Thursday, June 21, 2018

What America has lost

By Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh —— a Romanian who escaped Romania as a young girl in the '70s. What she says about small town America of the past reminds me a lot of my growing up in a small Australian country town -- and I miss it

America is the land of opportunity where immigrants dream to find success through hard work and a lifestyle with a picket fence, a nice home, plenty of food, and a traditional family comprised of mother, father, and children. Nineteen-seventy America was still the land of opportunity where, if one worked hard, one could reach whatever he/she was willing to sacrifice in order to achieve their goals. But Christianity, God, faith, and family were at the center of a successful life.

There were no pedestrians in the southern town where I lived. Americans were trapped inside large metal gas guzzlers that drank gasoline like water. Nobody strolled outdoors except in the square downtown. If anyone saw you walk on the side of the road, since sidewalks did not exist except in large cities, they would stop and offer you a ride. It was done from a sense of pity as well as concern for your safety, walking in 90-degree oven-like heat coupled with unbearable humidity that kept everyone’s face looking young and shiny.

Many foreigners who dared or were allowed to travel to America came by boat as it was still much cheaper than flying. Once here, some took the Greyhound bus across the U.S. and others, like me, flew everywhere or crisscrossed the country by car or truck, seldom taking the train.

In a very small southern town of 3,000, church was the center of life for young and old. I counted over 100 churches stretching as far away as a ten mile radius in the county. Many youth trips, activities, and summer camps were sanctioned or sponsored by the church.

There was a drive-in theater, and one grocery store, locally owned and operated. The closest chain grocery store was over 60 miles away. A tiny mall with boutiques and a Sears store is where people bought their washers and dryers, TVs, lawn mowers, bikes, toys, Christmas gifts, and clothing. Fancier TVs could be purchased in a Curtis Mathis store. There was no Super Walmart, Target, or such retailers.

Some cross-roads had a small convenience store that the local farmers frequented for their daily necessities, milk, bananas, ice cream, and candy bars. Americans of all ages consumed, I thought, way too much sugar then. The owners knew everybody and, if they just came from the field and did not have their wallets, the items purchased were put on an account which the farmer could pay later.

There was a level of trust that I have never seen anywhere else—nobody needed a credit card. People did not dare write bad checks and credit cards were hard to obtain and seldom accepted. My Egyptian friend Lula remarked that we bought everything with checks, not cash. She did not understand the western concept of banking.

People dressed simply, the local seamstress made a good living with Simplicity patterns and fabrics purchased by the yard at Hancock’s Fabrics. She charged $20 to make a dress at a time when minimum wage was $3.10.

The local beauty shop was a wooden building on the side of an empty highway, no sign, every lady in the county knew where it was, just big enough for a couple of chairs, a sink, and the window air conditioner. A southern belle dressed in jeans and a country shirt did her hair on Friday for $10 and then went to the grocery store and bought the week’s $20 supply of food for the family. Americans could buy a lot of food for $20 in the seventies and still only spent about 15 percent of their income to fill their refrigerators.

I was mesmerized how homes in the middle of a pasture had running water and a septic tank. In my Romania at the time, country folks still had smelly and unsanitary out-houses.

Eating out was unheard of unless you counted going to the Rexall Drug counter for a soda float or getting a Mickey Mouse ice cream bar at Vaughn’s country store. The small town had a Sonic drive-in but no McDonalds and no pizza parlor.

Locals bought their blue jeans at Varney’s Department Store on the square and Elegant Ladies, each the size of a master bedroom today, or at the Co-op store where you could pretty much purchase anything you needed to run a farm, including the tough Wrangler jeans for $10.

If you were willing to drive over 60 miles to buy food in a chain grocery store, you could also shop in a real Sears or J.C. Penney store, today’s dinosaurs. Catalogs came in every year but ordering by phone and receiving packages in the mail took time and effort and the shipping and returns were costly. The post office was not conveniently located either. Walking in the heat and the unforgiving sun to retrieve packages or mail from the mailbox on the side of the country road, far away from any farm house, was a sweat-drenching proposition.

Homes were sprawling and comfortable, simply decorated, with A/C units in the windows or the occasional central air heating and cooling. Poorer folks lived in trailers who rocked, rattled, and shook during the frequent Tornado Alley storms that seemed to crack the sky in two with thunder and lightning.  Powerful winds whipped and ripped old and venerable trees from the roots and occasional tornadoes demolished and flattened the forest, ripping anything else apart that stood in its path, and sending cows and humans flying through the air.

People dressed in their best for Wednesday and Sunday church services, followed by picnics and potluck suppers when everyone brought their best dishes to share with the congregation. And during football and baseball season, people attended the high school games and prayed before each game, cheering for the home team.

