Posts for February, 2013
In 2010, Attorney General Robert McClelland stated that the Australian federal government was seeking to streamline Australia's anti-discrimination laws and make them what he called more user-friendly.
Five pieces of legislation dealing with race, sex, disability, age and the work of the Human Rights Commission would be consolidated into a single comprehensive law.
The proposed new Human Rights and Anti-discrimination Bill describes unlawful discrimination as unfavorable treatment of another person on account of their possessing one or more protected attributes.
In further defining unlawful conduct, the new bill equates unfavorable treatment with harassment and other conduct that offends, insults or intimidates another person.
The new laws will extend to the workplace, shops, schools and warfare; to every facet of public life. Australians' behavior and conversations in schools, shops, playgrounds, clubs, pubs and sporting fields will be covered by the anti-discrimination legislation drafted by Attorney-General Nicola Roxon.
Hurt feelings are set to become the legal trigger for compensation claims.
A law that makes it illegal to ’insult’ or ‘offend’ someone else sounds utopic at the surface level, but it has the potential to go very wrong; producing a land of lawsuits.
Constitutional law professors Nicholas Aroney, of the University of Queensland, and Sydney University's Patrick Parkinson, have told the Senate inquiry the "heavy-handed" laws blur the line between illegal discrimination and social norms.
In favor of the proposed law are Muslim groups and the LGBT groups. Muslims Australia spokesman Keysar Trad says members of the community in Australia are regularly discriminated against on a number of fronts -- most publicly as the victims of hate speech.
He says the federal government is being asked to provide greater protection against discrimination on the grounds of religion under the new legislation.
The government’s attempt to modernize Australia’s anti-discrimination laws attracted a hornet’s nest of criticism this week from Christian churches, bloggers, employers, unions and civil libertarians.
The on-line media outlets were the first to cite objections to the proposed laws. A spokesman for a news site said that the business of newscasting is offensive to someone or something. For example, if a politician, in a rare occurrence, was caught in a scandal, the news report on the scandal is offensive to the politician who was caught in the act. The job of the film critic or food critic would be eliminated. The sports page would also be gone. An athlete or team could take offense to a news article about their poor performance.
Catholic Cardinal George Pell and the shop assistants’ union – unlikely allies – both decried the draft laws as “the first step towards totalitarianism”.
Catholic hospitals fear a challenge to their bans on abortion and birth control, while a Melbourne academic claims transgender men will start taking over the women’s restrooms.
Queensland Council of Civil Liberties president Michael Cope fears the legislation could limit public debate to “innocuous, sterilized conversation”. “The council is not a racist organization but we defend a person’s right to express racist sentiments,” he told the inquiry. “Being democratically elected does not give a government a mandate to stifle voices with which it does not agree. If a person is physically or emotionally abused, the issue is not racist expression, but instead a problem with violence or aggression which should not be tolerated”.
Cardinal Pell agrees with Mr Cope; “Discrimination is a regular and necessary part of daily life,” he wrote in News Ltd papers on Sunday. “We discriminate between friends and foes. Society discriminates between criminals and the law-abiding … (and) by choosing only the best students to study medicine or law and the best athletes to represent Australia. Governments choose which immigrants they will accept and those they expel.”
Critics are also alarmed that the burden of proof will be reversed, so that people accused of discrimination will have to prove their innocence. And each party will have to pay their own legal costs, regardless of who wins.
FECCA Chairman Pino Migliorino says the new legislation shifts the onus of proof for an alleged unlawful insult onto the accused, instead of the claimant bearing the responsibility as it stands in the current anti-discrimination laws. The accused stand guilty until he/her exonerates him/herself.
Employer groups predict the changes will result not in a lawyers’ picnic, but a lawyers’ lunch – long-running and very expensive. State governments are complaining the federal laws will interfere with their power to arrest criminals, suspend driving licenses, segregate sexual offenders away from children or ban the mentally ill from owning guns.
David Goodwin, a member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s productivity committee, describes the law as “manna from heaven for no-win, no-fee law firms. Bosses are going to have to become the thought police,” he says. “It’s unworkable”.
