Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Cindy Sheehan Wannabe, Dressed in Rags and Carrying a Planned Parenthood Placard: This is the New York Times’ Idea of a ‘Centrist’ Woman

My latest for the PJ Tatler...

Today’s New York Times includes another of those tiresome pieces, which adorn the MSM in the run-up to elections, about how Republicans are scaring away those all-important moderate voters. It’s a well-worn liberal trope, designed persuade nervous conservatives that they should turn against their ‘extremist’ leaders, and pressure their representative to abandon radioactive/toxic/poisonous policies (delete as appropriate).
Specifically, the piece suggests that Republicans are losing the support of ‘centrist’ women because of their far-out polices on issues such as contraception and abortion. This paragraph gives you the gist…
In Iowa, one of the crucial battlegrounds in the coming presidential election, and in other states, dozens of interviews in recent weeks have found that moderate Republican and independent women — one of the most important electoral swing groups — are disenchanted by the Republican focus on social issues like contraception and abortion in an election that, until recently, had been mostly dominated by the economy.
Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this particular piece of mischief-making is somewhat undermined by theTimes’ choice of photograph to illustrate the article…
Whole thing here.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Guardian: we published that 'sexist' Ryanair ad by mistake. No, really.

Low-cost airline Ryanair has been forced to withdraw newspaper adverts featuring scantily-clad air hostesses after a predictable outcry. Leaving aside the merits or otherwise of the adverts themselves – it's the usual dispute between those who claim that such material is demeaning to women, and those who say it's harmless fun, and the ban is political correctness gone mad – the really interesting thing about this flap is that two of the papers that ran the ads were the Guardian and the Independent, the British media's bastions of identity politics and supposed defenders of women's rights.

It's particularly puzzling that the Guardian – home to feminist writers such as Julie Burchill, Suzanne Moore and Naomi Wolf – should have carried the ad, but the Guardian helpfully explains how this apparent incongruity came about in a report in the Media section of its website: apparently it was all a terrible mistake…
A Guardian News & Media spokeswoman explained said the ad appeared in the newspaper by accident after a "system breakdown" meant that it was not pre-vetted before it appeared.
Ah yes, those pesky 'systems', always breaking down at the most inconvenient moments. And you can appreciate how hard it would be for Guardian staff to spot a full-page picture of a bikini-clad trolley dolly amid all those worthy stories about unemployment, Syria and bankers' bonuses.

Now I know that a lot of quite gullible people read the Guardian, but if you believe that's what happened, then you probably believe that the captain of the Costa Concordia really did fall into a lifeboat. The Guardian would look less ridiculous if it simply admitted the truth: times are hard, our circulation's falling faster than that of any UK broadsheet or mid-market paper except for the Independent (many of whose readers are presumably switching to the i), we're haemorrhaging money, and we'll happily take anyone's cash to print an advert, no questions asked.

Of course, the Guardian's support for women's rights has always been qualified, and liable to be suspended without notice if it conflicts with the interests of groups or individuals higher up the liberal-left pecking order; for example, radical islamists (over burka wearing) or misogynist liberal heroes from assorted members of the Kennedy family to the rapists at the Occupy camps in the US. For the left, principles are things to be flaunted when it suits, and abandoned when necessary.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The only surprise about Obama's Falklands betrayal is that he doesn't openly side with Argentina

Nile Gardiner has a good piece at the The Telegraph on the Obama administration's continuing betrayal of Britain over the Falkland Islands.
Washington fully understands that Britain will never negotiate away the sovereignty of the Falkland islanders, over 90 per cent of whom are British. Yet it still continues to call for a “diplomatic solution” to the sovereignty question when there is nothing at all to negotiate. It also fails to express any support whatsoever for the UK, and remains silent about the increasingly aggressive approach taken by Argentina, including its threats to blockade the islands and strangle them economically.
At the heart of the Obama administration’s approach is its abject failure to distinguish between America’s most important ally and an increasingly anti-American regime in Latin America, which is closely allied with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela. There is a fundamental difference between Great Britain, which has fought alongside the United States in almost every major war involving the US since World War Two, and Argentina, a minor player on the world stage, that barely lifts a finger to help the Americans with anything. The Special Relationship is hugely important to the United States, from the battlefields of Afghanistan and the wider war against Islamist terrorism to US-led efforts to halt the rise of a nuclear-armed Iran. On almost every major international issue, the United States looks to Britain for support. Yet inexplicably this current administration continues to knife London in the back over the Falklands.
Gardiner's anger is understandable, but it should come as no surprise that Obama should make no distinction between a freedom-respecting Western ally and a country ruled by a left-wing populist who's busy turning her country into another South American economic basket case.

In Britain, the militant secularists hardly need to trouble themselves with court challenges

My latest for PJ Media's Tatler blog…

As defenders of religious freedom in the US rail against the Obamacare contraception mandate, today brought another reminder that the campaign by secular extremists to drive religion from public life isn’t confined to the US.

A judge ruled that a town council in Devon, in south-west England, acted unlawfully by beginning its meetings with a prayer, which it had been doing without controversy for around 400 years. The court case was brought by the National Secular Society after an atheist former councillor, Clive Bone, complained. Not surprisingly, Bone represented the Liberal Democrats, who are the Conservative’s coalition partners in the national government and who, in spite of their name, are liberal only when it comes to matters of crime and punishment.

The court ruling wasn’t quite the victory militant atheists are claiming, however. The judge did not find that the saying of prayers breached the human rights of atheists, as the NSS had claimed. Instead he found against the council under legislation relating to the conduct of council meetings; those laws could shortly be scrapped as part of reforms to local government, allowing prayers to resume, and presumably leading to a new legal challenge.

But this case wasn’t about the ‘rights’ of atheists, or the wounded feelings of Bone, who of course wasn’t compelled to join in the pre-meeting prayers. While Bone was probably motivated in part by good old-fashioned British bloody-mindedness, as in the US, the aim of the liberal-left militant atheist movement is to destroy religion as a source of moral authority, clearing the field for the state, when under the control of enlightened liberals, to impose its values on society.

At least in the US there’s a powerful coalition fighting to defend religious liberty. Here we have the Church of England, whose leaders are either too busy engaging in liberal activism or too lacking in self-belief to defend religion, and which is headed by a leftist crank who’s called for elements of sharia to be incorporated into the law of the land, attacked the free market and sided with anti-capitalist mobs.

Groups such as the National Secular Society hardly need to trouble themselves with court cases to banish religion from public life. They could just sit back and let the CofE do the job for them.