Monday, April 10, 2017
Truck attack causes a rethink in Sweden
One brutal attack by a man who drove a stolen truck into shoppers in Stockholm has brought Sweden's open-door immigration policies under increased scrutiny - and raised the question if Swedish society, considered democratic and egalitarian, has failed to integrate its newcomers.
The suspect in Friday's attack, a 39-year-old native of Uzbekistan who has been arrested by police, had been on authorities' radar previously but they dismissed him as a "marginal character." It was unclear whether he was also a Swedish citizen or resident or even how long he'd been in the country.
The attack killed four people and wounded 15. In response, hundreds gathered on Saturday at the site of the crash in the Swedish capital, building a heartbreaking wall of flowers on the aluminium fence put up to keep them away from the site's broken glass and twisted metal. Some hugged police officers nearby.
Sweden has long been known for its open-door policy toward migrants and refugees. But after the Scandinavian country of 10 million took in a record 163,000 refugees in 2015 - the highest per-capita rate in Europe - Prime Minister Stefan Lofven conceded it could no longer cope with the influx.
At a press conference in late 2015, deputy prime minister of the small Greens Party - a junior government partner - Asa Romson, broke into tears as she announced measures to deter asylum-seekers in a reversal of Sweden's welcoming policy toward people fleeing war and persecution. She described it as "a terrible decision", admitting the proposals would make life even more precarious for refugees.
On Saturday, Lofven laid flowers at the truck crash site, declaring Monday a national day of mourning, with a minute of silence at noon. He urged citizens to "get through this" and strolled through the streets of the capital to chat with them.
No one has claimed responsibility for Friday's attack but Sweden's police chief said authorities were confident they had detained the man who carried it out.
The prime minister made a point of walking around Stockholm saying the aim of terrorism is to undermine democracy.
"But such a goal will never be achieved in Sweden," Lofven said.
A logical result of Leftist reality denial
White woman gets kudos for pretending to be black
There is a guy in California who identifies as a tree. I used to see him getting around Santa Monica, wearing brown clothes with twigs in his hair, or else standing completely still, hoping birds would land on him. I was transfixed. The kids were like: meh. If he wants to be a tree, let him be a tree. But is he actually a tree? No.
Which brings me to Rachel Dolezal. You’ll remember Rachel, and if you don’t, go Google her, and you will find a woman with braids piled on her head, who looks as if she spent way too long on the tanning bed.
Rachel’s photographs mostly show her leading Black Lives Matter protests, or she’ll be speaking about racism in the police force, or else she’ll be giving interviews about how she identifies as black.
But Dolezal isn’t black. She has white parents. A genealogist who studied her family tree found white ancestors going back four centuries. She says this doesn’t matter because “how I feel is more important than how I was born”. She feels, on the inside, like a black person, and she has tried to make herself look more like a black person by getting cornrows and self-tanning her skin.
And, amazingly, some people are taking her seriously.
Rachel has been in the news this week because she has published a memoir, In Full Color: Finding My Place in a Black and White World. She has appeared on all the main TV talk show in the US. She has been profiled by The New York Times and The Guardian, where she has expanded her argument about how she identifies as being black.
It’s all been very respectful but at some point, surely, somebody has to ask the question: why are we indulging this nonsense?
Here are the facts: Rachel Dolezal is not black.
For about 10 years, from 2007 onward, she pretended to be black and then she got caught — and all credit to journo Jeff Humphrey, who confronted her in the street, on tape, so she couldn’t get away with it any more — and now she’s spinning like a white-tail spider in her own web of deceit.
Rachel was born and raised in a bog-standard, white suburban American home, with Christian parents who say she’s always had a problem with the truth. Besides Rachel, they adopted four black kids, and at some point Rachel came into contact with an African-American woman in her neighbourhood who specialised in braiding black hair.
Rachel got cornrows and she noticed that people started treating her differently. No longer was she a run-of-the-mill, freckle-face with dirty blonde hair. Suddenly she was exotic. And she liked it. And so she kept on pretending.
As a black activist, Rachel had purpose and meaning in her life that she couldn’t find as a boring white person. She had status in the black community, and the respect of black and white peers.
She encouraged the idea that she was part of a larger struggle for human rights in her own life, and in the lives of others in her community. She presented herself as a civil rights leader, taking up a position alongside the great black activists — poets, lawyers, and preachers — who came before her. It made her feel proud.
But she isn’t. She is a fraud. And deep in her heart she knows she’s a fraud. How else to explain the lengths to which she went to trick people, by studiously applying tanner to make her skin darker and braiding her hair.
Rachel is trying to use her book to explain that away — she made herself up in ways that made her feel beautiful, apparently — but that’s blackface, pure and simple. The sloppiness of her essential argument needs to be called out, too. Rachel says there’s no such thing as race since we all share the same ancestry.
But if that is true, why is she black? It either matters or it does not. If it doesn’t, then she’s not any particular race. She’s just Rachel, the human, which would be fine, but that’s not what she’s saying. She’s saying she’s black.
Also, if race is a construct, then the ability to identify as one race or another must go both ways. But it very clearly doesn’t. Ask yourself this question: could Barack Obama ever be white?
He has a white mother and a black father. He says he’s black, but let’s pretend for now that he has decided to identify as white. Would anyone accept that?
No, they would not. Obama could never be accepted as white, and neither could Muhammad Ali, nor Oprah Winfrey. And if there is no way for Obama — who actually has a white mother — to become white, then there is absolutely no way for Rachel, with her English and German ancestors, to become black.
