Friday, May 06, 2005

Schröder's New Crusade

Desperate to explain Germany's faltering economy - and place the blame anywhere but at his own feet - Germany Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has launched a surprisingly venomous rhetorical campaign against large foreign and domestic companies, which he accuses of being like "locusts," buying up German firms and firing workers. These locusts are responsible for Germany's economic difficulties, according to Mr. Schröder and his Social Democrat acolytes. Mr. Schröder's Social Democrats have watched their poll numbers have decline precipitiously in recent month along with forecasts for the German economy.

Wolfgang Thierse, the Social Democrat parliamentary president, accused foreign and domestic companies which dismissed staff while simultaneously reaping large profits of arousing feelings of "helpless anger" among thousands of Germans.

The SPD's most frequently cited "locust" is Deutsche Bank, which is committed to axing 6,400 of its 64,000-plus employees despite accruing profits of 25 per cent.

Other cases include KKR's buyout of the German telecommunications firm, Telenovis, resulting in the axing of nearly half the company's 8,000 workforce despite agreement on a 12.5 per cent wage reduction.

Last week, it emerged the Social Democrats had even compiled a secret "locust list" of investment companies considered guilty of antisocial business practices. The list, leaked to the German media, includes the names of several American investment firms such as Kohlberg, Kravis Roberts and Company, Blackstone and Goldmann Sachs.

"The anger results in aggressive criticism of the political system," Mr Thierse said, adding that companies which enforced mass redundancies were guilty of "Social irresponsibility which endangers democracy and social cohesion."

Mr Thierse's remarks were the latest in a barrage of criticism delivered by the Social Democrats against foreign and domestic firms deemed to pursue casual hire-and-fire business practices.

The criticisms have provoked a backlash from German employers and prompted one prominent Jewish-born historian to accuse Mr Schröder's party of using "Nazi language" and propaganda to heap shame on big business.

Critics have dismissed the campaign as an attempt by Mr Schröder's party to deflect blame over latest unemployment figures of 5 million, in the run-up to an important state election in just over a fortnight.
Perhaps Mr. Schröder should explain to the German people why he continues to admit tens of thousands of immigrants - mostly from the Middle East - into Germany, even when unemployment current exceeds eleven percent. Of course, that would mean admitting that Germany, like most other European nations, isn't producing enough children to keep its economy functioning in the long term, and maintain the expansive social welfare system that Germans love. Immigration is seen by many European leaders as the only means to prop up their founder demographics and save their welfare systems from collapse. The fact that many of the immigrants flooding into Europe want no part of European culture - and, in fact, a sizeable number want to destroy it - has been a problem deliberately overlooked by the European elites in the hopes that if they didn't acknowledge it, it really didn't exist. September 11th changed that by emboldening the Islamists who have infested Europe over the past three decades. From London, to Amsterdam, to Berlin, the Islamist have made their presence know through violence, murder and intimidation. Now, Europe, having drank too long of the intellectual poison called multiculturalism - doesn't know what to do with the millions of hostile aliens living within its fraying borders.

But Germany's immediate economic problems have more to do with Mr. Schröder's desperate clinging to the outdated quasi-socialist welfare state. Such welfare states were once the dominant economic model of Western Europe. That changed when Margaret Thatcher revived the funereal British economy by slashing the heavy taxes and crippling regulations that had been strangling British industy since the 1930s. In the last decade, free market reforms have spread across Northern and Eastern Europe, igniting the economies of the nations that implement them. Germany, however, remains defiance, along with France a last bastion of the "social market" failed economic model. Desperate to keep their crumbling system going, Germany's Social Democrats have chosen a smear campaign against the usual subjects: "big business" and foreign investors. Whilst blaming these two usual suspects may play well with leftwing voters, it does nothing to address the nation's structural economic issues and only encourages large corporations and foreign capital to avoid Germany - to Germany's economic detriment.

This is all good rabble-rousing stuff in the run-up to a crucial election in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 22nd. (Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has so far kept out of the debate, but is undoubtedly listening with interest.) But it has actually touched a deep national nerve. This has to do with the painful transition that Germany is making from a social market economy, in which firms and services were supposed, at least publicly, to be run by consensus for the “general good”, to the starker mechanisms of the market and shareholder value. Competition from abroad, and especially from new EU members in central Europe, is driving this change in part. But the biggest factor is Germany’s persistent economic malaise.

