Friday, October 31, 2008

THE BIG BBC MELTDOWN: It was once a model of high standards and decorum -- but no more

Now that the Left have got hold of it, any garbage is fine and "standards" is a stupid old-fashioned concept. Tearing everything down is what the Left are all about. After just about everyone from the Prime Minister down condemned them, the principal offenders have now been suspended and one has resigned but how the BBC allowed such a foul and hurtful programme to be broadcast is the real issue. Two articles below on the matter. One from 29th and one from 30th


The BBC is under unprecedented pressure to crack down on offensive material after an intervention by the Prime Minister and 10,000 complaints over its decision to broadcast obscene phone calls made by two of its biggest stars. Mark Thompson, the BBC Director-General, maintained his silence on the conduct of Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand for a third day despite a growing clamour for an explanation as to how pre-recorded taunts directed at Andrew Sachs, the 78-year-old Fawlty Towers actor, went on air.

The radio transmission on October 18 included Ross shouting on to Sachs's answerphone that Brand had slept with his granddaughter Georgina Baillie, 23, and Brand joking that the actor might kill himself. Ms Baillie has called for the pair to be sacked.

Gordon Brown swung behind the flood of public outrage, saying that the incident was clearly inappropriate and unacceptable. David Cameron, the Tory leader, demanded to know who had given the green light to the broadcast. Andy Burnham, the Culture Secretary, described the incident as a serious breach of broadcasting standards.

The BBC has rejected calls to suspend the pair and Ross, who is paid 6 million pounds a year, was expected to record this week's edition of his chat show, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, tonight. However, Sir David Attenborough, who was due to appear on the show, was in discussions with the BBC last night. Frank Skinner, the comedian, and the American actress Miley Cyrus were also on the guest list.

Mr Thompson has been ordered by the BBC Trust to present a "formal report" to its monthly meeting on November 20, as to how the offensive material came to be aired. The trust also demanded an interim report to be presented next week at a meeting of its editorial standards committee. Ofcom, the broadcasting watchdog, was also investigating the material under Section 2 of the Broadcasting Code, relating to harm and offence.

The row led every major BBC news bulletin yesterday. Tim Davie, the corporation's director of audio and music and the most senior executive to comment, admitted that the programme that went out was "unacceptable". He said that the BBC would conduct a full investigation and decide the appropriate action and that it would be wrong to apportion blame at this stage.



The suspension of the foul-mouthed Jonathan Ross and the forced resignation of his equally disagreeable sidekick Russell Brand marked an extraordinary historic cultural victory. For the first time in living memory, the BBC has signalled that there are boundaries of decency it must not cross. But, my goodness, didn't this admission take a long time coming? No one at the BBC appeared to realise that the original show broadcast by Radio 2 on October 18 was so offensive.

Ross and Brand's vulgar abuse of the actor Andrew Sachs was passed on the nod by a 25-year-old Radio 2 producer, even though Mr Sachs had refused his permission. That young man evidently did not know any better. But nor did his bosses. It took several days of mounting Press coverage, and critical remarks by David Cameron, Gordon Brown and other politicians, before the BBC's management finally responded. Even then the person whose head was pushed above the parapet was that of Tim Davie, the 'director of audio and music', of whom none of us had ever heard.

Only yesterday did Mark Thompson, the BBC's director-general, and the man ultimately responsible for the Corporation's output, break his holiday and announce that he was suspending Ross and Brand. His statement was certainly everything one might have wished for, referring as it did to 'a gross lapse of taste that has angered licence payers', but it had to be wrung out of him.

Mr Thompson is a deeply symbolic figure of our times. He is not a bad man. He is civilised and well-read, having taken a first in English at Oxford. As a devout Roman Catholic, he adheres to moral values that are a million miles from those of Ross and Brand. And yet he has made no attempt to stem the tide of clod-hopping filth that pours out of their, and others', mouths whenever they broadcast.

Why should this be? Perhaps Mr Thompson believes that Ross and Brand are popular figures who will attract a large audience. Although the BBC is protected from commercial realities, it increasingly conducts itself as though these are the only realities that matter. Shielded from the market, the Corporation often strives to outdo the market in offering dumbed-down programming, and appealing to the lowest common denominator.

But I fancy there is a deeper psychological explanation for Mr Thompson's indulgence of so-called entertainers against whose vulgarity and ignorance he must privately recoil. Whereas some on the Left embrace Brand for his nihilism and for what they regard as his welcome flouting of bourgeois values - he seems eager to copulate with anything that moves - Mr Thompson is a more elevated, as well as a more interesting,

Like so many modern liberal-minded intellectuals, he has a horror of being judgmental. He knows that Jonathan Ross is a coarse figure, but he reasons that if there are people who enjoy his crudeness and lavatory humour and peppering of four-letter words, he is not going to prevent them from having what they desire. There is a fissure in him that permits this moral relativism. For himself and his family he wants culture and standards of decency, but if there are others who prefer dross, he is not going to stand in their way.

Yet, more than any other organisation, the BBC should not be in the business of providing dross. It is protected from the market. It was founded on high and noble principles. It does not have to follow the worst trends - far less take the lead - and lure us into the gutter. Mr Thompson might not be fitted by background or temperament to edit the Daily Smut, but he has all the attributes to guide the BBC towards higher ground. And yet he does not do so.

The French philosopher Julien Benda famously coined the phrase 'La Trahison des Clercs' - the betrayal of the intellectuals. He was thinking of French and German 19th-century intellectuals who had become apologists for militarism and nationalism. The modern trahison des clercs is that of liberal intellectuals like Mr Thompson who can recognise goodness and truth but, out of fear of appearing judgmental or proscriptive, will not help others to find them.

This moral dereliction amounts to a fatal arrogance. Mr Thompson knows why it is wrong to scatter four-letter words on television. He can see that the kind of humour purveyed by the likes of Ross and Brand does not raise people up but often pushes them down. But, because he is terrified of being seen imposing his values - which are, in fact, almost indistinguishable from the old values of the BBC - he has so far said: let them have what they want. Then he returns to the books and music and culture of his pleasant house in Oxford....

BBC bosses were not able to see what was objectionable about Ross and Brand's outpourings, but thousands of ordinary people, once alerted, could. It was the shocking realisation that many licence-payers had had enough - that they still defended standards of decency and proper behaviour - that finally jerked Mr Thompson out of his holiday reveries....

Will this historic cultural victory stick? Yesterday's Mail reported that, in April, a BBC1 comedy drama called Love Soup showed a woman being 'raped' by a dog. The BBC still pumps out many programmes that offend against decency and taste, and are often particularly offensive to women. We should not imagine that the tap will be turned off in a trice. But, maybe the affair of those unfunny and grossly overpaid vulgarians Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand will show Mr Thompson and his senior colleagues that the BBC has become dangerously out of step with many of the people who pay its bills.

If Mr Thompson does not have the courage to act on his moral convictions, he will be wise to listen to the outrage of those who do.


Outrage as British council makes pupils stand on chairs and pledge to be nice to gypsy children

Villagers opposing plans for a travellers site have accused a council of attempting to 'brainwash' their children. Pupils aged between six and 11 were requested to stand up and promise to 'welcome newcomers' and not bully them. The incident happened at a workshop for youngsters that was part of Local Democracy Week, where talks were organised by Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council.

A large proportion of the scores of children present were from Spooners Row Primary School, near Wymondham, Norfolk. Residents there are battling plans by South Norfolk District Council to build a permanent travellers' site with eight pitches. One parent, who asked not to be named, said: 'It appears as if the council was targeting children with propaganda to try to get them on side. My first thought was that it was disgusting to target children in such an underhand way when so many people oppose the new site.'

Another parent said: 'It's out of order that the council has done this.' They added: 'If I had been there I would have stood up and said, "Stop this". It's in breach of the children's rights, surely?' Another parent complained the workshop was planting thoughts about bullying into the minds of children who had probably not thought of it.

The primary school's headmaster, Simon Wakeman, has made an official complaint to the council. He said yesterday that a council official connected with the plans for the travellers' camp had been at the workshop-The two people taking the workshop asked the children if they wanted to stand up and make a pledge,' he said. 'None of the children stood up because I suspect they felt awkward, but the pledge was read out anyway. 'They were asked to make a series of promises to be kind to gipsy and traveller children, welcome them into the community and not bully them. The children were encouraged to put their fingers in the air or their hands on their hearts to signify their acceptance.'

He added that he supported talks to 'build bridges in society', but opposed having children make pledges, particularly in light of their parents' anxiety over the travellers' site. Mr Wakeman said the workshop had left the school in an 'invidious position' as it had gone to lengths to remain objective about the proposals but parents were now questioning its neutral stance.

The talk, on October 17, was one of several on offer to schoolchildren at the council's offices in Long Stratton. Headmasters chose which ones their pupils attended. No one from the Norwich and Norfolk Racial Equality Council was available to comment yesterday.

John Fuller, South Norfolk Council leader, has sent a personal apology to the school but yesterday he insisted that the council was not responsible for what the equality council told the youngsters. 'The workshop was run by the local racial equality council who are experts in this particular field and the council had no direct input in what was said.


That Leftist "tolerance" again

Vandals hit two San Jose homes with signs supporting ban on same-sex marriage

For the second time in a week, homeowners in South San Jose have been targeted for their support of a proposition that would change the California constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Unlike the previous incident where no law was broken, the culprits who spray-painted large "No on 8" messages Sunday night on the garage doors of two homes on a cul-de-sac near Monterey and Bernal roads could face jail time and a fine if arrested and convicted. San Jose police were called to the scene and filed a report, according to the homeowners.

