agenda. They refuse to acknowledge the normal constraints of universal human rights and morality. These are, of course, versions of longstanding anti-Jewish bigotries that infect European and Middle Eastern history. They are, however, rendered opaque and acceptable through translation into the psychological symptoms of a disturbed group. The painstaking clinical studies required to support serious psychological diagnoses are singularly absent from the psychologizing discourse. It is, in fact, a vintage case of pseudo-science in the service of prejudice. It does, however, serve an important political and cultural role. It renders acceptable attitudes and assumptions that would be inadmissible if expressed in traditional terms.

Second, the practitioners of psychologizing discourse do not, in general, present themselves as adversaries of Israel and the Jews. On the contrary, they are therapists moved by the highest motives of public responsibility. They seek to cure the patients of their collective disease by getting them to see the full extent of their malady and to recognize its roots in a historically disordered collective spirit. They do not see Israel and the Jews as evil, but as deeply pathological and in need of proper care. That they may, in many cases, prescribe a therapy that requires the patients (in the case of Israel) to cede their own collective existence is not an expression of hostility. It is a desire to free the patients from the agony that they are inflicting upon themselves and the rest of the world.

Third, this discourse is a particularly effective method for shutting down serious political discussion and controlling reaction. If members of the deranged group dissent from this account, their comments are summarily dismissed as the delusional resistance of patients to the benign efforts of the therapist to treat their illness. Moreover, events like Israel's operation in Gaza are not construed as the destructive and misguided actions of an unpleasant government, phenomena common enough in other parts of the world. They are taken to be direct expressions of a perverse national psychology working itself out with the grim inexorability of a medical condition. They require not the sort of criticism appropriate for normal people and countries, but a complete quarantine of the patients for their own good, as well as that of everyone else. Jews and Israelis do not act from the same motives that determine the behaviour, good or bad, of balanced people. Their conduct is the result of a diseased nature that requires radical revision to restore them to health.

Fourth, the psychologizing discourse contrasts with 'root cause' explanations applied to terrorist violence and extremism from oppressed groups. These explanations use past persecution to exculpate the agents of violence from responsibility for their choices. The actions that they commit are ultimately reduced to the oppression that they or their people have experienced. The therapists to the Jews do not treat Jewish suffering as a basis for mitigating Jewish or Israeli misbehaviour. Instead, it is used to highlight the depth of the pathology that generates it, and to focus on the need for drastic corrective measures, where these frequently require that Israel be politically eliminated as the best way of eradicating the disease.

Finally, the use of the psychologizing discourse for the Israel-Palestine conflict is sui generis. If anyone were to construe other conflicts in analogous terms, they would be quickly dismissed as racists or neo-colonialists. Imagine, for example, how progressive opinion would receive the suggestion that Africans were disposed to mass murder and civil war because they had been traumatized by centuries of colonial rule and so had internalized the treatment and mores to which Europeans had subjected them. Similarly, it seems unlikely that any attempt to analyze the contemporary Muslim world as suffering from a collective psychosis brought on by the trauma of European violence over the centuries will meet with much enthusiasm among people who regard themselves as politically enlightened. But it is precisely the fashionably 'progressive' who accept as the height of wisdom the psychologizing discourse about Jews and Israel.

Using group psychological profiling to attribute to Jews an unnatural and diseased nature is not new. In 1901 Otto Weininger published Sex and Character in Vienna (an anonymous English translation appeared in 1906, published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York). In this book, Weininger contrasts masculine and feminine character types. He identifies men with reason, virtue, heroism, ego, cultural creativity (genius) and social order. The female is weak, dependent, cowardly, amoral, lacking in ego, driven by sexual passion, incapable of genuine creativity, and subversive of order. Weininger cites a variety of biological and medical 'facts' to argue for his description of male and female typologies. He then distinguishes between 'Aryan' and Jewish characters, claiming that the Aryans instantiate male properties, while the Jews are largely feminine in nature.

Weininger wrote in turn of the century Vienna, when pseudo-scientific theories of race and sex were invoked to support racist anthropological views and misogynist attitudes towards women. These cultural themes defined the context in which Weininger formulated his ideas. They also provided the basis for Nazi policies in the following decades. However, it is important to distinguish carefully between some of these themes and Weininger's enterprise. While there are clear racist elements in his book, he is careful to insist that he is not characterizing Jews as a racial entity, but as an idealized psychological type, instantiated to a greater or lesser degree by actual Jews. He also clearly states that he opposes any attempt to persecute or disenfranchise Jews. He holds out the prospect of escape from their respective natures to both individual women and Jews. For women this requires adopting male values and forms of behaviour. Jews can redeem themselves from their type by converting to Christianity and embracing Aryan culture. Weininger himself had adopted Lutheranism. He identified with Protestantism, rather than Catholicism, because of a strong admiration for Kant and the reliance on individual conscience in achieving moral responsibility.

It is tempting to dismiss Weininger as a crackpot (Freud, who met him briefly, described him as 'highly gifted but sexually deranged'). He committed suicide at the age of 23, two years after the publication of Sex and Character, and became a romantic cult figure. In fact, his book had a significant impact on intellectual life in Vienna and abroad. Prominent cultural figures hailed it as a work of genius. So, for example, Karl Kraus, the noted Viennese satirist, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, the influential Austrian philosopher, expressed great admiration for Weininger's work. Like him, they were both converted Jews. Weininger's view of Jews resonated widely through Austrian literary society.

Weininger was an early therapist to the Jews. There are, however, fundamental differences between his project and that of the latter-day therapists: he regarded Jews and Judaism as a disease to be escaped; they, in general, do not, although they frequently slide into such a view of Israel. Some even present themselves as the guardians of 'true' Jewish values in the face of Zionist corruption. The traits that Weininger stigmatizes in his caricature of a Jewish cultural type are largely disjoint from those that the contemporary therapists select for opprobrium. Weininger states that the origins of the Jewish type are a mystery to him. By contrast the contemporary therapists explain negative collective Jewish features as the result of group trauma.

But important analogies do exist between Weininger's writings on Jews and the psychologizing discourse that has emerged in recent years. In both cases traditional anti-Jewish prejudices are effectively legitimized through a pseudo-scientific exercise in collective psychological portraiture. Weininger and the latter-day therapists both offer an exit from group stigma through recognition of the pathology that provokes it, and the adoption of an alternative set of cultural commitments. For the Jews among the therapists, this is a route out of quarantine into the mainstream of civilized opinion. No wonder, then, that it should prove to be attractive in the face of a hostile social environment.

Most therapists to the Jews would probably recoil at the suggestion that they share a common set of concerns with Weininger. They are undoubtedly sincere in their professed intention to be helpful and constructive. It is unfortunate that they have apparently failed to examine the defining assumptions of their enterprise. Should they do so, they may well be surprised to discover the deeply racist nature of some of these assumptions.



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

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

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


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The Real Politically Incorrect Net Ring

This net ring exposes political correctness for the fraud that it is and advocates universal values of individual freedom, free speech, and equal rights for all.


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