Australia’s Long-Suffering Legal System; and a Muslim Martyress

They’ve already convicted her husband of terrorism.

She has

sued the police for damages over the raid [on their house], alleging violence and assault in the course of the search.

The family lost, and were ordered to pay $250,000 in court costs to the Australian Federal Police and the New South Wales Police.

Her thing is that she refused to give crucial exonerating evidence because the court – after the judge tried a variety of accommodations which she rejected – wouldn’t let her testify in her burqa and damned if she was going to let some man see her face – or her hands — or anything — even for a few moments.

Now she’s racking up more legal and other expenses by appealing that decision…

And I gotta tell you. That appeal will not end well for her. So that’s more money she’s going to have to find…

But it’s all good, ain’t it?

1. As long as she makes legal noise, she keeps her attractive way of life in full view of all Australians via news coverage. Good advertising.

2. She is a martyr for her faith, something fanatics tend to want.

3. She is shaming many other countries – like France, Canada (just the province of Quebec so far, actually), Belgium, and Germany (where currently you can’t drive while in a burqa, but it looks as though more severe measures are coming) – who fail to see the gothic beauty of actual living women inside of coffins.

Now it’s the turn of North America.

Quebec follows many European nations and regions in banning the burqa and niqab in public places.

Opponents always say the same two dumb things.

They say only a few women wear it. So? It ain’t about numbers, baby.

They say it’s all about the cynical politics of the moment.

The National Council of Canadian Muslims issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” by the new law and that it “boils down to ugly identity politics” ahead of the 2018 provincial election.

Opposition to fully covered women, in country after country, is profound, and transcends politics.


As for ugly identity politics – hey. Better ugly identities than no identity at all.

IOW: For sure this is about identity politics. It’s about having an identity. End the blotting out of women.

‘Beyond the face-covering ban, the bill also sets out broad limits for all requests for religious accommodation. It states a request has to be “serious,” respect the right to equality between men and women and “the right of every person to be treated without discrimination.”‘

Quebec is well on its way, not only toward a significant burqa ban, but just as importantly toward an effort to discriminate between “serious” and non-serious religious accommodation requests. The intellectual laziness and social irresponsibility of beliefs like Katha Pollitt’s – “[R]eligion is what people make of it.” – make the world safe for crushing restrictions against girls and women in otherwise advanced countries.

You don’t get to say that your religion mandates that your eleven year old daughter have her clitoris cut off and her vagina sewn up and her head and body covered in veils. You don’t get to say that your religion mandates your wife can’t leave the house – ever – or if she is allowed out, it’s only under guard and under total veiling. You don’t get to say that “due to my firm religious beliefs … it will not be possible for me to meet in public with a group of women.” It’s perfectly okay for you to run your own cult in which you ban yourself from contact with the female race, but you don’t get to call this a religion, and you don’t get accommodations based on it.

You’re free to sue your daughter’s school because it won’t let you be on its grounds fully veiled. You will lose the suit, and it will cost you a lot of money and the court system a lot of time to get to that foreseeable outcome, but you’re free to do it.

But no state, and no institution within a state, is compelled to accommodate every demand made upon it simply because someone somewhere presents some behavior or other as religious.

In the matter of Canadian poet Pierre DesRuisseaux, the question is not Who did he plagiarize? The question is: Who did he not?

The old and globally popular trick of publishing poems you’ve translated from one language to another as your own has caught up with the celebrated DesRuisseaux, a plagiarist who had the good sense to die last year, shortly before a careful reader noticed that if you translate one of his poems (back) into English it’s actually the work of Maya Angelou. This discovery drew the interest of Ira Lightman, a plagiarism detective.

Angelou? Ce n’est que la pointe de l’iceberg.

At latest count this poet laureate ripped off at least ten other poets – translated their work into French and put his name on it.

The book has been pulled; and, in an effort to save the guy’s ass, various supporters ask us to believe that when he wrote the book he suffered from Dementia (Inadvertent Global Plagiarism Type).

Compare McGill’s hysteria over…

this (hysteria here) to Harvard’s reaction to this.

A hot new prospect for US university and professional football…

… advertises his wares from Canada.

[Luis-Andres Guimont-Mota, an award-winning football player for McGill University,] was arrested Wednesday afternoon and will be arraigned Thursday on charges of assaulting his girlfriend, theft and uttering threats… He pleaded guilty last February to an assault charge after he and two accomplices beat up a young man outside a Quebec City bar in May 2010.

A career assaulter! Expect a bidding war here soon.

“… [T]he [McGill University Hospital Centre] not only topped up Porter’s $241,000 salary in 2010 with a $63,000 stipend to ensure his ‘increased availability,’ the board of directors also agreed to upgrade his company car from a Mercedes to a Bentley. This came on top of taxpayer-funded memberships in exclusive clubs, a $500,000 low-interest loan and extra pay for research and teaching that Porter may never have actually earned.”

UD‘s not ashamed to say that she has missed Arthur Porter, and that she is therefore mucho excited as Canada enters another round of Portermania. Porter was the much-loved, much-gifted CEO of McGill University’s hospital, until it turned out that he’d rigged a bid on a new facility in order to arrange an 11.25 million dollar kickback for himself. The Bentley just wasn’t cutting it for Arthur Porter, a man responsible for “perhaps the biggest fraud ever perpetrated in Canada.”

UD‘s only regret is that he’s Arthur rather than Joseph Porter; if he were [Sir] Joseph Porter, she could write a whole version of When I Was A Lad for him (sample line: But when the breezes blow, I generally go to Panama.)

