Thursday, 29 October 2009

The ghost of Macpherson still haunts the British Police Force

Both the Mail and the Telegraph run with this idiotic story about a lesbian police officer who has labelled the police force as (wait for it..) "insititutionally homophobic." Remember that little phrase? Used first to describe the police force as "institutionally racist" by Macpherson and a whole line of cowardly higher-ups in the force? Well now its mutated! Of course the fact that she gets the meaning wrong (institutionally homophobic would means the rules, structures etc of the police would be homophobic, while all she is saying is that a large number of officers 'discriminated' against her) doesn't matter. After all it goes on with the continual narrative set up by MacPherson that police are racist, bigot, sexist homophobes, so it must be true!

The story itself is a relatively typical discrimination case, and to be fair, we don't know if some of the jokes and comments she refers to happened or not, and certainly if there was real discrimination against Sgt Stewart, then it would be inappropriate and need dealing with. Yet there are a couple of elements to the story that tweaked my ear, and made me think that this is more down to complete idiocy and the soul-destroying influence of the MacPherson report than due to any actual discrimination. The first thing that should be ringing alarm bells is the main accusation of homophobia that Sgt Stewart makes. The main accusation she makes isn't a joke, a comment, but instead the decision to refuse her request that her and her partner work on the same team, something that she was eventually allowed to do after she threatened a grievance procedure, to which her superiors soiled themselves and backed down.

If you are like me, you are probably wondering where the homophobia is in this incident? In the story, all we are told to justify this claim is Sgt Stewart's 'knowledge' that heterosexual police officers worked together, and some vague comment by her inspector that people wouldn't like it if they knew they were a couple - which could mean a million different things. Anyway, lets deal with this, and lets take sexuality out of it.

Imagine you are an inspector, and one of your sergeants comes to you and asks for someone that they are going out with to be transferred to your team. Lets assume the person they are asking to be transferred is not a fellow Sgt but a lowly PC. This means that first of all there is a risk of bias - surely not a coincidence that this sergeant is asking for their partner to be moved? This bias, perceived or otherwise, may also present itself by other members of the team, "She has only been given that cushy assignment because she is sleeping with the Sgt" they might say. "Have you noticed how much of a clique they are?" etc etc. In fact, if this was a male sergeant in a relationship with a female PC, it would open itself up to a harassment claim - "In order to get anywhere in this place, you have to sleep with the boss!" So this move could be very risky for morale.

Second of all, there is the risk of a lack of productivity. Anyone who has been in a working environment with someone they are dating knows that this can affect productivity. Its very easy to get distracted, depending on the personalities there might be jealousy issues, or simply "we are a couple in love and can't keep our hands off each other" issues. Also, what if there is a break up? Will they be able to work together productively? Will Sgt Stewart then demand (because lets face it, she demanded the move, she didn't ask if she wasn't prepared to take no for an answer.) that her partner is kicked back to where she came on, and the latest fling brought in?

Finally there are issues of professionalism in the field, and in a way these are the most important. If Sgt Stewart sees her partner being hurt, is she going to react reasonably, or is this going to affect judgement? With the rise of pro-criminal legislation, and also camera phones, there would be a great risk to the force's reputation if Sgt Stewart lost it and started beating the hell out of some criminal! Or would she instead choose to hold her partner back, and send other officers on those risky assignments?

There are many problems to making this transfer, and if I was the Inspector in question, I'd definitely refuse permission, not because I'm not raving homophobe, but because of the morale and safety of that team that could be damaged by such an irresponsible move. Yes, there may be people in different stages of relationships in teams for a number of reasons, and it is certainly not up to the Inspector to pry, unless a problem was brought to his attention. But it is also not for him to actively encourage such behaviour, which is of course what Sgt Stewart wants. Yet it is the ghost of Macpherson that haunts the force now, not the spirit of common-sense, and sure enough the inspector folded on the issue, and is still being claimed against.

Finally, I look at her accusation of other comments and jokes, and notice the subjective element to them. She appears to admit that there might be nothing in them objectively but then comes the lines that make me think the police will actually lose this case. "I felt the way it was said was because Mhairi and I were gay." So, nothing that was actually said was homophobic, just the way in which it was said. Then the classic line, referring to an insubordinate PC, "Every time I asked him to do something it was met with resistance. He would comply in the main if one of my male counterparts asked. My perception is that he had an issue with my sexuality and my sex."

The obvious reposte to this is, "Or maybe it was because he just didn't like you?" But of course it doesn't matter. MacPherson defined a racist incident as one that was perceived to be racist by any party involved. Surely it is a logical step to apply this to homophobia as well? She perceived the incidents to be homophobic, therefore they are. Case closed. It is for this reason that I think Sgt Stewart will win, and why the already rock-bottom morale of the police will be kicked around some more. Sad isn't it?

Friday, 16 October 2009

More moral gymnastics for Libya.

The Telegraph breaks this story about how the British Government has seemingly decided not to charge two Libyan men in connection with the death of WPc Yvonne Fletcher in 1984. The two men are relatively high up in Gaddafi's regime, and it would certainly cause a fuss if the government decided to demand justice for WPc Fletcher and her family (and for Britain in general.) There is certainly a case to be made for not pushing it too much, this was 1984 one might say, it was one person, and now, alongside the Obama adminstration's push for 'looking forward', we need to do the same and move on. I disagree with such an argument, but it has been put about a fair bit on other issues, and seems to be the policy of government right now.

