Monday, March 12, 2018

Germany Not Alone Concerning ‘No-Go Zones' and Lack of Assimilation

In an abrupt about-face, perhaps engendered by political calculations, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has publicly admitted the existence of so-called "no-go zones": enclaves of migrants in various German cities who live insular lives that are resistant, and often downright hostile, to German values; places where it has become unsafe for tourists, outsiders of any kind, and even first responders such as firefighters and police, to venture.

These zones are fueled by the density of the unassimilated alien populations living within them, populations with cultural attitudes and values found in religiously conservative Muslim communities in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Many of those values find expression in adherence to sharia law, including its expectations about how women dress and comport themselves, even though sharia conflicts with the laws and ethical structure of the host nation.

Merkel may be the first European, indeed Western, leader to admit the existence of such zones, although a number of observers have in the past suggested that they exist in Germany, as well as in Belgium (such as the Molenbeek area of Brusels, infamous for its harboring of terrorist jihadis); certain metropolitan areas of France, including some of its Parisian suburbs; and various enclaves in English cities, to name just a few. Some Australians even suggest that no-go zones are starting to develop in cities "down under."

It's ironic that Merkel holds this dubious honor, since in 2015 she unilaterally declared that Germany would accept without limit migrants crossing both maritime and land borders to get to the European Union (EU) — a position she reiterated publicly as recently as July 2017. Although Merkel primarily had in mind Syrians fleeing their war-ravaged nation, her statements became a clarion call for at least 1.5 million "irregular arrivals" (EU diplo-speak for illegal entry).

Germany has struggled with the consequences since Merkel's ill-conceived remarks sparked the flood, including infamous sexual assaults on women by groups of migrant men loitering in the public squares of major German cities during holiday seasons, terrorist attacks on trains and holiday markets, burgeoning crime, and even a de facto acceptance of polygamy among its unassimilated inflow.

But Germany has not been alone in staggering under the weight. So have the front-line countries of the EU, such as Greece and Italy, whose islands have served as convenient arrival points for seaborne migrants smuggled from Turkey and North Africa, as well as the Eastern European countries that meet Turkey's land bridge from Asia into Europe. Many were obliged to create, or significantly beef up, their border guard corps, erect fences, and take substantially less welcoming measures than Merkel's to staunch the flow. And the EU was then obliged to offer what was, for all intents and purposes, a bribe to Turkey with promises of millions of euros in "assistance", in order to persuade that country to ensure that its own police and border guards prevented unauthorized departures by land or sea.

And even as Merkel is now belatedly tacking right, as evidenced by her most recent admission of no-go zones — quite probably as the result of her political party's waning popularity in Germany, and her difficulty forming an effective governing coalition — she is still pushing EU leaders to oblige all other EU nations to accept their "fair share" of these unassimilated and, at least in some instances potentially unassimilable, individuals, though they had no say in Merkel's welcome. This threatens EU unity even as the union still attempts to come to grips with Brexit.

The consequence, throughout Europe, has been a surge in the popularity of governments and political parties that advocate more restrictionist immigration policies (see, e.g. here and here). As in the United States, some of these parties have been unfairly smeared as xenophobic, ultra-right-wing, and "nationalist".

The lesson for the United States in all of this isn't to close our doors. It does suggest strongly, however, that we must be prudent in vetting people from other parts of the earth whose cultural values are so singularly different from ours to ensure that they can assimilate; that they are "well disposed to the good order and happiness of the United States"; and that they are philosophically capable of "attach[ment] to the principles of the Constitution," which includes the notion that ours is a civil society, and that government at all levels is ruled by civil, not religious, law.

It also means accepting inflows of individuals only at a rate that permits our various local and state governments to meaningfully interact with and care for them because, once here, they become mainly reliant on states, counties, and cities — not the federal government — for their care, education, acculturation, and integration into their new communities.

One often hears the assertion that our Constitution prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, and that this prohibition extends to refugees and other aliens outside our shores. Putting aside whether this is true, though, if aliens outside the boundaries of constitutional coverage are entitled to its protections, what about the reverse?

