Sunday, October 11, 2015
Multiply talented multiculturalist in Britain
A Mercedes driver has been jailed after filming a 'selfie' at 120mph while chasing a police car. Princely Imara, 24, started following the vehicle at high speed after he spotted it heading toward an emergency incident, with its sirens blaring, on the A20 in Ashford, Kent, last September.
As he sped down the motorway, Imara ranted about the police force and swerved his black car from side to side, putting pressure on the responding officer and risking other motorists' lives.
He filmed the entire incident on camera, but the footage was only discovered after he was involved in another chase - this time, along the M2 at 130mph - a month later, which resulted in a crash.
In the later incident, two officers noticed Imara drive past them at high speed. He was driving 'erratically', even swerving onto the hard shoulder, Canterbury Crown Court heard.
Imara then re-joined the carriageway on the M2 near Sittingbourne, Kent, behind the officers' vehicle and overtook them. He was pulled over and spoken to by the cops, the court heard.
Simon Taylor, prosecuting, told the court: 'The officers got out and spoke to Imara who was aggressive and obstructive.
'His demeanour raised concerns after he stated he had recently been detained under the Mental Health Act - and he said this while still filming the officers on his mobile phone.'
While the officers carried out checks, Imara sped off, reaching a top speed of 130mph. He was finally caught after he crashed into a roadside barrier, causing £2,600 worth of damage.
The footage of the earlier incident, where the convicted drug dealer and burglar had launched into a rant about the police, was discovered after his mobile phone was seized and examined.
He had admitted seven drug offences, burglary, handling stolen goods, three charges of driving dangerously, five charges of resisting a police officer and driving without a licence and insurance.
Sentencing Imara, Judge Adele Williams told him: 'This was appalling driving in which you showed no regard for the safety of others - including police officers who were doing no more than their duty.'
The defendant, of Shepway, Kent, was also banned from driving for four years. He will have to take a re-test before he is allowed to get back behind the wheel of a car.
The nasty Left still think they have a monopoly on compassion
TOM UTLEY reports on the annual conference of the British Conservative party
Like so much else about the politics of the Left these days, the scenes of hate-filled demonstrators spitting and yelling ‘Tory scum!’ at Conservatives attending their Manchester conference took me straight back to the early Eighties.
In particular, I remembered the morning of October 10, 1980 — 35 years ago tomorrow — when a gob of phlegm landed on my shoulder as I arrived at the Brighton conference centre to hear Margaret Thatcher deliver her now-famous speech, ‘the lady’s not for turning’.
Aged 26 at the time, I was covering the occasion as the political correspondent of the Liverpool Echo. I’d noticed that one group of baying protesters was carrying the banner of the Liverpool branch of a trade union. So answering the call of duty to my employers, I went over to talk to them, in quest of quotes for their local newspaper.
It was as I approached that a youngish man at the front of the mob, puce with rage, yelled ‘Tory scum, scum, scum’, hawked and spat at me. Most unpleasant.
As his saliva dribbled down my jacket, I showed him the conference pass hanging round my neck: ‘PRESS, Tom Utley, Liverpool Echo’. Never before or since have I seen such an instantaneous change come over a man.
One second he was cursing and snarling at me. The next he was my dearest friend, all sweetness and light, throwing up his hands in abject apology: ‘I’m really, really sorry, mate. You OK? I thought you were one of them.’
He then tried to clean up my jacket with his own sleeve. It may sound an odd thing to say about someone who’d just screamed abuse and sprayed me with his muck, but he seemed quite nice.
Well, not all that nice. Reflecting that discretion was the better part of valour, and anxious not to lose my new friend as quickly as I’d found him, I judged that this was perhaps not the moment to tell him that I was, in fact, one of them.
All right, I wasn’t a paid-up member of the Conservative Party. Never have been. But I regarded myself as a Tory — and then, as now, I was an admirer of Mrs Thatcher.
Indeed, my admiration of her has grown over the years, as I’ve come to understand the full scale of the challenges she faced when she came to power and the obstacles she had to overcome (many of them in her own party) to put Britain back on its feet.
