Monday, July 20, 2015
Australia: Anti-Islam rallies in Sydney, Queensland, Perth and Hobart
ARRESTS have been made at one of the Reclaim Australia rallies today, as police separated protesters and Pauline Hanson told a crowd she was against the spread of Islam.
As protesters take part in Reclaim Australia protests today, Ms Hanson told protesters in Rockhampton: “I am against the spread of Islam”.
As members of the crowd cheered for her, she told them how she did not like the way Australia was changing.
“We have other different religions that have never been a problem in Australia,” she said. “I see divisions happening in our country and it’s purely based on Islam. “I’m not targeting Muslims - I’m targeting the ideology, what Islam stands for - and it is very different to our culture and Christianity. “This is a peaceful rally and the rest of Australia will see this.”
Earlier today, she told the Today Show today that the rallies were not “about violence”. Instead, they were about people having the right to actually come and have their say.
“(Reclaim) is people like myself saying to our politicians I’m sick and tired of where you have us headed,” she also said on her official Facebook page.
“It is about being an Australian, being proud of who you are and to maintain our culture, way of life and laws.”
So far, five people have been arrested at a rally by the anti-Islam Reclaim Australia group in Sydney.
As Ms Hanson prepares to run for a seat in the Senate next year, she said her “Fed Up” tour was about touring the country to hear Australians’ concerns.
Whether they are fed up with foreign investment, high taxes, losing our farming sector, Ms Hanson said she planned to go to “remote areas where people feel forgot”.
When asked why she still felt she had support, she told the Today Show: “Because I’ve never given up and the party won’t. Australians haven’t given up on me. I get so much support Deb that I’m walking around because people say to me, Pauline, you are only saying what we’re thinking but you’ve got the guts to get up and say it.”
Ms Hanson’s comments come as rallies took place across the nation in Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania.
NEW SOUTH WALES
Reclaim Australia began its demonstration further up Martin Place at 10am.
Police formed a line in front of the anti-racism protesters and several units of mounted officers are around Martin Place. Banners reading “stand with multiculturalism against racism” and “no racism, no Islamophbia” were held high in the cool morning air.
Three people in ancient Greek-like military costumes, including helmets and shields, and four men with Australia flags draped on their shoulders are among about 50 people apparently gathered for the Reclaim Australia protest.
Police had warned those attending the Sydney protests that anti-social or dangerous behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated.
Officers were closely watching both groups and several units of mounted police are also patrolling the area.
Banners reading “stand with multiculturalism against racism” and “no racism, no Islamophobia” were held high by the louder, larger group of anti-racism protesters.
Several people with the Australian flag had gathered at the other end of Martin Place, with police trying to keep a two-block gap between the groups.
NSW Ambulance Paramedics treated two people during the operation, including a 35-year-old man who sustained minor head injuries. He was taken to St Vincent’s Hospital, where he remains in a stable condition. A second man, aged 48, was treated for a minor facial laceration.
After violent scenes in Melbourne on Saturday, Reclaim Australia and Stand Against Racism demonstrations in Brisbane were calm.
A strong police presence separated the two groups in Emma Miller Place at the old Roma Street Forum.
Anti-racism protesters chanted loudly to try and drown out the speakers at the Reclaim Australia speakers.
Reclaim Australia protesters claimed they were not discriminatory towards muslim people but the ideals they believed Islam represented.
One woman, Carley Westin, created an “Australian flag burqa” as a way of protesting burqas being worn in Australia. Ms Westin said the burqa was a way to abuse and oppress women. She also said Islam promoted child brides, animal cruelty and terrorism.
When the Reclaim Australia protesters had packed up, the anti-racism demonstrators marched down the street and into the cbd.
Queensland Reclaim Australia rallies also took place on the Gold Coast, Cairns, Mackay, Rockhampton, Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast.
Queensland political figure George Christensen also attended an anti-Islam rally today.
