Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/24/2016

The leader of the Pirate Party in Germany was arrested by police for citing the poem that a TV satirist is being investigated (and possibly prosecuted) for. The same law that forbids insulting a foreign head of state — in this case, Turkish President Recep “Goatlover” Erdogan — was used to justify the arrest.

In other news, in the first round of the Austrian presidential election, Norbert Hofer, the candidate for the FPÖ (Freedom Party) did much better than any of the other parties. The two main parties won’t even be represented in the run-off, in which Mr. Hofer will face the candidate for the Greens.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to acuara, AF, C. Cantoni, Dean, Insubria, JD, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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Good News for a Change

I’m not posting all of this news item, but I’ll guarantee you’ll want to follow the link. It’s good news for a change. Let’s take a moment off from looking at the harsh reality we see all the time. Instead, let’s have us some genuine social justice without a SJW in sight.

[That specious term is a redundancy since all of it – justice and injustice – is surely “social” in nature. That’s why the easily offended had to come up with a phrase signifying their exquisitely special ability to self-generate hurt feelings. Fragile flowers need delicate handling if they’re to make it through life without puddling the floor at the sight of a Bully.]

Enjoy the story:

Standing before Judge Lou Olivera was a retired Special Forces Green Beret sergeant who was in Cumberland County veterans court on April 12 for violating probation.

“Every two weeks we go to veterans court, and my urinalysis test had come back positive,” Joe Serna, 41, says. “I denied it at first.”

But Serna later came clean and told the judge he had been dishonest with the court.

Olivera sentenced Serna to a night in lockup and told him to report back to court the next day for incarceration.

Olivera had hoped to have Serna serve his time in a holding cell at the Fayetteville Police Department, but Chief Harold Medlock told the judge the cell is now used for storage.

“But I’m friends with the chief of police in Lumberton and called him, and he said he would call the Sheriff’s Office and they were willing to do it,” Medlock says.

Serna reported for his punishment, where he was met by the judge.

“When Joe first came to turn himself in, he was trembling,” says Olivera, a veteran, too, who served in the Gulf War. “I decided that I’d spend the night serving with him.”

And down Interstate 95 south, the judge drove this nervous veteran.

“Where are we going, judge?” Serna asked.

“We’re going to turn ourselves in,” Olivera said.

“He said he was going to stay with me,” Serna said. “I couldn’t process a judge being my cellmate.

“They take me to the cell, and I’m sitting on my bunk. And, then, in walks the judge.


This is from the Fayetteville (North Carolina) local paper.

Be sure to read through to the end. Get yourself some feel-good endorphins…
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Storm in the Turkish Bazaar

In the last few days the “Insulting Erdogan” row has expanded to include the Netherlands as well as Germany. Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan has compiled a report on the latest goings-on.

Note: Translated vulgarities are included in this post. Some have been elided with asterisks; others haven’t. For the sake of sensitive readers, the unelided naughtiness has been placed below the jump.

Storm in the Turkish bazaar
by H. Numan

Yesterday the journalist Ebru Emar was arrested by the Turkish police. She holds dual nationality: Dutch and Turkish. Unlike 99% of her countrymen with dual passports, she is rather outspoken about it, not in favor. Nor is she a fan of Erdogan’s. She wrote critically about Turkey, Turkish culture and the great Erdogan himself no less. For those reasons she was arrested. The first thing the police did was drag her into a hospital, to get written confirmation she was not mistreated. I wonder: is that standard Turkish police procedure? Or something they only do when they arrest foreign journalists? What happens after they got that confirmation? Questions, questions…

The Dutch prime minister has tweeted he will closely monitor this case, and might even ask the Turkish ambassador some strict questions. If Erdogan doesn’t object to that, of course. Ebru was released from imprisonment, but is not allowed to leave the country.

Why was she arrested? you probably ask. Well, last week the Turkish consulate opened a complaint site. They advertised — in Turkish — in Dutch newspapers soliciting information on derogatory remarks about the Turkish president. When asked by the media and later the government they claimed ‘it was a misunderstanding’, they were merely collecting general information.