This law will do nothing to curtail offenses, because anyone can be offended by anything if they want to. It also becomes apparent that this law, drafted by lawyers, is solely created to protect the interests in their law practices; insuring a steady stream of income at the expense of society.
On January 31st, after months of outrage with Attorney General Nicola Roxon as the target, Roxon has asked her department to redraft sections of the legislation to remove a clause that would have prohibited conduct that "offends or insults". "It seems to me clear that there are better options than the one that's being proposed and we'll take it forward from there."
Fellow Coalition frontbencher Malcolm Turnbull has welcomed Ms Roxon's decision to back down on elements of the bill, "I'm sure everyone who cares about free speech, which is almost all Australians, would be very pleased that she's recognized that the bill that she was proposing was outrageous."
To me it appears that the attorney general has little respect for Democracy, personal liberties and the freedom of expression but has retreated from her objectives for the moment for no other reason than to keep her job. But, at heart, she has Totalitarian tendencies; otherwise she never would have proposed this legislation.
Matthew 18:7 states that because man is imperfect, offenses and hurts will occur in life. The two sources of offense and hurt is at both ends of the relationship. The other person may intentionally insult you, but you may also misunderstand perfectly good intentions and be offended. But in either case, we should not allow offenses in life to produce a heart of bitterness. However, it can't be legislated.
Text taken from www.news.au.com.au
Webster Tarpley has been making the rounds on all of the conservative media outlets over the past 2 months. My first thought was that Webster Tarpley is much too liberal to interest a conservative audience. Why would Tarpley be in such demand to people like Michelle Malkin, Press TV, Alex Jones, Dennis Praeger, Christopher Walken, Russia Today, Laura Ingraham, Mychal Massie and others?
Tarpley was a member of the Democratic Party and ran for office on the US Labor party ticket. In the 70’s and 80’s he considered himself to be to the left of mainstream Democratic ideology, but he thinks the mainstream Democratic Party no longer represents American interests. He came up through the Ivy League cabal and was the head of several liberal think tanks such as the Schiller Institute. Tarpley was employed by the Italian parliament in the late 70’s to investigate high level assassinations and terror connections. Since that time, Tarpley has maintained close connections within the Red Brigade and Hamas. He rose to prominence after he wrote a scathing biography of George H. W. Bush in which he accuses President Bush of antagonizing the Middle East radicals to benefit the Military industrial complex. He believes that George H W Bush was the start of a new agenda to undermine the influence of the US around the world and push a globalist agenda.
Since the Benghazi terror attack, Tarpley has surfaced publicly to disclose the truth (from his perspective) behind the event. I have paraphrased Tarpley’s contention: The consulate in Benghazi was actually a base for covert operations. It served as a clearing house for weapons and ‘freedom fighters’ en route to Syria (via Turkey). Prisoners (political and combatants) were also housed at the consulate (outside the influence of US laws and due process). The Benghazi consulate was the covert operations base that the US government denied having.
The attack on the consulate was orchestrated by Sufyan Bin Qumu, a US double agent who spent several years in Guantanamo and released earlier in 2011. Qumu had joined with Khalifa Hifter who was instrumental in the over throw of Gaddafi. Khalifa Hifter defected from the Gaddafi regime and created his own militia with money from the CIA, according to his own book ‘Manipulations Africaines’ published by Le Monde Diplomatique. In essence, we had rogue double agent CIA agents attacking a state department agency to release detainees. When the CIA was called by the State Department to help intervene in the conflict, they were reluctant to fire on their own agents.
To this date, the attack is not being investigated or prosecuted, because it would raise more questions than it answers. Also, there is nothing to investigate, everything is known. The only goal of the Obama administration is to sweep this under the rug as soon as possible.