Now, you may disagree passionately with Mrs T’s politics. But I defy any fair-minded person to study the character and achievements of this incredibly hard-working and diligent woman without concluding that she was driven by a single-minded determination to serve the long-term interests of everyone in this country.
I’d go further, and say she was particularly concerned to give a leg-up to those from her own modest background, who had to make their own way in the world without any special privileges conferred by accident of birth.
Indeed, she was almost the polar opposite of the Left’s caricature of her as a stony-hearted, inconsiderate, bigoted ideologue, the personification of evil, interested only in promoting the rich and grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt.
But I’m afraid that in Brighton in 1980, it would have taken a much braver man than me to argue the case for Mrs T, in my public-school accent, to an incandescent union militant from Liverpool, whose livelihood was probably under immediate threat from her policies.
After all, most of my work for the Echo was reporting the reactions of local Labour MPs to a seemingly endless series of factory closures in their constituencies.
So in full journalist-cringe mode, I resisted the temptation to engage in political debate, forgave my assailant for spitting at me and said: ‘Not to worry. Easy mistake to make.’ And the cock crew.
Fast forward 35 years to Manchester 2015, and it seems that the spitting and the chants of ‘Tory scum’ haven’t changed. Nor has the Left’s refusal to see anything but evil in the motives of the Conservative Party.
Here, as in Brighton all those years ago, it seems not even to have flashed momentarily across the protesters’ minds that people who call themselves Tories could conceivably have the interests of the poor and vulnerable at heart.
Still less does it appear to have occurred to them, even for one second, that the policies they themselves advocate — smashing the rich, restoring the benefits trap and cranking up State borrowing still further — might just possibly hit the poor harder than anything the Tories propose.
True, nobody loves a banker on a seven-figure bonus, or a tax-dodging multinational company. But I would have thought it idiotic to suggest that smashing the rich, who pay the highest taxes (well, most of them do), is the answer to all our country’s problems.
Smash them too hard, and they’ll take their businesses and the jobs they create elsewhere. As for upping State borrowing still further, leave aside the risk of bequeathing intolerable debts to our children and grandchildren. It beats me why the spittle-flecked Left cannot so much as acknowledge the possibility that this might force up interest rates — again, jeopardising jobs, increasing prices and hammering the poor.
No, the challenge of grown-up government, I would have thought, is to achieve a fairer distribution of wealth without drying up its source or killing incentives to produce it. It’s surely no easy matter — and absolutely not a case of black and white certainties.
But armoured in self-righteousness, oblivious of the lessons of history, the militants of the Left appear to think it self-evident that they are on the side of the angels, while those who disagree with them are self-evidently ‘scum, scum, scum’. Hardly philosophical debate at its most sophisticated.
At this point, regular readers may accuse me of hypocrisy, since only a couple of weeks ago I described the new Shadow Chancellor, John McDonnell, as a ‘scumbag’.
Though I must say I hesitated before writing the word, my excuse is that this was the man who said that IRA murderers, whose victims included three Tory MP friends of mine, should be ‘honoured’. Only scumbag seemed to fit the bill.
But if the chanting and spitting haven’t changed since the Eighties, today’s protesters do seem to be cut from a different cloth. In Brighton 35 years ago, they were predominantly people who had either lost their jobs or feared they soon would. But if the reports from Manchester are correct (I wasn’t there), the ring-leaders today are academics and other middle-class devotees of the works of Karl Marx.
I wonder if part of the reason for this is that, with employment in Britain at a record high, the likes of those who spat at me in Brighton were too busy at work this week, earning money to look after their families.
The Left will never admit it. But I reckon that every one of us has reason to be grateful that the lady wasn’t for turning.
Homosexuality ‘may be triggered by environment after birth'
The low level of twin concordance has always been problematical for claims of genetic determinism
A controversial new twin study suggests that environmental changes could trigger homosexuality
Homosexuality may be triggered by environmental factors during childhood after scientists found that genetic changes which happen after birth can determine whether a man is straight or gay.
