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.


30 September, 2013

Hispanic multiculturalism in Britain too

A rapist has been jailed for nine years because of forensic evidence preserved by his victims thanks to an EastEnders storyline 25 years ago.

Salvador Orozco, 49, dragged his victim off the street and subjected her to a brutal sexual attack in Gateshead in 1990.

He fled to Hawaii and evaded justice for more than two decades, until new technology allowed him to identified and brought back to the UK for trial.

During the trial his victim, who was 20 at the time of the attack, told jurors at Newcastle Crown Court that the vital evidence which led to his conviction was only preserved because she remembered an Eastenders storyline.

When character Kathy Beale, played by Gillian Taylforth, was raped by James Willmott-Brown, in 1988, her attacker was convicted in part because she knew to write down a comprehensive account, and to avoid washing to preserve evidence on her body.

She said: “Kathy had been raped by Willmott-Brown and I remember watching the story.  'I knew I had not to have a shower or bath and I knew it was important to remember as much as I could.'

The court heard that during the attack Orozco has put on an oriental accent, saying :'My name’s Sushi. It’s Japanese.'

He was living in Gateshead at the time and working as a doorman at a club before making the attack on 17 May not far from Gateshead Metro Station.

After the attack the victim rushed home and her husband discovered her wrapped in a duvet in the living room, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

Her injuries were so severe that she could not be examined at first but samples were taken from her which would ultimately lead to the conviction of Orozco.

He was extradited from his home in Hawaii earlier this year on the strength of the forensic evidence, which was able to be used after a cold case review six years ago.

At court Orozco claimed that he had had consensual sex with the woman, but he was convicted of rape by the jury. He was cleared of attempted buggery and jurors were unable to reach a decision on a charge of indecent assault.

Sentencing today, Judge John Milford said: 'I find it very unlikely that a 20-year-old married woman would choose to engage in consensual relations with a complete stranger that she had just met.

'The complainant to me was an honest woman. You on the other-hand did not give a favourable impression and gave me no doubt about how this started.

'You grabbed her from behind, dragged her into a yard and detained her against her will in a state of abject terror. The effect this rape has had on the victim was very considerable.  'She was unable to live in her marital home, she was unable to return to her job and this incident had a most damaging effect on her marriage. 'That marriage broke down.'

After the sentence his victim said: 'I really want to thank everyone: friends, family, police and victim support. I could not have got through the last 23 years without their ongoing support.

'I want my case to give hope to other victims of rape; just because the offender is not caught or prosecuted at the time does not mean you won't get justice in the future.'

Nicola Musgrove of Northumbria Police said: 'This was a particularly violent offence of a stranger rape which has had a lasting impact not only upon the victim, but was also remembered by the officers who investigated the crime 23 years ago.

'This case shows that together with our partners in the CPS, we are committed to doing all we can to bring offenders to justice.

'The verdict sends a clear message to offenders of these types of crime that there is no hiding place and we are determined to support victims to seek justice and help them to achieve closure after they have suffered such serious crimes.

'Crimes of this nature are unusual and I hope that this verdict today will encourage victims of rape and other sexual offences to come forward and provide reassurance that their case will be thoroughly and professionally investigated; no matter how long it takes'


A Brief History Of American Race Relations–Conflict Is Inherent; Tragedy Is Frequent

By Jared Taylor

I have been asked to give you a history of American race relations in a half hour—not an easy thing to do. It would be easier to give you a history in a single word, and that word would be conflict. Conflict is the normal state of race relations anywhere in the world, and for reasons that I believe are deeply biological.

Humans have an exquisite sensitivity to differences between their group and other groups. Group conflict is as old as our species. Humans are prepared to fight each other for all kinds of reasons: ethnicity, language, nationality, religion, and even for political reasons, but of all the kinds of conflict, racial conflict is the most chronic and difficult to control, and that’s because race is part of biology. It is immediately visible, and is usually an indicator of differences in behavior and culture and not just a difference in appearance.

Wherever you find people of more than one race trying to share the same territory, there is conflict.

American race relations in the Anglo-American sense began in 1607 with the founding of the Jamestown colony on the coast of Virginia. Jamestown is not only where American race relations begin, it is also a fascinating example of the inevitability of racial conflict.

The purpose of the colony was to find gold, but the intentions of the colonists towards the Indians were entirely benevolent. In fact, the English, aware of the Spanish reputation for brutality in the New World, consciously wanted to be different and better.

The English, moreover, had no preconceived notions of racial superiority, and saw the Indians—or “naturals” as they called them—as essentially no different from themselves. This was in direct contrast to their view of Moors or black Africans whom they did think of as aliens. Some of the Jamestown colonists believed that the “naturals” really were white people whose skin was dark because they painted themselves so often.

In any case, the 100 or so men who started the colony were very careful to find a place for their encampment that was unclaimed and uninhabited. They wished to cause no offense. The leader of the colony, Edward-Maria Wingfield, decreed that since the English came in peace, there would be no fortifications and no training in arms.

There was contact with the Indians, mostly peaceful but sometimes tense, and before the encampment was two weeks old, hundreds of Indians attacked the camp in an attempt to wipe out the colony. There were deaths on both sides, and the English would have been massacred if they had not panicked the Indians with cannon fire. It was only after this narrow escape that the English built the three-sided stockade so familiar to American school children.

The colony went through very hard times, but survived. Despite that bad start before the walls went up, the English genuinely tried to have good relations with the Indians, but to their disappointment, it was the tribes who were closest to them who liked them the least and the ones furthest away who were friendly and willing to trade. This seems to be a general principle of race relations: they are better at a distance.

I don’t know how much I can assume about this audience’s knowledge of colonial history, but the chief of the neighboring Indians was named Powhatan, and his favorite daughter, Pocahontas, converted to Christianity and married the English planter John Rolfe. That was in 1614, and it inaugurated a period of real harmony. The new head of the colony, George Thorpe, was especially solicitous of the Indians, whom he genuinely tried to help. When English dogs barked at Indians, he had them publicly hanged.

But four years after Pocahontas married John Rolfe, Chief Powhatan died, and his younger brother, Opchanacanough, became chief. Opchanacanough did not have a marriage alliance with the English, and he wanted to drive the invaders out. In 1622, four years after he became chief, Opchanacanough struck. By then there were about 1,200 English in the colony, spread out in several different locations. Every morning, Indians would come to work with the English on farms and in workshops, and on March 22, they were to all rise up and exterminate the colonists. The main settlement at Jamestown was warned, however, and the men kept their weapons handy and nothing happened, but in other areas there was complete surprise, and the Indians killed about 400 colonists. Interestingly, they were especially brutal to George Thorpe, who had hanged dogs that annoyed Indians and who had been so concerned about their welfare.

There was war on Opchanacanough, and reprisals, but the two groups returned to peaceful relations, just as before.

Amazingly, in 1644—22 years later—Opchanacanough launched an identical sneak attack, and this time managed to kill between 400 and 500 people in yet another attempt to exterminate the English. This time the English went on what amounted to their own extermination campaign, killing many Indians, including Opchanacanough. Two years later, in 1646, the Virginia General Assembly noted that the natives were “so routed and dispersed that they are no longer a nation, and we now suffer only from robbery by a few starved outlaws.”

Here we have what I would call the inherent tragedy of race relations. The English appear to have brought with them genuinely cooperative intentions. They were unaggressive and trusting and had no sense of racial superiority towards the Indians. This was in complete contrast to their feelings towards the first blacks who appeared in Jamestown in 1619, whom colonists considered alien and inferior. As we look back on the Jamestown colony, it seems as promising an effort to establish peaceful race relations as could be imagined for the times.

And yet the very presence of the English was an act of aggression. The Indians were there first. Someone is always there first. We may deplore the series of Pearl Harbors that Opchanacanough launched on the colonists, but that was the only way the Indians could have driven out the white man and remained masters in their own house. Those attacks failed and the Indians were destroyed.

And this is the story of the conquest of the continent. The intentions of whites—sometimes good, often bad—really did not matter. The fundamental fact is that one people had the land, and another, more advanced and powerful people wanted the land. The result was dispossession, and even now, despite a great deal of intermixing, Indians are a distinct people with a distinct identity that shows how difficult assimilation is across racial lines, even after 400 years. Race relations mean conflict.


Bombshells and Baby Daddies: How Single Moms Are Destroying Kids and Society

Any woman who decides to have a child without a husband is putting her baby at risk of poverty.

Former USC basketball star Brynn Cameron has just had baby number two out of wedlock with yet another sports star. Her first baby daddy was NFL quarterback Matt Leinart and the newest addition to her growing family is the child of the NBA’s Blake Griffin.

Cameron is neither married nor in a relationship with either sperm-donor. (Rumor has it the stars of the NHL are competing with the pros of the PGA to see who will be next in line for PDA with the leggy blonde.)

While Cameron may not be struggling as a single mother because of her reported $15k a month child support paycheck (from baby daddy #1), the money alone will not protect her children from her stupid choice to raise them without a partner. Worse, Cameron’s lifestyle may seem attractive to her young fans who will suffer far more harm than she if they follow in her ill-advised footsteps.

Time and time again, statistics prove children raised in single-parent homes suffer compared to their peers in stable, married households. And yet, fauxminists still insist that single mothers are superior because they’re fighting the patriarchy… or something equally unintelligent.

In an essay entitled “The Increase in Single Mothers is Actually a Good Thing,” Hugo Schwyzer claims that the rise in single motherhood is a result of women having babies with men they find inferior and thus not marriage material. Schwyzer uses an example of a woman whose “boyfriend was so dependent that she had to buy his cigarettes. Marrying him never entered her mind.”

Perhaps having sex with him should never have entered her mind.

Why are today’s women so stupid they allow men they wouldn’t trust to run errands deposit their DNA inside of them? Perhaps it’s related to the lie from the progressive feminists that birth control works and there is such a thing as consequence-free sex. Here’s a secret: It doesn’t and there isn’t.

Any woman who decides to have a baby without a husband (not a baby daddy or a guy who visits on the weekend) needs to understand she is making the choice to put her baby and society at risk for the unforgivable disadvantages of poverty, teen pregnancy, sexual abuse, a life of crime and incarceration and suicide.


Now work for your benefits: British Ministers to unveil tough crackdown on payments to jobless

The long-term unemployed are to be told they must do an unpaid full-time job or be stripped of their benefits.

A dramatic extension of the conditions attached to unemployment handouts  will be unveiled at the Conservative party conference next week, according to well-placed sources.

Ministers are convinced a new US-style ‘work for the dole’ scheme will help to reduce  Britain’s vast benefits bill and curb the something-for-nothing culture.

It is expected that claimants who go through the Government’s main back-to-work scheme, the Work Programme, but fail to find a job, will be required to take part in unpaid community activities or work experience.  Those who refuse to do so face losing their welfare payments.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s not acceptable for people to expect to live a life on benefits if they’re able to work.’

A poll today finds overwhelming support for stricter conditions for the long-term unemployed.

The YouGov survey shows most voters believe jobseekers should carry out work experience or community work in order to receive their benefits.

By a margin of nearly five to one – 56 per cent to 12 per cent – they support the introduction of ‘workfare’ for the long-term unemployed compared to the status quo.

Two thirds of those questioned – 67 per cent –  felt workless mothers with children under four should be excluded from doing community work in return for benefits.

But only one in four – 25 per cent – thought those with mental health conditions who are capable of work should be excluded from workfare, and only one in five – 22 per cent – thought those with physical disabilities who are capable of working should be exempt.

However, the centre-Right think tank Policy Exchange, which commissioned the survey of 1,930 people, warned that forcing those with physical and mental health problems to work would be counterproductive.

In a report published today, it says the Government should pilot workfare schemes for specific groups of jobseekers, including those who leave the Work Programme without finding a job after at least two years of support, either through lack of effort or experience.

The Government has already carried out pilot schemes which suggest significant numbers of jobless claimants would rather lose their handouts than get out of bed and do a stint of unpaid work.

Officials suspect many of those who stop claiming are working in the black economy and would rather lose their welfare than give up their undeclared earnings.

Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘The welfare state rightly provides a safety net for those out of work. But in return, jobseekers must do everything they can to get into work, that’s only fair.’

Ed Holmes, senior economics fellow at Policy Exchange, said: ‘Making people work in return for their benefits is clearly popular with the public but workfare is not suitable for everyone.

‘These findings underline that fact that the public feel it shouldn’t be the responsibility of government to prop people up and find them work.’

Figures yesterday showed an increasing number of long-term jobless have found employment under the Government’s flagship back-to-work scheme.

More than 168,000 have been helped into a lasting job through the Work Programme to the end of June.

The figure is an increase of 37,000 in the three months to June, said the Department for Work and Pensions.



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

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



29 September, 2013
More Muslim culture in Britain

An illegal immigrant who attacked a ballet dancer, broke his neck and left him lying in the street has had his sentence increased by the Court of Appeal after being declared 'ruthless, callous and a danger to the public'.

Mohammed Ali Mohamoed, now 28, was originally jailed for a total of 13 years for assaulting Jack Widdowson on a disused canal towpath in Cardiff.

But three appeal judges have unanimously ruled the sentence was inadequate because the trial judge wrongly thought Mohamoed, of Splott, Cardiff, would be automatically deported on completing his sentence.

Lord Justice Pitchford, sitting with Mr Justice Spencer and Mr Justice Stewart, ruled there was no such thing as automatic deportation - and Mohamoed could spend years resisting removal from the UK on the grounds that it would infringe his human rights.

The judge quashed the 13-year term imposed at Cardiff Crown Court last June and substituted an extended sentence to meet the danger Mohamoed could pose to the public if released from prison but not immediately deported.

The judge said: 'In our view, so targeted, so ruthless and so callous were the circumstances of this offence that this man quite plainly is a danger to the public.'

The appeal court allowed a challenge by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC to the adequacy of the original sentence imposed by Mr Justice Wyn Williams and replaced it with an extended sentence of 18 years, composed of an immediate custodial term of 13 years, plus an additional five years on licence.

The overall sentence means that, whenever he is released from prison, Mohamoed will remain under supervision for the full 18-year period, or until he is deported.

Mohamoed was found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Mr Widdowson, then aged 19 and from Somerset, on November 5 2011.

Mr Widdowson, who was an apprentice dancer at the Bern Ballet Company in Switzerland, suffered neck injuries so serious that it was at first thought he would be left paralysed and unable to dance again.

But eight months after the attack he had returned to dancing in what his family called a 'miracle' recovery.  His father Dr Julian Widdowson said his 'incredible flexibility' may have saved his life.

Mr Widdowson’s mobile phone had been stolen and he had been left for dead on the outskirts of Cardiff city centre near East Tyndall Street at 00.45.  He had been visiting his brother who was studying at Cardiff University.

At his trial, Mohamoed admitted stealing Mr Widdowson’s phone but claimed someone else must have hurt him.

Lord Justice Pitchford said he was smuggled into the UK in June 2008 in the back of a lorry. His asylum claim was unsuccessful, but he illegally remained in the country, living in Cardiff.

At first he claimed to have been born in the Palestinian territories, but now says he is of Egyptian origin.

The Attorney General welcomed the ruling, saying: 'This terrible attack on a promising young ballet dancer could easily have ended his career.

'Mohammed Ali Mohamoed used brutal violence on his victim and left him severely injured and in a paralysed condition on a towpath in Cardiff.

'I am pleased that the Court of Appeal found Mohammed Mohamoed a dangerous offender and increased his term to an extended sentence of 18 years.'


'Celebrating diversity' is Britain's  new State religion. But don't praise the Lord!

By Richard Littlejohn

The persecution of practising Christians in Britain has been a recurring theme of this column. Publicly-funded bodies seem to take a perverse delight in targeting staff with a strong Christian faith.

‘Celebrating diversity’ is our new State religion. We must accommodate all beliefs and, in the case of extremist Islam, tolerate practices which most people in this country find alien and abhorrent.

If you’re Muslim, special prayer rooms will be set aside for you. Hospital canteens will force everyone to eat halal meat. Feel free to wear the veil, madam. If you’re a Pagan, you’ll be granted time off work to celebrate the Summer Solstice.

But if you’re Christian, you praise the Lord at your peril. Take that crucifix off now, or find another job.

This week, a Christian doctor lost his appeal against dismissal for sending a prayer to his colleagues by email. Consultant paediatrician David Drew thought the 16th century prayer, To Give And Not To Count The Cost, by St Ignatius Loyola, would be motivational. It reads:

Teach us, good Lord
To serve as You deserve,
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labour and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that we do Your will.

The prayer might not be to everyone’s taste, but I can’t understand why anyone would be remotely offended by it. What if Dr Drew had sent round a copy of Kipling’s inspirational poem:

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you ....

Would that have been a hanging offence? Of course not.

Dr Drew was hauled before a disciplinary committee and told to keep his religious beliefs to himself. When he refused, he was found guilty of committing ‘gross misconduct and insubordination’ and sent packing with his P45.

You don’t have to be a Bible-bashing Godbotherer to feel disquiet over an industrial tribunal’s decision to uphold his sacking.

Dr Drew claims that his bosses at Walsall Manor Hospital were looking for an excuse to get rid of him because he had consistently accused them of putting patient safety at risk.

He’s almost certainly right, so why did they choose to sack him over his ‘motivational’ email? Simple: they knew that a devout Christian doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of convincing a tribunal that he’s been the victim of religious discrimination.

The corridors of the industrial tribunals system are littered with the corpses of Christians sacrificed on the altar of ‘diversity’.

Members of tribunals are trained to be concerned only with upholding the rights of perceived ‘persecuted minorities’. Their verdicts are guided by the doctrines of ‘sexism’, ‘racism’ and a litany of fashionable ‘phobias’.

Adherents of ‘minority’ religions will always get the benefit of the doubt. But Christians are on a hiding to nothing, since they represent the ‘oppressors’.

An old trades union friend of mine who until recently sat on an industrial tribunal in London explained to me how it works.

If a woman or a member of an ethnic minority is sacked for whatever reason, their lawyers will always advise them to claim ‘sexism’ or ‘racism’. Employers will be considered guilty as charged unless they can prove their innocence.

Take the case of 21-year-old call centre worker Elizabeth Cowhig, from Liverpool, who was this week awarded £13,000 after alleging that she had suffered unwanted sexual advances from her male boss.

There doesn’t appear to be any evidence to support her claim. It was her word against his. Miss Cowhig’s boss said she’d been sacked because she wasn’t up to the job.

But employment judge Dawn Shotter decided in her favour ‘on the balance of probabilities’. Maybe the judge suspected her boss of being a Christian.

Please don’t delude yourself that industrial tribunals are neutral courts designed to give redress to those who have been unfairly treated by their ruthless employers. Their primary purpose, like that of every other State institution, is to enforce the official cult of ‘diversity’ and to further the cause of aggressive secularism.

Justice doesn’t enter the equation. Dr Drew’s religious beliefs may not be everyone’s cup of meat, but he hasn’t killed anyone.

Up the road from Walsall, at Mid Staffs Hospital Trust, 1,200 NHS patients died because of a culture of neglect, incompetence and callous indifference. Not a single doctor or manager responsible has been sacked, arrested or jailed.

Yet Dr Drew, who has been  caring for patients for 37 years, has been stripped of his career for sending a harmless prayer to his colleagues and standing up for his Christian beliefs.

Praise the Lord.


Letter from Pastor Clifford Regarding Prosecution for “Hate Crime”

Yesterday evening about 5.45, we were visited by two plain-clothes police officers. They had shown no ID when my wife opened the door, but she invited them into the lounge. In my study at the time (choosing the psalm & hymns for our church study and prayer meeting), Marian informed me that some police officers wished to see me. I thought, “Were they delivering a summons from the CPS?”

The two officers – one was very tall, the other of average height – stood as I entered the room. The tall officer then showed me his ID.

The purpose of their very brief visit was to announce that I am to face no charges regarding the Norwich Gay Pride complaint. When I said, “Do you mean the CPS do not intend to prosecute me?” they said that is so.

Rather taken aback by this unexpected and unannounced call, all I could say was, “That’s very kind of you, thank you.” The officer courteously added that there was a proviso, that I should send no further e-mails to Norwich Gay Pride. Otherwise, I could face charges of harassment. I replied, “I had no intention and saw no need to contact them. So there was no problem.”

Little more was said. The officers promptly departed. It was all rather vague and hasty. Nothing was delivered in writing, neither did I catch the names of the officers.

Going into the kitchen with the news, Marian – with an evident sense of relief – threw her arms around my neck saying “Praise the LORD!” For her sake and others who have been anxious for me since the first police interview of 17 August, I am thankful to God that this trying time is over. That said, I was looking forward to a day in court to bear witness against the sodomite wickedness growing in the UK. In that sense, I am somewhat disappointed! At least I can now continue my pastoral calling without the distraction of recent events.

To all those who have communicated their kind and prayerful support during this testing period, I send my warmest thanks. Please continue to pray for us, not least because if this local battle has ended, the war continues…

Dr Alan C. Clifford
Norwich Reformed Church


British commuter who told Pakistani to 'f*** off to your own country' in Tube outburst caught on camera is found NOT GUILTY

A commuter who told an Asian man to ‘f*** off back to your own country’ in a rant on a Tube train has been found not guilty of racial harassment .

Accountant Claire Moloney was allowed to sit with her family while the verdict was announced.  A gasp of relief was heard when she was pronounced not guilty, and her husband put his arms around her and gave her a hug.  One family member was heard to say, 'About time.'

Mrs Moloney said during her trial that she was embarrassed to watch film footage in which she screamed at an unidentified man, and which was later uploaded to YouTube, and shown to the court at her trial.

The jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court also decided she did not intend her words to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

In the video, Moloney told the commuter, an Asian-looking man: ‘I f****** respect people in their countries, f*** you c***.’  She stood up in her seat, saying: ‘You come in this country, you wanna have f*****g everything on a plate. F*** off back to your own country if your country is so good.’

Moloney, who works in Central London, was travelling to her home in Dagenham, Essex, on a District Line train after going for drinks with colleagues, the court heard.

When the alleged victim told her that she was being racist, she replied: ‘You c**** wanna take over our country, you racist c***, you wanna take over the world.’

The man remonstrated but was taken aback when Moloney got out of her seat to hurl more abuse.  By the end of the video, the victim had given up arguing and told her, ‘OK, I’ll go back to my country.’

Moloney, 40, sobbed and fell in to the arms of her husband in the public gallery as the jury at Snaresbrook Crown Court read out their verdicts.

The mother-of-two denied she was racist, saying she was upset at being told she had 'blood on my hands' and being criticised because she had been drinking alcohol.

‘I’m not a racist in any shape or form,’ she told the court in her evidence.  ‘I agree the language is horrific and I am mortified.  ‘I was half asleep and he said something to do with my poppy and I wondered if it was about me.  ‘He said something about blood on my hands for invading his country.

‘I know what he said was derogatory and against women in general and he definitely used the word “Slag” because I was out drinking.  ‘I was insulted and I lost it and I ranted; I was arguing my case.’  ‘I was in a rage, I lost control and I was ranting but he was goading me.’

It was suggested to Moloney that the man was at a ‘point of surrender’ but she said: ‘I do not think so. He was being sarcastic.’

Under cross-examination she claimed to regret not attempting to leave the train or reporting the abuse.

However, she did say she would have reacted had anybody of any race made comments like the ones the unidentified Asian man had made.

Moloney left court having pleaded not guilty to one count of using racially aggravated words to cause harassment, alarm or distress and one count of intentionally using words to cause harassment, alarm or distress.



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

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



27 September, 2013

Only Propaganda Is 'Good Journalism'?

Why are liberals in so much denial about liberal bias in the news? Why do they think they're bending over backward to be "objective" doing that which Republicans see as partisan activism?

Daniel Froomkin of the Huffington Post — formerly of The Washington Post — suggests an answer. He is exactly the kind of liberal agitator in the newsroom who wants every news story to be a blazing editorial. Every reporter must divide the world clearly between Liberal Sense and Conservative Nonsense. His latest article is titled, "Writing a Neutral Story About Something So Heartless As the Food Stamp Vote Is Not Good Journalism."

On Sept. 19, The New York Times reported, "The Republican-led House yesterday voted to make deep cuts to the food stamps program that has kept millions of American families from going hungry since the recession hit, saying its response to growing need was instead a sign of bloat and abuse."

In short, Democrats keep families from starving. Republicans reject "growing need" as "bloat."

Froomkin argued that attempting objectivity, like quoting awful Republicans, creates horrendous "triangulating mush" that fails to educate voters. The Republican food-stamp vote was for him "a blatantly absurd and cruel move (that) struck me as a good test of whether the Washington press corps could ever bring itself to call things as they so obviously are — or whether they would check their very good brains at the door and just write triangulating mush that leaves readers to fend for themselves."

Republicans should complain that while the Times story contained spending numbers and quoted both Democrats and Republicans, it contained the usual liberal media bias — indeed, editorial slant — in favor of social programs growing by leaps and bounds, forever and ever. But Froomkin was livid at the Times. "Like those at essentially every other mainstream news organization, they wrote it straight. They focused on procedure. They quoted both sides. And they called it a day."

Froomkin characterized Republicans quoted in the Times as either "fabulously disingenuous" or "shockingly dishonest." Froomkin would prefer these fools to be banned entirely from the news pages, unless they were tarred and feathered in print as unhinged extremists. Only that socialist view is the "truth."

Rep. Marlin Stutzman was "fabulously disingenuous" to insist that anti-poverty programs be measured by lifting people out of poverty, not just increasing spending in an era of trillion-dollar deficits. Somehow, he's the irrational one.

But when Republicans talk of dramatic spending increases in a news story, Froomkin faults reporters. He claimed it contrasts "a nonsensical non-argument with a fact and makes it sound like two equal sides." The Democratic "fact" was that the dramatic increase showed "the program was doing its job."

Froomkin is such a censorious Pravda-style writer that he even faulted his own colleagues at The Huffington Post for allowing "a long and utterly disingenuous quote from [Eric] Cantor, left unrebutted."

These are the facts Froomkin thinks are "disingenuous." Since taking office, the Obama administration has more than doubled spending on food stamps. Spending rose from $39 billion in 2008 to a projected $85 billion in 2012. House Republicans just voted to cut $40 billion from food stamps over a 10-year span, which, in federal-budget terms, is a tiny blip, not a "deep cut." The Times story admitted that even with these "cuts," the food stamp program "would cost more than $700 billion over the next 10 years."

The Times also noted that Senate Democrats insisted there would be no "cuts."

President Obama is responsible for a record number of food stamp recipients (47.7 million in June 2013). That's 6 million more Americans than when Obama's "recovery summer" began in June 2010.

Froomkin thought the newspaper accounts should agree with his view that the House vote was "not only an undeniable act of heartlessness, it was also perhaps the ultimate example of how today's increasingly radical and unhinged GOP leadership picks on the poor, coddles the rich, makes thinly veiled appeals to racism and plays time-wasting political games instead of governing."

Froomkin saw some merit in The Washington Post vote on this story, since it suggested conservative racism in pointing out the Census Bureau reports that almost half the food-stamp recipients are black or Hispanic.

"People at the Post are smart enough to realize that the primary political benefit to the GOP of attacking food stamps — and blaming Obama for the increase in their use — is that it serves as a dog-whistle, affirming to the base that Republican leaders are against letting shiftless minorities keep taking money out of your (white) pockets. People at the Post are not brave enough to say so, however."

After listening to their Froomkin-esque friends, liberal reporters think they've been painfully objective and dreadfully tolerant of Republican viewpoints. That's one reason the waterfall of liberal bias never stops flowing.


It's not the Pope's culture war

by Jeff Jacoby

INTRIGUED BY news coverage of Pope Francis's interview with the world's leading Jesuit journals, I wanted to read the whole thing for myself. The full English text, downloaded from the website of the New York-based America magazine, was 19 pages long. The part that generated all the excited headlines — "Pope Says Church Is 'Obsessed' With Gays, Abortion and Birth Control" was how The New York Times announced it on page 1 — amounted to only about five paragraphs. Maybe the Catholic Church isn't the institution that's obsessed.

You wouldn't know it from the media's compulsive focus on the controversial social issues, but the long conversation with the new pope was far more interesting and wide-ranging than a mere skull session on culture-war politics. The pope discussed everything from his favorite paintings to his daily prayers, from how he taught literature to high school boys to how he learned to avoid being authoritarian as he rose in the church hierarchy. He explained why leaving "room for doubt" is so important in any honest person's search for God, and why he distrusts any religious figure who claims to have "the answers to all the questions."

Neither Francis nor his interviewer dwelt at any length on the hot-button subjects that so fascinate the news media. They came up only once. The pope was asked how pastors could best reach "Christians who live in situations that are irregular for the church or … that represent open wounds." He answered, in effect: Meet them where they are, and work from there.

Just as God accompanies people in life, the pope said, so "we must accompany them, starting from their situation." That doesn't mean the church should drop its opposition to abortion or gay marriage: "The teaching of the church … is clear and I am a son of the church." But if the church's goal is to win over hearts and minds — especially in the midst of an aggressive secular culture that celebrates abortion rights and gay marriage — "it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time." Don't lose sight of the big picture, the pope advises. He analogized the church to a field hospital, and reminded Catholics of the importance of triage when assisting a seriously injured person. You don't start by hectoring him about cholesterol. First things first. "You have to heal his wounds. Then we can talk about everything else."

From the first moments of his papacy it has been evident that Francis is a "people" person, with a gentle common touch and a gift for pastoral outreach. In the church as in any other organization, leadership comes in very different styles. This pope's style is a warm, encouraging one. With more than 40 years of experience in the priesthood, he knows what has worked for him and has had plenty of time to judge the success of other approaches. It would be surprising indeed if he didn't use the immensely extended influence that comes with being supreme pontiff to adjust or renew the church's course.

On the other hand, nothing is surprising about the eagerness with which so many on the cultural left have seized on a few lines in an extended interview and hailed it as a game-changer. One abortion-rights lobby took to Facebook to post — of all things! — a giant "Thank You" card to the pope. A prominent gay-marriage advocate exulted over what he sees as "The Rebirth of Catholicism."

But the pope isn't throwing out the Catechism. He isn't changing church doctrine. He isn't telling priests and bishops to "move on" from the politics swirling about abortion or same-sex marriage. Far from it. He is simply reminding them that a good teacher needs a good attitude, and that a shepherd seeking to bring lost lambs back to the fold may sometimes need to hike a great distance, and draw on reservoirs of great patience, before the strays are willing to return. "The people of God want pastors, not clergy acting like bureaucrats or government officials," the pope says.

We live in an era when so much of our public culture really is "obsessed" with sexual issues, and full of anger and contempt for those who maintain the guard rails of tradition and morality. Francis doesn't propose to let those guard rails rust. But his intuition and experience tell him they can be kept in better trim with less acrimony. I'm not a Catholic, but I pray for his success.


UK: Christian doctor sacked for emailing a prayer to colleagues to cheer them up loses appeal against dismissal

A Christian doctor who was sacked because he emailed a prayer to his colleagues has claimed hospital managers targeted him as an NHS whistleblower after he lost an appeal against his dismissal.

Consultant paediatrician Dr David Drew, 65, sent a 16th-century prayer by St Ignatius Loyola around his department in April 2009, hoping it would be motivational.

Dr Drew, who had an unblemished 37-year career in the NHS, was told to ‘keep his religious beliefs to himself’ by a review panel, which was called to investigate his conduct in March 2010.

After refusing to accept their findings, he was sacked from Walsall Manor Hospital, where he worked as a clinical director.

Today the father-of-four, who lives in Sutton Coldfield, West Midlands, with his wife Janet, 63, said the email had been used as a smokescreen to push him out of his post.  He said: 'My case was never about the religion, it was about the fact the hospital wouldn’t listen to its most senior paediatrician telling them they were cutting costs to the bone and putting patient safety at risk.

'It’s all about whistleblowing. We’ve now got people like Robert Francis [Robert Francis QC, who chaired the public inquiry into the Stafford hospital deaths] telling us doctors and nurses are too scared to raise concerns because it’s considered a career-ending move.

'There were five gags put on my case so we’ve never been able to interrogate the process used in the review which led to my dismissal.   'My case is the exact opposite of the transparency that’s being called for in the NHS today.

'We have to give doctors and nurses freedom to safely report when they see things going wrong and putting patients at risk. It’s a scandal.'

The doctor was branded as having committed ‘gross misconduct and insubordination’ in December 2010.

An employment tribunal in April last year rejected his claims of unfair dismissal, religious discrimination and victimisation against Walsall Hospitals NHS Trust.

And on Monday this week a judge upheld the decision of the lower court after he deemed its findings were based on available evidence.

Judge Jeffrey Burke QC said the original panel had not made any error in law and rejected claims from Dr Drew’s legal team that their conclusions were ‘perverse’.

Dr Drew prefaced the prayer that he sent around the department, called ‘To give and not to count the cost’, with the words: 'I find this a personal inspiration in my frail imperfect efforts to serve my patients, their families and our department.'

Managers declared he had created a ‘toxic work environment’ with what were inappropriate religious communications.

Dr Drew said today: 'It was the management that raised a complaint against me after they found an email I’d sent to my colleagues with this traditional, literary prayer in it.

'They gave me instructions I was to keep my religion out of the workplace.

'We were a very very happy department with people of different faiths and even some atheists who were quite outspoken.

'But we were senior, intelligent, well-educated people who were not extreme in our beliefs in any way. We co-existed quite happily.'

Dr Drew was suspended in the same month after a senior nurse claimed he had undermined her, but the allegation was later proved unfounded.

Dr Drew was meeting with his legal team yesterday to discuss the case.  He plans to release a book about his case in November.

A spokesperson from Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust said that the issues that Dr Drew raised today had been addressed through several stringent formal processes on-going since 2009.

The spokesperson said the Trust was satisfied with the outcome of the case and that Dr Drew's claims had been dismissed, but added: 'We would like to reiterate that this case did not question Dr Drew’s skills as a Paediatric Consultant and on behalf of the Trust would like to say that we regret that the situation had to get to the Tribunal stage.

'As a Trust we actively encourage and support our staff to raise an issue if they are concerned about patient care.'


France's Interior Minister calls for Roma gypsies 'to return' to Romania or Bulgaria because they can't integrate

A French minister has called for Roma gipsies to ‘return to Romania or  Bulgaria’ because they   don’t integrate well in France.

There have also been demands from other politicians for the two impoverished countries to be ‘locked out’ of European agreements which allow freedom of movement.

Interior minister Manuel Valls’s explosive words yesterday started a wide-ranging debate about the abject failure of EU ‘open border’ immigration policies.

The European Commission immediately threatened sanctions against France for its policy towards the Roma community.  A spokesman insisted everyone from Bulgaria and Rumania was a citizen of the EU and therefore had a right to travel anywhere.

Three years ago the Commission’s vice president, Viviane Reding, sent a similar threat to former president Nicolas Sarkozy, saying that Roma expulsions had to stop.

The row will be of huge interest in the UK, as next year restrictions on Romanians and Bulgarians looking for work are being swept away.

In an interview on the France Inter radio station, Mr Valls said: ‘The Roma should return to Romania or Bulgaria.’  The Socialist Party member added: ‘Yes, we must tell the truth to the French – these populations have a way of life that is extremely different to ours, and they are obviously in confrontation with local populations.’

Illegal Roma camps have sprung up on the edges of major cities such as Paris and Marseille. All have become associated with widespread crime and major health hazards.

Mr Valls, who was born in Barcelona, said: ‘It is unrealistic to think we will solve the problem of Roma populations only through integration.’  He said there is ‘no alternative but to dismantle these camps and gradually move them across the border’.

And last night he remained defiant in the face of criticism, insisting: ‘The majority [of Roma] should be delivered back to the borders. We are not here to welcome these people.

‘I’d remind you of [former Socialist premier] Michel Rocard’s statement “it’s not France’s job to deal with the misery of the whole world”.’ One of Mr Valls’s own cabinet colleagues, Arnaud Montebourg, also pointed to the fact the minister’s family were migrants from Spain.

Mr Montebourg said: ‘A theory that such and such a person or such and such a people will never, ever be able to integrate just doesn’t stand up.  ‘Decreeing in advance that it is impossible seems to me excessive and is worthy of being corrected.’

But Mr Valls said: ‘I’ve got nothing to correct. My remarks only shock those who don’t know the subject.’

Jean-Francois Cope, the leader of the opposition UMP party, meanwhile told France Info radio station that Roma criminals regularly  ‘harassed Parisians’.

Referring to the Schengen agreement which allows people to move across Europe without passport checks, Mr Cope said both Romania and Bulgaria should be excluded.

‘We close our eyes to the French government to what is happening in our country – the constant violence’, he said. ‘This is extremely serious and…it is out of the question that Bulgaria and Romania enter the Schengen area until the problem is resolved at the European level.’

There are an estimated 15,000 Roma gipsies in France. Two years ago the then interior minister, Claude Gueant, claimed the vast majority of street robberies in Paris were carried out by Romanian immigrants.



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

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



26 September, 2013

Christian convictions not allowed on Fox Sport?

Attorneys representing former NFL running back and former Republican senatorial candidate Craig James said Tuesday they are prepared to proceed with legal action against Fox Sports unless the company takes steps to return James to the air as a college football analyst on Fox Sports Southwest.

Liberty Institute, a Plano law firm that specializes in religious freedom cases, said in a three-page letter sent Tuesday to Fox Sports officials that the network committed "a severe violation of Mr. James' religious liberty" by hiring and then dismissing him as college football studio analyst based on lifestyle-related comments made during his 2012 campaign for a U.S. Senate seat.

"Fox Sports has an opportunity here to resolve this in a friendly way and get this behind everybody, and we are hopeful that is what is going to happen" said Hiram Sasser, an attorney with Liberty Institute, whose letterhead reads "Restoring Religious Liberty in America."  "We are not interested in the blame game. We're interested in resolving the issue and getting Craig back on the air."

James, who worked for ESPN, ABC and CBS as a sportscaster following his football-playing days at Houston Stratford, SMU and the New England Patriots, was hired in August to appear on Fox Sports Southwest's college football studio shows. It was his first broadcasting job since he left ESPN to make an unsuccessful bid in the Republican Primary for the Senate seat now held by Ted Cruz.

During a candidates' debate during his Senate campaign, James was asked "Do you think people choose to be gay?" and replied, "I think it's a choice, I do. . I think that you have to make that choice. But in that case right there, they are going to have to answer to the Lord for their actions. We should not give benefits to those civil unions."

His campaign website included the statement: " I believe marriage is between one man and one woman, as ordained by God. I do not support the legalization of gay marriage."

He appeared on the network's Aug. 31 shows, but Fox Sports officials announced the following Monday that he would no longer be appearing on Fox Sports Southwest and that his hire by Jon Heidtke, the general manager of the Irving-based regional sports network, had not been fully vetted by company officials.

A company spokesman told The Dallas Morning News: "We just asked ourselves how Craig's statements would play in our human resources department. He couldn't say those things here."

James has not returned several messages seeking comment since his removal from the air but said in a statement issued Tuesday to Breitbart News that he believes his dismissal stemmed from comments that he says are consistent with his religious faith.

"I was shocked that my personal religious beliefs were not only the reason for Fox Sports firing me but I was completely floored when I read stories quoting Fox Sports representatives essentially saying that people of faith are banned from working at Fox Sports," he said. "That is not right and surely someone made a terrible mistake.

"I have worked in broadcasting for 24 years and have always treated my colleagues with respect and dignity regardless of their background or personal beliefs. I believe it is essential in our business to maintain professional relationships with people from a diverse background and have tolerance for those of different beliefs. I have never discussed my faith while broadcasting and it has never been an issue until now."

In its three-page letter addressed to Heidtke and Mike Anastassioiu, FSSW's executive producer, and to Fox Sports Media Group executives Eric Shanks and Randy Freer, Liberty Institute general counsel Jeffrey Mateer said he would begin legal proceedings within 48 hours of the letter's transmission Tuesday unless James is rehired.

"If you refuse to reinstate Mr. James, millions of Americans will be left with the impression that you do not respect religious liberty," he wrote.

Mateer said the firm's first step would be to obtain documents and seek depositions from Fox Sports officials under provisions of the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure.


Blaming the Crusades for Jihad

The cultural relativists on the Left and apologists for radical Islam like to blame the Crusades for almost everything. The Muslim extremists are only responding to the deeds of Christian extremists, the argument goes. In his new book, Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies, former Muslim Ibn Warraq takes on this misleading theme intended to blame the West for the Muslim world's troubles.

The claim that the Crusades are the starting point of Islamic jihad is basically the political application of, "For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction." It equates the Christian beliefs driving the Crusades with the Islamic beliefs driving jihad.

Ibn Warraq's new book tackles this misconception. Islamic atrocities were not provoked by the Crusaders' own reprehensible acts, but preceded them. Islamic jihad was not triggered by the Crusades; it preceded them.

In fact, as explained by Warraq and in books like The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and What's So Great About Christianity, the Christian world was reduced to about one-third of what it was by the sword of jihad. The Crusades were launched with the objective of, without any exaggeration, saving Europe and Western civilization from Sharia.

My personal experience in school is that the opposite was taught. The Crusades were framed as offensive and the jihads as defensive. The Crusaders were depicted as barbarians, particularly to Jews. I cannot recall hearing about a single Islamic atrocity before or during these wars.

This is a common phenomenon, Warraq explains, and it's part of an overall trend when it comes to education about the history of Islam.

"What are seen as positive aspects of Islamic Civilization are ecstatically praised, even exaggerated, and all the negative aspects are imputed to the arrival of the pestilential Westerners, and where the Arabs, Persians and Muslims in general are seen as passive victims,"  Warraq said in an interview.

As proof, Warraq and the other authors mention the countless mass killings and persecutions of Christians and Jews before the Crusades. The destruction of over 30,000 churches during a 10-year period starting in 1004 AD is little-known. So is the burning of crosses, the beheading of converts to Christianity from Islam, the destruction of Christian holy sites like the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the forced tax for non-Muslims (the jizya) and the list goes on and on.

Modern-day Islamists and their apologists point to these times as proof of the historical tolerance of Islamic civilization. Islam-ruled Spain (Andalucia) and the city of Cordoba are held up as the golden examples of interfaith coexistence. For example, the Islamic Society of North America's official publication included an article in its March-April issue titled, "Andalucia: Paradise Still Lost?"

One of the most interesting claims made in Waraq's book is that the Crusades did not have a permanent impact on the Muslim psychology. Part of the reason is because the Muslim world viewed the wars as an overall victory.