A week previously Jan Boehmermann, a German comedian, said that Erdogan has intercourse with goats. This is the standard insult of muslims in both Germany and Holland: to address them with their favorite past-time. Geitenneukers, or goatf***ers in English. The recipients quite understand, and are suitably mortally offended. Theo van Gogh was murdered only after he called muslims goatf***ers in public on TV. He would have been murdered anyway, but this might very well be what drove Mohammed Bouyeri over the edge.

Erdogan went ballistic and demanded this comedian be prosecuted. Angela Merkel duly allowed that, and lost (again) a lot of votes over it. Under German law comedians and cartoonists are normally allowed to do pretty much what they want. The chancellor must decide in case of insult to a foreign head of state. The same principle works more or less also under Dutch law, but individuals may file complaints to the police (as happened in the current Wilders case).

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Reliance of the Traveller: Don’t Leave Home Without It!

Our longtime reader and commenter Yokel sends this note about his experience in a culturally enriched London bookshop:

I was in London yesterday and passed an Islamic bookshop on my way. Not being in a rush, I sauntered in while carrying the ham sandwich I had just bought in a shop nearby. I was greeted by a native English-speaker (from her lack of Urdu intonation), hijabbed, but not niqabbed. She appeared to be alone in the shop, though her man was probably in the back room.

I asked for a copy of Reliance of the Traveller*, in the translation approved by Al-Azhar. “Oh, we haven’t had that in for a very long time. I think it is out of print,” she said.

“Well”, says I, “I’ll have to look on Amazon, then.”

“You might just be lucky and find a secondhand copy,” came her reply.

And so I left to open and eat my ham sandwich.

Of course, searching on Amazon UK for Reliance of the Traveller gives me a page with nine entries for Reliance and seven other books, mostly by Counterjihad authors such as (in order of appearance): Stephen Coughlin, Mark Durie, Bat Ye’or, Nonie Darwish, Paul Revere.

So she turned down a cash sale in an attempt to keep a kafir ignorant! Words fail me. OK, they don’t; but they are not printable in polite company.

Obviously, the best way to be certain you can find a copy of Reliance in an Islamic bookstore is to put on a fake beard (no moustache), wear a nightgown, and paint a zebiba on your forehead using eye shadow. Kuffar who are skilled at mimicry could also adopt a “Bangla” accent to help clinch the deal.

*   ’Umdat al-salik wa ’uddat al-nasik, or The reliance of the traveller and tools of the worshipper. It is commonly referred to as Reliance of the Traveller when cited in English.

The Revised Edition (published 1991, revised 1994) is “The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law ’Umdat al-Salik by Ahmad ibn Naqib al-Misri (d. 769/1368) in Arabic with Facing English Text, Commentary, and Appendices”, edited and translated by Nuh Ha Mim Keller. The publisher is listed as amana publications in Beltsville, Maryland.

This is an authoritative source on Sunni Islamic law, because it is certified as such by Al-Azhar University in Cairo. There is no higher authority on Sunni Islamic doctrine than Al-Azhar; it is the closest equivalent to the Vatican that can be found in Islam.

The Atlantic Charter: Its Relevance Today

As President Barack Hussein Obama departs Britain for Germany, he leaves in his wake a large number of angry Britons — most prominently London Mayor Boris Johnson — who publicly express their resentment at Mr. Obama’s interference in Britain’s internal affairs in his lobbying against a “Brexit”.

The following guest-essay by Nick McAvelly compares the current situation with a meeting in August 1941 between Sir Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt that resulted in the Atlantic Charter.

The Atlantic Charter: Its Relevance Today

by Nick McAvelly

In August 1941, Winston Churchill, the wartime Prime Minister of Great Britain, sailed across the Atlantic in HMS Prince of Wales to meet Franklin Roosevelt,[1] who was at that time President of what Churchill called ‘the most powerful state and community in the world’,[2] the United States of America.

