Thursday, February 02, 2012
Useless British police put on the spot
'Three strikes' rule to tackle yob gangs: Police must act on complaints or face the sack
Police will no longer be able to ignore homeowners whose lives are being made a misery by yobs, the Home Secretary is set to announce. Once three separate complaints have been lodged, officers will have no option but to take action, Theresa May will say. The same will apply if five individuals from five different households in the same neighbourhood complain about the same issue.
If they still fail to respond, they can be hauled in front of a ‘crime commissioner’, who will have the power to fire chief constables.
Ministers hope the ‘community trigger’ system will halt a string of shocking cases where police and councils have failed to intervene to prevent homeowners being tormented.
They want to prevent a repeat of the case of Fiona Pilkington, who killed herself and her disabled 18-year-old daughter Francecca – who had a mental age of four – when her cries for help went unheeded.
An inquest heard that yobs screamed obscenities at them, hurled stones and eggs at the windows, shoved dog excrement and fireworks through the letterbox, and threatened Miss Pilkington’s dyslexic son Anthony with a knife.
Despite receiving 33 desperate 999 calls in ten years, police said Miss Pilkington, 38, was ‘over-reacting’ and dismissed her as ‘low-priority’.
Unable to bear the torment any more, she decided death was her only escape, and killed herself and her daughter by setting fire to their car near their home in Barwell, Leicestershire, in October 2007.
A separate report by the police watchdog revealed officers were failing to visit tens of thousands of families whose lives are made a misery by louts. The Chief Inspector of Constabulary’s report said the true number of anti-social behaviour incidents could be twice as high as the 3.6million estimated by the Government in 2008-9.
In a speech in London today, Mrs May will say: ‘It’s too easy to overlook the harm that persistent anti-social behaviour causes. 'Many police forces, councils and housing providers are working hard, but I still hear horror stories of victims reporting the same problem over and over again, and getting no response.
Will police revert to Dutch protocol
‘These long-running problems – and the sense of helplessness that goes with them –can destroy a victim’s quality of life and shatter a community’s trust in the police. ‘The “trigger” will give victims and communities the right to demand that agencies who had ignored a problem must take action.’
The new power will target Community Safety Partnerships, which are joint panels of the police and local authority officials. It specifically deals with anti-social behaviour: low-level offending such as vandalism or intimidation.
Officers have in the past viewed it as a council job – leading to criticism they do not take bad behaviour seriously. But now either the police or council will be required to take steps to resolve a problem once it has reached the trigger stage, and reply to the complainant detailing a plan. Only ‘malicious’ complaints can be rejected.
From November, that reply will be copied to elected police and crime commissioners – who will be elected for the first time in November. These commissioners will have the power to fire under-performing chief constables.
‘A Significant Victory’: Atheists Lose Battle Over Jesus Statue Atop Montana Mountain
Last October, we reported about atheists’ attempts to have a Jesus statue removed from government-owned land on a Montana mountain. Now, months later, it seems non-believers have lost their battle to have the religious symbol banished. In a press release delivered this afternoon, the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) announced:
"…today’s decision by the federal government to renew a lease that keeps in place a World War II memorial on a Montana mountain — a statue of Jesus — is a “significant victory” and represents a sound defeat for an atheist organization that challenged the memorial."
The Blaze previously reported that the statue was on U.S. Forest Service land and, thus, was being threatened by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a church-state separatist group. The Forest Service has teetered back and forth regarding whether the statue would be able to stay on federal land, as the group initially said that it would no longer permit a renewal contract last year. The Missoulian has more about this challenge:
"Last August, a Wisconsin atheist organization challenged the Forest Service permit, arguing it was an unconstitutional state endorsement of religion. The Forest Service initially opted to remove the statue, but suspended that decision for a public review."
In October, though, supporters received a small victory when the agency changed course. Now, following public support for the statue, the government has officially announced that the land will, again, be rented to the KOC.
“This decision by the National Park Service represents a significant victory in defense of the history and heritage of the region,” said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. “We’re delighted that federal officials understood what we have argued all along — that this statue of Jesus does not convey any government religious endorsement of religion. Instead, this historically important memorial is designed to commemorate the sacrifice made by those killed in World War II.”
“The special-use permit that originally allowed a local chapter of the Knights of Columbus to install the memorial was granted in 1953, the Blaze’s Chris Santarelli originally reported. “The KOC installed the statue as a memorial to local veterans of World War II.”
The community, as corroborated by the massive movement in support of the statue, has revered the statue for decades and was intent on seeing its placement remain. The National Park Service announced today that it will renew the KOC permit for another 10 years and acknowledged the statue‘s importance to the region’s history.
“I understand the statue has been a long-standing object in the community since 1955, and I recognize that the statue is important to the community for its historical heritage based on its association with the early development of the ski area on Big Mountain,” proclaimed Chip Weber, the supervisor of Flathead National Forest.
