Monday, September 26, 2016
The Dalai gets it
Refugees fleeing brutal conflict in the Middle East should aspire to return home, the Dalai Lama has said.
In an interview with Piers Morgan, the Tibetan Buddhist leader, one of the world's highest-profile political exiles, said those who have left to escape fighting and disorder in countries like Syria and Libya should focus on bringing peace to their homelands.
The plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing violence in the Middle East and North Africa has become a major issue in Europe and the rest of the developed world over the past few years.
Piers ended the interview by asking the Dalai Lama for a selfie, pictured, who happily obliged and even tickled his chin
The 81-year-old religious leader has been forced to live outside his own homeland since fleeing in 1959, 10 years after it was occupied by China.
Speaking on ITV's Good Morning Britain, he said: 'The main effort should go to help (their) own country bring peace, in Syria, Libya or even Afghanistan. Generally the people always feel, 'oh, one day we return'.'
Host Piers asked him whether all refugees should 'aspire to go back to their homeland', to which he replied: 'Yes. (They) should rebuild their own country.'
The Dalai Lama said that despite the current bloodshed the world is a 'better place' than in the past.
He also questioned the faith of Islamist terrorists, saying: 'Genuine Muslim practitioners will not create bloodshed.
'I think they (terrorists) have too much emotion, they should cool down.'
The spiritual leader also took time to discuss some lighter issues and even performed an impression of Donald Trump, making light-hearted fun of the US Predisential candidate for his hair and 'very small mouth'.
He added he was 'sad' that the actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were divorcing, saying separations often badly affected children
The Hollywood couple, known collectively as Brangelina, married in 2014 after 10 years together and have six children - Maddox, Pax, Zahara, Shiloh, and twins Knox and Vivienne.
The Dalai Lama told GMB: 'Sometimes in divorce people ... the children they come closer to their father or mother. Sometimes it's difficult.'
Piers said he was 'fine' with the Dalai Lama having 12million Twitter followers compared to his five million, but asked the Buddhist how he felt about Kim Kardashian having four times as many with 48million followers.
But the Dalai Lama brushed it off and said he had 'no problem with it'.
He added: 'If she has more followers...good. I think that such famous people have no ability to compete with my wisdom.'
The pair ended the interview by taking a selfie together, with Piers quipping that the Dalai Lama 'could smile' for the camera.
Did the Famous Sailor Sexually Assault the Famous Nurse?
The most famous American photo of World War II is undoubtedly that of the four Marines planting the American flag on Iwo Jima. The second most famous is probably the legendary photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s picture of an American sailor kissing a nurse in Times Square in New York City, when people were celebrating Japan’s surrender.
The kiss was not, of course, merely a peck on the cheek. If it were, no photo would have been taken. And if one were, no one would have remembered it. The sailor clearly grabbed the nurse. She is leaning backward, bent at the waist; he is holding her up with both hands around her waist.
The photo has been back in the news because the woman, identified as Greta Zimmer Friedman, died on Sept. 8, at age 92. She was 21 when the picture was taken.
The sailor, later identified as George Mendonsa, mistook Friedman’s dental assistant uniform for that of a nurse. He later explained that he hugged and kissed her because of his overwhelming gratitude for the work nurses had performed while he was in combat in the Navy, because of his elation over the war ending and because he had had a few drinks. As he put it, when he and Friedman were reunited in 2012 at the spot of their kiss, it was “the excitement of the war bein' over, plus I had a few drinks, so when I saw the nurse I grabbed her, and I kissed her.”
Any American who looks at that photo today realizes just how different a time we live in.
If a man were to do that to a woman today, he would likely be charged with sexual assault, found guilty, be ordered to pay a serious sum of money to the woman, be sent to prison, be civilly sued and be labeled a sex offender — effectively ruining much of his life.
She, on the other hand, would be regarded as victim of sexual assault and labelled a survivor, and would seek psychological counseling.
Living in pre-feminist darkness, Friedman did not see it this way. As her son told the New York Daily News, “My mom always had an appreciation for a feminist viewpoint, and understood the premise that you don’t have a right to be intimate with a stranger on the street. …(But) she didn’t assign any bad motives to George in that circumstance, that situation, that time.”