Unfortunately this whole 'moving on' policy that Obama has been pushing, and Brown and co have been skipping alongside trying to keep up with, is a complete farce. Although it may have earnt President Obama a Nobel Peace Prize for "creating a new international climate" this climate is not one that suits America or Britain. One of the key features of this masochistic policy has been to pander to nutcase regimes like Iran and Libya, while throwing Anglo-American allies under the bus (like Israel, Japan, Poland etc.) Now, while being 'fairer' and being a little tougher with one's allies, and 'stretching out an open hand' to one's enemies may sound nice in a poem or in a Harvard lecture theatre, in real life it severely damages national interests, strengthens extreme regimes like Iran and Libya, and gets people killed.

In 2009 so far, we have had Britain release the Lockerbie bomber (which caused an Anglo-American rift after Obama criticised Britain for it, although it subsequently came out that he knew all about it), we've had Obama shaking hands with Gaddafi left right and center, Brown met him a while back, Obama gave a 'America is not better than anyone' speech at the U.N which was followed by a delighted Gaddafi showing his approval. That's just Libya, it would take all day to get into everything else Obama and Brown have done to appease the lunatics of the world. So, today's announcement about WPc Fletcher should shock but shouldn't surprise.

The implied reason for this move is business interests (I think this is true for the British goverment, while for Obama its more of an ego trip about saving the world.) Now, I'm not naiive, in order to do business, you can't always operate with only the Saints, and sometimes you have to make some tough compromises. However, the message that is being sent out is not 'Britain is willing to compromise to do good business', the message now is simply that Britain has lost its strength. Both America and Britain have capitulated on a number of occasions to Libya and pals, and what for? Has all this bending over backwards really gained us a great deal? If we have gained significant business deals from this, is it really worth it? Now we are telling people that you can commit enormous human rights violations, wage war on the West, come onto British soil, blow up airliners full of American and British civilians and shoot our police officers in cold blood in the street, and as long as you have some oil to distract us, we'll let it go. What sort of signal does this send?

This is an extremely dangerous precedent to set. I thought it was supposed to be George Bush who was 'obsessed' with oil, as the left so frequently told us? Well at least Bush wasn't prepared to threaten our national security and our status in the world for it. There is a reason that British and American governments have never negotiated with terrorists before now: because if you do and they are seen to get what they want, then it encourages others to do exactly the same. I dread to wonder what the American and British governments have encouraged by these reckless capitulations.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Liberal McCarthyism

"Liberal McCarthyism" is a phrase I've seen popping up every now and again, especially recently in the context of the healthcare debate in America. If it means nothing to you, Senator Joseph McCarthy was heavily involved in what is known as the "Second Red Scare" in America in the 1940's and 50's, becoming the figurehead in rooting out Communist espionage in America. While the goal was certainly a true and noble one, McCarthy became more and more aggressive, putting accused through intensive hearings, and it encouraged an atmosphere of fear where unsubstantiated accusations were rife, and taken seriously. McCarthyism is therefore known as the politically motivated practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion, or treason without proper regard for evidence (thanks Wiki!) "Liberal McCarthyism" is simply the modern equivalent, used by liberals in recent years.

The most common form of Liberal McCarthyism is usually aimed at tarring people with some form of bias or discrimination. So for instance, if you are against gay marriage, that isn't because you have strong beliefs in the role and institution of marriage, but simply because you are 'homophobic.' However, the common beating stick of Liberal McCarthyism is the issue of race and racism.

In England we have seen this ugly side of politics rear its head on a number of occasions, the most famous example being the Stephen Lawrence case and the resulting MacPherson report. It would take too long to go into the exact details and it has been summed up better than I ever could by Theodore Dalrymple in his article and critique in the City Journal this year.
He shows excellently exactly how the death of an innocent young black man was used in the most shocking manner by agenda driven liberals to attack the police, and accuse them of 'institutional racism.' This accusation made fifteen years ago, still taints the police and affects its performance and the morale of its officers each and every day. The Report's recommendation that a racist incident be defined as "any incident which is perceived as racist by the victim or any other person” has damaged race relations, both by increasing suspicion amongst minorities that there are a significant number of people (including the police force as a whole) out to get them, and by encouraging a 'cry-wolf' attitude to racism so that when a real case of racism occurs, it is sometimes met with skepticism by a defensive and weary population living in fear of someone pointing the race finger at them. While I agree with Dalrymple on most points, I disagree with him that the history of the MacPherson report can be written at the present time. I believe that the effects of this brand of Liberal McCarthyism will reach far into the future, and it will be left to historians in the distant future to assess the seismic damage it has caused to British society.

Now we turn to the present situation in America. Obama was supposed to bring a new era of post-racial America, yet the temptation for liberals to turn into present day McCarthyites was just too much. We have seen it in the President himself, he made a handful of pops at the Republican party during his campaign ("They'll tell you that I don't look like them, and that I have a funny name.") and Obama's McCarthyite streak was revealed in July when he called police stupid and threw the race card at them for having the audacity to arrest an old Prof friend of his, even though he had no idea what had actually happened (it turns out the officer in question had acted impeccably.) Poll numbers dropped and beers were drank in front of cameras to get the numbers up, but the damage was done, America was shown to have a President not scared to play the race card when it suits him.

Then came the town hall debates over healthcare, and since they have started, the racism accusations have come thick and fast, and are getting louder. Even Obama cuddling up to Letterman and making a forced joke that he was black before the election can't stop this hurricane of McCarthyism that has been unleashed by Obama's drop in popularity and the defeat of the summer healthcare push by the Dem's. With Obama's poll numbers dropping faster than the charges against Skip Gates, liberals are in panic, and after their first weapon - cries of 'incivility' and 'nastiness' - were brushed off, they have chosen to well and truly hit the panic button, which is to instigate an all-out war against free speech. Now liberal media pundits are talking of 'unsettling atmospheres' of race, saying that race 'is definitely a factor' despite not being able to provide any evidence for it. Talk of 'undeniable trends' or 'racist tones' crops up more and more, the goal being either the dismissal of people with legitimate grievances, or the quashing of opposition, or both. Even ex-pres Jimmy Carter popped his head up to tell us that all this opposition to the President was definitely because of racism. Joe Wilson calling Obama a liar was again put down to racism (as opposed to the fact that Obama was lying about healthcare of course), after all Wilson comes from the South so it must be racism! Signs portraying Obama as the joker were labelled as 'disturbingly reminiscent of minstrels and other such racist imagery', despite the fact that images of Bush as the Joker had been in abundance when he was President as well. The examples are endless, and only within a few months.