Recruiting for the Church of Atheism??
Atheists in Minnesota stand firmly opposed to parents “indoctrinating” their children to believe in a higher power. So, like their counterparts in Colorado (among other localities), they’ve erected new billboards that make their anti-God messaging loud and clear. Only these atheists are taking a unique route: they’re using pro-life advertisements as the inspiration for their billboards.
According to the Christian Post, Minnesota Atheists, a group associated with American Atheists, recently erected the massive signs in Minneapolis. One of the ads reads, ”Please don’t indoctrinate me with religion. Teach me to think for myself.” Another says, ”We are all born without belief in gods. Learn how to be a born-again atheist.” Smiling babies are featured on the billboards, which will remain up until Feb. 19.
The purpose of the billboards is apparently to attract people who are already non-believers to become members of American Atheists and the local Minnesota Atheists groups. According to Eric Jayne, a board member and project leader at the local organization, his group wishes to curb ”the practice of indoctrinating young, impressionable minds with religious dogma that cannot be substantiated with evidence.”
The cute pictures of the babies that accompany the anti-God messages were inspired, according to August Berkshire, the president of Minnesota Atheists, by Prolife Across America, a Minneapolis-based group. This particular organization uses babies on its ads and billboards to support its efforts against the practice of abortion. Berkshire said:
“It’s (billboards) turning out to be a pretty popular way to get the message out. [Prolife Across America] use[s] a lot of images of children and that got us thinking: religious indoctrination begins with children as soon as they’re old enough to learn. If they weren’t given this indoctrination, they probably wouldn’t believe. It’s for people to realize, where did this religion come from? You weren’t born with it. It was taught to you. And it’s possible to unlearn it.”
While local church leaders disagree, some seem open to the debate that the signs is spawning. “We believe that people are actually born with a natural desire to connect to a higher power. So, the billboards are wrong, but if they stimulate some thinking — certainly no harm in that,” said Pastor Kevin McDonough, a faith leader at Church of St. Peter Claver, a house of worship located near one of the billboards.
According to the Star Tribune, Prolife Across America director Mary Ann Kuharski is fine with her group serving as the atheist campaign’s inspirational status. ”Imitation is the highest form of flattery,” she says, “They’re (babies) eye-catching. We can’t help noticing them. Frankly, they (atheist billboards) may be helping us. They’re still identifying babies for what they are, which is precious.”
God Bless the Hungarians
Hungary is almost broke. That is the country's great tragedy. It needs financial help from the other members of the European Union (EU), who are already helping EU states in financial difficulties, and from the IMF. But both the EU and the IMF refuse to come to Hungary's aid because they dislike the new Hungarian Constitution and a series of new laws that came into effect on January 1st.
Last week, the European Commission initiated legal proceedings against Hungary over its new constitution and legislation. It gave Hungary one month to enact changes with regard to the independence of the central bank, the judiciary and the national data protection authority, or else face the prospect of being fined by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), the EU's supreme court. American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also voiced concern over democratic freedom in Hungary.
In April last year, the conservative Fidesz party won a landslide victory in the Hungarian Parliament. Fidesz, led by current Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, won over 52% of the votes and more than two thirds of the seats. The Conservatives owed their victory to the deep dissatisfaction of the Hungarians with the Social-Democrat MSZP which led the country since 2002 and has bankrupted its economy.
The MSZP is the successor of the former Communist Party which ruled Hungary until the end of the communist dictatorship in 1989. For the sake of national conciliation, the former Communists were left largely undisturbed when democracy was reintroduced in Hungary. Many members of the old Communist Party were allowed to keep their top positions in the civil service, the judiciary, the universities, the media and the army. Former communists who had enriched themselves by liquidating state assets were also left alone.
As in many other East European countries, the Communists rebranded themselves as Social Democrats. Like the former communist parties in several other East European countries, the MSZP was welcomed into the international networks of the West European social democrat parties. The MSZP even got to hold several high-ranking functions at the European Parliament and in the European Commission.
The Communists' rebranding tactics seemed to have worked. From 1994 to 1998 and from 2002 to 2010, the Hungarians voted the former Communists back into power. In September 2006, however, their reputation received a major blow when a tape was leaked of a private conversation in which the Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány could be heard admitting to party officials that he had lied to the nation. Gyurcsány said that the MSZP had won the elections by deliberately concealing how dramatic the economic situation in the country was. The leaking of the tape led to protest demonstrations by thousands of Hungarians who felt cheated by a party that had simply camouflaged its dictatorial core with democratic theatrics. The demonstrators were savagely beaten up by the police, but the Hungarians took revenge in last April's elections. The MSZP was trashed and fell to 19.3% of the popular vote from 49.2% four years earlier.
