Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Letter From Canada

“You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” a government spokesperson told LifeSiteNews.

Homeschooling families can’t teach homosexual acts sinful

by Patrick B. Craine

Thu Feb 23, 2012 15:29 EST
Tags: homeschool, homosexuality

EDMONTON, Alberta, February 23, 2012 ( – Under Alberta’s new Education Act, homeschoolers and faith-based schools will not be permitted to teach that homosexual acts are sinful as part of their academic program, says the spokesperson for Education Minister Thomas Lukaszuk.

“Whatever the nature of schooling – homeschool, private school, Catholic school – we do not tolerate disrespect for differences,” Donna McColl, Lukaszuk’s assistant director of communications, told LifeSiteNews on Wednesday evening.  “You can affirm the family’s ideology in your family life, you just can’t do it as part of your educational study and instruction,” she added.

Despotic Democracies

 Sauron Returning to Mordor

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active.  The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt." -- [John Philpot Curran: Speech upon the Right of Election, 1790. (Speeches. Dublin, 1808.) as quoted in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations, NY, 1953, p.167 and also in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations, Boston, 1968, p. 479.]

The most insidious threats to liberty emerge when vigilance wanes.  There are two basic causes of an erosion of vigilance.  The first is that it becomes tiresome.

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

The United Methodist Camp Counselor Approach to Foreign Policy

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Here are just a few collected observations about U.S. foreign policy and war, particularly war in the Middle East.

We have no business toppling any foreign regime and replacing it with another without a formal declaration of war from Congress. It may be replied (for it usually is) that a regiment of constitutional lawyers in D.C. has determined that this is not necessary anymore in these modern times, and all that is necessary is for Congress to "authorize" the action. This dodge, for that is what it is, is simply a means of perpetuating congressional irresponsibility, an evil we really ought not to be perpetuating. Under cover of this evasive little move, our feckless representatives can vote for military action while reserving for themselves the right to wheel on the president the moment anything goes wrong with the war.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

And I Have Left Behind the Spoiler

Taking a Stroll on the Links
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, 25 February 2012

For various reasons, this promises to be very interesting indeed. On March 27th, it will be in 550 theaters. Glenn Beck has the first five minutes posted here.

In other (clearly related) news, the province of Alberta is interested in making it illegal for home schoolers to teach their kids, during the course of their formal education, that homosexual acts are a sin. Despotism, tyranny . . . what other words come to mind?

How Familiar

Nazi Indoctrination

A youth rally song children in the Hitler Youth were taught:
We are the happy Hitler Youth;
We have no need for Christian virtue;
For Adolf Hitler is our intercessor
And our redeemer.
No priest, no evil one
Can keep us
From feeling like Hitler’s children.
No Christ do we follow, but Horst Wessel!
Away with incense and holy water pots.
Mutatis mutandis, this sounds remarkably similar to the hymn sheet employed most modern anti-Christian secular government schools.

Hat Tip: Justin Taylor; Jonah Goldberg

Monday, 27 February 2012

Exploding Some Theological Urban Legends

An Interview on the Joy of Calvinism

Justin Taylor

It was a joy to talk about Calvinism and the new book The Joy of Calvinism with Dr. Greg Forster, a public intellectual who converted to Christianity as an adult. You can watch our conversation below:

Greg Forster on The Joy of Calvinism - An Interview by Justin Taylor from Crossway on Vimeo.

00:00 — Introduction
00:21 — Forster’s Background – “I was lead to Christ by a man who’s been dead for 300 years.”
03:29 — The theme of God’s love in Calvinism
04:35 — What does Calvinism “taste like?”
06:34 — Calvin’s soteriology
07:21 — TULIP: Our simplification of the “5 points”
09:15 — The value of TULIP in highlighting the trinitarian nature of Calvinism
11:02 — The value of TULIP in negating the views Calvinism does not hold
11:25 — A few problems with TULIP
13:34 — Calvinism from the perspective of God’s love
14:33 — A strange fact: Calvinism is drenched in joy
17:03 — The advantage of a layman’s perspective
19:19 — Greg’s vision for the book in the Church
19:36 — Why you should read this if you’re not a Calvinist
20:40 — Why you should read this if you are a Calvinist
21:54 — Wrap-up: The Joy of Calvinism afresh

Last of the Breed

Dodos Not Yet Extinct

The Maritime Union has commenced a three-week strike at the Ports of Auckland.  Thankfully the Port is no longer a closed shop.  Cargo will still be moved, albeit at reduced levels.  But the strike represents what could well be the last desperate standover bullying action of an antediluvian union.

