Tuesday, December 02, 2014
Another multicultural killer in Britain
A dancer and her unborn baby were killed when a drug-fuelled driver mounted a kerb in his car, flew through the air and ploughed into them at more than 70mph.
Paige Jackson, 22, who was seven months pregnant with her first child, died instantly after being hit by the Volkswagen, which took off and spun 360 degrees after crashing into a sign in a 30mph zone.
Floyd Mangove – who had been drinking and smoking cannabis – has now been jailed for seven-and-a-half years, with victims’ relatives applauding the judge as he said: ‘I’m treating it as the death of more than one person.’
But they later said the punishment would never make up for the ‘life sentence of grief’ they had been left with.
Leicester Crown Court heard Miss Jackson had already named her son, Rueben, who died despite doctors carrying out an emergency Caesarean.
The 22-year-old, who had danced professionally and aspired to be a model, was killed shortly after setting off from home to walk to McDonald’s, where she was working extra shifts to earn cash in preparation for the birth.
Care worker Mangove, 22, who had climbed behind the wheel that February morning after a ‘rough night’, failed to negotiate a gentle right-hand bend before ploughing into the road sign.Martin Hurst, prosecuting, said: ‘His wheels locked and he mounted the pavement, demolishing a road sign with two upright posts which acted as a ramp, causing the car to take off and rotate 360 degrees, landing on its wheels.
‘In the course of the flight he struck Paige from behind, causing massive injuries to her head, abdomen and leg.’
He said the baby, who would otherwise have been born normally, died despite doctors’ best efforts. Mangove was arrested at the scene and found to have 142 micrograms of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit is 80 micrograms.
He had been smoking cannabis. CCTV showed Mangove, from Leicester, was driving at between 71mph and 88mph in the build-up to the crash in the suburb of Aylestone.
He admitted causing death by dangerous driving. Sentencing him on Friday, Judge Nicholas Dean QC said: ‘You were responsible for those deaths by the way you drove your car.’
Mangove would have faced a sentence of around 12 years had he been convicted after a trial. But he received a discount because he did not flee the scene and had pleaded guilty.
After the hearing, the victim’s fiancé Kane Johnson, 23, said: ‘What he has done has devastated so many lives, not just the two that were lost. Paige was the most beautiful and kind woman – she was loved by everyone.’
Her mother Vanessa Freeman, 43, said in a victim impact statement read in court: ‘My grandson never even had a chance of life. The baby would have been loved so dearly by all the family.’
Band Aid Baloney
OK, another crisis, another token gesture by the West’s super rich elites. But hey, at least it makes ‘em feel good. While it might assuage their guilt feeling about living like kings while so much of the world is in abject poverty, I for one am not all that impressed.
Band Aid 2I refer of course to the latest shindig, Band Aid 30, put together by Bob Geldof and Co. Another gathering of uber-rich pop stars who want the world to think they are real humanitarians. I have often written about these sorts of efforts, and have pointed out the double standards, the ego-tripping, and so on.
And I am not alone in my concerns. Quite a few folks have blasted this latest effort, and for various reasons. And many of these critics come from the continent Geldof is claiming to help. So I will let them speak here. One article begins this way:
"A growing number of Africans are uncomfortable with what some call “the white saviour complex”. Bob Geldof may well be the only writer of one of the best-known songs of all time to admit that his multi-million selling anthem is truly awful and that he now finds himself irritated when he hears it on the radio. “I am responsible for two of the worst songs in history,” the shouty Irish singer and activist said in 2010. “One is ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ and the other one is ‘We Are The World’.”
But that hasn’t stopped him re-recording the former, originally released in 1984 to raise funds to fight to the Ethiopia famine, and now incongruously synonymous with Christmas in Britain. The problem is that a lot of people agree with his assessment, and many of them are from countries on the very continent he is trying to help.
Various voices are heard in this article. Abdullahi Halakhe, a policy analyst in Kenya says:
"Do you know it’s Christmas? According to some estimates, the Christian population in Nigeria alone is almost three times the number of Christians in England and Wales. How couldn’t they know it’s Christmas? Bishop Arinze from Nigeria was at one point even in the running to be the next Pope.
Just sample the grotesque tone of the lyrics, dripping with the “White Man’s Burden.” It was awful 30 years ago, and it’s awful today. If they wanted a spike in record sales because we are nearing Christmas, this was not a great move.
