The creeping dictatorship of the Left... 

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

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


31 March, 2011

Why are Britain's judges covering up the sleazy behaviour of public figures?

Let us imagine the chief executive of a vast and profitable company that spirals hopelessly into debt and has to be rescued by the Government at enormous expense to the taxpayer.

The man, who happens to be married, leaves his job in disgrace. Later it is learnt that while his enterprise was slowly imploding he was carrying on an affair with a female member of his staff. A newspaper wants to publish this information, but is forbidden to do so by a judge.

The judge interprets Article Eight of the Human Rights Convention (which upholds the right to privacy) in favour of the former chief executive. Some might think it is significant that the businessman was involved in an extra-marital relationship when his company was going pear-shaped, but the judge sees no public interest in publication.

Not only that. He imposes a so-called ‘superinjunction’ which means that no media organisation is allowed to say an order has been granted by the judge or applied for by the ex-mogul.

Is this imaginary? I am not allowed to say. The public doesn’t know because there is a new phenomenon in this country called secret justice. For years it has operated in the family courts, where superinjunctions originated. The argument was that cases had to be secret because children were involved. Now secrecy is being extended to public figures who want to protect their reputations.

Usually, though not always, sex is involved. One notorious exception was a London-based oil company called Trafigura, which had been at the centre of a toxic waste-dumping scandal in Africa. In October 2009, its law firm, Carter Ruck, obtained a superinjunction prohibiting publication that was only lifted after a Labour MP asked a question in the Commons.

Most of the 20 or so other superinjunctions believed to have been granted in the past 18 months have to do with sex. Many involve sportsmen, and at least four of them England footballers. In one case, that of the captain John Terry, a judge lifted a superinjunction because he believed that the footballer was using it not to protect his privacy but his image and sponsorship deals. The other cases remain secret.

I have little or no interest in the sexual shenanigans of England footballers, but that is hardly the point. They are role models for many young supporters. It might also be argued that some of their energies have been expended ‘playing away’, which may have conceivably contributed to England’s consistently poor performance.

Moreover, the granting of injunctions works against the interests of the innocent majority of players. Because judges do not allow the general public to know the identity of individual miscreants, footballers who are utterly blameless and loyal to their wives — there are some — may easily be mistaken for adulterers.

Other non-footballing sportsmen have also been granted superinjunctions. So have a number of more prominent public men. It is difficult to understand why this should be so. My suspicion is that judges increasingly reflect the prevailing view of our ruling class that a public figure’s sex life should always be private, however aberrant it may be.

That was the implication of the ruling by Mr Justice Eady in the landmark case three years ago involving the now former motor racing supremo Max Mosley, who unbeknown to his wife indulged in sadomasochistic orgies for 40 years, and successfully sued the News of the World for invading his privacy by writing about two of the most lurid of them.

Judges are mortal beings with their own moral values, which in this area may very well be at variance with those of most people. Some of them are emphasising the privacy aspects of Article Eight of the Human Rights Convention while underplaying Article Ten, which promotes freedom of expression. Where sex is involved, disloyalty, depravity and unkindness must remain secret, if necessary through the force of a superinjunction.

This development is disturbing on various levels. One has to do with creating false reputations. I would have much less difficulty with Mr Mosley’s activities if he had been wholly open about them. As it was, he presented himself to his colleagues and the world in general as a pretty straightforward sort of chap, when he was what many people would describe as a deviant with sadomasochistic tendencies.

When I look at an Archbishop, I want to believe that he is what he presents himself to be. The same with a Prime Minister. But because judges are preventing the Press from revealing what some public figures have done in private, our suspicions are raised about everybody, so that our trust and respect for all public figures is shaken.

More pertinently still, the judicial taste for secrecy is apt to spread. Last Sunday’s Mail on Sunday revealed that the anonymity of a public servant in court on charges believed to be connected to child-sex offences has been protected by a superinjunction. This is very sinister.

If, God forbid, we had a Prime Minister who enjoyed ‘bunga-bunga’ parties during which he had sex with under-age girls — as Silvio Berlusconi, Prime Minister of Italy, is alleged to have done — might judges prevent the media from writing about them? Such a prospect no longer seems far-fetched.

And illicit sex, of course, often goes with drug abuse and financial corruption, as countless former cases confirm. If toxic waste-dumping allegations against Trafigura can be protected by a superinjunction, it is not hard to imagine that the financial misdoings of a captain of industry might also be out of bounds for the media, particularly if he could plead that his sexual privacy was in danger of being infringed.

The evidence that secrecy is spreading is strengthened by a story in yesterday’s newspapers about a wealthy financier being the first person ever to be granted anonymity in a libel case. ‘Mr Z’ claims to have be defamed by his relatives in a row over a multi-million-pound trust. Tellingly, he is accused not just of misappropriating funds but also of a sex offence. Mention sex, and a judge is likely to reach for a superinjunction.

The Master of the Rolls, Lord Neuberger, is currently chairing a committee looking into the use of superinjunctions, about which he is believed to have some misgivings. He is due to report before Easter. I wish I were more optimistic that he would produce some robust recommendations to reverse this creeping tide of secrecy.

I also strongly doubt there will be greater openness so long as Article Eight of the Human Rights Convention stays on the statute book. I can understand why the Lord Chief Justice, Igor Judge, should have called on newspapers to stop criticising judges in a speech on Monday, but he can hardly expect them to remain silent when the judiciary is responsible for effectively developing a privacy law and imposing secrecy in court cases — enormous changes on which Parliament has not yet spoken.

We need our own Bill of Rights — promised by David Cameron, but far from being delivered — to safeguard privacy but also the right of the Press to publish what is true, and could be argued by a reasonable man (not necessarily a judge) as being in the public interest.

The argument is not really about some England footballer who has a bit on the side with a lingerie model. It is about holding the rich and powerful — like that former chief executive I mentioned earlier — to account. One role of the Press is to ensure that public figures do not hide significant discreditable secrets. That role is becoming increasingly difficult to fulfil. With things going the way they are, it is hard not to be profoundly depressed.


Britain's anti-cuts movement has jumped the shark

The term “jumping the shark” describes the moment that a TV series becomes a parody of itself, condemning itself to irrelevance. The origin of the phrase comes from an episode of Happy Days where the Fonz jumped over a leaping shark in a surfing competition. In all likelihood, Saturday will come to be remembered as the day that the anti-cuts movement jumped the shark, parodying itself so ridiculously that it can no longer be seen as a serious political force.

Consider the speeches given to the TUC march. PJ Byrne has written a fine article on the errors within these speeches, but even on a superficial level the speeches were ridiculous. Ed Miliband’s invocation of the suffragette, US Civil Rights and anti-apartheid movements only served to underline the speciousness his own cause. Where those groups had fought for freedom against government oppression, Miliband defended community centres and jobs for life in the public sector. The comparison is self-evidently ludicrous. Archbishop Cranmer's headline neatly summed it up: “Ed Miliband: I am Emmeline Pankhurst! I am Martin Luther King! I am Nelson Mandela!”

How unbecoming it was to see the British left, with its roots in honourable struggles for peace, universal suffrage and better conditions for the working poor, now little more than a mouthpiece for public sector unions. So, when did the British left stop caring about the poor and start caring about civil servants? When unions stopped representing the working poor and became a preserve of state workers. Today, only 15% of private sector workers are in a trade union, while 56% of public sector workers are (PDF source). The left can’t claim to be concerned about the poor while it's trying to protect relatively well-paid state workers from redundancy, which is a fact of life for workers in the private sector.

And, of course, there was UK Uncut's “occupation” of Fortnum & Mason and vandalizing of businesses around Piccadilly Circus. As Tim Worstall pointed out, Fortnum & Mason is owned by a charitable trust that donates about £40m every year to charity. Even the “tax avoidance” allegations against Vodafone and Boots are silly – tax avoidance is, by definition, legal. There's a good argument to be made in favour of simplifying the tax code to reduce avoidance, but to blame private companies themselves for acting lawfully is absurd. But the real point was class warfare, which is why the Ritz was also targeted. UK Uncut showed itself once again to be made of spoilt Marxist wannabes.

The campaign against the cuts was always unrealistic, but Saturday showed how much of the anti-cuts movement has lost its grip on reality altogether. The government should worry less about it, and cut faster and deeper without fear.


TSA banned from Seattle area restaurant?

Libertarian News Examiner reader Jason Gonella reported, "There is a story circulating about a restaurant that refuses to serve anyone employed by the TSA. That's a good start."

While it apparently hasn't been picked up by any credible mainstream media outlet (an oxymoron if ever there was one) it is all over the internet at places like The Consumerist and MoxNews.

(Just keep in mind the standing joke, "It's on the internet so it must be true." Translation: caveat emptor.)

Beyond the story's authenticity question, reader comments following The Consumerist article illustrate how far libertarian education still has to go.

Most of the commentary centers on questions of who can legally ban whom and whether discrimination laws that apply to "protected classes" should also apply to the TSA.

No one seems to get that a free society has no government mandated "protected classes," meaning anyone can discriminate against anyone as long as they don't initiate force, intimidation or fraud, and no government has any legitimate say in it.

Discrimination on the basis of race, religion, gender, and all the rest is disgusting but totally free choice. And it's a matter of free choice for people – not "government" but people – to fight against it.

What if a restaurant bans gays?

With today's instant communication technology the word can spread almost instantly amongst decent, fair, moral, freedom-loving people of all persuasions to boycott and protest and shun anyone who practices such stupidity.

They can find out the restaurant's suppliers, who's carrying their advertising, who their regular customers are, and without initiating force or intimidation or fraud encourage them to stop.

And anti-gay people are free to continue to support the restaurant because they absolutely have the same freedom of choice as everyone else.

Many people will think it's not fair, but in a free society there will be no coercive government to run to. Instead of whining, the situation creates a perfect opportunity for people to launch gay-only restaurants or "everyone welcome" restaurants in direct competition with the bigots.

In a free society, the fact that a private business is "open to the public" does not make it "public property" subject to blind bureaucratic one-size-fits-all dictates.

Freedom is a true human value; the whiny emotion-driven mythology of "social justice" rammed down everyone's throats at the point of a gun is not.


Black GA Legislators Sue to Dissolve ‘Super-Majority White Cities’‏

Looks like California’s Marin County is not the only U.S. community that’s too white

The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus filed a lawsuit Monday against the state of Georgia seeking to dissolve the city charters of Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Johns Creek, Milton and Chattahoochee Hills. Further, the lawmakers, joined by civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph Lowery, aim to dash any hopes of a Milton County.

The lawsuit, filed in a North Georgia U.S. District Court Monday, claims that the state circumvented the normal legislative process and set aside its own criteria when creating the “super-majority white” cities within Fulton and DeKalb counties. The result, it argues, is to dilute minority votes in those areas, violating the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the Constitution….

Lead attorney Jerome Lee, of Taylor Lee & Associates, said the suit is novel. “The Voting Rights Act forbids a state from doing anything that affects the voting rights of minorities, except with a permissible purpose,” he said, citing the redistricting that takes place when the census documents population shifts. “In this case, it’s different because the state actually went outside the normal redistricting process and created these cities that have no meaningful state purpose.”

According to the 2010 census, Fulton County is 44.5 percent white and 44.1 percent black. About 54 percent of DeKalb County residents are black, and 33.3 percent are white.

Sandy Springs, created in 2005, is 65 percent white and 20 percent black. Milton, formed a year later, is 76.6 percent white and 9 percent black. Johns Creek, also formed that year, is 63.5 percent white and 9.2 percent black. Chattahoochee Hills, formed in 2007, is 68.6 percent white and 28 percent black, while Dunwoody, created in 2008, is 69.8 percent white and 12.6 percent black.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


30 March, 2011

Britain's invisible police: In worst forces, fewer than 10 per cent are actually fighting crime

Fewer than one in ten uniformed officers in some police forces are available to man the front line at any one time, a damning report reveals today.

There are also more officers on duty on a quiet Monday morning than at any other time of the week – and the fewest just after midnight on Friday when levels of drunken violence soar.

Antiquated shift patterns, court hearings and training requirements mean that in two forces only 9 per cent of officers can actually tackle crime, the police inspectorate found.

Bedfordshire, along with Devon and Cornwall, came bottom of a study into what proportion of officers in England and Wales are available to answer 999 calls or patrol the streets – the definition of front-line work.

The watchdog found many other forces fared little better, with an average of 12 per cent of officers available to catch crooks and keep people safe. The findings come despite vast increases in police budgets over the past decade.

The figures include officers and Police Community Support Officers. In some forces PCSOs typically do not work after 8pm.

Chief Inspector of Constabulary Sir Denis O’Connor also highlighted how one in three members of the police workforce is not employed in a front-line role. These include staff working in personnel, maintenance and administration.

Sir Denis said visible police ‘pay the rent’ because they are what the public wants to see and boost confidence in the service.
'Oh look, the first policeman of spring' He called on forces to consider how many officers they assign to front-line roles and whether they are available when demand peaks.

Inspectorate officials set out to examine how chief constables were using the manpower available to them. They found huge differences among the numbers of police officers and PCSOs who are available for duty.

At the bottom end of the scale with Bedfordshire and Devon and Cornwall were Kent and Greater Manchester which also had fewer than 10 per cent of officers on the front line.

At the top, Merseyside made almost 17 per cent of uniformed staff available for the work that matters most to taxpayers.

Sir Denis said there was a limit to the proportion of police who could be available because of the need to cover duties around the clock. Forces need to employ up to six officers to effectively cover one post 24 hours a day for a week.

The watchdog was asked by ministers to define the ‘front line’ and examine what proportion of officers were ‘available’ to the public. Sir Denis said debate continued to rage over what constituted ‘front-line’ policing, but added that it was those in everyday contact with people to keep them safe and enforce the law.

A survey of police and members of the public found most agree that those answering 999 calls and patrolling the streets are on the front line.

Sir Denis revealed that his staff faced resistance from some chief constables and that 21 forces out of 43 did not reply to a survey. But the findings will be examined closely by ministers who believe police leaders can manage budget cuts without damaging front-line performance.

However, Sir Denis warned that back and middle-office functions were not ‘disposable assets’, because forces needed trainers, accountants and IT experts to operate effectively. He added that there were few obvious candidates for cuts, even in back-office roles.


7 Topics We Can't Have Adult Conversations About in America

John Hawkins

In a world where politics has become all-consuming and there's an interest group looking for an opportunity to exploit every issue, it has become almost impossible to have adult conversations about certain subjects. The moment you try to do so, legions of grievance mongers, ideologues and bottom feeders start belting out scripted responses that have nothing to do with the topic at hand and everything to do with what they imagine your motivations to be and how ugly, stupid, and flawed they think you are as a human being.

What this means is that certain crucial issues never really get discussed in this country. Instead, we just end up with people insulting each other back and forth. That's too bad because these are not small matters. To the contrary, they're rather consequential and they deserve to be seriously discussed instead of treated like partisan footballs.

1) An Overly-Feminized Society: Women have come a long way in the last fifty years, but you'd hardly know it from the feminist rhetoric we hear. Maybe instead of raging against the patriarchy, we should start asking if men are now getting the short end of the stick. Does that sound wacky? Tell that to a dad who's fighting for custody of his child in divorce court. How about when it comes to abortions? We keep hearing that it takes two people to make a baby and that both parties are responsible for raising a child; so how come the father is locked out of the decision-making when it comes to deciding whether there's going to be an abortion? If women are earning 57 percent of the college degrees these days, maybe we should be asking how our education system is failing our young men. Women may feel like they still have it tougher, but percentage-wise, there are probably as many men who feel like our gender is the one getting the raw deal. The difference is that men aren't usually willing to say it out loud.

2) Illegal Immigration: If you try to discuss the problems associated with illegal immigration, the only response is, "You just don't want Hispanics here!" That's really shorthand for, "We don't ever want to have a real discussion about the issue." Here's the simple reality: Because we have so many poor Hispanic countries near our southern border, the majority of illegal immigrants in this country is ALWAYS going to be Hispanic. We can never seem to get past that fact to really talk about all the other issues associated with illegal immigration. For example, are illegal immigrants putting Americans out of work? Are they driving down salaries that American workers are paid? If we allow illegals in the country to have citizenship, won't that just encourage more illegal immigrants to come here? Does it really make sense to allow millions of manual laborers, most of whom are poor and uneducated, to become American citizens who'll be eligible for welfare, food stamps, and Social Security? Wouldn't that just be importing poverty into the country? Are the millions of illegals in this country actually changing our culture for the worse? Should we put an end to birthright citizenship for the children of two illegals? Could it actually be dangerous over the long term to have millions of people here who aren't loyal to the United States and believe they have a right to be here illegally because the southern United States is "stolen land?"

3) Legal Immigration: Despite the attempts to conflate this problem with illegal immigration, it's a very different issue. For one thing, most Americans agree that legal immigration is a good thing -- at least to a certain extent. Still, if we start with the presumption that we do have a right to control who enters our country and that the goal of legal immigration should be to improve life for the people who are already here, there are a lot of important questions that deserve an answer other than, "You hate immigrants." We need to start asking: Should our immigration policy be based on merit instead of family connections? We're the most desirable location in the world; so why not take the best of the best? If we were actually bringing in rocket scientists, engineers, and computer programmers, then maybe it would be time to ask if we should increase the number of people we're allowing to immigrate to our country. Our immigration policies are actually changing the racial make-up of our country. Should we put a stop to that? Should we focus on bringing in more people from Western nations with similar cultures? How about we make immigrants ineligible to receive welfare or food stamps? These are all very relevant questions that we never really have any back-and-forth on. That should change.

4) Our Deficit Spending: A lot of people would argue that we do discuss this issue seriously, but that's not really the case. Many people give lip service to the idea that our spending is "unsustainable" and theoretically agree that we need to do something about it, but they fiercely resist actually getting down to brass tacks and distract, distract, distract when it's time to talk about real world solutions. Realistically, we cannot get our spending under control without dealing with Social Security and Medicare. Moreover, on the state and local level, union pensions have to be dealt with. Then there are taxes. Here's the truth: Taxes must go up at some point and we can't tax the rich enough to fix the problem. What that means is that the middle class must pay more in taxes, not for better services, but to pay for what we've already spent. If you disagree with what conservatives like Paul Ryan and Rand Paul have come up with, that's fine and dandy. Just present your own numbers that explain how we're going to pay off a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit, a 14 trillion dollar debt, and 100 trillion dollars in unfunded Medicare/Social Security liabilities without cutting NPR, PBS, cowboy poetry or anything else liberals think is essential.

5)Gay Marriage: Our republic has survived for 200+ years without gay marriage. Up until the last couple of decades, even gay activists weren't seriously trying to redefine marriage. So now, suddenly, anyone who opposes it is a homophobe? How about we discuss the fact that being pro-gay marriage is incompatible with being a Christian? Isn't forcing Christian churches to have gay marriages a violation of their First Amendment rights? Isn't it entirely possible that gay marriage could cheapen and demean heterosexual marriage leading to less marriages, which would harm society? Should we be doing something that helps mainstream an extremely unhealthy lifestyle? Why do we need a religious ceremony for gays when civil unions could supply the same legal rights without being nearly as controversial?

6)Racism: At what point can we all stop pretending that America hasn't done a 180 degree turn-around on race issues since the sixties? People yell “racism" so much these days that you'd think Democrats like Bull Connor and George Wallace are still around persecuting black Americans. Could we start by perhaps acknowledging that affirmative action is immoral government-sponsored racism against white Americans that undermines the achievements of all African Americans? Is it worth discussing the possibility that the sky-high illegitimacy rate in black America is ten times more of a factor in their problems than racism? How many black Americans fail simply because they've been told their entire lives that they're victims and that the deck is stacked against them? How about black racism? Louis Farrakhan, who's well liked in black America, is as much of a scumbag as a KKK leader and everyone knows black Americans supported Obama over Clinton purely because of his skin color. We rightfully condemn racism and race hatred amongst whites; so why do blacks get a pass on the same issue? Can we also admit that being black is often a huge advantage in pursuing scholarships, getting promotions, and avoiding getting fired? When the president of the United States is black, isn't that a pretty good indication that racism has become a very minor factor in American life?

7) Radical Islam: There's plenty of talk about radical Islam, but few genuine conversations about the subject because there are so many difficult questions to answer. How do we define a moderate Muslim? How do we tell the difference between the moderate Muslims and the radicals? Shariah law is barbarism that's incompatible with Western civilization. How do we stop it from spreading here? Should the unique problems associated with Islam affect our immigration policy? Why aren't more moderate Muslims speaking out against radical Islam? There are already Americans who've been intimidated by the violent threats of radical Islamists. What's the best way to keep those threats from inhibiting free speech? These are not bigoted questions; they're questions being asked by Americans all across the country. Unfortunately, instead of talking it over, some people would rather play the victim and scream "Islamophobia." It's not Islamophobia to question why parts of Islam have become so intertwined with murderous violence and why more Muslims aren't renouncing that violence the way people from other religions have in similar circumstances.


Australian Liberal Party MP says debate being stifled over 'racism' fears

The Liberal party is Australia's major conservative party -- odd though that will sound to Americans

THE Liberal senator widely attacked for describing Islam as a totalitarian ideology has warned that Australians at odds with the "politically correct" orthodoxy are being forced to whisper their views for fear of being labelled racists.

South Australian senator Cory Bernardi has also demanded migrants observe Australian customs and core values, urging the nation to reject a path of "isolation and separatism" by tolerating breaches of the nation's "social covenant" by newcomers.

But the nation's first Muslim MP, Sydney's Ed Husic, has rejected the comments, saying no-one needs to whisper opinions that represent considered and thoughtful argument.

Last month Senator Bernardi said in a radio interview: "Islam itself is the problem, it's not Muslims. Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology."

The comments provoked a storm of critics, with Julia Gillard accusing the Liberals of "race-baiting" and demanding Tony Abbott dump Senator Bernardi as his parliamentary secretary.

Yesterday Senator Bernardi launched an impassioned defence of his stance on his website in a blog titled "The Whisper Zone".

"Those who speak publicly, - normally these are people of a conservative or traditional viewpoint - are too often shouted down, mocked and derided simply for expressing a viewpoint that does not align with the prevailing PC orthodoxy," Senator Bernardi wrote.

"This has the effect of silencing people because they are afraid of being intimidated and ridiculed.

In effect, they are reduced to whispering their views to others." Mr Husic, who holds the seat of Chifley, said Australia was a democracy where people were free to express their views.

"But in doing so, we should also be mindful that what we say, where these views may not be based on fact, can cause hurt or marginalise," Mr Husic told The Australian Online.

"People in public life have to be especially conscious of this. "I'd respectfully suggest there's no need to whisper considered, thoughtful argument."

"If one's views aren't based on fact or are indifferent to others in a rush to make a headline, then perhaps keeping those views to oneself is the best course of action."

Senator Bernardi said he was not precious or thin-skinned, but noted that it seemed publicly acceptable for Labor MPs like Kevin Rudd and Chris Evans, as well as independent senator Nick Xenophon, to express concerns about particular groups, while he was shouted down for expressing his views.

"If the cost of raising legitimate community concerns, whether or not others actually agree with the question raised, leads to lies, smears, irrational accusations of racism and bigotry, then we really do have a problem with free speech in this country," he wrote.


Conservati​ve Compassion Vs. Liberal Pity

I've always seen President Bush as a Christian gentleman rather than as a conservative but the author below argues that his idea of compassionate conservatism was important and transforming. The argument that the Left are at best motivated by pity rather than compassion is cogent -- JR

A remarkable feature of President Bush’s pronouncements is his unashamed use of the “L” word. Mr. Bush calls his political philosophy “compassionate conservatism,” but he is not afraid to say the older, stronger word that gives that philosophy its meaning. The word is love.

Mr. Bush used the word when, during the presidential campaign, he was confronted by a man who spoke loosely and negligently of illegitimate children and the welfare system. When the man uttered the word “bastards,” Mr. Bush became angry. “First of all, sir,” he said, “we must remember that it is our duty to love all the children.” The president was similarly unflinching in his inaugural address, in which he spoke of “failures of love.” In that address Mr. Bush spoke, too, of “uncounted, unhonored acts of decency,” an allusion to Wordsworth’s lines describing

that best portion of a good man’s life;
His little, nameless, unremembered acts
Of kindness and of love.

Many conservatives are skeptical of the notion of mixing love and politics. Memories of the sloppy radicalism of the 1960s, with its “Summer of Love,” can sour almost anyone on love’s “significance as a principle of order in the human soul, in society and in the universe,” as T. S. Eliot put it.

But the taint goes deeper than the sixties. Long before the hippies exhorted a now-defunct counterculture to “make love, not war,” the parties of the Left sought to make love a first principle of politics. The socialists invoked the idea of love in their struggle against market liberalism: they believed that the modern system of loveless labor could be replaced by a model of community grounded not in competition but in mutual care.

The error the socialists and the welfare-state liberals made was to suppose that love’s efficacy can be gradually extended beyond the bounds of the family and the tribe, where it spontaneously creates desirable patterns of order, into larger communities, where it does not.

Wherever we see love required to perform a large, public role, we find that it almost always degenerates into pity. Hannah Arendt, the German Jewish émigré and New York intellectual, illuminated the distinction between love and pity when she drew attention in "On Revolution" to a theme in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Arendt described how the novelist, in the story of the Grand Inquisitor, contrasted the loving compassion of Jesus with the eloquent but disastrous pity of the Inquisitor:

"For compassion, to be stricken with the suffering of someone else as though it were contagious, and pity, to be sorry without being touched in the flesh, are not only not the same, they may not even be related. Compassion, by its very nature, cannot be touched off by the sufferings of a whole class or a people, or, least of all, mankind as a whole. It cannot reach out farther than what is suffered by one person and still remain what it is supposed to be, co-suffering.

Its strength hinges on the strength of passion itself, which, in contrast to reason, can comprehend only the particular, but has no notion of the general and no capacity for generalization. The sin of the Grand Inquisitor was that he, like Robespierre, was “attracted toward les hommes faibles,” not only because such attraction was indistinguishable from lust for power, but also because he had depersonalized the sufferers, lumped them together into an aggregate—the people toujours malheureux, the suffering masses, et cetera.

Pity, Arendt argued, is a concern for the misery of another unprompted by intimacy with, or love for, the sufferer. Compassion, by contrast, is a love directed “towards specific suffering” and concentrates on “particular persons.” It can be exercised only by individuals or small groups, not by agencies or bureaus. Pity, Arendt wrote, “may be the perversion of compassion.” Because the pitier “is not stricken in the flesh,” because he keeps his “sentimental distance,” he has often shown “a greater capacity for cruelty” than the confessedly cruel.

The type of compassion that modern liberals claim as their own peculiar virtue is really a form of pity, milder perhaps than that which lies at the heart of the socialist orthodoxies, but dangerous in its own right.

David Hume called pity “counterfeited” love. It is the false compassion that results when men exercise their kindness by committee. It is the look in the eyes of the welfare clerk or the public housing official. To be pitied by another man is to stand humiliated before him; however well-intentioned programs grounded in pity may be, they always end by laying low their intended beneficiaries. Pity does not lead to a flourishing in the pitied, though it may provoke their resentment, even their rage; the act of pitying is always a kind of strength condescending to weakness. Love awakens; pity oppresses.

Driven by a belief in the redemptive power of love, President Bush has tried to mobilize America’s little platoons of compassion on behalf of the wayward, the needy, the outcast. Even so, pity still prevails in government. Proposed changes in the law, to involve the institutions of civil society in the distribution of public assistance, languish in limbo.

Religious institutions, for example, do a better job than purely secular assistance programs in helping people fix those inner defects of character that account for so much failure and distress, but our modern poor laws hinder the compassionate work of these organizations.

Whatever one’s idea of the truth of particular religious creeds, society benefits when people engaged in social work are able to see promise in the people they are charged with helping. Faith in God, Father Raphael says, is crucial to the work of the non-denominational Abraham House—as well as to its success. He calls the place a “little parish, a parish of offenders.”

His faith, Father Raphael says, not only helps him to see the “grace God can work” in fallen men; it also helps him overcome the fear a man naturally feels when he works under the ever present threat of violence.

Compassionate assistance cannot, of course, be a substitute for the punishment of criminal acts or atonement for wrongdoing. And we must remember, when we speak of compassion’s healing virtues, the ineradicable element of evil in human nature. No doubt most people do too little to resist the evil in themselves; but for the much smaller group who embrace the malignant power they discover in their hearts, even acts of kindness and of love may fail to redeem.

But although in many cases compassion can heal, institutions that have the power to do more than pity people who, unrepaired, will go on to wreck other lives continue to be shut out of public almsgiving. Abraham House receives no government money. In order to qualify for funds, it would have to compromise the principles that make it effective. “We tried many, many times,” Father Raphael says. “We went to Albany. We saw the people from the state and from the city, telling us, ‘Oh, you have to compromise with us, to change a little bit your philosophy, because we can help you.’ But our philosophy is that we cannot erase the spiritual way we deal with human beings.”

To understand how different from the compassionate ideal is the reality that bureaucratic pity has constructed, consider the example of the public school system. Compassion is at least as key in education as in almsgiving. A teacher’s faculty of sympathetic insight into his students’ minds and imaginations is precisely what shows him each one’s special potential. We do not, when young, know who we are; it is in the course of being educated that we come to understand what we must be. The teacher whose vision is sharpened by compassion helps to awaken those processes of self-culture that enable his student to develop his own peculiar gifts and aptitudes.....

Even though the liberals’ reign of pity has filled America with shabby housing projects and grim schoolhouses destitute of beauty and love, the Left has won a reputation for compassion, while conservatives are thought to be coldheartedly indifferent to human suffering. How did this come to pass? Partly because, with the decline of classical liberalism, conservatives became the principal defenders of liberty of trade. In their effort to rescue market principles, they forgot the role that love plays in ordering those parts of society that the mores of the marketplace do not govern.

But there is another reason. Unnerved by the success of the progressives, many conservatives reasoned that, since they could not possibly beat their opponents, they must join them. In a spirit of pessimism and opportunism, these conservatives abandoned their own principles. A mistake: they gave up the chance to formulate an alternative theory of compassion without gaining in exchange a reputation for charity.

If the liberals built up a regime of pity both to halt the spread of more sweeping forms of socialism and to assuage their own guilty consciences (in agony over the fact that some of them are rich), the pessimistic conservatives did so to outfox the liberals. One sees this dark cleverness at work in the careers of conservatives as different as Otto von Bismarck and Richard Nixon.

Bismarck, strictly speaking, was not a conservative: he was an idiosyncratic reactionary who, in the words of his English biographer, A. J. P. Taylor, followed by turns Marx and Metternich. In the 1880s, a decade after he had unified the German nation, Bismarck implemented a far-reaching program of social welfare insurance, grounded in the then-revolutionary idea of old-age pensions. The reforms he oversaw were, he believed, inevitable; better, he thought, that he, rather than the liberals or the radicals, should carry them out, for he at least could be relied upon to mitigate the damage.

These reforms were admirable in theory, and, had they been implemented in a different spirit, they might have proved beneficial in practice. But the Iron Chancellor enacted his program in a manner calculated to diminish personal liberty and increase the authority of the state. Bismarck, Taylor wrote, did not “promote social reform out of love for the German workers.” His object was to make workers “more subservient” to the state.
Bismarck “provocatively rejoiced,” Taylor wrote, “in echoing Frederick the Great’s wish to be le roi des gueux, king of the poor.”

But the merriment was deceptive, for the old Junker was at heart a pessimist. With his nervous anxieties, his gastric ulcers and temper tantrums, his nights with his cigars and his “Black Velvet” (a combination of stout and champagne he concocted himself), Bismarck was not at home in the modern world he felt powerless to stave off completely, nor was he in the least sympathetic to its aspiration to lift up the masses through social legislation. “I have spent the whole night hating,” he announced one day, when he was the most powerful man in Germany and perhaps in Europe, and might be supposed to have been on good terms with his planet.

In trying to outmaneuver his enemies, Bismarck laid the foundation for the socialist state envisioned by the nineteenth-century German economist Johann Karl Rodbertus, one of the earliest theoreticians to reconcile nationalism and socialism in a Romantic ideal of the super-state. Rodbertus thought it possible to re-create, in a nation-state organized along socialist lines, the communal purpose that had propelled the city-states of antiquity to greatness. In his theories lay the inspiration of a number of socialisms—National Socialism, Leninism, the Stalinist idea of “socialism in one country.” Bismarck was under no illusions about men reaching greatness; but in combining nationalism and socialism, he prepared the way for a successor who did nurse such dreams: Adolf Hitler....

Believing that Western civilization had passed its peak and begun to decline, both Nixon and Bismarck formulated their apparently compassionate programs out of a combination of cynicism and disillusionment. Ostensibly conservative, they never thought to address the problem of compassion in a conservative way; full of hate, they could never have grasped the transformative potential of love.

Possessed by morbid drives that defy easy psychological analysis, they pursued a revolutionary domestic policy, not because they had any faith in its merits but in order to be revenged on their enemies and consolidate their power.

Conservatives have come a long way since then. Unlike their counterparts 30 years ago, they’ve learned where compassion fails to thrive. They know that governments are not structures of love—any more than markets are. More important, they understand, as Burke and Tocqueville did, the power of civil society.

Conservatives today are showing that the state can mobilize civil power in new ways, in order to multiply the little platoons of compassion and to tap society’s deep reservoirs of love. From government-funded school voucher programs that give kids the chance to experience real teaching, to faith-based welfare reforms that actually promote welfare, these policies are designed to replace the pity that rots lives with the compassion that can transform them.

That’s what makes compassionate conservatism conservatism’s revolutionary idea.

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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


29 March, 2011

Religion may become extinct in nine nations, study says

This is about as silly as using models to predict global warming. One might reflect that almost all prophecies are wrong. I live in a very secular society (Australia) where only a small minority are churchgoers but many churches are well-attended nonetheless. And in Britain, the Church of England may be in decline but Pentecostal and other more fundamentalist churches have growing memberships

A study using census data from nine countries shows that religion there is set for extinction, say researchers. The study found a steady rise in those claiming no religious affiliation.

The team's mathematical model attempts to account for the interplay between the number of religious respondents and the social motives behind being one.

The result, reported at the American Physical Society meeting in Dallas, US, indicates that religion will all but die out altogether in those countries.

The team took census data stretching back as far as a century from countries in which the census queried religious affiliation: Australia, Austria, Canada, the Czech Republic, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Switzerland.

Their means of analysing the data invokes what is known as nonlinear dynamics - a mathematical approach that has been used to explain a wide range of physical phenomena in which a number of factors play a part.

One of the team, Daniel Abrams of Northwestern University, put forth a similar model in 2003 to put a numerical basis behind the decline of lesser-spoken world languages. At its heart is the competition between speakers of different languages, and the "utility" of speaking one instead of another.

"The idea is pretty simple," said Richard Wiener of the Research Corporation for Science Advancement, and the University of Arizona. "It posits that social groups that have more members are going to be more attractive to join, and it posits that social groups have a social status or utility. "For example in languages, there can be greater utility or status in speaking Spanish instead of [the dying language] Quechuan in Peru, and similarly there's some kind of status or utility in being a member of a religion or not."

Dr Wiener continued: "In a large number of modern secular democracies, there's been a trend that folk are identifying themselves as non-affiliated with religion; in the Netherlands the number was 40%, and the highest we saw was in the Czech Republic, where the number was 60%."

The team then applied their nonlinear dynamics model, adjusting parameters for the relative social and utilitarian merits of membership of the "non-religious" category. They found, in a study published online, that those parameters were similar across all the countries studied, suggesting that similar behaviour drives the mathematics in all of them. And in all the countries, the indications were that religion was headed toward extinction.

However, Dr Wiener told the conference that the team was working to update the model with a "network structure" more representative of the one at work in the world. "Obviously we don't really believe this is the network structure of a modern society, where each person is influenced equally by all the other people in society," he said. However, he told BBC News that he thought it was "a suggestive result".

"It's interesting that a fairly simple model captures the data, and if those simple ideas are correct, it suggests where this might be going. "Obviously much more complicated things are going on with any one individual, but maybe a lot of that averages out."


British government to crack down on the 'no win, no fee' lawyers

Kenneth Clarke will today sound the death knell for 'no win, no fee' deals which encourage ambulance-chasing lawyers to pursue frivolous cases. Victorious solicitors will now have to take a share of the damages awarded, rather than claiming huge success fees.

The Justice Secretary will also raise the maximum damages which can be awarded in small claims courts from £5,000 to £15,000. Mr Clarke wants as many people as possible to settle civil disputes through this less bureaucratic system, where costs are kept to a minimum, or by mediation.

Lawyers are not always needed in small claims courts, and many 'no win no fee' solicitors do not operate in them because there is not enough money to be made.

Everybody lodging a civil claim for damages will be forced to consider mediation. A similar move is planned for divorce cases.

Mr Clarke will say the aim is to reverse a trend which has seen Britain become a 'very, very legalistic and litigious' society in which huge sums are paid to 'fat cat' lawyers.

Many of those in 'no win, no fee' deals claim success fees up to 100 per cent of legal costs at the expense of the person or organisation that loses. Some claims are more than 1,000 per cent of damages.

Campaigners say the payouts have had a 'chilling' effect on freedom of speech, forcing scientists, writers and newspapers to settle even flimsy libel accusations out of court rather than risk the huge costs of losing. NHS trusts have also been affected in this way.

In future, lawyers will take a share of the damages awarded to the winner – the same as in the U.S.


For every sensible citizen of Middle England, resorting to the law has become something to dread.

Frivolous claims are brought against small firms; legal costs grow out of all proportion to the value of the damage done; fines are imposed but never collected.

Too often the system seems to create problems, rather than solving those which caused the dispute in the first place.

For most people, fighting a case, enforcing a contract or resolving a dispute with a neighbour means months of anxiety, hassle and delay. More often than not, the only certainty is that the bill, when it arrives, will be larger than expected.

Today I am announcing reforms which I hope will begin to tackle the compensation culture and restore a sense of proportion to our legal system.

First, we will encourage people to solve their disputes through formal mediation rather than heading straight to court with all the cost and time that entails.

Second, we will fix the 'no win, no fee' agreements which have made it so costly for businesses to defend spurious claims that they often pay out, even when they know they are in the right.

And third, we will put more cases into the quicker, cheaper small claims and county courts, keeping costs down even further.

I hope that one day, normal citizens will regard going to a lawyer as a sensible way of sorting out a dispute – not the expensive nightmare that people fear now. These reforms are the first important steps towards that goal.

This will be capped at 25 per cent of the damages awarded by the court.

Judges will be told to increase damages by 10 per cent to ensure that those who win still receive the money they deserve.

Lawyers will also be forced to reach an agreement with their clients before a case begins over how much of the damages they will receive if successful. It is hoped that, by making lawyers compete for business in this way, success fees will be driven down significantly.

The number of claims made by ambulance-chasing solicitors is likely to fall as defendants – freed from the threat of massive costs – become more likely to fight back.

Daytime television is packed with adverts for 'no win, no fee' lawyers. They encourage people who have had even minor accidents at work or in their car to pursue civil claims.

In a report last year, Lord Justice Jackson said there had been a huge rise in civil litigation costs. The fees awarded to lawyers were sometimes more than 1,000 per cent of damages, he said.

People making claims in clinical negligence cases and other incidents where they have suffered harm will be able to do so without fear of huge costs.

A judge will be able to put a ceiling on the amount they will be made to pay even if they lose. This is designed to prevent people who have been seriously wronged from being afraid to claim compensation.

The moves come after Mr Clarke this month announced a string of reforms to Britain's defamation laws. In future, the rich and powerful will have to prove they have suffered or are likely to suffer 'substantial harm' from the words of their critics to sue successfully for libel.

A defence of 'honest opinion' would replace that of 'fair comment', meaning that it will be a defence against libel to establish that something was published responsibly, without malice and in the public interest.


ACLU: 'Communism is the Goal'

Irony is defined as "the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning." The term doublespeak means "evasive, ambiguous language that is intended to deceive or confuse."

There is perhaps no greater example of ironic doublespeak than inclusion of the phrase "civil liberties" within the inapt designation: "American Civil Liberties Union."

Indeed, few leftist organizations in existence today can compete with the ACLU in terms of demonstrated hostility toward what the Declaration of Independence describes as "certain unalienable rights" with which Americans are "endowed by their Creator."

Consider the doublespeak inherent throughout the "progressive" Goliath's flowery self-representation:

The ACLU is our nation's guardian of liberty, working daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.

Now contrast that depiction with ACLU founder Roger Baldwin's candid vision:

I am for socialism, disarmament, and, ultimately, for abolishing the state itself... I seek the social ownership of property, the abolition of the propertied class, and the sole control of those who produce wealth. Communism is the goal.

Ironic, isn't it? So much for "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." By combining straightforward segments from each ACLU rendering we arrive with an accurate portrayal. One that cuts through the doublespeak:

The ACLU is...working daily in courts, legislatures and communities. Communism is the goal.

In 1931, just eleven years after the ACLU's inception, the US Congress convened a Special House Committee to Investigate Communist Activities. On the ACLU it reported:

The American Civil Liberties Union is closely affiliated with the communist movement in the United States, and fully 90 percent of its efforts are on behalf of communists who have come into conflict with the law. It claims to stand for free speech, free press and free assembly, but it is quite apparent that the main function of the ACLU is an attempt to protect the communists.

To be sure, the "main function of the ACLU" is entirely counter-constitutional.

A shared objective between both Communism generally, and the ACLU specifically is the suppression of religious liberty; principally, the free exercise of Christianity.

Karl Marx, high priest of the ACLU's beloved cult of Communism, once said: "The first requisite for the happiness of the people is the abolition of religion."

Even the ACLU's own promotional materials overtly advocate religious discrimination: "The message of the Establishment Clause is that religious activities must be treated differently from other activities to ensure against governmental support for religion."

Utter hokum. The First Amendment's Establishment Clause -- a mere 10 words -- says nothing of the sort. Its message is abundantly clear, requiring severe distortion to stuff within the ACLU's Marxist parameters. It merely states: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion..." That's it.

Now let's break it down. What do you suppose the Framers of the US Constitution -- a document expressly designed to limit the powers of federal government -- intended with the word "Congress"? Did they mean State government? Municipal government? Your local school district? Your third grade teacher?

Of course not. They meant exactly what they said: Congress. As in: The United States Congress! It takes someone with a distinctly disingenuous ulterior motive to derive anything else.

Now what did they mean by "...shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion?"

Well, in a letter to Benjamin Rush, a fellow-signer of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson -- often touted by the left as the great church-state separationst -- answered that question. The First Amendment's Establishment Clause was singularly intended to restrict Congress from affirmatively "establishing," through federal legislation, a national Christian denomination (similar to the Anglican Church of England).

Or, as Jefferson put it: "[T]he clause of the Constitution" covering "freedom of religion" was intended to necessarily preclude "an establishment of a particular form of Christianity through the United States."

How far removed we are today from the original intent of our Founding Fathers. The ACLU is largely responsible for creating the gulf between the Constitution's original construction and its modern misapplication.

The ACLU remains one of America's most powerful secular-socialist political pressure groups. It relentlessly tramples underfoot the First Amendment, which guarantees sweeping and absolute liberty for all Americans -- including government employees -- to freely exercise their faith both publicly and privately without fear of reprisal: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

Examples of its constitutional abuses are manifold, but one of the most recent involves an ACLU assault against a group of Christians in Santa Rosa County, FL. Liberty Counsel represents those Christians.

An ACLU-crafted Consent Decree has been used as a weapon to threaten school district employees with fines and jail time for merely praying over a meal, and for exercising -- even while away from school -- their sincerely held Christian faith. You read that right. The ACLU is literally seeking to criminalize Christianity.

In August of 2009, Liberty Counsel successfully defended staff member Michelle Winkler from contempt charges brought by the ACLU after her husband, who is not even employed by the district, offered a meal prayer at a privately sponsored event in a neighboring county.

Liberty Counsel also successfully defended Pace High School Principal Frank Lay and Athletic Director Robert Freeman against criminal contempt charges, after the ACLU sought to have the men thrown in jail for blessing a lunch meal served to about 20 adult booster club members.

Under the Consent Decree teachers are considered to be acting in their "official capacity" anytime a student is present, even at private functions off campus.

Liberty Counsel describes this unconstitutional decree:

Teachers cannot pray, bow their heads, or fold their hands to show agreement with anyone who does pray. Teachers and staff cannot 'Reply' to an email sent by a parent if the parent's email refers to God or Scripture. Teachers either have to delete such references from the original email or reply by initiating a new email. Teachers and staff are also required to stop students from praying in their own private club meetings.

During witness testimony, Mrs. Winkler sobbed as she described how she and a coworker, who had recently lost a child, literally had to hide in a closet to pray.

Although the case continues, on Monday the ACLU suffered a tremendous setback while freedom took a significant step forward. Federal District Court Judge M. Casey Rodgers granted in part a Preliminary Injunction in favor of Liberty Counsel's twenty-four Christian clients.

Judge Rodgers concluded that even though "a preliminary injunction is an extraordinary and drastic remedy," one aspect of the Consent Decree -- its attempt to prohibit school employees from fully participating in private religious events -- is so flawed that it must be immediately halted.

The Court thus enjoined the School Board "from enforcing any school policy that restrains in any way an employee's participation in, or speech or conduct during, a private religious service, including baccalaureate" pending a trial on the merits.

"Progressives" are nothing if not consistent. As they gain confidence, they invariably rush across that bridge too far. They engage wild-eyed efforts to "fundamentally transform America" to reflect their own secular-socialist self-image.

I'm certain that both the bare-knuckle spirit of the American people and Liberty Counsel's enduring 92 percent win record against the ACLU will maintain a durable safeguard - an "impenetrable wall of separation" if you will - between our constitutionally guaranteed liberties and a subversive "progressive" agenda built upon the distinctly un-American creed: "Communism is the goal."


Glee’s Not for Me

Doug Giles

My friend, SNL’s Victoria Jackson, got verbally hammered by the female host of HLN’s Showbiz this week for “daring” to say in a recent WND column that two male teens making out on a recent episode of Glee was sickening. Jackson, according to HLN’s high priestess of political correctness, needs to repent.

Yep, Vickie offended a seminal creed of the Church of PC, an unpardonable sin of postmodernism, namely openly criticizing homosexual Hollywood activists as they proselytize your kids on primetime television. Bad Victoria. Bad, bad Victoria.

In actuality, in said column VJ was mainly criticizing woman-hating militant Islam. That, too, is a sin unto death according to “them.”

Another bridge too far and strike three for “evil” Vickie is that she often points out Obama’s communist roots, friends and philosophy in her columns, which, according to the “tolerant” progressives, is intolerable. By their estimation such sins damn Miss V to bake for all eternity in Dante’s pizza oven. Lucky for Jackson Pastor Rob “No Hell” Bell has informed us all in his latest heretical screed that no one goes to Hades because God is a merciful, celestial Gomer Pyle who’d never do that to a corrupt critter. Whew, eh Jackson?

Now, I’d like to go on record stating that I also think the gay Glee kiss was … uh … inappropriate. I also have gay friends who think the Glee kiss was way too gay and tasteless for primetime. Additionally, they believe Glee is an unreal, dorky show and are insulted that it is being pitched as “their” program. Are they haters? Are they homophobic?

Geez, everyone’s got to love and applaud Glee and its overt homo/heterosexual junk or we’re bigoted, buckle-shoed troglodytic killjoys. Musicians are even being jackbooted to love the show and want to be on it or the creators of this slop will verbally whip them. For instance …
Foo Fighters star Dave Grohl has lashed out at Glee creator Ryan Murphy for assuming all musicians are desperate to feature on the hit show. The rocker isn’t a fan of the high school singing and dancing program and insists he wouldn't want to follow in the footsteps of Madonna and Britney Spears, who have had their songs used in the series. And Grohl is fed up with Murphy slamming stars if they decide not to sign up to Glee.

