Austrian Far-Right Legislator Convicted of Anti-Muslim Incitement

Austrian Far-Right Legislator Convicted of

Anti-Muslim Incitement

More news stories on Europe

DPA, Earth Times, January 22, 2009

Austrian far-right parliamentarian Susanne Winter was convicted Thursday of incitement because of her anti-Muslim statements, including the claim that Islam’s prophet Mohammed was a paedophile. A court in Winter’s home town of Graz also found the 51-year-old politician guilty of humiliating a religion. She was sentenced to a fine of 24,000 euros (31,000 dollars) euros and a suspended prison term of three months, Austrian news agency APA reported.

{snip}

She also proposed in a discussion with students that Muslim men should commit bestiality rather than making “indecent advances” on girls.

The politician had pleaded innocent Thursday, claiming that she “did not want to insult anyone, but only to point out problems.”

{snip}

Original article

(Posted on January 26, 2009)


Comments

Mohammed humiliated his religion by marrying and consummating his marriage to a little girl on her ninth birthday. If all the world learned the Muslims worship a pedophile prophet and it failed to humiliate Islam, nothing would. It is our job to spread the word…

Posted by Anonymous at 5:43 PM on January 26


I recall being in Vienna a few years ago. I’m Jewish so I decided to visit a very old Moorish synagogue truly a masterpiece I needed to give 4 forms of ID in order to get in, why not because of “neo-Nazis” but because of Turks, Arabs and other Muslims. I tell you I as a Jew would vote Joerg Haider anyday after this.

Posted by Anonymous at 6:04 PM on January 26


So this is what the white Europeans’ vaunted social democracies come down to: keep your mouth shut, your head down, and your taxes paid up. Don’t speak your mind or the truth, or you might go to jail. No wonder white people in Europe don’t seem to want to save themselves and their institutions from Third World encroachment.

Posted by Zorba_the_Geek at 6:34 PM on January 26


Any man who has sex with pre-pubescent girls is a pedophile. If I remember my Koranic studies : ) , Mohammed fits the bill. Is even truth not a defense? Not in the New World of Diversity.

Posted by Schoolteacher at 6:57 PM on January 26


What in Gods name are the prosecutors thinking?
Now insulting someone or some group is a CRIME!!!!!!!!!!
What exactly is an insult? If one LOOKS at some one with a scowl on their face, is THAT going to be a CRIME?!!!!
Is a Judge in a trial INSULTING a defendant who has been found guilty by calling them guilty?? Wouldn’t the Judge then be guilty of a CRIME??
I sometimes think that there must be some sort of virus which causes paralyzes of reasoning that has infected a large majority of the Europeans. (Not to mention American Liberals)
To me they seem really quite mad.
Although I am not a Doctor, I would still prescribe them a healthy dose of Amren articles for a possible cure of their mental afflictions.
dkidwell

Posted by dkidwell at 9:01 PM on January 26


She deserves an award for thinking in this way. Liberals cry out loud for freedom of speech, except for when it involves something that they don’t like.

There’s a word for the mental disease that is leftism: Hypocrite.

Posted by K.E. at 9:25 PM on January 26


So the real question is when are these Kangaroo Kourts coming to America? The concept of Western Civilization is based around the ideals of freedom of speech, but I guess since it has been decided that the West should commit suicide it’s best to get rid of silly things like freedom of speech. The governments of the west let moslems into their countries and let them have free reign to incite violence and advocate the murder of non moslems, yet a native born person faces jail for suggesting that moslem men shouldn’t rape girls.

Posted by Eric at 9:35 PM on January 26


This is good news. This hostile attitude toward those of us that are immigrants must come to an end!

Posted by African Immigrant at 9:49 PM on January 26


A woman I knew years ago had a friend who lived in the mideast for a while and told her that women were for breeding and boys were for pleasure. And a Jordanian muslim told us that they breed their wives through a hole in a sheet. These people just ain’t right. I remember these things when I see pictures of muslim men in big bunches with boys.

Posted by Anonymous at 9:53 PM on January 26


Australias problems with muslims are going to get worse given the proximity to Indonesia and it’s more violent muslims.

Posted by SKIP at 9:54 PM on January 26


The solution is to FIGHT SMART. There are hundreds of different tactics that can be used to expose, humiliate and defeat the Elitists and their snarling dogs in the media. One succesful tactic used against the dictator Milosovich was used by activist youth; they would secretly spray paint suggestive slogans on bridges, walls, etc, like, “Change is Coming” or “He won’t last long”. Everyone knew who they were talking about. It educated and inspired the masses.
Similarly, the Islamists and their treasonous protectors can be ridiculed. How about verses direct from the Koran and Hadith, with page numbers, spray painted on majory over passes and walls. No other comment, just the FACTS. Let the Koran desecrate ITSELF. No comment is even neccesary. Hell, for all they would know, someone put it up there because they LOVE the Koran!
Similarly, stickers with the truth can be stuck inside phone booths, restrooms, subway walls, bus stations…leaflets can left in magazines in doctors waiting rooms…tucked inside library books…you get the idea.
The Elites and the Media ARE the ENEMY. Fight smart…or lose everything.

Posted by Paul at 11:15 PM on January 26


So much for freedom in Austria. By the way, the “prophet” was a fraud and a pedophile. Having sexual relations with a nine year old girl should make muslims ashamed, but it doesn’t.

Posted by Anonymous at 11:17 PM on January 26

Campaigns to Protect Native Species ‘Are Racist’

Campaigns to Protect Native Species ‘Are Racist’

More news stories on Bizarre Racism Charges

Matthew Moore, Telegraph (London), January 26, 2009

There is no justification for conservationists to defend particular species because of their “ethnicity”, Professor Christopher Smout writes in a new book, Exploring Environmental History.

Campaigns against “alien invaders”—such as the cull of American ruddy ducks to prevent them from breeding with European duck species—have no basis in science, he argues.

“Conservationists are up in arms because they fear the ducks will all get turned into some kind of mishmash,” he told The Independent.

“The conservationists would say: ‘We’re doing this because it’s endangering the genetic integrity of the white-headed duck.”

“I don’t think that’s a scientifically valid point of view. The concern with genetic integrity seems almost quasi-racist. Our attitude to alien species is culturally determined and sometimes you end up with rather bizarre actions by scientists.”

Prof Smout, who is Scotland’s Historiographer Royal and founder of the Institute for Environmental History at St Andrews University, said that conservationists should judge species based on whether or not they are pests, and ignore their origins.

He added that interbreeding between species could often bring evolutionary benefits, and dismissed fears that the genetic identity of red deer in Scotland is threatened by silka deer, which were brought to the UK from Asia in 1860.

A spokesman for the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds described the “quasi-racism” charge as outrageous, and said that conservationists “give their lives to give beleaguered native fauna a chance”.

Original article

(Posted on January 26, 2009)


Comments

Am I in the twilight zone? Is this real? Too early for April Fools day..

Posted by Anonymous at 6:00 PM on January 26


Ducks and racism….two words you don’t see together very often.
Much the same as academe and common sense.

Posted by Graham of Wales at 6:05 PM on January 26


“I don’t think that’s a scientifically valid point of view. The concern with genetic integrity seems almost quasi-racist. Our attitude to alien species is culturally determined and sometimes you end up with rather bizarre actions by scientists.”

Talk about anthropomorphism!

Tell us, “Professor” Smout, shouldn’t we actually be aiding non-native species in displacing native species, since we’re so concerned about the possibility of “quasi”-racism? (Mustn’t be anthropocentric, now!) If affirmative action is necessary for the human population of Britain, why not other species? Why not volunteer to breed Siberian tigers in your backyard, my dear “Professor”: think of the “enrichment” and “vibrancy” you’ll bring to non-human Britain!

Posted by Zorba_the_Geek at 6:23 PM on January 26


“…interbreeding between species could often bring evolutionary benefits…”

I’m no scientist, but isn’t breeding between species impossible?

Posted by passingthru at 6:50 PM on January 26


“Campaigns against “alien invaders”—such as the cull of American ruddy ducks to prevent them from breeding with European duck species—have no basis in science, he argues.

“Conservationists are up in arms because they fear the ducks will all get turned into some kind of mishmash,” he told The Independent.

“The conservationists would say: ‘We’re doing this because it’s endangering the genetic integrity of the white-headed duck.”

