Three persons including an author of a book, allegedly containing anti-Islamic material, were arrested in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh, police said today.
The book, 'Crescent over the World' a compilation of articles published by M Laxmaiah alias Krantikar, a civil rights activist, contained "objectionable" material against Muslims, Khammam district Superintendent of Police Anil Kumar told PTI over phone.
The SP said police have seized 800 books in raids at different places in Khammam district since yesterday.
Another police official said, "Krantikar was arrested last night and two others-Innaiah and Subbarao-distributors of the book were arrested today and all of them were sent to judicial remand.
Remembering their flight from Egypt and Anne Frank from Bag
Dumbledore'sarmy sent me the link for these two articles by Lela Gilbert in the Jerusalem Post
All I can remember... is the element of fear," Joseph Abdel Wahed writes, reflecting on the events of his 12th year. "People in the streets would mock us with the famous Arab insult, Ya yahudi ya ibn el kalb [Jewish son of a dog], or even more ominously Idbah el-Yahud [slit the throats of the Jews]. "This really scared us because there was nowhere to hide. Many of us did not have travel papers and even if we did, the Egyptian authorities wanted to keep us as hostages and not let us out. After the revolution of July 1952, their attitude changed and they were only too glad to kick us out, but not before confiscating everything we owned - our businesses, farms, hospitals and homes and bank accounts." From 1948 to 1968, between 850,000 and 1 million Jews fled or were expelled from their homes in Arab countries, including Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon, Syria and Egypt. Some Jewish refugees refer to the shattering events as their Nakba, borrowing the oft-repeated Arabic word for "catastrophe."
Others, particularly those who once lived in Egypt, call it the "second exodus," relating their experiences to the biblical Israelites' miraculous flight from Egypt. Most of these refugees, now in their sunset years, feel blessed to have escaped Egypt and grateful to have made their way to Israel with little more than the shirt on their back.
Joseph Abdel Wahed and Levana Zamir, also from Egypt, now live at opposite ends of the world. "I was 12 years old in May 1948," Wahed says, "living in Heliopolis [a Cairo suburb]. I remember the words of Azzam Pasha, the head of the newly formed Arab League, talking about the founding of Israel. He said, 'This will be a war of extermination that will be likened to the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades.' The very next day, the Egyptian army [and four other Arab armies] headed toward the new State of Israel to 'throw the Jews into the sea.' It was supposed to be a slam dunk, but they lost. "By then everything had begun to unravel and our previously secure lives in Egypt had fallen apart. The Jewish section of Cairo, the Haret el-Yahud, was bombed [frequently] until 1949, killing and wounding many innocent Jews. Accompanying this were the usual assaults on our synagogues and on Jewish individuals. The authorities sometimes played a part in these assaults, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which began in the late 1920s under the leadership of Hassan el-Banna.
Another man whose family fled Egypt, Yossi Ben-Aharon, now lives in Jerusalem. A career diplomat, Ben-Aharon served as director-general of the Prime Minister's Office under premier Yitzhak Shamir and represented the Foreign Ministry for nearly a decade in the United States. In a recent interview, Ben-Aharon made it abundantly clear that the explosive violence against Jews in the Arab world following May 14, 1948 was no coincidence. He has collected a number of statements of lethal intent made by Arab leaders, calling for the death and destruction of Jews in their Arab homelands in case of the UN partition of Palestine.
For example, addressing the Political Committee of the UN General Assembly on November 24, 1947, Heykal Pasha, an Egyptian delegate, said that "the proposed solution [partition] might endanger a million Jews living in Moslem countries... if the UN decides to partition Palestine, it might be responsible for very grave disorders and for the massacre of a large number of Jews." "Immediately after the UN approved the partition resolution on November 29, 1947," Ben-Aharon says, "Arabs attacked the Jews throughout the Middle East, including Palestine. Yet, since 1949, the Arab states, together with Palestinian organizations, have mounted an intensive propaganda campaign, based on a rewriting of history, in an attempt to shift responsibility for the Palestinian refugee issue onto Israel. They describe the events of 1948 - and the estimated 762,000 Arab refuges - as an 'ethnic cleansing' by Israel. "The facts of history point to the opposite: ethnic cleansing was perpetrated by Arab governments against their Jews, as witnessed by the fact that 850,000 Jews were forced to leave the Arab countries, while more than 4 million Arabs continue to live in geographic Palestine, including more than a million in Israel.
