Sunday, June 10, 2012
Great news for all monarchists
Prince Philip has left hospital in time for his 91st birthday today (Sunday 10th). There is tremendous affection for him and at his age any illness is a matter of great concern
The Duke of Edinburgh left hospital with a wave and a smile today in time to celebrate his 91st birthday.
Prince Philip shook hands with staff at King Edward VII Hospital in central London and thanked them for caring for him during this five days stay there while being treated for a bladder infection.
The Duke climbed into the front passenger seat of a Land Rover Discovery vehicle before being driven away from the hospital, with a police escort. As he left he was asked if he was feeling better, prompting the Duke to nod.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the Duke would be spending his birthday "privately".
Prince Philip fell ill on Monday during the celebrations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. The previous day he had braved the elements to take part in the Thames River Pageant.
It's time to stop the peculiar British use of the word 'Asians'
When the events in the news about "Asians" mostly are in fact about Muslims. British political correctness dishonours fine Sikh and Hindu families who want nothing to do with Muslim barbarism and who have in fact themselves suffered from it
Is it time to stop using the word "Asian"? In recent weeks Britain's Sikh and Hindu communities have complained angrily about the use of the misleading term in reporting of the Rochdale grooming convictions of men of Muslim Pakistani descent. Headlines like “Asian grooming – why we need to talk about sex crime”, “Child sex grooming: the Asian question”, and “Grooming offences committed mostly by Asian men, says ex-Barnardo's chief” show the problem.
Obviously Sikhs and Hindus and other "Asian" non-Muslims, including Jains, Zoroastrians, Christians and Buddhists, don’t want to be associated with sexual grooming of vulnerable white girls. The vast majority of Muslims don’t want to either. The girls targeted in Rochdale, Derby and now in Luton are all non-Muslim. This is nothing new for British Hindus and Sikhs, who have complained about targeting of their girls for decades; Indians refer to the practice as "love-jihad".
Judge Gerald Clifton, who sentenced the men in Rochdale, indicated they thought the victims were “worthless” and “beyond any respect”. He asserted that one of the motivations behind this was “they were not part of your community or religion”.
This is not the first time that this has been suggested: at a Hindu Forum conference in 2007, the then Metropolitan Police commissioner, Sir Ian Blair, revealed how the police were working to clamp down on “aggressive conversions” of vulnerable girls. The following year, a blog site called "Sikh4aweek" which called on Muslim "soldiers" to "hunt" down Sikh university students during freshers week was forced to close following complaints to the police and Google. The common denominator: targeting of non-Muslim girls.
It is for the Muslim community and its leaders to decide what is behind the trend, and what to do about it; but it is time for politicians and the press to bear in mind that in the context of these sex crimes, as with violent extremism, female genital mutilation, forced marriage and honour killings, the vague term "Asian" serves no purpose. Worse, it besmirches entire swathes of Britons with roots in the Indian subcontinent.
It’s encouraging to hear some brave voices filtering through the political minefield: Baroness Warsi recently hit out at the “small minority” of Pakistani men who see white girls as “fair game”; last year, Jack Straw braved criticism for his claim that some Pakistani men see white girls as “easy meat.” But the problem continues: commentators are unwilling to label the perpetrators "Muslim", opting instead to hide behind the fudge of "Asian".
Lessons can be learned from Britain's own colonial history. The Empire's attitudes towards natives may have been problematic from a modern perspective, but it was careful to distinguish between the different inhabitants of the subcontinent. In Charles Allen’s book Soldier Sahibs: The Men who made the North West Frontier, the Indian-born historian quotes the soldier Herbert Edwardes, who was dispatched to a distant corner of the Sikh Empire in the mid-18th century. He describes four main groups in a mountainous district called Banu:
"The mongrel and vicious Bunnoochee peasantry, ill-ruled by Mullicks, and ill-righted by factions; the greedy Syuds and other religious mendicants, sucking the blood of the superstitious people; the mean Hindoo traders, enduring a life of degradation, that they may cheat their Muhommudan employers; and the Vizeree [Waziri] interlopers, half pastoral, half agricultural, wholly without law, but neither destitute of honour or virtue."