The Port is busy going through the process of moving all of its workforce on to contracts.  Almost certainly the union guys will be made redundant so they can go ply their "trade" elsewhere. 

Here is a video describing how the union treats non-union workers at the Port.  The Union represents thugs, bullies, and racists.  When the Maritime Union goes the way of the dodo the City of Auckland will not shed any tears.  Well past its due-by date. 

Hat Tip: Whale Oil, Kiwiblog

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Letter From America

Kudos to the ADF

Culture and Politics - Sex and Culture
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 21 February 2012

It is good to see Protestants joining the fray against the contraceptive mandate issued by the Thrones, Dominions, Principalities and Powers at HHS. While Protestants do not share the Roman Catholic view of every form of birth control, they are in full agreement on the unlawfulness of abortifacients, and the mandate issued by Sebelius requires an employer to pay for such abortifacients. The mandate, if obeyed, would violate the Protestant conscience every bit as much as it does the Catholic conscience.

And besides, whether or not anybody's views of contraception are correct, in a free country they ought to be allowed to have them. Right? That's kind of the point.

It's Not Rocket Science

Post-Modern Education Goo

The stoush going on in education circles is "exceedingly diverting" as National Standards start to roll out in primary schools.  The union controlled education sector, deeply influenced by modern pedagogical theory, has been fighting it tooth and nail.  The idea that children are masters of their own destiny when it comes to learning does not fit well with testing to see whether they can read and write.  (Hence the incessant union narrative that National Standards harm children.)

One union activist headmaster who has participated in the covert guerrilla opposition decided to release the results of tests in his school.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Letter From America

Shorter Than a Yard

Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, 22 February 2012

It was Sen. Eugene McCarthy who said that being a senator was a lot like being a football coach -- you had to be smart enough to understand the game and dumb enough to think it was important.

I have written about the dangers of ideology in politics (which addresses the how more than the what), and thought I needed to say one additional thing about that. By ideologue, I do not mean someone who is zealous, or who is focused on what he is doing. I do not mean someone who sacrifices for a political cause -- I rather mean someone who sacrifices the wrong things.

Poster Boy

A Legacy in the Making for our Grandchildren

In Len Brown, Auckland has a mayor who is a poster boy for venal self-serving politicians.  In his own way no doubt Len is a decent kind of guy.  He hardly deserves to be demonised.  At a dinner party or chatting over the back yard fence Len would probably be delightful company.  He means well.  But as mayor of Auckland's largest city, he is a disaster.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Most Dangerous of the Species

The Tyranny Implicit in Secular Liberalism

We are all familiar with the rubric "the end justifies the means".  It comes into play when the goal sought is regarded as absolute, so important that all else must be given away, if necessary, to achieve it.  In recent human history we have seen many horrific examples: for example, the starving and extermination of 17 million Ukrainians at Stalin's orders was necessary to achieve the success of communism in the Soviet Union.  The gulags were justified by the glory of the future communist paradise about to come to pass.

We see a similar pathology operating in fundamental Islam: the killing of innocents is ostensibly justified by the glory brought to Allah.  Allahu akbar is much more than a mere slogan: it is an end which justifies murder in the strict Islamic mindset. 

Modern liberalism is a working demonstration of the type.

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Letter From Denmark

A Massive Money Pit
Bjorn Lomborg

COPENHAGEN – One of the world’s biggest green-energy public-policy experiments is coming to a bitter end in Germany, with important lessons for policymakers elsewhere.

Germany once prided itself on being the “photovoltaic world champion”, doling out generous subsidies – totaling more than $130 billion, according to research from Germany’s Ruhr University – to citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned, and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong?

