Thursday, August 16, 2018

UK: Boris Johnson’s offence-seekers avoid the issue


The brouhaha over Boris Johnson is a salutary tale about how to screw up a free society. Last week Johnson made a serious point about freedom, that women in a free society should have the right to wear a niqab or a burka. The former British foreign minister also poked fun at these women dressing like letterboxes and bank robbers. A week later, the spirit of the times has been confirmed. Taking offence over a dumb-ass joke trumps defending the freedom of women to wear what they damn well want. That zeitgeist is a dead-end street for liberty.

To be sure, bashing Boris is child’s play. His narcissism always gets a good rise from his critics. And it’s true that his ego ranks right up there with, well, most other politicians. What separates him is that he is better at making people sit up and take notice of what he says.

Last week, Johnson defended what it is to be free, which is tragically refreshing because it is rare even in the Tory party. He reminisced about Denmark where the spirit of liberty once ran free — a country that told the EU to get knotted over the Maastricht Treaty, where people ride bikes free from helmet laws, where locals dive stark naked into the icy Cop­enhagen harbour and where part of the capital is set aside for a commune of anarchists at Christiania.

Then, on August 1, the Danes outlawed women wearing the niqab or the burka, following others such as France, Germany, Austria and Belgium. Johnson said that jarred with the Danish disposition to live and let live.

But it was a few silly words about letterboxes and bank robbers that consumed the un-intelligentsia. A week on, they are still transfixed on being offended. If Johnson’s biggest sin is to seek attention, that is preferable to the growing array of offence-seekers. The more wicked offence-seekers, such as the Muslim Council of Britain, choose to be offended as a deliberate ploy to distract us from issues that should demand our attention: integration, female equality and dodgy religious doctrine.

Others are hopelessly addicted to empty virtue-signalling, such as the Labour MPs who expressed offence on behalf of others who might be offended. In the offendedness sweepstakes, feeling someone else’s offence counts for more than defending freedom.

Some have called for an inquiry into Islamophobia in the Tory party because of a letterbox quip from Johnson. The same offence-seekers have not called for an inquiry into anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, which is curious given that last week the Daily Mail unearthed pictures of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn holding a wreath near the graves of four Palestinian leaders believed to be part of the Black September terror group that carried out the attack on Israelis at the 1972 Munich Olympics, murdering 11 people.

When senior Tories side with offence-seekers rather than with defenders of freedom, the future for liberalism looks lousy. The Prime Minister and the Conservative party chairman joined a morose cabal of PC multi-culti elites by demanding that Johnson apologise. Indeed, Tories have joined an ugly show trial that includes demands that Johnson resign and, in the meantime, be investigated.

It’s hard to work out what they will be investigating. Unlike your regular politician, Johnson didn’t dodge, weave or obfuscate. He didn’t hide behind slippery caveats. He said the burka was oppressive but said that he loved freedom more than he loathed the burka. Once upon a time that would have been a nice fit with the Conservative party’s manifesto.

If Johnson has breached the party’s code of conduct, it needs to be rewritten so a Tory who defends core freedoms is applauded rather than castigated. Suggestions that Johnson may need “diversity” training point to a party that may need major repairs under its philosophical bonnet.

There is a civil war within the British Conservative party, not unlike outbreaks in the Liberal Party here, because there was a time when defending free speech was a foundation stone in a liberal-minded political party. This civil war represents a deeper schism across the West between those who howl about being offended to shut down uncomfortable debates and those willing to have those ­debates.

Worse, when so-called liberals and allegedly moderate Muslims call for Johnson’s head, figuratively of course, they help Islamists who literally would have his head for making a joke about the veil. As Qanta Ahmed, a British Muslim woman, wrote last week, false accusations of Islamophobia play straight into the Islamists’ hands: “It masks the diversity of Muslim opinion, treating voices like mine as if they do not exist, and aided by pseudo-intellectual liberals in the West, allows Islamists to falsely present their dress code as the only true face of Islam.” Ahmed wants the veil banned. It derives from misogyny, she says, not from the Koran.

Rather than hissing over a few dumb jokes, Johnson’s critics could have engaged in this kind of more thoughtful debate about Islam, women and integration.

Munira Mirza, author of Living Apart Together: British Muslims and the Paradox of Multiculturalism, pointed out that the burka, a recent cultural accretion, was a symbol of gender inequality. She said the burka was not made more palatable because some Western women chose to wear it.

