Friday, March 23, 2012
Britain's Fascist social workers again
Mother could face jail because her children talked to each other on Facebook
This case would make headlines across the land, if it were not hidden behind the family courts' extraordinary wall of secrecy.
Sometime this week, in a case which promises to make legal history, a mother may be sent to prison, apparently because her teenage children – two of whom are in foster care for reasons which, I am told, had nothing to do with her treatment of them – have been chatting to each other on Facebook.
This landmark case, which says much about the surreal state of our family protection system, arose from a judicial order last year that the mother must not talk to her children on Facebook, even through “a third party”. The two girls were taken into care a few years back for their own protection, I am told, not because of any actions by their mother but because their safety had been threatened by members of a gang on the inner-city council estate where they lived. After being sent to a foster home in another part of the country, they eventually managed to make contact through Facebook with their brothers and a cousin, all of whom are still living with their mother in the family home.
Once contact had been established between the younger members of the family, the mother joined in – until this came to the notice of social workers in the city where the family originally lived. This led to the judge’s order last year that the mother must have no further contact with her daughters, an order which she obeyed – even though her girls had repeatedly been told that she no longer loved them. (Thanks to what they had been told by their brothers on Facebook, they knew this to be untrue.)
The children, however, continued to chat to each other, and this was picked up by social workers who were monitoring their exchanges on Facebook. This has led to the mother being summonsed to attend a family court, in a city 100 miles away from where they now live, under threat of imprisonment for breaching the court order.
If the judge sentences the mother, it will have a hugely detrimental effect on the lives of the three children who live with her, Her two sons have already had enough disturbance to their lives, having themselves spent time unhappily in care (again for reasons which, I am told, had nothing to do with their mother’s treatment of them but with the behaviour of a now long-absent partner). They were eventually allowed by the social workers and courts to return to live with her, as was their cousin, who had also been in care.
All three teenagers are deeply dismayed at the prospect of their lives being turned upside down again, after they have found security with someone who loves and cares for them. The two boys and their cousin plan to accompany the mother to the court, hoping they might be allowed to explain that it was they, not she, who initially tracked down the sisters on Facebook, and continued to make contact after the mother had been forbidden to communicate with them.
I have more than once reported on mothers being sent to prison for inadvertently breaching court orders prohibiting them from contacting their children. One was punished for sending her son a birthday card, another for waving across the street when she saw her child, who was in foster care in the same town. A third was sent down when, after walking to a local petrol station to buy a newspaper, she happened to coincide with her daughter, who called out to her from the back of a car which had pulled in at the same time.
But if this latest episode ends in a prison sentence it will make history as the first time that any mother has been gaoled just because her children have wanted to talk to each other on Facebook – supposedly in breach of a court order that was not directed at them in the first place. It is a case that should make headlines across the land. But thanks to the extraordinary wall of secrecy that our family protection system has erected around itself, to hide its workings from public view, it is unlikely to attract any coverage at all.
Such is the England in which we now live, where people can be imprisoned for an offence they themselves have not committed – and where this cannot even be reported, except in the anonymised terms I have had to use here.
Red Ken: I will make London a beacon of Islam
Ken Livingstone has promised to turn London into a “beacon” for the words of the Prophet Mohammed in a sermon at one of the capital’s most controversial mosques.
Mr Livingstone, Labour’s candidate for mayor of London, pledged to “educate the mass of Londoners” in Islam, saying: “That will help to cement our city as a beacon that demonstrates the meaning of the words of the Prophet.” Mr Livingstone described Mohammed’s words in his last sermon as “an agenda for all humanity.”
He praised the Prophet’s last sermon, telling his audience: “I want to spend the next four years making sure that every non-Muslim in London knows and understands [its] words and message.” He also promised to “make your life a bit easier financially.”
Mr Livingstone was speaking at last Friday’s Jummah prayer at the North London Central Mosque, also known as Finsbury Park Mosque, formerly controlled by the terrorist recruiter Abu Hamza.
Hamza was removed in 2003 but the mosque is now controlled by an Islamist organisation, the Muslim Association of Britain, which has been linked to the banned terror group, Hamas. A man who has acted as spokesman for the current leadership, Azzam Tamimi, is on record as supporting suicide bombings. One of the mosque’s current directors, Mohammed Sawalha, is described by the BBC as a former senior figure in Hamas who “is said to have masterminded much of Hamas’s political and military strategy” from his post in London.