Perhaps Professor Smout can provide a believable and acceptable explanation as to why the white gene is the most regressive gene, and when whites cross racial lines to breed – the little crumb cruncher who pops out, nearly ALWAYS resembles the minority non-white parent MORE than the white race traitorous idiot parent?

And, after this anti-white, hate filled, white racial genocide promoting weasel finishes with that topic – maybe he can then explain how whites should not be worried about being mongrelized into extinction as a result their swallowing lies like Smout promotes?

You know something, fellow AR readers? I am having a serious bout of conspiratorial suspicions about this Professor Smout’s intentions regarding this subject. I think Mr. Smout has an agenda, and that agenda is to exterminate white people visi vi miscegenation.

Does anyone else see through this sinister propaganda?

Posted by Luke at 6:51 PM on January 26


“Campaigns against “alien invaders”—such as the cull of American ruddy ducks to prevent them from breeding with European duck species—have no basis in science, he argues.”

You got it all wrong,Charlie. What has no basis in science is your leftist ideology that is based on a pack of lies and adapted only by those who are mentally disabled.

He should be roundly ridiculed and laughed at for his unnatural concentration on his desire to throw everything into a hopper and see what comes out. Nature has a specific purpose for making various species, and this little tin god wants to formulate his own brand of natural law, because it makes him feel all warm and fuzzy, which, of course, is the latter stage of total decadence.

Posted by Robert Kelly at 7:01 PM on January 26


“I don’t think that’s a scientifically valid point of view. The concern with genetic integrity seems almost quasi-racist………..This kind of thinking is what ruined the cttle industry in the Soviet Union back in the 1930s. They abandoned selective breeding of cattle claiming it was racist. I guess with proper education dairy cattle could be just as good as beef cattle.

Posted by tony Soprano at 7:14 PM on January 26


A complete crackpot consumed with a mad ideology.Invasive species are a threat because they extirpate the native species which exist no where else on the planet out of an ecosystem. And once these species are gone, they are gone forever. More books on the shelves in the library are permanently lost.

The snake-head fish-released into the Potomac by a Chinese LEGAL IMMIGRANT-is a plague upon the Potomac. Over time it will reduce the Potamac to an ecological wasteland. The saner conservation biologists in the US encourage anyone who catches the snakehead fish to kill it immediately.

England is clearly now an insane asylum.

Posted by Jupiter at 7:51 PM on January 26


If a so-called “native species” cannot hold off intrusions by non-native species, then it seems fairly clear that the native species probably does not have the best adaptations for the native environment at the present time and the non-native species does.

Nature doesn’t play favorites. It just keeps tinkering with life so that some form of life will fill the particular environmental niche. How best to see which is the best form for the particular environment but to let them compete?

Posted by RPT at 8:20 PM on January 26


I’d like to see how Professor Christopher Smout would react if his daughter brought home a black african with a bone through his nose and announced their engagement…

Posted by Anonymous at 8:44 PM on January 26


LOL! The left is its own worst enemy.

Posted by Sleep at 8:56 PM on January 26


Mr. Smout isn’t much of an environmentalist if he has failed to appreciate the singular fact that the vast majority of these invasive species are the result of human interference / importation. Environmentalists typically work to reverse such human impact, instead of cheerfully supporting it as a form of diversity.

Posted by Visine at 9:24 PM on January 26


Unless Professor Smout is an ardent Scottish Nationalist, I would say that his attitude toward species preservation is more culturally determined than the people at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. I would even say that Professor Smout is willing to accept environmental losses, rather than see a biological point of view that might be analogous to an argument against multiculturalism accepted. A true fanatic.

Posted by Schoolteacher at 9:49 PM on January 26


These people have no idea what the word diversity means and how and why it’s important to keep it.

Posted by sbuffalonative at 11:02 PM on January 26


Prof Smout, who is Scotland’s Historiographer Royal and founder of the Institute for Environmental History at St Andrews University, said that conservationists should judge species based on whether or not they are pests, and ignore their origins.

I’m sorry, but why the hell is anyone listening to a what a Professor in Historiography ( Broadly speaking, historiography examines the writing of history and the use of historical methods, drawing upon such elements such as authorship, sourcing, interpretation, style, bias, and audience. ) thinks about which species are “pests”, why genepool dilution is good/bad etc?

I wonder if he thinks that maintaning different breeds of dog for different functions is also “backward” and “racist”…

Posted by Obscuratus at 11:04 PM on January 26

In America, Speaking the Truth Is a Career-ending Event

In America, Speaking the Truth Is a Career-ending

Event

By Paul Craig Roberts

“The evidence is sitting on the table. There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.”

These are the words of Manfred Nowak, the UN official appointed by the Commission on Human Rights to examine cases of torture. Nowak has concluded that President Obama is legally obligated to prosecute former President George W. Bush and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. [UN Rapporteur: Initiate criminal proceedings against Bush and Rumsfeld now, By Scott Horton, Harper's Magazine, January 21, 2009]

If President Obama’s bankster economic team finishes off what remains of the US economy, Obama, to deflect the public’s attention from his own failures and Americans’ growing hardships, might fulfill his responsibility to prosecute Bush and Rumsfeld. But for now the interesting question is why did the US military succumb to illegal orders?

In the December 2008 issue of CounterPunch, Alexander Cockburn, in his report on an inglorious chapter in the history of the Harvard Law School, provides the answer. Two brothers, Jonathan and David Lubell, both Harvard law students, were politically active against the Korean War. It was the McCarthy era, and the brothers were subpoenaed. They refused to cooperate on the grounds that the subpoena was a violation of the First Amendment.

Harvard Law School immediately began pressuring the students to cooperate with Congress. The other students ostracized them. Pressures from the Dean and faculty turned into threats. Although the Lubells graduated magna cum laude, they were kept off the Harvard Law Review. Their scholarships were terminated. A majority of the Harvard Law faculty voted for their expulsion (expulsion required a two-thirds vote).

Why did Harvard Law School betray two honor students who stood up for the US Constitution? Cockburn concludes that the Harvard law faculty sacrificed constitutional principle in order not to jeopardize their own self-advancement by displeasing the government (and no doubt donors).

We see such acts of personal cowardice every day. Recently we had the case of Jewish scholar and Israel critic Norman Finkelstein, whose tenure was blocked by the cowardly president of DePaul University, a man afraid to stand up for his own faculty against the Israel Lobby, which successfully imposed on a Catholic university the principle that no critic of Israel can gain academic tenure.

The same calculation of self-interest causes American journalists to serve as shills for Israeli and US government propaganda and the US Congress to endorse Israeli war crimes that the rest of the world condemns.

When US military officers saw that torture was a policy coming down from the top, they knew that doing the right thing would cost them their careers. They trimmed their sails. One who did not was Major General Antonio Taguba. Instead of covering up the Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal, General Taguba wrote an honest report that terminated his career.

Despite legislation that protects whistleblowers, it is always the whistleblower, not the wrongdoer, who suffers. When it finally became public that the Bush regime was committing felonies under US law by using the NSA to spy on Americans, the Justice (sic) Department went after the whistleblower. Nothing was done about the felonies.

Yet Bush and the Justice (sic) Department continued to assert that “we are a nation of law.”

The Bush regime was a lawless regime. This makes it difficult for the Obama regime to be a lawful one. A torture inquiry would lead naturally into a war crimes inquiry. General Taguba said that the Bush regime committed war crimes. President Obama was a war criminal by his third day in office when he ordered illegal cross-border drone attacks on Pakistan that murdered 20 people, including 3 children. The bombing and strafing of homes and villages in Afghanistan by US forces and America’s NATO puppets are also war crimes. Obama cannot enforce the law, because he himself has already violated it.

For decades the US government has taken the position that Israel’s territorial expansion is not constrained by any international law. The US government is complicit in Israel’s war crimes in Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank.

The entire world knows that Israel is guilty of war crimes and that the US government made the crimes possible by providing the weapons and diplomatic support. What Israel and the US did in Lebanon and Gaza is no different from crimes for which Nazis were tried at Nuremberg. Israel understands this, and the Israeli government is currently preparing its defense, which will be led by Israeli Justice (sic) Minister Daniel Friedman. UN war crimes official Richard Falk has compared Israel’s massacre of Gazans to the Nazi starvation and massacre of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto. Amnesty International and the Red Cross have demanded Israel be held accountable for war crimes. Even eight Israeli human rights groups have called for an investigation into Israel’s war crimes.