The President’s ‘special advisor’ Harry Hopkins[3] was aboard HMS Prince of Wales during the voyage. Hopkins had been visiting the United Kingdom in July 1941. According to the Soviet Ambassador Ivan Maisky, Hopkins had ‘entered the room’[4] while Churchill was reading a ‘personal message’[5] from Josef Stalin, in which the Soviet leader asked for military assistance. Subsequently, Hopkins met with Maisky at the American embassy and persuaded him that he, Hopkins, ought to visit the Soviet Union. Hopkins’ goal, according to Maisky, was to do whatever he could to ‘bring Roosevelt and Stalin closer’.[6]

Maisky facilitated the trip by writing a personal instruction inside Hopkins’ passport which said that he should be allowed into the Soviet Union. Hopkins duly arrived in Moscow before the end of the month.[7] So it was that when Winston Churchill arrived at Scapa Flow to board Prince of Wales, he found Hopkins waiting for him, having returned to Britain exhausted following his marathon journey.[8] It is an interesting historical fact that the unelected Harry Hopkins met Josef Stalin in Moscow before Roosevelt and Churchill met as leaders of their two nations during World War II.

In Newfoundland, at this first wartime summit between America and Great Britain, the President suggested that a document be drawn up which would establish ‘certain broad principles which should guide our policies along the same road’.[9] An initial draft was drawn up by Alexander Cadogan of the Foreign Office,[10] and after some discussion and relatively minor alterations, the declaration was deemed acceptable by both Americans and Britons.[11] This document came to be known as the Atlantic Charter.[12]

Churchill made the most of this meeting with Roosevelt, speaking in a radio broadcast on 24th August 1941 of ‘the deep underlying unities’ shared by their two countries, and claiming that their meeting symbolised the coming together of ‘the good forces of the world against the evil forces which are now so formidable and triumphant and which have cast their cruel spell over the whole of Europe and a large part of Asia.’[13] On the Sunday morning of 10th August 1941, when President Roosevelt came aboard HMS Prince of Wales together with hundreds of US Navy personnel to attend Divine Service, who would have disagreed with him? Here are Churchill’s words:

‘This service was felt by us all to be a deeply moving expression of the unity of faith of our two peoples, and none who took part in it will forget the spectacle presented that sunlit morning on the crowded quarterdeck – the symbolism of the Union Jack and Stars and Stripes draped side by side on the pulpit; the American and British chaplains sharing in the reading of the prayers; the highest naval, military, and air officers of Britain and the United States grouped in one body behind the President and me; the close-packed ranks of British and American sailors, completely inter-mingled, sharing the same books and joining fervently together in the prayers and hymns familiar to both.’[14]

It is not difficult for a Briton living in the 21st century to see the United States of America as our natural allies in any military conflict. Unlike the alliance with the Soviet Union during the war, which was born of necessity and was forever tainted by the duplicity and barbarism of the Soviets,[15] the Americans have shown many times that they are our true brothers in arms, and that they are willing to fight with us to preserve our way of life.

What are those ‘common principles’, those ‘deep underlying unities’ which both countries share, and for which so many good men and women gave their lives during the war? Let us look at point three of the Atlantic Charter, that joint declaration made by the leaders of our two countries in 1941:

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Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/23/2016

During her trip to Turkey, German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited a refugee camp in Gaziantep in southeast Turkey, accompanied by EU Council President Donald Tusk, EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Critics of the gesture maintain that the camp Mrs. Merkel visited had been “sanitized”, and did not show the actual conditions that refugees in the area suffer.

In other news, eight people were murdered execution-style in four different locations in Ohio. All the victims were members of the same family, and the youngest was sixteen. Police have a person of interest in custody, but at least one additional perpetrator is thought to be at large.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Dean, DV, Insubria, JD, LP, MM, Murad, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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René Girard on the “Ontological Sickness”

Below is the latest essay by Thomas F. Bertonneau. The author includes this explanatory note:

The original of this essay first appeared at the now-dormant Brussels Journal on 11 December 2014. It was my last article to appear at that website before its dormancy. For republication at Gates of Vienna I have undertaken a major revision including the addition of an extensive set of “Afterthoughts.”

