Sunday, November 18, 2007

Some laws don't apply to blacks?

A gang of blacks invades the home of a white family and beats them up and it is the authorities who are racist for prosecuting them to the full extent of the law? The Jena case seems to be setting an evil precedent

Three young black men break into a white man's home in rural Northern California. The homeowner shoots two of them to death - but it's the surviving black man who is charged with murder. In a case that has brought cries of racism from civil rights groups, Renato Hughes Jr., 22, was charged by prosecutors in this overwhelmingly white county under a rarely invoked legal doctrine that could make him responsible for the bloodshed. "It was pandemonium" inside the house that night, District Attorney Jon Hopkins said. Hughes was responsible for "setting the whole thing in motion by his actions and the actions of his accomplices."

Prosecutors said homeowner Shannon Edmonds opened fire Dec. 7 after three young men rampaged through the Clearlake house demanding marijuana and brutally beat his stepson. Rashad Williams, 21, and Christian Foster, 22, were shot in the back. Hughes fled. Hughes was charged with first-degree murder under California's Provocative Act doctrine, versions of which have been on the books in many states for generations but are rarely used. The Provocative Act doctrine does not require prosecutors to prove the accused intended to kill. Instead, "they have to show that it was reasonably foreseeable that the criminal enterprise could trigger a fatal response from the homeowner," said Brian Getz, a San Francisco defense attorney unconnected to the case.

The NAACP complained that prosecutors came down too hard on Hughes, who also faces robbery, burglary and assault charges. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty. The Rev. Amos Brown, head of the San Francisco chapter of the NAACP and pastor at Hughes' church, said the case demonstrates the legal system is racist in remote Lake County, aspiring wine country 100 miles north of San Francisco. The sparsely populated county of 13,000 people is 91 percent white and 2 percent black. Brown and other NAACP officials are asking why the homeowner is walking free. Tests showed Edmonds had marijuana and prescription medication in his system the night of the shooting. Edmonds had a prescription for both the pot and the medication to treat depression. "This man had no business killing these boys," Brown said. "They were shot in the back. They had fled."

On Thursday, a judge granted a defense motion for a change of venue. The defense had argued that he would not be able to get a fair trial because of extensive local media coverage and the unlikelihood that Hughes could get a jury of his peers in the county. A new location for the trial will be selected Dec. 14.

The district attorney said that race played no part in the charges against Hughes and that the homeowner was spared prosecution because of evidence he was defending himself and his family, who were asleep when the assailants barged in at 4 a.m.

Edmonds' stepson, Dale Lafferty, suffered brain damage from the baseball bat beating he took during the melee. The 19-year-old lives in a rehabilitation center and can no longer feed himself. "I didn't do anything wrong. All I did was defend my family and my children's lives," said Edmonds, 33. "I'm sad the kids are dead, I didn't mean to kill them." He added: "Race has nothing to do with it other than this was a gang of black people who thought they were going to beat up this white family."

California's Provocative Act doctrine has primarily been used to charge people whose actions led to shooting deaths. However, in one notable case in Southern California in 1999, a man who robbed a family at gunpoint in their home was convicted of murder because a police officer pursuing him in a car chase slammed into another driver in an intersection, killing her.

Hughes' mother, San Francisco schoolteacher Judy Hughes, said she believes the group didn't intend to rob the family, just buy marijuana. She called the case against her son a "legal lynching." "Only God knows what happened in that house," she said. "But this I know: My son did not murder his childhood friends."


My Mother Is A Feminist

My mother is a feminist. A die-hard, take no prisoners, true-blue feminist. Armed with a hard-won PhD., she has made her life's work the counselling of the transgendered, the gay and the sexually confused. Honest work in which she is passionately invested. The only fly in the ointment is me, her conservative daughter.

