“Thank you for your comment. However, I do not at all assume internet providers in the US don't collude. Quite the opposite - either they collude or they have regional monopolies. Which is why I said the problem in the US is lack of real competition.”
“We had a non-neutral, telecom-controlled system in France. It was called Minitel. The US-based internet with its incredible innovation and easy access simply blew it out of the water.
The irony is that we in France today don't fear internet discrimination. Our telecom operators are locked in life-or-death competition, none of them has a dominant position in any geographic area, and changing operators is free of charge. If say Orange were to offer "dirt roads" for some sites, their users will simply switch to SFR or Free. (The useful role of Free - that's the name of the company - cannot be overstated. It was competition by that upstart that forced Orange and SFR to end their collusion, vastly increase broadband speed, and cut their prices threefold. There is no doubt in my mind that Free will also remain net neutral.)
The reason broadband is slow in the US is IMO lack of real competition in many geographic areas. Net neutrality is at risk for the same reason.”
scotlandzking on Nov 5, 2013 at 06:58:46
“The problem with your logic is that you assume the Internet companies in the U.S. don't collude, but they absolutely do. Moreover, they have virtual monopolies as they are generally very regional. The consumer, vastly speaking, does not have a choice to switch carriers. The corporate cartels made sure to carve out an exception for themselves in the anti-monopoly rules and regulation. This is why it is such a detrimental action to consumers. America loves to use the term "freedom" for virtually everything, but that's just nostalgic rhetoric that comes from know-nothings on policy, legality, or reality.”
GliderRider on Nov 5, 2013 at 05:08:17
“Thanks for that excellent, informative post.”
Colonel Broncor on Nov 5, 2013 at 04:12:36
“Minitel wasn't internet though.
Only thing you could do was online purchases, make train reservations, check stock prices, search the telephone directory, have a mail box,...
It was pretty cool and way ahead of it's time, 1982 I think it was. Im America Fax machines were the latest hit, and France already had Minitel...”
“I never said it was okay. I was and am upset that the old myth of Gypsies stealing white children has been resurrected with such a vengeance. It's a specific accusation and it happens to be unfounded. That other possible accusations are not unfounded does not change that.”
“The "huge swathes of their cities" you refer to are the banlieues I mention; and although immigrants constitute a large proportion of their inhabitants (the reason being that immigrants constitute a large proportion of the lower classes) they are not the only ones living there. I work in a hotel and often have people from those districts ask for a room, but although I hate to admit it, they often cause trouble - whether they're Muslim, African or French. Especially the young men among them have developed a subculture which is dismissive of the general society and its rules. The immigrant population living in the banlieues does in a way integrate - but into the subculture, not the general culture. It's a problem France has struggled with for decades but is not close to solving.
And we do indeed agree on the possible consequences of the niqab ban.
probableclean77 on Oct 25, 2013 at 16:52:11
“Hans. The issue in France according to the contacts I have there - Paris/Lyon/Bordeaux - is that the banlieues and their influences are spreading. Much as a similar sub-culture among young black kids here is spreading into 'mainstream' culture.
Yr comment conc integrating into the subculture is illuminating in the extreme, and worth further investigation. The any niqab ban here in the UK will have two opposing effects (1) it'll fuel niqab martyrs as we already agree on and (b) it'll appeal to the Right wing of politics. Maybe it'll take some the sting out of the Far Right, maybe, just maybe..”
“I doubt they want to assimilate you into their culture. However, I agree that the situation in the UK is different from that in France. I used to live in Holland, where assimilation is not strong and perhaps not desired. Like the UK, Holland is not a traditional immigration country. For decades the myth was kept up that immigrants from Turkey and Morocco were only there "temporarily" and would one day go back home. Integration ran contrary to that idea. France is different: like the US, it's always had large numbers of immigrants (including myself), and despite the present rise of xenophobia, the culture is tuned towards integration of ethnic minorities (though not, unfortunately, towards integration of socially backward classes, notably "banlieue" dwellers). The niqab ban thwarted that integration more than it furthered it. Even so, hijabs - while more common than before - are still much more rare than they are in Holland.
I haven't often been to the UK, but my impression is nonetheless that your country is moving towards integration as opposed to the "separate but equal" mentality that still dominates in Holland and Germany.
