Sunday, December 03, 2017

The German town that said 'nein' to Angela Merkel's migrants

 SUE REID reports from Salzgitter after its mayor called a moratorium on accepting any more foreigners

The Christmas market selling Santa chocolates, Advent wreaths and spiced wine is in full swing.

In a German town with an unrivalled record of welcoming migrants and making them feel at home, excited children wave from carousel rides as shoppers chattering in German and Arabic mingle.

On the face of it, it's a relaxed scene of which Angela Merkel, the German leader, would surely approve.

Except that here in Salzgitter, things are abruptly changing. It's pro-refugee Mayor has declared a moratorium on any more foreigners coming to join the 5,800 who have already arrived.

He admitted a few weeks ago: 'Right now, we are overwhelmed. We have received too many in too short a time. The locals are having fears for the future.'

Even the migrants living in Salzgitter, which sits on a lake in Lower Saxony, north-west Germany, agree there is a crisis.

'Not everyone can come or there will be nowhere to sleep and no free chairs in the schools,' says Khaled Rasti, a 32- year-old Syrian from Damascus, who with his wife Slivi, 30, is wheeling two-year-old Jodi — one of their three children — in a pushchair near the Christmas market.

'We have worries,' he says. 'I am still learning German. I do not have a job. There are many like me.'

This town's decision to refuse any more migrants is a slap in the face for Mrs Merkel, who relentlessly lectured her nation that 'We can do it' when she unilaterally welcomed 1.5 million migrants, many of them Muslim, from the war-shattered Middle East and impoverished African states in 2015

Today, increasing numbers of ordinary Germans feel the influx has been too large and too fast for the incomers to integrate properly. Already, six per cent of the German population is Muslim.

And this week an international think tank warned the numbers will only increase, and predicted Europe's Muslim population could double by 2050, due to migration and high birth rates among those who have already reached the continent.

The Pew Research Centre forecast that if both regular migration and the heavy flows of refugees were to continue, this deeply Christian country will have the highest number of Muslims in the EU, amounting to 17.49 million people or 20 per cent of the population.

This uncontrolled immigration is seen as a key factor in the reversal of Angela Merkel's fortunes.

It is directly responsible for the rise of a new anti-migrant party, the radical Right-wing Alternative for Deutschland (AfD), which in September's national election gained 13 per cent of the vote and its first ever parliamentary seats.

Coupled with her own poor performance in the election, the success of the AfD is the reason Mrs Merkel has been unable to form a coalition government.

The irony of all this is that for three decades, in an attempt to expunge the legacy of its Nazi past, Germany has championed multiculturalism and liberal democracy — only to find that its recent openborders immigrat ion pol icy, introduced without a vote in Germany's parliament, has rekindled the flames of the radical Right.

In the town of Salzgitter, AfD support was even higher at 14 per cent than it was nationally.

But if Mrs Merkel is shocked at events since she provoked the biggest migration wave across Europe since World War II, so are many of the newcomers.

They believed Mrs Merkel's promise of giving them homes, jobs, an education and money with few questions asked. Now they — as well as many Germans — fear they are not becoming part of the wider society, and never can be because their numbers are so huge.

No place illustrates the shattered Merkel dream better than Salzgitter.

It took in a higher proportion of migrants compared to its population than any other part of Germany.

Ninety-one per cent of those migrants in the town today are jobless and live on benefits, according to new statistics from town officials, compared with a slightly less dismal picture nationally for migrants of 84 per cent.

One of the charities trying to find them work says they are only qualified for the simplest of jobs because of low education.

'We just don't have the jobs that these people could take,' a volunteer explained. But aside from the problems of work and welfare are the sheer numbers who have arrived.

A mother taking her six-year-old to a Salzgitter school this autumn found that her child was one of two German children in her class amid 20, mostly Syrian, migrants. 'I'm not against foreigners,' said the woman. 'But there is a point where we have to wonder who is integrating with whom.'

What's particularly fascinating about this town is that it is the officials who are backing the mayor's policy stopping the arrival of further migrants.

Dincer Dinc, a German of Kurdish descent who is a Salzgitter's integration chief, says he agrees with the moratorium — which two other overburdened German towns in Lower Saxony copied last week.

'We need a break from more newcomers to help those who are already here,' he says.

'What good will it do for more to come so that the problems we have keep compounding?

The town's image is changing for residents. They encounter more and more people with darker skin and wearing headscarves.'

Both he and the mayor, Frank Klingebiel — a member of Merkel's CDU party — believe the ban will stop more local voters embracing the xenophobic and populist Alternative for Deutschland.

The reason the town encouraged migrants in the first place is the same one that drove Mrs Merkel to invite them in.

Germany has an ageing population and needs new blood to drive the economy. Back in 2013, Salzgitter was in the doldrums.

