Monday, February 18, 2019

Opposition to immigration stirring in Spain too

Wedged between the mountains and the Mediterranean Sea, the Almería province of southern Spain was once a setting for the spaghetti Westerns that turned Clint Eastwood into a star.

These days, shimmering miles of plastic greenhouses stretch to the horizon, incubating the tomatoes, peppers and other produce that have transformed this once-impoverished region into a farming hub.

But the most important seed growing here along Spain's southern coast may be that of Vox, Spain's first far-right party since the end of the Franco dictatorship in 1975.

With Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's decision on Friday to call for new elections, Vox, which got its election breakthrough in El Ejido, will now have a chance to test its appeal on a national stage. Its entry will break a taboo for Spain, which until now has resisted the pull of far-right nationalism alive in much of Europe.

In regional elections in December in Andalusia, where Almería is located, Vox won 11 per cent of the vote. In El Ejido, a municipality of about 90,000, it came out on top with almost 30 per cent.

What animates Vox, its supporters say, is an urge to reclaim and defend Spanish nationalism in the face of perceived threats to the country's integrity.

For Vox, that includes migration, though this region is heavily dependent on seasonal labour, and the independence drive in Catalonia, seen as an attempt by the affluent north-eastern region to turn its back on poorer southern Spaniards.

"Illegal migration is a problem for the whole of Spain," said Juan Francisco Rojas, the president of Vox in Almería, where about 14,000 migrants arrived from Africa last year as the populist government in Italy tightened its borders.

As for Catalan secessionism, he said, "Anything that affects one part of our territory also impacts the rest of Spain, which is why Vox wants to guarantee nobody can threaten our unity."

While much of the country favours a hard line toward Catalonia, Spain has been relatively tolerant on the issue of migration.

Just how far Vox's message will carry beyond the coastal south, then, is unclear. But the party's emergence in a country with a long chapter of dictatorship under Francisco Franco has unsettled many.

Santiago Abascal, founder of Vox, has quickly found like-minded company in Europe, joining French nationalist Marine Le Pen on her presidential campaign in 2017. Vox has also sought advice from Steve Bannon, the former chief strategist of President Donald Trump.

In fact, the party also wants to follow Trump's example and erect walls around two Spanish enclaves in North Africa, to block migrants.

"If you look at Trump in America or Bolsonaro in Brazil, you see that people now want politicians who are tough enough to do what they promise," said Juan Carlos Perez Carreño, owner of a fleet of refrigerated trucks that transport produce picked in the greenhouses, referring to President Jair Bolsonaro, the right-wing leader of Brazil.

"The problem with those who say horrible things about Vox is that they preach democracy, but only when their favourite candidates get elected," he added.

Vox has not officially taken up the Fascist symbols often used by much smaller groups in Spain, which have become more visible as the Catalonia dispute simmers.

Instead, Vox has promised to abolish a 2007 "law of historical memory", which calls for the removal of Francoist symbols from public places. The party considers itself a defender of Catholic values and says it would close mosques suspected of radical preaching.

So far, Spain's established conservative parties, far from shunning Vox, have indicated they will partner with it if needed. After Andalusia's election, Vox helped form a regional right-wing coalition government — a role of kingmaker that it could repeat at a national level in Spain's fractured politics.

This month, when tens of thousands of right-wing protesters gathered in Madrid to demand the replacement of Sánchez, a Socialist, Vox founder Abascal occupied the front row, alongside the leaders of the Popular Party and Ciudadanos.

Abascal is hoping to take votes away from the conservative Popular Party, which he abandoned in 2013 to form Vox. Andalusia showcased the decline of mainstream parties, left and right, as the election ousted Socialists from power for the first time in four decades.

Pepe Moreno, 67, who has turned his home into a museum for his collection of vintage automobiles, said he had always voted for the Popular Party, but considered switching to Vox, mainly over concerns about corruption. But migration was also on his mind.

"I'm fine with letting some migrants in," he said, "but not with an open-door policy that means nobody even knows who gets into Spain."

Many migrants live apart, next door to the greenhouses, in smaller towns like Las Norias de Dazas, which has been "taken over by the Moors", remarked Fernando Fuentes, a bar owner.

"I've got the last truly Spanish establishment," along his street, claimed Fuentes, who keeps a Franco-era flag hanging in the backroom and spoke with some patrons about how migrants bring infectious diseases.

In the early mornings, migrants gather at roundabouts to seek day-labour on farms. Ibrahim Hantar, 30, picks tomatoes and lives in a makeshift shelter with four other migrants from Morocco. They share two mattresses and a set of dirty blankets, and cooked two pieces of chicken for their dinner on a portable gas stove.


Liberals’ Anti-Semitism Problem Isn’t Going Away

Anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist and Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar—someone who had previously argued that Jews hypnotized the world regarding their “evil” deeds—recently claimed that Americans only support Israel because of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s “Benjamins”—and then retweeted a person pointing out that she might as well call all Jews “hook-nosed.”

