California lawmakers vote to expand gun restraining orders — but ACLU says bill goes too far

California, and a handful of other states, have laws that allow family members, roommates, and law enforcement to request a restraining order to remove firearms from an individual who has shown signs of dangerous behavior.

On Monday, according to KOVR-TV, California lawmakers voted in favor of a bill expanding that power to employers, co-workers and school personnel.

ACLU, Republicans join in opposition

But the American Civil Liberties Union, rarely a conservative ally, says the bill goes too far, and joined some California Republicans in expressing concern over the measure.

The ACLU said in a statement that measures restricting those with mental health issues from buying or owning a gun “are too often not evidence-based, reinforce negative stereotypes, and raise significant equal protection, due process, and privacy issues.”

“It is not hard to imagine a scenario in which someone might harbor a bias of an irrational fear of a coworker based on that coworker belonging to some minority group that the person dislikes or distrusts,” ACLU advocate Lizzie Bunchen wrote, according to KCRA-TV. “The person subjected to the restraining order is not informed of the court proceeding and therefore has no opportunity to contest the allegations.”

That position aligns the ACLU with gun rights advocacy groups like the Firearm Policy Coalition, which supports the general idea behind the bill but has concerns about civil liberties.

“It is very dangerous when you go after someone’s liberty for some perceived security,” the FPC’s Craig DeLuz said, KCRA reported. “We want to do what we can to make sure we keep firearms out of the hands of individuals who can potentially be a danger to themselves or others. But in any case, we must always be careful of violating civil liberties.”

The sponsor defends his bill

Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting, who sponsored the bill, said the expansion is necessary to cover adults who don’t have connections with family and who live alone.

“Once you move away from home and you’re an adult, you may not spend time with your family,” Ting told the Huffington Post. “You may not have much interaction with law enforcement, but chances are if you’re working, you see your co-workers every day for eight-plus hours a day, and you’re with them not just in the work environment but socially.”

The bill passed the state Assembly 48-25, and will now head to the Senate.

Read more from The Blaze…

PM Stuart defends his stewardship of Barbados ahead of general election

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – Prime Minister Freundel Stuart defended the stewardship of his administration over the last five years, telling Barbadians that difficult situations had required “hard choices”. Stuart, who is leading his Democratic Labour Party into the general election tomorrow, said that the country has had to navigate a difficult global economic environment and that despite that, the policies of his administration were bearing fruit.

Read more from Antigua and Barbuda…

What explains this incredible bubble?

Dear reader,

Our May issue was all about the state of education in America…

And today, we bring you an essay that we couldn’t fit in the magazine… It’s the “missing chapter” that explains the history and rationale behind the incredible rise in student-loan debt.

Read on for more…

Good Intentions and Fiscal Recklessness

By Bryan Beach, financial analyst

Over the past 10 years, students (most of whom have virtually no income) have racked up enormous debts. As of 2017, student debt totals more than $1.5 trillion – the second-largest source of household debt after home mortgages.

Incredibly, that’s what our entire federal government owed a little more than 30 years ago. Virtually all this money was borrowed in only the last 10 years.

The average college student graduates with more than $30,000 in debt… and by his late twenties, has racked up more than $6,000 in credit-card debt. Meanwhile, median earnings for Americans aged 25-34 are $36,000-$40,000.

Can you imagine starting out your adult life with a personal debt-to-income level at close to 100%? What does this say about the state of our economy? What does this say about the state of our culture?

All the signs show that the debt piled on our youth will become another catastrophic bubble in the American economy.

This expansion had nothing to do with real supply and demand or the creation of value. Instead, it was simply an outgrowth of the government’s good intentions and fiscal recklessness…

The government first got into the student-loan business in the late 1950s. President Dwight “Ike” Eisenhower decided the U.S. needed to mint a lot of new engineers and scientists to catch up with the Soviet Union’s first successful efforts in space. So the federal government began providing low-interest-rate college loans to America’s best and brightest…

Then in 1965, Lyndon Johnson changed the focus from national defense to social welfare. As part of the “Great Society” initiatives, the new Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) gave loans to low-income students.