What happens when religious belief and cultural practice and mores are so ingrained in some individuals as to prevent them from meaningfully subscribing to the tenets of the American Constitution, to American forms of government, or to our social mores? They may wish to share in our cornucopia of plenty, but at the same time expect our society and government to adapt itself to fit into their cultural and religious telescope. Is this acceptable?

How do we resolve the standoff? Surely the answer must be exercised in favor of our way of life, else we risk losing everything simply by permitting ourselves to be overwhelmed numerically by individuals who don't want to become American in any meaningful sense.


Democrat antisemites   

At the 2012 Democrat Party Convention, the effort to reinstate the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital into the party’s platform was met with a chorus of boos loud enough to completely fluster convention chairman and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. After calling for a vote three times, Villaraigosa simply decided the “ayes” were in the majority — an assertion met with another chorus of boos. An anomalous moment?

Clarifying is more like it. “The California Democratic Party adopted a resolution at their annual convention on Sunday to oppose federal bills intended to thwart the movement to boycott Israel,” The Forward reported on Feb. 28.

In 1977, Congress passed legislation prohibiting Americans from complying with foreign government-imposed boycotts against nations friendly to the United States. It was supported by the Business Roundtable, American Jewish organizations and Jimmy Carter’s administration. In 2017, Congress sought to update that law with the Israel Anti-Boycott Act, adding international organizations like the United Nations or the EU that might also be inclined to pressure businesses to boycott the Jewish State.

This effort was aimed at defusing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which has been the radical Left’s favorite pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel platform, with all the attendant assertions of Israeli “occupation” of Palestinian territories included.

“Radical” is a key word here. In 2016, California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 2844. The anti-discrimination law made it clear that California’s government would bar companies that engage in discrimination against any sovereign nation from doing business with the state. Sec. 2. (c) of the law specifically barred discrimination against “the nation and people of Israel.” The State Senate approved the bill by a vote of 34 to 1, and the State Assembly approved it by a vote of 69 to 1.

Eighteen months later, these same Democrats opposed federal legislation similar to the bill they had passed almost unanimously. Thus, what used to be “radical” leftist politics is now mainstream Democrats Party politics in the Golden State — all the attendant anti-Semitic implications included.

Is it just Golden State Democrats? The ACLU branded versions of the act making its way through both chambers of Congress as anti-First Amendment, despite the reality that nothing prevents anyone from expressing any opinion about Israel. Yet that was all the necessary cover for Democrats fearful of their increasingly leftist, pro-BDS base. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand withdrew her support for the bill, and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren hedged, insisting, “The boycott is wrong, but I think outlawing protected free speech activity violates our basic Constitution.” Democrat Senators Chris Murphy (CT) and Tammy Duckworth (IL) and Rep. Joe Kennedy (MA) were also vacillating with regard to the legislation.

And not just that legislation. Last August, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) announced he’d co-sponsor the Taylor Force Act, named after Army veteran Taylor Force, who was murdered by a Palestinian while touring Israel. The act would stop American taxpayers from subsidizing the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it ended its reprehensible habit of providing terrorists freed from prison with a government job and a salary — one that is higher if their crime is more heinous.

The consummate no-brainer? Four Democrat senators, Chris Murphy (CT), Tom Udall (NM), Jeff Merkley (OR) and Corey Booker (NJ), voted to kill it in committee. And while the bill passed overwhelmingly in the House, it has yet to be voted on in the Senate.

Why are many Democrats embracing such hostility toward Israel? According to a poll conducted by Nielsen Scarborough, 56% of their constituents back economic sanctions and other get-tough measures against Israel, and 72% believe America unfairly favors Israel over the Palestinians.

Moreover, a Pew poll released in January reveals that since 2001, the share of Democrats sympathizing more with Israel has declined 11 points, from 38% to 27%. The decline among Democrat Millennials is even more pronounced: Approximately 27% of Millennials now say they are more sympathetic to the Palestinians than Israel, compared to only 9% in 2006.

