Saturday, January 28, 2017

“The Trump Effect”

It’s so refreshing to report some tentatively good news for once.

I left this comment on a Gatestone column of January 22nd, 2017, “Trump Fires Up Europe's Anti-Establishment Movement”:

I am encouraged and heartened by the sentiments reported in this column. I would really like to visit Europe again someday. But not at present. I think now I would have to look over my shoulder and resort to dodging Muslims. I would also have to watch what I say about immigration. I don't want to be arrested by Germany's and France's and even Britain's "speech police."

The indefatigable Soeren Kern in his January 2017 Gatestone article, “Trump Fires up Europe’s Anti-Establishment Movement,” lets us in on what the European “anti-establishment” is up to.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders (head of the PVV or Party for Freedom) got together with other leaders of opposition European parties (or “anti-establishment” parties) to exchange information and to map strategies on how to come up on top in the upcoming elections in Germany, France, Italy, and Austria.  Although the opposition, aligned especially against the European Union’s (EU) sadomasochist immigration policies and its ambivalence toward culture-sapping and rampaging Islam, has been building for some years, this is the first time so many of these leaders have gotten together at a “rally” to address the “forgotten men and women” of Europe on what is possible, what the issues are, and what is at stake, which is nothing less than a wholly Western Europe and not an Islamized one.

Energized by the formidable Wilders and by what is being called here as “The Trump Effect" (or by Donald Trump’s sweeping anti-establishment victory and the actions he has been taking since taking the oath of office on January 20th), in addition to Brexit, also in attendance at the rally in Koblenz, under the banner of “The Year of Patriots,” were Marine Le Pen, head of the French nationalist opposition party, the National Front, since 2011; Frauke Petry, the leader of the Alternative for Germany (AfD); Matteo Salvini, head of the Lego Nord party of Italy; and Harald Vilimsky head of Austria’s Freedom Party.

Marine Le Pen of the National Front
It is hoped that these European anti-establishment activists, if elected as the heads of their own countries, can begin to “drain their own swamps” of unelected EU bureaucrats, conniving, career politicians and political appointees, retired politicians who have turned to lobbying to further their parties’ agendas (and their own incomes) for more regulation and for special interests (many EU bureaucrats own substantial interests in their own countries’ farms that conform to Brussels’ environmental and regulatory diktats), of politicians who do not apply themselves to representing their constituents’ interests, and those who are simply moribund in lassitude.

Kern writes:

Polls indicate that the political sea change engulfing the United States is fueling support for anti-establishment parties in Europe. In addition to anger over eroding sovereignty, a growing number of Europeans are rebelling against decades of government-imposed multiculturalism, politically correct speech codes and mass migration from the Muslim world.

In Germany, the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany party (AfD) has become the third-largest party the country, with support at around 15% percent. The AfD had gained representation in ten of Germany's 16 state parliaments, and the party hopes to win seats in the Federal Parliament (Bundestag) for the first time in national elections set for September 24, 2017.

Europe's establishment parties, far from addressing the concerns of ordinary voters, have tried to silence dissent by branding naysayers as xenophobes, Islamophobes and neo-Nazis.

Enter Trump. If sufficient numbers of European voters are inspired by the political transformation taking place in the United States, the balance of European political power may begin to shift in favor of the anti-establishment parties. European political and media elites will therefore surely view Trump as a threat to the Europe's established political order.

Frauke Petry of the AfD
It is not the anti-establishment parties that are worried about Donald Trump. It is the leaders of the entrenched European establishment that suffers from what is loosely called the “Trump Derangement Syndrome,” a tenacious malady that drives its victims to various states of madness, hysteria, and certifiable irrationality.

The Democrats and the Left, writes Daniel Greenfield about the Syndrome, believe in their own absolute entitlement to power. Any election that they win is legitimate. Any election that they lose is illegitimate…. Like all dictators, the Democrats believe in democracy only until they lose an election.

The last time a national mental breakdown this severe happened was sixteen years ago when Bush beat Gore. The Democrats reacted gracefully to their defeat by insisting that they didn’t really lose because Bush stole the election. Psychiatrists were soon tending to lefties suffering from depression. Others protested outside the Florida Supreme Court, President Bush’s home and their parents’ basement.

Jesse Jackson accused Republicans of a “coup.” Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson warned that "without justice there will be no peace." Thousands protested Bush’s inauguration waving signs like, “We want Bush out of D.C.” and “You’re not our president.”

The Congressional Black Caucus tried to obstruct the certification of the Electoral College vote. Then when Bush won again in the next election, they did it all over again. Expect them to try it one more time.

There must be something flawed about how American elections are held and decided, writes Greenfield, about the ubiquitous teeth-grinding reactions of the losers.