“You shouldn’t have to do ___ing Glee. And then the guy who created Glee is so offended that we’re not, like, begging to be on his ___ing show ... I watched 10 minutes (of it). It's not my thing,” Grohl told the Hollywood Reporter.

“Slash was the first one. (Murphy) wanted to do Guns N’ Roses, and Slash is like, ‘I hate ____ing musicals. It’s worse than Grease.’ Then (Murphy’s) like, ‘Well, of course he’d say that. He’s a washed-up ol’ rock star. That’s what they ____ing do.’

“And then Kings of Leon say, ‘No, we don’t want to be on your show.’ And then he’s like, ‘Snotty little a**holes ...’ And it’s just like, ‘Dude, maybe not everyone loves Glee. Me included.’”

Now, before a reflexively irate PC cop gets out a label maker and tries to tag me as a homophobe for disliking Glee and siding with Jackson’s assessment of the previously mentioned homoerotic scene, let me assure you that I’m not. Just ask my gay friends in Miami.

By the way, if anyone, anywhere and at any time should bully a gay teen I would recommend that the teen who’s being harassed body slam the bully like Casey Heynes did Ritchard Gale. But I digress.
I’ll tell you what I am, Gleevangelical. Are you ready? I’m coming out. I’m wife-o-centric and becoming increasingly homonauseous, as I am way weary of the over-injection of gay sex in our kids’ faces via TV and their kindergarten curriculum.

I have a question for the militant Hollywood gay storm troopers in Testicle Town: Can’t you dudes leave the kids alone for a TV minute? Huh? You’re beginning to get as annoying as Jehovah’s Witnesses with your incessant evangelizing via the boob tube. Yep, you’re way overselling your amazing lifestyle.

That said, I’d like the record to state that overt heterosexual make-out scenes via TV between teens, tweens, middle-aged Cialis droppers and especially betwixt octogenarian Hugh Hefner and his 24-year-old gold-digger are all becoming really, really old as well. It appears as if the tide is going out on the creative juices of those who write for La-La-Land.

What pisses me off the most regarding Hollywood’s wholesale onslaught of teen sex, whether gay or straight, is their obvious omissions of the life-rattling consequences of giving free reign to the gibbering monkey in one’s pants.

Hey, Glee, I’ve got a script idea for you: Why don’t you show one of your randy characters contracting AIDS or one of its ubiquitous and multitudinous STD cousins or catching throat cancer by way of oral sex and HPV and then the physiological, psychological and spiritual hell that ensues, huh? Because that’s what’s happening in mind-boggling record numbers in real life. Yep, the likelihood of that scenario occurring to your target demographic, according to the Centers for Disease Control, is now through the roof … and I hear it’s not that gleeful of an experience.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


28 March, 2011

British racism still thriving

Middle-class youngsters barred from applying for internships at Whitehall and in the police... because they are white

White middle-class students have been banned from applying for internships with Britain’s biggest police force and in Whitehall. The temporary jobs, which offer thousands of pounds for work in the summer, are billed as the internships ‘that could change your life’. They provide students with invaluable work experience at a time of soaring graduate unemployment.

But critics yesterday told of their anger at the decision by the Civil Service and the Metropolitan Police to exclude all but certain ethnic minorities from applying. They say the schemes cause resentment among staff and are discriminating against white people ‘via the back door’.

The Metropolitan Police, which employs more than 50,000 people, publicly offers only one work experience programme. The 12-week Diversity Internship will pay six interns more than £3,000 to work in a range of departments. While there is no guarantee of a post at the end, it gives students a head start in the battle for police jobs.

But the application form says only students from specific ethnic groups – including black African, black Asian or Chinese – can apply. Applicants are also quizzed about religious beliefs and sexuality. The force offers a few other work experience places to students from specific colleges.

The Civil Service also has only one central internship programme – marketed as ‘two months that could change your life’ – and also specifically for students from ethnic minorities. The only white candidates eligible to apply for the Fast Stream Summer Diversity Internship are those whose families are from ‘under-represented socio-economic backgrounds’. Others can get occasional work experience through individual departments.

The scheme, paying about £3,000, is a clear route to the prestigious Civil Service Fast Stream graduate programme.

MPs, campaigners and police are furious that prominent public bodies are discriminating against white, middle-class students by denying them the chance to apply.

Tory MP Dominic Raab last night said: ‘We won’t end discrimination by introducing it via the back door. That is precisely what positive discrimination like this does.’

Nadhim Zahawi, a Tory MP who identifies himself as Kurdish, said: ‘These schemes are degrading. Margaret Thatcher didn’t need positive discrimination to become prime minister.’

One Met inspector said: ‘At a time when people in the Met are being offered voluntary redundancy, the Met funds such schemes. Such incentives can only fan the flames of racial division.’


The British disability benefit that's handed out to addicts and alcoholics

A disability benefit for those who cannot walk or get around properly is being given to tens of thousands of claimants with drug and alcohol problems.

Ministers say official figures revealing a startling range of conditions for which people claim the mobility component of Disability Living Allowance demonstrate the need for urgent reform.

Department for Work and Pensions figures show more than £435million is currently paid to 19,400 people with drug or alcohol problems, 30,900 with asthma and 128,300 with ‘unspecified’ back pain.
Playing around: Valerie Lewis was given a suspended prison sentence

Valerie Lewis received more than £40,000 in Disability Living Allowance, claiming she suffered back pain that meant she could barely walk.

But the mother-of-two played four nine or 18-hole rounds of golf a week and was lady captain of her local club.

The 55-year-old first claimed the disability benefit in 2001, insisting she had difficulty walking more than 7ft, getting dressed and even cutting up food or tying her shoelaces.

Fraud investigators filmed her teeing off at Sutton Hall Golf Club near Runcorn, Cheshire, loading her golf buggy, lifting clubs in and out of her car and walking ‘five or six miles’.

She was filmed at the 6,000-yard course in November 2008 after investigators received a tip-off that she was ‘fitter than stated’.

Lewis was further implicated by her own diary, which revealed she had played in a golf competition on the day of her very first disability assessment and rode a horse the day after.

In January she escaped jail after admitting failing to inform the Department for Work and Pensions about changes to her circumstances.

At Warrington Crown Court, Lewis, from Runcorn, was given a sentence of 24 weeks in prison, suspended for two years, and 200 hours of community service.

And the number on DLA has risen from 2.5million in 2003 to nearly 3.2million.

There is increasing political controversy over Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith’s pledge to slash £2.17billion from the vast annual bill for DLA by 2015. Ministers say half of those being paid the benefit have never been asked for any evidence to support their claim beyond what they filled in on a form.

A Government analysis of DLA claims – which now cost the taxpayer £12billion a year – also shows nearly a million have been on the benefit for 14 years or more.

But cuts to DLA, which was designed to help those who have specific mobility or care needs, and cannot do things like walk or wash and dress themselves, are increasingly being criticised by charities and opposition MPs. The benefit is paid at different rates, with those with the most severe difficulty walking getting the higher rate of £49.85 a week.

Ministers say reforms will introduce face-to-face assessments to make sure the benefit is going to those with the greatest need. DLA will be replaced by a Personal Independence Payment and remain a non-means tested, non-taxable cash benefit claimed by the disabled whether they are in or out of work.

The Government also wants all claimants to undergo medical tests to justify payments. One source close to the reforms said: ‘At the moment someone with back pain could get £50 a week DLA mobility by simply filling out a paper-based assessment. ‘The new assessment will help to make sure the support goes where it is needed the most and that the benefit remains accurate.’

Labour councillor Neil Coyle, of the Disability Alliance, which represents 250 disability charities, said face-to-face tests would cost £675million. ‘If people are retested regularly it would be a significant waste of public money,’ he added. ‘The Conservatives pledged in their 2010 manifesto that they would protect DLA and now we are seeing a £2billion cut.’

Last week David Cameron dismissed protests from Labour leader Ed Miliband that 80,000 care home residents would be stripped of the mobility component of DLA. The Prime Minister said it would be included within the new Personal Independence Payment.

Business Secretary Vince Cable confirmed yesterday that some of his fellow LibDems are fighting separate plans to cap benefits at £500 a week per family, though he said he supported the policy.

Critics say a cap will hit families in areas where the cost of housing is highest.


Unease as British Labour leader ranks protest marchers alongside suffragettes

Ed Miliband was under fire last night for addressing Saturday’s march and comparing the protesters’ cause to that of the suffragettes, and the anti-apartheid and U.S. civil rights movements.

Some in Labour’s high command warned privately in advance that Mr Miliband should not associate himself in any way with the event, since it was bound to end in violence.

Yesterday Peter Hain, one of the Labour leader’s closest shadow Cabinet allies, remained defiant, insisting the march had been ‘joyous’. But there is deep unease among other senior Labour figures about Mr Miliband’s decision to ally himself so closely with the march.

Blairite MPs were alarmed at his claim to be ‘standing on the shoulders’ of some of history’s greatest movements in attacking spending cuts that, in truth, are only slightly deeper than those planned by Labour.

Mr Miliband told the crowd in Hyde Park: ‘We come in the tradition of those who have marched before us: The suffragettes, who fought for votes for women and won, the civil rights movement in America, who fought for equality and won, and the anti-apartheid movement, who fought the horror of that system and won.

‘Our cause may be different, but we come together today to realise our voice, and we stand on their shoulders. We stand on the shoulders of those who have marched and struggled in the past. Our struggle is to fight to preserve, protect and defend the things that we value.’

David Davis, the former Conservative leadership candidate, described Mr Miliband’s comparison as an ‘extraordinary error of judgment’. ‘I suspect the brave people of the civil rights movement will be shocked to hear the Labour leader undertake such hyperbole as to compare a march like this to the sort of heroic acts they had to undertake to win fundamental rights,’ he said.

Harriett Baldwin, Tory MP for West Worcestershire, said: ‘Instead of apologising for maxing out the country’s credit card or spelling out where Labour’s cuts would fall, Ed Miliband compared himself to some of the giants of history. ‘His self-important comments are an insult to those who risked and gave their lives in the fight for equality.’


Far Leftist black accuses Breitbart of racism -- and Adrianna Huffington colludes with that

Breitbart incensed -- particularly as he has helped the huffer in the past. You don't have to be a racist to hold Van Jones in contempt

Amid pressure from left-wing advocacy organization Color of Change, the Huffington Post removed conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart’s blog from its front page last week. But Breitbart is furious that the liberal site’s top brass refused to defend him against the racism allegations made by Color of Change.

Color of Change and its founder Van Jones, the former White House green jobs czar who also previously advised Arianna Huffington during her 2003 California gubernatorial campaign, alleged that Breitbart was a racist during its pressure campaign.

In its statement last week explaining its decision to remove Breitbart’s blog from being featured on its front page because of what HuffPo called “ad hominem” attacks against Jones Breitbart made to The Daily Caller, HuffPo made no statement to defend Breitbart from allegations that he is racist, even though Breitbart told TheDC that site founder Huffington and her top deputy, editor Roy Sekoff, know he isn’t one. Breitbart even said Sekoff told him he recommended to Huffington that she publicly state that Breitbart is no racist – and allegedly had language ready in a statement for her to use.

“Roy said he put a statement for Arianna in that language [that Breitbart was not a racist] and she chose not to use it,” Breitbart told TheDC. Breitbart said he tried to reach Sekoff and Huffington several times after they removed him from HuffPo’s front page. After he finally got Sekoff on the line, Breitbart said Sekoff told him he was, “arguing with her [Huffington] that she should defend me on the race accusation that they’re making.”

“I consider it the height of ingratitude that Arianna sides with Van Jones whose hapless management of Arianna’s California gubernatorial campaign made her finish with less than 1 percent of the vote, yet I’m the one who resurrected her Van Jones-created demise to help create for her the very institution she’s now using to shut me up,” Breitbart, who helped Huffington set up her hugely successful left-wing website, told TheDC.

“The ingratitude is monumental and for her to be silent on the race question for cynical partisan reasons shows everything you need to know about this woman’s character. There’s a thread of hope in my heart that she will do the ethical thing and tell her audience what she really feels about my not being a racist.”

Sekoff and HuffPo spokesman Mario Ruiz would neither confirm nor deny to TheDC that Huffington removed language from last week’s statement defending Breitbart against charges of racism. But, through Ruiz, Sekoff told TheDC he does not think Breitbart is a racist.

“Roy absolutely does not think Andrew Breitbart is a racist, as he made clear to me during discussions this week about whether to continue front paging Breitbart,” Ruiz said in an email to TheDC. “He was taken down from the front not for being racist, but for the nature of his attack on Van Jones, as we’ve made clear.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


27 March, 2011

France not so feminist

It would seem that the despised Anglo-Saxons are less bothered about appearances than are the "sophisticated" French

The twin stereotypes about gender in France are wholly contradictory: on the one hand, they have titanic feminist theorists, from Simone de Beauvoir via Helene Cixious to Virginie Despentes, a tranche of thinkers so heavyweight that the rest of Europe couldn't match it if we pooled all our feminists. On the other hand, the mainstream culture looks quite sexist. The women seem bedevilled by standards that are either unattainable (to be a perfect size eight) or demeaning in themselves (to be restrained, demure, moderate in all things, poised; a host of qualities that all mean "quiet"). But this dichotomy is impossible. Either the feminist intellectuals had no impact, or the sexism is a myth.

Elsa Dorlin, associate professor at the Sorbonne, currently a visiting professor in California, dispatches the first quantity pretty swiftly. "French feminism is a kind of American construction," she says. "Figures like Helene Cixous are not really recognised in France. In civil society, there is a hugely anti-feminist mentality."

The standard structural markers of inequality are all in place: the figure proffered for a pay gap is a modest 12%, but this is what is known as "pure discrimination", the difference in wages between a man and a woman in exactly the same job, with the same qualifications. When the Global Pay Gap survey came out at Davos, France came a shocking 46th, way behind comparable economies (Britain is 15th, Germany 13th), and behind less comparable ones (Kazakhstan scored higher).

Female representation in politics is appalling, due to very inflexible rules about the pool from which the political class is drawn. All politicians come from the highly competitive set of graduate schools Les Grandes Ecoles (apart from Nicolas Sarkozy) which, until recently, had only a smattering of women, and none at all in Polytechnique (it is sponsored by the Ministry of Defence: women are now allowed in).

When there is a high-profile female face in politics, it is indicative of some force other than equality. At the local elections last week the two big winners were the Socialists, whose leader is Martine Aubry (daughter of Jacques Delors), and the National Front, led by Marine Le Pen (daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen). So what we're seeing there is not so much the smashing of the glass ceiling as a freak shortage of sons in a political culture so stitched-up that it's effectively hereditary.

As for the lived experience of being female, it sounds like hard work, even as described by women who say they love it. Thomasine Jammot, a cross-cultural trainer (who teaches travelling business people how they might overcome cultural misinterpretation, on their own or someone else's part) says that she does not feel discriminated against, nor objectified. "There is a permanent ode to women in France," she explains. "We are loved very well." But then she continues: "There are many things you can't do, as a woman, in France. You can't be coarse or vulgar, or drink too much, or smoke in the street. I would never help myself to wine." "How would you get more wine?" I ask, baffled. "At the end of an evening, I might shake my glass at my husband. But no, I would never touch the bottle."

Sometimes it sounds not so much sexist as so intensely gendered that even men must feel the weight of constraint, of expectation. But at least they won't have to do the laundry as well.

Bérengére Fiévet, 35, is a single mother and student in psychology, as well as a part-time teacher. "Nothing has changed much in the past 20 years. For men, women are just women: sex objects. Your appearance will change everything, even for an interview for a job. In France you employ anyone you like. If the interviewer thinks that you're too fat or ugly: dommage for you!"

This is underlined by a bizarre new initiative, Action Relooking, in which a handful of lucky unemployed French women are given a government makeover, in order to look pretty for a job interview.

"Women feel the pressure to maintain their 'physique' more in France than anywhere else in Europe," says Nicole Fiévet, 63, a senior council official. "The pressure comes from society itself, not only from men but women. I am still a bad example to talk about it. I spend my life to look after my garden more than me. As a result, I never found a husband."

It is against this backdrop – conservatism and rigidity, rather than an all-out war between the sexes – that a bitter struggle has developed which started with a schism between feminists but extends far beyond.

In 2002 it was made illegal to "passively solicit". Mainstream feminists – politicians, unionists, various figures who had grouped together in 1996 under the title CNDF – supported the law; as prostitution constituted violence against women it obviously should be outlawed. Activists countered that this denied prostitutes even the patchy safety of a busy street. They said, furthermore, that this was tacit racism, as these prostitutes tended to be from eastern Europe or Africa, and many were deported following the clampdown (even though there was a caveat offering clemency to any woman who named her trafficker; none ever did).

But underneath the practical injustice, there was a more pressing misogyny. Nellie, a member of the group Les Tumultueuses (she declines to give her surname in case it damages her position as a school teacher), explains: "How do you recognise someone who is 'passively soliciting'? By definition, she isn't doing anything. So you know her because her skirt is too short, or she is wearing fishnets, or she has too much make-up on. When you're not wearing enough clothing, you're a prostitute. When you're wearing too much, you're a Muslim. That's where we end up, if we judge people on how they dress."


Racist Hispanic group attacks black conservative

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained a shocking video produced by a radical Mexican separatist group attacking civil rights activist Ted Hayes with racist smears and death threats. The video was posted to the Internet on YouTube after Mr. Hayes testified, by invitation of Maryland Delegate Pat McDonough, on March 15 before the Judiciary Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates against providing taxpayer dollars for in-state tuition benefits for illegal aliens.

The video begins with the message "[expletive] you 'Mayate,'" which is reportedly a racist and derogatory term used to smear African Americans and "dark skinned" people. The video then streams a series of racist images including: the silhouette of a man hanging from a noose, photos of Mr. Hayes adjacent to photos of monkeys and bananas and doctored photos of Mr. Hayes pictured with a gun next to his head. The video, which runs two minutes and nine seconds, concludes with the message "Your (sic) FREE Now Mayate go back to Africa."

The video was initially posted to the video website YouTube by a group with the moniker "The Timmytop," and was subsequently removed. The Timmytop Youtube "channel" includes a number of extremist propaganda videos with messages such as "This Is Our Land Whiteboy [expletive] you Gringo." The videos seem to express support for the La Raza/Aztlan movement, which seeks to conquer the American Southwest and "return" it to Mexico. Notably, the videos attack black and white Americans.

Mr. Hayes is a long-time opponent of illegal immigration, noting specifically that its devastating impact on the African American community is largely ignored by other black leaders. Death threats and intimidation of a witness because of his testimony before the Maryland legislature would violate federal and Maryland criminal statutes.

"Judicial Watch is outraged at the racist death threats and intimidation directed at the black civil rights activist Ted Hayes in retaliation for exercising his First Amendment rights. The debate over in-state tuition for illegal aliens in Maryland has been compromised and chilled by these threats," said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. "The individuals responsible for this evil video must be held accountable to the rule of law. This is an attack on the entire black community, not just Ted Hayes. The Holder Justice Department and the Maryland Attorney General need to take immediate action to investigate these threats."


'Kinetic military action' is still hell

President Obama says there's no reason for him to return the Nobel Peace Prize he won two years ago, shortly after taking office, despite the obvious "irony" of America being involved in three different wars.

Uh, make that two wars and one "kinetic military action." That, at least, seems to be the administration's preferred term for describing the enforcement of the UN-declared no-fly zone in Libya. In fact, military and national-security officials can't seem to stop talking about America's current "kinetic options" and "kinetic capabilities."

Certainly, administration spokesmen have taken great pains to avoid referring to the ongoing operation as a war -- which would, of course, require the president to get congressional approval.

Now, there's nothing particularly new about this bit of Pentagon-speak. It simply means the use of active military force -- dropping bombs, firing weapons, and the like -- as opposed to things like cyberwarfare and the use of nonlethal, high-tech electronic gadgetry. Indeed, the Pentagon has been using the term since the early days of post-9/11 action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Back then, though, the term was ridiculed. Timothy Noah, for example, called its use by Donald Rumsfeld "unconscionably euphemistic, with antiseptic connotations derived from high-school physics."

Of course, Team Obama is well known for its use of euphemism when it comes to fighting radical Islam -- recall that the Pentagon once suggested replacing the term "global war on terror" with "overseas contingency operation." Not to mention that the very term "Islamic radicalism" was dropped from the National Security Strategy early on.

Still, to paraphrase Shakespeare, a war by any other name is still a war.


Strange British police priorities again

Police called and hours of CCTV footage scanned after ‘union men’ walk off with half a bottle of Scottish socialist's £14 wine. The coppers should have fobbed him off -- as they would have to anyone else

A Labour MP has been accused of wasting police time after he summoned an officer and two security guards to investigate the theft of half a bottle of wine from a Commons bar. Dunfermline MP Thomas Docherty claims two men, believed to be union activists, walked off with the unfinished £14 bottle of chardonnay. Even though the bottle was later returned to him, the men disappeared and Mr Docherty demanded they be apprehended.

In a scene straight from TV’s Crimewatch, a police officer was dispatched after midnight to scan CCTV footage in an effort to catch the pair.

Defiant Mr Docherty last night insisted he was right to make a stand and called for new checks on Commons visitors to stop a repeat of the theft. But one of Mr Docherty’s fellow Labour MPs thought the incident had been blown out of all proportion. He said: ‘To have two guards and a copper searching for a couple of blokes who ran off with a half-drunk bottle of wine left on a bar is daft.

‘Imagine if a member of the public did that in a normal pub. The police would laugh in your face.’

The incident, dubbed ‘chardonnay-gate’, happened at 11pm on Budget Day as MPs and visitors were in the crowded bar overlooking the River Thames. Mr Docherty left the bar to go out on to the terrace to have a cigarette. When he came back, he discovered his bottle was missing. He was then told by a barman that two men had taken the bottle on to the terrace.

The MP, accompanied by the barman, spotted the bottle standing on a parapet over the river and confronted the men. Mr Docherty, 36, grabbed the bottle, returned it to the bar and then went back on to the terrace to deal with the thieves. By the time he returned to the crime scene, the culprits had made their getaway.

But Mr Docherty, who last year led calls for MPs to abide by a Commons dress code after a woman MP allegedly turned up in jeans, was determined not to let the matter rest. He phoned security and a few minutes later a female guard arrived in the bar.

Mr Docherty and the barman gave her a detailed account of what happened, showed her the wine bottle – which by now was empty – and gave descriptions of the unlikely thieving duo; a short, young black man wearing a black jacket and an elderly white man with a walking stick.

The guard made comprehensive notes before leaving the bar. Other MPs said the ‘thieves’ had earlier attended a Trades Union Congress reception elsewhere in Parliament.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


26 March, 2011

After coroner blames Britain's health and safety rules for failing Cumbria gunman's victims, 999 crews told: You must risk your lives

It looks like the Labour Party's insane safety rules are at last crumbling

Emergency services were told yesterday they should be prepared to ‘risk their lives’ to protect the public. At the inquest on victims of the Cumbrian gun massacre, coroner David Roberts said it was disturbing that paramedics were prevented from reaching the injured because of red tape which cost vital minutes.

And a senior police officer said the response had been severely hampered by slavish adherence to health and safety regulations. ‘The public have a right to expect the emergency services to put themselves at risk to help them,’ he said.

On the day of the rampage, when crazed gunman Derrick Bird murdered 12 people and wounded 11 others, ambulance crews were ordered to remain at ‘safe rendezvous points’ for anything up to two hours until the police gave them permission to treat victims. This dithering was compounded by a catastrophic breakdown in communication between the different services.

A total of 13 ambulances, three air ambulances and four rapid response vehicles were held back for up to 90 minutes because police officers were unaware the crews were waiting for their go-ahead before helping the wounded.

Yesterday, after listening to 70 witnesses during 18 days of harrowing evidence, the inquest jury returned verdicts of unlawful killing on each of Bird’s 12 victims. They also found that Bird had killed himself.

Mr Roberts said that though he did not believe the misguided safety measures had cost lives, they could easily do so in future incidents. ‘It does not take a leap of imagination to see if this incident were replicated, it may be that the ambulance service or paramedic assistance would be needed for someone to survive who would otherwise have died,’ he said. Mr Roberts said he would be writing to the Home Secretary urging him to review health and safety rules relating to the emergency services.

These rules were also blamed at the inquests into the London bombings on July 7, 2005, for causing delays.

Last night, one of those caught up in the Cumbria massacre on June 2 last year described the rules preventing paramedics from attending scenes as ‘appalling’. Vivienne Tregidga, a PR consultant who waited for an ambulance with one of Bird’s victims, said: ‘It was left up to people who didn’t have enough training or equipment to help victims. ‘We all pay taxes to have an emergency service and when there’s an emergency they don’t turn up.’

An independent report into the emergency services handling of the killing spree is expected to be published on Monday. It is anticipated that it will call for an overhaul of the controversial health and safety policy.

Its author, Assistant Chief Constable Simon Chesterman, who leads policy on armed policing for the Association of Chief Police Officers, has also called for greater co-operation among the emergency services. ‘I think the public have a right to expect the emergency services to put themselves at risk to protect them,’ he said. ‘Clearly there were a number of scenes where officers and members of the public were asking for ambulances,’ ‘If I was commanding the incident, the overarching aim would be to protect the public from harm. ‘We cannot go on with this confusion. The police service and the ambulance service must get their act together.’

Bird, a taxi driver, first shot dead his twin brother, David, 52, and then family solicitor Kevin Commons, 60. In the days before the massacre he had convinced himself that the two men were helping an inquiry into his tax affairs.

Bird – who vowed to make Whitehaven as famous as Dunblane – then drove to the town’s Duke Street taxi rank where he shot dead taxi driver Darren Rewcastle, 43, and injured several others.

He went on to kill mother-of-two Susan Hughes, 57, retired security worker Kenneth Fishburn, 71, part-time mole catcher Isaac Dixon, 65, retired couple James and Jennifer Jackson, 67 and 68, farmer Garry Purdham, 31, estate agent Jamie Clark, 23, retired Sellafield employee Michael Pike, 64, and pensioner Jane Robinson, 66.

Within 90 minutes of Mr Rewcastle’s death 30 armed officers were in action, but despite being given permission to shoot to kill they never got close enough to engage Bird. He was finally found in woodland near Boot, more than three hours after police discovered his first known victim, after turning his .22 rifle on himself.

ACC Chesterman, from West Mercia Police, said: ‘If you said to me, “Was the Cumbria Constabulary response reasonable in the circumstances?” Yes it was. ‘Could it have been better? Yes it could and we learn every time that these tragedies happen.’

Cumbria Police assistant chief constable Jerry Graham insisted that at no time before Bird’s body was found was he prepared to declare an area safe. But crucially, he and his force admitted that they were completely unaware of the controversial ambulance policy currently in place.

‘At no stage was I specifically requested by the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) to give clearance for any member of their staff to enter the crime scenes, or for police officers to escort ambulance staff in order to assist casualties,’ he said.

NWAS head Peter Mulcahy told the inquest said there was a huge tension among ambulance crews over the rules surrounding such an incident. He said: ‘It is not in the makeup of ambulance staff not to go and help people.’ But he said there was a real risk of sending people to their deaths, and the health and safety considerations of staff were paramount.

A spokesman for the NWAS said it would have been liable under health and safety insurance legislation had any of their staff been killed or injured. The service did, however, accept that lessons had to be learnt.

The inquest heard that police and the ambulance service had difficulty communicating because they used different wavelengths on their radios. The system is now being replaced so all 999 services will eventually use the same wavelength.


Fury after British woman who falsely cried rape is handed only an £80 fixed penalty notice

When a mother of five reported that she had been raped by two East European men, panic spread through her community and ethnic tension led to street violence. Despite the arrest of two suspects, the crime remained unsolved and angry residents confronted police chiefs at a public meeting to voice fears for their safety.

Yesterday it was revealed that the ‘victim’, Susan Bradley, 41, later admitted to police that the attack never took place. But instead of being taken to court for perverting the course of justice and facing a jail sentence, she escaped with an £80 fixed penalty for wasting police time.

The decision has been condemned by residents in Darnall, Sheffield, but police say it was the ‘best disposal’ taking into account the woman’s ‘previous good character’.

A major investigation was launched after Bradley claimed to have been raped by two men on wasteland near her home in the early hours of January 30.

A businesswoman in the area said: ‘East Europeans were targeted and beaten up after the woman said she had been raped by men from there. ‘What she did is disgusting, never mind the cost to taxpayers for all the extra police time. Now women may think twice about reporting rape for fear of not being believed. ‘It’s outrageous they have basically let her off with a slap on the wrist. What kind of message does that send out?’

Julie Lindley, who runs a hairdressing salon, said: ‘Her rape claim had the community up in arms. ‘She had our support and sympathy and we all pressed the police to catch the attackers. I am appalled that somebody would make up such an offence.’

South Yorkshire Police said they agreed on the fixed penalty fine after discussing the case with the Crown Prosecution Service. They refused to name the woman, but Bradley was identified by members of the community.

At her home yesterday, the jobless mother, who recently separated from her partner of 17 years, was still claiming to be a victim. Despite not contesting the fine for wasting police time she said two men had sex with her that night but she had not consented.

Bradley said: ‘I admit I had a lot to drink that night. They didn’t injure me but this has really affected me and my kids’ lives. They can’t even go to school because of all the rumours.’


FL: County Magistrate Rules Jewish Couple Can’t Use Condo for Prayer

It's a sad day when prayer is banned

A Palm Beach County, FL couple was at the center of a religious freedom debate on Wednesday when a local magistrate decided that their prayer practices were not up to code. Literally.

Isaac Feder and his wife Judith, Hasidic Jews, have drawn the ire of their neighbors and the county for turning an extra condo they own in the Century Village condominium complex into a makeshift synagogue. According to those in the community, the Feders’ constant praying, and the coming and going, is disruptive. They complained to the county, which in turn found that Feders were violating zoning laws.

An attorney for the county argued that it is illegal to use the second condo in the village as a only house of prayer instead of just, well, a house. Local station WPBF summarized the county’s argument: “You can pray in your home, but you can’t buy a home just to pray in.”

For weeks a battle raged between the neighbors, the Feders, and those who supported the couple. The Feders — which only live in the area during the winter — says they sometimes sleep at the extra condo, as well as entertaining guests in it. In the end, the neighbors, and the county, didn’t buy it:

But what‘s interesting is that the rift between the neighbors isn’t really between Jews and Christians, Jews and atheists, or even Jews and Muslims. Rather, as Palm Beach Post writer Frank Cerabino says, almost the entire village is Jewish — so the debate is between Orthodox Jews and non-Orthodox Jews.

According to Cerabino, the more modern residents are upset about a transformation they see happening withing the village:

"Jewish residents at Century Village talk freely about their condo community being overrun by the more zealous members of their own religion, whom they view as clannish and disrespectful of social norms – most notably, turning community pools into ritual cleansing baths.

“If they can get three or four people on the board, they can get control of a building,” said resident Elaine Brown. “And then they can change the rules. This is the greatest threat to the Village we’ve ever seen.”

Aron Sandel, a seasonal resident and an Orthodox Jew who lives in the complex, denies the group is disruptive, and feels many of those critical of the Orthodox members are overreacting. “We don’t have weapons. No guns. Everything is quiet,” he told the Post. “In order to pray, we need a minyan, and that’s 10 men. Sometimes we have a hard time making the minyan.”

“It’s really not about zoning,” Sam Koenig, a 64-year-old Orthodox Jew within the complex, told the Post. “This crowd doesn’t want this because it reminds them of an Eastern European shtetl, and makes them feel as if they’re going back in time.”

“If they win, I’m going to turn my apartment into a mosque,” Maynard Merel, a modern Jewish resident vowed.

They didn’t. For now, there won‘t be anymore prayer gatherings at the Feder’s extra apartment. And no mosque at the Merels’ place either.


Calif. Councilwoman Receives Threats for ‘Anti-Muslim’ Comments

A California councilwoman has received threats over comments she made during a recent protest outside a fundraising event hosted by the Islamic Circle of North American (ICNA) Relief USA.

As we reported earlier this month, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) condemned the Orange County tea party protest event as a gathering of “anti-Muslim bigots” and released a heavily edited video of protesters and speakers decrying ICNA and its event which hosted two controversial guests with ties to radical Islam.

During the daytime protest, local councilwoman Deborah Pauly remarked how her son and his military friends would be very happy to help these terrorists to an early meeting in Paradise.”

Pauly’s comments reportedly angered 27-year-old Paul Dean Andrews who pleaded not guilty Wednesday to one felony count of threatening a public official.

Pauly has since walked back those comments, claiming to be referring to terrorists in the Middle East and not anyone attending ICNA’s fundraising event. But Andrews allegedly sent her a Facebook message threatening violence against her with weapons, Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri said.

“We can’t be specific on the threat, but it was a specific threat to harm her,” said Jim Amormino of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Orange County sheriff’s deputies tracked the message back to Andrews and confronted him at his home Monday where he was arrested without incident.

On Tuesday evening, about 200 protesters gathered outside Villa Park City Hall to demand an apology from Pauly for her past comments, chanting, “Pauly, Pauly, Pauly has got to go.”.

In addition, the Villa Park Peace Coalition sent a letter to Pauly demanding a public apology. “Your speech incited hate and undermined the very essence of American values in which we pride ourselves,” the members of the coalition said in the letter. “In Villa Park, we have always supported religious pluralism as we have always enjoyed a peaceful co-existence amongst our constituents.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


25 March, 2011

If the quake won't wreck it, Council will: Out-of-control bureaucracy in New Zealand

By Dr Eric Crampton, a Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand

When governments grant themselves emergency powers, regardless of fine intentions, liberties are in danger. It can lead to a sad erosion of rights as people are dictated to and no longer allowed to assume their own risks.

As a result of the two earthquakes in Christchurch, and the subsequent declaration of a national emergency, the central government and Civil Defence Controller have been extraordinarily empowered by Parliament to dictate measures to repair the damage and help the city recover.

A selection from last week’s Christchurch Press:

• A restaurant owner was prohibited from recovering items from his restaurant ‘for his own good,’ only to find that soldiers guarding the cordon had been inside to grab a few chairs to sit on. The restaurant was demolished despite assurances it wouldn’t be; the owner wasn’t even notified of the demolition.

• A sound building was demolished because it was the same colour as the neighbouring building. Again, the owner wasn’t notified.

• Responsible owners left notes on the windows of their locked buildings saying the building was clear of any people. Search teams then smashed doors open without contacting the owners.

This isn’t the New Zealand to which I immigrated. The advertised New Zealand was a place where folks could muck in, sort out their own problems, and assume their own risks. People could do ridiculous things in kayaks and on mountains, but would sometimes be called on to front the bill for their rescue if they wound up doing something stupid. It’s a country where when a woman tragically died of hypothermia going through Cave Stream in the middle of winter with insufficiently warm clothes, the response was to put up a slightly bigger sign warning people to wear warm clothes in winter: ‘We can’t fence off all the mountains’ was the very sensible reply.

Civil Defence Coordinator John Hamilton, Minister of Earthquake Recovery Gerry Brownlee, and Mayor Bob Parker are doing their best to wreck what I’ve always found best about New Zealand: folks were more or less free to pursue their vision of the good life and to bear their own risks so long as they weren’t burdening anyone else. Yes, business owners going into downtown may be assuming some risks and might wind up needing rescuing if there’s a bad aftershock. But in some cases, even where they’ve hired professionals to come in and ensure everything’s done safely, they’re still prohibited.

Fortunately, after public protest by business owners earlier in the week, the powers that be have eased up a bit on restrictions. But even on Thursday, the Christchurch Press reported that owners were being denied access to safe buildings on the cordon boundary because Civil Defence worries it ‘would make security much more difficult to enforce.’

What a way to rebuild a city.

The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 25 March. Enquiries to cis@cis.org.au. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.

Catalogue of appalling blunders by politically-correct British police let the Night Stalker claim 500 victims

But there is no shortage of zeal in policing thought crimes, of course. And golliwog owners are cracked down on immediately

An appalling catalogue of police blunders allowed ‘Night Stalker’ Delroy Grant to carry out sex attacks on 500 elderly people in a reign of terror spanning two decades. He should have been stopped in his tracks 12 years ago, when police were given his car registration number. There were two further positive identifications in 2001 and 2003.

But ‘basic policing errors’ allowed the Jamaican-born predator to continue raping and assaulting vulnerable pensioners after stalking them and breaking into their homes at night – often cutting their telephone lines and electricity cables.

Detectives believe the 53-year-old’s tally of victims could even be as high as 1,000. Many of the elderly men and women on whom he preyed have either died or are too traumatised, ashamed or confused to come forward.

The shocking revelation that the one-time Jehovah’s Witness could be Britain’s most prolific sex attacker came yesterday as Grant faced a sentence which could see him die in prison. A judge warned him the jail term would be ‘very long indeed’ after a jury convicted him of 29 specimen charges by a 10-2 majority.

They rejected the ‘ludicrous’ assertion that his ex-wife planted his DNA at the crime scenes to ‘frame’ him for a wave of attacks which terrorised old people in south London, Kent and Surrey from the early 1990s.

One of the victims – a grey-haired woman he indecently assaulted in her home – stared at him through opera glasses from the back of Woolwich Crown Court as the verdicts were delivered.

Grant – who refuses to admit his crimes or offer any explanation – simply shook his head. In a corner of the court, a policewoman sobbed into her hand.

The massive manhunt dedicated to finding the Night Stalker was riddled with a series of errors, oversights and ‘simple misunderstandings’ which critically undermined it, a formal inquiry concluded yesterday.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission said the mistakes and confusion ‘had horrific consequences’. Some of the bungles proved to be catastrophic. In May 1999 an elderly woman was burgled in Bromley, Kent. A Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator told police she had seen a black man putting on gloves and walking towards the house. She gave details of his car, including the registration number.

Detectives ran a trace on it which showed it was registered to Delroy Easton Grant’s wife Jennifer at their home nearby. When the name ‘Delroy Grant’ was fed to police computer databases, it identified six people of that name. One Delroy Grant, in London, showed a burglary conviction. For a moment, it looked as if the hunt could be over. But a DNA sample taken from this man, which eliminated him from the inquiry, somehow became assigned to Delroy Easton Grant’s profile.

Although a detective did visit Delroy and Jennifer Grant’s home to check on his movements on the night of the burglary, Delroy was out – and no follow-up action was taken. Had his DNA been taken that day, he would have been identified instantly as the Night Stalker rapist.

In 2001, a BBC Crimewatch appeal prompted a call saying an e-fit picture resembled Delroy Grant. Investigations were carried out – but Delroy Easton Grant was wrongly eliminated by the 1999 DNA blunder.

In 2003, an elderly woman attacked by Grant scratched him in the struggle and got some of his DNA under her fingernails. She told police her attacker looked like one of the minicab drivers at a local firm she used. In fact Grant did work for that firm – but he was never interviewed.

He was not caught until November 2009 after his car was captured on CCTV near a crime scene in Croydon.

Commander Simon Foy, head of the Metropolitan Police homicide and serious crime command, issued an apology to victims and their families for the ‘missed opportunity’ to catch him, and for ‘the trauma suffered by all those victims and our failure to bring Grant to justice earlier’.

He added: ‘Grant is a rapist who preyed upon the most vulnerable section of society. He has never given any explanation for his offending and we may never know why he did it.’


Muslim violence a fact, not prejudice

Comment from Australia by Mark Durie, a Melbourne Anglican vicar

Those who denounce critics of Islam should allow that, like all global faiths, Islam has its detractors and a religion will be judged on what its followers say and do.

There is a debate going on about Islam. The question being asked is: Does Islam itself - not just poverty or social exclusion - provide ideological fuel for extremism and violence?

It is all too tempting to promote one-dimensional explanations of religious violence. Monash University doctoral candidate Rachel Woodlock said on this page on Wednesday that social exclusion was the root of Islamic radicalism.

On one hand, there are those who, like Woodlock, demand that critics of Islam be stigmatised as ignorant, right-wing racists. On the other hand, Islam's problems cannot be simplistically reduced to social or economic factors.

Violence in the name of Islam is well-attested in nations in which Muslims are dominant, and it is non-Muslim minorities that suffer the exclusion. It does not do to argue that religion has no relevance to such events.

In Muslim-majority Pakistan on December 3, Pakistani imam Maulana Yousuf Qureshi, in his Friday sermon, offered a $6000 bounty to anyone who would murder Asia Bibi, a Christian woman who has also been accused of "blaspheming Allah". Pakistani minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab governor Salman Taseer were subsequently assassinated because of their opposition to Pakistan's blasphemy laws.

These laws are supported by Pakistan's Islamic elites. The killer of Salman Taseer, Mumtaz Qadri, was praised by religious leaders from mainstream schools of Pakistani Islam, and when he was being led to court on January 6, 400 Muslim lawyers showered him with rose petals, offering him their legal services free of charge.

There has also been a rush of recent assaults on Copts and their places of worship in Egypt, sparked by a wild tirade by a leading Egyptian cleric.

Closer to Australia, there have been well-publicised attacks on Ahmadiyah Muslims in Indonesia, including brutal murders. These were undoubtedly influenced by a theological belief that Ahmadiyah adherents are apostates from true Islam. Although prominent Indonesian leaders were quick to express abhorrence for the attacks, many Indonesian Muslims have called for Ahmadiyahs to be outlawed.

These events demonstrate the ugly effects of stigmatising minorities, and it would be deplorable to simple-mindedly extrapolate the religious views of Pakistani, Egyptian or Indonesian Muslims and apply them to Australia.

However, it is irrational to insist that any and everyone who seeks to expose the religious roots of such hatred must themselves be decried as haters.

All over the world, every religious belief is disliked by someone or other. Christianity has its prominent detractors, too, from Bertrand Russell to Richard Dawkins. A Google search for "Evils of Christianity" yields tens of thousands of hits.

Australians can be thankful for a culture of tolerance, which has been carefully nurtured over decades. Tolerance is strengthened when people are able to debate ideological issues freely - especially those which impact profoundly on human rights - without being shouted down.

Victorian Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Nettle, in his findings on the case of the Islamic Council of Victoria v Catch the Fire, pointed out that criticism - or even hatred - of a religion should not be conflated with the hatred of people who hold those beliefs. It is one thing to promote tolerance, quite another to mandate it.

Perhaps the most powerful evidence against Woodlock's thesis - that it is exclusion, and not religion, that drives some Muslims to terrorism - is the fact that across the globe the most diverse religious minorities do not resort to violence, even when persecuted.

There are no Falun Gong terrorists in China, despite all the bitter persecution. The same can be said for persecuted Christians in many nations.

Even in Australia, many ethnic and religious groups have been subjected to disadvantage and exclusion, but none have produced the level of terrorist convictions of our own home-grown Islamic radicals.

It is a bitter pill for the vast majority of Australian Muslims to swallow that their faith has been linked, globally and locally, to religious violence.

Unfortunately, this link cannot be dismissed as the product of media prejudice or "Islamophobic" propaganda. It is in part an issue of some Muslims behaving very badly, and their often strident claim is that they do this in the name of religion.

Taking such claims seriously and debating them publicly must not be equated with stigmatising law-abiding and peaceable Australian Muslims.


U.S. military indoctrinated on gays kissing, behavior: Materials offer scenarios on gays

Four branches of the military have begun sending training material to 2.2 million active and reserve troops as a prelude to opening the ranks to gays, with instructions on, for example, what to do if an officer sees two male Marines kissing in a shopping mall.

Key themes are that sexual orientation will no longer be a bar to service, that all service members must respect each other, and that the partners of gay troops will not receive the benefits of heterosexual spouses. “We are going to make [gay ban] repeal training expeditiously,” said Maj. Joel Harper, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon. “It’s great training.”

The briefings first target commanders, who will have to enforce the new law and deal with disputes, and then the entire force. The slides, vignettes and talking points by the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps are similar.

The Marine Corps, which a Pentagon survey found holds deep opposition to lifting the ban, plans to publicly release its training material April 1. A Marine source provided copies to The Washington Times.

The vignette about seeing two male Marines kissing is part of a list of scenarios to help instructors prepare commanders for incidents likely to arise. “Situation,” it begins. “You are the Executive Officer of your unit. While shopping at the local mall over the weekend, you observe two junior male Marines in appropriate civilian attire assigned to your unit kissing and hugging in the food court.

“Issue: Standards of Conduct. Is this within standards of personal and professional conduct?”

The answer to Marines: “If the observed behavior crosses acceptable boundaries as defined in the standards of conduct for your unit and the Marine Corps, then an appropriate correction should be made. Your assessment should be made without regard to sexual orientation.”

The vignettes’ talking point states that commanders cannot rule a bar off limits simply because it caters to gays. Nor can commanders bar an off-duty homosexual from marching in civilian clothes in a gay-pride parade.

A Marine recruiter may not refuse to induct a gay civilian even though he views it as violating his religious beliefs. Commanders may honor a request not to shower with known gay service members.

“Marines are expected to obey lawful orders and could be subject to discipline or adverse administrative action if they refuse orders, even if such refusal is based on strong, sincerely held, moral or religious beliefs,” the briefing states.

The briefings were dispatched to service members worldwide, including to combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan, as part of a major indoctrination program ordered by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to ensure that gays and heterosexuals will serve and fight together.

President Obama signed legislation to repeal the military’s ban on open gays. Once training is completed this summer, Mr. Gates must certify to Congress that repeal will not hurt readiness before the ban officially ends.

The Service members Legal Defense Network, which led a long effort in Washington to kill the ban, said the military is taking too long to finish the training. “By and large, the materials are on target,” said Aubrey Sarvis, the group’s executive director. “Where we take exception is with the timeline that the Army has articulated for completing training as late as August. We believe training can be wrapped up by the end of next month, especially given the fact that there will be an additional 60 days for training that may take place after certification.”

In another scenario outlined in the Marine material, a lesbian Marine approaches her platoon sergeant and states “she can no longer tolerate her heterosexual roommate.” The answer: “The Platoon Sergeant must take a very active and positive leadership approach with a focus on conflict resolution and professional obligations to uphold the policy.”

A separate training guide answers 23 frequently asked questions, such as “is consensual sodomy still a punishable offense under the Uniform Code of Military Justice?” Answer: “The U.S. Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces found that private, consensual sexual activity, to include consensual sodomy, regardless of sexual orientation, is a protected liberty under the Fourteenth Amendment.”



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


24 March, 2011

British homeowner who put up security gates after series of burglaries ordered to tear them down because they are 6in too tall

A control-freak council

When businessman Robin Arnold installed security gates to protect his home, he never expected to end up hauled before a court. But the father-of-eight is facing prosecution because his local council has ruled the top of the gates should be a different colour and the height must be reduced by six inches.

Mr Arnold, 63, installed the gates in 2008 after a series of break-ins at his home in Stockport, Greater Manchester. But he didn't apply for planning permission for the gates and a retrospective application, and subsequent appeal, were refused.

The 5ft 6in gates are black with golden arrowheads, but Stockport council says they should be slightly smaller and the arrowheads black.

Mr Arnold, managing director of a restoration company, has refused to make the alterations, saying his gates are no different to others in the area. And when he ignored an enforcement notice sent in December the council began a prosecution against him.

Mr Arnold said: 'I will be among thieves and burglars. It's absolutely ridiculous it has come to that, but there are times you have to stand up and be counted and show up foolish attitudes for what they are. 'The council is gambling on a successful prosecution with taxpayers' money when people are losing their jobs. All I'm trying to do is protect my home and family.