More important, Johnson changed the way the government financed the loans. Instead of loaning students money directly, FFELP loans would be made by banks… but the government would still pick up the tab on defaults. That created an environment where banks could recklessly lend, without any risk of default.

In 1972, Richard Nixon and Congress created the Student Loan Marketing Association (better known as “Sallie Mae”) to service these debts. In 1984, its shares began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Ultimately, Sallie Mae “privatized,” formally cutting its ties with the U.S. government. As we’ll show you, no entity would profit more from Johnson’s gravy train.

Student loans grew steadily and – for the most part – slowly, until around 1992, when the U.S. Congress decided to include for-profit institutions in the official definition of “institution of higher learning.” Suddenly, “for-profit” colleges were eligible to receive financial aid. Two years later, the for-profit University of Phoenix went public… backed by Wall Street’s money.

By 2000, for-profits were spending tens of millions of dollars lobbying in Washington, and the government began encouraging more citizens to pursue higher education.

How Lenders Can Exploit a Broken System

As the 2007-2008 mortgage crisis showed… when you shield lenders and borrowers from the consequences of reckless behavior, they act recklessly. This is the definition of “moral hazard.”

And as you’ll see, the student-loan program has become one vast moral hazard…

For years, Sallie Mae’s business model churned out mountains of cash. It was impossible not to. Sallie Mae got to borrow from government agencies at miniscule rates, loan it to borrowers for high rates… and if the deal went bad, the taxpayers were on the hook.

Starting in the 1990s, politicians began pressing to eliminate the system’s moral hazard by going back to the Sputnik-era direct-loan system. But Sallie Mae and the for-profit colleges were a powerful lobbying force and fended off legislative changes for nearly 15 years.

By 2010, the gig was up. As part of the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010, Congress established that the only entity able to issue government-backed loans would be the U.S. government. That meant Sallie Mae could no longer originate loans backed by the U.S. government. Its gravy train had ended.

To fill the void left by originating FFELP loans, Sallie Mae turned up the heat on another revenue stream – servicing loans held by others. Uncle Sam doesn’t want to be bothered with actually collecting payments. Sallie Mae was happy to do that for a fee.

Sallie Mae quickly recognized that collecting payments on active accounts was a lousy, low-margin business. To really make money in the servicing business, you had to collect delinquent accounts.

This created a new moral hazard… Sallie Mae had no incentive to keep loans current. So it treated the borrowers like dirt. According to various filed and settled claims, Sallie Mae employees intentionally sent confusing or misleading correspondence. They neglected to tell borrowers about loan relief they were entitled to. They called them dozens of times, day and night.

The company’s “bad cop” tactics infuriated borrowers, often making them even less likely to pay. This played right into Sallie Mae’s hands. Once a borrower moved from the “small fee” service-revenue bucket to the “fat percentage” delinquency bucket… Sallie Mae turned on the charm. It brought in its “good cops,” who cooperated with the customers and collected the cash.

It worked. Sallie Mae regularly generated $300 million-$500 million a year in “Contingency Revenue.”

The Tide Turns Against Sallie Mae

Eventually, Sallie Mae’s tactics caught up with it. Frustrated constituents began writing their congressmen. Various media outlets reported on Sallie Mae’s deplorable customer-satisfaction statistics. Thousands of people followed the “I HATE SALLIE MAE” Facebook page. Finally, when it became news that the company had specifically targeted 78,000 military servicemen with its predatory practices… Sallie Mae was officially in Washington’s crosshairs.

The government passed various measures – primarily from 2007-2013 – to ease the borrowers’ burden, including:

  • Allowing students to put off payments if they attend graduate school.
  • Capping the exorbitant “Contingency Fee” plan.
  • Holding servicers accountable for how they treated customers.
  • Implementing “Income-Based Repayment” (“IBR”) and “Pay as You Earn” plans, which cap payments at a percentage of disposable income… or allow borrowers at a certain income level to cease payments altogether. Often, any balances not repaid after 20 years will be forgiven.
  • Allowing graduate students to essentially borrow unlimited amounts under various federal programs (in contrast to capped undergraduate loans).
  • Creating a “not-for-profit loophole,” which forgives the entire outstanding balance after 10 years for any graduate student who becomes a teacher, public defender, or works at a not-for-profit organization.