Tarpley, in his interviews and appearances, has sharply attacked Obama on a number of fronts. He believes that Obama has betrayed Democratic Party principles. He claims that Obama is not for the middle class worker but actively supports and is supported by Wall Street. He cites documents showing Obama to be a Globalist; serving interests other than US interests. Obama and Bush have the same international objectives; only that Obama raised the stakes tenfold. Where Bush dared only to stick his toe, Obama has jumped in with both feet. Obama and Bush both served the Military industrial complex. But where Bush funded the military through US taxation, Obama funds the military through foreign purchases. Both have also actively deflated the value of the US dollar and drove up debt. Tarpley contends that although the methodology used by both Presidents was different, the results are the same. Therefore, he concludes that both Presidents are serving the same master. However, where Bush only introduced the Globalists to the US public, Obama is advancing their agenda.
Transparency is something that Obama campaigned on, but once in office, the tune changed. Tarpley shows that with Executive Order 13489, Obama bans access to his records the first day in office with this executive order. Executive Order 13489 section 3(d) states: "If the President decides to invoke executive privilege, the Counsel to the President shall notify the former President, the Archivist, and the Attorney General in writing of the claim of privilege and the specific Presidential records to which it relates. After receiving such notice, the Archivist shall not disclose the privileged records unless directed to do so by an incumbent President or by a final court order." Tarpley complains that Obama has no interest in transparency. This executive order is virtually the same as Executive Order 123283, which President George W. Bush issued early in his presidency and was a point of contention for Obama during the campaign.
According to Tarpley, the actions of President Obama are showing his allegiance to corporate interests; while his rhetoric is quite the opposite. Obama is artificially forcing the gasoline prices to remain high, hurting primarily the lower and middle income Americans. Obama is forcing the electricity cost to remain high, hurting primarily the lower and middle income Americans. Obama is choosing political correctness over a quality education in the public schools, hurting primarily the lower and middle income Americans. Obama is not doing much about the high cost of a college education, which hurts primarily the lower and middle income Americans. The ethanol mandate is farce, driving up food costs hurting primarily the low and middle income Americans. High unemployment hurts the low and middle income Americans. Obama is perpetuating the cycle of poverty, hurting primarily the lower and middle income Americans. The $2.2 billion per year cell phone program benefits the lower income Americans, but is ridiculous. Even the taxation designed to hit the high income brackets the hardest raises very little taxes and does nothing to bring income disparity into line.
Tarpley claims that there is a grand conspiracy behind the actions of our government; credit default swaps, a 15 trillion dollar Ponzi scheme perpetrated against the American public; a rigged stock market; repeated 700 billion dollar windfall tax cuts for the rich when the economy is teetering on collapse; a street full of homeless people including veterans; carefully orchestrated bank failures; a healthcare system written only to boost big pharma's profits; hundred billion dollar bailouts for the very crooks who ran economy into the ground; an unconstitutional ‘execution by drone’ program; a dramatic expansion of Bush's wars of choice; and a Congress that has been bought and paid for by the lobbyists. But I fail to see the conspiracy behind any of these activities; it has been done in the open for all to see. I think that this just amounts to corrupt politicians, writing corrupt laws to benefit themselves at the expense of the US citizens.
Tarpley lists the connections between Obama and elitist organizations (Tri-Lateral Commission, Bilderbergs, Tides Foundation and CFR) and analyzes the connections in conjunction with the legislation and policies that Obama pushes. Actions such as Obama’s rejection of the Keystone pipeline are indications of his allegiance to the elitists. The oil will get from Canada to US via one method or another. Without the pipeline, the oil will be shipped by rail. Warren Buffet and other elites own the railways and make an enormous profit by the transport of oil. The pipeline would be more efficient, less costly, create thousands of jobs and is better for the environment, but it doesn’t serve the elitist masters.
Tarpley’s book, ‘Obama: the postmodern Coup’, spends a great deal of time dissecting the Carter administration because Carter and Obama have one great commonality; Zbigniew Brzezinski. Brzezinski was the key advisor to Carter. He is also a key behind the scenes advisor to Obama. Zbigniew Brzezinski had supported Obama through Columbia and Harvard and influenced his foreign policy.
Enclosed is a quote from Tarpley’s, ‘Obama; the unauthorized biography’, “Obama was chosen, because his own desire to become someone embodied by a synthetic mythology of hope and unity that is betrayed by the policies of economic privation that he becomes the politically correct salesman to seduce and polarize Americans into the next phase of imperialism and economic fascism.”