'There are numerous designs and colours of gate in the area and some are bigger than mine. If I lower the height it will be easier for thieves to jump over them.'

Mr Arnold, who lives with his wife Julie, will appear before Stockport magistrates on a date yet to be fixed. He lives in the Davenport conservation area where planning laws are tighter to protect the neighbourhood's character.

A council spokesman said it had agreed to let the gates remain if the alterations were made. He said a similar arrangement had been made with other residents, who agreed to changes and were allowed to keep their gates. He added: 'We aim to resolve breaches of planning control through negotiation. This matter has been on-going since August 2008.

'The council has been extremely flexible, but in the interests of fairness to other residents who have followed the correct procedures, we have no option but to take action against a continued breach of planning control.'


Human rights laws result in a tripling of sham marriages in Britain

Human rights rulings by judges have led to a tripling in the number of suspected sham weddings. The courts have repeatedly weakened rules designed to prevent non-EU immigrants from marrying solely to remain in the UK. In four years, cases have risen from 282 annually to 934 – or 18 every week.

And the Human Rights Act has left the Home Office with no option but to scrap all remaining legal safeguards against fake ceremonies within weeks.

Mandy Brammer, a registrar in Brent, north London, tells tonight’s BBC Panorama programme that up to 2004 'we’d have waiting rooms full of people, all of whom were trying to arrange a sham marriage. There’s every likelihood of going back to that situation'.

A legal crackdown was introduced by Labour in February 2005 after the number of suspected sham ceremonies – often arranged by criminal gangs who could earn £10,000 a time – reached 3,700 a year. The clampdown, which reduced this figure by 90 per cent, was targeted at those who marry Britons, or EU citizens with full residency rights, to gain permission to remain indefinitely.

Migrants were forced to seek a special certificate to marry if they lived outside the EU, or had only limited rights to live in the UK. Those with only three months leave to stay were routinely refused on the grounds that the ceremony was intended only to avoid removal from the country.

In 2006 the courts ruled the entire system was unfair under human rights law. Two years later, the House of Lords found the rules to be a breach of Section 12 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the right to marry. It meant people could no longer be denied a certificate to marry based on the length of time remaining on their visa.

Since then the number of suspected sham ceremonies a year has rocketed, from around 300 to 900. Now, following further human rights rulings, the Home Office will shortly scrap the certificate system altogether. Under the current system, it receives 20,000 applications for certificates of approval each year, with officials refusing only one in 20.

Immigration Minister Damian Green confirmed that the human rights judgments had left the Home Office unable to keep or replace the certificate of approval. He said it would be replaced by a system of 'enforcement' and 'education'. 'We will not tolerate immigration abuse, including sham marriages.

'The UK Border Agency investigates all reports of suspected sham marriages – and recent enforcement action has resulted in 155 arrests. 'The most effective action is to increase our enforcement efforts and work closely with registrars and churches to identify marriages that may not be genuine.'

Registrars will be trained to look for suspicious activity, and anybody involved in fake ceremonies will be arrested.

Recent cases include the prosecution of Rev Alex Brown, who was jailed for four years after being found guilty of carrying out the biggest fake-wedding scam Britain has ever seen. He abused his position at his Victorian parish church in the seaside town of St Leonards, East Sussex, to marry 360 illegal immigrants to complete strangers. Between 2005 and 2009, Brown married up to eight couples a day and was found guilty of breaching immigration laws.


Anti-Iraq War Bush-Haters Squirm to Justify Libya

"The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation," then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said in December 2007.

What a difference a change of job title makes.

"Let's just call a spade a spade. A no-fly zone begins with an attack on Libya," said Defense Secretary Robert Gates three weeks before President Obama ordered a no-fly zone over -- and other military action against -- Libya.

Like many anti-Iraq War/Bush-is-a-warmonger critics, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., supports the Libyan action. Bush-hater Rachel Maddow of MSNBC rationalized that unlike the bloodthirsty President George W. Bush, you see, Obama ordered the military into action under a different "narrative" -- that is, reluctantly and without zeal. Understand?

The non-unilateralist Nobel Peace Prize laureate Obama, unlike Bush, sought no congressional war resolution. Obama, therefore, ordered military action against Libya "unilaterally" -- without the congressional approval that he once argued the Constitution demanded.

As Obama further explained in his December 2007 statement, "In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent." So a president, according to Obama, does not need congressional authority -- provided the action involves "self-defense" or "stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation."

What is the "actual or imminent threat" to America posed by Libya?

Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, spooked bleep-less after our invasion of Iraq, surrendered his WMD. The dictator admitted Libya's complicity in the bombing of the Pan Am plane over Lockerbie and paid financial settlements -- after which the U.S. removed Libya from the list of terror-sponsoring states. The U.S. imports less than 1 percent of its oil from that country. What threat to national security?

Fast-forward to March 2011. Rebels threaten to topple Gadhafi's brutal regime. But the dictator fights back, and unless stopped by outsiders, his military appears poised to put down and slaughter the rebels. Enter Obama. "We cannot stand idly by," he said, "when a tyrant tells his people there will be no mercy."

Obama thus approves this act of war -- for humanitarian purposes.

But Iraq's Saddam Hussein created a far greater humanitarian nightmare. "The Butcher of Baghdad" slaughtered, at minimum, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis -- far more people than were killed in Bosnia and Kosovo, where President Clinton ordered military force for humanitarian reasons. Yet, when weapons hunters found no stockpiles of WMD in Iraq, the dwindling number of pro-war Democrats turned against the war -- never mind the sickening sight of thousands of Iraqis found in shallow graves.

If U.S. foreign policy dictates intervention during humanitarian crises, why stop with Libya? Why start with Libya?

The list of brutal thug leaders is long. Nearly 40 percent of the world's population lives under un-free, often brutally repressive, governments, and another billion or so people have only partial freedom.

Humanitarian in-harm's-way deployment of the military is treacherous and unpredictable. Consider Somalia ("Black Hawk Down" Battle of Mogadishu in 1993); Lebanon (241 servicemen, mostly Marines, killed when terrorists blew up their barracks in 1983); and Bosnia/Kosovo (President Clinton promised troops out by Christmas 1995).

The purpose of the military is to act on behalf of our national security. We are not the world's hall monitor. Bush-hating Iraq War critics used to say stuff like that -- along with "war is not the answer."

Now, let's revisit the reasons for the -- as pre-President Obama called it -- "stupid" war.

Obama, like virtually everyone else, assumed Saddam possessed stockpiles of WMD while actively pursing a nuclear capability. President Bush sought and obtained congressional authorization. He called Saddam's Iraq a "grave and gathering threat" to our national security.

Ninety percent of Americans, in the dark days following Sept. 11, 2001, expected another attack within a year -- except perhaps this time with chemical or biological weapons. From the "oil-for-food" program, Saddam stole money, possibly re-routing it to terrorists. He financially rewarded families of homicide bombers. We learned, following the Persian Gulf War, that he was much closer to achieving nuclear capability than previously thought. Saddam kicked out the U.N. inspectors sent in to verify the promised dismantling and destruction of the weapons.

That Saddam possessed stockpiles of WMD, having used chemical weapons on the Iranians and his own people, was not in dispute. All 16 U.S. intelligences agencies thought so "with the highest probability." France, the United Kingdom, Russia, Egypt, Jordan, China, Israel -- and even Saddam's own generals -- assumed Iraq possessed WMD. Even U.N. weapons inspector and Iraq War critic Hans Blix thought Saddam likely possessed these weapons. As Blix admitted at a 2004 University of Berkeley forum: 'I'm not here to have gut feelings. But yes, in December 2002 (three months before the invasion) I thought Saddam had weapons of mass destruction.'"

Call Libya the Obama doctrine: non-national security, non-congressionally approved military attacks are perfectly legitimate for humanitarian reasons. Except not for Iraq under President George W. Bush -- who awaits his apology.


NYT whitewashes Muslim extremist

It doesn't set out to do so, but an exhaustive profile of an Islamic cleric in Sunday's New York Times magazine makes the depth and severity of radicalization among some young Muslim Americans very clear.

Reporter Andrea Elliott devotes nearly 8,500 words to Yasir Qadhi, in the article "Why Yasir Qadhi Wants to Talk About Jihad." It casts a picture of a very conservative but generally peaceful Salafi Muslim. As such, he is cast as the ultra-conservative Muslim antidote to al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, who is credited with inspiring everyone from Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan and would-be terrorists Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab and Faisal Shahzad.

But Qadhi, dean of academic affairs at the Houston-based AlMaghrib Institute, rarely is shown aggressively challenging the radical ideas that fuel violent jihad. If anything, he agrees with them, including a notion that the U.S. is at war with Muslims. That message is considered among the most forceful in radicalizing young Muslims into supporting violence.

Like his students, religion is more than a personal belief system to Qadhi. He would like to see "the world … fully adhere to his faith," the story says. He won't say whether he considers attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan to be legitimate jihads.

It is due to a delicate balancing act, the story explains. If he speaks too openly about "what kinds of militant actions are permitted by Islamic law," he risks being labeled unpatriotic and possibly even prosecuted, Elliott writes.

When he tells his students to use the power of their votes and their voices, they push back, wondering if that's enough to meet their religious duties.

A female student criticized Qadhi for providing "wishy-washy nonanswers." And she was not persuaded that there are more peaceful ways to pursue jihad. Elliott described it this way: "Being martyred in the battlefield, she said, is 'romantic,' while 'lobbying your congressman is not.'"

He is shown arguing why the failed Christmas Day 2009 bombing of a commercial airliner was wrong under Islam. "There were even Muslims on that plane!" he said. "I mean, what world are you living in? How angry and overzealous are you that you simply forget about everything and you think that this is the way forward?"

But he acknowledges being hesitant to take on some of his students' positions forcefully out of fear he'll be dismissed from their consideration. His students are well educated and seemingly comfortable economically.

But they struggle with the proper Islamic response when America is waging war in Muslim lands. America is a newly hostile country for Muslims, the story says.

"They have watched as their own country wages war in Muslim lands, bearing witness — via satellite television and the Internet — to the carnage in Iraq, the drone attacks in Pakistan and the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo," Elliott writes. "While the dozens of AlMaghrib students I interviewed condemned the tactics of militant groups, many share their basic grievances."

The Times profile notes Qadhi already is derided as a "sellout" on some jihadist web sites. The result, however, may be that he fails on both sides.

In an example not mentioned in the article, Qadhi was unable to state a clear position on the January assassination of a Pakistani governor who was openly critical of that state's blasphemy laws. In an online posting, Qadhi republished an article by a Pakistani writer.

Salman Taseer's murder by a bodyguard was an issue with "many facets and perspectives to consider, and it is simply not possible for an outsider (as we all are here in the West, even if some of us originate from Pakistan) to fully understand the nuances of the situation," Qadhi wrote.

The Pakistani writer offered a "very balanced" assessment, Qadhi wrote, acknowledging "(t)here are clear elements of truth on both sides and clear elements of exaggeration and extremism on both sides as well."

According to the writer Qadhi cited, the issue should be discussed dispassionately.

"Representation from different schools of Islamic thought should be gathered," he wrote, "and, together with legal experts, a solution should be sought whereby, at least, the misuse of this law for personal gain or revenge should be curtailed."

Neither writer came out and called the assassination wrong and unacceptable in a modern, civil society.

Vague messages from Qadhi are numerous. In the profile, he advises an audience to heed the law of the land. But, Elliott writes, "their 'responsibilities would be different'" if they lived in Palestine or Iraq. "He did not elaborate."

It is not the only time he has advised people to obey the laws of man even if that means tolerating something they might otherwise act against. In a video posted to YouTube in March 2008, Qadhi responds to a British television program which sent undercover cameras into mosques, finding that "a message of hatred and segregation is being spread throughout the UK" by groups considered moderate and mainstream. That included messages "condemning British democracy as un-Islamic and praising the Taliban for killing British soldiers."

Qadhi accused the producers of editing statements to make them look worse than they were. One part apparently dealt with intolerance toward homosexuals. Islam considers that a sin, Qadhi says in the YouTube clip. "It is a crime against Allah… Are we going to do something against homosexuals? No, we are not. This is not our country. This is not our land," he says. "But we're allowed to speak against it, are we not? Our country has promised us the right to freedom of speech."

Elliott does address blatantly radical statements Qadhi has made in the past. That, he tells her, was "the old me." While he maintains an ultraconservative religious viewpoint, he said he moved away from the violent jihadist perspective.

He traveled to Auschwitz and Dachau last summer, telling Elliott the experience compounded his shame over past remarks about the Holocaust.

Elliott makes a point of showing ways in which Qadhi is like most other Americans. He lives in Memphis, "a long way from the centers of Islamic thought ," calls people "dudes," drives a Honda and enjoys Popeye's "popcorn shrimp and gravy-slathered biscuits."

But he still sees the United States as hostile toward Muslims, Elliott writes, saying those like him, "who engage in controversial rhetoric are treading on thin ice" legally. That was Qadhi's reaction to the conviction of a former mentor, Ali al-Timimi, on terrorist-related charges. Days after 9/11, Timimi urged a group of followers to travel to Pakistan for military training from the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba so that they might fight U.S. troops as they invaded Afghanistan.

Elliott minimizes the facts in the case, ignoring the Lashkar training and saying the men merely "practiced shooting at a paintball facility." Presiding federal Judge Leonie Brinkema emphasized that connection when she sentenced Timimi to life in prison. "I don't think any well-read person can doubt the truth that terrorist camps are an essential part of the new terrorism that is perpetrated in the world today," she said. "People of good will need to do whatever they can to stop that."

As Elliott's own newspaper reported, Brinkema rejected the argument that Timimi was punished for his words alone. "This was not a case about speech; this was a case about intent," Brinkema said, finding Timimi meant to incite others to violence against the United States.

After the conviction, Qadhi called Timimi "one of the more sophisticated voices of reason representing orthodox Islam in the Western world" and decried his trial as a "witch hunt."

That Qadhi seems to continue believing Timimi did no wrong in inspiring people to commit violence leaves open whether he is an authentic voice in opposing violent jihad.

Also left unanswered is whether his approach to radical Islam is effective. Abdulmutallab attended AlMaghrib's summer institute 18 months before trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airplane with explosives sewn into his underpants. He had access to the teachings of both Qadhi and Awlaki and chose Awlaki's side.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


23 March, 2011

Britain shows where advanced bureaucracy leads

Pay or we'll raid your home, taxman tells 95-year-old widow (and they owe HER money). It was only intervention by a newspaper that saved her

HM Revenue & Customs debt collectors have threatened to visit the home of a frail 95-year-old widow and confiscate her possessions, even though she has paid too much tax.

This shocking threat was made in a letter that arrived on Saturday, just three days after HMRC chiefs had been hauled before a committee of MPs to explain the chaos that has engulfed millions of taxpayers.

The letter warned: 'We are arranging a visit to your house. We will view your possessions and list those that we will sell at auction. We strongly advise you to avoid this as it will cost you much more to pay this way and can be embarrassing.'

The letter was received by Beryl Frew, whom Money Mail featured in January. Mrs Frew has failing eyesight and hearing, and needs daily medication for her blood pressure.

HMRC sent her a bill for £3,946.27 after she became confused by complex tax forms. We asked the charity Tax Help For Older People to look at her case. After examining her records it emerged that she has in fact paid more than £380 too much tax.

HMRC agreed with these f igures . But in another staggering example of incompetence it failed to tell its debt management section, which issued the threatening letter. A spokesman says: ' We apologise to Mrs Frew for the distress caused. The letter was issued in error and we are urgently looking into how this happened. We will be contacting Mrs Frew to apologise and put her mind at rest.'

Following our intervention, HMRC has promised the pensioner will not be visited by debt collectors.

Mrs Frew's family knew the tax bill was wrong, but like tens of thousands of others, faced frustration in getting it resolved.

Much more HERE

Africa aid has been wasted and created army of beggars, says Mandelson

Surprising realism from a prominent British Leftist

Most of the aid sent to Africa in the past half century has been wasted and has turned the region’s countries into ‘professional beggars’, according to Peter Mandelson. The former Cabinet minister gave one of the harshest assessments yet of successive governments’ aid policies, warning that Britain had failed to help African economies grow. Lord Mandelson, a former business secretary, insisted that the money should have been poured into trade rather than handouts.

The Labour peer told The Times Summit on Africa in London: ‘Most of the aid we have sent to Africa over the last five decades has probably, in the main, been wasted as far as growth is concerned. ‘I’m not anti-aid, but if you ask me where I would put my money, it would go on trade rather than aid as a key to African economic development.’

His extraordinary intervention comes as many on the Tory backbenches are questioning the wisdom of the Coalition’s policy to ringfence overseas aid while making cutbacks elsewhere.

Lord Mandelson, who is also a former EU trade commissioner, then said that the elimination of subsidies and opening up Europe’s markets was key to helping Africa. ‘Far too much EU trade policy since decolonisation has interpreted our responsibilities in Europe as shielding these economies from economic change rather than in a progressive way opening up these economies,’ he said. ‘This has marooned many African economies, demeaning many African governments by turning them into professional aid beggars. ‘Protectionist economies are great sources of corruption.’

But as trade commissioner, Lord Mandelson proposed a blanket duty on all leather shoes from former struggling economies such as China and Vietnam. This was to protect manufacturers in rich, European countries. It was also under Lord Mandelson’s watch that the Doha trade talks failed, after five years of negotiations between the West and developing countries.

Malcolm Bruce, the chairman of the International Development Committee, said Lord Mandelson’s remarks were an ‘appalling admission of failure’. Mr Bruce said: ‘He was in government and in the EU for 13 years. What was he doing? ‘He spent too much time plotting rather than trying to reform aid policy.’

Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley, said he backed Lord Mandelson’s view that trade, not aid, was key to fighting poverty. But he added: ‘It is rather depressing that Lord Mandelson has only had a dose of commonsense once he left office and it was too late for him to do anything.’

The Government has promised to ringfence spending on aid policy. It is one of only two departments to have its entire budget protected – alongside health.

While other areas face the full brunt of the government spending axe, the aid budget for the Department for International Development alone has risen by 37 per cent in real terms.


Leftist "homophobia" in Australia

THE ABC has apologised today after it broadcast an anti-gay jibe against a Liberal MP. A hailstorm of criticism erupted today after a Q&A panel session with federal member Christopher Pyne last night ran a viewer's tweet: "Does Pyne really light up when he's talking about men in uniform?"

Victorian Gay & Lesbian Rights Lobby co-convenor Sarah Rogan said the ABC should know better. "It is a cheap shot," she said. "It is not one of the worst levels of discrimination but it is stereotyping and playing on gay men in particular."

Q&A publicist Rachel Baugh rejected accusations of homophobia and said the national broadcaster was sorry for the tweet. "Q&A has a complex moderation process that deals with over 19,000 tweets during the course of the live program," she said. "This tweet was one that unfortunately went to air and shouldn't have. "The program agreed it was inappropriate and has contacted Christopher Pyne's office to apologise."

Though he is married with children, Mr Pyne has been dogged for years by sideswipes over his sexuality. In 2009, Kevin Rudd referred to him as "the member for skirt that is, the member for Sturt".

When Mr Pyne was appointed manager of Opposition business, Julia Gillard expressed surprise that the then Coalition leader, Malcolm Turnbull, hadn't given the job to Tony Abbott instead. Faced with a choice between a doberman and a poodle, she said, Mr Turnbull had opted for the poodle.


So: "Violence never solved anything"?

It's solved some very bad human relationships here

A 12-YEAR-OLD bully who hit international headlines after being slam-dunked by his victim has written a personal apology. Ritchard Gale yesterday left a note on the doorstep of Casey Heynes' home, which said: "Sorry for hitting you ... Hopefully all this trouble will stop after I say sorry to you and shake your hand," reported the Herald Sun.

In the letter Ritchard also said he should not have taken things into his own hands: "should of went to the office instead", "I just want to say sorry", he wrote.

Casey become an internet sensation after turning the tables on Ritchard in a clip that showed him being bullied before he snapped and retaliated, the result he said of years of cruel taunts about his weight.

The families of the two boys have reportedly made about $40,000 each for TV interviews following the incident. Casey said he has been bullied nearly every day at his school, Chifley College in Sydney's west, but could take no more when Year 7 student Ritchard tormented and attacked him last Monday.

"All I was doing was defending myself. I've never had so much support," he said during an interview with A Current Affair.

Casey reveals he'd been targeted by a new group of Year 7 boys who had started picking on him and teasing him about two weeks prior to the fight.

The Year 10 student said he found himself surrounded by the students when he went to get a school timetable before class.

As Ritchard backed him against the wall and started throwing punches, Casey said he felt scared and worried that others in the group would also start hitting him.

Eventually, he snapped, picking Ritchard up over his shoulder and throwing him to the ground.

The brawl was recorded on the mobile phone of another student who later posted the video online where he has earned "hero" status.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


22 March, 2011

BBC Promotes foul language

It is usually regarded as one of the last bastions of taste and decency at the BBC. But now Radio 3 is to air an adaptation of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights complete with foul language.

Romantic figures Heathcliff and Cathy will be heard using strong swear words in the station’s adaptation of one of literature’s most famous and tempestuous love stories.

It is understood the expletives are used in the heat of the moment as the two characters argue. But eyebrows have been raised at the decision to air the scenes at 8pm on Sunday night.

While radio does not have a 9pm watershed in the way that television does, stations are not supposed to broadcast unsuitable material when youngsters are likely to be listening.

Radio 3 has a low audience among young people, but there are concerns students who are studying the book could tune in to the adaptation without realising it has been given a more adult makeover.

The station was unable to provide a transcript showing the three occasions when swear words are used in the story, but said it did not affect any of the famous lines from the book.

Playwright and theatre director Jonathan Holloway defended the decision to use expletives in his reworking of the 1847 novel for the BBC. He told Radiotimes.com that the story would have shocked its readers when it was originally published.

Mr Holloway added: ‘For me Wuthering Heights is a story of violent obsession, and a tortuous unfulfilled relationship. This is not a Vaseline-lensed experience. ‘That’s what I wanted to elbow out, this idea that it’s the cosy greatest love story ever told. It’s not. ‘The f-words are part of my attempt to shift the production to left field, and to help capture the shock that was associated with the original book when it was published.’

A Radio 3 spokesman said: ‘The use of strong language by some characters in this production was not undertaken lightly. ‘Language warnings will be broadcast at the beginning of the drama.’


Disabled British man, 64, who died confronting yobs was a victim of 'systematic' police failure to protect him

The useless but politically correct plods again

A man with learning difficulties who collapsed and died after years of torment by children as young as five failed to receive proper support from police despite the abuse having been reported to them 88 times, a report found yesterday.

David Askew, 64, had been mercilessly picked on by generations of youths on the estate where he lived with his elderly mother, and last year a neighbour warned the local council one of them would die if the harassment didn’t stop.

Tragically, just three weeks later, Mr Askew suffered a fatal heart attack after going outside to chase away a gang who were throwing a wheelie bin around the garden and tampering with his mother’s mobility scooter.

Yesterday a report condemned police for their ‘total failure’ to link together the catalogue of calls made by the family and treat the abuse as a hate crime prompted by Mr Askew’s disability.

It also found CCTV cameras installed to catch the culprits were next-to-useless because the picture quality was too poor to recognise their faces – and even concluded Mr Askew had been treated as ‘part of the problem’ for giving the youths cigarettes to make them go away.

The appalling case followed the tragic case of Fiona Pilkington who killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca, 18, in 2007 by setting fire to their car. She had made 33 calls over seven years to police reporting abuse by local yobs which had driven her to despair but was instead accused of ‘over-reacting’.

Mr Askew, nicknamed ‘Dopey Dave’ by neighbours for his mental age of about eight, had suffered abuse for more than a decade. Youths would call him names, throw stones, smash windows and kick the front door of the home in Hattersley, Greater Manchester he shared with his wheelchair-bound mother Rose, 89, and brother Bryan, now 63, who also has learning difficulties.

Yesterday’s report by the Independent Police Complaints Commission revealed the family had called police 88 times to report abuse between 2004 and Mr Askew's death last March. But while neighbourhood police teams worked tirelessly with the family to try to help, senior officers failed to link the incidents and treat the constant torment they were enduring as a high priority, it said.

The report also highlighted how none of the calls were logged as a possible ‘hate crime’, and officers took the ‘easier route’ of trying to change Mr Askew’ s behaviour instead of tackling his abusers.

‘The poor quality of footage produced by the CCTV system installed at the Askew family home and the lack of an intelligence record regarding the incidents also hampered attempts to detect and prosecute crime.

‘Antisocial behaviour is the type of low level crime that can pass beneath the radar of police,’ said IPCC Commissioner Naseem Malik. ‘However for the families experiencing such crime it can be a horrific experience.’

She said Greater Manchester Police’s failure to prioritise the family in line with their vulnerability and to work with health teams and social workers ‘all led to incidents being dealt with locally and in isolation over a number of years’. ‘They were left with a sticking-plaster solution when the matter needed extensive surgery.’

Despite the hate campaign, only one person – 18-year-old Kial Cottingham – has ever been prosecuted over the harassment, although another youth was issued with an Asbo. Last September Cottingham was given 16 weeks’ detention, although he was not charged over Mr Askew’s death.

Also yesterday a serious case review by the local council highlighted how some of the children who tormented the family had been as young as five.

And it revealed the chilling warning made by a neighbour just three weeks before Mr Askew’s death. At a meeting to discuss the abuse, the resident predicted ‘if something wasn’t done there would be a death in the family’.

However it concluded that while agencies could have done more together to tackle the abuse, the tragedy might still not have been prevented.

No police officer is to face disciplinary action over the case, but Garry Shewan, Assistant Chief Constable of GMP, admitted the family had been failed. ‘We acknowledge we did not identify what happened to David as a disability hate crime, and that more should have been done at strategic and inter-agency level,’ he said.

However he pledged that new guidelines on how to treat vulnerable victims meant better support would be provided in future cases and said reports of antisocial behaviour across the force had dropped by a quarter over the last 12 months.

Coalition ministers have pledged to replace Labour’s discredited Asbo system with new measures including a ‘community trigger’ whereby police would have to act if at least five households raised a particular problem.

A Home Office spokesman said the failings highlighted by the reports into Mr Askew’s death showed ‘why we’re shaking up the whole system for dealing with anti-social behaviour, moving on from the Asbo culture and replacing it with powers that are easier to use, more effective and backed up by meaningful punishments’.


The Limits of Common Sense

Why toleration of outrageous speech is necessary for political freedom


Our Monday column on union thuggery prompts this response from reader John Benjamin:
Rarely do I write to comment on commentary, but that was simply too much. That you, unlike Ann Althouse, view Brian Leiter's "political violence" comments with "amusement" indicates a bit of callousness towards the sentiment expressed.

Frankly, Leiter borders on incitement. Not to see that comments such as his enhance the possibility of actual violence in the future is unacceptable. There is a profound degree of antipathy in political circles today and one would be denying reality if one expressed surprise at an act of political violence today. Shock and horror, yes, but surprise, no and it's due precisely to the allowing of intellectual lunatics such as Leiter the light of day on campus or anywhere inside civilization.

Tolerance in this instance simply encourages more of the same until, one day, riot. I find tolerance of ideological malfeasance to be akin to the broken windows theory of policing--when we allow foolish, crazy or hostile ideas to survive, they do nothing but cause ruin and further ruin. There is a limit to the First Amendment and it's called common sense.

Let's begin by rehearsing the Leiter statement in question. Referring to government policies of which he disapproves--specifically, curtailments of public-sector "collective bargaining" privileges and funding for public universities--Leiter, a scholar of philosophy and law at the University of Chicago, wrote on his blog: "At some point these acts of brazen viciousness are going to lead to a renewed philosophical interest in the question of when acts of political violence are morally justified."

This comes nowhere near meeting the legal definition of incitement, which the Supreme Court set out in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969):
Freedoms of speech and press do not permit a State to forbid advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

The key word here is "imminent." Leiter's statement not only is unlikely to incite or produce imminent lawless action but is carefully worded to refute any claim that that is its intent. As a legal scholar, he presumably knows the legal limits.

In fact, he could have been much more direct without risk of legal action. As we noted in January, the hard-left sociologist Frances Fox Piven has expressly advocated political violence and is at no legal risk for it. Leiter doesn't even advocate violence; he merely says that "at some point" (not imminently!) there will be "renewed philosophical interest in the question."

We find this amusing rather than menacing because it is so pathetically weak. Again, contrast Piven with Leiter. She came right out and called for "something like the strikes and riots that have spread across Greece"--a despicable sentiment, but one that at least has the virtue of clarity, in contrast with Leiter's coy insinuation that there may be challenging academic papers in the offing if his political foes aren't careful. Piven, a woman who will be 80 next year, is acting manlier than Leiter, decades younger and male.

Althouse does not profess to find Leiter's statement menacing either but "disgusting." (Nor does she urge that he be silenced.) If we read her correctly, her disgust is largely the product of what she, as an academic with integrity, sees as his abuse of his scholarly authority: "He's inclined to approve of the impulse toward violence on the left and willing to mobilize the discipline of philosophy to generate rhetoric to support its political goals. It's quite disgusting."

The reason we find Leiter's comments amusing rather than disgusting is that we, unlike Althouse, are not part of academia and thus have no personal investment in the ideal of disinterested and honest scholarship. Rather than offend our ideals, Leiter reinforces our stereotype of academia as being filled with fools and knaves. You can see why this would bother Althouse, a scholar who does not fit the disparaging stereotype.

Althouse's emotional reaction to Leiter's comments is similar to ours when the New York Times publishes blatantly slanted stories on its news pages or outright lies on its opinion pages. Those are our professional standards the Times is transgressing. Some of our readers thought our outrage at the Times naive; we would say that, like Althouse's disgust with Leiter, it was merely idealistic. It is possible to be knowing without being cynical.

To return to John Benjamin's letter, we certainly agree that it is better if "foolish, crazy or hostile ideas" do not survive, or at least do not thrive. A good deal of our work is devoted to combating them with the weapons of logic and mockery. As the disgusted Althouse demonstrates, shaming can also be an effective tactic.

Look at Leiter's defensive updates to his initial blog post. He accuses Althouse of an "inflammatory hatchet job" and us of a "drive-by smear." He answers by asserting that "I did not, and do not, call for political violence"--technically an accurate statement, as explained above, but a curious claim for him to deny since neither Althouse nor this column ever made it. Leiter wouldn't be acting like such a crybaby if he weren't losing this argument.

This little kerfuffle is a good illustration of the First Amendment piety that the answer to offensive speech is more speech, not censorship. Indeed, for generations the U.S. Supreme Court has protected speech far more offensive to common sense than anything Leiter has likely ever said:

Brandenburg overturned the conviction of a Ku Klux Klansman who had advocated (but not incited) violence against blacks and Jews. Hustler v. Falwell (1988) overturned a civil award against a pornographic magazine for what the court described as "an ad parody offensive to [the plaintiff], and doubtless gross and repugnant in the eyes of most." And most recently, Snyder v. Phleps (2011) overturned a judgment against the Westboro Baptist so-called Church, the "God hates fags" creeps, for protesting near the funeral of a fallen Marine.

All these decisions were unanimous save for Snyder, which drew a lone dissent by Justice Samuel Alito. We found Alito's opinion to be a compelling and eloquent defense of common sense, and we're glad he wrote it--although we're also glad no other justice joined it. Political freedom is much better served by a regime of near-absolute free speech than one that attempts to impose common-sense limits on speech.

This is for two reasons. First, exhortations to respect common sense--defined by Merriam-Webster as "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts"--presuppose that one has discretion over one's actions: "If you post that on your blog, you'll look foolish, Prof. Leiter. That's just common sense." It's too vague a basis for making legal rules, which require the drawing of clear lines. The First Amendment, in fact, is such a rule, designed to limit government's discretion in policing speech.

Second, common sense is too easily swamped by senseless intellectualism. The experience of generally free countries that do limit speech--including Canada, England and many Continental European lands--is that the limits are dictated by political correctness rather than common sense. The same is true of American institutions of higher education.

We might accept common-sense limits on free speech if Justice Alito were making all the decisions. But we don't for a second trust the political and legal elite to ensure that future justices are men like Alito, whose nomination was fiercely opposed by the party that now controls the White House and the Senate majority. Yielding to the temptation to censor the speech of guys like Leiter--or even Fred Phelps of Westboro infamy--would only make it more likely that guys like Leiter would eventually gain the power to censor the speech of the rest of us.


Australia: Victoria's welfare binge

More than one in four Victorians now rely on welfare, prompting renewed calls for an overhaul of the system of handouts. A Herald Sun investigation has found at least 1.3 million men, women and children received federal payments in the past year. And about half of those were handed more than one benefit.

The payments are part of the nation's $84.2 billion annual welfare bill, administered by Centrelink at a further cost of $3 billion a year.

For the first time the Herald Sun can reveal the full extent of welfare after being given access to Centrelink data for every postcode in the state. More than 2.6 million "clients" are recorded in Victoria receiving some of 27 benefits administered by Centrelink.

Broadly they fall into three groups: 1.2 million who receive working-age income support, 830,000 who receive family benefits, and 540,000 aged pensioners. In addition, 1.4 million Victorians have health care and concession cards.

In two-thirds of communities, more than half the population received some form of federal help in the past year. In one in 14 communities, welfare payments outnumbered residents.

The findings have spurred fresh debate about Australia's welfare system. "The sheer number of payments being made, and the number of Victorians receiving them, is astonishing," Jessica Brown, a policy analyst from the Centre for Independent Studies, said. "We need to ask ourselves what more we can do to get people off welfare and into work."

Ms Brown said the system had become too complex and it needed to be simplified to ensure payments were going to those most in need of them.

Victorian Council of Social Service chief executive Cath Smith said the geographic distribution of payments was stark. "This data presents decision-makers with an opportunity to focus economic development and investment in new services in the areas that are seriously disadvantaged - where people currently have less access to education, jobs and services than (those in) more affluent locations," she said.

"The fact that so many Victorians can rely on our social safety net is reassuring, yet (we) see the human faces behind these numbers every day. And we know that life is tough when you are poor or chronically ill."

Eight in 10 families nationally receive Family Tax Benefit payments, despite their being designed to focus on lower income groups. These payments alone will cost taxpayers nearly $18 billion this year. Nearly $2 billion more will go to pay for parental leave and the baby bonus.

Treasury secretary Ken Henry last year recommended a major welfare shake-up. Among the Henry Review's suggestions was a reduction in the number of welfare payments to fewer than a dozen, better means-testing of people's true wealth, and more encouragement of single parents to go back to work.

Since then, the Federal Government has extended the welfare system, introducing 18 weeks' paid parental leave on January 1, extending Family Tax Benefits to cover children aged 16-18 at school or in training with payments of up to $4000, and providing up to $6000 for unemployed people to move for work.

The Federal Government has also promised tougher penalties for job-seekers who miss Centrelink appointments.

And middle-class welfare is expected to come under the microscope in the coming federal Budget.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


21 March, 2011

Where are the stars and stripes? Adrianne Palicki's new Wonder Woman costume is 'devoid of American patriotism'

Patriotism is SOOOO old hat to the sophisticates of Hollywood

The new Wonder Woman costume is causing a stir - and it's nothing to with the tight-fitting, low cut design. Instead is it the loss of the patriotic American stars and stripes from the outfit which is causing some controversy.

And rival TV network Fox were quick to take issue with it in an article published on its website on Friday. Part of the story read: 'The new and allegedly improved Wonder Woman (a.k.a Diana Prince) has been given a head-to-toe makeover by artist Jim Lee, replacing her signature American flag decorated briefs with skintight…pants and purging the super hero of all her trappings of Americana.'

There have also been murmurings on Twitter about the new ensemble, with one shocked fan, YonathanS‎, tweeting: 'Can't tell what I think about the new Wonder Woman costume. No stars and stripes?'

A spokesperson for the heroine’s creator, DC Comics, has defended the new costume, telling the Fox : 'The latest evolution of Wonder Woman’s iconic costume is a central part of the latest comic book storyline.

It was announced in February this year that lesser-known actress, 27, would step into the role that Lynda Carter made famous in the Seventies, for a new version of the show. Palicki is better known in America for her role in the drama series Friday Night Lights, but has yet to make a household name for herself.

The new show is written by writer and producer David E. Kelley, who brought Ally McBeal, Chicago Hope and Boston Legal to our screens.


Letter written by an Arizona teacher is stirring a heated debate about racism and immigration

A letter from a teacher is the latest bombshell in the state's immigration debate. It was read on the Senate floor where five illegal immigration bills were defeated Thursday.

Even though the bills failed, the letter lives on stirring debate and prompting one Valley organization to question the judgment of the senator who read it. It came up during a debate of a bill that would have required schools to check each student’s legal status.

Senator Lori Klein explained many people misinterpreted the bill’s intent. She said they never wanted to deny anyone an education, but rather get a handle on how many students are in the country illegally so Arizona can tally the cost to educate them.

On Friday night Klein told me they simply thought it is important to understand how much federal and state tax dollars are spent on educating undocumented children, “Where is it going and who are we educating and I think that's a fair question I get asked by my constituents,” Klein said.

During her floor speech she read a letter from a person identifying himself as a West Valley substitute teacher. The author’s name is omitted from the letter. He details events that took place in an 8th grade Glendale classroom with "almost all Hispanic and a couple of black children."

He later writes, “Most of them stated they were in the country illegally, White Americans are racist, and that they came here for a better life.”

The author says his wife and children are Hispanic. He says the students were tearing pages out of textbooks, throwing pencils, generally not prepared for class and speaking Spanish in class.

The author, who addressed the letter to Senate President Russell Pearce, wrote, “I asked the students to stop speaking Spanish in class because it was impolite to speak a language in front of people who may not speak that language. Their response was that Americans better learn Spanish and their customs because they are taking their land back from us.“

Tonight I asked Senator Klein why she read the letter. “They apparently had little regard for him, they were rude to him and basically engaging in behavior that isn't appropriate in any school," she told me. "It shows how little regard some of these people have for the education they are getting for free from the American taxpayers, that’s why I read the letter.”

But the letter also included this sentence, “I have found that substitute teaching in these areas most of the Hispanic students do not want to be educated but rather be gang members and gangsters.”

It is statements like that which had people calling Bill Straus, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “I’ve gotten e-mails and phone calls throughout the day yes,” Straus told me.

I asked him what people were saying and he replied, “Asking what, if anything, is the Anti-defamation league is going to do. We have a state senator that gets up and reads this hateful pile of trash. I’d be curious to know if there really is a substitute teacher because quite frankly I’ve read a lot of stuff like this.

"Our organization monitors extremist groups, individuals. I’ve seen a lot of things like this, it's not that out of the ordinary. What is out of the ordinary that it gets the credibility of a state senator reading it word for word on the floor of the senate, it’s a disgrace,” Straus said.

Klein stressed that the letter is not her opinion, that she merely was presenting it to show what one teacher says he’s dealing with and that the point of reading it wasn’t to offend but to inform.

“To say that all Hispanics kids don't want to learn is not true,” said Klein. "I was reading that letter verbatim, I did not have time to edit it.” [He said "most", not "all"]

She added that his letter showed that some of some of the things he is experiencing are, “not an anomaly. According to him it’s endemic in certain areas in Phoenix which is very sad. It should be sad because I know there are a lot of wonderful Hispanic families who treasure their kids and their education.”

Klein also said, “Not one of us on the senate floor is racist or has anything other than the hope that people who are here in this country will appreciate what they are in getting in terms of their education to get ahead in life. Do we want people here legally and go through the legal channels? Absolutely! We think that's the right way to handle it, however we are here in this situation where we are educating people and we want to be able to understand exactly to what level and who we are educating and we want to make sure people are actually getting educated.

"We hope they are appreciating the education because if they were to have a pathway to citizenship, which they are, I mean many of these young boys can join the military and be given the ability to become legal citizens, so we certainly want people to be educated.

"This was not a racist thing to find out how many people are being educated, it was a matter of letting the taxpayers know the cost.


Australia: Eat your heart out, Libya and Japan

The top story in Queensland's largest paper today is about the Royal visit. The story below. Being a Queen's man in Queensland (as I am) is perfectly mainstream -- despite the derision with which Australia's Leftist "intelligentsia" view Monarchists and the Monarchy. The Monarchy plays an irreplaceable role in places where the Queen reigns. You can read something of that below

IT WAS one of the most heart-warming moments of the Prince's trip to Grantham yesterday. Derelle Linneth, who has Down syndrome, has idolised Prince William for years, so when he entered the tent full of Grantham locals, she saw her chance to say hello.

"She just went, 'Yes!' and she grabbed him," sister Marilyn Hilan said. "She looked at him and said, 'I love you, William' and he said, 'You get another cuddle then'."

Ms Hilan said his visit meant a lot to the flood-ravaged town. "I'm 61 and I run a farm on my own," she said. "I felt like, 'Should I keep going or just stop?' After today, I think I will keep going."

Last night, at a dinner at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Prince praised the efforts of rescuers and "stalwart Queenslanders" who helped neighbours and risked "life and limb" to save others.


Australia: Duck hunt protester shot

A fitting result for an arrogant and coercive person with no respect for the rights of others

A PROTESTER was hit with more than seven shotgun pellets, hours after the opening of the controversial duck hunting season yesterday. Julia Symons, 43, from St Kilda in Melbourne, sustained pellet injuries to her face, teeth and hand in a accidental shooting at Lake Buloke, in Victoria's west while protesting on the first day of the duck-hunting season, which runs until June 13.

A teenage gunman was questioned by police yesterday. Witnesses claim they saw the 14-year-old boy taunting Ms Symons minutes before she was peppered with shotgun pellets.

Police described the shooting as an accident after taking the alleged teenage shooter and his uncle to Donald Police Station for questioning.

Ms Symons, 43, was last night recovering from her injuries at Wimmera Base Hospital in Horsham after at least seven pellets lodged in her face and right hand.

Coalition Against Duck Shooting attempted to disrupt the 1500-plus hunters who had descended on Buloke lake for duck opening season.


Duck hunting is beneficial

DUCK hunting in Victoria is regulated, sustainable and of economic and cultural importance.

This year marks the first full 12-week duck hunting season in 10 years. Recent rain has seen wetlands across the state fill with water and waterfowl have been breeding to prolific numbers. There is no doubt that duck hunting under present regulations is sustainable and responsible.

The town of Donald, near Lake Buloke, was an area badly affected by the recent floods. Many of the businesses there have been thrown a lifeline by the number of hunters who will continue visiting the area throughout the season.

Hunters from the Northern Territory, South Australia and Sydney have also travelled to the area, demonstrating that the sport is beneficial to Victorian tourism.

The game-hunting tradition in Victoria is of great cultural importance. When visiting duck hunting camps, I often see three generations of the same family together.

They make sure their younger hunters learn to use firearms properly and they continue on that strong tradition.

All hunters must successfully pass a Waterfowl Identification Test by law before they hunt ducks in Victoria, meaning they are able to identify the correct birds to hunt. It is in hunters' interests to see bird populations sustained and bag limits are strictly regulated.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


20 March, 2011

DOJ to white male bullying victims: Tough luck

The viral video sensation showing a bullying incident at an Australian school has brought the issue of bullying back into the spotlight. Here in the United States, the Obama administration has made school bullying a federal issue. Last week, President Barack Obama addressed an anti-bullying conference with First Lady Michelle Obama at his side. The administration's anti-bullying campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of Mr. Obama's term. The Department of Justice announced in December 2010 its intention to hold liable school districts that fail to protect students that are bullied. DOJ’s website states:

"The Civil Rights Division and the entire Justice Department are committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools, and the video highlights the Department’s authority to enforce federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment at school because of their race, national origin, disability, religion, and sex, including harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes"

The statement later says:

"The enforcement of the Equal Protection Clause, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in school districts is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information is available at the Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section website at www.justice.gov/crt/edo/."

Here is the catch. DOJ will only investigate bullying cases if the victim is considered protected under the 1964 Civil Rights legislation. In essence, only discrimination of the victim’s race, sex, national origin, disability, or religion will be considered by DOJ. The overweight straight white male who is verbally and/or physically harassed because of his size can consider himself invisible to the Justice Department.

Apparently, the Justice Department is going by George Orwell’s famous Animal Farm ending: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”

“We can only take action where we have legal authority,” wrote DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa in a December 2010 e-mail to The Washington Times Water Cooler. She continues:

“As stated in the website below, we are statutorily authorized to initiate suits under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, and under Title III of the American with Disabilities Act. More information on the Civil Rights Act, Equal Educational Opportunities Act, and the ADA can be found here"

The Justice Department’s anti-bullying initiative is tantamount to bringing hate crime legislation to the public school system. Obviously, not only is the heterosexual white male student out of luck but inner city minority students lose out in this deal too.

If a schoolyard bully is a straight black male and his target is another straight black male where does that leave the victim in the eyes of Attorney General Eric Holder? What about two female students of the same sexual orientation and race? Is the victim in the latter situation considered to be less equal in the eyes of Obama’s Justice Department than a minority student who is picked on by a heterosexual white male student with no disabilities?

Unfortunately, the Justice Department is politicizing its priorities yet again. One must wonder why the administration believes it should be micro managing local school districts bullying problems. When the Justice Department is more interested in making ideological statements through seemingly sugar coated campaigns, no one should feel protected.


February was Hate Speech Month in Europe

February 2011 apparently was "Hate Speech Month in Europe," as a trio of "hate speech" trials in Europe made some big news. On February 15, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (ESW, pictured) was found guilty of hate speech against religion in Austria because of statements she made in a series of seminars about the dangers of Sharia law.

Although she could have been given a three year sentence in prison, she was (only) fined 480 Euros (or the equivalent of $646.73). Also in February, the Dutch court ruled that the hate crimes trial of the flamboyant Geert Wilders, the anti-Islam Dutch politician the Dutch elites have been trying to run out of politics for about three years now, would continue, even though the prosecution doesn't really want to prosecute him and the previous judges were ousted for showing an obvious bias against Mr. Wilders. And Danish author Lars Hedegaard was found not guilty by a technicality for his comments regarding violence among the Muslim immigrant communities in Denmark. Lucky for Mr. Hedegaard, the Danish Court held that he had not meant for these comments to be published!

Many Americans presumably have heard very little about these hate speech trials in Europe. The idea that the speech of a person could be used to convict or fine that person because of the hurt feelings it causes in another is very foreign to us, outside of defamation lawsuits, where clearly untruthful and very damaging statements are punished with fines. However, because the European nations don't have a First Amendment to protect speech, many European nations have passed laws to criminalize the speech of their citizens to protect the feelings of ethnic or religious or gender minorities from racist/nationalist authoritarian groups. In Europe, a conviction for hate speech could even result in an actual prison term. Unfortunately, the truth of the statement under question rarely matters in a hate speech trial. Thus, Islamists in Europe have cynically used the hate speech codes to thwart all attempts to expose them as radicals or to rationally discuss the growing Islamist problem in Europe.

The just concluded ESW trial is a good example of how truly ludicrous a hate speech trial can be. ESW originally faced the charge of "incitement to hatred" against Muslims after giving a series of seminars in 2008 about the dangers of Sharia law. A leftist news reporter from the magazine, NEWS, attended and taped some of the seminars. NEWS later approached the authorities to press for a prosecution. ESW has stated numerous times that she only learned that she was being prosecuted after reading about it in the Austrian press. No specific statements were even listed by the state attorney in her indictment. At court, a number of examples of ESW's "incitement" were provided, among them her statement:

"Sharia is a definite no-no. We want no gender apartheid, no ghettoes, no social and cultural discrimination, no polygamy, no theocracy, no hate…"

On November 23, 2010, her case was gaveled open, only to be closed at the end of the day because the court needed to play the complete eight hour recordings from her seminars. On January 18, the second part of the trial also ended after a day, when the judge added a new charge against ESW – "denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion" – and ESW's lawyer was forced to ask for a continuance to prepare for that new charge. On February 15, the third day of the trial, ESW was convicted of "denigration." The judge stated:

The language used in the seminars were (sic) not inciting hatred, but the utterances regarding Muhammad and paedophilia were punishable. "Paedophilia" is factually incorrect, since paedophilia is a sexual preference which solely or mainly is directed towards children. Nevertheless, it does not apply to Muhammad. He was still married to Aisha when she was 18. It is a "denigration of religious teachings" and (you) are found guilty and sentenced to 120 days, (but instead of confining you the court will charge you) the minimum of € 480.