Now, 60 years after the events, the time has come for the historical facts to be recognized and for justice to be done." "We Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world did not get one penny from the UN," Wahed adds, "while the Palestinians have received over $50 billion [including funds from the European Union] since 1950. They still are receiving financial assistance."
THE JEWS who once lived in Muslim lands, like Zamir, Wahed and Ben-Aharon, have established new lives for themselves in Israel and elsewhere. But they have not forgotten. Hundreds of thousands of them were eyewitnesses to violent persecutions, deadly pogroms and forced expulsions that erupted instantaneously - as planned by Arab leadership - following the UN decision for the partition of Palestine and the founding of Israel. In 1948, the number of Jews living in Egypt was estimated between 85,000 and 100,000. Today fewer than 50 Jews live in Egypt. In 1948, there were nearly 900,000 Jews in Arab Muslim lands. Today only around 6,500 remain in all of Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Syria, Tunisia and Yemen combined. There were not only Palestinian Arab refugees in the wake of Israel's founding and the ensuing battle for survival. There were two sets of refugees: Arabs and Jews.
Ben-Aharon concludes, "Responsibility for the resettlement of the Arab refugees from Palestine should be shouldered by the Arab governments and the Palestinian leadership. The rights and claims of Jews from Arab countries, both personal and communal, must be recognized and addressed properly and equitably. Only then can a climate conducive to mutual understanding and coexistence be fostered."
'In recent years, many Jews from Iraq have started to talk about what happened to them. But I was so hurt and so locked into myself that I didn't think I could deal with it," says Linda Abu-Aziz Menuhin, who in 1970 fled anti-Jewish violence in Baghdad. "More recently I've felt that I needed to heal this very bad bruise, so I am in the process of opening up. Now I say that having to leave my home in Iraq was my nakba - my catastrophe." "Nakba Day," inaugurated by Yasser Arafat in 1998, is meant to counter Israel's Independence Day celebrations, commemorating losses suffered by Arabs who fled their homes during the War of Independence. Meanwhile, another refugee story - the history that Linda Menuhin represents - is far from familiar.
FROM 1948 to 1970, 850,000 to a million Jews fled or were expelled from Arab lands. Iraq, like North Africa, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen, once had a thriving and historic Jewish community. Iraq's Jewish population numbered around 135,000 in 1948, with over 77,000 Jews living in Baghdad alone. Today fewer than 10 Jews remain in the country. Linda Menuhin wasn't yet born when modern anti-Semitic violence first struck Iraq in 1941; it began with a pogrom, the Farhud, instigated by Nazi-collaborator Haj Amin el-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem. During the Farhud, 180 Jews were murdered and nearly 250 wounded. Persecution ebbed and flowed until 1948, following the establishment of modern Israel, when tens of thousands of Iraqi Jews lost their property and assets and ran for their lives.
Then came the Six Day War. Linda remembers all too well the terrifying months following Israel's military victory against several Arab nations in 1967. Within two months, Baghdad's Jews were living in terror, keeping themselves out of sight. Their sports and social clubs were closed, their phones cut off and their assets frozen. Horrifying stories of abduction and murder circulated. Linda's family was evicted from its home. IN DESPERATION, Linda sent a letter to an aunt in America, telling of the Jews' terrible conditions in Baghdad. She wrote it in French, hoping Iraq's government censors wouldn't intercept it. The aunt sent the letter on to Israel. It was published in Ma'ariv, beneath the headline "Anne Frank from Baghdad."
In 1969, the crisis came to a grisly climax when nine innocent Jews were publicly hanged in Baghdad, accused of spying for Israel. Four years later, Linda wrote her youthful impressions of the scene, "...it was really a blow, a shock to see the Liberation Square on TV crowded with people dancing and singing as if they were celebrating a feast or a wedding. Our nine victims were... suspended in the air, on improvised scaffolds... their heads were twisted and drooping and their bodies dangled from the gallows. The attitude of the crowd proved to be savage, barbarous and ferocious. They cursed the dead, spat and pelted stones on them. It was the most humiliating, distressing, unforgettable sight I had seen in my life. My cheeks were flooded with tears. Our agony was beyond description."
