Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Queer judge blames Christians for spreading AIDS!

How offensive and perverse! Article below by Michael Kirby, a retired Australian High Court judge who is openly homosexual. Christians are like Apartheid practitioners according to His Honour.

Instead of blaming Christians, might it not be a more productive strategy in the fight against AIDS to dissuade homosexual penises from entering homosexual anuses?

In 2010 Bishop Desmond Tutu, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town, South Africa declared that the time had come, particularly for Africans, to stop the “wave of hate” and to stand up “against wrong”.

He was referring to the wrong to “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people” who are “part of the African family” and who “are living in fear.”

This news from Africa would be bad enough. But the same fear extends far beyond that continent. And in the struggle against HIV/AIDS, which has afflicted humanity since the 1980s, the vulnerable are not only gays but also sex workers, injecting drug users (IDUs) and women.

This fear exists in many countries where, despite the knowledge that science now affords us about human sexuality, irrational hatred of sexual minorities and sexual activities is encouraged and even sometimes promoted by religious leaders, in supposed reliance upon their understandings of religious texts.

They rely on their imperfect understanding of what was written in ancient books long before Dr. Alfred Kinsey, American biologist and founder of the Institute of Sex Research, demonstrated the realities of human sexual experience, the frequency and variety of its manifestations, and the dangers and injustice of punishing people for adult, private, consensual sexual conduct. [Relying on the perverted Kinsey and his discredited "research" shows the intellectual shallowness of Judge Kirby]

Most religious people are good and kind. Love for one another exists as a basic tenet in all religions and all cultures. I have myself been brought up in religious faith. I honour brothers and sisters in all religions who are struggling to make a charitable, informed and unbiased contribution to the global struggle against HIV/AIDS.

However, officially the Roman Catholic and Greek and Orthodox Christian churches are still in serious denial about the scientific evidence available about human sexuality. As they have often been in denial about science and its teachings in the past.

Just as they originally denied the opinions of Galileo and Copernicus that the earth circled the sun. And as they, and the Anglican Church, originally denied Darwin’s thesis of evolution of the species, expounded 150 years ago.

Clutching onto imperfect understandings of ancient scripture, leaders of most of the spiritual faiths, instead of re-examining their holy texts by reference to science (as they did in other instances in the past), have adopted a new, irrational approach.

In other parts of the world, the hate may not always be so intense. But the stigma over sexual conduct that is often taught by religious people cannot be accepted any longer. It is now a major cause of death in the AIDS epidemic.

It has to stop. Not only because it is immoral, conflicted, irrational and wrong. But also because it is now seriously impeding the global struggle against HIV and AIDS for the saving of lives. The magnitude of the suffering demands blunt speaking at this time.

As Bishop Tutu has said: “All of us, especially Africans, need access to essential HIV services…Show me where Christ said ‘Love thy fellow man, except for the gay ones’. Gay people too are made in my God’s image. I would never worship a homophobic God.

Rightly, Bishop Tutu has drawn a parallel between the earlier, successful, global struggle against racial apartheid and the present global struggle against sexual apartheid. To the moral struggle against sexual apartheid must now be added the urgent needs of the struggle against HIV and AIDS.


Britain returning to its old measurements

About time too. You don't make decimal point mistakes with Imperial measurements

Strawberries will be sold by the pound on supermarket shelves again today as the clock is turned back for shoppers who prefer old-style weights. Asda is to sell 1lb punnets of strawberries for the first time in 16 years to gauge shopper demand ahead of a potential roll-out of imperial measurements to other fruit and vegetables. The punnets will display both imperial and metric weight labels.

The move follows consumer research which found that 70 per cent of the supermarket’s shoppers were confused by metric and would prefer products to be labelled in pounds.

Around 20 per cent said they took longer to shop because they spent time translating metric into imperial.

‘No one wants to order a litre of beer in the pub, so why do we have to buy 453.39g of strawberries?’ Asda strawberry buyer Andy Jackson told trade magazine The Grocer.

Consumers had the right to see both types of measurement on their groceries, according to John Gardner, director at the British Weights and Measures Association. All packs have to display metric weights, but imperial can be used as a ‘supplementary indication’, since an EU law change in 2007.

Asda said it may extend pounds and ounces to other fruit and vegetable if the trial was successful.


The Left ignores the truly oppressed

By Barry Cohen (Barry is a former member of an Australian Labor Party government and one of my favourite people)

FREEDOM is not something that occupies the minds of most Australians for they have always had it. It has, however, gained a new lease of life in the Middle East where only one of the 18 countries in the region has ever experienced freedom. This must come as a shock to the motley collection of left-wing academics, students, trade unionists, journalists and the idiot brigade that controls Sydney's Marrickville council.

One institution that was not surprised was a body formed in New York in 1941 to fight Nazism, fascism, communism and totalitarianism in all its forms - Freedom House. From its birth, Freedom House illustrated its independence by having as its co-founders Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband's Republican opponent in the 1940 presidential election, Wendell Willkie.

It has continued to devote its resources to monitoring and measuring political rights and civil liberties on a global basis. Factors taken into account are free and fair elections, freedom of association, freedom from domination by the military, foreign powers, religious hierarchies, freedom of speech, free trade unions, the rule of law and the basic human rights that democracies throughout the world take for granted.

In 1973, Freedom House began its annual survey that rates every country according to a series of freedom indicators. The survey has a seven-point scale for both political rights and civil liberties with one being the best and seven the worst. The average determines the overall status with the free scoring 1 to 2.5, the partly free 3 to 5.0 and those countries who are not free scoring 5.5 to 7.0.

The organisation's most recent report Freedom In The World, 2011 - The Authoritarian Challenge To Democracy, was scathing in its comments on the backward movement in China (the appalling treatment of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo); Egypt (Hosni Mubarak's 95 per cent vote in his last election); Belarus (Alexander Lukashenko's 80 per cent vote in its election); Venezuela (pretty well everything); Russia (corruption, arrest and murder of journalists, activists and those opposing the government and the sentencing of regime critic and former oil magnate Mikhail Khordorovsky).

The regional pattern of freedom makes for interesting reading. In the Americas 24 (69 per cent) are free, 10 (29 per cent) are partly free and one (3 per cent) is not free. In Western Europe 24 (96 per cent) are free, one (4 per cent) is partly free and none is not free.

In the Asia-Pacific 16 (41 per cent) countries are free, 15 (38 per cent) are partly free, and eight (21 per cent) are not free. In Central and East Europe/former Soviet Union 13 (45 per cent) countries are free, nine (31 per cent) partly free and seven (24 per cent) are not free.

In the Middle East and north Africa only one (6 per cent) country is free, three (17 per cent) are partly free and 14 (78 per cent) are not free. In sub-Saharan Africa nine (19 per cent) countries are free, 22 (46 per cent) are partly free and 17 (35 per cent) are not free.

The figures illustrate that freedom is very strong in the Americas and western Europe, where only one country is classified as not free, in contrast with the tyranny that reigns throughout the Middle East where only one country is considered free - Israel. Sub-Saharan Africa with 17 countries out of 48 that are not free is better, but only just.

The terms used to describe the three categories are a little insipid. They don't come close to describing the appalling oppression that rules most Middle Eastern and sub-Saharan countries where elections are rigged, dissidents are persecuted, jailed, tortured and often executed. The executive, without the rule of law, has total control of its citizens resulting in regimes where women are treated as 10th-rate citizens, homosexuals and adulterers are often executed and corruption is rife. Westerners find it impossible to imagine what life is like in such brutal regimes.

What is bizarre is that the United Nations not only ignores the absence of basic human rights in these countries but has devoted more than half of its condemnatory resolutions (more than 400) to one country - Israel.

