Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Blame Juncker! Brussels chief told he stands for everything Britain voted against and must now quit
There's a lot of truth in that. The EU had caught Britain but it was their own politically correct and authoritarian behaviour that drove Britain away
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker faced calls to resign last night as he was blamed for the Brexit vote.
Czech foreign minister Lubomir Zaoralek said the EU’s chief bureaucrat was a ‘negative symbol’ of the kind of federalism British voters rejected in the referendum.
‘In my opinion, he is not the right person for that position. We have to ask who is responsible for the result of the referendum in Britain,’ Mr Zaoralek told Czech television.
Mr Juncker, a former prime minister of Luxembourg who has been dogged by rumours of ill health, has insisted he will not stand down.
European leaders yesterday accepted it could take months for Britain to kick-start the process of leaving the EU because the country is facing a ‘very significant political crisis’.
Members of the European Parliament had been pushing for David Cameron to immediately trigger the two-year exit process when he attends a summit in Brussels tomorrow.
But last night diplomats from all 27 other member states agreed that it was unrealistic for the country to formally begin negotiations until a new prime minister had been appointed.
A senior EU official said: ‘We as the EU27 expect a notification as soon as possible but everyone understands that right now there is quite a significant crisis in the UK. Not only of the change in the ruling party, it goes much deeper.’
The official added that ‘we are ready to start ASAP’ but said the other leaders understand ‘this is a very significant political crisis ... expecting a kick-starting is not a realistic option.’
While the Prime Minister will attend the EU summit tomorrow, he will be pointedly left outside the room on Wednesday as the other 27 members discuss measures including security and counter-terrorism.
Under the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which came into force in 2009, countries can leave by a process contained within Article 50 – which has never before been invoked.
Once this is triggered it sets a two-year clock ticking for negotiating a formal exit arrangement.
'The EU said yesterday that no negotiations could begin with the UK until the process is started formally – and officials warned the country would not be able to finalise a trade deal until after it has left.
One Year After Same-Sex Marriage Decision, Dissent Not Permitted
By now, nearly one year after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, it should be clear that the aggressive and unreasonable elements of the LGBT movement cannot harmonize themselves with freedom for Christians and other conscientious objectors.
With few, commendable examples, the LGBT movement’s activist class, who advocated for same-sex marriage and who are now aggressively pushing for government at all levels to implement their morality through special rights protections, bans on counseling for same-sex attraction, and now gender identity protections, simply want no dissent.
Beneath their policy demands is a desire for approval and forced participation in a regime endorsed one year ago by the Supreme Court itself. But approval is not obtained when others still have a legal right to conscientiously object.
If you want more evidence, look no further than recent efforts to attack Mississippi’s law protecting the rights of people to opt out of being involved in same-sex marriages.
Instead of recognizing Mississippi’s law (HB 1523) for what it is—a series of reasonable accommodations with explicit requirements that the government not interfere with same-sex couples’ rights—some of the usual suspects have chosen to sue because the accommodation isn’t good enough for them.
For example, Section 3(8)(a) of the law states that the person:
shall take all necessary steps to ensure that the authorization and licensing of any legally valid marriage is not impeded or delayed as a result of any recusal.
And Section 8(2) provides that:
[n]othing in this act shall be construed to prevent the state government from providing, either directly or through an individual or entity not seeking protection under this act, any benefit or service authorized under state law
The ACLU claims that the law makes same-sex couples feel different, and the Campaign for Southern Equality claims that they may be treated differently under the law; never mind the provisions cited above mandating otherwise.
Most tellingly, this group requests “any person recusing himself or herself under Section 3(8) of HB 1523 must treat all couples equally and shall therefore desist from issuing any marriage licenses to any other couples, including opposite-sex couples” (emphasis mine).
Never mind that no one has impeded any access to any licenses. So why demand that the clerk be ordered to desist from issuing all licenses if a same-sex couple would not notice any difference? Because, as seen in attacks on judges who wish to opt out elsewhere, this is about suppressing religious expression. The activist class can’t stand the idea that someone would not agree with their same-sex marriage, so they seek to stop the expression of these dissenting views—all in the name of “equality.”
