A mad Femi-Stalinist in charge of Britain at the moment
She wants rape prosecutions to be initiated on a quota basis rather than on the basis of the evidence! Too bad for you if you get falsely accused when the quota for the month has not been met! Putting a person on trial for rape can have a catastrophic effect on a person's life even if they are cleared at the end of the trial. There have been ample examples of that. Britain does put some false accusers in jail but it has to be pretty blatant for that to happen. When the man is cleared, the false accuser usually just walks away. The story of two recent false accusers and the damage the resultant prosecutions did here and here
Harriet Harman has vetoed a review of the rape laws at the eleventh hour, complaining that the proposals fail to address the concerns of women.
Labour’s deputy leader used her position as Gordon Brown’s stand-in to demand a more radical overhaul of the law, such as targets for prosecutors and police to secure more convictions. She has the backing of Vera Baird, the Solicitor-General, but Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary and Alan Johnson, the Home Secretary, do not want to widen the terms of reference and the review has been postponed.
Ms Harman has been standing in for the Prime Minister since he left for a summer break last week. Her duties include chairing a Downing Street meeting to finalise Government announcements. According to Whitehall officials, she tore up plans to begin a study of the rape laws after clashing with civil servants. “There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle over the substance,” said one. “It’s been looked at again.”
Ms Harman was due to appear at No 10 today, but officials were forced to issue a statement confirming that the review had been delayed.
Campaigners say that women face a culture of disbelief and delayed responses from police, which can mean vital evidence being lost, and that more training is required to ensure that rape is treated as a serious crime.
They also suggest that juries need more guidance. Research has found that many believe that if a women did not do everything to fight off her attacker, or if she had been drinking, she was complicit. However, a Home Office source said: “We have to be realistic about what is possible given where we are in the electoral cycle.”
Ms Harman has already clashed with John Prescott, her predecessor, over her suggestion at the weekend that Labour should never again have an all-male leadership team. She also suggested that the banks would have avoided reckless lending if they had had more women on their boards.
There has been tension with Lord Mandelson, the Business Secretary, who has tried to limit the effects on companies of her equality legislation.
Why Most Journalists Are Democrats: A View from the Soviet Socialist Trenches
Trying to make the world better can make it worse
Several decades ago, I spent a couple seasons working for the Soviets as a Russian translator—hauling in fish by day and slugging back samogon by night. (Well, sometimes slugging back homemade vodka by day, too—that's the Russians for you.) I was curious about one of politics’ biggest questions: is extreme socialism beneficial?
What I found was so much propaganda about the wonders of Soviet Socialist Mankind and the horrors of Western Democracy that the people exposed to it might as well have had electrodes implanted to control their thoughts. There were no governmental checks and balances and nothing even close to a free press—so positions of power were filled by nasty sorts who kept good people in fear for their lives if they didn’t think the right thoughts. Soviet Socialism, as it turned out, was a perverse system that killed motivation even as it made fear as natural as breathing.
Why wasn’t this widely reported in the Western press? As it turns out, the preponderance of journalists are Democrats. And socialism, with its idyllic, “progressive” programs, has formed an increasingly important role in Democratic policies. Who wants to investigate a possible dark side of your own party’s plank?
We’ll get to that. First—why are most journalists Democrats?
Unsurprisingly, self-selection plays an important role in choosing a job. People choosing to do work related to prisons, for example, commonly show quite different characteristics than those who volunteer for work in helping disadvantaged youths. Academicians have very different characteristics than CEOs—or politicians, for that matter.
Harry Stein, former ethics editor of Esquire, once said: "Journalism, like social work, tends to attract individuals with a keen interest in bettering the world.” In other words, journalists self-select based on a desire to help others. Socialism, with its “spread the wealth” mentality intended to help society’s underdogs, sounds ideal.
Most journalists take a number of psychology, sociology, political science, and humanities courses during their early years in college. Unfortunately, these courses have long served as ideological training programs—ignoring biological sources of self-serving, corrupt, and criminal behavior for a number of reasons, including lack of scientific training; postmodern, antiscience bias; and well-intentioned, facts-be-damned desire to have their students view the world from an egalitarian perspective. Instead, these disciplines ram home the idea that troubled behavior can be fixed through expensive socialist programs that, coincidentally, provide employment opportunities for graduates of the social sciences. Modern neuroscience is showing how flawed many of these policies have been—structural differences in the brains of psychopaths, for example, help explain why remedial programs simply helped them become better at conning people.
