Monday, December 21, 2009

A verdict for sanity in Seattle

This week was significant in the fight against terrorism. The case against Naveed Haq went to verdict. Haq is the Muslim man who walked into the office of the Seattle Jewish Federation in 2006 and went on a shooting rampage moments after uttering, "I'm a Muslim-American, and I'm angry at Israel."

The case is important because of what it says about how ordinary Americans view fundamentalist Islam. Many in the media have excused murderous behavior in the name of Islam as the actions of a "crazy" person. For proof, look no further than the reaction of the chattering classes to Maj. Hasan's murder spree at Ft. Hood last month. With Haq, the jury had the "crazy" label handed to them on a silver platter. Even the prosecution acknowledged that Haq suffered from a history of mental illness.

The twelve men and women in proudly liberal Seattle, however, rejected the politically correct cop-out. Though Haq was not facing terrorism charges, the jury found him guilty on Tuesday of aggravated first-degree murder, five counts of attempted first-degree murder, one count of unlawful imprisonment and one count of malicious harassment, which is Washington state's hate-crime law.

The verdict suggests that even in deep blue pockets of the country, a terrorist's stated motives will be taken at face value. Even if that isn't the same as those same people willing to make terrorism a political priority, it does at least indicate that delusional denial isn't as widespread as we might fear.

It helped that in this trial the prosecution was able to play damning audiotapes of phone calls Haq made to his family after the shooting. In one of the ten recorded phone calls, Haq told his mother that he was "a soldier of Islam." In the 911 tape, Haq told the dispatcher, "I don't care if I die." Haq explained that the world was ignoring the suffering of Muslims, so his reason was "just to make a point."

By finding Haq guilty when the insanity defense could have won so easily, the Seattle jury "made the point" that common sense can prevail when it's needed most.


Propaganda as journalism

JAMES TARANTO suggests that "AP" now stands for "Authoritarian Propaganda" instead of "Associated Press"

See if you can guess the source of this quote: "Once, not so long ago, the planet's prevailing voices were those of the experts--the people who, right or wrong, had years of training to back up what they said. Then came the Internet, and everything changed."

Wrong, it's not Al Gore lamenting the effects of his invention. It's an Associated Press dispatch by Ted Anthony. Readers of this column know that the AP, once the gold standard in straight, factual reporting, has grown increasingly opinionated over the past few years, under the rubric of "accountability journalism." Yet the AP's editors insist they're not publishing opinion. What you get in a dispatch like this, then, is a perfect distillation of left-liberal orthodoxy--of the assumptions that go unquestioned by those who imagine themselves to be "experts" or to be speaking on their behalf. As Anthony continues:
Consider the global warming debate: The skeptics shout. The skeptics' opponents shout back. The scientists insist they have research in their corner. And public debate shifts from the provable and the empirical toward the spectacle of argument.

Democracy in action? That's one way of seeing it. But is something deeper afoot? As the amplification of human opinion becomes more democratic, is the suspicion of the expert and the intellectual--a long-held trope in American society--going globally viral?
Hmm, if the global-warming debate has prompted "suspicion of the expert and the intellectual," could it have something to do with the recent revelations that climate scientists manipulated and withheld data and conspired to suppress alternate hypotheses? Incredibly, Anthony not only doesn't answer the question, he doesn't even mention the revelations that prompt it. Anthony quotes a purported expert on expertise:
Greil Marcus, an American cultural historian and co-author of "A New Literary History of America," remembers watching TV in the 1950s, "when there were all these TV dramas about science vs. religion." And, he says, "science always won." No more, Marcus says. Instead, cacophony now prevails and the right to be heard trumps what is being said. "Welcome to the new Dark Ages," he says.
But the reason "science" no longer "wins" is that what often poses as science today is different from the real thing. To take an easy example, supposedly science-minded people often scoff at those who do not "believe in evolution." The problem with this is not that they are wrong to defend evolution, but that they mistake evolution, a scientific theory, for a belief system. When you demand adherence to a set of beliefs, you are no longer doing science but something that has the form, if not the substance, of religion.

Similarly, what is clearest from the University of East Anglia emails is that climate science has become more political than scientific. Researchers have been abusing the scientific process in order to produce support for an ideologically predetermined outcome. And global warmism has strong religious overtones too, as evidenced by this headline in London's left-wing Guardian: "This Is Bigger Than Climate Change. It Is a Battle to Redefine Humanity."

Anthony concludes by arguing that skepticism has long been a problem for science:
Consider the case of the Italian physicist faced with a barrage of criticism from skeptics to the point where he faced legal action that dogged him for the rest of his life. We know him as Galileo, the father of modern astronomy.
But of course Galileo's antagonists were not skeptics at all. Rather, they were believers in established dogma and upholders of authority. Skepticism lies at the heart of real science--and, for that matter, of real journalism. "Accountability journalism" turns out to be neither accountability nor journalism, merely propaganda on behalf of those the AP regards as authorities.