The finding is highly controversial because it suggests that some men are not born gay, but are turned homosexual by their surroundings. It also raises privacy concerns that medical records could reveal sexuality.
The new research by the University of California has not yet been published but is being presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics in Baltimore.
Scientists studied 37 sets of identical male twins, who were born with the same genetic blueprint, to tease out which genes were associated with homosexuality. In each pair, one of the twins was gay.
Only 20 percent of identical twins are both gay leading researchers to believe that there must be causes which are not inherited.
They found that it was possible to tell whether a man was gay or straight by monitoring tiny changes in how his DNA functions after birth – a field known as epigenetics. Where DNA works as an overall instruction manual, epigenetics act as another layer of information highlighting which parts of the text are important and which can be ignored.
Epigenetic changes are known to be triggered by environmental factors such as chemical exposure, childhood abuse, diet, exercise and stress.
Researchers identified nine areas in the genome where genes functioned differently when a twin was homosexual. And the scientists say that they can predict with 70 per cent accuracy whether a man is gay or straight simply by looking at those parts of the genome. "To our knowledge, this is the first example of a predictive model for sexual orientation based on molecular markers," said lead author Dr Tuck Ngun.
"Sexual attraction is such a fundamental part of life, but it's not something we know a lot about at the genetic and molecular level. “I hope that this research helps us understand ourselves better and why we are the way we are."
British scientists said the work was intriguing but should be treated with caution until the scientific paper was published.
Prof Tim Spector, Professor of Genetic Epidemiology, King's College London, said: “It has always been a mystery why identical twins who share all their genes can vary in homosexuality.
“Epigenetic differences are one obvious reason and this study provides evidence for this. However the small study needs replicating before any talk of prediction is realistic.”
Prof Darren Griffin, Professor of Genetics, University of Kent, added: “While there is strong evidence in general for a biological basis for homosexuality my personal impression has always been one of a multiple contributory factors, including life experiences.
“My gut feeling it that, as the complete story unfolds, the association may not be quite as simple as suggested. “To claim a 70 per cent predictive value of something as complex as homosexuality is bold indeed. I wait with bated breath for a full peer-reviewed article.”
The US researchers are now planning to try out their genetic test on a larger population of men. They have not yet carried out any work on women.
Putin’s moral clarity on radical Islam at the UN – Did I just say that?
Last week two critically important, dare I suggest historic speeches were given at the United Nations, not that most Americans will ever hear or appreciate it, let alone acknowledge the significance of the presentations given by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Russian Federation President Putin.
Both Netanyahu and Putin shared a refreshing moral clarity, presenting an unvarnished snapshot of the world as it is, the threats awaiting us, and gave an unfiltered insight into the challenges they face, as well as approaches each will take in the protection of their respective nation's interests and sovereignty. Without naming the elephant in the room, both leaders deftly made it clear that the United States had abandoned the former, and was no longer considered much of an impediment to the latter.
Putin called us out on our folly in the Middle East, and the disaster Obama wrought on the world during his failing presidency, ineffective foreign policies, including the failed Arab Spring, our mistake in abandoning Iraq, the refugee problem largely of our making, and the immoral acts of POTUS (though not named) ignoring the Christians, the Kurds, Israel, and our interests.
Consider part of Putin's speech last week:
"It seemed, however, that far from learning from others' mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them, and so the export of revolutions, this time of so-called democratic ones, continues. It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as has been mentioned by previous speakers. Certainly political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and people there wish for changes naturally.
But how did it actually turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.
I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you've done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one's exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.
It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa through the emergence of anarchy areas, which immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists.
Tens of thousands of militants are fighting under the banners of the so-called Islamic State. Its ranks include former Iraqi servicemen who were thrown out into the street after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many recruits also come from Libya, a country whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. And now, the ranks of radicals are being joined by the members of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition supported by the Western countries.
In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one's service in order to achieve one's own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.
To those who do so, I would like to say - dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they're in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most moderate opposition is the best proof of it.
We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted. This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries."
Beyond a few glaringly obvious issues, like Russian influence in Iran, and criminal money laundering, nevertheless, Putin highlights important facts.
