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A “Typical White Person’s” Perspective

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Barack Obama apparently deftly delivered another bullet to his foot with his recent comments about his "white grandmother." He called her a "typical white person" and the news commentators on radio and TV are lovin' it! The tone of their comments boils down to this: "How dare he, a black man running for president, use racial stereotypes when racial stereotypes have done so much to hurt civil rights?"

Well take it from a "typical white person", stereotypes or not, I can certainly understand his grandmother's fear of walking past certain people (be they white, black, Hispanic or other) on any street. Why? Simply because some of them are very different and different is, to many of us typical white people, not good — in fact it's scary sometimes.

To be clear here, I'm not talking about skin color (actually skin color has almost nothing to do with "racial" attitudes) and I'm not talking about people who I have previously met. I'm talking about that stranger whose mannerism, dress, and body language — in general terms, the way he or she presents him/her self — are so different from my own that it triggers a danger signal. Be honest, you've all seen them! They are the punks who walk down the street talking loud and giving everyone they see "the look" that says, "Hey, you better not be lookin' at me or I'll jump your a**." They are the bleary-eyed drunks and druggies who look like they are ready to do anything for another drink or fix; they are almost any young people who are travel in "packs", acting like they are the kings and queens of the sidewalk and YOU are on THEIR sidewalk.'

Am I a racist for thinking this or seeing people that way? Hell no! I'm just a typical  person who happens to be white and  who has been raised to behave a certain way and to expect people to behave a certain, non-threatening way. I'm sure that neither Barack's white grandmother nor I are the least bit intimidated by 95+% of the people we see on the street no matter what color they are. Perhaps if Barack's white grandmother spent more time in urban ghettos she would become accustomed to all the different manners of dress and behavior — perhaps if I spent more time there I would also be more comfortable with those who seem to go out of their way to look and act "different."

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About Whymrhymer

  • Poor Granny!

    Gosh, poor Granny! Maybe the fear she has of black men was actually a premonition of her own grandson.

  • Mike D

    stop the whining, that is the most typical out of your comments. “if that was a white guy who said the same thing about a black guy..” GET OVER IT

  • JustOneMan

    Mike…

    “if that was a black guy who said the same thing about a white guy..” GET OVER IT

    JOM

  • Mack

    Obama can deliver a speech on a teleprompter quite well, but in an interview or off-the-cuff, he becomes George W. Bush, ummming and erring, and yes, shooting himself in the foot.

  • JustOneMan

    Hey Mack…cut out the racial overtones and inuendo..the last thing we need is an image of Obamaa with a gun in his hand…by golly think of all the scared old white grandmothers….

    JOM

  • Figures

    White knocks Black = Riots

    Black knocks White = No Prob

    Typical

  • Chris

    I am so SICK of black racism towards whites. Obama is just another typical N I Dubble-Guh er as far as I am concerned now. He’s a racist SOB and I should know one when I see one as I am Cherokee.

  • JustOneMan

    Chris,

    Me think you drink to much fire water!

    JOM – Just call me Kimosabe

  • Frederick

    All the Obama people come out and try to make everybody feel small for even talking about this. How dare you challenge Barack on a tiny little non-issue when he’s trying to do great things like ‘unify America’! Now get out of Barack’s way, you small, little, inconsequential person! Do you Obama supporters ever stop to examine what the hell you’re all even talking about with this ‘unification’ stuff? Who is going to be unified? When will this unification happen? Immediately upon his election? Do I get a tax break for performing or particiapting in a unification? Can I get some specifics please? (Oh, I just don’t get it, huh?) You’re right.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Huh.

    Whymrhymer, I just read through the comments so far, and then reread your article. I couldn’t see anywhere where it said, ‘Only comments that make absolutely no sense whatsoever will be accepted’.

    Go figure.

    It’s sad that you feel threatened by people who look and behave differently. I don’t – and I grew up in South London.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “Some people are different than others.”

    There. You could have saved yourself 300 words. (Well, 298 if you add “Barack Obama” for the additional Internet traffic.)

  • TWP

    Well—I guess the survival instinct only is present in us Typical White People—you know, that instinct that tells you that bum that keeps hassling you after you gave him what change you can spare probably wants to hurt you. THAT is what Barak meant when he mentioned a Typical White Person in that drippingly sarcastic voice—his Granny was hassled by a nasty bum at a bus stop—and he was offended because it was mentioned the bum was black! Oh well—BHO proved to be a Typical Black Person assuming ALL whites are typical……………….after this comment, America can be assured he really DID NOT hear the sermons of his Racist pastor—-huh?

  • Zedd

    Whymrhymer

    Did you just suggest that people should act like you so that you don’t get scared??

    Did you also acknowledge that you more than likely don’t have a reason to be afraid, it’s just that you aren’t used to the way these people WALK and move THEIR bodies and if you were used to them you wouldn’t be scared?

    Are you mad?? What part of the Constitution do you comprehend? Walking like YOU is not a prerequisite. Now what should be outlawed is watching too many movies, because clearly, that is your biggest problem.

    I see goth kids who look like the living dead, surely that scene goes against every natural instinct but somehow I get it that these kids are just wanting to look scary and that YES they may have issues and probably on drugs and some my even be thieves but they are just needy, although eye rolling, kids. You however don’t see the human in Black or Hispanic kids who are just trying to be noticed.

    Man up.

    However I appreciate your honesty.

  • Zedd

    Why are people referring to Barrack as a Black man. He was raised exclusively White. His African father was nowhere in site. If anyone knows average Whites its he. He is one. He just doesn’t look like one. This guy had to learn what Blacks were.

  • Don

    I am so relieved that we have finally set the standard. It is now OK for me to point at a black hip-hop gangbanger and say, “That a “typical black person”. Obama has certainly added his version of healing to the dialog. One man’s racism is just another’s innocent comment, huh? The Audacity of Hate.

  • http://webcentrist.wordpress.com/ Whymrhymer

    Dr Dreadful, Perhaps one of us is actually atypical. :-)

    Anyway, the more you become accustomed to something the less it affects you. I remember watching my first wrestling match on TV when I was about 6 or 7 years old; it was a bloody affair and my stomach was in knots by the time it was over. Less than a year later, the violence didn’t phase me (and I still didn’t realize that it was all staged). That’s why I made my comment about spending some time in an urban ghetto and how it makes you immune to the fear.

    The reality is, I was just using myself as an example — I grew up in racially mixed neighborhood and I currently work in a neighborhood that is a mixture of black, white, Hispanic and Korean. I have become pretty immune to differences; the only people I now fear are the ones who make it obvious that they want to be feared.

    Zedd, you’re reading MUCH TOO MUCH into my words.

    I never suggested that anyone should act more like me, I was simply making the observation that people tend to react with fear (or at least something approaching fear) to people who are very different in mannerisms and dress then they are.

    And yes I did acknowledge that many people (not just me) “more than likely don’t have a reason to be afraid, it’s just that [they] aren’t used to the way these people WALK and move THEIR bodies and if you were used to them you wouldn’t be scared?” Is there something invalid about that observation?

    YOU are mad to even suggest that I am calling for any laws that regulate how people look or act when walking down the street. You have totally missed my point!

  • Zedd

    Don,

    Obama is just as White as he is Black. Actually he was raised White (if there is such a thing).

    And quit whining. Lets meet after 250yrs, slavery, jim crowe and daily garbage, then you may start making comparisons. Until then, shush. You sound wimpy and silly.

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com Krutic A

    Obama is just as White as he is Black. Actually he was raised White (if there is such a thing).

    I would agree with that.
    His recent overt ‘blackness’ is more political than anything else. And if I had to guess, I’d bet his wife is the one that picked their church and he went along with it.

  • STM

    I can kind of see where where the tone of this thread comes from. Like Doc, I grew up in a multicultural neighbourhood of a non-American English speaking country (Australia).

    I never felt threatened. However, in the past few years, people have felt threatened by the rise in the number of criminal gangs of boys and young men of middle-eastern descent.

    It’s just because it’s a recent phenomenon (the gangs, not the Australians of mid-eastern descent, who have been here since the 19th century).

    But it means many people have now turned all young men of mid-eastern descent into a lumpenmasse to be feared and wary of, which is not reality.

    I’m like Doc, I don’t feel threatened – but because I can mostly tell the difference between those with good intent and those with bad (and the former outweigh the latter by a huge margin), I’m occasionally wary.

    It’s good to be wary in any urban environment, but to live a life full of fear about a particular group of people who look and act differently is emotionally crippling and usually not based in any way on reality. Besides which, the bias only means you are blocking yourself off from a whole range of social interactions and potential friendships.

  • Doug Hunter

    You want brutal internet honesty. Judging by the number of young black males in jail, there is good reason to be scared when you see them on the street. People will be openly or, for most, secretly fearful of blacks until they bring their level of murder, robbery, drug dealing, and gang-bangin (not the dirty type) down from the high level it is currently at.

    High rates of black crime is not ignorance, it’s just a simple fact. If you don’t like the truth, change it.

  • tony

    I find it ironic that Obama would refer to his grandmother as a “typical white person” after he had confessed to the same concerns in his book:

    Then I guess Barack must be a “typical white person” too because he confessed to the same concerns in his book:

    — Barack Obama from ‘Dreams of My Father’,
    “When his grandmother wants a ride to work because the day before, while awaiting the bus, she was threatened by a black panhandler, he is outraged — at his grandparents. . . Later, when he moves to the South Side of Chicago in 1984, he eventually discovers that, like his grandmother, he’s sometimes scared of black males on the street, too.”

    And the concerns are shared by others:

    — The Reverend Jesse Jackson, as quoted in US News, 3/10/96,
    “There is nothing more painful to me … than to walk down the street and hear footsteps and start thinking about robbery, then look around and see somebody white and feel relieved. ”

    The point being, if Jesse, Barack and his grandmother all admit to stereotyping in this case, why didn’t Barack simply say “typical person”.

