Saturday, June 30, 2007

SCOTUS dumps "affirmative action"

The US Supreme Court was accused yesterday of rolling back one of its landmark rulings of the civil rights era by rejecting plans to ensure that America's schools remained racially integrated. The decision will be seen as further evidence that President Bush's appointments of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the court have shifted the balance of power decisively towards social conservatives.

After the court split 5-4 on the issue, dissenting liberal justices denounced the vote as flying in the face of legal precedent and, in particular, the 1954 Brown v Board of Education ruling, which abolished segregation of black and white schoolchildren. Chief Justice Roberts insisted, however, that he had honoured the principle of the court's decision 53 years ago. "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," he said. "Simply because the school districts may seek a worthy goal doesn't mean that they are free to discriminate on the basis of race to achieve it."

Yesterday's ruling on schools policy in Louisville, Kentucky, and Seattle, Washington, will place question marks over hundreds of similar systems across America that have been designed to guarantee racial diversity in classrooms. The Bush Administration had sided with parents who took legal action against policies that prevented their children from attending preferred schools.

Crystal Meredith, a white single mother in Louisville, sued after her request to transfer her five-year-old son Joshua to a school closer to home was turned down. This was because of policies introduced during desegregation to ensure broad racial diversity across the US education system. Schools in Louisville spent 25 years under a court order to eliminate the effects of state-sponsored segregation. When it was lifted recently, the school board decided to keep much of the plan in place to prevent education from becoming segregated once more - a decision Mrs Meredith challenged successfully. She said yesterday: "My son is my world and I will never regret fighting for his rights. I only hope this case has brought attention to the school board and this community that each child's education is more important than their plan."

Justice Anthony Kennedy - who effectively holds the casting vote between liberals and conservatives on the bench - offered an opinion that race could still be used in some circumstances to achieve diversity, even though he backed yesterday's ruling.

But Justice Stephen Breyer said that Brown v Board of Education would be undermined by the ruling. "It reverses course and reaches the wrong conclusion," he said. "It distorts precedent, it misapplies the relevant constitutional principles, it announces legal rules that will obstruct efforts by state and local governments to deal effectively with the growing resegregation of public schools."

The ruling was the first on this issue since 2003, when the court upheld consideration of race in college admissions. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who approved of the limited use of race, has since retired and her replacement, Justice Alito, was in the majority that struck down the school system plans in Kentucky and Washington.


Palestinians have lost cred

Why is America trying to pour new money and more weapons into Palestinian Arab hands barely days after the Gaza debacle? It is an ill-considered policy, both premature and useless. The only sure result will be that warring gangs in the West Bank will use every new weapon to continue the mayhem and that the millions paid out won't buy as much as a bottle of milk for Palestinian Arab civilians. Instead, the money will end up in the pockets and bank accounts of the same crooks who lost Gaza.

Indeed, why try to recreate a world that has just crumbled? America and Israel may want to wait for what may turn out to be a changing of the guard: Arab voices, both expert and popular, are rising in vociferous denunciations of the once sacrosanct Palestinian Arabs. ...

"Palestinians today need to be left without a shred of a doubt" as to what other Arabs think of them, a widely read opinion commentator for the Saudi daily Asharq Al Awsat, Mamoun Fandy, thundered on Monday. "We need to tell them the only thing they have proven over 50 years is that they are adolescents who cannot and should not be trusted to run institutions of state or any other important matters."

While it could be argued that the overwhelming public outrage in Saudi Arabia reflects resentment over the collapse of the much-vaunted reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah - which was personally brokered by King Abdullah earlier this year in Mecca - the anger expressed across the Muslim Arab world reflects deep embarrassment at the discredit Hamas has brought, in the name of Islam, through its savagery against Fatah.

For its part, the Egyptian press has become unhinged, spewing vile denunciations of what is universally known as "the cause" - support for the Palestinian Arabs - and describing it as dead. Egypt's government pulled its embassy out of Gaza on Tuesday.

Kuwaitis, who have harbored contempt for Palestinian Arabs ever since they allied themselves with Saddam Hussein's occupation in 1990-91, also dropped all restraint. "Palestinians are neither a modernized nor a civilized people," Ahmad Al Bughdadi wrote Monday in Al Siyassah, an influential Kuwaiti daily. "They are not statesmen. If what happened in Gaza is what they do without a state, what then shall they do when they get one?"

If there could be an editorial coup de grace, it surely was delivered by no less than Abdelbari Atwan, undoubtedly the Palestinian Arabs most influential and respected journalist and a familiar face on both Western and Arab television.

Writing in the London-based Al Quds International, his painfully felt commentary, "Yes, We Have Lost the World's Respect," argued that "the cause" may have lost its legitimacy: "Many, myself among them, find it difficult to speak of Israeli crimes against our people in view of what we have now done," Mr. Atwan wrote. "I never thought the day would come when we would see Palestinians throwing other Palestinians from the tops of buildings to their death, Palestinians attacking other Palestinians to tear their bodies with knives, Palestinians stripping others naked to drag them through the streets."

All of which suggests letting this Arab storm run its course: It may be a purging of the Arab mindset that creates new realities and opportunities.


Reactions to the Rushdie knighthood -- hopeful signs?

The predictable stuff came sharp and fast. Immediately after Rushdie was given his gong for services to literature, Pakistan, our friendly ally in the war on terror, demanded that Britain withdraw the title. The British blasphemer had hurt the feelings of the Muslims’ world, said various Pakistani MPs.

The West is now well versed in this Muslim drama. First act: enter Muslims claiming hurt feelings. Second act: enter Muslims issuing a death-to-Western-heathens diktat. Cue Pakistan’s Religious Affairs Minister Mohammed Ijaz-ul-Haq: “If someone exploded a bomb on his body he would be right to do so unless the British Government apologises and withdraws the sir title.” Meanwhile, Pakistani students burned effigies of the Queen and Rushdie chanting “kill him, kill him”. It’s a routine that travels. Iranian leaders wept tears, claiming it was a clear sign of Islamophobia. Honouring a hated apostate would hurt the feelings of the Islamic community, said the foreign ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Hosseini. The Headquarters for Honouring the Martyrs of Islam World Movement increased the bounty on Rushdie’s head.

There’s no point in arguing with a country complaining about hurt feelings while it promises to wipe out Israel or with its citizens who want to “bestow kisses on the hands of whomsoever is able to execute this apostate”. But it’s worth checking whether the protagonist in the third act of this horror play will stick to the script. That’s where the West capitulates, apologising for Western values in the name of protecting Muslim sensibilities. Values such as freedom of speech: the right to voice opinions that are offensive. And freedom of religion: the right to disagree without copping a fatwa.

In 2004, after Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered for his movie, Submission, artist Chris Ripke reacted by painting a mural on a wall. It featured a dove (representing peace) with the words “thou shalt not kill” written in Dutch. The head of a nearby mosque complained to Rotterdam police that the mural was offensive and racist. Rotterdam police duly sent in city workers to remove the mural. When a message of peace is regarded as racist, you know Western values are just not what they used to be.

Last year when Muslims were offended by a bunch of silly Danish cartoons featuring the prophet Mohammed, some Muslims reacted by burning the Danish flag to the tune of bomb threats, boycotts and $14 million fatwas on the head of the cartoonists. The intimidation worked. Western leaders fell over themselves in the race to condemn the cartoons. Muslim feelings had to be spared such hurt. Many newspapers refused to publish the cartoons. A French editor was sacked for publishing them. "The Australian" argued publishing them would add nothing to the debate.

With another chapter of Muslim intimidation unfolding over Rushdie’s gong, it is becoming increasingly clear this is a debate we have to have. Not only with Muslim countries. But also with those living in the West who openly reject Western values.

We backed away in 1989. When the ayatollah Khomeini slapped a fatwa on Rushdie’s head, it was a critical test of Western resolve. A test the West failed. Few took the angry Muslims at their word. Instead, they had to be accommodated and placated. Britain, the home of free speech, played host to book-burning and flagrant intimidation by Muslims of the West. Cultural relativism meant British Muslim leaders, such as Sayed Abdul Quddus from the Bradford Council of Mosques, could openly endorse the hanging of Rushdie because he “tortured Islam”.

The West headed down the path of least resistance - appeasement. Many opted to stay quiet rather than wear the racist label slapped on anyone who challenged Muslim sensibilities. Others such as then US president George H.W. Bush delivered up a dose of moral relativism declaring both the fatwa and Rushdie’s book were equally offensive. Others, including British establishment figures, sided with Iran’s death merchants.

In the past two decades, free speech - that most critical of Western values - has been fed through the postmodern sausage-maker called political correctness. The result is a bizarre product where Muslims are deemed too precious to be prodded by the sharper ends of free speech, by words that challenge a set of ideas, their religion. But Muslims are free not just to tell us we are wrong but to demand death to Western infidels.