Eventually, against her parents' wishes, Linda managed to escape from Iraq with her brother. The two made their way to Teheran, guided by mercenaries, and finally on to Israel. Linda's father, a well-known Baghdad attorney, was taken into custody by Iraqi authorities not long thereafter, never to be seen again. The rest of her family is in Israel, scarred by their past but thankful for their new lives. They, along with hundreds of thousands of others, comprised the "Forgotten Refugees" who fled Muslim lands in the mid-20th century. Each of these owns a family history of terror, desperation and profound loss. Each has experienced a personal nakba. Will the story of these refugees find its proper place among other issues under discussion in the Middle East peace process?
This is from Andrew Gilligan in the Telegraph, ahead of tonight’s Dispatches on the Islamic takeover of Tower Hamlets. Sir Ian Blair signed a formal agreement with an Islamic extremist to treat him as the Metropolitan Police’s "principal" representative of the Muslim community, it can be disclosed. The activist, Azad Ali, was accepted by the Met as a trusted interlocutor. The force also agreed to give him information on forthcoming anti-terror raids. – Mr Ali has previously justified the killing of British troops in Iraq, believes al Qaeda is a "myth," and has praised a key mentor of Osama bin Laden.
Mr Ali signed the deal, a copy of which has been seen by the Daily Telegraph, in his capacity as the then chairman of the Muslim Safety Forum – a body closely linked to the fundamentalist Islamic Forum of Europe (IFE). The IFE believes in jihad, sharia law and the transformation of Britain into an Islamic state. It will be the subject of a Channel 4 Dispatches documentary tonight.
Sir Ian or his deputy committed to meet Mr Ali and the MSF at least twice a year and to hold monthly meetings with the MSF at "New Scotland Yard or other suitable premises." Met chiefs, including counter-terrorist commanders, also committed to attending the MSF's own meetings "whenever possible”. Both the current head of the antiterrorist command, Commander Shaun Sawyer, and his predecessor, Commander Bob Quick, who the MSF described as a "close partner”, have had regular meetings.
In the wake of the controversy about the abortive terror arrests in Forest Gate in summer 2006, the Met also agreed to set up a four-strong panel with the MSF to offer the Muslim community a chance to comment on whether the information police had on a suspect was too flimsy and the consequences of a raid for community relations. Mr Ali, one of the panel members, said at the time: "This will allow independent scrutiny of intelligence."
However, Mr Ali, who is also a senior official of the IFE, has a strong track record of extremism. Last year, by which time he had become the MSF's treasurer, he was suspended from his job as a civil servant after praising Abdullah Azzam, Osama bin Laden's key mentor. Writing on his blog on the IFE website, he described Azzam as one of the "few Muslims who promote the understanding of the term jihad in its comprehensive glory" as both a doctrine of "self-purification" and of "warfare." He then quoted Azzam's son, approvingly, as saying: "If I saw an American or British man wearing a soldier's uniform inside Iraq, I would kill him because that is my obligation ... I respect this as the main instruction in my religion for jihad."
A Met spokesman said the 2006 agreement between Sir Ian and Mr Ali, which was subject to annual renewal, was not renewed after it expired in December 2007, although links between the Met and the MSF continued. The spokesman said: “We are currently working with the Muslim Safety Forum to review how it can best represent London’s diverse Muslim Communities so that we can better understand and then act on their concerns about safety and security.”
Libya Plans $8 Billion Investment in U.K., Official Tells Brown
By Robert Hutton
Feb. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Libya plans to invest 5 billion pounds ($8 billion) in the U.K., an official from the Libyan Investment Authority said, six months after Britain released Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi.
“We have plans to invest 5 billion pounds in Britain,” Rajab Layas told Prime Minister Gordon Brown during a conference in London. The LIA didn’t respond to an e-mail requesting more information.
