Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Freaked by the BNP! British PM pledges to house local people first

But isn't that "racist", Gordo? It is when the BNP advocate it!

Gordon Brown is to try to win back Labour’s core supporters with a pledge to give priority on housing waiting-lists to local residents. A proposal to require councils to take account of applicants’ connections to the area when allocating homes is central to a policy blueprint. The populist measure risks reviving the controversy over Mr Brown’s call for “British jobs for British workers” .

A housebuilding programme is also to be announced today as Mr Brown seeks to regain the political initiative. Extra cash for social housing will come from a £500 million switch in spending, outlined in the new programme, Building Britain’s Future, The Times has learnt.

Resentment at needs-based rules under which newly arrived migrants are believed to be placed at the front of housing queues has long been cited by Labour MPs as eroding support among its core working-class voters. Housing is an important issue in the Labour heartlands, with 1.6 million households on council waiting lists — four million people in England and Wales. In some areas, a quarter of households are queueing for a home. Disaffection among traditional Labour supporters was plain at the recent council and European elections, at which British National Party MEPs were elected. Mr Brown’s decision to oblige councils to give priority to those with local connections who have been waiting a long time is being dubbed “British homes for British people”.

Senior government sources insist, however, that the policy is consistent with a new emphasis on entitlement to key public services. The measure will not require primary legislation, it is understood, but will be subject to consultation.

Other policies being announced today include guarantees of a maximum 18-week wait for a hospital appointment, limited to two weeks for cancer patients, and free health checks for the over-40s. The NHS will be placed under statutory obligations to meet what are currently only targets. [which will just lead to yet more fudging of the figures]

Mr Brown previewed the theme of the government paper in an interview with The Times last week, when he said that he would not flinch from taking on “any vested interest that stands in the way of better services”.

Ed Balls, the Schools Secretary, is expected to take up the theme of entitlement tomorrow with the publication of a White Paper extending a guarantee of one-to-one tuition in maths and English for struggling pupils from primaries to the early years of secondary schools. It will also propose that league tables be replaced by a “report card” detailing schools’ performance on behaviour, truancy and parental satisfaction alongside exam results. Mr Balls is expected to duck the issue of whether schools should be ranked on a single grade. Critics claim such a move would diminish the emphasis schools place on academic performance.

Today’s policy blueprint, which will also include economic measures as well as the draft legislative programme for the last session before the general election, comes in the midst of a fierce row over public spending.

Yesterday Yvette Cooper, the Work and Pensions Secretary, told the BBC that ministers wanted to improve accountability in the public services. Challenged in a Politics Show interview on what would happen if entitlements were not met, she said the punishments would depend on the service concerned. Refusing to comment on whether hospitals would have money taken away if they failed, Ms Cooper said: “There are . . . areas, in which you do have penalties, where actually you don’t get the services improved, but this will depend on particular areas.”


Outdated airport security is leaving the door open to bombers

If we want to stay safe, we need to be smarter. The first step is to put aside our qualms about passenger profiling

The terror threat has changed greatly but airport security is still stuck in the past, combating the terrorism of the 1960s and 1970s. Worse still, the antiquated approach to security is aiding and abetting terrorists. The huge queues caused at checkpoints as staff check that mummy’s make-up is put into a plastic bag create an ideal target for suicide bombers: why try to board a flight when you can blow up thousands in the terminal?

The security checkpoints we know today first became widely deployed in the late 1960s and early 70s. They proved their effectiveness in the United States in tackling hijackings of flights to Cuba. Then the hijackers were armed with handguns, knives or grenades. The archway metal detector and the X-ray machine were perfect for detecting dense, metallic objects carried on the person or in baggage. More than 40 years later, the same technologies are the workhorse of the airline passenger screening process.

But the archway metal detector cannot find explosives — plastic or liquid in form — or any weapons made out of ceramic, wood, glass or polycarbonate. And while significant improvements have been made to X-ray machines they have yet to prove effective in detecting improvised explosive devices.

Nonetheless, we take a bizarre degree of satisfaction that we now screen all luggage using an unproven technology. The best that can be said is that these archaic tools act as a deterrent. But if we are serious about security, we need to think more boldly and look elsewhere to learn some useful lessons.

In 1968 an El Al aircraft was hijacked from Rome to Algiers by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Following that incident, the Israelis introduced two measures: they deployed sky marshals on every flight and profiled passengers before they boarded, with the aim of identifying passengers with malign intent. No El Al aircraft has since been successfully hijacked.

We need to introduce profiling. But whenever it is proposed, it is shot down as racist: “Doesn’t it mean we’ll be picking on young Middle Eastern or Asian men?”

But one only needs to look to the Israeli experience to appreciate that, if that were the case, the system would have failed. When Japanese Red Army terrorists attacked Lod Airport in 1972, the Israelis realised that the system had to be modified to identify “intent” through behavioural analysis, rather than focus on target groups. And it worked. In 1986 Israeli security agents identified a pregnant Irish woman as a potential threat to an El Al flight bound from London Heathrow to Tel Aviv.

She was far from being the stereotypical threat, yet she was unwittingly carrying an improvised explosive device that her lover had infiltrated into her bag. The bag, by the way, had been X-rayed without the bomb being detected. That incident heralded the introduction of the “Who packed your bags?” question.

In 2001 Richard Reid, the shoebomber, was prevented from boarding a flight from Paris to Miami because security agents had suspicions about him, providing further proof of the benefits of profiling; he returned the next day and managed to board his flight. Luckily, he failed to detonate his device.

Profiling already takes place at airports all the time. Customs and immigration agents intercept people on a daily basis — but at the end of a flight. They know the signs to look for. So why, when our lives are at stake, do we not screen people using this proven, common-sense methodology before people board a flight?

The answer is that the regulators want to treat everybody the same. In doing so, they are making security predictable and easier to penetrate. The regulators want a system that they can test, but gut feeling can’t be tested.

So what would a profiler see as “cause for concern”: it’s not simply the nervous passenger biting his fingernails or young Muslim men travelling solo. It is a summary of a host of factors — everything from clothing, behaviour, baggage, accompanying persons, ticket and passport data, confidence and to what extent the suspect is typical of passengers flying on a given airline, on a given route, on a given day. From these clues, an experienced profiler can build up a picture of a passenger.

If we were serious about profiling, it would allow security staff to use new technology, such as body scanners based on X-ray or millimetre wave imaging, that would be impractical to use on everyone in terms of cost and time. We could also start screening people at the boarding gate. This would allow security staff to better profile passengers. At present the screeners are viewing passengers bound for a host of destinations in the same light, even though passengers bound for Sydney differ from those going to Reykjavik, and those heading to Bangkok are different from those flying to Lagos.

Drug traffickers, especially “body packers” (who swallow or vaginally or anally insert their illicit loads) manage to circumvent airport security daily with quantities of narcotics that far exceed the minimum weight for an explosive charge — only to be picked up by customs professionals. These traffickers want to live. What will we do when a terrorist, who wants to die, carries his or her device internally on to an aircraft? Start deploying gynaecologists at checkpoints?

No, but we need to wake up. Our current screening process is fundamentally flawed because it is concerned with what people are carrying rather than what their intent is. There is no reason for every typical family going on a package holiday or business traveller heading for a meeting, who act and look the part, to be asked to remove their shoes and belts for inspection. And the expanding list of prohibited items diverts the attention of screeners from the real objective: finding metal and liquid-free terrorists.

I don’t advocate the Israeli approach. It’s unworkable for most international airports. But unless we start injecting a dose of common sense into the security process, we’ll do what we’ve always done — be reactive rather than proactive, allowing the terrorists and misguided civil libertarians to set the timetable.


Why boys will pick Bob over Barbie - children are genetically programmed, say scientists

It takes some people a long time to recognize the obvious

Boys are genetically programmed to prefer Bob the Builder to Barbie dolls, say scientists. Tests involving children as young as three months suggest biological differences and not social pressures dictate which toys children like to play with.

The U.S. study looked at babies aged three to eight months - before they can identify even the gender of other people. Researchers placed a doll and truck inside a puppet-theatre style box and showed them to 30 children - 17 boys and 13 girls - for two ten-second intervals.

The findings, from researchers at Texas A&M University, overturn conventional wisdom that children's toy preferences are down to social conditioning. The academics believe that society's expectations do play a major part in influencing how children play. But subtle cues from parents and peers merely reinforce a pre-disposition for masculine toys among boys and feminine for girls.

One theory is that these innate preferences are linked to traditional male and female functions dating back to the dawn of the species. Boys are thought to prefer playing with cars and balls because they involve moving objects and rough and tumble play. These activities may be linked to their ancestors' skills in hunting for food and finding a mate.

Girls, on the other hand, are thought to like red or pink toys because a preference for those colours enhanced their abilities to nurture infants, thus aiding their family's survival.

For the study, led by Gerianne Alexander, researchers set up a presentation box similar to a puppet theatre and placed a doll and truck inside. Eye-tracking technology measured how many times and how long the babies focused or 'fixated' on each object. The researchers found that 'girls showed a visual preference for the doll over the toy truck and boys compared to girls showed a greater number of visual fixations on the truck'.

