Sunday, February 28, 2010

The race card is  upsetting the scales of justice in Britain

Positive discrimination is saddling Britain with woefully bad lawyers,  particularly prosecutors

Last week a report commissioned by the government concluded that a “lack of diversity” among judges was limiting judicial perspectives and was affecting the experience of people who used the courts. The report came up with more than 50 recommendations on how to tackle the problem, including schemes in which judges would encourage students from ethnic-minority backgrounds to pursue judicial careers.

The legal world should think very carefully about this. It is right that the judiciary should reflect the society it serves, of course, but positive discrimination and politically correct initiatives are already, to my mind, having a detrimental effect on the law. Any more could be disastrous.

I was called to the bar in 2006 and, as a British woman of Indian descent, I can hardly be accused of racism. So I perhaps feel freer to speak than some of my colleagues. But what we all see is the same thing: the race card being played in recruitment to legal firms and to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The frustration and resentment this generates is aired in private. In the pubs near chambers you often hear tales of friends finding themselves up against lawyers who can barely speak English and are unable to grasp complex points of law.  A judge told me that he and his colleagues were scared to criticise for fear of being told “you have commented on my sub-standard English because I’m not English”. So the issue is boxed away in a corner and it is a shame because the whole system is suffering.

The new report has the laudable aim of changing the make-up of the judiciary. But wouldn’t it be more sensible to let it happen organically, over time, rather than try to shoehorn in people who might not be suitable?

It is not so much at the bar but at the CPS, though, where there is a real problem. The bar is at least independent but the CPS is much more directly connected with the government and has to be seen to be a fair employer. Some of the CPS propaganda material is hilarious. It has gone so overboard in an attempt to be fair that you have to search hard to try to spot the white person in its illustrations.  In London, at least, the organisation seems to be stuffed with people from ethnic minorities.

It is worrying when you ring someone up about a case, often a serious one, and you have trouble understanding what they are saying. Or you get skeleton arguments or documents drafted that simply make no sense and are written in pidgin English.  In a system responsible for the administration of justice that is alarming ... and when it comes to analysing law and statute, well, you wonder how that can possibly be being done properly.

In a drugs case I was defending last year I lodged a complaint of abuse of process and the skeleton argument presented in response was laughable. It was really quite shocking but nobody commented on it. We all knew, but it just seemed to be accepted.

One of the problems is that CPS lawyers, who appear as higher court advocates, get appointed to cases beyond their capability. At the bar we have a grading system for prosecution. You apply and are graded 1-4, with grades allocated according to experience and grade 4s taking the most serious cases.

The CPS has no such system. CPS lawyers are allotted more serious cases according to time spent in various departments. CPS advocates cover early case hearings where the management of the case is decided. These hearings often result in the case being turned over to the independent bar. But this frequently happens at the last minute, so the barrister who takes it on is left to prosecute underprepared and therefore prosecutions suffer.

I was defending an extremely serious robbery case last year and the prosecution advocate was clearly less senior than I was and didn’t know how to deal with complicated pieces of law, but he was an in-house advocate so had been able to have “first dibs” on the brief rather than it going out to the independent bar.  He obviously didn’t have the experience to deal with the case. His presentation was absolutely appalling and that wasn’t so unusual: you see people failing to grasp basic principles and you see their clients suffering and you wonder how on earth they made it to where they are.

This is racism in reverse: and the biggest irony is that the people who suffer from racism now — middle-class white men — are ticked off or called racist if they complain. Sometimes I even have to ask myself, am I racist? But I’m not, I’m really not. Although I do worry that people will think I have got where I am without quite deserving to — so the culture of “diversity” damages people who have worked hard as well as those who have lost out.


Leftist love of regulations never stops in Britain

Now the Government wants competence tests before you can be a dog owner

Every dog owner will have to take a costly ‘competence test’ to prove they can handle their pets, under new Government proposals designed to curb dangerous dogs.  Owners of all breeds would also have to buy third-party insurance in case their pet attacked someone, and pay for the insertion of a microchip in their animal recording their name and address.

The proposals are among a range of measures to overhaul dog laws in England and Wales being considered by senior Ministers, who are expected to announce a public consultation within weeks.  But critics said responsible dog owners would be penalised by yet more red tape and higher bills – one expert estimated the extra costs at £60 or more – while irresponsible owners of dangerous dogs would just ignore the measures.  They added that genuine dog lovers could end up paying for efforts to control a small number of ‘devil dogs’ that terrorised socially deprived areas.

The RSPCA said last night it would welcome a review of legislation which has failed to curb the numbers of dangerous dogs that can attack, and sometimes kill, children and adults.  But a spokesman for the charity added: ‘We would not support anything that would hit sensible owners while failing to police those who are a danger.’

A government source said the proposals, contained in a confidential document headed Consultation On Dangerous Dogs, have been drawn up by the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra).  They follow mounting public concern about the spate of serious injuries and deaths inflicted by dogs.   Police figures show an increase in the number of ‘status’ dogs used to intimidate or threaten others. According to the last available figures, there were 703 convictions for dangerously out of control dogs in 2007 – up from 547 in 2004.

Under the proposals, would-be owners would have to show they had a basic understanding of their dogs before being allowed to keep one.  The document says: ‘There have been suggestions for a competency test for all or some dog owners, akin to the driving theory test.’ 

But the document admits the cost of setting up such a scheme to cover Britain’s six million dog owners ‘is likely to be prohibitive’, and would have to be met by either charging for the test or by imposing a dog licence fee. Moreover, the officials concede that there were disagreements over what would constitute competence in looking after and controlling a dog.

Third-party insurance would be less contentious, as owners of certain breeds of dogs are already required to take out such cover. It is also included in the pet insurance taken out by owners to cover unforeseen vets’ bills and it can be bought for a little as £5, though it will be more expensive for larger and more powerful breeds.  In addition, many owners have had microchips implanted in the necks of their dogs – a process that costs about £30.

Other proposals due to be floated by the Government include giving the police and local authorities the power to impose Asbos on the owners of unruly dogs, and extending the law to cover attacks everywhere.  At the moment, dogs which attack people on private property where they are allowed to be are exempt from the law, despite the complaints from injured postmen.  There are also plans to boost the enforcement powers of police, the courts and local authorities.

As part of the proposed overhaul, all dog laws, including the Dangerous Dog Act 1991, often cited as an example of poorly drawn-up ‘knee jerk’ legislation, could be incorporated into a single law.

An RSPCA spokesman said: ‘We welcome a review but the problem is that while responsible owners will abide by the rules, inevitably you are going to get a fraternity that does not. There are always people who will buy a dog from their mate in a pub and won’t tell the authorities.  ‘So the danger is that sensible owners will be out of pocket while irresponsible dog owners will ignore any new rules unless the policing of them is rigorous.’  He said, for example, that while the RSPCA encouraged the use of microchips, the system relied on owners keeping the information up to date.  ‘It is no good finding an aggressive dog roaming the streets, perhaps having attacked someone, and going to the address on the microchip to find that the owner hasn’t lived there for years,’ he said.

The Kennel Club said that it was in favour of measures to promote responsible dog ownership, but that the competence tests sounded impractical.  A spokesman for Defra said: ‘We do not comment on leaked documents.’


The British government claims to be concerned about the high rate of teenage pregnancies

But they are a major cause of it

Sex education has failed. So the Establishment decrees that we must have more of it, and in fact that there shall be no escape from it.

What I don’t grasp is why the people of this country put up with so many separate insults to their intelligence in any given week.  And why this particular blatantly obvious sequence comes round year by year and nobody even laughs, let alone draws the correct conclusion.

Despite the casual massacre of unborn babies in the abortion mills, and the free handouts of morning-after pills (originally developed for pedigree dogs which had been consorting improperly with mongrels), and the ready issue of condoms to anyone who asks, and the prescription of contraceptive devices to young girls behind the backs of their parents by smiling advice workers, and the invasion of school classrooms by supposedly educational smut, the Teenage Pregnancy Strategy has failed, is failing and will continue to fail.

In the week that figures clearly showed that the Government’s supposed target for cutting teen pregnancy by half is never going to be reached, compulsory smut education – a key part of this ‘strategy’ – was forced on all English schools by law for the first time.   There will be no opt-outs. The new liberal gospel of ‘do what thou wilt – but wear a condom while thou doest it’ will be taught by order of the State.

Some years ago, I wrote a short history of sex education in this country. I didn’t then know about its first invention, during the Hungarian Soviet revolution of 1919, when Education Commissar George Lukacs ordered teachers  to instruct children about sex in a deliberate effort to debauch Christian morality.

But what I found was this. That the people who want it are always militant Leftists who loathe conventional family life; that the pretext for it has always been the same – a supposed effort to reduce teen pregnancy and sexual disease; and that it has always been followed by the exact opposite.

It was introduced into schools against much parental resistance during the early Fifties. And, yes, the more of it there was, the more under-age and extramarital sex there seemed to be.

By 1963, in Norwich, parents were told that their young were to be instructed in sexual matters because the illegitimacy rate in that fine city had reached an alarming 7.7 per cent (compared with a national rate of 5.9 per cent). The national rate is now 46 per cent and climbing, so that was obviously a success, wasn’t it?  Well, yes it was, because the people who force these peculiar classes on our young are lying about their aims. You can see why.

Most of us, in any other circumstance, would be highly suspicious of adults who wanted to talk about sex to other people’s children. But by this sleight of hand – that they are somehow being protected from disease and unwanted pregnancy – we are tricked into permitting it.

And our civilised society goes swirling down the plughole of moral chaos.


British photography phobia again

Father stopped from taking picture of his son, 4, on children's train ride 'in case he was a paedophile'.  But publicity brings the usual backdown

A father was stopped from taking a photo of his son on a children's train ride after an over-zealous security guard accused him of being a paedophile.  Kevin Geraghty-Shewan, 48, was approached by the guard after he took the picture of his four-year-old son Ben on the toy engine outside a shop.  He was then threatened with arrest after refusing to hand his mobile phone containing the picture after a row with a policeman.

Mr Geraghty-Shewan said: 'Ben saw a children's ride which had a train on it and wanted to have a go because he's obsessed with trains.'  Moments later, he was apprehended by the security guard.   The father-of-one, who was in the North East visiting family, said: 'He said "you can't take pictures in here". I asked why and he told me it was because for all he knew I could be a paedophile.  'I told him Ben Was my son. But he said I couldn't prove it.  'I couldn't believe it. I walked away and then I thought about making a complaint.'

A few minutes later a police officer arrived at the Bridges Shopping Centre in Sunderland and threatened to delete the photograph. 'They said I matched the description of a man who had been taking pictures,' Mr Geraghty-Shewan said.  'They took my details and said they had the right to remove the picture from my phone.  'I got annoyed and things got heated, then he threatened me with arrest for breach of the peace.

'Ben thought I was in trouble because he had sat on the ride and we didn't put the money in.' 

Mr Geraghty-Shewan was so annoyed by the incident he posted a picture of the security guard on his blog.

A spokesman for the Bridges Shopping Centre said: 'We take the safety at all  our shopping centres very seriously.  'We do ask our security guards across the estate to be diligent in implementing  our security measures, which includes monitoring photography in our centres.  'Unfortunately on this occasion what should have been a simple polite  conversation led to a misunderstanding and we apologise for any offence caused.  'It is always our aim to implement our security procedures with the minimum of fuss and disruption to our shoppers.'

A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: 'We received reports of a disagreement over a photo taken on the premises of a shopping centre. No offence took place.'



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


27 February, 2010

Another crass failure by British social workers

They attack harmless middle class families and leave children of feral families to die.  Contrast the story below with the one immediately following it.  Once again we see that Leftism is motivated by a desire to tear down the successful rather than any desire to help the poor.  Only hate can explain their priorities

A seven-year-old girl was starved to death by her mother despite a plentiful supply of food in the home and visits from social workers in the weeks before she died.  Khyra Ishaq was denied meals and was hidden away in a squalid room at the top of an otherwise clean and tidy house by her mother and stepfather, who operated a draconian punishment regime. Her agonising death occurred despite four visits to the family home by five different officials charged with taking care of vulnerable children in Birmingham, including social workers, police and local authority home-schooling officials.

Last night a High Court judge condemned social workers involved in the case, saying that Khyra would be alive if they had done their job properly.  The judge’s comments came after Angela Gordon, Khyra’s mother, was cleared of murder after prosecutors at Birmingham Crown Court accepted her plea of manslaughter on grounds of diminished responsibility. She also admitted five counts of child cruelty against the other children in her care.  Her partner, Junaid Abuhamza, a schizophrenic, had a manslaughter plea accepted earlier in the trial after a report on his mental health. The pair will be sentenced next Friday.

Children’s services at Birmingham City Council were last year described as “unfit for purpose” after it emerged that 16 children known to social workers, including Khyra, had died of abuse or neglect in five years.  The department mounted a vigorous defence of its role in the child’s death, saying that it lacked sufficient powers to intervene, especially once Khyra was removed from school to be “home-educated”.  But the statement from a High Court judge who presided over related care proceedings last year cast doubt on the department’s version of events.

Mrs Justice King said that “in all probability” Khyra would be alive today if there had been “an adequate initial assessment and proper adherence by the educational welfare services to its guidance”. She said: “It is beyond belief that, in 2008, in a bustling, energetic and modern city like Birmingham, a child of 7 was withdrawn from school and thereafter kept in squalid conditions for a period of five months before finally dying of starvation.”

No one from the department has lost their job or been disciplined over these failings.

Yesterday’s verdicts brought to an end a harrowing trial in which jurors heard that the severely emaciated girl resembled a famine victim at the time of her death in Handsworth, Birmingham, in May 2008. The case reduced hardened police officers to tears during the investigation.  Khyra was beaten and locked in a garden shed if she broke house rules. Five other children in the house were also starved, and two of them were close to death when Khyra succumbed to an infection and died.  Jurors were shown pictures of the well-stocked kitchen and a fridge full of milk, fruit juice and other groceries.

Gordon withdrew Khyra from school in December 2007, five months before she died, saying that she was being bullied and would be taught at home. She then barred visiting social workers and even the police from entering her house, though they were allowed to see some of the children, including Khyra, on the doorstep. They concluded that the children were not in any danger, and closed the case.

Home education officers who visited judged that the home was suitable for home education after seeing a room laid out like a classroom.  Their judgment turned out to be seriously flawed.

Given the record of children’s services, Khalid Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Perry Barr, said that it was time for an independent inquiry into the failing department. He has written to Ed Balls, the Education Secretary, urging him to initiate one.  Mr Balls called Khyra’s death “preventable” but said that he would await the findings of the serious case review to see whether further action was needed, although he criticised the professionals involved.

“There are clearly serious questions to be answered about what local services and professionals were doing in the months before this tragedy took place. As the trial has shown, it is now clear that concerns about these children were not acted upon effectively, and it is right that a serious case review has been carried out,” Mr Balls said.

Yesterday both the local authority and the local independent children’s safeguarding board blamed in part the current liberal regime around home education for “hampering” child protection work.  Although 20,000 home-educated children are known to local authorities, the true number could be as high as 80,000. Under current law no one is responsible for monitoring home education or has powers to see children who have been taken out of school. The Government is currently passing a law to establish a new and tougher system.


British women fleeing to Spain to stop their babies being taken from them by rogue social workers

A pregnant British woman has fled to Spain with her parents to prevent her unborn baby being taken into care by social services, despite an offer by the child’s grandparents to foster her.  Megan Coote, 21, is one of two British women who have escaped to Spain after threats by Suffolk social services to remove their babies. The infants were born last week two days apart and are now neighbours.

Their cases reflect what John Hemming, a Lib Dem MP and chairman of Justice for Families, believes is a growing phenomenon. “It is clear that nothing is being done to sort the family courts out and so more people are thinking of simply emigrating,” he said.

The second British woman, Carissa Smith, 32, arrived in Spain over Christmas with her husband, Jim, £300, three cats and their baby on the way. Mr Smith reckons he has spoken to dozens of couples who have made a similar decision. “There’s so many people who want to go back but are frightened,” he said. “It is a horrible way to live. Nobody wants to leave their country, family and friends, but you have to.” Their name has been changed for legal reasons.

The birth of the Smiths’ son brings back painful memories of the daughter they no longer see. Carissa had a psychologist’s diagnosis of factitious illness, which used to be known as Münchausen’s syndrome by proxy, in 2008. The same psychologist later changed the diagnosis to narcissistic personality disorder, but their daughter was already in care. Although experts said there was no immediate risk to the child, social services said she could face emotional abuse in future. When Carissa became pregnant again, the Smiths decided to move abroad.

Tim Yeo, the couple’s MP, suggested in Parliament that Suffolk social workers acted in the Smith case in a manner “sometimes tantamount to child kidnapping”. That the Coote family fled the same authority “rather bears out the theory I had that the department intervenes not with the aim of helping couples become good parents but of separating vulnerable couples from their baby”, Mr Yeo told The Times.

In the case of Ms Coote, who has mild learning difficulties, her parents offered to foster their grandchild. When she became pregnant, her midwife went to social services with concerns about her emotional maturity. A psychological assessment suggested that she would not be capable of looking after the baby. Her parents disagreed, but volunteered as guardians. The baby was due but social services told them that the process would take 12 weeks and could not promise that the baby would not be put forward for adoption beforehand.

When Jim Smith learnt that the Cootes were moving away, he rang to offer them space in his new house.

Suffolk social services would not comment on individual cases. However, Simon White, director of Children and Young People’s Services, said: “Children’s services work hard to support parents and families so that children can remain in their own families. No decisions can be made before assessments which determine whether the child in question can be adequately cared for by the natural parents or within the extended family.”

Some warn that children who have been noted by social services as at risk may face further dangers abroad. Barbara Hopkin, of the Association of Lawyers for Children, was involved in a case in which a mother fled to Spain, fearing that her unborn child would be removed. The baby died, smothered when her drunken boyfriend rolled on it. “Other countries are much less interventionist and our system is generally much better,” Ms Hopkin said.

But Mr Yeo believed that more support for families at home was necessary. “It’s a tragedy that loving couples should have to flee Britain to feel safe to bring up their own baby. It’s a terrible situation for any family and rather a serious indictment of the way the system of support is operating.”

The Cootes feel that they have been let down by social services. “I employ people. I pay my taxes. I abide by the law,” Mr Coote said. “I didn’t think that my country was going to kick me in the teeth.” He is now battling to find a way to reunite his family in the United Kingdom where he still runs a business and his son is in school.

For the Smiths, Spain is home. But their plan to celebrate their baby’s return from hospital yesterday was marred by a visit from Spanish authorities. They had been alerted by Suffolk social services. “They are being really nice but we’ve got a weekend of worry ahead,” said Mr Smith.


The threat to banish school skirts is just one part  of an insane and authoritarian attempt to remake  Britain into some far-Leftist fantasyland

Back in the Eighties, a string of Labour-run town halls were notorious for their extremism, mismanagement and financial extravagance.  Justly known as the 'Loony Left,' these authorities were epitomised by Ken Livingstone's spendthrift and dogmatic regime at the Greater London Council. Their excesses were supposed to have ended with the rise of New Labour.

But, as Gerry Adams once famously said of the IRA, the ideological extremists 'never went away'. They merely transferred their activities from the urban municipalities to the heart of government.   Thanks to the 13 years of Labour rule, lunatic Leftism now has more influence than ever. Its politically correct zealotry flourishes throughout the public sector and the quangos.  Its fixations with race and gender are written into law. Its obsession with social engineering is transforming the fabric of Britain, destroying traditional, unifying bonds such as family life and nationhood.

The fanaticism of the Left was recently exposed in guidance issued by the Equality and Human Rights Commission for public bodies on how to treat transgender people, including transvestites and those undergoing a change of sex.   In one startling passage in this 68-page document, the Commission warned it may be illegal for any school to require girls to wear skirts as part of their uniform, since this could discriminate against transsexual pupils.

Such an edict would be laughable were it not so indicative of the disturbing mindset of the equality bureaucrats who wield such control over our lives.   The threat to take legal action against schools because some uniforms can be deemed 'gender specific' is beyond satire. The number of transsexual adults in Britain is tiny, perhaps as few as 5,000, yet the Commission wants all public services to be altered for the sake of this minuscule group.  Furthermore, it is absurd to start putting these highly emotive, questionable labels on young people before they have barely passed puberty.

Such action highlights three of the most dangerous traits of the Left-wing doctrinaires. One is their remorseless focus on categorising individuals by race, gender, sexual orientation or class - and then placing them within hierarchies of victimhood according to the perceived disadvantage they have suffered.   Another is the sexualisation of children, in which the innocence of youth is destroyed by the aggressive promotion of the so-called 'sexual rights' agenda.   The third is the eagerness to obliterate all traditional morality by presenting support for normal, married family life as outmoded and discriminatory.

While warning that requiring girls to wear skirts is 'potentially unlawful', the Equality Commission document highlights, as an example of 'good practice', the real-life case of 'a young transperson born female attending a mixed-sex primary school'.  On the advice of a 'gender identity clinic' in London and the local 'lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth service', the school transformed its procedures to accommodate this one young child who had been 'identified as transgender' by a psychologist.  The changes including a 'gender neutral uniform' - whatever that might be - and 'a new system of lining up for class by mixed-sex group labelled using basic shapes (such as Triangles, Circles and Rectangles) rather than by gender.'

Teachers were also encouraged to use the changes as a way of 'exploring gender stereotypes'. Most parents would prefer that primary schools just teach their pupils to read and write properly rather than embarking on journeys of sexual exploration.

The Equality Commission guidance is riddled with this kind of bizarre nonsense. Public facilities are urged to install unisex toilets which are 'more welcoming' for transgender people.

Following the example of New Forest District Council in Hampshire, leisure centres are encouraged to hold sessions where transgender people have 'sole use of the swimming pool, gym, sauna and badminton courts for an evening'.  Prisons are warned against stopping hormone therapy for transgender convicts.  When speaking to transgender people, public officials are instructed 'to use the pronoun that is consistent with the person's appearance and gender expression. For example, if the person wears a dress and uses the name Susan, feminine pronouns are appropriate'.  Public bodies are further urged to 'designate a trans-equality and human rights champion among its staff' and to provide all staff 'with training on trans-equality'.

As always, the fashionable obsession with ethnicity appears. 'Young black trans men might face different issues and have very different needs compared with older white trans women,' reads one extract.  There is also a deluge of ultra-feminist drivel. 'Gender identity is subjective,' proclaims the document, contradicting almost a million years of biology.

How outrageous that we have to pay for this through our taxes. No one voted for this radical agenda or for the bureaucrats pushing through the change.  In its ruthless campaign to impose the creed of the hard Left on Britain, the Equality and Human Rights Commission, headed by Labour schmoozer Trevor Phillips, swallows £70million a year and employs 525 staff.

The quango was established in 2006 through a merger of three previous bodies: the Commission for Racial Equality, the Equal Opportunities Commission and the Disability Rights Commission.  As usual in the elitist public sector culture, where much of taxpayers' money is treated with contempt, the annual expenditure of the Equality and Human Rights Commission is almost 50 per cent higher than the total budget of all three predecessor bodies combined.

Reflecting the Commission's climate of self-indulgence, salaries have risen by 25 per cent over the past two years - this at a time of deepening recession across the country.  No fewer than 28 of the employees earn more than £50,000-a-year and three receive over £100,000.

Profligacy is endemic. The Commission squanders £ 5.5million a year on public relations and, in its first three years, spent more than £3.5million on consultants, despite a large complement of its own pen-pushers.

Ken Livingstone's GLC was infamous for the way it doled out grants to certain politically favoured groups, and the EHRC is exactly the same. The sums doled out to recent recipients from its £10million Strategic Funding Programme are eye-watering.  The Derbyshire Friend Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Special Support and Advocacy Services organisation was awarded £393,000.  The Lesbian And Gay Foundation was awarded £264,000. Women In Prison was given a grant of £280,300. Ethnic Alcohol Counselling in Hounslow received £120,000.

Travellers' groups have also done well - £114,000 has gone to the Cardiff Gypsy and Traveller Project; £150,000 to the Leeds Gypsy and Traveller Exchange; and £40,000 to the Friends, Families and Travellers in West Sussex to give them 'the confidence to participate actively in the life of the community'.

One of the largest recent grants was the £258,300 dished out to a body called The British Institute of Human Rights, which is headed by barrister Katie Ghose, who used to work for the Labour MP Greville Janner.   In her eagerness for judicial activism in support of a radical agenda, Ms Ghose is all too typical of metropolitan elite that loathes traditional Britain.  A trustee of the gay pressure group Stonewall, she has also been a leading figure in the outfit called Bail for Immigration Detainees, which campaigns against the detention of asylum seekers and migrants.

As usual with the politically correct brigade, Ghose's definition of human rights does not encompass the rights of taxpayers.  In August 2007 she wrote an incredibly patronising article in the Guardian about the decision, on human rights grounds, not to deport from Britain Learco Chindamo, the killer of the headmaster Philip Lawrence.  Ghose dismissed the public outcry over the decision as nothing more than 'hysteria' and then, turning to Lawrence's widow Frances, who had expressed her outrage, wrote: 'A more fitting legacy to her husband would be to engender a real understanding of what human rights are about.'

Interestingly, Ghose was employed as a member of the Government's task force which advised on the creation of the Equality and Human Rights Commission - the very Commission that turned out to be so generous towards her own organisation.

The Commission enjoys not just lavish funding, but also tremendous powers under a raft of legislation such as the 2000 Race Relations Amendment Act, which gives all public bodies a statutory duty to promote racial equality. The role of the EHRC will be even more influential when Harriet Harman's Equality Bill becomes law.  The EHRC is the chosen instrument for implementing this change, as its commissars will be able to go into any workplace and carry out equality inspections and gender audits. 'We will adopt a targeted approach to private sector organisations,' warns the Commission.

There are two particularly odious aspects to the Equality Bill. One is the introduction, for the first time in British law, of positive discrimination, whereby employers in recruitment will be required to favour ethnic minorities and women, making a nonsense of the very term equality.  Second, no business will be allowed to bid for the supply of goods and services in the public sector unless it has demonstrated its commitment to multi-cultural diversity.   Given that the state sector's market is estimated to be worth more than £175billion, this rule again gives enormous power to the bureaucrats of the Commission who will check for compliance.

The overtly Left-wing nature of the Commission is reflected in its membership. Almost all the 15 Commissioners are from the politically correct nexus of public bureaucracy, trade unionism and progressive politics.  Indeed, more than half are active members of the Labour party. One especially notable Commissioner is Kay Carberry, who has been intimately involved with the Labour movement for over 20 years as a key trade unionist, particularly with the TUC.  She is also close to Peter Mandelson, who is godfather to her son. There is one Liberal Democrat on the Commission - but not a single Conservative.

Apart from the naked political bias, what is sickening about the Commission is that it hectors the rest of society while performing so dismally itself. Again, like the erstwhile GLC, the EHRC has become a byword for waste and incompetence.  In July 2009, the independent watchdog the National Audit Office severely censured the organisation for wasting almost £1million, when it re-employed seven managers who had received generous early retirement packages from the now defunct Commission for Racial Equality.  The seven were given pay-offs worth £629,300 in 2007 and then were taken back days later as consultants on fees totalling £323,700, an arrangement that the Audit Office said was 'novel and contentious', failed 'to follow proper processes' and 'did not represent value for money'.

A scathing report from independent consultants DeLoitte, who had been appointed to examine the disastrous chaos at the EHRC, agreed. In language that was deliberately toned down, the report found that the board 'does not operate against clear, consistently understood rules and a common purpose'.  DeLoitte further condemned the bias of the Commission. 'There is currently a lack of representation from the private sector and a need for representation from a broader political spectrum.'

But despite all the turmoil, Trevor Phillips remains in post. With the backing of new legislation, his quango will soon be more powerful than ever, the leading apparatchik of Harriet Harman's sinister new social order.  Schools who have the audacity to make their pupils wear skirts should be very afraid indeed.


How to Stifle Speech

The fact is very few Muslim-majority countries are free countries. A Muslim who wants to speak his mind without fear, practice his religion as he chooses, and vote for or against politicians in fair elections is better off living in the West than in any of the more than four dozen nations that hold membership in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

But even in the West, freedom is an endowment, not an entitlement. Generation after generation must have the courage to defend what we used to call, without embarrassment, “the blessings of liberty.”

That means recognizing that a war is being waged against what we used to call, also without embarrassment, the Free World. This war is being waged by an enemy many are reluctant to name: Islamists. They are fighting not only with AK-47s and I.E.D.s in such places as Afghanistan and Somalia. They also are fighting with actions, ideas, and laws in such places as Europe and America. They are fighting a pitched battle against freedom of speech — the right without which other rights cannot be protected.

And, at this moment, the West is putting up a feeble defense. We are accepting government prohibitions on the thoughts we may express, we are allowing extremists to shout us down and shut us up, and we are self-censoring out of fear or faux-sensitivity. A few examples?

Start with the Dutch government’s prosecution of Geert Wilders, a member of parliament who has expressed unfavorable opinions of the Islamic faith and the Koran. Such views may cause offense. But they cannot be criminalized in any country that values freedom.

Would anyone consider prosecuting a Muslim or an atheist for making hostile comments about Christianity or Jesus or the Bible? In 1987, Andres Serrano offended many people with “Piss Christ,” his photograph of a crucifix submerged in a container of urine. Not only was he not prosecuted, he was awarded a prize in a contest sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts (which speaks volumes not only about American freedom but also about the tastes of the “arts community”).

And when Louis Farrakhan, after a visit to Libya, called Judaism a “gutter religion,” was there anyone — no matter how outraged — who proposed sending the Nation of Islam leader to prison?

Those who defend the prosecution of Wilders contend that his statements amount to “hate speech.” And that, they assert, is dangerous and therefore must be outlawed. They point to the existence of “hate crimes” in the United States and say it’s more or less the same thing.

But it’s not. The idea behind “hate crimes” is that the law should differentiate between someone who hits you on the head because he wants your wallet and someone who hits you on the head because you’re black, Jewish, Muslim, or homosexual. The latter, it is argued, is worse than the former and so merits additional punishment. I have always been doubtful about that proposition. But more to the point: There has been from the start the concern that hate crimes would lead where they have led in the Netherlands and elsewhere: to justifying the criminalization of thought and expression — even in the absence of any act of violence.

Meanwhile, as Mark Steyn notes, a film titled The Assassination of Geert Wilders has been produced and promoted — by a Dutch government-funded radio station. No one is being prosecuted for hate speech as a result of that.

Another battle against free speech was called to my attention by Ali H. Alyami, executive director of the Washington-based Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. He sent me a video of Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., at the University of California, Irvine. Alyami suggested I watch it because, he said, it represents a “threat to our freedom of expression.”

It shows a lecture hall in which Oren is to give a talk. Several students, many but not all foreign and Muslim, have taken seats around the hall. Every few seconds one rises and begins to shout at Oren. Guards lead that individual out. Oren begins again — and another individual stands up, shouts, and is led out. The goal is to prevent Oren from completing a single thought — and to prevent the audience from hearing what he has to say.

University officials insist such behavior is intolerable — but do you think they’ll actually take the tough measures necessary to prevent such brown-shirt tactics in the future? And what do such episodes say about the values the students are learning from their professors? Is there any reason to believe they — the students or their professors — understand anything about the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

One more battle to consider before I let you go: Last year, Yale University Press published The Cartoons that Shook the World, a book about the controversy over the twelve drawings ridiculing Islamist terrorism which were published in a Danish newspaper, the Jyllands-Posten, in 2005.

Soon after, the OIC demanded that the United Nations impose international sanctions on Denmark, and it circulated a dossier that contained not just the cartoons but examples of other European insults — most of which were fabricated. Especially memorable was a picture of a man wearing a pig mask, captioned: “Here is the real image of Mohammed.” It was eventually revealed that this was a photo of a Frenchman at a pig-squealing contest; nothing to do with Mohammed. Nevertheless, coupled with the cartoons, it enraged Muslims in many countries, some of whom took to the streets, rioting, setting fires, and assaulting anyone who looked European. More than 100 people were killed.

With this as backdrop, Yale decided to exclude the cartoons from the book on the cartoons, and to omit, as well, any images of Mohammed, including those by the 19th-century French artist Paul Gustave Doré and the 20th-century Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dalí. Was that because Yale’s executives feared violence? Or, as Roger Kimball has suggested, was it out of deference to Saudi Arabian donors? Either way, it’s hard not to view Yale’s decision as an act of preemptive surrender.

The OIC, in its 1990 “Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam,” declares that “Everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely” — but then adds: “in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Sharia,” which is to say Islamic law as interpreted by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, and other despotic members of this international religious/political alliance.

Theirs is not a different view of freedom of speech: It is a death sentence for freedom of speech. And it is what they intend not only for the lands they now rule but globally. What does it tell us that they are finding so many people in the West willing — indeed, eager — to assist them?



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


26 February, 2010

Israel’s Right To Self-Defense

The headlines and video images allegedly showing Israeli spies in Dubai are titillating, but they mask the serious issues involved in the death of Hamas terrorist Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Along with predictable European hand-wringing over forged passports, this case is the latest example of the failure of the international legal system and the United Nations to provide a remedy to mass terror.

Al-Mabhouh was a cold-blooded murderer—in an interview just last year on Al Jazeera he boasted about kidnapping and then killing two Israeli soldiers. He was also a major figure in arranging arms shipments from Iran to Gaza. Al-Mabhouh shared responsibility for the thousands of rocket attacks fired at civilians in Sderot and other Israeli towns, which resulted in last year's war in Gaza. In his travels, the Hamas terrorist was probably making arrangements for the next round of attacks.

But international law provides no means for stopping terrorists like Al-Mabhouh, or for his Hezbollah counterpart, Imad Moughniyeh, whose life ended with an explosion in Damascus in 2008. (In addition to numerous attacks against Israelis, Moughniyeh has been blamed for the 1983 Beirut bombings that killed hundreds of American and French peacekeepers and the murder of Lebanese President Rafik Hariri.) Cases involving Muslim terrorists, supported by Iran, would never be pursued by the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, or raised in the framework of the United Nations. Al-Mabhouh violated the human rights of untold Israeli civilians, but the U.N.'s Human Rights Council—which is dominated by such moral stalwarts as Libya, Algeria, and Iran—has no interest in Israeli complaints.

It is equally hard to imagine Interpol issuing arrest warrants in response to Israeli requests. And if warrants were issued, history shows that German, French, Belgian, and other European governments would not risk the consequences of acting on them. Little effort was ever made to apprehend the perpetrators of the Munich Olympic massacre, or of the deadly bombing attacks against synagogues in Istanbul and Athens. It's a widely known secret that European governments had ungentlemanly agreements with the PLO that allowed the Palestinians to operate from their territories, provided the terror attacks occurred elsewhere. Not until 2003 did the EU even put Hamas on its terror list. Hezbollah is currently free to operate in Europe.

The bitter reality is that for Israel, international legal frameworks provide no protection and no hope of justice. Instead, these frameworks are used to exploit the rhetoric of human rights and morality to attack Israel. In European courts, universal jurisdiction statutes, initially created to apprehend and try dictators and genocidal leaders, are now exploited as weapons in the service of the Palestinian cause. In this way, Israeli defense officials are branded as "war criminals."

Similarly, Richard Goldstone's predetermined "fact finding inquiry" into the Gaza war makes no mention of Al-Mabhouh or Iran, which supplied Hamas with over 10,000 rockets for attacks against Israelis. Mr. Goldstone and his team have remained silent about what would be the "legal" way to bring jihadi murderers to justice. In their efforts to demonize Israel, Palestinian terror actually doesn't really exist. The Goldstone team simply refused to accept conclusive Israeli video evidence of Hamas war crimes.

The same legal distortions are found among the organizations that claim to be the world's moral guardians, such as Human Rights Watch. HRW's systematic bias is reflected in a Middle East division that sees no problem in holding fund-raising dinners in Saudi Arabia—one of the world's worst human rights violators and a country officially still at war with Israel—to help finance their campaigns against the Jewish state.

In the absence of any legal remedies or Western solidarity, Israel's only option to protect its citizens from terror has always been to act independently and with force. When in 1976 a group of Palestinian and German terrorists hijacked an Israel-bound Air France plane to Uganda and separated the Jewish passengers, Israel decided to act. In a daring mission, it rescued all but three passengers while killing all terrorists and several Ugandan soldiers who had been protecting the terrorists. Back then, Israel's detractors also fretted about the "violation of Ugandan sovereignty" even though dictator Idi Amin was in cahoots with the terrorists. Entebbe, though, quickly became the gold standard for successful counter-terror operations. Only a year later, Israeli-trained German special forces freed in Mogadishu, Somalia a Lufthansa plane hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Similarly, when after years of horrific suicide bombings Israel pioneered the targeted killings of Hamas terrorists—often with the help of unmanned drones—Israel's Western adversaries complained about "extrajudicial assassinations." Today, though, U.S. forces have copied Israel's technique with their own drone killings of jihadi terrorists in the Afghan-Pakistan border region.

Unlike those Predator strikes, though, which hardly raise an eyebrow in the West these days, there was no "collateral damage" in the mysterious Dubai hit. No innocent civilians were hurt, no buildings were damaged. Justice was done, and al-Mabhouh's preparations for the next war ended quietly.

All this is lost on those diplomats, "legal experts," and pundits who blame Israel for Dubai, and angrily denounce the passport infractions. In the absence of viable alternatives, and a refusal to share any of the risks, they are in no position to condemn actions aimed at preventing more terror.


Offensive legal niceties in Britain

Relatives of 7/7 victims offended by ‘apparent bombers’ remark

Relatives of some of the 52 victims of the July 7 London bombings protested in the High Court about a reference to their killers as the “apparent bombers”.   One father addressed the court after Hugo Keith, QC, counsel to the 7/7 inquest, made his remark when referring to the four men who detonated suicide bombs on three Tube trains and a bus in July 2005.

“For more than 4½ years, the whole world has known that four sick and evil men killed 52 lovely, innocent people,” said Ernest Adams, 72, whose son James, 32, died in the explosion beneath King’s Cross.

Addressing a pre-inquest hearing, Mr Adams told the Coroner, Lady Justice Hallett: “Your inquest is not going to be about 52 apparent deaths, it will be about 52 real deaths caused by four real bombers. I find it very upsetting and insulting to use the word ‘apparent’.”

Other families echoed his concern and Mr Keith apologised for upsetting the families.  The coroner added that her team would try to come up with another phrase that would not cause distress. 


UN: Australia's Aboriginal program violates human rights

It probably does but just about everything else has been tried and there is nothing that a knowall Hispanic lawyer like the  Mr Anaya can say that will help.  Maybe Mr Anaya should concentrate on Mexico.  He might know something about that and there are certainly plenty of human rights abuses there.  Anaya has bloviated on this before.  See this reply to him.  Mr Anaya seems curiously unconcerned about the rights of the abused Aboriginal children.    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 after just a two-week visit.   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.

I personally think that the latest initiatives will fail  like all others before them.  Leave Aborigines to their own devices but provide a high level of policing to protect the women and  children is what I would recommend.  But I have known Aborigines for years,  unlike Mr Anaya  -- JR

An Australian government program imposing radical restrictions on Aborigines in a crackdown on child abuse is inherently racist, breaches international human rights obligations and must be changed immediately, a U.N. official said Wednesday.

In an advance copy of a report to be released next week, the United Nations special rapporteur on indigenous human rights, James Anaya, expressed serious concerns over the controversial initiative known as "the intervention."  The program forced a series of tough rules on Aborigines in the Northern Territory _ including bans on alcohol and hard-core pornography _ in response to an investigation that found rampant child sex abuse in remote indigenous communities.

"The measures specifically target indigenous people and impair certain rights and freedoms," Anaya, a University of Arizona human rights law professor, told The Associated Press. "It does impair self-determination of Aboriginal communities, their ability to make certain choices about how their communities are run."

In August, Anaya traveled to several Aboriginal communities to hear residents' concerns. His conclusions and recommendations released Wednesday are part of a larger report Anaya wrote on Aboriginal issues that will be released next week.

Aborigines make up about 2 percent of Australia's population of 22 million and are the country's poorest, unhealthiest and most disadvantaged minority. Governments have spent billions of dollars on community programs, housing and education reforms over the past few decades, but living conditions for the nation's original inhabitants remain abysmal.

In 2007, a government-commissioned inquiry concluded that child sexual abuse in remote Aboriginal communities had grown to catastrophic levels, though it didn't provide actual numbers. The government quickly suspended its own anti-discrimination law _ the Racial Discrimination Act _ so it could ban alcohol and hard-core pornography in Aboriginal communities and restrict how Aborigines spend their welfare checks. The restrictions do not apply to Australians of other races.

The measures are "incompatible" with Australia's international human rights obligations, including the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Anaya said.  Further, he said, there is no proof any of the measures have actually improved the lives of Aborigines.  "Have the alcohol restrictions actually reduced consumption? There's no evidence for it," he said.

Anaya will present his report to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva in September. Australia would be given the opportunity to formally respond then.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin's spokeswoman Jessica Walker said in a statement that the government plans to roll out new rules for income management in July that will not discriminate based on race. She also said the government has introduced legislation that would reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act.

In August, Macklin defended the intervention after Anaya criticized the program in an address to reporters.  "The most important human right that I feel as a minister I have to confront is the need to protect the rights of the most vulnerable, particularly children, and for them to have a safe and happy life," Macklin said at the time. "These are the rights that I think need to be balanced against other human rights."

Anaya believes there's a way to do both _ by giving Aborigines a say in how they can best be helped.


Australia: Criminals get it too easy, Victoria's Justice Philip Cummins says

One of the nation's most experienced judges has attacked courts claiming they are being too soft on violent criminals.  Victorian Supreme Court Justice Philip Cummins said yesterday the courts had "fallen short on sentence" in cases involving sex offences, violence, and especially domestic violence.

His sentiments were echoed by a veteran magistrate, who this week jailed a seven-time drink driver after lashing out at the leniency shown to him in previous court appearances.

Justice Cummins, 70, in his Supreme Court retirement speech to a packed courtroom of judges and lawyers, said: "I think that sentences imposed should better reflect parliamentary provision and community values."   He said he had no doubt every judge respected and was concerned for victims.  "(But) with sexual offences, violence, and especially domestic violence, I think courts have fallen short on sentence," he said.  "Courts need to give significantly more attribution to personal responsibility and to the consequences of that responsibility," Justice Cummins said.  "The even hand of justice requires that victims properly be acknowledged and properly be respected."

Courts had failed to translate respect and concern to action, leaving it to the media, Parliament, and commentators.  "It was not the common law or the courts that rid us of the blight of provocation, behind which much domestic and other violence escaped its true consequence," he said.

Justice Cummins has been widely regarded as a champion of victims' rights.  Last year, he made a landmark judgment that sex offenders on extended supervision orders should be identified.  Yesterday he again called for open justice, saying: "Judges should not sit behind closed doors, hear parties in the absence of each other, or engage in undue pressure."

At Dandenong Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, Rodney Crisp, a magistrate for nearly 25 years, told Michael Sich the public was fed up with drink-drivers being freed on suspended sentences.  He jailed Sich, 39, who has six prior drink-driving convictions but has twice been freed on suspended sentences for a year and disqualified him from driving for 10 years.  "The community won't tolerate a seven-time drink driver being released. (It) could never stomach it. It would rightly lose all confidence in the system of sentencing," he said.  Sich appealed but was denied bail and remanded until his appeal hearing on June 17.


Australia: The Leftist love of censorship again

Communications Minister's website removes references to filter

THE minister in charge of the Government's web censorship plan has been caught out censoring his own website.  The front page of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's official website displays a list of topics connected to his portfolio, along with links to more information about each one.  All the usual topics are there – cyber safety, the national broadband network, broadcasters ABC and SBS, digital television and so on.

All except one.  It was revealed today a script within the minister's homepage deliberately removes references to internet filtering from the list.  In the function that creates the list, or "tag cloud", there is a condition that if the words "ISP filtering" appear they should be skipped and not displayed.  The discovery is unlikely to do any favours for Senator Conroy's web filtering policy, which has been criticised for its secrecy.

According to Google's cache records, the exception has been included on the minister's homepage since at least February 14.  A message on the page says it was last updated in October last year.

Melbourne web developer David Johnson told the code was intended to remove references to internet filtering.  "The code is a quick fix," said Mr Johnson of creative agency Lemonade.  "If the developers of the minister’s site had wanted to do it properly they would have placed the 'ISP filtering' keyword exclusion on the server side where it is inaccessible to the public, instead of the front-end code which can be seen by anyone and understood by people with even a basic knowledge of scripting."



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


25 February, 2010

Negligent British bureaucrats arrested for once:  Amazing

The sky must be falling

Three Fire Service bosses were arrested yesterday in connection with a warehouse blaze that killed four firefighters.  The fire at a vegetable packing plant in Warwickshire caused one of the biggest losses of life in the history of the Fire Service. Ian Reid, 44, Darren Yates-Badley, 24, Ashley Stephens, 20, and John Averis, 27, died tackling the blaze at Atherstone on Stour in 2007.

While police refused to reveal the ranks of the three men being questioned in custody, it is understood that they are managers who played a commanding and organisational role in tackling the fire.  A 43-year-old man from Nuneaton, a 49-year-old man from Leamington and a 48-year-old man from Warwick attended Warwickshire police station yesterday morning. They were questioned on suspicion of gross negligence, manslaughter and offences under the Health and Safety at Work Act.

The fire, caused by a suspected arson attack and described as “the worst night for the Fire Service in decades”, started on November 2 at the warehouse near Stratford-upon-Avon.  Sixteen fire engines and eighty firefighters tackled the blaze which lasted more than five hours, with flames spiralling hundreds of feet into the air. Mr Stephens, Mr Averis, and Mr Yates-Badley were reported missing and found dead in the smouldering remains of the building after an extensive search. Mr Reid died in hospital after the plant’s roof collapsed while he was inside.  It was the biggest loss of life for the service since seven were killed in a fire in Glasgow in 1972.

Last May four Poles, who had worked at the warehouse, were arrested and questioned by Warwickshire Police in connection with the tragedy.

Earlier the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) had revealed that detectives were planning to arrest three managers who were involved in the incident command process.  Matt Wrack, the FBU general secretary, said at the time: “We are concerned at the move to arrest these individuals at this stage when all other key players have not even been interviewed.  “Evidence from our own investigation suggests there may be systemic failings.”

The incident has been the subject of a joint investigation by the police and the Health and Safety Executive.  A Warwickshire Police official said: “A 43-year-old man from Nuneaton, a 49-year-old from Leamington Spa and a 48-year-old man from the Warwick area presented themselves at a Warwickshire police station, where they will be questioned on suspicion of gross negligence, manslaughter and offences under the Heath and Safety at Work Act.”


Amnesty International: Not Much of a Reputation To Lose

Amnesty International has been a handmaiden of the left for as long as I can remember. Founded in 1961 to support prisoners of conscience, it has managed since then to ignore the most brutal regimes and to aim its fire at the West and particularly at the United States. This week, Amnesty has come in for some (much overdue) criticism -- but not nearly so much as it deserves.

During the Cold War, AI joined leftist international groups like the World Council of Churches to denounce America's policy in Central America. Yet human rights in Cuba were described this way in a 1976 report: "the persistence of fear, real or imaginary, was primarily responsible for the early excesses in the treatment of political prisoners." Those priests, human rights advocates, and homosexuals in Castro's prisons were suffering from imaginary evils. And the "excesses" were early -- not a continuing feature of the regime.

In 2005, William Schulz, the head of AI's American division, described the U.S. as a "leading purveyor and practitioner" of torture and recommended that President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld and other high-ranking American officials face trial in other countries for their crimes. "The apparent high-level architects of torture," he added, "should think twice before planning their next vacation to places like Acapulco or the French Riviera because they may find themselves under arrest as Augusto Pinochet famously did in London in 1998." Schulz's comments were echoed by AI's Secretary General, Irene Khan, who denounced Guantanamo Bay as "the gulag of our times."

When officials from Amnesty International demonstrated last month in front of Number 10 Downing Street demanding the closure of Guantanamo, Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo detainee who runs a group called Cageprisoners, joined them. Begg is a British citizen who, by his own admission, was trained in at least three al-Qaida camps in Afghanistan, was "armed and prepared to fight alongside the Taliban and al-Qaida against the United States and others," and served as a "communications link" between radical Muslims living in Great Britain and those abroad.

As for Cageprisoners, well, let's just say it isn't choosy about those it represents. Supposedly dedicated to helping those unjustly "held as part of the War on Terror," it has lavished unmitigated sympathy on the likes of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, confessed mastermind of 9/11; Abu Hamza, the one-handed cleric convicted of 11 charges including soliciting murder; and Abu Qatada, described as Osama bin Laden's "European ambassador." Another favorite was Anwar Al-Awlaki, the spiritual guide to Nidal Hasan (the mass murderer at Fort Hood) and underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Anne Fitzgerald, AI's policy director, explained that the human rights group allied with Begg because he was a "compelling speaker" on detention and acknowledged that AI had paid his expenses for joint appearances. Asked by the Times of London if she regarded him as a human rights advocate, she said, "It's something you'd have to speak to him about. I don't have the information to answer that." One might think that would be a pretty basic thing about which to have information.

This level of collaboration didn't go down well with everyone at Amnesty. Gita Sahgal, the head of Amnesty's gender unit, went public with her dismay after internal protests were ignored. "I believe the campaign (with Begg's organization, Cageprisoners) fundamentally damages Amnesty International's integrity and, more importantly, constitutes a threat to human rights," she wrote to her superiors. "To be appearing on platforms with Britain's most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment. ... Amnesty has created the impression that Begg is not only a victim of human rights violations but a defender of human rights."  For this, Miss Sahgal was suspended.

There have been a couple of voices raised on her behalf on the left. Christopher Hitchens (if we can still locate him on the left) condemned Amnesty for its "disgraceful" treatment of a whistle-blower and suggested that AI's 2 million subscribers withhold funding until AI severs its ties with Begg and reinstates Sahgal. Salman Rushdie went further: "Amnesty International has done its reputation incalculable damage by allying itself with Moazzam Begg and his group Cageprisoners, and holding them up as human rights advocates. It looks very much as if Amnesty's leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy, and has lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong."

Rushdie is right. His only error is in believing that Amnesty's loss of innocence is recent.


Coast to Coast, Sidewalks Are Being Closed to Christian Evangelists

They are the heirs to John the Baptist, Paul the Apostle, and two thousand years of Christian tradition: believers who step out on city streets and openly share their faith in Jesus Christ.

Their freedom to share the Gospel on public property is a right that America's founders made sure was protected by the Constitution, but it’s a freedom under growing assault, coast to coast, from a culture that doesn’t want to be confronted, however gracefully, with the Truth.

In just one week, lawyers for the Alliance Defense Fund and our allied attorneys have risen in defense of a number of these street evangelists. In Los Angeles, we’re defending Anthony Miano, who was confronted by law enforcement officers and told he couldn’t stand on a public sidewalk in front of the San Fernando Courthouse. They ordered him to another, near vacant sidewalk across the street – even though Miano was clearly more than 100 feet from the main door of the building (as required by law) before he was approached.

“Christians shouldn’t be prohibited from expressing their beliefs in a clearly public area,” says ADF Senior Counsel Nate Kellum, who, along with local allied attorney, John Stewart, is defending Miano. “Our courts should understand this more than anyone else. This man was doing nothing other than exercising his rights guaranteed by the First Amendment to peacefully share his faith with people willing to interact with him or accept his religious literature. That is a protected free speech activity that cannot be outlawed on a public sidewalk, whether it is near a courthouse or anywhere else.”

ADF attorneys have sent a letter to the presiding judge of the Courthouse, affirming Miano’s rights.

Across the country, in Richmond, Virginia, a similar case requires a lawsuit to reclaim the same protected free speech rights for other preachers.

For two years, Rob Baird, James Lee Craft, Nathan P. Magnusen, Matthew Ray, and Ryan Walker have been politely sharing their faith around the city, on public sidewalks and at public events. Threatened with arrest under noise ordinances and trespassing laws, they’ve been urged repeatedly by police to move to more remote areas and stop “disturbing” and “offending” people.?

“Denying Christians free speech rights is a practice that the city of Richmond should put to an end,” said ADF-allied attorney Steve Taylor, of Chesapeake, who has filed suit against the city of Richmond on behalf of the men. “Americans have the right to peacefully share their faith in public areas. The Constitution does not allow anyone to be silenced simply because other people don’t like the content of the message being spoken.”


Defining "Victory" and "Peace": How the U.S. and Israel Reject General Sherman's Solution and Get Blamed Anyway

 "War," said General William Tecumseh Sherman, "is Hell." He knew what he was talking about. Sherman's march through Georgia and into South Carolina at the end of the Civil War helped end the Civil War while destroying a lot of civilian homes, farms, and towns.  His strategy was to inflict such terrible punishment on the South that it would surrender faster, thus saving lives. His men did things shocking to Americans even after such a bloody conflict, burning plantations and destroying everything in their wake. Ironically, though, even Sherman's deeds have been exaggerated.

But Sherman was no mere brute. He was so depressed by the prospect of the Civil War-being among the few who understood how long and bloody it would be-that he had a nervous breakdown at its onset and tried to escape the responsibility of service that he ultimately knew would be impossible for him to avoid. Like other Western generals of his time, and almost up to the present day--but no longer--he simply believed, in his words, "I will ever conduct war with a view to perfect and early [that is, complete and quick] success."

After the war, Sherman became commander of the U.S. army and said about 1870, regarding the Franco-Prussian War but it applies generally:
How are wars won? The preferred way is for one side to see that its own victory is impossible and that it will face much heavier costs by continuing than by surrendering or making peace. By making a deal sooner, the side that's losing often reasons that it can get better terms.

What do you do, though, if the other side isn't going to give up? Here's what Sherman said about the French-German conflict but which also applies to America's Civil War and many other conflicts as well:
"The proper strategy consists in inflicting as telling blows as possible on the enemy's army, and then in using the inhabitants so much suffering that they must long for peace, and force the government to demand it. The people must be left nothing but their eyes to weep with over the war."

That's pretty terrible. Remember, though, that Sherman did say war was Hell. When it became clear that Japan was not going to surrender in World War Two, requiring a full-scale U.S. invasion of that country's homeland that would have left millions dead, President Harry Truman dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. He was right to do so. The results were horrendous, heart-breaking. Yet if Truman had not taken that tough decision far more Japanese and Americans would be dead. The damage to Japan would have been so great that the country would not have recovered, if at all, until many decades passed.

Consider Sherman's analysis in a contemporary context. Western democracies, including the United States and Israel, have no desire to pursue such a strategy. If the governments did, the democratic institutions and public opinion would never stand for it. This creates a paradox: if the other side doesn't surrender, victory is impossible because that other side will not be crushed or so credibly threatened with destruction that its leaders will give in.

This is one side-the other is the nature and ideology of the enemies themselves-of asymmetric warfare. By refusing to surrender, by offering up their own civilians as casualties, by courting massive destruction, by keeping the battle going and inflicting casualties on the democratic combatants, the weaker side hopes to win. True, the radicals believe that their ideology and determination makes them stronger but there's one more factor: they count on the squeamishness of their would-be victims as being too soft, in effect too democratic.

The radicals using asymmetric warfare are wrong in thinking they can win but they are right in thinking they can't lose. The battle goes on as long as they choose, even if the democratic side doesn't give up. And sometimes it does, or at least they can still hope that it will and use that hope to inspire more sacrifice from its own people.

Consider Israel in this context. The above explains why Israel can never "win" the conflict with the Palestinians or with the neighboring Arabs or Muslims for that matter. "Win" here means to gain such a triumph that the conflict will come to an end. But Israel can "win" by reducing the cost of the conflict to itself, going on with its national life, and reducing conflict to a minimum in terms of disruptions and casualties.