Academics in the social sciences tend to give short shrift to the dramatic failures and corruption within US educational system or unions. (Think here of the Detroit Public School system, or the National Education Association, whose former officers have written: “The NEA has been the single biggest obstacle to education reform in this country. We know because we worked for the NEA.”) Instead, because of their ideological biases, professors often emphasize that corporations are the bad guys, while unions and the government—at least the type of government that supports higher paychecks for social science professors and jobs for their students—are good. This type of teaching makes the Democratic Party and its increasingly socialist ideals seem naturally desirable, and criticism about how those ideals will supposedly be met less likely. (How many social scientists predicted that the billions spent on busing and the Projects would worsen the situations they were meant to solve, as ultimately happened?) It’s no wonder that journalists enter the profession as Democrats, then keep their beliefs intact through all-too-common tendencies to conform.
Journalists sometimes say conservatives and political independents don’t go into journalism because they’re more interested in money. The unspoken message, of course, is that conservatives are greedy bastards who don’t have a social conscience. But many conservatives go through college to become stay-at-home housewives—they’re hardly Gordon Geckos. More likely, conservatives are turned off by the propaganda dished out in their social science classes. Although I’m a classical liberal myself, last semester my daughter and I got a chuckle at whatever Marxist howler her well-meaning professor spouted that day in her introductory sociology class. She’d have hardly gotten the A she received if she’d constantly challenged that establishment.
This also ignores journalism’s own issues with greed and corruption—most despicably with Walter Duranty, who covered the Soviet Union for the New York Times and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932 for a series of stories that uncritically backed Stalinist propaganda, denied the Ukrainian famine, and defended Stalin's infamous trials. Duranty lived lavishly in Stalin’s good graces. (Meanwhile, the Times has never returned the Pulitzer.) More recently, the New York Times’ fraudulent reporter Jayson Blair received a mid-six figure advance for his memoirs—even the most egregious reporters can make big bucks and become media darlings.
Professors in the humanities and social sciences are taken aback by the kinds of claims I’m making here. How could there possibly be such problems within a discipline—or multiple disciplines—without most academicians being aware of them? But, having worked among the Soviets, I know that large groups of very intelligent people can fall into a collective delusion that what they are doing in certain areas is the right thing, when it's actually not the right thing at all. It’s rather like the Skinnerian viewpoint on psychology. For a full half century, psychologists insisted it wasn’t proper to posit anything going on inside people’s heads. Advances in psychology ground to a halt during that time, but it was impossible to convince mainstream psychologists that there was anything wrong to their approach. After all--everybody was using Skinner’s approach, and everybody couldn't be wrong.
As far as investigating the dark side of the Major Issues, there’s a critically important concept that students of journalism are rarely taught. It’s easy to find any number of targets to write about in capitalist societies with an open press. But totalitarian governments are journalistic black holes. Journalists can tickle their self-righteous neurocircuitry every day (and many do), by exposing easy-to-find faults in democratic societies. But beyond their event horizon is the bigger story that often remains untold as it occurs—the horrific deaths of millions in totalitarian regimes like the former Soviet Union, Communist China, North Korea and, yes, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. That’s why, when Robert Conquest was asked whether he wanted to retitle his updated The Great Terror, about the Soviet purges, his answer was: Yes, how about I Told You So, You Fucking Fools?
If you’re a journalist, want to help people and want to tell the truth, what truth are you going to tell? Why, the truth you think helps people, of course! Technically, that’s the truth. But it’s very different than THE truth.
The Case Against Intellectuals
To hear liberals talk, their wisdom knows no boundaries -- and yet they walk among us. Turn on the TV any hour and you'll hear some smug commentator or comedian (Bill Maher's latest pronouncement: Sarah Palin may well have a future in presidential politics, given the stupidity of the American people) deigning to solve the world's problems, sure that their academically acquired brainpower makes them uniquely qualified and their pronouncements self-evident.
Intellectual snobbery festers on the conservative side, as well (I'm talking about you, Peggy Noonan), but it is one of the left's defining traits.
Note that no Democrat need ever defend his IQ. Barack Obama, who had no idea that his spiritual mentor of 20 years was spewing racist, anti-American bile, coasted to victory, in part, on the notion of his 'dazzling' intellect. Liberals have cornered the market on intellectual bravado -- Bill Clinton and Barack Obama won because they are brilliant; Adalai Stevenson lost twice to Eisenhower because he was too brilliant to connect with average voters -- while conservatives merely reply that, yes, Sarah Palin does so read newspapers.