Though House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who put Omar on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, offered a condemnation of Omar’s comments, many progressives jumped immediately to her defense.

Some of them implored Omar to stop deploying these ugly “tropes” because they undermine what is a completely reasonable position toward the Jewish state. (Omar has since apologized, promising to avoid using insulting stereotypes when peddling her anti-Semitism.)

The problem is that “anti-Zionism”—the predominant justification for violence, murder, and hatred against Jews in Europe and the Middle East—is a growing position on the American left.

Though Omar embraces the worst caricatures of this ideology, it’s her core contention regarding the Jewish state—not her clumsy “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”-style insults, which are just a manifestation of her underlying position—that is most consequential.

One of the dishonest arguments regarding Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., who we recently found out wrote a piece for a publication of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, is that they are merely being “critical of Israel.” Yet no serious person has ever made the claim that being critical of Israel’s policies is anti-Semitic.

Israel has had both left-wing and right-wing governments over the years. And like governments in any liberal democracy, they can be corrupt, misguided, or incompetent. Millions of Israelis are critical of their own nation’s policies every year without any fear of repercussions. Israel isn’t Iran or Turkey, countries that most of Israel’s critics never disparage.

But the best way to gauge whether people are merely being critical of Israel’s policies or they are being critical of the existence of the Jewish state is to use Natan Sharansky’s “3D” test:

1) Do they engage in “delegitimization” of the nation’s existence as does every supporter of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement?

2) Do they engage in “demonization” of the country as do people who claim that Israelis hypnotize the world for evil and that they go around murdering children for kicks?

3) Do they engage in “double standards”—for example, having an obsession with Israel and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee while ignoring illiberalism found throughout the Islamic world and ignoring such things as Muslim concentration camps in China?

The second myth pushed by Omar’s defenders is that Israel dictates American foreign policy with its shekels. The first part of this argument is absurd when one considers that over the past few years, the American government passed the Iranian nuclear deal—which Israel saw as an existential threat—and the American president has embraced the idea of withdrawing troops from Syria.

Most of the time, the United States sides with Israel because most of the time Israel’s ideals comport with our own.

Then, of course, there’s a significant difference between contending that you disagree with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s positions and contending that the lobbying group bribes Americans with lots of Benjamins.

For starters, it’s a lie, because the American Israel Public Affairs Committee doesn’t give any money to politicians. And as Emily Zanotti and others have pointed out, the lobbying organization with all its supernatural ability to hypnotize lawmakers, spends about $3.5 million on lobbying for Israeli policies in a good year.

“It barely even cracks the top 50, is dwarfed by the beer wholesalers,” Zanotti writes. “In contrast, Planned Parenthood’s PAC spent $20M in 2016.”

Although it might be tough for progressives to understand, many Americans still prefer Israel over Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and Iran for reasons other than money—e.g., a shared understanding of liberalism, theological reasons, historical ties, political realities, and practical geopolitical reasons.

I do concede that contemporary progressives may not embrace these values anymore. For many decades, however, polls showed widespread support for Israel. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s success is predicated on that support.

Some of Omar’s defenders also engaged in a little whataboutism by pointing out that Republicans have had their own anti-Semitic problems. I’m sure they have.

But I hate to break the news to people: Being critical of billionaire activist George Soros, who happens to be Jewish but holds positions on Israel that are generally in line with Omar’s, is not automatically anti-Semitic—no more than attacking Sheldon Adelson is necessarily anti-Semitic. Omar’s Jewish stereotypes were aimed at all defenders of Israel.

It will be interesting to see how the Democratic Party’s presidential hopefuls react to Omar’s comments. Their positions have increasing currency in the activist wing of their party.

On this issue, there is a big rift opening between young and old. That does not bode well for the establishment or Jews.


Man who says he’s ‘female’ enters women’s bathroom, sexually assaults 10-year-old girl

Decades after feminism swept the West, transgender rights have now formally replaced women’s rights as the emerging ideology of gender fluidity wipes out any formal conception of what a “woman” is to begin with.

Women and girls who feel unsafe when biological males enter spaces once reserved for females only are being essentially told that they are transphobic and that they should shut up. The University of West England even launched a poster campaign recently urging students to disregard those who look like they may be in the wrong bathroom. When journalist Josephine Bartosch noted that, “UWE are saying that the feelings and fears of women matter less than those who identify as transgender,” she was promptly condemned by the head of the LGBT society.