Equally, the radicals can gain international sympathy and criticisms of Israel but that will never bring them actual victory, only allow them to extend the conflict indefinitely. And so, there is no peace but Israel remains the closest thing to a winner, as long as it is willing to pay a certain price, while trying to reduce that price to the lowest possible level.

I am not advocating a Sherman-like policy. No one in any position of power in Israel is doing so or has ever really done so. Aside from the moral issue, the effect on Israel's own society, and the impact on its international standing, such a step simply isn't necessary.

Compare the Israeli view to that of the creator and commander of the German army, not in World War Two under the Nazis, not even in World War One, but in the 1870 Franco-Prussian war. The Germans had won but the French were waging war for a time through guerrilla forces.  General Moltke ordered all French guerrillas to be shot and anyone helping them be severely punished. "Experience has established that the most effective way of dealing with this situation is to destroy the premises concerned-or, where participation has been more general, the entire village...."

A German officer wrote in 1870: "We are learning to hate them more every day....Atrocious attacks are avenged by atrocities which remind one of the Thirty Years War."

Does this have anything to do with Israeli tactics on the West Bank or Gaza Strip? Of course not, though nothing would be easier for Israel to do in terms of capability. After 50 years of conflict, Israeli soldiers don't respond the way those Germans did after five months. That's why not a single real atrocity or massacre can be found by Israel's enemies despite massive and desperate attempts to do so over many years; even despite the fact that there have been many completely documented and deliberately planned massacres of Israeli civilians by Palestinian terrorists.

And this remains true despite the fact that the "atrocious attacks" Israel faces, in terms of anti-civilian terrorism, is far beyond what that German officer in 1870 could ever have dreamed possible. Remember, too, by the way that under British rule in mandatory Palestine the mere possession of a gun was punishable by death. The British executed more Jews in two years during the 1940s than Israel has hung Palestinians who killed civilians in 50 years. In fact, Israel has not executed a single Palestinian during its existence.  

Fortunately, back in 1871, the French government, realizing the hopelessness of the situation, made a deal, giving up one and a half provinces and paying reparations in order to end the war. Even this did not terminate the friction between the two countries which later resulted in two world wars, though that particular peace agreement held for almost 45 years.

Still, the Franco-Prussian war example shows that even a "total victory" might be less satisfactory ultimately than what for Israel is largely a victory for all practical purposes, including at least formal peace with two of its neighbors and a de facto peace-though not necessarily a permanent one of course, with the Palestinian Authority.

Two points to conclude. First, there is nothing harder than to explain the above to a Western audience. They identify a good outcome only with a full and formal peace ending the conflict. This is, of course, preferable. But if it is impossible-and it is in an asymmetric conflict when international sympathy for the aggressive "underdog" allows it to go on getting its people killed and territory damaged for decades-than a practical "victory" is the next best thing.

Second, it is rather ridiculous to slander Israel as a "war criminal" or bully or aggressor or the factor blocking peace when the opposite is true. If the weaker side insists on being the attacker and rejecting a reasonable peaceful solution, then that supposed "David" becomes in fact the actual "Goliath."

Moreover, compared to the wars of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries there have been no massacres, summary executions, wholesale destruction of cities, large-scale looting, or anything comparable to such things.

In the attempt to smear Israel, we are now down to debating whether it was right for Israeli soldiers to shoot back at enemy combatants trying to kill them who were firing from a specific building or which ammunition should have been used in doing so.  And this in a situation where the other side is subject to no limits whatsoever, indeed can be expected to target civilians on purpose and execute prisoners.

Definitely, there has been a great deal of success for groups with a long history of deliberate terrorism in lying about Israeli actions and spreading the general impression that some kind of war crimes were committed. Yet the fabrications and irresponsibility of Western institutions in doing so are far more shocking than anything that actually happened.

And finally, Israel has rejected the Sherman strategy. It is the Palestinian side, along with Iran, Syria, Hizballah, and others that have embraced it. They just lack the competence to pull it off.

In Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere, the United States is facing parallel issues, and this will happen even more in the future. It is understandable that democratic countries have generally abandoned the Sherman approach but there is a price to be paid for doing so. What is completely unacceptable is to pay the price for restraint and then be falsely accused of acting otherwise.

At the end of the Civil War, Sherman wrote, speaking words that all democratic societies truly feel:  "I confess, without shame, I am sick and tired of fighting -its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands and fathers.... It is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated ... that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation."

Yet Sherman did not live to see the age of ideological warfare, no matter what the cost to their own people the radicals and Islamists do indeed call for "more blood, more vengeance, more desolution." They do so in the hope that their enemies are "sick and tired of fighting," will do anything to avoid casualties and the "anguish and lamentations," from citizens, and that fools in the enemies' camp blame the continued warfare and suffering on their own side. 



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


24 February, 2010

At last we know the truth: The Labour party despises anyone who loves Britain, its values and its history

Of all the issues of concern to the public, immigration is possibly the most explosive - and the one about which the most lies are continuing to be told.   During the period that Labour has been in office, mass immigration has simply changed the face of Britain. The total number of immigrants since 1997 is pushing three million.

Ministers claim that immigration policy has been driven principally to help the economy. They have always denied that they actually set out deliberately to change the ethnic composition of the country.  Well, now we know for a certainty that this is not true. The Government embarked on a policy of mass immigration to change Britain into a multicultural society - and they kept this momentous aim secret from the people whose votes they sought.  Worse still, they did this knowing that it ran directly counter to the wishes of those voters, whose concerns about immigration they dismissed as racist; and they further concealed official warnings that large-scale immigration would bring about significant increases in crime.

The truth about this scandal was first blurted out last October by Andrew Neather, a former Labour Party speechwriter.  He wrote that until the new points-based system limiting foreign workers was introduced in 2008 - in response to increasing public uproar - government policy for the previous eight years had been aimed at promoting mass immigration.  The 'driving political purpose' of this policy, wrote Neather, was 'to make the UK truly multicultural' - and one subsidiary motivation was 'to rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date'.

Ministers, however, went to great lengths to keep their real intentions secret from the public - with, said Neather, a ' paranoia' that these would reach the media - since they knew their core white working-class voters would react very badly.  Accordingly, a report about immigration by a government advisory unit, which formed the core of a landmark speech in 2000 announcing the loosening of border controls, went through several drafts before it was finally published - and the Government's true intentions about changing Britain into a multicultural society were removed from the final version.

After revealing all this, Neather subsequently tried to backtrack, saying that his views had been twisted out of all recognition by the media. They hadn't been.  Nevertheless, Jack Straw, who was Home Secretary at the time the immigration policy was changed, said he had read press reports of Neather's remarks with incredulity since they were 'the reverse of the truth'.

Now we know, however, that they were indeed the truth. We know this only because details of the advisory unit's report which were excised from the final published version - just as Neather said - have been emerging into the public domain through Freedom of Information requests.  The pressure group MigrationWatch obtained an early draft which revealed that the Government's intention was to encourage mass immigration for 'social objectives' - in other words, to produce a more ethnically diverse society - but that on no fewer than six occasions this phrase was excised from the final version, published some three months later.

Now we further discover, from what was removed from seemingly another early draft, that the aim was not just to implement this policy of mass immigration without the knowledge or consent of the British people.  It was done in the full knowledge that the people actually wanted immigration reduced.  And we also discover that those who expressed such concerns were dismissed with utter contempt as racists - and it was further suggested that ministers should manipulate public opinion in an attempt to change people's attitudes.

Well, they have certainly tried to do that by hanging the disgusting label of 'racism' round the neck of anyone who dares voice such concerns.  Thus the eminent and decent Labour MP Frank Field found himself smeared as a racist for daring to suggest that the rate of immigration should be reduced.  What bullying arrogance. The real prejudice is surely to believe that opposition to mass migration can never be based on any reasonable objection.

The implications of this covert policy are quite staggering. Ministers deliberately set out to change the cultural and ethnic identity of this country in secret.  They did this mainly because they hated what Britain was, a largely homogeneous society rooted in 1,000 years of history. They therefore set out to replace it by a totally new kind of multicultural society - and one in which the vast majority of newcomers could be expected to vote Labour.

They set out to destroy the right of the British people to live in a society defined by a common history, religion, law, language and traditions. They set out to destroy for ever what it means to be culturally British and to put another 'multicultural' identity in its place. And they then had the gall to declare that to have love for or pride in that authentic British identity, and to want to protect and uphold it, was racist.

So the very deepest feelings of people for their country were damned as bigotry, for which crime they were to have their noses rubbed in mass immigration until they changed their attitudes.

What an appalling abuse of power. Yet even now they are denying that this is what they did. Yesterday, the Immigration Minister Phil Woolas blustered that the advisory unit report had not been accepted by ministers at the time.  But the fact is that mass immigration actually happened. The only thing ministers hadn't accepted was that the truth about their intentions should be revealed to the public.

Surreally, Mr Woolas further claims that the Government has brought immigration down.  But the reductions he is talking about have taken place on the separate issue of asylum. The impact of the Government's new points scheme upon the record rate of immigration growth has been negligible.

The truth is that these early drafts of the advisory unit's report have blown open one of the greatest political scandals of the Labour years. At no stage did Labour's election manifestos make any reference to a policy of mass immigration nor the party's aim of creating a multicultural society.  What we have been subjected to is a deliberate deception of the voters and a gross abuse of democracy.

There could scarcely be a more profound abuse of the democratic process than to set out to destroy a nation's demographic and cultural identity through a conscious deception of the people of that nation. It is an act of collective national treachery.

Now we face imminently another General Election. And now we know that in their hearts, Labour politicians hold the great mass of the public, many of them their own voters, in total contempt as racist bigots - all for wanting to live in a country whose identity they share.

There could hardly be a more worthy issue for the Conservative Party to leap upon. Yet their response is muted through their own visceral terror of appearing racist.  The resulting despair over the refusal of the mainstream parties to address this issue threatens to drive many into the arms of the truly racist British National Party.  If that happens, the fault will lie not just with Labour's ideological malice and mendacity, but with the spinelessness of an entire political class.


Why can't Britain follow Israel’s lead?

EXCUSE me for not sending flowers to the funeral of the terrorist the Israelis bumped off in Dubai. Unlike the bleeding hearts in the liberal media I’m not shedding any tears.  As military chief of terrorist group Hamas, Mahmoud al Mabhouh had the blood of many Israeli soldiers and civilians on his hands. He was in charge of smuggling rockets and grenades into the Gaza Strip so his murderous gangs could lob them into Israel.   He could hardly complain when a hit squad from Mossad, the Israeli security service, brought his life to a swift end. To say he had it coming is an understatement.

So why such a fuss about his execution? Why has the Foreign office twisted the arm of the Israeli ambassador? And possibly the most crucial question of all: whose side are we on, the terrorists or those with the courage to stand up to them?   The Israelis don’t mess about, they don’t sit back and take it. You kill one of them and they will kill you. And afterwards they won’t explain, they won’t apologise, they won’t even deny it.

WORLD opinion means nothing – what ever London, Washington or Damascus may say the Israelis are convinced that they are right. An eye for an eye is the most basic concept of natural justice, dating back 4,000 years to Babylonian times and is promoted three times in the old Testament. Even in the New Testament Jesus says: Those who take up the sword shall die by the sword.

Did Mahmoud al-Mabhouh reflect on that as he checked in to room 230 at his posh hotel in Dubai? He was the man behind the kidnapping and killing of two Israel soldiers 21 years ago; he had been smuggling arms into the Gaza Strip; he was believed to be in Dubai to buy more weapons from an Iranian dealer. If  Mossad agents came to call they were hardly there to inquire after his health.

Unlike Britain, Israel doesn’t tolerate an enemy within. It doesn’t give those who hate them free housing and welfare handouts. It doesn’t let the right of free speech enable them to preach murder on its streets.

Retribution is a vital part of Israel’s psyche. After the Second World War the Israelis spent half a century tracking down evil Nazis. When Israeli athletes were murdered at the 1972 olympics their Palestinian killers were hunted around the world and eliminated: one by a bomb in his bed, another by a booby-trapped phone.

Who can forget the electrifying raid on Entebbe in 1976 when Israeli special forces stormed a hijacked airliner, killed the terrorists and freed all but three of the hostages? It was a salutary lesson to the world.

You’d think that Britain of all countries would understand the need to pull no punches with those who have sworn to be your enemies. That’s what the SAS did in Northern  Ireland for more than 30 years, taking out IRA members before they could perpetrate further  outrages. It is what our special forces did in Iraq and are doubtless doing in Afghanistan.

It is what the SAS should be doing today in Somalia, where British yacht couple Paul and Rachel Chandler are being held by pirates. Can you imagine the Israelis allowing two of their people to suffer so long in some fly-blown African hellhole?

Israel has no reason to be ashamed of its actions. As  Foreign Minister Avigdor  Lieberman points out: “our security activity is conducted according to the very clear, very cautious and responsible rules of the game.” rule No 1 of course in any security activity is kill or be killed.

Where Britain has a right to be upset, however, is the way the Israelis have carried out ID theft on the passports of six of our citizens. It’s not the first time they’ve done it and last time they promised they wouldn’t do it again.

One Foreign office source says Britain could cut ties with Mossad if the Israelis have been “found to be acting against British interests”. You might think executing the would terrorist might be precisely in our interests but the career diplomats take a loftier view.

Gordon Brown says Israel has questions to answer about nicking our passports but the implication is that Britain wouldn’t be in the least bit put out if the Israeli hit squad had used fake documents from Libya, Japan, Peru – in fact anywhere other than Britain.  BROWN even has the cheek to spout that “a British passport is an important part of being  British”. This from a Prime Minister whose policy was to welcome millions of immigrants so he could socially engineer the country to be less British and more likely to vote Labour.

We should take no lessons either from the BBC, which for too long refused to call Hamas suicide bombers “terrorists” and hid behind weasel words like “radicals” and “militants”. Its anti-Israel bias is clear today when BBC News pontificates that Israel “may have scored a costly own goal” by using  British identities for what it calls “nefarious activities”.

Make no mistake, I think a British passport is the most valuable document in the world and I don’t like it being used to gain illegal entry to another country. But my top priority will always be security and the world is undoubtedly more secure now Hamas has lost another murderer from its ranks.


See no Islam

Attack in Little Rock 'like other killings we have'?

Remember last June when President Obama traveled to Saudi Arabia because, as he put it, "It was very important to come to the place where Islam began and seek his majesty's counsel"?  I argued at the time, gagging, that rather than visiting "the place where Islam began," the president of the United States should have gone to the place where Islam had just ended the life of a U.S. soldier.  I refer to the U.S. Army-Navy recruiting center in Little Rock, Ark., where on June 1, Muslim convert Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad fatally shot Pvt. William Long, 23, and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18. The two soldiers had been standing outside having a smoke.

As usual, the president didn't take my advice, or even my further suggestion that he turn the attack into an opportunity to declare in a major address the 21st-century era of jihad over.  Instead, he journeyed to lands where jihad is a sacred institution, and in Cairo, Egypt, made another speech entirely, boosting and even preaching on behalf of Islam. His only comment was to call the attack, belatedly, "a senseless act of violence."  Senseless? This was an act of jihad, and both soldiers, along with the fallen and wounded at Fort Hood, should receive the Purple Hearts they deserve.

Muhammad himself has made his jihadist intentions against the U.S. military clear, beginning first with his statement to police and later in collect phone calls to the Associated Press from the Pulaski County jail.  On June 9, the AP quoted Muhammad calling the attack "an act, for the sake of God, for the sake of Allah, the Lord of all the world, and also a retaliation on U.S. military."

He wasn't guilty of murder, he said, "because murder is when a person kills another person without justified reason." Such a definition jibes with Islamic law, which, for example, permits the killing of "non-Muslims at war with Muslims."  Muhammad also told the AP he wanted revenge against the U.S. military for its perceived offenses against Muslims and the Koran.

We haven't heard much about the case since Pulaski County prosecutor Larry Jegley asked for a gag order on the gabby jihadi -- a step a prosecutor will take, former prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy tells me, to prevent the jury pool from being "poisoned" and to ward off potential defense claims that a fair trial was not possible.

But lead prosecutor Jegley has now entered bizarro territory, telling the New York Times this week that his team, as the paper put it, "considers [the attack] a straightforward murder case and that they intend to try it without delving into Mr. Muhammad's religious conversion, political beliefs or possible ties to terrorists. 'When you strip away what he says, self-serving or not, it's just an awful killing,' said Larry Jegley... 'It's like a lot of other killings we have.'"

It is? Do "a lot" of middle-class murder defendants in Pulaski County convert to Islam in 2004 and worship at an Ohio mosque frequented by convicted terrorists in 2005 and 2006?   Do "a lot" of them travel to Yemen in 2007 where, ABC News reported, "it is believed that Muhammad attended the Damaj Institute, an Islamic institute attended by a number of radicalized U.S. converts [including] John Walker Lindh?  Do "a lot" get themselves arrested for overstaying their visa in Yemen and possessing a fake Somali passport? Do "a lot" finally get deported back to the States in 2008? (Bio highlights courtesy the Nefa Foundation.) Do "a lot" fire on U.S. soldiers at a military recruiting center?

I'm not the only one confounded by the prosecutor's inexplicable and highly disturbing decision to follow a see-no-Islam strategy. Muhammad himself recently wrote to the judge claiming he was encountering legal obstacles to changing his plea to guilty.  Avowing affiliation with al Qaeda as a member of "Abu Basir's Army," Muhammad further emphasized the fact that the incident was a "a Jihadi Attack ... justified according to Islamic Laws and the Islamic Religious Jihad To fight Those who wage war on Islam and Muslims."

This was an act of war against the U.S. and should be treated as such. Especially for the sake of the fallen, this is no time for the prosecutor to run off the battlefield.


Jews leave Swedish city after sharp rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes

Sweden's reputation as a tolerant, liberal nation is being threatened by a steep rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes in the city of Malmo.  Because the offenders are Muslims, the Leftist Swedish authorities turn a blind eye

When she first arrived in Sweden after her rescue from a Nazi concentration camp, Judith Popinski was treated with great kindness.  She raised a family in the city of Malmo, and for the next six decades lived happily in her adopted homeland - until last year.  In 2009, a chapel serving the city's 700-strong Jewish community was set ablaze. Jewish cemeteries were repeatedly desecrated, worshippers were abused on their way home from prayer, and "Hitler" was mockingly chanted in the streets by masked men.  "I never thought I would see this hatred again in my lifetime, not in Sweden anyway," Mrs Popinski told The Sunday Telegraph.  "This new hatred comes from Muslim immigrants. The Jewish people are afraid now."

Malmo's Jews, however, do not just point the finger at bigoted Muslims and their fellow racists in the country's Neo-Nazi fringe. They also accuse Ilmar Reepalu, the Left-wing mayor who has been in power for 15 years, of failing to protect them.  Mr Reepalu, who is blamed for lax policing, is at the centre of a growing controversy for saying that what the Jews perceive as naked anti-Semitism is in fact just a sad, but understandable consequence of Israeli policy in the Middle East.

While his views are far from unusual on the European liberal-left, which is often accused of a pro-Palestinian bias, his Jewish critics say they encourage young Muslim hotheads to abuse and harass them.  The future looks so bleak that by one estimate, around 30 Jewish families have already left for Stockholm, England or Israel, and more are preparing to go.

With its young people planning new lives elsewhere, the remaining Jewish households, many of whom are made up of Holocaust survivors and their descendants, fear they will soon be gone altogether. Mrs Popinski, an 86-year-old widow, said she has even encountered hostility when invited to talk about the Holocaust in schools.  "Muslim schoolchildren often ignore me now when I talk about my experiences in the camps," she said. "It is because of what their parents tell them about Jews. The hatreds of the Middle East have come to Malmo. Schools in Muslim areas of the city simply won't invite Holocaust survivors to speak any more."

Hate crimes, mainly directed against Jews, doubled last year with Malmo's police recording 79 incidents and admitting that far more probably went unreported. As of yet, no direct attacks on people have been recorded but many Jews believe it is only a matter of time in the current climate.  The city's synagogue has guards and rocket-proof glass in the windows, while the Jewish kindergarten can only be reached through thick steel security doors.

It is a far cry from the city Mrs Popinski arrived in 65 years ago, half-dead from starvation and typhus.  At Auschwitz she had been separated from her Polish family, all of whom were murdered. She escaped the gas chambers after being sent as a slave labourer. Then she was moved to a womens' concentration camp, Ravensbrück, from where she was then evacuated in a release deal negotiated between the Swedish Red Cross and senior Nazis, who were by then trying to save their own lives.

After the war, just as liberal Sweden took in Jews who survived the Holocaust as a humanitarian act, it also took in new waves of refugees from tyranny and conflicts in the Middle East. Muslims are now estimated to make up about a fifth of Malmo's population of nearly 300,000.

"This new hatred from a group 40,000-strong is focused on a small group of Jews," Mrs Popinski said, speaking in a sitting room filled with paintings and Persian carpets.  "Some Swedish politicians are letting them do it, including the mayor. Of course the Muslims have more votes than the Jews."

The worst incident was last year during Israel's brief war in Gaza, when a small demonstration in favour of Israel was attacked by a screaming mob of Arabs and Swedish leftists, who threw bottles and firecrackers as the police looked on.  "I haven't seen hatred like that for decades," Mrs Popinski said. "It reminded me of what I saw in my youth. Jews feel vulnerable here now."

The problem is becoming an embarrassment for the Social Democrats, the mayor's party.  Their national leader Mona Sahlin - the woman who is likely to become the next prime minister after an election later this year - last week travelled to Malmo to meet Jewish leaders, which they took to be a sign that at last politicians are waking to their plight. After the meeting, the mayor, Mr Reepalu, also promised to meet them. A former architect, he has been credited with revitalising Malmo from a half-derelict shipbuilding centre into a vibrant, prosperous city with successful IT and biotech sectors.  His city was - until recently at least - a shining multicultural success story, and has taken in proportionally more refugees than anywhere else in Sweden, a record of which it is proud.

Sweden has had a long record of offering a safe haven to Jews, the first of whom arrived from the east in the mid-nineteenth century. Today the Jewish population is about 18,000 nationally, with around 3000 in southern Sweden.

The mayor insisted to The Sunday Telegraph that he was opposed to anti-Semitism, but added: "I believe these are anti-Israel attacks, connected to the war in Gaza.  "We want Malmo to be cosmopolitan and safe for everybody and we have taken action. I have started a dialogue forum. There haven't been any attacks on Jewish people, and if Jews from the city want to move to Israel that is not a matter for Malmo."

One who has had enough is Marcus Eilenberg, a 32-year-old Malmo-born lawyer, who is moving to Israel in April with his young family.  "Malmo has really changed in the past year," he said. "I am optimistic by nature, but I have no faith in a future here for my children. There is definitely a threat.  "It started during the Gaza war when Jewish demonstrators were attacked. It was a horrible feeling, being attacked in your own city. Just as bad was the realisation that we were not being protected by our own leaders."

Mr Eilenberg said he and his wife considered moving to Stockholm where Jews feel safer than in Malmo. "But we decided not to because in five years time I think it will be just as bad there," he said.  "This is happening all over Europe. I have cousins who are leaving their homes in Amsterdam and France for the same reason as me."

Malmo's Jews are not the only ones to suffer hate crimes.  At the city's Islamic Centre, the director Bejzat Becirov pointed out a bullet hole in the window behind the main reception desk.  Mr Becirov, who arrived in 1962 from the former Yugoslavia, said that windows were regularly smashed, pig's heads had been left outside the mosque, and outbuildings burnt down - probably the acts of Neo-Nazis who have also baited Jews in the past.

He said that the harassment of Jews by some young Muslims was "embarrassing" to his community. Many of them are unemployed and confined to life on bleak estates where the Scandinavian dream of prosperity and equality seemed far away.

For many of Malmo's white Swedish population, meanwhile, the racial problems are bewildering after years of liberal immigration policies.  "I first encountered race hatred when I was an au pair in England and I was shocked," said Mrs Popinski's friend Ulla-Lena Cavling, 72, a retired teacher.  "I thought 'this couldn't happen in Sweden'. Now I know otherwise."



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


23 February, 2010

Sick Britain again

Sex attacker freed from jail to kill mother as his human rights deemed 'more important than safety of others'

A woman was murdered by a violent sex attacker who had been released from prison just nine months earlier, an inquest heard today.  Anthony Rice was on licence at the Elderfield probation hostel in Winchester, Hampshire, when he killed Naomi Bryant after they met in the city, the inquest was told.   A report by the chief inspector of probation released in 2006 said probation and other officials were sidetracked by considering Rice's human rights above their duty to the public.

The hearing into the death of multiple sclerosis sufferer and mother-of-one Ms Bryant, 40, takes place almost five years after she was strangled and stabbed to death in her home by Anthony Rice.  Central Hampshire Coroner Grahame Short told the jury that the cause of Ms Bryant's death had been murder but the inquest, which is expected to last up to three weeks, would look into the issues surrounding the killing.

He explained that the hearing at Winchester Crown Court would take evidence from police, probation and prison service representatives looking at Rice's release from prison and management in the community.  He said: 'We will be looking at what the various authorities did or did not do to protect the public and in particular Naomi Bryant.'  He added: 'This inquest is not straightforward but it is emotive. Naomi Bryant left a daughter aged 14 without a mother and her own mother lost a child.  'They will have been devastated by her death and you will feel great sympathy for them.  'You may feel revulsion at some of the evidence, you will hear evidence of a violent and sexual nature, however your duty is to find the facts and reach a conclusion.'

The inquest was told that a post mortem examination showed that Ms Bryant had been stabbed 15 times to the chest and once to the neck and had been strangled with a ligature.  The cause of death was given as pressure to the neck and multiple stab wounds.

A critical report by chief inspector of probation Andrew Bridges released in 2006 found that there were 'substantial deficiencies' in supervision by probation and other officials in Hampshire.  He concluded that officials were sidetracked by considering Rice's human rights above their duty to the public.  Two parole requests were refused before he was released in November 2004, having served nearly 16 years.  The Parole Board concluded he presented only a 'minimal risk'.  The report said the 2001 decision by the board to move him to an open prison created a 'momentum towards release'.

When the decision to free him was made the board 'gave insufficient weight to the underlying nature of his risk of harm to others'.  Rice was then put under the supervision of the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements, designed to manage violent offenders in England and Wales.

Detective Inspector David Crouch, of Hampshire Police's major crime department, told the hearing that Ms Bryant suffered from multiple sclerosis and was also an alcoholic who was well known in Winchester.  He said: 'She had been a regular drinker for most of her adult life, she was what is commonly known as an alcoholic.  'She had a distinctive style of dress, a local character, and a very nice lady by all accounts.'

He described how Ms Bryant met Rice in a pub on August 13, 2005, a few days before he killed her.  They met again in passing on August 17 when Ms Bryant called her daughter on Rice's mobile phone to tell her that she was going out drinking, Mr Crouch said.  He added that at 7pm that evening Ms Bryant and Rice were seen walking together towards her home, where her body was found the next morning by her ex-partner and her daughter.

He said that when police arrived, they found 'a lot of blood' between the bedroom and bathroom.  He added that Ms Bryant's body was found hidden under a mattress between two sections of the bed which had been pulled apart.  She had been stabbed with a knife taken from the kitchen of the house. The force of the blows had caused the tip of the knife to break off, the inquest heard.

He said that Rice was arrested the following day in London where he had bought a ticket to return to Scotland, where he had grown up.  Mr Crouch said that Rice confessed during police interview to the killing and told officers that there had not been a sexual motive to the crime.  Rice told police that he decided he was going to kill her simply because he had a 'deep set anger inside him', the inquest heard.  He also said in interview that if it had not been Ms Bryant he would have killed someone else and he had chosen her because she was 'vulnerable' and an 'easy target'.  The hearing was told that Rice had said that he knew that he would be caught and go back to prison, but said that he did not care.

Mr Crouch told the inquest that Rice also confessed to attacking a woman with a brick in Southampton in April 2005.  He said that Rice had told police that he had gone to visit a prostitute but had become angry when she had 'ripped him off'.  Rice said that he had vented his anger by hitting the woman with a brick as she walked to work and also attacked another prostitute and a vagrant.  Rice was given a life sentence at Winchester Crown Court for the murder of Ms Bryant, in October 2005, with a minimum term of 25 years imposed.

The inquest was told that Rice had 22 previous convictions prior to the murder dating back to 1972 when he was aged 15.  The first offences were six charges of indecent assault and were dealt with at a Dundee youth court and involved him slapping the faces of passers by and indecently assaulting some of them.  In 1989 Rice was convicted of attempted rape. Mr Crouch said that as part of his conditions for release from prison, Rice was given a residential place at the Elderfield hostel where he was subject to a curfew.

He said that Rice was allowed to leave the hostel during the day and he worked at a launderette for a period and was also trying to get on to a computer training course.


Muslim murderers protected from execution?

Remember the case in which Faleh al-Maleki, an Iraqi-American father brutally ran over his daughter, Noor, in Arizona, then attempted to escape but was apprehended in Britain and returned to face justice?

Guess what’s just happened? The Arizona prosecutors have been scared off seeking the death penalty. Public defender Billy Little raised the specter of “How will it look for Christians to execute a Muslim?”

I kid you not.  Billy Little asked the judge to “take special precautions to ensure the County Attorney’s Office wouldn’t wrongly seek the death penalty because Almaleki is a Muslim.” Little called for an “open process (to) provide some level of assurance that there is no appearance that a Christian is seeking to execute a Muslim for racial, political, religious or cultural beliefs,” referring to County Attorney Andrew Thomas’ Christian faith.

Whoa!  Words fail me here. Are Christian lawyers, by definition, hopelessly biased against Muslims? This is a fact not in evidence. Is the public defender Christian? Why should this matter in America? What if the judge is Christian? Does Billy Little understand that Muslim judges do not usually prosecute men who honor murder their wives, sisters, or daughters?

But prithee pause. Allow me to take another approach. If Billy Little is that concerned with not shedding Muslim blood: Faleh al-Maleki is a Muslim who also killed a Muslim; he rode right over his daughter with a two-ton jeep. Is her female Muslim blood cheaper than his male Muslim blood? And, let’s not forget: Al-Maleki attempted to murder another Muslim woman who was sheltering his daughter.

Little also rattled his sword about the importance of keeping “religion” out of the proceeding…while simultaneously using the defendant’s religion to insist that his life be spared! In any event, even most Islamists insist that Islam has nothing to do with honor killings, that it is a tribal custom, one that existed long before Islam arose. (And, I must add, a custom which all-mighty Islam has been unable or unwilling to abolish).

Fine. Keep religion out of it if you must. Call it a dirty tribal custom. But let’s be honest. You just don’t see many Buddhists, Jews, or Christians killing their daughters because they refuse to remain in arranged marriages or because they want to lead independent lives. This was precisely why al-Maleki killed his daughter.

According to the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Al Maleki is still being charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault, and two counts of leaving the scene of a serious accident.

So: Why have the prosecutors backed down? Has the same politically correct culture that has so fatally infected the American military (Fort Hood, etc.) infected the prosecutor’s office as well? Are Arizonians unconsciously guilty about living on indigenous Apache and Navajo land and see al-Maleki as a symbol of indigenous cultures?

I am not a huge fan of the death penalty; it is applied in racially biased ways and innocent people have been executed. And yet: Do the prosecutors really believe that being sentenced to life in prison (as an “honorable” man) will deter the next dishonorable honor killer in our midst, to whom his miserable, misogynist concept of “honor” is more important than life? Certainly, far more important than female life.


A black man who does not play the victim game

In December 2001, the Toyota Motor Corporation held a public meeting at the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with racial activist Jesse Jackson. The purpose of the gathering was to discuss Toyota's "Twenty-First Century Diversity Strategy," a ten-year program worth some $7.8 billion in contracts for minority-owned businesses. At even a casual glance, the program seemed a capitulation to Jackson, who had threatened to call for a black boycott of the carmaker over some ads that he deemed racist. Toyota's denials that it had given in to racial extortion rang unconvincing.

Also in attendance that day was another black minister named Jesse--the Reverend Jesse Lee Peterson. Peterson is the staunchly conservative head of the Brotherhood Organization of a New Destiny, or BOND, which is dedicated to "rebuilding the family by rebuilding the man"--educating males, mostly black males, about personal strength and responsibility. Peterson is also Jackson's sworn nemesis and calls him, among other things, a "racist demagogue" and a "problem profiteer." For two years prior to the Toyota meeting, he'd been holding rallies declaring Martin Luther King, Jr. Day a "National Day of Repudiation of Jesse Jackson." So when it came time for the Q&A, Peterson asked Toyota's reps if BOND could apply for its grants without joining Jackson's Trade Bureau at an entry fee of up to $2,500.

"All hell broke loose in the room," Peterson writes in his book Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America. "Several blacks got up and started screaming obscenities at me." Jesse Jackson denounced "some parasites who want to pick up apples from trees they didn't shake." When Peterson tried to leave the meeting, he claims that Jesse's son Jonathan confronted him and shoved him in the chest, while others surrounded him, shouting obscenities.

Peterson sued, claiming that Jesse Jackson threatened him and that Jonathan assaulted him. The jury split 6-6 on the assault charge, and it was settled out of court. A lengthy 6-6 split on the other charges ended when, according to the Los Angeles Times, three jurors, still professing to believe Peterson, surrendered to the argument that he hadn't proved his claims. Though Jesse Jackson had to admit under oath that his Trade Bureau played a role in distributing the Toyota grants--and though he acknowledged the "parasites" remark--he and his son walked away largely unscathed.

I couldn't help but think of Jesse Jackson when I visited Peterson at BOND recently. I couldn't help but think of Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, with its monumental marble headquarters in Chicago and branches in major cities around the country. BOND's offices, by contrast, are in a shabby storefront sitting amid furniture stores, gas stations, and billboards in a flat and dispiriting stretch of L.A.'s Mid-City West section. Whereas Rainbow/PUSH reportedly receives double-digit millions in corporate grants and sponsorships, BOND gets by on about half a million dollars a year in mostly private donations (though some money comes in from Toyota since the 2001 brouhaha). Its Home for Boys, a gabled house in a pleasantly leafy residential neighborhood nearby, can hold eight residents at a time, with some sharing rooms. That, along with BOND's After-School Character Building Program, which takes on ten to 12 kids for six to nine weeks, represents an effort no larger than, say! , a church Sunday school: about 70 boys have graduated from both programs so far. BOND chapters begun in Flint and Lansing, Michigan, have had to close down for lack of funds.

But if BOND is austere, it nonetheless provides Peterson with a platform from which to speak his indomitable piece. The building includes a rudimentary chapel--a cross, a podium, maybe 30 office chairs--where he preaches to a small congregation every Sunday (the sermons are later posted on his website and YouTube). There's also an admirably equipped studio from which he puts on a radio and Internet call-in show five mornings a week. As BOND's president and CEO, he makes regular TV appearances with Fox News stalwarts Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity (who serves on BOND's advisory board). He also writes a no-holds-barred column on the popular conservative Christian website WorldNetDaily, and he makes occasionally raucous speaking appearances, including a recent debate at Yale University in which he denounced affirmative action, to predictable hisses from the Yale Political Union.

Still, the contrast between Jesse Jackson's wealth and fame and Jesse Lee Peterson's relatively modest circumstances seems an object lesson in the fate of competing narratives and identities. The great social thinker Shelby Steele has written that to "be black" in America requires the wearing of a mask. Either you are a "challenger," like Jackson, who essentially tells whites: "I judge you racist until you do something--such as giving me money--to prove otherwise." Or you are a "bargainer," like Barack Obama, who says, "I will not use racism against you, if you will not use race against me."

But Jesse Lee Peterson will not "be black" in that sense at all. "The 'Black Experience' is a myth used to control people," he has written. His approach to the problems facing America's entrenched black underclass is profoundly personal. And his comparatively marginal place in the culture raises the possibility that, for a public black in America, to be a man only is to be a man alone.

Most black Americans are suffering not because of racism but the lack of moral character," Peterson tells me. We are sitting in his office in BOND's cramped second story. It's a threadbare space: cheap desk, cheap chairs, some books on cheap shelves, some photos of friends and BOND graduates hanging on the off-white walls or propped against them. "About 50 years ago, the government came in under Lyndon B. Johnson, and it said to black people, 'We're gonna take care of you. You can't make it because of racism. But you can't have a father in the home, you can't have a man in your home.' " He's alluding to welfare systems that subsidized single mothers and thus discouraged marriage. "And many black people decided to go with that, and they took the fathers out, and the government became the daddy of the family. And the so-called civil rights leaders became the head of the people . . . and they have managed to brainwash, dumb down, and demoralize the people for their own perso! nal gain."

Like many outspoken conservatives, Peterson is only noticed by the mainstream media when he makes statements that are, I suspect, purposely calibrated to shock and annoy them: "Thank God for slavery" (because it brought blacks out of Africa to America) and "Barack Obama hates white people." Like many black conservatives, he is subject to continual name-calling and racial slurs. One man even pulled a gun on him when he recognized him in a restaurant, Peterson says, and others have threatened violence against the radio stations that run his show. But in appearance and behavior, at least, he doesn't fit the firebrand mold. He's a slender man of average height with a relaxed, quiet aspect. A cleft palate, not repaired until he was in his teens, left him with a slight speech impediment, and he has developed a careful manner of speaking, not ferocious at all, not even in the pulpit. He is self-effacing and humorous and notes his own lapses in grammar and eloquence by telling me! simply and without apology, "I didn't get a great education." He is scrupulously direct and thorough when answering questions, and his worldview is strikingly coherent and precise.

Like Steele--who provides both a blurb and a frontispiece quotation for Peterson's autobiography, From Rage to Responsibility--Peterson decries the transformation of the civil rights movement from a principled appeal to the American creed to a politicized shakedown of guilt-ridden whites. He condemns the government subsidies of single motherhood that have helped set loose a plague of black illegitimacy and its attendant plagues of generational poverty and crime.


Australia: Token jail sentence for a violent black

Sounds like "multicultural" bulldust to me.  I wonder what the victim thinks of it?  Apparently unlawful carnal knowledge ("Statutory rape") is OK if you are black too

A VIOLENT man convicted of a series of horrific assaults on a 15-year-old girl he held prisoner has been freed from jail because he is an Aborigine.  The Herald Sun reports the Court of Appeal ruled that participating in a Koori Court, where offenders discuss their crimes with a judge and Aboriginal elders in a room that has been traditionally "smoked", can lead to a lighter sentence.

Court president Justice Chris Maxwell and Justice Peter Buchanan said the 18-month minimum term imposed on Steelie Morgan, 26, was manifestly excessive because he took part in a "sentencing conversation" about his crimes.  "His active participation in the process was a factor that mitigated punishment," the court said. "The sentencing conversation is designed to further the reformation of an Aboriginal offender through a unique blending of Aboriginal customary law and the English common law."  Morgan has served seven months of the term but the appeal judges said the rest of the sentence should be wholly suspended.

During a 10-week reign of terror Morgan, of Moama, subjected the girl, who was his under-age sexual partner, to a series of attacks, where she was bashed, stabbed, humiliated and held captive.  He threatened to kill her, smashed a full plastic water bottle over her head, threw a knife at her, which struck her on the neck, and bit her nose.  Morgan made a weapon of a water hose and repeatedly struck her on the legs, threw a heavy tool, cutting her head, and forced her to stay in a bedroom for nearly a month.

Morgan pleaded guilty at La Trobe Koori Court to eight counts of causing injury intentionally, two of assault, one of making a threat to kill and one of false imprisonment.

The offences occurred between December 2007 and March 2008 and each count of intentionally causing injury carries a 10-year maximum term.  After he was caught Morgan "sought reconciliation with his indigenous heritage", the court said.  Justices Maxwell and Buchanan said Morgan was shamed by admitting his crimes before Aboriginal elders.


Australian "aid" to Pacific Island countries is a disaster

An army of well-paid advisers keep the Pacific poor

Taxpayers should be extremely concerned that egregiously high salaries are paid to aid-funded advisers, not because they are earning more than the Prime Minister but because the aid is being wasted. Capacity building has not merely failed to get Pacific islands to grow, but is responsible for their lack of development.

Some of these advisers do a reasonable enough job, though many do too little to earn any salaries. Many of the useful ones, for example, in finance departments, are not advisers at all. They manage budgets and expenditures. The islands have thus avoided the inflation and excessive borrowing of previous decades. But countries cannot develop unless their own nationals learn by doing. Nationals may initially make more mistakes than advisers, but only by actually doing a job without someone looking over their shoulder can a cadre of public servants be created. Yet 30 years after independence, key public service posts throughout the islands are held by expatriates. Solomon Islanders welcomed the pacifying functions of the Regional Mission to the Solomons, but they now seethe with resentment because they have no role in their own country. There is also almost no indigenous private sector in the Pacific. Australian expatriates dominate large business and the professions and Chinatowns handle the luxury trade that caters for them. In Fiji, which relied least on expatriates, they are flocking back. They are now Chinese rather than Australians.

Most of the Pacific graduates trained in Australia do not seem to be working in the Pacific. They resent advisers in positions they could fill that are being paid salaries they can earn only by working abroad. They find jobs in international organisations or the Middle East. In Papua New Guinea particularly, stratospheric expatriate salaries are justified by the personal danger arising from the violent crime that has grown steadily despite 30 years of advice.

Progress is inverse to the number of advisers. There are relatively few advisers in Samoa, which pulled itself together in the 1990s to achieve a decade of low but steady growth. Advisers are most numerous in the Solomon Islands and PNG where standards of living for more than 80 per cent of the population remain at bare subsistence level. Women work in the gardens struggling to get some cash crops to the market. Boys and men hang around smoking ganja and drinking beer. There are no jobs. There is no running water or electricity. Women give birth in the bush. Literacy is estimated to be 25 per cent, principally in urban areas. The more enterprising lads drift to towns where there are also no jobs. Crime is the realistic alternative. In Port Moresby and Lae, expatriate triads run gangs of Raskol that manage the breaking-and-entering, gambling, prostitution and illegal immigration. They probably earn more than the Prime Minister of China.

Capacity building runs in tandem with the UN Millennium Development Goals that have been adopted by AusAID. Capitalist development pursued by Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, up to a point even Indonesia, China and India - where there is not an expatriate in sight - has been abandoned. The Millennium Development Goals reject rigorous education, hard work, savings and investment that lead to improvements in living standards, for the socialist objectives of abolishing hunger (which the Pacific has never experienced), postmodern education that has empowered Pacific children but not taught them to read, write or count and minimal health targets that are clearly not going to be achieved. Tragically, a demographic transition to lower population growth is being achieved in PNG by the high death rates of the HIV-AIDS epidemic.

As Peter Bauer saw in the 1950s in Africa, aid supports elites who live comfortable lives while most of their peoples remain in poverty. The Pacific elites send their children to international schools or to boarding schools in Australia. Expatriates support golf and tennis clubs, cafes and restaurants. Locals are encouraged to steal to keep up with these Joneses.

Pacific islands have rich agricultural land and forests, marine resources and minerals. Their beauty is legendary so they are ideal for tourism. The Pacific has received more aid per capita than any other region in the world.

Barnaby Joyce may not be across the development literature but he can smell a rat. Australian aid to the Pacific indeed has been an example of transferring funds from low-income earners in Australia to high-income Pacific elites.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


22 February, 2010

Innocent Brits could have lives wrecked by Big Brother vetting "checks"

It's reminiscent of the "trials by accusation" that prevailed in Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia:  No checking for truth so very open to abuse by nasty people.  It's a totally non-judicial system that can nonetheless hand out very damaging punishments.  British justice is obviously long dead

Innocent teachers and nurses could be banned from working with children because of their attitudes or lifestyles.  Workers judged to be lonely and to have a chaotic home life could be barred from working with vulnerable people, even though there is no evidence that they pose a risk, according to guidelines from the Government's new vetting agency.  Decisions about staff will be taken by officials who have never met them, based on details passed on by their employers.

Experts claimed that the "Big Brother" approach meant innocent people could have their careers wrecked on the basis of cruel rumours or ill-informed moral judgements.

The row is the latest controversy to hit the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), which was set up to vet millions of people working with vulnerable people.  The Government announced a watering down of the scheme in December in the wake of a public outcry over plans to force adults who give other children lifts to clubs and sports events to undergo criminal records checks and register with the ISA.

Since October, employers have been under a legal duty to refer staff to ISA for assessment if children or vulnerable adults who they work with are considered to have been harmed or put in danger.  Controversially, managers have also been told to pass on names of staff they have prevented from working with vulnerable people for fear they could "pose a future risk" - even though no incident has occurred.

Guidance seen by The Sunday Telegraph, which has been given to more than 100 case workers at the ISA reveals that those referred could be permanently blocked from work if aspects of their home life or attitudes are judged to be unsatisfactory.  It says case workers should be "minded to bar" cases referred to them if they feel "definite concerns" about at least two aspects of their life, which are specified in the document.  It means, for example, that if a teaching assistant was believed to be "unable to sustain emotionally intimate relationships" and also had a "chaotic, unstable lifestyle" they could be barred from ever working with children.  If a nurse was judged to suffer from "severe emotional loneliness" and believed to have "poor coping skills" their career could also be ended.

ISA's case workers, who have no minimum qualification or experience, make their decision about whether someone should be barred from working with children or vulnerable adults without ever seeing the person.  They are expected to establish the person's relationship history and emotional state based on the file passed on by their employer.

Psychologists, professional regulators and health and teaching unions last night expressed horror over the guidance.  Harry Cayton, chief executive of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, which oversees Britain's nine health regulators, said: "My concern is that judgements are being made not on the basis of facts but on opinion and third party perceptions."

Dr Mike Berry, a leading forensic psychologist, described the system as "incredibly dangerous" and open to error.  The expert in criminal profiling said: "These tests are so subjective; plenty of people are lonely, while others have what some might call a chaotic lifestyle. It depends who is judging."  Dr Berry, a senior lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University added: "This tool is based on a stereotype of paedophilia, based on social inadequacy, but there are plenty of people who are quite self-contained, a bit of a computer nerd, and perhaps a bit isolated who present no danger to society. Meanwhile Rose West would pass this test with flying colours."

He said the dangers in the scheme were compounded by the fact case workers had no direct contact with the person they assessed.  "I think it is a major problem that the person making this decision is so distant from the case, and to the consequences of what they are doing.  "They are essentially sitting in a call centre, following an automated system, and dependent on information from third parties. That in itself is very worrying," said Dr Berry.

Chris Grayling, the shadow home secretary, said: "This Government is creating a society where everyone is treated as guilty unless they are proved to be innocent.  "These changes contravene any principles of natural justice and will destroy the lives of decent innocent people. Gordon Brown is creating Government by "thought police"."

Gail Adams, head of nursing at Unison, said: "We are concerned that it is a paper process, that it is subjective.  "Of course we want to protect children and vulnerable adults, but you have got to get the balance right. This is more like Big Brother."  Amanda Brown from the National Union of Teachers said the union was "extremely worried" about the operation of the system.

Adrian McAllister chief executive of ISA said no one would be barred purely on the basis of their lifestyle or attitude, given that all referrals had to identify either harm done, or a "future risk of harm".   He said: "One of the understandable concerns we have heard from people is that they could be barred for private interests like pornography, or liking a drink. That isn't the case.  "We only look at these risk factors if relevant conduct [actual harm] or a risk of harm has been identified."

Mr McAllister said he expected the "vast majority" of its cases to involve incidents where actual risk or harm has occurred, based on evidence such as a police caution, "rather than cases based on a feeling or suspicion".  The organisation was unable to explain the reasoning behind its instruction to staff that definite concerns in two areas should be sufficient to be "minded to bar" staff.  It would only say that the protocol follows advice from a forensic psychologist.


Antiwhite  bigotry from CBS

Elderly white man walks away from a dispute with a young black man.  Black man follows and hits white man.  White man hits back.  So it's the white guy's fault!

A CBS report that cites an elderly white man's "shoe-shining" remark as the trigger for a "racially tinged" transit bus altercation in Oakland, Calif., is being blasted on the network's website forum page by participants who say the black man involved "got what he deserved."

A videotape taken by a passenger on the bus reveals how an elderly white man, who at one point walked away from the argument, responded violently after being struck – apparently in the chest or neck area – by a black attacker. The black man's nose was broken and both men were checked at a hospital, authorities later confirmed.

CBS said the woman who shot the video claimed the fight was started by the white man's statement about "shining shoes."  CBS quoted Ivanna Washington, who shot the video, as saying, "The white guy was asking the black guy for a shoeshine. And I guess the black guy took it as a racist comment, like, 'Why's a black guy have to spit shine your shoes?'"  Her explanation was that after the white man walked away and moved to the front of the bus, the black man followed, then, "I guess he hit him across the face once. And then the white guy stands up and lets loose."

The network report cited a statement from transit spokesman Clarence Thomas that the senior man was "off his medication" but doesn't elaborate. Authorities said neither man was pressing charges.

But comments on the CBS website forum page were largely one-sided, accusing the network, which did not respond to a WND request for comment, of portraying the senior citizen as a racist.  "You idiots at CBS for even making this older man look like a racist! Unbelievable! Did you even watch the video???" wrote one.  Said another, "They thought that he was easy pickins they thought wrong. CBS is opening a can of worms with their anti-white biased reporting. If CBS thinks we're just going to take it they are wrong."

Other comments:

    * "Did the reporters not even watch the video! What a joke! The girl recording this is just as involved in the whole fight. Screaming "pinky" let alone her behaviour throughout the whole video egging the younger guy on."

    * "The bearded white man clearly acted in self defense. Shame on CBS for portraying it any other way."

    * "The bothersome thing to me is how the article was written. The opening paragraph chose the wording carefully and deceptivly. (sic) The 'college student' screamed two racist slurs that somehow wern't (sic) mentioned at all while being clearly heard and helping progress the altercation. Instead the writer only mentioned her as a college student not an instigater (sic) who screamed racist comments twice…"

    * "So if the transit spokesman is to believed, the elderly man certainly did an admirable job of trying to defuse the situation despite being 'off his medication'. Did this spokesman happen to mention what type of medication this was? Blood pressure medication? Prescription antacid? Viagra? What was it? It's rather disingenuous to include the item in the story without further explanation considering what that most people will automatically assume it to imply that the man suffers a psychiatric disorder even though his behavior and attempt to de-escalate the situation prior to the physical altercation suggests otherwise."

    * "Race is irrelevant to this. A young person acting foolishly learned a lesson. It's actually refreshing to see a situation like this where race is irrelevant. It's just a young guy with a little too much testosterone…"

    * "How about some actual thought or journalism?"

    * "The black guy can't leave it alone and even after the old guy walks off still follows him up the front of the bus. The guy got what he deserved."

    * "CBS, you should be ashamed and embarrassed for publishing this story with the 'skew' you portray. Tempers of both men were high, but you cannot in ANY way blame the 67 year old man for what happened."

    * CBS, you are losing credibility in droves and have angered and insulted many people. This is spreading like wildfire on many message boards on the internet, and I hope it continues to do so."

The video, indeed, went viral, according to a report in the Examiner.  It already has reached both the U.K. Sun as well as the Daily Mail.  At the popular Armstrong and Getty radio show in California, hosts said the majority of their e-mails, including some from African-Americans, favored the older man.

SOURCE (See the original for video)

The Only Problem With Affirmative Action? Its Name!

Post below recycled from "Discriminations"

A remarkable essay by Raina Kelley, “Don’t Call It Affirmative Action,” appeared online in Newsweek yesterday. She must be some sort of columnist there, but I can’t say for sure because when I clicked on the sidebar item for the author’s biography the screen that appeared was blank.

My first thought is that I,and other readers, would have learned more if the article were blank and the biography filled in. “But I gotta tell you,” as Ms. Kelley would say, that’s not right. The article does reveal what Newsweek editors think is worth saying about affirmative action.

“As a child,” Ms. Kelley begins,
I was always fascinated by the tortures inflicted in Greek mythology — Sisyphus forced to roll a boulder up a hill every day, only to have it roll back down every evening. Prometheus enduring the eating of his liver by an eagle every day. They’re just so exquisitely punitive. But I gotta tell you, writing a defense of affirmative action would have been a perfect addition to Hades’ arsenal.
And “I gotta tell you” that reading her defense qualifies as an even more perfect addition.

Let’s look in some detail at Ms. Kelley’s Hades Defense of Affirmative Action.

“One of the problems, I think, is branding.”

“Sadly,” she writes, “the phrase ‘affirmative action’ has become code for choosing unqualified minority candidates instead of qualified white people.”

This may well be true for some people, but it is not for me, and it is not for the most trenchant criticism of affirmative action. The point is not that most beneficiaries of affirmative action are not qualified; it is that that because of their race or ethnicity they are admitted or hired or promoted even though they are less qualified than one or more of their rejected competitors who received no preferential treatment based on race or ethnicity.

Nor is it true that those most disadvantaged by affirmative action are “white people.” If Ms. Kelley were aware of the data from post-Prop. 209 California and from a number of  recent studies, she would know, as I pointed out here discussing some of those studies, that

Asians benefit much more than whites when racial preference policies are eliminated. In fact, the proportion of whites admitted often decreases when race preferences are curtailed.
She claims to believe that universities have a right to discriminate.

“Stanford,” she writes,
has every right to compose a student body based on the qualifications it thinks will maintain its status as an elite university. If one of those qualifications is a diversity of background, so be it.
Really? So, if Elite U., believing that “diversity” — especially engineered, race-based “diversity” requiring preferential treatment based on race and ethnicity — produces distracting conflicts and resentments,  decided “to compose a student body” emphasizing high grades and test scores and cultural homogeneity (based loosely on the Japanese model), Ms. Kelley would simply respond by saying “so be it”? “I gotta tell you,” I don’t think so.

She believes affirmative action “works on behalf of all people.”

Literally. That is, not that the entire society benefits from giving racial and ethnic preferences to members of certain preferred groups, but that members of all groups individually benefit from preferential treatment.
A survey done last year by Quinnipiac University found that more than 70 percent of voters think diversity is not a good enough reason to give minorities preferential treatment. And that’s despite the fact that the number of people who fall under the protection of such programs has continued to grow — women, Hispanics, gay men and lesbians, the disabled, even white men have all been the beneficiaries of more inclusive hiring practices.
She does not believe that affirmative action involves giving preferential treatment to minorities.
As long as people remain convinced that affirmative action is about giving minorities preferential treatment, they will also remain ignorant of the fact that affirmative action works on behalf of all people.
She doesn’t understand that affirmative became “controversial” when, and because, it abandoned colorblindness for racial preferences.
Affirmative action wasn’t supposed to be controversial. In 1961 when President Kennedy issued an executive order mandating that beneficiaries of federal monies “take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin,” it was a bold call to arms for the American government to walk the walk of desegregation
As long as affirmative action meant taking steps to ensure that everyone was treated “without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin,” it wasn’t controversial. It became controversial — and worse, positively offensive to many — when it abandoned the principle of colorblindness in favor of color conscious racial preferences.

She, like many others, misunderstands President Johnson’s Howard University speech.
It wasn’t until after the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 that Lyndon Johnson expanded the mission of affirmative action: “You do not wipe away the scars of centuries by saying: ‘now, you are free to go where you want, do as you desire, and choose the leaders you please.’ You do not take a man who for years has been hobbled by chains, liberate him, bring him to the starting line of a race, saying, ‘you are free to compete with all the others,’ and still justly believe you have been completely fair…This is the next and more profound stage of the battle for civil rights. We seek not just freedom but opportunity—not just legal equity but human ability—not just equality as a right and a theory, but equality as a fact and as a result.”