It is tempting to laugh off these attempts to create a McCarthyite atmosphere, but its important to take them seriously. It can work in creating pockets of fear amongst people who don't want to be labelled racist in their environments, and as we have seen in England, even something as poorly argued as the MacPherson report, can have devastating effects of society at large. Just as the McCarthyite period in the 1950's caused an atmosphere of fear in which people became scared of criticising American foreign policy for fear of being called a communist, Americans need to guard against a second McCarthyite period in which people would be scared of criticising any area of Obama's policies for fear of being labelled a racist. The movement to put such a period into action is already well under way.

Friday, 11 September 2009

9-11 and the uncomfortable liberals (Warning: Long Post)

It goes without saying that today is the 8th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on the United States, and rightly there has been a lot of coverage of it in the media, the theme in most places being one of remembrance. What became instantly noticeable to me was that on the Guardian's comment page, there were two articles on the subject of 9-11, both disparaging the U.S.A in some way, and generally trying to draw the focus away from 9-11.

The first article is by Andy Worthington, who looks not at the tragedy of the 3,000+ people who died on 9-11, but on the 225 people detained at Gitmo. The article itself is standard fare for a liberal rag like the Guardian, nothing particularly extreme, moans about those oppressed by America in Gitmo, how the War on Terror was bad, all mixed in with a nice dollop of Anti-Americanism - its nothing unusual. Yet what is noteworthy is that it has appeared in the Guardian today of all days. Why on Earth, when today is the anniversary of the most horrific attack on American soil, would you completely ignore the people who died, and focus instead on a handful of prisoners? It's the equivalent of commemorating the anniversary of the death of Grandma by remembering that Mittens the cat wasn't fed the day she died. Of course the author painfully tries to present this article as what the victims 'would have wanted' by inserting into the middle of his rant about 'justice' the spine curling line, "The relatives of those who lost their lives on 9/11 deserve nothing less" but I don't think he convinces anyone. Guantanamo is Worthington's hobby horse, and he has written a lot on it so fair enough if he wants to write some more, but to put a U.S.A-bashing article like this out on 9-11 with only a minor nod of the head to the victims is the equivalent of standing at the back of a funeral during a eulogy and screaming, "WHY DON'T YOU MENTION HOW HE DRANK LIKE A FISH?"

The second article is very odd. Lila Nordstrom writes an article I was reading fairly casually until she somehow made a comparison between 9-11 and the healthcare debate. It starts off as a normal recollection of the fateful day. She recalls how she was working in a school when the planes hit, and states that they were let back into the building too early in October when it could have still been a toxic area, and that she is angry at this. Fair enough. But then out of nowhere she turns it around, blames Bush and Giuliani for creating an atmosphere of fear in which she was forced to think the 'absurd' idea that her school could be hit by a terrorist attack (proved apparently by the fact that her school was not hit by a terrorist attack), an atmosphere of fear which prevails to this day, and this is why healthcare is being opposed. Thats right, 9-11 fear is why Obamacare if failing. So, here, the second '9-11' themed article totally ignores the 3000+ killed, and instead declares the real evil to be the 'fear' created by Bush that also means we can't pass healthcare. Nordstrom fails to play with the idea that maybe the fear that her and many others (including myself, living miles and miles away in a small village outside of Manchester, England) felt wasn't because of evil, horrible Bush, but more due to the fact that 4 planes had been used in terrorist attacks on buildings, thousands of people had died, and we didn't know if/when/where another one was going to follow! So people were rightfully fearful!

So, when we look at these two articles in the context of left wing commentary on 9-11, what does it tell us? Why is it just unthinkable for lefty rags like the Guardian to produce some commentary that simply says "We will never forget the tragedy of 9-11"? It doesn't need to be "Yay Bush" or "More troops in Afghanistan", but just a statement of compassion and remembrance that doesn't have a "BUT" at the end of it.

I think the answer to this comes from the left-wing vision of history and its current world view. Some on the right have accused those on the far left of seeing 9-11 as something 'deserved' but I don't think this is fair. Granted, I've met a handful of leftists who have read a bit of Chomsky and Moore and sit back, skimmed latte in hand and 'make poverty history' on wrist and smugly inform me how they think that "it will do America good to get a taste of their own medicine" but I think this only is the view of either the stupid or the extremely hard left.

The real problem for the left, and the reason these two Guardian writers have ignored the elephant in the room, is because 9-11 was an example of how far from reality their world view is. In the world-view of the left, America is the big bad evil empire, and spends all its time crushing and oppressing innocent groups and countries. America is bad, and the small countries are good. If there is a war of any sort, it isn't a real war, it's just America bullying people for oil or land or power or money. It is also linked in with the liberal view of religion. Christianity is bad, evil, outdated and backward, Jesus was a nice man (like...Ghandi or John Lennon) who has had his legacy taken over by bigoted, racist, sexist, white homophobes who hate science and gay people. Yet every other type of religion is excellent and diverse and open and tolerant. They must be, as these are the religions of those lovely minorities that America keeps oppressing. Don't believe me on this one? Fine, go to a party full of liberals and declare that you are either a Seikh, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Zoroastrian or whatever. Instantly the liberals will gather and tell you how much they respect your faith, and how fascinating it is and how they have even flirted with it themselves (crossing legs and humming counts as Buddhism in many Western liberal's heads.) Now go to another party of liberals and declare that you are a Christian, preferably a Catholic. You will very quickly hear disapproving snorts, have your head bitten off, your faith disrespected, and your views on issues such as abortion attacked into the ground.