Memory, Historians, and a Jug of Beer

Down The Memory Hole

A state that successfully obliterates the past can easily exert control over its citizens.  A state that manages to be successful in comprehensively revising the past after its own image according to its Ministry of Truth (or Education) has the potential to exert totalitarian control.  In the West we have not yet witnessed such an all encompassing dominion, apart from the Stazi in Eastern Germany.  It is significant that the GDR seriously attempted to revise comprehensively the people's memory of its past.

Historians and chroniclers, therefore, are very important.

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Santorum, Just War, and False Equivalence

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Saturday, 18 February 2012

One of the things that needs to be removed from the discussion of Ron Paul's views of foreign policy is a false equivalence that has become something of a meme in these discussions. It is a false equivalence, not because there could never be an equivalence, but rather because it is being assumed to be an automatic equivalence.

Equivalent what? I am speaking of the civilian casualties of war, what is sometimes infelicitously called "collateral damage," and the fatalities that result from abortion-on-demand. When these two are placed on the same moral plane in the heat of debate, it is an understandable mistake. Just as there is a fog of war, so also there is a fog of debate. But a studied, steadfast refusal to distinguish them is in reality a moral failing and we really need to be done with it.

The Greens' Grand Ambition

Timing is Everything

The Greens in New Zealand have always been divorced from reality.  But since at the last election they managed to take a sizeable chunk of the left-wing, Labour vote they are feeling their oats.  To their credit, the Greens are trying to re-invent themselves as a mainstream political party.  Doubtless they believe they have a fair chance of taking over as the primary opposition party to the centre-right.

Monday, 20 February 2012


Damn All False Antitheses to Hell

D.A. Carson:
So which shall we choose?
Experience or truth?
The left wing of the airplane, or the right?
Love or integrity?
Study or service?
Evangelism or discipleship?
The front wheels of a car, or the rear?
Subjective knowledge or objective knowledge?
Faith or obedience?
Damn all false antithesis to hell, for they generate false gods, they perpetuate idols, they twist and distort our souls, they launch the church into violent pendulum swings whose oscillations succeed only in dividing brothers and sisters in Christ.
—D.A. Carson, Becoming Conversant with the Emerging Church: Understanding a Movement and Its Implications (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 234.

False antitheses are found everywhere amongst Christians as they seek to exercise an ungodly dominance over the Scriptures and reduce God's revelation and the Christian faith to something they can control.

Hat Tip: Justin Taylor

Re-Thinking the Sale of Crafar Farms

Unintended Consequences

The decision of High Court Justice Miller to introduce a new interpretation of  legislation pertaining to overseas buyers of New Zealand assets will no doubt be scrutinised carefully in a number of quarters.  What appears at first glance is yet another activist decision by a Judge who interpreted the law to mean what he thought would be a better outcome for New Zealand.  If so, the Justice changed from being a judge to a political advocate.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Prohibition, Then and Now

A Pertinent Question

Prohibition was an attempt to protect people from themselves.  It failed miserably.  It was, however, extremely successful in unwittingly aiding and abetting criminal gangs.  The US is still living with the consequences.

The arguments for Prohibition are precisely the same as those now advanced against drugs such as cannabis, heroin, and P.  They are an attempt to protect people from themselves.  They, too, are failing miserably--but, as prohibition demonstrated--they are extremely successful in developing and aiding and abetting criminal gangs.

Another Western Utopia Unfolds

The Demons Are Coming Back

Libya is no longer in the headlines.  It's all over, bar the torture, the killing, the destruction of human life.  C'est la vie.  Where is the clamour for helping Libyans that once stridently and passionately circled the globe?  Where are Hillary Clinton or John McCain or President Obama when you need them?  Actually we don't need them--and we never have.

What lies before us is another testimony to the folly and stupidity and hubris and idolatry of the West.  Libya is yet another piece of damning evidence indicting the craven humanism of the West and its perverted notion of secular human rights.

When the West takes upon itself the arrogation of rights to intervene and go to war to oust dictators, what arises from the rubble and detritus of war is often ten times worse. 

We are seeing reports start to trickle through on what is presently "going down" in Libya.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Deceptive, Misleading and Depraved

National Cognitive Dissonance

Ah, the hypocrisy of it all.  Festooned on page three of  the NZ Herald this morning is the latest beneficiary cause celebre  being played up by left wing politicians.  A mother of two, on the Domestic Purposes Benefit, is threatening to become a prostitute so she can afford tertiary training.  The welfare payment benefit she receives is not enough to cover the extra costs of tuition.  The headline screams: "Mum: Prostitution to Pay for Studies."