  • http://webcentrist.wordpress.com/ Whymrhymer

    STM, Totally agree and, call me a wimp but gangs scare the s**t out of me!

    Doug, “You want brutal internet honesty.”
    Yes! And you provided it! Thanks

    Tony, Excellent points!

  • JustOneMan

    Obama Outed for misrepresenting the truth.

    This is how he described the Wright situation, “This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted.”

    The reality is , Wright doesn’t appear to have struggled much at all. If anything, he came from something of a privileged, or at least upper-middle class background. Wright is from a family that represents incredible success for people of any color, or race. Obama’s offered excuse is really no excuse at all.

    Here is his moms backgroud,

    June, 1938, she married her COLLEGE sweetheart, the Reverend Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright; Graduated from Virginia Union University magna cum laude, with degrees in mathematics and English; in 1949, she earned a Master of Arts degree in mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania; during the 1958-59 school year, National Science Fellow in the Graduate School of Education of the University of Pennsylvania where she earned a Master of Science degree in education; she went on to earn a Doctor of Education degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1971.

    She had a distinguished 34-year career in the Philadelphia public schools; was the first African-American teacher at Roosevelt Junior High School, and was appointed Vice Principal of the Philadelphia High School for Girls in 1968 and remained in that position until her retirement in 1978.

    In addition, Wrights family is very successful he has several aunts, uncles and cousins who have post graduate degrees and other professional accomplishments.

    Hmmmmm does that sound like a person whos opportunities were “systematically constricted”. Rather then celebrate and promote the idea of education and self determination he instead promotes victimization and hopelessness.

    Based upon the great successes of his family members, the revrerend might just be the “black sheep” in his family. As Obama stated “every family has one.”

    JOM

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    For once JoM posts something of value. Wright’s mother’s level of success, for a woman much less an AA woman of her generation is simply amazing. It doesn’t place her above average it probably puts her in the top 1/100th of 1% just for women, probably 1 in a million for AA women.

    Dave

  • Dan

    Tony, In “Dreams of my Father”, Barrick isn’t the one outraged at his grandparents.

    He walks in on his grandfathers anger at his grandmother. The grandfather, sees fit to drag 17 year old Barrick into the bad vibe by explaining that grandma was accosted by an aggressive panhandler at a bus stop.

    As a result she was asking grandpa to drive her to work at the bank. Grandpa refused, because he wrung it out of grandma that a racial component was at work in her thinking.

    Apparantly, gramps was going to teach his life partner a lesson on high moral thinking.

    After confessing grandma’s moral sin to Barick, grampaw relented to drive grandma to work.

    It seems as though young Obama was puzzeled by all of this, so he sought out the council of a nearby friend of the family. The elderly black man tells Obama that grandma is right to fear black men at the bus stop. because she understands that black people have a reason to hate.

  • Dan Miller

    Typical White person, indeed.

    How many “typical White” grandmothers would have raised and loved as their own a young Black child thirty years ago? Before it was fashionable and politically correct to do that sort of thing? My guess is that she was rather special and that Senator Obama so regards her.

    Having read Senator Obama’s speech, I strongly disagree with those who claim that he “threw her under a bus.” He did nothing of the kind. He simply recognized that she, like everyone, is a product of his environment — an environment which, in many respects has got worse rather than better over the past three decades or so. He no more threw her under a bus than he did his former preacher; many of us would like to have seen him throw the preacher under a bus physically, or at least figuratively, but he didn’t.

    According to the article,

    “Perhaps if Barack’s white grandmother spent more time in urban ghettos she would become accustomed to all the different manners of dress and behavior — perhaps if I spent more time there I would also be more comfortable with those who seem to go out of their way to look and act ‘different.'”

    I rather doubt it. There is nothing per se wrong with people who “look different” or even with those who “act different.” People who wear clown costumes, or go around juggling apples, are not generally seen as a threat. People who look and act as though they want to mug you or worse should not realistically expect to be invited home for a nice hot cup of tea. Had Senator Obama’s grandmother spent more time in urban ghettos, she might well not have been around to raise her young Black grandson.

    There are plentiful bases for White preconceptions of Blacks and vice versa. I think — I do not know, but I think, and hope — that Senator Obama was asking us to realize the existence and bases of those preconceptions, and to deal with the reasons why they exist. I think, and hope, that he recognizes that the burden is at least as much on the Black as on the White community. Perhaps that is why he opined that members of the Black community must take

    “. . .full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.”

    It must have been difficult for someone seeking to win the Democrat nomination for President to say these things. Perhaps honesty is not a trait which we expect in our leaders. Perhaps the same old applause-followed catch phrases are so comfortable that we want no more. If so, the Reverend Wright’s invocation of G*d to damn America is unnecessary. We will do quite well without divine assistance.

    Dan Miller

  • REMF

    Dan;
    I wonder if Barack is wishing he would’ve chosen his words better? Perhaps “…like some white people…” would’ve been more appropriate.

  • Bennett

    Reminds me of a year or so ago, getting out of my car parked behind a row of apartments in a inner city Toronto neighborhood that my brother lives in.

    As I crossed the lot I noticed a group of young men sitting on a bench in the direction I was walking. They were late teen of African decent, and that’s cool as far as I’m concerned. As I approached, me a late 40’s white guy, I said “Gentlemen, how goes it?”

    They were open, friendly, and we passed comments on the beauty of the evening, and I went my way. I could have felt threatened, but chose not to be.

    It’s all in your approach. If you expect people to be civilized and friendly, they usually are. My brother told me later that they were some local drug dealers, but that had nothing to do with our personal interaction, nor should it have.

    The power of opening a conversation with a group of young males (of any ethnic background) by addressing them as “gentlemen” cannot be understated.

    Try it sometime, you’ll be happy with the results.

    Spread the respect of humanity.

  • Mudkips

    Facts are cool, too:

    Blacks are seven times more likely than people of other races to commit murder, and eight times more likely to commit robbery.

    The single best indicator of violent crime levels in an area is the percentage of the population that is black and Hispanic.

    Of the nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes committed every year involving blacks and whites, blacks commit 85 percent and whites commit 15 percent.

    Blacks are an estimated 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to commit robbery.

    Blacks are 2.25 times more likely to commit officially-designated hate crimes against whites than vice versa.

    Blacks commit more violent crime against whites than against blacks. Forty-five percent of their victims are white, 43 percent are black, and 10 percent are Hispanic. When whites commit violent crime, only three percent of their victims are black.

    Only 10 percent of youth gang members are white.

    Hispanics are 19 times more likely than whites to be members of youth gangs. Blacks are 15 times more likely.

    Blacks are seven times more likely to be in prison than whites.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    And the extremist maniacs whose site Mudkips copied his comment wholesale from would have you believe that economics do not factor into those statistics at all – only the color of a person’s skin.

  • Bennett

    Ah, but that’s all bullshit when it comes down to day to day interaction. I don’t live in any of the Southern California gang infested neighborhoods where you get your statistics.

    Let’s talk about the other 99.9% of the world.

    On any given day, in any other place in the world, there are millions upon millions of interactions between people of different ethnic backgrounds without any hostility or violence.

    Why choose to focus on the event akin to lightening striking when there’s all that clear sky out there?

    We DO live together in peace, despite what the racists would have you think.

  • Clavos

    “We DO live together in peace, despite what the racists would have you think.”

    Quoted for Truth.

    My city (Miami), is one of the most multi-racial in the USA. There are very few neighborhoods I’m afraid to walk in after dark.

    We do more than get along with each other here; the majority of us respect each other, like each other, and relish and delight in our city’s diversity.

  • Zedd

    Doc,

    I’ve been to Britain a number of times and the funny thing is that as a Black person it takes a little while getting used to being treated normally. One feels awkward at first, like what’s going on, no one is grinning at me or looking annoyed that I dared need aspirin today or milk at the same store as them or exchanged air paths with them. Being ignored in a good way is fantastic. But again it’s daunting at first. Your like “whats going on here”. It’s as if the entire city is going to stop and crack up pointing at you any minute like some surreal movie. Another thing is white guys hitting on you more openly. I get hit on by white guys in their cars or get the lusty looks here (perhaps I’m cute) but in London its a lot more overt. It’s startling at first. At first “I’m thinking what a weirdo, we don’t do that”, than i remember where I am.

    Anyway, you probably don’t feel threatened because you see Black people more as just human than Americans. Also, the class system in Britain is not necessarily defined by race. One is a commoner and that it is. Also, Brits dress hip cool and funky. So funkiness is normal and not threatening. Lastly I think the reason that the music from your part of the universe is so good, is because of a much greater acceptance, respect and open mindedness towards Blacks and their culture. White Americans are afraid to get too close to Blackness else they become tainted so they nab the things that they admire and pretend that it is of their origin.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Zedd,

    I think that, despite what some of the American nobody’s-alive-today-who-was-a-slave-or-a-slaveowner deniers will say, that history does have a lot to do with attitudes on the left end of the Atlantic.

    There were African slaves in Britain, but they never reached anywhere near the proportion of the population that they did in the US, particularly the southern states. Also, the fact that we’ve long been a seafaring nation – with for a long time, I might add, the largest empire the world has ever seen – means that we’re used to strangely-dressed, darker-skinned or differently-mannered people walking the streets of our major cities – all of which* are ports.

    That’s not to say that there isn’t racism in Britain. There is. But for the most part, our culture of politeness overrides it.

    * With two exceptions, neither of which were major cities at the time slavery was legal.

  • Zedd

    You make some good points.

    I am completely convinced that 90% of White Americans don’t have negative intentions where it comes to race matters. There are however some systemic, deeply ingrained issues that are such a part of our fabric that they are not noticed.