A stream of friends and acquaintances visited my in-laws to meet the Romanian girl who was lucky enough to escape Ceausescu’s communism while the Romanian was bewildered by all these well-meaning strangers who had no idea what kind of world she had left behind.

Without a myriad of TV channels of today, the drive-in was the only cinema that offered the latest movies. If your car broke down in the middle of the road, kind strangers stopped to help, change a tire, give you a lift home or to the nearest garage.

Cell phones did not exist in our bucolic lives and land lines were expensive. Many country folks had rotary dials with four parties on one phone line. You had to wait your turn to make a call or, in an emergency, ask the other parties to get off so that you can make the call. Everybody knew anybody else’s latest news and gossip as it was easy to listen in on conversations, intentionally or not.

Foreigners like me, an oddity from the communist world Americans despised, were a rarity in the South and Americans opened their homes to them but did not really accept them as part of their social milieu, they kept them at arm’s length and on the fringes because communists were not to be trusted. Yet foreigners like me learned the language and integrated into society, and became naturalized Americans who were contributing to its well-being and paid taxes.

Today’s Americans embrace communism and desire to change their society to that utopian failed state. They take in with open arms the real flotsam and jetsam of the third world who are often anti-Christian and unwilling to ever integrate into society, learn English, and assimilate. They are only interested in the generous welfare.

In the 70s, it was a shame to accept welfare. You had to be really down on your luck and prayed to improve quickly so you could get off welfare. There was shame and dishonor associated with accepting handouts. Today that shame is gone and it has morphed into an entitlement to everything other people own and had worked hard for.

The local high schools would invite foreign speakers who survived and escaped oppressive regimes to educate young Americans about the evils of totalitarianism/communism and how dear leaders like Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, and Ceausescu have tortured and killed 100 million of their own people, citizens kept prisoners in their own countries and often starved to death.

After decades of telling teachers and students that one cannot mix Christian religion and state, the k-12 Common Core curriculum adopted is indoctrinating students into Islam and into sexual deviance. It is sad to watch today’s public schools, some private schools, and many colleges in the U.S. preach communism, intolerance of everyone who loves America, the pillars of Islam, and anti-Christianity even though many well-informed parents object.

And those who object to this indoctrination are labeled immediately—intolerant, xenophobic, sexist, homophobic, racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic, islamophobic, misogynist, or whatever “hate” label the Left has chosen for the rest of us who fell in love with 1970s America.

With a few areas here and there, small towns that did not have enough money or resources to accommodate the welfare-seeking invasion of illegal immigrants and government-allotted mostly male refugees, 1970s America is unrecognizable today. The rule of law and borders long forgotten, is the country still yours?

Say good-bye to what you grew up with and hello to 2018 America altered not by the normal change that the passage of time creates but a socially-engineered globalist entity spawned by the communist Left over the last five decades.


The EU melting pot is melting down

By Niall Ferguson

One hundred ten years ago the British author Israel Zangwill completed his play “The Melting Pot.” Premiered in Washington in October 1908 — where it was enthusiastically applauded by President Theodore Roosevelt — it celebrates the United States as a giant crucible, fusing together “Celt and Latin, Slav and Teuton, Greek and Syrian — black and yellow — Jew and Gentile” to form a single people.

It is rather hard to imagine a similar play ever being written about the European Union in the early 21st century. Or rather, you could easily imagine a very different one. In it, the influx of migrants from all over the world would have precisely the opposite effect from the one envisioned by Zangwill. Far from leading to fusion, Europe’s immigration crisis is leading to fission. The play might be called “The Meltdown Pot.”

Increasingly, I believe that the issue of migration will be seen by future historians as the fatal solvent of the EU. In their accounts, Brexit will appear as merely an early symptom of the crisis. Their broader argument will be that a massive Völkerwanderung overwhelmed the project for European integration, exposing the weakness of the EU as an institution and driving voters back to national politics for solutions.

Let us begin with the scale of the influx. In 2016 alone there were an estimated 2.4 million migrants to the 28 EU member states from non-EU countries, taking the total foreign-born population of the union up to 36.9 million, more than 7 percent of the total. Germany saw the largest influx as a result of a temporary relaxation of controls, admitting more than a million migrants.

The problem is intractable. Continental Europe’s population is aging and shrinking, but European labor markets have a poor record when it comes to integrating unskilled migrants.

Moreover, a large proportion of Europe’s migrants are Muslims. Liberals insist that is should be possible for Christians and Muslims to coexist peacefully in a secular post-Christian Europe. In practice, the combination of historically rooted suspicions and contemporary divergences in attitudes — notably on the status and role of women — is making assimilation difficult. (Compare the situation of Moroccans in Belgium with that of Mexicans in California if you don’t believe me.)

