Monday, December 22, 2014
Controversial Dutch far-Right politician Geert Wilders to face trial for inciting racial hatred after vowing to make sure there were 'fewer Moroccans' in Holland
They are going to try him AGAIN?
Dutch far-right populist lawmaker Geert Wilders is be tried for inciting racial hatred after pledging in March to ensure there were 'fewer Moroccans' in the Netherlands, prosecutors said Thursday.
'The public prosecutor in The Hague is to prosecute Geert Wilders on charges of insulting a group of people based on race and incitement to discrimination and hatred,' prosecutors said in a statement.
'Politicians may go far in their statements, that's part of freedom of expression, but this freedom is limited by the prohibition of discrimination,' it said, adding that no date had yet been set for the trial.
The case centres on comments Wilders made at a March 19 rally after local elections.
He asked his followers whether they wanted 'fewer or more Moroccans in your city and in the Netherlands?'
When the crowd shouted 'Fewer! Fewer!' a smiling Wilders answered: 'We're going to organise that.' In a later TV interview, he referred to 'Moroccan scum'.
The remark led to 6,400 legal complaints being lodged across the Netherlands, and criticism was even voiced within Wilders's own Party for Freedom.
In a written statement, Wilders says he 'said what millions of people think and believe.' Wilders says authorities 'should concentrate on prosecuting jihadis instead of me.'
'I do not retract anything I have said,' Wilders, whose Party for Freedom (PVV) is leading opinion polls. 'In my fight for freedom and against the Islamisation of the Netherlands, I will never let anyone silence me. No matter the cost, no matter by whom, whatever the consequences may be,' he said.
Wilders is often reviled in Dutch immigrant communities for his fiery anti-Islam rhetoric. In the past the flamboyant politician has compared the Koran to Hitler's 'Mein Kampf' and has called Islam a fascist religion.
He has become the target of death threats and who lives under 24-hour police protection. He has said he expects prosecutors to drop the charges.
A court in 2011 acquitted Wilders on hate-speech charges, ruling that he had targeted a religion, which is permitted under Dutch freedom of speech laws, rather than a specific ethnic group.
The far-right is on the rise across Europe, fed by disillusionment with the establishment, economic hardship and worries over immigration.
Big British charity rapped for political bias
Oxfam has been rapped by the charity watchdog for not taking sufficient steps to avoid appearing politically biassed in a social media campaign which criticised the Government’s austerity programme earlier this year.
In a posting on Twitter in the summer, Oxfam published a faux film poster, showing picture of a broiling sea, under dark storm clouds, under the words in red: “The Perfect Storm” adding that it was “starring zero hours contracts, high prices, benefit cuts, unemployment, childcare costs”.
A Twitter message above the image said: “Lifting the lid on austerity Britain reveals a perfect storm - and it’s forcing more and more people into poverty.”
The Tweet was part of a bigger campaign on poverty in the UK earlier this year by Oxfam, and prompted complaints to the Charity Commission from Conservative MPs.
Under charity law, charities have to remain above political campaigning and have to “remain neutral and should consider working with other parties to help ensure public perceptions of neutrality”.
In a three page report published on Friday, the Commission concluded: “The charity should have done more to avoid any misperception of political bias by providing greater clarity”.
The Commission added that Oxfam should have linked to research which set out its concerns about poverty in the UK.
It said: “We appreciate that tweets by nature are short. Nevertheless, consideration must always be given as to how they might be perceived when received in isolation.”
Oxfam said it had “recognised the need to review the oversight of their social media work, particularly in the run-up to the election”.
The Commission said that Oxfam had now looked again at its “governance framework for campaigning activity” including bringing all of its campaigning work into one place.
Tory MPs welcomed the ruling. Conor Burns MP who brought the original complaint, said: “I am very pleased that after a very considerable period of time and very careful consideration that the Charity Commission has reached the decision that it has.
“While not calling for any further action, this judgement should make all charities think very carefully about how the use the very generous donations by people when they are in 'campaign mode', rather than 'poverty alleviation mode'.”
Rob Wilson MP, the Charities minister, said: "Remaining above the party political fray in all forms of communication is vital to maintaining the high levels of trust the public has for charities and the important work they do.”