René Girard on the “Ontological Sickness”

by Thomas F. Bertonneau

This essay concerns the anthropology of the late René Girard (1923-2015), but it will be useful to begin with a slight detour.

Owen Barfield (1898-1997), the English philologist and literary critic, is not an author whom one casually connects with the natively French but long-naturalized American anthropological thinker René Girard, but one of Barfield’s coinages — the concept of “internalization,” which he develops in his History in English Words (1926) — makes a good introduction to Girard’s concept of “ontological sickness,” the proposed topic of the present discussion. Barfield uses his term “internalization” to designate an essential characteristic of modernity that can be traced back to the late Seventeenth Century only to reach a degree of alarming acuity three hundred and fifty years later. In both the Pagan order and the medieval Christian order, people grasped nature as vital and as having a reciprocal relation with the individual human being. This perception is rooted partly in the agricultural pattern of the classical and medieval societies, but is also powerfully intuitive irrespective of its context. Human beings under this intuition share the cosmos with other beings of various hierarchical orders, some of whom exert influence on people, as the planets and stars supposedly do according to the precepts of astrology. One need not take the propositions of the astrologer literally in acknowledging that, even by modern, skeptical criteria, his nowadays much-disparaged cosmic science grasps an essential truth: That every creature has an environment, with whose fluctuations the creature’s life remains intimately entangled.

In Barfield’s historical phenomenology of European consciousness, using the cumulus of meaning-changes of English-language words as his test-case, the modern phase of mental transformation takes the form, seemingly, of a deliberate retreat from the external world, no longer posited as the immediate environment of the percipient subject, with which that subject in reality has vital, reciprocal relations; and that retreat is the same as the de-vitalization and de-sacralization of the world, as remarked by others, most famously Max Weber. Some signs of this alteration, as cited by Barfield, are the degeneration of commonsensical skepticism into dogmatic skepticism; the philosophy of René Descartes, with his reduction of the individual to the cogito; the appearance of words like religionist and religiose which function in a purely pejorative way; and the appearances of other words prefixed with “self,” of which Barfield gives an extensive list. In Barfield’s narrative, the actively participatory consciousness gradually seeks refuge within the close boundaries of its own mind, which it now sees as totally other than the extended world. This mentality describes itself in lifeless, abstract terms. Experiencing itself as pure mind, it describes its environment in equally lifeless, abstract terms. The modern mentality studies the landscape and exploits it, but acknowledges no meaning in it until latterly so-called cognitive science explains consciousness itself as nothing but a meaningless algorithm.

Acknowledging no meaning is not the same, however, as experiencing no meaning. Another way of putting Barfield’s observation would be to describe the modern mentality as shrinking away from meaning — also as shrinking away from the admission that one person owes anything to another person or that lives are not pristinely isolated and immaculate but nastily mixed up with one another and that this is the very structure of human reality. It might well be — it certainly is — the case that the modern obsession with originality and uniqueness is a verbal sham, a game with words whereby the typically modern mentality denies, not only its relation to other living people, but also to the dead, that is, to a tradition that has established the language, the culture, the polity, and indeed the very possibility of having an opinion about any of those things. For a subject obsessed with the image of its independence and boundless creativity, such a qualification is intolerable.

All college and university instructors will testify to the sociological fact that today’s students are obsessed with their cell phones. Why should this be so? What is that urgent as to require such continuous instrumental vigilance? Barfield’s interpretation of modernity offers an explanation why late-adolescents, including tens of millions of chronological adults, are so fixated on handheld communication technology. They are the isolated ego, trapped in the granitic keep of the Cartesian cogito and they are desperately, blindly calling into the void for redemption from their imprisonment. Girard furnishes an explanation, too, as the exposition will show.

