Friday, September 12, 2008

Australia: People must not be told that a child molester is living next door??

This is getting as mad as Britain

Your neighbour is a convicted child molester. That's the message that landed Debbe McEwan in court. The 46-year-old mum, from Canley Vale in NSW, was yesterday fined $527, ordered to undergo counselling and placed on a good-behaviour bond for intimidating child molester Geoff Reynolds. "I still can't see that I did anything wrong," she said outside Campbelltown Local Court yesterday. "They say he's the victim but what about the child he molested?"

Ms McEwan told the court she believed Mr Reynolds still posed a risk. "I couldn't have lived with myself if he'd done something to another child," Ms McEwan said yesterday. "Even if he does something now I still haven't done enough to stop him."

She was charged with use intimidation/violence to unlawfully influence a person after she sent letters to at least three houses surrounding Reynolds' rented Macquarie Fields home in July. The letters read in part: "Public warning, 1 x convicted child molester x two times @ Macquarie Fields NSW. Watch your children, daughters, sisters, nieces & friends."

Reynolds was sentenced in the late 1990s to 12 months in jail for molesting a then nine-year-old girl. In police facts tendered to court, Mr Reynolds said since becoming aware of the letters he had "become fearful of local residents seeking retribution against him for his past". He had "become guarded with his movements and kept his time in the front yard to a minimum".

Magistrate Glenn Bartley said Ms McEwan and others should understand it was unacceptable to take the law into their own hands. "You don't seem to understand why this is a crime - you can't take the law into your own hands," he said. "He went to prison and there are sex offender registers ... it's not up to you to take matters into your own hands."


Depiction of history banned in Poland

Government busybodies have ordered a medieval village to drop a witch burning drama from its birthday pageant - because it's too sexist. The spectacular blaze - featuring dummy witches - was to have been the highlight of the fair to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the ancient Polish village, Zielona Gora. The witch-burning was planned as part of a medieval fair featuring jousting knights and minstrels this weekend.

But Polish women's rights groups and government ministers have banned the display after protests that the stake-burning drama was anti-feminist. "Making peoples' tragic deaths into a tourist attraction is reprehensible and regrettable," said Monika Platek, head of Poland's Association for Legal Education. "The stakes where women were burned were the result of profound misogyny, discrimination against women and ignorance."

Poland's women's ministry boss Berenika Anders told the town council it had to scrap the witch sessions


Red-State Feminism

Whatever Palin's political impact, her cultural significance is profound. For better and for worse, she introduces a new and likely long-running cultural type to the national stage--the red-state feminist.

Of course, the feminist commentariat, primarily coastal and upper-middle-class, has been quick to deny that Palin is any sort of feminist at all. Yes, Palin can boast political success, activism, authority, and self-confidence in front of an audience of 37 million, and, though less widely discussed (perhaps because so profoundly envied), an egalitarian marriage of the sort that has become the foundational principle of feminist utopia. But in most other respects, especially her position on abortion, she has struck female media types as something more like the Anti-Feminist. She is a "humiliation for America's women" (Judith Warner for the New York Times) and a tool of the "patriarchs" (Gloria Steinem for the Los Angeles Times).

But the crucial point here is that Palin never wanted to be part of Steinem's club, and in that respect she speaks for many of her sex. The large majority of women--surveys have put the number at somewhere around 75 percent--shy away from calling themselves feminists, even while supporting some movement goals like equal pay. The primary reason for their coyness: feminism's ambivalence at best, and hostility at worst, toward motherhood and marriage. The refuseniks may or may not remember that Betty Friedan described full-time motherhood as a "waste of human self" and home as a "comfortable concentration camp." They may or may not be able to quote Steinem on fish and bicycles. But on some level they understand that the framework of establishment feminism has motherhood, and often marriage, as the menacing 300-pound security guard whom men have hired to stand in the way of women's achievement.

Palin represents a red-state version of feminism that completely deconstructs this framework. Sure, part of the red staters' identification with Palin is a matter of lifestyle. Blue-state feminists live in big cities and suburbs; Palin lives in South Podunk. Blue staters' kids play soccer; Palin's play hockey. They have WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER bumper stickers; she's a member of the NRA. They dine on sushi; she eats salmon that she caught and gutted. If you're an Iowa toll collector married to a refrigerator repairman, Palin may well be your gal by reason of her origin and leisure activities alone.

But central to Palin's red-state appeal is her earthy embrace of motherhood. She differs from mainstream feminists in that her sexuality and fecundity are not in tension with her achievement and power. If anything, they rise out of them. Instead of holding her back, her five children embody her energy, competence, authority, and optimism. Maybe she's annoyed at the way the First Dude, as her husband calls himself, forgets to fold the laundry or call the pediatrician, but she's not going to make a federal case--make that an Alaskan state case--out of it. "She's a real woman, she's a real feminist but she's not strident--she's like us," Cheryl Hauswirth, a middle-aged mother from Wisconsin, told Politico writer Jonathan Martin. "She's strong, powerful and opinionated, all the things a woman should be, while still retaining her femininity, her womanhood."

The contrast with Hillary Clinton couldn't be starker. For much of her career, though less so since she became a senator, Clinton was in a defensive crouch vis a vis her sex--a tendency symbolized by her frequent changes in hairstyle, which often seemed as though planned by the Committee to Elect HRC. (Palin's hair usually looks like she was putting it up with her left hand while spreading mayo on the kids' school sandwiches with her right.) In fact, Clinton's persona in general struck many as forced, a product manufactured for public consumption and driven by a combination of ambition and wariness of those who might question her life choices. When during the 1992 presidential campaign she snarked about not being the type to bake chocolate-chip cookies, she revealed a contempt for women primarily focused on their husband and children. It was a comment that red-state types never forgot.

