Monday, October 12, 2015
It wouldn't be a surprise to anyone else. Providing "services" to the "homeless" causes them to congregate, with deplorable results. They should be left to their own devices. That way they might do something to help themselves. While they are fed, housed etc. for free they won't
An influx of services for the homeless in Boston’s Newmarket area has been accompanied by a sharp increase in some crimes and has raised concerns about knots of men and women who loiter, take drugs openly, and discard needles throughout the area.
The Best Western on Massachusetts Avenue recently hired security guards to patrol its property all day, after guests reported being harassed. Online reviews of the hotel have turned increasingly negative, warning potential guests to avoid the area.
“It’s out of control,” said Alexander Thompson, the hotel’s assistant general manager, adding that the sidewalks often smell of urine and are littered with needles. “People come here and leave. They don’t feel safe.”
In a preliminary report provided to the Globe, police found that violent crimes in Newmarket rose 30 percent in the first nine months of this year compared with the same period last year. Drug violations in the area jumped 55 percent, and aggravated assaults rose 47 percent, though property crimes dropped 17 percent, police said.
The rise in crime has come as 400 homeless men have moved into a new $10 million shelter in a renovated transportation building in the area. City officials moved the men there after they condemned an old bridge leading to Long Island. That decision, a year ago this week, shuttered the refuge on Boston Harbor.
Police noted that the rise in violent crime in the area contrasts with a citywide 3 percent decline in similar crimes during the same time. Police said they are paying close attention to Newmarket and have added a new squad of officers to patrol the area on bicycle.
Yamileth Pagan, a cashier who has worked for three years at the New Market Pizza & Grill, said the change in the neighborhood has been dramatic. She said she frequently sees junkies pass out in the area and calls for an ambulance nearly every day.
“I don’t call the police as often as I should,” she said, adding that someone recently stole her tip jar. “I definitely don’t feel safe here.”
Over the past year, the area has become a hub of the city’s social services for addicts and the homeless. In addition to the new shelter on Southampton Street, the city has opened new methadone clinics in the neighborhood and is renovating the Woods-Mullen Shelter to host 200 women. Several years ago, the Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program moved into the old city morgue a few blocks away.
The increased patrols in the neighborhood haven’t been enough to keep Hamid Barakat from finding groups of homeless men camping out in the parking lot of his auto body shop on Massachusetts Avenue, leaving mangy blankets, refuse, and human waste.
“It wasn’t like this last year,” said Barakat, manager of C and L Auto. “Everyone in the neighborhood is complaining.”
Methodist Church Hosts Palestinian Propagandist
Against Israel "most of Palestinian resistance is basically nonviolent," stated Kairos Palestine Secretary General Hind Khoury on September 21 at Washington, DC's Dumbarton United Methodist Church (DUMC). Such alternative reality statements from Khoury raised no visible concern from a small evening audience of over 20 mostly white and older listeners, for whom she preached progressive Palestinian gospel truth.
Various indications even before Khoury spoke confirmed that DUMC in tony Georgetown is firmly part of the religious left, such as the entrance sign proclaiming a pro-LGBT a Reconciling Congregation. Chett Pritchett, executive director of event host Methodist Federation for Social Action and a homosexual "advocate for LGBTQ equality in the Church," introduced Khoury in his home congregation. A yellow "Black Lives Matter" banner in front of the organ in the second-story sanctuary and several accompanying photographs of African-Americans throughout the church showed DUMC's emphasis on racism.
Despite Pritchett's introduction of Khoury with an "amazing list of superlatives to her name," such as a Palestinian Authority (PA) ambassadorship to France, her presentation offered no insight. "We compare ourselves more and more with South Africa," she stated, evoking the original 2009 Kairos Palestine declaration's analogy between Israel and the apartheid condemned in the 1985 South African Kairos declaration. Yet numerous analyses have criticized Kairos Palestine for one-sided condemnation of Israel as an aggressor in its conflict with Arabs, legitimation of terrorism, and anti-Semitic biblical interpretations. As the pro-Israeli group CAMERA concluded, Kairos Palestine reflects a longstanding Arab Christian "intellectual environment where anti-Zionism is an ever-present aspect of Christian peacemaking efforts in the Middle East."