Girard’s work, like Barfield’s, offers an historical phenomenology of European consciousness over the last three or four hundred years, that is, the period of the emergence of modernity. Like Barfield, but, using quite different terms, Girard sees modernity as afflicted and in need of redemption; and again like Barfield he sees modern man’s malaise as deepening in its severity since the breakdown of traditional society during the Reformation, with its concerted attack on the meaningfulness of external ritual. The Enlightenment exacerbates the crisis. While I have referred to Girard as “an anthropological thinker,” it should be added that he began his authorial career in literary criticism, with his seminal Deceit Desire & the Novel (1962), a study in the novelistic treatment of envy and resentment from Miguel de Cervantes to Marcel Proust. Where Barfield pursued the metaphysical implications of literature, Girard became fascinated by the way in which sustained narrative reveals seemingly trivial quirks of human behavior that on inspection prove, not trivial, but fundamental, structuring the plot and becoming themes for sustained meditation. Although Deceit Desire & the Novel — in French, Mensonge romantique et vérité romanesque, that is, Romantic Lie and Novelistic Truth — presents itself as a literary study, its anthropological implications make the book exceptional in its genre. It eschews jargon, contents itself with plain language, and prefers observation of life and straightforward reading of the text to abstract theorizing.

What exactly does Girard discover in the Quixote, in Dostoyevsky’s Notes from Underground, and in the novels of Stendhal, Flaubert, and Proust?

Girard discovers only what the novelists themselves have already discovered: “Mediated desire,” “triangular desire,” “external mediation,” and “internal mediation”; not to mention the “subjectivisms and objectivisms, romanticisms and realisms, individualisms and scientisms, idealisms and positivisms” — those ideologies of the sovereign self — that operate “to conceal the presence of the mediator” and so serve “the lie of spontaneous desire” that confers its resentfulness on modernity. In respect of that resentfulness, one would need to add to Girard’s list of dissimulations the distinctively modern theme of oppression by the wicked Other. Girard also discovers, along with his novelist-tutors, the mediated object. That would be the object that the desiring subject sees as originally his because he “does not want to be anyone’s disciple” in his choices; and again because he wishes to see his horizon of interest as “the emanation of a serene subjectivity” and “the creation ex nihilo of a quasi-divine ego” rather than as mere vain imitation, following on others. The first chapter of Deceit begins with a long epigraph from the Quixote in which the Don confesses to Sancho Panza that he has modeled his life after, and therefore adopted the quest (that is, the desire) of, Amadis of Gaul. Amadis was a chivalric hero whose exploits became popular in Spain early in the Sixteenth Century with the appearance of that new medium, the printed book. The Don’s follies are thus explicitly linked, by him, to the phenomenon of mimesis or imitation and through the image of the printed book to modernity.

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Why This is Hell, Nor am I Out of It

We recently received a cash donation by snail-mail from someone who lives in the Chicago area. There was no return address or signature, so we were unable to send the donor a thank-you note.

A card that enclosed the cash was inscribed with this brief note:

If we’re wrong, and they’re right, we’ll be in the best of company in hell.

Thanks for all you do!

Although not entirely apropos, a literary quote was suggested by our donor’s note.

Today is William Shakespeare’s birthday, but the following excerpt is from Scene 3 of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe, a contemporary of Shakespeare’s. Faustus has just conjured up Mephistophilis and is about to negotiate the sale of his soul to Lucifer:

Faustus:   Tell me what is that Lucifer thy lord?
Mephistophilis:   Arch-regent and commander of all spirits.
Faustus:   Was not that Lucifer an angel once?
Mephistophilis:   Yes, Faustus, and most dearly lov’d of God.
Faustus:   How comes it then that he is Prince of devils?
Mephistophilis:   O, by aspiring pride and insolence;
For which God threw him from the face of Heaven.
Faustus:   And what are you that you live with Lucifer?
Mephistophilis:   Unhappy spirits that fell with Lucifer,
Conspir’d against our God with Lucifer,
And are for ever damn’d with Lucifer.
Faustus:   Where are you damn’d?
Mephistophilis:   In hell.
Faustus:   How comes it then that thou art out of hell?
Mephistophilis:   Why this is hell, nor am I out of it.
Think’st thou that I who saw the face of God,
And tasted the eternal joys of Heaven,
Am not tormented with ten thousand hells,
In being depriv’d of everlasting bliss?
O Faustus! leave these frivolous demands,
Which strike a terror to my fainting soul.