Forty seven out of 194 rated not free is bad enough but it gets worse. Freedom House now has two "unofficial" sub-categories: the worst of the worst - Belarus, Chad, China, the Ivory Coast, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, South Ossetia, Syria and Western Sahara - and the worst of the worst of the worst - North Korea, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Libya, Sudan, Burma, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Somalia and Tibet (under Chinese jurisdiction). These are vile, thuggish regimes who brutally oppress their own people with but one goal - to stay in power. They don't tolerate genuine elections for if they did they would be out on their ear. Those who have defended or ignored this thuggery are now doing the greatest volte face in history as one country after the other in the Middle East rebels against dictatorships.

Which begs the question. Why did they remain silent all those years? How did the "geniuses" in our universities, the media, trade unions and politics get conned by the propaganda of the Palestinians and their Arab cohorts? Was it stupidity, ideology and bribery or just the latest fad of the cafe latte set who searched to find something to replace their love affair with the Soviet Union and its satraps when they collapsed in 1989? Many gravitated towards the Greens as another means of attacking capitalism.

How could those who claim to be committed to propagating basic human rights close their eyes to the denial of them in 47 countries and concentrate their efforts on the one country where such rights exist? Their hypocrisy is breathtaking. If they were serious about alleviating the plight of the oppressed they would have been equally loud in their condemnation of the 47 countries that are not free.

Those involved in the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israel will tell you that the dispute is different and complex. It is nothing of the sort. The day the Arab/Muslim countries accept Israel's right to exist and end their oft-repeated goal of destroying Israel will be the day when there is genuine peace in the Middle East.

To pretend the proposals being put forward by the Palestinians and their supporters are a peaceful solution is ignorance, stupidity or blatant anti-semitism. Solve that problem and they can then turn their attention to the 47 countries that have no basic human rights.


Sexist French politicians 'in trouble' over treatment of women

France's male politicians are becoming increasingly anxious about their futures after one female minister warned half of the country's male MPs were potentially "in trouble" due to their treatment of women.

Still reeling from the arrest of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief, on sexual assault charges, France's political class was struck by a fresh sex scandal on Sunday with the resignation of Georges Tron, the public works minister accused of molesting two former female staff members.

The massage enthusiast's "foot fetish", which two ex-town hall employees in their thirties claim morphed into full-blown abuse, has sparked a backlash from France's embattled female politicians. They are calling for an end to the "French exception" of "everyday machismo" among male peers often bordering on harassment.

"I think that there are a lot of (male politicians) who must be a touch stressed right now," warned Rachida Dati, the former justice minister and fallen star of President Nicolas Sarkozy's cabinet whose love of designer clothes received as much coverage as her policies in France.

Miss Dati was herself the butt of countless sexist jokes after using the word "fellatio" instead of "inflation" in a recent interview. She ruffled male reactionaries by refusing to name the father of her child and returning to work just five days after giving birth.

"Many will be looking at their shoes and saying to themselves: 'I hope to goodness we can move on to something else,'" the euro MP and mayor of Paris' 7th arrondissement said.

Sexism in France's National Assembly has got so bad that Chantal Jouanno, the sports minister and a former French Karate champion, said she can no longer turn up to parliament in a skirt without a volley of cat calls.

One female cabinet minister said that male politicians were so incorrigible that "if all those who mix power and sex had to account for their actions, half of our (male) politicians would be in trouble".

A Socialist woman MP said that when she turned up in tight-fitting clothes to a parliamentary commission, a male MP from Mr Sarkozy's UMP party exclaimed: "Dressed like that, don't be surprised if you get raped." "A kind of infantilisation of women reigns in parliament that I had never seen before," said Sandrine Mazetier, Socialist MP for Paris."

The trigger for the backlash was the arrest of Mr Strauss-Kahn, a former French presidential hopeful, who faces charges of sexually assaulting and attempting to rape a New York chambermaid.

"This scandal will do more for feminism than all the articles of law," predicted Chantal Brunel, who leads France's gender parity watchdog.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Monday, May 30, 2011

Amusing furore: Psychology Today Apologizes for 'Black Women Less Attractive' Post

The data must say what we want it to say, apparently‏. This is an old, old story in the social sciences. If you don't like a set of findings, you can always criticize the study in some way. Nothing can be proved finally. Only intellectual honesty can lead to a conclusion that a finding is most probably correct. And intellectual honesty will go down to political correctness almost always

The disgrace in this case is that the furore was motivated by the desirability of the conclusions, not by the facts presented. The reality that successful black men like Tiger Woods and Michael Jackson chose white lovers must not be mentioned, of course

Earlier this month, the popular magazine Psychology Today published an article by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa titled “Why Are Black Women Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women?" that was met, expectedly, with mass outrage. The article used data based on another study to make several claims such as "black women are objectively less physically attractive than other women" yet "subjectively consider themselves to be far more physically attractive than others."

After some attempted editing of the title, the magazine retracted the post from its website in its entirety. Kanazawa in turn is facing an investigation by the London School of Economics, where he is a professor, after a unanimous vote for his dismissal by the student union.

Contributing writers to Psychology Today moved quickly to do some damage control. Dr. Kaufman, in his blog for the magazine "Beautiful Minds," wrote a post re-analyzing Kanazawa's data.

We retrieved the data from Add Health on which Satoshi Kanazawa based his conclusions to see whether his results hold up to scrutiny... Kanazawa mentions several times that his data on attractiveness are scored "objectively"... [However] the low convergence of ratings finding suggests that in this very large and representative dataset, beauty is mostly in the eye of the beholder.

Because raters differ strongly in terms of how they rate... this source of variation needs to be taken into account when testing for average race differences in ratings of attractiveness. Kanazawa does not indicate that he did so.

Moreover, Kaufman noted that "the majority of [Kanazawa's] data were based on the ratings of attractiveness of the participants when they were teenagers." When the data was stratified based on age, he concluded that "as adults, Black Women in North America are not rated less attractive by interviewers of the Add health study."

In another post on magazine's website, Dr. Stanton Peele leveled his criticism at the field of evolutionary psychology as a whole.

[T]he logic underlying [Kanazawa's] racism is exactly that which drives the field -- i.e., there are biological imperatives that determine social behavior, attitudes, and undeniable human reality... [But] the only inevitabilities are (a) in Kanazwa's head and (b) ev psych's fantasy version of the human species as the end result of a deterministic evolutionary process that makes people think and act in the ways they say people must -- that is, according to their own preferred prejudices (like Kanazawa's ideal woman -- who is NOT African-American!).

However, many were still waiting for a direct response from the magazine, who, according to Stanton, "is probably the most popular PT blogger." Considering the level of outrage, the apology was some time coming. Kaja Perina, the Editor-in-Chief, issued the following statement on Friday:

Last week, a blog post about race and appearance by Satoshi Kanazawa was published--and promptly removed--from this site. We deeply apologize for the pain and offense that this post caused. Psychology Today's mission is to inform the public, not to provide a platform for inflammatory and offensive material. Psychology Today does not tolerate racism or prejudice of any sort. The post was not approved by Psychology Today, but we take full responsibility for its publication on our site. We have taken measures to ensure that such an incident does not occur again. Again, we are deeply sorry for the hurt that this post caused.

However, there was no word on whether the magazine will continue to publish articles by Kanazawa. He has not published on entry on his blog since the one removed, although there is no indication that the blog will be terminated.


Two thirds of British serial criminals dodge jail: Thousands with 15 convictions or more 'let off' with fines or community service

Nearly two thirds of criminals avoid jail despite amassing at least 15 convictions, shocking figures show. Instead of being put behind bars, more than 62,000 offenders were given lesser punishments, such as community service or a fine, last year.

More than 4,000 walked out of court with only a caution. The figures reveal that serial offenders are less likely to be given a jail sentence today than at any time in the past decade.

And they further raise concerns that career criminals, including drug dealers and burglars, are getting only a ‘slap on the wrist’.

Tory MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘Many of my constituents are losing faith in the criminal justice system because – as these figures show – even when people have become habitual offenders they are not actually brought to justice. ‘The criminal justice system simply doesn’t administer what my constituents regard as justice.

‘If the Government wants to claim to be a government that puts victims and the law-abiding first, it urgently and desperately needs to take action on this.’

