Thursday, July 30, 2015
Obese must get treatment or lose benefits says PM: Cameron launches review to work out cost to taxpayers of 'preventable' conditions
In the army, self-inflicted injuries are a crime and you can be charged over them. I rather like that. I think an appropriate civilian version would be to withhold all government help for such injuries. At a time of enormous medical costs, help for ailments that are the results of obesity and drug abuse should not be available at the taxpayer's expense. So I am pleased that Mr Cameron is moving in that general direction
Obese people who refuse medical treatment to help them lose weight could have their benefits cut, the Prime Minister will announce today.
David Cameron will launch a review to work out the cost to taxpayers and the economy of 'preventable' conditions such as obesity and drug and alcohol addiction.
He has asked a government health adviser to examine plans to force people with health problems to undertake treatment when claiming benefits.
Mr Cameron will pledge to make 'support and treatment' available to those with drug and alcohol problems, and the obese, who want 'the opportunity to improve their lives'.
But he will add: 'We must look at what we do when people simply say no thanks and refuse that help but expect taxpayers to carry on funding their benefits.
'Over the next five years I want to see many more people coming off sick benefit and into work.'
Around 90,000 people claiming sickness benefits, worth on average around £100 a week, whose primary condition is alcoholism or drug addiction could have their payments docked unless they agree to treatment. A further 1,800 receive incapacity benefit with the main reason listed as weight-related issues.
The claimants currently get offered treatment such as courses and medication to help them get better and back to work, but there is no legal requirement to accept the help.
Dame Carol Black, chairman of the Nuffield Trust and an adviser to the Department of Health, will today make an urgent call for evidence from experts and medical specialists before providing recommendations.
She said: 'Addiction to drugs and alcohol, and in some cases extreme obesity, can have a profoundly damaging impact on people's chances of taking up meaningful employment.
'By reviewing the support that is available here and abroad to people with these conditions, it is my hope that we can present a thorough analysis of the options available to Government. I am looking forward to discussing these issues with as many people as possible.'
The start of the review comes after a Tory manifesto commitment to take action in this area to get more people off benefits and into work.
Multicultural folly of denying ‘Islam’ in terrorism
Janet Albrechtsen comments from Australia
It’s so rare for a politician to climb out on a limb that the very notion of a brave political speech has almost become an oxymoron. So let’s give credit where it is due.
Last week, British Prime Minister David Cameron confronted a tough debate with brutal honesty. For too long, Western leaders have danced around the real reasons for the rise of Islamic State.
From US President Barack Obama to Tony Abbott, Western leaders have shied away from telling it like it is, choosing instead mealy-mouthed political correctness and cultural infirmity.
Speaking at Birmingham’s Ninestiles School, Cameron said this: “In the past, governments have been too quick to dismiss the religious aspect of Islamist extremism … But simply denying any connection between the religion of Islam and the extremists doesn’t work.”
He’s right. In Australia, Abbott, normally a straight-shooter, has failed to make the honest link between Islam and Islamic State.
Cameron made the obvious point that “these extremists are self-identifying as Muslims. The fact is from Woolwich to Tunisia, from Ottawa to Bali, these murderers all spout the same twisted narrative, one that claims to be based on a particular faith.”
He said it is futile to deny that. Worse, it is dangerous to deny the link because you neuter the important voices that seek to challenge the religious interpretations adopted by extremists. Cameron wants to embolden those voices that provide an alternative view of Islam to halt the slide along the spectrum of extremism by so many young Brits.
It has taken a long time for even one Western leader to confront the truth that, as Graeme Wood wrote in The Atlantic in March: “The reality is that the Islamic State is Islamic. Very Islamic. Yes, it has attracted psychopaths and adventure seekers, drawn largely from the disaffected populations of the Middle East and Europe. But the religion preached by its most ardent followers derives from coherent and even learned interpretations of Islam.”
Wood added that while most Muslims rejected Islamic State, to pretend it was not a religious group with theology drawn from Islam had led the West to underestimate its ambitions and meant we could not hope to counter it.
The British Prime Minister also admonished Muslim groups for thinking it’s enough to say “we don’t support IS”. As he said, al-Qa’ida doesn’t support Islamic State either. “So we can’t let the bar sink to that level. Condemning a mass-murdering, child-raping organisation cannot be enough to prove you’re challenging the extremists,” he said.
This is bracing stuff. When was the last time Western leaders demanded that Muslim leaders who genuinely want to challenge extremists must also condemn the wild conspiracy theories about the malevolent power of Jews, about the West’s aim to destroy Islam, about Muslims being wronged by the evil actions of the West? When did we last hear a leader say it’s not good enough to condemn terror attacks in London, then feed an ideology by siding with those who set off suicide bombs on Israel?