#NotOurPresident on Twitter quickly gave way to riots in major cities. Democrats in the affected cities decided that the riots were a great idea even though it was their own police that were being attacked.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City’s radical leftist boss, claimed that “more disruption… will change the trajectory of things”. Even though the only trajectory that the protests have changed thus far is New York City traffic. “The more people fight back, the more it takes away his power,” he insisted.

Wiser heads on the left recognized that messing up Manhattan traffic wouldn’t stop Trump from taking office. Instead they decided to abolish the Electoral College. Senator Boxer will introduce a bill to that effect. Bernie Sanders mumbled that it’s time to rethink it. Michael Dukakis [a first-class loser from long ago] fired off an angry email insisting that Hillary Clinton had won and that abolishing it should be a top Democratic priority.

Since Hillary lost, the Electoral College is, according to Slate, an “Instrument of White Supremacy—and Sexism”. And probably Islamophobic and Homophobic too.

Harald Vilimsky of Austria
Greenfield is sardonic about the Derangement Syndrome. But he rarely writes tongue in cheek. He’s not making anything up. He’s simply reporting the craziness, hair-pulling, and head-banging over Trump’s victory and the prospect of yammering yahoos having brainstorms that will somehow turn the sands of Mars into caramel syrup.

The outer reaches of Trump Derangement Syndrome include calls to boycott three brands of toilet paper because they’re allegedly made by the Koch Brothers. Never mind that the Koch Brothers weren’t supporting Trump. Facts, like democracy, only matter when they happen to be on your side.

Then there are the ritual burnings of New Balance sneakers on YouTube and Instagram. Not to mention support for the secession of California from the United States of America.

A man has sued Donald Trump for $1 billion for having inflicted “great emotional pain, fear and anxiety on Election Day and beyond.” Students at Cornell held a “cry-in” to mourn the results of the election.  The University of Kansas offered students therapy dogs. At the University of Michigan’s multi-ethnic student affairs center students took comfort in regressing to childhood with coloring books and Play-Dough.

John Hopkins recommended a healing circle. Stanford University urged students to “take care of yourselves and to give support to those who need it.” Vanderbilt encouraged them “to take advantage of the outstanding mental health support the university offers.”

At the University of Maryland, an astronomy test was canceled to help students cope with “a personally threatening election result.” A Yale economics professor made his test optional because students were “in shock” over losing an election.  A dozen midterms were rescheduled at Columbia.

Kern writes that the Trump Derangement Syndrome is a kind of unique American export (as are “safe spaces”) that only EU bureaucrats and national politicians and commentators purchase. Some however are trying medication – call it the political pragmatism of realism or doses of cognitive Valium  to cure themselves of the Syndrome:

Commentator Hubert Wetzel said that Trump posed a threat to European security and called for European unity to weather the next four years. In an essay laced with hyperbole, he wrote:

"Europeans will have to adapt to a new tone in dealing with America. Trump has made it clear in his speech that he will pursue a nationalist foreign policy, and his speech contained no reference to America's allies. [Trump actually said: 'We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones,' and 'We will seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world']. His willingness to spend money on the defense of other countries is limited. He does not see the USA as a protective power of democratic values in the world; and he is the first U.S. president since the end of the Second World War who has openly expressed doubts about the value of European unity and the existence of NATO. At a time when Russia is trying to weaken the West by means of diplomatic, intelligence, and military means, it is an attitude that is a serious threat to united Europe."

In Switzerland, Roger Köppel, editor-in-chief of Die Weltwoche, warned against efforts by European elites to belittle Trump. He wrote:

"Trump's election was a healthy shock. The shock was necessary. Not only power cartels, but also worldviews are breaking down. This disruption is fruitful. The taboos of the last few years are now fully on the agenda: illegal immigration, Islam, the nonsense of open borders, the dysfunctional EU, the free movement of people, jobs, law and order. Trump's predecessors did not want to talk about it, but the majority of voters did. This is democracy."

I do not know enough about the mechanics and methods of European politics to be predict with any prescience whether the muscle-flexing anti-establishment parties will fall into the errors of a compromise with the establishments, or fashion tailored tyrannies of their own, or fail miserably in their appeals to a European population that fears freedom and independence from the EU. In Germany, for example, there is a very real possibility that its fed-up citizens may trade a Merkelian totalitarianism for a more populist one. I hope not.

But I hope I have not misplaced my confidence that many Europeans are as rational and proud as Americans have been in the last election here, and that they hear the people singing and decide to throw off their tyranny.

When tomorrow comes: What will it bring to Europe?

Sunday, January 22, 2017

The New Iron Curtain – Goebbels Returns

Let’s say it in German: Der neue Eiserne Vorhang – Goebbels Redux!

