Saturday, June 14, 2008

British cops surrender to Leftist thugs

BRITISH National Party members set to stage a controversial summer festival stormed out of a licensing meeting after police objected to their plan at the eleventh hour. However the BNP has vowed to go ahead with the event on land off Codnor Denby Lane despite withdrawing its application for a council license to sell alcohol and play live music.

BNP members were confronted by more than 30 protesters opposed to the party, who chanted and waved placards outside Ripley Town Hall before the meeting.

Derbyshire Constabulary had initially raised no objections to the festival, due to take place in August. However it changed its mind and submitted an objection after Amber Valley Borough Council's deadline after receiving "significant intelligence" opponents of the BNP would try and cause trouble at the event.

Party representatives told the council's licensing board on Tuesday the claims were "spurious and politically motivated" before branding the hearing a farce and withdrawing the application.

Craig Sutherland, solicitor for Derbyshire Police, told the meeting: "The fact is we are expecting trouble at this event. "We didn't object to this festival in 2007, and we didn't object initially in 2008 however towards the end of May the intelligence picture changed. "We have started to receive intelligence to say that groups opposed to the BNP may attack people attending this festival. "Having a large number of individuals with opposing views together in one area like this is going to be a powder keg."

Mr Sutherland told the panel that if they were willing to let the event go ahead they would like to see several new conditions in place including a seven foot high fence around the entire site and temporary security lighting installed.

John Walker, national treasurer of the BNP, said afterwards: "We came here with an open mind. As it went on we came to the conclusion that it was becoming a farce because of the hoops we were being asked to jump through by Derbyshire Police. "The police have caved in to mob rule. We are going to withdraw this application and this event will go ahead without a licence."

BNP member Alan Warner, who hosts the event on his land in Denby, said: "The festival will be going ahead. We won't be selling alcohol but people will be able to bring their own and there will be recorded music and music from the fair ground. "The police still have to police the event. I'm looking forward to it, hopefully it will be even better than last year. We're hoping to have as many as 5000 people here."

Peter Carney, Chief Executive at Amber Valley Borough Council said: "The organisers will now not be permitted to provide any licensable activities during the course of the festival, should it go ahead. They will not be able to sell alcohol on site and live or recorded music as a main activity will not be allowed at the event. "The Council will be considering, with the police, what further steps we will take in respect of the concerns raised by them and by residents at the hearing if the organisers decide to go ahead with the event despite the withdrawal of the application."


Aggressive British police

But only towards law-abiding people

A man who laughed too hard at a comedian on TV ended up being pepper sprayed at his home by UK police and spending the night naked in a cell. Chris Cocker, 36, from Blackburn, laughed so hard while watching BBC TV's Have I Got News For You that he fell off the sofa, the BBC reported. A neighbour in the flat below heard the thud and called police.

"I fell off the settee in hysterics and hit the floor and got myself up and started carrying on watching the telly and the next thing I know there was a knock on the door," Mr Cocker said. The knock was from police officers, but Mr Cocker was not happy to see them and refused to co-operate.

"The bit where I lost it the most was when I shut the door and the policeman had stuck his foot in the doorway and was refusing to let me shut my own front door," he said. Police then pepper-sprayed Mr Cocker, bundled him into a police van and took him to a police station where he said he was stripped naked and made to spend a night in a jail cell, the BBC said.

Lancashire Police said the officers used the pepper spray after fearing for their safety when Mr Cocker became aggressive [What pansies!]. Mr Cocker admitted in court that he had resisted a police officer, the BBC said. He was given a conditional discharge for assault.


Censoring the U.S. military

The Democrats are angry. Despite investing enormous effort undermining the military, things are going fairly well in Iraq. General Petraeus and the surge have been a success, not that you would know that from the media coverage, which has been, to say the least, sparse. The anti-Bush themes of an "Iraqi quagmire" and "surge failure" were premature, and all the congressional show hearings, the choreographed Code Pink performance art and the smears were for naught. The president and the military did it right, and the Democrats got it wrong.

