Posts Tagged ‘racism’

How the government helps keep people poor

December 6, 2018

Why are people poor? Do they have to stay poor? What is the government role?

Conservatives suggest much deprivation is the result of flawed behavior by the poor. They point to a strong correlation between poverty and a failure to follow the so-called “success sequence”: Finish school, get a job, get married, and only then have children. Few people who do those things end up in poverty.

By Michael Tanner
New York Post

Liberals contend that choices are always constrained by real-life circumstances. Therefore, the left thinking goes, conservatives are wrong to discount racism, gender-based discrimination and economic dislocation.

There is truth to both explanations. But in my new book, “The Inclusive Economy: How to Bring Wealth to America’s Poor,” I offer a third explanation: Too often, government policies help make or keep people poor.

We should reform government where it most harms the poor:

Criminal Justice: Scholars at Vanderbilt University have estimated that overcriminalization and the bias against the poor and people of color in our criminal-justice system have increased poverty rates by as much as 20 percent.

Harvard’s William Julius Wilson points out that nearly 1.5 million young black men have been rendered largely unmarriageable because of their involvement with the criminal-justice system.

This has inevitably led to an increase in childbearing outside marriage.

Education: Numerous studies show that educational achievement is a key determinant of financial success. At the same time, government-run schools are doing an increasingly bad job of educating children, especially children who grow up in poverty.

They tend to produce weaker educational outcomes than do schools attended by more affluent students. This has continued despite massive increases in spending on public schools. Yet poor families are often left with little alternative to these failing government schools.

An effective anti-poverty program would break up the government education monopoly and limit the power of the teachers unions.

Housing Policy: One of the worst areas is housing policy. Rent can eat up a disproportionate share of the poor’s income, yet government zoning and land-use policies can add as much as 40 percent to the cost of housing in some cities. In places such as New York City and San Francisco, the zoning cost is even higher, at 50 percent or more.

And these regulations don’t merely increase the cost of rent; they effectively lock the poor out of areas with more jobs or better schools. Historically, zoning laws were often explicitly designed to perpetuate racial segregation. They still have that impact today.

Savings: The route out of poverty runs through savings, not consumption. Yet too many government policies are perversely designed in ways that discourage saving. The more forward-looking a poor person is, the more government works against him.

Banking laws make it difficult for the poor to access our banking system. Asset tests for public programs punish the poor for saving. And Social Security squeezes out opportunities for the poor to save for themselves. We need to reconfigure these policies.

Inclusive Economic Growth: As President Obama once pointed out, “the free market is the greatest producer of wealth in history — it has lifted billions of people out of poverty.” We need to pursue policies such as low taxes, reduced government debt, and deregulation, policies that spur investment, entrepreneurship and the economic growth that will increase the wealth of our society.

We also need to eliminate barriers such as occupational-licensing rules, occupational zoning and the minimum wage. It is estimated that more than 1,100 different professions require a license in at least one state, from florists to funeral attendants, from tree trimmers to make-up artists.

Removing licensure barriers not only unlocks employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for the poor in low-skill occupations but also lowers prices. And minimum-wage laws can block low-skilled workers from getting that first job and starting on the economic ladder.

An anti-poverty agenda built on empowering poor people and allowing them to take greater control of their own lives offers the chance for a new bipartisan consensus that rejects the current paternalism of both left and right. More important, it is an agenda that will do far more than our current failed welfare state to actually lift millions of Americans out of poverty.

A version of this article first appeared in National Review Online.

FILED UNDER         

San Diego rabbis denounce attacks against candidate with Palestinian roots

November 3, 2018

Jewish leaders urge honesty and civility, respect, transparency — End racism, bigotry and fear

Letter slams incumbent Duncan Hunter for branding his Democratic rival, the grandson of the Munich terrorist, a ‘national security risk’ due to his heritage

In this Feb. 9, 2018 handout photo provided by the Campa-Najjar campaign, Democratic congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar speaks at a rally (Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congress)

In this Feb. 9, 2018 handout photo provided by the Campa-Najjar campaign, Democratic congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar speaks at a rally (Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congress)

San Diego-area rabbis have denounced attacks against a candidate with Palestinian ancestry by his Republican opponent.

Rep. Duncan Hunter has called his Democratic challenger Ammar Campa-Najjar a “national security risk,” and accused him of being an “Islamist.”

“As rabbis and leaders of the Jewish community in the San Diego area, we are deeply disturbed by Duncan Hunter and his campaign’s personal attacks on Ammar Campa-Najjar. These attacks are not rooted in facts or in serious policy disagreements, but in appeals to racism, bigotry and fear. Campa-Najjar is a Christian, not a Muslim, and not affiliated with any radical group. Campa-Najjar is not a security risk, he received a security clearance when he worked for the Obama administration,” the letter issued on Wednesday said.

