Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Declining Reputation Of Affirmative Action

Post below recycled from Discriminations. See the original for links

Missouri, you will recall, is the state where obstructionism by the Democratic Secretary of State and Attorney General, later declared illegal, and thuggish intimidation of petition signers succeeded in keeping the Missouri Civil Rights Initiative off the ballot this year.

It is easy to understand why supporters of racial preferences were so afraid to give citizens the opportunity to enshrine the "without regard" principle of colorblind equality into their state constitution. Racial preferences are so unpopular that there is no doubt about how citizens would vote, if allowed to by their Democratic office-holders.

Indeed, as I have commented before, racial preferences are so unpopular thats the term "affirmative action," usually thought to be more appealing (because it obscures the actual nature of preference policies) is itself rapidly coming into disrepute. As I noted (here) last month: The Kansas City, Kansas, Community College (KCKCC) is launching a new program to hire minorities, but for some reason it is reluctant to call this program "affirmative action."
Kansas City Kansas Community College announced this week they would actively seek qualified minorities to fill open positions at the college.... However, college staff stopped short of referring to the plan as "affirmative action." "We can only hire individuals for these jobs if vacancies are available," said Leota Marks, dean of human resources at the college. "We are not setting quotas and we're not planning to hire someone who is qualified just because they are a minority or female. But we know we have to take some affirmative steps and develop a diversified workforce."
Dean Marks, it seems, defines "affirmative action" as a program that sets quotas to hire people "just because they are a minority or female" for openings that do not exist. And people wonder why it's unpopular....

Lest you think the above view of affirmative action (by someone who both practices and supports it) is unique, note than now another official at another Missouri college has taken great pains to deny that his affirmative action policies are ... affirmative action policies. In doing so he once again unwittingly reveals the growing perception of what "affirmative action" entails. Lincoln Scott, Assistant to the President for Diversity and Equal Opportunity at Southeast Missouri State University, has been in charge of recruiting more minority faculty.
At conferences and through existing faculty, Scott identified people who would be good fits. He spent hours on the phone. Eventually the university paid to fly in five people. They were shown the community and introduced to faculty members. "I don't want to use the expression `wine and dine,' but I gave them a good time," Scott said. The participants were encouraged to apply. Four out of five were hired....

Scott is quick to point out the none of the filled faculty positions were affirmative action positions. "We had jobs, we needed them filled, and we hired qualified people," he said.
Scott thus lets slip that an "affirmative action position" is one where no real vacancy exists; it is created in order to allow the hiring of a minority. Another reason Southeast Missouri's new faculty were not "affirmative action" hires is that they were all "qualified." That says volumes about how "affirmative action" is now understood, even by its supporters.

When talk is not cheap

At the end of the week, Saeed Jalili, Iran's nuclear negotiator, is scheduled to arrive in Geneva for yet another round of talks with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. It is unclear what the two have to discuss.

On July 4, the Iranians sent their written response to the West's latest offer to appease them. In and of itself, the offer, made by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany and communicated to Iran by Solana, constituted a major achievement for the Iranians. It promised civilian nuclear power plants, economic assistance, new airplanes, agricultural assistance, hi-tech transfers and a freeze on the expansion of economic sanctions against the nuclear-weapons-seeking mullocracy. In exchange for all of that, the Iranians weren't even required to end their uranium enrichment activities. To get the ball of concessions rolling, all the Iranians needed to do was promise not to expand their current enrichment activities.

If Iran were ever even remotely interested in reaching a deal with the international community, this was the deal it would have taken. For the unspoken subtext of the agreement was that the international community is willing to accept a nuclear armed Iran in exchange for the mere appearance of Iranian willingness to bow to international pressure. As David Albright, president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security, explained to Newsweek last week, at their current, known level of uranium enrichment the Iranians are producing 1.2 kg. of enriched uranium a day. And at this enrichment level, they will be able to produce a nuclear bomb by next year. So the international community's willingness to accept continued Iranian uranium enrichment at current levels is a clear signal of the international community's willingness to accept a nuclear-armed Iran.

And yet, that offer still wasn't good enough for the Iranians. Their written response didn't even discuss the issue of uranium enrichment. They just asked for more concessions in exchange for nothing. And now they believe that their "counterproposal" should form the basis of this week's round of discussions.

As Iran submitted its response to the offer, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei dispatched his foreign policy adviser Ali Akbar Velayati to the media to discuss Iran's interest in accepting the West's offer. The Western media and some EU officials were so thrilled by the gesture that the immediate coverage of Iran's response lent the impression that Iran had in fact accepted the offer.