In that cosy, tolerance-laden environment political Islam thrived. Moral relativism and multiculturalism became Trojan horses for a weird Western death wish. Terrorist organisations banned in other countries set up their headquarters in Britain. Radical clerics exiled by countries such as Saudi Arabia made their home in Britain. British streets hosted demonstrations for those preaching death to Westerners. Local mosques and even universities bred home-grown jihadists. Bombs exploded. Britons died.

The more the West’s confidence waned, tiptoeing around for fear of causing offence, the more audacious became those who despised the West. Summing up the Danish cartoons furore last year, one pundit wondered aloud whether 2007 would be the Year of Shutting Up: a year when the West would retreat even further, undermining its own values so as not to offend those with very different values.

Rushdie’s knighthood has been a neat way of checking the West’s pulse on one of its core values - the right to write freely. As a doctor might say, there’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that victimhood is still top of the pops for some Muslims. When Nazir Ahmed, Britain’s first Muslim peer, said it was wrong to honour “the man that has blood on his hands” it echoed a “blame a Westerner” mentality that has hampered progress in much of the Arab world.

Eighteen years on, Muslims were still blaming a bloke who wrote a book, not their own bloody reactions. And some Western leaders, such as British Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett, are still saying sorry. The good news is fewer people are falling for that baloney. No protests on British streets this time. Not even a book burning. That has to be progress.


The latest racket: An attack on free speech in the name of "privacy"

Comment from Australia

CONFIRMING the theory that nature abhors a vacuum, the NSW Law Reform Commission has declared its support for a new avenue of litigation over breach of privacy. If accepted, the commission's recommendations could deny the right to publish a whole range of information now considered part of ordinary community dialogue.

The commission was set the task of evaluating whether a tort of privacy should exist in response to an adventurous ruling by a County Court judge in Victoria. The result follows the commission's similarly flawed attempt to impose limits on taking photographs in public places that, if adopted, would have rendered photojournalism all but impossible and was rejected out of hand. The latest proposal has been put forward for community discussion.

In doing so, the commission correctly observes that formulation of a comprehensive and meaningful definition of privacy has eluded legislatures and commentators for centuries. Statutory attempts had been either so vague as to be meaningless or so circumscribed as to be arbitrary. The commission also noted that like all rights and freedoms, privacy is not absolute, but must be balanced against other interests, values and human rights in the context of the merits of each case. But it nonetheless advanced for discussion a system based on the Canadian model, which includes a breach of privacy for disclosing embarrassing facts or using a person's name, identity, likeness or voice without authority or consent.

The commission went so far as to suggest that privacy be given over material that was already on the public record and that aggrieved parties should be allowed to share in the profits of offending publications.

The Australian believes there are good reasons why attempts to legally define privacy have proved historically troublesome. We believe consideration of issues such as the introduction of a tort of privacy to be beyond the scope of the Law Reform Commission. At worst it represents an attempt by lawyers to profit at the expense of free speech, putting a nebulous right to privacy ahead of the right to know.



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.


Friday, June 29, 2007

A woman with a twin brother has fewer children

Patriarchy in the womb? Let's see the feminists get around this one! Not that the facts bother them, of course

TWIN brothers can leave quite an impression. The mere presence of a boy in the same womb as his sister causes her to develop bigger teeth than she otherwise would. Girls with twin brothers perform better on spatial-ability tests. They have better ball skills than most females; squarer, more masculine jaws and are more likely to be short-sighted. Now it seems that sharing the womb also has a deleterious effect on the sexual reproduction of women with a twin brother.

Virpi Lummaa of the University of Sheffield, in Britain, and her colleagues made the claim after studying detailed data from several generations of church records from many parishes in Finland. To ensure their findings were not skewed by modern health care, they confined their investigation to the years before Finns gained access both to contraception and assisted conception.

They report that women with a twin brother were 15% less likely to get married than were women with a twin sister. Those with a male twin also had a 25% lower chance of giving birth even though they lived just as long as those with a female twin. When the researchers considered only married women, those with a twin brother on average had two fewer children during their lifetimes than did women with a twin sister. And finally—to rule out any influence of sharing a house as well as a womb—Dr Lummaa checked the results were the same for women whose twin brothers died before they were three months old. They were. The researchers reported their findings in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

As with the teeth and the jaw lines, the purported cause of atypical female biology is early exposure to testosterone. This hormone is made by a male fetus's developing testes from about seven weeks after conception and is thought to diffuse through the amniotic fluid, influencing his sister's growth. But the exact mechanism by which a twin brother lowers his sister's chances of reproductive success is unclear.

Lesbianism is one possibility. (To what extent is impossible to tell, because the Lutheran ministers charged with collecting exhaustive demographic details did not probe quite that far.) But physiology could also play a part. Some cancers of the reproductive system, and a condition called polycystic ovary syndrome, which reduces fertility, are more common in women with relatively high early exposure to male hormones.

Dr Lummaa's results also suggest that, if a woman wishes to maximise the chances of passing on her genes, she would do better to avoid producing pairs of twins consisting of one boy and one girl and go for a single-sex combination instead. Mothers included in the study who produced opposite-sex twins had 19% fewer grandchildren than did mothers who gave birth to same-sex twins.

Evolutionary theory thus predicts that there should be fewer pairs of girl-and-boy non-identical twins than single-sex pairs of non-identical twins. Whether that is so requires another set of figures. Finnish church records, helpful as they are, do not distinguish non-identical same-sex twins from identical ones. In the eyes of God, unlike those of natural selection, twin girls are created equal.


Talk radio: Democracy at Work

Recently, Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi said, "Talk radio is running America. We have to deal with that problem." The "problem" the GOP Minority Whip was talking about is the fact that conservative radio listeners from coast to coast have been flooding his office and every other senate and congressional office with phone calls and emails stating their opposition to that flawed immigration bill they were trying to foist on the American public. What the senator seems to be against is a medium that is giving voice to millions of people who are being informed about the machinations of government and then taking a role in the dialogue that concerns their future.

It must be a painful adjustment to delude yourself into believing that you have your finger on the pulse of the national community and then become frustrated when you discover that you don't have a clue regarding what most Americans believe. Before the immigration bill is reintroduced to the Senate floor in an attempt to bring it back to life, President Bush and those senators who supported the failed effort should take into consideration the opinion of the American people (those who are here legally), inasmuch as they are the ones who put them in office. Since these elected officials are, at least ostensibly, supposed to be responding to the will of their bosses (us), they should take a peek at what a majority of us are saying.

A New York Times/CBSNews poll taken May 18-23 found that 69% of Americans believe that illegal immigrants should be prosecuted and deported; 82% of those surveyed said the federal government should be working harder to "keep illegal immigrants from crossing into this country." And according to a Rasmussen poll, by a two-to-one margin (60% to 28%), Americans set a higher priority on gaining control of the nation's borders than regularizing the status of illegal immigrants, while 75% opined that it's very important for the United States to "improve border enforcement and end illegal immigration."

Perhaps that doesn't sit well with Mr. Lott or with his colleague, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), who recently spoke to the National Council of La Raza and impugned the motives of his fellow Americans regarding the bill they don't agree with. Here was a US Senator saying the "loud people," the "bigots" who disagree with amnesty for illegal aliens should "shut up" and go away. It seems increasingly evident that some of these politicians, who ostensibly represent the people, get really upset when the people are actually heard from. They want us to believe that the failure of the bill is a sign that the system is broken. Yet, it appears that the only thing broken when it comes to our immigration debacle is the spine of those elected officials who would rather pander to lawbreakers than stand up for the overwhelming majority of their constituents who believe the law should mean something.

A few years ago, Senators Hillary Clinton and Barbara Boxer were overheard talking about stopping talk radio by legislation, if necessary. Undoubtedly, that was a reference to the so-called, "Fairness Doctrine" that many politicians have been trying to pass for decades. It begins with the proposition that talk radio is unfair in its coverage and therefore must be regulated to ensure "fairness." Translation: talk radio has too many listeners who agree with conservative principles; hence, it must be silenced.

In the spring of 1987, both houses of Congress voted to put the Fairness Doctrine into law; a statutory inclusion which the FCC would have to enforce, like it or not. But President Reagan, in keeping with his deregulatory efforts and his long-standing belief that government should stay out of the affairs of business, vetoed the legislation. There were insufficient votes to override the veto. Congressional efforts to make the doctrine into law surfaced again during administration of George H.W. Bush. As before, the legislation was vetoed, this time by Bush.

