Sunday, March 20, 2011
DOJ to white male bullying victims: Tough luck
The viral video sensation showing a bullying incident at an Australian school has brought the issue of bullying back into the spotlight. Here in the United States, the Obama administration has made school bullying a federal issue. Last week, President Barack Obama addressed an anti-bullying conference with First Lady Michelle Obama at his side. The administration's anti-bullying campaign has been ongoing since the beginning of Mr. Obama's term. The Department of Justice announced in December 2010 its intention to hold liable school districts that fail to protect students that are bullied. DOJ’s website states:
"The Civil Rights Division and the entire Justice Department are committed to ending bullying and harassment in schools, and the video highlights the Department’s authority to enforce federal laws that protect students from discrimination and harassment at school because of their race, national origin, disability, religion, and sex, including harassment based on nonconformity with gender stereotypes"
The statement later says:
"The enforcement of the Equal Protection Clause, Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 in school districts is a top priority of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Additional information is available at the Civil Rights Division’s Educational Opportunities Section website at www.justice.gov/crt/edo/."
Here is the catch. DOJ will only investigate bullying cases if the victim is considered protected under the 1964 Civil Rights legislation. In essence, only discrimination of the victim’s race, sex, national origin, disability, or religion will be considered by DOJ. The overweight straight white male who is verbally and/or physically harassed because of his size can consider himself invisible to the Justice Department.
Apparently, the Justice Department is going by George Orwell’s famous Animal Farm ending: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.”
“We can only take action where we have legal authority,” wrote DOJ spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa in a December 2010 e-mail to The Washington Times Water Cooler. She continues:
“As stated in the website below, we are statutorily authorized to initiate suits under Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Educational Opportunities Act of 1974, and under Title III of the American with Disabilities Act. More information on the Civil Rights Act, Equal Educational Opportunities Act, and the ADA can be found here"
The Justice Department’s anti-bullying initiative is tantamount to bringing hate crime legislation to the public school system. Obviously, not only is the heterosexual white male student out of luck but inner city minority students lose out in this deal too.
If a schoolyard bully is a straight black male and his target is another straight black male where does that leave the victim in the eyes of Attorney General Eric Holder? What about two female students of the same sexual orientation and race? Is the victim in the latter situation considered to be less equal in the eyes of Obama’s Justice Department than a minority student who is picked on by a heterosexual white male student with no disabilities?
Unfortunately, the Justice Department is politicizing its priorities yet again. One must wonder why the administration believes it should be micro managing local school districts bullying problems. When the Justice Department is more interested in making ideological statements through seemingly sugar coated campaigns, no one should feel protected.
February was Hate Speech Month in Europe
February 2011 apparently was "Hate Speech Month in Europe," as a trio of "hate speech" trials in Europe made some big news. On February 15, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff (ESW, pictured) was found guilty of hate speech against religion in Austria because of statements she made in a series of seminars about the dangers of Sharia law.
Although she could have been given a three year sentence in prison, she was (only) fined 480 Euros (or the equivalent of $646.73). Also in February, the Dutch court ruled that the hate crimes trial of the flamboyant Geert Wilders, the anti-Islam Dutch politician the Dutch elites have been trying to run out of politics for about three years now, would continue, even though the prosecution doesn't really want to prosecute him and the previous judges were ousted for showing an obvious bias against Mr. Wilders. And Danish author Lars Hedegaard was found not guilty by a technicality for his comments regarding violence among the Muslim immigrant communities in Denmark. Lucky for Mr. Hedegaard, the Danish Court held that he had not meant for these comments to be published!
Many Americans presumably have heard very little about these hate speech trials in Europe. The idea that the speech of a person could be used to convict or fine that person because of the hurt feelings it causes in another is very foreign to us, outside of defamation lawsuits, where clearly untruthful and very damaging statements are punished with fines. However, because the European nations don't have a First Amendment to protect speech, many European nations have passed laws to criminalize the speech of their citizens to protect the feelings of ethnic or religious or gender minorities from racist/nationalist authoritarian groups. In Europe, a conviction for hate speech could even result in an actual prison term. Unfortunately, the truth of the statement under question rarely matters in a hate speech trial. Thus, Islamists in Europe have cynically used the hate speech codes to thwart all attempts to expose them as radicals or to rationally discuss the growing Islamist problem in Europe.
The just concluded ESW trial is a good example of how truly ludicrous a hate speech trial can be. ESW originally faced the charge of "incitement to hatred" against Muslims after giving a series of seminars in 2008 about the dangers of Sharia law. A leftist news reporter from the magazine, NEWS, attended and taped some of the seminars. NEWS later approached the authorities to press for a prosecution. ESW has stated numerous times that she only learned that she was being prosecuted after reading about it in the Austrian press. No specific statements were even listed by the state attorney in her indictment. At court, a number of examples of ESW's "incitement" were provided, among them her statement:
"Sharia is a definite no-no. We want no gender apartheid, no ghettoes, no social and cultural discrimination, no polygamy, no theocracy, no hate…"
On November 23, 2010, her case was gaveled open, only to be closed at the end of the day because the court needed to play the complete eight hour recordings from her seminars. On January 18, the second part of the trial also ended after a day, when the judge added a new charge against ESW – "denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion" – and ESW's lawyer was forced to ask for a continuance to prepare for that new charge. On February 15, the third day of the trial, ESW was convicted of "denigration." The judge stated:
The language used in the seminars were (sic) not inciting hatred, but the utterances regarding Muhammad and paedophilia were punishable. "Paedophilia" is factually incorrect, since paedophilia is a sexual preference which solely or mainly is directed towards children. Nevertheless, it does not apply to Muhammad. He was still married to Aisha when she was 18. It is a "denigration of religious teachings" and (you) are found guilty and sentenced to 120 days, (but instead of confining you the court will charge you) the minimum of € 480.
