Thursday, November 20, 2008

ACLU says minority students arrested more

I am sure they are. They are more prone to crime. Hispanics born of illegal immigrant parents are in fact much more crime-prone than their parents, who are in turn more crime-prone than non-Hispanic whites. And the hugely disproportionate incidence of crime among blacks is well-known. The ACLU can only make something out of the matters described below by ignoring all that and insisting on the hoary and totally-counterfactual Leftist assertion that all men are equal and that there are no intergroup differences

A civil rights advocacy group released a report Monday saying that minority public school students in East Hartford and West Hartford are more likely to be arrested for common disciplinary infractions than their white peers. The American Civil Liberties Union and its Connecticut chapter also alleges that minority students in the two towns are arrested at rates much higher than the percentages of blacks and Hispanics in the school populations.

ACLU officials said they and other civil rights activists are concerned about "a national trend of criminalizing, rather than educating, our nation's children, through increased reliance on zero-tolerance school discipline, school-based arrests, disciplinary alternative schools and secure detention." "One dismaying aspect ... is its disproportionate impact on students of color," the ACLU says. "Across the nation, such students are far more likely than their white peers to be suspended, expelled or arrested, even when engaging in exactly the same conduct.

Police in East Hartford and West Hartford denied that officers single out minority students. They also questioned the ACLU's data and said their school resource officers are highly trained.

In East Hartford, black and Hispanic students accounted for 69 percent of the student population in 2006-2007, but comprised 85 percent of school-based arrests, the ACLU says. In West Hartford the same year, 24 percent of students were black or Hispanic but 63 percent of students who were arrested were black or Hispanic....

Police officials in both towns denied that race played a role in student arrests. "The arrests are based solely on the students' behavior," said East Hartford police Officer Hugo Benettieri, a department spokesman. "If a crime occurs, an arrest is made."

More here

An Age of Barbarism

Melanie Phillips

Twenty years ago, I started writing about the breakdown of the family, the systematic undermining of moral constraints and the ascendancy of `lifestyle choice', a doctrine which forbade condemnation of any lifestyle as harmful. Non judgmentalism was now mandatory; the only judgment to be permitted henceforth was that judgment was discriminatory, and only disapproval was to be disapproved of. Stigma and shame were considered an affront to individual rights; disapproval of adultery or elective lone parenthood, for example, were dismissed as `Old Testament fundamentalism'.

During the past two decades, I warned repeatedly that the fragmentation of family life was in general a source of pain, damage and acute danger for children in particular but also the women in whose name modern feminists were promoting female independence from men; that mass fatherlessness was creating deserts of depravity and highly damaged children who were growing up to become highly damaged parents; that the collapse of social and moral controls was destroying the most fundamental values of civilised behaviour, with individuals raised in such emotional and moral chaos that they were incapable even of feeling the empathy with other people that is the very foundation of social relationships of the most basic kind; and that the welfare system was actually incentivising such wholesale destruction of individual lives and society itself.

Then as now, I was scorned and vilified by the `progressive ` intelligentsia. I had become reactionary, right-wing, ultra-right-wing, a harker-back to some mythical golden age of the fifties, a moraliser, an extremist, a bigot, a fascist, demented. Bien-pensant opinion spoke with one voice. Progressive politics meant the freedom to behave exactly as one wished in pursuit of instant gratification, and to destroy all external constraints, both formal and cultural, which got in the way. Anyone who, like me, spoke of the essential civilising force of stigma and shame in providing crucial informal constraints on the infliction of harm was demonised as a throwback to a cruel age of social ostracism. Government policy, egged on by activist judges who deliberately voided family law of `moral judgments' on the basis that that there was no right or wrong in family life because it was always just too complicated to untangle, accordingly penalised marriage, rewarded adultery, further incentivised lone parenthood and systematically normalised irregular relationships.

