Monday, January 31, 2011

Cowardly British cops

"Elf 'n safety" trumps law enforcement

In the line of duty, police officers routinely risk life and limb in all sorts of dangerous situations to protect and serve. So patrolling an area plagued by teenage yobs should be child’s play by comparison. But constables and PCSOs have been banned from keeping the peace at an adventure playground at night because it is considered dark and dangerous.

A senior officer told stunned councillors there would be no patrols after 8pm at newly-built Waterlees Park in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, for health and safety reasons. Inspector Sullivan said: 'If kids play in the park at night we will not go in. It is not our job to get kids out of the park.'

‘The place has no lighting and it is still, in effect, a building site,’ Inspector Andy Sullivan told a meeting of Wisbech Town Council. ‘I am not going to put my staff - police officers or PCSOs - into an area where they can’t see what is going on.’

Speaking after the full council meeting on Monday, he added: ‘If kids play in the park at night we will not go in. It is not our job to get kids out of the park. ‘If it was any other building site, would people be happy if police tried to get people out?’

Critics of the policy pointed out the £1million park, which opened last year, was not a ‘building site’ as children were already allowed to play there during the day. Only minor work remains to be done.

And they complained the inspector’s announcement that the park was too dangerous for officers would mean a free-for-all for the dozens of children that sometimes converge there, causing noise and thousands of pounds worth of damage on a regular basis.

Town councillor Richard Fulcher said: ‘I and many other councillors were disgusted with his comments. ‘What on earth sort of society have we got where police officers refuse to go anywhere after 8pm? ‘What Inspector Sullivan has done is to declare this part of Wisbech a no-go area because of poor lighting.’

Another councillor, David Patrick, said: ‘I had to ask for confirmation from the inspector to ensure I had heard it right the first time. ‘He said police officers wouldn’t go into the park because it was dark. Don’t they carry torches?’

The park has traditional play equipment such as swings and climbing frames, as well as a 35ft tower with a slide and two 65ft barges that were hauled in and converted into a classroom and toilets.

But homeowners in the area - many of whom are old or disabled - complain it has become a magnet for young thugs and have reported dozens of incidents of anti-social behaviour. They have also found evidence of alcohol and drug use.

Residents say their homes and cars have been vandalised, leaving them scared to go out at night. Retired businessman Malcolm Moss, 58, said: ‘Sometimes there are three or four of them, on occasions it ends up being 20 or 30. ‘The barges were practically wrecked from the outset as all the windows were smashed in and fire extinguishers were set off. The fire brigade have been involved quite a few times. ‘Stones have been thrown and on top of all that, there has been an increase in noise, with people shouting and screaming. ‘There is quite an aged population around this field and people are fearful of going out at night.

‘The police are meant to keep the peace but in their opinion if kids are creating havoc in this area it’s not happening somewhere else, so they just let them get on with it.’

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman insisted the play park was ‘effectively a building site’ and said it currently has a council-appointed security guard. He added: ‘During the evenings there is no lighting so it is effectively pitch black.

‘It is not a police officer’s job to ensure the area is kept clear. However, if a crime is committed or there is a risk to life, officers would take appropriate action.’


Great idea! British victims get power to sue police if they fail to tackle yobs

Police forces which fail to protect victims of anti-social behaviour could face being sued for compensation. Government proposals will give members of the public the power to launch legal action if it can be proved that officers or other public bodies have let them down.

The move, to be unveiled next month by Home Secretary Theresa May, was drawn up following the shocking case of Fiona Pilkington, the mother who killed herself and her disabled daughter Francecca in 2007 after being hounded by yobs outside their home in Leicestershire.

Under the plans, people who claim that they have not been given adequate protection from gangs or nuisance neighbours will be able to complain to newly-elected police crime commissioners.

The Government last year introduced plans for the US-style directly-elected officials, who will have the power to appoint and dismiss Chief Constables. The commissioners will answer to a new Police and Crime Panel comprising council chiefs and members of the public.

If a complaint is upheld, victims will be entitled to a pay-out. Under the reforms police will have a ‘duty’ to investigate any report of anti-social behaviour, however seemingly petty, as long as at least five separate households have complained about the same issue.

They could also face action if they fail to investigate any anti-social behaviour that has been reported a minimum of three times.

It is not clear at this stage how the cases would be funded and from what budgets any compensation would be paid. The Government believes that the moves will end the uncertainty about who is responsible for dealing with the blight of nuisance gangs.

An inquest into the death of Mrs Pilkington and her daughter heard that her local council and Leicestershire Police had failed to save vital information about the family, including their disabilities and the abuse they were receiving.

Last year a report by police watchdog HM Inspectorate of Constabulary found that police officers did not turn up to 23 per cent of anti-social behaviour complaints.

The new Police and Social Responsibility Bill will include measures that will allow neighbourhoods to act collectively to deal with anti-social behaviour, with the safeguard of ‘redress’ through the civil courts if their pleas are not acted upon.

As part of the new proposals, there will be a more detailed Government and police website that will show where crimes have been reported and committed in each neighbourhood so that members of the public can see the movement of crime in their area.

This would involve having access to up-to-date incidents that have been reported by the neighbourhood.

A source said last night: ‘The idea of these reforms is to be seen to give the power back to the victims of crime, especially anti-social behaviour. The public have lost faith in the authorities in the way they have dealt with anti-social behaviour. It has spiralled out of control.’

A Home Office spokesman said: ‘The current tools and powers for dealing with anti-social behaviour are too bureaucratic and don’t work effectively. We will soon be consulting on new proposals to tackle it.’


Think it was right to sack a "sexist" commentator? See how you feel when the Thought Police come for you

By Peter Hitchens

I hate professional football and everything about it. I would leave a railway carriage if Andy Gray or Richard Keys got into it, rather than listen to their crude, uninteresting conversation about this extraordinarily dull game, with its bad acting, pointless spite, tribal rage, drunken violence, sticky sentimentality and incessant unapologetic cheating. What’s more I don’t understand the offside rule and I don’t care.

No doubt Mr Gray would regard me as little better than a girl. I have changed nappies and been present at the births of my children. I have even endured the breathing exercises beforehand. I have (sometimes) even laughed at Miranda Hart.

But Mr Gray and Mr Keys should not have been sacked, or disciplined in any way. And those who joined in the stampede of rage against them are dangerous, intolerant totalitarians, helping the growth of the Thought Police in our midst.

Many of those who sang in this sanctimonious chorus are the sort who often complain in pubs about ‘political correctness gone mad’. But when it comes to it, they cravenly take part in the madness.

Remember this. The things they said were not intended for broadcast and they were not transmitted. They were private conversations. I don’t care that those conversations were leaked. Any remotely public figure has to assume this will happen nowadays. But if Mr Gray and Mr Keys didn’t intend their remarks to be broadcast, they shouldn’t be judged professionally as if they had intended it.

It is quite simply unjust to condemn a man for having his private conversation transmitted to the world by someone else.

But that’s not all. Had these remarks been intentionally broadcast, would it really have been so bad? Are these opinions and attitudes so wicked that people should be deprived of their jobs for holding them? Are female football officials such feeble things that they have never heard men claim they can’t understand the game, and need smelling salts when it is said?

Surely, if the sexes are equal, this sort of blushing, swooning, maiden-aunt stuff is as obsolete as denying votes to women. If we are so set against coarseness, then most fashionable comedians should be sacked too. They rely almost entirely on the f-word, on shocking the gentle and on sexual grossness. But they all carry on unsacked, presumably because they mix their crudity with a dollop of political correctness and anti-Thatcherism. So that’s not good enough as an argument.

Women are allowed to be crudely dismissive of men, so explicit banter of this kind isn’t the problem either.

As for Charlotte Jackson and the microphone ‘joke’, are we really expected to believe that a physically tough, professional modern woman who used to pose for ‘Lads’ Magazines’ will be seriously upset by this pathetic, dirty-old-man humour?

Subject the episode to any sort of cool analysis, and it’s just part of our national comedy, an entertaining but unimportant moment. Or it would have been, except that two men lost their jobs over it. And if they can lose their jobs because of private remarks, then so can anyone else. Did you want that? Is any society free where such things happen?


Where Calvin meets Mao

A Clown with a Knife from AltRightTV on Vimeo.

In this interview with Craig Bodeker, AltRight contributing editor Derek Turner provides what may be the most concise yet penetrating explanation of the origins and nature of political correctness I have yet to encounter. The full video is available on the website of the National Policy Institute.

Critics of PC have advanced several theses regarding its origins. Paul Gottfried has suggested that it is largely an outgrowth of left-wing American Christianity. Bill Lind considers it be a form of “cultural Marxism” derived from an inversion of orthodox Marxism advanced by the Frankfurt School. David Heleniak has an interesting thesis suggesting that PC is largely a derivative of the Christian doctrine of original sin that subsequently took on a secular form through the influence of the philosophy of Jean Jacques Rousseau. Still others regard PC as good old fashioned Communism wearing a different set of clothes. My own efforts to investigate the historical development of PC (which I prefer to call “totalitarian humanism”) have led me to a position that is something of a synthesis of these narratives.