In 1948, virtually all of the nations of Europe voted for Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which stated that "Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
However, since that time, a number of international agreements have called for a restriction in citizen speech rights to protect religious and ethnic minorities, prompting the nations' of Europe to implement speech (criminal) codes. As Geert Wilders has written, because of these codes "in Europe it is now all but impossible to have a debate about the nature of Islam, or about the effects of immigration of Islam's adherents." Let's remove these codes now, before "the lights really do go out across Europe."
South Australia: Law proposed against uploading violent images on the internet
Depictions of Muslim violence included? This is a very slippery slope
The South Australian government wants to make it an offence to post violent or other degrading images on the internet.
Attorney-General John Rau said the state's proposed legislation, to be introduced this year, would be the first of its kind in Australia. It will make it an offence to knowingly take or publish humiliating, demeaning or degrading images of another person without their consent.
Mr Rau said it was designed to tackle thugs who filmed assaults and then posted them on the internet.
The move follows the appearance of a viral video on YouTube showing a student in an Australian school playground tormenting another boy and then being picked up and violently thrown on the ground by the victim.
"The government wants to attack this disgusting fad of thugs engineering and filming violent and humiliating acts and posting the images to websites," Mr Rau said today. "This behaviour is so disturbing and potentially damaging to the victims that I believe the creators of these images should be subject to severe penalties, including jail sentences.
"The government wants to make it very clear that if a person participates in any way in an act of this sort, then the consequences will be severe."
Mr Rau said the onus would be on the person charged to prove that they had a legitimate purpose for capturing the images, other than humiliating, degrading or demeaning the victim. The proposed laws would cover anyone involved in the process of deliberately filming and publishing the images. "For example, if you knowingly allow someone to use your computer or phone to upload the images, you could be covered by the laws," Mr Rau said. "If you knowingly participate in someone's humiliation while someone else films it, you could also find yourself charged with a serious offence."
But opposition justice spokesman Stephen Wade said the government's proposals lacked detail. "We have no indication of how this initiative will be policed or how we can avoid people being unfairly caught by the legislation," Mr Wade said.
Not satisfied by the 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the floodgates to corporate-sponsored election ads, conservative opponents of campaign finance regulations have opened up a series of new legal fronts in their effort to eliminate the remaining laws restricting the flow of money into politics.
They have taken to Congress, state legislatures and the lower courts to target almost every type of regulation on the books: disclosure requirements, bans on foreign and corporate contributions and – in a pair of cases the Supreme Court will consider this month – party spending limits and public financing of campaigns.
The sustained assault, combined with the Supreme Court’s rightward tilt on the issue, has some advocates for reducing the role of money in politics fretting about the possibility of an irreversible shift in the way campaigns are regulated and funded that would favor Republicans and corporate interests in the 2012 presidential race and beyond.
“We’ve already passed the danger point, and if you put all (the challenges) together, we could lose almost all of what we’ve had historically as campaign finance reform,” said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for the non-profit group Public Citizen, which pushes to protect or expand campaign restrictions in Congress, at the Federal Election Commission and in the courts.
“These types of lawsuits against campaign finance measures have been flooding the courts for years,” said Holman, “but now they’re finding more success with these five justices on the Supreme Court taking very anti-campaign finance reform stands – or, more appropriately, pro-corporate stances – and so the cases are reaching further than they ever did before.”
Case in point was the court’s sweeping 5-4 decision in January 2010 in Citizens United vs. FEC, which allowed corporations and unions to fund independent election ads, overturning decades of law and demonstrating the court’s tendency to view campaign cash restrictions as infringements on free speech.
The decision sparked an explosion of attack ads – many anonymously funded – that targeted Democrats and boosted Republicans in the 2010 midterm elections. It also fueled a push by congressional Democrats to tighten disclosure rules, which has yet to gain traction, as well as a partially successful effort to sway the American Civil Liberties Union, one of the few left-leaning groups to support Citizens United and other challenges to campaign restrictions.
But, perhaps more significantly, Citizens United emboldened increasingly well-funded conservative small-government groups to pursue more aggressive attacks on other regulations that were previously considered beyond reach.
“It’s premature to say we’re near a tipping point, but there is the possibility there,” said Brad Smith, a former Republican appointee to the FEC who co-founded a group called the Center for Competitive Politics that opposes campaign regulations on the same free speech grounds that the ACLU cites.
It filed a brief supporting the Citizens United challenge, and also litigated a related case in which a federal appeals court last year struck down contribution limits for independent groups airing political ads, spawning a new breed of major-donor-funded committee known as Super PACs, including American Crossroads, which spent tens of millions of dollars on ads attacking Democrats in the 2010 midterms.
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 blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.