Obama’s order to close Guantanamo Prison means very little. Essentially, Obama’s order is a public relations event. The tribunal process had already been shut down by US courts and by military lawyers, who refused to prosecute the fabricated cases. The vast majority of the prisoners were hapless individuals captured by Afghan warlords and sold for money to the stupid Americans as “terrorists.” Most of the prisoners, people the Bush regime told us were “the most dangerous people alive,” have already been released.

Obama’s order said nothing about closing the CIA’s secret prisons or halting the illegal practice of rendition in which the CIA kidnaps people and sends them to third world countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.

Obama would have to take risks that opportunistic politicians never take in order for the US to become a nation of law instead of a nation in which the agendas of special interests override the law.

Truth cannot be spoken in America. It cannot be spoken in universities. It cannot be spoken in the media. It cannot be spoken in courts, which is why defendants and defense attorneys have given up on trials and cop pleas to lesser offenses that never occurred.

Truth is never spoken by government. As Jonathan Turley said recently, Washington “is where principles go to die.”

A Bibi-Barack Collision?

A Bibi-Barack Collision?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“Where there is no solution, there is no problem,” geostrategist James Burnham once wryly observed.

Ex-Sen. George Mitchell, the latest U.S. negotiator to take up the Palestine portfolio, may discover what it was that Burnham meant.

For Israel’s three-week war on Gaza, where Palestinians died at a rate of 100 to one to Israelis, appears to have been, like Israel’s wars in Lebanon, another Pyrrhic victory for the Jewish state.

In 1982, after an attempted assassination of their ambassador in London, Menachem Begin and Ariel Sharon drove through Lebanon to Beirut, shelling the city for weeks until Arafat agreed to pull out the PLO and depart for Tunisia.

The Israelis’ triumph quickly turned to ashes in their mouths.

Weeks of bombarding Beirut turned world opinion against Israel. Defense Minister Sharon was savaged for enabling a massacre in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps. Most critically, as future Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin ruefully observed, in invading a quiescent south Lebanon, Israel “let the Shia genie out of the bottle.”

South Lebanon became Indian country. Hezbollah, born of Israel’s invasion, would, 18 years later, force a bleeding Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and its Lebanese allies out of the country, turning Israel’s once-friendly northern border into a new battlefront in the Arab-Israeli war.

Moreover, the Americans, persuaded to send Marines to train the Lebanese Army, were punished with terrorist bombings of the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks at Beirut airport, with 241 U.S. dead.

President Reagan would withdraw, and the Americans never came back.

In 2006, Ehud Olmert used the border ambush of an Israel patrol and the kidnapping of two soldiers to launch a second Lebanon war.

Hezbollah lost hundreds of fighters, but its stature soared as it became the first Arab force to fight Israel and emerge unbroken and unbeaten. And the thousands of Hezbollah rockets that rained down on the Galilee destroyed forever the myth of Israeli invulnerability.

Now, in the aftermath of the war on Gaza, which almost all in Israel supported, come the second thoughts. Of 1,400 dead from air strikes and invasion, one-third were Palestinian children. Al Jazeera video of the dead and dying civilians, juxtaposed with video of Barack Obama enjoying a round of golf in scenic Hawaii, were devastating for the U.S. image, as U.S. weapons had been used by Israel to deliver the death and destruction.

Like Hezbollah, Hamas has emerged more entrenched, while the moderates like Mahmoud Abbas are portrayed as Quislings. Now, a rift has appeared between Obama, who has called for a lifting of the Israeli blockade of Gaza to allow aid and commerce to flow freely, and an Israel determined to maintain its chokehold on Hamas.

In none of these three wars was the Israel Air Force challenged or the IDF defeated. In casualties, Hezbollah and Hamas, Lebanese and Gazans, all suffered many times more dead and wounded.

Yet, looking back, were any of these wars necessary? Did any make Israel more secure than when the Lebanese border was quiet? Does the future look brighter today than in 1982, after the peace with Egypt and withdrawal from Sinai, before the war on Beirut?

Three months before launching the Gaza war, Olmert told two journalists that Israel, to achieve lasting peace, would have to return the Golan Heights to Syria and almost all of the West Bank to the Palestinians, and give East Jerusalem back to the Arabs who live there.

“In the end, we will have to withdraw from the lion’s share of the territories, and for the territories we leave in our hands, we will have to give compensation in the form of territories within the state of Israel at a ratio that is more or less 1:1.”

“Whoever wants to hold on to all of (Jerusalem) will have to bring 270,000 Arabs inside the fences of sovereign Israel. It won’t work.”

No, it won’t.

Like Rabin in 1994 and Barack in 2000, two of the most decorated soldiers in Israel’s history, Olmert had concluded, late in life, that it is either land for peace, with all its risks, or endless war for Israel.

Yet, after that interview, he launched the December blitz and invaded Gaza, killing and wounding 5,000 Palestinians, making of the Strip a zone of permanent hatred and making Hamas, whom he sought to dethrone and undeniably wounded, even stronger.

Enraged that Hamas was not destroyed or disarmed, Israelis are leaning toward the Likud Party of “Bibi” Netanyahu, who opposed the withdrawal from Gaza, opposes a withdrawal from the West Bank, will never share Jerusalem and calls Gaza “Hamastan.”

Should he win, a Bibi-Barack collision appears inevitable. Backing Bibi will be the Israeli lobby, the Evangelicals, the neocons and a Congress that could find only five members to oppose a resolution endorsing all the Israelis had done and were doing to the people of Gaza.

Where there is no solution there is no problem.

Once a Boon, Euro Now Burdens Some Nations

Once a Boon, Euro Now Burdens Some Nations

Miguel Riopa/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Spanish economy has been hard hit. Martinsa-Fadesa, the builder of homes like this one in northwestern Spain, is insolvent.

Published: January 23, 2009

ATHENS — “The Italians, the Spaniards, the Greeks, we all have been living in happy land, spending what we did not have,” said George Economou, a Greek shipping magnate, contemplating his country’s economic troubles and others’ from his spacious boardroom. “It was a fantasy world.”

Multimedia

Related

Times Topics: Credit Crisis — The EssentialsEuro

Yannis Kolesidis for The New York Times

In Greece, another of the euro zone nations in trouble, stores like this one in Athens are offering deep discounts to stay open.

For some of the countries on the periphery of the 16-member euro currency zone — Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain — this debt-fired dream of endless consumption has turned into the rudest of nightmares, raising the risk that a euro country may be forced to declare bankruptcy or abandon the currency.

The prospect, however unlikely, is a humbling one. The adoption of the euro just a decade ago was meant to pull Europe together economically and politically, ending the sometimes furious battles over who could devalue their currency the fastest and beggar their neighbor.

For the Continent, the currency signaled the potential to one day rival the United States. For its poorer countries, winning admission to the euro zone was a point of pride, showing that they had tamed their budget deficits and set their financial houses in order.

Now, in the middle of the worst economic downturn since the euro’s birth, a new view is emerging — especially as the creditworthiness of Greece, Spain and Portugal, one after the other, has been downgraded. The view is that the balm of euro membership allowed these countries to gloss over serious economic problems that have now roared to the fore.

“Membership is not a panacea for a country’s social and economic problems,” said Simon Tilford, the chief economist at the Center for European Reform in London.

“In fact, there has been a huge divergence in competitiveness that shows up in massive trade imbalances,” he said, comparing Greece with the wealthier euro countries. “While Greece may have been insulated from the risk of a currency crisis, there is also the risk of a credit crisis and a collapse of confidence in its solvency.”

While sharing a currency with some of the mightiest economies in the world helped Europe’s poorer nations share in the wealth, a boon during boom times, in hard times the rules of membership are keeping them from doing what countries normally do to ride out economic storms, including enormous spending.

So Germany, France and the Scandinavian countries are mounting billion-dollar stimulus plans and erecting fences to protect their banks. But the peripheral economies are being left to twist in the market winds.

With the need for stimulus to deal with the severe downturn, these countries find themselves caught in an awful policy bind: credit is available, but only at punitive rates; and further borrowing not only breaks with European Commission dictates but raises broader questions about their solvency.

Bond and currency speculators have demonstrated that they intend to punish countries with dubious economic prospects, just as they have punished banks. Yields are skyrocketing on the debt of peripheral European economies with growing deficits. The British pound has plummeted because of a lack of confidence in plans to shore up British banks.