Which brings us to the matter of lived experience: Rachel says she’s black but at any point she could go back to being white. That is not a privilege extended to those people on the other side of the black-white divide.
And for a very long time that mattered because the back of the bus was for black people. Votes were for white people. Race had a real impact on people’s lives.
Discrimination on the basis of race is now illegal in the US and in Australia but black leaders in both nations will leave you in no doubt that racism continues to shape their lives.
If nothing about race is real — if everyone is, in fact, the same — then there is no racism. Whole arguments, indeed, whole industries, collapse. In which case, Rachel really has belled the cat.
And now let’s take Rachel’s argument one incendiary step further: what would happen if a wholly white Australian announced they were Aboriginal? If they started tanning their skin and frizzing their hair and wearing a kangaroo skin around their shoulders?
The outrage would be tremendous. What if they decided to use their fake claim to Aboriginality to claim specific benefits, Aboriginal government jobs or to set up indigenous corporations, securing grants and donations? This has, in fact, happened, not once but several times and retribution, in term of stripping the fraudsters of their benefits, has been swift.
The US is different. Freedom of speech and all that. Rachel Dolezal is apparently quite within her rights to identify as a black, but the beauty of that is that we in turn have the right to say what we see when Rachel’s frizzed-up head comes zooming into view.
Which is: you’re a fraud, Rachel. An offensive fraud, and a white one, to boot.
Congressman Provides 'Perfect Example of Why Public Has Lost Confidence in the National Media'
“This is a perfect example of why the public has lost confidence in the national media,” Rep. Arrington said in a statement condemning the Washington Post’s “fake news” headline.
“GOP Lawmaker: The Bible says the unemployed ‘shall not eat,’” the Post declared in a headline last Friday in an article misrepresenting Arrington’s comment – without even quoting him in the piece. Arrington had actually quoted a Bible passage encouraging able-bodied people to be productive: “If a man will not work, he shall not eat.”
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, Rep. Arrington expressed shock that a paper “as reputable as The Washington Post” would be so intellectually dishonest:
“It was ridiculous. It was such a blatant mischaracterization of what I said. Anybody that would watch that video or read my remarks would know that that was a misrepresentation.
“I couldn’t believe that a news organization as reputable as the Washington Post would allow such reckless and irresponsible journalism.”
Rep. Arrington then provided the context of the remarks The Washington Post had portrayed as cold and heartless:
“I wanted to introduce what I think is a more complete view of God’s character and that is the Biblical principle of personal responsibility – that God expects those who are able to be productive to not be idle.”
Arrington’s office has not heard back from The Washington Post, despite two statements issued by the congressman condemning the newspaper’s dishonesty:
“I am disappointed in the Washington Post for so blatantly misrepresenting my comments. Thank you to The Federalist, and all of the other reporters who are accurately reporting my statements.
“Though the Bible calls us on us to be compassionate, it also instructs us to encourage personal responsibility and be good stewards of God's grace.”
“This is a perfect example of why the public has lost confidence in the national media. Thanks to pressure by other news outlets, the Washington Post has changed their headline as well as the content of their story.
“All of this, over a comment about the Biblical principle of balancing compassion with personal responsibility. Contrary to what the Washington Post reporter says, I believe the majority of citizens in this country support traditional American values.”
The Washington Post has, subsequently, revised the story's headline and added a quote from Rep. Arrington.
Sexist Defence Force chief promotes gender diversity as crucial to Australia's military capability
Politically correct rubbish. Women should be free to try for any job but it is just ideology to say that they must be equally represented in all jobs. How about treating people just as individuals, regardless of what they have between their legs? Neither sex discrimination nor race discrimination has any place in the official policies of a just society
A gathering of women who work in defence and national security has been told their participation in the traditionally male-dominated sector is crucial to Australia's military capability.
Addressing the inaugural Women and National Security Conference in Canberra today, Defence chief, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, stressed the importance of a diverse workforce for the ADF.
"A diverse workforce is all about capability. The greater our diversity, the greater the range of ideas and insights to challenge the accepted norm, assess the risks, see them from a different perspective, and develop creative solutions," he said.
"I've seen this on operations but I also see it every day in my own office. "Right now 57 per cent of my personal staff are women. This is no mistake. In fact, I hand choose everyone for that office. "They are the first to tell me how it really is in their candour on behalf of their peers and the networks that they represent.
"Combined with the mix of unique insights, [it] helps me see issues from a different point of view, and in my experiences, our differences make a stronger team."
Asked when Australia might have its first female chief of Army, Navy or Air Force, the Defence chief declined to nominate a date, but singled out the Royal Australian Navy for praise in allowing women to rise to leadership positions.
"The area that is leading most is Navy. We have some very talented senior Navy females who have commanded ships, they've commanded on operations," he said.
"So without making a prediction about where this might go, you can get an idea of where I'm thinking.
"The other two services are behind in that area but we're growing women with the appropriate experience through those roles and you'll see that come out.
"But a generational change takes a generation and so if you rush it you sometimes force people into a point of failure, not because they're not capable of doing but they just don't have the experience.
"So you've got to watch that as you're looking to progress anyone through the organisation."
Air Chief Marshal Binskin, who once served as a fighter pilot, said he was surprised and concerned he still had not seen an Australian woman in that role.
"Air Force have done a good assessment of what's there and what might need to change culturally, as well as the professional development in looking to develop females in the fighter pilot community. "I'm confident we'll start to see women flow through that stream soon."
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.