Finally, there is a practical problem. Europe’s southern border is almost impossible to defend against flotillas of migrants, unless Europe’s leaders are prepared to let many people drown.

Politically, the immigration problem looks fatal to that loose alliance between moderate social democrats and moderate conservatives/Christian democrats on which the past 70 years of European integration have been based.

European centrists are deeply confused about migration. Many, especially on the center-left, want to have both open borders and welfare states. But the evidence suggests that it is hard to be Denmark with a multicultural society. The lack of social solidarity makes high levels of taxation and redistribution unsustainable.

In Italy we see one possible future: The populists of the left (the Five Star Movement) and the populists of the right (the Northern League) have joined forces to form a government. Their coalition is going to focus on two things: entrenching old welfare norms (it plans to undo a recent pension reform) and excluding migrants. Last week, to much popular applause, the interior minister, Matteo Salvini, turned away a boat carrying 629 migrants rescued from the sea off Libya. The Aquarius is now in Spain, whose new minority Socialist government has offered to accept its human cargo.

But the Italian model may not be for export. Imagine, if you can, the right-wing Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) sitting down with the German leftists (Die Linke) for sausages and beer in Berlin. Impossible. As a result, as Germans found after their last election, there is in fact no alternative but for the old grand coalition of center-right and center-left to limp onwards.

I used to be skeptical of the argument that Brexit was about leaving a sinking ship. I am now reassessing my view. Even as the impossibility of reconciling Tory “remainers” and Brexiteers becomes an existential threat to Theresa May, events in Europe are moving in directions that seemed inconceivable just a few years ago.

In his upcoming book on immigration in America, my friend Reihan Salam — himself the son of Bangladeshi immigrants — makes a bold argument: The United States must either restrict immigration or risk civil war as rising inequality and racial tension combine.

I hope Salam is right that the American melting pot can somehow be salvaged. But I have no such hope for Europe. No one who has spent any time in Germany since Angela Merkel’s great gamble of 2015-16 can honestly believe that a melting pot is in the making there. Anyone who visits Italy today can see that the policies of the past decade — austerity plus open borders — have produced a political meltdown.

Fusion may still be an option for the United States. For Europe, I fear, the future is one of fission — a process potentially so explosive that it may relegate Brexit to the footnotes of future history.


Merkel’s Leadership Threatened by Killings by Immigrants, Wrought by Open Borders

Diana Feldman received an unusual text message from the phone of her 14-year-old daughter, Susanna, late last month. Written in broken German, the message said she would be back home in a few weeks and that her mother should not try to find her.

Yet the message was not from Susanna. She had already been raped and strangled, and her body was dumped next to some railroad tracks in the city of Wiesbaden in western Germany.

Such stories—coming in the wake of the mass sexual assault of more than 1,000 women in Germany on New Year’s Eve of 2015—have a variety of consequences.

One consequence is political. Concern over immigration could lead to the collapse of Merkel’s coalition government. Horst Seehofer, Germany’s interior minister, wants to begin turning away refugees who have passed through another European Union country before getting to Germany. Merkel is refusing, concerned about the effects this would have on forging a coherent EU-wide refugee policy.

The coalition is splintering, and if an agreement cannot be reached, a vote of confidence in Merkel—and new elections—could be imminent.

Another consequence relates to security. One recent study demonstrated that violent crime had increased by more than 10 percent in 2015 and 2016. Ninety percent of that increase was because of violent crimes committed by male refugees.

Similarly, the sharp increase to the Islamist terrorism threat in Germany is not primarily from radicalized Germans, but from recently arrived asylum seekers. While some plots were thwarted, those in Wurzburg, Ansbach, Berlin, and Hamburg were not.

In that environment, many Germans have turned to a radical, outsider party that made a platform out of cracking down on immigration. Alternative for Germany got about 6 million votes (13 percent) in September 2017 and is now the third-biggest party in Germany.

That’s not because Germany has a hitherto concealed population of racists who were unearthed in the election, but because Merkel very clearly made a cataclysmic mistake.

Germany did take in too many people. It did not know who they were then, and so, it has no idea who is living in the country now. It was too trusting in accepting asylum applicants’ backstories—and the German Medical Association is still speaking out against checking claimants’ ages.

Germany is not deporting enough of those who have no right to be in the country, or making decisions on asylum appeals quickly enough.

If this were solely a German problem, then perhaps it would be easier to contain. Yet it also extends to Sweden, which is dealing with a surge in crime in areas with high concentrations of immigrants.

One recent study in Sweden showed that more than 75 percent (at a minimum) of those claiming to be children were actually adults. Austria, Italy, and other countries in Europe face similar challenges.

A responsible approach would be for nations to listen to voters’ concerns and craft policies that address them.

Merkel’s desire for an EU-led solution demonstrates the hopelessness of the current approach. An unresponsiveness to democratic impulses in the EU is a well-established theme.

