Free Speech

Which part of failed EU don’t the UK politicians get?

Which part of the failed EU project don’t British politicians get? Why would anyone want to remain a member in a club which is so badly failing them? 40m more Europeans under the poverty line since 2007. 118 million in total or 22% of the EU population. Did they forget the Swiss handing back its free pass to enter the EU because they saw no value in joining a club anyone can join. Are the Brits wanting to ditch the pound in favour of a forced euro currency? What merits lie in remaining?

Two more clear examples emerged in the last week to show how more member states are rejecting the elites in Brussels.

League head and Italian Deputy PM Matteo Salvini has seen his party unseat the Democratic Party in Basilicata which had a strong hold on the region for 25 years. At the last election 60% of Italians voted for parties that rejected the EU. This poverty stricken area south of Italy has now endorsed League to take care of its affairs after decades of failure by the pro-EU centre-left incumbent.

Switch to The Netherlands. The anti immigration eurosceptic Forum for Democracy (FvD) Party, established only 2 years ago, took the largest number of seats (13) in the upper house election from zero. The FvD stripped the centre-right of its Senate majority, with PM Rutte’s party losing 7 seats to 31.

Throw on top that, former darling of the left, President Macron, has authorized the army to shoot unarmed yellow vest protesters who are rejecting nose bleed cost pressures for 19 straight weeks. Let’s remain in the EU to endorse such progressive behaviour.

If the board of directors of the EU Club live in denial and fail to listen to the grievances of a growing swell of disgruntled members there can only be one outcome. The club will go out of business. Best that the UK doesn’t renew its membership.

Seattle Schitty Council

A Seattle citizen, Richard Schwartz, asks for the panel of Seattle City councilors to pay some mind to what he had to say. They couldn’t be less interested. Then people wonder why establishment politicians are being booted out.

The irony is looking at what these councilors purportedly have oversight – human rights, community safety, gender equality. The citizen made a point in his speech how the council allowed Seattle Democrat Rep. Pramila Jayapal to speak for as long as she wished the previous week while all others were given one minute. Some animals are more equal than others animals…

As he rightly points out, it was a damning indictment.

Why?

What often surprises CM is the need to openly show one’s abhorrence to the now 50 people senselessly murdered in Christchurch. On the contrary, if one didn’t find the events appalling that would say something in itself. There is nothing ‘woke’ about publicly showing one is against what happened. Of course the overwhelming majority of us are. Yet moral preening does nothing to help stem the flow of such terror. Neither does capitalizing on tragedies such as this to pit division via unhinged political activism.

Social media has been whipped into a frenzy since the cold blooded crime. Ad hominem attacks against the usual culprits for being complicit does little to help the grieving process. There must be no words to understand their pain. So why resort to cheap shots and big noting on Twitter? Survivors and families of the dead will hardly find solace by reading the bile of ignorant apparatchiks making a bad situation palpably worse.

CM has often questioned the purpose of lighting up monuments and splashing avatars with national flags of where those atrocities occurred. Does anyone in their right mind think that would-be-perpetrators pay the slightest mind to such appeals? Might as well keep the lights on. Because unless proper action is taken, nothing will change. Instead of stifling debate, we need to engage in it. Tackle the issues burning the fabric of our society.  Social and mainstream media continue to push false narratives, making people even more afraid to speak their minds. Some countries like Canada have laws that jail those that dare to.

If we accept the vast majority of people in the world are decent no matter what their background, why is it activists expect certain groups to self-flagellate when such events occur? The background of the victims or the villains should be irrelevant. It is despicable beyond belief to murder innocent unarmed people whatever their race, skin colour, religious beliefs or sexual proclivity. No one should question this. Yet tougher and tougher legislation restricting freedoms ends up being the by-product. Unfortunately newly introduced laws end up causing the opposite of intended effect. It only emboldens these extremists to go deeper underground. It exacerbates resentment.

We have to ask ourselves why? It seems most of the political class is asleep at the wheel given the trend of rising nationalism, especially throughout Europe. Instead of having deep transparent discussion addressing the problems and issues driving these movements, our leaders think it prudent to bury their heads in the sand. Hiding behind the spineless guise of political correctness, they legislate against certain groups with ever harsher penalties in ways which seem only to underpin the popularity of those that seek to defend them. If the political elite think believe they understand the will of the people they are woefully out of their depth at selling messages of unity. For if they understood the layman, populist parties would remain on the outer.

