Sunday, November 06, 2016
When will women learn from Nicole Brown Simpson?
Nicole Brown was murdered by her husband, black athlete O.J. Simpson. Women often see a big strong body on a man and think those muscles will help to defend them from attack. They fail to consider that those muscles are more likely to be used against them rather than for them
A mother has recalled the horrifying moment her abusive partner branded her with an iron after an argument about the washing up.
Kerry Hines, 31, from Birmingham, West Midlands, was horrified when she was attacked by her boyfriend after he became controlling fixated on her every move.
The attack left Kerry hospitalised and she bravely reported him to police seeing him convicted and sentenced to 20 weeks in prison.
Kerry and her then partner Paul had only met on a couple of occasions when she fell pregnant. Deciding to keep the baby Paul agreed to support them both and their daughter Shanay was born in April 2012.
Kerry admits that initially the birth of Shanay helped bring them closer together.
She said: 'His daughter was four weeks old when Paul met her for the first time. I felt my heart swell with love when I watched him cradle little Shanay.' Paul's visits became more frequent and in September when their daughter was five months old he moved in with them.
Kerry added: 'It felt strange sharing my home with Paul after coping on my own for so long but I had to admit it was handy having an extra pair of hands around the house. 'He got to work redecorating the kitchen and living room and he was a brilliant dad to Shanay. Finally, I felt like a proper family.'
However, Paul's benevolent attitude didn't last long and soon his behaviour switched to controlling. He began to ring Kerry constantly to quiz her about her location. She explained: 'I'd only popped out to the shops to pick up some bits for dinner but Paul accused me of getting up to all sorts.'
Initially Kerry tried to look past his worrying behaviour but quickly it became harder to ignore. She continued: 'At first I'd been flattered by Paul's attention. I thought he called all the time because he cared. 'But after a while I came to realise he was jealous and possessive and after he'd had a drink, Paul became aggressive and began lashing out too.'
Determined to take control once more Kerry insisted that Paul moved out but he would find ways to wangle his way back in. She said: 'I'd pack Paul's things in a bag and kick him out, only for him to come crawling back with his tail between his legs.
'Soon, he'd worm his way back in and the cycle of behaviour started again. Paul's jealous temper would get the better of him, I'd kick him out, only to relent and take him back when he promised things would be different.'
In August 2015 Kerry was making a cup of tea in the kitchen while Paul had been ironing a jumper before visiting the bank. Kerry said: 'I said: "Don't forget to get that money out for me when you go to the bank. That washing up needs doing too."
'Paul didn't say a word, but the next thing I knew, I felt a searing pain on my back.' Kerry cried out in pain turning to see Paul holding the iron in his hand which was still plugged in.
Amazingly Paul tried to protest his innocence telling Kerry he had never touched her.
Kerry said:'I ran to the living room and peered in the mirror. I could see my raw, burning flesh though a hole in my dressing gown. 'It had cut right through it, burning through the fabric of my pyjama top too. My boyfriend had branded me.
'I was horrified as I realised Paul had deliberately thrust the iron at me. The pain was immense.'
Kerry says that Paul continued to claim that it was an accident and told her he 'just wanted to see what would happen.'
After he burn began to blister Kerry tried to visit the doctor but Paul begged her not to go worrying what doctors would ask.
She said: 'For the next two days, Paul didn't let me out of his sight. But two days after he'd branded me, he went to work - and I seized my chance.' Kerry put a phone call into the police explaining what had happened.
She continued: 'I was terrified. I just didn't know what Paul would do next. Thankfully, officers caught up with Paul at his mum's house and arrested him.
'He refused to plead guilty, forcing the case to go to trial. I was gobsmacked when he tried to claim that I'd been upstairs ironing some jeans when I leaned over, knocked the ironing board and sent the ironing crashing down on my back.
'Thankfully the judge saw through his pathetic lies and convicted him of assault by beating.'
Paul was sentenced at Birmingham Magistrates Court in February to 20 weeks in prison and handed a £250 fine as well as a two-year restraining order.
Although Paul is no longer in Kerry's life she admits that he has left emotional as well as physical scars.
She added: 'Now, I'm moving on without him. I find it hard to trust men and I'm single now. I'd rather be on my own with someone like Paul though.
'I'm trying to put what happened behind me but I'm scarred for life and every time I look in the mirror I've got a permanent reminder of Paul, and the day I was branded by my boyfriend.'
