Friday, February 29, 2008

Robber caught by bikers

If this had happened in batty Britain, the police would have arrested the bikers for "assaulting" the robber. Don't believe it? See here

A BIKER who crash-tackled an armed man to the ground after he tried to hold up a club in Sydney says the bandit "picked the wrong night" for a robbery. The Southern Cross Cruiser Club was holding a meeting at a club in Regents Park, in Sydney's west, when two men armed with machetes stormed in and approached staff at the bar.

The group of about 50 motorcycle enthusiasts was in another room when they were alerted to the alleged robbery. "I was in the middle of giving my meeting and someone ran in and said, 'The place is being robbed'," club president Jester said on ABC radio. He said while one alleged offender jumped over a balcony and ran into a nearby park, the other man tried to escape through a roller door at the front of the club. "So we ran around the roller door out the front and as this guy opened the roller door, we crash tackled him in the doorway," Jester said.

The man managed to escape after being knocked to the ground and tried to climb a fence out of the property, Jester said. "He fell on my arm so I let him go and he got up, so we chased him to the fence," he said. "We caught him at the fence and crash-tackled him and hog-tied him to the ground and waited for the police to get there." Jester said the man had picked the wrong night for the alleged robbery. "If they'd only looked, right when they walked in the main door, they would have seen 40 or 50 of us sitting there. "Obviously they couldn't see out of the balaclavas, because they didn't even look. I don't think he did his homework very well."

Jester praised the efforts of Auburn police, who he said were at the scene in a matter of minutes. The officers later located the other alleged robber in a nearby street. One of the men sustained minor injuries and was under police guard in Westmead Hospital this morning. The other man was being questioned by police.


Unabashed Prejudice at The Times

Tibor R. Machan

These matters tend to show up without much fanfare but that's exactly what makes them interesting and significant. When Eleanor Randolph of The New York Times wrote the following lines [Sunday, 2/24/08], I am sure she was being quite unselfconscious. It was simple common sense to her to say, as she wrote about the program "Law & Order"--which she and I both seem to have watched from its inception--that these shows "elevate Sam Waterston to his ethical pedestal, even though he appears elsewhere pitching investments."

Notice that as a fictional make-believe Assistant District Attorney--and now the DA himself--Waterston's ethics are deemed impeccable. But as an actually pitchman for investment services provided by TD Waterhouse he is besmirched. "Even though" this is what he does both for part of his living and in service to millions who are seeking to place their money with a trusted outfit that will help them put it away for a rainy day!

Why? What is morally, ethically not to applaud about Sam Waterston because he is making these pitches? What on earth is morally objectionable about advertising the services of TD Waterhouse or of any other legitimate enterprise?

Perhaps Ms. Randolph is upset with investment firms because they try to make people well off here in this world and she wants, like so many philosophers and theologians throughout human history, direct our attention to our spiritual selves and to the possibility of everlasting salvation earned through various measures of earthly asceticism. Nah, I don't think so.

Or perhaps she is just expressing a prevalent, unexamined prejudice in our culture in which, despite the concern about economic downturns, about poverty, about unemployment, the intelligentsia is scornful toward people in business. Kind of like the aristocracy had been about the nouveau riche because they dirtied their hands with productive work!

It is interesting that someone so closely linked to the liberal establishment in America would have no self awareness about her rank, irrational disdain for those who work in the financial community. This blindness, manifest here only as a casual throwaway line, has a serious impact on the health of the nation's economy. For example, it fosters an atmosphere of disdain toward millions of young people who are considering entering the business professions. They are bombarded with the prejudice against their choice of career in TV programs, newspaper columns, movies, pulp fiction, popular music, and elsewhere and no righteous indignation is expressed by the mainstream moralizers in the country when it happens.

Apart from a few voices way outside the mainstream, politicians and others have no compunction about bashing business, denigrating people's efforts to prosper, to make a profit in the market place, no. Attempting to thrive economically, while considered imperative for the country as a whole, is treated as a sin or some kind of lowly drive when exhibited by individuals.

Nevertheless, of course, most people, when they act on the basis of their personal common sense, show that prudence about their money is a decent, praiseworthy thing. They know well and good that seeking out good financial advice and acting on it are a wise course for them to take. They often stress such prudence as they raise their children. They frown upon recklessness in the market place by friends and neighbors.

Yet, somehow, they do not protest when pundits like Ms. Randolph and many, many others deride commerce and business. When a politician aligns himself or herself with those in the business world, if only to free up avenues for trade, he or she is derided for siding with "big business." Never mind that it is such trade, carried out by those in the world of business that creates the jobs that keeps people off the unemployment lines, that makes it possible for them to provide for their needs and wants and dreams!

Isn't it time that this kind of schizophrenia is abandoned, that the prejudice, the unjust discrimination against commerce and business is cast aside as nearly as insidious as racism and sexism?


The religion of peace in Australia again

GANGS of Middle Eastern youths have threatened to bash staff in popular city and suburban nightclubs. Adelaide hoteliers say the notorious "Middle East Boys" - or MEB - have said they'd find staff members' homes to exact a violent revenge after being refused entry to bars and pubs. One hotelier, who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, said gangs were barred from most Adelaide pubs but members occasionally slipped into late-night clubs undetected. He says gangs are infiltrating bars and clubs to sell drugs to young patrons. "We had one of them say: `We'll find out where you live and come around and get you' after he was chucked out," the hotelier said. "They were coming in pretty regularly for a while there but we have a strict policy now; we just don't let them in."

Chief Inspector Scott Duval, Officer in Charge of the Licensing Enforcement Branch, said he would "encourage any licensee who is experiencing problems with any patron/s to contact police". "A licensee currently has the power to bar persons from their licensed premises under Section 125 of the Liquor Licensing Act for periods of up to three months, six months or indefinitely," he said. "A person barred for over one month may apply to the Liquor and Gambling Commissioner for a review. Maximum penalty for breaching a barring order is a $1250 fine. "Amendments to the Liquor Licensing Act have been drafted which will give police the power to bar persons from licensed premises, however this power is not currently available to police."

MEB, linked by an ethnic background, is one of three groups of young men who are "of interest" to police, along with RTS (Rule the Streets) and TR (Team Revolution). All have associations with bikie gangs. The hotelier said gangs targeted the nightclubs most popular with young people because they were most likely to buy amphetamines and cannabis. Problems of gang intimidation peaked several months ago but strong crowd controls and stricter entry standards were making an impact. Hotelies have the power to ban, or bar, patrons for unruly behaviour but police urge them to also report threats of violence from anybody who might be associated with a gang.

Hotel security vision can be used to identify troublemakers. Police say they will advise hoteliers on their legislative rights and how to stop troublemakers entering hotels. MEB members had been involved in pub fights and a group describing themselves as "Persian" took part in a brawl involving dozens of young Caucasian men at Glenelg last new year's eve. Persia is the former official name of Iran.


Australia: Spanking children is not assault, say police

New Zealand take note

South Australian police accept parents using "minor force" to discipline their child, Police Minister Paul Holloway has told State Parliament. The Minister said SA Police did not have a "specific official policy" regarding smacking of children by parents, but accepted the community standard. Mr Holloway, in a written response to a question in State Parliament, said officers would only act if they believed the "application of force was more serious than an act of minor discipline, he said, and could then charge them with aggravated assault. "Police would take action against a parent in those circumstances where they believe that the force applied was or is excessive," he said. "SAPOL accept the community standard that on occasion some parents apply minor force to their child as an act of discipline," he said.

But Family First MP Dennis Hood yesterday said SA Police needed to develop an official policy to establish a consistent approach to the issue. Mr Hood said he was trying to protect the rights of parents to discipline their children by smacking in a bill introduced into Parliament late last year, which was not supported by the Government. Under his bill, parents would be protected under law from being charged if they smacked their children with an open hand on the bottom, hand or back of legs.

"I haven't pushed the legislation to a vote because the Government has said it won't support it and so it would be unsuccessful," Mr Hood said. "If somebody gives their child a whack on the bottom or the hands or legs they shouldn't be facing potential court action over that - as happened in other states and there are reports of it having happened here in South Australia as well." "Clearly there are inconsistencies with the way this issue is handled. I am not endorsing the beating of children or any form of child abuse whatsoever."

Mr Holloway said police don't keep records of parents charged with smacking their children because if action was taken, the parent would be charged with aggravated assault. Mr Hood said smacking children is illegal in New Zealand. Last week a retired Victorian family court judge called called on state governments to follow New Zealand's move to abolish the legal defence of "reasonable chastisement" for parents who hit their children.

Officers have the power to remove children from dangerous situations if they believe the child was in serious danger and they had to protect the child from harm, Mr Holloway said.



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.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Terrorism is OK -- but only if Leftists say so

I'm less concerned about Obama's association with Ayers and Dohrn than some political chatterers seem to be. I've never doubted that Obama shared some of the leftist views of people more radical than he (a touch pink? You don't say!) And I don't really fear that he's a closet bomb-thrower; there's simply no evidence that Barack Obama wants to implement his political views by force -- at least, not by force beyond that permitted by the "legitimate" political system.

But I am intrigued by the rather friendly treatment that Ayers and Dohrn receive in contrast to terrorists who adhere to different flavors of violent authoritarianism.

