Sunday, September 18, 2016

Arab thought he was entitled to park his car in the middle of a  NYC street

And went on a rampage when he was penalized for it.  With arrogance like that, he would have to be a Muslim

The man who allegedly hit an off-duty NYPD detective in the head with an 11-inch meat cleaver during a dramatic Midtown Manhattan confrontation has been identified as Akram Joudeh, 32, formerly of Qeens.

Joudeh was shot multiple times on West 32 Street, near Penn Station, by several officers at around 5pm Wednesday after a dramatic chase that culminated in three officers being injured, cops said.

The detective suffered a six-inch gash from his temple to his jaw, while Joudeh was left in hospital in critical but stable condition.

Police were called out at around 5pm after Joudeh was seen trying to prize a boot off his car on West 31 St and Broadway. It's believed the man, whose last registered address is in Queens, has been sleeping in the car.

The vehicle had reportedly been parked in the middle of the street, which is located in a busy, tourist-heavy area of Midtown.

When police approached, however, he went into a rage, pulling out the cleaver and fleeing while 'waving it around,' a police spokesman said. 

A sergeant attempted to stop the suspect - described as sporting scruffy sandals and a beard - with a taser while they ran through the crowded area. But for reasons unknown it apparently had no effect.

The officers chased him through the heavily-patrolled area to West 32 St, near Penn Station, where he mounted the grill of a marked NYPD car.

Off-duty detective Brian O’Donnell, who was heading to Penn Station, saw Joudeh and attempted to tackle him - at which point, cops say, Joudeh hit him in the face with the cleaver. 

Officers tried to talk him into dropping the weapon, police said, but he refused - at which point they fired 18 times, hitting him with multiple bullets, cops said.

Two other cops sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Early reports said that one of them suffered a graze on his back during the gunfire.

Both the cops and the attacker were taken to Bellevue Hospital.

The detective is said to be in serious condition. He was visited by Mayor Bill de Blasio and Bill Bratton, who is on his last day in the job, and was said to be in 'good spirits.' The other officers are said to be in stable condition.

Joudeh had a long criminal record with 15 arrests, police reported.  One of those was an August 27 booking for carrying knives near a synagogue, NBC reported. And according to the NY Post, in 2013 Joudeh was arrested for criminal mischief after smashing a car up with a wooden fence post.


Why feminists are so cagey about social class

Middle-class media feminists have nothing to say to poor girls

A new report produced by the University of Hull and the charity Plan UK has revealed the best and worst places for girls to grow up in the UK.

The research looked at average life expectancy, child-poverty rates, teenage-pregnancy rates, education and employment. It concluded that girls had a better quality of life in affluent areas like Surrey than in inner-city areas like Liverpool or Nottingham. ‘Overall, the UK is failing girls’, says Lucy Russell, one of the authors of the report. ‘Girls don’t have equal rights and equal life chances across the UK.’

Interestingly, the report did not include information on boys’ quality of life. The report claims it is ‘unapologetic in its focus on girls and their lives’. But it is still ignoring the elephant in the room. The fact that girls in Waverley enjoy higher quality of life than those in Salford has nothing to do with the fact that they’re girls and everything to do with the fact that, in comparison, Salford is a much poorer, working-class area.

Indeed, the researchers seem to be well aware that their stats alone don’t point to any clear gender disparity. So, in order to make up for this, they’ve conducted interviews with 103 girls about their life experiences. The authors conclude: ‘Girls are facing daily harassment in school, in the classroom and on the way to and from school. They need to use technology, but they don’t always feel safe to do that. They’re scared every day on the street.’ Based on a few conversations with a few young girls, Plan UK is claiming that there is real gender inequality in Britain today.

This is absolute nonsense. As spiked has often argued, girls in the UK have never had it so good. The old barriers are gone: it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of sex, and society’s view of women’s freedom and capabilities has changed enormously over the past few decades.

The pathologisation of normal, albeit rude, teenage behaviour forms the basis of many of the scare stories in the report. In one of the case studies, a 14-year-old girl describes a group of boys her age shouting at her and telling her to get her arse out. ‘How can I be equal to men if that still happens?’, she asks. As such, normal teenage experiences – getting into fights, feeling down, being self-conscious – are turned into issues of sexism. And some of the stories are incredibly trivial. ‘This village is a good area to be a girl, but sometimes there isn’t enough to do’, complains one teenager. ‘In my opinion, I think there should be places where you can get hot chocolate.’