Many thanks to our new mystery donor. You know who you are, but I sure don’t!

Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/22/2016

Barack Hussein Obama paid a visit to Britain to urge the British to vote to remain in the European Union. London Mayor Boris Johnson criticized Mr. Obama, saying that the latter has an “ancestral aversion” to Britain due to his Kenyan roots. Mr. Obama responded by expressing how much he loves Winston Churchill.

In other news, the Obama administration negotiated a deal with Iran whereby the United States will purchase 32 tons of nuclear material for a cost of $8.6 million.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Caroline Glick, Fjordman, Guest, Insubria, JD, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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Tommy Robinson Attacked by Muslim in Luton

Tommy Robinson was physically attacked today by an angry Muslim in his hometown of Luton. Below are excerpts from the Breitbart report on the incident:

PEGIDA’s Tommy Robinson Attacked in Street by Muslim Man: ‘Are You Racist!?’

British PEGIDA leader Tommy Robinson has been attacked in the street by a Muslim man demanding to know if he is, “a racist”.

The video, which was caught live on Mr. Robinson’s Periscope page, shows him being approached in a car park by a man in full Muslim dress, demanding to know whether Mr. Robinson is “racist” or not.

Mr. Robinson explained the incident to Breitbart London, stating that he was going to a builder’s warehouse in Bury Park, Luton when he was “beeped at” by a man in a car and ushered over.

“That’s when I started recording [on Periscope],” Mr. Robinson explained, “Coz I knew what it was gonna be”.

The video shows a man getting out of a car, urging Mr. Robinson to “jump into my car”.

At that point, Mr. Robinson refuses, stating, “I’m just going about my business, working bruv”.

After a few seconds the man exits the car, asking repeatedly, “Are you racist? Are you racist?”

Mr. Robinson replied, “I don’t like Islam” — to which the man asks, “Why?” before slapping the phone out of Mr. Robinson’s hands and allegedly (off camera) proceeding to punch him repeatedly in the face.

The video adapted from Periscope may be troubling to some viewers, even though the violence occurs off-camera, so I’ve put the embed below the jump. Warning: you can also hear some salty language in it. It’s low-quality stuff, although Vlad Tepes has enhanced the sound so that you can hear more of what is being said in the background:

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Robert Spencer on the Basics of Islam, Subtitled in Polish and Turkish

Below are two versions of the same video, subtitled in Polish and Turkish respectively. This talk by Robert Spencer is the second installment of a series on “The Basics of Islam”, entitled “Is Islam a Religion of Peace?”

Many thanks to Green Infidel for the Polish translation, to Tanya for the Turkish translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:



Polish transcript:

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Angela’s Turkish Delight

The following article from FOCUS Online examines the internal German political context surrounding Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision to allow a television satirist to be investigated and possibly prosecuted for insulting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Many thanks to JLH for the translation:

Abolition of Paragraph 103, But Not Until 2018: The Trick Merkel Uses to Provide Erdogan an Exclusive Right

by Wolfgang Kubicki

April 18, 2016

The Chancellor allowed investigation of [the television presenter Jan] Böhmermann and simultaneously announced the abolition of paragraph 103 of the penal code — but not until 2018. The reason for this postponement: otherwise, Böhmermann could not be punished. That is how Merkel allows Erdogan the exclusive right to a proprietary complaint of statutory offense in the Federal Republic of Germany.

Last Friday the federal chancellor was deservedly the object of strong criticism for her decision on how to handle the Böhmermann affair. It is noteworthy that she was visited with incandescent fury about her granting of permission to prosecute in accordance with paragraph 104a of the criminal code, not only by artists or TV functionaries or journalists, but also by her coalition partners, the SPD. Immediately after the chancellor [had spoken], Social-Democratic cabinet members Heiko Maas and Frank-Walter Steinmeier explained the reasons for their disapproval. With reference to the freedoms of opinion, press and art as the “greatest protected values in our constitution”, they expressed regret that they could do nothing, when the chancellor overruled them in a standoff.