Few experts expect Greece or the other Mediterranean countries to run out of money or leave the euro. But the widening gap between the interest rate that Greece and larger economies like Germany have to pay to borrow reveals the first cracks in what so far has been a fairly solid fortress Europe.

Standard & Poor’s has also downgraded the debt of Spain, another growth stalwart, because of the toll taken by its housing crisis.

In Ireland, once the high-growth darling of the European Union, the economy continues to reel from a housing collapse and a defunct banking sector with liabilities that surpass the country’s gross domestic product.

As with Greece, bond yields there are diverging from those in Germany. The apparent suicide of a prominent real estate developer, Patrick Rocca, is but the most recent reminder of the fear and shock gripping the country.

But Greece’s problems are probably the worst. The country has been an easy target for the vigilantes of the European bond market, and recently it has been shaken by a wave of violent protests.

The omnipotent hand of the Greek state produced a public debt of more than 90 percent of Greece’s total economic output. The relentlessly rising demand of its consumers, who were able to put off the day of reckoning because they enjoyed the shelter of the low-inflation euro, has created a current-account deficit of 14 percent of its gross domestic product — estimated to be the highest in Europe.

The current account measures the difference between a nation’s exports and imports of all goods and services.

Last week, Standard & Poor’s downgraded Greek debt to A—, and the gap between the interest rate it pays on its bonds, versus what richer countries like Germany pay, is nearly 3 percentage points, the widest in the euro zone.

Mr. Economou, the Greek shipping company operator, is caught in the crossfire. The stock of his company, DryShips, is down 90 percent; banks in Europe that once clamored for his business no longer do so.

“The psychology is shattered,” he said with a rueful smile as he considered the blow to his business and net worth. “I have already cried — now I have dried up.”

While a shock to many Greeks, who had become accustomed to the relatively recent comfort of buoyant economic growth and a strong currency, some others, who lived through the country’s past financial and political crises, say the current shakiness is to be expected.

“We knew this couldn’t last,” Vassilis Karatzas, a fund manager based in Athens, said as he sipped Greek coffee at an outdoor cafe in the city center. “There is fear about the euro zone, but I don’t think the commission will allow its periphery to go down. United we rise, divided we fall.”

Yannis Stournaras, an economist who was a top economic adviser to the previous government of the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, says that after a long period of convergence, the recent Greek divergence from northern Europe is to be expected.

Adding to the pressure, surpluses from countries like Germany are no longer being recycled back to Greece and other less prosperous countries. Moreover, Germany, the largest exporter in the world, tends not to encourage its consumers to buy more from the rest of Europe.

But Mr. Stournaras scoffed at the prospect of a bankruptcy like those once common in Latin America. Nor did he accept the idea that Greece might leave the euro zone and try to devalue its way back to recovery.

“Bankruptcy? No, no, no,” he said with a vigorous shake of his head. “Since the beginning of the 20th century, we have never had problems with our arrears.”

But others are not prepared to rule out such an event, though they concede it is highly unlikely.

One of the few politicians in Greece who has not shied from addressing these issues is Stefanos Manos, a gregarious former economic minister who in the early 1990s ushered in a drastic, and ultimately successful, privatization program.

He has founded a new party and is considering a return to Parliament in the hope of joining a new government that would heed his longstanding message: Greece needs to stop running deficits and address the issue of global competitiveness.

“We need money to finance our deficits and I see difficulty in us attracting such funds from abroad,” he said, as he received a string of admirers in the Old World splendor of the Hotel Grande Bretagne in Athens. “I am not sure that this won’t spiral out of control, and that makes me saddened and frustrated.”

As for the rest of Europe, particularly its weaker links, he also has doubts.

“I don’t think Europe is up to it,” he said. “It expanded too rapidly without fixing its institutions.”

Iceland says coalition government collapses – Global financial meltdown and collapsing banks spark current crisis

Iceland says coalition government collapses

Global financial meltdown and collapsing banks spark current crisis

Protesters clash with police

Thorvaldur Kristmundsson / AP file
Protesters clash with police behind the parliament building in Reykjavik last week.
REYKJAVIK, Iceland – Iceland’s coalition government collapsed Monday, leaving the island nation in political turmoil amid a financial crisis that has pummeled its economy and required an international bailout.

Prime Minister Geir Haarde said he was unwilling to meet the demands of his coalition partners, the Social Democratic Alliance Party, which insisted upon getting the post of prime minister to keep the coalition intact.

“I really regret that we could not continue with this coalition, I believe that that would have been the best result,” Haarde told reporters.

Haarde, who has been prime minister since 2006, said he would officially inform the country’s president, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, that the government had collapsed. Grimsson, largely a figurehead, has asked Haarde’s government to remain in place until a new administration is formed.

Last week, Haarde called elections for May — bringing forward a contest originally slated for 2011 after weeks of protests by Icelanders upset about soaring unemployment and rising prices.

But Haarde said he wouldn’t lead his Independence Party into the new elections because he needs treatment for cancer.

Bid to form new government
Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Gisladottir, head of the Alliance party, is expected to start talks immediately with opposition parties in an attempt to form a new government that would rule until the new elections are held.

Gisladottir said Monday she won’t seek to replace Haarde as Iceland’s leader, proposing Social Affairs Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir — an Alliance member — instead.

The prime minister told reporters Monday that he had proposed Education Minister Thorgerdur Katrin Gunnarsdottir to be the new prime minister, but Gisladottir rejected that offer.

“It was an unreasonable demand for the smaller party to demand the premiership over the larger party,” Haarde said.

He said he hoped a national government, formed from all of Iceland’s main political parties, could lead the country until the elections.

The Alliance Party also has sought the ouster of central bank governor David Oddsson, Iceland’s former prime minister, and sought changes to Iceland’s constitution to allow it to become a full member of the European Union.

Banking collapse
Iceland has been mired in crisis since the collapse of the country’s banks under the weight of debts amassed during years of rapid expansion. Inflation and unemployment have soared, and the krona currency has plummeted.

Haarde’s government has nationalized banks and negotiated about $10 billion in loans from the IMF and individual countries. In addition, Iceland faces a bill likely to run to billions of dollars to repay thousands of Europeans who held accounts with subsidiaries of collapsed Icelandic banks.

The country’s commerce minister, Bjorgvin Sigurdsson, quit Sunday, citing the pressures of the economic collapse.

“We are happy that the government has gone, but now we need to clean up the financial supervisory authority and the central bank,” protester Svginn Rumar Hauksson said at a rally Monday outside Parliament. “The protests will continue until it becomes clear that things are really changing.”

Economic crisis fuels unrest in Eastern Europe

Economic crisis fuels unrest in Eastern Europe

Region’s shaky governments are facing growing public anger

Clashes in Riga, Latvia
A man argues with riot police in front of Latvia’s Parliament building in Riga on Jan. 13.
updated 11:50 p.m. PT, Sun., Jan. 25, 2009

RIGA, Latvia – On a frigid evening this month, more than 10,000 people gathered outside a 13th-century cathedral in this Baltic capital to protest the government’s handling of Latvia’s economic crisis and demand early elections. The demonstration was one of the largest here since the mass rallies against Soviet rule in the late 1980s, and a sign of both the public’s frustration and its faith in the political system.

But at the end of the night, as the crowd dispersed, the protest turned into a riot. Hundreds of angry young people, many drunk and recently unemployed, rampaged through the historic Old Town, smashing shop windows, throwing rocks and eggs at police, even prying cobblestones from the streets to lob at the Parliament building.

Similar outbursts of civil unrest have occurred in recent weeks across the periphery of Europe, where the global financial crisis has buffeted smaller countries with fewer resources to defend their economies. Especially in Eastern Europe, the turmoil reflects surging political discontent and threatens to topple shaky governments that have been the focus of popular resentment over corruption for years.

Europeans have compared the unrest to events of the 1960s and even the 1930s, when the Great Depression fueled political upheaval across the continent and gave rise to isolationism and fascism. But no ideology has tapped into public anger and challenged the basic dominance of free-market economics and democratic politics in these countries. Instead, protesters appear united primarily by dashed economic hopes and hostility against the ruling authorities.

“The politicians never think about the country, about the ordinary people,” said Nikolai Tikhomirov, 23, an electronics salesman who participated in the Jan. 13 protest in Riga. “They only think of themselves.”