The 17 rabbis, members of the Renewal, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist movements, noted that the statement was not an endorsement of one candidate over the other and encouraged debate with “honesty and civility.”

Campa-Najjar was born in San Diego and is Christian. His grandfather was Muhammad Yusuf al-Najjar, a mastermind of the terrorist murder of 11 Israeli Olympic athletes and coaches at the 1972 games in Munich, Germany. Campa-Najjar, who lived for a time as a youth in the Gaza Strip, has rejected his grandfather’s actions.

US Rep. Duncan Hunter, center, leaves an arraignment hearing Aug. 23, 2018, in San Diego (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)

Campa-Najjar, who never met his grandfather, told Haaretz earlier this year that he would “never be able to understand or condone” his grandfather’s actions and said that there is “never justification for killing innocent civilians.”

“These false fear mongering claims undermine important Jewish values including the commitment to tolerance, honesty and respect. In light of the recent tragedy of Pittsburgh we feel compelled to speak out against hate speech wherever it occurs. In the Talmud (Yevamot 87b) we read the rabbinic wisdom that silence in the face of accusatory testimony is tantamount to consent,” the rabbis also wrote.

Hunter is seeking his sixth term, in a seat that previously was held by his father for 28 years.


How Elizabeth Warren should challenge Trump

October 14, 2018

President Trump takes such glee in needling Senator Elizabeth Warren that it reminds one of a 10-year-old teasing a younger sibling. He was at it again last week as he mused about the Democrats who may run for president in 2020.

“Pocahontas,” he said. “Pocahontas. I’ve got more Indian blood in me than Pocahontas, and I have none.”

By  Boston 

Quincy, MA - 9/15/2018 - Senator Elizabeth Warren addresses the crowd during a town hall meeting at Quincy High School on Saturday, September 15, 2018. (Michael Swensen for The Boston Globe) Topic: (metro)

Elizabeth Warren addressed the crowd during a town hall meeting at Quincy High School on Sept. 15. MICHAEL SWENSEN FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

It’s easy to understand why a politician with Trump’s keen instinct for matters that cleave along political, socio-economic, and cultural fault-lines so delights in that mocking moniker.

It’s not just a way to portray Warren as a fraud who tried to appropriate Native American ethnicity for her own personal advancement. It also triggers a wave of tsk-tsking from cultural highbrows who consider the label disrespectful to Indians or otherwise untoward. And that, in turn, gives Trump’s legions a chance to snicker at liberal political correctness.

So the sarcastic sobriquet delivers a pretty good bang for the buck, and all without straying into overt misogyny or red-flag racism.

Warren’s team has tried to use disgust over that Trumpian taunt to raise campaign contributions for Native American Democratic candidates. But there’s a much better way to respond.

First, however, consider the important recent reporting about Warren’s law-school teaching career. After talking to scores of people and examining applications, hiring documents, and personnel memos at the various law schools where Warren has worked, the Globe’s Annie Linskey concluded there’s simply no evidence to support the notion that her claim of Native American ancestry helped her land any of her teaching positions.

No fair-minded person could read Linskey’s comprehensive, detail-laden account and still credit that charge.

But the facts obviously won’t deter Trump.

So what would?

This. Each and every time Trump calls her Pocahontas, Warren should reply:

“Donald, I would be glad to take a DNA test if you will release your tax returns. If it’s important for the American people to know my ancestral history, it’s certainly just as important for them to know your tax-payment history.”

Trump won’t rise to that challenge, of course. We now have a very good idea of the kind of shady dealings that could be revealed or further illuminated. Earlier this month, The New York Times published an exhaustive account documenting the tax-evasion schemes that Fred Trump and his family engaged in to funnel hundreds of millions of the patriarch’s fortune to Donald and his siblings.

That story blew into subatomic smithereens Trump’s claim that he had built his own empire with no family assistance beyond a (repaid) $1 million loan from his father.

Juxtapose Linskey’s superb, detailed reporting with the Times’s blockbuster expose, and one can safely say this: The Trump family’s tax-evading wealth-transfer schemes had vastly more to do with Trump’s ascension than Warren’s claim of Indian ancestry did with her own success.

Although it’s inconceivable that Trump would take Warren up on such a challenge, pretend for a moment that he did, and that her DNA test concluded she didn’t have any significant Indian ancestry. Given Linskey’s reporting, so what? She might have been too trusting of family lore, but not in a way that helped her get hired at a succession of law schools.

