Friday, August 31, 2012

Cosseted Americans have become soft and have lost the can-do spirit

Ancient Carthage became soft on the easy living provided by trade and ended up depending on mercenaries to defend it.  As Cato said:  "Delenda est Carthago" (Carthage is destroyed)  --JR

P. J. O'Rourke

When did America quit bragging? When did we stop punching hardest, kicking highest, roaring loudest, beating the devil, and leaving everybody else in the dust?

We’re the richest country on earth—four and a half percent of the world’s people producing more than twenty percent of the world’s wealth. But you wouldn’t know from the cheapjack spending squabbles in Congress. We possess more military power than the rest of the planet combined. Though you couldn’t tell by the way we’re treated by everyone from the impotent Kremlin to the raggedy councils of the Taliban. The earth is ours. We have the might and means to achieve the spectacular—and no intention of doing so.

Witness our foreign policy deliberations, mired in snits about what kind of underachievement to pursue. Should we quit following North Korea’s Twitter feeds? Unfriend Iran on Facebook? Withdraw our troops from the nuclei of terrorism too soon or much too soon? Aid Bashar al-Assad or abet him? Appease China little by little or all at once?

Consider our domestic policy debates—a people once proverbial for our risk-taking, our biggest election-year issue is now health insurance.

And we fret ceaselessly over balancing the budget as if the first duty of nationhood is to be a thrifty parent trying to skimp on a country’s infrastructure with a box of “Highway Helper.”

The United States has set itself on a course of willful self-diminishment. Seventy-four years ago the perfect American was Superman, who happened to have been, like many of our forefathers, an undocumented alien. If Superman arrived today—assuming he could get past the INS and Homeland Security—he would be faster than the postal service, more powerful than a New York Times blogger, and able to ascend tall buildings in a single elevator.

But they wouldn’t be the tallest buildings, at least not if Superman stuck around Gotham. Nine out of ten of the tallest buildings in the world are now in Asia or the Middle East. Tallest is Burj Khalifa in Dubai. At 2,723 feet, it’s nearly twice as high as Chicago’s Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower. The last time America built the tallest building was when people were still ordering things by mail from the Sears catalog in 1974.

The fastest car you can buy is the French-built Bugatti Veyron, which, at 267 miles per hour, is quicker than a Dominique Strauss-Kahn seduction. The fastest train is the Shanghai Maglev, which goes 268 mph just to get from the airport to downtown.

The biggest passenger airplane is the EU’s Airbus A380. The biggest airplane of all is the Russian Antonov An-225, now based in that hotbed of progress, Ukraine.

The fastest commercial aircraft was the Anglo-French Concorde supersonic transport, which began scheduled flights in the disco era and went out of service in 2003. America helped kill it by banning flights over the US landmass for fear that the sonic booms would interrupt us while we were talking to our plants or something. And America helped kill a newer generation of longer-range, more fuel-efficient SSTs by cutting off government funding in 1971.

The US does hold the record for the fastest military aircraft, the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, flying at just over 2,193 mph. But that record was set while Gerald Ford was president, in an airplane built when President Obama was still in pull-ups.

The fastest passenger ship is American too, the SS United States, with a top speed of 38 knots. On July 7, 1952, it won the Atlantic crossing “Blue Riband,” beating the fourteen-year-old record held by the RMS Queen Mary by ten hours and two minutes. Today the United States sits derelict and rusting at a dock in Philadelphia.

The largest passenger ships in service are Royal Caribbean’s Oasis Class trips-to-nowhere cruise vessels, built in Finland. The largest container ships, floating testimonies to the decline in American manufacturing, are launched in Denmark. The largest supertankers, with their proclamation of continuing dependence on nineteenth-century energy technology, are made in South Korea.

But America has both the largest and the fastest warships, useful for getting numerous military personnel stateside quickly so that the next wars can be fought by the Afghan army, our NATO allies, African Union troops, Israel, and UN peacekeepers.

The list of our sub-marvels and un-wonders goes on. The Hoover Dam is by no means the world’s highest. It doesn’t even rank in the top twenty. Number one is the Nurek Dam in Tajikistan, a country that hardly has any water.

For fifty years, from 1931 to 1981, the US had the longest suspension bridge spans, first with the George Washington Bridge, then the Golden Gate, then the Verrazano-Narrows. Now even Hull, England, has a more spectacular place to make a bungee jump. Although we are in the lead with that. The elasticized drop from Colorado’s Royal Gorge Bridge is 1,053 feet long, showing that whatever America has lost in technological superiority we’ve made up for in sheer idiotic behavior.

Speaking of which, there’s our space program, which has basically ceased to exist. We have a NASA that might as well have been dreamed up by Alger Hiss. In order for Americans to get to the International Space Station, they have to go to Russia.

And in order for Americans to get to the bottom of how the universe works, they have to go to Switzerland. We were planning to build a high-energy particle collider in Texas that would have had a circumference of fifty-four miles—three times the size and power of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Geneva. But Congress canceled the project in 1993.

America has had plenty of reasons to abdicate the crown of accomplishment and marry the Wallis Simpson of homely domestic concerns. Received wisdom tells us that, in the matter of great works and vast mechanisms, all is vanity. The Nurek Dam probably endangers some species of Nurek newt and will one day come crashing down in a manner that will make the aftermath of Japan’s Fukushima tsunami look like an overwatered lawn. And we have better things to spend our country’s money on, like putting a Starbucks on every city block. But I suspect there’s a sadder reason for America’s post-eminence in things tremendous, overwhelming, and awesome.

My sad generation of baby boomers can be blamed. We were born into an America where material needs were fulfilled to a degree unprecedented in history. We were a demographic benison, cherished and taught to be self-cherishing. We were cosseted by a lush economy and spoiled by a society grown permissive in its fatigue with the strictures of depression and war. The child being father to the man, and necessity being the mother of invention, we wound up as the orphans of effort and ingenuity. And pleased to be so. Sixty-six years of us would be enough to take the starch out of any nation.

Much more HERE

Only conservatives can commit hate crimes

Last week, a man with a master's degree from George Mason University, a gun and 50 rounds of ammo walked into the Family Research Council. When a building manager named Leo Johnson blocked his entry, he shot Leo in the arm.

Leo Johnson wrestled the shooter to the ground, saving untold lives. The shooter then begged for mercy from the unarmed man, saying something like, "Don't shoot me. It was not about you. It was what this place stands for."

In the shooter's backpack were 15 Chick-fil-A sandwiches, which he apparently planned to drop on the bodies of the many people he wanted to kill. The shooter's parents later told police that he "has strong opinions with respect to those he believes do not treat homosexuals in a fair manner."

The shooter (whom I refuse to name) has been charged with assault with intent to kill and with bringing a firearm across state lines. But he has not been charged with violating D.C.'s hate crime laws.

The Southern Poverty Law Center has come under considerable just criticism for lumping in "anti-gay" groups like FRC with hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. But a more serious double standard has so far flown under the radar screen.

It's bad when a private group misuses its social capital fighting genuine civil rights abuses to label a mainstream Christian advocacy group a hate group. But it's far worse when the police fail to enforce the law equally. And that is what I believe is happening. Why has the D.C. police refused to prosecute as a potential hate crime what the FBI is investigating as an act of domestic terrorism?

The D.C. anti-bias statute is quite broad and its language clearly includes politically motivated crimes:

"'Bias-related crime' means a designated act that demonstrates an accused's prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, homelessness, physical disability, matriculation, or political affiliation of a victim of the subject designated act." D.C. Code 22-3701.

On Aug. 16 the Anti-Defamation League issued a press release and called on the Metropolitan Police to investigate the crime as a possible hate crime:

"We are confident that the Metropolitan Police Department will fully investigate this crime. If the facts reveal that the perpetrator was motivated by unlawful bias, law enforcement authorities should consider prosecution under the D.C. Bias Crime Statute."

So why hasn't the shooter been charged with a hate crime?

The Family Research Council opposes hate crimes laws, but that should have nothing to do with whether a law on the books gets enforced equally. Bias crimes are based on the theory that the victims of a bias crime are not just the individual harmed, but all others in the class intended to be terrorized by the crime.

Is political pressure in liberal D.C. keeping the police from enforcing the law?