Now it's time for Democrats to change the subject, to distract the public, to pretend the dire predictions and the hysterics were about something else entirely, and hope the short memory of the electorate kills the issue by November. It's also time for a little vengeance on the Pentagon.

The House passed Amendment 56 to the Defense Authorization Act for FY 2009 (384 to 23 in a voice vote), prohibiting the Department of Defense (DOD) from engaging in publicity or "propaganda" programs, banning funding for such programs and calling for an investigation by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) into the DOD Military Analyst Program. The justification is that Pentagon briefings on current operations presented to retired military pundits amounted to manipulating the media, and that it deceived the public with false information about the Iraq war.
"The President and members of his Administration led the country to war on the basis of unproven assertions, later confirmed to be false, and have continued to misrepresent the truth on the ground. The Hodes-DeFazio-DeLauro Amendment, which prohibits the Department of Defense from using funds for propaganda purposes and initiates a GAO and IG investigative report into past use of propaganda, is a vital step toward restoring the public's faith in information stemming from the Pentagon." - Speaker Nancy Pelosi
The three sponsors of the Bill, Representatives Hodes, DeFazio and DeLauro, vote along party lines. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, they hold to their perspective that Iraq is a failure and the American people and the media have been deceived.
"The American people were spun by Bush Administration "message multipliers." They were fed Administration talking points, believing they were getting independent military analysis...Congress cannot allow an Administration to manipulate the public on false propaganda on matters of war and national security." - Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH)

"What happened here was a violation of that law and that anybody would stand here on this floor and say that that law, which we have had in place for more than 50 years, should be repealed or undermined by one narrow-minded Administration or Vice President Cheney or anyone else who wants to manipulate intelligence to the Congress and American people to a war that should not have been initiated." - Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR)

"This is propaganda, it is a military and industrial complex in which military analysts, many who have ties with the contractors making money off of the war and parroting DOD talking points on the air to mislead the American public and the TV networks did nothing to prevent it". - Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)
Webster defines propaganda as the "spreading of ideas or information to further or damage a cause," it is also "ideas or allegations spread for such purpose." The popular connotation of the word is false information, or information used to deceive or mislead. The left uses the word as a negative label for information that does not conform to their view, a tool to demean and discredit, regardless of truth. Their purpose is to dominate what the public sees with their messages and to eliminate contradictory information.

In information warfare, this is called shaping the battle space. Throughout this war, the military has been inundated with negative press. Damaging leaks were rampant, coming from the Democrats in the Senate and the House, from the CIA and the State Department, even from inside the Pentagon. Every setback was exaggerated in an unrelenting information campaign to shape public perception.

Disinformation from our enemies was accepted without critical analysis by much of the media. Papers worldwide splashed every unsubstantiated negative story they could find. Enemy agents posing as stringers were feeding false stories about American atrocities. Terror attacks were timed for the 24-hour news-cycle. The broadcast media's mantra for Iraq was "if it bleeds it leads" writ large. The enemy knew it, and used it.

This relentless media assault frustrated and confounded the military, for whom the lessons of press malfeasance in Vietnam still rankle. How can you prosecute a war against a vicious enemy when your every action may be portrayed as criminal? How can you show success when failure is all Americans are allowed to see and hear? How do you get your message out when the press ignores or alters it? How can you tell the ground truth if no one is there to listen?

The Pentagon had to respond; the onslaught of negative press was affecting the morale of troops performing brilliantly in a very hard fight, and undermining a war effort they were duty bound to prosecute. Rather than inserting "propaganda," the military attempted to get accurate information out, and the only way to do it was to ensure former military commentators had the very best, uncorrupted information possible.

Military pundits already knew from the past that truth on the ground is seldom what's reported on the Six O'clock News. They understood the importance of that information getting through the media spin. On TV, a former officer speaks directly to the American people; the message gets through, unfiltered by the media template, from someone with experience.

The "propaganda" these honorable men presented came from good faith assessments, and verified intelligence and data from the field. Rather than these veterans being conspiratorial liars, as the authors of Amendment 56 would have you believe, some of the most accurate information about Iraq came from them, which is exactly why their briefings anger the Democrats.