It was established during World War II to house workers from a nearby steel factory used to produce armaments for Hitler's war machine. But a few years ago, it became clear that young people were leaving for the bright lights and jobs in big cities.

The population — as in the rest of Germany — was predicted to drop dramatically because of the falling birth rate.

In Salzgitter, population was expected to fall from 100,000 to around 90,000 by 2030.

Houses lay empty, schools were short of pupils, and the shopping centre, scene of the jolly Christmas Market this week, was often deserted.

'If this keeps going on, there won't be a town any more,' one 78-year-old pensioner, Herbert Haschke, told the local newspaper at the time. Then came the migrants and Salzgitter saw its salvation.

The town hall produced welcome leaflets for the incomers, the locals waved flags and soon word got round that this was a safe-haven with plenty of vacant housing and school places.

The mayor himself says that in those early days ' everything was perfect'.

'But in the second half of 2016, [local] people approached me for the first time,' he explains now. 'They were worried about overcrowding. We have kindergartens and schools where the proportion of migrant children is between 60 and 80 per cent.

'People have told me our German children are growing up in an environment where barely any German is spoken.'

The fresh arrivals in town have congregated in the bleak workingclass suburb of Lebenstedt, where this week the local kebab house and Arabic shops were doing a brisk trade.

Here, they stick together. There are cheap housing association flats, a handful of mosques, and the mayor claims there is a real threat of 'ghettoisation'.

With unemployment among all residents of this down-to-earth town at just under 11 per cent — about twice the national average — the locals feel 'crowded out' of an already suffering employment market.

The area's largest employer, Volkswagen, has been re-thinking its workforce after the recent diesel engines emissions scandal, and international pressure to produce electric cars.

The moratorium on new migrants sparked by these local worries brought a rebuke from the United Nations' refugee agency this week.

It says those in need, wherever they come from, should have the right to freedom of movement, and that Salzgitter's ban breaches international law.

Sascha Schiessl, of the Refugee Council for Lower Saxony, said the moratorium (which is expected to last three years) will only encourage the notion that the migrants are harming German society and thereby increase support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Deutschland.

Whatever the truth of this, there's no doubt the tide is shifting in public opinion over migrants in Germany.

I have been reporting on this story for two years, since I inteviewed the first young Syrians to arrive in Germany after Mrs Merkel threw open the doors in 2015.

Back then they were excited and full of expectation for a new life in the West. This week, I met some of them again — and they told a very different story.

A number of them are downcast, and have considered leaving to go home to Syria.

They are stopped from doing so only by the terrifying prospect of being compulsorily drafted into President Bashir Assad's despotic government army, or the prospect of life in a home town destroyed by Islamic State terror.


Ben Shapiro: Molester Bill Clinton Won After All

His Leftism saved him again

Two weeks ago, it seemed that former President Bill Clinton was finished as a public figure. A variety of public intellectuals on the left had consigned him to the ashtray of history; they'd attested to their newfound faith in his rape accuser Juanita Broaddrick or torn him to shreds for having taken advantage of a young intern, Monica Lewinsky.

The moral goal was obvious: Set up a new intolerance for the sexual abuse of women. The political goal was even more obvious: Show that Democrats are morally superior to Republicans, and in doing so, shame Republicans into staying home rather than voting for Alabama Republican senatorial candidate Roy Moore, who has been credibly accused of sexual assault of minors.

Then it all fell apart.

On Sunday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. — the first female speaker of the House — brushed off Clinton's scandals with a simple one-liner: "Well, I think it's, obviously it is a generational change. But let me say the concern that we had then was that they were impeaching the president of the United States, and for something that had nothing to do with the performance of his duties."

Why would Pelosi defend Clinton? Because she also has to defend Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., and Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., both of whom have been accused of sexual harassment or sexual assault. And why would she have to defend either of them?

That's the $64,000 question. She really doesn't — just as the Democrats never had to defend Clinton. If they'd kept their mouths shut and let Clinton resign, then-Vice President Al Gore would have been president. There's a high likelihood he would have been re-elected in 2000. If the Democrats were to let Franken fall today, his replacement would be appointed by a Democratic governor of Minnesota. If they were to let Conyers go down, he'd be replaced in a special election in what The Cook Political Report deems a D+32 district, meaning it performed an average of 32 points more Democratic than the nation did as a whole in 2016. Democrats wouldn't miss a beat, and they'd have a shot at taking out Moore to boot. By defending Franken and Conyers, Democrats give Republicans ample opportunity to back Moore and point at Democratic hypocrisy all the while. While Republicans can at least point at the potential loss of a Senate seat to justify backing Moore, Democrats wouldn't suffer any loss by dumping Franken and Conyers.

There's only one real reason Pelosi would stand by accused Democrats: She doesn't care. Her logic with regard to Clinton is the only one that matters. He was a Democrat, and his sexual improprieties had nothing to do with his capacity for voting for her agenda. This was the national argument we had in 1998, and it was settled in Clinton's favor. Character doesn't matter. Only agenda does.

