Friday, August 21, 2015
Democrats' Inconvenient History
“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” —John Adams, 2nd President of the United States, 1770
For the last few years the promise of electing America’s first black president has given way to the reality that race relations have actually taken a turn for the worse. While some of the grievances that have emerged have been legitimate, there is little doubt that the “fundamental transformation of America” demanded by the Left and their media allies requires the elevation of a narrative over America’s historical record.
And that begins with the term “African-American” itself. There’s a reason I’ve consistently used black American when discussing race issues in my columns. First, African-American is largely inaccurate because it lumps black people from all over the world into a single category of origin. Yet far more important, it smacks of exactly the kind of Us vs. Them separatism that makes a mockery of Martin Luther King’s 1963 speech, where he hoped one day “the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood” and people would be judged by the “content of their character, not the color of their skin.” Yet there was an equally, if not more, important part of that speech that has gone largely unheeded:
“But there is something that I must say to my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force.”
Does that sound like the agenda of the professional race-baiters/rabble-rousers who inhabit the New Black Panthers or #BlackLivesMatter? Does it sound like Ferguson or Baltimore, where riots in the former were triggered by a completely debunked narrative, and riots in the latter were abetted by a black American mayor who believed anarchists should be provided "space" to perpetrate their anarchy? Can anyone imagine the uproar if a Republican president gave former Klansman David Duke White House access, or attended meetings of his race-based European-American Unity and Rights Organization (EURO), just as President Obama gives White House access to Al Sharpton and has attended galas at Sharpton’s National Action Network (NAN)?
Does anyone remember it was mostly Korean businesses targeted by blacks during the Los Angeles riots of 1992, or that a similar scenario played itself out in Baltimore this year? How do such inconvenient realities square with the odious theory promoted by MSNBC pundit and Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson, who insists black people can’t be racist because they don’t control the levers of power? And how does Dyson square Dr. King’s exhortation with his odious contention that the exoneration of George Zimmerman is an “injustice” that will only be recognized as such when the deaths of white kids “approximate the numbers of black and other kids who die”? What could be more unjust than the effort to turn the confrontation between Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin into a racial incident, an effort so desperate it literally required the creation of the term “white Hispanic” and the doctoring of audio by NBC to do so?
Whose agenda is being served here, there and everywhere else? Who has a vested interest in keeping Americans at one another’s throats to the point where even reasonable people are wondering if bridging the racial divide is still worth the time and the trouble?
If we’re going to talk about the institutionalized racism to which the American Left constantly refers, how about referring to those who actually institutionalized it? It wasn’t Republicans who set dogs and water hoses on black protesters in 1963 in Birmingham, AL. It was Democrat Commissioner of Public Safety Bull Conner. It wasn’t Republicans who denied James Meredith admission to the all-white University of Mississippi in 1962. It was Democrat and ardent segregationist Gov. Ross Robert Barnett.
And it wasn’t Republicans who desperately tried to hide their history of racism as they prepared to nominate Barack Obama for president in 2008. How many Americans know there were 20 Democrat platforms that either supported segregation outright, or were silent on the subject, from 1868 through 1948? How many know it was Democrats who opposed the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments to the Constitution, banning slavery, guaranteeing due process and equal protection to former slaves, and granting black Americans the right to vote, respectively? How many know the Democratic Convention of 1924 held in Madison Square Garden was known as the “Klanbake” and that a plank condemning Klan violence was defeated outright — followed by a KKK rally attended by 10,000 hooded Klansmen in a field in New Jersey directly across the Hudson from the site of the convention?
How many know it was Democrats who segregated the federal government at the direction of President Woodrow Wilson upon taking office in 1913, or that three-fourths of the opposition to the 1964 Civil Rights Bill in the House came from Democrats, a total that was topped by their Democrat Senate colleagues, who accounted for 80 of the no votes in that chamber? (Hat tip to CNN correspondent Jeffery Lord for the above research)
What about the oft-repeated myth the these so-called Dixiecrats migrated to the GOP and thus blacks migrated to the Democrat Party? Revisionist history of the highest order. First, 93% of Dixicrats remained Democrats for life. Second, black voters supported both Woodrow Wilson and Harry Truman (overwhelmingly) long before this so-called migration occurred — and despite the reality that both men were members of the KKK. That “club” also included West Virginia Democrat Sen. Robert Byrd who led a filibuster against the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Nonetheless, Democrats are overwhelmingly supported by black Americans for two reasons. One, LBJ signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act into law, and the reality that more Republicans supported it than Democrats has been swept under the historical rug; and two, Richard Nixon’s ostensible pursuit of a “Southern Strategy” that turned southern states towards the GOP, due to Nixon’s ostensible pandering, described by Democrats as employing “dog whistle” (this is where the term originates) terminology and “code speak” to woo voters concerned about desegregation.