The last group of plaintiffs to challenge HB 1523 claims that the law is invalid because it only allows people to opt out of the regime who hold certain beliefs. Never mind that that’s the point of opting out; no one is violating the consciences of those who support same-sex marriage. Such religious accommodations have been permitted in our laws in numerous ways for many years. Yet when it comes to the progressive LGBT agenda, there shall be no dissent.
The ACLU and like-minded allies don’t just want court-imposed same-sex marriage. They want approval from everyone else for these same-sex marriages. This approval is not gained by exempting an individual from participation in a same-sex marriage, but by forcing them to participate.
The legalization of same-sex marriage has not slowed the push for these coercive policies. After Obergefell, same-sex marriage licenses are being obtained without delay—but that’s not satisfactory to the activist class of the LGBT movement, who still has the same desire to stomp out any disagreement.
Ask yourself: who is being reasonable here?
On the one year anniversary of Obergefell, we have our answer. The question is what the future will hold. Will we as a society incline toward accommodation of religious views, or intolerance and suppression of deeply-held beliefs?
We must get this right, for our survival as a free and pluralistic nation depends on it.
Shut down the sheiks who incite violence by Muslims
Janet Albrechtsen, writing from Australia
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out -- because I was not a socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me -- Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984
The Protestant pastor who, for being an outspoken critic of Hitler, spent the final seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps
That history often repeats itself imperfectly shouldn’t discourage us from learning from the past. Martin Niemoller’s lesson about political apathy, first delivered in Europe’s postwar years, has ramifications in the 21st century.
Islamist terrorists, under different names, from al-Qa’ida to Hezbollah to Islamic State and others, came for the Jews first. Then they came for the Americans on 9/11, then the British people on buses and walking along London streets.
Then other Islamist terrorists, using different names but infused with a similar religious ideology, came for prepubescent Nigerian schoolgirls. Others came to murder Yazidi boys and men; they came for the Yazidi girls too, selling and raping them.
They came for the gays in Syria and Iraq, tossing them off rooftops. They gunned down iconoclastic French cartoonists in Paris, young Parisians in a nightclub too, others in a restaurant, a cafe. French policemen were slaughtered on the street. Men advocating the same Islamist terrorist cause came for customers in a Sydney cafe, a Sydney police worker.
Then, on Sunday at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, they came for the gays, murdering 49 people. They will come for others, too. Every Western country is on high alert to prevent further murder at the hands of Islamic terrorists. It’s not that we are saying nothing. We say plenty each time Islamic terrorists strike. But too few say what’s needed. And that leads to the challenge raised by Niemoller: does silence equal complicity when it allows evil to continue?
Three fundamental failures rooted in politics, law and culture have led the West to a dangerous inflexion point in relation to the way we use words in the terrorism space. Politically, we fail to discuss the critical issue of the relationship between Islam and terrorism. Legally, we have laws that fail to prosecute those who incite murderous violence. Culturally, we have created a system of competitive victimhood, where people vie for victimhood status, become infantilised by a bevy of laws and concomitant social diktats about what can and cannot be said.
There is a direct relationship between each of these societal failures. The explosion of feelings-based claims, legal or otherwise, distracts us from confronting those who incite others to violence and, most critically, it fuels a modern veneration of victimhood that stifles critical debates about the values and future of Western liberal democracies.
US President Barack Obama has come to symbolise the political failure. Time and again, he has shied away from even mentioning the root cause of modern terrorism: radical Islamic ideology. This week, Obama confected outrage over this analysis of his presidency. He built a straw man that he could easily tear down. “Not once has an adviser of mine said, ‘Man, if we really use that phrase (radical Islam) we’re going to turn this thing around’,” he said as he criticised the term as just a talking point.
Except that Obama hasn’t managed to talk about this talking point. Not once this week has he engaged on the great challenge facing the West: the relationship between Islam and terrorism. If the leader of the free world cannot speak honestly about this, who can?
Refreshingly, in July last year British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It’s dangerous to deny the link with Islam because when you do that you neuter the important voices challenging the religious basis which terrorists use for their own warped purposes.”