And I do mean authoritarianism. While press coverage tends to emphasize Ayers' and Dohrn's anti-war activism (and to refer to the bombers as "radicals" rather than "terrorists"), their ideology encompasses rather more than skepticism about the long-gone bloodbath in Vietnam. They're hostile to the market system, fond of socialism and openly solicitous of repressive political leaders who share their goals. On his blog (they're very modern radicals), Ayers writes of Hugo Chavez's Venezuela:
Despite being under constant attack from within and from abroad, the Bolivarian revolution has made astonishing strides in a brief period: from the Mission Simoncito to the Mission Robinson to the Mission Ribas to the Mission Sucre, to the Bolivarian schools and the UBV, Venezuelans have shown the world that with full participation, full inclusion, and popular empowerment, the failings of capitalist schooling can be resisted and overcome. Venezuela is a beacon to the world in its accomplishment of eliminating illiteracy in record time, and engaging virtually the entire population in the ongoing project of education.
Chavez has engaged "virtually the entire population" by requiring even private schools to adopt his regime's politicized curriculum, under threat of nationalization. That's the sort of political ideology that "radical" professors Ayers and Dohrn find attractive, and which drove their (still fondly remembered) bombing campaign.

Compare the treatment of this pair to, say Eric Rudolph. Rudolph is another political terrorist who also spent years as a fugitive, apparently assisted, like Ayers and Dohrn, by sympathizers. Driven by hatred of gays and lesbians and opposition to abortion, Rudolph planted bombs that killed two people and injured over 100. In his 2005 statement, Rudolph said:
Abortion is murder. And when the regime in Washington legalized, sanctioned and legitimized this practice, they forfeited their legitimacy and moral authority to govern. ...

There is no more legitimate reason to my knowledge, for renouncing allegiance to and if necessary using force to drag this monstrosity of a government down to the dust where it belongs. ...

Along with abortion, another assault upon the integrity of American society is the concerted effort to legitimize the practice of homosexuality. ...

[W]hen the attempt is made to drag this practice out of the closet and into the public square in an "in your face" attempt to force society to accept and recognize this behavior as being just as legitimate and normal as the natural man/woman relationship, every effort should be made, including force if necessary, to halt this effort.
Like the former Weathermen, Rudolph remains unrepentant. Referring to his bombing of an abortion clinic, he wrote, "I have no regrets or remorse for my actions that day in January, and consider what happened morally justified."

Unlike Ayers and Dohrn, however, Rudolph is serving hard time in prison -- multiple consecutive life terms without parole. Ayers never served time and Dohrn spent less than a year in prison for refusing to testify about a Weather Underground heist in which a guard and two police officers were killed. And there's never been any question about Rudolph's status: press accounts regularly (and accurately, I would say) refer to him as a "terrorist," denying him the nudge-and-wink "radical" status afforded to the lefty bombers.

While it's unlikely that we'll ever get the chance to see whether any American universities are eager to award Rudolph with a tenured teaching job, it's safe to say that the authoritarian right-wing bomber is treated rather more roughly by the press and the intellectual establishment than are the authoritarian left-wing bombers. Ayers and Dohrn are widely presented as otherwise-respectable activists who went a tad too far, while Rudolph is generally described as the unpleasant product of hate, intolerance and the dark underbelly of rural American society. The association of a presidential hopeful with Ayers and Dohrn may excite scattered raised eyebrows -- and talk that the issue is an overblown bit of "Obama backlash"-- among the all-of 26 news stories on the matter that a Google search turns up as of February 24. But it's hard to believe that McCain's campaign would enjoy the same nonchalant treatment if it turned out that he'd broken bread with Rudolph at a pro-life fundraiser.

The difference is likely one of culture and familiarity. Journalists, academics and intellectuals run into even the most radical leftists often enough that the likes of Ayers and Dohrn might seem excessive without coming across as unsympathetic. That sort of familiarity can result in the occasional howler, such as the misty-eyed 1990 New York Times story on a failing retirement home populated by "political idealists" -- aging communists with a lingering nostalgia for Lenin. It's hard to believe the Grey Lady would have run a similar piece about octogenarian German-American bundists pining for Adolph. But I'm certain that aging reds strike many journalists as quaint, while old brownshirts just come across as pathetic -- despite the comparable body counts of the two totalitarian ideologies.

So the minor kerfuffle over Obama's association with Ayers and Dohrn says less about the candidate -- who did nothing most of his peers would find unacceptable -- than it does about the thinking of a certain part of the American political and intellectual establishment. Violence to achieve political change may be a no-no, but it's a minor transgression in the service of a sympathetic kind of politics, and a reprehensible crime when implemented for the wrong ideas. And the fact that the sympathetic kind of politics is as repressive as the wrong kind? Well, that says something too.


British police useless at real policing

Persecuting ordinary decent people is all that they are good at

The man convicted yesterday of murdering two women and trying to kill a third was left free to continue his campaign of violence against women because of basic investigative errors by police. Levi Bellfield was found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering Marsha McDonnell, 19, and Amelie Delagrange, 22, and attempting to murder Kate Sheedy. He was then identified as the prime suspect for the unsolved murder of the schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

A Scotland Yard task force has been set up to investigate Bellfield's possible connection to a series of 20 murders, attempted murders and other attacks dating back 25 years. Detective Chief Inspector Colin Sutton said that Bellfield was a dangerous man and that women would be safer now that he was behind bars. He stalked his victims, all young and blonde, as they waited for - or stepped off - buses late at night. Police said that they expected more victims of Bellfield, 39, a wheelclamper, to come forward after his picture was published widely for the first time.

As officers promised to uncover the full extent of Bellfield's crimes, it became clear that vital clues were missed that could have led to his arrest two years before he was eventually detained. Four officers from the Metropolitan Police have been reprimanded for serious errors in the inquiry into the attempted murder of Kate Sheedy in Isleworth in May 2004, three months before Miss Delagrange's death. Bellafield had attacked Miss Sheedy, now 21, with his car, knocking her down then driving over her twice. The Independent Police Complaints Commission found that officers had looked at the wrong day's CCTV footage, thereby failing to spot Bellfield's car stalking Miss Sheedy.

The Times has learnt that the written warning given to one officer was considered so serious that it was handed down by a Deputy Assistant Commissioner at Scotland Yard.

Police in Surrey investigating Milly Dowler's death failed to follow up on house-to-house inquries that could have led them to Bellfield in 2002 - before the murders of Miss McDonnell in 2003 and Miss Delagrange in 2004. They called 11 times at the house of Emma Mills, Bellfield's girlfriend, but after being told that she had moved they did not trace her new address. Miss Mills was by then living with Bellfield in West Drayton, West London. She has since been able to tell police that she owned a red Daewoo car of the kind seen on CCTV near Walton station on the day that Milly went missing. The car was reported stolen four days later. It has also emerged that a man in a similar car attempted to abduct a girl in the area the day before Milly disappeared.

A previous girlfriend of Bellfield's had a daughter who was a schoolfriend of Milly. The schoolgirl had been to her classmate's for tea and was thought to have met Bellfield. Miss Mills is also understood to have told detectives that, on the night of Milly's disappearance, Bellfield got out of bed at 4am and told her that he was going "to take care of the dog" at her flat in Walton. Detectives think this might have been when Bellfield went to dispose of Milly's body. Her remains were found in September 2002 in woods at Yateley Heath, Hampshire, an area known to Bellfield, who attended car auctions nearby.

Surrey police have issued a fresh appeal for information about the Daewoo car and are offering a œ50,000 reward for evidence leading to the conviction of Milly's murderer. Bob and Sally Dowler, Milly's parents, appealed for new witnesses to come forward. They said: "Milly was a loved and loving daughter and sister. She had every right to expect a happy, rich life ahead of her. As parents, how could we imagine anything else? We are pleading for anyone who knows anything to have the courage to speak up."

Surrey police sources emphasised that nothing had emerged in 2002 to make Bellfield a suspect. At the time he had nine previous convictions and there was intelligence to suggest that he made silent phone calls to women. "He was way off the radar, it was not until he was picked up in connection with the Amelie Delagrange murder that he began to be a possible suspect," said one source.

Bellfield was caught eventually by a combination of painstaking detective work and a bizarre stroke of luck. A police telephone hotline set up after the murder of Miss Delagrange received 129 calls from women who suspected that men they knew might be the killer. One woman said that Bellfield, who had violently attacked her during their relationship, was capable of killing women. At the same time officers were studying CCTV pictures from the streets around Twickenham Green on the night of the young French woman's murder. They appeared to show that she was followed by a white Ford Courier van but were too blurred to yield the vehicle's numberplate or driver. A smudge on the roof and two aluminium rear plates were the only things to mark it out from 26,000 similar vehicles in Britain.

The search for the van produced information about a wheelclamper who had bought a similar van for cash a few months earlier. The man had left his mobile phone number with the vehicle's previous owner. Then came the stroke of luck. When the phone number was punched into the police intelligence system, it matched with the number of a man who had called the antiterrorist hotline months earlier to report suspicions about his neighbour. The man was Levi Bellfield - the same name given by the woman caller. Surveillance revealed that his white van had similar markings to the one caught on CCTV.

His phone had also rung moments before Miss Delagrange was attacked. Bellfield, whose awareness of forensic science meant that he normally had his phone off before attacking his victims, immediately switched it off. But both the call and the act of switching the phone off left traces on the network that placed Bellfield at the murder scene. When police raided his home to arrest him in November 2004 they found him cowering in the loft.

