Tagged: current-events

The School Security America Doesn’t Need

After Newtown: Turning Schools Into Prisons

Cross-posted with TomDispatch.com

Outrage over the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre may or may not spur any meaningful gun control laws, but you can bet your Crayolas that it will lead to more seven-year-olds getting handcuffed and hauled away to local police precincts.

You read that right.  Americans may disagree deeply about how easy it should be for a mentally ill convicted felon to purchase an AR-15, but when it comes to putting more law enforcement officers inside our schools, the National Rifle Association (NRA) and liberal Democrats like Senator Barbara Boxer are as one.  And when police (or “school resource officers” as these sheriff’s deputies are often known) spend time in a school, they often deal with disorder like proper cops — by slapping cuffs on the little perps and dragging them to the precinct.

Just ask the three nine-year-old girls and an eight-year-old boy who got into a fight at their Baltimore elementary school — then got arrested by real police.  Or Salecia Johnson, age six, cuffedand arrested for throwing a tantrum at her elementary school in Milledgeville, Georgia.  Or Wilson Reyes, a seven-year-old at a Bronx, New York, elementary school who last December 4th was cuffed, hauled away, and interrogated under suspicion of taking $5 from a classmate.  (Another kid later confessed.)

The last of these incidents made the cover of the New York Post, but the New York City Police Department still doesn’t understand what they did wrong — sure, the first-grader spent about 4 hours handcuffed in a detention room, but that’s “standard for juvenile arrest.”

Which is precisely the problem: standard juvenile misbehavior (a five-year-old pitching a fit, a 12-year-old doodling on a desk, a 13-year-old farting in class, a class clown running around the football field at halftime in a banana suit) is increasingly being treated like serious crime, resulting in handcuffs and arrest.  If you can’t understand why such “consistency” is crazy, please desist from reading the rest of this article.

It seems grotesque that the horrific slaughter of those 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut, will result in more children getting traumatized, but that’s exactly where we’re headed — with firm bipartisan support.

In his amazing post-Newtown speech last December, Wayne LaPierre, the CEO and executive vice president of the NRA, called for armed guards in all schools — a demand widely hailed as jaw-droppingly nutty.  A few weeks later, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) proposed $50 million in federal grants to install more metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and National Guard troops in schools, but made her pitch in the caring cadences of a Marin County Democrat.  And when President Obama ordered more police in schools (point 18 in his 23-point Executive Order responding to the Sandy Hook tragedy), it was all over.

So here’s an American reality of 2013: we will soon have more police in our schools, and more seven-year-olds like Joseph Andersons of PS 153 in Maspeth, New York, getting arrested.  (He got handcuffed after a meltdown when his Easter egg dye-job didn’t come out right.)

The School-to-Prison Pipeline

In fairness to the feds, similar kinds of local responses were already underway before the La Pierre-Boxer Axis of Tiny Handcuffs even arose.  Across the country, from Florida and Connecticut toTennesseeIndiana, and Arizona, despite tough budgetary times, municipal governments are now eagerly scrounging up the extra money for more metal detectors, surveillance cameras, and armed guards in schools.  (The same thing happened after the Columbine shooting 14 years ago.)  No one keeps national statistics, but arrests of the 10-and-under set do seem to be on the rise since Sandy Hook. A typical recent case: in January, a seven-year-old at a Connecticut school was arrested by the police for “threatening” a teacher.  Jitters are understandable after the trauma of Sandy Hook — but arresting a seven-year-old?

Truth be told, we were already well on our way to turning schools into carceral fortresses before the Sandy Hook slaughter even happened.  In fact, the great national infrastructure project of the past 20 years may be the “school-to-prison pipeline.”  After all, we are the nation that arrestedIsamar Gonzalez for being in her high school early to meet with a teacher, then arrested her principal, Mark Federman, when he tried to intervene.

The stats speak as loudly as the anecdotes: of the Chicago School District’s 4,600 arrests in 2011, 86% were for misdemeanors. That school system spends $51.4 million on security guards, but only $3.5 million for college and career coaches.  And for every incident that makes the news, there are scores that don’t.  Despite a growing body of damning research by civil libertarians of the left and the right, including Annette Fuentes’s excellent book Lockdown High, political opposition to the school-to-prison pipeline has proven feeble or nonexistent.  Brooklyn State Senator Eric Adams, who represents one of the most liberal districts in the country, has staked out the civil libertarian outer limit by helpfully suggesting that Velcro handcuffs might be more suitable than metal ones for arresting young children.

The metal detector at the schoolhouse door is threatening to become as iconic an American symbol as baseball or type 2 diabetes.  Not that metal detectors in place were capable of preventing the massacre at Red Lake High School in Minnesota in 2005: young Jeffrey Weise just barged right in and shot six people dead; nor could the metal detectors at George Washington High School in Manhattan or Paul Robeson High School in Brooklyn prevent teens from getting stabbed. Yet metal detectors and school police proliferate across the country.

One state, however, truly leads the way. Self-satisfied Yankees have traditionally slandered the state of Mississippi as a jerkwater remnant of the past.  As for me, I say Mississippi represents the American future.  A new report by advocacy groups shows how the Hospitality State is leading the nation in cruel and draconian school over-policing.  Felony assault charges for throwing peanuts on the school bus!  Dress codes enforced by handcuffing a child to a railing for hours for the crime of not wearing a belt!  Cops escorting a five-year-old home for wearing the wrong color shoes! And constant arrests of kids for “disorderly conduct.”

Yes, the “Mississippi model” of non-union teachers plus “zero tolerance” discipline is the kind of schooling that some of the best and brightest among our education “reformers” have been touting — and what they are increasingly getting.  In fairness, Governor Rick Perry’s Texas is struggling with Mississippi for vanguard status, with cutting-edge surveillance of students and 300,000 misdemeanor arrests in 2010 for “crimes” like tossing a paper airplane.  And Massachusetts is astrong contender for third place.

Safe Schools Without Police or Metal Detectors

The over-policing of our schools is particularly grotesque because it’s so unnecessary.  All schools need order and all students need self-discipline (as do adults), but putting police and metal detectors in a school often just adds another layer of violent chaos to an already tough situation.  In my own policy research on school security overkill in New York City, I’ve found plenty of high schools, and not in the fancy parts of town, that do just fine without police or scanners.

In fact, they do better than fine: one report I coauthored with advocates from the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Annenberg Institute for School Reform found that schools without police or metal detectors actually get significantly better educational results (higher graduation rates, lower truancy) than their heavily policed counterparts.

So why aren’t these low-impact schools being held up as models?  Why don’t City Hall and the New York City Department of Education seem to want to know about these more effective — not to mention cheaper — models? Alas, despite a steady 15-year nationwide drop in crime, politicos continue to score points with voters by showing that they aren’t afraid to crack down on children, especially the working-class Black and Latino youth who bear most of the brunt of these policies. The psycho-racial-political dynamics are pretty much the same throughout the country.

But there are proven, demonstrably better, ways to do school discipline.  Ask Judge Steve Teske whose visionary common sense has brought down referrals to juvenile court by 70% in Clayton County, Georgia, by forcing schools to handle minor disciplinary infractions without handcuffs or police arrests.  (In the same period in that county, serious weapons charges, like bringing guns and knives to school, have fallen by 80% — further evidence that restraining a police presence actually makes schools safer.)

For another example of the right way to respond to school violence, look no further than Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, site of the 1999 massacre of 12 students and a teacher by two heavily armed students. In response, the school made the choice not to add a phalanx of armed guards. (Columbine actually had an armed school resource officer on duty the day of the killings, and he was unable to slow, let alone stop, the carnage.)

In fact, Columbine today remains an open campus with no metal detector at the front door.  Instead, its administration has worked hard to improve communications with the student body, trying to build an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect.  Columbine parents have supported this approach for a simple reason: they don’t want their children treated like criminals.  Because Littleton, Colorado, is a largely affluent community with political muscle, they’ve been able to resist the avalanche of punitive measures that have been generated by every school massacre since the one that took place at theirs.

Other schools — particularly urban ones with working-class African-American and Latino students — are not so lucky. When President Obama announced his pledge of more “resource officers” in schools, he was quick to qualify it with an “if they want them.” A laudable sentiment that doesn’t really reflect how things usually work on the ground.

One Brooklyn high school principal I interviewed told me of the constant pressure he experienced from higher up in the New York City Department of Education to put in a metal detector and more police personnel. Another school security success story I profiled back in 2008 has since had a metal detector rammed down its educational throat despite its immaculate disciplinary record.  Now, its students are made to feel like potential criminals from the moment they arrive every morning.  The logic is, in its way, all-American: crazy white kids go on shooting sprees, and then the screws tighten on Black and Latino kids.

Resisting the Axis of Tiny Handcuffs

Is there any hope of preventing the rush to put more first graders in handcuffs? Yes, but don’t expect any help from the NRA, which is actively promoting a heavily armed vision of heaven on Earth in which armed guards will be everywhere, with all public space turned into an airport security line.  As for Barbara Boxer, evidently she wasn’t as struck as I was by the t-shirts that Sacramento’s school security police made with the slogan “U Raise ‘Em, We Cage ‘Em” emblazoned on the image of a child behind bars. Or maybe she should talk to constituents like five-year-oldarrestee Michael Davis or the seven-year-old in San Mateo whom a cop blasted in the face with pepper spray for climbing a bookshelf. It remains to be seen if the NRA and Boxer, united, can ever be defeated.

This response to the Newtown massacre is of a piece with a developing post-9/11 American national-security-lockdown mentality — the belief that an armed response will solve most of our problems, domestic and foreign.  It’s a habit of thought that leads not figuratively but quite literally to a police state.  The over-policing of schools is just a part of the increasing militarizationof the police nationwide, which in turn fuels the smoldering paranoia that drives civilians to stock up on AR-15s and the like.

Ending this cycle of armed fear and violence will require getting police out of the schools along with the whole battery of security state accessories.  The only way to get there will be via the broadest possible civil libertarian coalition: Black community groups and Ron Paul types, immigrants’ rights activists and teachers and principals unions that see the big picture, liberals and conservatives united against the nanny/thug state.

There could be no finer spokesperson for such an ecumenical gathering than the newly crowned Miss America, Alabama-raised Brooklyn-residing Mallory Hytes Hagan.  After wowing the pageant judges with her terpsichorean prowess, she demonstrated the soundest policy judgment.  Asked if she thought it was a good idea to bring armed guards into schools, Ms. Hagan’s response was clear.  “No, I don’t think the proper way to fight violence is with violence.”  According to the New York Daily News, she said it “firmly.” Let people of goodwill rally behind this model citizen to end all the grotesque violence in our schools.

source: Huff Post

Two African Cardinals in the Running to Be Pope

Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson attends a Mass for Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican, in this April 13, 2005 photo. (Pier Paolo Cito/AP Photo)


ROME – After Pope Benedict XVI became the first pope in hundreds of years to voluntarily resign, the Roman Catholic Church could be in for another first in recent history—an African pope.

Two African cardinals are rumored to be among the top candidates to succeed Pope Benedict, and many Vatican watchers believe the election of a non-European pope is a very real possibility at a time when the majority of the church’s growth is in the developing world.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, 64, of Ghana, is considered to be near the top of the short list of likely successors.  (British bookmakers offering odds on the next pope have already made Turkson their 3 to 1 favorite.)

After serving for more than 30 years as an ordained priest, Turkson was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2003.  He currently serves as president of the Vatican’s Council for Justice and Peace.  Colleagues describe him as a “people person” with excellent communication skills.  He is considered a conservative who is unlikely to steer the church in a new direction on issues such as contraception, abortion and gay rights.

Turkson outlined for ABC News Monday the challenge facing Benedict’s successor.

“The new pope has to be very sensitive to the present condition of humanity and yet recognize the task of having to still keep the Gospel in its pure form. That’s a big challenge that we all pray for,” he said.