This report is risible. But, although it provides no great insight into gender inequality, it does offer a keen insight into feminists’ inability to grapple with the issue of class. The truth is that a young girl from Blackpool will have far more in common with a boy down her street than she will with a girl living in Islington. That GCSE results for girls are lower in Watford than they are in East Hertfordshire has nothing to do with the level of gender equality in those areas.

High rates of teenage pregnancy are also cited in the report as a cause of low quality of life for girls in certain areas. For girls living in Tamworth, Staffordshire, where there are fewer prospects and less going on, having a child might be a more desirable option. And yet it is treated here as if it were a life sentence. For all the talk of sexism and prejudice, these ‘girl’s rights’ campaigners seem to take a pretty blinkered view of teenage mothers.

Job prospects, quality of education and life expectancy are worse in poor areas. This is nothing we don’t already know. By framing these problems as consequences of gender inequality, feminist charities reveal their deep unease with talking about class. Instead of giving young girls complexes about sexism, why not talk about the real problems holding back working-class kids - both boys and girls?

Perhaps it’s because the majority of feminists today come from middle-class, media backgrounds that conversations about class make them uncomfortable. The truth is, the main thing determining girls’ (and boys’) life chances in the UK is their access to opportunity and wealth. So, please, let’s stop conjuring up the gender bogeyman and get serious about making all young people’s lives better.


The Black Body Count Rises as Chicago Police Step Back

Demonize the police and that's what you get

In 2016 nearly 3,000 people have been shot in the city, an average of one victim every two hours.

‘The streets are gone,” Dean Angelo, president of the Chicago police union, told me last month. The night before, Aug. 14, a Chicago police officer’s son had been killed in a shooting while sitting on his family’s porch, one of 92 people killed in Chicago during the worst month for homicides in the Windy City since July 1993. The August victims who survived included 10-year-old Tavon Tanner, shot while playing in front of his house (the bullet ripped through Tavon’s pancreas, intestines, kidney and spleen); an 8-year-old girl shot in the arm while crossing the street; and two 6-year-old girls.

On Sept. 6, a 71-year-old man was accosted by a teen on a bike while watering his lawn. The robber demanded the man’s wallet and when he refused shot him in the abdomen, then grabbed his wallet before pedaling away.

By Sept. 8, nearly 3,000 people had been shot in Chicago in 2016, an average of one shooting victim every two hours. Five hundred and sixteen people had been murdered. Gun homicides and non-fatal shootings were up 47% over the same period of 2015, which had seen a significant rise in crime over 2014.

“There is no way out of this shooting spree,” Mr. Angelo said. His despair is understandable, because Chicago is the country’s most-glaring example of what I have called the “Ferguson effect.” Chicago officers have cut back drastically on proactive policing under the onslaught of criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement and its political and media enablers.

In October 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel told U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch during a crime meeting in Washington, D.C., that the Chicago police had gone “fetal,” and were less likely to interdict criminal behavior. That pull-back worsened in 2016, with pedestrian stops dropping 82% from January through July 20, 2016, compared with the same period in 2015, according to the Chicago police department. The cops are just “driving by people on the corners,” Mr. Angelo says, rather than checking out known drug dealers and others who raise suspicions. Criminals are back in control and black lives are being lost at a rate not seen for two decades.

Chicago’s cops are responding to political signals from the most powerful segments of society. President Obama takes every opportunity to accuse police of racially profiling blacks and Hispanics. The media, activists and academics routinely denounce pedestrian stops and public-order enforcement—such as dispersing crowds of unruly teens—as racial oppression intended to “control African-American and poor communities,” in the words of Columbia law professor Bernard Harcourt. Never mind that it is the law-abiding residents of high-crime areas who beg the police to clear their corners of loiterers and trespassers.

Further discouraging proactive policing in Chicago is a misguided agreement between the Illinois American Civil Liberties Union and the city that allows the ACLU to review every police stop. The police are also experiencing fallout from City Hall’s mishandling of the unjustified fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald in October 2014.

Chicago cops regularly encounter aggressive hostility when they leave their vehicles. In August a Chicago Tribune reporter filmed a group of teens taunting officers for over an hour while the cops investigated a shooting on the West Side. “F--- the police!” went one chant. “Get the f--- off my block!” came another insult. Someone fired off shots in a nearby alley for the fun of seeing cops run toward another possible victim. “Run, b----, run!” a shirtless male shouted as the officers took off in a sprint.

Three gangs—the Vice Lords, Black Disciples and Four Corner Hustlers—reached a pact in August to assassinate Chicago officers, according to a police departmental alert. The National Gang Intelligence Center has also picked up on plans to shoot officers.