If Trump knew his goading would invariably be met with a challenge that highlighted his own fraudulence, he might well retire the Pocahontas label.

And if he didn’t?

Well, Warren would at least have called his bluff with an attention-getting retort.

Dyed-in-the-wool Warren haters and die-hard Trump supporters won’t care, of course. After all, as the old Navajo proverb says, “You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep.”

But for more open-minded folks, Warren’s challenge would demonstrate the wisdom of another old Indian axiom, this one from the Apaches:

“It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand.”

Why liberals are ganging up on Kanye West — Diversity of thought cannot be permitted

October 14, 2018

In the beginning, it was safe to ignore Kanye West and his growing bromance with President Trump. After all, West is a performer, which makes it easy to discount his political talk, and he is married to a Kardashian, which, well, enough said.

But recent events demand attention. First came West’s Sept. 29 appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” where he rapped in his red Make America Great Again hat and praised Trump in a speech, most of which NBC cut from its telecast.

Then there was Thursday’s spectacle in the Oval Office. Once again, his stream-of-consciousness commentary veered from nonsense to common sense and included references to the 13th Amendment, which forbids slavery, and his feeling of being “programmed” as a black man to support only liberal politicians.

There was no denying those events were intriguing and entertaining, but I still didn’t regard any of it as politically significant — until the left-wing media went absolutely bonkers on him.

By Michael Goodwin
New York Post

Their extraordinarily venomous and personal attacks on West reminded me of the left’s unhinged smears of Brett Kavanaugh and Trump.

Some sunk to citing West’s documented mental-health issues and many invoked his race in pejorative terms, making them especially outrageous.

A black anchor on CNN (Don Lemon) accused West of putting on a “minstrel show,” a black pundit on the same panel called him an “attention whore” and “the token Negro of the Trump administration.”

Another chipped in with, “Kanye West is what happens when Negroes don’t read.”

A black New York Times columnist said the White House scene was “white supremacy by ventriloquism” and a white MSNBC anchor called it “an assault on our White House.”

Whoa, Nellie. What nerve did he touch?

The first thing to notice are the double standards. If conservatives criticized a black liberal in those words, the liberal media would let loose a chorus of “racism” and ­demand that every Republican ­denounce the commentators.

But this time, it was the liberal ­media itself making the offensive comments, so Democratic politicians were not required to take a stand. Naturally, none did.

Yet it was the sheer volume of the hatred, and the uniformity of it, that really got my attention. What’s this really about?

My conclusion is that the outpouring of wrath suggests the answer. To wit, if Kanye West is important enough to be targeted by so many in the media for character assassination, he must also be dangerous.

And if he’s dangerous, it’s in the same way that conservative speakers are dangerous to college snowflakes. Any dissent from the ruling coercive liberalism might be contagious, and therefore must be silenced. Diversity of thought cannot be permitted.

So we can assume the left fears West could be a leading indicator that Trump’s appeal to the working and middle classes is cutting across racial barriers.

And precisely because Democrats are making a fetish of race, gender and identity politics, a prominent racial and cultural force like Kanye West leaving the fold could be the start of a movement toward conservative values. Which is why he must be silenced by any means necessary.

It may be too late, for there are clear reasons why he and others would dissent from the coercive orthodoxy. Consider that black unemployment has reached historic lows because of the Trump economic boom, and one report says about 800,000 more African-Americans have jobs now than had them at the end of Barack Obama’s presidency.

These changes are giving rise to new, confident voices such as Candace Owens, a black commentator and activist, who supported West and blasted his critics.

Candace Owens

Candace Owens

“The paradigm has shifted,” Owens said on Fox News. “Black conservatives will no longer be fearful. Black conservatives are willing to speak out. We are excited. It ­finally feels like it’s our time.”

It’s also possible, of course, that West is a one-off, a disrupter of no real political consequence. That would not be surprising given the hard facts of racial politics for the last 40 years.

Democrats, regardless of their race, generally count on getting ­upwards of 90 percent of the black vote. And the election of Obama seemed to seal party allegiance for years to come.

Black antipathy toward Trump was especially strong, stemming from his “birther” campaign against Obama. Many viewed the attempt to delegitimize the first black president as inherently racist, a view Obama did not discourage as he campaigned for Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s feuds with black athletes, especially LeBron James, also feed the negative narrative.

Not surprisingly, exit polls from the 2016 presidential contest showed Clinton getting about 89 percent of the black vote, and Trump just 8 percent.

That dramatic tilt confirmed that black voters remain the most reliable group in the Dems’ coalition, outpacing Latinos and Jews, with those groups generally giving the party about 75 percent of their votes.