As always… the government’s best intentions simply gave borrowers license to act recklessly. It shifted the “moral hazard” from the lenders to the borrowers.

Take Bonnie Kurowski-Alicea, a chronic borrower who managed to run up a $209,000 tab earning a doctorate from Capella University in “Industrial Organizational Psychology.” Bonnie couldn’t find a job after earning her online undergraduate degree, so she compounded the problem by piling one useless degree on top of the other. As the Wall Street Journal pointed out, “Dr.” Kurowski-Alicea’s main motivation for earning master’s and doctorate degrees was to postpone repaying her student loans. Her unemployed husband has $75,000 of student loans himself.

Then there’s Virginia Murphy. Her tuition at Tulane Law School was nearly $150,000, and she racked up federal loans of around $250,000 to take care of living expenses. According to the Wall Street Journal, Murphy never had any intention of paying the money back. Loan forgiveness was “the only reason (she) even considered” going to law school. Thanks to the IBR program, Murphy’s monthly payment doesn’t even cover the interest… which means her outstanding balance actually increases every month. As a public defender, her loan balance will be forgiven after 10 years… at which point the outstanding balance will have ballooned to more than $300,000.

The “not-for-profit loophole” was intended for folks like Murphy who, by serving the community as a public defender, is presumably forgoing more lucrative opportunities in the private sector.

But most of the forgiven “not-for-profit” loans will benefit doctors and surgeons. People like Emily Van Kirk and her husband, who managed to rack up $700,000 of debt while attending medical school in St. Maarten. Much of this balance will be forgiven as – like a lot of doctors – the couple plans on working in hospitals. (Uncle Sam must have forgotten that almost 80% of hospitals are “not for profit”… leaving a loophole a mile wide for some of the workforce’s highest wage-earners.)

Many student loans went to honest people who plan on paying back every penny they borrowed.

But some… an awful lot, in fact… had no such plan. Hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt is out there that won’t be or can’t be repaid. And the result is going to be a disaster.

Regards,

Bryan Beach

***

 

If you’re interested in reading more about America’s debt bubble, we recommend the new book, The American Jubilee

Massive amounts of debt have been piled on the weakest in our society. The poor – and especially the young and poor in our country – have no hope of being able to afford the American dream anymore.

When this bubble breaks, it will be an entire generation of young Americans who will suffer.

And it’s not just the size of Americans’ debts that’s the problem… It’s who owes the money that’s the bigger concern. When the rich get in trouble with debt, it’s an economic problem. But when the poor and middle class get in trouble with debt, it’s a political problem.

That’s what makes a national “Debt Jubilee” inevitable. To read more about this problem, click here.

Now on to the latest news…

Far more Americans are having trouble “keeping up” than you realize…

Exclusive: 40% in U.S. can’t afford middle-class basics

At a time of rock-bottom joblessness, high corporate profits, and a booming stock market, more than 40% of U.S. households cannot pay the basics of a middle-class lifestyle.

A fantastic read from American Consequences contributor Matt Labash about writer and reporter Charlie LeDuff in Detroit…

A Little Bit of Real People

“I got love for people,” he says without guile, not a pronouncement you hear generally misanthropic reporters make every day. Charlie saw the Hole getting deeper – more and more falling prey to the effects of corporate greed, government neglect, or personal dissolution.

