I'm less concerned about Obama's association with Ayers and Dohrn than some political chatterers seem to be. I've never doubted that Obama shared some of the leftist views of people more radical than he (a touch pink? You don't say!) And I don't really fear that he's a closet bomb-thrower; there's simply no evidence that Barack Obama wants to implement his political views by force -- at least, not by force beyond that permitted by the "legitimate" political system.
But I am intrigued by the rather friendly treatment that Ayers and Dohrn receive in contrast to terrorists who adhere to different flavors of violent authoritarianism.
And I do mean authoritarianism. While press coverage tends to emphasize Ayers' and Dohrn's anti-war activism (and to refer to the bombers as "radicals" rather than "terrorists"), their ideology encompasses rather more than skepticism about the long-gone bloodbath in Vietnam. They're hostile to the market system, fond of socialism and openly solicitous of repressive political leaders who share their goals. On his blog (they're very modern radicals), Ayers writes of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela:
Despite being under constant attack from within and from abroad, the Bolivarian revolution has made astonishing strides in a brief period: from the Mission Simoncito to the Mission Robinson to the Mission Ribas to the Mission Sucre, to the Bolivarian schools and the UBV, Venezuelans have shown the world that with full participation, full inclusion, and popular empowerment, the failings of capitalist schooling can be resisted and overcome. Venezuela is a beacon to the world in its accomplishment of eliminating illiteracy in record time, and engaging virtually the entire population in the ongoing project of education.Chavez has engaged "virtually the entire population" by requiring even private schools to adopt his regime's politicized curriculum, under threat of nationalization. That's the sort of political ideology that "radical" professors Ayers and Dohrn find attractive, and which drove their (still fondly remembered) bombing campaign.
Compare the treatment of this pair to, say Eric Rudolph. Rudolph is another political terrorist who also spent years as a fugitive, apparently assisted, like Ayers and Dohrn, by sympathizers. Driven by hatred of gays and lesbians and opposition to abortion, Rudolph planted bombs that killed two people and injured over 100. In his 2005 statement, Rudolph said:
Abortion is murder. And when the regime in Washington legalized, sanctioned and legitimized this practice, they forfeited their legitimacy and moral authority to govern. ...Like the former Weathermen, Rudolph remains unrepentant. Referring to his bombing of an abortion clinic, he wrote, "I have no regrets or remorse for my actions that day in January, and consider what happened morally justified."
There is no more legitimate reason to my knowledge, for renouncing allegiance to and if necessary using force to drag this monstrosity of a government down to the dust where it belongs. ...
Along with abortion, another assault upon the integrity of American society is the concerted effort to legitimize the practice of homosexuality. ...
[W]hen the attempt is made to drag this practice out of the closet and into the public square in an "in your face" attempt to force society to accept and recognize this behavior as being just as legitimate and normal as the natural man/woman relationship, every effort should be made, including force if necessary, to halt this effort.
Unlike Ayers and Dohrn, however, Rudolph is serving hard time in prison -- multiple consecutive life terms without parole. Ayers never served time and Dohrn spent less than a year in prison for refusing to testify about a Weather Underground heist in which a guard and two police officers were killed. And there's never been any question about Rudolph's status: press accounts regularly (and accurately, I would say) refer to him as a "terrorist," denying him the nudge-and-wink "radical" status afforded to the lefty bombers.
While it's unlikely that we'll ever get the chance to see whether any American universities are eager to award Rudolph with a tenured teaching job, it's safe to say that the authoritarian right-wing bomber is treated rather more roughly by the press and the intellectual establishment than are the authoritarian left-wing bombers. Ayers and Dohrn are widely presented as otherwise-respectable activists who went a tad too far, while Rudolph is generally described as the unpleasant product of hate, intolerance and the dark underbelly of rural American society. The association of a presidential hopeful with Ayers and Dohrn may excite scattered raised eyebrows -- and talk that the issue is an overblown bit of "Obama backlash"-- among the all-of 26 news stories on the matter that a Google search turns up as of February 24. But it's hard to believe that McCain's campaign would enjoy the same nonchalant treatment if it turned out that he'd broken bread with Rudolph at a pro-life fundraiser.
The difference is likely one of culture and familiarity. Journalists, academics and intellectuals run into even the most radical leftists often enough that the likes of Ayers and Dohrn might seem excessive without coming across as unsympathetic. That sort of familiarity can result in the occasional howler, such as the misty-eyed 1990 New York Times story on a failing retirement home populated by "political idealists" -- aging communists with a lingering nostalgia for Lenin. It's hard to believe the Grey Lady would have run a similar piece about octogenarian German-American bundists pining for Adolph. But I'm certain that aging reds strike many journalists as quaint, while old brownshirts just come across as pathetic -- despite the comparable body counts of the two totalitarian ideologies.
So the minor kerfuffle over Obama's association with Ayers and Dohrn says less about the candidate -- who did nothing most of his peers would find unacceptable -- than it does about the thinking of a certain part of the American political and intellectual establishment. Violence to achieve political change may be a no-no, but it's a minor transgression in the service of a sympathetic kind of politics, and a reprehensible crime when implemented for the wrong ideas. And the fact that the sympathetic kind of politics is as repressive as the wrong kind? Well, that says something too.
British police useless at real policing
Persecuting ordinary decent people is all that they are good at
The man convicted yesterday of murdering two women and trying to kill a third was left free to continue his campaign of violence against women because of basic investigative errors by police. Levi Bellfield was found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Kate Sheedy. He was then identified as the prime suspect for the unsolved murder of the schoolgirl Milly Dowler.
A Scotland Yard task force has been set up to investigate Bellfield's possible connection to a series of 20 murders, attempted murders and other attacks dating back 25 years. Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton said that Bellfield was a dangerous man and that women would be safer now that he was behind bars. He stalked his victims, all young and blonde, as they waited for - or stepped off - buses late at night. Police said that they expected more victims of Bellfield, 39, a wheelclamper, to come forward after his picture was published widely for the first time.
As officers promised to uncover the full extent of Bellfield's crimes, it became clear that vital clues were missed that could have led to his arrest two years before he was eventually detained. Four officers from the Metropolitan Police have been reprimanded for serious errors in the inquiry into the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy in Isleworth in May 2004, three months before Miss Delagrange's death. Bellafield had attacked Miss Sheedy, now 21, with his car, knocking her down then driving over her twice. The Independent Police Complaints Commission found that officers had looked at the wrong day's CCTV footage, thereby failing to spot Bellfield's car stalking Miss Sheedy.
The Times has learnt that the written warning given to one officer was considered so serious that it was handed down by a Deputy Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard.
Police in Surrey investigating Milly Dowler's death failed to follow up on house-to-house inquries that could have led them to Bellfield in 2002 - before the murders of Miss McDonnell in 2003 and Miss Delagrange in 2004. They called 11 times at the house of Emma Mills, Bellfield's girlfriend, but after being told that she had moved they did not trace her new address. Miss Mills was by then living with Bellfield in West Drayton, West London. She has since been able to tell police that she owned a red Daewoo car of the kind seen on CCTV near Walton station on the day that Milly went missing. The car was reported stolen four days later. It has also emerged that a man in a similar car attempted to abduct a girl in the area the day before Milly disappeared.
A previous girlfriend of Bellfield's had a daughter who was a schoolfriend of Milly. The schoolgirl had been to her classmate's for tea and was thought to have met Bellfield. Miss Mills is also understood to have told detectives that, on the night of Milly's disappearance, Bellfield got out of bed at 4am and told her that he was going "to take care of the dog" at her flat in Walton. Detectives think this might have been when Bellfield went to dispose of Milly's body. Her remains were found in September 2002 in woods at Yateley Heath, Hampshire, an area known to Bellfield, who attended car auctions nearby.
Surrey police have issued a fresh appeal for information about the Daewoo car and are offering a œ50,000 reward for evidence leading to the conviction of Milly's murderer. Bob and Sally Dowler, Milly's parents, appealed for new witnesses to come forward. They said: "Milly was a loved and loving daughter and sister. She had every right to expect a happy, rich life ahead of her. As parents, how could we imagine anything else? We are pleading for anyone who knows anything to have the courage to speak up."
Surrey police sources emphasised that nothing had emerged in 2002 to make Bellfield a suspect. At the time he had nine previous convictions and there was intelligence to suggest that he made silent phone calls to women. "He was way off the radar, it was not until he was picked up in connection with the Amelie Delagrange murder that he began to be a possible suspect," said one source.
Bellfield was caught eventually by a combination of painstaking detective work and a bizarre stroke of luck. A police telephone hotline set up after the murder of Miss Delagrange received 129 calls from women who suspected that men they knew might be the killer. One woman said that Bellfield, who had violently attacked her during their relationship, was capable of killing women. At the same time officers were studying CCTV pictures from the streets around Twickenham Green on the night of the young French woman's murder. They appeared to show that she was followed by a white Ford Courier van but were too blurred to yield the vehicle's numberplate or driver. A smudge on the roof and two aluminium rear plates were the only things to mark it out from 26,000 similar vehicles in Britain.
The search for the van produced information about a wheelclamper who had bought a similar van for cash a few months earlier. The man had left his mobile phone number with the vehicle's previous owner. Then came the stroke of luck. When the phone number was punched into the police intelligence system, it matched with the number of a man who had called the antiterrorist hotline months earlier to report suspicions about his neighbour. The man was Levi Bellfield - the same name given by the woman caller. Surveillance revealed that his white van had similar markings to the one caught on CCTV.
His phone had also rung moments before Miss Delagrange was attacked. Bellfield, whose awareness of forensic science meant that he normally had his phone off before attacking his victims, immediately switched it off. But both the call and the act of switching the phone off left traces on the network that placed Bellfield at the murder scene. When police raided his home to arrest him in November 2004 they found him cowering in the loft.
The jury was unable to reach verdicts in connection with two other attacks, on Anna-Maria Rennie, then 17, in Whitton, South West London, in October 2001, and Irma Dragoshi, then 33, in December 2003. There was no evidence that any of his victims had been sexually assaulted.