Still, recent polls show Trump gaining support among black voters, with his approval rating as high as 36 percent in an August Rasmussen survey. Others, including Gallup, show he has gained, but have him topping out in the low to mid-teens.

We will know more after the midterms, but I generally believe the willingness of individual voters to buck historic group trends is a hopeful sign. Fundamentally, America is a nation of free individuals, not of tribes or groups, and our republic is healthier when both parties are forced to compete for every vote.

Any vote taken for granted is a vote not earned and leaves politicians free to break their promises without suffering any consequences. Surely we’ve all had enough of that.

Take it from a teacher

Reader Elaine Evans says she has seen bad teachers, but disagrees that there is almost always a link between teacher quality and student outcome.

She writes: “I taught for 30 years in Brooklyn schools and had special-ed students who could not absorb abstract concepts, no matter how hard I tried. Some students could not understand what a numerator and a denominator were! We used a play pizza to illustrate what one piece out of eight would look like as a fraction, but they couldn’t get it.

“We have to stop pretending that all children have the same intellectual skills! College is not for everyone.”

Dem bums stay mum — Republican headquarters in Manhattan

Image result for Republican headquarters in Manhattan, damage, photos

It looks like New York Dems got the message — civil is out, thugs are in.

To my knowledge, no Democrat denounced the violent attack on Republican headquarters in Manhattan, complete with anarchist graffiti and broken windows.


Not Gov. Cuomo, not Mayor de Blasio, not Senators Chuck Schumer or Kirsten Gillibrand. Usually you can’t shut them up, but this time not a peep about the violence. Hillary Clinton’s lips are also sealed.

Image result for andrew Cuomo, photos

Their silence is their shame.

Papa Mike’s pizza?

From the London Telegraph:

“Pizzas must shrink or lose their toppings under Government plans to cap the calories in thousands of meals sold in restaurants and supermarkets.”
Michael Bloomberg, is that you?




Why the Left Is Consumed With Hate

September 24, 2018

Lacking worthy menaces to fight, it is driven to find a replacement for racism. Failing this, what is left?

Protesters outside Trump Tower in New York the day after Election Day 2016.
Protesters outside Trump Tower in New York the day after Election Day 2016. PHOTO: LIGHTROCKET VIA GETTY IMAGES

Even before President Trump’s election, hatred had begun to emerge on the American left—counterintuitively, as an assertion of guilelessness and moral superiority. At the Women’s March in Washington the weekend after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, the pop star Madonna said, “I have thought an awful lot of blowing up the White House.” Here hatred was a vanity, a braggadocio meant to signal her innocence of the sort of evil that, in her mind, the White House represented. (She later said the comment was “taken wildly out of context.”)

For many on the left a hateful anti-Americanism has become a self-congratulatory lifestyle. “America was never that great,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently said. For radical groups like Black Lives Matter, hatred of America is a theme of identity, a display of racial pride.



For other leftists, hate is a license. Conservative speakers can be shouted down, even assaulted, on university campuses. Republican officials can be harassed in restaurants, in the street, in front of their homes. Certain leaders of the left—Rep. Maxine Waters comes to mind—are self-appointed practitioners of hate, urging their followers to think of hatred as power itself.

How did the American left—conceived to bring more compassion and justice to the world—become so given to hate? It began in the 1960s, when America finally accepted that slavery and segregation were profound moral failings. That acceptance changed America forever. It imposed a new moral imperative: America would have to show itself redeemed of these immoralities in order to stand as a legitimate democracy.

The genius of the left in the ’60s was simply to perceive the new moral imperative, and then to identify itself with it. Thus the labor of redeeming the nation from its immoral past would fall on the left. This is how the left put itself in charge of America’s moral legitimacy. The left, not the right—not conservatism—would set the terms of this legitimacy and deliver America from shame to decency.

This bestowed enormous political and cultural power on the American left, and led to the greatest array of government-sponsored social programs in history—at an expense, by some estimates, of more than $22 trillion. But for the left to wield this power, there had to be a great menace to fight against—a tenacious menace that kept America uncertain of its legitimacy, afraid for its good name.

This amounted to a formula for power: The greater the menace to the nation’s moral legitimacy, the more power redounded to the left. And the ’60s handed the left a laundry list of menaces to be defeated. If racism was necessarily at the top of the list, it was quickly followed by a litany of bigotries ending in “ism” and “phobia.”