To be fair, some of Clinton's defensiveness was generational. She clearly adored her own daughter. But during the emergence of Second Wave feminism, women were either wearing aprons or reading briefs; the two identities seemed at war with another. Palin grew up in a generation more at ease with the idea that women could bring the class cupcakes and still run a spreadsheet. The larger problem was that Clinton's ambition--not to mention its tie to her marriage--seemed grasping and calculated. Red staters love the fact that Palin's activism grew out of her motherhood. She wasn't looking to be a big shot; she didn't even seem to aspire to "have a career." In their eyes, she's simply a mother who wanted to make life better for her kids, her neighbors, and as it followed naturally, even organically, her fellow Alaskans.

Still, whatever the appeal of red-state feminism, it should bring no comfort to anyone in favor of a more mature political culture. Red staters share with their blue-state counterparts a tendency to sentimentalize and trivialize politics. They heighten the salience of Lifetime Television-style personal stories and gossip. They reduce candidates to personalities, lifestyles, and gonads. Some blue staters got behind Clinton because she was a woman; red staters want to vote for Palin because she's a mom. Both positions are misguided. Multitasking your kids' homework and dinner is nothing like weighing contradictory advice from your advisors for a decision that will change world history, and estrogen levels do not correlate with experience, judgment, and wisdom. In the long run, the blurring of celebrity and politics hurts everyone, women and men.


How Palin Beat Alaska's Establishment

Sarah Palin is undoubtedly the most politically incorrect person in American public life so she will be celebrated on this blog

If you've read the press coverage of Sarah Palin, chances are you've heard plenty about her religious views and private family matters. If you want to know what drives Gov. Palin's politics, and has intrigued America, read this:

Every state has its share of crony capitalism, but Big Oil and the GOP political machine have taken that term to new heights in Alaska. The oil industry, which provides 85% of state revenues, has strived to own the government. Alaska's politicians-in particular ruling Republicans-roll in oil campaign money, lavish oil revenue on pet projects, then retire to lucrative oil jobs where they lobby for sweetheart oil deals. You can love the free market and not love this.

Alaskans have long resented this dysfunction, which has led to embarrassing corruption scandals. It has also led to a uniform belief that the political class, in hock to the oil class, fails to competently oversee Alaska's vast oil and gas wealth, the majority of which belongs to the state-or rather, Alaskan citizens.

And so it came as no surprise in 2004 when former Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski made clear he'd be working exclusively with three North Slope producers-ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips and BP-to build a $25 billion pipeline to move natural gas to the lower 48. The trio had informed their political vassals that they alone would build this project (they weren't selling their gas to outsiders) and that they expected the state to reward them. Mr. Murkowski disappeared into smoky backrooms to work out the details. He refused to release information on the negotiations. When Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Irwin suggested terms of the contract were illegal, he was fired.

What Mr. Murkowski did do publicly was instruct his statehouse to change the oil and gas tax structure (taxes being a primary way Alaskans realize their oil revenue). Later, citizens would discover this was groundwork for Mr. Murkowski's pipeline contract-which would lock in that oil-requested tax package for up to 40 years, provide a $4 billion state investment, and relinquish most oversight.

Enter Mrs. Palin. The former mayor of Wasilla had been appointed by Mr. Murkowski in 2003 to the state oil and gas regulatory agency. She'd had the temerity to blow the whistle on fellow GOP Commissioner Randy Ruedrich for refusing to disclose energy dealings. Mr. Murkowski and GOP Attorney General Gregg Renkes closed ranks around Mr. Ruedrich-who also chaired the state GOP. Mrs. Palin resigned. Having thus offended the entire old boy network, she challenged the governor for his seat.

Mrs. Palin ran against the secret deal, and vowed to put the pipeline back out for competitive, transparent, bidding. She railed against cozy politics. Mr. Murkowski ran on his unpopular pipeline deal. The oil industry warned the state would never get its project without his leadership. Mrs. Palin walloped him in the primary and won office in late 2006. Around this time, news broke of a federal probe that would show oil executives had bribed lawmakers to support the Murkowski tax changes.

Among Mrs. Palin's first acts was to reinstate Mr. Irwin. By February 2007 she'd released her requirements for pipeline bidding. They were stricter, and included only a $500 million state incentive. By May a cowed state house-reeling from scandal-passed her legislation.

The producers warned they would not bid, nor would anyone else. Five groups submitted proposals. A few months before the legislature awarded its license to TransCanada this July, Conoco and BP suddenly announced they'd be building their own pipeline with no state inducements whatsoever. They'd suddenly found the money.

Mrs. Palin has meanwhile passed an ethics law. She's tightened up oil oversight. She forced the legislature to rewrite the oil tax law. That new law raised taxes on the industry, for which Mrs. Palin is now taking some knocks, but the political background here is crucial.

The GOP machine has crumbled. Attorney General Renkes resigned. Mr. Ruedrich was fined $12,000. Jim Clark-Mr. Murkowski's lead pipeline negotiator-pleaded guilty to conspiring with an oil firm. At least three legislators have been convicted. Sen. Ted Stevens is under indictment for oil entanglements, while Rep. Don Young is under investigation.

Throughout it all, Mrs. Palin has stood for reform, though not populism. She thanks oil companies and says executives who "seek maximum revenue" are "simply doing their job." She says her own job is to be a "savvy" negotiator on behalf of Alaska's citizens and to provide credible oversight. It is this combination that lets her aggressively promote new energy while retaining public trust.

Today's congressional Republicans could learn from this. The party has been plagued by earmarks, scandal and corruption. Most members have embraced the machine. That has diminished voters' trust, and in the process diminished good, conservative ideas. It is no wonder 37 million people tuned in to Mrs. Palin's convention speech. They are looking for something fresh.



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 readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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