Poms and free speech

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The Australian parliament is at the moment in the middle of passing laws which give Australians the legal right to abuse the English! And they can even use copyright material to satirize the English. Australia's Attorney General writes:

"Either way patriotic Australians will be free to mock the British team without the threat of lawsuits. The Government has ensured the use of copyright material for the purposes of parody or satire will be protected.

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The England cricket team is playing in Australia at the moment (and getting badly beaten) so old English/Australian rivalries are very vocal at the moment. Cricket has the sort of importance in Australia that baseball has in America.

Meanwhile, some English-born people in Australia are grumbling about the term "Pom" -- which is how Australians frequently refer to the English:

"A group of thin-skinned English expats wants the word Pom banned, claiming it is a racial slur on a par with the most appalling insults. British People Against Racial Discrimination has gone to the Advertising Standards Board in an attempt to derail the latest Tooheys [beer advertising] campaign which mocks the warm-beer-drinking Brits. The ads claim Tooheys' supercold brand is "cold enough to scare a Pom"...

"The Oxford Dictionary classes Pom as being derogatory just like wog, wop, dink, dago, coon and abo, it's every bit as bad as the term n*gger," BPARD spokesman David Thomason said yesterday.

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They've got the proverbial snowflake's chance of getting anywhere with their complaint of course -- if only because the English sometimes refer to Australians as "Colonials", which is clearly derogatory, but "Pom" has no obvious independent meaning.

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Will the left lose us the West?

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The response of "gathera" in comments to the post "Olmert Surrenders" (Crusader Rabbit) got me to thinking....

Again and again I hear that since fighting islamists hasn't produced peace, perhaps it's time to try something different.
Like what?
It took six years of bloody fighting--with a death toll in the hundreds of thousands--to defeat the Nazis. Fighting that included massive bombing of cities which levelled Hamburg and Dresden.
The people who claim that fighting islamists isn't working ignore the facts. We're fighting them with a fraction of the West's true power, hamstrung by absurd and unrealistic rules of engagement and by a hostile media. A media which carps and complains about a few prisoners being harassed (Abu Ghraib) as though that somehow makes us the equivalent of filth who saw off heads for the video cameras, who routinely murder women and children, who use civilians as human shields in order to go about their loathsome work.
The ones responsible for this amazing moral imbalance are the leftists who refuse to look evil in the eye (which would, admittedly be difficult since these soft-skinned cowards are safely ensconced in the West, enjoying the comforts and the security they haven't worked for) and to admit that there is such a thing as a cause worth fighting for, a cause which is central to the preservation of our civilisation.
These people are the cause the the West's loss of confidence and at the same the most vocal critics of our only party effectual efforts to fight radical islam. Like carping, pouting sulky teenagers they want the best of both worlds without having to make any real effort.

If we lose this war--and it's very possible that we will--then every one of you cowardly, mealy-mouthed moral midgets on the left will have the blood of innocent people on your hands. Not that I expect that to bother you bastards a whole lot. After all, you have the blood of a million or two on your hands already. Vietnam. Cambodia. The U.S.S.R. and so on. And on. and on.......
There'll be one small consolation if that happens though. This time, you will also be the ones going into that long night and your fucking latte's on a Saturday morning and your self-congratulatory morally superior horsecrap will be cut off at the neck.
I'll die with the smell of cordite in my nostrils. You lot will die with nothing but the stink of moral decay and cowardice in yours.

Sorry Folks

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I know I’ve been posting like mad and will try and be quiet for a day or two after this. This is just too good to be overlooked. By now you would have heard about Ahmadinejihad’s letter to the ‘Noble America people’. I must confess I didn’t read the whole letter, I got bored after reading about peace, justice and freedom. I’ll cut to the chase, FOXNews asked the readers to respond and published some of their responses, and I think this response was the best.

Dear Mr. Lunatic,

First let me start by saying that you can go f*** yourself if you think for one second that you meant any of the words that you said to us. Secondly, we are educated, unlike your nation, and will not be fooled by your big long educated words (that someone else told you what they mean because you obviously have no idea what they mean). Thirdly, you are a liar and thief and have been stealing from your county and oppressing your people for years. If it weren't for the democrats and politically correct jack-offs in this county you would have been bombed and destroyed already, so you can thank all the liberals and democrats for your very existence right now. Lastly, I am not sure why I am even wasting my time and breath on you because you are lower than swine dung. — Mark

Who says leftists aren’t for criminal scum?

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THE father of four gang rapists had his autopsy fast-tracked so he could be buried quickly according to Muslim tradition. The apparent attempt to give priority to the man, known to the public as Dr K, shocked morgue workers at Westmead Hospital in Sydney, who are so short-staffed they can take days to complete a post-mortem examination.

Pakistan-born Dr K, the father of four jailed gang rapists, was facing charges of lying to protect his sons when he died from a heart attack last Thursday. Dr K's sons, identified only as MSK, MAK, MRK and MMK, are in jail for a string of horrific gang rapes against girls as young as 13 in 2002.

His autopsy was completed and his body released for burial in less than 24 hours. Sydney morgues have been so short-staffed in the past year that some families have been forced to wait up to a week before retrieving their loved ones for burial.

If you’re Joe Public, who just lost a loved one and wants to do the right thing by them, here’s 50 cents, follow the signs to the exit, turn left, left again, right to the public phone and call someone who cares. We’ve got lying scumbags to coddle.

Working Families

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Give any labor premier in Australia half a chance and he/she will drag in a pile of horse-crap about working families and how they are all for ‘working families’ and Howard’s new IR laws will hurt ‘working families’. Never mind the high court rejected the states and unions whining that the laws were unconstitutional, no that doesn’t matter to them. Like the AWB Aussie-wheat farmer-screw-over-to-get-Howard, the only fair outcome is one rigged in their favor. Now, they will organize a mass whinge in Sydney.
UP TO 500,000 people are expected to join rallies against the new industrial relations laws today, disrupting services such as transport, schools and hospitals. The State Government, which supports the protests, said it would dock the pay of public servants who attend rallies without using legitimate leave.
There will be more whinging in Melbourne.
Thousands of people have begun to arrive at Melbourne's MCG for a major union protest against the federal government's industrial reforms. The speakers include Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, ACTU secretary Greg Combet and ACTU president Sharan Burrow. Singer Jimmy Barnes will sing his hit, "Working Class Man".
We’ve all seen the ads, cruel exploitative boss calling the woman at home, terrorizing her poor children, telling her to get to work or else. The poor worker who worked for decades, called into the boss’s office to sign the contract or else. Massive pay cuts, unfair dismissals for no reason, oh the horror Australia!!

This morning I heard about a Philip Higginson, chairman of TransGrid, owned by the NSW state government, currently run by the ‘working families’ Labor premier Morris Iemma. I know the story is a bit old, just in case some @#$%&@ pest lefty were to take issue with it. Since Higginson is a chairman, I suppose that doesn’t quite meet the standards of ‘working families’, he must have done something sinister to have become chairman to leftists.

Higginson was called into a meeting with NSW treasurer Michael Costa and Union Boss Bernie Riordan, was asked to do something he didn’t want to and he refused. He asked for 24 hours to think about it, 10 hours later he was called and fired, no reason given.
The Treasurer, Michael Costa, issued a statement yesterday, thanking Higginson for his service to TransGrid and explaining his removal only by saying it was "appropriate" to make changes to the board periodically.
Speaking of Michael Costa, has anyone heard from him since he became treasurer, it looks like he has pulled an Osama, only better, we don’t even get the odd video or garbled tape from Costa. He has just vanished, only to appear every now and then to terrorize workers.

The next time one of these parasites comes out to lecture us about their concern for ‘working families’, give me a moment to roll down the window or walk out the back to spit!!

Update

Looks like it didn’t go as well as expected, far from the millions and millions of workers that the Howard junta feared.
Unions had hoped to fill the 100,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the largest of the rallies, but by 9.15am (AEDT) it appeared about half full.

Labor's industrial relations spokesman Stephen Smith, who was at the Melbourne rally this morning, said the MCG was about three-quarters full and two or three train lines were down, which did not help.
And who exactly is in charge of running the trains in Victoria Mr. Smith? Has that been outsourced to African pygmies, can we lay that at the door of John Howard, whoops, no we can’t, unfortunately we’ll have to ask ‘working families’ Premier Steve Bracks that uncomfortable question.