Alas, one good speech is not a conversation. In Australia, Malcolm Turnbull begrudgingly manages to mention “radical Islamists” and there the real conversation stops before it’s even started.
The departure of Sheik Farrokh Sekaleshfar from Australia on Tuesday night raises questions for us to consider. Sekaleshfar came as a guest of the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in Sydney’s Earlwood. Sekaleshfar has previously said having the death penalty for homosexuals in Islamic societies “is nothing to be embarrassed about”.
He outlined those views in Orlando just weeks before gays were slaughtered in the Pulse nightclub. He told the ABC, “I am a follower of the Islamic faith” and, according to Islamic faith, gays can be put to death in certain circumstances.
According to the sheik, death is appropriate, indeed compassionate, to end the life of sinning homosexuals if they have sex in public. “You will sin less … we’ve saved you,” Sekaleshfar said.
The sheik has left Australia. He has been rightly condemned. The Turnbull government is reviewing visa processes. And now? Silence and a hope maybe that the sheik’s rapid exit from Australia will let sleeping dogs lie.
Yet uncomfortable and important questions remain not just unanswered but unasked. Do the members of the Imam Husain Islamic Centre, as followers of the Islamic faith, also accept the sheik’s views about death sometimes being an appropriate punishment for gays? What about members of the Islamic faith beyond this Islamic centre in Earlwood? Do they agree with Islam’s violent attitude towards homosexuals?
On Thursday evening at Kirribilli, the Prime Minister hosted senior Islamic leaders, including Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, president of the Australian National Imams Council, who has condemned gays for “spreading diseases” and delivering “evil outcomes to our society”. Among the guests was Hafez Kassem, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, who has said gays should be treated with medication; and Supreme Islamic Shia Council head Kamal Mousselmani, who defended Sekaleshfar’s right to believe that gays should be put to death. Just imagine the outrage from the Left if a Catholic leader had said such things.
How many Australians Muslims represented by these Islamic leaders support these homophobic and violent views? Cultural relativism doesn’t cut it here. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week, Muslim homophobia is institutionalised by Islamic law and homosexuality is criminalised in 40 out of 57 Muslim-majority countries.
Iran hangs men for being gay. Islamic State throws homosexuals off tall buildings. “Homophobia comes in many forms,” writes Hirsi Ali. “But none is more dangerous in our time than the Islamic version.”
If you advocate death for a group of people, you are inciting violence. That ought to be a crime. Even ardent defenders of free speech shouldn’t tolerate words that incite violence. Yet NSW, where so many terrorist attacks have happened and many more have been planned, has become an unfortunate template for the wretched legal and political failures to prevent those who knowingly and deliberately incite others to cause physical harm to people.
Section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, enacted in 1989, prohibits those who incite violence towards others on the basis of race. There has not been a single prosecution, let alone a conviction. Not even when the spiritual leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ismail al-Wahwah, called for “jihad against the Jews”, when he called Jews a “cancerous tumour” that had to be “uprooted” and destroyed. His violent words were uploaded to YouTube, accessible to every young man with murder on his mind and hatred in his heart.
There have been empty political words and undelivered promises from NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton about keeping the state safe: the state’s Liberal government has done nothing so far to ensure this law is enforceable and enforced.
Meanwhile, laws at the federal level haul young students into court for using words that simply hurt the feelings of a woman who worked at the Queensland University of Technology.
We have not just lost all sense of proportion. We have lost sight of principle. Inciting violence should limit our right to speak freely. Hurting someone’s feelings should not. Our failure on both fronts is dangerous. Laws that protect hurt feelings have created a wider, informal but no less powerful muzzle on us, preventing us from having necessary conversations about Islam. The same strictures infantilise Muslims as too irrational or too vulnerable to discuss their own faith.
Islamophobia epithets are routinely thrown around to enforce what has become a deadly silence. If a few Australian Muslims won’t critique their religion, just as Christianity and Judaism have been challenged from within over hundreds of years, then, as Orlando shows, an internal problem for Islam becomes our problem. Islam’s homophobia, divined from scripture and most recently enunciated by Sekaleshfar, struck at young gay men and women dancing in the nightclub in Orlando. Who’s next? And when will someone finally speak up about what is at stake for Islam and the West?
