Sunday, September 02, 2012
Swedish lesbians want it both ways
As it were
A lesbian couple in County Östergötland has reported the county council to the Swedish Equality Ombudsman for making them pay 3,000 kronor ($457) for two inseminations. [Surely they could get the semen at source!]
“When looking back we have felt pretty sad over the fact that it looks like this and that we are not seen as important as other couples,” the pair wrote in their report, according to local paper Norrköpings Tidningar.
The couple felt both badly treated and insignificant compared to heterosexual couples, for whom the treatment is free of charge, and have now reported the county council to the watchdog.
The women felt the doctor treating them was both ignorant and tactless, calling one of them the “father-to-be”. They also bristled at being forced to pay 3,000 kronor for two inseminations, which is free for gay women in the neighbouring county.
However, Maria Morell of the county council, is not surprised that they have been reported. “We’ve been reported before. We’re often vilified for having high fees,” she said to the paper.
Despite the recurring criticism, she doesn’t think that there is enough reason to re-think the county’s policy on insemination for gay women.
“We have identified what we think should be paid for by taxpayers’ money. We think that there should be a medical reason for infertility for the council to pay for treatment and homosexuality is not counted as a disease,” said Morell to the paper.
"It stands to reason that it would be strange if we paid for the insemination of a fertile lesbian woman, it would be like saying she is sick."
She added that if a medical examination showed that a lesbian woman had infertility difficulties, the situation would be different.
“Then she would be treated as any other woman experiencing fertility problems,” said Morell to the paper.
At long last: Squatters to face six months in prison as laws giving them rights are scrapped in Britain
Squatters’ rights will be scrapped from tomorrow, and a new law will mean those who invade private homes face six months in jail. Until now, police could not evict squatters as soon as they moved in, so a homeowner’s main option to get them out was through a civil court order – which could be time consuming, expensive and stressful.
The introduction of the criminal offence of squatting, which carries a prison sentence, a £5,000 fine or both, follows a Government consultation last summer and means police can arrest squatters immediately.
Housing minister Grant Shapps said: ‘No longer will there be so-called "squatters’ rights". 'We're tipping the scales of justice back in favour of the homeowner and making the law crystal clear: entering a property with the intention of squatting will be a criminal offence.
Justice minister Crispin Blunt said: 'For too long, squatters have had the justice system on the run and have caused homeowners untold misery in eviction, repair and clean-up costs. Not anymore.
'Hard-working homeowners need and deserve a justice system where their rights come first - this new offence will ensure the police and other agencies can take quick and decisive action to deal with the misery of squatting.'
Chief Constable Phil Gormley, from the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: 'Police can now act immediately and remove squatters directly from properties in line with the new legislation and ensure people's homes are protected.'
The new offence will protect homeowners or legitimate tenants who have been excluded from their homes. It will also protect those who own residential buildings that they don't live in, such as landlords, local authorities or second home owners.
Previously, their only option was to seek a civil court order to regain possession of their properties, which could be time consuming, expensive and stressful.
But homeless charity Crisis said the new law would criminalise vulnerable people, leaving them in prison or facing a fine they cannot pay.
'It also misses the point,' said Leslie Morphy, the charity's chief executive. 'There was already legal provision that police and councils could, and should, have used to remove individuals in the rare instances of squatting in someone's home.
'And the new law also applies to empty homes - of which there are 720,000 in England alone, including many that are dilapidated and abandoned - criminalising homeless people when they are just trying to find a place off the streets.'
She went on: 'It will do nothing to address the underlying reasons why vulnerable people squat in the first place - their homelessness and a lack of affordable housing. 'Ultimately the Government needs to tackle why homeless people squat in the first place by helping not punishing them.'
Mr Shapps also launched a clampdown on rogue landlords to bring an end to 'suburban shanty towns' that trap vulnerable people in dangerous living conditions. He launched new guidance for councils making clear the wide range of powers at their disposal shut down so-called 'beds in sheds' that blight neigbourhoods.