The jury was unable to reach verdicts in connection with two other attacks, on Anna-Maria Rennie, then 17, in Whitton, South West London, in October 2001, and Irma Dragoshi, then 33, in December 2003. There was no evidence that any of his victims had been sexually assaulted.


The Netherlands Fouls Its Own Nest

Post below lifted from Gates of Vienna. See the original for links

It is so disgusting that I do not trust myself to comment very much. The Netherlands seemed to be programmed now to kill off its own as soon as possible, while it demonstrates a truly perverted sense of justice. This story is the perfect example:
[A] woman who drove over and killed a Moroccan thief in Amsterdam three years ago has been living in secret locations since, for fear of retaliation. At the order of the judge, the woman has however been tracked down and taken to court. The woman is being tried for causing the death of Ali El Bejatti. On 17 January 2005, this Moroccan youth opened her car door and snatched her handbag. The woman reversed against the boy, who was on a scooter. He was crushed against a tree, broke his neck and died.

The woman has been in hiding for three years, according to her lawyer Cees Korvinus. She is so afraid of reprisals that she moved from hiding-place to hiding-place, De Telegraaf quoted the lawyer as saying yesterday. The police advised her to go into hiding after the incident, according to the newspaper.

Korvinus entered a request yesterday for the judges to be replaced. This was in reaction to their decision that the session will be public. The court administrators rejected Korvinus' request. Korvinus wanted the case to be heard behind closed doors because the woman fears that a public hearing will increase the danger she claims she is in. The judge did permit the woman to hide her face yesterday with a scarf so that she could not be recognised.

The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) announced yesterday it was demanding a jail sentence of 30 months for the woman. The OM is charging her with manslaughter because she deliberately took the risk of seriously injuring El Bejatti.
That was not their original take on the accident. Three years ago, they considered her the victim:
The woman has stated that the collision was an accident. The Public Prosecutor's Office (OM) initially concluded this as well, but later decided to prosecute her after all.
This is Whim Theory as it applies to the law in the Netherlands.

Originally, the trial began without the woman present, but the judge "had her tracked her down to a secret address." Nor will he allow her to put a scarf on her face to protect her identity. He wants the bull's eye target as large and recognizable as possible.

Her lawyer describes her as "dead scared" that appearing in court will cause a fatwah to be issued against her - which will, of course, make it open season on the woman for the devout. Meanwhile her psychiatrist reports that she lives "in a state of constant fear of death." Well, duh.

The person who robbed her and died for his efforts had previously been in court that day on charges of armed robbery. The OM demanded a two-year jail sentence for El Bejatti, but the judge must have disagreed because he was free that very evening to meet his death in another attempted heist.

The solution to the problem is quite easy: this woman just needs to get over her fear of death. Problem solved. And if there is a hell, may this vengeful judge rot there.

British Gas broke into our house, say couple who owed them nothing

An Englishman's home is a long way from being his castle these days

When David Houghton returned home from a holiday, he was horrified to find the lock on his front door had been picked. But it wasn't thieves who had broken into his home. It was British Gas. The energy giant had taken the drastic - and perfectly legal - step in a row over an unpaid bill, even though it later emerged that Mr Houghton did not owe the company a penny.

The 34-year-old's nightmare began in July 2005, when he bought a two-bedroom flat in Willesden Green, North London, with his girlfriend Abby Simpson. He immediately decided to ditch the property's contract with British Gas for a better deal with rivals EDF. But the British Gas computer system wrongly continued to bill the couple. Mr Houghton dealt with numerous threats of legal action and visits from the bailiffs, before a personal apology from the energy giant's managing director, Phil Bentley, convinced him that his troubles were over.

But when the couple went on a long weekend to New York in June last year, they returned home to a nasty surprise. While they were away, British Gas had swapped their meter for a pay-as-you-go version. To do so, an engineer and locksmith had sneaked into the flat by picking the locks on the front door and an internal door. They then left a note informing the couple what they had done. British Gas switches customers to pay-as-you go meters if they consistently fail to pay their bills.

Investigators have since worked out that it was the occupants of the next-door flat who owed the money to British Gas. The company has now apologised, blaming the bungle on incorrect records at the National Grid and problems with the address at Royal Mail. It has also given Mr Houghton and Miss Simpson 200 pounds.

However, the watchdog Energywatch last night demanded that the gas supplier fully compensate the couple. Mr Houghton said: "I am totally disgusted and bewildered by their behaviour. "I spoke to manager after manager at their call centres and each time was promised the problem had been sorted out." Between 2005 and the break-in two years later, the bill demands rose from 90 to 900 pounds. Mr Houghton said: "We sent them letters in response but then the bailiffs came round trying to get access."

A spokesman for the company claimed last night that the Gas Act allows workers to break into a customer's home to change the meter, providing he or she has been warned in advance. However, Mr Houghton claims he was never notified. He added: "It felt so intrusive that they had been in our flat and could have gone into every room if they'd wanted to.

"I called the police, who said they weren't interested because nothing had been taken." Graham Kerr, a spokesman for Energywatch, said: "Mr Houghton and his partner have had appalling treatment from British Gas. "Having your home broken into is a traumatic experience and that blow isn't softened by the perpetrator being a household name that just happened to make a mistake."

A British Gas spokesman said: 'Our managing director, Phil Bentley, has spoken to Mr Houghton and apologised. "We've since corrected our records, changed the meter back and Mr Houghton has been given 200 pounds in compensation."



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.


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

British Muslims criticise food company after it is revealed that some crisp varieties contain alcohol

Furious Muslims have heavily criticised Walkers crisps after it emerged that certain varieties of the manufacturer's products contain trace elements of alcohol. Some crisp types use minute amounts of alcohol as a chemical agent to extract certain flavours.

The report in Asian newspaper Eastern Eye, highlights concerns raised by shopkeeper Besharat Rehman, who owns a halal supermarket in Bradford, West Yorkshire. Mr Rehman told the paper: "A customer informed us that Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli and Doritos Chilli Heat Wave are not on Walkers' alcohol-free list. Our suppliers were unaware of this. "Even if it is a trace amount of alcohol, Walkers should make it clear on the packaging so that the customer can make an informed choice. "I feel frustrated and angry. I have let my customers down simply because such a big company like Walkers is not sensitive to Muslim needs. "Many of them were my daughter's favourite crisps. As soon as I found out about the alcohol in them, I called home to ask my wife to throw out all the packets."

Shuja Shafi, who chairs the food standards committee of the Muslim Council of Britain, said that he intended to investigate. "Certainly we would find it very offensive to have eaten food with alcohol." Masood Khawaja, of the Halal Food Authority, said that this was not the first time the issue had been raised with Walkers. "They should have looked into the matter and solved it instead of hiding behind labelling regulations. It does not matter what percentage of alcohol is involved. "Besides Muslims, there are a lot of teetotal people who would not like to consume alcohol in any form. As far as possible we try and lobby for halal symbols on popular products like Kellogg's cereals. "But we have always told Muslims to check the contents list even if a product is marked suitable for vegetarians. But to not mention it on the packaging is unfair."

However, a spokesperson for Walkers said that trace amounts of alcohol in crisps or bread are believed to be permissible for Muslims. "We do not add alcohol to our products. However, ethyl alcohol may be present in trace amounts in a very small number of our flavours. "It is used as a carrying agent for flavourings, and is found in many common food and drink products. "Foods like bread can also contain the same or higher trace amounts due to fermentation. "We are aware of the concerns from some Muslim consumers about the appropriateness of specific ingredients. We take the concerns of our consumers extremely seriously. "In previous assessments by Muslim scholars, foods and drinks that contain trace amounts of ethyl alcohol have been confirmed as permissible for Muslim consumption because of both the fact that the ingredient does not bear its original qualities and does not change the taste, colour or smell of the product, and its very low level."


Some `homeless' have a home

Post below lifted from Don Surber. See the original for links

Massachusetts give the homeless apartments, only to find them sleeping on the streets. When he is not giving speeches that Barack Obama can later lift, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is giving away taxpayer money on stupid stuff. The Boston Globe reported Patrick wants to spend $10 million on apartments for the homeless, moving them out of shelters. The selling point is this will reduce spending on other social services for the homeless.

A pilot program has mixed results. Burton Tainter, 61, for years slept on a grate behind the Boston Public Library. The pilot program gave him an apartment. He felt lonely and bored. The Globe reported that soon, Tainter was "resuming his old life of living on park benches in Boston." Hmm. Maybe that was his home.

"The hardest part is living alone - especially when struggling to stay sober," he said.

This tale symbolizes modern liberals. People are not individuals but rather some member of a demographic group to be stereotyped and pandered to. Instead of blowing $10 million on a bureaucratic dream, why not scoop them off the street and put them in rehab - then make them find work later.

Or better yet, why not live and let live? I know, I'm just another heartless Republican.

Fair To Whom?

Post below lifted from Blue Crab. See the original for links

The Daily Mail hits at the "Fair Trade"certification in Britain again this morning. This time, they are reporting on the release of a study by the Adam Smith Institute that slams the entire fair trade movement as worthless marketing or something that is actually harmful to the most vulnerable people on Earth.
Last year, British consumers spent more than 300million pounds on Fairtrade products. But the report Unfair Trade claims that the organisation's "positive image appears to rely more on public relations than research". It adds:

Fairtrade helps only a very small number of farmers while leaving the majority worse off.

It favours producers in better-off nations such as Mexico, rather than poor African countries.

It holds back economic development, paying inefficient cooperative farms and discouraging diversification and mechanisation.