Back then, with the paint over the “Whites Only” signs still fresh, it made sense that a simple law, no matter how historic, would not be enough to end Jim Crow....
The fact that Kelley’s error in linking LBJ’s speech to support for racial preference is quite common does not make it less an error. As I argued here:
Today we are accustomed to dealing with two very different standards to evaluate discrimination: an “intent” test, which requires finding a discriminatory intent in order to determine that a particular policy is discriminatory, and a “results” test, which does not require a finding of intent to determine that some “disparity” or “underrepresentation” is discriminatory. But that distinction had not emerged in 1965 when Johnson made his speech, and when he called for “equality as a fact and equality as a result” he did not mean proportional representation or an absolute equality of goods, money, assets, jobs, whatever that people mean today by “equality of results.”

What Johnson meant by “equality,” it is quite clear, is non-discriminatory equality of opportunity. The evidence? For starters, the very next sentence in Johnson’s speech, after the oft-quoted passage quoted above, states:
For the task is to give 20 million Negroes the same chance as every other American to learn and grow, to work and share in society, to develop their abilities — physical, mental and spiritual, and to pursue their individual happiness. [Emphasis added]
True, Johnson then says in the next sentence that “equal opportunity is essential, but not enough, not enough,” but in the remainder of the speech he does not really specify what more is needed, other than various forms of assistance there is no reason to assume would be conditioned on skin color as opposed to need.

Next, three months after his Howard speech, Johnson signed Executive Order 11246 which required “affirmative action” of government contractors. But note how “affirmative action” was defined:

The contractor will not discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, creed, color, or national origin. The contractor will take affirmative action to ensure that applicants are employed, and that employees are treated during employment, without regard to their race, creed, color, or national origin. [Emphasis added]
She describes affirmative action as pro-active prevention of, or perhaps restitution for, discrimination that might occur in the future.
Affirmative action is not about giving African-Americans now the 40 acres and a mule their enslaved ancestors never got. It is about creating opportunities for the minority that the majority might be tempted to keep for itself.
It might; it might not. Whatever. And it provides premature restitution to individuals who have not yet suffered any injury, paid for by other individuals who have not been found to have done them any wrong.

She believes racial discrimination (in the form of racial preference) must continue because racial discrimination still exists.

And while there has been a vast improvement in race relations since 1964, I don't think anyone believes all our problems surrounding discrimination and bias have been solved. Hundreds of people have climbed to the top of Mt. Everest, but that doesn't make it accessible.
She believes that “diversity” begets “accessibility.”

Your guess about what this means is as good as mine, but here is what Kelley says:
Accessibility in the workplace, in schools, and everywhere else comes out of diversity. Having a diverse workforce or student body does have benefits.
Maybe it does; maybe it doesn’t. But it clearly has costs, which Kelley does not mention.

She is convinced that “diversity” (which “is just a syonym for melting pot”) will dispel prejudicial stereotypes.
It’s hard to think black people are inferior if they’re sitting next to you in freshman English or in a conference room.
Again, maybe; maybe not. If Princeton Prof. Thomas Espenshade (who favors affirmative action) is right in his finding that
[c]ompared to white applicants at selective private colleges and universities, black applicants receive an admission boost that is equivalent to 310 SAT points, measured on an all-other-things-equal basis[,]
then after sitting next to minority students in a freshman English class white and Asian students might come out of that class with prejudices they lacked when entering, or if they entered with those prejudices they might well find them confirmed and not dispelled.

She believes that opposition to affirmative action can be reduced or eliminated by changing its name.
But rather than patiently explaining that the aim of affirmative action is not to toss white men out on the street or proving that I deserve all the opportunities I’ve been given, I propose changing the name to “employment equity,” the phrase they use in Canada. Or at least some kind of wording that says: “This isn’t about demonizing white men, stealing their jobs, and giving them to knuckleheads. This is about fairness.”
If I were polite, I would refrain from saying that the level of argument in this essay does little to suggest that Ms. Kelley deserves the opportunity she’s been given to write essays in Newsweek.

Kelley and others can attempt to dress up racial preference with fancy clothes like “equity” and “fairness” all they want to, but “I gotta tell you”: racial preference by any other name is still racial preference.


In a comment on Ms. Kelley’s article (Page 3 of the comments, 19 Feb. at 8:29 AM), Roger Clegg makes similar criticisms, except both better and more succinct).

The arrogance and folly of unchecked good intentions

Writing from Australia, David Burchell says good intentions are not enough  -- in a meditation inspired by a pipsqueak Green/Left politician who has done a lot of harm  --   killing four people and endangering many others

PERHAPS the most beautiful and disturbing meditation ever voiced on the tragic character of modern politics, Politics as a Vocation, was delivered almost a century ago in another world from ours, among the bare whitewashed walls, wide-eyed Byzantine icons, slender Moorish windows and dusty sunbeams of the University of Munich, then consumed in the death-throes of World War I. Pressing on the great sociologist Max Weber's heart as he spoke was an agonised awareness of the great catastrophe already unfolding in Germany: the great tragic ballet in which the far Left and the far Right, locked in their fatal dance of mutual hatred, dragged the entire civilisation of Europe down into the flames.

Attempting to understand why so many people were willing to draw Europe into the abyss for the sake of imagined utopias they didn't seriously believe in, Weber was moved to compare the visionaries of his day to the early followers of Jesus's Sermon on the Mount or Moses' tablets, believers in an absolute ethic that brooks no compromise and focuses only on ultimate ends. To the followers of this creed, "if an action of good intent leads to bad results", the responsibility must lie with the world, or with the stupidity of others.

By contrast, Weber suggested, mature political leaders have to be content with an ethic of responsibility, one that takes into account the "average deficiencies of people" and holds itself responsible for its mistakes.

At our best we may manage to combine both ethics, so that the grand cause and the steps along its way are equally visible to us. Most often, though, the final goal is shrouded in life's moral mist.

Watching Environment Minister Peter Garrett's other-worldly television performances last week amid the dying fall of the government's home insulation program, I found Weber leaping to my mind. Here, after all, is the minister who best lays claim to our contemporary Sermon on the Mount: the preservation of the planet, seen as the overarching political good. Here is a man who incarnates the notion that a good conscience can overcome all political ills; the conviction that "from good only comes good, but from evil only evil follows", in Weber's words.

And yet here, at the same moment, is a man who seems constitutionally incapable of accepting any personal responsibility for one of the great public policy follies of the past decade and who seems, to all appearances, strangely emotionally detached from its human consequences. If there was ever an example of how an unquestioned good heart and political irresponsibility of the most abject kind can travel hand in hand - like two heedless child-lovers out of a Medieval chivalry romance - surely this is it.

It is humbug to suggest - as Garrett continues to suggest - that his scheme has been laid low by the machination of shonky operators or the negligence of half-trained operatives. Patently, there would have been no fly-by-night insulation firms and no army of semi-trained labourers in the first place but for a decision to throw billions of dollars of public money, holus-bolus, towards the creation of a new and for all practical purposes unregulated industry without any apparent concern for the consequences.

Nor is it credible to blame the existing safety standards of state governments when their creators could hardly have imagined the industry would grow 30-fold within a few months.

Curiously, in his interviews Garrett neglected to mention that the proposed replacement scheme will be subject to a rigorous independent assessment. But then, signalling a belated return to good governance might amount to a confession of error. And for our granite-faced modern Moses, that would never do.

By the normal measures of prudent governance it ought to have been obvious that the business of combining our largest ever stimulus package with a vast wish-list of public infrastructure programs and improvised environmental remedies was laden with peril.

As a stimulus package it is probably too large and too lengthy, because of the competing policy demands generated by it and because of the impossibility of cutting off the fiscal tap once so many undertakings have been given. At the same time, as a public infrastructure program it is too improvised, too spontaneous and too nakedly political. To save the planet, fill up schoolyards with new buildings, prime the pump and lock in the electoral support of Ute-Man all at once is a virtuous circle of vertiginous complexity. In the end, it is an invitation to irresponsibility.

Of all the grand literary creations of Old Labor - the romantic, quixotic Labor of the 1970s, with its endless litany of self-justifying mythologies - none is more elegiac or more eye-opening than Graham Freudenberg's classic biography of Gough Whitlam, A Certain Grandeur. Penned in the mordant, sententious tones of Roman imperial historians, it relates the fall of Whitlam as a kind of grand tragedy, replete with heroic but flawed characters and the inscrutable hand of fate.

Writing about the notorious loans affair that finally brought Labor to the abyss, Freudenberg conveys the impression that the disaster had only two causes: the grand but sadly flawed personality of Labor's minerals and energy minister Rex Connor and the diabolical malignity of Labor's enemies. On the question of whether a federal minister ought to secure a personal budget line by borrowing billions on the security of the Reserve Bank through a dubious business intermediary, in the ignorance of most of his colleagues and against the furious opposition of Treasury, Freudenberg is elegantly silent. Indeed, he does not even trouble to tell the reader what the Middle Eastern loans were supposed to be for, let alone whether they were necessary. All that matters was Connor's goal of building a great nation. This is the Sermon on the Mount reduced to a farce.

From this seemingly forgotten low-water mark of Australian public policy, I'd suggest we can infer the following moral. When you abandon the ethic of responsibility for a troubling and unstable combination of high moral rectitude and low political cunning, you expose yourself to the dizzying prospect of the abyss. And once you begin to fall, there are no handholds.

At present - in parts of its infrastructure planning, several of its environmental programs, much of its pseudo-support for hybrid automobiles and more or less the entirety of the National Broadband Network - contemporary federal Labor is tiptoeing close to the edge. It's time to step back again on to economic terra firma.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


21 February, 2010

British social workers only care about hurting ordinary people.  They don't care about real child abuse

It's the Marxist inversion of values:  The bourgeoisie are the problem, not the underclass.  Contrast the story below with the specious reasons given by social workers for removal of a child that headed up yesterday's posts on this blog. A child that  is at no demonstrable risk is removed but a child in dire peril is left where it is.  The social class background makes the difference.   Believe me now about the Marxist values taught in social work schools?

Haringey Council allowed a second "Baby Peter" case to occur more than a year after the first, then "buried" it, it can be revealed.  A second young boy, only a few months older than the murdered Baby Peter Connolly, suffered serious injuries while supposedly under the protection of Haringey social services in mid-August 2008.  His mother was subsequently arrested for assault.

Although the boy - known as "Child Y" - survived, he spent weeks in hospital.  Despite promises of improvements after Baby Peter's 2007 death, a serious case review into Child Y found many of the same failings that allowed Peter to be killed.  The damning review, by social work consultant Sally Trench, has been quietly published on an obscure website without any form of public announcement.  It was accessed by The Sunday Telegraph after a tip-off from a senior source involved in child protection in Haringey.

The review catalogued dozens of contacts Child Y had with official agencies before his injury.  It said it was "perplexing" that "practitioners, managers and professional networks apparently make the same mistakes over and over again".  It added: "This serious case review has several key issues in common with those of recent Haringey serious case reviews."

After Baby Peter's mother and her boyfriend were convicted of causing his death, in November 2008, Haringey's then director of social services, Sharon Shoesmith, was dismissed.  She is currently fighting a High Court action for unfair dismissal, claiming her sacking was unjustified, but the further evidence of her department's failings is unlikely to help her case.

Child Y was born in March 2006 to Ms Y, who was only 15 years old at the time, and an 18-year-old father, Mr T, described as a "serious and prolific offender" who had already served three custodial sentences for violent crimes while still a minor.  Ms Y had accompanied Mr T on some of his crimes and had received three criminal supervision orders, the first when she was 13. Haringey considered the case, but decided to allow the couple to keep the baby.

In the months after Child Y's birth, the review says, Mr T "severely attacked" Ms Y on at least five occasions.  As with Baby Peter, the police, GPs and probation service were closely involved with the family but Haringey had by this stage stopped contact and "Y was not seen by a social worker or health visitor for many months."

After Mr T attempted to rape Ms Y in the presence of the child, leading to further police intervention, Haringey finally drew up a child protection plan, but the review says that, as with Baby Peter, "several parts of the plan were not implemented and in fact the details of who was looking after [Child Y] were often unclear."

In August 2008, when Child Y was just over two years old, Ms Y was arrested after bringing him in to North Middlesex Hospital with a badly fractured thigh.   Doctors found that the boy's injuries were "not consistent" with the explanation given by Ms Y, that he had fallen while jumping on a bed, and were "likely to be a non-accidental injury".  After he was released from hospital, several weeks later, Child Y was taken into care. It is not clear whether his mother has yet been charged or tried for causing the injury amid doubts about the strength of the medical evidence.

The review said that until the injury, Haringey social services took the "mistaken view" that the risk to the child was "low level". In fact, it said, the risk was "significant" and "considerable" and this should have been obvious to the council.  It also said that information about the family was not properly shared between agencies such as GPs, social services and police, a key failing also identified in the Baby Peter case.  "Agencies generally worked in 'silos', making it difficult to achieve a full picture of the risks," the review said.

The review said Haringey social services' response to Y's birth was "insufficient" and its assessment of the danger of keeping him with his parents was "inadequate" and "tended to underplay areas of risk".  The social workers handling the case changed frequently, it says, and there was inadequate supervision, in a further echo of the Baby Peter case.

Baby Peter was found dead on 3 August 2007 at the age of 17 months. A post-mortem found that he had eight broken ribs, lacerations and bruising.  It later emerged that he had had at least 60 contacts with official agencies. The serious case review into his death identified a series of failings and the council promised improvements.  However, the Child Y case suggests that even a year after the Baby Peter tragedy the improvements had not been delivered.

The review into the Y case did not even begin for several months after Y's injury and did not conclude until autumn 2009.  Some time between then and last week it was placed on the publications page of the Haringey Local Children Safeguarding Board website, but the case has received no publicity until now.

Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem MP for Hornsey and Wood Green, said: "I have never heard of this case until you told me about it.  "It is really shocking that something that bears all the hallmarks of what happened in Baby P can go wrong again in Haringey.  "Haringey, of all boroughs, needs to be upfront about these problems. The whole problem with Haringey is its tendency to close ranks and bury embarrassing information.  "Every time they promise things have changed and they haven't changed. If this happened in 2008, it's a disgrace that it's only come to light now."

Cllr Lorna Reith, cabinet member for children and young people, said: "We have accepted all the recommendations of the review and are addressing the issues identified by the local children's safeguarding board.  "These improvements form part of our wider programme of work that is well under way to bring the standards of our children's service up to the level of the best, to ensure families and children in Haringey get the support they need."


The hypocritical British Leftist elite

Conservatives don't believe in equality but Leftists claim to

Class is an illness from which this country seems unable to recover. No sooner had new Labour soothed us into feeling better, murmuring that we were all middle class now, than old Labour spread the old infection of class resentment: listen to Gordon Brown’s jibes about the playing fields of Eton and his threats of class-war electioneering. And just as David Cameron tries to persuade us that we are all in this together, an old Tory nincompoop reminds us that we aren’t. We are still in two different compartments.

Sir Nicholas Winterton, the Conservative MP, made an astonishing protest against proposals that MPs should no longer travel first class on trains. His explanations were beyond parody: he said he felt it was quite wrong for MPs to have to travel with the rest of us as it would make it impossible for him to work, and it would put chaps such as him “below” local councillors and local government officials and even, for heaven’s sake, below army majors.

Besides, the rest of us in standard class are “a totally different type of people”. That at least is a relief to my feelings — I wouldn’t want to be at all like Winterton — but his explanations could not fail to irritate. “I didn’t say they weren’t as good, but they are in a different walk of life. They are doing different things. Very often they are there with children.” ...

However, although it took a silly, superannuated Conservative to remind us of all this, what is truly despicable is that Labour is no better. Since 1997 new Labour ducks have taken easily to the waters of state-subsidised privilege, as of right; they are just as keen on paddling round designer duck houses and rabble-excluding moats as any Tory booby. “The many, not the few” — that’s what they claim to stand for.

In fact they’re quite content to let the many do the standing while they themselves sit without a hint of self-reproach in the quiet comfort of first class, both literally and metaphorically. They are not even embarrassed by the phrase.

We have a government — and, more widely than that, a centre-left establishment in the public services — that gives every impression of being obsessed with inequality. We are lectured constantly by new Labour about the evils of social exclusion, the lasting damage done by real inequality, the social malaise that follows social injustice, and the central importance of imposing equality by law — complete with an ambitious Equality Bill. The Conservatives do not disassociate themselves from this rhetoric — quite the reverse.

Yet, over 13 years in office, this same political class has left in place, on the country’s state-subsidised, public-service trains, the astonishing notion of first class — a notion that is an offence against the idea of equality. And (with some honourable exceptions) it is happy to travel first class at the expense of the low-paid and the poor.

Admittedly, there are some people who do need special treatment, for reasons of security or perhaps of sanity — pop stars, the Queen, a few secret agents and the prime minister. Then there are those who just want special treatment and can pay for it out of their own money. But if there is little or no need for special treatment, and if — as with train tickets — the cost-benefit ratio is daft, then there can be no possible reason the taxpayers should bear the expense of it. Equality is, or ought to be, good enough for most people.

I never travel first class (apart from buying an occasional £5 weekend upgrade in the past). But I have often walked through first-class compartments on my way to steerage, wondering what sort of people could afford to sit in them, and I can confirm Winterton’s point that they are stuffed full of public servants who are not paying for their own seats. Local authority workers, BBC apparatchiks, politicians, civil servants and armies of quangocrats are there, squandering vast sums on the tiny advantages that a first-class seat has over a standard quiet seat.

What is so remarkable is the unthinking sense of entitlement. You might have expected it from some of the worst grandees of the past but not, surely, from present-day public servants. Altogether, this is an odd way to carry on for those whose working lives are spent in the aggressive pursuit of equality in every form — through statutory equality agendas, new equality legislation and the mind-numbing equality rhetoric adopted so aggressively by all political parties. First-class rail tickets for dedicated egalitarians are a comic example of cognitive dissonance.

What’s really going on, I think, is that the nature of class war has changed. The old virus has mutated. The old social and political divisions have given way to two new classes — rather as on the trains. Those in economy are most of us, paying for the comforts of those in first class. And those in first class are the new political class — all those who owe their advancement and their security and their pensions and their privileges not to their backgrounds or their talents, or even necessarily their political parties, but to the state and our taxes.

Member of the first class are various, from the Tony Blairs to the Wintertons, but whatever they say about equality, they are in fact united in defence of their right to their privileges and to having their own undemocratic way.

And in his strange cry of complaint Winterton was speaking not just for the old order, but also for the new first class. It is this class that is the new cross-party adversary of the good society, but, just like the old class virus, it will be hard to fight.


Narcissism and Your Family

Deeply embedded in today's culture, narcissism has crept into our children's mentality like a thief in the night, actually robbing them (and everyone around them) of much dignity and happiness.

Young people spend hours every day updating their Facebook pages, post and e-mail countless pictures of themselves, and plug their ears with music to create a self-indulgent existence shut-off from everyone around them. I recently went online and viewed the page of a friend-of a-friend-of a-friend-of my daughter's on Facebook and discovered literally hundreds of pictures of the girl posing like a super model.

Where are our children learning to be so obsessed with self? From adults, of course.  In 2006, Time Magazine voted "You" as the "Person of the Year". And why not? Peruse the popular magazine covers and they are all about indulging in your own desires and fantasies. Just watch television for a couple of hours and you'll walk away feeling as if you owe it to yourself to have an affair, spend lavishly on yourself, and be your "own man" at the expense of everyone else.

And then there's the American obsession with pornography - the ultimate objectification and degradation of other human beings. Men, women girls and boys are all there for your personal pleasure in millions of websites, advertisements, shows and publications.

Just look at the economic mess we are in. Too many spent way beyond their means on trinkets and toys and demanded the best when their budgets could afford what was "only" good enough. They bought homes and cars and gadgets a plenty, with the swipe of an interest-only loan or a "special low introductory rate" credit card. America is largely an entitlement society where we demand that the government provide us with health-care, retirement, and a comfortable life, with no concern of who will pay for Utopia.

And then there is the phenomenon of abortion on demand, without apology, through the ninth month of pregnancy. Have all the sex you want, with whomever you want, and if you get pregnant, just "terminate" it regardless of how the father may feel. And the baby? What baby? It's just tissue - remember? How convenient.  Our kids see our selfish, irresponsible ways and learn the lesson, 'It's all about me."

When our culture is all about "My body, my career, my choice, my, my, my, what is a parent to do?  Thankfully, we've known the answer all along: Practice the Golden Rule.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The wisdom in this biblical admonishment is so self-evident that it is universally admired - but tragically, rarely followed. It is the basic tenant for successful human relationships, the economy, personal finances, you name it. Imagine the good that could accomplished, the human suffering that would be replaced with human achievement, if we treated others with the dignity and thoughtfulness we ourseleves crave.

The two greatest gifts we can give our children are to teach them to love God with all that is within them, and to love their neighbors as they love themselves.  Here are five easy ways to start:

- Invest time in your kids, rather than being obsessed with your own career, hobbies or whims.If your kids see that you are not concerned about them enough to sacrifice your own desires and pour into their lives, how will they ever learn to pour into others?

- Be a role model. Considerate, well-mannered, thoughtful children come from parents who exude those behaviors themselves.

- Share stories of kindness. Start seeking media that teach what is highest and best, that glorify human decency instead of depravity.

- Be generous. You may not be rich, but everyone can be generous with their time and talents. There's nothing more selfless than giving to someone who can't possibly ever repay you.

- Practice 'Random Acts of Kindness". Think of something nice to do for someone else - and then do it. Consistently.

Narcissism eventually leads from self-love to self-loathing. But living the Golden Rule is a powerful way to spread joy, improve the human condition, and develop true self-respect.


Tea Party Movement vs. Elites

The most recent media attacks on the Tea Party movement have some of their populist defenders nervous. Bill O’Reilly on his February 16 broadcast, following the publication of a New York Times article, asked Sarah Palin this question:

"Do you think the birther people should have a place at the Tea Party table…do you see the danger if that becomes the headline…?"

The danger of the “birther” question is irrelevant because the elitist Times will always find something that they can use to try and discredit anyone who isn’t liberal. And if there is a crowd of a thousand tea party protesters the media will canvas all of them until they find one willing to say something objectionable. The Times has even done that unfairly to O’Reilly in the past. The reality is that when the Times or the rest of the elite media attacks regular Americans, Tea Party or otherwise, it doesn’t discredit the people - it further marginalizes the liberal media.

The Times article in question was almost a parody itself. It was thick with drama about angry people being drawn into conspiracy theories that the Times believes were long ago discredited:  “Urged on by conservative commentators, waves of newly minted activists are turning to once-obscure books and Web sites and discovering a set of ideas long dismissed as the preserve of conspiracy theorists... In this view, Mr. Obama and many of his predecessors (including George W. Bush) have deliberately undermined the Constitution and free enterprise for the benefit of a shadowy international network of wealthy elites” says the Times.

Of course that nutty conspiracy theory has been discredited repeatedly by George Soros, former directors of Goldman Sachs and Italian automaker Fiat.

Among the other conspiracy theories the Times says were long ago dismissed was the belief that if liberals were allowed to they would elect a president with links to Marxist terror groups such as the Weather Underground and its founder Williams Ayers or an admitted Communist such as Van Jones or a disciple of Saul Alinsky. What a kooky notion.

The Times also warns that the Tea Party participants could prove potentially violent. The Times quoted leftist “civil rights activist” Tony Stewart saying:  “When people start wearing guns to rallies, what’s the next thing that happens?”

While we are still waiting for the first victim of a violent tea partier, a Harvard graduate, liberal elitist and enthusiastic Obama supporter Amy Bishop allegedly shot and killed three of her unarmed colleagues at the University of Alabama last week. And wasn’t Unabomber Ted Kaczynski one of theirs too? Perhaps the liberal media should be investigating the dangerous left-wing militias, or as they like to call themselves, “community organizers” “labor unions” and “environmentalists.”

The Times sees a potential takeover of the Republican Party: “tense struggles have erupted over whether the Republican apparatus will co-opt these new coalitions or vice versa.”

The “tense struggles” for the Democratic Party were won by sixties radicals, but to point that out makes you a conspiracy theorists according to the Times and other mainstream media outlets.

Which is why these loose coalitions of Americans meet to try and figure out what has happened to their country; they saw the media drive the election of Barack Obama with nary a scintilla of investigation into his background, experience or who shaped the way he thinks or how he might govern. The very same media that spent years investigating George W. Bush’s early 1970’s military record. And when these so-called journalists could find nothing damaging, they simply used faked documents at a critical time before the 2004 election.

I spent years as an investigative journalist and I have no conspiracy theories about the media, but I do have an explanation for why so many distrust the media. By ignoring Obama’s past and the radical things he has done as president, from his appointments to the massive spending and “redistribution” schemes, the Times and the rest of the liberal so-called mainstream media have provoked the very conspiracy theories that they now mock. So now we are left with a broken government and an angry, cynical people, and the very elites who broke it are mocking the people for no longer trusting them.


Salman Rushdie: Amnesty International is morally bankrupt

THE Booker prize-winning author Salman Rushdie has accused Amnesty International of “moral bankruptcy” for working with a former terror suspect from Britain.  Rushdie, whose plight was championed by Amnesty when he was placed under a fatwa by the Iranian regime for his novel The Satanic Verses, said the charity had done “incalculable damage” to its reputation by collaborating with Moazzam Begg, a former inmate of Guantanamo Bay, and his organisation Cageprisoners.

His accusation follows the suspension this month of Gita Sahgal, a senior Amnesty official, who raised concerns about the organisation’s links to Begg and Islamists.  “It looks very much as if Amnesty’s leadership is suffering from a kind of moral bankruptcy and has lost the ability to distinguish right from wrong,” said Rushdie.

Kate Allen, director of Amnesty UK, said it took criticism “seriously” but would continue to press for “universal respect” for human rights.  [But some rights are more equal than others, apparently]



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


20 February, 2010

Social worker evil never stops in Britain

They are taught hate as part of the Marxist indoctrination they get in social work school

This is the baby whose birth has brought both joy and heartbreak to his parents.  Happiness at their son's arrival in the world is tinged with sadness that he has a sister he may never see.  The couple - who for legal reasons can be referred to only as Carissa and Jim, which are not their real names - fled to Spain just before Christmas to prevent their unborn child being seized by social workers.

Their daughter, who is now 18 months old, was removed from their care at 11 weeks and put up for adoption because they were declared unfit parents.  Their case has been taken up by Conservative MP Tim Yeo, who said there was no justification for the intervention and accused Suffolk Social Services of being 'child kidnappers'.

Carissa, 32, gave birth to her 6lb 1oz son by caesarean section at Torrevieja Hospital on the Costa Blanca on Wednesday evening. He is being treated in an incubator for a minor breathing problem.  Fighting back tears as she spoke exclusively to the Daily Mail yesterday, she said: 'I am so very happy because of my beautiful new son. He is wonderful and means the world to us.  'But at the same time I am sad because his older sister should be here with us. It terrifies me to think they might never meet.'

Her husband, a 41-year-old lorry driver, added: 'We are still fighting tooth and nail to get our daughter back and complete our family. We are very happy to be here in Spain, where it seems social services want to help us, rather than split us up.'

Mr Yeo used parliamentary privilege in November to accuse Suffolk County Council of 'actively seeking opportunities to remove babies from their mothers'.  He described how social workers began monitoring Carissa and Jim after the birth of their daughter, referred to as Poppy, in August 2008. They waited until Jim was out at work one day 11 weeks later to swoop on the couple's home with police and 'snatch the baby from the arms of her mother'.  In the ensuing legal battle, the council repeatedly changed its grounds for intervening, alternating between blaming one parent and then the other. Carissa was accused of having factitious disorder - a condition in which sufferers feign illness  or exaggerate symptoms. She was also alleged to have claimed her son suffered from various illnesses. She denied both claims.  Jim was assessed by a doctor to be a 'pathological liar', but later a consultant clinical psychologist 'would not endorse the expression'.

Mr Yeo added: 'The final, favoured rationale given by social services for Poppy's adoption order was based on nothing more than the possibility of future emotional abuse.'

He later told the Mail Carissa originally came to the attention of social workers after her former husband successfully fought for custody of a son they had together.  The boy, he said, was taken away after her ex-husband's girlfriend, who works for Essex Social Services, contacted a friend in Suffolk Social Services and raised 'spurious' concerns about her parenting skills.

Describing the move to Spain, Carissa said: 'It was a very tough decision, leaving our friends and family-behind, but it was the only way we could be sure we could raise our son.  'We were crying tears of happiness and sadness at the same time as we passed through the Channel Tunnel. Christmas in Spain without our daughter was heartbreaking.'

The couple have had no contact with their daughter, who is with adoptive parents, for 15 weeks. They hope to take their case to the European Court of Human Rights to get her back but unless it can act within the next few months the adoption will be finalised.  Jim said: 'We're never going back to the UK. All we want is to be able to raise our family. We are not bad parents, we love our children.'

Mr Yeo last night said the council had a group of 'excessively zealous professionals who have an agenda to separate very young children from their natural parents'.  Suffolk County Council said it was 'not appropriate' to discuss individual cases with anyone other than those directly involved.


Britain's "human rights" shambles

Human rights litigation is on the rise and predicted to rise further — just in time for the election and the battleground that is expected over the Human Rights Act.  New figures show that cases making use of the Act have gone up for the first time in seven years.  The dramatic 34 per cent increase comes within days of comments by Jonathan Evans, the head of M15, hinting that the courts are being used as propaganda to undermine the fight on terrorism.

Stephen Grosz, the head of public law and human rights at Bindman & Partners, said: “The Home Office continues to be the biggest repeat defendant in the field when it comes to human rights cases.  “There is a significant rise in cases dealing with immigration, asylum and deportation issues — and terorrism-related cases, in particular those dealing with control orders, played a significant part.” The rise in such cases was an inevitable result of efforts by the Government to deal with potential terrorist threats, he added. “Tackling these threats to UK nationals remains at the top of the Government’s agenda. Next year will probably see further human rights challenges to control orders, which allow drastic restrictions on freedom of movement and privacy.”

Another reason was that human rights law continued to develop as an area of jurisdiction, Mr Grosz added. “Measures against terrorists in a democratic society have to be tempered by respect for human rights. Otherwise, what are we protecting?”

The survey by Sweet & Maxwell, the legal publishers, finds that in the 12 months to October 2009 there were 51 cases, or 15 per cent, that involved those issues — an increase of more than a third on the 38 reported the year before.

The survey also finds a rise of 90 per cent in disputes with government agencies brought by businesses, corporations or firms making use of the Human Rights Act.  The increase in business disputes almost doubled from 10 to 19. Typical of cases brought was that in 2009 against the Treasury, in which it was argued that nationalisation of Northern Rock had deprived shareholders of their property, in breach of the Human Rights Act.

Last week, after a Court of Appeal ruling that the Foreign Secretary had to disclose material showing what it knew of the torture of a Guantánamo Bay detainee, Mr Evans said that accusations that MI5 colluded in torture would be used by the country’s enemies as “propaganda to undermine our will and ability to confront them”.  Whitehall sources are also suggesting that the work of the security agencies is being undermined through actions being brought against them in the courts.

The comments came after it emerged that Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, the country’s second most senior judge, had accused MI5 of a “culture of suppression” and of misleading Parliament, Mr Evans said that was “the precise opposite of the truth”.

Shami Chakrabarti, the director of Liberty, said: “We need an inquiry so that we can separate fact from conspiracy theories. The idea that human rights judges and lawyers are part of a campaign to destabalise the intelligence agencies is ridiculous.”  Human rights cases would continue to be brought, she added, because “in this country we respect the rule of law and there has to be legal scrutiny and accountability in a court of law”. But she added: “It should be remembered that claims made are not the same as claims succeeding.”

The survey comes as both main political parties are vying over what to do about the Human Rights Act. The Conservatives say that they want to scrap the Act as presently constituted and redefine it to enshrine common law principles such as the right to trial by jury.  The Government, meanwhile, is discussing extending the Act to include other rights such as healthcare.

Alex Deane, the director of Big Brother Watch, said: “Human rights are vital, but the Human Rights Act is often used to achieve frivolous and greedy ends, for purposes nothing to do with proper human rights.  “The abuse of the Act is a tragedy that undermines the whole idea of human rights in the eyes of the public.”

This is the perception that politicians are seeking to grapple with. As Vernon Bogdanor says in The Times Law pages today, many people feel that the Act has been hi-jacked and is a “villain’s charter”.

But as the survey shows, businesses are now using the Act as much as are prisoners. The conundrum for politicians is how to re-cast — or re-sell — the Human Rights Act, without taking away rights that are now well established, or, as Professor Bogdanor says, promoting a British Bill of Rights that alienates some parts of the United Kingdom.


Who links terrorism to Islam? Not America

The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security created quite a stir last week. Their reports on terrorism failed to make any reference to the Islamist nature of the threat. It struck Sen. Susan Collins, Maine Republican, as a "glaring omission." It was.

The Homeland Security report lists as "Goal 1.1" the need to "understand the threat" and to "acquire, analyze and appropriately share intelligence and other information on current and emerging threats." You'd think that what the terrorists themselves say is motivating them would be on the list of things to "understand."

Obviously, the administration omitted it to avoid the appearance that America is waging war on Islam. This is a deep-seated fear of American leaders. Even President George W. Bush went to great lengths to avoid this misperception.

But such sensitivity, particularly manifest in a refusal even to talk about Islamist-inspired terrorism, makes no difference to the terrorists. Osama bin Laden isn't interested in what Mr. Bush or President Obama say. He believes he is in a fight to the death to impose his radical version of Islamic theocracy on the rest of us.

Nor does it make much difference to public opinion in Muslim-majority nations. The view that America's actions in the world are aimed primarily at weakening and dividing the Islamic world is still widespread. A poll taken in Egypt in June, more than four months after Mr. Obama became president, found 76 percent of people agreed with that idea.

Our outreach on this subject isn't working, in part because it is based on an obvious falsehood, one that everyone - including Muslims who are supposed to be its target - recognizes but is afraid to admit.

The fallacy is enshrined in a United Nations General Assembly resolution on the "defamation of religion." The sponsors of the resolution, representing the Organization of the Islamic Conference, intended it to shield Islam from any association with terrorism. Thus, it solemnly expresses "deep concern in this respect that Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and terrorism."

Indeed, we all should be "deeply" concerned by the "wrong" associations of Islam and terrorism. But just who is responsible for this "wrongful" association? It's certainly not the U.S. government. It's the terrorists themselves.

The administration's failure to mention the word Islamist in its latest security reports, as well as the U.S. Army's failure to corral Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the suspect in the Fort Hood shootings, stems in part from a belief that it is entirely our fault that Islam is associated with terrorism. Otherwise, why be so fearful of offending or sending the wrong message?

The problem arises from confusion over religion and terrorist ideology. The terrorists claim they are motivated by religion, but most Americans - and millions of Muslims overseas - reject the notion that they have a legitimate religious claim. Indeed, millions of Muslims in the Middle East and Asia believe the terrorists are perverting their religion by replacing it with a violent political philosophy. That philosophy is widely understood in the Muslim world as "Islamism," to separate it from the normal practice of their religion.

These millions of Muslims deeply resent what terrorists do in the name of their religion. But it also is true that terror suspects such as Maj. Hasan and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the would-be Christmas Day bomber, process their hateful ideology as a form of religious conviction.

The question for us is: Do we accept their explanations or not? The thinking in the Obama administration appears to be that the only way to reject Islamist ideology is not to talk about it at all. This not only ignores the truth, it also unwittingly confirms the Islamist view of the world because the terrorists aim to silence us and to persuade other Muslims to believe that we - not they - are the problem. This is no less morally offensive than making its opposite and equally reprehensible claim - namely, that all Muslims are closet terrorists. They obviously are not, but neither are Islamist terrorists legitimate voices on religion. We shouldn't be shy about saying so.

We should treat Islamism not as a religion, but as a political ideology that in some cases motivates violence and war. Thinking this way should free us of the pervasive politically correct fears that surround this topic. Telling the truth should not offend Muslims. If anything, they should find it liberating because it exonerates their religion from the taint of terrorism.

But truth-telling also can liberate American policy. We must focus more on exposing the wrongheaded and hateful political ideology that motivates the terrorists. Otherwise, there is no chance whatsoever they we will understand them, much less defeat them.


Europe's slow, painful death

The potential Greek bankruptcy is only the beginning of Europe’s inevitable decline

By Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich (who is German)

There is something comical about current talk about a potential Greek bankruptcy. No, the state of Greece’s public finances is certainly no laughing matter. But it is funny how politicians and financial markets are getting excited about this as if it were news.

The truth is that for years, if not decades, everybody in Europe knew that you could not trust Greek economic statistics. That investment bank Goldman Sachs was complicit in fabricating favourable public borrowing figures for Athens has only added some colour to the scandal but it does not substantially change the big picture. Europe should have feared the Danaans even when they were bearing ‘A’ ratings.  [The reference is to Virgil: "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes"]

That Brussels pushed ahead with monetary union regardless of any doubts about some eurozone members only shows that economic considerations always played second fiddle. From the start, the Euro had been a project meant to curb Germany’s economic dominance in Europe while aiming to create a new reserve currency to rival the US dollar. It was born out of political ambitions, not out of economic necessity.

Economists had long been worried about the construction of the euro. They had warned that the member states were far too different to have a common currency. They had pointed out that monetary unions had never worked without coordinated fiscal policy. They highlighted the lack of credible sanctions against member states that did not comply with the EU’s Growth and Stability Pact. They argued that Britain’s forced exit from the ERM mechanism in 1992 could foreshadow future speculative attacks against eurozone members.

Yet none of these concerns could deter Europe’s political leaders from entering into this grandest of economic adventures. Doubts, concerns and warnings were simply brushed aside by the political class.

As it turns out, European citizens were less convinced. In the only referenda on the euro so far, the Danes and the Swedes voted against it and there were good reasons never to put the question to, say, the Germans. Had you asked them whether they actually wanted to sacrifice their beloved Deutschmark for the euro the answer would have been a resounding ‘No’.

Looking at it from this angle, the Euro is not only an economic disaster but also a political failure. It encapsulates everything that is wrong with Europe. While European leaders indulge in grand visions of socio-economic leadership, they have consistently failed to deal with the continent’s real economic challenges. And there are many.

The current Greek crisis may turn out only to be a taste of future disasters for Europe. Even if the EU or, more likely, German taxpayers will manage to avoid an immediate Greek meltdown, it seems likely that in the medium term the problem will resurface, only then much worse.

You do not have to be as bearish as Societe Generale global strategist Albert Edwards who calculates that on and off balance sheet net liabilities for the EU already exceed 400 per cent of GDP. Just looking at Europe’s worsening demographic situation should be enough to rob any European of his sleep.

According to Eurostat, the EU’s statistical office, the average age of Europe’s population is currently 40.4 years. By 2030, this will go up to 45.4 years. A change of the average age of 5 years in 20 years’ time may not sound much, but it means enormous pressures for European welfare states. An older population does not only mean more pensioners but also rapidly increasing health costs. Given the already precarious state of public finances across Europe, it is quite clear that Europe will not be able to shoulder these burdens. The Greek crisis is just foreplay to the demographic catastrophe which will engulf all of Europe in the coming decades.

There would be some reason to be less pessimistic about Europe’s future if at least European politicians had understood the magnitude of their challenge. Sadly, this is not the case. Even in the face of an acute budgetary crisis, parts of the Greek population fight any reforms tooth and nail. In Portugal, parliament granted extra funding to regional governments the very day that international investors were pushing insurance rates against a Portuguese default. France is an all seriousness debating whether it can keep its retirement age at 60 – never mind that by the middle of the century one in three Frenchmen will be older than that. In Britain, neither the Labour government nor the Tory opposition are prepared to put forward plans to reduce their budget deficit of 13 per cent. And in Germany, the head of the Liberal party and federal vice chancellor Guido Westerwelle just got into trouble for suggesting that people with a job should always earn more than people on welfare. He was dutifully condemned by politicians of all parties, including his own.

In the European culture that shies away from necessary political and economic reforms, it will be impossible to come up with sensible recipes to stop, or at least slow down, Europe’s inevitable decline. Given this, the best Europe can hope for is a slow death. Let’s hope that it will be spared civil unrest or worse in the process.


Australia: Homeless people not poor

SOME homeless people living on Perth’s streets [in Australia] are spending more than $1000 a day, say homeless service providers.  The money is acquired through theft and sex to feed their drug habits, they say.

Colin Medling, a network director of Genesis, a Northbridge-based drop-in centre, said he was aware of some homeless people spending up to $1100 a day on heroin and pharmaceutical drugs.

Mr Medling said homelessness was not on the decrease and people were being forced on to the streets for “myriad reasons”.  “Sexual abuse, drug and alcohol abuse, gambling, mental illness – these are just some of the reasons people find themselves out on the streets,” he said.  “The basis, however, for all of these problems would be dysfunctional families from the very start.

“Many homeless people are addicted to all sorts of drugs, some of them pharmaceutical, but there are reasons why they are addicted. This is what has to be looked at.”  Networking with other groups, such as employment agencies, was one of the prime services provided by Genesis, Mr Medling said.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


19 February, 2010

Australian woman discovers that people like predictability

She thinks that the Australian flag is a symbol of racism  so I think we can guess her political orientation.  All her writing is heavily laden with sneers too, so that certainly makes her a good  Leftist

I got married last week. I had the most fabulous day, but it was an interesting and somewhat disturbing journey getting there.

One of atheism’s challenges is how to deal with rituals and traditions. So many rites of passage are intensely intertwined with spiritual ideas, imbued with religious ideology.  But it turns out removing God from a wedding was, relatively, the easy bit.

It turns out, in fact, that people want these things to follow a formula with only slight, non-threatening deviations. Flowers, for instance. It’s OK to have different coloured flowers. And hair. You can go up or down without too much drama.

The difficulties start with the search for a celebrant. They all post these vapid pictures with slightly fuzzy backgrounds and puerile statements like “helping you make your special day the most special it can be”. Just as an aside, many of them double as funeral directors.

We ended up asking a Catholic priest we know to do a civil ceremony. But it turned out at the last moment he’d mistaken “atheists” for “lapsed but baptised Catholics” and pulled out. So we ended up with quite an alternative choice, which begat much sneering and aggressive bewilderment.

Then there was the lack of bridal or groom parties. The outrage this inspired was mostly from all the service providers who assume the profit from the purchase of a dress/shoes/hairdo will be at least quadrupled by some of your girlfriends dressed as your clone. Sorry, eyebrow lady, better luck next time.

Then we had people refusing to come because of the lack of a sit-down-three-course-chicken-or-beef meal, and those who were confused by children being diplomatically uninvited. And the most common conversation of the night? Name changing and lack thereof.

The most joy, the most bonding part of a marriage ceremony is personalising it, working out what it is that you want to represent you – the songs, the words, the food, the future. For some reason people out there – I did notice that the most vehement nay-sayers were those whose own relationships were troubled – get all het up and want to depersonalise the whole thing into a banal, beige prototype where nothing is unexpected. Something easily digestible.

I could go on, but this is all getting a bit self indulgent. Suffice to say that I have had it driven home in a most enervating way that people really do not like change. It scares them. They want to know they can turn up to an event or just take part in their everyday lives without being disrupted. Wake up and put on matching socks. Get through life without having their little worlds shaken.

We’ve comforted ourselves into a stale little existence. We are oh so air conditioned, so convenience stored, so hygienically cleaned.


Britain's obscene and insane "obesity" bureaucrats

Mother's fury as nanny state brands her healthy daughter, 5, 'fat and at risk of heart disease'.  But the bureaucrats are unrepentant.  No recognition that they might have got it wrong

Sports mad, always full of energy and certainly not fat, five-year-old Lucy Davies' parents had no concern about her health.  But when she was examined at school as part of a Government initiative to turn the rising tide of obesity, they were shocked to be told that she was 'overweight and unhealthy.'  They said Lucy may have an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer as her body mass index (BMI) was outside recommended guidelines by just one per cent.

Lucy is 3ft 9ins tall and weighs 3st 9lbs - which is itself within the recommended healthy range for a five-year-old child.  Her mother, Susan Davies, 38, said she was shocked by the letter she and husband Tony were sent about their daughter's weight.  'I couldn't believe what I was reading,' she said.  Lucy is five-years-old and not fat in the slightest. She shouldn't even be thinking about her weight at her age.  'I want her to be running around playing and having fun, not worrying about what she looks like.'

National Child Measurement Programme is being carried out in schools across the UK and results are calculated by taking into account height, weight and age.

Mrs Davies, a mother-of-four from Poole, Dorset, received the letter which said: 'The results suggest your child is overweight.'  It added that this can have 'implications on health and wellbeing' and listed a catalogue of serious medical conditions her daughter may later suffer from.

A child's  is calculated using the same method as for adults - weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared.  Special BMI figures for children are used to determine whether a child is overweight or obese given their age.  In Lucy's case she missed out on being placed in the healthy category by just one percentile point.  Confusingly, separate guidelines tell parents what a healthy weight is for their height.

Last night eating disorder experts condemned the letter saying the new initiative needed to show more common sense.  A spokeswoman for eating disorder charity BEAT said: 'More common sense needs to be applied in these situations. It is really taking things to extremes.  For all the right reasons, they are paying attention to the growing problem of obesity, but some of the messages that are being put out are not necessarily right for young people to be hearing.  'Children at a younger and younger age are becoming aware of their body image and pressures on them to be the ideal image and figure.'

Mrs Davies said her daughter was an active young girl who was clearly not obese.  She said: 'Lucy is one of those children who is always on the go - she does ballet, cheerleading and we spend our free time going on family walks and playing outdoors.  'No child of her age should be worried about whether they have a tummy.'  She said the letter illustrated how far the 'nanny state' had intruded into the private lives of families.

Mrs Davies, who is married to 41-year-old financial advisor Tony, said: 'What business is it of theirs? They seem to want us all to be round pegs to fit into round holes.  'If it wasn't all so official, and a nurse who knew the children could ring up the parents for a chat, then it might do more good. But this is a horrible scare tactic.'

A spokeswoman for the Bournemouth and Poole Primary Care Trust, which carried out the tests, stressed the results were aimed at parents and results were not given to children directly.  Dr Adrian Dawson, director of public health at the trust, said: 'We are concerned about the health of our children.  'If they are overweight this will cause many problems for them as they grow older and we need to tackle this head on.  'Parents are the only people who can effect this change in lifestyle through healthy eating, meal time portion control and daily physical activity. It is right that they are aware of the consequences for their children.'


British Equality laws are no longer a mother’s helper

Orwellian rules prevent employers and workers from asking honest questions. We should tear them up and start again

Harassment and discrimination rules are broad, illogical, ill defined and easily abused. Nowhere is this more true than in the parallel universe where discrimination laws meet pregnancy and motherhood. The law firm Eversheds is the latest company to become tied in knots over this. A leaked e-mail from a senior partner referred to a job candidate: “This lady has recently had a child. Are there any guidelines on how we can ask questions properly designed to identify her commitment, hours she is prepared to do, how she will balance work and a child?” After protests from a colleague, the partner, Stuart Dutson, was investigated, warned about his conduct and sent on a training course.

What was he taught there? That freedom of speech stops at the office security gates? That women, bless ’em, need handling sensitively in case the poor dears blub on to their bumps? That the contract between employer and employee must be based on silence and lies?

Law firms such as Eversheds are useful for testing the hypothesis that working women are oppressed by a patriarchy that sees fecundity as a threat to its success — because the link between hours worked and career advancement is more explicit than almost anywhere else: lawyers are paid by the hour; the firm’s earnings — and the partners’ profits — are directly related to how many hours everyone puts in; performance is assessed on hours worked. In return for living in the office, lawyers are paid extraordinarily well. Typical pay for a partner at a “magic circle” law firm is between £500,000 and £1.5 million a year.

To become a partner, senior associates are expected to put in Stakhanovite working hours — up to 90 a week, one corporate lawyer told me. She said: “You work huge hours for a huge salary, then you have a baby. Your heart tells you to work 9 to 5, but you can’t pocket a big salary on the one hand and expect to work 9 to 5 on the other. It’s not reasonable. So you have to make a decision.” Yet the law pretends there is no tension between heart and wallet.

All new mothers — no matter whether they are careerists or simply working to pay the bills — are obsessed with this decision, the impossible-to-solve equation that tries to balance work, family and money. Life = (work+family)xguilt2. They are trying to solve the equation at a time when their sense of self, painstakingly assembled through the horrors of the teenage years and the glories of young adulthood, is utterly transformed by childbirth.

As Naomi Wolf says in her book Misconceptions, her take on the bewildering maelstrom that follows conception, we “are weakened, as well as strengthened, by childbirth”.

It would be useful to talk to someone about this stuff, about how the new you and the old job can come to an understanding. I know, how about your boss? Only your boss is not allowed to talk to you about it, for fear of being shipped off to some doublethink retraining course, to learn the answers to questions like: “If you have two senior associates, one of whom works 9 to 5 and the other works 15-hour days and weekends, can you say out loud that you decided who will be made partner on that basis?”

Or: “If you have a temporary job to offer, and a woman applies who is pregnant and due to give birth the day the job starts, is it legal or illegal not to employ her on those grounds?”

The discrimination laws served a purpose — they helped to get women into the workplace. But they are beginning to look as anachronistic as the Mad Men world they sought to change. Figures this month show that 44 per cent of women earn at least the same as their partner. The world has changed.

The old approach of legally entrenched silence works on the automatic assumption that a woman will be the one to scale back her working life. Perhaps, if the Eversheds partner had been allowed to ask the question, the female applicant could have replied: “I want to be 100 per cent committed. My husband is going to stay at home to look after the children.” Instead, the rational assumption echoing in the silence is that she would be a liability, a maternal drag on the company’s profits, leaking breast milk all over the boardroom table.

Discrimination laws are social engineering in action: governments wanted more women in work, and therefore made generous maternity provision. By enshrining universal protection for pregnant women in discrimination law, the State shifted the burden on to the private sector — with all the costs. This would be fair enough, if the laws did not also demand that employers, particularly smaller ones, behave irrationally and in ignorance.

None of this helps women. Without knowing a woman’s intentions, it’s an easier call just not to hire her. The blunt edges of the rules and their dissonance with real life create false barriers of resentment, which both sides would prefer to see demolished.

As David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg clamour to be on Mumsnet, spewing platitudes about nappies and biscuits, is it too much to ask for an honest conversation on working motherhood?

The Equality Bill, which enshrines these absurdities and adds a few more such as legal positive discrimination, must be ripped up. Each plank in the discrimination rule book must be stress-tested on the basis of two criteria — is this so broad and open to abuse that it is meaningless, and is it actually harming women’s ability to make open, informed choices? Because, sometimes. these days, women are employers too.


Geert Wilders and European democracy:  The trial of the Dutch parliamentarian for ‘hate speech’ is of immense importance

By Isi Leibler, who chairs the Diaspora-Israel relations committee of the  Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and is a former chairman of the governing board of the World Jewish Congress

The outcome of the current trial of Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders on charges of “incitement to hatred” will represent a watershed in Europe’s response to the challenge of Islamic fundamentalism.  Wilders, nicknamed Mozart because of his blond hair, is somewhat of a maverick. Voted politician of the year in 2007 by the Dutch media, he is a charismatic and popular politician who displays refreshing contempt for the hypocritical political correctness relating to Islam that has enveloped Europe. Some polls suggest that in an election now, his Freedom Party could become Holland’s largest parliamentary party.

Wilders opposes what he regards as the craven appeasement of the Netherlands and most European nations to intimidation and threats of violence from Islamic fundamentalists.  Against the background of the massive influx of Muslim immigrants, he fears that having embraced post-modernism and cultural relativism, most Europeans lack the stamina to maintain their core values and are capitulating to Muslims determined to impose Shari’a law in Europe.

Wilders refers to Islam as “the Trojan horse in Europe” and predicts that “if we do not stop Islamification now, Eurabia will just be a matter of time. One century ago, there were approximately 50 Muslims in the Netherlands. Today, there are about one million. Where will it end? We are heading for the end of European civilization.”

As a youngster, Wilders lived for two years in Israel, which he describes as “the West’s first line of defense,” and has visited the Jewish state more than 40 times. He says that “we in the West are all Israel… The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad.”

Two years ago, Wilders produced an explosive film titled Fitna, which graphically depicted the violence and denial of human rights prevailing in many Muslim countries. It highlighted practices such as stoning of adulterous women, beheadings, execution of apostates, honor killings, hanging of homosexuals, forced child marriages, female circumcision and other odious practices prevailing to this day in many Islamic societies.

Wilders denies he is a racist or fascist, insisting that “I make a distinction between the ideology of Islam and the people,” emphatically reiterating that “my allies are not Le Pen or Haider… we will never join up with fascists”.

IN THE current political environment, the critique of Islam carries heavy personal costs beyond political fallout. The rewards offered by Muslim extremists to anyone who succeeds in killing Wilders are not idle threats, as evidenced by the murder by a fanatical Muslim of Dutch media personality Theo Van Gogh several years ago. Over the past five and a half years Wilders has been under 24-hour police protection.

However, Wilders may have over-reached himself when he called for the banning of the Koran, which he compared to Mein Kampf, alleging that it incites Muslims to resort to violence. Whilst such provocative statements may have been deliberately expressed to dramatize the dangers confronting Europe, they alienated many who would endorse his calls to heed the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism because it would require Muslims to renounce their religious identity and sacred texts and thus run counter to all democratic principles.

This, together with his production of Fitna, led to him being charged with incitement to hatred and provided a rationale for many European politicians and governments to accuse him of demagoguery and promoting Islamophobia for political gain. For a time, he was even banned from the UK as an “undesirable person.”

That is not to deny that the Koran contains problematic sections which are cruel, violent, anti-Semitic and conflict with the human values which we cherish. But offensive expressions can be selectively extracted from sacred writings of all the major religions, including Christianity and Judaism.

Religions must be judged by the manner in which teachings are applied today. Wilders would have been better served had he concentrated on the fact that today, the dominant elements in Christianity and Judaism promote peaceful coexistence and tolerance whilst global Islam is associated with violence and murder.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is conscious of the growing anger and resentment of Islamic extremism in Western countries. To counter this, it has been employing its clout within the United Nations and other international organizations to create a climate in which any criticism of Islam, Islamic practices or behavior would be deemed a criminal offense and subject to prosecution. Since 2005, non-binding resolutions to this effect have been overwhelmingly endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly.

The OIC is now attempting to impose resolutions that would oblige UN member states to implement these draconian restrictions of freedom of expression. They appear to be succeeding. Last October, as an extension of President Barack Obama’s undertaking to actively combat “negative stereotyping of Islam,” the US administration co-sponsored a UN resolution approved by the discredited Human Rights Council which, inter alia, called on states to criminalize “negative stereotyping of religions and racial groups.”

WE JEWS, more than any minority, have suffered from incitement to hatred. But having regard to the extent to which Christianity and Judaism and its symbols are routinely satirized, mocked and abused in Western society, it would represent a bizarre application of double standards to prevent a man like Wilders from expressing critical views about Islam even if many disagree with him. Whilst democratic societies should prohibit incitement to violence, Wilders is surely entitled to be as critical about Islam as others are about communism, capitalism, Christianity or Judaism.

Besides, Islamic countries are notorious for denying freedom of worship and freedom of expression to Christians and Jews. Their culture, media and mosques are saturated with hatred of other religions, especially incitement against Jews. To enable them to impose restrictions on freedom of expression in Western countries would amount to capitulation and appeasement to aggressive Muslim minorities. Particularly so now, when imams and radical Islamists continuously call for the assassination of critics of Islam as exemplified by the murderous response to the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in Denmark.

Genuine coexistence with Islam can only be achieved if the moderate Muslims become sufficiently courageous to leave the closet and assume leadership positions. To achieve this, Europe must demand that the Muslims living amongst them become integrated into a democratic society. If this fails, Europeans at best will face intensified chaos or, in the worst-case scenario, will undergo a civil war to prevent the flag of Islam from being imposed on them.