Australian conservative leader says all children should be taught about the Bible

BIBLE classes should be compulsory so children have a fundamental understanding of Christianity on leaving school, federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says. "I think everyone should have some familiarity with the great texts that are at the core of our civilisation," Mr Abbott told the Herald Sun. "That includes, most importantly, the Bible.

"I think it would be impossible to have a good general education without at least some serious familiarity with the Bible and with the teachings of Christianity. "That doesn't mean that people have to be believers."

But former Howard government Islamic advisor Dr Ameer Ali, said Mr Abbott's remarks were "over the top". "It's one thing to say every child needs a good knowledge of history and geography or science," Dr Ali said. "But it is something else to say all children should have a knowledge of the Bible. That might hurt other people who have their own holy scriptures," he said.

And the Australian Education Union's federal president, Angelo Gavrielatos, said that religion was not a priority for schools. "There is a place for comparative studies of religion in the curriculum, but ultimately we consider it a private matter for parents and their children," he said.


Australia: More rapes by "refugee" Africans?

Ethnicity of offenders is zealously suppressed these days but the last sentence seems to give the game away. Lebanese Muslims are also known for callous pack rapes but Arabic interpreters should not be hard to find.

I like to do all I can towards defeating censorship. I aim at that on all my blogs. And if I get it wrong, the fault lies with the secrecy, not me.

A TEENAGE boy charged over the pack rape of two 15-year-old girls told police he'd done nothing wrong and the girls wanted it, a court heard today. The 16-year-old boy, one of two charged today with the pack rape involving up to 10 males in Melbourne in October, had shown no remorse, police informant Detective Dave Newman told a children's court.

"It seemed in the interview any girl outside at night and drinking alcohol is fair game and I have a major concern he could do this to other people," he told the court. "I am quite disturbed and have major concerns about that attitude being back on the streets and going straight back to reoffending with members of the public or witnesses."

The 16-year-old boy from Broadmeadows was charged with four counts of rape and a 17-year-old boy from Coolaroo has been charged with two counts of rape.

The court heard a graphic account of how the girls were raped repeatedly and taunted by up to 10 males. Someone close to the defendant had talked about burning the girls' house down while the defendant talked about "buying the girls" to get himself off, the court heard.

A lawyer for the boy told the magistrate he had no criminal history and should be granted bail as two other males involved in the case had been. A magistrate said she was concerned the boy was a risk and was convinced that the two girls were petrified and remanded him in custody until another hearing next month.

The 17-year-old will apply for bail next week and will spend the weekend behind bars after an interpreter could not be found to appear in court.


Tinsel Taliban strikes as British Court Service ban staff from decorations

Forget nativity scenes and crosses. Even tinsel can be politically incorrect in authoritarian Britain

The 'Tinsel Taliban' have struck in Britain's courts. The Tories claim court officials have been banned from putting tinsel around front office-counters amid fears it will 'offend other religions'. Tinsel and other Christmas decorations have been outlawed at the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Nuneaton, where people pay fines.

But last night the Government denied the charge that the ban had been put in place to ensure Muslims were not offended. They said it was because they would be insensitive for criminals to have to pay fines in a room surrounded by tinsel.

However, one courts worker wrote to community cohesion minister Sayeeda Warsi to say he had been told the ban had been imposed because tinsel would 'break the Court Service Diversity Policy'. This commits court service managers to 'creating a culture where equality and diversity forms an integral part of everyday working life' and 'incorporating equality and diversity into day-to-day management activities'.

Baroness Warsi spoke out after receiving a letter from a worker at the centre who said: 'I work as an admin officer in the county court and we have been told that we can't put tinsel around our counter window as it might offend other religions, according to HMCS diversity policy.'

The Warwickshire Justice Centre houses police officers, the Crown Prosecution Service, four magistrates courts, the probation service, the local youth offending team and witness support services. The Court Service is headed by justice minister Bridget Prentice, who is spearheading a campaign to ban pink toys being sold because they are not sufficiently 'progressive' and 'funnel girls into pretty, pretty jobs'.

Baroness Warsi said: 'First toys; now tinsel. Labour's PC killjoys are determined to kill off Christmas. 'This has nothing to do with diversity; it's about the very opposite - a stultifying grey conformity. 'Non-Christians don't want to see Christmas banned, and they're fed up of being patronised by Labour.'

Last night a source at the Ministry of Justice admitted that tinsel had been banned at the front-office counter at the Nuneaton office. 'Over the counter, yes, where sensitive business like fine payments takes place,' he said. 'For that reason. Otherwise there is tinsel and stuff elsewhere. 'Nothing was removed for religious or diversity reasons. 'One piece of tinsel was removed from a counter where it was getting in the way. The rest of the tinsel remains there as festive as ever.' And he claimed: 'I have it on good authority that the court is one of the most festive places one could go, perhaps outside Lapland.'

The Conservatives have long accused Labour of bowing to PC concerns over Christmas - such as the famous example of Birmingham rebranding the religious festival as 'Winterval'. But two weeks ago, David Cameron faced embarrassment when it emerged the Tory website was selling Christmas cards with the PC message Season's Greetings. This is despite the fact he has in the past derided such cards as being 'insulting tosh'.



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 or 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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