In the meantime, the New Yorker is reporting on rich folks eating gilded food…

Twenty-Four-Karat Chicken Wings and the Allure of Eating Gold

The whole point of eating Ainsworth’s wings (or the gold-leaf donut that was once sold in Brooklyn, or the maki roll dressed in gilded nori in Tokyo), by contrast, is the languid extravagance of destroying value.Robert Shiller warns on cryptocurrencies with a look back at the rise of “time money” in the 1800s…

The Old Allure of New Money

New ideas for money seem to go with the territory of revolution, accompanied by a compelling, easily understood narrative…Infighting and disorganization inside a left-leaning grassroots group… 

Bernie’s army in disarray

‘Our Revolution’ has shown no ability to tip a major Democratic election in its favor — despite possessing Sanders’ email list, the envy of the Democratic Party — and can claim no major wins in 2018 as its own.

 

Read our latest issues of American Consequences by clicking here.

And let us know what you’re reading at [email protected].

Regards,

Steven Longenecker
With P.J. O’Rourke and the American Consequences Editorial Staff
May 23, 2018

Read more from American Consequences…

Flint activist and stay-at-home mom wins the Goldman Environmental Prize

A stay-at-home mother of four children just won an award often described as the Nobel Prize for the environment. LeeAnne Walters earned the Goldman Environmental Prize for her work spearheading a citizens’ movement to test Flint, Michigan tap water …

Read more from LeeAnne Walters…

More scenes from the decline of Evergreen State College

Last week I wrote about Evergreen State College’s decline in enrollment which is expected to blow a $5.9 million hole in the schools budget for the coming year. A memo outlining the school’s response said some vacancies would remain unfilled and a number of layoffs would be necessary. Today, a piece published by the Wall Street Journal reveals some additional detail on what is coming for Evergreen, including a lawsuit which will be filed this week:

[Police Chief Stacy] Brown ultimately resigned, and this week plans to file a tort claim alleging a hostile work environment. Mr. Weinstein and his wife, who also taught at Evergreen, filed a similar lawsuit last fall. The college demanded their resignation as a condition of its $500,000 settlement.

Chief Brown resigned her position last August after clashing with President Bridges over how best to secure the campus. Brown had been targeted by student protesters from the moment she was sworn in. Students argued that the progressive campus should have no police force or, if it had one, the police should be unarmed at all times. Here’s hoping she wins a large settlement. The WSJ piece goes on to specify the kind of staffing cuts Evergreen is now facing:

Applications for fall 2018 are down 20%. Sandra Kaiser, Evergreen’s vice president for college relations, claims the low application and enrollment numbers may not be as bad as they look because many students commit to Evergreen “at the last moment.”…

Based on fall 2018 enrollment projections, nearly 25 full-time adjuncts will lose their jobs, provost Jennifer Drake wrote in a Feb. 15 email.

It’s worth noting that the $5.9 million budget cut was based on a projected 10% drop in enrollment. If the drop is closer to 20%, the impact on the budget is going to be more significant. While the school is still deflecting as to the reasons for the enrollment decline, the WSJ piece makes clear even some progressive parents of current students felt things had gotten out of hand.

Kirsten Shockey of Oregon had her son enrolled at Evergreen. Her daughter was considering going there too, but after watching the school’s response last year, she dropped it from her list. She tells the WSJ, “The way identity politics played out looked to us like a university going from a place of learning to a new type of anti-intellectualism.” She added, “This is about where the alt-left seems to be taking us.” And it’s not just people looking in from the outside who are sick of the left-wing mob:

Among those who remain, many resent how the administration catered to the most radical students. “I feel like the rest of us are getting dragged through the mud for what’s essentially a Marxist outburst,” said James Stewart, who will graduate from Evergreen this spring.

Last fall, Mr. Stewart conducted an in-depth survey of some 50 students for his statistics class. Almost all called themselves progressive, but Mr. Stewart found “enormous internal backlash, especially from those who are approaching graduation or have a finger on the pulse of what’s happening outside of Evergreen.” More than one-third of the students said “academic mobbing” was a top concern, Mr. Stewart said. “They now feel like they can’t speak their mind without getting attacked.”