The party’s schism is best revealed by the split between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Clinton’s supporters favored Israel over the Palestinians, 47% to 27%. Sanders supporters favored the Palestinians over Israel, 39% to 33%.

Since Sanders supporters tend to be younger, Democrat politicians are apparently becoming more attuned to their social justice warrior sensibilities. Sensibilities increasingly aligned with the contemptuous notion that Israel is an apartheid state engaged in Palestinian genocide.

Yet Israel is only part of the dynamic, or perhaps better described as a useful distraction for the increasing levels of progressive-supported anti-Semitism per se. Nothing speaks to this reality better than leftist support for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who once called Judaism a “gutter religion.”

In a major speech on Feb. 25, Farrakhan remained true to his worldview, asserting that Jews were “the mother and father of apartheid,” and declaring that “when you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door.”

CNN’s Jake Tapper sidestepped a media-imposed blackout and covered the speech, noting that despite the “inherent” anti-Semitism and anti-homosexual comments expressed by Farrakhan, “several leaders of the Women’s March are supporters of Farrakhan and have not condemned him.” He also leveled the same accusation against members of the Congressional Black Caucus.

The proverbial shoe fits. One of Women’s March organizers was Linda Sarsour, who has long supported Farrakhan. She once insisted “nothing is creepier than Zionism,” and justified terrorism as a response to a “racist, supremacist, violent [Israeli] regime” that views Palestinians as “less than human.”

Another organizer, Tamika Mallory, criticized by Tapper for attending Farrakhan’s rant, was “defended” by Bronx rapper and political activist Mysonne — who insisted Farrakhan was right to blame Jews for the “violence, control, pain and destruction” they have imposed on black people.

Mallory herself, who received a shout-out from Farrakhan at the rally, posted a number of tweets insisting she was the victim of “bullying.”

The Congressional Black Caucus? At least seven Democrats — Reps. Maxine Waters (CA), Barbara Lee (CA), Danny Davis (IL), Andre Carson (IN), Keith Ellison (MN), Gregory Meeks (NY) and and Al Green (TX) — have attended meetings with Farrakhan.

The same Congressional Black Caucus that buried a 2005 photo of Farrakhan with Barack Obama.

While visiting Israel last August, House Democrat Whip Steny Hoyer insisted his party remains “overwhelmingly” pro-Israel. Chuck Schumer insists BDS and anti-Zionism are anti-Semitic. Yet the New York Post reveals a painful truth — and perhaps the most telling harbinger of things to come — noting that Schumer is 66 years old and Hoyer is 78, while Booker and Gillibrand are only 48 and 50 years old, respectively.

Thus, the paper asserts, the Democrat Party’s “reliable support for Israel looks to be a thing of the past.”

Columnist Dennis Prager is even more assertive, declaring, “The day America abandons Israel will be the beginning of the end of America as we know it.”

Not America, Mr. Prager. The Democrat Party. One on the verge of a moral meltdown fueled by identity politics, in all their tribalist — and burgeoning anti-Semitic — glory.


Right of Private Association Takes Hit Under NY’s Schneiderman

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (Screenshot)
A court of appeals recently upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a challenge based in the right of private association expressed in the 1959 landmark decision NAACP v. Alabama. The ruling has a disproportionate effect on conservatives associating with nonprofit causes that shun taxpayer financing.

At issue in a case brought by Citizens United is whether anti-gun, climate alarmist, pro-abortion leftwing New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman may compel nonprofit organizations to provide him their list of $5,000-plus donors filed confidentially with the Internal Revenue Service.

The case never got to trial where facts and evidence could be considered and challenged. Instead, the courts accepted Schneiderman’s untested claim that he needs those donor names and addresses to prevent fraud, and dismissed the suit brought by Citizens United.

The decision had a racial element. The court essentially held that the constitutional right of private association protecting blacks in the 1950s civil rights era from Alabama Democrat Attorney General John Patterson does not necessarily extend to others associating in a race-neutral context.