I ask this question in part for a personal reason. The FRC shooting came a week after a package addressed to me personally showed up in the National Organization for Marriage offices filled with feces and hate and used condoms. (I have stepped down from the NOM board, but apparently the guy who dropped off the package isn't keeping up with the latest.)

According to NOM office workers who were there at the time, the police wanted to investigate it as a potential hate crime. The police LGBT hate crimes division was called to the scene (odd, because obviously the hatred thus expressed against me and NOM was not directed at LGBT people) and told the cops not to investigate it as a hate crime. The cops tried to argue with them, but no deal.

In at least two instances, to my direct knowledge, a crime directed at a person or organization who opposes gay marriage was not investigated by D.C. cops as a bias crime.

A nasty package is a minor event. A shooter who intended mass murder is deadly serious.

Together they make up a pattern.

Do we have to wait for a third incident before the police of the District of Columbia, which is ultimately controlled by Congress, act to make sure the laws are enforced equally for all?


Must not try to brighten up  common areas of British welfare  housing

Residents of a block of flats have been ordered to take pictures down from communal walls because they are dangerous and breach health and safety rules.

Housing bosses have warned the tenants of nine properties in Stockport, Greater Manchester, that any ‘non-compliant’ photos and portraits will be removed and eventually destroyed after an inspection tomorrow.

Even doormats are being outlawed by the killjoys who say they are too dangerous.

Those living there say they have put up their own pictures to brighten up the corridors and some photos belonged to a former neighbour who has died.

But to their dismay they were warned of the inspection in a letter from social landlord Stockport Homes, which runs their building.

It said ‘obstructive’ or ‘combustible’ items - including doormats as well as picture frames - were banned from communal areas because they could potentially pose a fire hazard.

The letter, signed by neighbourhood housing officer Abbie Booth, said Stockport Homes was prepared to allow just two pictures in the entire ground floor corridor - one on each side of the hallway.

The letter warns anyone who fails to do so will be in breach of their tenancy agreement.

Resident Stewart Edge, 64, said he and his neighbours had been ‘gobsmacked’ by the warning.  Mr Edge, who has lived in the block for 12 years, said: 'It seems ridiculous. We were just trying to brighten up our home and we’re really hurt that we’re going to have to take them down.

'It’s very heavy-handed and I just can’t believe they see this as a priority and something they should be devoting time to enforcing.

'If a picture frame is a fire hazard then I don’t know where you draw the line. Surely sending out these pointless letters could be classed as a fire hazard as well?

'It’s just so over the top and bizarre it’s hard to know whether to laugh or actually get quite angry about it.'

Stockport Homes was not available for comment.

Joan Marshall, 68, told The Sun: 'It’s stupid — we all want to keep the pictures up. We all see the corridors as part of our homes.'


End of welfare culture as young Brits must work unpaid before claiming benefits

Young people will have to complete three months of work experience before they can claim unemployment benefits under Government plans to end the “something for nothing” welfare culture.

The plans are the first step toward establishing a “contributory” benefits system, where only those who have put something into society can expect payouts.

Chris Grayling, the work minister, and Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, announced a pilot scheme which will involve about 6,000 people who have not worked for six months being forced to gain job experience.

The scheme will be rolled out nationwide next year. Mr Grayling said: “Many other countries don’t allow young people to claim any benefits at all until they have made contributions through a job.

“This trial will give a clear idea of the impact of an approach that says, effectively, you can’t get something back until you have put something in.”

He added: “Its time to look at a different way in Britain. A 'something for nothing’ culture does no one any favours. It makes those who are doing the right thing cynical. And for those who head straight into the welfare state, it sets them out in life on precisely the wrong footing.”

Areas that were hit by riots last summer, including Croydon and Haringey, will be among the first where the scheme is tested. Currently, people can claim benefits for at least six months before being pushed into back-to-work programmes. Unemployment benefit is worth £56 a week but claimants also qualify for a range of other handouts.

The Conservatives are expected to make further toughening of the welfare system the centrepiece of their next election manifesto.

Ministers are studying foreign benefits payments which often limit how long people can claim state payouts, or which attach other onerous conditions.

Official figures are expected to show that there are still hundreds of thousands of British households where no one has ever worked.

Teenagers from these homes often sign on to benefits as soon as they leave school, with little prospect of ever entering the workplace.

Under the new pilot scheme, those aged between 18 and 24 with less than six months history of paid work will have to complete 30 hours a week of work experience for three months. They will also be given training on writing a CV and interview technique. They will not receive benefits unless they attend the placements.

Boris Johnson said: “It’s no secret that work experience can be the key that opens the door to a successful career and more young Londoners need to be given the opportunity to do it.

“Right now, it’s a tough labour market out there and we have to ensure that all young people get the skills they need to succeed and for which employers are crying out.”

The Government recently won a legal case after young unemployed people objected to being asked to complete voluntary work experience schemes. A judge dismissed claims that the schemes amounted to “slave labour”.



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 WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

A cry of rage at beauty ideals

The British lady writing below exudes rage very ably but I cannot see that she makes any argument against Western beauty ideals and those who are influenced by them.  Anger and abuse is supposed to substitute for rational argument, apparently.  Very Leftist.  But it IS from "The Guardian" so most of its readers will simply enjoy the injection of rage, regardless of its intolerance

I don't actually see that she CAN make an argument against aesthetic preferences:  "De gustibus non disputandum est".  So perhaps rage is all that is left.

The author's facial skin (below) looks rather stretched.  I wonder .....   Leftist hypocrisy would be nothing new

This weekend, I am off to interview a young Hollywood starlet. She is pale-skinned, blue-eyed, with golden hair falling lustrously about her shoulders. She resembles nothing less than a modern take on Botticelli's Venus, short merely of a clamshell. On closer inspection, this goddess is not actually that beautiful – charming certainly, but without the harmonious symmetry of planes and plumpness conventional notions demand. And, yet, she has The Package: the constituents that are perceived to win her leading roles and heartthrob boyfriends, and are a source of emulation for millions – punishingly so for some.

Meanwhile, on the cover of September's O, or Oprah magazine – Winfrey's influential "empowerment"-focused organ – our heroine is shown letting her hair down, or rather up and out. For, behold, she is sporting a lavish afro rather than the Wasp blow-dry she usually favours – as advocated by the $9bn black hair industry examined in Chris Rock's 2009 documentary, Good Hair. Winfrey, at 58, has never looked more beautiful.

Yet, even for a woman who has championed both black and feminist causes – and embodied Toni Morrison characters – this is clearly A Big Deal, requiring editorial explanation. The daytime diva reveals that she likes feeling "unencumbered" with natural hair: "But it's hard to manage daily … in order for me not to look, as Gayle says, 'like you put your finger in a light socket'." Gayle is Gayle King, a woman who appears similarly wedded to her straighteners.

One is uncomfortably reminded of postcolonial theorist Frantz Fanon's arguments in his seminal 1952 study Black Skin, White Masks, where black upward mobility is expressed via stringent, self-policing white imitation. Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye (1970) also comes to mind, in which self-loathing Pecola Breedlove prays each night for whiteness. Meanwhile, its narrator, Claudia MacTeer, is presented with a succession of "blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned" baby dolls: "'Here,' they said, 'this is beautiful, and if you are on this day "worthy" you may have it'."

I bow to no one in my love of lipstick, powder and paint, and the jubilant creativity in their wielding. Ornamentation rituals are a defining feature of human society: first we get food and fire sorted, then we daub cave walls and ourselves. However, in too many parts of the world "because you're worth it" translates as Morrison's "'this is beautiful, and if you are on this day "worthy" you may have it'".

In India, an estimated 40% of the nation uses face whiteners, since pallor – like straightened black hair in America – is considered both professionally and sexually desirable. This year, its citizens are expected to spend half a billion dollars on such products, up 15% from 2011. Companies such as Unilever, L'Oréal and Garnier are reaping vast profits using Bollywood stars as role models. Yet, where 700 million Indians are living on less than $2 a day, perilous, unbranded chemical options are rife.

In China, similarly racial, indeed racist, reinventions abound, most obviously in the realm of plastic surgery. Chinese surgeons undertake 13% of global procedures, generating some 20,000 complaints about disfigurement a year. Typical interventions include eyelid modification to create an upper-lid crease, rhinoplasty to raise the nose, cheek implants and even sole implants in the feet to make patients taller.

