17 May 2012

Sometimes culture is corrosive

I don't want to go into the lurid details, but essentially these men, using two takeaway businesses owned by them, lured girls in their early teens into relationships and being passed from man to man, and with other men.  They plied them with liquor, bribed them with mobile phones, gifts and money, and the girls engaged in a wide range of sexual activities, including group sex.  The men almost acted as their pimps, and were deliberately predatory.  The face lengthy jail terms.

In one example, the BBC reports:

sentencing the ringleader to 19 years in prison, the judge called him an "unpleasant and hypocritical bully" who had ordered a 15-year-old girl to have sex with takeaway worker Kabeer Hassan as a birthday "treat".

However, the elephant in the room on this issue is about race and culture.

The men range in age from 24 to 59. All are Muslims, eight are Pakistani, one is Afghan. 

None of the girls abused were Muslim, they all appeared to be British.  

So?  Well the judge found that the men treated the girls "as though they were worthless and beyond respect" and that "One of the factors leading to that was the fact that they were not part of your community or religion"

In short, these men targeted girls, not just because they were young and impressionable, not just because they tended to come from broken or troubled low income homes, so were needy, but because they had blatantly misogynistic attitudes towards girls and women who are not of their ilk.

Pakistani Muslim girls, after all, are expected to remain virgins until marriage and to be under the control and supervision of their fathers until it is the time for their husbands.  English girls of course are, from the point of view of the men, sluts to be used and disposed of as objects for their satisfaction.

The fact that some of these men are married, with their own daughters, was irrelevant to them in their hypocrisy and dehumanisation of their victims.  One of these married fathers got a 13 year old girl pregnant.

Of course there are millions of men who rape and exploit women and girls, of all races and cultures.  Indeed misogyny is the norm in most countries outside the Western world.  I know no one who would try to claim that such behaviour is confined or dominated by Pakistani/Afghan Muslim men in the UK.

However, culture is a factor.  It is a factor in the men's behaviour, but sadly has also been part of the Police's response to early complaints about their behaviour.  The men have also claimed that the prosecution is "racist" and the conviction is racist because the jury happened to be all-white - as if the UK is dominated by the attitudes of the British National Party/National Front (neither of which can muster more than 2% of the total vote at the last general election).

Former Labour MP Ann Cryer says the Police did not proceed with prosecution of one of the men for fear of being branded "racist".  In short, the cultural relativism and hypersensitivity to the left's instant response to anyone of a ethnic minority accused of crime, cost time, pain and suffering to the victims.

However, the race industry supporters have stood by claiming it isn't about race and religion.    Leftwing journalist Sunny Hundal claims that it is irrelevant because Muslim men also rape Muslim girls, and that it was just misogyny.  Ken Livingstone sycophant/leftwing activist Lee Jasper simply claims it is not race.

Strictly speaking they are right.  It isn't race per se, but it is culture and identity.

The liberal values that most people in the West reflect are ones that treat women with respect as equals, and also treat young women and girls as deserving of protection and respect, rather than as objects for the satisfaction of men.

It is not a value shared by men people from most other cultures. 

Both law and practice seen in almost all non-Western societies is to treat women and girls as subservient.   In parts of Africa, raping virgin girls is seen as a cure for AIDS, indeed Chairman Mao once considered it appropriate to "cleanse" himself with girls in that way.  From the boundaries of the EU across the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, up through East Asia through to Japan, misogyny remains the norm.

Pretending that all cultures deserve respect maintains the corrosion of the bigotry and mindlessness so many perpetuate, which those of us proud of individualism should remember, is so young in our own cultures.  It was, after all, not that long ago that a girl going to the police about rape would be treated as if she asked for it - and it is sadly far from unknown for that attitude to still be expressed.

Fortunately, more than a few Pakistani Muslims in the UK have demanded that attitudes must change, that working class young girls who are vulnerable are not fair game for married fathers to rape, abuse and treat as if they 'asked for it' (as one young man of similar extraction volunteered to a TV camera last week). 