This newly found, race-tinted limitation on the right of private association is particularly troubling since the unhinged and increasingly violent left has expanded its scope of targets addressing civil rights and political causes.

The ruling seems to say that if you have the concern and the means to donate $5,000 to a tax-exempt organization that provides training to teachers in proper use of arms, an organization that provides counseling against abortion, or a host of other civil rights issues, your right of private association doesn’t count. These are, of course, issues affecting all races.

What is also troubling about the decision is that the civil and criminal penalties protecting confidential tax return information such as an organization’s list of donors provided to the IRS have no bite when a state attorney general wants that information for no proven reason. And probable cause be damned.

The ruling disproportionately hurts conservative organizations, which, unlike nonprofits on the left, tend not to rely on taxpayer funding. Conservative nonprofit organizations are far more likely to rely on private citizens pooling their resources for a cause, whereas liberal organizations often see themselves as “partners” with government, especially under the Obama community organizing model, and tend to eagerly accept, if not rely upon, taxpayer money.

As to fraud in the tax-exempt world, one merely needs to follow the news to know that some of the biggest and most frequent nonprofit scandals and diversions of tax-exempt money for improper purposes happen when nonprofit organizations are financed with taxpayer money.

The conservative nonprofit model, on the other hand, tends to treat taxpayer financing as a negative. Across the board of all reasons why conservatives choose not to donate to a nonprofit organization, perhaps the most consistent reason is whether an organization takes taxpayer money. This is such a powerful motivator that in their appeals for contributions many conservative nonprofits emphasize they accept no government funding.

If Mr. Schneiderman were sincere about his desire to prevent fraud, he would not violate the right of a private association, but instead focus on better disclosure of taxpayer funding to nonprofits.

The last major revisions to Form 990 – the tax return of nonprofits filed with the IRS and collected by state charity regulators such as Mr. Schneiderman – were done under the Lois Lerner IRS. Form 990 is geared for liberal organizations. It is difficult for donors to find on the Form 990 how much taxpayer money an organization receives. Lois Lerner’s agenda lives on beyond her tainted tenure with the IRS.

This leads to three changes that should be made. Form 990 needs to be revised so on page one, in bold, organizations disclose how much taxpayer money they receive. Next, charitable solicitation statutes should require registering organizations to provide full disclosure of how much taxpayer money nonprofits receive. Lastly, among the already required disclosures, nonprofit websites and solicitations to the general public should be compelled by law to disclose what percentage of the organizations’ funds are from taxpayer money.

At the same time, and especially considering how the left has become increasingly violent as their democratically political losses mount, one should hope that Citizens United brings this case to the Supreme Court, and a better decision for the right of private association prevails.

Mark J. Fitzgibbons, Esq. is an attorney and co-author with Richard Viguerie of "The Law That Governs Government."


Jordan Peterson is in Australia


I want to start by saying: if you don’t have a ticket to see Jordan Peterson while he’s in Australia, run and get one. Beg, borrow and steal to get one. Except you can’t.

Peterson arrived in Australia this week for what, to their dismay, local organisers — a small company, True Arrow Events — immediately recognised is a too-short series of lectures in too-small theatres, on too few dates. He is sold out everywhere.

People can’t get enough of the 55-year-old psychologist. So, what will you be missing?

I went along to the Melbourne lecture on Thursday to find out. I’m not going to deny that I was already a bit of a fan girl.

Like many people, I stumbled on Peterson online last month when his interview on Britain’s Channel 4 with Cathy Newman went viral. I enjoyed it — enjoyed him — so much, I went and got his book 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos and inhaled it in a day. And OK, sure, since then I may have found myself, more than once, happily lost down a YouTube rabbit hole of Peterson ­lectures.

This was to be the real thing. The event was to be held in the sublime surroundings of the Melbourne Recital Hall. It was a warm night and the crowd was mostly on foot, and mostly young but not especially so — there were certainly people middle-aged and older.