Evidence also issues from traditionally wealthy nations. In Japan, breast enlargements are deployed to create a western "bon-kyu-bon" ("big-small-big", or hourglass) figure. In New York, where a century ago Jews were having nose jobs and the Irish ear-pinning to assimilate, Asians and Latinos are queuing up at surgeries in immigrant neighbourhoods.

Naomi Wolf's Beauty Myth of 1991 posited the thesis that the beauty industry promulgates a cultural, economic and ideological scam. However, it is no less than an empire: a form of stealth imperialism in which self-harm is weapon-in-chief. Perhaps, in time, as China and India consolidate their positions as the new global superpowers, the west will learn to crave eastern pulchritude, ridding itself of blondness and blue eyes accordingly.


Defeating the Islamo-‘Progressive’ Axis

There’s evidently a fine line between a “hate crime” and a BLT.

The Reuters headline screamed: “Bacon found at NY Muslim celebration probed as possible hate crime.” I was expecting the subtitle: “Cops bring lettuce & tomato, dispose of evidence,” but to no avail. (Pork, of course, is verboten in Islamic culture. Don’t knock it, I say.)

Condemnation was swift and judgment final: “It’s anti-Islamic sentiment – a sign they don’t want us to feel welcome,” charged Cyrus McGoldrick, spokesman for the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR.

Indeed, at the very least such a stupid, “Islamophobic” prank was, um, tasteless.

Except that it wasn’t.  A caller to a local newspaper took credit for the crime: “This is-I was reading the article about the horrible incident of bacon and Muslims in the park and I wanted to let you know that is not my intention. I had put the bacon there. It was going bad in my trunk and I put it out for the scavengers like the opossums and the raccoons and sea gulls, and I did not intend for that to cause anybody any problems.”

So, apparently, knee-jerk liberals and mainstream media have egg on their face once again. (Add toast and you get a Denny’s Grand Slam.)

Let’s put aside for a moment that we live in a hyper-sensitive, politically correct culture wherein hurting someone’s feelings is, quite literally, a federal offense. I’m more interested in the blaring double standard.

Bacon at a Muslim picnic? “Hate crime.” A crucifix with the image of Christ submerged in urine? “Art.”

I know, there was that time a group of tea-partiers stormed the mosque in Lansing, Mich, threw Oscar Mayer ham slices on the children, mocked the women for their hijabs and screamed: “Mohammed slept with a nightlight!” but …

No, actually, it was a group of homosexual activists who stormed a Christian church in Lansing, Mich, threw condoms at people, committed gross displays of public perversion in front of children and screamed, “Jesus was gay!”

“Hate crime, right?” Not a chance. Not even a ticket. In fact, law enforcement knew about the “protest” in advance and refused to send police. They sent a reporter instead.  You get the point.

Indeed, secular-“progressive” hostility toward Christianity is at an all-time high. But it’s not just “gay” activists and other “progressive” extremists. It’s systemic. It’s Democrat-tested and Obama-approved.

The Family Research Council, or FRC – no stranger to violent “hate crimes” that somehow aren’t “hate crimes” – has released a study cataloging a vast sampling of the left’s anti-Christian attacks. (The study can be found at I highly recommend you review it before stepping into the voting booth this November.)

Yet the same “progressives” who find “homophobia” under every bed, and “Islamophobia” around each corner, have never imagined the cancerous “Christaphobia” that courses throughout their very own veins. Their narrow little minds won’t allow it. The poor sap with hateful halitosis is usually the last to know.

Still, what’s most remarkable is that secular-“progressives” and Islamists – such as the aforementioned CAIR and President Obama’s “Muslim Brotherhood” pals – have forged a bizarre and notably incongruous sociopolitical partnership.

Consider, for instance, that central to Muslim teaching is the mandate that homosexuals, when discovered, are to be summarily executed. Yet, homosexual activists and other liberals are usually the first to cry “Islamophobia” if anyone points out the bloody precepts central to mainstream Islamic dogma.

And how about women? Well, according to Islamic law – again, mainstream, not fringe – women are treated as chattel and can be beaten with impunity for any reason or no reason at all.

Yet liberal feminists – “tolerant” to a fault when it serves their agenda – will trip over themselves to ignore such “cultural diversity.”

The only explanation, as far as I can tell, is best illustrated by the maxim: “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

But, who is this common enemy?  Well, it too is signified by an alliance. This alliance, however, is most simpatico. It consists of Christians and Jews worldwide. It too is built around a shared cause.

But unlike that of the Islamo-“progressive” axis, this cause intends freedom, not tyranny – representative democracy, not control. Most importantly, this Judeo-Christian cause is built upon the rock of truth given us by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The God of the living, not the dead. The great “I Am.”

I’m currently reading the two-part work, “Democracy in America,” written by Alexis De Tocqueville in 1835. The French statesman and historian immersed himself in American society and was left stunned by the indissoluble synthesis of Christianity and American culture.

He observed at the time that in America, “Christianity is the companion of liberty in all its conflicts – the cradle of its infancy, and the divine source of its claims.”

“There is no country in the world where the Christian religion retains a greater influence over the souls of men than in America, and there can be no greater proof of its utility and of its conformity to human nature than that its influence is powerfully felt over the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.”

“The Americans combine the notions of Christianity and of liberty so intimately in their minds,” wrote De Tocqueville, “that it is impossible to make them conceive the one without the other.”

Impossible so it must have seemed. Regrettably, however, De Tocqueville could never have foreseen today’s Islamo-“progressive” machine. It relentlessly endeavors to stifle Christianity’s profound influence on America.

Indeed, that influence will surely continue to fade lest Christians – both individually and corporately – again shine bright as the morning sun.

The historical record is indisputable. For almost two-and-a-half centuries, biblical Christianity has been America’s moral compass. It was Christians who, as wrote De Tocqueville, made America “the most enlightened and free nation of the earth.”

We’ve lost that moral compass and, today, wander aimlessly in the wilderness as a result. It’s up to Christian America to again find the way.

We must.  For if we don’t lead, who then will the world follow?


Must not laugh at Muslims

It was probably unlikely that a TV comedy series about a Muslim community leader would pass without comment.  And so it was that in the region of 200 complaints were made to the BBC yesterday after it broadcast the first episode of Citizen Khan.  It was claimed that the programme ‘takes the mickey out of Islam’, was guilty of ‘stereotypes about Asians’ and was ‘disrespectful to the Koran’.

One scene that particularly provoked anger was where a heavily-made up girl, Mr Khan’s daughter, rushed to put on a hijab and pretended to be reading the Koran when her father entered.

The six-part series, which aired for the first time on BBC1 on Monday at 10.35pm, has been created by British Muslim Adil Ray, who also plays the lead role.

One viewer wrote on the BBC’s messageboard: ‘This is terrible stereotyping, ignorant and just dreadful.’

Another said: ‘HIGHLY disappointed especially when her father walks in and she dis-respectfully opens the Koran!!’

But others defended the show. One said: ‘People are reading too much in to Citizen Khan, especially the hijab thing, it happens!’

The series stars former My Family actor Kris Marshall as the mosque manager and Shobu Kapoor, who is known for her work on EastEnders, who plays Mr Khan’s wife.

The comedy mocks Mr Khan’s self-importance, including his delusions about his position in the community and about his standing in the business world.

Critics have complained that it repeats many stereotypes about British Muslims, with the first episode all about the troubled wedding plans of one of Mr Khan’s daughters.

Some claimed while Goodness Gracious Me, the acclaimed BBC2 Asian sketch show, had challenged stereotypes, the new show reinforced them.  The two other writers on the show, Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto, had both worked on Goodness Gracious Me.

A BBC spokesman said: ‘Citizen Khan has made a very positive start, launching successfully with 3.6million viewers and a 21.5 per cent share in a late night slot.

‘New comedy always provokes differing reactions from the audience. The characters are comic creations and not meant to be representative of the community as a whole.’

In a recent interview with BBC Breakfast, Mr Ray said the show was allowing the Muslim community to laugh at itself.  He said: ‘I think it is a great opportunity, with Mr Khan as a Pakistani Muslim and the character, to take that kind of really rich content and laugh at ourselves and I am a firm believer in that.’


The Left's Ferocious Wolves

The phrase “the so-called tolerant Left” has been used so many times that it is almost hackneyed.

The Left hasn’t been tolerant for years. And in episode after episode of instances that I thought I would never see in the United States, it is increasingly becoming not just passé’ to adhere to traditional values, but illegal and in some cases downright dangerous.

Christians take note: depending on your locale, you may be in violation of the law if you do something crazy and that is contrary to the new values of 21st Century America. And by “crazy” I mean stand by the values of your faith.

Take for example the case of Elane Photography v. Willock which is slated to be heard by the New Mexico Supreme Court. Bear in mind throughout this story that New Mexico, for now does not recognize same sex unions or civil marriages. Elane Photography is owned by Elaine Huguenin and her husband Jon, who are both Christians. Back in 2009, Vanessa Willock wanted to engage the Huguenin’s services in commitment ceremony between Willock and another woman.

Because of her faith Elaine Huguenin declined the job. The Huguenin’s did not try to prevent the civil ceremony, nor did they enlist others to do so and they did not organize any anti-gay demonstrations or publish any literature relating to the same. They simply followed the dictates of their beliefs and followed suit with signs in establishments across the United Stares: “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to anyone”. Now I have no idea of the Huguenins have such a sign, but it is not supposed to be a crime for a business such as Elane Photography not to take a job.

Bear I mind, the refusal was not based on the gender of the customer, or the customer’s race and not even because of the customer’s sexual orientation. It was because Elane Huguenin does not believe in same-sex marriage and because the message such a ceremony would convey is contrary to her beliefs.

Ms. Willock was free to take her business to any other photographer in town. She did and she also took her business to the New Mexico Human Rights Commission. After a one day trial, Huguenin was found guilty of sexual orientation discrimination and slapped her with almost $7,000 in attorney’s fees. The state prosecuted Elaine and Jon Huguenin, not for preventing someone for doing what they wanted to do, but for refusing to participate in it due to religious beliefs.

The Wisconsin-based Freedom From Religion Foundation has taken an interest in Ridgeland High School football team, so much so that it has sent a letter to the district superintendent demanding an investigation into Coach Mark Mariakis. His transgression?

He took his team to area churches for pre-game meals. Even though the team visits a different church before each game, the act is unconscionable to Freedom From Religion. I am sure that a vein burst in the FFRF’s collective head when it found that the coach had provided t-shirts with Bible verses, used said verses in motivational speeches, prays with the team,  and  *gasp* participates in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. According to the FFRF’s lawyer Andrew Seidel, these actions “shatters” the protections of the First Amendment.

Then there was the Great Prop 8 Debate in the Golden State. Supporters of traditional marriage there were treated to a whole laundry list of violent acts. Notable among those acts were death threats:

 “In Fresno, the town mayor received a death threat for supporting Prop 8. The threat stated, "Hey Bubba, you really acted like a real idiot at the Yes of [sic] Prop 8 Rally this past weekend. Consider yourself lucky. If I had a gun I would have gunned you down along with each and every other supporter."

The threat also mentioned a "little surprise" for a local pastor who supported Prop 8 and "his congregation of lowlife's" [sic]. "Keep letting him preach hate and he'll be sorry," the perpetrator threatened. "He will be meeting his maker sooner than expected." The threat also stated that anyone in Fresno displaying a Yes on Prop 8 yard sign or bumper sticker was "in danger of being shot or firebombed." Police took the threat seriously, launching a criminal investigation and taking extra steps to protect the mayor and pastor.

So in 21st Century America, Christians should take great care in exercising their faith, lest they be sued, harassed and even threatened with death. Personal beliefs and free exercise of religion are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

“They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will know them.” Matthew 7:15-16


Australian Internet data tracking proposal seen as 'a police state'

PROPOSED laws that would allow the web and telecommunications data of all Australians to be stored for two years have been dubbed "characteristic of a police state".

The federal government has sent its contentious discussion paper on changes to the national security legislation to a parliamentary inquiry rather than introduce it as legislation. In July, the Attorney-General, Nicola Roxon, acknowledged the privacy and financial costs of the scheme, saying "the case has yet to be made" for the controversial plan.

In a heated submission to that inquiry, Victoria's Acting Privacy Commissioner, Anthony Bendall, dubbed the proposals "characteristic of a police state", arguing "it is premised on the assumption that all citizens should be monitored".

"Not only does this completely remove the presumption of innocence which all persons are afforded, it goes against one of the essential dimensions of human rights and privacy law: freedom from surveillance and arbitrary intrusions into a person's life," he said.

The government says its proposals are under consideration only, and it has sought the views of the multi-party inquiry on the plans in its discussion paper.

These include allowing authorities to access anyone's computer to get to a suspect's device, or to "enter a third-party premises for the purposes of installing a surveillance device".

It is also considering increasing the scope of search warrants from 90 days to six months and establishing an "authorised operations scheme" to protect ASIO officers from civil or criminal liability.

The government says telecommunications intercept laws, which date from 1979, have become hopelessly outdated.

But civil liberties groups and telcos have slammed the proposals in submissions to the inquiry.

The Law Council of Australia said if the wide range of proposals were adopted, they would "constitute a very significant expansion of the powers of Australia's law enforcement and intelligence agencies". It questioned whether this was necessary given the "extensive catalogue" of powers the agencies already had.

The Public Interest Advocacy Centre said the legislation was unnecessary and posed a threat to privacy rights.

"Extension of these powers to people not suspected of any crime who, for example, happen to live in property adjoining that of a suspect, is disproportionate to the purpose that covert search warrants are intended to achieve and is an unjustifiable incursion of the right to privacy," the centre said.

The internet provider iiNet said the government had failed to demonstrate how current laws were failing or how criminals and terrorists posed a threat to networks, and said asking carriers to intercept and store customers' data for two years could make them "agents of the state" and increase costs.

A joint submission from telco industry groups said companies were "naturally predisposed to protecting [their] infrastructure" without government requiring them to do so. Further, it argued, it would cost between $500 million and $700 million to keep data for two years. It called for full compensation from the government's security agencies.

The Australian Federal Police and the Australian Taxation Office were among the few supporting the proposal to retain all telecommunications data.

The ATO said the proposal would be consistent with European practices and that being able to access real-time telecommunications data would allow it to "respond more effectively" to attempts to defraud the Commonwealth.

The AFP said interception capabilities were increasingly being "undermined" by fundamental changes to the telecommunications industry and communications technologies.



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 WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The high rate of African insanity

I don't suppose I am allowed to mention that so let me reproduce what the do-gooders say.  It is a promotion for a conference to be held in London:


There is increasing concern among service users, psychologists, social workers and some psychiatrists about the use of specific labels, especially ‘schizophrenia’, to describe complex problems of living; and the view is has growing that psychiatric labelling is damaging and promotes stigma. Black and some other ethnic minorities seem to suffer most, young African-Caribbean men in particular being much more likely to be labelled ‘schizophrenic’, admitted to hospital on section, and forced to receive neuroleptic drugs. As a result, psychiatry itself is being experienced as oppressive and racist and it is not clear why psychiatry still continues to give such importance to diagnosis.

This conferences will look critically at psychiatric labelling and its effects on BME communities.

The conference aims to bring together academics, researchers, practitioners including health and social care workers, and mental health clinicians who have researched in this field and/or have experience in providing medical, psychological and social care interventions across fields.


We must define the high rate of black insanity out of existence, in other words  -- JR

Christian leader to sue  Southern Poverty Law Center over  'Hate Group' Label

A prominent evangelist is threatening to sue the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after it labeled his Internet-based ministry a "hate group."  According to a press release, Bill Keller -- deemed "the world's leading Internet evangelist" and the founder of -- is planning a $100 million defamation lawsuit against the SPLC.

"The sad shooting the other day at the Family Research Council by a man who supports the radical homosexual agenda, was clearly fueled by the left wing group, the Southern Poverty Law Center," Keller is quoted by ThinkProgress as saying. "I receive at least 4-5 death threats a month for taking a Biblical stand on issues like homosexuality, the false religion of Islam and other cults, and the fact life begins at conception and choosing to end that life is nothing more than legalized infanticide."

He continued, "Groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center give license to individuals who oppose a Biblical worldview to take whatever actions they deem fit, even acts of violence, to silence those they disagree with. Sadly, this intimidation has worked, because there are very few like myself who are willing to go into the mainstream media and promote Biblical truth that a large percentage of society now rejects."