The study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour, added: 'The findings from the present research are consistent with the hypothesis that males and females may show different patterns of attention to toys because they are attracted to different visual characteristics of objects. 'It seems unlikely that object interests in infants younger than nine months of age are a result of internal motivation to conform to external referents of gender role behaviour.'

It is believed that exposure to sex hormones in the womb has a bearing on toy preferences, as it does many other aspects of gender-related behaviour. The study reinforces the findings of previous research by Dr Alexander involving green vervet monkeys. Male monkeys spent more time playing with traditional male toys such as a car and a ball than did female monkeys. The female monkeys, however, spent more time playing with a doll and a pot than did the males. Both male and female monkeys spent about the same amount of time with 'gender neutral' toys such as a picture book and a stuffed frog.

Her co-researcher for this study, Professor Melissa Hines, of Cambridge University, outlined the findings at a recent conference on the value of toys and play in London.

A further study, by researchers in the US state of Georgia, involved rhesus monkeys being offered two categories of toys - one with wheels such as wagons and other vehicles, and the other dolls and cuddly toys including Winnie the Pooh. The male monkeys spent more time playing with the wheeled toys, while the 23 females played with the cuddly and wheeled toys equally.


Homosexuality still despised in India

In a stifling room adorned with rainbow curtains and glamour posters, Mani - a high school student from Delhi's outer suburbs - submits to painful eyebrow threading with all the poise of a seasoned groomer. A regular at the Pahal Beauty Parlour - India's first gay beauty clinic cum drop-in centre - the 19-year-old says he will be marching this Sunday in Delhi's Gay Pride parade. But like many others he will do so behind a mask, notwithstanding the day's preening efforts.

While Mani identifies himself as a Kothi - or effeminate gay man - he says his parents don't know he is gay and would probably throw him out if he told them. They think his waxing is all part of his passion for religious dancing, chuckles Rahul Singh, a gay counsellor at the parlour and co-founder of the Pahal Foundation behind the venture. Not so amusing is Mani's fate as a lower caste gay Indian man. Asked about marriage, he says he will soon submit to family pressure and live a double life. It's a common dilemma in India, where homosexuality is a criminal offence under section 377 of the penal code, punishable by up to 10 years' imprisonment.

Men at least have the option of a double life, says Singh, who at 32 is a veteran campaigner for the gay rights movement. "But Indian society still defines women strictly through marriage and family. Most women are married off so young they don't have time to think of themselves as sexual beings." Gay and lesbian suicides are a serious problem in India, and women who attempt to flee an enforced marriage often end up facing criminal charges.

Final year law student and gay rights activist Ponni Arasu has worked on many cases where one woman is charged with kidnapping another by the parents. "You have to go to court and prove she didn't kidnap her," says Arasu. "We also have to actively cover up the nature of the relationship because that's not something we can say in a courtroom today while it's still criminalised."

After years of fighting police harassment and blackmail, along with social and political discrimination, India's gay movement is on the verge of a breakthrough. Delhi's High Court is expected to hand down a judgment next month on a petition by a coalition of lawyers and gay rights groups challenging the legality of Section 377.

Gautam Bhan, another young, gay rights veteran and a leader of the push to repeal the law, says he is "very optimistic" the judgment will go their way. "If we win it's a hugely symbolic victory for us, because it's a law under which every kind of discrimination from psychological abuse to police harassment and violence becomes justified," says Bhan, 28. "Ending 377 won't change the daily life of a lot of queer Indians and their negotiations with parents, doctors, colleagues, landlords and police, but it will change the way queer people see themselves. The big impact will be what we do with it."

He is amazed by the pace of change in urban Indian attitudes in the past decade. "If you had told me 10 years ago there would be a gay pride march in Delhi I would have laughed." Kolkata has staged a gay pride march every year since 2003, but last year was the first time a march had been held in Bangalore, Mumbai or the country's conservative capital.



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.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Some socialist policing to inspire you

After 12 years of Leftist government, Britain's police no longer care about ordinary crime but if you call a homosexual something derogatory, you are sure to get a visit. The Australian State where I live has also been Left-run for a long time (since 1989 with one brief interruption) and they are even worse than the police in the story below. The Queensland police refused to take any interest when I handed them an ID card dropped by a person who had stolen my car. No "lack of evidence" excuse there. Their excuse was that the thief had "No form" (no criminal record). One wonders how anybody ever gets any "form" in that case. I am very familiar with the complete lack of police interest in crime reported by the woman below

A family have criticised a police force which claimed it could not investigate a theft at their home - even though they live just 70 yards from the local police station. Paula and David Whitfield, who works as a carer, were confident local officers would investigate after a pony cart, worth £500, was stolen from outside their house. But after reporting the theft and told not to disturb any potential evidence the couple waited in vain for officers to come round, take a statement and check for fingerprints.

Four days after the Whitfields' reported the crime they were stunned to get a letter from police saying they had closed the case. Exasperated Mrs Whitfield, 38, said: 'I couldn't believe they were disregarding a crime which happened on their own doorstep. 'We live so close to the police station that we can even hear the cell doors. Officers going to and from the station actually walk past our house. 'What's the point of them being there if they don't do their jobs?'

The letter from Hampshire Police said they had 'recorded' the theft at the Whitfields' home in the heart of New Forest. It added: 'Unfortunately we are unable to take any action. 'This is because there is not enough evidence available at this stage to make a case for prosecution and so your case has been closed.'

Mrs Whitfield rang police to complain when she received the letter on Saturday and was told an officer would visit. But when she had still not heard anything by Tuesday evening she walked around the corner to the police station but was told the relevant officer was in a meeting. Eventually Mrs Whitfield received a call from the officer but said she was still given no assurance that the theft of the cart would be properly investigated. She said: 'I got the impression from her attitude that she did not think it was important, that they would not trace the cart and that it would just be a waste of police time. 'A crime has happened in their own back yard and their attitude has been an absolute joke.'

Hampshire police have now said the letter was sent 'in error' and promised the crime would be investigated. However, their belated response has failed to impress the mother of four who plans to make a formal complaint to Hampshire police. She said: ''Some scenes of crime officers have been round but they say they only managed to get a partial fingerprint. 'That's hardly surprising because they finally came more than a week after the theft and it's rained a couple of times since then. 'They know they've mucked up and are attempting to cover their tracks. 'I'm 100 per cent convinced they've only decided to investigate the theft because the media have got involved. 'It makes me think I should try to investigate matters myself in future.'

Mrs Whitfield and her husband have abandoned any hope of being reunited with the cart, which they used to break in New Forest ponies. Despite being chained up it was stolen from a small garden beside their semi-detached house where their son Mitchell, 15, had spent several months rebuilding it. A police spokesman has since admitted the letter had been generated too early and sent in error. He said: 'When the crime was reported there weren't many lines of inquiry because the victims didn't see or hear anything. The theft will be investigated.'

Asked why police did not visit the couple the spokesman said the personnel involved did not work at that particular police station and had no way of knowing the Whitfields lived so close to the building. Chief Inspector Gary Cooper said: 'It is important to note that all incidents reported to police are dealt with in accordance with a grading system. 'Proximity to a police station does not qualify anyone for a preferential service. 'Upon receiving reports of the theft of a pony cart from an address in Lyndhurst, several unsuccessful attempts were made to re-contact the owners by telephone.'


Team of Researchers Blames Children's Films for Perpetuating "Heteronormativity"

Errr... How can I put this? Heterosexuality IS normal. Only a tiny minority are deviant from that

Researchers at the University of Michigan have concluded that the love stories told in classic Disney and other G-rated children's films - such as the Little Mermaid - are partially to blame for the pervasiveness of what they label "heteronormativity."

"Despite the assumption that children's media are free of sexual content, our analyses suggest that these media depict a rich and pervasive heterosexual landscape," wrote researchers Emily Kazyak and Karin Martin, in a report published in the latest issue of the Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) publication Gender & Society.

Kazyak and Martin said they studied the role of heterosexual relationships in several of the highest-grossing G-rated films between 1990-2005. The results, say the researchers, illustrate two ways that the children's films "construct heterosexuality": through "depictions of hetero-romantic love as exceptional, powerful, transformative, and magical," and "depictions of interactions between gendered bodies in which the sexiness of feminine characters is subjected to the gaze of masculine characters."

"Characters in love are surrounded by music, flowers, candles, magic, fire, balloons, fancy dresses, dim lights, dancing and elaborate dinners," the researchers observed. "Fireflies, butterflies, sunsets, wind and the beauty and power of nature often provide the setting for - and a link to the naturalness of - hetero-romantic love."

The SWS press release on the research blamed what they called the "old ideals" of romantic relationships, specifically those found the Brothers Grimm fairy tales, which in many instances inspired the films' storylines, for "such heavily gendered depictions and glorified portrayals of heterosexual relationships."

The team says the results point to heterosexuality achieving a "taken-for-granted status" "because hetero-romance is depicted as powerful." "Both ordinary and exceptional constructions of heterosexuality work to normalize its status because it becomes difficult to imagine anything other than this form of social relationship or anyone outside of these bonds," they concluded. "These films provide powerful portraits of a multifaceted and pervasive heterosexuality that likely facilitates the reproduction of heteronormativity."