The figures showed a total of 96,710 criminals sentenced last year for more serious ‘indictable’ offences had 15 or more previous crimes against their name. They included violent muggers, burglars and drug dealers.

Of those, only 36 per cent – around 34,600 offenders – were given immediate custody. That means around 62,100 were given other sentences.

Of that total, 8,200 were given suspended sentences, leaving them on the streets unless they committed other crimes. More than one in five were handed community service and 16 per cent – around 15,000 offenders – were fined. One in ten was given a conditional discharge.

The figures also showed that 4,340 criminals were given a caution for their most recent offence despite 15 or more previous offences. In 2004, the custody rate for offenders after 15 or more crimes was 42 per cent.

Blair Gibbs, head of crime and justice at the Policy Exchange think-tank, said: ‘Most people would expect a serial offender with over a dozen previous convictions to be sent to prison, if only to protect the public and give communities some respite.

‘We need to cut reoffending rates but we also need to protect the public by ensuring that those prolific offenders who keep committing crime are locked up.

‘Over the last decade, sentences got longer in law but shorter in practice and more repeat offenders were diverted on to ineffective community sentences instead of going to prison.’

Justice Secretary Ken Clarke wants to cut the number of prison places by 3,000 over the next four years, to save millions from the justice budget. But he has faced a backlash from right-wing Tories concerned about the party’s reputation on law and order.

Ministers have faced criticism for cuts to policing and criminal justice of 20 per cent or more, while aid spending is increased.

But Mr Clarke has insisted cuts are necessary and has pledged to toughen up community sentences. He also wants to start a ‘rehabilitation revolution’ in prisons to turn offenders away from crime. Currently three out of four offenders return to crime within nine years.

Mr Clarke will use private and charity groups, paid by results, in an effort to stop the ‘revolving door’ justice system.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: ‘We are clear that the justice system will continue to protect the public by locking up serious and dangerous criminals. ‘Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for our independent courts, as only they have the full facts in front of them.

‘These statistics highlight that the number of criminals committing multiple crimes has nearly doubled in the last decade. This underlines why it is so important to focus on taking a new approach specifically designed to tackle reoffending, and so cut crime.

‘The consultation on our proposals for doing this has closed and we will be publishing our final response shortly.’


'Bradford is very inbred': Muslim outrage as British professor warns first-cousin marriages increase risk of birth defects

Inbreeding among British Muslims is threatening the health of their children, a leading geneticist warned yesterday. Professor Steve Jones, from University College London, said the common practice in Islamic communities for cousins to marry each other increased the risk of birth defects.

‘There may be some evidence that cousins marrying one another can be harmful,’ he told an audience at the Hay Festival. ‘We should be concerned about that as there can be a lot of hidden genetic damage. Children are much more likely to get two copies of a damaged gene. ‘Bradford is very inbred. There is a huge amount of cousins marrying each other there.’

Studies have shown that 55 per cent of British Pakistanis are married to first cousins – and in Bradford, this rises to 75 per cent. Other research has found that children of first cousins are ten times more likely to have recessive genetic disorders and face deafness, blindness and infant mortality.

But Prof Jones’s comments provoked anger among some Muslim groups yesterday. Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of the Ramadhan Foundation, which promotes the image of Muslims in Britain, said: ‘I know many Muslims who have married their cousins and none of them have had a problem with their children.

‘Obviously, we don’t want any children to be born disabled who don’t need to be born disabled, so I would advise genetic screening before first cousins marry. 'But I find Steve Jones’s comments unworthy of a professor. Using language like “inbreeding” to describe cousins marrying is completely inappropriate and further demonises Muslims.’

Concern about the risks to children from first-cousin marriage has been described as the last great taboo.

Former environment minister Phil Woolas was rebuked by Downing Street in 2008 for saying British Pakistanis are fuelling rates of birth defects by marrying their cousins, with the spokesman for then prime minister Gordon Brown saying the issue was not one for ministers to comment on.

Mohammed Saleem Khan, chief executive of the Bradford Council for Mosques, said: ‘It is important to discuss these issues, but I just do not know of any firm evidence backing up Professor Jones’s claims. I think we need more conclusive studies so we can know for certain if there is any genuine risk.

‘Marriages between cousins is certainly common within south Asia, but it is becoming less so in Britain and also in Bradford. Islam allows you to marry anyone you want, so in many ways Islam promotes diversity.’

In his talk, Prof Jones said inbreeding was not confined to Muslims, and historically had occurred in every part of society, including the royal family. He said: ‘We are all more incestuous than we realise. In Northern Ireland lots of people share the same surname, which suggests a high level of inbreeding.

‘There’s a lot of surname diversity in London but if you look at the Outer Hebrides there are rather fewer surnames in relation to the number of people.’


Australia: Children's play equipment too safe for their own good, expert warns

PLAY equipment designed by "safety Nazis" shouldn't prevent children from taking risks and enjoying themselves, a child expert has warned. More kids aged two to seven were getting injured in playgrounds because they didn't know how to take calculated risks.

A speaker at the Early Childhood Education Conference in Melbourne this week, early childhood specialist Prue Walsh said modern "plastic fantastic" playgrounds were too safe.

"Often playgrounds are designed by engineers who have no knowledge of children," she said. "Children need to actively explore and discover the world around them and to do that they need to learn to take calculated risks," she said.

Playground injuries were often a result of children being poorly co-ordinated because they did not know how to negotiate risks, Ms Walsh said. "I worry about children who don't run up slippery slides," she said.

Ms Walsh said commercial pressures, such as insurance premiums, had influenced the design of today's playgrounds. "Parents are scared of their precious children getting injured and teachers are scared of getting sued," she said.

To improve playgrounds, Ms Walsh suggested longer and bigger slides built into embankments to eliminate falls. Also, smooth boulders for balancing, shallow ponds for exploring and plenty of vegetation to provide nooks and crannies for children to crawl around.

Triple P Parenting Program founder Professor Matt Sanders said children should be in a place safe where they can have accidents and falls. "You want equipment that are in parks and children using toys that we buy to be basically safe so that kids can't be easily injured on them or accidents that easily occur," he said.

"But at the same time we should be encouraged kids to be kids and to enjoy themselves. "Exploring, climbing and experimenting is part of childhood but when it's done when adequate supervision the risks are minimal."



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Sunday, May 29, 2011

Girl risks her life to rescue woman from hoodies - as scum British police sit in their car and do nothing

A young woman told yesterday how she risked her life to stop a street robbery – while two police officers sat in their patrol car a few yards away.

Marie Wastlund, 27, was walking home from a night out when she saw three hooded thugs throttling and kicking a woman in view of the police vehicle. The student waved and shouted to get the attention of the officers – parked only 25 yards away – but they did nothing.

So she waded in herself and pulled the thugs away from their victim by their hoods – at which point they fled. Astonishingly, she then had to dial 999 to summon police help and sat cradling the distraught victim in her arms for ten minutes.

At one point the two officers got out of their car but, apparently not noticing what was going on, they got back in again. In fact, the pair only ventured out to investigate the incident when Miss Wastlund’s friend arrived and rushed over to their car and knocked on the window.

Even if the officers didn’t initially see what was happening, it was claimed they should have been alert enough to cotton on to an attack that went on for several minutes so close to their car.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary yesterday pledged a full investigation into the incident in the St Paul’s area of Bristol.

‘I was waving and shouting at them to come and help,’ said Miss Wastlund. ‘It was pretty clear something was going on in the road – anyone with half a brain could have seen something was happening. ‘They should have done something. It’s disgusting – they are paid to protect people. ‘It could have been me being attacked. It’s a scary thought that police were so close to the incident and did nothing.’

Miss Wastlund came across the robbery at 5am after a night out at a street festival. She saw two youths and one woman beating the victim who was on the ground at the side of a road. After Miss Wastlund’s screams for help went unnoticed, she grappled with the gang – all of them white and in their 20s. One of them told her the woman owed them money before running off with a small amount of her cash.

