Monday, August 31, 2009

Proud to be White

This comment has been circulating via email for a few years.  The author, perhaps for obvious reasons, is unknown.  I don't think I have put it up before so here goes:

There are African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, etc.   And then there are just Americans.  You pass me on the street and sneer in my direction.  You call me 'White boy,' 'Cracker,' 'Honkey,' 'Whitey,' 'Caveman'... and that's OK.

But when I call you, Nigger, Kike, Towel head, Sand-nigger, Camel Jockey, Beaner, Gook, or Chink .. You call me a racist.

You say that whites commit a lot of violence against you.... so why are the ghettos the most dangerous places to live?

You have the United Negro College Fund. You have Martin Luther King Day. You have Black History Month.  You have Cesar Chavez Day.

You have the NAACP.  You have BET... If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we'd be racists.  If we had a White Pride Day, you would call us racists.  If we had White History Month, we'd be racists.  If we had any organization for only whites to 'advance' OUR lives, we'd be racists.

We have a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Black Chamber of Commerce, and then we just have the plain Chamber of Commerce.....  Wonder who pays for that??

A white woman could not be in the Miss Black American pageant, but any color can be in the Miss America pageant.

If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships... You know we'd be racists.   There are over 60 openly proclaimed Black Colleges in the US ..  Yet if there were 'White colleges', that would be a racist college.

In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights.  If we marched for our race and rights, you would call us racists.

You are proud to be black, brown, yellow and orange, and you're not afraid to announce it.  But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.

You rob us, carjack us, and shoot at us. But, when a white police officer shoots a black gang member or beats up a black drug dealer running from the law and posing a threat to society, you call him a racist..

I am proud... But you call me a racist.   Why is it that only whites can be racists??   BE PROUD TO BE WHITE! It's not a crime YET ..... but getting very close!   Perhaps we need a NAAWP (National Association for the Advancement of White People).

ACLU fails in demand to jail child's mother

Mom refused to deliver 6-year-old for unsupervised visit with lesbian

An effort by the American Civil Liberties Union to have a judge jail the mother of a 6-year-old child for not delivering her daughter to another state for unsupervised visitation with a lesbian has been foiled.

Lawyers with the Florida-based legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel today appeared in court in Winchester, Va., to defend Lisa Miller from a complaint from the ACLU on behalf of Janet Jenkins.  The ACLU had wanted Miller jailed after she refused to deliver her daughter, Isabella, to Vermont for an unsupervised visit with Jenkins, a lesbian who has stated she believes it is not good for a child to be raised in a Christian atmosphere.

The ACLU also asked for a court order for Miller to pay for its attorneys.  But no jail time was ordered, and the court rejected the ACLU's request for money, Liberty Counsel confirmed. Further, the court decided that future issues in the case would be handled in Bedford County, Va., where Miller and her daughter live, not Vermont.

The dispute is over Jenkins' demands for custody of Isabella, with whom she has neither a blood nor an adoptive relationship.  The Virginia Court of Appeals earlier ruled that Virginia must recognize Vermont's custody orders but has not decided if Virginia is required to enforce them. Liberty Counsel has argued that Virginia courts cannot enforce child custody orders arising from Vermont same-sex civil unions since the state doesn't recognize that status.  Last year, a judge in Vermont gave Jenkins visitation rights with Miller's daughter. Jenkins has pursued the case because of a previous relationship with Miller.

Liberty Counsel said, "Unrefuted testimony has shown that for the last five years, Janet has neither attempted to phone nor write Isabella. She has never sent Isabella a card of any kind for any occasion. Janet has refused to attend Isabella's Christmas plays because she does not want to be around a Christian environment. She has also said that it is not in Isabella's best interest to be raised in a Christian home."

Alhough the court ruled Miller violated a Vermont judge's visitation order, no fines were assessed against her. The court ordered that Lisa pay $100 per day for pending visitation orders issued in Vermont, but there are no pending visitation orders at this time, Liberty Counsel reported.  And the court ordered future disputes in the case will be heard in Bedford County, where Miller and Isabella live.

"I am very pleased that Isabella will have her mother with her tonight where she belongs, rather than in the jail cell the ACLU originally intended," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel.  "We look forward to the court of appeals, for the first time later this year, addressing the enforcement of this Vermont same-sex civil union order. Virginia's Constitution and public policy clearly do not recognize orders arising from same-sex civil unions. Virginia law affirms the common sense definition of marriage between one man and one woman."

WND previously has reported on the same-sex "marriage" of Miller and Jenkins in Vermont. But Miller's daughter was born in Virginia, and both states have issued custody dispute decisions.  Miller later left the homosexual lifestyle and became a Christian when her daughter was 17 months old. But Jenkins, Miller's same-sex partner when she gave birth to Isabella, has been seeking full custody of the girl, claiming she was a parent even though she is not biologically related and never sought to adopt her.

The case has been further tangled because while Vermont recognizes the "civil unions" of same-sex partners, Virginia's constitution specifically bans that recognition.  The case earlier was complicated when Jenkins' Virginia attorney withdrew "after he was indicted for obstructing justice and tampering with evidence regarding a murder that occurred in his home, where his college male friend was sodomized and killed," Liberty Counsel said.

Miller previously had refused to comply with Vermont's orders for visitations, claiming Isabella reported being compelled to bathe naked with Jenkins while visiting and came home speaking of suicide.


Anti-UKIP and pro-Green: the BBC at its most blatantly biased

The UKIP is a conservative party that wants Britain out of the EU

Several weeks ago, the BBC decided to start running stories about how well the Green Party would do at the Norwich North by-election. It is far from clear whether programme editors thought that this would happen anyway, or whether they hoped to make it happen. After all, what minority candidates most crave is airtime: to be treated as mainstream, and so to anticipate the “wasted vote” argument.

The BBC obliged. Lord, how it obliged. Throughout the campaign, it ran programmes with Conservative, Labour, LibDem and Green spokesmen. Now don’t get me wrong: I rather like the Greens. But there was no basis to the claim that they were the fourth party, either nationally or locally. The last test of electoral feeling was June’s European election. The United Kingdom Independence Party won 13 seats and came second; the Greens won two seats and came fifth. In local elections on the same day, UKIP beat the Greens in most Norwich North wards.

UKIP activists politely drew these facts to the BBC’s attention in the hope of fairer coverage. They misunderstood the Corporation’s mindset. In Beebworld, Greens are essentially nice, and deserve a fair crack of the whip. But UKIP are anti-immigration, anti-Brussels and, worst of all, sceptical about climate change. They are not Our Sort Of People, and should be covered accordingly, if at all.

Newsnight, Look East and Radio 4 all chose to disregard UKIP and treat the Greens as the main story. Three days before the poll, the BBC’s Eastern region TV held a hustings meeting for four candidates: Conservative, Labour, LibDem and Green.

What was the result in the event? UKIP won 11.8 per cent of the vote - comfortably ahead of the Greens and remarkably close to the LibDems (or “worryingly close” as I just heard a Radio 5 Live presenter put it).

Did our state broadcaster apologise for its mistake? No, alright, that would have been expecting too much; but was it, at least, a little abashed in its tone? Nope. It simply edited UKIP out of its coverage. On the one o’clock news, a little bar chart came up to represent the results: blue for the Conservatives, red for Labour, yellow for the LibDems and, er, green for the fifth-placed Greens. The party that had come fourth, and been just 800 votes behind the LibDems, wasn’t represented. Nor was UKIP mentioned on the contemporaneous radio news.

Like everyone else, I’m habituated to a measure of one-sidedness from the BBC. When, earlier this week, one of its senior controllers called publicly on the Corporation to “foster left-of-centre thinking”, I didn’t become especially exercised. This, though, goes beyond the general Leftiness which we’ve come to expect in drama, comedy and consumer affairs programmes. It is an issue of measurable bias between political parties, of empirically identifiable partisanship.

I hold no brief for UKIP, but this dispute transcends party loyalties. It is one engagement in a wider Kulturkampf. The BBC simply can’t bring itself to be fair to to those it regards as being outside the Left-liberal comity. All of us, including those who fight against UKIP at elections, should be angry on that party’s behalf. If you haven’t yet joined Charles Moore’s licence fee boycott, do so now.


Slimy Islamist fired

In an important development for the fight against extremist Islam in the West, the Dutch city of Rotterdam and Erasmus University Rotterdam have dismissed Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss-born Islamist academic, from his two local jobs.

Born in Switzerland, Ramadan is the grandson of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the radical Muslim Brotherhood. He is a close associate of the fundamentalist Muslim theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi, with whom he collaborates in the so-called European Council for Fatwas and Research [ECFR], a Brotherhood-oriented body. Al-Qaradawi is the leading theorist of a "European Islam" that would abuse Western standards of religious freedom by erecting a parallel system of Shariah law alongside established civil law, coupled with aggressive da'wa or Islamic proselytizing. Ramadan has endorsed this strategy. The ECFR scheme, and Tariq Ramadan's involvement in it, are documented in the recent Center for Islamic Pluralism report, A Guide to Shariah Law and Islamist Ideology in Western Europe, 2007-2009.

Ramadan has been barred from entry into the U.S. since 2004, when he was invited by the University of Notre Dame to become the Henry R. Luce Professor at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies. That ruling was based on Ramadan's financial contributions to two Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. Treasury as fundraising agencies for the terrorists of Hamas. Early in July of this year, however, given the new atmosphere of outreach to Muslim radicals under President Barack Obama, the Second Circuit U.S. Appeals Court reversed the lower-court ruling, effectively nullifying the prohibition on an American visa for Ramadan.

Meanwhile, Britain in 2005 allowed Ramadan to take up a position at Oxford University, where he is the His Highness Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani Chair in Contemporary Islamic Studies.

Ramadan is an indefatigable self-promoter. Few who have observed him paid attention to his work in The Netherlands as an integration adviser for the city of Rotterdam and a professor of "Citizenship and Identity" at Erasmus University.

Yet while the U.S. authorities now seem inclined to allow him on our shores, and Britain appears untroubled by his presence - although the UK bars his associate al-Qaradawi - the Dutch have taken action to curb Ramadan's ambitions.

His simultaneous dismissal from the Rotterdam city post and the Erasmus appointment was announced on August 19. The specific reason: his weekly television program on PressTV, an Iranian government media network which operates studios in Britain and the U.S. in addition, of course, to the Middle East. PressTV also employs British politician George Galloway of the leftist-Islamist electoral alliance known as the Respect Party, and Yvonne Ridley, a former captive of the Taliban who became Muslim after her kidnapping.

Ramadan's PressTV show was titled "Islam and Life" -- not very different, one might note, from the notorious "Shariah and Life" feature run by al-Qaradawi on Al-Jazeera. Al-Qaradawi has used that platform for outrageous sermons against Jews and Judaism, among other objectionable opinions that support the British decision to keep him out.  In an official statement, Erasmus University stated:

    The Municipality of Rotterdam and the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) have decided to terminate the appointment of Dr. Tariq Ramadan... The reason for this is his involvement in the Iranian television channel PressTV, which is considered to be irreconcilable with his positions in Rotterdam...

    Press TV is a channel financed by the Iranian government. The excessive force used by this government in June against demonstrators, many of whom were students, prompted a number of journalists to cut their ties with the channel. However, Tariq Ramadan chose not to do so, and has since justified his decision in a statement...[T]here is no longer the essential public support for the contribution to the city and the university and...the credibility of Dr. Ramadan's continued work for the city and the university has suffered lasting damage.

Tariq Ramadan has always been extremely capable in his manipulation of Western public opinion, but the problematical items on his CV are not limited to his link with PressTV. As if his association with Al-Qaradawi were insufficient, Ramadan was also criticized in France in 2003 when he published a Jew-baiting attack on several leading French intellectuals, including Bernard-Henri Lévy and André Glucksmann. Ramadan claimed it was "curious" that that these two individuals were the most important Western European defenders of the Bosnian Muslims during the Balkan Wars of the 1990s, as well as of the human rights of the Chechens, but also supported the U.S. intervention in Iraq. According to Ramadan, the removal of Saddam Hussein was intended to guarantee "a greater security for Israel with assured economic advantages."

In the same article, Ramadan falsely alleged that Israeli military advisers participated in the Iraq war, and labeled Paul Wolfowitz the "notorious Zionist" allegedly responsible for the invasion of Iraq in the interest of Israel. He accused Lévy and Glucksmann of abandoning universal principles and acting "as Jews, or nationalists, as defenders of Israel." Publication of this screed was refused by the Parisian dailies Le Monde and Libération, but it was eventually posted on an Islamist website,

Tariq Ramadan hides his extremist views in plain sight. Why do the British and now, unfortunately, the American authorities fail to comprehend the evidence in front of them? The U.S. ban on him should be reviewed again... and upheld.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


30 August, 2009

British Lion Muzzled

Britain is sinking fast, and in too many ways its government is its people’s worst enemy

Jihadists struck London on July 7, 2005 and Glasgow on June 29, 2007, and many still operate in Britain -- but how bad is it now? To begin finding out, I spent the last week in London, visiting mosques and discussing the situation with locals.  What I saw wasn’t shocking, but quite depressing.

I went to London to work on a documentary on the Islamization of Europe with operatives from the Christian Action Network, which last year produced the shocking documentary Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around the U.S. For that film, CAN’s Jason Campbell visited many of the Jamaat ul-Fuqra terror compounds which dot the rural American landscape, generally to the consternation of the locals and in the face of the indifference or impotence of law enforcement authorities.

Last week, Jason and I walked around inside some of the most notorious mosques in Britain. One by one, we visited them. The North London Central Mosque, aka the Finsbury Park Mosque, the old haunt of the one-eyed, hook-handed jihadi Abu Hamza, who now faces extradition to the U.S. for his role in terror plotting. The expansive and prosperous Islamic Cultural Centre on Baker Street. The likewise large (and rapidly expanding) East London Mosque and London Muslim Centre, and the Stockwell Green Muslim Centre, where teenagers are recruited for jihad. There Jason and I both felt a distinct level of menace as we passed through the place.

We also went by the Masjid-e-Ilyas near the site of the 2012 Olympics, where Muslims want to build the largest mosque in Europe, capable of holding 70,000 people. But there we were not allowed in.

Unrecognized inside the mosques we were able to enter, I was warmly received as a potential convert and laden with books and pamphlets explaining the wonders of Islam -- including, courtesy the Finsbury Park Mosque, a copy of the Koran with illuminating commentary: “The purpose for which the Muslims are required to fight,” we’re told, “is not, as one might think, to compel the unbelievers into embracing Islam.”

Feel better? Don’t. “Rather, its purpose is to put an end to the suzerainty of the unbelievers so that the latter are unable to rule over people. The authority to rule should only be vested in those who follow the Truth Faith; unbelievers who do not follow this True Faith should live in a state of subordination.” So much for liberty and justice for all.

The current state of Britain came most clearly into focus, however, not when we visited the mosques, but when we tried to have dinner. I had an illuminating dinner with a group including the notable British author and freedom fighter Douglas Murray that turned out to offer a bracing introduction to British dhimmitude: the dinner had to be moved at the last minute since the proprietors of the George Restaurant in the aptly-named Isle of Dogs district of London didn’t like us discussing jihad and Islamization on the premises. This was despite the fact that the dinner had been planned to be on-camera and had been cleared with the George in advance.

In fact, when I returned to the George the next night with the producers of the film, we were not allowed entry because the previous night we had been discussing jihad and Islamic supremacism.

Were the proprietors of the George Restaurant hard-line Leftists who viewed jihadists as their allies in the struggle against American imperialism? Or were they frightened by the prospect of the local Muslims, who live in that area in considerable numbers, exacting revenge against the place for daring to host a meeting of the Resistance?

Most likely they were afraid of their own government, which frowns upon those who question the wisdom or viability of the multicultural paradise they are intent upon creating. For when we finally tried to assemble in another place a roundtable of concerned British citizens to discuss the problem of the Islamization of Britain, one by one the British participants dropped out. If they appeared on camera, we were told, the government could and probably would threaten their livelihood.