“I think what we should be looking for, probably what we should be doing rather is recognizing the nature of the church… pray God will provide us with the leadership that can confidently lead the humanity in the church in the year ahead. The challenges are not going to cease. They’re going to be increasing and we need somebody with God’s guidance to get us through all this,” Turkson said.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, 80, of Nigeria is again being mentioned as a possible pope, as he was in 2005 when Pope Benedict was elected.  Arinze served as a priest for 27 years and became one of the world’s youngest bishops before Pope John Paul II elevated him to cardinal in 1985.

He was appointed to lead the Vatican’s Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and colleagues compliment his ability to cooperate with people of other faiths.  Arinze is also considered a conservative.

If the conclave of the College of Cardinals were to choose either Turkson or Arinze, it would be the first selection of an African pope in more than 1,500 years.  Scholars say in the first five centuries of the church there were three popes from North Africa. But the selection of Turkson or Arinze would be the first pope from sub-Saharan Africa and the first-ever black pope.

Vatican watchers also believe it is possible a Latin American pope could be selected.  The cardinals considered leading candidates from Latin America are said to be Leonardo Sandri from Argentina, Oscar Maradiaga from Honduras, Odilo Scherer from Brazil, and Joao Braz de Aviz from Brazil.

Pope Benedict in shock resignation


Pope Benedict XVI is to resign at the end of this month in an entirely unexpected development, saying he is too old to continue at the age of 85.

He became Pope in 2005 following John Paul ll’s death

Resignations from the papacy are not unknown, but this is the first in the modern era, which has been marked by pontiffs dying while in office.

At 78, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was one of the oldest new popes in history when elected.

He took the helm as one of the fiercest storms the Catholic Church has faced in decades – the scandal of child sex abuse by priests – was breaking.

In a statement, he said: “After having repeatedly examined my conscience before God, I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry…

“In today’s world, subject to so many rapid changes and shaken by questions of deep relevance for the life of faith, in order to govern the bark of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognise my incapacity to adequately fulfil the ministry entrusted to me.”


  • At 78, one of the oldest new popes in history when elected in 2005
  • Born in Germany in 1927, joined Hitler Youth during WWII and was conscripted as an anti-aircraft gunner but deserted
  • As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger spent 24 years in charge of Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition
  • A theological conservative, with uncompromising views on homosexuality and women priests
  • source: BBC NEWS

Arkansas to allow concealed guns in churches

Arkansas to allow concealed guns in churches

(CNN) – The Arkansas House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a measure that would allow concealed guns to be carried in churches and houses of worship, and the governor’s office says it plans to sign the bill.

The measure, which passed 85-8 on Monday, gives houses of worship the option of allowing concealed weapons.

Passed by the state Senate in an equally lopsided 28-4 vote last week, the bill states it is “immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health, and safety” because “personal security is increasingly important.”

“A person should be allowed to carry a firearm in a church that permits the carrying of a firearm for personal security,” the bill reads.

The bill was originally sponsored by Republican state Sen. Bryan King from Green Forest, a rural town in northern Arkansas. In an interview with CNN, he called churches “soft targets” that deserved to be able to protect themselves.

“In the previous law, people with a concealed carry licence could not carry in church. No carry was allowed,” said King. “Now, this just allows each church to make their own individual decision.”

In particular, King said, the law was important for rural communities, where “it could be thirty minutes to an hour” before police respond to a violent incident in a church.

Matt DeCample, spokesman for Republican Gov. Mike Beebe, told CNN the governor plans “to sign the bill as written” but also wants to “continue discussions with lawmakers to address concerns raised by the faith community.”

Religious leaders were primarily concerned about any effect the law would have on insurance rates for houses of worship that choose to allow concealed weapons, but proponents downplayed the concern, saying multiple states have similar laws.

“Additional language is definitely possible,” the governor’s spokesman said.

A number of churches, including one of the state’s largest Fellowship Bible Church, told CNN they were reserving comment until the bill is signed by the governor or church leaders have decided whether to allow concealed weapons.

When the bill becomes law, Arkansas would join a small number of states that have passed legislation specifically allowing concealed weapons in houses of worship. While about 20 states allow the practice because of “right to carry” laws, only a few states have singled out houses of worship in legislation.

In April 2011, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said that bringing a concealed firearm into a house of worship for protection purposes is allowed under Virginia law.

‘You’re coming here and pleading poverty while we’re paying taxes’: VIDEO: Shocking rant of woman against foreign students in hospital waiting room caught on mobile

  • Incident happened at Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk on Saturday at 7:30pm
  • Woman shouted abuse at university student Gina Thompson, 23, of Nigeria
  • She was at A&E with her 21-year-old Spanish friend who is also a student
  • Woman now charged with five offences and will appear at court on Feb 20


A shocking video emerged today of a woman going on a rant to patients in a hospital waiting room.

The two-minute clip, filmed on Saturday night at Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk, saw the woman shout abuse at students Gina Thompson, 23, of Nigeria, and her 21-year-old Spanish friend.

The woman asked them ‘where do you come from’ before saying: ‘You’re coming over here and you’re pleading poverty. We are paying taxes you a***holes and we are going down in this crisis.’

Scroll down for video


Video: The woman shouted abuse at students Gina Thompson, 23, of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, and her 21-year-old Spanish friend at Ipswich Hospital in Seville, Suffolk, on Saturday night at around 7:30pm

The incident took place at 7:30pm in the hospital’s accident and emergency department waiting room, where Miss Thompson had gone with her friend who had sprained her ankle playing sport.

Miss Thompson, of Port Harcourt, Nigeria, is a film and media student at University Campus Suffolk and has been in the UK for two years, while her friend from Seville, Spain, arrived last September.

The woman shouted in front of about 20 shocked patients and friends or relatives: ‘What has happened to this f*****g country’, before directly abusing Miss Thompson who was sitting down.

She asked her ‘Where do you come from?’, to which Miss Thompson replied: ‘What does it matter where I’m from?’

The woman said: ‘We are paying taxes you a***holes and we are going down in this crisis’, before Miss Thompson replied: ‘Don’t call me an a***hole’.



Rant: The woman shouted in front of about 20 shocked patients and friends or relatives                                                              at the hospital

But the woman said: ‘I will, because you’re coming over here and you’re pleading poverty. I am not well.’

But Miss Thompson responded: ‘You won’t call me an a***hole. I will not accept that. Don’t call me an a***hole. Don’t come to my face and insult me. You won’t do that. Calling me an a***hole? Are you alright?’

  The woman said back “Don’t accept it you fat a***” before a voice off camera said the police had bee called.

Miss Thompson told MailOnline,after the incident: “I was so embarassed and I couldn’t do anything because I was stuck in the situationso we just had to laugh about it. All the attention was on us. “She said I’ve come here to claim poverty. That’s not true. I’m an international student and I pay £13,00 a year in tuition fees. My friend is a student here from Spain.”


Location: The two-minute clip was filmed on Saturday at the A&E waiting room of Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk

Location: The two-minute clip was filmed on Saturday at the A&E waiting room                                                                        of Ipswich Hospital in Suffolk

‘It made me feel low of myself. I had to go back home and question why it was wrong I was here. My friend was surprised. She was scared, she was terrified.

‘She kind of felt unsafe afterwards. She is Spanish and her English is not perfect, but she could sort of understand what the woman was saying. When she got back home, she said: “Are we in trouble?”

‘It made me feel low of myself. I had to go back home and question why it was wrong I was here. I’ve never been racially or verbally abused. My friend was surprised. She was scared, she was terrified’

Gina Thompson, 23

‘This woman was a very normal looking woman who you wouldn’t think would abuse you. How many people are the same like that? I’m scared.’

A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We have arrested and charged somebody. She has been charged with assault on a police officer, two counts of racially aggravated assault and two charges of assault. So, five charges altogether.

‘She is due to appear at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on the 20th February. She was arrested at the A&E department on Saturday evening and she was brought in. She was charged on Sunday night.’

 VIDEO EXCLUSIVE  ‘You’re coming here and pleading poverty while we’re paying taxes’. Shocking rant of woman at hospital patients…

Swanson: Wombs of Women on Birth Control ‘Embedded’ with ‘Dead Babies’

Kevin Swanson via FamilyReformation.wordpress.com

Radio host Kevin Swanson


Swanson: I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.

Peeples: We’ve actually heard on both sides of that. We’re researching that and want to make sure we speak correctly to that in our second film. But we have medical advice on both sides of the table there, so we want to make sure that we communicate that properly.

Swanson: It would seem, and I realize that people are a little split on what are all the effects of the birth control pill, but it would seem that there’s a tremendous risk in the use of it for the life of children.

Earlier in the interview, Peeples and Swanson discuss how birth control came to be widely used and accepted by many churches. Women, Peeples laments, “desire the men’s role” and are now missing out on “the role God put them in that he laid out in Genesis.” Before World War II, Peeples claims, “abortion, sterilization, eugenics and birth control were all tied together” until “Hitler took the fall for taking it very aggressively and dramatically.”

Peeples: It starts with men and women fighting and not being happy with the role that God put them in that he laid out in Genesis. So whenever you seek to desire, when women seek to desire the men’s role, they lose the part and the idea of what children does, not just for the kingdom and not just does with their family, but does for their gender role.

Swanson: Are you saying that the population control stuff, egalitarian feminism, birth control, abortion, they’re all sort of interrelated?

Peeples: Yeah, it wasn’t until after World War II that they begin to separate them. Abortion, sterilization, eugenics and birth control were all tied together, they were all kind of a package for eugenics and population control. Hitler took the fall for taking it very aggressively and dramatically, and so they said, ‘Hey, let’s kind of take this back, let’s get rid of the negative things and let’s play on Christian liberty, let’s play on freedom, let’s play on people kind of taking this upon themselves to control population rather than forcing it on them. So, again, it’s just another effect of not researching our history to know what happened in the world alongside of the Church.

Some antiabortion advocates claim that birth control can prevent fertilized eggs from implantation, which they say means it is an abortofacient.

The New York Times examined the issue last summer and found that while labels for emergency contraception – which contain high doses of hormones found in other birth control pills – claimed the medication could prevent implantation, “Studies have not established that emergency contraceptive pills prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the womb, leading scientists say.”

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which opposes abortion, also wrote in 1999 that “there is no credible evidence to validate a mechanism of pre-implantation abortion as a part of the action of hormone contraceptives.”

A study released last October found that free birth control leads to a significant decrease in abortions, reported CBS News. The tidy, lead by Dr. Jeffrey Peipert of Washington University in St. Louis, found that the abortion rate for the 9,000 women in St. Louis involved in the study was between 4.4 to 7.5 per 1,000 women. The average is between 13.4 and 17 per 1,000 for women in St. Louis generally.

White House backs down and offers religious groups a way to avoid directly providing employees with contraceptives

Confronting an outcry from faith groups and deluged with lawsuits, President Barack Obama’s administration has offered an ‘out’ to religious nonprofits resisting to offer their employees health insurance that covers birth control.

As part of the president’s healthcare overhaul, a year ago a new rule went into effect mandating that most employers, including faith-affiliated hospitals and nonprofits, provide insurance that includes contraception, including sterilization, for free as preventive care. Religious groups, particularly Catholics and evangelicals, balked since some or all forms of birth control are contrary to their religious principles.

Now the government is offering to erect a barrier between religious groups and contraception coverage, through insurers or a third party, that would still give women free contraception. It wasn’t immediately clear whether objectors would accept the new approach, or whether it would stem the tide of lawsuits nationwide challenging the requirement.

President Barack Obama leaves after speaking at a March 2010 rally in Washington, D.C., celebrating the passage of health-insurance reform

Hammering out a compromise: Obama leaves a 2010 rally in Washington, D.C., celebrating the passage of healthcare reform. The birth-control mandate of Obamacare is facing numerous legal challenges

Prescription contraceptives for women sit on a drugstore counter

Workaround: Prescription contraceptives for women on a drugstore counter. The White House has proposed a way for religiously affiliated nonprofits to avoid paying for contraception for their employees

In the latest version of the rule, houses of worship remain exempt. If a nonprofit identifies itself as religious and has private insurance, the private insurer will work directly with women employees to provide coverage for contraception. Many religious nonprofits, however, are self-insured. In those cases, a third party, not the religious employer, would handle the coverage.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services argued that the change wouldn’t impose new costs on insurers because it would save them money ‘from improvements in women’s health and fewer child births.’