As Edwardes discovered, people of the Indian subcontinent have various cultural, traditional and religious affiliations: identities are both convoluted and complex. They shouldn’t be oversimplified for the sake of political expediency. Of course we have to be careful not to label all Muslims sex offenders: but it is simple cowardice to pretend that grooming is not a problem for the Muslim community, but Asians in general.
Government Hostility to Religion Keeps Mounting
The Founders wouldn’t believe it. The Colorado Court of Appeals says the governor may not proclaim an official day of prayer because of a clause in the state constitution prohibiting that “any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.
This novel interpretation would come as a surprise not only to the governors who have issued such proclamations dating back many years, but also to the authors of that very constitution, who declared in its preamble their “profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe.”
They couldn’t have intended the religious preference clause to become a barrier to state action encouraging Coloradans to seek that Supreme Ruler’s favor. Good to know that Gov. John Hickenlooper has directed Attorney General John Suthers to appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, which should surely overturn it based on logic and precedent.
But wait; did I say “surely”? When it comes to religion and politics, church and state, nothing is sure any more. Also headed for the Colorado Supreme Court is an ACLU challenge to parents in suburban Douglas County using their own tax dollars to educate their own children in (horrors) faith-based schools.
Meanwhile at the Colorado General Assembly we’ve seen both political parties consider divorcing the legal definition of marriage from its time-honored theological definition. It didn't happen this year, but the trend is plain. The rationale for gay civil unions was put this way by Gov. Hickenlooper: “We don’t believe we should legislate what happens inside a church or place of worship, but government should treat all people equally.”
Leaving aside the vexed question of how the law recognizes different kinds of couples, look what the governor is saying in that sentence BEFORE the comma. He implies that government’s power over you and me stops only at the church door. This echoes a theme from President Obama, whose speeches always refer to “freedom of worship,” not “freedom of religion.”
What’s the difference? Freedom of religion includes the individual right of conscience in conduct outside of church – exactly what secular theocrats are trampling on with the HHS mandate for Catholic and evangelical institutions to provide drugs for contraception or abortion, in violation of their allegiance to God.
“The Supreme Ruler of the Universe,” you see, is no longer acknowledged as a reality under the dominant liberal consensus. He, or it, is now treated as just an outmoded notion which backward folk are allowed to preach about in their sanctuaries – but to whom they must no longer render homage by public word or deed. That homage is now supposed to be Caesar’s alone.
Where is all this leading? For over a millennium and a half, ever since the Emperor Constantine in 312 A.D., Christians in Europe and eventually America have been accustomed to friendly treatment by civil government. But that is over, over there, and may soon be over with here.
The Church of State, as my Colorado Christian University colleague Kevin Miller calls it in his important book “Freedom Nationally, Virtue Locally,” is setting up as the one and only religious establishment. I won’t say get used to it, because we never should. It must be fought.
But we who honor the God of the Bible had better gird ourselves, for this will get worse before it gets better. We’d better study the persecuted church, thriving in China and Africa; our own time may be coming. We must realize, as the Founders knew, that America is not in the Bible. Americans are, however. It holds vast wisdom and warning for us.
As the Constantinian settlement – itself quite unscriptural – passes away, a good place to start would be Jesus’ own rule: “Render to Caesar, render to God.” That balance, the only safe harbor for faith and freedom, was lost in Christendom centuries ago. It is now ours to rebuild.
The Myth of Unfair Paychecks
A difference in pay does not prove discrimination
As any debater knows, defining the issue is a major part of the battle. On Tuesday, Democrats failed to persuade the Senate to approve the Paycheck Fairness Act. What are we to conclude from that outcome? That paychecks will be unfair, to the detriment of America's working women.
That's the claim of those supporting the legislation. President Barack Obama said it would merely mandate "equal pay for equal work." Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid of Nevada warned beforehand that failing to pass the bill would send "the message to little girls across the country that their work is less valuable because they happened to be born female."