"Many believe that modern Muslims have inherited from their medieval ancestors memories of crusader violence and destruction. But nothing could be further from the truth. By the fourteenth century, in the Islamic world the Crusades had almost passed out of mind," Warraq said.

This begs the question of what revived the relevancy of the Crusades in how the Muslim world views the West.

Warraq says that the Crusades were reentered into the discourse by Europe. Imperialism was purposely framed as a continuation of the Crusades; something particularly agitating for the growing Arab nationalist movement.

"Nineteenth, and even early twentieth century Europeans unashamedly used crusader rhetoric and a tendentious reading of crusader history to justify their imperial dreams of conquest," according to Warraq.

The Arab world's insecurities over its falling behind were blamed on the European colonists that were viewed as Crusaders. This theme "eases the guilty consciences of the Arabs themselves: it is not their fault that they are such abject failures-it is all the fault of the Crusaders."

In addition, attributing the backwardness of the Muslim world to the "Crusaders" allowed Sharia Law to escape responsibility. At the same time, complaining about the Crusades actually provided Muslims with hope in the face of Western superiority.

As Dinesh D'Souza explains, "So the Crusades can be seen as a belated, clumsy and unsuccessful effort to defeat Islamic imperialism."

However, Warraq emphasizes that his point isn't to blame the West for its use of Crusader rhetoric. The jihad existed before the Crusades and during the period when they "had almost passed out of mind" of the Muslim world.

"My point is that Islamic jihad did not end with the defeat of the Crusaders. On the contrary, in Islamic doctrine all the later Islamic conquests were seen as a part of the religious duty of carrying out jihad until the entire world submits to Islam," he said.

Blaming the Crusades is a way of denying the Islamic supremacist ideology that has driven the conflict from the beginning.


A devastating truth

 by Melanie Phillips

The clear-eyed Palestinian journalist Khaled abu Toameh points out that, if the Palestinian Authority wants the world to take it seriously as a `partner for peace' with Israel, it is going a mighty strange way about showing it.

In separate incidents in the past few days two Israeli soldiers were murdered in the West Bank - one of them having been lured there from Tel Aviv to his death - with the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claiming responsibility.

The Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is the armed wing of Fatah. Fatah is the party of Mahmoud Abbas, head of the Palestinian Authority, who does not distance himself from such atrocities committed by his own armed wing.

The PA has also been involved in `a massive campaign of incitement' against Israel, with some officials calling for an escalation of `popular resistance' and with others disseminating inflammatory lies about Israeli behaviour - creating the kind of toxic atmosphere which fuels attacks such as the killing of the two Israeli soldiers.

The Palestinian Authority is deemed by Britain, the US and the EU to be a `moderate' body with which Israel must negotiate an agreement for a Palestinian state.

How can the PA possibly be moderate when it openly and routinely supports murder and promotes incitement to hatred and violence against Israel?

The answer, of course, as I have been saying here for years, is that Mahmoud Abbas and the PA are not `moderate' by any reasonable definition of that word; nor are they interested in peaceful co-existence with Israel at all.

More tellingly, they do not feel they have to convince the world that they are. And that is because they know that, whatever atrocities are carried out by their own people, whatever incitement they promulgate and whatever bad faith they show in a myriad different ways, they can rely on Britain, the US and EU to ignore it all and pretend that Abbas and co are indeed seriously interested in a settlement - and then blame Israel for the inevitable breakdown in the peace process.

So how can Britain, the US and the EU possibly subscribe to such a wicked travesty?

Because they have convinced themselves that, when terrorist godfathers in suits and ties tell them what they want to hear, that is because those terrorist godfathers really want nothing more than to become statesmen, turn their swords into ploughshares and build a peaceful and unthreatening society with those they have sworn to wipe out.

How can Britain, the US and the EU possibly be so deluded? Because they think there is no alternative if there is ever to be peace between Israel and the Arabs.

Why do they subscribe to such a muddled non-sequitur? Because they don't want to face two demonstrable facts.

What are those facts?

The first is that the Arab-Israel nine decade-plus war is not a boundary dispute about the division of land. It is a war of extermination by Arab aggressors against the internationally-agreed right of the Jews to govern themselves in their own historic homeland.

The second fact is far more devastating. The single most important reason why this Arab-Israel war continues apparently without end is that, from the very start, first the British and then the Americans and the EU have rewarded Palestinian Arab aggression and punished its Jewish victims or pushed them to surrender. Not surprisingly, the Palestinians have therefore been encouraged to continue to attack Israelis with impunity, to this very day.

And so the devastating fact that Britain, the US and the EU refuse to acknowledge is that the main reason the Arab-Israel war continues is not the intransigence of Benjamin Netanyahu, nor the behaviour of the Israeli `settlers', nor the absence of a Palestinian state.  It is nothing other than the behaviour of Britain, the US and the EU themselves.


Vatican Chief Justice: Nancy Pelosi Must Be Denied Communion

Because of her longstanding support for abortion, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a Catholic, must be denied Communion under the law of the Catholic Church, said Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the highest court at the Vatican.
Cardinal Burke referenced his remarks about Pelosi to Canon Law--the law  governing the Catholic Church--and specifically Canon 915, which says those Catholics who obstinately persevere "in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

"Certainly this is a case when Canon 915 must be applied," said Cardinal Burke in an interview reprinted on Sept. 5 in The Wanderer, a national Catholic weekly. "This is a person who obstinately, after repeated admonitions, persists in a grave sin--cooperating with the crime of procured abortion--and still professes to be a devout Catholic."

"This is a prime example of what Blessed John Paul II referred to as the situation of Catholics who have divorced their faith from their public life and therefore are not serving their brothers and sisters in the way that they must--in safeguarding and promoting the life of the innocent and defenseless unborn, in safeguarding and promoting the integrity of marriage and the family," said the cardinal.

In mid-June at a Capitol Hill press conference, Pelosi was asked if there is a moral difference between aborting a baby at 26 weeks and what Dr. Kermit Gosnell did in Philadelphia in delivering babies alive at 23 weeks and then severing their spinal cords to kill them?
Pelosi did not answer the question directly but said, "As a practicing and respectful Catholic, this is sacred ground to me when we talk about this. I don't think it should have anything to do with politics, and that's where you're taking it and I'm not going there."

It was in reference to that quote that Cardinal Burke was asked, "How are we to react to such a seemingly scandalous statement? Is this a case where Canon 915 might properly be applied?" Burke replied: "Certainly this is a case when Canon 915 must be applied."

The cardinal went on to say: "What Congresswoman Pelosi is speaking of is not particular confessional beliefs or practices of the Catholic Church. It belongs to the natural moral law which is written on every human heart and which the Catholic Church obviously also teaches: that natural moral law which is so wonderfully illumined for us by Our Lord Jesus Christ by His saving teaching, but most of all by His Passion and death."

"To say that these are simply questions of Catholic faith which have no part in politics is just false and wrong," said Card. Burke.  "I fear for Congresswoman Pelosi if she does not come to understand how gravely in error she is. I invite her to reflect upon the example of St. Thomas More who acted rightly in a similar situation even at the cost of his life."
St. Thomas More (1478-1535) was Lord Chancellor of England under King Henry VIII. When Henry VIII broke with Rome and declared himself head of the church in England, More refused to swear allegiance to the  king's Oath of Supremacy. As a result, Henry VIII had More beheaded. More's last words were, "The king's good servant, but God's first."

Pelosi has a long history of supporting abortion and and has a 100% rating by NARAL Pro-Choice America.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says, "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of every procured abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."

The Catechism further says: "From its conception, the child has the right to life. Direct abortion, that is, abortion willed as an end or as a means, is a `criminal' practice (GS 27  3), gravely contrary to the moral law. The Church imposes the canonical penalty of excommunication for this crime against human life."



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

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



25 September, 2013

Kenya terror attack: disgracefully, the BBC still won't call these murderers 'terrorists'

Here's how the BBC describes the terrorists who have slaughtered at last 69 people in the Westgate mall in Nairobi:

Now, we don't expect the Beeb to describe the al-Shabab killers as "animals" in a news report. That was the word used, perfectly appropriately, by Louis Bowa, who is waiting for the bodies of his wife and eight-year-old daughter to be recovered from the shopping mall. It's a metaphor and would look strange in a piece of reporting. The right word is "terrorists". For example:

    "British businessman condemns terrorists who murdered his daughter"  … which is a Telegraph headline. And, from the body of one of our reports:  "As the terrorists roamed the mall with guns and grenades…"

Let's get this straight. There is nothing wrong with using the term "militants" to describe the al-Shabab gunmen. But they are terrorists, by any criterion, and that word should also be used.

The Beeb won't do it, however. It virtually bans the word from reporting, lest it be used "inappropriately". Many BBC journalists, who are overwhelmingly on the Left, support the causes for which armed gunmen fight in, say, Palestine. Therefore there's no question of describing Hamas as a terrorist organisation. This I can just about understand, given that Hamas is also a powerful political party, though I don't agree with the policy.

But in what universe are Islamists who spray women and children with bullets in a shopping centre not terrorists? The BBC may say: we have a rule and we have to apply it universally. This is nonsense. That's what editors are for.

But hang on. On re-reading a BBC report, I see that it does use the T-word:  "Kenyan officials said earlier that three "terrorists" had been killed, and that 10 people had been arrested."

Those inverted commas are more contemptible than not using the word at all. And remember: Britons pay for this.


In Name Only

By Lawson Bader

Traipsing through Dulles Airport the other day, my eyes were drawn to a series of wall poster advertisements. Each one featured a supposed “foreign aid success story”—a smiling man or woman under a very familiar phrase: “Fiscal Hawk,” “Beltway Outsider,” “Job Creator.” The fourth one, “Venture Capitalist,” broke the proverbial camel’s back for me.

What struck me was not that the message was aimed at a Beltway political audience. I have long grown accustomed to bus and street billboards advocating certain weapons systems, federal health care open enrollment or software to improve government services. Created by Oxfam America, the ads at Dulles were clearly promoting the continuation of current U.S. foreign aid policies.

Let’s leave the foreign aid battle for another day. For now, let us focus on the use of phrases and concepts that come straight from the free enterprise playbook—fiscal hawk, job creator, and venture capitalist—clearly appropriated to promote increased government spending and intervention.

Maybe we should be pleased. Maybe there is an argument to be made that the Left’s adoption of market language amounts to an implicit recognition our free market ideas resonate with the public. They resonate, we might add, because they are innate concepts—natural rights and all that.

Oxfam isn’t the only organization to make smart, selective use of free market language to advance a big government agenda. Fuels America, a coalition of agribusiness firms and biofuel advocacy groups, is currently running ads that declare, in big block letters, “There Is a Choice.” The fine print calls for maintaining the federal renewable fuel standard, which mandates the level of renewable fuel blended into transportation fuel and so decidedly diminishes consumer choice. But why let facts get in the way of good marketing?

Legislation is often named in ways that mislead the public. Take the Marketplace Fairness Act, a bill that would allow states to collect sales taxes from out-of-state businesses. Think the Founders would have something to say about “taxation without representation” being passed off as “marketplace fairness?”  Then there’s the “Dairy Freedom Act,” which provides federal insurance for participating dairy producers. Does freedom still mean what I think it means?

The marketing of cap-and-trade proposals provides a great example of Orwellian wordsmithing. Proponents call the scheme a “market-based” approach to reducing emissions, but cap-and-trade is actually a cap-and-tax system. Dressing up the proposal in the language of “trade” and “economic incentives” may fool some, but it doesn’t make it any less of a tax.

Then there’s Obamacare. “Health Insurances Exchange” has a nice market-friendly ring to it. “Exchange” sounds less like socialized medicine than a big flea market! But that doesn’t change what it is. The coverage mandates and fines … er, taxes … for non-participation are still there.

Politicians’ populist, superficial use of market rhetoric is a bittersweet thing. On one hand, it reaffirms the American people value capitalism, choice and smart spending. On the other, it disguises statist policies as market solutions.

To make things worse, politicians and pundits on the Right not only have allowed this casual dilution of market language, they’ve actively participated in it. Think about how often Republican lawmakers casually drop free enterprise buzzwords when shilling for restrictive copyright legislation, burdensome immigration rules, wasteful agriculture subsidies (or almost any subsidy, for that matter), or the latest infrastructure boondoggle.

Washington, D.C., is full of smart people who know how to bend and stretch the meanings of words until they have little relation to their original definitions. It’s a city of politicians and public relations wizards, where misleading is elevated to an art. But that’s no excuse to fold our arms and simply watch the merry-go-round, convinced we can’t stop it.

Language matters in the war of ideas. If the Left and Right are going to have real debates about the issues that matter—issues such as energy, finance, and immigration—we should stop using the same words to mean different things. We should stop conflating “capitalism” with “cronyism.” We should acknowledge closing factories in the name of clean energy does not “create jobs.” We also should acknowledge that easing immigration restrictions will not “destroy jobs.”

Vigilance is required to sift the rhetorical wheat from the chaff. Certainly, not every free market approach is equal, but we need to expose those that were never free market to begin with—except in name.


Sen. Vitter: Military Suppressed Religious Rights In 42 ‘Documented Cases’

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) urged Deborah Lee James, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the Air Force, to look into specific cases in which the military allegedly suppressed service members’ religious rights before she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate. "We're going to give you about 42 specific examples as a followup," Vitter told her.

“A lot of us are very concerned about what in our opinion is political correctness run amok on steroids quashing legitimate exercise and expression of religion in the military, things like… telling somebody they can’t have a Bible on their desk - that’s a documented case. Telling a Christian chaplain he can’t end a prayer in Jesus’ name – that’s a documented case,” Vitter told James at her nomination hearing Thursday.

“Do you think these sort of issues are a problem and if so, what would you do about it?” the Louisiana Republican asked.

“I have actually read the policy of the Department of Defense and I know what that policy says,” James replied. "It says that the open ability to worship, there shall be freedom of all religions so long as within good order and discipline. And I know that the chaplains, the whole point that they put forth, is that there shall be dignity and respect for everyone, of course.”

Noting that she was not familiar with the particular cases Vitter referred to, James added, “Of course, it’s a question of if you have a policy, the policy seems good to me, but then you have some people who don’t follow the policy, so these individual cases we’ll have to look into.”

Vitter persisted. “Do you think those actions should be barred in the military?”

“So having a Bible on your desk, that doesn’t seem like it should be barred to me, no,” James said.

“And a Christian chaplain ending a prayer in Christ’s name?” he asked.

“It does not seem bad to me, and I’ll have to, if you’ll allow me to consult with the chaplaincy corps to find out some reason I’m not thinking about, but no, it certainly does not trouble me,” James replied.

“Religious freedom is one of the core principles that make our nation great,” Vitter said later in a press release. “Unfortunately there are far too many cases of the military restricting the men and women who serve our country from expressing their faith. That’s just not right, and I want to make sure the Air Force Secretary nominee does everything she can to fix it.”

Vitter referred to a recent report by the Family Research Council (FRC) criticizing the military's “opposition to conservative Christian beliefs, reportedly including banning Bibles, labeling evangelicals and Catholics extremists, and trying to force a soldier to endorse gay marriage.” (See A Clear and Present Danger.pdf)

However, committee chairman Carl Levin (D-Mich) said during Thursday’s hearing that “in terms of the reference to prayer, depending on where a prayer is made, if it’s made to a general audience, it could be a different responsibility for a chaplain than if it’s made to an audience of his own religion.

“This is a very sensitive area, because we want to protect freedom of religion for chaplains and for our troops, but we also want to protect the freedom of religion for people who are listening to chaplains,” Levin continued. “And so it’s a very serious subject which has been raised and it’s deserving of all of our attention.”

Levin referred to an alleged incident reported by Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, who told CNSNews.com in July that a 23-year veteran Air Force officer was told by his superior, “You cannot put your Bible on your desk because it may offend someone.”

Levin also asked James to look into the incident “and see what action was taken to correct it, because we’ve had difficulty confirming it.”

James agreed to report her findings to the full committee, adding that “the idea of dignity and respect for all religions, to include those who have no religion at all – it’s all equally important.”


Back to the future with Marxist Miliband: If Britain falls for Ed's socialist farce, it really will be a tragedy

By Richard Littlejohn

So now we know Ed Miliband’s master plan. He wants to bring back socialism. No great surprise there, then.

Miliband’s late father was one of Britain’s most prominent Marxist ‘intellectuals’. In other words, he was spectacularly wrong on every single major issue.

My old man’s a Marxist,
He wears a Marxist’s hat,
He wears old corduroy trousers,
And he lives in a £2 million flat.

(In Primrose Hill).

Pity Ralph Miliband isn’t still alive. I’d have loved to hear his views on Labour’s proposed ‘mansion tax’. But clearly some of his discredited ideas have rubbed off on his youngest son.

Whatever’s wrong with modern Britain, the solution isn’t socialism. We tried that and look where it got us.

I’m not talking about the blood-soaked socialism which led to gulags and genocide in Eastern Europe and China. Or the sociopathic socialism which has turned North Korea into a Mad Hatter’s prison camp.

Let’s consider the particularly British brand of socialism, which still has plenty of devoted disciples in the Labour Party, including its weird leader.

The idea that the State could and would provide has been tested to destruction. Rampant socialism turned post-war Britain into a bankrupt basket case.

Nationalisation robbed industry of the incentive to modernise. For decades, Britain turned its back on the free market economics which once made us the richest nation on earth.

Unions exercised a stranglehold on the means of production and distribution. In the name of the ‘workers’, stroppy shop stewards called strikes at the drop of a hat.

Most of the union leaders on parade in Brighton this week salivate at the prospect of turning the clock back to that era of debilitating, daily disruption.

When I was covering British Leyland in the 1970s, there was a grand total of 27 separate strikes across the company on a single day. When the toolmakers went back to work, the delivery drivers walked out. At Longbridge, workers on the night-shift were literally sleeping on the job.

Billions of pounds of public money was poured into subsiding products no one wanted to buy.

I’ve written before about the taxpayer-funded excesses at British Steel. On the day the corporation’s chairman, Mr Pastry-lookalike Sir Charles Villiers, announced a record £1 billion loss, he threw open the doors to the executive dining room and invited Fleet Street’s finest to join him in a sumptuous feast from an all-you-can-eat buffet, groaning with suckling pigs, whole salmon, roast sirloins of beef and vintage claret.

Still, what’s a couple of grand on a jolly-up when the taxpayers  are already lumbered with a  billion-pound tab?

And what was the upshot of all this largesse at the public’s expense? British Steel and British Leyland both went bust because they couldn’t withstand the chill winds of foreign competition.

Back then, it took six months to get the Post Office to install a telephone in your home. Try telling that to a generation who upgrade their mobiles every five minutes.

If you wanted a cooker, you could buy one only from the nationalised electricity or gas boards and then wait obediently until they could be bothered to hook it up.

Council tenants couldn’t even paint their front doors without permission in triplicate from a gauleiter at the local authority.

Had Labour won the 1979 election, inefficient, loss-making coal mines would still be open and Arthur Scargill would be sitting in the House of Lords. At least we might have been spared all those hideous wind farms cluttering up the countryside.

Commuters moan about the private rail companies, but if the railways had remained nationalised they’d still be running filthy, dilapidated rolling stock and Bob Crow’s RMT union would be on strike most of the time.

Old Labour presided over a siege economy. At one stage, you weren’t allowed take more than £50 out of the country when you went on holiday. The top rate of tax was 97 per cent, the standard rate 35 per cent. Someone had to pay for all this glorious socialism.

Mrs Thatcher changed all that. The 1997 New Labour government was forced to accept her settlement. But the Left resented Thatcher with a toxic hatred, which came bubbling to the surface when she died.

The hardline socialists didn’t disappear, however. They simply mutated into local government and the institutions.

Those organisations still under the yoke of socialist bureaucracies — such as the NHS and most Town Halls — are notorious for centralised control, waste and almost total lack of accountability.

Whereas once the socialists wanted out of Europe altogether, they now embrace the EU and all its works as a device for imposing their will on an unwilling public. The EU itself is a socialist construct, top-down and anti-democratic.

After the nationalised industries went belly-up, the socialists set about nationalising every aspect of our daily lives, through quangos such as the Health And Safety and Equality Commissions and the ‘human rights’ racket.

The entire ‘diversity’ industry is a socialist front aimed not at eradicating discrimination, but persecuting individuals and criminalising Christianity, which has traditionally been socialism’s sworn enemy.

In the name of ‘equality’, Labour smashed the grammar schools, hobbling social mobility and harming the very people it claimed it was trying to help.

Gordon Brown’s creation of a vast, supplicant state was the imposition of socialism by any other name. He paid for it by letting the banks run riot rather than raising income tax. But the end result was bankruptcy, as it always is under Labour.

Ed Miliband hasn’t yet spelled out his vision of our socialist future, but the policies we know about give us a reasonable idea.

Labour’s answer is a re-run of the tax-and-spend disaster movie which got us into this mess in the first place.

The modern face of socialism manifests itself in the shape of the same old ‘bash the rich’ politics of resentment, a war on wealth creation and a shopping list of generous ‘giveaways’ funded by reckless borrowing and higher taxes.

Ed Miliband’s father could have reminded him of his beloved Karl Marx’s observation that history always repeats itself, ‘first as tragedy, second as farce’.  If Britain falls for Miliband’s socialist farce, it really will be a tragedy.



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

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



24 September, 2013

Nigel Farage – the only British politician who dares say what we're thinking

By James Delingpole

"When we believe something – we don’t go 'are you thinking what we’re thinking'. We say it out loud."

I like this line from Nigel Farage's UKIP conference address. My Spectator colleague Fraser Nelson thinks the  speech was a bit of a let down – which was maybe inevitable given that Farage has had to clip his own wings recently in order to pay more attention to party organisation and party discipline. But for me there was more than enough red meat in it to convince me that UKIP is staying truer to its brand than any of the three other mainstream parties are to theirs.

That paragraph about the Romanian crime wave, for example. You'd never hear Cameron, or Clegg or Miliband getting as near-the-knuckle as this, would you?

    "London is already experiencing a Romanian crime wave. There have been an astounding 27,500 arrests in the Metropolitan Police area in the last five years. 92 per cent of ATM crime is committed by Romanians. This gets to the heart of the immigration policy that UKIP wants, we should not welcome foreign criminal gangs and we must deport those who have committed offences."

"No," the usual troll suspects will no doubt say. "But you'd hear it from Nick Griffin…."

And there's your problem, in a nutshell. Since at least the beginning of the Blair era and probably well before, the left has very successfully managed to close down any argument of which it disapproves by crying "racist", "elitist", "homophobe", "NIMBY", "Little Englander", "fascist", or whatever. This has created within the Westminster bubble a culture of caution bordering on cowardice. Before a politician speaks he almost never asks himself: "Is this true?" Rather, he asks himself: "Will this get me into trouble with the BBC?" Which is why, of course, we get politicians like Rachel "Boring" Reeves.

As Fraser Nelson noted in this astute analysis, things have got so bad that even a Conservative prime minister currently doing well in the polls and with a fair economic wind behind him dare not say anything too conservative-sounding except in near-secret, among High Tories, at occasions like the Carlton Club dinner.

Farage, to his credit, isn't having this. He recognises, for example, that the Westminster elite's position on immigration – which boils down, basically, to "racism is bad m'kay?" – doesn't actually reflect how most real people think.

Most real people these days are relaxed about issues like race, religion and ethnicity, but excedingly unrelaxed about issues like thieving gangs or expensive translation services for immigrants who won't learn the language or having parts of their city turned into no-go areas by Islamist thugs. Does this make them racists or natural BNP voters? Nope. It just makes them entirely normal.


You need Eastern European migrants because Britons are too lazy to do some types of work, Bulgaria government tells the Home Office

Australians generally have a similar view of British workers.  The hard working ones emigrate to less stifling countries

Britain needs immigrants to do tough jobs because our own workers are too lazy and not willing to work hard enough, or quick enough, the Bulgarian government has said.

In an astonishing report submitted to the Home Office, the Eastern European country dismisses the suggestion that their citizens take part in 'benefit tourism'.

Instead, they argue that Bulgarians who come to  the UK are valuable to the economy because they are willing to work in jobs that, they say, Brits would not sacrifice their benefits to take on.

In the document, sent to David Cameron last month in light of the PM's upcoming review of European Union powers, Bulgaria insists that migrants from their country are 'predominantly young, single, relatively well educated'.

They reference a report from the Migration Advisory committee of the Home Office which looked into potential benefits that Romanian and Bulgarian seasonal workers can have on the British economy.

The Bulgarian report, seen by the Observer, says: "Operators and growers are trying unsuccessfully to recruit (and retain) British workers, who are reluctant to live on (be tied to) the farm; either cannot or will not work at the intensity required to earn the agricultural minimum wage and have little incentive to come off social security benefits for seasonal work.

'Bulgarian and Romanian workers in the agricultural sector are presented in the report as highly valued, a stable and reliable source of labour.'

The Bulgarian report will form the basis of their government's defence when David Cameron attempts to limit its citizens' access to public services in the UK such as the NHS, and jobs when the existing immigration arrangements are lifted in 2014.

Conservative back-benchers are calling for the government to sure up the welfare system, making harder for immigrants to get access to services before the gates are opened for Eastern Europeans to live and work in the UK freely next year.

But, preempting that policy maneuvering, the Bulgarian has already begun to fight the corner of its citizens.

They say that access to another nations welfare system is a liberty which is 'rarely abused and do not lead to overburdening of the public services of the latter.'

They add: 'Particularly in the case of Bulgarian and Romanian citizens in the UK, there is no evidence of so-called 'benefit tourism'.

In an attempt to prove their citizens are not interested in taking from the British public purse, Bulgaria refers to official UK government statistics showing that in 2011, 16.6% of working-age Britons were claiming benefits compared with 6.6% of working-age non-UK nationals.

The report said: 'There is no evidence that the UK suffers significantly from benefit tourism. EU migrants do not represent a disproportionate number of benefit claimants – rather the reverse'.


British  PM Says Terror Attack Carried Out for Islam has Nothing to do with Islam


"Prime Minister David Cameron today condemned as “absolutely sickening” and “despicable” a terror attack on a shopping centre in the Kenyan capital Nairobi in which at least 59 people, including three British nationals, were killed.

“These appalling terrorist attacks that take place where the perpetrators claim they do it in the name of a religion – they don’t,” Cameron said.

He called it “an absolutely sickening and despicable attack of appalling brutality”.

“They do it in the name of terror, violence and extremism and their warped view of the world. They don’t represent Islam or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world.”

Clearly they represent quite a few Muslims. Al-Shabaab has supporters in Somali diaspora communities around the world. One such community in Kenya was likely the source of at least some of the attackers.

Furthermore there are plenty of British Muslims in Al-Shabaab.

The Muslim attackers ordered Muslims to identify themselves, recite a prayer and then be excused from the massacre. Al-Shabaab repeatedly declared that they were acting in the name of Islam. Which is not surprising as they exist to impose an Islamic state.

Announcing that what happened in Kenya has nothing to do with Islam is a good deal like announcing that the USSR had nothing to do with Communism.

Cameron clumsily attempts to distinguish between terror and religion. But terror is a tactic. It can be carried out in the name of politics or religion or both.

Terror is not some isolated entity. Its goal is to achieve political ends by terrorizing people. Muslims rely on terrorism because it allows them to intimidate larger and more civilized societies and then force negotiations.

To deny this or to act as it there is some discontinuity between an ideology and the tactics used to carry it out, as if the two can exist apart from one another, is simply denial.



The Obama administration is finding new ways to use civil-rights laws to attack freedom and common sense. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) last year issued a byzantine “enforcement guidance” to browbeat businesses into ceasing to conduct criminal-background checks on job applicants. The agency’s edict will chill hiring and spur a backlash across the nation.

The 1964 Civil Rights Act created the EEOC. The agency soon began contradicting the law that had created it. The 1964 act explicitly banned racial quotas and specifically required that an employer show an intent to discriminate in order to be found guilty. Sen. Hubert Humphrey, the majority leader in the U.S. Senate, declared, “The express requirement of intent is designed to make it wholly clear that inadvertent or accidental discriminations will not violate the title or result in entry or court orders. It means simply that the respondent must have intended to discriminate.”

However, by the late 1960s the EEOC had sabotaged the law by establishing a definition of discrimination far wider than Congress had authorized. EEOC chairman Clifford Alexander announced in 1968, “We … here at EEOC believe in numbers…. Our most valid standard is in numbers…. The only accomplishment is when we look at all those numbers and see a vast improvement in the picture.” Hugh Davis Graham, in his history The Civil Rights Era, noted of the EEOC’s early top staff, “As the infant EEOC’s brains trust, they began the process of maximizing agency power by subverting the congressional restrictions [on agency power].… By the end of the Johnson Administration the EEOC, by its own self-description, was disregarding Title VII’s intent requirement.”

By the late 1970s the EEOC began stretching Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to sue businesses for practically any hiring practice that adversely affected minorities. Judges sometimes rebuffed EEOC’s perverse interpretations of civil- rights law, but the agency continually found new pretexts to seize new powers.

The EEOC’s new “enforcement guidance” was spurred by hard facts on hard crimes. Though blacks make up only 13 percent of the U.S. population, more blacks were arrested nationwide for robbery, murder, and manslaughter in 2009 than whites, according to the FBI. The imprisonment rate for black men “was nearly 7 times higher than White men and almost 3 times higher than Hispanic men,” notes the EEOC. Regardless of the crime differentials between different groups, the EEOC talks about the prevalence of criminal records as if it were a near-random event. And since some groups are hit harder by those random occurrences, the EEOC is obliged to forcibly intervene to protect them from “bias.”

The EEOC uncorked more than 20,000 tangled words to sway businesses to forgo criminal-background checks on job applicants. Even though most businesses perform criminal-background checks on job applicants, the EEOC has made that practice far more legally hazardous — and far more likely to provoke a federal lawsuit alleging discrimination. John Hendrickson, a top EEOC attorney in the Midwest, told the Chicago Tribune, “I would suggest to businesses that they think long and hard about why they think they need to do a criminal- background check.”

If a background check discloses a criminal offense, the EEOC expects a company to do an intricate “individualized assessment” that will somehow prove that it has a “business necessity” not to hire the ex-offender (or that his offense disqualifies him for a specific job). Former EEOC general counsel Don Livingston warns that under the new rules, “Employers commit race discrimination if they choose law- abiding applicants over applicants with criminal convictions unless the employer goes through a highly subjective decision-making process that involves the collection of information and weighing of multiple factors, including the individual’s particular circumstances, education and training post-conviction, length and consistency of employment history, and character references.” The EEOC provided little or no guidance on how to prove that not hiring a criminal offender is “consistent with business necessity” or a specific job’s requirements.

It is difficult to overstate the EEOC’s zealotry on this issue. The agency is demanding that one of Livingston’s clients — the Freeman Companies, a convention and corporate-events planner — pay compensation to rejected job applicants who lied about their criminal records.


The biggest bombshell in the new guidance is that businesses that comply with state or local laws requiring employee background checks can still be targeted for EEOC vendettas. This is a key issue in a case the EEOC commenced in 2010 against G4S Secure Solutions (formerly Wackenhut) after it refused to hire a twice-convicted Pennsylvanian thief as a security guard. The EEOC continually broadened its demands to the point where “we are now being asked to defend the use of criminal-background checks in every hiring decision we have made over a period of decades,” G4S general counsel Julie Payne testified to the Civil Rights Commission in December. G4S provides guards for nuclear power plants, chemical plants, government buildings, and other sensitive sites and is prohibited by state law from hiring people with felony convictions as security officers. But the EEOC insists “that state and local laws are preempted by Title VII,” Payne complains.

The EEOC’s new regime leaves businesses in a Catch-22. National Small Business Association president Todd McCracken complained, “State and federal courts will allow potentially devastating tort lawsuits against businesses that hire felons who commit crimes at the workplace or in customers’ homes. Yet the EEOC is threatening to launch lawsuits if they do not hire those same felons.” Naturally, the EEOC will have no liability for any violent rampages that result from its new hiring policy.

The EEOC’s new rules have evoked vigorous opposition from Civil Rights Commissioner Peter Kirsanow, a Cleveland lawyer with a long record of speaking out against abusive federal affirmative-action practices. Kirsanow recently warned, “There is no way to guarantee that you won’t run afoul of the guidance and be subject to a financially ruinous EEOC investigation unless you forego criminal-background checks entirely. If you do that, you have two new potential dangers: lose your state license to operate and possibly be hit with a costly negligent-hiring suit.”

The EEOC refuses to look beyond the groups that its intervention supposedly benefits. Pepsi paid $3.1 million last year to settle an EEOC class-action lawsuit spurred by the company’s refusal to hire people with arrest and conviction records. After Pepsi caved, the EEOC issued a press release referring to the “victims of the former criminal-background check policy” at Pepsi. But the EEOC ignores the victims that will be created when companies bow to federal pressure and add violent employees to their payroll.

The EEOC’s attempt to punish businesses for checking criminal records is already playing out in courtrooms across the nation. In a Maryland case, the lawyer for the Freeman Company requested that the EEOC “quantify the amount of risk of recidivism you contend Defendant [Freeman] is required to tolerate with respect to each crime for each of the jobs listed in Exhibit A, and state your basis for contending that this amount of risk must be tolerated in order to be in compliance with Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] when the use of a criminal history background check produces adverse impact” on minority applicants.

The EEOC refused to answer that question, claiming that it had no obligation to show that rejected job applicants with criminal records did not pose excessive risks to fellow employees or customers. There is no chance that the EEOC will specify exactly how many additional thefts and assaults in the workplace it believes are necessary to incarnate its vision of “equal opportunity.”

The EEOC also refuses to disclose whether it uses criminal-background checks for its own hiring. When EEOC Assistant Legal Counsel Carol Miaskoff was challenged on this point in a recent federal case in Maryland, the agency insisted that revealing its hiring policies would violate the “governmental deliberative-process privilege.” But businesses and individuals never have the prerogative to assert their “deliberative-process privilege” when the EEOC is demanding their personnel and other confidential records.

This latest ploy could harm the majority of black and Hispanic job applicants who have clean legal records. Studies published in the Journal of Law and Economics and University of Chicago Legal Forum found that businesses are much less likely to hire minority applicants when background checks are banned.

Congress never intended to give equal opportunity to felons and ex-convicts when it enacted the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC is enforcing a “law” that Congress would never enact today unless most members want to get bounced out of office at the next election.

Americans can treat ex-offenders humanely without giving them legal advantages over similar persons who avoided doing time. The EEOC’s new regulatory regime will chill hiring across the board and decrease opportunities for both saints and scofflaws. Maybe members of Congress will take time off from making speeches invoking freedom to actually rein in a federal agency trampling Americans’ rights



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

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



23 September, 2013

'Führerprinzip’ is killing off genuine debate

The balance between state power and free markets needs to be constantly discussed, says Janet Daley -- using a Nazi expression (Tr. "leadership principle") for the undemocratic state of Britain's political parties

I can remember Labour’s first party conference under Gordon Brown’s leadership being the most stupefyingly boring political event I’d ever covered. Not only were the official platform performances timed to the second and managed to within an inch of their lives, but even the fringe events were populated by blank-eyed Brownite zombies. It was, I jokingly reported, positively Stalinist in the obsessive control exercised by the leadership. Some joke.

Not being one of those journalists on intimate terms with Labour’s inner circle, I was unaware that the prime minister’s fanatically loyal team were stopping just short of murdering their enemies and expunging their images from the historical group photographs. The gothic-horror tale of the Blair-Brown years – complete with repentance and public rending of garments – will now play itself out in confessions of competing repulsiveness. Damian McBride’s self-flagellation will alternate with the Blairite army’s “we did what we had to do” (because, after all, we were up against a crazy person) admission of a kind of guilt. And all this during the week in which the hapless Ed Miliband was supposed to be restoring his party’s sense of honourable purpose.

Not wishing to detract in any way from the righteous delight of those who are not Labour supporters, I have to say that there is a warning in all of this for everybody in political life. The “devotion” and “love” that Mr McBride expresses for his leader – which were not unlike the testimonies of undying fealty offered to Tony Blair by Peter Mandelson and Alastair Campbell – sound creepy and rather weird in the horribly cold light of morning.

But are they so very different from what all parties are now expected to provide for their leaders? Maybe not love – in what appears to be the almost libidinous sense implied by Labour acolytes – but certainly obeisance and utterly disciplined fidelity.

Nick Clegg was judged last week to have had an amazingly (or surprisingly?) successful conference because he effectively suppressed any possible threat to his personal ascendancy. His judgments went without any effectual challenge, even from the previously dangerous Vince Cable. He managed to do what the Westminster elites always believe to be critical for a party leader: he “stamped his authority”, as the lobby correspondents say, on his party. All dissidence was eliminated. Any potential challenge to Mr Clegg’s judgments – however bizarre and voter-repelling they were – had “disappeared” in the great tradition of Latin American dictatorships. So Mr Clegg had a “good” conference.

This week, Mr Miliband might end up having as good a conference as could be expected under the circumstances if – what? He succeeds in a stupendous act of repression which effectively silences his critics. If there are no restive outbreaks of rebellion or discord on the fringe, and no treacherous briefings from shadow-cabinet colleagues to the effect that Mili Minor does not have enough to say about issues of national concern such as education and welfare, and no audible dissatisfaction among the rank and file – then Ed will be judged to have “proved himself” as a leader.

The week after that, it will be David Cameron’s turn to “stamp his authority” on his party. If he can suffocate any querulous objections before they reach the public ear, clamp shut the mouths of his most dogged backbench critics, and impose a monolithic message on the party rank-and-file, then he, too, will have a “successful” conference that will ensure his credibility, blah-blah. In other words, the test of whether political leaders are fit for purpose is how effective they are at shutting down argument.

Why? Are we all fascists now? When exactly did this Führerprinzip take hold in British public life?

I have always assumed that the right to express differing opinions and debate ideas was the great virtue of democratic politics, not just for the sake of abstract freedom but also because it is through the process of critical argument that we arrive at the best solutions.

It seems tragic to me that ordinary voters seem to have developed such an aversion to the very idea of disagreement between politicians. Like children who don’t want to hear Mummy and Daddy arguing, they say, “Why can’t they just get together and agree on what to do?” – apparently forgetting that any such comprehensive agreement between parties would leave them without a choice, and thus without a voice, in how they were governed. (Oddly, this desire to have decisions taken out of their hands coexists with a record amount of dissatisfaction with politicians themselves.)

In fact, Mr Clegg espoused precisely this childlike ideal of politics last week: in which the power elites of the nation trade off their various contradictory principles until, like “reasonable people”, they reach an accommodation they can all accept. Quite apart from the fact that this model leaves the voter nowhere in the picture, it rests on the assumption that there must be a solution to every political dilemma in the negotiable middle: that there are no values and principles that are flatly irreconcilable with one another, about which we must argue and debate until we put them to the vote of the people.

The Big Argument of the 20th century between socialism and capitalism is finished. So the public debate is now over fine distinctions about how much or how little government we need, about levels of taxation and public spending and how they affect individual lives. But because the disagreements are more subtle and detailed, it is all the more important that they be openly discussed and disputed. The balance between state power and free markets will never be definitively settled. The conflict between individual rights and social cohesion will need to be reassessed and revisited constantly. These debates will never – should never – end. Between and within parties, passionate disputation should be seen as a source of strength and vitality. A party that is mutely united must be either brain-dead or terrorised into submission.

Of course, if parties are existentially divided within themselves to the extent that they are paralysed, then they cannot govern. If Labour is unable to decide, for example, whether it is a sectarian interest group or a national political force, then it will have to argue itself hoarse until it reaches a conclusion.

But if its conference fringe is full of fury and angst, that will be a sign that it is engaging in just that process, rather than stamping it out and drowning anyone who stands in the way.
As Nigel Farage put it in his sweaty speech to Ukip’s fledgling party conference, people aren’t turned off by politics – they are turned off by the political class who won’t permit “open and honest debate”. That observation may turn out to be his most important contribution to public discourse.


'Apartheid would be wrong here': Labour Party mayor bans foreign newspapers and cuts to translation services to encourage integration

A Labour mayor is under fire after banning foreign newspapers from libraries and cutting translation services to encourage immigrants to speak English.

Sir Robin Wales claimed he was trying to prevent ‘apartheid’ in the London borough of Newham.  He has invested public money in English lessons and refused to fund events which are only aimed at one section of the community.

The Tories accused Sir Robin of trying to suppress diversity in one of the country’s most diverse areas.

Critics also claim the cuts are designed to attract more white working class people into the area.  Around 139,000 of Newham’s residents were born in England, while 130,000 were born outside of the European Union.

Sir Robin told the BBC Asian Network programme: ‘I’m very strongly of the view that if you try and segregate people into different groups and try to keep them separate, that’s not only bad for everybody [else], it’s bad for the particular community you do it to.  ‘Apartheid was wrong in South Africa, it would be wrong here.’

He went on: ‘Far from suppressing diversity, we respect and champion it. We are the most ethnically diverse borough in Europe and the evidence proves our approach of bringing our residents together is the right one.

‘Almost 90 per cent of our residents say this is a place where people from different backgrounds get on well together. We bring people together in a large number of ways including a range of annual free community events - attended by almost 100,000 this year.

‘It is absurd of anyone to say I dislike Newham. I love the borough, I have lived here for 35 years and I am proud to call it my home. We are building on everything that is great about Newham to make it a better place for everyone who lives, works and visits here.’

The council has begun giving £250 grants to street parties involving all but declining to support ‘single community’ events.

In the last year it has also rejected an application for a 'super mosque' in the borough.

Andrew Boff, Leader of the Conservative group on the Greater London Assembly, said: ‘I don’t think [Sir Robin] actually likes Newham. I think he wants to change it to some other borough. I think he’s a bit ashamed.

‘Integration is either respecting diversity or trying to suppress it and I think there’s more suppressing going on.  ‘What’s happening in Newham is a big backwards step.’


Labour (and the Lib Dems) are bringing back the politics of envy

Britain needs wealth creators to compete in an unbelievably tough world - but what does the Labour Party want to do? Penalise them.

To succeed as a nation we need thriving businesses, new technologies, people who want to take a risk with a chance of succeeding, people who believe they can get on in life.

This week at the Labour conference in Brighton we’ll hear all the old rhetoric again. Squeeze the rich. Bosses bad, workers good. More welfare. More government interference. A complete lack of understanding of the world. It would be disastrous for Britain if Labour ever got the chance to make it a reality.

The truth is that the world has become unbelievably tough. To succeed as a nation we need thriving businesses, new technologies, people who want to take a risk with a chance of succeeding, people who believe they can get on in life. So does every other country. And the truth is that many are transforming themselves at an extraordinary rate. Increasingly, it’s not European and American companies that dominate internationally, but Asian ones.