That Nixon's track record demonstrated a steadfast commitment to civil rights, including the creation of an Office of Minority Business Enterprise in the Department of Commerce, a more than ten-fold increase in federal government purchases from black businesses ($13 million to $142 million) between 1969 and 1971, a budget increase for civil rights programs from $75 million to more than $600 million from 1969-1972, the initiation of the Emergency School Act to help end school segregation, and an executive order that called on federal agencies to apply Equal Opportunity (EO) policies to every aspect of personnel policies and practices?
An old Soviet proverb provides the best answer: The future is clear; it’s the past that’s always changing.
But there is a far larger question that must be asked: What have black Americans gotten from Democrats for their unwavering support over the last 50 years? How about an egregious learning gap in public schools, courtesy of a Democrat/education union symbiosis that protects the odious status quo? Or the utter destruction of the nuclear family, courtesy of LBJ’s Great Society and its change in the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program? Before the advent of the Great Society, AFDC had been reserved for widows, as a means of funding once-married women who had lost the primary male supporter of the family. In the 1960s, President Johnson and Congress changed the qualifications: Any household where there was no male family head present became eligible for taxpayer subsidies, thereby incentivizing the breakup of the traditional family structure.
During those same 50 years, Democrats unceasingly promoted the idea that black Americans are victims of institutionalized and endemic racism that is impossible to overcome absent government intervention. Their latest effort in that regard is the promotion of skin-based “white privilege,” a term that might resonate among the coastal elites who bemoan the ostensible advantage automatically conferred to those of the Caucasian persuasion. But for the millions of white and other non-black Americans in “flyover country” who struggle to make ends meet, one suspects the same half-century of copious affirmative action programs and diversity set-asides — that must be embraced, lest one be considered racist — are rapidly approaching the end of their shelf life.
And perhaps it’s time black Americans recognized that government intervention is a double-edged sword. It is Democrats who are bound and determined to take black Americans and their votes for granted like never before: If they get their way, millions of illegals will be given the opportunity to compete with black Americans in an economy where the labor participation rate hovers near a 40 year low. And Obama and Democrats will pursue that agenda with an unbridled impunity made possible only by black Americans' unstinting loyalty. A loyalty so entrenched that anyone who dares to stray from Democrat orthodoxy is branded a “race traitor,” just as conservative black Justice Clarence Thomas has been from the time he was nominated to the Supreme Court to this very day.
When something isn’t working, it is often a good idea to reexamine one’s premises. Perhaps it is time black Americans reexamined their belief that Democrats, and only Democrats, are looking out for their best interests. That reexamination begins with the simplest of questions: Why hasn’t 50-plus years of loyalty yielded little more than the very same discontent that arose in the 1960s? Hint: One definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time.
A cuddly man of principle? No, British far-Leftist spent 30 years sucking up to the world's most repellent monsters
Jeremy Corbyn is idealised by thousands of Leftist young people who respond enthusiastically to his criticisms of the excesses of capitalism. They regard him as a breath of fresh air and a palpably decent man standing up for the underdog.
Even in the Centre and Right of the political spectrum there are many who think Corbyn a plainly principled chap, though they don’t like all of his views. At least, they say, he offers an alternative to the prevailing New Labour-Lib Dem-Cameroon political consensus of the past 20 years or so.
And Corbyn, for his part, plays up to this billing. At times I have almost found myself liking him for the apparent honesty, his lack of vanity, and his engaging oddness. Which other politician would dare to show his vest under his shirt in the height of summer?
I can see, too, why his ‘banker-bashing’, his Euroscepticism, his excoriation of the rapacious energy companies and his attacks on rail privatisation resonate with millions of people. Sometimes they even begin to resonate with me.
But beware. If you judge a man by the company he keeps — and that is generally a fair way of looking at our fellow human beings — Jeremy Corbyn has associated with some very unpleasant people since becoming an MP more than 30 years ago.