In 1948, virtually all of the nations of Europe voted for Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stated that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."

However, since that time, a number of international agreements have called for a restriction in citizen speech rights to protect religious and ethnic minorities, prompting the nations' of Europe to implement speech (criminal) codes. As Geert Wilders has written, because of these codes "in Europe it is now all but impossible to have a debate about the nature of Islam, or about the effects of immigration of Islam's adherents." Let's remove these codes now, before "the lights really do go out across Europe."


South Australia: Law proposed against uploading violent images on the internet

Depictions of Muslim violence included? This is a very slippery slope

The South Australian government wants to make it an offence to post violent or other degrading images on the internet.

Attorney-General John Rau said the state's proposed legislation, to be introduced this year, would be the first of its kind in Australia. It will make it an offence to knowingly take or publish humiliating, demeaning or degrading images of another person without their consent.

Mr Rau said it was designed to tackle thugs who filmed assaults and then posted them on the internet.

The move follows the appearance of a viral video on YouTube showing a student in an Australian school playground tormenting another boy and then being picked up and violently thrown on the ground by the victim.

"The government wants to attack this disgusting fad of thugs engineering and filming violent and humiliating acts and posting the images to websites," Mr Rau said today. "This behaviour is so disturbing and potentially damaging to the victims that I believe the creators of these images should be subject to severe penalties, including jail sentences.

"The government wants to make it very clear that if a person participates in any way in an act of this sort, then the consequences will be severe."

Mr Rau said the onus would be on the person charged to prove that they had a legitimate purpose for capturing the images, other than humiliating, degrading or demeaning the victim. The proposed laws would cover anyone involved in the process of deliberately filming and publishing the images. "For example, if you knowingly allow someone to use your computer or phone to upload the images, you could be covered by the laws," Mr Rau said. "If you knowingly participate in someone's humiliation while someone else films it, you could also find yourself charged with a serious offence."

But opposition justice spokesman Stephen Wade said the government's proposals lacked detail. "We have no indication of how this initiative will be policed or how we can avoid people being unfairly caught by the legislation," Mr Wade said.


Deregulating politics

Not satisfied by the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates to corporate-sponsored election ads, conservative opponents of campaign finance regulations have opened up a series of new legal fronts in their effort to eliminate the remaining laws restricting the flow of money into politics.

They have taken to Congress, state legislatures and the lower courts to target almost every type of regulation on the books: disclosure requirements, bans on foreign and corporate contributions and – in a pair of cases the Supreme Court will consider this month – party spending limits and public financing of campaigns.

The sustained assault, combined with the Supreme Court’s rightward tilt on the issue, has some advocates for reducing the role of money in politics fretting about the possibility of an irreversible shift in the way campaigns are regulated and funded that would favor Republicans and corporate interests in the 2012 presidential race and beyond.

“We’ve already passed the danger point, and if you put all (the challenges) together, we could lose almost all of what we’ve had historically as campaign finance reform,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the non-profit group Public Citizen, which pushes to protect or expand campaign restrictions in Congress, at the Federal Election Commission and in the courts.

“These types of lawsuits against campaign finance measures have been flooding the courts for years,” said Holman, “but now they’re finding more success with these five justices on the Supreme Court taking very anti-campaign finance reform stands – or, more appropriately, pro-corporate stances – and so the cases are reaching further than they ever did before.”

Case in point was the court’s sweeping 5-4 decision in January 2010 in Citizens United vs. FEC, which allowed corporations and unions to fund independent election ads, overturning decades of law and demonstrating the court’s tendency to view campaign cash restrictions as infringements on free speech.

The decision sparked an explosion of attack ads – many anonymously funded – that targeted Democrats and boosted Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections. It also fueled a push by congressional Democrats to tighten disclosure rules, which has yet to gain traction, as well as a partially successful effort to sway the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the few left-leaning groups to support Citizens United and other challenges to campaign restrictions.

But, perhaps more significantly, Citizens United emboldened increasingly well-funded conservative small-government groups to pursue more aggressive attacks on other regulations that were previously considered beyond reach.

“It’s premature to say we’re near a tipping point, but there is the possibility there,” said Brad Smith, a former Republican appointee to the FEC who co-founded a group called the Center for Competitive Politics that opposes campaign regulations on the same free speech grounds that the ACLU cites.

It filed a brief supporting the Citizens United challenge, and also litigated a related case in which a federal appeals court last year struck down contribution limits for independent groups airing political ads, spawning a new breed of major-donor-funded committee known as Super PACs, including American Crossroads, which spent tens of millions of dollars on ads attacking Democrats in the 2010 midterms.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


19 March, 2011

How to deal with indigenous minorities

"Indigenous" populations worldwide seem to offer similar challenges. What is true of Canadian "first nations" seems very similar to what is true of Australian Aborigines, for instance. The problems they pose may therefore have similar solutions.

Christopher Pearson gives a good survey below of the two main Australian approaches to Aboriginal welfare: The assimilationist and the multicultural. Both approaches have had a thorough workout and both are generally regarded as having failed in the past. So the debate seems to me a sterile one. A new and less judgmental approach is needed.

One fallacy that seems common is to regard Aborigines as living in poverty. That is not at all true. Aborigines get quite a lot of money from various welfare payments, particularly if they have children. But the state in which they live remains troubling to the donor community.

Like many conservatives, I see welfare payments as part of the problem rather than part of the solution. I think that Aborigines should simply be left alone to live as they please. But the money should stop so that they can find their own solutions to their own problems. Soup kitchens or the like should be set up to ensure that they do not starve but that is all. With the money cut off, the incentive to work towards their own betterment in their own way would be greater

As well as the poverty fallacy, another huge fallacy is that Aboriginal problems are cultural. The largest part of the Aboriginal difference is in fact inborn. They have brilliant mental skills in some respects (they observe without effort minutiae that escape white men and have amazing visual memory -- skills much needed in their original state as hunter gatherers) but very poor mental skills (generalized problem-solving ability or IQ) for dealing with the demands of white culture. So whatever Aborigines arrive at of their own volition will always be different from the ideals of white society. And we should accept that. It's futile to do otherwise -- JR

REGULAR readers of this newspaper will be familiar with the work of Gary Johns. He was Paul Keating's special minister of state during the native title negotiations, a convener of the Bennelong Society and a columnist with considerable insight into indigenous issues.

I received an advance copy of his new book, Aboriginal Self-Determination: The Whiteman's Dream (ConnorCourt), from which The Australian will be running excerpts next week. The book covers a lot of ground and I can't do it justice in a single column.

Instead I want to concentrate on Johns's approach to Aboriginal culture, compared with that of Noel Pearson. It seems to me the cutting edge of the debate on indigenous policy, now that the defenders of Coombsian policy have all but abandoned the field.

In common with most members of the Bennelong Society, Johns is unsentimental about what he sees, at best, as a serviceable culture for the Stone Age.

"There is a gap between modern and pre-modern societies, once called civilised and uncivilised. Denying its existence and the considerable efforts required on the part of individuals to bridge it has been very harmful." He asks: "What are Aborigines fighting for, what is there to preserve? Each step to preserve culture is a step away from the innovation that commenced 200 years ago.

"What survives of Aboriginal Australia is nothing like 200 years ago, so what culture is it, and whose is it? The 'it' is a dream, a fantasy that something special remains, or has evolved, worthy of reclaiming. But what has actually evolved is ruin and despair. The 'it' belongs only to those who could not adapt to change."

Johns says of Pearson that his goal "seems to be to integrate Aborigines into the modern economy, but to use and preserve culture where possible. His principle means to achieve the goal is to stabilise communities and families by re-missionising his people.

"In this regard, the [Queensland Family Responsibilities Commission] is like a mobile mission, dispensing justice and passing judgment on behaviour and imposing penalties on incomes. By contrast, the Bennelong Society view is pessimistic about the efficacy of 'culture', which it regards as often antipathetic to the open society, or illegal, or simply an excuse for bad behaviour."

In a Quarterly Essay entitled Radical Hope, Pearson has outlined a very ambitious program to educate a rising generation able to deal comfortably with modernity and as fully apprised of its own languages and culture as possible.

He predicts it will involve an extended school day, with kids taught the mainstream curriculum and the demanding "high" forms of their tribal languages rather than "kindergarten" versions.

Perhaps the most engaging element in Pearson's project is his frequent invocation of the example of the Jews, with their genius for maintaining language and culture. He says: "Their ancient commitment to education and high learning is of course fundamental to their success."

As well, he thinks: "They offer some lessons about how a culturally distinct people might hold their own and succeed in a world that is often without pity. First, there are lessons in the way they deal with the past.

"They have never forgotten history and they never allow anybody else to forget history; they fight staunchly in defence of the truths of history, but they never make their history a burden for the future. They have worked out how to deal with the past without cultivating and nurturing victimhood among themselves . . . Secondly, there are lessons in the way they deal with racism.

"They staunchly defend themselves against racism, but avoid making racism their problem. Properly understood, racism should be the problem of the racialists, not the burden of those against whom it is directed."

Pearson has a more than merely rhetorical point when he cites the Jewish triumph of cultural transmission in the face of persecution and against the odds. However, part of the genius of the monotheistic Jews has been to remain adaptive to modernity, to reach often very sophisticated accommodations with their communities and to hang on to both their religion and its ethos.

Judaism has proved to be very versatile in some respects and remarkably unbending in others, but can the same be said for any Aboriginal culture?

I'm reluctantly inclined to the conclusion that the answer is negative. However, that doesn't mean the prescription in Radical Hope doesn't deserve serious funding and moral support. Plainly, Pearson has to work with the cultural materials to hand and it makes sense for him to accentuate the positive. If a significant proportion of Aboriginal youth on Cape York were to become accomplished speakers of local languages and well-schooled in the stories, songs and ceremonies of their ancestors, they'd be much better off than their counterparts anywhere else.

They'd also be in the position to make individual, informed decisions about the extent that they wanted to buy in to their culture and traditional religion; surely something Johns wouldn't begrudge them, provided they also had a solid grounding in the current curriculum as well.

In the 1960s, leading American sociologists tended to the pessimistic view that Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy couldn't hope to survive for long their adherents' encounters with modernity.

Nonetheless the evidence suggests that these days substantial numbers of the young are unscathed by the ravages of rampant secularism and seem to draw great strength from an attachment to traditional religion and observing its customs.

Ought white intellectuals, who as a class have for so long been besotted with their own fantasy versions of traditional Aboriginal religions and customs, deny young Aborigines access to local versions of the numinous experience?


Was Detroit News Editor Forced Out for Negative Chrysler Review?

Chrysler has high hopes for its newest model, the Chrysler 200. After spending millions of dollars on a new “Imported from Detroit” Super Bowl advertising campaign and recruiting the help of Detroit-native rapper Eminem, the automaker is betting on consumers to respond positively. Some speculate that it was these expectations and pressure from advertisers, however, that forced the resignation of Detroit News auto critic Scott Burgess Wednesday after he penned a negative review.

So how bad was the review?

“[T]he Chrysler 200 makes me angry,” Burgess wrote. “No one is prouder of the Motor City, and I want every carmaker, foreign and domestic, to produce world-class cars and trucks. When that happens, consumers win. Regrettably, the 200 is still a dog. And I get mad as hell when anyone pumps out a car that forces me to recommend the Toyota Camry over it.”

Gawker’s Jalopnik reports:

"Scott Burgess, who up until today was the auto critic at The Detroit News, called [the Chrysler 200] out for what it was in a review that ran in this past Thursday’s paper. We agreed so much with his assessment, we linked to it Thursday morning in our Morning Shift.

Apparently not everyone enjoyed it. Two sources at The Detroit News tell us that after receiving a phone call from an advertiser, changes were made to the online version of Burgess’ review. We still don’t know whether the advertiser in question was a Chrysler dealer or Chrysler itself. What we do know is that although the changes don’t go so far as to turn a negative review into a positive one, it was certainly enough to water it down. We called Sue Carney, the business editor for The Detroit News, but have not received a call back yet. Burgess, for his part, is unwilling to talk about why he left the newspaper but our assumption is this was it. Other editors at the 138-year-old newspaper only agreed to speak with us off the record."

A side-by-side comparison of Burgess‘ print review and the newspaper’s online version shows striking differences where editors “took out his criticism of the 200's styling altogether and made it far softer than it was,” Jalopnik concludes.

“Yes, I resigned from The Detroit News as of today and I have been sending notes to carmakers announcing such,” Burgess told the blog site. “It’s the best job I ever held. The resignation was not planned. I choose not to answer the reasons for the resignation.”


Squatting is to be a crime in Britain: Police will be able to turf out intruders

About time!

The era of squatters’ rights is to end, the Daily Mail can reveal. Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke is to scrap existing ‘soft touch’ laws and make occupying a private property illegally a criminal offence. It will mean the police can enter a property by force and evict the occupants within days.

Offenders will face prosecution and even a jail term if found guilty. In Scotland, where squatting is already illegal, they can be jailed for 21 days.

Thousands of properties every year are ‘taken hostage’ by gangs of aggressive squatters, but homeowners and landlords complain they are powerless to take them back. Astonishingly, property owners can even face criminal prosecution themselves simply for forcing their way back into their own homes.

Landlords’ groups and MPs have long called for a change to the practically non-existent squatting laws. A senior Whitehall source said making the changes was now an ‘urgent priority’, as Mr Clarke seeks to end the nightmare of homeowners being locked out of their own properties.

The source said: ‘Ken has had enough of seeing homeowners battle to get squatters out. ‘He is determined to use the full force of the law to save people from the nightmare of having to fight to get their houses back. The days of squatters’ rights will be over.’

It is thought there may be up to 10,000 active squatters in England and Wales, who often move between properties with impunity. As the law stands, staying in the house is not a criminal offence but a breach of the civil law, meaning a court order is required to remove them. Getting one can cost thousands of pounds, and take months. Even if squatters break in, it is notoriously difficult to prove an offence has been committed.

By making squatting a crime, as it is in Scotland, ministers hope removals will become swift and effective. North of the border, the problem is much less prevalent. It could also allow the police to track ‘lifestyle squatters’ who hop between houses. Often the squatters move in to take advantage of multi-million pound properties which are empty while being renovated.

A Mail investigation earlier this month found an ‘estate agency for squatters’ listing empty properties across London. The Advisory Service for Squatters operates out of the third floor of a building in East London and advertises the details of scores of empty homes. It also publishes the Squatters Handbook which details how to take advantage of the law and even how to take apart a lock.

The dozens of websites for squatters advise using Section 6 (1) of the Criminal Law Act 1977, which was designed to protect tenants from aggressive and unscrupulous landlords but has become a ‘squatters’ charter’. Squatters can also obtain legal aid to help them fight their battles, while homeowners can be crippled by legal costs.

Often squatters post notices on the door warning of the action they will take if anyone tries to get in. Astonishingly, if they manage to resist attempts to evict them for ten years, they can claim ownership.

Legal figures suggest squatting court cases are becoming more commonplace, but most cases never even make it to court, because the intruders move on at the 11th hour.

Businesswoman Dy Maurice, 51, lost her savings of £50,000 in a 15-month battle to evict a squatter from her home in Macclesfield, Cheshire. She rented out the mews property after moving abroad to run a beauty salon, but it was sub-let by the tenant to a squatter who refused to pay rent. Her life then fell apart as she tried to evict him. She finally won a court order in August 2008 to have the man evicted, but he refused and it took another month to send in bailiffs.


Markets and the Gender Wage Gap: Are employers sexist?

The recently released White House report on Women in America (pdf) covers a great deal of interesting statistical data on the status of women in the United States. It also includes data indicating that in 2009 women on average earned about 75 cents for every dollar men earned. Some critics of markets claim this figure shows that markets discriminate against women, and they call for more regulation.

I will argue that the 25-cent difference does not necessarily show that markets discriminate. Rather, markets tend to pay people based on their anticipated productivity, and the differences between men’s and women’s pay largely derives from different choices that lead to differences in productivity. However, I will also argue that the differences in their productivity might result from sexism in other parts of society that cause men and women to be prepared differently for the job market, leading to a wage differential.

That 75-cent figure usually comes from comparing the average hourly salary of all women currently employed (sometimes restricted to full-time employment) to that of all men employed. What that figure does not represent is a pay difference between women and men in the same jobs and/or with the same level of experience, and so on.

Other Factors

When we economists look for evidence of wage discrimination, we first try to explain the differential by whatever other factors might be relevant. Whatever cannot be explained by those factors is then contingently assumed to be due to discrimination (or limitations of the data). In the case of the gender wage gap, the two major categories of “other factors” that account for most of the difference are human capital and preferences.

Human capital refers to the skills, knowledge, and experience people have that make them productive. The amount and type of such human capital is central to determining the wage one is likely to be paid. Compared to women, men tend to have more of the sort human capital that earns higher wages. For example, until recently men were more likely to be college educated, and they still tend to have more-on-the-job training and job experience than women.

Men who go to college are more likely to have majors that generate higher pay (such as computer science and engineering), while women tend toward psychology and education, which do not pay as well. Women are more likely than men to interrupt their careers to care for children. Women (and men) who do so tend to fall behind their cohort in job experience and in keeping current in their profession. Their wages thereby fall behind their cohort’s and are lower than they would have been had they not cared for the kids. All choices that affect human capital also affect wages, so discrimination in the marketplace is not required to explain pay differentials.

Moreover, because women are more likely to have primary child-care responsibilities, they tend to have different work preferences from men. For example, women tend to prefer jobs with flexible hours and fewer travel demands. Such jobs tend to pay less than ones with less flexible hours and more travel. Women more than men also tend to prefer part-time work, which pays less, and are less likely to work overtime than men.

Gap Nearly Disappears

When economists hold all these factors constant, they find that the gender wage gap largely disappears. Imagine two employees who are equal regarding human capital and preferences and who differ only by gender – what, if any, pay gap is present? In a study of people 27 to 33 who had never been married and who had no kids, the gap was only 2 cents. The strong implication is that if women want to earn as much as men, they need to adjust their human capital and preferences accordingly.

If we see the gap as a problem and the source isn’t the labor market, what might we do to correct the situation? Perhaps our expectations for girls and boys are different and thus we prepare them differently for the world of work. Rather than passing more laws, we could try harder to encourage boys and girls to pursue the same kinds of courses, majors, and jobs. We could encourage more men to see child raising as their responsibility as well, so that couples won’t blindly assume the woman will be the primary caregiver. If more women majored in computer science and more men majored in education — and if more men thought it was okay to work flexible hours so that they could care for the kids — we would make progress in reducing the gender wage gap. Markets will pay people for the value they produce, whatever the source of that value. Narrow the differences between men and women, and markets will narrow the wage gap.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


18 March, 2011

False sex allegations again, from another lying British female

Businesswoman who accused boss of sexually harassing her was ‘out to get him after losing her job’, tribunal rules. Is the British practice of taking a woman's word for what she alleges gradually coming to an end? There should be NO prosecutions in "he said" cases without independent corroboration. The disgrace is that this went to court

A high-flying businesswoman who accused her multi-millionaire boss of sexually harassing her was 'out to get him' after losing her job, a tribunal has ruled. Managing director Debbie Smith, 49, alleged that recruitment agency chairman Tim Watts called her a 'sexy nurse' and told her to 'call me before you get in the shower'. But the tribunal accepted 61-year-old Pertemps Group chief Mr Watts' evidence that the claims were a 'pack of lies'.

The panel had heard how Mrs Smith liked 'laughing at dirty jokes' and met her husband at work in an adulterous affair while both were married to other people.

It found that she made her allegations as a 'bargaining chip' to try and force a payout after a 'catastrophic failure' in a business venture she headed saw her axed from her £90,000-a-year post.

Mr Watts now plans to seek substantial libel damages from mother-of-three Mrs Smith in the High Court and is demanding that she be prosecuted for perjury. And he called for tighter regulation of employment tribunals to prevent staff from inventing malicious claims after losing their jobs.

Mrs Smith falsely alleged she suffered sexual jibes which were 'degrading, humiliating and offensive'. She also falsely claimed that Mr Watts joked about oral sex and referred to a colleague having her 'tits on show'.

Speaking after the judgment, Mr Watts said: 'There was never one iota of truth to begin with. 'Tribunals are filled up with fictitious, malicious and vindictive cases. A person just has to think of something and demand money. That's what she did, even though I had never done anything wrong.

'She thought I would back down and would pay her off. But those that know me know I have never given into that kind of threat in my life, especially when there isn't a scintilla of truth in what she said. 'It was a very, very silly thing to do. She failed - she was let go and she didn't like it.'

A panel at Birmingham Employment Tribunal ruled that Mrs Smith's claims of sexual harassment, discrimination and victimisation were all unfounded. It ruled: 'We concluded - and we paused to consider whether or not we were being too strong with this to finally decide we were not - that Mrs Smith was out to get Mr Watts. 'We found that her evidence was based on false assertions and was not made in good faith.'

After the business venture she headed flopped and she lost her job, Mrs Smith 'looked around for someone to blame', the tribunal found. It noted: 'Mrs Smith made no complaint until she was given notice that her contract of employment was to end.

'Mrs Smith presented a strong personality. We find that had the events of harassment occurred, she would not have hesitated in raising the subject at the time. 'We concluded that Mrs Smith has re-written the history of her relationship with Mr Watts and this was stimulated by her inability to handle the failure of the new venture that she was responsible for.

'We concluded that the allegation of sex discrimination, in its entirety, was false and not made in good faith. 'It was put forward as a bargaining chip to secure a negotiated settlement.'

Mrs Watts, whose personal fortune is thought to exceed £35 million, is a well-known figure in Birmingham. Mr Watts said that Mrs Smith would now have to explain herself at the High Court and that his lawyers would give a transcript of the tribunal to the police in a bid to have her prosecuted for perjury.


End totalitarianism in kids court

The most heart-wrenching issues I've written about involved the state's dependency court and foster-care systems. Officials have the power to remove children from their family homes and to place them in the care of strangers, yet the system that exercises these vast powers is veiled in secrecy and, therefore, off-limits to serious news coverage and oversight.

Fortunately, Assembly Bill 73, by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, offers hope of fixing that system with a simple but time-tested approach: sunshine. His new legislation would make hearings in dependency court presumptively open, meaning that the public and media could cover the goings-on unless a judge finds good reason to close the proceedings.

Typically, I would hear from a distraught parent whose child had been taken into protective custody. Imagine the horror of such a situation. Often, the child would be taken by force as child-protective services officials would show up with armed deputies. In the world of CPS, the parent has no rights, and the child is taken away based mainly on the opinion of the social worker, who might start an investigation based on an anonymous tip. It's a "guilty until proven innocent" system, based on the idea that if a child is in danger, that child must be removed from the home immediately.

Obviously, we all want children removed from abusive and dangerous situations, but government officials don't always get it right. Many times, families are torn asunder based on unproven allegations and hearsay. The parents have no real standing in the court system and no real rights. The overburdened court system makes quick decisions that involve the fate of children and their families. Parents spend their life's savings hiring attorneys and battling this impenetrable system.

America remains a remarkably free society, but there are parts of our society that are frighteningly totalitarian. This is one of them. In one case I wrote about, Russian immigrants watched as the authorities removed their autistic son from their home and placed him in one of those developmental institutions, where he was pumped full of drugs and kept away from his loving family. No one had ever accused the family of mistreating the boy, but the authorities decided that it would be better to treat him with drugs than in the drug-free manner preferred by the family.

I recall the parent telling me that the authorities would never touch your family in the Soviet Union. He was shocked that such a travesty could take place in America. In another case I wrote about, an 8-year-old girl was taken from the loving care of her grandmother and placed in the custody of a foster parent who had been accused of some rather bad behavior at his foster home. In yet another case, a social worker was credibly accused of committing fraud – by claiming that a child's burn was the result of abuse rather than a household accident. It was extremely difficult getting any information about these situations. The approach from the authorities was clear: It was none of anybody's business. No wonder so many parents live in fear.

On the other end of the spectrum, we've all read about children who are left in abusive homes and end up being brutally abused, even murdered. Many of the bigger CPS systems are bureaucratic nightmares. We'd like to think that the people who make these decisions operate with a Solomonic sense of justice, yet we know better given what we know about closed bureaucracies.

A recent San Jose Mercury News editorial supporting AB73 detailed the same problems: "Three years ago, Mercury News reporter Karen de Sá documented the troubled state of this system. Her yearlong investigation found that overwhelmed, undertrained lawyers weren't properly representing their clients, that older children were too often excluded from proceedings affecting their lives, and that parents' and children's rights were routinely at risk."

Year after year, we see attempts to increase funding or reform the system, yet nothing ever changes. This is not a money issue but, rather, a problem rooted in the nature of the system. Feuer's bill could actually help. There's nothing like sunshine to expose injustice and create a push for reform.

Here is the bill summary: "Existing law provides that the public shall not be admitted to a juvenile court hearing in a dependency proceeding, unless requested by a parent or guardian and consented to or requested by the minor concerning whom the petition has been filed. Existing law permits the judge or referee to admit those persons as he or she deems to have a direct and legitimate interest in the particular case or the work of the court. This bill would express the intent of the Legislature to enact legislation to provide that juvenile court hearings in juvenile dependency cases shall be presumptively open to the public, unless the court finds that admitting the public would not be in a child's best interest."

Feuer is still crafting the final measure and is considering a pilot program. Seventeen states have presumptively open dependency court hearings, and the results are good. One judge from Minnesota attended a recent hearing in Sacramento and testified about the value of an open system. We don't need much testimony to know that openness is the preferred path in a free society.

While legislators waste their time introducing bills designed to play to their partisan base, here's someone who is looking to fix an actual problem. I don't often agree with Feuer's politics, but this is a stellar effort and proof that there can be areas of genuine bipartisanship. Possible resistance might come from unions, which generally prefer that their workers be able to do their jobs without much public input.

We'll see how it plays out, but let's hope legislators from both sides of the aisle take the side of openness and reform.


The court where the West judges the rest

The ICC metes out ‘justice’ to poor countries while denying them any say in their own affairs.

Throughout the war-crimes trial of Liberia’s ex-president, Charles Taylor, lead defence lawyer Courtenay Griffiths, a British barrister, has frequently drawn attention to the flagrant, racially-tinged double standards at work. Last Thursday - the penultimate day of the three-year long trial - was no different.

‘[Taylor’s] trial has been trumpeted by the prosecution as demonstrating an end to impunity. We agree. Indeed, his trial is of importance to Africa and this evolving concept of international justice to which we are, as a defence, unswervingly committed’, Griffiths said, inoffensively enough. And then the jab: ‘Yet we note that currently everyone being tried or awaiting trial at the International Criminal Court [ICC] are from guess where? Africa. We are disturbed by this.’

Strictly speaking, Taylor, whose fate will be revealed in the summer, was not being tried at the ICC. In fact, because he was accused of controlling and arming the Revolutionary United Front in the brutal 10-year civil war in Sierra Leone which ended in 2001, the UN decided that he ought to stand trial at a special international court in Sierra Leone itself - presumably so the natives could see how justice ought to be done. Since this was deemed a little risky, the UN then relented and moved the trial to The Hague in 2006, where the ICC also has its home. That Taylor is not actually standing trial at the ICC, however, should not detract from Griffiths’ point about the ICC and international law in general: it does seem more than a little inclined to focus almost all its energies on what old-fashioned colonialists might once have called the Dark Continent.

Just take a look at the five countries to have been subject to the ICC’s justice since it was formally established in 2002: Sudan, Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya. You don’t have to be a keen student of international relations to spot the common theme. It’s not as if there has been a shortage of bloody conflict elsewhere, each one as rife with injustice and brutality as the next. Yet the US-led-UK-in-tow invasions of first Afghanistan and then Iraq, for instance, in which thousands of people have been killed, have not once featured on the ICC’s radar. Of course, what looks like unabashed favouritism is not without a legal justification: apparently, the ‘crime of aggression’, of which Bush, Blair and Co, might well be guilty, will not fall under the ICC’s jurisdiction until 2017.

Not that such pettifoggery is likely to assuage Griffiths and those like him who believe that the African focus of war-crimes trials, whether at the ICC or at its de facto equivalents, ‘besmirch the lofty ideals of international criminal law’ with the residue of ‘neocolonialism’. And therein lies the problem with Griffiths’ criticism of the ICC and courts like it: It’s as if there is nothing wrong with international courts that a bit of racial equality couldn’t put right.

Yet not only is there something wrong with the ICC, it can’t simply be corrected by being a bit less racist. Rather, it is a fundamentally flawed institution. That the objects of its justice tend to be from over there, rather than from round here, is no accident.

In 2000, then UK foreign secretary Robin Cook infamously said that the ICC was ‘not a court set up to bring to book prime ministers of the United Kingdom or presidents of the United States’. He was right. The US refused to sign up to the ICC, and sought to exempt its personnel from overseas prosecution up until 2004. And the UK, while being a signatory to the ICC, has no intention of giving up Tony Blair to the ICC, despite the anti-war movement’s tireless insistence that he should stand trial for war crimes. Moreover, the ICC, as David Chandler noted on spiked, is reliant on the West for goodwill and resources. As the ICC’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, explained in 2004, ‘we have no government, no police’. All that the ICC has, from its home at The Hague to its retinue of superstar lawyers, comes from the developed world. Little wonder it doesn’t bother with ‘prime ministers of the United Kingdom or presidents of the United States’.

But it goes deeper than that. The assumption underlying the ICC and similar courts is that certain countries, certain people, are incapable of taking care of their own affairs. We in the UK or the US might be civilised enough to deal with the bad people in our midst, but those in places like Kenya or Sudan are not. That’s why people like Charles Taylor or President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, once they’ve done their wicked deeds, are extracted from their people’s clutches and parachuted into The Hague where they can then exhibit their native savagery in an expensive showtrial.

In this, the ICC and its ilk undermine any self-governing impulse. People’s sovereignty over their own lives, their capacity to forge their own society, is denied by the ICC. Such courts are not simply enforcing the rule of law, they’re enforcing the rule of law from afar. As Philip Hammond has written before on spiked, this means that there is no political framework in which this semi-free floating legislature is rendered accountable to the people in whose distant name it adjudicates – at least not in those countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo or Kenya that are deemed too immature to deal with their own affairs. Political struggle in these regions, the clash of different interests and ideas, is trumped by international law. And the actual substance of the conflicts and struggles, divorced from the people involved, becomes a mere play thing for lawyers to judge and rule upon.

Little wonder it serves the egos of Western lawyers, such as the indomitable Geoffrey Robertson, so well. They are doing good, at least in their own eyes, because they are bringing very bad men to book. While justice in the UK may sometimes look a bit drab, composed all too often in shades of grey, over there in Africa, where machete-wielding militias rape and pillage, it’s so wonderfully black-and-white – often literally so, it seems. It is not only the egos of big-shot lawyers that are massaged, of course. The governments of ICC signatories like UK or Canada can demonstrate the virtue, the moral coherence that their domestic political situations deny. That Charles Taylor is set to serve whatever sentence he receives, not in Sierra Leone, but in the UK, says it all.

So, as the focus of the global do-gooders zeroes in on the lighter skin of Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, we need to remember that his fate should not be decided by anyone else but the Libyans themselves. To have it any other way would mean that their struggle for freedom would be strangled at birth by meddling Westerners. If there is to be any justice to be meted out to a tyrant like Gaddafi, it should not be the ICC manning the guillotine.


Unwed fathers and parental rights

Bias in the law

Two-year-old Baby Vanessa has been embroiled in legal battles almost since her first breath. Last week the conflict continued in a California court where no one was backing down. If Baby Vanessa’s case goes to the U.S. Supreme Court, as experts predict, then it may well shake up adoption procedures and redefine father’s rights.

What is the point of contention? A father wants his child. An estimated one in three American babies are born to unwed parents, and many are put up for adoption. While the mother’s parental rights are automatically assumed, the legal status of unwed fathers is vague and shifting. Indeed, this is such an ignored area of law that no statistics exist on how many fathers seek to raise their own children when the birth mothers relinquishe parenthood.

Advocates for men’s rights complain bitterly about a rampant anti-father bias in the adoption system that often allows women to adopt out their children unilaterally. In theory a known father must sign away custodial rights before an adoption can proceed. In practice, agencies often make no effort to include a father who is not palpably present.

Father Unknown?

Baby Vanessa biological mother, Andrea Conley, gave up the Ohio newborn to an adoption agency in 2008, claiming in documents that she did not know the father’s identity. Three days later adoption procedures began in California, and Stacey Doss has since raised the child. But less than three weeks after Vanessa’s birth, her father, Benjamin Mills, Jr., filed a custody petition. (His mother has subsequently joined in the request for custody.)

Those unfamiliar with the anti-father bias in family courts and related procedures may well ask, “What’s the problem?” The mother’s perjury was revealed well before an adoption occurred, and Mills took the correct legal steps. He registered with Ohio’s Putative Father Registry — a database of men who believe they might be biological fathers and so list their names to preserve parental rights. If a child is put out for adoption by the mother, the registered father is supposed to be notified. With Baby Vanessa, however, it seems probable that no registry search occurred. Even if it had, in most states there is no guarantee that the notified father can assume custody or assert any parental rights whatsoever.

Indeed, some men’s rights advocates claim that the putative registries are obstacles to fathers. Why? Jeremiah Clayton Jones is a case on point. Under Florida law (and that of most states), an unmarried father has no right to withhold consent from an adoption if he is not listed on the putative registry. His absence from the list is viewed as de facto renunciation of such rights. Jones lost all parental rights because he failed to register for a list he did not know existed.

Moreover, because registries are state matters, registering has no legal clout if either parent moves across a state line or if the baby is adopted out to avoid court challenges.

While the media harshly spotlight “deadbeat dads,” little attention is given to diligent fathers who fight for years for the legal “privilege” of seeing their own children. A pivotal case occurred in 1998 when the West Virginia Supreme Court upheld a jury verdict that awarded $7.8 million in damages to a man whose child was adopted out without his consent. It was the first time in an American court that an unwed father who never had custody received monetary damages. But little progress has been made toward an unwed father’s parental right regarding his own child.

Unsympathetic Plaintiff

Frankly, for the sake of fathers, it might be best if Baby Vanessa’s case never sees the Supreme Court. Mills is far from a sympathetic plaintiff, and much of Doss’s case rests on his poor track record. For example, Mills spent eight months in jail for domestic violence and has four other children but without custody of them. A Supreme Court precedent based on his dubious parenting skills would still be a precedent which good fathers would have to abide.

It is heartbreaking when a child is taken from the only family he or she has known because of the legal mishandling of parental rights. But the parents themselves should not be blamed and punished for flaws in the system. This is especially true of fathers who request custody from the instant they know their child has been born.

Stacey Doss has done nothing wrong by loving and caring for Vanessa. But neither has Mills. However flawed his character might be, a father was preemptively denied the chance to know his own daughter. A mother lied, a father was denied parental rights, and the bureaucracy created a family tragedy. Much of it arose because men do not have the same presumption of parental rights as women



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


17 March, 2011

The King Hearings were Taboo-Busters

It is not everyday that Congress breaks a major taboo and, in so doing, performs a real service to the nation. Last Thursday, however, was one such day: Representative Pete King (Republican of New York) demonstrated impressive leadership in convening and conducting a four-hour-long hearing on "extremism" in the American Muslim community.

For his efforts, the Homeland Security Committee's chairman was subjected to tremendous personal attacks and partisan sniping - the wages of taboo-busting. While those responsible for inflicting such slanderous criticism claim, in the words of one group, to have "defeat[ed] a major threat of Islamophobia," the real story is that Mr. King began a conversation about an issue that has long been deemed politically untouchable. He also established that there is, indeed, a problem of "extremism" within the American Muslim community.

One manifestation of that problem was the determined effort made by the so-called "leadership" of the Muslim population in this country not only to impugn the chairman and several of his witnesses, but to suppress these hearings altogether. For example, groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) lined up fifty-five House Democrats to insist that Rep. King "reconsider the scope of these hearings and instead examine all forms of violence motivated by extremist beliefs, rather than unfairly focusing on just one religious group."

One of the reasons for this demand became clear as Pete King's witnesses shed light on the true nature of such self-appointed Muslim "leaders": They do not speak for American Muslims and are either directly tied to the Muslim Brotherhood - an organization whose mission is to "destroy Western civilization from within" - or sympathetic to its goal of bringing shariah to the United States.

Relatives of two young men who were recruited, indoctrinated and sent to engage in jihad provided frightening insights into the ways in which Muslim organizations, mosques, cultural centers and Islamic societies stealthily advance this objective. One means is via dawa - the proselytization of the politico-military-legal doctrine of shariah.

Particularly chilling was the account of a Somali-American living in Minnesota by the name of Abdirizak Bihi. His nephew, Burhan Hassan, was among those who joined and was killed fighting on behalf of the Islamist terrorist group al Shabab in Somalia. He relayed how his family was warned by community "leaders" not to go to the authorities for help lest they wind up in Guantanamo Bay or facing "eternal fire and hell."

Was this an isolated incident? Hardly. At least since the immediate aftermath of 9/11, prominent Muslim American organizations have encouraged their co-religionists not to cooperate with law enforcement. Among the most recent examples was a message on a CAIR website calling on its members to "Build a Wall of Resistance. Don't Talk to the FBI."

Of course, this narrative contrasts sharply with that promoted by the Muslim Public Affairs Council and its ilk who take credit for successfully inseminating into the U.S. media the meme that they are actively "engaging" with law enforcement. Notably, MPAC takes credit for getting Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca called to testify at the King hearing for the purpose of attesting to their good citizenship.

Unfortunately for both the officer sporting a uniform with five stars and his Islamist friends, freshman Rep. Chip Cravaak (Republican of Minnessota) asked whether the sheriff was aware of CAIR's ties to the Muslim Brotherhood's franchise in Palestine, known as Hamas. The sheriff professed to know nothing of those associations. When Rep. Cravaak pointed out that the Department of Justice has demonstrated in federal court that such ties do exist, Sheriff Baca demurred and simply said, if there is that evidence, then such individuals, such organizations ought to be prosecuted.

Well, no kidding. They certainly should be prosecuted. And here is a question that future hearings of the Homeland Security Committee should address: Why hasn't the Council on American Islamic relations been prosecuted for being tied to Hamas, for working on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood and specifically for fostering the efforts to bring shariah to America? After all, shariah is a seditious ideology and totalitarian program explicitly designed to hollow out, and ultimately to destroy, representative government and the civil liberties that are enshrined in our Constitution. There is every reason for such a prosecution to go forward, and we need to know why has not it happened to date.

There was one other evident reason why the Muslim Brotherhood's front groups were so determined to shut down the King hearings and excoriate him for having as witnesses anybody other than their hand-picked candidates - the blubbering first-Muslim-in-Congress Rep. Keith Ellison (a Democrat from Minnesota) and the clueless Sheriff Baca: Rep. King helped credential Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a former naval officer and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, as a credible and inspiring voice for pro-American Muslims and Islamic reform.

We owe Pete King a debt of gratitude for defying those who would have shut him up and shut his hearings down. In so doing, he has laid bare important truths about the threat posed by shariah and its adherents, empowered those like Dr. Jasser who are courageously standing up against it and broken a taboo in a way that cries out for many more hearings, as soon as possible, on these and related subjects, by his committee and by others.


Affirmative Action Since Obama Shattered the Highest Glass Ceiling

A little over two years ago, a black man educated at Ivy League schools was democratically elected to the most powerful office in the world. Most people saw the election of Obama to the U.S. presidency as decisive evidence that affirmative action policies are no longer necessary, if they ever were.

Obama seemed to agree with that; while running for president he admitted that when his daughters apply to college, they “should probably be treated by any admissions officer as folks who are pretty advantaged.” Yet in spite of a slight trend in high court decisions striking down affirmative action, and ballot initiatives spearheaded by Ward Connerly passing around the country banning affirmative action, the Obama administration has taken the opposite route, continuing to mandate and expand affirmative action policies.

The Obama administration is aggressively using federal agencies to expand affirmative action. Hospitals and healthcare providers recently received notice from the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) that they are “federal contractors” based on their TRICARE participation and must provide OFCCP with an affirmative action plan or risk being audited and fined. This surprised many hospitals, since they do not have contracts with the federal government in regards to TRICARE.

Obama is working with Democrats in Congress to implement more affirmative action. The Obamacare legislation contains race-based preferences. Contractors who demonstrate efforts to train individuals from underrepresented minority groups will receive preferences when applying for contracts from the Department of Health and Human Services. The federal stimulus funds also include preferences. Since the Recovery Act dollars come from the federal government, they are subject to federal law set-asides for “Disadvantaged Business Enterprises,” which include minorities and women.

Two years ago, Obama rejected a proposed federal rule that would have reduced gender preferences for women in contracting. The reduction was proposed due to finding that women were only underrepresented in contracting agreements in four out of 140 recognized industries. Obama signed a spending bill instead that affirmed federal law requiring that at least five percent of federal contracts go to women-owned businesses. This goes against a U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruling handed down just a few months earlier in 2008, which struck down a Defense Department rule that funneled billions of dollars annually into defense contracts for minority and women-owned firms.

The Obama administration has proactively intervened in high-profile lawsuits defending affirmative action. In 2008, the Obama administration filed an amicus brief in federal court in favor of upholding a race-conscious admissions system at the University of Texas at Austin. That case is currently at the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Department of Justice again intervened in the Ricci v. DeStefano lawsuit, defending the City of New Haven’s race preferences against the white firefighter plaintiffs. The Supreme Court came down on the side of the white firefighters in 2009 – reversing the decision by the Court of Appeals of which Obama’s Supreme Court appointee Sonia Sotomayor had previously been a part of.

Obama is implementing his own unofficial form of affirmative action by appointing minorities and women who support race and gender preferences to top posts in his administration, ensuring its perpetuation. Most of them were educated in Ivy League schools and did not come from disadvantaged backgrounds - providing more evidence that affirmative action is not necessary. Sotamayor graduated from Princeton and Yale. Eric Holder, Obama’s Attorney General, graduated from Columbia. Jacqueline Berrien, a graduate of Harvard Law School and former Associate Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, was appointed by Obama to head the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

There are indications that the Department of Justice is engaging in reverse discrimination by selectively enforcing voting rights. Last year, the DOJ dropped charges that had been brought by the Bush administration against two New Black Panther Party members for voter intimidation at a Philadelphia polling place in 2008 – even though the court was likely to rule against the defendants. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was asked to investigate the dismissal, and their final report is about to be released. The DOJ has also made it clear that it intends to use outdated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 to favor minorities when redistricting Congressional districts, even though there is no longer evidence of real discrimination.

When affirmative action was first set in place by presidential Executive Orders in the 1960s, it was intended to ensure that qualified minorities and women were not being overlooked. “Affirmative action” was never designed to give them preferences over others who were equally qualified. The far left and their counterparts in the courts have taken the plain wording of these orders and used it to justify preferences and quotas. Ironically, that same wording is now used in ballot initiatives Ward Connerly runs in various states to ban affirmative action.

By continuing to promote affirmative action, Obama is catering to a radical constituency on the left. Polling reveals that substantial majorities of Americans want to end affirmative action. If there was any issue where it would make sense for Obama to diverge from the left, it is affirmative action. Obama’s father comes from a powerful Kenyan tribe, and had the wealth and connections to send him to Harvard. There is speculation that ancestors of both Obama’s father and mother may have been slave owners. It is a disappointment that someone with such a privileged upbringing and success in life would ironically perpetuate increasingly irrelevant and harmful practices.


Pathetic British police again

Thirty police officers, an arsenal of guns and a lion expert... all to catch two dangerous dogs. Dogs must not be shot, apparently. But they killed them all the same

More than 30 police officers in riot gear surround a suburban house. Some are carrying rifles. But this was not a deadly stand-off with an armed gang or a lone gunman. Instead the huge police operation was aimed at two dogs. It went on for 30 hours and is estimated to have cost £30,000.

It only ended when a vet more used to tranquillising lions finally went into the house with two officers and subdued the dogs. They were later put down.

The animals had turned on a teenage friend of their owner while he was looking after them. Daniel Boardman, 19, was badly bitten on the legs, arms and bottom but somehow managed to dial 999.

Two armed officers arrived to find Mr Boardman being pulled in opposite directions by each dog. They broke down the door and shot the dogs with Taser stun guns to free him and drag him to safety.

But then, because of the danger they posed, the dogs were left in the boarded-up house in Rishton, Blackburn, for 24 hours with a guard outside.

The next morning, police in riot gear, armed officers, the RSPCA, and a zoo vet arrived. The team began trying to lure the dogs out of the open back door into the rear yard. The dogs were called by their names – Coco and Dekker – whistled for and, at one point, food was thrown into the yard.

Perhaps the dogs had some idea what was waiting for them if they did emerge – two marksmen on ladders – so the siege dragged on and shifts changed. Finally an officer climbed a ladder and banged on an upstairs bedroom window to attract the dogs’ attention.

While they were in the bedroom, officers in padded ‘dog suits’ entered the house and shut them in. A panel in the bedroom door was removed and the vet shot each animals with a tranquilliser dart. They were then both given a lethal injection and their bodies finally brought out on Tuesday – 30 hours after the incident began.

Mr Boardman has been left with what police have described as ‘life-changing’ injuries which will require major surgery.

The dogs’ owner, Mark Rowland, 24, from Accrington, was arrested on suspicion of possessing a banned dog and has been bailed pending further inquires. Last night he insisted: ‘They are not dangerous dogs, they are bull mastiffs. They are insured, registered and have never fought in their life. This has just been an accident.’

Mr Rowland said he had visited his friend in hospital and added: ‘He told me the dogs were fighting and he’s gone to pull them apart.’


First they came for the faux fascists

Left-wing groups now cheering on the state as it restricts the freedom of an EDL member could well be next

Last week, a man was hauled up before Doncaster Crown Court for using ‘offensive’ language. As punishment, he was banned from attending or helping to organise any demonstration, meeting or gathering held by his political organisation or even visiting its website for 10 years. In addition, he was banned from travelling by train anywhere in the UK and from entering a mosque, meeting room, school or cultural centre.

Leaving aside the specifics of the case for a minute, it’s worth reflecting upon what this means: there are certain words that you can utter that, if they offend someone, can mean that a Crown Court can slap a Criminal Anti-Social Behaviour Order - ‘Crasbo’ - on you and place hefty restrictions on your freedom of assembly, freedom of movement and freedom of expression to the extent that you’re not really free at all.

So for unemployed 38-year-old Shane Overton, the UK has effectively become an open prison for the next 10 years, one in which he can no longer play any role in the (perfectly legal) activities he was previously engaged in with his political organisation, the English Defence League (EDL).

Overton does not appear to be a sympathetic character. His actions, which led to his criminal ASBO, are indeed reprehensible. On his way home following an EDL demo in Newcastle, he came across an Asian family at Doncaster rail station. Taking ‘exception to them speaking in Urdu’, he ‘used racist abuse and told them to “get out of our country”’.