Africa is transforming too, backed by Chinese money. Fewer people are living in poverty, new infrastructure and employment is growing up, but it’s other nations doing business there who often call the shots. We’re in a global race and there is no certainty that we will win it.

Just think of the people we will need to win that contest. There’s the entrepreneur, who mortgages the house to invest in building a business. It’s a hell of a risk. You don’t know if you will succeed. And if you don’t, you could lose your home and put your family under pressure. But the prospect of building a real success is too alluring. And so that entrepreneur takes the risk, works seven days a week, and slowly, step by step, builds a success – that creates jobs, wins business from overseas and creates wealth that will pay for public services and support for the vulnerable. There is no other way of earning money for Britain. It’s no different to a household. If we don’t earn our keep in a competitive world, we can’t pay the bills for the things we want to do.

So, what do Labour want? To penalise the wealth creators. Higher taxes for the rich. To pay for what Labour really desires – an ever bigger welfare state. The Lib Dems do, too. One of the big themes of last week’s conference was higher taxes. They too want to penalise the wealth creators. Both say it’s a red line for any future government.

Conservatives want to support wealth and job creators. That’s a red line for us. The Left, when they talk about wealth taxes, always single out the bankers. But most of those who would be penalised by these new assaults on the rich are the people who sweat to create the jobs we need for the future. If success means giving all the proceeds to a Labour government, why would you try? And if there are fewer jobs, then it is the poorer members of our society who are the real losers.

Some years ago I visited a big US computing firm at its European headquarters. To my surprise, it was at the far end of a valley in Switzerland. Why, I asked? Because the American businessman who set up the operation wanted to live there.

It’s often those personal things that decide which country gets the investment and the jobs. If you have money to invest, why would you take it to the place that is going to charge you punitive taxes – whether on a mansion or wealth. If we clobber the rich, the jobs will go elsewhere.

I spent two-and-a-half years as employment minister. Each month there was a moment of trepidation when the unemployment figures arrived on my desk. High unemployment is bad for all of us. I want to see it come down and down, and I’m proud of the nearly one-and-a-half-million private-sector jobs created in Britain in the past three years – and the big fall in the number of workless households. We have to keep driving forward to make sure that trend continues.

But this week will be more of the same from Labour. Bash the rich. Oppose wealth creation. More welfare, please. And they’ll accuse us of only being on the side of those with the money.

It’s complete nonsense. We’re on the side of wealth creation. On the side of those who work hard and want to get on in life. Those who want to succeed. And we’re on the side of those who create jobs for our people, and the wealth that pays for better public services.

We live in the real world. Labour and the Left live in an outdated world of an ideology that would do real damage to Britain. They haven’t changed at all.

We cannot afford to lose the global race – and we certainly cannot afford Ed Miliband’s Labour.


Is Britain's health care the envy of the world?

It has come as a bombshell to many Brits, but it seems that socialised health care doesn't work very well after all.

Ever since the National Health Service was established after World War II, politicians have been assuring the British people that their health care system is 'the envy of the world.' Up until now, the population has believed it.

Remember last year's London Olympic Opening Ceremony with hundreds of NHS nurses dancing around NHS beds? Danny Boyle, the producer of that fantasy, was knighted by the Queen for his efforts.  In a country which (its ethnic minorities aside) has largely forsaken religion, the NHS has a sacred, totemic status making it immune to criticism or radical reform.

But recently, public faith in this national religion has been sorely tested.

In February, a public inquiry into the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Trust published its report. The Inquiry was sparked by concerns that death rates in Stafford Hospital seemed remarkably high. What it discovered was a history of 'appalling and unnecessary suffering of hundreds of people.' Soiled beds were left unchanged with patients lying in their own urine and faeces. Requests for water went unheeded, so patients had to drink from flower vases. Cries of pain were disregarded, patients were given the wrong medicine, and vital equipment was turned off because nurses didn't know how to operate it.

When patients or their relatives complained about this nightmare neglect, they were ignored.  There was no effective accountability in the system, and when problems came to light, everyone closed ranks. Incompetent staff were not disciplined or dismissed, but promoted.

It swiftly became clear that these were not the unique problems of one area, but were common throughout the system. In July, a report on 14 NHS Trusts found that 11 were so bad they had to be placed in special measures.

Then last week, the NHS suffered a further blow when statistics were released showing that English hospitals perform far worse than those elsewhere in the developed world. England's hospital death rates are 22% higher than average. Particularly devastating, given years of negative propaganda aimed at the American private health care system, was the news that you are 58% more likely to die in an English hospital than in an American one. Deaths from pneumonia in English hospitals are a staggering five times higher than in America. 

The problem is not lack of money (NHS spending increased in real terms by 7% per year under Blair, NHS employment rose from 1.06 million to 1.44 million as more bureaucrats were recruited, and doctors' salaries went through the roof). Nor is it lack of training, for nursing is now an all-graduate profession - they may not change soiled bed sheets any more, but nurses know all about sociological theories of labelling and the latest ideas in public administration. The problem lies in the core structure and culture of a socialised health care system where nobody takes responsibility and there is no effective consumer voice.

Whether the British electorate is ready to learn this lesson and support fundamental NHS reform is, however, questionable. Official state religions take a lot of shifting, and even as disconfirming evidence piles up, those with faith are generally loathe to abandon their familiar gods.



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

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



22 September, 2013

More multiculturalism in Britain

A predatory rapist who posed as a gay Vogue  photographer to snare wealthy young victims was jailed for life yesterday.

Fabio Moniz, 27, toured exclusive West End venues to charm women with his ‘cut glass’ accent and immaculate manners.

But he poisoned them with the date rape drug GHB before subjecting them to sexual assaults.

He told the court that his life was like that of conman Frank  Abagnale portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Catch Me If You Can.

Yesterday Moniz was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of nine years for raping two women.

But detectives suspect he may have claimed many more victims. In 2009 he was cleared of attacking an American tourist. Judge Patricia Lees told Snaresbrook Crown Court that the Portuguese national was a ‘lone predator’ and a ‘very dangerous character’.

Moniz prowled the West End hunting for victims at fashionable nightclubs including Whisky Mist and Mahiki.

His Facebook page is full of  pictures of him posing with women at nightspots in the capital. He pretended to be a photographer, club promoter and even claimed to work for City accountants KPMG and to have partied with celebrities including pop star Rihanna.

In the first of the attacks in September last year, he approached two women outside the Funky Buddha nightclub. Telling them he ‘works in the fashion business with supermodels’ they went to another club where he spiked their drinks.

One of them said: ‘He was smartly dressed in a denim shirt, sweater and jeans and had a cut-glass accent with a slight lisp.’

Moniz took them back to a flat in Bermondsey, south-east London, where one woke up to discover him trying to have sex with her.

Just 20 days later he targeted an American in her early thirties who was dining alone in Claridges. He told her he was gay and had just finished a Vogue photoshoot before taking her to a club. She can remember little more except she woke up naked in her hotel room with Moniz beside her. In both cases he stole personal possessions including credit cards.

Moniz was confronted in court by a second American who accused him of raping her in 2009. The woman, now a successful financial analyst, travelled back to Britain to give evidence against him.

Police do not know how long Moniz has been in Britain. Detective Superintendent Kate Halpin said: ‘Given the nature of his crimes, it is highly likely Moniz  has committed further offences.’

Moniz, of no fixed address, who was convicted of two counts of rape and one of attempted rape at an earlier hearing, was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.


No one has a human right to hide from justice behind a veil

By Melanie Phillips

Looking back through my cuttings files, I see that my second column after I started writing on this page in December 2001 was on the subject of multiculturalism.

The then Labour Home Secretary, David Blunkett, had declared that British Muslims needed to realise that some of their cultural practices were incompatible with British values.

For his pains, he was accused of helping to promote racism. Plus ca change! Twelve years on, we are having the same argument.

Last week, Birmingham Metropolitan College dropped its ban on female students wearing the Islamic veil that covers the whole face except for the eyes, or even covers the eyes as well with a mesh.

This ban had been in place for eight years, along with a similar edict against hoodies and hats to ensure students were always ‘easily identifiable’.

Eminently sensible and overwhelmingly obvious, you might think. And apparently there had been no protest until recently, when a Left-wing student activist, Aaron Kiely, organised a 9,000-name petition after an anonymous student complained to a local paper that the ban discriminated against her right to wear the full-face veil.

A threatening demonstration was also on the cards. In the face of this pressure, the college shamefully backed down and modified its ruling to allow students to wear ‘specific items of personal clothing to reflect their cultural values’.

Amen to that last sentiment. A liberal society should, indeed, permit cultural or religious minorities to wear distinctive clothing — but only if that doesn’t get in the way of an institution’s ability to enforce basic standards of security, which the full veil most definitely does, since it obscures the identity of the person beneath the covering.

But it does more even than that. It destroys nothing less than the presumption of equality on which human communication is based.

For the full veil radically alters the balance of power between the woman it conceals and those attempting to communicate with her. This is because while they cannot see her face, she can see theirs.

The result is that they are no longer communicating as equals, because she has a basic advantage over them. And no one has the right to bring about that imbalance.

There is nothing remotely ‘racist’ about such concerns. (The term is also illiterate, since Islam is not a race.) Indeed, ‘racism’ is used merely as a smear to intimidate those trying to defend basic values.

For it is a fundamental characteristic of society that faces are visible.

As the Muslim anti-Islamist campaigner Maajid Nawaz has written, it cannot be ‘racist’ or ‘Islamophobic’ to ask someone to show their face, since only a minority of Muslims believe covering a woman’s face is a religious duty. Some Muslims don’t even believe in covering a woman’s hair.

Nevertheless, non-Muslim society has been thrown into confusion over this issue.

The argument by the woman’s lawyer, that it is a denial of human rights to insist on removing the full veil in court, is as preposterous as it is predictable. There can be no ‘human right’ to interfere with the course of justice nor, indeed, with the universal givens of human communication.

Moreover, the full veil is also a mechanism for denying certain Muslim women their rights. For although some claim they wear it through free choice, others have revealed that, despite initially making such a claim, they have, in fact, been coerced and intimidated into doing so.

More fundamentally, the over-riding rule of a liberal society is that minority customs should be tolerated — but only if they do not interfere with the values of the majority.

That’s why last year another Muslim woman was barred from serving on a jury in an attempted murder trial because she refused to remove her veil.

And it’s why, in a key case in 2007, a High Court judge rejected a bid by a pupil to be allowed to wear the full veil in the classroom.

After that case, the Department for Education issued guidance that enabled head teachers to ban full-face veils on grounds of security, safety or learning.

To his credit, the Prime Minister backed the Birmingham college’s earlier decision to ban such veils, and let it be known that he would back a similar ban at his children’s school.

However, Nick Clegg declared he was uneasy about the ban and believed the bar had to be set ‘very high’ to justify such a prohibition.

For heaven’s sake, how can it be set any higher than a garment that replaces normal human communication by a sinister and intimidating black-out?

Mr Clegg’s lamentable feebleness of mind reflects widespread confusion about multiculturalism. For this doctrine is not, as is so often thought, merely about being tolerant of other cultures.

It holds instead that no culture can uphold its own values over any other.

It means, therefore, that Britain cannot say its core values of openness, equality before the law, women’s rights and so on should take precedence over cultures based on oppression and inequality.

It thus damns basic western values as ‘discrimination’ or ‘racism’, and turns the application of common sense into a prohibited activity.

It is, in short, a mad reversal of truth and justice that ultimately would destroy western society — a fate that risks being brought about not by Leftist rabble-rousers or Islamic fanatics, but by sanctimonious idiots like Nick Clegg.

Multiculturalism is one of the principal confusions of our age, one of many I have been writing about on this page for the past 12 years.



Scandinavian Reserve on Immigration Is Breaking Down

The performance of Norway’s conservative/populist/classical-liberal Progress Party in that country’s September 9th election caused much shrieking and swooning on the multicultural left.

One of the most piercing shrieks came from weirdly neckbearded sociologist Alf Gunvald Nilsen at the Guardian blog.  [Norway’s disturbing lurch to the right, September 10, 2013].

Nilsen’s column [sic] led off with a picture of fellow Norwegian Anders Breivik, perpetrator of the appalling July 2011 murders in Oslo and nearby Utøya Island.  The connection here was that Breivik had belonged to the Progress Party in 1999-2007, resigning his membership because he found the party’s line against multiculturalism insufficiently stern.

For an approximate equivalent, you can imagine VDARE.com running a story about Democrats doing well in the 2014 congressional midterm elections, the story prominently decorated with a picture of Washington Navy Yard killer Aaron Alexis, a liberal Democrat.  (We promise not to.)

Mr. Nilsen’s hyperventilating is even stranger in that the Progress Party’s performance in this election was not very good, their representation in Norway’s 169-seat parliament dropping from 41 seats to 29.

What disturbed Mr. Nilsen was rather the overall performance of the rightist parties, which together attained a wafer-thin parliamentary majority of 2 seats over the left-green coalition, which has been ruling since 2009 with a majority of 7.  Some “lurch”!

Indeed, analysts discount the drop in support for Progress by noting that the Conservative Party, which did exceptionally well—from 30 seats to 48—has adopted some of the Progress Party’s ideas, leading Progress supporters to some strategic vote-switching.

The rightist majority will only be a majority if Progress is fully included in government.  Everyone assumes they will be.  Progress helped prop up a center-right coalition in 2001-2005, but the coalition parties did not bring them in to decision-making.  Now, with less of a fjord to be bridged between Conservative and Progress policy positions, there is no longer any reason for the mainstream Right to keep Progress at arm’s length.

Not a strumpetProgress is pretty much what VDARE.com urges our own Republican Party to be:  low-tax, small-government, classical-liberal, culturally conservative, and immigration-restrictionist.  It is led by 44-year-old, agreeably-Scandinavian-looking Siv Jensen (who, although a spinster, is not a strumpet:  the headline “Siv Jensen har stumpet røyken” on that 2011 link translates as “Siv Jensen has quit smoking”).

Even more encouraging to us, Progress went through a schism in the early 1990s over open-borders libertarianism.  The Paulites eventually decamped and formed their own party, which soon withered on the vine.

Other good news from Norway:  two years ago the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO), a mainstream-conservative business lobby, came out against unskilled immigration, noting that (via Google Translate):

"Immigrants threaten the welfare state and [cost] too much. They work for a short time before they end up on welfare and [are] too little productive. [NHO will have fewer immigrants, ABC Nyheter, May 10, 2011.]"

There are some slight qualifications to be made there.  The immigration being spoken of in the NHO report, which it is now quite respectable to oppose, is of Muslims and Africans—“asylum seekers,” in the Euro-jargon of immigration.  Immigration of Swedes, Poles, and Russians into Norway’s small (5.1m) population is quite high and not objected to by anyone much, certainly not by business groups.

And traditional Scandinavian xenophilia remains intense among Norwegian elites.  It was Norwegians, remember, who gave the Nobel Peace Prize to just-elected President Barack Obama for . . .  Well, let’s be blunt:  for being black.  And much harm has already been done to Norway by mass Muslim immigration.

Still, a friend in Norway tells me that the configuration on the political right over there is “somewhat as if we had had intelligent Republican politicians in the U.S.A.”  We can dream.

Across the border in Sweden, meanwhile, the government has announced that it will give permanent resident status to all Syrian refugees who apply for asylum.

Since the United Nations has logged two million Syrians as being in a refugee status, with 4.25 million more displaced within the country, while Sweden’s entire current population is only 9.5 million, this may qualify as the most insane public policy declaration in recent years, anywhere in the world—crazier even than George W. Bush’s 2002 call for the trashing of rational credit standards in home-mortgage lending.

More astonishing yet, the government responsible for this bizarre decision is a center-right alliance dominated by the classic-liberal, low-tax, business-friendly Moderate Party.  Though by no means VDARE.com conservatives, the alliance is well to the right of the Social Democrats who dominated Sweden in the post-WW2 decades and famously excited the disapproval of Dwight Eisenhower (antepenultimate   paragraph here).  

The nearest Swedish equivalent to Norway’s Progress Party is the Sweden Democrats (by no means to be confused with the Social Democrats), who, since first entering the Swedish parliament in 2010, hold 20 of the 349 seats there.

The respectability gap between the Sweden Democrats and the governing center-right alliance is far wider than the Norwegian equivalent, though—more a gulf than a fjord.  All the other parties in parliament have declared policies of non-cooperation with them;

Some of the difference springs from the personalities of the two nations.  Until oil began to gush in the 1980s, Norway was a poor country of isolated, windswept settlements.  Sweden was wealthier and more cosmopolitan—for a while in the modern era, even imperialist.

A rough comparison would be the Scots versus the English.  Through poverty and hardship Norwegians became flintier, more cautious, and more sensible.  Their great burst of prosperity this past 30 years has been well managed.  The oil-rich Gulf Emirates have vending machines to dispense gold bars, and import Pakistanis and Filipinos to do all the work; oil-rich Norway has salted away their oil profits in a national fund for future generations.

The Sweden Democrats, like the British National Party, also had difficulty shaking off actual (as opposed to merely MSM-alleged) Neo-Nazi sympathizers brought along from its precursor parties.  This was far less of an issue in Norway, which, unlike Sweden or Britain, was actually occupied by the Wehrmacht.

We should not, therefore, expect the Sweden Democrats to be a key component of their nation’s government soon, as Norway’s Progress Party has become.  They are there in parliament, though, one more European political party speaking up for patriotic immigration reform.

Someone needs to do it.  The ten days of rioting in immigrant areas of southern Sweden this May showed how far Sweden has gone down the path of national suicide.  The city of Malmö is now a byword for Muslim violence and intolerance.  The city’s small number of Jews are particular targets:

I shall have to leave the Danes, Finns, Icelanders, and Faroese for another time, but there is plainly a great deal to say about the future demographic prospects for Norway and Sweden.  After years of conventional Scandinavian reserve, the peoples of those nations are at last beginning to say it.  


Leftist bigotry against the South

The South has always occupied a special place in the American landscape. As early as the Colonial era, a Southern tradition developed alongside but separate from the rest of the country, handing down a distinctive body of values, customs and stories that has shaped its culture for centuries.

In recent months, several news stories have called attention to the national media’s treatment of the South. Media portrayals of the Paula Deen saga, the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision, and other relevant stories betray a willingness to indulge in misleading and outdated cultural stereotyping.

Following a blitzkrieg from outlets like MSNBC, CNN, Huffington Post and more, jovial Georgian chef Paula Deen was dropped by multiple corporate partners—Food Network, Smithfield, Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Sears and several others. Deen’s crime: she admitted in a court deposition to using the N-word in a decades-old conversation with her husband. The conversation took place immediately after a black man placed a gun to her temple and robbed her. She said in the deposition, “… that’s just not a word that we use as time has gone on” and apologized on several occasions, but to no avail; corporate America, egged on by the media onslaught, snatched away her livelihood.

At the same time Deen was being excoriated for her private use of bigoted language many years prior, two other public figures escaped media scrutiny for hateful public comments they made in the present.

Alec Baldwin, the actor well known for his outspoken liberal activism, took to Twitter with virulently homophobic comments aimed at a reporter who had criticized Baldwin’s wife, writing “[I’d] put my foot up your f---ing a--, George Stark, but I’m sure you’d dig it too much,” and “I’m gonna find you George Stark, you toxic little queen, and I’m gonna f--k you…up.” Baldwin later disabled the Twitter account and apologized, but the incident failed to trigger much media attention, and he remains front and center in Capital One commercials.

Meanwhile, Michael Eric Dyson, a Georgetown University professor and regular MSNBC contributor, said of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas on the network’s show “Martin Bashir,” “A symbolic Jew has invited a metaphoric Hitler to commit holocaust and genocide upon his own people.” Far from begetting disciplinary action or even public statements of disapproval from the network or the university where he teaches, Dyson’s remarks earned him a spot on the following Sunday’s “Meet the Press” and appearances on subsequent MSNBC programs.

There certainly appears to be a double standard when it comes to bigoted comments from well-known people. A liberal Yankee can slander reporters for being gay, and a race-mongering professor can compare black Supreme Court justices to Nazi sympathizers—no big deal. But the minute a white woman with a Southern accent admits to wrongdoing, all bets are off—disparate media outlets refuse to let the topic go, and her business is ruined. While no one (including Deen) is defending her use of the N-word, acute regional stereotyping seems to be at play, not a political one—since Deen actually campaigned for Obama in 2008. ...

While conservative political beliefs are sometimes tied to Southern culture, the media’s real foe is Southern culture itself. Time after time, the progressive movement has proven itself incapable of considering people as individuals, but rather as members of a larger group. This is obvious in the media’s coverage of politics, which nearly always centers on “blocs” of voters and interest groups: women, black voters, Hispanic voters, white voters, etc. For the Left, politics is a continual struggle for power among clashing ethnic and cultural groups. This system of analysis is dehumanizing and deterministic— but it’s the way much of the media process human events.

From this perspective, the world is divided largely into two camps: victims and oppressors. In America, victims include women, racial minorities, gays, and more; the oppressors are nearly always whites and Christians. It’s a perversion of the classical “great chain of being.” Groups that can claim some sort of past persecution—the more the better—are highest on the chain, and groups seen as historically oppressive are lowest. If whites and Christians are low on the progressive victimization chain, then Southerners are the lowest of the low, fit for derision and scorn.

Charlton Heston captured this in a speech in the 1990s, saying: “... the God fearing, law-abiding, Caucasian, middle-class Protestant— or even worse, evangelical Christian, Midwestern or Southern, or, even worse, rural, apparently straight, or even worse, admitted heterosexual, gun-owning, or even worse, NRAcard- carrying, average working stiff, or even worst of all, a male working stiff … not only don’t you count, you are a downright obstacle to social progress.”

There are some serious problems with the progressives’ method of historical critique. First, it views existence solely backwards and leaves little room for free will, a hallmark of the human experience. Second, it boxes individuals within categories to which they don’t always neatly fit. To accommodate this failure, progressives must either ignore or attack such individuals (hence media treatments of black conservatives like Clarence Thomas and Tim Scott). Most critically, this worldview leads to intense scapegoating of “historically oppressive” groups.



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.



20 September, 2013

Some Islamic cultural enrichment for England

A Bangladeshi student has been found guilty of raping a 14-year-old schoolgirl within weeks of moving to the UK.

Ferdoush Hasan, 22, raped the vulnerable girl at his house in Beaufront Terrace, South Shields, in February last year.

He led the girl, who had drunk half a litre of vodka, to a room in another part of the house from her friends, where he forced himself on her and raped her.

Hasan, Abu Sufian, 21, and Raabsan Khan, 19, were all found not guilty of a second joint charge of rape, during which Sufian and Khan were alleged to have held down another girl while Hasan raped her.

After hearing the guilty verdict, Hasan sobbed with his head in his hands, before being led away into custody.

It took the jury just over three hours to reach the unanimous verdicts this afternoon.

Tom Moran, defending Hasan, asked that his client, who has no previous convictions, be sentenced immediately.

However, Judge Simon Hickey said that Hasan would be sentenced after the preparation of a probation report.

Hasan came to the UK on January 18 or 19 last year to study an HND in nautical science at South Tyneside College.

The following month he raped the schoolgirl at the house that he shared with 13 other Bangladeshi students.

Throughout his police interviews, Hasan lied about knowing the victim and denied having sex with her.

During the trial, however, he claimed to have had consensual sex with the teenager, although he said he thought she was 17.

He said that he had previously lied to police because he was 'afraid' and 'no-one was looking after him'.

During the five-day trial at Newcastle Crown Court, Hasan's victim told how she feared she was pregnant with his baby.

The girl's mother told how her daughter 'went off the rails' after the rape and had begun to self harm and even talked about taking her grandfather's tablets.

The troubled teenager was taken to a doctor by a school counsellor but the pregnancy test was negative.

Hasan, of Ocean Road, South Shields, will be sentenced at a later hearing.


Temporary orders in U.S. child custody cases

When parents separate, one of the first questions anyone asks is, “What happens with the kids?”  Current law in most states gives judges practically carte blanche authority to issue temporary orders that place children primarily or wholly in the care of just one parent.  One situation that is all-too-common is that one parent gets custody of the children, and the other is ordered “visitation” every other weekend.

For a child that has previously been with both parents every day, removing one of those parents and offering her or him a mere four to six days out of the month must be very traumatic.  However, this trauma is not considered when making such orders, and the right of both parents to care for and provide for the child is rarely upheld in family court.

This polarizing dynamic is how most families’ are introduced to the family law system.  One parent “wins” and the other parent “loses.”  Such is the nature of courts of law – they pit one party against another and do little to recommend, encourage, or enforce continued co-parenting after separation or divorce.  The only benefactors are family lawyers… everyone else loses, including judges who are placed in the difficult position of making choices about the future of children between two loving parents without having any personal knowledge of the individuals or their family dynamic.

National Parents Organization is committed to reforming the family law system.  We believe that one of the first and best places to make an impact is the instant families are thrust before family court.  We believe that education, co-parenting, and early professional intervention can help families to arrange schedules that work best for the parents and their child, and can ease children’s transition to living with two households.

When a family first comes before a judge, there is no prior knowledge about the family, no trial of fact to balance the claims of one parent against the other, and in most cases there has been little or no parenting experience post-separation upon which to draw any conclusions about how the children and the family would best be served.  We believe that this lack of information requires that family law judges order shared parenting with approximately equal parenting time in the absence of an agreement among the parents.

National Parents Organization has developed a modest reform to family law that will not only ensure parents are treated equally in this absence of information, but will also give parents the help of a neutral third party as they try to put together a plan that will work with their schedules and prevent ongoing custody disputes.  Some states have already begun to implement a similar approach to temporary orders.  We are working to move this issue to the forefront of family law discussions and to encourage all states to enact laws to protect children and families.

Oklahoma has successfully addressed this problem with a legal presumption of shared parenting during temporary orders when it is requested by one of the parents (§43-110.1). Recently, Alaska enacted similar legislation (AS 25.20.070).


Hospital patients have right to demand their doctor or nurse does not wear a veil, says British government minister

Patients at any hospital in the country have the “right” to demand that the doctor or nurse treating them does not wear a veil, Jeremy Hunt has said.

The Health Secretary said that he supports the “autonomy” of hospitals to take the decision to ban staff from wearing veils which cover the face.

However, he refused to say whether he would support a national ban, insisting that it is a “professional and not political” issue.

The Government has now ordered a review of all health service policies on workers’ uniforms. It will ask professional regulators to draw up clear rules so that communication with patients is always given priority over the right of a nurse or doctor to wear a veil.

It follows indications from David Cameron that he would support public sector bodies wishing to ban staff from covering their faces. MPs have called for a national debate on the issue.

An investigation by The Telegraph has found 17 NHS hospitals across five NHS trusts which have already quietly instituted a ban on frontline staff wearing the niqab — a full veil which covers the face — while in contact with patients.

There are 160 NHS trusts in England. With no national guidance, the vast majority make no such ruling, leaving decisions to the discretion of local managers. In some cases, uniform policies specifically state that the veil can be worn by front line staff for religious reasons.

Dr Dan Poulter, the health minister, has ordered a review of all current health care guidance on the issue and asked clinical regulators to draw up clear rules to ban the wearing of the face veil by health care staff while they are in contact with patients.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Mr Hunt said: “It’s a local matter. We very strongly support the autonomy of hospitals to make these decisions and implement policies in a way that’s right in their area.

"But it’s also important that there is the right amount of face contact between clinicians and the people they’re looking after.

“And that’s why Dr Daniel Poulter has written to the General Medical Council to make sure there are national guidelines in place. How those guidelines are implemented has to be a local matter.”

Mr Hunt indicated that his view “as a patient” is that hospital staff should not wear veils while treating patients.

However, he added: “That is my view as a patient. This is actually a clinical matter as well and I want there to be professional guidelines in place to make sure that doctors are doing the right thing for patients.”

Asked if a patient in any hospital has the right to say they “absolutely do not want to be treated by a doctor wearing a full veil”, Mr Hunt said: “They have the right to say that and I have a great deal of sympathy with that but I do think this should be a professional matter and not a political matter.”

Earlier this week, Jeremy Browne, the Home Office Minister, called for a national debate on the issue, but on Tuesday, Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said it was not the role of the state to tell women what to wear.

Their interventions came after a district judge ruled that a Muslim woman must remove her veil while giving evidence, saying that the issue had the potential to drive a “coach and horses” through centuries of justice.

The Telegraph investigation found that the 17 NHS hospitals had clear policies stating that front line staff should not be allowed to cover their faces while in direct contact with patients.

Some went further, to say that face veils should not be worn in situations where communication is essential, such as training.

Many of the hospitals which have introduced explicit restrictions are in parts of the country that have high Muslim populations, such as East London, and Bradford and Dewsbury in Yorkshire.

The policy drawn up by Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation trust, which runs Bradford Royal Infirmary and St Luke’s Hospital, states: “To ensure effective communication, clothing which covers the face (veil/niqab) is not permitted for any staff in contact with patients, carers or visitors or for staff in other roles where clear face to face communication is essential, for example, training.”

Staff who wish to wear a veil when they are not working, such as in breaks, or during their lunch, or walking around the buildings, are told they may do so, but should be prepared to remove their veil if asked to check their identity against their ID badge, according to the guidance drawn up last year.

Similar rules were introduced last year by Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which operates Pinderfields Hospital, Pontefract Hospital and Dewsbury and District Hospital.


Brussels bid to ban gardeners from buying favourite iris, lavender and clematis plants

   Thousands of favourite British garden plants and flowers could be banned from sale at garden centres under new EU proposals.

The popular lavender Lavandula Hidcote, the highly scented iris Jane Phillips, the holly shrub known as Ilex Golden King and the pink star-shaped clematis Nelly Moser are among those at risk.

A European Commission shake-up of plant legislation proposes that in future each plant variety must be given a detailed scientific description – as well as being listed on an official plant register.

But the UK does not have an official register of plants and experts say it would be too expensive and take years to set up.

As a result, unregistered plants could be removed from sale in garden centres and other shops.

The aim of the new legislation is to ensure consumers are not sold fake or inferior plants.

But growers and  gardening experts are incensed that what was intended as a simplification of trade rules could end up with a new EU law that dictates what plants people are allowed to buy.

Anyone selling an unregistered plant could face hefty fines.

The draft legislation is demanding such detailed information about each plant variety that experts believe descriptions would be two pages long and would even have to specify the lengths of hairs on stems.

At present in the UK, the nearest thing to an official register is a list of 52,000 varieties held by the Royal Horticultural Society, the country’s leading gardening charity.  It is regarded as a plant ‘bible’ but only about 2,000 listed plants have an official botanical description.

Industry insiders say growers  and plant breeders would also be deterred by the expected high costs of registering a plant.

Some breeders who wish to sell new varieties overseas already pay £400 to £500 to private consultants who write botanical descriptions.  Charges are higher for food seeds and plants and can cost up to £1,000.

The Horticultural Trades Association is urging Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to stop the Brussels meddling.

Gary Scroby, HTA policy manager, said: ‘The EC say it’s not their intention to impose bureaucracy and cost on the industry, but the details leave it open to deliver exactly that outcome.’

Graham Spencer, who runs Plants For Europe, an agent for plant breeders, said: ‘Everyone is really worried about this.  We could lose lots of varieties. Take Lavender  Hidcote. It is one of the most  widely grown lavenders but it does not have an official recognisable description.  Growers might decide not to grow if they could not label  it as Lavender Hidcote.

‘British horticulture is all about developing unusual plants. We have a heritage of growing novel varieties.

The whole trade is driven by varieties and people like to go and buy their favourites. We are all for consumer protection but this will harm consumers and reduce consumer choice.’

Bob Brown, who runs Just Must Perennials and has introduced hundreds of new UK varieties, said: ‘I have a business based on novelty. We can’t pay to register 100 plants a year, it will kill the business.’

One of the most popular daffodils in the country, a variety known as Narcissus King Alfred, could also be affected.

Also at risk are the spiky scarlet flowered montbretia (Crocosmia Lucifer), a tree mallow (Lavatera Barnsley), the lavender petalled cranesbill (Geranium  Johnson’s Blue), aromatic catmint (Nepeta Six Hills Giant) and the highly fragrant mock orange (Philadelphus Belle Etoile).

Jenna Fox-Wheddon, supervisor of the garden shop at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, said they both sell and grow Lavandula Hidcote and Geranium Johnson’s Blue in their gardens, first developed by poet and author Vita Sackville-West in the 1930s.

Both the 12th Century Cranborne Estate in Dorset and the Ness Botanic Gardens on the Wirral Peninsula grow the perfumed iris Jane Phillips.

Vicky Ford, Tory MEP for the East of England, said: ‘This is very poorly drafted legislation. England is famous for the diversity of our gardens.

We either need to amend this completely or kick the entire proposal into the long grass – forever.’

A Defra spokeswoman said:  ‘We are working with other EU countries to retain simpler rules which will allow companies to  continue to sell ornamental plants and seeds without specific botanical descriptions.’

An EC health and consumer policy spokesman said: ‘There is nothing in the proposals that suggest we wish to ban anything. Our aim is to make plant sales more transparent.’



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

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



19 September, 2013

Multiculturalism in New Zealand too

He waited hidden in a roof for eight hours to murder his ex-partner as she slept in her Wellington home.

After she had gone to bed, Ernest Smith lowered himself into the house, sneaked into her room and, after a brief struggle, cut her throat with a craft knife.

During the struggle, the former couple's nine-month-old son lay asleep in a cot next to the bed. His mother's body was found the next morning by her 15-year-old son, who had been sleeping at the other end of the house.

Smith made several bumbling attempts to cover his tracks, but his efforts quickly came unstuck after he lost his car keys and left a string of evidence behind him.

In the High Court at Wellington on Tuesday, Smith, 39, a Jamaican living in Karori, pleaded guilty to murdering Amanda Dawn Taufale, 33, on November 14 last year in her home in Tawa.  He will appear for sentencing next month.

The police summary of facts shows the relationship between Smith and Taufale was violent and deteriorated sharply in the months leading up to the murder.  Smith moved out of the Tawa home four months beforehand and was allowed to see their son only while another family member was present.

At 2pm on the day of the murder, he parked his car at the Takapu Rd railway station in Tawa and walked to Taufale's home.

He took with him a blue-handled 2.7-centimetre craft knife, gloves, screws, an electric drill and a makeshift hood fashioned out of a green top fixed with a headlight.

Using keys he had copied earlier, he broke into the empty home and climbed into the roof through a hatch in the hallway.

Once there, he set up a makeshift strap so he could later lower himself silently into the house and drilled screws into the hatch, allowing him to open it from inside the roof.

He then waited for about eight hours as the family came home and went to bed.

About an hour after Taufale went to sleep, he lowered himself into the hall, walked into her room and, after a "brief but violent struggle", cut her throat.

After the murder, Smith tried to cover his tracks by fabricating evidence of a break-in.

He spread Taufale's blood around the spare room, left a window ajar and covered the sill with rice bran oil to give the false impression of trying to clear up a fictional assailant's fingerprints.

But the plan came unstuck when Smith drove to a nearby stream to dump the murder weapon and lost his car keys.

After a fruitless search for the keys, he returned to the scene of the murder, stole Taufale's car and drove back to his for a second search.

He eventually gave up looking and drove out to Makara along Takarau Gorge Rd, ending up in a remote farm, where he fell asleep.

The next day, he abandoned Taufale's car and walked for more than an hour to an Ohariu Valley Rd house, where he told residents he wanted to speak to police.  He was arrested that night.

Police found his sweatshirt in the roof of the house, his makeshift hood on Taufale's bed, and one of his bloodied gloves.

DNA tests later confirmed the blood of both Smith and Taufale on the glove, with a small tear in the glove matching a cut on Smith's left thumb.

A stack of documents linking Smith and Taufale was found buried in pine needles in Makara, about 100 metres from Taufale's abandoned car, where a second bloody glove was found.

The missing keys were found down the side of the driver's seat of Smith's car, abandoned in Tawa.

Taufale's father, Graham Redman, said yesterday that it was a huge relief that Smith had admitted murder.  "Today's guilty plea will enable us to at last move forward with putting our lives back together, as much as we can," he said.

It is understood the two children are now being looked after by family.


The dubious gift of human rights

The European Convention on Human Rights is 60 years old this month -- but this is no cause for celebration

On 5 September 2013, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms marked its sixtieth anniversary. This led to a predictable chorus of praise from a retired European Court judge and human-rights organisations like Liberty, arguing that the Convention is a thoroughly British affair, and that its critics should be squashed. Is this justified?

When the idea of a European rights instrument was originally proposed, following the Second World War, the British reaction was decidedly muted. The sceptical UK foreign secretary at the time, Ernest Bevin, was against a ‘European idea’, and also against a European court of human rights (1). But the model of a Council of Europe did find favour. Its founder members were Belgium, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Once this was approved, the idea of rights for all was revived. Initially, it consisted of the briefest shopping list of ideals, such as ‘freedom of speech’.

Early on, tensions between the UK and other states were evident. The UK, with its system of judge-made common law, was at odds with other countries’ civilian traditions, based on codified laws. It believed that human rights should be drafted in detail, whereas continental delegates felt that rights should be couched in general terms, leaving member states to work out how to give effect to them in practice.

After much wrangling, the participants agreed a hybrid approach, listing specific rights and then spelling out (in loose terms) the limitations that could be placed on them. The states were acutely conscious that a failure to agree would look bad.

The result is that there is little uniformity between the different articles of the Convention. And there are some significant textual differences between the two languages of the Convention: for example, Article 1 in English requires states to ‘secure’ the rights listed, implying positive action, whereas the French text simply asks states to ‘recognise’ them.

Lord Jowitt, Labour’s lord chancellor at the time, voiced concern: ‘The document is a compromise, as can be seen in every single clause.’ An internal government minute describes it as ‘very woolly and open to various interpretations’. Sir Hartley Shawcross, the Labour attorney-general who prosecuted at Nuremberg, said: ‘I have never attached great practical importance to the proposed Convention… and do not think… that its existence would act as a… barrier against the encroachments of totalitarian restrictions’. Another senior Labour figure, Herbert Morrison, wrote that he ‘had always been sceptical about the value of these conventions on human rights’.

It’s ironic, then, that in 1998 the New Labour government spoke of ‘bringing rights home’ when it introduced the Human Rights Act. The slogan suggests that the UK had no rights to speak of. That was inaccurate. Not only had our common law developed a robust system of rights - relating to property, freedom of the person and control of executive action - but European Community law had also introduced shoals of rights, with laws on free movement, employment and equality and data protection.

The New Labour human-rights project was an elite affair, spearheaded by a legal coterie, including a bevy of peers. Human rights, for their adherents, constitute a secular religion; and, like any religion, it deals in revealed truth.

This lofty approach was evident at a high-level seminar in May this year, ostensibly about whether the UK should secede from the Convention. It was hosted by Freshfields, a City law firm, and organised by the Human Rights Lawyers Association and the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law.

Despite its provocative title, A UK Without Convention Rights: Freedom or Danger?, all the speakers (including a judge from the European Court of Human Rights) were Convention proponents. In the ensuing debate, one barrister asked: ‘Why do we need to persuade ordinary people of the virtues of the Human Rights Act?’

In truth, incorporation of the European Convention has not served us well. Its first legacy, as the eminent Australian jurist Justice Heydon says, is a club of human-rights lawyers, whose ‘members compete in revealing to each other their superior ingenuity and human-rights sensitivity. It is a contest of compassion and cleverness.’ (2)

Justice Heydon and others also stress that the rights bestowed by the Convention are uncertain in definition and unpredictable in their application. This generates endless possibilities for legal argument and lawyers’ fees. Such porousness costs the country a fortune: in legal aid, in costly lawsuits, in risk aversion, and in court time spent poring over masses of opaque European Court rulings.

The case of Al-Skeini in the European Court in 2011 is an example of human-rights activism by British lawyers, claiming that the European Convention should have extra-territorial effect in non-European states, which are not signatories to the Convention. Al-Skeini was an Iraqi shot by British troops during a patrol in Iraq.

The complaint was not that he had lost his life, which to the uninitiated might seem more important, but rather that there had not been a ‘sufficient investigation’ into the circumstances of his death. This was alleged to be a breach of the ‘procedural’ requirements of Article 2 of the Convention, which guarantees a right to life. In a tendentious ruling, the European Court decided that the Convention could have extra-territorial effect, if a member state was engaged in security operations abroad and the foreign state had no effective government of its own.

The UK government has now spent nearly £20million pounds on the Al-Sweady inquiry, another investigation into loss of life during Iraq operations. Nearly £4million of this went on lawyers’ fees. The total cost is estimated at £25million.

Human rights have also had ramifications for domestic law. Take a case like Rabone in 2012. It concerned a young woman who was admitted to a mental hospital as a voluntary patient, suffering with depression. She was given a period of home leave, and then killed herself. Her suicide was tragic, and the hospital accepted that its decision to let her leave fell below accepted psychiatric standards of care. But the family’s lawyers argued that the courts should clarify the scope of the state’s duty to protect life under Article 2 of the Convention.

Although Ms Rabone’s estate settled for £7,500, her parents continued to sue, arguing that they had a derivative claim under Article 2. So the case wound on expensively all the way to the Supreme Court, by which time the parents’ damages had been set at £5,000. Various judges penned erudite legal opinions, with the net result that the parents’ right to claim nominal damages was upheld. Many would see this as a Pyrrhic victory.

What the human-rights club is less forthcoming about is how human rights are increasingly used as a pretext for expanding the state’s power over the living, ostensibly to protect them from possible abuse. Recently, the UK government held a consultation on whether social workers should have a right of entry into people’s homes on ‘safeguarding’ grounds. Ninety per cent of health authorities and 72 per cent of local authorities responding thought they should, but 77 per cent of the public were opposed. Yet the Equality and Human Rights Commission supported the proposal.

As David Chandler has argued (3), human-rights proponents treat individuals not as autonomous rights-bearing subjects, but as hapless victims in a fallen world. Despite their claims to empower the excluded, what they really offer is more state regulation, as opposed to personal freedom.


Yet another British woman falsely crying rape

It never ceases yet British police continue to treat accused men as being guilty until proven innocent

A Junior doctor falsely claimed she had been raped by two men at the hospital where she worked, a medical tribunal was told yesterday.

Hannah Farnsworth, 26, alleged that, in one of two attacks, she was dragged into an office, threatened with a knife and sexually assaulted.

The attackers were said to have filmed the ordeal on a mobile phone as she was tied with ropes, cut with a knife, burnt with a cigarette lighter and injected with drugs.