The social market economy is still hallowed by politicians, but it survives only in fragments: for example, in the two-tier structure of German companies, where the workforce is represented on the supervisory board; in the role of workers’ representatives in even the smallest companies; and in collective wage agreements. A reform in January this year, called Hartz IV, controversially punched a hole in the social safety net, ending generous benefits for the long-term unemployed and penalising those too picky about job offers or who have working partners.

Hartz IV so far has brought only more woe: it has added to the social-services bill and unemployment has hardly fallen (see chart 1). Moreover, this year and last have been full of bad news from big employers: Volkswagen, DaimlerChrysler and Opel (a German subsidiary of General Motors), KarstadtQuelle and others have cut thousands of jobs. Wages have been forced down or frozen by companies threatening to relocate abroad. Even Deutsche Bank, despite rising profits, has been laying off staff, inviting the particular wrath of Mr Müntefering. “The economy (ie, big business) must realise,” he railed, “that it exists to serve people and not the other way round.”

The public are angered by the fact that big German companies are beginning to make record profits again, after three bad years, and have achieved that by cutting costs, particularly their wage bills, and by reducing investment, especially in Germany. Last year the 24 top industrial companies reduced their investment in Germany by 20%, and worldwide by 10%, according to Handelsblatt, a business daily. At the same time they increased their dividends and payouts to shareholders by 40%. So there is an impression that companies are rewarding their owners, but not cosseting their workforce as they did in the past—they are, in other words, adopting an increasingly Anglo-Saxon approach.

German conservatives - the Christian Democrats - realize the danger of Mr. Shroder's foolish rhetoric. During the last election campaign, Mr. Shroder played to anti-American sentiments over the Iraq War, damaging Berlin's critical relationship with Washington, which remains chilly even today. The conservatives worry that the Social Democrats are about to do to the German economy what they did to US-German relations.

Germany's conservatives have lambasted Mr Schröder's party over its campaign. Volker Kauder, the Christian Democrats' general secretary, said the attacks on companies would only create a climate that deterred investors and destroyed jobs.

"This sort of campaign is damaging our country. If a few companies have made mistakes in the past, it does not justify this kind of wholesale criticism of the business community," he said.

Nevertheless, the Social Democrats seem determined to push the issue, ignoring Germany's real problems in a pathetic bid to keep their hold on power.

Earlier this week, Mr Müntefering [the Social Democrat party leader] committed his party to a programme that will oblige senior managers to publish their salaries and German companies to pay their foreign workers union rates.

"In times of globalisation, we Social Democrats have to say how we are going to remain committed to a social market economy and not slip into pure market economics," he said. So far, the Social Democrats' campaign appears to have done little to win over voters. In elections on 22 May in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, Mr Schröder's party is almost certain to face a defeat which would seriously undermine the chances of winning the 2006 general election.

Despite the usual appeal of this rhetoric on generally left-leaning Germans, it doesn't seem to be working anymore. According to recent opinion polls, the Christian Democrats hold a 10-point lead over Mr. Schroder's Social Democrats.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

"Freedom" of the Press in Sudan

An editor at Sudan's Al Wifaq newspaper has learned just how much his fellow Muslim respect the concepts of freedom of speech and freedom of the press after he printed an article that mildly questioned the lineage of the Prophet Mohamed, the founder of Islam. Following a popular outcry and the exhortations of various clerics, the editor has been arrested and charged while throngs of frenzied Sundanese Muslims bay like wolves, calling for his death.

Hundreds of people waving banners and chanting "God is great" protested outside a court as Mohamed Taha Mohamed Ahmed was charged over the article.

His Al Wifaq newspaper is being suspended for three days from Friday.

The crowds were closely monitored by riot police, who clashed with the protesters on Thursday.

"Oh judges of the Sudan, defend the honour of the Prophet," read one banner.

"The court must execute him - this is an insult not to any ordinary man - this is an insult to a prophet," one man said.