Khoury presented Israel inflicting suffering upon Palestinians every bit as dire as South African apartheid. Rather than recognize any Israeli self-defense concerns, she stated that "it is the Palestinians who lack security, even food security," overlooking increasingly obese Gazans' fondness for weight loss programs. She emphasized a 1988 declaration by Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat recognizing Israel's existence, yet ignored later statements by Arafat and other Palestinian leaders calling such overtures merely temporary. She described Israelis in the post-1967 disputed territories acting as "psychopaths on the loose" brutally attacking Palestinians with "total impunity," yet Israeli law prohibits such crimes in contrast to PA terrorism glorification.
Interviewed after her presentation, Khoury paid little attention to evidence that Palestinians since the beginning of the Oslo peace process in 1993 had received per capita many times the aid of postwar Europe's Marshall Plan. "Israel makes very good use of speaking about the corruption in the Palestinian Authority," she stated, but "there is a lot of corruption in Israel as well" like governments worldwide. The PA has "done a lot of work" and aid donors "control every penny," she claimed despite all contrary appearances.
Many Christians would not recognize the Christianity presented in the event by Khoury, a self-described "Bethlehem girl" from where "for us every day is Christmas," a "renewal of real joy and of hope." She decried Israel increasingly "using the Bible as an instrument" for "legitimizing its own presence and action" contrary to the anti-Semitic supersessionism advocated by Palestinian Christians like her. Palestinian theologians "challenge that Zionist narrative," bringing to mind Kairos Palestine member and Palestinian Anglican cleric Naim Ateek, who in 1989 founded Jerusalem's Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center. Kairos Palestine urges "churches to stand alongside the oppressed and preserve the word of God and Good News for all, rather than turn it into a weapon with which to slay the oppressed," she said. During audience comments, one man agreed that evangelicals have "been a useful tool of Zionists."
Palestinians like Khoury complement replacement theology with falsification of Jewish connection to the land of Israel, as shown by Palestinian efforts to erase ancient archeological evidence of Judaism in Israel. Discussion of Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock mosque occupying the site of the Temple Mount elicited from her the comment "that's what they [Jews] say." During her interview she argued that the Zionist movement had considered Jewish settlement outside of Palestine in Argentina or Uganda, although these fleeting, controversial proposals derived largely from Jewish desperation. Contrary to her suggestion of wandering Jews with no particular interest in Israel, Palestinian resistance to Zionism showed that "attachment to the land is a very, very strong emotion."
"The Jewish people of what is the state of Israel today are not the Hebrew people from 2,000 years ago," Khoury's presentation stated, a reference to the discredited theories of Israeli professor Shlomo Sand. Sand argued that European Jews descended from converts while biblical Jews had assimilated into the Holy Land's various populations, entailing that Palestinians like Khoury had more Hebrew ancestry than Israeli Jews. Sand showed "how the Jewish people were created," she stated in the interview.
Khoury described how Christians were once 20% of the Palestinian population during the 20th century, but had now dwindled to one percent, yet appeared strangely more apprehensive about Jews than the Muslims. She cited the "harm being done to our heritage and tradition" from hardly onerous Israeli security controls, like those regulating Palestinian Holy Week pilgrimages to Jerusalem. "There is so much religious fanaticism growing even in our midst," she briefly noted with reference to Islamic State graffiti in Jerusalem threatening Christians, but then speculated that this could be Israeli intelligence at work.
Khoury completely denied during her interview any persecution of Christians by the Palestinian Muslim majority, a denial often made by Palestinian Christians fearing Muslim reprisals, yet completely contrary to fact. The 2015 World Watch List of the world's 50 worst countries for persecution of Christians lists the Palestinian territories as number 26 due to "Islamic extremism" (Israel is the only Middle Eastern not on the list). "We have lots of people working against us and they work with statistics as they like," was her response.