The maximum sentencing for felony vandalism conviction is three years in state prison and/or a $10,000 fine, according to a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. For a misdemeanor conviction, the maximum punishment is one year in county jail and/or a $1,000 fine.

The homeowners, Tom and Kelly Byrne and Frank and Evalina Ybarra, had "Yes on 8, Protect Marriage" signs posted on their front lawns on Southgate Court for about a week. The Byrnes and Ybarras, friends who live across from each other on the small cul-de-sac, had their garage doors spray-painted in large letters with the words "No on 8." The "No on 8" slogan refers to the hotly contested Proposition 8 ballot measure in next week's election that would ban same-sex marriage in California.

The rear window of the Byrnes' minivan was also hit with red spray paint. Two other homes located deeper into the cul-de-sac with Yes on 8 signs were unscathed.

"Regardless that it's Prop. 8, I'm angry that somebody would take it upon themselves to destroy my property," Kelly Byrne said. "To have such little respect for me as a person. It angers me that they would do something so extreme instead of coming and talking to me, especially if it's someone in our neighborhood. "Instead they took the cowardly way and painted our house."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, OBAMA WATCH (2), EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Public must think we have all gone mad, says British judge left powerless to jail burglar who terrorised pregnant mother

A judge has hit out at sentencing guidelines which stopped him from jailing a burglar who terrorised a heavily pregnant mother. Recorder Shaun Smith said the public 'must think we've all gone mad or soft' as he let Dominic Wong walk free. Wong had admitted battering his way into Safa Moustafa's home and stealing cash while she cowered upstairs with her two-year-old daughter.

Trauma from her ordeal has left her a virtual prisoner in her own home, but Recorder Smith said he was powerless to put Wong behind bars because it was his first burglary offence. Instead he had to hand out a community service order. The judge said: 'This is sentencing by numbers. I want to send you to prison. The public want to see you go to prison. But I can't send you to prison because of the guidelines I have been given.'

Last night Mrs Moustafa's husband Ahmed, 31, a highways consultant, reacted with outrage. He said: 'We're the victims, but no one cares about us. The whole system is completely on its head. 'If a judge wants to send someone to prison but can't then what's the point of a judge in the first place?'

Jobless Wong forced his way into 28-year-old Mrs Moustafa's home in Loughborough, Leicestershire, on September 15 this year. She was seven months pregnant at the time. She and her daughter, who was not named, were upstairs and stayed hiding as Wong smashed his way through the front door before helping himself to money. When police arrived at the scene they discovered him lurking in the garden of the house next door, which he had also tried to break into.

In a victim impact statement read to Leicester Crown Court, Mrs Moustafa said: 'I'm now very nervous and anxious in my own home. I'm forever checking doors and windows and keep looking outside to see who's around. 'I can't even go into the garden unless my husband is here. I can't be alone in the house and have friends to sleep over.' Mrs Moustafa said her daughter had become 'nervous and clingy'. She added: 'Because of this man's actions, I hope the court sends him to prison to make him understand exactly how he has affected our lives.'

But James Weston, defending, said it was Wong's first offence and the starting point was a community sentence. The law recommends first-time burglars should be spared custody if the case can satisfy certain conditions. The sentence has to represent an effective punishment and should tackle problems such as an offender's drug addiction.

Wong, of Loughborough, who claimed he would 'turn back the clock' if he could, also admitted burgling the house next door. He was given a two-year community order with 240 hours of unpaid work and was made the subject of a six-month night-time curfew. He was also told to pay 350 pounds compensation to the mother.

Mr Moustafa said the sentence did not reflect the damage Wong had inflicted. He said: 'My wife and daughter have been mentally scarred. My wife could have had a miscarriage. 'She was screaming "I'm pregnant!", but he still kept hitting the door until he managed to get in. 'Would he have still got a community order if my wife had suffered a miscarriage? I can only assume so, if that's what these guidelines say.'

The case came as Justice Secretary Jack Straw attacked liberal justice groups who 'drive him nuts' by focusing on the 'needs' of offenders instead of punishment.


A Vote Against Homosexual Marriage is a Vote FOR Tolerance

by Frank Turek

Twenty years ago, a group of prominent homosexuals got together in Warrentown, Virginia to map out their plan to get homosexuality accepted by the general public. In the book that resulted from their meeting, they revealed a strategy that achieves its effect "without reference to facts, logic or proof . . . the person's beliefs can be altered whether he is conscious of the attack or not."

In other words, their strategy was pure propaganda. That propaganda campaign has many people today believing that denying same-sex marriage involves denying rights to a victimized minority. That belief could not be further from the truth. In fact, let me suggest what the same-sex marriage debate is not about.

It is not about equality or equal rights.
It is not about discrimination against a class of people.
It is not about denying homosexuals the ability to commit to one another.
It is not about love or private relationships.
It is not about bigotry or homophobia.
It is not about sexual orientation or being born a certain way.
It is not about race or the civil rights struggle.
It is not about interracial marriage.
It is not about heterosexuals and divorce.
It is not about the separation of church and state.
It is not even about religion.

"But that's all I hear about," you say. Of course, that's because the propaganda campaign continues to be successful. Those topics are all smokescreens designed to divert you. In fact, for homosexuals, this debate isn't even about marriage. As data from countries with same-sex marriage show, approximately 96 percent of homosexuals don't get married when they are given the opportunity. And those that do get "married" break up at a much higher rate than heterosexuals.

Since most homosexuals don't want to get married or stay married, then why are homosexual activists so adamant about government recognition of same-sex marriage? Because same-sex marriage will win them what they really want-validation and normalization. In other words, the activists want same-sex marriage because they understand that government-backed same-sex marriage will validate and normalize homosexuality throughout society.

The key point here is "government-backed." Homosexuals already can "marry" one another privately. There is just no government version of it. Nothing is stopping homosexuals from pledging themselves to one another in private same-sex marriage ceremonies. In fact, it is done all the time-there is an entire cottage industry for "gay" weddings.

But that's not enough for homosexual activists. What they want is government endorsement for their relationships. They know that such endorsement will make homosexuality and their behavior appear just as normal as heterosexuality. That's why the same-sex marriage movement has more to do with respect than rights.

Greg Koukl puts this very well: "Same-sex marriage is not about civil rights. It is about validation and social respect. It is a radical attempt at civil engineering using government muscle to strong-arm the people into accommodating a lifestyle many find deeply offensive, contrary to nature, socially destructive, and morally repugnant." Same-sex marriage advocate Andrew Sullivan understands this. He writes, "Including homosexuals within marriage would be a means of conferring the highest form of social approval imaginable."

This is the real reason homosexual activists are relentlessly pushing to get the government to endorse same-sex marriage. Most don't want to get "married," but they do want the social approval that same-sex marriage will win them.

Once they get that legal and social approval, no one disagreeing with them will be safe. Schools, businesses, churches, and charities will be bludgeoned with threats and lawsuits until they abandon their convictions and agree to promote what is pleasantly called "diversity." Ironically, the only view allowed by the coming diversity police is the narrow view that you must celebrate homosexuality. No other view will be tolerated.

In fact, this intolerance is already happening and will get worse if same-sex marriage spreads. A federal court recently denied parents the right to know when homosexuality was being discussed in their Massachusetts schools because gay marriage is now legal there. Also in Massachusetts, a Catholic adoption agency was forced to close its doors rather than provide children to homosexual couples as the state now demands. In New Jersey, a Christian ministry was investigated for refusing to conduct a same-sex ceremony. In California, a doctor was sued for refusing to artificially inseminate a lesbian. Several other examples of gay intolerance can be found here, and the unbelievable forced normalization of homosexuality in businesses, schools and charities throughout Massachusetts can be found here. (Click on that link if you really want to see how bad the intolerance can get.)

Moreover, as I've shown in Gay Marriage: Even Liberals Know It's Bad, government-backed same-sex marriage also will hurt our children, our health, our economy and our nation. Thankfully, voters still have the choice to not endorse intolerance and political correctness. The good people of California, Arizona and Florida can vote for tolerance this Election Day by confirming that marriage is only between one man and one woman.


British "health & safety" Nazis obliterate an ancient right for no good reason

They want to assert their ownership of what is not theirs. Power is what bureaucrats want and ownership gives power

If you go down to the woods today, forget about disguise - you'd better wear a hard hat and a hi-viz jacket. Dingly Dell has fallen to the elf 'n' safety nazis. For the past 12 years, retired builder Mike Kamp has been collecting firewood from the forest near his home at Betws-y-Coed, North Wales. It's a right enshrined in the Magna Carta of 1215, the template for democracies around the world. Free men down the centuries have been granted the liberty to gather dead wood from common land to fuel their stoves, repair their homes and make charcoal.

That was before the Forestry Commission came along and started demanding that anyone wanting to collect wood would need a licence to forage. Now it has imposed an outright ban, stating: 'This is an area where we are subject to increasing constraints in terms of health and safety. We have a duty of care to people in our wood.' Note the use of the possessive our wood. It isn't their wood. It's common land and it belongs to everyone.

As Mr Kamp said: 'They are claiming there are health and safety issues. But people have walked through the woods collecting firewood for hundreds of years without too many safety problems.' Precisely. I doubt there is one recorded incident of a firewood-related fatality in North Wales. This, as usual, is about bureaucrats justifying their own sad existence and protecting their backs in the event of someone turning their ankle in a rabbit hole, ringing Blame Direct, and suing for com-pensayshun.

