Saturday, April 24, 2010
Das Heilige Römische Reich Deutscher Nation – Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation - is not forgotten in Austria
The Reich concerned was of course centred on Austria and ended only in 1918 but commentators frantically link Ms Rosenkranz to Hitler while ignoring that earlier precedent to which she is referring. She seems to be little more than an Austrian traditionalist. Hitler, by contrast, was an Austrian socialist.
Student duelling clubs, for instance, long preceded the Nazis. And the Austrian emperors were NOT antisemitic, which is why so many Jews thrived in Vienna. Kaiser (Emperor) Franz Josef, "was especially noted for his exceptional attitude to Jewish soldiers serving in the Austrian army, concerning himself over the availability of kosher food of the highest standard, assuring them of access to the necessary religious articles and ensuring unhindered Sabbath observance. ...." (Quote from p. 210 of "The Heavenly City" by Menachem Gerlitz, 1979)
The voice of Barbara Rosenkranz rises above the small crowd in the Ballhausplatz as she makes the case for the far Right in Austria’s presidential elections tomorrow.
Her chin is square, her hair forms a tight grey helmet. Ms Rosenkranz, mother of ten children, is, for another 24 hours at least, the great white hope of the radical nationalists in Europe.
She is destined to lose against the incumbent President, Heinz Fischer, but if she nets more than 20 per cent of the vote it will be seen as the most significant comeback in Austria since the death of the far-right idol Jörg Haider 18 months ago.
“The family is at the heart of our society and it has been betrayed,” she says, raising her voice to drown out the hoots of left-wing demonstrators. The crowd, mainly Freedom Party supporters still mourning Haider, applaud. The word verrat — betrayal — always goes down well in Vienna. They are craggy men in green jackets, a woman shivering in a low-cut dirndl folk dress and a surprising number of young fans — there largely to see Heinz-Christian Strache, 40-year-old leader of the far Right. He and Ms Rosenkranz are the faces of the radical Right revival. He talks of a modern patriotism and the threat of Islam; she thinks that women should stay at home and breed, and that national socialists should not be muzzled.
In Western Europe Islamophobia has replaced Holocaust denial as a rallying call for rightwingers such as Geert Wilders. Austria, though, is still very much a part of Central Europe — and here the Rosenkranz message, coded though it may be, is well understood. After all, in neighbouring Hungary, once part of the great Austro-Hungarian empire, the extremist Jobbik grouping — anti-Semitic, anti-Gypsy, anti-modernism — has recently won seats in Parliament and is on the way up.
Ms Rosenkranz’s voice is familar — in part because it features in a secretly filmed video that her opponents have released on YouTube. The film shows her celebrating the summer solstice with like-minded people; right-wing students in their duelling club uniforms, some tough-looking characters — and her husband, Horst, the author of nationalist pamphlets written for neo-Nazis.
Ms Rosenkranz makes a speech that goes down well. “Every whore attracts great public interest . . . but the motherly woman is mocked as being an example of an out-of-date role model,” she says. The group sings an old student song adapted by Hitler’s SS: If all are unfaithful, complete with lyrics approved by Heinrich Himmler: “We want to preach and speak / Of the Holy German Reich.” Ms Rosenkranz’s voice comes over loud and clear.
Not that she is a neo-Nazi, she insists. After campaigning to lift the ban on national socialist propaganda she came under pressure to relent — so she swore on oath, before a registered notary, that she did not doubt the existence of the Holocaust and that she had nothing in common with Nazi ideology.
Many Austrians are not convinced. She has not, for example, distanced herself from the activities of her husband, who has campaigned for imprisoned neo-Nazis. Her circle of friends includes some politically dubious characters. Her dog is called Greif — German for “attack” — and there is the strange pagan business of those solstice bonfires and torchlit meetings in forest clearings. She has renounced her Christianity and refused to have her children baptised.
Even so, she could make a significant impact. Mr Haider, after all, also had secret woodland meetings with admirers in which he praised the Waffen SS. Unlike Ms Rosenkranz he was permatanned and a Porsche driver but the far Right seems to believe that a tandem of Ms Rosenkranz and Mr Strache might conjure some of the Haider magic.
The mainstream conservatives, the Austrian People’s Party, have not bothered to field a candidate for the presidency, so some of their followers might end up voting for Ms Rosenkranz.
Columnists came piling in yesterday, nervous that she could score a symbolic victory. “If the Nazi Granny became President it would be a disaster for Austria. We would be put on a level with Iran, North Korea and Libya,” said Wolfgang Fellner, of the Österreich.
“Don’t listen to the media manipulators,” Ms Rosenkranz told the crowd yesterday. “Listen to your hearts.”
St George parade through London revived
A certain element of battiness about the details but battiness is also English
The revival of a St George’s Day parade through the City of London for the first time in four centuries was a vision of traditional Englishness. There was a man dressed as St George with a papier-maché dragon on his helmet, a marching band, a lamb and an all-terrain vehicle designed by an Austrian arms company that made guns for the Third Reich.
The Pinzgauer truck, which originated in Austria but is now made in England, was invited to take up the rear of the procession by the Worshipful Company of Armourers & Brasiers, a City guild that last performed such a parade in 1585.
