Sunday, November 01, 2015
Realism from Sweden at last?
The Swedish Foreign Minister has claimed her country is facing collapse due to the mass influx of refugees as the migrant crisis deepens.
Margot Wallstrom has said that Sweden cannot cope with taking in refugees at its current level, without it affecting services.
She says that Stockholm will now have to pressure the European Union in a bid to force other member states to share the burden of those coming from the Middle East, mainly Syria.
It is expected that Sweden will take in around 190,000 migrants by the end of 2015. In the first nine months of the year, more than 73,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden.
And Mrs Wallstrom said in an interview: 'I think most people feel that we cannot maintain a system where perhaps 190,000 people will arrive every year - in the long run, our system will collapse. 'And that welcome is not going to receive popular support.
'I have to admit that there have been moments recently of very great disappointment. I have heard statements from member states that have been completely astonishing and very discouraging.'
The Foreign Minister's comments come after arsonists attacked housing for asylum seekers in the small town of Munkedal, in the south of the country.
No one was seriously injured, although some of the 14 migrants living there suffered slight smoke inhalation. They were swiftly rehoused.
"I thought I was going to die, it was horrible, but now it's OK, I'm safe," said Ahmet, a Somalian refugee interviewed by Swedish public radio SR.
Local inquiries have been launched, but the national police authority NOA could get involved if links are established between the various attacks, said police spokeswoman Carolina Ekeus.
Since the start of the year, 15 arson attacks throughout the country have targeted refugee reception centres and apartments, reducing some to cinders. In ten of the recent spate of cases, criminal intent has been established beyond doubt.
On June 19, two Molotov cocktails were hurled at a building housing migrants.
On August 16 a Christian cross was set ablaze near a migrant centre and, the same day, another centre was evacuated after the discovery of a bag containing flammable liquid.
That centre, in the central town of Arboga, housed two Eritrean migrants who were accused of a knife attack at an Ikea store three days earlier that left a 55-year-old woman and her 28-year-old son dead.
Sweden, which is home to 9.8 million people, is one of the European Union countries that has taken in the largest number of refugees as a proportion of its population.
Being a Minority and a Conservative Is Not a Contradiction
By Jonah Goldberg
Here’s something you may not know: Dr. Ben Carson is black. Of course, I’m being a little cute here. The only way you wouldn’t know he’s black is if you were blind and only listened to the news.
For instance, Tuesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” — a program that often serves as a kind of artisanal boutique of inside-the-Beltway conventional wisdom — host Joe Scarborough expressed his consternation over Carson’s popularity. “I just don’t get it,” Scarborough said more than once.
Remarking on some Carson ad he didn’t like, Scarborough said, “This guy is up 20 points in Iowa? … It’s baffling.” Co-host Mika Brzezinski kept saying, “I just don’t get the Ben Carson …” before trailing off into in articulate exasperation.
Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson took a plausible stab at why Carson is popular. “They like him, they like him,” he repeated, referring to conservatives in Iowa and elsewhere who admire Carson’s dignified and soft-spoken demeanor.
True enough; Carson has the highest favorables of any candidate in the GOP field.
But what’s remarkable is that at no point in this conversation did anyone call attention to the fact that Carson is an African-American. Indeed, most analysis of Carson’s popularity from pundits focuses on his likable personality and his sincere Christian faith. But it’s intriguingly rare to hear people talk about the fact that he’s black.
One could argue he’s even more authentically African-American than Barack Obama, given that Obama’s mother was white, and he was raised in part by his white grandparents. In his autobiography, Obama writes at length about how he grew up outside the traditional African-American experience — in Hawaii and Indonesia — and how he consciously chose to adopt a black identity when he was in college.
Meanwhile, Carson grew up in Detroit, the son of a very poor, very hardworking single mother. His tale of rising from poverty to become the head of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital is one of the most inspiring rags-to-riches stories of the last half-century. (Cuba Gooding Jr. played Carson in the movie about his life.) He was a towering figure in the black community in Baltimore and nationally — at least until he became a Republican politician.
And that probably explains why his race seems to be such a non-issue for the media. The New York Times is even reluctant to refer to him as a doctor. The Federalist reports that Jill Biden, who has a doctorate in education, is three times more likely to be referred to as “Dr.” in the Times as brain surgeon Carson. If the Times did that to a black Democrat, charges of racism would be thick in the air.
Or consider the aforementioned Eugene Robinson, who routinely sees racial bias in Republicans. “I can’t say that the people holding ‘Take Back Our Country’ signs were racists,” he wrote in 2014, recalling a tea party rally four years earlier, “but I know this rallying cry arose after the first African-American family moved into the White House.”
