Sunday, August 29, 2010

Evil British bureaucrats again

They love using their little bit of power to hurt people: Army hero who lost a leg in Afghanistan denied a disabled parking permit by council bosses 'because he might get better'

A hero soldier who lost a leg in Afghanistan has been denied a disabled parking badge three times by council bosses.

Lance Corporal Johno Lee has clocked up £800 in fines for parking in disabled bays in his home town of Newark, Nottinghamshire, on days when he uses a wheelchair or feels unable to walk very far.

When he first applied to Nottinghamshire County Council for a blue badge, he was advised he was young and 'may get better'.
Wounded veteran Johno Lee has racked up over £800 in parking fines because council officials refuse to grant him a disabled persons parking permit

Wounded veteran Johno Lee has racked up over £800 in parking fines because council officials refuse to grant him a disabled persons parking permit

His right leg was amputated below the knee after he was caught up in an explosion in Helmand Province in 2008 and was catapulted into a minefield.

He said yesterday: 'I replied that they possibly did not quite understand the situation and that I thought it unlikely my leg would grow back.

'Sometimes the leg swells so badly I can't even get the prosthetic leg on. I then have to park in disabled bays otherwise I can't get into town, but then I get a ticket. 'If I live for another 60 years, am I expected to continue to have to struggle for all of that time?'

Lance Corporal Lee's applications are being supported by the British Limbless Ex-Servicemen's' Association.

In a statement, the Council's Service Director Mr Paul McKay said: 'We are looking into the matter and have arranged for a member of staff to meet Mr Lee to review the situation. We will urgently assess whether he meets the criteria for a disabled parking badge as laid down by the Department of Transport.'

Mr Lee, a charity worker for the Armed Forces, added: 'A lot of people are coming home from Afghanistan severely wounded and are deserving of recognition rather than to be disrespected by the bureaucrats.'

When he was blown up, his heart stopped twice, once on the helicopter taking him to Camp Bastion and once on the operating table, but he was revived each time.


NYT condones stoning -- but only by Muslims

Anyway my issue here is hypocrisy and my candidate for the hypocrite of the week is The New York Times, which in last Sunday’s Week in Review section ran an essay titled “Crime (Sex) and Punishment (Stoning).” Maybe I am overly suspicious but this piece struck me as bending over backwards not to be too harsh on those societies in which stoning people–especially women–for sex crimes is acceptable. But what makes me suspicious?

Well, consider just a few remarks from the piece. “Much of the outrage these [stoning] cases generated–apart from the sheer anachronism of stoning in the 21st century–seems to stem from the gulf between sexual attitudes in the West and parts of the Islamic world, where radical movements have turned to draconian punishments, and a vision of restoring a long-lost past, in their search for religious authenticity.” “Stoning is not practiced only among Muslims, nor did it begin with Islam.” “Stoning is a legal punishment in only a handful of Muslim countries–in addition to Iran, they include Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Pakistan and Nigeria, but it is very rarely put to use.” “But Islamic law requires very strict conditions for a stoning sentence….” “Some scholars even argue that the stoning penalty is meant more as a symbolic warning against misbehavior….” and “In any case, societies evolve….”

As I see it these bits tell a story of temptation, the temptation of reckless multiculturalism, of cultural and legal relativism. OK, but so what? Well, I was thinking as I was reading these sentences in the Old Gray Lady how would it go over if this is how some writer discussed, say, slavery, ethnic prejudice or the subjugation of women in the West? I doubt it would fly so well.

This bending over backwards so as to be understanding toward cultures in which stoning human beings is regarded as a proper form of punishment–right now in the 21st century–seems to me to show an ideological bias on the part of the editors of The Times. And that bias is that whenever flaws in American history, law, social practices, and such are being discussed, there is no mercy; Americans are held to far higher standards than are those in Muslim cultures, for example.

Not only is this objectionable because it is unjust toward America but also because it is insulting toward Muslims. Somehow the latter do not qualify to be judged by the standards of humanity applicable to Americans and Westerners, it appears. Are they not human enough for that? Is there something inferior about Muslims so when they act in brutal, barbaric ways what is important to mention is that societies evolve? Should this kind of tolerance be accepted vis-a-vis Muslims but not antebellum Southerners who felt, often most sincerely, that slavery was OK? What about all the male chauvinists who thought of women as too emotional for scientific and other kind of work? Are we to think of them all as simply part of “societies [that] evolve”?

I am not about to venture to try to solve the problem of cultural diversity concerning some important human practices and institutions but I thought it worth calling attention to the anti-Western, anti-American bias at The Times.


