Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Don't fall for Islamist hype
By Andrew Bolt, commenting from Australia
NOTHING more to be said. Israeli soldiers kill at least nine peace activists trying to ship aid to a starving people. Or as the front page of The Age screamed: "Israel kills boat protesters."
End of story. There are immediate riots and protests against this appalling brutality in London, Paris, New York, Istanbul, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and throughout the Middle East. The United Nations whacks Israel and calls for an emergency meeting of the Security Council. And from Moscow to Washington, Israel stands utterly friendless. Dangerously alone.
What a coup for those pledged to the destruction of that tiny Jewish country. How discredited and invitingly defenceless Israel now seems. Someone couldn't have scripted this any better.
Well, almost no better, because even the journalists most sympathetic to the activists on the six ships intercepted on Monday by Israel couldn't help but refer, albeit grudgingly, to a couple of untidy details too obvious to ignore. ABC radio host Jon Faine, for instance, described these poor victims of Zionist aggression as "humanitarian activists with a few knives". Er, with knives? Humanitarians?
And a strident report in The Age, Australia's most Left-wing metropolitan daily, conceded that video of the Israeli soldiers being lowered on to the ships from helicopters did show that some of the "hundreds of politicians and protesters" on board did offer "signs of resistance".
Here are some of those "signs of the resistance" that this Age reporter tactfully failed to detail. You see the Israeli commandos, at first brandishing just paint-ball guns, being grabbed by mobs as they landed, dragged to the ground, and beaten brutally with metal pipes and clubs. On another clip, apparently shot by protesters, you see a soldier stabbed in the back, and then in the front. Another soldier is shown being beaten and thrown over the side.
Photographs show two Israeli soldiers, one of them shot, being carried off with serious wounds. This isn't what you'd normally expect from "peace protesters" or "humanitarian activists", even those armed merely "with a few knives".
So these clues suggest the Western media - and many foolish politicians - have just fallen for a brilliant propaganda coup by the kind of Islamists who threaten us, too. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd also fell for it, saying he was "deeply concerned" by the deaths and condemning "any use of violence under the sorts of circumstances we have seen". His Foreign Affairs Minister, Stephen Smith, likewise attacked Israel for a "terrible and shocking event" and demanded it hold an inquiry.
Not once did Rudd or Smith suggest an inquiry into who organised this trap in which Israel had fallen - or into those who now stand most to gain. The despairing Israeli ambassador, Yuval Rotem, could only congratulate the organisers: "They couldn't have had a better outcome."
So who are we talking about? Here's another vital clue. The Israeli soldiers took over six ships of an "aid" flotilla trying to pierce the blockade that both Israel and Egypt have imposed on Gaza, a territory controlled by the Islamist Hamas. Only on one of those six ships did the Israelis meet a resistance that clearly - and fatally - caught them by surprise.
This was not on one of the ships manned by the Western politicians, aid workers and other useful idiots brought along for camouflage. It broke out instead on the Mavi Marmara, a ship bought and supplied by a Turkish "humanitarian relief fund" known as IHH.
IHH may boast about its good works, but intelligence agencies warn that it is in fact tied to Islamist terrorists. The CIA as long ago as 1996 noted it was linked to "Iran operatives" and gave "support for extremist/terrorist activity", including in Bosnia.
In 2001, Jean-Louis Bruguiere, the prominent French counter-terrorism magistrate, said at the trial of the "millennium bomber" that IHH had played "an important role" in the plot to blow up Los Angeles airport. He said the charity was "a type of cover up" to infiltrate mujahideen into combat, get forged documents and smuggle weapons.
In 2006, the Danish Institute for International Studies reported that Turkish security forces had raided the IHH's Istanbul bureau and found firearms, explosives and bomb-making instructions, as well as records of calls to an al-Qaida guest house in Milan. The Turkish investigators concluded this "charity" was sending jihadists to Bosnia, Chechnya and Afghanistan, where Australian soldiers serve.
IHH has also been a long-time supporter of Hamas, listed in many countries as a terrorist group. But this time it planned something more effective than an explosion. It decided to destroy Israel's moral standing among its more fickle friends. Its Mavi Marmara would now head a flotilla to break through the Israeli blockade of Gaza - or, rather, to provoke Israel into stopping it by force.
IHH head Bulent Yildirim gloated that this would be seen as "a declaration of war" against all the countries that supplied the flotilla's passengers, which is why so many foreigners, and particularly sympathetic journalists such as the Sydney Morning Herald's Paul McGeough, were on board, having been recruited from Australia, Britain, the US and many other countries that IHH and its allies hoped could be turned into enemies of Israel.
It was obvious Israel would stop the convoy. It had to: to relax the blockade once would be to open a corridor to yet more ships, giving Gaza yet another conduit for the smuggling of jihadists and militarily useful supplies.
Oh, and ignore soothing claims now that Hamas, which runs Gaza, should actually be negotiated with, rather than blockaded. Hamas fires rockets at Israeli civilians, and has a charter that calls for the destruction of Israel, declaring "there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through jihad".