Derek points out that political correctness has become the most deeply entrenched in historically Protestant countries, primarily the nations of Scandinavia and the Anglosphere. Presumably, this can be explained as a manifestation of the sense of Calvinist guilt that has been woven into the cultural fabric and historical memories of Protestant societies. That colonial American Puritanism was a rather extreme manifestation of the Calvinist ethos, and that American left-wing Christianity came about largely as an eclipsing successor of orthodox Calvinism in the American northeast, may help to explain why PC first took root in America and exported itself throughout the Western world the way that it did.

If indeed Rousseau’s philosophy provided a secular transformation of the notion of original sin, then it is not improbable that such thinking would take root in a cultural milieu where orthodox Calvinism had once been virulent, but was in the process of shedding that history while retaining some of its residual influences, which would have been the case with northeastern American Protestantism during the developmental periods of this country.

It should not be surprising then that the Frankfurt School found a home for itself in northeastern American universities following its exile from Nazi Germany (and after an ironic stay in Geneva, the city most closely associated with the legacy of Calvin!). Some of the iconic figures of the New Left, such as Angela Davis and Abbie Hoffman, were personally students of the Frankfurt School’s most extreme left-wing advocate, Herbert Marcuse, and it is another irony that just as Marcuse eventually settled in California, it was at West Coast universities such as Berkeley that the leftist student rebellions of the 1960s began to emerge before spreading throughout the West and even elsewhere.

As for the relationship between orthodox Communism and PC, in my efforts to trace the origins of the term, I have encountered phrases such as “correct politics” or “correct political line,” and references to persons being shunned or dismissed from organizations for “incorrect politics” in old radical literature from the late 1960s and early 1970s, particularly among Weather Underground-influenced groups or the most extreme offshoots of the “black power” movement. The Maoist influence on these groups is well-known, as is the fascination of some of the more extreme New Left radicals of the era with the Chinese Cultural Revolution. PC in many ways resembles a Maoist self-criticism session, so there is likely a connection there.

I actually grew up in part as a Calvinist fundamentalist myself during the 1970s. My family were adherents of old-style orthodox Calvinism of the kind represented by theologians like J. Gresham Machen and Cornelius Van Til, and for a time we were involved with a church associated with the theocratic “Christian reconstructionist” movement of R.J. Rushdoony and Gary North. All of my education up through and including my sophomore year of high school was done at a fundamentalist academy that adhered to dispensational Christian Zionism (think of Bob Jones University and you will get an idea what the atmosphere there was like).

During the late 1980s and early 1990s I was a left-wing Chomskyite and it was during this time that I first began to personally encounter PC. Observing the psychology of PC and its behavioral manifestations up close and in an unadulterated form gave me a sense of déjà vu: “Where I have seen this kind of thing before?” Having long since abandoned my previous Christianity by that time, I came to realize that PC essentially amounts to Christian fundamentalism without a Christ (perhaps this explains the Left’s habit of elevating perceived progressive saints such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the status of Christ-like semi-divine figures).

Whatever the true historical trajectory of PC may be, its obscurantist and totalitarian nature is obvious enough. It is ironic that eccentric religious subcultures such as the ones I came from are demonized by the anointed as dangerous theocratic fascists about to carry out an Taliban-like coup any minute now (a view that wildly exaggerates the influence and degree of extremism of such subcultures), while a form of obscurantist totalitarianism that has actually has the support of elites, intellectuals, academics, journalists, and others of genuine influence continues to entrench itself in Western cultural and political institutions.

SOURCE. (See the original for links)


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.


Sunday, January 30, 2011

I've never seen anything so wet in all my life': British judge slams 'soft' sentencing options that prevented him jailing burglar

A judge has hit out after sentencing guidelines prevented him from sending a burglar to prison. Julian Lambert lambasted the justice system as ‘soft’ after he was forced to hand burglar Daniel Rogers, 25, a community sentence.

He said: ‘I’ve never seen anything so wet in all my life – 80 hours’ community work for burgling someone’s house. ‘I very much regret sentencing guidelines which say I should not send you straight to prison. ‘We live in soft times.’

His comments highlight the frustration felt by many judges over restrictions placed on their powers.

The Guideline Judgments Case Compendium sets out clear sentencing guidelines for judges and magistrates. It states that cases of burglary with minimal loss and damage and a low impact on the victim should be dealt with by a community sentence. A burglary with some higher culpability on the part of the offender or having a greater impact on the victim should usually involve a custodial sentence of between nine and 18 months, though the term can be longer.

Burglaries with serious culpability or impact have a starting point of two years’ imprisonment, and the maximum sentence for domestic burglary is 14 years. A judge must also take into account any mitigating factors and aggravating factors such as when the burglary was and whether the occupier was at home. A plea of guilty or not guilty is also a factor.

Bristol Crown Court heard that Rogers broke into a house in the city last year and began looking for valuable items. Owner Ross Campbell discovered Rogers as he rifled through his living room and the burglar snatched computer gear, a wallet and DVDs before running out of the house.

Rogers, who lives in Southmead, Bristol, pleaded guilty to burglary after police tracked him down through a fingerprint left on a games controller.

Jonathan Stanniland, prosecuting, said Mr Campbell heard noises coming from downstairs and found a hooded man in his living room. He said: ‘He chased the man out of the rear door. ‘The man went into the back garden and scaled a fence to next door.’ He added that Mr Campbell had suffered from anxiety after the break-in and feared that he may have been targeted because he and Rogers had three friends in common on Facebook.

Judge Lambert said he despaired of current sentencing guidelines when he was handed a report advising him not to send him to prison. But judges are bound to take in mitigating factors – such as Rogers’s early guilty plea – when it comes to sentencing. It was recommended that he sentence Rogers to just 80 hours’ community work.

But the judge gave him 240 hours, a six-month curfew between 9pm to 6am, a 12-month ban from licensed premises and 18 months of supervision. He told Rogers: ‘You’ve got the lot. It may be easier for you to do the time.’

James Haskell, defending, said his client could do community service and said a curfew would prevent Rogers from going out drinking, which he had used as a ‘coping mechanism’ previously.

Last night the judge’s comments drew support from Sue Lloyd, of Victim Support. She said: ‘Victims often feel let down by the criminal justice system and the complexities of sentencing decisions. ‘Burglary can have a serious impact on a victim, not only because of the theft and damage involved but also the sense of invasion of what should be a safe, private place.’

The Avon and Somerset Probation Service said any probation report supplied to a judge before sentencing was for guidance only. A spokesman said: ‘The pre-sentence report is purely to provide information and act as a guide for the judge.’


Some most embarrassing Wikileaks

To the horror of a European political intelligentsia which has been steadfast to the point of fanatical in its opposition to Israeli “settlements” in East Jerusalem, the Palestinian leadership itself, we now know, has long accepted that the vast majority of Israeli settlements can be considered legitimate and would become part of Israel under any reasonable peace agreement.

This is utterly devastating since it simultaneously shows that everyone from the British Foreign Office and the BBC to the European Commission and the continent’s passionately anti-Israeli NGO community have been adopting a position which was significantly more uncompromising on “settlements” than the Palestinian leadership itself, and also that that same Palestinian leadership had accepted that the so called 1967 “borders” — the gold standard for practically every anti-Israeli polemic around — are irrelevant to the prospects of a lasting peace.

In one of its most resentful leader columns for years, the Guardian was nothing short of apoplectic: not so much with Israel, but with a Palestinian leadership which has effectively blown the credibility of the Guardian’s very own mantras on the MidEast straight out of the water. The Palestinian leadership, the paper declaimed, had been shown to be “weak” and “craven”. Their concessions amounted to “surrender of land Palestinians have lived on for centuries”. And, in words that look alarmingly close to the position adopted by Hamas, “The Palestinian Authority may continue as an employer but, as of today, its legitimacy as negotiators will have all but ended on the Palestinian street.” This is sheer spite.

The Palestinian leadership accepts what any reasonable person has been able to accept for decades. The Guardian then slams them as surrender monkeys. The Guardian newspaper is more hardline against Israel than the Palestinian leadership itself. And bear in mind, as you mull over the implications of that stark and unyielding state of affairs, that the Palestinian Authority is led by Mahmoud Abbas, who is a Holocaust denier.

But it gets worse. The only conceivable way out of this for the anti-Israel community is to turn this all upside down and argue — as analysts, reporters (anyone they can get their hands on) have been doing on the BBC all day — that what this really shows is the extent of Israeli “intransigence”: the Palestinians offer all these concessions, and still the Israelis say no! This was the line adopted by Paul Danahar, the BBC’s MidEast bureau chief, who quite casually averred that, “The Israelis look churlish for turning down major concessions”. Good thing no-one’s taking sides then.

Tragicomically, it just won’t wash. Privately and morally, senior Palestinians can see that there is nothing illegitimate or even especially problematic about most of the “settlements”, (as reasonable observers of the MidEast have been saying for years). This we know from the leaks themselves. But publicly and politically they cannot sell such concessions to their own people. This we know because they are currently trying to distance themselves from the leaks, and because they educate their own people in an implacable rejectionism which extends to the “moderate” Palestinian authority glorifying suicide bombers and other terrorists by naming streets and squares after them.