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had no immediate reaction, saying it was studying the regulations. Policy analyst Sarah Lipton-Lubet of the American Civil Liberties Union said the rule appeared to meet the ACLU’s goal of providing ‘seamless coverage’ of birth control for women.

The birth-control rule, first introduced a year ago, became an issue during the presidential election, with advocates for women praising the mandate as a victory and religious leaders decrying it as an attack on faith groups.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks during a press conference in March 2011 marking the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

Mandates challenged: House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi speaks in San Francisco in March 2011 marking the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, which is facing plenty of court battles

Under the original rule, only those religious groups which primarily employ and serve people of their own faith – such as churches – were exempt. But other groups with religious associations, such as church-affiliated universities and Catholic charities, were told to comply.

Religious leaders lobbied fiercely for a broader exemption. The Catholic Church prohibits the use of artificial contraception. Evangelicals generally permit the use of birth control, but some object to specific methods such as the morning-after pill, which they argue is tantamount to abortion.

One of the dissenting organizations, the Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement that the administration’s offer was ‘narrow’ and failed ‘to protect many faith-based employers or religious families from the unconstitutional abortion pill mandate.’

Matt Bowman, the senior legal counsel for the alliance, which identifies itself as a ‘legal ministry’ that has filed multiple lawsuits against the requirement, stated that the government had no right ‘picking and choosing who is allowed to exercise faith.’

‘The mandate is losing in court,’ Bowman stated. ‘The only acceptable solution is for the administration to obey the Constitution and its legal duty to protect religious freedom.’

President Obama waves to the crowd during a campaign event in Denver alongside Sandra Fluke

President Obama waves to the crowd during a campaign event in Denver alongside Sandra Fluke, who testified before the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee on access to contraceptive coverage

Obama had promised to change the birth control requirement so insurance companies – and not faith-affiliated employers – would pay for the coverage, but religious leaders said more changes were needed to make the plan work.

Since then, more than 40 lawsuits have been filed by religious nonprofits and secular for-profit businesses claiming the mandate violates their religious beliefs. As expected, this latest regulation does not provide any accommodation for individual business owners who have religious objections to the rule.

John Gehring, Catholic program director at Faith in Public Life, a liberal advocacy group based in Washington, called the compromise unveiled on Friday “a strong signal that the administration is responsive to the concerns of Catholic institutions.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative religious liberty group representing several for-profit businesses in lawsuits over the regulation, said it would continue to press for exemptions for business owners in court. So far, about 10 businesses have obtained temporary injunctions against the regulation while their cases move through the courts.

The latest version of the mandate is now subject to a 60-day public comment period. The mandate takes effect for religious nonprofits in August.

source: Mail Online

Paedo brothel advertised in Tory leaflet: Party’s gay link to guest house

Sunday People and Exaro investigation reveals Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality newsletter ‘strongly recommended’ visits to Elm Guest House

Flats that used to be Elm Guest House

A Tory Party gay campaign group promoted the guest house at the centre of the VIP paedophile investigation.

The Conservative Group for Homosexual Equality “strongly recommended” visits toin a newsletter to members, a Sunday People and Exaro investigation has revealed. Elm Guest House

The three-page leaflet – obtained by the Exaro news website – said facilities included a sauna and video studio.

Scotland Yard has launched an investigation after allegations that VIPs including six senior Tories, businessmen and members of the royal household took part in child abuse at the guest house in upmarket Barnes, south-west London, in the 1980s.


Among the claims are that horrific videos of young boys being molested were made at the guest house and sold through an underground paedophile network.

Last week the Sunday People revealed that a hand-written list of alleged VIP abusers had been seized in a raid on the home of Mary Moss, a former child protection campaigner.

But the unearthing of the 1982 newsletter is the first actual proof of a Tory link to the guest house – originally raised by campaigning Labour MP Tom Watson in the Commons.

Tory party fringe group CGHE regularly publicised social venues that its members might enjoy in type-written newsletters.

Elm Guest House advertisement
Elm Guest House advertisement

One dated April 8, 1982, carried a glowing plug for the Elm.

It said: “I am glad to publicise another establishment strongly recommended by members.”

The newsletter gave the full address and two telephone numbers for the guest house and said: “It is just over Hammersmith Bridge, is well served by underground and bus services and by British Rail, and is near the M4, A3, A4 and A40.”

It added: “The facilities include a sauna, solarium and video studio.”The newsletter’s editor was Peter Campbell, a libertarian Conservative who founded CGHE in 1975 when homosexuality was still taboo.

He was a politics professor at Reading university, Berks, and died aged 78 in 2005.

The copy of the newsletter obtained by Exaro also has a hand-written note from “Peter” at the top that reads: “I have now inserted the entry about the hotel but can’t find the text about the Dutch venture – could you please let me have another copy?”

Just two months after the newsletter, police raided the guest house.

Its owners, Haroon, or “Harry”, and Carole Kasir were convicted at the Old Bailey of running a disorderly house, meaning a brothel.

But there are claims the VIP abuse was covered up by Establishment figures to protect the Tory government of the day.

Haroon Kasir

 Haroon,aka Harry Kasir

CGHE held fringe meetings at the annual Conservative party conference in the 1980s but attracted few people.

According to the minutes of its executive committee, there were 62 members in early 1981, but this had increased to 171 by late 1983.

The group campaigned for the age of consent for sex between homosexual men to be decreased from 21 to 16 in line with the age for heterosexuals.

The CGHE’s president from 1980 until his death in 1987 was Ian Harvey, a former junior foreign minister.

Mr Harvey was forced to quit as minister after being caught with a Coldstream Guardsman in London’s St James’s Park in 1958 when homosexual acts were illegal.

source: Mirror News

More Letters From Tommy

 Here are some letters from Tommy that we have kept private up until now. These letters will shed some light on his conditions in prison prior to his court case about the passport charges. Please bear this in mind when reading them.

Tommy mentions how tough his incarceration has been on his family, however, with time spent to collate his thoughts, he clearly has plenty of hunger for the many battles we have yet to face, our detractors think we are finished, even though it’s pretty clear we are only just getting started.
The EDL has grown so big and at such a fast rate that our ethos is ingrained into the very fabric of society, no surrender means no surrender, you can beat us, punish us, take away our liberty or even our lives, we will prevail, we certainly won’t capitulate to threats or intimidation.
With that said here are some updates from the man himself…

Click here to view———->>>More Letters From Tommy.

source: English Defence League

British Airways Christian employee Nadia Eweida wins case!

Although on the surface this may seem to be a victory for Christianity,it doesn’t even go half way to protecting the rights of Christians in the workplace.It would appear that those rights and Christian morals of the individual must take second place if  they infringe the rights of other groups or individuals.

That is tantamount to saying it’s permissible to be a Christian and wear the symbol of your faith,but you must not practice your religion in the work place if it affects others………I wonder if praying to Mecca five times a day in the workplace will come under that ruling …….don’t hold your breath!!!!

Nadia Eweida: “I feel vindicated.”

A British Airways employee suffered discrimination at work over her Christian beliefs, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled.

Judges ruled Nadia Eweida’s rights had been violated under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

She took her case to the European Court of Human Rights after BA made her stop wearing her white gold cross visibly.

Judges ruled that the rights of three other Christians had not been violated by their employers.

They had brought cases against the government for not protecting their rights but ministers, who contested the claims, argued that the rights of the employees were only protected in private.


Why is the cross important to Christians?


Ms Eweida, 60, a Coptic Christian from Twickenham in south-west London, told the BBC she was “jumping with joy” after the ruling, adding that it had “not been an easy ride”.

British Airways said its own uniform policy was changed in 2007 to allow Miss Eweida and others to “wear symbols of faith” and that she and other employees had been working under these arrangements for the last six years.

It said Ms Eweida did not attend work for a period of time in 2006 while an internal appeal was held into her refusal to remove her cross and she remained a British Airways employee.

Prime Minister David Cameron said he was “delighted” that the “principle of wearing religious symbols at work has been upheld”, adding that people “shouldn’t suffer discrimination due to religious beliefs”.

The evolution of the cross

Crucifix held aloft
  • The cross has not always been the main symbol of Christianity. In the early days of the Church in Rome many believers used the fish symbol to avoid detection
  • Crucifixion was also a method of execution for murderers and thieves, so some of the earliest depictions of Jesus on a cross were used by Pagans to mock early Christians
  • The use of the cross as a symbol became more overtly popular after the conversion of Emperor Constantine to Christianity in the 4th Century
  • It is now the most widely recognisable symbol of Christianity, used by many Christians as an aid to prayer as well as a symbol of their faith


The other cases involved nurse Shirley Chaplin, 57, whose employer also stopped her wearing necklaces with a cross, Gary McFarlane, 51, a marriage counsellor sacked after saying he might object to giving sex therapy advice to gay couples, and registrar Lillian Ladele who was disciplined after she refused to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.

The four had made individual applications to the ECHR after losing separate employment tribunals but their cases were heard together.

They argued their employers’ actions went against articles 9 and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protected their rights to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and prohibited religious discrimination.

Nadia Eweida, Lillian Ladele, Shirley Chaplin, Gary McFarlane European judges passed judgment on four people who said they had suffered discrimination at work over their Christian beliefs

BBC religious affairs correspondent Robert Pigott says the judgements suggested that although people are entitled to hold religious views, that right is severely limited in the workplace when it comes into conflict with the rights of other people.

Our correspondent says the judgement also hands considerable discretion to employers to set reasonable policies and then insist that employees follow them whatever their religious beliefs.

Ms Ladele was disciplined by Islington Council, in north London, after saying she did not want to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies. Her lawyers said the service could have been performed by other employees who were prepared to carry them out.

The Christian Institute, which backed Ms Ladele’s case, said it was “disappointed” by the ruling, adding it showed Christians with traditional beliefs about marriage were “at risk of being left out in the cold”.

Mr McFarlane, a Bristol relationship counsellor, worked for the Avon branch of national charity Relate but was sacked for gross misconduct in 2008 after saying on a training course he might have an objection to discussing sexual problems with gay couples.

He told BBC News that the decision taken by European judges in his case was “a regrettable judgment” for all faiths, not just Christians.

Ms Chaplin, from Exeter, was transferred to a desk job by Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Trust Hospital for failing to remove a confirmation crucifix on a small chain, which she had worn to work for 30 years.

She said she thought British Christians would be “devastated” by the ruling.

The BBC’s Robert Pigott said the European judges had decided that agreed health and safety concerns outweighed her religious rights.

Ms Chaplin and Mr McFarlane said they planned to ask for their cases to go to appeal to the Grand Chamber of the ECHR.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said he was “very pleased” with the ruling on Ms Eweida.

“I thought it was wrong that BA banned people wearing religious symbols, I’m pleased that they changed that long before this court judgement.

He added: “But clearly if you’re delivering a service to the public you shouldn’t be able to discriminate against somebody on grounds of their sexual orientation. We live in a country where everybody’s treated equally.”

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, said: “Christians and those of other faiths should be free to wear the symbols of their own religion without discrimination.

“Christians are not obliged to wear a cross but should be free to show their love for and trust in Jesus Christ in this way if they so wish.”

He said the Equality Act 2010 “encourages employers to embrace diversity – including people of faith”, adding: “Whether people can wear a cross or pray with someone should not be something about which courts and tribunals have to rule.”

Meanwhile, Keith Porteous-Wood, of the National Secular Society, said: “Religious people who feel elements of their job go against their conscience can always find employment that better matches their needs. That is true religious freedom.”

Shami Chakrabarti, director of human rights group Liberty, said the judgment was “an excellent result for equal treatment, religious freedom and common sense”.

She said British courts had “lost their way” in Ms Eweida’s case and “Strasbourg has actually acted more in keeping with our traditions of tolerance.”

“However the court was also right to uphold judgments in other cases that employers can expect staff not to discriminate in the discharge of duties at work,” she added.

Andrew Copson, chief executive of the pro-secular British Humanist Association, said: “What they describe as discrimination and marginalisation of Christians is in fact the proper upholding of human rights and equalities law and principles, and we are pleased that the court has recognised this.”