After the elections, Fidesz set out to do what it had promised the Hungarian electorate it would do: break the power of the old Communist elite. To this end, the Hungarian parliament adopted a new constitution. Its preamble is an ode to traditional values, patriotism, the family and freedom. It even mentions God, which undoubtedly annoys the EU elites in Brussels who refused any reference to God in their own constitution.
Although there is a strong case to be made for a woman's pregnancy not being in the purview of governments but a private matter between her physician and her, the Hungarian constitution protects human life from the moment of conception and, even though same-sex couples may legally register their partnership, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The country's name is also changed from "Hungarian Republic" to "Hungary," and although Hungary remains a republic, the preamble contains references to the Holy Crown of King Stephen, the first king of Hungary.
The Constitution also refers to "the inhuman crimes committed against the Hungarian nation and its citizens during the National Socialist and Communist dictatorships." It explicitly mentions that the self-determination of Hungary was lost between March 19, 1944 (the date of the German invasion) and May 2, 1990 (the date of the first free elections in the post-Communist era), and asserts the invalidity of all legislation dating back to that period: "We do not recognize the Communist constitution of 1949 because it has served as a foundation of tyrannical rule. For this reason that legislation is hereby invalid."
Referring to the damage done by four decades of Communist rule, the constitution says that Hungary has "an eminent need of spiritual renewal since last century's developments have undermined moral values."
With its emphasis on traditional values, historic continuity, Christianity and the need for spiritual renewal, Hungary's constitution is an affront to the ruling liberal elites in the European Union and the world, who are hostile to Europe's Christian heritage and national traditions.
The New York based NGO Human Rights Watch criticized the Hungarian constitution, saying that it "could lead to efforts to overturn Hungary's abortion law and result in restrictions on abortion that would put a number of fundamental rights for women at stake." It also complained that, by defining marriage as a bond between a man and a woman, the constitution "denies LGBT people access to state protection for their families and relationships, and is inconsistent with Hungary's obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Union Charter on Fundamental Rights."
Hungary has also angered the liberal elites in the West by curbing judicial activism. To this end the retirement age for judges has been lowered from 70 to 62 and the president of the Supreme Court is required to have at least five years' Hungarian judicial experience. This eliminates the incumbent who served for 17 years in the activist European Court of Human Rights.
With regard to the economy, the new Hungary has introduced a flat tax of 19% and has capped the budget deficit to a maximum of 3% of GDP. It is also merging the Hungarian central bank (MNB) with the institution that supervises commercial banks, thereby restricting the power of András Simor, the MNB governor. Simor, an economist who worked for the MNB during the Communist era, is an appointee of the previous MSZP government. While Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is not dismissing Simor, the new constitution wants the MNB governor to take on oath of fidelity to Hungary and its interests. The case is being used by the EU and the IMF to deny Hungary credit guarantees and to justify other sanctions.
Both institutions argue that Hungary has violated the central bank's independence. The European Commission also objects to the oath because the MNB governor is a member of the council of the European Central Bank – a neutral pan-EU body. José Manuel Barroso, the President of the European Commission (and a former Maoist), said last week, as the Commission was initiating legal procedures against Budapest, that the Hungarian authorities had failed "to guarantee respect of EU law" and that the Commission is determined "to make sure that EU laws, both in letter and in spirit are fully respected [in Hungary]. We do not want the shadow of doubt on respect for democratic principles and values to remain over the country any longer."
"The independence of Hungary's central bank will be a precondition for a European Union and International Monetary Fund precautionary financial support program for the country," said Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner For Economic and Monetary Affairs.
In the European Parliament, Orbán was attacked for violating the fundamental values of democracy and freedom. Liberals, Greens and Socialist said that the new Hungarian constitution is an undemocratic document. Liberal group leader Guy Verhofstadt, and Green group leader Daniel Cohn Bendit both called on the EU to suspend Hungary's voting rights in the EU Council because its constitution is a "serious and persistent breach" of EU principles. Cohn Bendit, a former Communist, said that Orbán behaved the same way as Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro. Socialist group leader Hannes Swoboda said that Orbán is destroying the very freedoms that the Hungarian people fought for.
The threat that Hungary will not receive the loan of €20bn ($25bn), which it urgently needs to avoid bankruptcy after years of Socialist economic mismanagement, is forcing Orbán to appease his critics. He has promised to amend the measures to restrict the powers of the MNB and the early retirement of judges.
Last Saturday, however, the Hungarians made it clear that they are still standing behind Prime Minister Orbán. Over 100,000 people gathered in Budapest in support of the government. During the last century, the Hungarians played a prominent role in opposing Soviet tyranny. Today, they are taking the lead in opposing the European Union. "May God bless the Hungarians!" says the opening phrase of the new Hungarian constitution. May He, indeed.
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.
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