Wrong. Howard Dean, Hillary Clinton and John Kerry all used the slogan incessantly when George W. Bush was in office.
How strange it must be for people who comfort themselves with the slander that the GOP is a cult of organized racial hatred that the most popular politician among conservatives is a black man. Better to ignore the elephant in the room than account for such an inconvenient fact. The race card is just too valuable politically and psychologically for liberals who need to believe that their political opponents are evil.
Carson’s popularity isn’t solely derived from his race, but it is a factor. The vast majority of conservatives resent the fact that Democrats glibly and shamelessly accuse Republicans of bigotry — against blacks, Hispanics and women — simply because they disagree with liberal policies (which most conservatives believe hurt minorities).
Yet conservatives also refuse to adopt those liberal policies just to prove they aren’t bigots. Carson — not to mention Carly Fiorina and Hispanics Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio — demonstrates that there’s no inherent contradiction between being a minority (or a woman) and supporting conservative principles. And that fact is just too terrible for some liberals to contemplate.
Wilders on trial again
Today's De Telegraaf features an extensive interview with Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders, leader of anti-Islamization, anti-EU PVV, now polling as the No. 1 political party in the Netherlands.
In a process alarmingly remininscent of old Soviet show trials, Wilders once again must stand trial for exercising his freedom of speech -- the subject of this interview. Backgrounder here.
NB: I have lightly edited the following English translation.
'The verdict seems to be ready'
by Wouter de Winther and Ruud Mikkers
PVV leader Wilders feels provoked. He says he will not get a fair chance to defend himself in the trial in which he is being sued for "group insult" and "incitement to hatred and discrimination." Almost all of his requests to hear experts or to examine whether there has been tampering with the declarations against him have been dismissed. He has appealed, because this way the chance of a fair trial would be reduced to nil.
What are the indications that suggest that you will not get a fair chance at a defense?
"I notice that the judicial authorities get more intransigent as we rise in the polls. At the first meetings, the magistrate still said to me, 'You are entitled to a fair chance, the law will be interpreted broadly. But the opposite has happened. The magistrate uncritically follows the prosecutor. If all reasonable requests are rejected, then they apparently want to convict me at all costs."
Why would Lady Justice suddenly take off her blindfold for Geert Wilders?
"For months, we have been months working on the defense and therefore you suggest that further investigations be conducted. For example, about government ministers who already declared me guilty before the trial had begun, such as [Justice Minister] Opstelten. And we also want to know what has happened with all the pre-printed complaint forms [filed against me]. We have discovered that various forms have same signatures on them! We also want to hear experts, for example about the accusations of racism. A nationality is not a race, so how can I be guilty of racism? I am convinced that if today I ask "Do you want more or fewer Syrians," no one would take offense at that, let alone that there would be complaints would be filed."
But then we are dealing with refugees without a residence permit. Not Dutch citizens who have already been here for thirty or forty years.
"Yes, but I'm talking about the concept of nationality versus race. That is what everyone objected to, while I think that would now no longer be the case. If I would ask, 'Do you want more or fewer Belgians, I do not believe that many people would feel offended. I want to hear the opinion of experts about this. I want to defend myself, but I must also be able to defend myself. The frustrating thing is that we have made 39 requests and zero have been granted. One of them has been kept in deliberation."
During your previous trial, you [made] serious and less serious requests: You asked to hear Gaddafi or invite the Iranian president as a witness. What requests did you do this time?
"I have noticed that the director of a mosque did several complaints with different handwritings but the same signature. Hundreds of complaints were done on forms delivered in that mosque. About such matters I would want to hear the opinion of experts, because this cannot be allowed. I cannot give you all the names, because that information is not public. But, for example, Tom Zwart, professor at the University of Amsterdam, and Professor Paul Cliteur were willing to testify. But they have been rejected. "
What is behind all this?
"I do not know. But I have seen on television that there are people in the judiciary who say that PVV members cannot become judges. In the newspaper I read that the Public Prosecutor had already appointed two media judges even before the decision to prosecute had been taken. And as we rise in the polls, the rejections from the judicial authorities become more blunt and unfriendly. If this continues, then it seems as if the verdict has already been written. Then I at least will have to consider whether I still need to attend. Perhaps they should just rule in absentia. For me, it makes little sense to come. If this persists, it will be a political trial and a PVV-hate trial."
Are you saying that the judiciary in the Netherlands is not independent?
"I want to talk about my case. If this persists, it will not be a fair trial. Obviously, I am also referring to the statement of that judge who said that PVV members should not be allowed to become judges. That is the atmosphere in which this is all happening."
You are again seeking the role of the underdog, you and your PVV fighting the established order on your own. Is that not becoming a bit déjà-vu?