Yet this religion loving is tough for the liberal as these religions aren't always fuzzy love-fests, but serious faiths with strong principles, some principles that are difficult for us to agree with. Nowhere do liberals have to bend facts around quite so much as with Islam, and so they have to become the defenders and experts of their imaginary brand of Islam, with everyone else being branded as 'not real Muslims.' How many times have you heard a liberal tell you that Islam means peace, and just how peaceful and huggy and warm and great Islam is? Now, I'm not saying Islam is some evil religion in and of itself, but just as I don't get my facts on 'true' Christianity from an atheist, I don't get my facts of 'true' Islam from a Western liberal.

So, then 9-11 comes along, an unprovoked attack aimed not just at the military and the government, but at regular citizens. The attack is from radical fundamentalists, who while being on the extreme side of Islam, are no 'tiny minority' but have a lot of support in varying degrees from Muslims in the middle East and all over the world. The attack is not small, like some poor one man knife attack on an official, but a well-orchestrated, technological, heavily-funded attack on America that consisted of years of training, and demonstrated a huge, worldwide network of terror eager to strike big and to strike often. Their aim? Not the end of a war, or a demand, or freeing of a hostage, but the total destruction of Western society, not just America. Can't blame that one on Bush then!

The Shaw doctrine of the difference between liberals and conservatives is that conservatives see reality and develop an ideology from that experience of reality, while liberals go the other way round and try and see reality using the lens of their pre-formed ideology, meaning when a huge, undeniable dose of reality comes in the horrific form of 9-11, it contradicts everything about the way liberals see the world. It is for this reason that liberals are desperate to move away from the cold facts of 9-11 and so try to twist it into a morally relative issue about Guantanamo or healthcare or whatever. This is why almost a third of democrats, as well as the now infamous Van Jones, believe that 9-11 was an inside job of some sort, because the idea that Muslim radicals, supported by a large amount of Muslims, attacked innocent civilians, and therefore were the bad guys, doesn't compute. Therefore it must be Bush, or Cheney, or anyone, there must be some explanation other than the norm.

But there isn't. 9-11 is the inconvenient truth for liberals, and that is why, in the face of everyone else spending this day remembering what happened on that fateful day in 01, many liberals are desperately trying to make this day about something else. It is up to us to make sure they do not succeed.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

That evil, nasty, horrible Sarah Palin! (yawn)

I am a huge fan of Sarah Palin, and thought that she was the only bright light the McCain ticket had. She was eventually punished by a well-strung media campaign both pro-Obama and anti-Palin and her slight lack of experience, which wouldn't have been an issue had she not been under such an intense spotlight. Consider for a second the intensity of the coverage on Joe Biden, the Democrat Vice-Presidential candidate (and now of course the VP), and see how little intensity he was examined with compared to Palin. This of course wasn't really media bias (the hysterical cries of her being dumb and crazy came later), but simply the media covering what was interesting. McCain and Biden were not particularly interesting, while Palin and Obama were. So it quickly turned into Palin v Obama, and it was not a fight that Palin was ready for, especially considering the momentum Obama had, both with the independents and with the media.

The venom that was aimed at Palin has continued since Obama won the election, and has proved to be an interesting phenomenon. It has shown that, despite the constant criticism that she is useless, stupid, a bimbo, a failure, inexperienced etc etc etc, she is actually a grave threat to the Obama administration, and she will definitely be a factor in one way or another at the 2012 election. The criticism itself supports this. After all, why would you continue to go after, and try to silence, someone who is not a threat? If there were someone who matched this description on the Democrat side, conservatives would not attack and hate such a person, but would instead delight in the open goal he or she would give to the conservative movement. For instance, I have a soft spot for Joe Biden, who stumbles about saying things such as "Oh yeh, we guessed wrong on the economy." Brilliant!! Have a beer on me Mr Vice-President! As Palin looks more and more likely to run for 2012, surely liberals would be delighted if it was really the case that she was terrible? Liberals might be wrong, but they aren't stupid. They loved McCain and left him alone, because they knew he wasn't a real threat, and if Palin wasn't a threat, they would leave her alone as well.

But Palin is a threat, a huge one. This was shown recently in the healthcare debate. One innocuous, yet well-researched, post on facebook on what she labelled 'death panels' triggered DEFCOM 1 at the White House, hasty but unconvincing denials from Obama, and an increase in awareness amongst the public as to what was in the Bill. Out of the many, many town hall meetings on this subject, I doubt that there has been one where Palin's phrase 'death-panels' has not been mentioned, and it will remain in public consciousness for a long time. Eventually, the section was removed from the Bill, which caused even more problems as it came on the heels of almost every single Democrat screaming at the top of their lungs that such a section did not actually exist. At time of writing, the administration has not recovered from this blow, and it may have killed the healthcare bill in its current form, and if passed at all, will come with huge compromises, and a significant chip off Obama's approval ratings. All this with a facebook 'note.' As James Taranto asks in his excellent WSJ article on the subject, "If she's dim and Obama is brilliant, how did he lose the argument to her?"

The media has realised this, and like clockwork, a bizarre, barrel-scraping interview with Levi Johnston (the father of Bristol Palin's child) has appeared in Vanity Fair, slagging her off as a bad parent. Yet the 'previews' VF give us aren't exactly groundbreaking or interesting and makes one wonder why VF spent such a huge amount of time and coverage on what really is a non-news story, amounting to nothing but the irresponsible bitching of a whiny teenager about his child's grandmother. Lets take a look at some of these excellent 'exclusives' that Johnston gives to Vanity Fair shall we??