Angela Merkel's Political Correctness predecessor, Goebbels
And who was Goebbels?

Joseph Goebbels [1897-1945] served as minister of propaganda for the German Third Reich under Adolf Hitler—a position from which he spread the Nazi message.

In 1927, Goebbels founded Der Angriff ("The Attack"), a weekly national Socialist newspaper, and the following year, Hitler appointed him to the post of national director of propaganda for the Nazis.

Once installed, Goebbels began creating the Führer myth around Hitler, punctuating it with huge rallies geared toward converting the German people to Nazism. His day-to-day activities also included designing posters, publishing propaganda pieces, using his bodyguards to incite street battles and generally increasing political agitation.

An “Iron Curtain”?

The first recorded application of the term to Communist Russia, again in the sense of the end of an era, comes in Vasily Rozanov's 1918 polemic The Apocalypse of Our Times, and it is possible that Churchill read it there following the publication of the book's English translation in 1920. The passage runs:
If the German people lay down their weapons, the Soviets, according to the agreement between Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin, would occupy all of East and Southeast Europe along with the greater part of the Reich. An iron curtain would fall over this enormous territory controlled by the Soviet Union, behind which nations would be slaughtered.

Although its popularity as a Cold War symbol is attributed to its use in a speech Winston Churchill gave in March 1946 in Fulton, Missouri,[6] Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels had already used the term in reference to the Soviet Union.

But today, in 2017, Goebbels is unusually plump, wears a skirt, and has a hair dresser. His name is now Angela Merkel. She, too, is creating a myth, one that is so full of cracks and leaks it can hardly hold the malice against truth and for the German people – the myth that Muslim refugees will help to remake Germany. It can be
Merkel: Riding her Prancing Unicorn to defeat
held together with the tool of propaganda, government lies, force, and censorship.

But that alliance is not working too well.  Were it working as well as expected, there would be no organized opposition to the Islamization of Germany, no opposition to the establishment of a “German Islam,” no demonstrations, no Germans arrested or fined for “hate speech.” There would be no Afd Party that threatens to end Merkel’s fantasy in progress of an Islamic Germany.

Germany's strict libel and slander laws are meant to protect citizens by making it a crime to defame others. More than 218,000 cases involving insults were filed with prosecutors in 2015. But few Internet based cases were prosecuted.

Germans know what Merkel and Jean-Claude Juncker are up to, which is to force them to submit to the European Union’s immigration policies, and to submit to Islam, to “integrate” them with Islam, to inure Germans to the migrant record of rapes, robberies, harassment, and the presence of countless Muslims hostile to and opposed to assimilating Western culture and values.

What is the “hate speech” that the German government wants to suppress or prohibit? Wikipedia’s definition of it is:

Hate speech is speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as gender, ethnic origin, religion, race, disability, or sexual orientation. In the law of some countries, hate speech is described as speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it incites violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected group, or individual on the basis of their membership to the group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected group, or individual on the basis of their membership to the group.

Muslims, however, are not ever found guilty of “hate speech”; they can publically call uncovered Western women “sluts” or “prostitutes,” because their insults are deemed expressions of their “religion” or as “legitimate” forms of “political protest.”

“Hate speech” in fact has no physical power to harm anyone. Its harmful property is purely a psychological one; if one is so thin-skinned or self-esteem-deficient that a sneer or a dirty look can be claimed as derogatory or defamatory or hurtful, then one may as well retire to a cave or an island where one would not encounter other men. “Hate speech” has no metaphysical or existential potency. I oppose the very concept of it, mainly because it can be used to censor any form of criticism – book, cartoon, satire, or middle fingers.

Eugene Volokh, in his May 2015 Washington Post article, “No, there’s no “hate speech exception to the First Amendment,” notes,

But there is no hate speech exception to the First Amendment. Hateful ideas (whatever exactly that might mean) are just as protected under the First Amendment as other ideas. One is as free to condemn Islam — or Muslims, or Jews, or blacks, or whites, or illegal aliens, or native-born citizens — as one is to condemn capitalism or Socialism or Democrats or Republicans.

Unfortunately, Germany has no equivalent of the First Amendment that would stymie government plans to regulate speech. Merkel and her censorial cronies, such as Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, are just fine with its absence. To make a statement on paper, on a soapbox, or on the Internet that is critical of migrants and especially of Muslims is fair game for punishment by the government.

This leaves the German government to quash what it deems “fake news” from any quarter but its own.

Judith Bergman in her January 2017 Gatestone article, “Germany’s New Propaganda Bureau,” reports:

Germany has, of course, been cracking down on free speech for quite a while now. Already in September 2015, Merkel said, "When people stir up sedition on social networks using their real name, it is not only the state that has to act, but also Facebook as a company should do something against these statements".