"I would rather not have been prosecuted, because I think I've done nothing wrong. I do not seek the role of the victim here because I would rather have preferred that I could defend myself. But if all requests are rejected, then it is no use. Let them then quickly sentence me in absentia. I hope it does not come to that. Because it will be a circus."
What consequences will a conviction have for you?
"I will always continue to say what I have to say. However, with the difference that I would only be able to express certain messages in the microphone of parliament. Because there I have immunity. If freedom of expression is curtailed, I can no longer express certain opinions anywhere."
Virtually nowhere you get what you want. But when you do think your trial will actually be fair?
"That depends on which requests are granted and in what way. Knoops also needs to have the impression that he can truly defend me. If such a person, the best criminal lawyer in the Netherlands, says it is not fair ... that's quite something. Knoops is not someone whom you can abuse politically."
Given all the hassle afterwards, don't you regret having made the statements about "fewer Moroccans"?
"I think an excuse to make it harder for the PVV will always be found. We are under more scrutiny than policitians of D66 or the Green Left because we are very outspoken. I understand that. We also oppose the establishment and do not mince our words. If you do that you do not make it easy for yourself."
Ultimately, this trial is about the freedom of expression. You always draw the line very clearly at calling to violence, but should everything else be said?
"I think you should be able to say if you want fewer Mexicans or Syrians. That is not discriminatory and certainly no call to violence. I will always continue. Nothing will stop me to express my opinion. Not a hundred judges, not a thousand verdicts or fatwahs will be able to change that."
Can you imagine that Moroccan Dutch people feel excluded by such a fewer Moroccans statement?
"I do not really care what they feel or don't feel. The point is whether it is illegal or not and I do not think that I have done anything wrong. If people feel hurt they should address apsychologist or someone similar."
Today or tomorrow you would as easily say " fewer, fewer, fewer Syrians"?
"I'm not saying I will do that, but if I would, it would in my opinion no longer cause a lot of commotion."
Yet you do not say it so explicitly today. Has this reluctance to do with the upcoming trial?
"We are calling for fewer Syrians, that's absolutely true. But today or tomorrow, I will not be holding such a speech as last year. But if I would, and if I would say it... then I think thatnothing would happen. In America, any politician can advocate fewer Mexicans. Noone would object."
Ben Carson: ‘PC Culture’ Is ‘Destroying This Nation’
GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson says the culture of political correctness is used to “frighten people and get people to shut up” and it’s “destroying this nation.”
During Wednesday’s nights GOP presidential debate a CNBC moderator asked Carson about why he had served on the corporate board of Costco even though the company offered gay domestic partner benefits.
“There is no reason that you can't be perfectly fair to the gay community,” Carson responded. “They shouldn't automatically assume that because you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman that you are a homophobe.”
“This is one of the myths that the left perpetrates on our society, and this is how they frighten people and get people to shut up, that is what the PC culture is all about, and it’s destroying this nation. The fact of the matter is, we the American people are not each others enemies, it’s those people who are trying to divide us that are the enemies and we need to make that very clear to everybody.”
"Jewish Trees" are an obstacle to peace?
The true threat to peace comes from the pine trees that shade the kids playing in the water in a Ma'ale Adumim park.
The pine tree, you see, is a Jewish tree.
As anti-Israel activist Michael Davis accuses, "This foreign tree displaced the olive trees of the indigenous population." The "indigenous" population he mentions were the Muslim conquerors while the "foreigners" are the Jewish indigenous population who were planting the "foreign" Jerusalem pine trees that are mentioned in the Bible by that notorious foreigner, the Prophet Isaiah.
The trees of Israel were displaced not by the Jews, but by the Ottoman Caliphate building a railroad to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Charcoal for Allah's magic railroad consumed what few forests existed in Israel under Muslim rule and every tenth fruit bearing tree. Then the Zionists, in addition to planting trees, also thumbed their noses at the Caliphate and blew up its holy railroad.
No one cuts down forests for charcoal and the train no longer runs through Israel to Medina anymore.
But facts, like trees, are obstacles to peace. And if we're ever going to have peace, we need to do something about the Jewish facts and the Jewish trees. And the Jews who produce facts and trees.
According to the anti-Israel hate group T'ruah, the trees planted by the Jewish National Fund block peace. According to T'ruah head Jill Jacobs, planting trees in '67 Israel violates Jewish "values."
Jacobs, who sits on J Street's Rabbinic cabinet and backed the Iran deal that lets the terror state get nukes and fund Hezbollah and Hamas, claims that it's the Jewish arboreal menace that is "getting in the way of a secure future for Israel."
It's the trees, not the nukes, that are the problem.
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.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.