It's the same warped thinking which led to plans for an open-air ice rink in Bath this Christmas being abandoned because council officials feared it could be a magnet for paedophiles. How sick do you have to be to reach that conclusion?

And a school in Colchester has banned children from bringing in broomsticks for Halloween in case they get hurt. In fairness, they were only following official advice on the NHS website: 'Be careful with witches' brooms made from sticks. If the sticks get dislodged, they are a choking hazard. These brooms should be labelled For Adult Use Only.'

You couldn't make it up. Where is it all going to end?


Apple Computer Co. Takes a Stand Against Gay-Marriage Ban in California

Company Announces Huge Donation to Defeat Proposition

Apple has joined Google in publicly opposing a California ballot initiative that would deny marriage rights to same-sex couples. The company announced last week that it would donate $100,000 to the No on Prop 8 campaign, which opposes a measure to ban gay marriage that California voters will consider a week from Tuesday, CNET reports. Google has also spoken out against the ballot measure.

"Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees' same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person's fundamental rights - including the right to marry - should not be affected by their sexual orientation," the company said in a statement posted to the Hot News section of its website, reports CNET writer Tom Krazit on a network blog,

"Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8," the statement continued.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, OBAMA WATCH (2), EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Black man has to remind Britain's Labour government that they are supposed to be on the side of the worker

Britain risks a surge in Right-wing extremism if it fails to help its white working class weather the recession, the equalities chief will warn today. Trevor Phillips will break with years of political convention to call for the law to be changed to enshrine positive discrimination in favour of disadvantaged whites. His startling intervention in the race debate is a rebuke to Harriet Harman, who earlier this year trumpeted plans to make companies discriminate in favour of women and ethnic minorities.

Mr Phillips said ministers should allow councils and education authorities to introduce 'positive action' programmes aimed specifically at young whites unable to compete with highly skilled immigrants because the 'need is so great'. And he warned that immigration has fuelled 'resentments that are real and should not be dismissed - resentments felt by white, black and Asian'.

The chairman of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission set out his thinking to the Daily Mail ahead of his appearance at a CBI event on immigration today alongside immigration minister Phil Woolas. Mr Phillips said failure to help white families hit by the downturn could drive them into the arms of far-Right parties similar to those that have brought turmoil to Austria, Belgium and Holland. He also warned that ministers needed to acknowledge the resentment by some whites over what they see as unfair help given to blacks and Asians. 'What we are seeing is that there is a whole group of people, a large proportion of whom are white, who are going to suffer from this crisis who are going to be the people we should want to help, particularly because they come from the wrong side of town,' he said.

'We are going to have to do something special for them. We are going to have to put extra resources where young people can't compete with migrants' skills. 'And in some parts of the country, it is clear that what defines disadvantage won't be black or brown, it will be white. And we will have to take positive action to help some white groups, what we might call the white underclass.'

And he warned: 'We know what the political consequences are because we have seen it on the Continent. 'If we ignore the fact some white groups are going to be disadvantaged we will end up with the same kind of conflicts we have seen in Austria, Belgium and now Holland, where the anti-immigrant racist Right-wing parties get a big boost. 'We need to do more to help those who are going to suffer and who will then think that the reason they are suffering is their colour. 'We need to pay attention to that white underclass that happens not to live in the right part of town.'

Politicians have long shied away from allowing positive discrimination, claiming it flies in the face of equality laws. But its supporters claim the system is a necessary way of helping minorities finding it difficult to get a job or housing, by pushing them to the top of the queue.

In June, Miss Harman angered business leaders by revealing plans for new anti-discrimination laws. She said she wanted to see more women and ethnic minorities promoted into senior posts and would use next year's Equalities Bill to discriminate in their favour. Under the plans, firms will be forced to reveal the salary gap between their male and female staff to shame employers into bringing them into line. But in what was seen as a clear 'white men need not apply', she made no attempt to suggest that whites could benefit from positive discrimination as well.

Mr Phillips said he wanted to see the bill used to help whites. And he added Miss Harman had been looking at the work of the commission. 'Positive action now in Britain is more likely to mean programmes for people who are poor, white and come from workless households than it is for East African Asians, for example,' he added.

Earlier this summer, Miss Harman insisted: 'It is important to encourage applications from minority groups, but we are strongly against positive discrimination so someone gets a job just because they are black or disabled.'

Mr Phillips also warned against allowing the economic crisis to trigger an outburst of anti-immigrant feeling in the UK. 'It's dangerous and it's divisive,' he said. He claimed immigrants could act as a 'buffer' against the impact of recession because they are more likely to return to their countries than stay in Britain and swell the unemployment register. 'If it wasn't for the fact that migrants from eastern Europe are now going home you would see a great many more people unemployed in this country,' he claimed.

Last week, Mr Woolas was forced to backtrack after suggesting that there should be a cap on the number of immigrants allowed into the country. Last night, Mr Phillips dismissed Mr Woolas's call for a cap, saying: 'We need to control it, we need to be tough on borders but the idea is a promise no one can deliver.'


Journalists who have been taught to hate Western civilization

What's happening in this terrifying, Orwellian US presidential race is the flip side of the madness that's been on display since 9/11 itself, when swathes of the UK population decided that `America had it coming to it' because it supported Israel, and that George W Bush was the most dangerous man on the planet. After the Iraq war started this irrationality swelled into pathological proportions on both sides of the Atlantic, when the `Bush lied, people died' narrative fuelled a hatred of Bush and `the neocons' exceeded in its hallucinatory and murderous venom only by the truly deranged way in which the media and intelligentsia systematically either ignored evidence that did not fit this narrative or, even more astoundingly, reported it in such a way that it delivered the opposite of what was actually happening or being said.

In this way not only has history been rewritten, not only have Britain and America been to a greater or lesser extent turned against themselves and demoralised by the propaganda of their mortal enemies recycled as truth by our fifth-column Big Media, but they have been incited to an ugly and dangerous level of irrationality, hatred and hysteria which history tells us presages the twilight of freedom. It is that media class which, in refusing to tell the public what it needs to know about Barack Obama, may now finally install in the White House the man who personifies the repudiation of the American power and western values that the media and left-wing intelligentsia (of which the media is the mouthpiece) have themselves spared no effort to destroy these past seven years As ABC columnist Michael Malone protests:
What I object to (and I think most other Americans do as well) is the lack of equivalent hardball coverage of the other side -- or worse, actively serving as attack dogs for the presidential ticket of Sens. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Joe Biden, D-Del. If the current polls are correct, we are about to elect as president of the United States a man who is essentially a cipher, who has left almost no paper trail, seems to have few friends (that at least will talk) and has entire years missing out of his biography....

Why, for example to quote the lawyer for Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., haven't we seen an interview with Sen. Obama's grad school drug dealer -- when we know all about Mrs. McCain's addiction? Are Bill Ayers and Tony Rezko that hard to interview? All those phony voter registrations that hard to scrutinize? And why are Sen. Biden's endless gaffes almost always covered up, or rationalized, by the traditional media?