Khoury's comments are predictable given her 2012 writing on the "Arab Spring." "As political Islam comes to power," she argued, "it is showing signs of moderation, accepting political pluralism and democracy in addition to readiness for dialogue with the West." She also supports "Palestinian internal reconciliation" between the PA and the Muslim Hamas terrorists ruling the Gaza Strip.
Khoury's interview evinced strange understandings of Christian-Muslim conversions, although Palestinians "know for a fact that many families are originally Christian" but are now Muslim. The possibility of Muslims converting to Christianity, though, prompted her response, "why should they? Why create that kind of dissent? Keep people with their religion." The "three monotheistic religions, if you go down to values, the real core of religion, they are the same," she stated. Rather than pursue evangelization under Jesus' Great Commission, "I would evangelize people to goodness and to the values of love."
Such goodness, however, brought no admission of Arab anti-Semitism when the interview noted the Middle Eastern Jews who fled their countries in the decades following Israel's establishment in 1948. Denying that these Jews were refugees, Khoury angrily asserted that "there is no anti-Semitism among Arabs." This astonishing view contrasted with her presentation remarks that "Palestinians cannot go on paying for European anti-Semitism," a Kairos Palestine theme that the West supported Israel's establishment due to Holocaust guilt. "Anti-Semitism is a product of the West, and not of the East," she had lectured while noting Iberian Jews seeking refuge in Muslim lands from Christian persecution. Considering anger towards Israel throughout Muslim countries, she qualified dubiously that "you can't keep on confusing anti-Semitism with anti-Zionism."
Khoury's ideological boilerplate continued throughout her interview. She demanded a general Israeli withdrawal to the "borders of 1967 that defines the state of Israel," the infamous "Auschwitz borders" formed by the 1949 armistice lines. This included abandoning the "occupied territory" of the strategically vital Golan Heights, even as she recognized the ravages of the Islamic State in what was once Syria.
Arabs had always defended themselves against Jews in Khoury's view, going back to the 1936-1939 Arab Revolt. Rather than concede that Israel defended itself in the 1967 war, she stated that "certainly Israel wasn't innocent in that war. It was planned. There was something that was wanted" as indicated by subsequent Israeli territorial gains. Hamas terrorists today "need to defend themselves" in a "Gaza is under siege" while the genocidal Hamas "charter, I am told, is written by one man." The "details" of Arab attacks on Israel such as during the 1948 or 1967 wars pale in comparison to Palestinians being "ethnically cleansed from our own country."
Those pressing for Israel to seek peace with its Palestinian neighbors should remember Khoury and her audience, from which came various "Israel=Third Reich/Jim Crow" analogies during the reception. After becoming progressively agitated under critical questioning, she announced at the interview's end to the event organizers still present that the interviewer "doesn't belong here" and momentarily tried to grab this reporter's recorder. The would-be Christian peacemaker Khoury's stridency, shown already during past interviews, does not bode well for Israeli peace with Palestinian Christians, to say nothing of Palestinian Muslims.
Why I’m not a feminist
Several female celebrities, by publicly distancing themselves from feminism, have caused considerable upset in feminist circles.
First there was actress Susan Sarandon, who told the Observer a couple of years ago, ‘I think of myself as a humanist because I think it’s less alienating’. Then, earlier this month, fellow actress Meryl Streep echoed Sarandon’s sentiments: ‘I am a humanist; I am for nice, easy balance.’ And, last week, Marion Cotillard said she does not ‘qualify’ herself as a feminist because ‘in the word feminism there’s too much separation’.
The backlash against these women has been extreme. One article dismissed Sarandon’s statement, saying ‘she didn’t mean it’. And online feminist hub Jezebel published a piece claiming that ‘Queen Meryl’ was ‘talking directly out of her butt’. It seems that it is officially unacceptable to refuse to call yourself a feminist. What these feminists don’t seem to realise is that disallowing dissent is tyrannical.
