Liberals who push criminal rights drive me nuts, says Justice Secretary Jack Straw
Jack Straw will today launch a withering attack on liberal justice groups who 'drive him nuts' by focusing on the 'needs' of offenders instead of punishment. In a landmark speech, the Justice Secretary will unleash a broadside against the 'prison reform lobby', condemning groups with which Labour has forged close links and accusing them of being 'lost in a fog of platitudes' and overlooking the suffering of victims.
The tough tone of Mr Straw's speech appears to mark a dramatic turning away from the liberal consensus on prison policy. For years this has stressed the need to understand prisoners' problems and 'needs', while playing down the role of jail as a harsh deterrent to force them to mend their ways. It is likely to be seen as a bid to re-establish Labour as the party of law and order at a time when the Conservatives are pledging measures to fix Britain's 'broken society', and public concerns are growing over gun and knife crime and the crisis in the country's overcrowded prisons.
Mr Straw served as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001, and resumed responsibility for prisons when he became Justice Secretary in June 2007. He will tell his audience at the Royal Society of Arts in London today that the Government is not returning to 'Victorian notions' of crime and punishment but must be 'crystal clear about what the public expect the justice system to do on their behalf: to punish those who have broken the law'.
He will lament the way concepts of 'punishment and reform' have become 'unfashionable', adding: 'We should not shy away from the fact that the sentences of the court are first and foremost for the punishment of those who have broken the law, broken society's rules.' He will go on to say: 'The criminal justice lobby today is full of people . . . who do a very good job. 'However, I am concerned that it has retreated into language that doesn't chime with the public. 'When I hear phrases like "criminogenic needs of offenders" it drives me nuts . . . I profoundly disagree that we should describe someone's amoral desire to go thieving as a "need" equivalent to that of victims or the law-abiding public.'
The Justice Secretary's focus on the central role of punishment in prisons is likely to infuriate groups such as the Howard League for Penal Reform, and the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, which have enjoyed close ties with the Government since Labour took office in 1997. Such reforming groups have enjoyed years of Home Office funding while senior ministers - including Mr Straw himself - have been frequent speakers at their conferences. By contrast, groups espousing much tougher approaches to law and order, such as the Victims of Crime Trust, have mostly been sidelined under Labour.
Mr Straw also risks a backlash from opposition critics demanding to know why he is adopting a tougher tone now, more than 11 years after Labour took office, and having personally overseen the Government's criminal justice policy for much of that time. He is currently under fire over his department's policy of releasing thousands of convicted prisoners before they complete their sentences, as an emergency measure to cope with the lack of prison capacity in England and Wales. Hundreds have gone on to commit further offences when they should have been behind bars.
Obama, Alinsky and the Marxist Left
The importance of this election to all Americans and the future of our country cannot be over stated. The United States has never had the possibility of a virtual Marxist in the oval office before. The Democrat Party has been taken over by the extreme left wing to the extent that earlier Democrats like Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey would not recognize it. The Wall Street Journal ran an article that should scare everyone about what will happen if Obama is elected and Democrats achieve a veto-proof majority in the Senate; it being a foregone conclusion that Democrats will have a majority in the House.
"If the current polls hold, Barack Obama will win the White House on November 4 and Democrats will consolidate their Congressional majorities, probably with a filibuster-proof Senate or very close to it. Without the ability to filibuster, the Senate would become like the House, able to pass whatever the majority wants.
Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on.
The nearby table shows [table not shown] the major bills that passed the House this year or last before being stopped by the Senate minority. Keep in mind that the most important power of the filibuster is to shape legislation, not merely to block it. The threat of 41 committed Senators can cause the House to modify its desires even before legislation comes to a vote. Without that restraining power, all of the following have very good chances of becoming law in 2009 or 2010."
Saved by Filibuster: [Bills that were passed by the House in the 110th Congress but were blocked in the Senate]
Union Card Check
Representation for District of Columbia
Windfall Profit Tax on Oil Companies
Renegotiation of Contracts in Bankruptcy
Resurrection of the 'Fairness Doctrine'
It is fair to ask how we have gotten to the point where a charismatic Marxist is within walking distance to the White House. The answer is that a perfect storm of socialism has been developed by shrewd people behind the scene, a leftist news media and careful long term planning. All major players are acolytes of communist Saul Alinski who taught his students the Rules for Radicals to take over the country by working from within.