The absolute nadir (though I hate to commit to that, as we still have two weeks before the election) came with Joe the Plumber. Middle America, even when they didn't agree with Joe, looked on in horror as the press took apart the private life of an average person who had the temerity to ask a tough question of a presidential candidate. So much for the standing up for the little man. So much for speaking truth to power. So much for comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable, and all of those other catchphrases we journalists used to believe we lived by.
So much indeed. That's why, as Mark Steyn observes, the media has had a feeding frenzy over Sarah Palin's clothes allowance while all but ignoring the evidence of criminal fundraising for the Obama campaign being facilitated by the Obama campaign:
The gentleman who started the ball rolling made four donations under the names `John Galt', `Saddam Hussein', `Osama bin Laden', and `William Ayers', all using the same credit card number. He wrote this morning to say that all four donations have been charged to his card and the money has now left his account. Again, it's worth pointing out: in order to enable the most basic card fraud of all - multiple names using a single credit card number - the Obama campaign had to manually disable all the default security checks provided by their merchant processor.
Now look at this. Back in April, the LA Times ran this story reporting on the going-away party for Rashid Khalidi, Obama's close friend, who justifies Palestinian violence against Israel and who was leaving for a job in New York. Khalidi is a deeply troubling individual, a former PLO operative and close friend of unreprentant former Weatherman terrorist William Ayers. As I have reported before, in 2000 Khalidi and his wife Mona held a fundraiser for Obama's unsuccessful congressional bid. The next year, an Arab group whose board was headed by Mona Khalidi received a $40,000 grant from the Woods Fund of Chicago when Obama was on the fund's board of directors. Obama has said that his many talks with the Khalidis had been
consistent reminders to me of my own blind spots and my own biases... It's for that reason that I'm hoping that, for many years to come, we continue that conversation -- a conversation that is necessary not just around Mona and Rashid's dinner table, but around this entire world.'
The LA Times reported:
During the dinner a young Palestinian American recited a poem accusing the Israeli government of terrorism in its treatment of Palestinians and sharply criticizing U.S. support of Israel. If Palestinians cannot secure their own land, she said, `then you will never see a day of peace.' One speaker likened `Zionist settlers on the West Bank' to Osama bin Laden, saying both had been `blinded by ideology.'
The paper reported that not only had Obama been present at the party but had praised Khalidi - and it actually had obtained a videotape of the whole event. Yet it has refused to make this video public - even though it would be of great interest, to put it mildly, to see who else was there. Indeed, as the now defunct New York Sun reported:
In Chicago, the Khalidis founded the Arab American Action Network, and Mona Khalidi served as its president. A big farewell dinner was held in their honor by AAAN with a commemorative book filled with testimonials from their friends and political allies. These included the left wing anti-war group Not In My Name, the Electronic Intifada, and the ex-Weatherman domestic terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers.
As Gateway Pundit comments:
It's hard to imagine that the LA Times would hold onto a video of Sarah Palin praising an antisemitic radical and former PLO operative...But, that is today's mainstream media.
But now look at what happens when the media does begin to do its job properly. As the Orlando Sentinel reported:
WFTV-Channel 9's Barbara West conducted a satellite interview with Sen. Joe Biden on Thursday. West wondered about Sen. Barack Obama's comment, to Joe the Plumber, about spreading the wealth. She quoted Karl Marx and asked how Obama isn't being a Marxist with the `spreading the wealth' comment. `Are you joking?' said Biden, who is Obama's running mate. `No,' West said. West later asked Biden about his comments that Obama could be tested early on as president. She wondered if the Delaware senator was saying America's days as the world's leading power were over. `I don't know who's writing your questions,' Biden shot back. Biden so disliked West's line of questioning that the Obama campaign cancelled a WFTV interview with Jill Biden, the candidate's wife.
In that interview, Biden also flatly denied that the Obama campaign was funding corrupt Acorn to deliver voter registration. But as the Investor's Business Daily has reported, it did - and then tried to hide it:
Obama paid ACORN, which has endorsed him for president, $800,000 to register new voters, payments his campaign failed to accurately report. (They were disguised in his FEC disclosure as payments to a front group called Citizen Services Inc. for `advance work.')
At NRO Mark Levin identifies a terrifying historical echo when he shudders that, such is the tide of irrationality running in this campaign, the American public appears to be falling under the cult-like spell of an authoritarian demagogue. He is surely correct. For all Obama's laid-back, attractive appearance this election is being fought in an atmosphere of menace. Menace in the way ACORN is intimidating voters into multiple registrations. Menace in the way criminal donations to the Obama campaign have been institutionalised. Menace in the serial lies being told by Obama, Biden and the campaign rebuttal team. Menace in the way the few remaining proper journalists such as Stanley Kurtz are finding sources of information shut down and themselves shut out when they attempt to probe Obama's deeply dubious associations. Menace in the smears and hysterical abuse directed at anyone who questions The One. Menace in the threat of violence if Obama doesn't win. Menace in the pre-emptive smear that the only thing that could bring about an Obama defeat is the inherent racism of the American voters - a smear that potentially identifies all those who vote against him as public enemies.

Over the past seven years, the media has created the Big Lie that America is the biggest rogue state in the world, with Israel its proxy. Now it is ensuring that a man who will act on that very premise to crush America and destroy Israel will be placed in the White House to do so. It is not just that the west's Big Media can no longer be trusted. It has become the most important weapon in the arsenal of the enemies of the free world.


Sarah Palin Talks About Her $35 Wedding Ring: "It's Not What It's Made Of... It's What It Represents"

No wonder they fear her. Sarah Palin is an American classic. Today in Florida where she was campaigning with Elizabeth Hasselbeck and Sean Hannity, she talked about her thrift store clothes and her earrings made by her Indian mother in law in Alaska. She also talked about her $35 wedding ring:

Palin told the crowd that she bought the wedding ring herself she said, "It's not what it's made of... It's what it represents." You won't hear that too often in the elitist social circles. This will just make them hate her more.


Australia: Another Muslim rapist

Shades of Hakeem Hakeem and the Skaf brothers (etc.)!

A man has been jailed for eight years for raping an unconscious woman who woke to find him on top of her and his mates laughing and jeering. The Victorian County Court was told Mohammad Khan, 28, met the woman at the 3D nightclub in central Melbourne on December 9, 2006. The woman had been drinking and had taken ecstasy during the night when she met a group of men in the club linked to Khan, the court was told.

She was described by witnesses as being happy and alert before she awoke about 5.30am the next day in an alley to find a man on top of her assaulting her. The court was told two or three other males were watching and "laughing and jeering," Judge John Smallwood said. Judge Smallwood said the woman felt bewildered and believed she had been drugged. She yelled at the man to get off her.

A jury earlier rejected Khan's contention that the woman agreed to sex, and found him guilty of one count of rape. Judge Smallwood said Khan had taken advantage of a woman in a helpless and vulnerable situation. While he accepted that Khan had fallen into the drug and rave scene, he said he was clearly intelligent and would have been aware that what he was doing was wrong. He ordered Khan serve at least 5® years' jail.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, OBAMA WATCH (2), EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

British prisons boss toughens up

Liberals who push criminal rights drive me nuts, says Justice Secretary Jack Straw

Jack Straw will today launch a withering attack on liberal justice groups who 'drive him nuts' by focusing on the 'needs' of offenders instead of punishment. In a landmark speech, the Justice Secretary will unleash a broadside against the 'prison reform lobby', condemning groups with which Labour has forged close links and accusing them of being 'lost in a fog of platitudes' and overlooking the suffering of victims.

The tough tone of Mr Straw's speech appears to mark a dramatic turning away from the liberal consensus on prison policy. For years this has stressed the need to understand prisoners' problems and 'needs', while playing down the role of jail as a harsh deterrent to force them to mend their ways. It is likely to be seen as a bid to re-establish Labour as the party of law and order at a time when the Conservatives are pledging measures to fix Britain's 'broken society', and public concerns are growing over gun and knife crime and the crisis in the country's overcrowded prisons.

Mr Straw served as Home Secretary from 1997 to 2001, and resumed responsibility for prisons when he became Justice Secretary in June 2007. He will tell his audience at the Royal Society of Arts in London today that the Government is not returning to 'Victorian notions' of crime and punishment but must be 'crystal clear about what the public expect the justice system to do on their behalf: to punish those who have broken the law'.

He will lament the way concepts of 'punishment and reform' have become 'unfashionable', adding: 'We should not shy away from the fact that the sentences of the court are first and foremost for the punishment of those who have broken the law, broken society's rules.' He will go on to say: 'The criminal justice lobby today is full of people . . . who do a very good job. 'However, I am concerned that it has retreated into language that doesn't chime with the public. 'When I hear phrases like "criminogenic needs of offenders" it drives me nuts . . . I profoundly disagree that we should describe someone's amoral desire to go thieving as a "need" equivalent to that of victims or the law-abiding public.'

The Justice Secretary's focus on the central role of punishment in prisons is likely to infuriate groups such as the Howard League for Penal Reform, and the National Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders, which have enjoyed close ties with the Government since Labour took office in 1997. Such reforming groups have enjoyed years of Home Office funding while senior ministers - including Mr Straw himself - have been frequent speakers at their conferences. By contrast, groups espousing much tougher approaches to law and order, such as the Victims of Crime Trust, have mostly been sidelined under Labour.

Mr Straw also risks a backlash from opposition critics demanding to know why he is adopting a tougher tone now, more than 11 years after Labour took office, and having personally overseen the Government's criminal justice policy for much of that time. He is currently under fire over his department's policy of releasing thousands of convicted prisoners before they complete their sentences, as an emergency measure to cope with the lack of prison capacity in England and Wales. Hundreds have gone on to commit further offences when they should have been behind bars.


Obama, Alinsky and the Marxist Left

The importance of this election to all Americans and the future of our country cannot be over stated. The United States has never had the possibility of a virtual Marxist in the oval office before. The Democrat Party has been taken over by the extreme left wing to the extent that earlier Democrats like Harry Truman, John Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey would not recognize it. The Wall Street Journal ran an article that should scare everyone about what will happen if Obama is elected and Democrats achieve a veto-proof majority in the Senate; it being a foregone conclusion that Democrats will have a majority in the House.

"If the current polls hold, Barack Obama will win the White House on November 4 and Democrats will consolidate their Congressional majorities, probably with a filibuster-proof Senate or very close to it. Without the ability to filibuster, the Senate would become like the House, able to pass whatever the majority wants.

Though we doubt most Americans realize it, this would be one of the most profound political and ideological shifts in U.S. history. Liberals would dominate the entire government in a way they haven't since 1965, or 1933. In other words, the election would mark the restoration of the activist government that fell out of public favor in the 1970s. If the U.S. really is entering a period of unchecked left-wing ascendancy, Americans at least ought to understand what they will be getting, especially with the media cheering it all on.

The nearby table shows [table not shown] the major bills that passed the House this year or last before being stopped by the Senate minority. Keep in mind that the most important power of the filibuster is to shape legislation, not merely to block it. The threat of 41 committed Senators can cause the House to modify its desires even before legislation comes to a vote. Without that restraining power, all of the following have very good chances of becoming law in 2009 or 2010."

Saved by Filibuster: [Bills that were passed by the House in the 110th Congress but were blocked in the Senate]

Union Card Check
Representation for District of Columbia
Windfall Profit Tax on Oil Companies
Renegotiation of Contracts in Bankruptcy
Resurrection of the 'Fairness Doctrine'

It is fair to ask how we have gotten to the point where a charismatic Marxist is within walking distance to the White House. The answer is that a perfect storm of socialism has been developed by shrewd people behind the scene, a leftist news media and careful long term planning. All major players are acolytes of communist Saul Alinski who taught his students the Rules for Radicals to take over the country by working from within.

