Monday, January 11, 2016

Cruising the Web

Der Spiegel has a long essay about "How New Year's Eve in Cologne Has Changed Germany." TO its credit, it tries to to give a description of what went on that night as hundreds of men identified as being from North Africa assaulted people to steal their property and sexually assault women. But the entire tone of the article is one of concern that this event will strengthen those who oppose immigration to Germany. They even claim that what happened is not so different from what goes on sometimes in the wake of a soccer match.
Their behavior, and the subsequent discussion of their behavior in the halls of political power in Berlin, in the media and on the Internet, could easily trigger a radical shift in Germany's refugee and immigration policies. The pressure built up by the images and stories from Cologne make it virtually impossible to continue on as before. That, too, is a paradox: The pressure would be no less intense even if not a single one of the refugees and migrants who arrived in 2015 were among the perpetrators.

Refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, foreigners, friendly or evil, new or long-time residents: It doesn't matter. It seems as though the time has come for a broad debate over Germany's future -- and Merkel's mantra "We can do it," is no longer enough to suppress it.

New Year's Eve marks a shift because it crystallized a widespread unease with state inaction. The happenings on the square between the Cologne Cathedral and the main train station was as symbolic as they were real: symbolic of the state's powerlessness in the face of chaos and crime.
As Der Spiegel, a lot of the outrage can be laid at the feet of authorities. The police were there in insufficient numbers and requests for more had been denied by the state police. And they reported on the morning after the attacks in a press release that was titled "Festive Atmosphere -- Celebrations Largely Peaceful." It's now clear from the police memo that Der Spiegel has already published that the police knew what had gone on and how helpless they had been in the face of the violence.

We're also now learning that some men have been arrested and a lot more details from that night.
But the calls for him to go became irresistible when a leaked internal police report obtained by Spiegel revealed the scale of the failings on New Year’s Eve. The internal report, dated 4 January, described the night as “chaotic” and a “shameful situation”.

The report said officers were aware of the sexual assaults that night (“fights, thefts, sexual assaults against women, etc”) and that women were in intense danger (“Women, accompanied or not, literally ran a ‘gauntlet’ through masses of heavily intoxicated men that words cannot describe.”). It described the perpetrators as “male migrants” who intentionally agitated police officers. It listed several officers’ testimonies in which some suspects claimed to be Syrian refugees – one officer claimed a suspect said: “I’m a Syrian! You have to treat me kindly! Mrs Merkel invited me.”

Elsewhere, police across the country have since reported similar incidences of sexual assault, including a case in Weil am Rhein, south Germany, in which a 21-year-old man and two 14-year-old boys are being held over the alleged rape of two girls aged 14 and 15 years old. Despite conflicting media reports, the police did not confirm the suspects were from Syria but said one is a refugee and another is seeking asylum.

The leaked report was a far cry from the police’s first statement, which described the festivities as having a “jolly mood” and being “largely peaceful”. The initial report, released on New Year’s Day, failed to mention the sexual assaults police witnessed that night and made no mention of the description given by police in the leaked report of the perpetrators being “migrants”, leading many to suspect it was an attempt to quell anti-immigration sentiment.
We're also hearing more testimony from German women about how common such sexual harassment is on the streets of Germany. The Spiegel article talks about how there has been an increase in crime in Germany, not only in Cologne, but throughout the country. Here is the situation in Berlin.
But in some areas, everyday life has been in such disarray for such a long time that many speeches about the need for a strong integration policy sound like empty words.

Ercan Yasaroglu, a social worker from Berlin, was appalled when he heard about the attacks in Cologne. He was furious and dismayed, but he wasn't surprised. "What happened in Cologne has been happening here in Berlin for a year, but on a smaller scale," he says.

Yasaroglu works in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin. In recent months, he has seen how, time and again, women are verbally harassed, then groped, then robbed. "This is not some sudden loss of inhibition, but calculated action by criminals." Thieves intentionally distract women with sexual assaults, he says, and many of those responsible are from countries in North Africa. Some of them have had their applications for asylum rejected, leaving them with a "tolerated" immigration status and a miserable life.