Cast out for criticising PC: the 21st-century Inquisition
The punishment of NYU's Michael Rectenwald should worry us all
There was a time when victimising dissident academics by branding them ‘mentally ill’ was confined to totalitarian societies like Stalinist Russia. In the 21st century, however, such demonisation is deemed acceptable by universities in the US and the UK, where an increasingly intolerant and illiberal campus culture now prevails.
Take the case of New York University liberal studies professor Michael Rectenwald. He has been forced on to paid leave for the rest of the current semester. His crime? He’s been accused of ‘incivility’ by some of his colleagues. The problem is that he transgressed the unwritten rule that forbids academics from criticising the illiberal practices that abound on campus today, from safe spaces to trigger warnings to the crusade against cultural appropriation and microaggressions.
Rectenwald knew his criticisms would incur a significant cost, which is why he initially used an anonymous Twitter account: Deplorable NYU Prof. After he acknowledged that he was indeed the author of this Twitterfeed which, among other things, made fun of a poster circulated to NYU students advising them to avoid wearing culturally inappropriate Halloween costumes, he quickly faced the wrath of the campus moral police.
A committee calling itself the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group wrote a not very liberal letter to the NYU student paper condemning Rectenwald. Like a 21st-century Inquisition, they acted as both moral guardians and stern judges. ‘As long as he airs his views with so little appeal to evidence and civility, we must find him guilty of illogic and incivility in a community that predicates its work in great part on rational thought and the civil exchange of ideas’, they wrote. ‘Guilty’ – cast him out.
Perhaps Rectenwald wasn’t especially civil in his communications. Maybe his writings did contain logical leaps. But surely the whole point of a liberal university is to use debate and argumentation to expose such alleged weaknesses and clarify the issues at stake. The reaction to Rectenwald fundamentally diverged from this liberal tradition, through simply condemning him and discrediting his character. The department dean told Rectenwald that some of his colleagues were worried about his mental health and so he was instructed to take leave and get help.
However intemperate Rectenwald may have been in his social-media posts, it’s difficult to avoid the conclusion that the decision to force him out was motivated by a hostility to his views on diversity rather than a concern for his mental health. The letter published by the Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group accused Rectenwald of failing to use language that demonstrates respect for diversity. The missive concludes that ‘the cause of his guilt is the content and structure of his thinking’. This moral condemnation of guilty thoughts expresses an attitude more commonly associated with censors than with mental-health professionals. In an academic environment, badly structured thoughts are usually criticised and discussed; it is only in backward, medieval institutions devoted to upholding dogma that bad thoughts are held up as markers for ‘guilt’.
The ease with which Rectenwald’s detractors made the leap from criticism to condemnation and then to punishment is fuelled by the ascendant idea that the value of diversity trumps that of free expression. On Anglo-American campuses, diversity is increasingly treated as a fundamental value that is often threatened by freedom of speech. This is recognised by PEN America. In its recent report on campus censorship controversies, it acknowledged that, among younger members of faculty and students, the value of free speech is trumped by that of diversity, so that ‘at times… groups of students question the value of free speech itself’.
The free speech/diversity trade-off is based on the premise that free speech is a source of conflict, division and hatred. Consider an email sent in September 2014 by Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks. It called on members of staff to exercise civility and ‘courteousness and respect’ in verbal communication. It also claimed that civility and free speech are ‘two sides of the same coin’. However, Dirks is evidently much more enthusiastic about one side of the coin – the value of civility – than about the other: freedom of speech. So his email warned that ‘when issues are inherently divisive, controversial and capable of arousing strong feelings, the commitment to free speech and expression can lead to division and divisiveness that undermines a community’s foundation’.
The implication of Dirks’ missive is that free speech is acceptable so long as it does not provoke controversy and divisiveness. The rhetoric of ‘I believe in free speech, but…’ is fast becoming the new normal in the academy. The letter of NYU’s Liberal Studies Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Working Group takes Dirks’ objection to incivility to its logical conclusion, demanding the punishment of the ‘uncivil’.
When academic leaders depict free speech as the cause of ‘division and divisiveness’, is it any wonder many students are now so estranged from the idea of freedom? The PEN report points out that students have ‘asked whether free speech is being wielded as a political weapon to ward off efforts to make the campus more respectful of the rights and perspectives of minorities’. It adds that some students ‘have gone so far as to justify censorship as the best solution to protect the vulnerable on campus’.