I’m not just referring to their views, though they are always extreme. I am even more struck by the fact that many of those with whom he has rubbed shoulders in a seemingly friendly way are either non-democratic or espouse violence — or both.
Of course, it’s possible for any politician to slip into bad company. One thinks of the time Robert Mugabe — the tyrant who has ruled Zimbabwe for even longer than Mr Corbyn has been a backbench MP — manoeuvred our then Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw, into shaking his hand. Out of politeness, or perhaps fearing a diplomatic embarrassment, Mr Straw complied. But he wasn’t consciously endorsing the monster.
Corbyn, by contrast, has gone out of his way to entertain, or make donations to, or sit on the same platform as, or offer support to, a panoply of dangerous or obnoxious characters.
One of his first acts as an MP was to invite Gerry Adams to the House of Commons in 1984, a fortnight after the IRA had tried to blow up Margaret Thatcher and the rest of the British Cabinet, killing five people in the process.
These days, Adams is an ostensibly respectable and democratic politician, chatting amicably with Prince Charles when the heir to the throne visited the Republic of Ireland earlier this year. But in 1984 he was a very senior member of the IRA Army Council, and its one-time chief of staff, as Corbyn would have known.
Two weeks earlier, a close IRA colleague of Adams’ had unleashed murder and mayhem in Brighton. By inviting Adams so soon afterwards to the Commons, Corbyn was in effect showing solidarity with terrorists. He has remained on friendly terms with the former IRA chief of staff.
Now, of course, the prospective leader of the Labour Party makes a ritual denunciation of all violence during the Troubles in Northern Ireland, though he does so in a way that puts the British Army on the same moral level as the IRA, if not slightly below it.
In a recent interview with BBC Radio Ulster, he said: ‘Look, I condemn what was done by the British Army as well as the other sides.’ He sidestepped five times the chance to condemn the IRA’s bombing campaign.
Equally nauseating has been Corbyn’s endorsement of Hamas and Hezbollah, two terrorist organisations committed to the destruction of the State of Israel. He has described them as his ‘friends’ and met several of their leading lights.
His tolerance of men applauding violence has extended to Dyab Abou Jahjah, an Islamist firebrand who said in 2004 that he regarded ‘every death of an American, British or Dutch soldier [in Iraq] as a victory.’ In 2009, Corbyn sat alongside this ogre at a parliamentary meeting.
A mistake? An unfortunate coincidence that amounted to nothing? One might think so if there were not a re-occurring pattern of the Labour MP associating with zealots whose preferred route to power does not appear to be via the ballot box.
Perhaps the most disturbing contact Corbyn has made is with Paul Eisen, a self-confessed Holocaust denier who runs a pro-Palestinian pressure group. He has admitted to attending ‘two or three’ events hosted by Eisen, and has said he may have given his organisation a donation, though he denies that Eisen was a Holocaust denier at the time.
Eisen goes much further, claiming the Labour MP ‘opened his chequebook’. But even if we accept Corbyn’s more restrained version of events, it’s very hard to see what he was doing attending the meetings of such a person on two or three occasions. Once might be understandable, as a way of informing himself, but why more?
And why did Corbyn once describe Raed Salah — a preacher convicted in a Jerusalem court in 2008 of using the abominable anti-Semitic slur that Jewish people use the blood of children as a sacrifice — as a ‘very honoured citizen’? Why, too, allow James Thring, a conspiracy theorist who believes the world is controlled by ‘Jewish’ elders, to speak at a parliamentary event last October which he hosted? Corbyn rather implausibly claims he did not know that Thring was going to speak.
I don’t accuse Jeremy Corbyn of being an anti-Semite. What I do say is that he has consorted with a number of people who appear to be, and some who would like to destroy Israel by terrorist means.
Corbyn, it should be said, has responded to these revelations by saying that ‘the Holocaust was the most vile part of our history’, while his defenders insist that whatever meetings with extremists he may have held were primarily intended to promote dialogue.
I find this difficult to believe in view of the sheer volume of such unsavoury associations over the years. It seems much more likely that now he is in the limelight, and contesting the leadership of the Labour Party as he can never have expected to do, he is obliged to try to sanitise his past.
Should a man who has spent so much time in the company of non-parliamentary extremists be trusted as the next leader of the Labour Party, let alone as a future Prime Minister of Great Britain? Absolutely not.