But really, beyond that, UD has no complaint at all. The yummy revelations of spectacular greed and corruption at McGill University and environs will keep coming and the whole thing will be far more interesting than (yawn) Rob Ford. Personal collapse stories call for our compassion, certainly; but the Arthur Porter story is about the collapse of a university’s board of trustees as well as a region’s legislative body. It’s about how Quebec continues to claim its title as the most corrupt province in Canada.

One’s heart goes out to this man.

Having worked hard to accumulate tens of millions of dollars as head of the McGill University Health Centre, Arthur Porter understandably has done all he can to resist arrest and extradition back to Canada for having stolen it via kickbacks.

First Porter said he was deathly ill, but this apparently was a lie.

Then he said he was a plenipotentiary ambassador from Sierra Leone. Plenipotentiary is the highest rank available – head of mission, full authority to represent a government – but this also is a lie.

The two claims are impressive when you put them together – on oxygen, about to die of late-stage lung cancer, and at the same time representing Sierra Leone at the highest levels. The man deserves a medal from Sierra Leone, or from the United Nations. But again, unfortunately, he is making it up.

Having exhausted those two efforts to free himself from arrest and extradition, Porter will be interesting to watch at his trial. What lies will he take up there, by way of his defense?

UD will predict that he will move from lies about his physical health to lies about his mental health. He will claim temporary insanity. Oh, and three other men have been arrested for the same scheme. Porter will certainly blame all of them, and say they duped him into involvement. I don’t think Canada televises trials, but if it did, this would be, as I say, one to watch.


Adding insult to injury, McGill University has announced it is

cancelling plans to pave an “Arthur T. Porter Way” onto the hospital property.

Juvenile Female Cooper’s Hawk…

… just outside my bedroom window! Perched on a honeysuckle limb, it’s got a sharp eye on our bird feeder, which overflows with nuthatches.

It looks like this.

UD‘s feeling a bit unsettled about having created the killing ground for the hawk by hanging a bird feeder…

Another Case of Post-Diagnostic Regret…

… this one from Canada. As with Allen Frances, so with just-retired University of Laval medical school professor Fernand Turcotte:

Fernand Turcotte had not been retired long from his job in the faculty of medicine at the University of Laval when he came to an unsettling conclusion.

“I realized that the things I had been teaching my students for 35 years were not true,” says the silver-haired former Quebec City professor.

“What I thought were the contributions of my specialty to the health and well-being of humanity in fact served to further poison people’s lives.”

Turcotte’s getting at something Donald Light has argued. Light says that (I’m quoting an Inside Higher Education piece I wrote about this last year)

the market for prescription drugs – in the United States and throughout the world – has become a lemon market, indeed “the largest and most dangerous market in lemons in modern society.”

Turcotte puts it this way:

[T]he medical industry is suffering from an “ethical bankruptcy,” in which well-meaning doctors don’t have the time to synthesize all the information coming at them from pharmaceutical companies.

Studies suggest a doctor would have to spend roughly 600 hours per month reading academic journal articles just to stay up to date with the latest findings.

“The average doctor feels guilty about falling behind on his reading, and this creates a fear of incompetence,” Turcotte says. “This makes them more welcoming of whatever suggestions, no matter how ridiculous, that come from consensus conferences.”

He charges that many of these conferences, where medical consensuses are formed, are tainted by conflicts of interest.

In some cases, papers presented at these conferences – and related articles published in leading medical journals – were found to have been written by ghostwriters paid for by pharmaceutical companies.

It all adds up to major over-prescription of needlessly expensive drugs.

Turcotte’s afraid Canada is going to look like us soon. Which would be pretty gross. He’s translating Nortin Hadler’s Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America, into French as fast as he can.


From The Canadian Press:

After months of balancing a woman’s religious beliefs with her desire to learn French, the Quebec government stepped into her classroom to offer an ultimatum: take off the niqab or drop the course.

The woman opted to keep her Islamic face-covering and has filed a human-rights complaint against the government.

In a province where the government frequently faces accusations of doing too much to accommodate minorities, these actions have prompted a fair bit of praise. [In Canada, as in Europe and much of the Middle East, opposition to the niqab and burqa is strong. These identity-annihilators are outrageous anywhere, but they’re real insults in university settings.]

The woman began taking a French course designed for immigrants at a Montreal college in February but she refused to remove her niqab while men were present .  [As you read, note that the woman’s motives, as presented here, have nothing to do with religion, and everything to do with hatred and fear of men.]

The college was initially willing to accommodate her, but eventually balked as her demands escalated.

According to a report in a Montreal newspaper, she was allowed to give an oral with her back to the class and asked men to move so they wouldn’t face each other. [Wouldn’t face other men? Wouldn’t face her? Whatever.] [Update, from another source: “[S]he demanded that male students who were sitting around her move their places so that she could sit surrounded by women. That was accommodated by the school.” … Good morning, class. Okay, ladies! Form your phalanx!]

The breaking point occurred when the woman again refused to take off the niqab, though teachers had stressed it was essential they see her face to correct her enunciation and facial expressions.

In what appears to be a highly unusual move, provincial Immigration Minister Yolande James intervened. Officials from her department, acting with the minister’s knowledge, met with the woman to discuss her options.

“The government has specific pedagogical objectives in its French courses,” said James’s spokesman, Luc Fortin.

“We couldn’t accept that these objectives, or the learning environment in the class, be compromised.”

Several groups, including several teachers’ unions, applauded the government for drawing a line in the sand. So did moderate Muslim groups…


UD thanks David.

Mr UD’s Just Back…

… from Québec, where he
delivered a paper – in French!
– at the Hôtel du Parlement.

The Université Laval sponsored
the conference, on the subject
of constitutions.

Mr UD wore his Université
Laval tie, inherited from his father, to
whom Laval gave an honorary doctorate.

La Kid’s visiting a friend in Scotland.
She is, according to her Gchat message,
“very happy.”

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