Why, we ask, is this up front and centre in the news?  Why would two left wing politicians take this amoral woman up as a cause celebre for beneficiaries, parading her before the media, flying her to Wellington to parade her at press conferences?  It smacks of high-order hypocrisy.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Make the Rubble Bounce

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 14 February 2012

In his essay on membership in The Weight of Glory, C.S. Lewis says this: "in the first place, when the modern world says to us aloud, 'You may be religious when you are alone,' it adds under it's breath, 'and I will see to it that you are never alone.'" I thought of this when I was pondering the outrageous behavior of the Obama administration, continuing down to the present, with regard to Catholic institutions having to make the payments for contraception. "You may have religious freedom in every area where the federal government does not have jurisdiction, and by the way, the federal government has jurisdiction everywhere and in everything."

Before getting to a brief analysis, let me make just a few focused observations on the behavior of these bureaucratic miscreants, trying to avoid, as I proceed, a descent to personalities.

Idyllic Cannibalism

Harawira's Revisionist History: It's All Your Fault

New Zealand Maori, we are told, have lots of problems.  One that doesn't get much mention is Maori have too many Hone Harawira's--folk that think like Hone.  And they have far too much influence in our humble opinion.

Hone has published an indignant tirade in the NZ Herald, calling out a correspondent who opined that he had found the whole Waitangi Day ritual protest by Hone and his bus load of Occupy mates an anachronism.  Hone's response is to justify such public protest over Maori grievance because, well, the grievance is justified. 

Now, of course, Hone's view of New Zealand history is superficial, one-eyed and prejudiced.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Letter From America

The Church of Obama

The president his issued his own Act of Supremacy.
February 11, 2012 5:00
By Mark Steyn

Announcing his support for Commissar Sebelius’s edicts on contraception, sterilization, and pharmacological abortion, that noted theologian the Most Reverend Al Sharpton explained: “If we are going to have a separation of church and state, we’re going to have a separation of church and state.”

Thanks for clarifying that. The church model the young American state wished to separate from was that of the British monarch, who remains to this day supreme governor of the Church of England. This convenient arrangement dates from the 1534 Act of Supremacy. The title of the law gives you the general upshot, but, just in case you’re a bit slow on the uptake, the text proclaims “the King’s Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England.” That’s to say, the sovereign is “the only supreme head on earth of the Church” and he shall enjoy “all honors, dignities, pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits, and commodities to the said dignity,” not to mention His Majesty “shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, repress, redress, record, order, correct, restrain, and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offenses, contempts, and enormities, whatsoever they be.”

Welcome to Obamacare.

Letter From America

Update on Global Christian Persecution

Conrad Black provides a review and a call to action by governments.  The latter is unlikely, but Black's argument needs to be made and heard, in any event.  But the cries of God's people to the Throne of Grace will be more powerful and efficacious in any case.  Our hope lies in God not in Government.

Watering Down the Bible

Shame is a Given: All its Permutations Are Not

In recent days we have been invited to sign an (electronic) petition protesting against biblical translation organizations such as Wycliffe Bible Translators.  Apparently these well-meaning folk have been busy preparing a translation of the Bible into Arabic, especially for the Muslim world. 

There has been an overt, deliberate attempt  to remove references to the "Father" and the "Son" from the text of this translations of the Bible.  Why?  Well, apparently we all want to celebrate what we have in common with Islamic believers and not offend them from the "real" message of the Bible (whatever that might be). 

Reportedly a significant number of Wycliffe missionary and support staff  have resigned.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Christian Voting Calculus

With Lots More Flies

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Wednesday, 08 February 2012

Well, then, it is starting to look as though the Republican primary race might still be going on when they all get to Idaho. Santorum pulled off a hat trick last night, winning Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado, taking a little sheen off of the Romney inevitability lustre.

There are four contenders left, two of whom I could vote for in good conscience (Santorum and Paul), and two of whom I couldn't (Romney and Gingrich). I say this knowing that either Romney or Gingrich would likely be way less destructive for the nation (in the short run) than Obama has been.