For all these reasons, the outcome of the Wilders trial in the Netherlands is of immense importance. His more extreme views about banning the Koran are a political response to the failure of law enforcement to curb the verbal and physical excesses of Islamic extremists. If Wilders is convicted of promoting “hate speech” in a country such as the Netherlands where Muslim violence and calls of “death to the Jews” are regular occurrences and rarely prosecuted, it will have grave repercussions on the future of Europe and the retention of global freedom of expression. It will also embolden Islamic fundamentalist extremists and provide jihadists throughout the world with a genuine cause for celebration.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


18 February, 2010

The Pathology of Jewish Anti-Semitism

Steven Plaut describes the phenomenon below rather than trying to explain it but I think that the explanation is straightforward.  Leftists hate their own society and there are many Jewish and Israeli Leftists.  So the wonder is that there are not more antisemitic Jews.  And why do Leftists hate their own society?  An overinflated ego.  They feel superior and look down on those around them.  Finding reasons to despise others helps to keep their big ego puffed up. Whether or not feeling superior is a trait common among Jews I will leave for others to say.  One should however note that more than 80% of American Jews usually vote for the major American Leftist party,  the Democrats

Jewish anti-Semitism. It sounds like a contradiction in terms, an oxymoron or a Jackie Mason joke.  If only this were the case.

Jewish anti-Semitism is all around us, part of the political air we breathe, a modern disease.  In the twenty-first century the world is experiencing an explosion of it, a virtual plague.  Among the most malicious and venomous of all bigots, the Jewish anti-Semites are at the forefront of every smear campaign against Israel and every attempt to cow Jews of America and the West into guilty support for those in the Middle East who would like to annihilate them.  Jews today are leaders in the campaigns to boycott and “divest from” Israel, and in the leadership of the “Solidarity with Terrorists” groups.  They make pilgrimage to the camps of Hamas and the Hezb’Allah, cheering on terrorists and their atrocities against Jews.  They pioneered the smear campaigns to paint Israel as an apartheid regime and to stigmatize it as the moral equivalent to Nazi Germany.

Western campuses are crawling with Jewish anti-Semites. Some even hold leadership positions in Hillel houses.  Many others are tenured professors.  An anti-Semitic Jewish judge (Richard Goldstone) chaired a UN commission demonizing Israel. A Jewish member of Britain’s Parliament (Gerald Kaufman) compared Hamas terrorists to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto and denounced Israel as a Nazi entity.  Nor is this only an American phenomenon: a shockingly large number of Jewish anti-Semites are Israelis or ex-Israelis.

Most Jews dismiss such people as “self-hating,” but this term is misleading at best. These rogues do not hate themselves.  Indeed they are narcissistic to the core.  They hate other Jews and wish them harm. Nor are these Jewish anti-Semites simply assimilationists of Jewish descent who have lost interest in their heritage, become indifferent towards the history of their people and therefore casually alienated from Israel and its travails. On the contrary, anti-Semitic Jews are intensely involved in their “roots” and use them adroitly as protective coloration from which they advance their treasonous notions. In some extreme cases they collaborate with Neo-Nazis, Islamist terrorists, and even Holocaust Deniers.

Jewish anti-Semitism was once considered a bizarre irrelevance.  It was touched upon gingerly in the ground breaking 1947 film, “Gentleman’s Agreement,” but long ignored as a marginal psychological disorder by the organized Jewish community.  Modern Zionists expected that the very creation of Israel would put an end to any neurotic self-hatred that afflicted Diaspora communities.  It was expected to end not only Jewish physical insecurity but also spiritual pathology. A strong and proud Israel, in other words, would shield Jews from a sense of vulnerability and empower them to throw off self denial. Alas, history had a surprise up its sleeve: the growth of a powerful and determined Israel committed to never again allowing Jews to become victims has also enabled some of the very worst Jewish anti-Semites on the planet, all of whom shelter in the radical fringes of the Israeli Left, its academic institutions and its “intelligentsia,” thriving under the protective umbrella of the Israeli Defense Force.

Among the most open Israeli promoters of anti-Semitic mythology today is Professor Shlomo Sand, a hardcore communist on the history faculty of Tel Aviv University.  Sand last year published a book with a far-left anti-Israel publisher claiming to prove that Jews are not and never have been a “people.” Recycling myths popularized by Neo-Nazi web sites, Sand’s entire book is a sort of Protocols of the Elders of Anti-Zion, a pseudo-analysis that claims that most Jews today are frauds, converts from the Khazar Turkic tribe, impersonators of Jews.  All real Jews, according to the learned professor, became Palestinian Arabs centuries ago.  Hence Israeli “Jews” are not Jews at all, certainly none that have a right to their own state.

Sand travels the globe with Tel Aviv University funding to tout his book and advocate the extermination of Israel.  He is surpassed in his anti-Semitism only by one other Israeli professor, now retired, named Ariel Toaff, who claimed to have evidence that Jews use gentile blood in religious ritual.  Blood libel: one of the foundations of traditional anti Semitism now embraced by Jewish anti Semites.  The concept of irony is not spacious enough to encompass such a development. (Other anti-Semitic Israeli academics are cataloged on the web site

Just what makes Jewish anti-Semites tick is hard to explain.  One of the few people to take a serious stab at doing so is Kenneth Levin, a psychiatrist at Harvard and an occasional contributor to these pages.  He thinks of Jewish anti-Semitism in part as an attempt by some Jews to gain social acceptance in an environment that is hostile towards Jews.  He also understands it as an infantile attempt to rectify a menacing situation by self-blame, a response seen in small children who have been abused. And he also considers it a kissing cousin to the notorious “Stockholm Syndrome,” whereby victims adopt the outlook and agenda of their victimizers.

Anti-Semitism is today the main common denominator that unites the far-Left with the Neo-Nazi Right in the United States and in Europe.  Jewish anti-Semites thrive in the shadowy areas found at both ends of the political spectrum.  In the American ultra-Left many serve as columnists for the extremist “Counterpunch” web magazine, published by the ex-Brits Alexander and Andrew Cockburn, sons perpetuating the work of their Stalinist father (and George Orwell enemy) Claud Cockburn.   Counterpunch is so openly anti-Semitic these days that it goes well beyond merely calling for Israel’s extermination.  It endorses anti-Semitic conspiracy “theories” (such as the morally imbecilic idea that Jews were behind the 9-11 attacks!) and increasingly publishes Holocaust Denier columnists.  Some of its columnists moonlight as writers for Neo-Nazi web sites and organizations. Almost every literate Jewish anti-Semite writes for this publication.

On the cyber-pages of Counterpunch, Jewish anti-Semites cheer on the jihad and endorse anti-Jewish terrorism. It would be difficult to find Jewish writers in Counterpunch who are not making the de rigueur comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany.  The University of Wisconsin’s Jennifer Loewenstein, for instance, published “Gaza Holocaust,” in which she writes:  “Israel and its US Master have long since resided in the lowest circle of Hell for betraying the name of humanity.”  She adds that Israel treats Palestinians as subhuman “Untermenschen,” reminiscent of German treatment of Jews in the Holocaust.  Then, in a quote that could easily have been printed by the Nazi newspaper Der Sturmer in the 1930s, she adds:  “The Neo-Jewish Masters and their allies in the United States… have no intention of making a just peace with the lower forms of life in their midst.”  In Loewenstein’s take on reality, Israel can engage in state terror because it operates a sinister cabal that enslaves the American government and dictates its policies.  A new postmodern take on the old racist stereotype of Jews as cagey intriguers....

The most venomous Jewish-born Holocaust Denier of all is Israel Shamir.  An émigré from the Soviet Union, “Shamir” moved to Israel and later left for Sweden, where he changed his name to Adam Ermash and reportedly converted to Christianity. A vulgar Jewbaiter, he regularly attends Holocaust Denial conferences.  As just one example of his poison, in an interview with the Islamist Mohamed Omar in August 2009, Shamir said:  “I think it is the duty of every Muslim and Christian to deny the Holocaust, to reject this belief, just like Abraham and Moses rejected idolatry. Every person who profess [sic] their [sic] faith to God should deny the Holocaust. I think it’s much more serious that people deny God, isn’t it?”

Within Israel, one of the most openly anti-Semitic Jews was the late Professor Israel Shahak, who taught chemistry for decades at the Hebrew University.  He insisted that Judaism teaches Jews to worship Satan, to connive against non-Jews and to murder them.  He stopped just millimeters short of saying that Jews use gentile blood for ritual purposes.  He claimed that the Talmud is filled with calls to murder gentiles, and that Jews regard gentiles as subhuman.  He collaborated with Neo-Nazis all over the world.  Naturally he wanted Israel to be speedily destroyed, and he was one of the first Israelis to openly collaborate with Palestinian terrorism, long before the Oslo “process” commenced and produced so many others who have emulated him.

In an analysis of Shahak, the British writer Paul Bogdanor notes: “According to Shahak, the Jews think of nothing but making money for the benefit of the Jewish state …  According to Shahak, the Jews plan to dominate much of the world through an Israeli empire …“extending [in Shahak’s words] from ‘Algeria or Morocco’ from the west to China in the east, and from Kenya or even South Africa in the south to the USSR in the north…  According to Shahak, the Jews facilitate the spread of vice in order to enslave the masses (“Part of the motivation” must be “encouraging drug addiction and thus promoting political apathy”)….”

In other cases prominent Jews endorse Holocaust Deniers while carefully tiptoeing around explicitly endorsing Holocaust Denial itself.  The best known of these is Noam Chomsky, an extremist anti-American and anti-Israel professor of linguistics at MIT.

Son of a Hebrew teacher at Gratz College in Philadelphia, Chomsky despises Israel almost as deeply as he hates America.  He considers both countries worse than Nazi Germany.  Chomsky has campaigned on behalf of the French Holocaust Denier Robert Faurisson and other European Neo-Nazis. He has said in his own defense that he only wants this hate to be protected under laws guaranteeing freedom of speech, but as Professor Werner Cohn has proven, Chomsky also endorses the contents of their speech: “But in fact we saw that [in addition to justifying] …Faurisson’s Holocaust-denial, we found Chomsky publishing his own books with neo-Nazi publishers, we saw him writing for a neo-Nazi journal, we saw that the neo-Nazis promote Chomsky’s books and tapes together with the works of Joseph Goebbels. It is this complex of anti-Semitic activities and neo-Nazi associations, not his professed ideas alone, that constitutes the Chomsky phenomenon.”

Only marginally less openly anti-Semitic is Norman Finkelstein, who had been on the faculty of DePaul University until he was fired three years back (and has been unemployed ever since).  Finkelstein has built an entire career out of smearing Holocaust survivors as frauds and liars, and cheering on Islamofascist terrorism against Jews.  His personal web site is a vulgar gutter of juvenile anti-Semitic catcalls.  He claims that Zionists exaggerate the dimensions of the Shoah to steal money and invent Holocaust survivors to exploit Germany.  He has made pilgrimage to the Hezb’Allah terrorists and was denied entry into Israel on grounds that he is a terrorist agent.  Finkelstein’s book “The Holocaust Industry” has become a basic text used by all Neo-Nazis and Holocaust Deniers.  He has praised Holocaust Denier David Irving as a great and reliable historian.  (Irving, in turn, claims the entire Holocaust is a Zionist hoax and that no Jews were murdered in Auschwitz.)

While Finkelstein is a pseudo-academic and a fraud, dismissed as a crackpot by all serious historians, he is nevertheless celebrated by all other Jewish Anti-Semites.  One Israeli academic in particular, Neve Gordon, an Israel-hating extremist who teaches political science at Ben Gurion University, has devoted much of his career to celebrating Finkelstein and his “ideas.”   When he is not denouncing Israel as a fascist apartheid terrorist regime that needs to be eliminated, Gordon has even compared Finkelstein to the Prophets of the Bible.

The psychosis of Jewish anti-Semitism has no comparable analogue among the nations, making the Jews a therapist’s sui generis.   The disease of Jewish anti-Semitism not only illustrates the absence of “normality” among 21st century Jewry, it threatens the very survival of Israel and of Jewish communities around the world. It is a growth industry and it puts a perverse stamp of approval on every genocidal plan conceived by every terrorist sect contemplating the glory that awaits those who murder Jews.


What British women want in 2010: A husband who'll be the main breadwinner

Young mothers are turning their backs on high-powered careers to raise their children, a study has found.  Their mothers, or even grandmothers, lived through a time when women fought for full-time work and better pay.  But today's generation is returning to the traditional values of home and family - and looking to men to be the breadwinners.

The about-face was highlighted yesterday in research presented by leading sociologist Geoff Dench, who has analysed responses to questions asked in the annual British Social Attitudes survey.  His analysis comes against a background of growing political pressure on mothers to go out to work.  It revealed a striking change in values in the decade since New Labour swept to power.

The number of mothers with children under four who thought that family life would suffer if women worked full-time fell in the years before Tony Blair took office, dropping from 43 per cent in 1990 to 21 per cent in 1998. But by 2002 it was rising and in 2006 had soared to 37 per cent.  Similarly the number of women in the same category who agreed that most women want a home and children fell between 1994 and 2002 to 15 per cent.

But in 2006, the last time the question was asked in the survey, that number had rocketed to 32 per cent - higher even than back in 1986 when it stood at 20 per cent. By far the biggest leap came when women were asked whether they agreed that men and women should have different roles.

In 1986, 40 per cent of women with children under four said 'yes', four years later that had plummeted to 13 per cent and by 2002 it had dropped still lower to 2 per cent.

In 2006, however, that had jumped back up to 17 per cent. Last night Mr Dench, who completed his analysis for the right-leaning Centre for Policy Studies in association with the Hera Trust, said: 'Women with young children are going back to the very traditional division of labour in which they want the husband as the breadwinner.  'Having tried full-time working themselves they have found the home much more interesting and want to be enabled to have that - especially if the only job they have access to is a dull job.'  He said there had been a gradual move back towards 'more positive evaluations of women's traditional "work" in the family and informal community'.

While mothers have increased the amount of paid work they do, he said this was mostly part-time work, enabling them also to spend time in the home.

He said evidence pointed to the group fuelling the switch being young mothers aged 18 to 34 - the same age as their mothers were when they fought for the right to work on a par with men. 'They are rocking against the Baby Boom generation, in many cases their own parents,' he added. 'Just as young women led the movement into higher levels of paid work, it seems to be young women who are leading a return to more traditional values.'

The number of mothers with children under four working part-time has risen from 10 per cent in 1983 to 1986, to 28 per cent from 2005 to 2008. In the same category the number working full-time has risen from 9 per cent to 19 cent.  Mr Dench said that the women who said they were happiest appeared to be those who valued the housewife role but also did some paid work.

The analysis follows a report from a prominent liberal commentator which also revealed that far from wanting to be 'superwomen who manage everything, plus a high-profiled career', many women just want to be stay-at-home mothers with their husbands taking the role of breadwinner.

Cristina Odone, a former deputy editor of the New Statesman and editor of the Catholic Herald, said millions of women had been left frustrated and miserable by Government policies that push them back into jobs and their children into nurseries.

Ministers have redoubled efforts to persuade mothers to take jobs in the face of evidence that a big majority of the poorest families are two-parent families in which only the father works.

Meanwhile the Equality and Human Rights Commission and equal pay pressure groups say that mothers are often anxious to go back to work but are pressured into a caring role by lack of flexible working hours, a shortage of affordable daycare and reluctance of men to take over a share of the childcare.


Restrictions on political fundraising now before a U.S. appeals court

The ink isn’t yet dry on January’s landmark Supreme Court campaign finance decision Citizens United v. FEC, and already Round Two has begun. As new legislation is planned to limit political speech and some even call for a constitutional amendment, the courts are addressing the next round of constitutional challenges.

Last month the country’s second-highest court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, heard arguments in v. FEC. This case was already pending at the D.C. Circuit before the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United. Some aspects of the case were changed by Citizens United, leading Chief Judge David Sentelle of the D.C. Circuit to ask at the very outset, “What do you have to add to Justice Kennedy?” (Anthony Kennedy wrote the opinion in Citizens United.)

The laugher in the courtroom to Chief Judge Sentelle’s question made it clear that everyone understood that Citizens United was a game-changer, and that the Obama administration was now on the defensive regarding its ability to control political speech.

But the core issues in SpeechNow remained the same, issues about current federal law that need to be answered in the wake of Citizens United. Those questions are: whether the federal law requiring groups to file detailed reports about their contributors when they receive money—as opposed to filing reports only when those groups spend money—is constitutional, what sort of limits on contributions are constitutional, and also whether the registration requirements for political organizations are constitutional.

In short, Citizens United looked at the First Amendment issues about regulating the spending of money for political speech, and SpeechNow looks at the First Amendment issues about regulating the raising of money for political speech.

These questions come on the heels of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, which vindicated the First Amendment by holding that individual citizens have the right to join together in organizations to pool resources and coordinate activities to speak out during election season.  In Citizens United the Court rightly recognized that the government’s claim to censor political speech from any corporate entity would include the media, since almost every TV and radio station, as well as newspapers and magazines, are corporations, and therefore could be silenced by the government under this law.

Contrary to what President Obama said, this did not overturn 100 years of law. Before 1989, the Court had always said that people speaking through corporations had the same free speech rights as if they were speaking alone. In Citizens United, the Court took the law back to what it has always been before the 1989 decision Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce, which first allowed bans on corporate political speech.

The oppressive nature of government regulation of political speech came through in the SpeechNow arguments. Since groups need money to buy TV or radio ads or to gain access to other outlets to reach voters, the courts need to wrestle with these fundraising issues. After all, now that the government cannot ban corporate groups such as the National Rifle Association, the Family Research Council or the American Civil Rights Union from speaking, it could try to choke off their political speech by imposing severe burdens and limits on groups’ ability to raise money to speak.

Unfortunately, SpeechNow’s lawyer kept failing to answer questions posed by the court’s conservative judges. In law school you’re taught always to be responsive to judges. This is especially true when the judge is favorable to your point of view, because otherwise you risk alienating the judge. SpeechNow’s lawyer wasted half of his oral argument time trying to evade friendly judges’ questions, to the increasing frustration of the court.

Despite these missteps, the FEC’s lawyer ran into a brick wall when it was his turn to speak, trying repeatedly to assert arguments that the judges pointed out had just been rejected by the Supreme Court in Citizens United, reading various sentences from Citizens United that shredded what the FEC was arguing.   Seeming desperate, the FEC lawyer tried to lay out what the Obama administration considered the terrible consequences of a person giving money to different groups without the government being able to track who he was, what he was doing or how much political speech he was funding.

“How dare he speak!” Chief Judge Sentelle exclaimed with a smile, to an outburst of laughter in the courtroom. Everyone of course understood Sentelle’s point about the role the FEC was claiming for itself to control public discourse. In case anyone missed it, however, Sentelle followed up with the comment, “You don’t seem to think much of the First Amendment.”  Evidently sensing he had reached the end of the line, the government lawyer indicated that he had little choice, saying, “I’m [just] defending the Act, Your Honor.”

In the end, the court seemed split on the contribution limits. The judges also didn’t seem completely opposed to the reporting requirements, and SpeechNow’s lawyer clearly failed to persuade the court why it needed to strike down the group registration requirements. v. FEC shows that there are still many First Amendment issues regarding federal law that the courts need to address, and may be the next campaign finance case to go to the Supreme Court. A decision from the D.C. Circuit should come down by this summer.


The war on terrorism becomes a war on free speech in America

The Palestine Liberation Organization and the Irish Republican Army, two of history's most notorious terrorist groups, have never appeared on the State Department's List of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. By the time the list was first compiled in 1997, both groups were deemed to be moving away from violence and toward a peaceful resolution of their grievances.

Ralph Fertig, president of the Humanitarian Law Project, wants to encourage a similar change within the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a violent separatist group in Turkey also known as the PKK (its Kurdish initials). But he worries that doing so will expose him to prosecution for providing "material support" to a terrorist organization, a crime Congress has defined so broadly that it includes a great deal of speech protected by the First Amendment. When it hears Fertig's case next week, the Supreme Court will have a chance to correct that error.

Fertig, a civil rights lawyer and former administrative law judge, seeks, as the district court described it, to "provide training in the use of humanitarian and international law for the peaceful resolution of disputes, engage in political advocacy on behalf of the Kurds living in Turkey and teach the PKK how to petition for relief before representative bodies like the United Nations." Fertig says he also wants to "advocate on behalf of the rights of the Kurdish people and the PKK before the United Nations and the United States Congress."

Another plaintiff in the case, an American physician named Nagalingam Jeyalingam, wants to do similar work with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a violent separatist group in Sri Lanka that, like the PKK, appears on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations. In the words of the district court, Jeyalingam seeks to "provide training in the presentation of claims to mediators and international bodies for tsunami-related aid, offer legal expertise in negotiating peace agreements between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, and engage in political advocacy on behalf of Tamils living in Sri Lanka."

Whether you think Fertig and Jeyalingam are humanitarian heroes, naive dreamers or inadvertent flacks for terrorists, the projects they have in mind clearly amount to "pure speech promoting lawful, nonviolent activities," as their attorneys say. Yet the federal law they are challenging seems to make such speech a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

Under the law, it is a crime to provide an organization on the State Department's list with "training," defined as "instruction or teaching designed to impart a specific skill, as opposed to general knowledge"; "expert advice or assistance," defined as "advice or assistance derived from scientific, technical or other specialized knowledge"; "personnel," which means any person, including oneself, who works under the organization's "direction or control"; or "service," which is not defined at all.

These terms (especially that last one) could easily be construed to cover the activities proposed by Fertig and Jeyalingam, even though they would be trying to discourage terrorism and promote peaceful alternatives.

During oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which ruled that several aspects of the "material support" ban are unconstitutional, the government's lawyer said you could go to prison for filing a friend-of-the-court brief on behalf of a listed group, for pressing its case at the U.N. or even for asking Congress to take the group off the list. "Congress wants these organizations to be radioactive," he explained.

By that logic, The New York Times and The Washington Post committed felonies when they published op-ed pieces by Hamas spokesman Ahmed Yousef, an act "for the benefit of" a terrorist group and therefore, according to the government, a prohibited "service." A speech defending the rights of Kurds or Tamils could be treated the same way. By definitively rejecting such unconstitutional applications of the law, the Supreme Court can stop the war on terrorism from becoming a war on freedom of speech.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


17 February, 2010

Shock!  Israelis are human!

Years of  vicious Arab attacks on Israel have caused many Israelis to despise Arabs -- which is absolutely no surprise.  Whether more benign Israeli attitudes would budge deeply-entrenched Arab hostility is however doubtful, to say the least

After last year's war in Gaza, and the later report for the United Nations Human Rights Council by Justice Richard Goldstone that accused Israel of war crimes, sensitivity to how Israel is perceived abroad has been more heightened than ever. Yet the most piercing insights into the Israeli-Arab conflict today have nothing to do with the foreign media. They come from within Israeli society itself.

In the past two years, internationally acclaimed films such as Waltz With Bashir, Ajami, and Lebanon, have added exceptional context to the deep divisions within Israeli society and the long-term effects of the conflict on its people. More disturbing still are the verbatim accounts of some of the soldiers who have served in the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

The damaging effects of the occupation, not just on Palestinians but on the soldiers themselves, are laid bare in a booklet published last week by the group Breaking the Silence, an organization of Israeli army veterans who have taken it upon themselves to expose life in the occupied territories to the Israeli public. Titled Women Soldiers' Testimonies, the booklet details the experiences of more than 40 female soldiers who have served in various roles in the territories since 2000.

Testimony 24 was provided by a sergeant on a night-time search for weapons near Hebron, a Palestinian city that is also sacred to Jews and whose centre has been taken over by Israeli settlers. It was about 2am when the raiding party climbed the steps to a large Palestinian house.  "So we entered these people's home, the father opens the door for us, in his robe, and the mother and grandmother and two little kids woke up too. Now they look at you with this look, like 'you're entering our home at two o'clock in the morning'.

"Everything was just so messed up . . . and the father tries to ask, the owner tries to ask questions and talk and none of us even bother to speak to him at all. The soldiers go on, opening and trashing and trashing just about everything in that house, turning the whole place inside out . . . all the drawers, the closets, everything. And we didn't find a thing. Nothing."  After an hour, the soldiers went on to a second house.

"That was the first moment I realised why we are looked at like that, and why we are so hated. You enter in the most disgusting manner, without a drop of humanity, because the disrespect in the answers the man was given — the wife and children were not even addressed — I mean, no one even looked at them.  "I can't even begin to describe to you the shame I felt, ashamed of the way we were behaving, entering their home like that, that we . . .  "I'll never forget this as long as I live, I'm telling you. I have this picture in my head, of those kids staring at me."

Other accounts detail how Israeli soldiers routinely beat Palestinians "to a pulp" for fun, or cocked loaded rifles in the faces of detainees kneeling handcuffed before them, or how Israeli army doctors would "carry out all sorts of experiments on seriously wounded people".  "Sometimes the doctors would come back from their event and say, 'yes, he was already finished, but we did practise some intubation', or this or that," said a lieutenant from the Hebron Regional Brigade/Medical Corps. "Practise. It's not that we tried to save the guy, he died on us. Practise."

Another sergeant from the Sachlav unit describes an incident involving a "stunning little blonde girl" aged about eight from one of the Jewish settlements near Hebron.  "She would pass us by near the outpost in her Shabbat (Sabbath) dress, all neat and cute, and smiling. And then she saw some Arab walk by and she grabbed this huge rock and ran towards him, leapt and boom! She banged his head with it," said the sergeant.  "Just like that, boom. She leapt up to him and banged his head with this stone. And this man was just an old man walking along the street.

"Then she started yelling: "yuck, his blood is all over me, so sickening." And he turned to her and went like this, and the soldier who was with me charged at him and punched him as though he was threatening this little girl. I stood there in absolute shock. I didn't know what to do with myself. An innocent little blonde girl in her Shabbat-best has just banged an Arab in the head with a rock, and the soldier has punched him in the face for turning around and yelling at the girl.

"I remember she had a baby brother, in a pram. She'd hand him little stones and say: 'Throw it at the Arab, throw it at the Arab'. And he was this tiny thing in the pram, and he'd go like that and throw.  "Naturally it would hit his toes because he was sitting and he was so little, but that's what she'd show him: 'Throw it at the Arab'."

There are many more shocking accounts in the booklet. All convey the daily humiliation being inflicted on Palestinians by the occupation.  A sergeant from the Nahal unit describes her shame when reflecting on her years of army service, prompted by her seeing the 2007 film To See If I'm Smiling, about women who served in the territories.  "I suddenly began to take note of things and realised how screwed-up this whole system is. No one is okay. Those aren't okay, and these aren't okay, and the army is not okay."


A message to the selfish: children are a public good

Comment below from Australia.  I personally don't regard the deliberately childless as selfish.  I regard them as either deluded or defective.  To miss out on children is to miss out on both great joy and the meaning of life.  Children cost a lot of money to bring up however so I think that those who have not had to bear such costs should be able to support themselves in their old age rather than rely on welfare payments contributed by the children of others -- JR

The arrival of a newborn child does strange things to people. It warps their perspective and clouds their judgement — and that’s to say nothing of sleep-deprived new parents. Instead, it’s a conclusion I’ve reached by reading commentators and readers of opinion websites.

Take, for example, Carrie Miller’s offering in yesterday’s edition of The Punch. While Miller had a point about overbearing middle-class parents, she sounded like a child who needs a spell on the naughty step by likening child-bearing to ‘a banal biological tradition driven by the baser instincts inherent in animals’.

Miller isn’t alone in reducing childbearing to nothing more than ‘biological tradition’. Over at Fairfax’s competitor to The Punch, the National Times, recent articles about the behaviour of harried parents and their prams provoked comments from readers arguing that children are nothing than a lifestyle choice.

One reader argued that parents should ‘Shop online and stop annoying the rest of us with your lifestyle choices’. Replying to another reader who pointed out that children were the continuation of the species, the same reader asked whether ‘It’s essential that an already overpopulated planet, on the brink of man made environmental disaster has more children brought into it.’

Another defended her decision to park in carparks reserved for those with prams on the basis that ‘Parenting is a choice’. Yet another decided that parents who engaged in the debate were not even entitled to an opinion. ‘[D]on’t those who choose to breed get touchy when you suggest the world doesn’t revolve around them’ the reader wrote.

In some ways, of course, having children is a choice. The development of effective, affordable and widely available contraception means that men and woman have more control over their fertility than at any other time in history. It is now possible to choose when to have children to fit in with one’s lifestyle — or not to have them at all.  But to reduce children to ‘biological tradition’ or a lifestyle choice is as silly as arguing that water is drunk only out of a deference to tradition or that inhabiting planet earth is a lifestyle choice.

The absurdity of this position was bought home to me some years back while listening to Radio National’s talk-back show Australia Talks Back. The topic of the show was whether people should have to pay taxes to support other people’s children. Introducing the segment, the host at the time, Sandy McCutcheon, asked ‘Children: are they a public good?’  Just posing the question in this way is to commit a basic category error. Without children, there is no public and without a public there is no public good.

Those who regard children as nothing more than ‘biological tradition’ or other people’s lifestyle choice make a similar category error. Even on the crudest and narrowest calculations of self-interest, this view doesn’t stack up.

Where do these people think their lifestyle comes from? Who pays the taxes that creates hospitals, schools, roads and other basic infrastructure? Who supplies the water, electricity, sewage without which their lifestyles would be impoverished?  And when they’re old and frail, who’s there to care and clean up after them?  The answer to all of these questions is other people, who, startling as it might sound, start out as children.

At its most extreme, dismissing children in this way reveals a misanthropic individualism mixed with a virulently anti-social outlook; one that treats the presence of other human beings as little more than an inconvenience and an intrusion into an otherwise perfect existence.

Of course, it doesn’t follow from this that we should always be compelled to embrace other people’s children. Children can be little shits. Just ask any parent.

Nor does it follow that those with children are superior to those who choose not to. Clearly a full and fulfilling life can be had with or without children. Nevertheless, it’s a step too far to reduce children to a lifestyle choice.

So the next time you’re inconvenienced by a pram in a supermarket or your attempts to a read a book in a cafe are interrupted by a restless child, just stop and think for a moment. Someday, someone’s deference to ‘biological tradition’ just might be serving you a latte, removing your tumour, or changing your bed pan.


Terrorist behaviour from people  who talk tolerance

Amren believe that racial differences are real and that some are important:  MOST "incorrect".  Why must that view not be expressed?  Because it is true?  There is plenty of scientific evidence for it -- from psychometrics, genetics, criminology and elsewhere.  Suppression of speech is itself Fascist

As everyone knows by now, Jeffrey Imm of R.E.A.L. got the 2010 Amren Conference shut down. What does this say about Jeffrey Imm? Several things: he is a busybody who sticks his nose in the business of others, he hates the spirit of freedom, he wants to take away your constitutional rights, he is un-American, he is a fanatic who denies the humanity of people he disagrees with, and he is a self anointed commissar who wants to impose a political orthodoxy on freethinking Americans. Such an individual won’t stop with racialists. This can be established in a quick glance at his website. Red Jeffrey poses a threat to the free speech and freedom of association of the broader American Right.

Look at it this way: if the Constitutional Convention of 1787 could reassemble in Washington, DC, Jeffrey Imm would try to shut them down too. Every delegate to the Constitutional Convention was a White male with politically incorrect, racially insensitive views. Thomas Jefferson spent his entire life advocating the deportation of blacks to Africa. James Madison actually served as the President of the American Colonization Society. The freedom of White men to assemble and petition their government, which thousands fought and died for in the American Revolution, has never been challenged in the United States … until now.

Jeffrey Imm and his associates aren’t content to replace free speech with political orthodoxy. Although Imm denounces violence, the hotel that was hosting the AR Conference received violent threats, probably from the usual anarchist nutjobs. R.E.A.L. claims to stand for a free society, but there are people who share their political views who are willing to use force, communist ritual shaming, and old fashioned lynch mobs to attack and cower their opponents. I believe it was Huey Long who famously said that when fascism comes to America, it will come in the guise of anti-fascism.


"Human rights" is just a  far-Leftist hobbyhorse in Australia

THE Rudd government is now overdue to respond to Frank Brennan's 2009 report seeking new policy and legal entrenchments of human rights: a "true believers" agenda largely deserted by the Australian people.

The long-run strategy of the Brennan report is the transformation of Australia's political culture. It seeks a culture where people see themselves and others as "rights-holding entities" and operate on this basis, where the rights culture is entrenched in the school curriculum and where the public service, from Centrelink to the police station, is re-educated and compelled by law to take a series of human rights into account in all decision-making.

Passage of a human rights act is the core recommendation. But Brennan's report, critically, recommends a series of administrative and legislative changes short of a human rights act that gets the cultural change immediately rolling. The key to Brennan's report is to see its incremental steps as part of a long journey to a different Australia. It is the opening chapter in a minority campaign by lawyers, the human rights lobby and advocacy groups to change the way Australia is governed.

Since its release last October, the report has attracted almost a dead silence, evidence it is not a priority for most Australians. Claims have been made that a majority of Australians back Brennan's human rights agenda. Such claims are false and contradicted by the report's own survey work.

It commissioned Colmar Brunton to conduct focus group research and a quantitative telephone survey. This found no crisis or no groundswell for substantial change. "Most participants in the groups reported that they had had no experience of having their rights violated or had ever even felt that they were under any particular threat," the company said. "In the survey only 10 per cent of people reported that they had ever had their rights infringed in any way with another 10 per cent who reported that someone close to them had had their rights infringed."

Even more disconcerting, 64 per cent of people felt human rights in Australia were "adequately protected", with only 7 per cent disagreeing. This is an exceptionally narrow platform from which to mount a change to Australia's institutions and culture. It should warn Labor that people will question the real motives behind any human rights act. It should make a prudent Rudd cabinet think carefully about this entire venture.

Colmar Brunton found "while it was universally agreed that human rights and their protection were important, views on how to achieve this were more varied". Nearly two-thirds (64 per cent) felt that with human rights the "spirit of the law" was more important than "the letter of the law". When asked about five specific actions to improve human rights, the "most preferred approaches were those which provided the least additional definition of rights". While 90 per cent preferred that parliament pay attention to human rights when making laws, only 56 per cent preferred a human rights law. So the public's preference is to improve rights is by modest, not radical action.

Yet the Brennan committee ignited a litany of stakeholders and groups, many representing the most vulnerable, the homeless, mentally ill, disabled, refugees, people from detention, the aged and those suffering drug dependencies, saying, unsurprisingly, they didn't get a fair go. The report said "lawyers and advocacy groups" saw what the average person missed, the gaps in our human rights protection. Of 35,014 submissions to Brennan's committee 87.4 per cent favoured a human right act. Brennan activated the human rights lobby that his committee was created to activate. The upshot is a true dilemma for the Rudd government: the public is disengaged but the human rights lobby is mobilised and expects substantive progress from Labor.

The Brennan report is a brilliant yet unconscious insight into the patronising morality at work that would be lethal for Rudd Labor. Its spirit is that the uneducated Australian public must be challenged to "reconsider current attitudes" and find a means to "recognition of other people's dignity, culture and traditions". Human rights advances depend on "reducing the levels of fear and ignorance that surround many aspects of life'.

Australians must be subjected to a "comprehensive human rights plan' anchored in the school system and in the community to correct their thinking.  This is human rights dogma seeking an ideological re-positioning of our democracy.  The human rights debate is shaped by politics. The reality is that human rights laws are techniques to deliver social and policy outcomes that are opposed by a majority of Australians and would not otherwise be obtainable.

Brennan's report makes clear the issues that energise the advocacy groups are hostility to national security laws, to the Northern Territory intervention and to strong border protection. Advocates seek changes in Australian governance to win on these policy goals.

For Rudd, alignment with such sentiment is an open invitation to his opponents. Tony Abbott, a cultural warrior, is sure to launch a ferocious campaign against Rudd if he walks down the Brennan path.

The deeper problem for Rudd with Brennan's report is its misconception over the means towards a better society and better governance.  How does this report promote a better society? The answer, at best, is equivocal. The idea that the problems of homelessness, indigenous abuses and obese children have new human rights laws as parts of their solutions is highly contestable.

On governance the answer is clear-cut: new human rights laws will diminish Australian governance and lead to bad policy.

The arguments are well known. The trade-offs in any policy or legislated instrument should be evaluated on merit at the time. This is called representative democracy. It can be helped by having parliamentary committees to notify better human rights provisions. This is far superior to having policy imposed via the application of an across-the-board human rights act with its myriad unpredictable, intended and unintended consequences. This is the brainchild of lawyers ignorant of sound public administration. It would be inefficient in terms of promoting rights, sure to make government slower and more bureaucratic, risks politicising the judiciary and encourages more litigation.

Presumably, in an election year Rudd would not be so foolish as to support Brennan's call for a human rights act. The trap is that Rudd may play both sides: avoid the human rights act yet still authorise a series of ill-considered steps on the deluded path to a new political culture.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


16 February, 2010

Another British false rape accuser -- but this one escapes jail, for no obvious reason

She was after money from her false claim  -- and too bad about the effect on the guy she accused

A woman who accused a student of rape after dragging him into a public toilet for sex was spared jail yesterday.  Bisexual Sarah-Jane Hilliard, 20, seduced Grant Bowers when the two bumped into each other during a night out clubbing.

Yesterday Mr Bowers, also 20, attacked the 'ridiculous' sentence after Hilliard received 12 months in jail, suspended for two years. She had denied perverting the course of justice.

Mr Bowers - who says he is now afraid to speak to women - said: 'It's absolutely ridiculous. That's not even a slap on the wrist. She's been let off and I'm still having to sneak around because there are still people after me who think I did it.'

It was more than a week after his arrest that Mr Bowers discovered he was not to be charged.  But during that time Hilliard, who was in a relationship with a woman, contacted the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in the hope of claiming up to £7,500.

Mr Bowers's father Tony, 48, said: 'My son was facing up to ten years in prison for rape on the strength of her lies. The least I expected was for her to have been given a prison sentence.  'My son is the victim and he has lost his freedom yet she has still got hers.'

Hilliard, from Basildon in Essex, told police she bumped into Mr Bowers at a nightclub called Liquid in the town in July 2008. She claimed to have shared a taxi with him before stopping at the railway station to use the toilet.  The telephone sales worker, who had been drinking, said she went into a cubicle and the next thing she remembered was waking to her underwear and trousers around her ankles.  She claimed to have realised she had been raped only when Mr Bowers sent her a text the following day in which he mentioned they had 'gone all the way'.

Hilliard's lie began to unravel when police were unable to find CCTV footage of the pair leaving the club.  A friend admitted they had been at another nightclub called Colors and detectives found CCTV evidence of Hilliard and Mr Bowers, who was 19 at the time, kissing and holding hands.

Hilliard was convicted in May last year after Mr Bowers told a jury at Basildon Crown Court he had walked to the station with her and she pulled him into a cubicle for unprotected sex.  Afterwards she warned he had 'better be there for the baby' if she became pregnant.

Her sentencing was delayed for psychiatric reports and yesterday Judge Christopher Mitchell ordered Hilliard to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work and pay £2,000 costs.  After hearing she had 'deeply personal issues' including suffering abuse from a relative, he said: 'False allegations of rape have a terrible knock-on effect.'

Jacqueline Carey, defending, revealed that since her conviction Hilliard had been assaulted by two men, had the word 'bitch' scratched on to her car and lost her partner and friends. 


Bigoted pro-abortionist

When State representative, John Adams (great name, I know), arranged for a high schooler, Elisabeth Trisler, to receive a routine legislative resolution of achievement on the floor of the Ohio House, Speaker Armond Budish refused to allow the event. Why? Because Elisabeth won the National Right to Life Oratory Contest. And Speaker Budish “had a problem with the subject matter,” according to the House clerk.

In other words, Speaker Budish is pro-abortion and prefers not to recognize high school students who disagree. Ohio Right to Life Executive Director, Mike Gonidakis, rightly called out Speaker Budish. "Perhaps his (Budish's) real message to Ohio's teens is that excelling in public speaking isn't worth being honored if their views are different than his." So much for the quaint old notion of the free exchange of ideas.

If free speech is not valued in a state's legislature, where might it find life? More embarrassing to Speaker Budish, Ms. Trisler was not even being invited to address the House but rather merely being celebrated for her oratorical achievements.

The ACLU of Ohio Executive Director, Christine Link, criticized the Speaker's move for creating a "troubling precedent." Ms. Link pointed out the troubling totalitarian approach of the Speaker. "Instead of teaching young people that the answer is to silence those who disagree with us, legislators should be modeling how to address difficult issues thoughtfully and listen respectfully to others." Well done. Score one for the ACLU.

Budish backed down and agreed to recognize Trisler. It is heartening indeed to see the ACLU stand for free speech. That should be the mission and goal of any group who values personal liberty, protecting America's precious freedom of speech, not to mention the freedom to disagree.


Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and Don’t Even Pretend to Be Fair

The media has told us what the Navy’s top admiral, Mike Mullen, thinks about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”; but why is the media censoring other, contrary military voices?

Regardless of whether you are for or against open homosexuality in the military, you have to be dismayed at how badly biased media coverage of this issue has become. Indeed, it seems that, to the Big Media, there is only one legitimate and morally correct point of view, and that is to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and to allow gays to serve openly within the ranks.

The Washington Post, for instance, published a symposium on Feb. 7 entitled, “How to Change ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’” Not one of the Posts’s six contributors defends the current policy of permitting gays to serve discreetly, but not openly – and none of the contributors even tries to grapple with the arguments and reasons for keeping the U.S. military free of open homosexuality.

Instead, the contributors all blithely assume that every bright and reasonable, good and decent person must be all for allowing gays to serve openly — and that opponents of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” must be reactionary reprobates.  In fact, one contributor, Michael Buonocore, dismisses supporters of the current policy as mere obstructionists who have “petty concerns,” which the senior brass would do well to immediately bulldoze over and destroy.

Buonocore, meanwhile,  is identified as a former Marine Corps officer who last year served in Afghanistan, but who is now a graduate student at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. Buonocore is one of several junior military officers whom the Big Media publicize and promote because of their socially liberal views.

I don’t doubt Buonocore’s sincerity; however, I do find his airy dismissal of 235-plus years of U.S. military history arrogant and frightening — and wrong. Indeed, the Marine Corps says that the most dangerous thing on the battlefield is a brand new Second Lieutenant, fresh out of the Basic School, who thinks he knows everything. Similarly, I would argue, the most dangerous thing in the public-policy arena is a young and recent junior military officer who thinks that we can and should upend longstanding U.S. military policy so that said policy corresponds with what he thinks are his morally and intellectually superior views.

So before we change a policy that most soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines believe has been successful, how about having a free and fair, open and honest, informed and substantive, freewheeling and robust debate?  Shouldn’t such a debate, in fact, be required before changing any successful and longstanding military policy? And shouldn’t the media help to effect (instead of stymie) such a debate?


Muslims Confront Islamism, Get Targeted by Islamists

French imam Hassen Chalghoumi recently learned firsthand that Islamists despise non-Islamist Muslims as much as they do anyone else. Chalghoumi attracted their ire by coming out strongly in favor of a ban on face-covering veils, a prohibition that is moving closer to reality. Echoing President Nicolas Sarkozy, he described the niqab as a "prison for women, a tool of sexist domination and Islamist indoctrination" that "has no place in France." Moreover, he explained:
Having French nationality means wanting to take part in society, at school, at work. But with a bit of cloth over their faces, what can these women share with us? If they want to wear the veil, they can go to a country where it's the tradition, like Saudi Arabia.

Islamist reaction to his comments was swift and fierce, with a gang of nearly a hundred men storming his Paris mosque during a meeting of an organization focused on interfaith relations:
   "They started to cry 'Allah akbar' and 'God is great,'" recounted Chalghoumi. "Then they insulted me, my mosque, the Jewish community, and the [French] republic. They left after an hour and a half."

    According to a member of the Conference of Imams, the mob condemned Chalghoumi as an apostate and threatened him with "liquidation, this imam of the Jews."

Chalghoumi is not the only moderate risking "liquidation." Abadirh Abdi Hussein, a Muslim rapper in Sweden, had his head slashed by attackers displeased with his outspoken opposition to al-Shabaab, which has been recruiting young men to join the jihad in Somalia. And, as IW noted in January, Majed Moughni received a death threat after organizing a demonstration by Detroit-area Muslims to denounce the attempted Christmas Day airplane bombing.

Undeterred by this atmosphere of intimidation, many other Muslims have gone on offense against radicalism in recent months. Among them:

    * The Muslim Canadian Congress called on lawmakers to ban the niqab, declaring it a "political issue promoted by extremists" that "has absolutely no place in Canada."

    * A plan, now canceled, by the radical group Islam4UK to march through an English town known for honoring fallen soldiers earned the very public wrath of numerous Muslims.

    * The liberal Norwegian Muslim group LIM (which stands for "equality, integration, diversity" in that nation's language) challenged fellow Muslims to rally in defense of free speech after Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's home was attacked.

    * Minhaj-ul-Quran, a Sufi Muslim organization operating in the UK, issued a fatwa against suicide bombings, labeling them "totally un-Islamic" and "violations of human rights."

As the above examples suggest, at the core of the resurgent jihad is a conflict between an authoritarian interpretation of Islam and a more spiritual, secular interpretation. The fate of two worlds — the Western and the Islamic — will be shaped profoundly by the outcome.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


15 February, 2010

Sick political correctness in Britain again

Fireman facing disciplinary action after he 'breached health and safety rules' while saving dog from frozen lake.  Obeying official rules trumps all else.  Must not use your initiative.  Must not be heroic. Too bad if people or animals die meanwhile

A fireman who saved a pet dog from a frozen pond is now facing disciplinary action for allegedly breaching healthy and safety rules.  Stevie Logan rescued a cocker spaniel called Matt who ran on to ice and then become trapped in the water.  The 42-year-old jumped into a nearby canoe and paddled out to the distressed animal, encouraging it to swim towards a ladder other firemen had laid across the ice.  After the successful rescue, Mr Logan was hailed a hero by Matt's owner.

His bosses however have ordered an investigation into his conduct, saying that Mr Logan - who is commander at Kilmarnock Fire Station - broke force guidelines by putting himself unnecessarily at risk when he paddled out to the stranded pet.

Last night, Sheila Johnstone said the decision by Stathclyde Fire and Rescue chiefs to investigate the incident in which her dog was rescued beggared belief.  Miss Johnstone, 78, of Kilmarnock, said: ‘I have never heard such nonsense in all my life.  ‘He went out to rescue my dog and I take my hat off to him.  ‘Matt is fine now, but he wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for the firemen saving his life and I am very grateful.  ‘I think they should definitely reconsider this as I think it is a piece of nonsense.  ‘Carrying out rescues is what firemen are on the job for. What are they supposed to do the next time there is a fire? Stand by and watch?’

The rescue took place at Dean Castle Country Park in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, at the end of December, on one of the coldest days of winter.  Matt was being walked by one of Miss Johnstone's neighbours when he ran off.  After the neighbour called 999, a fire crew from Kilmarnock was rushed to the scene and was soon joined by another crew from Ayr who had specialist rescue equipment.  In total, 17 firefighters attended the scene.  But Matt was rescued by Mr Logan and was then hauled on to a inflatable walkway and taken to shore to be reunited with his owner.

Last night, a friend of Mr Logan said: ‘He is facing the high jump for doing what any firefighter would do to rescue an animal in distress.  ‘Bosses are claiming he broke the rules because he jumped into a canoe and used his initiative.  ‘They are claiming that because he was in charge he shouldn't have risked his own safety or that of his men.  ‘It beggars the question what if we were talking about a kid and not a dog?’

However, a fire brigade source said Mr Logan was risking the lives of his own men by ignoring important safety procedures.  He said: ‘There were a number of rescues carried out to save pets that had fallen into water during the cold snap.  ‘When the ops director saw there had been three or four carried out, he issued guidance warning that firemen should not be unnecessarily risking their lives by going on to the ice without the proper equipment.  ‘He didn’t want staff risking their lives because dog owners are not keeping their dogs on a leash. 

‘By all accounts the staff on the scene were trying to help from the sidelines.   ‘This is when the station commander, ignoring the warnings from other firefighters, commandeered a canoe from somewhere and went out to try and save the dog.  ‘Despite the guidance he said he was the boss and that he was going to have a crack at it. ‘It worked out OK this time, but if it hadn’t worked out and the canoe had capsized other firefighters would have had to go in and try and rescue him and it could have been a tragedy.  ‘The bosses aren’t looking to hang the guy out to dry or anything like that, but because he ignored procedures it has been decided something has to be done about it.’

A Strathclyde Fire and Rescue spokesman said: ‘An investigation is taking place.’


The  Israel-hatred of the British Left on view

A swift change to the law promised by ministers to prevent Israeli politicians and generals being arrested when they visit Britain is in doubt.  A Cabinet split over timing threatens to postpone any alteration of the rules until after the election, The Times has learnt, even though ministers assured Israel that it was a priority. Such a delay would leave visiting Israelis at risk and could worsen an already sour dispute with Jerusalem.

Tzipi Livni, the Israeli opposition leader whose threatened arrest sparked the dispute, indicated last night that she was prepared to travel to Britain and “take the bullet” if that was the only way to shame the Government into action. “Britain has obligated itself to me personally that this subject will be taken care of and fixed,” she said. “Now is the time.”

Ministers promised to act after a magistrate in London issued a warrant for the arrest of Ms Livni last year, for alleged war crimes in Gaza when she was Foreign Minister. The warrant was withdrawn after she cancelled her planned trip.

The issue embarrassed the Government, and David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, said that ministers were looking urgently at changing the law so that Israeli leaders felt free to visit the UK.  It would mean rewriting the principle of universal jurisdiction, under which private citizens can secure arrest warrants for offences such as war crimes committed abroad. Under one proposal, the Attorney-General, rather than just a magistrate, would have to authorise such a warrant.

Baroness Scotland of Asthal, the Attorney-General, went to Israel to reassure political and military leaders that the Government was taking the issue seriously. But it has now become snarled up in the end of the parliamentary session.

Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, is privately warning against remaking the law over such a fundamental issue in haste. He believes that it ought to be explored by a body such as the Justice Select Committee. That would delay any new law until the next Parliament.

Parliamentary counsel have drafted clauses that could be attached to the Crime and Security Bill currently before Parliament, for its Commons committee stage on February 25 or its report stage in March. But there are fears that it may fall victim to horse-trading at the end of the parliamentary session, which would be even more embarrassing to the Government in its relations with Israel.

A further complication is that 119 MPs, most Labour, have signed a Commons motion against any change, and some Labour strategists do not want to be dealing with a rebellion as the election campaign starts. Mr Miliband wants the issue to be resolved before the election, and officials insisted last night that much work was being done to that end.

Yigal Palmor, the Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, said: “If Israeli dignitaries cannot travel unhindered to Britain, than they will not travel. Automatically the political dialogue between the two countries will be reduced. This is not something that London or Jerusalem wants.”

SOURCE.  (Links about antisemitism in 21st century Britain here and here and here and here)

The world's most politically incorrect politician is popular with the voters

Outside Italy, Silvio Berlusconi is often seen as a gaffe-prone buffoon engulfed by sex scandals, who is using - or abusing - his power to change the law to avoid being put on trial for corruption. A leader who, many argue, is undermining the judiciary and endangering democracy in his attempt to avoid appearing in court.

Inside his home nation though, the Italian Prime Minister remains a popular conservative leader who has so far overcome all the scandals over escorts and tax fraud allegations and is likely to survive - if not triumph - at regional elections to be held next month.

At rallies this week, Berlusconi's usual ebullience was restored. He showed no sign on his face of the injuries caused by an assailant who threw a souvenir of Milan cathedral at him in December. He dismissed speculation about the carve-up of his business empire as the result of his impending divorce, saying that he had "nothing to repent" in his relations with women ("I have always acted with a sense of responsibility and respect," he said) and joked that he would be sending Valentine's Day messages "to all my girlfriends".

So what explains the endurance of the Berlusconi phenomenon? In part, the answer lies in his control of the media. Eighty per cent of Italians get their information from television only, according to official figures. Berlusconi not only owns the three main commercial television channels but as Prime Minister also exercises sway over RAI, the public broadcaster, which tends to be deferential towards him and downplay negative news about his actions.

Then there is the lack of an alternative: the Centre Left has been weak and divided since its defeat at the hands of the Centre Right 1 1/2 years ago and the departure from the political scene of Romano Prodi, the only man to have beaten Berlusconi at the polls (in 1996, and again in 2006). Gianfranco Fini, co-leader of the ruling People of Liberty party and Speaker of the lower house, is on frosty terms with Berlusconi, but has yet to challenge him openly.

But the key to Berlusconi's survival is his knack of being in tune with the popular mood. For all his wealth and power, he manages to convey an image of himself as an "ordinary guy", a self-made man who loves soccer and the company of beautiful women, and who gets away with breaking the rules in a country where out-foxing the state bureaucracy is a national sport.

He is also a consummate politician and communicator who turns setbacks to his advantage - portraying the Milan attack, for example, as the result of a "hate campaign" against him by the press and magistrates and turning it into a quasi-religious event by showing his bloodied face to the crowd and then forgiving his assailant.

The idea that the press and the judiciary are merely doing their job by trying to bring him to account is countered by the portrayal of Berlusconi by his supporters as a victim under constant persecution. His use of escorts and parties involving scantily dressed showgirls from his television empire has engendered growing protests by feminists, as has his habit of offering political posts to attractive women with a showbusiness background.

But many Italians, and not only men, regard his divorce and sex scandals as "a private matter", saying they judge him by his political outlook, based on individual freedom and visceral anti-communism. As for corruption, well, Italy has a long history of shady politicians, and the system survives thanks to family ties and a black economy.

There are, however, clouds on the horizon: last year Italy's GDP dropped by 5 per cent, unemployment among young people is high, and last week the Bank of Italy said average family incomes had dropped by 4 per cent in two years. Berlusconi has vowed to cut taxes, but has also admitted there is no chance of doing so in the immediate future.

His hopes of becoming head of state have been dashed by the scandals, and a poll in the newspaper Corriere della Sera showed his approval rating had fallen to 48 per cent after jumping to 56 per cent in a wave of sympathy after Milan.

His attempts to push through new laws to restore his immunity from prosecution and annul the two revived corruption trials against him are running into opposition not only from the judiciary but also from President Giorgio Napolitano. Mafia supergrasses continue to claim in court that Berlusconi got his start in both business and politics thanks to Cosa Nostra backing - a charge he denies.

In a further blow, Guido Bertolaso, one of Berlusconi's his most valued right-hand men, as head of the civil protection agency, has been placed under investigation over suspected corruption involving prostitution and kickbacks.

Above all, the crunch will come in two weeks' time when the Supreme Court is due to decide whether to uphold the conviction last year of David Mills, Berlusconi's British former tax lawyer, for taking a $US600,000 bribe from Berlusconi to give false evidence on his behalf in corruption trials in the 1990s.  Berlusconi is himself on trial for allegedly giving the bribe, and has said that he will make a rare appearance in court at a hearing in Milan two days after the Supreme Court verdict.

If Mills' conviction is upheld as definitive, Berlusconi will need all his showman's skill to persuade Italians yet again that he is - as he repeatedly claims - the victim of unjust persecution by a politically biased judiciary.


 Raising awareness, denigrating the audience

Hollywood’s post-Philadelphia love-in with all things gay has less to do with equality than with feeling superior to the redneck masses

‘It’s set in the Sixties, it’s based on a book and it’s about nicely dressed gays talking about being gay. You’ll love it.’  That was how a friend both successfully skewered my personality and piqued my interest in A Single Man. The directorial debut by top fashion designer Tom Ford is one of the most hotly tipped films at the Oscars, with much anticipation that Britain’s Colin Firth could get the Best Actor gong for his portrayal of an LA-based British college professor mourning the sudden death of his lover. Based on the classic novel by stately homo Christopher Isherwood, it seems a dead cert to soften even the stiffest of upper lips.