There was no spin in General Petraeus' testimony on Capitol Hill. He was professional and honest about the dangers of the surge. He was also clear about the potential success. Congressional Democrats insulted this fine officer, allowed Code Pink lunatics to interrupt him, and pretended to wish him well. They then did everything they could to undermine him. The Democrats have used the men and women of our military as political props, easy targets for their anti-administration hysterics.

The military does not have the luxury of turnstile political alliances and situational ethics. They are loyal, even when betrayed by Congress. The job we have given them is to win our wars, and then they are punished for doing so.

A fact that you will not hear from the press is that military public affairs and media liaison offices stress a strict adherence to truth. Despite the myths we are fed from the left, the military understands that a lie will always come back to haunt you; while truth may be difficult at first, it is a far better and honorable course. The military still believes in honor. While individuals may break this code, they inevitably suffer for it. In each of the supposed "exposes" such as Abu Grab, Hadditha and Guantanamo Bay, the military had already conducted investigations and indicted those suspected of wrongdoing. They needed no prodding from the press.

The New York Times in particular excels at "uncovering" stories that were not hidden, and spinning them into scandal after the fact. An April 20, 2008 article by David Barstow, Behind TV Analysts, Pentagon's Hidden Hand, fueled this controversy. In cherry picked quotes, Barstow spins a dark conspiracy from what would have been called effective press relations in previous years. The hand was not hidden, and in fact was quite open, as evidenced by the easy access Barstow apparently had to program specifics.

All told, this military effort was only a moderate success when compared to the massive message machine the left has built to gain information dominance in the media, also often using taxpayer dollars. The information dominance they enjoy corrupts all the major networks and print media. No specifics on exactly what was misrepresented by military analysts about the Iraq war have been forthcoming from the Times.

Despite the many stories about American misbehavior eventually proven false, there are few retractions. In its arrogance, the press evidently feels it owes the public no correction or apology. However, words and pictures are like bullets; you cannot take them back. Those words wasted American lives, encouraged and enabled our enemies, and caused untold suffering.

Much of what the American people believe about Iraq derives from images, ideas and narratives produced by people who hope for our failure and would gladly abandon Iraq to ruin. The consequence of their advocacy, as ever, does not trouble them. Our failure in Iraq would aid them politically and that is all that matters to some.

Amendment 56 is not about "propaganda." It is about controlling the information environment and hamstringing a source the Democrats cannot control. The difference between factual information and "propaganda" will be what Congressional Democrats determine it is, and ground truth, if told by the military, will require their certification. Amendment 56 is designed to strip one of the military's few defenses against political manipulation. That so many Republicans supported the amendment is more than discouraging. It shows how easily we are duped and how easily we can lose our freedoms to political sleight of hand.

To those of us who remember the last six years' media coverage of the war, the accusations made by the authors of Amendment 56 are absurd. Their claim that military pundits somehow slanted media reporting with disinformation that encouraged support for the war is a cynical political tactic and a significant exaggeration. At best, they were able in a small way to even a very uneven playing field.

In the battle for the hearts and minds of the American people, the Democrats work hard to silence information that undermines their agenda and they are winning. While the military fights for victory, Democrats plot their defeat, not on the battlefield, but in the minds of the very citizens they serve. In this, they diminish us as a nation and inch us ever closer to defeat. The political fight for America's access to the truth, whatever the source, is one battle the military cannot fight for us. They must remain apolitical. This is a fight, we the people, must win for them.


