Saturday, January 14, 2012
"Worse than Apartheid" in the new South Africa
While South Africa has seen steady economic growth in the 17 years after apartheid, it has also experienced an abiding racial divide. That partition is expressed in enduring prejudice on both sides and persistent economic segregation. Remarkably, income inequality rose after apartheid ended: redistribution programs have mainly benefited a politically connected elite. Most whites and a few blacks live in the first world. But out of a total population of 50 million, 8.7 million South Africans, most of them black, earn $1.25 or less a day. Millions live in the same township shacks, travel in the same crowded minibuses (called taxis in South Africa) and, if they have jobs, work in the same white-owned homes and businesses they did under apartheid — all while coping with some of the world's worst violent crime and its biggest HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The ANC blames apartheid's legacy and, as party spokesman Keith Khoza describes it, "the reluctance of business to come to the party." But 17 years is almost a generation. The government's failure to transform South Africa from a country of black and white into a "rainbow nation," in Archbishop Desmond Tutu's phrase, means black poverty is still the key political issue. A second, related one, however, is the ANC's dramatic loss of moral authority. At 93, Mandela is still among the most admired people on earth. But his party has become synonymous with failure — and not coincidentally, arrogance, infighting and corruption. Tutu, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and, at 80, still the nation's moral conscience, encapsulated South African political debate last year when he came out of retirement to give two speeches. In the first he asked whites to pay a wealth tax in recognition of their persistent advantage. In the second he called the ANC "worse than the apartheid government."
Africa is littered with liberation movements that, upon victory, forgot the people in whose name they fought. That era is coming to an end as the continent becomes more democratic and prosperous. The International Monetary Fund says seven of the world's 10 fastest growing economies are African, despite holdovers like Zimbabwe. Is South Africa, the continent's economic and political powerhouse, a gateway to this bright future or a window on its unhappy past?
The national Special Investigating Unit, which targets corruption, reckons that up to a quarter of annual state spending — $3.8 billion — is wasted through overpayment and graft. The Auditor General says a third of all government departments have awarded contracts to companies owned by officials or their families; in December it found that three-quarters of all tenders in one ANC-ruled province, the Eastern Cape, rewarded officials in this way. Those being investigated for suspected corruption include two ministers, the country's top policeman and the head of the ANC's Youth League, Julius Malema. (All deny the charges.)
Since [President] Zuma was elected, the DA says the state has spent $50 million on refurbishing his homes. Tellingly, Zuma goes after those who would check his behavior. In November the ANC-led Parliament passed a law known as the "secrecy bill," which penalizes whistle-blowers or journalists in possession of secret documents and allows no public-interest defense. He has installed unqualified allies in top positions across the justice system. Meanwhile, internal party politicking, particularly Zuma's rivalry with Malema, has overshadowed government, something that will only increase in the run-up to a party conference in Bloemfontein in December at which Zuma is running for re-election as ANC President.
Europe's war on British justice: UK loses three out of four human rights cases, damning report reveals
Unelected Euro judges are making a relentless attack on British laws laid down over centuries by Parliament, a devastating report warns today.
A group of Tory MPs are demanding action by the Prime Minister over figures which show the UK loses three out of every four cases taken to the unaccountable European Court of Human Rights.
The explosive research will reignite the row over Europe’s demand for rapists and killers to be given the vote in prison, and intensify calls for Britain to withdraw from the court’s jurisdiction.
The ten backbench Tory MPs say there is a need to ‘end rule by judges and reinstate Parliamentary democracy’. Their challenge follows a succession of sickening cases in which terrorists, murderers and sex offenders have been awarded cash after gaining judgments against the Government.
The report, commissioned by the MPs from legal researcher Robert Broadhurst, says that since Britain subscribed to the jurisdiction of the ECHR in 1966 there have been more than 350 rulings on whether the UK has violated convention rights.
The number of judgments made against the UK is 271, against only 86 in which it was successful. In a further 50 cases the UK reached a settlement with the claimant, typically agreeing to pay out in return for an agreement to drop the case.
In the 1980s, the average number of cases concluded by the ECHR concerning alleged UK violation of human rights law was 2.6 per year. In the 1990s it tripled to 7.8 – and in the 2000s it almost tripled again to 29.3.
This came after the rules were changed, in 1998, to allow individuals to take cases directly to the ECHR rather than go through the British courts.
The judgments have been blamed for allowing scores of foreign criminals and terrorists to claim they have a ‘human right’ to remain in the UK.