Supermarket chains profit more from the higher price of Fairtrade goods than farmers.

Only a fifth of produce grown on Fairtrade-approved farms is actually purchased at its guaranteed fair price.

Tom Clougherty, policy director of the Adam Smith Institute, says: "At best, fair trade is a marketing device that does the poor little good. "At worst, it may inadvertently be harming some of the planet's most vulnerable people."

Most damning of all, the report claims that Fairtrade is hurting the poorest group of all in the production process of its goods - the casual labourers hired by farmers to pick the bananas, coffee and cotton.
The UK executive director of Fairtrade whines that the report is beating them up for trying. (It's all about the good intentions, don't you see?).

Actually, the study, as reported in the story, isn't beating them up for trying. It is beating them up for what they are doing wrong. Is making sure that farmers get a fair shake a laudable effort? Well, maybe, although that is a subject that is debatable. But forcing collectivism is the surest way to ensure that they all get treated equally badly. The "fair trade" activists insist on only dealing with collectives. Winston Churchill's famous quotation applies here: "The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." The report indicates that the "fair traders" are very good indeed at making everyone miserable.

This Bishop is no Pawn

Most readers will remember the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, who has been notably outspoken on the topic of Islam and the Islamization of Britain - especially when one compares him with the Archdhimmi of Canterbury.

Dr. Nazir-Ali's most famous and controversial statements concerned urban neighborhoods of the UK which have become virtual "no-go areas" to non-Muslims. The bishop has taken a lot of flak from the chattering classes, especially those within the Anglican hierarchy. According to today's Telegraph, however, he's not backing off from his assertions:

Bishop of Rochester reasserts `no-go' claim

In his first interview since his controversial comments, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali vows not to be forced into silence

Michael Nazir-AliThe Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali, who received death threats for airing his views on Islamic issues, has vowed that he will continue to speak out.

His claim that Islamic extremism has turned some parts of Britain into "no-go" areas for non-Muslims led to fierce rows between political and religious leaders over the impact of multiculturalism on this country.

Those comments were followed soon after by the Archbishop of Canterbury's suggestion that the adoption of aspects of sharia law in Britain was "unavoidable".

The bishops' views in The Sunday Telegraph sparked a storm of criticism and raised questions over the role of the Church in society but, most seriously for Dr Nazir-Ali, led to threats that he and his family would be harmed.

Yet, in his first interview since the sinister calls were made to his home, the Bishop of Rochester remains steadfastly defiant. He will not be silenced. "I believe people should not be prevented from speaking out," he says. "The issue had to be raised. There are times when Christian leaders have to speak out."


Threats were made warning that he would not "live long" and would be "sorted out" if he continued to criticise Islam.

Dr. Nazir-Ali originally fled from Pakistan to escape death threats from Muslims, so the irony of his current circumstances is not lost on him:
However, it's not the first time that his life has been endangered.

Shortly after being made a bishop in Pakistan - at 35 he was the youngest in the Anglican Church - he was forced to flee to Britain to seek refuge from Muslims who wanted to kill him.

He says that he never expected to suffer the same treatment in Britain and expresses concerns over recent social developments.

He continues to speak out, and is more concerned about the civilizational crisis within the West than he is with Islam itself:

"The real danger to Britain today is the spiritual and moral vacuum that has occurred for the last 40 or 50 years. When you have such a vacuum something will fill it.

"If people are not given a fresh way of understanding what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be a Christian-based society then something else may well take the place of all that we're used to and that could be Islam."

Dr. Nazir-Ali is daring to give voice to sentiments that many thousands of his fellow Britons hold, but which are denied utterance by the rubrics of political correctness:

Just over a year ago Abu Izzadeen, an Islamic radical, heckled John Reid, the former home secretary, as he tried to deliver a speech on targeting potential extremists. "How dare you come to a Muslim area," Izzadeen screamed.

There was widespread dismay at the outburst, but nobody had dared to try to suggest that these views were entrenched across the country until the bishop spoke last month.

In warning of attempts to impose an Islamic character on certain areas, for example by amplifying the call to prayer from mosques, he seems to have tapped into the fears of a large section of society.

Many Christians - not least some of the leaders of the major Protestant denominations - seem to think that Christian morality always requires the faithful to submit without resistance to any form of violence. Dr. Nazir-Ali, however, believes the time has come for Christians to stand up for what they know is right.

To many, he has become a champion of traditional Christianity and its importance to Britain at the same time as the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has been attacked for suggesting the adoption of aspects of sharia law is "unavoidable" in this country.

While the archbishop received widespread support from within the Church, Dr Nazir-Ali found himself isolated from his colleagues.

"I don't court popularity. If I say something it's because I think it's important enough to say it. What I said was based on evidence, and that has been strengthened as a result of overwhelming correspondence."

The moral cowardice that his been so evident of late within the Anglican Church is not lost on him, although he is circumspect about addressing it directly:

He wishes the Church would be more vocal on issues of multiculturalism and sharia law, but refuses to criticise his colleagues, although it is clear he is baffled by their silence.

"I can't guess why they haven't talked on the issue. I'm not responsible for other people's consciences." Is it due to cowardice? "You'd have to ask them."

Above all he is opposed to the adoption of any form of sharia for Muslims in the UK:

"People of every faith should be free within the law to follow what their spiritual leaders direct them to, but that's very different from saying their structures should replace that of the English legal system because there would be huge conflicts." In particular, he points to polygamy, women's rights and freedom of belief as areas in sharia law that would undermine equality.

There is a danger that the archbishop's remarks could become a reality unless Britain quickly regains a sense of its Christian heritage.

"Do the British people really want to lose that rooting in the Christian faith that has given them everything they cherish - art, literature, architecture, institutions, the monarchy, their value system, their laws?"

As a Pakistani-born immigrant who has suffered racist abuse - he was called a "Paki papist" by Anglican clergy - he has gained an army of admirers who appear grateful to have someone brave enough to address controversial topics. He has vowed the latest threats will not change how he and his family live.

"The recovery of Christian discourse in the public life of this nation is so important. It's that discourse that will allow us in a genuine way to be hospitable to those who come here from different cultures and religions."

It's ironic that a bishop of Pakistani and Muslim background should be the most visible defender of Christianity and British tradition.

Maybe it's easier for someone coming in from the outside to see what we've got that's worth saving.



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.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Doctors and teachers to act as 'informers' to target violent offenders BEFORE they strike

Under controversial new British plans. Judged guilty while still innocent, in other words. Given the appalling abuses of the existing secretive child welfare system this would be a descent into utter darkness. The Leftist British government obviously has a conception of civil liberties not too different from Joseph Stalin's

Doctors, teachers and social workers will be told to act as informers to identify potential violent offenders for monitoring by the police and other agencies. Ministers hope that by spotting binge-drinkers, drug addicts and young gang members early before they commit serious crimes they can be placed on a national database and steered away from offending behaviour. The plans have been dubbed the Minority Report powers, a reference to the 2002 Tom Cruise movie in which a futuristic "precrime" police unit uses psychics to arrest and imprison criminals just before they carry out attacks.

But civil liberty campaigners and union bosses warned that such intrusive measures by the Home Office would destroy the relationship of trust between GPs and their patients or social workers and clients. They would also put professionals at risk of reprisals if they are seen as police informers. Opposition MPs said recent fiascos involving huge quantities of personal data lost or leaked by the Government raised grave doubts over plans for sharing and swapping private data.

The scheme, outlined in the Government's latest Tackling Violence Action Plan, will mean redrafting the NHS's strict privacy protection rules to encourage health staff to share patients' confidential data as part of "public interest disclosures". The document sets out plans for identifying individuals who may not have committed any offences but are judged to be "at risk of involvement in violence". Tell-tale signs of those 'whose behaviour may be identified as risky' include drug addicts or alcoholics, mental health patients and youngsters who join gangs or who have been the victims of violence either in the home or on the street.

Ministers want GPs, social workers, mental health agencies, housing officials and school or college staff to provide tip-offs so that multi-agency Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships, including local police, can act. The only existing systems are for monitoring convicted criminals through probation staff, so new organisations will have to be set up to watch those thought to be at risk of committing violence.

Once an individual is assessed as a high-risk potential offender, they would be placed on local and national databases and subjected to regular reviews. The Home Office claims such measures will save lives. Ministers have cited examples such as Michael Stone, convicted of murdering Lin and Megan Russell, or Soham murderer Ian Huntley. They repeatedly came to the notice of medics or police, but lack of data- sharing meant threatening patterns were missed. The Home Office said examples of "interventions" for potential criminals included regular visits from social services staff, providing mentors to young people, forcing them to attend weapons awareness classes or more after-school activities to keep them off the streets.

Union officials voiced grave concerns and accused ministers of failing to consult professionals or to address concerns they had already raised. A spokesman for Unison, the public services union, said: "These plans threaten to build a barrier of suspicion between the public and those who deliver their services."

Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: "This is another ill-thought through measure, no doubt based on flawed databases and unreliable statistical analysis." Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said: "Home Office edicts are unlikely to help skilled health professionals make delicate judgments on behalf of their patients. The danger is of vulnerable victims treating their own injuries for fear of being reported to the police."