Be that as it may, I think in all European countries banning the niqab is attacking a symbol rather than solving a problem.”
probableclean77 on Oct 25, 2013 at 03:23:30
“HansB. I cannot agree with you conc France. They have huge swathes of their cities which are but closed off to non-immigrants, by the immigrants themselves. France has also a long standing issue with how to further integration, not because the French themselves are especially anti it, but that they have second and third generation immigrants - ie people born and raisedd in France, and thus French citizens - who have not and will not assimilate..
Where we agree is on yr final sentence. If we in the UK are not careful we'll create a bunch of Niquab martyrs...”
carrots 67 on Oct 24, 2013 at 20:19:18
“If you lived in Holland you would know that it is not a country,get your facts right”
“The six births in ten months were a patent case of welfare fraud, not of child stealing. I'm not saying these parents are innocent of all crime. I'm saying Roma are no more likely than any other group to steal children.
Also they have themselves said the child is not biologically theirs, and together with the DNA analysis, that settles it. She's not biologically theirs. But that doesn't mean she was stolen.
If she was stolen, which is possible but I think unlikely, this would be the first time a child-stealing accusation against Roma is confirmed. There have been thousands such accusations in tens of countries over hundreds of years, and not one of them turned out to be true.
The prejudice did not start with the Greek case, but existed for centuries, and during all those centuries it was indeed "formed for no reason".”
karen1963yorks on Oct 25, 2013 at 12:11:36
“Massive welfare fraud? Well suddenly I feel terrible for suspecting these people with their stash of drugs and guns and one trivial spare child were criminals. Well if the 10 sets of documentation were just for welfare fraud then thats ok then.
Its not like Greece cant afford it.”
Trouble45 on Oct 24, 2013 at 20:31:21
“No, they said the child wasn't their's AFTER the DNA test verified the fact. Just because there's no other documented cases doesn't mean it hasn't happened. There hasn't always been DNA evidence has there? Let's face it, without DNA evidence to prove the contrary then the arrested couple in this would've had their word taken wouldn't they - screaming racial harrassment all the while. As for the other birth certificates - there's evidence, being followed up by the police, that of the fourteen children in total involved, that at least six are real and they are tracing live children. I think you really need to stop trying to condone this and face the facts of the here and now, not a few centuries in the past.”
“Well, while I am no fan of niqab bans, Bhokara is in fact understating the dates. Even the Old Testament refers to head-to-toe covering of women; that's how Jacob was tricked into marrying Leah.
The Muslim tradition of covering women's hair and often faces is actually a tradition of Middle Eastern nomadic peoples. If I'm not mistaken, the Quran does not impose it. This is one of the arguments often heard in favor of niqab or veil bans: such a ban does not restrict religious freedom, because religion doesn't come into it. It's just tradition, mistakenly taken as a religious symbol.
In any case the statement that niqabs and hijabs and the like existed in the 6th century is correct.”
“A niqab ban like the one we have in France is a kneejerk reaction: thoughtless and usually counterproductive. People don't want women to cover their faces - neither do I - and the easy solution seems to be, outlaw it.
But the niqab is only the most visible symptom of gender inequality. Banning it does not solve the underlying problem, quite the opposite. When a minority is stigmatized, it does not assimilate; it turns inwards. When it does not feel accepted by the greater society, it does not accept its values but refutes them.
Legislative Muslim-bashing in France kept the number of niqabs approximately stable - that is, close to zero - but veils and hijabs are much more common than they used to be.
Assimilation through force sounds easy, but in practice is less likely to succeed than assimilation through tolerance and neighborliness.”
R West on Oct 24, 2013 at 18:55:39
“Precisely! Very well put. Thank you for bringing some relief to the intolerance of the 55%”
probableclean77 on Oct 24, 2013 at 18:12:50
“HansB. Yr right..to a point.. Where I fundamentally disagree with you is on yr point conc assimilation. Here in the UK large swathes of the towns with a high percentage of Muslims show a total lack of integration or assimilation.. Put simply there a large numbers of Muslims here who us to assimilate into their culture rather than the other way around. It's part of a largere Islamisation prgramme...”
“Oh! So just to get this straight: since blue eyes and blonde hair are regressive traits, it is quite possible and even common for people with dark eyes and dark hair to have blonde, blue-eyed children. They, therefore, must be investigated.