    Americas sense of good vs evil has a great deal to do with this polarization. Americans are not as nuanced as the rest of the planet. They feel comfortable with hard and fast. A huge culprit is Hollywood, especially 40’s – 80’s cinema. All that manufactured cockiness drew the line in the sand about everything.

    Also when African Americans rioted in the sixties, Whites got scared. Urban Blacks spoke honestly, challenging the obvious yet strangely ignored myth of democracy in America. Americans were used to congratulating themselves, especially since the end of WWII. All of a sudden America was evil. It would either be America’s version of herself or Blacks. White America chose America the beautiful and demonized Blacks. At no point in our history has there been a collective, “you are right”. The truth about our experience is always acknowledged decades later. Presently, we are always wrong, and incompetent at all levels. Meaning America is always right, best in all things.

  • Arch Conservative

    “stop the whining, that is the most typical out of your comments. “if that was a white guy who said the same thing about a black guy..” GET OVER IT”

    Well when Osama Obama goes down in flames and all of his little pea brained minions start bitching about how he couldn’t get elected because he’s black the rest of us will just have to say……..

    “GET OVER IT!”

  • troll

    the following is a list of truth commissions

    while I am not sure how this approach would work in the US to satisfy Zedd’s Rx there might be some ideas here:

    Argentina
    Bolivia Chad

  • troll

    well fuck it – the comments tool is too finicky to accept the second entry in a long list of commissions

    the info is out there for interested readers to find

  • Dan

    A study of racial crime and violence statistics isn’t made untrue by characterizing the motivations behind it as racist.

    The problem with one way dialogue is that the lies about America’s so called “racist” history are never examined.

    Folks like reverend Wright are then free to transmit their hatred to an ignorant flock.

  • Dan Miller

    Zedd,

    At 2345 last night, you commented,

    “I’ve been to Britain a number of times and the funny thing is that as a Black person it takes a little while getting used to being treated normally. One feels awkward at first, like what’s going on, no one is grinning at me or looking annoyed that I dared need aspirin today or milk at the same store as them or exchanged air paths with them.”

    I think that is great, and wish the same universally true.

    Then, at 0050 this morning,you said,

    “I am completely convinced that 90% of White Americans don’t have negative intentions where it comes to race matters. There are however some systemic, deeply ingrained issues that are such a part of our fabric that they are not noticed.”

    Perhaps there is no contradiction, but if the second comment is to be taken at face value, why do you get a better feeling in England? By whom in the U.S. are the “systemic, deeply ingrained issues” not noticed? Whites? Blacks? Typical Whites? Typical Blacks? As a Black male, you evidently notice them (or in any event you noticed their absence in England and now notice them in the U.S.), and in that respect I suspect that you may qualify for the “T” word. As a White male, I lack complete awareness of those issues as reflected in the behavior of Whites, and in that respect probably qualify for the “T” word as well.

    I think it is time for us all to notice them — the “systemic, deeply ingrained issues”, as reflected in the behavior of all of us — because something which is not noticed can’t readily be changed. Calling these things to our attention is certain to cause offense, just as telling your wife that she really should drop ten pounds. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    If calling these “systemic, deeply ingrained issues” to our attention causes offense, and Senator Obama’s speech certainly did, I think it worthwhile nonetheless.

    Dan Miller

  • Maurice

    I too have been to England and experienced similar feelings as Zedd. One thing to remember – America is a big country and you can experience all kinds of prejudices in different areas. My wife is white and when we lived in Detroit we got some double looks and stares when we would go out.

    Here in Idaho we are accepted completely. Sometimes I get annoyed with the overly obsequious white person trying to make me feel comfortable. But for the most part people try me like what I am – a person.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    At no point in our history has there been a collective, “you are right”. The truth about our experience is always acknowledged decades later. Presently, we are always wrong, and incompetent at all levels. Meaning America is always right, best in all things.

    What you say is true not just for blacks but for many others, as well. That’s the “love it or leave it” syndrome, Zedd. Notice – I left….

  • Fool Me Twice

    As a European-American (hey, if we can’t say Negro we can’t say Caucasian either), I have absolutely not the slightest qualm about avoiding contact with black people on the sidewalk.

    I have lived on the South Side of Chicago as well as other similar places, and many, many bitter and pointless acts of harassment and abuse have hardened me to the sweet lies of Political Correctness. Obviously, there is no reason for me to make any further effort here.

    My future contact with persons of color will be as minimal as I can possibly make it, and it’s their fault. Every bit of it. It’s also their loss, and I hope they realize that some day.

    Mr. Obama, who used to be my candidate for president, has listened to twenty years of hate speech in a pulpit. Incitement to race-based violence, plain and simple. Now he off-handedly calls “white people” typical. Unforgiveable…but since he wants to be a “typical black person,” I’m giving him the wide berth he deserves. If Hillary loses, I vote McCain.

    And don’t bother trying to lock eyes with me and stare me down. I don’t see you anymore.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    In America, I was always conflicted about blacks, especially when the hatred of Jewish store owners emerged as an issue. We’re going back about forty years now….

    My father, z”l, always told me that for the most part, the Jewish store owners deserved the contempt and anger the blacks felt. He said that blacks were exploited by the Jewish businessmen, and gave a number of examples. On the other hand, I, as a Jew, was a target of much of this hatred.

    When my sons were young and in elementary school in the States, I told them about how my father felt. That was what I tried to teach about black people to my kids – aside from the obvious point that they were people, like everybody else.

    My younger son, the one who was always more perceptive, told me about the “hate success” attitudes he saw in a lot of black kids in school.

    He was validating what I was learning from elderly blacks in Saint Paul who had been instrumental in founding and operating an anti-poverty agency I worked with. I have to emphasize here that this is what they told me. I could think what I wanted, but blacks, veteran activists, told me about this on their own in quite conversations over apple pie and coffee.

    It was painful to listen to because these had been young and courageous crusaders in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s trying to build a better life for blacks in St. Paul, and their disappointment was in their own grandchildren. They were also disappointed in the continuing racism and double standards of middle and upper class whites in St. Paul (I was never really felt part of the middle class, and most assuredly was not part of the upper class), but I knew about this from my own experience. Minnesota “nice” could only hide so much – and no more.

    Here, knowing what I do about what I saw of how white abuse bred a black culture that seemed to worship violence, I view blacks here, the Ethiopian Jews, very differently. Unfortunately, the exploitative culture of rich secular Ashkenazi Jews is beginning to breed a Hebrew equivalent of what I saw in America, and it angers me terribly. I understand now what my father was talking about.

  • Fool me twice

    Hi–to the folks who are saying how much more comfortable they feel in the UK, I want to propose a simple experiment.

    Go to London, stand in front of Buckingham Palace, and sing “God Damn the Queen.”

    See how much goodwill THAT earns you.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    What the fuck does that have to do with racism?

  • Dan Miller

    Dr. Dreadful,

    Not much, but what do you think would happen? Would the Queen come out and shoot the jerk? Would it just be ignored? How seriously would it be taken? Do you think that it would substantially impact a Parliamentary election and bring in a new Prime Minister? I have never visited England, and would be curious to know your perceptions.

    Dan Miller

  • Mudkips

    “There are very few neighborhoods I’m afraid to walk in after dark.”

    Is Liberty City one of them? If so, why?

  • Mudkips

    Tony Blair must be a racist, too:

    Tony Blair today called on Britain’s black communities to speak out against gang culture, as he promised further new laws against knife and gun crime.

    Following the violent deaths of seven black teenagers in London over the past three months, the prime minister said the killings were the “latest manifestations of severe disorder”.

    But he stressed: “We won’t stop this by pretending it isn’t young black kids doing it.”

    But I thought the UK was a nonviolent utopia?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Dan,

    It would depend how you did it. If all you did was stand outside the Palace and yell, you’d probably just be ignored or at most, get a few dirty looks. Do it persistently, or start bugging or interfering with other tourists or passers-by, and a copper might feel your collar for breach of the peace (causing a public nuisance).

    Free speech is just as valued in Britain as it is here – if not more so. When I last went home, in December, there was a large and highly visible demonstration about the plight of the Sri Lankan Tamils right outside the Houses of Parliament. There’s a famous spot in Hyde Park, less than a mile from Buckingham Palace, called Speaker’s Corner, where absolutely anyone can – and does – stand on a box and start spouting any kind of crap they wish – unmolested.

    Being disrespectful to the Queen and the royal family is very common – you only have to pick up one of the tabloid newspapers to see that. As an American, though, you probably wouldn’t be so freely indulged: just as you don’t go to a dinner party and insult the hostess, you don’t visit a foreign country and start criticizing their institutions. Americans are already thought of by many as ‘unschooled arrogant Yanks’, and behavior such as ‘Fool Me Twice’ suggests would just reinforce that impression.

  • Clavos

    “Is Liberty City one of them? If so, why?”

    No, but Coral Gables and Bal Harbour both are.

    The police in both neighborhoods are known for harassing strangers walking at night in those neighborhoods, particularly if their skin is black, but they are equal opportunity harassers; they don’t like anyone walking in their neighborhoods at night, regardless of race.

    Are you afraid to walk in Liberty City?

    How about Hialeah? Little Haiti? Little Havana? El Portal? North Miami? Aventura?

  • STM

    Dan,

    I can see where Zedd’s coming from here. My experience in the UK is that people are generally (not always, though) colour blind, and if not colour blind, at least accepting while being aware that there are cultural differences. The British tend to embrace that stuff – the cultural differences – a bit more.

    The reason: beacuse of their empire, they have had throngs of people of all races, colours and creeds coming and going into Britain since the mid-1700s.

    They also began moves to abolish slavery, in Britain itself at least, where it wasn’t widespread anyway, four years before the American Revolution (which I believe was one of the real reasons behind the revolution – the fear that Britain would abolish it in the colonies, and ultimately they did).