Saul Alinsky wrote two books where he described his organizational principles and strategies: Reveille for Radicals (1946) and Rules for Radicals (1971). Rules for Radicals begins with a quote about Lucifer, written by Saul Alinsky: "Lest we forget at least an over-the-shoulder acknowledgment to the very first radical: from all our legends, mythology, and history (and who is to know where mythology leaves off and history begins -- or which is which), the first radical known to man who rebelled against the establishment and did it so effectively that he at least won his own kingdom -- Lucifer."

In Rules for Radicals, Alinsky wrote: "Here I propose to present an arrangement of certain facts and general concepts of change, a step toward a science of revolution"; building on the tactical principles of Machiavelli: "The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals are written for the Have-nots on how to take it away."

Alinsky's Rules are concerned with the acquisition of power: "my aim here is to suggest how to organize for power: how to get it and how to use it." This is not to be done with assistance to the poor, or even by organizing the poor to demand assistance: "Even if all the low-income parts of our population were organized ... it would not be powerful enough to get significant, basic, needed changes."

Alinsky advises the organizer to target the middle class, rather than the poor: "Organization for action will now and in the decade ahead center upon America's white middle class. That is where the power is."

Clearly Alinsky is interested in the middle class only because it is useful: "Our rebels have contemptuously rejected the values and the way of life of the middle class. They have stigmatized it as materialistic, decadent, bourgeois, degenerate, imperialistic, war-mongering, brutalized and corrupt. They are right; but we must begin from where we are if we are to build power for change and the power and the people are in the middle class majority."

Does this sound familiar? Obama is calling for "change" but the change Obama seeks is right out of the Alinsky Rule book.

In his Rules for Radicals Alinsky defends belief that the end justifies the means: "to say that corrupt the ends, is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles ... the practical revolutionary will understand ... [that] in action, one does not always enjoy the luxury of a decision that is consistent both with one's individual conscience and the good of mankind."

Altogether, Alinsky provides eleven rules of the ethics of means and ends. They are morally relativistic; the main one is that the Rules for Radicals "are therefore concerned with how to win. In such a conflict, neither protagonist is concerned with any value except victory. . "The third rule of the ethics of means and ends is that in war the ends justifies almost any means." "There can be no such thing as a successful traitor, for if one succeeds, he becomes a founding father."

Rules for Radicals teach the organizer that he must give a moral appearance (as opposed to behaving morally): "All effective action requires the passport of morality." The tenth rule of the ethics of means and ends states "that you do what you can with what you have and clothe it with moral arguments ... Moral rationalization is indispensable at all times of action whether to justify the selection or the use of ends or means."

Rules for Radicals provide the organizer with a strategy for community organization that assumes an adversarial relationship between groups of people in which one either dominates or is dominated. "The first rule of power tactics is: power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have." "Wherever possible go outside the experience of the enemy. Here you want to cause confusion, fear, and retreat." "Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this. They can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity." "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also, it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."

"The threat is generally more terrifying than the thing itself." "In a fight almost anything goes. It almost reaches the point where you stop to apologize if a chance blow lands above the belt." "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. One of the criteria for picking the target is the target's vulnerability ... the other important point in the choosing of a target is that it must be a personification, not something general and abstract. The enemy properly goaded and guided in his reaction will be your major strength."

Rules for Radicals stresses organizational power-collecting: "The ego of the organizer is stronger and more monumental than the ego of the leader. The organizer is in a true sense reaching for the highest level for which a man can reach -- to create, to be a `great creator', to play God."

Alinsky Thought Hillary Clinton was a terrific "organizer" and wanted her to become his prot‚g‚. She and Bill Clinton have employed Alinsky's tactics probably better than anyone else, until Barack Obama came along.

Obama has followed Alinsky's Rules perfectly. Although Alinsky was an atheist, Alinsky recognized the importance of church communities as springboards for agitation and for demanding goods and services. Obama undertook his agitating work in Chicago's South Side poor neighborhoods but he was not yet a church goer although he did have an office in a Church. The people he intended to organize were Church people who were serious church-goers. Many people asked where he went to church. He evaded the question for a while but then decided to join a church.

Of course the selection of a church to join was important. He decided to join a huge Black Nationalist Church with a pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, who openly preached "black" gospel. Rolling Stone Magazine had a story on Obama and his church, entitled, "Destiny's Child," which included this excerpt from one of Rev. Wright's sermons (from an article by Kyle-Anne Schiver in American Thinker):
"Fact number one: We've got more black men in prison than there are in college," he intones. Fact number two: Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run!"

"We are deeply involved in the importing of drugs, the exporting of guns and the training of professional KILLERS. . . . We believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God. . . . We conducted radiation experiments on our own people. . . . We care nothing about human life if the ends justify the means! And. And. And! GAWD! Has GOT! To be SICK! OF THIS S**T!"
Obama has called Reverend Wright his spiritual mentor and still claims he is his sounding board. Among some of the Black Nationalist signs hanging in this church are a list of admonishments to black solidarity, called the "Black Value System," and a sort of moral code calling for the "Disavowal of the Pursuit of Middleclass ness." This doesn't sound like the Ten Commandments to me nor does this seem like any church I am familiar with.

Let's see how Obama follows Alinsky's Rules to defeat John McCain and win the election. Barack Obama mocks John McCain, while urging his followers to "get in their face," these are tactics right out of Saul Alinsky's playbook: ridicule and agitation.

During a Las Vegas rally Obama joked about McCain for what he described as lauding about "how as chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, he had oversight of every part of the economy." "Well, all I can say to Sen. McCain is, 'Nice job. Nice job,'" Obama said sarcastically; "Where is he getting these lines? It's like a 'Saturday Night Live' routine."

Alinsky advised community organizers like Obama to "laugh at the enemy" to provoke "irrational anger." "Ridicule," he said, "is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."

Obama speaks in a quiet voice and almost always wears a business suit. Both are also borrowed from Alinsky's Rules. "Don't scare" the middle class. Instead, look like them, talk like them, act like them." Alinsky taught his followers to work for radical change from the inside. Obama said in his first memoir "like a spy behind enemy lines." He wrote it before entering politics, while still working with Alinsky groups and training street agitators known as "community organizers" for ACORN. In 1983 Obama wrote he became a community organizer in ACORN because of "The need for change. Change in the White House, where Reagan and his minions were carrying on their dirty deeds."

Here are some other examples of how well Obama follows the Alinsky Rules (from a Yahoo News article).

"Rule: "Rub raw the resentments of the people; search out controversy and issues." In the mortgage meltdown, for instance, Obama vows to prosecute "predatory lenders" for "abusing" minority borrowers. He's also stoking class resentment by painting Wall Street and other executives as villains.

Rule: "Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." In an ad to woo Hispanic voters, Obama demonized Rush Limbaugh by falsely claiming he made racist statements against immigrants.

Rule: "A mass impression can be lasting and intimidating." This explains why Obama moved his acceptance speech to a football stadium and bussed in 85,000 supporters. Alinsky's son was so impressed, he praised Obama for learning his father's "lesson well."

Rule: "Multiple issues mean constant action and life" for the cause. This is why Obama never harps on one issue, as Hillary did with health care. His platform is packed with grievances from "economic justice" to "reproductive justice" to "environmental justice.""

Obama is following almost perfectly the outline for socialist revolution written by the founder of community organizing, Saul Alinsky. Not that Obama is altogether home free, but he uses his war room effectively. After Sarah Palin ridiculed Obama's community organizing in one speech, Obama surrogates quickly claimed Palin was bringing up the phrase as a racist code for "black."

Mention of "Community Organizing" is not racism, but racism is a code word used by communists. McCain should make that point instead of legitimizing such radicalism, as he did recently when he said, "I respect community organizers; and Senator Obama's record there is outstanding" -- which contradicted Sarah Palin in another example of the incompetent McCain campaign.

Alinksy could never have dreamed a disciple would be in a battle for the most powerful job in the world, let along have a good chance of winning. Nor would I have believed so many Americans would fall for the socialist claptrap of Barack Obama.


In defense of 'the rich'

By Larry Elder

So what do "the rich" pay in federal income taxes? Nothing, right? That, at least, is what most people think. And Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama wants to raise the top marginal rate for "the rich" - known in some quarters as "job creators." A recent poll commissioned by Investor's Business Daily asked, in effect, "What share do you think the rich pay?" Their findings? Most people are completely clueless about how much the rich actually do pay.

First, the data. The top 5 percent (those making more than $153,542 - the group whose taxes Mr. Obama seeks to raise) pay 60 percent of all federal income taxes. The rich (a k a the top 1 percent of income earners, those making more than $388,806 a year), according to the Internal Revenue Service, pay 40 percent of all federal income taxes. The top 1 percent's taxes comprise 17 percent of the federal government's revenue from all sources, including corporate taxes, excise taxes, social insurance and retirement receipts.

Now, what do people think the rich pay? The IBD/TIPP poll found 36 percent of those polled thought the rich contribute 10 percent or less of all federal income taxes. Another 15 percent thought the rich pay between 10 percent and 20 percent, while another 10 percent thought the rich's share is between 20 and 30 percent. In other words, most people thought the rich pay less - far less - than they do. Only 12 percent of those polled thought the rich pay more than 40 percent.

Let's try this another way. A U.S.News & World Report blogger went to the Democratic National Convention in Denver and did an informal poll of 24 DNC delegates. He asked them, "What should 'the rich' pay in income taxes?" Half the respondents said "25 percent"; 25 percent said "20 percent"; 12 percent said "30 percent"; and another 12 percent said "35 percent." The average DNC delegate wanted the rich to pay 25.6 percent, which is lower than what the rich pay now - both by share of taxes and by tax rate!

