Friday, October 16, 2015
The absurd U.N. "human rights" organization again
Who is killing Muslims by the truckload? Other Muslims. How many Muslims has Britain killed? None. So who does the U.N. compare to Nazis? Britain!
A senior UN official triggered outrage last night by comparing Britain’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis to decisions taken in 1938 which he claimed paved the way for the Holocaust.
Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said the rhetoric being used by politicians in the UK and elsewhere in Europe had echoes of the years leading up to the Second World War.
He said that at the 1938 Evian Conference – called to discuss the growing number of Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi persecution – politicians turned their backs on German and Austrian Jews on the grounds that taking them in would destabilise their societies.
This reluctance, he claimed, helped Hitler to conclude extermination could be an alternative to deportation.
Mr Al Hussein – who appeared to take a swipe at both Prime Minister David Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May – said the same arguments were being used today.
He said: ‘It’s just a political issue that is being ramped up by those who can use the excuse of even the smallest community as a threat to the sort of national purity of the state.
‘Closer examination of what happened in Europe in the early part of the 20th century should make people think very carefully about what they’re saying. Why is there so much amnesia? Why don’t they distil from experience that they’ve been down this road before and it’s a very unhappy road.’
Mr Al Hussein also said the use of terms such as ‘swarms of refugees’ – language used by Mr Cameron in relation to the Calais immigration crisis – were deeply regrettable.
In an interview published by the Guardian newspaper, the Jordanian took aim at comments by Mrs May that uncontrolled immigration made it ‘impossible to build a cohesive society’. Asked whether he believed Mrs May would also come to regret her choice of words, he added: ‘These are human beings: even in the use of the word migrants, somehow it’s as if they don’t have rights. They all have rights just as we have rights.’
Tory MP Andrew Percy said: ‘The idea that the debate around the Syrian issue could in any way be similar to Nazi persecution of the Jews is offensive. This kind of comparison is so overblown and so disgusting it undermines a sensible debate on how to address the migration crisis.
‘The UN would be much better targeting the massive human rights abuses in parts of the world where their members are committing them.’
Sir Bill Cash, a veteran Tory backbencher, said: ‘These remarks are abhorrent. It is an obscene comparison to make which is totally unjustified. There are realities that have to be faced up to, and these include the fact that we have to distinguish between real refugees acquiring asylum and economic migrants or those who might be hidden jihadis.’
It is the latest in a string of political attacks on Britain by the UN. In July, the special representative on migration, Peter Sutherland, said Britain’s ‘xenophobic’ response to Calais was being ‘exaggerated beyond belief’ to ‘inflame tensions in regard to the number of people coming into Britain’. And in May, Francois Crepeau, the UN’s special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, said Britain risks taking the path of Nazi Germany if it pulls out of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Obama Administration Bans All Pork Products From Prison Menus
The federal Bureau of Prisons, a subdivision of President Barack Obama's Justice Department, has banished all pork products from the menus in all federal prisons, according to a report in the Washington Post.
The government says it made the decision to do this because a survey showed that inmates do not like eating pork products.
The Council on American-Islamic relations said “we welcome” the move by the government to deny pork to prisoners, but warned that it might spark “Islamophobia.”
Here are excerpts from the report by the Post:
“The nation’s pork producers are in an uproar after the federal government abruptly removed bacon, pork chops, pork links, ham and all other pig products from the national menu for 206,000 federal inmates.
“The ban started with the new fiscal year last week.
“The Bureau of Prisons, which is responsible for running 122 federal penitentiaries and feeding their inmates three meals a day, said the decision was based on a survey of prisoners’ food preferences:
“They just don’t like the taste of pork….
“The National Pork Producers Council isn’t buying it. 'I find it hard to believe that a survey would have found a majority of any population saying, ‘No thanks, I don’t want any bacon,'” said Dave Warner, a spokesman for the Washington-based trade association, which represents the nation’s hog farmers.
CAIR told the Post that banning pork in federal prisons would accommodate Muslim prisoners:
“’In general we welcome the change because it’s facilitating the accommodation of Muslim inmates,’ said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the country’s largest Muslim civil rights advocacy group. “We hope it’s not an indication of an increasing number of Muslims in the prison system.’”
