Archive for the ‘Dictatorship’ category

Germany’s New Propaganda Bureau

January 18, 2017

Germany’s New Propaganda Bureau, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, January 18, 2017

“Considering the [upcoming] federal elections we must act very fast,” the officials urged in the memo, citing the need to combat “fake news.”

In other words, the Interior Ministry’s bureaucrats fear that Chancellor Angela Merkel will lose the elections in September 2017, and are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent that scenario, even if it means using (even more) federal authority to crack down on free speech by inventing an official state propaganda bureau. The current debate on “fake news” is a convenient excuse.

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A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July 2016 of creating a Facebook group that criticized the government’s migration policy. Also, in July 2016, 60 people suspected of writing “hate speech” online had their homes raided by German police.

None of the above seems to be enough, however, for the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, from Angela Merkel’s CDU party, who believes that what Facebook is already doing against “hate speech” is not enough. According to the CDU politician, there is a need for more legislation.

The German government’s view of what constitutes “hate speech” is highly selective and appears limited to protecting the government’s own policies on immigration from legitimate criticism.

When massive antisemitism swept large German cities in the summer of 2014, for example, no such anti-racist zeal was manifest on the part of the German government. On the contrary, there were instances of authorities practically facilitating hate speech. In July 2014, Frankfurt police let mainly Muslim “protesters” use their van’s megaphone to belt out slogans of incitement in Arabic, including the repeated chanting of “Allahu Akbar” and that Jews are “child murderers”.

Firebombing a synagogue, on the other hand, is simply an “act of protest”.

Officials in Germany’s Interior Ministry are urging Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to establish a “Defense Center against Disinformation” (Ab­wehr­zen­trum ge­gen Des­in­for­ma­ti­on) to combat what they call “political disinformation,” a euphemism for “fake news.”

“The acceptance of a post-truth age would amount to political capitulation,” the officials told Maizière in a memo, which also disclosed that the bureaucrats at the Interior Ministry are eager to see “authentic political communication” remain “defining for the 21st century.”

One wonders whether by “authentic political communication,” the officials of the Interior Ministry are referring to the way German authorities scrambled to cover up the mass sexual attacks on women on New Year’s Eve a year ago in Cologne? At the time, German police first claimed, surreally, on the morning of January 1, 2016, that the situation on New Year’s Eve had been “relaxed.” Cologne Police Chief Wolfgang Albers later dryly admitted, “This initial statement was incorrect.” Alternatively, perhaps they are referring to the decision of Germany’s public broadcaster, ZDF, not to report on the attacks until four days after they had occurred? Even a former government official, Hans-Peter Friedrich, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Interior Minister from 2011 to 2013, accused the media at the time of imposing a “news blackout” and operating a “code of silence” over negative news about immigrants. How is that for “authentic political communication”?

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“Considering the [upcoming] federal elections we must act very fast,” the officials urged in the memo, citing the need to combat “fake news.”

In other words, the Interior Ministry’s bureaucrats fear that Chancellor Angela Merkel will lose the elections in September 2017, and are willing to do whatever it takes to prevent that scenario, even if it means using (even more) federal authority to crack down on free speech by inventing an official state propaganda bureau. The current debate on “fake news” is a convenient excuse.

Germany has, of course, been cracking down on free speech for quite a while now. Already in September 2015, Merkel said, “When people stir up sedition on social networks using their real name, it is not only the state that has to act, but also Facebook as a company should do something against these statements”.

Under a government program, which has enlisted the help of the German non-governmental organization, the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, led by Anetta Kahane (who has turned out, in a fine twist of irony, to be a former Stasi agent and informer) German authorities are monitoring how many supposedly “racist” posts reported by Facebook users are deleted within 24 hours. Justice Minister Heiko Maas has pledged to look at legislative measures if the results turn out to be “unsatisfactory”. The program is scheduled to run until March 2017.

A married couple, Peter and Melanie M., were prosecuted and convicted in July 2016 of creating a Facebook group that criticized the government’s migration policy. Their page stated, “The war and economic refugees are flooding our country. They bring terror, fear, sorrow. They rape our women and put our children at risk. Make this end!”

Also, in July 2016, 60 people suspected of writing “hate speech” online had their homes raided by German police.

