In the name of Britain's notorious "health & safety" rules. There are a lot of males in the British police force but not many men
Police held back would-be rescuers as three people died in a house fire, angry neighbours said last night. They said they could see heavily-pregnant Michelle Colley at an upstairs window, screaming 'please save my kids'. But police said they had to wait for firemen to arrive. By then, however, Mrs Colley, 25, her husband Mark, 29, and their three-year-old son Louis were dead. Their daughter Sophie, five, is fighting for her life in hospital.
Family friend David Davis, 38, said: 'It was the most harrowing thing I have ever seen. 'Michelle was at the bedroom window and we wanted to help but the police were pushing us back and not allowing us near. 'We were willing to risk our own lives to save those children but the police just wouldn't let us - and there was no way they were going to try themselves. 'Tempers were running high but the police were saying we have to wait for the fire brigade because of health and safety rules.' He added: 'When a family is burning to death in front of your eyes, rules should go out of the window - especially when children are involved.' Neil Cotterill said he heard another neighbour shouting for people to bring ladders. 'We could have helped,' he said.
The fire broke out shortly after midnight on the ground floor of the family's three-bedroom terraced home in Highfields, near Doncaster. Mrs Colley, who was expecting her third child in a fortnight, and her husband had spent a quiet evening at home before going to bed. They were woken by the fire and a 999 call was made at 12.26am. Police were the first to arrive.
Mr Davis said: 'There were four or five officers. We heard the sirens and went across to help but they wouldn't let us. 'I thought the police were there to protect lives. Years ago they would have gone inside themselves to try a rescue. But all they seemed bothered about was health and safety rules. 'It's unbelievable that it could happen like that. Everybody wanted to try and help. You can't have respect for police if they have no respect for other people's lives. It might have been different if it was one of their own. 'Mark and Michelle were a great couple. A real family - they loved their kids and the kids were smashing.'
Another witness said some friends and neighbours ignored the police warnings and tried to reach the family with ladders and a hosepipe. But again the police intervened and stopped them. Chris Richardson, 37, said: 'It was shocking. I couldn't believe the police were acting like that. 'One woman climbed over the garden fence and went to the house but there was a policeman at the back who stopped her.'
Firemen using breathing apparatus-found Mr Colley, a DIY store supervisor, in the master bedroom with his wife. Sophie was in another bedroom and Louis on the landing. Witnesses said police arrived 'several minutes' before firemen but South Yorkshire police refused to give the exact time, citing 'data protection' rules.
Detective Superintendent Peter McGuinness said: 'I would like to commend our officers. The Fire Brigade were only minutes away [How many minutes? Odd that they won't say. Minutes matter in a fire] but our officers were faced with a raging fire. They handled the incident as professionally as we would expect and then worked long into the night.' Experts said the blaze was not suspicious.
Love That Hate!
By Paul Kengor
"We must teach our children to hate," Vladimir Lenin instructed his education commissars. The Bolshevik godfather declared that hatred was not only "the basis of communism" but "the basis of every socialist and Communist movement."
Class envy has been a defining staple of the left for centuries, from the frenzied mobs leaping around the French guillotines to the Soviets to, well, the new masses circling AIG executives today. The difference is merely the degree of response -- a question of socially acceptable force or violence.
Historically, this behavior is both foreign and antithetical to the American experience. Unfortunately, modern Americans don't understand their founding and the nation's core principles -- our educational system doesn't teach those things. Thus, they are now voting, and behaving, in kind. And we are now witnessing our own homegrown socialist movement in action, inspired by hate. Some Americans, whipped into poisonous hatred by their elected representatives, have literally called for death for AIG executives, and one U.S. senator openly requested that these businesspeople commit suicide.
Liberals in Congress, from Senator Chuck Schumer to Senator Chris Dodd, plus a wild gaggle of unleashed central planners in the House, have conducted a show trial of AIG executives, with the larger purpose of placing American free enterprise in the dock. The interrogation by this anointed body made me think of the old Soviet "Extraordinary Commission," the operation of which was explained by its awful head, the Latvian M. Y. Latsis:
In your investigations don't look for documents and pieces of evidence about what the defendant has done, whether in deed or in speaking or acting against Soviet authority. The first question you should ask him is what class he comes from, what are his roots, his education, his training, and his occupation. These questions define the fate of the accused.Latsis characterized his commission as a tribunal acting on the home front against the capitalist class.
Liberals -- if they'd ever heard of Latsis, which they probably haven't in their universities -- might ridicule the extremism of my analogy. After all, they aren't talking about "eliminating the bourgeoisie as a class," as did Latsis. Fair enough. But, again, it's a matter of degree. Certainly, the acceptable demonization of an identified, despised class, for the purpose of working the masses into a rush of rage for political exploitation, is not terribly different. As members of Congress target the likes of AIG chief executive Edward Liddy, mobs target the homes of AIG employees in Connecticut.