To judge by his record, he is not simply Left-wing in the way that Michael Foot, Labour leader in the early Eighties, was. Foot may have held political views with which I disagreed, but he was a parliamentarian who believed in the supremacy of Parliament. I’m not at all sure this can be said of Jeremy Corbyn.
Why don’t his three rivals for the leadership, and other leading Labour figures, say as much? They drone on about how he would make the Labour Party unelectable for a generation while evading the central point that he has sought the company of some very questionable friends.
Where is the person in the Labour Party, candidate or elder statesman, who will dare speak the truth — which is that Jeremy Corbyn is not the lovable, cuddly new broom his deluded followers believe him to be, but an extremist who has spent a political career embracing nasty causes?
Regulating sex: the fear of intimacy
British students’ feelings of vulnerability are driving the regulation of sex on campus
The long summer vacation used to be a time for university students to go inter-railing through European cities and discover the meaning of life, and each other, through sharing bottles of cheap wine. This year, the UK’s National Union of Students (NUS) is spending August promoting its recently published Lad Culture Audit Report. This is the latest in a series of reports designed to lend credibility to the NUS’s ongoing crusade against all things laddish. Despite the use of ‘audit’ and ‘research’, there is little objectivity in the report’s assumption that higher education fosters ‘rape-supportive attitudes, sexual harassment and violence’.
The report calls for ‘a new national framework to aid those affected by sexual violence and harassment’. This is a demand for a UK version of the US’s ‘Title IX’ regulation, a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education which also rules on how colleges deal with allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault. Currently, about half of UK universities have specific policies relating to sexual harassment – the authors of the Lad Culture Audit consider this to be symptomatic of ‘the problem’. They are further outraged by the fact that just 32 per cent of universities run official NUS-led sexual-consent workshops, and that only six per cent of institutions cover consent as part of the curriculum.
Throughout the report there is a sense of exasperation at this lack of consistency. That some institutions may not consider lad culture to be a huge problem, or may not have formal classes or policies in place to dictate to students how they should conduct their sex lives, clearly baffles and infuriates the authors. Special outrage is reserved for those universities that have ‘advised victims to try to resolve matters “informally” first, forcing them to take responsibility for difficult situations instead of seeking help from the institution’. The report’s unquestioning use of the victim label tells us why the authors find the idea of students, as adults, talking issues through with one another so baffling. The call throughout the report is for more explicit and formal regulation of how students behave towards each other.
Perhaps the NUS would like UK universities to emulate Goucher College in the US. This tiny liberal-arts college has a 33-page-long policy document called ‘Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking’. Composed as a requirement of Title IX, it details the provision of educational programmes on sexual misconduct, relationship violence and stalking for all students, with the aim of preventing dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The policy emphasises the importance of consent and offers the following definition: ‘Each participant is expected to obtain or give verbal consent to each act of sexual activity. In order for consent to be valid, all parties must be capable of making a rational, reasonable decision about the sexual act, and must have a shared understanding of the nature of the act to which they are consenting.’
This 33-page policy, which spells out in minute detail what the college’s 2,173 students can and cannot get up to in their bedrooms, makes for strange reading. Its declaration that consent cannot be given by people who have consumed alcohol or drugs, and they must therefore abstain until sober, suggests college administrators have lost all touch with reality. The problem the policy amply demonstrates is that when you start regulating the sex lives of students, there is no obvious place to stop. The Goucher policy goes on to prohibit ‘unwelcome flirtation, advances, inappropriate social invitations, or unwanted requests for sexual favours’.
What underpins both the NUS report and US Title IX policies is an assumption that students cannot be trusted to negotiate sexual relationships themselves. They are driven by a tangible sense of fear that allowing relationships to be unregulated by policy documents and consent classes will unleash violence and harassment. Uncontrolled sex and relationships are portrayed as dangerous and abusive. Passion, emotion, desire, instinct, abandon, especially when fuelled by alcohol, are to be reined in at all times. It is this fear of unregulated behaviour that lies behind demands for sexual-consent classes and policies.