While our pusillanimous reps are proclaiming that the system is broken because the bill was defeated, a more discerning response would have maintained that the system is working better than it was ever designed to work. The Founding Fathers could never have envisioned the Internet and the influence put forth by thousands of web logs. They couldn't have imagined a radio universe with sound waves reaching millions of human ears. We have entered a new wave of democracy, one that gives voice to the masses. Thousands of illegal aliens marched in the streets of some major cities while mouthing the implied threat to timorous politicians: "Today we march; tomorrow we vote." Now, millions of Americans are saying: "Today we blog; tomorrow we vote." It's about time someone paid attention to the majority for a change.


It's impossible to satisfy "Rage Boy" and his ilk. It's stupid to try

Post lifted from Christopher Hitchens. See the original for links

If you follow the link, you will be treated to some scenes from the strenuous life of a professional Muslim protester in the Kashmiri city of Srinagar. Over the last few years, there have been innumerable opportunities for him to demonstrate his piety and his pissed-offness. And the cameras have been there for him every time. Is it a fatwah? Is it a copy of the Quran allegedly down the gurgler at Guantanamo? Is it some cartoon in Denmark? Time for Rage Boy to step in and for his visage to impress the rest of the world with the depth and strength of Islamist emotion.

Last week, there was another go-round of this now-formulaic story, when Salman Rushdie accepted a knighthood from her majesty the queen, and the whole cycle of hysteria started up again. Effigies and flags burned (is there some special factory in Karachi that churns out the flags of democratic countries for occasions like this?), wounded screams from religious nut bags, bounties raised to suborn murder, and solemn resolutions passed by notional bodies such as the Pakistani "parliament." A few months ago, it was the pope who was being threatened, and Christians in the Middle East and Muslim Asia who were actually being killed. Indeed, Rage Boy had a few yells and gibberings to offer on that occasion, too.

I have actually seen some of these demonstrations, most recently in Islamabad, and all I would do if I were a news editor is ask my camera team to take several steps back from the shot. We could then see a few dozen gesticulating men (very few women for some reason), their mustaches writhing as they scatter lighter fluid on a book or a flag or a hastily made effigy. Around them, a two-deep encirclement of camera crews. When the lights are turned off, the little gang disperses. And you may have noticed that the camera is always steady and in close-up on the flames, which it wouldn't be if there was a big, surging mob involved.

Of course, this is not to say that there isn't a lot of generalized self-pity and self-righteousness (as well as a lot of self-hatred) in the Muslim world. A minister in Pakistan's government-the son of revolting late dictator Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, as it happens-appeared to say that Rushdie's knighthood would justify suicide bombing. But our media regularly make the assumption that the book burners and fanatics really do represent the majority, and that assumption has by no means been tested. (If it is ever tested, and it turns out to be true, then can we hear a bit less about how one of the world's largest religions mustn't be confused with its lunatic fringe?)

The acceptance of an honor by a distinguished ex-Muslim writer, who exercised his freedom to abandon his faith and thus courts a death sentence for apostasy in any case, came shortly after the remaining minarets of the Askariya shrine in Samarra were brought down in shards. You will recall that the dome itself was devastated by an explosion more than a year ago-an outrage described in one leading newspaper as the work of "Sunni insurgents," the soft name for al-Qaida. But what does "Rage Boy" have to say about this appalling desecration of a Muslim holy place? What resolutions were introduced into the "parliament" of Pakistan, denouncing such shameful profanity? You already know the answer to those questions. The lives of Shiite Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and Christians-to say nothing of atheists or secularists-are considered by Sunni militants to be of little or no account. And yet they accuse those who criticize them of bigotry! And many people are so anxious to pre-empt this accusation that they ventriloquize the reactions of Sunni mobs as if they were the vox populi, all the while muttering that we must take care not to offend such supersensitive people.

This mental and moral capitulation has a bearing on the argument about Iraq, as well. We are incessantly told that the removal of the Saddam Hussein despotism has inflamed the world's Muslims against us and made Iraq hospitable to terrorism, for all the world as if Baathism had not been pumping out jihadist rhetoric for the past decade (as it still does from Damascus, allied to Tehran). But how are we to know what will incite such rage? A caricature published in Copenhagen appears to do it. A crass remark from Josef Ratzinger (leader of an anti-war church) seems to have the same effect. A rumor from Guantanamo will convulse Peshawar, the Muslim press preaches that the Jews brought down the Twin Towers, and a single citation in a British honors list will cause the Iranian state-run press to repeat its claim that the British government-along with the Israelis, of course-paid Salman Rushdie to write The Satanic Verses to begin with. Exactly how is such a mentality to be placated?

We may have to put up with the Rage Boys of the world, but we ought not to do their work for them, and we must not cry before we have been hurt. In front of me is a copy of this week's Economist, which states that Rushdie's 1989 death warrant was "punishment for the book's unflattering depiction of the Prophet Muhammad." There is no direct depiction of the prophet in this work of fiction, and the reverie about his many wives occurs in the dream of a madman. Nobody in Ayatollah Khomeini's circle could possibly have read the book for him before he issued a fatwah, which made it dangerous to possess. Yet on that occasion, the bookstore chains of America pulled The Satanic Verses from their shelves, just as Borders shamefully pulled Free Inquiry (a magazine for which I write) after it reproduced the Danish cartoons. Rage Boy keenly looks forward to anger, while we worriedly anticipate trouble, and fret about etiquette, and prepare the next retreat. If taken to its logical conclusion, this would mean living at the pleasure of Rage Boy, and that I am not prepared to do.


Say deranged Australian "human rights" bureaucrats

The NSW Law Reform Commission and the NSW Government have shirked their responsibility to recommend the inclusion of people who are blind or deaf on NSW juries, Human Rights Commissioner and Commissioner responsible for Disability Discrimination, Graeme Innes AM, said today.

Presenting the annual Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture at the University of Newcastle, Mr Innes told law students that despite the fact the Law Reform Commission was asked in 2002 to address the exclusion of people who are blind or deaf from serving on NSW juries, they have left this to gather dust. "I call on both the NSW Government and the NSW Law Reform Commission, as I have on a number of previous occasions, to act on this issue and to recommend and make the changes needed to allow people who are blind or deaf to be on juries," Mr Innes said. "I know many people who are blind or deaf who feel that they can never be totally accepted into our society as equals until they can fully carry out their responsibilities as citizens."

Mr Innes told the students the lack of progress regarding jury participation for people who are blind or deaf marred progress the NSW legal system had made in other areas such as accessibility for people with physical disabilities and hearing loops for people with hearing impairments.

In a far-ranging speech mixed with factual stories of ordinary people from his life as a lawyer in the former Department of Consumer Affairs, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board and the Equal Opportunity Commission in WA, Mr Innes told students they could make a difference in virtually every area of law. "All you have to do is remember that laws and their application are really just about people in the end," Commissioner Innes said.

The Sir Ninian Stephen Lecture was established in 1993 to mark the arrival of the first group of Bachelor of Laws students at the University of Newcastle. It is an annual event which is delivered by an eminent lawyer at the start of each academic year.



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.


Thursday, June 28, 2007

Having opinions about race is not the same as racism

The article below is a typical rant about racism from a Left-leaning Australian newspaper. Typically, it makes no distinction between opinions about race and racism. To do so would deprive the author of much of the warm inner glow of righteousness she got from writing it. But, as any psychologist can tell you, attitudes are not the same as behaviour and it has been known since the 1930s that, in this field particularly, attitudes and behaviour are often very different. My favourite example of the disjunction is a neo-Nazi I once knew who was great friends with a very dark-skinned Bengali. I also once knew a very kind man who spoke very ill of Asians but who was in fact happily married to one.

We all have opinions about groups of people. What do most men think about busty women, for instance? And what do women think about tall men? There is rarely indifference in either case. So there is nothing wrong about opinions of racial or ethnic groups either. It is only when people are ill-treated solely because of their race that there is cause for concern and the label "racism" is justified.

The article below mentions the multifarious prejudices that the English typically have -- class prejudices and regional prejudices particularly. They even mock redheads! As an Australian who has spent some time in England, I have myself experienced the mocking comments that the English sometimes direct at Australians. I just directed a few mocking comments back which were received with perfect good humour and which moved the conversation onto a perfectly amicable level.

People will always be mocked by someone for something and it is about time everyone grew up enough to handle it. So let us hear from the self-righteous one:

I was at a smart party with a bunch of people I hadn't seen for years. Suddenly there was a yelp at my elbow. Fabulous Miss C, tanned to the gills, absolutely cured. She'd also done something to her face. "I hear you're living out at Springvale now. P told me. She said there aren't any dogs out there, because the chinks have eaten them all." And off she went into a squealing peal of laughter. It's a long time since I heard someone say "chinks" and make a joke like that. I told her that what she said was ridiculous, that of course there are dogs in Springvale, hundreds of them. I should have also told her she was revoltingly racist, that talk like that is not acceptable. But I did not.