The SWS press release concluded: "President Obama may have declared June to be Gay Pride Month, but entertainment for children therefore continues to perpetuate a less inclusive message, leaving those outside its confines with little to build their own dreams of happily ever after."

Sexuality expert Dr. Judith Reisman told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) yesterday that the "politically correct" study reveals "the growing dominance of Heterophobia within academia and the spread of heterophobes among female professionals."

"Now, if the Ladies of the Sociology Society think pornography is becoming the heteronorm and that Disney is contributing to that form of what is really Heterophobia, they might have an argument," Reisman noted. "However, the Ladies of the Sociology Society appear to favor Homoerotic child propaganda, as the current academic party line dictates."


Why women need a high-income husband

(Such as a plumber, electrician or a government "consultant")

The latest edition of the Jean Hailes Foundation magazine came out yesterday and it has a really good article, called “Great Expectations”, dealing with all the ridiculous stuff that women push themselves to achieve and which ultimately don’t matter at all. (I hope that sentence makes sense). Their resident psychologist, Mandy Deeks, answered some “typical” questions, and one in particular struck a chord with me:
“Question: Trying to work and raise a family is pushing me to breaking point! At work I feel guilty for not being with my children, and by the time I get home, I’m so drained that I don’t have the energy to interact with the kids. Who are these women who ‘have-it-all’? Answer : Many women try to ‘have-it-all’ but end up feeling torn and not good enough. Ask yourself these questions:

• Do I have realistic expectations of myself?

• What is important to me? (e.g. relationships, family, career)

• What values are important to me? What kind of mother, partner, worker or friend do I want to be?

• How do I want to look after my health?

Answering these questions can help give you some direction and highlight where you may need to make changes.”
Whilst I’m lucky enough now to work from a home base, and largely dictate the hours that I work to fit around school/young child requirements (which, translated, means that I do as much work as ever but now do a fair portion of it in the early am hours), this time last year I was working a 9 – 5 (plus some evenings) office-based role and trying desperately to juggle work commitments around daycare opening and closing times. All the while I was wondering whether my three children were better off being emotionally scarred from days spent with non-family carers, or better off being denied toys, travel and the education experience of childcare. Despite being a financial planner that was one equation that I just couldn’t perfectly solve.

Giving up work to look after the kids sounds wonderful as a concept, but for many of us it isn’t financially practical. Even if it is financially achievable by selling the house or taking no holidays for the next ten years, it’s often still not attractive - swapping work stress for financial stress doesn’t necessarily make us happier. But then getting home late at night, tired and snappy isn’t a perfect outcome either. Talk about neverending parental guilt!

Personally, I’ve sacrificed some income to work part-time, figuring that that will give my kids the best of both worlds.


The Malice of Mondoweiss

Argument by example has no status in science or logic -- except as an illustration of an already clearly established generalization. You can find examples to "prove" just about anything you like. But such constraints don't bother Leftist agitators. Their motivation is hate and hate is blind to logic

On June 4, Max Blumenthal and Joseph Dana released on the Internet, via Mondoweiss and The Huffington Post, their now infamous video “Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem.” The video presented a visual compendium of college-age, drunken Jews, in restaurants and on the street, spewing undeniably and phenomenally ignorant, ugly, and racist comments about Barack Obama. All of the young men and women shown ought now be committed to spending a healthy measure of their coming adulthoods to overcoming the shame of their outing as dimwitted bigots.

The video received mostly negative attention, though it was roundly praised by the Israel-hating commenting community at the Mondoweiss blog. Some people tried to account for the awful behavior by offering the bogus, distracting excuse for the students that they were drunk. Serious criticisms of the video itself, however, were that the young people in the video could hardly be considered representative, of anything – while the clear intent, later expressly confirmed both by Blumenthal and Mondoweiss’s co-bloggers, Philip Weiss and Adam Horowitz , was that it did, indeed, represent something characteristic – and that the video seemed to be intending a criticism of Israel (the raison d’etre of Mondoweiss) while the students were all, in fact, not Israelis, but American Jews.

The video’s content is so ugly and pathetic, the rationale for it so wrongheaded and dishonest, that within hours Huffington Post removed it from the site. Reported Blumenthal later about the decision: “I don’t see that it has any real news value,” the administrator told me. “For me it only proves that one can find drunk people willing to say just about anything. Especially drunk, moronic people.” YouTube followed suit.

A couple of days later, Blumenthal justified himself on Mondoweiss, declaring himself to have been “censored” by Huffington. This kind of puerile and disingenuous posturing is typical of all the actors involved. They all do much serious chest puffing about being “journalists,” but still Blumenthal feigns that a publisher’s choice not, in fact, to publish something, or its decision to correct a publishing error, is something other than editorial judgment at work – the kind of judgment by which journalists and other writers are regularly denied publication. No legal authority blocked public access to the video. Blumenthal is free to contract with whoever is willing to show his work. The video is visible in snippets, still, all over the Internet. The rapper 50 Cent posted it on his website, where it reaped the predictable whirlwind of counter racist scatology back. But characterizing Huffington’s decision as “censorship” – like a high school student newspaper editor denied the subversive wish to publish this week’s issue in virtual-cow-shit Smell-O-Vision – is representative of the hysterical vocabulary and devious propagandizing of Blumenthal, Weiss, and Horowitz.

All throughout Blumenthal’s defense of himself, and that offered by Weiss and Horowitz four days later, the low, dishonest confusion of categories continues. Israeli is elided into Zionist, Zionist into American Jew supportive of Israel’s existence, that category into American Jew who attends Yeshiva, into one who makes aliyah to Israel, into one of the dopes in the video. Blumenthal wants to undermine the moral legitimacy of Israel and he attempts it by substituting American Jewish students on drunken holiday. The intellectual rigor is awe inspiring, the journalistic method beyond reproach. Read Israeli blogger Yaacov Lozowick’s description of the area where the video was shot.

Said Blumenthal, “I do not and have never claimed that the characters that appeared in my video were representative of general public opinion in Israel. They reflect only a slice of reality, which is reality nonetheless.”

One can never be sure whether the arguments are consciously deceitful or the product of remarkably unconscious prejudice – or if these guys aren’t, one must say, really, very smart. The whole intent of the video is to stain the Israeli nation, and beyond that the Zionist belief in the need and justness of a Jewish state that is the basis of an Israeli nation. Of course, Blumenthal is claiming representativeness. The video is otherwise purposeless. And he does it by substituting some American Jews for Israel and never understands that the difference matters. The “slice of reality” – which isn’t, anyway, by that virtue alone significant – is deceptive. Blumenthal cannot see this. All of the cultural, sociological, and political distinctions are meaningless. The students are all Zionists. Enough said.

The obvious reality, historically demonstrated far more forcefully than Blumenthal’s petty propagandistic distortions, is that if one sought it out, one could find the same vile bigotry voiced by (non-Jewish) whites against blacks, French and Dutch against Algerians and Muslims, Italians against Albanians – oh, dear, need I go on? And dare I say – Palestinians against Jews? (One small example, via Jeffrey Goldberg, from the late Nizar Rayyan: “I asked him if he believed, as some Hamas theologians do [and certainly as many Hezbollah leaders do] that Jews are the ‘sons of pigs and apes.’”)

What we see in the video are, according to Blumenthal, “the painful consequences of prolonged Zionist indoctrination.” (Indoctrination – that’s a good loaded word. Nothing, I’m sure, that Blumenthal would imagine going on anywhere in Palestinian schools, let’s say. Nothing, theologically, I don’t know, about, say – pigs and apes?) It is all “the disturbing spectacle of young Jews behaving like fascist soccer hooligans in the heart of the capitol of Israel and the spiritual home of the Jewish people,” where “vitriolic levels of racism are able to flow through the streets of Jerusalem like sewage” and “the grandsons of Holocaust survivors feel compelled to offer the Shoah as justification to behave like fascist street thugs.”

Gracious. Where to begin when a journalist uses words so carelessly, so maliciously? The increasingly ubiquitous “fascist” we can take here as merely a synonym for the then redundant “thugs,” which I guess is a little weightier in menace than “hooligans,” though aren’t those “soccer hooligans” usually prone to riot and violence? Don’t believe I saw any behavior like that anywhere in the video. And the racism flows “through the streets of Jerusalem like sewage.” (straight from the United States, actually, but shh!) All this occurring before the delicate, we know, Jewish nationalistic and religious sensibilities of Blumenthal, in the – hear the deflation of the poor man’s will – “heart of the capitol of Israel and the spiritual home of the Jewish people.”

Oy, what a thespian. And fraud. Think Mary McCarthy on Lillian Hellman.

Much more HERE


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.


Sunday, June 28, 2009

Could this happen in Britain?

I doubt that many modern day Brits would have the ticker for it anyway but if they did the guy concerned would not be praised by the authorities. He would be bawled out and punished in some way for breaching "Elf 'n Safety" rules. You must go through the "proper channels" before doing anything. Story below from Australia

Firefighters have praised a Williamstown diner for single handedly extinguishing a potentially fatal warehouse blaze.