Overton certainly deserves to be challenged and chastised for his disgusting language and contemptible treatment of the family. But while he reportedly scared the family’s children, there is no suggestion he used violence in the attack. He didn’t throw punches at these individuals; only words. If we hope to live in an open and free society, feeling free to say what we think - even if it causes offence to some - is of primary importance. When the state has the power to deprive you of democratic freedoms because it disapproves of the ‘offensive’ words you use, this can have disastrous consequences upon the ability of all of us to speak freely.

This is not the first time such legislation has been used against EDL members to restrict their freedom of expression. In Birmingham, last December, two individuals pleading guilty to ‘disorderly conduct’ at an EDL march were given bans preventing them from engaging in EDL activities (including on the internet) and restricting them from attending any protests anywhere in the UK that weren’t within a 10-mile radius of Birmingham. So even if they attended the – completely unrelated – anti-cuts demo in London on 26 March, they could face arrest or imprisonment. The judge reportedly didn’t consider this to be a free-speech issue because he deemed EDL events to have ‘no purpose’, claiming: ‘You each have a right to freedom of speech and freedom of assembly’, but ‘I am persuaded that the only reason for [going on the protest] was to provoke, encourage and enjoy public disorder’.

Of course, the fact we’re talking about ‘fascist’ EDL members – as many leftie organisations will tell you – seems to mean that they shouldn’t be granted the democratic freedoms of right-thinking, middle-class liberals steeped in New Labour’s multiculturalist agenda. The members of this largely white working-class group are regarded as relics from a bygone era, Neanderthals needing to be re-educated or kept isolated from the rest of society, by force of law if necessary.

Despite the severe, illiberal punishment inflicted upon him by the courts, Shane Overton’s case has hardly registered as a blip on the radar of the national press. Perhaps if Overton had been a member of Unite Against Fascism, Hope Not Hate, or another such group there would have been outcry from people defending his civil liberties and trying to get his case noticed.

But there has been no outcry. Because left-leaning groups disagree with what Overton said, then not a word is spoken in his defence. Working-class ‘thugs’, it seems, don’t deserve a right to free speech. Indeed the ‘anti-Fascist’ publication Searchlight has (ironically) shown just what an authoritarian bent it has, by claiming that it will snitch to the state if it sees him breach his ASBO: ‘Searchlight will be watching closely to make sure Overton stays away from future EDL events.’

So blinded by their faux war against Fascism that they actively encourage the use of the state’s illiberal legislation, left-wing groups miss the fact that they could well be next. Police have made it clear they will be indiscriminate in also slapping similar restrictions on left-wing ‘extremists’. As DC Andy Haworth from the National Domestic Extremism Unit puts it: ‘We are working to support all police forces with Crasbo applications against any individual who persistently commits criminal acts at (or travelling to and from) Defence League demonstrations, regardless of whether they profess to support the Defence League or oppose it, in order to ensure future demonstrations are peaceful and lawful.’

As has been argued previously on spiked, much of what the EDL says may be unpleasant, but they are not a fascist organisation. In the name of tackling ‘right-wing’ extremism, both left-wing groups and the state are actually advocating and implementing far more authoritarian measures than the EDL has so far suggested.

The unsavoury language and appearance of some EDL members is obscuring the fact that fundamental democratic freedoms that affect us all are being eroded in the name of countering extremism. With the rise of criminal ASBOs, anyone who says something the state deems to be offensive, or engages in a protest that some judge believes has ‘no purpose’, could be prevented from being members of political organisations, protesting, moving across the country freely or associating with colleagues.

In short, for those the state disagrees with and finds offensive, Britain could soon start to resemble an open prison. This is a far greater threat than anything posed by so-called extremist groups like the EDL.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


16 March, 2011

'It just wouldn't work': TV chief is suspended for keeping ethnic minorities out of "Midsomer Murders"

A work of fiction does not reflect reality! How amazing!

It's no secret that you don’t see many black or Asian faces on Midsomer Murders. But a row blew up yesterday after the co-creator of the series revealed the reason why – he deliberately keeps ethnic minority characters out of storylines.

Brian True-May, the ITV drama’s executive producer, found himself suspended after he said he did not use black or Asian people in the series because 'it wouldn’t be an English village with them'.

He described Midsomer Murders as the 'last bastion of Englishness' which relied on an 'English genteel eccentricity', claiming it 'wouldn’t work' if it suggested there was racial diversity in village life.

Other long running serials, including BBC Radio 4's The Archers, have been criticised over 'tokenism' when they have included ethnic characters.

Mr True-May told the Radio Times if he had more minority cast members 'we might be in Slough'.

Last night, amid mounting fury from charities and campaigners, the production company behind the show – All3Media – suspended the TV executive. ITV said it was 'shocked and appalled' at his remarks.

Midsomer Murders, based on the books by Caroline Graham, was launched in 1997 and has featured 251 deaths, 222 of which were murders. The series returns this week with a new star replacing actor John Nettles who played the central character, DCI Tom Barnaby.

Mr True-May said: 'When I talk to people and other nations they love John Nettles, but they also love the premise of the show. 'They love the perceived English genteel eccentricity. It’s not British, it's very English. 'We are a cosmopolitan society in this country, but if you watch Midsomer you wouldn’t think so. I’ve never been picked up on that, but quite honestly I wouldn’t want to change it.'

When asked to clarify what he meant, he added. 'Well, we just don’t have ethnic minorities involved. Because it wouldn’t be the English village with them. It just wouldn’t work. Suddenly we might be in Slough.

'Ironically, Causton [the fictional local town in Midsomer Murders] is supposed to be Slough. And if you went in to Slough you wouldn’t see a white face there. 'We’re the last bastion of Englishness and I want to keep it that way.'

He admitted that Englishness should include other races, but added: 'Maybe I’m not politically correct'.

Mr True-May, who lives in Great Missenden, Buckinghamshire, near where parts of the show are filmed, added: 'I’m trying to make something that appeals to a certain audience, which seems to succeed. And I don’t want to change it.'

Campaigners accused the executive of trying to 'wipe' ethnic minorities 'off the screen' and of 'distorting' the presence of black and Asian people in rural areas.

Rob Berkeley, of race equality think tank, the Runnymede Trust said: 'Clearly, as a fictional work, the producers of Midsomer Murders are entitled to their flights of fancy, but to claim the English village is purely white is no longer true and not a fair reflection of our society.'

Mohammed Shafiq, of the Ramadhan Foundation, which aims to create a better understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims, said: 'There is a wider agenda in what he is saying which is worrying for me. 'To try to wipe us or our presence off television screens is wrong and factually incorrect.'

Mr True-May last night said he had been instructed by lawyers not to comment. His tearful wife, Maureen, described his suspension as 'ridiculous'. Villagers in Great Missenden leapt to the producer's defence. Roy Stock, 63, said: 'The whole reason of the show is to depict the tiny little villages of England. 'There just aren’t any ethnic people around here. In everyday life in Great Missenden you wouldn’t see any at all.'

Last month Mark Damazer, Radio 4’s former controller, said radio shows should better reflect modern British society, although he cautioned against deliberately targeting ethnic groups.


The daffodil police: British cops swoop on three little girls picking flowers in park

But don't expect them to take any interest if your car is stolen

There are many good reasons for police might carry out a surveillance operation of a local park, for example to scupper a drug deal or tail a suspected mugger. But when two officers swooped at the weekend, having spied on three 'suspects' for 20 minutes from the safety of their patrol car, the need for their presence was not quite so clear.

For those being targeted were three little girls whose 'crime' was picking a few daffodils in the spring sunshine.

Sisters Sienna, four, and India, ten, and their stepsister Olivia, six, had been on a Sunday walk in the park with their parents when they stopped to pick the flowers. But they were spotted by a passing councillor, a member of whose family called the police.

The officers moved the family on after warning Olivia's mother Jane Errington, 35, that she and partner Marc Marengo, 49, father of Sienna and India, that they could be arrested for theft and criminal damage.

Miss Errington claimed the girls were reduced to tears and Sienna is now frightened about returning to the park in case her family are 'taken away by the police'.


Another false rape claim from Britain

Yet another reason for ending the feminist practice of taking the word of a woman against the word of a man. Women are excellent liars and they often lie about rape

A judge has launched a stinging attack on a drunken Wren who cried rape after claiming she woke up to find she was having sex with the wrong man. Judge Jeff Blackett blamed the woman for drinking heavily, being an ‘enthusiastic participant’ in sex and said she did not come to court with ‘clean hands’.

In an extraordinary case, the 19-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, claimed she had mistaken sailor Kenni Dinnell for her lover after a drunken night out because both men had Scottish accents. Yesterday, 21-year-old Dinnell, from Dumfries, Scotland, was cleared of rape by a Royal Navy court martial. He had denied the charge.

In only the second rape case to be tried by a Navy court martial, the court heard the trio had gone on a drinking spree in Portsmouth last July and drunk fortified wine, the alcopop WKD and strawberry cider.

The Wren admitted she had consensual sex with Leading Artificer Greg Robertson, 22, in his room at HMS Nelson, the naval base in Portsmouth, while his friend, Engineering Technician Dinnell, was in the bathroom. After she had sex with Robertson he fell asleep on the floor. The Wren claimed she then woke up to find Dinnell having sex with her and participated because it was a case of mistaken identity.

Judge Blackett said: ‘A woman who drinks to excess and returns voluntarily with two men, having sex with one man while the other is in the room, does not come to court with entirely clean hands.

‘This is the sort of case which in my opinion should never have come to court. There cannot be any higher consent to sex than enthusiastic participation in it. She responded for a few minutes to the defendant’s sexual advances. She felt him kissing her neck, kissed him on the lips and then allowed full sexual intercourse to take place. ‘If the defendant genuinely believed she consented, even though that belief may have been mistaken, he is not guilty of rape.

‘She said she blames herself and she must share that responsibility. None of this has brought any credit to the service and all three rates have let themselves and their service down.’

He went on: ‘I do not criticise the prosecution because we live in an atmosphere and era that makes it very difficult for the police and prosecuting authorities not to prosecute allegations of this nature.’

His comments were made two weeks ago when Dinnell’s legal team applied to have the case dropped due to lack of evidence, but they can only be reported now for legal reasons.

The court, held at HMS Nelson, was told the Wren returned willingly to the base with both men around 2am and had consensual sex with Robertson in his single room. Dinnell, who met the Wren that evening, said he had arranged to stay with his friend for the night rather than return to his station on the destroyer HMS York.

After she had sex with Robertson he fell asleep on the floor. Dinnell said he shared the bed with her fully clothed as there was nowhere else to sleep. He claims she awoke and they had consensual sex, but when Robertson awoke halfway through she appeared uncomfortable..

Stephen Smyth, defending, told the court: ‘She says she didn’t give him the come on, but in a sense she did. She thought it was Robertson. She hardly pushed him away, she kissed him passionately. ‘Each kiss and touch is a question; may I touch you? If the hands are not pushed away, the answer is yes.’

In evidence, the Wren said she blamed herself for drinking too much.

The only previous rape case heard by a Navy court martial was in 2007 when Chief Petty Officer Phillip Coates was sentenced to five years in prison for raping a naval rating. The conviction was later quashed.


Deception promulgated by American Muslim organization

I have made a short comment about this rally previously

Some of the figures involved in the February 13, 2011 Yorba Linda protest have responded to the press release and video distributed by CAIR. Below is a statement by one of the participants, the North Orange County Conservative Coalition. It is followed by statements by event emcee Karen Lugo and Deb Pauly, who is a Villa Park (Orange County) city council member who spoke at the protest. An hour-long video of the speakers is also included.

Important Statement from NOCCC to the Community

"On the afternoon of February 13, NOCCC joined the call for a peaceful protest of ICNA’s fundraiser at the Yorba Linda Community Center. We discovered that the Imam speakers, Malik Ali and Siraj Wahhaj are terrorism activists who are known for their anti-American, anti-Semitic beliefs . These radical Imams, who are linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, do not hide the fact that they support Hamas. A popular speaker with the Muslim Student Union on college campuses, Malik Ali openly promotes jihad and dying for Islam. Siraj Wahhaj, supposed co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, was a character witness for the convicted blind Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.

While we held our peaceful, organized and informative program on the grass area, away from the building, a group of unknown, uninvited protestors gathered near the entrance to the community center to stage their own noisy protest. CAIR has taken advantage of this situation to produce an extremely edited, greatly distorted YouTube video, giving the impression that all of our invited speakers’ words were filled with rude comments and inflammatory rhetoric against all Muslims.

NOCCC stands behind our participation in the protest. We will not allow this despicable hit job and the intimidation tactics of CAIR to stifle our patriotism or diminish our resolve to educate and expose the bigotry of these and other anti-American Imams and the threat of radical, political Islam and sharia law they represent.

We have publicly denounced these badly behaved protestors. However, we have to wonder who plans and attends a fundraiser hosted by two anti-American, radical Imams in a patriotic community like Yorba Linda and then is surprised and offended when the community demonstrates its righteous outrage."

ICNA Protest Organizer Karen Lugo Responds to "Hate Comes to Orange County"

"As a planner -- and the emcee -- of the protest of the Islamic Circle of North America’s (ICNA) fundraiser featuring radical Islamists Malik Ali and Sirhaj Wahhaj, I am very disturbed by CAIR’s representation of the gathering in Yorba Linda. The video presentation with footage and quotes selected for their sensational and hurtful value, is an intentional misrepresentation of the program that evening.

There were two groups demonstrating on February 13th and CAIR chose to only present video of the splinter group that was not invited and not welcome. The main program was in a completely different area and continued with speakers while the ICNA fundraiser began. Never did the main group dismiss and gather at the entrance to the community center.

The obvious goal of deflecting attention from our clear statements about ICNA’s extremist speakers is an obvious attempt to intimidate, discredit, and silence our efforts to expose the true nature of the Muslim fundraiser’s organizers. This will not work. We are committed to moderate Muslims and will continue to expose groups and individuals that are working against American constitutional freedoms.

Here are the facts that the CAIR video (while CAIR does not take credit for production of the video, they distributed it) did not present. The event was planned, as the flier shows, as a “peaceful and patriotic” protest. Instructions on the fliers even requested that demonstrators bring only flags, and no signs. CAIR has chosen to spotlight only the most incendiary remarks. Furthermore, not one of the protest organizers recognized anyone in the group that splintered off. We do not know who they were or who sent them.

What CAIR also does not address is why hundreds of individual Southern Californians many of whom have never protested against anything before, were out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon waving flags and listening to speakers. These people, many not affiliated with an organization, were all there to express solidarity in declaring that extremist Muslims like Malik Ali and Siraj Wahhaj are not welcome in the community.


CAIR tries to silence free speech

Another comment on the matter above

CAIR has decided to teach me a lesson – along with about 500 patriotic Californians and public officials who turned out to protest fundraising efforts of radical Islamists in Yorba Linda. What we are supposed to learn is that all who have the temerity to speak out against the agents of radicalization in America will be vilified, slandered, targeted, and threatened. Instead, what is becoming clear is that CAIR’s very predictable guerilla tactics can be neutralized as Americans challenge the distortion campaigns.

In the Yorba Linda case, CAIR responded to a large community protest of fundraiser speakers Abdel Malik Ali and Sirhaj Wahhaj with a doctored hit video that showcased rogue hecklers gathered at a remote location. The 5-minute hit piece weaponized useful epithets, most shouted in the dark long after the official rally ended, by fashioning a highly edited montage of potent insults. At the ready, victimists filed complaints and filled message boards, pressuring employers, governing boards, oversight committees, and the media to sanction and punish speakers and organizers of the official rally.

CAIR operates in disregard of the expansive free speech rights constitutionally guaranteed in America. As a reminder to all, Chief Justice Roberts and the Supreme Court just reinforced the heightened protection afforded speech on matters of public concern in America when he wrote in the funeral protestor (Westboro Baptist) case: "As a Nation we have chosen . . . to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate."

Despite this, CAIR pushes victimization claims at the local level where “hate-speech/incitement” codes, watchdog commissions, employer human relations departments, and willing media megaphones act as tolerance arbiters. The ensuing investigations and inquiries serve as powerful public examples and, regardless of outcome, are a formidable intimidation tactic.

At the time of this writing the coordinated assault continues against the planners of the Yorba Linda rally, even though speakers affirmed moderate Muslims in over a dozen different instances. An example of the typical institutional response, the Orange County Human Relations Commission met regarding the protest complaints and commissioners were prepared to deliberate toward a consensus with nine of the eleven members present having only seen the doctored CAIR video.

This stunning reliance on a discredited group like CAIR -- unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation terror-finance case as independently affirmed by federal court Judge Solis -- demonstrates the lack of regard for fact and willful predisposition to consider complaints from victim groups as worthy of redress. If the true mission were condemnation of “hate,” the actual instigators, Abdel Malik Ali, Sirhaj Wahhaj and CAIR would at least be agenda items. But rather than point a finger at the purveyors of radicalism, our politically correct minders often duck this duty and thus assist CAIR in the effort to alienate moderate Muslims from American cultural values.

During Rep. King’s homegrown radicalization hearing, Melvin Bledsoe, whose son is charged with shooting two Arkansas military recruiters, accused Americans of “sitting around and doing nothing about extremists.” He called on Americans “to stand up and do something about the problem.” Hanging out the “not welcome” sign as California did in Yorba Linda when known radicals came to town is one way to stand up. Speech is our most potent weapon in shaping political will and awakening our communities. Efforts to chill speech will only deepen resolve and rouse even more Americans to champion speech rights and defend fundamental liberties.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


15 March, 2011

Ignorant Leftist journalist touring Israel knows nothing about Judaism

But she still "reports" about the situation in Israel. See below.

You'd think that a journalist would do a bit of elementary background reading before reporting on a subject. But that doesn't apply to Leftists. They "just know" all the answers

I’m on a tour of the Israeli Yishuv of Itamar, site of the gruesome attack on Shabbat which left five Israelis (including 3 children) dead, and our group just finished talking to the community Rabbi and his wife Leah (who is also a community spokesperson) about their thoughts on the massacre and related issues of life in the community.

The Guardian’s Harriet Sherwood is one of the European journalists on the tour, and she just asked Leah – at the end of the Q&A – if she was a “Messianic“ Jew, a question which, as anyone familiar with the Christ-based movement knows, is an absurd question for a rebbetzin of a religious Jewish community.

I’ll post later, but am still stunned by the failure of the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent to even marginally understand what the term Messianic Judaism denotes.


Guardian’s bizarre headline on story about deadly terrorist attack in Itamar

A dispatch by Harriet Sherwood on the terrorist attack in the Israeli Yishuv of Itamar contained this headline:

Get it? Israelis AND Palestinians were in shock over the brutal murder of five innocent Israeli civilians.

Except that Sherwood’s story doesn’t even attempt to support the bizarre assertion that Palestinians were morally outraged by the terrorist act.

In fact, as I posted recently, Palestinians in the Gaza city of Rafah were seen celebrating the attack by handing out sweets.

Further, as Palestinian Media Watch has demonstrated, Palestinian society routinely glorifies terrorists and propagates virulent anti-Semitic incitement on state-run television, radio, and newspapers. Indeed, explicit hatred towards Jews (not merely Israelis) is quite normative.

While I sincerely would love to read a story about Palestinians who are truly outraged and shocked by the attack in Itamar, I’ve yet to come across it.

But, of course, evidence of Palestinian indifference to Jewish suffering doesn’t quite square with the Guardian narrative and, as we know all to well, facts – even headlines – are ultimately subservient to their rigid political agenda.


Israel complains that CNN used quote-marks to describe Itamar butchery as 'terror attack'

The director of Israel's Government Press Office fired off a letter to CNN's Jerusalem Bureau Chief Sunday demanding an apology for a story on CNN's website that put "terror attack" in quotation marks in the headline of its story on Friday night's atrocity in Itamar.

Responding to the story headlined "Israeli Family of 5 Killed in 'Terror Attack,' Military Says," Oren Helman wrote Kevin Flower that he was "dumbfounded and astonished" to read that the slaughter of the Fogel family is "what the Israeli army calls a 'terrorist attack'."

"Your remarks sound as if we are talking about an IDF 'claim' that this was 'a terrorist attack' and that this is not necessarily the case," he wrote. "If this is not a terrorist attack, then what is?" Helman, saying that "there is a limit to the extent of objectivity regarding such a horrific deed," and requested an apology from CNN.

CNN International, in response, said that it does not respond in public to private correspondence. The news organization did issue a statement saying, however, that it was "standard journalistic practice for news organizations to put quotation marks around remarks attributed to third parties."


Australian Labor Party government quietly dissolving "work for dole" scheme

Giving taxpayers' money to people who haven't earned it sounds just fine to a Leftist government

The flagship work-for-the-dole program has been quietly slashed by more than 60 per cent by the Gillard government, with only 9151 long-term unemployed now in the politically charged program.

Federal Labor has consistently rejected suggestions it would abolish the scheme, designed by the Howard government as the centrepiece of its bid to ensure welfare recipients contribute something in return for their benefits. But it is disappearing quietly, with the program losing more than 3000 participants in the final eight months of last year.

On April 7 last year, there were 12,695 people in work-for-the-dole schemes. On December 31, there were 9151 jobseekers either placed or expected to start a work-for-the-dole activity. This was down from 22,362 in April 2005, under the Howard government. Since July 1, 2009, there have been 32,168 jobseekers placed in one or more work-for-the-dole activities.

Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis yesterday defended the dwindling of the program, arguing that the government was not fixated on keeping it as the main pathway to work, citing training and community volunteer work as alternatives.

"Our government has moved away from a 'one-size-fits-all' approach, so as to allow jobseekers to access a range of work experience options, including structured vocational training and community volunteer work as well as the work-for-the-dole program," she said.

"Our focus is on assisting jobseekers to access a range of education and training opportunities to give them the skills they need to find sustainable employment in the future."

Opposition employment participation spokeswoman Sussan Ley said the government was seeking to dismantle the program by slashing places month after month. "This is Labor's death by a thousand cuts," she said. "We warned a year ago the Rudd-Gillard government was watering down the Coalition's mutual obligation principle for those who are unemployed."

Ms Ley said the program was critically underfunded, with too few work options to build up skills where really needed. It also needed to be applied far earlier than after 12 months' unemployment under Labor, which doubled the threshold set by the Howard government.

Ms Ley said the current numbers in the scheme were "unrealistic, particularly with the number of long-term unemployed blowing out by around 90,000 people in the past two years". "When the Coalition introduced the program, most were required to undertake an activity after six months. Now people go in after 12 months," she said.

The types of activities people do on work for the dole vary widely, according to the Gillard government. Two examples included a community gardening project that provided training in nursery practices, and the remodelling and construction of memorial display areas for a children's and Chinese burial area.


Children and the internet

I don't fully agree with Australian commentator Kylie Lang below but think that her approach is at least better than technophobia. I saw no need to time-limit the TV and computer usage of kids in my house during their childhood and they have all grown up as very creditable human beings with whom I still have good relationships. The kids had to do their homework and after that it was up to them. But seeing I spent many hours on the computer too, I could hardly have asked anything different of the kids. I did however also spend a lot of time playing rough-and-tumble games with them, which we all enjoyed -- JR

Plugged in but tuned out: sound like a child you know? The great connect to technology has become the great disconnect from family life and meaningful social interaction for kids who have developed an acute aversion to doing anything that doesn’t involve a keypad or remote control.

Perfectly reasonable requests to set the table, walk the dog, or engage in a conversation (without grunts) go unheard as our kids tune us out, building relationships instead with Angry Birds, Call of Duty Zombies and instant acquaintances misnamed as friends.

Before we go blaming technology for our children’s aloofness, consider this: iPhones, Wiis and computers are merely tools of communication. As such, they need to be managed and used respectfully.

As with the phone when I was a child, restrictions must be imposed. If I talked longer than 30 minutes (three minutes to a teenage girl), Dad would draw circles in the air to signal “wind it up”, I’d roll my eyes and huff but I would get off that phone. It was a similar story with TV. One hour a day, watching programs my parents deemed suitable, (Two and a Half Men would not have been one).

Technology is not the enemy here. It’s poor parenting, characterised by a reluctance to set and enforce limitations (in case our kids won’t like us) and a resignation to the idea that technology is omnipotent (it's everywhere so what can we do but let them have it?).

Instead of surrendering to weapons of mass communication, let’s determine how to use them for good. What values do we, as a family and collectively as a society, want to encourage and preserve? We must then commit to these things, not leave them to chance, because technology is racing ahead faster than we can digest and interpret it.

Research firm Gartner predicts that 64 million computer tablets will be sold this year; two years ago there were none. We already have 350,000 apps for our iPhone, yet 820 new apps are submitted each day.

With technology so pervasive and increasingly affordable (more than three-quarters of Australian homes have internet access), parents must sit down with their kids and agree on guidelines they can uphold. Appropriate screening covers school work and networking with students online to solve problems (such as maths, not who to take to the dance).

Beyond that, it is fine to play age-appropriate games within a set time - childhood experts recommend no more than one hour of screening (that includes TV) for under fives and two hours for fives and up. Within these periods, older kids can tweet, text or chat with friends, the key word here being friends. Friends are people you can touch and know through shared experiences that you can trust. They are not the secondhand acquaintances on social networking sites who multiply faster than measles.

Now, to inappropriate use. Screening has no place at the dinner table. Computers do not belong in bedrooms but in communal spaces where parents can monitor them. Where was the supervision of Brisbane schoolboy Philip Heggie, who ripped off eBay customers to the tune of almost $40,000 and stole a tidy $2 million from Suncorp?

Technology is a convenience parents have come to rely on (because, let’s face it, it’s the only babysitter kids really like), but giving a handheld device to a child in a restaurant to shut them up is teaching the child nothing about how to appreciate the dining out experience.

A friend of mine went to a baby shower in a restaurant last weekend, There were two little girls present, aged four or five. All other guests were women. One of the girls walked in wearing earphones and clutching a handheld device. “That’s a prepared mother," my friend initially thought, and then the second child arrived, without techno props.

As the three-hour function rolled on, the little girls, though seated side by side, did not engage with each other at all. Miss Earphones sat playing quietly on her handheld device and spoke to no one, including the other girl who eventually scored her mother's iPhone. "It was as if the two children were invisible to each other,” my friend said, “it was so sad”.

Technology, when used sensibly, has the power to positively connect people in a way we’ve never known. Look at how the much-maligned Gen Y rallied to the cause of flood recovery in January. When council websites choked, social networking took over, directing helpers to the areas of greatest need.

As a tool of communication, technology has no peer. But if we allow it to dominate our lives, it ceases to work for us. Parents must lead by example. No point telling your son too much screening is bad for him if you spend all night checking emails on your BlackBerry. Plugged in but tuned out describes adults too.

Former IBM CEO Louis Gerstner said: “Computers are magnificent tools for the realisahon of our dreams, but no machine can replace the human spark of spirit, compassion, love and understanding."

The above article appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on 13 March


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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


14 March, 2011

An excerpt from life in Israel

Whose side are you on now?

In part, at least, this is what rebels in Libya and Egypt should aspire to. Whether they do or not is another question.

VA Honors Military Women of Past, Present

This is all OK but when are we going to have a celebration of the white males who make up most of the armed forces? We wouldn't want to be biased, would we?

The Department of Veterans Affairs joins with the nation to observe Women's History Month in March by recognizing and honoring women Veterans.

“Duty. Honor. Pride. These words reflect the spirit of generations of American women who have sought to defend the rights and freedom of others,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The history of women in the armed forces began more than 220 years ago with women who served during the American Revolution and continues through the present day. VA is honored to serve these women who have contributed so much to our Nation.”

Women Veterans are one of the fastest growing segments of the Veteran population. Of the 22.7 million living Veterans, more than 1.8 million are women. They comprise nearly 8 percent of the total Veteran population and 6 percent of all Veterans who use VA health care services.

VA estimates women Veterans will constitute 10 percent of the Veteran population by 2020 and 9.5 percent of VA patients.

In recent years, VA has undertaken a number of initiatives to create or enhance services for women Veterans, including the implementation of comprehensive primary care throughout the nation; staffing every VA medical center with a women veterans program manager and regional offices with a designated woman Veterans coordinator; supporting a multifaceted research program on women's health; improving communication and outreach to women Veterans; and continuing the operation of offices like the Center for Women Veterans and the Women Veterans Health Strategic Healthcare Care Group.

“During this observance of Women’s History Month, let’s remember the special contributions of the ever-increasing number of women serving in the armed forces,” said Tammy Duckworth, assistant secretary for public and intergovernmental affairs. She noted that women currently make up more than 14 percent of the active-duty military and 18 percent of the Guard and Reserves.

VA has 43 women’s memorials and monuments at its National Cemeteries across the country. Additionally, several notable women are buried in VA National Cemeteries, including Chief Specialist Evelyn B. (Ulrich) Einfeldt, a Navy World War II Veteran who was one of the 67 Navy “WAVES” involved in Operation Magic. She assisted with the assembly of BOMBE (Enigma), a machine to decode German and Japanese transmissions. She was laid to rest at the Fort Sill National Cemetery on April 6, 2006.

Lillian Kinkela Keil, an Air Force flight nurse pioneer, is buried at the Riverside National Cemetery. She flew 425 combat missions and took part in 11 major campaigns, including the D-Day invasion and the Battle of the Bulge in World War II and the Battle of Chosin Reservoir in Korea. One of the most decorated women in American military history, she was awarded 19 medals.


First they came for the labor leaders in Cuba

A union protestor in Wisconsin was caught on camera saying he wants to vote for Castro and his clone, Che Guevara. Of course, there’s no kerfuffle from the MSM or Democratic Party. Good thing he wasn’t a Tea-partier caught on camera saying he wants to vote for Mussolini and clone Pinochet! Instead he was a union protestor in Madison, Wisconsin, caught on camera saying he wants to vote for Castro and his clone, Che Guevara. So there’s no kerfuffle from the MSM or Democratic Party. As I recall the (utterly bogus as it turned out) use of the “N” word by Tea-partiers back in March generated quite a kerfuffle.

A much larger, violent, and protracted kerfuffle erupted in Cuba by the union members cursed by fate to live under the regime founded by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. Don’t look for this on NPR or The History Channel, much less in your college textbooks, but among the first, the most militant, and the most widespread opposition groups to the Stalinism that Che Guevara (who often cheekily signed his named as “Stalin II”) and Fidel Castro imposed on Cuba came from Cuban labor organizations. And who can blame them? Here’s a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) report on Cuba circa 1957:
One feature of the Cuban social structure is a large middle class. Cuban workers are more unionized [proportional to the population] than U.S. workers. The average wage for an 8-hour day in Cuba in 1957 is higher than for workers in Belgium, Denmark, France and Germany. Cuban labor receives 66.6 per cent of gross national income. In the U.S. the figure is 70 per cent, in Switzerland 64 per cent. 44 per cent of Cubans are covered by Social legislation, a higher percentage than in the U.S.

In 1958, Cuba had a higher per capita income than Austria or Japan and Cuban industrial workers had the eighth-highest wages in the world. In the 1950s, Cuban stevedores earned more per hour than their counterparts in New Orleans and San Francisco. Thousands of these took up arms against Fidel Castro and Che Guevara. The MRP (Movimiento Revolucionario del Pueblo) was among these Cuban resistance groups of mostly laborers. But don’t take it from me. Here’s how the FBI and CIA described them:
Heavily weighted labor membership, with socialistic leanings. Aimed for Castro overthrow from within; advocated nationalization of economy, agrarian reform, utopian social reform.

In a TV speech on June 26, 1961, when Che Guevara was Cuba’s “Minister of Industries,” he proclaimed: “The Cuban workers have to start being used to live in a collectivist regimen, and by no means can they go on strike!” This “no strike” provision was unacceptable to Cuban laborers — many of whom took up arms in protest, along with Cuba’s enraged campesinos who rose in arms by the thousands when Castro and Che started stealing their land to build Soviet Kolkhozes. This rebellion, involving ten times the number of rebels, ten times the number of casualties, and lasting twice as long as the puerile skirmish against Batista, found no reporter anywhere near Cuba’s hills. The Cuban campesinos’ bloody rebellion against Castro-Stalinism lasted from late 1959 to 1966. Tens of thousands of troops, scores of Soviet advisors, and squadrons of Soviet tanks, helicopters, and flame-throwers finally extinguished the lonely Cuban freedom-fight.

Everyplace else on earth reporters hail such things as “insurgencies,” and rush in to “embed” and report. Cuba’s insurgency against Stalinism was blacked-out. “We fought with the fury of cornered beasts,” recalls one of the few surviving rebels from Miami today. According to the scholars and researchers at the Cuba Archive, the Castro regime’s total death toll — from torture, prison beatings, firing squads, machine gunning of escapees, drownings, etc. — approaches 100,000. Cuba’s population in 1960 was 6.4 million. According to the human rights group Freedom House, 500,000 Cubans (young and old, male and female) have passed through Castro’s prisons and forced-labor camps. This puts Castro and Che’s political incarceration rate right up there with their hero Stalin’s.

The result?

The Castro brothers and Che Guevara converted a nation with a higher per capita income than half the nations of Europe, the lowest inflation rate in the Western hemisphere, a larger middle class than Switzerland, a huge influx of immigrants, and the 13th lowest infant-mortality in the world into one that repels Haitians. But in the process all Cubans became subject for their very livelihood upon Castro’s every whim. Typical communist mismanagement.

Actually, given Communist goals, Cuba’s economy is expertly managed. Destroying the factors involved in Cuba’s former freedom and prosperity was not a haphazard process. It required focus and dedication, putting the shoulder to the wheel and nose to the grindstone. Castro’s “nationalist” revolution saw many of Stalin’s own henchmen directing the murder, torture and destitution of millions of native Cubans. Among the first to go were labor leaders.


Too much censorship

A comment from Australia by Terry Sweetman

Sometimes I wonder how our kids survived until preschool, let alone to the age when they can treat me with fond disdain. They lived with an unfenced swimming pools, were surrounded by toxic household chemicals and were pretty much encouraged to read whatever they liked. The only restrictions in their TV viewing were the clock and their mothers view that indoors was an unnatural place for children while the sun was still up.

Their survival owed more to the occasional rap across the knuckles than the sort of safety devices that make houses and pill bottles no-go zones for the ageing and arthritic. Why do so many people think that life comes with inbuilt guarantees and that everyone else should share their parental burdens? Just how far can we push the care factor? We must have just about reached the limit with the proposal to make parental locks mandatory on digital TVs and set-top boxes. Let the kids watch moronic and oxymoronic reality shows but cover their little ears when it comes to street talk.

Seriously, do I have a problem with parents controlling what their kids watch? Not at all; I think it is their right and their responsibility. However, a little part of me worries that mandatory censorship devices should be imposed by the out-of-control Australian Communications and Media Authority. It, you might recall, is the body that has drawn up a secretive black list of what you can’t see or read on the internet and is immune from objection or appeal.

When it comes to TV, parents might control the set-top box, but they won't control the classifications it recognises. That’s the job of the Classification Board, which is undergoing a review in the light of what the Goverment calls changes in technology, media convergence and the global availability of media content.

It seems a short step from classifications being a guide to being a censorship gate. And the authority has called for submissions from the public on whether there should be any exemptions to the child-lock plan.

We’re not debating whether there should be compulsory locks. We’re reversing the onus of responsibility and asking who and what should be exempt. The authority has spoken.

If parents want childlocks on their idiot boxes, they should be available to them and they should pay for them. Yet why should they be compulsory for the rest of us even if we don’t want them and don't use them? I already have to put up with a nuisance child lock on the washing machine, so what next? Mandatory kiddie blockers on my detergent cupboard?

TV locks are probably not a big deal in themselves. The problem is that they represent a mindset that it builds a false sense of security, the idea that you can turn your back thinking your kids can’t get into the cleaning cupboard or the adult time slots.

The problem with Nanny State is that too many parents want to hand over their kids to her. And they want to blame her for what happens when their backs are turned. Teenagers running amok? Give the cops more power to kick them in the bum. Out of control? Blame it on the schools and teachers. Scoring zero in exams? Get a doctor to diagnose an alphabetical condition and pill them to the eyeballs. Kids watching nudity and listening to four-letter words on TV? Get the govemment to help regulate their viewing.

Never mind parental guidance in developing critical viewing habits. Just push a button. I have to wonder whether TV child locks are a comfort or a cop-out.

The above article appeared in the Brisbane "Sunday Mail" on 13 March


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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


13 March, 2011

Too Many White Guys

The U.S. military has a problem, according to a DoD advisory panel. And no, we're not referring to the demands of two on-going wars (and the toll on those who serve); escalating personnel costs, a shrinking fleet, aging nuclear forces and combat aircraft that are equally long-in-the tooth. The group wasn't asked to address those pressing concerns.

Instead, the panel was asked by Congress to look at diversity in our military. In fact, the Military Leadership Diversity Commission spent two years looking at the issue and released their final report earlier this week. You can probably predict their findings without reading this Associated Press article. A few excerpts:
The U.S. military is too white and too male at the top and needs to change recruiting and promotion policies and lift its ban on women in combat, an independent report for Congress said Monday.

Seventy-seven percent of senior officers in the active-duty military are white, while only 8 percent are black, 5 percent are Hispanic and 16 percent are women, the report by an independent panel said, quoting data from September 2008....

Efforts over the years to develop a more equal opportunity military have increased the number of women and racial and ethnic minorities in the ranks of leadership. But, the report said, “despite undeniable successes ... the armed forces have not yet succeeded in developing a continuing stream of leaders who are as diverse as the nation they serve.”

“This problem will only become more acute as the racial, ethnic and cultural makeup of the United States continues to change,” said the report from the Military Leadership Diversity Commission, whose more than two dozen members included current and former military personnel as well as businessmen and other civilians.

It's tempting to dismiss the report as little more than PC drivel. But the commission's chairman, retired Air Force General Lester Lyles, has a reputation as a straight-shooter and an outstanding leader. It's hard to imagine that he would simply compile the usual rot and sign off on it. If General Lyles is willing to stake his reputation on the report, then it's probably worth a look.

Based on our first read, the panel's findings appear to be a mixed bag. While General Lyles and his group offer some excellent ideas (for example, coordinating enlisted and officer recruiting, to identify candidates for commissioning programs at the earliest opportunity), there are also a few clunkers. When the commission suggests some sort of mechanism (and metrics) for tracking progress in creating a more "diverse" leadership corps, it sounds a lot like a quota system.

And quite frankly, that's the last thing our military needs. The armed forces need to train and promote the best and brightest, regardless of their ethnic background or gender. The advancement of minority and female officers has been slow, but no one can dispute that more members of those groups are reaching senior ranks in the U.S. military.

Which leads us to another point: the commission (and elected officials) say they want an officer corps that reflects America. That's a worthy goal, but are you willing to trade mission effectiveness to achieve it? Among its various recommendations, the panel urges DoD to "open additional career fields and units involved in 'direct ground combat' to qualified women." Trouble is, the vast majority of military women will never qualify to serve in such positions, the result of physiology--not discrimination.

Almost 20 years ago, columnist Fred Reed published results of an Army study, comparing fitness levels among male and female soldiers. The data reaffirms that most women simply lack the upper body strength and endurance required by an Army infantryman, a Marine rifleman, or most special forces MOS's.

The average female Army recruit is 4.8 inches shorter, 31.7 pounds lighter, has 37.4 fewer pounds of muscle, and 5.7 more pounds of fat than the average male recruit. She has only 55 percent of the upper-body strength and 72 percent of the lower-body strength... An Army study of 124 men and 186 women done in 1988 found that women are more than twice as likely to suffer leg injuries and nearly five times as likely to suffer fractures as men.

The Commission heard an abundance of expert testimony about the physical differences between men and women that can be summarized as follows:

Women's aerobic capacity is significantly lower, meaning they cannot carry as much as far as fast as men, and they are more susceptible to fatigue.

In terms of physical capability, the upper five percent of women are at the level of the male median. The average 20-to-30 year-old woman has the same aerobic capacity as a 50 year-old man.

The same report also cited a West Point study from the early 90s which discovered that, in terms of fitness, the upper quintile of female cadets achieved scores equal to the lowest quintile of their male counterparts.

So, what's a chief diversity officer supposed to do (don't laugh--the commission recommends creation of that very post, reporting directly to the SecDef). Water down the standards so more women will qualify for combat service, removing that "barrier" to reaching the flag ranks? Or create some sort of double-standard, allowing females to punch their resumes in the right places and continue their climb to the stars. Either approach is unacceptable, yet some sort of "modification" is inevitable, to open up more combat billets to women.

As for minorities, their under-representation in the ranks of generals and admirals reflects another set of problems. For starters, there's our failing education system which impacts blacks and Hispanics more than the general population. Because many young men and women in those groups receive an inferior education, they tend to score lower on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery ASVAB, which sets the cognitive baseline for military service, and what jobs will be open to recruits who achieve a passing score.

For many minority candidates, the ASVAB has become a barrier to military service. We noted last December that, according to a recent study, 29% of Hispanics and 39% of African-Americans failed to achieve the minimum score (31) to enter the U.S. Army. In other words, more than 25% of young Hispanics and almost 40% of their African-American counterparts couldn't score high enough to enlist in the Army, which has the lowest qualifying score of any branch of the armed services. Obviously, if a young man or woman (regardless of their ethnic background) can't pass the enlistment test, they have no chance of becoming an officer and reaching the highest military ranks.


The number one excuse: Right to a family life lets foreign convicts stay in Britain

More than 200 foreign prisoners, including killers, cheated deportation last year by claiming they have a human right to a ‘family life’ in Britain. The Home Office has confirmed that the ‘right to a family life’ has become the number one excuse used by convicts successfully blocking removal from the UK.

It has overtaken the usual claim submitted by illegal immigrants and overseas criminals that they face ill-treatment at home. MPs said it was hard proof that Article 8 of the Human Rights Act – which protects the right to a ‘family life’ – was being abused, and they are demanding changes to the law.

Tory MP Dominic Raab, who obtained the figures, said: ‘It is one thing to argue against deporting an individual into the arms of a torturing state. But it makes a mockery of British justice to allow hundreds of criminals and suspected terrorists to claim family ties to defeat a deportation order.

‘This is a novel expansion of human rights by the UK courts, and an escalating threat to our border controls. Whilst the Coalition partners may not agree on scrapping the Human Rights Act, we should look urgently at specific amendments to deal with the growing deportation problem.’

Home Office figures show a 17 per cent rise in the successful human rights claims by immigrants fighting removal from Britain between January and September 2010. There were 303 cases, compared with 258 in the first nine months of 2009. The total for 2010 is expected to be 400.

Mr Raab says the figures he uncovered made a case for immediate amendments to the law. Currently, the law says offenders jailed for 12 months or more should be deported on completing their sentence – but there is an exemption if removing them would breach their human rights.

Repealing that exception would lead to fewer criminals successfully arguing they should be allowed to stay. MPs fear judges are now going even further in interpreting Article 8. In some cases, criminals who are single with no children have won appeals to stay because their parents live in the UK.

Other beneficiaries include Aso Mohammed Ibrahim, who knocked down 12-year-old Amy Houston and left her to ‘die like a dog’ under the wheels of his car.

He was driving while disqualified and committed a string of offences after the little girl’s death, but an immigration tribunal ruled that – because Ibrahim had children while living in Britain – he had a right to a ‘family life’ here.

Last night, Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘Convicted foreign national criminals who refuse to comply with the deportation process should not be allowed to hold the public to ransom. ‘It is not acceptable that the British taxpayer should have to pay to accommodate foreign national criminals with no right to be here. Our priority will always be to protect the public.’

The statistics will reignite the pressure on David Cameron to make meaningful changes to the Act.

The Coalition is preparing to launch a commission to consider overhauling the legislation. But it is already mired in controversy as Lord Lester, a QC who campaigned for 30 years for EU rights conventions to be incorporated in British law, will sit on the body as will Labour peer and human rights lawyer Baroness Kennedy.

Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘If you put a fox in charge of the chicken coop, you have a problem for the chickens. If we put human rights lawyers in charge of human rights reviews, you still have a human rights problem.’


Bureaucracy means the end of a free handout to members of Britain's Women's Institute

Mostly older ladies

For 20 years the thirsty ladies in village halls have received free parcels of Yorkshire Tea. But now the complimentary cuppas, enjoyed by members in more than 6,000 branches, are to be stopped because of charity law red tape.

The decision has caused outrage among the 96-year-old organisation’s 200,000 members – who shook off their once-genteel image with stunts such as the nude calendar that inspired the 2003 film Calendar Girls. A Facebook group has been launched called ‘Reinstate our Yorkshire Tea’, on which members complain that they were not consulted by the top brass about the decision. The Facebook page also carries accusations that discussions about the tea on the WI’s own website have been ‘censored’.

Problems started when the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) decided that to protect the WI ‘brand’ Yorkshire Tea needed a contract to supply the organisation with free tea.

But the tea’s makers, Taylor’s of Harrogate, decided the contract wasn’t for them and have now dispatched the last goody boxes.

A Yorkshire Tea spokesman explained: ‘It was a case of “we need a contractual relationship”. This wasn’t for us. There were lots of elements to it. We started conversations and we didn’t get that far. ‘It’s been difficult for everyone. We have had super letters of support and thanks from ordinary members. They’re a very vocal bunch and we hope they’ll carry on drinking Yorkshire Tea for years to come.’

The WI blamed the situation on ‘constraints and obligations on the NFWI Board as charity trustees under current charity law’. A spokesman added: ‘While members are free to accept gifts in kind, no public acknowledgement for the commercial company is allowed in return unless there is an agreed contractual relationship clearly stipulating the terms of engagement.’

The decision could provoke a backlash as fierce as the occasion when members slowclapped and heckled Tony Blair at a 10,000-strong WI conference.

On Facebook, Shirley Markham of Farmborough WI writes: ‘Please NFWI have another think! Our long association with Yorkshire Tea has done nothing but good to many causes and people, why change it if it works?’

Claire Fox, director of the Institute of Ideas, said: ‘How ironic. We have a Government that promises to get rid of red tape and nurture charities yet somehow, the ever-more elaborate, trumped-up regulations imposed on charity trustees means a genuinely altruistic act by business is scuppered. 'If the Big Society means anything, surely it’s butting out of informal arrangements. ‘Mr Cameron promises to roll back the state to free up People Power. Maybe he could start with rolling back charity law.’


The British hunt saboteur, a loving couple and judges who dismiss Christianity

A Christian couple, Owen and Eunice Johns, were recently banned from fostering children because of their belief that homosexuality is wrong. Ten days ago, two senior judges concluded that the right of homosexuals to equality ‘should take precedence’ over the right of Christians to manifest their beliefs and moral values.

On Tuesday, David Cameron blundered into the controversy. The Prime Minister asserted that the couple had been dealt with in an ‘appropriate way’, and added that Christians must be ‘tolerant and welcoming and broad-minded’ towards homosexuality.

That same day, another judge in a different court ruled that the ‘deeply held’ beliefs of a prominent animal rights campaigner and hunt saboteur called Joe Hashman should be protected from discrimination in the same way as religion.

The two cases are obviously unalike in all sorts of ways, but they both illustrate an extraordinary new phenomenon. In the eyes of the courts, secular values have supplanted religious ones and, in the second case, have been accorded the status of a religion.

Perhaps you thought you still lived in a Christian country. I wouldn’t be so sure. In the case of Owen and Eunice Johns, Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson opined that Britain was a ‘largely secular’, multi-cultural country in which the laws of the realm ‘do not include Christianity’.

The learned judges must know that our common law is rooted in Christian ethics. However, they believe that ‘because of enormous changes in the social and religious life of our country over the past century’ the law should be able to place secular values above Christian ones.

Of course, there are many Christians (I would include myself) who do not share the Johns’ views on homosexuality. But there are a large number, not least the Pope, who believe that the practice of homosexuality is sinful. This view is not just dreamt up out of thin air. It is based on a reading of the Bible, and would have been accepted by virtually all Christians until about 50 years ago.

