Britain's heartless and rigid socialist bureaucracy again
Not a hint of any human kindness, decency or fellow-feeling: Politicized police refuse to allow mother to lay flowers at death scene of her young sons
The mother of two young children killed in a fire at their family home has been marched away by police after trying to lay flowers on her own doorstep. Denise Goldsmith, 29, said she wanted to pay tribute to her sons Lewis, seven, and Taylor, five, who died when a blaze broke out at their house in the coastal town of Eastbourne, Sussex. The mother was locked out of the property on Saturday afternoon while her children were trapped inside as the flames tore through the house.
She returned to the scene yesterday, and witnesses said that she became hysterical when police told her she could not pass a cordon while forensics teams worked at the property. She pleaded: "Let me in, I need to leave these flowers for my boys. I need to get through, this is my home."
Mrs Goldsmith and members of her family then hit out at officers, according to witnesses, and were led back to their car and advised to leave. A forensic investigator finally retrieved the bunch of flowers, which had been dropped on the road, and placed it on the doorstep behind the cordon.
Jason Maynard, 35, who attempted to save the children, revealed their "devastating" last moments. He said that Mrs Goldsmith had run out of the house to seek help tackling the fire - leaving the children inside - but had locked herself out when the front door slammed behind her. The boys were left trapped inside. Mr Maynard, who was in a neighbouring house when he heard shouting and went outside, said: "The mother was outside on the path, just screaming the place down. She couldn't get back in. "She told me her kids were playing inside, under the stairs. She was screaming, please save my kids, get them out, my kids, my kids, my kids. "The kids wouldn't have been able to reach the door latch to let themselves out. They were just trapped."
The witness said that attempts to break into the house were futile. "The kitchen had already caught fire. The house was just full of flames and there was a huge amount of smoke. "There was nothing we could do. When the fire brigade turned up they battered the door down and went inside, then brought the kids' bodies out and laid them on the pavement. "It's absolutely heartbreaking."
Linda Carey, a friend of the children's father, Stuart Jenkins, said: "Both Stuart and Denise absolutely doted on those boys. I have no idea how she must be feeling right now. "Doctors have put her on sedatives to calm her down. But she must be absolutely torn apart."
This month we celebrate the achievements and history of Hispanics and Hispanic-Americans and next week we celebrate the culture and music of hip-hop. Throughout the year we celebrate different cultures and different people. But I feel that there are so many kinds of people that year in and year out get no accolade and no celebratory month or week.
Why can we not have a week where we celebrate the achievements of country music or blues music, or maybe jazz or rock and roll music? All of those types of music have had a great cultural impact on society, and they deserve a period of time for their celebration.
And why can we not have weeks or months dedicated to those people from other parts of the world? How about German-American history week or Russian-American history week? What about other people from India, Israel, Egypt, Turkey, Greece; the list could go on of countries we could celebrate.
But I think that one month that we are missing, in terms of celebrating the heritage and achievements of, is white-American history month. It seems like every year that goes by I feel more ashamed of being white. We are told to take pride in the history and achievements of African-Americans, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and Hispanic Americans. What about the rest of us who are not part of any of the current celebrations of heritage?
Can we not celebrate it because of racism or sexism in the past or because whites are the majority of the population of this country? If we can celebrate all of the other people of this country, then why not a celebration of the achievements of white Americans too?
We should all be proud of who we are and where we come from. But if the current idea is that white Americans should not be proud of themselves or that the achievements of those that come from, then why would we even acknowledge that we even exist as people?
I am proud that I am white and that my family heritage comes from Germany and Scotland, and I want to celebrate the fact. But I feel the moment I say something or celebrate to that effect, then I will be automatically counted as a racist or a bigot.
Letting the Al Qaeda Myth Go Unchallenged
During last Friday's debate, John McCain - whose performance was otherwise very strong - failed to debunk the falsest charge of the evening. According to Obama, "from a strategic national security perspective, Al Qaeda is resurgent, stronger now than at any time since 2001." This is the one meme of the anti-war left that the success of the surge has most decisively put to rest. But after the debate - and after eight years of an administration that long ago stopped trying to defend its policies in Iraq - the prospect that McCain will more competently ward off critics is far from certain.