What do you think of Western charity songs like this as a response to African emergencies? I think the fundamental problem with the “saving” Africa posture is that it is predicated on the notion that Africa/Africans are agency-less, which for me is problematic because it is the continuation of never-ending paternalistic tendencies towards Africa."
Robtel Neajai Pailey, a PhD researcher from Liberia is more blunt:
"In May, Liberian musicians Samuel ‘Shadow’ Morgan and Edwin ‘D-12′ Tweh wrote and produced ‘Ebola in Town’. The lyrics were informative and the percussive beats so hot that it became an immediate hit. And just last month, the song ‘Africa Stop Ebola’ was produced by Malian, Ivorian, Congolese, and Guinean musicians.
We got this, Geldof, so back off. If you really want to help, buy a gazillion CDs of the two songs and send them to your friends as stocking stuffers with a note that says: “African solutions to African problems”. Instead of trying to remain relevant, Geldof and co. would do well to acknowledge the ingenuity of local artists and stop trying to steal the limelight!"
Ethiopian financial analyst Dawit Gebreselassie says:
"I think such celebrity-led initiatives have come to do more harm than the “good” they were intended for. And, even worse, is that it’s hard to imagine that the people behind it do not see the harm they are doing. Ethiopia has for the last few years been trying extremely hard to change its image as a poster child for poverty. It has been trying to depict a new bright image to the world so as to attract tourists and foreign direct investment. But this uphill battle is always hindered when such reminders of the past appear again on the screens of the people that are trying to be persuaded."
Africa’s only hope of success against poverty is through sustained, structured and equitable economic growth brought about through things such as investment and tourism. It’s hard to imagine how a few dollars raised every so often can possibly outweigh the damage it does by blemishing the continent’s image.
Nigerian human rights activist Chitra Nagarajan nails it:
"If the purpose of Bob Geldof and others is really to help the Ebola response rather than burnish their own profiles as modern day saints, they would donate money behind the scenes. The money that will be raised through this Ebola single could easily be raised by these rich musicians having a whip round among themselves and their friends."
Columnist Bryony Gordon is also scathing (and rightly so):
"Geldof is here to save West Africa from Ebola…. In the shallow, self-promoting world of celebrity, the simple and silent act of handing over money to charity is not the done thing – that’s what we impoverished plebs do. Instead, the rich and famous donate their precious time, and for this they expect to be celebrated and congratulated, as if before they flashed their expensively whitened teeth in the video for a song, we had no idea that Ebola was a problem, or that thousands of Africans were spending their last days on this earth in unimaginable horror, bleeding from every orifice, unable even to be comforted by their family and loved ones.
“Give us your f***ing money,” was Geldof’s message way back when, and it is his message now – you all dig deep and give up your hard earned cash because these famous people who make millions singing songs have deigned to give up a few hours of their time on a weekend. “We really can stop this… foul little plague,” said Geldof when he appeared on BBC Breakfast yesterday morning, with no mention of the Disasters Emergency Committee, which has raised £20 million for the region, or Medecins sans Fronteries, who have been out there since March."
"Nobody wants a world full of Ebola, but nor do I want a world full of Malaria and HIV and Tuberculosis and numerous other diseases – not to mention conditions such as hunger and poverty – that are destroying the lives of many millions of Africans every day. Certainly, I don’t want to be told how to behave philanthropically by a man worth an estimated £32 million, a man who is said to use tax avoidance schemes (it is telling that when a journalist asked him two years ago how much tax he paid, Geldof exploded at her, saying: ‘My time? Is that not a tax?’ Well, no, Bob, it isn’t).
I don’t want to be implored to give charitably by a band that travels in separate private jets because they don’t get on (One Direction), or by a man who avoids Irish taxes while simultaneously telling the Irish government to help developing countries (Bono). “It really doesn’t matter if you don’t like this song,” said Geldof as he launched it, “what you have to do is buy this thing.”
But do we? Really? If we don’t, does this make us unfeeling and uncaring, or does it mean that we have already donated money to the cause, or a different cause, even?
This, I think, is my main objection to Band Aid 30: it is all predicated on a belief that the British public are mean-spirited and uncharitable, when in actual fact nothing could be further from the truth. It’s time the likes of Geldof stopped asking us to give money."
Pity Sir Bob is being rather clueless here. But his ignorance seems proportionate to his arrogance.
85-year-old French doctor fined over $6,000 for urging woman not to have abortion
85-year-old French pro-lifer Xavier Dor was fined 5,000 euro ($6,350) Monday by the Appeals Court of Paris for having exerted “moral and psychological pressure” to dissuade a woman from having an abortion.