The Oscars, however, have a dubious history with gays-on-film. Of course much of this is to do with social attitudes and the Hollywood film industry, but there can be little doubt that over the past 20 years, with changing attitudes, progress has been made. Ever since Tom Hanks won Best Actor as a doomed AIDs sufferer in Philadephia in 1993, Oscar judges have been proud to proclaim the Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name. So in 2002 Nicole Kidman’s fake nose won her a Best Actress award for her portrayal of doomed writer and part-time lesbian Virginia Woolf in The Hours, a triumph which came hot on the heels of Hilary Swank’s 1999 win for the moving transgender film Boys Don’t Cry. In 2006 Ang Lee won Best Director – although, controversially, not Best Picture - for doomed cowboy romance Brokeback Mountain and Philip Seymour Hoffman Best Actor for his portrayal of the flamboyantly gay writer Truman Capote. Last year the bloodiest of bleeding hearts – Sean Penn – won Best Actor for his depiction of doomed and flamboyantly gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk.

It is almost a cliché to complain that Hollywood likes its gays either flaming or doomed. And it is, of course, slightly unfair: Oscar season is when Hollywood pretends to be a grown-up and that means getting serious, and serious here means celebrating films that are either whimsy or tragic, regardless of whom the characters in those films go to bed with. But the Academy Awards, in choosing to celebrate certain films for their message rather than a notion of artistic value (however subjective), are deeply concerned with who you do and do not go to bed with. And they want us to care, too.

So in Philadephia we had Tom Hanks being sacrificed at the altar of family values: through his suffering his wisdom served to enlighten his homophobic family-man black lawyer of his own prejudices. In The Hours, the struggle for female and lesbian equality reached its climax in the cosmopolitanism of literary New York. In Boys Don’t Cry and Brokeback Mountain, we saw smalltown hicks being enriched by the sensitivity of same-sex love, only to reject it violently later. Finally, in Milk, we had gays do politics: though he was assassinated in 1978, American politician Harvey Milk was held up as a kind of saviour of liberal values after a decade of the Bush years, and a reflection of the dreams pinned on Obama.

That is not to say that all these ‘gay films’ are devoid of artistic merit. The Hours, Boys Don’t Cry and Brokeback Mountain in particular are complex and powerful works, worthy of repeat viewings. But their recognition by the Oscars, you tend to feel, has less to do with celebrating their artistic qualities or the historic gains made by gay people, and more to do with Hollywood’s cultural elites’ self-obsession: what can The Gays (or, in other cases, The Blacks or the Mentally Ill) say about us? More significantly, it is not really themselves they are seeking to improve (despite the curious absence of gay actors in a city dedicated to the performing arts), but those dreadful ignorant masses, invariably in small and impoverished towns, and their nasty little prejudices. It is not a question here of striving for equality because people’s humanity transcends superficial differences in sexuality or skin colour: rather it’s a case of the noble wisdom of the oppressed offering a quick fix to today’s problems.

As a big fan of Ang Lee I found Brokeback Mountain to be a powerful and deeply affecting film, although I grew tired of defending it against those who simply went to see the film because they expected, not unreasonably, to be treated to a glorious feast of rampant man-on-man action, and instead were left feeling bored – and cheated - by those long, lingering shots of misty mountains and the tense, unspoken angst. It was interesting to discover then that this was also the view of Best Supporting Actor nominee and star Jake Gyllenhaal, who declared that this film ‘means more to me socially than it does artistically’. When Penn won his award, he said with a sly wink at the audience, ‘You commie homo-loving sons of guns. I did not expect this, and I wanted to be very clear that I do know how hard I make it to appreciate me, often. But I am touched by the appreciation.’ (It’s funny, you see, because the audience weren’t pig-ignorant rednecks but wealthy, successful and well-educated Hollywood types.)

I should admit that I’d heard nothing of Harvey Milk until I saw him portrayed on a cinema screen, so I guess my awareness was raised by a film. But, in my case, that film was not Milk but the wonderful Half-Nelson, in which Harvey Milk appears only briefly: in 1970s newsreel footage, in fact, as a crack-addicted schoolteacher played by Ryan Gosling tried to inspire his class of tough, inner-city deadbeats with political idealism and the civil rights movement. So far, so worthy. The film’s real target, however, was the political hollowing out of America’s contemporary liberal middle class. Hence the teacher’s baby-boomer parents (his inspiration) are depicted as exhausted and cynical bores, trapped in a delusional nostalgia for the good old days of the Sixties and unable to grasp the particular complexities of contemporary politics. For all the feelgood gestures of the film’s protagonists, the political defeat of the civil rights movement is writ large in the poverty of America’s inner cities.

Half-Nelson seemed to be nudging towards the conclusion that real political change only comes from mass mobilisation, an inspiring political vision and a clear sense of the forces of history: if you aren’t serious about that, then all you have are memories and the chance to save the occasional individual. After that I wasn’t in a rush to see Milk, which seemed largely to consist of Sean Penn flailing his arms about before getting shot by a baddie (here: homophobe).

Interestingly, much of the most intelligent TV drama of the last few years – from gritty, hard-hitting shows like Oz and The Wire, to more muted domestic dramas such as Six Feet Under and Mad Men – have offered a wide range of gay characters as part of a rounded, well-written and intellectually enriching engagement with life and the world: liberal, yes, but humanist above all else. I look forward to seeing whether A Single Man and Colin Firth have been lauded for offering just that. But I can’t help but feel that if Firth does win Best Actor, it will be because the Academy feels that his performance will do more to elevate my awareness than my soul.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


14 February, 2010

Hating Valentine’s

This Sunday, February 14, is Valentine’s Day, the sacred day that intimate companions mark to celebrate their love and affection for one another. If you’re thinking about making a study of how couples celebrate this day, the Muslim world and the milieus of the radical Left are not the places you should be spending most, if any, of your time. Indeed, it’s pretty hard to outdo jihadists and “progressives” when it comes to the hatred of Valentine’s Day. And this hatred is precisely the territory on which the contemporary romance between the radical Left and Islamic fanaticism is formed.

The train is never late: every time Valentine’s comes around, the Muslim world reacts with ferocious rage, with its leaders doing everything in their power to quash the festivity that comes with the celebration of private romance. Imams around the world thunder against Valentine’s every year — and the celebration of the day itself is literally outlawed in Islamist states. The Saudis, for instance, ruthlessly punish the slightest hint of celebrating Valentine’s Day. Just a few days ago, the Kingdom and its religious “morality” police officially issued a stern warning that anyone caught even thinking about Valentine’s Day will suffer some of the most painful penalties of Sharia Law.

This is typical of the Saudis of course. As Daniel Pipes has reported, the Saudi regime takes a firm stand against Valentine’s every year, and the Saudi religious police monitor stores selling roses and other gifts. They have even arrested women for wearing red on that day. This time around, the narrative is no different: the Saudis have announced that, starting the week of Valentine’s and until February 15, it will be illegal for a merchant to sell any item that is red, or that in any way hints of being connected to Valentine’s Day.  As Claude Cartaginese reports at Newsreal Blog, any merchant found selling such items as red roses, red clothing of any kind (especially dresses), toys, heart-shaped products, candy, greeting cards or any items wrapped in red, must destroy them or face the wrath of Saudi justice.

Christian overseas workers living in the Kingdom from the Philippines and other countries are taking extra precautions, heeding the Saudis’ warning to them specifically to avoid greeting anyone with the words “Happy Valentine’s Day” or exchanging any gift that reeks of romance. A spokesman for a Philippine workers group commented: “We are urging fellow Filipinos in the Middle East, especially lovers, just to celebrate their Valentine’s Day secretly and with utmost care.”

The Iranian despots, meanwhile, are trying to make sure the Saudis don’t outdo them in suffocating Valentine’s Day. Iran’s “morality” police order shops to remove heart-and-flower decorations and images of couples embracing on this day — and anytime around this day. In Pakistan, the student wing of the fundamentalist Islamic party Jamaat-e-Islami has called for a complete ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations. Khalid Waqas Chamkani, a leader in the party, calls it a “shameful day.”

Typical of this whole pathology in the Islamic world was a development witnessed back on February 10, 2006, when activists of the radical Kashmiri Islamic group Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Community) went on a rampage in Srinagar, the main city of the Indian portion of Kashmir. Some two dozen black-veiled Muslim women stormed gift and stationery shops, burning Valentine’s Day cards and posters showing couples together.

In the West, meanwhile leftist feminists are not to be outdone by their jihadi allies in reviling — and trying to kill — Valentine’s Day. Throughout all Women’s Studies Programs on American campuses, for instance, you will find the demonization of Valentine’s Day, since, as the disciples of Andrea Dworkin angrily explain, the day is a manifestation of how capitalist and homophobic patriarchs brainwash and oppress women and push them into spheres of powerlessness. As a person who spent more than a decade in academia, I was privileged to witness this grotesque attack and “deconstruction” of Valentine’s Day at close range. Feminist icons like Jane Fonda, meanwhile, help lead the attack on Valentine’s Day in society at large. As David Horowitz has documented, Fonda has led the campaign to transform this special day into “V-Day” (“Violence against Women Day”) — which is, when it all comes down to it, a day of hate, featuring a mass indictment of men.

So what exactly is transpiring here? What explains this hatred of Valentine’s Day by leftist feminists and jihadis? And how and why does it serve as the sacred bond that brings the radical Left and Islam into its current feast of solidarity?

The core issue at the foundation of this phenomenon is that Islam and the radical Left both revile the notion of private love, a non-tangible and divine entity that draws individuals to each other and, therefore, distracts them from submitting themselves to a secular deity.

The highest objective of both Islam and the radical Left is clear: to shatter the sacred intimacy that a man and a woman can share with one another, for such a bond is inaccessible to the order. History, therefore, demonstrates how Islam, like Communism, wages a ferocious war on any kind of private and unregulated love. In the case of Islam, the reality is epitomized in its monstrous structures of gender apartheid and the terror that keeps it in place. Indeed, female sexuality and freedom are demonized and, therefore, forced veiling, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, honor killings and other misogynist monstrosities become mandatory parts of the sadistic paradigm.

The puritanical nature of totalist systems (whether Fascist, Communist, or Islamist) is another manifestation of this phenomenon. In Stalinist Russia, sexual pleasure was portrayed as unsocialist and counter-revolutionary. More recent Communist societies have also waged war on sexuality — a war that Islam, as we know, wages with similar ferocity. These totalist structures cannot survive in environments filled with self-interested, pleasure-seeking individuals who prioritize devotion to other individual human beings over the collective and the state. Because the leftist believer viscerally hates the notion and reality of personal love and “the couple,” he champions the enforcement of totalitarian puritanism by the despotic regimes he worships.

The famous twentieth-century novels of dystopia, Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We, George Orwell’s 1984, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, all powerfully depict totalitarian society’s assault on the realm of personal love in its violent attempt to dehumanize human beings and completely subject them to its rule. In Zamyatin’s We, the earliest of the three novels, the despotic regime keeps human beings in line by giving them license for regulated sexual promiscuity, while private love is illegal. The hero breaks the rules with a woman who seduces him — not only into forbidden love but also into a counterrevolutionary struggle. In the end, the totality forces the hero, like the rest of the world’s population, to undergo the Great Operation, which annihilates the part of the brain that gives life to passion and imagination, and therefore spawns the potential for love. In Orwell’s 1984, the main character ends up being tortured and broken at the Ministry of Truth for having engaged in the outlawed behavior of unregulated love. In Huxley’s Brave New World, promiscuity is encouraged — everyone has sex with everyone else under regime rules, but no one is allowed to make a deep and independent private connection.

Yet as these novels demonstrate, no tyranny’s attempt to turn human beings into obedient robots can fully succeed. There is always someone who has doubts, who is uncomfortable, and who questions the secular deity — even though it would be safer for him to conform like everyone else. The desire that thus overcomes the instinct for self-preservation is erotic passion. And that is why love presents such a threat to the totalitarian order: it dares to serve itself. It is a force more powerful than the all-pervading fear that a totalitarian order needs to impose in order to survive. Leftist and Muslim social engineers, therefore, in their twisted and human-hating imaginations, believe that the road toward earthly redemption (under a classless society or Sharia) stands a chance only if private love and affection is purged from the human condition.

This is exactly why, forty years ago, as Peter Collier and David Horowitz document in Destructive Generation, the Weather Underground not only waged war against American society through violence and mayhem, but also waged war on private love within its own ranks. Bill Ayers, one of the leading terrorists in the group, argued in a speech defending the campaign: “Any notion that people can have responsibility for one person, that they can have that ‘out’ — we have to destroy that notion in order to build a collective; we have to destroy all ‘outs,’ to destroy the notion that people can lean on one person and not be responsible to the entire collective.”

Thus, the Weather Underground destroyed any signs of monogamy within its ranks and forced couples, some of whom had been together for years, to admit their “political error” and split apart. Like their icon Margaret Mead, they fought the notions of romantic love, jealousy, and other “oppressive” manifestations of one-on-one intimacy and commitment. This was followed by forced group sex and “national orgies,” whose main objective was to crush the spirit of individualism. This constituted an eerie replay of the sexual promiscuity that was encouraged (while private love was forbidden) in We, 1984, and Brave New World.

Thus, it becomes completely understandable why leftist believers were so inspired by the tyrannies in the Soviet Union, Communist China, Communist North Vietnam and many other countries. As sociologist Paul Hollander has documented in his classic Political Pilgrims, fellow travelers were especially enthralled with the desexualized dress that the Maoist regime imposed on its citizens. This at once satisfied the leftist’s desire for enforced sameness and the imperative of erasing attractions between private citizens. The Maoists’ unisex clothing finds its parallel in fundamentalist Islam’s mandate for shapeless coverings to be worn by both males and females. The collective “uniform” symbolizes submission to a higher entity and frustrates individual expression, mutual physical attraction, and private connection and affection. And so, once again, the Western leftist remains not only uncritical, but completely supportive of — and enthralled in — this form of totalitarian puritanism.

This is precisely why leftist feminists today do not condemn the forced veiling of women in the Islamic world; because they support all that forced veiling engenders. It should be no surprise, therefore, that Naomi Wolf finds the burqa “sexy.” And it should be no surprise that Oslo Professor of Anthropology, Dr. Unni Wikan, found a solution for the high incidence of Muslims raping Norwegian women: the rapists must not be punished, but Norwegian women must be veiling themselves.

Valentine’s Day is a “shameful day” for the Muslim world and for the radical Left. It is shameful because private love is considered obscene, since it threatens the highest of values: the need for a totalitarian order to attract the complete and undivided attention, allegiance and veneration of every citizen. Love serves as the most lethal threat to the tyrants seeking to build Sharia and a classless utopia on earth, and so these tyrants yearn for the annihilation of every ingredient in man that smacks of anything that it means to be human.

And so perhaps it is precisely on this Valentine’s Day that we are reminded of the hope that we can realistically have in our battle with the ugly and pernicious unholy alliance that seeks to destroy our civilization. On this day, we are reminded that we have a weapon, the most powerful arsenal on the face of the earth, in front of which despots and terrorists quiver and shake, and sprint from in horror into the shadows of darkness, desperately avoiding its piercing light. That arsenal is love. And no Maoist Red Guard or Saudi fascist cop ever stamped it out — no matter how much they beat and tortured their victims. And no al-Qaeda jihadist in Pakistan or Feminazi on any American campus will ever succeed in suffocating it, no matter how ferociously they lust to disinfect man of who and what he is.  Love will prevail.


Political correctness allowed a crook to flourish in the British police

The only thing black about Commander Ali Dizaei is his hair dye. Yet this Iranian-born policeman, the most senior officer to be jailed for corruption in more than 30 years, was a president of the National Black Police Association. The NBPA was not the only organisation to have been made a fool of by this arch-manipulator of racial politics: the BBC had made his dishonest memoir its Radio 4 Book of the Week, and The Guardian was also a willing media partner in his campaign to become the country’s most powerful policeman.

It is difficult for any organisation to admit to an error of judgment, and the bigger that error, the harder it is. So perhaps it is not so surprising that the NBPA’s immediate reaction to Dizaei’s guilty verdict was to say that his conviction had “come as a surprise”. Meanwhile, this bent copper’s newspaper of choice seemed to have an exclusive post-trial interview, reporting that “Dizaei, 47, remained defiant and told The Guardian the case was ‘completely outrageous and a fit-up’. He said that he had been pursued by the authorities, who had a ‘vendetta’ against him”. Amazing, given that Dizaei had in fact been found guilty himself of fitting up an innocent man who had crossed him, that any newspaper could publish such comments without its pages turning red with embarrassment.

The point, however, is that Dizaei — author of a PhD thesis on “racial discrimination within the police” — wasn’t just a bent copper. He was a politician, brilliantly playing on the fashionable belief that racism is the defining characteristic of British society to advance his career — and his alone. Not everyone was taken in: David Michael, a founder of the original Black Police Association, said last week that Dizaei “subverted the movement for his own ends”. Detective Chief Inspector Michael may have found it easier to say that than some might: he would not fear being described as a racist for attacking Dizaei. After the 1999 Macpherson report’s devastating labelling of the Metropolitan police as “institutionally racist”, its senior ranks had developed an understandable pathological fear of further accusations of bigotry.

Nowadays, if you receive any email from the Metropolitan police, it will contain a lengthy disclaimer at its foot, stating that the message you have just read must not contain “racist, homophobic, transphobic, sexist, defamatory, offensive, illegal or otherwise inappropriate material”. The fact that the police have “illegal” at the bottom of the list and “racist” at the top tells you something about their state of mind, all of 11 years after Macpherson.

Such caution would definitely have prevented any Met officer from observing that Dizaei’s behaviour — acting as if he were untouchable — was possibly cultural in its origins. He comes from a family of Iranian policemen, a body of men not known for their reluctance to throw their weight around. Indeed, if a police commander in Tehran had been embarrassingly confronted in his favourite restaurant, as Dizaei was by a young man — Waad al-Baghdadi — to whom he owed money, the consequences would hardly bear thinking about. A sudden loss of fingernails while in custody would have been the least of it.

It’s fair to say that there have been old-style British cops who in years gone by would have got away with behaving as Dizaei did — although it is uniquely characteristic of the vain and egocentric Dizaei that the dispute was about a bill for work on his personal website. In one sense Dizaei owes his downfall to the discrediting of the police in which he himself played such a part (for example by accusing its most senior officers of “ethnic cleansing”). The mixed-race jury spent little more than two hours in finding Dizaei guilty on all counts; they found it immensely easy to trust al-Baghdadi’s word over that of a commander of the Metropolitan police — and it was an additional irony that his defence lawyer, Michael Mansfield QC, is a man who built his lucrative career on ridiculing the police.

After Dizaei’s conviction, it is not just his supporters who have expressed outrage. Amid the exultation on the right at the humiliation of the blue-eyed boy (so to speak) of the anti-racist movement, many have furiously argued that it was a mark of the Metropolitan police’s enslavement by the forces of political correctness that it promoted such an obvious chancer as Dizaei to the coveted rank of commander.

This, however, is where the politicians have got away with it (which is not usually the case in the British media). The fact is that ever since the Metropolitan Police Authority was set up in 2000, in the wake of the Macpherson report, it has not been in the power of the Met to control its senior appointments. In the name of political “accountability”, all titles of commander and above have been put entirely in the gift of a group of local political figures.

It was not Dizaei’s senior officers at the Met, the “ethnic cleansers” of his imagination, who had made him a commander — I imagine they were appalled by the prospect — but what had been a Labour-dominated political claque. Dizaei was a politician after their own fashion, someone who spoke their language with great fluency and apparent conviction. The same crowd — led by Ken Livingstone — adored the former Metropolitan police commissioner, the inept Sir Ian Blair: Sir Ian, too, was an intensely political figure, whose public utterances were disfigured by the jargon of that trade, appealing to his (temporary) elected masters much more than to his officers.

Sir Ian was forced to resign by Boris Johnson in the week the new London mayor had taken over leadership of the Metropolitan Police Authority. This seems to have been legally valid — and you will immediately see the problem for any current or future Metropolitan police commissioner. As the system currently works (or doesn’t) he can be sacked by the MPA for making a mess of things; but he lacks any authority or right to appoint the men (and women) to the most senior ranks — the very people he needs at his side to ensure the Met is run well, according to his own best judgment.

To put it in the language that new Labour politicians might understand: there is a fatal dislocation between the Metropolitan commissioner’s rights and his responsibilities. Amazingly, the Met chief, Sir Paul Stephenson, can’t even strip Dizaei of his rank as commander; he must wait for the MPA to make up its collective mind.

Worst of all, this much-vaunted democratisation of the Metropolitan police has ensured that plausible “anti-racists”, such as an Ali Dizaei, are promoted to ever more senior ranks, while police officers with no ambition to nurture a personal political constituency are less favoured — doubtless to their resentment and frustration.

For all its corruption in the past — Ali Dizaei was a mere dilettante crook compared with some police officers who have entered the dock over the years — one glory of British policing had always been its absolute independence from the political process. Its best officers understood that they were accountable to the public simply in what they did every day, neither requesting political guidance nor offering it.

One of the most depressing aspects of the racial politics of modern policing, as demonstrated by the career of Ali Dizaei, is that it has deliberately divided the public it serves into the “white community” and the “black community”. It is racism by another name.


Amnesty shows its claws

Its long-standing Leftism is having predictable results.  I was a member of Amnesty once  -- until I found out about its anti-Israel bias  -- JR

When Gita Sahgal questioned the human rights group’s links to Islamic radicals, it suspended her. Now she fears for her safety.  Sahgal argues that Amnesty should not be associated with Cageprisoners, which appears to give succour to militants who believe in global jihad

Amnesty International has made its name as a champion of free speech, campaigning on behalf of prisoners who have spoken out against oppressive regimes around the world. But when it comes to speaking up about the organisation itself ... well, that seems to be a different story.

Last week Gita Sahgal, a highly respected lifelong human rights activist and head of Amnesty’s gender unit, told The Sunday Times of her concerns about Amnesty’s relationship with Cageprisoners, an organisation headed by Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo internee.  Since his release in 2005, Begg has spoken alongside Amnesty at a number of events and accompanied the organisation to a meeting at Downing Street last month. Sahgal felt the closeness of the relationship between Amnesty and Cageprisoners — which appears to give succour to those who believe in global jihad — was a threat to Amnesty’s integrity. “To be appearing on platforms with Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban, whom we treat as a human rights defender, is a gross error of judgment,” she wrote to Amnesty’s leaders following the Downing Street visit.

Feeling her concerns were not being addressed, she decided to go public. Hours after our story appeared she was suspended. Sahgal’s phone started ringing off the hook with news organisations seeking interviews. The story also lit up the blogosphere, partly because of Amnesty’s importance — it has some 2.8m members and a raft of glamorous supporters — but also because what Sahgal was talking about touched that raw nerve, the naivety of white middle-class liberals in dealing with Islamic radicals.

To say the past week has been a difficult one for Sahgal would be an understatement. She fears for her own and her family’s safety. She has — temporarily at least — lost her job and found it almost impossible to find anyone to represent her in any potential employment case. She rang round the human rights lawyers she knows, all of whom have declined to help citing a conflict of interest. “Although it is said that we must defend everybody no matter what they’ve done, it appears that if you’re a secular, atheist, Asian British woman, you don’t deserve a defence from our civil right firms,” she says wryly.

So no one in the human rights world wants to cross swords with Amnesty: that’s no surprise and least of all to Sahgal. “I know the nature of what I’m up against,” she says. “I didn’t do what I did lightly.”  She is feisty, unrepentant and by no means without support: we meet, for instance, in an office lent to her by a family friend of Peter Benenson, the lawyer who founded Amnesty in 1961. She has had many private messages from former colleagues. “People are shocked,” she says. “There is a lot of disquiet in the organisation and that’s been quite heartening.”

Amnesty and Begg have taken issue with what Sahgal, 53, has to say. Claudio Cordone, Amnesty’s interim secretary-general, wrote to The Sunday Times to say it was “preposterous” to accuse Amnesty of being linked in any way to the Taliban. “Amnesty International works with Moazzam Begg as a former detainee of Guantanamo Bay and as a victim of the human rights violations suffered there . . .” he said. “Moazzam Begg has never been tried or convicted of any terrorism-related offences and has publicly rebutted accusations against him in this respect.”

Cordone objected to people like Begg being subjected to “trial by media”, but part of Sahgal’s point is that human rights organisations have to be super-scrupulous not only in the people they choose to support, but also about the company those people keep — and any decisions they make must stand up to public scrutiny.

The treatment of Guantanamo detainees keeps making headlines, the latest last week when the government was forced to publish evidence showing MI5 knew that Binyam Mohamed was being tortured at the United States’s behest. “Amnesty underscores the importance of Binyam Mohamed’s case and of course that’s right,” says Sahgal. “Moazzam Begg has ongoing cases and I hope he wins them. But that’s not the issue.”

Given the sensitivities involved it seems reasonable to ask where Begg’s sympathies lie. In his autobiography he describes becoming interested in Islamic politics in his twenties and he later ran a bookshop that stocked Islamist writing. He travelled to Bosnia and Afghanistan and admits giving money to Muslim combatants, but denies being involved in any fighting.

In 2001 he took his wife and young children to live in Afghanistan in order, he says, to fulfil a dream of being a teacher. He helped to establish a school with sections for boys and girls and installed water pumps. When the allied attack on Afghanistan started later that year, the family fled to Pakistan where Begg, now 42, was picked up. His family have always insisted it was a case of mistaken identity.

In his book he says the Taliban were better than anything Afghanistan had had in the past 25 years. “I was talking about something I believed at the time,” he says now. “That’s what I understood from my knowledge of the country, that there had been no law and order, there had been warlords that had taken over the country, children used as sex slaves, drug production was very high and the Taliban put a stop to all this. That was the reality on the ground. It was the best of the worst.”

He believes it is right to be talking to the Taliban now. “Because the Taliban are Afghans and we are not,” he says. “The British are not Afghans and neither are the Americans. And as much as you might not like what they stand for, they have more right in that land than anyone else.  “Ultimately, what we’re doing now as part of our foreign policy is we’re talking to the Taliban, we are engaging with the Taliban, the people we’ve been demonising for the past nine years, and that is precisely what we did in Northern Ireland.  “I’ve never said we should give the Taliban money — that is what the government is doing. But we need to be engaging with people who we find most unpalatable. So the dialogue with the Taliban is something I not only welcome but something I have been saying for a long, long time.”

As for human rights abuses committed by the Taliban, Begg says he has seen and written about them himself: “I’ve seen them because I lived there. But I’ve seen Americans commit more human rights abuses, I can promise you. But I haven’t said we shouldn’t talk to the Americans.”

He counters Sahgal’s view by saying she is, in her own way, a fundamentalist: “She advocates the government shouldn’t even be engaging with the Muslim Council of Britain. It’s not a normal position.” And he rejects her description of him as Britain’s most famous supporter of the Taliban: “That is a ridiculous thing to say. I have toured the country with former US soldiers several times ... that doesn’t seem to be a very Taliban Al-Qaeda thing to do, does it?”

Indeed it does not. But when Asim Qureshi, one of Begg’s senior colleagues at Cageprisoners, appeared on a radio programme with Sahgal last week and was reminded of a speech he had given at a rally organised by Hizb ut-Tahrir, an Islamist political party, in which Qureshi supported “jihad” against oppression of Muslims, he did not distance himself from the sentiments. Cageprisoners not only campaigns on behalf of those detained without trial, but also for Islamic radicals who have been through the due process of the British courts, such as Abu Hamza and Abu Qatada. Sahgal believes the organisation has an agenda “way beyond being a prisoners’ rights organisation”.

The bigger picture is how human rights organisations — and society more widely — should view Islamic radicals. There has been much debate over whether, spurred by a sentimental knee-jerk anti-Americanism, white liberals have sympathised with Islamic radicals, thereby implicitly tolerating their intolerance, particularly towards women. “For me that’s a form of racism,” says Sahgal, “because what it does is wipe out the experiences of the people they oppress. And it’s not helped by a discourse about a ‘clash of civilisations’, which elides jihadi ideologies and treats them as normal Muslim thinking. That’s devastating for ordinary Muslims.”

If the men incarcerated in Guantanamo were white fascists, she says, “I hope we would defend them. We would have to defend them — but we wouldn’t necessarily put them on 50 or 100 platforms after that”. The problem, she believes, is that human rights organisations want to believe they represent “perfect victims”.  “But a victim can also be a perpetrator,” she says. “It’s a very simple thought.”

This is something that has troubled her for many years. Some years ago, before she joined Amnesty’s staff, she was asked by the organisation to speak alongside a man whose son had been arrested during an insurgency in northern India: “His son had disappeared and he’d gone from police station to police station looking for him. It was a very moving story and it was hard not to cry. He was coming to thank Amnesty for the postcards they’d written and the letters they’d sent to the government. He felt his son owed his life to that, and that, of course, is the power of our work.

“The problem was that he was surrounded by men who were clearly Sikh political activists, allied to the group which assassinated Indira Gandhi. A perfectly well-meaning person had invited me to speak on a platform beside a perfectly genuine victim but hadn’t paid any attention to who accompanied him.”

Now, for flagging up this sort of error, Sahgal finds herself out in the cold. She says she needs to keep talking about this issue because she feels it won’t solve itself. She’ll be watching with interest to see if there is a cooling of relations between Amnesty and Cageprisoners. “The signs are that there won’t be,” she says. “The signs are that the cool relationship is with me.”


Second Amnesty chief attacks Islamist links

A senior executive at Amnesty International has urged the charity to admit it made a “mistake” by failing publicly to oppose the views of a former terror suspect.  Sam Zarifi, Amnesty’s Asia Pacific director, backed Gita Sahgal, an official who was suspended after revealing her concerns about Amnesty’s links to the former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg, a British citizen.

In an internal memo leaked to The Sunday Times, Zarifi, who oversees Amnesty’s work in Pakistan and Afghanistan, claimed the charity’s campaigns blurred the line between giving support for a detainee’s human rights and endorsing extremist views.

“We should be clear that some of Amnesty’s campaigning ... did not always sufficiently distinguish between the rights of detainees to be free from torture and arbitrary detention, and the validity of their views,” says Zarifi in the email, sent to his staff and dated February 10. Zarifi advised Amnesty to consider its working relationships with activists more carefully.

He said: “We did not always clarify that while we champion the rights of all — including terrorism suspects, and more important, victims of terrorism — we do not champion their views.”

Amnesty’s decision to suspend Sahgal, the head of its gender unit, while continuing its support for Begg, 42, of Birmingham, has provoked criticism.


Judicial bias: Race & Gender of Judges Make Enormous Differences in Rulings, Studies Find

A judge's race or gender makes for a dramatic difference in the outcome of cases they hear —at least for cases in which race and gender allegedly play a role in the conduct of the parties, according to two recent studies.

The results were the focus of a program about “Diversity on the Bench: Is the ‘Wise Latina’ a Myth?,” sponsored by the ABA Judicial Division at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Orlando on Saturday afternoon.

In federal racial harassment cases, one study (PDF) found that plaintiffs lost just 54 percent of the time when the judge handling the case was an African-American. Yet plaintiffs lost 81 percent of the time when the judge was Hispanic, 79 percent when the judge was white, and 67 percent of the time when the judge was Asian American.

The comprehensive study, by professors from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and Carnegie Mellon University's Tepper School of Business, examined a random assortment of 40 percent of all reported racial harassment cases from six federal circuits between 1981 and 2003.

A second study (PDF), looked at 556 federal appellate cases involving allegations of sexual harassment or sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The finding: plaintiffs were at least twice as likely to win if a female judge was on the appellate panel.

University of Pittsburgh School of Law Professor Pat K. Chew, who co-authored the racial harassment study, said she found “the rule of law is intact” in the cases she reviewed. Judges —no matter which side they ruled for— took the same procedural steps to reach their decisions, she said.  But judges of different races took different approaches “on how to interpret the facts of the cases,” she said.

Pressed on whether the rule of law could actually be considered intact when outcomes varied so much depending on the race of the judge, she replied: "It’s always made a difference who the judge was. We’ve long known, for instance, that a judge’s political affiliation makes a difference."

Judge Carol E. Jackson of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri said she was heartened that diversity has crept into the federal court system, where today 20 percent of judges are women and 15 percent are members of minority groups.  "It’s important that different voices are being heard," she said.

The program took its title from a much-debated comment made years ago by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor : “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

The participants never answered the question of whether a Latina judge reaches better conclusions, but at least in some cases, it appears likely that she would reach a different conclusion from a white male jurist hearing the same evidence.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


13 February, 2010

Obama's terror reviews avoid word 'Islamist'

Two new documents laying out the Obama administration's defense and homeland security strategy over the next four years describe the nation's terrorist enemies in a number of ways but fail to mention the words Islam, Islamic or Islamist.

The 108-page Quadrennial Homeland Security Review, made public last week by the Department of Homeland Security, uses the term "terrorist" a total of 66 times, "al Qaeda" five times and "violent extremism" or "extremist" 14 times. It calls on the U.S. government to "actively engage communities across the United States" to "stop the spread of violent extremism."

Yet in describing terrorist threats against the United States and the ideology that motivates terrorists, the review - like its sister document from the Pentagon, the Quadrennial Defense Review - does not use the words "Islam," "Islamic" or "Islamist" a single time.

Although the homeland security official in charge of developing the review insists it was a not a deliberate decision, the document is likely to reignite a debate over terminology in the U.S.-led war against al Qaeda that has been simmering through two administrations.

"There was not an active choice" to avoid using terms derivative of Islam, Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Policy David Heyman told reporters on a conference call. President Obama had "made it clear as we are looking at counterterrorism that our principal focus is al Qaeda and global violent extremism, and that is the terminology and language that has been articulated" by Mr. Obama and his advisers, Mr. Heyman added. He declined to use the I-word.

The sensitivity to terminology is not new. In April 2008, during the George W. Bush administration, an official guide produced by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), the multiagency center charged with strategic coordination of the U.S. war on terrorism, urged officials not to use the words "Muslim" or "Islamic" in conjunction with the word "terrorism."

Such usage "reinforces the 'U.S. vs. Islam' framework that al-Qaeda promotes," read the NCTC's "Words That Work and Words That Don't: A Guide for Counterterrorism Communication."

Instead, the guide urges policymakers to use terms such as "violent extremists," "totalitarian," and "death cult" to characterize al Qaeda and other terrorist groups.

The Obama administration has adopted "violent extremism" as its catchall phrase for terrorism.

It is advice that officials at the Defense Department also appear to have taken to heart. The 128-page Quadrennial Defense Review - which like the homeland-security review is a congressionally mandated effort to ensure budgeting and other planning efforts are properly aligned against threats to the nation - also eschews words associated with Islam, employing instead the constructions "radicalism," "extremism" or "violent extremism."


The Leftist British establishment's intense hatred for self-defence again

Final victory in court for father who stabbed axe thug to protect family

A father who stabbed a thug threatening his family with an axe won a crucial victory for homeowners yesterday after the government's top lawyer failed to have him jailed.  Kenneth Blight, 51, walked free from the Appeal Court after the country's most senior judge threw out an application from the Attorney General to increase his original sentence.

Baroness Scotland QC pursued the father-of-three after he was given a two-year suspended jail term for stabbing drug-crazed teenager Andrew Nelson in a bid to protect his partner and children in their home.  She argued the original sentence was 'unduly lenient'.

But in a stinging judgment that could signal greater rights for homeowners to protect themselves from intruders, her application was dismissed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge.   Describing Mr Blight as a 'decent' and 'mild natured' man, Lord Judge said the decision to let him walk free last October was 'humane and justifiably merciful'.  'This man feared for his life and initially picked up the knife to defend himself,' he ruled.  'He retaliated momentarily and in the most extenuating and exceptional circumstances.  'This was a decent middle-aged man in his own home, goaded beyond endurance by an attack on him with an axe by a much younger man.  'This was not an ordinary case - this was an exceptional one.'

In a further swipe at the Attorney General, the judge allowed an appeal against the length of Mr Blight's suspended term, cutting it from two years to one.

Last night Mr Blight - who served four and a half months in jail on remand awaiting trial - slammed the Attorney General for 'wasting' taxpayers money.  The case against him is thought to have cost £30,000.  He said: 'Obviously I am relieved it is over. But I am disgusted how much taxpayers money has been spent on the case. I was just trying to protect myself.  'At the end of the day you should have the right to defend yourself in your own home. My attacker should have gone to court rather than me.'

His case will bolster the argument that householders have a right to protect their home.  The Home Secretary has pledged to review the law and the Tories have made a manifesto commitment that 'have-a-go heroes' should be protected from prosecution.

Mr Blight was charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm after he stabbed 19-year-old Nelson on May 30 last year. He pleaded guilty at Teesside Crown Court.  Nelson, the son of his partner, was high on drink and drugs when he tried to use the family home in Thornaby, Teesside, as a hideout from drug dealers to whom he owed money.  Mr Blight confronted the teenager after he spent the day drinking and smoking cannabis and told him that he wanted him out of the house.  He did not want drug dealers endangering his three children with threatening visits to the home.

Nelson reacted furiously and picked up an axe that Mr Blight had loaned him for a camping trip, striking him twice on the leg with the blunt side and causing the older man 'massive bruising'.  The teenager was bundled into the garden by a friend and his mother, while still brandishing the axe and threatening Mr Blight.  Mr Blight then took up the knife, fearing that Nelson would break back into the house and went into the garden intending to scare him into giving up the axe.  But when he tried to grab the axe Nelson swung it at him, inflicting a cut to his elbow and several cuts to his hands.

Mr Blight lashed out and stabbed the teenager once in the base of the neck, severing major blood vessels.  He later told police he had forgotten he was holding the knife. Mr Nelson underwent emergency surgery and survived.


The false rape claims never stop coming in Britain

Even though the British are pretty good about jailing the women concerned.  False rape claims never happen according to some feminists but Britain is vivid disproof of that

A woman who stripped and tied herself up before telling police she had been sexually assaulted was found guilty of perverting the course of justice, police said.   Gail Sherwood told officers she was dragged off to woods by a man with a weapon who then raped her as she returned to her car from walking her dogs on April 25 2008.   On June 1 2008 she said she was hit over the head and taken in her car to a remote spot where she was raped.  She was found naked from the waist down on one occasion with gaffer tape over her mouth and her hands tied behind her.  A police helicopter also found her half-naked behind a fence on another occasion.

The 52-year-old told detectives a stalker was harassing her and then blamed a motorist after they were involved in a minor car crash.  He was arrested on suspicion of harassment but released without charge after being held for 20 hours.

Sherwood, of Thrupp, Stroud, Gloucestershire, was caught after police set up a security camera outside her house.  The mother of two initially admitted making up the harassment and stalking claims after her arrest but she denied three charges of perverting the course of justice at Bristol Crown Court.  A jury today found her guilty of all three counts and she is due to be sentenced on March 4, police said.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Shorrock said outside court: "Gloucestershire Constabulary take all reports of sexual assaults very seriously and following Ms Sherwood's allegations an in-depth and thorough investigation was launched.  "Ms Sherwood has wasted significant police time and resources with these false allegations but what is most upsetting is the way a false claim such as this completely undermines those people whose lives have been devastated by genuine crimes of this nature. 

"We are pleased that justice has been done but most importantly we want to reassure genuine victims that each case is treated in a sensitive manner by specially trained officers.  "We work in close partnership with the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital and would like to encourage victims to report their experience to ensure they are given support and that everything possible is done to bring offenders to justice."


It is Britain's liberal elite that feels tortured

Why has torture become a flashpoint political issue today when it was so flagrantly ignored in the past?

The British government’s loss in the Court of Appeal yesterday, where three judges ruled that it must make public a report on the alleged torture of British resident Binyam Mohamed while in US captivity for seven years, has delighted anti-torture campaigners. But while it is always satisfying when government censorship is overturned, it is worth asking what lies behind today’s radical and media distaste for torture. It might look like an edgy campaign, but there is something distinctly narcissistic and even conservative about it.

Binyam Mohamed is an Ethiopian national who moved to Britain in 1994. In 2001, he travelled to Afghanistan, for disputed reasons, and he was arrested in Karachi in 2002 while attempting to fly to Britain on a false passport. He was detained in Afghanistan, allegedly tortured in Morocco, and eventually flown to Guantanamo Bay, where he was held prisoner from 2004 to February 2009.

The UK Foreign Office redacted information pertaining to America’s alleged ‘cruel, inhuman and degrading’ treatment of Mohamed, but the Court of Appeal has now insisted that the censored text be published. Anti-torture campaigners have welcomed the court’s implication that the UK government, as one headline summarised it, was ‘devious, dishonest and complicit in torture’ (1).

Yet one question remains: when and why does torture become a flashpoint political issue and a concern for the liberal elite? Recent history tells us that torture does not always make the front pages of the papers and does not always agitate radical and liberal campaigners to the extent that they will build campaigns against it. It is not the acts of torture themselves that determine whether or not torture becomes a big issue, but the political circumstances surrounding them and the question of whether the conflict in question is considered legitimate and the government of the day is seen as ‘decent’ or ‘decadent’.

This was brought home by a headline in the Guardian in December last year. After years of frontpage splashes on America’s torture of suspected Islamic militants, on 21 December 2009 the Guardian ran a headline saying: ‘British army waterboarded suspects in 1970s.’ (2) It was a report on Liam Holden’s appeal against his 1973 conviction for killing a British soldier in Northern Ireland, a conviction that was based on an unsigned confession extracted from Holden by members of the Parachute Regiment who put a ‘towel over his face before pouring water from a bucket over his nose and mouth, giving him the impression that he was drowning’. In other words, they ‘waterboarded’ him.

This is extraordinary – no, not that waterboarding and other forms of torture took place in Northern Ireland, which many of us have known about for years, but the fact that it took until 2009 for an act of torture that took place in Britain in 1973 to be covered by a British newspaper. What is more extraordinary is that over the past five years, liberal campaigners have spent a great deal of energy trying to uncover evidence of America’s waterboarding of terror suspects, and Britain’s knowledge of this fact, while there remain in recent British history unexposed and unexplored instances of waterboarding.

Torture was widespread during the conflict in Northern Ireland between 1969 and 1994 – but it was rarely, if ever, covered by the British press, and it certainly did not generate indignant campaigns. Irish republicans and Catholics arrested by the police or picked up by the army were subjected to sleep deprivation, ‘white noise’ tactics, waterboarding, ‘death scenarios’ (in which they were made to believe that they were about to die, such as being held out of low-flying helicopters), threats of violence and actual violence.

Suspects were stripped naked – to ‘enhance their vulnerability’ – and had ‘opaque cloth bags with no ventilation’ put over their heads. They were subjected to ‘wall-standing’, which involves forcing a suspect to adopt the search position by leaning against a wall – one suspect was kept like this for 43.5 hours. Other suspects were kept in close proximity to machinery that made a continuous, monotonous whine and were kept awake for days on end. This reportedly drove one man to try to commit suicide by banging his head against the metal pipes running though his cell (3).

There were some complaints about these activities. The Republic of Ireland complained to the European Court of Human Rights in 1971. Amnesty International carried out some investigations. The British government launched the Compton Inquiry into torture in 1971, which found, unsurprisingly, that there had definitely been ‘ill-treatment’, but no torture. But the use of torture in Northern Ireland did not galvanise British liberals and it certainly did not stir the media to send investigative reporters to find out as much as possible for the purposes of frontpage splashes.

The disparity between today’s coverage of the torture of suspected Islamic militants and yesterday’s non-coverage of the torture of suspected Irish republicans is not only striking because it reveals a double standard in British liberal angst. More fundamentally, it shines a light on the politics of torture and the question of when and why torture becomes a problem for a certain section of society.

The use of torture in a conflict normally becomes a flashpoint issue only when that conflict has lost its legitimacy in the eyes of the government’s critics and when a government itself is seen as decayed and past its sell-by date. In other words, the obsession with torture is quite often a proxy for expressing angst about the governments that rule over us and about our values and way of life. Torture is rarely focused on as a way of criticising military interventionism per se or as part of a campaign to support the right to self-determination of other peoples, but mainly as a means of self-criticism and self-exploration, of expressing a broader feeling of weariness with our own ruling bodies.

Fundamentally, the reason why torture in Northern Ireland was never uncovered is because the vast majority of British liberals and radicals considered Britain’s war in Ireland to be legitimate. They might have occasionally expressed concerns when things went too far – such as with the massacre of 13 unarmed Catholics on Bloody Sunday in 1972 or the use of plastic bullets against protesters or allowing 10 republican prisoners to die in the Hunger Strike of 1981 – but their acceptance of Britain’s right to govern Northern Ireland, and therefore to suppress the opponents of British rule, meant they approached that conflict with no serious critical zeal. By contrast, the ‘war on terror’ is seen by many as illegitimate, or at least as questionable, which means they are more likely to ask awkward questions.

Even then, however, the focus on torture as the worst possible aspect of the ‘war on terror’ launched by America and Britain is revealing. Torture specifically is taken up because it is the issue through which the liberal elite’s main grievance about the ‘war on terror’ can be expressed: no, not that it is a reckless, ill-thought-through foreign venture that has denigrated the sovereign and democratic rights of the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, but that certain aspects of it bring shame on British society.

It is instructive to look back at another time in history when torture became a major focus of liberal and radical campaigning – during France’s Algerian War of 1954 to 1962. For some French intellectuals, the worst thing about France’s war against the Algerian independence movement was not the massacres of Algerians or the suppression of the Algerian people’s self-determination, but the French military’s use of torture against Algerian prisoners (as depicted in the brilliant 1962 film The Battle of Algiers). French intellectuals described the torture as ‘la gangrene’, a disease that would infect French society. Jean-Paul Sartre admitted to feeling ‘uneasy’ about the FLN, the main national liberation army fighting against the French colonialists, but said of the French military: ‘But the torture? Can someone retain a friendship with someone who approves of it?’ (4) Many of the French campaigners against torture in Algeria made clear that they didn’t support the Algerian independence fighters but were concerned about the impact that the use of torture would have on ‘French integrity and the reputation of the French military’ (5).

Discomfort with torture became a way of expressing concerns about the state of French society itself. Today, too, torture has become more about us than them. Contemporary anti-torture campaigners also refer to torture as a ‘disease’ (echoing the French ‘gangrene’) that is undermining what it means to be British (6). But today’s myopic focus on torture is history repeated as farce. At least Sartre and other French intellectuals opposed torture in an attempt to recapture ‘the France of the Rights of Man and Citizen’, and of course others went further still and questioned France’s suppression of African people’s democratic rights (7). Today’s anti-torture campaigners, by contrast, merely want to expose Britain’s alleged slavishness to the evil Bushites and generate a Love, Actually-style world in which floppy-haired British PMs stand up for fair play and decency. It is really they who feel tortured, morally and politically.

The usefulness of the torture issue today is that it allows campaigners to focus on the acts of one military man against one suspect, thus removing broader national and democratic questions and replacing them with narrow discussions of fairness and individual morality. They have disgracefully distilled the entire ‘war on terror’ and the destruction of Afghanistan into What Was Done To Binyam Mohamed.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


12 February, 2010

The sexual devolution

By Suzanne Fields

Men are marrying up. Increasing numbers of men are marrying women with more education and a bigger paycheck than they have. Women had best forget looking for a knight on a white horse. They may not like it - and many don't - but the knight errant probably is trying to run away on a gray mule.

That might be a wee overstatement, but the Pew Research Center reports that the number of wives with greater incomes than their husbands rose from 4 percent in 1970 to 22 percent in 2007. In almost a third of marriages in 2007, the wife had more education than her husband, up from 20 percent in 1970 to 28 percent. The number of years of formal education doesn't mean smarter or wiser, but it does indicate the likelihood of a better job for the wives, who then tend to be the primary breadwinners.

The stories beyond the statistics are dramatic and sad. For a long time, feminists complained about fairy tales peopled with Prince Charming; they imagined that such stories prevented little girls from asserting themselves. The new Walt Disney movie "The Princess and the Frog" turns on its head the ancient tale of the little girl who kisses a frog and turns it into a prince; she kisses the frog and turns into a frog herself, at least temporarily. The next version probably will keep the little boy a frog forever. That's hardly something to croak about, satisfying only the girl frogs who long ago resigned themselves to taking an ugly green guy, warts and all.

Not all women are buying the new scenario, and sad corollaries abound. I've met women who wanted good fathers for their children but spurned less "qualified" prospects for a date with a laboratory sperm just out of the deep freeze. Over the past three decades, more women with college educations have been choosing to have children without husbands. According to the Pew survey, their less-educated sisters are only half as likely to make this choice.

Anecdotal evidence is sadder still. I once gave a party for an eligible college-educated bachelor and invited several attractive, successful single women in their late 30s to meet him. All the women said they had expected to have children with a husband by then. My attempt at playing Cupid failed, too. The bachelor saw his possibilities as endless, and the women, all self-sufficient, were by this time unwilling to "settle." Picky, picky.

Certain college administrators, afraid of hitting a tipping point where qualified women vastly outnumber men on campus, have begun to discriminate against qualified women to keep the sex ratio fairly even. The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is looking into this as a variation on reverse discrimination.

The woman who has become something of a version of the man she once wanted to marry can support herself now without a guy, but her child will have no daddy to sit at the bedside to read "Goodnight Moon" to her son or daughter. The house husband, much praised by feminists in the early stages of liberation, never arrived. Now, late but not necessarily better, he's more likely to appear by default during recessionary times. Seventy percent of the recent layoffs are in male-dominated occupations.

Hugh Hefner matched Gloria Steinem with contributions to the sexual revolution that liberated both sexes to enjoy sex without guilt, stigma or the seal of a marriage license, and he's an octogenarian roue now. The men he tutored in playboyhood have become dapper metrosexuals and are now something the hipper than thou call the urban caveman. The caveman imitates his Paleolithic brother by eating large quantities of meat (stored in his freezer) while focusing, as the New York Times describes it, on "sprinting and jumping to replicate how a prehistoric person might have fled from a mastodon."

The fashion flourishes in America and Europe among lean, muscled, physically fit males with a taste for running bare-chested in bare feet, often in frigid weather. (One presumes they're insured by little green geckos, also coldblooded.) These hunters manque may not woo a gatherer mate, but because they eat most of their meat raw, there's not a lot to do in the kitchen.

Such caricatures of male aggressiveness tell us little about the significant biological differences between men and women, but the unintended consequences of the sexual revolution, for all of its enabling advantages for women, also enable men to be boys for a long time, if not forever. Girls must put off womanhood whether they like it or not. Courtship is coarsened, and babies still need daddies. Alas, there's no modern fairy tale about the woman who breaks the glass ceiling with the spike heel of a glass slipper, the gift of a princely man.


Racist Bill Gates Scholarships Exclude White Kids

When I saw a webpage by the “National Policy Institute (NPI)” titled Bill Gates: White kids not eligible for my scholarships I thought it was just a baseless rant. The commentary didn’t provide any references which added to my skepticism that it was a hoax
Bill Gates has made his scholarship fund off limits to white teenagers. The Gates Millennium Scholarship fund is financed by a $1 Billion endowment Bill Gates made in 1999. The fund explicitly denies eligibility to white students.      “Students are eligible to be considered for a GMS scholarship if they: Are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander American, or Hispanic American;”

I decided to do some research in order to debunk this rumor before it starts racing through the internet. Much to my displeasure I confirmed that it’s true that the Bill Gates scholarship intentionally excludes white people. Actually it excludes many races besides Caucasian. Keep reading to understand how I came to that conclusion — and don’t worry — I will provide enough references to make your head spin!

The first place to go is the source — the Gates Millennium Scholarship home page. The NOMINEE PERSONAL INFORMATION FORM 2010 reveals a few disturbing surprises — scroll down to Item #8 where you will find that U.S. Residency is required, and then you must choose from the following choices:

    * U.S. Citizen

    * Permanent Resident / National

If you are a permanent resident or a foreign national you are required to enter your “COUNTRY OF CITIZENSHIP”. So, in other words you don’t have to be a U.S. Citizen but you do have to be a legal alien, which might mean nothing more than having a student visa. It might sound like anybody in the world is welcome to apply for the scholarship but item #9 quickly disproves that idealistic notion. My first impression is that somebody made a mistake on the form:

You must choose one of the following:
    * African American

    * American Indian / Alaska Native

    * Asian Pacific Islander / American

    * Hispanic American

By now you have noticed that “Caucasian” isn’t offered as a choice but at this point I thought it was a mere oversight. The FAQs page gives answers to some of the obvious questions:
If a person is applying for their permanent residence or U.S. Citizenship are they eligible to apply for the Gates Millennium Scholarship?

    A student is eligible to apply for the Gates Millennium Scholarship if (he or she) is a citizen, national or legal permanent resident of the United States

    What are the requirements for the American Indian/Alaska Native designation for Gates Scholar Nominees?

    American Indian/Alaska Native students will be asked to provide proof of tribal enrollment or certificate of decent from a state of federally recognized tribe if selected as a GMS candidate finalist.

    What are the eligibility criteria for the GMS program?

    Students are eligible to be considered for a GMS scholarship if they: •Are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American •Are a citizen, national or legal permanent resident of the United States

    What ethnic groups comprise Asian Pacific Islander Americans?

    Asian Pacific Islander Americans include persons having origin from Asia and/or the Pacific Islands. Asian includes persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. Pacific Islander includes persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawai’i, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. Citizens of the republic of the Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, and the Republic of Palau are also eligible to be nominated.

The NPI report isn’t new news as you will see from the following papers.

Theodore Cross, writer at the The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education, wrote a paper in 1999 that discusses the history of the Bill Gates scholarship: “Bill Gates’ Gift to Racial Preferences in Higher Education“. Make no mistake, Cross thinks it’s a darn good idea that Gates discriminates against whites, and he isn’t very subtle about it either:
  Racial conservatives are correct. The huge billion-dollar Gates Millennium Scholarship program is racially discriminatory. The terms could not be cleaner. Whites may not apply!

Theodore Cross hasn’t been very sympathetic in other writings either: The Folly of Setting a Grand Theory Requiring Race Neutrality in All Programs of Higher Education“, 2000.
   If you believe that there should be no room whatsoever for any race-conscious policies in higher education, have a careful look at the legions of university programs that are now in place. You may then change your mind. In fact, what you see may cast some doubt on the theoretical underpinnings of the Hopwood ruling banning all considerations of race in student admissions.

Cross has written many other papers, like for instance: “Barack Obama is the Superior Choice for African-American Voters“, 2007.
For the first time in the history of our country, a black man has a credible chance of becoming president of the United States. After the long nightmare years of slavery, lynchings, Jim Crow, and enduring race discrimination, one would expect that, in the upcoming presidential primary contest, Illinois Senator Barack Obama would be the overwhelming choice of black American voters.

I want to conclude with a few other opinions mostly because it’s interesting to see the cold and indifferent ways discrimination against Caucasians is discussed in academic circles, and how widely it’s understood that the Gates scholarship is discriminatory.

Towards an Establishment Clause Theory of Race-Based Allocation after Grutter: Administering Race-Conscious Financial Aid“, Maurice R. Dyson, Southern Methodist University, Law School, 2004
  Thus, there is a multi-layered analysis of private choice. The private choice of donors to restrict aid on the basis of race and the private choice of scholarship recipients to direct the aid to whatever institution would be acceptable. This accounts for why a Gates Millennium scholarship or United Negro College fund might withstand strict scrutiny for each involves private donors and private recipients without any university intervention.