Miss Wastlund, who lives in Bristol city centre, said: ‘I realised there was no point running after them. I didn’t want to put myself in any more danger. ‘I suddenly realised that I could have been stabbed or something in trying to protect the woman. I went back to her and tried to calm her down and called the police.’

Miss Wastlund added: ‘After the gang fled I was on the floor with the victim for about ten minutes. She was crying and I was cradling her. She was in a dreadful state. ‘I couldn’t leave her to run to the police car so I dialled 999. I told them to get on the radio to that squad car straight away. ‘They did get out of the car at one point – but didn’t come over. They had probably gone off to get doughnuts or something.’

Her friend, who had also been at the festival, walked by and came over to help. ‘It was only when my friend came over that I told her to go and get them.’

The police car was parked facing away from the assault but Miss Wastlund insists officers must have seen her in their mirrors or heard her screams for help. She said: ‘There was nothing but road between the attack and the car. They were only about 25 yards away. When they finally did get out they said they had not seen anything. They are paid to be aware and look out for trouble.’

The two officers then spoke to Miss Wastlund and her friend, who asked not to be identified, before taking the victim, 29, to hospital.

Avon and Somerset police confirmed it was investigating the assault and robbery and the police reaction to the incident. Superintendent Ian Wylie said: ‘I am grateful to the witness for reporting the incident and bringing to our attention her concerns about a police car nearby. We take allegations such as these very seriously.’ [Only when newspapers make them]


Jared Loughner and our crazy system for trying the insane

The fact that a federal judge this week deemed Jared Lee Loughner incompetent to stand trial does not mean he will never face a jury. Subdued by antipsychotic drugs, the man accused of killing six people and wounding 13 outside a Tucson supermarket in January may eventually start behaving himself well enough to get through what he loudly derided as a " freak show" on Wednesday.

But by agreeing that Loughner is so "gravely mentally ill" (as his lawyers put it) that he cannot comprehend what is going on in court, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns seemed to bolster the claim that Loughner is not responsible for his actions because his disease made him kill. That insanity defense follows logically from an argument that was widely heard after the Tucson massacre: To prevent such crimes, we should make it easier to lock people up before their mental illness drives them to violence.

Both that freedom-denying prescription and the responsibility-relieving insanity defense rely on subjective, unverifiable judgments by experts who are not equipped to predict future actions or peer into past states of mind.

We should not let their pseudoscientific pronouncements replace the moral principles that tell us when it is appropriate to punish someone or deprive him of his liberty.

Under federal law, an insanity defense requires showing that the defendant "was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his acts" due to "a severe mental disease or defect." According to the diagnosis on which Burns relied, Loughner does suffer from a severe mental disease, schizophrenia, so the question becomes whether it prevented him from understanding the nature of his actions.

Since the vast majority of people diagnosed as schizophrenics never commit violent crimes, the relevance of this label in explaining Loughner's behavior or in justifying a policy of preventively detaining people like him is open to question. Yet University of Maryland political scientist William Galston says the Tucson shooting spree illustrates the need to eliminate the requirement that "seriously disturbed individuals constitute a danger to themselves or others" before they can be confined to mental hospitals. Instead, he says, "a delusional loss of contact with reality should be enough" to justify involuntary treatment.

The clear implication here is that Loughner's loss of contact with reality, as demonstrated by his weird YouTube videos and strange comments in college classes, led him to do things he otherwise would not have done.

While advocates of forcible psychiatric treatment such as Galston, syndicated columnist Mona Charen and Time essayist Joe Klein diagnosed Loughner from a distance, the government-appointed psychiatrist and psychologist who judged him too crazy for trial concurred, after five weeks of in-person evaluations, that he suffers from "delusions" and "disordered thinking" caused by schizophrenia. Yet this judgment, too, was ultimately based on the odd things Loughner said and did, not on any medical test that pinpointed an underlying defect in his brain - a defect that supposedly caused him to gather guns and ammunition, drive to the shopping center where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was meeting with constituents and methodically shoot 19 people.

If Loughner is never deemed sane enough to be tried, a jury will never have a chance to decide whether he was sane enough on Jan. 8 to be found guilty. He may instead wind up confined indefinitely to a mental hospital, the same fate that would have awaited him even if he were acquitted by reason of insanity. Either way, his uncertain legal status highlights the troubling extent to which freedom and responsibility hinge on psychiatrists' dubious claims to see into men's souls.


Block Big Brother’s Internet snoops

Online protections against the government’s unconstitutional Web searches are needed

Americans are moving more and more of our personal data onto the Internet. We send and save emails through Hotmail and Gmail. We share photos with Flickr and post videos on YouTube. We set up everything from our calendars to video rentals so they can be managed remotely from our cellphones and multiple computers.

What most Americans don’t realize is that if the government wants to read your emails, look at your pictures or gain access to any data that you have stored online for more than 180 days on sites including Yahoo! Google Docs and online backup sites, it can do so without a search warrant. Data saved online is not protected by the Fourth Amendment in the same way that information is protected if it is stored on a home computer, CD or detachable hard drive.

A new bill introduced by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, is a good step toward closing this huge loophole. The bill would extend due-process provisions against illegal wiretapping in the ancient and outdated 25-year-old Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). It would update the ECPA to include personal files and information that is stored in online data centers owned and operated by third parties, known in tech circles as the “cloud.” Under Mr. Leahy’s bill, the government would be forced to secure a warrant if it wanted access to emails or other information you have stored online.

Right now, the law only protects the privacy of data while it’s moving across the network. It leaves vulnerable any information that might be saved in the thousands of data centers nationwide. These are virtual lockboxes, with no functional distinction from a home PC disk drive, which in turn has little functional distinction from a locked desk drawer. As online services and applications evolve and become more popular, it is critical that these privacy and due-process protections extend to data saved online. Public cloud infrastructure, applications and platforms are growing rapidly. A comScore study calculated that more than 153 million people visited Web-based email providers in November 2010 alone. And the International Data Corp. found that at the end of 2010, 34 percent of Internet users stored personal pictures online, 7 percent stored personal videos, 5 percent paid to store files and 5 percent backed up their hard drives by uploading data to websites. These numbers are all expected to grow.

Today, the government can access most of that personal data without even bothering to get a search warrant. And law enforcement agencies already have shown that they will take advantage of any lack of specific constitutional safeguards to access private data. Using the Patriot Act, the FBI demanded that phone companies turn over thousands of calling records of U.S. citizens in what amounted to a fishing expedition under the guise of the war on terror. The courts found this illegal. The new bill would codify this and require federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to provide a name, address and probable cause before demanding a search warrant for private phone records. The same would apply to Internet Protocol (IP) addresses and the geolocational information that cellphones and dashboard navigational devices collect.

This protection is badly needed. At the same time, the bill could be strengthened even more if, as the American Civil Liberties Union suggests, there were stricter reporting requirements about the use of online surveillance and greater safeguards against the use of “emergency exemptions” that could undermine the bill’s aims.

The current ECPA was passed in 1986 and is in desperate need of updating. It was written when communications were mostly done over land-line phones. The Internet was just in its infancy and still unknown to most. The Fourth Amendment delineates the right of citizens to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects.” Our legal system needs to keep up with technology instead of giving government ways to use it for end runs around the Constitution.


The Mistake of Global Democratization

We are hearing a great deal about a budding “Democracy movement” spreading throughout the Middle East. Many are calling it an “Arab Spring.” The belief is that after centuries of totalitarian oppression, the Arab street is suddenly pining for more freedom; rebelling against the elitist ruling class of kings, emirs, despots and tyrants. This is most likely true for a great number of those filling the streets of Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Bahrain and myriad other Middle Eastern, predominantly Muslim nations. But there is a less than honorable component amongst the rebellion that simply waits for the “right” to a democratic vote. Contrary to how the idea of a move to Democracy presents, in the volatile Middle East there are elements in play that could make it a move in the wrong direction.