Joe Vetesi was dining with three friends at Williamstowns Satorini restaurant when he heard a call for help about 10pm. Noticing a fire in a Parker St warehouse he ran to help. "I have 29 years CFA experience so I'd like to think I know what I'm doing," Mr Vetesi said.

Mr Vetesi scaled a three metre high fence to gain entry to the warehouse and sourced water to extinguish the blaze. "My first concern was that people were inside but once I realised the warehouse was unoccupied I went about putting the fire out," he said.

Two fire crews attended the scene. Newport senior station officer Shane Rhodes praised Mr Vetesis actions. "When we arrived the fire was basically extinguished - he did a good job," he said.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (1)

It's part of the Marxist hate they learn in social work schools: The middle classes are the enemy and the "worker" can do no wrong. Too bad if the occasional child get brutalized and killed

Social workers in Doncaster failed to intervene before a father snapped the spine of his 16-month-old daughter despite being aware she was at significant risk, an inquiry has found. Amy Howson was punched on numerous occasions by her father, James, leaving her with fractures to her arms, legs and ribs. Basic procedures that might have prevented her death were not followed. The 25-year-old was later sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in prison.

A serious case review into the way social services dealt with the family revealed that there had been sufficient information about the father’s violence for action to have been taken. It was one of two serious case reviews published today into the deaths of youngsters murdered in the borough of Doncaster, South Yorkshire. There was such concern at the inadequacy of the children’s services that, earlier this year, the Government sent in a leadership team to manage the council’s social services department and the then mayor, Martin Winter, made it clear he would not be seeking re-election. In total the deaths of eight children known to the town’s social services since 2004 are being investigated.

In a separate serious case review into the death of Alfie Goddard, who died from head injuries in May last year at 11 weeks old, agencies were criticised for failing to heed warning signs. The child’s father, Craig Goddard, 24, a man who struggled with alcohol and drugs, threw the child to the floor because he was crying. He was known to have had issues over controlling his temper.

The report’s authors concluded that agencies failed to recognise that anger, mental health problems, substance use and domestic violence could be risk factors for children. Individual bodies, including social services and health workers, generally acted in isolation. “There was very little communication between agencies and no co-ordinated involvement with the family,” said the report. "There was also a tendency for agencies to concentrate on the needs of the parents without considering the impact on the children.”

It was the shockingly violent death of Amy Howson in December 2007 that pushed Doncaster’s social service provision onto the national stage. In the report’s conclusion, the authors suggest: “The murder of Child B (Amy Howson) by her father was not predictable given the information and knowledge held on him and other family members by agencies. “However, there was sufficient information and knowledge on family members, including (the father), held by individual agencies to conclude that, on balance, both Child B and (and another child) were at risk of significant harm from him. “Some agencies within the Doncaster multi-agency child protection system failed to follow basic safeguarding procedures and did not take proper and effective action to safeguard and promote the welfare of Child B and (another child).”

The report also suggested that the Doncaster Community and Schools Social Worker Service, the Youth Inclusion Support Service and the Doncaster PCT Health Visiting Service missed key opportunities to intervene to help the child. The borough’s children’s services, which received only one star in the Audit Commission’s assessment last year, remain under the control of the Government’s intervention team.

Gareth Williams, the director of children’s services, insisted that plans are now in place to offer an effective service run by experienced staff. However, he admitted that there were still problems with recruitment. Julie Bolus, director of quality and clinical assurance for NHS Doncaster, said that changes to working procedures have been made, including how information is shared with other agencies.


Yet again British social workers were too busy harassing middle-class parents to deal with dangerous feral families (2)

Social services are in the dock again after a toddler was left to die at the hands of a schoolboy babysitter despite repeated warnings that she was in grave danger. Demi-Leigh Mahon, two, was punched, kicked and bitten by 15-year-old Karl McCluney, while her drug-addict mother was out collecting child benefit. The little girl suffered at least 68 separate injuries.

As McCluney was convicted of murder the catalogue of failings by social services was finally revealed. An independent report found that social workers should have taken action. They knew that Demi-Leigh was being raised in a drugs den. Members of the public and neighbours had told children's services that the child was left crying a lot and that her mother, Ann-Marie McDonald, was injecting heroin and was unable to care for her. Police had reports of domestic abuse.

Yet at no point did social services intervene, and Demi-Leigh was never placed on the 'at risk' register. The case is the second in two years in which Salford social services - branded inadequate by Ofsted in 2007 - have been found to be at fault. However, no one has been disciplined over the errors which enabled Demi-Leigh's mother to leave her daughter with McCluney, who had previously threatened to beat up a teacher and stab another man.

In March last year 31-year-old Miss McDonald - known as Sindy - was given a rehabilitation order after being convicted of supplying heroin and cocaine from her flat in Eccles, near Manchester. But she failed to comply and took Demi-Leigh to a friend's flat, resulting in a warrant for her arrest.

On July 15, she left her daughter with McCluney at his father's flat. It was his 15th birthday. When Demi-Leigh began crying he flew into a rage. He subjected the defenceless toddler to an appalling assault, punching her in the face, biting her and kicking her. When Miss McDonald returned after an hour and a half, Demi-Leigh was barely breathing. She died in hospital two days later.

McCluney admitted manslaughter but a jury at Manchester Crown Court found him guilty of murder. He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced next month.

Last night Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, and grandmother, Frances Gillon, said they twice contacted the council up to six months before the toddler's death. Mrs Gillon, 68, said: 'It is a disgusting failure by social services. 'They should have done something. There was no communication and they need their back sides kicking.'

Demi-Leigh's father, Gary Mahon, who left the family home when she was just three months old and now lives in Morecambe, Lancashire, said: 'Demi was a much-loved and wanted child. She smiled so much she looked like a Cheshire Cat.'

In a statement Miss McDonald said: 'I always tried to do my best and I'd do anything I could for Demi but sometimes I feel I didn't get the help and support I needed.

Ministers told Salford social services bosses last year to make improvements or be removed following Demi-Leigh's death and a report on failings which led to the death of a twoyearold boy in a blaze at his home. Additional social workers have now been recruited and the improvement notice has been lifted.

John Merry, the leader of Salford council, said: 'I do not want to make excuses, but the report's sad conclusion is that this tragedy could not have been foreseen and it could not have been prevented.'


Israel will not sacrifice its security

By Greg Sheridan

BARACK Obama has become ahero to the Palestinians. Meanwhile, a poll published in The Jerusalem Post shows a minuscule 6 per cent of Israelis believe Obama's administration and policies are pro-Israel.

This week I spent a morning in the Palestinian West Bank capital of Ramallah. Unlike most of the West Bank, Ramallah is a thriving city of shopping malls, new apartment buildings and designer brands.

Riad Malki, the Palestinian Authority's Foreign Minister, cites Obama's attitude as the biggest positive change in the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. Another Palestinian politician, Mustafa Barghouti, tells me he found Obama's speech to the Muslim world in Cairo inspiring: "We were especially touched when President Obama compared the Palestinian struggle with that of African Americans for civil rights, or blacks in South Africa under apartheid. That was new language. We saw some fairness in the US President."

Israelis point out that Obama didn't actually equate those diverse situations but, rather, urged Palestinians to commit to non-violent political processes. It may well be that Palestinians will wind up disappointed by what Obama can ultimately deliver to them. And it may equally be that Israelis will ultimately be reassured about Obama's commitment to their security.

But there is no doubt that Obama has stirred a frisson of hope among the Palestinians and anxiety among the Israelis. He has done this through his Cairo speech, his administration's repeated criticism of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, and his sustained advocacy of a more urgent peace process.

In response, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a speech in which he accepted the need for a Palestinian state. He had done this before in his political career but not since becoming Prime Minister (for the second time) a few months ago. This is especially telling because Netanyahu's Likud Party split when its former leader, Ariel Sharon, embarked on a disengagement plan to unilaterally withdraw from Palestinian territories. Netanyahu stayed with, and led, the Likud hardliners who opposed Sharon's plan.

The Palestinians are unhappy with aspects of Netanyahu's speech. But the speech does mean that all the big Israeli parties are now committed to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

One of the key figures in Israeli politics whose backing was essential for Netanyahu to make his landmark speech was the sleek, smooth figure of Gideon Sa'ar. Sa'ar is Israel's Education Minister, the No.2 ranked politician in the Likud Party, widely seen as Netanyahu's logical successor and a future prime minister. In a long discussion with Sa'ar at his Jerusalem office, I ask whether he is happy with Netanyahu's speech. "Happy is not the right word," he says. "But I support the Prime Minister. I thought he stood on the right red lines: Jerusalem, refugees, defensible borders."

What Sa'ar means is that Netanyahu insisted that Jerusalem would remain an Israeli city, Palestinian refugees and their descendants (now numbering several million) would not be allowed to return to Israel proper, and that an independent Palestinian state would have to be a demilitarised state.

"It's quite clear that today the dispute in Israel is not between those who favour territorial compromise and those who don't," Sa'ar says. "The argument is more about the extent of the compromise and the powers that this entity (a Palestinian state) will hold. The real argument inside Israel is not so big. Those who support a (Palestinian) state support a state minus, others support an entity plus."