Intellectual elitism feeds on itself and its tenets spill over into mainstream thought. Those who move beyond academia into journalism, politics and government, just by the sheer weight of their conviction, mold public opinion, often before many are aware of how society has been altered. It is not by accident that the American economy is now -- as it has been, to varying degrees, for much of the past century -- under the strict oversight of silver-tongued bureaucrats like Henry Waxman and Ed Markey (of Cap and Trade legislation) and Barney Frank (overseeing American finance). If important East Coast universities are the repositories of all the world's knowledge, then Washington, DC is where it is put into practice.
Liberals over-emphasize intellect as a requisite for leadership. The obvious but seldom-spoken reply is that nearly every bloody, murderous movement of the 20th Century, including, but not limited to, Socialism, Communism, various strains of Fascism and even Nazism were all backed, if not celebrated (or even concocted) by the intellectual classes. While ordinary patriots must justify every verbal faux-pas, intellectual giants such as Lillian Hellman and Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Walter Duranty (later revealed to have been blackmailed by Soviet Russia) are celebrated, despite having defended Stalin long after his atrocities were revealed to the world. Norman Mailer extolled the Soviet Union, and, lest one forget, Ward Churchill, who dismissed 9/11 victims as "little Eichmans" was a university professor (and, granted, an extreme example). Furthermore, nearly every 'enlightened' theory of social order that shocks modern sensibilities was advanced by, you guessed it, the intellectual classes.
Abortion and birth control, for instance, revered by the best and the brightest as sacred rights, were originally touted as methods of weeding out society's 'unfit' groups and races.
Author Ayn Rand (Atlas Shrugged) wrote extensively on the possibilities and failures of intellectual activism: " [Intellectuals hold] the potential of being either the most productive or the most parasitical of all social groups." She also wrote that," From the early 19th Century on, American intellectuals, with rare exceptions, were the humbly obedient followers of European philosophy, which had entered its age of decadence."
Contrary to Bill Maher's ridiculous comment, wisdom does lie with the American people, which is why Obama-care is teetering on the brink of defeat. One need not suffer through the tedious details to smell a massive transfer of US health care to European-style socialism. In fact, our founders envisioned a nation that would thrive, not on the edicts of an intellectual class but on the common sense of average citizens.
Nothing here is written to equate Obama-care with any of the aforementioned atrocities. Simply, intellectual bravado is, at best, meaningless, and, at worst, dangerous without common sense, temperament and perspective. The great figures who secured freedom and justice for America, while undoubtedly bright, are revered by history for their courage, compassion and vision, among other traits. The Obama Administration, despite all the bouquets to his intellect, will ultimately be judged not by his silky oration but by his impact on America. In the words of the very wise (albeit fictional) Forrest Gump, "Stupid is as stupid does."
End the blood libels against the Israeli Defence Forces
The current global campaign accusing the IDF of “crimes against humanity” and “genocide” exceeds all the obscene libels that have ever been launched against the Jewish state. One of Israel’s proudest achievements is the IDF code of conduct, which instills awareness that Israelis are obliged to act as role models of decency.
It is all the more impressive that such an ethical military code was implemented in Israel, the only country in the world which from its inception has been obliged to defend itself continuously from overt and terrorist onslaughts by neighbors who regard the elimination of Jewish sovereignty in the region as their primary objective.
In fact, in an age when millions of innocent civilians are being butchered during ethnic upheavals in the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe, one can only attribute dark motives to the shameful demonization of the Jewish state.
Equally indecent is the adoption of Israel as the bête noir of most “liberal” human rights organizations, which invest disproportionate efforts in defaming the region’s only democracy. Some of this can be attributed to the financial support they receive from foreign governments and organizations intent on undermining the Jewish state. The hypocrisy of these groups was exemplified when one of the principal NGOs - Human Rights Watch - recently raised funds in Saudi Arabia (a country hardly renowned for concern with human rights) to defeat “pro-Israel pressure groups.”