Each and every day we hear the misnomer that the United States of America is a Democracy. We hear it from the average man on the street, the mainstream media and even from those we have elected to office. But the fact of the matter is this: we are not a Democracy. We are a Constitutional Republic. A thorough and convincing exhibit of the facts surrounding this reality is presented in Notes on Democracy: And the Republic for Which It Stands. The fact that this issue is even in need of address is a scathing commentary on the constitutional illiteracy of the American electorate and serves as a sobering reminder that, often times, what sounds good – what “feels good” – isn’t always as it presents.

The distinction – between the benefits of a Democracy and a Constitutional Republic – is incredibly important, and while some describe our nation as a Democracy in an error of ignorance, others – some with schemes of political opportunism – do so with a nefarious purpose and bad intentions.

James Madison, recognized as the Father of the US Constitution, said this about factions and Democracy in Federalist No. 10:
“Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may, by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests, of the people...From this view of the subject it may be concluded that a pure democracy, by which I mean a society consisting of a small number of citizens, who assemble and administer the government in person, can admit of no cure for the mischiefs of faction. A common passion or interest will, in almost every case, be felt by a majority of the whole; a communication and concert result from the form of government itself; and there is nothing to check the inducements to sacrifice the weaker party or an obnoxious individual. Hence it is that such democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths. Theoretic politicians, who have patronized this species of government, have erroneously supposed that by reducing mankind to a perfect equality in their political rights, they would, at the same time, be perfectly equalized and assimilated in their possessions, their opinions, and their passions.”

Why is this important in the context of what is happening in the Middle East at this very moment? Simple; it is important because “factious tempers,” and “local prejudices of sinister design” are prevalent throughout not only the ruling classes of the Arab-Muslim world, but exist – and on a tremendously popular level – throughout the Middle East, Arab culture and around the world in Islamic populations.

In Lebanon, Democracy and the democratic election process brought legitimacy to the terrorist group Hezbollah, a group, created by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard after the Islamist Revolution of 1979, responsible for the greatest number of American and Western deaths until al Qaeda exploded onto the scene, no pun intended. Through a scheme of “providing” for enough people in Southern Lebanon to win elections, Hezbollah was transformed from a ruthless Shiite-Islamist terror organization (a moniker still bestowed upon it by the US State Department and freedom-loving governments around the world) into an officially elected entity in the Lebanese Parliament, its influence expanding year after year.

In the Palestinian-held Israeli territories, the Palestinian Authority, born of the Palestinian Liberation Organization – recognized at its genesis as a terrorist organization before the United Nations bestowed legitimacy on it, has seen an accord between the Fatah faction of the West Bank and the Hamas faction of Gaza; Hamas, a Sunni-Islamist group, recognized as a terrorist organization by the US and other non-Arab nations around the world. Hamas, like Hezbollah, but after an armed coup against Fatah in Gaza, held “democratic elections” establishing itself – although questionably so – as the democratically elected government of Gaza. Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas achieved legitimacy – albeit ever so suspect – through the process of Democracy.

Another example of Democracy not serving freedom – or liberty – are the elections held in the former Soviet state of Russia. During the Soviet Era, Soviet Premiers had to at least subject themselves to the scrutiny of the elitist class Communist Party members who made up the Soviet politburo. Today we see a former KGB colonel, in Vladimir Putin, not only usurping the intent of the Russian constitution by installing a puppet president to “insert” a term into the mix before he runs, yet again, for the Russian presidency, but we see a system so corrupt that it has re-installed the same mindset of global power acquisition as seen before the fall of the Soviet Union. In fact, it is argued in many circles that not only is the Cold War not over, but the West is now playing defense.

But perhaps the most alarming sign that democracy does not serve the purpose of freedom and/or liberty comes in the report that a faction of the Egyptian “awakening” has announced the formation of a “Nazi party with a contemporary frame of reference.”

Let me state that again...Egyptians benefiting from the “Arab Spring” want to form a Nazi Party in that country. Al-Masry Al-Youm, an Egyptian publication, reports:
“A group of Egyptians have announced their intent to establish a Nazi party with ‘a contemporary frame of reference,’ an independent Egyptian news website said on Wednesday.

“Al-Badeel, a leftist news portal, quoted founding member Emad Abdel Sattar as saying the party would bring together prominent figures from the Egyptian society. The party’s founding deputy is a former military official.

“Abdel Sattar told Al-Badeel that members are increasing at an unexpected rate, and several people came to ask about the nature of the party and its plans.

“The party has a one-year plan to develop Egypt, unlike the ‘marginalized liberal parties, which are like dead bodies,’ he said.

“The founders want to avoid media attention until they are fully ready, the source said.”

With God as my witness, I never thought I would see the day when we would need to address the possibility of having to combat Nazism on the world stage once again.

If, in fact, this newly formed Egyptian Nazi Party organizes in the style of Hamas or Hezbollah – or the American Progressive Movement, for that matter (it is a fact that American organized labor had boots on the ground in Egypt in the beginning days of this so-called “Arab Spring”) – what is to keep them from using the democratic process to bring to power a 21st Century Nazi Party, complete with a 21st Century “Final Solution” for Israel and the Jews?

We are a Constitutional Republic because our Founders and Framers understood the absolute danger of a pure Democracy. We use a democratic election process to determine the awarding of Electoral College votes by each state, but we do so to empower a constitutionally Republican form of government; a government of laws and not men; a government where the minority’s rights are protected just as viciously as the majority’s, or so it is supposed to be.

A stunningly frank examination can be viewed here. Succinctly, we in the West – and especially in the United States – should be promoting a move toward liberty in the Middle East, not a move toward Democracy.

Democracy leads to Democratic Socialism, which leads to Socialism, which history proves always fails, leading to totalitarian and despotic rule. Anyone with a cursory knowledge of world history understands this. Alas, we do not, today, place any importance on history in our schools. Perhaps that’s because Progressives are too busy rewriting history. Perhaps that’s why we are looking at a resurrection of the Nazi Party in Egypt.

On May 24, 2011, the military government of Egypt announced it was permanently opening its border with the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.

If the world screams, “Never again,” again will the leaders of the free world hear us? Or are they to busy burying their heads in the sand to care?



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Burglar is freed to care for his children after British judge rules prison breached his 'human rights'

A burglar was let out of jail yesterday because locking him up breached his family’s human rights. In a staggering judgment, the Appeal Court ruled that the rights of Wayne Bishop’s five children were more important than those of his victims or the interests of justice.

MPs said it opened the way to thousands more convicts claiming a ‘get out of jail card’ under the controversial Human Rights Act.

Article 8, the right to a family life, has repeatedly been used by foreign criminals to avoid deportation from the UK. But this is believed to be the first time it has been used to let a prisoner walk free from jail.

Bishop, 33, of Clifton, Nottingham, was sentenced to eight months after admitting burglary and dangerous driving. He has now been let out after only one month.

The decision was condemned by his neighbours, who described him as ‘nothing but trouble’. Bishop himself boasted of how he had managed to make a mockery of justice. He told the Mail: ‘I’m a lucky boy and I’m on top of the world.’

At the Appeal Court, Mr Justice Maddison and Mr Justice Sweeney agreed that imprisoning Bishop was not in the ‘best interests’ of his children, and ordered the sentence to be suspended instead.

The court was told that Bishop was the sole carer of his children, aged between six and 13, for five nights a week. Since he was jailed, the children have been cared for by his sister during the week and their mother, Bishop’s ex-partner Tracey York, 30, at weekends.

The court heard the sister, a single parent, was already responsible for seven children and lived seven miles from the schools attended by her nieces and nephews.

Mr Justice Sweeney suggested it was hardly in the children’s best interests for their father to be out committing burglary and asked who had been looking after them at that time. But he and Mr Justice Maddison together concluded that the judge who jailed Bishop at Nottingham Crown Court had not paid enough attention to the effect that imprisonment would have on his children.

Mr Justice Maddison said: ‘It is important that criminals should not think that children can provide some sort of licence to commit offences with impunity.