IT WAS only two days later, after those same officials sat down and read what the Iranians wrote that they realized that they had been tricked. And just to be sure that there was no residual optimism, senior Iranian leaders like President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Foreign Minister Manoushehr Mottaki stated clearly that they would never accept any deal that places limitations on their uranium enrichment.

After verbally snuffing out all hopes for an agreement, Iran proceeded to show off its military prowess by testing ballistic missiles last week and augmenting those tests with verbal threats to destroy Israel and attack all US bases in the Middle East.

And still despite all of this, Solana looks forward to his meetings this Saturday with Jalili with hope for an accommodation. After Iran rejected a deal that effectively offered it acceptance as a nuclear-armed state, he still believes that the best way to deal with Iran's clear intention to acquire and use nuclear weapons is to offer it membership in the World Trade Organization.

Solana's unshakeable faith that Iran can be appeased is to be expected. After all, Solana was on the first flight to Teheran to begin negotiating with the mullahs the minute that Iran's nuclear program was exposed five years ago. And he's been running the talks ever since - first for France, Germany and Britain, and then starting last May, for the US as well. Solana cannot acknowledge that the talks have failed. He is too personally invested in them to admit that Iran has been using him as the diplomatic fig leaf behind which it has pushed forward with its nuclear bomb program.

SOLANA IS a perfect example of why the oft repeated policy mantra "there's never any harm in talking" is incorrect. The basic idea behind that assertion is that negotiations can never cause damage, they can only do good - by resolving a conflict without being forced to resort to force. But they can and often do cause tremendous harm - and to the wrong side.

If Europe's initial justification for negotiating with Iran was that it wished to convince Iran to give up its nuclear weapons program, over time that justification gave way to a more basic justification - to deny that the talks had failed. That is, after it became clear that the talks would not succeed in engendering a change in Iran's behavior, the parties involved changed their focus from Iran to themselves. The talks were about them. And if the talks failed, it wasn't because Iran refused to listen to reason. It was because the West hadn't given it a good enough offer. So just by engaging Iran and its ilk, these Westerners were transformed from Western representatives to the Iranian regime to advocates of the Iranian regime in the West.

As a result it has become nearly impossible to have coherent discussion about the Iranian nuclear program. For when the "experts" are called to tell us how to proceed in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, they instead exhort us to engage at ever higher levels with the Iranians in order to show them our good intentions toward them.

And of course, it isn't only Iran that is benefitting from the West's false belief in the harmlessness of negotiations. Iran's proxies in Syria and Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority are also prospering thanks to the West's belief that negotiations can only do good.

THE LATEST display of this Western preference for the pomp of accommodation over the responsibility of confrontation was French President Nicolas Sarkozy's Mediterranean summit in Paris this week. The purpose of the parley, which Sarkozy has been trying to organize since entering office last May, was to project himself as a global leader in international affairs and to project France as an important country in Europe and throughout the world.

Although the summit - like the Barcelona and Madrid summits before it - was officially focused on building economic cooperation among the countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea and Europe, its actual purpose was to propel France to the position of peacemaker between Israel and its neighbors, and specifically between Israel and Syria. And to do this, the success or failure of the entire conference was contingent upon Syrian President Bashar Assad's willingness to participate and sit in the same room as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.

To bring Syria on board, Sarkozy was compelled to accept the Assad regime as legitimate. And to do this, he needed to ignore the nature of the new Lebanese government, Syria's role in establishing it, Syria's support for terrorism, its feudal relationship with Iran and its role in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri and a host of anti-Syrian Lebanese parliamentarians and journalists over the past three years.

Last Friday, just ahead of the Paris summit, Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora announced that he had formed his new, Hizbullah-controlled government. Saniora was compelled to abdicate control over Lebanon to Iran's foreign legion as a result of Hizbullah's violent takeover of the country in May. And Hizbullah justified its coup by noting that Saniora's pro-democracy March 14 movement in the Lebanese parliament had failed to elect a new president to replace Emil Lahoud, who completed his term last November. Of course, Saniora only failed to elect a new president because Syria and Hizbullah had murdered so many March 14 movement members of parliament that he no longer had enough votes to elect a candidate without Hizbullah's approval.

After Saniora announced his new Iranian-controlled government, Assad was quick to announce that he would be opening a Syrian embassy in Beirut for the first time ever. Assad's announcement was greeted with glee in the Elysee Palace and throughout the West. It was perceived as Syria's first acknowledgement of Lebanese sovereignty. But this is a false perception.