On Rachel Maddow's blog, the complaint was that women are "still only making 77 cents for every dollar men earn in similar jobs," but Republicans "seem indifferent to the problem."
This is a myth resting on a deception. The Washington Post's official Fact Checker faulted Obama's claim, noting that "there is a wage gap, but it has declined over the decades -- and depending on how the data are viewed, in some cases it barely exists."
A difference, in any event, does not prove discrimination. Most Broadway theatergoers are female, but not because playwrights have an animus toward males. The gap reflects many benign factors stemming from the choices voluntarily made by women and men. Same with the pay gap.
Women, on average, work fewer hours and are more likely than men to take time off for family duties. A 2009 report commissioned by the U.S. Labor Department concluded that such "factors account for a major portion and, possibly, almost all of the raw gender wage gap."
"The gender gap shrinks to between 8 percent and 0 percent when the study incorporates such measures as work experience, career breaks and part-time work," Baruch College economist June O'Neill has written.
Statistical analysis, however, cuts no ice with some. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., ridicules those skeptics who cite such inconvenient evidence: "They're basically saying women choose to be paid less than men."
Not exactly. I didn't volunteer to be paid less than a big law firm partner or corporate CEO -- but going into journalism assured that I would be. Women don't go to the boss and request a smaller salary, but many of them make choices that lead to that outcome.
A fact sheet from the American Association of University Women (which favors the bill) acknowledges that "10 years after graduation (from college), 23 percent of mothers in our sample were out of the workforce and 17 percent worked part time. Among fathers, only 1 percent were out of the workforce, and only 2 percent worked part time." It's safe to assume that men who make similar work decisions experience similar consequences.
You could argue that oppressive social conventions saddle mothers with the main responsibility for this task. But given the drastic changes in sex roles and expectations over the past half-century, why should we assume that this one is being forced on women? If they tend to place greater importance on child-rearing than men, they will be more inclined to interrupt their careers, even at a sacrifice in long-term earnings.
Pay differences stemming from factors within the control of females are a "problem" only if you define them as one. By that logic, we need a Higher Education Fairness Act because men earn only 43 percent of all bachelor's degrees and 40 percent of master's degrees.
If universities are taking steps to discourage guys from enrolling, it's a problem that may be amenable to government action. But if the imbalance is the result of males skipping college in favor of other options, there is no social injustice to undo.
What the alleged gender pay gap reflects is the interaction of supply and demand in a competitive labor market. Even in a slow economy, companies that mistreat women can expect to lose them to rival employers.
The Paycheck Fairness Act would upend these processes, with the government and courts assuming responsibility for what each worker should be paid, according to Harry Reid's standards of justice and fairness. Every salary decision would be fraught with the dread prospect of litigation -- promoting rigid pay scales simply to minimize the liability risk.
The result would be a less nimble and efficient economy, which over time dampens productivity improvements and stifles wage growth. The effect on paychecks? Not fair, but foul.
A traitorous Jew whose stock on trade is lies
Peter Beinart, author of the recently published The Crisis of Zionism and editor of the Daily Beast's "Open Zion" blog, has been criss-crossing the nation on a speaking tour for months, speaking at synagogues and to Jewish student groups on college campuses. He sometimes lectures alone, and sometimes engages in "debates" with individuals whose areas of disagreement with him are limited.
American Jews are not alone in laying out the welcome mat for Beinart. Within the past week, the Jerusalem Post published an editorial welcoming Beinart into the "big tent" of "Zionism," and commending his call for a boycott of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as "well-intentioned" and somehow different from similar calls by foreign governments. In an unprecedented move, the Jerusalem Post's weekly columnist Isi Leibler was compelled to condemn his own newspaper's editorial as "idiotic."
Why are we Jews laying out the red carpet to this man? And why, in general, are we Jews so friendly and deferential to our worst enemies?
One reason is that, despite the efforts of our enemies through the ages to portray us as super-sophisticated criminal masterminds, we Jews are actually very simple-minded and naive, at least where our enemies are concerned.