INDEED, jihad was also the spirit on the Mavi Marmara as it sailed for Gaza. Those on board refused offers by Israel that they dock at an Israeli port so their aid could be checked and forwarded to Gaza. They rejected warnings to turn back. They prepared instead for a deadly confrontation.
Arab television showed one woman on board exulting: "We await one of two good things - to achieve martyrdom or reach the shore of Gaza." Added another passenger, Yemeni professor Abd al-Fatah Nu'man: "These are people who wish to be martyred for the sake of Allah. As much as they want to reach Gaza, the other option is more desirable to them."
They got just what they wanted, then, as did Hamas and its chief backer, Iran. Iran, needing attention distracted from its nuclear weapons program, pumped out instant YouTube footage of this Israeli "atrocity".
Meanwhile Hamas spokesman Samil Abu Zuhri called for a global "intifada": "We call on all Arabs and Muslims to rise up in front of Zionist embassies across the whole world."
And in capital cities around Australia, we yesterday saw the new front open as angry demonstrators took the streets. So what, you may scoff. A few of the usual hotheads. But see this time how many of our politicians, journalists and "thinkers" are on the wrong side of this front. See how willingly they've surrendered to an Islamist plot more effective than any Bali bomb.
Mom, Son Reunited After 2-Year CPS Nightmare
(Child Protective Services (CPS) is the name of a governmental agency in many states of the United States that responds to reports of child abuse or neglect)
The case that's dropped jaws all across the U.S. and Canada is finally coming to an end. Judge Kip Leonard is finally allowing Noah Kirkman to return to his native Calgary after two years in foster care in Oregon. Read about it here (Yahoo, 5/29/10).
We've covered this outrageous case extensively. Noah Kirkman is now 12 years old. When he was taken into foster care by Oregon authorities two years ago, he had not been abused; he had not been neglected. No one has ever claimed that his mother Lisa Kirkman or his stepfather John Kirkman has ever been anything but a good parent to him. That's reflected in his grades which are straight A's despite Noah's severe ADHD.
No, in their zeal to substitute foster care for parental care, Oregon child welfare authorities decided that Lisa Kirkman had abandoned her son. How did they figure that? Well, he was living with his stepfather in Oregon, that's how. Make sense to you? After all, John has been the boy's steadfast and true dad for 10 of his 12 years on this earth. How Oregon child welfare workers and Judge Leonard concluded that a boy, who's never been abused or neglected in any way and who's living with his stepfather, had been abandoned is one for the record books. In all the annals of state intervention into families, has there ever been a case more arbitrary or capricious?
Recently, Lisa Kirkman asked what Oregon child welfare authorities do with kids who go to summer camp. She had a point. If a stepfather has no parental authority, does a camp counselor? Can we look forward, in the upcoming weeks, to child welfare sweeps of Oregon summer camps for kids?
In the meantime, we can also inquire as to what's changed to make the judge allow Noah to return to Canada. Is he in some way less “abandoned” now than he was two years ago? Have Lisa and John miraculously become better parents? I doubt it. I think the extreme level of public and media-based outrage at the highhandedness of the judge and the Oregon DHS forced them to do the obvious - the thing that any non-zealot would have done from the very first day - send Noah home to his dad and move on to real cases of children who suffer from parental abuse or neglect. In other words, Oregon DHS should have done its job.
Amazingly enough though, Judge Leonard didn't return Noah to John and Lisa; he returned him to his grandparents in Calgary. How that makes sense is anyone's guess, but it looks suspiciously like a judge trying to make himself look like a little less of a fool than most people probably think. He actually maintains the fiction that the Kirkman's household may not be the best thing for Noah, although he doesn't mention why it wouldn't be.
Whatever the case, I have a couple of pieces of advice for the Kirkmans. First, once your son is beyond the jurisdiction of the Oregon court, bring him home to your house. He can see his grandparents any time and he'll be beyond the reach of Judge Leonard's draconian grasp.
Second, talk to an Oregon attorney about suing the state's DHS under Oregon's tort claims act. My antennae tell me that there was a lot of negligence involved in the decision to take your son. And you can count on a sympathetic jury. Almost every one on it will sit in court listening to the evidence while the sentence “There but for the grace of God go I” runs through his/her head.
Freedom of association -- a right often denied by do-gooder laws
It seems incredible that in the last days, a fundamental right of the whole of humanity, the freedom of association, has been denounced by the New York Times and all major opinion sources, even as a national political figure was reluctant to defend his own statements in favor of the idea, and then distanced himself from the notion. Has such a fundamental principle of liberty become unsayable?
Or perhaps it is not so incredible. An overweening government, in an age of despotism such as ours, must deny such a fundamental right simply because it is one of those core issues that speaks to who is in charge: the state or individuals.
We live in anti-liberal times, when individual choice is highly suspect. The driving legislative ethos is toward making all actions required or forbidden, with less and less room for human volition. Simply put, we no longer trust the idea of freedom. We can't even imagine how it would work. What a distance we have travelled from the Age of Reason to our own times.
Referencing the great controversy about the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Karen De Coster put the issue to rest by turning Rachel Maddow’s question on its head. She demanded to know whether a white businessman has the right to refuse service to a black man. Karen asked: does a black businessman have the right to refuse service to a Klan member?