None of the above seems to be enough, however, for the president of the Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, from Merkel’s CDU party, who believes that what Facebook is already doing against “hate speech” is not enough. According to Lammert, there is a need for more legislation. A law to bring social networks under penalty of fines if they fail to erase “hate messages” and “false news” has just been announced by Volker Kauder, leader of the parliamentary group in Merkel’s current Bundestag and CDU/CSU faction, and Thomas Oppermann, Chairman of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) parliamentary group.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has also recently called on companies such as Facebook to address “false announcements” on the Internet, saying he felt that the Europeans were increasingly becoming “sensitive to who is fluttering around them and who is telling them the truth.”

All of this, naturally, has Merkel’s strong support. She told the Bundestag in a speech on November 23:

“I support efforts by Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière to address hate speech, hate commentaries, devastating things that are incompatible with human dignity, and to do everything to prohibit it because it contradicts our values”.

Those “values” are clearly circumscribed: The German government’s view of what constitutes “hate speech” is highly selective, and appears limited to protecting the government’s own policies on immigration from legitimate criticism.

When massive antisemitism swept large German cities in the summer of 2014, for example, no such anti-racist zeal was manifest on the part of the German government. On the contrary, there were instances of authorities practically facilitating hate speech. In July 2014, Frankfurt police let mainly Muslim “protesters” use their van’s megaphone to belt out slogans of incitement in Arabic, including the repeated chanting of “Allahu Akbar” and that Jews are “child murderers”.

In another such instance, a German court found that the firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal by two German Arabs and a juvenile accomplice was not anti-Semitic, but rather “an act of protest” to “bring attention to the Gaza war.” The men were convicted of arson.

In Germany, it is criminal to bring attention to the problems that come with the government’s migration policies, or to criticize those policies, because this constitutes “hate speech.” Firebombing a synagogue, on the other hand, is simply an “act of protest.” Perhaps, once the “Defense Center against Disinformation” is set up, such “acts of protest” will be labeled, “Officially Approved Un-Fake Communication.”

The EU-Progressive Paradigm is Falling Apart

June 27, 2016

The EU-Progressive Paradigm is Falling Apart, Front Page MagazineBruce Thornton, June 27, 2016

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In short, millions of ordinary people in America, England, France, and many other Western nations know that the paradigm of transnational hegemony and technocratic rule created not a utopia, but an arrogant privileged class that believes it is superior and thus entitled to boss other people around and lecture them about backward superstitions and bigotry. And it looks like these average citizens have had enough.

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Long-developing cracks in the Western political establishment’s century-old paradigm suddenly widened this year. In the US Donald Trump, a reality television star and real estate developer, improbably became the Republican Party’s nominee for president. Bernie Sanders, a socialist and long-time Senate crank, challenged the Democrats’ pre-anointed nominee Hillary Clinton, who prevailed only by dint of money and un-democratic “super-delegates.” Meanwhile in Europe, the UK voted to leave the European Union, perhaps opening the flood-gates to more defections.

These three events share a common theme: populist and patriotic passions roused by arrogant elites have fueled a rejection of Western establishments and their un-democratic, autocratic, corrupt paradigm.

That political model can be simply defined as technocratic and transnational. Starting in the 19th century, the success of science and the shrinking of the world through technology and trade created the illusion that human nature, society, and politics could be similarly understood, managed, and improved by those trained and practiced in the new “human sciences.” This new “knowledge” said people are the same everywhere, and so all humans want the same things: peace with their neighbors, prosperity, and freedom. The absence of these boons, not a permanently flawed human nature, explains the history of war and conflict. National identities, along with religion and tradition, are impediments to institutionalizing this “harmony of interests.” International organizations and covenants can be created to enforce this harmony, shepherd the people towards the transnational utopia, and leave behind the misery and wars sparked by religious, ethnic, and nationalist passions.

Technocracy, however, is by definition anti-democratic. So how can the foundational belief of Western governments – the sovereignty of free people and their right to be ruled by their own consent–– coexist with an administrative state staffed by “experts” and armed with the coercive power of the state? Quite simply, it can’t. As for the transnational ideal of a “harmony of interests,” it was repudiated by the carnage of World War I, when the Entente and Central Powers sent their young to die under the flags of their nations on behalf of their particular national interests.  Yet the West still codified that transnational ideal in the League of Nations, even as it enshrined the contrary ideal of national self-determination, the right of people to rule themselves free of imperial or colonial overlords.