My emphasis in bold and comments in red.

"There wasn’t much parenting in that house. Sarah doesn’t cook, Todd doesn’t cook—the kids would do it all themselves: cook, clean, do the laundry, and get ready for school. [Actually, this sounds like excellent parenting. If such a thing is true (they did EVERYTHING themselves?) then it proves not that the Palin's are lazy, but that they have brought their children up to be extremely independent. Levi is saying that the children, all under 18, are able to cook, clean, do their own laundry, and follow timetables. Not bad skills for young people to learn!]

Most of the time Bristol would help her youngest sister with her homework,[Surely this is a good thing, and shows a strong relationship between the siblings.]and I’d barbecue chicken or steak on the grill...[Oh my God Levi, you actually had to cook for the mother of your child!?! Such horrors! Siblings assisting each other with homework? Adult members of the family cooking for one another? Quick, someone call child services!]

Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant.[Considering Palin was lambasted by the liberal media for supposedly using her daughter as a political tool (and hence that's why it was 'ok' for comedians like Letterman to make jokes about Bristol, but not about Obama's kids), this seems a little rich. Also, wanting to shield your daughter and future grandchild away from the media spotlight sounds like responsible parenting to me!].....I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.[Yeah, why would she be wary of letting the media know that her daughter was having a kid? Looking at it a year on in light of the Letterman rape jokes, as well as the countless cheap gags made at Bristol's expense in the media, Palin's instinct to shield her daughter from that sounds bang on!]

Sarah was sad for a while[after the election].[A VP candidate was a bit down after losing an way! Remember, this is the preview from Vanity Fair I'm using. I wonder if ALL the article will be this thrilling!] She walked around the house pouting. [SUCH insight! Next week in Vanity Fair "Obama smiled after he won the election"] I had assumed she was going to go back to her job as governor,[which she did...] but a week or two after she got back she started talking about how nice it would be to quit and write a book or do a show and make “triple the money.” It was, to her, “not as hard.”[I don't think I know anyone who in a time of stress at work hasn't gone 'Wow, I should just quit and do x.' Again, how is this news? Palin continued getting beaten about by false lawsuits as governor, surely one would expect her to go 'Is this worth it? Should I do something else for less stress and more money] She would blatantly say, “I want to just take this money and quit being governor.” She started to say it frequently, but she didn’t know how to do it. When she came home from work, it seemed like she was more and more stressed out. [So, the woman who has gone from a little known governor, to an international celebrity, and pretty much the only serious candidate for leadership that the Republicans have, became 'more and more stressed out?' How dare she!]

How this counts as a serious scoop is beyond me. The news here isn't what Vanity Fair have found, which shows pretty much what you would expect in a family facing intense media speculation and an unexpected pregnancy, but why they have chosen to make a big deal of it. Again, it goes back to the left's determination to throw as much crap at Palin as they can, in the hope that some of it will stick. However, while it worked to an extent in the election, I think as more and more people hear Palin speak and read what she writes, and see this increasingly desperate smear campaign by the left for what it is, then Palin's standing will only increase. It has been show than she is a threat to the Obama adminstration now, imagine what she could become by 2012!

Monday, 31 August 2009

The National Health Debate (or lack of it...)

Minette Marrin has written an excellent article for The Times this week on the low standard of nursing in the UK, after revelations of what basically amounts to patient abuse, specifically of the elderly, came to light. These revelations come after a sickly sweet month long 'We Love the NHS' campaign supported by all major political parties, perpetuating what Marrin calls the "quasi-religious belief" that the NHS is the envy of the world.

She correctly identifies these abuses as not representing all nurses, but she is not prepared to dismiss it as 'just a tiny minority', as the 'defend-the-NHS-at-all-costs' groups do. She is brave enough to look at the figures and see that this abuse represents a failure of nursing at an institutional level, and a failure to deal with it in the past. The article is well worth reading in its entirety, but she identifies a link between the structure of the NHS and these abuses towards the end of the article,
One of the problems is that the NHS is a monopoly — any patient knows there is nowhere else to be treated and any nurse or doctor brave enough to blow the whistle runs the risk of never working in medicine again; there is no alternative to the state medical monolith. Perversely, it is only for whistle-blowing that NHS staff are punished or dismissed; otherwise there seem to be no sanctions for bad practice. The unions have seen to that.
I completely agree with her in this analysis, and I would go a bit further. The problem ultimately with the NHS is that due to its nationalisation and its monopoly, patients are treated not as customers but as burdens on the system. We are constantly told that our coverage is 'free', which is not true, but the attitude that patients are getting something for nothing is what makes the NHS so popular, yet also what contributes to the abuse and poor care we have seen. When the patient is not seen as a customer in a competitive environment (and therefore someone who is welcomed and whose business is welcomed), but as a burden being given a handout, this attitude infiltrates every part of the system. Therefore we see low expectations from patients ("Without the NHS I wouldn't have been given the medicine needed to cure my illness" gushes the Twitter site in support of the NHS) who are convinced they are getting something for nothing and so should be grateful for whatever the NHS gods deign to give them in their infinite kindness. We have also seen this attitude filter to some nurses who do not see their patients as customers who deserve the very best, but instead as burdensome problems who get in the way. Tragically, this is then reflected in the care given to the very weakest in our society.