The notion that free speech and diversity are conflicting values overlooks the experience of history, which shows that the right to free expression has been the medium through which marginalised people have voiced their claim for a better life. History also tells us that calls for a ‘trade off’ of freedom in the name of some alleged social or political benefit are usually made by authoritarian-minded politicians. As the the liberal philosopher Ronald Dworkin argued, liberty should never be traded like this. ‘In a culture of liberty’, he said, the public ‘shares a sense, almost as a matter of secular religion, that certain freedoms are in principle exempt’ from the ‘ordinary process of balancing and regulation’. Dworkin rightly feared that ‘liberty is already lost’ as ‘soon as old freedoms are put at risk in cost-benefit politics’.
Of course, free speech is not without risks. The freedom to speak and the controversies it provokes have a habit of going off in unexpected directions. Yet the principle of free speech is based on the presumption that people can be trusted to take such risks. An academic community and a wider society that were confident about their capacity to engage with uncertainty would trust in their members’ ability to use their freedom. It would not treat freedom as a commodity to be traded off against some illusory benefit.
Nazism on university campuses continues to spread
The first violent BDS protest of the fall semester has now occurred, as Midwestern colleges and universities begin offering direct support to campus activists, including the BLM and BDS movements, through training programs. The growing trend to regard Palestinians as ‘people of color’ continues to superimpose BDS on racial and other protest movements, even as violence by BDS supporters, and their ‘intersectional’ allies, undermines their broader appeal.
The most notable BDS development in October was a violent incident at University College London. A talk by a former Israeli soldier was attacked by a mob of around 100 BDS supporters who attempted to enter the room through doors and windows while shouting “From the river to the sea Palestine will be free.” Pro-Israel students and other attendees were trapped in the room until police arrived, who then escorted them from the hall to another venue where the talk was held. BDS protestors also assaulted several Jewish students.
British Jewish leaders strongly condemned the attack and called on the university to take disciplinary measures against the protestors. The university described the events as “non-violent” but stated it would begin an inquiry and “take appropriate disciplinary action where there is clear evidence that students may have breached our disciplinary regulations.”
The incident is similar to others where BDS supporters attempted to shut down talks by Israeli speakers at University College London, the University of Texas, at the University of Minnesota, and several University of California campuses. The unwillingness of university administrations to provide adequate protection for pro-Israel speakers is an ongoing problem, as is reluctance to punish BDS supporters engaged in violence and disruption.
At the University of California at Berkeley, however, a ‘National Day of Action’ by professional BDS supporters was countered by a peaceful and well-organized demonstration by several pro-Israel organizations. The unusual show of force and unity by Israel supporters gives some credence to recent reports that suggest that campus antisemitism from the BDS movement has begun to motivate more students to fight back.
This trend comes as universities are expanding direct support for ‘social justice’ movements by offering training in political activism, apparently including BDS organizations. At Northwestern University, for example, the ‘Leadership and Social Engagement Office’ is offering a day of “Social Justice Advocacy Training” and promotional materials include the logo of the local BDS organization, NU Divest. Other Chicago-area universities are offering similar training.
The point of these programs appears to be to direct students to lobby states to maintain support for universities while simultaneously appearing to support student activism. The university imprimatur received by groups like BLM and BDS advocates, and their enhanced ‘intersectional’ cooperation, is highly destructive. It is unclear whether cooperation will mainstream or marginalize these causes in broader society.
Unwitting mainstreaming was also seen in October as several BDS events were held under the banners of university branches. Most notable of these was a daylong BDS session held at Columbia Law School. Another example is the National SJP conference, to be held at the George Mason University in Virginia in November. This event has prompted opposition from state lawmakers.
BDS controversies continued at Syracuse University after the preemptive cancellation of an Israeli film. In the latest case faculty supporting BDS voiced opposition to a long-scheduled conference then underway at the university that brought together scholars, including Israelis and Palestinians, who study ‘intractable conflicts.’ The BDS supporters stated that the presence of Israelis violated the guidelines of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, in effect claiming that these were somehow binding on the university.
The incident illustrated the extent to which ‘anti-normalization’ has become accepted among US faculty members. More broadly, the incident illustrated the extent to which pedagogy, academic inquiry, and free speech are regarded as weapons in a campus culture that increasingly demands students be protected from ideas, and where accusations of ‘racism’ are leveled at those who call out racism, such as that of the BDS movement. The emerging ‘intersectional’ trend to characterize Palestinians as ‘people of color’ whose racism is simultaneously impossible and beyond criticism provides additional protection for the BDS movement.