In 2012, the frail, almost blind, medical doctor, pediatrician, and researcher had given tiny knitted baby shoes to a woman who was approaching a Planned Parenthood center in central Paris.
The court also imposed a suspended fine of 5,000 euro, payable in case of a repeated offense, and awarded 750 euro damages to each of the three pro-abortion associations that had introduced the judiciary proceedings against Dor.
The Appeals Court was less severe than the criminal chamber of the Paris tribunal, whose judges went beyond the public prosecution’s demands, ordering a 10,000 euro fine in September last year as well as 2,000 euro damages for the young woman Dor met on the stairs leading to the Planned Parenthood center.
Dor is a veteran pro-lifer who, at the head of the association SOS Tout-petits, has led many protests and prayerful demonstrations near abortion facilities.
He told LifeSiteNews he was “surprised” by the reduced sentence, given the present context in which abortion has become a fully-fledged right in France, and is 100 percent refunded by the state-run Social Security.
Nevertheless, Dor has decided to take the affair to the Court of cassation, which is in charge of verifying the correct interpretation of the law. This case is actually one of the very first judgments regarding “moral and psychological pressure” with the intent of “hindering abortion.” This offense is of relatively recent invention: it qualifies strictly non-violent actions that can take place in any location, not necessarily close to a hospital or clinic where abortions are performed.
In this case, Dor twice entered the Planned Parenthood center. At this center, information can be obtained about contraception and abortion – including advice for women who are beyond legal term of abortion – but, contrary to the US, no abortions are performed there.
On the first occasion, on June 25, 2012, he entered the offices with another person and was able to speak with the person in charge, explaining why he was against abortion. Next day he returned alone: this time, a staff meeting was under way and he was brusquely expelled from the premises. It was while he was going down the common staircase of the building where Planned Parenthood has its offices on the first floor that he met a woman going up. He stopped her and offered her a Miraculous Medal of the Virgin Mary and knitted baby shoes, which she accepted.
The woman told the story at the Planned Parenthood offices and together with that association, as well as several professional pro-abortion and contraception unions, sued Dor because of the “extreme violence” of his words. As a Catholic and mother of three, she said, she had been “deeply shaken.”
During the appeals hearing, the public prosecutor supported her claim for damages and demanded that the first judges’ harsh sentence be confirmed: “He should realize the moral harm he’s been doing. It’s about time for him to stop. As a pensioner, he should find other occupations and let these women settle their own difficult questions of conscience, with all the heavy suffering they entail and that should not be increased,” he said.
As for the Planned Parenthood association and CADAC (National Coordination of Associations for Abortion Rights), they both asked for heavy damages, because, they said, sending Dor to prison would not help nor induce him to stop his fight against abortion. The offense of hindering an abortion carries maximum penalties of 2 years imprisonment and a 30,000-euro fine, as well as possible civil damages for the plaintiffs.
Both associations underscored that a fine would hurt Dor more than a prison sentence – he has already spent several months in prison for having prayed near abortion mills – and added that in these times of budget cuts their public funding is going down: why shouldn’t Dor help them get back some of the money they are no longer receiving from the State?
Both the local and national Planned Parenthood association as well as the CADAC were awarded 750 euro each. On the other hand, the woman in the case gained no damages at all, where the first judges had awarded her 2,000 euro for “moral harm” in September last year. Strangely enough, it was never made clear whether or not she was contemplating abortion on that day in June 2012, neither did she disclose whether she actually underwent an abortion then or at any other time. During the appeals hearing last month, she broke down during her testimony when her lawyer asked her to describe her feelings when Dor offered her the baby shoes.
It is therefore also unclear whether Dor can be understood, under the logic of the law, to have obstructed an abortion in a case where it is not even certain that there was a pregnancy.
This did not stop the judges from following the plaintiffs’ arguments. Claude Katz, representing Planned Parenthood, put it in portentous terms: “The right to abortion was obtained thanks to a long struggle. It is one of the most important advances of humanity. Your fight has already been lost. The Court’s decision cannot allow for the presence of a higher interest over and above the law.”
Another lawyer for the plaintiffs called Dor an “unworthy old gentleman” whose sole objective was to “hurt” and “cause suffering.”
Dor told LifeSiteNews: “The fine won’t stop me from defending life, there is more than one way to do so and we shall continue to demonstrate for the rights of the unborn.”