Antichrist Canadian Bishops put homosexuality way ahead of the Bible

They are are threatening forcible action in an attempt to ram their Satanic doctrines down the throats of Anglicans who follow Bible teachings. Their conception of ethics would certainly not be recognized by the teacher of Nazareth

In the face of growing defection by traditionally minded Christian Anglican congregations, the Anglican bishop of British Columbia has told clergy and lay leaders that parishes attempting to seek oversight from other jurisdictions will face penalties, including loss of clerical licenses and properties. The bishops of the Anglican Church of Canada are overwhelmingly in support of homosexual activity and the "blessing" of same-sex relationships and ministers; however, bishops and laity who continue to adhere to the Christian doctrines on sexuality are seeking a way to remain within the Anglican Communion.

The Rt. Rev. James Cowan wrote that such attempts by parishioners would be "schismatic" and a betrayal of a "fiduciary trust" to the diocese and would result in the "immediate termination of license or removal from office." Clergy "acquiescing in" or "actively promoting" the withdrawal of parishes would be dismissed from office without "notice or severance," he wrote.

The problem, however, is growing, as more parishes in the Anglican Church of Canada seek oversight from sections of the Worldwide Anglican Communion that have retained their adherence to Christian doctrine on scriptural authority, homosexuality and the meaning of marriage. In the last week, a total of seven parishes of the Anglican Church of Canada have voted to seek jurisdiction elsewhere.

Parishioners of St. Alban the Martyr in Ottawa voted this weekend to sever their associations with the Anglican Church of Canada and seek oversight from Bishop Don Harvey, who is overseeing the traditional Canadian churches in their realignment with Archbishop Gregory Venables and the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone in South America.

Parishioners at Vancouver's St. John's Shaughnessy, the largest Anglican congregation in Canada, voted last Wednesday to sever ties with the Archbishop of New Westminster, Michael Ingham, over his support for same-sex blessings. This was followed by a decision to follow suit by parishioners at St. Matthew's Anglican parish in Abbotsford, BC, St. Mary of the Incarnation in Metchosin on Vancouver Island, St. Chad's parish in Toronto, St. Hilda's, in Oakville and St. George's, in Campbellville, Ontario, bringing the total to seven by the end of Sunday.

Rev. Peter Elliott, spokesman for the Diocese of New Westminster told the Ottawa Citizen that there is broad acceptance of homosexuality in the Anglican Church in BC because homosexuality is "morally neutral". But Rev. Andrew Hewlett of St. Mary of the Incarnation, said that homosexuality is only a symptom of the larger problem. "The real issue underlying it is how we view the authority of the scriptures - and our concern about the [ACC's] changing of theology, which is putting it outside of the official teaching of the global Anglican community."

St. Mary's rector, Rev. Sharon Hayton, and Rev. Hewlett, were informed on Friday that disciplinary action was being commenced against them. Bishop Cowan wrote that Hayton and Hewlett were "inhibited" from their clerical offices. "[Y]ou may not function as an ordained priest, and may not act as. priest of the parish of St. Mary of the Incarnation, Metchosin." He forbade them from discussing the situation with parishioners and from entering the parish premises.

Rev. Simon Chin of St. Matthias & St. Luke Church in Vancouver told the National Post he expects his parish will also vote to separate on February 24. "For the last six years we have been calling for help [from the ACC], but they've not done anything," he said. "Our people in our church are the ones pushing all of this because they feel we don't have a home here."

The letter from Bishop Cowan was followed by another from the Anglican Primate of Canada, Archbishop Fred Hiltz, who wrote Friday, "Individuals who choose to leave the church over contentious issues cannot take property or other assets with them." "My hope is that no parish will take action that would compel parish or diocesan leaders to resolve property disputes in the civil courts," Hiltz continued.

But a spokesman for St. John's parish in Shaughnessy, a neighbourhood of Vancouver where real estate values are among the highest in the country, told media that the parish is willing to fight for their church, saying its building was independently incorporated and built with local members' funds.

The parish has collected $1 million in legal funding. "We would defend the building. We would continue our services. I suppose if we couldn't get into the building, we would hold our services out on the grass or something like that," spokeswoman Lesley Bentley told the National Post.

In 2002, the Diocese of New Westminster, British Columbia voted to permit the blessing of same-sex unions by parishes requesting authorization to do so. Since then the bishop of that diocese, Michael Ingham, has issued several warnings to his clergy attempting to force compliance, and has ordered the locks changed on buildings with "dissenting" parishioners.


We don't need to define Britishness

British national identity is becoming more and more like the weather: everybody talks about it but nobody can do anything about it. And come to think of it, it is especially like British weather: so tepid most of the time that it is difficult to describe.

This is not necessarily a problem: having a sense of your own country's character as a vague, largely invisible thing which hums away quietly in the background. Until, of course, the woolly, taken-for-granted conception is challenged by an internal threat which makes use of precisely that amorphous lack of definition to create malignant - potentially lethal - social divisions

And that is where we find ourselves. Last week's report from the Royal United Service Institute went so far as to say that Britain's lack of clear conviction over the value of its identity and political culture had left it a "soft target" for terrorism - which is not the same thing as being soft on terrorism, as some sections of the media concluded. The British security services are among the few national agencies not lacking a clear set of objectives. They are not soft on terrorism.

The real argument of the RUSI study was that Britain was leaving itself open to the recruitment of Islamist terrorists by its failure to instil a confident, graspable sense of what this nation believes and stands for, and of what exactly it means to belong here. In fact, the defence experts said - as have so many others that by now the statement has become almost platitudinous - that the philosophy of multiculturalism and the diversity which it has consciously encouraged have helped to fragment society.

So officially, everybody is pedalling furiously away from multiculturalism. Not only government ministers and opposition leaders but even figures such as Trevor Phillips of the Equality and Human Rights Commission have proclaimed the need to dismantle it. But somehow all of this opprobrium does not filter down to the classroom or to public sector agencies (such as the BBC, local government bureaucracies and the NHS), which are still explicitly committed to "diversity programmes" that positively encourage the continuing separateness of ethnic communities.

It would be easy to see this as simply an accident, a kind of absent-minded philosophy creep in which the original good intentions just got out of hand, as things so often do when they are administered by bureaucrats. So deeply entrenched - and so embedded in the employment practices of the public sector - was the idea of "tolerating differences" that nobody noticed for the longest time that it had slipped over into "encouraging differences".

If that were the case, this would be a relatively easy problem to solve: a few stern ministerial guidelines and departmental directives ("URGENT: the word 'diversity' to be replaced by 'unity' in all official policy pronouncements") could, over a period of a year or two, turn the situation round. But everybody recognises that it is not that simple. Which is to say that everybody knows that we have a far more profound dilemma: Britain does not have a unified, coherent, identifiable self-image, either as a people or as a political entity, which it can offer to incomers as an inspiration and a ready-made value system.

There is a reason why all the attempts to define Britishness seem to end in fatuity: not only because they dribble off into nebulous virtues such as tolerance and decency, which should be common to all civilised people, but because the British opinion-forming classes tend to find the whole concept of national identity either sinister or risible. And it is perfectly plausible to see this as a virtue: a strong, cohesive sense of national loyalty certainly can transmogrify into blood-and-soil nationalism of a horrifying kind, and the ironic distance which the British maintain from even their most important historical institutions has the unmistakeable ring of grown-up wit.

Even in my more sentimental American-expatriate moments, I can see why, to most British eyes, flag-waving US patriotism seems childlike and naive. In many respects, the American model is peculiarly unhelpful, even though it is the one to which Gordon Brown and now Jack Straw cleave as they desperately seek a way out of the crisis that their own party's policies have created. Mr Straw hinted only last week that perhaps the written constitution idea was the way out of our mess since it seemed to be so successful in the US at implanting what he called an "enviable notion of civic duty". Indeed it does. But that is there, and we are here.

Americans are unlike almost all other peoples of the world in that they all either are themselves, or are descended from, people who went to the country as an act of will (apart from those who were taken there against their will whose descendants, unsurprisingly, have had more difficulty in assimilating than almost all later migrant groups). This makes them ideal subjects for the great 18th-century Enlightenment experiment: a newly invented country with a carefully devised written constitution and a self-conscious assumption of an identity that was defined in deliberate rebellion against an old aristocratic order.

To settle in the US is, in effect, to sign the "social contract" that the founding fathers envisaged: accept the rules and the principles on which this country is established and you can belong here. That's the deal that is spelt out very clearly to every prospective citizen and, for the most part, it works. Older nations that chose to redefine themselves by overthrowing their history - such as France, where the revolution turned into the Terror - have had less happy results.

Britain is particularly ill-suited to adopting the apparatus of a revolutionary republic. You know what a Brown-Straw (not to say Cameron) written constitution would look like, don't you? A list of bland aspirations with a presumptuous and irritating "Bill of Rights" attached.

Britain's historical identity has been produced by accretion, subtle accommodation and fudge: to define it is impossible because it has had no consistent conscious intent. Which is fine, because we don't need to define ourselves, we just need to stop hating ourselves. [Or having self-hatred preached at us]

What is at the heart of the aggressive form of "multiculturalism", as most ordinary people suspect, is not tolerance but self-loathing: the deprecation of our own culture and history that elevates almost anybody else's values above our own. It is not the indoctrination of some mystical sense of Britishness that is required but a restoration of the quiet pride and conviction that used to enable Britons to maintain the highest standards of civil behaviour in the world.


Australia: Muslim versus anti-Muslim youth gangs

Another triumph of multiculturalism

A TEEN bashed with a tomahawk is fighting for his life as youths warn of a Cronulla-type gang explosion in Melbourne. Sunshine Hospital was forced to call police and shut its emergency department as about 100 youths descended, angered by the brutal attack on their friend. In another unprecedented escalation of gang violence, a molotov cocktail was hurled on a suburban train last week. More attacks were pledged as part of a bitter conflict between two of Melbourne's biggest gangs that has seen 10 youth stabbings.