Yes Putin is calling us out. He has announced his role as global statesman, sheriff, and arbiter. Putin is telling us, Russia is back, and he will fill "the power vacuum. " He is saying we are foolish to arm folks who are no more virtuous than the savages they are fighting.
We would be wise to reflect upon such foolishness since Obama became POTUS in terms of "'the mythical moderate in the Middle East.' It is Obama's white whale. It truly is a fool's errand. The Arab Spring, to which Putin refers, was a glaring example of this folly.
There are no white whales or white hats except Israel in the Middle East. The remaining players wear only shades of grey on the scale of evil and threat. Iran, arguably the most evil (and a client of Russia) wears the darkest black hat, with ISIS and Al Qaeda tied for 2nd all of which have emerged more powerful on Obama's watch, not less influential. Obama has created "the power vacuum." Israel is less safe thanks to Obama in terms of the Palestinian threat, where rockets pour in from Gaza, and thugs are rampantly knifing, stoning and killing Jewish parents, as children watch helplessly in Jerusalem. Israel, as I mentioned last week, walks the tightrope between the US and Russia. And we have created this mess. The Saudis play both ends against the middle, and we do nothing to force them into being part of the solution. Egypt is seeking closer ties with Russia given the US has demonstrated fecklessness. Yemen is for all intents and purposes an Iranian proxy. Well done Obama/Kerry. Bahrain remains targeted by Tehran. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt; the IRGC is working actively with the Shia population. Not that Obama would care. Russia might. Bahrain has a nice port that currently hosts the US Navy.
The resulting refugees - many of which in numbers if not percentage will be ISIS or other radical jihadist members - pose a risk to US communities, and a threat to our domestic well being if not outright security. And Obama rolls out the welcome mat. Street crime, though perhaps not terrorism, is still a homeland security problem. Overcrowding of schools, swelling welfare rolls - expect this and more when the Middle East moves to Main Street. As an aside, Putin is correct - fix their homelands, find places in the Middle East reflective of their culture and language, not bring the refugees to the streets of Moscow and NY, London and Berlin. It is madness to import what can better be handled elsewhere - while still providing humanitarian aid.
The speech Vladimir Putin gave at the UN General Assembly was something one would expect from an American President - reminding us of mistakes made, a time when working together as a family of nations we made great things happen, and warning about the threat terrorism poses to the civilized world. Yet it was the leader of the Russian Federation who gave this speech. Who would have believed the leader of any spin off of the former totalitarian Soviet Union saying such things?
Of course we should never forget Putin is KGB, which is to say there is danger and duplicity in his words. Any more than we should forget Obama is a product of rabid anti American mentors (George Soros, a few radical domestic terrorist/bombers, a Marxist or two or three, a racist minister, and the list goes on); something the media like to overlook. Lest we think POTUS is a virtuous man with patriotic ideals, we need a reality check.
So instead of the West being perplexed by, or dismissive of the Putin speech, or actions, we ought to heed the Russian president's warnings. To be sure, this current iteration of Russia, led by Putin's Moscow is not the USSR, but neither it, nor its leaders have exactly been the progeny of Athenian democracy or acolytes of Voltaire, either. Nevertheless, Putin has emerged as the go to global statesmen on the world stage. He is the new sheriff in town. That has been his plan all along. On Putin's international remake the image of Russia tour over these last many years, he has been very savvy about mixing diplomacy with projected military influence.