One reason might be that she was a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Europe, and, unlike feminists in America, she knew real evil.
Given the context, the act was essentially innocent. Reinforcing its innocence are the facts that the kiss was very brief and Mendonsa’s wife can be seen smiling in the background.
But in the feminist age of enlightenment in which we live, when it comes to any act of physical intimacy by a man with a woman, there is no such thing as “context.” Unless there is a verbal “yes” accompanying every act by the man, the presumption is that the intimacy was a sexual assault, a form of rape.
Thus, in today’s America, George Mendonsa is deemed to have committed an act of sexual assault. Context has no say.
On the Sarasota, Florida, waterfront there is a 28-foot statue of Mendonsa kissing Friedman. It clearly offends at least one Sarasota Herald-Tribune columnist. A few days after Friedman’s death, Chris Anderson acknowledged that the statue “represents euphoria, innocence, romance, nostalgia and a level of unity and pride this country arguably has not seen since V-J Day.” But as a someone who surely attended college and probably graduate school, he sees the darker side, saying, “Is it possible that thousands upon thousands of people over the last seven years have come to the Sarasota waterfront to unwittingly pose in front of a giant depiction of a sexual assault?”
Likewise, the writer of the New York Times obituary of Friedman felt compelled to note that “In recent years, some have noted its darker undertones.” Among the examples cited was Time Magazine, which in 2014 had written, “many people view the photo as little more than the documentation of a very public sexual assault, and not something to be celebrated.”
There is no question that there needed to be greater sensitivity to men’s physical interactions with women, and that too many men did in fact get away with rape.
But America is not a better place — nor, for that matter, are American women happier — because we now consider George Mendonsa a sexual criminal and Greta Friedman a survivor of sexual assault.
For most Americans, America was — with all the flaws that did indeed have to be dealt with — a happier and more innocent place then. That’s why there is a statue of that kiss at the Sarasota waterfront. And that’s why “thousands upon thousands” of couples pose for pictures in front of it.
They are celebrating life, America, and men and women. At college, American kids are taught to fear all three.
Voters do NOT regret voting to quit the EU and their top priority is saving BILLIONS on membership fees after Brexit, top pollster finds
Britain does not regret voting for Brexit and voters have clear red lines in how the country should quit the EU, a top pollster has found.
Professor John Curtice, who works on major exit polls at general elections, said there was no 'buyer's remorse' among the public after the shock result in June.
The figures will come as a blow to Remain campaigners attempting to stir support for a second referendum on Britain's future in Europe months after Brexit was backed 52 per cent to 48 per cent on June 23.
More than twice as many people oppose a second poll than support another referendum.
At a briefing in Westminster today, Mr Curtice said: 'Very few minds have been changed - there are very few signs of regret.'
The top priority for voters - supported by 81 per cent of them - is ending Britain's financial contributions to the EU that every year run to billions of pounds.
A close second is ending free movement of people, backed by 79 per cent, which means ending Britain's membership of the single market as it leaves the wider EU.
The pollster told The Mirror: 'Most people do not feel European in this country. And so there is an argument about the legitimacy of this £350million that we don't 'control', that the EU decides how is spent.
'(People think) - ''Why does the EU have the right to spend 'our' money?''.'
Also at the event, Professor Matthew Goodwin added that the vote had also defined the core liberal v conservative battle – or 'identity politics' - currently dividing Britain and fomenting the rise of Ukip and other anti-establishment political groups.
Theresa May has repeatedly insisted 'Brexit means Brexit' since becoming Prime Minister
Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron used his party conference this week to launch a campaign for a second referendum on the Brexit deal.
He said Prime Minister Theresa May would be 'pragmatic' when it became apparent no deal would be popular, in the best interests of Britain and endorsed by hard-line Eurosceptics.
Labour leadership contender Owen Smith has also spent the summer campaign urging a second referendum to try and dilute the Brexit vote.
