Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Is Anyone Else Getting Tired of This Whole Politically Correct Bullying Thing?
Maybe it is just me, but I am getting a bit tired of reading about the left’s aggressive push on the whole bullying issue. I am no bullying expert, nor am I a child psychologist, but I have been bullied before (after all, I am vertically challenged and wore braces growing up). Haven’t most of us been bullied at one point or another? Maybe many of us still are. And isn’t that part of learning how to cope with adversity and challenges in this cold, cruel world that we live in?
So why all of a sudden this outrage for something that has been happening since the beginning of time? A loaded question, I know. Let me offer a concession, identify a problem or two, then a general assessment.
First, a concession (with a caveat): bullying is no good. People shouldn’t bully. It is a serious issue, but one that should not be hijacked for political gain or to push an agenda.
Second, let me point out a problem or two with trying to prohibit bullying. Perhaps you’ve never thought about it, but how is bullying to be defined? I am not just talking about a general description or definition, but rather one that permits a fair and even-handed application. (More difficult is an application that is even possible with young children especially.)
Here is what I mean. How do you draft and then enforce a bullying policy, say, in an elementary school? Would it look like this?
1. Students must be nice to each other.
2. Students may not say mean things to each other.
3. Students should tell their teacher if someone says something to them that hurts their feelings.
Mind you, I am not trying to make light of bullying but rather to point out the difficulties in identifying it. You see, when “bullying” crosses the line into physically threatening or hitting someone, you don’t need a bullying policy to prohibit that. But bullying policies usually have the added (and often unconstitutional) component of prohibiting “mean or hateful or offensive” speech. And if each child was punished every time they said something hurtful, the biggest class would be in the principal’s office. So when do you enforce it, and when do you chalk it up to children being children? And what about each time an adult said something hurtful or offensive? Where should we be sent?
And now the assessment. In the tone of the late Andy Rooney, one might say, “Have you ever noticed” that, when a bullying policy is pushed, it is usually accompanied by the promotion of the homosexual agenda? I have yet to see any major push to address bullying that was not tied to the left’s sexual vision for our children. The bullying outcry is not so much about students being mean to each other as it is about the left taking advantage of a volatile issue to promote their own agenda. I mean, after all, who is going to defend bullying? Not even those crazy right-wingers (although I am sure that is what some will say that I am doing in this article). So if someone dare oppose any anti-bullying measure, they must be really mean.
Just one recent example, among many, that was forwarded to me recently is located in the Huffington Post’s “Gay Voices.” The title: “Elementary School Climate, Anti-Gay Bullying Examined in New Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network [GLSEN] Report.” If that title alone doesn’t prove my entire point, then nothing does. And let’s look for a moment at the first line: “Given that more and more youngsters are self-identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) at younger ages, a new report hopes to shed light on school climate, biased remarks and bullying among elementary school students.” Really? Five-year-olds are “self-identifying” as “gay” or “transgendered”? Or are some groups (consisting of adults) pushing it on five-year-olds who, by the way, have no idea what any of that stuff is.
And what was the major finding of this “report?” That the number one reason students didn’t feel safe at school was…“personal appearance.” Sounds about right. But that won’t stop these groups from using this “report” to promote their sexual agenda. How do I know? The article goes on to state: “In conjunction with the report, GLSEN officials also released ‘Ready, Set, Respect!’ which they describe as ‘a new instructional resource informed by our findings to address homophobia, gender expression and LGBT-inclusive family diversity at the elementary school level.’”
Still think the anti-bullying push is really about stopping bullying?
The hypocritical Milibands -- Rather what you expect from the sons of a prominent Marxist theoretician
David Miliband takes lucrative new job with a Pakistan-based City firm backed by a Swiss playboy as brother Ed rails against Capitalist predators
David Miliband has taken a lucrative job with a Pakistan-based City firm which will push his post-ministerial earnings to £500,000 – at a time when brother Ed is campaigning against capitalist ‘predators’.
The former Foreign Secretary, who has picked up a string of highly paid positions since losing the Labour leadership battle to his brother, has been appointed as a senior adviser to Indus Basin Holdings.
The firm, set up last year to funnel investment into Pakistani agriculture, boasts a number of colourful backers, including a Swiss aristocrat playboy called Baron Lorne Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Mr Miliband, who will earn about £50,000 a year from the part-time position – which is not expected to occupy him for more than a few days a month – is starting to emulate the money-making success of his political patron, Tony Blair. And like Mr Blair, he has constructed his business affairs in a way that appears to limit tax liability.