‘All of that said, however, we have to be aware of the highly unsatisfactory and difficult situation faced by the children and those now doing their best to look after them.’

Tory MP Dominic Raab, who led the Westminster revolt against prisoner voting, said: ‘If criminals can argue that a chaotic family life entitles them to a get-out-of-jail card, it will severely undermine public trust in the justice system. ‘Article 8 of the European Convention was never designed for this. We need to amend the Human Rights Act to stop this kind of perverse precedent.’

The court was not told that Bishop has been married for the last three years. Bishop told the Mail that his wife Sandra, 36, was never considered as a possible carer for the children because she has four children of her own, one of whom has behavioural problems.

He said the couple live at separate addresses with their own children in Clifton, Nottingham. ‘Sandra has her hands full as it is,’ he said. ‘She was unable to look after my children. People need to understand my situation. They should leave me alone to live with my children in peace.’ He added that he accepted he had ‘made mistakes’ but promised to turn over a new leaf.

He and three other men raided Mansfield Rugby Club, taking only some chocolate, before he and one of his accomplices drove off in a van. Bishop clipped a police vehicle and drove through red lights before he drove up a dead-end street and was arrested.

Bishop told the Mail he turned to crime because he struggled to survive on benefits. He said: ‘People need to know how hard it is for single parents. I regret getting involved in crime but I am on a low income. The benefit agency won’t help me get a job and I turned to crime. ‘I am not an armed robber or a drug dealer, or anything. It was a one-off and I got caught. ‘It is not like I denied it. I didn’t enter the premises. I was just the getaway driver.’

More than 200 foreign prisoners, including killers, cheated deportation last year by claiming they have a human right to a ‘family life’ in Britain.


U.S. Tax Dollars Will Sponsor a Homosexual Film Festival in… Bulgaria

Here in America, Schools are closing, firehouses are shuttering and millions of citizens are out of work. Yet, on Thursday, the U.S. Embassy in Bulgaria announced that it would be using your tax dollars to underwrite a gay film festival and “an after-show party.”

The publicly-funded embassy has partnered up with its German, French, British and Swiss counterparts to explore the “different issues and challenges which members of the LGBT community face in today’s world.” An official press release from the embassy reads as follows:

"The U.S. Embassy joins the British, German, French, and Swiss Embassies in announcing the start of the Sofia Pride International Film Series in honor of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, which is celebrated each year in June. The series features one movie selected by each of the five sponsoring embassies, and aims to promote acceptance of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights in Bulgaria by examining the different issues and challenges which members of the LGBT community face in today’s world. All films will include Bulgarian subtitles."

The U.S. Embassy has decided to show “Milk,” the popular film about America’s first openly gay elected official. The Daily Caller posted the official event flyer here. Here’s a preview of the other films that will be shown:

The Germans will show “Sascha,” a gay teen who struggles with his place in German society, the French will show “Comme les autres,” a movie that tackles a gay man’s journey to becoming a father. The Swiss film, “Katzenball,” will focus on the life of a gay woman, while the British flick, “Beautiful Thing,“ will delve into the story of a ”working class teen infatuated with his male classmate.”

With all of the problems our nation currently has, it‘s curious that we’d be spending taxpayer monies to sponsor a gay film festival (let alone any film festival) in a foreign land.


Australian abortion doctor gives women Hep C

Evidence of the low moral standard needed in an abortionist

A MELBOURNE doctor has been charged over allegations he infected nearly 50 women who visited his clinic with hepatitis C.

Police say anaesthetist James Latham Peters, 61, of Hawthorn will face 162 separate counts, including 54 counts of conduct endangering life, 54 counts of recklessly causing injury and 54 counts of negligence causing serious injury.

Police formally laid charges just before noon at the St Kilda Rd police complex where he was being held.

Police said the investigation continues, and Dr Peters could face further charges. The expected charges against Dr Peters come after a lengthy and complex investigation by police Taskforce Clays, established in April last year to investigate how the disease was spread to patients at the Croydon Day Surgery. He was taken into custody before 10am and is believed to be being questioned at the St Kilda Rd police complex.

The women had gone to the clinic to have abortions before being infected. A further 19 women treated by the doctor showed signs of past infection but there was not enough virus present for a definitive ruling. At least 4000 women who used the centre, now known as the Maria Stopes centre, have already contacted in connection with potential exposure to the disease.

The Health Department says 241 further women treated at the clinic between 2008 and 2009 could not be contacted, but it continues to cooperate with the police inquiry. "We would urge them to contact the Department of Health at their earliest opportunity,’’ a police spokeswoman said.


Australia: Muslims try peaceful persuasion instead of bombing people

A big improvement

CHRISTIANS in Sydney will have their core beliefs challenged by provocative advertisements due to appear on billboards and buses in the next month.

The ads, paid for by an Islamic group called MyPeace, will carry slogans such as "Jesus: a prophet of Islam", "Holy Quran: the final testament" and "Muhammad: mercy to mankind". A phone number urges people to call to receive a free Koran and other Islamic literature.

The organiser of MyPeace, Diaa Mohamed, said the campaign was intended to educate non-Muslims about Islam. He said Jesus was a prophet of Islam, who was to come before Muhammad. "The only difference is we say he was a prophet of God, and they say he is God," Mr Mohamed said. "Is it thought-provoking? Yes, it is. We want to raise awareness that Islam believes in Jesus Christ," he said.

Mr Mohamed said he hoped the billboards would encourage Christians and Muslims to find common ground. They were not intended to downgrade the significance of Jesus. "We embrace him and say that he was one of the mightiest prophets of God."

MyPeace plans to extend the campaign, funded by private donations, to television.

The Anglican Bishop of South Sydney, Rob Forsyth, said it was "complete nonsense" to say Jesus was a prophet of Islam. "Jesus was not the prophet of a religion that came into being 600 years later."

But the billboard was not offensive, he said. "They've got a perfect right to say it, and I would defend their right to say it [but] … you couldn't run a Christian billboard in Saudi Arabia."

The bishop said he would pay for billboards to counter those of MyPeace if he could afford it, and "maybe the atheists should run their billboards as well".

A spokesman for the Australian Islamic Mission, Siddiq Buckley, said the campaign would increase awareness of the positive facts of Islam. "I would be looking at this as a good opportunity to explain what we mean."



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


Friday, May 27, 2011

Mugabe torturer is given asylum in Britain... and yes it's in case he's tortured back in Zimbabwe

A thug who carried out horrific acts of torture for Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe has been allowed to live in Britain – to protect his human rights.

An immigration tribunal found Phillip Machemedze inflicted terrible injuries on political opponents of the vile Mugabe regime. But despite ruling he was involved in ‘savage acts of extreme violence’ – including smashing a man’s jaw with a pair of pliers – immigration judges said he could not be deported.

They said the 46-year-old, who is HIV positive, could himself face torture if he was returned home, having turned his back on Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime. Both he and his wife – who was granted asylum – can stay in Britain indefinitely.

Machemedze worked as a bodyguard to a senior Zanu PF minister, as part of Mugabe’s feared Central Intelligence Organisation.

Court documents exposed the horrendous crimes he committed as a state-sponsored torturer. The tribunal heard he smashed one victim’s jaw with a pair of pliers, before pulling out a tooth.

Another victim, a farmer accused of supporting the rival Movement for Democratic Change, was shocked with electric cables, slapped, beaten and punched unconscious.

On another occasion, a woman MDC member was taken to an underground cell where she was stripped naked and whipped. Machemedze admitted putting salt in her wounds.

He also stripped a man naked and told him he would be forced to have sex with his daughters if he did not talk.

The hired thug told the court he ‘initially enjoyed his job’ but ‘soon had enough of the torture’. He left Zimbabwe and came to Britain in 2000 on a visitor visa. Eight years later, in December 2008, he claimed asylum along with his wife Febbie. The couple live in Bristol. Their daughter also lives in Britain, but two other children are in Zimbabwe.