A friend was dining at the home of "aristocrats" when the hostess rattled her jewels and complained about all the new immigrants from Africa, crowing that they should "send them back up the trees". The company laughed indulgently - such a rabid old eccentric. One simply could not take her seriously. No one told her off.

Racism is a disease found among people of all incomes, education levels and ethnic types. Even within the same ethnic type: in London Australians are patronised, treated as "dumb colonials" with the wrong accent. A German friend lived there for many years and waited for the inevitable swipe at every dinner party. "It was relentless," she told me. "Germans are seen as humourless, efficient manufacturers of precision instruments. We are disliked but we are taken seriously. Australians are not taken seriously. My only defence was to get ahead of them, tell a joke against Germans before they got theirs in."

I was warned a guest I had from the Balkans was sure to be a "broken and scarred person". When I suggested that such stereotyping was racist the response was angry. How dare I accuse them. My years working in the Jewish community have elicited "concern" from some. "Do they - uh - pay you properly?" When I return a quiet, withering gaze they too get angry: "Oh for God's sake! I just wanted to make sure you were alright!"

More here
Perhaps two small examples of mocking the English back might help someone. The first is of my own devising and the second I owe to the inimitable Barry Humphries. The two examples spring from derogatory comments about Australian wine and comments about Australian male friendships being suppressed homosexuality. The two comments I make on such occasions are:

"Australians are much like the French. They make a small amount of good wine and a lot of rough wine. And the stuff that is too rough even for them they sell to the English"

"That's just a rumour put out by Australia House to attract all the English immigrants"

I have always found that both comments get a "Touche!" response.

A Bong Hit to Free Speech

There is an old saying in the legal profession: "bad facts make bad law." Well, that is exactly what happened today in the Supreme Court. In a divided decision, the Court (with Chief Justice Roberts writing for the majority) decided that a school principal could punish a student who unfurled a banner reading "Bong Hits for Jesus" outside the school even though there was zero evidence that the silly banner created any form of disruption.

This has always been a particularly dangerous case for student speech. The banner in question is stupid and nonsensical at best and advocates illegal activity at worst. In other words, it's not the kind of speech that has any real value to anyone on either side of a meaningful political or religious debate. Moreover, since the speech deals with drug use (an undeniable evil and tragedy), it has even fewer defenders. Yet that is often the nature of free speech work: kooks and kids (and sometimes both) serve as the canaries in the coal mine for our basic civil liberties.

At first glance, the case is supremely narrow and seems to stand for a proposition that most likely would command wide public support: Speech advocating illegal drugs is particularly bad and can be banned by administrators - especially since those administrators are often under federal mandates to advance a message that clearly and unequivocally condemns drug use. The problem, however, lies with the reasoning that permits the Court to prohibit the speech even though it was non-disruptive, not obscene, and not school-sponsored (the three traditional areas of authority over student speech). The Court basically holds that schools can restrict speech about drugs because drugs are really harmful and really illegal.

All of this is no doubt true, but here's the rub: Virtually all restrictive speech policies (including over-broad anti-harassment rules or anti-bullying policies that are often used to shut down religious speech on political or sexual issues) are justified by the prevention of serious mental or physical harm to young people and by reference to other laws and regulations. All of the justifications that Justice Roberts applied to limiting speech regarding drug use could be used by school administrators to silence dissent on controversial issues regarding, for example, homosexual behavior, religion, and gender politics. Advocating illegal activity? Administrators justify censoring tee-shirts or other forms of speech by reference to state anti-discrimination statutes, anti-bullying regulations, and hate crimes laws all the time. What about impairing the cognitive or psychological development of young people? If you don't think schools can't trot out literally hundreds of psychiatrists who would argue that moral disapproval impairs the development of young people engaged in various forms of sexual activity, then I have a particularly nice bridge I'd like to sell you. It's big and spans the East River.

At its base, this opinion dramatically expands the scope of state authority over the speech of school children. Tie the speech in question to any form of "advocacy of illegal behavior," and the student will face long odds, even if his or her speech was non-disruptive, not school-sponsored, and not profane. If the speech contradicts a message that state or federal officials require schools to advance, then the odds grow even longer. If the school caps it off by trotting out some mental health care specialists who talk about the "profound harm" to delicate young minds or the risk of violence caused by the dissenting speech, then you might as well start drafting your appeal.

And what does this all have to do with universities, you ask? In every single free speech case I've ever argued, the university's first line of defense is the high school speech standard. When high school student rights shrink, universities grow bolder. In fact, I would be surprised if the "Bong Hits" case is not raised in at least two pending Alliance Defense Fund university speech cases. We shall see if the courts will continue to distinguish between secondary school and universities - especially in the face of serious institutional pressure to blur the differences.


Vilification battle ends

The Muslim group must have dropped its legal claims. A previous verdict against the pastors was overturned in a higher court

MEDIATION and handshakes have ended a five-year racial-vilification battle between an evangelical Christian group and a Victorian Muslim body. Catch the Fire Ministries sparked a row with the Islamic Council of Victoria in 2002 when it claimed that Muslims were demons training to make Australia an Islamic state, that the Koran promoted violence, and that Muslims derived money from drugs. [A very biased account of what the pastors did and said. For a more extensive report, see here]

Catch the Fire pastor Daniel Nalliah said he was relieved the case, which was settled in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal after a hearing in the Victorian Court of Appeal, was over. He said the two parties resolved the matter after seven hours of mediation on Friday. "The mediation brought two communities to a closer relationship. There was a lot of goodwill and a lot of shaking of hands," he said.

Former ICV president Yasser Soliman welcomed Pastor Nalliah's comments.


Compassion keeping Australian blacks dirt poor

TREASURY Secretary Ken Henry says decades of misguided government policy encouraging passive welfare has consigned many Australians - particularly Aborigines - "to a life of economic and social exclusion". Dr Henry, one of the nation's top bureaucrats, said governments had been motivated by compassion but the welfare system had discouraged recipients from seeking work that could lift them out of poverty. One solution would be to create a system that encouraged people to leave home to find work if there were no opportunities in their community.

Speaking in Cairns at indigenous leader Noel Pearson's Cape York Institute, Dr Henry said decades of "passive welfare provision" had delivered dependency on the system, eroding people's capability to work and undermining indigenous development. Dr Henry said a couple with three young children could access about $36,500 a year in income support payments and family tax benefit without working. "That fact affects workforce participation decisions all around Australia, in all sorts of communities," he told the conference, co-sponsored by The Australian. "The level of income support can discourage people from entering the workforce. The higher the base income support payment, the less likely it is thata person will enter or re-enter work after they become unemployed.

"Governments have also allowed many income recipients to receive support without being required to seek work. "For instance, in the past, many indigenous Australians were granted remote area exemptions, people with disabilities could avoid work obligations unless they were assessed as being able to work for 30 hours a week at award wages for two years, and parents didn't have to seek work until their youngest child was aged 16. "Governments that designed these policies were no doubt motivated by compassion. In practice, they were consigning many Australians to a life of economic and social exclusion."

Dr Henry added that passive welfare had done little to encourage people, particularly young people, to embrace education. Achieving better results, he said, meant ensuring Australia had a welfare system that rewarded work and study above a life of "passivity and dependence". He promoted the notion that, if work was not available in a remote community, people should have the capacity to get out and look for employment.

"Where remote locations simply cannot produce sufficient job opportunities for local people, there is no point in relying on miracles," Dr Henry told the conference, called to debate social norms in indigenous communities. "A better strategy is to ensure that people have the opportunity to move to take up work if that is what they want to do. Noel (Pearson) talks about orbits - where people spend part of the year earning income in other places, returning to live part of the year on country. This seems a sensible model to me."

Kevin Rudd also endorsed the need for welfare reform. He told Mr Pearson, director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, that if Labor were elected to government he would provide funding of at least $15million to ensure the reform process was implemented in Cape York communities. He said the model would be evaluated and, if successful, implemented in other communities in Australia.

Mr Rudd said an important part of the Pearson reform plan was ensuring indigenous children attended school. This involved establishing a Family Responsibilities Commission, whose membership included local community elders and had the power to warn parents who were not sending their children to school. If that warning was ignored, it could "redirect" welfare payments to the person who was actually caring for the children.



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.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Muslims testing British tolerance

Increasingly, Muslim women in Britain take their children to school and run errands covered head to toe in flowing black gowns that allow only a slit for their eyes. Like little else, their appearance has unnerved Britons, testing the limits of tolerance in this stridently secular nation. Many veiled women say they are targets of abuse. At the same time, efforts are growing to place legal curbs on the full Muslim veil, known as the niqab.