Mr Miliband would pay income tax at the normal rate on his £65,000 salary for being an MP.
His non-parliamentary earnings, however, are paid into a company called The Office Of David Miliband Limited, which is subject to corporation tax of between 20 per cent and 27.5 per cent – substantially less than the 50 per cent rate of income tax for those earning more than £150,000. Last night, a leading City accountant estimated that using the company device would have lowered his tax bill by £127,000.
The accountant added that shares in the company were split 50-50 between Mr Miliband and his wife – a move usually deployed to ‘split incomes’ so both partners can exploit their lower tax bands to the full. Last night the former Minister’s office did not respond to questions about tax.
Earlier this month it was disclosed that Mr Blair’s firms had paid just £315,000 in tax on a £12 million annual income.
News of Mr Miliband’s latest job comes as his brother tries to turn around his sagging political fortunes by attacking ‘fat cat’ executive pay and joining cross-party calls for reckless former RBS banker Sir Fred Goodwin to be stripped of his knighthood. The Labour leader used last year’s party conference to condemn capitalist ‘predators’ who are ‘just interested in the fast buck’.
Indus Basin Holdings (IBH) was set up by Aamer Sarfraz, a merchant banker at London-based investment company Tigris Financial, to make money out of burgeoning farm businesses in Pakistan.
As Foreign Secretary, Mr Miliband had frequent contact with Islamabad – including personal visits – as part of anti-terror negotiations. Last night his office stressed that none of the contacts he made in his official work had helped him land the job.
IBH’s investors include Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza. The 48-year-old film-maker is the son of five-times-married billionaire art collector Heini Thyssen-Bornemisza and British fashion model Fiona Campbell-Walter. Known to have lost his virginity at 15 to a prostitute, in his youth he was linked to the models Koo Stark and Baroness Andrea von Stumm.
Another IBH investor is Tim Draper, a US venture capitalist known for being an early backer of Skype internet telephone technology.
Before securing his new job, Mr Miliband had already amassed more than £400,000 from speeches, lectures and consultancy work in the past 15 months.
The jobs include more than £92,000 a year from the Californian ‘clean energy’ firm VantagePoint, £75,000 a year as vice-chairman of Premier League football club Sunderland, and one-off fees including £24,000 for a week of teaching at a US university and lectures in the Middle East at £25,000 a time.
After losing the leadership battle in September 2010, Mr Miliband opted to walk away from the party front bench. By the next General Election in 2015, however, he is likely to have secured his financial future, putting him in a strong position for another run at the leadership.
He said in a statement yesterday: ‘I care deeply about Pakistan, the development of its economy and its future in the wider region. ‘I look forward to working with IBH in building support and investment in Pakistan’s agricultural capacity and productivity.’ His spokesman said the IBH job had been cleared by the relevant Government’s Advisory Committee.
And Red Ed isn't as green as his eco-bag proclaims
As he leaves for work, Ed Miliband looks for all the world like the eco-friendly politician he is supposed to be.
The Labour leader emerged from his house in North London earlier this month clutching a reusable bag bearing the slogan ‘My Green Bag’ – clearly advertising his environmental credentials.
But within seconds, Mr Miliband, who was Climate Change Secretary in the last Labour Government, was spotted climbing into the back of a powerful Jaguar XF as if worries over global warming were a thing of the past.
The Jaguar XF range goes from a £29,250 2.2-litre diesel version to a £63,780 five-litre petrol model capable of 155mph.
Last night, Labour defended Mr Miliband, insisting the car provided for the Opposition leader came from the same fleet used by Ministers.
The party said: ‘The car is from the Government Car Service. It’s what Coalition Ministers are given.
‘As it is with the official car service, they meet high environmental standards.’
The spokesman said that Mr Miliband was not always given the same car, but the models used were always diesel.
Evil British social workers again
Under the pretext of "caring", they do all they can to hurt and frustrate people
An elderly couple were banned from going on holiday together after their local council said it was too risky. In an astonishing example of the nanny state at work, Norman Davies and Peggy Ross were told by Cardiff Council that they could not go on the planned Mediterranean cruise, just days before they were due to leave.
Over-zealous social workers claimed Mrs Ross, who suffers from dementia, was in danger of wandering off or falling overboard.
But the 82-year-old woman and her 81-year-old husband fought the court order and were eventually able to set sail from Southampton on the 16-day holiday of their dreams.
Despite the dire predictions of the interfering council, the couple enjoyed the trip of a lifetime and Mr Davies said the break had in fact benefitted Mrs Ross's mental alertness.