The left had important achievements. It did rescue America from an unsustainable moral illegitimacy. It also established the great menace of racism as America’s most intolerable disgrace. But the left’s success has plunged it into its greatest crisis since the ’60s. The Achilles’ heel of the left has been its dependence on menace for power. Think of all the things it can ask for in the name of fighting menaces like “systemic racism” and “structural inequality.” But what happens when the evils that menace us begin to fade, and then keep fading?

It is undeniable that America has achieved since the ’60s one of the greatest moral evolutions ever. That is a profound problem for the left, whose existence is threatened by the diminishment of racial oppression. The left’s unspoken terror is that racism is no longer menacing enough to support its own power. The great crisis for the left today—the source of its angst and hatefulness—is its own encroaching obsolescence. Today the left looks to be slowly dying from lack of racial menace.

A single white-on-black shooting in Ferguson, Mo., four years ago resulted in a prolonged media blitz and the involvement of the president of the United States. In that same four-year period, thousands of black-on-black shootings took place in Chicago, hometown of the then-president, yet they inspired very little media coverage and no serious presidential commentary.

White-on-black shootings evoke America’s history of racism and so carry an iconic payload of menace. Black-on-black shootings carry no such payload, although they are truly menacing to the black community. They evoke only despair. And the left gets power from fighting white evil, not black despair.

Today’s left lacks worthy menaces to fight. It is driven to find a replacement for racism, some sweeping historical wrongdoing that morally empowers those who oppose it. (Climate change?) Failing this, only hatred is left.

Hatred is a transformative power. It can make the innocuous into the menacing. So it has become a weapon of choice. The left has used hate to transform President Trump into a symbol of the new racism, not a flawed president but a systemic evil. And he must be opposed as one opposes racism, with a scorched-earth absolutism.

For Martin Luther King Jr., hatred was not necessary as a means to power. The actual details of oppression were enough. Power came to him because he rejected hate as a method of resisting menace. He called on blacks not to be defined by what menaced them. Today, because menace provides moral empowerment, blacks and their ostensible allies indulge in it. The menace of black victimization becomes the unarguable truth of the black identity. And here we are again, forever victims.

Yet the left is still stalked by obsolescence. There is simply not enough menace to service its demands for power. The voices that speak for the left have never been less convincing. It is hard for people to see the menace that drives millionaire football players to kneel before the flag. And then there is the failure of virtually every program the left has ever espoused—welfare, public housing, school busing, affirmative action, diversity programs, and so on.

For the American left today, the indulgence in hate is a death rattle.

Mr. Steele, a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, is author of “Shame: How America’s Past Sins Have Polarized Our Country” (Basic Books, 2015)

Serena cartoon fuels debate about ‘racist’ Australia

September 14, 2018

Australia is by most measures one of the world’s most successful multicultural societies, but a controversial cartoon of Serena Williams has rekindled accusations it is also inveterately racist.

Australia should be a poster-child for diversity: One-in-two Australians has a parent born abroad. The economy has been growing for 27 straight years. Crime is barely a worry. Melbourne and Sydney dominate rankings of the best places in the world to live.

Visit any medium-size human habitation on the mind-bendingly large continent and it’s obvious that Australia is the proverbial melting pot — Kiwis, Chinese, Irish, Filipinos, Brits, Vietnamese, Italians, Indians, Greeks and Lebanese at every turn.

© AFP | Photo illustration shows the front page of the Herald Sun newspaper, featuring a cartoon of US tennis player Serena Williams (lower R)

But this racial, ethnic and linguistic diversity contrasts sharply with a lingering image of Australia as an angry white country stuck in the past.

It was an impression underscored by foreign outrage about an Australian cartoonist’s depiction of a fat-lipped and masculine Serena Williams, and the collective shrug it prompted Down Under.

After the drawing was published, a CNN opinion piece described Australia as “the nicest racist country you will ever see” and the New York Times thundered that “Australia has never fully confronted its own history of racism.”

Image may contain: 1 person

Many Australians admit there is a problem.

The legacy of European settlers terrorising Aboriginal communities looms large, and inequality between the two groups remains staggering.

Racial epithets are still tossed around in a way that makes visitors’ jaws drop. A “White Australia” immigration policy, only fully dismantled in the 1970s, and more recently off-shore migrant detention centres have also done much to frame the modern image of Australia abroad.

But many Australians also believe the problem can be overstated.

“There is an element in Australian society that is racist,” said John Blaxland, a professor of International Security at the Australian National University. “But every country has them. Name a country that doesn’t.”

He insists the reality of modern Australia is a “vibrant, booming, multicultural society” that integrates almost 200,000 migrants a year — the equivalent of the United States taking three million people.

“Australia is a success story!” he insisted. “We’re really hopeless at selling that message. People are dying to get here, literally and metaphorically. It is such a coveted place to be, why is that so? It’s not because of racism.”

