Monday, November 24, 2014
A multicultural "carer" in Britain
Stanley Nkenka was caught abusing Zak Rowlands, 19 [who cannot speak and suffers with autism and severe learning difficulties], after his concerned parents set up the hidden camera in his bedroom in Oxen Barn Residential Home in Leyland, Lancashire, because he had started flinching when people came near him.
And the fears of Paul and Julie Rowlands were confirmed when they watched the footage and saw their son being hit on the back of his head as he was put to bed before the teenager was left sobbing on his own in the darkness.
Nkenka has been jailed for six months after he pleaded guilty to ill treatment.
In the video clip the 35-year-old is seen hitting the boy on the back of the head and flicking him as he tells him to go to bed. He then pushes the teenager on the bed and says 'it's time to sleep' and calls him a 'stupid boy.'
As the youngster lays in darkness, Nkenka warns him 'Don't come out, or I will hit your head' before he swipes at him again.
Nkenka is seen later approaching Zak and saying quietly: 'Do you want some more?' before he leaves him alone in his bedroom.
Mr Rowlands, a firefighter, told the Daily Mirror: 'Seeing that man do this to my son sent a chill down my spine. 'I felt guilt that I wasn't there for Zak when he needed me most.'
Mr Rowlands said his wife, a police woman, had persuaded him to go through the police rather than confront Nkenka himself. The couple are now campaigning to have cameras installed in all care home bedrooms in a bid to stop patients being abused.
'Sadly we believe this treatment is rife in the care industry,' said Mr Rowlands. He said he felt disabled patients needed proper dignity and should therefore have cameras in their rooms to ensure they were not being mistreated.
Oxen Barn - privately run by the Priory Group - is a specialist home for adults who have autistic spectrum disorders and severe learning difficulties. The Priory Group said it had a 'zero tolerance' policy towards abuse and Nkena was sacked immediately after his 'totally unacceptable' actions came to light.
At the hearing Judge Christopher Cornwall said: 'The ill-treatment that is complained of seems to me to be dismissive of him as an individual, unkind and uncaring, and really disrespectful of him as a human being.
'Carers must know that if they fall so far below the standards that are expected of them to the extent that they ill-treat the people they care for, they must know they put their liberty at jeopardy.'
Mrs Rowlands previously told the court: 'When I saw the video recording of Nkenka hitting him, I felt sick, heartbroken, angry and incredibly guilty.
'It's hard to articulate the actual words that really describe my emotions. I'm scared, really scared that it will happen again.'
She said she knew something was wrong when her son started to flinch when he was touched or approached.
'Sadly Zak, my loving, affectionate, special and incredibly vulnerable son hasn't the mental capacity to be able to speak but he communicates in his own way,' she told the court.
'By making sounds and by the sparkle in his eyes when he's happy and by the tears and the sorrow in his eyes when he's sad or hurt. But when that's not enough I am my son's voice and will always be until I take my last breath.
Combat pilot who tried to halt lesbian kissing episode faces discharge
Vindictiveness towards normality
The Army is moving to discharge a decorated combat pilot who intervened to stop two lesbian officers from showing what he considered inappropriate affection on the dance floor during a full-dress formal ball at Fort Drum, New York, in 2012.
Lt. Col. Christopher Downey, who was once assigned to the White House and completed tours in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, ended up being convicted administratively of assaulting a soldier trying to videotape the kissing and grabbing.
Col. Downey’s attorney, Richard Thompson, says his client merely pushed down the camera to prevent photos and video that could end up on social media.
Mr. Thompson said Col. Downey’s commanding officer also convicted him of violating the directive that ended the ban on gays openly serving in the military.
“It’s political correctness run wild,” Mr. Thompson said. “Military rules do not apply to lesbian officers because of political correctness.”
Col. Downey won early battle with the Army last year. A special three-officer “show cause” board reviewed the punishment and unanimously ruled that the evidence showed he did not violate Army rules.
“The allegation of conduct unbecoming an officer … is not supported by the preponderance of the evidence,” the board wrote. “The findings do not warrant separation.”
Yet Col. Downey still faces separation by an Army forced-retirement board that began meeting this week.
On the night of April 14, 2012, seven months after President Obama lifted the ban on acknowledged gays in the military, Col. Downey moved to the dance floor to caution the two lesbian officers, a second lieutenant and a captain.
A warrant officer had approached Col. Downey and complained that their prolonged French kissing, buttocks grabbing and disrobing of Army jackets violated Army rules against inappropriate displays of public affection while in uniform on base, his attorney said.
He said the captain, who since has left the Army, complained that she and her girlfriend, whom she later married and then divorced, were victims of discrimination.
“Lt. Col. Downey gave his all to the Army and to the country he loves, yet the Army he so loyally served threw him under the bus merely to avoid negative press from the homosexual community,” Mr. Thompson said.