Charlie Elphicke MP, who has campaigned on charity issues, said: “The Charity Commission’s ruling is welcome. Charities must be independent and not party political. I welcome Oxfam’s commitment not to act in a party political way again.
“It is a shame that the regulator needed to remind Oxfam of their duties under charity law, and as we go in to an election campaign it is to be hoped other charities take heed and act accordingly.”
Mark Goldring, Oxfam’s chief executive, said: “The Commission found that in relation to this tweet we did not do enough to avoid people misunderstanding our intentions and we accept that.
“We have reviewed our social media procedures to reduce the risk of tweets being misconstrued in future.”
The tweet was “motivated by the desire to draw attention to the problems facing poor people in Britain today and was not party political”, he said.
He added: "At a time when increasing numbers of British people are surviving on food hand-outs, we have a responsibility to draw attention to their plight and challenge the politicians who have the power to help them.”
Gen. Boykin: Army Violated Its Own Regulations in Punishing Chaplain for Using Scripture
Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (U.S. Army-Ret.) says the Army violated its own regulations by punishing Chaplain Joseph Lawhorn for “using Christian scripture and solutions” in a mandatory suicide prevention training session.
Boykin, chair of the Restore Military Religious Freedom Coalition (RMRFC), also said that the treatment of Lawhorn violated the chaplain’s constitutional rights.
“First of all, his case is important because it is an infringement on his First Amendment rights,” Boykin told CNSNews.com.
“Secondly he is a chaplain. By definition, chaplains deal with spiritual issues, and all he was doing was explaining how his faith helped him.
“The third thing, though, is that this colonel that issued him a reprimand was in violation of the Army regulation.”
Lawhorn received a “Letter of Concern” from his commandering officer after the Military Association of Atheists and Freethinkers (MAAF) posted a photo of a double-sided handout from his session, which they received from a member of the 5th Ranger Training Battalion who was in attendance.
The MAAF complained that Lawhorn used the example of the adversity suffered by the Old Testament King David on the front of the hand-out for advice on overcoming distress. The back offered both Christian and secular counseling resources.
“You provided a two-sided handout that listed Army resources on one side and a biblical approach to handling depression on the other side,” Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Ft. Benning, Georgia wrote following Lawhorn’s Nov. 20th training session. “This made it impossible for those in attendance to receive the resource information without also receiving the biblical information.”
Lawhorn was cautioned to be “careful to avoid any perception you are advocating one system of beliefs over another.”
Boykin explained that by issuing the Letter of Concern to Lawhorn, Col. Fivecoat was himself in violation of an Army regulation that “you cannot either force a chaplain to do something that violates their conscience or prohibit them from following their faith.”
This is an apparent reference to Section 533 of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), also known as the “conscience clause,” which protects the “rights of conscience of members of the Armed Forces and chaplains of such members.”
“He was reprimanded for simply doing what he is permitted to do by not only our Constitution, but by Army regulation,” Boykin emphasized. “So there are three very important reasons why we felt that we could not let this stand.”
The RMRFC sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh Wednesday to express its alarm over the reprimand. The coalition is asking that the Army withdraw the Letter of Concern, which would otherwise remain in Lawhorn’s file for up to three years.
“An Army chaplain is not required by the Constitution, any statute, or any regulation to behave like a secular counselor. The chaplain’s perspective is spiritual and religious,” the RMRFC points out in the letter.
“As a chaplain, Captain Lawhorn certainly pointed to his Christian faith and reliance on reading the Bible as key weapons in his fight against depression. At no time did he indicate that his solution was the superior way or the only way to handle depression,” the coalition noted.
“In fact, Chaplain Lawhorn provided a two-sided handout that included Scriptures dealing with depression and hope on one side, and secular resources on the other.”
The letter concludes with a request that “assurances be provided that Colonel Fivecoat’s actions will not adversely affect Chaplain Lawhorn’s Army career and reputation.”
“What our coalition is asking for: rescind that letter and in doing so what you’re saying is that this was done in error and we are rescinding it as a result of that error,” Boykin explained, adding: “I want this colonel who did this, I want somebody in the chain of command to sit him down and explain to him what the Constitution provides for in terms of freedom of religion as well as freedom of speech.”