The Johns, who are Pentecostal Christians and were born in Jamaica, do not hold their views in any aggressive or hectoring way. They seem to be strikingly good people, and have fostered very many children. They were simply unable to respond in the affirmative to this question posed by Derby City Council: ‘Would you tell a child that it was all right to be homosexual?’

The couple said that in all conscience they could not say this because they did not believe it. They deny they are in any way homophobic, and stress that they would treat any child with love. They are just unwilling to say something they do not believe. That seems to me brave, principled and Christian behaviour.

In fact, the Johns had applied to foster children between the ages of five and eight for whom the rights and wrongs of homosexuality are not usually a very pressing concern.

It looks to me as though, in a mood of zealotry, Derby City Council deliberately picked a fight by invoking a piece of egregious New Labour legislation, the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

The normally sensible Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, has argued that the judges did not rule that the Johns had no right to hold their views on homosexuality — merely that they should not make them plain to prospective foster children. But isn’t the distinction a pretty meaningless one? If you are not allowed to communicate a belief, the implication must be that the belief is in some way dangerous and wrong. It is not a very big step from being prohibited from expressing a principle to being prevented from entertaining it even in private.

And yet the belief we are speaking of does not threaten the practices of anybody. It is part of traditional Christian dogma, rejected in recent times by some Christians, but still held as a matter of conscience by others.

David Cameron’s intervention when asked about the Johns’ case during a visit to Derby was unwise. I doubt he has made much of a study of Christian attitudes towards homosexuality, and he should have kept his mouth shut. He was in a small way doing what Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson had done — imposing fashionable secular values (I won’t accuse him of playing to the electoral gallery) on religious ones.

As a number of homosexual pundits have observed, the people who are displaying a lack of tolerance and broad mindedness, to borrow Mr Cameron’s words, are not the modest, retiring, public-spirited Johns — who merely want to be true to their beliefs, and might, incidentally, serve as a perfect advertisement for Mr Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ — but the original promoters of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007, Derby City Council and even the learned judges.

In view of their intolerance towards the couple’s religious beliefs, it is almost farcical to find Judge Lawrence Guyer pandering to hunt saboteur Joe Hashman, and treating his purely secular beliefs as though they amounted to a religion.

Mr Hashman says he was sacked as a designer from a garden centre when his bosses discovered he was a hunt saboteur. Judge Guyer practically genuflected in front of his reputed belief ‘that people should live their lives with mindful respect for animals and we all have a moral obligation to live in a way which is kind to each other, our environment and our fellow creatures’. This is what many, probably most, people believe. It does not constitute a religion.

Moreover, bearing in mind Mr Hashman’s past as a hunt saboteur and animal rights campaigner, I doubt he has observed the ‘moral obligation to live in a way which is kind to each other’ in quite the way the woolly-headed judge suggests.

Maybe Mr Hashman has lived an unexceptionable life promoting his cause, but many animal rights campaigners have not. It is part of their credo to disrupt the livelihoods of others, and the more extreme fringes have abused, terrorised and sometimes used violence against workers in laboratories where experiments involving animals take place.

Mr Hashman’s beliefs, whether anti-social or otherwise, are not religious, and until the court establishes the truth about his sacking, it is very hard to see how he has been the victim of discrimination.

By contrast, the self-effacing Johns have not tried to impose their beliefs, which are part of this country’s religious tradition, on anyone. They are the victims of discrimination, and yet almost no one seems to care.

It is not just the law that increasingly relegates and ridicules Christianity. The BBC has steadily reduced the amount of religious broadcasting. Christian speakers have been progressively edged out on Radio Four’s daily avowedly religious Thought for Today slot at the expense of Muslim, Hindu, and Buddhist ones. Though these religions have many fewer adherents in this country, they are virtually accorded equality by the secularly-minded BBC.

Even Christians who do not agree with the Johns’ views on homosexuality should wake up and grasp that many of their values are being challenged and replaced by secular ones.

And all of us, Christian or not, should understand just how blindly intolerant and narrow-minded these forces of a new secular religion often are.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


12 March, 2011

Cowardly British rescue workers worried about their own health and safety 'leave man to die' in 3ft of water

Police and firemen sign up to take risks -- but not in Britain, apparently

MORE than a dozen emergency workers refused to pull a man from a waist-deep boating lake because of ‘health and safety’ fears. For half-an-hour charity shop worker Simon Burgess, 41, was left face down in the shallow water as they waited for a specialist rescue crew.

Mr Burgess, who had gone to the lake to feed the swans, was pronounced dead at the scene but friends claim that if rescuers had waded straight into the water he could have been saved.

The crews of two fire engines, two police cars, two ambulances and an air ambulance were told not to enter the lake, which is no more than three feet (one metre) at its deepest point, in case they ‘compromised their safety’.

The water rescue crew finally arrived – 26 minutes after Mr Burgess was seen falling in – and the ‘specialists’ removed him using nothing more technical than waterproof clothing and buoyant jackets.

Mr Burgess, who suffered blackouts following brain surgery, was a former sailing instructor and IT consultant.

Friends and family reacted with fury yesterday when they discovered that firemen, paramedics and police first on the scene did not wade in to help.

Hampshire Fire and Rescue decided there was ‘no obvious sign of life’ when they arrived at Walpole Park Lake, in Gosport, Hampshire, on Thursday lunchtime. So their health and safety regulations deemed that: ‘Immediate entry into the water was not appropriate as it may have compromised the lives of others.’

Mr Burgess’s body was about 25 yards from the water’s edge when emergency services arrived. The bottom of the pond is muddy as it was formerly used as a cockle lake.Trina Horey, 47, assistant manager at the charity shop where Mr Burgess volunteered, said: ‘I’m furious that witnesses and the emergency services stood by and watched while waiting for the specialist team to drive all the way from Fareham.

‘If they had acted sooner, they may have saved him. Just because Simon wasn’t moving, it doesn’t mean he was dead. ‘He had brain surgery several years ago, was on medication and suffered occasional blackouts. Sometimes he would just stand there but more recently he had been falling over. The blackouts would last between three minutes and 15 minutes.’

Mrs Horey last saw Mr Burgess at 11am on Thursday when he said he was off to feed the birds on the lake, which he did every lunchtime. She added: ‘He was due to return to work later that afternoon but when [the staff] heard what happened they were devastated and closed early as a mark of respect.’

Roy Dore, who lives next door to Mr Burgess’s one-bedroom flat, yesterday described the police’s actions as ‘ridiculous and unbelievable’. The 75-year-old said: ‘It doesn’t make sense, it was just two feet of water – any person could have jumped in to help. ‘If someone falls in the water and there’s a policeman nearby, surely they should jump in and help.’

The fire service and police say they did not enter the water as their regulations ban them from doing so – only specially trained water unit firefighters are allowed to go in.

Hampshire Police’s corporate communications officer Neil Miller admitted that the officers’ actions were for ‘health and safety reasons’, but defended their decision.

Superintendent Phil Winchester said: ‘The circumstances surrounding the man’s death are currently being investigated by police.’

The South Central Ambulance Service said Mr Burgess had suffered a suspected cardiac arrest.

Gosport Council said the lake’s depth was one-and-a-half feet (0.5m) at the edges and up to three feet (1m) in the centre, 182 feet wide and 333 long.


Leftist arrogance is their undoing

James O'Keefe, who is now felling executives of National Public Radio as he previously trap-doored ACORN, must be a deeply cynical young man. How else could he have imagined that ACORN workers in several cities would cheerfully offer to help him set up brothels using underage Central American girls?

How else could he have imagined that executives of National Public Radio (and apparently PBS, though that video has not surfaced as of this writing) would eagerly truckle to a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood?

But they did. They all did. As a wise woman once said, "No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up."

Like the FBI's Abscam sting in the 1970s that netted six congressmen, a senator, and assorted others willing to accept bribes from "Arab sheiks," O'Keefe and his colleagues designed a sting operation that involved activists posing as "Amir Malik" (supposedly from Nigeria, though his accent screamed Caribbean) and "Ibrahim Kasaam." They were, they explained, representatives of MEAC, the "Muslim Education Action Center," a trust that was considering a $5 million donation to NPR.

On the fake website created for the scam, MEAC described its mission as fighting "intolerance" but also "to spread acceptance of sharia across the world." You or I might have been given pause by that second bit, but not Ron Schiller, president of the NPR Foundation, and Betsy Liley, "senior director of institutional giving" at NPR. They showed up for lunch. Even before the risotto was served, Kasaam volunteered that his organization was founded by members of the Muslim Brotherhood, "in America actually." Not an eyelash quivered from the NPR team.

Kasaam expressed his discontent with "the current discourse" in America, particularly as it concerned Muslims. This elicited enthusiastic nodding from Schiller and Liley. Schiller rhapsodized about NPR being the "voice of reason" -- nearly the only place Americans could turn for "fair and balanced" news. He used that stolen slogan repeatedly. Schiller and Liley stressed that anti-Muslim bigotry was just the latest iteration of a classic American sin. "We put Japanese-Americans in camps," Liley lamented.

As for those who thought perhaps NPR should do without taxpayer dollars, Schiller noted, "It feels to me as though there is a real anti-intellectual move on the part of a significant part of the Republican Party." And then, inexplicably, this: "The current Republican Party, particularly the Tea Party, is fanatically involved in people's personal lives and very fundamental Christian -- I wouldn't even call it Christian. It's this weird evangelical sort of move..."

Really? All those thousands of Americans carrying signs and listening to speeches about debt and taxes and spending and bankruptcy -- they were fundamentalists?

"The Republican Party has been hijacked by this group," Schiller explained to people he thought were representing a Muslim Brotherhood-linked group. They weren't just "Islamophobic, but really xenophobic -- they believe in ... right-wing, middle-America, gun-toting ... I mean it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."

Again and again in the course of two hours (full video is available at theprojectveritas.com), Schiller described NPR's listeners as "educated and intelligent," unlike you-know-who. It's of course ridiculous to say that NPR is "liberal" -- but, just among ourselves -- "liberals (are) more educated, fair, and balanced." There's that phrase again!

What Schiller dislikes about America is that "people like to make snap judgments ... that all gays are after your children, that blacks are going to stab you ... NPR is constantly trying to break through that." But it's hard, because such "a small percentage of the population" is educated and intelligent.

Told that NPR is affectionately referred to as National Palestinian Radio among his compatriots, Schiller and Liley laughed, and Liley exclaimed, "Really? I love that!" Schiller suggested that NPR was neither "pro-Israel nor anti-Israel" but didn't hesitate to boast to his "Muslim" hosts that NPR's Israel coverage had offended a prominent Jewish American family so much that they withdrew their funding.

Ah, exclaimed Kasaam, this underscores the degree to which the American press is controlled by Jews and Zionists. Most of the press, Kasaam continued, is accordingly pro-Zionist.

"I don't find that at NPR," Schiller offered. "Obviously" you find it among people "who own newspapers," he continued. "But no one owns NPR, so I actually don't find it."

Thank goodness Schiller is among the "educated and intelligent" elite -- those who would never dream of stigmatizing minorities, dealing in stereotypes, or sanctioning bigotry. Thank goodness he would never consider slandering his countrymen in order to curry favor with people he had every reason to suspect were Islamic extremists.

Thank O'Keefe that Schiller and his boss are out of their jobs. It's a start.


How about some REAL tolerance?

Hint: Why is it a shrieking horror to criticize Muslims but perfectly OK to say the vilest things about Christians? Comment from Australia below

YOU consider yourself enlightened and tolerant. Deep in your heart you hold a compassion for others that comforts you. If others knew your heart, surely they would think highly of you, they'd admire your humanity, your sense of international responsibility and your acceptance of all races and religions.

But how to demonstrate this? How to allow others to see inside your heart? There is, of course, a standard but ill-advised method for parading these virtues and in parliament, recently, independent MP Andrew Wilkie adopted it. He attacked. "I stand today," he said in the House of Representatives, "to condemn the racism that eats at the Liberal Party."

Yes, you are a politician and you need to make your mark. You want constituents, media and contemporaries to admire and respect you. So to display your worthiness you attack someone you can brand as a racist. "Australia's history is littered with politicians peddling hate," peddled Wilkie as he detailed his now widely publicised claims of racism and religious intolerance against Liberal MPs Scott Morrison and Cory Bernardi.

Wilkie even found time to read to the chamber, and into Hansard, a 2004 letter given to him by an unquoted source, to an unnamed Asian woman, from someone who, apparently, was a supporter of Pauline Hanson. The letter was vile and racist. But why, all these years later, was it shared with the parliament? Was this the proof Wilkie needed that Australia is a racist nation full of "hate crimes" that are egged on by conservative politicians?

This was the shame of Wilkie's rant, the moral vanity that sees divisions highlighted, denunciations cheered, sensible debate stifled and individuals incensed. Few people will condemn words such as these from the independent MP for fear it invites a similar spray.

If Wilkie and progressive commentators wanted to turn their attention to those who denigrate other religions, from Catholicism and the Brethren to Judaism and Hinduism, we could take them more seriously. Examples aren't hard to find. ABC favourite Catherine Deveny wrote this about her return to church: "Entering the cathedral of misogyny, deception, manipulation, chauvinism, hypocrisy and bigotry, all wrapped up in 'if you don't swallow this hook, line and sinker you're going to hell', felt like coming home.

"Time for communion, when bread and wine is turned into the actual flesh and blood of Christ by the priest. Because he's special. They call it transubstantiation; I call it bullshit."

Or another ABC regular, David Marr, interviewed about Christian churches: "All of the demonisation of homosexuality from these churches is essentially aimed at keeping erect the authority of marriage and sexual guidance for heterosexuals. And it is wicked. Wicked."

These comments are highly provocative, but most of us likely would agree that in our pluralist society they are tolerable as part of robust debate. If so, then the issues of democratic freedoms and the rights of women and homosexuals within other religious cultures are also worthy of discussion.

Perhaps we should be able to have a similar level of debate and show a similar tolerance for irreverent discussion of Islam. And maybe it is not too much to ask that we avoid being impolite, abusive or offensive.

We last saw a major public overreaction to poorly expressed insecurities during the era of Hansonism. The strident condemnation of Pauline Hanson helped turn her from a none-too-bright deselected Liberal candidate into a national political phenomenon.

So with federal politicians talking about racism and Hanson announcing another tilt at politics through the NSW upper house on March 26, there could be no better time to remember what her previous incarnation taught us. It is that the perception of a double standard in the public debate fuels resentment rather than eases it.

And that when opportunists parade their own virtue by making shameless, intolerant attacks on others, no one wins.


Australia: Being Black Is Bad For Your Health (?)

According to news.com.au:
Being born black in Australia is as much of a health risk as being a regular smoker or drastically overweight.

Many of us start planning a Friday night pub session, with alcohol, cigarettes and junk food… your lifestyle choices take years off your own life. And here is a sobering thought – Indigenous Australians face a similarly shortened life span even from birth.

What nonsense. Being aboriginal does not automatically make you unhealthy or shorten your lifespan.

The news.com story has an interactive thingy (which I couldn’t get to work) which purports to show how much fatty food and alcohol you would need to consume, and how many cigarettes you would need to smoke, to reduce your lifespan to that of the ‘average’ indigenous person.

They have unwittingly hit the nail on the head. It is not being born black, white or purple that makes you unhealthy. It is your lifestyle choices.

Incidentally, this is another argument against socialised medicine (in addition to inefficiency of service provision and the massive additional cost of the bureaucracy required to administer it). That is, as long as people know that someone else will pay if they get sick, there is less incentive to make positive choices about food, alcohol, smoking, exercise, etc.

Indigenous Australians are not less healthy because of the colour of their skin. Like everyone else, their health depends largely on the choices they make.

To suggest that this must be somone else’s fault, and therefore someone else’s responsibilty to fix, is effectively to claim that indigenous people are not able to make responsible choices about their own lives. That is racism.

It is also to condemn them to continuing, paralysing, victimhood.

At the moment, of course, many do not make responsible choices.

But the answer is not to pat them on the head and say ‘Oh dear, it’s all our fault, let us fix it for you.’

Nor is it to continue to spend vast amounts of money trying to repair damage already caused by those lifestyle choices:
COAG calculates $40,228 is spent on indigenous people per head of population compared with $18,351 for non-indigenous Australians.

That cost is for total services provided, not just health services. No one would mind this expenditure if it was making a difference. But it is not.

Nor is clear what can be done. The welfare management system that applies to vulnerable people in the Northern Territory ensures that up to 50% of welfare payments is quarantined – set aside for use on essentials like food and clothing.

It is possible to get off the scheme by demonstrating you can manage your own affairs responsibly. More than 75% of the people who have been able to do this are white.

Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda says this shows the scheme is racist. Withdrawing or managing people’s benefits is ‘punishment’. What he says is needed is rewards, incentives, for people to send their children to school, to behave in ways that will help them stay healthy.

But for heaven’s sake. If people need to be promised rewards before they will send their children to school or stop using the grocery money on alcohol and gambling, then no government programme, and no amount of government spending, is going to affect health or educational outcomes.

Indigenous Australians taking responsibilty for their own choices will make a difference. Until that happens, nothing else will.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


11 March, 2011

The far from impartial past of the new boss of the BBC's flagship political show

The BBC is facing fresh concerns about political bias after appointing an outspoken left-winger as the editor of Question Time. The corporation yesterday announced that Glasgow-based Nicolai Gentchev has been handed the role after the previous editor quit over the decision to move the show to the Scottish city.

But last night it emerged that the BBC employee had written a series of book reviews and articles for left-wing publications such as Socialist Review and the International Socialism Journalism.

MPs already concerned about left-wing bias at the BBC immediately raised concerns about the appointment, saying it would do nothing to convince them the BBC was addressing the problem.

Book reviews by Mr Gentchev for Socialist Review up until 2003 are still available on the internet and include him writing about class and power in communist Russia and looking at a book about ‘Labour Party Plc’.

He also wrote for the International Socialism Journal in 1995 about welfare dependency. In it, he claimed that even capitalist supporters ‘do not see an end to mass unemployment and low wages’. Mr Gentchev wrote: ‘Short of a new expansion in the system which provides jobs and rising living standards, all they offer is to make living on welfare so unbearable that even more people are forced off benefits and into conditions which were common in the last century before the creation of the welfare state.

‘While we fight to make sure such plans never become a reality, we have to get rid of the system which has brought us to this.’

Last night a BBC spokesman said that Mr Gentchev joined the corporation in 2006, ‘long after the pieces were published’ and it was ‘nonsense to suggest they have any bearing on his impartiality’.

But Conservative MP Philip Davies who sits on the culture, media and sport select committee said: ‘It sounds like an ideal choice for the BBC. ‘To be perfectly honest, we’ve come to probably expect Question Time to have a less than representative audience and to be hostile to the Government and to have a left-leaning panel. It seems to be that we can expect more of the same.’

Mr Gentchev replaces Ed Havard, who quit the show because he did not want to relocate from London. Presenter David Dimbleby, who was upset by Mr Havard’s departure, is yet to sign another contract.


Tender, Loving CAIR

Islamist Bigots Lose One - And They're Outraged

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is furious. For the first time since the birth of Mohammed, it isn’t getting its way in Washington. In the past, whenever our government raised the possibility of doing the least little thing of which CAIR might not wholeheartedly approve, the soft-core jihadis shrieked, “Bigotry!” And presidents, cabinet secretaries, senators, representatives and bureaucrats—even intelligence analysts and military officers--ran for cover (while, no doubt, suggesting that their spouses don head-scarves for a probationary period).

In the face of Islamist terrorism, we’ve been foolish. In the face of Islamist bullying of our government, we’ve been cowards.

Now, just this once, CAIR isn’t being allowed to dictate its sharia-flavored will to our nation’s capital. Representative Peter King (R-NY), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is marching ahead with hearings on “The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community’s Response.”

Sounds like a no-brainer. With our country under relentless attack by an increasing number of home-grown, “self-radicalized” terrorists, the chairman wants to look into the community environments that inspire, nurture or tolerate these mass-murderers. And guess what? Presbyterian suicide bombers and Mormon assault teams aren’t yet imminent dangers.

The chairman’s just doing his job. But the howls from CAIR and other blow-dried Islamists exploiting our tolerance have been so vociferous, exaggerated and downright ludicrous that you’d think we were rounding up Muslims and putting them in camps.

Oh. Wait. Bob Herbert of the New York Times actually did compare Rep. King’s hearings to the incarceration of Japanese-Americans during WWII.

Jeepers! And lots of creepers! I’m afraid I lack the brain-power to make the connection between open committee hearings on a legitimate national-security issue and internment camps. But, then, Mr. Herbert probably has secret information about our fascist, jack-booted, black-helicopter, Tea-Party, gun-toting, Bible-thumping, Torah-wrangling plan to open concentration camps for Muslim children in Wisconsin (where public-employee-union members will teach them about citizenship…).

Besides, CAIR explains that anyone who dares to imply that there is a problem of any sort within even a single American-Muslim community is a bigot. Furthermore, Rep. King’s hearings, which aim to shed light on the code of silence within some Muslim communities in this country, are nothing but an attack on all Muslims and on Islam, according to CAIR’s spokes-thugs. That’s like claiming that hearings on the Mafia are an attack on all Catholics.

Hey, Mo! If Muslim-American communities are doing such a terrific job of policing themselves and tipping the Feds to terrorists in our midst, shouldn’t CAIR welcome hearings that highlight the wonderful state of affairs? Shouldn’t CAIR be proud of all those cooperative imams getting a turn in the spotlight?

If there’s nothing to hide, why try to stop the hearings? It’s not as if Rep. King runs a sharia court. He can’t chop off anybody’s hand. Can’t even sentence Barbara Streisand—or Snooki--to be stoned to death. (Maybe there’s something to be said for sharia law, after all…).

CAIR is just plain spoiled. In both the bumbling Bush and odious Obama administrations, Washington pampered Islamist radicals (a Pentagon lunch date for Anwar al-Awlaqi? Got to build those bridges to the religion of peace…). The meanest, loudest, nastiest, most-spoiled--male--child got every toy it wanted. Now, confronted with the prospect of eating some broccoli, little Omar’s throwing one bitch of a tantrum.

I say, “God bless Congressman King.” I certainly haven’t agreed with him on every issue over the past quarter-century. And yes, I think he’s a bit of a hustler—Peter King has a touch of Don King. But maybe that’s what it takes to take on the insidious dissemblers at CAIR.

And by the way: CAIR isn’t protecting America’s Muslim citizens and legal residents—most of whom are, indeed, upstanding members of their communities. CAIR is, at bottom, a front for Salafism and Wahhabism, Saudi-style. And the goal of the Saudis in every one of the countries in which I’ve seen these fanatics operate is the same (including here in the USA): Prevent Muslims from integrating into their host societies. You can see the same patterns in madrassas from Mombasa, Kenya, through Multan, Pakistan, to Dearborn, Michigan.

The Saudis don’t care about Muslims. They only care about Islam. They will sacrifice tens of millions of Muslims to ignorance, poverty and failure in order to keep the faith pure. The greatest modern-day tragedy of the Arabs is that the backward bigots got the oil wealth.

Which brings me to my real hope: That Rep. King will go on to look deeply and publicly into the financing of organizations such as CAIR and, especially, of Islamist-separatist madrassas in this country. Such an investigation needs to reach beyond the first level of donors and sponsors to examine who’s behind them—and to whom those sources are related—to the fourth and fifth levels. Follow the money. All the way back to the original source. Then publicize it.

I suspect we would find that just about every path of anti-American hatred leads not to Rep. King, but to the King of Saudi Arabia and his gangsters-for-Allah tribe of potbellied perverts.

We’ve been such patsies. Not one synagogue, church or chapel is permitted on “sacred” Saudi soil…but we permit Saudi and Gulf-Arab bigots to fund no end of hate-mosques and hate-schools here. All in the name of tolerance.


Good Christian Women Should Boo

Today's installment of the Decline and Fall of Western Civilization comes from Hollywood -- as if that's a surprise. Tinseltown is demeaning Christianity again -- as if that's a surprise, too. But this time, it's not some gutter-mouthed punk. This time, it's a network doing it, formally. ABC has approved a pilot with the title "Good Christian Bitches." Is this what Christian women -- especially the good ones -- deserve?

The first credit for this decision to offer offensive titles actually goes to CBS, which began this stupid trend with its awful sitcom "(Bleep) My Dad Says." Now one of Discovery's cable channels has a show titled "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?" It chronicles women who have married vicious criminals.

But Disney-owned ABC (oh, the irony) has not one, but two B-word pilots in its outhouse of a production department. They're also considering a show titled "Don't Trust the Bitch in Apartment 23."

Mickey Mouse should have his hands over his ears.

This titling trend matches Tinseltown's concerted effort to add profanity "seasoning" to spice nearly every script on network TV shows. On prime-time broadcast TV, use of the B-word alone increased from 431 instances in 1998 to 1,277 in 2007.

If this show wasn't marketed directly at a female audience, the same ones who watch those witch-versus-witch reality shows like the "Real Housewives" shows on Bravo, the B-word would sound more sexist and demeaning. So it's OK to say it because it's become a word women can call each other. Now, if it's used by an angry male, it's a hanging crime. We're talking about something verging on domestic violence.

Might ABC bow to any sense of decency and change the titles before it picks these shows up for the fall? Fugetaboutit. "GCB" is based on a novel by Kim Gatlin, who unsurprisingly stole her own concept from ABC. A divorced mother of two returns to her hometown in the Dallas suburbs, and as Gatlin describes it, "In an Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Desperate Housewives on steroids style, her old friends are already out to destroy her reputation."

So that makes them good Christian bitches.

If this were a CBS pilot, they could just call it "Desperate Housewives: Dallas." (That seems to work for "CSI" and "NCIS.") Gatlin claims the title isn't mocking God -- that it just refers to people who fall more than a little short of good Christian behavior. But she is so fond of the scandalous sound of her sleazy title that her website (using those same words) sells a pile of merchandise with the initials "GCB" and a cross on it, from shirts, caps and tote bags all the way down to overpriced "party packs" of peppermint gum and Styrofoam cups.

Playing on religion -- and these churchgoing female hypocrites -- is all part of the sale. Gatlin also promotes the book this way: "In the whirling midst of salacious gossip, Botox, and fraud, Amanda turns to those who love her and the faith she's always known. Will the (GCBs) get the best of her, or will everyone see that these GCBs are as counterfeit as their travel jewelry?" Then, in big bold letters, Gatlin's slogan says it all: "For Heaven's sake, don't let God get in the way of a good story!"

No one should doubt that it's this author and the "Desperate" TV network who win the gold medal for abusing a religion.

ABC feels free to pick on Christianity -- after all, what faith would your fictional churchgoing hypocrites stereotypically follow in Dallas? No one in Hollywood would consider swapping the "Christian" in the title for "Muslim" -- that would be oafishly cruel, discriminatory and hate-filled, not to mention potentially life-threatening.

How about moving the setting to Beverly Hills and calling it "Good Jewish Bitches"?

Regardless of trashy titles, real faith-filled people don't relish and wallow in the sins and hypocrisies of others. Gatlin's premise cashes in on the gossipy failures of the people in the pews, but for her and her TV partners, this is all a gold mine to exploit. They don't despair about it. They revel in it, like kids in a candy store.

If ABC picks up this pilot, it's very likely that the sour message that will be resonate is that EVERYONE who goes to church, including priests and ministers, can be exposed as a fraud and a counterfeit. That is consistent with Hollywood's long-standing hostility to the faith of its own audience.


These judges want to destroy Britain's core moral values. We simply can't let them succeed

By Melanie Phillips

One of the great bulwarks of a democracy is an independent judiciary, which acts as the ultimate defender of liberty because the judges are free from political control. In Britain and Europe, however, something very alarming has taken place. The judges are increasingly becoming a positive threat to liberty because they have usurped the political process.

As a result, they are straying — no, actually marching with banners flying and drums beating — into territory which should lie well beyond their remit.

In recent days, there have been two such outrageous court rulings. The European Court of Justice, the judicial arm of the European Union, ruled that insurance companies may no longer differentiate between men and women when calculating the rates offered on annuities which are used to convert pension pots into an annual income.

Until now, men have received higher rates because their average life span is shorter than that of women. But because the ruling will force firms to treat both sexes equally, men stand to lose hundreds of pounds of retirement income per year.

The reasoning, however, is utterly specious. The judges have interpreted anti-discrimination law in the most bone-headed way by saying that any gender difference in these rates is discriminatory.

But there is a very good reason for this difference, in that women live longer than men. Discrimination surely occurs only when people in the same circumstances are treated differently. Which is patently not the case with pensions, where the different rates aim to ensure men don’t lose out.

The ruling will therefore impose unfairness upon the pension system. And to put the tin lid on it, this is being forced upon us by a foreign court.

The second case was in many ways very much worse. This was a ruling handed down in the High Court, which effectively upheld the ban on a black Christian couple, Eunice and Owen Johns, from fostering children because they refused to undertake to tell a child that homosexuality was acceptable.

In just about every respect the Johns are ideal foster parents — decent, solid, loving and with years of experience. Given the chronic shortage of foster parents and the large number of black children in care, one might have thought the Johns would be as valuable as gold dust.

Yet Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson justified the ban by ruling that the couple’s attitude to homosexuality was a legitimate reason to withhold official approval from them. Such people are therefore effectively being punished for having the wrong attitudes. This is the kind of behaviour associated with totalitarian societies, not liberal Britain.

More jaw-dropping still, the children whose ‘right’ to be told that homosexuality is acceptable is supposedly infringed by the Johns’ Christian beliefs would all be under ten years of age.

So the Johns are being punished for wanting to protect children from inappropriate talk which would surely be an abuse of their childhood.

And despite the judges’ insistence that they are not taking an anti-Christian position, that is precisely what their ruling does. For it effectively holds that traditional Christian beliefs harm children.

Indeed, the judges went much further and said there was no place in law for Christian beliefs, since ‘the laws and usages of the realm do not include Christianity’.

But Britain has an established Church, the monarch undertakes to be ‘Defender of the faith’, the country’s literature, history, institutions and attitudes are steeped in Christianity, and most people still identify themselves as Christian.

In short, the judges’ assertion is simply idiotic. But these judges are not idiots; they are clever men. Their assertion must be seen instead as an attempt — at some level at least in their minds — to exclude Christianity from the public sphere.

For although they claim that they seek to uphold the equal rights of all creeds in a diverse society, they are actually denying the rights of Christians — and, by implication, pious Muslims and Jews, too — to live in accordance with one of the most fundamental doctrines of their faith.

In this, they were explicitly echoing last year’s controversial ruling by Lord Justice Laws against a Christian registrar who refused to officiate at civil partnership ceremonies.

In that ruling, the judge said it was wrong for the law to give preference to the Judeo-Christian tradition — which merely amounted to ‘subjective opinion’.

Well, so much for the Bible, then. And as if the opinion of these judges was anything other than wholly subjective! Their key error is to assume that secular — or atheistic — attitudes form a neutral middle ground, whereas traditional Christian beliefs amount to a kind of fringe sect.

But secularism is not neutral. It is directly and aggressively hostile to the Christian and Biblical morality which underpins western civilisation.

The judges think it is wise and humane to assert that there is no hierarchy of values, and that all creeds are equal. But this is both absurd and nihilistic. Some values will always trump others. The only question is which ones will do so. And what these judges are doing is de-coupling the laws of this country from the western civilisation which underpins it.

Because ‘human rights’ and anti- discrimination laws claim to be universal, they inevitably serve as a secular weapon against Christian or other particular religious beliefs.

Since different rights compete with each other, judges are inescapably required to arbitrate between them. But this means that — on issues which are among the most divisive in our society — the judges are given the power effectively to dictate the rules of moral behaviour on the basis of nothing more than their own prejudices.

Thus in the Johns’ case, they ruled that the equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence over religious rights. But on what authority do they issue such a momentous cultural pronouncement? Only their own secular prejudices.

In similar vein, the judges of the European Court of Justice are imposing the deeply oppressive and unjust ideology of equality of outcomes.

This court has long been infamous for having a highly politicised view of its role, promoting a federal state by extending the reach of the EU deep into the internal affairs of member nations.

But it must be acknowledged that the only reason judges in Britain and Europe have got too big for their wigs in this way is because politicians have enabled them to do so.

It was the government which took Britain into the EU, thus placing us under the increasingly oppressive and anti- democratic meddling of the European Court of Justice. And it was successive governments which signed us up to the European Convention on Human Rights and then saddled us with the ruinous Human Rights Act.

The fact that the judges are playing politics like this can only be undone by the political class. So come on, Mr Cameron — stop equivocating.

Take all this head on — the destruction of this country’s core moral values, the ‘human rights’ inquisition and the loss of democratic control to both the EU and the British judiciary — and you will walk on water ever after.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


10 March, 2011

Muslim ego kills

A hit-and-run driver who mowed down and killed a church-going grandmother while doing 70mph in a 30 zone has been jailed for nine years. Salim Chand, 27, who had already been banned from driving, knocked over Freda Holt, 70, in a supercar as she stepped out into the narrow residential road outside her home.

Mrs Holt's husband Ray, 72, was seconds away from the scene and saw his wife's body in the road in Blackburn, Lancashire.

The driver was in a Mercedes C63 AMG he hired as an 'item of boast' for a wedding, the court heard. Instead of stopping after the crash, Chand sped off and phoned the rental company and reported a 'minor bump' from a mile down the road. Witnesses claimed they had seen Chand speeding at up to 100mph in the moments leading up to the crash.

The judge at Preston Crown Court said Mrs Holt 'didn't stand a chance' as he jailed the defendant who had admitted causing death by dangerous driving, perverting the course of justice and driving without a licence.

Prosecutor Paul Brookwell said there were no brake marks found on the road after he hit the retired yoga teacher and churchgoer. He later clipped a parked car further up the 30mph road.

Chand was on bail when he knocked over Mrs Holt as she stepped into the road last November after being caught dealing £500 of cannabis from a car in Blackburn. He also had a string of driving convictions and breaches of court orders.

Alan Wolstenholme, defending, said his client's remorse remorse was 'genuine' and not 'self-pity' adding his character was 'not all dark'.

But as he jailed him, Judge Anthony Russell QC said: 'Your conduct in this case shows otherwise. 'Following on from what was particularly bad driving at high speed which attracted the attention of onlookers so bad was it, you ploughed into Freda Holt. She didn't have a chance.'

The defendant was also banned from driving for ten years.


Muslim fined for burning Remembrance Day poppy

But the fine he was given was a joke. By contrast, a Holocaust denier got four years in jail

A MUSLIM extremist who burned replica poppies - a symbol of remembrance in Britain - on Armistice Day has been fined after being found guilty of a public order offence.

Emdadur Choudhury, 26, a member of Muslims Against Crusades (MAC), was found guilty of a "calculated and deliberate" insult to the war dead and those who honour their sacrifice.

District judge Howard Riddle fined him STG50 ($80) and a STG15 ($24) victim surcharge at the top-security Woolwich Crown Court in south-east London.

On November 11 last year, MAC members chanted "British soldiers burn in hell" before an incident near the Royal Albert Hall concert venue in west London, the trial heard.

"The two-minute chanting, when others were observing a silence, followed by a burning of the symbol of remembrance was a calculated and deliberate insult to the dead and those who mourn or remember them," Riddle said.

In the November remembrance season, many Britons wear a paper red poppy in their lapels, symbolising the poppies which grew on French and Belgian battlefields during World War I.


Islam and science: cowed Muslim physicist cancels lecture on evolution

According to yesterday’s Independent, Dr. Usama Hasan, an imam who also happens to be a physicist at Middlesex University and a fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, was forced to cancel a lecture on “Islam and the theory of evolution” because of death threats. The lecture was to be held at Masjid al-Tawhid, a mosque in east London. Sadly, he not only canceled the talk, but apologized for his heresy:

But according to his sister, police advised him not to attend after becoming concerned for his safety. Instead his father, Suhaib, head of the mosque’s committee of trustees, posted a notice on his behalf expressing regret over his comments. “I seek Allah’s forgiveness for my mistakes and apologise for any offence caused,” the statement read.

One hopes that he construed his “mistake” as giving a lecture where he might have been killed, not as talking favorably about evolution. Hasan had given a pro-evolution lecture at the mosque in January, but was interrupted by leaflet-bearing fanatics who shouted him down (was there “forced laughter”?) and threatened his life.

Unfortunately, Hasan’s apology—which I’d normally dismiss as intellectual cowardice, but can perhaps be understood if he feared for his life—was not enough. The mosque’s committee of trustees fired him as imam and vice-chairman of the mosque (which the Independent describes as running one of Britain’s largest sharia courts), and issued a statement characterizing Hasan’s views as a “source of antagonism in the Muslim community”.

This kind of thing is only going to increase as Britain and other countries of western Europe become more Islamicized.


British School puts up warning sign to tell THIEVES they could be injured if they steal copper from the roof

If a thief injures himself during the course of a crime, most would consider it a dose of poetic justice. But at Whitmore Junior School, commonsense has been turned on its head.

Teachers have been forced to erect signs warning crooks its roof is dangerous in case they hurt themselves while up to no good...and then lodge compensation claims.

The situation is even more absurd because the criminals are the reason the roof is insecure in the first place as they have been stripping off the valuable copper that covers it.

Parents at the school, in Basildon, Essex, attacked the bizarre health and safety ruling. One, who asked not to be named, said: ‘Just when you think the world cannot get any more crazy, something like this happens. The lunatics have taken over the asylum. ‘We should celebrate if one of this gang falls through the roof and breaks a leg, not be worrying about having to pay them compensation.’

Another, who has an eight-year-old son at the school, added: ‘It’s common sense to know that walking on a roof is dangerous. If someone chooses to do it, that’s their look-out.’

The copper thieves struck at the school four times last week, making off with huge sections worth thousands of pounds and leaving the school with a huge repair bill. Until contractors have completed the work, it has been advised to put up the signs which are printed on laminated A4 sheets and warn: ‘This roof is unsafe – do not climb.’

Iris Cerny, executive head at the mixed community school, which has around 200 pupils aged seven to 11, said: ‘Should anyone go on to our roof in the meantime and hurt themselves, even as a result of taking the rest of our copper, we are going to be liable for injury. So we have had to put notices up.’

An Essex County Council spokesman said any property where work is being carried out needs to have the ‘correct signage in place’. He added: ‘This ensures that everyone is aware of any possible danger and the council would not be liable for injury caused by not adhering to these signs.’

Other schools in the area have been targeted, including Willows Primary School, which had to close for the day on Tuesday after £25,000 of copper was stolen from its roof.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


9 March, 2011

When political correctness gets really dangerous

Black applicants must be hired as firemen regardless of their fitness for the job

This should be a huge scandal. Even a decade past 9/11, few groups in the country enjoy the respect that the Fire Department of New York does. See what the Obama DoJ is doing to the FDNY, even AFTER Ricci v. DeStefano should have put this sort of thing off-limits. Heavily edited, this still gives the flavor of it:
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.'s obsession with racial grievance-mongering could get Americans burnt to a crisp in their own homes. That's because his Justice Department is trying to force the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) to hire flunkies who got 70 percent wrong on a basic, fire-related multiple-choice, open-book test.

The exam was used to screen applicants to the fire academy. More than 90 percent of black and Hispanic test-takers passed, which isn't enough for liberals addicted to affirmative action....

On Feb. 28, Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division, submitted a proposed order for damages for rejected applicants who scored 25 or higher on the 85-question exams. New York's taxpayers would be forced to pay compensation to the flunkies to make up for years of seniority supposedly lost when the city chose not to hire them. Minority rejects also would receive seniority over firemen who had been working all the while.

Here's a good quote that sums it up nicely: "[This order] would serve well as comic relief if the stakes weren't so high, and is a good example to support the contention that the Plaintiffs are apparently not concerned with the safety of NYC residents, visitors or firefighters," wrote deputy fire chief Paul Mannix, president of Merit Matters, an advocacy group opposed to weakening entrance exams.

The earlier news on this was almost as disturbing:
The lead Justice Department attorney in the FDNY case is Loretta King, who ordered the dismissal of most voter-intimidation charges against Black Panthers in Philadelphia and who is hip-deep in other race-based legal controversies.

On Sept. 30, she wrote a memo to Judge Garaufis pitching four proposals to require "representative" or "proportional" quotas. Ms. King glosses over the professional challenges of firefighting to focus on whether minorities feel "stigmatized" or if black firefighters could further their "sense of fairness in their place of employment" if surrounded by more workers of their own race.

Firemen should be hired for ability, not racial bean-counting. The judge's fiat, wrote Manhattan Institute Fellow Heather MacDonald in the City Journal, "was not just groundless, it was recklessly inflammatory." The heroic FDNY doesn't deserve to have its operations so inflamed.

Fire departments are there for our safety. A job at a fire department is a responsibility for brave and noble people, not a right for slackers. This abomination by the DoJ and Judge Garaufis must be stopped.


The muzzling of Mrs. Fred

Must not give out the facts about Muslims

For most of the last decade, my husband, Fred Grandy, has earned his living as a news/talk morning radio host in Washington, D.C. For most of the last year, he has hosted The Grandy Group, a morning drive-time show covering politics, foreign policy, and pop culture, along with the usual regional and local stories that make up any given day’s news. And like most morning shows either on radio or TV, The Grandy Group has most often been a comfortable blend of stories that were frequently serious but never too solemn, occasionally light-hearted but hopefully never light-headed — just the right mix of authority and affability.

Then I joined the show. Under the pseudonym of Mrs. Fred, I began harmlessly enough. I would show up every Friday at 8 a.m. and talk family and domestic stuff: raising a daughter in college, road rage in the Giant Foods parking lot. But about the time we as a nation began to learn and then wonder about the motives behind the proposed Islamic Center next to Ground Zero in Lower Manhattan, I started wanting more information. So I examined the actions and intentions of clerics such as Imam Feisal Rauf, the principal pitchman for Cordoba House. I studied organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America, the North American Islamic Trust, and CAIR. I looked into the 2008 Holy Land Foundation trial that provided indisputable documentation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s long-term strategy to infiltrate and subvert our educational, legal, and political systems in the United States. I studied the FBI reports that linked CAIR to Hamas, a designated terrorist organization, and found video footage of fundraising activities that began at a mosque in Florida and concluded with bags of cash being handed over to jihadists in Gaza. And I questioned why individuals like Abdulrahman Alamoudi, currently doing a twenty-year prison hitch for terrorist activities, had managed to become a special advisor to President Bill Clinton and a regular guest on Capitol Hill.

So Mrs. Fred Friday began to change. Now, instead of railing against cyclists on Old Georgetown Road, Fred and I were slowly connecting the dots between the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, that body of 57 Islamic states (Palestinian Authority included) that has since 1993 openly claimed in the UN that human rights policy must be subservient to Sharia law.

For our efforts, Fred and I were sometimes called racists and Islamophobes, but our audience loved our shows. Calls and emails would pour in during and after these reports wanting to learn more about the slow but steady progress of civilization jihad. Why wasn’t Nidal Hassan stopped before he murdered fourteen people at Fort Hood? Why is he still not referred to as an Islamic extremist in the official DOD report on the shootings?

The demand for more information eventually culminated two weeks ago in a large public forum on Capitol Hill co-hosted by the radio station, the Heritage Foundation, The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and the Westminster Institute. Fred fielded a panel of experts on domestic terrorism who packed the house and left the audience wanting more.

Nevertheless, just a few days after the event, Fred was told to tone down the jihadist talk and make sure I did the same. I didn’t. In my February 25th report on how Christians had been arrested in Dearborn, Michigan, for simply talking about their religion to Muslims, I said something that outraged our management and was dismissed.

I’m not sure exactly what I said that they objected to, but if I had to guess, I’d guess it was how I concluded the show: “If I don’t return next Friday to continue this discussion, you’ll know that CAIR has successfully put pressure on WMAL — and the radical Muslims have won.”

Needless to say, my dismissal bothered me a tad. For a long time Fred and I have both believed the struggle against Islamic extremism is a secret war most Americans don’t even know we are fighting — and losing. We need more intelligence, not less.

When management disagreed, Fred felt his microphone had also been muzzled and he resigned. That bothered me too. Now he’ll be around the house all day.

But you know what really bothered me? It was waking up not 24 hours after our broadcast careers abruptly ended to learn two American soldiers on their way to Afghanistan had been shot dead at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, by some 21-year-old kid from Kosovo shouting “Allahu Akhbar” — the same thing Major Hassan shouted.

The president has called for a full investigation of the shooting, but in our multicultural universe that most likely means NOT going into the mosques, madrassas, and Islamic centers where jihad is openly preached and where this kid surely received his motivation if not his training. To do that would be politically incorrect.

Don’t say we didn’t warn you.


Sexism is dead, say most British WOMEN

It may come as a surprise to those who feel they’ve hit the glass ceiling or heard one too many blonde jokes. Most women do not believe that Britain is a sexist place, a poll has revealed.

Fewer than four in ten say they have experienced derogatory remarks or behaviour because of their gender.

And the majority of men and women think both sexes are equally capable of handling challenging and traditionally male tasks, such as making a safe emergency landing in an aeroplane.

The results of the survey, carried out for a group of charities and pressure groups, suggest that most women are far more concerned with solving day-to-day practical problems in their lives than fighting a battle for equality.

Nearly two-thirds of women say their biggest concern is balancing work and family life. Only one in 20 feels the greatest problem facing them is sexism at work – though three times as many men believe this is women’s major challenge.

Only one in five women describes herself as a feminist – and three out of four say they definitely would not use the label.

The poll was carried out to mark today’s International Women’s Day by a group including poverty campaign organisation ActionAid, domestic violence campaigners Women’s Aid, feminist pressure group the Fawcett Society, and political freedom campaigners Amnesty International.

It followed figures published to mark the same occasion by the Government’s Office for National Statistics, which showed that men and women now have an equal chance of making it to the top ranks of managers and officials in business and the public sector.

But Amnesty International’s UK director Kate Allen said the findings still showed a ‘worrying’ gap between men and women. She added: ‘Unless attempts are made to change such attitudes in every section of society, some women will always be treated as second-class citizens. ‘Amnesty International has found from its work that it is these negative views which in the most extreme instances can lead to abusive behaviour towards women and a basic denial of women’s rights.’ [What's this got to do with Amnesty? More proof that Amnesty now is just a far-Left outfit]

The poll of 1,028 participants, carried out by Ipsos Mori, found that 47 per cent of women did not believe men and women are treated equally in Britain. However, 34 per cent said treatment is equal.

Some 38 per cent of women said they had personally experienced ‘sexist remarks or sexist behaviour’, including physical contact. The figure rose to 60 per cent among women under 30. However, 15 per cent of men said they had also been on the receiving end of sexist behaviour.

Only 6 per cent of women said the greatest challenge facing women in Britain was sexism at work.


The Uses of Antisemitism

Paul Greenberg

It was the always observant Mary McCarthy who observed that antisemitism is the one form of intellectuality that appealed to stupid people. But she may have overlooked its appeal to ambitious politicians, too. They're always on the lookout for some mania they can use for their own purposes. Whether to seize power at the beginning of their rise or to hold onto it at the end. Or anytime in between.

Think of the way Southern demagogues back in the bad old days knew that, whenever they needed a way to stir folks up, they could always rely on the Race Issue.

How far and wide today's tide revolutionary tide may sweep in the Islamic world isn't yet clear, but the most predictable development is that the Jews will be blamed for it.