Mr Christensen, who represents the seat of Dawson, agreed to address a Reclaim Australia rally in Mackay.
He said on his Facebook page he wanted to “support people who seek to defend our Australian way of life, our culture and our freedoms from the threat of radical Islam”.
He said “hell (would) freeze over” before he would give in to those trying to stop him from attending the rally.
Liberal National Party Queensland senator Matthew Canavan said Mr Christensen should be judged by what he says, not who he stands alongside. “George is perfectly free, big enough, ugly enough to look after himself,” Mr Canavan told ABC Radio.
UK: They don’t give a flying fox about hunting
The pro-fox crusade is a mask for those hunting down human liberties
Just back from Greece, where a nation is locked in torturous debates over the future of its economy and entire way of life, in or out of the Euro and EU. Meanwhile at home, I find the UK political class tearing itself apart over the momentous issue of… the preferred way to cull vermin in the English countryside.
How have the UK parliament and media apparently managed to become transfixed again by an argument over such a trivial issue as hunting foxes with dogs? It does not require the mythical cunning of the anthropomorphic fox to work out that this furious row, which led Tory prime minister David Cameron to postpone proposed changes to the ban on hunting, cannot really be about alternative methods of pest control.
It is worth reminding ourselves to start that, with the exception of a few full-time eco-fools, nobody with a brain actually thinks that the fox population should be allowed to run free and multiply across Britain’s farmland. Despite their good looks, foxes are vermin and they must be controlled, just like those rather less photogenic rats and mice. The practical debate is only about whether they should be culled by hunters with guns – and probably dogs – or by hunters with horse and hound. Either way, the end result is the same – sudden death to the arguably handsome but indisputably verminous fox. The scientific jury remains out on whether any method is more humane than another.
(As an aside, we might also note that the rural hunt followers have more respect for the fox – Old Reynard – than most of those involved in the posturing at Westminster; the followers I interviewed a few years ago during the initial political battle over the ban were surprised by my contempt for the urban foxes some of us might like to hunt in London.)
So no, all of this fuss is not about the welfare of the fox. The drawn-out UK debate over hunting has always been about more important, human, issues. Just as those ‘Team Fox’ protesters outside parliament this week wore fox masks, so the rows over hunting have long been a mask behind which something else is going on.
At one level, the debate is about petty politicking and a scramble to find some moral highground in the mud of a hunting field. The ban on hunting with hounds was originally brought in under Tony Blair’s New Labour government in a pathetic attempt to prove the Labour Party’s radical, progressive credentials. Unwilling and seemingly unable to do anything substantial to change British capitalism, New Labour dressed up in a cloak of self-righteousness, rather as the huntsman dons his hi-vis pink coat, to ban hunting and appease its MPs and grassroots supporters by robbing the rich of their supposedly sadistic pleasures.
Now hunting has once again become caught up in pathetic parliamentary politicking. Conservative leader David Cameron made an election pledge to review the ban and allow a parliamentary vote in an obvious attempt to shore up his party’s rural support. This week the Scottish National Party made an equally obvious political gesture, vowing to vote against the Tory attempt to relax the ban and causing Cameron to postpone the parliamentary debate. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon claimed, with a straight face, that her party had acted to represent the interests of the English people and not, you understand, simply to stick two fingers up to the English Tories. In response, Cameron and the Conservatives said this proved the need for them to pass another law ensuring that only English MPs could vote on English matters, even though this apparently would not exclude the SNP from voting on the hunting bill that the row was supposed to be about.
The upshot is that the UK is facing another round of its ongoing constitutional crisis, allegedly over the issue of foxhunting. It is a sure sign of how fragile the historic Union has become, and how incoherent and shallow political debate is today, that the future of the British state can be put to question by a difference of opinion over methods of pest control. The latest debacle of the foxhunting debate looks like a symptom of a sickly, mange-ridden political class that somebody surely ought to put out of its misery.
