Sunday, December 27, 2009
Hypocritical British Left performs U-turn on love and marriage ahead of election
Gordon Brown is preparing to pitch Labour as the party of marriage and the family in an audacious bid for core Tory votes. In a shift in strategy ahead of the general election, the government is abandoning its long-standing ambivalence towards wedlock, conceding that children fare better if their parents are together. A green paper to be published in January will outline new measures to shore up “stable parental relationships”.
Labour’s 11th-hour acknowledgment of the importance of marriage has been derided by the Conservatives, who accuse the government of ignoring evidence about the benefits for the past decade. The Tories are preparing their own green paper on promoting family units, setting the scene for an election battle for the parental vote.
Since 1997 Labour has directed resources at children rather than their parents, fearing voters would see attempts to shore up the declining traditional family unit as discriminatory or judgmental. Ed Balls, the schools secretary, now admits the strategy was a mistake. “Because we knew it was complicated we ended up not talking about families and talking about children instead. One of the things that we lost a little bit is that actually, while supporting children is very important, adult relationships are very important too,” Balls said.
Speaking to The Sunday Times ahead of the launch of the green paper, he announced that his department was “changing the direction and face of [family] policy”. “In the past I think our family policy was all about children. I think our family policy now is actually about the strength of the adult relationships and that is important for the progress of the children,” he said.
Labour’s change in policy comes amid concern over the number of children brought up in broken homes. One in four now lives in a single-parent family, compared with one in 14 in the early 1970s. Almost half of children are born outside wedlock. Married couples became a minority in Britain this year for the first time since records began.
While Labour will stop short of saying marriage is “superior” to other committed relationships, the new policy will highlight how much better children fare if their parents stay together. Balls, who is married to Yvette Cooper, the work and pensions secretary, said: “One of the big signifiers of whether children do well is if there are strong adult relationships in the home. We want to look at what more we need to do to support and nurture family relationships.”
In compulsory sex and relationship lessons to be introduced from 2011, children from the age of seven will be taught about the “nature and importance of marriage and stable relationships for family life and bringing up children”.
The green paper is expected to suggest more resources for marriage counselling services such as Relate and to propose a change in culture in public services away from “mother and baby” to “mother, father and baby”. Balls is particularly keen to find ways to prevent partnerships from collapsing during the weeks after a baby is born.
Balls admitted that he backed marriage: “Yvette and I are married. I personally think it is better but I certainly would not say that to other people.” He has been consulting a panel of “agony aunts” about how the government can reduce divorce rates and help children whose parents are splitting up. There will be no softening of the government’s opposition to tax advantages for married couples. Ministers say this would discriminate against the 4m children brought up by non-married parents. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has pledged to recognise the importance of marriage through the tax system.
David Willetts, the party’s family spokesman, said: “It is extraordinary that after more than a decade in which Labour has focused exclusively on children, the penny is finally dropping. “All the evidence is that marriage is strongly linked to greater stability for the child.”
Media falsely reporting Bethlehem Christmas
Like clockwork, every year at this time reporters file misleading and, in some cases, outright false reports about the state of Christmas in Bethlehem. They claim Israeli policies have wreaked havoc on the city's economy and that Israel is responsible for the massive flight of Christians from Bethlehem. Yet the news media completely ignore Muslim intimidation and get their facts wrong on documented history and the true state of affairs in this ancient town.
A widely circulated Reuters article, for example, laments "Christmas cheer hasn't spread to all of Bethlehem's residents," squarely blaming "an Israeli wall" for the town's misfortunes. Britains' Press and Journal also paints a dismal picture of Bethlehem, claiming the city is "divided by a huge wall" and that the "26ft-high security wall completes the isolation of Bethlehem and prevents it from ever expanding." The piece also wrongly states that about 2 percent of Bethlehem's population is Christian.
