Thursday, July 13, 2006


The Commission for Racial Equality’s Legal Affairs Committee will decide tomorrow whether or not to take action against two police services who this year operated a sex and colour bar recruitment policy.

Avon and Somerset and Gloucestershire Police Services excluded a total of almost three hundred white male applicants from consideration for employment in a successful bid to favour minority ethnic and female candidates.

The method used according to civil liberties group Liberty and Law was to interrogate the Equal Opportunities page of each candidate’s application to determine their race although this page claimed that under no circumstances would it be used as any part of the recruitment process but for monitoring purposes only.

Avon and Somerset then randomly deselected 186 white male candidates to reduce their numbers. Gloucestershire assessed all applications before splitting candidates into two sections. All women and minority ethnic candidates who were successful in the paper stage were allowed to go through to the final selection stage but only the top performing white males were allowed through. 109 white males were unfairly rejected under this system.

When the police action was leaked Liberty and Law reported the race discrimination to the CRE and asked them to request the two services to freeze their recruitment processes pending its own assessment of their legality. The CRE declined to do this and as their investigations took about four months in both cases this facilitated the racially and sexually discriminatory recruitment to be successfully completed in both services.

Liberty and Law director Gerald Hartup commented: “These are almost certainly the biggest racially discriminatory recruitment operations that the CRE has investigated but it has failed dismally to protect the people affected by this public sector scam. All competent lawyers were unanimous about the illegality of the two services’ secretive schemes but by their reluctance1 to act and their decision not to intervene and to procrastinate in coming to a conclusion the CRE has brought the Race Relations Act into disrepute. Legal action against the two police authorities is now the least that they can do in order to regain some credibility.”

Liberty and Law also reported the actions of the two police services to the Equal Opportunities Commission. These investigations, according to Liberty and Law were carried out at an even slower pace. The EOC finally wrote to both police authorities on 26 June stating that their actions were not in compliance with the Sex Discrimination Act to which Avon and Somerset have today [11 July] responded with the statement required of them by the EOC. The EOC awaits a similar response from Gloucestershire Constabulary. The EOC claims that no further action is required in either case.

Mr Hartup commented: “This is another triumph for the EOC. They believe the police broke the law. They are the body responsible for enforcing this law but using their discretion the police are allowed to get away with this blatant discrimination. It is a result for our untouchable politically correct establishment.”



In the new film "Superman Returns," the Man of Steel no longer stands for "truth, justice and the American way." Now he's dedicated, according to the movie's promotional materials, to "truth, justice and all that is good." Though, in the movie, the phrase gets edited down by Daily Planet Editor Perry White to "truth, justice and all that stuff." Typical editorial arrogance, if you ask me!

Although conservative talk radio has surely gone overboard in bashing the film, the movie does represent something of a retreat from Superman's traditional patriotism. "The world has changed. The world is a different place," the movie's co-writer, Dan Harris, told the Hollywood Reporter. "The truth is, he's an alien. He was sent from another planet ... and he is here for everybody. He's an international superhero." And in the movie, Superman's traditional backdrop of the American flag is replaced by the whole world.

Of course, it's good business to make Superman much less American because moviegoers are so much less American, too. A pushy, all-powerful, self-proclaimed superhero who stands for the "American way" might turn off, say, Pakistani audiences.

Still, we live in a cosmopolitan time. The word "cosmopolitan" - coined by the Greek philosopher Diogenes, who explained that he wasn't a citizen of any nation or city but a citizen of the world - means more than the ability to name various foreign cheeses. It is an outlook that sees national boundaries and geographic loyalties as quaint and even backward.

Although conservatives (rightly) celebrate economic one-worldism when it comes to trade and the like, liberals have fetishized cultural and political cosmopolitanism. The impulse to create a "parliament of man, the federation of the world," in Alfred Tennyson's words, informs every debate about the United Nations, global warming or human rights. For many liberals, globalization means empowering the transnational elites who get together at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, or the Clinton Global Initiative to eat fusion cuisine while discussing the political fusion of the planet. Sen. John F. Kerry is a poster boy for this crowd. He actually thought telling U.S. voters that "foreign leaders" really wanted him to beat President Bush would help his cause.

Few institutions are more cosmopolitan than the American media. Top journalists are on the best panels at Davos and see themselves as servants to the world. After 9/11, members of the media had a huge internal debate about whether it was an ethical breach to pin tiny American flags to their lapels. American journalists once proudly wore U.S. military uniforms, but in 2001, many concluded that, yes, wearing an American flag was simply too jingoistic. For the media, this is an issue in which economic interests and values coincide.

Many news outlets use the same excuse as the makers of "Superman Returns": We are competing in a global marketplace, and so we can't seem too "American." Hence, CNN bans the word "foreigners," and Reuters refuses to use the word "terrorist" and gives al-Qaida and other such groups so many benefits of the doubt - so as not to offend Middle Eastern readers and Harvard faculty - that critics have dubbed it "Al Reuters."

One institution that has hopped aboard the cosmopolitan bandwagon is the Supreme Court, particularly the more liberal slice of it. Long before the Hamdan decision came down, the court was embroiled in various controversies about its increasingly cosmopolitan jurisprudence. When she was still on the bench, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor predicted that justices "will find ourselves looking more frequently to the decisions of other constitutional courts" because globalization is creating "one world." Justice Stephen Breyer has defended his reading of Zimbabwean law to better understand the U.S. Constitution. Justices David Souter, John Paul Stevens and Anthony Kennedy concur that international opinion in general, and the decisions of foreign judges in particular, may influence how the court should view our laws and Constitution. To do otherwise, warns Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, would be to follow a "Lone Ranger" approach.