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source: BBC NEWS UK

‘Insulting words’ crime ditched

The crime of “insulting” someone through words or behaviour, which once led to the arrest of a student for asking a police officer whether his horse was gay, is to be dropped.

Mrs May told MPs that free speech needed to be balanced with action against widespread offence

Home Secretary Theresa May confirmed to MPs that the government would not seek to overturn a Lords amendment scrapping the ban.

The director of public prosecutions has said it will not hinder his work.

But Labour warned that it could remove protections for minority groups.

Section 5 of the 1986 Public Order Act currently means that “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour” might be deemed a criminal offence.

Burning poppies

It has been strongly criticised by free-speech campaigners, and in December the House of Lords voted by 150 to 54, a majority of 96, to remove the word insulting.

The move was championed in the upper chamber by former West Midlands chief constable Lord Dear.

Mrs May told MPs: “I respect the review taken by their Lordships. They had concerns which I know are shared by some in this House that Section 5 encroaches upon freedom of expression.

“On the other hand, the view expressed by many in the police is that Section 5 including the word insulting is a valuable tool in helping them keep the peace and maintain public order.

“Now there’s always a careful balance to be struck between protecting our proud tradition of free speech and taking action against those who cause widespread offence with their actions.”

She said the government had supported the retention of the word insulting to prevent people swearing at police officers, protesters burning poppies, or “similar scenarios”.


Ahead of the Lords vote, Director of Public Prosecutions Keir Starmer wrote: “We are unable to identify a case in which the alleged behaviour leading to conviction could not properly be characterised as ‘abusive’ as well as ‘insulting’.

“I therefore agree that the word ‘insulting’ could safely be removed without the risk of undermining the ability of the CPS to bring prosecutions.”

Mrs May said that, following Mr Starmer’s intervention, ministers were “not minded” to challenge the Lords amendment to the Crime and Courts Bill.

But shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper pressed the government to produce an “assessment of the impact of Section 5 of the Public Order Act on different groups, particularly on minority groups”.

“Many people have said that the existing Section 5 has formed some sort of protection,” she told MPs.

“It is important to make sure we can protect freedom of speech but it is also very important to make sure we can protect vulnerable groups from unfair discrimination.”

Campaigners say that different interpretations of the word insulting have led to spurious arrests, such as the arrest of a teenager for holding a “Scientology is a dangerous cult” placard.

Simon Calvert, campaign director for the Reform Section 5 group, said: “This is a victory for free speech.

“People of all shades of opinion have suffered at the hands of Section 5. By accepting the Lords amendment to reform it, the government has managed to please the widest possible cross-section of society. They have done the right thing and we congratulate them.”

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Swede jailed for ‘long-distance’ child rape

Swede jailed for 'long-distance' child rape

A 52-year-old Swedish man was convicted on Thursday for ordering the rape of 18 Filipino minors via webcam, with a court sentencing him to eight years in prison.

The prosecutor had asked the court to sentence the man to 14 years in prison for conspiracy to commit aggravated child rape as well as instigating aggravated child rape.

The man is suspected of having paid Filipino women to sexually assault children in front of their webcams, while he watched from home in Sweden.

“He has paid them to get children, and then they connected webcams and then the women have, according to his demands, assaulted the children while he sat home watching,” Liz Berglund of the National Bureau of Investigation (Rikskriminalpolisen) told Sveriges Radio (SR) last year when the man was held on remand.

The children involved were often related or lived near the women, who sometimes even took the kids out of school to be abused in exchange for payment when they were short of money.

The case is legally unique in Sweden as the suspected offender and his victims were in different countries, although police suspect that the crime itself is not rare. 

“This is the first time someone has been revealed in such a case in Sweden but he is probably not the first to do this,” said Berglund.

The crimes took place between 2008 and 2009 and many of the children were younger than seven-years-old.

It is not the first time a Swedish citizen has been tried for sex crimes in thePhilippines. In May 2012, a 76-year-old was jailed for sexually abusing poor children whom he had been teaching. 

In 2011, two Swedish IT entrepreneurs were jailed for life in the Philippines for running a “cyber-sex den”, or online brothel.


Mass Paris rally against gay marriage in France (video)


Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Paris over plans to give gay couples in France the right to marry and adopt children.

Three big marches converged on the Champs de Mars, a large park next to the Eiffel Tower.

France’s Socialist government is planning to change the law this year.

But the demonstrators, backed by the Catholic Church and the right-wing opposition, argue it would undermine an essential building block of society.

The organisers put the number of marchers at 800,000, with demonstrators pouring into Paris by train and bus, carrying placards that read, “We don’t want your law, Francois” and “Don’t touch my civil code”.

Police said the figure was closer to 340,000 and one government minister said the turnout was lower than the organisers had predicted. A similar march in November attracted around 100,000 people.

The “Demo for all” event was being led by a charismatic comedian known as Frigide Barjot, who tweeted that the “crowd is immense” and told French TV that gay marriage “makes no sense” because a child should be born to a man and woman.

‘Test for president’

Although France allows civil unions between same-sex couples, Francois Hollande made a pledge to extend their rights part of his presidential campaign.

Centre-right UMP President Jean-Francois Cope said the rally would be a “test” for the president because there were “clearly millions of French people who are probably concerned by this reform”.

The far-right National Front is also opposed to the change, although its leader Marine Le Pen stayed away from the march, arguing the issue was a diversion by politicians from France’s real problems.

Despite the support of the Church and political right, the organisers are keen to stress their movement is non-political and non-religious, and in no way directed against homosexuals, BBC Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield reports.

An opinion poll of almost 1,000 people published by Le Nouvel Observateurnewspaper at the weekend suggested that 56% supported gay marriage, while 50% disapproved of gay adoption.

The poll also said that 52% of those questioned disapproved of the Church’s stand against the legislation.

Earlier polls had indicated stronger support for the legalisation of gay marriage.

As the marchers began arriving in the centre of Paris, four Ukrainian activists staged their own protest in St Peter’s Square in the Vatican in support of gay rights.

The women from feminist group Femen appeared topless while Pope Benedict recited his traditional Angelus prayer.

Police moved to restrain the activists, one of whom was attacked by a worshipper brandishing an umbrella.

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BBC faces huge payout over Jimmy Savile: Victims ‘hold bosses to blame’ for creating monster who abused EIGHTEEN girls under ten and dying child at Great Ormond Street

  •   Savile ‘groomed the nation’ using his celebrity status to avoid capture
  • Many of his offences were on BBC’s premises including the Top of the Pops ‘live’ attack
  • Savile even preyed on a terminally ill child at Great Ormond Street
  • The DJ spent ‘every walking minute’ thinking about abusing children
  • There are 214 confirmed offences including 34 rapes
  • Payouts could run into millions of pounds
  • Woman who was abused by Savile aged 13 tells of anger at ‘missed opportunities’ to snare paedophile
  • The NSPCC's Savile Dossier said the entertainer's abuse 'simply beggared belief'
  • The NSPCC’s Savile Dossier said the entertainer’s abuse ‘simply beggared belief’
  • A shocking report into Jimmy Savile’s six decades of sex abuse left the BBC and NHS open to huge payouts yesterday.

    Many of his 214 known offences were on BBC premises and he even attacked a girl during the last edition of Top of the Pops in 2006.

    The paedophile also preyed on young people at a hospice and 13 hospitals, including a terminally ill child at Great Ormond Street. 

  • The victim, aged 11 or 12, told relatives before dying that Savile had touched them inappropriately.

    The Scotland Yard and NSPCC report said the DJ spent ‘every waking minute’ thinking about abusing children and used his celebrity status to that end. Eighteen girls and ten boys aged under ten were abused – the youngest being a boy of eight targeted at his school.

    Allegations of sexual assault have been made by 450 individuals, aged up to 47, and some have yet to be interviewed.

  • The 214 confirmed offences included 34 rapes and stretch across 28 police force areas. The most recent was in 2009 but they date back as far as 1955.

    Lawyers for the victims have already instigated compensation claims against the BBC, NHS and education authorities for failing to stop the serial predator. The payouts could run into millions of pounds.

    Victims said it was shocking it had taken so long to expose the DJ’s predatory behaviour. They said senior managers who missed opportunities to stop him should be named and shamed.

    The map of despair


    The BBC have said that the 2006 incident on Top of the Pops where Savile is accused of attacking a girl is an unfounded allegation.

    Caroline Moore, who is paralysed, said Savile abused her as a star-struck 13-year-old recovering in the children’s ward at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in 1971.

    The 53-year-old, from Glasgow, said: ‘I am still very angry there were so many missed opportunities, not only from producers and managers at the BBC who promoted and protected him, but heads of hospitals and schools that turned a blind eye.

    ‘So many people knew what he was doing, mainly to vulnerable children, and did nothing.

    ‘They need to take a long look at themselves and those senior managers in positions of responsibility should be named and shamed.’


    1960: A 10-year-old boy saw Savile outside a hotel and asked for his autograph. They went into the hotel reception where he was seriously sexually assaulted

    1965: A 14-year-old girl met Savile in a nightclub. She later visited his home and was raped

    1972: A 12-year-old boy and two female friends attended a recording of Top of the Pops. During a break in filming Savile groped his genitals and the breasts of his two friends

    1973: A 16-year-old female hospital patient was befriended by Savile. He led her to an office where he kissed her, touched her inappropriately and then
    subjected her to a sexual assault

    1974: Savile took a 14-year-old schoolgirl for a drive in his car and seriously
    sexually assaulted her

    2009: A 43-year-old woman was sexually assaulted by Savile when he put his hand up her skirt while talking to her on a train journey between Leeds and London

    Kim Anderson, a 19-year-old waitress in a restaurant that many of the DJs and stars of the 70s frequented, was invited on to Savile’s Radio 1 Roadshow bus in 1980.

    He lunged as she sat down on a couch, and she had to fight him off as he tried to kiss and touch her.

    Speaking from her home in France, she said: ‘I do hold the BBC to blame – they created a very powerful man and then let him get away with unspeakable things.

    ‘They gave him a platform for fame and credibility, and when people realised what he was doing, they just turned a blind eye and did nothing.’

    The 37-page report, Giving Victims a Voice, provides detailed findings of Operation Yewtree, the police investigation launched after an ITV documentary exposed Savile’s paedophilia last year.

    Peter Spindler, the Metropolitan Police commander in charge of the inquiry, said Savile had ‘groomed the nation’ and used his celebrity to ‘hide in plain sight’ during his offending.

    As the sheer scale of his depravity was revealed, it emerged that:

    • Savile abused children as recently as 2009;
    • He struck at 14 schools, often using his Jim’ll Fix It postbag to target youngsters;

    • Almost three quarters of his victims were under 18, mostly teenage girls;

    • Police and prosecutors missed three chances to prosecute Savile before he died aged 84;

    • BBC Chairman Lord Patten was accused of blocking a helpline for victims;

    Commander Spindler said: ‘Savile’s offending footprint was vast, predatory and opportunistic. He cannot face justice today, but we hope this report gives some comfort to his hundreds of victims. They have been listened to and taken seriously.’

  • Kevin Cook in the BBC TV studio with Jimmy Savile in 1976. Kevin claims that Jimmy Savile molested him in a dressing room after he appeared on the TV show Jim'll Fix ItA wheelchair-bound Caroline Moore from Clarkston, Glasgow has spoken of her frustration that Jimmy Saville is not alive to face sex attack allegations
  • Kevin Cook in the BBC TV studio with Jimmy Savile in 1976 (left) and Caroline Moore, from Clarkston, Glasgow, who has spoken of her frustration that Jimmy Saville is not alive to face sex attack allegations

    Findings: Today's report finds victims ranged from eight to 47 years old, including 174 females and 40 males, with 50 attacks taking place at hospitals, 33 at TV or radio studios and 14 at schools

    Findings: Today’s report finds victims ranged from eight to 47 years old, including                                                                            174 females and 40 males, with 50 attacks taking place at hospitals,                                                                                                           33 at TV or radio studios and 14 at schools

    His colleague, Detective Superintendent David Gray, said: ‘Savile spent every minute of every waking day thinking about it [abusing children] and whenever the opportunity came along he took it.