Days after the riot, a demonstration by 7,000 protesters in neighboring Lithuania turned violent, leading police to respond with rubber bullets. Fifteen people were injured. Smaller protests and clashes have erupted in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Hungary, following weeks of street violence in Greece last month. On Thursday, police in Iceland used tear gas for the first time in half a century to disperse a crowd of 2,000 protesting outside Parliament in Reykjavik. The next day, Prime Minister Geir Haarde agreed to call early elections and said he would step down.

‘The situation is really, really serious’
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the International Monetary Fund, said the financial crisis could cause further turmoil “almost everywhere,” listing Latvia, Hungary, Belarus and Ukraine as among the most vulnerable nations. “It may worsen in the coming months,” he told the BBC. “The situation is really, really serious.”

There is particular concern about the relatively young and sometimes dysfunctional democracies that emerged after the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, where societies that endured severe hardship in the 1990s in the hope that capitalism and integration with the West would bring prosperity now face further pain.

“The political systems in all these countries are fragile,” said Jonathan Eyal, director of international security studies at the Royal United Services Institute, a research group in London. “There’s a long history of unfulfilled promises and frustration with the political elites going back to the Communist era.”

Eyal warned of a revival of ethnic conflict in the region, where most countries have large minority populations, adding that tensions could rise after workers who have lost jobs in Western Europe return home. But he noted that extreme nationalist movements have won only limited support in Eastern Europe in recent years.

“People here instinctively know the idea of a strongman who imposes order doesn’t work,” he said, arguing that the region’s history with Communist rule, its integration with the European Union and its anxiety about Russia’s intentions make a turn toward authoritarianism unlikely. “They have seen the past, and a return to previous populist schemes isn’t very persuasive. At the end of the day, they know there’s no alternative to the market economy.”

Significant change possible
That assessment rings true in Latvia, where the government’s approval ratings have fallen as low as 10 percent — the worst in the European Union, and lower than at any other time in the nation’s post-Soviet history — but where people scoff when asked if they want to abandon markets and political freedoms.

“If some politician said, ‘Let’s leave the E.U., give up democracy and free markets,’ you can be sure that nobody would vote for him,” said Aigars Freimanis, director of Latvia’s largest polling firm. The memory of Soviet occupation makes it difficult even for mildly left-wing parties to win elections, he said.

But Freimanis said public anger could bring significant political change, noting that the crisis has renewed debate on constitutional reforms, including measures to give citizens the right to dismiss Parliament and to vote for individual lawmakers instead of only political parties.

“We want more democracy, not less,” said Renata Kalivod, 28, a social worker who attended the protest in Riga. She said that her father, who recently lost his job, had given up on elections but that she still believed it was possible for the public to have an impact. “If I gave up, I would leave the country like other young people. But I’m still here,” she said.

After enjoying double-digit growth rates that were among the highest in the E.U., Latvia is now struggling to defend its currency and survive a sharp slowdown. The economy is forecast to shrink by 5 percent this year, after a 2 percent drop last year. Unemployment has doubled in the last six months to 8 percent, with the rate three times as high among young people.

Forced to accept a $10.5 billion bailout from the IMF, the European Union and other sources — including neighboring Estonia, a fact some considered humiliating — the government has embarked on an austerity program involving 25 percent budget cuts, 15 percent wage reductions for civil servants and large-scale layoffs.

Aigars Stokenbergs, an opposition leader in Parliament who quit the ruling coalition and helped organize this month’s protest, said the public was as upset about corruption as economic mismanagement. The same conservative parties have dominated the government for years, he said, and many believe they serve a handful of billionaires who struck it rich in the privatization schemes of the 1990s.

“People don’t want this government anymore. They don’t trust it,” he said, criticizing Parliament for firing the nation’s anti-corruption chief in June and adopting the IMF reforms in a single day without consulting unions, businesses or other groups.

But Andris Berzins, a leader in the ruling coalition and former prime minister, said the public’s anger is misplaced because the country’s problems are rooted in decisions by previous administrations to expand spending instead of building up reserves. “The government needs to take some very serious economic reforms, but it hasn’t been able to build public support for them,” he said.

‘Nothing special’
Public anger intensified in December when the finance minister, Atis Slakteris, badly fumbled an interview on Bloomberg Television. Asked what had caused Latvia’s economic crisis, he replied, “Nothing special.” The words were soon emblazoned on T-shirts and shop windows as parodies proliferated on the Internet.

The riots, which left about 25 people injured and resulted in 106 arrests, have unnerved people in part because Latvia has practically no history of such violence. Some are worried the crisis will exacerbate tensions between ethnic Latvians and the nation’s Russian-speaking minorities, who make up more than a third of the population.

President Valdis Zatlers has responded by distancing himself from the ruling coalition that elected him and essentially siding with the opposition, threatening to dismiss Parliament if it fails by March 31 to pass a set of reforms and take other specific actions to build public trust.

But under Latvia’s aging constitution, the president must call an unprecedented referendum to dismiss Parliament. Early elections would be held if it passed, followed by talks to form a new government. The entire process could take more than eight months, and some say such a prolonged period of political uncertainty would hinder Latvia’s efforts to repair its economy, resulting in further unrest.

Governments across Eastern Europe face similar uncertainty, and analysts said the timing of electoral cycles could determine which ones fall. Newly elected governments in Lithuania and Romania might survive, for example, while the Bulgarian government faces elections this summer and is in trouble.

Anders Aslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said it makes sense in Latvia to hold new elections because the current Parliament is “utterly discredited” and can do little for the economy in any case. “You can’t have a government that has no support,” he said. “It’s useless.”

Analysts said the E.U. serves as a bulwark against radical politics in the region, but they warned of a backlash if the developed nations that dominate policymaking ignored the problems of the smaller ones. In Latvia, politicians and business leaders complain about E.U. agricultural subsidies that benefit farmers in Western Europe and trade barriers in the service sector. But they have praised the E.U.’s swift response to the country’s economic crisis so far.

Pavel Nazarov, 21, a physics student who participated in the rally, said he welcomed E.U. intervention for another reason. “They can keep an eye on our corrupt politicians,” he said, “even when we can’t.”

What OPEC Teaches China – China’s cheap currency led it to run a massive trade surplus. The earnings from that surplus poured into the United States. The result was the mortgage bubble.

What OPEC Teaches China

Sunday, January 25, 2009; Page B07

At his confirmation hearings last week, Tim Geithner branded China a currency manipulator. This is a designation that the Bush Treasury Department never formally affixed to the Chinese. It may signal a nerve-racking shift in how the United States manages its most pivotal relationship.

This Story

Geithner is correct that China manipulates its currency. What’s more, this manipulation is arguably the most important cause of the financial crisis. Starting around the middle of this decade, China’s cheap currency led it to run a massive trade surplus. The earnings from that surplus poured into the United States. The result was the mortgage bubble.

China’s leaders protest that they are being unfairly scapegoated. Yet while there are rival accounts of the origins of the crisis, neither has the explanatory force of the blame-China narrative.

The first rival account is that the crisis reflected failings of U.S. financial regulation. Such failings exist, but most have been around for years. The mortgage bubble reached its craziest extremes in 2005-07, when China was flooding the world with cheap capital.

Moreover, regulatory failings exist not just at one regulator but many. The Securities and Exchange Commission failed to check risks at broker-dealers such as Bear Stearns. State insurance regulators failed to prevent the collapse of AIG. The Federal Reserve failed to see that banks were pouring capital into toxic securities that they then held off their balance sheets. European regulators were no better, even though they had adopted a supposedly more up-to-date set of capital standards. The lesson: Faced with a deluge of cheap money, no regulatory regime can be expected to prevent bubbles.

The second rival account of the crisis accepts that its origins lie less in regulatory failings than in economic pressures. But it blames the bubble on two mistakes at home rather than on the glut of capital from China. Americans should have controlled the urge to splurge, the thinking goes, and borrowed less Chinese money. And the Fed should have shut down the easy-money party by raising interest rates.

If Americans’ insatiable appetite for loans explained the flood of Chinese capital into the United States, we would have seen the evidence in a rising price for those loans — that is, higher interest rates in the bond market. But bond rates were strikingly low at mid-decade. This strongly suggests that it was the supply of lending that went up, not the demand for it. Chinese money flooded into the United States because of the push factor from China, not the pull factor from Americans.