There are plenty of good-faith arguments on both sides of the Hamdan decision, which invalidated the Bush administration's policy at Guantanamo Bay. But it's hard to avoid the conclusion that the ruling holding that the U.S. must be bound by Article 3 of the Geneva Convention - even when dealing with terrorists who are not signatories to the convention - stems from a certain cosmopolitan embarrassment over U.S. unilateralism. Working outside the Geneva Convention - even when legal - is apparently wrong because that's the "Lone Ranger" approach.

Of course, Superman has always changed with the times. During the New Deal era, he was a "champion of the oppressed." What is disturbing is that "the American way" now seems to have become code for arrogant unilateralism that falls somewhere outside truth, justice and all that is good.


The attempt to ban the words "Mum" and "Dad" in Australia: Media complicity

by Bill Muehlenberg

It had to come to this eventually. Yes, mothers and fathers are now taboo. At least, calling someone your mum or dad is verboten. Nix. Not allowed. Out of bounds.

Schools are being urged by a taxpayer-funded booklet never to allow children to be so insensitive and bigoted again: they are not to call their parents mum or dad. "Parent", yes, or "guardian" - but not those intolerant and prejudiced terms, "mummy" and "daddy". You see, we don't want to offend any homosexuals or lesbians out there. That would be terrible, wouldn't it?

Lesbian activist Vicki Harding has written a book for teachers entitled, Learn To Include. This teachers' manual also urges schools to put up posters of homosexuals and lesbians, and also not to use gender-specific toys. Children as young as five are also urged to act out homosexual scenarios.

The teachers' manual is meant for students from Prep to Level 3, and is already in use in dozens of Victorian schools. But not content to stop there, Victoria's Department of Education and Training has invited Ms Harding to promote the manual to principals and teachers. She will address a taxpayer-funded conference in Melbourne in July.

Let's get real about diversity

The aim of all this, we are toldd, is to get children to respect diversity. Oh, thanks. Now I get it. Yes, we certainly want little Johnny and little Sarah to know all about the real world out there, and to learn that everyone must be accepted for who they are, no questions asked.

So that means we should also bring in drug addicts to our schools, and let them share their stories with the littlies. Surely, they too are representative of the real world. Certainly, there must be some toddlers out there with a heroin-addicted mum or a pot-head pop. We must teach all the students that these parents exist, and they must be treated with the utmost respect.

The diverse world in which we live also includes criminals locked up in prison. Maybe we should bring in a few prisoners, and let them tell the little three-year-olds that we need to respect the diversity that is in their world as well. Who knows? The little kiddies may one day find themselves in prison, so what a wonderful experience to get them ready for the real world, and to teach them the very valuable lesson of embracing diversity in its fullest.

Of course, many of the toddlers in our schools have parents who smoke as well. We certainly do not want them to feel left out. We really do want to be tolerant and inclusive. Maybe we can invite the big tobacco companies in, and let them teach the kids the meaning of respect for those who choose the nicotine lifestyle.

Yes, it all does make very good sense. It is indeed a very diverse and multifaceted world out there. We dare not keep our little tykes in the dark about all sorts of lifestyle choices. So bring on the arsonists, racists, polluters and sexists. After all, they really do help to make our world so wonderfully diverse. We dare not be exclusive of anyone or any lifestyle.

Of course, the above passage is meant to highlight the fact that some ideas are just plain stupid and deserve to be treated as such. Obviously, all people deserve respect, but that does not mean that any and every alternative lifestyle must be crammed down the throats of toddlers. While people can and do choose their lifestyles, these lifestyles should not be force-fed upon our hapless children.

Media complicity

This incredible story first broke in the Sunday Herald Sun (June 4) and the next day Channel 7's Today Tonight also ran the story. The short segment on Channel 7 was introduced by Naomi Robson as possibly another example of PC going overboard. But the actual story itself was much less critical. Indeed, Vicki Harding seemed to get at least four chances to speak, while a conservative talking head (myself) was given just two.

Strange, but when I was introduced, I was called "deeply religious" and part of the Australian Family Association. They got it wrong on the latter, as I twice told them I was secretary of the Family Council of Victoria. And why the religious bit? What was the need for that? I do not recall Ms Harding being introduced with the words, "a deeply irreligious" person.

So it seems that Seven was intent on making me look like the bad guy, and wanted to pin me down with some religious tag, even though I said nothing religious throughout the interview, and was speaking on behalf of the FCV. But if you can be pegged as religious, that means your views can simply be discounted. You are just some religious nut.

But if that is the case, then so too are the vast majority of Australians - just another example of the secular media doing a hatchet job on religion.

The story was less than balanced in other ways. Parents at a Melbourne primary school were also interviewed, and asked their opinion on the ban proposal. In the story it was said that the parents were divided on the issue. Thus one parent was shown to be in favour of the ban, along with one parent opposed to it.

Yet, when the reporter spoke to me (having just come from the school), she told me that the majority of parents were clearly against the idea. Amazing what a little bit of television editing can do to change a story.


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