Al-Megrahi was freed by Scotland’s devolved government to return to Libya on compassionate grounds in August because he was dying of cancer, igniting fury in the U.S. and Britain. He was jailed in 2001 for the 1988 killing of 270 people in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over the Scottish town of Lockerbie.
Foreign Secretary David Miliband said in October that while the decision to release al-Megrahi hadn’t been made by the British government in London, “British interests, including those of U.K. nationals, British businesses and possibly security cooperation, would be damaged, perhaps badly, if al- Megrahi were to die in a Scottish prison.”
Making Harvard A More Diverse And More Inclusive Place
A friend forwarded to me an email he had just received from President Drew Faust of Harvard:
Dear Students and Colleagues:
Five years ago, a pair of Harvard task forces examined how the University recruited faculty and offered concrete proposals to increase institutional support for women and minorities throughout their academic careers. I was proud to play a leading role in the work of these task forces, and I wanted to take this opportunity to assess the progress that we have made as a community in the intervening years.
Underlying the work of these task forces was a conviction that diversity makes for a stronger academic experience and a richer university community. “A diverse faculty is a strong faculty because it emerges from the broadest possible consideration of available talent,” the task forces declared at the end of their review. “The development, recruitment and support of outstanding faculty . . . provide the essential foundation of a great university.”
We have taken significant steps to address the challenges women face along the tenure track and to increase the number of men and women of color who teach and conduct research at Harvard. But reshaping a talented and well-established faculty is a long-term commitment, and much work remains to be done. While Harvard has made great strides in cultivating an undergraduate student body that is much more reflective of the world around us — this year’s freshman class is the most diverse ever — we must strive to ensure that progress toward a more diverse faculty and staff keeps pace.
Central to the recommendations of the 2005 task forces was the creation of the Office of Faculty Development & Diversity, which has been systematically collecting and reporting data on faculty hiring and retention and ensuring that diversity is a factor weighed by every faculty hiring committee. We have also created the Ladder ACCESS program, which provides income-eligible ladder faculty with significant financial support for child care costs, and increased by 50 percent our investment in campus child care centers, to help faculty maintain a balance between the responsibilities of family and the demands of research and the classroom. Additionally, we started two programs that have helped increase the pipeline of young women and minority scholars who will be the faculty members of the future.
We have made some progress, particularly with regard to the number of women among ladder faculty. The most recent Faculty Development & Diversity annual report highlighted the fact that today a little more than a quarter of the faculty are female, up 16 percent from six years ago, and nearly all of that increase reflects changes in the senior ranks. It is worth noting that when I joined the deans’ group in 2001, I was the only woman; now we have five female deans.
Approximately 17 percent of Harvard’s ladder faculty are minorities, an all-time high, up 23 percent from six years earlier. But progress on this front has been uneven: Blacks, Latinos, and Native Americans represent just 6 percent of the entire faculty, a percentage that has essentially not changed since 2005. The only academic unit with more than 20 underrepresented minority faculty is the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and that is due in large part to our outstanding department of African and African-American Studies. Clearly, we must and can do better.
We can report some progress in building a more diverse non-faculty work force at Harvard. Sixty percent of our staff are female, 22 percent are people of color, and over the past five years the percentage of managerial and leadership roles held by minorities has increased. Still, minorities hold only 12 percent of these leadership roles, underscoring the fact that embracing the benefits of diversity does not automatically translate into a more inclusive place to teach, work, and study.
For this and other reasons, I am very pleased to welcome Lisa M. Coleman to our campus. Lisa steps into the position of Chief Diversity Officer and Special Assistant to the President, in which she will be responsible for developing a strategic approach to promoting diversity across the Harvard work force. Lisa, who has worked with such organizations as the Association of American Medical Colleges and Merrill Lynch, joins us from Tufts University, where she served as that institution’s senior diversity officer and as director of its Africana Center.
Five years after we took a deep look at how we could make Harvard a more inclusive place, it is crucial that we ask ourselves if we are doing enough today to foster an environment in which diversity is not simply valued, but cultivated in a systematic way. I have asked Lisa and Senior Vice Provost Judith Singer, who heads the Office of Faculty Development & Diversity, to develop a plan that will further our efforts to address pressing issues of cultural, racial, ethnic, and gender differences, and position Harvard to be a beacon of diversity in the future.