The Netherlands Fouls Its Own Nest
Post below lifted from Gates of Vienna. See the original for links
It is so disgusting that I do not trust myself to comment very much. The Netherlands seemed to be programmed now to kill off its own as soon as possible, while it demonstrates a truly perverted sense of justice. This story is the perfect example:
[A] woman who drove over and killed a Moroccan thief in Amsterdam three years ago has been living in secret locations since, for fear of retaliation. At the order of the judge, the woman has however been tracked down and taken to court. The woman is being tried for causing the death of Ali El Bejatti. On 17 January 2005, this Moroccan youth opened her car door and snatched her handbag. The woman reversed against the boy, who was on a scooter. He was crushed against a tree, broke his neck and died.That was not their original take on the accident. Three years ago, they considered her the victim:
The woman has been in hiding for three years, according to her lawyer Cees Korvinus. She is so afraid of reprisals that she moved from hiding-place to hiding-place, De Telegraaf quoted the lawyer as saying yesterday. The police advised her to go into hiding after the incident, according to the newspaper.
Korvinus entered a request yesterday for the judges to be replaced. This was in reaction to their decision that the session will be public. The court administrators rejected Korvinus' request. Korvinus wanted the case to be heard behind closed doors because the woman fears that a public hearing will increase the danger she claims she is in. The judge did permit the woman to hide her face yesterday with a scarf so that she could not be recognised.
The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) announced yesterday it was demanding a jail sentence of 30 months for the woman. The OM is charging her with manslaughter because she deliberately took the risk of seriously injuring El Bejatti.
The woman has stated that the collision was an accident. The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) initially concluded this as well, but later decided to prosecute her after all.This is Whim Theory as it applies to the law in the Netherlands.
Originally, the trial began without the woman present, but the judge "had her tracked her down to a secret address." Nor will he allow her to put a scarf on her face to protect her identity. He wants the bull's eye target as large and recognizable as possible.
Her lawyer describes her as "dead scared" that appearing in court will cause a fatwah to be issued against her - which will, of course, make it open season on the woman for the devout. Meanwhile her psychiatrist reports that she lives "in a state of constant fear of death." Well, duh.
The person who robbed her and died for his efforts had previously been in court that day on charges of armed robbery. The OM demanded a two-year jail sentence for El Bejatti, but the judge must have disagreed because he was free that very evening to meet his death in another attempted heist.
The solution to the problem is quite easy: this woman just needs to get over her fear of death. Problem solved. And if there is a hell, may this vengeful judge rot there.
British Gas broke into our house, say couple who owed them nothing
An Englishman's home is a long way from being his castle these days
When David Houghton returned home from a holiday, he was horrified to find the lock on his front door had been picked. But it wasn't thieves who had broken into his home. It was British Gas. The energy giant had taken the drastic - and perfectly legal - step in a row over an unpaid bill, even though it later emerged that Mr Houghton did not owe the company a penny.
The 34-year-old's nightmare began in July 2005, when he bought a two-bedroom flat in Willesden Green, North London, with his girlfriend Abby Simpson. He immediately decided to ditch the property's contract with British Gas for a better deal with rivals EDF. But the British Gas computer system wrongly continued to bill the couple. Mr Houghton dealt with numerous threats of legal action and visits from the bailiffs, before a personal apology from the energy giant's managing director, Phil Bentley, convinced him that his troubles were over.
But when the couple went on a long weekend to New York in June last year, they returned home to a nasty surprise. While they were away, British Gas had swapped their meter for a pay-as-you-go version. To do so, an engineer and locksmith had sneaked into the flat by picking the locks on the front door and an internal door. They then left a note informing the couple what they had done. British Gas switches customers to pay-as-you go meters if they consistently fail to pay their bills.
Investigators have since worked out that it was the occupants of the next-door flat who owed the money to British Gas. The company has now apologised, blaming the bungle on incorrect records at the National Grid and problems with the address at Royal Mail. It has also given Mr Houghton and Miss Simpson 200 pounds.
However, the watchdog Energywatch last night demanded that the gas supplier fully compensate the couple. Mr Houghton said: "I am totally disgusted and bewildered by their behaviour. "I spoke to manager after manager at their call centres and each time was promised the problem had been sorted out." Between 2005 and the break-in two years later, the bill demands rose from 90 to 900 pounds. Mr Houghton said: "We sent them letters in response but then the bailiffs came round trying to get access."
A spokesman for the company claimed last night that the Gas Act allows workers to break into a customer's home to change the meter, providing he or she has been warned in advance. However, Mr Houghton claims he was never notified. He added: "It felt so intrusive that they had been in our flat and could have gone into every room if they'd wanted to.
"I called the police, who said they weren't interested because nothing had been taken." Graham Kerr, a spokesman for Energywatch, said: "Mr Houghton and his partner have had appalling treatment from British Gas. "Having your home broken into is a traumatic experience and that blow isn't softened by the perpetrator being a household name that just happened to make a mistake."
A British Gas spokesman said: 'Our managing director, Phil Bentley, has spoken to Mr Houghton and apologised. "We've since corrected our records, changed the meter back and Mr Houghton has been given 200 pounds in compensation."
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.
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