    They have always valued free speech just the same as Americans do, and since the ideals of the American revolution came from Britain in the first place (which is why all our legal systems in the English-speaking countries, including the US, are virtually identical), you could say they were actually practising modern democracy (as opposed to the ancient Greek meaning) even before the United States.

    A lot of Americans misunderstand the role of the Queen. The monarch has had very limited power (almost none legally, except for influence) since the Glorious Revolution of the late 1600s. Britain has been a robust, representative constitutional parliamentary democracy since that time.

    The monarch has far less power than a president of the US, and they are really a rubber stamp on the executive branch of government – there to serve a purpose but NOT to rule. The elected Prime Minister is the head of government, and therefore rules, while the Queen is the head of state and only really a figurehead.

    The only reason they exist today is that they serve a purpose in the function of a constitutional representative democracy.

    As Doc points out: if you wanted to stand on a soap-box in Speaker’s Corner, outside Buck House, or outside parliament and tell people you think the Queen should pack her bags and move to Australia, no one’s going to stop you or arrest you. You could hold up a thousand placards saying the PM’s a bastard, and no one would stop you either.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Tony Blair must be a racist, too

    No, just a pragmatist. (Fallacy #1: Appeal to authority.)

    Following the violent deaths of seven black teenagers in London over the past three months

    Your concern for the black victims is gratifying.

    However, it is a shame you left out this part of Mr Blair’s speech: ‘The black community – the vast majority of whom in these communities are decent, law-abiding people horrified at what is happening – need to be mobilised in denunciation of this gang culture that is killing innocent young black kids.’ (Fallacy #2: Quote mining.)

    But I thought the UK was a nonviolent utopia?

    Whoever said it was? (Fallacy #3: Straw man.)

    I feel I should point out, though, that according to the most recent available statistics (2005-6), there were only 765 murders per year in the whole country.

    I feel I should also point out, in the interest of accuracy, that the linked article is almost a year old and remind you that Tony Blair is no longer the British Prime Minister.

  • STM

    On Doc’s last comment, it’s true.

    The UK has one of the lowest homicide rates of the developed western countries, while the US has the highest. And the rate of gun homicide is about six times higher.

    In some US cities – Washington’s a classic example, with a figure in the decade to the late 90s of around 63.5 murders per 100,000 population – the rate of homicide still is or has been higher than that of many third-world countries.

    So while the UK is hardly a non-violent utopia, London’s still a much safer place to walk around than Washington.

    Tougher gun laws in the UK compared to the US OVERALL (still easy to get an illegal handgun in Washington just by driving to Virgina or Maryland) are part of the reason, but the other is that the UK offers more social programs, educational and health, for instance, designed to even up to a certain extent the rate of difference between the haves and have-nots.

    Yes, there are gang killings and violence and in some places, and a total disrespect for law and order in many area, in the UK, but it’s not on the same level as the US.

    Nowhere near it.

  • Mudkips

    Free speech is just as valued in Britain as it is here – if not more so.


    LOL
    .

    Speak your mind, go to prison.

  • Mudkips

    “In some US cities – Washington’s a classic example, with a figure in the decade to the late 90s of around 63.5 murders per 100,000 population – the rate of homicide still is or has been higher than that of many third-world countries.”

    Link.

  • Mudkips

    “Are you afraid to walk in Liberty City?”

    Normal people are:

    “the residents of Liberty City, a predominantly black section of Miami, launched what was arguably the worst race riot of this century. It wasn’t just a civil protest. Blacks went out specifically to get whites, to assault them, to kill them. Some whites were doused with gasoline and set on fire. Some were beaten senseless in the street and run over, repeatedly. Nobody in Liberty City apologized. And when President Carter visited the area a few weeks later, to promise money for rebuilding the sacked neighborhoods (money that apparently never got there), blacks booed him and threw rocks and bottles at his motorcade.”

    Lifetime chances of a person going to prison are higher for blacks (18.6%) and Hispanics (10%) than for whites (3.4%).

    Based on current rates of first incarceration, an estimated 32% of black males will enter State or Federal prison during their lifetime, compared to 17% of Hispanic males and 5.9% of white males.

    If you are honestly more concerned about walking the streets of lily-White Bal Harbour alone at night than the streets of Liberty City, you’re probably not too bright.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Speak your mind, go to prison.

    Incite violence against others, go to prison.

  • STM

    Mudkips, when it comes to the BNP and comparisons to the US, you don’t have a f…..g clue as to what you’re talking about in relation to this.

    You are confusing the absolute right to free speech (like too many not-very-well-educated Americans – not suggesting that’s you – who don’t know any better and who don’t realise the first amendment guarantees no such thing), with the presumption that it gives you the right to vilify people.

    It doesn’t. Absolute free speech doesn’t exist in the US either … it’s why you still have laws on libel, slander and defamation. It’s also why they still get a fair work out in the courts.

    You might want to look up some judgments of the US Supreme Court to get a heads up on this, starting particularly with the “fighting words” decision of the 1940s where the court implicitly offered the opinion that some things were outside the protections because they could incite crime and were therefore unlikely ever intended by the founding fathers to be protected by the 1st amendment.

    There are a lot of Americans who think that the 1st amendment protections are absolute when they are not. If by your vilification you incite others to break the law, you can be arrested, charged, tried and jailed if found guilty in the US just the same as anywhere else.

    So if you were to be involved in any such thing, I’d counsel you to be really careful in what you do actually say. The laws change from state to state too, but they exist and protections won’t always be offered constitutionally.

    As to the British anti-vilification laws – good on ‘em. They are doing their level best to get that crap dead and buried, where it belongs.

    It’s been said before, but my rights end where my neighbours’ begin.

    Using a misguided and mistaken blind-belief in absolute free speech to incite others to break the law isn’t about rights, it’s about breaking the law. The BNP could hardly be held up as a bastion of freedoms and rights, either. It’s a neo-Nazi party. The party itself isn’t banned, though. Just the idiots who spout race-hatred.

    As for the murder figures in Washington, they are correct for the late 1990s. 63.9 per 100,000 – which put Washington only below Colombia in terms of murders per 100,000.

    That’s disgraceful for the capital city of a supposedly civilised nation professing its brand of democracy as the best on offer.

    I know you are using it as an example of a city full of blacks and hispanics, but it’s not the only one in the US with a high rate of homicide. There are others with a majority white population that have very high rates as well.

  • Mudkips

    That’s odd. In the racist United States of KKK-A, where we allegedly don’t have the same depth of free speech as in Britain, Sister Souljah was never sent to prison for encouraging blacks to murder whites:

    Tell me: How does it feel to keep getting facts stuffed down your liberal throat?

  • STM

    And any comment about so-called free speech in the US shouldn’t be let go without mentioning McCarthyism and the banning of the communist party in the US, and the disgraceful pursuit of those suspected (not proven) of having links to communists.

    In other words, if you even knew someone who was a communist, you could be hauled up before Joe McCarthy’s congressional inquiry and have your life and your reputation destroyed.

    That kind of witch-hunt is far worse than legislation designed to stop people inciting others to break the law.

    A lot of americans live in cloud-cuckoo land in relation to this stuff.

  • Mudkips

    STM, you can flap your arms about as much as you want. The fact is, we don’t imprison people here in the United States for having offensive or politically-incorrect political opinions. However, they do imprison people in Europe, including the UK, for committing thought, or speech, crimes. In Canada, they put you in front of a Stalinist “Human Rights Commission” for saying things that hurt the feelings of radical Imams:

    Think only 4 or 5 million died in the Holocaust, instead of 6? Hope you don’t live in Germany, Austria, France, or any number of other European countries, or else you’ll likely wind up in a cell for a few months or years.

    The lead singer of the German group “Landser” is in prison for singing pro-Nazi songs. In the US, the group The Nightwatchmen openly encourage left-wing domestic terrorism, and they are allowed to hold concerts and sell records.

    Need any more examples?

  • Mudkips

    “If by your vilification you incite others to break the law, you can be arrested, charged, tried and jailed if found guilty in the US just the same as anywhere else.”

    We allow people to encourage others to violate the law in the US. The publishers of High Times aren’t in prison. Nor the good folks at NAMbLA. Neither is Hal Turner. Nor The Nightwatchmen. Nor is the founder of Amazon.com in prison for allowing the sale of Mein Kampf. Al Sharpton and other similar “civil rights activists” basically threaten riots through bullhorns with chants of “no justice, no peace,” but they are not in Gitmo.

    I guess people outside the US are just jealous of our freedoms, so they lie about them and pretend we don’t have them?

  • Mudkips

    “There are others with a majority white population that have very high rates as well.”

    Name me an American city with a White population 80% or higher that has a crime rate anything close to Washington DC.

  • Mudkips

    “the banning of the communist party in the US”

    That never happened. Try not to lie next time, okay?

    “and the disgraceful pursuit of those suspected (not proven) of having links to communists.”

    Again, you might want to try to get your facts straight.

  • Mudkips

    That kind of witch-hunt is far worse than legislation designed to stop people inciting others to break the law.

    Yes. It’s far worse to expose communist spies than it is to imprison someone for having an unpopular political view.

  • STM

    Mudkips, if you weren’t behaving like such a racist dickhead and using supposed facts and figures from Wikipedia to back up a hateful argument, I’d suspect you are the just very type of typical, uneducated, dopey, ignorant, ugly American I’m talking about. You know, the ones who think America shouldn’t be multicultural and who studied the constitutuion in fifth grade but didn’t bother to look any further.

    And belive it or not, I’m no namby-pamby liberal – I just don’t believe people should be judged according to the colour of their skin. You don’t have to be a liberal to despise the kind of far right-wing ideology of the neo-nazi parties.

    And no, you just imprison people in the US for using speech to incite others to commit crimes (unless it’s Senator Joe McCarthy and those of his ilk). What’s the difference?