Syria's announcement was not a sign of moderation by Damascus but a sign of radicalization. Syria has not accepted Lebanon's sovereignty. It has accepted Iranian dominion over Lebanon. And in accepting Iran's control of Lebanon, Assad effectively acknowledged that today Syria is nothing more than Iran's Arab vassal state.

Rather than stand up for Lebanon in its hour of need, Sarkozy joined forces with the Bush administration and the Olmert-Livni-Barak government and pretended that Saniora and his pro-democracy forces are still in charge of the country. He pressured Israel to give Mt. Dov to Iranian-controlled Lebanon in spite of the fact that the territory is both vital to Israel's security and is part of the Golan Heights. And rather than boycott Syria for its role in destroying Lebanon, Sarkozy chose to embrace Assad as a peacemaker.

By doing all of this, Sarkozy argued he would place himself in a position of acting as an honest broker in talks between Israel and Syria. But of course like Solana in his constant struggle to find the right mix of concessions to convince Iran to only enrich small quantities of uranium, so Sarkozy's concessions to Syria served only to embolden Assad still further.

Assad agreed to come to Paris. But he refused to have anything to do with Olmert. And then, once he arrived in Paris, he gave an interview to Al-Jazeera explaining that he wouldn't sign a peace treaty with Israel even if it gives him the entire Golan Heights. As far as he is concerned, Israel has no right to expect him to normalize relations. And of course Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Fatah al-Islam and all the rest of the terror groups living in Damascus are simply "resistance" groups and perfectly legitimate. And by the way, Iran, he assured us, is not developing nuclear bombs to the best of his knowledge.

So in exchange for recognizing the new Iranian-controlled regime in Lebanon and embracing Syria to the bosom of civilized nations, Sarkozy provided Assad with an international bullhorn to oppose everything that Sarkozy claims to be interested in achieving. But now that he's embraced engagement as his chosen strategy for dealing with Syria and Lebanon, he can do nothing but proceed with what he started. And so he committed himself to paying a state visit to Damascus by September.

Neither Sarkozy nor Solana are at all unique. Their associates in Europe, Olmert and his ministers, the State Department and most US political leaders support negotiating with rogue regimes that refuse to agree to anything except the West's need to make more concessions to them. And all of them, at a certain point, have claimed that those negotiations mustn't be endangered by more confrontational policies that might actually have a chance of advancing their national interests.


CA voters given chance to ban same-sex 'marriage'

CA black robes say proposed constitutional amendment will be on ballot

The state Supreme Court in California is allowing voters this November to consider a plan to define marriage as one man and one woman, a move that could overturn that same court's ruling in May that same-sex duos should be recognized as "married."

Jennifer Kerns, communications director for Protect, which collected more than 1.1 million signatures on petitions in support of the vote, confirmed that the high court today simply dismissed the pending challenge to having Proposition 8 on the ballot. "Obviously, the Supreme Court decision delivers a significant blow to our opponents," she told WND. "It does send a very strong message to our opponents that they won't be able to evade democracy which is what they've been trying to do by going to the court system. "They've been trying to keep the ballot issue away from the people of California," she said. "The people of California, back in 2000, by more than a 61 percent majority, upheld the definition of marriage [as one man and one woman]. I believe they will do so again."

Last month Liberty Counsel filed a motion to intervene in the case, asking the court to let the people vote on the marriage amendment. Liberty Counsel represents the Campaign for Children and Families and several individuals. The court action had been brought by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and several other groups against California Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who already had certified the amendment for the ballot.

The amendment states: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California," and if it is passed, it will nullify the 4-3 ruling of the California Supreme Court issued on May 15 and would ban same-sex marriage in California.

According to Liberty Counsel, "The same-sex marriage advocates were seeking to remove the amendment from the November ballot, erroneously arguing that 'the rules for revising the California Constitution were not properly followed.' Their brief claimed that an initiative was not enough to put the amendment on the ballot, since it must also be approved by two-thirds of the legislature. The suit also alleged that petitions for the initiative, which were circulated prior to the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, were misleading because they stated the amendment would not change existing law and would not have a financial impact on the state."

"If the people have an opportunity to participate in the democratic process, they will vote for marriage as one man and one woman," said Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel. "Those who push for same-sex marriage are willing to destroy both marriage and democracy to achieve a selfish result. Marriage between a man and a woman is best for our children and for our country."

California voters, long pushed by homosexual activists to legalize same-sex "marriage," in 2000 voted to establish the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman. However, the state Supreme Court opinion in May overturned that vote of the people - which was established only in law, not in the constitution. The actual "ceremonies" between same-sex duos were launched in June. But the new amendment would establish the one-man-one-woman definition in the state constitution, beyond the reach of activist judges.