– Powerful white men –

As real as the problems in race relations are, popular stereotypes have also played their part framing Australia as a racist nation.

Ask any foreigner to name a famous Australian and they are likely to cite the endearing yet uncultured “Mick ‘Crocodile’ Dundee” — well before indigenous rights activist Eddie Mabo or pioneering social reformer Edith Cowan.

Today experts point to a coarsening of Australia’s politics and a powerful right-leaning media that has turbocharged the impression of a country that is socially tone-deaf.

Duncan McDonnell, a professor at Griffith University’s school of governance, sees immediate roots of that politics in the Liberal Party’s decision to co-opt right wing messages in the 1990s, giving the politics of prejudice a mainstream platform.

Figures like populist firebrand Pauline Hanson, once on the fringes, found their ideas firmly at the centre of public debate.

The strategy was “on one hand to shoot the messenger and on the other hand steal part of their message.”

“They started being much more explicitly harsh on immigration and also on issues related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.”

Creaking infrastructure and stagnant wages growth have helped give populist messages more purchase.

– ‘Monetisation of racism’ –

That hard-line message has been amplified by Australia’s conservative press — on Sky News and in print media outlets like the Herald-Sun which printed the Serena cartoon not once, but twice.

Both are owned by Rupert Murdoch and like his properties in Britain and America, simultaneously channel populist sentiment and steer it further to the right.

Australia’s former race discrimination commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, describes what he sees a “monetisation of racism.”

Some Australian media — which is still overwhelmingly male and white — have embraced hard-line views as a business model to counteract shrinking audiences, he told AFP.

“You only need to look at the Herald-Sun’s response to get an indication of how that works. You try to take advantage of the outrage, you try to run with it as your front page and that’s your coverage for the next two days.”

Data from the Australian National University suggests Australians have — with some ebbs and flows — actually become markedly more tolerant over the last three decades.

Its tracking of public opinion on key issues since 1987 has found that attitudes toward indigenous Australians and asylum seekers have softened dramatically.

Soutphommasane insists racism is a serious problem, but Australia’s media and her politicians, which garner so much attention, “do not reflect the multicultural character of Australia.”



German far-right wants to ‘reclaim’ Chemnitz after fatal stabbing — “East Germany has remained more German than the West.”

September 8, 2018


“I don’t care if they call us racist but things simply cannot carry on this way,” said Paula Neubach at a far-right rally in the flashpoint German city of Chemnitz, rocked by anti-foreigner violence since late August.

Extremist groups and thousands of locals have taken to the streets since a fatal knife attack on a German man allegedly by asylum seekers, with many participants shouting anti-foreigner slurs and flashing the illegal Nazi salute.

Mobs have also assaulted reporters and police, sparking counter-racism demonstrations and prompting German Chancellor Angela Merkel to declare that “hate in the streets” had no place in Germany and that vigilante justice would not be tolerated.

© AFP/File | People hold national flags during a march organised by the right-wing populist ‘Pro Chemnitz’ movement

“It’s normal to help people who have fled war in their country,” said 55-year-old Sabine Sterben, standing near the rally late on Friday.

The city in the former East Germany has been polarised over the question of migrants since Daniel Hille was stabbed to death on August 26.

The 35-year-old carpenter was repeatedly knifed and his suspected attackers, according to police, are three Iraqi and Syrian asylum seekers.

The far-right has seized on the attack as further proof that crime and insecurity have soared since Merkel opened the borders to millions of asylum seekers three years ago after Europe’s worst migration crisis since World War II.

They are also calling for a “peaceful revolution” to change what they call the “Merkel system” and held a rally in Chemnitz late Friday like in the past week.

– ‘We are not Nazis! –

“We are not Nazis!”, said Daniel Reichelt, 55, who was one of the 2,000-odd people who turned up at Friday’s demo.

He brushed off the Nazi salutes in earlier rallies as a “mistake”, adding: “There are bad people everywhere.

“I’ve had enough of the social and economic inequalities” in the former Communist east, he said.

“Salaries and pensions are still lower than the West and we don’t have work,” he said.

Neubach came specially from Berlin to attend Friday’s rally and laid flowers at a makeshift memorial where Hille was killed.

“One cannot enter another country and kill people,” she said.

A few metres away stood an imposing statue of Karl Marx with his famous slogan “Workers of the world unite” written in four languages.

Meanwhile, a counter-demonstration by the far-left took place nearby with police and barriers separating the two sides to pre-empt clashes that have broken out in the past.

– East-West divide –

Sabine Sterben said she could not understand how the city, formerly named Karl-Marx-Stadt, had changed so radically.