Beinart professes at every opportunity to love Israel and to even be a "Zionist." He boasts that he even has an Israeli flag displayed on the wall of his six-year-old son's room. This seems to render his Jewish audiences oblivious to Beinart's repetition and endorsement of nearly every element of the Arab world's anti-Israel narrative and his overwhelmingly negative characterization of Israel as an "undemocratic" society.
Not that Beinart isn't also a clever debater. His principal tactic is to make so many false or misleading statements all at once that it is impossible to reply to or even to keep track of them all.
Inevitably, some of them will sink subliminally into the minds of his audience, if they are the least bit open to suggestion. Also in his arsenal of debating tactics are distortions by omission and false assumptions implied by his tone and the drift of his argument. These methods are especially insidious since they do not require the "lie direct" and make it difficult for the audience to examine the implied assumptions on which they are based.
All three of these tactics were much in evidence during Beinart's debate with Daniel Gordis at Columbia University on May 2. Within the space of six minutes, Beinart informed his audience that Israel's rule over the Palestinians is "undemocratic" and "South African" in character (he avoids using the inflammatory word "apartheid" when speaking to Jews not yet fully indoctrinated in hostility to Israel); that "occupied" Palestinians are not allowed to vote, while Israeli Jewish "settlers" in the "occupied territories" are; that Palestinians are stopped at checkpoints while Jewish settlers are waived through them; that Israel is sponsoring "settlement growth" in the "remote" Jewish settlement of Kiryat Arba and in Ariel, which is "thirteen miles inside" the Palestinian territories; that Israel is "paying" Israelis to move to the "occupied" territories; and that Israel's government is the obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
The claim that Israel denies the Palestinian Arabs the right to vote is flat-out false. Palestinians have voted repeatedly in Palestinian elections without Israeli interference of any kind. The only reason they have not voted in the last few years is that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, has refused to hold elections in open defiance of the Palestinians' own constitution, and he has continued to rule his people without any legal mandate. That is Abbas's own choice, not that of Israel or, for that matter, the Palestinian Arabs.
The claim that Palestinians are forced to submit to searches at checkpoints while Israelis are automatically waived through is equally false. As Eli E. Hertz has pointed out, Israeli Jews are routinely subjected to searches at checkpoints whenever they go into a supermarket, restaurant or post office, or get on a bus-usually several times each day. In addition, they are frequently stopped at roadside checkpoints, just as Palestinian Arabs are.
Nor does Israel's government pay anyone a single shekel as a reward for moving to a "settlement." In fact, it issues so few permits for new houses in the so-called "settlements"-actually villages and suburban communities less than 15 miles from Israel's 1949 armistice lines-that it is almost impossible for young Jewish couples with children to remain in them, much less for Israelis from within the "green line" to move to them.
Furthermore, there is no real similarity between Israel to apartheid-era South Africa. Israel has completely integrated public transportation, restaurants and markets, and has no legal restrictions on the right of the 1.2 million Arab citizens of Israel to live on or to own land anywhere in Israel. There are numerous integrated neighborhoods throughout the country, and Arabs serve as members of parliament, judges and government ministers. In fact, an Arab judge recently convicted former Israeli president Moshe Katzav of rape and sentenced him to prison. Could a black judge (of course there were none) have done that to a white president in apartheid South Africa?
There is no truth at all to Beinart's claim that it is Israel that has refused to make peace with the Palestinians. The Palestinian leadership refused generous Israeli proposals for a Palestinian state alongside Israel in 2000 and 2008. They now refuse even to talk to Israel's government without preconditions. For that matter, the Palestinian Arab leaders refused the proposal of the United Nations General Assembly in 1947 for a Palestinian state twice the size of the present "West Bank" and Gaza Strip combined-which Israel accepted.
Of course the Palestinian leadership has, since 1947, refused even pro forma to accept the existence of Israel as a Jewish state. It still refuses to do so.
But as outrageous as Beinart's outright falsehoods are, his omission-distortions and false implied assumptions are more damaging because the listener may not even be aware of them.