The medic claimed she was left pregnant after the attack and said two other men at the hospital – both doctors – were not responsible for the alleged rapes but ‘knew about’ them.

But after making a statement to police, she confessed that she had lied. Dr Farnsworth now admits the rape claims were false, but instead insists she was physically attacked on the two occasions.

Yesterday she appeared before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal, which will decide whether she can continue with her career.

The panel heard the alleged sex attacks happened at Bassetlaw District General Hospital in Worksop, Nottinghamshire.

Simon Jackson QC, for the General Medical Council, said the junior doctor was never assaulted.

‘As a result of these false complaints of rape, the trust undertook an investigation and spent in the region of £10,000 to increase security and two police forces investigated these false allegations of rape.  'The doctor’s conduct in making these false allegations was dishonest and misleading.’

The allegations came to light when the newly-qualified doctor told a colleague and friend she had been first attacked in April 2011, the panel was told.

‘It was plain that at the time this first account was given she was upset and distressed,’ Mr Jackson said.  ‘She said two men, one of whom had tattoos on his arm, followed her into the room, produced a knife and used that knife to threaten her.  ‘As a result of being taken hold of she had struggled.

‘The two men tied her up and she had banged her head. She said it was sexually motivated and that was all the detail that had been given on that occasion.’

The doctor was said to have later told a colleague, Dr Jen Middleton, she had been cut with a knife, suffered a back injury and was burned by one or both of the men using a cigarette lighter.

Dr Middleton was concerned and spoke to another colleague, Dr Laura Smy, about the alleged attack.

Mr Jackson added: ‘In the days that followed those initial declarations, the doctor then made further, now admitted false declarations to a senior manager, Mr Peter Wilson. Those false declarations were made to a number of people.’

After the alleged attack the doctor – who qualified in 2010 – reported receiving mysterious bleeps on her pager, threats over the phone and indicated two doctors may have known about the claimed attacks.

She eventually contacted South Yorkshire Police to report the first alleged assault on June 2.

However, the next day she told Dr Smy that she had been attacked again earlier the same day in a hospital car park.

Dr Smy told the hearing she invited the junior doctor to her house, where she arrived with a nosebleed and a cut behind her ear.

‘She said she had been threatened by two men with a knife, that she was taken into the postgraduate medical education centre, where she had been raped again and cut with a knife in the course of what would have been the second rape,’ said Mr Jackson.

‘The police were now involved and in the course of the investigation the doctor was expected to provide a statement,’ he added.

‘She admitted she had not been raped or sexually assaulted in either incident.

‘She felt she would not have been taken seriously if the allegation was not a serious assault.’

Dr Smy said she was told that two doctors at the hospital may have watched the mobile phone footage of the alleged rapes.

‘[She said] that they had watched the film, that she looked like she had enjoyed it and then threatened her with a repeat attack if she told anybody,’ she said.

Dr Farnsworth admits charges including making false declarations to colleagues and police that she had been raped on two occasions.

She denies lying about certain details, which she maintains did occur, and denies dishonest and misleading conduct.

Police have to refused to say if she will be charged with wasting police time.


Downton’s Lady Mary will NEVER be a ‘single mum’

A newspaper puff for the TV snob opera Downton Abbey says that the character Lady Mary, whose ‘husband’ was killed off in the Christmas episode, will be ‘coming to terms with her role as a 'single mother’ in the new series.

See how language is twisted to hide the truth?

The correct expression is ‘widow’, which you may have noticed we don’t hear so much any more.  Lady Mary, played by Michelle Dockery, did not have a child outside wedlock.  She was married. This matters.

One of the great triumphs of the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s was to deny the importance of marriage.

The expression ‘unmarried mother’ was abolished, and replaced by ‘single mother’.

But a widowed or deserted wife’s position is and always will be utterly different from that of a woman who deliberately has a child outside marriage.

The difference is a moral one, and that’s what the revolutionaries want to abolish  – morality.



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.



18 September, 2013

Get rid of the guns, cars and Tasers and we might just end up with real policemen

By Peter Hitchens

What use are the police these days? We know they have a pretty ambiguous attitude towards us, the public, avoiding us where possible by staying indoors or racing about in cars, and seldom going out alone in case one of  us actually approaches them.

They’re busy doing something else, as one of them recently explained to me in an irritable voice, when I asked him to act against a driver who’d driven through a red light at a pedestrian crossing 20ft from his nose.

That ‘something else’ often involves hanging about scowling, with sub-machine guns, supposedly saving us from an exaggerated terrorist menace.

But now it turns out that all those haughty squads of armed militia who supposedly protect the great and the powerful don’t even know who it is they are meant to be guarding. Prince Andrew was quite right to be angry when two armed officers treated him like a suspect as  he strolled in broad daylight in his mother’s garden.

How typical. First, they failed to detect or halt an intruder into Buckingham Palace, surrounded by high walls and fences and an obvious terror target (and nutcase target) if ever there was one.

Next, they failed to recognise one of the best-known people in Britain, who was also one of the very few people who had an absolute right to be there, and whose features should be imprinted on their minds since they are being paid to protect him.

It is ridiculous to accuse the Duke of York of having a self-important ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ moment or of being insufferable or pompous. The officers were paid to know who he was.

It wasn’t as if his presence was unlikely or unexpected or out of context. It’s his childhood home. He was right to be livid, and we should be livid on his behalf. And there’s more.

It is now almost a year since the then Chief Whip, Andrew Mitchell, was falsely said to have called police officers ‘plebs’.  This happened after an overzealous and inflexible officer refused to open a gate to let him ride his bike out of Downing Street.

Mr Standfast, our warlike, missile-rattling Prime Minister, quickly dumped Mr Mitchell from his job when he realised  it might endanger his poll ratings. And Mr Mitchell remains sacked, despite the unravelling of the claims made against him.

Meanwhile, there’s still no sign of any action against those who leaked the original falsehood, despite an investigation almost as big as the one into the late Jimmy Savile.

Call them all back in. Take away their guns and their Tasers and their stab vests, sell their helicopters and their fast cars with the go-faster stripes.

Give them proper British police uniforms, which mark them out as the people’s servants, not their masters.

And send them out on solitary foot patrol, yes, even in the rain, where they might once more meet those they are supposed to serve.

If London’s really so dangerous it needs armed guards, then deploy the Army.

They’re better at it, they don’t look down on us, they’re nicer and more polite than the police, and would be most unlikely to threaten a member of the Royal Family or fabricate lies against a Minister.


British government minister: Ban Muslim women from wearing veils in schools and public places

Britain should consider banning Muslim girls and young women from wearing veils in schools and public places, a Home Office minister has said.

Jeremy Browne, a Liberal Democrat, said there needs to be a national debate about whether the state should step in to protect young women from having the veil “imposed” on them.

Mr Browne said he is “instinctively uneasy” about banning behaviour, but suggested the measure may still be necessary to ensure freedom of choice for girls in Muslim communities.

The Home Office minister is the first senior Liberal Democrat to raise such deep concerns about Islamic dress in public places. A growing number of Conservative MPs also want the Government to consider a ban.

Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, has suggested he may support banning the veil in classrooms, but downplayed the chances of wider restrictions.

He said: “My own view, I don’t think we should end up like different countries where we tell people how they go about their business. I do think there is an issue with teachers in the classroom…that might be an area where a full veil might be inappropriate.”

The debate was given momentum last week when David Cameron’s spokesman said the Prime Minister would have no problem with the veil being banned in his children’s schools.

Tory MPs, including a vice-chairman of the party, have now voiced support for Mr Browne.

Mr Browne told The Telegraph: “I think this is a good topic for national debate. People of liberal instincts will have competing notions of how to protect and promote freedom of choice.”  He added: “I am instinctively uneasy about restricting the freedom of individuals to observe the religion of their choice. That would apply to Christian minorities in the Middle East just as much as religious minorities here in Britain.

“But there is genuine debate about whether girls should feel a compulsion to wear a veil when society deems children to be unable to express personal choices about other areas like buying alcohol, smoking or getting married.

“We should be very cautious about imposing religious conformity on a society which has always valued freedom of expression.”

His comments follow a political row last week over a decision by Birmingham Metropolitan College to ban veils.

The college was accused of discriminating against Muslims when it ordered all students, staff and visitors to remove face coverings so individuals are “easily identifiable at all times”. It then backtracked after a petition attracted 8,000 signatures in 48 hours and the policy drew criticism from politicians.

Under the current guidance, schools are entitled to set their own uniform policy.

Mr Cameron has so far declined to revisit the rules on veils in schools, but his position is coming under pressure as MPs from across the political spectrum speak out.

Downing Street has said the Prime Minister would support a ban on full-face veils in his children’s schools, but insisted the final decision should rest with head teachers.

However, back-bench Tory MPs yesterday suggested that the rules should be changed to instruct schools to enforce a ban on face coverings.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, the MP for Totnes, said the veils are “deeply offensive” and are “making women invisible”. She suggested that the niqab should be banned in schools and colleges.

Writing for The Telegraph, she said: “It would be a perverse distortion of freedom if we knowingly allowed the restriction of communication in the very schools and colleges which should be equipping girls with skills for the modern world. We must not abandon our cultural belief that women should fully and equally participate in society.”

Bob Neill, a vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, backed Mr Browne’s call for a national debate about a ban. “I do think we need to have a serious conversation about it,” he said.

He said that schools should be able to ban children who persist in covering their faces in lessons.

“Schools should be allowed to say if you want to go into lessons in our schools you have got to comply with the rules,” he said. “You can’t allow the teaching of the majority to be undermined, to be disrupted by that.”

Schools and colleges are given the freedom to set their own policies on uniform covering areas such as the length of skirts and suitable haircuts.

Guidance from the Department for Education states that it should be possible for various religious beliefs to be accommodated within individual institutions’ policies.

The right to a particular religious dress code is safeguarded by the Human Rights Act 1998 and must be followed by schools and colleges, it is claimed.

But the guidance says that teachers can lawfully impose policies that “restrict the freedom of pupils to manifest their religion” – for example, by covering their face or carrying the traditional Sikh kirpan dagger – on various grounds.

The DfE guidance, last issued in 2012, says: “Where a school has good reason for restricting an individual’s freedoms, for example, to ensure effective teaching, the promotion of cohesion and good order in the school, the prevention of bullying, or genuine health and safety or security considerations, then the restriction of an individual’s rights to manifest their religion or belief may be justified.”

Peter Bone, the Tory MP for Wellingborough, said: “From a security point of view you need to be able to see the faces of people – in the House of Commons when we go through a division [to vote] we are not allowed to cover our face. There is a security issue here that is worth debating.”


Midwife sacked over HIV disclosures defends right to blow whistle

It's a continuing disgrace the way relevant matters are hidden  from foster parents by British social workers  -- in some cases endangering the foster families

A midwife who was sacked after revealing that foster parents were not being told that children had HIV has defended her right to “whistleblow” on the practice.

Bernadette McDaid, 50, went to the media to raise her concerns when foster parents were not told that a baby was HIV positive in the London Borough of Newham in east London.

Although the midwife raised “legitimate concerns”, she had approached the matter in “an entirely inappropriate” way, the Nursing and Midwifery Council heard yesterday.

She was struck off in March 2012 but the order was overturned earlier this year at the High Court and she is now facing a fresh hearing.

After a baby was born to an HIV-positive mother in November 2008, plans were drawn up for the child - who was also HIV-positive, to be fostered with relatives.

The birth mother did not want the relations to know about the condition and measures were taken to ensure they did not know the reason why the child was on medication.

Michael Collis, counsel for the NMC, said that as well as hiding the fact the child was HIV-positive, “it also appears that steps were taken to disguise the medication that Patient B’s baby was required to take while she was with the foster carers”.

After raising her concerns about this deception internally, the midwife went to the media, the panel heard.

Mr Collis said the midwife “had legitimate concerns about aspects of the clinical care received by Patient B and her baby” and was not wrong to raise her concerns.  “However, what is asserted is that the registrant behaved in an entirely unprofessional and inappropriate manner,” he said.

He said: “The registrant (Mrs McDaid) made it clear that she was unhappy with the fact that Patient B’s HIV status was not being disclosed to the foster carers.”

He told the hearing that Mrs McDaid had “shouted” at the patient and at social workers at a meeting after the baby was born. and should not have spoken to the media in detail about the case.

The midwife sent a letter to two senior employees at Newham University Hospital trust stating “you will be exposed as the repugnant, amoral, dishonest characters that you are”, the panel heard.  The midwife faces a catalogue of allegations including verbally abusing colleagues and breaching patient confidentiality.

She is also accused of submitting false evidence to the High Court and the NMC.

McDaid denied the claims and claimed many of the allegations were “fabricated”.

If her actions are found to amount to misconduct, McDaid’s striking-off could be upheld.

The midwife told the hearing that many of the allegations against her were baseless, saying “I call a spade a spade” and alleged that critical documents had been stolen from her, which would have aided her defence.

The midwife also said she contacted senior Government figures in the last administration, telling them: “I was reporting child abuse and that I had a right to whistleblow’.

Charges denied by Mrs McDaid include making inappropriate comments after telling a woman, named only as Patient A, that her baby looked “very white” during a home visit, in January 2009.

“During the course of the registrant’s (Mrs McDaid’s) routine visit to Patient A’s house the registrant made several inappropriate comments, centred around the colour of Patient’s A’s child,” Mr Collis said.

“This included the comment ‘your baby looks very white’, ‘he is very fair, people may ask if you are the nanny’, ‘people may think that you have had an egg donation, because he is so white’,” he said.

Mrs McDaid described the charge as “nonsense” and said: “I said nothing inappropriate.”


This isn't very liberal is it?

by Tim Worstall

We've just spent a couple of centuries enshrining in the law the idea that consenting adults can do, in matters sexual, pretty much whatever consenting adults wish to do. This is one of the great liberal victories. Yes, it's easy enough to point to those who make something of a mess of said freedoms but no one ever said that freedom and liberty were perfect, only that their presence is better than their  absence.

At which point we get this proposal:

"A shake-up of the law to give extra legal rights to unmarried couples who separate is set to be backed by the Liberal Democrat conference. Supporters of the move say it is a widespread myth that cohabiting couples enjoy the same rights as if they had married. There are almost three million cohabiting couples in Britain. The Law Commission suggested six years ago that former partners who have lived together for two years should be able to make a financial claim if they break up. The amount awarded could reflect whether claimants suffered a financial loss – by giving up a job, for example – as a result of the relationship."

Last time I looked the Lib Dems were at least claiming to be something of a liberal party. So what is this illiberality? Why must cohabitation lead to financial rights? There's a perfectly good government mandated contract to take care of those issues if consenting adults should wish to use it. Called marriage and it's open to every possible legal pairing of a couple in matters sexual.

Why must those who do not wish to avail themselves of this contract be corralled into something very similar just because they wish to have sex with someone for a few years?

It's a decidedly illiberal idea and goes entirely against the grain of everything that liberalism has managed to achieve in the sphere to date



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

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



17 September, 2013

Soft justice kills the innocent

Offenders with serious "form" should never be bailed

One in seven murders in Britain is committed by suspects freed on bail while awaiting trial for other crimes, according to disturbing new figures.

Last year 56 murders – more than one a week and a shocking 37 per cent rise on 2011 – were carried out by people bailed by the courts.

If they had been remanded in  custody, the victims’ lives may have been saved.

Criminals on bail also committed an average of two rapes a week, and were responsible for tens of thousands of less serious offences, the Ministry of Justice figures reveal.

Overall, suspects who have been released by the courts commit a crime every ten minutes.

There has been pressure on magistrates in recent years to remand fewer suspects to Britain’s over-crowded prisons, but these figures suggest that too many dangerous criminals are being released.

Peter Cuthbertson, director of the Centre for Crime Prevention think-tank said: ‘These figures are horrifying – victims’ families will be sickened.

‘If the authorities have let this happen through sheer incompetence then they need to scale back immediately the use of remand on bail for people suspected of serious crimes.

‘If, on the other hand, they have decided that one extra murder a week is an “acceptable” figure, it only shows how much the public is put at risk by an obsession with keeping down prisoner numbers.’

The figures say there were 60,129 crimes committed last year by people who were on bail. Of these, 42,302 were classified as indictable offences, the most serious.

In addition to the convictions for murder, 16 people were convicted of manslaughter, and 684 for serious violent assaults.

A total of 111 rapes were carried out by people on bail last year, as well as 166 sex offences against children and 6,372 home break-ins.

One in every five burglaries is carried out by a suspect who has already been caught for something else but then released back on to the streets.

In 2011, suspects on bail carried out 41 murders, 857 serious assaults, 102 rapes and 206 sex attacks on children.

Former Justice Secretary Ken Clarke limited the use of prison remand – leaving thousands more offenders at large.

Judges are no longer allowed to remand people in custody if their crime will not lead to a jail sentence if they are eventually convicted.

Three years ago, Jonathan Vass, 30, murdered his ex-girlfriend while on bail for raping her.  The former bodybuilder was released by a Crown Court judge despite standing accused of repeatedly raping nurse Jane Clough, 26, at her Blackpool home while she was pregnant with his daughter.

Former paramedic Vass launched the frenzied knife attack on Miss Clough only eight weeks before he was due to stand trial. Vass, who stabbed her more than 70 times in the car park of the hospital where she worked, was jailed for a minimum of 30 years in 2010 after admitting murder.

Since her death, Miss Clough’s devastated parents have campaigned to change the law, saying their daughter was betrayed by the justice system.

They have demanded that bail laws be changed to make it harder to grant bail to perpetrators of domestic violence who are thought to be particularly dangerous.

The judge who granted Vass bail had been warned about the threat he posed.

Last year teenager Kevyn Viner was jailed for two horrific rape attacks – the second was carried out while he was on bail for the first.  Viner, 18, of Newport, South Wales, was given an 11-year sentence for raping a 25-year-old woman just days after he was released for a similar assault on a 50-year-old victim.

In 2007, teenager Adam Swellings, was on bail for assault when he murdered father-of-three Garry Newlove in Cheshire.  He was allowed out despite a long history of breaching court orders.

One of his bail conditions was that he did not go to Warrington – the town where he killed Mr Newlove.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘Dangerous offenders should always be remanded into custody while awaiting trial.

'That’s why the Government changed the law, to allow prosecutors to challenge decisions where a potentially dangerous prisoner could be bailed.

‘The overwhelming majority of people bailed do not reoffend and they are often given strict conditions such as tags and curfews.’


British social workers again

It's not only endangered children that they neglect

A troubled student killed herself after a social worker dismissed her as a ‘an effing waste of space’ and ‘an attention seeker’.

Now a coroner has formally criticised the ‘failure’ of the NHS team supposed to be caring for tragic Hannah Groves, 20, who committed suicide after she spent nine days threatening to take her own life and asking to be admitted to a specialist unit.

Her frightened mother Mandy Park, 43, who made similar unsuccessful efforts to secure help for her daughter, said: ‘If she had been admitted for treatment I believe Hannah would still be alive.

‘I feel completely and utterly failed by the lack of help and care.  'She was talked about in such a vile, horrific and derogatory way by certain people.  'It was like being caught up in a horror film.’

Her complaints were backed up by the evidence at the inquest into Hannah’s death, which heard that Accident and Emergency doctors, police and paramedics all concluded she needed help.

But the specialist mental health team diagnosed her as simply having ‘attention-seeking behaviour’.

In a narrative verdict, Southampton coroner Keith Wiseman said: ‘There was at all stages a failure to appreciate the extent of the risk that Hannah was at in the community.’

Hannah was studying French at the university of Southampton when she began suffering mental illness for the first time.

On an October morning last year – after she had spent nine days repeatedly asking for treatment in the city’s Antelope House mental health unit – she was being assessed at a police station when a policeman phoned the mental health team.

It was then that a social worker told the officer: ‘Yeah, I know her, she is an effing waste of space, she’s an attention seeker.’

Within three hours Hannah was dead after strangling herself with scarves and belts.

Now her mother has told how her daughter’s mental state swiftly degenerated into severe panic attacks and she had to be prevented from strangling herself.

Miss Park said: ‘It was like she was possessed but we just couldn’t get the help that she needed and she wanted.  ‘The image of finding my daughter will haunt me for ever and I can no longer sleep at night without heavy medication.’

Yet Miss Park said that when she called the psychiatric team on her daughter’s behalf, she was ‘treated as if I was a pain’.  She added: ‘I could hear the sighs on the phone when I told them who I was.’

Coroner Mr Wiseman said in his verdict earlier this month: ‘It is surely self-evident that by the end of the week it was unsafe for both Hannah and her family for her to be at home.

‘One only has to pause for a moment to visualise Hannah’s mother and teenage brother being forced to leave the house for their own safety in the early hours of the morning and for the police to have to be called, to realise that by then a wholly impossible stage had been reached and that for however modest a period of time Hannah required hospital admission and care.’

He went on to say that a ‘safety first’ policy had clearly not been employed, particularly in light of Hannah’s clearly worsening condition.  She needed immediate help, he said, ‘not the almost throwaway line of: well she can always come to see us when she wants to’.

Hannah’s mother said she was now taking legal action against the Southern Health NHS Trust.

A spokesman for the Trust rejected her family’s and the coroner’s claims that she should have been admitted to hospital, but said: ‘In this case we deeply regret the failure to provide the right level of intensive community support which would have avoided any need for hospital admission.’

The social worker who made the ‘waste of space’ comment had been suspended while an investigation is carried out.


Debate over jeweller Stephan Turk who killed 18-year-old thief in France

A FRENCH jeweller who shot dead a teenage robber has sparked a national debate, with a Facebook page supporting him getting 1.4 million "likes".

Stephan Turk, 67, shot an 18-year-old in the back on Wednesday as he and another robber were fleeing on a scooter with gems stolen from the jeweller's shop in the French Riviera city of Nice.

His actions have divided France, with supporters arguing for the right to self-defence amid a general climate of insecurity, while critics condemn the use of violence and vigilantism.

A Facebook page created anonymously several days ago in support of Turk - who on Friday was charged with murder - had garnered 1.46 million likes by Sunday afternoon.

"He did what the justice system isn't able to do! These days, if you want something done right, do it yourself," user Fanny Duvergt wrote.

But on Twitter, where debate over the issue is also raging, doubts have emerged about the huge swell of Facebook support, with some saying many of the "likes" may have been bought.

A Facebook page against the jeweller and the use of force has also emerged over the past few days, though it has a comparatively meagre 13,800 "likes".

"Shooting someone who is escaping in the back, that's murder. It's not self-defence... We're not in the Wild West taking justice in our own hands," Facebook user Katia Chipolina wrote on the page.

French law allows for killers to escape conviction for murder if they can show they acted in "legitimate defence".

But the prosecutor who recommended Turk be charged with murder does not believe this can be applied as the jeweller's life did not appear to be in immediate danger when he fired an unlicensed semi-automatic pistol.

If convicted of voluntary homicide, the jeweller could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Mainstream politicians have generally avoided comment on the case, saying it is a matter for the courts. But it has been seized upon by the far-right Front National (FN).

"When people feel obliged to defend themselves with such dramatic consequences, it is a sign that they no longer have any confidence in the state or the forces of order," FN leader Marine Le Pen said Saturday.

And in a photo published in the Journal de Dimanche newspaper on Sunday, her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the FN party, was shown brandishing his fist at the camera.

"I would have done the same thing," he was quoted as saying in the paper.


Your Safe, Moral Boy Scouts Alternative

It was Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 6, 2013. The huge hall was overflowing, the convention sold out. Over 1,200 attendees, with many spilling out into the foyer, eagerly awaited the announcement. What would this safe, moral and non-sexualized alternative to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) look like? With a stirring introductory video came the answer: “Trail Life USA” would now endeavor to “be the premier national character development organization for young men, which produces godly and responsible husbands, fathers and citizens.”

The reveal, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of Americans was met with rousing cheers. “Our mission is simple and clear,” came the official mission statement, “to guide generations of courageous young men to honor God, lead with integrity, serve others and experience outdoor adventure.”

A brief summary from the new scouting-like organization’s website (TrailLifeUSA.com) reads as follows:

“Most guys want exciting outdoor adventure with their friends. We’ve got that! Trips and travel? That, too. Camping. Check. Physical and mental challenge? Yep. And awards? Of course!

“Trail Life USA is a Christian adventure, character and leadership movement for young men. The K-12 program centers on outdoor experiences that build a young man’s skills and allow him to grow on a personal level and as a role model and leader for his peers. Living the Trail Life is a journey established on timeless values derived from the Bible.”

Countless men and boys who once called themselves “Boy Scouts” will now proudly bear the title of “Trailman.”

Back in May, millions of Americans were shocked and saddened when the BSA inexplicably bowed to left-wing political pressure and became something it had never before been: a hyper-politicized, aberrantly sexualized petri dish for social and sexual experimentation.

Created in 1910 to “prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes,” the BSA, on May 23, 2013, tragically voted to welcome into its ranks “open and avowed” homosexuality (boy-on-boy sexual attraction and behavior), thereby disavowing the “morally straight” Scout Oath its members have been sworn to uphold for over a century.

Even worse, and in so doing, the BSA effectively waived the only legal defense it once had to preclude openly homosexual Scout leaders and gender-confused girls from its ranks: religious and moral conviction. It’s only a matter of time until the BSA is forced to capitulate to sexual extremists’ political demands and allow homosexual adults – men who define their identity based upon carnal appetites for other males – to take your boys on overnight camping trips.

Once that happens, Trail Life USA will be the life raft for the multitudes. Those who abandon the fast-sinking BSA ship will have a safe place to land.

The group has released a must-see video explaining both the history of Trail Life USA and the BSA’s tragic and financially driven cave-in to extremist political groups, hard-left corporate donors and the mainstream media (Click here to view video).

Oh, but what a faithful Lord we serve! We are reminded in Romans 8:28, “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Trail Life USA is indeed good. It has indeed been called according to His purpose.

And it will never waver.

In a recent interview on “WallBuilders Live” radio, John Stemberger, an Eagle Scout, lawyer, pro-family advocate and Trail Life USA’s acting board chairman, addressed the BSA tragedy and the resulting birth of this exciting new principled alternative: “Sometimes things have to die before there’s a new birth and it comes back better than before. And, not to extend the analogy too far, but even our Lord went through that process,” he said.

Regrettably, the usual left-wing suspects have attempted to smear Trail Life USA by labeling it “anti-gay.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Trail Life is simply pro-purity. As Christians, the group’s leadership has adopted the tried-and-true “love the sinner, hate the sin” model. They’ve simply chosen to obey and follow Christ’s “I do not condemn you … From now on sin no more” example on sexual immorality – all sexual immorality – be it adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior or any other sexual sin explicitly identified in Scripture.

Trail Life’s Membership Standards state, without equivocation, “The basis for the program’s ethical and moral standards are found in the Bible. In terms of sexual identification and behavior, we affirm that any sexual activity outside the context of the covenant of marriage between one man and one woman is sinful before God and therefore inconsistent with the values and principles of the program.

“Within these limits, we grant membership to adults and youth who do not engage in or promote sexual immorality of any kind, or engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the program.”

Under the heading “Purity,” the group’s Statement of Faith & Values states: “Members are called to live a life of holiness, being pure of heart, mind, word and deed, reserving sexual activity for the sanctity of marriage; marriage being a lifelong commitment before God between a man and a woman.”

We condemn you not. Now go and sin no more.

“Real men value truth over tradition,” Stemberger told the cheering convention crowd. “Real men value principle over program, and they value integrity over institutions.”

The BSA has lost its integrity. It has chosen the almighty dollar over the best interests of the boys it once served so well.

Now you have a choice.

An oak has died, but a new seed buds.
I pray you’ll water that new seed. I pray you’ll choose Trail Life USA.



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

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



16 September, 2013

British government minister: I’m ending this scandal over children’s care

No longer will the quality, policies and location of care homes be kept a secret, says the Education Secretary

Michael Gove

To intervene or not to intervene? That is the question – in almost every area of politics. Well, I’m an unapologetic interventionist. When children are suffering, we need to act. As Education Secretary, I believe there is a direct responsibility on me to protect vulnerable children.

That is why I have fought to make it easier to take children in need into care. We should evacuate them from homes where they are being abused and neglected. I am glad the changes we have made to the adoption system mean more children are now being placed – permanently – with loving families.

Those rescued from neglectful homes, and who have not found stable, loving families to care for them, should find security and support in children’s homes where they can enjoy a fresh start.

But not all do. As we have been learning, through a series of horrific court cases, there are young people who were promised security in care who have been terribly exploited. It has been encouraging to see the energy that the Home Office and the police, who are leading the fight against child sexual exploitation, have deployed in bringing the perpetrators to justice.

But there’s an even greater responsibility on my shoulders – to intervene to make sure children in care are safe.

A year ago, when the first shocking cases of sexual exploitation in Rochdale were prosecuted, we set up expert groups to help us understand what we might do better. A change to the way police and social services record instances of missing children was the result; a new system begins next April.

That initial piece of research threw up many questions I found worrying. Many councils were not using children’s homes in their areas, but were decanting children to homes far from family, friends and the social workers who knew them. Why? Was cost a factor? Did we need to spend more? There was a lack of clarity about costs. And – most worrying of all – there was a lack of the most basic information about where these homes existed, who was responsible for them, and how good they were.

To my astonishment, when I tried to find out more, I was met with a wall of silence. The only responsible body with the information we needed was Ofsted, which registers children’s homes – yet Ofsted was prevented by “data protection” rules, “child protection” concerns and other bewildering regulations from sharing that data with us, or even with the police. Local authorities could only access information via a complex and time-consuming application process – and some simply did not bother.

The people with responsibility for overseeing the protection of children in any area – local safeguarding children boards – told us they did not even know when new homes opened locally, or where, and who were the children in them.

There was one group of people, however, who did seem to possess all the information: the gangs intent on exploiting these vulnerable children. They knew where the homes were; they knew how to contact the children – at the fish and chip shop, the amusement arcade, in the local park; or just by hanging around outside the houses.

In the name of “protecting children” by officially “protecting” their information, we had ended up helping the very people we were supposed to be protecting them from. We shielded the children from the authorities who needed to be looking out for them. An “out of sight, out of mind” culture developed.

I was determined to change this. First, we changed the absurd rules that prevented information being shared. And then we set to work digging through the data. Not all the information is perfect, but some of it stands out: almost half of children are placed in homes outside their local authority areas, and over a third are sent more than 20 miles from home. That is indefensible. So, too, is the fact that more than half of children’s homes are in areas with above-average crime levels.

Today we are publishing as full information as possible about the location, ownership and quality of children’s homes in England, in order to foster transparency and public debate on this issue, as well as improve care.

We are changing the rules so that children’s homes providers, councils and the police will have to risk-assess the location of new homes as part of the registration process. We are working with Ofsted on tougher enforcement powers: no longer will homes be able to languish at “adequate” year after year. And we want to focus on outcomes for these children: what are we achieving for them, at the huge cost of £200,000 per child per year?

We are working on matching data so that we will also be able to see exactly where councils are sending their children and which ones are sending them farthest from home – and force them to justify their actions.

I am sure there will be some who object to this additional scrutiny, accountability and pressure – there always are when there has been failure. But we cannot allow the interests of adults who have failed to trump the needs of children who have suffered.


A sordid orgy and why Max Mosley can't be allowed to erase history

More than any man on earth, the former Formula One racing chief Max Mosley is trying to rewrite the rules that have governed the workings of a free Press for many years, not just in this country but throughout Europe.

His latest assault is on the internet giant Google. He has been trying to persuade a French court that the web engine should be prevented from directing users to pictures of a private orgy that he organised five years ago.

The photographs, involving Mr Mosley and five consensual prostitutes, were originally published by the now defunct News of the World in March 2008. It alleged that Mr Mosley had been engaged in a ‘sick Nazi orgy’.

To the astonishment of many, three months later Mr Mosley won damages of £60,000 in the High Court from the paper, which was held to have invaded his privacy.

Although German was spoken, uniforms worn and blood was shed by Mosley during the proceedings, and despite heads apparently being inspected as though for lice, the learned judge declared there was no evidence that this had been a Nazi orgy.

Mr Justice Eady ruled that if it had been a Nazi orgy he might have found in favour of the newspaper, since Mr Mosley was a public figure of sorts whose suitability for his high-profile job would have been seriously called into question  by such antics. As there was no such proof, the paper was required to pay damages and costs.

Buoyed by this significant (and to my mind irrational) verdict, Mr Mosley set about trying to restrict the activities of the Press.

In 2011 he argued in the European Court of Human Rights that ‘prior notification’ should be compulsory for newspapers, to give their targets time to obtain an injunction preventing publication.

In other words, a politician or businessman caught doing something wrong could try to persuade a sympathetic judge to kill off the story. Mercifully, the Court had a fit of good sense, and seven of its judges ruled that the right to freedom of expression would be at risk if ‘pre-notification’ was compulsory.

But Mr Mosley was, and is, a man obsessed. One way or another the Press must be curbed. His lawyers have just argued in front of French judges that Google should apply filters so that people would be unable to access photographs of his orgy.

The unwary might suppose that this is perfectly reasonable. If the News of the World was, according to an English judge, guilty of invading Mr Mosley’s privacy when it originally published photographs of his orgy, why should those photographs be available on the net?

Google’s response is that the application of filters would amount to a form of censorship. Access to news sites carrying the pictures, or to innocuous articles containing the images, might be blocked.

In short, the prohibition would extend much further than the photographs.

If anything, Google is understating the case. Should Mr Mosley get his way, the consequence could be the rewriting or erasing of chunks of history.

Whether or not his privacy was invaded, the photographs exist and no one has challenged their authenticity. They amount to a historical record of a sordid event which indubitably took place.   Decent people might wish that it hadn’t, but it did.

These images continue to exist not only on the net but in libraries and private homes. If they were wiped out on the internet — actually, they physically can’t be, but access to them can be denied — they would logically have to be destroyed wherever else they might survive. That sounds like a police state.

If Mr Mosley wins this battle, his next step might be to request that any articles which so much as referred to the pictures of his orgy, or the orgy itself, should also be destroyed, possibly including this one.

And then a thousand other people who want to rewrite their pasts would also apply to have access blocked to discreditable information about them on the internet. In fact, it’s already happening.

The European Union’s highest court is considering whether Spain’s privacy regulator may have overstepped the mark when trying to force Google to remove unflattering search results for numerous citizens — for example, a doctor who claimed that a 1991 news article about a dispute with a patient had damaged his business.

Of course, libellous or untrue articles can, and should, be taken off the net. Google says it has removed hundreds of such pages relating to Mr Mosley following requests from him.

Equally, the search engine should do much more to block access to extreme pornographic websites. But such a welcome move does not involve the rewriting of history to which Mr Mosley’s innovations would lead us.

If he had his way, it would not be long before George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four became one step closer to reality. In that book, Winston Smith is employed as a clerk in the Ministry of Truth, rewriting historical documents to match the ever-shifting line of the powers that be.

Do I exaggerate? I don’t think so. Mr Mosley does not like freedom much. At a meeting of a Commons select committee in March he shocked observers. He suggested that access to foreign-based websites could be blocked if they flouted tough new rules that might be introduced by British regulators. That’s what they do in dictatorships such as Iran and China.

It’s surely no accident that Mr Mosley should have started his assault on freedom in France, a country with ferocious privacy laws in which newspapers are traditionally cowed by politicians and the courts.

Until shortly before his death, French newspapers did not dare reveal the truth about the war record, private life and financial misdemeanours of former president Francois Mitterrand.

For example, there was scant discussion of the period during the early years of World War II when he supported Petain’s pro-German Vichy regime, and allegations that he protected Nazi collaborators who helped deport French Jews to death camps were also downplayed. It was only in the months before his death that the Press revealed that Mitterrand had fathered an illegitimate child by a secret mistress.

The French court will deliver its verdict on Mr Mosley’s latest legal challenge, subject to appeal, on October 21. Meanwhile, he is also challenging Google in the German courts. He is aiming for Europe-wide controls on the web engine — and of course he has lots of money.

Though he has denied giving donations to Hacked Off, the pressure group campaigning for tougher regulation of British newspapers, he is a supporter of the organisation and has reportedly financed hacking victims’ lawyers. Will Hacked Off now condemn him for wishing to censor the internet? Of course not. What Mr Mosley yearns for, Hacked Off also wants.

He is a very wealthy man who organised a sordid orgy which the News of the World could have justly described as ‘German-themed’. Nevertheless, he won his case. Meanwhile, that newspaper has been closed down for unconnected reasons.

But that is not enough for him. His war of vengeance against the Press continues. It as if newspapers must suffer because he has been damaged.

He blames everyone except himself. It seems never to occur to Max Mosley that he may have acted unwisely or wrongly. In trying to bury his unwholesome past, this peculiar man would, if he could, cheerfully dismantle all our freedoms.


Outrage as 'loopy' UN inspector lectures Britain: She's from violent, slum-ridden Brazil, yet still attacks us on housing and human rights

Raquel Rolnik: A follower of Candomble, a religion linked to slavery that worships African gods

Furious Tories last night demanded the UN apologise for allowing a ‘loopy Brazilian leftie’ to attack the Government’s welfare reforms.  Iain Duncan Smith said Raquel Rolnik had undermined the impartiality of the UN with her ‘outrageous’ call for his housing benefit shake-up to be axed.

The Work and Pensions Secretary wants UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon to investigate the senior official’s conduct.

He said she had not asked ministers or officials for their input, adding: ‘I find it staggering that without this official information Mrs Rolnik feels she is in a position to be able to properly prescribe what the future of the policy should be.’

Tory MP Stewart Jackson said Miss Rolnick was a ‘loopy Brazilian leftie with no evidence masquerading as a serious UN official’.

Senior UN officials have an open door to visit the UK but no specific invitation was extended to Mrs Rolnick.

She attended only one Whitehall meeting where the spare room subsidy was among the issues discussed and, according to officials, requested no further information.

The courts have ruled in favour of the housing benefit reform, which cuts payments to working-age claimants with more bedrooms than they need.

However, briefing left-wing newspapers about her report, Miss Rolnik said: ‘My immediate recommendation is that the bedroom tax is abolished.

'I was very shocked to hear how many people feel abused in their human rights by this decision and why – being so vulnerable – they should pay for the cost of the economic downturn, which was brought about by the financial crisis.

In her two-week tour Mrs Rolnik, who is the UN special rapporteur on housing, repeatedly borrowed Labour’s favoured description of the policy as a bedroom tax and appeared with campaigners at protest rallies.

She also suggested the idea of rent controls in the private sector, condemned the right-to-buy policy on council homes and insisted more public money should be spent on building social housing.

Mrs Rolnik revealed a shaky grasp of UK house prices by saying: ‘How many people can afford to buy a £120,000 apartment? Not many.’

Senior Conservatives and Liberal Democrats condemned her intervention, pointing out that the UN more usually provides help in war zones, famines and natural disasters.

They also pointed out that in Brazil, where Mrs Rolnik was in charge of housing policy, tens of millions of people are condemned to living in shanty towns, or favelas.

Mr Duncan Smith said: ‘Britain has a very strong housing safety net and we will continue to offer this valuable support, but also begin to get to grips with the £24billion housing benefit bill left behind by Labour and make better use of our housing stock. We’ve given councils £190million to support their residents who may need some extra help.

‘I find Mrs Rolnik’s approach to this whole report utterly unacceptable and frankly her actions undermine the impartiality of the UN.’

Tenants affected by the shake-up will face a 14 per cent cut in housing benefit for the first excess bedroom, and 25 per cent where two or more bedrooms are unused.

Ministers, who estimate the average affected household will lose £14 a week, says the policy will save taxpayers £500million a year.

They also say it will encourage people to move into smaller properties to relieve pressure on stock, helping families crammed into homes that are too small.

Tory party chairman Grant Shapps said he was writing to Mr Ban to make a formal complaint. ‘It is pretty outrageous – she has done this all under the wire,’ he said.

I quite simply do not know the answer to why she came here. Who invited her? Why not Brazil where there are 50million people living in shanty towns?’

Mrs Rolnik said last night she stood by her conclusions and claimed ‘everybody in the UK’ called the policy a bedroom tax.  She also insisted she was invited by the Foreign Office.


Censorship by Fear

While the Church had been censoring written and spoken speech for centuries, government censorship of plays in Britain began in earnest with the Stage Licensing Act of 1737, to protect then Prime Minister Robert Walpole from criticism by satire and mockery on the stage, and ended with the Theatres Act of 1968. But other forms of censorship subsequently were enacted in Britain, many conforming to the legislative censorship of the European Union, rendering freedom of speech in Britain contingent on those laws, which amounts to a Byzantine maze of "negatives." 

Article Ten of the European Convention reads:

    1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.

    2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

Given the woozy state of any definition of freedom of speech today, or even its practice, in virtually any country, Article Ten not so much guarantees freedom of speech, but wraps it in a Rubik's Cube-like conceptual straightjacket which only a puzzle-master or a consummate politically correct judge would be able to grasp. It is burdened with so many qualifications and exceptions it may as well decree: "We will let you know when you are 'free' to say anything. Until then, be quiet, or it's a fine and the lockup for you." 

For example, a Swedish man has been charged with "intentionally disrupting a religious or spiritual ceremony," in this instance, the Friday call to prayers outside a Stockholm mosque, by honking his car horn. This is an example of Sweden's fatal dhimmitude and deference to its growing Muslim population. But, I am betting that no one has ever been charged with the same offense for honking a horn outside a church while its bells were ringing. 

Of course, the local Swedish law must conform to the European Convention one, or at least not conflict with it. But, how does one categorize "horn honking" as unprotected speech? Does it encourage "disorder or crime"? Does it violate "the rights of others"? Is it a dereliction of one's alleged "duty and responsibility"? How does one reconcile the "right" not to hear a honking horn and the "right," if you are not a Muslim, not to hear some talentless muezzin screeching and wailing for between three to five minutes every Friday afternoon?  

Well, you don't reconcile them, because these are not "rights." On the one hand, the government frowns on literal horn honking if it bothers Muslims. On the other, it protects the equivalent of malicious horn honking, that is, the loud call to prayers. The call to prayers is "spiritual"; horn honking is not. So says fiat, non-objective jurisprudence.

While the Swedish man denies he deliberately honked his horn to disturb the congregated Muslims - we cannot know the contents of his mind, that is, what he intended - it would not have mattered had he confessed that this was his intention. He is still liable under the city's municipal code. He disturbed the "peace" of the faithful. Period. 