Stewart is right about this being a Marxist outburst. The problem is that the school’s president gave the Marxists complete control of the campus rather than restoring order and demanding adults act their age. The results of that decision became evident last year when enrollment dropped 5%, prompting a hiring freeze. If enrollment drops another 10% or even 20% this fall, resulting in dozens of layoffs, it will be difficult to blame this on something other than President Bridges poor handling of the crisis.

At what point do alumni and parents of current students look at this decline and decide it’s going to take a new captain to right the ship? If there’s any justice, President Bridges will be one of the people out of a job in the next academic year.

The post More scenes from the decline of Evergreen State College appeared first on Hot Air.

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Texas Governor Hosts School Security Round Table

Following Friday’s tragic events, it’s not surprising that Texas Governor Greg Abbot is hosting a roundtable on school security. While he and Lt. Governor Dan Patrick have neither advocated for gun control in the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting, they aren’t playing favorites when it comes to inviting groups to the table.

From Guns.com:

Beginning Tuesday, advocates on both sides of the gun debate will join students, parents, teachers and legislators in three days of dialogue regarding hardening schools, improving mental health services, arming teachers and enacting stricter firearm regulations after a teenage gunman killed 10 and wounded 13 others at Santa Fe High School on Friday.

“I am seeking the best solutions to make our schools more secure and to keep our communities safe,” Abbott said. “I look forward to hearing from all sides of the debate, and from expert perspectives on these issues. Working together, we can ensure a safe learning environment for students and safer communities for all Texans.”

Texas Gun Sense said Monday Abbott invited the gun control group to participate in the discussions. Executive Director Gyl Switzer called the opportunity “an honor” and said the group will prioritize discussions on universal background checks, safe storage education, extreme risk protection orders and suicide prevention.

Now, I’m going to interrupt here to say that while I disagree on ERPOs and universal background checks–neither of which, even if they were law, would have prevented the attack as best as I can tell–I actually do agree with safe storage education. This is one of those rare things that I do think we should all get behind.

We’re talking education here, reminding people to secure their damn guns so their kids don’t get hold of them. There’s absolutely nothing to oppose about education campaigns except, maybe, funding. If they’re from a private source, so much the better. It’s a win/win.

Then again, this is a Texas gun control group we’re talking about here. They have to know they’re not going to get away with the same stuff they would up in New York or over in California, so they have to look elsewhere. In this case, they found something I can agree with.

Lt. Gov. Patrick, however, wants to focus on hardening schools.

Friday’s shooting at the suburban Houston high school so far hasn’t inspired the same level of activism witnessed after the Parkland massacre in February. Instead, some Texas officials, including Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, think the problem lies in flawed school design.

“There aren’t enough people to put a guard at every entrance and exit. You would be talking twenty-five-, thirty-, forty thousand people,” Patrick said during a press conference Friday. “But if we can protect a large office building or a courthouse or any major facility, maybe we need to look at limiting the entrance and the exits into our schools so that we can have law enforcement looking at the people who come in one or two entrances.”

Patrick knows this won’t be cheap, but I think he may have a good point.

Then again, I’m worried that it will create bottlenecks that may prove tempting targets for a potential shooter as well. After all, if you have everyone going through one or two entrances, they’ll eventually bunch up during peak times. I’ve seen this at my son’s school, which only has two entry points before and after school. As it gets closer and closer to time for school to start, more and more students arrive and they begin to back up before going through the now obligatory metal detectors.

If you going to do something like that, it’s imperative that an armed individual is present just in case something happens. Someone needs to be able to meet that threat with righteous violence.

Regardless of my concerns, Gov. Abbot’s roundtable discussion is probably a good thing. Especially since even their gun control crowd isn’t stupid enough to talk gun bans.

The post Texas Governor Hosts School Security Round Table appeared first on Bearing Arms.

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How Muslim Migrants Are Reshaping Russia’s Dying Countryside, One Village at a Time

Or more specifically, the 35-year-old native of Tajikistan, the most impoverished of Central Asia’s five former Soviet republics, says his presence here, 200 kilometers northwest of Moscow, is good for his adopted homeland.