So why not vote for them then?

Seduced by Silken Words

 Castles in the Air

The problem with the debt levels of modern omni-competent pretender governments is that they become so big no-one can actually conceive of the amount of money owed.  It becomes an abstract, meaningless number.  Therefore, everyone just tends to shrug their shoulders and carry on.  Like infinity, it cannot be calculated--yet it becomes strangely meaningful in the end.  National debt does not affect the man-in-the-street--until it does--and by then it is too late.  The end of life as they knew it will be at hand. 

The end occurs when governments cannot pay back their impossible debts, or when they attempt to do so, and the people revolt.  Default or revolt: they are the two most likely outcomes when government runs out of other people's money. Welcome to Greece (and Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, the UK and the United States).

Here is a visual presentation seeking to get the quantum of Greek debt across to the average Joe.  It also summarises who has lent the money becoming creditors to the Greek nation and people.  Stupid institutions; stupid people.  Stupid us.

Greek Debt

Monday, 13 February 2012

Lest We Forget

A Seething Mass of Maggots

Michelle Malkin provides some historical background to the political storm over Christians and churches and Christian institutions being forced to provide contraception and abortifacients.  Beneath it lurks the liberal fascination with eugenics.

Stubborn Facts

Costa Climatica Listing Dangerously

Years ago they used to speak of the "rust belt" to refer to states in the US which were experiencing an economic cold winter.  It referred to rusting industrial sites, long abandoned.  We are starting to wonder how long it will be before the term "rusting green belt" comes into common usage.  No, we are not referring to swathes of greenery protected by town planning rules, but to relics of green energy projects such as wind farms and factories producing solar panels and electric cars.

It is gradually dawning on climate scientists that the data does not support their confabulations and conjectures.  A growing number are defecting.  But because crony capitalists and big government have colluded in pouring vast amounts of tax payers money into the pockets of companies and universities promoting our carbon Armageddon the global warming ship will not stop suddenly.  But stop it inevitably will.  And then the rust will set in. 

Here are some of the latest leaks to spring in the grand ship SS Global Warming: 

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Under the Cosh

"The German Boot"

Greece is reportedly on the brink of leaving the Euro.  We have expected that this would be the inevitable outcome.  Governments cannot continue to govern when the majority of citizens believe it is causing them harm. It serves as a klaxon warning to both governments and their people that debt enslaves and ultimately impoverishes a people.

This from the Guardian

"Whitey" Guilt and Pity

The High Priest Prays to the Nation's God

Joris De Bres is the closest thing secular Unbelieving New Zealand has to a High Priest.  The fundamental role of a priest is to represent the needs of his constituency before the deity.  De Bres saw fit to deliver his annual Waitangi Day sermon to the nation with this fundamental role firmly in his heart.  He played his role to a "t".

There are those who will argue that Joris is not be the brightest pin in the cushion.  But, he fulfils his role as secular High Priest admirably and faithfully.  His Waitangi Day his homily was directed at both Maori and the Rest.  (We note that Joris nominates the Rest as "Pakeha", but that is a misdirection, or as the American say, a "mis-speak".  There are Maori and non-Maori in New Zealand.  We are, after all, a multi-ethnic community.)

Part of the duty of a priest is to confess sins before the god he serves.  Joris fulsomely confessed the sins of Pakeha, or Whitey.

Friday, 10 February 2012

Militant Atheism and Nietzsche

Intellectual Gadflies

David Bentley Hart has an engaging piece on modern militant atheists (whom he dubs "fashionable enemies") describing them as "gadflies".

He laments the good old days when the enemies of the Christian faith in the West had intellectual muscle.  He is impatient with the mental laziness and sloppiness on display with folk like Hitchens and Harris and the like. 
My own impatience with (their) remarks, I should confess, would probably be far smaller if I did not suffer from a melancholy sense that, among Christianity's most fervent detractors, there has been a considerable decline in standards in recent years. . . . (A)t the end of Europe's Christian centuries, the church could still boast antagonists of real stature.  In the eighteenth century, David Hume was unrivaled in his power to sow doubt where certainty once had flourished.  And while the diatribes of Voltaire, Denis Diderot, and other Enlightenment philosophes were, on the whole, insubstantial, there were at least marked by a certain fierce elegance and occasional moral acuity.  Edward Gibbon, for all the temporal parochialism and frequent inaccuracy of his account of Christianity's rise, was nevertheless a scholar and writer of positively titanic gifts . . . (D. B. Hart, Atheist Delusions: The Christian Revolution and Its Fashionable Enemies [New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009], p.5f.)