For all the derision Romney and Palin received from a smug Obama, and his fawning media supporters, the former Governors were not wrong in their warnings about the rise of Russia. Russia is rising. Make no mistake about it. But I've been writing about the alliances Putin has made globetrotting these last 7 years - from Venezuela to Iran, Syria to, well, fill in the blanks. Doing what a Russian leader is supposed to do, he rightly challenges missile systems on his Western borders. He rightly challenges US hegemony in the Middle East where much of the fossil fuels lay in wait to be transited through Russian pipelines and LNG processing. Putin rightly challenges NATO and other perceived threats to his nation. And he rightly seeks out major markets and commercial alliances, as well as geopolitical, even military ones. That's his job. I don't like it or agree with it from an American perspective. But that's the point isn't it? Our job is to push back. To say "get over it" and add more missiles to Eastern European allies' defense systems, not cave in and say "OK we'll take them out if they bother you Mr. Putin." Our job is to build bigger and badder weapons, and better alliances. But we don't and we didn't. We moved aside. Pure and simple. Obama let it happen. One might argue, made it happen! In a future article we'll discuss why I think Obama's remake of America, undermining our great nation at every juncture was planned, not a result of incompetence. Don't get me wrong. I think Obama and his band of little rascals are Kool Aid ®kids, and generally amateurish. So do military leaders, most terrorism experts, the intelligence community, and pretty much any sentient being who has had the misfortune to work with the JV that is the political leadership of this Administration.
Which brings me to the next point - Putin is correct - our enemies are not stupid; we would be wise to remember that, instead of denouncing them as the JV, the way Obama did referencing ISIS. Obama was wrong, again.
Listening to the speech Putin gave made me think ‘welcome back to the late 1970's' when Russia was the dominant player on the world stage, where the US was pushed around (thank you Jimmy Carter) like a paper tiger, and where the Soviets were a powerful influence in the Middle East. But even under a weak president like Carter, Israel knew it had a friend in the US and even POTUS. Except we are in 2015, and Russia again is the dominant power in the Middle East, only this time Israel cannot say they have a friend in Obama. While Russians are blowing up jihadists in Syria, we may have blown up a hospital in Afghanistan. Gosh can we get anything right under Obama?
Americans should be outraged that under Obama, the United States is weaker, less influential, and on a downward spiral in global affairs. Americans should be outraged that under Obama our allies chase commerce more than coalition - as our so called European partners against terrorism readily abandoned that role to chase Iranian money, build commercial relationships, and find alternative sources for fossil fuels this winter.
What Main Street may not appreciate is the fact that abandoning our leadership role in the world, allowing our military to degrade, capitulating to competitor nations allowing bad trade agreements or currency imbalances, in essence disadvantaging ourselves on all fronts - well these aren't merely academic distinctions, or discussions for political science wonks. This is the future of our nation. Bad business deals on a national scale are called trade deals - and Trump is correct, we are losing badly, which ultimately impacts the American worker one way or another, in our wallet, and the opportunity we give to our kids. Bad policies set the stage for war, not reduce the risk of them; and our youth will have to fight. Bad policies set the stage for our culture to be lost, our language diluted, and our borders ignored. Which portends the great enterprise known as "the American Experiment" may soon cease to exist in the form as we know it. This isn't the lamentation of someone wanting to return to Happy Days or Walton's Mountain. On the contrary; it is the warning of so many of us at FSM that, to paraphrase Ronald Reagan, we are a generation from losing the freedoms and greatness the US was built upon, that we grew up in, and hoped to pass on.
More is the pity that the American media effectively censor anything that reflects truthfully, which is to say badly against our current Administration. Were that not the fact, perhaps at least some US citizens might actually have facts with which to discern for themselves the truth, thereby recognizing how misled they are, and how poorly led our nation is.
Recent events reveal to all willing to exhibit some intellectual honesty, Obama has taken the final steps to destructively transform our nation, started decades ago as a slow trickle by determined adversaries of capitalism, democracy and the United States, nearly completing the undermining of our economic base, domestic security, and international influence.
Perhaps most importantly, both speeches demonstrated the reality that the US has left the building, both literally, and figuratively.
To paraphrase from the film "Troy" - Achilles, speaking to the Trojan king towards the end of epic war with the Greeks, says to him "you are a far greater king than the one that leads our army." Sadly, Putin is a far greater leader of his nation than the one who leads ours. And that is said with all the caveats and disclaimers required when discussing Russia and her leaders.
Putin's moral clarity on radical Islam at the UN - Did I just say that? And when will we, the US, provide the moral leadership needed in the world to counter the radical Islamic threat? That question will be answered in 2016; and underscores why this may be the most important election in contemporary US history.
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.