    ‘He was programmed to think about it and act in that way. He only picked the most vulnerable, the ones least likely to speak out against him.’

    Peter Watt, of the NSPCC, said: ‘The sheer scale of Savile’s abuse over six decades simply beggars belief.

    ‘He is without doubt one of the most prolific sex offenders we have ever come across and every number represents a victim that will never get justice now he is dead.

    ‘But with this report we can at least show his victims that they have been taken seriously and their suffering has been recognised.’


    The Honours Forfeiture Committee is to discuss the possibility of completely stripping Jimmy Savile of his knighthood even though the honour technically expired when he died – a move that would be a first for the honours system.

    Having a knighthood means someone is the member of an order with a lifetime membership which no longer exists when the person dies.

    Therefore, as Savile is dead, there is nothing to strip him of.

    But amid widespread public revulsion for Savile, it is believed the Honours Forfeiture Committee is looking at this issue again.

    Should the committee decide an honour should be forfeited, the normal procedure is that a recommendation is submitted to the Queen and she makes the final decision.

    The BBC again apologised to those affected, saying: ‘The police report into Jimmy Savile contains shocking revelations. As we have made clear, the BBC is appalled that some of the offences were committed on its premises.

    ‘We would like to restate our sincere apology to the victims of these crimes. The BBC will continue to work with the police to help them investigate these matters.

    ‘We have also set up the Dame Janet Smith Review to help us understand how these crimes could have been committed and how we can avoid them happening ever again.’

    Savile, who died in October 2011, abused victims at 14 medical sites and the majority of the NHS institutions involved have launched investigations into abuse allegations.

    Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said investigations should look into whether any NHS employee knew what was going on and turned a blind eye to the abuse.

    He told Sky News: ‘We knew when the investigation opened in the autumn that we had a problem in three NHS organisations but today we realise that it’s gone a lot further than that.

    ‘The question we are all asking ourselves is how could this have happened for so long without anyone speaking up?

    ‘Most importantly of all, we need to know whether anything needs to change in the procedures that we have now in the NHS in order to be able to reassure the public that NHS organisations are totally safe.’

    Kim Harrison, from Pannone, a law firm representing around 50 victims, said the damning report was one of the first steps on the way to them getting ‘some kind of justice’.

    Jimmy Savile with female patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The DJ's abuse there and at other institutions have become well known

    Jimmy Savile with female patients at Stoke Mandeville Hospital. The DJ’s abuse there and at other institutions have become well known

    The report is expected to show that large numbers of sexual assaults took place on BBC premises, such as Television Centre where Jim'll Fix It was filmed

    The report shows that large numbers of sexual assaults took place on BBC                                                                           premises, such as Television Centre, where Jim’ll Fix It was filmed

    She said: ‘The sheer scale of what’s happened here and the sheer number of institutions involved will shock everybody, even victims themselves.

    ‘There’s questions to be asked about how he was able to get away with this for so long, who knew about it and who turned a blind eye.’

    Lawyer Liz Dux, from Slater and Gordon, which is representing a similar number, said: ‘For the victims, today is hugely important. It represents the end of chapter one.

    The report is expected to show that large numbers of sexual assaults took place on BBC premises, such as Television Centre where Jim'll Fix It was filmed
    The report is expected to show that large numbers of sexual assaults took place on BBC premises, such as Television Centre where Jim'll Fix It was filmed

    ‘The next stage is for the inquiries to take place as efficiently as possible. The police investigation just looks at the criminal side of things, but the inquiries are important because they look at what was not, or ought to have been, done about Savile.

    ‘That’s important, especially to those who reported something at the time.’ Civil compensation claims for a handful of victims are already under way against the BBC and more claims will be lodged after all the investigations are complete.

    Savile’s £4.3million estate has been frozen in light of the allegations.

    Painful: The Met's investigation has uncovered hundreds of Savile victims but its report says that no organisations were to blame for allowing him to get away with it

    Painful: The Met’s investigation has uncovered hundreds of Savile victims but                                                                                        its report says that no organisations were to blame for allowing him to get away                                                                              with it


    Alison Levitt

    A chance to convict Jimmy Savile for sex offences against three victims when he was alive was missed because police and prosecutors did not take claims seriously enough.

    Details of a review of the decision not to prosecute Savile in 2009 by Alison Levitt QC (right), legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions (DPP), were disclosed today.

    She found that ‘had the police and prosecutors taken a different approach’ prosecutions could have been possible in relation to three victims.

    Ms Levitt said that there was nothing to suggest the victims had colluded in their stories, or that they were unreliable.

    Police and prosecutors treated their claims ‘with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required’, she said.

    Surrey Police received an allegation in May 2007 that Savile had sexually assaulted a teenage girl at Duncroft Children’s Home in the late 1970s.

    In the investigation that followed, two more allegations emerged – the first that in about 1973 Jimmy Savile had sexually assaulted a girl aged about 14 outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

    The second was that in the 1970s Jimmy Savile had suggested to a girl aged about 17, again at Duncroft, that she perform oral sex on him.

    In March 2008, Sussex Police received a complaint that Savile had sexually assaulted a woman in her early twenties in a caravan in Sussex in about 1970.
    Surrey Police consulted with the CPS about all four allegations, and in October 2009 it was decided that no prosecution could be brought because the alleged victims would not support police action.



    Jimmy Savile was knighted in 1990 for his charity work

    October 29 2011: Veteran DJ and broadcaster Jimmy Savile is found dead in his home in Roundhay, Leeds, aged 84. His death came after a spell of pneumonia.

    December 2011: BBC drops Newsnight investigation into his years of sex attacks.

    September 30 2012: It emerges that allegations about Savile will be made in a new ITV documentary, due to be aired on October 3.

    October 1: Surrey Police confirms Savile was interviewed in 2007 over allegations dating back to the 1970s but was released without charge.

    October 2: Jersey and Surrey police both investigated accusations about alleged abuse in two children’s homes, but decided there was not enough evidence to proceed.

    October 7: Prime Minister David Cameron calls for the ‘truly shocking’ allegations to be fully investigated.

    October 9: Scotland Yard reveals they are looking at 120 lines of inquiry and as many as 25 victims and launches Operation Yewtree

    October 11: Allegations emerge that Savile abused children at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire and Leeds General Hospital.

    October 12: Then BBC director general George Entwistle offers a ‘profound and heartfelt apology’ to alleged victims as he announces two inquiries – one into potential failings over the handling of the abandoned Newsnight investigation, and a second into the ‘culture and practices of the BBC during the years Savile worked here’.

    October 19: Scotland Yard announces that Operation Yewtree, the inquiry into alleged child abuse by Savile, is now a formal criminal investigation involving other living people.

    October 25: Scotland Yard says it is investigating in excess of 400 lines of inquiry involving 300 victims, of whom all except two are women. Commander Peter Spindler says Savile is one of the most prolific sex offenders in recent history and the inquiry into his abuse will be a “watershed” investigation into sex crime.

    October 26: It emerges that seven alleged victims of Savile made complaints to four separate police forces – Surrey, London, Sussex and Jersey – while the disgraced television presenter was alive, but it was decided no further action should be taken.

    October 28: Former pop star Gary Glitter is arrested by officers working on Operation Yewtree.

    November 1: Comedian Freddie Starr is arrested in connection with the Savile abuse investigation. He is released on bail.

    November 11: Former BBC producer Wilfred De’ath is arrested at an address in Cambridge but later insists he was the victim of mistaken identity. BBC director general George Entwistle resigns.

    November 15: Former Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis is arrested on suspicion of sexual offences. Police say the allegations do not directly involve Savile, and are classed under the strand of their investigation termed ‘others’.

    November 29: A man in his 80s, from Berkshire, is arrested and questioned by detectives investigating the Savile abuse scandal after attending police premises in south London by appointment.

    December 6: PR guru Max Clifford is arrested at his Surrey home on suspicion of sexual offences

    December 10: A man in his 60s, from London, is arrested on suspicion of sexual offences

    December 19: Former BBC radio producer Ted Beston, 76, is arrested in London on suspicion of sexual offences and vehemently denies the allegations the following day.

    January 2 2013: Former TV presenter Jim Davidson is arrested but ‘vigorously denies’ allegations of sexual offences made against him by two women. A 53-year-old man is also arrested.

    VIDEO  NSPCC alarmed by Savile’s abuse not being identified sooner

Police warned Savile victim his lawyers would make ‘mincemeat’ of her if she pursued sex claim as QC says CPS and police missed chance to prosecute in 2009

It is a disgusting state of affairs ,when rape or molestation victims are ridiculed and discouraged from registering a complaint ,whilst for some unknown reason,it would appear that the perpetrators are given the full protection of the law.

  • Official report finds police and CPS treated Savile prosecutions ‘with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required’
  • Alison Levitt QC says victims were dissuaded from taking cases to court while the DJ was alive
  • Victim told by Sussex police in 2008 she would be ‘publicly branded a liar and that her name would be all over the newspapers’ but media laws would have ensured she stayed anonymous
  • Savile told police accusations were ‘invented’ and an ‘occupational hazard’ conjured up because he was famous
  • New guidelines to be drawn up by CPS on prosecuting child sex cases
  • Missed: Jimmy Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 but police and prosecutors were too cautious, a report has found
  • Missed: Jimmy Savile could have been prosecuted in 2009 but police and prosecutors were too cautious, a report has found

A chance to convict Jimmy Savile for sex offences when he was alive was missed because police and prosecutors did not take victims seriously enough, an official report said today.

Details of a review of the decision not to prosecute Savile in 2009 by Alison Levitt QC, legal adviser to the director of public prosecutions, were disclosed today.

Her report was released in tandem with an official police probe into the DJ’s 60 years of abuse that revealed that he raped 34 women and girls and sexually assaulted up to 450, including children as young as eight.

Since the paedophile DJ died in October 2011 aged 84, a staggering 214 official crimes have been recorded by 28 police forces.

In her review Ms Levitt found one alleged victim was told by Sussex police officers that Savile’s lawyers would make ‘mincemeat’ of her in a ‘big London court’ if she pursued her sex assault claim.

In 1970, the Savile fan club member had been groped and forced to touch the DJ’s genitals after he invited her into his camper van after she went to watch Top Of The Pops at BBC Television Centre.

After going to the police in 2008, the woman, known as Ms A, was told by investigating officers that ‘she would be publicly branded a liar and that her name would be all over the newspapers, particularly if she lost the case’, the report says.

Deputy Chief Constable Giles York from Sussex Police said today: ‘We recognise that we could have done better and are committed to honest reflection and learning lessons for the future.’

A statement from Sussex Police went on: ‘We understand the conclusion the DPP has drawn, that our officers may have inadvertently dissuaded the victim from supporting any prosecution. It can be difficult in such circumstances to achieve the balance between supporting and reassuring a victim, whilst providing honest advice about the prosecution process and standard of evidence needed.’

This ‘dissuaded her from pursuing her allegation’, she concluded.

Three offences were also being investigated in 2008 by Surrey Police but they were not continued either.

Ms Levitt said that there was nothing to suggest the victims had colluded in their stories, or that they were unreliable, yet police and prosecutors treated their claims ‘with a degree of caution which was neither justified nor required’, she said.

Attack: One victim was told by police that if she pursued her claim Savile's lawyers would make 'mincemeat' of her in court

Attack: One victim was told by police that if she pursued her claim Savile’s lawyers                                                                       would make ‘mincemeat’ of her in court

Surrey Police received an allegation in May 2007 that Savile had sexually assaulted a teenage girl at Duncroft Children’s Home in the late 1970s.

In the investigation that followed, two more allegations emerged – the first that in about 1973 Jimmy Savile had sexually assaulted a girl aged about 14 outside Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The second was that in the 1970s Jimmy Savile had suggested to a girl aged about 17, again at Duncroft, that she perform oral sex on him.