Censorship = Tolerance and Diversity?

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Sometimes even obvious possibilities may not be mentioned

Satoshi Kanazawa, a virtually unknown professor of evolutionary psychology at the London School of Economics (LSE), has published in the pages of the British Journal of Health Psychology an article suggesting that ill-health and poverty in less-developed countries in Africa can be blamed on low IQs. Predictably, student activists have circulated an electronic petition across Europe calling on the well-known school to stand up for tolerance and diversity--by condemning Kanazawa.

Thankfully, these self-appointed do-gooders are off to a slow start. At the time I finished editing this column, the student petition, "LSE Lecturer: Research or Racism?" had only 151 signatures. Needless to say, I was not one of its signatories. It's not that I support Kanazawa (I don't even know who he is). Rather, I consider the petition's aim to be nothing more than a call for censorship. I'm not sure I like that.

I also bristle anytime student activists and other pimple-faced do-gooders decide what views or opinions I should be protected from. But more than anything else, the petition embodies the worst kind of political correctness and is, with no hyperbole intended, fundamentally dangerous to the very idea of academic freedom.

In my way of thinking, if you really aim to be diverse and tolerant--as an individual, institution, or society--then I think freedom of thought and liberty of opinion (no matter how objectionable) is fundamental. I am therefore perplexed by a petition that calls for institutional condemnation of a professor. How can censorship of a particular view--no matter how obtuse or misguided it may be--be equated to standing up for tolerance and diversity?

Now, let's be up-front about things here: Racist or racialist theories are repugnant. And Kanazawa may be shown to have, in the end, some questionable views. But I'm not ready to label him a racist or eugenicist yet since I haven't read his article (and I'm not about to blindly trust the British tabloids). His publishing record is certainly provocative and includes such choice works as "Why beautiful people are more intelligent", "You can judge a book by its cover", and "The myth of racial discrimination in pay in the US".

But the truth is I am not in the least bit interested in discussing Kanazawa or his article. What concerns me is the well-intentioned but wholly misguided reactions to his ideas. In other words, the problem is not Kanazawa but the LSE petition and the authoritarian liberals signing it. Their morally righteous and knee-jerk reaction to ideas deemed "dangerous" frankly terrifies me much more than Kanazawa himself

To be sure, this is the first that any of us studying journalism here have ever heard of Kanazawa. But I have little doubt that the Kanazawa story will get bigger in the coming weeks--especially as the petition spreads and if the LSE continues to admirably defend the professor's right to publish controversial research.

Of course, in the US, we've seen this all before: earlier this year, when John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt published their paper "The Israel Lobby"; in, 2005, when Larry Summers at Harvard raised questions about gender and academic achievement in mathematics; in 2004, when Samuel Huntington published Who Are We?, on America's national identity and Hispanic immigration; in 1994, when Charles Murray and Richard Herrnstein co-wrote The Bell Curve. It's no different on the other side of the Atlantic. In March, Leeds University forced the early retirement of a professor accused of racism because he supported the ideas of Murray and Herrnstein (which have, by the way, almost nothing to do with race but everything to do with the erosion of social cohesion in the US). And incidents of political correctness abound in England and across the Euro-zone.

That's why with regards to Kanazawa, I am surprised that the LSE hasn't yet fired him. (The last time I saw this kind of back-bone in defense of free speech was when the Danish government refused to condemn the news daily Jyllands-Posten for publishing a dozen cartoons of the prophet Muhammad.)

What to do about Kanazawa? Laissez faire, laissez aller, laissez passer. Let him continue to put his ideas into circulation--by publishing articles, lecturing, giving provocative presentations--and watch just how quickly the marketplace of ideas at the LSE and elsewhere will churn with indignant responses to his outrageous claims. I have no doubt that his work will eventually serve as a catalyst for others to carry out their own research. Some of these researchers will overwhelm him with reams of new data. Others may eventually (si Deus vult) prove him flat-out wrong--and effectively reduce him to academic irrelevance.

But liberty of thought and mind is vital. And if there is one place in the world where crack-pot ideas can be discussed and hair-brained schemes explored without fear of retribution it should be in the halls of academe. It is precisely because the LSE is a diverse and tolerant [academic] institution that it should do nothing about Kanazawa and leave the professor to his fever swamps. Let the student petitioners gnash their teeth.

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(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

AUSTRALIA'S EDUCATION WARS CONTINUE

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Australian education has been substantially destroyed by Leftist State governments and the Feds are trying to undo at least some of the damage. Five current articles below:





Moral compass returning in postmodern schools

Kevin Donnelly believes the Left is losing the argument about school values

Education has traditionally been an electoral plus for the ALP, but not any more. As a recent Newspoll survey reveals, the Coalition Government has orchestrated an eight percentage point turnaround and is running neck and neck with Labor in terms of positive voter perception. Jenny Macklin, the federal Opposition education spokeswoman, argues the Howard Government's improvement is the result of cheap populism. She is wrong. As outlined in my book Why Our Schools are Failing, Australian parents are worried about significant issues such as falling standards, schools not being held accountable, the curriculum being awash with political correctness and, with government schools in particular, education failing to inculcate proper values.

That the Left has been wrong-footed in the education debate is clear to see. Remember the electoral impact of Mark Latham's hit list of non-government schools? More recently, take the Prime Minister's decision to finance religious counsellors in schools. When announced, the decision met with the usual mock outrage associated with the cultural Left. Andrew Gohl, president of the South Australian branch of the Australian Education Union, says: "It is totally inappropriate for the federal Government to try to impose ideology in public schools."

The Independent Education Union of Australia, an organisation not normally associated with the Left, reveals it has also been captured by the PC brigade when it suggests the federal Government is being divisive. "Australia is a multicultural, plural society; the strength of its values lies in the richness of its diversity," it says. "But John Howard and his Government consistently undermine this diversity with policies and commentary that divide the community and engender distrust." Even Bob Carr, a former politician usually guaranteed to be balanced and perceptive in his public comments, cannot resist hyperbole when he argues: "What if a poorly attended parent meeting chose a jihadist imam from a small Muslim prayer hall?"

Reality check: far from pushing a so-called conservative agenda, the Government is providing a resource that individual schools, government and non-government, can choose to take up or not. Quite rightly, while counsellors will not be restricted to any one religion or denomination, there will also be restrictions on who can be employed. That the AEU argues against the Government's initiative by describing it as ideological is also a bit rich. Consider how the union's curriculum policies have forced a politically correct, cultural-left agenda on schools, redefining the three Rs as the republic, refugees and reconciliation.

An uncritical promotion of multiculturalism and diversity, advocated by the IEU, also ignores that the overwhelming majority of Australians describe themselves as Christian and that our history, political and legal institutions have arisen out of the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Instead of condemning the initiative to give students a clear and unambiguous moral compass to decide right from wrong and to identify a proper balance between rights and responsibilities, opponents of the scheme should be applauding it. For far too long, education has failed in its duty to address such issues. Beginning with the progressive education movement of the 1960s and '70s, the belief is that children should be left to their own devices and that adults should not impose a strong moral framework.

The self-esteem movement of the '80s and '90s, when education was reduced to therapy on the basis that nobody failed, compounded the problem as lessons focused on what was immediately entertaining and relevant to the world of the student. Classic myths, fables and legends such as The Arabian Nights, Aesop's Fables, The Iliad and The Odyssey gave way to popular magazines and social-realism stories about youth suicide and dysfunctional families. History as a subject disappeared, replaced by the study of the local community or figures such as Diana, princess of Wales.

Evident by debates about the nihilistic impact of theory, represented by postmodernism, the most recent example of our failure to give students a viable moral code is the belief that there is no right or wrong, as all values are relative and truth is simply a socio-cultural construct. As noted by John Paul II in his encyclical letter Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason): "A legitimate plurality of positions has yielded to an undifferentiated pluralism, based on the assumption that all positions are equally valid, which is one of today's most widespread symptoms of the lack of confidence in truth."

Historically, the education debate has focused on issues such as more money, smaller classes and more teachers, as shown by debates in these pages during the past 12 months. Equally important is the cultural significance of education, something the Prime Minister clearly understands.