As Cameron said: “No one becomes a terrorist from a standing start.” Conspiracy theories feed the extremist narrative.
Cameron is right to condemn the grievance mindset and the victimhood mentality adopted by many Muslim groups and exploited by Islamic State to attract followers. What Cameron failed to do was explore how the West itself encouraged victimhood complaints and grievance contests to flourish. While he pointed to the growing segregation of Muslims in schools and public housing, Cameron failed to admit the West’s pursuit of unbridled multiculturalism 40 years ago encouraged this segregation.
Whereas once we expected migrants to integrate into our culture, accept our values, multiculturalism unshackled those cultural connections. Whereas 40 years ago, the only label that attached to a migrant was, for example, “new Australian”, multiculturalism encouraged each migrant group to adopt a hyphenated identity that allowed cultural and moral relativism to flourish. And that unleashed identity politics and its close relatives, grievance games and equally spurious victimhood claims.
Cultural appeasement emasculates our values. It means that in Australia, the Abbott government refused to deliver its promise to bolster free speech in this country. When Abbott dropped his pre-election promise to reform section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, an illiberal law that allows people to shut down words that are offensive or insulting, he said it was about preserving national unity and team Australia.
In fact, it was a political sop to those so-called community leaders who oppose moves to shore up free speech. Without a rock-solid commitment to free speech, important debates are stifled.
Cultural complacency explains the 10th annual Lowy Institute survey finding only 60 per cent of Australians, and just 42 per cent of young Australians aged 18 to 29, believe “democracy is preferable to any other kind of government”.
Cultural complacency explains the results of the Institute of Public Affairs’ recent report, The End of History … in Australian Universities, which found that while Australia’s political and cultural institutions have their origins in Britain, of the 739 history subjects taught in Australian universities last year, only 15 covered British history.
As the IPA’s John Roskam wrote last week, “There’s no space for economic history in any history department, but there is room for 15 film studies subjects, 14 feminism subjects and 12 sexuality subjects.”
Cultural appeasement has horrendous physical costs too. Cameron pointed to nearly 4000 cases of female genital mutilation reported in Britain last year and 11,000 cases of so-called honour-based violence in the past five years. And he added, these are just the reported cases.
We would be foolish to imagine the same evils are absent in Australia.
The British PM also condemned many British universities for pretending to be bastions of free speech but stifling intellectual debates when it matters. Cameron pointed out that the universities invite Holocaust denier David Irving onto a campus so they can rightly condemn him. But when an Islamic extremist spouts their evil ideology to university students, university leaders don’t say a word to challenge this ideological filth. Cameron denounced the “misguided liberalism and the cultural sensitivity”.
Once again, he should have added that 40 years ago a virulent strain of multiculturalism introduced freedom-loathing viruses into our societies. Only when we combat those viruses can we start reasserting confidence in our own culture — a crucial prerequisite for convincing others about the great virtues of living in a free society.
Free Speech and Truth Under Attack in Massachusetts
For the past two years, as a freelance writer for the New England press as well as nationally and locally, I have reported on a number of disconcerting trends which originated in New England, and now have started working their way nationally. The progressive agenda has encouraged the increased encroachment of the state into citizens’ private, and has taken on an unprecedented push in this region, one where Republicans and conservatives stood up against government sponsorship of human slavery and maintained long-standing resistance against Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal.
Government school boards began in Massachusetts. Big Labor took on collective bargaining powers and found a firm stronghold in Rhode Island. Gay marriage began in New England, with Vermont sanctioning civil unions, followed by Massachusetts imposing gay marriage by judicial fiat. In the Bay State, the land where The American Revolution’s “shot heard round the world” was first fired, government bureaucracies, in collusion with Big Labor and Big Lawyers, have inculcated cronyism and corruption to unprecedented heights.
Massachusetts, now one of the most heavily dominated one-party Democratic states in the country, also passed laws preventing protests outside of abortion clinics. Even after the Supreme Court struck down those strictures because of their infringement on the First Amendment, former Governor Deval Patrick and Attorney General Martha Coakley sought to reform the initial law in order to protect a woman’s “right to choose” (although not her right to speak).
State-sponsored laws have made war on families and freedom in other venues, too.
Two years ago, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families held young Justina Pelletier against her and her family’s will. Besides the ongoing work of local activities and Fox News anchor (and Presidential candidate) Mike Huckabee, no one knew about this Orwellian dystopia nightmare. Finally, after much pressure (including my reporting in the Worcester, MA media), Justina was released to another facility in her own state of Connecticut. The greatest failure in this disturbing case of government overreach? The widespread media failure not to report.