It also enlisted the help of the Band of The Parachute Regiment, the Regimental Colour Party and Pegasus, a Shetland pony that serves as a regimental mascot.
The civilian contingent included a professional jouster dressed as St George mounted on a horse, some knights and a lamb in a crib on wheels.
The lamb, which plays a symbolic part in the legend, proved to be the main draw for the crowds who turned out to see the parade. There was a tussle over its name. Christopher Waite, clerk of the company, said that she was called “Annie”, because she was an orphan. Karen Archer, 27, who portrayed the maiden apocryphally saved by St George, said that they had privately renamed her “Mint Sauce”....
Tom Tudor-Pole, a freeman of the Armourer’s Company and regimental jeweller for The Parachute Regiment, said that he organised the parade to reclaim England’s patron saint for ordinary English people.
“St George has been hijacked by the right wing,” he said. “I wanted to bring him back because he’s the patron saint of our Armed Forces and many other countries.“Next year we hope that all regiments will have similar events around the country to raise money for charity.”
Mr Tudor-Pole also constructed the mobile crib that carried the lamb. “It’s made of English oak with copper bars and a silver plaque to St George. We call it the lamb-bourghini.”
The procession travelled in a circular route from Armourer’s Hall in Coleman Street via St Paul’s Cathedral, where Company members traditionally paid tribute to a statue of St George. The statue no longer exists.
The English legend of St George is wildly divergent from an older story about a Christian soldier in the Roman army who was tortured and killed for refusing to renounce his faith.
One version of the English myth is that a dragon terrorises a kingdom and is appeased only as long as the people feed it their sheep. When the last sheep is eaten, the people send their children, chosen by lot. When it falls upon the Princess to be sacrificed, St George happens to be passing and mortally wounds the dragon. He then offers to kill the dragon if the kingdom converts to Christianity. The subjects find faith, and everyone but the dragon lives happily ever after.
Australia: Joyful Christianity banned after 9pm?
The Tokaikolo Christian Church choir's joy and dancing banned by local council. Noise restrictions for all other activities cut in at 11pm so this seems discriminatory. And where is the vaunted multiculturalism of the Leftist NSW government? This church is of Tongan origin. The people of Tonga are Polynesians with their own distinctive traditions.
A SMALL western Sydney church has been hit with a $3000 fine by the local council because its choir was singing too loudly and some choristers were caught dancing.
Council officers raided the Granville church and were alarmed to discover choir members dancing in the carpark and the door of the church open an hour after it was supposed to be closed.
The dispute has gone all the way to the office of Treasurer Eric Roozendaal, who has been asked by his fellow minister David Borger to show mercy to the musical Christians and waive the penalty.
The Tokaikolo Christian Church choir was practising Christmas carols and other songs on the evening of December 3 last year.
The "infringement" occurred at 10pm as the rehearsal was finishing. A week later the church was hit with a $3000 fine from Parramatta Council. It has been unable to pay the fine, which has been referred to the State Debt Recovery Office - which slugged the church another $50.
The council claims the church violated the conditions of its development consent by being too noisy and hosting activities outside its approved "hours of operation", which are supposed to end at 9pm.
A spokesman said: "During a site inspection conducted at 10pm on December 3, 2009, the following observations were made: Three males were observed walking up the driveway on the northern side of the premises, towards the kitchen area; a large group of people were observed dancing in the basement carpark area; and the front door of the premises was open."
Reverend Nesiasi Kolo told The Telegraph parishoners would end up footing the bill.
Local MP Mr Borger is lobbying Mr Roozendaal to have the controversial fine waived. "In considering the difficulties the church faces in balancing their community activities with their impact on their neighbours, I would suggest that strong consideration be given to the waiving of the fine and the issuing of a stern warning," he said.
Australian Federal Government gets tough on foreign ownership of real estate
This will be a generally popular move but if a conservative government had done this, it would be "xenophobia' or "racism". As a move to restrain rises in real estate prices, however, it is just tokenism. High levels of immigration and Greenie-inspired land-use restrictions are the big causative factors there
FOREIGN students and temporary residents will face tough new rules when buying a house and will have to sell on leaving Australia.
The Federal Government's crackdown, to be announced today, reverses its December 2008 decision to relax foreign ownership rules.
Bowing to public pressure, the Government will also introduce a hotline for concerned locals to "dob in" foreigners they suspect of breaching the rules. Under the rules, temporary residents and foreign students will be:
SCREENED by the Foreign Investment Review Board to determine if they will be allowed to buy a property.
FORCED to sell property when they leave Australia.
PUNISHED if they do not sell by a government-ordered sale plus confiscation of any capital gain.
REQUIRED to build on vacant land within two years of purchase to stop "land banking". Failure to do so would also lead to a government-ordered sale.
There have been growing claims that real estate prices have been forced up by wealthy Asian families, especially from China and Korea, buying up property and outbidding locals at auctions.
The Government is concerned by anecdotal reports that foreigners are "collecting" houses, often in the same street, and leaving them empty when there is a shortage of housing.
