There is a partof me that likes her. She is sassy and refreshing, she slaughters all the sacred cows of the liberal left. Her advocacy of the liberation of Iraq was stirring. But I have seen her for what she is now. She is a provocative contrarian and as dishonest as she is stupid. Her anti-Muslim comments are harmful to the war on terror. We need the co-operation of reasonable Muslims to defeat the Islamofascists. She is a wing nut and puritan. She is uptight and sneering. I do not share the prejudices of Al Franken but he exposed the wilful misinterpretation that Miss Coulter goes in for. She is poisonous. She is acrimonious and nasty. She is so scathing of those who disagree with her, so bigotted. It is like she has not one honourable opponent. She is so bound up in her own self righteousness. She thinks the US should support rulers who support them no matter how bad these rulers may be. She is blinkered and makes the whole anti-US sentiment worse. She is a warning of the kind of America we do not want.
There is much contemptible moral panic concering the sexual abuse of children. Of course this crime is grave and it is a most upsetting topic. As Rod Liddle has observed we must fear the professional paedo baiters as we fear the paedos. Am I the only one who has felt like a suspect whilst getting into my trunks in a swimming pool changing room when a little boy walks past. What if someone says I am exposing myself? There are no cubicles in this case. Everyone else is doing the same but the sanctimonious like to false accuse all and sundry in order to prove their superiority.
People often use overblown language when denouncing people who have sex with teenagers. There needs to be an age of consent. No civilised person doubts that. But what age should that be? Western countries have ages of consent from 14-18. These vary even within the same nation state. These vary within the UK even. 16 in most of it but 17 in Northern Ireland. The different states of the US have different ages. No figure is sacred but below a certain age surely congress is unconscionable.
The hyperbolic vocabulary used to vituperate those who engage in physical intimacies with mid adolescents and above is misplaced. Sometimes sex with those in their mid teens is illegal and indeed unethical but the exaggerated lexis used to execrate such conduct is unwarranted and trivialises the whole issue.
Strong language ought to be reserved for the real horror which is those who take part in the sexual abuse of prepubescent children. This is where condemnation is right to be biblical and emotive. By overplaying one’s hand at the margins this leaves one with no recourse to anything more sensational when it is called for.
I believe in humane and fair punishments. A fair punishment can mean a very long prison sentence. It depends on the crime itself and the circumstances surrounding it. I am often dismayed by unduly long sentences handed out to those who break the law in a minor way. However, there is one policy that I agree with that some of those who tend to be less considered in their treatment in this sexual abuse of minors issue advance. Chemical castration as it is known. Nothing barbaric like mutilation. I would only concur with this procedure being given to those who rape young children, say, under 12. It must not be for lesser offences even though they are related to the aforementioned crime like accessing child porn. This treatment is perhaps not so much a punishment as a therapy. Some recidivist say they cannot help themselves and keep committing these most monstrous crimes. There is a man in France who keeps raping very young boys and has asked to be treated in this fashion. This will save many children from such horrific abuse, reassure society and indeed be good for the criminal as he will have no wish to commit crimes of this nature again. The course will be of injections which cause the person to lose their sex drive. Poland plans to bring this in. Society will then be freed of this poisonous fear of the paedos lurking everywhere that ruins trust between the generations.
There is a danger of a slippery slope. Why not for those who commit lesser sex crimes against children? Are teenagers not entitled to protection too? So they will chemically castrate those who commit such wrongs against even 17 year olds. Are adults not to have the right to be safe from predators? So rapists of adults will get it too. Nay, indeed any man who strokes a woman’s thigh will get this treatment. Why not have those who commit any crime like pickpocketing lobotomised.
Yes, there is this risk that the populists will push it too far. But one can still advocate a sensible and balance policy without going to the maximalist position. It is not true to say one must follow rhetoric as far as it may go. One does not either have to legalise heroin or ban tea on the other hand in order to have a rational policy on substances.
As I say, I would only support this action if it is proportionate and medically and not politically driven. If there arises a significant danger that this is misused to geld those who commit crime in a minor way I would certainly vigorously oppose this as a lynch mob grotesquerie.