Following the judicial fiat imposition of gay marriage on the Commonwealth, the homosexual lobby worked its way into many facets of public life in Massachusetts. Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has promoted education materials to push the LGBT agenda into public education. In counter protest, Catholic teachers in California walked out of schools in refusal to condone same-sex marriage and conduct. Earlier, though, a Lexington, MA parent was arrested after he protested lessons on homosexuality in his son’s kindergarten class.
Now private industries, including the medical field, are embracing Gay Pride programs, even if it means bullying individual employees to comply with the activities or lose their jobs. ALthough Buzzfeed played up the imposition of gay marriage as a small, benign matter with happy festivities and “more love all around,” pro-family groups like Mass Resistance and TFP Student Action depict a more severe, less warm and fuzzy reality of what happened afterwards.
One current and distressing example of this concerns the case of Dr. Paul Church, an established urologist at Beth Israel Deaconness Medical Center and the administration which faulted him for his views on homosexual conduct, including his concerns about the medical implications of the behavior, and his resistance to participating in pro-gay pride activities promoted by the hospital.
Mass Resistance, the pro-life and pro-family group based in Boston, MA reported the following:
On March 30, a major Harvard-affiliated hospital in Boston, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), expelled a well-respected urologist from its medical staff because he voiced concerns about the unhealthy nature of homosexual behavior and objected to the hospital’s aggressive promotion of “gay pride” activities.
Dr. Church has worked in a number of countries and worked on issues pertaining to sexual conduct and the consequences of high-risk behaviors. For over a decade, he voiced initial concerns about the hospital’s investment and promotion in “Gay Pride” activities. He and his like-minded colleagues first met token opposition, even ridicule. Despite the initial backlash, Dr. Church proceeded to report the medical concerns as well as the moral opprobrium connected with homosexual behavior. Read this timeline for more information. He faced tighter sanctions from the administrators, including one who was eventually forced to resign following immoral dalliances with a subordinate. They eventually imposed a gag order on the doctor. Finally, he was asked to resign, then summarily terminated.
Mass Resistance commented: This is outrageous. A respected physician – particularly one on the staff of Harvard Medical School and a major hospital – should not have his career essentially ended because he’s simply telling the truth.
Aside from the Patch news service, and a report from the Boston Business Journal, the Massachusetts media, liberal and conservative, have reported nothing on this trampling of freedom of speech. Following press inquiries to Liberty Counsel, the law firm representing Dr. Church in his upcoming appeal, media personnel responded that they are not issuing press releases until after the appellate hearing, in compliance with Massachusetts law.
The Boston Business Journal reports: "Dr. Church has objected to the promotion of homosexuality because of the inherent dangers of homosexual activity," Mast said. "... Dr. Church has repeatedly made known his objections (to homosexuality) in a medical capacity, and his wishes that he not be the recipient of these (LGBT events) based on his Christian-based beliefs. Both of those requests have been ignored."
Perhaps Associate Justice Antonin Scalia was right, and the Supreme Court’s decision to create another right at the expense of others explicitly in the Constitution have transformed the judicial branch into “the greatest threat to American Democracy.”
Whatever one’s views about same-sex conduct or the role of the state in defining marriage, or a private institution’s knowledge or dissemination on either, a professional’s standing and career should not be in jeopardy for speaking one’s mind and voicing concerns on the subject.
Up to press time, media silence reigns over the Church controversy, as in the Justina Pelletier case. How much longer will these attacks on individual liberty continue unabated?
Women, Social Progress, and Mandated Diversity
Should the government require corporations to meet gender quotas for high-ranking jobs? In her latest op-ed, Independent Institute Research Fellow Abigail R. Hall takes issue with mandatory hiring policies—in place in Norway, Germany, and increasingly proposed for the United States—that require private businesses to set aside a certain percentage of top management jobs for women. Such policies are intended to help women, but in reality they have the opposite effect by causing the token hiring of people unqualified for the job, according to Hall.
“Gender preference may help us get our foot in the door, but sets women up to fail,” Hall writes in the Daily Caller. “Again, this is not to say that women are inferior to men, but that these policies place women into positions for which they are unprepared.”
Hall suggests that vote-hungry politicians such as Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for the 2016 presidential election, might drum up enough public support for such legislation that Congress would pass it. Such gender requirements not only would lead to hiring mismatches that ultimately harm their intended beneficiaries, according to Hall, but they would also foster doubts about many women who actually possess the skills needed to succeed in top management. Moreover, gender set-asides “send a negative message to women, telling them they are less than their male counterparts, that without a government mandate, women can’t get the jobs they may want,” Hall writes.
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.