Logically and reasonably, the Israeli response is to see such “concessions” for what they are: well intentioned in so far as they go, but impossible to implement in practice. Quite apart from the question of Hamas-run Gaza, the Palestinians have been playing the same old game of saying one thing to one audience and something else to another. They are not a credible partner for peace, and the Israelis do not look remotely “churlish” for understanding this.

It will be interesting to see how this whole affair now plays out. But never again can the anti-Israel community play the settlement card and at the same time retain a single ounce of credibility.


Australia: Wrapped in the flag and loving it

Sally Neighbour makes observations below that are similar to the ones I made briefly on Australia day. Note that I was able to explain what she cannot

NOT usually one for patriotic musings, at lunchtime on Wednesday I nonetheless found myself pondering the meaning of Australia Day and how this once second-rate public holiday became the source of such riotous celebration across the land.

At the time I was floating on a giant inflatable plastic thong, clinging to a rope tethered between buoys beyond the breakers at Bondi Beach.

For the record, it wasn't my idea. But there we were, bobbing on the ocean, me and 2067 other patsies, all set to make a world record for the number of people gullible enough to queue for 45 minutes and - get this - pay $30 to promote a foreign brand of rubber thong. The marketing genius who thought that up surely deserves an Order of Australia for services to advertising.

As the hoary strains of Men At Work's Down Under drifted predictably across the sea, our mooring provided a novel vantage point of Bondi Beach, now crowded with tens of thousands of bodies, outnumbered only by Australian flags - on bikinis, board shorts, towels, hats, umbrellas, beach shelters, painted faces and fake tattoos.

I wondered: how had it come to this? How had I been roped into such a commercial stunt? (In short, because my in-principle objections sounded lame in the face of my 11-year-old's protestation: "but it'll be fun". And damn it, it was.) More to the point, when and why had Australians embraced with such gusto an event that, not long ago, was regarded as just an excuse for a day off?

In the 1970s and 80s, having a holiday to commemorate the arrival of the first boats of white settlers was widely regarded - at least among my generation - as passe, an anachronistic nod to a history we weren't sure whether to be proud of or not.

As for the Australian flag, it was seen by many as an irrelevant relic of our colonial past, doomed for the scrapheap come the republic.

We would no sooner have draped ourselves in such a frumpy ensign than donned our grandma's bowling whites and headed for the local green.

For some, a vague discomfort with Australia's national symbols was only sharpened in recent years by the spectre of Pauline Hanson wrapped in the flag and its use as a symbol of ugly jingoism at Cronulla in 2005. "The cloak of racism," one friend calls it.

But such reservations have little traction among generations X and Y. Ambivalence has given way to unabashed pride in all things Australian, not least the flag.

They turn up to the Big Day Out with it tattooed on their skin. The same young Australians flock to Gallipoli each year to mark Anzac Day, and trek in their thousands along the Kokoda Track.

Just why this is so is a question that intrigues social researcher Rebecca Huntley, director of the survey-based market research firm, Ipsos. She has commissioned a study beginning this year called "being Australian", which will examine, among other things, the patriotism of gens X and Y.

Ipsos research thus far shows the things people most typically associate with being Australian are time-honoured values such as the "great Australian dream" of owning their own home, the idea of having a "laid-back" lifestyle, which Huntley says is "a core part of being Australian", and the knowledge that people will pull together in a time of need such as the recent floods. The surging affinity with nationalistic symbols is a more recent trend, most markedly in the past three years.

Huntley is reluctant to jump to conclusions about why young Australians are clearly more comfortable with the flag than the generation before them.

Maybe the young revellers simply realise how fortunate they are. It's hard to know when all you can get out of them is, "Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, Oi Oi Oi!" It was left to a jubilant newcomer at a citizenship ceremony in Sydney to articulate why being Australian was something to be immensely grateful for. "The opportunity to find jobs here is much better and it's much safer. I do think that Australians who haven't travelled and seen how the rest of the world lives take the freedom here for granted."


Standing Up to the PC Bullies

Professor Robert Engler has taught sociology at Chicago’s Roosevelt University for 12 years. Like many professors, he occasional tells a joke, but in this instance, mirth cost him his job, probably his career plus thousands in legal fees. Here’s the joke:

A group of sociologists did a poll in Arizona about the new immigration law. Sixty percent said they were in favor, and 40 percent said, 'No hablo English.'"

The gag may not be a side-splitter, but it hardly insults Hispanics. Nevertheless, in the spring of 2010 it elicited two written complaints as ethnically offensive, and as a result, he was fired and his course, “City and Citizenship” (a graduation requirement) was discontinued. In fact, his department refused to put the “harassment” charge in writing and Engler only discovered the accusation in the student newspaper.

And why was this lame joke so harmful? Cristina Solis justified her complaint with "If that is what it took to give him a reality check, and to make sure that no other student has to go through that, maybe it's for the best." She also claimed that Engler’s joke was inappropriate for "a school like Roosevelt University, which is based on social justice."

This mountain-out-of-a-mole hill strategy is hardly unique--a free speech organization FIRE encounters dozens per year. Important lessons are to be learned from this seemingly minor Politically Correct outrage.

First, American education has produced an entire generation that is hyper-sensitive to any affront, real or imagined, who collect grievances as some hobbyists collect postage stamps. Indeed, victimhood seems hard wired into their DNA so an insult-free environment, regardless of millions spent for sensitivity training, let alone accommodations, is beyond reach. Further add quick-to-demonstrate groups whose raison d’être (and funding) depends on quick-trigger mobilizations of angry followers.

Second, it is impossible to anticipate what might stir the pot. Unlike Pakistan, our blasphemy laws are unwritten, even unknowable in advance. The eminent Harvard historian Stephen Thernstrom was brought up on charges that he offended black students when he said “slave” instead of “enslaved person” since, it was claimed, “slave” de-humanized those in bondage. When the Dean took the student’s side, he decided not to teach the course in the future.

Third, the aggrieved party is judge and jury. Professor Engler could not request that an impartial panel of humor experts to assess the joke’s hurtfulness. After all, the only admissible credential for this expertise is one’s racial or ethnic identify, and who can challenge that? So, if a black accuses a white of racism, trial over.

Fourth, emotional harm trumps scientific truth. The truth may set you free but it will not win back your job. When co-discoverer of the structure of DNA and Nobel laureate James Watson characterized sub-Saharan Africans as having lower IQ’s than whites, he was pushed out as chancellor of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (see here). Nor did he regain his job when he backtracked with” there is no scientific basis for such a belief” (actually ample but not all scientific data support Watson’s initial statement. For confirming data, see here).

Fifth, once stigmatized as “offensive” there is no redemption. Dog killers get a better deal. Profusely apologizing, adding endless qualifiers, claiming that one’s offensive remarks were misinterpreted or taken out of context do not bring absolutions. And it only takes a tiny handful of incidents to kill public discussion. Larry Summers will probably go down in history not for his stellar academic record but as the Harvard Dean who famously hinted that biology might explain why women do not occupy top scientific position. Anybody want to re-open the debate?

Finally, and perhaps most depressing, those deemed guilty of “offensiveness” will seldom receive any public backing, regardless of the charge’s ridiculousness, its scientific accuracy or one’s expertise. Even the accuser’s outright scurrilous lies will not draw public rebuke. The heretic is on his own though trusted friends may privately provide succor. Nor is the First Amendment relevant—this only protects you from government action, not enraged private citizens. Perhaps the only exception has been Juan Williams who got a $2 million dollar contract from Fox News after admitting that airline passengers in Muslim garb made him nervous. I suspect that ordinary passengers uttering those “hateful” words would receive extra airport security.

What can be done? In the short run, not much—the offended cannot be mollified. Prosecuting heretics is undoubtedly just human nature; only the subject changes—religious dissenters in medieval times, those who link violence to Islam today.

But, there is some good news—orthodoxies bringing dangerous willful blindness are not forever. In Victorian times even mentioning venereal disease was taboo; today schools may be legally required to explain it to youngsters.

The path to success begins by overcoming the accused heretic’s isolation. PC types are typically bullies quickly emboldened when they can attack timid, isolated enemies, one at a time. Perhaps Roosevelt University faculty and students should have organized an ethnic humor night with stand-up comics telling Hispanic, Jewish, Black and Polish jokes? Bring in Jackie Mason or Chris Rock. Give Professor Engler an open mike and a coach to polish his delivery.

More important, don’t surrender to those using “being offended” as the ticket to success. Appeasement only brings a bigger bill next time around. How many times have we seen an “offensive” incident eliciting demonstrations demanding hiring more minority faculty, extra sensitive training, a new publicly funded cultural center and similar accommodations to, allegedly, heal the wounds? In fact, these pay-offs often encourages hoaxes.

Finally, when all is said and done, there is no substitute for invoking truth or at least an argument that is likely to be true. The truth often hurts, it can be offensive and lowers self-esteem, but public debate built on soothing lies invites disaster.

Consider what might now happen at Roosevelt University. Other professors teaching potentially controversial subjects will cleanse any “insulting” references to Hispanics or other easy-to-anger groups. Topics like crime, teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency will vanish lest a slip of the tongue, even the wrong facial expression, brings charges of harassment. Prudent faculty might also revert to plain vanilla boring lectures and award sensitive students “A’s” as an insurance policy. Other might just pander to these groups to play it safe. Classes will grow duller, less spontaneous and Hispanic students, among other thin-skinned students, will receive an incomplete, watered down but flattering education filled soothing lies. And they will never know it and so graduates will have feasted on a diet of lies and omissions. So much for Roosevelt University’s commitment to social justice.



