Monday, May 06, 2013
The good ole double standard
More hateful British bureaucracy
Some stories make my blood boil. You won’t always find them on the front pages or leading the television news bulletins. But they tell you more about the condition of modern Britain than most of what passes for ‘news’ these days.
Take the case of 19-year-old Kurtis Green, from Dersingham in Norfolk. For the past 12 years he has been lovingly tending the war memorial opposite his parents’ fish and chip shop.
It began when he was just seven. Kurtis saved up his pocket money to buy gardening tools and started clearing litter and planting bulbs.
Over the years he has devoted hundreds of hours of unpaid time to his task. When he was 15, he mounted a successful campaign to persuade councillors to spend £20,000 restoring the memorial with new flowerbeds, railings, seating and block paving.
Kurtis won a Norfolk Young People’s Role Model of the Year award and was congratulated by the Queen.
Thanks to his efforts, the local branch of the British Legion collected a prize for Norfolk’s most improved war memorial.
But Kurtis wasn’t content to rest on his laurels. Deciding the plants and flowers could do with more irrigation, he tapped into a nearby water supply, which had been installed as part of the restoration programme.
Together with a fellow villager, 65-year-old John Houston, he went about the work in a professional manner. At the insistence of the council, he took out public liability insurance and coned off the area where the trench was being dug.
Once the work was complete, the trench was filled in and new grass seed planted. ‘It actually looked better than when we started,’ said Kurtis proudly.
But this is where it all began to unravel. No good deed, as they say, ever goes unpunished.
While Kurtis and John were carrying out the work, along came a councillor and started taking photographs on his mobile phone. ‘The next thing we knew we were reported to the police.’
Dersingham parish council claimed the work had been undertaken without permission and accused them of theft and causing criminal damage.
As a result, Kurtis and John were interrogated for two hours by police. ‘All we have been doing is to help the community and we are being treated as if we are criminals,’ Kurtis complained.
‘The policewoman was trying to trap us. She kept asking us the same questions in different ways.’
Sounds about right. No doubt some dopey WPC who fancies herself as Helen Mirren in Prime Suspect.
Kurtis went on: ‘We were accused of causing criminal damage by digging up earth to see if the existing pipe was OK, but we left the area just as we found it.
‘I can’t understand what the theft is supposed to have been. All the soil we dug up was replaced and the only thing we took away was the dirt under our fingernails.’
A spokesman for Norfolk Police said: ‘The circumstances are now being considered by the Crown Prosecution Service. Police are aware of Kurtis’s efforts in cleaning up the memorial and we will work with all concerned to try to reach an acceptable resolution.’
If they are trying to reach an ‘acceptable resolution’, then why the hell has the file been referred to the CPS?
I’m only surprised that the Old Bill didn’t raid Kurtis’s house at 6am and then ransack the place for eight hours, confiscating his computers and carting off dozens of bin liners full of ‘evidence’.
Of course, in the days when Dersingham had a proper police presence, a resident bobby who knew everyone in the village, it would never have come to this.
PC Plod would have told any jumped-up parish councillor who wanted a young man prosecuted for tidying up the war memorial to take a running jump: ‘Push off, Fred, or I’ll nick you for wasting police time.’
These days, Dersingham villagers who want to talk face-to-face with a real live copper are requested to report to a ‘surgery’ in Budgens supermarket on a Friday morning, between 10.30am and 11.30am.
Turn left at the fish counter, second aisle down. Mind how you go. Time was, too, that most parish councillors saw themselves as servants, not masters, of their community.
Today, the majority of those who work in every level of ‘public service’ seem to regard the public, at best, as an inconvenience and, at worst, as the enemy.
OK, admittedly the Jobsworth mentality has always been with us, but the ubiquitous urge on the part of so-called ‘public servants’ to bully and punish their fellow citizens has never been more prevalent.
Dersingham council refused to identify the councillor who made the complaint. Tony Bubb, the council’s Lib Dem chairman, resigned on Monday, but we are told his decision had nothing to do with the dispute over the memorial.