In 2009 Mr Sawalha also signed the Istanbul Declaration which calls for attacks against the allies of Israel, which include the UK. The British Government interpreted it as calling for attacks on British troops.
In 2010, the Labour MP Khalid Mahmood, a Muslim moderate, resigned from the mosque’s board of trustees and reported it to the Charity Commission, accusing the mosque of forging his signature on key legal documents.
Mr Livingstone has been dogged by allegations of links to Islamic fundamentalism. In 2010, in the London borough of Tower Hamlets, he campaigned against his own party’s candidate to back a controversial independent politician, Lutfur Rahman, sacked by Labour for his links to a Muslim extremist group, the Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE).
During his mayoralty, Mr Livingstone’s London Development Agency channelled hundreds of thousands of pounds to the East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets, controlled by the IFE, even though senior LDA managers strongly opposed the grant. In return, IFE activists campaigned strongly for him at the 2008 mayoral elections, boasting that they "got out the vote" for Mr Livingstone and achieving dramatic swings to him in their east London heartland.
Mr Livingstone also gave thousands of pounds of public money to the Muslim Welfare House, a charity closely associated with the Finsbury Park Mosque, which signed an open letter backing his re-election campaign in 2008.
In his last sermon, delivered in the valley of Mount Arafat, near Mecca in 632 AD, the Prophet Mohammed attacked discrimination, saying that “a white has no superiority over a black nor a black has any superiority over white, except by piety and good action.” However, he also said that men had a right to ensure their wives “do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve.”
Fleeing From Fatherhood
You don't have to be an elderly Aunt Agatha to remember when feminism was about equal rights and equal pay. In those heady days of righteousness unbound, not all women cheered the revolution, but most did. Our mothers and grandmothers who enjoyed the freedom of being full-time moms, home for the kids after school, nevertheless believed that pay scales deprived women of what was rightly theirs.
But soon women of the generation of stay-at-home moms felt the sting of condescension, targets of the pioneering women they first cheered. They had become the enemy in a new war, women vs. women. The mommies lost that war, and their daughters went on to full-time careers. Today, women are the majority sex in college and graduate school, including the schools of law and medicine.
The sexual revolution brought freedom -- and privilege -- to women that an earlier generation never dreamed of. Alas, like most revolutions, the feminist revolution, for all of its earnest and idealistic beginnings, has been blighted by unintended consequences. A new class of victim, the single mom, has been abandoned by men to raise children alone. Not so long ago, a man who fathered a child with a woman he wouldn't (or couldn't) marry suffered stigma and reproach, perhaps from men more than women. That was before "illegitimacy" became the "new normal." Now, more than half of babies born to mothers under 30 are born outside marriage. The trend accelerates.
These single moms are not the college-educated career women who have climbed the ladder of rank and prosperity. "Marriage has become a luxury good," sociologist Frank Furstenberg of the University of Pennsylvania tells The New York Times. Fully 90 percent of college-educated women who become mothers are married. They discovered something besides book learning behind the ivy-covered walls. The big losers are women without the advantages of prosperity. The racial breakdown of unwed mothers is stark and dramatic: 73 percent of black children, 53 percent of Latino children and 29 percent of white children are born to single mothers.
These are more than statistics. Any of us can recite the litany of disadvantages inherited by children raised without fathers. They are more likely to experience poverty, to do poorly in school, to wind up on the wrong side of the law and to repeat the grim cycle in their own generation.
Few in Washington discuss this because it's first a cultural problem, and Washington only wants to talk about problems that can be reduced to politics. Culture doesn't fit comfortably into political solutions. When Bill Clinton was president and reluctantly supported welfare reform, welfare was widely thought to encourage illegitimacy. The government played Big Daddy and picked up the check. Many women who had lived on welfare learned that getting off the dole and finding work felt good. They found work but not daddies for their babies. The revolution freed women to take charge of their lives, and men were happy to get out of their way.
What's being ignored in the controversy over government-mandated contraceptive coverage is the way men have abandoned their responsibility to share responsibility for birth control. There's no one in the debate to say this. Neither Mitt Romney nor Newt Gingrich is eager to join the debate, and Rick Santorum only dreams of the day when contraception will be forbidden. The celibate bishops in their gowns have more to say about sexual responsibility than the men who have rendered themselves irrelevant.