Keller's nod to the Family Research Council (FRC) is particularly appropriate given that the organization's similar designation as a "hate group" has been the subject of recent debate, following this week's shooting of a security guard at the FRC's Washington, D.C.-based headquarters. Alleged shooter Floyd Lee Corkins was reportedly carrying a backpack full of Chick-fil-A sandwiches and had recently been been volunteering at a local community center for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, according to the Associated Press.

Keller has become notorious for his vehemently anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT stance. Following the suicide of gay teen Jamie Hubley last fall, Keller penned a statement blaming "the homosexual community and media who promote this lifestyle to society," naming Anderson Cooper, Rachel Maddow and Ellen Degeneres, according to Right Wing Watch.

"A 15-year-old has no real understanding of sexuality, and most are still trying to figure out life and how they fit in," Keller said in a statement at the time.  "It is the homosexual community and media who promote this lifestyle to society, forcing it to validate legally and ethically this choice of sexual behavior and relationships to our children as normal, even desirable behavior!"


Leftist antisemitism resurgent

And Leftist Jews are collaborating with it

This week a German doctor in Bavaria filed a criminal complaint against Rabbi David Goldberg.

Rabbi Goldberg's "crime"? He performs ritual circumcisions on Jewish male infants in accordance with Jewish law.  The doctor's complaint came shortly after a ruling by a court in Cologne outlawing the practice of male circumcision.

The Austrians and the Swiss also took the ruling to heart and have banned infant male circumcision in several hospitals in Switzerland as well as in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg. Denmark and Scandinavian governments are also considering limiting the practice of circumcision which has constituted one of the foundational rituals of Judaism for four thousand years.

Meanwhile, in Norway Dr. Anne Lindboe has come up with the perfect way out of the artificial crisis. Lindboe serves a Norway's ombudsman for children's rights. And she proposes that we Jews just change our religion to satisfy anti-Jewish sensitivities. She suggests we replace circumcision with "a symbolic, nonsurgical ritual."

It's worth mentioning that circumcision isn't the only Jewish ritual these enlightened Europeans find objectionable. Sweden, Norway and Switzerland have already banned kosher slaughter.

Attacking circumcision isn't just a European fetish. The urge to curb Jewish religious freedom has reached the US as well. Last year San Francisco's Jewish Community Relations Council had to sue the city to strike a measure from last November's ballot that would have banned circumcision if passed. The measure's sponsor gathered the requisite 12,000 signatures to enter the proposition on the ballot. Circumcising males under the age of 18 would have been classified as a misdemeanor punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison. Sponsors of the measure distributed anti-Semitic materials depicting rabbis performing circumcisions as villains.

The people involved in banning or attempting to ban circumcision are not on the political fringe of their societies. They are part of a leftist establishment. They are doctors and lawyers, judges and politicians. This doesn't mean that all their fellow leftists are anti-Semites. But it does mean the political Left in the Western world feels comfortable keeping company with anti-Semites.

This state of affairs is even more striking in international affairs than in domestic politics. On the international level the Left's readiness to rub elbows with anti-Semites has reached critical levels.

While the Europeans have long been happy to cater to the anti-Semitic whims of the Islamic world, the escalation of the West's willingness to accept anti-Semitism as a governing axiom in international affairs is nowhere more apparent than in the Obama administration's foreign policy.

And the American Left's willingness - particularly the American Jewish Left's willingness - to cover up the administration's collusion with anti- Semitic regimes at Israel's expense is higher today than ever before.

A clear-cut example of both the Obama administration's willingness to adhere to anti- Semitic policies of anti-Semitic governments and the Left's willingness to defend this bigoted behavior is the Obama administration's decision not to invite Israel to participate in its new Global Counterterrorism Forum.

The GCTF was founded with the stated aim of fostering international cooperation in fighting terrorism. But for the Obama administration, it was more important to make Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, who supports the Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist groups, feel comfortable, than it was to invite Israel to participate.

Not only did the US exclude Israel, at the GCTF's meeting last month in Spain, Maria Otero, the State Department's under secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights, seemed to embrace the Muslim world's obscene claim that Israelis are not victims of terrorism because terrorism against Israel isn't terrorism.

In her speech, titled "Victims of Terrorism," Otero spoke of terror victims in Jordan, Turkey, Pakistan, Uganda, Colombia, Northern Ireland, Indonesia, India and the US. But she made no mention of Israeli terror victims.

Rather than criticize the administration for its decision to appease bigots at the expense of their victim, American Jewish leftists have defended the administration. Writing in The Atlantic, Zvika Kreiger, senior vice president of the far-left S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace, wrote that allowing the Jewish state entry to the GCTF parley would have "undermined the whole endeavor."

Kreiger sympathetically quoted a State Department official who explained that actually, by ostracizing Israel the administration was helping Israel.

The source "reasoned the progress made by the organization would ultimately better serve Israel's interests (not to mention those of the United States) than would the symbolic benefits of including it in a group that likely wouldn't accomplish anything. [Moreover]... once the organization was up and running, and its agenda was established, they could find ways to include Israel that would not be disruptive."

So despite the fact that Israel is a major target of terrorism, and despite the fact that many of the states the US invited to its forum condone terrorism against Israel and support terrorist groups that murder Israeli Jews, Israel is better off being excluded, because the anti-Jewish governments invited by the Obama administration will somehow totally change their perspective on anti-Jewish terrorism as long as they don't have to suffer the irritation of sitting in the same room as real-live representatives of the Jewish state.


No room for Sharia in Australia, says senior judge

A FORMER High Court chief justice has used an address in Sydney to argue against incorporating parts of Islamic law into the Australian judicial system.

Sir Gerard Brennan, who served on the High Court from 1981 to 1998, and as chief justice from 1995 to 1998, told an audience at The University of New South Wales that there was no room for Sharia law in the Australian legal system.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard last year ruled out the prospect of Sharia law becoming part of the nation's justice system, saying the only law in the country was Australian law.

In the annual Hal Wootten lecture on Thursday night, Sir Gerard said there had been suggestions there was room for a "system in which at least some parts of Islamic Sharia law might operate as part of Australian law". 

He said: "That suggestion seems to me to be misconceived."  Muslims were free to adhere to the "beliefs, customs and practices prescribed by Sharia law", the former chief justice said, but only as long as they did not conflict with Australian law.

"That freedom must be respected and protected but that does not mean that Islamic Sharia should have the force of law."

All Australian citizens, irrespective of their religion, had common values that formed the basis of Australian law, he said.   "Our citizens, including the Islamic community, share the basic Australian values of tolerance, egalitarianism, and individual freedom in thought and action," he said. [Muslims included?  Wishful thinking]



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 WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Shock!  Horror!  Israeli soldiers shoot at legs of children who throw Molotov cocktails at them

It is the callous misuse of children by the Arabs that is the real problem -- and the use of unsubstantiated allegations by Western "human rights" organizations just inflames the situation  -- which is exactly what it is meant to do

THE Israel Defence Force's arbitrary use of violence against Palestinian children, including forcing them to act as human shields in military operations, has been exposed by veteran soldiers in detailed statements chronicling dozens of brutal incidents.

The most disturbing trend that emerges from the soldiers' testimonies relates to the wounding and killing of children in the occupied West Bank and Gaza by either targeted shooting or by failing to protect minors during military operations, the report from veteran soldiers' group Breaking the Silence says.

"The commander gripped the kid, stuck his gun in his mouth . . . The kid was hardly able to walk. We dragged him further, and then he said again: 'One more time this kid lifts a stone, anything, I kill him. No mercy'," one former soldier states.

Another recalls: "There was an ambush where a kid coming up with a Molotov cocktail had his leg blown off. They laid ambush exactly at that spot. Kids came, the soldiers were there, the kids lit a bottle, and they were shot in the leg."

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian children come into regular conflict as Israel seeks to maintain its control over areas of the West Bank where 300,000 settlers live across the 1967 "Green Line" in contravention of international law.

Children throw stones to protest against the presence of soldiers and settlers, sometimes with deadly consequences, soldiers say.

But that does not excuse the use of excessive force against children or the military's consistent arbitrary invasion of villages and homes as part of a campaign to suppress the Palestinian population of the West Bank, Mr Shaul says.

But according to the Israeli government, Palestinian children pose a grave threat to the country's security.