Police are demanding measures to stem the growing scourge of youth gang activity. They want a Youth Crime Taskforce established, new anti-assembly powers to break up loitering crowds of teens and portable knife scanners. Shopping centres and rail operators are also changing their operations to cope with the rising gang challenge.

Four men have been charged with attempted murder and serious assault over the attack on the 17-year-old on Friday. The teenager and four friends were "pulverised" in the St Albans attack. Their assailants - one 16 - allegedly used a tomahawk, baseball bats and hockey sticks in the violence, destroying their car and putting the five in hospital. One of the teens caught in the attack said the violent onslaught had been triggered by them being on someone else's turf. The teen, who would not give his name, had facial bruising and injured ribs and described the attack as ruthless and against innocent victims. As well as being territorial, he said the attack was carried out for fun.

Police, social workers and even gang members said gang violence was flaring across Melbourne's suburbs. The Police Association - representing 11,000 officers - said the youth gang crisis demanded a regional taskforce on youth crime and anti-assembly powers. "They're under-18 and they're coming in from the outer suburbs and causing mayhem in the city and the inner suburbs," assistant secretary Bruce McKenzie said. "This is happening. And we do know it's of considerable concern to our members." The association is expected to lobby Premier John Brumby for anti-assembly powers to break up big groups of teens and expressed a desire for British-style portable walk-through metal scanners.

In an escalating stoush between two of the city's biggest gangs, an Arab coalition from Melbourne's north was seething over a rap song released by enemy gang South-East Boys, threatening "another Cronulla". The song, Lullaby, derides the Dandenong gang's Arab enemies as "p*****s" and threatens a local Cronulla-style race clash.

Gang members said the rivalry between the north and south gangs had already led to 10 stabbings. "Give it tomorrow, give it a year. We will hit back 10 times harder," said Ronni, leader of northern gang ASAD or Arabian Soldiers Arab Defenders. Gang members are aged 17 to 26 and brawl with machetes, bottles, poles, knuckle-dusters and knives. The North-West Boys, who have a distinct double-fist handshake, are made up of gangs including ASAD, which has spread from Newport, and The Clan.

The North-West Boys said their opposing gang, based around Dandenong, was a mix of white "Aussie bogans", Sudanese, Afghans, Italians and Greeks. "We were hunting them for almost seven hours," The Clan leader Hash said. "If the South-East want war, then so be it." The gangs have sophisticated fight strategies and youths are attacked if they stray into another gang's side of the city. "Something in the future is going to happen to them," Ronni said. Hash said they tried to isolate their activities so members of the public would not get hurt.



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.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Insane British police again: Fathers arrested for stopping fight

Two fathers have condemned the criminal justice system after they were arrested and thrown into a police cell for trying to prevent a fight involving a gang of youths. Christopher Dale, 38, and Arthur Parkes, 29, decided to intervene when they heard that a group of boys planned to catch and beat up another youth. They made a citizen's arrest of the two ring leaders, aged 12 and 14, and held them while Mr Dale's wife called the police

But when officers arrived it was the men who were handcuffed and led away after the boys accused them of assault. What followed was a nine month "nightmare" in which the men faced losing everything as the Crime Prosecution Service refused to drop the case. Their ordeal only ended in court when a magistrate finally decided there was no case to answer, "It has been an absolute nightmare," said Mr Dale yesterday, an engineer who fits fire alarms and a trained pilot.

"They arrested us, threw us in the back of a police car and then into a cell - our dignity stripped just outside my house. "We are constantly told not to turn a blind eye but when you do what you think is your duty you get arrested. "We are very, very angry about our treatment. I thought I was doing the right thing by stopping a gang of youths attacking another lad. "If it happened again I would have to think very seriously about whether I would step in. I feel let down by the very people who are supposed to be protecting us."

Mr Parkes, 29, who works for energy firm E.ON, added: "We have been unjustly treated by the police and the CPS. I have always had respect for the police but since this I have no faith in the police and the judicial system."

The men, from Preston, Lancashire, both of good character who had complained to police about youths terrorising their neighbourhood, were cleared by district judge Peter Ward, who said the case was "not in the public interest". The pair were accused of assaulting the boys, then aged 14 and 12, at around 9pm on May 5 last year.

Preston Magistrates heard during the two-day trial from prosecution witnesses, including four boys who gave varying accounts of how the "victims", who cannot be named for legal reasons, were attacked on a driveway. The court heard how the two men stepped in after a group of boys went looking to "batter" another teenager who was accused of bullying.

Their lawyer Paolo Passerini successfully urged the judge at Preston Magistrates' Court to halt proceedings, arguing there was "no case to answer" as there were inconsistencies with the evidence. CPS district crown prosecutor Peter McNaught said: "We considered this case very carefully. However, in all the circumstances, we consider that it was in the public interest to bring this case."


A chilling example of Britain's secret State where a mother and child are forced into hiding

Last autumn a small English congregation was rocked by the news that two of its parishioners had fled abroad. A 56-year-old man had helped his pregnant wife to flee from social workers, who had already taken her son into care and were threatening to seize their baby.

Most people had no idea why. For the process that led this couple to such a desperate act was entirely secret. The local authority had warned the mother not to talk to her friends or even her MP. The judge who heard the arguments from social services sat in secret. The open-minded social workers who had initially been assigned to sort out a custody battle between the woman and her previous husband were replaced by others who seemed determined to build a guilty case against her. That is how the secret State operates. A monumental injustice has been perpetrated in this quiet corner of England; our laws are being used to try to cover it up.

I will call this couple Hugh and Sarah. Neither they nor their families have ever been in trouble with the law, as far as I know. Sarah's only fault seems to have been to suffer through a violent and volatile first marriage, which produced a son. When the marriage ended, the boy was taken into temporary foster care for a few months - as a by-product of the marriage breakdown and against her will - while she "sorted her life out" and found them a new home. But even as she cleared every hurdle set by the court, social workers dreamt up new ones. The months dragged by. A psychologist said the boy was suffering terribly in care and was desperate to come home. Sarah's mother and sister, both respected professionals with good incomes, apparently offered to foster or adopt him. The local authority did not even deign to reply.

For a long time, Sarah and her family seem to have played along. At every new hearing they thought that common sense would prevail. But it didn't. The court appeared to blame her for not ending her marriage more quickly, which had put strain on the boy, while social workers seemed to insist that she now build a good relationship with the man she had left. Eventually, she came to believe that the local authority intended to have her son adopted. She also seems to have feared that they would take away her new baby, Hugh's baby, when it was born. One night in September they fled the country with the little boy. When Hugh returned a few days later, to keep his business going and his staff in jobs, he was arrested.

Many people would think this man a hero. Instead, he received a far longer sentence - 16 months for abduction - than many muggers. This kind of sentence might be justified, perhaps, to set an example to others. But the irony of this exemplary sentence is that no one was ever supposed to know the details. (I am treading a legal tightrope writing about it at all.) How could a secret sentence for a secret crime deter anyone?

Sarah's baby has now been born, in hiding. I am told that the language from social services has become hysterical. But if the State was genuinely concerned for these two children, it would have put "wanted" pictures up in every newspaper in Europe. It won't do that, of course, because to name the woman and her children would be to tear a hole in the fabric of the secret State, a hole we could all see through. I would be able to tell you her side of the story, the child's side of the story. I would be able to tell you every vindictive twist of this saga. And the local authority knows perfectly well how it would look. So silence is maintained.

And very effective it is too. The impotence is the worst thing. The way that perfectly decent individuals are gagged and unable to defend themselves undermines a fundamental principle of British law. I have a court order on my desk that threatens all the main actors in this case with dire consequences if they talk about it to anyone.

Can that really be the way we run justice in a country that was the fount of the rule of law? At the heart of this story is a little boy who was wrenched from the mother he loves, bundled around in foster care and never told why, when she appears to have been perfectly capable of looking after him. When she had relatives who were perfectly capable of doing so. In the meantime, he was becoming more and more troubled and unhappy. To find safety and love, that little boy has had to leave England.

What does that say about our country? The public funds the judges, the courts, the social workers. It deserves to know what they do. That does not mean vilifying all social workers, or defending every parent. But it does mean ending the presumption of guilt that infects so many family court hearings. It does mean asking why certain local authorities seem unable to let go of children whose parents have resolved their difficulties. It does mean knowing how social workers could have got away with failing to return this particular boy, after his mother had met all the criteria set by a judge at the beginning. It is simply unacceptable that social services have put themselves above the law.

We need these people to be named, and to hear in their words what happened. We need to open up the family courts. We need to tear down the wall of secrecy that has forced a decent woman to live as a fugitive, to save her little boy from a life with strangers, used like a pawn in a game of vengeance. Even if the local authority were to drop its case, it is hard to see how Sarah could ever trust them enough to return. At home, for their God-fearing congregation, the question is simple: what justice can ever be done behind closed doors? And in whose name?


Australia: Must not tell the truth about blacks

BRISBANE magistrate Walter Ehrich has been criticised for claiming Aborigines do not follow court-imposed orders. Magistrate Walter Ehrich told a Brisbane Magistrates Court hearing last weekend: "Aborigines don't report." He was referring to bail conditions requiring defendants to report to police. "It is very dangerous to put them on reporting conditions because you can set them up to fail," Magistrate Walter Ehrich later told The Sunday Mail.