The protesters made speeches through loudspeakers and handed out statements, demanding that the authorities hand Mr Taha over so they could kill him.

Mr Taha is a prominent Islamist journalist and has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood political group.

For the record, the Muslim Brotherhood is a violent, radical Islamist organization, founded in the 1920's, which uses terror to promote the most fundamentalist forms of Islamism, including the elimination of democracy and institution of full theocratic rule according to the Koran. Apparently Mr. Taha's fundamentalist bonafides didn't save him from the anger of the Muslim mob. Mr. Taha has explained his lapse by saying it is all a "big misunderstanding" - probably not the best argument to save his life.

As in most other Islamic nations, questioning Islam is a capital offense in Sudan, as is leaving the Islamic faith. Western notions of freedom of conscience and free inquiry are discouraged - through violence, intimidation and murder. Yet Americans and Europeans are constantly told by mulitculturalists that Western culture is nothing special and that all cultures are morally equal. The multiculturalists, of course, don't live in Sudan; they can only exist in the West where four centuries of Western culture, law and philosophy permit them to spout their nonsense without consequence. Multiculturalism doesn't exist outside the West; non-Western indigenous peoples proudly decline to tolerate dissent from their ruling orthodoxies. The faculties of every major Western university - who so ardently declare the moral inferiority of Western culture compared to that of the Third World - would be promptly executed for heresy, apostasy and generally being infidels throughout the Islamic world.

Of course, Sudan's resident journalists have no problem with Mr. Taha's prosecution. (Given the ferocity of the mob crying for blood, does anyone think they would complain? They don't want to be next.)

Ali Shumi, the head of Sudan's Press Council, said the article insulted the Prophet Muhammad.

He denied the charges were an assault on press freedom.

"Freedom of the press stops when it comes to respect for religions. Not just for Islam - if you said the same things about Jesus there would be the same punishment," he said.

Well isn't that tolerant? Actually, Jesus is considered a minor prophet in Islam and would logically receive some theological protection from criticism. But this hasn't prevented Sudan's Muslims from waging a genocidal war against Sudanese Christians in the south of the country, who are often enslaved by Muslims. So you can't question Jesus in Sudan, but you can torture, murder and enslave his followers. Yet another marvelous example of Muslim respect for other religions.

The BBC's Jonah Fisher in Khartoum says that with more than 15 daily papers, Sudan professes to have press freedom but in practice a lot of self-censorship takes place and on occasion the heavy hand of the censor cuts out articles before they go to press.

A truck-load of soldiers has been stationed outside the Al Wifaq offices down a narrow dusty side street in central Khartoum.

Sudan has been ruled by Sharia law since 1983. Radical Islamists have vowed to someday see Sharia law extended to Europe and North America. With the aid and support of Western multiculturalists - and feckess Western politicians - they may someday acheive their goal.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

London Group Urges Muslims to Avoid Voting

As Britons prepare to head to the polls for the upcoming general election, a London Islamist group is exhorting devout Muslims to shun the election process because voting - and democracy itself - contravenes Islamic law spelled out in the Koran.

Al Ghurabaa, [the Islamist group] allegedly behind the disruption at George Galloway's political hustings in Bethnal Green last week, have adopted the catch phrase, "Stay Muslim, Don't Vote".

At the meeting on Friday in the Express Holiday Inn, they advised Muslims in Waltham Forest that according to the Koran, voting is not allowed and no-one should take part in any way in the elections.

A statement issued by the group said: "It is not allowed for Muslims to be part of Parliament or to participate in it, whether by being a candidate, an MP, a worker to maintain it, a chef or cook for people involved, or work in any kind of administrative position or any other service in it."

The group says legislation cannot be carried out by the people for the people, but only by Allah himself.

Eliminating elections represents just one plank in Al Ghurabaa's ambitious platform to restructure British society.

A spokesman said they would like to see a future UK as an Islamic state run under Sharia law, a code of living for Muslims which can be implemented to varying degrees.

Sajid Sharif, a member of the group said: "We will have our own schools, our own slaughtering systems and our own funeral ceremonies, just as the Jews do in this country."