Saul Alinsky wrote two books where he described his organizational principles and strategies: Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1971). Rules for Radicals begins with a quote about Lucifer, written by Saul Alinsky: "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer."
In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky wrote: "Here I propose to present an arrangement of certain facts and general concepts of change, a step toward a science of revolution"; building on the tactical principles of Machiavelli: "The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals are written for the Have-nots on how to take it away."
Alinsky's Rules are concerned with the acquisition of power: "my aim here is to suggest how to organize for power: how to get it and how to use it." This is not to be done with assistance to the poor, or even by organizing the poor to demand assistance: "Even if all the low-income parts of our population were organized ... it would not be powerful enough to get significant, basic, needed changes."
Alinsky advises the organizer to target the middle class, rather than the poor: "Organization for action will now and in the decade ahead center upon America's white middle class. That is where the power is."
Clearly Alinsky is interested in the middle class only because it is useful: "Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and the way of life of the middle class. They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized and corrupt. They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change and the power and the people are in the middle class majority."
Does this sound familiar? Obama is calling for "change" but the change Obama seeks is right out of the Alinsky Rule book.
In his Rules for Radicals Alinsky defends belief that the end justifies the means: "to say that corrupt the ends, is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles ... the practical revolutionary will understand ... [that] in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one's individual conscience and the good of mankind."
Altogether, Alinsky provides eleven rules of the ethics of means and ends. They are morally relativistic; the main one is that the Rules for Radicals "are therefore concerned with how to win. In such a conflict, neither protagonist is concerned with any value except victory. . "The third rule of the ethics of means and ends is that in war the ends justifies almost any means." "There can be no such thing as a successful traitor, for if one succeeds, he becomes a founding father."
Rules for Radicals teach the organizer that he must give a moral appearance (as opposed to behaving morally): "All effective action requires the passport of morality." The tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends states "that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments ... Moral rationalization is indispensable at all times of action whether to justify the selection or the use of ends or means."
Rules for Radicals provide the organizer with a strategy for community organization that assumes an adversarial relationship between groups of people in which one either dominates or is dominated. "The first rule of power tactics is: power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have." "Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat." "Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this. They can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity." "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."
"The threat is generally more terrifying than the thing itself." "In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt." "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. One of the criteria for picking the target is the target's vulnerability ... the other important point in the choosing of a target is that it must be a personification, not something general and abstract. The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength."
Rules for Radicals stresses organizational power-collecting: "The ego of the organizer is stronger and more monumental than the ego of the leader. The organizer is in a true sense reaching for the highest level for which a man can reach -- to create, to be a `great creator', to play God."
Alinsky Thought Hillary Clinton was a terrific "organizer" and wanted her to become his prot‚g‚. She and Bill Clinton have employed Alinsky's tactics probably better than anyone else, until Barack Obama came along.
Obama has followed Alinsky's Rules perfectly. Although Alinsky was an atheist, Alinsky recognized the importance of church communities as springboards for agitation and for demanding goods and services. Obama undertook his agitating work in Chicago's South Side poor neighborhoods but he was not yet a church goer although he did have an office in a Church. The people he intended to organize were Church people who were serious church-goers. Many people asked where he went to church. He evaded the question for a while but then decided to join a church.
Of course the selection of a church to join was important. He decided to join a huge Black Nationalist Church with a pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who openly preached "black" gospel. Rolling Stone Magazine had a story on Obama and his church, entitled, "Destiny's Child," which included this excerpt from one of Rev. Wright's sermons (from an article by Kyle-Anne Schiver in American Thinker):
"Fact number one: We've got more black men in prison than there are in college," he intones. Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!"Obama has called Reverend Wright his spiritual mentor and still claims he is his sounding board. Among some of the Black Nationalist signs hanging in this church are a list of admonishments to black solidarity, called the "Black Value System," and a sort of moral code calling for the "Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclass ness." This doesn't sound like the Ten Commandments to me nor does this seem like any church I am familiar with.
"We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means! And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS S**T!"
Let's see how Obama follows Alinsky's Rules to defeat John McCain and win the election. Barack Obama mocks John McCain, while urging his followers to "get in their face," these are tactics right out of Saul Alinsky's playbook: ridicule and agitation.
During a Las Vegas rally Obama joked about McCain for what he described as lauding about "how as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, he had oversight of every part of the economy." "Well, all I can say to Sen. McCain is, 'Nice job. Nice job,'" Obama said sarcastically; "Where is he getting these lines? It's like a 'Saturday Night Live' routine."