Taj Hargey, an imam from the Oxford Islamic congregation, added his thoughts about a “retrogressive Islamic clergy” that had “succeeded in persuading ill-­informed Muslims … that God wants women to cover their faces, when in reality it is a toxic patriarchy controlling women”.

Self-evidently, you cannot have searching conversations about anything much when your focus is expressing outrage over a joke. On that score, the hosts of The New Statesman podcast proved to be the perfectly useful idiots. Helen Lewis said she hadn’t read Johnson’s column because you didn’t need to. Instead, “you just sort of experience its effect”. Stephen Bush said he made the mistake of reading Johnson’s column and it was a crock to argue that the renegade Tory was trying to speak about difficult issues. These were not difficult issues, Bush said, because it was accepted wisdom that the burka should not be banned. Tell that to large swathes of Europe where the burka has been banned.

The bigger point missed by ­offence-seekers is that most Brits want more free speech. And BoJo, as he is known, resonates with plenty of voters in a way that whitebread, risk-averse politicians never do. A ComRes poll reveals that 60 per cent of voters across all parties worry that free speech is under attack and 53 per cent oppose any attempt to punish BoJo for speaking his mind.

When you are busy finding offence in a joke, you miss another point. When a liberal democracy bans the burka, it may as well wave the white flag of defeat. Banning women from wearing what they want is an admission, not only that integration has failed but also that basic freedoms must give way to state control.


UK: BORIS BURKA ROW: Tories are running SCARED of a leadership bid, says Jacob Rees-Mogg

CONSERVATIVE politicians are attacking Boris Johnson through fear the former Foreign Secretary could be about to launch a leadership bid, according to one top Brexiteer politician.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has written in The Daily Telegraph, responding to the backlash against Mr Johnson’s comments about people who wear the burka, which were made in the same newspaper earlier this week.

In Monday’s article, the former Foreign Secretary compared women who wear veils to “bank robbers” and accused them of looking like “letter boxes”.

Mr Rees-Mogg has labelled the outrage in the Tory party as “dubious” and accused his fellow members of trying to undermine a popular member of the party.

The MP for North East Somerset wrote in the newspaper: “The howls of outrage are suspect and the motivations dubious,” over the criticisms of Boris.

“Why would senior Conservatives want to attack so popular a figure for saying something that had been said before, and which they had not objected to?”

Mr Rees-Mogg highlighted Ken Clarke, former Cabinet minister, had previously made comments about women who wear the burka, having referred to the garments as “a kind of bag”.

He thinks the attacks are instead as a result of the Uxbridge MP’s popularity with the general public: “Could it be that there is a nervousness that a once and probably future leadership contender is becoming too popular and needs to be stopped?”

He continues: “Boris Johnson, because of his many successes, popularity with voters and charisma, attracts more than his fair share of this disagreeable vice.”

Mr Rees-Mogg thinks the party’s response has only served to generate more sympathy for the controversial politician.

He said: “This may explain the attempt to use the Conservative Party’s disciplinary procedures, but it has been handled so ham-fistedly that it brings only sympathy and support for Mr Johnson.”

Many high-profile Tories have called on Mr Johnson to apologise, including the Prime Minister.

Dominic Grieve, leader of the Commons Tory rebels over Brexit has even said he would resign membership of the party if Mr Johnson ever did become leader.


Toronto Shooting: Politically Correct Cover-Up?

On July 22, two youngsters -- 18-year-old Reese Fallon and 10-year-old Julianna Kozis -- were killed, and another 13 people, ranging in age from 17 to 59, were wounded in a brutal shooting attack at a number of restaurants on Danforth Avenue, in Toronto's popular Greektown neighborhood. The perpetrator, who was later identified as Faisal Hussain, killed himself after exchanging gunfire with police.

Hussain's firing stance and ability to reload his 40-caliber Smith and Wesson handgun while on the move suggested that he had experience with firearms.

The following morning, the Toronto Police Service issued a statement that indicated they had already identified the shooter, yet did not release his name until later that afternoon. Meanwhile, a statement allegedly from the Hussain family made the rounds in a number of news outlets.

The statement read, in part:

...We are utterly devastated by the incomprehensible news that our son was responsible for the senseless violence and loss of life that took place on the Danforth.

Our son had severe mental health challenges, struggling with psychosis and depression his entire life.

The interventions of professionals were unsuccessful. Medications and therapy were unable to treat him.