The media blame poverty, racism and a lack of government services for the growing mayhem. Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson blames lenient prison sentences for releasing Chicago’s gun criminals onto the streets too soon. The Illinois Legislature’s Black Caucus, however, blocks any effort to mandate stricter sentences for gun-toting felons—in a sub rosa acknowledgment that the vast majority (80%) of Chicago’s gun criminals are black.

But neither Mr. Johnson’s lax-sentencing explanation nor the media’s systemic-injustice explanation aligns with the timing of Chicago’s surge in violence. Sentencing protocols did not weaken in 2015 when crime started rising. Nor did poverty or alleged racism grow worse. What did change was the intensity of antipolice ideology, driven by the Black Lives Matter movement, relentlessly amplified by the press, and echoed by President Obama.

“Where does this end?” Mr. Angelo asked last month. “We’re in an unknown environment. We don’t know at what point in time the people in this city and the city council will stand up and say: ‘Enough is enough,’ so that cops feel that they have the support to be the police again.”

The ideal solution to Chicago’s violence would be for more at-risk boys to be raised by their mother and their father. Until that happens, the only hope for law-abiding residents of Chicago’s high-crime areas is that police regain control of the streets.


Regressive Left puts bigotry and militant Islam on a pedestal

By Peter Baldwin, formerly a prominent politician in the Australian Labor party

What does it mean, these days, when someone says their politics are “left-wing” or “progressive”?

This has always been debatable, but in recent times these terms have taken on meanings that earlier generations of leftists would scarcely recognise. Ideas that used to be thought cons­titutive of left-wing thinking have been turned on their head.

To see what I am getting at, ponder the following thought experiment. Try to imagine how a moderate leftist in the social-democratic tradition (my own position) or a liberal in the American sense might react on awakening today from suspended animation after a half-century.

Say they had just listened to Martin Luther King’s great civil rights speech of 1963 in which he yearned for the day when his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the colour of their skin. Back then, King’s sentiments were seen around the world as the quintessence of liberal progressivism.

Suppose further that the cryogenic experiment were conducted on one of the campuses of the University of California, Los Angeles. Imagine that the subject of our experiment is a member of staff and, needing to be brought up to speed on university policies, is sent on a course on how to avoid “micro­aggressions”, words or phrases that are deemed subtly racist. Such training recently was made mandatory at the behest of University of California president Janet Napolitano.

Our Rip Van Winkle would be amazed to learn that the dreaded microaggressions included statements such as “When I look at you, I don’t see colour”, or “There is only one race, the human race”. Such sentiments are not even to be uttered, let alone debated, in what would seem to our reawakened liberal like some Bizarro World ­alternative reality.

So what has happened? In a nutshell, there has been a comprehensive rejection by progressive academe of the intellectual inheritance from the Enlightenment, the “revolution of the mind” that transformed Europe and North America in the 17th and 18th centuries. The Enlightenment stressed argumentative rationality and the scientific method. It ­favoured open debate of contentious issues, including the ability to freely critique religious doctrines. It is a universalist vision in which people are seen as members of a common humanity, each pos­sessing rationality and agency, and not just creatures of the particular cultural or religious milieu into which they are born.

Distinguished historian of the Enlightenment Jonathan Israel identifies a subcurrent that he termed the Radical Enlightenment that added a strong commitment to equality of people irrespective of race, gender or class to the intellectual freedoms demanded by the mainstream Enlightenment. Until recently, leftist intellectuals across the board happily would trace their lineage back to this movement. Even advocates of communist totalitarianism honoured Enlightenment principles by claiming that their “scientific socialism” provided the fullest realisation of Enlightenment ideals.

Today the “Enlightenment project”, as they now style it, is typically disparaged by intellectuals of a progressive bent. The ideal of human universality is discarded in favour of the politics of culture and identity; the value of reasoned ­debate questioned as argument is seen as just a mask for the exercise of power; the quest for objective truth is replaced by an emphasis on narratives and stories; and the right to strongly critique religion abrogated, albeit selectively.

In his book The Seduction of Unreason, American political philosopher Richard Wolin gives a comprehensive intellectual genealogy of this development. He notes “one of the peculiarities of our times is that Counter-Enlightenment arguments, once the exclusive prerogative of the political Right, have attained a new lease on life among representatives of the cultural Left … As a prominent advocate of postmodern political theory contends, one need only outfit the Counter-Enlightenment standpoint with a new ‘articulation’ to make it serviceable for the ends of the postmodern Left”.

Welcome to the leftist Counter-Enlightenment. In Britain and the US some critics have coined the term “regressive leftism” for this movement. There are two aspects to the regressive Left ideology. The substantive content of the ideology is identity politics, the view that people should be seen in their essence not as members of a common humanity but as bound to a particular identity group.