An opinion piece by Austen Ivereigh in the London Guardian, meanwhile, also claims Bethlehem is "shuttered and depressed" by an "Israeli separation wall." "I don't just mean the structure itself – 30 feet high, bristling with watchtowers and formed of grey concrete slabs – but where it is built, deep into the town itself, far into the West Bank, severing Bethlehem from Jerusalem and ensuring the relentless expansion eastwards of Jewish-only settlements built on land seized from Palestinian farmers," the Guardian piece claims. Regarding the "wall" that "surrounds" Bethlehem: Israel built a fence in 2002 in the area where northern Bethlehem interfaces with Jerusalem. A tiny segment of the barrier, facing a major Israeli roadway, is a concrete wall that Israel says is meant to prevent gunmen from shooting at Israeli motorists.
Israel had good reason to build the wall in that one small area, since terrorists in 2000 and 2001 routinely shot and killed Israeli motorists at the adjacent roadway. The rest of Bethlehem is not encircled by any wall or fence. Actually, unless one enters the city from the area interfacing Jerusalem, a traveler coming in from any other entrance will not even encounter the barrier.
The barrier, most of which is a fence, was constructed after the outbreak of the Palestinian intifada, or terror war, launched after the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat turned down an Israeli offer of a Palestinian state. Scores of deadly suicide bombings and shooting attacks against Israelis were planned in Bethlehem and carried out by Bethlehem-area terrorists. At one point during a period of just 30 days in 2002, at least 14 shootings were perpetrated by Bethlehem cells of Arafat's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists, killing two Israelis and wounding six.
Many times Muslim gunmen in the Bethlehem area reportedly took positions in civilian homes in the hilltops of Christian Beit Jala, which straddles Bethlehem. Beit Jala afforded the terrorists a clear firing line at southern sections of Jerusalem and at a major Israeli highway below, drawing Israeli military raids and the eventual building of the security barrier there.
Another popular theme of the mainstream media in recent years is that Bethlehem's Christian population is dwindling because of the "barrier." Amazingly, Ivereigh's piece in the Guardian falsely claimed: "Bethlehem is shuttered and depressed not because of Koran-wielding thugs but because the wall has smashed its economy. The town has become a ghetto, severed from lands to the north and west by the wall, and to the south and east by settler-only roads and a forest of checkpoints, leaving it barely able to trade."
Simple demographic facts disprove this contention entirely. Israel built the barrier seven years ago. But Bethlehem's Christian population started to drastically decline in 1995, the very year Arafat's Palestinian Authority took over the holy Christian city in line with the U.S.-backed Oslo Accords. Bethlehem was more than 80 percent Christian when Israel was founded in 1948. But after Arafat took control, the city's Christian population plummeted to its current 23 percent. And that statistic is considered generous since it includes the satellite towns of Beit Sahour and Beit Jala. Some estimates place Bethlehem's actual Christian population as low as 12 percent, with hundreds of Christians emigrating each year.
As soon as he took over Bethlehem, Arafat unilaterally fired the city's Christian politicians and replaced them with Muslim cronies. He appointed a Muslim governor, Muhammed Rashad A-Jabar, and deposed of Bethlehem's city council, which had nine Christians and two Muslims, reducing the number of Christians councilors to a 50-50 split. Arafat then converted a Greek Orthodox monastery next to the Church of Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus, into his official Bethlehem residence. Suddenly, after the Palestinians gained the territory, reports of Christian intimidation by Muslims began to surface.
Christian leaders and residents told this reporter they face an atmosphere of regular hostility. They said Palestinian armed groups stir tension by holding militant demonstrations and marches in the streets. They spoke of instances in which Christian shopkeepers' stores were ransacked and Christian homes attacked. They said in the past, Palestinian gunmen fired at Israelis from Christian hilltop communities, drawing Israeli anti-terror raids to their towns.
In 2002, dozens of terrorists holed up inside the Church of the Nativity for 39 days while fleeing a massive Israeli anti-terror operation. Israel surrounded the church area but refused to storm the structure. Gunmen inside included wanted senior Hamas, Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades terrorists reportedly involved in suicide bombings and shooting attacks. More than 200 nuns and priests were trapped in the church after Israeli hostage negotiators failed to secure their release.