The great Brexit hate crime myth: How claims of an epidemic of race crimes since the referendum are simply false
A fully-loaded gravy train clattered into the Grange City Hotel in central London on Thursday morning, when around 50 smartly dressed men and women shuffled across deep-pile carpets into its air-conditioned conference centre.
The group — or rather their employers — had each paid between £359 and £575 to attend the day-long event.
Some of these people were civil servants, others charity workers and academics. A handful worked in the private sector, though rather more appear to be employed by the taxpayer, via local councils, British police forces, and the Crown Prosecution Service.
The event bringing this eclectic and well bankrolled crowd together was the sixth annual Tackling Hate Crime Conference — an expensive and painstakingly organised shindig staged each autumn by the £6.5 billion FTSE 100 corporation Capita.
Its purpose, according to promotional literature, was to provide a forum to discuss how best to ‘respond to the surging growth of hate crime’ in the UK, which (the same literature breathlessly insisted) has ‘risen 57 per cent since the EU referendum vote’. With this in mind, speaker after speaker waxed lyrical about how violent and intolerant the nation has become in 2016, or called for Draconian measures to combat the ‘rising tide’ of bigotry on our streets.
Modern Britain, delegates were repeatedly told, is a country riven by homophobia and racism, where to be foreign, disabled or belong to a religious or sexual minority is to fall blamelessly into the firing line of virulent abuse.
‘There is more hate crime in London than in the whole of the United States,’ claimed a ‘keynote’ speaker called Mark Hamilton, who is Assistant Chief Constable of Northern Ireland.
Another speaker, from Southwark Council, talked vividly about the extraordinary bigotry she encounters on a daily basis, making the shocking claim that the ‘youngest perpetrator of hate crime’ she’d come across lately was ‘a four-year-old child who harassed a lesbian couple’.
All very sobering. Or so you might think. But behind the lurid rhetoric, not everything was quite as it seems. Take, for example, the conference organiser’s headline claim: that hate crime has ‘risen 57 per cent since the EU referendum vote’.
This eye-catching figure has certainly done the rounds in recent months, regularly bandied about by liberal commentators, the BBC and Left-wing newspapers.
Yet dig into its provenance and things soon start to smell distinctly whiffy. For the ‘57 per cent’ number was actually plucked from a single press release issued by the National Police Chief’s Council on June 27, four days after the EU ballot took place.
The document in question specifically stated that police forces had recorded ‘no major spikes in tensions’ since Britain went to the polls.
However, its footnote added that 85 people had logged hate crime ‘incidents’ on True Vision, a website that records unverified allegations of such behaviour, during the four days in question, up from 54 during the corresponding period a month earlier.
What exactly did this mean? The police press release made things clear. ‘This should not be read as a national increase in hate crime of 57 per cent but an increase in reporting through one mechanism’ over a single 96-hour period.
Fast forward three months, however, and the number was being used very differently.
As we have seen above, organisers of the Tackling Hate Crime Conference were using it to allege that hate crime had risen by 57 per cent across Britain during the entire period since the Brexit vote.
This is demonstrably untrue. Or, to put things another way, Capita was shamelessly promoting its £600-a-head event by falsely representing unverified raw data that had been collected over the internet during a single four-day period in June.
When the Mail put this to Capita, the firm instantly deleted the 57 per cent claim from its promotional literature, describing its inclusion as ‘an inadvertent error’.
All of which may sound a bit rum. Yet spend an extended period of time exploring ‘hate crime’ and the growing and lucrative industry that increasingly surrounds it, and you’ll find such cavalier behaviour par for the course.
For the more you investigate, the more it turns out to be a deeply cynical industry where dishonesty and hysteria reign, truth has been replaced with Left-wing dogma, and verifiable facts no longer count for very much at all.
On paper, Britain is a remarkably tolerant country. London has just elected a Muslim mayor by a whacking majority. Gay marriage is not just legal but supported by a comfortable majority of adults. Children from ethnic minorities consistently outperform white working-class counterparts at school and in university.
Surveys by the respected and politically neutral think-tank Pew Research, along with the prestigious British Social Attitudes Survey, show racial prejudice in long-term and perhaps terminal decline.