Beinart repeatedly denounces Israel for denying the Palestinians equal rights with Israelis, without mentioning that the Palestinians are waging war on Israel, and have been doing so continuously for the past 65 years. No nation has ever granted equal rights to members of a nation at war with them. Nor can any nation that is being subjected to armed aggression and siege afford to do so. The Palestinians have been waging a relentless war against Israelis for at least 92 years, even before the independent state of Israel was established. The conflict has been an extraordinarily brutal war replete with war crimes such as blowing up civilians on buses, street corners and restaurants, executing children as hostages, and beating infants to death. That war is still very much in progress, as Beinart and everyone who reads the daily newspapers knows full well.
Beinart's assumption that a state is undemocratic unless it grants equality of rights to everyone who lives under its jurisdiction is not valid even in relation to peaceful communities. Puerto Ricans living in their own country cannot vote for president or elect voting members of Congress, although they are subjected to the rule of the U.S government and to U.S.military "occupation." The inhabitants of the U.S.-ruled Virgin Islands are not even allowed to elect their own governor. The inhabitants of American Samoa and the Federated States of Micronesia in the Pacific region do not have the rights of American citizens, although they are subjected to the rule of Washington. And the people of these territories are not even at war with the United States and never have been. If Peter Beinart really believes that the right to vote and all other citizenship rights must be extended to every one living under a nation's jurisdiction, why doesn't he tour the country demanding these rights for Puerto Ricans, Virgin Islanders, Samoans, and Micronesians subject to American "occupation"?
Beinart describes the Jewish suburb of Hebron, Kiryat Arba, as a "remote" settlement without mentioning that it is all of 13 miles from Israel's parliament building in Jerusalem or about the same distance as Washington's Dulles International Airport is from the White House and the Capitol building. Nor does he mention that Jews lived in Hebron continuously for almost three thousand years before they were forced to leave as a result of the Arab pogroms of 1929.
Kiryat Arba is thus only a resettlement of a very ancient Jewish "settlement." The revived community was put outside the old city of Hebron only because the Jordanian occupiers had seized the old Jewish quarter of Hebron and given it to Arab merchants. The Israeli government, which actually favors Arabs over Jews whenever there are property disputes, has refused to permit Jews to return to the Jewish-owned but Arab-seized Jewish quarter in the old city of Hebron, thus necessitating formation of a new suburb for the city's Jewish quarter.
Beinart does mention that the "settlement" of Ariel is thirteen miles inside the "Palestinian territories," but only in the context of expressing indignation at Israel permitting some "settlement growth" in a place so "deep inside" Palestinian territory. He does not mention that Israel's pre-1967 "border" (actually a temporary military armistice line) nearest to Ariel is all of nine miles from the Mediterranean Sea. This would make it exceptionally easy for an Arab army to cut Israel in two in five minutes and drive the Jews into the sea if Israel were to evacuate the 20,000 inhabitants of Ariel, destroy the university campus there, and withdraw to pre-1967 lines in order to comply with Beinart's requirements for a "democratic" Israel and a "contiguous" Palestinian state
In any case, the supposedly sacrosanct "Palestinian" territory is only the area that happened to be occupied by Jordanian troops when Israel and Jordan negotiated the armistice (not a treaty of peace) that ended Israel's War of Independence in 1949. This is yet another fact that Beinart fails to mention when he so indignantly protests "permitted settlement growth" so deep inside the proposed territory of a projected future Palestinian state.
To return to our initial point, however, the warm welcome accorded to Beinart by Jewish communities and congregations throughout the country is far more worrisome than Beinart's own remarks, which would make little difference if he were not so readily admitted to Jewish communities like the Trojan Horse inside Troy.
For example, in his introductory remarks to a debate between Beinart and David Suissa at Hollywood's Temple Israel, John Rosove, the rabbi of the congregation, not only assured his audience of Beinart's love and loyalty for Israel, but warned them in stern tones never even to question it.
By shielding Beinart from any questioning of his motives and objectives for incessantly bashing Israel, Rosove and others acting as hosts for Beinart's presentations of course give his message a "heksher" (or rabbinical seal of approval). They have accepted the gift borne by the Greeks and brought it into the temple.
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.