The Impact of the Gates Millennium Scholars Program on Selected Outcomes of Low-Income Minority Students: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis, Stephen L. DesJardins, Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education, University of Michigan and Brian P. McCall, Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota. October 2006
The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS) program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to improve access to and success in higher education for low-income and high-achieving minority students by providing them with full tuition scholarships and other types of support.     Estimates are provided for each of the minority groups covered by the scholarship (African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino/a students).

Considering all of the open talk that has occurred for over a decade of time about the Gates scholarship, it’s truly amazing that whites have been so silent. Maybe they don’t care whether their kids get lucrative scholarships, or maybe they feel that designated minorities deserve preferences. Go figure!


Amnesty collaborates with  a Muslim extremist who has supported jihadi movements

Amnesty was taken over by the left years ago

If you were a prisoner of conscience, a dissident, hounded by the authorities, imprisoned without proper process, shut up, shut in and shut down, then an organisation such as Amnesty International might be your one breath of air. Those Amnesty postcards, which seem like flinging a dart from a mountainside, may keep someone from despair. So the news that there is trouble at Amnesty is not welcome, except to tyrants. And yet it is hard not to see these ructions as being Amnesty’s own fault.

The problem came to prominence at the weekend when The Sunday Times reported that one of Amnesty’s senior officers, Gita Sahgal, had circulated a memorandum extremely critical of the organisation’s collaboration with a group called Cageprisoners. Cageprisoners’ most famous figure is the former Guantánamo inmate Moazzam Begg, a man whose three years’ incarceration without trial has helped, for many liberals, to turn him into a kind of Muslim Mandela — an embodiment of the wrongly accused.

Saghal does not dispute Begg’s ordeal. She objects to Begg, however, being used as a kind of poster boy for important Amnesty campaigns when, in her view, he is not a great stickler for the rights of others.

Amnesty, by promoting Begg, she argues, has misled people about his jihadi politics, and been blinded to the nature of his organisation, which “actively promotes” anti-woman Islamic ideas and individuals. Yesterday, probably inevitably, Sahgal was suspended from her job.

Readers of this column possibly know that I don’t believe all the millenarian twaddle about Eurabia, the innate anti-democracy of Islam, or that most Muslims somehow don’t want what most non-Muslims want: respect, equal rights and happy children. But that said, it seems to me that there are parts of our right-thinking establishment that are too cowardly or aesthetically unwilling to separate the religious sheep from the jihadi goats.

A couple of years ago I was invited to debate with Moazzam Begg, but in the event he pulled out. I wasn’t surprised. It was clear to me, and I had suggested it, that while there was no evidence that he was a al-Qaeda sympathiser, there certainly was plenty of reason to believe that he was a political extremist who supported jihadi movements abroad.

In the wake of the Sahgal statement, that strangely likeable but unreasonable Muslim convert, the former journalist Yvonne Ridley, complained that Begg was being “demonised” and asserted that he was “a great supporter of women and a promoter of their rights”.

Consider. By his own account, in 1993, Begg had gone to a training camp in Afghanistan. There he was addressed by the camp’s leader who told him: “To me jihad is a drug I’m allowed to take and I always come back for more ... As long as Muslim lands are occupied I have vowed to fight for their liberation.” The leader mentions several such lands, including Kashmir and Israel, and quotes approvingly a Chechen fighter whose credo was “much of mankind has chosen life as a path to death, but I have chosen death as a path to life”.

Is Begg horrified by this commitment to never-ending war? Not a bit. “The Afghan visit was a life-changing experience for me. No few days have ever affected me like that. I had met men who seemed to me exemplary in their faith and self-sacrifice, and seen a world that awed and inspired me.”

So Begg ends up taking his family, including two daughters, to live in Taleban-run Afghanistan in the summer of 2001. This must be about two months after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas, two years after the televised execution of a woman in the football stadium in Kabul, and in the full knowledge that Taleban police were beating women for improper dress, had fired all women in public service, would not permit women to see male doctors and had more or less abolished education for women.

Yet Begg writes: “I believed that the Taleban had made some modest progress — in social justice and upholding pure, old Islamic values forgotten in many Islamic countries.” As far as one can tell, Begg has never recanted this belief.

According to Begg, his organisation exists to represent (Muslim) prisoners who, in his words, have neither been charged nor been sent to trial. But the Cageprisoners website demands solidarity for several jihadis who have been both tried and convicted, and for several more who are at large. One wonders whether Amnesty has perused the full list, which includes Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani- American currently on trial for shooting US soldiers. Also there are Abu Hamza, Sajid Badat, who confessed to being part of the plot to blow up an aircraft with a shoe-bomb, and was sentenced to 13 years in 2005, and Andrew Rowe, the convert also given 13 years for acts preparatory to terrorism.

Then there is Begg’s dalliance with Anwar al-Awlaki, the man whom the recent pants bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, has fingered as being his practical inspiration. Awlaki has called for the killing of the Danish cartoonist, Kurt Westergaard, praised the Somali girl-stoners and murderers of al-Shabaab for “giving us a living example of how we as Muslims should proceed to change our situation” and described hatred of the unbeliever as being a “central element to our military creed”. In a recorded interview with al-Awlaki from two years ago Begg says to this man: “Obviously many people want you to come here to the UK to give lectures ... a lot of your supporters, mashallah.” “Mashallah” is an expression of approval.

As if all that were not enough a video exists of a senior researcher at Cageprisoners, Asim Qureshi, addressing a rally of Hizb ut-Tahrir. Qureshi says: “When we see the example of our brothers and sisters fighting in Chechnya, Iraq, Palestine, Kashmir, Afghanistan then we know where the example lies. When we see Hezbollah defeating the armies of Israel, we know what the solution is and where the victory lies.” The brothers and sisters in Afghanistan are the Taleban.

When he was putting together his week of lectures on the war against terror at UCL in 2007, the would-be bomber Abdulmutallab invited Begg, Qureshi, Ridley and that dangerous idiot George Galloway to speak. He did so because he knew that the cumulative effect of their commissions and omissions would be to radicalise his audience. Not in defence of human rights. Not in favour of Western agendas such as Amnesty’s, but against democracy, women’s rights and peace. You have to be a something of a fool not to see it.


The Paradox of Jewish Capitalists

Are the beneficiaries of free markets also its most ardent opponents?  BOOK REVIEW by Guy Sorman of "Capitalism and the Jews", by Jerry Z. Muller, which denies the paradox.  I must say that I think both Muller and Sorman are walking around with their eyes closed.  American Jews vote overwhelmingly for Left-inclined candidates.  Milton Friedman was right

In a 1972 lecture, “Capitalism and the Jews,” Nobel laureate Milton Friedman presented a paradox: Jews “owe an enormous debt to free enterprise and competitive capitalism,” he said, but “for at least the past century the Jews have been consistently opposed to capitalism and have done much on an ideological level to undermine it.” According to historian Jerry Muller, Friedman’s paradox may make for a great headline, but it cannot be substantiated. Only the first premise is true—there is little doubt that capitalism has benefited Jews. And as Muller shows, there is equally little doubt that Jews have excelled at developing capitalism in the West.

In his new collection of essays, Muller concurs with Friedman in explaining how free markets counteract anti-Semitic prejudice by putting it at a competitive disadvantage. A law firm that hires only lawyers of the dominant ethnic group will lose clients to a firm that hires the best lawyers, regardless of origin. As economist Thomas Sowell has demonstrated, discrimination is most likely to occur under conditions of monopoly; in a more competitive market, prejudice becomes disadvantageous.

Jews have thus benefited from capitalism, which explains why their liberation in Europe and America occurred in direct relation to the progress of the market. Muller adeptly shows how in the nineteenth century, Jews were oppressed where capitalism didn’t exist, such as in Russia and the Ottoman Empire. But they could escape oppression in Western Europe, where the free market was replacing public and private monopolies. Still more welcoming was America, to which Jews migrated in large numbers because it was simultaneously the land of free-market opportunity and freer of anti-Semitism than Europe.

Why have certain ethnic minorities benefited more from capitalism than others? Muller tries to avoid generalization, but he can’t escape the fact of Jewish success within the capitalist system. Muller argues that Jews were well-positioned to succeed at capitalism; they’d shown a preference for market-oriented occupations going back to the Middle Ages. Along with most historians, Muller traces Jews’ “commercial propensities” to the legal and political environment of medieval Europe: Jews had no choice but to become moneylenders or peddlers, as landowning was usually denied to them. They retained these pursuits into the modern period, and added a taste for the liberal professions (law and medicine) that depended on advanced education. Jewish religious education, too, played a role. The Talmud, unlike the Christian tradition, encourages commerce. Muller quotes the praise of commerce by Talmudic authorities in Lithuania—well-known among practicing Jews, though not among secular Jews or non-Jews—and he argues that commerce gave the Jews more free time to read the Talmud than other trades could. It is thus no surprise that in the 38 years the Nobel Prize for economics has been awarded, it has gone to an economist of Jewish origin 22 times.

But what about Friedman’s contention that Jews were ideologically opposed to capitalism? Were Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky Jews only by coincidence? Muller sees two cultural reasons why Jews were so active in the beginnings of European socialism. For many, socialism represented a break with the past, an escape from the world of the ghetto into a world of post-ethnic comradeship. Also, some Jewish socialists sought, in the Jewish tradition, to reconfigure socialism into secular messianism. Marx, for instance, saw Communism both as the Brotherhood of Man overcoming the ghetto and as the underpinning of a workable messianic age.

Still, Friedman was wrong to confuse the high visibility of Jewish socialists with their number, which was actually modest. In 1920, Winston Churchill, no anti-Semite, made the same mistake when he described the Bolshevik revolution as “the schemes of international Jews.” True, many Russian Communists were of Jewish origin—but “most of the Communists were not Jews,” writes Muller, and “most of the Jews were not communists.” In the 1920s, 95 percent of the Russian Communist Party’s members were non-Jews.

Moreover, since the Enlightenment, many more Jews have promoted democracy and free markets than socialism. It’s true, Muller concedes, that “leading socialist intellectuals were of Jewish origin—but then, so were leading proponents of capitalism.” Since Ronald Reagan’s conservative revolution in the United States, Jewish intellectuals have been leading voices for market-oriented policies: Gary Becker, Richard Posner, Irving Kristol, and others, including Friedman himself. In England, Margaret Thatcher’s leading advisors were Keith Joseph and Leon Brittan, both Jewish. Because Jews are overrepresented in intellectual professions, they tend to be prominent as ideological spokesmen of almost every political tendency.

Instead of the Friedman paradox, one is tempted to raise another, more compelling one, which Muller alludes to: Jews have been simultaneously ardent propagators of socialism and the targeted victims of socialism. Trotsky was the organizer of the Bolshevik Revolution, and anti-Semitism became a pillar of the Stalinist regime in Russia and Eastern Europe. In 1918, the chief rabbi of Moscow is said to have told Trotsky (born Bronstein): “The Trotskys made the revolutions, and the Bronsteins pay for it.” In Russia, this history keeps repeating itself. Today, many Russians are persuaded that the Bolshevik Revolution was a Jewish plot, and because many of the new tycoons are Jewish, capitalism is accused of being a Jewish plot as well. Around and around we go.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


11 February, 2010

What a scandal that this guy was prosecuted:  British police and prosecutors hate those who defend themselves

A father who defended his family from drug-crazed thugs by wounding one with a Samurai sword has been cleared by a jury.  David Fullard, 47, was prosecuted for attacking the two strangers who forced their way into his home and threatened to rape his partner and kill his two teenage children.

He insisted he was a desperate man acting legally in self-defence and struck out once with the ornamental sword, because it was the only weapon to hand.

The blow almost sliced off the ear of Michael Severs, one of the thugs.  The prosecution refused to accept that his actions amounted to lawful self-defence and argued it was 'over the top' to attack a man armed with a knuckleduster by using a 'battlefield weapon'.  The two thugs were both high on a cocktail of drink and drugs at the time, the court heard.

But after a five-day trial at Hull Crown Court, Mr Fullard, a builder, broke down in tears as he was found not guilty of unlawful wounding. It ended a nine-month ordeal for a man described by neighbours as 'honest and caring'. He had faced the threat of a long prison term.  The case represents another landmark in the debate over how far a householder should be allowed to go in defending his home from an intruder.

Yesterday jobless Severs, 22, and Michael Smith, 19, escaped with a suspended prison sentence and 100 hours of community work after admitting affray at the court.  Judge Michael Mettyear then lifted a reporting restriction on the case.

Outside court Mr Fullard criticised the judge for allowing the men to get away with a 'slap on the wrists'.  He added: 'You cannot stand around and do nothing when someone-comes to your house and starts threatening your family.'  Mr Fullard has been supported throughout by partner Susan Neal, 53, and his sons Danny, 14, and Tom, 17, who were in the house during the incident in March last year.  He added: 'I only struck one blow with the sword. If there had been a walking stick or umbrella by the door I would have hit him with that.' 

The court heard Severs and Smith, who both have previous convictions for violence, vaguely knew Mr Fullard's elder son and knocked on the door of the family home in Brough, East Yorkshire, claiming he owed them £5 from earlier in the day.  It was a ruse to get cash but Smith barged into the living room while Mr Fullard was upstairs and threatened Miss Neal. She told the jury he picked up the ornamental sword and said: 'Do you want some of this?'  She said: 'They threatened to rape me, burn the house down, kill the kids and kill Dave.'

Smith then ran out and Mr Fullard was confronted by Severs in the garden. The thug was armed with a spade and a knuckle-duster.  Mr Fullard told the jury he picked up the sword and 'hit him once' and intended for the 'flat of the sword' rather than the blade to connect. He then called police.  Mr Fullard was arrested and only later did police arrest Smith and Severs, who had his ear re-attached in hospital.


Confronting Jews who defame Jews

The time has come to draw red lines between legitimate criticism and initiatives seeking to demonize Israel

Richard Goldstone’s infamous role as the token head of the UNHRC report accusing the IDF of war crimes is only one example of prominent Jews who exploit their origins as a way to defame their people. In fact, until recently, Goldstone was considered a respectable Jew, even a Zionist. He was blinded by hubris and ego, and allowed himself to be seduced by the bitterest enemies of his people into providing legitimization for a blood libel against the Jewish state.

Unlike Goldstone, most Jewish renegades were driven by desperation to unburden themselves from what they regarded as their repressive ethnic and cultural roots. Historian Jacob Talmon described such deviant behavior as “a Jewish neurosis” in response to centuries of oppression and pariah status.  The purported commitment of these Jews to universal and humanitarian values was usually belied by extreme attacks on their own people and association with sponsors who were outright anti-Semites.

Streams of such Jews emerged during the 19th century in the wake of emancipation. A classic example was Karl Marx, whose anti-Semitic diatribes were reflected in outbursts like “money is the jealous god of Israel, by the side of which no other god may exist... The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from Judaism.”  In czarist Russia, some Jewish social revolutionaries even endorsed pogroms against their own kinsmen, hoping that by venting their frustrations on Jews, the masses would ultimately turn on the czar.  Their successors, the Yevsektsiya, the notorious Jewish section of the Soviet Communist Party, became the most vicious persecutors of their own people, frenziedly suppressing all manifestations of Jewish cultural and religious life. Ultimately they too were liquidated in Stalin’s anti-Semitic campaigns.

Many Jews outside the Soviet Union joined the Communist Party out of a mistaken conviction that it represented the most effective way to combat Nazism. But once in the party, they became brainwashed, and applauded as the evil Soviet regime executed their kinsmen and institutionalized state-sponsored anti-Semitism.

AFTER THE Holocaust and the struggle to create the State of Israel, most Jewish anti-Semites hibernated. As the plight of Soviet Jewry became a rallying call uniting Jews throughout the world, the few remaining Jewish communists were marginalized.

Modern Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, a genuine social democrat, appreciated the dangers posed by left-wing nihilists. He strove strenuously to neutralize the extremists and post-Zionists, who only became influential after his retirement and the end of Mapai-Labor Party hegemony.

Today, despite representing a small fringe, the disproportionate influence of anti-Zionist Jewish extremists in global campaigns demonizing Israel has reached an all-time high.  Ironically, the worst elements emanate from Israel.

There is the frenzied agitation by Israeli academics who abuse academic freedom by utilizing their universities as launching pads to delegitimize their own country. Neve Gordon, a political science lecturer at Ben-Gurion University and a typical Jewish defamer of Zion, published an opinion piece last year in The Los Angeles Times calling on the international community to boycott Israel. He and others like him, funded by the Israeli government and philanthropic Diaspora Zionists, exploit their academic positions to support those seeking to destroy us.

A recent study by Im Tirtzu claims that over 90% of the false allegations of Israeli war crimes originating from Israel cited in the Goldstone  Report were provided by 16 NGOs who received close to $8 million from the New Israel Fund, an organization purporting to promote social integration and welfare in Israel, headed by former Meretz MK Naomi Chazan. The NIF also sponsors Arab-Israeli groups promoting a bi-national state and US lecture tours by Arab Israelis on Israel Independence Day promoting the Nakba.

Last year Haaretz highlighted reports accusing the IDF of war crimes which were subsequently proven false. These received massive global media exposure and made a major contribution toward creating the hostile anti-Israeli climate preceding the Goldstone report.

THE ROT extends to the Diaspora, where as a matter of course anti-Israeli groups now employ Jewish spokesmen to cover up their bias and double standards. In the US, the demonizers of Zion are exploiting the eroding relationship between the Obama administration and Israel. Former American Jewish Congress director Henry Siegman described Israel as “the only apartheid regime in the Western world.” Jewish students at campuses are increasingly bombarded with anti-Israel diatribes by Jewish academics such as Norman Finkelstein, who supports Iranians and terrorists, even exploiting the Holocaust suffering of his parents to delegitimize Israel.

In the UK, Jewish parliamentarian Gerald Kaufman compares Hamas to Jewish fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto, disregarding the Hamas Charter which declares that the Day of Judgment will not come until all Jews are killed.

In Belgium, a Jewish playwright scripted a play in which the Philistines assume the role of Israelis and Samson emerges as a heroic Palestinian using a dynamite-loaded vest to blow up his oppressors.

Shlomo Sand, a political science lecturer at Tel Aviv University, achieved celebrity status in Europe by publishing a book titled The Invention of the Jewish People, a farrago of utter nonsense promoting the thesis that being the descendents of the Khazars from the Black Sea region who converted to Judaism in the eighth century, Jews have no historical affinity with the Land of Israel.  This was endorsed in a recent UK Financial Times article by Tony Judt, an American historian who regards the creation of Israel as a mistake and favors a binational state. Under the title “Israel must unpick its ethnic mix,” Judt expressed the hope that American Jews would detach themselves from Israel, as Irish-Americans did from Ireland.

The time has come for action – not to suppress freedom of expression, but to draw red lines between legitimate criticism of government policies and initiatives seeking to demonize and delegitimize the Jewish state. The first step must be to deny tenure in government-sponsored educational institutions to academics who brazenly collaborate with our enemies.  It is gratifying that opposition Kadima MKs are now calling for what will hopefully become a bipartisan investigation into the activities and sources of funding for the NIF and other NGOs.

Whenever criticized, those who call for boycotts of their own country and demonize the IDF as war criminals have the chutzpah to try to defame their critics as McCarthyites and fascists, and threaten libel proceedings. It is their behavior which is morally reprehensible, and we must not be intimidated by such hypocritical tactics.

Israelis and the global Jewish community should be under no illusions. The damage inflicted by Jews collaborating with Israel’s enemies to demonize or delegitimize their country is immense. The only way to neutralize the impact of these renegade groups is to expose and confront them.


Christian churches fed 'Islam lite'

Experts say Muslim Brotherhood carrying out domination strategy in U.S.

An expert on the advance of radical Islam in the United States says the Muslim Brotherhood is effectively employing a strategy of presenting "Islam lite" to organizations, including Christian churches.  A spokeswoman for an Islamic awareness program which monitors how Islamic law motivates Muslims to participate in jihad reported she heard of a United Church of Christ congregation where an Islamic speaker was a guest.  She contacted the church to see if she would be allowed to present some of the harsher truths about Islam.  "The pastor pushed the material back at me and said, 'It's people like you who are responsible for an escalation of the violence,'" the spokeswoman said.  She said organizations such as Hartford Seminary are sending imams "to condition members of the area churches to believe the light version of Islam."

Steve Emerson, director of the Investigative Project for Terrorism, concurred.  "Hartford Seminary is a place that has been compromised by the Muslim Brotherhood, and then there's the Center for Christian and Muslim Understanding at Georgetown University. The center is a de facto arm of the Muslim Brotherhood," Emerson said.

The Muslim Brotherhood is the Sunni transnational movement founded in Egypt in 1928 that has spawned most of the major terrorist movements in the world, including al-Qaida and Hamas. It's aim is to make Islamic law supreme over the world.

Hartford Seminary's website displays photos of smiling, hijab-wearing young women standing arm-in-arm with clergy women in clerical collars. But seminary spokesman David Barrett insists the goal is to foster open dialogue.   "I don't know where to start. Interfaith dialogue and the understanding of other religions is essential to live faithfully in today's multi-faith, pluralistic world," Barrett said. "So we believe strongly and theologically that we need to understand the faith traditions of others and to relate to them and work with them to create a better and more productive, more harmonious world."

That's why, he said, seminary faculty members are familiar with the teachings of Islam.  "Obviously we have experts in Islamic law who are Muslim and we have Christian theologians who have studied other religions… If you're asking if we know what we're doing, the answer is yes," Barrett said.

Asked about Islamic jihad, he said any religion can be misunderstood.  "You can make similar comments about Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism or any other religion. You can take things out of context about any religion and make it look injurious or harmful," Barrett said. "Yes, the faculty here is aware that this is something that it is claimed that Islam promotes violence, just as you can claim that Christianity promotes violence."

But some mainline-denomination churches now are facilitating worship for Muslims, Emerson and the awareness program spokeswoman agreed.  "Just to show how far it's gone, two weeks ago the priest at St. Mary's Episcopal Church in Manchester, Conn., invited an area Muslim congregation to use St. Mary's Church for their Friday prayers," the spokeswoman said.  A St. Mary's secretary said officials there could not comment on their actions.  But a report in the local Journal-Inquirer reported the development, noting the congregation had been pleased to find ways to "work together."

Even high-profile leaders such as megachurch pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church in Lake Forest, Calif., have spoken to organizations such as the Islamic Society of North America, a Muslim Brotherhood group.  Saddleback officials did not respond to a request for comment.

But Emerson believes it's more than just wrong; it's dangerous.  "He's been deceived into believing that … is a legitimately moderate group. In fact, it's a radical organization," Emerson said. "I think there's been a major bit of deception that's been perpetrated by these groups who pretend that they're innocent religious groups looking for affiliations with other theological movements."

A former FBI agent whose expertise is in Islamic issues confirmed the success of Islamic lobbying. He asked that his name be withheld.   "If you don't believe the Brotherhood has been effective at neutralizing some church groups and public advocacy groups, look at this. Common Cause and Hartford Seminary support the Islamic Society of North America. The National Council of Churches and the American Baptist Churches do too," he said.

The Muslim disinformation methodology is illustrated by the 2006 controversy over a speech by Pope Benedict XVI in Regensberg, Germany.  The pope quoted from Manuel II Palaiologos, a Byzantine emperor who was one of the last Christian rulers before the fall of Constantinople to the Muslim Ottoman Empire.   "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached," the pope said, citing the emperor.

Objecting vehemently to the pope's remarks, a group of 38 imams wrote an open letter to the pontiff.  "We would like to point out that 'holy war' is a term that does not exist in the Islamic languages," the imams said. "Jihad, it must be emphasized, means struggle, and specifically struggle in way of God. This struggle may take many forms, including the use of force."

One of the imams was the Islamic scholar Nuh Ha Mim Keller, who translated the classic book on Islamic Law, "Reliance of the Traveler." The book states in section 09.0, "Jihad means to war against non-Muslims, and it is etymologically derived from the word mujahada, signifying warfare to establish the religion."

The effort to co-opt Christian churches includes an attempt to water down Christian theology.   Islamization Watch published a photo on its website of a British Muslim banner on a railing in the Wood Green section of London. The banner, which read "Jesus was a Muslim," stalled traffic and created near-riot conditions so that police had to be called.

P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry write in their WND book, "Muslim Mafia" that Muslims want to Islamize Jesus.  They report the training manual for the Council on Islamic-American Relations  includes information about Jesus.  Among the materials CAIR distributes in its outreach efforts in the U.S. is the book "Jesus: Prophet of Islam" by Mohammad Ata-ur-Rehman and Muslim convert Ahmad Thomson. CAIR also launched a $60,000 advertising campaign  on Florida buses with the message Jesus was a Muslim. The signs read: 'ISLAM: The Way of Life of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad."

One Islamic expert who formerly worked with the U.S. government on terror said Muslims even use the writings of disaffected Christian.  "Muslims are making use of Bart Ehrman's commentaries on the New Testament, books that now deny the authority of the New Testament and portray Jesus as simply a man," he said. "You will never hear a Muslim say that Jesus is the Son of God."


Thank You, Glenn Beck, for Exposing Communism’s Evils

By Jamie Glasov

The tortures included laying a man naked on a freezing cement floor, forcing his legs apart, and then an interrogator stepping on his testicles, applying increasing pressure until the confession surfaced. Imagine the consequences of no surfacing confession. Indeed, many people refused to confess to a crime they did not commit.  Daughters and sons were raped in front of their fathers and mothers — for the sake of extracting “confessions.”

These are just some of the delicacies that the Stalinist machinery inflicted on its citizenry in the hope of bringing socialism into earthly incarnation. Alexander Solzhenitsyn has shared much of this horror with us in his Gulag Archipelago — a work, mystifyingly enough, that I had never heard mentioned, except with a few exceptions, by one professor in a lecture or seminar in my entire eleven years studying Cold War history in academia. It was a work that I never saw, again with a few exceptions, on any academic syllabus — and many of my courses concerned Soviet history and American foreign policy toward the Soviet Union.

Both of my grandfathers were exterminated by Stalinist terror. Both of my parents, Yuri and Marina Glazov, were dissidents in the former Soviet Union. They risked their lives for freedom; they stood up against Soviet totalitarianism. They barely escaped the gulag, a fortune many of our friends and relatives did not share. I come from a system where a myriad of the closest people to my family simply disappeared, where relatives and family friends died under interrogation and torture for their beliefs — or for simply nothing at all.

Now try to imagine me sitting in the company of left-wing “intellectuals” in the West who think they are oppressed. This is my lifelong experience. I remember one radical feminist, whom I sat next to in a graduate student lounge, lecturing me sternly about how women in the West are oppressed because they wear bikinis on beaches; with a reprimanding tone, she explained to me that this represented the way capitalism objectifies women, marginalizes them from spheres of power, and metaphorically decapitates them as human beings. I remember asking her what she thought of female genital mutilation and honor killings in the Muslim world. To this I received a stone-cold silence and a frightening hateful stare, a stare with which I have become accustomed: I would be confined to a gulag or a psychiatric hospital if this particular individual had the power to place me there. This would be done for the good of society of course. My question was heresy: she could not, naturally, admit that evil adversarial cultures and ideologies existed — under which women truly suffer real oppression — for if she did, then she would have to sacrifice her entire worldview and personal identity.

Another colleague of mine, with great moral indignation and personal angst, once complained to me about how we are being “attacked” by Pepsi commercials. “By trying to tell us that we are not cool if we don’t drink Pepsi,” he agonized, “the capitalist machinery practices the politics of exclusion. By trying to pretend it offers us choice, it actually negates choice.”  My mom’s father was executed by the Soviet secret police. He did not have the luxury of being oppressed by Pepsi commercials.

My family’s nightmarish experience in the Soviet Union was followed by a providential escape from totalitarian hell. We were among the lucky ones, the ones who got away. The United States gave us a safe and protected home — a home of unbelievable material well-being (in comparison to Soviet starvation) and human liberty. I will never forget the awe I felt experiencing my first taste of freedom, even as a young five-year-old boy who wasn’t completely sure what it was. My parents could now, for the first time, speak out without fear of brutal repercussions in defense of Soviet citizens who were being persecuted for their political and/or religious beliefs. For the first time, we lived without the dread to which I had been accustomed throughout my young life.

I remember while we were cherishing our newfound freedom, we encountered a strange species: intellectuals in the universities who reviled my parents for the story they had to tell. For the first time in their lives, my father and mother confronted an intelligentsia that was hostile to them. Back in Russia, dissident intellectuals risked their lives when they pronounced one word of truth about the horrible history (and reality) of their country under communist rule. In America, most of the intellectuals who surrounded us scoffed at the importance of real intellectual freedom and dismissed my parents’ experience; they demonized their own society, wished for its defeat, and supported the communist enemy that muzzled free speech and tortured millions of human beings.

As a very young boy, I learned that these intellectuals were “leftists.” I remember witnessing how they tried to prevent my parents from drawing attention to communism’s mass crimes and to the brave souls who were fighting for freedom — people like Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Vladimir Bukovsky, Andrei Sakharov, Anatoly Sharansky, Larisa Borogaz, Aleksandr Ginzburg, and many others. While my family agonized about the relatives and friends we had left behind, and as we kept the memory of their suffering alive in our hearts, our leftist acquaintances reprimanded us for our views, instructing us to see America — our personal liberator — as the most evil entity not only in the Cold War, but in all of human history. They wanted us to dedicate our lives — as they had done — to the victory of the West’s totalitarian adversaries.

But ooh la la — today we have a best friend in the West who has our back. We aren’t orphans anymore. There is a certain individual in this land, by the name of Glenn Beck, who has a television show on the Fox News Channel with a mass following; he is masterfully exposing this phenomenon that we experienced — and are still experiencing. He is telling the truth about the Soviet regime and about communism and he is beaming a light on leftists and liberals for their long romance, which continues till this day, with communist systems and the ideologies that brought them into place. Just recently, Beck’s program featured his profound documentary, The Revolutionary Holocaust, which powerfully illustrates the evil of communism and the leftist ideals that brought its horrors into existence. Beck’s documentary exposes the crimes against humanity perpetrated by mass murderers such as Che Guevara and Mao Zedong, who, till this day, enjoy great idolization in leftist milieus and, as we know, in the Obama White House itself.

I would like to take this moment to express my deepest and heartfelt gratitude to Glenn Beck:

Mr. Beck, thank you for having the courage and integrity to tell the truth about communism, despite the price you have had to pay for doing so. It is because of people like you that the truth is being engraved into the historical record, which no one can erase. It is because of people like you that the human lives that were extinguished by the communist killing machine will mean something, will live on in humanity’s memory, and will touch human souls in their own mystical way.

Because of people like you, the millions of victims of communism will not be pushed into the invisible sphere of historical amnesia — where the liberal left has perpetually tried to confine them. Mr. Beck, by producing documentaries like your recent The Revolutionary Holocaust, you are bringing personal affirmation to myriads of families like my own — and to all victims and survivors of communism — by validating our experiences and by telling the whole world that, despite the left’s attempt to impose gulag denial on our culture, we did live what we lived, we did endure what we endured, and we did see what we saw. And you are crystallizing the pernicious socialist idea that comes in the form of humanitarianism, but culminates in mass terror.

Glenn Beck, you are leading the crucial fight of the 21st century. In battling on the front lines for moral clarity on the issue of communism, you are setting a firm terrain on which free men and women will be able to fight the new jihadi totalitarians who seek to destroy our freedom and lives.

Glenn Beck, you are a hero to me.  Thank you.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


10 February, 2010

'Engagement' won't unclench the mullahs' fist

by Jeff Jacoby

ON SUNDAY, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ordered his country's nuclear agency to begin enriching uranium to a purity of 20 percent, well beyond the level needed to fuel a nuclear power plant. The following day, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, declared that Tehran was going to "punch" Western nations during this week's anniversary of the Islamic revolution "in a way that will leave them stunned."   Welcome to a second year of Barack Obama's "engagement" with Iran.

The president's outreach to the brutal theocracy in Tehran began in the very first moments of his presidency.  "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent," he said in his inaugural address, "we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." Tehran promptly responded by calling Obama "the hand of Satan in a new sleeve." A spokesman for Khamenei sneered: "The Great Satan now has a black face."

That initial exchange set the pattern for the year that followed.  Over and over, Obama has sought to "extend a hand" to  Iran's rulers -- taping a message of goodwill for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year; remaining silent after the rigged Iranian election in June; insisting that "dialogue between our two countries" would go on despite the government's bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters -- and each time the regime has pointedly declined to unclench its fist. Khamenei's reply to Obama's New Year greeting was to accuse the president of having "insulted the Islamic Republic of Iran from the first day." He spurned Obama's private overtures with public contempt; to negotiate with the United States, he said in November, would be "naïve and perverted."

Tehran has been equally contemptuous of the deadlines set by the administration for Iran to respond to international concerns about its nuclear program. Washington can announce "as many deadlines as they want, we don't care," Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a crowd of supporters in December. And why would they care, when each deadline has come and gone with Iran's refusal to cooperate triggering no credible response from the White House?

For a year, the Obama administration bent over backward to show that the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran could best be defused through patient engagement. Iran's despots spent that year enlarging their uranium-enrichment capabilities, flouting international law, perfecting a ballistic missile with a 1,200-mile range, pouring weapons and money into terrorist groups abroad, and arresting, torturing, and even hanging dissidents at home.

Tehran's apocalyptic Khomeinists have not unclenched their fists, and no amount of gentle diplomacy or goodwill is going to persuade them to do so. Perhaps that wasn't clear to Obama a year ago. Now it is clear to almost everyone.

The closer Iran's regime gets to acquiring nuclear weapons, the more critical it becomes to ostracize and change that regime. It isn't only hawkish right-wingers who think so. In a recent New York Times essay headlined "There's Only One Way to Stop Iran," Alan J. Kuperman, a scholar at the University of Texas and director of its Nuclear Proliferation Prevention Program -- as well as a former aide to such congressional liberals as Charles Schumer and Thomas Foley -- called unambiguously for American air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities. The Middle East Forum's Daniel Pipes, urging Obama to order such strikes before it is too late, notes that a majority of Americans, as measured in recent polls, favors using force to keep Iran from going nuclear.

In recent weeks, both houses of Congress passed bills imposing stiff sanctions on Iran, particularly by cutting off its access to the gasoline imports on which it heavily depends. The legislation passed unanimously in the Senate, and by a 412-to-12 vote in the House. Not much in Washington these days commands such overwhelming and bipartisan support.

"In my view, there is no greater threat to the world than the prospect of a nuclear Iran," says Representative Howard Berman, the Democratic chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. It may still be possible to neutralize that threat without military force, but we will never find out unless the president jettisons his fantasy of engagement. Millions of Iranian dissidents yearn for a decent government. The unabashed support of the Obama administration, backed up by very tough sanctions, would powerfully aid their cause.

The mullahs will never willingly unclench their fists. By now, most Americans acknowledge that reality. It's time the president did too.


New Federal ‘Hate Crimes’ Law Challenged on Constitutional Grounds

A conservative civil liberties group is challenging the constitutionality of the recently enacted federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009.  The new law, attached to a defense authorization bill that President Obama signed on October 28, 2009, makes it a federal crime to attack someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Michigan-based Thomas More Law Center says it elevates people engaged in deviant sexual behaviors to a special, protected class of persons under federal law.

The lawsuit naming U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder was filed in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan on behalf of three pastors and the president of the American Family Association of Michigan.

All of the plaintiffs “take a strong public stand against the homosexual agenda, which seeks to normalize disordered sexual behavior that is contrary to Biblical teaching,” the Law Center said in a news release.

“There is no legitimate law enforcement need for this federal law,’ said Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center.

“This is part of the list of political payoffs to homosexual advocacy groups for support of Barack Obama in the last presidential election,” Thompson continued. “The sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.  It elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy.”

According to the Law Center, of the 1.38 million violent crimes in the U.S. reported by the FBI in 2008, only 243 were considered to be motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation.

The four plaintiffs are Michiagn Pastors Levon Yuille, Rene Ouellette, James Combs, and Gary Glenn, president of the American Family Association of Michigan.

The lawsuit alleges that the new law violates the plaintiffs’ rights to freedom of speech, expressive association, and free exercise of religion protected by the First Amendment, and it violates the equal protection guarantee of the Fifth Amendment.  The lawsuit also alleges that Congress lacked authority to enact the legislation under the Tenth Amendment and the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

The lawsuit says the Hate Crimes Prevention Act “provides law enforcement with authorization and justification to conduct federal investigative and other federal law enforcement actions against Plaintiffs and others deemed to be opponents of homosexual activism, the homosexual lifestyle, and the homosexual agenda,” thereby expanding the jurisdiction of the FBI and other federal law enforcement and intelligence gathering agencies.

Robert Muise,  who is handling the case, said the new law promotes two Orwellian concepts: “It creates a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior.  And it creates ‘thought crimes’ by criminalizing certain ideas, beliefs, and opinions, and the involvement of such ideas, beliefs, and opinions in a crime will make it deserving of federal prosecution."

He said it gives government officials the power "to decide which thoughts are criminal under federal law and which are not.”


Expert backs Conservatives on  figures that show violent crime in Britain is increasing

Under the Labour Party ALL British statistics have become about as reliable as Stalin's

Tory fears over the true scale of violent offences have been backed by a leading crime expert.  Criminologist Roger Graef said official surveys were 'incomplete' and hid the 'dark figure of violent crime'.   He cast doubts on Labour claims that violence was declining, saying: 'Most violent crime is associated with alcohol and consumption is going up.'

Tory Home Affairs spokesman Chris Grayling was rebuked last week for misusing Home Office statistics to argue that the number of violent crimes had soared under Labour.

In an interview, Mr Graef, below, voiced his 'worries' that official crime figures did not reveal the true scale of violence affecting women and children.   He warned that attacks on children not reported to police were absent from the official British Crime Survey (BCS) - other areas of unreported crime are included to get a wider picture of trends.  Mr Graef said: 'We did our own survey of 1,800 schoolchildren aged 14 and 15. One in three had been kicked or hurt. One in four admitted to kicking or hurting somebody else in a month and that's not recorded anywhere.'

He also pointed out the Home Office-compiled BCS did not include unreported assaults at hospitals and prisons.  And Mr Graef highlighted the limitations of official police crime records - based on his own research.  He said: 'We spent two weeks in Oxford and watched how much crime, how much violence, how much harm was happening.'  Out of 12 incidents that ended with the victim attending hospital, only seven were reported to police.

Mr Graef also disclosed how domestic violence goes unreported. 'Women's groups say that 35 assaults are made on the victim before they call the police. That means there's a dark figure of violent crime which we simply cannot know for sure.'

Sir Hugh Orde, president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, said Mr Graef was 'absolutely right' to say the BCS was incomplete, and that 'some crimes will not end up on a police computer'.


Politically correct British cartoon is boring

 When Dennis the Menace had a politically correct makeover last year, his creators aimed to remove 'any traces of nastiness'.  But according to at least one young reader of The Beano, the new watered-down Dennis is now devoid of all fun, too.  Eight-year-old Jacob Rush was so upset by the changes that he sent an email to the comic's bosses, begging them to bring back the old menacing Dennis.  He wrote: 'I don't like Dennis because he doesn't have his catapult or water pistol any more and he's not menacing enough - I want the old Dennis back.'  When no one replied, he called the comic's Dundee HQ and received a letter blaming a newly sanitised BBC cartoon version.

The cartoon first aired on the CBBC channel in September, but to comply with BBC guidelines, out went Dennis's peashooter, catapult, water pistol and even his scowl, replaced by a boyish grin.  Instead of picking on Walter the Softy, Dennis - thankfully still wearing his red and black jumper and accompanied by his dog Gnasher - now lands himself in scrapes through his everyday life.

The PC Dennis has appeared in the weekly comic ever since the television launch, after bosses decided not to have different Dennises in print and on TV.

Jacob's parents Mark, 33, and Virginia, 39, of Ipswich, said he had been reading The Beano for two years but had noticed the changes to Dennis - who first appeared in 1951 - over recent months.  Mr Rush, an IT project manager, said: 'Jacob was concerned about the way Dennis looked and the fact he doesn't seem menacing any more because he is not allowed to have a peashooter or bully Walter.  'For Jacob it means Dennis is boring. He doesn't want to read Dennis the Menace any more because he's not interested in him.'

Mrs Rush, 39, a teacher, said: 'Jacob loves reading my husband's Beanos from the 1970s. Dennis is just not as naughty as he was and that was the whole point of Dennis, children can live out their naughtiness through him.'

Beano editor Alan Digby admitted there had been 'a number of' complaints, adding: 'There are certain compliance rules relating to the way things like bad behaviour can be depicted on children's television, particularly on the BBC.  'I would not say Dennis has been watered down, he has evolved as the character has done throughout his lifetime. He still has his catapult and peashooter, but does not use them against people any more.' 


Silvio! Silvio!

Silvio's total lack of political correctness endears him to me -- JR

One of Barack Obama’s many problems is that he isn’t Silvio Berlusconi. I don’t mean to say that’s his only problem, or that becoming Berlusconi would be easy for him or pleasant for Michelle. Still it’s a fact: Being Silvio means you never have to say you’re sorry and—trust me— this Italian prime minister never has. Nor, no matter what irritations bedevil his highly inclusive life, does he need to. He’s popular enough (polls put him around the 56 percent mark), and not just with prostitutes who confide, after an encounter with Il Cavaliere (the Cavalier), “We didn’t get any sleep.”

Here’s what a street leading off the Piazza del Popolo looked like only days ago: Dozens of Carabinieri, grave and alert in dark parachute pants and matching berets, standing smack in front of the elegantly appointed Hotel de Russie; and facing them, a crowd of 130 fans effectively blocking the streets so that no Roman in the vicinity had a prayer of getting back to work after lunch.

Silvio, they whispered. Silvio is inside! And for a solid hour they stood in the cold, guessing about what he was doing in the hotel. In this instance, they were wrong, however: Out came Gianfranco Fini, the thin, ascetic Mussolini-admirer and Berlusconi ally who heads the Chamber of Deputies, and about whom no one gave a damn. And then...a short, squat man, skin stretched tight as a sheet over cheekbones spray-tanned a memorable orangey-brown. Silvio! Silvio! screamed the crowd. They loved the fresh brown tint of the hair plugs, the newly capped teeth flashing white.

The whole business took five minutes, panicking the parachute-pants squad. Sure in December, some fruitcake lunged out of a mob breaking Berlusconi’s nose and teeth, but Silvio’s not about to dismiss a lot of adoration. Besides, getting socked wasn’t all bad: His polls rose a solid 7 percent.

Is it bad for a 73-year-old, who neglects his own kids’ birthday parties, to attend the celebration of an 18-year-old babe, on whom he bestows a gold-and-diamond birthday necklace? To gallivant with call girls equipped with tape recorders and then, despite his billions in assets, neglect to pay them?  Is Silvio in real trouble because charges of Mafia collusion, tax fraud, corruption, and bribery keep getting leveled against him?

Is it a conflict of interest when Berlusconi’s own company, Mediaset (which owns three national TV channels and a newspaper) launches a copyright suit against Google? Is it a problem when it turns out Italy’s national debt is among Europe’s highest? Is it embarrassing when he appoints, as equal opportunity minister, a former showgirl whose qualifications he carefully enunciates (“If I weren’t married, I would marry you immediately ”) to the open displeasure of his wife? Don’t you believe it. It’s Do-it-and-be-damned.  Don’t beg. Don’t barter. Do-it-and-screw-it. Health care reform might have had a far, far better chance with that kind of attitude.  Obama could learn a lot from him.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


9 February, 2010

British class war based on a denial of reality

Inequality in Britain isn't down to class but brains

The National Equality Panel, set up by the Government to examine inequality in Britain, published its findings last week. And surprise, surprise: it found that there is a lot of inequality in Britain. People from poorer backgrounds do not usually achieve as much as people from richer ones.

That this is a basic fact of life in the UK is certainly true – although it is not true, as the NEP report claims, that we are significantly more unequal than most other Western countries. The differences are marginal. Even in the places it cites as egalitarian utopias, Sweden and Denmark, it is still the case that who your parents are has a very significant effect on how your life works out.

Indeed, no country anywhere comes close to the egalitarian ideal of ensuring that everyone, irrespective of their background, has exactly the same chance to succeed. And there is a very straightforward reason: people everywhere care more about themselves and their immediate families than they care about everyone else. We all devote our efforts and ingenuity to promoting our own and our families' interests rather than those of "society as a whole"; when the two conflict, we prioritise the former. That's why every attempt to achieve a society in which each person is treated in exactly the same way not only requires state coercion of the most extreme kind, but also always ends in abject failure.

The authors of the NEP report have noticed that our fondness for ourselves and our kin stands in the way of making Britain more equal. They do not want to endorse that tendency, because that might mean endorsing the inequalities that it helps to create. So instead, they imply that inequality in Britain derives less from our concern for our families than from prejudice and snobbery: people at the bottom of the social ladder are being held back because those who are higher up treat them unjustly – and if they were given a fair chance by those who select from applicants for university places or for well-paid jobs, they would do much better.

That belief is certainly widely held. But to what extent is it actually true? The most striking thing about this report is what it leaves out. In common with the other two studies of equality commissioned by the Government in the last 18 months, it does not say a single word about a factor that should at least be considered in any explanation of why some people are more successful than others: their greater intelligence. There is a mass of data which shows that the measurement which best predicts how a child will do in later life is not its parents' income, but its IQ score at the age of 10 or 11. It's not a perfect correlation – but it's a far better guide than any of the variables that the NEP report considered, such as class, gender, ethnic or religious group, or whether you went to a private school rather than the local comprehensive.

Around half of the variation between two people's income and status at work is explained by differences in their IQ. Studies of twins separated at birth and raised in very different families indicate that between 50 and 60 per cent of an individual's IQ score is down to their genes. The remainder can be affected by how you are brought up. It can be boosted if you are also raised by intelligent parents, or diminished if they don't provide an environment which is sufficiently stimulating. So smart children, born to smart parents, have a double advantage – which may be why they do so well.

Recognising the role that intelligence plays in differing levels of achievement does not mean endorsing every inequality in British society. Clearly, many of them are without any justification at all: examples include the income of some bankers and the abysmal condition of some state schools. But identifying ways for the state to tackle inequality requires accurately identifying its causes. This report fails that test, and so can't provide any useful advice on what should be done. Still, don't expect that to stop the Government constructing policies based on its claims.


Former British council chief, 84, arrested for assault for waving walking stick at feral youths

Sick British policing again.  They hate middle class Britain

For several months, 84-year-old Graham Powell and his wife have felt frightened and 'under siege' in their own home.   The couple say a gang of youths has waged a campaign of harassment against them - vandalising their car, subjecting them to verbal abuse and violence - without censure from the police.  So Mr Powell was surprised when he waved his walking stick to remonstrate with one of the teenagers - and was promptly arrested on suspicion of assault.

The former council chief was forced to spend six hours in a police station being questioned by officers after the 15-year-old claimed he had been struck.   Now facing a possible court appearance, Mr Powell has written to the chief constable of the force to demand answers over why no action was taken to protect him and his 74-year-old wife from the 'feral' youths.

He said yesterday: 'My wife and myself are under siege from up to ten local youths aged between 11 and 15 and the police are doing nothing about it.  'I have identified the youths but despite my complaints the police do not seem to be taking it seriously.  'It is outrageous that these feral youths believe they are beyond the law. Instead of them being arrested I am now facing standing in the dock.'

Mr and Mrs Powell say they have been virtual prisoners in their flat at Caldicot near Newport, South Wales.  A series of incidents which Mr Powell has listed in his letter includes their car rear lights being smashed, and tyres let down.  His wife, a former Mayor of Caldicot, has been trapped in her garage twice by youths who have jammed the door shut and on another occasion a teenager tried to drive her car away as she cleaned it.

Mr Powell, a Labour councillor and former leader of Gwent County Council, said yesterday: 'I have lived here peacefully for 31 years until recently.  'We are constantly being verbally abused whenever we step outside, youths peer into our living room and ring our door bell.   'Our kitchen window has been smeared with eggs and drawing pins have been placed upright under our doormat.  'During the recent wintry weather our letter box was filled with ice and our back door barricaded with snow. They have also threatened to cut the brake pipes on my car.'

The former railway guard also spoke of his recollection of the confrontation which led to his arrest.  He said: 'I remonstrated with the youth after my wife caught him fiddling with one of the letter boxes.  'He told me to mid my own 'effing' business and punched me on the arm and tried to run up the stairs of the flats.  'I poked my walking stick through the rails to stop him and he forced the stick down with his arm.  'A few seconds later two heavy plant pots were thrown at me narrowly missing my head.'

The grandfather added: 'I was amazed when the police accused me of assault and kept me in the police station for six hours.  'I am on police bail and have to report back at the beginning of next month. My letter to the chief constable is a plea for help.'  He said in his open letter to Mick Giannasi, Chief Constable of Gwent Police: 'My wife and I are desperately in need of your help in common with all those who find themselves in a similar situation.  'The problem is feral youths who appear to be beyond the law despite the ample legislation which Parliament has enacted to deal with them.  'We are constantly harassed by a group of youths who seem to be able to do what they like without fear of the law or any form of sanction or punishment.'

Comparing his situation to the experience of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled daughter after they were subjected to a similar catalogue of abuse, he continued: 'The boys seem to get bolder each time they do something and find nothing happens to them.  'We are left constantly wondering what his going to happen next - is it going to be a lighted petrol-soaked rag through a door or window?  'I have dialled 999 several times and officers have visited me but there has been no real action.  'Surely it is not acceptable that elderly people should feel in a state of siege in their own homes and live in fear of that the next day is going to bring.'

A spokesman for Gwent Police said: 'An 84-year-old-man was arrested following an incident on suspicion of assault.  'He was released on police bail pending further enquiries.'  She added: 'Any report of crime made to Gwent Police will be fully investigated and the appropriate course of action taken.  'It would be inappropriate for us to comment further about reports made or correspondence received from a particular individual.'


Top Democrat goes to bat for racism

House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers of Michigan is outraged about the dozen staffers who accompanied U.S. Agency for International Development Director Rajiv Shah to a recent meeting on Capitol Hill. You should understand, though, that Conyers was not upset because Shah brought too many staffers along for the meeting with the 42 members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Nor was he upset because any of those staffers displayed a lack of competence. No, Conyers was "alarmed and chagrined" because, as he told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a subsequent letter, "none of the approximately dozen staff he brought with him were African American."

Conyers further informed Clinton that "this is so serious an error in judgment that it warrants his immediate demotion to a subordinate position at AID." That Conyers expects Clinton and her boss in the White House not only to demote Shah, but also to hand out federal jobs on the basis of skin color was made clear in his declaration in the same letter that "it is well known that there has long been an under-representation of minorities in key positions within the State Department. I am confident this administration will immediately begin addressing this problem."

The Michigan Democrat has thus unintentionally cast a glaring light on a key aspect of what is wrong in Washington -- too often, skin color counts more than competence. Conyers is far from alone in demanding that important jobs in the federal government be given to individuals because their skin color fits somebody's idea of the right racial mix of government workers, not because they are most qualified.

Federal officials reflexively claim people are employed in the federal civil service solely on the basis of merit principles, but the reality is government personnel management practices are besotted with multicultural obsessions about recruiting and promoting a work force that "looks like America." There are legions of human resources specialists, personnel directors, and employment lawyers devoted to keeping the bureaucratic wheels of diversity grinding. This is reverse discrimination, pure and simple.

It should be clear to all reasonable people that the vast majority of Americans today reject the racism that denies jobs to individuals because their skin is the "wrong" color or, for that matter, because their gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or economic status is deemed unacceptable by some arbitrary measure. The noble objective of the 1964 Civil Rights Act has been fulfilled in moving America beyond such considerations to a place where the only issue would be whether an individual is the most qualified for a given job. Thanks to the mentality epitomized by Conyers, our government keeps being dragged back into the past.


Keeping Blacks Poor

How the Democratic party stands between its most loyal constituents and the jobs they need

Never mind the jobless recovery: For a great many black Americans, it’s been a jobless eternity, in good times and in bad. Why?

The first answer many economists will give to that question is: the minimum wage. Milton Friedman, a Nobel laureate who spent much of his career showing how government programs reliably end up hurting those they are intended to help, was scathing on the subject, calling the minimum wage “one of the most, if not the most, anti-black laws on the statute books.” And he’s not alone: A congressional survey of economic research on the subject, “50 Years of Research on the Minimum Wage,” has a string of conclusion lines that read like an indictment, the first three counts being: “The minimum wage reduces employment. The minimum wage reduces employment more among teenagers than adults. The minimum wage reduces employment most among black teenage males.” Other items on the bill: “The minimum wage hurts small businesses generally. The minimum wage causes employers to cut back on training. The minimum wage has long-term effects on skills and lifetime earnings. The minimum wage hurts the poor generally. The minimum wage helps upper-income families. The minimum wage helps unions.” Helping the affluent and high-wage union workers at the expense of the young, the poor, the unskilled, and small businesses: That amounts to a lot of different kinds of injustice, and it also amounts to a wealth transfer from blacks to whites.

This is a disparity with its roots in history, but the roots don’t go back to Reconstruction or the heyday of the Ku Klux Klan. They go back only to the 1960s. In 1954, young black men were in fact more likely to be employed than were their white counterparts, according to the economists Nabeel al-Salam, Aline Quester, and Finis Welch. The Fair Labor Standards Act, which established the minimum wage, had been passed in 1938, but wartime economic regimentation had postponed its full impact. “Marginal but employed blacks were the first ones to be laid off,” says Prof. Paul D. Moreno of Hillsdale College, a labor historian. Originally modest in its scope, the act was repeatedly revised, both raising the minimum wage and expanding the range of businesses required to pay it. The act originally was restricted to interstate enterprises, but by 1961 the meaning of “interstate commerce” had been so greatly stretched that ordering a box of paper clips from an out-of-state supplier was enough to get a business covered by the minimum wage. As the application of the act grew, so did the disparity in black and white employment rates. Blacks, who had been employed mostly in smaller enterprises, often family-owned, found themselves competing on a straight dollar-per-hour basis with white entry-level workers who were on the whole better educated, better connected — and white. The racial realities of the time meant that the sorts of jobs affected by minimum-wage laws were the ones that were most open to blacks.

And it’s not just that the minimum wage prices some low-productivity workers out of the labor market: It’s that it prevents entry into the labor market in the first place for the most marginal would-be workers. If Will the candy hustler’s real economic output is worth $6.67 an hour, his implied wage on the subway, he’s unemployable with a $7.25 minimum wage. He can sell candy on the subway, but he can’t sell candy for Big Candy Corp., make connections, learn what it’s like to go to an office every day and have a boss, get references, get promoted, and sign up for the tuition-reimbursement program. And that, not the paltry lost income of a minimum-wage job, is the price he pays. Very few American workers actually earn the minimum wage — about 1 percent, in fact — but the minimum-wage job is a gateway into the labor force for many young workers. The value of your first job isn’t the money you earn from it: It’s your second job, and your third. With the right experience and network, a candyman like Will can do well for himself. But without that first job, he has a much higher chance of becoming a statistical blip on the long-term unemployment charts than a middle manager at Hershey or a salesman at Cadbury.

That’s why economists call barriers like the minimum wage “cutting the bottom rung off the ladder.” What’s less often appreciated, though, is the network effect: A guy who’s never gotten on the ladder himself cannot give you a hand up. Job-hunting is almost always an exercise in social networking: A friend of your dad helps you get a summer job, an old colleague recommends you for a position with his new firm. C up in the Bronx does not have a network like that: His friends and family are not in a position to tip him off about a job because they do not have jobs themselves, and, in some cases, never have. He doesn’t have any former coworkers to recommend him for a new and better job. All he has is economically insulated politicians telling him that no job is better than a job that doesn’t meet their political requirements.