He added that while he was happy to note that the initial fine had been reduced by half, he considers “even a cent would be too much to pay for the right to defend innocent lives.” If necessary, he is prepared to take the affair before the European Court of Human Rights.
The three faces of censorship
Who do you want to ban or censor? The radical jihadist? The American ‘pick-up artist’? The offensive lyrics of a pop hit? The objectionable speaker who violates your sensibilities? The pro-life orator? The pro-choice orator? An art exhibition about slavery at the Barbican that makes people feel uncomfortable?
This week, it’s the turn of the terrorist agitator. The British government clearly views censorship as a vital weapon in its war against radical jihadists. Its proposed new laws, due to be unveiled by home secretary Theresa May today, threaten schools and universities with legal action if they fail to contain the threat of radicalisation or to ban extremists from speaking to students on campus.
Banning objectionable individuals from speaking on campuses or from entering the UK seems to have become the main vocation of the UK Home Office. Its new motto would appear to be ‘Si Movet Censor Eam — ‘If it moves, censor it!’. The other week it was Julien Blanc, the so-called pick-up artist accused of promoting sexual assault, who was banned from entering Britain. Today, the energy of the Home Office censor will be directed at eradicating jihadist ideas from university campuses.
Paradoxically, the government is a Johnny-Come-Lately to the ‘let’s ban something on campus’ crew. In the twenty-first century, university students are far more likely to demonstrate on behalf of censorship than they are to struggle for freedom of speech. In recent years, student-union meetings have only seemed to come alive when debating a motion that a certain society or meeting should be banned for failing to conform to official policy. Campus censorship has become a kind of competitive enterprise, where these unofficial advocates for censorship vie with officialdom to see who can demonstrate the most contempt for freedom and free speech.
The transformation of the academy from an institution that upheld the free circulation of ideas as one of its key virtues into an institution that sees censorship as an enlightened instrument for protecting individuals from offensive or dangerous ideas is one of the most remarkable developments in twenty-first-century Western society. It is a development informed by the zeitgeist of illiberalism that prevails in all sectors of society today. Tolerance is now increasingly regarded as a pragmatic principle that only applies to those who share the same outlook as you.
The ascendancy of the censor and the celebration of intolerance represent a reversion to the pre-modern view that it is morally justified to shut down and eliminate views perceived to be threatening. It is worth noting that until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, it was intolerance rather than tolerance that was considered to be morally correct. As late as 1691, the French theologian Jacques-Benigne Bossuet boasted that Catholicism was the least tolerant of the religions. He stated: ‘I have the right to persecute you because I am right and you are wrong.’ From this perspective, tolerating objectionable sentiments was seen as a form of moral cowardice. The embrace of intolerance represented a refusal to engage in a battle against evil. Tragically, this backward and illiberal sentiment now animates the behaviour of Home Office civil servants, many student-union operatives, and a variety of advocacy organisations devoted to the cause of protecting their worldview and their supporters from offensive words.
Censorship has a long history. Back in Roman times, two magistrates, or ‘censors’, were charged not only with counting the population but also with supervising public morals. Official censorship was historically about containing heresy. The Catholic Church’s publication in 1564 of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum – an index of prohibited books – was a key example of institutionalised or official censorship. The Index sought to prevent the influence of ‘evil’ by stopping the circulation of heretical and other dangerous ideas that might corrupt public morality. In subsequent centuries, official censorship expanded its focus, moving from the sphere of morality towards silencing supposedly threatening political ideals. The authoritarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union represented extreme forms of such institutionalised censorship of political thought. In such societies, people had to watch their every word. The repression of objectionable views was held up as a fundamental task for these self-consciously intolerant regimes.
In the twenty-first century, official censorship is far more limited than it was in the past. It is often hesitant and it communicates a sense of bad faith – its practitioners claim that while they still formally uphold tolerance and freedom of speech, in this particular instance censorship of a dangerous or hateful idea is necessary. The UK government’s proposed ban on extremist speakers on campus expresses very well the double standards of the contemporary official censor. Unlike that of the sixteenth-century Catholic Church, today’s official censorship lacks conviction and passion. Initiatives like May’s proposed anti-terrorism bill or the new laws against hate speech are ultimately a form of impression management. Instead of challenging threatening ideas, officials wish the problem away by rendering certain ideas illegal.