Yet, Marrin notices that these problems have not been properly confronted, and asks "Is there no-one bold enough to do something?" The unfortunate answer on the political front seems to be 'Not really.' The very silly reaction to Daniel Hannan's incisive points about the NHS on American television last month shows just how much the subject of NHS reform has become a total 'no-no' in all of the political parties, including the Conservative Party and its leader. Cameron and Brown both realise that there are a lot of votes in supporting the NHS, and both are trying to paint themselves as 'the party of the NHS' and the other as 'anti-NHS', meaning that any suggestion of significant reform is hysterically shouted down as extremist or 'eccentric' (as David Cameron described Hannan's comments last week.)

The fact of the matter is that the NHS is by no means perfect. It is not the worst system in the world, and there is a lot to recommend it, but the idea that we live in some sort of healthcare paradise where everyone is given high quality care for very little cost is simply false. Marrin correctly identifies that structural debate about the NHS is vital. Unfortunately, a political atmosphere where we must support every part of the NHS, and the unchecked funding of it at all costs, lest we be labelled 'against our doctors and nurses' and 'unpatriotic' means that such debate will quickly be stifled.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Scary 'sexuality' guidelines from the U.N for children.

The liberal politicization of children and sex education continues, my emphasis in bold and comments in red

U.N Report Advocates Teaching Masturbation to 5 year olds.

NEW YORK — The United Nations is recommending that children as young as five receive mandatory sexual education that would teach even pre-kindergarteners about masturbation and topics like gender violence.

The U.N.'s Economic, Social and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) released a 98-page report in June offering a universal lesson plan for kids ranging in age from 5-18, an
"informed approach to effective sex, relationships" and HIV education that they say is essential for "all young people."[Notice how they avoid the word children? To some of these extreme liberals, the idea of childhood has no real meaning, they are simply younger people who must be taught their ideas. Also they say it is essential but do not say why.]

The U.N. insists the program is "age appropriate," but critics say it's exposing kids to sex far too early, and offers up abstract ideas — like "transphobia" — they might not even understand.[Not only might children not understand a term like transphobia, but the meaning of it needs to be clairified in general. To me a transphobic is someone who is fearful of or hates people who class themselves as transexual or transgendered. To others someone who has 'transphobia' means someone who does not accept the recent dogma that one is free to choose one's gender. This is an important distinction. Saying that a man who acts as a woman is still a man is not transphobia, its common sense.]

"At that age they should be learning about ... the proper name of certain parts of their bodies," said Michelle Turner, president of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, "certainly not about masturbation."[Stop a second and think about what Ms Turner has just said. Read it again. She is basically saying at 5 years old children should not be forced to learn about masturbation. It seems like such an obvious thing to say that it barely needs saying, right? Now remember that UNESCO disagrees with this statement. Wow.]

Turner was disturbed by UNESCO's plans to explain to children as young as nine about the safety of legal abortions, and to advocate and "promote the right to and access to safe abortion" for everyone over the age of 15. [This is a UN hobby horse and has been for many years now, this idea that unrestricted abortion is a magical right, so we shouldn't be surprised that they are trying to force the idea on children. I also wonder what exactly they would teach about abortion. If they are so keen to teach children everything about everything, will they also be teaching children just how horrific an abortion is, how much damage it can cause to women who have them? Will they be discussing the appropriate moral issues about whether what is happening is the removal of a clump of cells, or the death of a living human person? I'll tell you now that only when challenged to tell the real details about an abortion would their moral side kick in, and all of a sudden it would be "Oh no, thats much too shocking and inappropriate to teach to a young child." I would agree, but then I wouldn't teach children about abortion at all.]

"This is absurd," she told

The UNESCO report, called "International Guidelines for Sexuality Education," separates children into four age groups: 5-to-8-year-olds, 9-to-12-year-olds, 12-to-15-year-olds and 15-to-18-year-olds.

Under the U.N.'s voluntary sex-ed regime, kids just 5-8 years old will be told that "touching and rubbing one's genitals is called masturbation" and that private parts "can feel pleasurable when touched by oneself."[I can't bear to read through 98 pages of this, but I'd love to know just how they justify this one. This is only one step away from that weird book in Germany that encouraged parents to 'lend a helping hand' to children exploring themselves. Its just so creepy.]

Click here to see the report.

By the time they're 9 years old, they'll learn about "positive and negative effects of 'aphrodisiacs,"[What aphrodisiacs are these? Does this mean Mrs Cole is going to come in with a tray of oysters? Again, why does a 9 year old need to know about how to get oneself 'in the mood' for sex?] and wrestle with the ideas of "homophobia, transphobia and abuse of power."[Notice the bias? Its not about homosexuality and transexuality, but the 'phobias' - again this begs the question. Will 9 year olds be taught that anyone opposing gay marriage is instantly 'homophobic?']

At 12, they'll learn the "reasons for" abortions — but they'll already have known about their safety for three years. When they're 15, they'll be exposed to direct "advocacy to promote the right to and access to safe abortion. [Again, this isnt about 'safety' or 'health' or anything like that, this is the enforcement of a hard left political agenda on children hidden behind 'education.' If it were about education, why not talk about the moral problems with abortion? Why not expose them to direct advocacy to limit the so-called right to abortion? It is of course a rhetorical question - we know exactly why not.]

Child health experts say they are wary of teaching about the sticky topic of abortion, but stress that as long as messages stay age-appropriate, educating kids at a younger age helps better steer them into adulthood.[In what way? Who has judged that this is better? We have been teaching kids about sex education earlier and earlier for years. All we seem to have is more screwed up kids, more child abuse, the sexualisation of children, and higher rates of teen pregnancy and STI's]

"The adults are more leery of [early sex-ed] than the kids are," said Dr. Jennifer Hartstein, a child psychiatrist in New York. [Sorry. Since when did kids determine their own education? Surely there might be good reasons that adults are more 'leery' of sex-ed?] "Our own fears sometimes prevent us from being as open and honest with our kids as possible." [Yeah, well lets see how 'open and honest' they want to be when a teacher turns round and says that abortion is the direct killing of an innocent human being and here is a picture to prove it.]

