Thursday, October 24, 2013
Multiculturalism hits a British bank
A bank cashier has denied being part of a plot to steal almost £3million from Royal Bank of Scotland customers' accounts.
Derek Annan, 24, is accused of passing customers' security details and passwords on to fraudsters who attempted to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts.
The gang had only managed to take £135,000 before they were caught, but attempts were made to withdraw a further £2.5million.
The Old Bailey heard that members of the gang would go into RBS branches and attempt to cash cheques stolen from their victims using fake identification.
If they were challenged with security questions by the cashier, they were able to answer the questions thanks to the information allegedly supplied by Annan, who worked part time at RBS branches in Chelmsford and Colchester, in Essex.
Prosecutor Nicola Merrick told the court that Annan provided the names of signatories on bank accounts, information about the signatures themselves, how much money was in the accounts as well as security details and passwords.
One of the victims, Peter Hewitt, from Solihull, West Midlands, had £14,800 taken from his account in three withdrawals in January 2011.
Undertakers LM Funerals Ltd had its chequebook stolen and 98 cheques were put through the banking system in an attempt to take around £836,000 in May 2011.
Fortunately, RBS investigator Richard Cross discovered the fraud before the gang were able to steal any more money.
A subsequent probe found that each account had been accessed by Annan shortly before the cash was withdrawn.
Annan, who worked part time for RBS while studying finance at Southbank University, in south London, was arrested on suspicion of fraud in December 2011, but denied any involvement.
He was arrested for a second time in March of this year in connection with another 20 attempts to defraud RBS customers.
This time he refused to answer police questions, the court heard.
Ms Merrick said: ‘Mr Annan obtained (customers') information because as a bank employee he was able to access accounts and get all of that information and provide it to others.
‘The defendant played an important and significant role, along with others, to ensure the frauds in counts one to 11 were successful and played a significant role in attempting to ensure the fraud in count 12 was successful, although it was not.'
Annan, of Chafford Hundred, Essex, denies 11 fraud charges relating to £135,500 and an attempted fraud charge concerning a further £2.5 million.
High school graduation rates among children of same-sex households
The academic journal article below would seem to be dynamite in the debate over homosexual adoptions. I would give every child the right to a normal family life so that is very much reinforced by the research results below -- which are of unusually high quality. Sad to see that daughters fare so badly. Daughters clearly need a loving normal father -- JR
By Douglas W. Allen
Almost all studies of same-sex parenting have concluded there is “no difference” in a range of outcome measures for children who live in a household with same-sex parents compared to children living with married opposite-sex parents. Recently, some work based on the US census has suggested otherwise, but those studies have considerable drawbacks. Here, a 20 % sample of the 2006 Canada census is used to identify self-reported children living with same-sex parents, and to examine the association of household type with children’s high school graduation rates. This large random sample allows for control of parental marital status, distinguishes between gay and lesbian families, and is large enough to evaluate differences in gender between parents and children. Children living with gay and lesbian families in 2006 were about 65 % as likely to graduate compared to children living in opposite sex marriage families. Daughters of same-sex parents do considerably worse than sons.
Review of Economics of the Household
Trust government with your personal information? Sure can!
A law-abiding family man was ordered to quit his job after a criminal record check wrongly labelled him a hardened criminal with convictions stretching back a decade.
David Reay was wrongly identified as being guilty of offences including burglary, theft and possession of cocaine when details of a criminal with a similar name were given to his new employers after they asked for a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check.
Mr Reay, who lives with his wife Stephanie and six-year-old son Robert in South Benwell, Newcastle, had just taken up a training post for his new position with the National Citizen Service as child and adult welfare helpline advisor, when the mistake occurred.
The 33-year-old has now been left in limbo as he cannot return to work while he waits for the verdict of his appeal.
He said: 'I’d got the job and started my two weeks of training when my wife rang and said "your CRB has arrived and there seems to be a problem with it". 'I immediately told my employers who said they were sorry but I’d have to leave and they’d keep the post open for me while I appealed against the results of the check.
'That was back at the start of September and I’ve been without work or a wage ever since while my appeal to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) was dealt with.
'I was left in limbo despite the criminal record obviously not belonging to me as so many of the details were different. I was angry as it could have so easily been sorted out, but I was told I’d have to wait for at least three weeks before I could even chase up my appeal.'
Authorities asked Northumbria Police for any criminal convictions linked to Mr Reay as part of the enhanced CRB, which is now known as the Disclosure and Barring Service checks.
But the details of a different person from the North East were sent.