Over and over again, LGBT activists insist that there is no downside to eliminating female-only spaces or limiting them to biological women. Anyone who claims that there might be a danger in allowing anyone into private spaces based on how they decide to identify is told that they are motivated by hatred for transgender people rather than by concern for vulnerable women. Any discomfort expressed by women themselves is condemned as bigotry. And this system is impervious to questioning: It is not only transphobic to ask whether some spaces should be limited to biological females for the purposes of safety, it is also transphobic to ask any follow-up questions about this. The transgender community, apparently, is a uniformly perfect group, utterly without sin and lacking any nefarious members whatsoever. I suppose if you can believe a woman has a penis, you can believe anything.

That has unfortunately but predictably proven not to be the case. In the United Kingdom, the Courier reported recently that a violent young man, which the media outlet obediently referred to as a “she” throughout their reporting, received a slap on the wrist after sexually assaulting a ten-year-old girl in the women’s bathroom at a supermarket in Morrisons, Kirkcaldy. The 18-year-old, who currently goes by the name “Katie Dolatowski,” grabbed the little girl by the face, shoved her into a bathroom stall, and demanded that she take off her pants, adding that a man outside the bathroom would kill her mother. The girl panicked and began punching Dolatowski, hitting him in the groin, midriff, and face. She then bolted outside to her father and siblings, who were waiting just outside the presumably safe women’s bathroom.

The ten-year-old girl has continued to suffer flashbacks since the traumatic incident, which understandably rendered her hysterical. Her enraged mother noted that the assault is "something that will remain with her for the rest of her life."

"He was stalking the toilets. He went there specifically to attack a child. We were so, so lucky that nothing worse happened. It was only her reaction that stopped that. It could have been a five-year-old child that wouldn’t have been able to fight back.”

This was not Dolatowski’s first offense, either. Last February, he filmed a 12-year-old girl on the toilet in another supermarket in Dunfermline by putting his cell phone over the stall partition. Despite that, Dolatowski has been labeled only a “moderate risk” to the community, and has been ordered to stay away from children but released from the Polmont Young Offender’s Institution. The court took pity on Dolatowski after hearing that he had been in the social care system since he was a young child and that he struggled with mental health issues. The parents of the little girl who was sexually assaulted by Dolatowski are understandably furious, with her mother pointing out that “she” was obviously a “he.”

There are more examples of this, as well. In fact, plenty of people have already used claims of being transgender to get access to female bathrooms for the purposes of voyeurism—and sometimes worse behavior. These examples are usually ignored entirely, and even mentioning them can get you labeled a bigot. Teacher’s guidelines in the United States have explicitly stated that high school girls who complain about biological males in their showers and locker rooms or bunking down with them on field trips should be re-educated to relieve them of their “internalized transphobia,” and it is actually a teenage girl and her friends who are leading the charge by suing their high school over policies that allow biological males into their change rooms. Unfortunately for them, our society has moved past their admiration for young girls taking initiative and sticking up for themselves. It is no longer you go, girl!

Now, it’s shut up, transphobe.


France to replace 'mother' and 'father' with Parent 1 and Parent 2 on school forms to avoid excluding same-sex parents

The French national assembly has voted to amend its education law to replace the terms 'mother' and 'father' on school forms with 'Parent 1' and 'Parent 2'.

The move, which passed its first reading on Tuesday, paves the way for the change which lawmakers say gives fair recognition to families with same-sex parents and tackles discrimination. 

President Emmanuel Macron's République en Marche (REM) party backed the amendment to the 'Schools of Trust' law in the interest of 'anchoring the diversity of families with children in the law', said Valérie Petit MP.

Members of the Parliament begin the session  at the National Assembly in Paris on February 12, 2019, during which the amendment to an education bill was carried that would change mother and father to Parent 1 and Parent 2 on school forms     +4
Members of the Parliament begin the session at the National Assembly in Paris on February 12, 2019, during which the amendment to an education bill was carried that would change mother and father to Parent 1 and Parent 2 on school forms

Petit, who tabled the amendment, cited many the fact that most forms - such as those for a student's absence - mention a father and mother but do not take into account the French marriage equality law that passed in 2013.

Another REM assembly member, Jennifer De Temmerman, agreed that today's 'social and family models are a little outdated'. 'No one should feel excluded from this society by backward thinking,' she said.

The amendment says: 'To prevent discrimination, school enrollment, class registers, parental authorisations and all other official forms involving children must mention only Parent 1 and Parent 2.' 

Parties on the left and centre welcomed the amendment, which has angered Christians and conservatives.

But it does not enjoy unanimous support in Mr Macron's party, as education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said that the removal of 'les mères' and 'les pères' was a legislative overreach by the government.

Alexandre Urwicz, President of the Association of Homo-parental Families, had mixed feelings. 

'At first, we welcomed the amendment because, technically, it allows our families to be included in forms that previously did not allow it, ' he told AFP.

However, admitted that he was afraid that the new formula is misleading as it might lead to a parental hierarchy: 'Who is parent number 1 and who is parent number 2?,' he asked.

The amendment has its second reading on February 19. It has yet to be approved by the Senate but is expected to pass.



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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