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.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

What does it take? British criminal gets 578th conviction but has never been sent to prison

A man with a 50-year record of crime has been spared jail despite being found guilty of his 578th offence. The case led an MP yesterday to describe the criminal justice system as a ‘joke’.

The serial offender is one of thousands given community sentences every year for crimes including violence and sex attacks, despite having been convicted or cautioned more than 50 times before. The number in this category has increased by a quarter in a year.

The appalling statistics are seen as proof that the justice system is failing to tackle career criminals who repeatedly avoid being locked away.

Prisons Minister Crispin Blunt revealed the case of the man with 578 offences in response to a parliamentary question by Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley. He refused to give any details about the offender or his crimes.

Mr Davies said: ‘This shows that the criminal justice system has become a joke. ‘Even Crispin Blunt has said that prison should be there not just for serious offenders, but for persistent offenders as well. ‘Surely when someone has committed so many crimes, somebody somewhere should say this man is a serious offender? ‘Whatever he has done, this man is surely a menace to the community and it beggars belief that he can commit 578 crimes and still not be sent to prison.

‘And of course, these are only crimes that are detected. ‘We are probably talking of thousands of crimes here. It shows that, despite what (Justice Secretary) Ken Clarke would have us believe, we have too few people in prison, not too many.’

David Green, of the think-tank Civitas, said: ‘I have long argued that career criminals should be jailed for a long period, because they have no respect for the rights and obligations of normal life. ‘We all accept that prison should not be something we resort to too quickly. ‘We would all like to be given a second chance if we do something stupid – it’s the 578th chance I have a problem with.’


Muslims charged over 'gay excution leaflet' in first British 'sexual hatred' case

Two men are due to appear in court charged with stirring up hatred due to sexual orientation in the first such case in Britain. Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27, are to appear before magistrates in Derby accused of handing out leaflets calling for homosexuals to be executed. It is the first prosecution since laws outlawing homophobia came into force last March.

The pair were yesterday charged with distributing the leaflet, titled “The Death Penalty?”, outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby in July last year. They are also accused of placing the leaflets through local letterboxes during the same month, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

The pair, who were arrested after a tip-off from the public, have been charged with distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

They face a maximum sentence of seven years’ jail and and/or an unlimited fine if convicted at a crown court. No other details of the offences were released.

"We have... authorised Derbyshire Police to charge Razwan Javed, 30, and Kabir Ahmed, 27, with one count each of distributing threatening written material intending to stir up hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation," said CPS lawyer Sue Hemming. "The charges relate to the distribution of a leaflet, 'The Death Penalty?', outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby in July 2010 and through letterboxes during the same month.

"This is the first ever prosecution for this offence and it is the result of close working between the Crown Prosecution Service and Derbyshire Police." “Following complaints from the public, Derbyshire Police mounted a thorough investigation.”

She added: “We have carefully reviewed the evidence provided by the police and are satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and it is in the public interest to charge these men.”

The Public Order Act 1986 was amended by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.


Fury over Lauda call for ban on gay TV dancers

AUSTRIAN gay groups have demanded an apology from the former racing driver Niki Lauda after he made disparaging remarks about the pairing of a gay celebrity with a male dancer on a television dance program.

Alfons Haider, a 53-year-old television presenter from Vienna, is set to waltz with another man in the forthcoming series of Dancing Stars on the state-owned ORF channel.

Mr Lauda, 61, the three-times world formula one champion, told the Austrian daily Oesterreich he did not want to have to explain to his children why two men were dancing together on prime-time TV. "There are some good traditions in our culture, one of which is that men dance with women," he said. "Soon we will reach the stage where we will all have to publicly apologise for being heterosexual."

The German tabloid Bild asked Mr Lauda if it was really so bad for two men to dance together. "No," he said. "As long as they do it at home and not on TV, when children are watching."

He insisted he was not homophobic and that he would not mind at all if his son was gay. He employed "loads" of gay people on his airline, Niki, "even as instructors", he added.

Christian Hogl, the chairman of the Vienna gay rights group HOSI, said: "We are really shocked and very surprised that Mr Lauda harbours such prejudice against homosexuals to make such an unjustified attack." The group has invited Mr Lauda to the city's Rainbow Ball next month to educate him about homosexuality.

Dancing Stars is due to start in March, but Mr Lauda said: "I demand that the general director [of ORF], Alex Wrabetz, who is in an upright marriage, stops this gay dance number." Mr Wrabetz said: "I don't chose Mr Lauda's pilots and he doesn't choose our dancers."


The psychopathology of anti-Israel discourse

Some belief systems, as Jared Loughner demonstrated, are beyond politics and logic. Everyone seems to agree that Loughner, who went on a shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona, wounding Representative Gabrielle Giffords and killing bystanders, was an unfortunate schizophrenic suffering from incoherent ideation. But what if there was a whole Loughnerism movement? What if they taught this sort of thinking at universities, and it was believed by respectable people?

On what must have been a pleasant autumn evening, a group of moderately educated young people met and discussed favorably the following propositions:

* The Red Cross is a bad organization because it is neutral. Neutral organizations are bad.

* The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a sexist document.

* The Middle East peace process is bad for the Arab Palestinians.

* Foreign aid is bad for the Palestinians.

* The sure path to liberation of the Catholic Philippines and gay people is to join the cause of Muslim extremism and wipe out Jewish self- determination. Only Zionism stands in the way of liberation of these oppressed peoples.

* Bad people are always white and probably Zionist. Good people are colored and are therefore oppressed.

This meeting did not take place in the closed ward of a mental institution or in Kim Il Sung University in PyongYang, People’s Republic of Korea, but in an American University campus financed by the state of California. The attendees were undergraduates and graduate students, America’s leaders of tomorrow.

The “teach-in” was sponsored by an improbable coalition of Muslims, Filipino Catholics and gay people.

A very broad coalition supports this sort of Loughnerism. Perhaps Loughner’s only misfortune is that he did not focus on “Zionists” – he could have had massive support. The Quakers (“Friends”) of course were (nonviolently) in favor of genocide and the Hamas, against the peace process and the Red Cross.

BAYAN, in case you are wondering, is a Filipino organization, reputedly a communist front, possibly associated with Filipino Muslims.. Evidently, they convinced themselves that Teddy Roosevelt was a Zionist, that the Spanish monarchy was Jewish or Zionist, and that it is the Jews (“Zionists”) (who else?) who are responsible for the current ills of their homeland.

Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jews. If the students meant to give the Jews a different horizon for national liberation, they did not say so. Filipino nationalism and Arab Palestinian are good according to the students, Jewish nationalism is evil, because, one supposes, Jews are supposed to be evil.

They all seemed to agree, as usual, that thrashing the Kikes would save their cause:

… the center of all our work has to be fighting against Zionism –

…. The end goal is the end to Zionism that should be the end goal.

And unless that is the focus and center of your activism and organizing when it comes to Palestine and joint struggle and solidarity then there’s a problem, because that really is the key to ending, or the goal to liberation also of Palestinians is the ending of Zionism…

If you aren’t interested in whacking the Jews, these people don’t want your help.

That was the comparatively coherent part. It unmasks the various sponsors (including the Quakers, who may as well remove their pacifist masks) for what they are. It shows, for any who may have doubted, what the struggle is about: genocide and hate mongering.

Here is a bit more:

Barack Obama to the contrary notwithstanding, the U.S. is “white.” White is bad. The Jews (“Zionists) must be part of the evil plot, right? Where do gay people and Quakers fit in? It doesn’t matter, right? It makes no difference that the young people in this auditorium never saw Hamas leader Ismail Hanniyeh, who is white, or his Jewish Ethiopian victims. Logic is bourgeois, facts are for pedants, right? The important thing is for American students in an American University who never did any useful work and never suffered in any way to rail against white oppression, right? The struggle is the important thing, right?

It is hard to understand why gay people and Filipino activists, possibly communists, would believe that their own cause could somehow be bettered by “ending Zionism” and furthering the advance of radical Islamism - but it seems that they do.

Young people, who have mostly never seen a real live Zionist, never lived in a Muslim country and have little background information about the Philippines or the Middle East, might accept these doctrines as valid. The reasoning behind them is no better or worse than that of Pol Pot or Ulrike Meinhoff or Mao Tse Tung, but those doctrines were after all believed by millions, and they got “results.” Pohl Pot killed three million people in Cambodia. Ulrike Meinhof left a trail of victims and a cult of people who justified her “ideology,” Mao Tse Tung killed about 20 billion in China.

Next to these masters, Jared Loughner, who killed a small number of people in Arizona, was a pathetic failure. It was not his fault. He was not more illogical than the successful ideologists. He didn’t understand how to market his product and make it chic. He did not target “Zionists.” Therefore he was disowned and derided as insane. If Loughner had killed a respectable number of people, and if he had been backed by petrodollar-funded public relations, he would no doubt be written up by Time magazine as an anti-Zionist hero. At the very least, he would be given a column somewhere.

