Friday, August 08, 2014
No foolish fear of "racial profiling" in China
A city in China's restive western region of Xinjiang has banned people with head scarves, veils and long beards from boarding buses, as the government battles unrest with a policy that critics said discriminates against Muslims.
Xinjiang, home to the Muslim Uighur people who speak a Turkic language, has been beset for years by violence that the government blames on Islamist militants or separatists.
Authorities will prohibit five types of passengers - those who wear veils, head scarves, a loose-fitting garment called a jilbab, clothing with the crescent moon and star, and those with long beards - from boarding buses in the northwestern city of Karamay, state media said.
The crescent moon and star symbol of Islam features on many national flags, besides being used by groups China says want to set up an independent state called East Turkestan.
The rules were intended to help strengthen security through August 20 during an athletics event and would be enforced by security teams, the ruling Communist Party-run Karamay Daily said on Monday. 'Those who do not comply, especially those five types of passengers, will be reported to the police,' the paper said.
In July, authorities in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi banned bus passengers from carrying items ranging from cigarette lighters to yogurt and water, in a bid to prevent violent attacks.
Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say the government's repressive policies in Xinjiang, including controls on Islam, have provoked unrest, a claim Beijing denies.
'Officials in Karamay city are endorsing an openly racist and discriminatory policy aimed at ordinary Uighur people,' Alim Seytoff, the president of the Washington-based Uyghur American Association, said in an emailed statement.
While many Uighur women dress in much the same casual style as those elsewhere in China, some have begun to wear the full veil, a garment more common in Pakistan or Afghanistan than in Xinjiang.
Police have offered money for tips on everything from 'violent terrorism training' to individuals who grow long beards.
Hundreds have died in unrest in Xinjiang in the past 18 months, but tight security makes it almost impossible for journalists to make independent assessments of the violence.
About 100 people were killed when knife-wielding attackers staged assaults in two towns in the region's south in late July, state media said, including 59 'terrorists' shot dead by police. A suicide bombing killed 39 people at a market in Urumqi in May.
Political correctness backlfires on the British government
As a display of cynicism and disloyalty, the timing of Baroness Warsi’s resignation from the Government could not have been more calculating.
On Monday night, she represented the Government at a moving ceremony at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the start of World War I.
She had been picked personally by David Cameron to extinguish a candle which symbolised the 1914 Foreign Secretary Lord Grey’s observation on the eve of war that: ‘The lamps are going out all over Europe.’
It later transpired — to Downing Street’s fury — that the Senior Foreign Office Minister had played this central role in the service having already decided to resign dramatically the following morning.
A veteran of PR photo-calls — as a daughter of Pakistani immigrants, she attended her first Cabinet meeting wearing a pink and gold shalwar kameez — Warsi knew the impact of her departure would be far greater coming only hours after she had been seen sitting alongside the Duchess of Cornwall at the Abbey.
While she genuinely believes the Prime Minister should be speaking out more strongly against Israel, one questions whether her departure also owes much to her resentment over her stalled ministerial career.
Yet promotion was never a possibility. David Cameron actually resisted pressure from senior colleagues to sack Warsi who, with an extraordinarily inflated view of her own abilities, had vain hopes of succeeding William Hague as Foreign Secretary.
The lurid language in Warsi’s resignation letter, coupled with its timing and the fact that Gaza and Israel have actually agreed to a ceasefire, seem to betray her true objective: to inflict maximum damage on Cameron who she doesn’t like or respect. She did not even do him the courtesy of warning him, instead releasing her resignation letter via Twitter.
The resulting political mess is entirely of Cameron’s own making. He promoted Warsi to the Cabinet after the general election to Tory Chairman — traditionally a job for a heavy hitter — not because of her brilliant oratorical skills or shrewd political insights but because of her ethnicity and sex. She is the first Muslim woman to serve in a British Cabinet.
Working class, educated at a comprehensive, and with a broad Yorkshire accent, Warsi ticked all the politically-correct boxes — she was the perfect antidote to Cameron’s middle-aged, grey, Eton-educated colleagues. She was the manifestation of the idea that Conservatives were no longer the party of privilege.
While a woman of considerable willpower, Warsi — a solicitor who studied law at Leeds University — had neither the experience for the job nor any empathy with Tory members.
Compared to the likes of Norman Tebbit, who was Margaret Thatcher’s Tory chairman, Warsi was also a political lightweight — and, worse, she had never been elected as an MP.