There is also a more profound human issue behind the hunting debate. The high-profile obsession with not just condemning but banning foxhunting is a reflection of the contempt for freedom in British public life today. The most important f-word – freedom, not fox – is almost entirely absent from the discussion. Yet why shouldn’t the freedom to pursue any lifestyle choice which does not harm other people apply to the hunting community as much as to any other minority group?
To listen to the way some politicians and activists talk about some possible changes to the ban on foxhunting, you might imagine that the Tory government had proposed to reintroduce slavery. (Indeed, some of them actually like to compare the two practices, which gives a good insight into what they really think of humanity.)
The shrill crusade to ensure no form of foxhunting with hounds is allowed is part of the broader war on people’s lifestyles and pastimes that don’t suit the standards of the metropolitan cultural elite. Whether it’s giving your kids fizzy drinks or hunting a fox on horseback, whether you’re poor and want a pack of cigarettes or posh and enjoy riding with packs of hounds, they don’t like it and therefore it must be taxed / banned / publicly demonised. From New Labour’s ‘politics of behaviour’ to the ‘nudge agenda’ of more recent governments, the emphasis in UK politics is increasingly on policing what people do, say and think – for our own good, of course. And now for the good of Britain’s ‘oppressed’ foxes.
There is little mention of the freedom to hunt foxes even on the nominally pro-hunting side of the political divide. Those proposing to ‘relax’ – not repeal – the ban tend to argue instead that the current legislation is an ineffective mess that is not working as intended and needs some tidying up. It is certainly a useless law – figures suggest that as many foxes have been killed since the ban as before it, while some 97 per cent of prosecutions under the hunting law have reportedly involved individual poachers rather than organised hunts. But then, practicalities never had much to do with this ban in the first place. It was intended as a statement, a political attack on the freedom to hunt. In response, however, the Tories balk at talking about such an unfashionable principle as freedom, preferring to focus on the technical details of the legilsation. Little wonder they are losing the moral highground.
Yet the issue of freedom ought to be to the forefront of the hunting debate. People should generally have the liberty to live and to enjoy themselves as they see fit, whether that means playing golf, cross-dressing or hunting foxes. As the great Victorian philosopher John Stuart Mill put it in his classic work On Liberty (1859), an individual should be sovereign over himself, and could not be compelled to do or say anything he did not wish to, even if it was judged to be in his own interests. The single exception to this rule, Mill allowed, was if he was harming somebody else: ‘The only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member of a civilised community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others’. Mill did not, we should surely insist, include in his ‘harm principle’ the prevention of harm to foxes and other pests, or the hurt feelings of the foxes’ self-appointed spokespersons in parliament or on Twitter.
That is why the principle of the freedom to hunt should be defended, regardless of what we or anybody else thinks of it in practice. Opponents like to cite opinion polls (yes, them again) which claim that up to 80 per cent of the British public want to see foxhunting with hounds remain illegal. But even if that were true, so what? This is not an election or a referendum about how the country should be run. It is a law banning the lifestyle choices and leisure pursuits of an impassioned minority.
On this, too, I am with Mill, who argued for the defence of unpopular individual liberties against both ‘the tyranny of the magistrate’ and ‘the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling’, and insisted that if only one man dissented from society’s view, the majority would have no more right to impose its opinion on him than he would to make them all agree with what he did.
Despite all the ‘view-hallooing’ about it in Westminster and the media, foxhunting is not, of course, an important issue. But the obsession with outlawing it has become a symbol of much that is wrong with our political and public life today. The fact that the importance of human liberty has been lost sight of amid all the blah about foxes’ rights is a worrying sign of the times.
A footnote. Those on the alleged left who claim that banning foxhunting is an important radical humanist cause always bring to my mind the somewhat different attitude of a true Labour Party radical from an earlier age. The late Roy Jenkins was home secretary in the Labour government of the 1960s, who famously declared that what people called the ‘permissive society’ was better understood as ‘the civilised society’ and played a key role in the liberalising humanist legislation of that decade on issues such as abortion, homosexuality and divorce. (In the later Labour government of the 1970s, Jenkins would also introduce the draconian, repressive Prevention of Terrorism Acts, but that’s another debate.)