Heroic Tales in the Twenty First Century
One of the most regrettable things about the Twenty First century is that, now that we finally have swept aside the pall of Twentieth Century’s obsession with grim, unheroic, nihilistic literature, and emerged into the glorious era eager for heroic tales, the Twenty Firsters almost know how to tell one, but not quite.
Even a simple tale of heroism, wonder, romance and adventure such as all previous generations knew how to tell, the Twenty-Firsters cannot tell, or not quite.
From Achilles and Hercules onward, there have always been tales of larger than life heroes who make larger than life sacrifices to save the innocent. In the ancient world, they were myth, in the latter days, fairy tales, fables, tales to fill a thousand Arabian nights and a night. In the modern day, they are superhero tales.
The Twenty Firsters can get all the basics correct: strong characters with dramatic motivations meeting overwhelming odds and clinging to hope when hope is gone, struggling onward, achieving, overcoming. The dialog, the clever plot twists, the three dimensional verisimilitude of the characters, all put the simple juvenile literature from which they spring to shame. I have been dumbfounded on many an occasion, when watching the recent television versions of DAREDEVIL, or FLASH, or THE ARROW, or LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, or SUPERGIRL, or movies from the Marvel Universe, at the sheer brilliance of the writing and grace of the action. The Twenty Firsters shine brightly at what they do so well.
But what they do badly is egregiously bad.
For the Twenty Firsters cannot tell a twice told tale of a modern day Robin Hood, or a runner as fast as Mercury, or a group of heroes as bold as the Argonauts, or a cute girl-type Hercules, without intruding unwelcome, tin-eared, heavy-handed, preachy, silly and sick-minded political points.
And they are silly points because they concern matters that, in the West, at least, are solved: No law and no custom in my whole adult lifetime erected a barrier to women based on sex, nor none to blacks based on race. To the degree that the unruly passions in the human heart can be bridled by laws and customs, they have been. Anything more that is done allegedly to aid the case has proved itself unambiguously to be counterproductive: policies allegedly enacted to diminish racial hatreds, nonsense like affirmative action, set-asides, and reverse discrimination, have throughout my life formed irreconcilably opposed racial groups to whom nothing else matters but skin color.
The Twenty Firsters think the source of the problem is the lack of characters in popular literature who represent minorities, and, in the case of superheroes or other longstanding characters, the lack of actresses or minority characters portraying roles originally depicted as male or white. I have heard this conclusion announced on many, many an occasion, but never once with the alleged chain of reasoning upon which it is based mentioned, so I am in no position to judge its soundness, or even judge whether it even attempts to be sound.
So to solve the imaginary problem of a lack of minorities playing white character roles, and the even more imaginary problem of violations of the civil rights of those who commit acts of sexual deviance, our elite class has taken it upon themselves to use the popular culture, first, to benumb us to sexual deviance until we all think (or pretend to think) it is licit, healthy, and normal, and, second, to use the popular culture to have blacks play white characters. As I said, the point of this escapes me: the effect is to make us acutely conscious of their skin color, and ever more acutely aware (and, for our weaker members, resentful) of the special privileges shown the protected classes who enjoy antidiscrimination privileges under our laws.
Let me turn a baleful eye to my favorite form of popular entertainment: superhero shows and films.
We live in the golden age of superheroes, and let no one tell you otherwise. Even minor comic properties like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXIES are blockbusters. The original comics by and large were crudely written and aimed at kids. These shows have some of the best writing I have seen, and I will forgive all their flaws because everything else about the shows are perfect.
But the flaws are all one flaw: political correctness.
And political correctness kills storytelling. Story tellers serve truth, they merely do it by means of non-literal ways of portraying the truth. Political correctness serves propaganda. Stories entertain and educate, and offer insight into the human condition, even the humblest tale of derring-do. Propaganda serves to indoctrinate, to limit the insight, to instill one viewpoint and to close the mind to all others, dulling the thought and stunting the reason.
Stories put you in another man’s shoes, to see the world with new eyes. Propaganda hinders or reverses this.