Of course, our sophisticated members of Congress separate themselves from the fray by choosing a non-violent but, ironically, somewhat Bolshevik-like response: they confiscate AIG pay ("bonuses") at a flat, full tax rate of 90%.
Will this financial penalty satiate the mob's bloodlust? No. That's the problem when deadly sin -- envy -- becomes government demagoguery and policy. The torch-carriers spill into the streets to take "social justice" into their own hands. A case in point is a remarkable New York Times article, titled, "Scorn Trails AIG Executives, Even in Their Driveways." Though frightening, the piece is not surprising. It begins with AIG executive James Haas trying to make his way into his home in Fairfield, Connecticut -- a "bay-windowed house," as the Times described it. "I feel horrible," said Haas, "this has been a complete invasion of privacy."
But Haas's tormentors do not respect things private. They seek to expropriate the private. "You have to understand," pleaded Haas, fighting back tears, "there are kids involved, there have been death threats." Haas explained how he had offered political penance -- to pay reparation: "I didn't have anything to do with those credit problems. I told Mr. Liddy I would rescind my retention contract.... Leave my neighbors alone."
The neighbors, however, are fit to be tied. They want a body. The Times quoted a loving New England resident who for 24 years lived down the block. Driving by, dripping with rage, surely after watching the morning news shows, she practically spit as she fulminated against AIG bonuses - which are a microscopic sliver compared to the trillions of dollars in debt Obama and the Democrats have racked up in only eight weeks. "It makes me absolutely sick," scowled the neighbor, in reference to AIG, not the federal government. "It's despicable. It's disgusting what these people have done. They should be forced to give every cent back." AIG workers are being demonized, noted the Times; they are hiring bodyguards. And it isn't only AIG. Merrill Lynch is dealing with similar assaults.
And that's just the start. It's only a matter of public exposure until another group of private-sector "reptiles" -- Lenin's word -- is identified for the proletariat. Congress and the White House will be happy to call out the next group of kulaks.
Alas, among the eager comrades joining this effort -- and, predictably, not investigated by the liberal media camped outside AIG homes -- are the ringleaders behind the packs of protestors across the country, including those carted around in "bus tours" of AIG executives' homes. These alleged unprompted uprisings of "the people" are, of course, hardly spontaneous. They are organized, particularly by the odious Service Employees International Union.
Personally, I knew where to follow the footsteps. I went to the website of People's Weekly World, an organ of Communist Party USA. There, among the articles praising Obama's "mandate for change," praising the "Employee Free Choice Act," and so forth, was an article titled, "Angry about AIG? Here's how you can do something about it." The CPUSA article emphasized that "President Obama calls AIG's behavior an ‘outrage.'" "But what can [you] do about it?" asked the communists. Well, "if you're angry," you can join the "March 19 Day of Action Against Corporate Excess." CPUSA then linked to a "complete list of cities and events." "Don't see your city on there yet?" carefully guided the article. "Sign up to organize your own Take Back the Economy rally -- all the materials you need are available through the site." Indeed, they were: PDF's of fliers and all kinds of things.
Following the links, one ends up at the sponsors for the Day of Action. Topping the list, naturally, is ACORN, the training ground for the current President of the United States and leader of the free world. Joining Obama's alma mater is SEIU, MoveOn.org, the National Lawyers Guild, the Mass Nurses Association, and other usual suspects.
Dependably, the useful idiots of the Religious Left were there: Interfaith Worker Justice, United for Peace and Justice, Catholics United, American Friends Service Committee, Brockton Interfaith, Catholic Scholars for Social Justice, Mass Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, New England Jewish Labor Committee, and other fellow travelers.
But most significant, the greatest dupes of all -- the liberal media -- are relied upon as the ultimate sucker: The ringleaders count on the press to report the tiniest protest; they understand that the mainstream media is educator-in-chief to most Americans. From there, the likes of James Haas's Connecticut neighbor learn how to feel about the Haas family's bay windows. That's the process. Thus, the mob.
Well, the mob wants someone's head on a platter -- now. Time to eat the rich. Perhaps our dear leader, President Obama, can go to Connecticut to play the role of healer, addressing the faithful, calming their fears, a political sermon on the mount. Blessed would be the peacemaker. But not yet -- for now, this hate is just too excellent, too perfect for advancing the agenda of the leftist ideologues and envy-mongers running the republic.
Who's to blame? The American people are to blame. I'm tired of the populist nonsense from talk-radio on how Americans "deserve better than this." They do? Why? They voted for this. Obama is being Obama. Pelosi is being Pelosi. Schumer is being Schumer. The American people cast the ballots. You reap what you sow. Enjoy the hate, America. You elected it.
Waltz with Sisyphus: Israel's impossible propaganda war
Israel's supporters mostly agree that the country has an image problem. To solve it, they look to ways of improving hasbara. The telling Hebrew expression literally means "explanation," and its ideal is the revelation of the nation's dreams and pain to the world. Its creed might be rendered "the better we are known, the more we will be understood and supported."
