American Thinker publishes today Joseph Myers' critical assessment of Homeland Security's new terror lexicon, "Strategic Collapse in the War on Terror", as it published my own analysis, "Flying Blind in the War on Terror", last week. This new lexicon adopted by both Homeland Security and the State Department's Counterterrorism Communications Center, directs government employees to cease using the terms "jihad", "jihadist", and "mujahedeen" to describe Islamic terrorists.
The memos were publicly released by Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Friday, but inquiries by Emerson about which Muslim leaders exactly advised Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff on this widely criticized policy were rebuffed. But past news reports have identified at least some of the Muslim advisors consulted by Homeland Security, and at least two of these advisors made recommendations that directly contradict the new policy. Last June, the San Francisco Chronicle identified four of Chertoff's Muslim advisors: Shahed Amanullah, Akbar Ahmed, M.J. Khan, and Resa Azlan. And in direct opposition to the new government terror lexicon, at least two of these Muslim advisors recommended using "jihadist" to describe Islamic terrorists, as that is the term used by most Arab Muslims today:
Starting the conversation about terrorism is problematic. The term "Islamofascism," used by President Bush and others, offends Muslims who believe their faith condones no violence and other religions are rife with examples of terrorism. Many Muslims also reject terms such as "Islamic terrorism," "Islamist terrorists" or "Muslim terrorists" for the same reason.This raises serious questions about how exactly Homeland Security arrived at its conclusions, when the very Muslim advisors it solicited advocated for the very terminology that Chertoff has now banned. Who exactly advised them in favor of this new lexicon? Could it be the case that these Muslim advisors were brought in to provide cover to a policy that had already been predetermined?
Amanullah and Reza Aslan, author of "No god but God" and a professor of religion and creative writing at the UC Riverside, prefer the term "jihadist."
Many Muslims object to it because it modifies the Islamic term "jihad," which refers to an inner struggle -- not a military one. But "jihadist" has been widely adopted in the Arab world as a way to describe terrorists, said Aslan.
Needless to say, this new revelation could be a devastating blow. As Michelle Malkin observed this past week, even the President himself violated the new guidelines this week. Before Chertoff and his minions start congratulating themselves on their extravagant feat of appeasement and political correctness, they should consider that the applause they believe they hear is the sound of one hand clapping.
Kansas Supreme Court blocks abortion coverup
Planned Parenthood shrinks from the light of day
In what is being called a "huge victory for the rule of law", this morning the Kansas Supreme Court unsealed a secret lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood against District Attorney Phill Kline. Planned Parenthood was seeking to have the Court order Kline to return abortion records that are critical evidence in Kline's prosecution of 107 criminal charges against the abortion giant.
Instead, the Court rejected a letter from former Attorney General Paul Morrison "exonerating" Planned Parenthood, indicating that the records showed no criminal conduct by Planned Parenthood. Morrison then engaged in acts meant to force the evidence from Kline's possession in order to cover up criminal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood, who had supported his election campaign. "Every judge that has reviewed the evidence has ruled that there is probable cause to believe that crimes have been committed by Planned Parenthood," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.
Oral arguments in the case are scheduled for June 12. The abortion records were subpoenaed by Kline when he was attorney general. When still the attorney general, Kline received permission from Judge Richard Anderson to forward the records to the Johnson County District Attorney's office, with the court's full knowledge that Kline had been appointed to that post. Planned Parenthood secretly sued Kline to get the records back, a suit that was joined first by Morrison, and then by Attorney General Stephen Six after Morrison's resignation due to a sex and corruption scandal.
"It is wrong that the subject of a criminal investigation should be allowed to misuse secret proceedings to harass a prosecutor with falsehoods and spurious personal attacks as Planned Parenthood has done," said Newman. "Now that this case has been unsealed, we trust that the truth of Planned Parenthood's wrongdoing and the obstructionist attitude of the Attorney General's office will finally come out."
"The mantra from the AG's office has always been that the records must be returned in order to protect patient privacy, but that couldn't be further from the truth. All patient identifying information was redacted long ago. One has to wonder about the integrity of the attorney general's office that continues to promulgate such untrue statements," said Newman. "In the interest of justice, Kline's evidence must be allowed to be seen in a court of law at the time of trial and let a judge and jury decide. That's the American way," said Newman.