In Austria, a man was charged with "ridiculing" or "disparaging" Muslim beliefs by yodeling and mowing his lawn at the same time while his Muslim neighbors were trying to lift their arses and bang their heads on the floor of their home in prayer. Again, local Austrian law must conform to EU law, or not contradict it, and doubtless a European Union judge would concur with the Austrian court's decision to fine the man. His neighbors claimed that his yodeling was a satirical attempt to copy the wails of a muezzin. (Personally, I find both a call to prayers and yodeling esthetically abominable. I would be a harsh judge if a muezzin and a yodeler ever appeared on "Austria's Got Talent.")

In Rennes, France, a butcher was driven out of business because local Muslims, objecting to his selling of pork, repeatedly threatened him and vandalized his shop. Did Article Ten protect the butcher? No. Because some freedom of speech is "more equal" than others, particularly if it is a Muslim's freedom of speech. The Muslims spoke; the butcher left the building.

In this country, singer Miley Cyrus ignited a controversy with her super-vulgar performance during a Brooklyn concert. Conservatives were up in arms. Breitbart News sort of condemned her cacophonous gyrations:

    "The former teen star's sexualized romp might have made Madonna blush--with envy"

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with a "sexualized romp." It can be vulgar, or it can be tastefully stimulating. There is a difference between a sexualized romp and the simulated pornography exhibited by Cyrus. Sexualized romps have been around at least as long as the live stage. But, I dare anyone to compare Cyrus's performance, or Lady Gaga's, or Madonna's, with, say, Rita Hayworth's performance of "The Heat is On," and claim they are all on the same level. They are not. Aside from the fact that neither Cyrus, nor Gaga, nor Madonna ever had a thimbleful of Hayworth's talent, Hayworth is esthetically appealing, as well. 

Rita Hayworth sizzles. Miley Cyrus?  Yawn. 

Someone might object: But how can such outrageous performances as Miley Cyrus's be protected as "freedom of speech" or "freedom of expression"? Easily. Don't watch them. Don't patronize the likes of Cyrus. That's their protection. "Entertainers" such as Miley Cyrus can degrade themselves as much as they wish, but one has the choice of not rewarding them for it. One has the freedom to avert one's eyes and stuff one's ears when Rita Hayworth is performing, as well. One may even wish to criticize such behavior, but one hasn't the right to stop it, unless one wishes to resort to force. Resorting to force as a means of surcease in the realm of speech has always been a government's tyrannical prerogative. 

A more fundamental objection would focus, instead, on the state of a culture that would generate and encourage such crude performances as Cyrus's as entertainment values, entertainment which appeals to the mindless, prurient hedonism and tasteless interests of countless esthetic illiterates. Artists with nothing to say usually resort to gross behavior and call it "novel" or "ground-breaking." In the musical, literary, and visual realms, they are the avant-garde of nihilism. Miley Cyrus has joined a populous club that includes such notables as James Joyce and Jackson Pollack. 

There are many individuals in government who do know themselves and dare to impose their mediocre, mean little souls on the rest of us. They are the "soul-brethren" of Miley Cyrus. Of far more danger is the choice of self-censorship. Fear of retaliation in the way of direct or indirect government force can cause an individual to not speak out when it is important that he speak, or even to commit self-perjury. 

While we now know that the government can and will monitor our phone calls and emails, and has selectively targeted particular and prominent individuals at the behest of presidents and other powers that are satellites of the Oval Office  to discredit political opponents or neutralize or silence opposition of any kind (e.g., General David Petraeus), censorship needn't be overt. A more effective means of silencing ideas and truths is to instill fear of retaliation in individuals. The National Security Agency (NSA) is completing a multi-billion dollar facility in Utah that will store every phone call and email of Americans and others. 

For what purpose? To "fight terrorism"? You "fight terrorism" by eliminating states that sponsor it, not by snooping into the privacy of citizens which your agency is chartered to protect from state-sponsored terrorism, and collecting data that can be used to silence citizens  via blackmail or threatened coercion lest they oppose government policies or speak truths. 

In short, you don't fight state-sponsored terrorism by instituting state-sponsored terrorism. 

That, in short, is the mind-numbing character of censorship by fear. And its advocates know it. After all, if one remains silent for fear of retaliation or retribution, one can't claim that one is being "censored," can one? Where's the gun pointed at one's head? 

The person holding the gun...is you.



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

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



15 September, 2013

Another charming multiculturalist

A teenager who was smashed over the head with a bottle of champagne after she spurned the advances of a thug in a nightclub has revealed the facial injuries she suffered in the attack.

Monique Henville, 19, was approached by the man while she was drinking with her friends in a nightclub.

He poured champagne over head after she refused to speak to him and then lost his temper when she continued to ignore him.  He then smashed the bottle of champagne he was drinking across her face.

Monique was left needing five hours of reconstructive surgery after the force of the blow shattered her teeth and jaw.

She said: 'There was a big chunk out of one side of my jaw and the other side was shattered.

'I had two operations and they had to put a plate in and bolts and a wire for my teeth.  'I couldn’t speak and I couldn’t eat for six weeks and I am not being funny but I love my food.

'I was lucky there are no permanent scars but I have to have a plate in for the rest of my life. I just want the police to catch him before he does it again. It was so scary.  'I don’t go out anymore because of what happened. It is too scary.'

Police have now released an image of a man they would like to speak to in connection with the assault at 1.45am on Saturday, July 20, in the Ballare club in Cambridge.

PC Fergus Cowley said: 'This was an unprovoked attack that left the victim needing surgery to her face.  'I would urge anyone with information to come forward.'


British swimming pool ordered pregnant mother to remove vest top covering her bump... but let other women stay covered up for religious reasons

A heavily pregnant mother was ordered by bungling lifeguards to take off her vest top in a swimming pool for 'health and safety reasons'.

Amanda Burch, 41, popped the loose top on over her tankini to cover up her 32-week pregnancy bump as she treated her daughter to a day out.

But the self-conscious mother was horrified when lifeguards pulled her aside and told her to take the maternity vest top off for 'health and safety reasons'.

While Miss Burch was forced to remove her top, two other women were allowed to cover up on religious grounds.

Miss Burch, a former lifeguard, said she was humiliated but obeyed so she could stay in the pool with her daughter Sophie, 9.

But she was confused when two other women walked in wearing tops and full-length leggings and were allowed to swim on religious grounds.

Miss Burch, from Havant, Hampshire, said: 'Sophie and I were playing in the pool when a young male lifeguard told me I had to take the top off.

'I was a lifeguard for eight years so when I was told to take the vest off I knew it was nothing to do with health and safety.

'I took it off anyway because I didn’t want to have an argument, but the next moment two other women walked in with vests and full-length leggings.  'I asked another lifeguard why they were allowed and he said it was on religious grounds.

'He said the only way you were allowed to wear extra clothes was on medical or religious grounds. I was 32 weeks' pregnant.  'I complained and put the top back on, but the supervisor said I couldn’t wear it and I had to take it off again for health and safety reasons.

'I felt very humiliated and embarrassed. I don’t want to come across as racist but I don’t see why there should be one rule for them and one for me.  'It's definitely discrimination and I don’t think it’s fair.'

The incident happened at the Pyramids Centre in Southsea, Hampshire.

Gary Milne, the chief operating officer of the Pyramids Centre, said policy only permits swimwear in the pools, except for bona fide medical reasons or on religious grounds.

Mr Milne said: 'In these circumstances, the swimmer is made aware of the potential risks and even in these cases if the lifeguard is not satisfied that it is safe to continue, then they will not permit this.  'The swimmers’ safety is always the first concern.'

But he added that common sense needed to be used and Miss Burch’s situation seemed 'perfectly reasonable' and the incident will be investigated.  He added: 'We would like to apologise for any upset caused to Miss Burch.'


Poor people blow money on iPhones and then turn to food banks for meals, claims former Lord Mayor of Liverpool

People who use food banks would rather spend their money on iPhones than feeding their families, a former city Lord Mayor has claimed.

Lib Dem Eddie Clein accused people in Liverpool of always having money for the ‘non-necessities of life’ but then struggled to put meals on the table.

The comments sparked a fresh row about why poor families turn to food banks, after Education Secretary Michael Gove suggested they have only their own bad financial ‘decisions’.

More than half a million people across Britain have turned to food banks to stave off hunger, according to charities.

Mr Clein, a former councillor for four decades and ex-Lord Mayor of Liverpool, said that those struggling financial still found the money for expensive gadgets.

The pharmacist told BBC Radio Merseyside: ‘I go to some of these homes, I do prescriptions for them ... and what makes me feel uncomfortable is they’re all standing their with their iPhones.

‘This is what Michael Gove was talking about. They don’t seem to have a shortage of money for the non-necessities of life, but when it comes to choosing whether to put food on the table or buy some stuff to make some meals ... I don’t know.’

He later added: ‘What I can’t come to terms with is that I see so many people who are claiming poverty, and may well be using food banks, who are standing their using an iPhone, even when you are talking to them.’

But the remarks were condemned by Labour MPs in the city. Luciana Berger said: ‘Eddie Clein’s comments are an absolute disgrace.  ‘I have visited several food banks in Liverpool and across the country and had many conversations with people who’ve been forced to turn to them.  ‘I vehemently disagree with Eddie Clein that food bank users are making a lifestyle choice. No-one goes into a food bank with their head held high.’

Walton MP Steve Rotheram added: ‘How does he know people haven’t been given these iPhones as Christmas or birthday presents. He’s incredible.’

A furious political row erupted this week after Tory Education Secretary Mr Gove argued that people who find themselves unable to buy essentials, including food and school uniforms have themselves to blame for being unable ‘to manage their finances’.

Speaking in the Commons he said: ‘I appreciate that there are families who face considerable pressures.  ‘Those pressures are often the result of decisions that they have taken which mean they are not best able to manage their finances.  ‘We need to ensure that support is not just financial, and that the right decisions are made.’

Labour leader Ed Miliband condemned the minister as an ‘absolute disgrace’.


Bride-to-be is jailed for falsely telling police her fiancé had imprisoned her and threatened to stab her to death

A woman who falsely accused her toyboy fiance of taking her prisoner and threatening to stab her while brandishing five knives has been jailed for 10 months.

Sarah Lopez, 32, told police that her 21-year-old partner Russell Crowe gagged and bound her during an attack in Barry, south Wales.

She gave an eight-page statement to officers accusing Mr Crowe of a catalogue of abuse after claiming he had broken into her home and threatened to strike her with a glass.  However, after he spent 30 days behind bars awaiting trial, Lopez admitted to Mr Crowe's mother that she had made the whole thing up.

Prosecutor David Pugh told Cardiff Crown Court that the pair became engaged following a whirlwind romance in 2012, but things soured when Lopez called 999 in May to report the alleged break in.

Mr Pugh said: 'She also alleged that two weeks before he had tied her to a chair, gagged her, and put a pillowcase over her head.

'She gave the police an eight-page statement claiming Mr Crowe was controlling and jealous.  'She told officers that during the first incident he had put five knives on the table and said: “Sit down, this is going to get ugly".  'She claimed she was petrified and believed Mr Crowe was going to hang himself.'

Mr Crowe was remanded in custody after being charged with false imprisonment, making threats to kill and assault, until his mother told investigating officers about Lopez's confession. Her statement was withdrawn in June.

Mr Pugh added: 'She was reported to the police and arrested. She admitted she had exaggerated the incident and that Mr Crowe had not hurt her.  'She told officers she was devastated at him being remanded in custody.'

Jailing her for 10 months on Thursday, Judge Neil Bidder branded her actions 'wicked'.  He said: 'You made false allegations of serious criminal conduct against your then partner.

'As a result, the police responded to an emergency call in which their time was wasted, and most significantly, Mr Crowe was remanded in custody from May 30 until June 28.

Lopez was said to have convictions for 23 offences, including shoplifting, assault, possessing drugs, deception and harassment.

Sara Griffiths, defending, said Lopez was 'vulnerable' at the time she made the false accusations - and had been drunk at the time.

She said: 'At the time, she was drunk and confused, and accepted that what she did was wrong.  'She wishes to make up for what she did. She has been in custody for 65 days, which was a significant punishment in itself.'

Lopez was also ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £100.



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.



13 September, 2013

I'm single at 50. Why? Men hate me being brainier than them, says KATE MULVEY

A lot of smart women think as does this lady.  I know,  I seek out brainy women and that is what they tell me.  But they do mostly end up forming relationships and getting married anyway.  How come?  Just by following basic rules of human relationships   -- in particular by listening, considering others and not being boastful. 

An example of what I mean by that: I am basically a literary person and so have a large literary vocabulary.  But most of the time I don't use those words because it would only be showing off and would make me less well-understood.  The lady below  seems to see towards the end of her article that she was being a show-off a lot of the time so perhaps there is hope for her late in the day. 

The smartest lady I know uses her brains to understand and get on with others.  She keeps her conversation to whatever level suits the persion she is talking to.  With me she will talk about Belisarius and Justinan while with others she will talk about the difficulty of finding what you want in the supermarket.  As a result she is also the most popular woman I know.  She shows that brains can be an advantage socially, not a handicap

It was amusing when she and I were an item.  We would go to some arty or intellectual event and people's faces would light up all around the room as she entered.  Our entrance would be almost like a royal progress with people greeting her on every side.  She would always introduce me immediately as "Dr Ray" but all I had to do in the subsequent conversation was to nod and smile. I thought that was ideal.  I am not much of a conversationalist so was pleased to delegate the social maintenance to someone else!

We are  still great friends.  She now has a most devoted partner, a man of exceptional character

Three months ago I went to Italy with my then boyfriend, Philip. As we were checking into the hotel, I struck up a conversation with the receptionist in Italian (just one of the five languages I speak). But while I was enjoying myself, chatting away, it became clear that Philip most certainly was not.

He shuffled from foot to foot, muttered something under his breath and rolled his eyes like a stroppy teenager.

Then in the lift he turned on me. 'I was wondering when you were going to let me join your conversation,' he snapped. I tried to laugh it off but I knew this was the beginning of yet another argument.

'You always have to be the star of the show,' he continued in our bedroom, as he began to systematically work his way through the mini-bar. Apparently I was argumentative, a know-all and an intellectual snob.

What had I done? It should be depressingly obvious. I had dared to dent his fragile male ego.  By speaking in a language Philip didn't know, I had managed to make him - a successful writer, ten years my senior - feel small. How selfish of me to embarrass him in public with my linguistic prowess!

Like so many of the men I've dated, it was clear he expected me to play second fiddle to him at all times. It wasn't the first time we had rowed about such things. One night, we ended up arguing over a BBC4 documentary on the origins of jazz. When he became annoyed that his attempts to outsmart my knowledge on the subject failed, he started singing loudly, to drown me out altogether.

But the pointless fight over the receptionist was the straw that broke the camel's back. Needless to say, our year-long romance didn't last long beyond the flight home.

I was reminded of our contretemps last week, when research in the APA Journal of Personality and Social Psychology confirmed what I'd always suspected - that men simply can't handle it if a woman outshines them. According to the study, rather than bask in the reflected glory of a partner's success, men feel worse about themselves.

'A lot of men feel threatened if a woman outshines them,' says Professor Sandi Mann, psychologist and author of Hiding What We Feel and Saying What We Don't Feel. 'It harks back to cavemen days, when men had to provide the resources. If a woman is too intelligent, a man subconsciously thinks she's taking over his role.'

For me, this is stating the blindingly obvious. I've lost count of the times men have rejected or insulted me simply because I was brighter, wittier or cleverer than they are.

They have called me 'intimidating', 'scary', 'difficult' and 'opinionated'. Translated, that means: 'You are too clever and I don't like it.'

An older male friend - supposedly tired of me dominating dinner-party conversation - even wagged his podgy finger and told me I would never get married because I was too confident and demanding.

Then there was my dalliance with the criminal lawyer who, whenever we went to a party, criticised my hair, weight and choice of outfit before we set off. He was so terrified I might outshine him socially, he made sure I felt as bad as possible before I'd even got out of the door.

'As far as I'm concerned, a dinner party isn't complete without a bit of an intellectual tussle during dessert'

I'm convinced that the reason I'm still booking a table for one instead of settling down with a significant other is not because I'm a year off turning 50, but because men are so threatened by my intelligence.

I might have a successful career as an author and broadcaster, but I have never been engaged, let alone married, and my longest relationship lasted just seven years.

Sometimes I wonder if isn't all my father's fault - ever since I could talk, he encouraged me to hold my own in an argument. But little did he know, as he exhorted me to 'get a good degree' or add yet another language to my repertoire, he was reducing my chances of getting hitched altogether.

As a child, I went to one of Britain's most academic girls’ schools, Godolphin & Latymer, where I got three top A-levels, then breezed through an Italian and French degree at the University of Kent, getting a 2:1, while keeping up conversational German on the side.

I grew into a bright and confident young woman, keen to flex my intellectual muscles and to never let a man get the last word just because of his sex.

My bedside table has always buckled beneath the weight of substantial, intellectually challenging books. I devour cultural documentaries and love nothing more than taking another evening class (Spanish, the most recent; philosophy set to be the next).

As far as I'm concerned, a dinner party isn't complete without a bit of an intellectual tussle during dessert - whether it be on the finer points of Ed Miliband taking on the trade unions, or President Obama playing a high-stakes game with President Putin over Syria.

But little did I know that by honing my neurons and showing my intellectual rigour, I was scuppering my chances of romantic success.

The backlash against my brainpower began in earnest in my 20s, when I was a struggling writer going out with Sebastian, a high-flying City trader. Initially he loved dating a writer - even (or, perhaps, particularly) a constantly broke one, and he had to rescue me by paying for everything. But as my career and social life suddenly took off, his affection turned to resentment.

My career entailed a round of seminars, high-profile dinners and exciting parties. Sebastian might have made million-pound deals but he couldn't handle being my 'plus one'. After three years he told me he'd met someone who 'needed' him. Since then, relationship after relationship has imploded like a sinking soufflé.

It was always the same. At first, men loved my wit and intelligence. 'You're such a breath of fresh air'; 'I love talking to you'; 'You're the first woman I've met who stimulates me,' they'd trill.

No sooner had we become an item, however, their behaviour would change: the more confident I became, the more insecure it made them.

One boyfriend told my father he hated the way I never used short words, when a lengthy one would do. Another would turn away whenever I started to speak. When I asked him why he didn't listen to me, he said, without a hint of irony: 'Everyone else listens to you on the radio, so why should I?'

'I shouldn't have to dumb down my intelligence or omit to mention my achievements just to make myself more attractive'

My boyfriends would speak over me at dinner parties, put me down in public, tell me my books - of which I have published eight - were just stocking-fillers, or simply ask me to keep schtum. In my late 30s, I decided this would be easily remedied by dating older men.

Surely, I thought, an ageing alpha male, secure in his achievements, would not be jealous of his girlfriend's accomplishments? Sadly, I couldn't have been more wrong.

Julian, a handsome 61-year-old lawyer, was a case in point. One night he invited me to meet some of his old friends in Geneva. As I sat there tucking into fondue bourguignonne and making jokes in French, he lashed out, jealous at not being the one getting the laughs.

'Kate's friends are all pretentious wannabes or sad has-beens,' he hissed, desperate to bring me down a peg or two. I felt my eyes prick with tears. We broke up soon after and he went on to marry an unthreatening woman with tidy hair and the personality of a wet rag.

And that's the thing. When it comes to love and marriage, I have watched with depressing regularity so many brilliant men choose beautiful but dull women.
No luck on the dating scene: Kate at a blind date dinner party in 2000, she's still single and believes it's because she's too clever

No luck on the dating scene: Kate at a blind date dinner party in 2000, she's still single and believes it's because she's too clever

As a friend of mine said the other week: 'Kate, you are far more likely to get ahead romantically if you push your cleavage, rather than your opinions, in a man's face.'

Perhaps she is right. But it's too late for me to change. Like a lot of career women, after years of looking after myself I have learnt to see men not as protectors but competitors.

Unlike the canny girls who learnt how to flirt with men from an early age, the brainy ones, like me, were too busy with their books to master the art of flattery. Instead we challenge rather than charm, we control rather than compromise. No wonder men find it hard to like us.

Sometimes, I wonder if the confident signals I'm giving out are at odds with what is going on inside. I long to be loved but I'm too scared to be vulnerable - I use my sharp mind to protect my all-too-soft heart against yet further rejection.

I tell myself I shouldn't have to dumb down my intelligence or omit to mention my achievements just to make myself more attractive.

But as I watch a lot of clever women morph into Stepford wives at the merest whiff of testosterone, I wonder whether, by refusing to show any chinks in my intellectual armour, I'm the one who is losing out.

I was sorely tempted to join the giggly man-pleasers last week as I watched a friend of mine, a 48-year-old, highly educated PR executive, swipe a potential suitor from under my nose with a 'dumb blonde' act.

While I ribbed and joshed with him, engaging in a battle of equals, she batted her eyelids and told him in a breathy voice how young and attractive he looked. She ended up with a glass of champagne and an invitation to dinner. I stood there glumly nursing an empty glass.

I reassured myself that I had preserved my dignity. But I couldn't help but wonder if, once again, my brain might have done too brilliant a job of protecting my heart.


Bureaucratic rules are more important than saving lives in Britain

A dedicated volunteer with the ambulance service has been sacked for breaking the speed limit during an emergency call-out.

Godfrey Smith, who has been a ‘first responder’ for 15 years, was sent to help a man in July, but bosses who later examined his ambulance’s sat-nav sacked him when it revealed he drove at 33mph in a 20mph zone.

Although Mr Smith drives a marked ambulance and provides life-saving care prior to the arrival of overstretched NHS paramedics, as a volunteer first responder he does not have the same rights to break road laws as fully-fledged ambulance drivers.

Yesterday the 64-year-old said: ‘I’m absolutely devastated. My life has revolved around volunteering and helping people when they most need it.  ‘It is soul-destroying being told I can no longer do it. I feel like my heart has been ripped out.’

He was called by controllers on July 23 and sent to the St Clement’s area of Oxford to give emergency treatment to a man who had collapsed with breathing problems.

He jumped into his marked South Central Ambulance Service Land Rover to rush to the address, however, following a complaint, he was dismissed for ‘breaching road traffic law’.

Bosses who investigated the incident found data on Mr Smith’s  satellite navigation system which showed he was travelling at 13mph faster than he should have done down a high street. He was also criticised for going to the right of a ‘keep left’ bollard.

But Mr Smith said the sat-nav did not pick up that the road was a new 20mph zone and was still showing a 30mph limit, and that he drove around the bollard to get past traffic.

He added: ‘If I thought it was dangerous, I wouldn’t have done it. There was no traffic coming the other way; the lights were on red.’

He said: ‘There was no thanks whatsoever for my 15 years of service. I do not condone speeding but the punishment is brutal.  ‘This has hit me harder than the death of my own parents. The ambulance service has broken my heart. I have shed tears over this. It meant everything.’

The decision to dismiss him comes just three months after the same ambulance service issued an urgent plea for volunteers after  its number of drivers dropped from 45 to 28.

A spokesman for South Central Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust said at the time that the county needed 90 extra ambulances to meet life-saving response times targets.

During his time as a volunteer first responder, Mr Smith attended more than 2,000 call-outs and saved numerous lives, calling it the ‘most rewarding thing you can do’.

He added: ‘If there is even a slim chance of saving someone then I am there – at least they will have a chance. I get people coming up to me in the street saying “you saved my child”, or “you helped my mum.”’

Several hundred people in the Oxford area have now signed a petition calling for Mr Smith to be reinstated.

One man whose life was saved by Mr Smith condemned the decision to sack him. Father-of-two David Hatton, who was treated by Mr Smith in 2007 when he suffered a massive heart attack at home, said yesterday: ‘It is very petty. If it was not for Gof I would not be walking around today and my children would not have a father.’

Mr Smith’s son, performing arts student Matthew, 19, who also worked as a first responder, has now resigned in support of his father.  He said: ‘I had to stand by my father. He has dedicated a large part of his life to the service and I know it would be difficult for him.

‘As well as his job, he would do at least 20 hours a week volunteer work with the service, and most of it was overnight. He has spent most Christmases and New Year’s Eves going out to emergencies. I can’t even tell you the last time I spent a New Year’s Eve with my father, as he has always been out on calls.’

Ambulance drivers employed by the trust have to get to 75 per cent of most serious calls in eight minutes, and the latest figures, for July, show it hit 84 per cent of its target in Oxfordshire.

A spokesman for campaign group Patient Concern said: ‘We think it’s outrageous. The priority is saving lives rather than complying with road regulations.’

A letter to Mr Smith from the trust said: ‘It is felt that your standard of driving on this occasion fell far below that required of someone driving a SCAS marked vehicle.’  SCAS refused to comment on Mr Smith’s case.


Labour is no longer the worker’s party: the TUC Congress is proof of that

 The Tories should seize the chance to appeal to the moderate majority of trade union members, writes David Skelton.

“As you well know, for over 100 years, ever since Disraeli’s day, since before the Labour Party existed, it has been the belief of the Conservative Party that the law should not only permit, but that it should assist, the trades unions to carry out their legitimate function of protecting their members... You, as Conservative trade unionists, are part of the force for reason and responsibility in the movement. You are part of the majority which is both reasonable and moderate... it is for the benefit of the trades union movement, and of the whole country, that those of reason and moderation should be as active and determined in union affairs as are the extremists.”

Margaret Thatcher, 1975

 It’s the TUC Congress in Bournemouth this week. There won’t be any Conservative ministers speaking at the event and, in the eyes of many, Conservatives and the trade union movement remain poles apart. But there’s a chance for Conservatives to appeal to trade union members despite disagreements with union leaders.

 As the Margaret Thatcher quote above illustrates, Conservatives have a long history of supporting trade unions as institutions and appealing to trade unionists. Indeed, it was Disraeli who legalised picketing despite fierce opposition from Gladstone’s Liberals. Trade unions are in many ways conservative institutions, representing mutual help, community and the "big society". Trade unions are some of the country’s largest voluntary institutions, rather than being arms of the state. In a number of ways, they provide services that seek to provide services locally, rather than through the centralised state.

 Crucially, trade unionists also have pretty conservative instincts. In 1979, more trade unionists voted for Margaret Thatcher than voted for Jim Callaghan and, in 2010, according to YouGov, more Unite members voted for the coalition parties than voted Labour. Polls have consistently shown that around a third of trade unionists vote Conservative. Recent research by Lord Ashcroft also showed that only 12 per cent of Unite members would opt to join the Labour Party as an individual member, 86 per cent support the benefit cap and that the two most popular newspapers amongst Unite members are the Conservative-supporting Daily Mail and The Sun.
Related Articles
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 It’s clear that union leaders no longer represent the views of their members – engaging in political grandstanding, which their members have little sympathy with. Union leaders may adopt political causes and try to block much needed public service reform, but, it’s clear that members, who often join unions for very non-political reasons aren’t being adequately represented by their leaders. Tory politicians should be very careful to make that distinction between union leaders aand union members when they attack trade unions.

 It’s equally clear that union members have little sympathy for Ed Miliband’s Labour Party – another sign that Labour has grown out of touch with the people it was established to represent. Lord Ashcroft’s polling, as well as the GMB’s decision to massively cut its funding, is proof that Labour is no longer the worker’s party. The Conservatives should step into that role.

 There’s also a very practical political reason for Conservatives to take trade unions and their members more seriously. There are almost seven million trade unionists in the UK and many of them will hold the balance of power in marginal seats, especially in the North and Midlands. Two thirds of public sector workers are members of trade unions. Conservatives should be careful not to put off instinctively conservative union members through over-zealous anti-union rhetoric. Treating all trade unionists as some kind of "red under the bed" threat is both not credible and not likely to make union members more willing to listen to the Conservative message.

 Conservatives should look to the example of Margaret Thatcher, who made "Conservative Trade Unionists" a thriving organisation, with around 250 branches. There’s no reason why such an organisation, with national and regional spokespeople shouldn’t exist today. The party should also follow the advice of Rob Halfon and offer free party membership to trade union members.

 Just as Conservatives gave ordinary union members the right to picket and the right to ballot over industrial action, so the Conservative Party should provide trade unionists with the right to decide where their political levy goes. This would both empower ordinary union members and give the Conservatives an incentive to appeal overtly and directly to trade unionists.

 It’s unrealistic to argue that the Conservatives are going to win the support of Len McCluskey or Bob Crow. But the fact that union leaders are often out of touch with their members provides an opportunity for Conservatives to appeal to union members over the heads of their leaders. The majority of trade unionists, reasonable and moderate working people, should be seen as an important part of a potential Tory electoral coalition. That will be another step to making the Conservatives the new workers’ party.

David Skelton is the founder of Renewal, a new campaign group aiming to broaden the appeal of the Conservative Party to working- class and ethnic-minority voters


Britain's  judicial review system is not a promotional tool for countless Left-wing campaigners, says Justice Secretary

The professional campaigners of Britain are growing in number, taking over charities, dominating BBC programmes and swarming around Westminster.

Often, they are better paid than the people they lobby as they articulate a Left-wing vision which is neither affordable nor deliverable.

There is a steady flow of people taking up such jobs from the world of politics – former advisers and politicians joining the ranks of these serial campaigners.

In the charity sector, a whole range of former advisers from the last Government can be found in senior roles.  The traffic also goes in the opposite direction, with campaigners lining up to try to become Labour MPs.

While charities inundate Westminster with campaign material, they also target the legal system as a way of trying to get their policies accepted.

One essential part of the campaigner’s armoury is the judicial review, through which it is possible for them to challenge decisions of government and public bodies in the courts.  As a result, they hire teams of lawyers who have turned such legal challenges into a lucrative industry.

Judicial review has developed since the 1970s as a way for individuals to challenge decisions taken by the State. Then, there were just a few hundred cases a year. Now there are thousands.

Indeed, many are no longer just an opportunity for an individual to challenge an official decision, but are used by campaign groups as a legal delaying tactic for something they oppose. For example, they are used to stop a new development project – often delaying an innovation that would bring economic benefits and jobs.

By launching a judicial review, a project can be delayed by months or even years.

Earlier this year, my department won a case brought against us by the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers which opposed a reduction in lawyers’ fees for motorists’ personal injury claims.

Other judicial reviews are launched in order to try to disrupt Government policies, such as those initiated by anti-HS2 campaigners or by those who believe it is right that taxpayers’ money should be spent on subsidising people in social housing to keep spare rooms.

Judicial reviews are also started because campaigners believe that they will get media coverage for their cause. The most bizarre case I have come across is that launched by so-called representatives of the ‘Plantagenet family’ arguing that we must have a public consultation on where the remains of Richard III – which had just been dug up from a car park in Leicester – should be buried. Is that really a sensible way for public money to be spent?

For the taxpayer often has to foot the bill for the whole process. Indeed, the last Government even paid the bills of protest groups when they lost their case.

Campaign groups have taken it for granted that courts will expect the public body involved to pick up most of the costs. But I believe that it is time we put a stop to this.

Of course, the judicial review system is an important way to right wrongs, but it is not a promotional tool for countless Left-wing campaigners. So that is why we are publishing our proposals for change.

We will protect the parts of judicial review that are essential to justice, but stop the abuse.

Britain cannot afford to allow a culture of Left-wing-dominated, single-issue activism to hold back our country from investing in infrastructure and new sources of energy and from bringing down the cost of our welfare state.

We need to make decisions quicker and respond to issues more quickly in what is a true global race.

The Left does not understand this, and believes that our society can do everything for everyone, and that those who work hard to get on in life should pick up the tab.

They want more money for public services, but at the same time to be able to halt the investments which can deliver the wealth that pays for those services.

In proposing these changes, I will no doubt be accused of killing justice and destroying Magna Carta.

Although as the great old lady of British law is approaching her 800th birthday, and the judicial review system is barely 40, I’m not sure that argument stacks up. But in proposing these changes, I know we will be doing the right thing for Britain.



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

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



12 September, 2013

Sally Haslanger discredits women in Philosophy

Keith Burgess Jackson critiques below a female philosopher who seems to lack basic philosophical competence.  It is possible for a woman to be a distinguished philosopher -- e.g. the redoubtable Elizabeth Anscombe -- but Haslanger is no Anscombe

I said yesterday that I would criticize the five op-ed columns written by female philosophers and published in the New York Times. The first column, entitled "Women in Philosophy? Do the Math," is by Sally Haslanger, who teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). As you can see from the image in this post, Haslanger is very white. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is perfectly white and 10 is perfectly black, her skin is about 3 (maybe 4). I mention this because Haslanger says in her column that "most professional philosophers are men; in fact, white men." Why does she mention skin color (or, if you prefer to think of it this way, race) in a column about the status of women in philosophy? The only reason I can think of is that she's implying that the men in philosophy are oppressors. They are oppressors in two ways: first, they oppress women; and second, they oppress people of color.

But if a man's being white makes him an oppressor, then Haslanger's being white makes her an oppressor. Does she acknowledge this anywhere in her column? No. She gets in a jab at white men and moves on. She has created a culprit and distanced herself from it. We mustn't allow her to do this. She is an oppressor. If white men are consciously, subconsciously, or unconsciously biased, then so is Haslanger. If white men have "white privilege" (unearned!), then Haslanger has "white privilege." If white men's whiteness is a form of undeserved property, then Haslanger has undeserved property and should disgorge it forthwith (by giving up her place at MIT to a black woman?). She appears unaware that her implicit criticism of white men applies to her as well. How could someone who works in metaphysics and epistemology be so unaware? It's mind-boggling.

Haslanger begins her column with a story about an airplane. Does she think that only female philosophers get asked silly or stupid questions about their discipline? If so, then once again, she is unaware. I've had the same thing happen many times. It has nothing to do with sex. I hope Haslanger isn't suggesting that everything bad or insulting that happens to her happens because of her sex. Maybe she's a jerk. Maybe she comes across as arrogant, insulting, or mean-spirited.

Haslanger cites statistics to the effect that the percentage of women in philosophy is lower than the percentage of women in other disciplines or in society generally. So what! What is she suggesting? Is she suggesting that this outcome is the result of bias? That must be demonstrated; it cannot be assumed. There are many reasons why a woman might avoid philosophy, none having to do with those awful men who work there. Why should we think, antecedently, that each profession, discipline, or occupation will be a microcosm of society, if only we eliminate bias? Is the NBA a microcosm of society? Does the fact that it isn't suggest bias, discrimination, or oppression? This is a flagrant example of leaping to conclusions. If Haslanger isn't suggesting bias, then what in the world is she suggesting by citing the statistics?

Haslanger's latest book is entitled Resisting the Real: Social Construction and Social Critique. I have no doubt that it's well written and well reasoned, but it doesn't interest me in the least, and I suspect that's the reaction of most men. Men and women are different, by nature. Their interests are different; their bodies and hormones are different; their literary and philosophical styles are different; their values and attitudes are different. Haslanger seems upset that men aren't interested in the kinds of philosophy being done by women. Where did she get the right to set men's agendas? Men have every right to be interested in whatever they're interested in, and to pursue it in whatever fashion they please, including what Brian Leiter calls "ferocious argumentation." If this promotes "alienation" or "loneliness" in female philosophers, then so be it. Women such as Haslanger have no right to set men's philosophical agendas or to demand that the discipline be reshaped to make them more comfortable.


You Don't Have to Stay Poor

The family into which I was born was so poor that my mother sometimes had to borrow money out of my moneybox to buy groceries.  But by good Presbyterian care with money, I prospered -- JR

Walter E. Williams

No one can blame you if you start out in life poor, because how you start is not your fault. If you stay poor, you're to blame because it is your fault. Nowhere has this been made clearer than in Dennis Kimbro's new book, "The Wealth Choice: Success Secrets of Black Millionaires."

Kimbro, a business professor at Clark Atlanta University, conducted extensive face-to-face interviews, took surveys and had other interactions with nearly 1,000 of America's black financial elite, many of whom are multimillionaires, to discover the secret of their success. Kimbro's seven-year study included wealthy blacks such as Byron E. Lewis, Tyler Perry, Daymond John, Bob Johnson, Cathy Hughes and Antonio Reed. Kimbro says that many of today's black multimillionaires started out poor or worse. So what were their strategies?

"The Wealth Choice" argues that wealth (millionaireship) is not a function of circumstance, luck, environment or the cards you were dealt. Instead, wealth is the result of a conscious choice, action, faith, innovation, effort, preparation and discipline. Or, in the words of billionaire W. Clement Stone, founder of Combined Insurance, whom Kimbro met with and mentions early in the book, "Try, try, try, and keep on trying is the rule that must be followed to become an expert in anything." He also said, "If you cannot save money, the seeds of greatness are not in you." Saving is necessary for investment and wealth accumulation. Therein lies much of the problem for many black Americans.

Kimbro gives us some statistics to highlight some of the problem. The median net worth, or wealth, of white households is 20 times that of black households. In 2009, 35 percent of black households had no wealth or were in debt. Twenty-four percent of black Americans spend more than they earn, compared with 14 percent of all Americans. Thirty-two percent of blacks do not save at all, compared with less than 25 percent of all Americans. To underscore these statistics, Earl Graves Jr., CEO of Black Enterprise magazine, said that blacks are six times as likely as whites to purchase a Mercedes-Benz and that blacks who purchase Jaguars have an income one-third less than whites who purchase the same vehicles.

Some, but not all, of the explanation for the wealth differences between blacks and whites has to do with inheritances. Slavery, poverty and gross discrimination didn't create the conditions for inheritances. But slavery and gross discrimination cannot explain today's lack of saving and investing. Nobody's saying that marshaling the resources for wealth is easy. Gaining wealth is a challenge, as singer Ray Charles lamented in his hit song "Them That Got": "That old saying 'them that's got are them that gets' is something I can't see. If you gotta have something before you can get something, how do you get your first is still a mystery to me." But as John Harold Johnson, who rose above abject poverty and racial discrimination to build a publishing empire, said, "if you want to know how people feel about themselves, look at their bank account. ... Wealth is less a matter of circumstance than it is a matter of knowledge and choice."

"The Wealth Choice" suggests several disciplines that can be only summarized here. Among them are: Be passionate, and focus on unique strengths; develop clear, delineated goals. Then develop strong work ethic. Recognize the power of ideas, and never consider the possibility of failure. Be thrifty and frugal in nature. My stepfather put Kimbro's list of self-disciplines in another way. He said: If you want to be successful at anything, you have to come early and stay late.

When Dr. Kimbro graciously sent me a copy of "The Wealth Choice," he included an 18-minute video, titled "In Conversation with Dr. Dennis Kimbro." On top of putting together an excellent book, he reveals himself as an excellent motivational speaker who should be speaking to young people regardless of race.


Poor forced to use food banks? They've only got themselves to blame for making bad decisions, says British government minister

Families become so poor they are forced to turn to food banks because of their own ‘decisions’, Michael Gove has claimed.

The Education Secretary argued that people who find themselves unable to buy essentials, including food and school uniforms have themselves to blame for being unable ‘to manage their finances’.

The remarks were condemned by Labour and ‘insulting and out of touch’.

More than half a million people across Britain have turned to food banks to stave off hunger, according to charities.

Ministers have previously argued that a surge in demand has in part being fuelled by jobcentre staff being allowed to refer the unemployed to food banks for help.

Cuts to benefits, frozen or falling wages and rising living costs have been blamed in part for some people struggling to make ends meet.

Mr Gove was challenged over reports that one in four parents are having to borrow to pay for school uniforms and some food banks were distributing uniforms to struggling parents.

He  said he had recently visited a food bank in his Surrey Health constituency.

But he suggested that many cash-strapped families have brought their problems on themselves.

He added: ‘I appreciate that there are families who face considerable pressures.  ‘Those pressures are often the result of decisions that they have taken which mean they are not best able to manage their finances.

‘We need to ensure that support is not just financial, and that the right decisions are made.’

Mr Gove was responding to a question from Labour frontbencher Luciana Berger who demanded to know ‘what more can he and his Government do to ensure that no students turn up to school embarrassed because they do not have the right clothes’.

Labour seized on the response with  Miss Berger saying she was ’appalled’ by Mr Gove’s comments. The Labour Liverpool MP said: ’People I have met are ashamed to have to turn to food banks.  ’I vehemently disagree it is because they have mismanaged their finances.

’This Government has got no answer to the millions of parents that are really struggling to get by.’

Citizens Advice Chief Executive Gillian Guy said: ’It is appalling to suggest the rise of food banks is due to poor financial management.

’It’s a smack in the face to families who are working hard but can’t make ends meet, leaving them with no other option but to turn to food banks to feed their families.  ’These comments are completely misjudged.’

Chris Johnes, director of Oxfam's UK Poverty Programme, said: 'Thousands are now turning to food banks, but they do not so out of choice, they do so when they have nowhere else to turn.

'The staggering rise in the numbers of people using food banks is down to failings in the benefit system, too many low paid jobs and rising prices that are dragging huge numbers into poverty.'

In May a report by Church Action On Poverty and Oxfam suggested up to half of those seeking help were doing so as a direct result of having benefit payments delayed, reduced or withdrawn.

Other factors behind the increase on those using emergency help - the 'hidden hungry' - include rising food prices, unemployment and energy costs.

But Energy Secretary Ed Davey told MPs that it was 'completely wrong to suggest that there is some sort of statistical link between the benefit reforms we're making and the provision of food banks'.


Inside the Ku Klux Klan

Anthony Karen has carved a career from photographing the world’s most controversial, secretive sects. But what happened when he penetrated the most infamous of them all?

Eight years ago, after repeated knock-backs, Anthony Karen persuaded a faction of the Ku Klux Klan to let him attend a weekend gathering in Arkansas. As an ex-Marine, ethics were high on his agenda, and he was honest about being a photojournalist. But the Klan’s only caveat was that his camera must stay in his car until members were robed and in position for the cross-lighting ceremony.

Until that moment, nothing really seemed out of the ordinary – so much so that Karen almost forgot why he was there. When the time came to ignite the cross, though, “things became surreal".

"Here I was, in a remote area, and all of a sudden I’m staring at three 18ft, fiery crosses. It took me a moment to gain my composure.” The lighting ceremony recalls medieval times – an era the Klan revere for its strict moral code and, in their view, ethnic purity – when crosses would blaze on hilltops as a call to arms. For today’s Klan, it has come to signify the light of Christ, and the ceremony has the solemnity of a religious ritual: children are encouraged to attend and alcohol is prohibited.

Karen was intrigued. He has an interest in documenting contentious groups and subjects “cloaked in mystery” – previous quarry include practitioners of Haitian Vodou, and the Westboro Baptist Church. “The restricted access contributes to an unbalanced perspective,” he says. “It is my intention to show things in another context, to present work that is non-sensationalist.” Although he pictures the Klan in ceremony, he prefers to portray them in civvies, their kitchen tables littered with homework, their walls decked with snapshots of grandchildren. “Most of the time,” says Karen, “you’d never know someone was in the Klan unless they told you or had a racially themed tattoo.”