While we did our best to seek help for him throughout his life of struggle and pain, we could never imagine that this would be his devastating and destructive end...

Much of the media, led by the CBC and the Toronto Star, accepted this version of the tragedy, and asserted that the mass shooting had not been a terrorist attack, while blaming a breakdown in the mental-health-care system for Hussain's actions and calling for stricter gun-control regulations.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said of Hussain, "There is no connection between that individual and national security."

It emerged, however, that the so-called Hussain "family statement" had not been written by the murderer's parents at all, but rather by Mohammed Hashim, a professional activist who served as chairman of the "Stronger Together" program of the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM, formerly the Council of American Islamic Relations Canada or CAIR CAN). Its American parent organization, as stated in its own documents, is CAIR, designated as a terrorist entity by the United Arab Emirates.

CAIR was also identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in an American terrorism-funding trial whose judge determined it to be one of many organizations involved in funding Hamas.

In 2016, Hashim was instrumental in getting the Toronto Star to stop using the term "Islamic State" and refer to the terrorist group only as "Daesh," presumably to dissociate Islam from terrorism.

In 2017, Hashim was a speaker at an event held at the ISNA Islamic Centre of Canada facility in Toronto. (Three years earlier, the ISNA Development Foundation lost its status as a charity on the grounds that it had been funding terrorism.)

In addition, contrary to what Hashim purportedly wrote in the statement, there is no evidence that Hussain was diagnosed with or treated for a mental illness, even after one of his high-school teachers reported to the police 10 years ago that Hussain had said "I want to kill someone... I just feel it would be really cool to kill somebody." Although he was apprehended at the time under the Mental Health Act, he was released and deemed as not an immediate threat.

As for Faisal Hussain's actual family: Faisal has a brother, Fahad, who -- while awaiting trial for crack-dealing -- overdosed last summer on a cocktail of cocaine and heroin, leaving him in a vegetative state. Both Faisal and Fahad were friends with 33-year-old Maisum Ansari, who, according to the Toronto Sun, "was charged last September with possessing 53 kilograms of carfentanil, an analog of fentanyl and 100 times stronger than the painkiller and notoriously deadly street narcotic... the largest such seizure of the synthetic opioid in Canadian history."

During the investigation into Ansari's drug operations, police discovered a weapons cache in the basement of his rented-out house. This is possibly an example of the intersection of the drug trade and terrorism. Furthermore, carfentanil, specifically, has been of concern to the US government as a drug that also could be used as a chemical weapon.

The question of whether the Danforth shooting was an act of terrorism has yet to be answered. Although ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack, Toronto police said they "have no evidence to support these claims."

Nevertheless, Faisal Hussain's actions need to be taken in a wider context. Since 2013, several low-scale terrorist attacks with an extremist Muslim connection have taken place in Canada. Among these were: the attempted 2013 bombing plot on a Via Rail train; the 2014 car-ramming attack that killed a Canadian soldier; the 2014 gun attack on the National War Memorial and Parliament; a 2016 botched suicide bombing that ended with only the terrorist dying; a 2016 knife attack on a Canadian Forces recruiting center, a 2016 knife attack in a Canadian Tire store by a woman claiming to work for ISIS; and a 2017 vehicle-ramming and knife attack.

More recently, a restaurant bombing in Mississauga on May 24, 2018, which left 15 people wounded, is still being investigated.

Since Faisal Hussain is dead, it is unlikely that a complete picture of what motivated him to commit a mass shooting will be painted. However, given the global climate, to which Canada most certainly has not been immune -- as well as Hussain's dubious connections -- the attempt by the government and the media to dismiss potential links to terrorist groups or inspiration from jihadist ideologies, is both premature and politically transparent.


Australian conservative politician Bob Katter accuses a journalist of being racist for saying his granddad is Lebanese - as he defends his anti-Muslim Senator

Katter's grandfather was from the Lebanese Maronite (Christian) community but Bob is heavily focused on assimilation and the fact that his grandfather assimilated readily to Australian society (most Maronites do) meant that to Katter his grandfather was Australian.  Katter in other words has a cultural definition of who is Australian and was angered by the racist definition used by a journalist

Bob Katter has slammed a journalist who suggested his grandfather was Lebanese - describing it as a 'racist comment'.

Mr Katter defended his party's senator Fraser Anning's maiden speech in which he used the Nazi term 'final solution' while proposing a plebiscite on immigation, saying the address was 'magnificent'.