If the British government makes the stakes too high for its own people to speak publicly against the policies that have brought into Britain thousands of people intent upon destroying the British state and imposing Islamic law, then all is nearly lost.

It’s no wonder that British citizens are turning to noxious racist parties like the BNP: the elites have abandoned them. This is a time for the British people to summon untapped resources of courage, and for the British government to recover its vision. Otherwise all will be lost, and soon.


Another charming Muslim

If I had my way he would have done to him exactly what he did to the child

A toddler who was murdered by her mother’s partner was “largely invisible” to social services who failed to properly follow-up concerns about her welfare, an inquiry found.  Two-year-old Sanam Navsarka, of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, died in May 2008 after weeks of abuse at the hands of Subhan Anwar, 21, who was convicted of killing her earlier this year.

The jury at his trial was told that the little girl had suffered more than 100 injuries in the weeks before her death and that her hand prints and blood were found inside cupboards where she had been put as a punishment.  Sanam’s mother, Zahbeena Navsarka, 21, was jailed for nine years for manslaughter.
Related Links

Yesterday a serious case review found that while Anwar and Navsarka were responsible for Sanam’s death, there were failures by professionals at Kirklees Council that may have changed the “eventual outcome”.  The report said that four weeks before the toddler’s death, Zahbeena Navsarka’s sister told staff at the Looked After Children Service that she was worried about Sanam.  Staff were told that she had been seen on separate occasions with a bruise and a mark to her head and that Anwar was suspected of hitting her.

Social services were already working with the family at the time, but were focused on other members including Sanam’s mother rather than her daughter, who was not on the child protection register, or Anwar, who was not known to authorities.  The information about Sanam was not recorded or passed on to child protection officers....

The trial of Navsarka and Anwar at Bradford Crown Court earlier this year heard how Sanam, who had fractures to all four limbs, died after fatty deposits from her broken thigh bones entered her bloodstream.

A metal pole was used to shatter Sanam’s leg and she was bruised and battered repeatedly in the four weeks before her death.  The judge told the pair: “Your deliberate cruelty is beyond belief.”


Australia's most prominent feminist has joined a "discriminatory" club

I guess nobody has ever accused feminists  of logic or consistency

GOVERNOR-GENERAL Quentin Bryce, a former sex discrimination commissioner, has joined an exclusive women-only club in Melbourne at a time when the legality of single-sex clubs in Victoria is under review.  Ms Bryce's decision to accept honorary membership of the Lyceum Club coincides with a Victorian parliamentary review of whether such single-sex clubs deserve to remain exempt from the state's equal opportunity laws.

The review follows recent controversy over Melbourne's single-sex clubs, with the city's exclusive men-only institutions such as the Melbourne Club and the Athenaeum Club being denounced as anachronistic by Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls.

Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, who holds the position Ms Bryce occupied in the early 1990s, has also weighed into the debate, declaring it is "not smart" for any institution that claims to reflect a city's elite to lock out half of the population.

A spokeswoman for Ms Bryce yesterday defended her decision to join the Lyceum Club.   "The Governor-General has no issue with men or women-only clubs or organisations," the spokeswoman said.  "She is patron of numerous organisations specifically for women, such as the CWA, the Girls Brigade, Business and Professional Women Australia and the National Rural Women's Coalition."

The spokeswoman declined to comment on the "political" issue of the parliamentary review of single-sex clubs in Victoria except to note that such clubs were legal under equal opportunity laws.

Lyceum Club president Annie James said it was open to members to "invite people who are like-minded and can contribute to what the club stands for and can enjoy what the club offers".  The century-old Lyceum Club has almost 1200 members and is aimed at women "who are interested in the arts, literature, sciences and social concerns". 


Racist violence in Australia!

So was our smart-ass U.N. "rapporteur" right after all?  In some technical sense maybe -- but I doubt if many white Australians feel guilty over  hatred between Maoris and Aborigines.  No doubt, however, the twisted brain of some Leftist will produce the accusation  that the hatred is the result of "white oppression"

A New Zealand teenager's decision to miss a flight home from Perth cost him his life in a Lockridge brawl, his uncle says, demanding an end to racial violence.  Jon Teotinga Warena, 18, from Napier, was killed in a wild street brawl between Maori and Aboriginal groups in the Perth suburb of Lockridge in the early hours of November 6, 2007.

Two men and three teenagers were given sentences of between three and eight years in the WA Supreme Court today for Mr Warena's manslaughter.  Three of the accused were also sentenced on charges of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on Charleston Ngaha, 25, who was badly injured in the same brawl.

Mr Warena's family members who were in court for the decision said they had been informed of the likely range of the sentences before they were handed down.  Mr Warena's mother, who flew in from New Zealand for the sentencing, carried a picture of her son, as did another relative.  Lance McRae, an uncle of Mr Warena who had called for heavy sentences for the five, did not take issue with the penalties but said the racial violence in Perth had to end.

Mr McRae's brother Gary said he thought his nephew was boarding a flight to New Zealand on the night he died.  But he had pulled out of the booking at the last moment for reasons that remained unexplained.  ``It was a decision that cost the life of a really good kid,'' Mr McRae said.

Justice John McKechnie said it was ``difficult to escape the inference'' that Mr Warena had wanted to be a part of retaliatory action the Maori group had planned after the ``bricking'' of one of the men's homes.

The Maori group, including members of the Never Ending Crypts gang, drove to Germain Way in Lockridge to carry out a revenge attack but went to the wrong house, Justice McKechnie said.

Residents of the street said ``all hell broke loose'' when a group of Aboriginal men emerged from homes to confront the gang.

Justice McKechnie said the five accused had been part of a group that was entitled to protect their homes and families, and had at first taken reasonable action.  ``However, what then happened went far beyond reason,'' he said.  Mr Warena and Mr Ngaha had been kicked, punched, beaten and stomped on.  ``The overwhelming conclusion is that you took part in an attack on people disabled, lying on the ground,'' he said.  The attack continued even as people involved in the brawl had made remarks like ``he's f....d, dad'' and ``he's already dead, that's enough, dad''.

Everett James Tyson, 35, Giles Lawrence Tyson, 41, and three teenagers, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to the manslaughter charges.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


29 August, 2009

British government to attack Britain's most successful industry?

It's what you have to expect from Leftist haters.  A particularly brilliant idea during a recession, of course

Boris Johnson described proposals for a tax on City trading as “crackers” yesterday as critics lined up to attack the idea floated by Lord Turner of Ecchinswell, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority.

The Mayor of London said it was perverse to propose a tax that would hit London and help rivals such as New York and Frankfurt. The CBI, the employers’ group, the Investment Management Association (IMA) and the British Bankers’ Association also questioned the wisdom of a levy on City trading.

In an interview with Prospect magazine published yesterday, Lord Turner said that some City activity was “socially useless” and needed to be cut down to size, through the use of a tax if new capital rules proved insufficient. The City had swollen to excessive proportions and was sucking in too much graduate talent to the detriment of other sectors in Britain, he said.

He also signalled a dramatic change in tone for the FSA, which would no longer lobby for City interests. “The FSA has to be very, very wary of seeing the competitiveness of London as a major aim,” he said. That shift of emphasis came in for particular attack from Mr Johnson. “Anyone who seriously believes that the competitiveness of the City of London should not be of paramount importance or a major aim of the FSA is crackers. I’m sure that on reflection Adair Turner would not want to imply that,” he said.

But Lord Turner, who is on holiday, declined to row back from his position. An FSA spokesman said yesterday that, while the FSA needed to have regard for the City’s competitiveness as a guiding principle, it was not one of its four main statutory objectives. John Cridland, the deputy director-general of the CBI, said: “The Government and regulators should be very wary of undermining the international competitiveness of the UK’s financial services industry, especially at the current time. It provides jobs and tax revenues, and is an area where we have world-class talent. Proposals for regulatory change should be agreed in a global context, which will produce better results and avoid damaging the UK’s position.”

Dick Saunders, chief executive of the IMA, said Lord Turner was right to say banks needed to manage risk better. “However, transaction taxes carry the risk that, like stamp duty, it’s the ordinary saver who ends up paying,” he said.

Howard Wheeldon, senior strategist at BGC Partners, said he was appalled by Lord Turner’s remarks, which he said were “insulting” to bankers.


Nudge theory is just a newfangled name for old-fashioned paternalism, contends Julie Novak

The Australian commentator below makes a fair case but does overlook that "nudges" are better than outright bans, which would often be the real-life political alternative.  We are never going to have a libertarian world so being given SOME alternatives might be the best we can hope for in many cases

DESPITE what politicians and senior bureaucrats may let on, governments are highly susceptible to the allure of policy fads.  Federal Finance and Deregulation Minister Lindsay Tanner recently jumped on the behavioural economics, or "nudge theory", bandwagon, describing it as a way to ensure human behaviour was integrated into policy frameworks. Developed by economists such as Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman and Barack Obama's regulation tsar Cass Sunstein, nudge theory finds individuals often behave in ways that do not conform to the conventional view of the rational economic man.

Some prefer the status quo when making, say, consumption and labour market decisions, even though change would make them better off. Others tend to follow the herd by mimicking the decisions of those around them.

For many of us, herders or status quo-ers alike, nudge theorists find our economic choices are often framed by the context in which they are presented. As set out by the nudge theorists, people often display systemic errors of judgment compared with the neoclassical standard of economic behaviour. Governments should steer individuals or businesses in preferred directions, but leave open the option for the regulated to choose their own course of action.

This peculiar stance for policy is known as libertarian paternalism and has already started drifting into the Australian policy discourse.  The discussion papers from the National Preventative Health Taskforce are replete with nudge references, advocating policies to stop people smoking, drinking and eating treats.  The insights of behavioural economics have infiltrated other areas of policy, ranging from gambling regulation right through to superannuation and financial market regulations.  Indeed, any issue affecting individual risks and actions seems to be fair game in the minds of nudge regulators.

Some commentators have seized on nudge theory to proclaim it as the death knell for neoliberal, free market economics. However, the strongest case for free markets in fact rests on a world inhabited by fallible individuals.

Even with their cognitive and behavioural biases in tow, market competition gives economic actors incentives to learn from and correct any errors, thus improving on the assortment of goods and services on offer. Because of this the freest economies in the world are also the most conducive to economic growth, social accord and personal happiness, even if they remain inhabited by imperfect humans.

The notion that the state should nudge individuals to make better decisions overlooks the fact politicians and government officials are also afflicted by behavioural biases.  For example, the raft of fiscal stimulus and regulation enacted by the Rudd government since late last year revealed an action bias by the government to do something about changing economic conditions. 

In an effort to throw borrowed money at selected activities, such as pink batt insulation and school gymnasiums, the long-term costs of these policies appear to have been ignored.  These include the risks of overshot government spending driving up real interest rates and inflationary expectations, as noted in a recent report by the Bank for International Settlements.  That, and the stated reluctance of the government to withdraw its fiscal stimulus and financial sector guarantees, have almost certainly reduced the productive potential of the Australia economy in the long term.

Therefore, the behavioural biases possessed by public sector agents greatly weaken the notion that somehow they can instigate policies to rectify the biases existing elsewhere.

There is a risk that a new nudging rationale for government intervention would encourage politicians with a control bias, or a propensity to prefer greater public sector involvement in economic and social affairs, to meddle even more in our affairs.

Some of the more conventional problems of public policy remain unaffected by nudge economics.  Economist Friedrich Hayek pointed out that policies are affected by an inherent knowledge problem. This means that a comprehension of individual preferences and circumstances by governments is extremely limited, increasing the risk of policy errors.  By not knowing what people really want, governments also remain susceptible to self-interested arguments by rent seekers delivering special benefits to the few at the expense of the many.

Despite the fanfare, the latest fad of nudge theory is nothing more than old-style paternalism in new clothing. After all, nudge taxing, spending and regulating would have the same consequences of eroding our economic and social liberties as do the tired interventions ofyesterday.


Two-week "expert" says Australia is "racist"

He should be sued for defamation.  State and Federal governments of all stripes have been trying for decades  to solve the problems of Aborigines  using all sorts of "solutions" and this prick thinks he is wiser than all of them.   Being a Hispanic-American lawyer must give you special wisdom, I guess  -- more likely a chip on your shoulder.  He works for the same U.N. that constantly maligns Israel while ignoring huge Arab abuses  -- JR

The intervention into remote Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory is clearly discriminatory, and that there is "entrenched" racism in Australia, the United Nations special delegate on indigenous rights says.  James Anaya didn't pull any punches after his two-week visit of the country.

He said the Rudd Government should reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act in the NT "right away" because the intervention was discriminatory.  "It undermines the right of indigenous peoples to control their own destinies, their right to self-determination," he said.  He also said the Stolen Generations should be paid compensation.

Prof Anaya said that while there was no doubt special efforts were required to combat indigenous disadvantage and abuse of women and children, the intervention's "broad sweep" went too far and was incompatible with various international conventions, covenants, treaties and declarations.

"Some kind of special measures could be justified but they need to be narrowly tailored to the specific circumstances that exist," he said.  Compulsory income management and blanket bans on alcohol and pornography were "overtly discriminatory" and further stigmatised already stigmatised communities  "People who have a demonstrated capacity to manage their income are included," he said.  "It's inappropriate to their circumstances but is also, as expressed by them, demeaning."

The indigenous rights expert was also scathing of federal Labor's insistence that housing funds would only flow if indigenous communities signed over their land.  "It's a mistake to assume that indigenous peoples ... aren't capable of taking care of their homes," Prof Anaya said.  [What would HE know?  Has he SEEN how Aboriginal housing deteriorates?]  "Indigenous control can be appropriate to indigenous peoples' development, to their aspirations, to indeed being in control of their lives like all others."

As for compensation for indigenous people taken from their families by government agencies, the UN rapporteur was unequivocal: "There should be reparations," he said.

But it wasn't all negative news for the Rudd Government.  Prof Anaya praised Labor for taking "significant steps" to try and improve the human rights and living conditions of indigenous Australians.  He also congratulated the Government for supporting the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples earlier this year and officially apologising to the stolen generations in 2008.  There was hope, he said.  "I have been impressed by the strength, resilience and vision of indigenous communities determined to move towards a better future despite having endured tremendous suffering at the hands of historical forces and entrenched racism."

SOURCEA couple of replies to this heap of U.N. sh*t here

Everyone's ABC? Only if you lean left

Comment by Peter Costello on Australia's major public broadcaster  -- saying that different views would spark up the too predictable national broadcaster

I WAS doing an ABC radio interview last week and a listener sent in a text message, which was read out, suggesting the ABC should engage me as a radio host. ''I don't think I have the right political views for the ABC,'' I told the broadcast audience. It was not said with any malice, just an observation of an obvious fact.

If I had been on my guard I would not have said it. The ABC does not like the idea that its presenters have a common political outlook.  Although the media likes to give criticism it does not like to receive it. And if you criticise the media you can expect rough treatment in return.  Experienced media hands will always advise you that no matter how bad your treatment, never complain about it: that will only lead to worse.

But I was not on my guard. I am not now at the mercy of the media so I can afford to say what everyone on the conservative side of politics knows - the ABC is hostile territory.

One time I walked into ABC headquarters in Sydney and was confronted by an employee who began hissing at me. The station manager, who was there at the time, was so shocked he organised a written apology from management.  He told me the employee would be ''counselled''. I wasn't shocked, I knew I was on foreign soil. I never worried about what occurred off-air. I was always worried about what would be broadcast.

The on-air interviewers for the ABC are generally aggressive, which is a pity. In my experience, if a subject is relaxed and lulled into dropping their guard, they are more likely to make revealing disclosures.  With the ABC the line of questioning is always predictable. It always comes from the Labor/Green perspective.

Now Labor will tell you that sometimes it gets a hard time on the ABC - and sometimes it does if it is perceived to be betraying ''true Labor principles'' or being too ''pro-business'' or being insensitive to the environment.  But Labor will never be criticised for entrenching union power, or going soft on law enforcement, or spending money it doesn't have.