Mr. Thompson, who heads the Thomas More Law Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, announced Thursday that he had filed suit against the Army in U.S. District Court.
The lawsuit accuses the Army of violating Col. Downey’s constitutional rights by preventing him from adequately defending himself and asks a federal judge to overturn the convictions. It also seeks Col. Downey’s reinstatement to the promotion list and to the roster for attending the Army War College.
An Army spokesman at the Pentagon said it is long-standing policy not to comment on pending litigation.
‘Shirtgate’ and Common Decency
Had scientist Matt Taylor simply dressed professionally for TV, there would be no “scandal” to speak of
By Jonah Goldberg
The European Space Agency’s Rosetta project accomplished one of the most impressive scientific feats in our lifetime. They essentially moved a clunky machine from one speeding bullet onto another, by remote control, from 310 million miles away. It’s hoped this achievement will help usher in a new era of space exploration by teaching us how to exploit the raw materials swirling around the solar system. Also, it was really cool.
But it wasn’t cool enough for some feminists who found the shirt worn by Matt Taylor, Rosetta project scientist, to be a bigger deal. Taylor’s shirt, designed by a female friend, depicts a bunch of attractive, scantily clad women drawn from comic books holding guns. (Slate’s Amanda Marcotte oddly described their stances as “pornographic poses.”)
Rose Eveleth, a science writer, tweeted in response to a televised interview with Taylor: “No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt.”
A meteor shower of hashtagged rage rained down on both sides of the Atlantic. “Shirtstorm!” “Shirtgate!” and similar bullshirt.
What should have been the best week of Taylor’s professional life ended with him weeping on TV as he apologized for his alleged crime.
Many of my friends and colleagues on the anti-PC right have responded with understandable outrage. And it’s true: Taylor’s confession of wrongdoing did feel forced — awfully North Korean.
Still, the feminists have a point. Although I like the shirt (which is now selling like hotcakes), I would never wear it to a nice restaurant, never mind on a globally broadcast TV interview. The reason I wouldn’t wear it has very little to do with my fear of offending feminists. It’s simply unsuitable professional attire. I’d ask critics of the feminist backlash, would you wear it on a job interview? How about to church or synagogue?
Where feminists seem remarkably self-absorbed is in their assumption that only their sensibilities matter. It is hardly as if feminist-friendly career women in STEM professions (science, technology, engineering, and math) are the only people who might reasonably dislike the shirt. But here’s astrophysicist Katie Mack tweeting: “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM.”
Okay, maybe. But why are feminist motives so special? What if you’re a devout Christian, Muslim, or Jew working in the humanities? What if you like cartoonishly sexy ladies, but you hate guns? What if you’re simply the kind of person who thinks male professionals should wear a jacket and tie on TV?
In short, feminists want a monopoly on when everyone must be outraged or offended. A few weeks ago, feminist idiots rolled out a video of little girls dressed as princesses, cursing like foul-mouthed comedian Andrew Dice Clay. Unlike Taylor, they set out to offend. But that was in support of feminism, so it was okay. (I’d like to see the parents of those kids tearfully apologizing for exploiting their kids as cheap propaganda props.)
We live in an age of diversity, defined not merely by gender and race, but by lifestyles and values. That’s mostly a good thing — mostly.
Like all other good things in life, diversity comes at a cost. And a big part of the tab is a lost consensus about what constitutes good manners and propriety. So instead of knowing how to behave, we spend vast amounts of our time worrying and arguing about it, with combatants on every side insisting it’s “Live and let live” for me but “Shut up! How dare you!” for thee.
In this age of unprecedented cultural liberty, we’ve lost sight of the fact that common standards of decency and decorum can be liberating. They inconvenience everyone — a little — but they also free us from worrying about who we might offend or why. School uniforms, remember, constrain the wealthy kids for the benefit of the poor ones.
For millennia, good manners were understood as the means by which strangers showed each other respect. Now, too many people demand respect but have lost the ability, or desire, to show it in return.
Britain's ongoing transformation into East Germany
The recently enacted UK Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act embodies a new relation between state and society. This relation has been implicit, developing slowly and inherent in many pieces of legislation, but this law embodies it overtly and completely.
From my conversations with civil servants involved in drafting the powers, it became clear that the underlying idea of the law is that local authorities should be ‘enabled’ to do whatever they want to do. In the consultation process, local authorities were asked: ‘Is there anything that you would want to do that is not covered by these powers?’ That is, they were asked not, ‘what does this allow you to do?’, but ‘is there anything you can’t do?’.
Here we see a new approach to law and to lawmaking: the development of the freedom of action of state officials, as an end in itself.
Historically, it was the freedom of civil society that was promoted as an end in itself: freedom of speech and of association were promoted as goods in themselves, regardless of how people chose to use these freedoms. Now it is the freedom of the state that is developed systematically as a project, and which requires no further justification. The expansion and creation of new powers is seen as good in itself, be it a law-and-order policy or a neighbourhood-renewal strategy.