British court lets off Muslim pervert
As a pharmacist, he is an educated man. Saying he knew no better is absurd
A pharmacist who made crude remarks to three of his female colleagues has escaped with a warning after a panel heard he came from a 'restrictive Muslim background' and was unaware of the offence his conduct had caused.
Khalil Jamil asked one of the women about her favourite love-making position and quizzed another about the mating habits of her horses - but a professional panel ruled his behaviour was not sexually motivated.
The General Pharmaceutical Council panel found Jamil acted inappropriately by making the comments and standing too close to his assistants.
However, they accepted that his background in a strict Muslim community meant he was unfamiliar to working in such an open environment with women and his basic social skills meant he lacked understanding of appropriate conduct.
As the remarks were not sexually motivated the panel cleared Jamil of misconduct and gave him an official warning. It also took into consideration the fact that Jamil had remedied his actions by attending a 'dignity at work' course.
Panel chairman Patrick Malmo QC said: ‘He felt the source of this behaviour in 2009, was that he comes from a very restrictive background, with little social life, and none at all outside of his own community.
‘He lacked social skills, and had little knowledge of how one should be when working with colleagues. ‘He was unable to distinguish between friendliness and over familiarity.’
Mr Malmo added: ‘We do not think there is a serious risk of this kind of conduct being repeated.
‘Although we do not find the registrant impaired, we have the ability to issue a warning, and given the circumstances of this case, we believe it is necessary to do so.’
In a statement read to the hearing one of Jamil’s colleagues, referred to as CH, said she was working with Jamil at the Cooperative Pharmacy in Fauldhouse, West Lothian, in July 2009, when he asked: ‘Do you have a boyfriend? Do you want a boyfriend?’
She said: ‘Whenever it went quiet he came back to me and stood close again. He asked me if I was into sports, I said “No”. ‘He said he was into boxing and said feel my stomach. He grabbed my wrist and tried to get me to touch his stomach.'
Jamil had told the hearing that he had no desire to be in a relationship with the woman saying: ‘I suppose I was showing off, at the time, that I train, I work hard.'
He made similar remarks to another assistant, referred to only as SS, while he was working as a locum at a Morrisons pharmacy in St Andrews, Fife, in November 2009.
The pharmacist approached her while she was at the computer at and asked her if she had a boyfriend and how she liked to have sex with him.
A similar incident occurred the following week in which he put his arms around her waist.
A third woman, known as SR, was working at the same pharmacy when Jamil stood close to her that as she bent down to pick up some prescriptions, she could not help but back into him.
She added that he had asked if getting her horses’ castrated had affected the animals’ sex drives and whether it would have the same effect on a man.
He had admitted that all the incidents took place but denied any possible sexual motivation.
Speaking afterwards Graham Edwards, said on behalf of Mr Jamil: ‘I think the panel’s decision was overall correct.
‘Although Mr Jamil had not acted with sexual motivation, and although he had crossed professional boundaries, it is clear that through his insight and his remedial actions and courses followed, the correct decision has been made to assess that he is not impaired.
‘However it must be said that with Mr Jamil’s failure to observe professional boundaries, which brought him to this hearing, it is correct that the panel warned him about his future behaviour.
‘The duration of the inquiry into these matters, being three years, has caused Mr Jamil and his family to be emotionally damaging, at a great deal financial of cost.’
Progressive War on Speech and Liberty Continues
The Left’s assault on the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision got high exposure at the 2011 State of the Union when the president famously insulted his robed hostages. The fallout continues, notably in Colorado.
Several measures have been proposed here, dedicated to the proposition the First Amendment and Supreme Court protect too much speech; government should tighten the muzzle. An initiative headed for November’s ballot instructs Colorado Senators and Representatives to support a Constitutional Amendment, allowing government freer rein to restrict political speech. But the logic reaches much further. Backers seem clueless about the knife they’re holding to liberty’s throat.