The European court has 47 judges, representing every member state of the Council of Europe including Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco and Andorra.
A recent report estimated that 20 of them have no judicial experience. Many cannot speak English. The timing of the report is crucial as Strasbourg prepares to pass judgment in three controversial cases.
In the first, prisoner voting will come before the Grand Chamber, Strasbourg’s final court of appeal. Britain is fighting an ECHR ruling that the government must allow convicts to take part in elections – in clear defiance of the wishes of the UK Parliament, which last year voted overwhelmingly to maintain the current ban.
In the second, preacher of hate Abu Hamza is resisting extradition to the U.S. to face trial on terror charges, and the ECHR will rule on whether he can be sent for trial. If it refuses, the British authorities face the prospect of having to release the fanatic back on to the streets.
The final case involves three killers given ‘whole-life’ tariffs by the British courts, which have ruled their crimes are so grave that they can never be released and must die behind bars.
If Jeremy Bamber, Peter Moore and Douglas Vinter win their case, it will force the Government to give regular reviews to every one of the 40 or so prisoners locked up for ever – and allow them to petition for their release.
In their foreword to Mr Broadhurst’s report, the MPs, headed by ex-MEP Chris Heaton-Harris, say: ‘The main problem with current human rights law is that we all have to accept judges’ interpretations of human rights, even when those interpretations strike us as a gross distortion of such rights. Who really believes that some or all convicted prisoners have an inherent right to vote while they are behind bars for their crime? Not us.’
The report calls for the UK Parliament to be given the power to overturn ECHR judgments. Such a move would require the approval of all other signatories to the ECHR. Should this not prove possible, ‘the only viable option would be for the UK to extract itself from the jurisdiction of the Strasbourg court altogether’.
The report says that, by introducing a British Bill of Rights, the country could still meet its obligations to respect human rights. The author claims this would most probably prevent Britain from being ejected from the Council of Europe – parent body of the ECHR.
David Cameron promised at the weekend to take personal charge of the issue, during Britain’s presidency of the Council of Europe.
He is planning to make a speech in Strasbourg calling for rule changes which would stop the ECHR being able to deal with cases if they have already been dealt with ‘properly’ by national courts.
Racism and Media Double Standards in Britain
The mainstream media (MSM) have devoted a great deal of space to the Stephen Lawrence case of late. Many journalists have commented that whilst Britain was a racist country in the recent past, the Britain of today is a much more tolerant place. This may well be the case with regard to white-on-non-white racial crime, but what about the violent crime committed by non-whites on whites, and what about the way this is treated by the MSM?
The ruling elites would rather we remained ignorant of such matters, so there is little information out there apart from the British Crime Survey of 2004 which stated:
"…people from black or minority ethnic communities suffered 49,000 violent attacks, with 4,000 being wounded. The number of violent attacks against whites reached 77,000, while the number of white people who reported being wounded was five times the number of black and minority ethnic victims at 20,000."
Bearing in mind that whites account for 90% of the population, simple maths suggests that non-whites attack and wound whites at a rate forty-five times higher than whites wound non-whites. This is a truly shocking figure and one that should be of enormous concern to the race relations industry, the government and the media, who purport to be intensely interested in both racial crime and “community cohesion”. However, this appears not to be the case at all.
For those aware of what has been happening in Britain (and all over the West), this media silence should come as no surprise, understanding as they do that the racial and cultural dispossession of the indigenous peoples is the greatest weapon the hard left possesses in its unfinished war against the traditional Western Nation State.
It makes perfect sense, of course. The only defence against becoming an ethnic minority in our homeland before 2060 is to draw attention to our predicament. If the left can make such a defence not just immoral but evil, then they have removed the one and only obstacle that could possibly resist their racially-driven agenda, and if they can capture the means of disseminating information (such as the BBC) then they can continue unopposed — which is exactly what they are doing.
The left divides society into the oppressed and the oppressors. The working-class man of Britain was supposed to represent the historically oppressed masses awaiting the Marxist revolution, but unforgivably — in the eyes of the revolutionaries — the working class became too affluent, preferring to queue for beer in Ibiza, rather than queue for the bare essentials of life in a Sovietised London.
Hence the importation of a new immigrant underclass, which is then deliberately under-educated in order to retain its status as the useful oppressed. Its members are deliberately subjected to propaganda under the guise of Multiculturalism, which constantly reminds them they are eternal victims and the whites eternal oppressors. This is why their varied misdemeanours are overlooked or excused. To allow the truth to be revealed would ruin the leftist plans. How else to explain the climate of fear that surrounds criticism of non-whites?