Al Ghurabaa, who strongly criticised the UK and USA for going to war in Iraq, have promised to step up their activities as the election approaches. They were unable to explain what benefit disrupting the campaign of the most vociferous anti-war candidate, George Galloway, would have for the people of Iraq.

They said their main motivation was to steer Muslims away from disobeying the Koran.

More moderate Muslims denied that the Koran prohibits Muslims from voting or that Islam and democracy are incompatible. Nevetheless, it is to be noted that the history of democracy throughout the Islamic world (Morrocco, Algeria, Turkey) shows that democracy flourishes only briefly before radical Islamists get voted into power and disassemble it, or the secular military rolls out to unseat the Islamic government and reinstall democracy. Moreover, Islamist terrorists around the world - especially those loyal to al-Qaeda - have consistently declared democracy unacceptable under the Koran and have vowed to wage jihad against the infidel idea.

As more and more European Muslims flock to radical imams and militant Islamist groups, native Europeans need to once again reconsider the policy of admitting so many immigrants from Islamic nations, whose cultural worldview is so radically dissimilar to the secular liberal outlook of European civilization. The Netherlands is paying the price for decades of indifference to immigration and defense of native Dutch culture. If measures are not taken soon, the Dutch experience could be suffered across all of Europe.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

La Raza Spreads Its Propaganda to Children

The supporters of open door immigration constantly assert that the millions of aliens flooding into the US only want to support our economy or become Americans. In fact, the evidence increasingly suggests the opposite. In the cultural arena, violent Central American gangs have taken root in virtually all US major cities, and a billboard in Los Angeles, proudly proclaims that California is now part of Mexico. Then there is the case of La Raza, the quasi-gang Latino organization (La Raza means "the race" in Spanish - a fact usually deliberately overlooked by its apologists), which conducts educational outreach to Latino youth in the US. What does La Raza teach them?

Wide-eyed and curious, young Jesus Tarin sat Saturday in a remote classroom at the Auraria campus as the pony-tailed man described this part of the country as "Aztlan."

Tarin, 16, a student at Palisade High School in Mesa County, listened to more about his culture and learned about the struggles of his ancestors. He was proud.

"They teach us here that we're more valuable than we might think we are," Tarin said.

He was among 1,500 teens from throughout the state who came to Denver for Saturday's 14th annual La Raza Youth Leadership Conference to learn that leadership, self-respect and self-worth are rooted in understanding culture.

"La cultura cura (your culture cures)," ethnic studies professor Arturo "Bones" Rodriguez told the classroom of students. "You practice culture, and you're practicing love, love for yourself and for your family and the people around you. You practice culture, and you're practicing dreaming and going after your dreams.

"You are living in our ancestral land, a place we call Aztlan," he said.

Make no mistake, when Professor Rodriquez exhorted the children to practice "your culture," he didn't mean traditional American culture. He meant Mexican culture. The identification of the American Southwest as Aztlan is designed to establish in the minds of Latino youth the belief that the southwestern US is actually territory stolen from Latinos. This is a message with a distinct ideological purpose. It sows the seeds of emnity and dissension from mainstream (read: "Anglo" or white) American culture. La Raza seeks to sculpt a separate cultural identity for Americans of Latino descent, particularly for recent immigrants (legal or not) and their children, since they have the weakest identification with American culture and are the most easily swayed by blatant racial propaganda. La Raza's long term political agenda promises disaster for American cultural and territorial cohesion.

Not that anyone in Washington cares. The Bush administration continues its deliberate effort to erase the US-Mexico border, in direct defiance of the wishes of the American people, and to the growing alarm of Republican party leaders. Nor is the Bush administration any stranger to La Raza and its machinations. High ranking Bush Administration officials have openly embraced La Raza. The future of a nation is written among is youth. If allowing millions of aliens to flood the country wasn't bad enough, permitting racist organizations like La Raza to mold the minds of young Latino-Americans is a blueprint for future cultural disaster.

Encouraging Risk and Achievement

British schools are mollycoddling students to the detriment of Britain's economic future, says Sir Digby Jones, the director general of the Confederation of British Industry.