It's a little cheeky of feminists to mount high horses to object to the rudeness of being called "sluts," it seems to me, since they've organized "Slut Walks" to assert their right to dress like hookers without suffering the leers of men. The idea was to deprive the word of its sting, in the way that gays have tried to deprive the word "queer" of its power to wound. It hasn't quite worked. The dissembling of Sandra Fluke, who brought Rush Limbaugh low, is easy to see through, too; she knows very well that college-educated women do not depend on government mandates to pay for their birth control. Women are no longer the second sex.
The birth control controversy has been cast as political -- Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal -- when it's clearly about whether the religious folk can be required by the government to pay for something offensive to their faith.
It's also about the fundamental change in the male-female relationship. As women gained equality with men, men lost their identity as provider and protector. If marriage was once required as a sexual-economic compromise that domesticated men for family life, it is no longer. Men have fled fatherhood as well as the responsibility for preventing unwanted fatherhood. Man has been unmanned
Rupert a saviour of newspapers
FAR FROM being a destructive force, Rupert Murdoch has helped ensure the survival of the British newspaper industry, and his titles should remain as voices of plurality in the media landscape, the broadcaster Melvyn Bragg, who sits on an influential House of Lords media committee, has said.
"The British newspaper industry was under greater threat in the 1980s than it is today because of completely arcane practices that were choking it to death," Lord Bragg, a Labour life peer, said.
He said Mr Murdoch was a "bold man" who had "ensured the survival and thriving" of newspapers there, efforts overshadowed by the hacking and bribery scandals engulfing Mr Murdoch's British newspaper division.
As a member of Lords Communications Committee, Lord Bragg has sat on inquiries into the governance of the BBC, the future of investigative journalism and phone hacking.
Asked if he thought it would be a loss if News Corporation sold its newspapers, a move that is being widely speculated in financial circles, Lord Bragg answered: "I like plurality. I am a democrat … whatever you think of them [the newspapers] they are more voices out there."
As the Australian government prepares to receive a report into the future of the media, which might usher in a relaxation of the media ownership laws, Lord Bragg cited the BBC's commitment to quality journalism and programming as a sign regulation can work. He said the idea that regulation led to less freedom was "unproven".
How I Became a Hate Group
When I went to sleep last night, little did I know that while outside sirens competed with car alarms in the symphony that is New York City, I had already been declared a hate group.
Being declared a hate group wasn't in my plans for the day, but like winning the lottery, it seems to be one of those things that happens when you least expect it. Except that as the little bald man in front of the bodega tells you, you have to play to win, but you don't even have to buy a ticket to be declared an official hate group.
My first response on finding out that I was now a hate group was to look around to see where everyone else was. A hate group needs the group part and one man and a cat don't seem to be enough. Even when the cat is a well known bigot who hates mice, birds, car alarms that go off in the middle of the night, the plumber and sudden noises.
Still the Southern Poverty Law Center had listed, "Sultan Knish a blog by Daniel Greenfield" as one of their Active Anti-Muslim Hate Groups, alongside such other vast organizations as "Faith Freedom", a website for ex-Muslims, and "Casa D'Ice Signs", the signs on a bar located on K-Mart Plaza in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.
Someone with less faith in the fact checking abilities of the Southern Poverty Law Center might have thought that whoever had made up this list had no clue that "Casa D'Ice" was a lounge with signs outside, that there was no such group as "Casa D'Ice Signs" and that signs are pieces of plastic and not a hate group. But I had faith that the Center knew more than I did. Perhaps its crack team of researchers had learned that the signs had come alive and formed their own hate group, somehow arranging their own letters to form messages about illegal immigration and the need to get out of Iraq.
My first thought was to wonder whether some mistake had been made in my own case, but the Southern Poverty Law Center people are experts on hate groups, even if they don't seem to know what the definitions of "hate" or "groups" or "hate groups" might be. Even if they seem to have copied their list off a forum somewhere at the last minute to have something to show the donors. Clearly I was now a hate group and with tax season upon us, I called my accountant to find out if there was a tax deduction for that. There wasn't.
As a consolation though, I was listed as "active", which I took as a compliment because I had jogged a few miles yesterday and clearly the Southern Poverty Law Center had noticed. They also listed me as being in New York, which showed that the Center was well aware that it was aggressively trespassing above its jurisdiction below the Mason-Dixon Line and invading the north.