Today, official censorship is far less significant than its freelance counterpart: unofficial censorship. As anyone who is familiar with current trends in political and cultural life will know, the promotion of censorship is no longer the preserve of state or religious authorities. Advocacy groups, educators, campaigners, media organisations and, most notably, university-based individuals are now all actively engaged in crusades to ban individuals and censor views. Indeed, recent expansions of official censorship have in part been a response to the pressure exerted by unofficial agitators for intolerance. These days, an online petition demanding the banning of this or that is sufficient to get a sympathetic reaction from an institution or a government agency.
Paradoxically, advocates of unofficial censorship do not see their actions for what they are – acts of intolerance – but rather claim merely to be affirming and protecting the individuals who might feel offended by the views they are censoring. This can be seen most clearly in universities, where many students and academics devote more energy to criticising the principle of freedom of speech than they do to upholding it. Consequently, many of the official laws that violate the freedoms of speech and expression – for example, so-called hate-speech laws – actually have their origins in the deliberations of unofficial campus censors. That so much of the government’s proposed new anti-terrorism law is directed at universities is probably informed by the calculation that the grounds for official censorship have been well prepared by unofficial campus censors.
But official censorship and its enabler, unofficial censorship, are not the only forms of censorship today. The main damage caused by unofficial censors is through the influence they exercise on culture and everyday life: they have helped to consolidate a climate of conformism that has led to the growth of a third type of censorship. And it is arguably the most insidious form of censorship: self-censorship. Historically, self-censorship has been associated with the media and the intelligentsia, who for both good and bad reasons drew the conclusion in certain situations that silence was the better part of valour. Such behaviour in a totalitarian society, for example, is entirely understandable and often essential for personal survival.
However, today self-censorship is an expression of a lack of integrity and courage. Just count the number of times that people who have been publicly criticised for making an offensive comment have rolled over and declared that they were utterly wrong or insensitive. ‘I apologise’, they say. Such public acts of self-censorship do great damage, for they discourage other people from voicing their sentiments in public. Official and unofficial censors are probably delighted by the flourishing of self-censorship, but what they overlook is that through their repressive behaviour, and their creation of a climate of conformism and self-silencing, they deprive society of the ability openly to confront and deal with the challenges it faces.
The three faces of censorship – official, unofficial, and self- – reinforce each other’s influence, to the point where the very idea of an open society is called into question. That is why, without a hint of irony, public figures can demand that intolerance should not be tolerated. Fighting intolerance with intolerance has the perverse effect of depriving tolerance of moral authority and rebranding the intolerance of the censor as a good thing, as virtuous. The twenty-first-century descendants of the heresy-hunting authors of the Index Librorum Prohibitorum are no less energetic than their moral predecessors. They are right now busy drafting laws for parliament or motions for student unions or online petitions to ban something. Those who love liberty and uphold freedom of speech face formidable opponents who are no less zealous than the authors of that Index.
Southampton’s Burger King revolt
Southampton General Hospital has recently announced that it will not be renewing its concession for Burger King at the hospital, which runs out in 2016. Apparently, if you’re a patient, visitor or member of staff, you will no longer be allowed to ‘have it your way’. Burger King does not, according to the hospital’s management, fit into a modern ‘healthcare environment’. The medical profession cracking down on food it deems unsuitable is not news – but the fact that there is a campaign to save the Burger King outlet certainly is.
According to the Southern Daily Echo, users of the hospital, past and present, are ready for a lightly toasted bun-fight over the decision. The petition, organised by Brett Phillips, the husband of a former patient, complains about the hospital’s own food, which Phillips says is poor quality and often cold by the time it turns up – if it turns up at all, that is. Being able to buy a Burger King meal, which is at least cooked on site, has been a lifeline. He concludes: ‘Burger King may not provide the healthiest of foods, but its quality is much higher than that of the hospital food. Southampton General will be making a big mistake if it doesn’t extend the lease beyond 2016.’
It would, of course, be good if the food provided by the hospital was of consistently good quality and was delivered to the wards when it was needed. But it would be better still if hospital managers left patients with a choice. Sometimes, the familiar and tasty is what people need when they’re ill. A burger and fries, if not exactly a lifesaver, can be a great comfort. A low-calorie salad just won’t cut the mustard.
There’s another problem, too: the idea that fast food is inherently unhealthy. This shows that what is driving Southampton General’s decision is not nutrition science but snobbery. A burger and chips is, in fact, packed with protein and vitamins, along with a nice big portion of calories – just what the doctor ordered for patients who need building up. To say a Burger King meal is bad for you is the biggest Whopper of them all.
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.