Take for example the case of black-on-white gang rape. Back in 2004 the Daily Telegraph reported on daily gang rapes taking place in London. The majority of the victims were white, the majority of the gang rapists black. Scotland Yard was treating this topic with great care because of the racial “sensitivity”, and refused to label the crimes as “gang rape”, because to do so would draw attention to clearly-defined youth gangs. The police service is apparently much happier using the term “multiple-perpetrator rape.”
As has been said for many years, if you import the Third World, you become the Third World. In 2009 The Guardian admitted that a staggering 25% of black South African males had committed single or multiple rapes in the previous year alone, which correlates to the ever-rising number of rape cases involving children unfortunate enough to attend schools in the increasingly diverse inner cities of Britain.
In 2011 the MSM finally came clean about the Muslim grooming and rape of young white girls in Northern towns and cities. In a quite shocking admission the police chiefs reiterated what their London colleagues had previously stated, which was the hushing up of such racial crimes in the interest of community cohesion. Really? Do they not think that our knowing about it, and knowing the police are doing little about it will enhance community cohesion?
But then perhaps the police and the MSM are not really interested in community cohesion at all. If they were, they might be slightly more reticent about plastering reports of white-on-black crime across the newspapers and airwaves. Community cohesion only seems to work when old whitey is kept in the dark whilst the non-whites are made fully aware of white transgressions.
And the same standards apply to racial murder, where some murders are more prominent than others, as in the case of Stephen Lawrence. In 2006 the Guardian reported that Home office Freedom of Information figures showed whites as the victims in half of all racially motivated murders over the previous decade. The Guardian went on to say:
Senior police officers have admitted that ‘political correctness’ and the fear of discussing the issue have meant that race crime against white people goes under-reported. One chief constable has claimed that white, working-class men are more alienated than the Muslim community.
How wonderful! As our kith and kin are raped and murdered by racially motivated non-whites, the police “service”, whose sole remit is to protect the population from such crime, sweep it under the carpet through fear of criticism, and gets itself into “a bit of a state about it.” Such a reprehensible and disgusting attitude stems no doubt from the chief requirement necessary for becoming a police officer in the first place, which is not an ability to catch criminals, so it seems, but to exhibit a “respect for diversity.”
Everyone in Britain has quite rightly heard of Stephen Lawrence and the white savages who murdered him, but how many have heard about Mary-Ann Leneghan? This poor white girl was only sixteen years old when she and a friend were abducted, tortured, and raped by Joshua and Jamaile Morally, Indrit Krasniqui, Llewellyn Adams, Michael Johnson and Adrian Thomas. Mary-Ann was eventually murdered (her friend survived).
The Guardian tells us the girls were forced to strip naked, raped vaginally and orally, burned, cut with knives, hit with a metal pole and told repeatedly that they would be murdered. At times some of the men would ask Thomas for permission to do things, asking if they could burn or stab the girls. He gave that permission, saying ‘Yes, go on, I don’t care. It’s too late now. Nobody is going to help them now.’“
After hours of abuse, the girls were then taken to Prospect Park with pillows over their heads, where prosecutor Richard Latham QC stated:
“It was Johnson who then stabbed Mary-Ann in the abdomen with a large brown kitchen knife. He had her by the neck and hair; she was begging him to stab her in the neck….Mary-Ann then fell on her side and Johnson was stabbing her everywhere. She fell over in a ball trying to protect herself but he rolled her over trying to find a new place on her body to stab her. They said they wanted her to die slowly. She became unable to move and just lay there crying, when she cried or made any sound she was stabbed again.”
In America there have been two cases similar to the Mary Ann Leneghan atrocity. Both involved gangs of blacks raping, torturing and murdering whites. They have been dubbed the Wichita Massacre and the Knoxville Horror. I mention these American cases simply to highlight the warped and perverse attitude of the British MSM.
The BBC was very enthusiastic in its reporting on the particularly gruesome and racist murder of a black American in Texas called James Byrd, but if you go to the BBC website and search for any of the names of the white victims in the Wichita Massacre or the Knoxville Horror, you will find not a single word, not a single acknowledgement of the two greatest racial crimes committed in America in the last century. Why the inexplicable double standards, which seem utterly dependent on skin colour? ...