Claims that capitalism is fuelling illness rest on dodgy stats and hopeless politics
Does free-market capitalism foster an environment in which death and disease flourish? That is the question asked by academics Ted Schrecker and Clare Bambra in "How Politics Makes Us Sick: Neoliberal Epidemics". In this strident little tome, they argue that the infectious diseases of the Victorian age – which they claim, in a characteristically ahistorical aside, were stamped out thanks to ‘organised resistance by labour, via trade unions’ – are being replaced by an epidemic of non-communicable diseases, such as cancer and heart disease, as a result of ‘neoliberal’ policies. They argue that things are worst in Britain and the US where neoliberalism supposedly burns most brightly, whereas life is better, though far from perfect, in the Nordic countries because they all have a ‘strongly interventionist state’.
Schrecker and Bambra focus on four ‘neoliberal epidemics’ – obesity, insecurity, austerity and inequality – which they portray as the latter-day equivalents of cholera and tuberculosis.
Strikingly, none of these ‘epidemics’ are diseases in a medical sense. Obesity and stress are risk factors for disease; inequality is an economic variable; and ‘austerity’ is a hyperbolic term for balancing the budget through fiscal restraint. It is also notable that all of these issues predate ‘neoliberalism’ by many years and can be found in countries that have a considerably more dirigiste economy than the UK.
There is a simple explanation for why cancer and heart disease have become the leading causes of death in rich countries. When there are only two classes of disease, communicable and non-communicable, eradication of the communicable leaves only the non-communicable. Since the concept of a natural death has been defined out of existence, it is inevitable that more people die from non-communicable diseases, albeit usually at an advanced age. It is a trend that should be welcomed.
Schrecker and Bambra concede that these diseases are not confined to market economies, but they claim that ‘the changes associated with neoliberalism increase our susceptibility’ to them.
But if ‘neoliberalism is returning us to an environment in which (chronic) disease can flourish’, as Schrecker and Bambra claim, it is not readily apparent from the mortality statistics. Life expectancy continues to rise and it has risen more rapidly in Britain since 1980 than it did in what Schrecker and Bambra call the ‘“golden age” of welfare-state capitalism’, which is to say the postwar era dominated by ‘centralism, universalism and Keynesian economics’. They show a table of life-expectancy figures in the rich world and note that Sweden and Norway perform quite well, but gloss over the fact that the like-minded social democracies of Denmark and Finland are at the bottom of the list, propped up only by the US. Switzerland and Australia, both of which have lower rates of public spending than Britain, outperform them all.
While Schrecker and Bambra do not deny that life expectancy has been rising, they argue that the poor are being left behind, leading to growing health inequalities. Rich people have always tended to live longer than poor people for a variety of reasons, but the reader would have to look beyond the partial evidence provided in How Politics Makes Us Sick to discover that premature mortality from cancer and heart disease has been declining more rapidly in poor districts than in rich districts.
Life expectancy for Scottish men has increased by 3.8 years for the poorest and wealthiest quintiles alike in the past 15 years and gains in healthy life expectancy have been much greater among the poor than among the rich. Facts of this kind are conspicuous by their absence in How Politics Makes Us Sick, leaving the reader with the impression that both the incomes and the wellbeing of the poor are in free fall, not only in comparison with the rich, but in absolute terms.
Lacking a clear correlation between economic policy and life expectancy, the authors focus on obesity, presumably because it is relatively common in the US and Britain. They blame neoliberalism’s underregulation of food companies (or ‘corporate disease vectors’ as they call them) and stress-related overeating for people getting fat. In truth, there is little meaningful difference in food regulation between countries, particularly within the EU, that could explain differences in diet, and there are a number of problems with the hypothesis that unsatisfying work, unemployment and job insecurity cause stress that leads people to eat more.
Aside from the fact that stress and anxiety can only be measured by subjective self-reporting, the survey evidence shows that the rise in anxiety began long before ‘neoliberalism’ was introduced, as the authors of The Spirit Level conceded when they made a similar argument in 2009. Schrecker and Bambra find somewhat more objective evidence in statistics for antidepressant use, but it is left to the reader to spot that all the Scandinavian countries medicate themselves with these drugs at an above-average rate, with Iceland having the highest prevalence of all. Despite this, Schrecker and Bambra make the bald assertion that ‘prevalence of stress is significantly higher in the most neoliberal countries and lower in the least, as the workplace is more regulated’.