But the most insulting part of the hysterical response to these women expressing their political views is the idea that they were somehow ignorant of what being a feminist entails. In the most cringingly obsequious interview I’ve ever watched, feminist Lena Dunham asked presidential candidate Hillary Clinton if she was a feminist. Clinton replied: ‘I’m always a little bit puzzled when any woman of whatever age, but particularly a young woman, says something like, “Well, I believe in equal rights, but I’m not a feminist”.’ Dunham giggled, ‘Hallelujah’. Watching Clinton, a living symbol of establishment thinking, having a supposedly radical titter over us idiots who don’t ‘get feminism’ should set alarm bells ringing for free-thinking women.
Sarandon, Streep and Cotillard have a point about the divisiveness of contemporary feminism. It views the world through the narrow prism of gender and argues that women and men are inherently different. This is evident in the current feminist policing of sex, which rests on the assumption that all men are potential rapists and therefore women are doomed to live as victims. In this way, feminists refuse to believe in the potential for human beings to do good rather than bad, to have healthy sexual lives free of interfering rules and regulations.
Feminists believe that women should be protected from certain aspects of public life, including speech. Women can’t and shouldn’t deal with certain types of speech deemed sexist or offensive, feminists argue. Feminists do not want to engage in aspects of life they disagree with. Instead, they want to silence what they don’t like through censorship and criminalisation. Feminists believe that women need protection from words.
Finally, contemporary feminists do not believe that women are independent, free-thinking individuals. Feminists promote a cliquey, sisterhood mentality, but not through a collective and positive sharing of ideas. They’re the kind of group you’d encounter at school who would shun you if you weren’t wearing the right kind of hairband. Today’s feminism is opposed to criticism and nuance, refusing to allow women to form their own opinions or challenge preconceived ideas. And feminists call for the state to intervene when they want an opposing view silenced, and launch Twitter wars against dissenting views.
In contrast, a spiked-style humanist believes that the possibilities for humanity are endless. Our humanism is universal. We are not bothered with gender constraints and do not believe in biological determinism. Rather than assuming that all men are inherently programmed to mistreat women, we believe that human interaction should be free from constraint. Private lives are the business of private individuals, not the state.
Where feminists are intolerant in their approach to disagreeable views, calling for the silencing of offensive speech or the banning of unpleasant aspects of life, humanists actively take on opposing political views. As humanists, we believe in unequivocal and uncompromising freedom of speech, and the free exchange of ideas between people, in order to reach a more progressive outcome.
And finally, a spiked-style humanist believes, above all, in the strength and independence of human beings. Women are capable of facing adversarial situations and challenging views without the protective arm of the state around their shoulders. Instead, we demand greater freedom from the state. A humanist fights for freedom, whether that is for free and legal abortions for women or the right to refuse to call yourself a feminist.
But most importantly, I am a humanist, not a feminist, because I want to engage in public life. Women should be encouraged to fight back against opposing views, to engage in political battles on the street and to win the argument. I am a humanist, not a feminist, because I believe that there is nothing that cannot be changed, and more importantly, made better. The only way to do this is through an uncompromising belief in freedom.
Office gender politics
The Times reported last week that women are failing to advance in the workplace because senior male executives who could help them most are terrified of interacting with them. They fear that offers of assistance will be misconstrued as sexual harassment.
In her new book, Sex and the Office, Kim Elsesser argues that a new ‘sex partition’ has sprung up, which impedes women from building vital networks of contacts inside and outside the office. People in senior positions, who are still mostly men, will happily give help, or ask male colleagues out for post-work drinks or a weekend round of golf, but will not do so with women, for fear of legal action.
This is what is called the law of unintended consequences. Just as our hyper-concern for children and fear of paedophiles now means that most single men will avoid contact with children in public, so that deadening ideology, ‘feminism’, has led to division and has entrenched gender inequality. As it used to be said more often: the road to hell is paved with good intentions.
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.