Members of a Louisiana based Ku Klux Klan realm at the home of one of their Imperial officers. (Credit: Anthony Karen)

Founded by confederate veterans as a prank-playing fraternity in 1865, the KKK (the name comes from the Greek word for circle, kyklos, and the Gaelic word clann) flourished throughout the Deep South, degenerating into a far-right extremist group that committed violent terrorist acts.

It disbanded in 1944, when the Internal Revenue Service came seeking overdue taxes and, as a result, lost any legal claim over their name. “Totally unconnected, independent groups began to appear. Some have as few as three members,” explains Karen. He has attended demonstrations and rituals in the majority of US states as well as Germany and Italy. “I met the leader of a very large and respected Klan – after [that] I had an open invitation and was allowed to shoot whatever I wanted.”

“Little Charlie” displays her custom made wedding veil, as her fiancée watches on. (Credit: Anthony Karen)

Now 48, and living principally in New York, Karen divides his time between personal projects and humanitarian causes. He was asked several times if he’d join the Klan, but turned down the invitation. “I spend time with people, I listen to what they have to say, and I treat each person as an individual. I don’t have to believe what they believe, but whenever I’m in someone’s space, I feel I’m obliged to observe without judgment.” Unsurprisingly, his project has sparked criticism from those who believe his photographs give the far-right organisation, which has been classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League, exposure it should not receive. He says: “They can turn the page and choose to ignore things. As far as myself, I’d rather be aware of what’s going on around me.”



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

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



11 September, 2013

The election of Australia's new PM Tony Abbott is clear evidence that genuine conservative policies can win elections

Melanie Phillips compares Mr Abbott to British Conservative politicians such as PM Cameron

Something truly astounding has happened. The best political candidate for a country's future has won a general election.

In fact, even more astonishing is the fact that this achievement was something David Cameron and his inner circle had given us to believe was as impossible as ...  well, being reincarnated as an olive.

So what is this miracle? That a true conservative has won a general election on true conservative principles.

This has just occurred in Australia, where the leader of the Liberal (conservative) Party, Tony Abbott, has been elected Prime Minister by  a landslide.

As head of the Liberal/National coalition, he unseated a Labor government which had been in power since 2007. But here's the rub: Mr Abbott stands for all the things which, in this country, the Cameroons repeatedly claimed would make the Conservative Party unelectable.

An Oxford-educated devotee of the late Lady Thatcher, Mr Abbott wants to cut taxes and is against gay marriage, thinks man-made global warming theory is bunkum, wants to reduce immigration, and intends to end increases in overseas aid.

He also displays a robust understanding of the current threats to the West, and just who are its true allies and true enemies.

His views would not only make the UK's armchair appeasement tendency choke over its rhubarb crumble but also discomfit the current would-be saviours of Syria in the White House and No 10 Downing Street.

For unlike President Obama and Mr Cameron, the new Australian PM understands that, in Syria, the alternative to the bad guys may be even worse guys.

Needless to say, on account of Mr Abbott's views, the usual suspects (yes, they have them Down Under, too) duly wrote him off as unelectable and tried to finish him politically through scorn, insults and abuse.

He was called the 'mad monk' (he once trained to become a Catholic priest), 'Putin-esque' and 'misogynist and sexist' (that particular smear fell from the lips of Australia's then Labor Prime Minister, Julia Gillard).

He is none of those things. I have met him a couple of times. He is funny, clever, thoughtful and considerate. Now, after the election, he's had the last laugh.

True, he was up against a Labor Party busily committing electoral suicide through internal divisions, broken promises and general incompetence (sound familiar?) But unlike the British Cameroons - who bizarrely decided that, faced with the similar electoral meltdown of the Labour government under Gordon Brown, they nevertheless had to adopt Left-wing policies - Mr Abbott stuck to his conservative guns.

This meant that, unlike the poor old British electorate who were faced with a choice between Left-wing, very Left-wing and off the graph altogether Left-wing (you can decide for yourselves which party fitted which description), the Australians were presented with a clear choice of government.

Moreover, people positively respect principle, which they associate with courage and straightforwardness.

These characteristics produce, in turn, a measure of trust and respect, even from political opponents. This all leads to success at the ballot box. Who can be surprised by any of this?

Only the Cameroons, paralysed as they are by the fashionable prejudices aired at metropolitan dinner tables and the terror of getting on the wrong side of the BBC sneerocracy.

Even worse than that, they appear to have been influenced by the loathing the Left displays for them. Or maybe they have absorbed the views of some of their wives, as we are told happens in the Cameron household where the progressively-minded SamCam is said regularly to bend her husband's ear.

History is littered with examples of great men who made catastrophic errors of judgment because they didn't have the cojones to stand up to a woman with a hold over them.

Whatever the reason, the Cameroons have staked out positions which make then indistinguishable from the Left.

They are then mystified that they can't seem to win elections. In desperation, they grab hold of a few Right-wing policies - and become even more mystified when the public promptly condemn them as insincere.

Yet evidence is all around them that conservative principles actually do win elections. Stephen Harper has shown that repeatedly as Canada's Prime Minister, as did Mr Abbott's Australian mentor John Howard, who won four general elections in a row.

And at home, this is precisely where Ukip's appeal also lies. Tony Abbott is a 'conviction politician', with a strong moral sense rooted in his religious faith.

Indeed, while his social conservatism has made him a boo-figure for the Left, more thoughtful observers realise that it is those very same conservative principles which provide him with the compassionate edge which the Cameroons have so desperately tried to adopt.

What they didn't realise was that striking shallow poses over such fetishes as man-made global warming, gay marriage or international aid was not compassionate at all - quite the reverse, in fact.

Adopting positions which distort scientific, social or political evidence in order to support an unchallengeable belief sets one social group against another, supports the victory of the strong over the weak and replaces truth with ideological dogma.

In other words, this pseudo-compassion (which the Left wears on its sleeves to proclaim its own virtue) is actually responsible for creating a more brutalised, selfish and irresponsible society.

By comparison, Mr Abbott's beliefs are sincere: he lives a compassionate life - for example, doing community work among Aboriginal Australians to improve their lot.

And while he opposes gay marriage, he has a lesbian sister who has campaigned for him - thus giving the lie to the calumny that anyone opposing gay marriage is a bigot who poses a threat to homosexuals.

Above all, however, he is patriotic. That does not mean he indulges in sentimentalised lists of Australian achievements (in the way Mr Cameron did last week with regard to Britain's successes after a jibe from the Russians about us being a 'small island').

It means he always puts his country's national interest first. You could never imagine Tony Abbott surrendering Australia's ability to govern itself to some supra-national entity, as did British governments with the EU.

Nor claiming he would restore that sovereignty, then backing away from that undertaking, as Mr Cameron has done. In other words, in a world made super-cynical by the supreme slipperiness of politicians, Mr Abbott is as solid as they come.

By sticking to what he believes through thick and thin, he has shown he is not motivated by the desire to win power just for power's sake - the characteristic with which David Cameron is associated and which repels so many voters.

In addition, Mr Abbott did not buckle under the volleys of insults and brickbats hurled his way. He has thus achieved something rather more remarkable than just a general election victory.

He has faced down the intellectual thuggery and demonisation by the Left, and shown that a politician who refuses to be cowed by this apparently all-encompassing intimidation can win big.

Mr Cameron has congratulated the new Australian Prime Minister-elect, saying it would be 'great to work with another Centre-Right leader'.

One does wonder whether Mr Abbott sees Mr Cameron the same way. For the British PM has done everything he can to damn the positions Mr Abbott takes as being in 'closet racist, fruitcake' territory.

Not surprisingly, however, some Tory MPs have got the point and are calling on Mr Cameron to adopt similar policies.

After all, look at what Mr Abbott promises to do. Axe the carbon tax. Reduce overseas aid. Limit immigration. Cut taxes. Invest in infrastructure.

And he is a passionate Anglophile (another difference from many British politicians!). In short, Britain has every reason to be envious of its Aussie friends. Can we clone Tony Abbott, please, and put him into Number 10 forthwith?


Some more of that delightful Muslim diversity

Two schoolgirls were raped at a house where vulnerable youngsters were taken advantage of by older men, a court heard.  A 14-year-old victim was held down by Abu Sufian, 21, and Raabsan Khan, 19, while Ferdoush Hasan, 22, raped her last February, it is claimed.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the sex attack was just days after another girl, who was also 14, was raped by Hasan alone.  All three men, from South Shields, deny a joint charge of rape. Hasan denies a second, solo, charge.

Prosecutor Anne Richardson told the court the attacks happened at a house where the trio, who were all students at South Tyneside College, were living.

Miss Richardson told jurors: 'The crown’s case is these defendants took advantage of young girls who were vulnerable, who were drinking alcohol and smoking although underage and who came to the defendants’ house in order to have somewhere to do both of those things.

'No doubt you will take a fairly dim view of that and wonder what on earth young girls like this are doing in a house with men older than them, who speak little English and they had no friendly relations.

'The crown’s case is precisely because these girls were vulnerable and somewhat foolish and naive, the defendants felt they could act in the way the crown alleges.

'Basically, these girls could be used for sex and either they would not say anything for fear of getting into trouble or if they did say anything, the circumstances and background and how they came to be in the house would mean nobody would believe them.'

The court heard the first attack was in early February last year when the alleged victim turned up at the house with friends after drinking a half litre of vodka.

The girl told police 'all of the males were dark skinned, just lying on the beds in that room'.

It is claimed Hasan led the girl to a room in a different part of the house from where everyone had gathered and raped her.

Miss Richardson told the court: 'She was trying to push him off to no avail as her arms were pinned down by his hands.'

The second alleged victim had also gone to the house with friends.

Miss Richardson said: 'Effectively it was just somewhere to sit when it was cold.'

It is claimed the girl, who refused the men’s offer of alcohol but was smoking cigarettes, ended up left alone with the trio during the visit.

Miss Richardson said: 'Two of them grabbed hold of her arms, one on either side, and held her down.'


British criminal who sprained his ankle clearing brambles on community service given £73,000 taxpayers' cash in compensation

A criminal who hurt his ankle while cutting back brambles for community service was paid £73,000 compensation, it emerged today.

Probation Service bosses admitted this morning that offenders who injured themselves doing unpaid work had claimed hundreds of thousands of pounds of taxpayers' cash.

One convicted criminal was given £94,666 after he broke his arm falling from a ladder while doing community service with Surrey and Sussex Probation Trust, while another got £18,600 after injuring his back using a wheelbarrow.

The offender who sprained his ankle cutting back brambles claimed £72,952, while another criminal sued for £5,741 because he said blunders by Probation Service kept him in prison too long.

The compensation claims made by both offenders and probation staff total an estimated £1.4m each year.

Norfolk and Suffolk Probation Trust, one of 35 such trusts across England and Wales responsible for overseeing prisoners released on licence and offenders given community sentences, paid £45,000 to a worker after she tripped on a building site and was hit by seven wheelbarrows, hurting her back.

Essex Probation Trust paid £9,000 to a member of staff hit by a file falling from a shelf, while one in Devon and Cornwall claimed £15,000 compensation after saying their work had psychologically damaged them.

A spokesman for the Probation Service this morning admitted that the compensation claims had been paid.

He told MailOnline: 'Probation trusts are responsible for ensuring Community Payback work is properly supervised and that offenders make reparation to the community for the crimes they have committed.

'Vexatious claims are challenged and any payments are only made following clear legal advice.'

But a spokesman for the TaxPayers' Alliance hit out at Britain's 'crazy compensation culture' and said community service should be of benefit to the taxpayer, rather than another burden.

Matthew Sinclair, the Alliance's chief executive, said: 'Prisoners and even some prison guards are exploiting Britain’s crazy compensation culture at taxpayers’ expense.

'Inmates on probation should be making amends for their past deeds, not looking for ways to con money out of the system.

'Sensible precautions should be taken to ensure community service is a benefit for taxpayers and not another burden placed on them by those on the wrong side of the law.'

In 2008 Gary Chester-Nash stabbed 59-year-old Jean Bowditch to death in Cornwall while under supervision by the Probation Service.

Mrs Bowditch's widower Mike, 71, who was paid nothing after the tragedy, told the Sun: 'The Probation Service has a warped sense of priorities when they're paying money to people like that when there are real victims of their errors who don't get anything.'

And Conservative Witham MP Priti Patel said the compensation claims were an 'insult to every law-abiding citizen'.


USAF Cracking Down on Christians

A 19-year Air Force veteran who was relieved of his duties because he disagreed with his openly gay commander over gay marriage is now facing a formal investigation after he told me his story.

Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk found himself at odds with his Lackland Air Force Base commander after he objected to her plans to severely punish an instructor who had expressed religious objections to homosexuality. During the conversation, his commander ordered him to share his personal views on homosexuality.

“I was relieved of my position because I don’t agree with my commander’s position on gay marriage,” he told me. “We’ve been told that if you publicly say that homosexuality is wrong, you are in violation of Air Force policy.”

In one of her first meetings with Monk, the commander expressed concern about the chaplain who would deliver the benediction at her promotion ceremony.

“She said she wanted a chaplain but objected to one particular chaplain that she called a bigot because he preached that homosexuality is a sin,” Monk said.

After he was relieved of his duties, the Liberty Institute filed a religious discrimination complaint on his behalf.

Last week, Monk was supposed to meet with an Air Force investigator tasked with gathering facts about the complaint. But when he arrived, Monk was immediately read his Miranda Rights and accused of providing false statements in a conversation Monk had with me.

“I immediately got the sense that this was retaliation against me for coming forward with my religious discrimination complaint,” he said.

The accusations against Monk are a court-martial offense in the Air Force – and it’s quite possible that the 19-year veteran with a spotless record could be booted out of the military because of his Christian beliefs.

And he’s not the only Christian at Lackland Air Force Base facing persecution for opposing gay marriage, according to Monk’s pastor.

Steve Branson is the pastor of Village Parkway Baptist Church, about five miles from the Air Force base. He tells me that as many as a half dozen of his church members are currently facing persecution on the base for their religious beliefs.

“Sgt. Monk is just the tip of the iceberg,” the pastor tells me. “Anyone who doesn’t hold to the right view on homosexuality is having a very difficult time.”

Branson said one colonel is not even allowed to voice an opinion on the matter over fears it might cost him his job. Another airman has been brought up on charges eight times.

Christians are under attack, the pastor warned – and Lackland Air Force Base seems to be ground zero.

“I’m raising the warning,” the pastor said. “It’s not a good situation out here. The military’s job is not to fight these kinds of battles. Christians are having to walk so carefully. I hear it every Sunday at church.”

Hiram Sasser, of the Liberty Institute, is representing Monk in his battle with the Air Force. He said he’s very disturbed at what’s happening at Lackland.

“Lackland has been having some extensive problems,” Sasser told me. “It tells me there must be some sort of systemic problem in the Air Force. It’s leading to Christians not feeling welcome.”

Sasser said he was repulsed by the way the military has treated Monk.

“I can’t imagine someone having their Miranda Rights read to them like they did to Sgt. Monk simply because he is complaining about being mistreated and being discriminated against,” he said. “This kind of retaliation needs to come to a stop.”

Sasser said someone with such a clean military record deserves better treatment.

“We want to make sure we right all the wrongs and keep anyone from retaliating against Sgt. Monk,” he said.

Pastor Branson told me Monk is an outstanding member of the congregation.

“One of the finest men I’ve ever met in my life,” he said. “He lost his job because of what he thought. He’s paying the price.”

Monk tells me Christians are trading places with homosexuals.

“Christians have to go into the closet,” he said. “We are being robbed of our dignity and respect. We can’t be who we are.”

I asked Sgt. Monk why he just couldn’t keep quiet knowing that the Obama Administration has staffed the Pentagon with anti-Christian civilians. Why risk getting booted out of the military?

Sgt. Monk told me he decided to take a stand for his three teenage sons.

“Every night after dinner we read the Bible together,” he said. “I tell the boys we’ve got a lot of stuff going on in this world and we need people to stand up. My boys know what I’m going through. They are looking at me – wanting to know how I’m going to handle this.”

He said the Monk family has a “family ethos.”

“The Monk family will be strong in mind, strong in soul, they will have strong character and strong work ethic,” he said. “That is the ethos of our family. That’s what I hope they see in me.”

He hopes his boys will see “a man who stands upright and stands for integrity.”

Sadly, those values are no longer seen as virtuous in a military that’s been turned into a social-engineering petri dish



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

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



10 September, 2013

Multiculturalism damages a London house

By Rachel Johnson

It wasn't exactly the perfect end to the perfect summer. First up, on Monday, I became horribly snagged in the Notting Hill Carnival on the way back from Somerset.

I had a Boris Bike with me, which was the only means of transport available from Paddington Station to my residence in the epicentre of the million-man event.

I therefore formed a major roadblock for the bump-and-grinding crowds trying to surge past me in the wake of floats containing gyrating almost-naked women in skimpy glittery costumes and feather headdresses, and I ended up being rescued from the terrifying crush by a handsome young policeman called Matt Turner, to whom I owe my thanks.

That was Monday.

And so we come to 4am on Wednesday. We were all sleeping soundly in our beds when, less than 36 hours after I’d been almost suffocated by drunken twerkers (I should explain ‘twerking’ at this point: it’s a semi-pornographic, hip-thrusting dance move as performed by singer Miley Cyrus at an MTV awards ceremony last week), and thousands of revellers loaded to the eyeballs on Red Stripe and laughing gas, there was an almighty crash and the whole house shook.

My husband jack-rabbited out of bed and rushed downstairs. Neighbours apparently came out of their houses. I lay prone, putting off the delivery of more bad news.

It didn’t take long. ‘I thought it was a massive burglar, driving a tank into the house, or a bomb. But it’s the sitting room ceiling. It’s all fallen down.’

Was this because the whole house had been shaken non-stop for two days by the carnival’s massive sound systems?

My husband, mindful of the fact that the sitting room is where I claim to work, and where we keep the baffling new digital hi-fi, my laptop, my mother’s paintings and all my papers and books said: ‘Don’t go downstairs now.’

When I did brave it in the morning, it really did look as if a bomb had detonated. The room was draped in rubble, and a filthy, black, chalky dust cloaked the house.

The sofa, an ancestral footstool, a spindly side table, the carpets, were all ruined or destroyed, and my husband was on the telephone to Saga, our insurers. I could hear him saying: ‘But what do you mean? But I have up-to-date, comprehensive, contents AND and buildings insurance!’

It was not a good day.

Most of the rubble has been cleared, but we are all still in post-traumatic shock.  My cleaner will not enter the premises without wearing a bike helmet to protect her bonce from further skyfall.  And my daughter hasn’t been able to sleep, so worried is she that her ceiling will fall down on top of her in the night.

So my children lie sleepless, and home no longer feels safe as houses. And what happened – just like insurers disclaiming any liability, and invoking the small print – wasn’t even that uncommon.

More accidents happen at home than anywhere else, most commonly in the sitting room. (Some 113 of them involved ceilings, according to the latest yearly figs from RoSPA, the prevention of accidents people).

But still, we think of our homes as our refuges in which we nest and cocoon in security.  We do not worry about our ceilings falling in and killing us (it was a miracle no one was slobbing on the sofa at the time).

And if the worst happens, we fools assume that our expensive insurance policies will protect us. But they don’t. The loss adjuster has just confirmed we are not covered for ‘wear and tear’ and not covered for ‘accidents’ and therefore, you guessed, not covered at all.

Which is outrageous. How do you carry out due maintenance on a ceiling that appears perfectly sound?

Which, for 48 hours, formed part of the fabric of a delicate, Victorian house, that was throbbing and pulsating to the ear-splitting decibels of the carnival, to the pimped-up sound systems called things like Far Too Loud and Rampage? Could that not have helped dislodged the lath and plaster?

I will be making these points with firmness as we appeal the decision from Saga/Zurich that we’re on our own, despite an unblemished no-claims record to date (apart from that time my husband got back from playing golf, and perhaps a visit to the 19th hole, and left his clubs on the pavement by mistake).

It’s a shocker. When your house falls down, who you gonna call? Not your insurers, that’s for sure.


Chris Brand comments:

Dainty Lady editress Rachel Johnson, the sister of Tory celeb and elected Mayor of London ‘BoJo,’ had the ceiling of her Victorian townhouse brought down by the throbbing and pulsating ‘music’ allowed to Blacks for their annual Notting Hill Carnival – a multiculti lesson from which she and her doubtless ‘anti-racist’ brother would hopefully profit. And, no, Rachel’s insurers refused to cover this ‘accident’ arranged by Britain’s diversity-loving, Black-deferential authorities.

Women can't do it all, says Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts

Angela Ahrendts, one of Britain's most successful businesswomen, has admitted that women "can't do it all", adding fresh fuel to the debate about whether women can combine harmony in the home with business success.

Mother of three teenagers, Ms Ahrendts is credited with reviving the fortunes of Burberry, the fashion brand where she is chief executive, and establishing herself as one of the most astute in the sparse ranks of female bosses.

Does she achieve a balance that suits the family as well as shareholders? She thinks so but works hard at it.

Her working day starts at 4.35am, but she rations out-of-hours work to one evening a week and insists on arriving home on Friday after travelling.

She has turned down invites to the Oscars because: "It's not more important than my husband. It's not more important than my kids. It's not more important than Burberry".

She said in an interview with The Sunday Times: “I don’t want to be a great executive without being a great mum and a great wife. I don’t want to look back and say I wish I had done things differently. Balance is a really big word for me.

"It's one of the most important parts of my job, showing that you can't do it all."

Ms Ahrendts' comments are the latest in a debate led by Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg. Ms Sandberg has called for working women to "lean in" to their careers and demand husbands bear a greater share of the domestic burden.

While both are American, they appear to have different takes on the issue.

Sandberg believes women are penalised at work because of gender stereotypes, one of the themes in her book ‘Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead.”

She has said: “Give us a world where half our homes are run by men and half our institutions are run by women. I’m pretty sure that would be a better world. Our culture needs to find a robust image of female success that is first, not male and second, not a white woman on the phone, holding a crying baby.”

Ms Ahrendts says it is impossible to have it all. "I’m here to run Burberry and I’m here to be a really great wife to my husband. And we have three amazing teens so that’s three really big jobs,” she said.

She tries to lead by example. “We have a lot of women working here and I always tell them they are mothers first. Those children are their legacy and they have partners and that’s a big obligation.”


Criminal who burned woman's face can stay in Britain because of his human rights

A violent foreign criminal who burned a woman’s face with melted plastic and scalded her with boiling water has defeated a bid to deport him from Britain because of his human rights, the Telegraph can disclose.

Valentine Harverye, a Zimbabwean national, was jailed for five and a half years for grievous bodily harm after he “mutilated” and “humiliated” his 34 year-old victim, whom he scarred for life.

The Home Office tried to deport him under rules which say that any foreigner jailed for more than 12 months should be subject to automatic deportation but the 22 year-old brought a human rights appeal, and won.

Immigration judges ruled that Harverye could face “ill-treatment” if he was sent back to Zimbabwe, which would breach Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Government is proposing to change the law so that foreign criminals cannot overturn deportation by deploying some human rights arguments - but Article 3 will not be curtailed, meaning that Harverye would almost certainly win his case even under the new rules.

It emerged in Harverye’s case that his brother, Matthew, also overturned a deportation bid on human rights grounds last year after being convicted of common assault.

Priti Patel, a Conservative MP, said: “This is a shocking case and a dreadful example of how the courts have once again disregarded the rights of the victim over the rights of an appalling criminal.

“The sooner we can reform human rights legislation and get some sanity back into the law, the better.

“We all know the problems with the ‘right to family life’ that the Government has pledged to address. But we need to look at all aspects of human rights legislation.

“There are a core of offenders who have done their utmost to challenge the Government on human rights grounds and that needs to change.”

Harverye came to Britain in 1998 as a dependant of his mother, who had married a British citizen.

He received his first reprimand in 2004 for common assault, and was then convicted of a further 12 offences over the next five years.

The most serious was the assault on the 34 year-old woman which took place at her home in January 2009.

Richard Thatcher, who prosecuted the case at Nottingham Crown Court, said Harverye assaulted the woman - a prostitute - and appeared to find the incident funny.

In front of a group of five or six people, Harverye set fire to a plastic cider bottle and held it to the victim’s face and neck, before pouring scalding water into her knee-high boots.

“She ran screaming to the bathroom, no help was offered to her, she was made to return to the front room by the defendant and told to dance for all those present and strip,” Mr Thatcher said. “She danced for about a minute or so while in pain.”

Judge Dudley Bennett jailed Harverye, a drug dealer, for five and a half years, and described the crime as “horrific”.  “In her own home you attacked her, you abused her, you mutilated her, you intimidated her and you humiliated her over a period of time,” the judge said.  “She is scarred for life and has had to undergo surgery.

“You used a melted plastic bottle and stuck it in her neck. That is awful. And if that wasn’t enough you humiliated her by trying to get her to strip and dance in front of a group and you warned her not to go to the police and threatened her.”

When the Home Office tried to have Harverye deported he appealed and won, but the Home Office lodged and appeal and the case had to be heard again.

In July this year Upper Tribunal Judge Christopher Hanson ruled that Harverye faced a “real risk of ill-treatment sufficient to breach the high threshold of Article 3” if he were returned to Zimbabwe because he would be unable to demonstrate loyalty to Zanu-PF, the ruling party led by Robert Mugabe.

A Home Office spokesman said:"We are disappointed by the tribunal's decision as we firmly believe that foreign nationals who break the law should be deported. We are examining the detail of this ruling before we decide whether to appeal.”


U.S. groups oppose government-compelled, risky, race-conscious lending

To reduce the risk of another financial crisis, and prevent the government from pressuring banks and mortgage companies to engage in risky, race-conscious lending, the Competitive Enterprise Institute recently joined in an amicus brief filed by the Pacific Legal Foundation in a pending Supreme Court case, Township of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. The question presented is whether race-conscious “disparate-impact” causes of action can be read into laws, like the Fair Housing Act, that ban racial discrimination, by government agencies, thus effectively turning the colorblind intentions of such laws upside down.

“Disparate impact” is when a neutral policy happens to impact more minorities than whites, like a standardized test that whites pass at a higher rate than some minority group, even though test scores are calculated the same way for members of all races. The Supreme Court sometimes declines to interpret anti-discrimination statutes as banning neutral practices that have a “disparate impact,” but in other cases, it interprets then as banning “disparate impact,” deferring to the statutory interpretation of civil-rights agencies, like the EEOC, that like “disparate impact” rules because they expand agencies’ power to regulate businesses and interfere with their race-neutral criteria for things like hiring, lending, or leasing apartments.

Banks have been under pressure from lawmakers and regulators to give loans to minorities with bad credit, in order to avoid liability for “racially disparate impact,” and to provide “affordable housing” and promote racial “diversity.” (For example, the Obama administration has ratcheted up such pressure, demanding that targeted banks make preferential loans to minorities with bad credit, notes Investor’s Business Daily, extracting such racial preferences in recent settlements with banks.) Such pressure played a key role in triggering the mortgage crisis, judging from a story in The New York Times. For example, “a high-ranking Democrat telephoned executives and screamed at them to purchase more loans from low-income borrowers, according to a Congressional source.” The executives of government-backed mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac “eventually yielded to those pressures, effectively wagering that if things got too bad, the government would bail them out.” (which in fact happened, at enormous expense to taxpayers).

Our amicus brief in the Mount Holly case points out that the legislative history and plain language of the Fair Housing Act does not support a disparate-impact cause of action, contrary to the Obama Administration’s claims. The brief was principally authored by the Pacific Legal Foundation, and co-authored by lawyers at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Center for Equal Opportunity, and the Cato Institute. As usual, Pacific Legal Foundation drafted a high-quality brief.

The brief contains arguments that I’ve previously raised, such as the fact that deferring to the Obama administration’s recent interpretation of the Fair Housing Act as including a “disparate impact” cause of action would violate a principle of statutory interpretation known as the canon of constitutional doubts. The Obama administration’s position also conflicts with the federalism canon of statutory construction set forth in the Supreme Court’s decision in United States v. Bass.

This is not the first Supreme Court case that raises this issue. An earlier case known as Magner v. Gallagher also did so, but the Obama administration paid off the challenger in that case (the City of Saint Paul, Minnesota) to get it to drop its challenge to race-conscious disparate impact rules, before the Supreme Court could rule on it. As we and the Wall Street Journal described earlier, the Obama administration declined to pursue a fraud claim worth up to $180 million against a city to get it to drop its pending Supreme Court challenge to a dubious interpretation of the Fair Housing Act that the Obama administration has used as a tool to get banks to adopt racial quotas in lending. In doing so, it ignored the objections of career Justice Department lawyers, and likely cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars in a case of “particularly egregious” fraud.

CEI jointly filed an amicus brief in that case, Magner v. Gallagher, challenging the validity of “disparate impact” claims under the Fair Housing Act, and explaining how the administration was using the club of “disparate impact” lawsuits to force banks to use racial preferences.

“Disparate-impact” claims alleging “unintentional” discrimination are authorized in the workplace by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but not in most other settings. The Supreme Court has rejected “disparate impact” claims in most other contexts, such as in contracts and schools, and under the Constitution’s equal protection clause. Despite court rulings casting doubt on this “disparate impact” theory outside the workplace, the Obama administration has paid liberal trial lawyers countless millions of dollars to settle baseless “disparate impact” lawsuits brought against government agencies by minority plaintiffs, even after federal judges have expressed skepticism about those very lawsuits, suggesting that they were meritless.

Obama’s first Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Thomas Perez, argued that bankers who don’t make as many loans to blacks as whites (because they make lending decisions based on traditional lending criteria like credit scores, which tend to be higher among white applicants than black applicants) are engaged in a “form of discrimination and bigotry” as serious as “cross-burning.” Perez compared bankers to “Klansmen,” and extracted settlements from banks “setting aside prime-rate mortgages for low-income blacks and Hispanics with blemished credit,” treating welfare “as valid income in mortgage applications” and providing “favorable interest rates and down-payment assistance for minority borrowers with weak credit,” notes Investor’s Business Daily.

Fearing bad publicity from being accused of “racism”, banks have paid out millions in settlements after being sued by the Justice Department. A Michigan judge called one proposed settlement “extortion.” These settlements provide cash for “politically favored ‘community groups’ ” allied with the Obama administration, and a Wall Street Journal article predicts that “many” of the loans mandated by these settlements “will eventually go bad.”

The banks accused of “racism” by the Obama administration include banks that were previously praised by non-political government agencies for their success in minority outreach and lending to minorities in regions in which they did business. For example, the Obama administration is suing Cardinal Financial Corp., even though “the FDIC in the past gave kudos to Cardinal for its lending practices. Justice is now accusing Cardinal of failing to open branches and achieve racial loan quotas in counties that its federal regulator never before contended should be the focus of its lending,” arguing that it was not enough for the bank to make loans to minority applicants who applied for loans, and that it had an affirmative duty to open new branches in heavily black areas it had never done business in before.

The Obama administration’s demands suggest it learned nothing from the financial crisis, which was caused partly by “diversity” mandates and affordable housing mandates that encouraged lending to people with bad credit scores who later defaulted on their loans. Banks were under great pressure from liberal lawmakers to make loans to low-income and minority borrowers. For example, “a high-ranking Democrat telephoned executives and screamed at them to purchase more loans from low-income borrowers,” The New York Times noted.



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

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



9 September, 2013

British rail worker suspended.. for saving woman's life: Hero 'broke safety rules'

A railway worker who leapt on to the track to help rescue a disabled woman may face the sack for breaching health and safety rules.

Customer service assistant Alan Chittock was on the platform when he saw the elderly passenger roll 5ft down on to the line in her wheelchair.

With a commuter train due in minutes, he and three helpers jumped on to the track as other staff tried to alert signallers.
Customer service assistant Alan Chittock has been suspended for leaping onto the tracks at Southend Central railway station

Customer service assistant Alan Chittock has been suspended for leaping onto the tracks at Southend Central railway station to rescue a disabled woman who had fallen from the platform

They lifted the woman, who was in her 70s and strapped into the chair, back on to the platform before the train arrived.

It is not clear whether it could have been stopped in time if the woman had not been rescued. She was taken to hospital with her carer and treated for minor injuries.

Passengers and colleagues congratulated Mr Chittock, 50. But rather than receive a bravery award, he has been suspended by rail operator c2c while the incident is investigated – and could face disciplinary action for not following the ‘correct safety procedures’.

It is not clear whether he was on or off duty at the time of the incident at Southend Central Station.

Mr Chittock, who has worked on the railways for about 30 years, declined to comment last night and is believed to have been advised by the RMT union not to talk about the incident.

But his sister, who did not want to be named, said he had no regrets.

‘He had no choice,’ she said. ‘He did what any person in his situation would have done. The train was so close that it would have killed her had he not acted quickly. He wasn’t going to stand back.’

A rail worker, who asked not to be named, said: ‘He was suspended because staff can’t go on the tracks.

‘He saved her life, but now he might lose his job. What was he supposed to do? Let her die?’

Commuter Matt Findlay, 29, said: ‘Do the company really expect staff to leave people on the tracks? What he did was really brave. He deserves a medal not a suspension.’

Brian Cassar, 22, who works at the station cafe, said: ‘The woman just rolled off the platform edge. This guy immediately jumped down on to the track. She probably would have got hurt if he hadn’t got involved.’

c2c is reviewing the incident on the London-bound platform at 6.10pm on August 28.

Although the line, from Tilbury in Essex to Fenchurch Street, is powered by overhead cables, staff are banned from ‘accessing the track’ under health and safety rules even though there is no electrocution risk.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: ‘Clearly it is a travesty of justice that a member of staff has ended up threatened with disciplinary action for helping avoid a potential tragedy.’

‘RMT will do all that we can to ensure that he is returned to work as soon as possible with no stain on his record and a recognition that station-based rail staff play a crucial role in ensuring public safety.’

A c2c spokesman said: ‘We have strict rules regarding correct safety procedures and an employee has been suspended while our investigations into the incident continue.’


Muslim doctor ‘found tourist’s lost wallet containing £2,500 in Starbucks then tried to claim it was HIS’

A Harley Street [specialist] doctor stole a wallet full of cash that had been left on a table in Starbucks, and threatened to have police officers who arrested him on suspicion of the crime fired, a court heard.

Abdul Choudhuri, 41, claimed the wallet was his after a Singaporean tourist left it on a nearby table by accident in the Nottingham coffee shop.

Dr Choudhuri, who runs cosmetic surgery clinics on London's Harley Street and in Nottingham, then posed as a member of the Crown Prosecution Service to avoid being charged for his crime once arrested a month later.

Kenny Quek left the wallet which contained a 1,000 dollar Singapore bank note on his table in the coffee shop on South Parade, Nottinghamshire, in October 2010 by mistake.

When he returned, staff realised he was the rightful owner of the wallet and phoned police to report Dr Choudhuri who had earlier said it was his.

Dr Choudhuri returned to the shop a month later and was recognised by barrista Lisa Wright, who phoned the police after noting the cosmetic surgeon's 'shifty' behaviour.

When police arrived at the scene Dr Choudhuri reportedly hid in the toilets, before threatening to have one of the police officers fired.

Upon his arrest he told the officer: 'I know Dave Walker (a former Nottinghamshire Police Superintendent) and you are going to lose your job', the court heard.

Prosecutor Jonathan Straw told the a jury at Nottingham Crown Court: 'Mr Choudhuri is a thoroughly dishonest and highly manipulative individual who has gone to extreme lengths in order to avoid conviction.'

The doctor, whose clinics offer cosmetic treatments including liposuction and laser skin surgery, also posed as a member of the CPS to tell a witness the case had been dropped.

Following the arrest, Mr Straw said Ms Wright received phone calls from a withheld number claiming the trial had been cancelled.

Mr Straw said the person who made the call claimed to be from the Nottingham Witness Protection Scheme which is part of the CPS, but in fact was Dr Choudhuri or someone acting on his behalf.

The doctor denies one count of fraud and two counts of perverting the course of justice.

PC Richard Shaw searched a wallet found on him which contained a 1,000 dollar Singapore bank note.

When the case was adjourned to investigate the source of the calls, it emerged an alibi used given by Dr Choudhuri was also allegedly false.


TX: San Antonio Adopts Controversial Gay Rights Measure?

 San Antonio’s leaders on Thursday approved anti-bias protections for gay and transgender residents, over the disapproval of top Texas Republicans and religious conservatives who packed a City Council hearing and occasionally shamed supporters for comparing the issue to the civil rights movement.

The 8-3 City Council vote in favor of the ordinance was a victory for gay rights advocates and for Democratic Mayor Julian Castro, a top surrogate of President Barack Obama. Castro has called the ordinance overdue in the nation’s seventh-largest city, where there is a stronger current of traditionalism and conservatism than other major Texas cities that already have similar gay rights protections.

San Antonio joins nearly 180 other U.S. cities that have nondiscrimination ordinances that prohibit bias based on sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the Human Rights Campaign.  “This ordinance is about saying there are no second-class citizens in San Antonio,” Castro said.

Supporters in red shirts and opponents in blue sat on opposite sides of the ornate council chamber Thursday. Church leaders vowed petitions to recall council members, and the shouts of protesters outside City Hall often carried through the stone walls of the century-old building.

More than 700 people registered to speak Wednesday during a marathon session of citizen testimony that stretched past midnight. Just a few hours later, 100 people signed up Thursday morning to get in a final word before the vote.

Dee Villarubia, 67, said she’s a former Air Force officer whose landlord at a San Antonio apartment evicted her two years ago because she is gay.  “When I say the pledge of allegiance, I say `justice for some’ because there’s an asterisk that means not me,” Villarubia said. “Today, I would take that asterisk away and finally say `justice for all.’”

The local measure roiled conservatives nationwide and was opposed by big-name Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. Abbott, a Republican who is seeking the governor’s office, predicted a lawsuit over religious freedoms, though he has not said the state will challenge the ordinance.

Attention intensified after City Councilwoman Elisa Chan was caught on tape calling homosexuality “disgusting” and arguing that gays should not be allowed to adopt. Chan has defended her comments.

“Just because I disagree with the lifestyle of the LGBT community doesn’t mean I dislike them,” Chan said before the vote.  “Similarly, just because one opposes this ordinance, does not mean one is for discrimination.”

San Antonio City Attorney Michael Bernard told the council the ordinance would apply to most city contracts and contractors. It prohibits council members from discriminating in their official capacity and forbids workers in public accommodation jobs, such as at restaurants or hotels, from refusing to serve customers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Opponents say the ordinance – which takes effect immediately – would stifle religious expression and does not have the support of most of the city’s residents.

“The problem I have is that you criminalize us if we speak our faith,” said Marc Longoria, 42, a pastor at My Father’s House Church. “We are Christians all the time. We don’t have an on and off switch.”

One side of the room would erupt in cheers or give a standing ovation depending on the remarks toward the 11-member council. Some turned around to address their opponents in the audience directly.

“My parents and my grandparents rode the back of the bus,” said Sylvia Villarreal, who urged the council to vote no. “And I say shame on them for comparing this to civil rights.”

The measure passed by the council amends protections already in place for discrimination based on race or gender.

Victories for gay rights advocates have been elusive in the Republican-controlled Texas Capitol. They’ve had more success on a local level: Houston has a lesbian mayor, and Austin offers health benefits for same-sex couples. Dallas, Houston, Austin, Fort Worth and El Paso are among the Texas cities that already have anti-bias ordinances of varying scope.

Conservative pushback in San Antonio was notable coming on the turf of Castro, a rising star who delivered the keynote address at the Democratic National Convention last year. The opposition in his backyard was a weed in Castro’s narrative that San Antonio embraces the kind of political values that will soon spread statewide and turn Texas blue.


At the sexually corrupt BBC, when your age exceeds your bra size you're finished: SELINA SCOTT exposes the moral bankruptcy at the heart of the Beeb

When Mark Thompson left the BBC after eight years as Director-General, the great and the good of the broadcasting industry and parliament gathered in the gilded environs of the new TV centre in the heart of London.

As is the custom on these occasions, when Mark Thompson stepped before the microphone to make his adieus, it was an emotional affair in which  the serious and profound was flecked with humour.

What he then said in jest, however, demonstrated just how much Mark has changed since he was a trainee producer at the BBC, entrusted to bring me my cornflakes and tea when I anchored Breakfast Time.

‘I never thought I would be sleeping with the woman who is sleeping with the Director- General of the BBC,’ he quipped, glancing at his wife sitting in the front row. I guess he wanted to appear cool to his contemporaries but his innuendo touched on the invisible, potent atmosphere surrounding a sexual and financial culture which has long prevailed within the Corporation.

When I first met him, Thompson was a studious, caring young man, not interested in the gossip that echoed around the studio floor. I think that’s what attracted me to him. He was above all of that.

Tomorrow, however, he will be virtually put on trial when he appears before the Commons Public Accounts Committee to give his version of how vast amounts of public money were paid to BBC executives made redundant on his watch.

The BBC paid £25?million to 150 departing bosses between 2009 and 2012, some of which went well beyond any contractual entitlement. Lord Patten, Chairman of the BBC Trust, will also be grilled by MPs.

These two powerful media panjandrums are now metaphorically at each other’s throats. Thompson alleges that Patten told ‘specific untruths and inaccuracies’ in his evidence to MPs on the Public Accounts Committee in July regarding what he did and did not know about these payments.

Patten has denied the Trust knew the details of severance payments and has damagingly suggested they were misled. And who misled them? The finger is pointing at Thompson.

There can be little doubt that tomorrow both men will fight each other like rats in a sack and it seems certain one of them has at best a faulty memory and will have to resign.

But the scandal over outrageous pay-offs is a double blow to the BBC, alongside the revelations about Jimmy Savile and the alleged sexual misconduct by other key presenters.

At first sight there appears to be little to link these two crises. Those of us, however, who have worked at the Corporation over the past three decades know this once-great institution has been open to many forms of corruption – including sexual.

When I was poached by the BBC from ITN to launch Breakfast Time I was understandably excited about this innovation in British television. At ITN there was a collegiate atmosphere, untainted by any kind of favouritism, which worked completely on talent and meritocracy. This was not the case at the BBC.

It became clear to me that if you were an attractive female then you needed a senior producer to act as your patron or your career would not prosper. In short, the old Hollywood casting couch was in full swing.

Over the years I have often returned to the BBC to work on programmes and my observations of the sexist culture have always been the same. That some of the often Oxbridge- educated powerful male elite behave in a predatory way towards attractive and ambitious women seeking to move up the Corporation’s greasy pole.