Could the Fed have raised interest rates to avert the bubble? The Fed’s monetary policy was indeed too loose. But as Martin Wolf argues in his recent book, “Fixing Global Finance,” it’s not clear that higher interest rates could have prevented the trouble. Once China decides to export vast quantities of capital, that capital has to go somewhere. Higher interest rates in the United States might have encouraged the world’s savers to park even more of their capital in this country.

So there is no getting around China’s culpability. The country relies on the sort of export-focused growth strategy that other Asian Tigers have pursued, with the difference that China is too big to go this route without destabilizing the world economy. The real question is whether it is diplomatically fruitful to push China to change. The Bush administration tried and failed. Why would the new team fare better?

The wrong answer is to say that Barack Obama’s guys will be tougher. However egregious China’s currency policy may be, it’s counterproductive to punish Beijing with sanctions. For one thing, a trade war is the last thing the world economy needs. For another, as Geithner explained, the immediate priority is to get global growth going, so it’s more important to persuade China to extend its fiscal stimulus than to revalue its currency. Besides, reforming China’s exchange-rate policy is not the only way to wean the country off its high-savings, high-export model. The savings rate partly reflects China’s lack of social safety nets. If the Chinese spend some of their stimulus on pensions and health care, they will be heading in the right direction.

Still, there is an opportunity to nudge China toward currency reform, and the Obama team should take it. China’s leaders are not fools: They can see the effects of their policy not only in collapsing Wall Street banks but also in their own collapsing exports. The bubble that China inflated has brought China’s foreign customers to their knees. Because China pushed its export model too aggressively, its export markets have cratered.

Think of it this way: China’s position is akin to that of OPEC in the early 1980s. Two oil shocks taught oil producers the limits to their power: When they jammed prices up, the world economy sputtered and motorists bought smaller cars — and oil prices fell precipitously. OPEC learned to balance its lust for higher oil prices with the fear that customers might revolt. China’s leaders may be ready for the same lesson — and Geithner’s words may encourage them to learn it.

Carter: Hamas can be trusted

Carter: Hamas can be trusted

Former president, in interview with NBC, claims Palestinian group ‘adhered to ceasefire’, adds ‘ME peace not possible without Hamas involvement’

Yitzhak Benhorin

Published: 01.26.09, 19:17 / Israel News
Hamas can be trusted, former US President Jimmy Carter said Monday, in an interview on NBC’s ‘Today’ show. Carter spoke with NBC’s Meredith Vieira about his perspective on the Middle East conflict, and his new book, “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land.”

Decision-making
Rice: US warned Carter not to talk to Hamas / Associated Press
Secretary of state claims US administration explicitly warned former president not to meet representatives of the Islamic group, so as not to confuse message that US will not deal with Hamas
Full Story

According to the former president, Hamas never deviated from their commitments as per the ceasefire agreement. He said that, during his meetings with Hamas leaders in Damascus and Gaza, he was promised that Hamas would honor agreements between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israel, as long as they were supported by public referendum.

Hamas did bad things. I’m not defending them. But they did adhere to the ceasefire fully, Carter maintained. He added that Israel has a choice between a one-state solution – which is, for Israel, a catastrophe, and a two-state solution, which everyone would support.

In his interview, Carter explained the rationale behind his book, saying “I am writing another book about the Middle East because the new president of the United States is facing a major opportunity — and responsibility — to lead in ending conflict between Israel and its neighbors. The time is now. Peace is possible.”

‘Desire for peaceful and prosperous lives’

He also attempted to explain the controversy over his previous book, “Palestine: Peace, Not Apartheid,” noting that the use of the word apartheid was provocative and claiming that it had triggered a debate over the use of the word, rather than the content of his book.

Sunday, Carter met with President Barack Obama’s new US envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell. While Carter is not certain Obama should speak directly with Hamas, he believes that Mitchell should, explaining that “there won’t be peace in the Middle East without Hamas involvement.”

But despite the obstacle of Hamas involvement, the former president expressed optimism for peace. “Despite the recent lack of progress, I see this as a unique time for hope, not despair. The outlines of a peace agreement are clear and have broad international support,” he told NBC.

“There is a remarkable compatibility among pertinent United Nations resolutions, previous peace agreements reached at Camp David and in Oslo, the publicly declared policy of the United States, the Geneva Accord, key goals of the International Quartet’s Roadmap for Peace, and tentative proposals made by all Arab nations for reconciliation with Israel,” he said.

“Perhaps most important, there is an overwhelming common desire for peaceful and prosperous lives among the citizens of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt,” he added.

So You Want To Boost The Economy? End Affirmative Action!

So You Want To Boost The Economy? End Affirmative Action!

By Steve Sailer

With America having ruined its finances through excessive debt, the new administration is urging more hair of the dog that bit us: borrowing another $820 billion or so for “fiscal stimulus”.

Of course, in all the infrastructure spending in the Democrats’ bill, there’s no mention of beefing up or speeding up one massive infrastructure project already underway: the lagging border fence.

The rationalizations for the stimulus keep changing. Obama’s latest featured money pit—wind and solar energy!—being a desperate throwback to last summer when gasoline prices were twice as high.

Sure, none of it makes much sense. But for Obama, politically, it’s a no-lose proposition. Either the economy gets better and he takes credit; or the economy flatlines and he demands more fiscal defibrillation.

In either case, he gets to give huge sums of other people’s money to the politically well-positioned. The taxpayers will eventually have to pay for all the new borrowing, but most of the bill will likely come due after the 2012 election.

Our economic problem, though, is more severe than a temporary downturn. We now know that our purported wealth as of July 1, 2007 was illusory, based on a mountain of leverage teetering on the unquestioned assumption that some drywallers in Palmdale would actually pay off their half-million dollar mortgages.

From 2001 onward, there was no real economic growth in America, just pseudo-growth ginned up by home equity withdrawals. Our trade balance, for example, averaged over 5 percent of GDP throughout Bush’s second term.

So, the real question is not how do we stimulate consumption once again to unsustainable heights, but: How do we become more productive? How do we make more stuff that people want to buy? How do we get better at creating more wealth?

The nation turns its eyes to Barack Obama, whose single year of working for a for-profit corporation made him feel like a spy behind enemy lines (as I point out in my book America’s Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama’s “Story of Race and Inheritance.” ) Obama has no experience in creating wealth, just in extracting it from others to spend for his political advancement.

But, needless to say, the Republicans have no clue what alternatives to offer.

The triumph of the globalist ideology means that the globalists’ vaunted playbook is exhausted.

Free trade? Tariffs have already been cut almost to nothing—to 1.3 percent on average!

Cheaper labor? The globalist recipe—outsourcing and insourcing once well-paid jobs away from American citizens—has been followed for decades. The plan was to drive wages down but keep consumption up by offering Americans lots and lots of debt. How’s that working out lately?

It took us a long time to get to this dismal point, and it will take us a long time to get back on the right path. So, let’s discuss long-term strategies for how Americans can make enough money to pay the taxes on all the debt the government has suddenly taken on.

The most obvious way for the government to help Americans become more productive is to junk government-required extravagances. Sure, these demands may have seemed affordable when California homes were “worth” a median half million, but now they must be reassessed with a jaundiced eye.

The most obvious reform for boosting productivity: end the national anti-discrimination witchhunt.

The assumption that lower economic achievement by a minority must be the fault of the majority has created costs vaster than previously imagined. For example, VDARE.com economist Edwin S. Rubenstein’s recent report Cost of Diversity for the National Policy Institute estimates the price of affirmative action, immigration, and multiculturalism at eight percent of the GDP, or $1.1 trillion. (Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer estimated the shortfall at 4 percent of GNP in 1993, something that no one else wanted to do, and anonymous statistician La Griffe de Lion wrote Affirmative Action: The Robin Hood Effect in 1999, in which he pointed out that “Whenever someone gets preferential access to a job or a promotion because of his race or ethnicity, someone else of a different race or ethnicity gets displaced. In the U.S., the displaced person is usually a non-Hispanic white. )

The costs, direct and (especially) indirect, of affirmative action are seldom properly conceptualized. The public has been trained to assume that racial preferences are common only in college admissions. But in fact the vast anti-discrimination industry causes corporations to impose quotas on themselves as prophylaxis against discrimination lawsuits.

In 1978, the federal government adopted Uniform Guidelines that declared:

“A selection rate for any race, sex, or ethnic group which is less than four-fifths (or eighty percent) of the rate for the group with the highest rate will generally be regarded by the Federal enforcement agencies as evidence of adverse impact …”

In other words, if your hiring procedures mean that any legally protected minority is hired at a rate less than 80 percent of the rate of the group that does best, then you are presumed guilty of discrimination unless you can prove yourself innocent.