Mr Ehrich made the comment when asked by prosecutor Sgt Kerrilee Lovaszy to impose a weekly reporting condition on an Aboriginal man about to be bailed. The comment was made on February 16, just days after the Federal Government's apology to the Stolen Generations. A reporting condition requires a defendant on bail to report regularly to a police station. Lewis Desmond Saunders, 39, was charged with assaulting police, obstructing police and a public nuisance offence on February 15 at Stafford, in Brisbane's north. Mr Ehrich released Saunders on bail, without any reporting conditions, to reappear in court on May 6. There was no discussion with Saunders' Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service lawyer about his ability to report to police. Mr Ehrich told the lawyer: "You'll look after him."

Aboriginal community spokesman Sam Watson said the magistrate's comment about Aborigines was "appalling" and indigenous academic Prof Boni Robertson said it was "crazy" as well as "inappropriate". "To a hear a magistrate make such a comment from the bench is appalling. It's condemning an entire race of people," Mr Watson said. Prof Robertson said there were no cultural or community factors substantiating the claim that Aborigines did not report. "It's a very generalised assessment of us being irresponsible about meeting obligations," she said.

But Mr Ehrich defended his statement saying "it's not inappropriate at all". "You don't want to set people up to fail," he said. "At no stage was there any intent to make any derogatory remarks about any particular group of people."

Queensland's Chief Magistrate, Judge Marshall Irwin, said indigenous offenders were not habitually given lesser bail conditions than others. "It is certainly not a situation that depends on the defendant's race," Judge Irwin said.


Australia: Too many dickless Tracys

Another example of the stupid old politically correct pretense that a woman can do anything a man can do. A female cop facing a violent male in a punchup just puts others at risk as they try to rescue her

Former assistant commissioner Noel Ashby has questioned Victoria Police's policies of seeking equal numbers of men and women in the force and of bringing in older recruits. Mr Ashby said older and female recruits were unlikely to remain in the force as long as traditionally recruited young males and were often unwilling or unable to fill important operational roles. He suggested a better gender balance of 60% male and 40% female might be "more realistic".

Mr Ashby, who faces possible charges of perjury and misconduct in public office following an Office of Public Integrity inquiry, said the gender balance and age policies could lead to a drain of officers within seven to 10 years. He also said the current gender quota was preventing good male candidates from becoming policemen. "On pure quotas it's a fact that men are trying to join Victoria Police in far greater numbers than women, but women are joining in far greater numbers because of the quota."

Earlier this week Mr Ashby revealed that operational police numbers had been secretly cut back in a number of areas since Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon took office. There are 28% fewer transit police on public transport; 13% fewer traffic police; and the force response unit, which provides back-up to operational police, had been halved.

The age and gender policies were issues that "need to be thought out very carefully", said Mr Ashby. "It's a fact that we don't keep women, as a general rule and aged recruits, obviously, as long. And that could mean a serious further downstream problem in staffing." "That's not a discriminatory statement; it means we need to look at the demographics and age profile in a way that plans for delivery of police services seven to 10 years hence. It causes long-term planning risks." He said people who joined the force at a later age were often reluctant to do a range of duties such as regular night shifts. "That is also an issue for young mums because they don't want to be away from their kids. We're already seeing those stresses come into the organisation where we're unable to attract women to some areas. "It's difficult to attract women to some of the specialist traffic areas, such as booze buses because seven shifts out of nine are late, after 6pm, for obvious reasons. It's also very difficult to attract women to specialist taskforces because of the periods of time they have to be away."

Mr Ashby said he was not saying the force did not have to do more to make the environment easier for women or for special interest groups. "But should it therefore follow that quotas of 40% would be more realistic?"

A spokeswoman for Ms Nixon said the ratio of women within Victoria Police was currently low compared with other states. "We are working hard to change that. The fact is that everyone who comes into the force does so on the basis of merit." She said the current attrition rate within the force was only 2% a year. "So the perception of people leaving the force in droves is just not right."



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.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Why I'm withdrawing my human rights complaint against Ezra Levant

By SYED SOHARWARDY (Syed Soharwardy is founder of the Calgary-based Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, and founder of Muslims Against Terrorism)

Recognize my name? Lately, Ezra Levant of the now-defunct Western Standard has been doing his best to demonize me in interviews and blogs. Mr. Levant probably had never heard of me until I filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission against his decision to reprint the Danish cartoons that sparked a wave of violent and destructive protests across Europe and the Muslim world in 2005.

The reprinting of the cartoons wasn't about free speech. The originals are readily available on the Internet for any who wish to see them. The reprinting seem aimed more at forcing people who are deeply unhappy about the cartoons, and who would not seek them out, to be faced with them again. This is hurtful to many in the Muslim community, and can create ill-will between Muslims and non-Muslims. (Interestingly, other Canadian magazines and newspapers, including The Globe and Mail, came to the same conclusion.) I therefore filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission. I worried that pointless re-publication of the Danish cartoons could alienate the young people of my community, when in fact I would prefer to see them move into the mainstream of Canadian society.

Having no previous experience with any human rights commission, I was unaware of the ongoing debate about whether such commissions should have narrower or broader mandates, or of the doubts many Canadians have about whether such commissions are the right venue in which to argue questions about hate speech.

Subsequent discussions with several Muslim leaders, and more particularly with some of my Christian and Jewish friends, have led me to conclude that my complaint was beyond what I now believe should be the mandate of such a commission. I now am of the view that this matter should have been handled in the court of public opinion. Consequently, I am withdrawing my complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission against Mr. Levant's right to publish the offensive and hateful drawings. I believe his decision was irresponsible and was intended to cause strife, but I now appreciate that it may not fall outside the limits of free speech.

Perhaps our elected leaders should, indeed, legislate a narrower role for human rights commissions, but the campaign by Mr. Levant and others to have such commissions abolished is going too far. These commissions play an important role in protecting the most vulnerable in our society by countering discrimination in important areas such as housing, employment, and government services.

In his writings, Mr. Levant has characterized me as many things. Let me set the record straight. When I left Pakistan long ago, several Western countries offered to accept me and my wife as immigrants. We chose Canada as the best place in the world to live, work and raise a family, irrespective of skin colour. We still believe that. We are proud Canadians, and share Canadian values, as do our two accomplished teenagers. I hold two masters degrees in engineering, one American the other Canadian. My work has included university teaching and management of major IT projects. Outside of work, I volunteer my time trying to develop greater understanding and better relationships between Muslims and people of other faiths, particularly Christians and Jews. I enjoy excellent relationships with numerous Jewish leaders: In my mosque in Calgary we have studied Jewish festivals, and invite Jewish experts to speak to us.

So if anyone is looking for anti-Semitism, you won't find it in my mosque. The history of anti-Semitism in Alberta is non-trivial, and it didn't come from newcomers like me, who abhor it. In fact, I'm pretty mainstream and heavily into interfaith dialogue.

Which leads me to an offer to Ezra Levant: We clearly disagree about the cartoons; but I'm willing to sit down with you and discuss it. And if you really believe the central issue is that human rights commissions have over-broad mandates, then that is an issue on which we may now be able to converge.


It's a great shame that immense publicity is needed to get free speech respected in Canada

EU threat to British lives

European judges could strip the profiles of more than half a million people from the national DNA database on privacy grounds — undermining its growing value to police as an investigative tool.

As two sex killers caught by the database were jailed for life yesterday and a senior detective joined calls for a universal register, the European Court of Human Rights will hear a case that could mean 560,000 DNA samples being destroyed. Two people charged with offences but never convicted will ask the court next week to remove their records from the database. If they succeed, 13 per cent of the 4.3 million profiles collected since 1995 would have to be destroyed.

The category of DNA profiles facing destruction has yielded vital clues in criminal cases. Official figures seen by The Times indicate that the DNA of 8,500 people never previously charged or convicted has been matched with DNA taken from crime scenes. The cases have involved about 14,000 offences including 114 murders, 55 attempted murders and 116 rapes. Europe will rule on the legality of the database as demands grow for the entire British population to be sampled after its crucial role in catching Steve Wright, the Suffolk Strangler, and Mark Dixie, the killer of Sally Anne Bowman.

Detective Superintendent Stuart Cundy, who led the investigation into Miss Bowman’s murder, said that a universal database would have caught Dixie within 24 hours of the killing. Instead he remained at large for nine months until police took a DNA swab from him after a pub fight. Dixie, 35, was jailed for life at the Old Bailey only hours after Wright, 49, was given a whole-life sentence for the murders of five Ipswich prostitutes. Wright had been arrested after a DNA sample from one of his victim’s bodies matched the profile loaded on the database after his arrest for a minor theft.

Mr Cundy said: “I am all for a national DNA register, with all the appropriate safeguards. If there had been one at the time of Sally Anne’s murder we would have known who it was that day. It could have protected everybody else out there. For nine months between Sally Anne’s murder and the arrest one of our biggest fears and was that this man could attack again. A national DNA register could solve that.”

Richard Ottaway, Miss Bowman’s local Tory MP, said: “A universal DNA database is necessary to solve these crimes.” The Home Office has published proposals for extending the existing database by taking samples from people detained for minor, or non-recordable offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt. Ministers are understood to be awaiting the outcome of the European court case before deciding whether to proceed with the expansion plans.