Parish clerk Sarah Bristow said she couldn’t comment because the incident was being investigated by police, but added: ‘The parish council did not give anyone permission to do anything.’
That’s odd, because Kurtis says he took out liability insurance at the council’s insistence.
Even so, why should he need the council’s permission? He’d been tending the memorial for over a decade. His grandfather served in World War II and Kurtis says he started his clean-up campaign because it ‘was not in a fit state’ to honour those who had fought for their country.
‘In those days, it was a complete disgrace. I just decided to do something to help.’
Precisely. In a sane world, the council would have made the upkeep of the memorial one of its priorities, not fobbed off the responsibility to a teenager.
The real disgrace is that so many war memorials remain neglected. As memory of the two world wars fades, respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice has faded with it.
Last year, a man in Hartlepool was fined for using a war memorial as a public urinal. So the idea that a young volunteer can face prosecution for cleaning up a memorial is beyond monstrous.
David Cameron used to bang on about the Big Society, though we haven’t heard all that much about it lately.
Surely Kurtis Green is a classic example of the Big Society in action, a welcome reminder of the millions of good people out there willing to give something back to the community.
Kurtis takes the idea of genuine public service seriously. In his chosen career he’s a chef in a care home.
As his mum, Sandra, says: ‘All he is trying to do is some good. He is a kind, hard-working boy. He’s got a heart of gold.’
Yet what thanks does he get for it? He’s accused of criminal damage and theft by a vindictive, self-important creep with a mobile phone camera and then treated like a criminal by the police, who try to trap him into a ‘confession’.
Makes you proud to be British.
Food Truck Bullies
“Bullying” has become a hot topic – from federal studies highlighting its dangers, to TV shows and “special” news reports, we constantly are admonished not to bully one another, and to stop bullying in our schools. Yet, there is a growing form of bullying that has escaped the attention of bureaucrats and media do-gooders: government bullying of food truck vendors.
Anyone who works near or drives by a large office or industrial complex, particularly in major cities, has at least seen, if not patronized, these “mobile restaurants.” These eateries-on-wheels offer the same quality of food found at brick-and-mortar establishments without the need to drive to one. For workers looking to make the most of a short lunch break, food trucks are a huge convenience; and the diversity of foodstuffs offered truly is amazing.
Yet, food trucks increasingly are being targeted by government regulatory goons who use a variety of methods -- even those fabricated specifically to target food trucks – in an effort to regulate them out of existence. In cities across America, including New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Rochester, and many others, food trucks are fighting for their right to meet a growing public demand.
One might understand the need for increased government regulation and oversight if the rise of food trucks was in tandem with a rise in food poisoning, or major traffic congestion issues. However, like most government power grabs, food truck bullying appears motivated more by cronyism and anti-competitiveness than public health or safety.
“We were told by a couple people who work in the town of Henrietta, as well as on the board of the Town of Henrietta that they need to protect the big businesses of Henrietta,” says Paul Vroman, owner of Rochester-based food truck business Brick-N-Motor. Vroman recently found himself standing before government officials in the Town of Henrietta, New York, groveling for a permit to continue operating his food truck outside of a business complex. Even though Vroman had secured permission of the property owner, and notwithstanding that he operated at that location without incident for months, Henrietta officials demanded that Vroman plead for a permit to continue operating in the town; a permit not even issued by the city at the time.
What was the city’s excuse to bully Vroman and other food trucks in the area? “The town board has not approved [special use permits] because of their feeling that they’re in direct competition with people who have invested in a store, restaurant location and they didn’t feel that would be fair to them,” Henrietta Supervisor Michael Yudelson told a local news affiliate. The board is scheduled to decide Vroman’s fate, and the future of other street food vendors, this week.
A similar situation currently is underway in the city of Atlanta, where bureaucrats on the city council are waging war against street vendors. Even after a court decision last December, which eliminated a sweetheart deal that set-up a monopoly for the city, while still allowing them to loom over food trucks, Atlanta police are again roaming the streets, shutting down vendors.