“‘Better you than the Chinese,’ that’s what my ex-boss told me,” the small-framed Soliev says between double shifts as a stoker at the village school, earning him around $250 a month, nearly twice the average Tajik wage.

The “you” is a reference to Soliev, who speaks fluent Russian and also routinely quotes ancient Persian thinker Omar Khayyam’s poems in Farsi, a linguistic sibling of his mother tongue, and 46 other families whose resettlement from Tajikistan over the past decade almost doubled Rozhdestveno’s aging population of about 200.

Half of the students in Soliev’s school are their raven-haired children, and their wives, in long skirts and head scarves, shop for groceries at a store next to the Orthodox church.

The arrival to urban centers and the countryside of Soliev and millions of other mostly Muslim labor migrants from Central Asia is at the center of what could emerge as Russia’s most radical ethnic makeover in centuries.

And some residents of Rozhdestveno and nearby villages speak caustically of the immigrants and forebodingly of an uncertain future.

“In 10 years, the village will either disappear or become foreign,” says retiree Viktor Yerofoeyevich, declining to give his last name. He is a resident of the neighboring village of Bortnikovo, where a paltry 12 houses have full-time residents.

Polls point to fears among many of Russia’s 142 million people of an uncontrolled influx of migrants eager to snatch up jobs and wildly tilt the country’s demographics in favor of the newcomers.

Vyacheslav Postavnin, a former deputy director of Russia’s Federal Migration Service who now heads the 21st Century Migration Fund, a Moscow-based think tank, compares it to the storied Mongol invasion of the 13th century that was followed by Islamization and the settling of former nomads in what is now southern Russia.

“The last bastion is the quick construction of Orthodox churches,” Postavnin says of ethnic Russians’ mistrust of the cultural and religious implications of immigration, “because the number of adherents of Islam is growing.”

Four-fifths of Russians say the Kremlin “must limit” the flow of migrants, and two-fifths believe migrants should live in “specially assigned areas,” according to a survey last year by state-run pollster VTsIOM.

And more than one in four Russians feels “irritation, dislike, or fear” specifically toward Central Asians, according to a more recent survey by independent pollster Levada.

Bucking A Trend

In its recent Revision Of World Urbanization Prospects report, the United Nations predicted that the current decline in Russia’s rural population would accelerate in the coming decades, from nearly 37 million now to just 22 million Russians residing in the countryside by the year 2050.

Stretched along the road between the ancient city of Tver and the Volga River, Rozhdestveno and a cluster of smaller villages around it exemplify the agony of Russia’s countryside.

Here, as in many rural areas mired in joblessness since the post-Soviet collapse of collective farms, decimated by low birthrates and migration to big cities, and barely held together by potholed roads, there is a perception that this kind of national heartland is no longer a pillar of Russian identity, prosperity, and tsarist-era expansion from the Baltic to the Pacific.

The trends have been accompanied by cutbacks in the number of village hospitals, schools, and administrative resources that further encourage locals to flee dwindling villages. Almost 36,000 Russian villages, or one in four, are home to 10 or fewer residents, and 20,000 more have been abandoned altogether, according to the latest Russian census, conducted in 2010.

Rozhdestveno is lucky to be larger than the nearby villages, but fallow fields covered with birch and pine saplings and poisonous giant hogweed surround it in every direction. The saplings herald the return of dense forests from which these villages were carved out centuries ago.

While the elderly in the area are forced to make do on meager pensions, many of the younger residents who haven’t left for the city subsist on potatoes from backyard gardens and pick mushrooms and berries to supplement their incomes. They sell whatever they can pick to middlemen from Tver or to affluent neighbors — frequently dacha owners from big cities who only show up in summer.

“I can sell mushrooms, sell cranberries. How else can I earn money?” says Vladimir, a jobless man from the village of Nesterovo, lisping through missing teeth. Clad in a greasy jacket and standing on a dirt road, he sums up his quarter century since the Soviet collapse.