President Obama regularly abused cocaine. Don’t believe me? He said so himself. Consult his autobiographies. ‘The audacity of hope’ and ‘Dreams from my father’. Why would he claim this it were not true? It is very hard to think that he would falsely confess to this when he was under no pressure to do so and indeed was handing ammunition to his political foes in doing so.
If he had been caught with so much as three grammes of the drug at the time he would have been sentenced to die in Singapore. It is likely that he was in possession of more than three grammes as one time or other.
The fact that he was never caught makes absolutely no moral difference.
Is Obama utterly evil? Is he deserving of the noose? Only a real extremist would say so. I have political disagreements with him but he is a decent and honourable man. He is hailed as leader of the Free World. He is acclaimed as a good man like few American leaders of the last century. Yet he is the sort of person who would have been made to dangle on the end of a hemp rope by extraordinarily strict and unfair laws.
In 18th century England people were killed for misdemeanours, grand larceny. This could be stealing a purse. But despite giving people the most cruel possible punishment people continued to commit these small thefts. It it the probability of being apprehended and not the severity of the punishment that weights on the mind of a would be offender.
This young man was a Nigerian who was found in possession of diamorphine tablets in Singapore. According to the draconian laws of that unforgiving state the bench handed down the death penalty. The supreme sanction was executed on his body in 2007. His precise date of birth is not known.
Tochi comes across as a patsy. He travelled to Pakistan in the mistaken belief that there was a train service to take him to Dubai where he wished to try out for a football team. A man known only as Mr Smith cajoled the young Tochi into carrying some ‘African herbs’ to Singapore to cure Smith’s sick friend.
Tochi was arrested and searched. He assured police that the herbs were harmless and swallowed one. Surely this shows that Tochi was duped, he earnestly believed these drugs were mere medicines.
In his judgement, the trial judge. His Honour Kan Ting Chu observed that Tochi may not have known that the capsules contained diamorphine. He wrote, “There was no direct evidence that [Amara Tochi] knew the capsules contained diamorphine. There was nothing to suggest that Smith had told him they contained diamorphine, or that he had found that out of his own.” paragraph 42 SGHC 233.
Despite this, Justice Kan found Tochi guilty, stating that “Tochi should have known and therefore he is guilty”.
“Should have known” is totally different from “knew”. Some people are mentally subnormal or even just gullible. Since when has this deserved death? The judge “should have known” that proof beyond all reasonable doubt is required. We are not talking about sentencing this tragic boy to a few years in prison, we are talking about the ultimate penalty. “Knew or should have known”, either the court must find that he knew or find that he did not know. The judge thus stated that there was doubt and doubt is enough to save this young man. You think Tochi probably knew? Well probably has never been good enough for a conviction least of all when someone may have to pay with their head for this offence.
Tochi was told in the airport hotel the police were coming. He did not flee or attempt to get rid of the incriminating substances. If he was a knowing drug mule he surely would have done so.
Shame on the judge and the president for killing this innocent youth. He deserves a posthumous acquittal. Please let no others die like him.
Do you want your child to be a druggie, I hear you ask? As I do not you may say that this requires the most unfeeling application of the severest possible punishment for the selling or or transportation of these evil drugs. Well then, I may use the child example too. What if your child is tricked into carrying drugs, what if someone plants it in their bag? They would then be led to the gallows. This child argument bites back.
You think it never happens? Well it does.
Christian Davies was an American living in Saudi Arabia. He was passing through Amsterdam en route to Arabia. He was with his stepmother and stepsister. He bought some hash. In the hotel his stepsister putting some hash into the stepmother’s handbag. “Why are you doing that Christian?”/”Oh so if they find them they will blame her.”
The hash was removed and disposed of in Amsterdam. What a prick Christian is. Words do not adequately express his stupidity and selfishness for this. What is the punishment for taking marijuana into the country in Saudi Arabia? Public decapitation.
I know this family personally.