    Paradoxically, it’s people like you who cry about the protections of the constitution who are undermining them by your ignorance in relation to what they actually protect.

    And mate, facts?? Wikipedia? Please, go and read a book. Something other than Mein Kampf would be a good start.

  • STM

    “I guess people outside the US are just jealous of our freedoms”.

    Lol. What a hoot. I live in a country that has far more freedom than the US.

  • STM

    And you are right, the US never banned the communist party outright. It was in everything but name, though: blacklistings, trials, jailings, deportations, etc.

    That’s freedom?

    A lot of those targeted had no connection with communism or communists, except that might have associated with them on occasion.

    Land of the free? Nah, don’t think so … never has been. Blacks weren’t even able to sit on the same bus seats as whites or eat in the same restaurants in some states until the 1960s – almost 200 years after the Bill of Rights.

    And of course, it WAS all about skin colour. Kind of makes a mockery about all men being equal and the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. Specially if you were still in chains.

    Which for 200 years, made the whole thing a sham and a lie. Even Thomas Jefferson’s lofty ideals and good intent turned out ultimately to be a pack of bollocks – he kept slaves.

    America has only come to see the light in the past 40 years. That’s not a long time.

  • STM

    “the good folks at NAMbLA”.

    Mate, are you serious here???

    I wouldn’t describe them as good. Anyone who has as their stated intent the changing of child-sex laws by trying to have the age of consent lowered to 12 (a 12-year-old’s a lot easier to co-erce than an 18-year-old, which might be the clue) can’t be described as good. Sorry.

  • STM

    Why bother? It’s a free country, ain’t it Doc? Let him do it.

    The info’s available on wikipedia.

  • Bennett

    “…launched what was arguably the worst race riot of this century…”

    What a joke! You know that the 70’s were in the last century, eh? Why not bring up the Watts Riots as well?

    Do you really think your arguments are believable? I grew up in Oakland during the 70’s, and it was a turbulent era of Black Panthers, militant civil rights activists, and an empowered black population.

    Still, I came away from those years with as many friends of different ethnic backgrounds as white, and all who lived through it knew that skin color had nothing to do with a person’s intelligence or propensity toward violence.

    I had as many fights with white guys as any other shade, and some of my best teachers were of African heritage.

    Your ignorant racist views were taught to you by your parents, and you are stuck in a kind of mental poverty that keeps you from becoming a mature member of society. I pity you for this.

    The rest of us will continue to enjoy our good neighbors, society’s ethnic diversity, and a gradual improvement of the opportunities available to all persons, regardless of ethic background.

  • Clavos

    Let’s set the story straight on Liberty City today. Yhe piece you cite is an opinion piece by a freelance writer (with an obvious bias).

    From Wikipedia:

    “Liberty City is named for the Liberty Square Housing Project built in the late 1930s for Miami’s low-income African-Americans, the second of its kind in the South at the time.

    Liberty City is home to Miami Northwestern High School which has had a student population of more than 2250 students the past four years with more than 90% African-American and 6% Hispanic. Liberty City also produced the Miami Heat’s Udonis Haslem and professional wrestler Alvin Burke, Jr. (better known by his stage name MVP). Darlyne Chauve’s art studio and gallery is in Liberty City. Liberty City has produced many of Miami’s rap stars.

    Known for its contributions to black politics championed by former black congressperson Carrie P. Meek the area now has its own college. The college is called the EEC, short for the Entrepreneurial Educational Center. The Center has attracted top-notch faculty — including attorneys, scientists, and scholars — whose mission is to level the playing field in this inner city locale. Special credit goes to EEC Librarian Theodore D. Karantsalis who has developed what is considered to be the finest collection of black literature in the area.

    Liberty City is also the location of New Covenant Presbyterian Church (Miami, Florida), which was the first Christian congregation of a main-line denomination to be organized for the specific purpose of being an integrated congregation.”

    And, regarding the riots (which were 28 years ago), also from Wikipedia:

    “In 1980, the infamous Liberty City Riots broke out after an unpopular verdict in a 1979 case of white-on-black police brutality. The acquittal of five white police officers that beat a black motorist to death sparked the violence. By the time the rioting ceased the following morning, over 850 people had been arrested and 18 people lost their lives, including eight whites and ten blacks.

    Police officers had pursued motorcyclist Arthur McDuffie in a high-speed chase. The officers claimed that the chase ended when McDuffie crashed his motorcycle and died. The coroner’s report concluded otherwise. One of the officers testified that McDuffie fell off of his bike on a I-95 off ramp. When the police reached him he was injured but ok. The officers removed his helmet, beat him to death with their batons, put his helmet back on, and called an ambulance, claiming there had been a motorcycle accident. These actions were later admitted to by one of the officers while on trial. An all-white jury acquitted the officers after brief deliberation.”

    It’s no wonder the citizens rioted. That kind of police behavior is exactly why I prefer not to walk in neighborhoods where the police are given free reign to harass.

    Parts of Liberty City are dangerous, sure. My original point, Mud, was that there are very few neighborhoods in Miami-Dade county in which I’m afraid to walk, yet Miami is one of the most racially mixed cities in the country, and I stand by that point.

    Most of Liberty City is safe today. My work takes me on a regular basis to a firm located in Liberty City; I’ve never been hassled yet.

    I was born and grew up in a city much more dangerous than Miami. There are many cities in the US which are far more dangerous than Miami: Detroit, Gary, IN, and Newark come readily to mind.

    Oh, and BTW, Bal Harbour is no longer “lily white.” Like most Miami neighborhoods, it is now substantially Latino.

  • Silver Surfer

    Morning Clav. Sorry I had to rush off the other night. Some bastard smashed my wife’s back windscreen in. It cost me $750 to get it fixed, because I didn’t want to lose the no-claim bonus. We think it might be one of the neighbours who is arguing with us over – would you believe – a fucking palm tree that’s on the fence line. This is the third incident.

    This time I had to wait for three hours for the cops to turn up, as they were having a busy Saturday night so I couldn’t call back as they had my mobile number at the station and said they’d call when it quietened down.

    I can now answer your question regarding Vegemite that I didn’t answer while I was in the servo buying chocolate milk and pepperoni.

    We use it to trap unwary Americans visiting here.

    “Yes, this is our equivalent of peanut butter … try a spoonful, you’ll love it.”

    Then watch as they grab their throats and beg for water.

    Vegemite is basically a dark brown yeast extract that tastes a bit like a spreadable beef stock.

    It’s great on toast – but you have to use a very thin smear. All Aussie kids learn this at a very young age.

    It’s packed with vitamin B and good for you, but the trick is: with Vegemite, less is more.

    Poms have a similar thing called Marmite, but like all Pom stuff, it’s nowhere near as good.

  • Dan Miller

    Dr. Dreadful and others,

    Many thanks for your comments on freedom of speech in England and in the U.S. History is interesting, and studying it is one of my favorite pastimes. I am well aware that the Queen is a ceremonial figurehead, and didn’t seriously suggest that she might leave the palace in her ceremonial garb and shoot a big mouth protester, no matter what he might say or sing. You know that I was joking, and that I was just pulling your chain.

    Seriously, though, in all the talk about free speech, one important point seems to have been ignored entirely: political correctness. It has become endemic in the U.S., and has attained legal stature. It is strictly enforced in the schools and, in my view, has gone way overboard — way beyond prohibiting fighting words, potential incitement to riot, and giving serious offense. Even good things, when taken to excess, can be very harmful.

    A friend who has lived in London for about ten years and I were briefly discussing U.S. politics a couple of days ago (Skype is wonderful). The subject of political correctness came up, and she commented that the U.S. is rather a laughingstock because of it. Was she correct?

    Dan Miller

  • Silver Surfer

    Yes Dan, she was correct, although I’m not sure most people regard the US literally as a laughing stock. The problem is, this stuff is just attacking the problem piecemeal. Right, you can’t say the N-word, but it’s OK for people to call you a cracker-ass, etc.

    Legally, you can be a white supremacist and publish a comic about race hatred showing a skinhead shooting black kids dead (although Tom Metzker was sued for $12m over inciting hate that led to a killing in Portland, and lost) but you can’t make window-cleaning jokes about female corporate executives hitting the glass ceiling.

    You can get fined for smoking in a public place, but 500 yards up the street you can buy bullets that can will go through a bullet-prooft vest.

    It just doesn’t make sense.

    That’s the stuff that leaves people scratching their heads. I bet London to a brick the founding fathers never intended it to be that way, same as they’d probably have preferred not to have 300 million legal firearms (and God knows how many illegal ones) floating around the country when their original intent was to arm a relatively small population with muzzle-loading weapons to fight the British.

    In Australia, when the government decided to ban certain types of firearm, most of the population couldn’t give a fuck about what gun lobby thought. Who cares if they feel slighted and offended and think their freedoms are under threat? Fuck their rights, what about ours? We were sick of all the mass shootings, and since the automatic gun ban, we haven’t had any of those. I just think that unless you’re shooting kangaroos out on the farm, why do you need an automatic weapon? Most of my countrymen felt the same way.

    A lot of us think America has its priorities arse-about. If that’s what your friend means by laughing stock, then yes – but I see it all a bit more seriously.

    I see a place that’s forgotten what it really is and what it set out to be. It’s also forgotten how great it could be if it pursued courses of action different to those it has pursued in the decades since WWII.

    Still, I like Americans a lot (not all of them though, but then I don’t like all my own countrymen) and think it is great place. Like my school reports said though, the verdict for the US is: could do better.

    Back to free speech and political correctness, I say – and if the guy whose name is mud cares to look through my baiting of him he’ll see what I’m getting at – is that all the while the US won’t legislate on a lot of this stuff to stop it at the roots, it will have school boards and corprations sacking people or stubbing out their careers for being politically incorrect or making silly jokes, yet the courts will go on allowing extremists to suggest that killing non-whites is fine because the 1st amendment gives them the right to free speech.

