Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Massachusetts politicians diss the people

Referendum on homosexual marriage blocked. The people are too ignorant and bigoted to be allowed a say, apparently

If there's one thing Beacon Hill Democrats can't stand, it's democracy. What happened to all their phony polls on the gay marriage question? I thought the gays were going to win, and that, as one story put it right, "political support in Massachusetts is swinging firmly behind gay marriage."

So why did the homosexuals spend more than a million bucks making sure they wouldn't have to win that fight at the ballot box in November 2008? A few years ago this same crowd was hissing that government had no right to say who could get hitched to whom. Now that they're calling the shots, they love having the government push everybody else around

So now 17,000 homosexuals won't have their "marriages" invalidated - not that anyone was planning to do that anyway, but never mind the facts. But what about the 170,000 people who signed the petitions to give the people the right to make the decision to . . . change, shall we say, the traditional meaning of marriage? I guess those 170,000 just aren't Beautiful People.

The people used to put referendum questions on the ballot, and if the measures passed, the Legislature enforced the new laws. Then, about 10 years ago, the solons got high-handed - the referendum questions were still allowed on the ballot, but once they were passed, the General Court felt free to ignore the people's mandate. Now, after yesterday's Flag Day fiasco, it appears we are no longer allowed to vote on questions that might offend the Politically Correct.

Not that yesterday's events were a big surprise. Two key events indicated which way the wind was blowing - No. 1, the leadership allowed no debate. If the vote had really been as close as the homosexuals were spinning it, they'd have wanted the opportunity to change a few minds. The second indication it was a done deal: Mitt Romney was nowhere to be seen. Don't you think he would have returned to take a victory lap if there was even the slightest possibility the measure was going to pass?

More here

BBC bias admitted -- some of it, anyway

THE BBC is institutionally biased, an official report will conclude this week. The year-long investigation, commissioned by the BBC, has found the corporation particularly partial in its treatment of single-issue politics such as climate change, poverty, race and religion. It concludes that the bias has extended across drama, comedy and entertainment, with the corporation pandering to politically motivated celebrities and trendy causes.

Singled out is the coverage of Bob Geldof's Live 8 concert and the Make Poverty History campaign. The report says there was no rounded debate of the issues. The report also raises serious concerns about accompanying programmes, including a drama by the writer Richard Curtis and the finale of his Vicar of Dibley where Dawn French shows a minute-long clip of the Make Poverty History video.

The report points to the danger of BBC programmes being undermined by the liberal culture of its staff, who need to challenge their own assumptions more. "There is a tendency to `group think' with too many staff inhabiting a shared space and comfort zone," says the report. It goes on to highlight a "Roneo mentality" where staff ape each other's common liberal values.

The report has been approved by a steering group led by Richard Tait, a BBC trustee and former editor-in-chief at ITN. Its members also include Mark Byford, the BBC's deputy director-general, Helen Boaden, head of BBC News, and Alan Yentob, the creative director.

Although its coverage of conventional politics is judged to be fair and impartial, the inquiry says the BBC allowed itself to be hijacked by Geldof, the U2 singer Bono, and Curtis, who urged Tony Blair to pressure world leaders to alleviate poverty in developing countries. Even before the BBC cleared its schedules to cover the Live 8 concert from Hyde Park - which coincided with the G8 Gleneagles summit in 2005 - the report points out that it broadcast a related drama by Curtis called The Girl in the Cafe. It featured Bill Nighy as a shy civil servant who falls in love with an antipoverty campaigner and takes her to a summit in Iceland where she makes an impassioned plea to world leaders. Gordon Brown, the chancellor, saw the film before it was shown on BBC1.

After the BBC broadcast a week of programmes to highlight poverty in Africa and a day celebrating the National Health Service, Adam Boulton, political editor of Sky News, told a House of Lords select committee the BBC's coverage came dangerously close to peddling government propaganda. The programmes came at a time when the BBC was negotiating a new royal charter with ministers.