It isn't racist to point it out, as much as the real racists in the near corpse of the BNP are trying to milk it for. 

It's simply supporting the individual rights of those who get exploited by those who hold cultural values alien to the country they have chosen to reside within.  Values that should be alien to ALL countries - values that belong in the past, with slavery (and indeed the worship of a pedophile prophet).

16 May 2012

three elections - three stories - little reason

So in the past week or so there have been four elections which have had greater or lesser coverage in the international media.  What are the key lessons from them all?

1.  The all involve people choosing politicians, which is the worst form of government ever devised (except for the alternatives).  Nearly a million people think Ken Livingstone, a warm supporter of Fidel Castro, is a fit and proper person to spend billions of pounds on a city.  More than half of French voters think a man who has never created a job in his life, should run Europe's third largest economy.  A majority of Greek voters want to be told what to do by authoritarian Marxists and fascists.

2.  Boris Johnson is a funny engaging man who woos women and is intelligent and entertaining.  Moreso than Ken Livingstone.  He won because he captures people's imagination, and he didn't pretend to be offering that much.  He offered frugality, a 10% cut in the Council Tax levied by the Greater London Authority, but also didn't pretend to not be a private educated, Oxbridge, upper class chap.  In an age where being a celebrity and a character is more valued than most things, it worked.

3. Ken Livingstone is a bitter nasty old socialist who plays class warfare politics, who blamed the riots on austerity, who says one thing and does another, who plays fast and loose with comments about rich Jews and says one thing about gay rights whilst giving succour to Islamists.  He's a politician of the past, and cost Labour victory.

4. Beyond the London mayoral elections, Labour did well because over 60% of voters didn't bother at all.   The core opposition to the government was motivated, the core support was not.  The Liberal Democrats continue to erode into what looks like fourth party status.  The Greens, despite some efforts in doing well, have barely lifted their support as the environmental arguments don't wash well in a recession.  The socialist fascist BNP lost every council seat it defended, including losing what had been its single seat on the London Assembly.  UKIP gained some votes but not seats.   People are fed up with politicians, don't trust them and given the gaffes around the last UK budget, it's hardly surprising the UK coalition is uninspiring.

5. The French have always voted for socialism, it has long been a matter of degree.  Now they have voted for a hardened socialist rather than a softened champagne socialist who preaches austerity, but really lives it up large at the cost of future taxpayers and who preaches suspicion of foreigners when he himself is the son of a Hungarian migrant.  Now they can pretend that they can stop trying to live within their means, get taxed more and just borrow to prop up their socialist economy where, despite the mythology, manufacturing is no bigger a part of the economy than it is in Britain.  Bear in mind a fifth of the French are warm towards a fascist and another 15% are warm towards communists, then you see that liberte isn't as big as equalite in France.

6. The Greeks have voted in protest.  The two formely major parties responsible for decades of overspending, lying about debt, a culture of corruption and rent seeking, have been decimated.  The "centre-right" New Democracy party has the greatest number of seats, but 108 in a Parliament of 308 is far from enough to govern.  The "centre-left" PASOK party which led the last government is third with 41 seats.  Second is the Marxist "Coalition of the Radical Left" with 52 seats - a party of communists, Trotskyites, environmentalists and Maoists.  It promises to reject spending cuts, reject austerity and somehow magically produce a socialist motherland where money can pay for the big warm maternal state that makes everything happy again.   Fourth is the new Independent Greeks party, with 33 seats, which is an odd nationalist party wanting the Germans to pay war reparations, rejecting loan agreements with the EU and wanting politicians and officials responsible for the crisis to be prosecuted - well I can agree on the last one, but I think the Germans have done Greece enough good by lending to it when nobody else would!  Fifth is the Communist Party of Greece, which picked up to get 26 seats.  The party that is Marxist-Leninist and would have run Greece like a totalitarian twin of Bulgaria had the Greek Civil War gone differently, not that anyone noticed. However, everyone noticed that  Sixth is the fascist Golden Dawn Party with 21 seats.  It rejects the Enlightenment and the industrial revolution, is radical Greek Orthodox, and wants removal of foreigners.  Greeks almost certainly will face no stable government that will enable their bloated state to be funded - indeed, the future looks bleaker now than ever before.