Pledge: Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said today the way sexual abuse is investigated will be changed

Pledge: Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said today the way sexual abuse is investigated will be changed

In March 2008, Sussex Police received a complaint that Savile had sexually assaulted a woman in her early twenties in a caravan in Sussex in about 1970.

Surrey Police consulted with the CPS about all four allegations, and in October 2009 it was decided that no prosecution could be brought because the alleged victims would not support police action.

Ms Levitt found that Surrey Police did not tell each alleged victim that other complaints had been made, Sussex told the complainant that corroboration was needed and the prosecutor did not question why victims would not support court action or seek to build a case.

The victims told Ms Levitt that if they had known that other people were making complaints, they probably would have been prepared to give evidence in court.

Meanwhile her review showed how Savile had simply said that the accusations were just ‘invented’ and an ‘occupational hazard’ for anyone famous like him.

He also said he had a ‘policy’ to sue anyone who printed these accusations, having taken legal action against five papers previously.

‘If this does not disappear then my policy will swing into action’, he told Surrey officers, the report says.

Surrey Police assistant chief constable Jerry Kirkby said: ‘It is important the actions taken by the investigation team are viewed in context. This should take into account what information was known about Jimmy Savile in 2007 and the necessary consideration given by police to the impact of their actions on securing successful court action against him.

‘At the time, there was nothing to suggest the level of offending now being reported on a national scale. In July 2007, Surrey Police used national systems to conduct intelligence checks with every other police force in England and Wales. These checks found no record of any police intelligence or prior allegations relating to Jimmy Savile.’

DPP Keir Starmer said he wanted the case to be ‘a watershed moment’.

‘In my view, these cases do not simply reflect errors of judgment by individual officers or prosecutors on the facts before them,’ he said.

‘If that were the case, they would, in many respects, be easier to deal with. These were errors of judgment by experienced and committed police officers and a prosecuting lawyer acting in good faith and attempting to apply the correct principles. That makes the findings of Ms Levitt’s report more profound and calls for a more robust response.’

'Hazard': Savile, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his camper van, had told police that the allegations aimed at him was just because he was famous and were malicious

‘Hazard’: Savile, who was accused of sexually assaulting a woman in                                                                                                 his camper van, had told police that the allegations aimed at him was                                                                                         just because he was famous and were malicious

He drew parallels with a damning report on the investigation of a grooming gang in Rochdale.

Mr Starmer said police and prosecutors have approached sex offence allegations ‘with a degree of caution which is not generally justified’.

He said guidance will be drawn up on prosecuting child sexual exploitation cases to underline that ‘the credibility of the complainant’s account has to be seen in its proper context’.

An agreement has been drawn up with the Association of Chief Police Officers that:

  • The approach of police and prosecutors to credibility in sexual assault cases must change, with testing the suspect’s account and actively building cases being treated as importantly as testing the alleged victim’s story.
  • More support should be given to those who make allegations, and the number of times vulnerable victims can be cross-examined in court will be reconsidered.
  • Victims who have made allegations in the past that they feel have not been properly dealt with will have the chance to ask for their cases to be looked at again by joint police and CPS panels.

Mr Starmer also said that information on cases where a complaint has been made but a prosecution cannot be brought will be shared more fully with police and other relevant agencies.

source: Martin Robinson / Mail Online

USA review 2012: shootings, Superstorm Sandy and death of Whitney Houston

In 2012 America suffered two mass shootings, a devastating hurricane, and the unexpected death of one of its biggest music stars.

Sandy Hook Elementary School gunman Adam Lanza (left) and James Holmes who is accused of carrying out the massacre in Aurora, Colorado

Sandy Hook Elementary School gunman Adam Lanza (left) and James Holmes who is accused of carrying out the massacre in Aurora, Colorado 

The horrors of the Connecticut school shooting set the stage for a national debate on gun control in the New Year.

The tragedy came just five months after another gunman opened fire at a cinema in Aurora, Colorado killing 12 and injuring 58.

Suspect James Holmes, accused of carrying out the massacre during a screening of Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises,” is set to stand trial in 2013.

George Zimmerman (R) claims he killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin (L) in self defence (AP/Reuters)

In another high profile gun case Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, was gunned down by George Zimmerman, a white Hispanic neighbourhood watch coordinator, leading to debate about Florida’s controversial “stand your ground law.” Zimmerman will also stand trial for murder in 2013.

In February, America was stunned by the death of Whitney Houstonat the age of 48. She died in a hotel room on the eve of the Grammy Awards.

Whitney Houston (Getty Images)

Following much speculation about the cause of her death an inquest found she had drowned accidentally in a bathtub following a “cardiac event complicated by cocaine use.”

Hollywood also saw the divorce of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmeswho split after six years, managing to avoid a public custody battle over their daughter Suri.

In May the much anticipated public offering of the social network Facebook flopped, with share prices tumbling and leaving investors stunned.

Sports fans were also left shocked when one of the country’s leading college American Football coaches was revealed to be a serial child molester.

Jerry Sandusky, 68, the Penn State American football coach, was sentenced to 30 to 60 years in prison.

New York taxis are stranded on a flooded street in Queens after Superstorm Sandy hit the eastern seaboard of the US 

In late October the eastern seaboard was blasted by Superstorm Sandy, which deluged New York and New Jersey and left more than 100 dead and more than $60 billion worth of damage and losses.

Throughout the year Americans were also hit by record gas prices. Across the year the average was $3.63 a gallon this year, 10 cents higher than the previous record set in 2011. In April the national average hit a high of $3.94 a gallon, with people in some areas paying more than $5.

Stop and think – and you will realise that banning guns is a waste of time!

Ask yourself this. Even if you had a house full of guns and ammunition, would you then murder a close relative, shoot your way into a nearby primary school and massacre as many children as you could?

Of course you wouldn’t. You would have to be mad to do such a thing, and mad in a rather special way.

The debate rages on: The National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre delivers remarks during a news conference while demonstrators protest

The debate rages on: The National Rifle Association Executive Vice President Wayne La-Pierre delivers remarks during a news conference while demonstrators protest

So shall we ban kitchen knives? Or cars? Actually, most mass attacks in China – which like almost all despotisms has very tight gun laws – are done with either knives or explosives. The important thing is that these attacks still happen even with gun laws. 

What I am asking you to do here  is to think. Don’t be herded into the standard liberal opinion, that the Sandy Hook School tragedy is the fault of America’s allegedly crazy gun laws.

Actually, Connecticut’s gun laws are a good deal tighter than Britain’s were before 1920. British gun law before then was so relaxed it made Texas look effeminate. Did the streets of Edwardian London echo to gunfire? Were school massacres common? No.

Were guns restricted here because of crime? No, they were restricted because the panicky British government thought there might be a revolution.

In Switzerland, to this day, most homes contain powerful military weapons and ammunition. But gun crime is extremely rare there (unless you count suicide). Yet these massacres are a feature of modern life. They happen in countries such as Britain and Germany that already have severe gun laws. 

                   America was shocked and devastated by the brutal attack, which killed so many innocent children and adults

          America was shocked and devastated by the brutal attack, which killed so many innocent children and adults

Guns have been around for centuries, and high-capacity magazines have been around for decades. Guns in general are more controlled than ever. So a thinking person must look somewhere else for an explanation.

While the BBC and the papers have raged about guns, nobody has looked at the people who did the murders. There has been no great pressure to find out about Adam Lanza. Most reports make it plain that he was in some way mentally abnormal. Some suggest he may have been on one of the many powerful and poorly tested ‘medications’ that modern medicine casually inflicts on bored children who fidget in class, or on people who are just unhappy in various ways. There is, as yet, no clear answer. There may never be, as the authorities and the media just aren’t interested enough. One of the Columbine High School killers, Eric Harris, was on such medication (as we know thanks to a Freedom of Information inquiry), and the other, Dylan Klebold, may have been taking mind-altering  pills at some point before he acted, though his medical records are sealed – inexplicably, given the importance of the information. In many other similar massacres,  pills are involved – Patrick Purdy, culprit of the 1989 Cleveland school shooting, and Jeff Weise, culprit  of the 2005 Red Lake High  School shootings, had been taking ‘antidepressants’.

So had Michael McDermott, culprit of the 2000 Wakefield massacre in Massachusetts. So had Kip Kinkel, responsible for a 1998 murder spree in Oregon. So had John Hinckley, who tried to murder President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Then there are the illegal drugs that have been effectively decriminalised in much of the USA and Britain, especially supposedly ‘peaceful’ cannabis, now increasingly correlated with severe mental illness. ‘Medical Marijuana’, in effect the lawful sale of dope on medical pretexts, became legal in Connecticut earlier this year. Funny that, as we panic about guns we get laxer about mind-altering drugs.

Jared Lee Loughner, who murdered six people in Tucson, Arizona, had at one time been a heavy cannabis user.

And then of course there’s our old friend ‘care in the community’, under which people with quite severe problems are pushed out on to the streets  so that mental hospitals can be  closed and sold, and their staff  made redundant.

There you have it. You, the Politicians, and the media, can choose to think seriously about this subject. Or we can run with the flock bleating for tougher gun laws – and then wonder why it is that the massacres keep happening anyway.


Gingrich: The challenge confronting Republicans

 Newt Gingrich

To Chairman Reince Priebus,

Thank you for inviting me to present an analysis for the Republican National Committee about the current challenges Republicans face at every level.

Our working together goes all the way back to your early years in politics. I enjoyed doing events with you in Wisconsin and admired the work you did in helping Scott Walker become Governor.

I was delighted when you became RNC Chairman and I know how much you accomplished in the last two years rebuilding RNC finances and developing a better ground game.

Your creation of the Growth and Opportunity Project chaired by Henry Barbour is a very important step toward assessing what we have to learn from 2012 and what we have to do to succeed in 2014 and 2016.

I look forward to working with Henry and his team and hope this paper provides some useful thoughts about both the GOP’s past record of responding successfully to election challenges and to the changing nature of American society and politics.

Reforming the Republican Party so it can create a governing majority is an enormous challenge which includes every element of the party. However as you have observed the RNC has a key role to play in bringing together the ideas and the critiques and helping shape a clear vision of a successful GOP.

I begin with three famous quotes about solving problems.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results,” Albert Einstein.

“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” Einstein

“When I  couldn’t solve a problem I would always make it bigger until I could find the solution. I never solved it by making it smaller,” President and General of the Armies Dwight Eisenhower on problem solving in World War Two.


The scale of strategic thinking Republicans need is vastly larger and deeper than any current proposal recognizes. The Republican National Committee will play a particularly important role in gathering information, encouraging analysis, hosting dialogues about key changes, and helping implement strategies for victory in 2014 and 2016.

This will require a deep, bold, thorough, and lengthy process of rethinking.

I was so shaken by how wrong I was in projecting a Republican win on election night that I have personally set aside time at Gingrich Productions to spend the next six months with our team methodically examining where we are and what we must do.

In that context I was delighted when you appointed a distinguished team to lead the analysis for the Republican National Committee. I appreciate your invitation to work directly with them on a process that will be important to the entire Republican Party and ultimately to the country.

This paper is a step in that direction.

This initial analysis is direct, tough minded, and daunting.

As you recognize, the Republican National Committee is not merely the junior partner of whoever becomes the next presidential nominee.

The Republican NATIONAL Committee has a key role to play in every level of party activity including Congress, Governors, state legislators and local offices and activists.

That key role has often led to profound improvements in the GOP at a time of electoral disaster.


The RNC has historically played a very important role in recognizing new realities and developing new strategies and new structures.

After the disastrous collapse of the GOP in 1964 Chairman Ray Bliss played a decisive role in rebuilding the party structure. Within two years President Lyndon Johnson had created such a mess and Republicans had rebuilt so rapidly that the GOP won decisive victories for Congress and for Governorships.

After the devastating Watergate defeat of 1974 Chairwoman Mary Louise Smith led a courageous rethinking of the party’s strategies and structures. Her Executive Director, Eddie Mahe, undertook an exhaustive in depth look at a party which had dropped to 18% support among the American people( the lowest since the Great Depression).