Elsewhere in academia, a BDS resolution was passed at Portland State University. The resolution accused Israel of being an “apartheid state” but was most notable for stating that the “Israeli occupation of Palestinian land has been entrenched since 1948,” meaning simply that the entire existence of Israel is illegitimate. In a statement earlier this year when the resolution was originally introduced, the university president called it “divisive and ill-informed.”
Abuse of Jewish holidays by BDS supporters was also in evidence during October. At the University of Michigan on the eve of Rosh Hashana an “apartheid wall” and mock “checkpoints” were erected by BDS supporters. An official of the New York Board of Rabbis also condemned High Holiday materials created by a leading BDS group, ‘Jewish Voice for Peace,’ which included ‘readings’ celebrating BDS and the Israeli ‘occupation.’ A BDS group in Chicago also organized demonstrations during the holidays in order to send a message to the Jewish community.
BDS support for terrorism was also in evidence in October as the University of California at Berkeley chapter of Students for Justice (SJP) in Palestine launched a web-based fundraising effort for Ali Jiddah, who served a 17 year prison sentence for planting explosives that injured four Israelis. Jiddah (whose father originated in Chad) is described by SJP as “Afro-Palestinian,” suggesting their interest also includes his ‘intersectional’ identity. More broadly this case and longstanding SJP support for convicted terrorist Rasmea Odeh, who is appealing her conviction in Federal court for lying on US immigration forms, demonstrate SJP endorsement of Palestinian violence against Israelis.
More positively, an umbrella group representing Canadian universities has adopted a policy opposing discrimination based on place of origin. Canadian Jewish leaders expect that the policy will help opposition to BDS resolutions by student governments.
There were several important BDS developments in the political sphere. The most important were revelations from hacked emails that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary R. Clinton was warned by her advisors not to not to “have Israel at public events” but to restrict such discussions to donor meetings. At the same time, other emails reveal Clinton consulted with advisors regarding ways to oppose BDS. Clinton’s positions reflect both the growing strength of anti-Israel forces within the ranks of Democratic Party supporters and her own often-stated personal opposition to BDS.
The Pennsylvania Senate has passed legislation prohibiting the state from doing business with firms engaged in discrimination “based on race, color, religion, gender or national affiliation or origin of the targeted person or entity.” The bill, which was strenuously opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union, is expected to be signed by the Pennsylvania governor.
The continued failure of BDS at the state level appears to be one of the factors prompting the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, the main North American BDS umbrella group, to rebrand itself as the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. Foregrounding ‘Palestinian rights’ puts a positive spin of “freedom, justice and equality” on their anti-Israel activities and helps makes the movement more superficially appealing to ‘intersectional’ allies on the far left.
At the same time, however, reports indicate that the broader BDS movement is planning renewed campaigns directed at municipalities and liberal churches. ‘Intersectional’ claims will give the BDS movement license to hijack local causes and divestment initiatives. Given the dramatic record of BDS failures at the state and national levels, it is unclear whether these moves are acts of growing, if perhaps deluded, confidence, or desperation.
Australia's fall from Lucky Country to Cruel Country (?)
Below is a sob story from a Leftist writer in a Leftist newspaper. So, as usual, the important information is what she leaves out. These men were NOT refugees. They had refuge as soon as they arrived in Pakistan. They are illegal immigrants determined to force themselves on us to grab the economic benefits that Australians have created for themselves. They could return to Pakistan at any time but they are fed and housed for nothing so why should they do that?
They were young men – call them Liam and Ben – best mates, far from home, full of chutzpah and crazy self-belief. They'd been through a lot together and landed on this idyllic-looking tropical island. One day they were swimming near a waterfall when, stupidly, Liam drowned. He was a poor swimmer, got stuck under a log, drowned.
This terrible accident was just the start. Liam, a bit older than the others, had a wife and child at home. His grieving friends wanted to preserve his body against the tropical heat, pay their respects and fly him home to his family, but they had no money. The ubiquitous uniformed black shirts, agents of the foreign power that controlled the island, were impatient with this prayer and repatriation nonsense and insisted they bury the body and be done. But the young men were determined. Selling their few possessions – phones, watches, cigarettes – they raised enough for body-preserving chemicals, then persuaded their own government to fly Liam home.