Increasingly, to solve social problems means to create new powers. The ASB Act includes ‘public-space protection orders’, ‘community-protection notices’, ‘dispersal powers’, as well as new behavioural injunctions and powers of eviction (see ASB Act guide). So – by a strange inversion – it is through giving the state new powers that a community is served, and public space ‘protected’.
This means a different form of law, and a different form of policy. Laws are no longer seen as limitations on the arbitrary power of the state. Instead, they are described as ‘tools’, things to be used by officials. They are described as ‘useful’, like a good spanner or a saw. The official here is the subject and the law a mute thing in their hands.
Yet, significantly, new powers are created without any specific plan in mind as to what officials may want to use these powers for. New powers are described as being ‘part of the toolkit’. The new ASB Act was described as a ‘great addition to the toolkit’ and ‘quite handy’. The concern here is merely that, in any situation, local authorities and police should have a wide variety of options as to how they proceed.
In any concrete situation – for example, a person playing music too loud – the authorities will be able to survey their toolkit and pick exactly the right legal instrument for the job. Ideally, in any situation there will be a power that can be used there and then, with as few obstacles as possible.
In the consultation on the ASB Act, any restriction on the free action of officials – such as the need for a public consultation, or a formal legal proceedure – was described as ‘too bureaucratic’ or as ‘red tape’. So while society becomes tied up in more and more red tape, the action of officialdom is cleared from all possible restrictions. The new principle becomes: restriction for society, freedom for officials.
This law embodies a constitutional change which has been developing for a while, and is now, in the shape of the ASB Act, stated explicitly. The classic relationship between state and society is dead. AV Dicey’s Introduction to the Study of the Law of the Constitution explains how, in the English constitution, it is the freedom of civil society which is the general and default principle, while the power of the state is limited and must be justified. Everything is allowed unless it is specifically banned; every incursion of state power into the domain of civil society is a special event which requires specific justification. The rule of law, he said, excludes ‘arbitrariness, or prerogative… on the part of government’, or any form of ‘wide, arbitrary, or discretionary powers of constraint’.
As we approach the 800-year anniversary of the Magna Carta, it is clear that this constitutional arrangement has now been inverted. Significantly, this has occurred not through the totalitarian force of an assertive state – through martial or sedition law, star chambers or inquisitions – but in the anodyne form of law-as-‘toolkit’.
This is why the ASB Act passed so quietly and with so little comment. It is not that the domain of civil society is being retaken or stamped upon, but rather that it has evaporated as a principle or reality in policymaking. That law should be a ‘tool’ for officials to use now appears commonsense, natural.
A community is protected not through freedom but through a ‘community-protection notice’. The only remaining political subject is the official, and the law becomes their hardware store.
Vatican Conference Confirms Traditional Marriage ‘Deeply Rooted in the Nature of Man’
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said on Wednesday that the diverse gathering of religious leaders from around the globe for the Vatican’s marriage conference shows the universal belief in marriage being between one man and one woman and that efforts to redefine the institution will ultimately fail.
“It will never happen,” Perkins told CNSNews.com. “[Traditional marriage] is too deeply rooted in the nature of man.”
Perkins said that at least 14 religions are represented at the conference, including many that hold vastly different theological views but that all agree on the definition of marriage.
“What is shared is the understanding of marriage as being between a man and a woman,” Perkins said. “It’s actually rooted in the natural order.”
Perkins said the global embrace of traditional marriage at the event “reinforced the stand that so many have taken in the orthodox world.”
And if people who advocate on behalf of natural marriage sometimes are discouraged because of the opposition to it expressed in the media and popular culture, the consensus on the subject at the conference is inspiring, Perkins said.
“Sometimes you are tempted to feel you are alone,” Perkins said. “That is absolutely without question not the case.”
Perkins said he hopes to continue the FRC’s advocacy work for marriage by encouraging church leaders in America to recommit to traditional marriage and to speak out beyond the pulpit on the subject.
“We need to speak to culture unapologetically about what marriage is,” Perkins said. “It’s for the well-being of children, the well-being of man and woman and the well-being of society.”
The Vatican conference, entitled the “International Interreligious Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman,” featured leaders from diverse faiths and academia from around the world speaking about natural marriage and its connection to human spirituality.
The Vatican produced a series of six videos entitled “The Destiny of Humanity: On the Meaning of Marriage” featuring many of those leaders.
“The God who invented human sexuality also invented the universe,” Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College says in the first video. “The two fit.”
In remarks to open the three-day conference on Monday, Pope Francis spoke about marriage and its benefit to children.
“Children have the right to grow up in a family with a father and a mother capable of creating a suitable environment for the child’s development and emotional maturity,” Francis said.
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.