Criminal convictions including burglary, theft, possession of cocaine and drink driving, spanning over a decade, were all on the record.
Mr Reay said: 'It was ridiculous, I’ve never even had a driving licence. We were meant to be taking a trip to Cadbury World for my son’s birthday but with no wage had to cancel it. 'I was in limbo not knowing when it would be sorted out.'
Northumbria Police moved to resolve the identity error with Mr Reay, who now hopes to restart his training on November 2.
A force spokesman said: 'We acknowledge that in this case, due to a human error, Mr Reay’s details were incorrectly matched to another individual with similar details and this resulted in information that did not relate to Mr Reay being disclosed on his Enhanced Disclosure Certificate.
'We have spoken to Mr Reay, and unreservedly apologised, and have advised him that his dispute has been returned to DBS and a revised, accurate certificate will be provided to him as quickly as possible.
'We have also reassured him that his employment will not be affected, and with his permission, have spoken to his employer to explain our error. We will keep Mr Reay updated with progress and advised him he can contact us at any time if he has concerns.'
Nick Pickles, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said: 'This highlights why the ability of people to check their disclosure before it is sent to employers is so important.
'The process needs to be in place for people to not spend huge amounts of time waiting to them to be corrected, as any delay could do serious harm to their job prospects.'
Herbert Marcuse (1898 - 1979) -- the 1960s prophet of Leftist intolerance
In 1965, Marcuse published an essay titled, “Repressive Tolerance,” which foreshadows very clearly the direction in which left-wing opinion and practice has developed since that time.
The essay is essentially an argument against the Western liberal tradition rooted in the thinking of Locke, with its Socratic and Scholastic precedents, which came into political reality in the nineteenth century and which was a monumental achievement for civilization. In this essay, Marcuse regurgitates the conventional Marxist line that freedom of opinion and speech in a liberal state is a bourgeois sham that only masks capitalist hegemony and domination. Of course, there is some truth to this claim. As Marcuse said:
But with the concentration of economic and political power and the integration of opposites in a society which uses technology as an instrument of domination, effective dissent is blocked where it could freely emerge; in the formation of opinion, in information and communication, in speech and assembly. Under the rule of monopolistic media – themselves the mere instruments of economic and political power – a mentality is created for which right and wrong, true and false are predefined wherever they affect the vital interests of the society. This is, prior to all expression and communication, a matter of semantics: the blocking of effective dissent, of the recognition of that which is not of the Establishment which begins in the language that is publicized and administered. The meaning of words is rigidly stabilized. Rational persuasion, persuasion to the opposite is all but precluded.
Marcuse proceeds from this observation not to advocate for institutional or economic structures that might make the practical and material means of communication or expression more readily available to more varied or dissenting points of view but to attack liberal conceptions of tolerance altogether:
These background limitations of tolerance are normally prior to the explicit and judicial limitations as defined by the courts, custom, governments, etc. (for example, “clear and present danger”, threat to national security, heresy). Within the framework of such a social structure, tolerance can be safely practiced and proclaimed. It is of two kinds: (i) the passive toleration of entrenched and established attitudes and ideas even if their damaging effect on man and nature is evident, and (2) the active, official tolerance granted to the Right as well as to the Left, to movements of aggression as well as to movements of peace, to the party of hate as well as to that of humanity. I call this non-partisan tolerance “abstract” or “pure” inasmuch as it refrains from taking sides – but in doing so it actually protects the already established machinery of discrimination.
This statement reflects the by now quite familiar leftist claim that non-leftist opinions are being offered from a position of privilege or hegemony and are therefore by definition unworthy of being heard. Marcuse argues that tolerance has a higher purpose:
The telos [goal] of tolerance is truth. It is clear from the historical record that the authentic spokesmen of tolerance had more and other truth in mind than that of propositional logic and academic theory. John Stuart Mill speaks of the truth which is persecuted in history and which does not triumph over persecution by virtue of its “inherent power”, which in fact has no inherent power “against the dungeon and the stake”. And he enumerates the “truths” which were cruelly and successfully liquidated in the dungeons and at the stake: that of Arnold of Brescia, of Fra Dolcino, of Savonarola, of the Albigensians, Waldensians, Lollards, and Hussites. Tolerance is first and foremost for the sake of the heretics – the historical road toward humanitas appears as heresy: target of persecution by the powers that be. Heresy by itself, however, is no token of truth.
