Monday, February 10, 2014
Multiculturalism alive in Australia
The religion concerned is not named, for some strange reason, but we read elsewhere that the pair met at a mosque. So they are obviously both Presbyterians
A Lebanese man living in Australia on a student visa will spend his first night in jail after allegedly "marrying" a child bride in a religious ceremony.
Ahmad Chamma, 26, allegedly met a 12-year-old girl in the Hunter region in 2013 and became involved in an ongoing sexual relationship with her. The pair then allegedly moved to a house in Sydney's southwest, where they continued the relationship.
Police claim the man and child were married in an Islamic ceremony in NSW earlier this year and the girl is now 13.
He was charged with 25 counts of sexual intercourse with a child between 10 and 14 years. The sexual assaults took place between January 1 and February 4.
Wearing a striped polo shirt and a black beard, the man made a brief appearance at Burwood Local Court on Friday and spoke via an Arabic interpreter. The Newcastle University student made no application for bail and it was formally refused.
The court heard he will make a bail application during his next court appearance on February 12 at the same court.
NSW Community Services Minister Pru Goward said the case was brought to the attention of authorities by Centrelink.
Ms Goward said anecdotal evidence suggests forced marriages between children and adults was an ongoing issue among Sydney communities. "This is a very secretive practice ... but it is not an unknown practice," she said.
"I understand there are actually a significant number of unlawful, unregistered marriages to underaged girls in NSW, particularly in western Sydney, southwest Sydney and the Blue Mountains."
The girl has been taken into state care.
Obama's Progressive Mirage Has Faded
The left is disillusioned
Progressive America is crestfallen. It had hoped for better things from President Obama, and he has not delivered.
Obama is the “Inaction Hero,” writes John Dickerson in Slate, who detects a “lack of ardor” in the Oval Office. He laments that “the president seems content with tending the store.” In The Washington Post, E.J. Dionne looks plaintively for “More Hope in Year Six?” In National Journal, Norman Ornstein explains “How Obama Can Save His Presidency (Or Not).” In The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf writes about “The Decline and Fall of ‘Hope and Change.’ ”
The disillusionment extends beyond the punditocracy: In Chicago, community activist Mark Carter advises Obama to “just quit. Because if this is what you call helping us, then just stop helping us.”
How times change.
Six years ago Obama was greeted as a messiah. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer described him as “the country’s hope, the kind of promising, intelligent leader who comes along perhaps once in a generation.” To the Toledo Blade, he was comparable to Lincoln, JFK, and FDR. The Los Angeles Times described him as “a constitutional scholar” who “has articulated a respect for the rule of law and the limited power of the executive.” The Detroit Free Press considered him “a disciple of the pay-as-you-go approach to federal spending that helped produce a budget surplus in the ’90s.” NBC’s Tom Brokaw compared his inauguration to the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, when “the streets were filled with joy. … People have been waiting for this moment.”
Obama did not exactly try to modulate expectations with humility. His coronation as Democratic nominee, he said at the time, marked the moment “when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Honeymoons fade, and every hero becomes a bore at last. Obama has fallen to Earth with a harder thump than most.
Granted, between the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov and the Edward Snowden revelations, the president had a rough year in 2013. But this gloss treats Obama like the poor schlimazel who goes to a restaurant and gets a lapful of soup from the waiter. It ignores his complicity in his own misfortune. The Obamacare website was his administration’s handiwork — as were other failed aspects of the law. Edward Snowden would have had much less to leak if the president had put an end to dragnet domestic surveillance, as he had promised to do.
Some of the president’s defenders have tried to portray him as the victim of an intransigent Republican Congress. Republicans have indeed been unhelpful. Yet the president can do a great deal without Congress. The NSA is an executive agency, after all. It answers to him — or ought to. By the same token, it is not Republicans’ fault that Obama has created the most secretive administration in memory and prosecuted more whistleblowers than all other presidents combined. It is not Republicans’ fault that he has violated his own expressed standards for military intervention abroad. It is not their fault he became what a writer for Salon has called “a civil libertarian’s nightmare: a supposedly liberal president who instead has expanded and fortified many of the Bush administration’s worst policies.”
In any event, Obama was supposed to transcend partisanship: “More than any other candidate, I could bridge some of the partisan, racial and religious divides in this country that prevent us from getting things done,” he told the Houston Chronicle in 2007. “Washington is broken,” he said the next year. “My whole campaign has been premised from the start on the idea that we have to fundamentally change how Washington works.”
That certainly went well, didn’t it?
The exospheric expectations for Obama seem odd for progressives, who tend to prefer “people’s history” — history as the tide of mass movements, history as “history from below” — over great-man theories in which transcendent individuals steer the course of the world.
The dashing of those expectations also ought to serve as a cautionary tale. The vast gulf between the imagined Obama presidency and the actual Obama presidency should leave progressives wondering what a future Democrat might do in the Oval Office. Do they really expect another president to govern more liberally? To show more regard for the Constitution, for civil liberties, for executive restraint? Do they think some other Democrat could surpass Obama?
Apparently so. Though for now she says she will not run, Elizabeth Warren has become the new Obama. “Liberals are fawning over Warren,” observes The Washington Post. According to The New Republic, she inspires “an almost evangelical passion.” The Daily Beast says she is “a candidate who can inspire passion and embody fundamental change.” And so on.
Like a mirage in the desert, the great liberal hope always lies just over the horizon. Yes, this one has been a great disappointment. But next time! Next time …
British council plan taxpayer-funded adult learning course on how to look after HAMSTERS by assessing their 'social needs'… but are forced to cancel after NO-ONE signs up
A council blew taxpayers' money organising a course in how to look after hamsters - then were forced to cancel it because no-one signed up to go.