The past year has seen numerous examples: A lawyer dressed in a niqab was told by an immigration judge that she could not represent a client because, he said, he could not hear her. A teacher wearing a niqab was told by a provincial school to go home. A student who was barred from wearing a niqab took her case to the courts, and lost. In fact, the British education authorities are proposing a ban on the niqab in schools altogether.

David Sexton, a columnist for The Evening Standard, wrote recently that Britain has been "too deferential" toward the veil. "I find such garb, in the context of a London street, first ridiculous and then directly offensive," he said.

Although the number of women wearing the niqab has increased in the past several years, only a tiny percentage of women among Britain's two million Muslims cover themselves completely. It is impossible to say how many exactly. Some who wear the niqab, particularly younger women who have taken it up recently, concede that it is a frontal expression of Islamic identity, which they have embraced since Sept. 11, 2001, as a form of rebellion against the policies of the Blair government in Iraq and at home. "For me it is not just a piece of clothing, it's an act of faith, it's solidarity," said a 24-year-old program scheduler at a broadcasting company in London, who would allow only her last name, Al Shaikh, to be printed, saying she wanted to protect her privacy. "9/11 was a wake-up call for young Muslims," she said.

At times she receives rude comments, including, Shaikh said, when a woman at her workplace told her she had no right to be there. Shaikh said she planned to file a complaint. When she is on the street, she often answers barbs. "A few weeks ago a lady said: 'I think you look crazy.' I said: 'How dare you go around telling people how to dress,' and walked off. Sometimes I feel I have to reply. Islam does teach you that you must defend your religion."

Other Muslims find the niqab objectionable, a step backward for an immigrant group that is under pressure after the terror attack on London's transit system in July 2005. "After the July 7 attacks, this is not the time to be antagonizing Britain by presenting Muslims as something sinister," said Imran Ahmad, author of "Unimagined," an autobiography of growing up Muslim in Britain, and the head of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. "The veil is so steeped in subjugation, I find it so offensive someone would want to create such barriers. It's retrograde."

Since South Asians started coming to Britain in large numbers in the 1960s, a small group of usually older, undereducated women have worn the niqab. It was most often seen as a sign of subjugation. Many more Muslim women wear the headscarf, called the hijab, covering all or some of their hair. Unlike in France, Turkey and Tunisia, where students in state schools and female civil servants are banned from covering their hair, British Muslim women can wear the headscarf, and indeed the niqab, almost anywhere, for now.

But that tolerance is eroding. Even some who wear the niqab, like Faatema Mayata, a 24-year-old psychology and religious studies teacher, agreed there were limits. "How can you teach when you are covering your face?" she said, sitting with a cup of tea in her living room in Blackburn, a town in the north of England, her niqab tucked away because she was within the confines of her home. She has worn the niqab since she was 12, when she was sent by her parents to an all-girls boarding school. The niqab was not, as many Britons seemed to think, a sign of extremism, she said. The niqab, to her, was about identity. "If I dressed in a Western way I could be a Hindu, I could be anything," she said. "This way I feel comfortable in my identity as a Muslim woman."

No one else in the family wore the niqab. Her husband, Ibrahim Boodi, a social worker, was indifferent, she said. "If I took it off today, he wouldn't care." When she is walking, she is often stopped, she said. "People ask, 'Why do you wear that?' A lot of people assume I'm oppressed, that I don't speak English. I don't care, I've got a brain."

Some commentators have complained that mosques encourage women to wear the niqab, a practice they have said should be stopped. At the East London Mosque, one of the largest in the capital, the chief imam, Abdul Qayyum, studied in Saudi Arabia and is trained in the Wahhabi school of Islam. According to the community relations officer at the mosque, Ehsan Abdullah Hannan, the imam's daughter wears the niqab. At Friday prayers recently, the women worshipers were crowded into a small upstairs windowless room away from the main hall for the men. A handful of young women wore the niqab and spoke effusively about their reasons. "Wearing the niqab means you will get a good grade and go to paradise," said Hodo Muse, 19, a Somali woman. "Every day people are giving me dirty looks for wearing it, but when you wear something for Allah you get a boost."


Anti-Semitism out of control in Europe

A young French Jew is kidnapped, tortured and left to die by a band of Muslims. An arson badly damages Geneva's largest synagogue. A 13-year-old girl on a London bus is robbed and kicked unconscious after her attackers ask if she is "Jewish or English." Anti-Semitism in Western Europe apparently is out of control. That is the consensus of a dizzying array of recent reports, the latest of which was released this week at a conference combating discrimination under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Representatives of dozens of European governments were expected at the June 7-9 meeting in Bucharest, Romania, a follow-up to a 2005 conference of the OSCE conference on anti-Semitism in Spain. The 2007 Hate Crimes Survey by the U.S.-based organization Human Rights First goes beyond the data included in many of the studies to suggest that most European governments are woefully inept at measuring and thus prosecuting hate crimes.

Human Rights First says the survey is the first by a U.S. non-governmental organization to examine racist, xenophobic, homophobic and anti-religious crimes in Europe. While the report includes analysis of Russia, Ukraine and even North America, the focus is on Western Europe. It is also the only one of the recent reports to raise the specter of a Europe teetering on the verge of a Hitler-era epidemic of racist hatred. "Today the parallels with the 1930s include the seeming indifference of many governments and broad sectors of public opinion to the rising violence and fear that once again threatens European Jews, and with them members of other minorities," says a separate, companion report that focuses exclusively on anti-Semitism. "As it did in the 1930s, the reactivation of ancient prejudices and the transformation of new hatreds into deadly violence have been largely overlooked outside the Jewish community," the report concludes.

In most European countries, "anti-Semitic violence and other hate crimes still are largely unacknowledged in public policy and action," according to the survey by Human Rights First, formerly known as the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights. Paul LeGendre, who directs the anti-discrimination program for Human Rights First, told reporters from the group's New York office, "One of our findings is that governments are not doing enough to report on hate crimes. We have a sizable data deficit." The companion survey says that the data that has been collected "reveals both a general trend toward a rise in anti-Semitic incidents and a trend toward violent crimes against Jewish people in a growing proportion of such incidents."

The analysis came after a May 24 fire that badly damaged the largest synagogue in Geneva. The fire was labeled as arson several days later, sending shock waves through Swiss Jewry. Many Jews are also protesting anti-Semitism they say is disguised as criticism of Israel throughout Western Europe. The latest examples come from Britain: the proposed boycott of Israeli academics, which the largest British teachers union voted last month to disseminate to its membership for a final decision, and the country’s largest trade union, with more than a million members, deciding to consider a boycott motion on Israel at its upcoming conference.

Reports issued since Israel's war in Lebanon last summer and widely covered in the international media showed a marked increase in anti-Semitic incidents, rhetoric and attitudes in the 27-member European Union. The picture, however, may be more complicated as anti-Israel and anti-American sentiment have spilled over into what some hope are only cyclical rises in hostility based on world events and not on actual antipathy to Jews. Similar spikes occurred during the first and second Palestinian uprisings.

But others argue that anti-Israel and anti-Jewish behavior have become indistinguishable. As tensions flare in the Gaza Strip, European Jews may be wondering whether this summer will repeat last year's record number of attacks against them, their synagogues and their cemeteries. In an Anti-Defamation League survey on European attitudes toward Jews released in May, 51 percent of respondents in five countries said Jews are more loyal to Israel than to their home country, and 52 percent said Israel's actions have lowered their views of Jews.

European leaders are now discussing, with Israel’s participation, how to improve the country’s image. A European Jewish Congress report issued last November revealed a dramatic rise in anti-Israel discourse during the Lebanon War both among leftist politicians and media in Europe, as well as on the extreme right. The discourse, the report said, often morphed into anti-Jewish sentiment. For Ilan Moss, author of the report, this trend was illustrated best when someone anonymously laminated a Guardian newspaper photo of victims from the Israeli airstrike in Qana that killed 28, including 16 children, and taped it to the front of a London synagogue. "The message was clear: You Jews are responsible for this massacre," Moss said.

More here


Poland is again in the front line of another world war - a moral battle for the soul of Europe and the world. Its two enemies are the population control/abortion industry and the homosexual movement. The agency of oppression, the European Union, is demanding that Poland obey regulations by the European Parliament in Brussels to provide abortion, homosexual rights and same-sex marriage. A European Parliament resolution in April condemned Poland for being "hateful" and "repulsive" for refusing to permit the promotion of homosexuality in schools The resolution threatened that "homophobic" countries such as Poland would be taken to court.

Warsaw was the location this year for the fourth World Congress of Families (May 11-13), originally founded by American author and researcher, Dr Allan Carlson, president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society. The congress was attended by a gathering of 3,300 delegates from the United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe (including Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Russia), Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Ironically, this pro-family event was held in a massive exhibition centre, originally named the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science. A postwar "gift" from the Soviet Union to the people of Poland, it is the tallest building in Poland and is known as "a Stalin wedding-cake".