The immigration tribunal ruled his crimes were so horrendous that he was barred from claiming asylum. However, the judge ruled that he could not be sent home because of the likelihood he will be tortured or executed by the Mugabe regime – breaching his rights under Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

His wife, an MDC activist, was granted asylum. In his ruling, Judge David Archer said: ‘I find the respondent has produced a compelling case that the first appellant has committed crimes against humanity. ‘I reject his claim that he was acting under duress. The first appellant was deeply involved in savage acts of extreme violence.’ He added: ‘I find that the appellant’s protected rights under Articles 2 and 3 of the Human Rights Convention will be breached by returning him to Zimbabwe.

‘Those rights are absolute and whatever crimes he has committed, he cannot be returned to face the highly likely prospect of torture and execution without trial.’

Ministers have faced demands to take action over the more than 350 suspected war criminals living in Britain. Nearly 500 have been targeted by the authorities over the past five years, but just a fifth have been refused entry, kicked out or have left voluntarily. The total includes 75 from Afghanistan, 73 from Sri Lanka, 39 from Rwanda and 32 from Zimbabwe.

A Home Office spokesman said the Government was ‘disappointed’ with the ruling and would seek to appeal. He said: ‘We consider all asylum applications on their individual merits, however it is the Government’s policy that the UK should not be a refuge for war criminals or those who have committed crimes against humanity or genocide.

‘Where someone has been found not to need protection, we expect them to leave voluntarily. For those who choose not to do so, we will seek to enforce their departure.’


It Just Ain't So

We Need to Build Society for “Shared Prosperity”?

In a recent New York Times column (“Degrees and Dollars,” March 6), economist Paul Krugman surprisingly had an “it just ain’t so” moment of his own, taking issue with the widely accepted but erroneous idea that more education is the key to increasing prosperity. While he was right about that, his conclusion that technological changes will so “hollow out” the middle class that massive new government programs are needed to “directly” build a society of “shared prosperity” does not follow at all.

Proponents of the megastate like Krugman simply cannot acknowledge that the coercive, redistributive policies they love have adverse consequences. As we will see, his proposed “shared prosperity” will further undermine the prosperity we still have, reduce incentives for individual effort, and create new opportunities for political rent-seeking. If you would like to see America become more like Greece, Krugman’s ideas are a perfect recipe.

Let’s look first at what Krugman gets right, though.

One of the greatest conceits of modern liberalism is that more education (formal education, especially of the sort run and funded by government) is always good because it gives people “higher skills,” thus making the United States “more competitive.” To his credit Krugman joins a growing number of critics who argue that such education doesn’t necessarily produce good results. President Obama keeps saying the nation must make more “investments” in education to increase employment and keep up with other countries. Not so, says Krugman.

But why has Krugman broken ranks? In the last few months evidence has strengthened the contrarian case by showing that a large and increasing percentage of college degree holders end up having to take jobs that don’t call for any advanced academic preparation and that many college students coast through with little or no gain in human capital. Those are among the reasons why I long ago concluded that America has oversold higher education, principally by heavily subsidizing it.

Krugman, however, points to a different reason for his turn. He contends that technology and “globalization” are eliminating the middle-class jobs college-educated people used to take, thus “hollowing out” the middle class. As a result, he argues, we can’t rely on education for social mobility.

Exhibit A is Krugman’s discovery that technology is having an impact on the legal profession. Computers, he reports, are increasingly used in legal research, scanning cases and documents for possible relevance much faster than people can. He says that this shows how technology “is actually reducing the demand for highly educated workers.”

It’s perfectly true that technology is changing the legal profession. Decades ago, lawyers had to manually hunt for relevant cases and other documents, then read them. Beginning more than 20 years ago, that laborious work was made easier with the advent of computerized research engines that would almost instantly compile lists of cases. Now computers can apparently even do some of the preliminary analysis.

Krugman’s conclusion that this is reducing the demand for educated workers does not follow, however. Just because technology has made a part of lawyers’ work faster does not mean there will be fewer lawyers—any more than the technological improvements that have made writing and editing easier and faster than in the days of typewriters and erasers has reduced the number of writers and editors.

America already has a surplus of lawyers, but that isn’t because of technology. It is because government subsidizes students who want to go to law school, and some law schools practice deception with regard to the employment and earnings prospects for their graduates.

Technological improvements certainly can lead to the elimination of some jobs in the legal profession (and others), but they simultaneously open up new jobs for educated workers elsewhere.

Krugman’s other argument is that globalization is going to wipe out some middle-class jobs because it is now possible to offshore work formerly done by American workers. He gives no examples or evidence of the magnitude of this phenomenon, but let’s assume that he is correct. Do we need to worry and insist on government action?

No, we don’t. The number of middle-class jobs is not fixed, dictating that if some are done by robots or foreigners or computers, the number remaining must be lower. You might think an economics professor and international trade specialist with a Nobel Prize to his name would know that people have been wringing their hands over the supposed harms of free trade in goods and services for centuries, but despite the apocalyptic predictions, the dynamism of the economy always produces new jobs to replace those that are lost.

In sum there is very little support for Krugman’s claim that the middle class is being hollowed out, but that doesn’t keep him from leaping to the conclusion that we need more government intervention.

He first declares that labor needs more “bargaining power.” That’s vague language, but what Krugman undoubtedly means is that the government should enact pro-union legislation. Make that more pro-union legislation, since existing law (unchanged since 1959) is already highly pro-union. Bargaining power has not been taken from unions over the last 30 years. Rather, many old, unionized companies have had to face increasing competition. They have shed workers and some have gone out of existence. Simultaneously, many new firms have come into existence, and their workers have often shown so little interest in unionization that union organizers have given up.

Furthermore, can Krugman believe that unions automatically and costlessly raise worker earnings? They can’t. As economist W. H. Hutt showed in his book The Strike-Threat System, even if unions can temporarily exploit invested capital (as was the case in the auto industry), in the long run investors will put their money elsewhere.

Finally, Krugman writes that government must “guarantee the essentials, above all health care, to every citizen.” Even if it were true that technology and global competition were hollowing out the middle class, why should government assume this role? Back in the 1960s the federal government began a “War on Poverty” that entailed giving “the essentials” to the poor. Rather than conquering poverty, the policies exacerbated it, as recipients of government benefits reduced their own efforts at improving their circumstances and interest groups learned how to game the system. Krugman’s coercively shared prosperity ideas would give America more of that.

Instead of resorting to federal handouts and union threats to increase the middle class, I suggest we abolish the many governmental barriers to entrepreneurship and entry into occupations so that more Americans can succeed on their own.


Six Political Illusions: A Primer on Government for Idealists Fed Up with History Repeating Itself

You don’t believe in magic, do you? Magicians employ a variety of tricks to deceive audiences into thinking that something has happened that can’t. They are masters of illusion. Adults know that they’re being fooled when the rabbit seems to materialize out of an empty hat.

Magic is harmless fun, but the government is not. It squanders vast amounts of money while simultaneously whittling away at people’s freedom. Instead of solving problems, it makes them worse, often creating brand new problems. Why don’t more of us rebel or at least denounce the State? In his latest book, political scientist and Freeman contributing editor James Payne explains why not: Most Americans have fallen for six political illusions. Although opinion polls show that a large majority of the population is fed up with the government, most think we must continue to rely on it for a wide array of “services.” They just want better politicians in charge. Those people aren’t stupid; they’re under the spell of the following illusions:

* The Philanthropic Illusion: the idea that government has money of its own.

* The Voluntary Illusion: the impulse to want to believe that government action is not based on force.

* The Illusion of the Frictionless State: the idea that the State can transfer resources with negligible overhead cost.

* The Materialistic Illusion: that money alone buys public-policy results.

* The Watchful Eye Illusion: the idea that the government has greater knowledge and wisdom than the public.

* The Illusion of Government Preeminence: the belief that the government is the only problem-solving institution in society.