Yet despite such trends, we are routinely described as being in the grip of a hate crime ‘epidemic’ where a few high-profile incidents — such as the appalling recent murder of a Polish immigrant on the streets of Harlow (which may or may not eventually prove to be race-related) — are said to represent the tip of a sinister iceberg, and where the number of hate offences seems to grow year by year.
So how can we explain the disconnect? Let’s start with another pressing fact: that hate crime also happens to be one of the great political buzz-phrases of the moment. To this end, virtually the first thing new Home Secretary Amber Rudd did after taking office was to launch a ‘hate crime action plan’.
The Home Affairs Select Committee is holding an inquiry into ‘hate crime and its violent consequences’.
Next month, the Government will promote ‘hate crime awareness week’. It’s spending £2.4 million on a fund for churches and mosques to protect themselves against hate crimes, while the Met is creating a £1.7 million ‘crime hub’ to target online ‘trolls’.
Elsewhere, universities such as Leicester and Sussex employ academics in ‘centres’ for ‘hate crime studies’. The taxpayer hands over six-figure grants to charities which seek to ‘combat’ or ‘monitor’ hate crime.
Police forces employ staff to log it. Councils such as Kensington and Chelsea now have a ‘community support officer for hate crime’.
The Crown Prosecution Service has a ‘hate crime co-ordinator’ in all 13 regions, plus ‘area-based Equality, Diversity and Community Engagement Managers’ who ‘contribute to the delivery of the Hate Crime Assurance Scheme’.
These people, whose leading lights spent Thursday at Capita’s conference, often owe their jobs, status and mortgages to the fashionable perception that hate crime is somehow spiralling out of control.
That, in turn, has led to two distinct trends. The first is a relentless pressure to widen the number of people able to describe themselves as ‘victims’ of such crimes.
When Tony Blair first introduced hate laws, in 1998, they applied only to incidents of racial intolerance. However in 2003, the net was widened to include religious discrimination. Over subsequent years, first homophobic and then ‘transphobic’ abuse was added to the list, along with disability hate crime and, more recently ‘crimes against older people’.
All current categories (with the exception of elder abuse) can result in ‘sentence uplift’ — in other words, a likely increase in jail time — if a case goes to court and results in a conviction. Some 15,442 such prosecutions took place last year with 12,845 convictions, of which around a third saw a ‘sentence uplift’.
Last week, a new category of potential victim emerged: it was reported that several police forces may soon treat ‘misogyny’ as a hate crime, following the alleged success of a pilot scheme in Nottingham where it was decided that wolf-whistling could in certain circumstances constitute ‘threatening behaviour’.
Women may not be the only new demographic singled out for protection, either. Consider, if you will, the annual report of Stop Hate UK, an influential charity which gets around £240,000 a year from grants, largely from the public sector.
It suggests that ‘goths’ or people who choose to wear black clothes, are potential hate crime victims. To this end, it contains a ‘case study’ of abuse supposedly suffered by a ‘goth woman [who] has five facial piercings’.
In such a febrile environment, where almost anyone seems to be a potential victim, should we really be surprised if reported ‘hate’ incidents are on the rise?
Of course it should be stressed that genuine hate crime is not to be tolerated. In Friday’s Mail, for example, the Jewish Labour MP Ruth Smeeth described being sent 25,000 abusive messages by members of her party’s Corbyn-supporting far Left, one of which referred to her as a ‘yid c***’.
The problem, however, comes when the definition of what constitutes a hate crime becomes risibly vague. After all, the subjective way in which the police (who increasingly resemble glorified social workers) now categorise such offences is hardly forensic.
Under their official guidance, hate crime is now deemed to be ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice.’
Proof of such intent is not necessarily required, the guidance adds: ‘Evidence of … hostility is not required … [The] perception of the victim, or any other person, is the defining factor.’
In essence, this means that anyone, anywhere, can force officers to treat something as a hate crime. All it takes is a vague ‘perception’. Such rules are perverse and open to abuse. They mean that, in theory, a straight white male punched in a pub fight can falsely claim his assailant thought he was gay, and therefore motivated by homophobia.