Sa'ar, like Netanyahu, insists a Palestinian state must be demilitarised, which means limited rights to sign military alliances, control its own airspace or import certain weapons systems.

Other influential figures inside Likud still oppose a Palestinian state. Danny Danon, a young Likud politician and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, who is thought to have a big future, tells me he believes an independent Palestinian state will reproduce the toxic syndrome of Hamas control of Gaza. This would engage in terrorism against Israel, which would require Israeli military intervention. That does not mean he wants Israel to rule the Palestinians forever. In Danon's vision, the West Bank will eventually go back to Jordan and the Gaza Strip to Egypt.

But the Israeli consensus is now with Netanyahu and Sa'ar. For his part, Sa'ar does not see an independent Palestinian state emerging quickly: "Everyone agrees today it's quite dangerous to step to a solution now. It's just not practical at this time." Sa'ar comes to this conclusion because he believes Palestinian institutions cannot yet enforce security or run a state. He thinks, therefore, that the American focus on stopping all building in Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 borders will not enhance peace.

"Some people believe that if Israel does X - withdraws to the '67 borders, uproots the settlements - then we'll have peace," Sa'ar says. "The truth is that our will, or our willingness to make concessions, is not the most important factor. A deep change in Palestinian and Arab society is the most important thing. Until now they never recognised Israel's right to exist."

Netanyahu has lately insisted that the Palestinians and neighbouring Arab governments recognise Israel as a Jewish state. All of Israel's Arab interlocutors have refused point blank to do this. Israel's population is 75 per cent Jewish, the only majority Jewish state in the world. Recognising Israel as a Jewish state would seem to be no more controversial than calling Italy a Christian state or any of the Arab nations Muslim states.

Sa'ar explains its significance: "The UN decision of 1947 (to create Israel) is all about a Jewish state." He argues that without explicit recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the demands for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank are really a disguise for a strategy aimed at the destruction of Israel in stages.

Sa'ar argues, controversially, that the peace process of the past decade and a half has made things worse for both Israelis and Palestinians: "After 16 years of the peace process we stand in a place where we have less security than before and the Palestinians have less of an economy. "The truth is, without working at the grassroots to change the reality on the ground, we can't build reliable processes. We need to change the Palestinian economy, create jobs, build a better standard of living, build a Palestinian administration. Until now, the peace process exists in political meetings, not between the people, and on the ground things don't get better."

One area where Israelis and Palestinians could co-operate, Sa'ar believes, is in encouraging tourism to the great Christian sites, such as Bethlehem, on Palestinian land.

Sa'ar is equally determined to reject the American demand for a freeze on any building in Jewish settlements beyond the 1967 borders: "We don't intend to expand the settlements. We just want people there to live normally and raise their children until negotiations are complete. The demand for a complete freeze on all building actually pre-judges the outcome of negotiations. It is not a demand the international community would put on any other nation."

Sa'ar points out that Israel's unilateral withdrawal of all settlements from the Gaza Strip, and the associated closing down of several settlements in the West Bank, brought no peace or stability.

The government of Netanyahu and Sa'ar is to some extent locked in a battle of wills with the Obama administration over a total freeze on building in the settlements. It is by no means clear how that battle of wills will be decided. The air of steely resolve that Sa'ar exudes will play its part.


Nazi lovers? Not us, say David Cameron’s new EU friends in Latvia

The trek across Eastern Europe to find David Cameron’s Nazi-loving friends came to a wholly unsatisfactory conclusion yesterday. It turns out they are just a bunch of sweeties. Instead of inhabiting a dimly lit beer cellar echoing to the sound of steel-studded jackboots, the headquarters of the Fatherland and Freedom Party is about as menacing as a maternity ward.

Their three-room apartment is right next to the best hot-chocolate shop in Riga, the 100-year-old Café Kuze, and that’s where you go if you want to talk about new alignments in the European Parliament. “Hi,” says a chubby man in a Hawaiian shirt. “We’re the Tories of Latvia.”

Perhaps the party used the same line when they met William Hague in London in March. Certainly the party, which has served in Latvian coalition governments for the best part of eight years, seemed a plausible enough member of the Gang of Seven, the Conservative and Nationalist Parties that make up the newly minted European Conservatives and Reformists Group in Strasbourg.

This was to be Mr Cameron’s first roll of the European dice, his way of demonstrating that he was not going to be a pushover in matters of deeper EU integration. Somehow though the grouping has come to resemble the cocktail party from Hell: in one corner there are breakaway Belgians, in another homophobic Poles, a sprinkling of Bulgarians, some fully clothed Czechs — and yes, sure enough, supposedly Nazi-sympathising Latvians. “I don’t know where all that Nazi stuff comes from,” says Janis Tomels, 39, the international co-ordinator of the party.

Actually, there is in the view of the Western press and experienced Nazi-hunters such as Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a pretty simple explanation. The Fatherland and Freedom Party supports a march every year of veterans of the Latvian Legion from the tall Freedom Monument in Riga to the cathedral. In the past they have worn their old uniforms. I visited an old legionnaire officer and he proudly opened a cupboard to show me his mothballed uniform — complete with the distinctive runes of the Waffen SS, for the legion had been incorporated into Hitler’s army in 1943. “We weren’t fighting for him,” said the former colonel, “but against the Soviets.”

The legion was a ragbag of soldiers and they included, among the well-trained and disciplined infantry and grenadiers, some members of the Arajs gang, Latvians who had either personally killed hundreds of Jews or who had helped the Germans to carry out the massacres. About 80,000 Latvian Jews lost their lives in the war. “We have submitted the names of 13 suspects who deserve serious investigation,” says Dr Zuroff. “So far there has been no sign of the Latvian state prosecutor taking up the cases.”

The problem, then, is whether a party remains a credible ally of the Conservatives as long as it glorifies the legion. How tainted are the war heroes of the Baltic, and how modern are the East European parties that present themselves as Conservative allies in the European Parliament?

Latvian politicians across the spectrum condemn the Arajs killers and hail the rest of the legion as patriots. The slaughtering of the Latvian Jews occurred, they say, on German orders and was conducted before the legion was set up. There can, therefore, be no collective guilt for the legionnaires. In 1950 the US declared: “The Waffen SS units of the Baltic states are to be seen as units that stood apart and were different from the German SS in terms of goals, ideologies, operations and constitution.” “That is why the American and the then Labour Government in Britain allowed surviving conscripts to settle in Britain and the US as political refugees after the war,” says Roberts Zile, who represents the Fatherland and Freedom Party in Strasbourg.

Gunta Sloga, political correspondent for the liberal Diena newspaper, said: “My grandfather wriggled out of serving for the Soviets, was conscripted by the Germans and after doing time in an Allied PoW camp, he returned home in 1947. I should have the right to commemorate him — and just about every Latvian is in a similar situation.”

One supporter of the veterans’ march is a former European Commissioner, Sandra Kalniete. Her family was deported to Siberia where she was born in 1952: she lost three of her grandparents in the enforced exile. Paying tribute to the legion, she says, is not a way of denigrating the Holocaust but simply acknowledging a historical truth.

The problem is mainly about how Latvia should deal with the Russians. Altogether the European Union has almost a million Russians living within its borders and many of them are unhappy. It is only a matter of time, say analysts in Riga, before the Kremlin tries to put pressure on the Baltic states to be nicer to them. Mr Tomels says: “If the Russians don’t like it here, they are free to leave.” And a chill enters the voice of Mr Cameron’s man in Riga.



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.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jewish school broke race laws by refusing boy whose mother had converted

This is muddled thinking even by the standards of modern British law. Despite what the judges said, Jews are a religion, not a race. There are Jews of all races. And the fact that the school was willing to accept a convert shows that the discrimination was not based on ancestry. It was based on religion. How can you be converted into a different race??? Even Michael Jackson couldn't manage that. The school just wanted the conversion to be up to orthodox standards and not some token thing

A leading Jewish state school broke race laws by refusing to admit a boy whose mother had converted to the religion, the Court of Appeal ruled yesterday. JFS, formerly the Jewish Free School, is highly oversubscribed and has turned away several pupils for not meeting its criteria of Jewishness. Previous court hearings have supported its stance. Yesterday, however, the court ruled in favour of the parents of a boy named only as M. The school, in Brent, northwest London, rejected the 12-year-old child because his mother converted to Judaism at a Progressive rather than Orthodox synagogue. M’s father is Jewish, but custom dictates that the faith line passes through the mother.

The judges said that “the requirement that if a pupil is to qualify for admission his mother must be Jewish, whether by descent or by conversion, is a test of ethnicity which contravenes the Race Relations Act”.

The ruling will have widespread implications for other faith schools and puts the court on a collision course with the Office of the Chief Rabbi, Sir Jonathan Sacks, from which the school takes its definition of which children are Jewish. It strikes at the heart of whether being Jewish is a religious or racial question and means that such schools will now have to adopt a religious practice test.