The fascinating element about both of Tarpley’s books on Obama is that I could think of about a dozen conservatives who had written nearly identical books about Obama, including Jerome Corsi, David Maraniss, Aaron Klein and Jack Cashill.
With all of that said, I was amazed to find the hard core conservatives and Tarpley so united over their disdain for President Obama, the military industrial complex, foreign entanglements, Neocons, governmental/corporate collusion, elitist control, failed economic agenda and Wall Street bailouts. Apart from a few social issues, I think that they agree on more than they disagree.
Recent articles, interviews by Webster Tarpley.
http://www.presstv.com/detail/2012/12/30/280875/syria-rebels-unleashed-genocide-machine/ (In this interview, Tarpley calls for the impeachment of Obama.)
I agree with only about 60% of Tarpley’s opinions, but it is certainly worth hearing.
In the 2010-2011 school year there were 15 virtual charter school available to students in Wisconsin and they totaled about 4000 students in enrollment.
In June of 2011 twenty nine virtual schools were accepting students into their programs. The attendance at the virtual charter schools had jumped from 4000 in 2010 to 5250 in 2011. Enrollment cap were still in place and thousands of students remained on the waiting list. On-line groups applied political pressure to raise the cap limit. After Governor Walker removed the cap on the number of students who can use the state's open enrollment system to enroll in virtual charter schools, the enrollment increased by 40% in the 2012-2013 school year.
Some of the on-line learning organizations include:
Wisconsin virtual academy
K12 virtual academy
I Forward Charter school
JEDI Virtual school
Kettle Moraine Global charter
Within the next 3 years the number of students in an on-line K12 program is expected to double.
Hagemeister, school administrator of the Merrill — Bridges Virtual School, said the school is in the process of hiring eight more on-line teachers but was admittedly unprepared for such a large first-year enrollment because it did no marketing.
“It started with just a local program that grew, and we didn’t really anticipate the response we were going to get,” he said.
Enrollment at eAchieve increased by16 percent, but it also spent more than $400,000 on marketing its new name.
Declining enrollment has substantially affected 30 of 51 school districts in south eastern Wisconsin. Mukwonago has seen a 2.9% decline. All five of the Ozaukee county school districts have seen at least a 2% decline. MPS saw a 1.4% decline. The decline is product of lower birth rates, open enrollment, school choice, an increase in home schooling and an increase in on-line learning.
The declining schools are struggling to stay afloat. A decline in enrollment equates to a decline in funding, because of the funding formula. But the schools still need to be heated and maintained, transportation is still required, administrators and teachers are still needed; but for fewer students. The result is that many districts are facing budget cuts beyond what they thought was a bare-bones budget last year. With declining enrollment, slowing economic growth, more retiring teachers and a cap on revenues, the schools will be facing budgetary issues every year for the foreseeable future. The schools will cut programs and staff which serve only to push more students into an online school. This will, in turn, create even more cuts in the school. And a viscous cycle ensues.
However there are a few exceptions, Franklin, Greenfield and Pewaukee schools have seen about a 2% increase in enrollment.
The state loves the virtual on-line school because it costs much less to administer. A traditional student costs the district and state about $12000, but an on-line student costs less than $5000. The on-line student requires no transportation, no locker, no lunch, no desk, no floor-space, no heat, etc. But virtual schools can't field a football team or offer drama, music and after school clubs. Nor can it cater to special needs children.
Overall, the trend is clearly towards an on-line educational model and away from the brick and mortar school. The difficulty is getting school districts to come to grip with the changing educational climate and transform themselves accordingly.
The number of retired teachers is overwhelming many school district budgets. In several New York school districts, there are more retired teachers than active teachers on its payroll. When the retiree pension program was created many years ago, this scenario was not envisioned.
The New York City school districts have the greatest liability because its health benefits are the most generous. It takes only 10 years of employment to vest for lifetime retiree health benefits, which begin upon retirement at any age and require no retiree premium contributions. They even reimburse retirees over age 65 for the full cost of their Medicare Part B premiums. A number of teachers have put 10 years of employment in multiple districts and draw pensions from each.
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