It sounds like a story of middle-class white kids caught in some heartless tin-pot dictatorship. In fact the waterfall is on Manus Island. The young men's real names are Kamil and Zubair. Pashto-speaking Muslims driven out by the Taliban, they became best friends despite being on opposite sides of the Sunni-Shiite divide.
Both were "processed" – in that manufacturing terminology we use to dehumanise – and found to be genuine refugees, fleeing for their lives. Yet our very own black shirts, the much-hated Australian Border Force, stood and watched their grief, refusing help or even sympathy. The government that finally flew the body home was the one the boys had implicitly rejected: Pakistan.
Of course, there's worse brutality, especially in these camps. There's rape, bullying, humiliation, emotional, physical abuse and, most egregious of all, the deliberate erasure of hope.
Any remaining doubt about whether this is actually deliberate – whether we're just somehow unable to protect people from abuse, or resettle them without years of limbo – was removed, along with any remaining hope, by Malcolm Turnbull's latest "they will never set foot in this country" atrocity. Never? We take in war criminals but ban forever those who have done nothing but need our help.
Zubair, now 23, is a former student of business and IT. Unthinkingly, I ask what he's been doing. "Nothing," he says. What's the point? He has no future. His English is good and his quiet despair makes me want to weep. But what I really cannot get past is how comfortable Australia has become with the routine casualisation of cruelty.
This is not our self-image. No way. We consider ourselves the good guys. Fair, open, warm, much like the Americans after WWII. But as Michael Leunig notes, "we are a people who are quite able to declare things about ourselves which are not true ... This is our strength, and has made our nation very stupid, dysfunctional and unhappy – but so what? We're the greatest people in the world."
The Australian Border Force's Facebook page depicts them as all-round decent fellows, busting drug rings and rescuing sea turtles caught in ghost nets. To their human bycatch, however, trapped in the Australian government's harsh exemplary punishment policies, they offer only further cruelty.
For this is meant as punishment. It's couched – dammit, it's SOLD – as a deterrent, like hanging the carcasses of sheep-mauling dingoes on the fence for the others to see.
But there's a critical error here, quite apart from the misconceived morality: a huge error in logic. For it's not wrongdoers we're punishing, as a deterrent to others. We're punishing their innocent victims. We're decorating the fence not with dingoes, but with brutalised lambs. Talk about victim blaming.
So it's wrong in logic. It's morally wrong, trashing people's lives for political effect. It's wrong in law – directly contravening our UN obligations to care for people who seek our help, process them expeditiously and resettle any found to be genuine refugees. (That is, three-quarters of the 800-odd remaining on Manus and 400-odd on Nauru). It's also vastly expensive – $10 billion so far.
But what of the psychology? What does it mean for us, to us, to perpetrate such cruelty?
Zubair's back-story is pretty standard. He was a middle-class kid of wealthy business owners in the pretty Kurram Valley, near Pakistan's troubled border with Afghanistan. Zubair was studying in Peshawar. Then the Taliban came. Targeting the family for extortion and demanded $30,000. The family didn't have it. Zubair was badly beaten and the family forced to flee, leaving everything.
They moved from city to city but the Taliban kept finding them and demanding Zubair, the eldest son, as a recruit. Zubair escaped on foot through jungles and countries: his family, including seven sisters and four brothers, one of whom has cancer, are still on the move, still prey. Zubair speaks to them occasionally, but doesn't know when or if he'll see them again.
This story is verified; there is no threat. They're not queue-jumpers. There is no queue for people fleeing death. In Australia they'd be assiduous nation-builders. Yet Turnbull, channelling Trump, insists that our "generous humanitarian program" depends on walling the continent with what amounts to a reinvigorated White Australia Policy.
I'm reminded of an elderly white couple I met in Jo'burg. Big supporters of black rule but understandably fearful of violence, they'd bought into a walled community, but found themselves increasingly terrified. The safer, the scareder. Finally they thought bugger it and bought a house in the street "like everyone else". Now they don't even lock their doors.
Protectionism makes us fearful, fear makes us cruel, cruelty rebounds. You can see on Malcolm's face what his Hanson-pleasing is costing him. He looks more like Trump every day. (I swear his nose is growing). More chilling still is that he's doing it, in the end, for us.
In Australia's fall from Lucky Country to Cruel Country, 10 billion will count as nothing. What this craven, mean-spirited, power-seeking fear-based fortress-Australia cruelty will cost us, if we let it, is our souls.
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.