Sunday, May 31, 2009

More soft Fascism from Canada

Woman to fight fine for not holding Montreal subway handrail

The Montreal woman who was handcuffed and fined $420 for not holding a subway station escalator handrail is planning to fight the tickets, saying she was treated like a "criminal" for trying to avoid germs. "They are dirty!" said Bela Kosoian about the rubber handrails. "How many people touch them every day? Thousands!

"I cannot believe I was handcuffed - like a prisoner. Like I committed a crime." Kosoian, 38, a Chess Federation of Canada co-ordinator, was fined on May 13 for having "disobeyed a directive or pictogram" showing that the handrails in Montreal subway stations must be held by all escalator users.

Laval police said Tuesday they issued three separate warnings to Kosoian before handcuffing her. "The third time, she crossed her arms," said Lt. Daniel Guerin of Laval police. "The two officers acted appropriately and within the procedures."

The officers first issued a ticket totalling $100, followed by another "for obstructing an inspector in the exercise of his duties," to the tune of $320. Kosoian at first refused to provide identification papers "because I did not do anything wrong," she said. As a citizen of France who lived in Eastern Europe, Kosoian never expected this kind of encounter with authority when she came to Canada in 2003. I lived through the collapse of the Soviet Union. Civil war in Georgia. And famine, where you had to fight for a piece of bread."

She won't let this incident go, Kosoian vowed: "I have nothing to hide. I want everybody to know what happened."

Guerin refused to release a complete video record of the incident - which lasted about 14 minutes, both on the escalator and in a holding room at the station. But he said it will be provided to the Police Ethics Commission if Kosoian issues a complaint to that body.

Isabelle Tremblay of the Societe de transport de Montreal said that if Kosoian wants a copy of the video, she will have to file a formal access-to-information request with STM lawyers.


10,000 penpushers a year are hired by British local councils

And guess who pays for them?

Town halls have hired more than 30,000 extra staff over the past three years, figures revealed yesterday. The workers, mostly penpushers and bureaucrats, were also given higher pay rises than teachers, policemen or firemen.

According to a breakdown of council finances, between 2006 and 2008 the number of teachers employed fell but the number of ‘other local government staff’ increased by 31,000, from 1,084,000 to 1,115,000. They also enjoyed the highest pay rises of any council group, up by 7.6 per cent in 2006, 7.2 per cent in 2007 and 3.3 per cent in 2008, the Department of Communities and Local Government figures showed.

‘Other local government’ workers include school support staff and others whose jobs directly serve the public. However, town halls also employ highly-paid managers and a growing army of equality officers, outreach workers and sustainability advisers.

Matthew Elliott, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘Councils need to get back in touch with what people want and start focusing on delivering better frontline services and cutting back bloated administrations.’

And Tory local government spokesman Caroline Spelman said: ‘It is very telling that under Gordon Brown the number of teachers being employed is falling while the number of people employed to deal with red tape and bureaucracy is soaring.’


Australian Prime Minister embroiled as tensions rise over racist attacks on Indian students

Despite the predictable official denials, these attacks are overwhelmingly by young African "refugees" that the government has kindly lumbered Australia with. Not only do the Africans contribute little themselves (they are mostly on the dole) but they attack those who do -- greatly damaging Australia's reputation in the process. Education is one of Australia's major export industries and it is under attack by these criminals. Letting moronic and useless thugs loose on the students concerned is disastrous. The thugs concerned should be relentlessly rounded up and jailed for long periods instead of being treated "sensitively" because of their origins. But that would depend on a sudden influx of honesty into the corrupt Victoria police and that is a big ask. The deliberately blind Victoria Police are letting the whole of Australia down at the moment

PRIME Minister Kevin Rudd has spoken to his Indian counterpart, Manmohan Singh, amid growing anger in India over attacks on Indian students in Australia. The issue has raised diplomatic tensions between the two countries. In a telephone conversation, Mr Rudd congratulated Dr Singh on his recent re-election but the pair also discussed the recent series of violent assaults, sources told The Age. A statement released last night indicated Dr Singh spoke strongly to Mr Rudd about the attacks. The Indian Prime Minister had "suitably" conveyed his concerns about the vicious attacks, it said.

The Indian foreign ministry called in Australia's high commissioner to India, John McCarthy, yesterday to discuss the matter. "I told him that the Australia Government is also very concerned, that Australian ministers had expressed this, and that we are doing everything we can to address the issues," Mr McCarthy said. Mr Ravi conveyed to Mr McCarthy the Indian Government's "deep anguish and continuing concern" about the welfare of its students in Australia, a statement released last night said. It was the first time Mr McCarthy has been called in by the Indian Government since the 2007 arrest of Muhammad Haneef, an Indian doctor working in Australia, on terrorism-related charges.

As the diplomatic temperature rose yesterday, Indian Foreign Minister S.N. Krishna spoke to Foreign Minister Stephen Smith about the issue. Mr Krishna said the Australian Government had assured him that steps were being taken to protect Indian students. "We hope these aberrations that have taken place will be dealt with," he said. "They said that they are going to take stern steps and they have assured us that every student from India will be adequately protected."

