Sunday, January 22, 2012
Is homosexuality now a human right?
It's not in any bill of rights that I know of
On December 6, President Barack Obama’s support for the demands of the “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender” agenda rose to the next level when he issued a memorandum directing federal agencies abroad to “improve protections for LGBT asylum seekers and to strengthen opposition to criminalization of LGBT status or conduct.” The key phrase in the directive was Obama’s claim that so doing is but another part of the “United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.”
This shift in characterizing the sexual and political demands of those who engage in homosexual behavior as a “human right” is as purposeful as it is dangerous to liberty, marriage, and the family. And if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s speech last week in Geneva was any indicator, the appeal to “human rights” is the new moniker for silencing and punishing any person, organization, or state that will not support the homosexual agenda.
In Geneva, Clinton said:
"Our commitments to protect the freedom of religion and to defend the dignity of LGBT people emanate from a common source. (No, this is not a typo.) For many of us, religious belief and practice is a vital source of meaning and identity, and fundamental to who we are as people. And likewise, for most of us, the bonds of love and family that we forge are also vital sources of meaning and identity. And caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human."
She then went a step further, intertwining what it means to be “fully human” with human rights: “It is because the human experience is universal that human rights are universal and cut across all religions and cultures.”
In other words, Clinton presented things dear to each of us—love and family, our faith and who we are—and then used them to play on our heart strings and further the administration’s contention that a denial of these things to anybody, for any reason, is a violation of the highest order for it is a violation of “human rights.”
Clearly these arguments, both President Obama’s and Secretary Clinton’s, are framed in such a way as to make those whose experience has not been “universal” in embracing sexual behavior appear insensitive, if not outright cruel, toward same-sex couples who only want to fabricate new ways to share “the bonds of love and family” heterosexual couples share. Here we must remember that our culture does not rest on some momentary, politically correct expression of “human rights,” but on the eternal bedrock of natural rights, fixed and ordered by the same God who joined man and woman together as one flesh in the Garden of Eden.
Throughout history we have had enlightened elites demanding a reordering of such rights and the result has been death, in culture and in life. (Just think of what the reordering of natural rights did in the 20th century, where millions more Jews and Christians died than in prior history.) Or consider the enlightened pursuit of new human rights amid the eugenics movement which led to “three generations of imbeciles being enough” (Oliver Wendell Holmes). Now, the states with mandatory sterilization laws deal with restitution payments while the new human right to slaughter one’s own child for any reason has led to nearly 54 million missing among us.
If “caring for others is an expression of what it means to be fully human,” then it’s all the more reason to contend for natural marriage, regardless of the emotional pleas to the contrary. Marriage is the one and only relationship that is absolutely essential to the future of humanity: at all times and in all places. It naturally builds family—mom, dad, and children—and gives hope that the next generations will carry on into the future.
Therefore, society should protect and strengthen marriage, not undermine it. And while Americans should certainly stand up to defend God-given rights for all, they should reject deceptive calls to redefine our future based on the demands of the moment.
End of the Line for Bullet Trains
High-Speed Rail is Coasting to a Stop, and Not Just in California
The way high-speed rail projects have been collapsing around the world, you’d think they were corrupt, outrageously expensive, fiscally ruinous, poorly planned government efforts to build a 19th century means of transportation for which there’s no demand.
The Obama Administration’s bullet-train dream is dead. Florida Gov. Rick Scott last year rejected $2 billion in federal funds rather than commit the Sunshine State to such an expensive project. California’s high-speed rail effort is in turmoil, recently suffered a purge of top management, and is unlikely to meet its September deadline to break ground on a federally mandated leg universally termed the “train to nowhere.”
New York State’s effort to build a Buffalo-New York City line is also stalling out. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) trekked out to the village of Bergen in Genesee County the other day only to face hostile questioning from reporters and the local mayor. Schumer’s photo opp by the side of an existing CSX track highlighted a trait the Empire State’s project shares with California’s: It proposes to destroy a proven business – freight rail – to make room for a bullet train that would not be self-supporting even according to the rosiest estimates.