Some Christian leaders said one of the most significant problems facing Christians in Bethlehem is the rampant confiscation of land by Muslim gangs. "There are many cases in which Christians have their land stolen by the [Muslim] mafia," Samir Qumsiyeh, a Bethlehem Christian leader and owner of the Beit Sahour-based private Al-Mahd (Nativity) TV station, told WND in an interview in 2007. "It is a regular phenomenon in Bethlehem. They go to a poor Christian person with a forged power of attorney document, and then they say we have papers proving you're living on our land. If you confront them, many times the Christian is beaten. You can't do anything about it. The Christian loses, and he runs away," Qumsiyeh told WND, speaking from his hilltop television station during a recent interview. Qumsiyeh himself said he was targeted by Islamic gangs. He said his home was firebombed after he returned from a trip abroad during which he gave public speeches outlining the plight of Bethlehem's Christian population.
One Christian Bethlehem resident told WND her friend recently fled Bethlehem after being accused by Muslims of selling property to Jews, a crime punishable by death in some Palestinian cities. The resident said much of the intimidation comes from gunmen associated with PA President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah organization.
A February 2007 Jerusalem Post article cited the case of Faud and Georgette Lama, Christian residents of Bethlehem who said their land was stolen by local Muslims, and when they tried to do something about it, Faud was beaten by gunmen.
One religious novelty store owner recently told WND that Muslim gangs regularly deface Christian property. "We are harassed, but you wouldn't know the truth. No one says anything publicly about the Muslims. This is why Christians are running away."
Lastly, a main news media contention this year has asserted that the "wall" in Bethlehem has devastated the city's economy. But last year scores of mainstream news reports documented how Bethlehem's economy had its best year since 1999. This year's economic downturn in Bethlehem is largely due to the reliance of the city on tourism, which is down worldwide due to a global economic crisis – a fact not mentioned in a single news report that WND reviewed about Bethlehem's woes.
Last year, even the New York Times was forced to admit Bethlehem's economy was doing well. A Times article datelined Bethlehem was titled "Palestinians work to jolt West Bank back to life." The piece allows, "Both Israeli and Palestinian officials report economic growth for the occupied areas of 4 to 5 percent and a drop in the unemployment rate of at least three percentage points. The improved climate has nearly doubled the number of tourists in Bethlehem and increased them by half in Jericho." The Times quotes Victor Batarseh, the Palestinian mayor of Bethlehem, triumphantly declaring: "It has been the best year since 1999." "Our hotels are full, whereas three years ago there was almost nobody. Unemployment is below 20 percent," he said.
Radical Islam’s Defiling of Christmas
Posted by Joe Kaufman on Dec 25th, 2009
Today, while Christians around the world are celebrating Christmas, radical Muslims will be gathering in Atlanta, Georgia for the beginning of their annual hatefest. The irony of this cannot be understated, as the group sponsoring the event, ICNA, and its followers openly denounce Christians and propagate material cursing and calling for violence against Christians.
ICNA or the Islamic Circle of North America was created nearly 40 years ago as the American affiliate to the terror-related Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the Muslim Brotherhood of Pakistan. But while JI has focused the majority of its faith-based ire on Hindus, the religious groups of choice for ICNA’s attacks have primarily been Jews and Christians.
One of the main functions of ICNA is the spread of Islam. The group does this via its dawah or religious outreach program, Why Islam (WI). Too many times, though, ICNA’s religious outreach is used as a venue for the worst of bigotry. Common targets include Jews, Americans, Israelis, homosexuals, fellow Muslims and Christians. The following quotes are presently found on WI’s web forum discussing the latter:
* “First of all, muslims do not believe in the G-d of the corrupted Bible, but we do believe in Allah… Anyone who says ‘la ilahe ilallah’ (there is not god but Him)… is guaranteed with eternal life in heaven… Abt penalty, there is no penalty to be done for our sins. This is [sic] wat u christians made up!!”