The sustained campaign against Citizens United illustrates a kind of Rahm Goldwater liberalism: Never let a frenzy go to waste; moderation in understanding facts is no virtue; extremism in government solutions is no vice. Seldom has a decision been so distorted to serve preexisting narratives: Corporations are bad; government is good; campaign finance restrictions are wholesome. Nonsense all.
A little background helps reveal the fallacies. In 2008, a group wanted to produce a movie critical of Hillary Clinton. Like many collective enterprises, they organized into a nonprofit corporation, Citizens United. Here, the moviemakers crashed into the American Bastille of campaign finance: McCain-Feingold. Quintessential political speech about a major political figure? Dicey! Needs careful regulation and channeling! And corporations can’t do it at all. Zippo.
Our persistent political Spielbergs fought up to the Supreme Court, who 5-4, breathed life into the First Amendment. Organizations, like individuals, have a right to their own political speech. (The ruling didn’t address shackles currently on commercial speech; that captive still languishes, pending some future Supreme prison break.)
Liberal rage was instant: The Court said corporations are people! Money will drown citizen debate! The court tossed a century of precedent!
Most of what the media said about Citizens United was wrong or distorted: what the court actually ruled; its practical consequences; and its philosophical underpinnings. Paraphrasing a famous put-down: it was all false, including “and” and “the.”
The case didn’t overturn a century of law. Corporations still can’t give to candidates. It overturned a 5-4 decision from 1990 upholding restrictions on corporations making their own speech.
The decision doesn’t favor business; it applies to all corporate forms, including nonprofits and labor unions. Nonprofits include diverse issue groups: Sierra Club, National Rifle Association, National Education Association, etc. The court’s ruling unchained all such organizations.
Sharper pundits observe the case may actually favor labor, which historically is more a more aggressive campaigner than corporations, for obvious reasons. Companies generally want to expand marketshare, not drive away big chunks with controversial politics. The case hasn’t unleashed a flood of new spending and likely won’t.
A Colorado senate resolution this year condemned Citizens United, asserting that speech rights belong to individuals, not groups. This foolishly overlooks possible extreme consequences for all rights, including speech. If rights belong only to individuals, not organizations, then police may ignore the 4th Amendment to raid companies without a warrant. They can seize corporate property without due process, or take property for public use without compensation. The “corporations aren’t people” mantra invites all that.
The reasoning actually threatens all media speech, as well. TV networks and newspapers aren’t individuals but corporations; nothing would stop Congress from restricting their speech.
Far fetched? Maybe, but a lot is tolerated today that was once unthinkable or loudly opposed. Government’s tentacles continue growing. Colorado’s progressives, like their national brethren, aren’t reluctant to limit political speech. Last summer, a community group was cited for not organizing and filing state reports after spending more than $200 to print and distribute fliers against a local initiative. Cited for leafleting! In the tradition of the Founding Fathers! They argued that complying with complex reporting rules would force them to hire an attorney. Colorado’s senate leader, who testified against them, was unmoved, saying that’s just the price of transparency. Neighbors who want to participate might have to lawyer up.
It’s easy to foresee policy going further that direction. Progressives want government to monitor and calibrate speech. Stanford law professor Kathleen Sullivan, mentioned as a possible progressive Court nominee, described Citizens United revealingly. While actually dismissing the more fevered criticism, she acknowledged there are two competing models for interpreting the First Amendment. The court chose the “libertarian” view, hostile to government restrictions, over the “egalitarian” view that seeks to “redistribute” and “balance” speaking power.
It’s heartwarming that liberal academics can strain and find a way to acknowledge the First Amendment might somehow condemn government restrictions on speech. It’s chilling that a lot of them, four Supreme Court justices included, would rather read it to endorse speech “redistribution” in order to balance “power.”
But it thrills a lot of liberals in Colorado and elsewhere.
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.