Don't trust SEIU colors. Bullet trains are having even less luck outside the United States – where, the cognoscenti never tire of reminding us, international sophisticates are way ahead of us Yankee bumpkins. Spain’s high-speed rail system, until recently a model for new bullet train construction (and, to be fair, a line that replaced one of the slowest railways in Europe), is sinking under low ridership and dragging that kingdom even deeper into a swamp of bad public debt.
The unkindest cuts of all are occurring in China, whose bullet train once drew hosannas from California governors and bully-worshipping toadies like New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman. Rail minister Liu Zhijun, the putative “Father of High-Speed Rail,” was removed from office and arrested last year; Liu’s deputy, “Grand Designer” (and owner of a five-bedroom home on 30,000 square feet in Los Angeles County) Zhang Shuguang, is also facing corruption charges. An early investigation by the Ministry of Rail revealed that the Chinese bullet train’s budgeting is extremely murky (with some parts of the initiative costing two or three times as much as projected); its ridership is low (after only two months of operation, the Beijing-Fuzhou line was quietly shut in 2010); and ticket prices are beyond the means of lower-income people who actually use mass transit. HSR-related debt increased by a factor of 22 over only three years, from 77.1 billion yuan in 2007 to 1.68 trillion in 2010. In July a bullet-train crash in Zhejiang killed 32 people and injured more than 200.
Railroads have always been favorites of dictators. (Note that nobody was ever brought to a concentration camp on a bus.) But they somehow retain their fascination for popularly elected politicians as well.
A substantial majority of Californians oppose the bullet-train in its current form. That’s a remarkable turnaround in a state where 53 percent of voters approved $9.95 billion in high-speed rail bonds during the high-turnout 2008 election. It seems like just a month ago that the California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) was an object of wonder for its reality-distorting public relations influence and political strength. Now even the left-leaning media treat with scorn the CHSRA and its plan to make a non-operational Bakersfield-Fresno run the great project’s first phase.
Meanwhile, the CHSRA’s CEO and board chairman have both fled the collapsing project, in a move that neither the Brown nor the Obama Administration appears to have seen coming. The authority is in a dispute with its former PR firm, which was unable to distract public attention from the glaring truth that since 2008 the estimated cost of the project has more than doubled, from around $40 billion to $98.5 billion. (The suspiciously steep increase in projected costs has prompted calls for a new referendum on railway debt, on the grounds that the voters were hoodwinked the first time around.) The authority’s own peer review group and the Legislative Analyst’s Office have strongly recommended delaying and rethinking the project. A larger percentage of voters would now vote No on HSR bonds than voted for them in 2008.
These are all steps in the right direction, but there’s another intellectual hurdle for the populace to clear. These failing, costly high-speed rail catastrophes are not cases of a good idea poorly carried out. Failure is built into the concept. There is neither need nor demand nor real popular will to bring trains back in a spiffier form. In this respect, one part of Jerry Brown’s speech was accurate: High-speed rail is not a new idea. Passenger railroads had their day. To pretend otherwise is truly to believe our civilization is in decline.
There are 30,000 job vacancies in London but young Brits don't have the right work ethic, says Mayor
Unemployed young people need to learn lessons from the hard-working immigrants who have taken their jobs, Boris Johnson said last night.
The Mayor of London said that the younger generation are missing out on jobs because they do not have the same ‘energy to go out and get them’ as the foreigners being employed in this country.
Speaking a day after youth unemployment broke records, Mr Johnson said that there are vacancies, but British young people do not have the right work ethic.
He pointed to successful sandwich chain Pret a Manger, noting native Londoners are rarely seen behind the till. ‘London is a fantastic creator of jobs – but many of these jobs are going to people who don’t originate in this country,’ he said.
‘They are hard-working, good people, and we need to learn from them and understand what it is that they have got that makes them able to get those jobs that young Londoners don’t have.’
Figures released earlier this week showed that more than one in five of those between the age of 16 and 24 are unemployed, hitting a total of 1.04million.