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War over school history

The Queensland Government is preparing for a stand-up brawl with Canberra over attempts to impose history as a compulsory subject for high school students. Queensland Education Minister Rod Welford will defy federal Education Minister Julie Bishop and refuse to mandate history as a compulsory, stand-alone subject for Years 9 and 10. "I am happy to mandate some essential knowledge of key components of Australian history into a subject," Mr Welford said. "But it simply does not make sense to mandate history as a stand-alone subject."

History is taught in Queensland public schools as part of Studies of Societies and Environment and is optional from Year 9. Canberra is also facing a showdown with South Australia, where history is available until Year 11 as part of SOSE. Western Australia, where history is called "Time, Continuity and Change" and mingled in a Society and Environment course, is believed to be considering Ms Bishop's proposal. NSW and Victoria offer history as a stand-alone subject. Other territories and states have not made their position clear.

Ms Bishop has refused to rule out withholding money from the next $40 billion education funding round from those states that resist her push for a stand-alone compulsory history subject. "In the last funding round the Government provided $33 billion to the states and territories to run their schools and I believe that the Australian taxpayers would expect us to make the states and territories accountable for that investment," she said last month. Yesterday Ms Bishop's office said: "The Minister hopes the state will agree with the proposal voluntarily."

The warning follows news that a report commissioned by federal and state education ministers found that more than three-quarters of Australian teenagers did not know the significance of Australia Day. Ms Bishop's push for compulsory history in schools has the strong backing of Prime Minister John Howard. On Australia Day, Mr Howard foreshadowed his desire to see history established as a compulsory subject on Australia Day. He has specifically attacked Mr Welford's proposal for blending history with other curriculums. "Too often, it is taught without any sense of structured narrative, replaced by a fragmented stew of themes and issues," Mr Howard said.

Mr Welford last night vowed to strongly support Queensland public schools which want to establish a separate history curriculum. But he believes the practicalities of many smaller Queensland high schools require history be incorporated into other areas such as social studies or environmental education. He warned Ms Bishop that Queensland would not be swayed by Canberra's "rigid inflexibility" on the issue

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Teachers get a blast

Underperforming Australian teachers received a broadside yesterday from Prime Minister John Howard and Education Minister Julie Bishop. As the Federal Government presses on with plans to create a more centralised national curriculum, public school teachers are becoming fair game to a Government convinced they're on the nose in the electorate. In Parliament, Mr Howard used a Dorothy Dixer on claims that some Victorian teachers plan to join tomorrow's ACTU National Day of Action to launch a blistering attack on the profession.

"It is no secret to any member in this House that many Australian parents are voting with their feet against the government education system around the country," he said. "And they are not doing it because of funding. "It's this kind of behaviour by teachers that gives government schools a bad name." Instead of attending a "Jimmy Barnes concert" at the Melbourne Cricket Ground teachers should be in their classrooms, Mr Howard said. "As somebody who is rather proudly the product of a government education system, let me say that I worry about this kind of behaviour undermining the quality of government education in Victoria and around Australia," he said.

Ms Bishop told a gathering of National History Challenge finalists in Canberra that the teaching of Australian history had been denigrated in many of our schools. "And I believe that is a shame," she said. She found some comfort in the fact that finalists in the competition had produced sophisticated and intelligent work. But she reiterated her determination to make history a compulsory stand-alone subject for Years 9 to 10.

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Teach the facts first: Without the basics, school history is just propaganda

An editorial from "The Australian" below

WHEN NSW Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt said on Monday Australia Day commemorated the founding of our federation, instead of the arrival of the First Fleet, she did more than look like a dill. She demonstrated how she was betrayed by the people who designed the curriculum she was taught at school. As a woman in her early 40s, Ms Tebbutt went to school in an era when history, the study of the past on its own terms, not as a version of the present in fancy dress, was being trashed. Instead of the foundations of history - the facts and dates of events, who did what and why, and what were the consequences - history began to be a collection of stories based on the belief that whatever past winners said was invariably unfair to everybody else. The result is that the woman charged with running the largest school system in the country cannot distinguish between the founding of settler society in Australia and the creation of our commonwealth. But it is a fair bet that while she may not have any idea of the detail of how or why Australia came to be one of the most successful and enduring democracies, Ms Tebbutt was told at school how the settlers, or the founding fathers, probably both, dispossessed the indigenous Australians.

And just as Ms Tebbutt was betrayed then, so are children today. For a generation, our state education systems have emphasised ideology over information in history and literature, assuming the task of the teacher is to create a questioning culture among students, but one where fashion and feelings stand in the way of fact. We have now reached a point where it appears important for students to understand what people felt, rather than to know the facts that shaped their circumstances. As The Australian reports this morning, a simulation exercise used in a Sydney school presented conflict in the Middle East from a militant Palestinian perspective. As a way of inciting ill-informed anger among young people against one side in an immensely complex conflict, this is a winner. But as an exercise in education, it is hard to imagine anything worse. Before students can argue about the Middle East they need to learn the 20th-century history of the region. They need to be aware the British ran much of the region between the wars. They need to know the basic facts and dates of the way the Israelis fought for independence, the way the surrounding states sought to destroy Israel and the way ordinary Palestinians are now caught between Islamic terrorists and the Israeli forces. And they need to grasp that the Palestinian cause is now divided between people who want to make the best deal they can with Israel and fanatics who believe they are divinely directed to kill Jews.

In this, as in every other area of study, it is the job of schools to teach the facts and interpretive skills students need to make up their own minds. It is not their job to indoctrinate young people in some sort of party line that suits the political style of the teacher union leaders, who still see the world through the prism of the counter-culture of the 1960s, which blamed the West for all that was wrong in the world. We are now at a stage where children are being taught an interpretation of the past as if it were fact - the very thing the education apparatchiks always argue they oppose. To portray the European settlers of Australia, or the Israelis for that matter, as invaders, as if the evidence was irrefutable, ensures school students will argue before they have all the evidence.

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Hard-Left education chief self-destructs

West Australian Education Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich, close to tears yesterday as she battled an implication of lying from her former top bureaucrat, will today try to save her job before a state parliamentary inquiry. This follows damning evidence given to an upper house committee by former education director-general Paul Albert, who contradicted claims she made in parliament denying any knowledge of a Corruption and Crime Commission investigation into teacher sexual abuse of students.

Ms Ravlich, who has admitted seeking the help of disgraced former Labor premier Brian Burke to counter considerable media, community and teacher opposition to the controversial Outcomes Based Education (OBE), yesterday launched a scathing attack on her former top bureaucrat, claiming that Mr Albert had deliberately withheld information from her. Ms Ravlich has been clinging to her job after a series of blunders and scandals that have rocked the Carpenter Government, including the spectacular demise of police minister John D'Orazio and small business minister Norm Marlborough, who were both ensnared in CCC investigations.

Mr D'Orazio was kicked out of the Labor Party over an inappropriate and secretly taped meeting with a panel beater to discuss the minister's traffic infringements. Mr Marlborough may face criminal charges over evidence he gave to the CCC about his contact with Mr Burke, who was jailed twice in the 1990s and has since become a lobbyist.

Yesterday, Ms Ravlich flatly denied Mr Albert's evidence on Monday that he told her about the CCC investigation on three separate occasions. At times looking close to tears, Ms Ravlich said she had no recollection of the discussions outlined by Mr Albert, apart from a "passing" reference on one occasion. She described his actions as incomprehensible.

The discrepancy renewed the pressure on Premier Alan Carpenter, who yesterday came under fire in parliament as the Opposition demanded to know whom he believed: Ms Ravlich, or Mr Albert, whom the Premier appointed as director-general in 2001 when he was education minister. Giving very careful responses, Mr Carpenter suggested it was not unreasonable for people to have different recollections about passing comments, but he refused to answer questions on Ms Ravlich's immediate future.

The CCC spent almost a year investigating the Education Department's handling of allegations of sexual misconduct by teachers against children before releasing a damning report last month that accused the department of being more concerned with protecting staff than students. Mr Albert said that while he did not go into any detail with Ms Ravlich, he had raised the issue in general terms at meetings in May, July and August. He said that on one occasion in July he recalled telling the minister a draft report had been received from the CCC and it looked bad. Mr Albert was forced to resign over the issue last month.