Think about it. Alternative for Deutschland, Sweden Democrats, The Dutch Freedom Party, Lega in Italy, the Freedom Party in Austria, Vlaams-Belang in Belgium, Order & Justice in Lithuania, Law & Justice Party in Poland, Fidesz in Hungary, True Finns, Front National in France…the list goes on. From fringe parties (or not even in existence) a decade ago to Top 3 in many cases. Have more Europeans become racist bigots in the last decade by chance or do they feel their lot changing for the worse?

Take a look at the poverty statistics across Europe. There were 78mn living below the poverty line in 2007. At last count, Eurostat noted that number was 118mn  (23.5% of the European population). In the Europe 2020 strategy, the plan is to reduce that by 20 million. Fat chance.  37.5mn (7.5%) are living in severe material deprivation (SMD) , up from 32mn in 2007. 40 million extra Europeans are suffering in poverty in a little over a decade. No wonder these nationalist parties have gained traction. It is easy to whip up a disaffected mob by claiming their futures are being undercut by mass migration. Whether the arguments are sound or not is frankly irrelevant. People want their lives back. Seeing the inaction among incumbent parties, many are willing to chance those that supposedly feel their pain. Macron still faces yellow vest protests for four consecutive months. Is it any wonder nationalist Marine Le Pen polls higher than the young President?

Perhaps we should question the authorities in playing their part in firing up the discontented. After reading 200+ pages of the Rotherham Inquiry into grooming gangs, it was revealed that the police and local council turned a blind eye to the systematic rape of 1,000 minors over two decades because they feared being thought of as racist were they to target the perpetrators based on their ethnicity. It was political correctness gone mad. Now the scandal has broken out across the country, the courts are finally throwing the book at these criminals. Read the above link at your peril. It is utterly distressing. 1,000s of lives senselessly ruined because leaders were too gutless to stand up for principle. One does not have to be an extremist to be outraged at such cruelty going unpunished for so long.

Politically correct law makers or activist judges do not justify murdering 50 innocent men, women and children. Let us be perfectly clear on this point. However it is not hard to see how those on the fringes use such incidents to fuel their resentment.  Social media allows for such obscene behaviour to be normalised because of the echo chamber dynamic.

What do the statistics of extremism say?

According to the Australian Crime Institute, “understanding the precise nature and scale of the far-right in Australia is made difficult by a lack of empirical information and research. Gaining reliable data on the far-right is firstly complicated by debate over exactly what constitutes violence motivated by far-right ideology…Moreover, Australia does not have any formal monitoring systems for this form of violence, such as that of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation’s ‘Hate Crime Statistics’ (something CM did earlier this month)

In America, Anti-Semitic hate crimes are around 5x the level of Anti-Islamic hate crimes which are around 1.5x Anti-Christian hate crimes. Overall hate crime is lower than two decades ago.

Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Interior (BfV) updated its fact book on the size of left and right wing groups and the rise of Salafists at home. To summarize:

In 2017, the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office) registered 39,505 offences in the category of politically motivated crime, an increase of 20.4% over the 2014 figure, but 4.9% down on the 2016 number.

Right wing extremist party membership has risen from 22,600 in 2015 to 24,000 in 2017.

There were 1,054 (2016: 1,600) registered cases of violent criminal offences with a right-wing extremist background, a fall of 34.1%. The number of violent crimes directed at foreigners came in at 774 (2016: 1,190, the highest level since the current definition of politically motivated crime was introduced in 2001) down 34.9%. The number of violent crimes against actual or supposed left-wing extremists dropped by half 98 (2016: 250) remained about the same. Attempted homicides fell from 18 in 2016 to only four in 2017.

Left wing extremist party membership has risen from 26,700 in 2015 to 29,500 in 2017, +10.5%.