However, it is genetically speaking practically impossible, in any case extremely rare, for blue-eyed people to have brown-eyed children, but since blue-eyed people are nice, law-abiding citizens, there's no need to be suspicious.
Did I get that right?
Let me add that there has never been a single documented case, in any country or in any period of time, of Roma stealing children. There have, however, been many documented cases of white pedophiles stealing children.
Therefore, we must be suspicious when Roma have children who don't look like them, and trusting when white people do.
“Prejudice may often be formed for a reason, but sometimes it is formed for no reason. The Roma have been accused of stealing children for hundreds of years, just as Jews were prior to WW II, but there is not one single documented case of that having actually happened. Not one. However, Roma children have often been forcibly taken away from their parents.
The stark truth is that the children most likely to be taken from their families are Roma, and the people most likely to do it are white.”
jonsiduk on Oct 24, 2013 at 18:06:34
Trouble45 on Oct 24, 2013 at 17:46:24
“Sorry HansB, but all the evidence recently points to kids being stolen as fact in this particular case; fake birth certificates - six births in ten MONTHS from the SAME mother is basically not physically possible let alone anything else. Also non matching DNA of either 'parent' against little Maria is also a HUGE indicator that it's not their child. I think this IS now a 'documented case' of children being taken by the Roma. *They* say they adopted her; but there's no paperwork to support - real or fake. Others in the family are still maintaining it *is* their daughter and still others say the little girl was found wandering and was taken in out of 'kindness' - so not the same story from anyone in the same family. All very, VERY suspect to anyone with sense.”
“In France, the situation was better - including for Muslim women - before the niqab ban. Longstanding practice had been to ban not only niqabs but even veils in schools. But outside of school, there was no ban. President Chirac officialized this practice, supposedly to protect the secular nature of French public schools, but in reality no doubt to protect Muslim schoolgirls against unemancipated tradition. It was a popular law especially among Muslim girls and women. Before being passed it was duly discussed with Muslim representatives, who subsequently advised their communities to comply. The result was that Muslim women seldom wore veils, let alone niqabs, having become used to not covering their hair or faces at school.
Then under Sarkozy the issue was politicized, and Muslim-bashing became common. Unlike Chirac's law, the niqab ban was a scarcely veiled attempt to stigmatize an entire group of people, and it was felt as such. Veils and hijabs - which are allowed - have since become common as the Muslim community turned inwards. The niqab ban was a bad law. It freed no one, quite the opposite, while jeapordizing the assimilation of many.
Assimilation is a complicated process, and force often backfires.”
“The myth that Gypsies steal children goes back to the Middle Ages. It's been the excuse for any number of crimes against them. Today, these three stories - the one in Greece, where no child stealing has been proved yet, and the two in Ireland where the parents were proved innocent - are breathing new life into the old prejudice. When seeing Roma, people will be anxious and keep their children close. The myth will be confirmed by the slightest event - "A Roma smiled at my daughter! Certainly to lure her away". The prejudice will take on a life of its own, just like it did so often in the darker periods of our European history.”
jmmcmkn on Oct 25, 2013 at 05:26:42
The last thing in reality Gypsies need is to steal any kids as they are knee deep in their own If the old women who lived in a shoe existed she was probably a Gypsy. It now looks like the Greek kid was actually a Bulgarian Roma kid given to the Greek Roma couple by her Bulgarian Roma couple who already had so many kids of their own they couldn't afford to feed her. Nobody was abducted well apart from by the Greek police.”
Paul Isclosed on Oct 24, 2013 at 15:50:57
“It's not a myth if it actually happens though...”
“My sister was adopted. No one ever accused my parents of buying or kidnapping her. The only reason you use the word "probably" is because the caregivers are Roma. And there is a long tradition of Roma being falsely accused of stealing children.
It may be the Greek girl was abducted. But it's not probable at all. What's probable is that the police and the media jumped the gun due to anti-Roma bias. That was certainly the case with the Irish child. The Roma have no right to the presumption of innocence everyone else is accorded. The presumption is that of guilt, always.”
Tigerbob on Oct 24, 2013 at 12:46:47
“A lot of anti-Roma bias is caused by the Roma's actions themselves. What do they actually bring to this country?”