Ms Ravlich said she was never told the CCC was looking into alleged sexual misconduct by teachers and that Mr Albert's failure to inform her was "totally unacceptable". "I met with the director-general every fortnight, on occasion on a weekly basis, and we would go through a whole range of issues. I would have called Mr Albert virtually on a daily basis," she said. "To be dropping breadcrumbs over the place for a minister to pick up and to, by way of passing, put forward any information in that manner, it's totally unacceptable."

Liberal leader Paul Omodei said the Premier had no option but to immediately remove Ms Ravlich from the education portfolio.

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What a convert to Islam found

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In a fascinating memoir due in stores in February, "My Year Inside Radical Islam," Gartenstein-Ross describes how he was drawn to Islam because he saw it as a religion of peace. Over time, however, he watched himself and those around him seduced into a fanaticism that required them to loathe not only non-Muslims, but also Muslims who belonged to the wrong sect, listened to music or shaved. He had expected an open, accepting religion, only to hear sheikhs arguing that Muslims who leave the religion should be killed, that it is acceptable to kill civilians for jihad and that good Muslims should work to replace democratic governments with Shariah law....

He believes Americans need a more fact-based understanding of Islam, which requires the media to do a better job of reporting what Muslims think and say -- instead of papering over radical rhetoric. Once when a local reporter visited Al Haramain to write a piece on Ramadan, a co-worker refused to shake her hand, launched a defense of sorts of Algerian terrorists and lambasted a French policy that prohibited schoolgirls from wearing the hijab in class. The comments never made the story. Gartenstein-Ross writes, "And so, as I often did, the reporter chose not to acknowledge that a real clash of values existed here."

Islam's approach to homosexuality is another area that the left ignores in deference to multiculturalism. (Think of Bay Area liberals who voice outrage at the military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy, but are silent about the Shariah policy on homosexuals -- 100 lashes or death.) Ditto the status of women.

Gartenstein-Ross also takes issue with those rose-colored-glass wearers who deny that there is any theological basis for Islamic extremism. "It's important to note that they do have an argument," he told me, if only to be able to engage them in argument and understand where they get their ideas.

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(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

One of our finest has fallen

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Heard this on the way back from work this evening, it is a developing story at the moment, just saw the press conference where the minister confirmed, one soldier is dead, another is missing at sea.
UNCONFIRMED reports say one Australian soldier has been killed and another is missing after an Army Black Hawk crashed at sea near Fiji. It is understood some personnel were rescued from the sea after the helicopter, operating from the HMAS Kanimbla, crashed today.
Say a prayer tonight folks, for the soldiers and their families, may the lord deny the sea this soldier.

Vast Tolerance!!

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See this from SMH, on the Pope's visit to Turkey, after reading that, my reaction was "What spin Reuters!" UK telegraph is a bit more informative.
The Pope called for an “authentic dialogue” between Christians and Muslims today at the start of a four-day trip to Turkey, as he sought to calm anger in the Islamic world caused by earlier remarks linking Islam to violence.

His hosts responded with concialiatory words of their own, but the pontiff was ambushed into supporting Turkey’s bid for entry to the European Union and then reprimanded by Professor Ali Bardakoglu, the head of the state-run religious affairs department.

The Pope, making his first to a Muslim country since his election in April 2005, appeared uncomfortable as Dr Bardakoglu emphasised the “vast tolerance of Islam” and said that people who suggested it was a violent religion only gave extremists more cause for hate.
Oh yeah, all those beheaded in Iraq and elsewhere would love to experience this ‘tolerance’. Remember those journalists who were kidnapped in Palestine and forced to convert, yeah I’m sure they were really floored by the level of tolerance, what about the Danes, they must feel extra special from the amount of loving ‘tolerance’ they have received. Rape victims in Pakistan can take comfort knowing 8000 Muslims took to the street to protest their government’s amendments to current rape laws, ensuring rape victims don’t need 4 witnesses and won’t get whipped and stoned for being raped. Any feminists ready to pack their bags to enjoy this 'vast tolerance'?
In a clear reference to the Pope's words at Regensberg University, Mr Bardakoglu said religious leaders should not try to “demonstrate the superiority of their own beliefs” or waste time in discussing “the theology of religions”.
Well, what the hell are they supposed to do then, if a Christian priest insists that Christianity is exactly the same as Islam, then what’s the reason for becoming Christian again? Perhaps this is approval for the likes of Katharine Jefferts Schori, Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America, who is more concerned about the planet earth, not the boring old-fashioned nonsense about the after-life. Why wouldn't Bardakoglu prefer other religions leaders to be quiet, and if Muslim leaders are found quietly promoting Islam in the mosques, who has the balls to question this double-standard.
He said Muslims universally rejected accusations that Islam “was spread over the world by swords”.
He does have a small point there, it’s only in the grainy videos where we see knives and swords being used, these days it’s more IEDs, rockets and grandma suicide bombers.
In another poke at the Pope, whose speech at Regensberg contained several historical references, he said accusations of violence “are not based on any scientific and historical research or data.”
Oh boy, can someone get this fool onto a plane, straight to Baghdad, please explain to the Iraqi’s that their loved ones blown to bits, shot and beheaded, was all done by invading space aliens and not Muslim jihadists.

A message from someone who knows what he's talking about:

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"Our Country won't go on forever, if we stay soft as we are now. There won't be any America because some foreign soldiery will invade us and take our women and breed a hardier race."-Lt Gen Lewis "Chesty" Puller, USMC

Go read the rest, at Panday's Gazette. A brilliant post and absolutely spot-on target.

Know thy enemy

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For those of you who haven’t yet seen Exposed, I encourage you to watch it. It’s nothing we haven’t already long known, but still a significant eye-opener in terms of the hideous, homicidal propaganda spewing from the Middle East. You can also down load the special via this link.

I think this is a rather good diagram mapping the eddies of insanity currently swirling about Islam’s plughole:



A larger conflict is coming, of that I have absolutely no doubt. I have no idea how it will hit, or precisely when, but have long speculated.

My only question now is how we, as a civilization, will react.

From where I sit, that's pretty much up for grabs right now.

Pesky Greenland temperature data

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The Greenies are always trying to prove that the Greenland icecap is melting. Newly compiled high quality historical data puts a big hole in their hopes

The reconstruction of Earth's climate history is important because it contextualizes the recent global climate for which we have direct evidence through instrumental observation. Therefore, reconstructions are an important component of the climate change debate, as they speak to alarmists' claims that Earth's climate has warmed to a level that is unprecedented within the last two millennia, and therefore unnatural. The natural proxies used for reconstructing climate (e.g., ice and sediment cores) must be verified through comparison with an overlapping instrumental record, and obviously, the longer the instrumental record, the better.

Contextualizing the recent climate in the high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere is especially important, as it is across this region that the largest increase in surface air temperature has been both observed during the 20th century and predicted for the 21st century. These ideas highlight the importance of snow cover, its sensitivity to temperature, and its positive feedback to the overlying atmosphere. Higher temperatures in typically snow covered regions may lead to a reduction in snow cover, and in turn, a reduction in the refrigeration of Earth's atmosphere from beneath, and even greater atmospheric warming. The vision of out-of-control warming in Earth's frozen regions makes the leap toward a breakdown of the global oceanic circulation system and global sea level rise an easy one.

Until recently, the instrumental air temperature record for Greenland, an epicenter of glacial study and climate reconstruction, was confined to the period 1873 to present. However, recent collaboration between the Danish Meteorological Institute (DMI) and the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (United Kingdom) has resulted in the compilation of instrumental data for 13 stations along the southern and western coasts of Greenland that date back to 1784. The data represent the addition of 74 complete winters and 52 complete summers to the previous record along roughly the southern two-thirds of the western Greenland coastline.

The extended surface air temperature record was constructed and analyzed by a group of researchers from the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), and the aforementioned CRU (United Kingdom) and DMI (Denmark) (Vinther et al. 2006). In satisfying a major priority of the work, the temperature record clearly verifies ice core records for Greenland. A second priority of contextualizing the recent climate of Greenland has resulted in further complication of the global warming debate. As the popularized side of the debate has led us to expect, the authors found that the coldest year (1863) and the coldest decade (1810s) are early in the record, well before the ballyhooed warming of the 20th century. Problematic from a climate change standpoint is the fact that the two distinct cold periods that made the 1810s the coldest decade followed an 1809 "unidentified" volcanic eruption and the eruption of Tambora in 1815 - unusual geologic events that defined the climate.