In 2017,  6,393 criminal offences were classified as left-wing politically motivated crimes with an extremist background (2016: 5,230), +22.2%, of which 1,648 were violent crimes (2016: 1,201), +37%. The number of violent criminal offences with a left-wing extremist background that were directed against the police and security authorities significantly increased 65.2% to 1,135 (2016: 687) exceeding even the level of 2015. The number of violent criminal offences against actual or supposed right-wing extremists halved to 264 (2016: 542).

Islamic Extremists

Salafist movements in Germany have risen from 8,350 in 2015 to 10,800 in 2017 with the BfV noting on the whole, that all Islamist following in 2017 amounted to approximately 25,810 individuals, up 1,400 on 2016. BfV did note

The threat situation has not at all eased. On the contrary: the shift towards a violence-oriented/terrorist spectrum has revealed a new dimension of the Islamist scene, which was also illustrated by the attacks carried out in Germany in 2016However, Salafism in Germany enjoys undiminished popularity. Its continuous attractiveness shows the importance of Salafism being subject to a debate in society as a whole and of intelligence collection carried out by the community of the German domestic intelligence services. This is even more significant as adherents of the jihadist tendency of Salafism not only reject the West – symbolised by the free democratic basic order – but also actively fight against it: either by travelling to so-called jihad areas or by mounting attacks in the West.”

In the area of politically motivated crime by foreigners, 1,617 offences with an extremist background were registered in 2017 (2015: 1,524), including 233 violent offences (2015: 235).  In 2016, there were two homicides and 13 attempted homicides by foreigners with an extremist background (2015: three).

A fall of 4.9% in total politically motivated crime is hardly something to celebrate when the number is 40,000 on an annualised. There are 6x as many politically motivated crimes in Germany than America with only 1/5th the population.

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If we take a step back, were suspect Tarrant’s atrocities any more reprehensible than Anders Breivik in Norway gunning down 69 unarmed teenagers on Uttoya island? Stephen Paddock murdering 58 concert goers in Las Vegas? Adam Lanza slaying dozens of small kids at Sandy Hook elementary? The gunmen inside the offices of Charlie Hebdo or the barbaric eviscerations inside the Bataclan? The truck drivers in Berlin, Nice, Stockholm or Barcelona mowing down 100s of innocent pedestrians? Where was the outrage in 2018 when a church was bombed by extremists in Indonesia killing 13 people? What about the Jonestown massacre in 1978 which claimed 908 souls? All of them are deeply sickening not only in total loss of life but the grotesque manner in which these heinous acts were carried out. 

No-one with a pulse can look at recent events without utter disbelief. When the suspect tells us the motivations behind the attack, we will see social media get uglier still. If we truly want to put an end to this type of disaster, we must open ourselves up to debate. Going on recent trends, we will continue to light up statues and point fingers instead of actively seeking to find solutions through reasoned discussion. When will we wake up from this nightmare of our own making and communicate?

In the meantime spare a thought for the victims and their families and allow them to grieve their losses in peace.

ZeroHedge ban – nothing helps publicity like scarcity

ZeroHedge

ZeroHedge (ZH) has been banned from Facebook. ZH has the occasional spicy article but it is hardly a purveyor of information that could be remotely deemed hate speech or attacking ‘community standards’. It is punchy journalism. The good thing is that ZH already has quite a good following from readers who access the website directly. The irony of these arbitrary bans is that it only makes sites like ZH even more attractive. Nothing helps publicity like scarcity.

In the last few years, privacy and other issues have plagued the social media giant. By all accounts, users are moving away from the platform. ZH reported

More than 17 million young Americans have abandoned Facebook over the last two years after a series of data privacy scandals damaged public trust in the social media platform… to the longest-running survey of digital media consumer behavior in America conducted by Edison Research, Facebook users between 12-34 years-old are now flocking to Facebook sister site Instagram, reports the Daily Mail

…Older people over the age of 55, meanwhile, increased their Facebook usage – marginally offsetting the drop in younger users for a net loss of 15 million users over the last two years

The longer term problem for social media is that kowtowing to a wafer thin number of activists who complain (no matter how much Facebook might align ideologically), means that those who are sick of being told what is deemed acceptable for them will just grow tired and leave. The irony in all of this is listening to a minority will ultimately drive the majority to a place which provides a marketplace that offers personal choice on what is deemed acceptable.