In the nineteenth century we come to the greatest and the fiercest critic of Christianity--one with an intellectual rigour and emotional force that still leaves one breathless today.  Nietzsche's hatred of Christianity and Christians had about it an intellectual rigour and consistency and compelling force that is completely absent from effete gadflies such as Richard Dawkins.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Four/Fifths of the Brimstone

Culture and Politics - Politics
Written by Douglas Wilson
Monday, 06 February 2012

A few days ago, Ron Paul was on Piers Morgan, and demonstrated, in a breath-taking way, a certain muddledness about life. He certainly tried to stay consistent with his libertarianism, which is -- in the world of political trimmers, shifters, and dodgers -- a certain kind of admirable. The problem is that libertarianism, on its own, is a false ideology, and will therefore necessitate self-contradiction. The glory of man will always fail.
I am talking about the pro-life issue, but Paul whiffed a couple others too.

He continues far too ambiguous on the homosexual marriage issue -- as though YWVH would have been fine with the Cities of the Plain had they only had a federal system that allowed for states' rights on the issue, with each city being allowed by the Constitution to make their own decisions. Say that one of them had not legalized sodomy, we might have had one four/fifths of the brimstone. Paul also said that his libertarianism governed his child-rearing -- if he doesn't believe in coercion, then spanking should clearly be out.

On the pro-life thing, he was asked about abortion in the case of rape.

Afghanistan Stocktake

So, How's It Working Out, Then?

Readers of this blog will know that we oppose the war in Afghanistan as an ill-considered utopian debacle, without ethical foundation.

To say this is not to deny the courage or skill or tenacity or application of the combatants on both sides.  But it is to say that whilst the US fight in Afghanistan began as a defensive invasion to defend the US against Al Qaeda--a perfectly legitimate moral and just action--it soon morphed into "nation building", which is unethical and imperialistic.  It is a classic example of the adage that little wars grow into big wars and big wars suck out all your blood. 

But, we really could not expect anything else, given the US's maniacal utopian vision of bestowing the West's peculiar, secular "human rights" doctrine on the rest of humanity.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The "Peace" of Islam

Christians 'face deportation' in Saudi Arabia
Rights group says dozens of Ethiopian Christians have been arrested and could be deported for "illegal mingling".
(Report from AlJazeera)

Dozens of Ethiopian Christians are facing deportation from Saudi Arabia after authorities raided a private prayer service in Jeddah, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The group was reportedly arrested in a private home in Jeddah in mid-December. Most of the 35 detainees are women, and three of them told the US-based group that they were strip-searched by police.  HRW said it spoke to three detainees, two women and one man, by telephone from prison.  One of them said the men were beaten, and also complained of inadequate medical care and poor sanitation at the jail.

"Two of the women said that officials there forced the women to strip, and then an officer inserted her finger into each of the women’s genitals, under the pretext of searching for illegal substances hidden inside their bodies," the report said.

Waitangi Day Ennui

The Gullible and the Sly Try to Tango

The histrionics at the Ti Ti Marae on Waitangi Day have become boringly predictable.  The media might as well write up their news reports now for next year's Waitangi Day, so they can all have a decent day off.  It would be so easy to do.  In fact, why not write up ten Waitangi Day's worth, publish them in the next ten days, and then we can avoid Waitangi Day boredom for the next decade.

Here is the Veteran's take on Hone Harawira's rent-a-crowd and the failure of the Ti Ti Marae to police its own protocol.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Douglas Wilson's Letter From America

Solid Joys and Lasting Pleasure

Dualism Is Bad JuJu
Written by Douglas Wilson
Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The world is charged with the grandeur of God, as the poet put it, and it will flame out like shook foil. The world is only a set of blinders for the blind. In all other respects, the world is front-loaded with God's glory. And in order for us to see that glory, really see it, the world has to get thicker -- not thinner.