JFS said that it was “disappointed” and would seek leave to appeal to the House of Lords — a decision supported by Sir Jonathan. “I have advised the leadership of JFS that they have my full personal support,” he said.

Other Jewish groups, however, welcomed the ruling, saying they had been marginalised and discouraged from speaking out. Rabbi Danny Rich, the chief executive of Liberal Judaism, said: “The JFS, a state comprehensive funded by taxpayers, has been exclusively following one Jewish religious authority and ignoring the rest. We object to standard-setting by just one section of the community to the detriment of the rest. The JFS will now be open to children from all types of Jewish background.”

The court ruling stated: “It appears to us clear that Jews constitute a racial group defined principally by ethnic origin and additionally by conversion and that to discriminate against a person on the ground that he either is or is not Jewish is therefore to discriminate against him on racial grounds. “If for theological reasons a fully subscribed Christian faith school refused to admit a child on the ground that, albeit practising Christians, the child’s family were of Jewish origin, it is hard to see what answer there could be to a claim for race discrimination. The refusal of JFS to admit M was accordingly, in our judgment, less favourable treatment of him on racial grounds.”

John Halford, who represented the boy’s father, said: “It is unlawful for a child’s ethnic origins to be used as the criterion for school entry. Such a practice is even more unacceptable in the case of a comprehensive school funded by the taxpayer.” Many other Jewish schools operate according to similar policies and will be affected by the court’s decision.

David Lightman’s daughter was also turned away by JFS because it did not accept her Jewish status, even though her mother is head of English at the school. Mr Lightman, an Orthodox Jew, said yesterday: “This is a victory for common sense and religious freedom. We are talking about two Jewish children who want an education. If the school thinks it’s worth spending millions of pounds to stop that happening, then they need to re-examine what Judaism is about.”

JFS is one of Britain’s oldest Jewish schools and is the largest Orthodox Jewish school in Europe, with 2,000 pupils. It is described by Ofsted as outstanding and is oversubscribed every academic year.


More arrogant British bureaucrats

'I was turned into a pariah for complaining about a yob' -- Woman blacklisted by her local council. And the council would not admit that they had got it wrong. She had to go all the way to the High Court to slap them down. Legal costs: Half a million pounds -- to be paid by the council's insurers. I'm guessing that when the insurance policy comes up for renewal they will have to pay a huge premium to get any insurance cover at all

Jane Clift saw it as her public duty to report a drunk she saw trampling flowers in a park. But her efforts led to a surreal nightmare in which she was branded potentially violent and put on a council blacklist with thugs and sex attackers. Her details were circulated to an extraordinary range of public and private bodies, including doctors, dentists, opticians, libraries, contraceptive clinics, schools and nurseries. Their staff were advised not to see her alone. The 43-year-old former care worker was forced to withdraw an application to become a foster parent and, eventually, to leave the town where she had lived for ten years.

Now, after a bitter four-year legal battle with Slough Council, the stain on her character has finally been removed. The High Court ordered the council to pay her 12,000 pounds in libel damages after a case which has cost taxpayers an estimated 500,000 in legal fees. Mrs Clift said last night: 'I hope this means others will never have to go through the hell I have suffered.'

Jane Clift, 43, was 'outraged' in December 2005 on learning she had been put on the council's 'register of potentially violent persons', with officials warned only to approach her in pairs, a High Court jury heard during a week-long trial. Her QC, Hugh Tomlinson, said she was unfairly branded a trouble-maker in order to 'get rid of her' due to her persistence in pursuing complaints against the council and its staff.

The court heard in August 2005 Mrs Clift confronted an abusive drunk in the town's Sheffield Road Rest Gardens after she objected to a small boy vandalising a flower bed. Her deadlock with the council developed over Mrs Clift's claims that staff in its anti-social behaviour unit took no action over her complaints.

Former care worker, Mrs Clift, claimed damages for libel from the council and its then head of public protection, Patrick Kelleher, both of whom denied the claims. Each insisted that they acted in good faith. On Wednesday the jury rejected allegations that Mr Kelleher had acted maliciously, but upheld Mrs Clift's libel claim, awarding £12,000 damages.

Ms Clift sued for libel over the insertion of her name on the violent persons' register, and over an email distributed by Mr Kelleher. The jury found the disputed register entry and email were not 'substantially true', but cleared Mr Kelleher of allegations of malice in composing the email.

She said she had no idea such a register even existed before her name was added to it. The entry expired after 18 months but by then she had been forced to leave Slough. Mrs Clift, who now lives in Birmingham, said: 'I am not and never have been violent - as the jury have found. 'It has taken me four years to clear my name and I hope Slough and other councils never again misuse their registers.'

Simon Davies, from the human rights watchdog Privacy International, said: 'This just shows the megalomania of these local authorities. This poor woman was subjected to a Kafkaesque ordeal because of an incorrect allegation made by one official. 'It is the sort of behaviour that we would have condemned if it came from China or Russia. Our councils seem to be out of control.'

During the eight-day hearing the court was told Mrs Clift had told another council worker that, as far as she was concerned, Miss Rashid could 'drop down dead'. She followed up with a letter in which she wrote: 'I felt so filled with anger that I am certain I would have physically attacked her if she had been anywhere near me. I truly am not of that nature and so, surely, this should act as a wake-up call to the borough as to the capacity she has for offending people.'

But her counsel, Hugh Tomlinson, said the letter was misinterpreted and the decision to put her on the register had been 'completely ridiculous'. Her name was added to the blacklist because she was 'a thorn in their side' and the council thought the move would mean no-one would take her seriously.

Mr Justice Tugendhat ordered Slough to pay the legal costs of the case, estimated at between 450,000 to 500,000 pounds. Mrs Clift brought the action under a 'no win no fee' arrangement with her legal team.

A council spokesman said later: 'The jury found that what we recorded about Mrs Clift was not true, but they were not prepared to find that we acted in bad faith. 'We will reflect carefully on how we need to respond.'

See here and here (The Daily Mail article was incomplete so I have inserted part of a report on the case above from another newspaper)

Stupid feminist ideology puts theory before reality -- as usual

Swedish parents keep 2-year-old's "gender" secret

A couple of Swedish parents have stirred up debate in the country by refusing to reveal whether their two-and-a-half-year-old child is a boy or a girl. Pop’s parents, both 24, made a decision when their baby was born to keep Pop’s sex a secret. Aside from a select few – those who have changed the child’s diaper – nobody knows Pop’s gender; if anyone enquires, Pop’s parents simply say they don’t disclose this information.

In an interview with newspaper Svenska Dagbladet in March, the parents were quoted saying their decision was rooted in the feminist philosophy that gender is a social construction. “We want Pop to grow up more freely and avoid being forced into a specific gender mould from the outset,” Pop’s mother said. “It's cruel to bring a child into the world with a blue or pink stamp on their forehead.”

The child's parents said so long as they keep Pop’s gender a secret, he or she will be able to avoid preconceived notions of how people should be treated if male or female. Pop's wardrobe includes everything from dresses to trousers and Pop's hairstyle changes on a regular basis. And Pop usually decides how Pop is going to dress on a given morning. Although Pop knows that there are physical differences between a boy and a girl, Pop's parents never use personal pronouns when referring to the child – they just say Pop. "I believe that the self-confidence and personality that Pop has shaped will remain for a lifetime," said Pop's mother.

But while Pop’s parents say they have received supportive feedback from many of their peers, not everyone agrees that their chosen course of action will have a positive outcome. “Ignoring children's natures simply doesn’t work,” says Susan Pinker, a psychologist and newspaper columnist from Toronto, Canada, who wrote the book The Sexual Paradox, which focuses on sex differences in the workplace. “Child-rearing should not be about providing an opportunity to prove an ideological point, but about responding to each child’s needs as an individual,” Pinker tells The Local. “It’s unlikely that they’ll be able to keep this a secret for long. Children are curious about their own identity, and are likely to gravitate towards others of the same sex during free play time in early childhood.”

Pinker says there are many ways that males and females differ from birth; even if gender is kept ‘secret,’ prenatal hormones developed in the second trimester of pregnancy already alter the way the child behaves and feels. She says once children can speak, males tell aggressive stories 87 per cent of the time, while females only 17 per cent. In a study, children aged two to four were given a task to work together for a reward, and boys used physical tactics 50 times more than girls, she says.

But Swedish gender equality consultant [A "consultant". Wow! That sounds authoritative! They would have got a different response if they had consulted me -- and I DO have a doctorate in Psychology] Kristina Henkel says Pop’s parents' experiment might have positive results. “If the parents are doing this because they want to create a discussion with other adults about why gender is important, then I think they can make a point of it,” Henkel says in a telephone interview with The Local. “You can talk about there being a non-stereotypical gender; if you are a girl you can do the same as a boy, and if you’re a boy you can do the same as a girl.”

Henkel also says a child's sex can deeply affect how they are treated growing up, and distract them from simply being a human being. “If the child is dressed up as a girl or boy, it affects them because people see and treat them in a more gender-typical way,” Henkel explains. “Girls are told they are cute in their dresses, and boys are told they are cool with their car toys. But if you give them no gender they will be seen more as a human or not a stereotype as a boy or girl.” She says that without these gender stereotypes, children can build character as individuals, not hindered by preconceived notions of what they should be as males or females. “I think [No harm in thinking but what evidence does she have?] that can make these kids stronger,” Henkel says.