"Over a period of years now we have seen Palestinian minors involved in violence against Israeli civilians, whether it is throwing rocks at cars, whether it is throwing petrol bombs or Molotov cocktails," says Mark Regev, the spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We have established a parallel system to deal with minors because we recognise minors have special needs and . . . we are trying to do this in a manner that is as sensitive as possible in very difficult conditions."

It was unfortunate, Mr Regev said, that militant Palestinian organisations chose to put minors "on the front line".

He urged anyone with a complaint against the Israel Defence Forces to come forward.  "We have a very strict code of behaviour under which our soldiers are allowed to act and if there are violations of that code of behaviour soldiers face discipline and they can go to jail.

"There is an independent part of the military that investigates all such allegations . . . I don't think it is the norm but in any large system there are aberrations and we have to stamp them out."

The most common offence children are accused of is throwing stones, says Gerard Horton, head of Defence of Children International in Palestine.

"But in many cases it is very difficult for the army to actually identify who was throwing the stones . . . so the modus operandi of the army appears to be that when an incident of stone-throwing does occur someone has to be punished for that even if you cannot identify who the perpetrator is.

"The army needs to maintain control in the West Bank and they need provide protection to 300,000 settlers who are living in the West Bank, contrary to international law. In order to do that they need to make sure that any form of resistance, no matter what form that takes, has to be crushed."

The IDF's spokesman, Major Arye Shalicar, said the security situation in the West Bank had improved significantly because of the army's work.

"In the end if you compare it to 10 years ago we have had a decline in suicide attacks," he said.  "We had hundreds of suicide murders in 2002 and none in 2012. It shows that there is some kind of effectiveness in the actions of the security establishment and its coordination with the Palestinian security forces."

If there was maltreatment of Palestinian children it was important that the IDF investigate the claims, he said.

He expressed frustration that Breaking the Silence did not provide the IDF or other relevant bodies with the information necessary to launch an investigation.

But Mr Shaul said it was important that Breaking the Silence protected the identity of its sources, many of whom were breaching IDF policy to expose the system of abuse.


Priests attack gay marriage in strongly-worded letter read out across Scotland's 500 Catholic churches

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland yesterday staged a day of protest over plans to legalise gay marriage.

A letter attacking proposals to give the go-ahead for same-sex marriages was read out by priests across the country’s 500 Catholic churches, demanding politicians ‘sustain rather than subvert marriage’.

It said: ‘The church’s teaching on marriage is unequivocal: It is uniquely the union of a man and a woman and it is wrong that governments, politicians or parliaments should seek to alter or destroy that reality.’

The Scottish government later issued a statement reiterating its intentions to legalise same sex marriage and religious ceremonies for civil partnerships – because ‘it is the right thing to do’.

However it was quick to stress that no clergy would be forced to carry out the ceremonies in a church. The issue remains under consultation in England and Wales.  A government spokesman said: ‘We are equally committed to protecting religious freedom and freedom of expression, and ensuring that religious celebrants opposed to same-sex marriage do not have to solemnise same-sex ceremonies.’

The Catholic Church’s letter also announced the launch of a ‘National Commission for Marriage and the Family’ to co-ordinate a campaign against gay marriage. It is expected to be supported by the Catholic Church in England and Wales.

Last week Cardinal Keith O’Brien, the leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland, who has described gay marriage as a ‘grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right’, broke off discussions on the issue with First Minister Alex Salmond.

Other churches in Scotland have also voiced concern about the same sex marriage plans.  The Church of Scotland feared the Scottish Government was ‘rushing ahead of something that affects all the people of Scotland without adequate debate and reflection.’

But the Equality Network, which is campaigning in support of same-sex marriage in Scotland, urged politicians to stand firm over the plans.

Tom French, the charity’s policy co-ordinator, said: ‘It is increasingly clear that the Church has an anti-gay agenda that it wants to impose on the rest of society.’

Throughout the UK, civil partnerships for same-sex couples have been legal since 2005.  These confer the same rights as heterosexual civil marriage, but go by a different title and cannot be solemnised by a religious ceremony.

Scotland will be the first part of the UK to bring in new legalisation that will end all distinctions between the two types of union.

In Westminster, the Government’s consultation on allowing marriages for gay and lesbian couples in England and Wales closed in June.  The results will be considered by the coalition before publishing its formal response ahead of the next election.

However, it is expected there will be similar opposition from the Catholic Church in this country if legalisation of same-sex marriage goes ahead.

Earlier this year, the Archbishop of Westminster warned that David Cameron’s pledge to legalise homosexual marriage would threaten the true meaning of a sacred union.  In a letter read from pulpits across England and Wales in March, it was warned that plans to extend marriage to same-sex couples would be a ‘profoundly radical step’ that reduces it to a vague commitment between two people.

The consultation process carried out by the Scottish Government found just over 80 per cent of respondents in favour of same sex marriage.


Castro-lover idolized by the media

Apparently the most tragic event in the Florida straits over the past fifty years involves recreational swimmer Diana Nyad getting stung by a jellyfish.

From CNN to ABC, from NBC to CBS, from Reuters to the AP, from the Washington Post to the New York Times, it was “all Diana Nyad all the time” the past week. The swimmer failed on her fourth attempt to swim from Stalinist Cuba to Key West, was pulled from the water and has been featured and feted in print and on video practically non-stop ever since. If only Sir Edmund Hillary, Neil Armstrong and Ferdinand Magellan had gotten half the media laurels for their triumphs as Diana Nyad got for her flops.

Perhaps you will excuse the families of from 20-50 thousand Cubans who died horribly from dehydration, sunburn, drowning, machine-gunnings or were eaten alive by sharks on the exact (but NON-recreational) journey from issuing a hearty “Boo-hoo-hoo” for Diana Nyad’s little jellyfish bo-bo.

For over half a century tens of thousands of desperate Cubans have been crossing the storm-tossed, shark-infested, and Soviet machine-gunned Florida straits in everything and anything that floats—however precariously. Alas, no Shark cages and electronic shark shields have been available to people once richer than most Europeans who now consider toilet paper a luxury.

Many completed the hundred mile journey. Many more died horribly in the attempt. The horrifying estimates run from 20 to 50 thousand Cubans gone to rest in that watery “cemetery without crosses,” accompanied by utter silence from the media. In one day July 13th 1994 43 freedom-seeking Cubans drowned, 11 of them children. Carlos Anaya was 3 when he drowned, Yisel Alvarez 4. Helen Martinez was 6 months old.

For her showboating swims Diana Nyad proudly partnered with the regime responsible for this appalling economic and demographic disaster and those tens of thousands of horrible deaths. The woman actually flaunts her partnership with Cuba’s Stalinist regime. To wit:

“Millions of us worldwide, but especially here in the United States, have been fascinated by the mystique of this "forbidden" island so close to our shores,” wrote Nyad in the Huffington Post. “We are aware of the advanced level of medicine and general education on the island. We have installed proud posters of Che (Guevara) on our college room walls….as someone who grew up with many Cuban friends in South Florida, someone who has now visited Havana some 30 times…”

For the brain-dead: Castro’s KGB-trained apparatchiks don’t welcome you into their master’s totalitarian fiefdom 30 times if you're not blatantly helping the Communist regime.

Nyad claims she grew up in south Florida surrounded by Cuban exile friends. Can she be oblivious to why these Cubans showed up in such numbers so suddenly? Wouldn't her swim be a great way to focus some much-needed media attention on this "cemetery without crosses" and on the murderous oppression that drove so many to throw themselves into the sea on craft most of us wouldn't board outside a backyard swimming pool? (And I repeat: this unprecedented horror from a nation formerly deluged with immigrants.)

Prior to Castroism, Cuba, which enjoyed a higher standard of living than much of Europe and the 13th lowest infant-mortality on earth, was swamped with more immigrants per capita than the U.S. During the 1950s when all Cubans were perfectly free to emigrate with all family, and property and U.S. visas were issued to them for the asking, and flights and ferries ran daily from Cuba to Florida —during this entire period about the same number of Americans lived in Cuba as Cubans in the U.S. In 1953 more Cubans vacationed (then voluntarily went home) from the U.S. than Americans vacationed in Cuba. Alas, none of this features in The Godfather II. So it’s mostly unknown.