Wickedly, to cover its tracks that same political/intellectual class stopped breaking down official information about household violence according to married/unmarried status so that it became impossible to show what previously official statistics had clearly demonstrated: that women and children are at vastly greater risk of physical and sexual abuse at the hands of unmarried and unrelated men passing through the household (a recent US study found, children living with a non-biological adult are 50 times more likely to die from afflicted injuries than those living with their biological parents). Indeed, we have now reached the point where official forms increasingly fail to use terms such as `mother and father' or `parents' in favour of the non-discriminatory euphemisms of informal `relationships'. Britain has simply written orderly, married, normative family life out of the script.

I also wrote years ago about the institutionalised incompetence of social work, in the grip of a political correctness so extreme that it was wholly incapable of responding to situations on the facts that plainly presented themselves, with catastrophic results. From the death of Maria Colwell in 1973 inquiry after inquiry has been convened, made recommendations and been ignored as atrocity has followed atrocity on the social workers' watch. Then as now the same excuses were made - that social workers were under-funded, under-resourced, under-trained, under pressure, damned if they did and damned if they didn't, unsung heroes who should not be condemned just because, hey, from time to time a child was sadistically abused or tortured to death on their watch, it was all the fault of government penny-pinching, we're all guilty, etc etc. Then as now I was vilified as a heartless social worker-basher, extreme right-wing lunatic etc etc.

And now we can all see the truly terrible results. This week we have been presented with the life, systematic torture and death of baby P, a case so harrowing that many of us can hardly bear to read the details and cannot do so without weeping. We read that he died at the hands of his mother, her boyfriend and their lodger. We read that the mother expressed no remorse and boasted she will be free by Christmas. We read that she had another child while she was in jail.

We read that the Director of Children's Services at Haringey council has refused to apologise and insisted that no-one was to blame, despite evidence that social workers ignored doctors and three employees had received written warnings.

We read that four government ministers were warned that Haringey council's child protection service was out of control seven months before baby P's death - by a council whistleblower who was sacked and gagged for issuing this warning and who is prevented by court injunction from giving evidence to the official inquiry into the baby P case.

We read commentators falling over themselves to express horror, shock, revulsion, incredulity, outrage. Where have they all been these past two decades? We read of political point-scoring and righteous indignation at the political point-scoring. Of course the political point scoring is obscene. Of course the book should be thrown at Haringey council.

But we also read this week of another household in Manchester where a baby and his two year-old brother were stabbed to death by a mother suffering from mental illness.

And we read of Shannon Matthews' mother and her boyfriend's uncle, on trial for abducting that poor child and keeping her locked up in order to extract a reward for her safe return.

The truth is that it is all far, far too late. Britain has simply undone the fabric of civilised life. And the most bitter reproach of all must be for the people at whose door the ultimate responsibility for this catastrophic state of affairs must really be laid -- not the wretched politicians, not the council officials or Ofsted inspectors or other negligent or incompetent professionals, not even the sadists who actually killed baby P or who murder or maim countless other children, but the amoral and criminally self-regarding so-called `progressive' intelligentsia, who have bullied, smeared, intimidated and manipulated Britain into a truly dark age of barbarism.


Welcome to MEWorld

By Barry Rubin

MEWorld stands for Middle East world. It is a realm with its own ideas where the scientific laws of the rest of the world might stand but the political and intellectual standards applied elsewhere just don't happen that way.

Let's begin your visit with a very mild example of what happens when tourists encounter MEWorld. Here is a quote from the New York Times of November 12, 2008, chosen pretty much at random. The author is one of the better reporters covering the region; the topic is the Israeli mayor's election in Jerusalem. See if you can spot the problem:

"Palestinians in East Jerusalem have consistently boycotted city elections in the belief that participating would be tantamount to recognizing Israeli sovereignty.'' If you can understand why this sentence is off it is possible that you might comprehend the Middle East.

The assumption in the sentence is that Palestinians are, like the Western readers, people who live in a social and intellectual atmosphere of free will in which individual decisions are made on the basis of rational calculation. The process goes something like this:

Version A: Khalid: "I'm thinking of voting in the election because I want better schools and roads."