The gathering at Berkeley was a “teach in” in which the young attendees absorbed a way of thinking and a set of doctrines that would otherwise be the subject of psychiatric analysis. When one person thinks this way, he is isolated as a psychopath. When groups of people think this way, they have an “ideology.” It is organized and funded. The “ideology” of the teach-in will not be confined to eccentric student groups. Graduate students grow into professors, journalists and officials. Professors write texts. Officials make policy. Journalists determine how you perceive reality. Today’s student yahoo yelling incoherently about oppression is tomorrow’s authoritative opinion maker and policy maker.

What do these groups and their members have in common? The world is full of Jared Loughners. The do not really have a coherent picture of geography or politics. They hate. They fear. But some are more coherent than others. They can provide a voice, organize a demonstration, get weapons. Groups like these provide a warm home for the Jared Loughners of the world.

The Loughnerization of thought processes about Israel has been going on for years. It did not begin just now in Berkeley. The teach-in in Berkeley may be viewed as a dress rehearsal for the special meeting of the U.N. General Assembly that will be held in September 2011 in New York, to commemorate the Durban “anti-Racism” conference.

The Berkeley Loughnerites and many others will no doubt send delegations as well. If not, they will be there in spirit, right? All the big names in Middle East Loughnerism will probably be there, including Muammar Ghaddafi of Libya and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian Jared Loughner. Think of the possibilities. Imagine if Loughner had an atom bomb instead of a lousy Glock!



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.


Friday, January 28, 2011

It's very difficult to win against even the most extreme feminists

And it has been very difficult for a long time. The discovery that the Obama Department of Justice takes sides in political cases (by refusing to prosecute non-white violators of voters’ rights, most notably by abandoning the New Black Panthers' voter intimidation case) may be shocking, but it is nothing new.

An appalling prior example of connivance between American prosecutors and Leftist agitators is found in a recently-published book available on "Odd Customers", by Wim de Vriend.

Most of the book consists of humorous human-interest stories about restaurant customers, and reminiscences of World War II. But the longest story in the book describes the siege of de Vriend's business by radical feminist picketers, who were out to destroy his livelihood in revenge for a letter he had published in the local paper.

The local D.A. decided that his tormentors, who were well-connected to the local government, were not at fault; he was. It's all pretty shocking so I have excerpted the relevant chapter here. The book includes some good pictures as well which I have not reproduced --JR.

Calif. University Apologizes for Serving Fried Chicken on MLK Holiday

The fact that the whole world now eats fried chicken -- KFC -- seems overlooked

Note to self: serving soul food in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. is apparently NOT okay… or at least that‘s the lesson I’m taking away from the latest political-correctness kerfuffle going down at the University of California – Irvine.

While many schools have recently come under fire for not serving enough health-conscious options, UC Irvine is getting a lesson in culturally sensitive cuisine. The LA Times reports:
A last-minute decision to serve fried chicken and waffles at a campus dining hall in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. was a regrettable choice and lacked sensitivity, UC Irvine officials acknowledged Wednesday.

The meal was served at Pippin Commons on Jan. 17, the first day of UC Irvine’s 28th annual Martin Luther King Jr. symposium. …

The menu and a sign in the dining hall reading “MLK Holiday Special: Chicken and Waffles” were pulled together at the last minute by a chef and other cafeteria staff members, said UC Irvine spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon.

The culinary choices were made without any university oversight, Lawhon said.

While the university seems to be working to distance itself from the… er, incident… UC Irvine student Ricardo Sparks, a co-chair of the Black Student Union, has filed a formal complaint with the school’s administration.

“It‘s just another in a long line of small events on our campus that aren’t meant to be taken in a certain way, but are at least questionable in their cultural legitimacy,” John Murillo III, director of communications for the Black Student Union, told the Times. “It takes all the radicalism and activism that we tried to do with the symposium and then [the cafeteria] serves chicken and waffles and takes away from all the stuff that we did.”

Officials at the university are agreeing, saying the chicken & waffles menu on MLK day did not show “good taste.” While the menu’s intention was to offer comfort food, Lawhon admitted it “probably wasn’t the most sensitive thing.”

The chef has not been formally reprimanded, but officials with Aramark Corp., the company which runs campus dining services, said they would conduct “cultural sensitivity training” for managers and chefs.

“I understand people have prejudice and ignorance,” Sparks said. “But this is out in the community and nobody is saying anything about it.”


British PM aiming to crack down on £1bn 'sue-the-boss' culture

Workplace law is to be torn up to bring a £1billion a year employment tribunal bonanza to an end. David Cameron and Vince Cable will today trigger a battle with trade union leaders by unveiling plans to make it much harder for workers to claim compensation from their bosses.

The Coalition will argue that unfair dismissal and compensation claims are increasingly being exploited by disgruntled staff and their lawyers. Ministers say it is vital to lift the burden of red tape on business as the private sector is asked to drag Britain out of the economic mire.

Today’s proposals include a fee – expected to be around £500 – to bring a tribunal claim, compulsory mediation before a case can proceed to a tribunal, and an increase in the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one to two years.

The last move, likely to be the most controversial, would wind the law back to 1999. Before that date, workers had to be employed for two years or more before they could pursue unfair dismissal cases.

Ministers also plan an ‘employers’ charter’ that aims to dispel myths about what an employer can and cannot do to manage their staff reasonably, fairly and lawfully. They are understood to be working on even more radical exemptions from workplace law for the smallest firms, the lifeblood of the economy.

However, judges making employment tribunal rulings will be able to impose new penalties on erring firms, payable to the Exchequer – as well as compensation to victims. This is designed to deter firms from treating staff unlawfully and recoup some of the costs to the state of running tribunals.

Angry union chiefs insisted that changing the law to make it easier for employers to get rid of staff would not improve the performance of firms. But business leaders agreed that urgent action was needed to weed out growing numbers of ‘weak and vexatious’ claims.

Around three out of every five claims now ends with the employer paying off the disgruntled worker simply to save the cost and embarrassment of a full-blown tribunal case. Last year, there were a record 236,000 claims, up 56 per cent in a year and nearly three times the number just five years ago.

The industrial courts grant an estimated £1billion a year in payouts to those who claim they have been wrongly dismissed or suffered discrimination.

The British Chambers of Commerce says it typically costs a firm £8,500 to defend a case at a tribunal, but only £5,400 to settle it by paying off the worker who complained.

Mr Cable said: ‘Disputes in the workplace cost time and money, can affect morale, reduce productivity and hold back businesses. ‘We often hear that knife-edge decisions about whether to hire new staff can be swung by concerns about ending up in an employment tribunal if things don’t work out. Today’s proposals address these concerns and should help give employers more confidence.’

John Cridland, head of the CBI, said: ‘It is in everyone’s interests that disputes are resolved swiftly and fairly. Introducing an element of charging would help weed out weak and vexatious claims, clearing the way for more deserving cases to be heard.’

But TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: ‘While employer groups complain that tribunals are costing them too much, they have lost sight of the fact that if firms treated their staff fairly, few would ever find themselves taken to court.’

The greatest increase in claims has come under EU legislation. Numbers of cases involving the European Working Time Directive - which limits the working week to 48 hours - almost quadrupled last year from 24,000 to 95,200. Numbers of race discrimination claims have gone up by nearly 40 per cent in two years to reach 5,700 last year.


The false rape claims come thick and fast in England

One yesterday, another today

A middle-aged council chief executive told of his nine-month nightmare yesterday after being cleared of rape. Byron Davies, 52, was accused by a married 26-year-old who worked for the same council of having sex with her when she was too drunk to give proper consent.

He insisted she had targeted him in a bar, had behaved in a ‘flirtatious’ manner and had not been that drunk, despite the strong lagers he had bought her.

After being cleared in just over an hour, the £100,000-a-year divorcee said the case should never have been brought and that he was considering legal action over detectives’ ‘lazy’ handling of the investigation.

The trial, which revolved around a one-night-stand at the father of two’s apartment, comes amid debate over whether men accused of rape should be granted anonymity, like their alleged victims.

Mr Davies, who remains suspended from his job as chief executive of Conwy County Borough Council in North Wales, said he was devastated and angry that he had been accused. ‘Obviously I am absolutely delighted and thrilled with the decision that has been reached today,’ he added. He had ‘an element of sympathy’ for his accuser, and said ‘she may require some kind of psychiatric help’.

Mr Davies said he had been eating by himself at a hotel in Conwy after work on March 23 last year when the woman began staring at him then approached him, asking if he was Byron Davies.

A council employee, she had spent the evening drinking with a male friend. Mr Davies admitted he had been flattered by the attention of an attractive woman half his age and bought her at least two lagers. He claimed she had asked for his help in moving to a new job at the council, to which he had replied that he could not help.

He denied she was drunk and said she had repeatedly asked him if he had a room at the hotel. Mr Davies told the jury he had begun to leave for home, but she told him she was ‘always on my own’ so in the end he offered to drive her back to his flat.

He said he had asked her if she wanted to go to bed, even though he had been anxious and nervous about having sex with her. At about six o’clock the following morning, Mr Davies said he got up for work, waking the woman with difficulty. He denied asking her for ‘a quick one’ but offered her a lift home and claimed she said she would rather walk. ‘Not very gentlemanly, it was a one-night stand and I apologise for that,’ he told the court.