More British "safety" paranoia
For thousands of years people have used bridges made from split tree trunks to cross the small streams and rivers that cross Dartmoor. Now the last surviving "clam bridge" is to be closed to walkers because of 21st-century compensation culture, although there is no record of serious injury to anyone using it. The 20ft-long oak timbers of the bridge in the village of Lustleigh in Devon straddle the River Bovey at a point that has probably been used as a crossing since the Bronze Age more than 2,500 years ago.
The bridge will be sealed off this week despite protests by villagers who say that it is part of Dartmoor's heritage. It is being closed because no one will accept ownership for fear of being sued if anyone falls off. The bridge would have been demolished but for a campaign by residents of Lustleigh and nearby Manaton. More than 470 people signed a petition to save it.
Engineers from Devon County Council condemned the bridge because its simple design and single handrail did not conform to modern British Standards. Last year they installed a steel bridge, which cost œ35,000 and had to be lowered into place by helicopter. The county council then said that it would no longer accept responsibility for repairs to the old bridge, whose timbers need to be replaced every 20 years or so.
Dartmoor National Park Authority agreed to help the two local parish councils to pay for repairs but only if the bridge was closed. It also refused to accept any liability for its use.
Nick Hewison, a member of Lustleigh Parish Council who has campaigned to save the bridge, said: "We have achieved our first objective by preventing the clam bridge being demolished. The National Park are now offering to help to repair it but the issue is what happens afterwards. It's the last bridge of its kind on the moor and it is likely that something very similar has crossed the river for hundreds of years, maybe thousands.
"We didn't think there was a need for the new bridge but the county council say they have to comply with safety standards. They have changed fundamentally an idyllic corner of Dartmoor. Dartmoor National Park has a duty to preserve the beauty, culture and heritage of the moor but they have been more concerned with risk and that threatened to override their responsibilities. "This is a footbridge in a remote part of Dartmoor only accessed by a very rocky path which is probably more risky than crossing the bridge. The subtlety of its history seemed to escape the officials, who felt that since it was replaced every 20 years it could not be all that old. That is like saying a thatched house is only as old as when its roof was last replaced. "The bridge is mentioned in the oldest guides to Dartmoor and within 500 yards of it on either side are Bronze Age stone circles."
A report to the national park authority said that there had been cases of people and dogs falling off the old bridge, which became submerged and impassable at high water levels. It added: "The new bridge provides a safe, accessible route across the river which is appropriate to modern needs."
Young Australians 'losing' male role models
This is right. What male in his right mind would be a schoolteacher these days? And suspicion of queer scoutmasters keeps a lot of kids away from Scouts
The social development of many young Australians may be stunted because potential male role models will not engage with them for fear of being wrongly accused of child abuse. Men are worried about putting themselves in positions where such an allegation may be levelled against them, either within families and more broadly at school or in social settings such as team sports, warns Australian Institute of Family Studies director Alan Hayes.
This may add to the problems of the current generation of children, who are more anxious and have more developmental problems and mental health issues than previously, he says. In a paper presented to the Australian Family Law conference, Professor Hayes notes that while the significance of harm caused by child abuse should not be underestimated, the public focus on shocking instances has wider ramifications, particularly on the raising of boys.
"Within families, concern over child sexual abuse has ... altered the nature of relationships and the behaviour of fathers and male members of extended families particularly," he writes in the paper, to be published this week in the AIFS Family Matters series. "There is a sense in which families have also been touched by what, at times, can be an overly fearful focus on child abuse. "Beyond the family, the changes have been even more marked, with increasing anxiety surrounding children's interaction with their teachers, clergy and coaches, among others. "The fear of accusations of sexual abuse may be one driver ... for the decline in the proportion of males entering teaching."
Professor Hayes says the reported levels of child abuse in 2006-07 -- 309,517 notifications and 58,567 substantiated cases involving 32,585 children -- underestimates the prevalence of the problem. He says Aboriginal children are among those most at risk. But this, he says, represents 0.7per cent of the child population aged 0-16. "While there can be no room for complacency about a situation such as this in a nation with the advancement and wealth we possess, the unanticipated negative effects on the rest of the population also cannot be ignored."
He says the problem is most acute for the nearly 30 per cent of children growing up in single-parent households or households with a step-parent. "For both boys and girls, especially those growing up in sole-parent families, the lack of male role models is of concern."
Professor Hayes says other factors are making the current generation of children's lives more challenging, including the fact that more children are being born into disadvantaged homes.
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 blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.