Alleged heroic battle

This alleged heroic battle for our basic values was framed by commentaries from the usual red cheerleaders, such as the moralist whiz kid of the SPD, vice chair Ralf Stegner. He spoke of Angela Merkel’s “disgrace” and acknowledged his colleagues for deciding in favor of “reason” while the chancellor had decided “against it”.

What the SPD leadership describes as extraordinarily valiant is, in its effect, pitiful. If the SPD leadership had really been concerned about preserving one of the greatest treasures of our constitution, they would have had to take the confrontation with the chancellor all the way — and not simply swallowed her vote in the cabinet.

The fact that Steinmeier and Maas did not seek this battle indicates that there are more important things for the Social-Democrats than the most important legal protections of our constitution — namely, being able to point a finger of reproach at the chancellor.

So the question arises: How weak has the rich-in-tradition SPD become, if it seriously believes in its ability to celebrate a defeat in power politics in something so crucial?

Why does the abolition not take effect until 2018?

Far more consequential for the relationship to our basic values is the federal government’s announcement of its intention to abolish paragraph 103 of the criminal code. The question is, if the government now decides that the norm for lèse majesté does not suit the times, why is there a quick decision for a change in the law, which does not take effect for two years?

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Gates of Vienna News Feed 4/21/2016

The European Central Bank has decided to hold its benchmark refinancing rate at 0%, leaving open the possibility of new “stimulus” measures. Meanwhile, Germany has revised its forecast of growth for 2017 to 1.5%, down from 1.7% this year.

In other news, Pope Francis took to Twitter to urge the faithful to display solidarity on climate change, which he considers a major challenge to humanity.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Dean, Fjordman, Insubria, Vlad Tepes, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

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Be Jubilant, My Feet!

A week ago today the battery charge against Tommy Robinson was dismissed by the bench (panel) of the Peterborough Magistrates’ Court. Thanks to the generosity of his supporters all over the world, Tommy walked out of court that afternoon a free man.

The next day, during a proverbial chat beside the stove, Dymphna and I were discussing this marvelous outcome. She wondered out loud about what would happen to Tommy: “They didn’t lock him up. They haven’t been able to kill him. What’s next?”

“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe it’s time for Tommy to trample out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored.”*

My sense was (and is) that the wind is beginning to shift. Tommy’s belated escape from “justice” is just one instance of good news in an area that has produced virtually nothing but bad news for more than a decade.

Change is now in the air. Helmut Kohl has met with Viktor Orbán. Geert Wilders is the most popular politician in the Netherlands. The Sweden Democrats prevailed in a court case about asylum housing for “refugees”. Alternative for Germany (AfD) achieved major gains during recent regional elections in Germany, and its “Islamophobic” platform now makes daily headlines in the German media.

And Tommy Robinson is still alive. He isn’t even in prison.

The deck is stacked against us. Yet we seem to be on a roll. How can that be?

Twelve years ago, before Theo Van Gogh was murdered by a mujahid, we thought we could say what we liked. Now we know better. Anyone who has been paying attention knows they can get dead with no warning if they say bad things about Islam.

It’s called “self-censorship”. It only takes a couple of jihad operatives with carefully targeted lethal violence, and PRESTO! Infidels enforce sharia anti-blasphemy laws on themselves. A low-cost victory for the jihad; very effective.

The treatment of Tommy Robinson by law enforcement and the “justice” system achieves a similar end. Yes, Tommy prevailed in the end. But he spent months in solitary, lost his teeth, and nearly lost his life. How many people will be willing to go through that just to be able to say, “Islam is not just a religion; it’s a totalitarian political ideology”?

No, thanks. I want to keep my teeth and my life. I’ll pass.

The treatment of Geert Wilders accomplished the same purpose. He’s the leader of the most popular party in the Netherlands, yet he has to live his life like a hunted fugitive, surrounded 24/7 by armed bodyguards, with no opportunity to live like a free man ever again.

Who wants to endure that, just for the privilege of saying, “Islam is not just a religion; it’s a totalitarian political ideology”?

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