"Unless you educate children about risk, get them to understand it, get them to embrace it, then we will fail as a nation and fall behind our economic rivals," he said. "China will have our lunch and India will have our dinner."

Sir Digby told head teachers meeting in Telford, Shropshire, that he was alarmed some schools did not hold sports days or, when they did, made sure there were no winners or losers.

"I want sports days," he added. "I want medals for first, second and third, not for everyone who takes part. I want exams that you can fail. But we must reach down to those who do not come first, second or third and give them the confidence to find out what they are good at."

He told the National Association of Head Teachers that business had the most important stake in schools because the economy needed skilled people.

The elimination of sports days in the UK mirrors the discouragement of competitive sports in US schools, where the Cult of Self-Esteem vies with multiculturalism as the leading educational theory favored by "education theorists" (read: the people who transformed US public schools into intellectual sewers). The result has been that American schoolchildren perform terribly on virtually every academic standard, but feel very good about themselves for failing.

Sir Digby voiced the growing worry among UK industry leaders that the mind-rot being promoted in UK schools will cripple Britain's future.

Business leaders were concerned about the number of 16-year-olds with poor reading and writing skills. "We are all taking part in something of a deceit because we are teaching the next generation that risk doesn't exist," he said.

"We are saying to them you can have rights until they are coming out of your pores. But responsibilities, taking charge of your own actions?

"We don't seem to have got it. We are trying to create a nation of victims."

Sir Digby's warning is well taken it Britain, but even better applied in the US.

Monday, May 02, 2005

United Nations Human Rights Farce

If any doubt existed as to the extent to which the United Nations has been hijacked by third world thugs and their leftist-multiculturalist apologists in the West, one need only witness the disgraceful re-election of Zimbabwe to the United Nation's farcically named Human Rights Commission (HRC).

Zimbabwe, the human rights pariah accused of violence, intimidation and suppression of free speech against its people, has been re-elected to the United Nations Human Rights Commission for a three-year term over the strong protests of Australia, the US and Canada.

Australia's deputy ambassador to the UN, Peter Tesch, said Canberra was "very disappointed" that Zimbabwe had been re-elected to the 15-member body.

"The Mugabe regime and the international community can be in no doubt about our views on Zimbabwe's human rights record," Mr Tesch said. "We condemn the systematic use of state-sponsored violence, intimidation and harassment and call for the repeal of anti-democratic legislation that denies rights of free expression, association and assembly."

He said Zimbabwe's re-election reflected badly on the functioning of the world's pre-eminent human rights body and its credibility, and "underscores the need for fundamental reform of the UN's human rights machinery".

Australia's reaction was mild compared with the US, which said it was "perplexed and dismayed" by Zimbabwe's election.

"How can we expect the Government of Zimbabwe to support international human rights standards at the Commission on Human Rights when it has blatantly disregarded the rights of its own people?" asked William Brencick, of the US.

Zimbabwe maintained repressive controls on political opposition and the media, and encouraged "a climate where the opposition fears for its safety", Mr Brencick said.

Zimbabwe's election to the HRC is not the first time the commission has sullied itself and erased any claim to moral credibility.

Two years ago Libya was elected chairman of the body and Cuba and Sudan are past members. Such states have used the position to either stymie criticisms of their human rights records, or to deflect attention by criticising Western countries.

The UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, proposes replacing the commission with a smaller human rights council, to be elected by the General Assembly with a two-thirds majority. He suggests qualification for membership should be a good human rights record.

Gee, you think? And it only took 50 years for the UN to realize that.

This is the organization to which so many on the international left want to entrust international peace and law. One can only imagine the consequences of doing so. The US and those Western nations which actually care about democracy and human rights (which by definition excludes France and Germany), need to strongly protest the composition of the HRC. In particular, the US should use this outrage to demand immediate and comprehensive reform of the UN and withhold any US funding until such reforms are accomplished. Simply sending a reform-minded US ambassador to the UN will not suffice. Washington must demand reforms, or withdraw. The UN Security Council should be informed that the next time a human rights abusing nation is elected to the HRC, the US will cut off all funding, or withdraw from the UN on the spot.