Lenny lectures on the ladies

There is no question there are/have been some disastrous male leaders in politics – in no particular order – The North Korean Kims, Stalin, Mao, Hitler, Amin, Saddam, Juncker, Chamberlain, Rudd, Turnbull, Hoxha, Trudeau, Obama, Carter, Bush Jr, Yeltsin, Erdogan, Chavez, Maduro, Macron and so on. Many would be well within their rights to demand Trump be included too. It’s all subjective of course. The list above will undoubtedly trigger some complaint.

However does Lenny Kravitz honestly believe that genitalia is the key determinant for success in world leadership? Or is this a cynical virtue signaling hijack of a well publicized cause (International Women’s Day) which might help resurrect dwindling industry-wide revenue in a music streaming world? Then again Lenny has first hand experience in letting it all hang out to get media attention when his wardrobe failure exposed his Prince Albert in 2015.

Did Lenny forget Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was given a 12 year sentence for money laundering and corruption? Or former South Korean President Park Gyun-hye who was locked away for 24 years for her abuse of power, coercion and bribery? Former Ukrainian PM Yulia Tymoshenko received a 7 years jail term for embezzlement. Elena Ceausescu was executed by the Romanian Armed Forces for heinous crimes against her people.

Let’s not go near the toxic trail of disaster left behind Hillary Clinton. Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s $93 trillion Green New Deal thought bubble the type of leadership the world is craving? Do we want the shoot from the hip without facts style of Nancy Pelosi, Kamala Harris or Maxine Waters? Or does Lenny think we should channel the moral high ground calibre of Ilhan Omar or Rashida Tlaib to run international diplomacy?

This is not to cast aspersions on the huge number of successful and capable women that exist in world politics. Do we really think the following women want constituents to judge them on the basis of gender or hope they look to their track records first and foremost?

Exhibit A – former US Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley. Sign CM up. She is intelligent, strong, articulate and just happens to be a woman. CM sincerely hopes she runs for POTUS. She’d be fantastic.

Exhibit B – Australian Senator Linda Reynolds. She gave an incredibly powerful speech about lived experience with respect to people smuggling. Principled and earnest. Just happens to be female.

Exhibit C – Former Canadian Interim Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose regularly tore strips off Justin Trudeau through reasoned logic and sensible argument. Just happens to have XX chromosomes.

Exhibit D – Australian Labor Party Senator Kimberley Kitching appears another impressive politician. CM shares little in the way of political ideology with her but once again she appears intelligent, measured and confident in her own skin.

We could go on and on.

On the other hand CM wonders what is this obsession with gender and identity taking a premium to merit and ability?

In the upcoming federal election in Australia the parties are chest-beating about their relative diversity. Parties preselect candidates on their ability to win seats. No point putting up women (or men for that matter) on the ticket on the basis of their gender if the talents won’t garner a tick at the polling booth.

Social media is likely to lavish praise on Lenny Kravitz for being so ‘woke’. Best check his ranking on iTunes next week to see if his little stunt paid real dividends thanks to a bump of “Always on the run” downloads.

Maybe our Lenny needs to play the Eurythmics and Aretha Franklin tune, “Sisters are doing it for themselves“, on a loop. They believed they could stand on their own two feet back in 1985. Far easier in 2019 to do so.

A necessity that should be unnecessary

President Trump says he will issue an executive order to ensure free speech on university campuses across America which accept federal research funding. He is right. The sad thing is he shouldn’t be required to do it.

University faculties appear overrun with cultural Marxists who can’t tolerate open debate inside institutions that should be only too happy to foster new learning and thinking. In CM’s day you could argue with lefties in the refectory without being physically threatened.

Alas, no. Today only the thoughts of those that fit leftist narratives preached by professors have been allowed. To think of the violence outside campuses where Milo Yiannopoulos, Lauren Southern or Ben Shapiro were scheduled to present.

It’s pretty simple. Why not gauge the number of people that are interested in attending conservative speeches as a barometer of the popularity of those who hold different views? Argue their words with counter-factual rather than slam them as racist, bigoted white supremacists.