Version B: Khalid: "I'm thinking of voting in the election because I want a candidate to win who will be more dovish and will favor giving this part of the city to a Palestinian state as part of a comprehensive two-state solution."

This is the kind of process which a Western reader would expect. It implies massive voluntary action on the basis of choice. After all, the individual "Palestinians" have a "belief."

In practice, the real issue is that before the decision not to vote is made the Palestinians in east Jerusalem are told:

"Anyone who votes is a traitor. If you vote it is against Islam and you are a heretic; it is against our people, and you are a monster. And if you do vote and we find out about it we will boycott your business, shun you personally, and perhaps someone with a big club will smash down your door one night and hit you upside the head until you pass out or die."

In MEWorld, every Palestinian knows this and the message is repeated before each election. Of course, even without threats not all the Palestinian residents would vote but perhaps, 20 or 30 or 40 percent would.

After I wrote this article I came upon Khaled Abu Toameh's piece on the same story in the Jerusalem Post. After making the same point the Times did, he added--which the Times did not mention--the following:

"The PA issued several warnings to the Arab residents not to participate in the election. Issam Abu Rmaileh, a shopkeeper, said he didn't vote because he was afraid that PA activists would harm him. `I heard that they were standing outside the voting centers and threatening people who wanted to come and vote,' he said. `I would have liked to vote because it's in our interest, but who's going to protect me and my family afterwards?'...

"Graffiti painted overnight on the walls also warned the Arabs against participating in the election. The warnings were issued by masked men belonging to various Palestinian factions, including Hamas and Fatah."

If you don't understand the reality of dictatorial behavior, threats of violence, and a social pressure that forces conformity, anything else that happens in the region is a mystery to you.

Now you are ready for a more advanced course in MEWorld. Let me stress that the following is not typical but it is revealing. On November 12, 2008, MEMRI published its video clip No. 1903 which you can see here. It is from a television show aired on October 31, 2008. First, I will tell you what it says which is profoundly shocking. But then I will give you seven reasons why it is far more shocking than you thought.

The person being interviewed proposes that Arab men sexually harass Israeli women as a new means of resistance against Israel. "They are fair game for all Arabs," the interviewee explains, because they "rape the land" by their very existence.

Might this cause a legal problem if an Egyptian or Jordanian rapes an Israeli tourist? No problem, the interviewee explains, "Most Arab countries do not have sexual harassment laws. Therefore, if [Arab women] are fair game for Arab men, there is nothing wrong with Israeli women being fair game as well."

If an Israeli woman is threatened, abused, or harassed, she has no right to defend herself. They are merely being given a choice: "Leave the land so we won't rape you."

Now you might say that is pretty shocking. Even in the context of Arab political discussion, the above-quoted position is very different. There are many Arabs who would disagree and even ridicule such an idea.

And yet it still tells us a great deal about mainstream thinking and the weakness of moderation. Consider these points:

* The person saying this, Nagla al-Imam is a woman. She obviously has no idea of women's solidarity. Nationalism and religion come first. Her priority is not to demand stronger laws in her country to protect women but the exploitation of such law's absence to lower the level of treatment for all women. The philosophy is: It doesn't matter if you abuse me if you treat the Israelis even worse. Don't take that idea lightly, it defines how millions of people behave.

* She is a young woman. The optimistic idea that time is inevitably bringing about moderation is just plain wrong. All too often, the younger generation--especially since it is imbued with Islamist ideas and much more intensively propagandized--is more extreme than its parents. I remember here the anecdote, and this is not a joke but a real story, in which a Saudi girl pretended to play Brittany Spears records to appease her wealthy, educated parents but when they weren't around put on radical Islamist diatribes about martyrdom by becoming a suicide bomber.

* She is a secular young woman, obviously not, judging from her rhetoric and clothing, an Islamist or even a traditionalist living in a previous century. Thus, while Islamists are most radical, their basic thinking is often duplicated by Arab nationalists and permeates among the less pious as well.

