Saturday, May 29, 2010
Must not react to Gypsy crime
Gypsies normally live by petty crime, and always have
A Swedish appeals court has ruled that a Norrköping hotel was guilty of discriminating against a guest who was participating at a conference on ethnic discrimination at the time.
The court upheld a district court ruling in favour of the Discrimination Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsman - DO) who had taken up the woman's case, and ordered the hotel to pay 8,000 kronor ($1,000) in compensation plus interest and court costs.
The woman, whose is member of Sweden's Roma community, was attending the conference at the Elite Grand Hotel in Norrköping in eastern Sweden when she was repeatedly asked by staff as to why she was there.
According to court documents three different members of staff approached the woman and asked her whether she was a guest at the hotel. At one point she was informed that the coffee which she was helping herself to at the time was for the consumption of paying guests only.
The woman was in Norrköping to attend a conference addressing the subject of ethnic discrimination and she later reported the hotel to DO.
The hotel responded, in its defence, that it had previously had problems with Roma and thefts, an explanation the hotel later changed, arguing instead that staff are instructed to check the identity of all guests that they don't immediately recognise.
"It is almost impossible to imagine that hotel staff in practice approach every single guest that they do not immediately recognize," the court stated in response to the hotel's explanation.
The court furthermore ruled that the Grand Hotel had not sufficiently been able to prove that the woman had not suffered insult or injury as a result of the discrimination and thus remained liable to pay the damages awarded by district court.
The Elite Grand Hotel Norrköping's general manager, Krister Eriksson, told The Local on Friday that he was unwilling to comment further on the case.
Must not describe neighborhood ethnicity
A South Buffalo landlord will have to pay a $1,000 settlement as a result of an advertisement on craigslist that described an apartment for rent in a “nice Irish neighborhood.”
Because federal and state fair-housing laws prohibit the use of preferential or discriminatory language, Housing Opportunities Made Equal began an investigation and dispatched testers to play the role of prospective renters.
According to the federal complaint, property owner Abdul Aljamali asked an African- American tester whether she had children, which is in violation of the state’s Human Rights Law.
The white tester also was asked about children and additionally was told that “there are no coloreds here . . . I hope your husband isn’t black.”
HOME filed a discrimination complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which refereed the case to the state Division of Human Rights for investigation and adjudication.
In a settlement agreement, which did not constitute an admission of wrongdoing, Aljamali agreed to a pay the $1,000 in seven installments, as well as undergo training in fair-housing standards, record-keeping and reporting, said HOME officials.
The settlement was reached April 30, and payments begin in June, said Rayna Grossman, HOME community educator.
HOME is a civil rights organization that has led the struggle for fair housing in the Buffalo Niagara region since 1963.
Useless, jobless men – the social blight of our age
The British benefits system has produced an emasculated generation who can find neither work nor a wife
Of all the government adverts that have swamped our radio stations these past few years (must be a quick saving there for the Treasury), one of the most irritating was the jolly woman asking us in a sing-song voice if we had remembered to report changes in our circumstances. Like hell. Every time I heard the ad it conjured up a vision of a lonely official waiting in vain at her desk for people to come in and sign away entitlements to which they feel, well, entitled.
This pathetic advert seemed to me to epitomise the politicians’ total loss of control over the monster that is our benefits system. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) presides over a system so complex that it has to issue 8,690 pages of guidance to help its staff to apply its 51 different benefits — the product of the ever more precise targeting of benefits to particular groups.
In the years of plenty, it was easier to placate and complicate than to simplify. Every new benefit and its separate computer system was just bolted on to the mainframe. But the result is that Britain has more than twice the number of sick people as France. The potential for playing the system, defrauding the system and falling foul of the system is enormous.
So in declaring war yesterday on both poverty and the benefits system, Iain Duncan Smith had it right. If the Government is going to make real inroads into the deficit it will have to tackle the nearly £200 billion welfare budget, which is a third of government spending. This week’s £6 billion of cuts was only Round 1: £6 billion is only 1 per cent of government expenditure, so this was a warm-up. Round 2 will need to take on the DWP leviathan.
But the argument for welfare reform is not just one of affordability. In too many cases, welfare has entrenched poverty. Mr Duncan Smith is one of the few politicians who really understand the poverty trap. Gordon Brown made life more bearable for many people on benefits, but he also made it harder to escape from them. Get a job tomorrow earning between £10,000 and £30,000 a year and you’ll take home only 30p out of every extra pound you earn after the first £10,000. Twenty pence will go in income tax, 11p in national insurance, and 39p in lost tax credits. Add in the loss of other allowances (housing benefit, council tax benefit) and you may find it simply doesn’t pay to work harder. Our poverty trap is deeper than that of most other European countries. That is a strange legacy for a government that wanted to make work pay.