Leftist ethical incoherence

Is there a fundamental definition of evil? Are there things which objectively possess this property independent of the perception of man? CS Lewis, when he was an atheist, found to his surprise that the concepts of good and evil couldn't be banished by the simple expedient of declaring the world meaningless.
My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of just and unjust? A man does not call a line crooked unless he has some idea of a straight line. ... Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too--for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my fancies. Thus in the very act of trying to prove that God did not exist--in other words, that the whole of reality was senseless -I found I was forced to assume that one part of reality--namely my idea of justice--was full of sense. Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be a word without meaning.
The inescapability of having to choose a standard or axioms -- even provisionally -- is the fracture line at the base of moral relativism and multiculturalism. When Richard Dawkins claims that "better many worlds than one god" or a lesser light makes the more pedestrian, but logically equivalent argument of "who's to judge who's right or wrong?", they are making statements that cannot be assigned a consistent truth value. After all, Richard Dawkins undoubtedly believes that he is right; and that his argument contains more intrinsic worth than a character string composed at random by typing monkeys. He could hardly agree to the proposition that it is better to have many monkeys than one Dawkins. And if it is true that no one can judge "who's right or wrong" then who can judge the truth of that assertion itself?

It is this illusory attempt to escape from the need to believe in something -- even provisionally -- that explains why all attempts to enforce an equivalency among all ideas and cultures inevitably creates a fascistic kind of monoculture itself. Belief, denied the front entrance as principle, often smuggles itself in via the backdoor as fascism.

The investigations by the British Columbia Human Rights into the politically incorrect writings of Mark Steyn are a case in point. The idea that all cultures are to be respected transforms itself into the conclusion that the culture in which Mark Steyn can write must be suppressed. Yet ironically the attack on dissenting opinion is justified by appealing to the very culture which is to be suppressed. The Atlantic recalls that during the 1990s Salman Rushdie argued against a British ban on a Pakistani film that depicted him as an alcoholic, lecherous Rambo-like Jewish tool who is eventually hunted down by heroic international Jihadis but who is ultimately destroyed by flying, lightning-bolt spitting Korans.

Rushie argued against the film's ban because it violated a fundamental taboo -- against suppressing speech -- within his own culture. Readers will notice we've arrived at a place almost as murky as the one C.S. Lewis was trying to understand. Fortunately Lewis' framework for making sense of a universe populated by both good and evil can shed light on our more limited problem of figuring out the relationship between freedom and anti-freedom within the framework of freedom itself. The key concept Lewis introduces is one of choice. Not the notion of choice as the fictional ability to do anything without paying a price or suffering the consequences: that is a counterfeit idea of choice composed of the shadows of multiculturalism. But of choice as inherent human ability to select between right and wrong and face the consequences.

It's not necessary to dwell on Lewis' idea of good and evil as a kind of broken symmetry to arrive at the counterintuitive idea that freedom is the outcome of a willingness to assume the consequences for choices. This relationship between consequence and choice is at the kernel of the commonplace expression that "eternal vigilance is the price of liberty". Western society is free to allow every manner of expression only for so long as it is willing to pay the price of doing so. Salman Rushdie's "freedom" to let a Pakistani Jihadi call for his death is based on his willingness to defend that freedom as a fugitive and to struggle on its behalf.

Consider for a moment why Mark Steyn is a "free" man. It is only partly because he is a citizen of Canada but mostly due to his willingness to write without fear; or perhaps more accurately, in despite of it. Anyone who has struggled against tyranny understands this relationship intuitively. Whether you are in the Warsaw Ghetto, the French underground or in safehouse in Sampaloc district in Manila, freedom is always within your reach, if you are willing to pay the price.

Any writer can be as free as Mark Steyn or Salman Rushdie. Our civilization only offers the possibility of being free; and to choose right instead of wrong. No bureaucracy can guarantee it for us. Lewis understood that if one were looking for legitimate reasons to become an atheist, a release from the burden of choice was not one of them. Good and evil, right and wrong were not things you could wholly avoid on the path of life. He wrote:
I know someone will ask me, 'Do you really mean, at this time of day, to re-introduce our old friend the devil-hoofs and horns and all?' Well, what the time of day has to do with it I do not know. And I am not particular about the hoofs and horns. But in other respects my answer is 'Yes, I do.' I do not claim to know anything about his personal appearance. If anybody really wants to know him better I would say to that person, 'Don't worry. If you really want to, you will. Whether you'll like it when you do is another question.'


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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