Indeed, one celebrated interviewer still working for the Corporation had the nickname ‘Golden Balls’ long before it was given to David Beckham because of his predilection for the beautiful female intake.

Perhaps this is best illustrated by what my colleague Fern Britton wrote in her recently published autobiography about Breakfast Time and male anchor Frank Bough.

Fern says: ‘Frank Bough was not quite the genial uncle his public persona suggested; Frank and I sat next to each other and he was quite sweet.

Then as it got to the coffee and cigarette stage he leant over to whisper in my ear, “Well young lady, I wonder how long it will be before I am having an affair with you?”. He was ungenerous to Selina as well.’

It wasn’t long before Fern left. The young Thompson – saying nothing – observed all of this.  It would be nice to think Fern’s encounter was an isolated incident but sadly it is not.

The presenter Fiona Phillips says: ‘Television is an industry which, when you are in front of a camera, is based on people’s subjective whim ...... whether some chief executive male fancies you.’

And Christine Odone, former editor of the Catholic Times and media commentator, betrays the mindset of many senior males at the BBC when she  disclosed ‘they prefer pliable-looking fertile fillies to older females with a bit of attitude’.

After an absence of some time I renewed my acquaintance with Mark when I took up the cudgels on behalf of older women who had been disgracefully treated by the BBC and pushed out of work, when it was considered they weren’t young enough to appear on screen.

Indeed, within the Corporation the joke always was that when a woman’s age exceeded her bra size she was finished.

The meeting with Mark was arranged by Sir Michael Lyons, then Chairman of the BBC Trust. Sir Michael had invited me to address the Trust on the issue of ageism. It was a dispiriting occasion.

They appeared to me to be a spineless bunch. When I told him ageism in the BBC was like a virulent virus in the system that had been running for years, Sir Michael excused the lack of action by saying the Trust had only been in existence for four years.

He expressed no opinion about charges of ageism that were rampant in the media at the time following the sacking of Miriam O’Reilly from Countryfile in 2009. Sir Michael decided to swiftly pass the parcel and put my dossier of charges on Mark’s desk.

And so I arrived at a meeting with the most powerful executive at the Corporation. This is what took place.

When I told Mark that, whatever the result of Miriam’s forthcoming tribunal hearing against the Corporation for unfair dismissal, the BBC should be big enough to extend the hand of friendship and re-employ her, he banged his fist on his desk and said ‘under no circumstances’. Later, however, there was a massive mea culpa.

Miriam gained some employment but only after it was clear public opinion had moved against the BBC on this issue. I also put it to Mark that it was a betrayal not to employ ‘older’ women and that it was the BBC’s duty to actively reflect the society that we lived in.

Mark suggested we meet regularly to review the ageism issue but when I saw him later he told me to my amazement the Corporation was having difficulty identifying enough talented women aged 50 to 60 and a member of the BBC Trust had suggested the Corporation instead focus its energy on developing the longevity of its younger talent.

Examine what this has led to: speaking at the Oxford Literary Festival recently, the respected art critic Brian Sewell was scathing about the parachuting into programmes of women ill-tutored in the subject matter. He quoted the programme Da Vinci: The Lost Treasure presented by Fiona Bruce.

He described it as ‘the most unforgivable thing the BBC ever did ....... and it is fronted by that vacuous woman gushing’. I don’t blame Fiona for taking on work like this. She has admitted she has to dye her grey hair and has a limited shelf-life because of her age. Sewell’s attack only served to illuminate how the BBC had got it wrong again.

Present for part of my meeting with Mark was Lucy Adams, the BBC’s human resources director. She would later resign after signing off on £60 million in severance payments to BBC bureaucrats which she said took place because of the Corporation’s culture.

I found her a coolly calculating female career executive with a view of Mark that bordered on hero worship.

It may be extraordinary how powerful this largely unknown woman’s empire was but is entirely reflective of the vast estates many on the 6th floor of the BBC overlord. It is like a feudal kingdom with powerful vested interests, deploying a droit du seigneur that the new Director-General Lord Hall insists he is trying to break up. I wish Lord Hall success in his restructuring.

But the BBC has always been like a giant worm – no matter how much you cut off, it reforms in its old image.

It is my unhappy conclusion that Mark had lost control over the empire. There is much he could reveal to the Commons committee tomorrow should he choose.

He will need no reminder that the New York Times, over which he presides, carries the slogan on its front page: ‘All the news that’s fit to print’.

I hope he remains true to this declaration of disclosure and honesty.



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.



8 September, 2013

Feds Fight To Stop Baptisms

Todd Starnes of Fox News online brings us some harrowing stories of government oppression of Christians, here in our own backyards. In a recent article he discussed the problems some churches in Missouri were having with the federal government. Apparently, the Feds don’t like watching Christians baptize converts.

The National Park Service recently began requiring churches to obtain special use permits in order to baptize converts in public waters. The National Park Service (NPS) also began requiring these churches that wanted to baptize to give the NPS notice of their plans forty-eight hours in advance.

To make sure that the churches didn’t try and skirt the rules the NPS even brought in boulders and large rocks to place along the path so that the churches couldn’t drive up their elderly congregants to observe the baptisms.

Just a few weeks ago, in the town of Olympia in Washington State, a church was denied a permit to have their baptisms in Heritage parks.

What reason could the state have possible given for telling citizens they couldn’t gather in a public area? The Attorney General said that partaking in a religious sacrament on public property was a violation of the state constitution.

The same thing happened to a congregation in Miami, Florida back in 2011, when their baptism service was shut down by lifeguards on a Miami beach.

Meanwhile, all across our nation the federal government is teaming up with smaller public entities to accommodate the views and beliefs of American Muslims.

Fortunately for our brothers and sisters in Missouri their local Congressman, Rep. Jason Smith, stepped in and provided them with the necessary support to get the NPS to back down and rescind their policies. Missouri Christians can once again use the “public waters” freely.


'Sorry mom, I'm STRAIGHT', says son of politically "correct" mother

A mother who wrote a book about her young son's love of 'all girl things' like Barbies and high heels has now revealed that her older son felt that he needed to come out as straight.

Lori Duron, who lives in California's Orange County, started writing a blog and later a book about her son C.J.'s affinity for girls' toys and clothing, and used her position as a way to tell other parents how she was creating a welcoming environment for her gender non-conforming son.

In a new essay for The Huffington Post, she explained how she was careful use all-inclusive pronouns and never assume that either of her two sons were attracted to girls.

As a result, her 10-year-old son Chase felt compelled to 'come out' to her as a boy that likes girls.

'I'm careful how I phrase things. I ask my oldest son Chase if he thinks anybody in his class is cute. I leave it open so that he can answer honestly,' she wrote in the essay.

After a number of such interactions, she got an unexpected response from Chase. 'Mom, I'm straight. It's time you faced the facts,' Chase said.  'I know what you're doing. You always leave it open, like I could be gay. But I'm not,' he continued.

Many parents of LGBT children have stories of their own moments when their son or daughter was ready to come out as a homosexual or lesbian, but Mrs Duron is one of the few who had a similar experience with a straight child.

She writes how her unexpected parenting methods come from her own experience of growing up with a gay brother.

Mrs Duron wrote that her mother's reaction to her brother's admission of his sexuality, which happened ' a time and in a place where it wasn't discussed, let alone embraced', encouraged her to be overly cautious and supportive or whatever sexuality her children identify with.

'By trying to eliminate the need for a gay son to come out, I created an environment where a straight son felt the need to come out,' she wrote.  'As I try to learn from my mother's mistakes, I may be making some new ones of my own. I guess that's how it goes with parenting.'


Don't Brits drop rubbish? Council puts up anti-littering signs in THREE foreign languages but not English

A council has come under fire for putting up signs warning of fines for littering in three different languages – and none of them is English.

Labour-run Haringey council was accused of wasting taxpayers’ money on the signs which are ‘unintelligible’ to the majority of passers-by.

The tri-lingual signs have sprung up in North London to the alarm of local residents.

The large signs have been attached to lamposts warning of a £75 fixed penalty for anyone caught dropping litter or throwing rubbish from their car.

It status that it is an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, and states that fines can be as high as £2,500.

But the warnings are written in Greek, Turkish and Slovenian- with the only English being the name of the council under its black and orange logo.

The signs have raised eyebrows on the streets of Haringey. Kay Carter, local resident and Conservative activist, said: ‘This is yet another appalling waste of money from Labour-run Haringey council.

‘If signs are necessary they should be in English. It's ridiculous to waste council taxpayers money on signs that target a small segment of the local population and are unintelligible to the rest.’

Earlier this year Haringey council was accused of ordering CCTV 'spy' cars to hit minimum targets for issuing penalty notices - despite the practice being illegal.

The alleged policy revealed in a series of leaked emails. They showed the council's CCTV cars were told to issue at least 260 fines a day - a total of 87,360 a year. The council has denied imposing a quota for fines.

A Haringey Council spokesman said: 'Littering is an offence that our residents rightly expect us to tackle, and that includes issuing on-the-spot fines to people caught littering.  'However, these are old signs that were used for a limited time in areas where a number of people caught littering did not understand English.  'We no longer produce any enforcement signs that do not include English.'


Touchy Topics

Walter E. Williams

Here's a question: What is the true test of one's commitment to freedom of expression? Is it when one permits others to express ideas with which he agrees? Or is it when he permits others to express ideas he finds deeply offensive? I'm betting that most people would wisely answer that it's the latter, and I'd agree. How about this question: What is the true test of one's commitment to freedom of association? Is it when people permit others to freely associate in ways of which they approve? Or is it when they permit others to freely associate in ways they deem despicable? I'm sure that might be a considerable dispute about freedom of association compared with the one over freedom of expression. To be for freedom in either case requires that one be brave enough to accept the fact that some people will make offensive expressions and associate in offensive ways. Let's explore this with an example from the past.

In 1958, Richard Loving, a white man, and Mildred Jeter, a black woman, two Virginia residents, traveled to Washington, D.C., to marry. Upon their return to Virginia, they were charged with and found guilty of violation of Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws. In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Loving v. Virginia, held that laws banning interracial marriages violated the equal protection and due process clauses of the 14th Amendment. The couple's conviction was reversed. Thus, Virginia's anti-miscegenation laws not only violated the U.S. Constitution but also violated the basic human right of freedom of association.

Now let's ask ourselves: Would Virginia's laws have been more acceptable if, instead of banning interracial marriages, they had mandated interracial marriages? Any decent person would find such a law just as offensive -- and for the same reason: It would violate freedom of association. Forced association is not freedom of association.

Before you say, "Williams, where you're going with this discussion isn't very good," there's another case from our past. Henry Louis Mencken, writing in The Baltimore Evening Sun (11/9/48), brought to light that the city's parks board had a regulation forbidding white and black citizens from playing tennis with each other in public parks. Today most Americans would find such a regulation an offensive attack on freedom of association. I imagine that most would find it just as offensive if the regulation had required blacks and whites to play tennis with each other. Both would violate freedom of association.

Most Americans probably agree there should be freedom of association in the cases of marriage and tennis, but what about freedom of association as a general principle? Suppose white men formed a club, a professional association or any other private association and blacks and women wanted to be members. Is there any case for forcing them to admit blacks and women? What if it were women or blacks who formed an association? Should they be forced to admit men or whites? Wouldn't forced membership in either case violate freedom of association?

What if you wanted to deal with me but I didn't want to deal with you? To be more concrete, suppose I own a private company and I'm looking to hire an employee. You want to deal with me, but I don't want to deal with you. My reasons might be that you're white or a Catholic or ugly or a woman or anything else that I find objectionable. Should I be forced to hire you? You say, "Williams, that's illegal employment discrimination." You're absolutely right, but it still violates peaceable freedom of association.

Much of the racial discrimination in our history was a result of legal or extralegal measures to prevent freedom of association. That was the essence of Jim Crow laws, which often prevented blacks from being served in restaurants, admitted into theaters, allowed on public conveyances and given certain employment. Whenever one sees laws or other measures taken to prevent economic transactions, you have to guess that the reason there's a law is that if there were no law, not everyone would behave according to the specifications of the law.



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.



6 September, 2013

Unintended Consequences

By Thomas Sowell

One of the many unintended consequences of the political crusade for increased homeownership among minorities, and low-income people in general, has been a housing boom and bust that left many foreclosed homes that had to be rented, because there were no longer enough qualified buyers.

The repercussions did not stop there. Many homeowners have discovered that when renters replace homeowners as their neighbors, the neighborhood as a whole can suffer.

The physical upkeep of the neighborhood, on which everyone's home values depend, tends to decline. "Who's going to paint the outside of a rented house?" one resident was quoted as saying in a recent New York Times story.

Renters also tend to be of a lower socioeconomic level than homeowners. They are also less likely to join neighborhood groups, including neighborhood watches to keep an eye out for crime. In some cases, renters have introduced unsavory or illegal activities into family-oriented communities of homeowners that had not had such activities before.

None of this should be surprising. Individuals and groups of all sorts have always differed from one another in many ways, throughout centuries of history and in countries around the world. Left to themselves, people tend to sort themselves out into communities of like-minded neighbors.

This has been so obvious that only the intelligentsia could misconstrue it -- and only ideologues could devote themselves to crusading against people's efforts to live and associate with other people who share their values and habits.

Quite aside from the question of whose values and habits may be better is the question of the effects of people living cheek by jowl with other people who put very different values on noise, politeness, education and other things that make for good or bad relations between neighbors. People with children to protect are especially concerned about who lives next door or down the street.

But such mundane matters often get brushed aside by ideological crusaders out to change the world to fit their own vision. When the world fails to conform to their vision, then it seems obvious to the ideologues that it is the world that is wrong, not that their vision is uninformed or unrealistic.

One of the political consequences of such attitudes is the current crusade of Attorney General Eric Holder to force various communities to become more "inclusive" in terms of which races and classes of people they contain.

Undaunted by a long history of disasters when third parties try to mix and match people, or prescribe what kind of housing is best, they act as if this time it has to work.

It doesn't matter how many government housing projects that began with lofty rhetoric and heady visions have ended with these expensive projects being demolished with explosives, in the wake of social catastrophes that made these places unlivable.

To those with the crusading mentality, failure only means that they should try, try again -- at other people's expense, including not only the taxpayers but also those who lives have been disrupted, or even made miserable and dangerous, by previous bright ideas of third parties who pay no price for being wrong.

This headstrong dogmatism and grab for power is not confined to housing. Attorney General Holder is also taking legal action against the state of Louisiana for having so many charter schools, on grounds that these schools do not mix and match the races the way that public schools are supposed to.

The fact that those charter schools which are successful in educating low-income and minority students that the public schools fail to educate are giving these youngsters a shot at a decent life that they are not likely to get elsewhere does not deter the ideological crusaders.

Nor does it deter the politicians who are serving the interests of the teachers' unions, who see public schools as places to provide jobs for their members, even if that means a poor education and poor prospects in life for generations of minority students.

All this ideological self-indulgence and cynical political activity is washed down with lofty rhetoric about "compassion," "inclusion" and the like.


The Vanishing Anti-War Left

Barack Obama ran for president as the last of the red-hot pacifists, so it might have sounded preposterous to predict that after a few security briefings at the White House, President Obama would follow in the same policy footsteps of horrid warmonger George Bush, with his anti-terrorist wars and strategies.

So where is the anti-war movement now?

"What anti-war movement?" former Congressman Dennis Kucinich asked when called for comment last week. Medea Benjamin of the radical group Code Pink agreed: "The antiwar movement is a shadow of its former self under the Bush years." Cindy Sheehan quipped, "The 'anti-war left' was used by the Democratic Party. I like to call it the 'anti-Republican War' movement."

The "Wonkblog" of The Washington Post ran an article (online only, not in the newspaper) headlined, "How Obama demobilized the antiwar movement." As much as our "objective" media lamely tried to portray the peaceniks mobilizing in the streets against Team Bush as nonpartisan and non-ideological, the truth is the movement collapsed as soon as the Democrats tasted power.

Sociologists Michael Heaney and Fabio Rojas surveyed the leftist protesters for a 2011 paper and found that after Obama won, "attendance at anti-war rallies declined precipitously and financial resources available to the movement dissipated ... the antiwar movement demobilized as Democrats, who had been motivated to participate by anti-Republican sentiments, withdrew from antiwar protests when the Democratic Party achieved electoral success, if not policy success."

This is the natural order of things. It's what happens when you win. The Hollywood Women's Political Caucus was a hugely successful left-wing PAC in the late '80s, mobilized to fight the threat to civilization posed by the Reagan GOP. Shortly after Clinton's victory in '92 it, too, declared victory and disbanded. Conservative icon Midge Decter had her fun, too. She declared victory and deactivated her anti-communist group, the Committee for the Free World, after the Berlin Wall came down.

So Osama bin Laden is dead and al-Qaida doesn't have the same horrific luster. Iraq is finished and with Afghanistan, it appears to be only a matter of time. It's natural that some hard-left protest-organizing groups, like United for Peace and Justice, would collapse for lack of donations. Some, like Code Pink, have become almost invisible. Some groups, like MoveOn.org, have been willing to toss aside principle in favor of access. General Petraeus went from their General "Betray Us" to General Acceptable when Obama tapped him for Afghanistan.

This evolution applies to the press, as well. Were Bush to have made Obama's statement during that Syria press conference, all hell would have broken loose. Warmonger! No evidence! No allies! But there is no appetite now to curb Obama's sudden fixation with war. He wasn't questioned over saying he would take the step of seeking congressional approval but stated he had the power to go it alone. Incredible.

Worse, as with everything else Obama, they're soft-pedaling it. Andrea Mitchell is a delicious example of a damage-control argumentum ad absurdum.

Mitchell lectured extreme leftist Rep. Barbara Lee: "Barack Obama, as you know better than I do, was one of the leading Democratic politicians against the Iraq War. So if he says that this is different, that the evidence is there ... does that persuade you since he has always come at this from a very cautious anti-war perspective?"

War is best waged by the anti-war agitator?

Remember the legend that the Left unfurled in 2003, that our press corps were a pathetic band of toothless dogs that let Bush drag America into a terrible war? This is the same press corps that championed every "peace" march that gathered in the streets, and the same press corps that scolded each other as "zombies" for failing to stop the "rush to war."

George W. Bush had the polls behind him before the war, but he never had a promotional press. Obama has the media fully in his camp, but not the public. Will the subservient press demonstrate the power to turn public support in the president's favor? Or will they, as with the public, grow weary and turn on this president over his decision to pursue yet another fool's errand in the Middle East. Time will tell.


Milk of Human Blindness

John Stossel

The Denver Post warns, "Milk, food prices could rise if Congress fails to act."

Congress is working on a farm bill, which, among other things, will set limits on how high or low milk prices can be in different regions of the country.

Politicians from both parties like to meddle in agriculture. When the Heritage Foundation told Republicans not to pass any farm bill, "conservative" politicians banned Heritage from their weekly meetings.

But why should politicians be involved in agriculture? Why should they set food prices, any more than they set the price of books or staplers? The market decides most prices, so we don't have to wait with bated breath for politicians to make up their minds.

In a normal market, sellers charge the highest price their customers will pay -- and then lower the price when they lose customers to sellers who charge less. Competition keeps prices low, not generosity or warm-heartedness. Or government.

The price of milk, on the other hand, is decided by regulators, using complicated formulas. They set one price for wholesale milk used to produce "fluid" products and another for milk used in making cheese. It's a ridiculous game of catch-up, in which the regulated prices never change as fast and efficiently as they would in a market, one buyer and seller at a time.

Next week, California will hold public hearings about milk price negotiations, as if more arguing will reveal the "correct" price. The agricultural news site Agri-View reports that dairy farmers filed a petition with the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), demanding it implement an earlier, massive milk-price compact agreed to by cheesemakers and legislators.

Under the agreement, cheese processors must kick in an additional $110 million to a statewide pool of money used to pay dairy farmers, who are upset that they've been paid less than what farmers get in surrounding states.

Rob Vandenheuvel of the state's Milk Producers Council says, "Government has the responsibility to keep us in line with what the rest of the country is making, and they're not doing it. It gives us no choice but to spend money on lawyers."

Great. How many lawyers does it take to produce a gallon of milk?

The dairy farmers say some dairy farms lose money, which proves milk prices are too low. But cheesemakers say they can barely stay in business, proving milk prices are too high.

Why is any of this the legislature's business? It shouldn't be. Prices should be decided by buyers and sellers.

Prices are not just money. They're information. Rising prices tell farmers to produce more; that increases supply and prices go back down. Falling prices tell producers to invest in other products. This system works well for plums, peaches, cars and most everything we buy.

But bureaucrats and lobbyists say milk is "special."

Vandenheuvel says cows can't be subject to market demand because "there are several years of lead time between when you decide to buy a cow and when that cow produces milk."

The CDFA agrees because: "Milk is a perishable product and must be harvested daily," and "Milk continues to be viewed as a necessary food item, particularly for children."

I say, so what? It's not "lead time" or being "perishable" or even being "necessary" that makes milk unique. Plums and newspapers are perishable and harvested daily. It takes long lead times to build assembly lines to make cars. No entrepreneur has a guarantee of market demand once the factory is complete. All business is risky.

The CDFA wails that without price controls, "no other regulations would be in place to assure an adequate supply of milk."

Give me a break. It's in planned economies, like Venezuela, North Korea and the former Soviet Union that shortages occur. When politicians micromanage markets, consumers suffer.

Milk isn't "special." Almost no product is. Let competition set the price.


Six in 10 crimes are never investigated admits British police chief

Six out of every ten crimes reported to one of Britain’s biggest police forces are not properly investigated, its chief has admitted.

Greater Manchester’s officers only ‘actively pursue’ criminals in 40 per cent of cases reported to them, its chief constable said, with detectives effectively shelving or ‘screening out’ the rest because there are no witnesses or clues.

It means that more than 106,000 crimes in Greater Manchester were all but given up by the force as lost causes last year.

Justifying the approach, Sir Peter Fahy said officers had to behave like NHS doctors by prioritising cases which were the most serious or likely to end in success.

However, MPs and crime experts last night accused Sir Peter of failing victims of crime and talking ‘bureaucratic gobbledegook’.  Defending his force’s approach, Sir Peter said: ‘Most crime is committed by a group of active, persistent offenders who go in and out of the criminal justice system.

‘So in continuing to reduce crime, we balance between investigating offences after they have happened and targeting those who we know are out there every day, looking for criminal opportunities. Some of these we visit twice a day to keep them on their toes.

‘In the same way that the Health Service concentrates on the most serious illnesses and the treatments likely to have most effect, the police have to concentrate on the most serious crimes and those where there are lines of investigation likely to produce evidence of the offender.

‘This translates into about 40 per cent of crime being actively pursued at any time. We look at all crimes to identify patterns of offending and to build the picture of where we need to target patrols. In many crimes there are no witnesses, no CCTV and no forensic opportunities.’

Victims in the shelved cases are given crime numbers so they can pursue insurance claims but otherwise their cases are dropped.

Greater Manchester Police was recently criticised for giving special priority to victims if they are members of ‘alternative subcultures’ such as goths, because this would be classified as a ‘hate crime’.

The practice of ‘screening out’ hard-to-solve crime is also widespread in other parts of the country.

In London, 45 per cent of crimes, including a quarter of robberies, two out of five burglaries and three quarters of car thefts were not properly investigated last year.

In total, 346,397 were screened out at an early stage and 424,091 investigated further.

In Bedfordshire 39 per cent are screened out, while in Warwickshire the figure is 37 per cent, Northamptonshire 33 per cent and Hampshire 24 per cent.

Graham Stringer, a local Labour MP, dismissed Sir Peter’s argument as ‘bureaucratic gobbledegook’.

He said: ‘De-prioritising the majority of crime is bound to lead to a loss of confidence in the police force. Those victims whose crimes aren’t investigated have every right to be angry. They have an expectation, having paid their council tax, that they have a better service from the police force.’

Peter Cuthbertson, of the Centre for Crime Prevention, said: ‘This is an appalling admission. Setting priorities because of a heavy workload is sensible, but to drop a large majority of cases can only increase the workload, spurring on criminals who realise the police won’t even investigate them most of the time.’

Criminologist Dr David Green, of the Civitas think-tank, said: ‘Police do not focus on the most serious incidents – they focus on the ones they can solve quickly to boost their detection rates. They are neglecting the crimes which the public is most concerned about.’

For example, burglary has one of the lowest detection rates of all offences. Last year, it emerged only 15 per cent of burglaries are being solved in Greater Manchester.

Tony Lloyd, Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester, said: ‘Let me be clear that I expect, and the chief constable expects, that with all serious crime no effort will be spared to bring the criminals to justice.

‘What I don’t expect is where there is no evidential trail that the police go through a paper chase to simply tick boxes, but instead use intelligent policing to prevent a recurrence of those types of crime.’

The force said crime had fallen significantly in the past decade despite a £134million cut in its 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.



5 September, 2013

Machine-guns on the streets:  Africa? Syria? No:  London.  Ain't multiculturalism grand?

A mother of one was caught in a hail of bullets from a shotgun and machine gun when she was killed outside a takeaway, a court heard today.

Nursery teacher Sabrina Moss had been celebrating her 24th birthday with friends last month when she was shot in the chest in Kilburn, north-west London.

Her friend Sabrina Gachette, 24, was wounded in the incident - along with two other men - but is recovering from her injuries in hospital. Martell Warren, 22, has been charged with murder. [A Google image search reveals a number of men named Martell Warren -- all African]

Warren, of Willesden, north-west London, today appeared at the Old Bailey in Central London via video link from HMP Belmarsh in Thamesmead, south-east London, for a brief hearing.

He is charged with Miss Moss’s murder and the attempted murders of Miss Gachette, Mahod Ahmed and Edson Da-Silva on August 25.

He is also charged with two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life. The court was told that a shotgun and a Mac 10 machine gun were used in the attack.

Prosecutor Julian Evans said: ‘Mr Warren is charged with six matters in relation to the incident. Two firearms were discharged at the scene, the first a Mac 10 machine gun and the second a shotgun.’

Warren spoke to confirm his name and that he understood the proceedings. No bail application was made and he was remanded into custody by judge John Bevan QC until a hearing on November 19.

He was arrested by officers from the British Transport Police at St Pancras International train station in Central London two days after the shootings.


'I feel sorry for gay people... there's something not right in their make-up': Vicar hits out at lesbian couple who say he refused to name them both as 'mother' for their child's baptism

Reverend George Gebauer described gay people as being 'unbalanced' and having 'a medical issue'.

His comments came after he told Aimi and Victoria Leggett that it would be 'illegal' for them both to appear as parents on one-year-old Alfie's baptism certificate.

Instead he suggested that one of them signs as the mother while the other member of the civil partnership should be the 'godmother'.

Mr Gebauer said: 'I feel sorry for gay and lesbian people. We know there is something not right within their make-up.  'They produce too much hormone - they're imbalanced. That's the way they are. It's a medical issue.'

Aimi, 25, and Victoria, 22, stormed out of the meeting at St Mary's Church in Warsash, Hampshire, after Reverend George Gebauer said the church baptism register only had one space for one mother and one father.

The church is where Aimi - Alfie's biological mother - was baptised and where her parents got married.

The couple, whose civil partnership was in October 2011, said they had organised the Church of England ceremony with Reverend Andy Norris.  But Mr Norris has recently left the parish, and retired clergy - including Mr Gebauer - are now officiating until a replacement can be found.

Rev Gebauer said: 'We have bent over backwards to try and accommodate this family. We suggested time and again that the natural mum be registered as mum.

'They will not give way and that can’t happen.The church baptism register makes no provision for it. We can only make sure the child is theirs. For all we know it they may have pinched the child.

'They said they wanted a private service, away from the congregation, and with no other babies. We agreed to that.  'The couple are not even from our parish, so we could have informed their local church and directed them there instead.  'But we kept quiet and agreed to welcome them in.

'However, when it came to the administrative side of things they insisted on both being listed as mum and refused to budge from their position.

'I told them I was unable to do this because the church baptism register only has space for one mother and one father. I believe it would be illegal for me to register them both as mother.  'They will find themselves in the same situation if they go to another vicar or church.  'This is nothing to do with their sexuality. At no point did they say they were a couple - it was just assumed.

'The soul of the little boy is more important than anything else.

'We did not even push them for the name of the father, we were happy to leave that space blank. We have found ourselves at a stalemate.'

He said: 'Surely baptising the child is more important than being registered. They only think of themselves it seems.'

Aimi, from Gosport, said: 'There was no way one of us was going to be listed as the godparent. We are both Alfie’s mum.

'Rev Gebauer sat there and told us no child could have parents of the same sex, no child could have two mothers. 'He did all this for about ten or 15 minutes and was asking us why we want Alfie brought into the church.

Aimi added: 'I’m baptised Church of England, and Victoria is a Catholic. We want him to be brought up the same as we were.

'We were even saying to the Reverend, "Do you want Alfie to be ashamed of his family?"  'He's not gay, we are, what we do is up to us.'

The Archdeacon of the Meon, the Ven Gavin Collins, has since intervened and found an alternative vicar who will perform the ceremony at St Mary's Church on the planned day.

'We have addressed the legal issue. As I understand it, her partner Victoria has full legal co-parental responsibility for Alfie. We can therefore enter their details onto the baptism register as "mother" and "mother", as they would like.

'I’m pleased that this issue has been resolved, and we look forward to welcoming Aimi, Victoria, Alfie and their friends and family. I’m sure it will be a great occasion as we welcome him into the Christian family.'

But Victoria admitted: 'It’s so hard not to be put off by our experience.  'You get told "yes" you can do it and then it all changes and they completely disregard it.'

Mr Gebauer, 87, said he did not refuse to baptise Alfie, and the couple’s sexuality was not an issue.  He said he was willing to carry out the baptism if Aimi and Victoria agree to record just one of them as mother.

The Ven Collins said all children are welcome to the church, and added: ‘We would be thrilled to carry out this baptism and the date is still in the church’s diary. We would also be delighted to record both of the parents as “mother” if that is accurate.

‘The baptism register is a legal document, so it is important we get it right.

‘George was, quite rightly, checking whether the non-biological mother had legally adopted the boy and so could correctly be called his mother.

‘It’s exactly the same when someone remarries. The new parent is a stepfather or stepmother unless they legally adopt their partner’s child from a previous marriage.

Aimi's mother, Donna Leggett, 44, today said: 'Somebody from the church phoned Aimi and Victoria today to say sorry and to say the baptism can go ahead with both named as mum.  'It's great news but it should never have got to this stage in the first place.'


Southern Baptists order their military chaplains not to perform same sex marriages

The North American Mission Board, the domestic arm of the Southern Baptist Convention’s mission outreach programs, has issued guidelines ordering the religion’s military chaplains not to perform, attend or participate in same sex weddings in any way. According to the Baptist Press, the guidelines were issued Friday and go into effect immediately.

In addition to ordering Baptist chaplains to adhere to the church’s “marriage is for one man and one woman” line doctrinally and pastorally, the guidelines say, “NAMB-endorsed chaplains will not conduct or attend a wedding ceremony for any same-sex couple, bless such a union or perform counseling in support of such a union, assist or support paid contractors or volunteers leading same-sex relational events, nor offer any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off of a military installation, that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing. This biblical prohibition remains in effect irrespective of any civil law authorizing same-sex marriage or benefits to the contrary.”

They are also forbidden from attending any worship service that is presided over by any LGBT member of the clergy.

NAMB President Kevin Ezell told the Baptist Press, “For many members of our military — especially those deployed around the globe — our chaplains are the only pastors they have. That’s why it is so important that they uphold sound doctrine while showing everyone the love and forgiveness Jesus offers. We all need to be committed to praying for them in these challenging days.”

The guidelines also state that Baptist chaplains shall not be infringed upon by the U.S. Department of Defense if they choose to promote anti-LGBT views and call same sex relationships a sin and a moral degradation. Their pastors should be free to “preach, teach and counsel in accordance with the tenets of their denominational faith group and their own religious conscience,” said the board.

Such measures, said the board, are necessary to “protect” Christians from “discrimination.”

“These guidelines simply provide clarification on specific issues and give our chaplains the freedom and protection for their ministry,” said retired Army Baptist chaplain Douglas Carver, director of NAMB’s chaplaincy wing.

Jason Torpy at the Military Association for Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) wrote on Tuesday that by refusing chaplaincy services to same sex couples or LGBT military, the Southern Baptist chaplains are placing themselves in violation of the military chaplain code, which guarantees equal service for all.

The new NAMB guidelines, wrote Torpy, will place Southern Baptist chaplains in a position of having to obey the new edicts or align themselves with another faith.

“For those chaplains who disagree with the new and clarified SBC policy,” he said, “there are a number of welcoming Baptist denominations who I’m sure stand ready to affirm their faith and endorse their continued Baptist chaplain work outside the SBC and within the military. Chaplain (Colonel) Timothy Wagoner left the Southern Baptists after he was excoriated publicly for simply attending a same-gender wedding (before this policy was in explicit). Other SBC chaplains should prepare to walk that same road. Whatever the DoD decides, the SBC policy is clear and discriminatory and may run off some of its own chaplains.”


Australian Labor Party leader says homosexual marriage is Christian

RELIGIOUS leaders have sharpened their attacks on Kevin Rudd, citing his hamfisted attempts to argue the biblical case for same-sex marriage in a spirited shellacking of a Christian pastor on Monday night.

Broad views abounded but one of the most prominent Anglicans in the country and Old Testament scholar, the Archbishop of Sydney, Glenn Davies, said the Prime Minister was "profoundly wrong" and alleged he had actually quoted Aristotle when he suggested that "slavery is a natural condition" was in the Bible.

"I was disappointed by Mr Rudd's comments last night in the same way that I was disappointed by the position he announced in May despite, as he said, much reflection," Dr Davies told The Australian.

"Unfortunately in my view, he has not been reflecting on the teaching of scripture. He misquoted the Bible and attributed to the Bible something that Aristotle said."

Dr Davies said the Bible was perfectly clear on both the subject of slavery -- on which it documents many observations -- and same-sex marriage.

"The Bible sees slavery as the result of fallen and broken relationships in society and it is crystal clear in its condemnation of the slave trade,"he said.

"The Bible views marriage as an institution that God has created. Jesus brings clarity to the nature of marriage by saying that it is an exclusive relationship between a man and a woman, for life.

"Although there are many kinds of relationships in our society, to describe the relationship between two persons of the same sex as marriage is contrary to the Bible's teaching."

In the Greek philosopher's book Politics, Aristotle wrote: "For that some should rule and others be ruled is a thing not only necessary, but expedient; from the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule."

Former prime minister John Howard yesterday backed a conscience vote for the Coalition on same-sex marriage, but added his own view that the matter was "nonsense".

"The present (law) doesn't discriminate against people, it just recognises not only a long-standing attitude and custom but also recognises that anything we can do to preserve current notions of marriage are more likely on balance to provide the best environment for raising children," he told reporters in Adelaide yesterday.

Australian Christian Lobby managing director Lyle Shelton said Mr Rudd's tone in responding to pastor Matt Prater was a portent of things to come.

"You need only look at his tone on (the ABC's) Q&A to realise he will really clamp down on freedom of speech and freedom of religion if he is elected again," he said. "What Mr Rudd is saying is there is no place for you in Australia if you hold these views."



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.



4 September, 2013

Father who beat to death man he caught raping his five-year-old daughter will NOT face charges because of Texas state laws on deadly force

In Britain he would have been jailed for excessive use of force

A Texas father who discovered a man raping his five-year-old daughter and beat him to death with his bare hands will not be charged with homicide under state law.

A Lavaca County grand jury decided not to press charges against the 23-year-old father in the June 9th death of Jesus Mora Flores, 47, who was killed inside a remote shack after he was caught molesting the young girl.

Under Texas state law, deadly force is authorized and indeed, justified in order to stop an aggravated sexual assault and coupled with the fact that the harrowing 911 calls made by the father back claims he even tried to save the pedophile's life led to the grand jury's decision.

Lavaca County sheriff's deputies said that the father, whose name has not been released to protect the little girl's identity, sent her and her brother to feed the family's chickens.

The boy rushed back to tell his dad that someone had grabbed his sister and taken her to a small secluded shack and the father rushed towards his daughter's screams and arrived to find them both with their underwear off.

Flying into a rage, the father beat Flores unconscious, but attempted to call 911 for the rapist after he had made sure his daughter was safe.

Sheriff Micah Harmon had said in June that he was not willing to press charges against the father, rather the case would be presented to a grand jury.

At the time, Harmon said that the man was 'very remorseful' and didn't know at the time he had killed Flores.

'You have a right to defend your daughter,' Harmon told CNN at the time. 'The girl's father acted in defense of his third person. Once the investigation is completed we will submit it to the district attorney who then submits it to the grand jury, who will decide if they will indict him.'

V'Anne Huser, the father's attorney, sternly told reporters several times during a news conference at the Lavaca County courthouse that neither the father nor the family will ever give interviews.

'He's a peaceable soul,' Huser said. 'He had no intention to kill anybody that day.'

The attack happened on the family's ranch off a quiet, two-lane county road between the farming towns of Shiner and Yoakum.

Authorities say a witness saw Flores 'forcibly carrying' the girl into a secluded area and then scrambled to find the father.

Running toward his daughter's screams, investigators said, the father pulled Flores off his child and 'inflicted several blows to the man's head and neck area.'

Emergency crews found Flores' pants and underwear pulled down on his lifeless body by the time they responded to the 911 call.

The girl was taken to a hospital and examined, and authorities say forensic evidence and witness accounts corroborated the father's story that his daughter was being sexually molested.

Authorities said he expressed regret at the killing at the time, and no evidence so far has led them to doubt his story. The girl's grandfather agreed it had been an accident.

Residents of the small Lavaca County town were largely in support of the father, saying the victim deserved it.  Sonny Jaehne, a Shiner native, told the Victoria Advocate: 'He got what he deserved, big time.  Friend Mark Harabis reiterated this: 'I agree with him totally. I would probably do worse.

'The family will have to deal with that the rest of their lives, no matter what happens to the father. Even if they let him go, he and his child will have to deal with that the rest of their lives.'


Sold for £5 - your personal details: British Councils cash in on names and addresses, fuelling junk mail blitz

Town halls are raking in money by selling lists of voters’ names and addresses for as little as £5 a time to private companies.

Thousands of the registers have been sold over the past five years to pizza delivery shops, estate agents and direct marketing firms – adding to the avalanche of junk mail.

The electoral register is available for anybody to view in person. But by selling a database of the information, councils are allowing companies to send out thousands of unsolicited letters with a few clicks of a computer mouse.

Tens of millions who sign up to vote automatically have their names included on this ‘edited’ version of the register if they do not expressly opt out of having their information passed on.

Their details are then sold on hundreds of times a year and used to send out three billion personalised items of junk mail annually.

The scandal was exposed in a report by privacy pressure group Big Brother Watch, which yesterday condemned the practice and called for it to be scrapped.  Its research revealed that more than 300 councils sold the register to 2,700 individuals and companies over the past five years. The councils involved made more than £250,000.

Big Brother Watch director Nick Pickles said while it was important that the electoral register was a public document which anyone could freely inspect, this should not mean councils could sell personal information to private companies for financial gain.

‘Registering to vote is a basic part of our democracy. It should not be a back door for our names and addresses to be sold to anyone and everyone,’ he said.

‘Many people don’t realise that the pizza shops and estate agents drowning their doorsteps with junk mail are able to do so because their local council is forced to sell the names of every voter who fails to tick the right box when they register to vote.

In many other countries the opt out is automatic and voters must opt in if they wish to be included on marketing lists.

Councils in the UK who have tried to introduce an automatic opt-out have faced legal action forcing them to change back – because the layout of the registration form is set by law.

As well as prompting a deluge of junk mail, there are widespread concerns that the sale of the register is damaging the electoral process.

Mr Pickles said: ‘The edited register is a pointless waste of council time, undermines trust in the electoral system and contributes to huge volumes of junk mail. It should be abolished.

‘An open democracy means councils should maintain a full version of the register that’s available to the public.  ‘But that should not mean gift-wrapping our names and addresses for estate agents, pizza shops and junk mail marketeers.’

His call was backed by elections watchdog the Electoral Commission, which also raised concerns about potential voters being turned off by the prospect of their personal details being sold.

Among those who bought the data from councils, according to research using Freedom of Information laws, were market research companies, motoring schools, insurance companies, solar panel salesmen, glaziers and credit unions.

Estate agents Foxtons bought lists from several councils. Most authorities charge between £70 and £100 but one council, Ryedale in North Yorkshire, sold its edited register for just £4.50.

Councils in affluent areas were the biggest sellers of the register.

Westminster, Elmbridge in Surrey and Kensington and Chelsea all sold the register to more than 50 buyers.

The edited register was introduced in 2002 – amid concerns over the full version being put on sale. Since then around a quarter of all voters have opted out of appearing on the list.

But millions more may not be aware what is happening to their information as a result of registering.

Critics say it is easy to miss the opt-out box and often forms don’t make it clear what the implications are of allowing your information to be put on the edited register.

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said: ‘The Electoral Commission does not support the commercial sale of any details provided for the purposes of electoral registration and we are concerned that it may act as a deterrent to some people registering to vote.

‘Voters should be aware that if they do not want their details to be included in the edited register which is available for general sale, then they can tick the “opt out” box on their registration form.’

A DCLG spokesman added: 'It is completely unacceptable for councils to be profiting in this way.  'Junk Mail is a menace and councils should be looking at ways to make sensible savings and not taking advantage of voters.'

Meanwhile council workers who have been caught illegally selling on personal information stored by town halls are escaping with a ‘slap on wrist’.

Data protection laws have been used to bring prosecutions in some 700 cases of data being obtained illegally from public and private bodies over five years.

In one case, council worker Paul Hedges, 42, emailed names and addresses of 2,471 records to his personal account, with the intention of using them for a fitness firm he was setting up. He was fined £3,000 and ordered to pay £1,376 costs.


Disassociation not always disrespect

Many conflicts in society could be eliminated simply by respecting everyone’s right of association — the right to not have anyone imposed upon you.

It is about the most fundamental human right there is, and one of the most often violated.

Discrimination isn’t automatically a bad thing. I assume you discriminate among the things you eat. A shiny, red apple might be preferred  over a ripe banana, and the banana might be chosen before an orange.  Everyone has their own criteria and preferences.

This is the reasoning behind the signs in some businesses, which say “We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.” That right doesn’t need to be “reserved;” it is always there.

Bakery owners who don’t wish to make cakes for gay weddings should never be forced to do so.

Other potential customers could then decide whether or not to give their money to the business based upon this information.