However, of greater importance is the fact that the researchers found the warmest year on record to be 1941, while the 1930s and 1940s are the warmest decades on record. This represents very bad news for climate change alarmists, since the warmest period was NOT the last quarter of the 20th century. In fact, the last two decades of the 20th century (1981-1990 and 1991-2000) were colder across the study area than any of the previous six decades, dating back to the 1900s and 1910s (Table 1). When examining the instrumental records of the stations it is apparent that no net warming has occurred since the warm period of the 1930s and 1940s (Figure 1).

In a region of the world where climate models indicate that the greatest impacts of CO2-induced global warming will be most rapid and most evident, this recent extension of instrumental surface air temperature records produces a climate history that seems to suggest otherwise. If global climate models are correct, the increase in CO2 concentration since 1930 should be evidenced rather dramatically in air temperature across a high-latitude region of the Northern Hemisphere such as Greenland. The evidence provided by the instrumental record of air temperature along the western and southern coasts of Greenland produces doubt in the degree to which increased CO2 concentrations impact high latitude climate as represented by the climate models upon which climate change alarmists are hanging their hats.

Source
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Today's food nonsense

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SALT AND BLOOD PRESSURE: MORE OVER-HYPED FINDINGS

First read the following press report:

The humble cheese stick could be killing your children. Visiting cardiovascular medicine specialist Graham MacGregor, of St George's Hospital Medical School in London, has warned parents that diets high in salt were placing children at risk of heart attacks and strokes later in life. Autopsies on preschool accident victims revealed signs of diseased blood vessels, he said. Professor MacGregor's latest research, published this month in the journal Hypertension, showed a modest reduction in salt intake among children caused significant falls in blood pressure.

A review by Australia's National Heart Foundation found one processed cheese stick provided almost all the salt intake a toddler needed in a day. A pack of instant flavoured noodles contained almost three times a teenager's recommended daily salt needs.

"If you got all the nutritionists together in the world and said let's design a diet that's going to cause strokes and heart attacks later in life, that's exactly what these products seem to be designed to do," Professor MacGregor said. "It's mad how we allow ourselves to be feeding our children something that is going to cause heart attacks and strokes later in life. We know how to prevent strokes and heart attacks yet we seem to be doing our best to cause them."

Professor MacGregor said the battle to prevent heart attacks and strokes needed to begin in childhood. Feeding children salty food suppressed their taste receptors, getting them used to eating foods with high salt levels. "Most of these things are the concentration of sea water," Professor MacGregor said. "Do you really want your children to be eating solid seawater for lunch?"

Heart foundation national nutrition manager Barbara Eden said consumers should compare the sodium content of foods before purchasing. She said low salt foods must contain no more than 120mg of sodium per 100g of product.

Professor MacGregor called on food manufacturers to reduce salt levels in their products by a fifth. He said the salt concentration of most processed foods could be cut by 20 per cent tomorrow without anyone noticing. Prof MacGregor is in Sydney this week to address health professionals and food industry representatives on the need to reduce salt intake.

Source

If however you read the actual abstract of Macgregor's paper, it says only about one tenth of all the assertions above. It reports simply that children who have had their salt intake experimentally suppressed to varying degees show reduced blood pressure during the experiment. And that is no suprise. Studies with mice show the same.

What is NOT shown is ANY long-term effect of such salt reductions. That artificial salt restriction might also DO HARM in various ways is not considered -- which is just negligent, considering that people on salt-restricted diets die younger.

Note also that blood pressure response to salt varies between individuals. Genetic differences make some individuals more responsive to salt level than others. So any policy that treates everybody as the same is Leftist ideology, not medical science.

Note further that in healthy ADULTS, level of salt intake does NOT affect the level of salt in your blood. You just piss out any salt you do not need.

What utter crap the salt phobia is!





BACON IS BAD FOR YOU -- OF COURSE!

This finding is so predictable from a Leftist political agenda -- anything that people enjoy is bad -- that I just cannot be bothered looking up the original paper and pulling it apart. Data-dredging unaccompanied by error-rate correction would be my initial suspicion. Note however the undoubtedly justified caution at the end of the article

Indulging in bacon too frequently may be hazardous to your health, a new study suggests, while taking the skin off your chicken before you cook it might not be so good for you either. Dr Dominique S Michaud of the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston and her colleagues found that people who ate bacon five times a week or more were nearly 60 per cent more likely to develop bladder cancer, while those who ate skinless chicken this frequently had a 52 per cent greater risk of the disease.

Some meat products contain nitrosamines, which are known to cause bladder cancer, Michaud and her team note in their report, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. But the studies that have attempted to investigate the meat-bladder cancer link have been small and most have not separated out the effects of different types of meat. To better understand the relationship, Michaud and her team looked at data for 47,422 men and 88,471 women participating in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study and the Nurse's Health Study, respectively. Participants were followed for up to 22 years, during which time 808 developed bladder cancer. People who ate bacon and other processed meats frequently were also more likely to smoke and to take in more fat and fewer vitamins, the researchers found. They were also less likely to exercise.

The association between the total meat consumption and bladder cancer was not statistically significant. But those who ate bacon five or more times per week were 59 per cent more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who never did. Also, men and women who ate chicken this often were 52 per cent more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who never ate skinless chicken. Compared with skinless chicken, cooked chicken with skin is known to contain a smaller amount of heterocyclic amines, carcinogenic compounds that form when meat is cooked at high temperatures, the researchers note. The researchers suggest that nitrosamines, heterocyclic amines, or both are responsible for the health effects of bacon seen in the current study, but they note that their findings must be confirmed by other research teams before any conclusions can be made.

Source

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

A man who puts his money where his mouth is

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Jeff McInturff is a 39-year-old emergency room doctor who twice put his life on hold for stints in the war in Iraq. Moved to re-enlist in the army after the horror of Sept. 11, McInturff first served with the Army Reserve in Kuwait in 2004, troubled only by the notion that he felt underutilized working at a combat support hospital. A year later, he was in southern Iraq for an additional four months, tending to sick and injured detainees at a prison camp. McInturff did all that as a statement about his commitment to his country and to the cause. While he has remained steadfast in his support for the war, the country has changed around him.

A recent visit to McInturff's four-bedroom home in a Granite Bay gated community found a doctor more determined than ever to support the war and more frustrated at American impatience with the military campaign.

On the heels of an election that swept the Democrats into power in the Congress and suggested the nation had moved toward the political center, McInturff's views seem practically missing in action in the media in recent weeks. He doesn't support a military withdrawal. He doesn't want to hear talk of a timetable. "Patience is a big issue," he said, seated with his back to a living room window that looks out to a wooded meadow where wild turkeys and peacocks roam. "Fortitude and patience are what win wars. I don't know if it's a consequence of our current lifestyle in which everything is fast -- made-to-use, ready-to-eat. We live in a very fast society. It's good for our lifestyle, but it makes us ill-prepared for the long haul."...

At one point in his first four-month assignment, McInturff succumbed to feelings that he wanted to quit, to go back to his hospital job in Roseville and say farewell to the military. It was at Thanksgiving two years ago that he was jolted out of that mood. "I was sitting at a table with an enlisted soldier from Kentucky. He was telling me about his life -- he ran a pet store and he just bought a house. I was feeling down because I felt like medically I was being underutilized. I didn't feel like I was accomplishing much. "As I was talking to him I realized here this kid was the embodiment of the American dream, starting without much, he had built up his life and was serving his country. During that dinner I realized I can't walk away. It sounds silly, but I felt like I couldn't leave this guy's health care to someone else. That's when I stifled that desire to get out."

McInturff has never wavered in his belief that the United States must be in it for the long haul, that victory must be the only answer. Asked what argument he would make to the many who have changed their minds about Iraq, McInturff thought for a moment and said, "What I would ask those individuals to do is try to set aside our whole purpose for going to war and ask yourself today, 'Do I want to win this war? If you don't want to win this war then you have to ask yourself why and what are the consequences if we choose to walk away. I think the clear consequences are more Iraqi deaths. You're going to see increasing influence over Iraq by neighboring countries like Iran and Syria, which I think we can all agree isn't beneficial."