Once, during World War II, Soviet dictator Stalin mockingly asked: "How many divisions has the Pope?" One could say that, six decades later, they were present in force at the World Congress of Families IV. The aura of the famous late Polish pontiff, Pope John Paul II, dominated the Warsaw gathering and he was quoted by many speakers. Speakers included Ellen Sauerbrey, assistant US secretary of state for population, refugees and immigration; Inese Slesere, member of the Latvian parliament; Christine de Vollmer, president of the Latin American Alliance for the Family; Katarzyna Mazela, vice-president of the Forum of Polish Women; Pat Fagan, research fellow at the Washington DC-based Heritage Foundation; Bill Saunders of the Family Research Council; and Father Thomas Euteneuer, president of Human Life International.

In what could be described as its "sexual harassment" of Poland, the EU is also targetting Baltic countries, Lithuania and Latvia, with homosexual propaganda which mandates that countries include "sexual orientation" in its anti-discrimination laws as a condition of membership and benefits in the EU. Malta is another country attacked for its pro-life laws. However, Poland - the land of Pope John Paul II, author of Evangelius Vitae - is the big prize. If abortion and homosexual activists can topple Poland, they think others will fall into line.

How soon Europe forgets it was John Paul II, with his support for Poland's Solidarity movement, who achieved the non-violent liberation of his homeland from Soviet occupation. There were other major world-players responsible for this outcome as well, such as US President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; but John Paul II was the original inspiration. The Poles are proud that this liberation of their country - and of Eastern Europe - was achieved with minimal loss of life.

Roman Giertych, Poland's minister of education and deputy prime minister, and Marek Jurek, speaker of the Polish parliament, told the congress delegates that their country would not be intimidated and had no intention of acceding to the demands of the EU to provide abortion, homosexual rights and same-sex marriage, or support attacks on the traditional family.

Polish officials said Poland intended to assume a leadership role to end the demographic winter in Europe caused by a birth-rate below replacement level, and familial breakdown caused by sexual permissiveness. Defying the EU's homosexual activism, Giertych said legislation seeking to protect children in schools from homosexual propaganda would be put forward as planned. It was "something I have to do," he said.

At its closing session, delegates endorsed the congress's Warsaw Declaration - a pro-family credo for the 21st century - whose opening words proclaim: "The natural family, creation of God, is the fundamental human community, based on the life-long marriage between a man and a woman, in which new individuals are conceived, born and raised."


Limits on free speech in Australia

I largely sympathize with the thinking below. In the usual conservative way, however, I think a balance has to be struck. I don't think there should be ABSOLUTE freedom for journalists and whistleblowers to do as they like but I think a "public benefit" defence should always be allowed to them

The past few days have seen the legal system serve up yet another vivid illustration of the depressing state of free speech in Australia. On Friday the former public servant Allan Kessing copped a nine-month suspended jail sentence for his crime of leaking reports to a newspaper about the chaotic state of security at Sydney Airport.

Yesterday two journalists joined him in the ranks of the criminal class when Chief Judge Michael Rozenes, in Victoria's County Court, ordered convictions be recorded against Melbourne Herald Sun staffers Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus, and fined them $7000 each. They were convicted of contempt of court, but their crime was doing their jobs by telling the public what was really going on, rather than feeding them the spin-doctored version of events the Government had cooked up.

Their story, published in the newspaper in 2004, embarrassed the Government, humiliated the then minister for veterans' affairs, Dana Vale, and provided another reason why the Australian media have formed a Right to Know coalition to lobby for changes to the law. The story was good journalism. It should never have ended up in court. It revealed the Government had opted to accept just five of 65 recommendations on ways to improve benefits for war veterans, thereby saving about $500 million.

What stung was that the journalists got hold of the minister's "speaking notes" which, they wrote, revealed how she would "publicly sugarcoat the Government's offer to veterans and their families". By the time the story was published, a revolt by Government members had killed off the plan. But that didn't stop the Government's pursuit of the leaker.

A public servant, Desmond Patrick Kelly, was accused. During committal proceedings the two journalists were directed to identify their sources for their story. They refused, saying they were acting in accordance with the journalists' code of ethics, which requires journalists to protect the identity of their sources in such circumstances.

More here


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

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

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


Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Real racist bigotry: Dems block Southern white judges

The Committee for Justice (CFJ) commented today on Senate Democrats' recent history of obstructing all white male appeals court nominees from the South, including Leslie Southwick of Mississippi, a Fifth Circuit nominee scheduled for a Judiciary Committee vote this Thursday. "Senate Democrats and their allies on the left have attacked Judge Southwick for being insensitive to 'the rights of African Americans, gays and lesbians,'" explained CFJ executive director Curt Levey. "If this sounds familiar, it's because they level the same charges whenever the President nominates a white male from a southern state to the U.S. Courts of Appeal."

"Seven times President Bush has nominated a southern white male to the appeals courts, and seven times Senate Democrats have tried to block the nomination," said Levey. "Worse yet, each of the seven have been subjected to a campaign of personal destruction. With one exception - Fourth Circuit nominee William Haynes - the attacks focus on charges that the nominee is insensitive to the rights of minorities, women, gays, and/or the disabled. Democrats and their allies cynically play to the stereotype that southerners are racist or otherwise bigoted." Examples are provided below.

Citing the nomination of Leon Holmes of Arkansas, Levey added that "the one time Senate Democrats chose to vilify and obstruct a Bush district court nominee, the victim was - you guessed it - a southern white male, and the charges were the usual ones: racism and sexism."

Levey pointed out that "Senate Democrats and their allies never let the facts get in the way of playing the race card. Just look at Fifth Circuit nominee Charles Pickering. The brother of slain civil rights activist Medgar Evers praised Pickering for risking his career in 1967 when he 'dared to defy the Klan.' But that didn't stop this bunch from denouncing Pickering for 'insensitivity and even hostility' towards civil rights."

"Somewhere in the offices of Ralph Neas or Chuck Schumer there's probably a play book for targeting southern white men," Levey said. "After all, the process works the same every time. First, Democratic staffers and groups like People for the American Way comb through hundreds or thousands of cases the nominee has worked on as a judge or lawyer, cherry picking the few that they can distort into charges of bigotry. Then the groups publish a report denouncing the nominee's record. Finally, Senate Democrats cite the 'evidence' in the report as the reason they must oppose the nominee. Leslie Southwick is just the latest victim of this routine."

"Judiciary Committee memos disclosed in 2003 remove any doubt that Senate Democrats and groups on the left work together closely to defeat or delay judicial nominees," Levey noted. "It's one thing for these outside groups to believe that southern white men can't be fair judges, but one would hope that Democratic senators would distance themselves from such extreme views. Instead they've pandered to these groups for years now."

"The Democrats on the Judiciary Committee have a chance to redeem themselves this Thursday when they vote on Southwick," said Levey. "All we're asking is that they vote him out of committee so that the full Senate can decide whether to confirm him. Anything less is obstruction. The Democrats chose not to put any southerners on the Judiciary Committee, but that's all the more reason why they shouldn't thumb their noses at the South by blocking this exceptionally qualified nominee."

Levey concluded by noting that "if Democrats kill this nomination in committee, it will be particularly interesting to see what Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott does, given that Southwick and two of the southerners targeted earlier are from Mississippi. Senator Lott threatened a 'total shutdown' of the Senate after it became clear that committee Democrats were trying to stop Southwick. As whip, he can make the shutdown happen."


Does "Diversity" Turn People Into Turtles?

Post lifted from Discriminations. See the original for links

Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam (of Bowling Alone fame) thinks so.

"Diversity seems to trigger not in-group/out-group division, but anomie or social isolation," Putnam writes in the June issue of the journal Scandinavian Political Studies. "In colloquial language, people living in ethnically diverse settings appear to `hunker down' - that is, to pull in like a turtle."

Putnam has been engaged in his large study of diversity for quite a while, and we have encountered findings from it before, here and here. Putnam seems quite taken with his turtle metaphor (or maybe I'm just taken with quoting him using it). In the first "here" linked above, I quoted him as follows describing his findings:

The core message of the research was that, "in the presence of diversity, we hunker down", he said. "We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it's not just that we don't trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don't trust people who do look like us."

Prof Putnam found trust was lowest in Los Angeles, "the most diverse human habitation in human history", but his findings also held for rural South Dakota, where "diversity means inviting Swedes to a Norwegians' picnic."

Actually, turning people into turtles may be among the mildest effects of diversity. The New York Times Magazine linked first above, for example, also reports other, non-reptilian but even more unwelcome effects.