* She is a lawyer, meaning she has a high level of modern education and intelligence. She is of the middle class at least and not an illiterate peasant or fanatical cleric. While people in the West are still babbling that poverty causes terrorism, the most extreme are often the best-off and most-schooled. Being poor usually requires spending most of your time in the practical pursuit of economic survival. Education does not necessarily mean discovering the wider world and the humanity of the "other." It teaches people to hate systematically and justify their inner beast with an ideological gloss.

* She is from Egypt, not Saudi Arabia. Egypt is a country which has been formally at peace with Israel for almost thirty years and an ally of the United States. Extremism is found in all Arab states. Even the most moderate either refrain from opposing such ideas to avoid confrontation or--more often--actively fomenting them to muster popular support and a blind eye toward their own failings.

* The interview appeared on al-Arabiyya, arguably the most moderate of the main Arab satellite television stations. The opinion spectrum is much skewed to one side. This is clear on al-Jazira television programs where there is a moderate and a radical speaker, followed by phone-ins during which every single caller favors the extremist position and the host insults the moderate to side with the radical guest.

* The interviewer asked reasonable questions but did not seem to find this suggestion shockingly extreme or something that had to be angrily rejected. People are not signaled toward moderation by their political leaders, teachers, clerics, intellectuals, and other authority figures. On the contrary, these are often sources for the most violent, hate-filled, and anti-reality ideas.

Now, if you believe that MEWorld is going to make peace with Israel, love America, and become democratic or moderate in the near-term future--even to please President Barry Obama-- consider the intellectual, political culture, and social atmosphere that breeds Nagla al-Imam as a person who thinks as she does even though she fits the profile of someone who should be, according to the conception of reality held in WestWorld, a booster of the opposite worldview.

The same applies if you think you are going to win over such people and their societies by kind words, apologies, concessions, appeasement, confidence-building measures, or even dramatic policy shifts.


Orwell's Children

It has been sixty years since George Orwell wrote his chilling dystopian classic, 1984, and it has been thirty years since we saw the creepiest example of educated and free people willingly walking into a living dystopia. November 18, 1978, three decades ago, 918 people drank Kool-Aid laced with cyanide. Jim Jones, the communist leader of Jonestown, Guyana, had become "Big Brother." Soviet and Communist Chinese propaganda films and condemnations of capitalist and imperialist America blared continually to the subjects of this island of Leftist Hell.

Jonestown ended in mass suicide, but the real horror was that ordinary people, Americans like you and I, had become so decoupled from reality and morality that they could be led to surrender everything, even their lives, intoxicated only with the venom of modern Leftism. These were Orwell's Children.

We are drifting into the sort of horrific future he described. Too many of us for comfort or solace have become just like the denizens of Jonestown: Orwell's children -- a new generation of creature enraged into constant militancy against eternal enemies, oblivious to the notion of a Blessed Creator, melded into the consciousness of the party hive, divorced from history, hypnotized by images, inoculated against reason, stripped of family, and existing only to serve the cause.

Orwell did not write his book in a vacuum. 1984 describes the Soviet Union (the book describes Stalinist Russia so well so that subjects of that evil empire wondered when Orwell had lived there, though he had just described what he saw from the outside.) 1984 also describes Nazism and every other odious totalitarianism, which its secret police and propaganda machine and atomized subjects. But Orwell was very much also writing about the democratic western nations. His book was a warning of what could happen here. Oceania, the only totalitarian superstate actually descried in 1984, was largely America and the British Empire.

There were specific elements necessary for nations with a heritage of freedom to slide into the most absolute and abject slavery. These elements existed in Nazi Germany, they existed in Soviet Russia, and they exist in our free democracies today. What are the characteristics of the Orwellian state?

Start with God. He must go. The great Russian novelists knew this: "Without God, everything is permitted." In Oceania, God simply does not exist. The Nazis bragged that they would raise a generation "...without ever having heard of the Sermon on the Mount or the Golden Rule, to say nothing of the Ten Commandments." The Soviet persecuted anyone who followed the God of Jews and Christians. God is hounded in our world today. A generation of Orwell's Children are growing up without thinking about God at all or thinking that God is a silly idea cherished by sillier old fogies.