Political Correctness harps endlessly on one theme: the evils of the Modern West. Since the Modern West has no evils that the ancient or middle ages, West or East, did not have in more abundance, the accusation of evil must of necessity revolve around the two areas where there has been nothing but an uninterrupted stream of progress for a century: the civil equality of the races and of the sexes. Since, as mentioned above, that has been achieved, the criticism must invent ever more shrill and outlandish accusations of ever more hidden, invisible, and imaginary manifestations of an alleged, yet somehow never defined, inequality. And this requires the Political Correctioneers to lose all sense of proportion, all sense of reality, and all sense.
And, of necessity, it necessitates a false picture be painted of the present, and of the past, so that no true comparison can be made between them.
The matters hence on which their obsession bears are those touching race and sex.
FLASH has roughly nine love triangles going at once, of which one and only one is not a mixed race couple. One or two white-and-black couples would be enough to make the point that such pairing are normal in this day and age (for so they are, I knew five among my circle of friends alone). But what does it mean that all but one fit this pattern? It is as if the writer is straining mightily to urge us to reject the miscegenation laws that were rejected a century ago, or to shed attitudes seen only in the Democrat-controlled South, and predominant only in my long-vanished youth.
(I note that the problem has been vanished long enough that the word miscegeny is not in my spelling checker.)
The orphan boy is in love with his adopted sister, which is gross, but no one in the show seems to notice this: apparently the show takes place in a nearby parallel universe where everyone follows the moral example of Woody Allen.
When the cop’s partner fornicates with the cop’s daughter, she is given a latchkey, not a wedding ring, to show the full degree of his devotion. And the cop does not shoot him.
And the orphan boy always tells his team mates that the team is a ‘family’ rather than a team or a brotherhood. It is as if the normal emotion of team loyalty, philos, friendship, is alien to this universe, but that the word family refers to any arbitrary group of people interconnected by a strong bond.
When a young, strong, muscular Latino man and a petite, curvy, attractive black woman in skintight black leather pants and nosebleed high heels are cornered by a zombie, the man tells the woman to get behind him, as he is offering to protect her with his life.
She impatiently orders him to get behind her, because she is offering to throw a temper tantrum.
Absurdly, he does. I was wondering what the writer had in mind for petite, curvy, attractive black woman in skintight black leather pants and nosebleed high heels to do to fend off the zombie, because logically she should be killed for her folly and her alleged brains eaten, but the writer chickened out. Zombie then turns another direction and shambles off. Which somehow proves that the self-sacrifice of muscular Latino man was comedy relief worthy of nothing but scorn or something.
On THE ARROW, when the daughter of hardboiled cop returns after years when she was missing, thought dead, and exchanges hot and passionate lesbian kisses with her hot and passionate lesbian lover and she-assassin ninja-babe on the street, the dad’s only remark is that he is glad she found someone to love.
Ah, but in other episodes, he browbeats and chastises her for sleeping out of wedlock with drunk, rich, white frat boy with a yacht. Not, of course, because fornication is a sin, but because he is a rich playboy. Which is apparently worse than getting entangled with a she-assassin ninja-babe.
The hot lesbian lover is the daughter of an ageless Oriental supervillain Assassin Lord who disapproves of the unisex pairing, not, as one might expect of a supervillain Assassin Lord in a Leftwing sermon-story, because he thinks it is an unnatural abomination or he wants grandchildren. In the scene where hot lover confronts ageless supervillain, the Assassin Lord Dad reveals that his sole source of discontent with the hot young lesbian unisex pairing was that the cop’s daughter was disloyal, and would leave.
One wonders what the other option was supposed to be? Settle down as wife and wife and form a substitute family? Grow old together and adopt cats as a substitute for children? Kidnap gypsy babies to raise?
I will mention in passing that no ageless man of the centuries before this one, pagan or Christian, Western or Eastern, would have adopted these odd modern looking-glass ethical standards, as opposed to, say, a standard saying it was okay to force his daughter into an arranged marriage for his political and economic convenience. Why both oriental characters are here played by whites is a mystery, since all the characters from Japan and China are played (ably) by Japanese or Korean actors or actresses.
In neither FLASH or THE ARROW or SUPERGIRL is there even one married couple with an intact family.
Much more HERE
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.