From his office at Kottbusser Tor in the heart of Kreuzberg, Yasaroglu gazes out at snowy streets. He has lived here since fleeing Turkey 30 years ago. To him, Kreuzberg seemed like a German melting pot of sorts, a place where people from around the world can live together more or less peacefully. But the atmosphere has changed in the last year or two. It's gotten rougher, more hostile.

A dozen gangs, roughly 10 to 15 people in size, have divided the neighborhood up amongst themselves and are increasingly terrorizing residents and tourists. The number of registered drug-related crimes has increased by 90 percent in the last year, the number of pickpocket thefts by 30 percent. Numerous business owners in the area complained in a letter to the city government of the new level of aggressiveness at Kottbusser Tor. The square is dominated by criminals.
What happened on New Year's Eve seems an intensified event by young men who felt they could act with impunity. Others have compared it to the long-term sexual abuse of over 1400 young girls in Rotterdam by men of Pakistani origin. These men in Germany are there as immigrants and they don't seem to worry at all about what mmight happen to them as they publicly engage in crimes and attacks on women. That says something about their culture that no amount of workshops about assimilation into German culture is going to fix.

I was listening to a podcast between Jay Nordlinger and Mona Charen talking about this story and Nordlinger referred to something that the psychiatrist Anthony Daniels had said back in 2006. Daniels is a psychiatrist who worked for many years in Birmingham England and writes under the pseudonym Theodore Dalrymple about social pathologies that he has observed over a lifetime of working in poor and prison communities. In an interview he was asked about the appeal of Islam and his response is probably quite controversial - that young men are attracted by the idea that they can subjugate women.
I think the young women are not strongly Islamist on the whole. In fact, many of them are very anti-Islamic, or would be if they had the opportunity. I also believe that the main interest of Islam for young men in Western countries is the predominance that it gives them over women. I will give you the reasons why I have come to that conclusion, and I accept that they are not scientifically foolproof. There could be arguments against them.

There are large numbers of Muslims in British prisons today. I have noticed that their behaviour is not that of religious persons. They are not interested in hallal meat, they are not interested in praying five times a day, they are not interested in keeping ramadan (except as a reason not to go to court), but they are very interested in preventing their sisters from going out with a boy of their own choosing. Furthermore, if you go into the center of British towns with large Muslim populations you will see young Muslim men partaking in what I would say are generally pretty disgusting activities of popular culture, but you won’t see any women. And finally in my work I used to see a lot of young Muslim women who had attempted suicide, or made a gesture of suicide in order to avoid a forced marriage, say a marriage with a first cousin ‘back home’ – someone they had not met, who was less educated than they and whom they did not wish to marry. They knew perfectly well they have no choice in the matter; some of them might even be killed if they did not accept the marriage. You do not see young men trying to commit suicide because of forced marriages, even though they are partaking in those kinds of marriages as well. Hence, it is very different for the men than the women. If you put all these things together you could conclude that the main interest for Islam for these young men is the control over women.
Nordlinger says in the podcast that he felt that Daniels was going too far in those remarks back in 2006 but events now are leading him to question whether Daniels might be right. I don't have the experience that Daniels had talking to these young men over many years, but the fact that so many immigrant and refugee young men would risk their stay in Germany and think that it was perfectly acceptable to grope women while working together in large gangs in orchestrating this behavior indicates a mindset about how they can act toward women that is truly disturbing.

This problem isn't, of course, limited to Germany. We're now learning about the increase in crime in places like Norway and Sweden. In Norway and soon in Denmark, they have to give a class instructing immigrants that rape is not permitted because the refugees don't understand this from their own culture.
Many refugees “come from cultures that are not gender equal and where women are the property of men,” Mr. Isdal said. “We have to help them adapt to their new culture.”