In short, Payne admonishes people to start examining government as it really is, not the way children see magic. The book’s cover, a reproduction of an 1842 painting by Thomas Cole, gives a visual analogy to its thesis. In the painting a lad in a boat on a river is entranced by an apparition in the sky—a gleaming temple. Unfortunately, he is oblivious to the reality that his boat will soon go over a waterfall unless he gives up on the apparition and grasps the truth confronting him. That’s an excellent depiction of modern America.

Payne does a superb job of explaining and illustrating each of his illusions. I will focus my comments on the last two of them, as they are particularly critical at this juncture.

In the wake of the financial meltdown following the collapse of the housing bubble, politicians have been trying to capitalize on Payne’s “watchful eye” illusion by telling voters that the debacle was all due to inadequate powers of supervision by the government. What we needed, they cry, was more federal oversight to prevent short-sighted and greedy decisions. Give us more regulatory authority and nothing like that will ever happen again!

Payne shows that there were in fact regulators whose job was to blow the whistle on excessive risk-taking by the federal housing giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but politicians paid no heed to their warnings. Payne then takes the analysis a step deeper, arguing that people should never put faith in government officials to foresee danger and protect them. That is because government officials don’t suffer the losses when they’re wrong. Instead of expecting a watchful eye from the government, it’s far more intelligent to rely on individuals and private institutions to detect and avoid undue risks because they will suffer adverse consequences if they are wrong.

Payne’s sixth illusion encompasses the others. It is the erroneous view that we must look first (and perhaps exclusively) to government for the solutions to problems. Politicians encourage that illusion since they want citizens to regard themselves as impotent while the State possesses almost limitless capabilities. When a social problem arises, politicians almost never say, “The government should do nothing about that; it’s a problem that should be dealt with by the voluntary sector.” Saying that would be almost suicidal in a nation caught in the grip of the illusion of government preeminence. Instead, politicians seldom miss an opportunity to show their great “concern” by introducing new legislation they claim will take care of everything, from the harm supposedly done by incandescent light bulbs to the drug trade.

Wise individuals, Payne contends, will look at the merits of the voluntary sector rather than leaping on the bandwagon for government activism. Currently, for example, many people are concerned about the possibility of catastrophic climate change and automatically assume that the only way of responding is to give government officials tremendous new regulatory powers. Anyone who reads Payne will contemplate both the possibility that voluntary responses might work better and that government will botch the job.


Liberty and the Power of Ideas

A belief that I stress again and again is that we are at war—not a physical, shooting war, but nonetheless a war that is fully capable of becoming just as destructive and just as costly.

The battle for the preservation and advancement of liberty is a battle not against personalities but against opposing ideas. The French author Victor Hugo declared that “One resists the invasion of armies; one does not resist the invasion of ideas.” This is often rendered as, “More powerful than armies is an idea whose time has come.”

In the past ideas have had earthshaking consequences. They have determined the course of history.

The system of feudalism existed for a thousand years in large part because scholars, teachers, intellectuals, educators, clergymen, and politicians propagated feudalistic ideas. The notion “once a serf, always a serf” kept millions of people from ever questioning their station in life.

Under mercantilism, the widely accepted concept that the world’s wealth is fixed prompted men to take what they wanted from others in a long series of bloody wars.

The publication of Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations in 1776 is a landmark in the history of the power of ideas. As Smith’s message of free trade spread, political barriers to peaceful cooperation collapsed, and virtually the whole world decided to try freedom for a change.

Marx and the Marxists would have us believe that socialism is inevitable, that it will embrace the world as surely as the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. As long as men have free will (the power to choose right from wrong), however, nothing that involves this human volition can ever be inevitable! If socialism comes it will come because men choose to embrace its principles.

Socialism is an age-old failure, yet the socialist idea constitutes the chief threat to liberty today. As I see it, socialism can be broken into five ideas.

1. The Pass-a-Law Syndrome. Passing laws has become a national pastime. Business in trouble? Pass a law to give it public subsidies or restrict its freedom of action. Poverty? Pass a law to abolish it. Perhaps America needs a law against passing more laws.

Almost invariably a new law means: a) more taxes to finance its administration; b) additional government officials to regulate some heretofore unregulated aspect of life; and c) new penalties for violating the law. In brief, more laws mean more regimentation, more coercion. Let there be no doubt about what the word coercion means: force, plunder, compulsion, restraint. Synonyms for the verb form of the word are even more instructive: impel, exact, subject, conscript, extort, wring, pry, twist, dragoon, bludgeon, and squeeze.

When government begins to intervene in the free economy, bureaucrats and politicians spend most of their time undoing their own handiwork. To repair the damage of Provision A, they pass Provision B. Then they find that to repair Provision B, they need Provision C, and to undo C, they need D, and so on until the alphabet and our freedoms are exhausted.

The Pass-a-Law Syndrome is evidence of a misplaced faith in the political process, a reliance on force, which is anathema to a free society.

2. The Get-Something-from-Government Fantasy. Government by definition has nothing to distribute except what it first takes from people. Taxes are not donations.

In the welfare state this basic fact gets lost in the rush for special favors and giveaways. People speak of “government money” as if it were truly free.

One who is thinking of accepting something from government that he could not acquire voluntarily should ask, “From whose pocket is it coming? Am I being robbed to pay for this benefit or is government robbing someone else on my behalf?” Frequently the answer will be both.

The end result of this “fantasy” is that everyone in society has his hands in someone else’s pockets.

3. The Pass-the-Buck Psychosis. Recently a welfare recipient wrote her welfare office and demanded, “This is my sixth child. What are you going to do about it?”

An individual is victim to the Pass-the-Buck Psychosis when he abandons himself as the solver of his problems. He might say, “My problems are really not mine at all. They are society’s, and if society doesn’t solve them and solve them quickly, there’s going to be trouble!”

Socialism thrives on the shirking of responsibility. When men lose their spirit of independence and initiative, their confidence in themselves, they become clay in the hands of tyrants and despots.

4. The Know-It-All Affliction. Leonard Read, in The Free Market and Its Enemy, identified “know-it-allness” as a central feature of the socialist idea. The know-it-all is a meddler in the affairs of others. His attitude can be expressed in this way: “I know what’s best for you, but I’m not content to merely convince you of my rightness; I’d rather force you to adopt my ways.” The know-it-all evinces arrogance and a lack of tolerance for the great diversity among people.

In government the know-it-all refrain sounds like this: “If I didn’t think of it, then it can’t be done, and since it can’t be done, we must prevent anyone from trying.” A group of West Coast businessmen once ran into this snag when their request to operate barge service between the Pacific Northwest and Southern California was denied by the (now-defunct) Interstate Commerce Commission because the agency felt the group could not operate such a service profitably.

The miracle of the market is that when individuals are free to try, they can and do accomplish great things. Read’s well-known admonition that there should be “no man-concocted restraints against the release of creative energy” is a powerful rejection of the Know-It-All Affliction.

5. The Envy Obsession. Coveting the wealth and income of others has given rise to a sizable chunk of today’s socialist legislation. Envy is the fuel that runs the engine of redistribution. Surely, the many soak-the-rich schemes are rooted in envy and covetousness.

What happens when people are obsessed with envy? They blame those who are better off than themselves for their troubles. Society is fractured into classes and faction preys on faction. Civilizations have been known to crumble under the weight of envy and the disrespect for property it entails.

A common thread runs through these five socialist ideas. They all appeal to the darker side of man: the primitive, noncreative, slothful, dependent, demoralizing, unproductive, and destructive side of human nature. No society can long endure if its people practice such suicidal notions.

Consider the freedom philosophy. It is an uplifting, regenerative, motivating, creative, exciting philosophy. It appeals to and relies on the higher qualities of human nature such as self-reliance, personal responsibility, individual initiative, respect for property, and voluntary cooperation.

The outcome of the struggle between freedom and serfdom depends entirely on what percolates in the hearts and minds of men. At the present time the jury is still deliberating.

SOURCE (See the original for links)


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.

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