Truth must go too. Nazis embraced the "Big Lie." Soviets denied that honesty, per se, mattered. In Orwell's Oceania, the Inner Party members learn to even lie to themselves and to hold utterly contradictory beliefs at the same time. Truth and honesty have little meaning to Orwell's Children in our world. All truth is relative, all honesty a sham.

Language must be brought to heel. The Nazis did this by inventing meaningless words like "Aryan science." Marxism foisted upon us words like "capitalism," which means nothing at all but which has so infected our minds that we reflexively use this silly nonsense word instead of freedom. Politically correct language is rampant. We come to view words like "discriminate" as inherently evil, and other words like "viable fetal mass" have replaced the reality of murdered babies.

Image and symbols replace words. Hitler, whose disciples seldom recalled what Hitler said, always recalled the raw imagery of their leader. Stalin's portrait was as inescapable in the Soviet Union as the portrait of Big Brother in Oceania. We live in a word of symbols and images. Conservatives succeed in books and talk radio, media that deal in words. Orwell's Children live in the realm of symbols and images.

The books of the Nazis and Soviets were unreadable tomes like Mein Kampf, The Myth of the Twentieth Century (the two Nazi "masterpieces") or vast empty volumes of Marxist-Leninism. Is it an accident that the giant who most resisted this evil, Solzhenitsyn, was a devout Christian who mastered the written word better than any stooge of Hitler or the Politburo ever could?

Immutable oppressors are the final nasty element in dystopia. Hitler blamed Jews for everything. Stalin blamed kulaks and his enemies in the party for everything. Subjects of Orwell's Oceania saw Emmanuel Goldstein as the eternal, immutable enemy of the party. Today there is a drearily predictable list of oppressors. Christians, men, white people, the "rich" (whatever that is supposed to mean), America, and Israel are oppressors and nothing can ever change that.

Orwell even told us, by name, the professionals who would lead us into the nightmare of 1984: "sociologists," "teachers," "bureaucrats," "journalists," "professional politicians," "scientists," "trade union organizers," "publicity experts," and "technicians." (The term "community organizer" was unknown to him.) Those who enslave were those who taught students, who created the news, who sat in the halls of government power, and who defined official "truth" (at least truth de jour.)

Orwell's Children live among us now, not in tiny numbers in weird Marxist cults like Jim Jones' People Temple, but as leaders of Congress, as the establishment of academia, as the producers of news and entertainment, as the administrators of public schools, as the "experts" in a thousand myriad and odd fields of putative "expertise." They infatuate our bored children with the only reality and the only diversion that many can find. They wait for the rest of us to grow older and to die.

Will these children inherit the earth? History, not theology, has shown a single defense against the spreading contagion of Orwell's Children. Solzhenitsyn found God in the godless Gulag. Michael Power in early 1939 wrote: "In the Christianity of the German people, the National Socialist has found the one enemy it could not vanquish" - and Christians in Germany, alone, chose to voluntarily seek death before selling their souls to Nazism.

The Jewish refusniks proved indigestible to the brutal Soviet police state. When all else failed the Jewish people under the Nazis, devout Jews like my wife's mother clung to the Blessed Creator and survived the Holocaust. God can touch us all. God can protect us all from evil (not from harm - we all suffer and we all die - but from the much greater danger of the sort of evil Orwell described.)

Education, science, technological gadgetry, good medical care - all of this can not stop us from sliding into a massive Jonestown, a realized Oceania, a place marked by Dante's grim caution "Abandon hope, all you who enter here." We are all anchored in belief, but it is what we believe that matters. We can believe in the lies of Big Brother, which change each day with the needs of the party or we can believe in the truth of a living God. We can become the children of Orwell or the special creatures of God. Everything -- our nation, our world, our families, our communities -- flow from that choice.



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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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