If we go back a couple of generations, student sex was far more tightly regulated than it is today. Social, religious and cultural norms, driven in part by a very real fear of unwanted pregnancy and the stigma surrounding it, were enforced by authoritative adults in the guise of net-curtain-twitching neighbours at home and tutors acting in loco parentis on campus. Universities had single-sex accommodation and enforced curfews. Later on, the increased availability of contraception and the relaxing of such stifling social conventions were experienced as progressive and liberating. In 1970, the legal lowering of the age of majority in the UK from 21 to 18 reflected a recognition that students, as adults, were free to make their own mistakes in sex and relationships, as in every other part of their lives.
Of course, legal changes did not immediately alter social attitudes, and some regulation of young people by the enforcement of cultural expectations has continued. In particular, there was a general assumption of sex being linked to intimacy and emotion, even if not always conducted in the context of a relationship. But for many of today’s students, sex has been separated from emotional intimacy. School children are taught to be suspicious of strangers, that other children may be bullies, that it is best to avoid ‘exclusive’ friendships, and that sexual relationships can be violent and abusive. All too often, children learn to avoid making themselves vulnerable by emotionally investing in other people.
This fear of intimacy comes at a time when there are few social or cultural stigmas surrounding sex. Far from the moral disapproval of yesteryear, parents of today’s teens are advised in newspaper columns and on internet-discussion boards to allow boyfriend/girlfriend sleepovers in order to ensure openness and safety. Modern parents are supposed to leave a jar of condoms in the bathroom, turn the music up and chill out.
But this seemingly more liberal attitude keeps sex at the emotional level of the sleepover party. Today, the ‘safety’ sought by protective parents is only in part to do with avoiding becoming a premature grandparent. Instead, it is driven by a fear that their child might be pressurised into doing something he or she feels uncomfortable with – that he or she may be abused or emotionally harmed. Our conception of sex has been divested of intimacy and separated from feelings stronger than friendship. As a result, it breeds permanent suspicion. Young people are told not to trust each other, and not to trust their own ability to cope if things go wrong.
The students now calling for new regulations, classes and policies to regulate their sex lives are reacting to the moral relativism of the adult world. Rather than celebrating sexual liberation, they experience a fear of uncontrolled behaviour, particularly behaviour that takes place in private and may lead, in moments of intimacy, to emotional vulnerability. New codes of conduct, rapidly being written at universities up and down the country, are, in reality, little to do with sex, and even less to do with rape. They are about regulating behaviour and setting formal restrictions on how people relate to each other. Students today, unable to trust themselves or each other, clamour for rules. Universities are rushing to play catch-up and, in the form of these insane regulations, are providing students with the safety they appear to crave.
Australia: Aboriginal actor Alec Doomadgee furious after "racist" airline banned him from taking his boomerangs as carry-on luggage
He expects weapons to be allowed on a plane??
An Aboriginal cultural leader is furious after Qantas refused to let him take ceremonial boomerangs on a flight as carry-on baggage. Alec Doomadgee, an actor, broadcaster and cultural ambassador, was stopped from taking the boomerangs on a flight while at Brisbane Airport.
He was further annoyed when they were handled by Qantas staff, who could be affected by blessing or curses placed upon the culturally important boomerangs.
Qantas Corporate Communication adviser Courtney Treak told Daily Mail Australia staff members were following standard 'dangerous goods' procedure.
Qantas had not stopped him from taking the boomerangs on the plane but asked him to place them in checked baggage rather than carry on, she said.
Mr Doomadgee said he had often travelled with the boomerangs as carry-on baggage, and had never had problems before, the Brisbane Times reported. He ended up leaving the boomerangs with a friend as he was concerned they would be damaged in checked baggage.
Ms Treak said the Aviation Transport Security Act described a number of items prohibited from aircraft cabins, including blunt objects.
'We appreciate they are very significant items to him but at the end of the day they [staff] considered it was safer for them to be checked.'
The airline was not suggesting Mr Doomadgee would use them as weapons, Ms Treak said.
Qantas had issued a public apology, but she was not sure if Mr Doomadgee had been contacted by the airline's customer care team. 'There was never any intent to offend.'
Mr Doomadgee took to social media on Monday and Tuesday to make numerous posts about the incident, sparking much discussion on his Facebook page.
He told the Brisbane Times the incident was an example of racism in Australia - instead of 'in your face KKK sh-t', 'snide, smartass remarks'.
Ms Treak said Qantas had a number of initiatives in action involving the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the airline was committed to them. Aboriginal artwork on some Qantas planes, providing internships and trainee programmes were an example of that.
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.