There are rural and regional programs that stick to local issues and leave the politics aside.  But the flagship national current affairs programs - AM, PM, The 7.30 Report - have a consistent editorial perspective.  The 7.30 Report has been a good training ground for politicians, producing the West Australian Labor premier Alan Carpenter and the former chief minister of the Northern Territory, Clare Martin.

Labor Ministers Mary Delahunty and Maxine McKew also worked for the ABC in news and current affairs. The 7.30 Report is hosted by former Labor staffer Kerry O'Brien. I have no objection to former staffers working in the media. It's just that you notice the preponderance of those from a particular side at the ABC.

When I dropped my inconvenient truth in last week's interview it didn't provoke any outrage or comment. It just hung there.  There was a mild effort by my interlocutor to defend the corporation. He pointed out there is a Liberal employed on ABC local radio in Perth, which says it all. It is quite an oddity really - so odd that they know about this man in Melbourne. Out of the 4500 employees in the ABC they know there is one Liberal. The ABC would do well to get a second or a third (and, no, I am not interested).

I have no doubt that opening up the airwaves would open the ABC to wider sections of the public. There would be screams of protest from the true believers who want no plurality to the current line. But some different opinion would spice things up. It is possible to have divergent views in an organisation that broadcasts 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Five nights per week Phillip Adams broadcasts on Radio National. Adams claims that he has been close to every Labor leader from Whitlam to Beazley. Robert Manne has described Adams as ''the emblematic figurehead of the pro-Labor left intelligentsia''.

Back in 2001 the then managing director of the ABC declared he would look for a right-wing Phillip Adams to balance up that program.  It must be an exhaustive search. The new managing director is now in his fourth year of office. Apparently the corporation is still looking.  I will make the prediction they will still be looking under the next managing director.

It appears there is nothing urgent about the task of getting balance into the ABC.  Imagine if the corporation did find a right-wing Phillip Adams? Then we would have a Liberal in Perth and one in Sydney, too.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


28 August, 2009

Boycotting the boycotters

By Andrew Breitbart

John Mackey - the founder, CEO and marketing genius behind Whole Foods - finds himself in an organic, unsustainable mess with his carefully cultivated affluent, liberal customer base after penning an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal titled, "The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare."

For starters, Mr. Mackey opens with a line from known-liberal-allergen Margaret Thatcher that features the dreaded "S" word: "The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." Then he goes on to provide eight sensible free-market solutions gleaned from his company's well-regarded employee health care program.

Mr. Mackey, a free-market libertarian, is now at the mercy of an unforgiving grass-roots mob intent on destroying his company. More than 25,000 people have signed on to a Whole Foods boycott on Facebook.  "Whole Foods has built its brand with the dollars of deceived progressives," the online petition reads. "Let them know your money will no longer go to support Whole Foods' anti-union, anti-health insurance reform, right-wing activities."  A complementary Web site,, features unintentionally comical video testimonials from aggrieved former customers. The mainstream media have picked up on the story and fanned the flames.

The success of Whole Foods is largely built on Mr. Mackey's understanding of the liberal mind. It wants the good life - but with instant absolution for the sin of conspicuous consumption. Whole Foods is marketing at its best. Iconography and slogans throughout the store - not unlike those Barack Obama used to win the presidency - tell the shopper they are saving the planet in large and small ways.  The product is so good even conservatives and skeptics are willing to play along.

But Mr. Mackey missed the key ingredient of modern liberalism: intolerance to the ideas of nonliberals. And this miscalculation may prove to be devastating to his multibillion-dollar business.

Everywhere one looks these days, the intolerance of self-avowed liberals is on display. Especially since Mr. Obama came to power. The purportedly open-minded and empathic among us who now run everything - save for NASCAR and Nashville - openly wage war against those who dare disagree.

Witness Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi's joint-penned editorial in USA Today in which the House's two top Democrats describe those publicly questioning Mr. Obama's proposed health care system overhaul as "un-American."

One need not go back too far in the political time machine to recall a time when the same people were claiming that the term "un-American" was being tossed at liberals for opposing the Iraq war, and that Republicans were stifling free speech.  Examples were rarely, if ever, given. It just was. And we were told this was a very, very bad thing.

The Dixie Chicks brilliantly used this sob line to become a Rolling Stone magazine cover staple, a blue-state crossover and an international cause celebre. A chorus line of would-be liberal celebrity martyrs took a similar marketing tack proclaiming McCarthyism was again afoot - as conservative Hollywood kept its collective mouth shut knowing that support for President Bush or the war was an instant career-killer.

Yet amid the cries of "dissent is patriotic" - a phrase seen on the bumper stickers of cars in the Whole Foods parking lot - the antiwar movement grew and grew, unfettered by the war's supporters or by the party in power.

As the Hollywood Left churned out antiwar film screeds, it was creating a narrative of its victimhood as it victimized Mr. Bush and his administration with the false accusation that dissenters were being persecuted. But now that they are in power, Democrats are brazenly wielding punitive weaponry against dissenting Americans and are using the power of the state to shut up citizens.

The Democratic leadership - and its friends in the mainstream media - seem determined to brand opposition to the president's legislative agenda as illegitimate, even racist in origin. Individuals and grass-roots organizations are helping the statists' cause by advocating boycotts and other means of stifling dissent.  The strategy is clear: Intimidate people from speaking up or from attending public protests by telegraphing that anyone can be made a demon for standing up and exercising basic, constitutional rights.

To call these people hypocrites would be a grave insult to those who fail to live up to their own standards. Liberalism has never been about establishing a universal standard. Liberalism is simply intellectual cover for those wanting to gain political power and increase the size of the state.

For free-speech principles to be reinforced and free-market ideas to win the day, more people are going to have to stand up and be heard.

Mrs. Pelosi and the Whole Foods boycotters are on the wrong side of history.

The way to stand up to them is to go to "tea parties," raise a ruckus at health care debates and - buy organic garlic, herb fresh goat cheese and three-bean salad with quinoa at your local Whole Foods store.  This time, you really could be saving the planet.


Five million have never had a job under Labour rule in Britain - raising fears of a 'Shameless' generation of benefit addicts

At least five million people of working age have not done a day's work since Labour came to power, research suggests.  The figure, to be highlighted by the Tories tomorrow, will fuel fears that the Government has cultivated a 'Shameless' generation dependent on the state.  An analysis of official data shows that three million in England and Wales had no job between 1996 and 2001, while a further two million had never had a job.

The latest official figures say unemployment has risen to 2.4million - its highest since 1995 - as the recession takes hold.  But there is growing evidence of a hidden army of Britons of working age who are not in jobs.  They include those stuck on incapacity benefit, lone parents and youngsters not in education or employment (NEETs).

In a keynote speech tomorrow, Tory work and pensions spokesman Theresa May will unveil research based on the census figures showing that millions have not held a job for years and are living long-term on benefits, like characters from the Channel 4 programme Shameless.  Of those classified as unemployed and able to work, 100,000 had never had a job. A further 140,000 who were classified unemployed had not worked since 1996.  But these figures did not include the millions who were not working, but not registered as unemployed.

Mrs May says that including these people, the figures show that five million have not had a job since Labour came to office. The latest relevant figures date from the 2001 census, and the Tories claim the picture is likely to have worsened.  Mrs May claims that Labour's failure to reform our welfare state during times of economic prosperity has had a huge social and economic cost.  She will say: 'The reality is that under Labour there has been a steady growth in welfare ghettos - unemployment did not disappear during the boom years. It was merely disguised, renamed, and hidden away in ever-growing pockets of poverty.'

Most of those covered in the statistics do not appear in official unemployment figures, she will say.  These include some of the 800,000 people who have been on incapacity benefits for more than ten years, lone parents whose children are under 16 and the NEETs.  They also include the around eight million 'economically inactive' who are not working and not looking to do so.

The Work and Pensions department questioned the Tories' use of figures dating back to 2001.  And welfare reform minister Jim Knight attacked the party for highlighting them while criticising Government schemes intended to limit the rise in unemployment.  'This is two-faced nonsense from the Tory party who deliberately pushed people on to sickness benefit and into longterm worklessness in the Eighties and Nineties and are now opposing our investment and reforms which are getting people back into work,' Mr Knight said.

'The facts are that there are 2.5million more people in work now than in 1997 and before this recession the Jobseeker's Allowance claimant count was at its lowest ever level. Our reforms have been reversing the damage of the Tory years.'


When Israelis Denounce Israel: Legitimate Criticism of Israel or Arrogant Self-Delusion

Critics of Israel abound. Some are antisemites who seek the demise of the Jewish state. Others have legitimate concerns about particular Israeli policies. Among the most vocal are a number of Israeli intellectuals who challenge the country's raison d'être.

In an August 20, 2009 editorial in the Los Angeles Times, Neve Gordon, a professor of political science at Ben-Gurion University, accused Israel of being an apartheid state. He said a two-state solution was the "more realistic" way to end this inequity. Since only "massive international pressure," will bring about this state and thus save Israel, Gordon recently joined the Arab sponsored Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement founded in July 2005.1

Vilification of Israel by Jews is not a new phenomenon. As early as May 1, 1936 Labor Zionist leader Berl Katznelson asked: "Is there another people on earth whose sons are so emotionally twisted that they consider everything their nation does despicable and hateful, while every murder, rape and robbery committed by their enemies fills their hearts with admiration and awe? As long as a Jewish child…can come to the land of Israel, and here catch the virus of self-hate…let not our conscience be still."2

For Katznelson this was aberrant behavior, not the norm. Today, criticism of Israel has become ubiquitous among a significant portion of Israeli intellectuals.3

In the 1950s, psychologist Gordon Allport explained that Jewish self-hate is the process in which the victim identifies with his aggressor and "sees his own group through their eyes." The Jew "may hate his historic religion…or he may blame some one class of Jews…or he may hate the Yiddish language. Since he cannot escape his own group, he does in a real sense hate himself—or at least the part of himself that is Jewish."4

Self-hating Jews play a significant role in anti-Israel campaigns of the Western media. Historian Robert Wistrich noted that Jews highly critical of Israel are featured in the British media.5

Manfred Gerstenfeld, chairman of the Board of Fellows of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, found that the French elite and media adore Jews and Israelis who are highly critical of Israel. A number of marginal Jews, who are not known in Israel, are presented as part of the Israeli mainstream. 6

Israeli's condemnation of their country is a result of living under "a state of chronic siege," posits Kenneth Levin, a historian and psychiatrist. Israelis have been abused for so long, that they escape their pain by espousing anti-Israel sentiments. Appeasing the terrorists, they believe, will end hostilities. Israel only has to acquiesce to Arab demands, cease obsessing about defensible borders and other strategic issues, and peace would ensue and such concerns would become irrelevant.7

Sol Stern, a former editor of the New Left Ramparts magazine, adds that this assumes both sides act rationally. According to this scenario, when Israel's concessions are considered equitable, amity will compensate for any remaining differences. Didn't the enmity between the U.S. and the former Soviet Union end in détente? Hadn't President Richard Nixon gone to China? Aren't "the Arabs rational" people? 8

Any "peace process" is intrinsically superior to war. Regardless of all previously failed attempts, isn't another peace overture worth trying? To suggest there might be "something inherently violent and unreasonable in Arab Muslim political culture" could be interpreted as racist.9 Instead, Israeli intellectuals began disparaging their own culture and re-writing their country's history. When they concluded that the Arabs had legitimate grievances, they decided "it was time to try again to split the difference."10

In the 1980s and 1990s two different Israeli administrations offered "land for peace' to Syria, but were rebuffed. Under terms of the 1993 Oslo Accords, the Israeli government permitted terrorist organizations to return to the West Bank and Gaza and gave tens of thousands of weapons to Yasser Arafat's security services, before he signed a peace treaty or an irrefutable security agreement. Arab failure to rescind the Palestine National Covenant's demand for Israel's demise and replacement by a Palestinian state was either ignored or minimized.11

"No nation in the world has taken so many mortal risks for a putative peace with its most implacable enemies," Stern observes. Even after the Oslo Accords were shattered when the Arabs began blowing up civilians in pizza shops and on buses, Ehud Barak offered another proposal at Camp David. Instead of accepting this offer, Arafat unleashed "yet another savage wave of extermination against Israel's civilian population" with weapons Israel had provided him.

Stern credits neoconservatives with understanding that Israel's right to exist as a democratic Jewish state has always been the main problem for the Arabs, not the "disputed territories." Arab attempts to bring their case to the attention of the world are not arbitrary. Suicide bombings are a cleverly planned strategy that has produced considerable advantages. After the first series of attacks against Israeli supermarkets, cafés, malls and buses, the Arab cause was championed by European governments and on American campuses.12 Israeli victims receive little sympathy, historian Tony Judt and a severe critic of Israel claims, because they are not seen as victims of terror, but as "collateral damage of their own government's mistaken policies."13

Israeli offers to exchange land for peace have not succeeded. Appeasement has only increased hatred of Israel. Yet Israel is continually pressured to make concessions. The reason, Stern believes, is that progressive critics cannot acknowledge a fundamental truth: "that there can be political movements, like Islamic terrorism—in which the jihad and the intifada merge—that are so pathological in their hatreds that we can solve the problems they purport to care about only after they are defeated." 14

Levin sees an element of arrogance in "this self-delusion" by Israelis who believe they can affect change. Jews assume a responsibility for something over which they have no control, to ward off despair. This is similar to an abused child who feels responsible for his plight and views himself as "bad." The child maintains, "the fantasy that if he becomes good enough," his father will stop hitting him, his mother will give him attention and whatever other form of abuse he suffered will end. In the same way, some Israelis are delusional when they assume they can control Arab behavior.


Bill of rights would be a death knell for democracy says  former Australian Prime Minister

A BILL of rights would erode Australia's democracy, diminish the reputation and accountability of Parliament, politicise the judiciary and represent the ''final triumph of elitism in Australian politics'', the former prime minister John Howard said last night.

Delivering the annual Menzies Lecture at the University of Western Australia, Mr Howard campaigned against ceding power from elected individuals to the non-elected judiciary.

The Rudd Government is exploring whether to introduce a bill of rights. In December, it commissioned a committee chaired by Father Frank Brennan to gauge public opinion on how best to achieve greater protection of rights. It is due to report to the Government on September 30.

Mr Howard has long opposed a bill of rights. He said ministers and parliamentarians should make all the controversial decisions transparently and be accountable for them.

''A bill of rights would further diminish the prestige of Parliament, it would politicise the appointment of judges, it would increase the volume of litigation and it would not increase the rights and protections now available to Australian citizens,'' Mr Howard said.

''A charter or bill of rights would represent the final triumph of elitism in Australian politics - the notion that typical citizens, elected by ordinary Australians, cannot be trusted to resolve great issues of public policy.''

Mr Howard said the Northern Territory intervention, the banning of gay marriage and the conscience vote to lift the ban on the abortion pill RU486 could have been handballed to judges had there been a bill of rights.

He warned ''political activisits of the left'' to consider that one day a cause they may support ''might be better served by the votes of contemporary Parliament, rather than a court dominated by men and women holding views you might not share''.


The Supreme Court of the United States shows the inadvisability of entrusting our rights to unelected judges.  It is now and always has been a judicial abomination. Its guiding principles have always been political rather than judicial. It is not as political as Stalin's courts but its respect for the constitution is little better. Some recent abuses: The "equal treatment" provision of the 14th amendment was specifically written to outlaw racial discrimination yet the court has allowed various forms of "affirmative action" for decades -- when all such policies should have been completely stuck down immediately. The 2nd. amendment says that the right to bear arms shall not be infringed yet gun control laws infringe it in every State in the union. The 1st amendment provides that speech shall be freely exercised yet the court has upheld various restrictions on the financing and display of political advertising. The court has found a right to abortion in the constitution when the word abortion is not even mentioned there. The court invents rights that do not exist and denies rights that do  -- JR


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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


27 August, 2009

British photo-phobia again

Innocent trainspotter repeatedly harassed by  police after taking photos of trains near an oil refinery

When trainspotter Stephen White noticed some interesting engines, he wasted no time in taking pictures of them for his collection.  It was the start of a bizarre sequence of events involving midnight phone calls, police raids and even, it is claimed, suspected terrorism.  Mr White, 43, who was on a camping holiday in Wales with his sister Helen and her two children, was caught on CCTV from a nearby oil refinery as he took the photographs.