Studies by Wendy Berry Mendes, a social psychologist at Harvard, and her colleagues find that when research subjects play a cooperative game with someone of another race, they can show physiological signs of distress - reduced cardiac efficiency and arterial constriction, for example. On a daily basis, this alarmed reaction might make people pull inward. Putnam himself speculates that, with kaleidoscopic changes going on around them, people in diverse communities might experience a kind of system overload, shutting down "in the presence of confusing or multiple messages from the environment."

It's thus no surprise, and maybe even a good thing, that campuses that fetishize "diversity" are often the ones sporting the most racially segregated dorms, dining room tables, lounges, etc.

In my first discussion of Putnam's research, linked above, I commented:

If we're going to set aside the formerly fundamental principle barring discrimination against any person based on race in order to bask in the benefits provided by "diversity," shouldn't we at least begin seeing, sooner or later, some research demonstrating just what those benefits are?

That now seems too mild. Let me rephrase: shouldn't we at least begin seeing some research demonstrating that "diversity" doesn't turn people into turtles or sick, arterially constricted, stressed out humans?

The Leftist love of regulation leads naturally to regulation of religion and speech

When I was in college ages ago the truth in advertising and lending and such measures were high on the agenda of modern liberals. Oddly, they were the same people, usually, who declared themselves to be loyal champions of free speech, defenders of an absolutist stance on the First Amendment to the US Constitution. But not when it came to commercial speech. You know those people in commerce-all chronic cheats and liars, of course. (The modern liberal's hatred of commerce trumps their most cherished ideals!)

One time when this campaign against commercial speech was in progress, I walked by a church that featured a huge sign saying "Jesus Saves." My mind immediately started to consider, well why not truth in religion? Why only commerce? Indeed, isn't religion far more important to most people than mere business? If modern liberals insist that the task of good government is to be our nanny, to engage in paternalistic-what is now often dubbed "precautionary"-public policies, why don't they all advocate strong federal regulation of religious speech?

After all, nearly everyone believes that those who peddle religious ideas they do not share are charlatans, liars and cheats. And what they peddle, of course, is far more harmful than anything put into an advertisement, something most sensible people realize is filled with hype, gimmickry and not statements of purported truths. All those religious charlatans-I leave it to the reader to pick his or her own list-are misleading thousands, millions of human beings about what is by many people regarded of the utmost importance, namely, how to secure their everlasting salvation in the afterlife. If one is mislead about this, one won't just purchase hazardous goods or services but lose forever one's chance to attain the greatest prize of all! Surely this, more than anything else, requires some solid, conscientious federal, state, county, and similar government intervention.

But no. Entirely inconsistently, modern liberals-and, indeed, many folks of all ideological positions-insist that when it comes to this absolutely vital aspects of their lives-actually, their everlasting existence, here on earth and thereafter-people may be trusted to their own resources. They and their family and friends and fellow parishioners and such are entrusted fully with the job of taking care of all this, without introducing the state. Indeed, this last is deemed by most modern liberals-and, again, by many others-as completely anathema to what government's role is in human community life. Other than outright attacks upon people, deliberately devious fraud and the like, government must stay away. It would be totally perverse to have government act in a precautionary fashion, as it is urged to do when it comes to innumerable other aspects of our lives (most notably, these days, how we related to the environment).

Yet this is totally absurd. And there is also the absurdity, when one considers the modern liberals case of government regulation and licensing and inspection and quality control-the stuff done, at the federal level, by OSHA and dozens and dozens of other agencies-that the profession of journalism ought to be exempt from precautionary public intervention. Just watch and read the news and commentaries-they are filled with malpractice! Journalists routinely rush into print with items they have only the faintest ideas about, for example, in various branches of the sciences.

They report on matters of no importance at all and treat various people as if they deserved the attention of their customers, viewers and readers. Yet, modern liberals and other champions of government's role as our protector against the possibility of malfeasance do not advocate the establishment of departments of journalism at the various levels of government.

I must be careful. Someone I knew once quite well, the Louisiana attorney and politician Louis "Woody" Jenkins tried to demonstrate the absurdity of government regulation to members of the state government by proposing, of all things, the regulation of water diviners. Lo and behold, too many of them didn't get the point and nearly enacted the measure into law!


Crippled by paradigm paralysis

The media and governments get the terror threat. Too bad our academics and think tanks don't, writes Greg Sheridan from Australia

THE arrest by Indonesian authorities of Jemaah Islamiah terrorists Zarkasih and Abu Dujana is of the greatest importance for Australia. It is a stunning achievement by the Indonesian police. If anyone ever doubted the benefit to us of having a competent, moderate government in Jakarta led by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, they should doubt it no longer.

Al-Qa'ida is enjoying success in the Middle East but it is suffering real setbacks in Southeast Asia, substantially because of the Indonesian Government, which has arrested 200 terrorists and put many of them through open, credible trials.

Zarkasih was the emir of JI, its overall leader and in particular its spiritual leader, a position formerly held by Abu Bakar Bashir. Dujana was the head of military operations.

These arrests grew out of intelligence gleaned in arrests in March, which also yielded a huge cache of explosives. Now Zarkasih and Dujana will yield their own intelligence treasures. JI is still a formidable threat. It still has a core membership of 1000, with many more sympathisers. Its mainstream group has reportedly decided to abandon attacks on Westerners for the moment and concentrate on recruitment, indoctrination, exacerbating ethnic and religious conflict within Indonesia and preparing for future military conflict.

Its radical splinter, led by Noordin Top, is believed still to support anti-Western bombings. No one knows for sure where Top is, but he is believed to be somewhere in Java, while another key JI figure, Dulmartin, is likely to be still hiding in the southern Philippines. The Indonesian President, his Vice-President Jusuf Kalla, former president Gus Dur and leaders of mainstream Muslim organisations have all made statements welcoming the arrests.

This is central to Indonesia's success in the war on terror. The civil society is aligned against Islamist terrorism and is therefore able to deny it the social space it paradoxically finds in the failing dictatorships of the Middle East.

Indonesia's success in the war on terror is thus a direct security dividend from its democratisation nearly a decade ago.

However, these arrests in one perverse way indicate a specific failure by Australia. The Australian media's response to them was dominated by three international researchers: Sidney Jones of the International Crisis Group, Rohan Gunaratna, an academic based in Singapore, and US academic Zachary Abuza.

Doesn't it strike you as bizarre that there is not a single Australian researcher on Southeast Asian terrorism of international repute? This represents a profoundly important institutional failure by two groups: the first, our universities; the second, our strategic class. Six years after 9/11 and five years after the Bali bombings, there is hardly a single Australian academic working full time on Southeast Asian terrorism. Universities are funded to the tune of billions of dollars, but much of what they have come up with in terrorism research is rubbish. Much of it is postmodern theoretical nonsense about how the discourse of terrorism "demonises the other". Little of it involves traipsing around the jungles of Java or Mindanao, or the region's prisons, interviewing terrorists.

Similarly, we have two main international relations think tanks, the government-funded Australian Strategic Policy Institute, and the privately funded Lowy Institute. Both do good work and we are a better country for having them. But neither has had a single person devoted full time to studying Southeast Asian Islamist terrorism.

Both the universities and the think tanks have produced some good work on terrorism. This has been done mainly by area experts, whether Indonesianists or scholars focusing on the Middle East or whatever, analysing terrorists as part of the societies they study. This is valuable. But surely Southeast Asian Islamist extremism deserves at least a few bodies actually working on it full time. If I were founding a think tank today I'd hire the best Southeast Asianists around and tell them to work 28 hours a day on this subject and dominate the Australian debate. The media is thirsty for such expertise. So is the public. So for that matter is the Government (although of course our intelligence agencies devote vast resources to the subject).

The universities have failed in part because of their postmodern and left-liberal bias, which says that the West must be the author of all sins, and therefore they don't study terrorists in their own terms. The strategic community has failed because of its continued paradigm paralysis, its chronic inability to regard terrorism as a serious strategic issue. The platonic ideal of this outlook is represented by the Australian National University's Hugh White, who declared in the June 6 issue of The Australian Literary Review that terrorism is not a threat to the international system.

He also declared, mystifyingly, that I am "confident that traditional state to state conflict is a thing of the past". As I have never uttered or written anything remotely alleging that, and it is certainly not a view I hold, this is a bit strange. I do on the other hand believe that terrorism can threaten the international system, as can state to state conflict. Where old-fashioned strategic analysts such as White are so anachronistic is in their failure to see the complexity of the interaction of these two dynamics.

Paul O'Sullivan, the head of ASIO, pointed out in a speech yesterday that al-Qa'ida does precisely want to revolutionise the international system. Apart from the question of al-Qa'ida obtaining weapons of mass destruction, O'Sullivan pointed out: "The argument that the threat from terrorism is exaggerated also ignores the dangers terrorist networks pose to vulnerable or failing states. Transnational Islamic terrorists don't require WMD to challenge the authority and legitimacy of such states, exploit their weak spots or quietly rebuild capacity under the radar."