When it is mentioned that many Americans no longer see victory as a possibility, McInturff replied, "Realistically, we have to have a long-term vision. I mean, our own democracy took a long time to find itself. One hundred years after we had a supposedly great start, we fell apart into a civil war. We had a great functioning democracy, and yet we started killing each other in untold numbers. While democracy is clearly the best alternative I've seen, it's not without its flaws and foibles. "We've really only given these people three years to establish one. There's no adding water and, bingo, instant democracy."

More here

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

So what do we do now?

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I think it’s fair to say that disarming the population has achieved its real objective, disarming just the law-abiding population. Unfortunately for the stupid leftists, the criminals haven’t caught onto the new-age forms of helping yourself to another’s property.
ARMED robbery has rocketed in the inner city and inner western suburbs of Sydney in the past two years, new crime figures show.

Robbery with a firearm has increased by 50 per cent in inner Sydney and by 71 per cent in the city's inner west since October, 2004, according to the latest NSW crime statistics.

Blacktown, Canterbury and Bankstown all saw rises in unarmed robbery of more than 30 per cent.
Does this mean members of the public who so desire to protect themselves with fire-arms will be allowed to do so? For those struggling leftists, if armed robberies are increasing, that means the crims are not scared of the police anymore and the police can no longer protect the public from being robbed. Given that most robberies seem to happen at night, we cannot contact the civil liberties union and our lawyers to sprint to our rescue brandishing AVO’s and human rights publications.

So anyone willing to let the public do their own work, hell no, we want the nanny-state, that would mean the odd criminal scumbag might get shot, saving the tax payers thousands of dollars molly-coddling the scumbag for years, and that goes completely against leftist ideology.

No, what we will get is a bit of spin from our spineless leaders, something about trust the police while your getting raped and robbed, they are out there, inquiry, recommendations, blah blah, tough penalties, new laws. Ultimately robberies will go up and until more voters are actually getting robbed, bashed etc than not, nothing will be done.

This guy has now been elected to the Upper House of the Victorian parliament

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A millionaire Victorian businessman who has vowed unswerving loyalty to a Middle Eastern dictator is almost certain to take a Labor seat in Victoria's Parliament.

Syrian-Australian trucking boss Khalil Eideh has been chosen by Labor to run for one of its safest Upper House seats in November. But the Sunday Herald Sun has seen two letters from Mr Eideh to the Syrian Government warning of Zionist threats, reporting to the terror-sponsor regime on Australians and pledging "absolute loyalty" to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

In an Arab newspaper in 2002, Mr Eideh wrote "Satan brigades are getting ready to enslave the Arab world", praising "Arab martyrs". While admitting to authorising the letters to Syria, Mr Eideh yesterday denied any extremist views and said he abhorred terrorism.

In an October, 2002 letter to President Assad -- a few months before the start of the war in Iraq -- the magnate highlighted threats of "Zionist and colonial attacks on the Arab nation". It concluded: "Loyalty, total loyalty to your wise and brave leadership, and we promise to remain faithful soldiers behind your victorious leadership."

In another letter, to the Syrian Government in June, 2001, Mr Eideh states: "The Syrian influence in Melbourne, Australia, is completely absent and doesn't play any role in the Australian political arena."

He also reported on members of the Syrian-Australian community, saying they attended a lunch hosted by friends of former senator Edward Obeid, who he said "harbour ill will towards the Syrian Arab republic".

ALP sources say Mr Eideh has Premier Steve Bracks's backing. Close friends include federal frontbencher Lindsay Tanner, senator Kim Carr and state MP Liz Beattie.

Source

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Christians Bad; Muslims Good

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Chris Brand has just posted a big lot of links about the epidemic of attacks on Christianity at British universities. Christian groups are in effect being run off campus. The excuse for it is that Christians disapprove of homosexuality. Muslims however want to stone homosexuals to death and I have yet to hear of any Muslim student group being treated disapprovingly.

For convenience, I have reproduced the whole of Chris's post below:

British Catholics were given the news of attacks on them by the luniversities of Edinburgh, Exeter, Birmingham and Heriot-Watt (also in Edinburgh) (Independent Catholic News, 20 xi) (The Universe, 21 xi). The 200,000 Protestant readers of Inspire were similarly alerted (20 xi) and asked to write in protest to E.LU.’s Vice-Chancellor, Comrade Tim O’Shea; and Christian Today (21 xi) carried the story. Apparently Laura Stirrat, the robust vice-president of Edinburgh University's Christian Union, had pointed to the simple truth of the matter: "The university is effectively closing down free speech."

Britain’s yags carried the news of the impending battle in their PinkNews, 20 xi. Apparently, PURE came from the USA, from the founders of the chastity-till-marriage-advocating ‘Silver Ring Thing.’

The Times (21 xi), under the heading ‘These are exciting times for Christian students,’ carried three letters responding to its p.1 article, two backing free speech and one criticizing ‘evangelical’ take-overs of Christian Unions. The Telegraph (21 xi) revealed that NuLabour had forced through regulations in Northern Ireland to criminalize discrimination against homosexuality or criticism of homosexuality, obliging schools to educate children as much in homosexuality as in heterosexuality – and similar ‘protection’ of yags was planned for England and Wales. News that “Christians across Britain were preparing to take legal action against university authorities” reached Oz (The Australian, 21 xi).

Edinburgh’s Student (21 xi) reported Matt Tindale, the UCCF staff worker at the Edinburgh University Christian Union, as saying: “…from what our lawyers have been saying, we have a strong legal case.” E.LU. student union President Tim Goodwin burbled fatuously that “The decision to ban PURE is less about religious groups and more about ensuring that all groups on campus are free to express themselves regardless of their sexuality or any other discriminating factor;” and E.LU.’s National Union of Students-appointed (and presumably salaried) Officer for LGBT affairs whinged that the Christians had chosen to “target some of the most vulnerable students on campus” – when said “vulnerable students” had in fact set themselves up for criticism not only by their shameless exhibitionism but by their frankly tyrannous effort to close down the Christians’ freedom of speech. Student’s editorial settled for a middle way of complaining that the Christian Union was “subsidized” in its “repugnant” views by the University – though the CU was in no way different in this from any other E.LU. society, getting free antiquated rooms in dilapidated buildings in the smallest of returns for its members’s fees to the LUni. E.LU.’s CU reported that the LUniversity had not even consulted them before banning PURE.

The director of the London-based interdenominational ‘Share Jesus International,’ the Reverend Dr Rob Frost, offered his support to any British student Christian Unions wanting to do battle with censorious institutions such as E.LU. (Christian Today, 22 xi). (The movement involved 700 churches and its annual Easter event was attended by some 6,000 people.) Nine Anglican and Catholic bishops, including the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, the Evangelical Lord Carey, announced they had, together with eight academics and Christian representatives, written to the Times to condemn the “intolerant and unlawful” behaviour of such luniversities (Inspire, 22 xi; published Times 24 xi – though the letter diplomatically omitted saying that the censorship and to believing that "The Bible, as originally given, is the inspired and infallible Word of God" and "is the supreme authority in all matters of belief and behaviour" (Spero, 23 xi). Apparently LGBTs hoped that non-evangelical Christians would join them in condemning such ‘exclusory’ requirements. A Times news report (24 xi) said the four CUs (at Birmingham, Edinburgh, Exeter and Heriot-Watt) had been told that they had “strong cases” and that they should they press ahead with court action.

These troubles for the lunis arose at the same time as British Airways was criticized by 100 MPs (including Labour’s ex-Foreign Secretary Jack Straw) for not allowing a female employee to wear her crucifix (despite displaying on its aeroplanes’ tailfins the crosses of St George, St Andrew and St David) – BA eventually buckled under the barrage, promising further ‘review’ of its peecee policies; and it was said with academic authority that 25 lunis were wittingly or unwittingly providing facilities for training Muesli wannabe suicide bombers. The National Secular Society called the new assertive moves by Christians “sinister” (23 xi)

The UCCF website provided further news, press cuttings etc. and called on “Christians everywhere” for support. In particular it noted that Edinburgh’s Christian Union was under attack from the University itself and not just from Edinburgh University Student Association. News of the bishops’ letter was carried by The Scotsman (24 xi) and Virtue Online (“The Voice of Global Orthodox Anglicanism”) (24 xi) and the Anglican Diocese of Lichfield (24 xi). The trouble at Exeter LUni had started in May when just one student had complained of finding the Christian Union’s declaration of faith too restrictive and took action via the Student Guild to have the Union’s name changed to ‘Evangelical Christian Union.’