Boykin also told CNSNews.com that this incident “is another example of the persecution, particularly of Christians” in the U.S. military, which he says is “becoming more and more of a problem over the last couple of years.”
“We just simply cannot ignore this nor let it stand,” he said. “Even if there’s no long-term impact on the chaplain professionally, it can’t stand because commanders cannot abuse their power by abusing their subordinates over their conscience and their faith.”
The Family Research Council (FRC), of which Boykin is executive vice president, also sent a petition to Secretary McHugh asking him “to rescind the Letter of Concern and to reprimand Col. Fivecoat for violating protections afforded to all military personnel enacted into law in the National Defense Authorization Act.”
The petition currently has over 20,000 signatures.
Brutal British social work bureaucrats again
Falling into the grip of a Leftist bureaucracy is bad news indeed
A distraught elderly couple are facing Christmas apart because ‘box-ticking’ social workers refuse to let them spend it in the same nursing home. Raffaello Gerra, 84, and his wife Isabel, 70, have been told they must be separated after more than 50 years of marriage because of council protocol.
Mr Gerra, a retired hotelier, had been living in sheltered housing next to the nursing home that looks after his wife, who suffers from dementia. But after a stroke in October, he now needs round-the-clock care and cannot leave his hospital bed to visit her.
Doctors recommend that Mr Gerra join his wife in her home – but social workers say he must go to an ‘assessment centre’ for around six weeks instead.
Despite the fact that he cannot walk, dress himself or visit the bathroom, Milton Keynes Council maintain that his ‘needs’ may not meet the correct criteria for a place.
The Gerras’ 49-year-old daughter Stephanie, a psychotherapist, said: ‘Mum and Dad desperately want to be together. They’ve been soulmates all their lives. I don’t know how long either of them have left so every week that passes is precious. Dad has become very depressed. Mum is missing him and has even asked if he was dead. It’s heart-breaking. ‘Keeping them apart is nothing but a box-ticking exercise.’
The couple met in London more than 50 years ago, and have worked all their lives without claiming benefits. Mr Gerra, an Italian, fell in love with his Spanish wife ‘at first sight’ when she came to work in the same hotel as him.
They married in 1964 and raised two children – Stephanie and her brother Alex, now 44 – while running the family hotel in Bloomsbury, central London. They have four grandchildren.
But after the couple retired to Milton Keynes, Mrs Gerra was last year diagnosed with late stage dementia, and was forced to move into Ashby House Care Home.
She took comfort from the presence of her husband, who visited every day, made friends with staff and came to view it as a second home. But following his stroke two months ago, the medical team at Milton Keynes Hospital say he can no longer live alone and recommend that he joins his wife.
As well as mobility issues, Mr Gerra has poor eyesight, poor hearing, failing kidney function, diabetes and high blood pressure.
In a letter to social workers, a hospital consultant said: ‘In my opinion, Mr Gerra would greatly benefit from a place at Ashby House. This would enhance his well-being and reunite him with his wife, which would help support his emotional needs.’
But despite pleas from Mr Gerra’s family, the council said he must go to another institution, Orchard House, for ‘assessment’ instead. And after an examination period likely to last at least six weeks, there is no guarantee he will be allowed the funding for a £650-a-week place with his wife.
A letter from social services said the process ‘is used to assess all service users where it is not clear what support they will need upon discharge’, adding that ‘the hospital is not a natural environment to establish someone’s needs’.
It means the couple could be forced to live in separate care homes for the rest of their lives, as Mr Gerra does not have the means to fund his own place at Ashby House.
Their daughter added: ‘My parents have been hard-working taxpayers all their lives and never asked for anything. My mother actually didn’t claim her pension for some years.
‘They wouldn’t dream of claiming benefits and have always been self-reliant. I feel they’ve earned this care in their hour of need. All my dad can say is that he hopes God lets him live long enough to look after Mum. It breaks his heart that she’s slowly disappearing without him there.’
A spokesman for the council said they ‘are very sympathetic to the circumstances of Mr and Mrs Gerra. We are working closely with the family to ensure they are provided with the appropriate support when he is well enough to leave hospital.’
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.