As domestic news coverage of Operation Cast Lead made clear, hasbara philosophy has deep roots. During the operation, the public was subjected to endless footage of frightened women and children in the South. It reminded the public why it was at war. The Israeli people doesn't like to make sacrifices based on long-term necessity or cold calculation. When it reluctantly gives battle, it prefers to be in dire straits. And for many, the suffering face of the South explained the much greater suffering of the Palestinians.
In large part, the foreign hasbara effort relied on the same formula, focusing on making the South's face known. Especially in Europe, the explanation was dismissed as "disproportional."
Israel might have chosen instead to spend more words on Hamas's intractability and its genocidal philosophy. The goals of the war might have been more clearly stated, or Iranian ambitions in Gaza exposed. But Israel explained the war to the world the same way it explained it to itself, in terms of its own immediate suffering. It demanded direct empathy from people, asking, "How would you react?"
ISRAEL'S IMPULSIVENESS, its sensitivities and its unique moral symbolism run deep. For many, the face of captive Gilad Schalit explains the need to release hundreds of terrorists from jail. To understand the phenomenon, one must certainly understand the country's specific character. But it is another thing entirely to expect the rest of the world to share it.
The film Waltz with Bashir, like Beaufort before it, is an Oscar-nominated antiwar film with a documentary feel. Its animated sequences recount the stories of several aging veterans of the First Lebanon War. They suffer flashbacks from their experiences and try to come to terms with their moral wounds. As the film progresses, a universal message of the senselessness of war is interwoven with direct and specific attacks on politicians and generals, and the IDF's culpability for the Sabra and Shatila massacres is strongly implied.
The film's director, Ari Folman, revealingly commented that his work was not geared specifically toward Israelis. He also admitted that two government funds had paid for the film to represent Israel at international film festivals, adding, "I think that they think that the film does good propaganda in the sense that it shows Israel is a very tolerant country that can deal with issues of the past that are hidden in many ways."
Nor were the government and Folman the only ones to think so. Haaretz columnist Gideon Levy, whose conviction of the country's essential wickedness is unassailable, criticized it on the same grounds. "It is an act of fraud and deceit, intended to allow us to pat ourselves on the back, to tell us and the world how lovely we are," he wrote.
The expression "we shoot and weep," ridiculed by Levy, describes the moral pride of middle Israel forced into war. Waltz with Bashir is a beautifully choreographed pageant of shooting and weeping, with perhaps more weeping than shooting. Political messages aside, the film shows the very human face of IDF soldiers sent to war. It explains. The one thing it is not does not explain, however, is the justice and necessity of Israel's ways. This hardly makes for successful propaganda.
ISRAEL'S CASE for existing is strong. It is not evident that its moral tears, however genuine, make that case stronger in the eyes of the world. Its self-doubts, encouraged by world condemnation, only remind the West of its own self-doubts and historical episodes it has chosen to reject. Direct empathy and identification, as terrorists and insurgents around the world have learned, is the longest path to the heart of the West.
Outside of America, few Western nations identify with Israel. For them, to be Western is above all to be charged with not inflicting suffering. Israel shares the West's repulsion with suffering. Perhaps it thinks for this reason that its tears will win sympathy. In fact, they encourage its enemies and confuse its supporters. The bitter truth is that hasbara is not propaganda at all, so much as a moral need particular to the Israeli psyche. And Israel's need to be known, warts and all, does not convince Westerners of justice of its cause.
In many laudable ways Israel tries to be a light unto the nations. They can all be accomplished in the absence of unlimited self-revelation.
Australia: Melbourne Catholic Church embraces testing to ID gay priests
THE Melbourne Catholic Church has embraced a Vatican recommendation to test potential priests for sexual orientation. Under the guidelines, potential priests who "appear" to be gay must be banned. The head of the Vatican committee that made the recommendations has made it clear celibate gays should also be banned because homosexuality is ‘‘a type of deviation’’.
Archdiocese of Melbourne spokesman James O’Farrell confirmed Carlton’s Corpus Christi Catholic seminary had started adhering to the guidelines, but refused to comment further.
Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby spokeswoman Hayley Conway said the church was sending a ‘‘dangerous and offensive’’ message about sexuality. ‘‘They seem to be moving backwards in a lot of ways which is really unfortunate . . . especially for those who are Catholic and out, and there are a lot of them already struggling,’’ she said. ‘‘If the plan is to root out pedophilia or child molestation, targeting people with homosexual tendencies isn’t the way to go about it.’’
Outspoken Catholic priest Father Bob Maguire said the document ‘‘flies in the face of secular society’s sense of fairness and justice’’. ‘‘The point is not to what gender you are attracted, but how you manage that attraction,’’ he said. [Since it seems to have been badly managed in the past, surely it is best not to have that problem in the first place. Frustrated homosexual would-be priests could easily become Anglicans, where they would find many "friends" and plenty of gorgeous eucharistic services, complete with bells, smells and elaborate vestments]
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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