Judy and Lisa will be meeting with a broad cross-section of faculty members and members of the Harvard staff to seek advice about the most effective ways we can stimulate change at every level of the institution. If you have any suggestions, please contact them at [email protected]. I know that they are eager to solicit ideas from as many members of the community as possible.
I expect that by Commencement, Judy and Lisa will return with recommendations about how we can further the commitment laid out five years ago to create a stronger, richer, more diverse Harvard.
Immigrants Stop Work In Italy To Demonstrate Their Importance To The Economy
From The Corriere:
Gli immigrati si fermano per un giorno
«Producono il 9,5% del Pil italiano»
Il direttore della Camera nazionale dell'Artigianato: «Serve una riflessione». Ferrero al corteo di Roma
manifestazioni in 60 città contro il razzismo
Gli immigrati si fermano per un giorno
«Producono il 9,5% del Pil italiano»
Il direttore della Camera nazionale dell'Artigianato: «Serve una riflessione». Ferrero al corteo di Roma
MILANO - Sciopero degli immigrati contro il razzismo in Italia: «Ventiquattro ore senza di noi». Un giorno per far capire quanto vale l'integrazione e quanto contano gli immigrati in Italia. «Andrebbe fatta una riflessione sul tema economia e immigrazione visto che il 9,5 % del Pil è direttamente o indirettamente legato all'immigrazione» ha osservato il direttore della Camera nazionale dell'Artigianato di Roma, Lorenzo Tagliavanti. Si è così svolta una manifestazione nazionale per rendere «visibili» gli stranieri che vivono e lavorano in Italia, che ha coinvolto sessanta piazze. Da Milano a Roma, da Napoli a Firenze, tutte le grandi città si sono tinte di «giallo», colore scelto dagli immigrati e dagli italiani che con loro hanno manifestato «per sostenere l'importanza dell'immigrazione per la tenuta socio-economica del Paese», come ha annunciato il comitato "Primo Marzo 2010 - Una giornata senza di Noi".
LE MOTIVAZIONI - I drammatici fatti di Rosarno, i respingimenti in mare, gli scandali sulla gestione dei Cie, i centri di accoglienza, "la cultura razzista che si sta diffondendo", le file notturne per il rinnovo dei permessi di soggiorno, "il naufragio di una politica di integrazione vera e di rilancio di servizi per fornire strumenti efficaci ai migranti per non essere preda della malavita organizzata": per tutti questi motivi i lavoratori stranieri hanno incrociato le braccia e hanno fatto uno sciopero di 24 ore per far sì che il governo si renda conto di cosa vuol dire "stare 24 ore senza di noi". La giornata di mobilitazione è stata lanciata in Francia e in Italia e sono state tantissime le manifestazioni nelle principali città italiane, con un simbolico lancio dei palloncini gialli in lattice biodegradabile per colorare di giallo i cieli d’Italia, visto che quella di oggi è stata chiamata "la rivoluzione in giallo".
CINQUEMILA A ROMA - A Roma il corteo si è concluso in piazza dell'Esquilino. Secondo gli organizzatori hanno sfilato 5mila persone. Tra loro il segretario di Rifondazione Comunista Paolo Ferrero e una rappresentanza del popolo curdo, che ha sfilato con una banda musicale al ritmo dei suoni etnici della malamurga.
1. Who came up with the figure of 9.5% as the contribution of "immigrants" to the GNP of Italy?
2. If some immigrants have been successful at taking over parts of the Italian economy, is that a gain for Italy and Italians? If,Chinese have settled in Rome, Milan, and the Lago di Como and managed to take over, or drive out, many of the traditional family-owned businesses in, for example, the silk trade in Como, is that a gain, or a loss? If they manage to drive out of business Italian family-owned businesses, not least because they can take raw materials and then have them shipped China for the final product(as with men's ties), , does this mean that they have simply disp[laced native Italians and destroyed their family businesses, , but not really increassed the overall GNP ?