The first such program to teach immigrants about local norms and how to avoid misreading social signals was initiated in Stavanger, the center of Norway’s oil industry and a magnet for migrants, after a series of rapes from 2009 to 2011.

Henry Ove Berg, who was Stavanger’s police chief during the spike in rape cases, said he supported providing migrants sex education because “people from some parts of the world have never seen a girl in a miniskirt, only in a burqa.” When they get to Norway, he added, “something happens in their heads.”

He said, “there was a link but not a very clear link” between the rape cases and the city’s immigrant community. According to the state broadcaster, NRK, which reviewed court documents, only three of 20 men found guilty in those cases were native Norwegians, the rest immigrants.

The claim that refugees and immigrants in
The statistics about rape in Sweden committed by Muslim immigrants are truly eye-opening. Since 1975 when Sweden began admitting immigrants, the number of rapes has increased 1,472 per cent.
Forty years ago, 421 rapes were reported to the police in Sweden annually. By 2010, according to a BBC report, police recorded the highest number of offences — about 63 per 100,000 inhabitants — of any force in Europe. That was the second highest in the world — surpassed only by Lesotho in southern Africa.
Having politicians mouth platitudes about welcoming a diverse culture is not enough when people are living with this situation every day. Politicians and other elites may worry about how such stories will give rise to a populist and nationalist backlash against the policies their governments have been following for years. But they are responsible for creating the conditions that have so upset their citizens. And we're seeing the same result here in the U.S. Remember that Donald Trump first rose in popularity when he started talking about criminals coming across the Mexican border. And that situation is nothing compared to what Europe is now facing. Yet.

And we're still seeing feminists in this country up in arms over a phony rape crisis on college campuses. My mind boggles at their priorities.

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One thing to thank Donald Trump for is how he's helped to make Bill Clinton a liability for Hillary's campaign. Jonah Goldberg reminisces about the environment of the 1980s and 1990s whenever there were accusations of a powerful male having a womanizing past,
After John Tower there was Bob Packwood, a name so perfect for a sex scandal even porn moguls would say, “That’s a bit too on the nose, don’t you think?” Packwood, a liberal Republican who had a good relationship with feminists, was thrown to the wolves. Investigators rummaged through his diary and he was hounded from public life.

Then there was the fight over Clarence Thomas, who was alleged to have made a joke about a pubic hair on a Coke can and asked a colleague out for a date. And this was enough to make his accuser into feminist martyr. It’s difficult to exaggerate the feminist feeding frenzy those hearings created in the media. Carol Mosley Braun and Patty Murray ran for the senate in protest of the hearings, giving rise to the Year of the Woman. It was zero tolerance, not just for rape, but for even the slightest verbal misstep.
Remember that all Clarence Thomas was accused of was making a couple inappropriate jokes about pubic hair or describing the plot of a pornographic film. I well remember one of the male teachers I worked with at the time saying that "heck, if that is what constitutes sexual harassment, then the women at our middle school sexually harassed him every day.

But then there were accusations against Bill Clinton and all the feminists suddenly gulped and decided that they didn't mean anything they'd said in the past.
And when the time came for feminists and the media to choose between sticking to the zero-tolerance principle they worked so hard to establish and throwing a Democratic president under the bus, they chose to hold a fire sale on their principles. Gloria Steinem, feminist matriarch, raced to the op-ed page of the New York Times to declare a “one free grope rule” for lechers. “There is nothing inherently wrong . . .” wrote Katie Roiphie, also in the Times, “with [Monica Lewinsky’s] attempt to translate her personal relationship with the President into professional advancement.” Clinton’s baron-and-the-milkmaid act with an intern, declared feminist author Jane Smiley, was simply an admirable “desire to make a connection with another person.”

Of course, in practice the one-free-grope rule became unlimited free-gropes. Every time a new allegation surfaced, the grope-quota would be expanded. Time magazine’s Nina Burleigh even admitted she’d have happily serviced him, just for keeping abortion legal. Because, feminism!
And so they rallied around Bill and helped to downplay his sexual shenanigans. And Hillary, that supposed feminist icon who had ridden into power basically through marriage and then got elected Senator because people felt sorry for her as the cheated-upon wife.