The damage done by the minimum wage is real, but it’s not the only impediment to black employment, and maybe not even the most serious one when it comes to the big cities. Black workers in Philadelphia, for example, have long complained about being excluded from the overwhelmingly white building-trades unions, the carpenters’ and electrical-workers’ guilds that are run by a largely Irish-American coterie headed by Pat Gillespie at the Building Trades Council and John J. Dougherty Jr. (“Johnny Doc”) at the IBEW Local 98. Their unions are 80 percent white and 99 percent male, and the numbers are similar in other cities. Irritatingly for the Philadelphia politicians who are beholden to them, 70 percent of the building-trades unions’ members live out in the suburbs rather than in the city. Wilson Goode Jr., a member of the Philadelphia city council, has made black workers’ exclusion from the unions a keynote issue. He’s a deep-dipped liberal, an affirmative-action supporter and a conventional urban Democrat in almost every respect, but he has noticed the strange fact that progressive programs sold as tools to help the city’s largely black working class mostly end up putting money in the pockets of well-off white people in the suburbs. Philadelphia is a city with real black political power, but in a contest between a black city councilman working to secure good jobs for his constituents and the white union chieftains who have been running Philadelphia as a personal fiefdom since time immemorial, Wilson Goode Jr. found out who the boss is, and it’s not him.

When the unions were salivating over the prospect of an expansive new project at the Pennsylvania Convention Center, Councilman Goode asked them for information about the racial composition of their work forces, and for a commitment to meet certain diversity goals. They more or less laughed at him — and got the work, anyway. “The issue of lack of diversity within the building trades came up during the convention-center project. There was no plan for opportunity in terms of diversity,” Goode says. “We made a request from the building trades that they submit their demographics to city council, and actually set goals for expanding diversity within their unions. Interesting enough, the carpenters’ union and electrical-workers’ union, which did not comply, went on to work on the project, anyway. The goals that were set within those building-trade unions were not taken seriously.” In fact, Goode says, the only times when black workers have gotten a fair shake on big projects have been those few occasions when the work is not held hostage by the labor mafia — for instance, a couple of open-shop weatherization projects conducted under the authority of the Philadelphia Housing Development Corporation. Goode pressed to make the convention-center project open-shop, a proposal that was immediately crushed. “Going open-shop did not seem politically feasible,” Goode says, with understatement. “The other option is the creation of new unions that have more people of color, more women, and more Philadelphia residents. And that’s probably even less politically feasible.”

The problem in the labor unions isn’t really old-fashioned racism of the white-sheets and Jim Crow variety: Philadelphia is a city with plenty of poisonous racial politics, but it’s not remarkable for them — worse than Atlanta, probably, but not as bad as Boston. What’s really happening in the unions is a kind of expansive ethnic nepotism. Unions tend to find good positions and lots of work for people who are friends and family of current union members. Indeed, many in the building trades start on the path to union membership early in life. If those unions are dominated by Irish Americans, it’s no surprise that a lot of the plums are going to the Kellys and Murphys, and not the Jacksons and Washingtons or the Garcias and Colóns. As The Economist puts it, “Blacks are also at a disadvantage when it comes to relying on friends and family connections to find jobs; there is not the same network of family businesses that whites and Latinos have. Some studies have found that this factor may explain as much as 70% of the difference in black and white unemployment rates, and may also explain the difference between black and Latino jobless rates. Among young men, for instance, the near-20% Hispanic unemployment rate is much closer to that for whites (17%) than blacks (30%).” The problem, of course, is self-perpetuating: The more blacks are out of work, and the longer they’re out of work, the less of a network black job-seekers are going to have. And they can’t count on the unions to help them out.

“The building trades were the most notorious for their discrimination,” says Professor Moreno of Hillsdale, “along with the railroad brotherhoods, which were in a class by themselves in terms of how exclusive they were. If you look at the data, especially in the building trades, and compare them to the steelworkers or the autoworkers, the worst discrimination is in the building trades. In unions that have a lot of black membership, black workers got into those industries before the unions did. Henry Ford was hiring blacks before the UAW organized them. Steelmakers, same thing. Even in the UAW and the steelworkers, they have the problem of discrimination within the unions when it comes to training for skilled work, promotions, and issues of seniority.” And it’s been that way for generations: In fact, Moreno estimates that if the National Labor Relations Board had properly enforced anti-discrimination rules against the unions starting back in the 1930s — when they were first required to do so — then there would have been no demand for affirmative action later. Instead, the NLRB became a classic captured bureaucracy, seeing its role only as empowering the labor unions while turning a blind eye to the ugly racial discrimination in their ranks.

Democrats will defend everything from partial-birth abortion to distributing gay porn in the classroom, but some subjects are too hot for them to touch: The effect of their minimum-wage enthusiasm on black unemployment is one, and racial discrimination by their organized-labor constituents is another. You’d think that the Democrats would put jobs for blacks at the top of their list — after all, black voters pull the “D” lever about 90 percent of the time. But political calculations are perverse things: Black voters are a cheap date for Democrats, who know that they can sell out the interests of their most loyal constituency with impunity. One of Barack Obama’s first actions in office was to gut a hugely popular school-choice program in Washington, D.C., that benefited black students almost exclusively, and he did so at the behest of the one of the most destructive unions in the country, one that has done more to undermine the future of black Americans than any other and whose members have inflicted more damage on black Americans than Bull Connor and George Wallace ever dreamed of. But the teachers’ unions represent one in ten delegates to the Democratic National Convention, so they have job security — something many, if not most, of the young black men in their classes will never have.


ObamaNet: The Coming Online Censorship

Perhaps the Obama administration and Democratic majority overestimated their ability to sell the American people on proposed radical changes to our political and economic systems, as the federal health care takeover has ground to a near halt, and an increasing number of administration officials are being exposed for far-left statists with a sinister, unconstitutional agenda.

But those in power show no signs of being bothered by something as trivial as the will of the people, and could very well continue down a planned path of disaster, moving on from health care to tackle a vital instrument of free speech. ObamaCare has turned into a nightmarish legislative struggle; will ObamaNet be the next?

Most people have never heard of Cass Sunstein, despite conservative alarm at his 2009 appointment to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. The Harvard-educated regulatory czar has, in addition to proposing other ludicrous ideas, called for a hunting ban in the U.S., claimed that exposure to sunlight is unhealthy, and proposed that Americans celebrate April 15 as a sort of tax holiday. As if those aren’t enough, Sunstein is also an advocate of a federally enforced Internet “fairness doctrine.”

Claiming that the uncensored World Wide Web, on which anyone can write or read the content of his or her choice, is a threat to level-headed democratic government, he wants to impose a 24-hour cooling off period for emails (to prevent the sending of angry missives), and create mandatory “electronic sidewalks,” which would display links to opposing views alongside all opinion-based content. Somehow, it seems unlikely that these state-controlled sidewalks would link to tea party or libertarian websites.

In addition, the constitutional law professor has stated that, “under imaginable conditions,” conspiracy theories might be banned, such as those related to the Kennedy assassination, or Obama’s country of birth, and has suggested a tax, “financial or otherwise,” on those who propagate such theories. What sort of tax would fall under “otherwise?” Body parts, perhaps? Fingers for bloggers; tongues for talk radio hosts?

That’s quite a stretch, but in all seriousness, Sunstein believes the federal government should decide which conspiracy theories are appropriate, and then take action to counter those deemed to be nonfactual, marginal, or dangerous. Such an ideology, if legislated into reality, would depend on filtering substantial portions of the Web, as Communist China does with its “Great Firewall,” and would constitute a blatant violation of the First Amendment. The United States could become what is called an Internet black hole, joining the ranks of Cuba, North Korea, and Iran.

Support for such totalitarian tactics should come as no surprise to those who have uncovered similar ideas in the speeches and writings of Obama’s other hand-picked czars, who have significantly more power over policy decisions than any individual member of Congress, but it is still tempting to pinch one’s self. Surely, Internet censorship and suppression of free speech is only the province of foreign regimes, science fiction plots, and bad dreams. Right?

Don’t bet on it. This administration has shown little regard for the Constitution in its push for ObamaCare, and even less for public opinion. The increased power of the Executive Branch might mean that regulatory affairs, relating to the Internet and other forms of communications technology, could be kept out of Congress in the future, and controlled behind the scenes. It will bear a different name, and be kept as far under the radar as possible, but the coming of ObamaNet is imminent. It is up to the defenders of free speech to prevent it.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


8 February, 2010

Where birth control has led

The following was sent to me by a reader.  He's probably right but the horse has escaped, I am afraid











Cautious support for spanking

ALL that firm but gentle persuasion and all those time-outs may have been a waste of time - you really should have been smacking your children.  At least, that's a theme of NurtureShock, a US bestseller that will enrage the touchy-feely school of parenting.  It's subtitled "Why everything we think about raising our children is wrong" and authors Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman also note over-praising can demotivate children. To work, praise must be occasional - and sincere. If you want to be a role model for your kids, the authors suggest arguing in front of them.

Most controversially, they cite new research suggesting that smacking not only has a place in child-rearing, but that it can be essential - provided it is delivered in the correct way.  Based on a long-term study by Duke University's Dr Kenneth Dodge, they say the way in which parents deliver a smack will result in either an aggressive or a passive child.

With African-American families in the study, the more children were smacked, the less aggressive they became.  It was seen as something that every child experienced.  In white families, however, smacking was saved for the worst offences - and often when parents were angry.

Ms Merryman admitted she had yet to find a researcher who advocated smacking but said research was focused on the idea that its effect was based on its delivery: that screaming at a child out of anger can be worse than a calm, light smack.  "I'm not saying either is good - it's the fact that the parent has lost control that is most upsetting to kids," she said. "Parents are the ones they are supposed to follow. "It's not a parenting manual or advice book. What we really want is to introduce new ways of thinking and new ways to approach child development.  "By focusing on the scientists, it's a way . . . to have new conversations about society's approaches to raising kids."


Man makes a mockery of British "ageism" laws

A SERIAL litigant is believed to have earned thousands of pounds by bombarding employers with claims of ageism simply because they used the words “school leaver” or “recent graduate” in job advertisements.  John Berry, 54, has initiated actions against at least 60 firms over three years even though he does not apply for the jobs. He uses the government’s tribunal service website to lodge age discrimination claims against recruitment agencies and other businesses.

Lawyers say they have complained to the Ministry of Justice that the online system — which allows numerous actions to be lodged free and with minimal evidence — needs changing.  Once the firm becomes aware of the action, Berry emails his targets to warn them they can avoid an employment tribunal only by making him a “settlement” payment of up to £3,500.  One small trader said: “I am not prepared to be bullied by this man. I cannot afford to pay him. We’re in a recession and I am struggling to keep the business afloat.”

To encourage companies to settle, Berry usually opts to hold the tribunal far away from where the business is based.  He made a similar claim of age discrimination against a woman running a small business in the Midlands last year. He demanded £2,500, but lowered his price by £1,000 after she wrote back saying it would leave her struggling to pay her mortgage or feed her family.  He wrote: “I will arrange all legal closing formalities with the tribunal in time for you to have an enjoyable Xmas without this hanging over you.”

Audrey Williams, partner and head of discrimination law at the international law firm Eversheds, said: “Under current UK law a claimant will have to show that they have actually been a victim of discrimination. Simply seeing an advert is not enough.”  Berry’s claims are consistently struck out by tribunal chairmen as “misconceived” and “vexatious” but businesses can still be left with legal bills of about £9,000 because Berry ignores orders to pay costs.  He has had claims struck out in London, Exeter, Bedford, Ashford, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool, Watford and Southampton in the past two years.

Gordon Turner, a solicitor at Partners Employment Lawyers, said: “We have found 57 such court decisions with Mr Berry’s name [on them], but that could be just the tip of the iceberg as it does not take account of all those people who chose to settle and not fight.”

Berry, who is married and lives in a semi-detached house in Downend, Bristol, repeatedly declined to answer questions put to him by The Sunday Times at his home and by email last week. Later he replied in an email: “I like many other older job seekers are (sic) suffering age discrimination here in all these issues. You are grossly misinformed about the facts.”


Harperson is on a crazy crusade

Harriet Harman is  the deputy leader of Britain's governing Labour party

It does not take much to stir the English into a spasm of anti-Catholicism. Front-page stories declaring that Pope Benedict XVI had called on his flock to oppose the government’s Equality Bill were enough to stir 15,000 people to add their signatures to the National Secular Society’s petition opposing the pontiff’s forthcoming state visit to this country.

Even allowing for the centuries-old suspicion that the “left footers” represent some subversive papal army loyal to Rome rather than to the crown, this has been a wilful misinterpretation, not least on the part of the media. The papal address to the Catholic bishops of England and Wales — the cause of the fury — did not once refer to the Equality Bill (which inter alia sought to tighten the rules governing religious organisations’ exemptions from anti-discrimination law). The relevant passage states: “Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.” And that’s it.

It seems most obviously to have been a reference to laws already passed, notably those that did not exempt Catholic adoption agencies from the “anti-discrimination” requirement to accept applications from homosexual couples — as a result of which many such agencies have closed rather than face prosecution. There is, it is true, a continuous underlying conflict here: that between the demands of faith and those of secular authority, most vividly expressed in Matthew 22.21 (“Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”).

While Labour abandoned the idea of the state as all-virtuous in the economic sphere — it privatised businesses that even Margaret Thatcher balked at selling off — some of its leading figures have held firm to the view that it is possible through the enforcement power of the state to improve society’s moral character. What constitutes that “better character” will also be decided by the state, of course, although it is never very clear from what its leaders’ superior moral wisdom derives, other than the very Judeao-Christian tradition whose influence they instinctively wish to relegate.

While Pope Benedict never mentioned the Equality Bill, or even Harriet Harman, it is clear that the deputy leader of the Labour party is one of the few revolutionary idealists left on the government front benches. She still believes, like a St Paul’s girls’ school Robespierre, that the state will set us free from the tyranny of individual choice and the prejudices of faith and family. Her pet project, a bill that attempts to enforce “equality” via a legally binding so-called “socio-economic duty”, is now heading for the statute book.

To read the full text of “The Equality Bill and other action to make equality a reality”, as distributed by something called the Government Equalities Office, is to enter the world according to Harriet. It all seems sweetly reasonable — until you start to think. Its prime example of what “the equality duty could mean” is the following: “In respect of age, a local council putting extra park benches in local parks so older people can enjoy public spaces as well as younger people.” One wonders what possessed those municipal authorities over the centuries to put benches in their parks. Clearly they had not been inspired by Harman’s Equality Bill to think of the needs of their elderly. Was it possible they were able to have such thoughts quite independently of government edicts?

Her document goes on to say that the Equality Bill’s “new positive action measures could mean: the board of a bank that is 100% male ... choosing a woman will help to address the gender imbalance at the top, making the management more representative of its customer base, which is 50% female”. Is it possible that such a bank is aware that its customer base is 50% female and does not need to be informed of that fact by the Government Equalities Office? Is it also possible that such a commercial organisation will do whatever it can not to discriminate against female customers, because it actually does not like to lose business? The condescension of this document is astounding, even by the debased standards of such government screeds.

The next paragraph seeks to reassure us that “positive action is not about banning certain groups” — Etonians? — “from certain jobs. It is about allowing employers to increase diversity if they want their workforce to better reflect the local community or customer base”. Oh, it’s just about allowing us to do what we want, is it? So why legislate?

There is a still more bizarre document put out by the Government Equalities Office: this one is called “The Equality Bill: impact assessment (third version)”. I have in front of me all 233 pages. It tells us that the cost of implementing Harman’s measure, in its first year, will be “between £270.4m and £310.8m”. It admits that part of this vast cost of the Equality Bill might be “additional tribunal/court cases”. No, really?

The document concedes that up to £225m of those additional costs will be borne by “1,174,945 small and medium-sized enterprises”. That’s even before you begin to work out the cost to the taxpayer directly, as all the myriad public bodies created by new Labour get their teeth into the business of enforcing the “socio-economic duty”. The document has an interminable list of the organisations that are ready to do battle against the forces of inequality, not to mention the existing acronymic strategies ready to be inflated still further (“sustainable community strategy (SCS), local area agreements (LAA), local development framework (LDF)”), and so on ad infinitum.

Yet despite all this, the impact assessment insists that the measure will save money. It asserts that the Equality Bill will save the country the sum of “£537,958,543”. How is this enormous and yet precise sum arrived at? Let the Government Equalities Office explain: “This is a benefit to society in general. This concept presumes that a more equitable distribution of resources will raise economic welfare since additional consumption by poor individuals is valued more highly than it is by wealthy individuals.”

So on one side of the balance sheet we have real money — the costs to business and the taxpayer — and on the other side we have psychic money, the financial value that Harman’s advisers have arbitrarily decided to attribute to a more equal distribution of income. No maths teacher used to telling pupils not to add apples and pears would have encountered such a monstrosity.

Besides, what makes the Government Equalities Office believe that this will be the effect of its legislation, however calculated? Last week the government’s own national equality panel (it exists) admitted that despite new Labour’s intense social engineering over the past 13 years, inequalities have increased. It also revealed some fascinating discrepancies in the average wealth of various religious/ ethnic groups. The average Sikh family is richer than the average Christian family (and the average Jewish family is richer than either). Is this the outcome of state support for the Sikh way of life? Is it because Jews have never faced discrimination? Or is because nothing can stop the rise of a social group or family if it has an appetite for hard work?

Alternatively we are asked to believe Harman’s psychic numbers, supposedly the mathematical proof that her legislation, of itself, will make Britain a better society. Whatever you think of the man in the Vatican, he has said nothing as crazy as that.


Islamic Nazis

No one told the Islamic Nazis that they lost World War II.  The former prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, recently asserted that Jews in Europe had “always been a problem.” He claimed that “they had to be confined to ghettos and periodically massacred. But still they remained, they thrived…held whole governments to ransom. Even after their massacre by the Nazis…they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world.”

Mahathir won fame in October 2003 for charging that “Jews rule this world by proxy.” In the same speech, he lamented that “the Muslims will forever be oppressed and dominated by the Europeans and the Jews. It cannot be that there is no other way. 1.3 billion Muslims cannot be defeated by a few million Jews. There must be a way….For well over half a century we have fought over Palestine. What have we achieved? Nothing. We are worse off than before. If we had paused to think, then we could have devised a plan, a strategy that can win us final victory.”

Final victory? A final solution, perhaps? Might Mahathir believe that Jews are due for one of those periodic massacres about which he spoke so approvingly?

In this Mahathir is not alone: several other Islamic leaders have spoken in similar ways recently. On January 29, Palestinian Authority TV, which is controlled by the ostensibly moderate Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, broadcast a Friday mosque sermon containing this reference to the notorious genocidal hadith in which Muhammad said that the end times would not come until Muslims started murdering Jews: “The Prophet says: ‘You shall fight the Jews and kill them, until the tree and the stone will speak and say: “Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah”’ — the tree and the stone will not say, ‘Oh Arab,’ they will say, ‘Oh Muslim.’ And they will not say, ‘Where are the millions?’ and will not say, ‘Where is the Arab nation?’ Rather, they will say, ‘Oh Muslim, Oh servant of Allah — there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’ Except for the Gharqad tree, which is the tree of the Jews. Thus, this land will be liberated only by means of Jihad.”

Likewise, on January 12, a top Iranian official, Mohammad Hassan Rahimian, declared on Al-Manar TV: “We have manufactured missiles that allow us, when necessary, to replace Israel in its entirety with a big holocaust.”

On December 29, an Islamic cleric, Muhammad Hussein Yaaqub, said this on Egypt’s Al-Nas TV: “The Jews are our enemies. Allah will annihilate them at our hands. This is something we know for certain. We know this for certain – not because I say so, but because Allah said so. ‘You shall find that the people strongest in enmity to the believers are the Jews and the polytheists.’” That is a quotation from the Qur’an (5:82).

Ahmad Al-Barqawi, professor of philosophy from Damascus University, joined the genocidal chorus on Syria TV on December 15, 2009: “If the enemy reaches a stage in which it feels that it is paying a heavy price for its occupation – both in terms of human lives and in terms of resources – it will give up. Without this, there is no chance of reconciliation with the enemy. Therefore, I believe that the annihilation of Israel is easier than reconciliation with it. Annihilating Israel is easier than reconciling with it, because annihilating Israel through a long-term and consistent effort may bear fruit in a society that feels it is alien to this [Arab] world, and does not want to remain in a world that rejects by force.”

And on January 5, Yousuf Ahmad, head of Gaza’s Al-Faraeen TV bureau, said that Israel was “weaker than a spider web. By Allah, if the Arab nation decided to unite, the state of Israel would automatically collapse.” And if that happened, of course, wholesale massacres of Jews would be inevitable. Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal made a similar statement this on Al-Jazeera on December 15: “The resistance on the land of Palestine will be victorious and will drive those Zionists out of our land. We have driven them out of Gaza, even if they continue to besiege it. We will drive them out of the West Bank and all our Palestinian land, Allah willing.”

None of this should come as any surprise. The genocidal hadith quoted on Palestinian TV is just one element of an anti-Semitism that is deeply rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah, and which runs through Islamic history with a remarkable consistency. What’s more, as Pamela Geller has recently and exhaustively documented at, the notorious Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Hajj Amin al-Husseini, was deeply involved in the planning and execution of the Holocaust in Europe. A great admirer and friend of Adolf Hitler, al-Husseini was involved in massacres of Jews in the Holy Land in the 1930s. And in July 1946 at the Nuremberg Trials, Dieter Wisliczeny, the deputy of Nazi genocidal killer Adolf Eichmann, testified that “the Mufti was one of the initiators of the systematic extermination of European Jewry and had been a collaborator and adviser of Eichmann and Himmler in the execution of this plan… He was one of Eichmann’s best friends and had constantly incited him to accelerate the extermination measures. I heard him say, accompanied by Eichmann, he had visited incognito the gas chambers of Auschwitz.”

Al-Husseini was drawn to his role in Hitler’s Final Solution by his loyalty to Islamic texts and teachings that demonize Jews and call for their murder. And as Mahathir and the other Muslims quoted above have shown, Muslims are still reading those texts and taking them seriously. The world yawns at this at its own risk.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


7 February, 2010

You, Britain, are the breeding ground for Muslim terrorists

The Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka says the UK, not Nigeria, should be on the terrorism watch-list.  He's got a point.  Extremist Muslim preachers  are encouraged in their hatred of  Western civilization by a similar hatred among Green/Leftists  -- and British Leftists are virulent haters, with Israel being a top hate-object for them.

Ever since I told the US website The Daily Beast that Britain was a cesspit and a breeding ground for fundamentalist Muslims, people have been asking me what I meant: “Why do you, a Nobel laureate, say such things? Where’s the evidence?”   So let me clarify: I was responding to a question about what I thought about Nigeria, my home country, being placed on a US watch-list of states deemed to be incubators of Islamist terrorism. The listing — which puts Nigeria into a club whose members include Afghanistan, Somalia and Yemen — followed the failed attack by the Nigerian student Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the young man who boarded a plane with a bomb in his underpants.

I believe it was irrational to point the finger of suspicion at Nigeria because this young man — the so-called Christmas Day bomber — was not radicalised in Nigeria. Everything we know about Abdulmutallab suggests that it happened in London, where he went to university.  The same is true of the shoe bomber, Richard Reid. And of the extremists who bombed the London Underground and the buses in July 2005. (A Nigerian was killed in those bombings.) The terrorists who primed a car found outside a London nightclub in 2007 with petrol containers, gas canisters and nails were based in Britain. If Nigeria qualifies for a place on the US list of terrorist countries then, admit it, Britain is overqualified.

The truth is that Britain has created a breeding ground for religious terrorists. I have a number of Muslim friends in Nigeria who have expressed fears that their sons, who are studying at British universities, might be caught up in Islamic fundamentalism. They are worried about the company they are keeping and by changes in their attitudes.  Their children are becoming intolerant of other religions, developing a kind of holier-than-thou stance even towards their fellow Muslims. Holier, or purer, than thou — that sums up the mental conditioning. It is the beginning of a religious psychopathy that ends in bombs in underpants. One friend with a son at university in the northeast of England has not — yet — pulled his son out but he is certainly keeping a watchful eye on him. He has reason to be worried.

Where are these students developing these attitudes? Mostly off-campus in local mosques. There are so-called schools of Islamic teaching attached to mosques in certain British cities. These ghetto schools, which are often situated in innocuous places, are a real problem in Britain. You have them in many of your northern cities; you have them in London. They are not mainstream Islamic schools.  What their mullahs recruit are impressionable youths who have been extracted from the regular Islamic schools and mosques and taken for special grooming for a narrower, more fundamentalist view of Islam. I do not know how many such schools there are but I have met the products of these schools in Britain.  I have heard their pronouncements. I have heard them in the company of my African friends in Britain. I have heard them declare the necessity of destruction of all non-Islamic religions. Their conviction is absolute — and mindless.

On some of the many occasions I have passed through Britain I have encountered religious clerics, some preaching religious hatred. Remember that, interacting with a black man, such preachers tend to be less inhibited in their utterances. They assume — especially if they discern a critical attitude towards western society — that you must be basically sympathetic to their cause.

In 2004 I gave the BBC’s Reith lectures on the theme of a “climate of fear”. My contention was that fear itself posed the greatest danger to our society. At the question-and-answer sessions that followed the lectures, and afterwards, I was assailed by both Jews and Muslims — some genuine and objective disputants, some outright maniacal extremists.  One of the most memorable encounters took place at Emory University, Atlanta. I should explain that the Reith lectures that year took an itinerant format, with the lectures delivered before live audiences across a number of cities, including some in the United States.

In Atlanta I was aggressively confronted by members of a Jewish group who remonstrated over what they considered my lack of understanding of the dimensions of the Islamist global threat.

After one of the London lectures, the chauffeur from a private car-hire company who drove me to the airport subjected me to a non-stop fundamentalist defence of 9/11. I actually felt a need to report him to his company for harassment and received an apology.

In my view, Britain has taken far too long to curb such extremes. The harvest of such long neglect is being reaped today by British society.   I possess some tracts that have been passed among students by some of these hate clerics and sometimes openly preached. If they were racist in content — as opposed to “religious” — they would long ago have been stopped.

Britain has always prided itself on opening its doors to dissidents, even of the most radical nature. This tradition has its virtues: it enabled revolutionaries such as Karl Marx to study and develop radical theories of history and human society, but it also meant that during the 1970s the terrorist Carlos the Jackal moved freely in and out of Britain.

I am not condemning the idea of the open society, but alongside freedom sits responsibility. When freedom of expression is abused by the preachers of hate — either racial or religious — then the state has a responsibility to act.

I think Britain is finally waking up to this terrorist threat at its heart. But sadly the phenomenon of religious extremism is spreading to Nigeria.

When I was growing up there was harmonious co-existence between the Muslim and Christian parts of its society. That has changed drastically. In Nigeria today there are Christian fundamentalists who go out and destroy traditional African shrines. Sometimes they even join hands with Muslim extremists to destroy places of worship of traditional religions. Roaming hordes of killers in northern Nigeria are breaking into homes, dragging out people of other faiths and hacking them to death.

These things spread. One of my friends, a prominent Nigerian, has a daughter who was married to a young Muslim man in the United States. This young man would not allow any non-Muslim, including his wife’s relatives, into the house. He began by saying her family could come in only on certain days and then it escalated. In the end, of course, they divorced. The father took the daughter home.  It is that kind of extreme mental conditioning that fuels religious fundamentalism and threatens world peace.

If a place can be designated — preferably in outer space — for those who believe they are so holy, their religious “truths” so absolute, that they cannot cohabit with other faiths then we should all contribute to the creation of a space armada that would shuttle all such purists to that sanctuary.  Failing that, a policy of rigorous educational rehabilitation for these dislocated minds has become mandatory for the very survival of humanity.


The problem isn’t the Pope, it’s the Vatican of political correctness

By Peter Hitchens

Actually, I am uneasy about the Pope telling us what to do.   This is part of being British, or was when I was growing up.  I can still recite great chunks of Tennyson’s wonderful Ballad Of The Fleet, all about Sir Richard Grenville and the little ship Revenge, with her valiant Protestant crew, fighting her unequal battle against the great sea-castles of King Philip, ‘the Inquisition dogs and the devildoms of Spain’.  I had relatives who viewed the Vatican as Babylon. I was taught at school about Bloody Mary, 400 years later still a loathed figure.   Even now, I like to roll over my tongue the defiant 37th of the English Church’s 39 articles: ‘The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.’

The Pope’s warning about growing intolerance of Christianity in the British State should have been issued by the Church of England, and once could have been.  But its present leaders are for the most part pretty dim, and almost all liberals – whereas Benedict is a serious thinker, a major intellect and a conservative.

Those who are outraged – or claim to be – about the Pontiff’s warning from Rome are trying to use a force they don’t really sympathise with.  My anti-Catholic forebears were Cromwellian Puritans, and would have loathed the sexual revolution even more than they disliked the RC Church. And if these protesters are worried about foreign intervention in British affairs, they are looking in the wrong direction.

Harriet Harman’s ‘Equality’ Bill, a monstrous piece of far-Left fanaticism, flows mainly from the ideas of continental Marxists who knew little of Britain and cared less.  And – here’s the really important bit – its planned attempt to force the Churches to hire openly homosexual employees against their will have originated in that Vatican of political correctness, the European Union.

I have the document in front of me, though our leaders have tried to keep it secret and Brussels has never officially released it.  It is a ‘Reasoned Opinion’ on ‘infringement No 2006/ 2450’, signed by Commissioner Vladimir Spidla, and it orders the British Government, its subordinate, to amend the law of this country.  It declares that the United Kingdom has ‘failed to fulfil its obligation to transpose correctly Articles 2(4), 4 and 9 of Council Directive 2000/78/EC of 27 November 2000’.  It goes on to ‘invite’ this country to ‘take the necessary measures to comply’. If we don’t, we’ll end up being ordered to act by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

Beside this peremptory stuff, it seems to me that a sermon from the Bishop of Rome is pretty small beer.

It’s not foreign interference the sexual revolutionaries are against. It’s any sort of opposition to their semi-secret elite plan to do away with traditional morality in these islands and everywhere else. So who is really interfering in our way of life?


No respect for freedom of speech from the SPLC

The article below is from the hatemongering SPLC.  They admit to "inspiring" the student brownshirts concerned

Students at Cal State Long Beach are launching a campaign against a faculty member known for his anti-Semitic writings and, most recently, for his leadership of a white supremacist political party.

Aiming to force Kevin MacDonald’s departure from the university, student activists this week began urging their peers to boycott classes taught by the longtime psychology professor. “We feel that Professor MacDonald brings a very racist ideology into his teaching,” said Marylou Cabral, a senior art education major at Cal State Long Beach who’s helping spearhead the anti-MacDonald efforts. “We believe that his personal biases are going to affect his teaching no matter what he’s teaching, and we believe that he brings a political force to our campus that we need to counter. … He’s not just an individual with hateful beliefs. He’s someone who’s making an effort to organize and promote those beliefs, and we feel that’s dangerous.”

The impetus for mobilizing students was MacDonald’s new position as director of American Third Position (ATP), whose stated mission is “to represent the political interests of White Americans.” According to in-depth reporting by O.C. Weekly, ATP is partnering with Freedom 14, a local neo-Nazi group, to establish itself as a party dedicated to the deportation of non-whites. ATP’s chairman is hard-line racist William D. Johnson, a Los Angeles-based lawyer who once proposed repealing the 14th and 15th Amendments, which made freed slaves U.S. citizens, granted equal protection under the law, and prohibited race-based denial of voting rights. Instead, Johnson proposed the Pace Amendment, which would essentially allow only non-Hispanic whites to become U.S. citizens. The group is planning to run political candidates nationwide, and the Southern California branch has handed out hundreds of anti-immigrant fliers and other materials, according to ATP’s blog.

Until ATP’s founding last October, MacDonald’s bigotry found expression mainly through academia rather than activism. His widely discredited research purportedly shows that Jews are driven by a genetically programmed group evolutionary strategy to undermine and harm Western civilization. In his academic works, MacDonald has suggested taxing Jews or restricting their access to universities as ways of protecting white society.

The student-led campaign against MacDonald began on Tuesday, the first day of his spring semester classes. Student activists affiliated with the groups Students Fight Back and the Party for Socialism and Liberation attempted to get those who’d signed up for MacDonald’s upper-level psychology courses — child & adolescent development, developmental psychopathology and social personality development — to drop them and join the boycott. The activists entered MacDonald’s three classes before the professor had arrived and distributed fliers detailing MacDonald’s bogus research and far-right political affiliations, along with a supplemental sheet listing alternative courses students could take. When MacDonald got to class, the activists confronted him about his white supremacist views, which he tried to deny, according to Douglas Kauffman, a senior English literature major who’s involved in the effort. But MacDonald did not disavow his association with ATP. “He was completely silent and tried to evade the topic each time by claiming he only wanted to talk about school issues,” Kauffman said.

MacDonald did not address his views or far-right advocacy in a brief E-mail to Hatewatch. “Students have disrupted my classes and encouraged students to drop my courses,” he wrote. “I suppose these are exactly the sorts of thuggish behavior advocated by the SPLC. Disrupting classes is illegal and it is unfair to students who are simply trying to get an education in difficult times.”

Department chairman Kenneth Green also took issue with the students’ tactics. “Those students were not registered for his class, and they had no legal right to be there,” he said. “There are more appropriate ways to protest.”

But the students defended their methods. “That was the most direct, efficient way to reach those students who are encountering him twice, three times a week,” Cabral said. And most students were receptive to their message, Kauffman said; despite a budget crisis that has limited their enrollment options, about half a dozen students immediately walked out in the three classes combined.

Provoked in part by an SPLC investigation, controversy has dogged MacDonald since at least 2006, when faculty members began expressing serious concerns about his research methods and the use of his writings by extremists to justify a racist agenda. In April 2008, the psychology department approved a statement disassociating itself from MacDonald’s work. “We respect and defend his right to express his views,” it stated in part, “but we affirm that they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the Department of Psychology at California State University, Long Beach.” Other academic departments have issued similar statements. While defending his academic freedom, the Cal State Long Beach Academic Senate also voted in October 2008 to disassociate itself from MacDonald’s writings.

University Assistant Vice President Toni Beron said she hadn’t heard about the student campaign against MacDonald and didn’t immediately have any comment.

The students will circulate a petition next week calling for MacDonald’s removal from the faculty and for students to stop taking his classes, Kauffman said. (They plan to present a copy, along with a letter explaining why students want him dismissed, to a psychology department committee conducting senior faculty reviews.) They’re also planning a campus meeting to discuss MacDonald and their efforts to get him ousted. They hope to work with faculty members who have pressured MacDonald in the past and would like to get the unions on campus to join their cause, including the California Faculty Association.

“Our campus is one of the most diverse in the country, and that really flies in the face of having a Nazi as a professor,” Kauffman said.


PETA Behaving Badly

PETA's real interest seems to be in naked women.  Below is the latest example in a long line of such

Another organization has caved to PETA pressure because of a mistaken belief that the radical group really cares about animals. The Neumann University Alumni Association says it will stop distributing discounted tickets to the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in response to PETA’s latest protest. The alumni association was offering discounted admission to the February 27 show in Philadelphia.

In a February 1 letter, PETA said Neumann University (a Franciscan-affiliated school) would betray its Catholic values by continuing to support the event. (We wonder where PETA’s concern for values is when it mixes naked women and religious imagery.) As happens all too often, university officials cried “uncle” without looking carefully at PETA’s credibility. And the truth is out there: For puppies and kittens, PETA is the proverbial Grim Reaper.

This so-called animal “rights” group killed 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2008, according to records PETA itself filed with the Virginia state government. Out of the 2,216 animals PETA took during 2008, it managed to find homes for a mere seven animals – despite an annual budget of $32 million.

What’s the reason for PETA’s hypocrisy? Money. It’s easier and cheaper to run media campaigns berating circuses than to actually roll up a sleeve or two and save cats and dogs. The last thing PETA wants to do is actually take care of animals. That’s expensive. (But it’s also “ethical.”)

PETA will, however, use advertising dollars to shamelessly exploit human tragedy. In Great Britain, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) just banned PETA from displaying an ad with a photograph of a baby killer. PETA was trying to link animal abuse with infanticide.

Thankfully, more and more people are catching on to PETA’s hypocrisy and rejecting its message. Just look at these 14-year-girls in Punxsutawney on Tuesday. For all the effort PETA spends targeting kids, it may be all for naught.


Sea terrorists obstructing Japanese whalers again

For the sake of Australia's farmers, one must fervently hope that the Australian government keeps right out of this.  It has taken decades to open up the Japanese market to some Australian farm products but if the Japanese consumer gets the idea that Australia is backing these hostile and dangerous publicity-seekers, that market would come to an abrupt dead end.  Most countries have "country of origin" labelling laws for goods in their shops and the Japanese government would just have to step that up a bit for Japanese consumers  to get all the signal they need

ANTI-WHALING activists have described how Japanese whaling ships circled their protest vessel "like sharks" before ramming it off Antarctica.  Sea Shepherd founder, Captain Paul Watson, said the Japanese harpoon ship rammed the conservationists' ship the Bob Barker and tore a 90cm gash in the hull above the water line.  The incident happened about 300 kilometres off Cape Darnley, in the Australian Antarctic Territory, about 3pm (AEDT) yesterday.  No-one was injured in the incident.

Capt Watson said the collision was "entirely intentional" on the part of the Japanese.  "Four Japanese ships circled the Bob Barker like sharks," he said.   "Then one of them, the Yushin Maru 3, did a quick turn and rammed a three-foot gash in the hull.  "Luckily, the waters are calm at the moment and we have a welding crew working to fix it."

The anti-whaling vessel was blocking the slipway of the Nisshin Maru, the Japanese whaling fleet's factory ship, when the collision occurred.

Japan's Fisheries Agency said however, the activist boat caused the collision by suddenly approaching the harpoon vessel to throw bottles containing butyric acid in an attempted attack on the Japanese ship.  The Japanese agency accused Sea Shepherd of "committing an act of sabotage" on the Japanese expedition, noting that it is allowed under world whaling restrictions as a scientific expedition.  "We will not tolerate the dangerous activity that threatens Japanese whaling ships and endangers the lives of their crew members," it said in a statement late yesterday.

Capt Watson called on the Australian government take action on illegal whaling.  "The Japanese are violating Australian laws on whaling and nothing is being done to stop them," he said. 

This is the second major clash between Japanese whalers and anti-whaling activists this year, after the Ady Gil sank following a collision with a Japanese whaling ship in the Southern Ocean on January 6.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


6 February, 2010

Australia: abused black kids taken away by authorities and then sent to other abusive black homes

Because of the Leftist "stolen generation" myth they cannot be sent to white homes  -- which is of course blatantly racist.  The fact that the lives, health and welfare of black kids are being stolen right now  matters not at all to the race-obsessed and hate-filled  Left

ABORIGINAL children in care are routinely being placed with relatives in remote communities where they are exposed to sexual abuse and alcohol-fuelled violence, a wide-ranging report on child protection - kept hidden by the Northern Territory government - has revealed.

The Bath report - compiled after an audit of scores of cases of children deemed at high risk who were in the care of the state - exposes the near-total breakdown of child protection systems in the Territory, where background checks on carers are rarely carried out, ministers regularly fail to review the progress of cases, and social services for troubled families are in critically short supply.

Howard Bath, who was appointed Children's Commissioner in the Territory after compiling the extensive report, documents case after case where children were failed by the system that was supposed to protect them.  The report - suppressed for more than two years by the NT government - found Aboriginal children were at particular risk, often consigned to carers who lived in violent or abusive homes in remote communities where standard case reviews rarely happened.

Barely any Aboriginal carers underwent a registration process, and the government's bureaucrats warned it that a "sense of complacency" governed the assessment, review and management of cases of children placed in the care of a relative.

Dr Bath found the Aboriginal child placement principle - which states that Aboriginal children should be placed with a relative or other Aboriginal carers if possible - sometimes took precedence over child safety, and that the standards applied to foster carers were followed with much greater rigour than with relative carers.  "'The present data suggests, as do some of the decisions in the case studies, that in some cases this principle appears to be given primacy over basic child protection considerations," he says. "It was never the intent of the principle that children should be placed in unsafe situations."

The NT Government, which is under enormous pressure over its handling of child protection after recent damning coronial findings, has kept the full extent of the crisis racking the department of Families and Community Services hidden from the public for more than two years despite mounting evidence of a system on the brink.

Two years after his extensive report was suppressed, Dr Bath warned that child protection had "slipped off the radar" in the NT, as the devastating findings of the Little Children are Sacred report faded from public consciousness.  In late 2007, the Labor Government released the Bath report's executive summary and recommendations, but refused to release the damning detail contained in the close to 200 pages of the full report.

The Government is so sensitive about the contents of Dr Bath's report that it has even refused to release it to NT Ombudsman Carolyn Richards, who is investigating 35 complaints against child protection services.  The Weekend Australian understands Ms Richards will be forced to issue a summons on Dr Bath to obtain the report.


Politicized British police ignore  emergency calls

A chief constable is in hot water for saying police cannot attend every 999 call - and most people do not expect them to.   Cambridgeshire's Julie Spence made the claim after a judge criticised her force for its 'indifferent' response to a man who reported an attacker hiding behind his house who was 'coming for a fight'.  No officers were sent in response to the emergency call and the man was badly beaten.

Mrs Spence, who yesterday also came under fire for 'wasting money' on an internet blog supposedly written by a police dog, said 'a note of realism' was required.  She added: 'The fact is the bestfunded, biggest force in the world would not be able to attend every 999 call.  'Nor do I believe that is the expectation of most of our callers.  'Most know and appreciate and understand that their need may sometimes be less pressing than another's.'

Politicians and campaign groups responded with dismay.  A spokesman for Alan Johnson said: 'The Home Secretary expects the police to respond promptly and effectively to every emergency.'

Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: 'We have to get more of  our police out from behind their desks filling in forms and on to the streets where they are needed.  'We cannot go on with a situation where bureaucracy takes precedence over policing.'

Mark Wallace, of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said: 'It is not good enough for any chief constable to simply shrug their shoulders and wash their hands of a case like this.  'The police have a serious responsibility to protect the public from crime, and too often people are being let down.  'If you phone 999 about a serious crime or threat, then it is not unreasonable to expect the police to respond promptly.'

The force was savaged by Judge Sean Enright for not sending an officer out immediately after a 999 caller rang to say he was about to be attacked at his home.  Despite telling the operator a man was hiding behind his house and 'coming for a fight', Sadegh Ghanbara, from Peterborough, was told to call back if he returned.  The operator graded the incident as B, which does not warrant an immediate call-out.

Minutes later, Sherwan Rasul, 18, launched a savage assault with a baseball bat, leaving Mr Ghanbara unconscious with a broken nose.  He called 999 again half an hour later, saying Rasul had returned and had started hitting him and pleaded for an officer to be sent. Police arrived eight minutes later.

Judge Enright said the initial response 'smacked of indifference'.  He added: 'It was plain Mr Ghanbara feared he would be assaulted and the assault was imminent.  'The inescapable fact is that had the police responded to the 999 call, it is highly likely that an assault wouldn't have taken place.'


Tzipi Livni to test UK law with visit

Britain is braced for a diplomatic row after a senior Israeli politician warned that she was preparing to travel to the UK, where she faces an arrest warrant for alleged war crimes.  Tzipi Livni, the former Israeli Foreign Minister and now the leader of the Opposition, said that she wanted to test promises by David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, that he would change the law to ensure that she was not arrested for her role in last year’s Gaza offensive.

In December, a London court agreed to a request by pro-Palestinian groups to issue a warrant over alleged war crimes during the military operation, which took place when she was Foreign Minister. The court rescinded the warrant when it became clear that she was not on British soil.

At the time, Gordon Brown and Mr Miliband pledged to prevent this happening again and the Government has since been considering various ways of changing the law.  One plan would see a ban on arrest warrants for alleged war crimes, while another could give immunity to former ministers.

Ms Livni has set a deadline of February 23, after which she told The Jewish Chronicle that she planned to visit “within weeks”. Any change to the law would be made in the Crime and Security Bill going through Parliament, which is in the committee stage until that date.

Ms Livni said: “I will do this not for me, not for provocation, but for the right of every Israeli to travel freely. I am not going to be restricted by extremists because I fought terror.”   The British system was, she said, “being abused by extremists for political reasons. Belgium and Spain have changed their laws, and the British know that they have to do so”.

Despite a Tory pledge to support the change, a motion against a new law preventing her arrest has gathered 108 backbench signatories.  [It's unstated but most of them will be from the Labour party.  The British Left hates Israel.  See  here and here and here, for example]


Corporate America is to Blame Not Haitian Government?

Apparently, corporate America is to blame for the widespread suffering and acute poverty in Haiti that has only intensified in the aftermath of a major earthquake. This is the central message of The New York Times hit piece on the Rawlings Sporting Goods company that left the island about 20 years ago; external factors unrelated to Haiti’s government are the culprit here, according to the article.

Baseballs are very specialized products that require a highly trained work force. If Rawlings had its druthers, it would have preferred to keep an already well-trained trained workforce in place, equipped to handle a unique product. Yet, the company felt compelled to uproot itself thanks to government corruption, mismanagement and poor public policy decisions.

The Haitian government imposed severe regulations and restrictions that made for an untenable business climate, but this story is untold.

Rawlings now has a moral obligation to re-invest in Haiti because the company was profitable there at one time, even though it has no ownership over any of the policy decisions made in the past two decades. This argument is made by a book author quoted in the story who has studied assistance programs to Haiti.

“Do they have an obligation?” Josh DeWind, a co-author of “Aiding Migration: The Impact of International Development Assistance on Haiti,” said Tuesday in a telephone interview, referring to Rawlings. “I suppose they did quite well in Haiti, so, yes, in a humanitarian sense, it would be morally right to go back and help out, given that they benefited from Haiti.”

There’s no talk about The New York Times re-locating any of its facilities down to Haiti.... The message should be “Haiti Heal Thyself,” but it’s just easier to bash corporate America.

Rawlings has been operating in Costa Rica since about 1988 in response the political unrest that accelerated throughout Haiti in the late 1980s and accelerated into the 1990s. This write-up is reflective of the long-standing antipathy The New York Times has toward business owners who are understandably reticent to operate in a climate where the rule of law is not observed.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


5 February, 2010

Anger as British judge spares devout Muslim from jail

Cherie Blair is to be investigated by the organisation that deals with complaints against judges after she gave a more lenient sentence to a Muslim offender because he was “religious”.

The Judicial Complaints Office is to look into a complaint by the National Secular Society that Mrs Blair, who practises law under her maiden name of Booth, suspended a six-month jail sentence passed on Shamso Miah on the ground that he was devout.

Miah was convicted at the Inner London Crown Court last month of assault after he broke a stranger’s jaw. Terry Sanderson, president of the society, said: “We think this is discriminatory and unjust. and we wish to make a formal complaint about it. It’s wrong that someone so high-profile as Mrs Blair — and she is very high-profile as a Catholic — should make such remarks in court.”

The court was told that in August last year Miah, 25, from Redbridge, northeast London, went from prayers at a mosque to a bank, where he got into an argument with Mohammed Furcan over who was first in the queue. He punched Mr Furcan in the face and ran out. Mr Furcan followed him but was knocked to the pavement, breaking his jaw.

Miah told police that he had been acting in self-defence, but CCTV footage showed that he was the aggressor, the jury heard. Miah pleaded guilty. Mrs Blair said that violence on the streets had to be taken seriously but added: “I am going to suspend this sentence for the period of two years based on the fact you are a religious person and have not been in trouble before. You are a religious man and you know this is not acceptable behaviour.”

He was ordered to complete 200 hours of community service and pay £200 in costs.


Once again Britain's Marxist-trained social workers ignore appalling  working class abuses

But middle class people get targeted on mere suspicion

A judge today criticised scandal-hit Doncaster social services for failing to protect two young girls subjected to a shocking catalogue of cruelty over a four-year period.   The sisters, now aged eight and ten, were repeatedly beaten with a slipper and belt, had food taken from their plates to give to pet dogs and were sent to school crawling with lice and in a filthy condition.

The girls were put on the child protection register because of the family's history of neglect, but were removed six months later. This decision by social workers left the children at the mercy of their mother's brutal boyfriend.

The shocking case emerged just weeks after the same social services department was criticised for its handling of the 'torture boys' case in which two young boys left close to death after being tortured by two sadistic brothers.   The victims were strangled, hit with bricks, made to eat nettles, stripped and forced to sexually abuse each other.  Doncaster's social services were heavily criticised in a serious case review which cited 'multi-agency' failings and an inability to connect the boys' worsening behaviour to their neglectful family background.

Doncaster's social services was taken over by a Government hit squad last year and emergency measures implemented because of a series of failures and concerns over the high number of child deaths.

Judge Jacqueline Davies today said the case was a 'horrid process of intimidation towards two defenceless little girls' and jailed their 31-year-old mother for 21 months and her ex-boyfriend, 26, for three years and three months at Doncaster Crown Court.  And the judge slammed Doncaster social services again after hearing the children were removed from the child protection register six months after they were deemed to be at risk.

Details of the sisters' appalling treatment and neglect were revealed in court.  The elder girl told police they had both been hit with a slipper on the hands, back and bottom. She had been struck 50 times with a belt buckle and had her face squeezed by the boyfriend and her head banged against a wall.  She had also been punched in the stomach by the boyfriend, who is not her father, so hard she had to crawl across the floor because she was in so much pain.  The girls told their mother to 'tell him to stop' but she failed to intervene.

When the mother bought things for the children her partner said 'they don't deserve anything.' One witness said he took food from them to give to the dogs.

Prosecutor Richard Sheldon said the violence usually happened when the mother worked the night shift at a bakery and her lover was left in charge. She knew about the assaults but did nothing.    The alarm was raised when the girls' grandmother, who refused to enter the filthy house, alerted social services and the police. 

Teachers at their school described the girls as 'ill-kempt, in ill-fitting clothes and stinking or urine with insect bites to their body and lice on their head'.  Mr Sheldon said: 'The school said the mother had a similar appearance as if she didn't have a penny to her name and skinny but she always said the marks on her children were accidental.'

The girls' welfare declined when the mother began working nights and in January, 2008 it was noted the girls went to school in freezing weather wearing summer dresses and smelling of urine.

When interviewed by police the boyfriend said the girls were 'little bastards' who didn't know how to look after themselves and they would not be told off so he did not believe his behaviour was unreasonable.

The mother said she didn't want him to hit the kids but admitted doing nothing to protect them because she had nowhere else to go and he would not leave the house.

Mr Sheldon said the partner often referred to the girls as 'tarts' and 'scruffy idiots'.  The boyfriend admitted wilful assault and ill treatment of the children. Their mother admitted wilful neglect.  They also admitted causing unnecessary suffering or injury by failing to provide adequate accommodation and care.

Kath Goddard, for the mother, said she was a 'damaged and vulnerable' woman who needed help.  But she had begin to turn her life around and the jail term would prevent her from having contact with her new baby son, over which court proceedings are taking place.

Michael Caine-Soothill, for the boyfriend, said he had been on the 'at risk' register himself as a child and his behaviour was motivated by a lack of parenting skills rather than a 'wilful want to hurt children'.   It led to the mother and her partner being arrested for cruelty offences dating from 2004-2008.

Doncaster council tonight declined to comment on the case.


Curious Defenses of the Goldstone Report

by Alan M. Dershowitz

Even before the Goldstone Report was released, Richard Goldstone was arguing for its credibility by invoking his Jewishness, his Zionism, his daughter’s residence in Israel and his connection to Hebrew University.  It was the mirror image of the classic fallacy known as the argument ad hominem, which is defined as follows:  A substantive argument should not be rejected solely because of who has offered it.

It follows of course from this fallacy that an argument should also not be accepted because of who offered it.

A close relative of the ad hominem fallacy is what I have called “the argument by ethnic identity,” which I have defined as follows:  An anti-Israel argument is made stronger if offered by a Jew.  (“See, even a Jews agrees that…)

These are precisely the fallacious arguments being offered in defense of the Goldstone report by Richard Goldstone and his supporters.  Goldstone has even elicited his daughter’s help.  This is what she has said:  “Had Richard Goldstone not served as the head of the UN inquiry into the Gaza War, the accusations against Israel would have been harsher.”  She continued.  “My father took on the job, for peace, for everyone and also for Israel.”  She told the Jerusalem Post, “My dad loves Israel and it wasn’t easy for him to see and hear what happened.  I think he heard and saw things he didn’t expect to see and hear….”

The problem is not what Goldstone saw and heard.  It’s what he willfully and deliberately refused to see and hear.  He refused to watch videotapes, easily accessible on the internet, that show conclusively that Hamas terrorists routinely fired rockets from behind human shields.  He refused to credit eye witness reports published by refutable newspapers and even admissions by Hamas leaders.  He willfully refused to listen to the testimony of one of the world’s leading experts on how democratic militaries fight asymmetrical warfare against terrorists who hide behind civilians, who said:

“I don’t think there has ever been a time in the history of warfare when any army has made more efforts to reduce civilian casualties and deaths of innocent people than the IDF is doing today in Gaza.”

Instead of defending the report against the many substantive arguments offered against it, Goldstone has repeatedly cited his Jewishness as both a shield against the criticism and a sword with which to continue to attack Israeli actions.

Had Goldstone not been the author of the United Nations Human Rights Council report on Israel, it would be tossed in the trash barrel along with other one-sided and biased reports by this prejudice group which targets only Israel for human rights violations.  But those seeking to defend this indefensible report point to Goldstone’s authorship as proof that it must have credibility because a Jew wrote it (“See, even a Jew….)

In a criminal trial, it is impermissible to attack the character of the defendant unless he has placed his character at issue.  That is precisely what Goldstone has done in his campaign to lend credibility to his mendacious report by constantly invoking his Jewishness.  The appropriate response to an ad hominem positive argument is an ad hominem negative argument.  That is why, in addition to providing a 49 page substantive response to the arguments and methodology of the Goldstone report, I have raised questions about Goldstone’s motivations in accepting leadership of the mission and signing his name to a report which is so demonstrably false and one-sided.

In light of the hard evidence, that is easily accessible online and in the media, Goldstone cannot possibly believe that Hamas did not intentionally use human shields, have their fighters deliberately dress in civilian clothing and use mosques and hospitals to store rockets and other weapons.  Videotapes conclusively prove these charges, and Hamas acknowledges—indeed boasts of—them.  He cannot possibly believe that Israel used the thousands of rockets that Hamas directed against its children as an excuse, or a cover, for its real goal, namely to kill as many Palestinian civilians as possible.  Nor could he possibly believe that the Israeli government made a policy decision, at the highest levels, to deliberately target Palestinian babies, young children, women and the elderly for murder.  All the evidence points away from these wild charges.  Yet he signed a report asserting that those demonstrably false conclusions were true.  Shame on him.  And even more shame on him for exploiting his Jewishness to get others to believe these defamations against the Jewish state.

The Goldstone report should be rejected on its demerits.  The added fact that it was authored by a Jew—selected precisely because he is a Jew with aspirations to be honored by the international community—should diminish, rather than increase, its credibility.

I have challenged Goldstone to debate the substantive points in his report.  I promise not make any ad hominem arguments against the report if he stops making ad hominem arguments in its favor. Or as Adlai Stevenson once promised a political opponent:  “If you stop lying about me, I will stop telling the truth about you.”


Sadly for the Left, the attacks on Indians in Australia are NOT the work of "racist" whites

I have been saying this for years now but Andrew Bolt's comments below might get more attention -- JR

IT'S because so many people want to believe Australians are racist that Jaspreet Singh became the latest fake example of our evil.   Singh, a 29-year-old Indian "student", turned up last month burned to a crisp, with a tale of having been attacked in Essendon by four racists with a can of petrol.  The story smelled from the start, and not just of premium unleaded. Police even warned it sounded suss, starting with this notion that gangs roam Essendon late at night with cans of petrol, looking for Indians to burn.