The fear of losing benefits — of not being able to scramble back on to the lifeboat if you fall off — is a huge disincentive to change your circumstances, let alone report them. One in seven working-age households is dependent on benefits for more than half its income. More than half of all lone parents depend on the State for at least half their income. William Beveridge would be horrified to discover that the safety net he designed has become a trap, creating generations of worklessness and dwindling self-esteem. It is also creating a glut of unemployed, unwanted, unmarriageable men.
These men were overlooked during a decade of prosperity that did nothing to change their lives. At the beginning of that decade, 5.4 million working-age adults were claiming out-of-work benefits. The same number were still claiming just before the recession struck. Almost a fifth of 16 to 24-year-olds were not in education, employment or training in 1997. The number was identical in 2006. These people stayed put in the Welsh valleys, in Liverpool, in Glasgow, while Eastern Europeans travelled a thousand miles to pick up work on construction sites in London. Immigration reduced the opportunities available to white British men whose poor education made them less attractive candidates, while the benefits system undermined their motivation.
The problem affects the whole of society because of the striking correlation between male joblessness and single motherhood, particularly in the old industrial cities. In Liverpool, male unemployment rose from 12 per cent in 1971 to 30 per cent in 2001. In 1971 11 per cent of families were headed by a single parent; by 2001, 45 per cent were. Similar patterns can be seen in Birmingham, Strathclyde and Newcastle. The epidemic of male joblessness after the collapse of manufacturing industries coincided with an increase in female employment and welfare support to mothers who found that they could manage alone.
Overlooked by society, irrelevant to employers, unwanted by women who can raise families on benefits without their help, the man who has no work or a series of short-term jobs is a problem. Without steady work, he will struggle to acquire a family: unemployed men are less likely to marry or cohabit than employed ones. Without a stable relationship, he is less likely to grow into a good family man and raise good sons. The taxpayer has become the father: one in four mothers is single and more than half live on welfare. A lot of these women describe the real fathers of their children as “useless” or worse. The men have no role.
In the worst cases, the State has helped to create a class of jobless serial boyfriends who prey on single mothers on benefits. When two of these men moved into the flat that Haringey Council had generously provided for Tracey Connelly, Baby P’s mother, the little boy’s fate was sealed. They killed him. Other such men appear in bit parts in tragedies such as that of Shannon Matthews, abducted and drugged by her own “family”. The welfare system has helped to deprive these children of the most effective check on abuse — the family.
Robert Rowthorn, Professor of Economics at Cambridge, has shown that female and male worklessness have been going in opposite directions for 30 years, well before this latest “mancession”. His research suggests that half the rise in lone parenthood in the past 30 years may be due to male unemployment. He believes that governments must start to focus on these men, and question the feminisation of education and the workplace. It is no solution, he says, to say that women don’t need men or that men should become more female. Nor is it any good waiting for economic growth to dig them out of poverty. Those men need a chance, not a benefits system that undermines them.
Don’t trust Google, trust the government
Comment from Australia by Jessica Brown
Thank goodness for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and his tireless campaign to protect us from the nasty World Wide Web. Like a brave David squaring up against colossal Goliath, he vows to protect us from the evil clutches of internet behemoth Google and its dastardly ways.
In a Senate Estimates hearing this week, Conroy launched a scathing attack on the search giant for a privacy breach in which personal data were inadvertently collected from some Wi-Fi users. The breach was indeed serious, and Conroy is not the only person around the globe to raise concerns. But he just might be the angriest.
A quick scan of HANSARD, however, reveals that Conroy’s real problem with Google is that the search engine doesn’t know its place. ‘They consider themselves to be above government,’ says the Senator. ‘When it comes to their attitude to their own censorship, their response is simply, “Trust us.” They state on the website, “Trust us.”'
And it is this attitude that, according to Conroy, is so dangerous. Perhaps he has a point?
Google can decide – on a whim – to remove web pages it doesn’t like. We will never know what they are because its blacklist is a secret. We don’t even know what criteria are used to decide which pages get binned, or if and when those criteria are changed.
But guess what? It’s the same story with Conroy’s proposed internet filter.
The only difference is, if you don’t like the way Google works you can switch to Bing, Yahoo or any of the other multitude of search engines. If you don’t like the way the government’s internet filter will work, your best option is to leave the country.
Conroy doesn’t really see the connection though. While Google is a ‘corporate giant who is answerable to no one and motivated solely by profit,’ his government is driven by an altruistic urge to protect us all.
But what about those times when it is motivated not by altruism but by a desire to win the next election? Or push an ideological barrow? Or buy off an interest group? Or pander to the political views of an independent that holds the balance of power?
Can we really trust the government to decide – behind our backs – what is in our best interests any more than we can trust Google?
Perhaps a (not so?) radical idea would be for Conroy to trust us to decide for ourselves.
The above is a press release from the Centre for Independent Studies, dated 28 May. Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Snail mail: PO Box 92, St Leonards, NSW, Australia 1590.
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.
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