From this base Castro and Che created an island slum, sewer and prison ravaged by diseases unknown in Cuba since 1900, boasting the highest suicide rate in the hemisphere and repelling even Haitians. This after stealing $2 billion from U.S. businessmen, $25 billion from Cubans and being lavished with the equivalent of ten Marshall Plans by Soviet subsidies. This socialist economic feat defies not only the laws of economics but seemingly the very laws of physics.

Some U.S. officials very much in-the-know at the time of the Cuban Revolution do not blame the calamity exclusively on Cubans. “The U.S. owes the Cuban people a debt so tremendous that it can never be paid, even if some forthcoming administration wanted to.” This from rogue CIA right-winger E Howard Hunt, who worked in what came to be known as the Bay of Pigs invasion.

And yes, I wrote rogue right-winger deliberately. Far from the right-wing bunker of leftist lore, the CIA was always mistrusted by the Old Right as in fact a bunker of (mostly) Ivy League liberals. Recall the old Crossfire program, “From the Left Tom Braden and from the Right Pat Buchanan. Typically, Tom Braden was an ex-CIA officer.

“Me and my staff were all Fidelistas,” (Robert Reynolds, CIA’s Caribbean Desk Chief 1957-60)

"Everyone in the CIA and everyone at State were pro-Castro, except (Republican) ambassador Earl T. Smith. (Robert Weicha, CIA operative in Santiago de Cuba 1957-59)

"Without U.S. help Castro would never have gotten into power,” flatly testified former U.S. Ambassador to Cuba, Earl T. Smith during Congressional testimony in 1960.

The overwhelming majority of the south Florida Cubans Nyad (claims she) grew up around are today solid Republicans. This probably explains the media black-out on any interviews with so many people so closely associated with a Cuba to Florida journey. “Please move along! Obviously no human-interest element here!”

The Berlin Wall, (who approximately 200 people died trying to cross) has no end of commemorations. Anyone doing absolutely anything newsworthy around it immediately calls up a commemoration to its victims.

But as usual the Left’s premier pin-up boys (Fidel Castro and Che Guevara) get another free pass from the media.

Ignoring the thousands of dead Cubans is bad enough. But leave it to the Media to actually ridicule them. "Why did she [Elizabet Brotons, Elian Gonzalez’ dead mother) do it?” sneered NBC’s Jim Avila on April 8, 2000 in a live report from Havana. “What was she escaping? By all accounts this quiet, serious young woman, who loved to dance the salsa, was living the good life…An extended family destroyed by a mother’s decision to start a new life."

You read the NBC man right: “The good life.”


Australia: To love and to submit: A new/old wedding ceremony in Sydney

This is good theology but it really cocks a snook at secularists and "modernizers".  I note that the wishy-washy Primate refused to criticize.  The Sydney diocese is the liveliest (and most fundamentalist by far) in Australia  -- comprising one third of  Australia's Anglicans -- so you can see his dilemma.  The Sydney diocese is only one out of 23 Anglican dioceses in Australia but its following puts the other 22 to shame.  It is close to being a church in and of itself

BRIDES will be promising to submit to their husbands under a new marriage vow the Anglican diocese of Sydney is expected to approve at its synod in October.

It requires the minister to ask of the bride: "Will you honour and submit to him, as the church submits to Christ?" and for her to pledge "to love and submit" to her husband.

The service is already being used in some Sydney parishes, under a diocese that opposes the full ordination of women and supports an exclusively male leadership doctrine.

The vows were written by the diocese's liturgical panel, which has the imprimatur of the Archbishop, Peter Jensen. The panel chairman, the Bishop of South Sydney, Robert Forsyth, said "submit" was a deeply biblical word.  "The Bible never said women must obey their husbands but Paul and Peter did say submit, which I think is a much more responsive, nuanced word."

The bishop said no one would be forced to use the new version, and an alternative would remain available to couples who did not want the woman to obey (which has been optional since 1928) or submit.

Kevin Giles, a New Testament scholar in Melbourne, said the subordination of women was exclusively related to "the fall" in the Bible and in 2012 made for bad theology.

"Jesus not once mentions the subordination of woman and says much in contradiction to this. Paul's comments over the subordination of women fit into the patriarchal culture of the day and are not the biblical ideal. The truth is that happy marriages today are fully equal, and unhappy marriages are ones where one or the other party is controlling."

Muriel Porter, a Melbourne academic and laywoman who writes on Anglican Church issues, said submit was a more derogatory word than obey and had connotations of slavery. "Frankly I'm horrified," she said. "It is a very dangerous concept, especially in terms of society's propensity for domestic violence."

The Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, declined to comment.



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 WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.


Monday, August 27, 2012

In the home of Big Brother: Drones to watch over UK streets

Orwell knew his own country well

Unmanned police drones, comparable to those used in war zones such as Afghanistan, could soon be secretly watching over the streets of UK cities, according to a National Police Air Service director.

­The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are being considered to monitor crowded events in Britain, such as concerts and festivals, as soon as the aerial units become cost-effective.

“I see unmanned systems as part of the future. There is an aircraft over London all the time — every day, giving images back. Why does it need to be a very expensive helicopter? If somebody gave me an unmanned system that I could use as I use a helicopter at half the cost, within the regulations, I would buy it tomorrow.”  Superintendent Richard Watson said in a presentation to the defense industry, reports The Times.

Some police precincts have tried using the remote-controlled system to curb crime. Now the idea is to implement the drone policy nationwide.

Watson said that one manufacturer had proposed an 81-million-pound (around US$127 million) system in a deal that far exceeds the annual National Police Air Service budget of a little over 60 million pounds ($95 million), reports The Telegraph.

The UK already has a drone manufacturing industry and infrastructure. In August 2005, a contract was awarded to Thales UK, worth around 700 million pounds ($1.1 billion), to create the Watchkeeper Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Program, to support the UK’s war effort in Afghanistan, reports Defense Industry Daily. The program was also designed to create around 2000 high-quality manufacturing jobs in the country.

Ultramodern drones will also be deployed for the first time in Northern Ireland on Friday in a missing person search, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

Earlier this month, The Mail reported that UAVs will be used to scoop out terrorists, smugglers and illegal immigrants along Britain's shores as part of the EU wide project.

The European Commission has allocated 260 million pounds ($412 million) for the “Eurosur” project, which also includes a surveillance plan to patrol the Mediterranean coast.

Simultaneously, several schemes are underway in UK, aiming to develop civilian roles for systems based on the drones used to locate and destroy militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

British defense companies are testing the high-tech military-grade cameras on UAVs over the Irish Sea.

At the same time, The Mail has discovered that Kent Police are involved in a 3-million-pound ($5 millions) venture with partners in the UK, France and the Netherlands to study the use of drones to guard the English Channel.


Radical Islam revives an ancient hatred

Is a new and shocking wave of anti-Semitism engulfing the Middle East and the developing world? Consider the following:

More than half the Jews in Iraq have been driven out of the country; those that remain are forced to pay a fine or leave their homes. Some are forced to marry Muslims.

In Syria, towns and villages where Jews have lived for centuries are now almost entirely Muslim; these communities have fled to safer parts of the country, where they hope to escape an anti-Semitic massacre.

In Egypt, the new regime is surreptitiously encouraging attacks on synagogues; the Jews, despised for their supposed wealth, fear that the “Arab spring” is about to release centuries of pent-up anti-Semitic hatred.

In Nigeria, Jews have been attacked and killed while studying scripture. In Bangladesh, Jewish children are being forced into madrassas. In Pakistan, the body of an 11-year-old Jewish boy was discovered this week; he’d been tortured to death and his lips sliced off.

You won’t have heard about this atrocious persecution. That’s because – forgive me – I’ve played one of the oldest tricks in the journalist’s book. For Jews, read Christians. For anti-Semitic, read anti-Christian. For synagogues read churches.

I hope Jewish readers won’t take offence: I’m not denying that actual anti-Semitism is spreading like a virus throughout Arab societies. It’s just that, if these attacks against Christians were being directed against Jews, the precedent of the Holocaust would shock the world into action.

This new persecution is the result of the simultaneous revival of militant Islam in many countries. We can say that with confidence. What we can’t say, however, is that there is a co-ordinated Islamic plot to exterminate Christianity as a stepping stone to a universal caliphate.

Conspiracy theorists may derive emotional satisfaction from this idea, but it doesn’t correspond to the messy politics of the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. Also, it lets the “Christian” West off the hook.