Critics like Obama carp that had there been no invasion, there never would have been al Qaeda in Iraq. This is difficult to either prove or disprove. We know that Iraq harbored and very likely supported Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the suspected bomb makers involved in the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. A series of memos from the spring of 2001, uncovered after the U.S. invasion, shows that the Iraqi Intelligence Service funded Abu Sayyaf and Ansar Al Islam, Al Qaeda affiliated groups; that Osama bin Laden requested Iraqi cooperation on terrorism and propaganda; and that in January 1997 the Iraqi regime was eager to continue its relationship with bin Laden. Other documents indicate that Hussein was a sponsor of Al Qaeda activities in the Sudan. Still, an exhaustive Pentagon study concluded in 2006 that there was "no operational" relationship between Sadaam and Al Qaeda.
But what is not in dispute is that thousands of jihadists are dead, Al Qaeda has suffered a major loss in Iraq, its self-declared "central battlefield," and the movement is largely discredited on the Arab street and even within Islamist circles. Not even the war's strongest supporters could have predicted this in 2003.
In May of this year CIA Director Michael Hayden told the Washington Post that Al Qaeda is essentially defeated in Iraq and Saudi Arabia and on the defensive throughout much of the world. Pointing to the series of mostly low level terrorist attacks in European countries since 2003, former CIA official Robert Baer backs this view, telling Reuters last month that what "Al Qaeda's left with is a bunch of Sunni radicals in various capitals who get their orders and technology on the Internet. But their contact with home base is not very strong and they're not very disciplined."
This shouldn't surprise anyone: it makes sense that an Arab-led terrorist group like Al Qaeda would suffer more from a defeat in a strategically critical country in the heart of the Arab Middle East than from a defeat in a primitive backwater in Central Asia, like Afghanistan. The rugged hills on the Pakistani Afghan border may be dangerous, but they are not conducive to organizational command and control.
It is for this reason that Osama bin Laden would state in 2004, "The most important and serious issue today for the whole world is this Third World War, which the Crusader-Zionist coalition began against the Islamic nation. It is raging in the land of the two rivers. The world's millstone and pillar is in Baghdad, the capital of the caliphate."
Indeed, U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Mike Silverman recently told reporter Michael Totten, "[Abu Musab al] Zarqawi invented Al Qaeda in Iraq . . . Then he blew up the Samarra mosque . . . Then the Al Qaeda leadership outside dumped huge amounts of money and people and arms into Anbar Province. They poured everything they had into this place. The battle against Americans in Anbar became their most important fight in the world. And they lost."
Government experts are not the only ones who have made this diagnosis. Peter Bergen and Paul Cruickshank, research fellows at New York University's Center on Law and Security, write in the June 11th issue of The New Republic that an open letter to Osama Bin Laden's number two man Ayman al Zawahiri in November of 2007 by Noman Benotman, a Libyan jihadist and close associate of Osama Bin Laden, which called on Al Qaeda to end all operations in Arab countries and in the West, represents a turning point in the Muslim world. "In repudiating Al Qaeda," they wrote, "Benotman was adding his voice to a rising tide of anger in the Islamic world toward Al Qaeda and its affiliates, whose victims since September 11 have mostly been fellow Muslims. He was also joining a larger group of religious scholars, former fighters, and militants.who are alarmed by the targeting of civilians in the West, the senseless killings in Muslim countries, and Al Qaeda's barbaric tactics in Iraq--have turned against the organization, many just in the past year."
Experts of all stripes agree that Al Qaida has been crippled, and the defeat of Al Qaeda in Iraq was crucial to this development. But Iraqis aren't the only ones who have soured on Al Qaeda. Last year the Pew Research Center surveyed Muslims in 16 different countries. Support for suicide bombers has declined in nearly every country that was also surveyed in 2002, and the decline is dramatic almost everywhere. The only Muslim communities surveyed where support for suicide bombers remains at greater than 50 percent are, unsurprisingly, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza.
If we had been told immediately after 9/11 that our invasion of Iraq would ensure that a majority of Sunni Muslims throughout the Middle East would despise Al Qaeda, that no terrorist attacks would take place on American soil at least through 2008, that the world would, after having removed the Taliban, be rid of a second major terrorist supporting regime, I suspect most Americans would have taken that deal, even with the loss of life and injuries our armed service men and women have suffered.