Her past as covering up accusations of sexual abuse by her husband by attacking the women was perfectly fine. She was a feminist heroine and he supported abortion so that was all fine. But with a few remarks by Donald Trump, the public is revisiting his past. And as the Hillary campaign worries about Bernie Sanders in Iowa and New Hampshire, they figured it was time to unleash the Big Dog and send him onto the campaign trail. And Hillary could play the woman card once more by attacking Donald Trump. But it hasn't worked out that way.
Of course, liberals are mad at . . . conservatives (and Donald Trump) for pointing it out. I particularly love the subhead on this Slate piece. “The right hopes to turn the feminist consensus on rape against the Clintons.” Ah yes, those terrible conservatives, how dare they take feminists seriously!

(As I noted in the Corner the other day, the fact that the Clintons were completely intimidated by Trump should create a real opportunity for Bernie Sanders. Hillary’s supposed to be tough-as-nails in her fight against sexism. Sanders should point out that she has a glass jaw — because of Bill.)

Oh, I very much doubt this will spell the doom of the Clinton campaign. But I cherish the possibility. Hillary’s whole campaign is premised on the idea that she can win because she’s a woman. Whenever she’s asked if she’s a “change candidate,” she skips past the inconvenient fact that the Clinton name is like a familiar callous on the foot of the body politic, and goes straight to the fact that she’s a woman. She’s not a particular woman, she’s a victory for EveryWoman. To the extent she wants to be more than a mere biological category, she leans heavily on the positive associations with her husband’s presidency. And now, the other legacy of her husband’s presidency is eating away at her feminist sales pitch, like a dose of slow-acting strontium-90.

I would feel bad for her, but if there’s a person more fully aware of who and what she got in bed with than Hillary Clinton, I don’t who she, or he, is.
I would add in that Bill will also become a weapon to attack Hillary in the general campaign as the Republican Party unleashes all the tawdry dealings of Bill while Hillary was Secretary of State. They won't have to go into accusations of sexual abuse in order to make Bill a liability for her campaign. Think of the negative ad that can be made about how a Russian investment bank paid a half million dollars to Bill Clinton and eventually got a deal for a Canadian uranium company that paid money to the Clinton Foundation, Uranium One, to acquire one-fifth of the US. uranium supply.

And expect to hear more about how Hillary's emails revealed that she instructed her aide to remove the classified header to send a memo to her insecure personal server. Think of that. Her aide told her that he couldn't fax something because it was a secure document and she instructed him how to get around those rules. Apparently, she was so eager to have talking points on some subject sent to her on the same day that she was speaking to the Russian Foreign Minister about the Middle East and Georgia and the UN. If that was what the memo she wanted sent was about, it seems pretty clear that it would have included some classified information. Her aide thought it needed to be sent through secure channels and she had no qualms about overriding those concerns.

The Atlantic has a handy primer on Clinton scandals for those who have forgotten them or just never learned about them. Remember that there is a whole new generation that has risen up that knows not the Clintons and their record. And The Atlantic's list is by no means comprehensive. Meanwhile, Vox has a rather even-handed discussion of Juanita Broaddrick's accusation against Bill Clinton that he raped her back in 1978 and her conclusion that Hillary Clinton knew about the story and thanked her for her silence at the time. As David French writes at National Review, it is not good for the Clintons that a liberal site like Vox would give Broaddrick's allegation such a fair treatment. He also points out how Vox's Dylan Matthews observes how different our standards are today than they were 30 years ago to talk about sexual assault.
Our rules for talking about sexual assault have changed since the 1990s, when these women were last in the news. Today, feminists have repeatedly and convincingly made the case that when women say they’ve been sexually assaulted, we should assume they’re telling the truth. Particularly when it comes to Broaddrick, it’s not easy to square the arguments against believing her with the dominant progressive consensus on trusting victims.