In October, after the council learned about the £3,200 holiday the pair had planned, it tried to use mental health laws to prevent from Mrs Ross leaving her care home.
Furious Mr Davies, a former engineer who lives near Newport, told ITV Wales: 'I'm with her 24/7. The cabin is a self-contained unit and we go down for meals together - she's just never left on her own.'
The couple have been together for around 20 years and have often gone on around 30 cruises.
They were horrified when jobsworths at the council obtained a Deprivation of Liberty Safeguard authorisation and then applied to the Court of Protection for a declaration to say Mrs Ross was unable to travel.
'They just didn't want me to go,' said Mrs Ross. She admitted she sometimes gets confused. but added: 'I do look after myself, and we're usually in the same room together, so he notices if I try to go out. It's not often.'
She had been admitted to the nursing home in July 2010, suffering from memory loss, and her social worker claimed she lacked 'capacity to make a decision' about the holiday because her 'ideas/beliefs are not based in reality'.
Luckily, Mr Davies and his daughter Gaynor Lloyd moved quickly and instructed a solicitor to challenge the order, with days to go until they were due to set sail from Southampton.
The case was heard at Cardiff Regional Court a mere three days before they were set to go away, and to the couple's great relief, the judge ruled that it was in Mrs Ross's best interests to go.
Judge Crispin Masterman said that even if others believed Mrs Ross’s decision to go on the holiday was 'unwise', that did not show she was unable to make it.
He said the social worker and care home staff obviously had her safety in mind, but were too concerned with 'trying to find reasons why Mrs Ross should not go on this holiday rather than finding reasons why she should'.
The judge concluded that she did have capacity to make the decision and the couple sailed away on their holiday.
His lawyer said the victory revealed that the over-cautiousness of modern life had to be tempered with common sense. Lawyers from Essex Street chambers said the case highlighted 'a tendency among local authorities to focus on risk-prevention at the expense of emotional wellbeing.'
Previous cases have seen councils and health bodies try to prevent a man having sex, force a woman with a low IQ to take contraception and even stop a man bringing his grandmother home for Christmas.
A Cardiff Council spokesman said: 'The council has always had Mrs Ross's best interests at heart and we worked with her to find an alternative holiday where we could be confident that the required level of care which she requires on a daily basis could be provided.'
Her care home manager said that nothing stopped Mrs Ross leaving the care home and she was 'free to have a lovely life with her partner.' But she said she was concerned over the 82-year-old being away for 16 days.
Pro-life push in Australian Leftist ranks
LABOR'S anti-abortion forces are rallying behind a new ginger group that will promote and campaign for candidates who are against abortion and euthanasia.
Labor for Life was formed last month to link members with conservative views and, partly, in response to the party's official recognition of gay marriage.
The move is being seen by progressive MPs as a sign Labor's socially conservative rump is muscling up for a fight on issues such as abortion.
Federal MPs who have given their support to the organisation include the Tasmanian senator Helen Polley, who opposed the push for gay marriage at the national conference.
The group's Facebook page also lists the 29 politicians and organisations it views as sympathetic including Senator Polley, the NSW senator Ursula Stephens and the Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke.
"It's really important that members of the ALP who have these views have a group and have people they can connect with," the group's convener, Simone McDonnell, who has previously been a federal Labor candidate in South Australia, said.
"It's really important that we support a diverse range of views, particularly on moral issues."
The group also has links to the largest union, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, and its staunchly anti-abortion boss Joe de Bruyn.
In 2008, Mr de Bruyn described abortion as the "deliberate destruction of human life" when he clashed with former prime minister Kevin Rudd over a decision to drop a ban on foreign aid funds spent on family planning services.
Labor for Life received a boost at last month's Labor Party national conference where members who spoke against the proposal to recognise gay marriage, including Mr de Bruyn, begged for tolerance for their views.
Ms McDonnell said it was important Labor remained a "broad church". This was an argument made repeatedly by delegates to the national conference who fear support for progressive issues such as gay marriage and abortion will alienate Labor's more conservative supporters.
Senator Claire Moore, a long-time campaigner for reproductive choice within the party, said she had been expecting a formal anti-abortion group to establish itself for some time.
"It's a message to those of us who feel differently, that we can never be complacent," Senator Moore said.
"We have an increasingly conservative number of parliamentarians. There's a lot of people with less progressive views [than before]."
She noted that Labor for Life also campaigned against the death penalty, making it hard for pro-choice MPs to condemn it out of hand.
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. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.