I am as passionate a conservative as my mother is a feminist. It's hard to imagine two more diametrically opposing viewpoints. I view the current state of feminism as doing more harm than good. As undermining the traditional and family values that I consider the backbone of our country. On the other hand, my mother considers conservative values as outdated, invalid, and as having absolutely no intrinsic value.

I understand how mom came to be such an ardent feminist. Though I thoroughly disagree with her views, I respect and admire the courage and sacrifices she made in attaining them. She got pregnant at age 16. Back then, abortion wasn't available on demand and the concept of shame still governed, which left the option of marriage. She dropped out of high school and got married. She had my sister, Bonnie, followed by Mickey, and then myself. All within a span of three years. She found herself at age 20 with three babies and a husband in the military.

Fast forward twelve years. The three children have become five and her husband has turned out to be a wife-beater. Tough spot. Enough to discourage the best of us. She found herself without a high school degree or any job skills, saddled with five children and totally dependant on the whims of an increasingly violent man. Pretty hopeless. Not unlike many women of her generation in the mid 60's.

Along came feminism. The message resonated. How could it not? The budding women's movement validated women like my mother. It gave them hope that they, too, were individuals, capable of managing life as well as men. Capable of managing life without men. She divorced my father and got a job working as a waitress. She got her GED and then enrolled in college. All the while, managing to support and sustain her five children. By the luck of the draw, mom attended Antioch college in Ohio, now recognised as one of the most liberal of all colleges, thoroughly steeped in the nascent "progressive" movement. Mom took their message and teachings to heart. Against great odds, my mother prevailed. She ended up with a PhD. and a worldview that understandably included a resentment of men. Not much different from other feminists of her time. The feminists that now represent "feminism".

Unfortunately, the mindset of most feminists today do not allow conflicting points of views to upset their hard-won worldview. In my experience, challenging any facet of feminism is taken as a personal attack. When what one thinks becomes what one is, it's human nature to interpret dissenting views as a personal attack. Politics have become personal. To challenge the worldview of a conservative, a gay person, a feminist or any other "group" is considered a direct attack on not only the validity of the particular view, but an attack on the person holding them. Invalidate their views and you invalidate them. You invalidate their struggle, their sacrifices, their self esteem. You invalidate them. No wonder dissent isn't welcome.

The core tenets of feminism have changed dramatically from the good old days when Gloria Steinam led the charge for equal rights for women. The days when the National Organisation of Women actually represented the goals of the average woman. Feminism has evolved. So has my mother. The chasm between mother and daughter has widened. When she looks at me, she sees a conservative and wonders where she failed. When I look at her, I see her confusion and take it personally.

Having a feminist mother has forced me to make a genuine effort to try to understand a mindset totally at odds with my own. I now try understand the underpinnings of other views, the anti-American, Bush lied, 9-11 was an inside job type of view. Instead of writing these guys off as nut-cases, as my mother does me, I've found that it's more productive to try to understand how one came to adopt what I consider such a radical mindset. Some times I am successful. Most times I am not. But I try.

My situation is not unlike that of many Americans these days. The war in Iraq, the increasing divide between red and blue states and the ongoing culture war is affecting many of us on a very personal level. Social interactions are increasingly defined by one's views instead of one's character. This is affecting families, marriages, business relationships and society as a whole. And not for the better.

It's ever so easy to point out problems. It's easy being a social critic, decrying this or that while gaining points for being insightful. It's far harder to offer a remedy. My personal view dictates that I don't have the right to criticise something unless I can offer a constructive solution. I'm sorry to say, with regards to my mother, who I love and respect, I have no solution to offer. My mother and I don't communicate anymore. We've failed to turn understanding into acceptance. I only hope others can learn what we have not - to communicate with loved ones and not let ideology rule your feelings towards them. I hope others can do what my mother and I cannot - concentrate on all our commonalties instead of focusing only on the things that divide us. I hope America can do the same.