We will probably never know the truth of what happened between Broaddrick and Clinton. But today, few feminists would find her shifting story disqualifying. Consider, also, another piece of evidence that was marshaled against Broaddrick in the 1990s: Three weeks after the alleged assault, she attended a fundraiser for Clinton. Speaking to Klein, she says she was traumatized and blamed herself for what happened. “I felt responsible. I don’t know if you know the mentality of women and men at that time. But me letting him come to my room? I accepted full blame.” In any other context, most feminists today would find this credible. After all, many were outraged when rape skeptics tried to discredit Columbia student Emma Sulkowicz because she’d sent friendly Facebook messages to her alleged rapist after the alleged rape.
Remember that it was Hillary's statements about how the woman must always be believed that led to her being questioned about believing the accusations against her husband. She's caught up in her own feminist rhetoric

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Just as German authorities don't want the events in Cologne to hurt the public's perception of Angela Merkel's immigration policies, and originally downplayed the night's events, the Obama administration isn't above trying to bury news about immigrants to the U.S. suspected of terror activities.
Following the discovery of a terrorist cell in Texas allegedly operated by an Iraqi who entered the United States as a refugee, the Washington Free Beacon has learned of an additional 41 individuals who have been implicated in terrorist plots in the United States since 2014, bringing the total number of terrorists discovered since that time to 113, according to information provided by Congressional sources.

Since August, however, the Obama administration has stonewalled Congressional efforts to obtain more detailed immigration histories of these individuals, prompting frustration on Capitol Hill and accusation that the administration is covering up these histories to avoid exposing flaws in the U.S. screening process.

The disclosure of these additional 41 individuals linked to terror operations—many already identified as immigrants, others’ immigration histories shrouded in secrecy—has stoked further concerns about flaws in the U.S. screening process and is likely to prompt further congressional inquiry into Obama administration efforts to withhold details about these suspects, sources said.

As the number of legal immigrants connected to terrorism continues to grow, the Obama administration has sought to quash congressional inquiries and rally its allies behind an effort to fund efforts to boost the number of immigrants and refugees from the Middle East.
So President Obama unilaterally tried to change the law on admitting immigrants. Only a ruling by a federal judge has blocked that effort. And now he thinks that it is fine and dandy to block Congressional efforts to learn more about those who have already been admitted. Does this surprise anyone?

Brendan O'Neill writes in The Spectator to break the news to feminists that "white male privilege" just doesn't exist in Britain. It is a myth.
Yet towards the end of 2015 it was revealed that there’s a social group in Britain more derided and less successful than pretty much every other social group. Guess who? Yep, young white men. Especially young working-class white men. A large sector of the group that the new identity-politics mob loves to ridicule for sailing through life unmolested and unchallenged is actually having a rough time.

Consider this: 18-year-old women are 35 percent more likely to attend university than 18-year-old men; and where 37 percent of black school-leavers go to university, only 28 percent of white school-leavers do....

Also in December, a YouGov analysis of 48 surveys of public attitudes found that young white men are viewed as ‘the worst ethnic, gender [and] age group’. They are ‘the most derided ethnic group in Britain’. YouGov’s number-crunchers confessed to being surprised by ‘the lousy reputation of young white men’, who are seen as drunken, promiscuous, prone to drug-taking, work-shy and impolite (even as other surveys reveal that today’s yoof actually drink less and do fewer drugs than earlier generations did).

What’s more, young women now earn more than young men: £1,111 a year more, to be precise. Between the ages of 22 and 29, women in general — covering all races — out-earn guys; by the time women hit their thirties, however, their pay falls below men’s. Those young, opinionated new media feminists who get handsome advances to write books spluttering about ‘white male privilege’ are far more privileged than many of the white males they splutter about — especially the ones who empty their bins or sweep their roads. It’s almost Orwellian in its topsy-turviness — the most well-connected, middle-class women denouncing the alleged privileges of some of the most derided people in society.
I would guess that the statistics are similar in the U.S. Feminists have so embrace their supposed victimhood that they don't care about actual statistics.