But he added: ‘There is no doubt in my mind she targeted me. She knew my name, she sought out my company.’

The prosecution argued that the woman was so drunk that she could not properly consent to sex.

She described herself as ‘happily married’ and said she didn’t remember much about going back to his flat, but said: ‘He kept grabbing me and I told him “I am a married woman, I am not interested”,’ she told police. ‘Why on earth would I want to kiss him? He’s late 40s, early 50s.’ But under cross-examination at Mold Crown Court she was accused of being ‘a wilful person, who lacks judgement, who is impulsive and capable of hurting people if you want to’.

She admitted once cutting her own throat after an argument with her husband but blamed it on a short period of instability.

Judge Niclas Parry told Mr Davies he was discharged with his good character ‘very much intact’.

Last night the council said it had appointed an independent QC to oversee ‘a disciplinary investigation into matters relating to the arrest’. It is understood Mr Davies may be asked to leave his post in return for a substantial pay-off.



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.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shout at your spouse and risk losing your home: It's just the same as domestic violence, warns British woman judge

Men and women who shout at their partners risk being thrown out of their homes under a sweeping ruling by judges yesterday. Raising your voice at a husband or wife, or a boyfriend or girlfriend, now counts as domestic violence under the landmark Supreme Court judgment. The decision also means that denying money to a partner or criticising them can count as violence and bring down draconian domestic violence penalties from the courts.

The Supreme Court made its decision in the case of a woman who left her husband’s council flat and then demanded a new council home. She said she left because she had suffered domestic violence – even though her husband had never harmed her.

Lady Hale, leading a bench of five justices, said the definition of violence must change so that a range of abusive behaviour now counts in law.

The decision will affect domestic violence and family law which has given the courts powers to throw someone out of their home if their partner accuses them of violent behaviour. Until now violence has always had to mean physical assault.

The judges were hearing the case of Mihret Yemshaw, 35, who said she had been subjected to domestic violence and was entitled to be rehoused under the 1996 Housing Act. Officials in Hounslow, West London, turned her down after hearing that her husband had never hit her nor threatened to do so.

Mrs Yemshaw told them he had shouted in front of their two children, failed to treat her like a human, had not given her housekeeping money, and she was scared he would take the children away from her.

Lady Hale said the meaning of the word ‘violence’ had moved on since Parliament passed the Housing Act. The word ‘is capable of bearing several meanings and applying to many different types of behaviour. These can change and develop over time’. The judge added that ‘it is not for Government and official bodies to interpret the meaning of the words which Parliament has used. That role lies with the courts.’

Lady Hale said that according to the dictionary, violence means physical attack, but can also apply to extreme fervour, passion or fury.

One judge, Lord Brown, said he had a ‘profound doubt’ as to whether the domestic violence provisions were ever intended ‘to extend beyond the limits of physical violence’.

The judgment means that Mrs Yemshaw will now have her case reconsidered by Hounslow. It will also apply to a wide field of legislation, including the 1996 Family Law Act which allows people to be ejected from their homes if their partners complain of domestic violence.

The decision comes at a time of growing concern over the powers of senior judges and their willingness to alter laws made by Parliament.

Family law expert Jill Kirby yesterday drew a comparison between the ruling and the Humpty Dumpty character in Lewis Carroll’s Through The Looking-Glass, who said words meant whatever he wanted them to mean. She said: ‘The judiciary are taking the Humpty Dumpty view, and it risks undermining confidence in the legal system.’

Mihret Yemshaw’s husband told the Daily Mail last night he had never been violent towards his wife who, like him, was born in Ethiopia. They married in London ten years ago. Samuel Estifanos, a 40-year-old bus driver, claimed she left the flat where he still lives because she was ‘unhappy’. He added: ‘I never hit her and I never even screamed or swore at her.’


Victory for Christianity: Health worker 'bullied' by British health service over abortion can go back to work

A Christian health worker who faced the sack after giving an NHS colleague a booklet about the potential dangers of abortion has been allowed to return to work. Margaret Forrester, 39, claimed to have been ‘bullied’ and ‘treated like a criminal’ for expressing her religious views, but said yesterday that she has now been offered a better job at the same NHS trust.

Christian campaigners yesterday hailed it as a ‘victory for freedom of conscience and freedom of speech’.

Miss Forrester, a Roman Catholic, claims she was suspended in November last year after she handed the £4 pro-life booklet called Forsaken – published by a charity – to her colleague. It detailed the physical and psychological trauma experienced by five women from Taunton, Somerset, who terminated their pregnancies.

She said she offered it to a family planning worker during a private conversation because she felt the NHS did not give enough information about the potential risks of abortion.

The mental health worker, who has been employed by the NHS for six years, said there was no sign her colleague, with whom she had discussed abortion, was offended by the booklet or by their conversation. But a few days later her manager told her she was being sent home on ‘special leave with full pay’. She was ordered not to see any patients and to stay away from all NHS sites while the trust investigated.

Later, she was told she had not been suspended and could return to work, but claimed she was not allowed to do her normal job. Instead she was put on other duties, which she found ‘bullying and offensive’, adding: ‘I felt physically sickened by their bullying.’ She was eventually signed off on sick leave and has not been back to the health centre since.

Miss Forrester, who worked at the Central and North West London Mental Health Trust, in Camden, attended an internal disciplinary hearing last month where she was accused of ‘distributing materials some people may find offensive’.

Last night a spokesman for the trust said Miss Forrester had been warned not to distribute the ‘offensive’ material or anything similar again, but confirmed she had been offered a new role within the trust.

Miss Forrester said: ‘My employers have not given me any warnings of any kind. They have offered me a new, better role with a wider scope. If at any point they do send me a warning, I will challenge it in court.

‘It was incredible that I was suspended in the first place, just because I expressed a personal opinion. I should be able to express my opinion privately without fear and act freely in good conscience. Today is a victory for freedom of speech. I want to thank all of those who have prayed for me and supported me.’

Andrea Minichiello Williams, a barrister who runs the Christian Legal Centre which supported Miss Forrester, said: ‘The level of intolerance in the public sphere, demonstrated increasingly in public sector employment, is deeply worrying. ‘We hope that today’s decision by the NHS will help to reverse the tide of intolerance. This is a victory for freedom of conscience and freedom of speech.’

Claire Murdoch, chief executive of Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust, Miss Forrester’s employer, said: ‘It is clear that the booklet Miss Forrester distributed offers a seriously unbalanced and one-sided view of abortion and that it is offensive to NHS staff.

‘The booklet implies that abortion can lead to alcohol and drug abuse, suicidal thoughts and increased risk of cancer. This could be very worrying and deeply offensive for women who may need an abortion and want balanced, sensible advice. We simply cannot allow NHS staff to distribute material that we know to be seriously unbalanced.’ [So telling them nothing about the downside is "balanced"?]


Yet another false rape claim in Britain

A teenage girl has been convicted of falsely claiming she was raped after having sex with a 14-year-old boy in his bedroom. The teenager claimed she was attacked when she was 15 after the boy ‘nagged’ her to sleep with him during a game of ‘truth or dare’. He was arrested by police and held overnight but denied rape and was freed without charge.

Instead police charged the girl, now 16, with making a false allegation to pervert the course of justice – despite both children being under the age of consent.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, denied the charge, but has now been found guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates Court, where the judge branded her a ‘liar’, and remanded on unconditional bail for a pre-sentence report.

Technically, both youngsters were breaking the law by having intercourse under the age of 16 – where a child is 13 or older and consenting, the offence is classed as ‘unlawful sexual intercourse’ – but the boy has not been prosecuted.

Rape campaigners yesterday criticised the decision to charge the girl. Lisa Longstaff, from Women Against Rape, said: ‘It is awful that a girl so young has been prosecuted in this way.’

The case recalls controversial comments four years ago by then Dyfed-Powys chief constable Terry Grange, who said it would not be possible to prosecute all young boys who have sex with young girls. He said in 2006: ‘If you prosecute each and every time a boy has sex with a girl under 16 and above 12, then we’d be in the schools across Britain and in the youth clubs across Britain pretty regularly because, since I’ve been alive, it’s been pretty normal. It’s what teenagers do.’

The girl, from Gloucestershire, claimed that after a game of ‘truth or dare’, which at one point involved her and a female friend lifting their tops, the boy had ‘nagged’ her to have sex with him but she had repeatedly said she did not want to. Then when he asked her three or four times to lie down on the bed, she did so just to shut him up.

She claimed the boy covered them both with duvets, took off some of her clothes, and raped her. She said she ‘froze’ during the incident and though she told him quietly to stop, she did not call out to her friends for help. But the prosecution said the girl’s account of the alleged rape was ‘riddled with lies’.

Julian Kesner, prosecuting, said she had at first said just the two of them were in the bedroom but later admitted that two friends were also there. He added that the day after the alleged attack the girl was spotted holding hands with the boy. Mr Kesner said: ‘When she told her friend she had accused the boy of rape, the other girl, who had been in the room at the time, said, “Oh my God, it wasn’t rape. What have you got yourself into now?”’