This statement on its face might be beyond reproach were it not for its implicit suggestion that only leftists and those favored by leftists can ever rightly be considered among the ranks of the unjustly “persecuted” or among those who have truth to tell. Marcuse goes on to offer his own version of “tolerance” in opposition to conventional, empirical, value neutral notions of tolerance of the kind associated with the liberal tradition:
Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right and toleration of movements from the Left. As to the scope of this tolerance and intolerance: … it would extend to the stage of action as well as of discussion and propaganda, of deed as well as of word. The traditional criterion of clear and present danger seems no longer adequate to a stage where the whole society is in the situation of the theater audience when somebody cries: “fire”. It is a situation in which the total catastrophe could be triggered off any moment, not only by a technical error, but also by a rational miscalculation of risks, or by a rash speech of one of the leaders. In past and different circumstances, the speeches of the Fascist and Nazi leaders were the immediate prologue to the massacre. The distance between the propaganda and the action, between the organization and its release on the people had become too short. But the spreading of the word could have been stopped before it was too late: if democratic tolerance had been withdrawn when the future leaders started their campaign, mankind would have had a chance of avoiding Auschwitz and a World War.
The whole post-fascist period is one of clear and present danger. Consequently, true pacification requires the withdrawal of tolerance before the deed, at the stage of communication in word, print, and picture. Such extreme suspension of the right of free speech and free assembly is indeed justified only if the whole of society is in extreme danger. I maintain that our society is in such an emergency situation, and that it has become the normal state of affairs.
Here Marcuse is clearly stating that he is not simply advocating “intolerance” of non-leftist opinion in the sense of offering criticism, rebuttal, counterargument, or even shaming, shunning, or ostracism. What he is calling for is the full fledged state repression of non-leftist opinion or expression. Nor is this repression to be limited to right-wing movements with an explicitly authoritarian agenda that aims to subvert the liberal society. Marcuse makes this very clear in a 1968 postscript to the original 1965 essay:
Given this situation, I suggested in “Repressive Tolerance” the practice of discriminating tolerance in an inverse direction, as a means of shifting the balance between Right and Left by restraining the liberty of the Right, thus counteracting the pervasive inequality of freedom (unequal opportunity of access to the means of democratic persuasion) and strengthening the oppressed against the oppressed. Tolerance would be restricted with respect to movements of a demonstrably aggressive or destructive character (destructive of the prospects for peace, justice, and freedom for all). Such discrimination would also be applied to movements opposing the extension of social legislation to the poor, weak, disabled. As against the virulent denunciations that such a policy would do away with the sacred liberalistic principle of equality for “the other side”, I maintain that there are issues where either there is no “other side” in any more than a formalistic sense, or where “the other side” is demonstrably “regressive” and impedes possible improvement of the human condition. To tolerate propaganda for inhumanity vitiates the goals not only of liberalism but of every progressive political philosophy.
If the choice were between genuine democracy and dictatorship, democracy would certainly be preferable. But democracy does not prevail. The radical critics of the existing political process are thus readily denounced as advocating an “elitism”, a dictatorship of intellectuals as an alternative. What we have in fact is government, representative government by a non-intellectual minority of politicians, generals, and businessmen. The record of this “elite” is not very promising, and political prerogatives for the intelligentsia may not necessarily be worse for the society as a whole.
In this passage Marcuse is very clearly advocating totalitarian controls over political speech and expression that is the mirror image of the Stalinist states that he otherwise criticized for their excessive bureaucratization, economism, and repression of criticism from the Left. Marcuse makes it perfectly clear that not only perceived fascists and neo-nazis would be subject to repression under his model regime but so would even those who question the expansion of the welfare state (thereby contradicting Marcuse’s criticism of bureaucracy). Marcuse states this elsewhere in “Repressive Tolerance.”
Surely, no government can be expected to foster its own subversion, but in a democracy such a right is vested in the people (i.e. in the majority of the people). This means that the ways should not be blocked on which a subversive majority could develop, and if they are blocked by organized repression and indoctrination, their reopening may require apparently undemocratic means. They would include the withdrawal of toleration of speech and assembly from groups and movements which promote aggressive policies, armament, chauvinism, discrimination on the grounds of race and religion, or which oppose the extension of public services, social security, medical care, etc”
Marcuse’s liberatory socialism is in fact to be a totalitarian bureaucracy where those who criticize leftist orthodoxy in apparently even the slightest way are to be subject to state repression. This is precisely the attitude that the authoritarian Left demonstrates at the present time. Such views are becoming increasingly entrenched in mainstream institutions and in the state under the guise of so-called “political correctness"
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 and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.