With laughable disregard for any principle of free speech, the National Secular Society accused the bishops who had written to the Times of defending “mistreatment” of and “discrimination” against unbelievers in general and yags in particular (26 xi). Although Times Higher (24 xi) declined to show any interest in the debate, evidently adopting the mainstream left’s usual fall-back tactic of denial (as with Dr Sushi Kasanova lately, with Dr Frank Ellis last year, with Richard Lynn’s IQ and the Wealth of Nations and with myself for the past ten years) the battle for free speech (that should have been held in 1996/7/8 about The g Factor vs Edinburgh LUniversity) was hotting up.

Scotland on Sunday’s Paul Stokes came down in favour of free speech between E.LU.’s Christians and yags, writing (26 xi): “No idea or faith should be immune from criticism, attack and ridicule. Let the Christians back in, let them harangue the gays, and let the gays shout back. If you can't do that in a university then where can you? If we really want to encourage the harmonious co-existence of radically opposed ideas then we must learn to treat each other with due disrespect.”

Times signatory Lord Carey, the previous Archbishop of Canterbury, managed some unusually stirring words for the Sunday Telegraph: “This country is in danger of losing sight of its Christian heritage. One of the most telling recent cases is the action taken by student unions agains Christian organisations on university campuses. I was among those who earlier this year spoke in Parliament and voted against a proposed law that would exempt religion from free speech. Yet I am beginning to wonder whether the principle of free speech can even be preserved on university campuses. ….Are we beginning to see the menace of censorship and political correctness in the very places where we expect liberality and generosity.” {Apparently, His Holiness did not know that the assault on free speech in the UK’s universities had begun in Edinburgh, just ten years previously….}

News of Christians versus yags and lunis appeared in the USA’s Fox News (26 xi) and in Australia’s The Age (27 xi), which pointed out that 1986 legislation obliged universities to support free speech on campus. {But, sadly, my own 1996/7/8 case showed this obligation was worthless for it could be overridden (decided a Scottish High Court judge) if a luni found some particular case of free speech to be bad for its business. The Church would find it had left things too late for lawyers to solve, and that it would have to use its muscle – if it had any left after years of selling out to lezzies.}

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Diversity is divisive

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A new manifesto looks set to kickstart a debate about how multiculturalism fosters tribalism and political victimhood.

The manifesto of the New Generation Network (NGN), published this week, has thrown out an impressive challenge to improve the national conversation about racism. Amongst other things, the manifesto calls for a proper debate about multiculturalism, an end to ‘communal politics’, and it criticises self-appointed ethnic ‘community leaders’ for hijacking certain issues (read the manifesto in full here). Perhaps inevitably, much of the debate it has provoked so far is focused on the comments about self-appointed leaders. However, these issues can only be fully understood in the context of official anti-racism measures that have been built up over the past two decades.

As NGN states, we have come a long way since the first Race Relations Act was created in 1976. Back then, racist attacks were more common and prejudice more evident in the immigration service, police, employment, housing and education. Thirty years on, racism is clearly in decline, thanks to the efforts of many progressive activists and the gradual cultural integration of ethnic groups in society.

Yet in many ways, our society is much more anxious about race than before. Early findings from the 2005 Home Office Citizenship survey show that nearly half of all people (48 per cent) questioned believed that racism had got worse in the past five years. This was a rise from 43 per cent in 2001. White people were more likely to say this than ethnic minorities, suggesting that perception does not reflect the reality experienced by most people.

Why has this strange paradox emerged? While people from ethnic minority backgrounds are today less likely to confront old-fashioned racism, they are much more likely to confront multicultural policies and practises that racialise them. The principle of equality – that all people should be treated the same regardless of their skin colour or ethnic background – has now been replaced with the principle of diversity, where all cultural identities must be given public recognition. While this sounds nice and inclusive in principle, the overall effect is that people are being treated differently, which fuels a sense of exclusion.

The ‘race relations industry’ has expanded massively on the back of government policies, legislation and funding. Most public services – housing, healthcare, arts and cultural provision, voluntary support, public broadcasting, and policing – have strategies to accommodate the supposedly different needs of ethnic users. Many organisations now have targets to ensure they are employing enough ethnic minorities.

The effect of such measures, however, is not to get rid of racial categories, but to reinforce their grip on our consciousness. For example, there has been much debate about the lack of ethnic minorities in the media and arts sectors. The reasons are complex, and can be explained by different aspirations, socioeconomic factors and cultural expectations (many of which also affect the white working class).

But the dominance of racial thinking leads to the simplistic explanation that the ‘white male establishment’ is full of bigots. This leads to positive discrimination schemes that put ethnicity before talent, and results in the hired hand being sent to work in this or that department as the unofficial spokesperson for their ‘community’. No wonder these individuals then think there is racism in the sector where they work, when they are so obviously treated as ‘the token ethnic’. Diversity policies often appear as the flipside of old racial thinking, making us see people’s ethnicity first and their (often diverse) talents and interests second.

The most pernicious effect of this new racial thinking is how it fosters tribalism between ethnic and religious groups. They end up competing for resources on the basis that they are more excluded and vulnerable than others. Some Muslim lobby groups have argued that Christian groups already have public funding for their schools and services, so they should, too. In response, there are now Hindu and Sikh organisations demanding their own concessions lest they feel left out. The demand to wear the headscarf one day spurs the demand to wear the crucifix the next. There is a perverse incentive to assert one’s victimisation by others, rather than build alliances. In this climate, no wonder everyone thinks that racism and discrimination is rife.

To challenge the dominance of identity politics, we need to champion an alternative universalist approach. This wouldn’t mean bland similarity, with everybody talking and looking the same. Instead, it would help us challenge the imposition of formal, ethnic categories and allow us to develop richer differences based on character and interests.

A major step towards the universalist approach would be to dismantle the countless diversity policies that encourage people to see everything through the prism of racial difference. We should get rid of ‘tick box’ measures that do nothing to address underlying inequality in areas like employment. And we should interrogate the claims of victimisation made by some organisations to get their slice of pie. If the NGN will help to expose some of the damage being done in the name of diversity, I welcome it.

Source

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

The Eurabia myth

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A dissenting view by RALPH PETERS. I tend to agree with him. I said something similar at the end of my leading post on 14th August

A RASH of pop prophets tell us that Muslims in Europe are reproducing so fast and European societies are so weak and listless that, before you know it, the continent will become "Eurabia," with all those topless gals on the Riviera wearing veils. Well, maybe not. The notion that continental Europeans, who are world-champion haters, will let the impoverished Muslim immigrants they confine to ghettos take over their societies and extend the caliphate from the Amalfi Coast to Amsterdam has it exactly wrong. The endangered species isn't the "peace loving" European lolling in his or her welfare state, but the continent's Muslims immigrants - and their multi-generation descendents - who were foolish enough to imagine that Europeans would share their toys.

In fact, Muslims are hardly welcome to pick up the trash on Europe's playgrounds. Don't let Europe's current round of playing pacifist dress-up fool you: This is the continent that perfected genocide and ethnic cleansing, the happy-go-lucky slice of humanity that brought us such recent hits as the Holocaust and Srebrenica. The historical patterns are clear: When Europeans feel sufficiently threatened - even when the threat's concocted nonsense - they don't just react, they over-react with stunning ferocity. One of their more-humane (and frequently employed) techniques has been ethnic cleansing.

And Europeans won't even need to re-write "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" with an Islamist theme - real Muslims zealots provide Europe's bigots with all the propaganda they need. Al Qaeda and its wannabe fans are the worst thing that could have happened to Europe's Muslims. Europe hasn't broken free of its historical addictions - we're going to see Europe's history reprised on meth...

Sound impossible? Have the Europeans become too soft for that sort of thing? Has narcotic socialism destroyed their ability to hate? Is their atheism a prelude to total surrender to faith-intoxicated Muslim jihadis? The answer to all of the above questions is a booming "No!" The Europeans have enjoyed a comfy ride for the last 60 years - but the very fact that they don't want it to stop increases their rage and sense of being besieged by Muslim minorities they've long refused to assimilate (and which no longer want to assimilate)....