Hartstein, however, who didn't see much harm in explaining basic concepts that kids of all ages will have questions about, was baffled by some of the ideas the U.N. hoped to introduce to kids as young as 5 years old, who will be taught about "gender roles, stereotypes and gender-based violence."

"I want to know how you teach that to a 5-year-old," Hartstein told[Oh come on Jenny, lets be more open and honest. It's really simple. Male and female gender roles - BAD! Stereotyping - BAD! 'Homophobic' 'Transphobic' anti-abortionists - SATAN!! See, easy, one lesson tops!]

Despite those challenges, the U.N. insists that "in a world affected by HIV and AIDS ... there is an imperative to give children and young people the knowledge, skills and values to understand and make informed decisions."[Woaahhh, hold up a second. Trackback! I asked the question earlier as to why all this was necessary, and I noticed that HIV/AIDS/STI's was in the title, and here they are explicit with it. Just ask the obvious question, what do abortions have to do with HIV? What does transphobia have to do with HIV? These are simple scare tactics implying that if you don't shove the Karma Sutra in your kid's faces then they will die of AIDS.]

UNESCO officials said the guidelines were "co-authored by two leading experts in the field of sexuality education" — Dr. Doug Kirby, an adolescent sexuality expert [This strikes me as odd.], and Nanette Ecker, the former director of international education and training at the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States.

Their report was based on a "rigorous review" of sex-ed literature, "drawing upon 87 studies from around the world," said Mark Richmond, director of UNESCO's Division for the Coordination of U.N. Priorities in Education, in an e-mailed statement.

Richmond defended teaching about masturbation as "age-appropriate" because even in early childhood, "children are known to be curious about their bodies." [This reminds me of an old joke where a kid walks into his fathers office and says "Daddy, what's sex?" So nervously the father begins to talk about the birds and the bees, and then there is a pause, so he moves onto the subject of masturbation. He then gets a bit more confident and realises he may as well just go for it. So he starts talking about threesomes, fetishes, orgies, prostitutes, strip clubs, bestiality, toys, the lot! After fifteen minutes of explanation, he says to his kid "So that's sex. Why do you ask anyway?" To which the kid responds, "Mum says that dinner will be ready in two secs." The point is that just because a kid says "Daddy whats that?" doesn't mean he or she needs a comprehensive lesson in self-stimulation. AND in addition, it doesn't need the government, or especially the UN to teach kids how to 'understand' themselves!! Their lessons, he added, would hopefully help kids "develop a more complex understanding of sexual behaviour" as they grow into adults. [So we aren't interested in simply making sure people are well-rounded, now they must have a complex understanding of sexual behaviour. Begs the question - WHY? Why do kids need a complex understanding of sexual behaviour?]

But Michelle Turner, of Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum, said that such roles should be left up to parents, [Exactly! Why does the UN want to shove its nose in with its weirdo ideas?] and worried that children were being exposed to too much information too soon.

"Why can't kids be kids anymore?" she said.

This is another in a long line of government and UN schemes to sexualise children (notice how I said children and not 'very very young people.') Liberal doctrines go in the face of common sense. Children can have a surprising amount of common sense, which goes in the face of Liberal dogma. Therefore libs need to circumvent that at an early age. Don't be fooled, this is not about HIV, this is not about STI's, this is political, and it is sick. When governments started dropping the sex-ed age, started getting more explicit etc, people said 'Oh it won't be long before we have explicit sex-ed aimed at 5 year olds, and lessons on how great abortion is etc etc.' and such people were laughed at, and dismissed as scaremongering. Unfortunately, those 'scaremongerers' were right.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Van Jones - One of Obama's many radical Czars

During the 08 election issue of Obama's previous contacts and friends came up, and there were some shifty ones indeed. Anti-Americans, anti-Semites, terrorists, communists, black liberation theologians, the list is a long one. The Obama campaign, however, managed to dodge the bullet, partly because they were quick and suave enough to dodge it, and also because the bullet shot by the McCain campaign was slow, off target, and made out of jam. Therefore with a bit of a grin, a shrug and a couple of hasty denouncements implying he didn't really know anything about these people's controversial views and even if he did, it didn't mean he agreed with them, he managed to sweep the whole thing under the carpet.

The fact that this didn't knock Obama for six was a credit to his campaign, and a real discredit to the McCain campaign. They failed to exploit the obvious inconsistency that Obama said he didn't know of Rev Jeremiah Wright's radical views for instance. If you want a sample, take this one that was recorded in 2001, and watch it until the end.

This is the man who Obama has known personally since the 1980's, and who went to his church for 20 years. Remember, this is a church where a large chunk of the service is preaching, not just a quick five minutes like in a Catholic or Anglican Church. This is the man who married Barack and Michelle, who baptised their children, and who in between spouting anti-Jewish and anti-American rhetoric, managed to write a sermon that inspired Obama so much that it became the title of a book the President wrote. You may have heard of it, its called "The Audacity of Hope." How can we possibly believe that Obama simply 'didn't know' about these radical views?

Of course, many Democrats roll their eyes when they hear these accusations. After all, the President distanced himself from Wright and Ayers and co. What more do people want? This might be a strong argument, but Obama's dodgy associations haven't stopped. More and more people are noticing some of the 'special advisors' or unelected Czars that he is putting in place have rather radical views as well, and they are in the same line as some of his previous friends. Only these guys have some serious power behind them now.

Im not a massive fan of Glenn Beck, I can't put my finger on why, but he has started to investigate these Czars in greater detail, and his first expose, an examination of Van Jones, the Czar in charge of green jobs, and a long friend of Obama, is pretty devastating. Take a look.