Republicans bucked that agenda. They don't anymore.

In order to shame Republicans, Democrats seemed to buck that agenda this time around. But that was all bluster.

Bill Clinton didn't just escape impeachment in 1998. He won the argument. He taught Americans that no matter how scummy our politicians might be, so long as they side with us on matters great or small, we ought to back them. We ought to back them not because our principles are important but because there might be some point in the future when our principles are at stake, and we don't want our feet held to the fire then, do we?

In the famous play "A Man for All Seasons," Sir Thomas More, betrayed by his former colleague Richard Rich in exchange for the post of attorney general in Wales, says: "Why, Richard, it profits a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. ... But for Wales?" We're willing to give our souls for nothing. Or perhaps they're already gone.


Benghazi Islamist Avoids Conviction on Most Charges

The outcome of the trial has many people under the reasonable impression that justice didn't prevail.   

In September 2012, Libyan Islamists killed American Ambassador Chris Stevens as well as Sean Patrick Smith, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty in the infamous Benghazi attack. One of the perpetrators, Ahmed Abu Khattala — the primary facilitator in the attack — remained in Libya for nearly two years after the assault before U.S. Delta Forces apprehended him in the summer of 2014. From there he was shipped to the U.S., where he faced a civilian trial that concluded this week. The outcome of that trial has many people under the reasonable impression that justice didn’t prevail.

According to Fox News, “A federal jury found Ahmed Abu Khattala guilty Tuesday on just four of 18 charges related to the deadly 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, precluding him from facing the death penalty. Khattala, 46, was convicted of two counts of conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, one count of maliciously destroying U.S. property and placing lives in danger, and one count of using and carrying a semiautomatic weapon during the attack.”

Former prosecutor Andrew McCarthy believes one of the problems in the upshot of the case revolves around the previous administration’s handling in the immediate aftermath of the attack. He tweeted, “Obama admin, which insisted civilian prosecution always the way to go, tolerated Libya’s 3-week delay in giving FBI access to crime scene. Resulting taint, of course, huge problem in prosecution.” But as the first part of his tweet suggests, there’s also considerable concern over the decision to bring Khattala stateside at all.

Tyrone Woods’ father Charles reacted with justified dismay. He stated, “I am very bothered by the fact the U.S. government gave constitutional rights and due process rights to a foreign national who allegedly killed Americans outside the U.S. This is what bothered me from the very beginning.” He’s right — the civilian court aspect of this situation is contentious and will continue to be, especially with outcomes like Khattala’s. A place like Guantanamo Bay would likely have been more appropriate. The Obama administration sent terrorists away from there. Fortunately, the Trump administration can change that. Perhaps then unbridled justice will be served.


YouTuber Demonetized Hours after Rush Limbaugh Reads Her Article on His Show

On the same day that Rush Limbaugh read my recent column on air, YouTube — in the dead of night — demonetized a large percentage of videos on my channel. My YouTube channel has been around for years with many recordings of very boring village meetings highlighting local Chicago-area corruption. Recently, I started doing reaction videos and comedy and gained a bunch of new subscribers and it's been fun. I don't swear (certainly no "F" words) and there's nothing really controversial unless you count making fun of gender-confused rabid leftists with blue hair "controversial."

Yesterday, October 5, after Rush read my article on his show, I made a video that included my reaction to him talking about it on the air. It wasn't up for three hours before my videos started getting the dreaded yellow dollar signs — which means YouTube just took away my ability to be paid for them. YouTube made sure that whatever bump in subscribers or views I got from Rush would not benefit me in any way.

YouTube decided that a video discussing Rush — who broadcasts every day and is paid obscene amounts of money by advertisers — is not "advertiser-friendly." This would be news to Rush's entire staff who are making a living off his advertiser-friendly show that the FCC has allowed for over twenty years.

YouTube has been going after politically conservative content creators for a long time. Paul Joseph Watson's videos have largely been demonetized along with those of Trump-stumping sisters Diamond and Silk and other big-name conservative talkers. Diversity & Comics creator Richard Meyer has received two strikes against his account in the last week. One more will result in his account being deleted and his content lost forever. All he knows is that his channel has been reported for dubious reasons by people who don't want to be criticized in the comics industry. YouTube shows no desire to right such situations.

In fact, YouTube does not allow anyone to dispute the demonetization strikes unless the video in question receives 1000 views in the next seven days (go watch it—now!). This makes it impossible for anyone without hundreds of thousands of subscribers to have a prayer of being monetized again.

Even an advertisement I made for my book, "Shut Up! The Bizarre War That One Public Library Waged Against the First Amendment" was hit unironically with the YouTube censorship stick. If a video depicting an ad for a book about free speech isn't allowed, what is? One thing is for sure:

Google sucks.



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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