Such an incident will duly be investigated as a hate crime, with the police and CPS under pressure to prosecute.
If they fail, the ‘victim’ can potentially claim to have suffered so-called ‘secondary victimisation’ in which the ‘hate’ he or she experienced is compounded by the police’s lack of sensitivity.
Such factors may very well have motivated the ludicrous recent prosecution of Kevin O’Sullivan, a TV journalist who was involved in an altercation on a train back from a funeral a couple of years ago.
Around 24 hours after the event, the other party — a straight white man who’d initially declined to press charges — informed the police that he now wanted them to prosecute O’Sullivan for a homophobic hate crime.
The man claimed that during their argument he tried to make a telephone call, only to be interrupted by O’Sullivan shouting ‘Are you phoning your gay lover?’
CCTV of the entire incident told a very different story, however. It showed that the man did not make, or attempt to make, a single phone call during the confrontation. Unsurprisingly, when the case came to trial, O’Sullivan was acquitted.
Though awarded costs, he expects them to cover only a fraction of his £15,000 legal bill. Recounting the episode in a recent edition of the Spectator, he said the affair gave him ‘a ringside seat at the edge of insanity’.
The second great modern trend has been for the police, assorted quangocrats and other publicly funded organisations to go to extreme lengths to ensure the number of reported hate crimes is as high as possible.
Consider, in this context, the aforementioned police website True Vision. It allows anyone, anywhere in Britain, to report an incident, even if they were not the victim, have no idea of the victim’s identity, can provide no supporting evidence, and would prefer to remain anonymous.
Their claims then get logged as official statistics and, as we have seen above, used by ‘experts’ to draw sweeping conclusions (invariably negative) about the state of the nation.
Seldom has such a system been more open to abuse than in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, when Left-wing media outlets predicted a ‘surge of xenophobia’ and disheartened Remain voters attempted to prove them right. On Twitter, the hashtag #postbrexit racism went viral.
On Facebook, a forum called ‘worrying signs’ was established for ‘anyone dealing with post-Brexit fallout’ to post reports of hate crime. From here, users were directed to True Vision.
Unsurprisingly, many allegedly racist incidents they carried turned out to be anything but. On the Monday after the referendum, a mobile phone snap of a smashed window at Donde Tapas, a Spanish restaurant in South London, was posted on Facebook. Its caption read ‘Spanish and Turkish restaurants in Lewisham had their windows smashed over the weekend. Very widespread reports coming in now.’
The post soon received 1,833 shares. One commenter noted: ‘The ghost of Sir Oswald Mosley now stalks the streets of England.’
The same picture and caption soon appeared on Twitter, where Dawn Butler, a Labour MP, dubbed it ‘awful,’ and another online commenter called it ‘Kristallnacht all over again.’
The Institute Of Race Relations subsequently asked the poster: ‘Is there any chance we could use your pic for a round-up of post-Brexit racial violence?’
But soon: a reality check. On a South London internet forum where the picture was also posted, one contributor pointed out: ‘I’m no expert, but that looks like a robbery attempt.’
The Met soon admitted it was almost certainly just that, and was ‘not considered to have a hate-crime motivation’.
A second widely reported hate incident that started life on Facebook around the same time proved similarly flaky.
It began with a post on a Remain-supporting forum reading: ‘My friend works at a well-known restaurant in Mayfair, 15 people just came in to celebrate the Leave vote. The customers dismissed him and asked for a English waiter, because he was Italian!!!’
This anecdote was promptly included as case-study in an official study of post-Brexit violence by the Institute of Race Relations, before being widely cited in the Left-wing Press. Yet neither the restaurant, the supposed victim, nor any fragments of proper evidence have ever been identified.
The fact is that we may never know. Yet if the state-sponsored and increasingly powerful hate crime industry gets its way, we could all be potential suspects.
For, to quote the old saying, the Left has a supply-and-demand problem with bigotry: there isn’t enough to go around to support the apocalyptic world view they hold so dear.
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.