Now, we all have some odd friends, but Obama seems to have a lot of them, they have always been influential, but only now is he appointing them inside the government as his own special advisors. What are these people advising, and how much is the President listening? Everyone should be worried by this. Fair play to Glenn Beck.

Monday, 24 August 2009

A Modern Liberal Conservative?

Having been in America during the 2008 election, and now returning to Britain for the (probable) election in 2010, I am worried about the similarities I see between the Cameron brand of Conservatism and the McCain brand of Conservatism.

It would take more than one blog post to analyse why the McCain campaign failed and the Obama campaign won, but it can be summed up to three areas.

1. How Bush gave the Republicans a handicap.
2. How the Obama campaign won.
3. How the McCain campaign flopped.

I want to focus briefly on this final point. There is often a view that Obama was so charismatic and so popular, and people were so desperate to get away from Bush, that the McCain campaigned was doomed before it began, and it wasn't McCain's fault that he lost. While I concede on some of this (Bush certainly gave the G.O.P a handicap, and Obama certainly had a lot going for him) there are many in America, both liberal and conservative, who are convinced that this was an election not only that Obama won, but that McCain lost. The fact is that Obama was not a strong candidate for the Democrats. He is a left-wing radical who is not in tune with the majority of Americans, who does not have a great amount of experience, and who hangs around with some very shifty characters (now he simply appoints them as special advisors.) What the well-run campaign managed to do was wrap him up in spin and slogans, endlessly talking about 'change' and how 'historic' his election would be, and they got in.

Yet all the McCain campaign needed to do was wade through all the spin and bring it down to policies and principles, and they could have changed the election. As we are seeing since Obama was elected, the new President is not good with specifics. As long as he remains general, he remains popular, but now he is getting into specifics, his approval ratings are free-falling. The Stimulus package is seen as a failure, his instinct to attack the police in 'Gatesgate' shocked Americans who value their force, Cap and Trade is unpopular, and as specifics on his healthcare plan leak out, more and more protests break out. All McCain needed to do was fight on principles and specifics, and he could have really nailed him. But he didn't. Why?

It is my proposal that McCain had himself dropped many of his conservative principles in order to present himself as a reconciler, as 'bi-partisan', as someone who could step across the aisle to the other side etc etc. He wasn't a strong conservative, he didn't represent anything clear, any principles, any strong system of values that distinguished him from the swish senator opposing him. Therefore no clear message came out of the McCain camp, gave no-one a good reason to vote for him, the Conservative movement never really got behind him, and it meant that McCain could only deal in generalities, and any specific policies sounded disorientated and tacked on. He could only attack Obama on superficial things, he could never attack Obama's principles by constrasting them with his own. He could never say with convicton "I believe in THIS principle, and therefore it follows that we need to do THIS." So he fought on generalities, he failed to cut through the Obama spin campaign, and show who the Democrat candidate really was, and Obama charged through.

So nearly a year later, we turn to the upcoming British election, and take a look at David Cameron. I see a shocking amount of similarities between him and McCain. More recently the Shadow Cabinet have been declaring themselves 'more progressive' than the Labour party, a term that should send alarm bells ringing in the head of anyone who believes in Conservative principles. There does not seem to be any set of principles that unite what will end up in the Manifesto, and this is concerning. The Tory part at the moment seems to believe in doing a)what seems to be popular at the moment and b) the opposite of Labour.

There are two main risks to this. One - that people will vote for the Tories only because they hate Labour, which could give a future Tory government a false confidence, and also mean they don't really have the support of the electorate. Such a government would fall at the first hurdle and would probably drift back to a Labour government at the next election.

The second is that it could easily lose the next election if Labour manage to pull themselves together under a 'new' and 'bold' and 'fresh' leader. As I write this, I have in mind the young high-flying David Miliband. My concern is that a Conservative party based not on conservative principles, but only on spin and cynical gimmick statements and policies, could easily have its way to government blocked if Brown were to resign, Miliband take over and present the Labour party as having a 'fresh new outlook.' I don't know who would win in a Miliband v Cameron election battle, but would it matter? Would there be a great difference between the two?

What ultimately is the point in fighting for a Tory party victory if it is not a party that is particularly fond of its own founding principles of conservatism. What would there in a Cameron-Conservative goverment that people could get excited about? If we have a party that, being so keen to be elected, is prepared to drop its traditional understandings of localism, of taxation, of the role of government, of the strength of the private sector, of crime and punishment, of foreign policy - then why vote Tory at all, except for to get away from Gordon Brown? People respect people with strong principles, even if they don't necessarily agree with those principles. If the electorate detects that this is a party that has been prepared to drop its principles at the door in favour of a vague "Modern Liberal Conservatism" that amounts to nothing more than a cynical grasp for popularity, then it is not a party they will get behind with any passion whatsoever, a party that would not be strong in government, and a party that could easily be swept aside if Labour were to get their act together under a 'fresh' leader promising change.

Dropping principles at the door was one of the reasons McCain lost the 08 U.S election, and if the Tories are not careful, it could be why the Cameron ticket loses the 10 U.K election.

Welcome to the Anglo-American Debate!

Welcome to this new blog, which goes out like a drop in the ocean that is the modern blogosphere! The purpose of this blog is not as haughty as the title might seem. It is simply based on the idea that there are similarities between the American political situation and the political situation in Britain, and that both sides of the Atlantic can learn from one another. Obviously I do not intend for this blog to do that, but i intend it as a small contribution to an on-going debate. I have an interest in both sides, and feel that there is a niche which looks at both the British and the American situations, offering commentary and debate on both. So this blog is born!

I am a Politics student based in England, currently studying for my MA at the University of Manchester, and have experience of studying in America during the 2008 Presidential Election, which really intensified my interest in American politics.