On the third and final day of the trial, the girl admitted that she had told lies to police but continued to maintain that she had been raped.

District Judge Joti Bopa Rai concluded that the sex was consensual, saying it was possible the girl had lied because she feared she was pregnant or to ‘cover her tracks’. ‘That lie grew bigger and bigger and bigger,’ she added.

She said she appreciated the defendant was young but said: ‘She knew the consequences of telling lies and getting the boy concerned into trouble. The consequences for him have been horrendous and I believe she meant that to happen.’


Religious persecution by Muslims? Perish the thought!

Religious dialogue is worthwhile endeavor. In particular, Christians and Muslims should engage one another. While miracles are unlikely to result, greater familiarity may reduce unintended misunderstanding and insult. However, any dialogue must be based on truth. Including the pervasive Islamic persecution of Christians, Jews, and other religious minorities.

Unfortunately, truth apparently is not a concern of the Muslim side of one well-publicized engagement process with Catholics. The al-Azhar Islamic Research Council, Sunni Islam's highest seat of learning, held an emergency meeting and decided to suspend its bi-annual meetings with the Vatican. The reason: "repeatedly insulting remarks issued by the Vatican Pope towards Islam and his statement that Muslims are discriminating against others who live with them in the Middle East."

The Cairo-based Council also criticized Pope Benedict XVI's "unjustified claim that Copts are persecuted in Egypt and the Middle East." Indeed, added the Council, the Pope had "repeatedly addressed Islam negatively." Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the grand imam of al-Azhar University, further denounced the Pope's "unacceptable interference in Egypt's affairs."

Even before the Council acted, the Egyptian government had attacked the Vatican's "unacceptable interference in its internal affairs" and recalled its ambassador from the Holy See. Ambassador Lamia Aly Mekhemar, who returned to Cairo for "consultation," explained that "We do not share the views that Christians are persecuted in our part of the world." Nor, he added, does his government agree that "some governments in the area have not provided protection for the Christians in the Middle East."

Moreover, Arab leaders gathered for an economic summit in Sharm al-Sheikh expressed "total rejection" of foreign interference regarding Christian minorities in the Middle East.

The Council, Egyptian government, and other Middle Eastern states are angry because the Pope denounced the murder of Christians in Egypt, Iraq, and Nigeria. He spoke of "the urgent need for the governments of the region" to protect religious minorities and urged Christian communities to maintain a nonviolent response to "a strategy of violence that has Christians as a target."

Apparently the al-Azhar Islamic Research Council believes in inter-faith dialogue, but only so long as it does not include the fact that members of one side of that dialogue are busy killing members of the other side. Indeed, pointing to ongoing attacks constitutes "insulting remarks." Moreover, America's Arab allies enjoy cashing big checks from Uncle Sam, but are outraged, simply outraged, that the latter has the temerity to mention the lack of religious liberty in those same nations.

Almost makes you wonder whether adherents of the "religion of peace" think it really is the "religion of peace." Or at least that being the "religion of peace" actually requires believing in, well, "peace."

The reaction of the Council and Arab governments is extraordinarily revealing because Islamic brutality, both discrimination and violence, against Christians is so pervasive. The Pope spoke out after a bombing in Alexandria outside a Coptic Church on New Year's Eve which killed 25 people and injured more than 90 others. Christians continue to be killed in Iraq and Nigeria.

Christian converts risk judicial murder in Afghanistan. Pakistan is threatening to execute a Christian "blasphemer" in Pakistan. Iran recently initiated a campaign against Christians. Even in relatively liberal Muslim states, like Kuwait, where Christians can worship openly, proselytism is forbidden.

Egypt is a particularly apt case since the number of Christians is relatively large, constituting as much as 15 percent of a population of more than 80 million. Violence is common. In mid-November an off-duty police officer boarded a train and opened fire, murdering a 71-year-old Copt and injuring five other Christians. Last November Muslim mobs destroyed a score of homes and shops in Qena Province. Earlier in the year six Copts along with a Muslim guard were killed and another nine Copts wounded in a drive-by shooting in the town of Nag Hammadi.

Kathryn Cameron Porter of the Council for Human Rights observed afterwards: "Copts in Egypt continuously face ongoing discrimination and outright persecution, either by the Egyptian government or through its tacit approval."

Although Cairo routinely discriminates against non-Muslims, it does not directly engage in what we typically think of as persecution. But it does little to prevent private violence. Unfortunately, the effect is basically the same.

There is much to criticize in the policies of Western governments, including of the U.S. But that has nothing to do with an inter-faith dialogue. It certainly has nothing to do with how Christians, Jews, Baha'is, and other religious minorities are, or at least should be, treated in majority Muslim nations.

Moreover, until Muslim governments treat all of their people, irrespective of faith, with respect and dignity, they have no credibility to complain about the treatment of Muslims elsewhere. As Jesus explained, we should take the plank out of our own eye before seeking to pull a speck out of someone else's eye (Matthew 7:3-5). His advice should be widely shared and, more importantly, heeded in Cairo and throughout the Muslim world.

More here


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.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A falling out between partners in crime

Does Monday's carnage in Russia mean Islamist bombers are indiscriminate and irrational, and pose no special threat to free nations? You might as well ask whom Hitler hated more: Churchill or Stalin?

Should the dozens slaughtered and well over 100 injured by a suicide bomber at Moscow Domodedovo Airport on Monday identify with the American victims of 9/11? Some might say that the many tributes we've heard in the years since al-Qaida attacked the U.S. homeland preclude such a comparison.

On that very day, President George W. Bush began his address to the nation with the assertion that "our way of life — our very freedom — came under attack." He said, "America was targeted for attack because we're the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world."

Certainly no one can say that about the Russia of Vladimir Putin, the former KGB operative who has done everything in his power to maintain an undemocratic grasp on power and darken his countrymen's opportunities for freedom — including his likely being behind the murder in London four years ago of dissident Russian journalist Alexander Litvinenko, courtesy of a radioactive isotope slipped into his tea.

While history may well record the Litvinenko killing as the first-ever act of nuclear terrorism, Putin's Russia has for years helped Islamofascist Iran achieve nuclear capability, the route to the kind of terrorism that leaves far more than a troublesome writer dead.

Moscow was instrumental in building Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant along the Persian Gulf coast, completed in 2009, and provided nuclear fuel for the facility.

It's no stretch to view the Moscow-Tehran alliance as a 21st-century version of the Nazi-Soviet Pact. There may have been immense differences between Nazism and communism, but both powers were united as enemies of U.S./British-style representative government, economic freedom, and the religious and philosophical values of Western civilization.

"By signing the pact with Germany, the Soviet Union opened the door to war" against Britain and France and "Germany was protected against a major conflict on its eastern front," Russian historians Mikhail Heller and Aleksandr Nekrich write in their Soviet history, "Utopia in Power." The August 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop "non-aggression" treaty was followed a week later by Germany invading Poland.

The leaders of al-Qaida and the mullahs of Iran are similarly united with the reconstructed communist thug Putin as enemies of the West. And just as the Hitler-Stalin Pact did not stop those two bloodthirsty tyrants from ultimately going at each other, a selective Russian-Islamist alliance does not preclude jihadist suicide bombings against Russia — or Moscow's certain reprisals against Islamists.

Consider Russia's stubborn dominance of Chechnya, whose population of more than 1 million is Sunni Muslim. Stalin's 1944 deportation of ethnic Chechens, many to Siberia — officially declared "an act of genocide" by the European Parliament in 2004 — is but one of countless crimes committed against them by Moscow.

A nearly constant state of war has persisted there, and in that Islamists see opportunity. For a new Muslim nation to finally emerge from the ashes of the Soviet Union would be a resounding propaganda victory for jihadists.

It would give the impression that more of the world is coming under Islamic rule — an obvious counterpunch to Iraq going from seemingly permanent Baathist rule under Saddam Hussein to becoming a pro-Western state with freely elected leaders.

It was no neoconservative but President Bill Clinton who, in his 1994 State of the Union address to Congress, said: "Ultimately, the best strategy to ensure our security and to build a durable peace is to support the advance of democracy elsewhere; democracies don't attack each other."

Governments and groups who are opposed to political and economic freedoms, on the other hand, do attack each other — even when they work toward common ends in other areas.


Vicious murder by black gang in Britain

A 15-year-old schoolboy was killed in a ‘merciless’ knife attack planned on Facebook, during rush hour at Victoria station, a court has heard. GCSE student Sofyen Belamouadden was ‘hunted down’ by a heavily armed group of 20 teenagers before being stabbed, punched and kicked, jurors were told.

On the day of the attack in March last year two of the defendants were said to have left school at lunchtime to buy a block of knives from Argos, prosecutors said.

Sofyen was killed after tensions between pupils from two west London schools, some of whom saw the station as ‘home territory’, the Old Bailey heard.

Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said the attack on the schoolboy took place in ‘broad daylight’ in front of hundreds of commuters in the heart of London. Samuel Roberts, of Camberwell, Obi Nwokeh, of Bermondsey, Enoch Amoah, of Camberwell, and Victoria Osoteku, of Deptford, all aged 18, each deny murder. They have also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to cause grievous bodily harm and violent disorder. Four 17-year-old youths, two from Streatham, one from Stockwell and one from Brixton, also deny each of the charges.