Staver told WND earlier those who opposed the issue being presented to the people were out of line. "They're suggesting the Supreme Court can rewrite the entire institution of marriage, but people can't amend the Constitution to go back to its historical definition," Staver said. "It's absolutely ridiculous to argue that courts can turn society upside down in 30 days, but the people have no right to define it."

Ron Prentice, chairman of the Executive Committee, previously told WND, "The people's overwhelming support to protect the longstanding meaning of marriage as between a man and a woman has been staggering. The California Marriage Amendment will allow the people of California, not politicians or judges, to reaffirm the definition of marriage by placing it in the Constitution."

Of 28 states where such an amendment has been considered, voters in 27 states - all but Arizona - have passed the amendment. A Los Angeles Times poll recently reported 54 percent of Californians polled supported the amendment, while 35 percent opposed it. A simple majority of the vote is needed to add Proposition 8 to the California Constitution.


Western society's war within is well advanced in Britain

It may begin with a chuckle, but it could easily end in tears. At least, if we are not careful. One may be tempted to scoff at the demand to legalise polygamy made recently by Khalil Chami of Sydney's Islamic Welfare Centre. But with the recent announcement by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams that the adoption of sharia law in Britain seems unavoidable, the joke may turn out to be on us.

Britain provides an instructive lesson on the interaction between increasingly radicalised sections of the Muslim diaspora community and its Western host society. From Dundee to Dover, traditional British values, already weakened to the point of collapse by a decades-long elite infatuation with mushy multiculturalism and cultural relativism, cannot provide resistance against the growing tide of extreme demands by radical self-styled community spokesmen.

The same way that the claim of racism has been used to shut down any debate on cultural identity, immigration and social cohesion, so is Islamophobia increasingly used to silence dissent. To merely raise certain issues is to give offence, and offending sensibilities is a hanging offence in our postmodern times.

While radicals agitate, a politically correct establishment, at pains to prove how enlightened and tolerant it is, even if it means tolerating the intolerance of others, usually stands on the sidelines, if not actively cheering on another challenge to the ostensibly oppressive, hegemonic Western culture and polity.

In January last year, Britain's Channel 4 television broadcast a documentary on jihadi incitement in mosques throughout England. The material revealed by this undercover investigative report was quite incendiary in nature. One Saudi-trained imam called for British Muslims to "dismantle democracy" by "living as a state within a state" until they are "strong enough to take it over". Another Islamic radical praised the Taliban for killing British soldiers and argued that women who declined to wear the burka should be beaten into submission.

After the program was aired, British authorities wasted no time springing into action. The West Midlands Police lodged criminal charges, not against the extremist imams but against the TV network. Responding to a complaint by the Muslim Association of Britain, the police accused Channel 4 of inciting racial hatred by means of an ostensibly distorted documentary that demonised Islam. When the Crown Prosecution Service ultimately declined to pursue the matter, police referred the complaint to the British government broadcast oversight agency, OFCOM.

Earlier this year, an officer from the Wiltshire Police ordered a motorist to remove England's flag of St George from his automobile because it was "racist towards immigrants".

Stand-up comedian Ben Elton recently asserted that fear of "provoking the radical elements of Islam" caused the BBC to censor jokes about Muslim clerics. "There's no doubt about it," Elton said, "the BBC will let vicar gags pass but they would not let imam gags pass."

This comes on the heels of a legion of other examples of often pre-emptive surrenders to yet unvoiced radical demands, such as some British banks withdrawing toy piggy banks or public institutions turning Christmas into an amorphous Winter Festival, all for the fear of offending Muslim sensibilities.

All this is rather ironic, since under the twin dogmas of multiculturalism and cultural relativism, all cultures and beliefs are meant to be equal. Like George Orwell's animals, however, some seem to be more equal than others. Commitment to cultural diversity all too often seems to disguise contempt for the dominant national culture that historically bound the society. No wonder such large sections of the British establishment don't offer any resistance to the claims of fundamentalist radicals.

The case against Channel 4 was ultimately dismissed and the broadcaster won a $200,000 civil judgment against the West Midlands Police. But even if sanity prevailed after much time and expense, the totalitarian echoes of this affair clearly have a chilling effect on freedom of expression. While a TV network has the requisite resources to wage a vigorous legal defence, less well-heeled victims of the thought police would be in real strife.

All this is worrying to the silent majority of Muslims who are not interested in political agitation but simply want to rear their families in peace, freedom and prosperity, so often lacking in countries where they or their ancestors have come from. It's hard to blame the moderates within the Muslim community for not speaking out more against the extremists when they see the establishment and the authorities so often and so easily buckling to radicals.



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, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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