The targeting of food trucks is a problem that reaches far beyond merely the rights of street vendor entrepreneurs themselves. The unchecked government aggression aimed at a very specific class of businesses is a troubling example of government cronyism at its worst. City officials, sometimes even using imaginary power, are becoming arbiters of “fairness” when it comes to business -- rather than leaving it to the free market. And, when picking winners and losers in the marketplace falls into the hands of government bureaucrats, consumers always lose.
By using government force to direct business, the positive evolution of the economy comes to a screeching halt. Just imagine if these local food truck bullies had even broader latitude to regulate businesses outside of the city limits. Online retailers like Amazon.com would likely be shut down because of their “unfair” advantage over struggling brick-and-mortar stores.
At the national level, one need look no further than the Obama Administration to see the effect of government cronyism. This administration has failed time and time again in its attempt to manipulate the energy sector, with disastrous consequences for taxpayers. Scores of “green” corporations are given government-backed loans as Obama attempts to use government power to force “green” technology on consumers. Dozens of these corporations have failed, costing taxpayers billions of dollars in losses; but the Administration’s “green” initiative remains undeterred.
Fortunately for street vendors, organizations such as the Institute for Justice are stepping in to defend these vulnerable small business owners from government bullies. IJ has established a national street vending initiative to help keep street food legal. Hopefully other individuals and organizations that believe in free enterprise and freedom will join in defense of these entrepreneurs.
This Is What Intolerance Smells Like
Susan Stamper Brown
President Obama's new "religious tolerance" consultant to the Pentagon, Mikey Weinstein, wants Christian military service members who openly talk about their faith in uniform to be charged with treason, which is a crime punishable by death according to military law.
By employing his consulting services, and as Commander-in-Chief, President Obama is effectively endorsing Weinstein's recently voiced and written views such as: "Today, we face incredibly well-funded gangs of fundamentalist Christian monsters who terrorize their fellow Americans by forcing their weaponized [sic] and twisted version of Christianity upon their helpless subordinates in our nation's armed forces."
Weinstein's inflamed word picture helps the rest of us understand what the world looks like to those who live with their eyes wide shut and sort of sounds like that old cereal commercial... except this time Mikey doesn't like it - Christianity, that is, so no one else should. And Mikey's giving the rest of us an object lesson in intolerance by showing us what liberal secularists are about: "It's our way, or we shut you down." In this case, Obama's anti-Christian hit man, Weinstein, proposes that honorable men and women in the military who speak about their faith should be charged with a crime worthy of capital punishment. Smells like bull to me.
In recent months, there has been a push against Christianity in the military. A few notables include a military training instructor labeling Jews, Christians, Catholics and Mormons as extremists alongside al Qaeda. The Army blocked a Southern Baptist website, citing it displayed "hostile content," (the Pentagon has since blamed it on a malware glitch), and an Army email was distributed warning fellow soldiers to beware of Christian ministry "hate groups." Each of these incidents could be reasoned-away individually, but they all have one thing in common: Intolerance has an unmistakable stench.
News has it that Mr. Weinstein endorsed the Southern Poverty Law Center's recent statement listing certain Christian organizations as hate groups. He also whole-heartedly agreed with comments made by radical Army Lt. Col. Jack Rich, who told his subordinates to be on the lookout for dangerous Christian soldiers who should be expelled from the military for their beliefs.
Lauding the Lt. Colonel's statement in a Huffington Post anti-Christian hit piece April 16, Weinstein said, "We should as a nation effusively applaud Lt. Col. Rich," and said America should go further to "vigorously support the continuing efforts to expose pathologically anti-gay, Islamaphobic, and rabidly intolerant agitators for what they are: die-hard enemies of the United States Constitution. Monsters, one and all. To do anything less would be to roll out a red carpet to those who would usher in a blood-drenched, draconian era of persecutions, nationalistic militarism, and superstitious theocracy."