Meanwhile, agents in India who arrange student placements have warned that Australia's lucrative education industry could pay a high price for the attacks. "These attacks will definitely have an impact on the market because parents are calling me up and they are very concerned," said Bubbly Johar, who runs a Delhi education consultancy and is vice-president of the Association of Australian Education Representatives in India. "The media coverage here is encouraging parents to rethink whether they should send their children to Australia for studies. We can't assure them that they will be safe."

In Melbourne, India's high commissioner to Australia said Victorian police were insensitive towards some Indian crime victims. Sujatha Singh said many students felt insecure and some were unhappy with police treatment. Her comments came as Victoria Police again denied that the increasing attacks — which the Indian student community claims could be as many as 70 in 12 months — were racially motivated.

Mrs Singh said the Indian high commission in Canberra had received complaints from students about police. When an incident was reported, there was a perception that there was sometimes "a delay in reacting and … perhaps a lack of sensitivity dealing with the issues".

Mrs Singh flew to Melbourne from Canberra to meet Premier John Brumby and police Chief Commissioner Simon Overland following the attack on Sravan Kumar Theerthala, 24, last weekend. He was allegedly racially abused and stabbed with a screwdriver at a party at a house in Hadfield, near Glenroy. Last night he remained in a coma in intensive care at the Royal Melbourne Hospital. A 17-year-old from Glenroy has been charged with attempted murder. It was the third serious attack this month.

In two of those, the victim or witnesses have told The Age of specific racial abuse. But Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe said yesterday he had "no specific data" on that. [He doesn't want to hear it] "They (Indian students) are seen as vulnerable soft targets … I don't deny it may have happened but my sense is that these are opportunistic crimes, not racially motivated crimes." Mrs Singh said she had told police about the racial element in some attacks. She did not believe Australia was racist but "some of these attacks have not been opportunistic".

Trauma psychologist Dr Michael O'Neill, who works with Indian victims of crime in Melbourne, said he saw on average one bashed student a week and about half of those attacks were racial.


Australia: Writers festival gags student critics

They can't stand being laughed at. Since most of them will have been Leftists, the solution was obvious

Since 2004, UTS [University of Technology Sydney] journalism students have, for the few days the festival, produced a free daily, Festival News. Last year, the festival confiscated the first issue, declaring itself unhappy with both the students' behaviour and the content of their organ which was, the director, Wendy Were, wrote, "riddled with disparaging content about the festival and its supporters". In particular, the festival rejected a report that the arts minister, Frank Sartor, had been "booed" (the current online wording is "greeted with grudging applause") in presenting the Premier's Literary Award. There was passing mention of Morris Iemma's conspicuous absence and some gently gleeful discussion of Macquarie banker Bob Carr's declaration he didn't read Australian books.

Pretty mild stuff. Refreshing, compared with the usual pap, if perhaps a little undergrad. Given that both Arts NSW and Macquarie Bank are major funders, it makes you wonder. Was the festival just another "be nice to sponsors" week?

This year, it happened again; students and others had their paper impounded and their persons allegedly threatened with arrest. Excuse me, what? Are we suddenly transported to Burma? The festival's droll manager, Ben Strout, may argue "free voices does not mean freedom to blurt … whatever … wherever". The Walsh Bay precinct manager, Luke Mead, who apparently gave the order, may yell down the phone at any who ask that "it's private property and we'll stop people handing out papers if we want to". But in truth, they're both wrong. Free speech does mean pretty much whatever, wherever, and the festival wharf - unlike much of Walsh Bay - is still public domain.

The students, understandably, claim harassment and censorship. They point out the paper was wholly UTS-produced and funded, and a disclaimer distanced its views from the festival's. More importantly, they defend their independence. "We're journalism students," writes one, "not public relations students".

The UTS humanities dean, Theo van Leeuwen, attempted to make peace, posting an apology on the festival website, but only poured kero on the embers. The students felt betrayed. Their professor, Wendy Bacon, defended them, and free speech, only to find herself promptly banned from a panel on radicalism, when she'd simply been polishing her credentials. The festival denies the ban, but emails make it clear her presence was not acceptable.

All looking strange indeed, until the explanation emerged that puts both parties in a bizarre light. A contract - titled "Education Partner Agreement" - signed in 2006 by van Leeuwen (for UTS) and the then festival director, Caro Llewellyn, commits UTS journalism students to produce Festival News at UTS's cost. The contra for UTS includes their writers' involvement in festival panels, the festival launch of a UTS student anthology and the UTS logo on the festival website. Neither the staff nor students producing News knew of the contract's existence.

What are two supposed bastions of intelligent and unfettered debate doing colluding in the first place, in a covert sweetheart deal that leaves the university looking like a PR firm and the festival like some tacky trade fair?

They need their heads knocked together if they cannot see that teaching journalism students to think like copywriters is quite as dangerous and more insidious than fettering them to a military junta.

Postmodernism loved to blur boundaries - between disciplines (viz neurogeography), between races and cultures (Eurasian, Spanglish), between genders (metrosexual, retrosexual) and also between journalism and PR.

More universities are merging journalism into PR and "communications" faculties, as though who pays the piper matters not a jot. This is almost as ugly, and parochial, as a writers' festival stifling criticism.



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

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

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


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