This gruesome war demonstrated that people are still defined by a particular language, culture, mores, folkways, religions, and landscapes, and that nations have interests that necessarily conflict with those of other nations. That’s why the League failed miserably to stop the aggression of its member states Japan, Italy, and Germany, and could not prevent an apocalyptic second world war that took at least 50 million lives. Yet the Western elites continued to pursue the transnational dream of technocratic rule after World War II, creating the UN as yet another attempt to trump the reality of national differences with some imagined harmony of interests. In reality, the UN has been an instrument used by states to pursue those interests at the expense of other nations.

Still not learning their lesson, the transnationalists created yet another institution that would subordinate the nations of Europe to its control, on the debatable assumption that the carnage of two world wars was wrought by national particularism. They confused genuine patriotism and love of one’s own way of living, with the grotesque political religions of fascism and Nazism, both as much avatars of illiberal tribalism as nationalism grown toxic. Thus was born the supranational EU, which began modestly in 1958 with the European Economic Community, and then relentlessly expanded over the years into today’s intrusive, unaccountable bureaucracy of anonymous technocrats that has concentrated power in Brussels at the expense of national sovereignty.

Similarly, in the US the progressives of the early 20th century began transforming the American Republic based on similar assumptions. They believe that economic, social, and technological progress rendered the Constitution––particularly its separation of powers, checks and balances, and federalist protections of the sovereignty of the states––an anachronism. “The age of enlightened administration had come,” F.D.R. proclaimed, and he set about creating the federal bureaus and agencies that have over the years expanded in scope and power, and increasingly encroached on the rights and autonomy of the states, civil society, and individuals.

But the Eurocrats and progressives forgot one of the most ancient beliefs of the West, and a fundamental assumption behind the structure of the Constitution––that a flawed human nature, vulnerable to corruption by power, is constant across time and space. As Benjamin Franklin wrote during the Constitutional convention, “There are two passions which have a powerful influence on the affairs of men. These are ambition and avarice: the love of power and the love of money,” which when combined have “the most violent of effects.” As much as the democratic mob, any elite, whether of birth, wealth, or education, is subject to power’s corruption and abuse. That’s why our Constitution checked and balanced power: to limit the scope of any part of the government, and thus safeguard the freedom of all citizens no matter their wealth, birth, or education.

In contrast, the conceit of progressives and EU functionaries is that they are somehow immune to the seductions of power. They think their presumed superior knowledge and powers of reason make them more capable and trustworthy than the fickle, ignorant masses and the elected officials accountable to them. History, however, shows that technocrats are as vulnerable to the corruption of power as elites of birth or wealth, and that power is, as the Founders were fond of saying, “of an encroaching nature” and must “ever to be watched and checked.” The expansion of the EU’s tyrannical regulatory and lawmaking power at the expense of national sovereignty is the proof of this ancient wisdom. So too are America’s bloated federal executive agencies aggrandizing and abusing their powers at the expense of the people and the states.

Thus the dominant paradigm that has long organized politics and social life in the West is now under assault, for history has presented this model with challenges it has failed to meet. The resurgence of Islamic jihadism and terror has been met with sermons on Islamophobia and therapeutic multiculturalism. A newly assertive Russia has pursued its national interest with state violence, only to be scolded by our Secretary of State for “behaving in a 19th century fashion.” The financial crisis of 2008 was caused in part by government political and regulatory interference in the market, the same policies that have kept economic growth sluggish for over seven years. Feckless immigration policies have been worsened by a failure to monitor those who get in, and to assimilate those that do. And most important, the redistributionist entitlement regime has weakened the citizens’ character, fostered selfish hedonism, and is on track to bankrupt this country and many in Europe. All these crises have in the main been the offspring of progressives and Eurocrats, whose only solution is to cling to the policies that empower and enrich them, but degrade their own cultures and endanger their own peoples.

Millions of citizens both in the US and in Europe have been watching these developments and living with the baleful consequences that the hypocritical, smug progressive and EU elites seldom encounter in their daily lives. This long-festering anger and resentment of those who smear them as stupid racists, neurotic xenophobes, and fearful “haters,” has now burst to the surface of political life. People can see that the “we are the world,” “global village” cosmopolitanism enriches and empowers the political, cultural, and business elites, but passes on to the people the risks of careless and often deadly immigration policies, and the economic dislocations of a globalized economy. They see that coastal fat cats, who can afford the higher taxes and the costs of environmental regulations, care nothing for the flyover-country working and middle classes pinched by higher electric and gasoline bills. People who live in tony enclaves of white professionals and hipsters support unfettered immigration, while others have to live with the crime and disorder that comes from thrusting into their midst people from very different cultures and mores, including some who have a divine sanction to kill the same people who have welcomed them in.

