Wednesday, June 07, 2006


Ladies' nights which give women cheap booze or free entry to bars and clubs face a ban. The European Union wants goods and services offered to both sexes equally. Licensing expert Lisa Sharkey said: "Ladies' nights would have to stop." Each member state will set a fine but single-sex private clubs and sports events with a "legitimate aim" may be exempt. Rosie Davenport of pub trade magazine the Morning Advertiser said: "Brussels is taking political correctness too far." The directive is due to come into force by December 2007.



A civil rights lawyer on Wednesday demanded authorities investigate a roundup of hundreds of undocumented immigrants in what he called a desert dragnet based on racial profiling. In a letter to the Department of Homeland Security, attorney Luis Carrillo claimed U.S. Border Patrol agents only pulled over people with brown skin in the five-day operation known as "Operation Desert Denial." More than 600 undocumented immigrants were detained from May 19 to May 24 along Interstate 40 near Barstow.

No light-skinned people were detained, Carrillo said. "They gave people with blue eyes and light skin a free pass," he said. Carrillo also criticized authorities for focusing efforts far from the border. He said he did not plan to file a lawsuit against the Border Patrol.

Tamara Faulkner, a spokeswoman for the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, said she was not aware of Carrillo's demand for an investigation and declined to comment. Carl L. McClafferty, chief patrol agent of the Border Patrol division that handled the operation, said in a written statement that authorities were targeting a human smuggling route for immigrants who had crossed into Arizona and Texas from Mexico. The statement said officers only pulled over vehicles that looked suspicious, but it did not reveal what criteria was used to make that determination. Border Patrol spokeswoman Martha Silva refused further comment.

At a news conference, Carrillo introduced a child of a woman who was detained and deported. He called the girl "a victim of this harassment." Teary-eyed, 12-year-old Wendy Ortiz said she and her two younger brothers were awakened by Border Patrol agents who shone a spotlight into a car being driven by her mother Violeta then bumped it and pulled it over.

The sixth-grader said the family had been traveling overnight to Barstow from their Phoenix home to buy wholesale kitchen supplies.

After determining that Violeta Ortiz was not a legal immigrant, the agents shouted at her and threatened to separate her from the children unless she waived a hearing and signed an order that led to her deportation to Mexico, the girl said. "She didn't want to hear any more screaming, so she just signed," said Wendy Ortiz, who like her 7-year-old brother Jose and 4-year-old brother Miguel was born in this country. The children are now staying with an aunt in Los Angeles.


Ex-New York cop sacked from British probation service for putting public safety first

As you will see from the last sentence below, at least the crime-loving Brits have been forced to lie about their priorities. It's not much but maybe it's a start

As a police officer on the streets of New York, it was Terrence Houlahan's duty to protect the public from violent crooks. But when he moved to Britain and joined the probation service in Essex, he was shocked to discover there was quite a different approach to law and order. Mr Houlahan, 39, repeatedly clashed with his new bosses because they failed to discipline or send back to prison criminals who breached the terms of their community sentences or parole.

The situation reached breaking point when Mr Houlahan refused to join collective cheering for a fictional character called 'Billy the offender' at a motivational conference. The New Yorker was sacked after an official report into his behaviour found 'he appears to see public protection as the key task in his role and could not identify with the idea of rehabilitation of offenders'.

In one astonishing case, Mr Houlahan was staggered when a man of 23 who breached the terms of his licence by threatening his parents was given an 'anger diary' instead of being put behind bars. Weeks later the thug assaulted his mother and father and beat up a police officer. He was sentenced to four months in prison.

Mr Houlahan now plans to take the probation service to an employment tribunal. He claims he was unfairly dismissed last October after complaints of insubordination, inappropriate behaviour towards colleagues and unauthorised absence. He was also found to have breached health and safety rules by failing to take a full hour off for his lunch break. [Incomprehensible to the lazy Brits]

Mr Houlahan, who moved to Britain after meeting his British wife Nichola, told The Sunday Times: "I wanted to bring the skills I learnt as an NYPD cop to the probation service. "Seeing the results of crime on the ground, I thought it was my duty to help protect the public. "The probation service were more interested in the so-called rights of the offender and hellbent on keeping him out of jail than actually looking at the facts."