I dsibelieve in the supernatural. Yes, I am a bit of a daylight atheist, as Brendan Behan would say. Walking through the woods of a windy evening I am not so sure. Seated on a plane I mumble the Popish prayers my mother instructed me in. Pascal’s wager you see. If I am right and no god exists it cannot hurt me to propitiate the non-existing in this way. However, should god exist than the Almighty may show the strength of His arm and remember how in former times he spared the rigtheous and smote the ungodly. Wuthering Heights passim. That is Pascal’s wager.
Generally I do not engage in religious observances. Much religious mumbo jumbo is manifest bullshit. Being blessed by a priest, what does that mean? Am I guaranteed not to die for a week? Am I less likely to die or what? Will my horse can come home?
A certain headmistress I know, allow me to call her Gumboots, told her pupils that Darwin believed in Christianity and his findings did not in anyway undermine that faith. The good lady was learned but in this case she spoke false. I think it was out of ignorance of this issue. He started out believing in Christianity but soon found his belief to be unsustainable.
Religion is not so much believing despite the evidence but in face of it. Methusaleh lived to 800 years of age. Oh, but they meant months, it was a mistranslation. This is the fundoe’s apologia. But then Adam was about 9 when his first child was born. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have a get out clause that they believed in their sacred scrolls absolutely but only inasmuch as they are correctly translated. At any point they may revise their beliefs by saying hey presto it was misconstrued.
What is this whole concept of holiness? What makes something hold? If it is holy does that mean it is good? What is so good about circumcision, it causes pain and is risky. Does it make me iniquitous that I have not had my wick trimmed?
Some people are so good because they do not eat pork? This makes no sense at all. There may have been a health argument for this prohibition centuries back in the Near East. In which case the Bible ought to say this and not pretened that this rule is moral because it is moral because it is moral because god said so. I use god with a small g advisedly. The forbidding of shellfish makes little more sense. Did they rot too soon and cause people to fall ill?
The ban on alcohol for Muslims may make sense in that they would be dehydrated in the desert. Was it not the Arabs who invented the devil’s bew? Al – cohol. An Arabic prefix for the world. Blessed be those Arabian chemists who invented it!
So many relgious strictures are blatantly the products of social circumstances at a particular time and in one location.
One has to pray to Mecca. A Saudi prince went up into space with NASA in about 1986. How could he pinpoint that big black meteorite from his spaceship? How could he be sure he was pointing his snout and not his fundament at the Kaba? He quipped in a press conference that by the time he had located the direction of Mecca prayertime would be over. Did allah not foresee this? Did he not provide for it in the holy book? He did on his arse!
Take holy items. I knew an Irishman named Niall Rory. He died a few years back, alack. He said of the communion wafer – it is the body of christ in his mouth, it is the body of christ in his stomach, it is the body of christ in his intestine. Do you see where this is headed? At what point does it cease to be the immortal flesh or our lord and saviour and start to be but plain shite?
Ramadan. Do not eat in daylight hours. Pig out in the hours of darkness. I do not use the expression pig out in order to be hurtful to Muslims but this turn of phrase is common in my cultural milieu and as I do not respect this prohibition on the consumption of pork I do not take pains to avoid this expression. One does not need to be a dietician to know that this is bad for one’s health. One should eat when active. Not just before sleeping. They do not let a drop of water pass their lips all day. How bad for you can you get? In Arabia there is 12 hours of darkness and 12 of sunlight pretty much year round. When Muhammad had his aural hallucinations he was in Arabia. This rule does not work for Muslims in northern Sweden, say, where they may have not daylight at all in December or conversely no darkness at all some days in January. Muslims in the south of Argentina may have it the opposite way around. In this case Ramadan is either a cynch or a way to malnourish oneself, in fact deny oneself all food for a few weeks. This rule was dreamt up because Muhmmad was a mere mortal and had no idea that these regions existed.
Religious people try to think there way round plain logic.
Why is Mary’s statue seen to move in places where Mariolatry is strong? I suppose this is a reward for faith. It is group psychology. It is wish fulfilment. They urgently want to it move and so one says it moves and others are suggestible. Often someone describes an event I was present at. I do not remember it but then I begin to think I do as I imagine it from this description and this re-imagining becomes a memory.