Here is the important point: by bringing the war to their turf, to the heart of the Middle East, the United States forced the Muslim world to witness the barbarity of the jihadist movement that many of them supported only from a distance, and has thus mid-wifed into existence a steady and inexorable change in the Muslim world. That has always been the war's most important foreign policy goal. It was deeply discouraging that McCain didn't clarify the record.
Big media will never be fair
Conservatives have to realize one simple truth: the Big Media is not the enemy's ally who can be won over; it is the enemy itself. The U.S. Big Media is every bit the propaganda arm of the Democratic Party's left wing as Dr. Goebbels' organization was the propaganda arm of the Nazi regime.
Attempts to shame the Big Media into objectivity will go nowhere, it will not be moved by gentle rebukes and reminders of the precepts supposedly taught at journalism schools. The Big Media's vitriolic campaign to vilify and destroy Sarah Palin, unprecedented in its sheer viciousness, is not primarily driven by the elite's perception of her as an alien life form (although there is that, too), but by the plain fact that she endangers the prospects of their idol, Obama, and hence has to be removed by any means necessary. It's that simple, but until conservatives realize what's going on and resolve to fight the enemy every step of the way, they have no hope of effectively countering its stratagems.
Incidentally, it is only conservatives who insist on treating their opponents fairly, and speak of "our liberal friends", "our friends on the left." Such conservatives never forget to carefully spread the blame on both sides of the political divide, trying mightily to be objective and avoid accusations of bias. (The few exceptions, such as the redoubtable Ann Coulter, only sharpen the distinction). Other than the unctuous Lanny Davis, I have never heard any liberal return the favor. Instead, they miss no opportunity to castigate, sometime quite boorishly, their conservative or Republican opposite numbers. A minor, but telling detail.
Pessimists would say that the fight is hopeless anyway. I don't buy it. There is every reason to believe that once conservatives start pushing back, they can count on at least some measure of success. Remember the budget battles of the mid-nineties? The Big Media was driving Congressional Republicans to distraction by gleefully depicting a planned reduction in the rate of increase of entitlement spending from nine percent to seven as a "cut in benefits." Finally, Speaker Newt Gingrich decided that it was time to fight back. He declared that any journalist engaging in this distortion would have his or her access to the Republican lawmakers totally cut off. It worked like a charm; the media, unaccustomed to resistance, caved immediately and dropped the insidious lie like a hot potato.
I am particularly incensed by the latest example of the limp-wristed attitude of conservatives who are only too willing to accept the rules of the game imposed on them by the enemy: the ready acceptance by some conservative pundits of the d term of opprobrium, "swiftboating", meaning an outright smear without any basis in fact. Don't they remember its provenance? After all, it's of very recent vintage, going back merely four years.
Let's recall: In 2004, over 250 Vietnam veterans of the Swiftboat Division, including nearly the entire chain of command, attacked Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry as unfit for the highest office in the land, offering overwhelming evidence that his "heroic" military biography was actually a tissue of lies and exaggerations. Some media outlets and Kerry sycophants desperately tried to refute the accusations but failed miserably -- not least because the most damning piece of anti-Kerry material was a video recording of the Democratic candidate's testimony before the Senate where he solemnly recited a propaganda tract, and likened our soldiers to Genghis (as pronounced by him, "Jenjis") Khan. How can you refute documentary evidence?
The big guns of the liberal press kept silent for a few weeks. Then the Big Bertha, The New York Times, sallied forth with a tentative formula: "the largely discredited Swiftboaters' accusations". Some time later, the qualifying "largely" was quietly dropped, and the final talking point emerged to be picked up by the rest of the Big Media: the Swiftboaters' accusations are outright lies. From there it was only a short step to developing a new pejorative: "swiftboating". That the left appropriated the opposition's term and adapted it to its needs is hardly surprising. But for conservatives to meekly acquiesce in the opposition's blatant propaganda ploy by bleating about "attempts to swiftboat Sarah Palin" is nothing short of shameful.
It is a truism that to fight on a battlefield not of your choosing is to concede an enormous advantage to the opposition. The sooner the conservatives abandon their delusional belief in the innate goodness of the liberal heart and realize that the Big Media is their bitter enemy that has to be fought tooth and nail, the better their chances will be. Enough is enough. It's time for the conservatives to wake up and smell the coffee.
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, OBAMA WATCH (2), 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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.