Last month it emerged that more than 10,000 crimes a month are committed by offenders on probation. Mr Houlahan, of Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire, is a former sergeant in the US special forces. He served with the New York Police Department from 1998 to 2000. He agrees that the reform of offenders is important, but believes public protection must come first. "Working for the probation service was totally different from how I imagined it," he said. "I didn't join it to sit in swanky hotels cheering for Billy the offender but to protect the public."

In another incident, he was suspended for three weeks for 'violating the confidentiality' of a criminal he had removed from a group workshop because he was racially insulting participants. Mr Houlahan claims he was told by managers that the offender had only insulted others 'when he was angry'.

Essex probation service declined to comment on the detail of Mr Houlahan's allegations or on its policies, because of the possible legal action. A spokesman said: "Mr Houlahan was dismissed after a thorough disciplinary investigation, and a subsequent appeal, which was unanimously dismissed. "The probation service has as its absolute primary aim the prevention of further crime."


A Dose of Common Sense: Congress is poised to rescue California from food-regulation hell

It has been said that California is a decade ahead of the rest of the country in adopting new ideas. That may have been true for some icons of American culture such as skinny half-caf lattes, cut-off jeans, and spandex, but we Californians seem to lag behind in making public policy.

The principle that "the dose makes the poison"-in other words, that almost any substance can be toxic at very high levels-has been lost on Californians. That is why a two-decade-old ballot proposition, commonly known as "Prop 65," requires signs in most commercial establishments-from supermarkets to pet stores to hotel lobbies-proclaiming that consumers may be exposed to chemicals that can cause cancer or birth defects.

Not that in the overwhelming majority of cases there's any greater risk than in, say, household cleaning products, but the law requires a warning about any product that contains even tiny amounts of a chemical that, at high doses, can cause cancer in lab animals.

Prop 65 is a paragon of bad government, but help may be on the way from an unlikely quarter: the U.S. Congress. The National Uniformity for Food Act, previously passed in the House of Representatives by a wide bipartisan margin and introduced in the Senate on May 25, would mandate the kind of uniform national food-safety labeling that now provides nutrition and allergy information. This progressive measure would ensure that consistent food-safety information is available nationwide and is driven by science instead of by nutrition fads, junk science, food scares, or political pressure from special-interest groups. It would relegate Prop 65 to the trash heap of regulatory history.

However, illustrating once again that in politics no good deed goes unpunished, California's three most senior politicians-Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, and Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger-are opposed to this legislative rescue.

Their opposition is inexplicable. Prop 65 requires businesses to provide warnings on all consumer products that might expose state residents to traces of chemicals presumed to cause cancer or birth defects. The law lists more than 750 "dangerous" chemicals that, at huge doses, might cause cancer in lab rats. Human health or economic benefits are deemed irrelevant, as is research that indicates that a chemical in fact poses no human health risk.

Prop 65 simply ignores the reality that we live in a sea of chemicals-toxins, radioactive elements, and the like, the vast majority of them naturally occurring. And, as observed by eminent UC Berkeley toxicologists Bruce Ames and Lois Gold, "no human diet can be free of naturally occurring chemicals that are rodent carcinogens."

The unscientific underpinnings of Prop 65-the legal equivalent of the boy who cried wolf-have led to all sorts of absurdities. Cocoa beans grown in volcanic soils contain trace amounts of naturally occurring cadmium. So, exploiting a "bounty hunter" provision in the law that encourages individuals and groups (and trial attorneys) to sue in the "public interest," a radical NGO has brought legal action against chocolate makers.

A chemical called acrylamide occurs naturally in a range of foods from bread to prunes because it is formed when foods are cooked, so California Attorney General (and governor wannabe) Bill Lockyer threatened to sue potato-chip and French-fry manufacturers-even though the FDA and the World Health Organization say there's no danger.

For much of the last two years, the publicity-hungry Lockyer litigated to require warning labels on canned tuna because trace amounts of mercury put companies selling it in violation of Prop 65. Never mind that tuna is high in protein, low in fat, provides essential nutrients, and is recommended by nutritionists as part of a balanced diet. Fortunately, California Superior Court Judge Robert Dondero recently rejected a requirement for tuna warnings, noting that the FDA has a national consumer-education campaign designed to inform consumers at higher risk without scaring others away from an affordable and nutritious source of protein.

Chocolate, acrylamide, and tuna are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the abusive provisions of Prop 65. NGOs have harassed the makers of products ranging from toothpaste to tattoo inks. Small businesses, especially, feel the financial pinch of this legalized extortion when legal fees and possible fines for Prop 65 violations threaten to exceed sales revenues.