Litigating for Liberty
Move over, ACLU. Chip Mellor, president of one of America's most influential law groups is expanding freedom on political speech, organ transplants and other economic frontiers
The Republican presidential campaign is at full boil, and among the biggest players are so-called super PACs, political-action committees that can raise and spend as much money as they like. Mitt Romney's version helped ruin Newt Gingrich in Iowa, for example. For that right to free speech (not the ads), you can thank or blame Chip Mellor, who runs the most influential legal shop that most people have never heard of.
Mr. Mellor is the 61-year-old chief of the Institute for Justice, which has been celebrating its 20th anniversary of guerrilla legal warfare on behalf of individual freedom. He's worth getting to know because he and his fellow legal battlers are behind a larger campaign to restore some of the Constitution's lost rights. And they're often succeeding.
Take political speech. The Supreme Court's January 2010 ruling in Citizens United v. FEC restored the First Amendment rights of corporations and unions to assemble to influence elections. That was followed in March 2010 by SpeechNow v. FEC, in which the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals said that political committees may accept unlimited contributions for the purpose of independent political spending.
"That's not to downplay the importance of Citizens United," Mr. Mellor says, "but SpeechNow is the decision that lets people (and corporations and unions) pool their money in Super PACs." Mr. Mellor's outfit represented SpeechNow with the Center for Competitive Politics and IJ argued the case before the court.
The campaign finance reform lobby is going to fight relentlessly, Mr. Mellor says. "There continues to be the false premise that the problem in politics is too much money, when in fact the problem is too much government for sale." Besides, he points out, "these campaign finance laws are really treating only a symptom, not the disease. Until you get to the root cause, which is too much government, you are really not doing anything productive and in many cases you are doing harm."
Sitting in the IJ's brightly colored office in Northern Virginia, Mr. Mellor recalls the satisfactions and challenges since he founded the institute with Clint Bolick in 1991. The best part, Mr. Mellor says, "is that we find these people around the country who are already standing up for the principles we want to help vindicate. They say: All I want to do is earn an honest living, get a good education for my kids, own my home or business [or] speak in a political campaign without being subject to restraints."
In many of its cases, IJ will lose at the trial court and then win on appeal. That was the story in the group's latest foray into medicine, in which it represents cancer patients in their fight for access to bone-marrow donations that can save their lives. Under the 1984 National Organ Donor Transplant Act, Congress made it a felony for anyone to give or receive compensation for donating an organ, sweeping bone marrow into the net along with organs like kidneys and lungs.
IJ filed suit against the U.S. attorney general to challenge the law and saw the case dismissed in the trial court. When the case got to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, the judges reversed unanimously, in effect ruling that most bone-marrow donations can be treated like blood donations, making a pilot compensation program legal and handing IJ's clients a major victory.
"Blood can be sold, sperm can be sold, ova can be sold" so this shouldn't be any different, Mr. Mellor explains. Providing a modest stipend for those who donate to the National Bone Marrow Registry could exponentially improve the chances of terminally ill patients finding a donor that could save their life.
As with many of IJ's economic-liberties cases, Mr. Mellor explains, the point is to undo the damage done by courts acting as a rubber stamp for whatever the Congress and executive branch do. "Judicial activism is an empty pejorative invoked by both liberals and conservatives to criticize outcomes they don't like," he says. The more appropriate role of the courts is judicial engagement. "They would start with a presumption of liberty and strike down those laws that exceed constitutional power delegated to the other branches."
The Institute's cases often deal with the burdens of government regulation on the common man and in doing so bring national attention to the core principles of constitutional government. Listen to the GOP presidential debates and "economic freedom" is an idea every candidate invokes to appeal to a sizeable segment of American voters alarmed by the big-government encroachments of the Obama administration.
It wasn't always thus. "I think it's not being immodest to say that when we started the Institute for Justice in 1991, the term [economic liberty] was confined pretty much to libertarian academics," Mr. Mellor grins. "Today even [Supreme Court Justice] Stephen Breyer talks about it, if only to disparage it."
Ironically, the institute's most visible case, 2005's Kelo v. New London, was a loss. Susette Kelo and other homeowners in New London, Conn., had resisted the use of the government's eminent domain powers to take their homes and give the property to a development corporation for condos and other private development adjacent to a new Pfizer plant. The Supreme Court found against them.
But in the national backlash against the decision, they arguably won the war. Since Kelo, 44 states have strengthened their laws protecting property rights from eminent domain and Kelo has become shorthand for insensitive, overreaching government not respecting the rights of ordinary people.
Mr. Mellor is an optimist about the outcome of future private property cases before the Supreme Court. Justice Antonin Scalia, he notes, "just recently said that there have been three cases that have been wrongly decided by the Supreme Court, and that two of them have been undone and one of them soon will be. He cited Dred Scott, Plessy, and Kelo."