When I interviewed the then-Lord Jenkins in 1997, to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the 1967 Abortion Act, he made clear that he had wanted to help lift the ban on abortion not out of any feminist convictions, but because of a wider commitment to the liberal principle of freedom from state intervention. ‘I am on the whole very much against interfering with people’s liberty, unless you can show an overwhelming social cause’, he said. ‘This leaves me to be liberal on abortion law; it would also leave me never to vote for banning foxhunting, so I apply the rule indiscriminately.’
On everything from abortion rights to foxhunting, how we could do with a new generation of indiscriminate liberals in UK politics today.
Affirmative consent: the ultimate romance‑killer
New York’s new consent law is bad for freedom, justice and sex
Last week, New York governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill designed to combat sexual violence on college campuses. The law requires both public and private colleges in New York State to adopt new policies and protocols that demand explicit, affirmative consent before students or staff members partake in any remotely sexual activity. Similar to the ‘yes means yes’ law in California, this affirmative-consent law is severely stacked in support of the alleged victim, who merely needs to make a complaint, and in opposition to the accused, who needs to produce proof of consent – a case of guilty until proven innocent.
Cuomo’s intentions may be noble, but his execution is rash. This extreme legislation is possibly a result of Cuomo’s naive acceptance of the debunked statistic claiming one-in-four women falls victim to sexual violence while in college. Sexual assault does happen on campus, but there is no reliable data to suggest that as many as one-in-four women is being assaulted. Sexual assault is wrong, but so is legislation that undermines due process.
Not all states have affirmative-consent or ‘yes means yes’ laws. But many colleges outside of California and New York are increasingly keen on implementing them. The University of Minnesota, for example, is considering introducing affirmative-consent protocols in September. Many universities are also working with a ‘yes means yes’ advocacy group, which distributes consent kits. Each kit includes consent contracts, condoms and a pen.
Under affirmative-consent laws you are putting yourself at risk if you do not follow consent protocol. So it is now up to the accused to provide proof of clear consent through words or actions – and, without a witness, that is nearly impossible to do.
The intoxication level of an individual can also affect the validity of consent. Based on this new definition of consent, students should also whip out a breathalyser along with a consent form before having sex. So much for romantic spontaneity.
It seems that lawmakers are ignorant of modern romance and the hook-up culture prevalent today. After all, flirting and active participation in an initiated hook-up are generally assumed to be forms of consent. In the majority of cases, this assumption is correct. Participants in hook-up culture have a shared language and mutual understanding of hints, cues and flirtation. Even outside of hook-up culture, explicit verbal or written consent is awkward at best. When on a date, for example, asking to kiss someone can show a lack of confidence. Most of us prefer actions based on unspoken understanding and romantic spontaneity, which is why they make for the most beautiful moments in movies.
The impromptu kiss between Owen and Claire in Jurassic World left women swooning and men hoping to emulate Owen. The scene in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince where Ginny asks Harry to close his eyes before softly kissing him does not bring to mind the word ‘assault’. And in The Notebook, Noah grabbing and kissing Allie in the pouring rain after being reunited is incredibly romantic, despite his use of force. In all these films, there was no explicit consent, no breathalyser, no contract – not even a request for permission.
Although the above examples are fictional, many people will have experienced something similar. The moment when your hands slide together, or when you are saying goodnight after a date and your mouths lock without uttering a single word. Such moments can be unbelievably romantic. Or they can be unbelievably embarrassing and awkward. Sometimes people misread the moment, and try to kiss someone who doesn’t want to be kissed. Some people are simply bad with social cues. Misreading a situation and feeling embarrassed and apologetic afterwards is an honest and forgivable mistake. That is, unless you’re in California or New York, where misreading the desires of another would be seen as sexual assault. Whether the outcome of attempting a kiss is romantic or humiliating, you better pray the person you’re going for is not someone who would ruin your life over it.