In short, millions of ordinary people in America, England, France, and many other Western nations know that the paradigm of transnational hegemony and technocratic rule created not a utopia, but an arrogant privileged class that believes it is superior and thus entitled to boss other people around and lecture them about backward superstitions and bigotry. And it looks like these average citizens have had enough.

England has spoken in favor of popular sovereignty and self-government. Soon it will be America’s turn. Our British cousins made the right choice. Let’s hope we do too.

Thank you, America!

June 25, 2016

Thank you, America! Wattsupwith that, Christopher Monckton of Brenchley via Anthony Watts, June 24, 2016

(This is by far the best address I have read thus far on Brexit. — DM)

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“Your Majesty, with my humble duty, I was born in a democracy; I do not live in one; but I am determined to die in one.”

And now I shall die in one. In the words of William Pitt the Younger after the defeat of Napoleon, “England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.”

The people have spoken. And the democratic spirit that inspired just over half the people of Britain to vote for national independence has its roots in the passionate devotion of the Founding Fathers of the United States to democracy. Our former colony showed us the way. Today, then, an even more heartfelt than usual “God bless America!”

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For my final broadcast to the nation on the eve of Britain’s Independence Day, the BBC asked me to imagine myself as one of the courtiers to whom Her Majesty had recently asked the question, “In one minute, give three reasons for your opinion on whether my United Kingdom should remain in or leave the European Union.”

My three reasons for departure, in strict order of precedence, were Democracy, Democracy, and Democracy. For the so-called “European Parliament” is no Parliament. It is a mere duma. It lacks even the power to bring forward a bill, and the 28 faceless, unelected, omnipotent Kommissars – the official German name for the shadowy Commissioners who exercise the supreme lawmaking power that was once vested in our elected Parliament – have the power, under the Treaty of Maastricht, to meet behind closed doors to override in secret any decision of that “Parliament” at will, and even to issue “Commission Regulations” that bypass it altogether.

Worse, the treaty that established the European Stability Pact gives its governing body of absolute bankers the power, at will and without consultation, to demand any sum of money, however large, from any member state, and every member of that governing body, personally as well as collectively, is held entirely immune not only from any civil suit but also from any criminal prosecution.

That is dictatorship in the formal sense. Good riddance to it.

I concluded my one-minute broadcast with these words: “Your Majesty, with my humble duty, I was born in a democracy; I do not live in one; but I am determined to die in one.”

And now I shall die in one. In the words of William Pitt the Younger after the defeat of Napoleon, “England has saved herself by her exertions, and will, as I trust, save Europe by her example.”

Indeed, No-way and Nixerland having already voted down the EU, Brexit may well be swiftly followed by Frexit, Grexit, Departugal, Italeave, Czechout, Oustria, Finish, Slovakuum, Latviaticum and Byebyegium.  At this rate, soon the only country still participating in the European tyranny-by-clerk will be Remainia.

The people have spoken. And the democratic spirit that inspired just over half the people of Britain to vote for national independence has its roots in the passionate devotion of the Founding Fathers of the United States to democracy. Our former colony showed us the way. Today, then, an even more heartfelt than usual “God bless America!”

All who have studied the Madison papers will grasp the greatness of the Founding Fathers’ vision. They were determined that no law and no tax should be inflicted upon any citizen except by the will of elected representatives of the people in Congress assembled.

They regarded this democratic principle as of such central importance that they wrote it down as Article 1, Section 1 of the Constitution of the United States: “All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.” Period. No ifs. No buts. No exceptions.

Except one. The Constitution establishes that foreign treaties ratified by a two-thirds majority of the Senate shall have the same force of law throughout the United States as enactments of Congress.

It is, therefore possible for any U.S. Government that can muster that Senate majority to ratify any treaty and thereby to thwart the central principle of Congressional democracy: that no Congress may bind its successors.

The Republicans, who are not always as lively in their understanding of the threat to democracy posed by supranational and global institutions such as the EU, the UN and its bloated climate bureaucracy, are too often snared or charmed by determined “Democrats” who fully understand and thirst to exercise the power to inflict perma-Socialism on their nation by bilateral, multilateral or global treaties.