In 1977 Chairman Bill Brock built on that rethinking. He backed Congressman Jack Kemp’s concept of supply side tax cutting to create economic growth. In 1978 Brock paid for the “tax cut clipper” to fly Kemp and Senator Roth around the country. This was a very courageous step because many establishment Republicans ridiculed Kemp’s ideas and opposed his bill. Even when Reagan adopted it in the campaign it was derided as voodoo economics by some Republicans).

I campaigned on supply side tax cuts and won a House seat in 1978  after losing in 1974 and 1976. I know Kemp’s ideas made a big difference.

Brock invested heavily in party structure and in ideas. After Margaret Thatcher won the May, 1979 election, Brock brought her advertising team to the United Stares and we studied intensely how they had communicated complex ideas in simple, vivid language. I was honored as a freshman to be part of that group and I know it disseminated a new wave of ideas that along with Reagan’s adoption of them  shaped the GOP for a generation.

After the 1992 defeat Chairman Haley Barbour was decisive in renewing enthusiasm, raising resources, and helping shape and implement strategy. Without Haley’s help we would not have had a Contract with America, would not have won the first House  GOP majority in 40 years or re-elected it for the first time since 1928 in 1996.

Your leadership in creating the Growth and Opportunity Project sets the stage for exactly that kind of decisive impact over the next few years.


There will be forces urging The Growth and Opportunity Project to develop a shallow, quick fix, small change approach to our current challenges.

There are very powerful, well connected, and prestigious forces who have made a lot of money out of the old system and have a huge interest in keeping it intact.  It may be bad for the GOP but it is good for them.

There are a number of influential people who are simply uncomfortable trying to think through fundamental change. They like to raise money and spend money. Over the last six presidential elections they have been in the minority five times. If money were the answer by now they would have found a majority.

The committee has an historic obligation to insist on  a very deep, through analysis of where we are, what we did, the challenges we face, and the strategies and structures needed to win in the future.

If basic rethinking  doesn’t make a lot of people very uncomfortable it isn’t serious enough, thorough enough or bold enough.

This makes the Growth and Opportunity Project a central activity for the party in the next six to nine months.


Too many Republicans underestimate the scale of the threat we face.

There is a combination of demographic trends, cultural changes, technological breakthroughs and intelligent, disciplined application of resources which could turn America into a national version of Chicago or California.

It is very unlikely Republicans will win in California without major changes.

It is very unlikely Republicans could win in Chicago even with major changes.

Those Republicans who  assume bad events will beat the Democrats in 2016 underestimate the power of machines to survive bad performances.

In good economies or bad Democrats win in Chicago.

Throughout the decay and decline of  Detroit (from 1,500,000 people with the highest per capita income in 1950 to under 800,000 and 67th in income today) Democrats won despite failure after failure.

In Argentina Peronism shattered the country’s political culture three generations ago and Argentina has never recovered.

The Democrats have been building a national machine while the Republicans have been running campaigns.

Four years of preparation (one could argue 20 years of preparation going back to the first Clinton victory) collided with a two to six month Republican general election campaign.

President Obama combined the lessons he learned as a neighborhood organizer with the principles and systems he learned from the Chicago machine.  In Florida alone they had 800 full time staff by Election Day. In some areas they had paid people who had lived in neighborhoods for over three years before the election.

This was organizing unlike anything Republicans had imagined.

As a general rule Machines beat campaigns.

It will take a large coalition working year around to bring enough people and resources together to defeat a machine

Unless Republicans profoundly and deeply rethink their assumptions and study what the Democrats have been doing the future could become very bleak and the Clinton-Obama majority could become as dominant as the Roosevelt majority was from 1932 to 1968 presidentially and from 1930 to 1994 in the House of Representatives.


No Republican should kid themselves about the scale of President Obama’s political achievement.

I was one of those who thought he would almost certainly be defeated.

Election night results have forced me to rethink everything I understood about how America makes political decisions.

With a bad economy, high gasoline prices, radical policies, and a massive deficit, precedent suggested that President Obama would lose in 2012.

However the President’s campaign recognized the challenges and designed strategies and structures to overcome them.

Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher asserted that “first you win the argument, then you win the vote.”

The Obama campaign took her adage to heart.

Exit polling indicated that Obama won the argument over the economy and by a large margin the American people blamed former President Gorge W Bush rather than his successor for the economic mess.

Building on advantages they had before the campaign began, the Obama team sealed off African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans (amazingly, by a bigger margin than Latinos), younger Americans and especially young single women.

Look at that list.

If the Democrats sustain their dominance in those groups, how can we believe we will be building a successful Republican future.

From a geographic perspective how do we write off New England, New York, California, Illinois, etc and think we are going to compete. One analyst noted that the  Democratic majority starts with about 250 electoral votes and simply has to find 20 extra electoral votes to win the Presidency.

This emerging Democratic machine helps explain why, in five of the last six Presidential campaigns, the GOP has failed to win a majority (and the 2004 Bush reelection was the smallest re-election margin of any President in our history).

If we were a sports team with that record every fan would be demanding profound change.


The current Republican consulting class and their professional campaign acolytes simply don’t  know enough to provide the level of knowledge we need.

Our effort should include reports from and dialogues with a number of people who have never been Republican consultants (see the  “Questions” section below for some examples).

There should be special RNC meetings throughout 2013 to host day long workshops in which experts from a variety of areas immerse the committee in the realities of the world  in which we will be competing.

The workshops should be streamed on line and cached at an “RNC STRATEGIC THINKING” website so every Republican activist  and concerned citizen can also learn and offer suggestions and comments.

We need a bottoms up rethinking involving many, many people, not a top down “expert led” process.

The experts just proved they aren’t experts so we should be very cautious about their reassurance that now they know what they didn’t know six weeks ago.

An open process would also fit more into the emerging nature of the Internet based, wireless, Information Age fluidity.


When the analysis has been absorbed and the new strategies and structures adopted it is vital that the Republicans insist on changes that are measurable.

For too long we have tolerated consultants and staff promising change as they went back to their comfortable but losing ways.

For too long we have been intimidated by incumbents and candidates who promise to follow new strategies and grow new structures but promptly fall back into the same old habits and patterns.

Mayor Giuliani’s use of specific measurements to fight crime in New York is a case study of insisting on and getting real change.

The results of the Growth and Opportunity Project should lead to measurable differences in the GOP over the next few years.


As we enter this process it is important to remember we have a lot of assets.

Having lived through 1964 and 1974 I can personally testify that we are much stronger today.

In November 1974 only 18% of the country identified as Republican. It’s hard to believe that six years later Ronald Reagan won in a landslide and two years earlier Nixon had won re-election in a landslide- a note for those who think things can’t change rapidly.

The exit polls for Congress in 2012 indicated 33% identified as Republican, 39% as Democrats, and 28% as independents.

Republicans  control the US House ( not true in either of those earlier disasters).

We have 30 Governors representing 315 electoral votes (45 more than it takes to win the Presidency).

In 24 states Republicans control both the Governorship and the legislature.

Those 24 states have 161,390,000 people or 51.2% of all Americans living under Republican government.

There are only 14 states with total Democratic control.

Overall there are 3863 Republican state legislators and only 3519 Democratic state legislators.

Thus we are in a period where there could be an alliance between 30 Republican Governors and a Republican US House of Representatives which could highlight better solutions and also highlight the failures of the federal government.

There is also a large bench of talent in the Republican state legislators which could lead to a future of very good candidates at every level.

The question is if we can identify a strategy and structure which enables us to turn those assets into a victorious future majority.


Learning how to win in the 21st century is vital to the cause of freedom. The Republican Party remains dedicated to the cause of Liberty as described by our first  Republican President, Abraham Lincoln when he described the source of American prosperity:

“All this is not the result of accident. It has a philosophical cause. Without the Constitution and the Union, we could not have attained the result; but even these, are not the primary cause of our great prosperity. There is something back of these, entwining itself more closely about the human heart. That something, is the principle of “Liberty to all”—the principle that clears the path for all—gives hope to all—and, by consequence, enterprize, and industry to all.

“The expression of that principle, in our Declaration of Independence, was most happy, and fortunate. Without this, as well as with it, we could have declared our independence of Great Britain; but without it, we could not, I think, have secured our free government, and consequent prosperity. No oppressed, people will fight, and endure, as our fathers did, without the promise of something better, than a mere change of masters.”

We remain dedicated to the cause of freedom and liberty but we have to master the technologies and systems of the 21st century to ensure that that cause is victorious. We  have to apply the principles of freedom, safety, prosperity, and liberty to helping Americans of all backgrounds understand how our approach will lead to their having better lives.


The key questions are about Republicans, not about Romney. It is a big mistake to focus the blame for this defeat on Governor Romney. He did not lose the majority in 1992, 1996, 2000, and 2008. This is a much bigger, deeper problem than an analysis of 2012 in isolation will solve.

The following are examples of the kind of questions the Growth and Opportunity Project should be exploring.  This list is not inclusive but is merely illustrative of the depth of knowledge we need with which to begin our exploration of strategies and structures for the future.

Many of these questions will require a dialogue over time rather than a single meeting or single report. Some of them may remain works in progress over a number of years.

Start with what the Democrats have been doing right. Build a library of must reads starting with books like Plouffe’s The Audacity to Win, Bai’s The Argument:Inside the Battle to Remake Democratic Politics, and Witwer and Schrager’s The BluePrint(: How the Democrats Won Colorado(and why Republicans Everywhere should care). A small team should be assigned to pull together every book, article, and interview which helps explain what the Democrats have been doing and to organize them into topics for analytical access by every interested Republican. A working group should also issue a report on lessons to be learned after thoroughly  reviewing all this material. Someone should become the chief researcher and archivist on our opponents’ systems and activities.

2.  We need a map of the Democrats’ coalition and the scale and intensity of their coalition.  Their organized efforts and networks simply dwarf anything Republicans and conservatives have developed. Furthermore, their coalition is a permanent system of activism while the Republican consultant model is campaign focused and therefore both episodic and isolated. An ongoing coalition can mass and focus more energy and resources than isolated short time-horizon campaigns,

3. We need a clear distinction between coalition-based campaigns and consultant-based campaigns. There are profound differences in systems, styles, structures, and attitude. The last three big Republican Presidential victories (1980, 1984, 1988) were coalition campaigns. The House victories of 1994, 1996, and 2010 were coalition victories. The Republican consultant class, many campaign professionals, and many Republican staff are deeply opposed to the coalition model.  This choice is decisive in growing a bigger, stronger, and more robust GOP.  The RNC should insist on this debate and force the transition to a coalition model including within the RNC structure itself. This question of strategic doctrine and the culture and structure which implements it is central to the future of the party. Another billion dollars spent on the wrong strategy and structure will be another billion dollars wasted. As an analogy, the French had more and better tanks in 1940 than the Germans. However they had the wrong strategy and structure for using the tanks. They were routed in days by a more modern doctrine. Doctrine defeats dollars and the bulk of the professional GOP is wedded to the wrong doctrine. This change will be painful but unavoidable if we are to become a truly  competitive 21st century organization. The problem is not consultants, campaign professionals, and staff as such. We need solid professionals and experts who can develop complex strategies, build complex structures, and run complex campaigns. The challenge is to convert the culture and doctrine from one that is focused on candidate centric, consultant defined campaigns to one that is built around coalitions, long term party building and team efforts.

4. We need a timeline and analysis of the Obama Presidency and campaign. Some components of the campaign go back to 2006 and have been growing and evolving ever since. Micro-targeting, micro-leaders, micro-communities, and micro-issues all existed within a larger narrative.  There was solid connection between campaign needs and Presidential and Executive Branch activities (including policies, appointments and schedules).

5. Infotainment is a world  Democrats enjoy and use and Republicans either disdain or fear, and as a consequence avoid.  The View, the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, Leno, Letterman, ESPN, Nickelodeon, MTV, and on and on, represent patterns of communications Republicans  often disdain, seldom appear on and as a consequence are simply invisible to their audiences.  The same could be said for most ethnic media.  We need a report on the appearances of Democrats and Republicans in these areas in 2011 and 2012 and then we need a strategy for Republican engagement.