There is an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy written by a sympathetic academic that expresses it thus: “… it is qua women, qua blacks, qua lesbians that groups demand recognition. The demand is not for inclusion within the fold of ‘universal humankind’ on the basis of shared human attributes; nor is it for respect ‘in spite of’ one’s differences. Rather, what is demanded is respect for oneself as different.”

Note that when members of a particular identity group demand respect for “oneself as different” they are not talking about respecting each person’s individuality and agency. On the contrary, they insist that people accept being defined by their identity and that they stick to the accepted script, the particular narrative of victimhood, that pertains to their group.

Members of each victim group are urged to claim ownership of — indeed, to be extremely proprietorial about — all aspects of their culture, including ephemera such as clothing and cuisine. We must all stick to our own cultural reservation. To violate this tenet is to commit the high crime of “cultural appropriation”.

American writer Lionel Shriver delivered a brilliant critique of this mentality and its deadening effect on fiction writing at the Brisbane Writers Festival last weekend, to the horror of organisers, who immediately disavowed her remarks.

And woe betide anyone who breaches this cardinal rule, as dissenters from within Islamic culture such as Ayaan Hirsi Ali have found. At best, they can expect condescension from bien pensant progressive intellectuals, some of whom denounced Hirsi Ali as an “Enlightenment fundamentalist”.

They will be pilloried in progressive media and will face attempts to bar them from speaking on campuses and elsewhere, as when Hirsi Ali was barred from speaking recently at Brandeis University in the US at the behest of a coalition of “progressive” student groups. Then there are the death threats from Islamist extremists intent on punishing the crime of apostasy. The Council of Ex-Muslims on Britain released a report this year detailing how extremist preachers have been given free rein to speak on British campuses while its own leader, Maryam Namazie, a leftist from an Iranian background, has been subjected to sustained efforts — including death threats — to stop her speaking.

These activities consistently have been backed by campus student organisations including, incredibly, feminist and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups.

The de facto alliance that has developed between the Left and militant Islam, the most reactionary force in the world today, is the strangest and most disconcerting political development in my lifetime. If identity politics is the substantive part of this mutant ideology, the compliance and enforcement arm is the system of thought control we nowadays term political correctness.

According to the PC mindset, someone who openly or even privately challenges core tenets of identity politics is not just wrong but morally depraved. Such a person is not to be engaged with argumentatively, but must be vilified, censored and, where possible, pursued legally using instruments such as the iniquitous section 18C of our Racial Discrimination Act and equivalents in other countries.

Given their head, “progressive” politicians will introduce even more restrictive laws. Former British ­Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged before the last British election to make Islamophobia, which he never bothered to define, an aggravated criminal offence.

Regressive Left activists often claim to be fighting against “fascism” or “the extreme Right”. Ironically, they are the ones who, time and again, resort to classic 1930s fascist tactics such as wrecking the meetings of their opponents and in some cases harassing or attacking attendees.

I experienced this last year while attending a meeting at the University of Sydney that was being addressed by a speaker known to be defensive of Israel, a position now verboten on cam­puses around the world.

The meeting was disrupted by a chanting mob led by a young woman with a megaphone, the leaders making clear afterwards that they were there not to challenge or debate but to silence.

Some local academics actually defended this behaviour on the ground there was “no inherent right to free speech” if it contravened the progressive world view. There are even calls at Ivy League colleges in the US for the right to “free speech” to be supplanted by the insistence on “socially just speech”. Incredibly, the young woman leading the protest shouted her outrage that a speaker from the virulently anti-Semitic Hizb ut-Tahrir organisation had previously been blocked from speaking at the university.

This sort of coddling of extreme anti-Semitism, thinly masked as anti-Zionism, is one of the most revolting aspects of the regressive Left. American professor of queer theory Judith Butler, described as a “postmodern colossus” and a leading figure in the global boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israel, has in­sisted that Hamas and Hezbollah be seen as part of the “global progressive Left”. Both these groups have expressed the aspiration to exterminate all Jews; in Hamas’s case it is in its founding charter. Butler received some criticism over this, but her stellar standing in the progressive academic pan­theon was undiminished.

And it is not just academics. British Labour leader Jeremy ­Corbyn spoke warmly of his “friends” in Hamas and Hezbollah.

So it is pretty clear what the regressive Left is against. But what is it for, exactly? Its members would answer that they are fighting for “social justice”. Actually, it would be more accurate to say they are for social justice activism. Earlier incarnations of leftist ideology all had some conception of the “good society” they were working for, even if sometimes a terribly flawed one as with the communists.