Politically correct Britain haemorrhaging its best and brightest

Insane policing alone would encourage anyone to leave

We all know of the millions of Mexican emigrants who have left their country in the hope of a better life, usually to head to America. Among OECD member states, Mexico counts the largest number of emigrants - some 9.4m of them across the globe. But what few realise is that the second-largest group of exiles - some 3.4m at last count - are the British.

Each day, 1,500 people come to settle here - a figure which is quite familiar, and has political attention. But each day, 1,000 pack their bags for good and skedaddle. A disarming proportion of them are young, well-educated wealth creators who feel - like the Mexicans - that it is time to leave for better opportunities. This silent exodus is laden with economic implication.

If the emigres were to float away in one lump every Christmas, it would be the equivalent of Leicester or Coventry - 380,000 people. The image is of them being pensioners. And there are, indeed, more people drawing a UK state pension from abroad than there are pensioners in Wales and Scotland put together. The people whose taxes built the British welfare state seem understandably unwilling to test the latter part of its cradle-to-grave proposition. But they are less than 10% of the emigres.

The current phenomena is more of a 1970s-style brain drain than a 1980s-style Auf Wiedersehen Pet bricklayer exodus. The OECD showed this for the first time, using the spate of censuses conducted around the world at the turn of the century (2001 for Britain). It found 1.26m British graduates abroad - a higher figure than any other country. It counted only 865,000 German expat graduates, 438,000 French and just 390,000 American.

Expand the definition to "high skilled" and the picture becomes even bleaker. Of all the Brits categorised in this way, a staggering 15% were earning a living abroad - a rate of haemorrhage exceeded only by the famously itinerant Irish and New Zealanders. Even Poland did a better job of hanging on to its best people: just 9% of its high-skilled workers were found living abroad (this was before EU membership). America's retention rate was extraordinary: just 1% of its best workers were abroad.


Australia: Past Muslim aggression and hostility breeds distrust of them

As one of the last rural bastions in Sydney, Camden prides itself on keeping that laid-back twang of a true country town. But the once-sleepy hamlet in Sydney's southwest has become the scene of a battle over a proposed Islamic school for up to 1200 students on 15ha wedged between market gardens and pastures. It has roused a community to action on a scale not seen since a Muslim prayer hall was proposed in The Hills district in 2002. Residents, who speak their views plainly, fear it is the first tremor of a seismic change in the area that would be followed by a mosque.

Now the school's developers have asked for calm and a chance to prove themselves as Australians like everyone else. Quranic Society vice-president Issam Obeid told The Daily Telegraph yesterday they didn't expect such a hurtful reaction to the school. "Our aim is to open a school for all Australians, not just the Muslim community," Mr Obeid said. "Hopefully the students are going to be lawyers, teachers and business people or work in IT." Mr Obeid said they chose Camden because it was a beautiful rural area where they were able to buy a large block relatively cheap at $1.45 million. And while students would be free to pray on the site, there were no plans to build a mosque. "We will be teaching Australian values first because we are all Australians. We're not bringing anything bad from overseas and we're not there to teach minority group people," Mr Obeid said. "Hopefully one day when people start to get to know us they will realise we are not like what they think."

A public meeting held in Camden last week attracted more than 2000 people opposed to the development on the corner of Cawdor and Burragorang Rds. Support for the campaign has been gaining momentum through text messages, email and Facebook groups while the first form of "vandalism" at the site came when a wooden crucifix engraved with Christian scripture. The cross, which has been described by some residents as nothing more than irreverent Aussie humour, says in part: "When the enemy comes in like a flood the spirit of the Lord will lift up a flag in victory (Ish 59:19)."

Camden Council, which has received about 300 official objections, has indicated it would only be approved or rejected on planning grounds - not the basis of religion.

Local Rebecca Napier said Camden had a real community concern that the Islamic school wouldn't fit in with because Muslim's "refused to integrate". "We lit up the Christmas tree the other night and that is something they wouldn't be into because they're anti-Christian," Ms Napier said. "It would become more like Lakemba and less like the country town that we love."



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

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

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


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