I found myself seated in the second-back row, near the sound mixer, alone yet not, because it seemed like half the crowd had come alone, and I soon found out why: they hadn’t been able to convince friends to come along.

You want me to sit for two hours listening to some obscure Canadian drone on about the meaning of life — or else maybe pluck my eye out with a fork? Pass the fork.

They had shrugged and come along anyway.

To my left, I had a super clean-cut guy, Alex Roy, 32, who works for a non-profit. Behind us was the tattooed and beautiful Maggie Baines, 32, who is doing gender studies at the University of Victoria (she sheepishly admitted that her girlfriends weren’t all that happy about the idea of her “going to see Jordan ‘Effing’ Peterson because I guess he’s seen as a bit antifeminist”); and to our right we had brothers Tim and Nathan Morris, 24 and 26 respectively, who stumbled on Peterson while gaming, and soon found themselves “like, not talking about My Kitchen Rules, talking about big issues, like: what is the purpose of my life?”

Within seconds, everyone had introduced themselves and they were all getting animated, remembering the best things they’d heard Peterson say, when the lights dimmed and Peterson strode on to the stage.

To my complete surprise, they — indeed the entire audience — immediately rose as one and gave him a standing ovation. He hadn’t even said anything yet!

His first words were: “It’s three in the morning my time.” They cheered that, too.

Peterson did not say so but he had only just got off the plane. It would be an exaggeration to say that he has been on a speaking tour nonstop since the start of the year, but not by a lot. He’s touring the world and it’s different every night. He decided on his topic for Melbourne just 10 minutes before taking the stage.

He wanted to begin, he said, with something “spectacularly difficult”. The existence of God.

Peterson uses Bible stories to illustrate basic points in his lectures, and “people keep asking me, do I believe in God? And I’ve been accused of hedging my bets.”

It wouldn’t be fair to try to summarise his answer to that question. He spoke for more than 90 minutes, with no notes. If that sounds like your worst nightmare, know this: he does not drone.

Peterson has an unusual way of speaking that carries you along. Partly it’s the accent — he is a Canadian who has spent time in the US — but it’s also the way he speaks, with his long fingers pressed against his forehead, like he’s trying to push, or maybe even pry, the thoughts out.

Other times he’s like a mime artist, using his hands to draw boxes in the air, or else he’s doing a sucking thing with his fingers, drawing his hand back, like the movement of a jellyfish.

He does not shout or insist. He’s not a snake-oil salesman or a tub thumper.  He’s got his doubts, too. And depression.

There is also the manner in which he paces the stage, lean and hungry. All of Peterson’s clothes are new because he recently has lost more than 20kg by restricting his intake pretty much to moose, elk and steamed broccoli.

His daughter Mikhaila, 25, has suffered from chronic ill health almost all her life, including a form of arthritis that cost her a hip and an ankle when she was 17, and threatened to crumble more of her joints. She invented a diet that he has now adopted. It’s so strict, the tour organisers had to book him into self-catering hotels and Airbnb where the whole family can prepare their own meals (there being no elk in Australia, kangaroo may have to do).

Mikhaila Peterson credits the diet with curing her ailments and Jordan Peterson’s depression, which has been severe at times. He is now obsessive about food and veers dangerously close to those gals who claim to cure disease with food, except everyone knows he is right. You do feel awful when you eat junk food, and when you stop you’ll lose weight and feel better, and diabetes and arthritis may well be improved.

But on with the show. What did he say?

In essence, his point was not a new one: in a million years, who will care that you lived? You will be dust, and so will everything you ever did and everyone you ever loved. “Given that, you can decide that everything’s pointless, and yet we don’t,” he said.

Human beings tend to live like there is a point to it all. Not just here in the West. Every society has its parables. We are apparently hardwired to accept that there is more. Which maybe means there is more?  Maybe life does matter. Maybe we do, too.

On the other hand — and we all know this is true — with every person you meet, “you don’t have to scratch very much to find a bedrock of tragedy”.

“God only knows what’s wrong in your life,” Peterson said. “No doubt plenty, and there is more to come, you can be sure of that.”