Governments in Jakarta and Canberra and, paradoxically, the media, have to deal with the world as it is, and therefore accord terrorism the attention it deserves. Universities and think tanks can take comfort in the chummy common room embrace of dead paradigms. But, in doing so, they offer sub-optimal service to their nation.



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.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Hollywood in bed with CAIR

Arlene Peck says below that the movie about the murder of Daniel Pearl by Islamists has been prostituted into representing Muslims as the opposite of what they are

Move over, Bill O'Riley! CAIR has so perfected the art of spin that I don't think even you would catch the con job until it was over. At least, I'd bet that the innocents at Paramount didn't have a clue that the screening they arranged for the movie, "A Mighty Heart," was a ruse to make CAIR, the terror supporting organization, look good.

Hussam Ayloush, Executive Director of CAIR- Greater Los Angeles Area,joined forces with Rabbi Haim Dov Beliak, a nondescript nobody whom no one has ever heard of. Lacking credibility, his claim to fame, apparently, that he is head of a "synagogue" and a group called, "Jews on" He shared the panal with another group called "Interfaith Communities United for Justice and Peace" (don'tcha just love it?) Oh yes, another of the panelists was DeDe Gardner, co-producer with Brad Pitt/Plan B Entertainment. She was on the stage thinking she would be discussing the movie in an effort to publicize the movie. This was held in the Sherry Lansing screening room at the studio. I thought it kind of a clever that the venue was held at the site named for a Jewish girl who made good.

It was an evening that CAIR cleverly orchestrated. It was simply a forum for presenting the audience with a means to discuss how to"Build Unity and Understanding in Today's World." Folks, for this terrorist supporting organization to carry that off.imagine the Nazi Party having a car wash benefit for a group of yeshiva boys. I was waiting for them to raffle off a puppy.

The movie, about Daniel Pearl, was made to show the sick, barbaric mentality of his captors and the primitive and savage lifestyle in that part of the world. Yet, Paramount gave CAIR was given a platform from which to proclaim that the criminals out there were giving Muslims a bad name. Hussam, referring to CAIR, claimed that Muslims suffer from 'misconceptions. "There is wide spread belief that Muslims are sympathetic to terrorism. And of course, CAIR cares about all religions." I think that he referred to what is happening now as the "demonization of the Muslim religion." Finally, he smiled and said.."CAIR cares about not only Daniel Pearl but all human beings. CAIR is speaking against evil through their own people."

Of course, had we been allowed to ask questions during this so-called "dialogue," I would have said that if that were the case, how come the Koran says, "if you're not one of them.. then they must be destroyed!"

Of course, they carefully picked a self-hating "rabbi," who never said where his congregation was located, except in the universe of the dot.coms. He spoke movingly about how the Jews should be so grateful because the Muslims gave them refuge in Turkey in years past. And, how no Jewish group would be "brave" enough to bring together a group such as the one gathered. and that the "problem in the Jewish community is because they suffer from Islamic phobia and he commended CAIR for the courage that they showed. as he couldn't imagine a Jewish organization having the "courage" to bring a dialogue such as the wonderful evening we were experiencing..gawd!

While the now-benevolent group, CAIR was presented by the good people at Paramount as a loving organization in all of their 33 chapters, I couldn't help but wonder what Daniel's wife and parents would think of that evening? I don't blame Paramount because they are so clueless. Here, in the land of Hollywood, they don't even know what FOX news is, much less CAIR or its intentions. However, it might have been prudent for Paramount to do a little homework before giving this group credibility by using their studios to promote their propaganda. In the movie, the terrorists made the comment that it was "the Jews" who were responsible for 9/11 and that 4,000 stayed home from work that day at the Twin Towers. I thought it wouldn't have hurt had this misconception been corrected. In fact, the ultimate spin was the end of the movie when they didn't show the be-heading. These peaceful people needed a reminder!

One of the primary comments, repeated often, was that there was no reason to be ashamed of being Muslim. Oh really? It was also interesting that this so-called panel was, in reality, a sounding board to promote the Islamic culture. Although the evening had been billed as a "dialogue" about the movie, only two hand-picked bland "questions" were asked. Then, suddenly, an announcement was made that there was,unfortunately, no more time for questions."

Apparently, there was no time for questions at all. Especially the one that I had written asking, "If the Muslim religion is such a peaceful one and the `criminals' don't represent the masses, why we aren't seeing the `million man' marches protesting the actions of the murders and dysfunctional behavior by the 1.6 billion people they represent?" In fact, forget the million man marches... how about a twenty-five man march? (Women, in many of those countries aren't even allowed on the streets. Look at the pictures next time and see how many pictures of women you see in the crowd.)

The moral of the story: Maybe the Israeli government ought to hire CAIR to handle their public relations. As they sure seem to be doing a better job at it. Maybe they could get a big Hollywood studio to help them in their endeavers. Maybe they'll even raffle off a trip to The Holy Land? Or at least have everyone leave with a hug!

Medieval play threatened by 21st century curse - of political correctness

Since the 14th century, actors and actresses have taken to the streets of York to depict the great moments in Biblical history from the Creation to the last judgment of Christ. But the medieval Mystery Plays are threatened by a 21st century curse - of political correctness. The city council is planning a "multicultural reinterpretation" of the plays as part of a bid for up to 120,000 pounds of Heritage Lottery Fund cash.

Precisely how the age-old stories featuring Adam and Eve and Jesus Christ and his apostles will be "revitalised" for a multi-cultural society has yet to be revealed. However, it has been admitted that refugees and actors from foreign countries could be asked to participate. Traditionalists are outraged that the plays, which are usually performed from wagons in the street, could be re-written for PC reasons. The council is hoping to win lottery funding for the next three performances in 2008, 2010 and 2012.

A report supporting the bid for lottery cash states: "The bid will encompass a production by 16 to 25-year-olds in 2008, a wide-ranging educational programme with schools in 2010, and a commission of a multi-cultural reinterpretation of the Mystery Plays for 2012."

Liberal Democrat councillor Christian Vassie, the council's leisure and culture "executive member", said it was yet to be decided how the plays could be changed to be "multi-cultural". However, he admitted that it was necessary to be "inclusive" to win lottery funding for the next three plays, which will cost up to 200,000 pounds to stage.

The pageant was first recorded in York in 1376. It was both an act of worship and community theatre for the entertainment of the public. But religious upheaval during the 16th Century led to the plays being stopped in 1569. They were revived in 1951 and have remained a popular crowd-puller ever since. Performances in modern times have been held in the streets of York, the city's theatre and inside York Minster. Christopher Timothy, Simon Ward and Robson Green are amongst the accomplished actors who have played the role of Christ in recent years and Dame Judi Dench, who went to school in York, also performed in the Mystery Plays.


Catholic School in Spain Backtracks, Parents No Longer Forced to Accept Pro-Homosexual Course

Action is the result of human rights organization ranking of school as violator of right to conscientious objection

Last week (HO), a Madrid-based rights protection organization, began ranking schools in Spain based on their policy on conscientious objection by parents towards a national pro-homosexual course, Catholic News Agency Reports. Since then certain schools are beginning to rethink their position regarding the course and those who object to it.

The controversial Educacion para la Ciudadana (EcP) (Education for Citizenship) Course, was introduced last January by the socialist government under Prime Minister Zapatero. Intended to replace ethics classes, the compulsory course teaches that abortion, homosexuality and various other sexual behaviors are acceptable above parental objection. It also denies objective truth, forming a child's moral sense from an atheistic and materialistic perspective (see here).

Despite these facts, the course is being taught in educational centers throughout all of Catholic Spain, including schools run by religious congregations, says CNA. Furthermore, these institutions are violating the right to conscientious objection that is constitutionally sanctioned in Spain.

Since HO began ranking schools, however, certain schools are seriously rethinking their position. The most notable case is Our Lady of the Pillar School in Madrid, one of the centers run by the Marianist organization in Spain. The school corrected its stance on the right of conscientious objection by parents the very day that HO publicized the school's ranking. Now it is one of 57 Spanish schools that do "not bind objectors".

Created last week by, the website ranks schools according to their attitude towards the new course. Schools that promote or at least consider objections against the EcP are marked green. Schools that do not bind objectors are marked yellow while those that violate the right of conscientious objection are marked red.

Since the creation of the website, it has ranked dozens of institutions throughout all of Spain, including Madrid, Toledo, Majadahonda, Valdemoro and Huelva. Currently, nine expressly forbid parents to withdraw their children from the course. The website encourages people to contact and participate in ranking their own school.



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.