3. What is the cost to the Italian government of the crimes committed by immigrants? How many of the rapists and murderers are foreigners? How great is the cost of adding policemen? What is the cost to track people down, to arrest them, to bring charges, to hold trials with court-appointed lawyers, at the trial court level and at the appeals court level? What is the cost of imprisoning them, or going through the legal rigmarole to have them deported? What is the cost of supporting their families when the men are imprisoned:
4. What is the social cost, in the disruption of ordinary street life, by the tribes of Vu Cumpra, who supposedly help increase the PIL (GNP)? What is the effect of these foreigners, including the Vu Cumpra, who aggressively impose themselves on foreign tourists attempting to enjoy their stay in Rome, Florence, Venice?
5. What is the additioinal cost to the Italian educational system of having these immigrants from third-world, and especially Muslim countries, many of whom do not know any Italian, many of whom are unable to adapt to Western ways, laws, and customs, and remain permanently hostile to the study of Western history, literature, art, as the products of Infidel Jahiliyaa, or Ignorance? What is the efffect on cohesion in the classroom of having such hostile immigrants, who need remedial training in any case, on the Italian children? On the teachers?
6. What dollar amount can be placed on the greater unpleasantness of life in Italy for Italians because of such immigrants who are unintegrated and un-integrable, and whose basic needs require vast expenditures by the Italian state?
There could be much more, but I'll stop right here. You get the idea.
The use of public money on hijab arches for Brick Lane and a minaret for the mosque was not mentioned.
The call for a separate elected major was revealed as an IFE (Islamic Forum Europe) plan to seize more power now that Labour Party HQ are taking an interest. I voted against in the East London Advertiser opinion poll and was definitely right to do so.
I think the existence of so many critical and defensive comments from Muslims on the Dispatches website, even before the programme was broadcast is in itself evidence of the concerted effort and manpower that IFE can bring.
What was news to me was the intimidation of Muslims running secular organisations.
The man who organises Bethnal Green Mela spoke of being told to take down a banner advertising the event (there were five of them and two of us) because the East London Mosque disapproved. Young men of the IFE were heard to say how they hated the unislamic practice of such events as young women wearing bright shalwar kameez walked into the park and a band played tabla drums and a harmonium. A leaflet was handed out telling mela gatherers that listening to music and mingling would result in their burning in hellfire.
There was also a young woman who had the temerity to open a dating agency. She was told, “I am not threatening you, but I really wish you would stop this and I can call on many brothers and sisters to persuade you”. She took legal action.
Now we need some strategy on what to do about MFE.
While Barack Obama was making his latest pitch for a brand new, even more unsustainable entitlement at the health care "summit," thousands of Greeks took to the streets to riot. An enterprising cable network might have shown the two scenes on a continuous split-screen - because they're part of the same story. It's just that Greece is a little further along in the plot: They're at the point where the canoe is about to plunge over the falls. America is further upstream and can still pull for shore, but has decided, instead, that what it needs to do is catch up with the Greek canoe. Chapter One (the introduction of unsustainable entitlements) leads eventually to Chapter 20 (total societal collapse): The Greeks are at Chapter 17 or 18.
What's happening in the developed world today isn't so very hard to understand: The 20th century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to. In America, the feckless insatiable boobs in Washington, Sacramento, Albany and elsewhere are screwing over our kids and grandkids. In Europe, they've reached the next stage in social democratic evolution: There are no kids or grandkids to screw over. The United States has a fertility rate of around 2.1 – or just over two kids per couple. Greece has a fertility rate of about 1.3: 10 grandparents have six kids have four grandkids – i.e., the family tree is upside down. Demographers call 1.3 "lowest-low" fertility – the point from which no society has ever recovered. And, compared with Spain and Italy, Greece has the least-worst fertility rate in Mediterranean Europe.
So you can't borrow against the future because, in the most basic sense, you don't have one. Greeks in the public sector retire at 58, which sounds great. But, when 10 grandparents have four grandchildren, who pays for you to spend the last third of your adult life loafing around?