* “[T]he Americans don’t care about their Allies… Even though, speaking Islamically, they are our enemies and not allies… no Kaffir can be an Ally to a Muslim against a Muslim… Like Allah says in the Quran, Baqarah 2, ‘Never will the Jews nor the Christians be pleased with you… till you follow their religion’… [T]hey are not friends of anyone besides themselves… their friendship is an illusion.”
* “[T]he Christ that Christians believe will come before the Rapture is actually the anti-Christ who the Zionist-Jews will think to be their promised-Messiah… Most Christians don’t know this. They live in their capsule of ignorance that is hardened by the western main-stream media… [T]heir greed and covetousness for consumption is likened only with Satan in the Bible.”
These statements are horrific on their own, but what makes the situation even worse is that the moderators for the group have used similar – even worse – rhetoric themselves, defending Hamas and discussing committing violence against American troops.
Why Islam is not the only entity comprising ICNA. The organization also encompasses a youth group, an educational facility, a multimedia division, a magazine, and a number of smaller local chapters. One of the chapters, the Southern California office (ICNA-SC), uses religious materials to propagate hatred and violence against non-Muslims.
Hadiths for Muslims are vital, as they are only second to the Quran in importance with regard to Islamic religious texts. ICNA’s versions of the Hadiths contain rabidly anti-Christian bigotry. A current example of this is from a Hadith book entitled Malik’s Muwatta, found within ICNA-SC’s online library. It states, “May Allah fight the jews and the christians. They took the graves of their Prophets as places of prostration. Two deens shall not co-exist in the land of the Arabs.”
On its website, ICNA-SC has many other hate manuals as well. One, entitled Priorities of the Islamic Movement in the Coming Phase, is written by the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, Yusuf al-Qaradawi. In Priorities, al-Qaradawi lauds Hamas as being “steadfast” and “brave.” In the text, al-Qaradawi also talks about his belief that Christians should give up their rights and be ruled by Islam. He writes, “Christians and other religious groups will not come to any harm if they give up their right so that their Muslim compatriots may rule themselves by their religion and effect the laws of Allah in order to gain His Grace.”
Another of ICNA’s chapters, its Atlanta, Georgia office, this weekend beginning today, will be celebrating its annual function, featuring its normal list of extremist speakers. It’s a major event for ICNA, as the organization is advertising it atop its national website. The theme for this year is ‘Save Family – Save Society.’ In reality, society needs to save itself from ICNA.
The above quotes are only a small illustration of the bigotry that is spread by ICNA against Christians (and others). And so it is ironic, if not offensive, that ICNA would use Christmas to launch its hateful affair.
While ICNA desecrates Christianity this day, its leaders and members will thrive off of the goodwill of a generous American public that is ignorant of ICNA’s sinister goals and terror-related history. Hopefully the government will be giving us all the best Christmas present we could ask for – an investigation leading to ICNA’s closure.
Boy molests younger brother; Old-fashioned "cure" unacceptable
In some societies, sending a boy to a prostitute for his first sexual experience is traditional
An Australian father who is accused of forcing his teenage son to have sex with a prostitute — out of fear that he was gay — may face rape charges.
As the rest of the family celebrated Christmas 2007, the father allegedly took his son to a motel in North Rockhampton, where he paid the prostitute to have sex with his son, according to The Morning Bulletin, a newspaper in Rockhampton. He left the room, demanding that the boy show him a used condom as proof he finished with the prostitute.
A magistrate decided on Tuesday that there was enough evidence to bring the father to trial.
“First [he] didn’t want to say anything to me,” the boy's mother testified. “Then he told me his father took him to a motel room and there was a prostitute there. He wouldn’t talk, he just started crying.”
Detective sergeant Christine Knapp said police first became aware of the situation when the father tried to report his son to authorities six months later, in May 2008, saying the boy was abusing his younger brother. The father said he “tried to sort it out himself by taking his son to a prostitute” to no avail.
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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.