Miss White's car number plate was also noted and police traced it to her home in Lincolnshire, where a neighbour gave them her mobile phone number.  An officer then phoned her in the early hours, waking her daughter Jessica, 11, and six-year-old son Bryn, and demanded she take the photos to a police station despite her innocent explanation.

Not wishing to interrupt the family holiday, Miss White, a 41-year-old civil servant, refused.  Police swooped on the campsite the next day, and again demanded to take the photos.  But Mr White and his sister say they were so annoyed with the officers for not believing that they were not terrorists and for harassing them that they refused to hand over the snaps.  The next day, they say, their car was pulled over by a police officer with his blue lights flashing. Again, he demanded the camera and pictures, but the family stood their ground.

Mr White, a coach driver, said: 'We were treated and hunted as if we were terrorists and a threat to national security, which was ridiculous. This has totally ruined the holiday, just because I'm a bit of a train geek who took pictures of some engines.  'The police were totally over the top, went to my sister's house in Lincolnshire several times and frightened my young niece and nephew. Jessica and Bryn were very scared and we had to pretend that it was just a game. They thought I was going to be carted off to prison as a terrorist threat.'

The family were camping in Carew, Pembrokeshire, when they decided to visit Milford Haven last Monday. Mr White spotted the engines not realising they were connected with the Murco oil depot, of which he says there was no indication.  The next day a worried neighbour rang Miss White and said police had been three times to her home in Heckington.

Mr White, from Yatton, Somerset, said: 'I suppose the police tracked us down from the registration plate on Helen's car and then it went from there. Their reaction is totally over the top.  'The police officers from Dyfed Powys who came to our campsite were very heavy-handed and were threatening to send Special Branch round to see us and the house. They wanted to know what I'd been doing and I tried to explain I was just a trainspotter and wasn't some sort of Al Qaeda terrorist.  'It's just an innocent photo  -  which you could find on Google Earth anyway. I've put a complaint in to the police already but they still won't let it rest.'

A spokesman for Dyfed Powys Police confirmed that officers 'sought an explanation from Mr White regarding his activities following a report of suspicious behaviour at an oil refinery site in West Wales.   'Following an explanation from him, no further action was taken.'


More special privileges for Muslims in Britain

British swimming pools have begun hosting special Muslim swim sessions during which swimmers — including non-Muslims — are banned from entering the pool if their swimming attire doesn't comply with dress code required by Islamic custom.

Under the rules, men must be covered from the naval to the knees, while women, who swim separately, must be covered from the neck to the ankles, according to the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph newspaper.

The special sessions in Britain have elicited anger from critics who say they are divisive and put a strain on relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, the Telegraph reported.

The trend counters developments in France, where a woman has threatened to sue after being told she could not wear her "burquini" — a headscarf, tunic and trouser swimsuit worn by Muslim women – on hygiene grounds, the paper reported.

One British lawmaker defended the Muslim swim sessions, telling the Telegraph that they show an appreciation for certain religious groups, like Muslims, who have strict rules on segregation for activities including sports.


Australians not ready for women on army frontline?

All Australian army recruits these days are volunteers so it is my view that if a woman is accepted into the infantry she should be willing and able to perform all infantry duties.  Unwavering scrutiny on whether she is able to perform all infantry duties should be expected before she is accepted however. Having lower standards for strength and stamina should not be permitted.  My Australian army contacts tell me that a lot of female soldiers are lesbians so many may have masculine physical traits -- JR

By Sally Morrell

EVERY now and then the feminist mantra I preach to my daughter - "Women can do anything men can do" - gets exposed as spin.  Yes, she can be the prime minister of Australia, I tell her. Yes, she can run a top 10 company and be a world-leading scientist if she wants to.  But "anything"? She'll never play for Richmond, she'll never join the Melbourne Club and I used to think she'd never be able to serve on the frontline of a war.

But that last one might be about to change.  Defence Personnel Minister Greg Combet last week said a new centre of expertise at Wollongong University would study the physical requirements for modern soldiering and the results would help our defence force decide who could serve where, "regardless of gender". And that means our female soldiers could get one step closer to fighting alongside men on the frontline, rather than be kept in support or - at best - restricted to "kill at a distance" fighting.  Rather than see the enemy from the safe distance of a TV monitor or electronic sights, women may then get up close and personal. Whites-of-their-eyes stuff.

And that's when my "women can do anything" mantra goes all wobbly.  Part of my sudden attack of sexism - and the least important - is that when I think of a woman going head-to-head with an enemy soldier, I picture an average woman. Smaller than the average man.  But the woman who puts her hand up for this sort of gig is not going to be average.  It would be a very small group of the women in the army now who are champing at the bit to fight one-on-one with the Taliban, and I'm guessing they don't have the build or delicate sensitivities of perfume counter assistants.

Maybe they can indeed carry a heavy pack as far as their male colleagues. Maybe they can shoot someone dead in the firefight with just the same lack of hesitation or compunction.  If they can do all that, why are they being stopped from doing what they want to do?

But it's not about their physical suitability really, is it? In fact, it's not even about their psychological ability to handle the killing jobs that for millennia have been men's work.  It's actually about the psychological ability of the rest of us to deal not just  with women doing the killing, but with women - our women - being killed. Or even simply captured.

Let's be frank. A captured woman will have it a lot tougher than a captured man. Who can forget the horrific plight of the Dutch "comfort women" the Japanese captured in World War II?

Nor am I sure if we could endure the sight of little children crying as the coffin carrying their mother is brought out of an RAAF Hercules.  This really isn't about whether women are strong enough to fight, but whether the rest of us are strong enough to endure their death or capture.  I'm not sure if we are or not.

But if we can be sure that no woman is sent to fight that didn't specifically ask to go, then nobody should stop her. They best know the risks, and we must honour not just their sacrifices but their judgment.


What Women Want?

A few years ago, a popular movie called What Women Want played off the ancient joke and popular conceit that – while almost any woman can read almost any man like a book – most men haven’t the foggiest notion of what’s going on in the minds of their wives, girlfriends, daughters, and co-workers.

One of the great mysteries of modern life, though, is not the inability of men to fathom women, but the increasing inability of women to understand, appreciate, and defend each other.

Ironically, no group of individuals displays more gender illiteracy than the one which appoints itself the arbiter of all things feminine, the National Organization for Women. NOW recently elected a new leader at its national convention, and President Terry O’Neill launched her tenure with an elaboration on her pro-woman political agenda that included this telling statement:

“Conscience clauses, where pharmacists refuse birth control sales because it’s against their conscience, must go. Guess what? Women have a constitutional right to birth control…. There is no constitutional right to be a pharmacist.”

So – to clarify – women not only have a “constitutional right” to birth control…but that right trumps any other person’s constitutional right to follow his or her own conscience or religious convictions? That’s an interpretation of our pre-eminent national document that would astonish not only the Founding Fathers, but more than a few of the women Ms. O’Neill claims to represent.

Never mind that no coherent reading of the Constitution will produce any indication of the authors’ intent to defend a woman’s right to indulge in sexual activity without “threat” of fertilization. At what point did Ms. O’Neill decide that most women care more about having unfettered sexual intercourse than they do about following the deepest convictions of their soul?

Did it ever occur to her that a healthy percentage of the pharmacists whose consciences she so blithely dismisses might be…women? Given the choice between one woman’s desire to have carefree sex and another woman’s profound belief that dispensing certain drugs could make her complicit in the killing of a child, are we really compelled by the Constitution to side with concupiscence over conscience?

In fact, Ms. O’Neill implies not just that the Constitution protects “birth control” – but that it requires every person in the medical profession to accommodate the pharmaceutical desires of any sexually active woman at any time she asks.

Of course, if one pharmacist won’t fill a prescription, another pharmacist will – usually at the same location. At worst, in most parts of the country, a woman wanting to refill her pills might have to drive another mile down the road to get them. But according to NOW, that’s just too far to go for the sake of a fellow citizen’s conscience.  Is that really the mindset of most women in America?

A similar lapse of insight is detectable in the ongoing efforts of The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR) to force the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, via lawsuit, to extend over-the-counter access to the drug Plan B – the so-called “morning after” pill – to women younger than 18. A federal court found in favor of CRR, but the case is currently on appeal. (Full disclosure: the Alliance Defense Fund is co-counsel for those appealing the decision.)

Nancy Northup, president of CRR, celebrated the court’s decision as “a tremendous victory for all Americans who expect the government to safeguard public health.”  “Today,” she added, “all women – including young women for whom the barriers and the benefits are so great – are one step closer to having the access they need and deserve.”

Of course, giving teens access to abortion pills is a great way to keep them from going to their parents, or a doctor, and confessing their pregnancy. That means it’s also a great way to ensure that they don’t get checked for the now-rampant sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) that are infecting so many underage and extramarital sexual adventurers. Will that evasion help “safeguard public health?”

Some interesting statistics: four in 10 young women now become pregnant before they’re 20; one in four will contract an STD; one in two rape victims is under the age of 18. How many of those girls does Ms. Northup think would be better off dodging a doctor? How many will surmount the extraordinary emotional fallout of having an abortion?

In her zeal to celebrate the rights of teens to avoid parental consent, Ms. Northup fails to consider that half of those uninformed parents are women themselves. Do most mothers really celebrate the idea that, thanks to the intervention of organizations like CRR, their underage daughters can now have sex, contract an STD, and undergo a self-administered abortion without ever confiding any of that to her folks?

In fact, NOW and CRR and their self-congratulatory leadership have no more real interest in the rights or needs or concerns of women than Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt do – they are simply guardians of a legal and political agenda who, wrapped in feminist gauze, are willing to risk the bodies, the freedoms, and even the souls of other women to accomplish their deeply self-serving goals.

And what are those goals? Apparently, the same as Mr. Heffner’s and Mr. Flynt’s: unlimited sex with unlimited partners for every man, woman, and child in America…with no physical, legal, moral, or emotional restrictions of any kind.

That’s a goal they’re inching very close to achieving, but it’s one that ignores not only what most women really want, but the immutable facts of life.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


26 August, 2009

British human rights watchdog begins legal action over  membership policy of anti-immigration party

The British National Party is facing legal action over claims that its membership restrictions are in breach of racial discrimination laws.  The Equality and Human Rights Commission has issued county court proceedings against the party, its leader, Nick Griffin, and two other officials.  The move by the human rights watchdog comes after it voiced concerns in June about the BNP’s constitution and membership criteria.

The commission said that the party appeared to restrict membership to those within what the BNP regarded as particular “ethnic groups” and to those whose skin colour was white. Any such exclusion would be contrary to the Race Relations Act, which the commission has a duty to enforce.

The BNP responded by saying that it intended to clarify the word “white” on its website. However, the commission said it believed that the party would continue to discriminate against potential or actual members on racial grounds. It added that the continued publication of the BNP constitution and membership criteria on its website was unlawful.

John Wadham, the commission’s legal director, said: “The BNP has said that it is not willing to amend its membership criteria, which we believe are discriminatory and unlawful. The commission has a statutory duty to use our regulatory powers to enforce compliance with the law, so we have today issued county court proceedings against the BNP.”

A county court could issue an injunction to stop specific activity by the BNP, such as requiring it to remove material from its website and to cease use of certain recruitment criteria. Any refusal would be a contempt of court, punishable by a fine or up to two years’ imprisonment.

Mr Wadham said that the party had an opportunity to resolve the issues quickly by giving the undertaking on its membership criteria that the commission required.

Harriet Harman, the Minister for Women and Equality, said: “No party should be allowed to have an apartheid constitution in 21st century Britain. I welcome the action.”

In its original letter in June, the commission also expressed concerns that the BNP’s elected representatives or those working for them might discriminate on grounds of race or colour in the provision of services to members of the public or constituents. However, it is not pursuing legal action on those fronts and will instead monitor compliance.

The BNP told the commission that its elected representatives would make available any services they provided to all constituents, including ethnic minority members. BNP councillors have also signed a members’ code of conduct stating that they would not do anything that might cause their local authority to breach any equality law.

It has told the commission that on certain application forms it will insert the words “if applicable” when asking for insertion of a BNP membership number.

A spokesman for the BNP said that it had nothing to add to its earlier statement issued in response to the commission’s original letter.

In that detailed 17-page letter, Mr Griffin accused the commission of a “lack of procedural fairness” by demanding a response within 30 days with the threat of legal proceedings, and claimed it was acting outside its statutory powers.

He accused the commission of racial discrimination against the BNP and of breaching its human rights.


Is Anyone Listening to What The Arabs Are Saying About Israel?

Even if the Obama administration were to succeed in compelling Israel to accept a two-state solution and stop building settlements in Judea and Samaria, this would not placate the Arabs or ensure peace in the region. Before embracing the idea of a Palestinian state, we should ask why the Arabs have consistently opposed partition, and examine the origin of the “Two-State Solution.”

When the Peel Commission recommended partition in July 1937, the Arabs immediately repudiated the British plan. “When speaking of the Palestinian problem there are no moderates or radicals,” declared Filastin, a Jaffa based Arab newspaper. “We have rejected the partition plan and will fight any idea or attempt to propose partition, as partition is a national disaster. No Arab who appreciates the national ‘stake’ will consent to negotiate partition.”2

After almost 30 years of futile attempts to bring peace between the Jews and Arabs, the British asked the U.N. in April 1947 to decide Palestine’s future. A Joint Memorandum of January 6, 1947 submitted to the British Cabinet by the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and the Secretary of State for the Colonies found the Arabs “implacably opposed to the creation of a Jewish State in any part of Palestine, and they will go to any lengths to prevent it.”

Throughout the intervening years, the Arabs have not stopped trying to eliminate Israel. Though they live in a number of different sovereign states, the Arabs view themselves as part of a single Arab Nation extending ‘from the [Atlantic] to the [Arab/Persian] Gulf.’  This is not a future objective in pan-Arab canon, but “a present reality,” notes historian Walid Khalidi. For historical, cultural and religious reasons, pan-Arabism resonates among all segments of Arab society, endowing them with “sanctity as dogmas.”  The “de-Arabization of Arab territory” in Palestine is viewed as a breach of the unity of the Arab people because it divides its “Asiatic from its African halves.” This is a violation of Arab lands and “an affront to the “dignity of the [Arab] Nation.”

In other words, the Arabs regard themselves as the only “legitimate repository of national self-determination” in the Middle East. No one questions their right for independence, but the rejection of the same right of other national groups in the region for self-rule “borders on political racism,” opines Shlomo Avineri of The Hebrew University. Arab repudiation of Israel’s legitimate right to exist is part of this deep-seated belief that only Arabs are entitled to have a nation-state in the Middle East....

With regard to acknowledging Israel, Rafik Natseh declared unequivocally that Fatah “does not recognize Israel’s right to exist.” (Schenker, op.cit) Muhammad Dahlan adamantly underscored this point when he said, “I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all my fellow members of the Fatah movement… the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel…”

Despite the myriad of government commissions and official emissaries that have sought a solution to the Arab/Israeli conflict, the dispute remains intractable. Nothing will change so long as the West fails to treat the Arab world as they would any other European nation.  Making excuses for Arab intransigence, blaming Israel and trying to force her to give up land that is legally and morally hers will not end the conflict.

If any nations in Central Europe had proclaimed that they were the only rightful nation-state in the region as the Arabs have, the country would be vilified as racist, elitist, hegemonic, and seen as potentially dangerous. For the last two centuries, the claim of having the exclusive right to statehood and autonomy has been the source for the many wars, carnage and mass destruction in Europe. This discredited concept, which is at the core of the problem of Arab nationalism, has been abandoned in Europe.