Human rights lawyers will argue in Strasbourg that a juvenile acquitted of attempted robbery and Michael Marper, who faced charges of harassment that were later dropped, should have their profiles removed from the database. South Yorkshire police, which arrested both, has refused to destroy their records. Peter Mahy, their solicitor, said: “This is the most important case on the human rights implication of retaining biometric data.” He said his clients were concerned about the uses to which the samples might be put and the lack of independent oversight of the national database.


Crowbarring their way into the family home

The UK government's campaign to colonise family life is nearly complete: it is now telling parents to remove video games from their children's bedrooms.

In Britain, as part of an effort to prevent children from playing games that are `unsuitable' for their age, a legally enforceable cinema-style classification system is to be introduced for video games. This will make it illegal for shops to sell classified video games to a child below the recommended age (1). The Brown government's clampdown on violent video games has ugly echoes of the `video nasties' panic unleashed by the Conservative government in the 1980s.

Back then, the authorities' belief that if children watched slasher-gore horror flicks they would turn into crazed psychopaths was routinely ridiculed by opponents of the Conservative government. That was because the notion that watching violent material somehow damages people has always been one of the flimsiest panics around. Indeed, even as New Labour tries to rehash the old monkey-see/monkey-do censorious attitude in relation to violent video games, it is forced to admit that there isn't much hard evidence to suggest that children will grow up to be more violent if they watch Driller Killer or play Manhunt 2.

Unfortunately, however, in today's ultra-suspicious climate, these old arguments about violent material turning out violent young people are more likely to get a hearing, because individual and increasingly parental autonomy is held in even lower esteem than I Spit On Your Grave.

The driving factor behind this return of the creakiest and hoariest of moral panics is not so much violent video games, but rather concern about the remaining free space between parents and children. Ostensibly, the government's proposals to restrict youthful access to violent games are targeted at retailers, who will face a fine if they sell bloody games to underage kids - yet more fundamentally, it is being used as a way for the authorities to crowbar their way into the family home. Government ministers are `advising' parents (that is, piling the pressure on them) to keep computers and games consoles out of children's bedrooms and instead allow children only to play such games in the living room. So determined is the government to colonise every aspect of parenting and family relations that it is now peering even into children's bedrooms, and tut-tutting about what it sees there.

In this sense, outlawing violent video games is a transparent cover for eventually outlawing the existence of truly free personal spaces inside the family home. Given that this government frequently shifts from `offering advice' to threatening coercive action against those who refuse to follow it, these latest moves to kick consoles out of kids' bedrooms are clearly more frightening than any computer game.

The implication of New Labour's hectoring advice on games consoles is that stupid parents do not know what is best for their children. Instead, the authorities themselves must dictate what is appropriate for young people, and even what their bedrooms should look like and contain. Indeed, New Labour has made the social control of children and teenagers a central plank of its Respect policies and its `politics of behaviour' because it recognises that this is a device for controlling and monitoring parents - that is, the adults in British society.

Last week, home secretary Jacqui Smith unveiled proposals for new `parenting contracts', which would be served on mums and dads whose underage children are caught drinking. The contracts would ban parents from allowing their children to visit certain areas or places at stipulated times, and would hold them responsible for preventing their children from consuming alcohol. If parents breach these contracts, they could find themselves before the courts and can be fined o1,000.

It is true that teenagers frequently seek out the thrills of illicit cigarettes and booze - that is a reflection of their impatience and aspiration to enter the adult world sooner rather than later. It is simply not possible or, more importantly, desirable for parents to keep a constant tab on what their teenage children get up to. Enacting `parent contracts' against people whose children drink is to punish parents for things that are, and shall always be, largely beyond their control.

Yet the message of the anti-teen drinking contracts is clear: parents are inadequate slobs who need to be instructed in parenting skills by the powers-that-be. Jacqui Smith says of parents: `The idea that you can hand your kids a six-pack of lager and tell them to disappear off for the evening - with no thought to the consequences - is frankly baffling to me.' (2) But there is no evidence that huge numbers of parents are forcing their offspring to guzzle beer every evening. Rather, Smith's comments about parents (which, notably, caused far less controversy than her comment about walking alone through London) are underpinned by New Labour's unsubstantiated and pretty vile prejudice that everyday parents are bestial and depraved and thus should not have the final say on how they bring up their children.

At school, too, children are increasingly being socialised to believe that their parents are dupes and dopes who shouldn't really be trusted. Consider the furore over the content of children's packed lunches. As part of New Labour's crusade against fatty, sugary food and fizzy drinks, some schools now rifle through children's lunchboxes, confiscate contraband items, and write letters of complaint to unthinking parents. This implicitly breaks a quite sacred bond between parent and child: a mum or dad lovingly packs their child's lunchbox, only to have it ruled unhealthy by a teacher or other school official. This sends the message to children that the authorities know better than your mother how to bring you up.

As someone at the coalface of schooling at the moment, I can see the emergence of a new generation that looks up to the authorities for constant guidance and permission on basic matters. The one group of people teenagers certainly won't be seeking approval from is their parents. Instead, parents are increasingly seen, in cultural, political and media debates, as individuals who are failing to provide the correct healthy and moral guidelines for the next generation in open-prison Britain.

There is not a shred of evidence to suggest that children who play violent video games will grow up to be violent psychopaths. Nor is there hard evidence that parents hand out six-packs of Carling and tell their kids to `get on with it'. However, these stories are themselves evidence of an increasingly demented and nasty mindset amongst government officials, who seem to view most parents as low-life scum in need of short, sharp fines or worse. It is an outrage for officials to barge their way so brazenly into the parental home and order that parents pack away their kids' computers. Who the hell do they think they are? It's time, surely, that we zapped New Labour's encroachment on parental autonomy before they take their draconian measures to the next level.


Australia: A black Leftist sees the reality of black problems

And Australia's blinkered center-Left Prime Minister thinks bigger government is the answer

THE Rudd Government must stare down the indigenous service provider industry that profits from entrenched Aboriginal disadvantage or risk dooming the federal intervention into Northern Territory communities, former Labor president Warren Mundine has warned. Mr Mundine urged his party to "have courage" in challenging the "old guard" whose political power base lay within remote Aboriginal communities and who opposed aspects of the intervention. He warned that a welfare industry had built up around Aboriginal people that could derail Kevin Rudd's pledge to "close the gap" between indigenous and non-indigenous life expectancy rates.

"What we have created in Australia is an indigenous industry that lives off people's poverty and misery," Mr Mundine said. "It's destroyed incentives. There's a whole culture that developed over a period of time of dependency." He said some Labor powerbrokers in remote Australia, such as Defence Science and Personnel Minister Warren Snowdon, had been key players in the land rights political movement and were pushing for the party to return to the "status quo" prior to the intervention. "There's no doubt there's a split in the party about what needs to be done," Mr Mundine said. "And we have people whoare harping back to keeping the status quo prior to the intervention."

His comments came as Reconciliation Australia director Fred Chaney labelled remote Australia a "failed state" with little electoral clout that had been abandoned by federal, state and territory governments. "Government have essentially stepped outside and left these communities to their own devices," Mr Chaney said. "This intervention has had to make it up as it goes along. There is a serious gap in governance of the governments themselves." ....

The Northern Territory Government this week introduced legislation to reform disparate local government authorities into a series of "super-shires", but the reforms that were crafted by Australia's father of reconciliation, Pat Dodson, were watered down at the last minute when the Government exempted the Top End shire, dominated by white pastoralists, from the super-shire structure. The exemption prompted the resignation of NT local government minister Elliot McAdam.

Visiting the northwest NSW town of Walgett yesterday, the Prime Minister said the Government had begun formulating a plan to attack duplication and infighting among Aboriginal service providers and government agencies by creating local boards for remote indigenous communities that would be responsible for ground-level service delivery.

Speaking on his first visit to an outback indigenous community as Prime Minister, Mr Rudd said he was considering bringing together service providers and local, state and federal government agencies to co-ordinate indigenous service delivery on a community-by-community basis. "Maybe it's time for us to look at much more of a whole-of-local-community focus whereby you have around the one table not just all the representatives of organisations and groups but the various levels of government," he said.

But Mr Mundine said the "indigenous industry" would prove difficult to reform. "There's a whole culture that's developed over a period of time of dependence," he said. "I have never seen a place in the world where they've got more governance of people. "We've got to get bureaucrats out of the way. Let's stop spending money on bureaucrats and get money on to the ground."

Mr Mundine's comments come after former indigenous affairs minister Mal Brough told a dinner for Quadrant magazine in Sydney last week that political correctness hampered many of the people working within the indigenous sector who wanted to bring about change...

Mr Rudd said that governance was one of two key messages from his five-hour visit to Walgett. The other was creating a flexible approach to housing that would allow private ownership in one community and communal title in another. With a majority of indigenous residents, Walgett is one of the most disadvantaged communities in the state. Mr Rudd toured two Aboriginal reserves and was taken to task by Ann Dennis about the level of duplication and lack of communication by service providers. She said funding was not the problem. "It's the co-ordination and planning, not the money coming in," she said. [That would be right. That's typical bureaucracy]

Mr Rudd said he was committed to ending a one-size-fits-all approach. "It may be that in the 300 to 400 remote indigenous communities in Australia that we'll end up with lots of different housing models from full private ownership, through to leasehold through to community ownership," he said. He asked Ms Dennis if they wanted private ownership of homes, and she said the community did.



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.