Racial quotas are, thus, the inevitable by-products of our anti-discrimination laws and regulations.

Moreover, anti-discrimination laws undermine productivity even when only whites apply for the job—because they make it dangerous to use objective measures of competence.

For example, when I was at Dun & Bradstreet, I needed to hire a computer programmer. I asked the human resources department for the standard D&B written test for programmers. They said they would never, ever create such a thing because they would be certain to be sued over it as discriminatory. However, they assured me, I was free to ask orally all the programming questions I wanted—as long as I never wrote anything down.

Additionally, the costs of the current assumption that only discrimination can explain inequality are even greater than Ed Rubinstein’s report assumes.

Consider the mortgage meltdown that launched the global economic crisis. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations demanded degraded credit standards so minorities could get their fair share of the American Dream. Team Obama whistles the same tune. The catastrophic expansion of subprime loans was justified by Obama’s economics’ expert Austan Goolsbee [email him] in 2007 on the grounds that “‘Irresponsible’ Mortgages Have Opened Doors to Many of the Excluded.[New York Times, March 29, 2007]

A new study, however, by Boston Fed economists Kristopher S. Gerardi and Paul S. Willen, Subprime Mortgages, Foreclosures, and Urban Neighborhoods, has revealed that minorities in Massachusetts default at about twice the white rate on subprime mortgages.

Previously, I noted that data from the federal Home Mortgage Disclosure Act database has shown that minorities, who make up one-third of the population, took out twice as many dollars per capita as whites in subprime mortgages during the Housing Bubble years of 2004-2007.

A back-of-an-envelope calculation says that if the national foreclosure rates are similar to those measured in Massachusetts, minority borrowers accounted for approaching two-thirds of the subprime mortgage dollars defaulted.

Two-thirds!

(There’s a great irony here: it was a 1992 Boston Fed study purporting to show mortgage discrimination, authored future Clinton appointee Alicia H. Munnell, that provided the rationale for the feds’ forcing the banks to make these risky loans. The then-president of the Boston Fed, Richard F. Syron, who greeted it with the glad cry of “Comports with common sense, no more studies needed”, went on to bigger and better things as…CEO of Freddie Mac, one of two federally-sponsored mortgage monsters. Yet it was refuted at the time in Forbes magazine (January 4, 1993) by Peter Brimelow and Leslie Spencer, who pointed precisely to differential default rates.)

Racial quotas might be necessary for some institutions, typically local monopolies such as utilities or police forces, that aren’t disciplined by the market to maximize efficiency. But clearly, it’s time to lift the dead weight of the anti-discrimination regime from firms in competitive markets.

The Republican leadership would of course whisper back to us that we can’t possibly talk in public about boosting the economy by eliminating racial preferences because that involves … race. And, President Obama is, you know …

Of course, that’s the kind of thinking that made Obama President.

My advice to the GOP: At the moment, the media is proclaiming that a black man being President is the greatest thing that ever happened in the history of the world. So use ju-jitsu. Go with the flow. Say that Obama being President shows that racial preferences were successful—and that it’s time to pare them back to help the economy get out of the ditch.

“Aliens Have Taken Over”: An American Confronts The New York City School System

“Aliens Have Taken Over”: An American Confronts

The New York City School System

Peter Brimelow writes: Frank Borzellieri (email him) who describes himself as an “outspoken, libertarian, conservative, Eurocentrist”, enjoyed three tumultuous terms on New York City’s District 24 School Board, from 1993-2004. He has now published a memoir Lynched: A Conservative’s Life on a New York City School Board, with an introduction by Dr. Herb London, every immigration patriot’s favorite neoconservative. We excerpt it below.

Borzellieri writes tellingly:

“District 24 meetings, while technically ‘public’ meetings, were in reality attended solely by employees of the system, liberal education insiders and radical liberal parents whose interests were pushing a leftist agenda and securing employment for themselves.”

Probably no-one who has not studied the education lunatic asylum can appreciate the craziness and coercion that Borzellieri had to withstand. Essentially, the inmates have seized power and instituted Soviet America. One minor example amid so many: the board voted to exclude from school libraries books including Longfellow’s Paul Revere’s Ride on the grounds that they represented “repudiation of other cultures”. In effect, as Borzellieri says here, “Aliens have completely taken over”.

New York school boards were abolished, part of the endless convulsions of the city’s government school complex, in 2004. Borzellieri now teaches at St. John’s University in New York. Depressingly, he tells me that while he was always re-elected overwhelmingly and would like to run for higher office, it’s just too expensive.

Borzellieri and his publishers would prefer you buy his book direct from them, but if you insist on Amazon, click here]

By Frank Borzellieri

In New York City, the bilingual follies know no bounds. In recent decades, public school children have been taught in over 80 different languages! Some of the more well-known tongues include Kpelle, Nyanja, Twi, Gurma, Cham, Ga, Khowan, Bemba, Ibo, Oriya, and Ewe. No kidding.

At school board meetings, I could cite facts on the failure of bilingualism ’til kingdom come, while culturally alien America-hating radicals could spout their venomous diatribes, and still the school board would always approve millions of dollars of tax money for this abomination.

Because District 24 was so well-known as the immigrant capital of the New York City school system, it was no wonder that bilingual education infested virtually every school in the district. Only the school board could have stopped it. But as usual, I was almost always all alone. In my entire eleven years on the board, not once was funding for bilingual education ever voted down.

It had been routine for the board to approve millions of dollars over the years without objections until I came along. Regarding one of the first resolutions to come before the board soon after my election, the Queens Times Newsweekly reported, “Frank Borzellieri continued his one-man crusade against the City Board of Education’s bilingual education curriculum by voting against a grant… [he] has been very vocal in his opposition.”

But a big explosion occurred months later when the Board of Ed itself released a report critical of its own bilingual programs, pointing to poor results for students who had been in them. [Education Progress of Students in Bilingual and ESL Programs: A Longitudinal Study, 1990-1994(PDF)]The report’s release, which was front page news in the New York Times, caused a stir from radical alien groups.

Naturally, I was waving the New York Times article around from the stage at the next board meeting. The Times reported:

“In a first step toward re-examining bilingual education in New York City, the Board of Education released a study yesterday concluding that the current efforts to educate tens of thousands of students in their native languages are flawed.

“The study found that students—even recent immigrants—who take most of their classes in English generally fare better academically than students in bilingual programs, where little English is spoken.” [Report Faults Bilingual Education in New York, By Sam Dillon, October 20, 1994]

Chancellor Ramon Cortines said, “This report appears to show that our students in bilingual programs are not showing rapid enough progress in English language proficiency.”

The Times article went on to examine the report in detail, but the main thrust was that the exhaustive research and quantifiable student scores revealed what bilingualism’s detractors had been saying for years—that not only does bilingual education not succeed in the very objective that justifies its existence (teaching foreign-born students English proficiency), but that it actually has the exact opposite effect (prevents children from learning English.)

Now you would think that school board members would regard a report issued, not by some national conservative think tank, but by the New York City Board of Education itself, as political cover for finally casting a responsible vote against squandering millions on a failed program.

Think again.

A Daily News article, which appeared a day after the Times piece, focused on the radical anti-American reaction to the report. The News article began:

“A Board of Education report that criticizes bi-lingual programs could accelerate anti-immigration fervor and cut back resources to foreign children, opponents charge.

“‘It’s all an anti-immigrant wave,’ said Isaura Santiago, president of Hostos Community College in the Bronx. ‘An ethnic backlash is always reflected in school policies.’”

The News continued, “Hispanic groups slammed the report for failing to consider socio-economic factors…”

I was quoted in the article, too:

“However, one school board member said the study reinforces his belief that bi-lingual programs should be dropped. ‘It’s a disaster and a waste of taxpayers’ dollars,’ said Frank Borzellieri of School District 24. ‘The way kids learn English is through immersion, the way my parents did in kindergarten. You throw them into a [regular] class.’”

At the next meeting, as I read aloud extensively from the Times article, I said, “Will this board continue to squander dollars of taxpayers in the face of overwhelming evidence?”

Board member Louisa M. Chan, however, continued to maintain that the program was not a failure and spouted the tired cliché that “It [bilingual ed] should be a bridge not a crutch.”