But Mr Johnson, who is hoping to beat Ken Livingstone in the mayoral race in May, said that there are around 30,000 mid-market and lower-skilled vacancies in London alone. He said: ‘There are large numbers of job vacancies. Why are young people not taking up those jobs? How can we help them? That is the key problem for our economy.
‘In this city there are jobs going. It’s vital that Londoners have the skills and the aptitude but also the energy and appetite for work as well.’ He went on to suggest that British young people do not have the same determination as many of the foreign workers in hotels, coffee shops and shops in this country.
‘Let’s talk about work ethic,’ he said in the interview with The Sun. ‘I don’t want to stigmatise young people because many of them do have the aptitude. But we need to face up to these issues. ‘In some cases it can come down to the fact that the jobs are there and people need to have the energy to go out and get them.’
Unemployment figures this week showed that the overall jobless total has reached a 17-year-high of 2.69million.
Mr Johnson also criticised unemployed graduate Cait Reilly who claimed earlier this month that she is suing the Government for making her taken an unpaid work placement at Poundland in Birmingham. He said she 'sneered' at hardworking Britons by saying the work was 'forced labour', telling newspaper: 'She should not turn down the opportunity to do work of a kind that many, many people do and value'.
He recalled his first job as a trainee reporter at The Times saying he could not believe how hard everyone worked when he first started and insisted Miss Reilly would learn from her work placement.
Britain pays more than £2 BILLION in welfare payments to foreigners each year
More than £2billion is being claimed in benefits by foreigners every year, including thousands of illegal immigrants, figures reveal.
The Department for Work and Pensions announced a fraud investigation last night after it emerged 5,000 illegals claimed handouts worth £42million to which they are not entitled.
Ministers acted after the first-ever study of claimants’ nationality, which found 371,000 foreign nationals are on out-of-work benefits.
The study by the DWP found 6 per cent of all benefit claimants were foreign nationals when the data was collected in February last year.
Of those claiming benefits, 258,000 were from outside the European Economic Area, which includes the 27 EU countries as well as Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.
But a follow-up exercise found 2 per cent of all claims by foreign nationals were made by those without the immigration status to justify the payments.
The DWP said last night: ‘Two per cent of cases appeared to have no lawful immigration status and the legitimacy of their status for benefit purposes is being investigated.
‘The DWP is co-ordinating with UK Border Agency to review the small number of cases where it appears benefit is being claimed illegitimately. 'Where this is the case, benefit will be stopped and enforcement activity considered.’
Employment Minister Chris Grayling said: ‘It is not acceptable that people from other countries can claim our benefits if they have not worked or paid tax in the UK. ‘We will root out those claimants who cannot prove their immigration status and in turn they will be stripped of their benefits.’
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: ‘These findings uncover a worrying issue we have inherited, which is why we’ve ordered urgent work to pursue claimants suspected of abuse and to withdraw their benefits if they cannot prove they are entitled to claim.’
According to the figures, 54 per cent of non-EEA claimants went on to secure British citizenship. But the survey also suggests many are moving to the UK to take advantage of our generous benefits system.
Last year £35billion was paid to 5.5million people in out-of-work benefits, including Jobseeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and its replacement Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Disability Living Allowance, Carer’s Allowance and Bereavement benefit. Of that, 6 per cent, or £2.1billion, goes to foreigners.
Under current rules, those given leave to enter or remain in the UK may be eligible for income-related benefits, including anyone granted refugee status, exceptional leave to enter or remain, or Humanitarian Protection.
EEA nationals with ‘worker status’ who have left their job but are looking for alternative work are eligible for income-related benefits.
Those who can demonstrate they are seeking work are eligible for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
Robert Oxley, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘With billions at stake the proper controls need to be in place to prevent benefit tourism from swallowing up taxpayers’ money.
Taxpayers will rightly worry the rules designed to prevent benefit tourists are steadily being eroded by a meddlesome EU, leaving Britain to pick up a bigger welfare bill than it needs to.’
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.