Not only is Prop 65 detrimental to commerce, and not only does it fail to provide any benefit to public health, but let us remember who ultimately foots the bill: every American consumer who buys a product or service from a Prop 65-affected company.

If we Californians can't get rid of unscientific, ineffective, costly regulation on our own, our politicians should just stand aside and let Congress do it. The National Uniformity for Food Act will be good for California, and for the nation.


Come to Londonistan, our refuge for poor misunderstood Islamist victims

Melanie Phillips speaks out

According to remarks attributed in the past few days to security sources, no fewer than 1,200 Islamist terrorists are biding their time within British suburbs. Yet does Britain even now fully understand the nature of the threat it is facing, let alone have the will to deal with it? The recent report by the Commons Intelligence Committee on last July's London bombings barely scratched the surface of the failure by the security establishment. It failed to note, for example, Britain's dirty little secret: that from the 1990s, Islamist radicals had been given free rein in Britain in a "gentlemen's agreement" that if they were left alone, they would not turn on the country that was so generously nurturing them. The result was "Londonistan", as Britain became the hub of al-Qaeda in Europe.

This intelligence debacle, however, was only the tip of the iceberg. Among Britain's governing class -- its intelligentsia, its media, its politicians, its judiciary, its Church and even its police -- a broader and deeper cultural pathology persists to this day. Londonistan is more than the physical presence of Islamist extremists. It is also a state of mind. To a dismaying extent, the British have signed up to the false narrative of those who are laying siege to their society.

The problem lies in a refusal to acknowledge that Islamist extremism is rooted in religion. Instead, ministers and security officials prefer to think of it as a protest movement against grievances such as Iraq or Palestine, or "Islamophobia". They simply ignore the statements and signs that show unequivocally that the aim is to Islamicise the West.

In large measure, this is the outcome of a profound loss of cultural nerve. The doctrines of multiculturalism and minority rights, themselves the outcome of a systematic onslaught by the British elite against the country’s own identity and values, have paralysed the establishment, which accordingly shies away from criticising any minority for fear of being labelled as bigoted.

As a result, it ignored the radicalisation of many British Muslims by extremist Islamic institutions. Worse still, "grievance culture" has meant that instead of fighting the paranoia and lies driving the Islamists' hatred of the West, British society is afflicted by the very same pathology.

Minority rights doctrine has produced a moral inversion, in which those doing wrong are excused if they belong to a "victim" group, while those at the receiving end of their behaviour are blamed simply because they belong to the "oppressive" majority.

Britain effectively allowed itself to be taken hostage by militant gays, feminists or "anti-racists" who used weapons such as public vilification, moral blackmail and threats to people's livelihoods to force the majority to give in to their demands. So when radical Islamists refused to accept minority status and insisted instead that their values must trump those of the majority, Britain had no answer.

This was disastrous because Islamist violence is fuelled by precisely this false sense of victimisation. The mendacious message preached by Islamist leaders, that Britain and America are engaged in a war on Islam rather than a defence of their societies, is a potent incitement to terror by whipping up a hysteria that Muslims are under attack.

So any attempt by the West to defend itself against terror becomes a recruiting sergeant for that terror. The more atrocities committed against the West, the more the West tries to defend itself; and the more it does so, the more hysteria among Muslims rises that they are under attack, and the more they are thus incited to hatred and to terrorism.

The circle is completed by British fellow-travellers who promulgate the same morally inverted thinking, and thus help further to incite both Muslim extremism and Western defeatism. After the London bombings, this gave rise to the widely expressed view that the major problem was not Islamic terrorism but Islamophobia.

It is impossible to overstate the importance -- not just to Britain but to the global struggle against Islamist extremism -- of properly understanding and publicly challenging this moral, intellectual and philosophical inversion, which translates aggressor into victim and vice versa. For it has destabilised debate by allowing Muslims to argue that British and American foreign policy is unfair and aggressive towards the Muslim world.

So profound is the fear of being branded a bigot among British liberals that the obvious examples of illogicality, untruths and paranoia in such discourse have never been challenged.

The British Establishment also ignores this because it is in a state of denial. With few exceptions politicians, Whitehall officials, senior police and intelligence officers and academic experts have failed to grasp that the problem to be confronted is not just the assembly of bombs and poison factories but what is going on inside people's heads that drives them to such acts.

No comments: