Saturday, February 02, 2008

UK Government Education Guidelines: Don't use terms "Mom" and "Dad"

One reason why Brit schools are failing to teach basic knowledge and skills: They are too busy inculcating far-Leftist propaganda

Government guidelines for training school officials to be more sensitive to homosexuality, instruct teachers not to use the terms "mum and dad" when referring to students' parents, and to treat "even casual" use of terms like "gay" as equal to racism. The guidedance was commissioned by the Labour government directly from the homosexual lobby group Stonewall. The document was launched today at a Stonewall conference by Schools Secretary Ed Balls.

Ed Balls said, "Homophobic insults should be viewed as seriously as racism." "Even casual use of homophobic language in schools can create an atmosphere that isolates young people and can be the forerunner of more serious forms of bullying."

The guidelines say that the word "parents" must replace "mum and dad", and that teachers should educate pupils about civil partnerships and gay adoption rights.

In Britain's current political climate, even young children have been subject to police interventions on accusations of making "racist" or "homophobic" comments. In October 2006, a 14-year-old school girl was arrested by police and detained in a cell for three hours after she asked to be moved into a group of students who spoke English in class. Stott was denounced to police for "racism" by her teachers. In April 2007, a ten-year-old boy was questioned after the boy sent an email calling another boy "gay".

In the "Frequently Asked Questions" section of the guidelines, in answer to the question, "We have to respect cultural and religious differences. Does this mean pupils can be homophobic?" the guidelines specifically state that those with religious views regarded by the homosexual movement as "intolerant" must be silent. "A person can hold whatever views they want but expressing views that denigrate others is unacceptable."

For Stonewall, youth and sexual innocence is no reason for an exemption. To the objection that primary school students are too young to understand issues of homosexuality, the guidelines respond, "Primary-school pupils may be too young to understand their own sexual orientation but it is likely that some primary-school pupils will know someone who is gay." "Homophobic language is used in primary schools without the pupils necessarily realising what it is that they are saying. Primary schools should respond to homophobic bullying in an age-appropriate way whilst demonstrating that it is not acceptable in school."

For parents who object to their children being exposed to instruction on homosexuality, the guidelines say, "Regardless of their views on gay people or sexual orientation, parents and carers have to understand that schools have a responsibility to keep pupils safe."

Stonewall, perhaps the most successful homosexual activist organization in the world, has been accepted by the Labour government, first under Tony Blair and now by Gordon Brown's leadership, as the leading voice on all issues regarding homosexuality. The guidelines take this a step further in actually allowing the lobby group to author a government document.

Under Tony Blair's "New Labour" government, Section 28 - the law which banned the promotion of homosexuality in schools, was repealed. Since then, homosexual activists have used their influence in Parliament to implement a full roster of training for both teachers and students in normalizing homosexuality.


Standoff in Minnesota Over Elephant Rides

A childhood rite of passage may be banned in Minneapolis on Friday, when according to The Star Tribune, the city council is expected to vote on an unusual issue: elephant rides. Leading the charge is a council member named Ralph Remington, who failed to push through a tougher measure last year that would've banned wild-animal circuses from the city. In both cases, public safety and animal cruelty were cited, two worries brought to him by an advocacy group based in Minnesota called Circus Reform Yes.

A fact sheet on the group's Web site lists harsh confinement and training practices and a total of 30 humans who have been killed worldwide since 1990 in connection with "elephants in performance situations." Critics of the effort say those concerns are overblown. Last September, Minnesota Public Radio interviewed one such critic, who offered an irresistible comparison:
"There's been more people hurt by roller coasters in the last 10 years than there has been by elephants. Nobody wants to ban roller coasters," says Minneapolis police Sgt. Timothy Davison. He may not be an expert on roller coasters, but does know a thing or two about elephants. Before he became a cop, Davison was an elephant trainer and caregiver. Davison worked regularly with the Shrine Circus and disputes the contention by activists who charge that circus animals are routinely mistreated.
Readers of the Star-Tribune have been voting 3-to-1 against the ban in an (unscientific) online poll that is still under way. If the measure passes, the city may lose more than just the elephant rides. Only one animal circus visits the city of lakes these days, and a top official of the show vowed to "seriously consider leaving the city if we can't do elephant rides."



The Left are so stupid sometimes that it is amusing

The Boston Globe has just run an op-ed under the headline "Ending the Stranglehold on Gaza." The authors are Eyad al-Sarraj, identified as founder of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, and Sara Roy, identified as senior research scholar at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. The bias of the op-ed speaks for itself, and I won't even dwell on it. But I do want to call attention to this sentence:

Although Gaza daily requires 680,000 tons of flour to feed its population, Israel had cut this to 90 tons per day by November 2007, a reduction of 99 percent.

You don't need to be a math genius to figure out that if Gaza has a population of 1.5 million, as the authors also note, then 680,000 tons of flour a day come out to almost half a ton of flour per Gazan, per day.

A typographical error at the Boston Globe? Hardly. The two authors used the same "statistic" in an earlier piece. They copied it from an article published in the Ahram Weekly last November, which reported that "the price of a bag of flour has risen 80 per cent, because of the 680,000 tonnes the Gaza Strip needs daily, only 90 tonnes are permitted to enter." Sarraj and Roy added the bit about this being "a reduction of 99 percent."

Note how an absurd and impossible "statistic" has made its way up the media feeding chain. It begins in an Egyptian newspaper, is cycled through a Palestinian activist, is submitted under the shared byline of a Harvard "research scholar," and finally appears in the Boston Globe, whose editors apparently can't do basic math. Now, in a viral contagion, this spreads across the Internet, where that "reduction of 99 percent" becomes a well-attested fact.

What's the truth? I see from a 2007 UN document that Gaza consumes 450 tons of flour daily. The Palestinian Ministry of Economy, according to another source, puts daily consumption at 350 tons. So the figure for total consumption retailed by Sarraj and Roy is off by more than three orders of magnitude, i.e. a factor of 1,000. No doubt, there's less flour shipped from Israel into Gaza--maybe it's those rocket barrages from Gaza into Israel?--but even if it's only the 90 tons claimed by Sarraj and Roy, it isn't anything near a "reduction of 99 percent." Unfortunately, if readers are going to remember one dramatic "statistic" from this op-ed, this one is it--and it's a lie.

Sarraj is a psychiatrist, but his co-author, Sara Roy, bills herself in her bio as a "political economist." Her research, the bio reports, is "primarily on the economic, social and political development of the Gaza Strip." You would think someone with this claim to expertise would know better than to copy some impossible pseudo-statistic on the consumption of the most basic foodstuff in Gaza. Indeed, in a piece she wrote a decade ago, she herself put Gaza's daily consumption of flour at 275 tons. Did she even read her own op-ed before she sent it off to Boston's leading paper? If she did, what we have here is a textbook example of the difference between a "political economist" and an economist.


Obama's antisemitic adviser on Israel

Barack Obama's real thinking about Israel and the Middle East continues to be an enigma. The words he chose in an address to AIPAC create a different impression than the composition of his foreign policy advisory team. Several advisors have evidenced a history of suspicion and worse toward Israel. One of his advisors in particular, Robert Malley, clearly warrants attention, as does the reasoning that led him to being chosen by Barack Obama. [Note: "Malley" here appears to be an Arab name, not an Irish name. His father was a Syrian] ...

Robert Malley's writings strike me as being akin to propaganda. One notable example is an op-ed that was published in the New York Times (Fictions About the Failure at Camp David ). The column indicted Israel for not being generous enough at Camp David and blamed the failure of the talks on the Israelis.

Malley has repeated this line of attack in numerous op-eds over the years, often co-writing with Hussein Agha, a former adviser to Yasser Arafat (see, for example, Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors ). He was also believed to be the chief source for an article by Deborah Sontag that whitewashed Arafat's role in the collapse of the peace process, an article that has been widely criticized as riddled with errors and bias.

Malley is a revisionist and his views are sharply at odds with the views of others who participated at Camp David, including Ambassador Dennis Ross and President Bill Clinton. Malley's myth-making has been peddled in the notably anti-Israel magazine, Counterpunch and by Norman Finkelstein, the failed academic recently denied tenure at DePaul University. Malley's Camp David propaganda has also become fodder for Palestinians, Arab rejectionists, and anti-Israel activists across the world....

Malley has written a range of pieces over the years that reveal an agenda at work that should give pause to those Obama supporters who truly care about peace in the Middle Peace and the fate of our ally Israel.
Playing Into Sharon's Hands: which absolves Arafat of the responsibility to restrain terrorists and blames Israel for terrorism. He defends Arafat and hails him as ..the first Palestinian leader to recognize Israel, relinquish the objective of regaining all of historic Palestine and negotiate for a two-state solution based on the pre-1967 boundaries. And he remains for now the only Palestinian with the legitimacy to sell future concessions to his people.

Rebuilding a Damaged Palestine: which blames Israel's security operations for weakening Palestinian security forces (absurd on its face: terrorists filled the ranks of so-called Palestinian security forces-which, in any case, never tried to prevent terrorism) and calls for international forces to restrain the Israelis

Making the Best of Hamas's Victory: which called for international aid to be showered upon a Hamas-led government and for international engagement with Hamas (a group that makes clear in its Charter, its schools, and its violence its intent to destroy Israel). Malley also makes an absurd assertion: that Hamas' policies and Israeli policies are mirror images of each other.

Avoiding Failure with Hamas: which again calls for aid to flow to a Hamas-led government and even goes so far as to suggest that failure to extend aid could cause an environmental or health catastrophe-such as a human strain of the avian flu virus!

How to Curb the Tension in Gaza: which criticizes Israel's for its actions to recover Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped and is being held hostage in the Gaza Strip. He and co-writer Gareth Evans call Israel's actions `collective punishment" in "violation of international law".....
Robert Malley also testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February, 2004. In that appearance he called for the Road Map to be cast aside because incremental measures intended to build trust were unworkable. He advocated that a comprehensive settlement plan be imposed on the parties with the backing of the international community, including Arab and Moslem states. He anticipated that Israel would object with "cries of unfair treatment" but counseled the plan be put in place regardless of such objections; he also suggested that waiting for a "reliable Palestinian partner' was unnecessary.

This is merely a sample of Malley's views -- which are focused on disengaging from our ally Israel (whose lead America should not "follow") and engaging with and, in some cases financially supporting, the likes of Syria, Moqtada al-Sadr, Hezbollah and Hamas. His ideology is radically at odds with American foreign policy as it has been practiced by two generations of Presidents -- both Democrats and Republicans -- over the years. This is the type of advocacy Robert Malley has been pursuing in the years since the end of the Clinton Administration and from his perch at the International Crisis Group -- an organization that may share his agenda.

The International Crisis Group

Robert Malley is the Director of the Middle East/North Africa Program at the International Crisis Group (ICG). Given the impressive title of the group, one might expect it to have along and impressive pedigree -- say long the lines of the well-regarded Council of Foreign Relations. In fact, the group is rather small and it has a short pedigree. More importantly, it has ties to George Soros. Soros is a man who has supported a wide variety of groups that have shown a propensity to criticize America and Israel; a man who has made clear his goal is to break the close bonds between America and Israel ; supported the views of Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer whose work on the issue of the "Israel Lobby" has been widely criticized for factual inaccuracies, shoddy research, and has been called "anti-Semitic" in the Washington Post; a man who has taken steps to counter the supposed political influence of the pro-Israel community in America; a man who has also been a key financial backer of Senator Obama's; and a man who can activate a wide variety of 527 (c) and other activist groups for any politician he supports.....

Why would Barack Obama have on his foreign policy staff a man who has been widely criticized for a revisionist history of the Middle East peace process sharply at odds with all other accounts of the proceedings? Why would Barack Obama give credibility to a man who seems to have an agenda that includes empowering our enemies and weakening our friends and allies? How did Robert Malley, with a record of writing that reveals a willingness to twist facts to serve a political agenda, come to be appointed by Obama to his foreign staff?

Was it a recommendation of Zbigniew Brzezinski to bring on board another anti-Israel foreign policy expert? What role did the left-wing anti-Israel activist George Soros play in placing Robert Malley (or for that matter, Brzezinski himself) in a position to influence the future foreign policy of America? What does it say about Senator Obama's judgment that he appointed a man like Malley to be a top foreign policy advisor? Or does it speak more to his true beliefs?

Much 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.


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