By the way, you don't have to go to Greece to experience Greek-style retirement: The Athenian "public service" of California has been metaphorically face down in the ouzo for a generation. Still, America as a whole is not yet Greece. A couple of years ago, when I wrote my book "America Alone," I put the Social Security debate at that time in a bit of perspective: On 2005 figures, projected public pensions liabilities were expected to rise by 2040 to about 6.8 percent of GDP. In Greece, the figure was 25 percent: in other words, head for the hills, Armageddon outta here, The End. Since then, the situation has worsened in both countries. And, really, the comparison is academic: Whereas America still has a choice, Greece isn't going to have a 2040 – not without a massive shot of Reality Juice.
Is that likely to happen? At such moments, I like to modify Gerald Ford. When seeking to ingratiate himself with conservative audiences, President Ford liked to say: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have." Which is true enough. But there's an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give you everything you want isn't big enough to get you to give any of it back. That's the point Greece is at. Its socialist government has been forced into supporting a package of austerity measures. The Greek people's response is: Nuts to that. Public sector workers have succeeded in redefining time itself: Every year, they receive 14 monthly payments. You do the math. And for about seven months' work: for many of them the work day ends at 2:30 p.m. And, when they retire, they get 14 monthly pension payments. In other words: Economic reality is not my problem. I want my benefits. And, if it bankrupts the entire state a generation from now, who cares as long as they keep the checks coming until I croak?
We hard-hearted small-government guys are often damned as selfish types who care nothing for the general welfare. But, as the Greek protests make plain, nothing makes an individual more selfish than the socially equitable communitarianism of big government: Once a chap's enjoying the fruits of government health care, government-paid vacation, government-funded early retirement, and all the rest, he couldn't give a hoot about the general societal interest; he's got his, and to hell with everyone else. People's sense of entitlement endures long after the entitlement has ceased to make sense.
The perfect spokesman for the entitlement mentality is the Deputy Prime Minister of Greece. The European Union has concluded that the Greek government's austerity measures are insufficient and, as a condition of bailout, has demanded something more robust. Greece is no longer a sovereign state: It's General Motors, and the EU is Washington, and the Greek electorate is happy to play the part of the UAW – everything's on the table except anything that would actually make a difference. In practice, because Spain, Portugal, Italy and Ireland are also on the brink of the abyss, a "European" bailout will be paid for by Germany. So the aforementioned Greek Deputy Prime Minister, Theodoros Pangalos, has denounced the conditions of the EU deal on the grounds that the Germans stole all the bullion from the Bank of Greece during the Second World War. Welfare always breeds contempt, in nations as much as inner-city housing projects: How dare you tell us how to live! Just give us your money and push off.
Unfortunately, Germany is no longer an economic powerhouse. As Angela Merkel pointed out a year ago, for Germany an Obama-sized stimulus was out of the question simply because its foreign creditors know there are not enough young Germans around ever to repay it. Over 30 percent of German women are childless; among German university graduates, it's over 40 percent. And for the ever-dwindling band of young Germans who make it out of the maternity ward there's precious little reason to stick around. Why be the last handsome blond lederhosen-clad Aryan lad working the late shift at the beer garden in order to prop up singlehandedly entire retirement homes? And that's before the EU decides to add the Greeks to your burdens. Germans, who retire at 67, are now expected to sustain the unsustainable 14 monthly payments per year of Greeks who retire at 58.
Think of Greece as California: Every year an irresponsible and corrupt bureaucracy awards itself higher pay and better benefits paid for by an ever-shrinking wealth-generating class. And think of Germany as one of the less-profligate, still-just-about-functioning corners of America such as my own state of New Hampshire: Responsibility doesn't pay. You'll wind up bailing out, anyway. The problem is there are never enough of "the rich" to fund the entitlement state, because in the end it disincentivizes everything from wealth creation to self-reliance to the basic survival instinct, as represented by the fertility rate. In Greece, they've run out Greeks, so they'll stick it to the Germans, like French farmers do. In Germany, the Germans have only been able to afford to subsidize French farming because they stick Americans with their defense tab. And, in America, Obama, Pelosi and Reid are saying we need to paddle faster to catch up with the Greeks and Germans. What could go wrong?