Thirty percent of American voters pay nothing - zero, zip, nada - in federal income taxes. And, not too surprisingly, compared with taxpaying voters, they are more likely to support spending that benefits them. The majority of the 30 percent who don't pay federal income taxes agree with Mr. Obama's $65 billion plan to institute taxpayer-funded universal health coverage. But the majority of the 70 percent who pay federal income taxes oppose his health-care plan.

Non-taxpayers support Mr. Obama's plans for increased tax deductions for lower-income Americans, along with higher overall tax rates levied against middle- and upper-income households. The majority of non-taxpayers (57 percent) also favor raising the individual income-tax rate for those in the highest bracket from 35 percent to 54 percent. And the majority (59 percent) favors raising Social Security taxes by 4 percent for any individual or business that makes at least $250,000.

Mr. Obama calls increasing taxes and giving them to the needy a matter of "neighborliness." Vice presidential running mate Joe Biden calls it a matter of "patriotism." Yet when it comes to charitable giving, neither Mr. Obama (until recently) nor Mr. Biden feels neighborly or patriotic enough to donate as much as does the average American household: 2 percent of their adjusted gross income.

Liberal families earn about 6 percent more than conservative families, yet conservative households donate about 30 percent more to charity than do liberal households. And conservatives give more than just to their own churches and other houses of worship. Conservatives, especially religious conservatives, give far more money and donate more of their time to nonreligious charitable causes than do liberals - especially secular liberals.

In 2007, President George W. Bush and his wife had an adjusted gross income of $923,807. They paid $221,635 in taxes, and donated $165,660 to charity - or 18 percent of their income. Vice President and Mrs. Cheney, in 2007, had a taxable income of $3.04 million. And they paid $602,651 in taxes, and donated $166,547 to charity - or 5.5 percent of their income.

Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle, earned between $200,000 and $300,000 a year between 2000 and 2004, and they donated less than 1 percent to charity. When their income soared to $4.2 million in 2007, their charitable contributions went up to 5 percent. Joe and Jill Biden, by contrast, made $319,853 and gave $995 to charity in 2007, or 0.3 percent of their income. And that was during the year Mr. Biden ran for president. Over the last 10 years, the Bidens earned $2,450,042 and gave $3,690 to charity - or 0.1 percent of their income.

So let's sum up. The "compassionate" liberals - at least based on charitable giving - show less compassion than "hardhearted" conservatives. The rich pay more in income taxes than people think. Voters, clueless about the facts, want the rich to pay still more.


When "Pauls" Outnumber "Peters"

For a long time, Americans have tolerated the incessant whine from a portion of their fellow citizens whose innumerable complaints can be reduced to a single idea: life is not fair. Question: why would any rational American want to put these people in charge of the country? You can dress up the rhetoric of Barack Obama any way you want, but in the final analysis it is all about government imposing "fairness" upon us-by any means necessary.

The ascendancy of Americans who believe somebody "owes" them something without regard to mitigating factors such as hard work, ambition and personal responsibility is breath-taking. Yet it is hardly surprising. Years of sub-standard education have produced Americans whose misunderstanding of reality is profound. They truly believe that none of the problems they face are of their own making. They truly believe equality of opportunity and equality of results are one and the same. They truly believe self-esteem has no relationship to accomplishment. In other words, it doesn't matter what you do, it only matters what you want. And if you don't get what you want, it's because America is a rotten country.

Barack Obama's entire political philosophy is based on the premise that America is essentially flawed. Not essentially good with some tweaking needed, but a net minus as a nation. That this essential contempt for America resonates with the likes of Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayers, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, Hollywood celebrities, and the mainstream media is nothing new. Hating one's country-even as it has made you rich and/or famous-is what much elitist behavior is all about.

The rise of Barack Obama suggests that this contempt is no longer limited to the ivory towers of academe, Manhattan or San Francisco cocktail parties, the mainstream media, the aging hippies, the radicals, the misfits and the neer-do-wells. It suggests that we may have reached a watershed moment in American history: those who disdain this country may finally outnumber those who love it. Those who complain may outnumber those who achieve. Those who take may outnumber those who give.

Perhaps Barack Obama is truly a man ahead of his time. He has seemingly tapped into a wellspring of discontent as powerful as it is misguided. "Robbing Peter to pay Paul" sounds attractive-but only as as long as one has a steady supply of Peters ready,willing, and able to be bludgeoned by suffocating government. How long such people will be willing to put up with such an arrangement is anyone's guess. It is far easier to ride on the wagon than pull it-especially when those riding have the gall to suggest the pullers aren't doing their "fair share." What happens when everyone wants a free ride, aka when the "Pauls" outnumber the "Peters?" "Change you can believe in," that's what.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, OBAMA WATCH (2), EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, October 27, 2008

The Tyrannical Logic of Liberalism

Jim Kalb below assumes more benign intentions among Leftists ("liberals") than I would but his point that their simple-minded rules ignore important factors and thus lead to adverse consequences is central

"The tyranny of liberalism" seems a paradox. Liberals say that they favor freedom, reason, and the well-being of ordinary people. Many people consider them high-minded and fair to a fault, "too broadminded to take their own side in a quarrel," too soft to govern effectively. Even the word "liberal" suggests "liberty." How can such an outlook and the social order it promotes be tyrannical?

The answer is that wanting freedom is not the same as having it. Political single-mindedness leads to oppression, and a tyranny of freedom and equality is no less possible than one of virtue or religion. We cannot be forced to be free or made equal by command, but since the French Revolution the attempt has become all too common and the results have often been tyrannical.

Tyranny is not, of course, what liberals have intended. They want government to be based on equal freedom, which they see as the only possible goal of a just and rational public order. But the functioning of any form of political society is determined more by the logic of its principles than the intentions of its supporters. Liberals view themselves as idealistic and progressive, but such a self-image conceals dangers even if it is not wholly illusory. It leads liberals to ignore considerations, like human nature and fundamental social and religious traditions, that have normally been treated as limits on reform. Freedom and equality are abstract, open-ended, and ever-ramifying goals that can be taken to extremes. Liberals tend to view these goals as a simple matter of justice and rationality that prudential considerations may sometimes delay but no principle can legitimately override. In the absence of definite limiting principles, liberal demands become more and more far-reaching and the means used to advance them ever more comprehensive, detailed, and intrusive.

The incremental style of liberalism obscures the radicalism of what it eventually demands and enables it always to present itself as moderate. What is called progress-in effect, movement to the left-is thought normal in present-day society, so to stand in its way, let alone to try to reverse accepted changes, is thought radical and divisive. We have come to accept that what was inconceivable last week is mainstream today and altogether basic tomorrow. The result is that the past is increasingly discredited, deviancy is defined up or down, and it becomes incredible that, for instance, until 1969 high school gun-club members took their guns to school on New York City subways, and that in 1944 there were only forty-four homicides by gunshot in the entire city.

Human life is harder to change than are proclaimed social standards. It is easier to denounce gender stereotypes than to make little boys and little girls the same. The triumph of liberalism in public discussion and the consequent disappearance of openly avowed nonliberal principles has led the outlook officially established to embody liberal views ever more completely and at the same time to diverge more and more from the permanent conditions of human life. The result has been a growing conflict between public standards and the normal human understandings that make commonsense judgments and good human relations possible.

The conflict between public standards and normal understandings has transformed and disordered such basic aspects of social life as politics, which depends on free and rational discussion; the family, which counts on a degree of harmony between public understandings and natural human tendencies; and scholarship, which relies on complex formal rules while attempting to explain reality. As a consequence, family life is chaotic and ill-tempered; young people are badly instructed and badly raised; politics are irrational, trivial, and mindlessly partisan; and scholarship is shoddy and disconnected from normal experience. Terms such as "zero tolerance" and "political correctness" reveal how an official outlook deeply at odds with normal ways of thinking has become oppressive while claiming to have reached an unprecedented level of fairness and rationality.

In a society that claims to be based on free speech and reason, intelligent discussion of many aspects of life has become all but impossible. Such a state of affairs is no passing fluke but a serious matter resulting from basic principles. It is the outcome of rationalizing and egalitarian trends that over time have become ever more self-conscious and all-embracing until they now make normal informal distinctions-for example, those between the sexes-seem intolerably arbitrary and unfair. Those trends have led to the politically correct managerial liberal regime that now dominates Western public life and makes demands that more and more people find unreasonable and even incomprehensible.

What defines that regime is the effort to manage and rationalize social life in order to bring it in line with comprehensive standards aimed at implementing equal freedom. The result is a pattern of governance intended to promote equality and individual gratification and marked by entitlement programs, sexual and expressive freedoms, blurred distinctions between the public and the private, and the disappearance of self-government. To implement such a program of social transformation an extensive system of controls over social life has grown up, sometimes public and sometimes formally private, that appeals for its justification to expertise, equity, safety, security, and the need to modify social attitudes and relationships in order to eliminate discrimination and intolerance.

The last are never clearly defined, but in practice they turn out to include all attitudes and distinctions that affect the order of social life but cannot be brought fully in line with market or bureaucratic principles, and so from the standpoint of those principles are simply irrational. "Discrimination and intolerance" are thus held to include those attitudes, habits, and ties-sex roles, historical loyalties, authoritative cultural understandings, religious commitments and teachings-on which independent, informal, traditional, and nonmarket institutions and arrangements normally rely in order to function and endure.....