Alinsky advised community organizers like Obama to "laugh at the enemy" to provoke "irrational anger." "Ridicule," he said, "is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."
Obama speaks in a quiet voice and almost always wears a business suit. Both are also borrowed from Alinsky's Rules. "Don't scare" the middle class. Instead, look like them, talk like them, act like them." Alinsky taught his followers to work for radical change from the inside. Obama said in his first memoir "like a spy behind enemy lines." He wrote it before entering politics, while still working with Alinsky groups and training street agitators known as "community organizers" for ACORN. In 1983 Obama wrote he became a community organizer in ACORN because of "The need for change. Change in the White House, where Reagan and his minions were carrying on their dirty deeds."
Here are some other examples of how well Obama follows the Alinsky Rules (from a Yahoo News article).
"Rule: "Rub raw the resentments of the people; search out controversy and issues." In the mortgage meltdown, for instance, Obama vows to prosecute "predatory lenders" for "abusing" minority borrowers. He's also stoking class resentment by painting Wall Street and other executives as villains.
Rule: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." In an ad to woo Hispanic voters, Obama demonized Rush Limbaugh by falsely claiming he made racist statements against immigrants.
Rule: "A mass impression can be lasting and intimidating." This explains why Obama moved his acceptance speech to a football stadium and bussed in 85,000 supporters. Alinsky's son was so impressed, he praised Obama for learning his father's "lesson well."
Rule: "Multiple issues mean constant action and life" for the cause. This is why Obama never harps on one issue, as Hillary did with health care. His platform is packed with grievances from "economic justice" to "reproductive justice" to "environmental justice.""
Obama is following almost perfectly the outline for socialist revolution written by the founder of community organizing, Saul Alinsky. Not that Obama is altogether home free, but he uses his war room effectively. After Sarah Palin ridiculed Obama's community organizing in one speech, Obama surrogates quickly claimed Palin was bringing up the phrase as a racist code for "black."
Mention of "Community Organizing" is not racism, but racism is a code word used by communists. McCain should make that point instead of legitimizing such radicalism, as he did recently when he said, "I respect community organizers; and Senator Obama's record there is outstanding" -- which contradicted Sarah Palin in another example of the incompetent McCain campaign.
Alinksy could never have dreamed a disciple would be in a battle for the most powerful job in the world, let along have a good chance of winning. Nor would I have believed so many Americans would fall for the socialist claptrap of Barack Obama.
In defense of 'the rich'
By Larry Elder
So what do "the rich" pay in federal income taxes? Nothing, right? That, at least, is what most people think. And Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama wants to raise the top marginal rate for "the rich" - known in some quarters as "job creators." A recent poll commissioned by Investor's Business Daily asked, in effect, "What share do you think the rich pay?" Their findings? Most people are completely clueless about how much the rich actually do pay.
First, the data. The top 5 percent (those making more than $153,542 - the group whose taxes Mr. Obama seeks to raise) pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes. The rich (a k a the top 1 percent of income earners, those making more than $388,806 a year), according to the Internal Revenue Service, pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 1 percent's taxes comprise 17 percent of the federal government's revenue from all sources, including corporate taxes, excise taxes, social insurance and retirement receipts.
Now, what do people think the rich pay? The IBD/TIPP poll found 36 percent of those polled thought the rich contribute 10 percent or less of all federal income taxes. Another 15 percent thought the rich pay between 10 percent and 20 percent, while another 10 percent thought the rich's share is between 20 and 30 percent. In other words, most people thought the rich pay less - far less - than they do. Only 12 percent of those polled thought the rich pay more than 40 percent.
Let's try this another way. A U.S.News & World Report blogger went to the Democratic National Convention in Denver and did an informal poll of 24 DNC delegates. He asked them, "What should 'the rich' pay in income taxes?" Half the respondents said "25 percent"; 25 percent said "20 percent"; 12 percent said "30 percent"; and another 12 percent said "35 percent." The average DNC delegate wanted the rich to pay 25.6 percent, which is lower than what the rich pay now - both by share of taxes and by tax rate!
Thirty percent of American voters pay nothing - zero, zip, nada - in federal income taxes. And, not too surprisingly, compared with taxpaying voters, they are more likely to support spending that benefits them. The majority of the 30 percent who don't pay federal income taxes agree with Mr. Obama's $65 billion plan to institute taxpayer-funded universal health coverage. But the majority of the 70 percent who pay federal income taxes oppose his health-care plan.