It is astonishing how many of the GOP are willing to be cajoled and schmoozed into supporting monstrosities such as the Transatlatic Trade and Investment Partnership, which on its face sounds like a free-marketeer’s dream but is in its small print a series of outright Socialist measures which, once the Senate has ratified them, cannot be repealed. Its climate provisions, for instance, are highly dangerous.

It is no accident, therefore, that the bankers, the corporate profiteers, the Greens and the National Socialist Workers’ Party of Scotland – the corporatists and the communists together – made common totalitarian cause and heavily promoted the campaign to keep Britain in the EU, that paradise of vested interests and their poisonous lobbyists.

It is likewise no accident that precisely these same national and global vested interests heavily promote the campaign to subject Britain and the world to various unnecessary and damaging measures whose ostensible purpose is to control the climate but whose real ambition is to curb capitalism, fetter freedom, punish prosperity,. limit liberty and deny democracy.

The necessity to protect the flagile flower of democracy from the scythe of Socialism is now surely self-evident. Here are two modest proposals to ensure that the will of the people prevails over the power of the politicians, the Press, and the profiteers.

First, every new treaty, and as many pre-existing treaties as possible, should be made subject to repeal by a national referendum – and not just by a referendum called by the governing party because it thinks it can win it but by the people via the initiative procedure. Britain would have left the EU long before now if we, the people, and not those who govern us, had had the right to put referendum questions on the ballot.

Secondly, the governing bodies of all new supranational or global bodies exercising real sovereign power or spending taxpayers’ money from the states parties to the treaty that establishes them should be elected at frequent intervals by the peoples of those states parties.

Otherwise every international treaty, being a transfer of power from elected to unelected hands, diminishes democracy. Britain’s membership of the European Union effectively took away our democracy altogether, so that three new laws in five (according to the researchers of the House of Commons Library) or five in six (according to the German Government in a submission some years ago to the German Constitutional Court) are inflicted upon us solely because the unelected Kommissars require it.

Till now, our obligation has been to obey, on pain of unlimited fines.

The vote by the people of Britain to break free from this stifling, sclerotic tyranny has sent a shock-wave through every major international governing entity. It was no accident that the the International Monetary Fund, the Organization for Economic Corruption and Devastation, and various world “leaders” including Mr Obama, broke with democratic convention by openly promoting a “Remain” vote in a flagrant attempt to interfere in Britain’s decision.

Mr Obama’s intervention was decisive. The moment he demanded that Britain should remain within the EU, the polls began to swing against it. It was only when, in his maladroit fashion, he had sought to interfere in Britain’s decision that so many undecided voters woke up to the danger that the maneuverings and posturings of the international governing class represent to democracy.

What will Britain’s decision mean for the climate debate? Of course, it will break us free from the EU, whose governing elite had seized upon the climate issue as a purported ex-post-facto justification for the now-hated bloc’s continued existence.

We are left with our own British governing class, which has until now been no less determined than the EU to damage our economic and environmental interests by shutting down vital coal-fired power stations and carpeting our once green and pleasant land with windmills.

Now that the EU and its devoted poodle Mr Cameron have been consigned to the trashcan of history, it is near-certain that any new British Cabinet will take a more alert and less acquiescent stance than the present lot on the climate question.

It may even occur to the new Cabinet to check whether the rate of global warming is anything like what the profiteers of doom had predicted; to count the number of downstream businesses – such as cinder-blocks made from fly-ash out of coal-fired power stations – that have been destroyed by the EU’s war on coal; and even to wonder whether the forest of windmills that infest our once beautiful landscape are now extracting between them so much kinetic energy from passing storms that they are slowing them down, causing far more flash flooding than slightly warmer weather would (if and when it happened).

In the past, there was no point in our politicians asking any such questions, for our policies on all matters to do with our own environment were set for us by the unelected Kommissars of Brussels, whether we liked it or not.

Now that our politicians are going to have to learn to think for themselves again, rather than acting as an otiose, automated rubber stamp for directives from Them in Brussels, perhaps the Mother of Parliaments will begin to calculate the enormous economic advantage that Britain will gain by abandoning all of the climate-related directives that have driven our coal corporations, our steelworks and our aluminum works overseas, and have killed tens of thousands by making home heating altogether unaffordable.

We, the people, are the masters now. Our politicians will have to reacquire the habit of listening not to Them but to us. Here, and in the rest of Europe, and eventually throughout the world, let freedom ring!

Thank you, America, and God save the Queen!