    There’s a lot of tippy-toeing around, but not much of substance.

    And to many of us in the rest of the English-speaking world, it’s what makes the US a land of very bizarre contradictions.

    Libertarian ideals are great up to a point, but when it comes to issues like organisations pushing for the lowering of the age of male consent to 12 and people supporting that not because they think paedophilia is OK but because they think it should be protected free speech, then I kind of wonder where the place is heading.

    Often, to the kind of outsiders like me who have no desire to live in the US because they think their own countries are better, it often looks like America’s direction is to hell in a handbasket.

  • Silver Surfer

    Sorry, typo: I think Tom Metzker should be Tom Metzger, although they do sound similar.

  • Clavos

    Stan,

    G’day, mate. Sure sorry to hear about the window on your wife’s car, but glad it wasn’t more than that. When you rang off so abruptly, I really got worried, and my overactive imagination kicked in at full RPMs.

    Here’s a good revenge: take lawn fertilizer over one night when the neighbors are out, and dribbling it out of your hand, write some sort of appropriate epithet on his lawn with it, in very large letters.

    In a day or two, the whole neighborhood will be able to read it, and it’ll last for a few weeks, no matter how much he cuts the lawn.

    It will drive him nuts…

  • Silver Surfer

    Or I could force-feed the bastard a heaped tablespoon of Vegemite … but mate, seriously, it’s really bad to have dramas with the neighbours like that.

    When we first moved to the new place last year (it’s about 10 minutes’ drive from where we used to live), I thought: “Beauty … great house, near the railway and the freeway, five minutes’ walk to a big shopping mall, great neighbours etc”

    Everything was right except them. It just deteriorated from the start when they kept nagging me about the fucking tree.

    It’s on my property, it’s been there for 20 years, and they built their place four years ago really close to the fence line.

    Now they are claiming that even though the tree is on my side of the fence, they have discovered that the fence was built in the wrong place and therefore the tree is actually on their land and they’ve asked the council if they can chop it down.

    This is Australia mind you, where temperatures routinely get up to 40C in summer and nicely placed palm trees reduce the temperature around the house by up to 10 degrees. Even with aircon here, you can’t always escape the heat so you need ‘em.

    They are Poms, though. They just don’t like it, I suppose if it was an oak tree they’d be happy, although they’d complain about falling acorns.

    The guy has also abused me three or four times for saying hello and passing the time of day to his wife, but when I’ve asked him to come over and say it up close, he runs away. So we think he resorts to prowling around at night or early in the morning to get his revenge.

    Mate, I’m fair-dinkum over it. The fertiliser solution is sounding good about now.

    I might write: “I’m a tree hugger”.

  • Dan Miller

    Silver Surfer,

    You state,

    “Often, to the kind of outsiders like me who have no desire to live in the US because they think their own countries are better, it often looks like America’s direction is to hell in a handbasket.”

    Sadly, I have little choice but to agree. I love and am very sad for my country, where I haven’t lived since 1996. I do my best to keep in touch via the internet, and can’t help but see a continuing downward spiral no matter how much I wish it were otherwise. I haven’t quite given up, but at 66 I am heading in that direction.

    It is not just the present electoral debacle, though that is a vivid symptom of the problems. There are many causes, but we tend to focus on symptoms rather than on root causes. A physician who consistently did that would wind up with lots of dead patients.

    As to one of your major comments, guns, I have never owned or felt the need to have one. We lived and traveled on our sailboat for about six years through much of the Caribbean before settling in Panama, and some of our fellow cruisers had guns. In most cases, they would have been better off without them, even when facing “pirates,” and several wound up being killed or wounded by their own weapons.

    Be that as it may, the U.S. Constitution affirms the right to bear arms just as it affirms the rights to freedom of speech and religion. Sure, the language is subject to interpretation just as is the written word everywhere. For better or worse, the Bible is now interpreted quite differently than it was a couple of centuries ago. I see the right to bear arms as important, not because I think people should have them but because I don’t like to see Constitutional rights trashed. They have been trashed more than enough already. The Constitution can be amended, and perhaps should be. It is not an easy task, but it has been accomplished when deemed absolutely necessary.

    Things, I believe, are different in England, which has marvelous common law and tradition, but no written constitution. Common law can be overridden by statutory law, and tradition changes as circumstances demand. Think how different things would be if England had a constitution written about three hundred years ago and if the process of amending it were similar to that incorporated in the U.S. Constitution. I asked you to think about it, but really it is unthinkable. I don’t know whether England is better off, or whether the U.S. would be better off with no written constitution. My belief is that we are better off with one.

    There are many limitations on the right to bear arms, and my suspicion is that most of the weapons used to commit crimes are owned, and certainly used, illegally. Unfortunately, many people in the U.S. believe that they need guns for their own safety. There are reasons for that belief, but those reasons are much more rarely addressed than a perceived need further to limit the right to bear arms legally.

    Back to political correctness for just a moment. Where we now live, in a rather remote, rural area up on the mountains with not many Gringos, the specter of political correctness is unknown. Although I have never heard the “N word” used, Black people are frequently nicknamed “Chombo” stout people “Gordo” and skinny people “Flaco.” There is no evil intent, and no offense is perceived. Perhaps when there is more “civilization,” these attitudes will change. I hope not.

    I do appreciate your insightful comments.

    Dan Miller

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Morning Clav. Sorry I had to rush off the other night. Some bastard smashed my wife’s back windscreen in. It cost me $750 to get it fixed, because I didn’t want to lose the no-claim bonus. We think it might be one of the neighbours who is arguing with us over – would you believe – a fucking palm tree that’s on the fence line. This is the third incident.

    What a perfect illustration. Here in the US this kind of incident is relatively rare, because the angry neighbor knows that there’s a good chance you have a gun (or 6 on average) in the house and will shoot him. And at least here in Texas you’d get away with no punishment for doing it.

    An armed society IS a civil society.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Easily settled, isn’t it? Just go to the council and look at the plot plans…?

    Sounds like you need to keep an eye on the neighbor bloke, and more particularly his wife. If he’s that crazy just because you talk to her…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Dan M:

    (There’s another Dan who comments here regularly, so just to clarify!)

    On political correctness: yes, the US does have a reputation for being a bit silly about it. It’s not unknown in the UK, although the movement there reached its zenith (or nadir, depending on your point of view!) in the early 80s. The most infamous and ridiculous example was the school board that wanted to outlaw the word ‘blackboard’ in favor of ‘chalkboard’. But it pretty much got eventually swept away by Thatcherism and the concurrent obliteration of the Labour Party in its socialist form. It still exists today, but it’s governed more by common sense than by a knee-jerk slavishness to idealism.

    On written constitutions vs. tradition: I agree with you that the US is probably better off with one. It’s still a young country and needs a lot of supervision to prevent it from getting into trouble!

    I’m not being entirely frivolous here. The British constitution and law has evolved over thousands of years, to the point where everyone knows pretty much where they stand in regard to their rights and obligations. America, starting from scratch 200-plus years ago, needed a document that stated unequivocally “This is what our new country stands for, and these are our rights as its citizens”. Without that, it would probably have fragmented almost instantaneously.

  • Silver Surfer

    Dan,

    I work with a guy nicknamed “Gordo”. Yes, because he used to be big. He’s not anymore, but we still call him Gordo – to his face, and he loves it too because it IS funny.

    Australia might be one of the least politically correct places on the planet.

    A mate’s father, who is Chinese and came to Australia when he was 18 or so, had a job at a factory and his son says a defining moment in his life was when he began to be invited to the pub on Friday afternoons by the other workers, whose only previous contact with a Chinese person was the odd visit to a local Chinese restaurant (my, how things have changed … that’s another story).

    They also gave him a nickname: “Chongo”, as in ching-chong.

    He was very proud of that, as in Australia if you get a nickname, no matter how politically incorrect, it means people like you. Not having one means they’re ambivalent.

    When I first met him, I called him Mr, and his surname.

    He said: “Enough of the mister, son, just call me Chongo … every other bastard does”.

    Can you imagine being able to call a fellow worker in the US a derivative of ching-chong???

  • Dan Miller

    Thanks, Silver Surfer. You made my day. I think the typical nickname here is “Chino,” but that’s about the same. It’s refreshing to know that at least some parts of the world have not gone completely nuts.

    Dan Miller

  • STM

    “An armed society IS a civil society”

    Lol. Never let a chance go by, eh Dave?

    Things have changed a bit in Australia.

    In the not too distant past here, if someone was doing that kind of stuff to you, you could have punched them in the snout without too much fear of retribution.

    We’ve always drawn the line at threatening people with guns, though.

    I have heard of cases of people complaining to the cops about being decked in such circumstances and the cops suggesting that they might have deserved it and to go away and be thankful they only got a punch in the nose and hadn’t been charged with anything.

    Even the police used to use the discretionary wallop from time to time, especially with young offenders.

    Which is one of the reasons one of their nicknames here is the “wallopers”.

    Now you’d be charged, hauled before the courts, fined, and possibly sued for damages.

    And if you were a cop, you’d almost certainly be sacked or made the subject of an internal affairs inquiry and suspended from duty pending the outcome.

  • Zedd

    Dave

    You are fibbing about the window thing. It would most certainly happen here. Do you know thing that I have encountered is White folks and trees. WHAT IS THE DEAL? I mean every neighborhood that I have lived in there is always a dispute about trees. Do you know before Stan said what the problem was, I said to my self “I bet it’s a tree”. Then off course I laughed because it really was. WHAT GIVES with the trees??? Maybe its just a fluke and i have ended up in places where people are tree obsessed but its just odd. EVERYWHERE I MOVE, ITS THE TREES!!!