That’s because even normal, well-functioning human beings are burdened by sorrow, and how could it be otherwise? We all suffer because bad things happen to all of us. We all lose people we love and in the end we all die.

Think about that for even a day and you’ll find yourself on the edge of nihilism. What can rescue us from despair?

“Happiness isn’t going to do it, that’s very fragile,” Peterson said. But meaning?  That may be the trick.

But what does it mean, to have meaning in your life?

Peterson’s ideas are difficult to summarise but essentially he believes that heaven and hell exist in some form on earth, and anyone who has ever done a bad thing knows it.

When you do a bad thing, you feel awful, and it’s the same when you find yourself being carried along by people or organisations whose values you don’t share, or working in a job that is not fulfilling, or telling lies about your drinking, or even when you’re not doing what you believe in your heart you were put on earth to do.

You feel awful because you’re walking in the wrong direction.  Let’s call that hell, since that’s how it feels.

When your house is in order, when you’re acting with clarity and honesty, when you’re moving in the right direction, you feel better, right?  That’s the opposite of hell.

Probably not heaven, since we’re human, but it is better than the alternative.

Peterson’s idea is that you — the sovereign individual — should start moving as quickly as possible away from hell. Away from things that would make you feel bad, and therefore make your world worse.

Pick your goal — a job more suited to your skills, a more honest marriage, a life filled with more kindness towards others — and head in that direction.

Catastrophic things will still happen. You will still suffer, because you’re human. But you will be able to bear it.

The reason we despair, he says, is because we have no target, “sometimes no bow, no arrow, no idea that we’re even meant to be aiming at”. So pick up whatever burden you’ve been given — your personal losses and grief, which you can’t escape anyway — and start moving rapidly in a direction that won’t make your life worse.

Make good decisions. Don’t tell lies.

Maybe the only life you’ll improve will be your own, but that’s a good start.  “Fix what’s in front of you,” Peterson said.

Peterson told the Melbourne audience he had received 30,000 letters in the six months since he rocketed to fame and, in broad outline, they said two things.

The first group says: “You put into words what I always thought was true, but couldn’t find a way to say it.”

The second group says: “I’ve listened to you, and I’ve been trying to put my house in order. I stopped making things worse, and lo and behold, they got better!”

The audience laughed and cheered.

Ninety-five minutes in, Peterson stepped briefly away from the stage and people were invited to line up behind the microphones, and half the audience rose and rushed toward the aisles, since everyone had a question for him.

No way was he going to get to them all, which was a shame because unusually for this format — audience participation — even the questions were good.

He was asked if there is a coming Christian renaissance — he thinks it likely — and about the looming civil crisis in South Africa.

One guy in an open relationship wanted to know if Peterson admired his decision to voluntarily face the fear and insecurity that develops when you know your partner is sleeping with other people (answer, in short: no).

A pale individual with a quaking manner asked whether “a person can continue to do graffiti and still say they were aiming to make the world a better place?”

The crowd laughed, but Peterson paused for a long time, like he wanted to give it serious consideration. “Mostly I think it’s a desperate attempt to get status,” he said ­finally. “And I think you should paint on your own property. But then there’s Banksy.

“So I hate to say this, but it depends on who you are. Probably you’re not Banksy.”

It went on for a bit longer, then it was time to go, and of course Peterson got a second standing ovation, but it wasn’t a long one, for everyone was rushing to get outside — and I soon figured out why.

Peterson was going to be signing. Buy a book and you’d get a chance to meet him, and didn’t that provide a moment to make a local author weep: the queue was 25 wide — that’s wide, not deep — and it snaked through the foyer and right up the staircase, and why wouldn’t it?

There just aren’t that many roaming rock star philosophers in the world today. You may think it mumbo-jumbo. You may profoundly disagree.

Even so, it will be a long time since you sat for two hours and considered the big questions with other people keen to have an animated conversation about the world, and our place in it.

I’d say get a ticket — but of course, you can’t.



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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