So for London?  Business as usual - nothing to see here.

For France?  A little man (shorter than Sarkozy) is going to fight austerity - that hasn't even happened- but will inevitably bow to reality, because he is, at the heart of it all, a man who will listen to the grand French statist bureaucracy.   Expect little change, although there are reports that real estate agents in South Kensington in London are facing record queries from wealthy Parisians seeking to flee punitive taxes Hollande has promised.

For Greece?   Hardly anyone has been telling people in Greece the only solutions to their problems are:
-  Accept the government has failed them, make their own arrangements for retirement, healthcare and education.
-  Move all their money into foreign bank accounts, preferably not in Euros, or buy precious metals.
-  Hunker down and accept that the next 5-10 years will be very hard for those who can't or wont make provision for themselves.

Greece's tragedy should be lesson to all

Greece's radical leftwing party, Syriza, has one policy I agree with - the prosecution of the politicians and bureaucrats who are the architects of Greece's current tragedy.

That is all though - the policies to "reject austerity" are so demonstrably absurd, that they will demonstrate the simple failure to learn the lessons of the past couple of decades of Greek reality evasion.

As much as Syriza, the Communist Party (truly communist, in the Marxist-Leninist - Soviet model was the way to go sense) and the fascists want to paint it, Greece is not in an economic crisis because of foreign bankers or even the European Commission.

It is in a crisis because perpetual budget deficits are unsustainable.

This will continue, even if Greece exits a fiat currency supported by large economies for one supported by its own incompetent government.  For let's be clear, Greece is no more likely to be able to reject austerity with a currency that will be as trusted as the Zimbabwean dollar than one trusted like the Deutschmark.

There is literally no alternative to austerity in one form or another.

So what are the options?

1.  Greece follows the deal previously done with it.  That means reducing its budget deficit to ultimately balance spending with revenue within the next few years.  Bear in mind this deal already includes 80% of its debt being written off by the creditors.  Not exactly wealthy bankers demanding their pound of flesh when most of what they loaned Greek governments is being written off.   Of course what this means is shrinking the Greek state, less welfare, pensions at ages similar to other EU countries,  less subsidies, privatising trading enterprises (e.g. railways, broadcasting, postal services), cutting the public sector and streamlining the tax system so that it is at a level people may be prepared to pay.    If Greece accepts a public sector that it is willing to pay for, it can stay in the Euro and live within its means.

2.  Greece rejects the deal and defaults.  That means simply being unable to pay its way.  The state can't overspend because it can't borrow (who will lend to it outside some German led guarantee?), so it stops paying wages to public servants, stop paying other bills and essentially shuts down.  It becomes interesting if the military can't get paid. In effect it is instant austerity.  Instead of the Eurozone deal lending, lending ends, so the budget deficit is wiped out - instantly - because you can't spend beyond your income if you have no credit.   In this context, the Euro takes an enormous hit because of perceptions that Eurozone sovereign debt is no longer "safe", so it devalues somewhat.   The Syriza party effectively thinks that Germany will be forced to lend to Greece to cover it - in other words that the Eurozone becomes like the United States - with the richer parts transferring money to the poorer parts.   However, if Germany refuses (why should German taxpayers prop up an ungrateful, previously fraudulent Eurozone country that doesn't think the rules apply to it), then Greece truly faces a hard time, and will be tempted to take the next step...

