Tuesday, June 11, 2013
‘Murdering old terrorist’: BNP leader Nick Griffin’s insult about ailing Nelson Mandela sparks fury
No forgiveness for speaking truth, apparently. I remember when Jo'burg was an orderly, peaceful and very civilized place. That was based on injustice but how just was it to make it what it now is: The chaotic murder capital of the world? And Mandela DID lead a bombing campaign against government targets. A dubious means to a dubious end it seems to me. But it is Mandela's race that makes him sacred, of course. Race is all to the Left. Nothing else gets a look-in -- JR
BNP leader Nick Griffin sparked anger on Twitter yesterday by posting a series of offensive messages about Nelson Mandela.
The former South African president is in a Pretoria hospital in a ‘serious but stable condition’ with his family at his bedside.
But that didn’t stop Mr Griffin, the MEP for the North West, using Mr Mandela’s illness to promote his views on South African history. He said: ‘Saint #nelsonmandela on last legs it seems. ‘Make sure to avoid BBC when the murdering old terrorist croaks. It’ll be nauseating.’
In another message Mr Griffin wrote: ‘Statesmen must be judged on results not rhetoric. ‘Before Mandela, South Africa was safe economic powerhouse. Now crime ridden basket case.’
Another tweet said: ‘No surprise #Mandela’s lungs are shot - all those burning tyres. Smoking necklaces very bad for the health.’
There was an angry response to Mr Griffin’s views on Twitter yesterday. Michael Bennett wrote: ‘A towering figure in world history and an inspiration to millions. Nick Griffin - an irrelevant footnote, thankfully soon forgotten.’
Elin Roberts wrote: ‘What a vile individual Nick Griffin is. Mandela’s legacy will be one of forgiveness and hope, his of ignorance and hate.’
House Panel Moves to Protect Religious Liberty for Military
The House Armed Services Committee approved a measure on Thursday to protect religious liberty in the military amid growing disputes over expression of faith.
The measure, approved as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), comes less than a week after a painting with reference to a Bible verse was removed from a dining hall at the Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho in apparent response to demands from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, a church-state separation group. The NDAA now goes to the full House of Representatives for a vote.
“The men and women who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms should not have their own religious freedom jeopardized during their military service,” said Rep. John Fleming (R-La.), who offered the amendment.
“Steps to protect the religious liberties of our armed forces were taken in last year’s NDAA, but troubling reports indicate that the military may be focused only on protecting beliefs of service members and not the exercise or expression of those beliefs. My amendment is necessary to ensure that men and women of faith will not be discriminated against in the armed forces, and will be free to exercise their religious beliefs.”
The amendment was approved by a vote 33-26.
Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) President Mikey Weinstein has met with Pentagon officials to express concerns about proselytizing in the military. The MRFF claims that within 56 minutes of Weinstein’s telephone call to the Pentagon, a painting with a reference to Matthew 5:9 -- “Blessed are the peacemakers” -- was removed from an Air Force base in Idaho last week.
Weinstein said his group is not anti-Christian or anti-religious. He nevertheless puts religious proselytizing on a par with terrorist groups and sexual assault.
“This is a national security threat internally to this country every bit as much as we’re facing externally by Taliban, al Qaeda and the jihadists,” Weinstein told CNSNews.com. “Let me make it very clear. What we’re talking about is a fanatical religiosity.”
Weinstein, in an interview with CNSNews.com, said religious proselytizing can be dehumanizing. “If you’re in the workplace, the military workplace can be a cockpit, can be a foxhole, a ship, it can be any place, in a Bradley fighting vehicle, in duty hours in uniform during the work day, and you outrank the person you’re proselytizing to, you are in violation of your oath to the Constitution and a million different Department of Defense directives,” Weinstein said.
“If people are routinely, as they do around the clock, violating DOD instructions, regulations and the Constitution with regard to spreading their faith, if you don’t punish someone visibly and aggressively, all it does is make a mockery of the laws against it and increases the problem a million fold,” Weinstein said.