Anna Nordenström, a paediatric endocrinologist at Karolinska Institutet, says it’s hard to know what effects the parents' decision will have on Pop. “It will affect the child, but it’s hard to say if it will hurt the child,” says Nordenström, who studies hormonal influences on gender development. “I don’t know what they are trying to achieve. It’s going to make the child different, make them very special.” She says if Pop is still ‘genderless’ by the time he or she starts school, Pop will certainly receive a lot of attention from classmates.

“We don’t know exactly what determines sexual identity, but it’s not only sexual upbringing,” says Nordenström. “Gender-typical behaviour, sexual preferences and sexual identity usually go together. There are hormonal and other influences that we don’t know that will determine the gender of the child.”

Both Nordenström and Pinker refer to a controversial case from 1967 when a circumcision left one of two twin brothers without a penis. Dr. John Money, who asserted that gender was learned rather than innate, convinced the parents to raise 'David' as 'Brenda' and the child had cosmetic genitalia reconstruction surgery. She was raised as a female, with girls’ clothes, games and codes of behaviour. The parents never told Brenda the secret until she was a teenager and rebelled against femininity. She then started receiving testosterone injections and underwent another genetic reconstruction process to become David again. David Reimer denounced the experiment as a crushing failure before committing suicide at the age of 38. “I don’t think that trying to keep a child’s sex a secret will fool anyone, nor do I think it’s wise or ethical,” says Pinker. “As with any family secret, when we try to keep an elemental truth from children, it usually blows up in the parent’s face, via psychosomatic illness or rebellious behaviour.”

But with a second child on the way, Pop's parents have no plans to change what they see as a winning formula. As for Pop, they say they will only reveal the child's sex when Pop thinks it's time.


Australia: Deadly bureaucracy

Ineptitude of self-serving know-all bureaucrats caused many deaths in the Victorian bushfires

The bureaucratic ineptitude being revealed at the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission is at once extraordinary and infuriating. The lessons have implications for every aspect of government in Australia and demand a radical rethink about the dominance of politicised bureaucracies within our lives. The emerging picture eerily imitates Franz Kafka's The Trial.

Government fire services furtively developed their doctrinaire rules, then enforced them with mindless zeal. Fire and emergency supremos were provided with limitless authority to bend citizens and communities to their rigid controls without effective scrutiny or supervision. What emerges is a layer of self-styled bureaucratic intelligentsia devising policies that became sacrosanct in themselves regardless of their original purpose. Ideological processes left no room for common sense, pragmatism or compassion, and opportunities to help vulnerable people were wasted. Policies bore testimony to the assumption that the population was so imbecilic as to need greater protection from itself than from raging wildfire.

Sound familiar? This mindset is magnified by its ubiquity in modern Australian government and alarm bells should be ringing. Failures equally significant but less conspicuous are probably simmering away beneath the whole gamut of populist government decision-making. The danger is fanned by the speed and dimension of decisions that are made under of a veil of urgency associated with recession, security and other confected emergencies.

Day after day, emergency service tsars present themselves to the royal commission as though they are the stars atop the tree of knowledge. The Country Fire Authority seems genuinely bamboozled that a handful of head office executives did not prove to be wiser than its thousands of volunteers who have intimate knowledge of local roads, properties and personalities. Directions, strategies and resources were issued and controlled by executives far removed from the horrific reality that their edicts and regulations created. Volunteers and citizens were left to fend for themselves after bureaucratic strategies descended into chaos.

Rigid and enforced controls were relaxed only when they were mocked into submission by a recalcitrant inferno. The winding trail of blunders growing from stubbornly centralised remote control defies the imagination. Emergency call centres were overwhelmed while extensive volunteer networks lay idle. NSW firefighters were called up with media fanfare and weren't provided with so much as a map. One homeowner was relieved to see a NSW bushfire tanker arrive at his front gate, only to learn it was lost.

ABC radio had been anointed the official emergency broadcaster with little regard for the millions who listen to commercial radio. Descriptions of the official information feed provided to the broadcaster conjure visions of a garbage chute funnelling ad hoc faxes, phone calls, emails and web bulletins. Producers and announcers consumed valuable time piecing together the scraps of intelligence.

To his credit the CFA chief officer continues to roll up to the royal commission to take his medicine. It will be interesting to see if his past and present ministers will also be required to testify and give an account of their stewardship. Neither justice nor recovery will be served if the bureaucrats are hung out to dry by themselves.

The vast body of evidence suggests a great deal of loss and destruction could have been avoided if local knowledge, experience and commitment had been respected and used. Instead, the politicians and their bureaucrats shared a motivation to exert close and uncompromised control. An aggressive resistance to contestable advice allowed policy-makers to deny the existence of culpable knowledge. The mandarins eventually succumbed to their own intoxicating publicity and stared down the risk of their knowledge deficit. Dysfunctionality bred like a virus in a hotbed of intellectual conceit.

The implications are sobering for every aspect of government policy. School principals especially must be crying tears of blood as they witness the obscene waste of money occurring under the ridiculously rigid policies of the so-called Building the Education Revolution.

Of course the critical role of bureaucracy must be respected and communities are happy to oblige. However, such respect does not establish government entities as the sole repository of wisdom. People don't expect governments to be omniscient but they are entitled to hold them to a lie as much as a truth. Including communities in practical policy formulation must go far deeper than the cosmetic consultation most Australian governments practise.

It must also go deeper than community cabinet meetings and a prime ministerial revival of an imagined Australian lexicon. It also goes beyond the federal government's notion of "umpire politics" where decisions are designed to mute the lobbyists rather than genuinely serve the nation.

Real change requires courage and creativity that is shared and accepted with a parity of worth. The view that these qualities are vested exclusively in parliamentary and bureaucratic empires is a dangerous and culpable vanity that Australia simply cannot afford.



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.


Friday, June 26, 2009

Power-mad British bureaucrats again

Thou shalt NOT show individual initiative: Gardener who spruced up council car park for free faces legal action for criminal damage. The "criminal" greenery below

A public-spirited gardener has been told she could face prosecution for criminal damage after sprucing up a neglected patch of land in a car park. Green-fingered Jayne Bailey gave the concrete island on her housing estate a makeover as the 30-year-old cobbles were coming loose and becoming a safety hazard. So she removed the stones and replaced them with flowers from her own garden and from friends, turning a crumbling eyesore into a bright display that won praise from some of her neighbours.

However, she has since been told by Cornwall County Council to rip out the flowers and replace the cobbles herself - or foot the bill for contractors to do it. 'In a letter I have been told I have 28 days to replace it or they will come out and do the work and send me the bill,' said Mrs Bailey, who is in her 50s. 'They also threatened that they would go to the police and report me for criminal damage. 'This is bureaucratic madness. The little area was showing its age and the entire thing was a crumbling mess, covered in weeds and rubbish. Some of the local children had taken to removing the cobblestones to play with because it was in such a dilapidated condition. 'It now hosts an assortment of sun-loving plants suited to that area which are all thriving.

'The centre-piece is a eucalyptus with other plants such as jasmine, buddleia and fuchsias, which were all planted on a budget and designed to fill that space over the coming years with minimal maintenance.'

Many of Mrs Bailey's neighbours in Bodmin have welcomed the new greenery. Naomi Luke said: 'It looks a lot nicer. It was disgusting before. In fact it was a hazard. Now it is somewhere everyone can enjoy and looks pretty.'

It is not Mrs Bailey's first brush with town hall bosses for showing the kind of initiative that many would see as entirely praiseworthy. Five years ago she planted an overgrown area on the estate that was being used for fly-tipping. 'They threatened me then too,' she said. 'I do not want to make a claim on the land - I just don't want it turning into a dumping ground. 'I was told to replace it then but I didn't - how do they expect me to get brambles that I cut down?'

Mrs Bailey added: 'The council is more than happy for areas to remain an eyesore but they cannot even carry out basic repairs that have been high on the residents' list for many years.'

A spokesman insisted the council backed residents who wanted to spruce up the public areas around them but added: 'This is done in partnership with ourselves to ensure appropriate plants and maintenance.' He said: 'In this particular case no agreement was sought to carry out the works. Several complaints from residents have been received concerning the planting.'

However, his comments suggest the council's approach might not be as draconian as the letter to Mrs Bailey had threatened. 'A council horticulturist has been asked to look at the suitability of the planting,' he said. [Publicity brings a backdown, as usual. The children of the light love the light and the children of the darkness love the darkness (See John 3:19-20). If they had been decent human beings, they would have started out with a polite and courteous personal approach -- but impersonal accusations and threats are so much more pleasing to the diseased bureaucratic mind]


Conviction of Gypsy family reduces crime rate in a British county to 20-year low

A county's crime rate fell to a 20-year low after a notorious criminal family was jailed, police revealed yesterday. The Johnson family was a ruthless gang of travellers who carried out countless crimes over two decades, from cash machine raids to sheet metal thefts. Their most profitable targets, however, were country mansions, from which they stole antiques and works of art worth £30million. One of their raids, in which they targeted a multi-millionaire property tycoon, is thought to be the biggest ever burglary of a private home.