THE GLOBAL campaign against Israel is spearheaded by a United Nations subsidiary inappropriately titled the Human Rights Council. This body, headed by countries like Iran and Libya, makes a mockery of justice and human rights and concentrates primarily on bashing Israel. Hell bent on defaming the IDF, it formed a fact-finding mission led by Justice Richard Goldstone to review alleged Israeli war crimes in Gaza during Operation Cast Lead. The terms of reference did not mention Hamas, which publicly lauds the killing of Jewish civilians and had launched over 12,000 missiles against the Jewish state. The composition of the committee guarantees that the findings will be in sync with the bias of the parent body. Israel was thus absolutely justified in refusing to cooperate.
What Israel did to minimize civilian casualties during the Gaza operation was described by Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, as unparalleled in the history of warfare. The 160-page report issued by the Foreign Ministry noted that the same IDF accused of war crimes dropped 2.5 million leaflets and telephoned 165,000 civilians providing them four hours’ notice to evacuate areas in advance of airborne attacks. Missions were cancelled at the last moment after discovering that civilians had been placed as human shields next to ammunition dumps or rocket launchers. Efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza were infinitely more wide ranging than those applied by American and European forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
When one compares Israeli behavior to that of countries like Russia in Chechnya, the barbaric mass murders in Darfur (recently “justified” by the Islamic Conference), the genocide in the Congo and the brutal killing of Tamils in Sri Lanka, the concerted hatred directed against Israel by Western countries becomes mind boggling. It is as though we had reverted to the Dark Ages, when Jews were blamed for all the woes of mankind, from blood libels to poisoning the wells and spreading plague. This is borne out by the bizarre findings of European opinion polls which view Israel more negatively than such rogue states as North Korea, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Iran.
What makes this situation even more surrealistic is the behavior of a small but highly-vocal group of Israelis who endorse the despicable libels orchestrated by those seeking to defame their country’s acts of self-defense. The occasionally abused expression “self-hating Jews” best describes those academics, journalists and NGOs who collaborate with fanatic anti-Israel groups abroad. They have now stooped to even more unconscionable depths by trying to defame the noble youths who are willing to sacrifice their lives to defend their people and homeland.
They replicate the same disgusting behavior displayed a few months ago when Haaretz highlighted allegations accusing the IDF of Cossack-like killing sprees - allegations subsequently proven to have been based entirely on gossip and utterly without foundation. But by the time the fraud was exposed the damage was done, and Israel had been besmirched in papers throughout the world.
WITH MONEY from European governments and other foreign donors, the defamers have formed a new group called Breaking the Silence and once again quote unnamed soldiers who babble on anonymously about “war crimes.” They justify the anonymity by making the outrageous claim that whistle-blowers risk being punished, despite common knowledge that if the IDF ever behaved in such a manner the independent Israeli media would have a field day lambasting it. They have the gall to demand an independent investigation of the IDF - something that no country in the world has ever undertaken.
Needless to say, in any war, even with the greatest efforts to maintain moral standards, occasional individual breaches and malpractices are inevitable. The litmus test of a democracy is whether such cases are covered up or prosecuted. IDF Judge Advocate-General Brig-Gen. Avihai Mandelblit has systematically investigated every accusation, and if misconduct was discovered, the offender was punished. To date there has not been a single case of behavior that could be defined as a deliberate intention to kill civilians.
Stealing a credit card or looting an Arab home is despicable and must be severely punished, but neither compares to wanton killing or qualifies as a crime against humanity. Should further examples of individual malpractice be exposed, the parties involved will undoubtedly also be prosecuted.
War involves life-and-death situations; mistakes are made and innocents inevitably die. But in maintaining our moral standards, we are also obliged to ensure that we do not go to the other extreme and endanger the lives of our soldiers by preventing them from defending themselves.
NOT SO long ago, it would have been inconceivable for any sane Israeli to accuse our sons of war crimes. The public outcry would have been deafening and those defaming our soldiers would have been pariahs. There are laws in a democracy which protect an individual from defamation and punish those who besmirch the innocent. Israel is at war and the battle for minds is a key component. To besmirch a nation by falsely portraying its soldiers as wanton murderers is an act of infamy that would be treasonable in most countries. Allowing degenerate nihilists the right to promote outright lies not only undermines national morale, it also compromises our security.
Legislation should be introduced enabling the prosecution of those knowingly disseminating slanders and defaming the nation whilst endeavoring not to curtail freedom of expression and also to oblige groups obtaining funds from foreign governments to register as foreign agents.
The struggle to retain our reputation as a decent and moral people is a major component in our battle for peace. If we fail to clean up our domestic cesspool, we open the door for our enemies and the anti-Semites who seek to destroy us.
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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.