But what followed is a golden example of a phenomenon that's made this country seem like a madhouse lately. If people really want to believe something they will, and facts barely matter. Indeed, facts are then evil.

That's why so many millions believe in the "stolen generations", for instance, especially when no one can name even 10 children stolen just for being Aboriginal.  That's why millions more are sure man is heating the world dangerously, even when the planet has cooled for more than eight years.

And that's why so many of our preacher-teacher class, from academics to ABC broadcasters, have so eagerly insisted that every Australian (except themselves, funnily) is a racist redneck - a smugly self-regarding lie they're now shocked to see is believed of them, too, by an Indian media only too happy to pander to its own chip-on-the-shoulder xenophobes.

It's the wanting to believe that counts. So here's what we read last month about the bizarre barbecueing of Jaspreet Singh from Indian journalists and Australian cause-pushers.

Sindh Today, January 9: "Days after India asked Australia to take urgent action against those behind the murder of an Indian student a week ago, a 29-year-old Indian was set ablaze Saturday by four unidentified attackers in Melbourne, putting bilateral ties under strain."

The New Indian Express, January 11: "Victoria Police say ... there is no reason at this stage to consider this (attack) racially motivated. If the statement had been calculated to enrage, it could hardly have been more provocatively phrased. Perhaps, in Australia, opportunist crimes also involve setting the victim ablaze.  In any other country, this would prima facie be considered a hate crime, in this case racist."

The Communist Party of India, January 12: "In the past two weeks, racist attacks on Indians in Australia have claimed two lives (Ranjodh Singh and Nitin Garg) while 29-year-old Jaspreet Singh is now recovering from burns ... "

The Sydney Morning Herald, January 15: "Aboriginal leader Tom Calma believes the recent attacks on Indian students in Australia could be racially motivated."

AND more. Even former Defence Force chief General Peter Cosgrove, too ready to bend with the fashionable wind, just days later gave an Australia Day speech claiming attacks on Indians had "erupted over the last several weeks to become a major problem", and "it is easy to conclude that they are racially targeted".

Just as well he didn't mention the now singed Jaspreet by name, because here's what we read this week of our latest martyr to Australian racism: "Singh, 29, of Grice Crescent, Essendon, in the city's north, faced an out-of-sessions hearing early this morning ... charged with making a false report to police and criminal damage with a view to gaining a financial advantage."

Of course, Singh could be completely innocent. Let the court decide whether he really just blew himself up while trying to torch his car - but do let the Indian Government now apologise for jumping to its own inflammatory conclusion about our wickedness.

But this is not the first time an example of Australian racism has gone up in smoke like Singh's shirt.   Let me quote from a statement sent to Indian newspapers just last week by Australia's man in New Delhi:  "The Australian High Commissioner, Mr Peter Varghese, today welcomed advice that the NSW police had arrested three persons in connection with the murder of Ranjodh Singh, a 25-year-old Indian man, whose burnt body was found in the NSW town of Griffith on December, 29, 2009.  Gurpreet Singh, 23, and his 20-year-old wife Harpreet Bhullar faced the court on January 29.   A third man was arrested on the same day and will also be charged with Mr Singh's murder.  Mr Varghese said ... the identity of those arrested (all three are Indian nationals), as well as the conclusions reached by the investigation, clearly showed that racism had not been a factor.

Mr Varghese said that this case had been widely reported in the Indian media as a racist attack and he hoped that those, which carried such reports, would now set the record straight.  Yeah, dream on, Peter.  Why would we expect Indian journalists to stop jumping on every attack as proof of old-fashioned white Australian racism, when our own are just as likely to do the same - or to be so scared of seeming racist that they refuse to tell us all the forgiving truth?

THAT'S been the case ever since our media first paid serious attention to attacks on Indians - in 2008, when Sukhraj Singh was almost bashed to death in a Sunshine shop.  The racial identity of those thieving attackers, officer? Can't say, couldn't see. The ethnicity of the boys who bashed Singh, Mr Reporter? Didn't notice, won't write.  In fact, and said by almost no one, Singh had been belted by an ethnic gang of whom the only one since publicly identified in court is Zakarie Hussein, a 21-year-old from Somalia.  But, you see, our police command and journalists would rather all Australians seemed racist than risk being called racist themselves for giving the facts.

And on this circus rolled. Take the notorious bashing on the Werribee train last year of Sourabh Sharma, which led The Times of India to declare that a "tribe of extreme nationalists who champion an exclusivist, white Aussie identity seems to be increasing in Australia".  Check the CCTV vision and you could see what the police and journalists would not say - that the attackers seemed to include youths who weren't "white", and at least one who looked very Indian.

Indians and Pakistanis here actually know this "white racism" bogey is a myth, of course.  Macquarie University student Mukul Khanna, called back home by his worried parents, told a local paper that a lot of his Pakistani friends had been bashed and robbed, but "interestingly, the attackers are mostly not locals and are themselves people of foreign origin".

Most of the reported robberies on Indian taxi drivers in the inner west in one six-month period were likewise by African gangs - but which police chief would dare say such a thing?  Gosh, no; former chief commissioner Christine Nixon not only banned the term "gang", but falsely claimed at the last federal election that the Howard government was wrong - Sudanese immigrants did not have a crime rate higher than the average. She still hasn't apologised for deceiving you.  Facts! Who needs them? Indeed, who's a racist boy for even pointing them out?

The joke is, of course, that this country is actually so short of real racists that it drives our manners police mad. In 2001, for instance, Equal Opportunity Commission Victoria's then chairman moaned: "I am not aware of any conclusive evidence  that suggests that discrimination is increasing."

Solution? Instead of closing up shop, saying its job was done, the EOCV pushed the Labor Government to pass draconian new laws against racial "vilification" to help create more racists for it to go catch.

Our federal race commissioners have had the same problem, and lusted for the same solution.  One, Zita Antonias, admitted a decade ago that complaints of racism had fallen by more than a third,  but insisted we couldn't be that nice: "The figures are incongruent with anecdotal evidence."

Tom Calma, who succeeded her and now claims that the attacks on Indians may well be racist, was just as peeved to find so little real proof of these legendary (white) Australian racists.  He blamed our stupid laws for having "made it difficult to prove there had been discrimination", and demanded the Rudd Government fix this disgraceful lack of racists by changing the laws to reverse the burden of proof.  And since Indian papers say we're all racist, bingo, we must be, too, unless someone can prove we're not.

SO whether Jaspreet Singh got toasted by racists or soon will be by judges hardly matters. We're racist until proven innocent -but to prove we're not we must say who's behind much of this mayhem.  And to do that would be, er, racist. Caught each way.

So our police and politicians, glowing with self-righteousness, meekly argue instead that we're not racist because - drum roll, please - the rest of us are just as likely to be bashed, robbed and raped as any Indian on our streets.  Oh, goody. I can't tell you what a relief that news will be to anyone catching a late-night train to Sunshine. 



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


4 February, 2010

Kerry: Repeal the First Amendment!

When President Obama says "jump," John Kerry, the haughty, French-looking former junior senator from Massachusetts who by the way served in Vietnam, says, "I have the hat." Obama called on Congress to deliver a "forceful response" to Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, and Kerry now says he favors the repeal of the First Amendment:
   "The sovereign right of the people to govern being essential to a free democracy, Congress and the States may regulate the expenditure of funds for political speech by any corporation, limited liability company, or other corporate entity," the amendment says. "Nothing contained in this Article shall be construed to abridge the freedom of the press.''

The Hill reports that Kerry and Sen. Arlen Specter (R2D2, Pa.) are the only two senators so far to back the idea of repeal. Blogress Ann Althouse notes that a video was also released in which Hitler expressed his disagreement with the ruling, but it apparently has disappeared from the Web.

In a Politico op-ed, David Bossie, head of Citizens United, notes that Obama has accepted money directly from corporations, which remains illegal for candidates for federal office:
   Many states, including Illinois and Maryland, allow corporate contributions to state candidates. As an Illinois state senator, Obama accepted direct contributions from the corporate treasuries of Citigroup and London-based pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca, among others. As a Maryland state legislator, Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen, one of the more hysterical critics of the decision, accepted from business entities about 10 percent of his campaign funds during the four years leading up to his election to Congress.

    If, as these detractors and their allies would have us believe, corporate money is by definition corrupting, why did they accept these funds when doing so benefited them?

Hmm, probably because it benefited them. We laugh at the Kerry-Specter initiative to repeal the First Amendment, because it has zero chance of winning the support of 67 senators and 290 representatives, the threshold for even proposing a constitutional amendment. We are, however, even more appalled with Kerry and Specter than we were before, if you can believe it.


Carer slaps an autistic child who cannot speak to stop an attack on another child -- So the carer gets fired in Batty Britain!

A woman in charge of looking after children on a school bus run was sacked after she 'tapped' a boy on the back of his hand, an employment tribunal heard.   Margaret Parsons, 72, was dismissed by Flintshire County Council for gross misconduct after the alleged incident in October 2007.  She is claiming unfair dismissal.

The school escort had tried to stop the severely autistic child from fighting with another child on a minibus, the tribunal heard.  She was dismissed following a second incident the following month, when she allegedly hit the same child with a shoe.  Miss Parsons, now 72, of Mold, North Wales, had worked as a school escort for 14 years, accompanying special needs children to and from school in a taxi or minibus.

She was suspended from her job following a complaint from the child's mother after the alleged incident on November 26, 2007.  Head of regeneration at Flintshire County Council, David Heggarty, told the tribunal at Abergele the special needs youngster, referred to as 'Child C' during the hearing, was 'severely autistic'.  "On November 26, 2007 there was a complaint from the mother of a special needs child who complained that Miss Parsons had been hitting the child on the foot with a shoe," he said.

Miss Parsons was suspended pending an investigation, during which, the other incident in October was looked into. Mr Heggarty read a statement from a disciplinary meeting with Miss Parsons in January 2008.  During the meeting Miss Parsons spoke about the October incident and said Child C was kicking the other boy's legs.  She said that boy was banging his own legs and that she 'tapped' the back of Child C's hand.  On the same day Miss Parsons told the mother of the child that she had 'tapped' the little boy on the hand for being naughty.

The hearing was told that on the day she 'tapped' the child she told a friend, the boy''s mother and her line manager about what she had done.  The mother did not mind her doing that, Mr Heggarty said.  Mr Heggarty said: 'The morning after the shift she told a friend things had got on top of her and "I smacked him."  'She said "I don't make a habit of it" and said she had never smacked him.'

Her solicitor, Tudor Williams, in making a claim for unfair dismissal, asked Mr Heggarty whether his decision to dismiss Miss Parsons was "over the top".

Mr Heggarty replied: 'The child has severe autism and is unable to speak. I believe the behaviour of Miss Parsons was completely inappropriate.'  He added: 'Miss Parsons was employed to react to situations of that nature.  'We would expect that the children were protected from themselves and others.'

Mr Williams said Miss Parsons had "no alternative but to prevent one child being assaulted by another'.  He said: 'She was seatbelted and had to intervene to stop the attack continuing.'  Miss Parsons was paid 12 weeks notice of termination.

Mr Heggarty added: 'There were some mitigating factors. There was a belief on behalf of Miss Parsons that she had been given permission to slap. She also reported it to a line manager but it hadn't been followed up.'


Russia returning to its old form?

The Jewish Agency for Israel has canceled plans to hold its upcoming board meetings in St. Petersburg over concerns that the Russian government would not allow the gathering to take place.

The agency had announced in the fall that it would be holding the meetings there with the intent of showcasing to its 120-member board the projects that the organization operates in Russia. But despite several months of planning, the Russian government recently cooled to the idea, according to a letter the agency sent Tuesday to its board of governors.

"Two weeks ago we were advised for the first time about some outstanding issues regarding the legal status for the Jewish Agency in Russia," the letter said. "We immediately submitted all the required documentation and have since been waiting for an official response. In the interim we have received numerous unofficial messages but no clear answer. Today we heard via the office of the Israeli Ambassador in Moscow that the Russian Foreign Ministry still maintains that our legal status in Russia is not adequate for convening a meeting of the Board of Governors."

The meetings will now take place Feb. 21-23 in Jerusalem.

The decision to change locations comes at a critical time for the agency's operations in the former Soviet Union after having had to slash its programming in the region because of recession-induced budget cuts. The agency's new chairman, former Soviet dissident Natan Sharansky, has made it a top priority to resuscitate funding for projects in the region.

The Russian government, according to a Jewish Agency source, has been focusing on the fact that the Jewish Agency is registered in Russia as a local NGO, but the board of governors meeting is an international convention.

An agency insider dismissed this line of argument.  "It is not as if they didn't know who we were three months ago," the source said. "They put up last-minute, ostensibly bureaucratic, hurdles."  "Apparently they didn't want it to happen," the source said. "The Jewish Agency is Israel's largest nonprofit with diplomatic links to Russia. In an ironic way, this justifies our need to be there."

It is unclear how much the change in venue will cost -- or save -- the agency. The organization had chartered a plane to fly many of the 200 registered participants from Jerusalem to St. Petersburg.


Conspiracy Theories: Is Rebutting Them Governments Job?

Conspiracy theories abound in the U.S. about everything from who killed JFK to America’s alleged involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Most of us, while we may not agree with them, tolerate them nonetheless. That’s what freedom of speech is all about.

Unless, of course, you are Obama Administration Regulatory Czar, Cass Sunstein.

In a recently written “Preliminary Draft” of a research paper entitled “Conspiracy Theories,” he and his co-author Adrian Vermeule claim that, “government might do well to maintain a more vigorous counter misinformation establishment than it would otherwise do, one that identifies and rebuts many more conspiracy theories [than] would otherwise be rebutted.”

What reasons do they give for justifying such an intrusion by government into freedom of expression? And even more important, do their suggestions have any place in a free and open society?

Well, you have to understand that the government to which they wish to hand such unfettered, intrusive power has only the best of intentions — that it is “a well-motivated government that aims to eliminate conspiracy theories … if and only if social welfare is improved by doing so.” They then add, rather cryptically, that they will not give us a clearer idea of what they mean by “social welfare.” We’re to look at this expression as a hole into which the “right account” of social welfare is to be plugged later.

Were they merely discussing some abstract philosophical concepts with little practical import, most of us would likely be willing to cut them some slack as starry-eyed academics typically out of touch with the real world. But they are arguing that the Federal government actually adopt a widespread program of infiltration and attempted overthrow of groups allegedly harboring “conspiracy” theories on a scale never before envisioned in the history of the Republic. And, of course, the government is to conduct this witch-hunt at significant taxpayer expense.

Now most readers may believe that the vast majority of conspiracy theories are harmless, inconsequential and best ignored by government. Not surprisingly, Sunstein and his co-author try to disabuse us of this notion. They want them all investigated – especially if, in any way, they depart from current government dogma.

They make a legitimate point that, while many conspiracy theories—like the Roswell UFO cover-up—seem to require no action from believers, some others may foment violent action, like the beliefs about the malevolence of the Federal Government resulting in the isolated actions of the Oklahoma City bomber. So some beliefs might result in significant harm if acted upon by “only a small fraction of adherents.” With this, most would agree, theoretically, at any rate.

But that hardly justifies where Sunstein goes from here. For even though he recognizes that not all conspiracy theories foment violence, he still maintains that many of them, in fact, the most common cases, “can still have pernicious effects from the government’s point of view.” You see, he posits somewhat hysterically, they “induce widespread public skepticism about the government’s assertions.” Or, worse yet, they motivate people not to participate in “government-led efforts.” in some area.

Here he opens the door to declaring a whole host of such theories “pernicious.” By the guidelines he lays down, practically any theory that contains beliefs that dissent from the government’s official line in almost any area or subject now qualifies as “pernicious”—not as legitimate free speech. He recommends against ignoring these theories as their proponents may “draw ominous inferences from the government’s silence.”

So, Sunstein’s recommendation is to go after all so-called “conspirators” tooth and nail. He wants to unleash a whole host of government operatives on them, infiltrating their meetings, bugging their phones, monitoring their credit card transactions, tailing their cars, and likely even hiding under their beds if the Obama Administration so desires.

It all sounds like some bizarre scenario culled from the “Coming Attractions” of a science fiction epic. But, unfortunately, in this case, it’s not science fiction at all. And, it’s not “coming;” it’s here.

Cass Sunstein, as mentioned above, is the Obama Administration’s Regulations Czar. As such, he is responsible for deciding what government agencies are allowed to do. And that means when he says it’s time for government enforcers to start spying on “conspirators” who express “skepticism about government’s assertions,” it’s time for you to start looking over your shoulder.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


3 February, 2010

French citizenship denied to Muslim fanatic

A FOREIGN national who forced his French wife to wear the full Islamic veil will be denied French citizenship, the immigration minister said today.  Eric Besson said he had signed a decree rejecting the man's citizenship application after it emerged that he had ordered his wife to cover herself with the head-to-toe veil.

"It emerged during the inquiry and the interview process that this person forced his wife to wear the full veil, deprived her of freedom of movement with her face exposed and rejected the principles of secularism and equality between men and women," said Mr Besson.  The man's name and nationality were not made public.

The decision came after a parliament report last week called for a ban on the full Islamic veil in all schools, hospitals, government offices and public transport.  The French government is seeking legal advice before drafting legislation that would outlaw the burqa or niqab in as many areas as possible, Prime Minister Francois Fillon has said.

President Nicolas Sarkozy has proclaimed the burqa "not welcome" in secular France and come out in favour of legislation to outlaw the veil, but has warned against stigmatising Muslims.

Home to Europe's biggest Muslim minority, France has been debating whether to ban the burqa that is worn by a small group of women - about 1900, according to the interior ministry.

Justice Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said last month that Muslim men who force their wives to wear the full veil should not be granted French citizenship.   A French court denied citizenship to a veiled Moroccan woman on the grounds that her "radical" practice of Islam was incompatible with French values.


British attack on religious freedom dropped after Papal intervention

So now Leftists hate the Pope  -- but they did anyway

Harriet Harman has backed away from a confrontation with religious leaders over who they can employ, making clear that she will not force contentious amendments to the Equality Bill through Parliament.  Ministers were astonished on Monday when the Pope said that the Bill violated "natural justice" and urged bishops to fight it. But that attack, along with the strength of opposition in the Lords and the limited time left to get Bills passed before the election, has sapped the Government's enthusiasm to continue the fight.

Ms Harman, the Equalities Minister, has been engaged in a long dispute with churches and religious organisations over their exemption from anti-discrimination employment law, and how it affects "non-religious" posts.  The dispute led to a government defeat on a key amendment to the Bill last week in the Lords, but it was expected that Ms Harman would reintroduce the measure, or one similar.

The amendment clarified rather than changed existing law, stating that churches were exempt from discrimination legislation when appointing priests and other "religious" posts, but that they must comply with its terms for "non-religious" jobs, such as youth workers or accountants.  Although that was enshrined in law in 2003, it has been ignored by many organisations, which have interpreted the exemption to cover all posts. Ms Harman felt that religious groups should be reminded they were breaking the law, and tabled an amendment making it clear that there was a distinction between religious and lay jobs. But she said last night that she would not bring back the amendment when the Bill returned to the Commons.

"We have never insisted on nondiscrimination legislation applying to religious jobs, such as being a vicar, a bishop, an imam or a rabbi," she said.   "Religious organisations can decide themselves how to do that. However, when it comes to non-religious jobs, those organisations must comply with the law. We thought that it would be helpful for everyone involved to clarify the law, and that is what the amendment ... aimed to do. That amendment was rejected, so the law remains as it was."

Although Ms Harman made no mention of the Pope's visit to Britain this year, it is understood that the Government did not want the dispute to overshadow preparations.

Sources close to the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster indicated that problems remained, saying that the Pope's criticism went beyond the Equality Bill, and was a broader attack on all recent legislation, which he believes has affected religious freedoms. During an ad limina - a five-yearly visit to Rome - the 35 Catholic bishops from England and Wales told the Pope of their concern that Catholic adoption agencies had had to close or sever their links with the Church because of rules forcing agencies not to discriminate against gay couples.

The Pope's position has received support in the Church of England and other faith groups. Writing in The Times today, Lord Sacks, the Chief Rabbi, says: "There are times when human rights become human wrongs ... a political ideology, relentlessly trampling down everything in their path. This is happening increasingly in Britain, and it is why the Pope's protest against the Equality Bill ... should be taken seriously."

But Ben Summerskill, chief executive of Stonewall, a gay rights group, warned churches that it would support discrimination claims if gay people were prevented from taking up lay posts. "If any church dismisses someone from a non-liturgical role, such as a youth worker or a press officer, we will support their case."


BBC managers attacked for attempting to update their programmes

A WOMAN who was dropped from presenting a rural affairs program made by Britain's public broadcaster has become the first presenter to sue them for sex and age discrimination.  The Times of London reported today Miriam O’Reilly and three other women in their 40s and 50s were told in November 2008 they were being removed from presenting duties on the BBC One network's Countryfile program as part of a revamp.

O’Reilly, 52, an award-winning journalist who spent 25 years at Britain's public broadcaster, the BBC, lodged papers at London Central employment tribunal last week, claiming the corporation discriminated against her on grounds of sex and age.

The case was embarrassing for Mark Thompson, the corporation's Director General, who said recently that the BBC had "taken on board" that viewers wanted "much more than just youth on screen".  It followed outrage over the removal of West End choreographer Arlene Phillips, 66, from prime time program Strictly Come Dancing, in favour of singer Alesha Dixon, 30.

O’Reilly told The Times of London, "I think ageism is endemic at the BBC, and women have been reluctant to speak out, because they have their careers to think about and it is a big risk."

As part of the revamp, O’Reilly left along with fellow reporters Juliet Morris, Charlotte Smith and Michaela Strachan, who were all in their 40s and 50s.   The male hosts, Ben Fogle and Tom Heap, were also removed, but Fogle was given a new countryside show, and Heap returned later.

The BBC recently fought back against accusations of ageism after the exit of older women such as news presenters Moira Stuart, 60, and Anna Ford, 66.  A BBC spokesman said, "Any suggestion the presenters of Countryfile were replaced on the grounds of age is absolute nonsense."


British Taxi drivers accused of racism for displaying sign saying they are 'English speaking'

I personally find it difficult to deal with many people who do not have a native command of English so I would certainly choose a cab that was unlikely to give me such difficulties.  Why should I not?  It is not a question of race.  There are people of all races who speak good English. 

A racism row has broken out after a city's taxi drivers started displaying stickers in their cars saying they are 'English speaking'.  Up to a dozen drivers have been showing off the notices bearing the St George's Cross on the back windows of their cars in Southampton, Hampshire.  The small red and white sticker declares the cab is being driven by an 'English speaking driver.'

But the flags have been branded 'racist' by trade representatives, councillors and racism campaigners who have demanded they are removed.  Taxi drivers have hit back, claiming the stickers are simply a protest to force the council to make sure new drivers can speak good English.  The stickers were placed in the cars after drivers received complaints about the standard of spoken English among them. There have also been complaints from passengers about drivers using sat navs and over-charging.

Perry McMillan, chairman of the Southampton cab section of trade union Unite, said the group's ethnic minority members had been upset by the stickers.  He said: 'Surely all drivers speak English. If they don't, then what's going on?   'We hope that licensing officers can investigate this and satisfy the trade that this isn't the case.'

Campaign group Show Racism the Red Card demanded the stickers be taken down from the cab windows.  Chief Executive Ged Grebby said: 'I don't have a problem with displaying the cross of St George because this is a symbol we have managed to reclaim from the far right.  'But the "English speaking driver" part is where it crosses the line into racism.  'Cab drivers have to have a command of English [But only a bare minimum in some cases] and there are strong racist undertones in this message.  'I think the drivers should take the flags down immediately and if they don't, they should be told to by the council who licences them.'

But taxi drivers have hit back at the allegations of racism.  Clive Johnson, chairman of taxi firm Radio Taxis and the Southampton Trade Association, said: 'These signs are not racial.  'They are a protest to the council saying please make sure all new drivers have command of the English language.  'There are a few drivers out there who cannot speak English and just bluff their way along.  'It doesn't matter if they are Polish, Russian, French or Spanish, if they can't communicate with passengers then it's a problem.'

Taxi driver Peter Ford, 48, said: 'It's just about letting customers know that the driver will actually be able to speak English, which isn't always the case.'   Fellow driver Chris Head, 49, added: 'I have no problem with the stickers.  'Lots of customers will wait at ranks until an English driver comes along because they want someone they can talk to.'

Ian Hall, chairman of the Southampton Hackney Association, said half of the group's 126 members are from an Asian background.  He added: 'I don't think any drivers should have these stickers in the back of their car because it's racist.  'If drivers have got these stickers in their back windows then they need to take them down.' Mr Hall said night trade in Southampton would 'collapse' without ethnic minority drivers, who buy the majority of taxi plates.

The sticker issue was raised at a meeting between cab firms and Southampton City Council.  It is believed that the council would order them to be removed if it received complaints from passengers.  Chairman of the council's licensing committee Councillor Brian Parnell said the stickers were 'offensive'.  He said: 'It's certainly not the image we want for Southampton.  'It is offensive to drivers from ethnic minorities who form a large part of the city's drivers and without whom Southampton's taxi service would suffer.  'We want to promote harmony in the city.

'But it is important that taxi drivers meet a certain set of standards and one of those is the ability to speak English.  'It is normal good practice for anyone working in another country to be able to speak the language of that country. 'I think the problem might be that many drivers do speak English but with a heavy accent that can be difficult to understand.'

Cllr Don Thomas, who sits on the licensing committee, added: 'Taxis and taxi drivers can form the first impression that visitors have of Southampton.  'I think this is completely the wrong sort of message to be sending out in what is proudly a cosmopolitan city.'

A council spokesman said: 'People should contact the council and let us know if they see signs and stickers being used in taxis, particularly if they find them offensive.'

Currently, anyone who wants to drive a taxi must hold a British driving licence, pass a medical, undergo a criminal record check and complete a 'knowledge' test of Southampton.  Last year council chiefs added a driving assessment and a test in basic reading, writing and communication skills. Within six months of taking to the road, drivers must also pass a BTec qualification in Road Transport Passenger Driving.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


2 February, 2010

Pope attacks British "equality" laws

The Pope has made an unprecedented attack on the Government, accusing it of pursuing “unjust” equality laws.   Benedict XVI claimed that legislation introduced by Labour to end discrimination “actually violates natural law” because it stopped worshippers remaining true to their beliefs.  Rather than making society more equal, the Government’s new rules limited religious freedom, he said.

His strongly worded intervention in British politics comes after leaders of both the Roman Catholic Church and the Church of England clashed with Labour over its Equality Bill, which they fear will make them admit homosexuals to the priesthood or face prosecution for discriminating against them.

In an address delivered yesterday to 35 Catholic bishops from England and Wales, the Pope attacked Labour’s equality proposals. He said: “Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet ... the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.

“In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.” Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill, currently going through Parliament, contains a new, narrow definition of religious workers. It means clergy will not be allowed to opt out of the rules and so will either have to go against their teachings by employing homosexuals, or face prosecution.

It is also believed the law, intended to outlaw discrimination against any group in the “provision of services” from health care to shopping, would restrict the right of a church school to employ a head teacher who shared their faith, and would open the job up to members of any religion or atheists.

Since coming to power, Labour’s drive for equality has led to a series of high-profile disputes with the 4.1million Catholics in England and Wales.   Ministers wanted to force popular and successful faith schools to take a quarter of their pupils from other religious backgrounds but backed down following a Catholic campaign.  Many Catholic adoption agencies have either closed down or cut their links with the Church over the past year after they were refused exemptions from anti-discrimination rules that forced them to consider homosexual couples as potential parents.

As he confirmed that he would make a historic state visit to the country later this year, the Pontiff also urged Catholics in Britain to speak “with a united voice” in a secular and multi-cultural society.  He said staying true to the Gospel “in no way restricts the freedom of others” but rather “serves their freedom by offering them the truth”.  He told the bishops that they must continue to assert the Catholic point of view in national debates.

The Pope is seen as more conservative than his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, and has been unafraid to assert the Church’s traditional teachings on subjects such as contraception and sexuality, despite criticism in the liberal West.

At a press conference in Rome, the Most Rev Peter Smith, Archbishop of Cardiff, said: “The Church of course upholds absolutely the equal dignity of every person, irrespective of their faith, age and ability.  But I think there is a misunderstanding, because sometimes in government legislation equality seems to be that we are all absolutely equal, which we are not. We are equal in dignity, beyond that each one of us is unique.”

The Pope’s comments come at a critical time, just months ahead of the general election. English and Welsh bishops are expected to publish their own guide to issues that voters should consider when choosing a party, such as family life, abortion and assisted suicide.


Violent antisemitism in Sweden

Your calendar may say 2010, but in the Swedish town of Malmo, it is 5 minutes to Kristalnacht 1938. Jews are fleeing the city in droves, while thuggish mayor Ilmar Reepalu cynically uses immigrant Muslim brutes as lumpen Brown Shirts to terrorize the few who remain:

Violent anti-Semitism has become increasingly commonplace in Sweden’s southern city of Malmö, leading many Jewish residents to leave out of fear for their safety. “Threats against Jews have increased steadily in Malmö in recent years and many young Jewish families are choosing to leave the city,” said Fredrik Sieradzki of the Jewish Community of Malmö.

Last year, 79 crimes against Jewish residents were reported to the Malmö police, roughly double the number reported in 2008. In addition, Jewish cemeteries and synagogues have been repeatedly defaced with anti-Semitic graffiti, and a chapel at another Jewish burial site in Malmö was firebombed last January during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. Many Jewish residents of Malmö feel that local anti-Jewish sentiment is linked with negative attitudes towards Israel...

Sieradzki says that the attitudes of Malmö politicians, especially Social Democrat city council chair Ilmar Reepalu, have allowed anti-Semitism to fester. “He’s demonstrated extreme ignorance when it comes to our problems,” Sieradzki explained. “It’s shameful and regrettable that such a powerful politician could be so ignorant about the threats we face.  Consider that just in the past year:

1) While the IDF was striking Hamas in Gaza, bombs, rockets, bottles and rocks and explosives were hurled at Jews in Malmo by Muslim mobs--Reepalu did nothing.

2) Israel's tennis team was forced to play their March 2009 Davis Cup matches in an empty stadium in Malmo, since Mayor Reepalu couldn't "guarantee the safety" of the filthy Zionists if his faithful jihadi servants were allowed to buy tickets. Of course, the Muslim thugs did the next best thing by rioting outside the stadium, and roaring out the all-time favorite jihadi chant, "The army of Muhammed will kill the Jews." (note the pacifist polizei response, don't want to make Muslim rioters upset, do we? )

3) Now Reepalu has gone out to openly condone these outrages in modern Europe: When gently questioned by a reporter from about the flight of the Jooooos from Malmo, he blames...the people fleeing: "I wish that the Jewish community had distanced itself from Israel's violations of the civilian population in Gaza. Instead, they chose to hold a demonstration of support in the town square, which may have sent the wrong signals." (H/T Tundra Tabloids!)

Just like those damned Czechs used to lord it over the Chermans in the Sudetenland...Of course those Arab lads had to fire-bomb the demo!  Yes, folks, step right up and meet the New Europe...same as the Old Europe.


Leftist class war continues in Britain

Children of better-off parents left in tears after they are banned by the local council from attending school trips at half-term.  British local councils are often very Leftist

They had been looking forward to their half-term excursions for weeks.  But dozens of children have been barred from school trips to a safari park, football ground and indoor ski centre because their parents are too well-off.  Families said their children had been left in tears, unable to understand why they were banned from going on trips with their friends.

Last night council officials were accused of penalising working parents as only 'economically disadvantaged' pupils can take part in the excursions.  A Government-funded scheme, being trialled across Trafford Council in Greater Manchester, is open only to children who receive free school meals because their parents are on benefits.

Families not on state support are not eligible for the trips to Knowsley Safari Park, football sessions with the Manchester United Foundation and a day at the Chill Factore indoor snow centre, even if the parents are willing to pay. Sarah Rumney, whose five-year-old son attends Partington Primary School, said he had been upset when told he could not go on the outings.  'I'm really angry,' she said. 'I'm being penalised for working and wanting to do better for myself and my children.'

The 29-year-old self-employed cleaner was willing to pay for her son to take part but was told places were restricted.  She said: 'It's a nightmare. What sort of incentive does it give to these kids to want to go out and work if all their friends are allowed to go on fantastic trips but they aren't? I'm quite annoyed about it.'

Margaret Woodhouse, from Trafford Council's children and young people's service, confirmed 22 schools in the area had been included in the pilot scheme.   She said: 'It was a government requirement the money be used to support children from "economically disadvantaged" families within the area. Trafford Council chose to follow the guidance from the Training and Development Agency  -  responsible for allocating funding on the government's behalf  -  and use free school meals as its criteria.  'This ensures the funding goes to support children from lower-income families.'

But yesterday the Government said the council appeared to have missed the point of the scheme. Officials said the aim was to ensure all children were able to enjoy out-of-school activities  -  regardless of their parents' income.  A spokesman at the Department for Children, Schools and Families said: 'Our guidance is crystal clear that no child should be left out.  'Activities should be available to all children  -  with those who can afford it being able to pay and take part.'

Officials pointed to guidance saying the scheme should 'encourage those who can afford to pay to do so, while using the subsidy to make particular efforts to encourage the participation of those who are unable to pay'.  The spokesman added there was no stipulation the money be ring-fenced for those on free school meals.  'It is down to schools to use their professional judgments in deciding who is or is not eligible for a subsidy,' he said.  'We're clear that many groups can be covered, including children in care, young carers and those with special educational needs  -  not necessarily limiting subsidies to pupils on free school meals.'

Last night Trafford Council officials said activities had been restricted to children on free school meals only in the Partington area.  This was because of higher than average levels of children with families on state support. In other areas of Trafford running the scheme, paying parents had been able to send their children on the activities.

A Training and Development Agency spokesman said: ‘The extended services disadvantage subsidy is provided to schools specifically, and quite rightly, to help those children whose parents are less well-off and who have fewer opportunities, and a greater need than others.  ‘Our guidance to schools clearly states that any new activities – from breakfast clubs to summer camps – should be open to all pupils and should be financially sustainable, including charging for activities where appropriate.’


Sharia’s Dominion: Two books argue that repression, cruelty, and fear are central to Islam

Book Review by Leslie S. Lebl of:  "A God Who Hates: The Courageous Woman Who Inflamed the Muslim World Speaks Out Against the Evils of Islam", by Wafa Sultan; and "Cruel and Usual Punishment: The Terrifying Global Implications of Islamic Law", by Nonie Darwish

As American citizens and officials engage in a muddled public debate about how to deal with indicted Fort Hood murderer Malik Hasan and his ilk, they would do well to consult these two books, which examine the Islamic system in practice. A God Who Hates explores the nature of Islam, viewed through Wafa Sultan’s personal experiences growing up in Syria, working there as a doctor, and then immigrating to the United States, where she became a psychiatrist. Cruel and Usual Punishment, published early last year, is the second book by Nonie Darwish, the daughter of an Egyptian officer killed by the Israelis in the 1950s. Her first, Now They Call Me Infidel, offered extensive autobiographical detail; the more recent book is an in-depth probe of what she sees as key problematic aspects of Islam.

Both Sultan and Darwish document how traditional Islamic law, or sharia, underpins Islamic life. Darwish argues that under Islam’s golden period of conquest and imperial rule, sharia’s most important aspect was “total control of the large and diverse Muslim empire—everyone’s behavior, loyalty, mind and even soul.” The system was all-encompassing and punishments were strict, but the caliphs, or rulers, were exempt from penalty for theft, adultery, killing, or drinking; in addition, they alone could have an unlimited number of wives. Their subjects were not allowed to revolt against them unless the caliphs acted in an “un-Islamic” way. Indeed, the fate of the learned imams who had written the sharia law demonstrated the extent of the caliphs’ immunity: they all wound up imprisoned, punished, exiled, or poisoned.

This system, Darwish writes, continues today in the tyrannical—and broadly accepted—behavior of most Muslim rulers. And the behavior cascades downward through Islamic society: those in positions of authority, whether in business or government, often act in repressive ways toward subordinates or the public at large. For many Islamic men, the home is the only place where they can assert their authority; yet even there, Darwish suggests, that authority is less than it seems. She analyzes the corrosive impact of polygamy, practiced or merely hypothetical, on all family members. She also notes its contribution to societal tension: since women do not greatly outnumber men, richer, older men acquire numerous wives at the expense of poorer young men. Caught between exclusion from a normal family life and brutal behavior in the public sphere, the best outlet for many young men is jihad: “The bottled-up sexual rage of the Muslim male,” Darwish argues, “must explode in the faces of the foreign infidel.” Jihad is thus essential for the maintenance of sharia law.

For her part, Sultan emphasizes the fear inherent in Islam, where the Koran’s 99 attributes of God include “The Harmer,” “The Compeller,” “The Imperious,” “The Humiliator,” and “The Bringer of Death.” She traces this to the dangerous environment of the Arabian desert, in which life was fragile and unpredictable, heightening people’s fear of the unknown. She also emphasizes the traditional Bedouin practice of raiding; Bedouins feared raids, yet relied on them for their own survival. Muslims today, too, are governed by the philosophy of raiding, she suggests. She describes an incident soon after she arrived in the United States, in which an Arab neighbor took her to the supermarket:
   We went into a Vons market and, once there, she began to open every packet she could, then she began to make holes in the lids of cartons of milk, Jell-O, and cream. Then she made holes in a number of bags of potato chips, packets of paper handkerchiefs, and packets of spaghetti.

    I shouted at her disapprovingly: “Dina, what are you doing?”

    “May God curse them. They stole our land!”

    “And are you doing this to try to get it back?”

    “I’m trying to hurt them! You’re still new here. Don’t you know the owner’s Jewish?”

This hatred of Jews is not peripheral or dependent on Israel or Israeli behavior. Rather, it is deeply rooted in Islam, which divides the world into two parts, Muslim and non-Muslim. As Sultan recalls from her own childhood: “Jew must be one of the words Muslim children hear most frequently before the age of ten. It is also one of the hardest words they hear, as in their imagination it conjures up visions of killing, depravity, lies, and corruption. When one person wishes to express his disdain for another, he will call him a Jew.”

With some humor, Sultan describes how, early on, she bolted out of a shoe shop in Hollywood, one foot bare, upon discovering that the shop assistant was an Israeli Jew. ”We imbibed with our mother’s milk hatred for the Jews,” she writes, “and for anyone who supported their cause. We justified this hatred by devising a conspiracy theory, and we called anyone who disagreed with us a Zionist agent. This conspiracy theory helped keep Muslims inside the straitjacket in which Islam had imprisoned their minds.”

Darwish agrees. She quotes the Koranic verse, “O ye who believe! Take not the Jews and Christians for your friends and protectors: They are but friends and protectors to each other. And he amongst you that turns to them (for friendship) is of them.” She thinks Westerners who dismiss the influence of such passages on Islamic attitudes are deluding themselves: “Don’t even think for a second that the above verse does not cause a major divide between Muslims and non-Muslims. Those apologists who claim it has little effect on Muslim society are in denial and are unable to see Muslim society objectively.”

These various elements of control, fear, and separation dominate the role of women, particularly, in traditional Islam. Sultan recounts horrifying tales of rape, incest, and abuse that she uncovered while working as a doctor in Syria. Most searing are those of women convinced that, as they have been told all their lives, they are dirt. Such conviction, Sultan points out, comes straight out of Koranic verses and prophetic traditions, which stress that women are defective.

Darwish lays out the options available to Muslim women. They can reject sharia, whether secretly or openly; they can join in, becoming militant supporters of it; or they can live in denial. She herself spent many years in the third category, as she describes: “Women who follow the maze Islam has created for them will not be noticed and will be safe. On the other hand, if anyone deviates and is noticed, she will get no mercy from anyone. Other women in society—mothers, aunts, sisters, cousins—were among those who reinforced such attitudes.” Most Muslim women succumb to what Darwish terms a “worldwide Stockholm syndrome,” championing sharia for their own survival.

If the fundamental elements of traditional Islam are inimical to Western values of equality, freedom, and tolerance, what can be done to protect these values from Muslim immigrants who seek, like Malik Hasan, to destroy them?

For Sultan and Darwish, the basic problem is not the Hasans of this world, but the ideology that motivates them—an ideology fundamental to “traditional” or “moderate” Islam as much as to its “radical” variant, they believe. Darwish cites repeated examples of Islam’s reliance on vigilantism: Muslims who kill unbelievers, infidels, or non-Muslims are regularly absolved of their crimes, and the use of civilian enforcers is a constant feature of Islam. She argues that Muslim immigrants to the West need to understand that attacks on freedom of religion will not be tolerated, and that their goal should be assimilation into democratic society. She would have sharia declared an illegal, dangerous totalitarian ideology, in much the same way that the United States did decades ago with Communism. These steps would not stop the entry of Muslims intent on subverting the Western system, but they would put them on notice. Sultan, a Muslim who has become an atheist, states the problem even more baldly:
   No one can be a true Muslim and a true American simultaneously. Islam is both a religion and a state, and to be a true Muslim you must believe in Islam as both religion and state. A true Muslim does not acknowledge the U.S. Constitution, and his willingness to live under that constitution is, as far as he is concerned, nothing more than an unavoidable step on the way to the constitution’s replacement by Islamic Sharia law.

These two books will no doubt prove highly unpalatable, if not unacceptable, for many Americans. Nevertheless, they should demand serious attention. Both authors are intelligent, courageous observers who know what they’re talking about, and who speak out at their own personal risk. The United States is, and will remain, a welcoming land for immigrants, and any Muslim like Wafa Sultan or Nonie Darwish who wishes to live here and share our values should be made welcome. Those who seek to bring down our system, however, should not. The hard part, of course, is figuring out how to distinguish between the two categories. But we won’t be able to solve that problem until we address it honestly.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


1 February, 2010

'Burglars give up any human rights': British Conservative leader gets tough on right to defend home

David Cameron backed the rights of homeowners to protect themselves yesterday by warning that burglars surrender their ‘human rights’ the moment they break in.   He raised the election stakes on crime by saying a Tory government would change the law to protect householders who exercise their ‘legitimate’ right to self defence.  The Tory leader’s comments follow public outrage at sentences handed out in cases like that of Munir Hussain, who chased and beat a man who had held his family at knifepoint in their home.

Mr Cameron said he wanted to see fewer people arrested for defending their family and property.  He told the BBC1 Politics Show: ‘It’s to make sure that fewer cases, frankly, are taken to court, that fewer people are arrested for doing what I think is perfectly legitimate, which is to defend yourself in your own home.  ‘The moment a burglar steps over your threshold and invades your property, with all the threat that gives to you, your family and your livelihood, I think they leave their human rights outside.’

Under existing laws, homeowners are allowed to use only ‘reasonable’ force to tackle a burglar. The Tory proposals would strengthen the law so they would face prosecution only for using ‘grossly disproportionate’ force.  It was unclear how Mr Cameron’s controversial proposals would work, but the Tories have pledged to abolish the Human Rights Act and replace it with a Bill of Rights if they win power.  Mr Cameron has insisted that a Bill of Rights would ‘better tailor, but also strengthen, the protection of our core rights.’

The Tory leader’s tough stance put him on a collision course with the legal establishment and civil rights campaigners.   Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, said he was speaking ‘nonsense’ and accused him of electioneering.  She said: ‘Both main parties have become old hands at using law and order as a political football and inflated language is the tool of their trade. But as neither Mr Cameron nor the Government believe in the summary execution of burglars, the idea that anyone “leaves their human rights” at the door, as opposed to jeopardising their freedom, is nonsense.’

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson told the Politics Show: ‘It’s a wonderful soundbite but that’s all it is.  ‘You know it’s not a practical policy. What sort of country is he trying to create?   ‘Of course it will receive short-term public applause from those who want to get tough on burglars, as we do in our Government, but where’s the practical common sense policy thinking?’

Leading barrister Paul Mendelle, QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, has warned that the Tory proposals would encourage vigilantism and allow householders to kill burglars without being prosecuted.  He said: ‘Burglars, knowing that they could be killed, might be more likely to carry weapons and/or use extreme violence. So it would be wholly counterproductive. The law on self-defence works well and has done for years.’  [i.e. It's very lucrative for lawyers]

But Dr David Green, from the thinktank Civitas, said Mr Cameron’s policy was ‘common sense’.  He said: ‘If someone is faced with a threat in their own home they should be able to use anything at hand to protect themselves – even if it is in hot pursuit.  ‘There are a lot of people out there who are afraid that they could find themselves in the dock if they defend themselves.’

Businessman Mr Hussain was jailed for two and a half years in December after chasing career criminal Waled Salem and attacking him with a cricket bat.   Last month, the Lord Chief Justice freed Mr Hussain, saying the case demanded mercy in the face of a national outcry.


Why you SHOULD let your children play with danger (despite warnings from the health and safety brigade)

With suggested activities for children such as boiling water in a paper cup and cooking CDs in a microwave, it's unlikely to be a hit with the health and safety brigade.  But a book detailing ways to expose youngsters to danger as part of their development has become surprisingly popular among parents.

Fifty Dangerous Things (You Should Let Your Children Do) urges parents to help youngsters learn to judge risk and gain responsibility through experiments.   They include playing with fire, driving under adult supervision and licking a nine-volt battery.

Co-author, Californian Gever Tulley, said the book was a response to the trend of fear-based parenting, where parents stop their offspring from trying new things for fear they may get hurt.  He argues it is better to try something and fail, and so aid a child's 'creative development' than to not try at all.

The book was rejected by at least 16 publishers who feared lawsuits from parents whose children injured themselves following the book's advice, but it took off after the authors started selling it on a 'print-on-demand' basis. It is now the top title on Amazon's Kids' Active Books.

Mr Tulley insists there is a serious point to the activities, which also include making a bomb in a bag and climbing trees.  He said: 'Of course, we must protect children from danger . . . but when that becomes over-protection, we fail as a society, because children don't learn how to judge risk for themselves.  'Let children practise climbing trees, and they will learn to do it safely. If you never let them climb a tree, they will eventually do it anyway, possibly in the most unsafe manner possible.'

Peter Cornall of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents agreed some accidents could benefit children.  He said: 'Children are losing any sense of where real danger lies.'


The roots of Muslim rage

In one of his letters Thomas Jefferson remarked that in matters of religion "the maxim of civil government" should be reversed and we should rather say, "Divided we stand, united, we fall." In this remark Jefferson was setting forth with classic terseness an idea that has come to be regarded as essentially American: the separation of Church and State. This idea was not entirely new; it had some precedents in the writings of Spinoza, Locke, and the philosophers of the European Enlightenment. It was in the United States, however, that the principle was first given the force of law and gradually, in the course of two centuries, became a reality.

If the idea that religion and politics should be separated is relatively new, dating back a mere three hundred years, the idea that they are distinct dates back almost to the beginnings of Christianity. Christians are enjoined in their Scriptures to "render ... unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's." While opinions have differed as to the real meaning of this phrase, it has generally been interpreted as legitimizing a situation in which two institutions exist side by side, each with its own laws and chain of authority-one concerned with religion, called the Church, the other concerned with politics, called the State. And since they are two, they may be joined or separated, subordinate or independent, and conflicts may arise between them over questions of demarcation and jurisdiction.

This formulation of the problems posed by the relations between religion and politics, and the possible solutions to those problems, arise from Christian, not universal, principles and experience. There are other religious traditions in which religion and politics are differently perceived, and in which, therefore, the problems and the possible solutions are radically different from those we know in the West. Most of these traditions, despite their often very high level of sophistication and achievement, remained or became local-limited to one region or one culture or one people. There is one, however, that in its worldwide distribution, its continuing vitality, its universalist aspirations, can be compared to Christianity, and that is Islam.

Islam is one of the world's great religions. Let me be explicit about what I, as a historian of Islam who is not a Muslim, mean by that. Islam has brought comfort and peace of mind to countless millions of men and women. It has given dignity and meaning to drab and impoverished lives. It has taught people of different races to live in brotherhood and people of different creeds to live side by side in reasonable tolerance. It inspired a great civilization in which others besides Muslims lived creative and useful lives and which, by its achievement, enriched the whole world. But Islam, like other religions, has also known periods when it inspired in some of its followers a mood of hatred and violence. It is our misfortune that part, though by no means all or even most, of the Muslim world is now going through such a period, and that much, though again not all, of that hatred is directed against us.

We should not exaggerate the dimensions of the problem. The Muslim world is far from unanimous in its rejection of the West, nor have the Muslim regions of the Third World been the most passionate and the most extreme in their hostility. There are still significant numbers, in some quarters perhaps a majority, of Muslims with whom we share certain basic cultural and moral, social and political, beliefs and aspirations; there is still an imposing Western presence-cultural, economic, diplomatic-in Muslim lands, some of which are Western allies. Certainly nowhere in the Muslim world, in the Middle East or elsewhere, has American policy suffered disasters or encountered problems comparable to those in Southeast Asia or Central America. There is no Cuba, no Vietnam, in the Muslim world, and no place where American forces are involved as combatants or even as "advisers." But there is a Libya, an Iran, and a Lebanon, and a surge of hatred that distresses, alarms, and above all baffles Americans.

At times this hatred goes beyond hostility to specific interests or actions or policies or even countries and becomes a rejection of Western civilization as such, not only what it does but what it is, and the principles and values that it practices and professes. These are indeed seen as innately evil, and those who promote or accept them as the "enemies of God."

This phrase, which recurs so frequently in the language of the Iranian leadership, in both their judicial proceedings and their political pronouncements, must seem very strange to the modern outsider, whether religious or secular. The idea that God has enemies, and needs human help in order to identify and dispose of them, is a little difficult to assimilate. It is not, however, all that alien. The concept of the enemies of God is familiar in preclassical and classical antiquity, and in both the Old and New Testaments, as well as in the Koran. A particularly relevant version of the idea occurs in the dualist religions of ancient Iran, whose cosmogony assumed not one but two supreme powers. The Zoroastrian devil, unlike the Christian or Muslim or Jewish devil, is not one of God's creatures performing some of God's more mysterious tasks but an independent power, a supreme force of evil engaged in a cosmic struggle against God. This belief influenced a number of Christian, Muslim, and Jewish sects, through Manichaeism and other routes. The almost forgotten religion of the Manichees has given its name to the perception of problems as a stark and simple conflict between matching forces of pure good and pure evil.

The Koran is of course strictly monotheistic, and recognizes one God, one universal power only. There is a struggle in human hearts between good and evil, between God's commandments and the tempter, but this is seen as a struggle ordained by God, with its outcome preordained by God, serving as a test of mankind, and not, as in some of the old dualist religions, a struggle in which mankind has a crucial part to play in bringing about the victory of good over evil. Despite this monotheism, Islam, like Judaism and Christianity, was at various stages influenced, especially in Iran, by the dualist idea of a cosmic clash of good and evil, light and darkness, order and chaos, truth and falsehood, God and the Adversary, variously known as devil, Iblis, Satan, and by other names.

The Rise of the House of Unbelief

In Islam the struggle of good and evil very soon acquired political and even military dimensions. Muhammad, it will be recalled, was not only a prophet and a teacher, like the founders of other religions; he was also the head of a polity and of a community, a ruler and a soldier. Hence his struggle involved a state and its armed forces. If the fighters in the war for Islam, the holy war "in the path of God," are fighting for God, it follows that their opponents are fighting against God. And since God is in principle the sovereign, the supreme head of the Islamic state-and the Prophet and, after the Prophet, the caliphs are his vicegerents-then God as sovereign commands the army. The army is God's army and the enemy is God's enemy. The duty of God's soldiers is to dispatch God's enemies as quickly as possible to the place where God will chastise them-that is to say, the afterlife.

Clearly related to this is the basic division of mankind as perceived in Islam. Most, probably all, human societies have a way of distinguishing between themselves and others: insider and outsider, in-group and out-group, kinsman or neighbor and foreigner. These definitions not only define the outsider but also, and perhaps more particularly, help to define and illustrate our perception of ourselves.

In the classical Islamic view, to which many Muslims are beginning to return, the world and all mankind are divided into two: the House of Islam, where the Muslim law and faith prevail, and the rest, known as the House of Unbelief or the House of War, which it is the duty of Muslims ultimately to bring to Islam. But the greater part of the world is still outside Islam, and even inside the Islamic lands, according to the view of the Muslim radicals, the faith of Islam has been undermined and the law of Islam has been abrogated. The obligation of holy war therefore begins at home and continues abroad, against the same infidel enemy.

Much more HERE

Push for a  Human Rights Act fading in Australia

A lucky escape for Australia, considering the British example

The first big Australian political story of the year has raised surprisingly little attention. This is likely to change when the civil liberties lobby realises that the Rudd Government appears to have junked the human rights agenda.

Last Wednesday, The Australian Financial Review reported an interview with the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland. There was considerable media focus on his comment that the Rudd Government, if re-elected, would consider a referendum on the republic, the recognition of indigenous Australians, local government and co-operative federalism.

The interest faded when the Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, said Kevin Rudd had made it clear "there are no present plans to have a referendum" on the republic.

Gillard said the Government was focused on immediate challenges and mentioned lifting educational standards. Fair enough. But if the republic is a lower-order issue to education, then education reform should take precedence over a human rights act.

This was the part of the McClelland interview that was essentially overlooked. He said it was the Government's philosophy that "the enhancement of human rights should be done in a way that as far as possible unites a community rather than causes further division".

If this is the case then a human rights act seems doomed. Writing in the Herald last February, the human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson, QC, maintained that at the 2020 Summit "a thousand articulate members of the community came down in favour of … a charter of rights". Not so. This issue was only discussed in any detail at the summit's constitution, rights and responsibilities sub-stream, which was chaired by the legal academic Helen Irving.

There was majority support among sub-stream delegates for a charter of rights but also strong minority opposition. Following the summit, McClelland established the National Human Rights Consultation, chaired by the lawyer Father Frank Brennan, with three other members. He erred in not including someone who opposed a charter of rights. Irving would have been an ideal appointment.

The group released a report in September. Its most controversial recommendations turn on the proposal that Australia should adopt a human rights act and that the High Court should be empowered to declare a Commonwealth law to be incompatible with it. The Brennan report says that this recommendation may prove impractical. Brennan told The Weekend Australian in September: "My own view is that I think this provision is not going to be workable."

Little wonder McClelland is wary. In its foreword, the Brennan report concedes the Coalition is opposed to a human rights act and the Labor Party is divided on the issue. Two of the most articulate opponents are the former NSW premier Bob Carr, and the NSW Attorney-General, John Hatzistergos.

Then there is the new Liberal Party leader, Tony Abbott. As McClelland well knows, Abbott is capable of running a very effective campaign against a charter presented as giving more power to unelected judges and bureaucrats at the expense of the elected representatives of the people. Abbott's case would be strengthened by the fact that, on this issue, his views are close to those of Carr and Hatzistergos.

The Brennan report revealed that a majority of Australians believe human rights are adequately protected now. Outside such advocacy groups as GetUp! and Amnesty, there is little call for a charter. The majority of submissions came from these organisations while most of those opposing came from the Australian Christian Lobby.

In the lead-up to this year's federal election, Rudd and his colleagues do not need an argument with Christian groups - including the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell, who has expressed concern that the human rights lobby is intent on constraining religious freedom. As McClelland has indicated, the Rudd Government does not want to preside over a divisive debate on this issue.

Nor is there reason to. Irving is correct in arguing that the Australian rights record is no worse, and in many cases is better, than in countries which have a bill of rights. Such recognition is missing from the Brennan report. The tone of Australia Day suggests that most Australians are happy with their lot. It seems that McClelland has come to a similar conclusion.



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 or Email me (John Ray) here.  For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


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