A Deck Stacked With Race Cards

by Jonah Goldberg

What if America transcended race, and Barack Obama wasn't invited?  The question comes to mind as cries of racism grow ever louder from Obama's supporters.   No one should be surprised. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, liberal Democrats have to accuse their opponents of racism. Indeed, somewhat to their credit, fighting racism -- alas, even where it doesn't exist -- is one of the reasons they became liberal Democrats in the first place.

And that's the great irony of the Obama presidency. It was Obama's supporters who hinted, teased, promised or prophesied that Obama would help America "transcend race." But now, it is they who shrink from their own promised land.  After all, it was not Obama's detractors who immediately fell into the comfortable groove of racial grievance and familiar "narratives" when Henry Louis Gates insisted that a police instructor in racial sensitivity had to be a racist. That was Obama and his choir of heralds.

From day one, Obama's supporters have tirelessly cultivated the idea that anything inconvenient to the first black president just might be terribly, terribly racist.  This was always the nasty side of Obama's implied hope for unity. Obama gave oxygen to the idea that disagreement with him amounted to obstructing his mission to "transcend race." During the campaign, that meant anyone who got in his way was wittingly or unwittingly abetting racism (just ask Bill Clinton). A writer for Slate magazine insisted journalists must not call attention to the fact that Obama is "skinny." Such observations fuel racism by highlighting his physical appearance, and that in turn might suddenly alert racist American voters to the fact that Obama is ... wait for it ... black.

Now that he's president, if you question his tax policies, energy plans or health-care ambitions, you are "hoping he will fail" -- and that, with the help of roundabout reasoning, is tantamount to hoping we cannot transcend race.

Loading the deck in such a way is a gift of Obama's. Time and again, he pre-empts dissent by claiming he's open-minded, pragmatic and non-ideological, and therefore if you disagree with him, you must be some sort of zealot.

His shock troops make the same argument about race, sometimes with sophistication, sometimes with the kind of lucid clarity only profound stupidity can provide. For instance, actress Janeane Garofalo summed up the tea parties thusly: "This is about hating a black man in the White House. This is racism straight up."

A more sophisticated version comes from Princeton professor Melissa Harris-Lacewell, who finds racism in complaints that socialized medicine would result in fewer Americans "taking responsibility" for their own health care. "What we know over the past 25 years," she told NPR, "is that language of personal responsibility is often a code language used against poor and minority communities." In an ABC News story about how racist white militias are somehow connected to town hall protests, Mark Potok of the dismayingly left-wing Southern Poverty Law Center insists Obama has "triggered fears among fairly large numbers of white people in this country that they are somehow losing their country."

Two weeks ago, town hallers were supposed to be members of the Brooks Brothers brigade, AstroTurf division. Now they're well-armed anti-government militias. At this rate, they'll soon be android ninjas with laser vision. Wait, strike that. They'll be really racist android ninjas with laser vision.

Suddenly, if conservatives want to transcend race, we have to agree to massive increases in the size of government and socialized medicine.

That's not transcending race, it's using Obama's race to bully the opposition into acquiescence. Actually transcending race would require treating Obama like any other president. Which is pretty much exactly what conservatives have been doing. Seriously, if Hillary Clinton were president, would conservatives really be rolling over for the same health-care plan because she's white?

Sure, racists don't like Obama (in less shocking news, bears continue to use our national forests as toilets). But that doesn't mean everyone who dislikes Obama is therefore a racist.

What's dismaying is how the press and Democrats are so desperate to obscure this point. The only notable political violence at a town hall was against a black man, roughed up by pro-Obama toughs. The assault weapon carried to a lawful demonstration was carried by a black man. That supposedly racist poster depicting Obama as the Joker? (An LA Weekly writer fumed, "The only thing missing is a noose.") That was created by a Palestinian-American supporter of left-wing garden gnome Dennis Kucinich. Whoops!

Never mind. They'll keep trying until they find a scapegoat that works, because that is what they do.


Australian bosses forbidden to talk to their workers

Unions legally privileged under new Leftist laws

JULIA Gillard's new industrial relations umpire has begun to ban businesses from directly talking to their own employees while being forced into "good faith" bargaining with unions.

Banning business from communicating directly with its own staff will not promote the productivity growth that Kevin Rudd now claims is central to his government's agenda. But productivity growth has never been a central aim of Australia's traditional industrial relations system.

Rudd and Gillard are reimposing this system for political reasons: first to put John Howard's Work Choices to the sword and second to deal Labor's industrial wing back into the game.

Just over a week ago, Fair Work Australia senior deputy president Lea Drake instructed industrial services company Transfield how to deal with the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union in holding a collective agreement ballot of its maintenance employees doing work on Sydney's water system.

The seventh of Drake's 13 instructions state: "During this process Transfield will not attempt to bypass the bargaining agent representatives in relation to its proposal by contacting for this purpose the members of the bargaining agent representatives directly, in meetings or by text or other telephonic messages."

That is, Transfield must deal with "all officers and delegates" of the AMWU as the "bargaining agent". Transfield's workers are not so much the company's employees as "members of the bargaining agent". The union can depict the company's position in any way it wants to its members, but the company cannot argue its case - perhaps beyond setting out what it has put to the union - to its own employees. That would show "bad faith".

The sight of industrial judges limiting how business can talk to its own staff about the terms oftheir labour contract is a huge break from the direction of workplace relations since the early 1990s. That began the shift away from what Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens this month aptly called the "bad old days" of Australian industrial relations. This had to change because the over-regulated labour market threatened to stifle the productivity growth required by business after the rest of the economy had been opened up to foreign competition.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


25 August, 2009

Swedish newspaper forced to back away from libel against Israel -- amid lame excuses

Newspaper admits no proof of Israeli organ theft

A Swedish newspaper admitted overnight it did not have proof for an earlier story alleging Israeli soldiers had trafficked the organs of Palestinians, which sparked a diplomatic row with Israel.  In an editorial headlined "The week the world went crazy'', Aftonbladet chief editor Jan Helin wrote that the first article on the case published last Monday "lacked'' proof of any organ theft.

"I'm not a Nazi. I'm not an anti-Semite. I'm a responsible editing executive who gave the green light to the publication of an article because it asks a number of pertinent questions.''

The tabloid followed up its original story that claimed Israeli soldiers had snatched Palestinian youths to steal their organs with an interview with the family of an alleged victim.  Two Aftonbladet reporters interviewed the mother and brother of Bilal Achmad Ghanem, a youth allegedly killed by Israeli troops 17 years ago when he was 19 on suspicion of being a ringleader in the first Palestinian uprising.  They asked his 32-year-old brother Bilal if they had any proof that his organs had been stolen.

"No, I don't have any,'' he said.  "But I have met people who told similar stories about their loved ones. We have heard many stories like this one.''

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, caught in the diplomatic storm provoked by the original story, was also interviewed by Aftonbladet.  Sweden, said Mr Bildt, had to be "more careful in explaining to outsiders the way our freedom of expression and freedom of the press work''.  Asked if the newspaper should apologise for the article, Bildt said: "Aftonbladet is responsible for the content it publishes, not the Government.''

On Friday, Mr Bildt played down the diplomatic row with Israel sparked by the paper's claims.  When asked by reporters if the report would sour relations between the two countries, Mr Bildt said: "I don't think so.''  "We have very strong state relationship between Israel and our government. We are both open and democratic societies,'' he said.

 But Israel yesterday pressed Stockholm to condemn the original report.  "We are not asking the Swedish Government for an apology, we are asking for their condemnation,'' a senior official quoted Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as telling ministers during the weekly Cabinet meeting.


What English conservatism COULD look like

On his first morning as mayor of Doncaster in South Yorkshire, Peter Davies cut his salary from £73,000 to £30,000, then closed the council’s newspaper for “peddling politics on the rates.”

Now three weeks into his job, Mr. Davies is pressing ahead with plans he hopes will see the number of town councillors cut from 63 to just 21, saving taxpayers £800,000.  Mr. Davies said, “If 100 senators can run the United States of America, I can’t see how 63 councillors are needed to run Doncaster.”

He has withdrawn Doncaster from the local government association and the local government information unit, saving another £200,000. Mr. Davies said, “They are just talking shops. Doncaster is in for some serious untwinning. We are twinned with probably nine other cities around the world and they are just for people to fly off and have a binge at the council’s expense.”

The mayor’s chauffeur-driven car has also been axed by Mr. Davies and the driver given another job.

Mr. Davies, born and bred in Doncaster, swept to power in the May election with 24,244 votes as a candidate for the English Democrats, a party that wants tight immigration curbs, an English parliament and a law forcing every public building to fly the flag of St. George.

He has promised to end council funding for Doncaster’s International Women’s Day, Black History Month and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender History Month.  He said, “Politicians have got completely out of touch with what people want. We need to cut costs. I want to pass on some savings I make in reduced taxes and use the rest for things we really need, like improved children’s services.”

Mr. Davies has received messages from well-wishers across the country and abroad as news of his no-nonsense approach spreads.


Black NY Governor plays the race card

Gov. Paterson blamed a racist media Friday for trying to push him out of next year's election - launching into an angry rant that left even some black Democrats shaking their heads.  "The whole idea is to get me not to run in the primary," Paterson complained on a morning radio show hosted by Daily News columnist Errol Louis.  He suggested that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the country's only other African-American governor, also is under fire because of his race.  "We're not in the post-racial period," Paterson said.  "The reality is the next victim on the list - and you can see it coming - is President Barack Obama, who did nothing more than trying to reform a health care system."  Paterson said the campaign against him is being "orchestrated" by reporters who would rather make the news than report it.

But critics said the governor should blame his own blunders.  "He's given the media more than enough to feed on with the incompetence shown in his administration," said state Sen. Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn), an African-American.  "To quote Michael Jackson, he should start with the man in the mirror," Parker said.  Even state Sen. Bill Perkins (D-Harlem), a black supporter of the governor, urged him to be more like Obama by staying "focused on the message."

Paterson has been the target of Democrats who fear his low approval ratings - 18% at their lowest and about 30% now - will endanger the party next year if he decides to run for his first full term as governor.
Read more:

More here

The justification for the Postal Service's monopoly is long past

Whatever possessed President Obama to mention the travails of the post office while discussing health care the other day, his timing was certainly apt. The Postal Service is headed toward a loss of $7 billion this year and another $7 billion in 2010. Naturally, Congress is planning another bailout rather than the kind of reform that would recognize how technology has transformed modern communications.

Most mail today is delivered electronically via email. Traditional postal mail volume has fallen by nearly 20% since 2000, and the average household gets one-third fewer letters than a decade ago. But this is only the first stage of the decline. The transition to Internet communications means that the Postal Service's core business—from paying bills, to sending birthday greetings, to delivering magazines—is slowly vanishing. This is on top of the package business that has already been transformed by Federal Express and UPS.

Not that the Postal Service has ever been a paragon of efficiency. If the cost of a postage stamp had risen at merely the rate of inflation since 1950 when a stamp cost two cents, today you could send a first-class letter for 30 cents. Instead the cost rose in May to 44 cents from 42 cents.

These higher prices have corresponded with worsening service. The mailman used to deliver twice a day in urban areas, but now Postal Service Chief Executive John Potter says he wants to stop Saturday service to reduce costs. No private business in America could continually raise prices, lose billions of dollars and then hope to win back customers by promising poorer service.

Here's a secret Washington doesn't want to admit: That 14 cent per letter cost hike after inflation over the past 60 years imposes a $20 billion a year toll on the U.S. economy. The government mail system is essentially a $20 billion annual income transfer from businesses and households to the postal unions.

About 80 cents of every postal dollar pays for employee salaries and benefits (compared to less than 50 cents for Fed Ex and UPS). What that means is that if you want to cut costs at the post office, you have to slash labor expenses. Mr. Potter has reduced Postal Service employment to 650,000 from 800,000 the past four years, largely through attrition. But he still employs 650,000 workers who have among the best wages and benefits in all of American life.

Most employees have no-layoff clauses, the starting salaries are about 25% to 30% higher than for comparably skilled private workers, and the fringe benefits are so expensive that the Government Accountability Office says $500 million a year could be saved merely by bringing health benefits into line with those of other federal workers. Mr. Potter has to set aside $5 billion a year just to pay for health insurance. Postal management now wants to "save" money by not advance-funding those obligations, and Congress is likely to say yes. But that doesn't save a dime; it simply creates even larger unfunded liabilities down the road.

The four biggest postal-carrier union contracts come up for renewal in 2010 and 2011, and Congress and the Obama Administration can best serve the public by using the negotiations to promote a major restructuring. One priority should be closing thousands of obsolete post offices around the country; many post offices now serve towns with fewer than 250 people. This is something Mr. Potter has long wanted to do, but thanks to Congressional meddling, closing a small town post office can be harder than shutting a military base.

The most overdue reform is to strip away the Post Service's monopoly on first-class mail and bulk mail. Competition is the key ingredient to innovation, low prices and good service. This was Mr. Obama's insight at his recent health-care town hall when he noted that "UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? No, they are. It's the Post Office that's always having problems."

The argument has been made for 200 years that the postal monopoly is necessary to "bind the nation together." Once that was at least plausible. But today the Internet delivers to the most remote corners of Alaska and the Badlands at one-one-hundredth the cost of snail mail. The sooner Congress requires the Postal Service to shrink and adapt to this reality, the smaller will be the losses imposed on taxpayers.


Australia: Violence censored by NSW police to give the public a false sense of security

This is reprehensible.  People need all the information they can get in order to keep themselves as safe as possible.  And the Leftist government is both behind it and lying about it

POLICE are censoring images of violent crimes to make the public feel safe on the streets.  Police spin doctors have issued a blanket ban on releasing photos of criminals carrying weapons during attacks.  Officers are also trained to play down violent incidents and public alerts are delayed by hours or days.

Experts said the first hours after a crime could be vital and the tight control of information meant some incidents were never solved.

Publican Peter Nellies, who had a gun repeatedly pointed at his head while his staff were held hostage for two terrifying hours, is angry about the cloak of silence police have thrown around the raid on his pub, the Bradbury Inn in Sydney's southwest.  It took 11 hours before a bulletin was issued, giving the criminals a long head start before the public were alerted. Even then, despite the extreme violence, it was described as an "incident" in which people were "detained".

The changes came about last year when police radios were encrypted to keep details of raids secret and the media unit assumed total control of all information released to the public.  Since then, carjackings have been described as "concerns for welfare", a violent robbery and shooting at Wentworthville was played down and the Lin family murder was kept secret for five hours before it was released as a "domestic related" incident.

The last time the media unit released images of a victim being terrorised with a weapon was in February 2005.  The photograph of a commuter with a gun to his head in a daytime mugging at Harris Park train station appeared on the front page of The Daily Telegraph.  Since then The Daily Telegraph has obtained similar frightening images taken during a Parramatta jewellery shop heist and a pub robbery at St Leonards but now even victims are being discouraged from releasing security camera vision.  Police media advisers have admitted they would never release such photos due to a "protocol" that prevents the release of images showing the commission of a crime.

Former police officer Tim Priest said: "I have been complaining about the police media unit for years. Basically what it is is censorship.  "It is not letting the public know there are dangerous offenders running around doing these sorts of things."

University of Western Sydney Bachelor of Policing degree co-ordinator Dr Mike Kennedy said the media unit was an extension of government. "They are more interested in doing the bidding of the Government," Dr Kennedy said.

A spokesman for Police Minister Tony Kelly denied there was a policy to censor or sanitise images or information about serious crimes.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


24 August, 2009

This guy is in for trouble

Says  Koran has ‘no ethics’

THE bestselling author Sebastian Faulks has courted controversy by saying the Koran has “no ethical dimension”.  In an interview with today’s Sunday Times Magazine, he added that the Islamic holy scripture was “a depressing book”, was “very one-dimensional” and unlike the Christian New Testament had “no new plan for life”.