The document, jointly commissioned by BBC managers and the board of governors, now replaced by the BBC Trust, includes details of a staff impartiality seminar at which senior figures criticised the corporation for being antiAmerican and pandering to Islam.

Criticisms highlighted from the seminar include: A senior BBC reporter attacking the corporation for giving "no moral weight" to America. Executives admitting they would broadcast images of a Bible being thrown away - but not the Koran for fear of offending Muslims. The BBC deliberately championing multiculturalism and ethnic minorities, while betraying an anticountryside bias.

Mary Fitzpatrick, the BBC's "diversity czar", told the seminar Muslim women newsreaders should be allowed to wear the hijab, or headscarf, on screen. Fitzpatrick spoke out after criticism over Fiona Bruce's decision to wear a necklace with a cross while reading the news.

The report's findings come in the wake of a separate independent review of the BBC's business coverage which two weeks ago accused the broadcaster of lapses in impartiality because of its desire to popularise corporate stories. It singled out an interview with Bill Gates on the 10 O'Clock News as "sycophantic".


'Tough love' plan for Australian black communities

ABORIGINAL families would be stripped of welfare payments if their children are abused or miss school under a plan by indigenous leader Noel Pearson to make benefits conditional on behaviour. Payments would also be withheld if public housing was damaged or rent not paid, or if people were found guilty of domestic violence.

In the most far-reaching reforms ever outlined for Aboriginal communities, Mr Pearson recommends a community-based authority be established with enough powers to withhold welfare entitlements.

Just days after a landmark report found sexual abuse was rife throughout indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, Mr Pearson's Cape York Institute has called for all welfare payments to be conditional as part of a program to rebuild "social norms". The blueprint, From Hand Out to Hand Up, a copy of which has been obtained by The Australian, is expected to be released within days. Financed by the Federal Government, it lays out a series of "obligations" that indigenous families would have to meet in order to receive full welfare entitlements, such as Newstart and Community Development Employment Project allowances. The report places better education outcomes at the heart of a push to improve Aboriginal self-sufficiency and remove the last vestiges of a "passive welfare" culture.

Mr Pearson, whose template to wean indigenous people off welfare has been criticised by some Aboriginal leaders, recommends that family payments be halted if three unexplained absences are recorded by a child during a school year. To ensure children are not left destitute as a result, payments would be redirected to a responsible adult within the community. They would then ensure the child was properly cared for. Entitlements could also be withheld when children were found to have been neglected or when parents knowingly allowed abuse to occur.

With alcoholism and drug-taking rife in some indigenous communities, the report recommends people be stripped of their benefit rights if they commit offences involving alcohol, drugs, gambling or domestic violence. And a month after the federal Budget placed a new premium on private housing for indigenous communities, the report says adults must abide by public housing tenancy agreements. Payments would be stopped if people were found guilty of using their homes for illegal purposes, if they damaged the houses or if rent were not paid.

In order to police the new approach, the report recommends a statutory authority - the Families Responsibilities Commission - be established and granted sweeping powers. The institute suggests that the FRC be chaired by a former magistrate - to give it the "gravitas and stature of a Crown body" - and be given a series of options for dealing with transgressions. For minor offences, a warning could be issued. But more serious - or recurring - offences would see the FRC step in and order payments be stopped.

The recommendations will be a challenge for the Coalition and the Labor Party ahead of the election. A series of senior ministers have in the past backed the thrust of Mr Pearson's "tough love" approach to reform, but it is far from certain that the Coalition will endorse his new recommendations, which would require significant changes to social security laws.

In a searing assessment of life in Cape York, which has four main indigenous communities, the institute says a welfare "pedestal" exists. This encourages people to obtain welfare and remain on it, "despite employment or education opportunities being available in or near communities". "The goal of policy solutions to address the pedestal is to see individuals come off welfare (or not enter welfare) and join the real economy or undertake education and training opportunities," the report says.

Mr Pearson has over the past decade led debate on the need for reform, but his often uncompromising approach has raised hackles within sections of the indigenous community.



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

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

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


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