Although it is far from obvious that neoliberal countries have more unemployment than more centralised economies (the US certainly does not), it is plausible that there is more job insecurity, and therefore stress, in a fast-moving modern labour market. Schrecker and Bambra argue that work in the service industry is inherently more stressful than in the manufacturing industries of old, but this requires a rose-tinted view of jobs in factories and coal mines (the loss of which they lament). It may be true that working on an assembly line in a unionised industry induces little anxiety about losing one’s job. It may also be true that a world of wider horizons leads to less boredom and ennui but more stress and status anxiety. This is not necessarily a reason to favour the coal mine over the office.
A more plausible explanation for the rise of obesity, which the authors only hint at, is that free markets promote wealth, office jobs and car ownership. If so, obesity is an unintended consequence of economic prosperity, which would explain why it is less common under centralised economies. As the door closed on hunger, the door to obesity was opened. Obesity may or may not be a serious problem, but it is part of a trade-off between abundance and want. It is not confined to ‘neoliberal’ European economies. It can be seen wherever poverty is on the decline, including China and the Middle East.
By any objective criteria, the problems of the present pale into insignificance when held up against the problems of the past. Schrecker and Bambra go to great lengths to romanticise the postwar era while painting an unremittingly bleak picture of the present day. There is almost no acknowledgement of any progress in material living standards, health and prosperity. Instead the authors cling to a theory of immiseration that flies in the face of observed reality. People are too poor to be able to afford a healthy diet, they claim, and so obesity has risen sharply since the glory days of the 1970s. This would be plausible if incomes had fallen in that time, as Schrecker and Bambra claim, but even among the poorest groups, incomes have doubled.
Such errors and misrepresentations abound. Some are conceptual, such as their assumption that cost-saving by businesses leads to higher profits rather than lower prices. Others are factual, such as the claim that austerity has not reduced the deficit. But it is the evidence that is omitted that is most telling. For example, anyone who is familiar with Britain’s social-mobility literature knows that there is one dataset suggesting that fluidity has declined in recent decades while all the other evidence shows either an improvement or no change. Schrecker and Bambra cite the former, ignore the latter, and tell the reader that ‘social mobility has declined since 1980’.
Similarly, only a reader who knows that the gap between rich and poor has been flat or falling in Britain for the past 25 years would understand why Schrecker and Bambra’s claims about the ‘growth in inequality’ focus almost exclusively on the US. On this topic, Schrecker and Bambra rely heavily on The Spirit Level but fail to mention any of the abundant evidence to the contrary – and there is no discussion of the academic controversy surrounding the inequality-health hypothesis. To the unwary reader, it is settled science.
Schrecker and Bambra note that poverty is defined as a ‘household income below 60 per cent of the median’. Under this measure, poverty has declined in both the short-term (since the 2008 crash) and in the long-term. This evidence does not immediately support a narrative of brutal immiseration, and so Schrecker and Bambra ignore it in favour of survey-based research from a pressure group and claim that poverty rates ‘have risen substantially during austerity’, and are now ‘at their highest level for 30 years’. When they finally acknowledge the official data, they tie themselves in knots, first claiming that child poverty is at a 30-year high, then stating that ‘1.1million children were lifted out of poverty’ between 1998 and 2012.
In the final analysis, the problems that Schrecker and Bambra discuss are too trivial to be mentioned in the same breath as tuberculosis and malaria. Their claims about free markets causing obesity and stress are unconvincing, but even if they were more persuasive it would require a damnable lack of perspective to equate a society in which people die from hunger and infection to one in which people are comfortable, rich and free enough to become fat. In a world in which workers manifestly have more to lose than their chains, Schrecker and Bambra turn molehills into mountains in their attempt to convince the reader that wealthy nations are sliding into the abyss.