Board member Elizabeth Gambino, in a rambling incoherent diatribe, said something about growing up with Austrians, Italians and Germans “without a teacher understanding their wants or needs.” I’ve yet to meet any of those European-descended people she was talking about.

The resolution passed, with mine being the only voice of dissent.

On another occasion, the board was being asked to authorize $1,200 for the district’s bilingual ed supervisor, Carlos Ledee, to attend a conference, the 24th annual of the National Association for Bilingual Education in Phoenix, Arizona. During the discussion phase, I wanted an explanation for this expenditure, so I questioned Ledee directly.

BORZELLIERI: “Is this a Marx Brothers reunion? It says this is the 24th annual. I guess that means there were 23 others. What do you do, I mean, what exactly is accomplished at these things?”

LEDEE: “I am proud to represent District 24 in our conferences because District 24 represents the third largest bilingual population in New York City… When I go to a national conference, I go as a representative of the largest, most wonderful, bilingual populations. We network and share, we learn from each other.”

BORZELLIERI: “Well, it says you’ll learn ‘strategies and techniques.’ What can you possibly learn that you don’t already know?”

LEDEE: “It works both ways. We don’t just take, we also give. When we sit with others in those parts of the country that are a little bit further behind in their developmental program, when we sit together, we share our experiences, we share our insights, so it’s not just a matter of take, it’s a matter of give.”

BORZELLIERI: “Yeah, I know. It’s taking money from the taxpayers and giving to bureaucrats for weekend trips.”

LEDEE: “I understand you just mentioned taxpayer dollars. My budget is 18 million dollars. I’m asking for $1,200 to attend this conference.”

BORZELLIERI: “What difference does that make?”

LEDEE: “$1,200 from federal funds, which is .00001 percent of my credit. That’s a small investment for what we get from it.”

BORZELLIERI: “What do we get from it? Students who can’t speak English and who are kept in the program for six years?”

The resolution passed with me opposed.

The issue of bilingualism invariably would encompass larger social issues, such as English as the official language, the effects of immigration on the culture and the education system, and whether illegal immigrants should benefit from tax dollars.

As someone who had now gained a national reputation as a proponent of English as the official language of the United States, I was featured on ABC’s “20/20″ on a segment on official English.

Leading up to the broadcast, the local press ran stories on the fact that I would be on the show. Of course, I had already taped the show, so I knew what would be on it. Reporter Lynn Sherr and I took a stroll through Corona, a Queens neighborhood and part of District 24. No one spoke any English at all in the stores we entered randomly in the main shopping area. I joked on the show that my car had better not break down in this neighborhood. All of the magazines and store signs were also exclusively in Spanish.

In a different part of the show, I was in my apartment flashing official notices from the Board of Education in seven different languages, decrying this colossal waste of money.

Both the Queens Tribune and Queens Ledger ran stories on my upcoming appearance. As timing would have it, the newspaper articles would hit the stands on Thursday, the school board meeting would be that same night, and “20/20″ would air the following night.

The Queens Tribune’s headline read: “School Board Member on 20/20: ‘Aliens Have Taken Over.’”

The article began:

“Controversial District 24 School Board member Frank Borzellieri stood alone in last year’s vote to ban what he called ‘anti-American’ reading material from school libraries… Despite the overwhelming opposition of his own board, Borzellieri is undaunted in his quest to salvage the nation from what he perceives as the potential ‘cultural ruin’ posed by such literature and by the Board of Education’s failure to extol America’s cultural superiority in the elementary school curriculum.

“With those irons still in the fire, Borzellieri will be appearing on ABC’s 20/20 this Friday… to discuss his stance on establishing English as the official language of the United States.

The article then quoted me at length: “Unless English is made the official language and unless multiculturalism in all its evil forms is eliminated, we will continue down the road to cultural ruin.”

“[He was],” the Tribune said, “… equating the ethnic makeup and condition of Corona with the occupation of a conquering nation.”

I was quoted:

“On Roosevelt Avenue I see flags of every Latin American country, blank expressions on the faces of store clerks when I ask for something in English, and even magazines like Reader’s Digest totally written in Spanish… This incredible situation would have been no different if the United States had lost a war and been conquered by Mexico. Aliens have completely taken over.”

On my fellow board members, I was quoted:

“They’re hypocrites because they claim to love multiculturalism. Except when it comes to their neighborhoods. They choose to live in lily-white areas. I don’t see any of these white liberals living in the areas they claim to love… They’re not representative of the community. I’m the top vote-getter on the board.”

The article concluded:

“With the unshakable belief he is pursuing the true wishes of his constituents, Borzellieri expressed confidence that his cause is correct, saying, ‘In their hearts, people know I’m right.’”

The Queens Ledger quoted me speaking in a similar vein:

“Absolutely no one speaks English here [Corona], not even the clerks in the stores. We may as well be in Latin America. We are witnessing the cultural ruin of America by a group of aliens who have no desire to assimilate into American society and no desire to learn the English language.”

Naturally, I was welcomed that night at the board meeting with somewhat less than open arms. A letter had been received by the board office just before the meeting by someone named Enrique Lugo on the letterhead of something called “Instituto Nacional de Proteccion al Menor,” although under his signature it said, “La comunidad de Corona Queens unida, la comunidad Latina unida.”[VDARE.com note: "Instituto Nacional de Proteccion al Menor" means National Institute For The Protection Of Minors, an organization that was founded both in the Dominican Republic and in New York City by Mr Lugo. The "National" of the Institute’s name appears to refer to the Dominican Republic, not America]

At the meeting, Lugo showed up and read his letter aloud before the public and the board. I print it below in its entirety, word for word, leaving in all the grammatical mistakes and misplaced punctuation exactly as they were printed.

“Dear Mr Borzellieri :

“The fact that you sit today on the school Board of District 24 is a disgrace to this community, one of the most diverse and hard working community in Queens County whose achievements for a better quality of life for our neighborhoods, should set an example for others to follow.

“For you to come today as you have done in the past, using our children as pawns for your personal agenda is the last straw for your down fall. The fact that you refer to the Hispanic community as the cultural ruin of America by a group of aliens who have no desire to assimilate in to America’s society an no desire to learn the English language, is proof enough that you are mentally retarded, a racist and an idiot whose knowledge of the American history is very limited. A country built on hard working immigrants from all nations, including Latinos from the true America’s.

“Mr. Borzellieri you have no business in this community specially with our children whom you continue to insult and disgrace with your racial remarks. Take your person and your business elsewhere.

“We demand your immediate resignation, if not we guarantee that you will not be able to conduct any business in District 24.

“Get out ! or we will get you out!!!”

When Lugo finished, I took my microphone and said,

“First of all, Mr. Lugo, I’m going to do you a big favor. I am inclined to take this letter to the police because there appears to be a veiled threat of violence and intimidation here. But I won’t. I’m just going to throw it out.

“Secondly, I want to thank you for proving my point for me about alien cultures, right in front of the public and the press like this. Let me explain something to you about this little tradition we have in Western Civilization and American culture called the democratic process. You see, we have these things called elections, which legitimize my presence on this board because I am duly elected to this position by the voting public of District 24. I know this concept is foreign to you and you may be more familiar with military coups and other undemocratic ways of removing people from elected positions.

“It is not our cultural tradition to remove people from duly elected office by threats and intimidation. If that is the prevalent position in your community, then it does indeed contribute to the cultural ruin of American society by your mere presence here. The way we handle things when we don’t like someone in office is we appeal to the voters, and at the time of the next election you galvanize like-minded people to vote me out, get yourself a crayon and circulate petitions, and attempt to have me defeated on election day.”

Lugo was nodding his head arrogantly and defiantly. “Don’t worry, I will,” he replied.

I countered: “Well, I swear to you and to the public that I’ll win. So we’ll see what happens.”

Once again, it goes without saying that no one on the board said a peep about Lugo’s thuggish language.

After that meeting, I neither saw, nor heard from, nor heard anything about Enrique Lugo again.

I did not, after careful consideration, throw his letter out. With the elections only a few months away, I photocopied his letter and sent it out as part of an election fundraising appeal. I also sent the exact same appeal to Lugo, so that he would know I was using his letter to my advantage.

I knew the letter would be extremely effective in raising money when people saw the kind of threats I had to put up with. When I was re-elected by a landslide, I sent out a form letter of thanks to friends and supporters, including press clippings of my big win.

Again, I sent this to Lugo also.

I never heard anything from him.