How typical of John Kerry. Once again he ignores the Jewish victims of the terrorist attacks a year ago in Paris.

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Here is yet another scandal about Rahm Emanuel's administration hiding evidence about a different fatal police shooting in Chicago.
For four years, Officer Raoul Mosqueda offered the same account of the January night when he shot and killed a man during a traffic stop on Chicago’s South Side.

Mosqueda and his partner, Gildardo Sierra, heard over their police car radio that officers were looking for an Oldsmobile Aurora involved in a shooting. A gun could be inside the car, the dispatcher warned. They saw a similar vehicle and instructed it to pull over; then the officers approached the two men inside, guns drawn. There was a confrontation, the car backed up and began to drive away, and Mosqueda opened fire, killing driver Darius Pinex.

For four years, the evidence that could have verified or refuted that account — a recording of the dispatch from that night — was nowhere to be found. Attorneys for the city said the recording didn’t exist, even as a wrongful-death lawsuit brought by Pinex’s family went to trial.

Then, in late February, too late for attorneys for the Pinex family to adjust their case, it emerged that an attorney for the city had the recording after all but waited more than a week before telling the Pinex family. A federal jury ultimately found that Mosqueda and Sierra were justified in the shooting.

But on Monday, a federal judge ruled that the lawyer, senior attorney for the city Jordan Marsh, intentionally hid evidence that could have changed the outcome of the case.
There is something truly rotten in Chicago. It might not have started during Emanuel's administration, but he certainly hasn't fixed the corruption. The city itself has severe financial problems. Well, as they have to pay out millions to the families that their officers have killed and hidden evidence, those problems will deepen. And the real people who suffer will be people living in communities who can't trust the police to keep them safe and the honest police whose reputations will have been tarnished by association.

Chris Cillizza imagines how difficult it would become for Hillary Clinton if she loses in both Iowa and New Hampshire, which she might well do according to recent polls.
That scenario would be a total nightmare for Clinton. Period. It’s also a lot more likely to go from fantasy to reality than most people — including most establishment Democrats — understand.
I don't think Hillary is in danger of losing the nomination or that Bernie Sanders is so popular. It is just that Sanders is the only one running against Hillary (I discount Martin O'Malley) so he becomes the repository for anti-Hillary votes. A vote for him is a protest against Hillary. And she does not need the political conversation to be about how members of her own party don't really want her as the nominee.

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Jeff Jacoby bemoans the spectacle that the State of the Union address has become. Presidents Washington and Adams gave their addresses in person, but Thomas Jefferson chose to send a document to Congress which was then read aloud. But all that changed. In a sentence that is true for so much American history, Jacoby writes,
And then, alas, came Woodrow Wilson.
Wilson was full of his sense of power as the president and gave his address in person. Calvin Coolidge with his modest concept of the power of the executive reverted to the earlier practice. FDR, of course, went back to giving it in person.
It isn't a healthy practice. What the Constitution's framers intended as a matter-of-fact directive — that presidents supply lawmakers with useful information and policy proposals — has become an antidemocratic extravaganza that would have horrified Jefferson. The State of the Union broadcast fuels the cult of the presidency. It encourages the delusion that the nation's "state" can somehow be embodied by a single individual, a Great Leader capable of crafting a sweeping political agenda that will bring the millennium.

The lone saving grace of the modern State of the Union Address is its reputation for tedium. Last year, fewer than 32 million viewers tuned in to the speech, a decline of more than 20 million since President Obama's first State of the Union in 2009, and the lowest ratings since Bill Clinton's final address in 2000. To political junkies, the "pompous cavalcade" may be irresistible. To the vast majority of Americans, it's just a bore.
While I like Nikki Haley, I feel for her as the choice to give the GOP rebuttal. That is an unenviable task. No matter the politician, no one looks all that good in giving the rebuttal. It's just too difficult to follow the pomp of the President's speech with a short speech sitting by oneself looking at the camera.