Details of the trial were able to be published for the first time today after reporting restrictions were lifted.

Sofyen was stabbed nine times, including to the lung and chest. ‘He was given no chance of life,’ said Mr Heywood. ‘So brazen and confident were his killers that they openly carried the various weapons that they used with them as they ran towards him and together hunted him down.

‘Such was their arrogance that they carried out that kind of attack in the heart of the capital city, in a public place, a terminus station at the height of the rush hour, and in sight of scores if not hundreds of people passing by, people going to their own homes.'

Mr Heywood added: ‘They were so heavily armed that no other individual or smaller group or even police officer or member of station staff could withstand them or stop them.’

The attack on the schoolboy, in March last year, was said to have been in revenge for an ‘inconsequential’ skirmish at Victoria the previous day when a boy from a rival school had been left with a bloody nose.

During Facebook chats that evening, some of Sofyen's alleged killers discussed what was to happen the following day, and getting weapons, jurors were told. Later, at the station, witnesses saw youths with weapons including a samurai sword with a blade 20-30cm long (9-12in), a flick knife and a Swiss Army knife, and possibly machetes and screwdrivers.

Police based at Victoria station, aware of the possibility of trouble, had conducted higher visibility patrols the next day, he added.

At lunchtime on the day of the attack, Osoteku went out of school with one of the 17-year-olds to buy a block of five knives for £3.99 from Argos, jurors were told. Later when Sofyen's group was confronted at Victoria and a sword was produced, the victim and his friends turned and fled, the court heard.

Mr Heywood said: ‘They were hopelessly outnumbered. They had already lost the arms race and it was obvious that they had seriously underestimated what they were likely to meet at Victoria that afternoon. ‘They did not expect the kind of weapons and they almost certainly did not expect the level of ferocity.’

One witness described looking up the stairs from the Underground station to see a group of 10 to 15 teenagers pushing someone from the top, said Mr Heywood. ‘The level of aggression was indescribable,’ he added.

Jurors were told that seven of the eight defendants were among those who went down into the District and Circle line ticket hall where the attack took place. Some left the scene on a bus where they were later arrested.

A number of knives, including one found wrapped in a newspaper on the bus, were found to have the victim's blood on it.

Other members of the initial group of 20, including one with the sword, were said to have peeled off before the attack on Sofyen and chased another youth. All have been charged with the same offences but for practical reasons cannot be tried at the same time.


Town hall spies curb as British councils stopped from abusing terror powers to snoop on families over 'bin crimes'

Town halls will be banned from spying on the public over ‘bin crimes’ and school catchment area rules. In a victory for the Daily Mail, Home Secretary Theresa May will say that only offences which carry a jail term should be subject to the intrusive surveillance powers. Even then, councils must first seek the formal approval of a magistrate before they are allowed to make use of the controversial Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.

It will end the scandal of councils using Big Brother ‘direct surveillance’ tactics against people suspected of the most minor misdemeanours. Spying for dog fouling, leaving out the rubbish on the wrong day and other offences which carry only a fine will no longer be allowed.

The only exception to the rule – which states an offence must carry a sentence of up to six months or more before RIPA can be applied – will be undercover operations for underage sales of alcohol and tobacco.

In reality, it will restrict councils to going after more serious criminals, such as benefit cheats, con-artists and industrial fly tippers. Civil liberties campaigners will view it as an end to the ‘tyranny of the town hall Stasi’.

The announcement, which will be made in a statement to MPs, is part of a string of changes to anti-terrorism laws – which also include the scrapping of abused stop and search powers, and the replacement of the control order regime. It follows revelations by this newspaper about over-zealous officials training hidden cameras and even undercover agents on the law-abiding public. These include spying on people suspected of dropping litter and attempting to cheat school catchment area rules.

Council staff – who have been accused of having James Bond delusions – have been secretly taking photographs and videos. In some cases, cameras have been hidden in tin cans, or inside the homes of the neighbours of their ‘target’. It has provoked public outrage and undermined faith in the RIPA regime, which was passed by Labour in 2000, ostensibly to fight terrorism.

The legislation will remain available to the police and the security services.

The Coalition – expecting a backlash over the decision to retain curfews for terror suspects – will point to the hacking back of RIPA as proof that it is serious about restoring civil liberties.

Labour repeatedly promised to tackle the legislation. In the meantime, town halls and other public bodies have continued to use the law on a massive scale. Notoriously, Poole Borough Council admitted spying on Jenny Paton and her family to find out if they were living in a school catchment area. They were put under surveillance for more than two weeks.

The Coalition’s review of RIPA laws considered a string of options for clamping down on such abuse. Ministers decided it would be best to set up a system of double checks.

Initially, council officials will require a magistrate’s approval to use any of the techniques available under the legislation – which also allows the checking of phone records – to establish a person’s location at a specific time. This requirement is then backed by the rule that surveillance tactics should be confined to cases where the offence under investigation carries a custodial sentence.

Today, it will also be announced that section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which allows police to search people without reasonable suspicion, will be scrapped. Those who have suffered include photographers taking pictures of tourist attractions.


Abortion's awful euphemisms

by Jeff Jacoby

GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACIES and legal panels are not usually known for their vivid writing style. But "vivid" doesn't come close to conveying the driving force of the grand jury report released last week by the Philadelphia district attorney in connection with the Women's Medical Society, a long-established abortion clinic operated by Dr. Kermit Gosnell. The report was issued on the same day that Gosnell and nine of his employees were arrested on charges including murder, infanticide, and abuse of a corpse. In 261 pages of shatteringly clear prose, the grand jurors laid out their findings.

The remains of dozens of dead babies were found amid appallingly squalid conditions at this abortion clinic in West Philadelphia.

"This case is about a doctor who killed babies and endangered women," the report begins. "What we mean is that he regularly and illegally delivered live, viable, babies in the third trimester of pregnancy -- and then murdered these newborns by severing their spinal cords with scissors. The medical practice by which he carried out this business was a filthy fraud in which he overdosed his patients with dangerous drugs, spread venereal disease among them with infected instruments, perforated their wombs and bowels -- and, on at least two occasions, caused their deaths. Over the years, many people came to know that something was going on here. But no one put a stop to it."

The report goes on to describe a horror-show -- a squalid operation in which hygiene was ignored, equipment was broken, and late-term abortions were routine. Pregnant women coming to Gosnell's clinic were treated with callous disdain, often left for hours to sit, semi-conscious and in pain, on dirty recliners covered with bloodstained blankets. Untrained and unsupervised employees administered powerful drugs to induce labor, and heavy sedatives to keep women from screaming.

Time and again, the grand jury says, late-term babies were delivered alive -- fully intact and breathing -- and then killed. But Gosnell didn't use the word "kill" to describe what he or his employees were doing. "He called it 'ensuring fetal demise.' The way he ensured fetal demise was by sticking scissors into the back of the baby's neck and cutting the spinal cord. He called that 'snipping.' Over the years, there were hundreds of 'snippings.'" The report describes a case in which one of the clinic employees played with a newborn before slitting its neck.

The grand jury report came out just days before the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the endlessly controversial Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in every state. By the usual newsroom calculus, that should have made the ghastly revelations of this "baby charnel house" -- the grand jury's term -- a huge story. But outside of Philadelphia, the story got only muted attention.

Even after the story broke, Philadelphia's local Planned Parenthood chapter could only bring itself to "condemn any physician who does not follow the law or endangers anyone's health," and said women in such cases should "complain to the Department of Health." But the grand jury found that Pennsylvania authorities knew what was happening at Gosnell's abortion mill, yet deliberately looked the other way. In 1993, with the accession of a pro-choice governor, Republican Tom Ridge, the Pennsylvania Department of Health stopped inspecting abortion clinics. "Officials concluded that inspections would be 'putting a barrier up to women' seeking abortions," the report says, and decided "to leave clinics to do as they pleased."

Kermit Gosnell, who ran the Women's Medical Society, an abortion clinic, for decades, has been arrested on multiple charges of murder, infanticide, and abuse of a corpse.

The blunt clarity of the grand jury's findings could not contrast more sharply with the abstract euphemisms preferred by abortion's supporters.

In a statement marking Roe v. Wade's anniversary, President Obama referred not to "abortion," but to "women's health and reproductive freedom" and the importance of keeping government out of "private family matters." Planned Parenthood and NARAL's Blog for Choice celebrated Roe for enshrining "a woman's right to choose." Rarely can those who extoll "choice" bring themselves to acknowledge openly that what is being chosen is death.

Since 1973, Roe has led to the destruction of more than 40 million unborn babies. It has led to a desensitizing debasement of our language as well. Americans have gotten so used to the idea of life in the womb being violently killed in part because they camouflage that killing with feel-good labels like "reproductive freedom" and "choice." So pervasive is the mindset such language sustains that even when an alleged butcher like Gosnell comes along, the champions of "choice" offer only muted criticism.

Abortion is always a violent and awful thing, whether it happens in a squalid cesspit or in an immaculate doctor's office. Reasonable people can debate whether abortion should be legal, and under what circumstances. But they ought to be able to do so without euphemistic evasions. Too many Americans have grown too comfortable with abortion's terrible reality. For that as well, we have Roe to thank.



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.