To take it a step further, the New York and California affirmative-consent laws assert that ‘consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity’. This concept has been portrayed in short films such as Feminism For Bros – 105. The actors hooking up in this short speak throughout the entire sexual encounter, ensuring every touch, every kiss, every movement is acceptable. The whole scenario strikes me as awkward, forced and unappealing.
Affirmative-consent laws are not explicitly created to control and restrict sexual activity, but to stop sexual abuse on campuses. However, Cuomo and the universities implementing these laws are not considering the effect they could have on the falsely accused and those who have a poor understanding of social cues and informal etiquette. Campus kangaroo courts are already giving rise to miscarriages of justice. These laws will only make things worse.
Good intentions or not, the way these laws have been formulated could very well have disastrous results. Innocent individuals could be accused of terrible crimes and be kicked out of college. Lives could be ruined before they’ve even really got going.
Liberals Will Fuel Racial Tensions Forever
So now the Confederate flag has been removed from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol in Columbia.
Governor Nikki Haley got the ball rolling and the job was finished by Republican State Rep. Jenny Horne, who stood before the South Carolina House of Representatives identifying herself as a descendant of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, and made an impassioned plea to move the bill to remove the flag with haste and not allow it to get hung up with amendments.
But this is not and will not be good enough for liberals.
In 1963, newly elected Alabama governor George Wallace took the oath of office in Montgomery, former capital of the Confederacy, and issued forth his famous phrase, “segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
Might we think that, along with the flag, removed was the last remnant of a culture that rejected the idea that all people in our land are equal both under our constitution and in the eyes of God?
Unfortunately, if you think that, you are very wrong. Because liberals won’t let it happen.
Racism is a mindset that strips individuals of their humanity; that casts them as objects; that denies that each is a unique divine creation.
The moral power of the civil rights movement was to wake America up to this truth and it succeeded because it appealed to the moral conscience of the nation. It prevailed because it was a religious movement led by a Christian pastor and not a political movement led by a community organizer.
But what came next was a far different story, and it is why pulling down the Confederate flag, although a laudable and positive step to move the country in the right direction, will not make much of a difference.
When civil rights turned into laws, when it moved out of the church and into the hands of politicians and the politically ambitious, it took on the same characteristics of the disease it was meant to eradicate.
When civil rights law became not about obliterating unequal treatment under the law but about using political power to socially engineer outcomes, the same individuals whose humanity we wanted to save were turned into new kinds of political objects for liberals to manipulate.
As a result, we engraved race awareness and differences deep into our national political culture, almost guaranteeing that an era where people are judged by the “content of their character” would be impossible.
It is why after almost two terms of a black man occupying the White House racial tensions continue to rage.
The latest example of this can be found in the recent Supreme Court decision legitimizing “disparate impact” in federal housing policy. The Fair Housing Act of 1968 prohibited discrimination in housing policy. But, again, not enough for liberals.
Now, per the court ruling in Texas Department of Housing and Community affairs v. Inclusive Communities Project, any business decision, even though demonstrably not motivated by discrimination, can be deemed discrimination if it is shown to have “disparate impact” on different communities.
This makes it virtually impossible to make business decisions without thinking about race.
And the Department of Housing and Urban Development has just issued a new 377 page rule, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. Cities nationwide must meet vast new reporting requirements to the federal government on housing patterns. The Feds will then decide if they are discriminatory, and use the power of federal funds to impose from Washington politically determined local outcomes.
Racial manipulation, Confederate-style, has just been replaced by racial manipulation, liberal-style. The victim is American freedom and the very minorities that these policies, which have failed time and again, are supposed to help.
A nation under liberals, rather than a nation under God, is a nation in which racial strife will never leave us, no matter how many symbols of a painful past are removed and buried.
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.