I was on a course with a Muslim last year. He was of Pakistani extraction and I do not recall his name. Let me call him Iqbal. He was 22 and wore a beared which made him look much older. He was convivial but in religious affairs he was a hardliner. At luncheon he hastened to a mosque and only just made it back. He lost valuable time on homeworok from this. He was devoted to his myths. He railed against the sinfulness of alcohol pointing to incidents described in the papers of drunken youths battering people. He denounced the US firely and said there was much anti-Islamic prejudice. He said that anywhere anyone tried to establish and Islamic State was attacked by the West. This is most untrue. I can point to counter examples in Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Ok, a few missiles were launched at Sudan in 1998 by the US in vengeance for the East African embassies bombings. NATO saved Muslims in Bosnia and Kosovo and there was no interest in that for NATO – sheer humanitarianism. Muslims states did little but fund the most fundamentalist of Muslim fighters there.
Anyhow, Iqbal’s whole family was hardcore Muslim. To reject the faith was to be rejected by his family. As family is terribly important to him he cannot bear to do this. It is an emotional attachment. The notion that his religion was false was inadmissible to him. He had missed out on sex and drink etc… so it would be too hard to take to realise that he had done this for nothing. He could be a ranter sometimes but would calm down and apologise for souring the atmosphere.
He did have a point about alcohol although of course I am very in favour of it, drinking that is.
This Iqbal manned ‘Islamic information stalls’ promoting his religion. He assured me he was not trying to change the country. I said that he was and this was not bad. He insisted repeatedly that he was attempting to change the country. I kept telling him that it is legitimate to try and use suasion to get people to share one’s beliefs. But no, he was not trying to change the country.
Why was he bearded? Because clean shaveness was associated with homosexuality he told me. I did not point this out but he was patently anti-gay. There was an out homosexual in our group but I did not bring this to Iqbal’s attention.
Iqbal was acerbic about the proposed hijab ban in France. He said Muslim girls were often shy and modest and that was why they wear this. Ah yes, conspicuous modesty, rather like chaste promiscuity – a total oxymoron. “Look at me- I’m humble.”
They cover up their bodies, that is one thing but hair is another. One can wear non-revealing clothing without choosing styles that call attention to oneself.
People believe in religion because we fear death, because it is so hard to accept the randomness of life. It is so hard to accept that things happen by chance. “She and I met, this has to be for a reason.” No it hasn’t!
People are loyal to their families but this can be misguided when it comes to accepting faith on those grounds. I have broken faith because I do not believe the Christianity of my forbears. At some point in history they broke faith with those who had gone before because they ceased to believe in paganism.
People are used to accepting the fairy stories their mothers told them as they were tucked in. This develops into religion. People craved explanations for natural phenomena in pre-scientific eras. Therefore myths developed.
I had a colleague, let me call him Brian. He was 31 and of average height, with a pale unhealthy complexion. He was into theology. He was a Catholic of a ridiculously liberal stripe, the kind that takes all the essential beliefs out and pretends it is about modern niceness. He damne Sarah Palin saying she must be a little insane at least to believe in Genesis literally. He said Palin had lost the notion of what a myth is. But this is wrong.
I have said why myths were invented. They were later reinterpreted when the literal part of them became unsustainable for reasonable-minded educated people. They were hollowed out and some sentimental fug was left, they were treated as parables. The myths are twisted by liberal believers not by the fundamentalists.
Which tales is one going to hollow out? So liberal Christians say the creation is a myth. Why not the resurrection? Hollow out that one and there is no religion left. Jesus is a moralistic preacher and has no supernatural aspect to him.
Most likely he suffered from visual hallucinations and had a personality disorder. He heard voices in his head. I say this not to denigrate him. He was mentally ill in an era when people had little understanding of this. Such people can be very engaging and charismatic. He must have had some substantial talents in healing by placebo and public speaking. Many saints are the same. In any psychiatric ward one finds those who say they are god. A few ‘miracles’ and people would follow them. Most saints were the same, delusional people. Religion elides with insanity. Rationalism does not.