Faulks was speaking in advance of the publication of his novel, A Week in December.  Best known for historical works such as Birdsong and Charlotte Gray, his new novel addresses contemporary London. Its characters include a health fund manager, a literary critic and a Glasgow-born Islamic terrorist recruit. Researching the latter, he read a translation of the Koran which he found “very disappointing from a literary point of view”.

He also criticised the “barrenness” of the Koran’s message and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, especially when compared with the Bible. 

“Jesus, unlike Muhammad, had interesting things to say,” Faulks said.  “He proposed a revolutionary way of looking at the world: love your neighbour; love your enemy; the meek shall inherit the earth. Muhammad had nothing to say to the world other than, ‘If you don’t believe in God you will burn for ever’.”

Criticism of the Koran is regarded as blasphemous by Muslims.


Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights

A BOOK REVIEW of "Shakedown:  How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights"    By Ezra Levant

When in September 2005, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published 12 editorial cartoons, most depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed, Muslims worldwide reacted with protests and violence that lead to the death of over 100 people and the destruction of three Danish foreign embassies.  Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen described the cartoon riots as Denmark's worst international crisis since World War II.  Much debate ensued as to whether the depictions of Mohammed were legitimate expressions of free speech characteristic of Western criticism of all religions or, if in fact, the cartoons were blasphemous and evidence of rampant Islamophobia.

By February of 2006, the cartoons and their aftermath had become a major news story and a worldwide controversy.  Although the story of the riots was widely covered by the Western media, few in print and broadcast media actually displayed the offending cartoons.  Bristling at the idea of self-censorship and refusing to pander to political correctness, Ezra Levant, a lawyer and publisher of Western Standard magazine -- based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada -- made what appeared to be a logical journalistic decision to publish the story with the accompanying cartoons.  He felt strongly that this newsworthy story warranted showing the source of the chaos.

Levant's single action of journalistic prerogative led to his battle of a lifetime over his own right to free expression and freedom from prosecution for exercising it.  Assuming that as a Canadian citizen his right to free speech was protected, Levant was horrified to discover that his rights could be infringed by a human rights commission (HRC) acting in the interest of an offended Muslim and champion of shari'ah law, Imam Syed Soharwardy.  Much to Levant's surprise, a commission that he imagined was vested with the responsibility to uphold the rights of Canadians, avowed that the imam's right not to be offended superseded Levant's right to free speech.

In his fast-paced, well-researched book, "Shakedown:  How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights," Levant recounts his Orwellian journey into the bowels of the human rights commission and uncovers the shocking, modus operandi of this taxpayer-funded, quasi-omnipotent organization.   Courageously, Levant opted to buck the tide by eschewing the usual route of capitulation chosen by 90% of those charged by the Canadian human rights commissions.  Instead of offering a perfunctory apology and paying a fine to the offended imam, Levant took a 900-day, principled route to battle valiantly for his rights.   He chronicled his battle with the commission on his blog and in a series of You Tube videos viewed by over 600,000 people.

In "Shakedown," Levant explains that Canada's human rights commissions, at the province level, initially had a legitimate role when they were founded in the 1970s. They fought typical discrimination cases of the day involving employment, housing, retail establishments and country clubs.  As Canadian society evolved and became more tolerant and as society at large extinguished discriminatory practices, the commissions' focus changed.  Rather than be deemed obsolete, HRCs launched into ideological censorship and began prosecuting cases of hate speech brought by individuals who were offended by opinions they found unacceptable.  At that point, the Canadian Human Rights Commissions, which employ over 200 people and operate on an annual budget of $25 million, crossed the line from the fight for equal civil rights to the battle for special dispensations for protected groups, such as Muslims, homosexuals and racial minorities.

In his journey through the bureaucratic maze of Canada's human rights commissions, Levant exposes how these taxpayer-funded bodies operate above and outside of the law.  For example, HRCs are not required to follow the same legal procedures and regulations required of the Canadian court system.  Habeas corpus - the right to a hearing, the guarantee of a speedy trial and the application of punishment or fines commensurate with an offense - are not features of HRC justice.  Also, whereas judges are appointed for life and expected to be neutral, human rights commissioners generally lack legal training and law enforcement backgrounds.   They are political appointees who can retain political offices and engage in partisan pursuits.  Further, in a court of law, an impoverished defendant is provided with defense counsel and the loser is required to pay legal fees.  In human rights cases, HRC services the complainant and the accused must pay for his own defense.

In a clear violation of federal laws protecting the rights of the accused, HRCs are not restrained by unreasonable, search-and-seizure regulations.  They are granted open access at any time and without a search warrant to any buildings, documents, records and individuals.  Hearsay is allowed in commission proceedings, the accused has no right to face his accuser and, in violation of due process, documents and other evidence may not necessarily be provided to the defendant prior to the hearing or at all.  Levant astutely observes in "Shakedown" that murderers receive greater protections under the law.

In his informative book, Levant cites several shocking case rulings by Canadian HRCs.  He recounts the case of a strapping male-to-female transvestite who sued the Vancouver Rape Relief Centre when denied a job as a rape crisis counselor.  Rather than consider the feelings of vulnerable women who felt unsafe speaking to a man about their trauma, the HRC ruled in favor of the transvestite.  A former McDonald's employee successfully sued the fast-food chain for its hygiene policy; the worker claimed chapped hands as a disability.   HRC ruled in the employee's favor and her right to avoid frequent hand washing. It ordered McDonald's to pay her $23,000 for "lost income" and $25,000 for her "dignity and self-respect." A conservative Christian pastor was prosecuted by the HRC for a letter to the editor opposing homosexuality that he submitted to a local newspaper.  In a stunning violation of the rights provided under Canadian free speech laws, he was fined and ordered to never again make disparaging remarks about homosexuals.

Levant points out the irony of the human rights commissions' penchant for punishing one group for its views while not cracking down on others.  In the history of the HRCs, only white Christians have been prosecuted for hate speech.   He explains that while conservative Christians could be targeted for their views on homosexual marriage, other groups, say Muslim imams who espouse support for shari'ah law and its subjugation of women, would escape notice.

"Shakedown" is an enlightening expose of the dangerous power of unrestrained, politically appointed commissions who take it upon themselves to define the parameters of acceptable speech and prosecute alleged violators of their politically correct doctrine.  Levant warns that the Canadian human rights commissions are engaged in the destruction of civil rights in the name of human rights and must be stopped.  His final chapter offers some suggestions for reforming the HRCs and for fighting back against an unfair system that jeopardizes every Canadian's right to free expression.


Australia:  "Mystery" upsurge of gang violence on Melbourne streets

That Melbourne has in recent years acquired a large population of Muslim and African "refugees" wouldn't have anything to do with it, would it?   That is an unthinkable thought in super-"correct" Victoria.   And the judiciary are no help.  They "compassionately" give slap-on-the-wrist sentences on the rare occasions when such offenders are caught

POLICE are under orders to patrol Melbourne's streets in groups of at least three because gangs of thugs have made it too dangerous for them to work in pairs.  Melbourne police division chief Supt Stephen Leane said police were no longer patrolling in pairs because of the dangers posed by groups of young thugs, often called together by mobile phone, who confronted officers.

The revelation came as new figures revealed almost a third of assaults in Melbourne's CBD were carried out by two or more assailants. Experts said there was a growing culture of pack violence.  Twelve out of 15 high-profile cases in the past three years, which resulted in a death or a serious injury, allegedly were carried out by groups that outnumbered victims - in some cases by 10 to one.

The dangerous trend has baffled police and criminologists, who cannot explain why young people are increasingly prepared to viciously attack hopelessly outnumbered victims.  "It's called swarming," Supt Leane said.  Supt Leane said: "It's not just a matter of being punched in the nose. Their mates are joining in and you're getting punched on the nose and getting kicked to the ground.  "You're ending up in a fight with more than one person. It continues when you're on the ground."

Supt Leane said police now patrolled Melbourne's streets at night in groups of at least three because of the potential threat posed by groups of people acting aggressively.  "You won't see two police by themselves. The minimum you'll see is three," he said.  "The days of being able to put two police out on foot patrol have unfortunately passed us by for the moment. We'll stop someone for a chat on the footpath and someone else who's not involved in the discussion is texting and the next thing there's a group of people there."  Supt Leane said police in Melbourne hoped to one day to go back to paired foot patrols.

A snapshot of assaults in the Melbourne division from July to September 2008 showed 30 per cent of all assaults were carried out by more than one offender.   Deakin University criminologist Dr Ian Warren said CCTV surveillance was highlighting group violence more and more.  However, a lack of research meant it was not known why people were engaging in violent swarming behaviour.  Dr Warren said people could be less inhibited in their behaviour if they were within a group.  "When you're part of a group you're more anonymous; it can make you more willing," he said.

Dr Warren said there appeared to be a change developing where people were prepared to use extreme violence.  "If there is a change in the way our society does group violence it's possibly a trend . . . when the intention is to pulverise or really cause real damage.  "The brutality of some of this stuff is really worrying."  Dr Warren said more research was needed to determine why people were attacking in packs and why they were using such extreme levels of violence.


Australia:  Sliming our past - as we repeat it

Better to let endangered black kids die?  That seems to be what the Leftists want in their hatred of white society and their addled dreams about "noble savages" etc.

By Andrew Bolt

Kevin Rudd said sorry - and “never again”:
    We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country… To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry....

    We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians. A future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.

We must “never, never” again take Aboriginal children from their parents? Then explain today’s news:
WELFARE workers have swooped on the opal mining town of Lightning Ridge in northwest NSW, removing more than 40 Aboriginal children from decrepit homes in shanty towns. Those removed included a four-day-old baby who had barely learned to suckle when taken from his mother’s breast, while she was still in the local hospital, recovering from giving birth.

    Aboriginal women, stunned by the removals, say it amounts to a ”modern-day Stolen Generation”, but the most recent statistics on child removals show Aboriginal children are being taken from their parents in numbers much greater than the Stolen Generations… Nationwide, Aboriginal children comprise just 4.4 per cent of all children, and yet make up 24 per cent of all children in care.

The choice is this. Either we are still imposing the racist policies Rudd condemned only last year, or we’re just rescuing even more of the children who truly did need rescuing by the officials Rudd so recklessly accused last year of “injustice”.

I’d say this simply confims there was no “stolen generations”. After all, no one can name even 10 of the up to 100,000 children we allegedly stole to - as Professor Robert Manne put it - ”help keep White Australia pure” in what to Aborigines was a “Holocaust”. Not 10.

SOURCE  (See the original for links)

Australia: Brisbane phone directory reveals Asian migration trend

Australia's population is now about 10% East Asian and the Han Chinese in particular fit in well with the rest of Australia at all levels and make a positive contribution to society.  If the most common surnames were "Mohammed", "Hussein" and "Ali", however, we would have a problem,  as the Brits now well know

WHEN it comes to Brisbane's most popular surnames, the Lees are catching up with the Joneses.  And in at least four Brisbane suburbs, seven of the 10 most common surnames are Asian, according to the latest White Pages.  While Smith, Jones and Brown remain the most popular names in the listings, Lee has claimed seventh place in the overall 10 most common surnames in Queensland's capital city.

In suburbs such as Sunnybank, Archerfield, Mount Gravatt and Annerley, Lee and Chen are catching up to Smith, taking the number two and three spots.  Seven in every 10 names are non-Anglo in the diverse southern suburbs. Williams, at No.4, is followed by Wang, Wong, Huang, Lin, Liu and Taylor.

Sunnybank resident Hsin-Yi Chen, 25, and her mother Li-Yun Lee, 51, said having two of the most popular surnames in the one family was unexpected.  "Chen is a very, very popular surname in China, and Lee is pretty common too, but I never expected them to be as popular in Australia," Ms Chen said.  She attributed the popularity of the names to immigration and an increase in overseas students.

There are 5000 Smiths in the Brisbane area, twice as many as the second most popular name in the 2009/10 White Pages, Jones.  And you could be forgiven for thinking Joshua Smith, from Chapel Hill, has something of an identity crisis - he knows of four other Joshua Smiths.  "It has always been quite popular, even reading down the school roll there were a heaps of Smiths," he said.

Brisbane's west is another area where changing demographics have caused new names to slip into the list.  Since 2005, the Vietnamese surname Nguyen has dropped from fourth to eighth place but Lee has moved up from sixth to third place. 

Suburbs such as Chermside, Kedron, Deagon and Strathpine in the north are less multi-cultural, dominated by the Smith and Jones duo, which occupy the top two positions.  Williams, Brown and Wilson are also popular names for those on the north side of the river.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


23 August, 2009

British  walk-the-plank contest forced to prove sea is safe

Pirates taking part in an annual walk-the-plank competition were told to cancel the event by health and safety bosses unless they could prove the sea water was clean enough for them to jump into.  The World Walking the Plank championship, which takes places this Sunday, was finally given clearance at the 11th hour today after organisers drafted in their own scientist.

Chemical analyst Michael Young took a sample of the sea water from the Queenborough Harbour on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent, and declared it safe for 'pirates' to walk the plank into.

He had to take the sample to health and safety bosses at Swale Borough Council, so its own scientists could confirm the findings.  Mr Young, 57, said today: 'I have analysed the water in the creek and deem it suitable to be planked in.'  Mr Young, who himself has won the championship twice in previous years, added: 'I was shocked when I heard we might have to abandon ship.  'I have won the title twice and believe this year I could be in line for a hat-trick.'

Organiser of the event, a man known only as Captain Cutlass, confirmed: 'As a result of our own exhaustive tests the World Walking the Plank championships are still on for Sunday.  'The plank-off starts at 2pm just before high tide.'

He added: 'It infuriates me officials always come up with reasons why Britain can't have fun. It's time we fought back - which is what we pirates do best.'

Retired deputy harbour master Andy Willmore, 60, said: 'The council is only doing its job but it forgets we have been staging these championships for the past 12 years with no ill side-effects.  'The environmental health officer suggested in a phone call that it is held near a sewage outlet but that is untrue.  'Besides, the championships are at high tide as the harbour fills with clean seawater. Few people know the tidal waters of Sheppey better than me. It proves red tape is no match for the Jolly Roger.'

The letter from Swale Borough Council told organisers they should 'seek advice on water quality in the harbour' before the event took place.  The letter reads: 'I write with reference to our conversation about the World Walking the Plank championships.  'I acknowledge your comments with regard to the history of this event and also your advice that this is an area routinely used by bathers for recreational use.  'However, I would recommend that advice is sought on water quality.'

The event was given the nod today by health and safety workers who were happy with the tests performed by Mr Young.  The competition, which has been held for the last 12 years, judges 'pirates' on use of pirate language such as 'Avast' or 'Arrr Matey', original costume, execution of jump and overall star quality - dubbed the 'Aargh Factor'.  The event, which has to warn its contestants that they 'could get wet' as part of its insurance, takes place this Sunday.


Chadors in the Cabinet can't cloak Iran's misogyny

by Jeff Jacoby

MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD announced on Sunday that for the first time since the 1979 revolution, women will be named to the Iranian cabinet, a development the news media promptly described as a bid "to soften his hardline image" and to "mollify the opposition . . . while currying favor with women." Some people will believe anything, so presumably somebody somewhere is taking at face value Ahmadinejad's claim that from now on things are going to be different in Iran. "We have entered a new era," he said on state television. "Conditions changed completely and the government will see major changes."

It would be pretty to think so. But meaningful change to Iran's theocratic government will not be coming from Ahmadinejad or the cutthroat mullahs he answers to. His first female cabinet choices -- Fatameh Ajorlou for the social welfare ministry and Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi for the health ministry – are as hardcore as the men already in power in Tehran. According to Massoumeh Torfeh, an Iran specialist at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies, both nominees are supporters of "draconian changes to family laws" that would further diminish the rights of women in cases of divorce and child custody. Ajorlou, moreover, is "a notorious advocate of punishment of women who ignore the dress code" and "was influential in setting up the Basij Sisters militia, which has been involved in brutal attacks and arrests of women's rights activists."