Go to the websites of radical Left groups bearing names such as Socialist Alternative and you will see that there is no alternative. They do not even attempt to posit one. They are essentially nihilists who stand for nothing. Activism is a goal in itself, not some desired societal end state.

The supreme recent exemplar of social justice activism is the Black Lives Matter movement in the US. This movement is spawning imitators around the world including Australia, according to a recent ABC report.

Academic practitioners of the field known as critical race theory sprang into action to lend theoretical support. The tenor of some of this stuff would have stunned our Rip Van Winkle. There is an article on the website of the Harvard Law faculty that calls for “race-based mobilisations”, language that would not have been out of place in 30s Germany.

For the social justice activists, two kinds of questions are strictly off limits. First, narratives of victimhood must not be challenged, no matter how compelling the contrary evidence.

Hence, the shooting of a young black man in Ferguson, Missouri, was a straight-out case of murder, the victim shot with his hands raised. This version of events has been completely debunked since. But no matter, the critical race brigade sticks to this narrative in its “scholarly” articles, including one by a prominent academic at the Western Sydney University that referred to Ferguson matter-of-factly as a “racist murder” well after the facts were established.

This is not mere sloppiness. Reading this stuff, you quickly ­realise that for this kind of “scholarship” facts, evidence and the truth are strictly irrelevant.

Which brings me to the second type of unaskable question. Does the activism actually do any good? Has Black Lives Matter actually improved the lives of people trapped in impoverished inner-city ghettos? All the evidence indicates the contrary. Homicide rates in inner-urban areas have risen sharply since BLM started, reversing a decades-long declining trend. FBI director James Comey has linked this to the abandoning of proactive policing by cops fearful of vilification and prosecution.

Have the prospects for Palestinians to lead a decent life been enhanced by the international BDS campaign that urges them to stick to their rejectionist guns, thereby precluding a settlement with Israel and condemning future generations to repeated conflict?

Have young girls in Muslim communities benefited from the sentiments expressed by feminists such as Germaine Greer, who condemned efforts to outlaw female genital mutilation as “an attack on cultural identity”?

In Britain, hospitals are reporting an average 15 cases of this each day, yet there have been no successful prosecutions despite the practice being illegal since 1984. Where are the feminists on this and on forced marriages? Nowhere, it seems, with a handful of honourable exceptions. It seems that for the regressive Left there is a hierarchy of correctness in which cultural respect is trumps.

The kind of moral catastrophe this can induce is shockingly displayed by events in the northern English town of Rotherham. Across 16 years, 1400 girls, most from dysfunctional white families, were subjected to sexual abuse of organised gangs of sexual predators of Pakistani Muslim background. As two subsequent official reports disclosed, all arms of government that should have protected the girls — the police, social ser­vices, schools, the Labour-controlled local council — were paralysed by a dread of being labelled racist or Islamophobic.

I think of regressive leftism as a mind virus, a paralytic disease that is severely inhibiting the ability of Western societies to properly debate some of the most important issues they face. It is suffused with civilisational self-loathing — severely condemnatory of “white” post-Enlightenment Western societies yet prepared to overlook or apologise for the most egregious defects in other kinds of society.

To see what can result from this paralysis, look at Europe as it grapples with the consequences of its leaders’ decision to effectively dissolve its external borders with North Africa and the Middle East.

Consider the enormity of the transformation Europe is undergoing and imagine how it will look in several decades if this continues. Yet Europe’s elites seem incapable of conducting an honest debate about the implications of this, since this would involve asking some tough questions about whether Islam, with its undoubted violent and supremacist aspects, is ultimately compatible with liberal societies. Some of Europe’s leaders actually seem to have become reconciled to the prospect of large parts of Europe becoming Islamised. After all, what could be worse than the existing civilisation that is nothing but a sorry litany of racism, colonialism and oppression? And the biggest losers from this will be the self-styled progressives. What prospect for gay rights under the new dispensation?

This fecklessness and intellectual paralysis would be far less serious if it were confined to the Left proper, but it is not, as exemplified by Angela Merkel’s extraordinarily naive actions in the past year. The impulse to censor and anathematise anyone who challenges the prevailing zeitgeist can be found in parties regarded as centrist or even right-wing. This has created space for the emergence of new political forces throughout the Western world including Australia, with a surge in support for Pauline Hanson at the recent elections.

I believe the time has come for a fundamental rethinking of the lines of political division. At this his­torical juncture decent leftists must drop the masochistic obsession with denigrating post-Enlightenment Western civilisation and join with liberals, conservatives and others in a concerted effort to defend it against the unprecedented threats it now faces.



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


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