Meanwhile, the numbers continue to grow. About 10,000 new asylum seekers come to Germany every month. The government hopes they will integrate, but has no real idea how to make that happen, and the crisis rolls on.


False rape accusation again

Prosecutors have dropped sexual battery charges against two college students who were accused of gang raping a drunken woman at a party.

The case against University of Central Florida students David Anthony Kirk, 20, and Jack Ryan Smith, 26, was 'not suitable for prosecution', the Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office said in a notice filed on Thursday, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

Kirk's attorney said that witnesses debunked the woman's claims, and that she fabricated the story out of embarrassment after she was spotted at the party having sex with two men.

The prosecutor's office did not elaborate on what made the case unsuitable for prosecution. 

Kirk and Smith were arrested in April, several days after the party near the UCF campus in Orlando.

An arrest report says the woman was too drunk to consent to sex when she was assaulted at what was described as a 'party home' for the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.

The woman told deputies she drank vodka and flavored water on the way to the party, and then continued to drink green apple-flavored shaved ice with vodka at the party. The arrest report did not say if the woman was a student.

During the party, she said she spent most of her time with Kirk and Smith in the backyard, according to authorities, and then began to slur her words and blacked out.

She said that she then remembered waking up naked in a bedroom on her stomach in a queen-sized bed.

The woman alleged that while Smith was raping her, Kirk was forcing her to perform oral sex on him, according to the arrest report.

The woman told deputies she was numb, in shock, and in tears. She said she heard the two men say ‘my turn, my turn’ before switching positions. 

The woman said that after the alleged rape, she sat on the bathroom floor across the hall and texted her friends for help. She then met them and went home.

Kirk was expelled from the UCF chapter of the fraternity, and is not known if Smith was a member.

It is the second time in less than a year that members of Alpha Tau Omega's UCF chapter have had charges dropped in an alleged gang rape.

In August, two men - Alexander Garces and Antonio Candido, both 22 - were charged with sexual battery and false imprisonment.

A woman accused the two men of raping her at a ‘New Years in July party’ at the on-campus home.

The charges against the two men were dropped a few months later.


Blacks are Blind to their real Problems

Walter E. Williams

For several decades, a few black scholars have been suggesting that the vision held by many black Americans is entirely wrong. Dr. Shelby Steele, a scholar at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, said: "Instead of admitting that racism has declined, we (blacks) argue all the harder that it is still alive and more insidious than ever. We hold race up to shield us from what we do not want to see in ourselves."

Dr. John McWhorter, professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, lamented that "victimology, separatism, and anti-intellectualism underlie the general black community's response to all race-related issues," adding that "these three thought patterns impede black advancement much more than racism; and dysfunctional inner cities, corporate glass ceilings, and black educational underachievement will persist until such thinking disappears."

In the 1990s, Harvard professor Orlando Patterson wrote, "America, while still flawed in its race relations ... is now the least racist white-majority society in the world; has a better record of legal protection of minorities than any other society, white or black; (and) offers more opportunities to a greater number of black persons than any other society, including all those of Africa."

During an interview in December with The Daily Caller, Steele said the anti-Americanism that started during the 1960s and has become mainstream and visible in the black community is "heartbreaking and sad." That anti-Americanism that so dominates the American black identity has been "ruinous to black America, where we are worse off than we were under segregation by almost every socio-economic measure."

Some people might challenge Steele's assertion that in many measures blacks are worse off than during segregation. How about some numbers? As late as 1950, female-headed households were only 18 percent of the black population. Today 70 percent of black children are raised in single-parent households. In the late 1800s, there were only slight differences between the black family structure and those of other ethnic groups. In New York City in 1925, for example, 85 percent of kin-related black households were two-parent households. According to the 1938 Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences, that year 11 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today about 75 percent of black children are born to unwed mothers. From 1890 to 1940, a slightly higher percentage of black adults had married than white adults. Today about twice as many blacks have never married as whites. The bottom line is that the black family was stronger the first 100 years after slavery than during what will be the second 100 years.

What about the labor market? In every census from 1890 to 1954, blacks were either just as active as or more so than whites in the labor market. During that earlier period, black teen unemployment was roughly equal to or less than white teen unemployment. As early as 1900, the duration of black unemployment was 15 percent shorter than that of whites; today it's about 30 percent longer. Would anyone suggest that there was less racial discrimination during earlier periods?

White liberals and the Democratic Party are the major beneficiaries of keeping black people fearful, angry, victimized and resentful. It's crucial to both their political success and their efforts to change our nation. Racial harmony would be a disaster for leftists, be they politicians, academic liberals or news media people. As for black politicians and civil rights hustlers, Booker T. Washington long ago explained their agenda, writing: "There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs."



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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