I don't think anyone would dispute that right. How a person uses the right to associate (which necessarily means the right not to associate) is a matter of individual choice profoundly influenced by the cultural context. That a person has the right to make these choices on his or her own cannot be denied by anyone who believes in liberty.
If you run a blog that accepts comments, you know how important this right is. You have to be able to exclude spam or ban IP addresses of trolls or otherwise include and exclude based on whether a person's contribution adds value. Every venue on the internet that calls forth public participation knows this. Without this right, any forum could collapse, having been taken over by bad elements.
We exercise the right to exclude every day. If you go to lunch, some people come and some people do not. When you have a dinner party, you are careful to include some people and necessarily exclude others. Some restaurants expect and demand shoes and shirts and even coats and ties. The New York Times includes some articles and excludes others, includes some people in its editorial meetings and excludes others.
When business hires, some people make the cut and others do not. It is the same with college admissions, church membership, fraternities, civic clubs, and nearly every other association. They all exercise the right to exclude. It is central to the organization of every aspect of life. If this right is denied, what do we get in its place? Coercion and compulsion. People are forced together by the state, with one group required at the point of a gun to serve another group. This is involuntary servitude, expressly prohibited by the 13th amendment. One presumes that a freedom-loving people will always be against that.
As Larry Elder says: "This is freedom 101."
What about the claim that government should regulate the grounds of exclusion? Let's say, for example, that we do not deny the general right of free association, but narrow its range to address a particular injustice. Is that plausible? Well, freedom is a bit like life, something that is or is not. Slicing and dicing it according to political priorities is exceedingly dangerous. It perpetrates social division, leads to arbitrary power, mandates a form of slavery, and turns the tables on who precisely is in charge in society.
In fact, for the government to presume to regulate the "grounds" of any decision-making is chilling. It presumes the right and ability of government bureaucrats to read minds, as if they can know the real motivation behind every action, regardless of what the decision maker claims. This is how banks in the last decades came to give out mortgage loans promiscuously: they were trying to throw off regulators looking for any sign of racial discrimination.
And, of course, this mind-reading trick is not arbitrary. It is dictated by political pressure. It is hardly surprising, then, that since the Act passed in 1964, the grounds that the regulators say they can discern and thereby forbid have proliferated and are now completely out of control. Has this strategy really increased social well-being, or has it exacerbated conflict among groups that the state has exploited to its own ends?
But do we dare let property owners make such decisions by themselves? From a historical point of view, the injustice against blacks was perpetrated mostly by governments. Private business does not go in for race-based policies, because it means excluding paying customers.
And this is precisely why racialists, nationalists, and hard-core bigots have always opposed liberal capitalism: it includes and excludes based on the cash nexus and without regard to features that collectivists of all sorts regard as important. In the imagined utopias of the national socialists, the champions of commerce are hanged from lampposts as race traitors and enemies of the nation.
That's because the market tends toward an ever-evolving, ever-changing tapestry of association, with patterns that cannot be known in advance and should not be regulated by federal masters. In contrast, government's attempts to regulate association lead to disorder and social calamities.
As Thomas Paine explained: "In those associations which men promiscuously form for the purpose of trade or of any concern, in which government is totally out of the question, and in which they act merely on the principles of society, we see how naturally the various parties unite; and this shows, by comparison, that governments, so far from always being the cause or means of order, are often the destruction of it."
This is precisely why libertarians were right to oppose these provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. They strike at the heart of freedom, and with an extremely high social cost. One is not surprised that thoughtless and anti-intellectual organs of opinion would seek to deny this. But what has surprised me is the speed with which supposed libertarians, especially in the ambit of DC, have been quick to distance themselves from the principle of the freedom of association. I take this not as a measure of intellectual bankruptcy, but as a sign of the fear that so many have, in an age of despotic control, of speaking truth to power.
The British council job you can't apply for if you are white
A council has been accused of discrimination after whites were barred from applying for two £18,000-a-year jobs. Bristol City has created the management training posts for graduates in an effort to recruit more minority employees. But this has prompted criticism from white graduates struggling to find work.
One jobseeker, who did not wish to be named, described the posts as 'totally racist'. He said: 'I am a tolerant white person who has lived in Bristol for 27 years. 'I am searching for a job and stumbled across a job advertisement on Bristol City Council's website that I see as totally racist. 'I feel the job would be an excellent opportunity for me to make use of the skills and qualifications that I have acquired but, being white, I am excluded. 'Equal opportunities means giving everyone an equal chance to succeed rather than discriminating against people because of the colour of their skin.'
Bristol council has 9,000 members of staff, not including teachers, of which 630, or seven per cent, are from ethnic minorities. Because 12 per cent of Bristol residents come from minority backgrounds the council has begun trying to redress this imbalance.
James Easey, a spokesman for the council said advertising ethnic minority-only posts was allowed under race relations legislation. He said: 'This traineeship was started because of the marked under-representation of ethnic minorities in our workforce.'
The Race Relations Act 1976 states that if a racial group is under-represented councils can offer training to individuals from that group.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.