She stood as a candidate in her native Dewsbury, Yorkshire, in 2005, a winnable seat. But while the Tory share of the national vote increased, it fell in Dewsbury and Labour won.
Cameron responded by putting her on his so-called A-list to propel women, ethnic minorities and gays into safe seats. She was not even selected so Cameron elevated her to the House of Lords in 2007 as Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion.
It was part of his attempt to reach out to the ethnic vote even though Indians, rather than Pakistanis, are more likely to vote Tory according to recent research. In Cabinet she swiftly became known as the ‘Blundering Baroness’.
She claimed electoral fraud within the Asian community cost the Tories three seats at the election — but refused to name the seats where the result had been fixed.
She was also forced to deny saying she did not want more Muslim MPs because ‘Muslims that go to Parliament don’t have any morals or principle’. Her comments in Urdu, made at a private dinner, were misinterpreted, she says.
Unlike previous Tory chairmen, she was rarely allowed near a TV or radio microphone because of fears she would commit gaffes. Meanwhile, Tory membership and donations slumped on her watch.
Having failed to win the confidence of the party’s grassroots, Warsi seemed destined to be sacked in the first reshuffle in autumn 2012.
But Cameron was desperate to cling on to his only Muslim Cabinet minister and to maintain his ratio of women on the frontbench.
A title of Senior Minister at the Foreign Office was created for her. Within weeks she was disowned by Downing Street after making a speech in which she claimed that Islamophobia had passed the ‘dinner table test’ — by which she meant that it had become socially acceptable among the chattering classes. She then linked Ukip supporters to the racist BNP and in March appeared on a TV political show brandishing a spoof newspaper front page poking fun at Number 10’s ‘Eton mess’.
Cameron was not amused.
Sayeeda Hussain Warsi, 43, grew up in a traditional Muslim family. One of five sisters, her Pakistani-born father, who came to Britain in 1971, was a mill worker who became a bus driver and driving instructor before setting up a firm manufacturing beds. When he retired, it had a £2 million turnover.
When she was 19, her parents arranged a marriage with a cousin in Pakistan. The couple had a daughter, now 15, and divorced in 2007.
Two years later she was accused of ‘stealing’ the husband of a vulnerable Pakistani woman in Dewsbury whose grasp of English was so poor she did not realise she was being divorced.
After Warsi’s marriage to Iftikhar Azam, members of the woman’s family claimed she signed a decree nisi document believing it to be a domestic gas bill. The allegations, which were strenuously denied, were embarrassing as Warsi was still at that stage being promoted as the multi-cultural face of the Tory Party.
To her credit, she spoke out against the grooming of white women by some Asian gangs, saying: ‘There is a small minority of Pakistani men who believe that white girls are fair game. You can only start solving a problem if you acknowledge it first.’
Meanwhile, Warsi, who describes herself as a ‘northern, working-class roots, urban, working mum’, was outspoken in her belief that foreign spouses should have to learn English before gaining admission to the UK. She also insisted, despite metropolitan mockery, that religious faith should have a place at the heart of government.
But in the summer of 2012 she was mired in controversy again when it emerged she had claimed parliamentary expenses for overnight accommodation at a house in which she stayed for free.
She was cleared of irregularities, criticised over a lack of transparency over her living arrangements, and was forced to apologise for a technical breach of the ministerial code by failing to declare a business relationship. Her reputation never fully recovered.
Today, Mr Cameron must regret not sacking Warsi when he could have. And how he must rue backing her so assiduously — once again raising questions about his judgment of people, and women in particular.
Westminster was thick with rumour last night that she might defect to Labour and that she has kept a detailed diary.
If either report is true, then Baroness Warsi’s capacity for embarrassing Cameron still further will increase dramatically.
Indian TV Crew Catches Hamas Firing Rocket From Densely Populated Area
Just minutes before a cease-fire started Tuesday morning, an Indian NDTV crewcaught Hamas red-handed on video assembling and firing a rocket outside their Gaza hotel room.
The video "establishes something that Hamas has always been accused of - that they actually use densely populated civilian areas to fire their rockets," reporter Sreenivasan Jain said. "You see this is a[n]area that, very heavily built up, a lot of residential and hotel buildings all around."
Jain and his crew noticed a blue tent outside their hotel room window Monday morning that was not there the night before. They couldn't see what was going on inside the tent, but, Jain reported, "We saw three men making a multitude of journeys in and out of the tent, sometimes with wires." They also saw the Hamas men try to camouflage the tent with branches.
All of this happened just feet away from their hotel and a high-rise building. The crew moved closer to inspect the site after Hamas fired the rocket, but left quickly in case Israel launched a retaliatory strike.