In a pinch, America will serve nicely as a whipping boy, too. The best strategy is to blame both. Just listen to some of the statements out of Yemen, where an autocrat struggling to hold on against his subjects' growing discontent is much in need of a scapegoat, or two, to distract his people. Addressing gullible students in Sana'a, that country's embattled ruler -- one Ali Abdullah Saleh -- shared a great discovery he'd made:

"I am going to reveal a secret. There is an operations room in Tel Aviv with the aim of destabilizing the Arab world. The operations room is in Tel Aviv and run by the White House."

Call it a twofer. It turns out that both the Americans and the Jews are responsible for all his troubles. In that little room in Tel Aviv, insidious plotters are orchestrating all the unrest in the Arab world. That's where those rising up against their betters from Tunisia to Saudi Arabia "are sitting day and night with the American ambassador...." They "hand him reports and he gives them instructions." Now we know.

It sounds like an Arab version of that old forgery, the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion," a staple of European antisemitism that Hosni Mubarak's propaganda machine serialized on Egyptian television back in the day, when his hold on power seemed permanent.

Antisemitism remains the last resort of Arab dictators desperate to survive, as it was their first resort on their way up. It's a trajectory as old as Herr Hitler's rise -- and fall -- in Germany. Once the most advanced of nations. It soon enough became the most depraved. East or West, the fatal virus is the same.

But antisemitism is no longer the rage it once was in France, where the Nazis set up a puppet regime in Vichy. And in occupied France, the French obliged their occupiers by rounding up their Jews for what was politely called Resettlement in the East.

But the times (and fashions) have a-changed. Last week the colorful, not to say bizarre, fashion designer John Galliano was dropped by Dior just three days before his fall-winter collection for 2011-12 was due to be unveiled at the Paris fashion show. It seems he'd made some unseemly remarks about Jews during a late-night blow-up at a trendy Paris bar. Naturally, his performance was captured on video. Isn't everything nowadays? The more things change, the more they're videotaped.

Who knows, M. Galliano may be able to find a new career in Iran designing the latest in burqas. But even in Teheran, cries for democracy are heard again. And again the leaders of the opposition are jailed and demonstrators beaten. It's a hard thing to extinguish, the hope of freedom. Anywhere.

The crumbling old pillars of tyranny are shaking throughout the Middle East. Which is when scapegoats are most in demand, and the Jews are the traditional choice. But there may come a time when even Jew-baiting won't work any more.

What country will be the next to be roiled by revolution? It's a question that must keep various Middle Eastern potentates awake at night. Now it's they who wait for the knock on the door. Or for it to be kicked in.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


8 March, 2011

I'll set business free vows British PM in blast at civil service

David Cameron launched an extraordinary attack on his own civil servants last night for loading costs on to business, as he set out the ‘moral’ case for enterprise.

The Prime Minister expressed intense frustration with the failure of officials to understand that firms buckling under the weight of Labour’s red tape ‘frankly cannot take it any more’. ‘If I have to pull these people into my office in No 10 to argue this out myself and get them off the backs of business, then, believe me, I’ll do it,’ he said.

His remarks, in a speech to the Conservatives’ spring conference in Cardiff, appeared to be a deliberate echo of Tony Blair’s famous complaint about the ‘scars on my back’ in July 1999. The then prime minister attacked the ‘forces of conservatism’ for holding back Labour’s public sector reform agenda.

Mr Cameron said his was an ‘enterprise government’ and promised the most ‘pro-growth Budget for a generation’ this month, highlighting a pledge to cut corporation tax from 28 to 24 per cent.

He echoed Margaret Thatcher’s pitch as the champion of the hard-working small-business owner, telling the Tory faithful: ‘At its beating heart this is still a party of start-ups, go-getters, risk-takers’.

The Conservatives had always been a ‘party of builders and businesswomen, electricians and engineers, roofers and retailers’, he said. But he conceded there was ‘so much more still to do’ to boost small and medium-sized firms, attacking what he called the ‘enemies of enterprise’ who were standing in the way.

Mr Cameron condemned ‘bureaucrats in government departments who concoct those ridiculous rules and regulations that make life impossible for small firms’. He also attacked the ‘town hall officials who take forever to make those planning decisions that can be make or break for a business, and the investment and jobs that go with it’, and the ‘public sector procurement managers who think that the answer to everything is a big contract with a big business and who shut out millions of Britain’s small and medium-sized companies’.

Mr Cameron insisted that setting up and creating successful businesses was ‘about more than money’. The Tories, he said, understand that ‘enterprise is not just an economic good, it’s a social good’. ‘It’s about morals, too,’ he declared. He hailed practical men and women who build a business and see it grow ‘not just for the money, not for the glory but for the simple reward and deep satisfaction of seeing your efforts pay off’.

‘What drives us is getting things done, and what drives us mad is the bureaucracy, the forms, the nonsense getting in the way,’ he added.

With no money left by Labour in the Treasury coffers, Mr Cameron said the ‘only strategy’ for growth was to back entrepreneurs.

Chancellor George Osborne’s March 23 Budget will include plans for at least ten new enterprise zones, with tax breaks and relaxed planning laws. Steps are also expected to try to increase trade with economies such as India and China, cut red tape and open up public sector contracts to small firms.

The Prime Minister said he was going to ‘watch banks like a hawk’ to make sure they delivered on a pledge to boost lending to small businesses by £10billion.

And, as the Tories gear up for local and regional elections in May, Mr Cameron omitted the praise for his Liberal Democrat coalition partners that has become standard in his high-profile speeches.


Separation of church and State forgotten when it suits Leftists

by Jeff Jacoby

Sojourners is a liberal Christian group whose mission is "to articulate the biblical call to social justice, inspiring hope and building a movement to transform individuals, communities, the church, and the world." It is based in Washington, DC, and engages regularly in the capital's political battles.

Religious groups with a political agenda are as American as the First Amendment, and Sojourners has not been shy about weighing in on the current congressional fight over federal spending. On its website, in e-mails sent to members of Congress, and most recently in a full-page ad in the political newspaper Politico, Sojourners has been asking: "What Would Jesus Cut?"

The ad, signed by Sojourners' president, Jim Wallis, and other leaders of the Christian left, argues that "a budget is a moral document" and the moral test of any nation is how it treats the poor and vulnerable. It acknowledges that government debt is a serious problem, but implores lawmakers not to balance the budget by cutting the "sound investments that a just nation must protect." Among the "investments" Sojourners mentions are school lunch programs, tax credits for the working poor, and international aid for fighting pandemics.

As a believing Jew and a conservative, I don't share the religious outlook or political priorities of Wallis and his co-signers. But you don't have to be Christian or liberal to believe that in God's eyes, a society is judged above all by its concern for the unfortunate. Jesus' teaching in Matthew 25 -- "For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me. . . . Whatever you did for one of these least . . . you did for me" -- echoes what Isaiah and other Hebrew prophets preached centuries earlier: "Learn to do well: seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow."

But does it really follow from these timeless injunctions that God expects legislators never to eliminate any poverty program or social-welfare line item, or even to roll such spending back to where it stood a few years ago?

Wallis fumed in an interview that Congress should be cutting defense spending instead of health or nutrition programs. "House Republicans want to beat our ploughshares into more swords," he said. "These priorities that they're offering are not just wrong or unfair, they're unbiblical." Unbiblical! Does Wallis really believe that no one advocating budget cuts he opposes can have serious ethical grounds for doing do? It must be wonderful to be so certain that what Wallis wants is precisely what God wants. Not all of us are as confident that our religious faith translates as readily into a detailed partisan agenda.

A more fundamental problem with the "What Would Jesus Cut?" campaign is its planted axiom that Jesus would want Congress to do anything at all. Yes, we are emphatically commanded by Scripture to help the poor, to comfort the afflicted, and to love the stranger. But those obligations are personal, not political. It requires a considerable leap of both faith and logic to read the Bible as mandating elaborate government assistance programs, to be funded by a vast apparatus of compulsory taxation. I admit that I am no New Testament scholar, but I cannot recall Jesus ever saying that the way to enter Heaven is to dole out money extracted from your neighbors' pockets.

In a new book (Jesus: A Biography from a Believer), the historian Paul Johnson points out that Jesus of Nazareth "took no steps to disturb the political status quo" and "was not concerned with political arrangements." His purpose "was not to found a new regime but to portray a new way of life." He was speaking to individuals, not to Congress. The Sermon on the Mount was meant as ethical instruction, not as a blueprint for federal budgeteers.

To be a lawmaker in a democracy is to choose, and the choice is often between alternatives for which reasonable arguments can be made both ways. For religious believers, Judeo-Christian principles may sometimes offer guidance on difficult issues of public policy. But God is not Republican or Democrat, socialist or libertarian. Above the Speaker's rostrum in the House of Representatives are engraved the words "In God We Trust." But He doesn't tell congressmen how to vote. And Jesus won't tell them what to cut.


Horrors! British public sector workers could be forced to stay on until 65 or have their pensions cut

Poor babies!

Millions of public sector workers will be forced to work until they are 65 and pay thousands more into their pensions under Coalition plans. In a report for the Government to be unveiled on Thursday, former Labour work and pensions secretary Lord Hutton is expected to conclude that a pension age of 60 for state employees is unsustainable. He will recommend bringing ‘gold-plated’ public sector pension schemes into line with the private sector, where most people retire at 65.

It is part of a broader shake-up of state employees’ retirement funds, which have created a £1trillion black hole in public finances. Whitehall sources also expect Lord Hutton to propose a large increase in pension contributions – around 3 per cent more of annual salary. That will be an effective pay cut of thousands of pounds for many public sector staff.

Teachers, NHS staff, local government workers and other state employees are expected to be switched away from final salary schemes into less generous ones based on career-average earnings.

Measures are expected to shield lower-paid staff from the pain of the reforms, given the Coalition’s pledge not to balance the books on the backs of the worst-off. But the reforms will still plunge the Government into a major battle with militant public sector unions.

The reforms will not result in workers losing benefits they have accrued. But it is expected that from a future date, probably 2014, all future pension entitlements could not be claimed until they reach 65. As a result, a public sector worker aged 40 with 20 years’ service would get only half the pension they expected. Someone with 30 years’ experience would get three-quarters; someone with ten years would get a quarter. They would have to wait until 65 before claiming their full pension.

The newly created Office of Budget Responsibility estimates that without reform the cost of paying public sector retirees would more than double, to £9.4billion a year, by 2015.

Pensions expert John Wright, of Hymans Robertson, said: ‘The Government would like to raise the retirement age of public sector pension schemes from 60 to 65 straight away, but attacking the accrued rights of workers is legally very difficult. ‘Ensuring benefits paid after, say, 2014 are not paid until later will save the taxpayer billions in the long term, but there will probably be some tapering to soften the blow to older workers.’

Mark Serwotka, of the Public and Commercial Services union, said: ‘This Government seems determined to levy a tax on our members by making them work longer and pay more for their pensions. ‘We will oppose any attempts to make our members pay for a crisis that even [Bank of England governor] Mervyn King agrees was caused by greedy bankers.’


EU court ruling could force women to pay more for insurance

Insurers shouldn’t be allowed to take gender into consideration when calculating premiums, the European Union’s highest court said in a ruling that is likely to increase the price of insurance for women.

The present system “works against the achievement of the objective of equal treatment” for men and women and should end by the end of next year, the EU Court of Justice, the 27-nation region’s top court, ruled today.

Auto insurance premiums for female drivers could rise as much as 50 percent as a result of the ruling, according to KPMG LLP. It will also result in insurers changing the way they market policies and assess risks to ensure they get “only the better performing female business,” the accounting and consulting firm said.

The ruling “flies in the face of common sense” and is “completely disadvantageous to the very people it was intended to protect,” said Adrian Brown, chief executive of London-based RSA Insurance Group Plc, the U.K.’s biggest non-life insurer by market value. “Consumers are going to have to pay the price for an illogical change in the law.”

Decisions by the Luxembourg-based tribunal are binding and can’t be appealed. An existing EU equality law, introduced in 2004, allows the region’s countries to differentiate between men and women when calculating insurance premiums if data shows “sex is a determining factor in the assessment of risk.”

Michaela Koller, director general of the European insurance and reinsurance federation, CEA, said today’s ruling was “bad news.”

“Europe-wide the effect on the price and benefits and on the choice of insurance products for consumers could be significant,” she said. Insurers “will now face significant additional costs in reassessing data, transforming premiums and changing terms and conditions and marketing materials.”

“Young female drivers pay less for motor insurance because they are less likely to have accidents and therefore women make fewer claims than men,” the Association of British Insurers said in a statement. “For life insurance, women on average pay less to reflect their longer life expectancy, while pension income for males is often higher because men typically have fewer years in retirement.”

Sheilas’ Wheels, owned by privately held Esure Insurance Ltd., and Diamond, owned by Admiral Group Plc, are the U.K.’s two biggest women-focused car insurers. Sheila’s Wheels, which also offers handbag insurance, will comply with the ruling while continuing to target women drivers, spokesman Adrian Webb said. “Sheilas’ Wheels has always insured men but most males simply aren’t attracted to our brand and we don’t see this changing,” said Webb.

“It’s as wrong to treat the same things differently as it is wrong to treat different things the same way,” said Markus Riess, the head of the German unit of Allianz SE, Europe’s biggest insurer, at a conference in Munich today. “It’s to be expected this will make insurance more expensive.”

The European Commission, the EU’s executive agency, said it was “an important moment for gender equality” in the region.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


7 March, 2011

Australia: Leftist hypocrite says people should respect their leaders

I am sure Hitler and Stalin felt the same. And this government is even less legitimate than Hitler's. Hitler's government was a coalition of nationalist parties. The present Australian governing coalition is an unholy alliance of Leftists, Greens and turncoat conservatives.

Furthermore it takes two to tango and respect has to be earned. If Leftists want respect from conservatives they should halt their abuse of conservatives. See here for some examples of the hate and abuse that the Left have recently hurled at conservatives.

The author of the excerpt below is Phillip Coorey, a reliably Leftist writer for a reliably leftist rag

When the boatload of asylum seekers smashed into rocks off Christmas Island just before Christmas, certain radio shock jocks went into a lather.

Julie Bishop was acting opposition leader and found herself being interviewed by Andrew Bolt and Steve Price on Melbourne's MTR.

Bolt, the conservative columnist who expends a great amount of energy lecturing members of the Canberra press gallery on how to do their jobs, has a particular distaste for Labor's asylum seeker policy. As is the norm for such "interviews", he tended to make statements and seek agreement.

"Look, Julie," he said, "this is a tragedy that is a direct consequence of the government policies that led to a resumption of the boat people trade. They were warned, the opposition warned them. I think today, now that the rescue operation is over, today is the time we start to hold people accountable. Would you agree?"

Bishop tried to play a straight bat. "After any tragedy it is natural and appropriate for people to ask how did it happen, could it have been prevented," she said. "There will be many questions, no doubt there will be an official investigation, there will be formal inquiries . . . a coroner's inquest, as there have been in the past. The Western Australian . . . "

Bolt interjected: "Julie, it seems to me you're reluctant, you've been intimidated out of talking about the contributing factors to this tragedy. Is it not true that these people were lured to their deaths?"

On it went until an increasingly agitated Bolt, according to Bishop, simply hung up on her.

Previously, Bolt and Price had hung up on independent Rob Oakeshott because he wouldn't give a straight answer on whom he was likely to support to form minority government. When Tony Windsor went public last week with concerns about the increasingly dangerous tone of public discourse, Bolt promoted his Wednesday morning radio show with the item: "Tony Windsor's attempt to play the victim to shut down a debate. We recall how this man who wants to 'take on' talkback hosts hung up on me the last time he tried."

The boys at MTR are far from the only culprits contributing to increasing disrespect for the nation's leaders. Gary Hardgrave, a shock jock who became a minister under the Howard government before losing his Brisbane seat and returning to radio, hung up on Greens leader Bob Brown 10 days ago.

Brown tweeted afterwards: "What a spineless uninformed jock Gary Hardgrave is, who when losing the argument cut off the i'view! Voters of Moreton knew a thing or two!"

In their defence, radio jocks are not journalists per se and therefore are not strictly bound to address politicians publicly by their titles or Mr, Ms or Mrs. But is there any cause to be rude, regardless of the temperature of the debate or personal views?

3AW's Neil Mitchell interviewed Julia Gillard just days after she announced the flood levy and the shock jocks were proclaiming the end of the world. The interview began with an accusation more than a question: "Prime Minister, with your government's history of mismanagement, like the insulation program, school rebuilding, who are you going to put in charge of the spending of this money you're going to take from us?"

Mitchell's line of inquiry was perfectly legitimate, but was the tone of the question?


How UK offers the worst tax deal for traditional families

Millions of families with one working parent get a worse tax deal in Britain than anywhere else in the world, a survey found yesterday. Compared with other western countries a traditional family – a working husband and a wife who looks after the children full-time – pays a third more proportionally to the taxman than a single person without children.

And despite Tory promises to help married couples and families, the plight of single-earner families is growing worse under the Coalition, the report said.

The criticism, in a study for CARE, the Christian social policy charity, contrasts with repeated speeches from Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith speaking up for married couple families. It said: ‘The picture is clear. The tax burden on the majority of families and individuals in the UK is not out of line with that in other countries.

‘However this is not the case with one-earner married couples with children. If their earnings are £25,000 or more, their tax burden is heavier in this country than other countries.’

The report found that since the 1960s the proportion of tax paid by a married couple with one wage close to average pay, and two children, has doubled – not least because of the abolition of the married couple’s tax allowance by Gordon Brown in 1999. Over the same period a single person with no dependants has continued to pay the same share of their income in tax.

The development of a tax system that penalises couples when one chooses to stay at home follows years of a Labour government which tried to encourage all mothers to go out to work. Despite the pressure on mothers to take jobs, there are still just over two million women who devote themselves full-time to caring for children and looking after the home.

But the CARE report, by tax analysts Don Draper, Leonard Beighton and Alistair Pearson, said: ‘The changes made by the Coalition Government will materially worsen the position of one-earner couples on an average wage, although they will improve the position of some other families.’ It added: ‘In 2009, a one-earner married couple with children on a wage of £33,745 paid over a third more in tax in the UK than in the average developed country, and a fifth more than in the average EU country.’

The authors said the shifting of the tax burden from single people with no dependants on to families with children ‘seems to have gone almost unnoticed, if indeed it was intentional’.

Under changes introduced by the Coalition, they said ‘one-earner families on an average wage are likely to find that their tax burden will rise.’ This is because although their tax threshold will rise by £1,000, the gain is cancelled out by loss of tax credits and an increase in national insurance contributions. They will by 2012 be paying nearly 80 per cent of the tax bill faced by a single person with no dependants, compared with 73 per cent now.

But, in the United States, for example, a one-earner married couple with two children, on an average wage, pays just 23 per cent of the tax paid by a single person. The percentage in other countries such as the U.S. and New Zealand is so low because of the unusually high levels of family allowances and tax credits that are given out.

The CARE report also warned that the high levels of tax on couples are a threat to single parents who want to form a relationship. The ‘couple penalty’, estimated by the Institute for Fiscal Studies to cost people as much as £200 a week if they choose to live together, has yet to be lessened by any Coalition policy.

The report said: ‘The major step the Government could take would be to introduce a transferable allowance for married couples. We urge that a start be made on this as soon as possible because of the time which is likely to be needed to make the administrative arrangement necessary to introduce it.’


Shock poll finds Marine Le Pen could become France's next President

Vive la France!

A SHOCK poll shows far-right champion Marine Le Pen leading the race for the French presidency. An opinion poll conducted by Harris Interactive for Le Parisien newspaper put the National Front leader Le Pen's likely support in next year's vote at 23 per cent, against 21 per cent for the centre-right's Mr Sarkozy.

The survey was conducted online, a method sometimes seen as less accurate than telephone polling, and it presumed that Socialist leader Martine Aubry would be in the race. International Monetary Fund director Dominique Strauss-Kahn has signalled he is preparing to declare himself as a candidate for the Socialist Party's nomination - and other polls have shown him favourite if he does.

In any case, French presidential elections take place over two rounds, so even if Le Pen's score is enough to get into the second round, centrist voters would likely rally to whichever mainstream candidate joined her there.

But, reservations aside, the big surge in far-right support since Marine Le Pen took over the party from her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, in January shows she could repeat his 2002 feat and knock out the third-placed candidate. That prospect has sent shockwaves through the political establishment, and the left is training its fire not on the 42-year-old far-right challenger, but on Mr Sarkozy - accusing him of stirring dangerous anti-Muslim opinion.

The National Front has always been an anti-immigration party, but under the younger Le Pen it has attempted to shed its racist image and concentrate the debate on the place of Islam in French society, picking up votes as it has done so.

Mr Sarkozy and his UMP have followed suit, taking on the issue to stop support leaking to the Front and to force the Socialists off topics such as unemployment and purchasing power, where they have made inroads. The government has passed a law banning the full-face Islamic veil - worn by only a tiny portion of France's five to six million Muslims - from public places. The ban is due to come into effect next month.

Mr Sarkozy last month declared that "multiculturalism is dead" and said he wanted to see a "French Islam and not an Islam in France", while his party has called for a national debate on religious practice in a secular state.

Meanwhile, the president last week reached out to his conservative base, hailing France's "Christian heritage" in a speech in a Catholic pilgrim town.

The left, and many Muslim groups, sense a cynical plot. They accuse Mr Sarkozy of stirring up disputes that can only increase tensions in French cities, all in the service of 2012 presidential electoral mathematics. "It's doubtless a plan by Nicolas Sarkozy to boost the National Front in order to find himself in a head-to-head with them in the second round, and disqualify the left," said Socialist parliamentary leader Jean-Marc Ayrault.

The left remembers all too well that in 2002, Le Pen senior bumped their man, Lionel Jospin, out of the running in the first round, only to be roundly trounced in the second by the right's Jacques Chirac. "What's clear is that Nicolas Sarkozy has been playing double or quits for the past few weeks," said Ms Aubry, who should perhaps take some comfort from the fact that the Harris poll had her level-pegging with Mr Sarkozy on 21 per cent.

But while the Socialists and the UMP slug it out, Ms Le Pen has stolen a march on them. Elected leader of her party in January, she is already openly campaigning for the presidency.

No one expects Mr Sarkozy to drop out, but he has yet to declare his candidacy, and his personal approval ratings are catastrophically low.

And the Socialists have yet to settle on a candidate. The party will hold a primary in October but the apparent front-runners - Ms Aubry and Mr Strauss-Kahn - have yet to confirm they will stand.


Muslims, Jews united over circumcision plan

Jewish and Muslim groups are mobilising over an attempt to outlaw male circumcision in San Francisco by putting the issue to a popular vote. A self-described "intact-ivist", Lloyd Schofield, has been collecting signatures for a voter initiative that would criminalise infant circumcision in the Californian city.

After two months of collecting names, he claims to be more than halfway towards obtaining the 7168 signatures he needs by late April to put the matter on a ballot to be held in November.

Mr Schofield and a growing community of anti-circumcision activists say infants should not be forced to participate in what is essentially culturally accepted genital mutilation.

They claim the procedure can cause health risks and diminished sexual function and compare it to the clitoridectomies performed on girls in parts of Africa. "This is a human rights issue," he said. "What you're doing is you're taking an infant and removing the most sensitive part of their body."

Jewish organisations have pledged to fight the measure should it be placed on the ballot. The director of the Anti-Defamation League, Daniel Sandman, called Mr Schofield's effort discriminatory and misguided. "This is hurtful and offensive to people in the community who consider this a coveted ritual," he said.

Abby Porth of the Jewish Community Relations Council charged Mr Schofield with wasting city resources for an inappropriate political stunt that was unlikely to become law. "This is one of the most fundamental practices to our tradition of over 3000 years," she said. "It's symbolic of our covenant with God."

Ms Porth said the Jewish community would form a coalition against the initiative with medical professionals and Muslims, who also practise circumcision. "It's very similar to those of the Jewish faith," said Omar Nawaz of Zaytuna College, a Muslim college in the San Francisco Bay area. "It's a religious tradition and it's important for us."

If the ban is approved, those caught cutting the foreskins of infants and other minors would face up to a year in jail and a fine of $US1000.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


6 March, 2011

Political Correctness is the Incubator of Islamism

Amil Imani

Time and again we are told by the politically correct "experts" not to worry about Islam posing a threat to our way of life. We are repeatedly lectured that only a very small minority of Muslims are troublemakers who are giving the peaceful masses of Muslims a bad name. We are also informed that the terrorists, who happened to be Muslims, are the disaffected and the young. And not to worry, since as the fire of youth turns to ashes of old age the rebellious will mellow, as they always have.

With heavy assurances like this, coming from so many know-it-all authoritative figures, we can sleep soundly without the aid of sleeping pills. After all, people reason that these pundits are "experts" whose job is to know and tell it like it is. Those who voice contrary views must be a bunch of racist, alarmist hate mongers. Who is right?

Wouldn't it be more prudent to let the facts settle the matter, rather than blindly accepting either position? Of course it would, except for one huge problem. In the face of threats, people tend to go to the mind's medicine cabinet and take a few denial and rationalization pills, in the same way that it is the aspirin bottle they turn to when a headache strikes. Why not? We are the Easy Species. We love effortless, quick and simple solutions. And that's not invariably bad. It has given us all kinds of labor and time saving devices.

Yet, the Islam problem is very real and deadly. Neither the pronouncements of the experts, nor the tranquilizing pills of the mind can make it go away. It is here and it shows every sign of imposing itself on us. Let us look at some of the facts:

* Not every Muslim wears an explosive vest ready to detonate in the midst of a crowd of innocent civilians, yet there are more volunteers for the mission than there are explosive vests. The Islamic Republic of Iran, for instance, hasn't even officially joined this form of jihad. Yet, by its own admission, it has over 10,000 volunteers trained ready to be deployed, and thousands more queuing to join in. This time around, the jihadists heading for Allah's heaven might come fitted with nice little suitcases of dirty bombs instead of the bulky explosive vests. Recall that it took only 19 of these killers to launch the aerial mass murder of 9/11 that killed 3,000 people, shattered our open trusting way of life, and cost us billions of dollars.

* The jihadists are not confined to a minority of disaffected Muslim youth. How young are Bin Laden, his deputy doctor of death Al Zawahiri, mullah Omar of the Taliban, Khamenei and Ahmadinejad of Iran, just to name a few? How disaffected are they? Muhammad Ata, leader of the 19 airborne thugs and the decapitator of Wall Street Journal reporter Pearl were somewhat younger, yet well-healed and Western educated.

* Just coin some terms such as the "Melting Pot," or "Multiculturalism" and you have the problem solved? Roll out the red carpet for the immigrant Muslims, treat them as you would your own citizens, give them stipends, medical care, and free education and they will integrate seamlessly into the society? No such thing at all. The idea of Melting Pot may work with people who come from different lands to make the new country their home. The Islamists, on the other hand, come with the belief that they already own the place and want to make it part of the Ummeh. Some forty percent of second and third generation Muslim Britons reject British democracy, express their allegiance to Islam and want to live under Sharia. So much for the Melting Pot comfort pill.

* The new Islamist arrivals take advantage of the provisions of the most benign system known to humanity, democracy, to implode it from within. Muslims, by sheer numbers, will soon be in a position to vote out democracy in many countries. They are already doing that in bits and pieces. They are imposing many of their values, in a number of societies, even while they are in the minority. Politicians, hungry for votes and devoted to the practice of political correctness bend backward to accede to Islamists' demands.

* As for Multiculturalism, it is even more of a delusion than the Melting Pot myth. It is a second generation Comfort Pill. Since the Melting Pot proved to be worse than a placebo, the politically correct gave us the new pill. A glance at Europe shows how Multiculturalism in fact has served as the incubator of Islamism in no time at all. Europe's Multiculturalism is rapidly birthing a Uniculturalism, if the Islamists' medieval way of life can be dignified as a culture.

* Respect for diversity, separation of religion and state, freedom of belief and expression, are pillars of democracy, yet anathema to Islam. In no Islamic land do you find an ecumenical organization. It is only in non-Islamic countries that the shameless duplicitous Muslim, be he an imam, a mullah, or a regular run-of-the- mill faithful of Allah, meekly participates in ecumenical feel-good gatherings.

* To Muslims, no other religion is deemed worthy of recognition, much less accommodation. There is not a single church or synagogue or a Buddhist temple in all of Saudi Arabia. They are barred. The Islamic Republic of Iran's raft of genocidal pogroms includes the heinous practice of bulldozing even the cemeteries of its Baha'i religious minority. The Islamic tyranny of the mullahs imprisons Christian Iranians for celebrating Christmas. Egypt denies its own citizens identity cards for refusing to lie and fake their religious belief or disbelief. The ID cards are required for education, securing work, receiving medical care and just about every right of citizenship. Without it, a citizen is literally subjected to slow death.

* In Islam only Muslim men, and, to a lesser extent, Muslim women, are entitled to certain rights. All non-Muslims, including the so-called people of the book, namely Christians and Jews, are at best second-class subject, subjects who must pay the back-breaking Jezyyeh, poll tax, for their "sin" of not converting to Islam. So, as Islam makes its inroads in new lands, as its membership swells through explosive birth and conversion, secular democracies will be inevitably replaced by Islamism with its stone-age Sharia laws. The best offer that Islam will make is to spare the non-Muslim's life if he puts on the heavy yoke of Jezyyeh (Jizyah) for the rest of his living days.

* Not to worry about the horrific things that are happening on the other side of the world? If Muslims act heinously toward non-Muslims, it is just the way things are in those countries and it is hardly any of our business? This is the same attitude that set Islamization of Europe on a seemingly irreversible track. One European country after another is rapidly buckling under the weight of Islamism.

* Most importantly, not to worry about Islamization of our country? After all, Muslims are about 6-7 million minority in a population of nearly 300 million, you reason? That even a smaller number of these Muslims are hothead radicals, while the majority is just like everyone else? But small minorities can overwhelm the majority by use of coercion and deadly force. Islamists are notorious for their dedication to the use of force for achieving their aims. The Taliban were a very small minority in Afghanistan, the Islamists were a tiny faction in the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran. Both overwhelmed the masses and imposed their reign of terror. The terrorist Hamas is also a "minority" in number, yet it rules the Palestinian Territory. Hizbollah of Lebanon is a minority, yet it has taken the country to the verge of destruction.

* Islamists are Islam's locomotive that takes the wrecking-ball Islamic train on its demolition course. Islam and democracy are incompatible. As democracies practice their magnificent accommodating belief, they knowingly or unknowingly lay the track for the advancing wrecking train of Islam. We, in the United States of America must resist Islamism while it is still gathering momentum, unless we wish to end up in the same fix as the Europeans.

* We, in the United States, further need to embark on a comprehensive legal, educational, and social campaign to eradicate the deadly plague of Islam. By effective action, we even save those peaceful Muslims from their own affliction. I am not hatemongering. I would love to see all Muslims become ex-Muslims and full-fledged members of a diverse tolerant democratic society. It is a statement of fact about what Islam is. Islam is a highly communicable pandemic violent disease that demands urgent and serious containment.

Europe is already badly infected with Islamism. It is the coal-miners' canary. It is telling us that the next stop is America. We must act and act now. We must not sacrifice our cherished way of life and the lives of our children at the altar of political correctness: the incubator of Islamofascism.


HLI blasts political attacks on pro-lifers in Kansas and New York City

"True freedoms are being eroded, and false freedoms exalted"

Monsignor Ignacio Barreiro-Carambula, interim president of Human Life International (HLI) today responded to recent reports of fellow pro-lifers suffering attacks from governmental agencies.

"It is a grave injustice that defenders of the dignity of human life increasingly find themselves under attack from those who wield the power of the state," said Monsignor Barreiro. "Whether these attacks are directed at a person or at organizations, the aim is clear: to stop any speech or activity which in any way challenges the anti-life orthodoxy that has infected our governing institutions."

Referring to an ethics trial against former Kansas attorney general Phill Kline, the first part of which concluded yesterday, Monsignor Barreiro said: "Mr. Kline had less than one day to defend himself after enduring over seven days of testimony against him. No one can call this a just trial, it is rather an offense to justice, clearly perpetrated by those in power who want to see Mr. Kline punished for having the integrity to do his job and try to protect the women and children of Kansas."

Referring to a recent decision by the New York City Council to restrict the language available to anti-abortion pregnancy centers within the city, Monsignor Barreiro said: "Can you imagine any other service being told by its opponents what language they are allowed to use to promote themselves? And yet Planned Parenthood is still allowed to call itself a `women's healthcare provider' while they destroy unborn human life through abortions and prescribe carcinogenic medication to unsuspecting women."

"America is running out of time to stand up against what Blessed Pope John Paul II called the `thinly disguised totalitarianism' of a state that has given up on true human values. May Our Lord have mercy on us and deliver us from such assaults, so that we can serve and defend His weakest ones during this time when true freedoms are being eroded, and false freedoms exalted."


No one deserves a veneer of goodness because of their race

I wrote a piece last week about an argument I’d had with the man on the end of the phone at Virgin Media. I couldn’t understand a word he said, and asked him where he was based. ‘The Philippines.’

I objected to the fact that his English wasn’t good enough to hold down a job that involved talking on the phone to someone in England. I received many emails accusing me of being at best insensitive, at worst racist.

But I believe it’s wrong to give someone a veneer of goodness, just because of their colour.

This month sees yet another Red Nose Day, when we are all expected to dig deep to help children at home and overseas. Fair enough: you can decide whether or not you want to give. It has just been announced that the country that has received the most aid from Britain is Ethiopia. No taxpayer has a say over where his or her money goes in this respect, and I’m compelled to say that I object to my money being sent to Ethiopia – and I object as strongly as someone who marched against the Iraq war.

When I went to Ethiopia, I was shocked at the cruelty towards animals. It wasn’t sporadic or isolated, it was the norm. Every taxi in one of the towns I visited was drawn by a horse that was thin, thirsty and overworked. The taxi drivers used the deep, maggot-infested wounds on these animals’ sides as ‘accelerators’. I almost got into a stand-up fight in a grain market when I argued with men who refused to unload sacks from the backs of exhausted mules, or to offer shade and water.

The representative (white, posh) from the charity I had travelled with was appalled by my behaviour. She called the men ‘proud’, but also said these people hadn’t yet learned that animals need basic things like water and rest. This is patronising, isn’t it?

A similar incident occurred on a recent trip to Peru. I was in a very poor mining village, finding out about a fair trade initiative. People who work in fair trade, and anything organic or vaguely worthy, are always respectful of the people they are trying to help. The word ‘proud’ was wheeled out again. But when I pointed out all the stray, diseased dogs in the village, it was as though these well-meaning people were blind.

‘We need to help the people first,’ was the response. ‘And anyway, there are cases of animal cruelty in Britain, where there is no excuse.’

But the crucial difference is this: I am not being asked to give money to or buy at a premium from a white thug with a terrified Staffie in Barking.

The white thug needs to be locked up, and John Galliano may be. But if the riots demanding democracy in the Middle East have taught us anything, it’s this. Don’t believe the stereotype. Don’t believe all Muslim men in long shirts who shout in the street are nutters who want to enslave their wives. Don’t believe all Africans are good. Don’t allow fair trade and organic to just be about people. It has to be more holistic than that.

I’m sick of being polite. I won’t make allowances for anyone who is cruel, and I couldn’t give a damn about the colour of their skin.


Homosexual marriage stance could ruin Australian PM

THERE are two key questions around the issue of gay marriage. One is the pretty straight-forward question of whether you support it or not, and the polls suggest it is line ball.

The other question is whether you support the idea of politicians keeping their promises. I haven't seen the polling on that but I would presume that no research firm has bothered to do any, as you would expect about 100 per cent of people to answer 'yes, politicians should obviously keep their promises, what a silly question to ask'.

Having gone to the last election saying there would be no carbon tax under a government she leads, Julia Gillard will now be introducing one on July 1 next year.

It's a serious breach of voter confidence and one which has done her serious political damage. As many have argued, when John Howard changed his mind on the GST, which he promised to never ever introduce, he at least had the decency to return to the polls in 1998 to let the voters re-elect or turf him on a clearly-stated platform of tax reform.

Gillard's promise not to introduce a carbon tax was almost as unequivocal as Howard's on the goods and services tax, yet she failed to give the voters a chance to accept or reject her change of heart. It may yet be the issue which costs her power at the next election.

At a time when the Prime Minister is struggling to maintain her credibility over the carbon tax backflip, it is truly bizarre that there are some within the Labor Party who are now trying to bludgeon her into a similar backflip over the question of gay marriage.

Despite her lengthy membership of Labor's Left Faction, which has long regarded gay marriage as a cause worth fighting for, Gillard has taken a clear and frequently-stated stance against same-sex unions. She spent much of the election campaign saying it is her view and the party's view that marriage is between a man and woman.

At the instigation of the Greens, and with the active support of several members of the Labor Left, Labor Caucus has now signed off on legislation which would prevent the Commonwealth from interfering if gay marriage were legalised in the territories.

The political issues are twofold. Hot on the heels of her nasty little fib over the carbon tax, it puts Julia Gillard at risk of looking like a liar all over again as a result of her oft-stated insistence that only heterosexual couples be allowed to marry.

More ominously, it emphasises the growing public view that this Labor Government is bright green on the inside, that Julia Gillard has one hand on the steering wheel and is sharing it with everyone from Bob Brown, Adam Bandt and Christine Milne to country independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor.

You could also throw in the question of priorities -- is this really such an important issue for the Government to busy itself with? Surely working out how a carbon tax can operate without belting household budgets is a more pressing task?

Julia Gillard went to the trouble this week of outlining the major policy differences between Labor and the Greens. The fact that she went to these lengths was a clear sign that she is worried that voters think it is not her but the likes of Bob Brown calling the shots.

Julia Gillard has very few arguments at her disposal to explain her U-turn on carbon.

If Labor's Left wants to force the Prime Minister to break another of her promises, it should do so in the knowledge that it is writing the script for the Coalition's negative advertisements for the next election campaign, depicting a government which has not one but several leaders and cannot be taken on its word.

None of those observations by the way have anything to do with the concept of gay marriage. I suspect many voters don't really care about the issue. It would be another broken promise, which would make the Greens look even more like the Government of the day, on an issue which many voters rank well down on the list of importance.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


5 March, 2011

How long before Christians are actively persecuted in England?

Sean Gabb

I return to the matter of our ruling class bias against Christians. Why? Why should Christians be so disliked? Why should Christian hoteliers be persecuted for refusing to take in homosexual guests, or refusing to let them occupy double beds? Why should Christians not be protected – given our apparently comprehensive anti-discrimination laws – when forbidden to wear crosses at work? Why should banknotes be printed with pictures on them of Charles Darwin? The facts that Darwin was a great man, and that I think he was right about evolution, are beside the point. For very large number of British citizens, he was a gross blasphemer. Why are the few British colonies that remain being ordered to remove any reference to Christianity from their constitutions? Why do many local authorities keep trying to rename Christmas as Winterval? Why is there so much evidence, both anecdotal and on the record, of an official bias against Christianity?

We are moving towards a persecution of Christianity because Christians believe in a source of authority separate from and higher than the State. Until recently, it was the custom of absolute states to make an accommodation with whatever church was largest. In return for being established, the priests would then preach obedience as a religious duty. Modern absolute states, though, are secular. Such were the Jacobin and the Bolshevik tyrannies. Such is our own, as yet, mild tyranny. In all three cases, religion was or is a problem. Though a Catholic, Aquinas speaks for most Christians when he explains the limits of obedience:

Laws are often unjust…. They may be contrary to the good of mankind… either with regard to their end – as when a ruler imposes laws which are burdensome and are not designed for the common good, but proceed from his own rapacity or vanity; or with regard to their maker – if, for example, a ruler should go beyond his proper powers; or with regard to their form – if, though intended for the common good, their burdens should be inequitably distributed. Such laws come closer to violence than to true law…. They do not, therefore, oblige in conscience, except perhaps for the avoidance of scandal or disorder. (Summa Theologiae, I-II, 96, 4, my translation)

Bad laws do not bind in conscience. And there may be times when even the avoidance of scandal or disorder do not justify public obedience. Then, it will be the duty of the Faithful to stand up and say “No!” It will be their duty to disobey regardless of what threats are made against them. Any ruling class that has absolutist ambitions, and is not willing or able to make an accommodation with the religious authorities, will eventually go too far. It will command things that cannot be given, and then find itself staring into a wall of resistance. The French Revolutionaries were taken by surprise. The Bolsheviks knew exactly what they were doing when they hanged all those priests and dynamited those churches. Our own ruling class also knows what it is doing. The politically correct lovefeast it has been preparing for us throughout my life requires the absolute obedience of the governed – absolute obedience to commands that no fundamentalist Christian can regard as lawful. Therefore, the gathering attack on Christianity.

As said, this does not yet apply to the other religions. The Jews are untouchable. Besides, religious Jews are a minority within a minority, and involve themselves in our national life only so far as is needed to separate themselves from it. The Moslems and others are not really considered part of the nation. Otherwise, they are considered objective allies of the new order under construction. Otherwise, no one wants to provoke them to rioting and blowing themselves up in coffee bars. But it goes without saying that other believers must eventually be persecuted should the Christians ever be humbled.

I think this explains what is happening. Whatever the case, it is wrong. Now, the accepted rule for defending any unpopular group is to begin with a disclaimer – for example: “I am not myself a Christian/homosexual/white nationalist, etc. Indeed, I bow to no man in the horror and disgust these people inspire in my heart.” There are further protestations that depend on the circumstances. But the concluding plea is the same: “It is therefore only out of a possibly misguided commitment to Victorian liberalism that I ask for these people not to suffer the extreme penalties of law. All else aside, it sets an unwise precedent that may be used one day against undoubtedly good people.”

Well, I do not propose to make this sort of defence. I am a Christian of sorts, and I think that even fundamentalist Christianity is a very fine religion. It is the historic faith of my country, and part of my national identity. It is also connected, however loosely, with the growth of civility and the rule of law. I do not like to see it persecuted. And the persecution is wrong in itself. I may not have a clear message to give about the refusal to let two elderly Pentecostalists become foster parents. But I do object to the creeping delegitimisation of the Christian Faith in England. Any Christian who is willing to stand up and speak in the terms set by Thomas Aquinas gets my support.

But now – and only now – that I have said this, I will talk about precedents. Sooner or later, the present order of things will come to an end. It is based on too many false assumptions about human nature. It is based, indeed, on too many misapprehensions about the natural world. In the short term – even without pointing guns at them – people can be bullied into nodding and smiling at the most ludicrous propositions. In the longer term, bullying always fails. The Bolsheviks had seventy years, and murdered on a scale still hard to conceive. They never produced their New Soviet Man. Except for the worse, they never touched the basic nature of the Russian people. Our own ruling class will fail. What new order will then be established I cannot say. But I suspect it will be broadly Christian.

What we shall then see may not be very liberal. Possibly, homosexual acts will be made criminal again, or everything just short of criminal. I spent my early years as a libertarian denouncing the legal persecution of homosexuals. I have now spent years arguing against persecution by homosexuals. I may sooner or later need to turn round again. As with all collective revenge, the individuals affected will not be those who are now behaving so badly – just as those now persecuted probably did not make any fuss about the 1967 Act that legalised most homosexual acts. But that is the nature of collective revenge. Because the most prominent homosexual leaders have not been satisfied with a mere equality of rights, ordinary homosexuals in the future may find the current precedents used against them.

For the moment, however, England is a country where Christians are fair game for harassment. I do not suppose that the case of Mr and Mrs Johns will be my last reason for commenting on this fact.

More here

Will it ever stop? Yet another false rape claim from Britain

They sure come thick and fast

Two soldiers back from the Afghanistan frontline were falsely accused of rape by a teenage girl hours before a parade in their honour, a court heard today. The men were woken up to be arrested at dawn and instead of proudly marching through town with their comrades, spent the day in police custody falsely accused of a brutal sex attack.

Bobbie Martin, 18, was found in a ‘distressed state’ by a friend shortly after the alleged late night attack outside the Royal Hotel in Scarborough. She told police one of the men held her down while the other raped her. In reality it was all a ‘charade’ and ‘wicked lies’ made for no apparent reason against two honourable men who had done nothing wrong at all, the judge said.

Returning war heroes Major James Thurstan and Regimental Sergeant Major Edward Pickersgill of the Coldstream Guards – and who are both married – never laid a finger on the jobless teenager.

They were sitting on a bench eating a takeaway meal when the drunken teenager approached them, flirted and exposed herself.

The court heard they showed ‘considerable restraint’ to humour Martin before walking away and returning to their hotel beds to sleep. It was only when police examined CCTV that detectives realised the soldiers were telling the truth and the attack never happened.

Martin, of Leeds, admitted perverting the course of justice and was jailed for 18 months. Judge Stephen Ashurst told her that her lies ‘could have had devastating consequences’ for the soldiers had police not found the video footage. ‘You put on a considerable show and played the role of the victim,’ he said. ‘It was a complete charade.’

He said the soldiers had no idea why police arrested them. ‘One can only imagine the shock they felt. They had to explain to their families and colleagues how they came to be arrested. ‘Lest it be thought there is no smoke without fire, here there was no fire at all. These men had done nothing wrong at all.’

Major Thurstan and Sergeant Major Pickersgill, veterans of the Iraq campaign, served a six-month tour in central Helmand during which five of their comrades died. The Coldstream Guards were invited to Scarborough to join the homecoming parade of the 2nd Battalion Yorkshire Regiment, with whom they had served, for Armed Forces Day on June 26 last year.

Alan Mitcheson, prosecuting, told the court Martin was drunk after a celebration in town with friends and family. She was briefly separated from her female friend outside the hotel when she chatted to the soldiers. Her friend returned to find her ‘distressed’.

Police were called and Martin was taken to hospital, but refused to have a medical examination. Detectives found her underwear on the grass where she claimed to have been raped. The men had nothing to do with its removal.

The men were locked up for 12 hours, and had fingerprints, DNA and intimate medical samples taken. Mr Mitcheson said: ‘They were embarrassed and distressed, and missed the parade because they were in custody. ‘The Army is a very small place in which rumours spread very rapidly, both men being concerned that the completely false allegations would have an effect on their future careers.’

Martin initially stuck to her story before pleading guilty. Jonathan Devlin, defending, said: ‘Drink clearly played a part. The state of her intoxication was commented on by the two men who had the misfortune to come across her.’ A ‘traumatic’ childhood incident may have contributed, he added.

The judge said he hoped genuine rape victims took comfort from Martin’s punishment, adding: ‘Cases such as this cause serious damage to the interests of genuine victims.’


Cracking the glass ceiling: Female staff have the same chance as men of reaching the top, British figures reveal

Women have just as much chance as their male peers of winning promotion to top management, official figures revealed yesterday. Among women who work full-time, as many make it to senior level as do men.

The number of women classed as managers or senior officials in state statistics has shot up over the last ten years and now means well over a third of the highest ranked and best-paid workers are female.

The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics to mark International Women’s Day next week, suggest the ‘glass ceiling’ supposedly holding women back, is cracking up.

At senior management level, women appear to have achieved equality. According to workforce statistics, women make up 35.8 per cent of all full-time workers, while among managers and senior officials the proportion is 35.5 per cent – up from 30.7 per cent in 2001.

Economist Ruth Lea, of the Arbuthnot Banking Group, said: ‘I am surprised the number of women managers is so high. In my industry, banking, women are still scarce at high level. But there are high numbers in the public sector. ‘For a generation of women now in their 60s and 70s, there were barriers. But the idea there is discrimination now is wrong: it just doesn’t happen.’

Analyst Jill Kirby said: ‘These figures show women are as likely to get senior management roles as men. 'The suggestion that they are being held back by discrimination no longer stacks up.’

There are 7.6 million women working full-time, and nearly 5.9 million part-time, many of them mothers. Only just over two million women are full-time mothers and housekeepers, or housewives.