The Institute's first client was not famous at all but what Mr. Mellor calls a "paradigmatic" one who framed an injustice with crystal clarity. IJ represented Taalib-Din Uqdah, who wanted to make his living braiding hair in Washington, D.C. But he couldn't do that without becoming a licensed cosmetologist, a requirement that would have cost him thousands of dollars. IJ got the city council to back down and allow Mr. Uqdah and his wife to get back in business without the onerous regulation.
"The constitutional principle was very, very important, it went far beyond hair braiding," Mr. Mellor says. "So it really was a perfect platform to start awakening people to what's at stake and what the solutions are."
In the years since, IJ has taken on regulations that suffocate entrepreneurs from ferry operators, taxi drivers and stadium vendors to food-truck operators, tour guides and interior designers. Behind each is a small business owner suffering under government regulations that, in most cases, aren't about protecting the public or some general interest—but about awarding anticompetitive privileges to an influential company or interest group.
If entrepreneurs are often the good guys, at the top of IJ's hit list are corporations looking for government favors and handouts. "We do recognize that there is a profound difference between being pro-free enterprise and being pro-business," Mr. Mellor notes. "When it comes to businesses, Adam Smith recognized that it will only be a matter of time before business interests get together and try to monopolize to achieve some kind of control over the market. But without government, they can't do that for any length of time."
Mr. Mellor traces his political evolution back to his days as a student protester at Ohio State University in the late 1960s. This was the time of the Vietnam War and Mr. Mellor, while marching against it, had the "epiphany of my life," he says. "It became undeniably obvious to me that both the left, which I was a part of, and the right were really after the same thing, which was power. And I didn't want any part of that."
So began an intellectual odyssey that took him from Whittaker Chambers to Ayn Rand and Friedrich Hayek and led to law school at the University of Denver. He went into private practice "in hopes that I could be an independent Clarence Darrow type," but he "quickly became disabused of the notion that you could ever control your own schedule," let alone do it all pro-bono. He went the public interest route and met legal eagle and school-choice specialist Clint Bolick in 1982, founding IJ in 1991.
The language of student protest became a key part of the IJ way. The group—it consists of some 33 lawyers and 65 staffers—is fighting not just to overturn precedents and restore constitutional jurisprudence, but to frame the debate in a way that educates and embeds those ideas in the national consciousness.
"We learned our lesson from the NAACP," Mr. Mellor continues. "Back in 1934 if you look at their annual report, there is a paragraph to the effect that the goal of the campaign must be to affect broad public opinion as well as [to win] individual cases. So every case we take is an educational vehicle designed to manifest the constitutional principles and how they apply to countless other people around the country."
Public interest law is traditionally practiced by liberal groups like the ACLU and the NAACP. Adapting the model to the kind of libertarian goals espoused by IJ has a unique set of challenges. The left fights to pass laws and create new bureaucracies to enforce them, which in turn fosters a permanent interest group to defend the left's gains.
"Groups on the left can fight for their goals through statutory law, and then count on an army of other activist groups to continue to build on their work . . . The left has tremendous advantage," Mr. Mellor explains.
In a broader legal context, Mr. Mellor notes, restoring the Privileges or Immunities Clause, a portion of the 14th Amendment which was intended to protect the economic freedom of freed slaves and other Americans, is at the core of IJs mission when it comes to economic liberty. When the Supreme Court dismantled its protections in what were known as the "Slaughter House cases" in 1873, he says, it began "the whole progressive era of economic regulation and property regulation." If you have a recognition of enumerated powers, "the potential for expansive mischief or creating new rights out of whole cloth is limited if not nonexistent," he says.
"The Supreme Court is really the culprit in creating a lot of the problems we have today," he adds. "They gutted provisions of the Constitution that were intended to constrain government or transformed them, like the Commerce Clause, into an affirmative grant of power."
If the Supreme Court is the problem, then it is also eventually the solution, and Mr. Mellor sees promise in today's court. Justice Clarence Thomas, he says, has "developed a very coherent and consistent constitutional philosophy," Chief Justice John Roberts has "said some amazingly powerful things in the campaign finance cases." And "Justice Kennedy has also evidenced some libertarian streaks over time."
As for IJ, he says, don't worry about them becoming victims of their own success. "We're not going to run out of arrogant and avaricious officials out there." he smiles. "We're going to have lots to do for a long time."
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.