“I never thought there would be so many extremists in my city,” she said, adding: “It’s really important to take a humanitarian position.”

The divide in Chemnitz is also playing out across the country and has even rocked Merkel’s government with the conservative Interior Minister Horst Seehofer backing the right-wing rallies.

“We are not racist. I myself have Arab friends but crime has exploded since the migrants arrived,” said Uchi Tuhlman, 43.

Official figures however show that crime has actually declined during this period.

“We just want to reclaim our city,” said Tommy Scholz, 31. “We are just patriots, we don’t want violence and we are fed up of keeping quiet.”

This tide of xenophobia does not surprise historian Klaus-Peter Sick, who specialises in the far-right.

The former East Germany “was less open to the rest of the world and people encountered foreigners less,” he said.

“East Germany has remained more German than the West,” he said.


Corbyn supporters against ‘witch hunt’ as Labour holds crunch anti-Semitism talks — “Israel’s bogus definition of anti-Semitism, and the media is the real problem”

September 4, 2018

Hard Left supporters of Jeremy Corbyn will protest outside of Labour’s headquarters today against a supposed anti-Semitism “witch hunt” and urge the party not to cave in on an international definition of Jew hatred.

Activists will urge Labour’s governing body to reject a widely-accepted definition of anti-Semitism, claiming that the row has been whipped up by the “pro-Israel lobby”, “Right-wing MPs” and the media.

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, plant and outdoor

Jeremy Corbyn leaves his home on Tuesday as activists gather at Labour headquarters to urge the party to reject a widely-accepted definition of anti-Semitism CREDIT: NICK ANSELL/PA WIRE

The protesters, led by the Camden branch of Momentum, the pro-Corbyn campaign group, will claim that adopting the guidance would “return the party to the right”, which they say they voted to purge by electing Mr Corbyn as leader “twice”.

It comes amid growing anger within the Jewish…

Read the rest (Paywall):


Israel’s bogus definition of anti-Semitism will unleash havoc in Labour

More related:

US Democrats are re-discovering identity politics

August 15, 2018

Trump’s conduct in office has sapped the belief that race could be transcended

Image may contain: 1 person, closeup
Kamala Harris, a senator from California and presidential prospect, resents the term ‘identity politics’ © AFP

By Janan Ganesh

The world did not always notice, so absorbed was it in the fact of his blackness, but Barack Obama sought to de-emphasise race. Had events not forced him into memorable orations on the subject, there is no reason to think he would have given them.

Bill Clinton was another US president who saw his nation through the lens of economics rather than blood. It was the outside observer, namely the novelist Toni Morrison, who read racial significance into him. Had Hillary Clinton won the 2016 election, we would now be well into yet a third technocratic government in as many decades.

For all that identity politics has permeated the wider left, the upper reaches of the Democratic party have remained mostly resistant. Some of this is down to a belief that Americans must be addressed as Americans, not as ethnic subsets, as per the ideals of the republic. Some of it is electoral prudence: a party too identified with minorities is asking for trouble with white voters. These two impulses explain the respectful distance between Democrats and the racialised politics of the university campus.

Among the legacies of Donald Trump is the narrowing of this distance. Eminent Democrats are embracing race as a cause. Elizabeth Warren, a senator from Massachusetts, calls the criminal justice system “racist”.

Image may contain: 1 person

Elizabeth Warren. Credit Gerald Herbert – Associated Press

Kamala Harris, a senator from California and another presidential prospect, resents the term “identity politics”. It belittles the seriousness of race (and gender) inequities, she argues. Georgia’s Stacey Abrams, who could become the first black woman to govern a state, is building a coalition of minority voters, topped up with liberal whites. If it works in November, it could be a template for the national party.

After Mr Trump’s election two years ago, Democrats were advised by the likes of Mark Lilla, a professor of humanities at Columbia University, to reject the Balkanisation of the electorate in favour of a universal offering.

The most obvious reason why they did not was Mr Trump’s conduct in office. It sapped the Democrats’ belief that race could ever be transcended. If the president’s travel bans and quarrels with black athletes did not demand an explicit defence of minorities, then Charlottesville did. A year has passed since the Virginia town joined Selma and Appomattox as one of those southern place-names that become abstract nouns, denoting racial strife. The president’s equivocal line on far-right violence there persuaded many Democrats that blindness to race, once their ideal, was now a moral abdication. The party had to speak for people who felt besieged, even if it meant distinguishing one kind of American from another.