C.S. Lewis, in his wonderful way, shows us this in the second half of The Last Battle, and throughout The Great Divorce. The world really is "transparent," and it is such through being really solid. The world is that which enables us to see God's glory, and those who try to help this process along by treating the world as ephemeral and wispy are making a great mistake. The world does not need to be diluted to help God's glory shine through. Do you glorify the jeweller by smashing the diamonds?

Real Political Leadership

 The Defining Issue of Our Generation

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida has been identified as a rising star in the Republican Party in the US.  He shows every sign of a man for whom principle trumps political games.  He recently gave a speech on abortion.  He argued that it is the defining issue of any society.

“The issue of life is not a political issue, nor is it a policy issue, it is a definitional issue. It is a basic core issue that every society needs to answer,” he said. “The answer that you give to that issue ends up defining which kind of society you have.”  Rubio criticized those who back away from the pro-life fight because it “makes us uncomfortable,” explaining that while other issues — like jobs, the debt, and the economy — are important, abortion is more than a political issue.
He laid into Roe vs Wade, claiming that virtually everyone agrees that it was an egregious, terrible decision by the Supreme Court--an overreach of power and an unconstitutional act.  It is long past time that it be overturned.

Monday, 6 February 2012

It's Official: Global Warming Has Stopped

Even the UK Met Office Agrees

Reprinted from the Mail Online.

Forget global warming - it's Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again)

  • Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years
By David Rose

Last updated at 5:38 AM on 29th January 2012

The supposed ‘consensus’ on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years.  The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century.

Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.

A New Broom in Town

Cheering From the Terraces

OK, let's be honest.  Government schools in New Zealand are really union controlled schools.  We refer, of course, to the teacher and principals' unions: the NZEI, the PPTA, and the NZ Principals' Federation.  Long ago these entities decided that they were the experts in education and operating schools.  Consequently they assumed the mantle of being a second-guessing critic of all government educational policies. 

To be sure there are plenty of teachers in the government education system who are dedicated professionals and are really focused upon kids.  On the other hand, far too many have been brain-washed in pedagogic theory that can best be described as "unteaching".

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Letter from the UK

Riots Clarify Issues

It appears there is a silver lining to the dark cloud of last year's riots in the UK.  Labour politicians are calling for a walk-back on the UK's anti-smacking legislation.  We in NZ should take note.  If a peaceful petition where 80 percent of the electorate wanted Parliament to amend anti-smacking legislation so as to recognise the rights and responsibilities of parents had no effect, maybe a few riots should be the order of the day.

Where are those "Occupy" people when you need them?  It might be very helpful if they would get serious and raise a decent riot.

This, from the Guardian.

Extenutating Circumstances

" Honour" Murders and Islam

"Honour" murders are in the news again.  In Canada.  The nation is reportedly shocked. Here is a summary of the case:
Zainab Shafia's crime was to run off to marry a man her parents hated. Middle sister Sahar's crime was to wear revealing clothes and have secret boyfriends. Youngest sister Geeti's crime was to do badly in school and call social workers for help dealing with a family home in turmoil.  The punishment for all three teenage Canadian sisters was the same: death.

Their executioner: their brother, acting on instructions from the father to run their car off the road.  Another family member, their father's first wife in a polygamous marriage, was also killed.

Hamed Shafia, his father, Mohammed, and his mother, Tooba Mohammed Yahya, were sentenced to life in prison for murder, with Judge Robert Maranger excoriating their "twisted notion of honor, a notion of honor that is founded upon the domination and control of women, a sick notion of honor that has absolutely no place in any civilized society."

CNN and other media outlets are rushing to assure everyone that honour murders are not Islamic.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Letter From Libya

Descent into Darkness

Prisoners tortured by Libyan militia

Ian Black, London
January 28, 2012
Prisoners held by Libyan militiamen told Amnesty International they had been beaten for hours and given electric shocks. Photo: AP

THREE months after the killing of Muammar Gaddafi, concerns are mounting about the mistreatment and torture of prisoners held by Libyan militiamen.  The militia are operating beyond the control of the country's transitional government and officially recognised security bodies.

Amnesty International warned that prisoners from Libya and other African countries have been subject to abuse.