This was not the first time Hamas used an open lot next to the hotel, Jain said. He reported hearing a rocket being fired on the first night he and his TV crew stayed at the hotel, which he noted was evacuated following an Israeli warning of a possible retaliatory attack on the site.
The story was released "after our team left the Gaza strip," Jain reported. "Hamas has not taken very kindly to any reporting of its rockets being fired. But just as we reported the devastating consequences of Israel's offensive on Gaza's civilians, it is equally important to report on how Hamas places those very civilians at risk by firing rockets deep from the heart of civilian zones."
But if you ask Hamas defenders including Reza Aslan, the rocket likely was a figment of the TV crew's imagination. Aslan cavalierly dismissed evidence that Hamas previously fired rockets during a debate on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on Friday.
Fellow panelist Andrew Ross Sorkin challenged Aslan for blaming Israel for the deaths of "1,600 people, 85 percent of them civilians" and for killing hundreds of children. Sorkin noted that they had been killed because Hamas fired its rockets "in front of them."
"That is nonsense," Aslan said. "First of all, first of all, Amnesty International, which is on the ground right there, did a month-long review of this. They have found no evidence whatsoever of any kind of human shield being used."
NDTV's footage provides further incontrovertible proof that Hamas has no regard for the lives of those it governs. It also places apologists such as Aslan in the position of having to admit the reality that Hamas is the thuggish terrorist group the U.S., Israel and E.U. have always said it is.
The Gnostic Idea Of Social Change
By Herbert London
I have been reading Herb for many years but I think he is a bit confused on this one. Gnostics are religious mystics. I think "neophiliacs" was what Herb had in mind -- people who want change for the sake of change
Gnosticism is in the cultural air we breathe. The desire to break with tradition requires new avenues of protest. A trajectory of gay rights to gay marriage has seemingly won the day with the Gnostics now seeking alternative pathways to reform. The new, the truly new, is the movement to project the acceptance of transgendered sexuality.
In June 2014 an Alberta Canada judge argued that a twelve year old transgendered boy (a girl who considers herself a boy) must have the right to a new birth certificate with a new gender assignment. Prior to this judgment, Alberta law only allowed for new birth certificates if sex change surgery had been performed. The judge ruled that restriction to be a violation of “the rights ruled of transgendered people.” Presumably we get to be who we think we are and there is the emerging right to compel agreement.
Years ago there was an ad that said, “If you have but one life to live, live it as a blond.” Changing hair color to change identity set the stage for being whoever you want to be. Of course, now it is a right; if a woman says she is a man that is sufficient for her to use the “men’s room.”
A Marvel Comics spokesman said recently that the hero Thor was turning into a woman. Thor is the Norse god of thunder dating back over a thousand years. As a comic book fixture, Thor debuted in 1962. Though not technically a man, he was routinely depicted as male – until now. Marvel spokesman insists he is a she, a decision made without fanfare. It appears as though Thor decided he would prefer to live among the gods as a female.
Popular culture often sets the stage for the next wave of protestation. The idea that there are fixed traditional notions of social welfare going back thousands of years in anathema to the Gnostics who are eager to refashion the society. But where precisely are we going? Inventing rights is easy, but maintaining social equilibrium is not.
Converting society into a perpetual revolution in which the past is erased in search of utopia invariably ends in dystopia. Conferring rights without responsibility is a fool’s errand. At some point, absurd conditions are palpable. If a girl, for example, thinks she is a boy and has a plastic prosthesis surgically inserted, what happens when she changes her mind? If I am right handed, but all my life I wanted to be a southpaw is it appropriate to have my right arm removed? Being who you want to be was never a biological issue; it was related to status, prestige, and achievement. The idea that gender is an existential question is in some sense a violation of common sense and the accumulated wisdom of the past. Wants transcend all other considerations.
Technology itself has changed the male role making him less relevant in a woman’s life than was the case before. As a consequence, many males appear sexually ambiguous. The road to transsexuality is paved with stones of androgyny. Hence the creators of the newest rights are walking down this pathway hopeful that society will embrace the plight of those tortured by the bad deal biology gave them.
As Nicolas Chamfort, writer and dramatist, noted, “Nearly all people live in slavery for the reason the Spartans gave us as the cause of the slavery of Persians: they are not able to utter the syllable ‘no’.” Neither are we. In fact, perpetual revolution the Gnostics prefer leads inevitably to a point where we are slaves to rights creation and the remaking of social order.
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.