Leftist intellectuals fawn over slimy Islamist Tariq Ramadan

When Salman Rushdie was forced into hiding in 1989 after a fatwa by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Western intellectuals rallied to his defence. Yet when Hirsi Ali was forced into hiding in 2004 after her friend and artistic collaborator, film director Theo van Gogh, was murdered by an Islamist who pinned to the dead man's chest a death threat to Hirsi Ali, support for her was qualified with condescension.

By contrast, Ramadan -- the Swiss-born philosopher and self-proclaimed apologist for his grandfather Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement that spawned Hamas -- is treated with deference and hailed as a moderate Muslim and bridge-builder.

As Berman notes, when Buruma wrote about Ramadan in The New York Times in February 2007, he concluded the philosopher offered "a reasoned but traditionalist" approach to Islam and that his values were "as universal as those of the European Enlightenment".

Yet, as Hitchens notes, "It's hardly possible to read of a media appearance with Tariq Ramadan that does not describe him as arrestingly handsome and charismatic. No disrespect, of course, but I'd be the first to agree that it can't be his writing that draws the crowd."

It is this conundrum -- why Ramadan is lauded and Hirsi Ali looked down on -- that Berman seeks to explain in his book. And why when scores of intellectuals have been forced into hiding there seem to be so few with the courage to express outrage or solidarity. It is this moral cowardice that gives the title to Berman's book The Flight of the Intellectuals.

Berman admits he is intrigued by Ramadan. "I had heard about him as a good guy, a reforming moderate in the world of Islamic thinkers," he says. "But when I read what he wrote I was struck by the difference between what I read about him and what I read by him."

When Ramadan wrote his doctoral thesis about al-Banna, it was rejected at the University of Geneva as a "partisan apologia" and was eventually accepted only because a Swiss socialist campaigned to have a second committee consider it.

Yet Berman uses historical sources to reveal a much more sinister portrait of al-Banna than the one that appears on the pages of Ramadan's books. Using archival records that have been published only in the past year, he shows how al-Banna funded the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin al-Husseini, "Adolf Hitler's most prolix and prominent champion in the Arab world".

Al-Husseini drew from Nazism and the Koran to create Islamic fascism, which he broadcast ad nauseam over the radio on the Voice of Free Arabism. And these poisonous texts found their way into the writings of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Berman says he sees Ramadan as a Shakespearean figure. He charms Western intellectuals and yet "his grandfather and his father, his family contacts, his intellectual tradition is precisely the milieu that bears the principal responsibility for generating the modern theory of religious suicide-terror".


Australians still support the monarchy

To the dismay of Australia's arrogant Leftist intelligentsia. Not mentioned anywhere below is the result of Australia's consitutional referendum on the subject in 1999. In defiance of all the talking heads, 55% voted for the Monarchy. Even many people of non-British origin voted for it. In my home State of Queensland nearly two thirds voted for the Monarchy: An aptly named State (actually named after Queen Victoria)

Public support for a republic has slumped to a 16-year low with more Australians in favour of retaining the monarchy for now.

A Sun-Herald/Nielsen poll conducted two weeks before the federal election showed that - when asked straight out if Australia should become a republic - 48 per cent of the 1400 respondents were opposed to constitutional change (a rise of 8 per cent since 2008) while 44 per cent said we should change (a drop of 8 per cent since 2008). But when asked which of the following statements best described their view:

- 31 per cent said Australia should never become a republic.

- 29 per cent said Australia should become a republic as soon as possible.

- 34 per cent said Australia should become a republic only after Queen Elizabeth II's reign ends.

Backing for a republic is at its lowest since 1994 - five years before Australia had a referendum on the topic.

Nielsen pollster John Stirton said yesterday that, despite the slump, there was a sense of inevitability Australia would one day become a republic with a large number backing Prime Minister Julia Gillard's stance that the issue should be closely considered after a change of monarchy.

"These results suggest Australians will be more likely to support a republic when Queen Elizabeth II is no longer on the throne," he said.

Our top politicians are divided over the republic issue. During the election campaign Ms Gillard echoed the sentiments of her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, who said a republic was not a first-term priority and would only be considered after a monarch change. Ms Gillard said a Labor government would work towards an agreement on the type of republic model - a sticking point in the 1999 defeat of the referendum.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott - an open monarchist along with his mentor and former leader John Howard - said Australians had shown little desire for change. He would not seek to put the republic question to a vote under a Coalition government.

"The Australian people have demonstrated themselves to be remarkably attached to institutions that work," he said. "I think that our existing constitutional arrangements have worked well in the past. I see no reason whatsoever why they can't continue to work well in the future.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). 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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