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Trees are nice, Zedd. People LIKE to have trees in their yards. But at the same time they don’t like their neighbor’s tree doing nasty stuff to their property. Case in point, in our old house we had a neighbor who had a giant oak tree and one of the branches fell and crushed the corner of our living room roof in a storm. Not so much damage, but after that we did insist that he trim back some other huge and threatening branches that also overhung our house. Trees can do a hell of a lot of damage.

    As for the gun thing, Stan. I didn’t say anything about THREATENING the guy with a gun. You don’t pull out a gun unless you plan to use it.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    On written constitutions vs. tradition: I agree with you that the US is probably better off with one. It’s still a young country and needs a lot of supervision to prevent it from getting into trouble!

    Just a thought for you, DD.

    New Zealand’s British colonial settlement is about as old as Australia’s and is probably a bit younger. The Dominion of New Zealand has no written constitution, just like its mother country. And New Zealand is considerably younger than the United States. I would also note for you that the original British plan for governing New Zealand was to have it develop as a federation with about ten provinces or regions. This plan was scrapped by the colonial government over 100 years ago, and the present centralized form adopted.

    If I might refine the points you’ve been making just a bit, the real issue that made a written constitution necessary was that the United States did not evolve away from Britain as did Canada and New Zealand. The various British provinces in North America that became the United States rebelled and formally declared their reasons for doing so. Originally, the States were bound by a treaty, the Articles of Confederation, which were badly drawn up and failed to meet the needs of the new States. In 1787, delegates from the various States were commissioned by the Continental Congress to consider revisions to this treaty. They deemed the Articles of Confederation a failure and began anew. The failure of this treaty necessitated a written constitution for the United States.

  • STM

    Dan,

    Britain actually does have a constitution. It’s made up of all the laws that have gone before, and all the things that have been written (like the magna carta and the English Bill of Rights), or form part of the tradition that gave an Englishman natural rights (such things as life, happiness and liberty) but you are right – it can and does change with the time; for the better IMO.

    It’s worth noting though that when the founding fathers wrote the Bill of Rights, all they were doing was reaffirming and writing down the stuff that already existed under English law, which theyb also acknowledge.

    The due process provisions of the US constitution contained in the 5th amendment are near identical in their wording to the statute of Edward III added to the Magna Carta in 1354:

    “…. no man of what estate or condition that he be, shall be put out of land or tenement, nor taken, nor imprisoned, nor disinherited, nor put to death, without being brought in answer by due process of law.”

    The Glorious Revolution of the late 1600s that turned Britain into a constitutional mobarchy and true, modern parliamentary democracy, Lockian thought (John Locke), and such documents as the English Bill of Rights and the Magna Carta, the works of Blackstone on English common law and Jefferson’s love of old-English law and rights going back to the Saxon era, all influenced the writing of the US constitution.

    All those things above are part of Britain’s constitution, and nothing was plucked from thin air by the founding fathers, who even gave a nod to those old rights under English law in the 9th amendment.

    Even today, US lawyers and judges can still refer back to rulings of English common law applicable in the colonies prior to the revolution.

    I guess it’s why, as an Australian, I feel no discomfort at all when I’m in the US, or Britain, or New Zealand, or Canada. It’s also why I can watch shows like Law and Order and follow the court cases because the criminal legal system is near identical in both form and function. Ditto a British show I have been watching called Judge John Deed.

    It also all feels pretty much the same in terms of how I view my personal freedoms, rights and liberties.

    Britain is not like the other European powers. It was always about freedom and personal liberty, which is probably why it and its offspring, including the US, have banded together on the occasions needed to fight bullies and tyrants and twisted ideologies that threatened those freedoms.

    Some ideas about what freedoms are might be slightly different in each of the English-speaking countries (for instance, having paid my taxes, I believe it is my right to have my government provide health services that won’t send me bankrupt) but the basics are the same in all.

    See, different paths have led to very similar places.

  • STM

    Dave: “As for the gun thing, Stan. I didn’t say anything about THREATENING the guy with a gun. You don’t pull out a gun unless you plan to use it.”

    Come on Dave, you don’t expect me to accept the notion that even the wildest and wooliest of red-necked Americans (OK, Texans then) think it’s OK to shoot some poor bastard because he smashed your car window?? A good smack in the mouth I can cop, but a bullet??

    That’s still known as murder here (or attempted murder or malicious wounding with intent if they don’t die), and I’m sure it is in every state of the US, including Texas.

    I do like you mate, but you do talk some bollocks sometimes – especially about those bloody guns :)

  • Clavos

    “Come on Dave, you don’t expect me to accept the notion that even the wildest and wooliest of red-necked Americans (OK, Texans then) think it’s OK to shoot some poor bastard because he smashed your car window?? A good smack in the mouth I can cop, but a bullet??

    That’s still known as murder here (or attempted murder or malicious wounding with intent if they don’t die), and I’m sure it is in every state of the US, including Texas.”

    Actually, no, Stan.

    I don’t know about Texas, but here in Florida I can carry a concealed weapon, be walking down the street, and if you approach me in what I perceive to be a threatening manner, I can LEGALLY blow you away; it can be anywhere, not just at home.

    Breaking your car window (if you were present when he did it) would be more than sufficient to cover you.

    Fair dinkum, mate…

  • STM

    Ruvy, on New Zealand.

    It has no written constitution but it has a bill of rights. Its constitution is unwritten, like Britain’s – but it still has one made up of Acts of Parliament, judgments of courts, statutes, common law, treaties, orders in council, etc. For isntance, the Treaty of Waitangi is considered an important element of NZ’s constitutuional law.

    The Treaty of Waitangi signed in 1840 between the Pakeha (whites) and Maori cemented equal rights between two very different cultures that have flourished – together. Not always without incident but it’s as near to perfect as you’ll get when you are talking a mingling of vastly different cultures.

    A New Zealander (Pakeha or Maori) pretty much had and has the same rights as an Englishman, which is pretty much identical to the rights of an American, a Canadian, or an Australian.

    As for federalism: in a country the size of Australia, self-governing colonies were always going to become states largely running their own affairs, with a federal govt looking after defence, some infrastructure, foreign affairs and some funding for things like health and interstate roads. This is a huge and vast country and it needed the American-style system.

    New Zealand at the time was a small place in terms of population, and still is really. They did have provinces, but these were replaced by counties. Having a central government in the British-style was probably the right thing for NZ, because it would have cost more than it saved to have the kind of duplication of services in government that often needs to happen under federalism.

    Regardless, I would consider NZ one of the world’s more robust parliamentary democracies (and you know I see Britain the same way).

  • STM

    I didn’t realise that Clav.

    I thought you’d get in the sh.t for such a thing. The state would attempt to bring you to trial in many cases, though, would it not, where the law might be grey on some specific issues such as whether you actually needed to use lethal force?

    Wouldn’t the key issue then often be the perception of the jury and the defence you chose, ie that you felt threatened?

    You can only justify it here if you can establish you believed your life or personal safety or that of another to have been at grave risk and that you took the only course of option available, and even then you might face trial (at which point, it’s then incumbent upon the Crown to prove you guilty beyond reasonable doubt). If you used an illegal firearm, however, you would probably be struggling in some areas.

    A jury however might be unwilling to convict (which is usually what happens, and often directions are given by the judge for that to happen), and if you were convicted on a technicality of manslaughter, for instance, in such circumstances but were seen as fair dinkum, a judge would likely not give a custodial sentence.

    But the law is nevertheless quite specific on what force you can use and how and in what circumstances.

    It always was, even when we had unrestricted gun laws

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    here in Florida I can carry a concealed weapon, be walking down the street, and if you approach me in what I perceive to be a threatening manner, I can LEGALLY blow you away; it can be anywhere, not just at home.

    Seriously, Clav, that doesn’t make me want to come to Florida any time soon.

    Consider this scenario: I’m walking down the street; there’s a guy approaching in the opposite direction. When we’re about ten feet apart, I trip over my own flip-flop (not an uncommon accident in Florida, I’m sure) and start stumbling towards him, arms flailing in an attempt to stay upright. Thinking he’s about to be mugged, the guy whips out a .38 and blows a few holes in me.

    What is this – Capone’s Chicago?

    And he walks away?!?!!?

  • STM

    Yeah, kudos Doc,

    I find that aspect of American life and thinking quite bizarre too. As you know, it’s the main thing I don’t like about America. Sorry guys, but I don’t agree that it’s a good thing either given the potential for things to go pear-shaped awful quick (and for the potential for such a law to be abused).

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Stan, there ws a case here in Austin a couple of years ago almost exactly like what we’re describing here, where a man shot two people in the entertainment district, essentially in defense of his car and because he felt threatened.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Entertainment district, eh?

    Wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if he’d just been to see an action movie.

  • Mudkips

    “Mudkips, if you weren’t behaving like such a racist dickhead”

    Can I translate? ‘You are saying things I disagree with, and you are mentioning facts that expose me as a liar. Therefore, I will call you names and ignore the points you brought up. Also, you are stupider than me, because you have different opinions than me.’

  • Mudkips

    “There are many cities in the US which are far more dangerous than Miami: Detroit, Gary, IN, and Newark come readily to mind.”

    Detroit

    Gary

    Newark

    [Personal attack deleted]

    [Mudkips: Firstly, I’ve fixed the above, but in future could you please format your references as proper HTML links. I know that you know how to do this because you had such a link in your first comment on this thread.

    Secondly, site policy allows you to express unpopular views but NOT to behave like a condescending ass. We will delete any future comments containing disparaging references to other commenters’ intelligence.

    Thank you.
    Assistant Comments Editor]

  • STM

    Shot them right in the entertainment district, he did.

    Bet that hurt.

  • http://www.google.com Mudkips

    “Bal Harbour is no longer “lily white.” Like most Miami neighborhoods, it is now substantially Latino.”