6. The strategic nurturing over time of micro-issues with micro-organizations and micro-communicating ( a pattern much richer and more powerful than micro-targeting) to create micro-communities that support their team and their candidate has been vastly better done by Democrats. This deserves its own study and a strategic response that will require very different systems and structures. There is a huge difference between the strategic development of issues over time (often lasting through several election cycles) and the Republican consultant and professional staff focus on tactics with very short time horizons.

We need at least three case studies of the growth of strategic issues on the left. The contraception issue ( which none of the GOP candidates understood when first raised in a debate by George Stephanopoulos in December, 2011) grew into the War on Women and became a major coalition message by the time of the Democratic National Convention. Post-election polling indicates it was very effective in mobilizing and solidifying one segment of the Obama coalition. It is a good example of a case study we need. How do we grow our issues? How do we recognize and trump their issues?
What other strategies should be studied as examples?

7. The 47% comment by Governor Romney reflected a deep belief by many conservatives and Republican consultants, campaign professionals, staffs, and activists. The entire psychology of writing off vast parts of a country or state and focusing narrowly may make some sense for a specific campaign. but it is a formula for permanent minority status when adopted by a party. The GOP should end red-versus-blue and narrowly focused targeting models. What would a 100% Republican Party be like if we planned 2014 and 2016 with no reference to red or blue  states or counties. It is true that President Obama ran a deliberate class warfare divisive campaign. However if you analyze his winning coalition it is amazing how many components were bonded by micro-communities and a sense of inclusiveness that transcended a narrowly class warfare approach. We have to understand this pattern of defining differences while being openly inclusive.

8. California should be a test of the new inclusive solutions-oriented GOP. Having our largest state dominated by the other party is an enormous disadvantage for Presidential elections and for controlling the House. Furthermore a one-party California has proven to be economically and educationally a disaster for Californians.  Finally, a GOP which includes minorities will by definition be competitive in California. A special California victory  project should be developed and sustained by the RNC until California is robustly competitive again (think of it as the equivalent of the long RNC investment in growing support in the South).

9. A truly national party also has to learn to compete in urban America. The 87.5 per cent turnout in Milwaukee, which shocked Wisconsin Republicans, should also be seen as a rebuke to a GOP which has atrophied in urban America. The RNC will need an urban operation that recruits, trains, and supports candidates in urban environments.  One of the RNC’s great contribution in the 1970s and early 1980s was an aggressive local candidate program. The local elections division was crucial to the growth of the post Watergate Party.  In the mid-1980s it was reinforced by GOPAC. Without the work of those two systems we would not have won a majority in 1994.  The RNC is NOT the presidential committee. It is the NATIONAL committee. As such it should methodically build the party at every level. This requires a structure and budget to make the commitment real.

10. Washington is going to be a mess for the next four years, but there are 30 state capitols with Republican Governors achieving positive solutions.  In 24 states there is Republican control of the executive and legislative branches.  There should be a close, daily alliance between the RNC, the RGA, and House Republicans. Every effort should be made to move Republican achievements from the states to the national media.  House Republicans should host hearings led by Republican Governors with success stories and other hearings with Republican Governors reporting on waste and failure in the federal government in their states. In addition, a thorough analysis should be undertaken of successful Republican Governors. How do thy win? How do they govern? How do they hold their coalitions together? Washington has a lot to learn from the states.

11. The challenge of Latino, Asian American, Native American and African American supportI must be met or the GOP will become a permanent minority party.  We must think through inclusion and not outreach. Out reach occurs when five white guys have a meeting and call minority activists.  Inclusion is when the activists are in the meeting. As a start, the RNC should bring together minority elected Republicans and those white Republicans who do best  in minority communities. New strategies and systems have to be built starting with listening to the people we want to recruit and attract. This challenge is so big, so hard, and so central to our success that it should be one of the top three items at every meeting and have one of the larger budgets at the RNC. Anything less will simply fail as it has for the last 50 years. The same model of inclusion has to be applied to expanding Republican strength among women and especially among younger single women.  We should establish specific goals for increases in support within each group for 2014 and 2016.

12. How did the Obama team manage such enormous turnouts? What components of message and mechanism went into that historic result?  Could it be matched by a Republican effort, and if so, how?

13. Data science Obama-style has no relationship to the Republican model of Internet politics. The Obama system is helped in data science by its 85 to 90% dominance of Silicon Valley. If you have the founders of Google and Facebook helping you design your system you have an enormous advantage over your competitors. The challenge of social networking, micro-community building and citizen mobilization may be second only to the challenge of including minority Americans in the GOP in determining whether Republicans decline into minority status for the next several decades.

14. The gap between Republican and Democratic pollsters is ominously large. The shock many Republican analysts and “experts” got election night was extraordinary and should lead to a deep, long rethinking of Republican assumptions about the country and the campaign.  In my case, it is leading me to six months of in-depth questioning, learning and analysis at Gingrich Productions. If it is true that the Obama team was doing 9,000 calls a night internally, connected to their data scientists while also using traditional polling it represents a world no Republican can match today. This is at the heart of knowing reality better than your opponent and it has to be honestly and courageously addressed.

15.  In story telling and narrative development, the mismatch of resources is as great as in Internet capabilities. Hollywood, New York City, academics, the news media and trial lawyers are the dominant story tellers in American life. Every one of them is overwhelmingly (80% plus) Democratic.  Republicans have complained about the inarticulateness and communications ineffectiveness of the party for the entire time I have been involved (going back to August 1958). This is the third great strategic challenge along with minorities and the Internet community.

16. The cultural and language context of politics is being changed dramatically by entertainment and by the education system. A 30-second ad can’t offset hundreds of hours of sitcoms.  A key speech can’t turn around years of indoctrination by left wing teachers and professors. Republican planning has to be much more aware of the context, especially for younger voters, within which we are messaging. In the long run there have to be strategic responses to the left’s domination of entertainment and education.

17. The key to success in politics as in war is the ability to stay on offense. There is a deeply destructive tendency among Republicans to fall into a defensive mode (watch the current “fiscal cliff” process as a depressing example).  Learning to stay on offense requires a strategic vision that enables you to constantly orient to the future, an operational system that allows you to be inside your opponent’s decision cycle ( see Boyd’s work on OODA-loops for an explanation) and the tactical skill to dominate the media, which will normally be opposed to you. Republicans as a group have none of these  capabilities.

18.  What is the Republican vision of a successful America built by a freedom, opportunity, safety and prosperity majority? If we have no positive vision to attract people to and no positive vision toward which we can develop policies, it is impossible to stay on offense and impossible to build the micro-communities and coalitions which lead to victory. We have to translate that national vision into offering a better future in personal, believable terms that draw people away from a culture of dependency and enable us to offer a positive future rather than simply attacking the left. We  need to become  a party that people want to belong to. For example, we should have had a positive answer for lower cost, better outcome health care in addition to opposing Obamacare. People need to know what we are for even more than what we are against.

19. These changes will require retraining or replacing much of the current generation of consultants and campaign staff. All too many of our current consultants and professional campaign staffs have very short time horizons built around negative campaigns of tearing down their opponents.  This does not imply that we can succeed without consultants and campaign staff ( and knowledgable counterparts in public office). Just the opposite.  Their jobs are so critical we have to ensure they have the right doctrine and the right skills.

20. There should be an analysis of the Obama campaign compensation model. Is there a model of compensation which creates a longer time horizon? A model which encourages investing in a ground game as much as in television advertising? A model which has high rewards for winning or for meeting metrics (in some areas we may want to run starter campaigns to just begin re-engaging those communities and in those cases, the metrics of achievement may deserve rewards even while falling short of victory)?

21. What changes should Republicans make to maximize the effectiveness of their resources? There is a great deal of confusion about the efforts of the campaign, the committees, the superpacs etc. What do we need to learn from 2012 and how can we improve resource allocation in future campaigns?

22. What functions should be decentralized outside Washington? What lessons can be learned from the Obama-Democratic Party system.

23.  There should be an honest, tough minded review of the campaigns, the party, and the super-pacs. There is a widespread view that money is not being distributed based on performance and proposals but instead is being distributed based on cronyism, favoritism, closed (rigged.) bids etc?  This is a Republican issue not an RNC issue. Too much money was spent by too few people with too few victories to avoid these questions.

24. One test for the emerging new insights, strategies and structures would be to ask, if
they  had been in place in 2009 would they have enabled us to win in 2012? When the various studies have submitted their recommendations, it would be healthy this August or September to have a two day simulated 2009-2012 rerun using the new decisions to see what impact they would have had. That might be a powerful last step in developing a new model, Information Age, inclusive Republican Party capable of becoming the governing majority.

25. As we listen to the larger country and learn more about key groups we failed to win in 2012 a number of new issues will begin to emerge. We need an issue development process that will enable us to build micro-communities or supporters and appeal to many people who do not consider themselves Republican. However this process of issue development should grow out of the new lessons and not prejudge them.


Remember this the next time some lib tells you there is no voter fraud…
Several top Democratic officials in Maryland, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts were charged or found guilty recently in separate voter fraud cases.

Democratic Congressional candidate Wendy Rosen dropped from her race against Republican Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD) in September after it was discovered she had been voting in two states in recent elections – Maryland and Florida. Rosen said she was saddened to leave the race in Maryland.


She still received 92,000 votes in November.

Rosen was charged this week for illegal voting.

Democrat officials in New York, Massachusetts, and New Jersey also face prison time for voter fraud.


Coventry illegal immigrant stole dead baby’s ID

Warwickshire Justice Centre ,Leamington Spa (Crown Court)

A WOMAN stole the identity of a baby who died tragically, even getting married under her assumed name.

Illegal immigrant Stacey-Ann Small used the child’s birth certificate to con the authorities into believing she was entitled to stay in the UK – and to carry out a series of frauds.

Small, formerly of Coventry, has now been jailed for two years at the crown court in Leamington.

Little Rachel Davies died from bronchial pneumonia before her first birthday in the early 1980s.

Small, originally from Jamaica, assumed the child’s ID in 2006 after picking up her birth certificate from a friend.

She even used the child’s ID to register the birth of her own baby – and to get married.

Small, now of The Mews, Bedworth, pleaded guilty to six charges of fraud and three of making false statements. The 29-year-old, who also admitted possessing an identity document with improper intention, was jailed for two years – and is likely to be deported to Jamaica after serving her sentence.

Prosecutor Lal Amarasinghe said Small was born in Jamaica in 1983, and after coming to this country on a visitor’s visa in 2001 she was granted an extension until December 2002.

After that she had no right to remain here, and in 2006 she assumed the identity of Rachel Davies, under which she married and registered the birth of her second child.

In fact Rachel had been born in Nottingham in 1981 but tragically died from bronchial pneumonia before her first birthday.

While using the false birth certificate Small obtained a driving licence in the name of Rachel Davies and twice used Rachel’s birth certificate to apply for passports.

Between August 2008 and January 2009, while living at Druid Road, Stoke, Coventry, she made fraudulent claims to Coventry City Council for housing and council tax benefits.

She continued making claims for the same two benefits from Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council after moving to Bedworth in February 2009.

And from January 2009 until January 2012, again posing as Rachel, she claimed job seeker’s allowance and income support.

Mr Amarasinghe pointed out that altogether Small was paid £23,230 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

During some of that time she was working, and in April this year she got a job at a dental surgery by using Rachel’s identity to fraudulently claim she was entitled to work here.

In March this year she even got married as Rachel.

She eventually admitted using the false identity saying another woman gave her Rachel’s birth certificate.

Sean Logan, defending, said that after coming to this country for a wedding, Small was put under pressure to stay and become involved in criminal activity with her brothers.

Her family blamed her when two of her brothers got jailed for drugs matters – and she ran away to start a new life for herself.

Mr Logan said: “She was provided with the false ID. She says she did not know it was a deceased person.’’

Judge Sylvia de Bertodano told her: “In 2006 after your first child was born you decided to make your status permanent by assuming the identity of a child who was born and died around the time you were born.

“There are two things that make this serious, and the first is that you took on this identity so you could obtain the benefits of a life here.

“But the second is that you also potentially caused very real hurt to the parents of the baby who died in 1981.’’

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