We have to confront the awkward fact that, for decades, some of the world’s most despicable dictators have protected indigenous Christians from Islamic mobs. When the West withdraws its support from these rulers, Christian minorities are exposed as never before.

The removal of Saddam has eviscerated Iraqi Christian churches so ancient that they still worship in Aramaic, the language of Jesus. The fall of Mubarak means that it’s open season on Copts. Those who can afford to do so may follow the example of Palestinian and Lebanese Christians and emigrate. A key statistic: 100 years ago, the Levant was 20 per cent Christian; now the figure is 5 per cent.

The British government, despite prodding by the heroic Lord Alton, is doing a good imitation of not giving a stuff about any of this. Maybe it’s guilt: Anglo-American policies helped liberate Islamism.

As for Western Christianity, some evangelical and Catholic campaigners are drawing attention to the persecution – but they’re undermined by colleagues. For many evangelicals, Iraqi or Syrian worshippers are not “real” Christians because they venerate icons. Lefty Catholics are too obsessed with climate change and benefit cuts to spare a thought for their martyred co-religionists.

Keep an eye on Syria after Assad goes. First they’ll come for the Alawites, then the Christians. There’s a real chance that all traces of Christianity will disappear from the very place where St Paul was knocked off his horse and blinded by a vision of the risen Christ. What a horrible piece of symmetry.


Religion Has Two Faces: Benevolent and Malevolent

Militant atheists believe that religion is entirely negative, stupid, and harmful to human beings. Religious historians believe that without religion, a civilization has no moral guidance and no sense of community.  Some of today's extremist religious sects are growing because modernization has produced such existential pain for them. A key sticking point for many, of course, is the emancipation of women. With freedom for women, they ask, what will happen to families?

We have always been both "homo sapiens" (wise men) and "homo religiosus," (religious men). Religion stems from two sources: fear and awe. Our ancestors feared wild beasts, natural disasters, and, of course, death. Fear brings with it belief in evil spirits and gods who must be placated with sometimes human sacrifices.

Our other religious instinct is awe: awe at the beauty of the moon, sun, stars, fire, seeds that sprout into plants, and the birth process of animals and humans. From this instinct comes reverent rituals, music, drama, and dance.

Human beings ask: Who am I? Where do I come from? How should my community behave and where do I belong in it? Why do we suffer and die? And where do we go after death? Religions that attempt to answer these questions give adherents a modicum of comfort.

Benevolent Religions

Almost all religions have a benevolent side. Ritual provides a comforting rhythm in our lives. Marking the calendar year through special rituals has given shape to the year from ancient Stonehenge, which marked the summer and winter solstices, through Medieval Catholicism, with its cycle of holidays marking the agricultural year.

Almost every temperate-zone civilization celebrates harvests and planting festivals, even today (wine grape harvests, Thanksgiving). The benevolence of religion is found in these community activities, the rituals performed in common.

Malevolent Religions

All human religions have some aspect of malevolence as well. Executing or murdering those who do not believe "correctly" has been with us for a long time. Most egregious in this regard are the monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. With only one god, worshippers of many gods and goddesses had to be crushed. Both Medieval Catholicism and Islam held inquisitions to enforce orthodoxy. Polytheism, for all its ills, was more tolerant.

Christianity began as a pacifist sect spun off from Judaism. For its first several centuries, priests and monks had a horror of violence and bloodshed. This changed with the unification of Christianity under Roman Emperor Constantine. He wanted one empire with one religion, and Jews, Pagans, and Zoroastrians were persecuted in the hope of conversion. The violence of Christianity continued in its conflict with Islam in the 10th century, itself a very violent new religion that was bent upon conversion at any cost. The Crusades of the 10th-through 13th centuries brought out the worst in both Christianity and Islam.

The last official religious violence in Christianity occurred in the Catholic-Protestant religious wars of the 17th century. The destruction was so ugly that it spurred a temporary distaste for religion altogether in a movement called "the Enlightenment," which happily gave rise to the United States, a country with no established religion. This permits people to believe or not, change religions or not, without compulsion.

Today, Islam is in internal conflict. Extremists have reverted to Islam's original state of violence, warfare against "unbelievers," and the most benighted vision of what a divine power demands of them. They too will either have a reformation and enlightenment, or the religion will self-destruct. Many mainstream Muslims are already living by a secular standard.

However, when religious sects are no longer distinguishable from secular clubs and with decreasing connection to history, they lose members and are on the road to collapse. The sects enjoying growth are those with ritual and family-supporting values, the idea of community, which has always been the bedrock of religion. But they are also more intolerant of diversity, as monotheism has always been.

Human societies have never thrived without religion, but we appear to be in need of something better than is out there today.


Culture Challenge of the Week: Politically Correct Speech

Rebecca Hagelin

As our children head back to school, parents need to teach them this truth: Words matter.

Many public schools, whether purposely or not, promote the liberal agenda through curriculum choices, print and video materials, and guest speakers. As we head into election season, parents can expect to see the same thing happening on a magnified scale, as teachers and schools insist that students use only politically correct speech. The NEA and the leftist non-profits swarming around public schools will see to that.

The words chosen by teachers and administrators to describe sensitive cultural issues shape students' perceptions of those issues. Teachers know that. They have tremendous power to influence the children-your children-who are under their care.

Teachers who buy into the liberal agenda eagerly foist the liberal world view on their students by modeling politically correct language. When necessary, they will correct a student's choice of non-politically correct words, all in the name of sensitivity and tolerance. Even good teachers, who believe in Biblical morality or perhaps lean conservative, may fall into the politically palatable word trap. They've been persuaded that using certain words-and avoiding others-is the right thing to do. Deviation from the approved script might offend someone or appear culturally insensitive.

Free speech becomes "favored speech." Some words are preferable to others. And the use of "unfavored" spells social death.

Once the favored speech and word choices of liberal activists creep into a school and become part of the official lexicon, students feel enormous social pressures to conform. As a result, students from religious or conservative backgrounds will find themselves using the language of the left, whether purposely (to fit in and avoid ridicule) or unthinkingly.

How to Save Your Family: Take a Vocabulary Test!

Encourage your children to use charitable, respectful language in all circumstances. But urge them to be strong and clear about the truth. Use the language of reality-God's reality-to describe culturally sensitive issues. Provide a strong example yourself, too!

Ask your children to explain their understanding of politically correct words and phrases. Correct their perceptions as necessary. Consider the two examples below, but be alert for other phrases that demand explanations!

"Hate speech." For the liberal left, hate speech means language that suggests disapproval and non-acceptance of homosexuality, abortion, or other immoral behavior. Does your child understand that supporting traditional marriage is NOT hate speech? Neither is public disapproval of homosexual behavior. Speaking the truth about homosexual behavior-that it's a disordered inclination and a sin in God's eyes-is not hate speech. It is the truth, and must be spoken in love, as Scripture tells us, with compassion and sensitivity. Speech doesn't become "hateful" just because it makes others feel uncomfortable, sad, or troubled. However, sensitivity and prudence require us to consider when to speak the truth and to whom.

"Marriage Equality." This fall Maryland voters will face a referendum on whether to approve the legislature's attempts to create "marriage equality" for homosexuals. How teachers frame the issue matters greatly. Will they describe the referendum as a vote on whether to support "marriage equality" or to deny LGBTQ people equal rights? To impressionable students, the issue becomes simple: "equality" is a red, white, and blue American value. So gays should have it too. But "marriage equality" is not only misleading, it puts students who support marriage as traditionally defined (between one man and one woman) in the uncomfortable position of being against that great American value: "equality."

Does your child understand that attempts to re-define marriage to include homosexual relationships do not pivot on the question of "equality"? All of us are equal in dignity before God. All Americans possess equal human and civil rights. Marriage, however, has a history (and a meaning) that is ancient from the first days of creation. And the practical reality is that only men and women create babies together through sexual intercourse. (Homosexual sexual activity is inherently sterile-it cannot create babies.) Marriage is designed to create families that bond mothers to fathers, creating the optimal home for rearing the child they created together.

Politically correct language can't change reality, no matter how hard liberals try. Help your child distinguish "truth" from liberal talking points.



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 WATCHAUSTRALIAN POLITICSDISSECTING 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 is playing up, there is a mirror of this site  here.