Advanced liberalism has become an immensely powerful social reality. Liberal standards for human rights and government procedures are widely viewed as universally obligatory, at least in principle, and no competitor has comparable general appeal as a way of organizing social life. The technically rational organization of the world to give each of us as much as possible of what he wants is quite generally accepted as the correct guiding ideal for politics and social morality. Pluralism, the fight against discrimination, and an ethic of "caring" are accepted as political, social, and moral imperatives. And administrative and therapeutic intervention in all aspects of social life is considered the self-evident means of vindicating them. Such views are especially strong in the societies that have been enduringly successful in modern times, and among the intelligent, well-educated, and well-placed, most of whom believe them a matter of simple justice and rationality and can conceive of no other legitimate outlook. Concerns about self-government, moral traditions, and inherited loyalties do not carry anything close to the same weight. To make a serious issue of such concerns is regarded as a sign of ignorance or psychological or moral defect.

In spite of serious chronic problems that no one knows how to attack-extraordinarily low natality, rising costs of social-welfare programs, growing immigrant populations that do not assimilate-basic change seems unthinkable. No matter how pressing the problem, only analyses and solutions compatible with liberal positions are allowed in the public square. Almost all serious discussion is carried on through academic and other institutions that are fully integrated with the ruling order, and in any case antidiscrimination rules make wholehearted subscription to principles such as inclusiveness the only way to avoid legal and public relations problems that would make institutional life impossible. Genuine political discussion disappears. What pass as battles between liberals and conservatives are almost always disputes between different stages or tendencies within liberalism itself.

So dominant is liberalism that it becomes invisible. Judges feel free to read it into the law without historical or textual warrant because it seems so obviously right. To oppose it in any basic way is to act incomprehensibly, in a way explicable, it is thought, only by reference to irrationality, ignorance, or evil. The whole of the nonliberal past is comprehensively blackened. Traditional ways are presented as the simple negation of unquestionable goods liberalism favors. Obvious declines in civility, morality, and cultural achievement are ignored, denied, or redefined as advances. Violence is said to be the fault of the persistence of sex roles, war of religion, theft of social inequality, suicide of stereotyping. Destruction of sex and historical community as ordering principles-and thus of settled family arrangements and cultural forms-is presented as a supremely desirable goal. The clear connection among the decline of traditional habits, standards, and social ties; the disintegration of institutions like the family; and other forms of personal and social disorder is ignored or treated as beside the point.

Many people find something deeply oppressive about the resulting situation, but no one really knows what to say about it. Some complain about those general restrictions, like political correctness, which make honest and productive discussion of public affairs impossible. Others have more concrete and personal objections. Parents are alarmed by the indoctrination of their children. Many people complain about affirmative action, massive and uncontrolled immigration, and the abolition of the family as a distinct social institution publicly recognized as fundamental and prior to the state. Still others have the uneasy sense that the world to which they are attached and which defines who they are is being taken from them.

Nonetheless, these victims and their complaints get no respect and little media coverage. Their discontent remains inarticulate and obscure. People feel stifled, but cannot say just how. They make jokes or sarcastic comments, but when challenged have trouble explaining and defending themselves. The disappearance of common understandings that enable serious thought and action to be carried on by nonexperts and outside formal bureaucratic structures has made it hard even to think about the issues coherently. The result is a system of puzzled compliance. However ineffective the schools become, educators feel compelled to inculcate multicultural platitudes rather than to promote substantive learning. No matter how silly people find celebrations of "diversity," they become ever more frequent and surround themselves ever more insistently with happy talk....

At bottom, the problem with the standards that now govern public life is that they deny natural human tendencies and so require constant nagging interference in all aspects of life. They lead to a denatured society that does not work and does not feel like home. A standard liberal response to such objections is that our reactions are wrong: we should accept what we are told by those who know better. Expertise must rule. Social attitudes, habits, and connections, it is said, are not natural but constructed. They are continually revised and reenacted, their function and significance change with circumstances, and their meaning is a matter of interpretation and choice. It follows that habits and attitudes that seem solidly established and even natural cannot claim respect apart from their conformity with justice-which, if prejudice and question-begging are to be avoided, can only be defined as equality. All habits and attitudes must be conformed to egalitarianism and expertise. To object would be bigoted or ignorant.

But why should we trust those said to know better in such matters? Visions of an emancipated future are not necessarily wiser than nostalgia for a virtuous past. If all past societies have been sinks of oppression, as we are now told, it is not clear why our rulers are likely to change the situation. They understand the basic problems of life no better than the Sumerians did. They are technically more advanced, but technology is simply the application of means to ends. Tyrants, who know exactly what they want, can make good use of technique, and if clever they will pass their actions off as liberation.

Advanced liberalism fosters an inert and incompetent populace, a pervasive state, and commercial institutions responsible mainly to themselves. Alas, the state generally botches large-scale undertakings, commerce is proverbially self-interested, and formal expertise is more successful with small issues that can be studied in detail than with the big issues that make life what it is. Experts can treat appendicitis, but they cannot give us a reason to live. They can provide the factual content of instruction, but they cannot tell us what things are worth knowing. Why, then, treat their authority as absolute?

We should not accept the official, and "expert," debunking of ordinary ways of thought. While popular habits and attitudes can be presented as a compound of prejudice and self-interest, so can official and expert views. Both expertise and the state are immensely powerful social institutions. They have their own interests, and there is no reason to trust them any more than drug companies or defense contractors in matters that affect their own status and position. Expertise is only a refinement of common sense, upon which it continues to depend for its sanity and usefulness. Thought depends on habits, attitudes, and understandings that we mostly pick up from other people and that cannot be verified except in parts. It cannot be purified of habit and preconception and still touch our world. Ordinary good sense must remain the final standard of judgment. Good sense, however, is the business not of experts and officials but of the public at large.

In fact, advanced liberal society is reproducing the error of socialism-the attempt to administer and radically alter things that are too complex to be known, grasped, and controlled-but on a far grander scale. The socialists tried to simplify and rationalize economics, while today's liberals are trying to do the same with human relations generally. The latter involve much more subtle, complicated, and fundamental aspects of human life. Why expect the results to be better? A look at what is on television or a conversation with an older schoolteacher is likely to suggest that the attempt to reconstruct life on abstract content-free principles has actually made life worse. The test must be experience. If the people in charge of affairs are so competent and intelligent, why the increasing cynicism about politics? Why the decline in so many aspects of social and cultural life?

We need not accept, as inevitable social change, what the state and its experts decide for us. When major institutions persistently act in ineffective or destructive ways while praising themselves for unprecedented justice and rationality, there is evidently something wrong with the outlook guiding them. For a better way of life to become possible we need to free ourselves from the views that are now conventional and find a different perspective. The problems of public life today go too deep for technical fixes. A fundamental critique of the principles accepted as authoritative is necessary so that our life together can fall more in line with what people find natural, comprehensible, and satisfying. The intention of this book is to promote such a critique and to explore alternatives.


Man sacked from British counselling service because he is a Christian who refused to give sex advice to homosexuals

A relationship counsellor claims he was sacked because he admitted that his Christian beliefs could prevent him giving sex therapy to gay couples. Gary McFarlane, a father of two who has worked for the national counselling service Relate since 2003, says that it failed to accommodate his faith or allow him to try to overcome his reservations. Now Mr McFarlane, 47, is taking his case to an employment tribunal, alleging unfair dismissal on the grounds of religious discrimination.

The controversy follows the case in July of Lillian Ladele, the Christian registrar who successfully challenged Islington Council over her refusal to conduct civil partnership ceremonies for gay couples.

Mr McFarlane, a solicitor, said he was 'sad and disappointed' with the 'bigotry' he had experienced at the Bristol branch of Relate from 'a group of people with their own agenda'. 'If I was a Muslim this would not happen,' he said. 'They would find a way to make the system work. But Christians seem to have fewer and fewer rights. Relate needs to be forced to work through stuff like this.'

Mr McFarlane, who regularly attends both Church of England and Pentecostal services in Bristol, joined Relate Avon five years ago. As a solicitor, he has specialised in resolving legal disputes through mediation, and even sits on a committee advising the Law Society. He is also a part-time tutor on relationships at Trinity Theological College in Bristol, whose Church of England principal, Canon George Kovoor, is a Chaplain to the Queen.

While training as a counsellor he had qualms about dealing with gay couples but overcame them during discussions with his supervisor. He has since helped a lesbian partnership. But his real problems arose last year after he started to train as a psychosexual therapist, treating people's intimate sexual problems. He said: 'In counselling, you are drawing the couple out, going on a journey with them, enabling them to think in more than black and white. You are not telling anyone what to do or endorsing what they do. 'But in sex therapy you are diagnosing their problems and setting them a treatment plan, not unlike a doctor.'

He said that while he believed in 'each to their own', he felt uncomfortable doing anything that would directly encourage gay sex. He had not expected to confront these issues until facing the prospect of providing therapy for a gay couple, when he planned to discuss them in confidence with his supervisor. He assumed that Relate Avon would take him off the case. He said that many counsellors had difficulties that had to be worked around. Some had been abused as children and found they could not conduct sessions with abusers, and Relate Avon would accommodate them.

But fellow counsellors complained about Mr McFarlane's views, alleging he was homophobic, and he was suspended last December by his manager. After three weeks, he was reinstated and had to promise to abide by Relate's equal opportunities policy, with the proviso, he claims, that he could raise issues in the future.