Women managers are most common in the NHS, where nearly seven out of ten in senior roles are held by women. More than half the manager-grade workers in the education system are women. In the finance industry 36 per cent of managers are women – a higher proportion than the share of women among full-time workers.

Retailing, wholesale and motor trade firms have 34 per cent female managers. The lowest numbers are in manufacturing, where only one in five managers is a woman, and construction, around one in eight.

The latest breakdown of the gender pay gap shows women aged under 30 – the average age at which a woman has a baby – now earn more then men, and the difference between the pay of men and women under 40 is now almost negligible.


Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee and racial harassment laws

Press coverage of Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Tex., usually focuses on her megalomania (“‘I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen,’ Jackson-Lee once said”), her race-baiting (like claiming the Tea Party is an offshoot of the Ku Klux Klan, and that the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina was racist), and her amazing ignorance (like not knowing that astronauts landed on the Moon, not Mars; and not knowing what happened in the Vietnam War).

But being a race-baiting megalomaniac is no crime.

It is against the law, however, to racially harass your employees. And a recent story in Daily Caller suggests that many of her black employees could have viable racial-harassment claims against her. (Yes, her black employees – the story, “Congressional Bosses from Hell: Sheila Jackson Lee,” suggests that for all her public race-baiting directed at whites, in her own office, she treats her fellow blacks worse than she treats members of other races).

To violate federal workplace harassment law, racial harassment must be either “severe” or “pervasive” enough to create a “hostile work environment.” Jackson-Lee’s harassment was reportedly pervasive:

The Houston Democrat addressed one of her employees as ‘you stupid motherf***er.’ And not just once, but "constantly," recalls the staffer, "like, all the time." Other employees described a pattern of “yelling,” “screaming and swearing.

The harassment was not just offensive, but humiliating: A Jackson-Lee aide recounted an instance in which she was harassed by Jackson-Lee, “the time her parents came to Washington to visit: ‘They were really excited to come to the congressional office. They’re small town people, so for them it was a huge deal. They were actually sitting in the main lobby waiting area….[Jackson Lee] came out screaming at me over a scheduling change. Called me a ’stupid idiot. Don’t be a moron, you foolish girl’ and actually did this in front of my parents, of all things.’”

Jackson-Lee’s harassment altered her employees’ work environment, rendering it hostile and abusive. On days in which Jackson-Lee was absent, “the sounds emanating from inside” her Congressional office were full of “pleasant laughter and conversation. ‘You could tell when she wasn’t there.’” But when Jackson-Lee was present in the office, “a different set of sounds often came through closed doors to Jackson Lee’s office: screaming and, many times, crying.” She forced employees to wait hours for her, hours after the end of the business day, forcing them to stay in the office until “two, three, four o’clock in the morning.”

She is reportedly “harder on black staff.” Black staffers lamented that she was “‘far harsher to the African Americans who work for her. ‘“You stupid mother-effer” was like a constant,’ says one,” “‘all the time . . towards her African Americans staffers,’” whom “‘she felt comfortable enough’” around “‘to really curse out,’” unlike “‘other ethnic groups in the office.’”

The fact that she did not use the N-word or racist language does not mean her employees might not have a case against her for racial harassment. Federal appeals court rulings like Aman v. Cort Furniture (1996) make clear that an employer who abuses employees based on their race can still be held liable for racial harassment even if the employer never uses any racist language.

Harassment need not cause physical or psychological injury to be actionable. But if it does cause such harm, that can become a factor in favor of liability, under the Supreme Court’s decision in Harris v. Forklift Systems (1993). Jackson-Lee’s relentless harassment, one employee claimed, made that employee physically ill. “One staffer recalls a frank conversation with his doctor, who told him he needed to quit. “It’s your life or your job,” the doctor told him, warning that the stress and long hours were wreaking havoc on his body.

If Jackson-Lee engaged in physically threatening behavior, like throwing a cell phone, that is another factor supporting liability under the Supreme Court’s Harris decision.

Discrimination and harassment by government officials violate not only civil-rights laws, but also, in some cases, the Constitution itself. (See Davis v. Passman (1979)).



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


4 March, 2011

Huge and unlawful British police operation celebrated

The tone of the report below is laudatory but much is omitted. Note for a start this excerpt from an earlier report: "Of the 6,717 boxes targeted by detectives in the biggest raid in the Met's history, just over half were occupied. And of those that were full, 2,838 boxes were now handed back, a figure that represents 80 per cent of the number of boxes seized. Eight out of ten box owners were provably innocent. Taylor said: 'Of the £53 million in cash that the police took, £20 million has also been given back and £33 million is now being referred to as "under investigation", of which only £2.83 million has been confiscated or forfeited by the courts."

In other words most of the people targeted were innocent and were subjected to great harassment in order to prove their innocence and recover their property. And police pocketed some of it in a few cases.

Of greater concern is that the right to privacy enshrined in Britain's human rights act was totally ignored. And now the proprietors of the safe deposit facilities who DID respect the right to privacy of their depositors are being treated as criminals.

For the dubious legality and police duplicity involved -- and much more beside -- see here

The directors of a 'cash and carry for crooks' will be sentenced today for running a £50million 'treasure trove' for criminals.

Milton Woolf and Jacqueline Swan funded wealthy lifestyles by charging criminal gangs tens of thousands of pounds each to store more than £50million in cash, along with firearms and child pornography linked with contract killers, drug dealers and human traffickers.

Police later seized nearly 7,000 safety deposit boxes in a £10million sting, described as one of Scotland Yard's most ambitious investigations in its 180-year history and the largest operation against organised crime.

Paintings, gold ingots, gold dust, jewellery, drugs, fraudulent passports, paedophile material and fake documents were found stashed in boxes at the fraudsters’ London headquarters.

Meanwhile, directors Woolf and Swan turned a blind eye to the illicit goods and even advised customers how to store goods in such a way that would not arouse suspicion, Southwark Crown Court was told.

Michael Holland QC, prosecuting, said: 'The directors, we say, wanted to try to adopt the "three wise monkeys" approach - hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil, rather than be vigilant to report suspicious activity as they were obliged to do.'

Police launched Operation Rize, involving more than 500 officers, after detectives worked on a host of tip-offs that Safe Deposit Centres Limited was corrupt.

As a result of the operation, police made 146 arrests, 30 of them leading to convictions. Several depositors are now serving jail terms for paedophile offences, money-laundering, drug-dealing and firearms.

'It's been extremely successful, unprecedented and the largest operation against organised crime,' he said.

Woolf, 55, of West Heath Drive, Barnet, north west London, will be sentenced for 14 offences, including money-laundering and possession of a firearm, while Swan, 47, of Hexham Road, Barnet, will be sentenced for seven counts of money-laundering.

A third director, Leslie Sieff, 63, from Cricklewood, north west London, has already been fined £1,000 for possessing counterfeit 60,000 US dollars (£36,855) last December.

They were caught in June 2008 when police seized thousands of deposit boxes, ranging from small book-sized boxes to large walk-in safes in a string of west London raids.

This followed 18 months of surveillance and preparation and raids on three safe depositories, two offices and three homes.

The boxes were taken from Park Lane Safe Depository in Park Street, Hampstead Safe Depository in Finchley Road, and Edgware Safe Depository in High Street, Edgware, to a secure location in a heavily-armed convoy.

'Already around £13 million has been returned to public coffers, with many more investigations outstanding,' Mr Ponting said. ‘Eventually more than £50 million will be returned to public coffers, while around 900 investigations have been referred to Revenue and Customs.


Fire the parasites in Britain's local government, not cops and soldiers

No one denies that there are some outrageous Old Spanish Practices still to be tackled when it comes to police pay. Or that there are savings to be made in the defence budget, which was woefully mismanaged under Labour. But the Coalition should tread warily before alienating police officers and frontline soldiers. They are going to need these people in the coming years.

Two of the basic duties of any government are keeping the streets safe and defence of the realm. How is that going to be achieved adequately by sacking trained military personnel and slashing police numbers and pay?

OK, so we’re all in this together, etc, and the private sector has absorbed its share of the pain. The military and the constabulary accept that they should not be exempt from the austerity drive. But you can’t maintain Army morale when you’re sending P45s to soldiers in Afghanistan.

The police, in particular, have done well from successive governments over the past couple of decades and have little to complain about. This time, though, the Home Secretary Theresa May has a real chance to overhaul the salary structure sensibly, while scrapping the bonus culture, senior officers’ dubious perks and the overtime racket. My understanding is that most cops are more concerned about security of employment and keeping their pensions intact than defending the ‘grab-a-grand’ scam.

Slashing bureaucracy can put more bobbies on the street and still ensure that police officers are both fairly paid and can spend more time with their families, instead of being forced into working overtime.

It also needs a rethink of police priorities. For instance, it was reported this week that Essex Police are setting up roadblocks to assist council officers in catching employees smoking in company cars. So-called ‘sniffer wardens’ and uniformed cops will check inside vehicles for evidence of cigarette smoke.

Company cars and lorry cabs count as ‘workplaces’ and anyone discovered smoking in them faces a £50 fixed penalty or a full court appearance and a £200 fine.

Firms which allow it can be fined £2,500.But is this really how we want our police to spend their shifts — stopping commercial travellers going about their lawful business, just so some jobsworth can sniff their ashtray?

More to the point, at a time when cops and soldiers are facing pay cuts and job losses, why are we employing people to strip-search cars for fag ash?

While councils are closing OAP day centres, libraries and nursery schools, the stormtroopers of the nanny state are escaping unscathed.

There’s talk of losing 5,000 police officers and 11,000 members of the Armed Forces. But I’ll bet you could easily find ten times as many smoking cessation officers, five-a-day advisers, diversity enforcers, ‘real nappy’ campaigners and ‘climate change’ co-ordinators ripe for the culling. Under Gordon Brown, the public sector added another million staff, most of them in non-jobs.

We should be sacking the parasites in local government, not cops and soldiers. Unlike every other worker in Britain, the police and Armed Forces can’t strike, by law. So they are entitled to special treatment and consideration.

In a couple of weeks, we are once again going to ask some of these coppers to put themselves in the way of rioters intent on smashing up central London to protest about the ‘cuts’. The Old Bill must ask themselves why they’re bothering when they’re for the chop, too.

No wonder the Police Federation is talking about staging its own protest rally. Who’s going to police that, then — redundant paratroopers?


Hillary says the unspeakable

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Geneva on Feb. 28 for a major U.S. policy address to the UN Human Rights Council. While Clinton welcomed the ouster of Libya from the Council -- on orders of the UN General Assembly -- her speech was more newsworthy on two other counts.

First, she called for creation by the Council of a special rapporteur to document human-rights abuses in Iran -- "Why do people have the right to live free from fear in Tripoli but not in Tehran?" she asked -- and second, she slammed the Council for its "structural bias against Israel."

This was a dramatic, public spanking of a Human Rights Council that has disgraced itself by its singular determination to demonize Israel, while ignoring real human-rights abuses in China, Russia, Burma, Iran, Cuba and, until last week, Libya. Only four months earlier, the Council actually had heaped praise on Qaddafi's regime.

Here is what Clinton had to say about the abysmal behavior of the Human Rights Council vis a vis Israel:
"The structural bias against Israel -- including a standing agenda item for Israel, whereas all other countries are treated under a common item -- is wrong. And it undermines the important work we are trying to do together. As member states, we can take the Council in a better, stronger direction.

"The Council must apply a single standard to all countries based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It cannot continue to single out and devote disproportionate attention to any one country."

Clinton's sharp denunciation of the Council's vendetta against Israel was doubly newsworthy; first, because she delivered it directly to its intended target at a plenary session of the Council, and, second, because it came from the foreign policy chief of the Obama administration, which has been more wont to blame Israel than to defend it on the world stage. Prime Minister Netanyahu still has personal scars from withering Clinton criticisms to prove the point.

Yet, neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post devoted a single line to Clinton's condemnation of the "structural bias against Israel" by the UN Human Rights Council.

Nor did these two papers report still another newsworthy nugget in Clinton's speech in Geneva --her flat rejection of a long-standing campaign by Muslim countries to criminalize criticism of Islam.

While Jerusalem welcomed her defense of Israel to be treated equally with other UN members, there must have been lots of rumpled feelings in capitals throughout the Muslim world for her demand that the Council "move beyond a decade-long debate over whether insults to religion should be banned or criminalized. It is time to overcome the false divide that pits religious sensitivities against freedom of expression."

Supporters of the First Amendment have been in the forefront of pushing back against Islamic efforts to criminalize criticism of passages in the Koran. One would have thought that the Times and the Post, as self-styled First Amendment freedom-of-expression disciples, would take note of Clinton's remarks on this topic. But they didn't.

It seems that at the Times and the Post, a high-profile expression of support of Israel and an equally high-profile rebuke to Muslim countries by the secretary of state of the United States don't rate as news that's fit to print.


Australia: Ethnic-based anger explodes at NSW High School

Lebanese Muslims tend to be very arrogant and aggressive -- as is shown by their readiness to defy and attack police in the story below. Ordinary Aussies on the other hand are some of the most easy-going people in the world. But they can be pushed too far and a lot of Lebanese Muslims are prone to such pushing -- which is where the Cronulla riots also came from

IT had been simmering for months, say students, and this is the moment school racism reached boiling point. A brawl that erupted between a student's relatives and police was the culmination of an R-rated slanging match on Facebook between "Leb" and "Aussie" students.

While education officials denied yesterday there was any ongoing violence at Hoxton Park High School in Hinchinbrook, south west Sydney, parents and students said tensions between students had escalated in the past few years.

A 14-year-old student said that she was "jumped" on Wednesday afternoon by "10 Australian girls" who punched, kicked, scratched and spat at her. "They were saying, 'f ... Arabs', 'you bitch', 'you slut' - everything. They said all Muslim mums with scarves can hang themselves with it," the student said. "I was very upset and very angry. [Other Muslim children] at school were very angry, too." The girl said she didn't know why she was singled out by her attackers.

Posts on social networking site Facebook claimed the attack on this girl was in response to a fight between her friends and the group who "jumped" her two weeks ago.

The girl said she called her relatives for help and by 3pm a large crowd of her family and friends had gathered at the front of the school. They allegedly clashed with police who used capsicum spray to subdue the crowd and arrested six men and women, aged between 26 and 50, who were later charged with offences including affray, intimidation, assaulting police, resisting arrest and offensive language.

Witness Zahra Elasmar, whose two children attend the school, said Wednesday's fight was a spillover from the racist slurs made on students' Facebook pages. Facebook images obtained by The Daily Telegraph show derogatory comments made about other students including "lebs are rats!" .

Mrs Elasmar said she wrote to the Department of Education and Training about racism at the school and, with other parents, met with DET representatives, school staff and police liaison last month.

She said she collected 50 signatures on a petition sent to officials, but that it had fallen on deaf ears. "The principal doesn't know how to deal with this," she said. "What we witnessed today is not right in a multicultural country. We don't want another Cronulla [riot] at Hoxton Park."

A Department of Education and Training spokesman said the School Education Director will meet with Mrs Elasmar "soon" and that students who engage in racist or other anti-social behaviour are "disciplined".

Another parent, who wished to remain anonymous, said his son was attacked last year by "Leb students". "He can protect himself, but I was worried," he said. It was this brawl which caused the subsequent near-riot at the Green Valley Police Station.

While a police media release claimed only 40 supporters of the six people arrested over the school fight congregated outside the station, a police incident report obtained by The Daily Telegraph shows worried officers called in backup from units from across the South-Western Sydney command.

The report said police estimated "between 80 to 100" people - predominately young men - surrounded the police station. When a breakaway group tried to storm the station, police found themselves "faced with a real danger and the possibility of a volatile and violent confrontation resulting in the urgent call for assistance". Police with the assistance of surrounding local area commands, the dog squad and highway patrol officers took two hours to bring the large and angry group under control.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


3 March, 2011

Christianity isn’t dying in Britain; it’s being eradicated

It’s official: Britain is no longer a Christian nation. In banning Eunice and Owen Johns, a devout Christian couple, from fostering children, Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson declared that we live in a secular state, and that the Johns’ religious convictions disqualified them from raising citizens of that state.

We’ve outgrown Christianity, the judges professed. Instead, we have graduated to the status of a multicultural nation, blessed by a plurality of faiths.

Ironically, the justices who have pronounced that Britain is no longer Christian did so in a court where witnesses swear on the Bible and invoke God’s help in telling the truth. I do not imagine that these judges leave out the first word in “God Save the Queen” – nor would they shun an invitation to the Royal wedding, which is happening not at a registry office but the centrepiece of official Christendom, Westminster Abbey.

In taking part in these traditions, the judges – and the rest of us – are no different from past generations. For Christianity is not merely a part of life here, a provider of schools, hospitals and orphanages. It is the backbone of our laws, the impetus for the charity, justice and tolerance that have long been characteristic of this country. Its grand principles have inspired citizens to extraordinary actions, such as William Wilberforce’s campaign against slavery, and to ordinary kindnesses, such as reading to hospital patients or delivering meals on wheels.

When David Cameron speaks of our moral duty to our Arab brothers, or shares his vision for the Big Society, he taps not into narrow party allegiance, but into our common Christian heritage.

The Christians of an earlier era may not have known about multiculturalism, or predicted that it would be the signature tune of our times. Yet their faith gave them a moral imperative that demanded respect for others: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Without this moral underpinning, multiculturalism sags into a factionalism of competing demands and conflicting interests. Instead, the Gospel’s commandment inspires the Christian majority to accommodate Jewish, Muslim, atheist and Hindu minorities, without losing sight of the basic principle of mutual respect.

This, indeed, is one of the reasons why non-Christian believers are so passionate in wanting to protect Christianity as a presence in public life. Jews, like Muslims, recognise that while Christians – and especially Anglicans – may enjoy a special status, their faith embraces all people as made, and loved, by God. The Act of Succession, which bans us Catholics from the throne, makes me angry; but like all members of a religious minority, I feel safer in a culture that cherishes spiritual values than in one that rubbishes them.

So it is not just Christians that the ruling in the Johns case will alarm and unsettle. As the judges wagged their fingers about the secularist principles that, they claim, define the nation (and which “ought to be, but seemingly are not, well understood”), they were not describing the status quo: a strong majority of Britons still consider themselves to be Christian. Instead, they were making clear their desire to steer this country in a direction of their own choosing – one that matches the views of an increasingly strident group that is determined to scrub Christianity from public life.

Its efforts to push the majority faith underground are evident everywhere, from our bus stops to our workplaces. The British Humanist Association is campaigning to discourage “cultural Christians” from identifying themselves as believers in the forthcoming census. Jo Johnson, a Tory MP, wants to drop the prayer that traditionally opens Parliamentary sessions. Companies like BA forbid their Christian staff from wearing crosses to work. Schools and offices present Christian holidays as secular breaks. And now devout Christians are to be prevented from becoming foster parents.

According to our learned judges, “the aphorism that ‘Christianity is part of the common law of England’ is now mere rhetoric”. How excruciatingly unjust.


New generation infected by narcissism, says psychologist

An "epidemic of narcissism" has swept across the student population in the past 30 years, a US expert will tell a conference on personality disorders in Melbourne today.

Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, said a study she conducted of 16,000 university students across the US showed 30 per cent were narcissistic in psychological tests, compared with 15 per cent in 1982. "They are all 18 and 19-year-olds, so this is clearly a generational shift," she said.

Professor Twenge said the finding built on another study based on interviews with 35,000 people of varying ages, who were asked if they had ever had symptoms of narcissism.

"Usually the oldest people have the highest rates, because they have lived for more years, but this data showed the opposite," she said. Only 3 per cent of those over 65 had had symptoms, but for people in their 20s it was 10 per cent.

"These were shocking numbers because you can only diagnose this starting at age 18, so there weren't that many years for people in their 20s to develop this, yet their rate was three times as high as people over 65."

In a keynote address to the International Society for the Study of Personality Disorders Congress, Professor Twenge will say that permissive parenting, celebrity culture and the internet are among the causes of the emerging narcissism epidemic.

She said telling children they were special to build self-esteem could foster narcissism.

Narcissists had an inflated sense of self, lacked empathy, were vain and materialistic and had an overblown sense of entitlement. Some resulting social trends were a greater interest in fame and wealth, more plastic surgery, and an increase in attention-seeking crimes - for example, "beating someone up and putting it on YouTube".

Professor Twenge was concerned about a culture "that seems to not just accept narcissism but finds it laudatory … It worries me, when I talk to college students, that they are not surprised at all that their generation is more narcissistic.

"They say, 'We have to be this way because the world is more competitive.' But the problem is that narcissism doesn't help you compete. It blows up in your face eventually."

She said narcissistic students tended to have poorer results and were more likely to drop out, probably because they thought they didn't have to study because they were already smart. "It's delusional thinking."


Leftist Australian Prime Minister hit by gay marriage rebellion from her own party

JULIA Gillard is facing a backbench rebellion over fears the government would support a Greens Bill that could enable gay marriage and legal euthanasia. Three senior MPs - Steve Hutchins, Don Farrell and John Hogg - confronted the Prime Minister yesterday to express concerns about the Greens' Bill.

Greens leader Bob Brown said his proposed law would make an Act of Parliament necessary for the Commonwealth to override legislation in the Northern Territory or the ACT. It would abolish ministerial vetoes.

The Herald Sun has been told the delegation, led by Mr Farrell, the so-called "Godfather" of the Labor Right, met Ms Gillard at 11.30am after the Greens claimed to have secured government support for the private member's Bill.

It is believed the PM said she had no knowledge of it and she would not back legal euthanasia. Treasurer Wayne Swan also told them he had no knowledge of the issue.

Angry Labor MPs yesterday said the issue had brought to a head amid growing concerns the Greens had too much influence on Government policy. "I just hope this is not a harbinger of what life will be like after July 1, when the Greens have control of the Senate," one concerned senior Labor MP said.

MPs also have privately criticised the PM's decision to introduce a carbon tax without consulting the full Labor caucus. Labor figures, particularly in outer city electorates, have been fielding "virulent" emails and phone calls from voters complaining of a "sellout" to the Greens. "People are really angry - they feel they've been deceived," a senior Labor MP said. "It's adding to a growing view out there that Labor is dominated by the Greens."

Labor MPs have also confessed to being "savaged" by irate voters over the carbon tax. Some said their offices had received abusive phone calls from people fearful over the impact of a carbon tax on family living costs. "One was pretty vicious," a Sydney MP said.


The West's Proxy War Against The Jews

It was a stunning moment of moral clarity. As the South Vietnamese refugees clambered onto rickety boats in the South China Sea to escape the victorious Communists, the American Left that orchestrated the US defeat through a sustained campaign of propaganda and fake calls for peace stood silent.

As Pol Pot, the "progressive" dictator tortured and murdered a third of his people in Cambodia, the leftists "peace" activists in the US and Europe who never saw a US military operation that was justified, turned a blind eye.

The silence of the likes of Susan Sontag, Jane Fonda, Noam Chomsky and their fellow travelers came to mind last week when the Western media and intellectual elites averted their gaze as Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the long exiled spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood spoke before a crowd of millions at Cairo's Tahrir Square.

Qaradawi, who had been living in exile in Qatar during Hosni Mubarak's reign, became an international jihadist superstar thanks to Qatar's unelected potentate Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani who gave him his jihad indoctrination show on Al Jazeera. From his internationally televised soapbox, Qaradawi regularly preaches international jihad and genocide of Jewry to millions of fans worldwide.

Two important things happened during Qaradawi's appearance in Cairo. First, his handlers refused to allow Google's Egyptian Internet revolutionary Wael Ghonim to join the cleric on the dais. For anyone willing to notice, Qaradawi's message in spurning Ghonim was indisputable. As far as the jihadists are concerned, Ghonim and his fellow Internet activists are the present day equivalent of Lenin's useful idiots.

They did their job of convincing credulous Western liberals that the overthrow of Mubarak was all about sweetness and light. And now they are no longer needed.

The second message was Qaradawi's call to destroy Israel. With millions of adoring fans crying out "Amen," and "Allahu Akhbar," Qaradawi called for a Muslim conquest of Jerusalem - that is, for the destruction of Israel. As a first step, he demanded that the Egyptian military open the Egyptian border with Gaza.

In the dismal tradition of its Vietnam-era teachers, today's international Left had nothing to say about Qaradawi's genocidal speech. In the New York Times' write-up of Qaradawi's triumphant return to Egypt for instance, the murder-inciting cleric was referred to as a champion of democracy and pluralism.

Leftist writers like Peter Beinart have spent the better part of the past month whitewashing and belittling the significance of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The same Muslim Brotherhood that was founded in 1928 and got its first boost from the Nazis who funded their anti-Jewish pogroms in Cairo and Alexandria in 1939 is seen as nothing to worry about. US President Barack Obama's Director of National Intelligence James Clapper assured Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is largely secular. This is the same Muslim Brotherhood whose motto is, "Allah is our objective; the prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; Dying in the path of Allah is our goal."

THE SAME Left who champions Qaradawi as a liberal is absolutely adamant that the revolutions now raging throughout the Muslim world are a mere sideshow to the region's chief drama. The revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, Oman, Morocco and Saudi Arabia are nothing. And the anti-regime protests in Iran have no strategic significance whatsoever to the West, which is mortally threatened by the mullocracy.

Who cares if the Arabs are ruled by tyrants, democrats, jihadists, or fascists? The only thing that matters is that "Palestine" is free of Israeli "occupation."

How can anyone get excited about the future of the oil-dependent global economy when Jews still reside in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem?

The Left's essential indifference to the plight of hundreds of millions of Arabs and its significance for the West was exposed in a news analysis by Brendan O'Neill in The Australian on February 16. O'Neill noted that whereas the demonstrators in Cairo were fairly silent on the issue of the Palestinians, anti-Mubarak demonstrations throughout the West prominently featured anti-Israel slogans and chants of "Free, free Palestine!"

O'Neill concluded that the contrasting messages, "reveals something important about the Palestine issue.... [It] has become less important for Arabs and of the utmost symbolic importance for Western radicals at exactly the same time."

Actually, it is important to Western leftists and jihadists, which is why the Palestinians only became a salient issue in Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood began taking control over the opposition movement with Qaradawi's sermon on February 18.

IN A groundbreaking study of the propaganda war against Israel entitled "The Big Lie and the Media War against Israel: From Inversion of Truth to Inversion of Reality," published in Jewish Political Studies Review in March 2007, Joel Fishman showed that the Muslim Brotherhood's propaganda war against Israel, like the Left's propaganda war against Israel, relied heavily on Nazi propaganda against Jews.

The early partnership between the Brotherhood and the Nazis, brought together by Palestinian Arab leader and Nazi agent Haj Amin el Husseini imported European anti-Semitism to the Muslim world. Beginning in the early 1950s, Nazi war criminals immigrated to Egypt. There they recreated much of Josef Goebbels' anti-Semitic propaganda operation for Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Fishman also documented how in the aftermath of World War II, and particularly after Israel's victory in the Six Day War, the Soviets adapted Nazi anti-Jewish propaganda to demonize Israel as the new, collective Jew and in turn demonize the collective Jew as the new Nazi Germany.

Two sources fed the Soviet anti-Jewish/anti-Zionist propaganda machine: former Nazi propagandists in Egypt; and former Nazi propagandists employed by the East German Communist regime. According to Fishman, the messages developed by these ex-Nazi propagandists were the basis for the Soviet campaign to delegitimize Israel which began in earnest after 1967. The call to arms was published first in a Pravda editorial in October 1967. There, Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement was reviled as dedicated to "genocide, racism, treachery, aggression, and annexation...all characteristic attributes of fascists."

With both the Soviets and the Arabs spewing the same inverted message, it didn't take long for it to become the rage in Europe. Europe's adoption of the Nazi-inspired propaganda in which reality was inverted and Israel - the victim of Arab imperialist, genocidal aggression - became the imperialist, genocidal aggressor was facilitated by France's embrace of the Arab camp after its withdrawal from Algeria and effective withdrawal from NATO.

By 1975, with the UN General Assembly's adoption of the Soviet-Arab sponsored resolution 3379 defining Zionism as racism, most European governments had fallen in line with the Soviet-Arab propaganda war. They in turn spent the next generation bringing their message to America.

TODAY, THAT message has become the sum total of Europe's Middle East policy. From their massive global funding of anti-Israel NGOs, to their financing of anti-Zionist films, plays, art exhibitions and educational curricula throughout the world and their bankrolling of the Palestinian Authority, the Europeans have put their money where their mouths and well-washed brains are.

AND THIS brings us back to 1975, to the boat people in the South China Sea, the killing fields in Cambodia, and the Left that couldn't care less about them.

It could be argued that the Bill Ayres, Howard Zinns and Jean Paul Sartes of the world can be forgiven for their decision to side with the Soviets and their Third World proxies against the US and the Western alliance. After all, they had nothing personal at stake. The Soviets were not threatening their freedom. And what did they owe to "unprogressive," "reactionary" people from Southeast Asia who agreed with America that Communism was evil and wished to be free?

But the situation is different today. By waging its war against Israel through Palestinian proxies, the West threatens itself. The Nazi propaganda recycled by the Soviets which has enslaved the peoples of Europe and much of America's intellectual elite has not only turned them into willing participants in the new war against the Jews. It has turned them into instruments for their own destruction.

By focusing their attention entirely on Israel and its imaginary crimes, the Europeans and their American admirers ignore the fact that the Islamic war against Israel is itself a proxy war for global jihad.

That war, informed by the same Nazi propaganda, but refined through the prism of Islamic Jew hatred and totalitarian imperialism, does not see Israel's destruction as its ultimate aim. The jihadists, whom the West so happily ignores and whitewashes, have made it absolutely clear that destroying Israel is but the first skirmish in their great war. Their ultimate aim is the conquest of what remains of Western civilization.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


2 March, 2011

Celebrities and anti-Semitism: has our liberal creative elite rediscovered an ancient prejudice?

There are bar-room bigots – and then there is the top fashion designer, John Galliano. Latest reports show a video of the diminutive fashionista in a bar in Le Marais (a Parisian Jewish neighbourhood that experienced Nazi deportations during World War II) where he had already been accused of one anti-Semitic and racist outburst, with a drink in one hand, declaring: “I love Hitler.”

The British designer then tells a horrified woman: “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f****** gassed.”

Galliano may be adored by Kate Moss and all the other narcissistic airheads from fashion’s “master race”, but when a member of staff at the Parisian bar told one of the designer’s victims: “This guy deserves to be beaten up, but we can’t do anything, it’s John Galliano,” there were a lot of people who buy their clothes on the High Street who understood what he meant.

Yet, Galliano is not the only anti-Semite in the (celebrity) village. His drunken ramblings are reminiscent of Mel Gibson’s penchant for racist diatribes. Incidentally, Gibson’s new movie The Beaver is out next month – where’s the Jewish control of Hollywood when you need it, eh?

And then there’s Charlie Sheen. Fresh from carousing with porn stars, and despite being apparently self-cured of his cravings for drugs and alcohol, the sitcom star and once talented actor had a “Gaddafi moment” on a radio show last week, pouring invective over the Two and a Half Men creator, Chuck Lorre.

No doubt, Hollywood is a nest of vipers and everyone is screwing over somebody else but Sheen’s abuse was not restricted to a soured business/creative relationship. He repeatedly referred to Chuck Lorre (born Charles Levine) as “Chaim Levine”. The invention of a stereotypical Jewish name for his alleged nemesis was rightly described by ADL National Director Abraham H Foxman as, “at best bizarre, and at worst, borderline anti-Semitism.”

Last year, the ADL also had to have words with Oscar-winning director Oliver Stone about his “Jewish domination of the media” comments.

But if there is rising ambivalence towards Jews among the liberal, creative elite, then the British director Ken Loach represents its true face.

The dour Leftie, who can’t blame drink, drugs or rank stupidity, has endlessly used a desiccated anti-imperialist rhetoric to incite the boycott of Israel at every turn, and in doing so flirts with the very biogtry he claims to ideologically oppose.

This was highlighted by his notorious response to a report on the growth of anti-Semitism in the aftermath of the Gaza War, in which he said: “If there has been a rise I am not surprised. In fact, it is perfectly understandable because Israel feeds feelings of anti-Semitism.” So whether perpetrator or victim, in Ken’s world, the Jews are to blame.

For Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson, anti-Semitism is a historical bacillus too toxic to have become extinct in a generation or two. Post Holocaust, it has hidden in the cracks of time waiting for the right conditions to re-infect the minds of men. The bitter, at times cruel, Israel-Palestine conflict now provides the environment for renewed contagion. To borrow a phrase, it may not be long before anti-Semitism once again “passes the dinner-table test”.


Why Is the New York Times Shilling for Far-Left Terrorists While Smearing the Patriot Who Exposed Them?

As a wave of left-wing violence threatens to engulf the nation, why is the progressive New York Times running an ugly campaign of character assassination against a real-life American hero who saved lives and helped to safeguard the nation’s sacred democratic process?

Could it be because the newspaper is sympathetic to the goals of the thuggish community organizers and union goons intimidating state legislatures across America and wants to help advance the liberal-left narrative?

The man with the bull’s eye on his back is Brandon Darby, formerly a far-left community organizer. This heroic defector from the Left stands accused by the New York Times and by angry radical groups of becoming an agent provocateur. Unhinged anarchists across the country would love to get their hands on him.

All over the Internet Darby’s name has been dragged through the mud by the Daily Kos and Crooks and Liars crowd. They accuse him of selling out and pushing the wrongdoers hard enough that he essentially became a co-conspirator. Search for his name with the words traitor, rat, or fink and you’ll see what I mean.

Darby got to this point after years of leading in-your-face protests, using confrontational tactics, and working with America-haters. But he experienced an epiphany and rejected the radical Left and its ever-present culture of political violence. He came to realize that America, for all its faults, wasn’t such a bad place after all. “I felt I had a duty to atone after badmouthing my country for so many years,” he said. “I love my country.”

The change of heart happened around the time he returned from socialist Venezuela where he had been trying to get the government there to donate to his nonprofit group. While in that country high officials in Hugo Chavez’s administration tried to get Darby to launch a terrorist network in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Darby refused.

After he returned to the U.S. Darby learned two anarchists wanted to attack the 2008 Republican National Convention. Darby offered his assistance to the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force and, at the FBI’s request, infiltrated a left-wing group that hoped to lay siege to the GOP convention that nominated the presidential ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The FBI sent Darby to meet with the plotters. “It was a group of people whose explicit purpose was to organize a group of ‘black bloc’ anarchists to shut the Republican convention down by any means necessary,” he explained. “They showed videos of people throwing Molotov cocktails, and they were giving people ideas.” (The plot and its aftermath is described in greater detail in my upcoming book on ACORN and its infiltration of the Obama administration which will be published in mid-2011. It was also referenced in Townhall.)

The 20-something plotters on whom Darby informed, David Guy McKay and Bradley Neil Crowder, made riot shields and were ready to use them in St. Paul to help demonstrators block streets near the convention site. They also manufactured instruments of death calculated to inflict maximum pain and bodily harm on people whose political views they disagreed with.

Thanks to the information Darby provided to authorities, police raided a residence and found gas masks, slingshots, helmets, knee pads and eight Molotov cocktails consisting of bottles filled with gasoline with attached wicks made from tampons. “They mixed gasoline with oil so it would stick to clothing and skin and burn longer,” Darby said.

Darby’s patriotic effort helped to put the would-be bomb throwers behind bars. McKay pleaded “guilty” and was sentenced in May 2009 to 48 months in prison plus three years of supervised release for possession of an unregistered “firearm,” illegal manufacture of a firearm and possession of a firearm with no serial number. A week before, Crowder cut a deal with prosecutors and was sentenced to 24 months in prison for possession of an unregistered firearm.
McKay received the stiffer sentence largely because he told a tall tale about Darby’s involvement in the plot.

As the U.S. Department of Justice reported in a press release available on the Internet, during sentencing the trial judge went out of his way to make a specific legal finding that McKay obstructed justice by falsely accusing Darby of inducing him to manufacture the incendiary devices.

McKay also confirmed that finding, the Star Tribune reported. “I embellished – I guess actually lied – that Brandon Darby came up with the idea to make Molotov cocktails.”

Yet somehow these publicly available facts could not be located by the New York Times, America’s Google-averse newspaper of record.


Australian MPs attack anti-Bible 'madness'

OPPOSITION MPs have strongly attacked the ban on Bibles and other holy books being handed out at citizenship ceremonies, with Tony Abbott describing it as outrageous.

Tasmanian Liberal senator Guy Barnett told the Coalition party room this was "political correctness gone mad. There should be freedom of religion, not freedom from religion."

Previously, local councils and community groups gave people at citizenship ceremonies Bibles, which they could keep. But under rules that the government says came in during the Howard years, people can bring their own Bibles or other holy books but they can't be handed out.

Senator Barnett last night described the ban as "an extremist US approach to the separation of church and state" and called for its overturn. Under the old practice, people were not obliged to accept the books, he said.

Nationals MP Paul Neville, from Queensland, told the Coalition meeting that Bibles were still used in courts and tribunals and the Bible was the centrepiece of the oath. But people no longer put their hand on the Bible at citizenship ceremonies.

Former Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull said if people wanted to offer Bibles and other holy books they should be able to do so. Mr Abbott said the government was interfering with the long-established practice to offer holy books.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the minister would look at the code's "appropriateness".


Australia: Privacy decrees gone mad

No privacy for the little guy

YOU KNOW what really gets my back up? It's privacy laws. I know, they are meant to keep our affairs private. But why do they work only one way? When my telecom "provider" makes an unsolicited call to "help me get a cheaper plan" the first thing they want to know is my date of birth. Why? For privacy reasons, we must ensure we are talking to you, I am told.

Well, they rang me, I didn't ring them, so how do I know it is them, not some devious schemer trying to steal my identity? Reasoning on this level doesn't compute. I have tried suggesting they tell me my date of birth, and if correct, I would continue the discussion. No, I am told. We are unable to disclose that information - privacy laws, you know!

I went looking for a cheaper green slip for my rego. No problem, said the smiling customer service officer at a big bank. What is your full name? What is your date of birth? What is your address? What is the rego number of the car in question? Etc etc. I replied that I only wanted the price on a green slip for a 2005 popular make of car, that I was under 75 and over 25, lived outside the metropolitan area, and had no demerit points, surely that was all she needed to know to give me a price. "No - the computer has to have all that information to give a quote," I was assured. My full name? My exact address? My exact date of birth? The rego number of my particular car? What for? What about my privacy? Does the process of getting comparative quotes have to put me at the mercy of every junk mail distributor in the world?

Our local paper recently ran a notice, inserted by a city funeral director, announcing the funeral of a former resident who left our district 50 years ago, leaving behind many friends, most of whom are dead. In recognition of the fact that this lady was a good friend of my parents, now both dead, I rang the funeral director for her family's address in order to send a sympathy card on behalf of my family. "No, privacy laws forbid us releasing the family's address. We will forward any card you wish to send."

Well, did they think that this old lady did something dastardly to my family half a century ago, and that I have been waiting ever since for just such an opportunity to even the score with her bereaved family? What absolute rot. Why do we have to accept such mindless and senseless nonsense?



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


1 March, 2011

Christian beliefs DO lose out to gay rights: British judges' ruling against devout foster couple

Christian beliefs an "infection"!

A Christian couple facing a foster parenting ban because of their views on homosexuality were told by a court yesterday that gay rights ‘should take precedence’ over their religious beliefs. Owen and Eunice Johns heard that their values could conflict with the local authority’s duty to ‘safeguard and promote the welfare’ of those in foster care.

The grandparents have already fostered 15 children and were praised by social workers as ‘kind and hospitable people’ who ‘respond sensitively’ to youngsters.

Outside court, Mr and Mrs Johns, aged 65 and 62, said they were ‘extremely distressed’ and had ‘only wanted to offer a loving home to a child in need’. They believe homosexuality is ‘against God’s law and morals’ – but said they are not homophobic and would ‘accept and love’ any child.

The Pentecostal Christians, who have been carers since 1992, had applied to Derby City Council in 2007 to restart fostering after a break.

But social workers raised concerns that their attitudes to homosexuality would conflict with the new Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.

The couple decided they were ‘doomed to failure’ and sought a clarification of the law over whether their religious beliefs excluded them from becoming foster carers.

Their case, heard last year, was supported by senior clergy including former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey who, in an open letter, warned that gay rights were taking precedence over the rights of others.

During the case, the Equality and Human Rights Commission argued that children risk being ‘infected’ by Christian moral views.

Yesterday the retired couple’s request for a ruling that faith should not be a bar to becoming a carer was denied at the High Court in London.

Their case was heard by one of the most senior members of the family court, Lord Justice Munby, who was sitting alongside Mr Justice Beeston. It was ruled that there was no discrimination against them as Christians but that their views on sexual morality may be ‘inimical’ – or harmful – to children. In that situation, they ruled: ‘The equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence.’

The Johnses are considering an appeal but campaigners fear the ruling will be used as a blueprint for other councils to stop devout Christians from becoming foster parents.

The couple, who have four grown-up children and six grandchildren, had applied to be respite carers offering short-term placements for children aged between five and ten. Mrs Johns, a retired nurse, said: ‘This is a sad day for Christianity. The judges have suggested that our views might harm children. We do not believe that this is so. We are prepared to love and accept any child.

‘All we were not willing to do was to tell a small child that the practice of homosexuality was a good thing.’

She added that the couple have visited her nephew, who is gay, and his partner in San Francisco. Her husband added: ‘We wanted to offer love and stability and security to a vulnerable child. Eight-year-olds we have looked after want to play, not talk about their sexuality.’

Yesterday the council denied that it had sought to discriminate against Mr and Mrs Johns on the grounds of religious belief, but added that it ‘welcomes the judgment’.


Another false rape claim from Britain

A soldier's wife cried rape after her husband worked out their baby was conceived while he was thousands of miles away on the Helmand frontline. Samantha Morley told her partner Thomas she had been attacked while he was fighting in Afghanistan to cover up her infidelity. He went to police and the 24-year-old repeated her claims, leading to the arrest of two innocent men.

But after police questioning, the mother-of-three admitted the allegations were an elaborate lie to conceal her affair.

Yesterday she wept as she was jailed for 12 months for perverting the course of justice. Morley, nine weeks’ pregnant with her fourth child, will only serve six months and not have the baby behind bars.

Oxford Crown Court had previously heard that Mr Morley, then her fiancé, grew suspicious after working out the timings of the girl’s birth last May. When he confronted her in June, she claimed she had been raped during a drunken night out the previous summer.

The soldier in 23 Pioneer Regiment, based in Bicester, near Oxford, called police but as detectives delved deeper, they worked out she was lying. Despite the affair, Mr Morley stood by his fiancée and later married her.

Rachel Drake, prosecuting, said: ‘She said she had been out with her sister and they had been drinking. ‘She said she had been assaulted by a stranger in an alleyway and that she had picked up a small part of his name.’

Police visited the Morley home and took a statement during a two-hour interview. They estimated that more than 54 hours were spent investigating her claims.

DNA samples were taken from the couple and the baby. An e-fit picture was produced, which police thought matched the description of a local man. He was arrested and later released on police bail.

Morley then contacted the police and told them she had seen the rapist driving a blue Citroen Saxo car and officers were able to identify a second man.

Mrs Drake said: ‘He said he met her the summer before and they had a relationship. ‘He was able to point the police to computer records from Facebook that showed he had been in contact with Mrs Morley and was asked to resolve the paternity of her youngest child. ‘He thought the dates tallied with the time they spent together. He knew the defendant’s fiancé was away in Afghanistan when they conducted their liaison.’

Mrs Morley was arrested last July and initially insisted her allegation was true before realising how much officers knew.

Mrs Drake added that she had not expected her partner to call the police.

Morley kissed her husband as she entered the dock wearing a grey suit with her dark hair tied back yesterday. He has left the Army to care for their children while she is in prison.

Sophie Murray, defending, said Morley had been afraid of losing her husband and had not acted out of malice.

Judge Mary Jane Mowat said: ‘The result for the two men suspected of one of the worst crimes in our law was undeniable. ‘The more the public hears about false allegations the less likely they, and juries, are to believe the true ones.’


Australia: Men banned from dance event at Town Hall

A WOMEN-only dance party has seen a suburban council accused of being segregationist. The Dance Sister Dance at Brunswick Town Hall in Victoria has won a VCAT exemption from equal opportunity laws. The Moreland City Council dance is designed for cultural groups whose women would not take part if it involved men.

But Ratepayers Victoria president Jack Davis said Moreland was supporting segregation. "We have segregation in swimming pools, now we have segregation for dancing. Will the next step be buses only for various nationalities," Mr Davis said. Similar exemptions have been granted for councils to offer female-only swimming sessions at public pools.

VCAT member Anna Dea said the dance party was justified because Moreland council research showed many women and girls preferred to be active in a female-only environment. [What say I prefer to be active in a "whites only" environment? Would that be OK?]

"In addition, many newly arrived communities find it culturally inappropriate for young women to participate in physical activity with males present," Ms Dea's decision said. "Young women tend to be less confident dancing at mixed events and it is hoped this event will build confidence, raise self-esteem and develop skills."

The City of Moreland, which stretches from Fitzroy North to Glenroy, has a large migrant population, with about 8 per cent of residents Muslim. It offers a women's only program at the Brunswick City Baths.

Mayor Oscar Yildiz said it was important for the council to offer activities in appropriate settings. "This event encourages women and girls from all cultural backgrounds to become familiar with dancing and raise their skill and confidence," Cr Yildiz said.

John Roskam, head of free market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs, said the dance party issue wasn't as clear cut as women-only swimming sessions. "If it's encouraging people to participate in the community then that would have to be a good thing, " Mr Roskam said. "But the thing is, we can't be making a habit of it. "We want the genders to be mixing in society."


Australia: Personal responsibility upheld

This may help cut back the fashion for blaming everyone except the person responsible for mishaps

A man left a quadriplegic when he dived into a riverbed has lost a $5 million lawsuit against local authorities. Timothy Felhaber was aged 17 in September 2002 when he and friends were using a rope swing attached to a tree to propel themselves into the Fitzroy River at a recreational area known as the Ski Gardens, near Rockhampton.

On his last swing he dived headfirst into the water, struck his head on the river bed and broke his neck. Mr Felhaber claimed Rockhampton City Council was responsible, at least in part, for his injury. He claimed authorities should have erected signs warning of the dangers of diving into the water.

At a trial in the Rockhampton Supreme Court earlier this month, he sought $5 million in damages.

He claimed the council was in breach of its duty of care to him by failing to remove the branch of the tree from which the rope was slung, removing the rope swing.

He also said the council failed to put up a sign warning people that the depth of the river may change and that diving was prohibited.

However the council argued Mr Felhaber had failed to prove any duty of care owed to him had been breached.

In a judgment published last week, Judge Duncan McMeekin found in favour of the council, ruling:

* the activity on which the plaintiff was engaged was a voluntary recreational activity

* the risks inherent in the activity were obvious and the exercise of care by members of the public could be expected to keep them safe

* the council were not armed with any special knowledge relating to the risks inherent in carrying out the activity

* the council in no way "required or invited or encouraged" entrants to the area to engage in the activity

"The plaintiff made a mistake in his dive," he said in the 22-page-long judgment. "I suspect that his swing took him not so far out as was usual and his chosen method of dismount brought him a little closer to the bank than he expected. It was not a deliberate action of courting a risk but a negligent failure to ensure he kept a safe distance away from the bank."

In 2004 the council erected a sign at the Ski Gardens warning of diving dangers and of crocodiles in the water.

Judge McMeekin said it was unreasonable for the council to remove every tree from which a rope could be attached.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

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

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take chidren away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

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

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

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

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

The Supreme Court of the United States is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amedment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do.

Consider two "jokes" below:

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

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

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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