“To this point, we have never seen a single example of anyone in the history of the Pentagon be punished for essentially becoming religious predators on otherwise helpless subordinates that can’t fight back,” he said.
The Washington Post reported on an April meeting with Weinstein and Pentagon personnel in which they talked about court-martialing superior officers who proselytize to subordinates. In an interview with CNSNews.com, Weinstein did not back away from comparing spreading the faith with sexual assault.
“If a military superior of any rank tells a subordinate that you lack integrity, character, trust, intelligence, honor and honorability because of your chosen religious faith or lack thereof, why is there no difference between that and telling someone they’re stupid for the color of their skin or because they were born a female?” Weinstein said. “That’s why we use the term spiritual rape. They’re being denigrated. They are being oppressed.”
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins commended the House committee. “Congress acted appropriately after investigating numerous incidents involving service members who have had their careers threatened simply for practicing their faith in a real and tangible way,” Perkins said in a statement.
“The religious liberty violations have grown more frequent in recent months including a report yesterday that an Army master sergeant has been reprimanded for serving Chick-fil-A sandwiches at his promotion ceremony. A rear admiral also recently recounted how he defied military regulations by giving a Bible to a soldier who had attempted suicide.”
More than 167,000 Americans signed a Family Research Council petition calling on Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to enact a department-wide policy protecting the right to service members to practice their faith, Perkins said.
“Instead, the Pentagon under the secretary’s leadership has continued to comply with the demands of anti-Christian activist Mikey Weinstein,” Perkins continued. “The chilling effect of this religious suppression has reached every branch of the military, particularly the Air Force, which is why this congressional action is so urgently needed.”
Suicide a wake-up call for France
It was a Tuesday afternoon, May 21, but the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris was busy. About 1500 people were visiting or praying when a French historian, Dominique Venner, walked to the main altar, placed a sealed letter on the steps, then reached into a pocket for his gun.
Venner, a conservative ultra-nationalist who as a young man had been jailed for violence against Communists, was 78, ailing, and had come to the extreme conclusion that French civilisation was dying and being replaced by an "Afro-Maghreb culture" and would give way to sharia law. The former colonies were overrunning the republic. In his final message before leaving for the cathedral, he wrote on his internet blog: "Peaceful street protests will not be enough to prevent it … It will require new, spectacular, and symbolic gestures to wake up the sleepwalkers, to shake the slumbering consciousness and to remind us of our origins … and rouse people from their complacency … We are entering a time when words must be backed up … by new, spectacular and symbolic actions."
He had his own spectacular symbolic action in mind. His timing was prompted by the passage, the week before, of a law legalising gay marriage in France. Venner regarded this as a key element in the dismantling of French culture. He also regarded the immigration of millions of Muslims as a demographic and cultural disaster for France. And he saw white French culture as being overwhelmed by Americanism.
Venner predicted current social trends would lead to a "total replacement of the population of France, and of Europe". He sent a letter to his colleagues at Radio Courtoisie (which describes itself as "the free radio of the real country") warning that gay marriage was a symptom and symbol of the "pervasive individual desires that destroy the anchors of our identity, particularly the family, the intimate base of our multi-millennial society". His note explained why he chose the altar of Notre Dame for his self-sacrifice: "I chose a highly symbolic place that I respect and admire."
At about 4pm, Venner put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger. After news of his death spread, the woman who polled the third-highest vote in last year's French presidential election, Marine Le Pen, the leader of the National Front party, wrote via Twitter: "All our respect to Dominique Venner, whose final gesture, eminently political, was to try to awaken the people of France."
The people of France are wide awake. Millions are agitated about the direction of the nation. A year ago, one-third of French voters opted out of centrist politics and voted for presidential candidates representing the hard edges. The field of radical ideas, held by people ranging from Venner to his Marxist opposites, has become crowded.
A year after that election, the nation is in recession. Again. Confidence in the Socialist president, Francois Hollande, has fallen. Unemployment has risen from 9.9 per cent to 10.4 per cent, the highest in 15 years. Youth unemployment has risen to 26 per cent. Long-term unemployment is at a record high. Warnings of social dislocation are coming from leaders such as Henri de Castries, chief executive of AXA, one of France's biggest companies, who said last week: "France is in dire need of serious structural reform."