Gee, if I didn't know better, I'd think he was speaking about why we are fighting the war on terror.
Religious intolerance reached the proverbial Foggy Bottom in the same article when Weinstein described Christians as "those evil fundamentalist Christian creatures" who hide behind the "facades" of "family values" and "religious liberty." The same attributes could be also pinned to America's founders, whom I suppose Mr. Intolerance would also deem as subversives.
It is obvious, foamy-mouthed Mikey has a bone to pick with Christians, and he's found an effective way to get what he wants by working for the president and the president's new military "yes man" Secretary Chuck Hagel.
Our fine men and women of the military, who are part of a historically noble institution, deserve so much better but are once again the punching bag at the expense of this intolerant administration.
Melbourne, Australia: Taxi drivers bar Aboriginal actors
Unsaid below is that most Melbourne taxi-drivers are Indians and that they have had huge troubles with refugee Africans robbing and attacking them. An Indian would be unlikely to be able to tell one black from another. The Aborigines were in other words victims of the politically correct refugee policy that imported large numbers of Africans, with their usual high propensity for crime, into Australia. If you were an Indian taxi driver in Melbourne, you would run from black faces too
Aboriginal actors in town to rehearse an indigenous version of King Lear were repeatedly refused a fare by taxi drivers in Southbank on Monday night, and racially abused on the St Kilda tram Tuesday morning while making their way back to work.
The Malthouse Theatre is now scrambling to find Southbank accommodation for the cast, which includes eminent actors such as Tom E Lewis, star of Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith, Rabbit-Proof Fence star Natasha Wanganeen, Redfern Now star Jada Alberts, Chooky Dancer Djamangi Gaykamangu, and Ten Canoes actor Frances Djulibing.
Four separate cabs booked to pick up the performers from the Malthouse on Monday from 6.30pm refused the fare once they arrived and saw the passengers, according to actor Jada Alberts.
"It was a series of cabs," Ms Alberts told ABC Melbourne radio. "As one would rock up, then they would say they couldn't go that distance and drive away. It happened once they'd arrived, when they met the passengers."
Ms Alberts said that a white theatre worker was successful in hailing a cab to take the performers to their St Kilda hotel but "as she goes to usher the company into the vehicle, the cab driver gets a look at them and says 'can't do it' and drives away."
The fifth cab booked by the Malthouse did agree to take the performers to St Kilda.
This comes six months after musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu was refused a fare over the colour of his skin outside the Palais Theatre last December.
Although the Malthouse issued the cast with Myki cards so they could travel around Melbourne, several of the cast members were bailed up on the St Kilda tram on Tuesday morning by a fellow passenger who yelled that "you Aboriginal people, you don't exist in this country, you don't even have tickets". The passenger then told the driver to call the police and evict the Aboriginal passengers, a request the driver ignored.
"I know that it's not a usual occurrence, for those things to happen within the space of 24 hours was pretty heart-breaking for all of us to deal with," Ms Alberts said.
Playwright and actor Jada Alberts, left. Photo: Anthony Johnson
"We are now looking at accommodation options for all the artists within walking distance of the Malthouse so that they don't ever have to deal with this again," says the Malthouse's media manager Maria O'Dwyer.
"Obviously, this has been an extremely distressing situation and we are very upset that a very vocal minority in the Melbourne community have treated our artists with such disrespect – it's quite devastating that they have been subjected to such repeated racism in 'cosmopolitan' Melbourne."
"Some [drivers] pulled over for me (I am not Aboriginal), but drove away when I tried to usher the Aboriginal actors into the taxi. I tried hailing passing-by taxis with the same result (despite their lights indicating that they were available)," she wrote.
"The assumption that we have made is that the decision not to allow these people entry to your taxis was based in racism. Although, if you can offer any other explanation, I would love to hear it.
"I invite this as I am eager not to believe that I witnessed such a hideous display of racism, and that such disgusting and shameful acts are still taking place towards Aboriginal people in Australia."
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, 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.