Mr Katter also said a reporter who referred to his grandfather as Lebanese was 'racist'.

'No, he's not. He's an Australian. I resent, strongly, you describing him as Lebanese. That is a racist comment and you should take it back and should be ashamed of yourself for saying it in public,' he said. '

Mr Katter's grandfather Carl was born in Bcharre, Lebanon, in 1982.

Reacting to Mr Anning's speech, Mr Katter said it was 'solid gold'.

'You don't have to be Albert Einstein to see that we, as a race of people, we Australians, are being buried by a mass migration program to line the pockets of the rich and powerful.

'The (Labor Party), and more particularly, the (Liberals) are bringing 630,000 people from overseas, from countries with no democracy, no rule of law, no... egalitarian traditions, no Judaeo-Christian, 630,000 a year and they don't go home.

'We do not want people coming in from the Middle East or North Africa unless they're the persecuted minorities. Why aren't you bringing in the Sikhs? Why aren't you bringing in the Christians? Why aren't you bringing in the Jews?'

Mr Katter said Mr Anning wasn't aware of the connotations of the term 'final solution'.  Addressing outrage over his use of the term, Mr Anning said it was taken out of context by the 'thought police'.

Mr Anning said on Wednesday morning he simply wanted the Australian people to be able to decide what kind of immigrants the country accepts.

He later compared Muslim migrants to poisoned jelly beans and stood by his call for Islamic immigration to be halted altogether.

'All I'm calling for is a plebiscite and a vote for the Australian people to see who they want to come into the country,' the Queensland senator told the Today show.

In his maiden speech Mr Anning said 'the final solution to the immigration problem is of course a popular vote'.

The term 'final solution' was used by the Nazis as part of their plan to murder the entire Jewish population of Europe which resulted in mass genocide.

Mr Anning denied making a deliberate reference to Nazi Germany, but refused to apologise for his choice of words.

'If people want to take it out of context that's entirely up to them. It was never meant to denigrate the Jewish community,' he said.

Mr Anning also stood by his claims the majority of Muslim immigrants do not work [Only 18% have jobs] and are on welfare and over-represented in criminal activity.

When asked why he had singled out Muslim immigrants in the speech, Mr Anning said it was because 'they mean us harm'.

Mr Anning said he agreed the vast majority of Muslim were hardworking and law-abiding, but claimed a small minority 'want to kill us'.

'I don't want those people in this country. I think the vast majority of Australians agree with me. No-one wants to put it to a vote,' Mr Anning said.

Speaking on talkback radio later on Wednesday morning, Mr Anning likened accepting Muslim immigrants to poisonous jelly beans.

'If you can tell me which ones [Muslims] are not going to cause us harm then fine, that'd be great,' he told Alan Jones on 2GB.

'Unfortunately if you have a jar of jellybeans and three of them are poison you're not going to try any of them.'

The speech to parliament was widely condemned by politicians from both major parties, and the Greens.

After his speech was attacked by Mr Di Natale and senior Labor frontbenchers Tony Burke and Chris Bowen, Mr Anning released a statement dismissing their criticism.

'Some in the media and left wing politicians are simply afraid of the Australian people having a say on who comes here,' Mr Anning said.

'As I called for a plebiscite on the immigration mix, this baseless and ridiculous criticism is simply an effort to play the man and not the ball.

Mr Anning said it was ironic that he was being criticised by politicians from Labor and the Greens who had voted against his pro-Israel proposals in the past.

'[They] are the same people who refused to support my efforts to stop Australia funding the Palestinian Authority who finance terrorist attacks against innocent Israeli women and children,' he said.

His proposed plebiscite would allow people to decide whether they want wholesale non-English speaking immigrants from the third world, he said.

Mr Anning said Australia was entitled to insist migrants were predominantly of 'European Christian composition'.

He also called for the government to ban all welfare payments to migrants in the first five years of living in Australia, labelling many asylum seekers as 'welfare seekers'.

'Ethno-cultural diversity - which is known to undermine social cohesion - has been allowed to rise to dangerous levels in many suburbs,' Mr Anning said.

'In direct response, self-segregation, including white flight from poorer inner-urban areas, has become the norm.'

Opposition leader Bill Shorten responded to the speech by saying he will move a motion praising the dismantling of the White Australia policy.

Mr Shorten's motion will recognise bipartisan support for the former Holt government's moves to end the policy, and the resulting national and international benefits to the country.



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.  Email me (John Ray) here


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