The Southern Poverty Law Center's "Hate Map" (TM), which is either a map of hate groups or a map of groups that the center hates, had me floating somewhere in the East River next to the National Black Foot Soldier Network and the National Socialist Movement in Long Island. Say what you will, but I think it's a real tribute to the broadminded diversity of the city that there's room for all of us there, from Catholic Family News to the Nation of Islam to the newest massively organized hate group-- me.
I had fewer members, especially if you don't count the cat, and no uniforms or jackboots, but I had to soldier on. The Southern Poverty Law Center was in desperate need of more hate groups to fight and I couldn't let them down. It's not easy running a 216 million dollar organization which has been described as the country's richest civil rights organization with misleading fundraising practices.
Having succeeded in such diverse areas as being George McGovern's national finance director, Carter's national finance director and national finance chairman for Ted Kennedy's presidential campaign, SPLC head honcho Morris Dees doesn't have many options except to collect his 0.95 percent compensation and solicit more donations to fight active hate groups like me and that guy who puts up signs on his bar. I knew that I couldn't let him down.
Every time the Southern Poverty Law Center sent out another begging letter asking donors to help an organization with a mere 216 million dollar endowment fight an impossible uphill battle against Bare Naked Islam, Atlas Shrugs and Concerned Citizens for the First Amendment, I had to do my part so that all the poor employees of the Southern Poverty Law Center would have enough to eat that night.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which seems to have expanded beyond its core mission of using the law to impoverish people in the south, to qualify as an Anti-Muslim hate group, you had to believe such outrageous filthy things as the notion that Islam might be "sanctioning pedophilia, marital rape and child marriage".
People who believe such Islamophobic nonsense include the Ayatollah Khamenei, the Grand Mufti of Australia and whoever wrote the Koran, which says, "marry of women as may be agreeable to you, two, or three, or four".
Quickly I understood that I was now part of a much bigger Anti-Muslim hate group than I had realized. This Islamophobic group included all of Islam. Was it possible for Islam itself to be an Anti-Muslim hate group? It seemed mind-boggling, but there could be no other answer.
Pakistan, which had legalized the marriage of 12 year olds, was surely the base for a major Anti-Islamic hate group which was doing its best to demean Islam. It also appeared to be conspiring to depict Muslims as "irrational, intolerant and violent", which was another check box on the SPLC list. But the story didn't end there.
"These groups also typically hold conspiratorial views regarding the inherent danger to America posed by its Muslim-American community." Now it appeared that Anti-Islam hate groups included the FBI and the NYPD, which were notorious for suspecting that Muslim-Americans might be terrorists and arresting them and detaining them for doing nothing more than practicing some aspects of their religion.
Suddenly it wasn't just one man and a cat-- it was the entire Muslim world, the FBI, the NYPD and it didn't end there. The Southern Poverty Law Center's own website had a list of Top 10 Jihadists, slurring the names of such respectable practitioners of traditional Islam as Anwar Al-Awlaki, a Muslim cleric who appeared on PBS, NPR and many other outlets to explain the peaceful nature of Islam and Abdullah Muhammad, whom the Center outrageously suggests was conspiring to terrorize South Park for mocking the other Muhammad, the one who in a bid to make Islam look bad practiced pedophilia, marital rape and child marriage.
Even the Southern Poverty Law Center had exposed itself as an Anti-Islam hate group, and how could I or anyone else trust it to assemble a reliable Anti-Islam hate group list, when it had left itself off that list.
It was hard for me to accept that a group of intrepid researchers who had cluelessly listed Ann Barnhardt twice, listed Silver Bullet Gun Oil, a weapons lubricant, as a hate group, listed single- author blogs like mine, Pamela Geller's and Bonni Intall's as "hate groups" could possibly be wrong. How could an organization which wrote down "Casa D'Ice Signs" as a hate group without realizing that Casa D'Ice was a bar, make a mistake?
But there was no way around it. The SPLC had proven to be Islamophobes and couldn't be trusted anymore. And so I could no longer take their word that I and my cat were a Hate Group. Though Morris Dees may have to go hungry to bed tonight, I must decline the honor of posing as a hate group in order to help him defraud his donors. But I will always remember the brief four hours when I had my own hate group.
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.