If this is the regime's strategy for "currying favor with women," what would a strategy for alienating them look like?

Islamist power in Iran, like Islamist power everywhere else, has been a disaster for women: That is the blunt truth that no public-relations maneuvering can disguise. It has been less than two months since 26-year-old Neda Agha Soltan was cut down, reportedly by a Basij gunman, during the post-election protests in June – protests that brought tens of thousands of women opposed to Ahmadinejad's presidency into the streets of Tehran and other Iranian cities. Neda -- whose graphic murder, captured on video, was viewed by millions around the world -- is a far more potent symbol of what Islamist rule means for women than the chador-clad hardliners being named to the Iranian cabinet.

The misogyny of radical Islam is not a peripheral distortion, but a key element of the society Islamists aim to create. The Iranian-born journalist Amir Taheri recalls that one of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's last sermons dealt with "three threats" confronting Islam: America, Jews, and women. Women organized the first mass demonstration against the new Khomeini regime in 1979, Taheri writes. In the years that followed, "the authorities imprisoned hundreds of thousands of women . . . and executed thousands."

By now, 30 years into the Khomeinist theocracy, a voluminous literature documents the repression of women under the mullahs. Some of it is matter-of-fact and impassive, such as the 2006 United Nations report finding that "violence against women in the Islamic Republic of Iran is ingrained" and that many Iranian women "feel compelled to tolerate violence inflicted not only by their husbands but also by other family members, for fear of shame, of being ostracized, or of being divorced, and for lack of alternatives to the abusive environment." Other accounts, considerably more wrenching, include Freidoune Sahebjam's heartstopping The Stoning of Soraya M., Zarah Ghahramani's My Life as a Traitor, and Marina Nemat's acclaimed Prisoner of Tehran.

It is difficult to overstate the cruelty and depravity to which women and girls can be subjected in Ahmadinejad's islamist paradise. In an interview with the Jerusalem Post last month, a Basij militiaman explained how the regime's devout thugs deal with young females sentenced to die:

"In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a 'wedding' ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard -- essentially raped by her 'husband.'"

When he was younger, the militiaman had taken part in such "weddings" -- they were a reward from his superiors for exemplary service -- but now, he said, he regretted them. "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die."

It will take more than shuffling a few cabinet posts to end the Islamists' grotesque cruelty to the women and girls of Iran. "We have entered a new era," Ahmadinejad says. Not by a long shot.


80% of New Zealanders against ban on spanking

New Zealanders have voted overwhelmingly to bring back smacking, two years after the country became the first in the world to make it illegal to hit children.  Early results last night from a national referendum show at least 80 per cent are in favour of repealing the controversial 2007 legislation banning parents from using force to discipline their children.  The results reflect polling that has consistently indicated a vast majority of New Zealanders have been against the legislation since it was introduced.

An NZ Television One poll two weeks ago found that most New Zealanders believed the legislation, which removed the defence of reasonable force in child assault cases, was not working.

Brought in during the last year of Helen Clark's Labour government, it was an attempt to lower the country's child cruelty statistics, which had placed New Zealand third out of 27 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries for child deaths.  [Not mentioned, of course, is the fact that the child cruelty cases originated overwhelmingly from the Maori population]

The legislation was introduced after the deaths of twin three-month-old boys, beaten to death by a family member in 2006, led to an agonised bout of national soul-searching.   It was immediately controversial, with critics claiming it would challenge the rights of parents who risked a criminal conviction simply for being strict.

These fears appear to be unfounded -- of the 202 cases reported to police in the first 21 months after the law was changed, 12 were prosecuted.  But it has remained unpopular; political analysts blamed the legislation for helping edge Miss Clark out the prime ministerial door in last year's elections, with critics accusing her government of becoming a nanny state....

Whether it will instigate any real change, however, remains uncertain. Mr Key has repeatedly said the government would not repeal the legislation unless it could be proven that the law was resulting in good parents being prosecuted for light smacking.  His argument has been that while the law technically said smacking was illegal, that was not how it was being administered. "I've always argued that if the law doesn't work, we will change it," Mr Key told The New Zealand Herald.  "If an overwhelming bulk of New Zealanders vote no, then what that should do, I think, is give parliament the strength of courage to change the law if it starts not working."

The referendum came as police in the North Island city of Palmerston North began a murder investigation into three-year-old Cash Meshetti McKinnon, who was found dead with serious head injuries.  Her 21-year-old father was being questioned over her death.


Legal revolution in Australia?  Client confidentiality to be abolished?

JOHN Corcoran is not exactly having kittens, but he is deeply concerned about the latest bright idea being considered by the federal government: "Dob in your clients."  What worries the Law Council president is that this could become a legal obligation for all lawyers under the next tranche of the government's anti-money laundering legislation.

Blowing the whistle on clients who are suspected of engaging in dodgy financial transactions might be perfectly reasonable in other professions.  But it could backfire terribly if applied to lawyers. If lawyers live up to their professional ethics -- and most do -- public policy is best served by encouraging crooks to be as frank as possible when they seek legal advice about proposed financial transactions.

The basic responsibility of all lawyers is to keep their clients within the letter of the law -- even when the client expresses a clear desire to do otherwise.  But how open would some clients be with their lawyers if they knew that as soon as they left the room, their lawyer would be on the phone to the authorities discharging a legal obligation to disclose anything suspicious? That is all we are talking about -- mere suspicion.

Exempting lawyers from this sort of obligation would not amount to punching a loophole in the anti-money laundering regime. It could actually strengthen the net by relying on good lawyers to steer bad clients away from anything improper.

Bringing lawyers within this regime is a step that should be resisted. It would effectively mean that the legal profession had become an arm of the state -- and for no real benefit.

Money laundering would continue, and quite possibly increase, because shady clients would no longer have pesky lawyers urging them to reconsider. But while the majority of the profession can be relied upon to act ethically, what about the rotten apples?

Why not rely on the existing, highly intrusive powers of the law societies and legal services commissioners? And if those powers are considered inadequate, why not crank them up?



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


22 August, 2009

Setting the Record Straight

The myth of lost Arab/Jew harmony

Queen of Controversy, Roseanne Barr, created quite a stir with her photo in the July 30th issue of Heeb magazine. She was dressed as Hitler and was taking burned gingerbread "Jew Cookies" out of the oven.  Barr justified her questionable conduct by saying, "I thought that Hitler in drag making 'Jew' cookies was a very accurate way of depicting the whole German Gestalt. Also, I hate Hitler, because he thought that artists should be censored."

Her bizarre behavior should not surprise anyone who reads her blog. On December 30, 2008 she wrote, "Israel is a NAZI state." On December 11, 2006 she claimed that "it is the Sephardic Jew who has lived in peace for thousands of years with his Arab neighbors," and he is underrepresented in the government of Israel. "Not one Sephardic Jew was killed by Hitler, because he considered them to be 'real Jews' and the German Jew as a bastard German."

Barr is wrong on a number of counts. Hitler murdered many Sephardic Jews - in the Balkans, in North Africa, Cyprus, Rhodes, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and in Greece. She also perpetuates the myth that Sephardic Jews lived in harmony with the Arabs before the Ashkenazi Jews began immigrating to Palestine in 1882.

In Once Upon A Country, Sari Nusseibeh, president of the Al-Quds University in Jerusalem, wrote, "Around the end of the nineteenth century, most of the Jews in the city were either East European ultra-religious Jews, or Arabic speakers who had lived with the Arabs for centuries and felt themselves to be a part of Arab culture, language and life."

Historian Yosef Gorny notes that reliable reports from the pre-First Aliyah (1882) period told of Jewish merchants and peddlers being harassed when conducting business in Muslim villages, and of Jews being verbally and physically abused by Arab traders. Arab policemen attacked Jews on the streets of Jerusalem, even where the foreign consuls lived, and arrested them on false charges.

In his memoirs from the beginning of the First Aliyah, Eliezer Ben-Yehudah, who revived the Hebrew language, wrote, "One thing I have already noted for myself, and that is that the Muslim Arabs... hated them [the Jews] perhaps less than they hate other non-Muslims, yet despise them as they despise no other creatures... in the world."

Hillel Jaffe, a physician and a pioneer from the First Aliyah, wrote in his memoirs that the relations between the Jews and Arabs of Tiberias were normally good, but that the Arabs displayed "contempt for the Jews and are tempted to believe that all Jews are weak and lack courage."

James Finn, British Consul in Jerusalem from 1846 to 1863, wrote in his diary Stirring Times that local Muslims required Jews to pay taxes to pray at the Jewish holy sites. For the privilege of praying at the Western Wall, Jews had to provide a yearly payment to the Effendi, whose house was next to the Wall; the villagers of Siloam were paid a stipend to prevent the vandalizing of the graves on the slopes of the Mount of Olives; the Ta'amra Arabs were bribed so they would not damage Rachel's Tomb near Bethlehem; and Sheikh Abu Gosh received money each year for "not molesting" travelers on the road to Jaffa, even though he received a significant sum yearly from the Turkish government as "Warden of the Road."

The Jews faced continuous assaults by Arab Christian and Muslim authorities, making life unbearable for them, observes historian Arie Morgenstern. In 1834, when Arab farm workers revolted against the regime of Muhammad Ali, Jews were attacked in the major cities. In Safed, the Arabs stole Jewish property, destroyed homes and defiled synagogues. Some Jews were raped, beaten and murdered.

Gorny found that traditional enmity between Islam and Judaism took on a different character in Palestine when the Ashkenazi Jews from Europe arrived in larger numbers. Arabs ridiculed them because of their dress and strange  ways.

More than ten years after the re-settlement began, Haim Hissin wrote in his journal: "Like every new colony, Hadera is not yet at peace with its neighbors and from time to time minor squabbles break out." Hissin saw this conflict as the continuation of traditional Muslim harassment of Jews, instead of a national resistance movement against Jewish settlement that it really was.

The idea that Arabs lived in Palestine in harmony with the Jews is nothing more than a fabrication. As Bat Ye'or, Andrew Bostom and Yehudit Barsky have shown, the ultimate goal of the Muslims is to destroy Western culture and civilization and replace it with their own "civilization of dhimmitude." Non-Muslims will be forced to become a "protected" minority, subordinating themselves to restrictive and degrading Islamic law to avoid death or enslavement.

For 1,300 years, this jihad political force has subjugated and even eliminated major areas of Judeo-Christian, Buddhist, Hindu and other religious civilizations in Europe, Asia and Africa. Non-Muslims converted, disappeared or were rendered incapable of further development.


The Catholic contribution

During the nomination hearing for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, Senator Al Franken (D-MN) asked whether there was a “right to privacy” that might include abortion or birth control. Sotomayor answered that there was a string of precedents establishing the “right to privacy,” all the way backto a 1920s-era case that gave parents control over their children’s education.

Although she did not mention the case by name, Sotomayor was referring to an issue and decision (Pierce v. Society of Sisters) that deeply divided the nation: The issue was simple: could you be Catholic and “100% American”? The Ku Klux Klan answered with a resounding “No!” as it reincarnated itself to attack American Catholics nationwide. The Klan was so powerful that it secured passage of an Oregon law banning all private schools, and there were bill to do the same in other states. Fortunately, the Court ruled that children were not “mere creature[s] of the State” and struck down efforts to criminalize parochial schooling.

My new book, Race and Liberty in America: The Essential Reader (University Press of Kentucky, in association with the Independent Institute, 2009) emphasizes the role of Christianity (and Judaism) in the classic tradition of civil rights. This “classical liberal” tradition is neither Left nor Right but was deeply influenced by Judeo-Christian notions of natural law. Naturally, Catholics played a role in upholding the “natural rights” of men and women.

Race and Liberty in America discusses how the Catholic Church married interracial couples, a private act that was illegal in dozens of states until the Loving decision of 1967 declared marriage a “natural right.” My entry on Loving includes a statement by U.S. Catholic bishops in support of the plaintiffs. The bishops cited language from the Vatican II Council:

The Church was “committed to the proposition that ‘with regard to the fundamental rights of the person, every type of discrimination, whether social or cultural, whether based on sex, race, color, social condition, language or religion, is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God’s intent.’“

This was not the first time Catholics stood for the natural right of life and the liberty of marriage or reproduction. During the 1920s, the sole Catholic Supreme Court Justice, Pierce Butler, dissented from the infamous case legalizing sterilization of “inferior” individuals and races (Buck v. Bell, 1927). “Progressive” justice Oliver Wendell Holmes spoke for the majority when he wrote that “three generations of imbeciles are enough.” Holmes invoked the principle of compulsory vaccination as precedent for forced sterilization. Holmes pontificated:

“It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes. Three generations of imbeciles are enough. . . .”

When the anti-Catholic Klan was most powerful, its members attacked Catholics as “inferior” and less than “100% American.” The Klan secured immigration quotas limiting migration from Catholic countries. Along with the efforts to ban Catholic schools, the Klan discouraged public schoolsfrom hiring Catholic teachers. The situation became so heated that New York Governor (and future president) Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a law that prohibited discrimination on the basis of religion in public school hiring. (FDR’s position on Catholics and Jews left much to be desired but he knew how to land on the right side of a political issue).

In 1924 the Klan flexed enormous political power before crumbling in the midst of a sex scandal and exposŽs of its corruption. Race and Liberty in America shows how President Calvin Coolidge undercut the KKK by refusing to appear at their massive D.C. rally (the Imperial Wizard was not pleased). Instead, Coolidge choseto address a parade of 100,000 Catholics celebrating the Holy Name Society. Coolidge’s speech advocated religious and racial toleration—a clear blow at the anti-black, anti-Catholic Klan. He spoke of Christian toleration again by addressing the graduating class of Howard University, the historically black college in Washington, D.C.

In a word, Catholics were at the center of many civil rights struggles, including the struggle to be recognized as equal to other Americans. With the help of classical liberalism, they secured their rights to free association (schools) and all the “privileges and immunities” of citizenship. In turn, they fought for the “natural”right to marry whomever we please by drawing upon natural law—a doctrine rooted in Catholic thought. Race and Liberty in America illustrates the power of classical liberal belief in individual freedom, God, and color blind law. Protestants, Catholics, and Jews all contributed to this anti-racist tradition, from 1776 to the present day.

As the Professor-Policeman-President story fades, we might remember that this country has overcome deep-seated hatreds based on religion. Can we do the same with race? Yes, we can. However, rather than concede “rights talk” to the Left and Right, we Americans need to rediscover a tradition that emphasizes our respect for individual dignity. That tradition is deeply rooted in Christian concepts of man and God.


Another barbarous Muslim

A Muslim asylum seeker has been sentenced to life in prison after killing his German-born wife because she was 'too independent', a court in Germany heard today.  The 27-year-old Kurdish man, identified only as Onder B, was found guilty today of stabbing his wife in the eyes, beating her with a billiard cue and then running over her in his car.  His mother-in-law had once told him to be 'strict' with her strong-willed daughter, Mujde - who was also Onder's cousin.

On New Year's Eve 2008 he stabbed his 18-year-old wife Mujde 46 times and beat her with a billiard cue.  And because she was 'already so disfigured from the stabbing and beating that she would hate me for the rest of her life,' he got into his car and ran over her body several times.

Bielefeld District Court judge Jutta Albert convicted him on a charge of murder arising from base motives, and one of cruelty, because the defend ant stabbed his wife in both eyeballs while she was still alive.  He stabbed her so hard in the head with a fruit knife that the blade broke off in her skull.

The case has pulled into sharp focus the cultural differences between Western values and the estimated three million Muslim immigrants living and working in Germany.  Bielefeld District Court judge Jutta Albert clashed repeatedly this week with family members of both victim and defendant as details of the horrific case unfolded.  'One more remark from you and you'll be removed!' she told the victim’s mother. 'Do you think you can behave here as if you were in a Turkish bazaar?'

The killer  arrived in Germany as an asylum seeker, in 2001. He was 19 and Mujde was 11 at the time.  He married a Turkish woman 10 years his senior, but the couple soon separated.  He returned home to Turkey in 2003, where he performed his mandatory military service, coming back Germany in 2006.   Under a deal between their families a marriage was 'arranged' between him and Mujde, in which he then viewed her, according to prosecutors, 'as his property'.