Since they were jailed last year, Gloucestershire Police said the county's crime rates have plummeted to levels last seen in the 1980s. Figures show there were 44,136 recorded crimes in Gloucestershire in 2008-09, down from 45,685 in 2007-08 - a fall of 3 per cent.

This followed an even bigger decrease from 2006-07, when 52,388 crimes were recorded - the year the Johnsons committed some of their most brazen thefts. Chief Constable Dr Timothy Brain said of their arrest: 'What that operation showed is that no one is untouchable.'

The Johnsons would stake out country mansions and stately homes for weeks at a time, to pinpoint the best means of entry and escape. Their targets included the 17th-century Wiltshire mansion of property tycoon Harry Hyams, where they stole property worth £23million in a raid described as Britain's biggest burglary of a private home. In February 2006, they smashed their way inside with a 4x4 vehicle and stripped the home of one of the country's largest private collections antiques, jewellery and china in ten minutes. Mr Hyams, who has an estimated fortune of £320 million, was not at home when the raid took place.

The month after the Hyams raid, police received an anonymous tip-off which led them to a bunker in Warwickshire where the Johnsons had stored some of their booty. A third of the property taken from Mr Hyams's house was found there.

Members of the Johnson family were last year found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary between April 8, 2005 and October 13, 2006. Ricky Johnson, 54, was jailed for eight years while his two sons, Richard 'Chad' Johnson, 33, and Albi Johnson, 25, were sentenced to 11 years and nine years respectively. Ricky's nephews, Danny O'Loughlin, 32, and Michael Nicholls, 29, were jailed for 11 years and ten years.

The notoriety of the Johnsons had been cemented when a BBC film crew spent weeks on the family's caravan site for a documentary in 2005. The family made clear their contempt for the law - but insisted they were scapegoats for crime in the area. Chad said: 'Don't get me wrong, I have committed a few burglaries and pinched a few handbags, but you grow out of it, get a family and settle down. I've got no GCSEs. 'I just know street life and gipsy life - that is all I know.'

The family's other targets included Warneford Place in Wiltshire, the home of Formula One advertising tycoon Paddy McNally, an old flame of the Duchess of York. The raid netted items worth £750,000. In all, detectives investigated 116 offences of country house burglaries, cash dispenser and metal thefts.


The domestic violence myths are still going strong

“Sentence first, verdict afterwards!” Remember that memorable line from Lewis Carroll’s classic, Through the Looking Glass? And if we take a recent Department of Justice report to heart, we will soon be marching to the tune of “Accusation first, incarceration next!” Adding to the absurdity, the DoJ report was written not by a recognized university researcher, but by a former probation officer who was once indicted on charges of stealing probation fees to set up a personal slush fund.

The Department of Justice report, “Practical Implications of Current Domestic Violence Research,” purports to pull together the research on partner abuse, a sort of handy-dandy guide for police officers, prosecutors, and judges. But the document ends up making a mockery of objective science and an impartial judiciary.

To understand where this 96-page report went wrong, you have to realize that the domestic violence industry has created a separate universe, a parallel legal system that puts on a fine show of respecting due process. But in this world the judicial outcome is virtually predetermined -- especially if the accused is a male.

As you ponder the many bloopers in this report, keep in mind the fact that all the research shows women are just as abusive as men. And men are unlikely to report the incident to law enforcement, so police reports are of questionable value.

So let’s peer through the looking-glass to find out what the Practical Implications report wants us to believe.

In the document, there is no such thing as a false allegation of abuse. So save yourself the trouble. Once an accusation of abuse is made, it’s simply a matter of meting out the proper punishment – the modern-day equivalent of “Off with her head!” Don’t look too hard for the word “alleged,” because that implies the accused person might actually be innocent.

And don’t expect the report to accurately summarize the studies, either. In some cases, the DoJ paper states the exact opposite of what the research really says. A couple examples…

The DoJ report informs us on page 11, “arrest deters repeat reabuse, whether suspects are employed or not.” But go back to the published research study and here’s what said it really says: “This research found no association between arresting the offender and an increased risk of subsequent aggression.”

In regard to restraining orders, we’re told that such orders “do not appear to significantly increase the risk of abuse” (page 59). But the study cited by the DoJ stated the opposite: “women with temporary protection orders in effect were [four times] more likely than women without protection orders to be psychologically abused.”

Other times the Justice report is flatly misleading. On page 45 the DoJ report discusses mandatory prosecution, claiming the research “suggests most prosecutors should be able to significantly increase successful prosecutions.” But the paper highlighted in the DoJ report actually found in two out of four cites, no-drop prosecution had no impact on conviction rates. Zilch, zero, nada.

At one point the DoJ paper turns positively Orwellian, lecturing us on page 15 that we need to avoid any “overrepresentation of female versus male arrests.” But remember, the whole domestic violence system is geared to accusing and incarcerating men, innocent or not, so the real problem is widescale unnecessary arrests of men.

I could highlight many other examples of bias, but I think you get the point. And what about the former probation officer?

The Practical Implications document was written by a fellow named Andrew R. Klein. According to a Boston Globe report, Mr. Klein had to resign as the probation chief in Quincy, Mass. following a state investigation into alleged misuse of funds. He was later indicted on seven counts of diverting $100,000 in probation fees to a private bank account.

But hey! That happened 10 years ago, and I’m sure it’s no reflection on Mr. Klein’s honesty and integrity.

The DoJ report is not the first time that the abuse industry has come down with a bad case of Ms.-Information. In fact the field has become so riddled with wild exaggerations and outright falsehoods that legitimate researchers such as professor Richard Gelles of the University of Pennsylvania dismiss such claims as “factoids from nowhere.”


'1984' + 60

by Jeff Jacoby

NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR OPENS with one of the most famous first lines in modern English literature -- the vaguely unnerving "It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." The line it ends with is even more famous, and considerably more sinister: "He loved Big Brother."

George Orwell's brilliant, bitter novel turns 60 this month, but after all these years it has lost none of its nightmarish chill. Its hero is the decidedly unheroic Winston Smith, a weak and wistful man who lives in the totalitarian police state of Oceania, which is ruled by the Party -- personified in Big Brother, whose intimidating image is everywhere -- and in which the Thought Police ruthlessly suppress any hint of dissent. The Party enforces its will through constant surveillance, relentless propaganda, and the annihilation of anyone who rebels against its authority, even if only in private thoughts or conversation. Winston engages in such thought-crimes, first by secretly recording his hatred of Big Brother in a diary, then through a love-affair with a young woman called Julia. Eventually he is arrested, interrogated, tortured, broken.

Nineteen Eighty-Four was Orwell's warning of what unchecked state power can become -- a warning informed by the horrors of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, with their contempt for human life and conscience, their cult of personality, their unremitting cruelty and deceit. "I do not believe that the kind of society I describe necessarily will arrive, but I believe . . . that something resembling it could arrive," Orwell wrote shortly after the book was published. "I believe also that totalitarian ideas have taken root in the minds of intellectuals everywhere, and I have tried to draw these ideas out to their logical consequences."

Orwell himself was a committed socialist, and he insisted that Nineteen Eighty-Four should not be taken as an attack on socialism or parties of the left. And, in truth, though the ruling ideology in the book is named Ingsoc ("English Socialism" in Oceania's fictional language of Newspeak), the Party's aims have nothing to do with collectivizing wealth, or creating a workers' paradise, or any other socialist prescription.

"The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake," Winston is told by O'Brien, the Party official who interrogates him. "We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. . . . We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?"

Whether or not poor Winston understood, the totalitarians (and would-be totalitarians) of 1949 certainly did. Stalin's Pravda blasted Nineteen Eighty-Four for its supposed "contempt for the people," while the American Communist journal Masses and Mainstream, in a review titled "Maggot-of-the-Month," trashed it as a "diatribe against the human race" and "cynical rot." But in most of the free world it was acclaimed as an instant classic. "No other work of this generation," declared The New York Times in its review, "has made us desire freedom more earnestly or loathe tyranny with such fullness."

Even now, it is hard to think of any novel that can match Nineteen Eighty-Four in its insight into the totalitarian mindset. Orwell captured so much of it: The insatiable lust for power. The lies incessantly broadcast as truth. The assault on free thought as both sickness and crime. The corruption of language. The brazen rewriting of history. The use of technology to make privacy impossible. The repression of sexuality. Above all, the zealous crushing of individual identity and liberty. "If you want a picture of the future," O'Brien tells Winston during his interrogation and torture, imagine a boot stamping on a human face -- for ever."

From "Big Brother" to "Thought Police" to "unperson" to "doublethink," it is no coincidence that so many of the terms Orwell coined for Nineteen Eighty-Four -- to say nothing of the word "Orwellian" itself -- have become part of our lexicon for life without freedom. Tragically, Orwell died at 46, just seven months after Nineteen Eighty-Fourappeared, but 60 years later his great work survives, its power undiminished, its warning more urgent than ever.



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.