How Politics Makes Us Sick ends, as all such books do, with a political call to arms. But this amounts to little more than a strangely anti-climactic plea for greater public spending. Schrecker and Bambra say they want ‘to replicate the politics of the postwar settlement’, but there is no spirit of 1945, no white heat of technology, no New Jerusalem. The Marxist dream of liberating the workers is replaced by a dreary appetite for lifestyle regulation and bureaucratic expansion. Schrecker and Bambra make the unsettling recommendation that governments should ‘start by rejecting the neoliberal rhetoric of individual responsibility’, but the best they can offer in its place is a ‘reinvigorated welfare state’, more powers for trade unions and a vague aspiration for ‘democratic renewal’.
Obsessed with the alleged evils of neoliberalism, Schrecker and Bambra display remarkably little curiosity as to why the postwar settlement was swept away by so many electorates in the first place. They ignore the problems associated with powerful trade unions, nationalised industries, endemic borrowing and protectionism. They explicitly pine for the policy of full employment to be reintroduced without acknowledging that it rarely led to full employment in practice and without asking how such an aspiration could be realised in a modern global economy. There is no discussion of how much their proposals would cost, where the money would come from or what the benefits would be, even to people’s health – which is ostensibly the subject of the book. Essentially, their manifesto boils down to making out-of-work benefits more generous, but it is far from clear that this would reduce obesity, unemployment or stress.
Like The Spirit Level, How Politics Makes Us Sick attempts to harness the language of ‘public health’ for political ends. Unlike The Spirit Level, it makes little attempt to convert those who do not already believe that Britain is a Thatcherite hellhole in which all but the most privileged live off food banks and zero-hour contracts. Its cheerless tone and high price (£20 for 127 pages of text) mean that it is unlikely to reach out beyond the ghetto of left-wing sociology.
Australia: Muslim identity of Bendigo gang rapists covered up
No, this is not about the Bendigo Bank’s rapacious associates who have a financial interest in the land surrounding the proposed mega mosque. Nor is it about how the Bendigo Bank cancelled the accounts of all those who objected to the rape of their city. Nor is it about the corrupted Bendigo councillors who did not declare an interest.
And it’s not even about the Bendigo Bank’s violation of community sentiments in promoting the crass Islamification of one of Australia’s historic and iconic cities.
No, but do you recall that ghastly gang rape of a young Bendigo mother… a case that had completely disappeared under a media blackout?
Well, a whistleblower has disclosed the filthy tactics employed by Bendigo’s newly empowered Muslims: “I was working for the DPP’s department of human services at the time and was directly involved in this case. I am reluctant to openly disclose this type of information as former colleagues have faced legal action for far less.”
The anonymous whistleblower went on to say, “Actually, they were all African Muslims and there were more than six involved in the savage rape but only six were formally charged. No adults were convicted.
“It was common knowledge at the time that the adult offenders conspired, under legal advice, to blame the younger offenders for the crime as juveniles would receive the more lenient sentences and a media blackout would be imposed on the entire case”, he said.
"As a result, details of the case have never surfaced and the adults involved, Mohammed Elnour, 19, Akoak Manon, 19, and Mohammed Zaoli, 22, walked away scot free after having raped the poor woman 14 times while her two children were present in her home.
“All three juvenile rapists spent some time in remand, yet only two were sentenced and both served no more than 12 months.
“Not one of the gang ever admitted guilt nor did they show any remorse for their actions. It was common knowledge that the offenders received financial assistance for their legal defence from the Muslim community, but only after it was confirmed the victim was a young non-Muslim Australian woman.
“DHS and Vicpol members involved in the case were absolutely disgusted by all aspects of the crime itself and the way it was handled but we all were constantly reminded that we would face legal action if found to have disclosed information to the media.
“One thing I would love to share with all Australians is the time when two of the offenders were visited by their family (a loving moderate Muslim family) for the first time since they had been in remand.
“After the offenders had informed the family that it was, ‘All okay because the victim was just an Aussie girl’, the entire family stood and hugged the offenders in relief, the mother was crying tears of joy as she knew the family would have been shunned by the Muslim community if the victim had been a Muslim girl.
“I hope you see fit to share this information with the Australian people and continue the great work.”
Bendigo’s past will hold a proud place in the hearts of Australians. Its future will hold nothing but contempt.
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.