As for the party’s wariness of the white voter, demographic change is easing it. Some Democrats believe the ethnic diversification of certain states, such as Georgia and Arizona, is re-painting them from Republican red to, if not Democratic blue, then the pale mauve of electoral competitiveness. These projections assume rather a lot. And as a political strategy, it also forfeits working class whites, as though a pitch to them is not worth the discomfort it would cause the metropolitan left. Still, demographics point to a more minority-facing Democratic party.

At this point, an old Washington hand will wonder what the fuss is about. There has been a racial pattern to American politics for a long time, with minorities favouring Democrats and Republicans carrying whites. Each party has appealed to its “own”.

The difference is that racial politics was, for the most part, implicit. It was a matter of coded language and suggestive television advertisements. At no point did either party stop paying lip service to the ideal of an indivisible nation. “They are black, they are white,” said Richard Nixon, even, of his “Silent Majority” in 1968. “They’re native and foreign born.”

The new version of racial politics promises to be much more explicit, with each party appealing to ethnic groups in so many words. If this seems implausible, consider how far US politics has changed in just two years.

This is the most race-conscious Democratic party since 1988, when Jesse Jackson was briefly frontrunner for its presidential nomination. The change is neither surprising nor necessarily permanent. There was always going to be a counterforce to the blood-and-soil nationalism of the modern right.

If the Republicans revert to their pre-Trump ways once he has gone, then the Democrats can go back to the technocratic reticence on race of the Obama-Clinton years. The dread for the republic is that neither reversal ever happens, and the future is fragmentation.

The criminal justice system is racist — Don’t back away from the hard truth, Senator Warren

August 15, 2018

DURING A RECENT APPEARANCE at Dillard University in New Orleans, Senator Elizabeth Warren offered what she called “the hard truth about our criminal justice system: it’s racist. . . . I mean, all the way, front to back.”

She then detailed the system’s inequities, such as disproportionate arrests and sentencing for African-Americans, and laws that keep convicted felons from voting, even after they have served their time.

No lies detected.

Image may contain: 1 person

Elizabeth Warren. Credit Gerald Herbert – Associated Press

Of course, Warren’s statement got Fox News and other conservatives frothing. Yarmouth Police Chief Frank G. Frederickson called her comments “disrespectful and divisive.” With his sights on reelection in November, Governor Charlie Baker told the Boston Herald that police “absolutely feel like they’ve been on the wrong end of a lot of this rhetoric that’s gone on in this country for quite a while.”

As the backlash reached a boil, Warren did something I found maddening — she sought to clarify comments that needed no clarification. “I spoke about an entire system — not individuals — and I will continue to work on reforms to make the criminal justice system fairer.”

Warren’s detractors know exactly what she meant. The criminal justice system is racist — this isn’t a debatable point. Why, then, is it so hard to call a thing a thing when it comes to racism?

“White anxiety” is racism. “Economic anxiety” is racism. “White nationalism” is racism. Some people wrack their brains searching for euphemisms that allow them to avoid mentioning racism, because saying so would acknowledge its presence; meanwhile, racism, enabled and unchecked, is smothering this nation.


Last June, I participated in a panel about white privilege at Boston University’s School of Public Health. In the audience, a white man said the term “white privilege” was so alienating it kept white people from considering issues of racial inequality. I responded that people of color are done with fretting over the continued comfort of white people; we all need to confront, in no uncertain terms, caustic prejudices that sustain white supremacy and endanger people of color.

I thought of that pointed conversation when I read Warren’s walk-back.

She made her initial comments at a historically black university before a racially mixed audience. From the cases of the Central Park Five to Kalief Browder to Curtis Flowers, they know how corrosive the criminal justice system can be for people of color. Statistics back up Warren’s statements.

Still, in an election year — and with her name still on 2020’s front burner — Warren felt compelled to be mindful in a way that’s never required of Republicans.

Say what you want about President Trump — and I certainly have — but he never backs down from a statement. He tweets and utters blatant lies and spews disgusting insults at perceived adversaries by name, and then he refuses to apologize, clarify, or retract anything.

Compare that to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. She was spot-on when she said: “you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call ‘the basket of deplorables.’ The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic — you name it.” Clinton’s comment wasn’t a mistake; the fault came in her apology for a statement whose veracity has been proved time and again.

I don’t have the time or energy to accommodate people who have neither earned it nor deserve it. Conservatives manufacture umbrage to stifle dissent. It’s just another version of the hoary “civility” argument, which I’m sure will be resurrected again when conservatives need another sound-bite distraction.

In discussing racism within our institutions or daily lives, we should be flexing instead of flinching. Nothing can be achieved if we allow those who benefit from its sustainment to bully us out of calling racism by its name.

Renée Graham can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @reneeygraham.