Under a government program, which has enlisted the help of the German non-governmental organization, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, led by Anetta Kahane (who has turned out, in a fine twist of irony, to be a former Stasi agent and informer) German authorities are monitoring how many supposedly "racist" posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to look at legislative measures if the results turn out to be "unsatisfactory". The program is scheduled to run until March 2017.

Germany says: "Don't believe your lying eyes!"
Bergman continues:

A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July 2016 of creating a Facebook group that criticized the government's migration policy. Their page stated, "The war and economic refugees are flooding our country. They bring terror, fear, sorrow. They rape our women and put our children at risk. Make this end!" Also, in July 2016, 60 people suspected of writing "hate speech" online had their homes raided by German police.

None of the above seems to be enough, however, for the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, from Merkel's CDU party, who believes that what Facebook is already doing against "hate speech" is not enough. According to Lammert, there is a need for more legislation. A law to bring social networks under penalty of fines if they fail to erase "hate messages" and "false news" has just been announced by Volker Kauder, leader of the parliamentary group in Merkel's current Bundestag and CDU/CSU faction, and Thomas Oppermann, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary group.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has also recently called on companies such as Facebook to address "false announcements" on the Internet, saying he felt that the Europeans were increasingly becoming "sensitive to who is fluttering around them and who is telling them the truth."

As I noted above, Muslims are as a rule exempt from charges of hate speech. Bergman concludes with:

In another such instance, a German court found that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal by two German Arabs and a juvenile accomplice was not anti-Semitic, but rather "an act of protest" to "bring attention to the Gaza war." The men were convicted of arson.

In Germany, it is criminal to bring attention to the problems that come with the government's migration policies, or to criticize those policies, because this constitutes "hate speech." Firebombing a synagogue, on the other hand, is simply an "act of protest." Perhaps, once the "Defense Center against Disinformation" is set up, such "acts of protest" will be labeled, "Officially Approved Un-Fake Communication."

Stab a Jew, or run over him in Israel, and that’s “free expression”! It’s “protest”!

Back to “fake news.” How’s this for “fake news”? 

“His Excellency the Exalted Ambassador from Mars announces to Linda Sarsour he will convert to Islam!”

Okay. So you don’t believe that’s a legitimate headline and that it has no connection to reality. Understandable. But the truth about Islam and Muslim migrants – and how they are making Germany (and Sweden, Denmark, and Norway) inhospitable “no go” zones for indigenous citizens – that’s “fake news.” In short they are being “Islamized.”

Robbie Travers, in his Gatestone article of January 2017, “The ‘Fake News’ Censorship Industry,” writes:

The German government thinks it knows exactly who should be the arbiter of truth and what articles you should be allowed to post. Itself!

After a bill was proposed by German lawmakers, which threatened fines of up to 500,000 Euros ($522,000) for publishing "fake news," Facebook decided to use an organization called Correctiv, described as a German fact-checking non-profit organization, to decide whether reported stories are "real" or "fake."

This system would then encourage individual Facebook users to report other users' posts to Correctiv. Facebook would then have Correctiv label any of the articles "fake news," as they see fit.

Even then, this proposed response by Facebook was not harsh enough for some German lawmakers, who want articles deemed to be fake by the government to be removed within 24 hours, or else fine Facebook 500,000 Euros. That move would undoubtedly lead to individuals abandoning Facebook for other social networks, or more probably, Facebook abandoning them. German attempts to police the Facebook could end up useless; to many, the plan looks suspiciously like a money-making stratagem.

A centralized "speech police" would also create a monopolization of the media industry. One or two large platforms would dominate the public debate; fringe voices would be ignored and cast aside.

Travers continues:

Facebook's "Trending News Team" banned people exposing jihadists, but allowed pages glorifying anti-police violence and pages promoting anti-Israeli terrorism. That is quite a track record.

Individuals, without even inciting violence, have been wrongly censored by Facebook. A former Gatestone writer, Ingrid Carlqvist, saw her account suspended; Gatestone writer Douglas Murray's articles were censored from Facebook; and this author had his Facebook blocked for questioning Black Lives Matter. All the banned authors challenged politically correct revisions of events.

The whole censorship industry is open to abuse; presumably, that is what censorship is for in the first place.

Dutch politician Geert Wilders
says goodbye to Germany?
Censorship is about playing with men’s minds, about faking reality for them and for the censors themselves, with government-approved “fake news.” The original Goebbels was a master of it, suckering in a morally and philosophically disarmed populace. Merkel and Juncker are not so good at it. Thus, Merkel and her co-conspirators are worried that her regime might come to an end, and the “iron curtain” of fake news would rust away.