That is obvious, yet President Hollande refuses to even acknowledge the crippling cost of France's massive public spending and rigid labour market. Add to these pressures the visceral issues of race and religion. The changing demographics of France, with the growth of a large immigrant population, is causing wide anxiety.
A survey conducted last year by the French Institute of Public Opinion found that 43 per cent of respondents believed France's 5 million Muslims represented "a threat to French national identity". Just 17 per cent said the Muslim minority enriched society. A large majority of those surveyed, 68 per cent, blamed problems with immigrant communities on Muslims who refused to integrate.
Then there is the crisis of the euro, the great Paris-driven, post-colonial project that was meant to keep France at the centre of power in Europe. Instead it has turned into an economic combat zone. Democracy itself has come under stress in the struggle to keep the euro experiment from collapsing.
The stable centre of French politics is under siege. In the presidential election in April last year, Le Pen's hard-right National Front received 18 per cent of the vote. The Communist Party, operating under a new brand, the Left Front, received 11 per cent. Four far-left parties polled a combined 4 per cent. An anti-Euro protest party, Arise The Republic, got almost 2 per cent. Which meant that 35 per cent of the French electorate cast their first vote for either a Communist, a Marxist, the National Front or a Eurosceptic.
With so much hardline politics in society, the law of averages dictated there would be political violence. Two weeks ago, a French soldier patrolling in Paris was stabbed in an unprovoked attack by a Muslim extremist. Last Wednesday, a far-left student activist, Clement Meric, 18, was killed by a skinhead after being punched in the head outside a clothing store in the centre of Paris when a group of leftist students exchanged words with several skinheads affiliated with the far-right JNR, the Jeune Nationaliste Revolutionnaire.
The fraught nature of French politics explains why the campaign for gay marriage has been noticeably more volatile in France, with large hostile demonstrations and a suicide in Notre Dame Cathedral.
Another straw in the wind: the most famous citizen of France, Gerard Depardieu, has voted with his feet, away from the policies of President Hollande. He now resides in Belgium.
Part-time women doctors ARE a real problem in Britain. Why is it sexist to say so?
Never did three words, surely, have a more explosive and utterly disproportionate effect. In a Commons debate last week on the deficiencies of the new 111 emergency service, a Tory MP, Anne McIntosh, suggested one reason why there were too few GPs to answer urgent calls.
Since some 70 per cent of medical students were now women, she said, the fact that many of them wanted to have children and then go part-time meant a ‘tremendous burden’ on the NHS if it effectively had to train two GPs to do the work of one.
In reply the junior Health Minister Anna Soubry said: ‘You make a very important point when you talk about, rightly, the good number of women who are training to be doctors, but the unintended consequences ..... ’
She didn’t actually finish her sentence, but left the thought of ‘the unintended consequences’ hanging in the air. For these three words, she was instantly jumped upon and metaphorically beaten up by a steady procession of angry women.
Dr Clare Gerada, head of the Royal College of GPs, was incredulous ‘that women doctors are being blamed for problems in the NHS’. Another commentator accused Ms Soubry of having delivered ‘the biggest guilt trip of all when it comes to flexible working’.
Yet others heaped withering scorn upon the hapless Health Minister. Didn’t she understand that women had babies? So of course women doctors wanted to work part-time. Duh!
And because it suited women to do so, there couldn’t possibly be any problem with that. It was obviously the perfect solution for absolutely everyone. End of argument. No awareness whatever of the total absence of logic in such claims — not to mention the failure to acknowledge the interests of anyone other than women doctors.
No, the only possible explanation for Ms Soubry’s three words had to be her outrageous prejudice against, er, women.
In a letter to one newspaper a GP, Dr Hannah Mitchell, accused Ms Soubry of using ‘sexist language’. Another GP, Dr Sharon Bennett, claimed in another paper the suggestion female doctors were a burden to the health service was ‘not just insulting, but a display of sexism’.