Northamptonshire County Council was planning on running a two-hour adult learning session which was titled 'Meeting The Welfare Needs of Hamsters'.
The evening course led by rodent expert Sophie Hacking was designed to teach pupils how to feed their pet 'a balanced diet' and assess their 'social needs'.
The session, which would have cost £5.90 to attend, was due to go ahead on March 4 but has now been scrapped.
In the advert, the council said the event had been designed to help owners 'evaluate the extent to which different types of housing meet the needs of hamsters'. It also helpfully pointed out that 'no existing knowledge or qualifications will be assumed.'
Today local residents, campaigners and politicians criticised the authority for wasting resources as they try and slash budgets by £128million over the next five years.
The council hurriedly pulled adverts for the course off their website today after the media phoned up to ask about why they were spending money on it.
Robert Oxley, campaign director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: 'The council have got better things to do than worry about the welfare of hamsters. 'It’s absurd that the council is wasting taxpayers’ money on talking about hamster housing and social needs when families struggle with their own household bills.
'Last I checked there wasn’t an urgent shortage of hamster wheels in Northampton so maybe the council should rethink its priorities.'
Labour councillor Mary Butcher, who represents the Oakley ward in Northampton, said. 'That is absolutely ridiculous, I can’t believe they would spend money on that and that they could be so frivolous. 'Why can’t people just buy a book to find out how to look after their hamster. 'Why are they wasting money like this when we are trying to save the children services and save domestic violence refuges across the county.'
Conservative Councillor Stan Heggs, for Corby, added: 'Well we have enough things to be looking at like the kids services rather than this. It is not up my street anyway.'
Butcher Paul Robinson, 30, said: 'That’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard - what an absolute waste of time, money and energy.'
A previous hamster course had been scheduled to take place at Caroline Chisholm School on October 23 last year. It was also cancelled because of a lack of interest.
A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council confirmed that they had cancelled the course. 'We love hearing people's suggestions for courses and we're happy to test out new ones, as we've done with the hamster care course,' he said.
'In this particular case, we actually haven't had any bookings so this course won't be going ahead. 'However, we've lots of other courses ranging from interesting hobbies to supporting the growth of local businesses.'
Julie Bishop's stance on the legality of Israeli settlements appears to be right
Julie Bishop is the Foreign Minister in Australia's conservative government -- a government which I am pleased to say is very pro-Israel
Julie Bishop had some sensible things to say in Jerusalem, as she broke ranks from a cosy, normally unexamined international consensus: the idea that, by permitting Jewish residence in the West Bank, Israel is violating international law.
Asked if she agrees Jewish communities located beyond the Arab/Israeli 1949 armistice lines are illegal, Bishop replied: "I would like to see which international law has declared them illegal."
Her reply has drawn attacks from perfervid Palestinian spokesmen - such as Palestinian Authority veteran official Saeb Erekat - who cite Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. But what does Article 49 actually say?
Drafted to outlaw the horrors of Nazi mass deportations, Article 49 prohibits "individual or mass forcible transfers, as well as deportations of protected persons from occupied territory to the territory of the occupying power or to that of any other country, occupied or not". It ordains that "the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."
"Transfer" is not rigorously defined in international law, but it has an accepted meaning: it entails some form of compulsion. Yet Palestinians are not being deported from the West Bank to another territory. Nor are Jews being deported from Israel to the West Bank; they are moving of their own free will.
The West Bank, illegally seized by Jordan in 1948, captured by Israel following Jordanian attack in 1967, is unallocated territory under international law. Only Israeli annexation or an Arab/Israeli agreement could alter its status - neither of which have occurred. In short, Article 49 has no bearing on the situation, as it deals solely with sovereign territories.
The original international decision at the 1920 San Remo Conference earmarking this territory for Jewish settlement has never been superseded by an internationally binding agreement. The 1947 UN partition plan, which sought to create Arab and Jewish states, could have been such an agreement, but it was rejected by the Arab powers and Palestinian Arabs. Being a UN General Assembly resolution, the plan had no legal force of its own.
In contrast, the 1993 Oslo Accords do possess legal force, but as these contain no prohibition on the existence and growth of these Jewish communities, Jewish rights remain unimpaired. Whatever one's view of the conflict, all should be able to agree on this. Yet Erekat denies it, even though the Palestinian Authority he represents signed the agreements.
He cited two other legal sources: the 2004 International Court of Justice (ICJ) advisory opinion, and the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. He didn't mention that the ICJ opinion was advisory and therefore non-binding, nor the perversion of legal norms by which it arrived at its conclusion - the ICJ opted to spuriously invest a General Assembly resolution with the authority for a legal determination of this kind.
The Rome Statute, which Erekat says makes Jewish settlement illegal, says nothing about Israel or the territories in question. It reiterates the Fourth Geneva Convention's prohibition on transfer of populations. It seemingly widens the scope of "transfer", by adding "directly or indirectly", but if compulsion is the touchstone, these qualifiers change little. But even if they did, some 40 countries, including free societies such as India, Israel and the US, have either declined to sign or to ratify the Treaty, making its application here nugatory.
Erekat is also incorrect to assert that the Abbott government's position represents an aberration. While differing from her predecessor, Bob Carr, Bishop's position is consistent with Australia's historic bipartisan stand.
Bishop was right to dismiss the notion that Jewish residence in the West Bank is illegal as the flat-earth assertion that it is. Inasmuch as this fiction inflames Palestinian ambitions to delegitimise Israel and uproot hundreds of thousands of Jews, it presents a profound obstacle to peace settlement.
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.