Business owners could place “No Guns” signs on their door — so long as they are not incorporated, therefore not in partnership with government and required to operate within limits put in place by the Constitution — to keep away honest people with guns.

(No one seriously believes such a sign will stop those who wish to rob or murder, do they?)

And those who prefer to do business with companies that don’t demand they be defenseless in the face of violent attack can choose to spend their money with shops that actually care more about their customers’ safety than about making a dangerous political statement.

If there is a person in town whom you don’t like, for any reason or no reason at all, no one should force you to be around that person. You are free to leave the park if they show up, or to cross the street to avoid them. No one should force you to buy from them or sell to them. Just don’t complain when the shoe is on the other foot.

If a person refuses to associate with someone because of their skin color, sexual orientation, gender, political beliefs, religious ideology, appearance, odor, spoken language, or any reason at all, they are simply asserting their basic human right.

If you disagree with their reason, you are free to speak your mind and refuse to associate with them in return.

Why a business owner would willingly choose to alienate a percentage of his potential customers bewilders me, unless he believes that by doing so he will please even more people who will then flock to spend their money with him. It is possible it could happen.


After 200 years, the British census is axed: Critics accuse Government of ending ten-yearly headcount to try and hide truth about immigration

Ministers are to risk a major row over immigration by scrapping the ten-yearly National Census after more than 200 years.

An announcement axing the survey is expected this month, together with moves to find cheaper ways of counting the population.

But the Government faces accusations of trying to hide the truth about immigration.

The future of the census has been in question since the disastrous 2001 survey led to bureaucratic chaos and a final population figure at least a million short of the reality.

The Office for National Statistics has been exploring replacements based on ‘administrative data’, which could include NHS and tax and benefit records and the electoral roll.

However, officials also want to use the vast databases run by private sector organisations to supplement publicly-held information.

The ONS has canvassed the idea of tapping into information held by internet search engines such as Google and the databases of corporations such as Tesco and the energy supply giants.

The results of the consultation will be made public later this month. Sir Andrew Green of the Migrationwatch UK think-tank warned that the proposals ‘need to be examined very closely’.

‘There must be no question of burying the truth about the scale of immigration,’ he said.

Danny Dorling, professor of human geography at Sheffield University, called the idea ‘stupid’.  In an article for the journal Radical Statistics, he said the 2011 census had confounded analysts who believed that the ONS had been over-estimating the population because it has been better at counting immigrants than emigrants.

‘The 2011 census told us that the opposite had in fact occurred,’ said Professor Dorling. ‘ONS had been under-estimating the population and there were far more people living in the UK than they thought.’

'The 2011 census showed us that the population of the UK was rising, still slowly, but faster than the ONS had thought, and faster than almost anywhere else in Europe.

‘Without knowing that fact we could not speculate in a sensible way as to why that might be happening.’

The 2011 census showed that there were 56.1million people in England and Wales, 3.7million up in a decade, and half a million more than official estimates.

The ONS acknowledged that almost all the half-million were eastern European immigrants who were not detected by regular Government surveys.

The first census was taken in 1801 amid fears that a rising population would bring starvation and revolution. It has been held every ten years since – apart from 1941 – but has become a costly exercise. The 2011 headcount cost £500million.

Professor Dorling said that a reason for scrapping the census could be to stop embarrassing social studies, such as those finding that the poor are becoming increasingly less healthy than the well off.

‘One of the reasons you might choose not to have a census is if you wanted the kinds of studies that relied on census data not to be undertaken,’ he said.

He said it was wrong to replace the census with inadequate surveys, saying ‘the politically devious way to cut something is to cut it, but claim that it is continuing.’



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.



3 September, 2013

From not bad to quite good, how trait of being polite stops Britons from saying what they really mean

Ever been told by a new neighbour ‘You must come for dinner’ then spent weeks waiting for a follow-up invitation that never arrives?

Or been thrilled when the boss said he’d bear your ‘very interesting’ idea in mind and been surprised when it was never mentioned again.

Then you’ve been victim of the uniquely British trait of being too prim and polite to say what we really mean. And if it can be baffling for us, imagine what it must be like for foreigners who take our every word at face value.

Now there’s help in the form of a translation table which has become a huge hit on the internet.

It reveals that when a British person begins a sentence ‘With the greatest respect...’, they’re really saying ‘I think you are an idiot.’

‘I hear what you say’ means ‘I disagree and do not want to discuss it further’ while ‘That is a very brave proposal’ translates as ‘You are insane’.

The table, which has been posted on numerous internet blogs, has received thousands of comments acknowledging that it’s spot on – from foreigners and Britons alike.

New York-based Joanne Goddard who writes a blog called A Cup of Jo, says her English father often left her baffled.

‘When we were in high school, my sister asked him if she could drive to Detroit with her boyfriend to see a band. He said, “I’d rather you not.” She went anyway. When he got mad later, she was confused: “But you never said I couldn’t go”.’

The author of the table is a mystery, although some say it was drawn up a few years ago by a Dutch firm as a light-hearted help for executives working in the UK. It has since been added to.

One of the first people to post it was Duncan Green, a strategic adviser for Oxfam, who described it as ‘a handy guide for our fellow Europeans and others trying to fathom weaselly Brit-speak’.

Mr Green said: ‘Sadly, I didn’t write it. It’s just one of those great things that is being passed around on the internet.’

Internet posters have been busy coming up with their own translations. Pam Burton wrote that ‘Leave it with me’ means ‘Hell will freeze over before you see a solution to this problem’.

Another said ‘When you get a minute’ means ‘Do this immediately’ while a third says ‘Let’s keep in touch’ tends to mean ‘I never want to see or hear from you again’.

And Peter Atkin wrote: ‘I came across this article while trying to find a way of explaining to a French company why their letter of recommendation, which seemed excellent on the face of it, would basically have damned me to the deepest pit of hell to any English company.’


Number of foreign criminals using 'human rights' law to stay in Britain almost doubles

The number of foreign criminals who have avoided deportation because it would 'breach their human rights' has almost doubled in a year, it has today been revealed.

Almost 300 offenders used Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights to argue their right to stay in the country last year.

The increase comes despite calls for judges to be tougher on those using the loophole to avoid deportation.

Statistics from the Home Office show that 299 'foreign national offenders won appeals' last year - up from 177 the year before, the Sun reports.

Article 8 protects the right to private and family life.

Last week MailOnline revealed Sanel Sahbaz, a foreign criminal jailed for a series of violent attacks, had successfully argued against deportation because it would violate his human rights.

Sahbaz, a Bosnian who now lives in Hertford, came to Britain as a child in 1993. Since 2005 he has committed a string of offences including common assault, handling stolen goods, theft, public order offences and assaulting police.

In one incident he attacked his landlord, pushing him to the floor, repeatedly kicking him and stamping on his head until the man fell unconscious.

Sahbaz, 30, qualified for automatic deportation after he was jailed for four years, and the Home Office told him he would be sent home.

But he has now been told he can stay indefinitely after he brought a legal challenge under Article 8.

His lawyers argued that if he was sent back to Bosnia it would separate him from his parents, brother and cousin, who are also in Britain, which would breach his rights.

In February Home Secretary Theresa May announced plans to pass a new law demanding that Article 8 of the Act should no longer be a bar to deportation.

At the time sahe said: 'Once this primary legislation has been enacted, it is surely inconceivable that judges in this country will maintain that it is they, rather than Parliament, who are entitled to decide how to balance the foreigner’s right to family life against our nation’s right to protect itself.'

A Home Office spokesman said that it had deported 4,600 foreign criminals in 2011-2012.

They added: 'Those who come to the UK must abide by our laws. 'We will take all necessary steps to deport foreign criminals and have introduced tough new rules to protect the public from those who try to stay here through abuse of the Human Rights Act.  'In 2012 we removed 4,500 foreign national offenders.

'Our new Immigration Bill will contain provisions to ensure courts properly reflect Parliament's view that serious criminals should be deported unless there are very exceptional circumstances.'


Even Scandinavian Welfare States Realize Too Much Dependency and Too Many Handouts Are Destructive

We’re making a tiny bit of progress in the battle against the welfare state. No, policy hasn’t changed yet, but at least there’s growing recognition that maybe, just maybe, it’s not a good idea to pay people not to work. Particularly when you trap them in lives of dependency and despair and undermine progress in the fight against poverty.

This chart shows that various handouts discourage low-income people from earning more money, and a recent blockbuster study from a couple of my colleagues at the Cato Institute revealed that welfare pays more than entry-level employment in dozens of states.

And a growing number of people are now aware that there’s been an explosion of food stamp dependency, so one hopes that all this knowledge eventually will translate into a new round of welfare reform.

Why am I optimistic? Well, because awareness already is leading to change in some very unexpected places. Even Scandinavian nations are realizing that there has to be a limit to incentive-killing and taxpayer-sapping redistribution.

Here are some excerpts from a remarkable Bloomberg report about developments in Denmark.

“We live in a world of global competition for jobs,” the 40-year-old minister said in an interview in Copenhagen. “For any finance minister wanting to be taken seriously, it’s something to deal with. That requires a modernization of the welfare state.” The AAA rated nation, whose economy contracted 0.2 percent in the first half, needs to contain welfare spending or risk losing the respect of investors, Corydon said. Danes, who like Swedes and Norwegians, are used to generous jobless pay as well as state-financed education and health care, need to learn that those privileges come at a cost, he said. …Denmark’s challenge now is to ensure its welfare habits don’t leave it unable to compete with populations that work harder at a lower cost, he said."

That’s a noteworthy passage, both because the Danish Finance Minister recognizes jurisdictional competition as a check on the welfare state (something confirmed by a study from German economists) and because Denmark is ruled by Social Democrats.

Yet even these leftists are grasping that it makes no sense to have a system that generates perverse incentives.

"…out-of-work Danes in some cases earn even more than those in low-skilled jobs. An Aug. 27 report by the Economy Ministry showed that about 250,000 Danes have no economic incentive to give up their unemployment benefits and take a job. That compares with 2.64 million people in full- and part-time jobs, according to Statistics Danmark. …The Social Democrat-led coalition of Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, in office since 2011, has pushed through cuts including limiting unemployment benefits to two years from four years."

It’s hardly radical libertarianism to reduce unemployment benefits from four years to two years, but it is rather significant when even politicians realize that it’s not good – as illustrated by these powerful cartoons – to lure people into the wagon when nations need more people pulling the wagon.

The article even mentions “Lazy Robert,” a famous deadbeat who became the first Danish member of the Moocher Hall of Fame last April. No wonder Danes may be saying that enough is enough.

There’s even a bit of good news on the tax side of the fiscal ledger.  "The government has responded to the economic slump by cutting the corporate tax rate, as well as some other taxes."

Sounds like Danish policy makers could give some lessons to their self-destructive American counterparts.

But you won’t be surprised to learn that  there’s still plenty of bad policy in Denmark. The politicians can’t resist, for instance, the siren song of Keynesian economics.

It plans to spend 44 billion kroner ($7.8 billion) next year on building railroads, highways and hospitals. …Corydon,…said he wants to keep public investments close to a 30-year high to create jobs.

By the way, it’s a bit depressing that Denmark actually ranks higher than the United States in the most recent Economic Freedom of the World rankings.

Yes, their welfare state is too big, their tax system is a nightmare, and they are saddled with one of the world’s most expensive bureaucracies, but Denmark has ultra-free market policies in other areas.

But even those laissez-faire policies no longer are apparently enough to compensate for bad fiscal policy.


Market Forces Lead to Better Treatment for Farm Animals On the farm, making room for humanely-raised pigs

DEKALB, Illinois -- The placid cornfields of the upper Midwest have the look of a place where nothing important ever changes. But here, at a large pig farm five miles south of town, the beginnings of a small revolution are unmistakable.

My host today is Bob Johnson, a sturdy 6-footer who gives the impression he would not be rushed if he were running with the bulls in Pamplona. As president of Johnson-Pate Pork Inc., which he co-owns with two sisters and a brother-in-law, he has taken a big role in changing the way hogs are handled.

In recent years, one major food corporation after another, from McDonald's to Safeway, has announced plans to stop buying pork from suppliers that confine pregnant sows in gestation stalls -- individual enclosures so tiny the pig can't turn around. Target has set a deadline of 2022, voicing an increasingly common sentiment: "We're committed to the humane treatment of animals, and believe they should be raised in clean, safe environments free from cruelty, abuse or neglect."

Johnson, who has lived on this farm since he was a teenager, saw a business opportunity in getting rid of the cramped crates, as well as eliminating the routine use of antibiotics. So in 2010, his company switched -- a big undertaking for a farm that sells 20,000 pigs per year.

Traditionalists say that gestation stalls are indispensable because when pigs are housed in groups, they fight -- with bigger and fiercer animals injuring smaller ones and getting more than their share of the feed.

But that's not what is on display in the gestation building, a structure about 60 feet wide and 250 feet long occupied by some 625 pregnant sows. They are walking around and lounging quietly in large group pens. Some cool off under sprinklers that go off intermittently, as a few take their turn to eat. When the weather is good, they can go into an outdoor enclosure.

Johnson says when the pigs are moved into the pens after being inseminated, there is "some fighting, as they establish their social order." Before long, each pig knows when it's her turn to eat and, equally important, when it's someone else's.

Each pig has a radio transmitter attached to her ear, which carries a ticket for one free daily meal at the electronic sow feeder -- a narrow chute that dispenses an enriched mixture of corn and soy meal. Once the pigs have eaten, they understand they won't get fed again till the next day. Well, most do: As we're watching, one sow decides it's worth trying to get seconds. No luck.

Peggy Pate, Johnson's sister, has two animal science degrees from the University of Illinois and takes a hands-on role with the pigs, checking to see that they're healthy and well fed. "I'm in the pens at least twice a day," she says.

A slim woman wearing a T-shirt commemorating the 1994 Cornfest 10K, she's dwarfed by the hogs, which weigh in around 450 pounds. But she says the animals are calmer than they were in gestation stalls. Back then, she says, "I always wore earplugs to block the noise."

It's helpful to Pate when the radio transmitter indicates a pig hasn't eaten, which is sometimes a sign of illness and sometimes a sign that an ear tag has fallen off. She uses a computer to adjust the feed for specific hogs that she sees losing weight or gaining too much.

Does raising pigs more humanely cost more? Johnson reports that expenses are a little higher with the new methods, but his customers, which include Whole Foods and Fork in the Road Foods, are willing to pay a premium for his pork.

The effect is small compared to changes in the cost of feed, which adds up to 70 percent of his expenses and has doubled over the past decade. The returns are enough to make it worthwhile. "We'd do it over again," he says.

Others may want to learn from his example. Nine states have passed measures to outlaw gestation stalls. In conservative, Republican Arizona, 61 percent of voters voted for the ban.

A lot of Americans are not entirely comfortable with how farm animals are treated to maximize output and minimize costs in food production, and they are hopeful there is a better way. As it happens, there is. At the Johnson-Pate farm, there is something new in the air, and it's not the smell of pigs.



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.



2 September, 2013

Spokane Police Chief Really DOES Blame (White) (Octogenarian) (WW II Vet) Murder Victim

This week’s broadcast revisits the August 21st  killing of 88-year-old Delbert Belton in Spokane, Washington. Mr. Belton was a combat veteran of the Battle of Okinawa, back in WW2. He was beaten to death by two black teenagers in the parking lot of his pool club.

And who was at fault in this dreadful incident?  Well, first of all, we were:  you, me, and everybody else, though I guess mostly the inhabitants of Spokane.  That is according to Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub, as reported by the Los Angeles Times, August 26th. They quote Chief Straub as follows:

“One of these individuals was pretty much a standout basketball player—and because nobody wrapped their arms around him, nobody cared enough about him, he's now going to face murder and robbery charges.  And, probably, he's looking at the rest of his life being significantly affected—if not destroyed—by this.”

End quote.  Poor little chap!  Doesn’t your heart go out?  And it’s our fault for not having wrapped our arms around him!  As the great Dr. Heinz Kiosk used to say: “We are all guilty!”

Some of us are more guilty than others, though.  Chief Straub singles out one person for particular blame: Delbert Belton.  Quote from the Chief:

“Our information is that the individual fought back—and that may have made this a worse situation.”

I wonder if Mr. Belton having fought back against the Imperial Japanese forces on Okinawa made that a worse situation?  Whaddya think, Chief Straub, over there on the West Coast?  Or would you prefer the question in Japanese?
Just reading over that again, my eye stopped on the phrase “significantly affected.”  I can’t quite pin down why, but somehow the entire current state of Western Civilization is encapsulated in that weasel phrase “significantly affected.”

I only wish the lives of these two perps could be as significantly affected by the criminal justice system as Mr. Belton’s life was by his encounter with them.

And shame, shame, shame on the people of Spokane for having themselves a sniveling invertebrate like Frank Straub in charge of their city’s law enforcement. 


British Council locked park gates to keep out gypsies ... then let them in anyway because of elf 'n' safety

After problems with travellers trying to set themselves up in a public park over the summer, a council took the step of locking the main gates to keep them out.

But, as a fresh convoy of 30 caravans arrived, such common sense was clearly no match for the warped logic of health and safety.

Astonishingly, officials decided to unlock the vehicle access gate – because they were worried the intruders might hurt themselves during their efforts to get in.

The travellers duly made themselves at home – and because the council voluntarily let them in, police have lost all powers to evict them.

Taxpayers will instead now have to fund a lengthy civil court battle to throw out the intruders from Wild Park, on the outskirts of Brighton.

The farce emerged in a leaked confidential email by Brighton and Hove Council to councillors. It said: ‘After the initial trespass was reported, Sussex Police highlighted the dangerous nature with which the group were accessing the field.

‘As such a decision was taken to open the access gate to reduce the risk to road users and to stop the occupants from crossing the pavement to access the road.’

Local residents say they are now unable to use the park, Brighton and Hove’s largest local nature reserve, and fear it could become ‘a new Dale Farm’, the illegal Essex camp of 1,000 travellers which cost millions of pounds to break up.

At the start of the summer, the council padlocked the gates to Wild Park after itinerants had to be removed. About 30 caravans arrived and the travellers, determined to gain access, repeatedly drove over pavements and mounds designed as obstructions.

It was then, last week, that the Green Party-led council decided to open the gates to reduce risk to the public and the travellers themselves. More than 30 caravans are now camped on the land, with more feared over the weekend.

Inspector Bill Whitehead of Sussex Police said if the gates had remained locked, any travellers could have been evicted immediately because they would have been committing an offence under Section 61 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act. But because the council had let them in, the section no longer applies.

Tory councillor Dawn Barnett said last night: ‘The council is mad. They have opened the flood gates. The kids who live nearby can’t play in the park any more because it’s not safe. I am terrified it may turn into another Dale Farm.’

One traveller, 60-year-old Mary Long, said: ‘We have been to this site before. They haven’t opened the gate for us before but they did on Tuesday. The council here are helpful.’

A council spokesman said: ‘The council has initiated legal proceedings to evict the travellers.’



A Discussion On Race, Crime And The Inconvenient Facts

What of that larger race relations issue? It took zero lag-time after the original Trayvon Martin incident for race baiters such as Al Sharpton to accuse our country of engendering a climate of racist danger for black citizens.

This qualifies as anti-American slander of the first magnitude because the facts are to the contrary — if anyone still cares to know them.

But is there not an established tendency for blacks to be victims of interracial violence in the United States? Hasn't that been the recent media message? Message, yes; truth, no. Here are the suppressed and inconvenient facts:

About 90% of interracial violent crime in our nation is committed by blacks against whites. The black-on-white murder rate in the U.S. exceeds the white-on-black rate by about 2.5-to-1.  The black-on-white assault and battery rate exceeds the corresponding white-on-black rate in this country by at least 10-to-1.

I would rather not report what is known about U.S. interracial rape statistics because it could be taken as incendiary, but the previous numbers in terms of black/white proclivity are dwarfed. (See Department of Justice, Criminal Victimization in the United States, "Victims and Offenders.")

OK, here's a hint: Because the number of white-on-black rapes is so low nationally in any given year, the ratio ranges from 100-to-1 to infinity. Liberal, politically correct feminists need to reflect on that one.

If these interracial crime ratios were randomly based, they would be uniform — that is, 1-to-1 — for the two racial groups. In other words, the population with six times as many potential victims also has six times the pool of perpetrators, so the effect of that disproportion should be perfectly offsetting arithmetically.

Yes, the relative crime stats would be moderated if adjusted for socioeconomic status (from astronomical to merely stratospheric), but by no means inverted.

The baseline conclusion is straightforward, even if surprising to readers who are victims themselves — victims of racial and racist propaganda. The hysterical public mantra of epidemic white-on-black violence is thus exposed as fraud.

One must ask why more observers have not noticed all this. Instead, we see Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Eric Holder, the Congressional Black Caucus, the NAACP, the New Black Panthers and even Barack Obama rushing to judgment in the Martin—Zimmerman matter and forming their own rabid mob, almost literally, to impose vigilante vengeance upon Zimmerman.

Ironic? Worse than that: By applying a false racial stereotype to Zimmerman and the nation, this gallery of demagogues has committed an objective act of racism, revealing themselves to be the real bigots. Care to guess why they did not react the same way to the O. J. Simpson acquittal?

Let the record show that for the past 40 years or so, the only legally sanctioned racial discrimination in the U.S. has been in favor of blacks (and some other minorities), against whites.

When codified as so-called affirmative action, this was the first time in world history that an ethnic majority group intentionally disadvantaged itself to benefit another, purely out of a sense of justice (sometimes derided as “liberal guilt"). Some gratitude, indeed, on the part of the beneficiaries.

To those who complain that less value is attached to black lives in this country, as the post-Martin demagogy alleged, please ponder the national outcry over one fatality in that incident — even though Martin was hardly an innocent bystander.

Compare that fervid reaction with the lack of attention given the multitude of white citizens murdered by blacks year after year. Get real. How decent of Jesse Jackson, though, to “frown upon" the interracial hate murder of an Australian college kid in Oklahoma.

Among the pernicious aspects of our unnecessarily racialized atmosphere, one looms conspicuously: Why have the New Black Panther leaders not been arrested and prosecuted for their publicly announced bounty on Zimmerman — "dead or alive"?

Such incitement is a federal crime. Curiously, the Black Panthers have been very sanguine about this potential legal jeopardy. Why? Might they know that they have a patron in the administration?

Or perhaps they have heard that the Obama Justice Department has an official policy of prosecuting white-on-black offenses but not black-on-white. That its application is limited so far to voter suppression cases may be a nuance lost on the Panthers.

In fact, it may have been lost, period. Nonprosecution of the Black Panther bounty seems to reveal that the Obama administration's overtly racist policy does now apply more generally.

Obama could have been a racial healer, but instead chose to be a crude, petty agitator — true to form. What he has been doing, transparently, is fomenting racial division in order to stoke his racial base in a way that has already turned violent in some instances.

It is a new low in American politics that a presidential candidate, let alone a sitting president, even has a racial base.

Attorney General Holder has demanded that Americans have the courage to address the subject of race. I'm an American and the issue here, regrettably, is race. Is this enough courage for you, attorney general?

I trust you appreciate my commentary. It embodies the true anti-racist spirit of fundamental indifference to race — the way it should be a la the M.L. King ideal, which you and your boss seem to have misplaced. In fact, it grows tedious to even use the words "white," "black" and "race" so often.

My purpose, if not already obvious: Many in our country are troubled by a propaganda-induced misperception about white-on-black violence. I hope this revelation of the real record provides them relief. Perhaps broader awareness of the contrary facts I report will contribute to national healing.

Yes, isn't it great news that the true condition in the U.S. is epidemic black-on-white racial violence? Not quite, but recognition of the truth can at least serve as a starting point for understanding.


Australia: The enemy within NSW child protection

Social workers ideologically opposed to adoption are the real problem

The NSW Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward, is under pressure to resign for allegedly misleading the parliament, the public and the media about the number of child protection caseworker in the state.

The Minister's office had said that 'more than 2000' caseworkers were employed by the Family and Community Services Department when in fact 300 less than budgeted (around 1800) were employed.

This followed reports that only a quarter of children reported to be at significant risk of harm were seen by a caseworker to check on their welfare.

Departmental workers took industrial action last week in protest and to demand that vacancies be filled. There is more to this than the standard public sector union attempt to boost membership numbers.

The strike – together with the confected outrage over staffing levels – is part of a political campaign designed to discredit a Minister determined to change the NSW child protection system.

The shortage of caseworkers (a perennial problem under both Labor and Liberal administrations) is superficially significant. Even 300 more staff is unlikely to significantly dent the number of children who caseworkers never see.

The opposition is calling for the minister's head even though the 2008 Wood Commission established that under the previous Labor government just 13% of reports that warranted further assessment received a detailed investigation involving a home visit and sighting of the child.

None of this stopped the ABC's Quentin Dempster from spending most of Friday night's Stateline interview focusing on the relative minutiae of caseworker numbers and 'transparency'. The bigger picture, involving departmental opposition to planned changes to child protection practice in the state, was only briefly mentioned in passing towards the end of segment.

Minister Goward will soon introduce a reform package designed to increase the number of abused and neglected children who are adopted.

There are many arguments in favor of increasing adoptions to better protect children (detailed here). One is that adoption will make it easier to ensure that risk reports are properly investigated.

The huffing and puffing about caseworkers shortages endangering children, which all sides of politics engage in, needs to be viewed in the proper context. The real and systemic problem with child protection in Australia concerns the large number of children who are re-reported because of unresolved safety concerns.

Approximately half of all reports of child harm in NSW concern a hard core of around seven or eight-thousand frequently-reported, highly dysfunctional families. Many of these children have a long history of risk of harm reports stretching over many years, and end up being damaged by prolonged exposure to parental abuse and neglect.

Too little is done to rescue these children because child protection authorities in NSW (as in all Australian jurisdictions) believe in 'family preservation' at nearly all costs.

Many of these children would be much better off if they were removed earlier and permanently, preferably by means of adoption. This would significantly reduce the number of reports and, by making the caseload more manageable and alleviating staff shortages, would ensure a higher percentage of reported children (ideally 100%) could be seen.

It would also significantly reduce the amount of often catastrophic abuse and neglect experienced by the most vulnerable Australian children.

Despite this, adoption is 'taboo' in child protection circles, and most caseworkers (due mainly to what social workers are taught during their university training) are ideological hostile to any moves to increase adoptions for child welfare purposes.

The institutionalised opposition to adoption inside the agencies responsible for child protection is the reason that in 2010–11, fewer than 200 children were adopted in Australia. This was despite more than 37,000 children being in government-funded out of home care placements, and more than 25,000 of these children having been in care continuously for more than two years.

Stopping Goward's push to turn these figures around is the real objective of the 'caseworker shortage strike'. It is a pre-emptive public relations hit job on a minister who it is hoped will have diminished credibility in arguing the case for adoption when the memory of her 'lies' and alleged failure to ensure there are sufficient staff to see abused children is fresh in the public's mind.

Doubling or even tripling the number of caseworkers won't keep more children safe if family preservation remains the orthodox practice . The tail should not be allowed to wag the dog and subvert the democratic process. Politicians are elected to make the policies that public servants are obliged to implement.

This episode will be instructive for the new Family and Community Services director-general, Michael Coutts-Trotter, who has taken charge of a rogue department. The enemy of better protecting the children of NSW lies within.



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.



1 September, 2013

A multicultural doctor in Australia

Born in Lebanon and probably Muslim

A woman had been suffering facial spasms when Dr Haissam Naim subjected her to an unnecessary and invasive internal examination, a court has heard.

Dr Naim, who was reprimanded over the examination and had his registration as a medical practitioner cancelled for a year after a hearing in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, had his appeal against the decision dismissed on Thursday.

"Regarding the matter overall, the allegations reflect a sexual overtone to the applicant's [Dr Haim's] conduct," Court of Appeal judges Hartley Hansen and Pamela Tate said.

"In these circumstances it was both open and appropriate to the tribunal to find that 'in the absence of a clinical purpose for the examination, the only available inference is that it was conducted for the sexual gratification of the practitioner'."

The woman, Ms L, had first met Dr Haim on August 28, 2010, when he was on weekend duty at a hospital emergency department on the outskirts of Melbourne. Dr Haim had been a registrar at the time before later becoming a fully qualified doctor.

Ms L had been experiencing facial spasms and was discharged at 5.30pm.

On September 1, 2010, Ms L went to her dentist concerned that her wisdom tooth might have been causing her facial spasms. The dentist referred her for an X-ray that was taken on September 7. Ms L saw Dr Haim the next day when she wanted him to examine the X-ray of her teeth to see if her wisdom tooth was the cause of her facial spasms.

It was during this consultation that Ms L claimed she was nearly in tears when Dr Haim conducted an "excruciatingly painful" internal and invasive examination after asking her if she had had stomach pains and irregular periods.

After telling Dr Naim she thought his questions unusual, Ms L said that although there had been issues with her body after she gave birth, her doctor had told her that everything was now fine.

Dr Naim told Ms L that he thought she may have a cyst on her ovary. When she said she had had a test one month earlier, and no cyst was found, the doctor replied that he needed to conduct the test himself.

Ms L claimed Dr Naim pushed hard on her stomach while her shirt was pushed up.

He repeated his belief that there was a cyst and she repeated that there was not one. Dr Naim then made the woman pull down her pants for an internal examination.

He did not leave the woman as she undressed, did not close the curtain around the bed and started to pull her jeans to get them off.

Ms L saw her own GP two days later and told her what had happened. A complaint was made to the Australian Health Professionals Registration Authority.

Dr Haim, who had been medically qualified in Lebanon in 1998, denied conducting the examination but VCAT found he had engaged in professional misconduct.

Justices Hansen and Tate said the lawyer acting for the Medical Board told VCAT that "the allegation isn't that he assaulted her, the allegation is that he performed an internal examination without clinical justification".

The judges dismissed Dr Haim's appeal and ordered he be deregistered for 12 months from September 5 this year.


Miniature woollen village knitted by WI members for sick children branded a HEALTH HAZARD and banned from hospitals and hospices

Members of a Women’s Institute who knitted a miniature village for sick children were told it could not be given to them because the wool was a health and safety risk.

The ladies of Sidford WI in Devon spent a year creating the 6ft by 4ft soft intricate landscape - which boasts miniature people, houses, animals, a farm and a church.

It was then offered to children’s hospitals, hospices and nurseries to bring comfort to poorly youngsters, but was rejected over fears the wool could not be sterilised.

Around 30 members of Sidford WI in rural Devon had teamed up to knit the intricate creation and used materials deemed safe for children's toys.

The group initially offered the village to Children’s Hospice South West who told them they were unable to accept it because they could not sterilise it.

They then approached various nurseries and hospitals in the local area who snubbed their gift because it didn’t come with the correct safety certification.

Jean Bridgeman, a 69-year-old grandmother-of-eight who organised the mammoth project in her weekly craft sessions, says it took a whole year to knit.  Ms Bridgeman said: 'We were all a bit fed up with knitting scarves so decided to do something a bit different.   'Everyone got involved in the knitting and we all really enjoyed doing it. We really felt it would bring a smile to some young children’s faces.

'But when we tried several nurseries and organisations we were told that the village couldn’t be used because the wool couldn’t be sterilised.  'Apparently, it didn’t have the correct health and safety certificate. It was such a shame as we had always planned to give it to a local children’s hospice or hospital.'

Beryl Kingman, 72, another of the creators, added: 'We didn’t think of this ‘health and safety’ when we started it.

'We started with the intention of giving it away to four or five-year-olds to play with.  'But because of health and safety issues it cannot be sterilised or disinfected, so you would have a problem with a children’s hospice or waiting rooms.'

The ladies decided to display the village at a local horticultural show where it caught the eye of a charity volunteer.  He told them of a South African orphanage he said would be absolutely delighted to have it for the youngsters.  The giant toy has now been boxed up in sections, and is ready to be dispatched in the coming weeks.

Marion Baker, president of the Sidford WI, said: 'It has everything you would expect to see in your typical village.  'It’s very intricate - there are roses around the cottages and even the cows have udders.

'It will be lovely if the village can indeed be sent over to the orphanage in South Africa as the children there will get so much enjoyment out of it'.


The Legacy of Liberalism

The 50 year anniversary of Martin Luther King's march on Washington is causing a lot of people in my generation to reminisce.

In doing so, it is hard not to be struck by two puzzling facts: (a) the fall of racial barriers to success almost everywhere and (b) the lack of economic progress in the black community as a whole, relative to whites. On the one hand, it would seem that a black in America can achieve almost anything, even being elected president of the United States. On the other hand, if we compare the economic condition of blacks and whites as a whole, you would be tempted to conclude that almost no progress has been made.

For example, blogger Brad Plummer reminds us that:

    · The gap in household income between blacks and whites hasn't really narrowed at all in the last 50 years.

    · The black unemployment rate has consistently been twice as high as the white unemployment rate for 50 years.

    · For the past 50 years, black unemployment has almost always been at recession levels.

This incongruity has given rise to two liberal myths — repeated frequently on television talk shows over the past week: (a) that the fall in racial barriers is the result of liberal legislation, designed to outlaw discrimination in the private sector and (b) that the lack of economic progress is evidence that liberals haven't done enough — that still more intervention is needed to correct the effects of current and past discrimination.

The reality I believe is just the reverse. The decline of racial barriers in the job market and throughout the economic system — at least outside the south — had very little to do with liberal legislation. But the lack of economic progress by the black community as a whole is in many ways the result of the liberal approach to politics. On balance, liberalism has been an obstacle to black progress, not a help.

The natural assumption is to believe that a lot of labor market regulation is preventing discrimination — against blacks and other minorities, against women, against…Well, against just about everybody who isn't a young, white male with an Ivy League degree. However, June O'Neill, an economist who used to direct the Congressional Budget Office, and her husband Dave O'Neill have produced a comprehensive study of this issue and they find that the natural assumption is wrong.

Take the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The O'Neills find that the black/white wage gap was narrowing at about the same rate in the two decades leading up to the passage of the act as it did in the years that followed. Only in the South is there evidence that the legislation mattered. Outside the South, federal legislation basically followed social change rather than lead it. The wages of blacks rose relative to those of whites over time for two primary reasons: (1) more schooling and better schooling and (2) the migration of blacks out of the South.

[The approach of the Kennedy White House to race relations, by the way, was similar to the way Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama approached gay rights. One is tempted to call it "cowardly." In all these cases, the politicians waited until public opinion had clearly shifted before announcing their own change of heart and before doing or saying anything that would be considered politically risky. In other words, these presidents didn't lead. They followed.]

But isn't there a lot of discrimination going on right now? Isn't regulation combatting it? Take the difference in pay for black and white men. The O'Neills find that the difference narrows to just 4% after adjusting for years of schooling and it reduces to zero when you factor in test scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT), which is basically an intelligence test. In other words, after adjusting for just two factors that cause people to be different, the pay gap between black and white men disappears entirely. Among women, the gap actually reverses after adjusting for education and AFQT scores. Black women get paid more than white women.

Among Hispanic and white men, the pay gap narrows to 8% after adjusting for years of schooling and disappears altogether with the addition of AFQT scores. Among the women, these two variables cause the pay gap to reverse. As in the case of race, Hispanic women are actually paid somewhat more than white women.

But if discrimination isn't holding back black Americans, what is? Answer: the liberal economics.

The political genius of Roosevelt was to combine people who had nothing in common and who didn't even like each other into one grand coalition. This included farmers, labor union members, civil servants, the elderly, southern racists, blacks, etc. [Yes, black and white racists in the South both voted Democrat for years!] For each group, the liberal Democrat approach was to use the power of government to intervene in the marketplace. In return they expected political support. For example, the farmers got price supports; the steel workers got tariffs; the elderly got Social Security, etc.

In the Franklin Roosevelt era, the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) became a cartel agent for the trucking industry as well as the railroads. The Civil Aeronautics Board became a cartel agent for the airlines. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) became a cartel agent for the broadcasters. The primary goal of all these agencies was to suppress "ruinous competition" and make sure the industries were profitable. Of course, you could argue (and some economists did) that regulation served the interest of both consumers and producers — a viewpoint that largely rejects almost everything Adam Smith said in the Wealth of Nations. However, even the pretense of consumer protection was blatantly tossed aside with the passage of the National Industrial Recovery Act.

The goal of the NIRA (modeled after Italian fascism) was to allow each industry to set its own prices, set its own wages and control its own output. Had Roosevelt gotten his way, we would have had predatory monopolies in every market. Fortunately, the NIRA was declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. But suppose the court had ruled the other way? Or suppose president Roosevelt had succeeded in his effort to overturn the decision by packing the court? Can you imagine what would have happened to blacks, immigrants, other minorities and any new entrants to the labor market?

Almost all government intervention in the labor market was designed to help establish unions (the modern equivalent of medieval guilds) and to promote their interests. Minimum wage laws were seen not as a way of lifting people out of poverty, but as a way of preventing blacks and other outsiders from competing for jobs. Skilled labor competes against unskilled labor. And the political goal of skilled labor has always been to price its competition out of the market.

Similarly, equal-pay-for-equal-work laws and the Davis Bacon Act (requiring that all workers on federal projects be paid the prevailing union wage) were seen as ways to prevent black workers from "stealing" white worker's jobs. In the old days, before there was "political correctness," politicians actually said these things in congressional debates.

What I'm describing contradicts not only Adam Smith, but also almost all of modern economics. Special monopoly privileges designed for one group create benefits for that group, but harm everyone else. And the harm to society as a whole is inevitably much greater than the benefits to the special interests.

That's where black Americans come in. Liberal government promises them a pittance or two. But these are mere crumbs compared to the harm of being closed out of huge portions of the labor market. Of being forced to send their children to bad schools because they cannot afford the price of an expensive house. Of being denied the right to choose better schools for their children because of counter promises made to the teacher's unions. Of being forced to rely on public provision of housing, transportation, and medical care because government regulation has priced low-cost alternatives out of the market. Of being seduced by a welfare state that subsidizes and enables single black mothers who try to provide for the 73% of all black children who are born out of wedlock. Of watching traditional black culture disintegrate along with the black family.


Australia:  Federal conservative leader stands by MP in burqa row

BURQAS are confronting and should never be widespread on the streets of Australia, Tony Abbott says.

The Opposition Leader was responding to comments reportedly made by McMahon Liberal candidate Ray King that burqas are a "sign of oppression" and can be linked to criminality.

Mr Abbott described Mr Ray as a decorated police officer and "outstanding" candidate.

He said he understood Mr King's comments to be more about identifying people in policing situations, given their attire.

"I've been asked about the burqa on lots of occasions and whenever I've been asked about the burqa I've said that I find it a very confronting form of attire," he said.

"Frankly it's not the sort of attire that I'd like to see widespread in our streets.  "But this is a free country.  "Everyone's entitled to make their choice and if people want to wear a burqa, it's ultimately their business."

Earlier, Mr Abbott said he expects Labor to ramp up a "smear campaign" against the Coalition in the next week.

And it comes as a Newspoll published today in The Weekend Australian predicts a wipe-out for Labor.

He said polls would tighten sharply in the final week as politics got ugly.  "Mr Rudd is a very clever politician and the Labor Party are ruthless politicians ... and we're going to see plenty of low politics in the last week,'' Mr Abbott said this morning.

Ray - former Liverpool police commander - is standing against Treasurer Chris Bowen who has called for him to answer questions, including explaining his links with disgraced detective Roger Rogerson, who reportedly attended the launch.

Mr Abbott said Mr King was an "outstanding" candidate.

"We've already seen a nasty smear campaign against all sorts of our members and candidates including that outstanding policeman Ray King in Sydney," he said.

"It's just contemptible the way the Treasurer of this country, who is constantly demanding honesty and integrity when it comes to budget figures, is making unsubstantiated smears against a great servant of the people of NSW."



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.



Examining political correctness around the world and its stifling of liberty and sense. Chronicling a slowly developing dictatorship

BIO for John Ray

I record on this blog many examples of negligent, inefficient and reprehensible behaviour on the part of British police. After 13 years of Labour party rule they have become highly politicized, with values that reflect the demands made on them by the political Left rather than than what the community expects of them. They have become lazy and cowardly and avoid dealing with real crime wherever possible -- preferring instead to harass normal decent people for minor infractions -- particularly offences against political correctness. They are an excellent example of the destruction that can be brought about by Leftist meddling.

I also record on this blog much social worker evil -- particularly British social worker evil. The evil is neither negligent nor random. It follows exactly the pattern you would expect from the Marxist-oriented indoctrination they get in social work school -- where the middle class is seen as the enemy and the underclass is seen as virtuous. So social workers are lightning fast to take children away from normal decent parents on the basis of of minor or imaginary infractions while turning a blind eye to gross child abuse by the underclass

Although I am an atheist, I have great respect for the wisdom of ancient times as collected in the Bible. And the command in Leviticus 20:13 that homosexuals should be put to death makes considerable sense to me. In an era when family values are under constant assault, such a return to the basics could be helpful. Nonetheless, I approve of St. Paul's advice in Romans chapter 1 that it is for God to punish them, not us. In secular terms, homosexuality between consenting adults in private should not be penalized but nor should it be promoted or praised. In Christian terms, "Gay pride" is of the Devil

The homosexuals of Gibeah set in train a series of events which brought down great wrath and destruction on their tribe. The tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out when it would not disown its homosexuals. Are we seeing a related process in the woes presently being experienced by the amoral Western world? Note that there was one Western country that was not affected by the global financial crisis and subsequently had no debt problems: Australia. In September 2012 the Australian federal parliament considered a bill to implement homosexual marriage. It was rejected by a large majority -- including members from both major political parties

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

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

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

"Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" - Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)

So why do Leftists say "There is no such thing as right and wrong" when backed into a rhetorical corner? They say it because that is the predominant conclusion of analytic philosophers. And, as Keynes said: "Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back”

Children are the best thing in life. See also here.

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

Consider two "jokes" below:

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

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

Pretty offensive, right? So consider this one:

Q. "Why are evangelical Christians like the Taliban?

A. They are both religious fundamentalists"

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

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

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

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

"An objection I hear frequently is: ‘Why should we tolerate intolerance?’ The assumption is that tolerating views that you don’t agree with is like a gift, an act of kindness. It suggests we’re doing people a favour by tolerating their view. My argument is that tolerance is vital to us, to you and I, because it’s actually the presupposition of all our freedoms.

You cannot be free in any meaningful sense unless there is a recognition that we are free to act on our beliefs, we’re free to think what we want and express ourselves freely. Unless we have that freedom, all those other freedoms that we have on paper mean nothing" -- SOURCE

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

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

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

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

Even Mahatma Gandhi was profoundly unimpressed by Africans