Drs Bennett and Mitchell happen to be the wife and daughter of Ms Soubry’s fellow Tory MP, the former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell — himself no stranger to controversy in the ‘Plebgate’ affair.
Ironically, when Ms Soubry previously came under attack from backbenchers for her comments about assisted suicide made shortly after her appointment, Mr Mitchell came to her defence, telling them to ‘give her a break and time to find her feet’.
Furthermore, as a single mother who complained about female typecasting when she was given the public health brief, Ms Soubry hardly fits a ‘sexist’ stereotype.
Alas, not even Mr Mitchell could save Ms Soubry from his own wife and daughter over the dread accusation of betraying feminism. But why is she thus accused?
Neither Ms Soubry nor Ms McIntosh had said women should not become doctors. Neither of them had said women doctors should not work part-time.
All they had said — or in the case of Ms Soubry, only half-said before she beat a grovelling retreat by saying she fully supported women GPs and that her comments ‘were not intended to be derogatory’ — was that certain unfortunate and unintended consequences were involved. What in heaven’s name is ‘sexist’ about that?
For sure, there are many things going wrong with the NHS that cannot be laid specifically at the door of women doctors.
Its intractable problems are rooted in the fact that it cannot now deliver the unlimited expectations being laid upon it.
This has been exacerbated still more by an erosion of the idea of public service among GPs in general, causing many of them to refuse to provide a personal out-of-hours service.
Dr Mitchell claimed Ms Soubry had blamed the failings of the health service — which came in fact from ‘decades of political mismanagement’ — on women doctors.
But the Health Minister had said no such thing. All she had done was agree that Anne McIntosh was making an important point about the unintended consequences of part-time working which were putting the NHS under a lot of pressure.
Doctors themselves have said much the same thing. Indeed, it is nothing other than a statement of the obvious.
The problem here is that the make-up of the medical profession is rapidly changing. The proportion of women entering medicine has increased by 50 per cent since 2001. And in the next decade, women doctors are expected for the first time to outnumber their male colleagues.
These numbers do indeed have serious consequences. An estimated quarter of those women doctors choose to work part-time for a few years at least while their children are small. And a startling 60 per cent leave the profession altogether.
This loss of medical manpower is putting many surgeries under severe strain.
Dr Mitchell claimed two female (or male) doctors working a 50/50 job share due to family commitments were more productive than a single doctor.
But medicine is not a production line, and patients are not widgets. What patients need is continuity of care. They don’t get that from a job share. Patients’ interests, however, are not mentioned at all by Ms Soubry’s critics. They view this issue purely and simply through the prism of women’s rights.
Those rights are indeed important. The great fight to allow women to enter the medical profession at all was a bitterly fought landmark in the great 19th century struggle for female emancipation.
But that painful victory surely should not mean women have carte blanche to do what they want — with the only permitted criticism to be directed at those who have the temerity to suggest this is not an unmitigated blessing for everyone else.
The inescapable fact is that, if this part-time trend continues, the number of GPs will have to double. Since the cost of training a doctor is around £250,000 per head, the expense would be enormous.
And given the high proportion of expensively-trained women doctors who are choosing to land the service with this problem, don’t they have a responsibility to consider the effects of their actions? Isn’t it remarkably selfish and anti-social to refuse to do so?
Certainly, in certain circumstances part-time working can indeed ease the conflict between work and motherhood. I worked part-time after my children were born.
But as a middle manager for a while, I also saw first hand the problems caused when a high proportion of women holding down very responsible positions went off on long periods of maternity leave, chose to work part-time in jobs where continuity was essential, or left work altogether.
The dilemma of combining work or a career with motherhood is a difficult one, perhaps even insoluble. But surely it is essential that we should discuss it?
Instead, any honest acknowledgement of the problem brings forth the instant denunciation of ‘sexism’, which seeks to shut down discussion by substituting insult for argument.
On Planet PC, after all, you are not allowed to deviate even one iota from the sole approved line.
But wait! Relief is at hand. The BBC is reportedly considering making the next Doctor Who a woman. Should this occur, we trust that the time-travelling actress will be offered a job share.
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.