Non-taxpayers support Mr. Obama's plans for increased tax deductions for lower-income Americans, along with higher overall tax rates levied against middle- and upper-income households. The majority of non-taxpayers (57 percent) also favor raising the individual income-tax rate for those in the highest bracket from 35 percent to 54 percent. And the majority (59 percent) favors raising Social Security taxes by 4 percent for any individual or business that makes at least $250,000.
Mr. Obama calls increasing taxes and giving them to the needy a matter of "neighborliness." Vice presidential running mate Joe Biden calls it a matter of "patriotism." Yet when it comes to charitable giving, neither Mr. Obama (until recently) nor Mr. Biden feels neighborly or patriotic enough to donate as much as does the average American household: 2 percent of their adjusted gross income.
Liberal families earn about 6 percent more than conservative families, yet conservative households donate about 30 percent more to charity than do liberal households. And conservatives give more than just to their own churches and other houses of worship. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, give far more money and donate more of their time to nonreligious charitable causes than do liberals - especially secular liberals.
In 2007, President George W. Bush and his wife had an adjusted gross income of $923,807. They paid $221,635 in taxes, and donated $165,660 to charity - or 18 percent of their income. Vice President and Mrs. Cheney, in 2007, had a taxable income of $3.04 million. And they paid $602,651 in taxes, and donated $166,547 to charity - or 5.5 percent of their income.
Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, earned between $200,000 and $300,000 a year between 2000 and 2004, and they donated less than 1 percent to charity. When their income soared to $4.2 million in 2007, their charitable contributions went up to 5 percent. Joe and Jill Biden, by contrast, made $319,853 and gave $995 to charity in 2007, or 0.3 percent of their income. And that was during the year Mr. Biden ran for president. Over the last 10 years, the Bidens earned $2,450,042 and gave $3,690 to charity - or 0.1 percent of their income.
So let's sum up. The "compassionate" liberals - at least based on charitable giving - show less compassion than "hardhearted" conservatives. The rich pay more in income taxes than people think. Voters, clueless about the facts, want the rich to pay still more.
When "Pauls" Outnumber "Peters"
For a long time, Americans have tolerated the incessant whine from a portion of their fellow citizens whose innumerable complaints can be reduced to a single idea: life is not fair. Question: why would any rational American want to put these people in charge of the country? You can dress up the rhetoric of Barack Obama any way you want, but in the final analysis it is all about government imposing "fairness" upon us-by any means necessary.
The ascendancy of Americans who believe somebody "owes" them something without regard to mitigating factors such as hard work, ambition and personal responsibility is breath-taking. Yet it is hardly surprising. Years of sub-standard education have produced Americans whose misunderstanding of reality is profound. They truly believe that none of the problems they face are of their own making. They truly believe equality of opportunity and equality of results are one and the same. They truly believe self-esteem has no relationship to accomplishment. In other words, it doesn't matter what you do, it only matters what you want. And if you don't get what you want, it's because America is a rotten country.
Barack Obama's entire political philosophy is based on the premise that America is essentially flawed. Not essentially good with some tweaking needed, but a net minus as a nation. That this essential contempt for America resonates with the likes of Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Hollywood celebrities, and the mainstream media is nothing new. Hating one's country-even as it has made you rich and/or famous-is what much elitist behavior is all about.
The rise of Barack Obama suggests that this contempt is no longer limited to the ivory towers of academe, Manhattan or San Francisco cocktail parties, the mainstream media, the aging hippies, the radicals, the misfits and the neer-do-wells. It suggests that we may have reached a watershed moment in American history: those who disdain this country may finally outnumber those who love it. Those who complain may outnumber those who achieve. Those who take may outnumber those who give.
Perhaps Barack Obama is truly a man ahead of his time. He has seemingly tapped into a wellspring of discontent as powerful as it is misguided. "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" sounds attractive-but only as as long as one has a steady supply of Peters ready,willing, and able to be bludgeoned by suffocating government. How long such people will be willing to put up with such an arrangement is anyone's guess. It is far easier to ride on the wagon than pull it-especially when those riding have the gall to suggest the pullers aren't doing their "fair share." What happens when everyone wants a free ride, aka when the "Pauls" outnumber the "Peters?" "Change you can believe in," that's what.
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.