    Bal Harbour, Florida:

    *The racial makeup of the village was 94.46% White (73.4% were Non-Hispanic White,)[4] 1.63% African American, 0.00% Native American, 0.82% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 1.12% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. 23.00% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.*

    [Personal attack deleted]

  • Mudkips

    Still waiting on that 80% white American city with a crime rate similar to Washington DC . . .

    Does lowering it to 75% help you any ? ? ? 70% ? ? ?

  • STM

    [Edited]

    I didn’t write that. Come on mate, you can read, can’t ya … get yer goggles on and check the handles at the top of each post.

    No, you are not giving me any facts. You are using bollocks and bullsh.t to support what is an obvious racist agenda. You have no argument of substance to back up your notion, and I did notice too that you mentioned Mein Kampf. Surprise, surprise. Nothing about folks like Tom Metzger though, in support of your free speech??

    And anyone who thinks NAMBLA’s OK and calls them “good folks” has a couple of kangaroos loose in the top paddock. That’s cloud cuckoo stuff.

    What’s next, supporting the right of the Combined Teabaggers Guild of America to walk around in public with their flies undone and dropping the cabanossi?

    [Edited]

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    “23.00% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.”

    Gee, 23%. That’s just about one resident in four. Sounds substantially Latino to me.

  • STM

    Now Doc, why are you editing my bloody speech? This is an American site and my 1st amendment rights apply to non-US citizens as a user of this American site and clearly stipulate that you can’t edit me for proferring a valid point of view.

    Our free-speech laws in Oz are very clear too: I can castigate anyone who is not Australian or not worthy of being Australian and especially if I don’t like them or they are Poms, Kiwis or Yanks.

    Truth as defence: I believed him to be carrying on like a dickhead, your honour.

    There’s gotta be something in Nalle’s contention here that when they were looking for editors of speech, they found two Poms sticking their hands up :)

    Where is Rosey BTW. On hols?

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Stan, I’m not censoring you. Mudkips made a personal attack, which per site policy got deleted, so the bits of your comment which were written in response to that had to go as well. Sorry, but it wouldn’t have made sense otherwise.

    Mr Rose, as far as I know, is currently asleep. He will resume exercising his wrath upon the threads shortly, assuming the switch to British Summer Time hasn’t hopelessly thrown him off!

  • Zedd

    Dave,

    I love trees like the next guy and not only do I like them, I also appreciate how expensive they are (I live in a relatively new subdivision). I miss my old tree lined street… breathtaking!
    But why the emotions?

    For some reason, the feuding neighbors always come to me with the dispute. It all sounds ridiculous to me. I just listen and think, “this again?… Weird!”. I go to in the house and my kids say “it was about trees again wasn’t it”. We chuckle.

    I suppose that is one of the very few things that howmoweners associations are good for.

  • troll

    Stan, I’m not censoring you. Mudkips made a personal attack, which per site policy got deleted, so the bits of your comment which were written in response to that had to go as well. Sorry, but it wouldn’t have made sense otherwise.

    …I am told that there is a word that when spoken just so will make the universe – in a vane attempt to make sense of it all – erase itself

  • Clavos

    mudkips:

    2007 list of safest and most dangerous cities in America.

    The list is published annually by Congressional Quarterly Press, and is compiled from FBI crime statistics.

    Note that Detroit, Gary, and Newark are all on the list of 25 most dangerous cities, while Miami is not; even Orlando, the city made famous by Uncle Walt, is more dangerous than Miami.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I would consider NZ one of the world’s more robust parliamentary democracies (and you know I see Britain the same way).

    Those democratic rights in the UK seem to extend to British subjects and Jew-hating Wahhabis. Apparently Israelis need not apply.

    From the article cited:

    A deep and institutional prejudice.

    The British government’s ban on Moshe Feiglin from entering the UK is symptomatic of a deep and institutional prejudice against Israel. Feiglin is best known for running second to Benjamin Netanyahu in the last Likud leadership primary.
    ———–
    Feiglin had not even applied for a visa, nor had he any plans to enter the UK. Secondly, in that it came to light in the week that Hizbullah
    Compared to such rabid preachers of the jihad, Moshe Feiglin comes across more like Mother Theresa.
    spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi – already banned in the US and Ireland – was allowed free entry to lecture students in British universities.
    ———————
    It’s therefore remarkable that the Home Office took the opposite view and considered this man such a danger to public order that they didn’t even risk him turning up at their consulate in Tel Aviv. Instead, they located his modest address on a Samarian hilltop and mailed him that personal and pre-emptive ban.

    Robust democracy indeed…..

  • STM

    Ah, Ruvy, up to our old tricks again ….

    Mate, the very fact they are letting representatives in from “the other side” shows that Britain is indeed a robust democracy.

    Nothing works better in a democracy than having two sides presented for every story, no matter how unpopular that point of view.

    As for Red Ken Livingstone, all I can say is this: the sign of a robust democracy is a place where people like Red Ken can have their radical views heard and be elected to public office, alongside estblishment conservatives whose ancestors would most likely have been royalists in the English Civil War and whose views have probably not changed that much since that time.

    Wherever you have diamterically opposed viewpoints all getting a voice, democracy IS robust Ruve.

    Part of the problem in the mid-east right now is that the “other side” feels like it has no voice in the West, particularly in America.

    Perhaps they see having a voice in Britain as the next best thing, and it’s good that the Poms could accomodate them no matter our personal views on what they represent.

    Many Britons will likely be gobsmacked by the whole thing, but it’s democracy at work.

    However, isn’t the whole point of this moot, as Moshe Feiglin apparently never applied for a visa in the first place??

    But if anyone wants to know why the Home Office came to that decision, check this from Haaretz:

    “The UK letter (to Feiglin) did not allege Feiglin had ever engaged in armed activities, but listed several quotes from articles he wrote, including one in which he calls for a holy war, now against Arabs, and another referring to the Prophet Muhammad as strong, cruel and deceitful.”

    Gee, that’d be just about guaranteed to stir up even more racial tension in the UK, don’t ya think?

    I can see their point. I’d ban him as well, and I’d ban anyone from “the other side” who espoused anything in the same vein, because what we need right now if this is ever going to stop is people talking peace and reconciliation, not more killing.

    Feiglin’s views are well known enough. He’s had his turn.

    And from a story in the New Yorker: “Why should non-Jews have a say in the policy of a Jewish state? For two thousand years, Jews dreamed of a Jewish state, not a democratic state.”

    Don’t talk to me about democracy when this man is clearly not interested in it.

  • Bennett

    “…I am told that there is a word that when spoken just so will make the universe – in a vane attempt to make sense of it all – erase itself”

    troll, you always floor me.

    thanks!

    STM, I like your mind, and I admire it too.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I can see their point. I’d ban him as well, and I’d ban anyone from “the other side” who espoused anything in the same vein, because what we need right now if this is ever going to stop is people talking peace and reconciliation, not more killing.

    So, Let’s see if I understand you, Stan

    Your definition of “robust democracy” is a place where Arabs get to call for the death of Jews and Jews are banned from responding.

    Interesting.

    Well, at least we’re clear, now…. That explains a lot of British colonial policy here 75 years ago as well.

  • STM

    Now come on Ruve, we all know the Poms have been charging radical islamist clerics in the UK under the anti-terror act for inciting people to violent crime.

    Maybe they’re just trying to even up the ante with Moshe Feiglin. He certainly fits the bill of having anti-British values. Honestly mate, trying to silence people whose main claim to fame is that they incite others to kill people, well … call me old-fashioned, but I actually think it’s good to ban ‘em. Or, considering that all that info is available now on the web, not to be seen to support them by handing out visas willy-nilly to any lunatic who wants one.

    And don’t blame me for your anger over 75 years of British colonial policy.

    I, for one, happen to like that policy. If they hadn’t had it, I wouldn’t be down in this corner of the South Pacific right now living the kind of life others can only dream about.

    Forget you for a moment – I’ve got a LOT to be grateful for in relation to that.

    And thanks Bennett … love ya 2 ;)

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy in Jerusalem

    And don’t blame me for your anger over 75 years of British colonial policy.

    Contempt is very different from anger, Stan. I’m not angry at the Brits so much as I hold them in contempt. Anger is hot and can cool. Contempt is cold – and remains cold. There is a distinction.

    The policy you’re so proud of has led to many many thousands if not millions of deaths world wide.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • STM

    Ruve: “The policy you’re so proud of has led to many many thousands if not millions of deaths world wide”.

    I don’t agree with that notion.

    Here’s my view: if it weren’t for the British Empire (and the United States), most of us would be speaking either French, Spanish, German, Italian or Japanese right now.

    That’s if we’d been allowed to live.

    You’ll never convince me that a democratic country built around freedom and that’s been one of the few on the planet with enough balls to stand up to French imperialism, Spanish imperialism, Bonapartism, Prussian militarism, Fascism, Nazism, barbaric Japanese militarism, and to a lesser extent Stalinism, nasty brands of Asian and Euro communism, terrorism and islamic fundamentalism, and who began moves to abolish slavery way back in the 1770s, can be that bad.

    My view: if it wasn’t for Britain and its empire and its ideals the world would right now resemble one giant graveyard. Doubtful there’s be an Israel, either.

    Britons (and Americans) should stop apologising for or feeling guilty about their imperial past (yes, America has dabbled in imperialism too).

    Collectively, the English-speaking nations have brought a lot more good to the world than bad.

  • el gringo

    French imperialism, Spanish imperialism, Bonapartism, Prussian militarism, Fascism, Nazism, barbaric Japanese militarism, and to a lesser extent Stalinism, nasty brands of Asian and Euro communism, terrorism and islamic fundamentalism are way better than evil amerikkkan imperialists! (especially stalinism!)

    viva la revolucion!