Far from enjoying the prospect of taking over Europe by having babies, Europe's Muslims are living on borrowed time. When a third of French voters have demonstrated their willingness to vote for Jean-Marie Le Pen's National Front - a party that makes the Ku Klux Klan seem like Human Rights Watch - all predictions of Europe going gently into that good night are surreal.

More here

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)

Obsessed

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I think Chavez is a closet homo, honestly, this guy must be masturbating every night to fantasies of going horse riding, buck-naked with George Bush. How else can you explain it, every time we hear something from Chavez, George Bush is always mentioned, hasn’t anyone told this fool, we get it Chavez. Are you a moron or something, you don’t have to keep repeating it Chavez. Look, George don’t swing that way man, he’s married, two kids, just get over it, there are other cowboys out there you know, no means no, try the set of broke back mountain.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Sunday assured hundreds of thousands of supporters he would win a victory in his Dec. 3 re-election try — a win he inferred would be a home run off the “devil,” a term he uses to refer to President George W. Bush.

A close ally of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, Chavez also said he would dedicate his win to Cuba, noting the Dec. 3 ballot will be the same weekend that Cuba celebrates the 50th anniversary of the landing of the yacht that carried Castro and his armed band to Cuba to launch a guerrilla war.
Maybe it’s because Castro’s ailing health means fewer “who’s you daddy” now!! Or perhaps he was mad at Dubya for petting those turkeys that were spared recently, and not him in his commie outfit. It’s that, or Chavez is paranoid that he has a smaller penis than George Bush. Either way, good heavens, what a freaking loser!!

Why must we always learn the hard way.

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From Canada

On the eve of the Liberal leadership convention, the man charged with leading the party's renewal process has dropped a bombshell by questioning one of liberalism's key convictions -- that government actually works. In a hard-hitting policy paper obtained by the National Post, Tom Axworthy, a former top advisor to Pierre Trudeau, says there is an "implementation gap" between what Liberal governments promise and what they deliver.

"Liberalism's dirty secret [and it is not so secret these days] is that government doesn't seem to work well much of the time," he says, citing such examples as the 800,000 potential immigrants waiting for their applications to be processed; massive cost overruns at the gun registry; lengthy procurement delays for military equipment; poor water quality on aboriginal reserves; and the Jean Chretien Pledge to Africa Act, which promised to produce generic drugs to help fight AIDS but has yet to export a single pill.

On the lighter side, check this out from Townhall.com, it’s as funny as this from the asylum. Careful who you threaten, they might just call your bluff.

Dr. Adams,
Explain to me how George W. Bush was admitted to Harvard's Business School when he was a self described "C" student at Yale. Please add how you think this affects his psyche, being so clearly admitted on something other than his qualifications. I know you will not respond, because an honest engagement with affirmative action would take into account the privilege, mostly enjoyed by whites, that affirmative action was intended to address, and you avoid this matter all together in your column. I ask, again, how did the President get into Harvard's Business School with his grades? And, tell me, do you really believe that he is the only unqualified white man to have reaped the most sought after advantages our country has to offer?
Mark Jefferson

Mark: I assume you are black. Are you also, by chance, a homosexual?

Mike Adams [Previously Dr. Adams, getting a bit testy isn't he, Adams must have struck a chord]
Perhaps, you should have assumed that I am an attorney at a Manhattan firm with a lot of friends-- some who are conservatives. I will be in contact with your administrators. Thanks for placing your coded venom in an email format.
Mark Jefferson

Read the rest here,it's well worth the time.

When Ignorance becomes dangerous

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Ignorance is bliss, simply because it’s easy to be ignorant, no one has to work to be uninformed, unaware and unconcerned. Every so often when we choose to ignore, forget and vote in lazy politicians and when it becomes all too hard, we get bitten in the bum.
RESIDENTS of an upmarket Mosman street expressed shock after a local was seriously wounded in a fight with a group of men, one of them carrying a gun. Neighbours of the man said they were shocked their suburb had become the scene of a violent crime.

"This is Mosman," said one man. "I can't believe this has happened here." Thea McArthur, who lives around the corner from the scene of the assault, said other residents had complained to the police about suspected drug dealing originating from the house.
I wonder if anyone else in Sydney is similarly shocked, if so then read the papers on a Monday morning people, even during the week and you will see. Someone bashed, someone robbed, guns, knives, swearing, rioting, drugs, bullets. It’s not just some problem somewhere else; you can’t throw some money at it and hope it stays in some alley on the other side of town. Recently we saw police raiding nightclubs with sniffer dogs and found the places were rife with drugs of all kinds. Just yesterday a dance party in Sydney was raided netting ecstasy, cocaine etc, and that is probably just the tip of the iceberg. Sooner or later it will come to you as well.

To add alcohol to the scourge of drugs, we always take the soft option, soft punishments, needle exchange programs, harm-minimization, no point telling the young ones about staying away from drugs and alcohol, won’t punish them, all too hard, they’ll do it anyway, so better to help them after they are stuffed!!
AN estimated 27,000 teenagers have swarmed the Gold Coast to join schoolies celebrations that have been marked by heavy violence and more drinking than ever before.

It also came as the Queensland Government faced criticism for allowing the open sale of drug paraphernalia at chemists offering "schoolies week specials" on bongs and the $20 glass pipes used to take the drug ice.

Supt Keogh said toolies were crashing the school-leavers' party in record numbers despite being told to stay away. The schoolies themselves had been drunker than ever. He said the levels of intoxication in some cases have been extreme and criticised parents for supplying their children with high-alcohol drinks.

Last week, police were surprised to learn parents had also been restocking schoolies' fridges mid-week. "Disturbingly, it's high-level alcohol -- its not low-level alcohol drinks," Supt Keogh said.
We don’t want to be parents anymore, children are just small adults you know, in these new times we want to be their friends, and friends don’t boss each other, friends are not judgemental, we are there just to re-stock and re-supply, after all if we don’t, then someone else will. And speaking of that someone else.
CRIME gangs manufacturing the dangerous party drug "ice" are smuggling in large quantities of the main ingredient - cold and flu tablets - from south-east Asia. The growing trend has alarmed Australian Customs, which has seized 24kg of the drugs - worth up to $31 million on the street - from travellers' luggage and postal packages in the past six months.
Just so you know, drug syndicates are not charity organizations, they are not here to help children’s self-esteem, they aren’t big on you or your child’s future, they play a more parasitical role in society, you give they take, you give some more, they take some more and when you’re all out of ‘give’, they are hard to find, you and/or your family is left to clean up the mess.

They are not increasing their production of drugs, because they are bored, Australia is not supplying others with this poison, there is obviously a market for ‘ice’ here and alarmingly it is growing.

Time to say no to schoolies, no to rave parties, no to dance parties, cut back on the boozing etc, time to become hard bastards as parents, for our ignorance is costing our children and ruining their future.

American TV network covers up for a racist Black

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Any mention of racial stereotypes is routinely denounced by the Left as "racist", so let us follow that rule here:

On the November 21st morning edition of Newsroom, CNN's Kyra Phillips interviewed Paul Mooney,a popular black comedian and activist, and Roland Martin, a Chicago radio personality, about Michael Richards' ("Kramer's") now notorious racist outburst. During the interview Paul Mooney referred to Kramer's appearance as "Jewish" and was not challenged.

CNN publishes transcripts, but removed this version after two hours and edited the remark out of the original interview when they re-ran it. CNN also removed the link to the original transcript on the official CNN Transcript page. The original transcript remained available through the Google cache, however. So all references to this racist remark by a known black activist and comedian who specializes in racial humor were removed.

Whether or not Richards is in fact Jewish, there is of course a history of bigoted remarks about "Jewish features" and "looking Jewish" (big noses etc.). The Nazis used such ideas frequently.

There was no chastising Mooney for his racist remark and no one seemed horrified, as they would if it were said about "black features." If Mooney were white, by now an intern would be reviewing hours of his old comedy shows to find inappropriate remarks that support the view that he is an anti-Semite. An American Republican or white man would have ended up with his own CNN segment the next day trying to explain what he meant and promising that he really isn't bigoted.

You can read the suppressed segment of the interview here

(For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH, GREENIE WATCH, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Page. Email me (John Ray) here.)