Following further complaints, however, he was told that he would face a disciplinary hearing because managers at Relate Avon no longer believed he intended to uphold the policy. He was dismissed and his appeal was rejected.

'There was a group who didn't want me there and they got their teeth in,' he said. 'I was prepared to explore my reservations but they wanted unconditional assurances that they would never become an issue for me. 'Why did they have to slam the door like that? This could force other Christians out of counselling. Some have already reacted with consternation, saying if it could happen to someone of my experience and skills, it could happen to them.'

A spokeswoman for Relate said: 'Relate cannot comment until the employment tribunal has taken place.' The organisation, originally called the National Marriage Guidance Council, was founded in 1938. By 1998 it was counselling couples in a much wider range of relationships and changed its name to Relate. It now operates from nearly 600 locations nationwide.


Liberty vs liberty

British campaign group Liberty seems more interested in proposing an alternative authoritarianism than defending freedom

This week, the UK government decided to shelve its plans to increase the period that terror suspects can be held without charge from 28 days to 42 days, after its proposal was voted down in the House of Lords. Britain's leading civil liberties group, Liberty, immediately declared the decision a `victory' for its campaign to prevent the increase. Yet the law that Liberty should really be worried about is not the Counter-Terrorism Bill but the Trades Descriptions Act - because Liberty, along with many others, doesn't seem very interested in defending liberty at all.

The government's decision to shelve the extension was simply a pragmatic one. Its Bill calling for an extension to 42 days' detention without charge only scraped through the House of Commons in June this year thanks to the support of nine Democratic Unionist MPs: bigots from Northern Ireland that no self-respecting government should cuddle up to. New Labour's whips in the House of Commons believed that if the measure went to a vote in the House again, it could well be defeated. Furthermore, even if the Bill did get through the Commons, the unelected House of Lords could continue to block it for up to a year before the Parliament Act could be used to force the law through; this would have delayed all the other measures in the Bill. The government scrapped the 42-days proposal in order to avoid embarrassment in the Commons and a potential delay by the Lords.

However, parliamentary calculation was not the only reason for a change of mind. There was also opposition to aspects of the Bill from those who should have been its keenest supporters: the police. In an article in The Times (London) a week before the Lords' vote, Andy Hayman - until recently Britain's most senior anti-terrorism officer - declared his support for the principle of 42 days' detention while denouncing the proposed mechanism by which it would be put into effect: `[T]he government's current proposals are not fit for purpose: they are bureaucratic, convoluted and unworkable. The draftsman's pen has introduced so many hoops to be jumped through that a police case for detaining a terror suspect will become part of the political game.'

Others argue that the government erased 42 days from its Bill for strictly party political reasons. In June, with Prime Minister Gordon Brown flailing about in a sea of unpopularity and desperate to appear like he had some purpose, he was keen to push through a measure that looked tough on terrorism. But the current economic crisis has given him a new lease of life. Now he is praised in the press not only for saving the British banking system (allegedly) but for providing a framework through which the US authorities and European governments might intervene in the financial arena, too. The 42-day proposal, which must once have seemed like a potential vote-winner, is now a messy and divisive idea at a time when Brown is milking the financial crisis. With all eyes focused on the economy, it was the perfect moment to drop the 42-days idea.

Liberty believes the decision to drop the proposal was a stunning vindication of its campaigning. Never mind that everyone from senior police officers to the prime minister himself was getting cold feet about the whole thing. After the Lords vote, the Liberty website declared: `Last night saw a resounding victory for Liberty's long running "Charge or Release" campaign. Common sense and common decency prevailed as the government dropped plans to detain terror suspects for 42 days without charge, following an overwhelming defeat in the House of Lords. We have consistently urged the government to drop these damaging proposals and have condemned the measures as wrong in principle, unnecessary and counter-productive.'

This is a strange kind of `victory', rather like a football manager declaring that being beaten four-nil was cause for celebration because at least it wasn't six-nil. Both are crushing defeats. The same applies to the current rules on terrorism offences. The power to lock someone up and question him repeatedly without charge for a disturbing 28 days - the victorious settlement in this civil liberty war - has no equivalent in any other democracy, as Liberty itself has pointed out frequently. Indeed, terrorism offences aside, the legal maximum for detention without charge in England is 96 hours - even in murder cases.

Worse, Liberty has argued that 28 days should be maintained and that other important principles of legal protection for suspects should be thrown out in lieu of introducing the 42-day extension. Liberty argues that the government should `remove the bar on intercept (phone tap) evidence in criminal trials', `review the way in which people that have already been charged can be re-interviewed and recharged as further evidence is uncovered' (opening up the possibility of oppressive post-charge questioning), and `bring in existing powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) which enable a civil court to require an individual to hand over an encryption key (which unlocks data on seized computers)'.

These legal rules that Liberty wishes to water down or override provide protection for individuals when the overwhelming power of the state is brought to bear upon them. Yet Liberty seems willing to trade them in for the administrative convenience of the police when investigating terrorist offences. As the Labour peer Martin O'Neill pointed out in the New Statesman earlier this year, in relation to the 42-day proposal, `certain liberties - like the freedom from detention without charge - are simply too fundamental to be traded-off against gains in our personal security. This is because personal security may itself only be truly worthwhile as long as these liberties are protected. It may do us no good to be kept safe from harm if it is at the cost of living in a country that is no longer a civilised liberal democracy.' The same applies to these other pillars of civil liberty, too.

Furthermore, Liberty has remained silent - at best - on a range of recent restrictions on our freedom, from the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act, which requires the state vetting of 11million people who work with children and old people, through to the bans on smoking and drinking in public. Shami Chakrabarti, the head of Liberty, has even threatened to use the libel laws - England's famously anti-free speech rules - to stop malicious statements being made about her. That's hardly the instinct of someone truly interested in freedom.

Instead of declaring victory in cases where draconian government powers are reinforced, what is needed is a more fundamental defence of individual liberty in Britain, something that spiked has put forward in our `Slash 42 days to 24 hours' campaign (see The fight for individual liberty starts here, by Brendan O'Neill). We need to defend existing protections and reinstate important principles like the right to silence - but we also need to go beyond the law to re-establish the idea of the active political citizen in contemporary society. Until the authorities feel the breath of active opposition on the backs of their necks, we will be stuck with the alternative authoritarianism of legalistic wonks like Liberty.


ACLU Favors Criminals (As Always)

The usual deliberately simple-minded assertion that the proportions of everything should be the same for blacks and whites and Hispanics

A study commissioned by the ACLU of 810,000 traffic stops by Los Angeles police has found that such arrests were racially motivated. Original studies of the data showed no such results. But a Yale professor "re-examined" the data, to conclude that "driving while black" and "driving while Hispanic" were current "crimes" in L.A. The facts for this article, but not the legal conclusions, come from an article in on 21 October, 2008. This writer has never heard of eFluxMedia, but based on the total lack of critical review, it is in the tank for the ACLU.

The article is on a study of racial aspects of arrests and frisks by the Los Angeles Police Department. The study was done by Professor Ian Ayres of Yale Law School as commissioned by the ACLU of Southern California. The conclusion of the article appears in its title, "LAPD Officers Driven By Racial Differences When Performing Arrests." According to the article, "Los Angeles police officers "see the world in black and white" because "African Americans and Hispanics were twice as likely to be ordered out of their vehicles than whites."

This may be true, but by itself proves nothing. Anyone familiar with police procedures knows that an investigating officer orders people out of their cars only when he is about to make an arrest, or he has reason to believe that the driver or someone else in the car may represent a threat to his safety, or may be seeking to hide contraband. The first step of every officer in every traffic stop is to run the license plate against the data base to see if it is reported stolen, and to run the drivers license against the data base to see if it is valid or has any warrants outstanding. Either of these may result in the conclusion that one of these risk factors is present.

Unless this study adjusted for this variable risk and likelihood of arrest for African Americans and Hispanics, the beginning statistic is useless. For instance, a high proportion of Hispanics in Los Angeles are illegals who do not (so far) have California drivers licenses. This fact by itself is a significant crime, and may result in the officer ordering the occupants out of the vehicle.

The study also found that "although African Americans and Hispanics were more likely to be frisked, officers were also less likely to find evidence during the searches." Everyone who is about to be arrested is frisked. The purpose is to find and remove such items as weapons and hypodermic needles. Even casual watchers of TV know this; it does not take a Yale Law professor to know this fact. Therefore, if people of color are arrested more commonly than people of no color (to coin a phrase), they will also be frisked more commonly, regardless of what may be found in the course of that frisk.

No hard numbers appeared in this article, but it said that the "racial disparities seemed smaller when they involved African American officers." Possibly this could be due to the fact that white officers are more likely to be shot and killed in L.A. traffic stops. than black officers, and therefore white officers have a higher justified caution in making a traffic stop.

The study was based on an examination of 810,000 traffic stops by LAPD officers from July, 2003, to June, 2004. The article states that, "At the time, there didn't seem to be any racial disparities in LAPD officers' behavior, however, while closely re-examining the data, Ayres found that in fact, these disparities existed."

Ignore relevant variables, carefully define your categories, and the desired results can be teased out of any input statistics. Mark Twain put this in plain English when he wrote, "There are lies, damned lies, and statistics." Twain illustrated that conclusion by pointing out that the number of murderers and Methodists in the Nebraska territory were rising at the same rate. That indicated that Methodists were most likely murderers.



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.

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