He returned to Turkey and left her in Germany after marrying in 2007.  The court was told their relationship degenerated into threats and abuse carried out over the Internet with Mujde at one stage reporting him to the police.  The court heard how he was upset 'that she behaved the way she did and didn`t do what he told her'. 

'She was too independent and she had to die for it,' said the prosecutor.

He returned to Germany at the end of 2008, killing her on New Year`s Eve because, he claimed, she had turned up the car stereo when he tried to speak to her.  She had also given him an incorrect PIN three times when he tried to check the calls on her mobile phone, and she had refused to answer him when he asked whether she had been unfaithful.


Not all cultures are good

Australia is multiracial but it should not be multicultural, contends Barry Cohen

"WHEN I hear the word culture, I reach for my pistol." Whether Hermann Goering or someone else spoke those words is immaterial; the sentiment is clear. I feel the same when I hear the word multicultural. By now the language police will have concluded that I am a rabid racist not fit to mix in polite society. It is the standard epithet hurled at those who question multiculturalism. How has it come to this?

I became involved in politics almost 50 years ago with the prime motivation of fighting racism. However, I am aghast at the way multicultural advocates have taken control of the race debate by denouncing as racist anyone who disagrees with their view of the future of Australian society.  At this point it may be apposite if I detail my family's ethnic mix. It includes Polish and Lithuanian Jews via South Africa, Celts from Scotland and Ireland, a handful of Thais and the very best British bloodstock.

Born in Griffith in 1935, by the time I was five World War II was well under way. At the time Australia was 97.5 per cent Anglo-Celtic and Christian. Those sectarian differences that did exist then were between Catholics and Protestants, many of whom were not far removed from the battles for Irish independence. As a small Jewish boy I wasn't a threat; more of an oddity, really.

I first experienced anti-Semitism when sent to a Sydney boarding school to study for my bar mitzvah. On my first day at school I was involved in three fights with boys who had greeted me with the welcoming words, "You dirty f..king Jew." Hence my lifetime commitment to fight prejudice.  Sure, there were further incidents, often at the most unexpected times, but I remain convinced that Australia is one of the least racist countries.

It is not in the least surprising nonetheless that when Australia, under Ben Chifley, abandoned its practice of only seeking migrants from Britain, and turned to Europe there was some apprehension about how it would work. It was, as we know, a great success. First came the Italians, Poles, Germans, Balts, Dutch and others, followed by those from wherever there was suffering. Millions sought safe haven from wars, oppression, famine or poverty. They came to a country that offered the freedoms they had been denied, provided them with the opportunity to earn a decent living and enabled them to rear a family free from the threat of violence.

Each new wave of migrants followed the same pattern. Arriving with little, they gravitated to areas with cheap accommodation among people who spoke the same language, ate the same food, worshipped at the same church and were familiar with the same culture. Older Australians had doubts about these cultural "ghettoes" but in time they not only got used to them but grew to cherish them. Eventually there was hardly a nationality, religion, race or creed that didn't have its own cultural identity and community in Australia. With a few exceptions the integration was seamless and tensions were rare. Adult immigrants found it hardest to assimilate into the local community. Differences became less obvious with each passing generation. Each group made their contribution towards a new, constantly changing Australian culture.

So why, I hear you ask, do I bridle at the word multiculturalism? We are a multiracial society and a harmonious one. What I object to is the idea promoted by the multicultural lobby that not only should we be a society of a hundred cultures but it is the government's duty, nay obligation, to see that we remain permanently culturally divided. If some groups wish to remain separate from mainstream Australia, then that is their choice, but they should not expect governments to aid and abet those divisions.

Governments have a responsibility to assist new arrivals to settle in by helping them to find work, learn English, obtain housing and, if necessary, provide welfare. They should not help create the society from whence they escaped.  In return, migrants have a responsibility to learn about Australia's history and culture, including indigenous Australia and those of Anglo-Celtic origin, which was the dominant culture for 150 years.

Strangely, it is the Anglo-Celtic culture that is continually denigrated. No culture is perfect but few can match the British tradition of equality before the law, respect for minority views, freedom of speech and association, political and civil rights and above all, democracy. The word that best fits that heritage is "tolerance". Oddly, those most critical of that culture often come from the most oppressive and repulsive regimes, those ruled by feudal monarchies, military and theocratic dictatorships and one-party states.

The idea that all cultures are equally good is arrant nonsense. A glance at Freedom House's annual rankings of freedom will attest to that. Australia ranks among the very best.

To those who believe it is the government's responsibility to re-create the culture from whence they have escaped, I suggest they consider other options. Ours is a multiracial and tolerant society, and our culture should be a gradually evolving one, free from government interference and guidance. Let it remain so.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


21 August, 2009

Italian city joins Paris in banning the  burqini

Only the lost souls of England permit it.  They not only permit it but say that NON-Muslims must wear it if Muslims are present

An anti-immigration mayor has banned the burqini, saying: "We don't have to be tolerant all the time."  "The sight of a 'masked woman' could disturb small children not to mention problems of hygiene," Gianluca Buonanno was quoted as saying.

Women wearing the garment will now face a fine of 500 euros ($850) if spotted at swimming pools or riversides in the northern Piedmont town of Varallo Sesia, the ANSA news agency reported.

Justifying the move, Mr Buonanno said: "Imagine a Western woman bathing in a bikini in a Muslim country. The consequences could be decapitation, prison or deportation. We are merely prohibiting the use of the burqini."

The swimsuit consists of a veil, a tunic and loose leggings.  Last week a swimming pool in Paris refused entry to a burqini-clad Muslim on similar grounds, adding to tensions over Muslim dress in France.  The incident came as French MPs conducted hearings on whether to ban the burqa after President Nicolas Sarkozy said the head-to-toe body covering and veil was "not welcome" in France, home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority.

Mr Buonanno belongs to Italy's Northern League, a party allied with the centre-right People of Freedom led by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.


Antisemitism in a mainstream Swedish newspaper

With the usual illogic of antisemitism, the paper says that Israel "harvests" the organs of Palestinians but then also says that Israel imports illegal organs from Turkey.  Why would they import organs from Turkey with all those juicy Palestinians around?

A few weeks ago, a group of American Jews of (mainly) Syrian origin was arrested in the New York area as part of a more widescale investigation into political corruption in New York and New Jersey. The investigation included one charge that didn't fit in with the rest. It claimed that one of the Jews charged had obtained kidneys from Israel and resold them on the black market in the United States.

On Tuesday, the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet introduced an anti-Semitic libel more vicious than anything we have heard in a long time. The tabloid claimed  that the IDF had harvested organs from dead 'Palestinians' and sold them to this particular Jew

The report carried a photograph that purportedly shows the body of a victim of such an execution, with a large scar running from his chin to his abdomen. It notes the IDF’s explanation that the scar is from an autopsy which is routinely performed on people who are killed in fighting – but seems not to give it much credit and prefers a completely unsubstantiated claim by Arabs regarding forced organ harvesting.

The report, which appears under the heading, in quotes, "Our sons plundered for their organs,” begins with snippets from a transcript of an FBI recording of a Jewish man who was arrested in July, in connection with a corruption scandal in New Jersey involving elected officials, rabbis, money laundering and illegal organ trading.

Immediately after providing a short description of the FBI’s suspicions against that group, reporter Donald Boström takes his readers across the ocean to discuss the organ trade in Israel, without explaining what connection there may be between the two matters. He describes “a strong suspicion” among Palestinians that young men’s organs were harvested by the IDF “as in China and Pakistan.” Boström repeats that this is “a very serious suspicion” and suggests that the International Court of Justice should open an investigation into it.

The paper says that half of the kidneys that are used in transplants in Israel are purchased illegally from Turkey, Eastern Europe or Latin America and that Israeli health authorities have full knowledge of the matter, but do nothing to stop it. It then connects the shortage of body parts in Israel to stories of Palestinian men who, it says, are killed and returned to their villages five days later by the IDF.

The only silver lining in this cloud is that at least one Swedish newspaper has come to Israel's defense.      A competing newspaper, Sydsvenskan, ran an op-ed on the story under the headline "Antisemitbladet," in an obvious reference to Aftonbladet's name.
"Whispers in the dark. Anonymous sources. Rumors," wrote Swedish columnist Mats Skogkär. "That is all it takes. After all, we all know what they [the Jews] are like, don't we: inhuman, hardened. Capable of anything. Now all that remains is the defense, equally predictable: 'Anti-Semitism? No, no, just criticism of Israel.'"

Let's hope Sweden's large Muslim population doesn't issue a fatwa against Skogkär or Sydsvenskan.


The despicable British government attempt to "get" a hero general

Sir Richard Dannatt, the head of the Army, will retire in eight days. As he has been an open critic of this Government's failure to support our soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, ministers will dance a jig when he's gone.  He is the first Chief of the General Staff to have fearlessly illuminated their failures in public. In October 2006, not long after taking over, he made himself unpopular with defence ministers by declaring that he expected British troops to leave Iraq 'some time soon'.  He has since criticised the Government in terms seldom, if ever, heard from a senior general about shortages of equipment experienced by our troops in Afghanistan.

In standard New Labour fashion, ministers have responded to Sir Richard's brave and justified criticisms by trying to blacken his name.  They have given off-the-record briefings against him by apparently questioning his integrity. One minister leading the witch-hunt recently described him as 'a complete bastard'.

This about a man who has often risked his life for his country since joining the Army nearly 40 years ago, and who was awarded the Military Cross for his bravery in Northern Ireland. What low, despicable, barely comprehensible creatures they are.

But Labour ministers wish to go further, and are apparently behind a disgraceful new plot to smear Sir Richard.  They know he is planning to write a book in which he is likely to be even more forthright than he has been in office, and they wish to disable him as a plausible critic by impugning his decency and honesty.

Requests have been made under the Freedom of Information Act to discover the cost of official entertaining at Sir Richard's home in Kensington, West London. The exact provenance of these applications is as yet unknown.

The Ministry of Defence claims they were made by unnamed journalists. Even if this is true, it seems likely they were acting as proxies for ministers hoping to discredit Sir Richard as someone who has lived too high off the hog at public expense.

In principle, of course, the entertaining costs of all senior public servants should be known. As it happens, ministers have resisted requests under the Freedom of Information Act for their own expenses to be publicised.

For years, Tony Blair fought disclosure of his entertaining costs at the prime ministerial country residence at Chequers, where he played host to a succession of pop stars, starlets and other celebrities whose attendance was not obviously vital to the British state.

The brutal cynicism of this plot is breathtaking even in a government that has made a speciality of smearing its enemies. In contrast to his recent predecessors, Sir Richard has had the temerity to tell the truth about Army shortages. Unlike faceless and inept pen-pushers in the Ministry of Defence, he actually cares about the soldiers of whose lives the Government can sometimes seem so careless.


Leftist BritGov's never-ending war on the middle class shows up again

Who cares about basic justice when there are happy people you can hurt?

Thousands of middle-class motorists who challenge speeding fines face having to pay most of their legal costs even if they win their cases. Reforms, which have been described as a 'stitch-up' aimed at excluding the middle classes, will limit the costs that can be claimed back by the drivers.  From October, the Ministry of Justice is cutting the current generous level of costs awarded to successful defendants to the lower rates used in legal aid cases.

Legal experts say that as a result, some court victors, who currently have between 80 per cent and 100 per cent of their costs reimbursed by the legal system, can expect to have only between a fifth and a third paid back.  The new rules will also affect drivers who successfully challenge drink- drive and other motoring prosecutions. Currently, nearly 400,000 drivers a year - about one in four of those who go to court - win their cases.

Critics say the Government's decision to wage war on motorists on low and modest incomes means justice will become the 'preserve of the rich', who can afford the services of 'loophole' lawyers. They fear the new rules will deter thousands of innocent motorists from seeking to defend themselves.   Legal aid rates are around £60 an hour while many lawyers in motoring cases charge from £175 an hour for a junior lawyer to £375 an hour.

Under the current system, a motorist who paid £2,000 for legal representation might see the full amount paid back by the court if cleared. But under the new system the driver might only receive £600.  Defending a speeding case typically costs between £3,000 and £4,000, rising to up to £8,000 if expert witnesses are involved. A drink- drive defence can cost between £5,000 and £10,000.

Jeanette Miller, senior partner of specialist motoring offence firm Geoffrey Miller Solicitors and president of the Association of Motor Offence Lawyers, said: 'It's a stitch-up of the middle classes. A lot of people with a valid challenge will simply accept the fine, even though they are not guilty. They simply won't take the financial risk of defending themselves.  'Only the rich will be able to fight motoring cases with the help of expert representation, and without that representation it is likely you will be convicted.   'Under the present system, most acquitted motorists recover between 70 to 100 per cent of their legal bill from the court.'

But the Ministry of Justice insists the new system is 'reasonable'.  In a consultation document, it says: 'The Government believes that public funding should be prioritised on those who cannot afford to pay for their own representation and those who can afford to pay towards the cost of their defence should do so.'


Australia:  Bureaucracy at work

This is what Leftists want to lumber us with more and more of:  A total lack of normal human feeling and decency.  Mindless following of rules, no matter how inappropriate, is the essence of bureaucracy.  It's inbuilt

A GRIEVING mother has been sent a bill for the cost of a guardrail damaged during the car crash which killed her daughter.  The State Government yesterday apologised for the letter, sent only weeks after 26-year-old Krista Flett died on the Pacific Motorway at Worongary on June 13. 

Her grieving mother yesterday told The Courier-Mail bureaucrats needed to think before putting pen to paper.  Wendy Flett, of Mudgeeraba, said the family was "flabbergasted" when they received a Main Roads Department letter demanding payment for the damaged guardrail – which ended with a "sorry" for their loss.

The letter, which was signed on behalf of Main Roads South Coast regional director Andrew Cramp, said a bill would be sent to the family because Krista was deemed at fault for the accident. "Roadside property such as guardrails, traffic lights and landscaping are maintained by Main Roads with taxpayers' funds for the benefit of the whole community," the letter read.  "By law, this department is required to recover the costs of damage from the responsible driver and this letter is to advise you about that process.  "Main Roads has assessed the most economical way of repairing the damage and will invoice the estate of Ms Flett for those costs when finalised.  "I am sorry for your loss and understand that this situation may be difficult for Ms Flett's family."

Two days later, the department sent the Fletts another letter saying it had decided "not to proceed with cost recovery". 

Yesterday Main Roads Minister Craig Wallace apologised to the family, saying the letter was "inappropriate" and should never have been sent.  "This should not have happened, and I apologise for the distress this undoubtedly caused the family," Mr Wallace said.  "As soon as my director-general became aware of the letter he immediately arranged for a further letter to be sent to the family indicating that they should disregard this previous correspondence.  "He has also made several attempts to contact the family to apologise personally but has not been able to make contact at this stage."

Mrs Flett said that while she accepted the apology, she was not prepared to let the matter be "swept under the carpet".  "I never want this to happen to anyone else," she said.  "It's unpleasant.  "It brings back the whole horror of the night that happened.  "You just have to relive it all again."

Mrs Flett said that while she had heard of the department's "cost recovery" policy, the letter was a shock.  "I was angry when I read it . . . it shouldn't have happened," she said.  "Everyone's just been flabbergasted and said 'how can they do that?' Well, that's what they do.  "That's how all bureaucratic processes are handled – they step outside the bounds of human procedure. They follow procedure, type the letter and send the letter.  "It's not moral and it needs to be reviewed."

Mr Wallace said a review of the department's policy to seek payment for the cost of damaged road infrastructure in some circumstances had been initiated by director-general Dave Stewart.  He said Mr Stewart had sent letters to the department's regional directors, telling them to use "common sense" in their discretionary decisions.



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 POLITICSDISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL  and EYE ON BRITAIN.   My Home Pages are here or here or here.    Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.