The Britannic Realm is rather short of readies. The British Government is finding that it has to make economies all over the shop. There are severe cut backs to the defence budgets. I have a topping proposal for them. Why not reduce the nuclear arsenal by 10% as a one off gesture towards nuclear disarmament. For any decalred nuclear armed state that matches this the UK will cut a further 10%. One can dress this up as altruism whereas in actual fact it shall be a way of paring back spending.
The whole points of nukes is deterrence, is never to use them.
Suppsing I were leader and were informed that Enemyland has launched on us with their missiles about to impact on us in half an hour I would not launch on them. We are all gonners anyhow. Wiping out the civil population of Enemyland will not bring back oor ain folk. Therefore spare the innocent and shame the devil.
Reducing military expendture could then put money towards paying off the national debt, a tax cut or more spending on the war the UK is actually fighting. It is a common complaint, I remember not who first coined this adage, the generals are always fighting the last war. There is little point being stuck in a Cold War time warp, preparing for a clash of the titans on the north European plain with the might of the Red Army’s armoured brigades. The conflict that the British Kingdom is actually engaged in is asymmetrical warfare in Afghanistan. Spending must reflect this priority and not some war that the UK may hypothetically fight at some unspecified point in the future. I am friends with a man who served as a British officer in Afghanistan and Mesopotamia. Let me call him Oscar Whiskey, a nom de guerre he invented for himself at prep school. He made the above point to me about being well equipped for the war one is in. That is how we should arm ourselves.
Nadja Benaissa is a German popstar. She had a remarkably harum scarum youth. She became addicted to drugs at 14 and fell pregnant at 16. She was offered a routine HIV test during her pregnancy and found out that she is HIV positive. She could have been incredibly unlucky and caught the disease after having sex with just one person. More likely she was promiscuous. This is not an ethical judgement on her. Nobody deserves this illness no matter how many people they have sex with. I must confess to feeling less sorry for those who have sex with hundreds of people and ctatch the disease that way than those who are infected by their first partner.
Miss Benaissa had sex with a number of men without using a condom. She did not warn them of the virus that she was carrying. One of them contracted the disease and he thinks that he got it from Fraulein Benaissa. She and he share a strain that is uncommon in Germany. The theory that he got it from her is highly plausible.
She was prosecuted for this crime of grievous boldily harm. Let us make no bones about it. This disease is a killer. There is no cure. Admittedly it is not as bad as it was in the 80s when people caught it and died in 3 years or so. Now if someone had a timely diagnosis they can be treated and they can maintain good health for 20 year and more from the time of infection to when HIV turns in AIDS. Nevertheless, this young woman has undoubtedly reduced the man’s life expectancy by a couple of decades.
In fact this has made people more blase. There is more barebacking. The gay community used to believe in safe sex more strongly than heteros. Gays are much laxer about this than they were.
She could have been sentenced to 10 years of incarceration. In fact she got a 2 year suspended sentence and 300 hours of community service. This is far too soft. I would have given her 3 years in prison. This would be typical fro crimes of this nature in the UK. The sentence she actually got does not do justice. Her wrongdoing is inadequately punished and such crimes are not deterred. I have some sympathy by the argument of one the AIDS foundation that one cannot put all the blame on her. Avoiding the spread of disease is the responsibility of both partners.
The malady that she passed on is terminal. It is not something trifling like chlamydia. If every time this minor condition was transmitted a prosecution resulted then the courts would be clogged.
Another issue. A British teacher was recently found guilty of having sex with three pupils. One girl was 15 and two were 14. He was 25 when this happened. He admitted fornicating wit the 15 year old but denied the others.
Aggravating factors – the girls were not just below 18 but below the age of consent. He did it with 3 of them. He did it several times with each. He did not plead guilty.
Mitigating factors. They were only a little below the age of consent. The actions were consensual. He pleaded guilty in one case. He was not hugely older than them.
He copped a sentence of six and a half years. I view this as too severe. I think that a sentence of two years would be enough in this case. Compare is to the Benaissa case. Look at the harm she has done compared to him!