Assistant Treasurer Senator Nick Sherry said he wanted to ensure foreigners did not put "pressure on housing availability for Australians".
Treasury is investigating 50 suspicious residential buys by foreigners in Melbourne.
Senator Sherry said the changes would "ensure that investment is in Australia's interests and in line with community expectations". He said the Government would catch cheats with new powers allowing it to cross-match information from Land Victoria and the Immigration Department.
It will also rely on members of the public to report suspicious property buyers to a new hotline: 1 800 031 227. "I want to make sure everyone in the community has a direct line to report their concerns," Senator Sherry said. "If you do the wrong thing, you will be found out."
New penalties, which may be linked to the value of the property, will apply to buyers, sellers and estate agents.
There is no data showing how many properties have been bought by temporary residents.
Since the Government's 2008 change, the median house price in Melbourne has risen from $450,000 to $524,500.
Foreigners living overseas are still prevented from buying existing homes and only allowed to buy or build new ones.
Three cheers that Australia won't have charter of rights
By Bob Carr, a former Labor Party premier of NSW
THE advocates of a human rights charter must be walking around as if they've suffered concussion or been mugged by reality.
The federal government gave them an inquiry. The inquiry took nine months to agitate public opinion over rights. Geoffrey Robertson stumped the country and produced a book. And the federal cabinet said no.
It makes me feel happy about Australia. There will be no charter of rights because there's no crisis of rights in Australia. If the public believed the executive arm of government were stifling freedoms, Australia slipping behind other democracies, there would have been a decided shove towards a human rights act. Something like the political shift against big government in the US. Instead, when Frank Brennan launched his report in September, it sunk below the water, not leaving a slick of printer's ink.
Australians have a high civic IQ. They know their country is robustly free. They wake each day to see their elected leaders, state and federal, traduced in the media. They have seen victims such as Mohamed Haneef triumph against the authorities in the courts. The people have changed a federal government and have made two recent state elections look competitive.
Yet the people are probably reasonably happy that government can take action to limit liberties, as the Victorian government did in November when it gave police the power to target knife and alcohol violence. This included the right to stop and search people without suspicion (in unapologetic contradiction of Victoria's own charter).
Governments state and federal have also strengthened laws against terrorism and, far from feeling threatened, people feel more secure.
In November I debated a charter with Michael Kirby. The former High Court Judge showed he was a politician manque with a capacity to play to the gallery that I, a mere amateur, could only envy. When he noted the teachers and students of an Islamic school in our audience, he quickly adjusted his rhetoric to assert that a charter was the only way to protect the rights of Australian Muslims.
Before the month was out French politicians were stripping Muslims of the right to wear Islamic dress in public, a proposition rejected by Canberra.
Yet France is covered by the European Union charter that we were told had made Europeans freer than Australians.
By the way, Kirby was one of the few judges backing a charter. If there were no phalanx of judges behind the idea of more judicial review, what chance did it have?
No newspaper editorialised for a charter and the Left of Australian politics did not adopt it. The last ACTU congress heard a debate from advocates and opponents of the charter and declined to take a position. The national Young Labor conference voted down six versions of a charter. The Left of the parliamentary ALP evinced little enthusiasm.
In fact nobody was able to nominate a right that Australians lacked that would be rectified with a charter. Robertson tried when he referred to a hospitalised maritime worker who had his beard shaved off and a married couple who were separated in a nursing home. Both were cases easily sorted out by administrative appeals, not a shift in the constitutional balance of Australia.
Paul Kelly, writing in The Australian on February 17, made the point that Brennan's report was based on the notion that all our problems as a society could be reduced to rights and solved by having them judicially reviewed, what I would call "rights fundamentalism". This approach falls to pieces if you think how it might be applied in many areas: in schools, for example (and Robertson had proposed that a bill of rights for Australia recognise the rights of children). Do we want schools where students are agitated to assert rights, presumably the right not to be disciplined, not to take compulsory subjects, to challenge the authority of principals?
Perhaps a respectful learning environment is undercut by thinking of schools as arenas for these arguments.
Looking back, there was a simple-mindedness about the charter proponents. Give us a poetic list of rights, they said, and - oh joy, oh joy - extra litigation and judicial review will expand freedoms. What has triumphed - and we owe this to the Prime Minister - is a more politically literate view, a wisdom that understands that when you codify rights you freeze possibilities; that political culture counts more than pious abstractions.
I'm told that during the period cabinet was considering the Brennan report Kevin Rudd was reading Steven Pincus's 1688: The First Modern Revolution. That we've avoided a lurch towards a charter reflects Rudd's understanding that the untidy ebb and flow of common law, free elections and freedom of speech will keep us freer than lawyers' arguments over every word and clause in a charter. His reading would confirm it's the ethos of a country that counts, the spirit of a people. The rejection of the Brennan report shows Rudd does not feel intimidated by a leftover item from two previous Labor governments.
Apart from Brennan and members of his inquiry, the biggest loser is the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. Under its chairwoman Cathy Branson, it spent an estimated $500,000 supporting one side, the pro-charter case.
It was taxpayers' money and should have been used to prosecute cases of discrimination.
That, after all, is the kind of bread-and-butter work that keeps us free.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
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