3. Greece rejects the deal, defaults and announces a new sovereign currency.  As easy as some commentators think this is, it is almost inconceivable.  It is option 2, but with the printing presses coming out to issue a New Drachma which would be the new state currency to pay public servants and pay bills, and new debt is issued in the new currency.  The effect will be collapse of Greek banks as Euro deposits are withdrawn en masse, and millions of Greeks open up new Euro accounts in non-Greek banks.  All Greek businesses and citizens with debts in Euro face default, but suddenly Greek exports and tourism to Greece becomes remarkably cheap because of the new dud currency.   Yet without austerity, Greece will rapidly face hyper-inflation from the government printing money to cover its deficits, plus a massive increase in the prices of imports, such as oil.  In short, Greece turns into the stereotypical tinpot third world country, with a non-convertible currency that makes the Bulgarian Lev look like a safe bet.   

4. Greece rejects the deal and gets a German led bailout with surrender of sovereignty.  It isn't far removed from what was previously agreed, but this time it will be more thorough.  The deal to keep Greece in the Euro includes direct government to government lending, but with surrender of Greek sovereignty in the meantime.  You can just guess the attitude of the Marxists and fascists in Greece to the spectre of this.

Unless taxpayers of wealthier Eurozone countries let their government bail Greece out (which I doubt they will do), Greece faces living within its means.  It will have to do so within the Eurozone or without it.  At the very worst, Greece will put its head in the sand, default, be unable to pay for the army and it will stage a coup - seeing Greece kicked out of the EU and NATO and become the new laughing stock of Europe.  Then the people of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the people of Cyprus (especially northern Cyprus) and other neighbours might fear what a new militarised Greece will be like.   

The lesson from all this is astonishingly simple.   

Government's cannot evade reality forever.  

They cannot borrow endlessly from creditors, especially ones that have already written off many of their past debts as bad debts.

They cannot borrow from other governments, accountable to taxpayers who want to know why their money is being loaned to a government that no one else will lend to, because its taxpayers refuse to pay for the state they demand.

They are not better off if they can just print money to cover spending - because people are not so stupid to believe there is real value in a currency manufactured by the government because nobody else will lend to it.

Austerity is not a policy choice on a whim, it is, as I have said before, just living within your means.

The tragedy in Greece is that the lives of millions are now being hit because past governments pretended this was not necessary, facilitated by public servants and facilitated by past creditors.  They have been hit by the fraud of the profligate deficit spending state.   They gained a welfare state more generous than most of western Europe, and state health and education systems they didn't have to pay for - and now face losing much of it all.

The real insanity is from the hard left, who believe that bankers should be forced to lend the Greek government other people's money, or the German government should force German taxpayers to do so.    They have bemoaned profligate lending by banks that needed bailing out, but now want the same banks to lend to a feckless government that can't control its spending.   They are deluded and use language that claim those demanding Greece face reality as "murderers", when it was their own welfare state philosophy that has brought Greece to its needs.

It is the peculiar brand of statist politics that has ruined Greece - the idea that government can offer more and more without producing more, without getting more money to pay for it.  The idea that better healthcare, education and more generous pensions can just be given, not saved for and earned.

The big question is not whether Greece has austerity or not - it will have it, whether it comes from choosing to cut spending, being forced to cut spending or cutting spending in real terms by shifting to a new nearly worthless fiat currency.

Hard working productive people in other countries are not going to pay for Greece's bloated state sector, and they wont do it whether it is as it is now, or some Marxist or fascist version of the same.   Greek citizens either have to hunker down and work within their incomes today, or leave.  If they choose the chimeras offered by the far left, whether they be Marxists or nationalists, then the austerity deals of today will look like paradise compared to the ostracism their country will face.

UPDATE (since I'm in NZ for now):  Idiot Savant still doesn't get it either.  How can it be a bailout for German banks when it is the Greek government that needs borrowed money to function?  This rhetoric is not dissimilar to the banker bashing that the Greek far-right/far-left is employing.  What do the reality evading statists think will pay for the massive gap between what Greek governments spend and what they collect in revenue? There is NO repayment of debt under the bailout, just a government guarantee for deficit financing.  The gap in understanding is palpable.  The willingness to excuse rampant deficit spending is surreal.   The belief in flat earth economics is expected though, because it's how Greece has been run for the last three decades.