“All of our household economy was destroyed, all the animal farms,” he says. “Every old lady used to have sheep, cows. Now, no one has any. Even chickens are gone.”

‘Not Afraid To Work’

Almost all of Rozhdestveno’s Tajik families hail from Gorno-Badakhshan, an especially poor, mountainous region that accounts for nearly half of Tajikistan’s territory. Tajiks were early and eager labor migrants to post-Soviet Russia, and hundreds of thousands now have citizenship there, officials say.

While it didn’t distinguish between Russian nationals and foreigners, the last nationwide census, in 2010, showed fourfold increases in the number of ethnic Tajiks and Kyrgyz in the Russian countryside, although there was a steep decline in the number of ethnic Uzbeks.

But the census generally excludes temporary labor migrants, according to Yevgeniya Chernina of the Center of Labor Studies at Moscow’s Higher School of Economy, of which there are millions, on and off the books.

The Tajik men around Rozhdestveno — from teenagers to forty-something men — are said to be generally eager to accept any employment opportunity that presents itself. They compete with locals in picking mushrooms and berries, and work at a nearby sawmill, on farms and construction sites in Tver, and drive cabs and buses.

“They’re not afraid to work,” Mayor Dmitry Kirdanov says. “It’s a helpful difference from the native population.”

Immigrants renovated several three-story apartment buildings that stood empty after the demise of the village’s collective farm, bought up dilapidating wooden houses, and enrolled three dozen children in school — doubling the number of students and providing teachers with more work.

There have been inevitable tensions, but locals say they have generally been tackled before they were allowed to fester.

The imposing, taciturn leader of Rozhdestveno’s Tajik community routinely finds himself thrust into the center of such quarrels.

Pairavsho, as he is known, manages a storage facility in Tver and arbitrates disputes between Tajiks and locals, a cultural holdover from the common Central Asian practice of tapping the wisdom of elders.

“If there’s a misunderstanding, they come to me, and we sort things out right away,” the father of two says on a Sunday evening, as dozens of Tajiks play soccer on the field in front of him.

Kirdanov cites an example, saying the immigrants’ children “brought a specifically [Central] Asian attitude to women” that some locals found objectionable. In that case, he says, a “conference” was convened to prevail upon the immigrants and soon the boys “stopped treating girls rudely.”

‘Better Off in yhe Village’

Some of the immigrants’ personal trajectories fit patterns described by Shukhrat Ganiev, a labor migration expert with the Humanitarian Rights Center, a think tank in the central Uzbek city of Bukhara. He has made two extensive trips across Russia since 2000 to document the emergence of what he calls “Uzbek villages” there.

Village officials or farmers in northern regions and Siberia frequently allow labor migrants to squat in abandoned houses and help them get work and residency permits, he says, sometimes inducing nearly whole villages to follow.

“Usually, this is a perennial practice with further integration into the local society,” Ganiev says in a reference to migrants who get Russian passports and send their children to Russian-language schools.

Other migrants are hired as seasonal farmhands, he says, mostly in southern Russian regions with booming, industrialized agriculture, and return home in winter.

Even more often, Ganiev says, migrants working in big cities move their families to the countryside because of lower rent and food costs and a safer, healthier environment.

“They’re better off in the village,” says Rovshan Khushvaktov, a 28-year-old cabbie who arrived four years ago from the central Uzbek city of Bukhara. “It’s so hard to keep an eye on children in Moscow.”

His wife and three children live in a small rented house in the village of Khoroshevo, some 180 kilometers southwest of Moscow. He sleeps in his white Hyundai between 18-hour shifts and tries to visit them each week.

Once they get Russian citizenship, many migrants become an important asset for local politicians.

In Rozhdestveno, where the overwhelming majority of Tajiks boast red Russian passports, Pairavsho declines to discuss his community’s political preferences, saying only that they “take part in every election.”

But the indications are that they vote overwhelmingly for the ruling United Russia party.

“Through their leaders, we always get a high turnout,” Kirdanov says in a reference to influential elders like Pairavsho.

“All sorts of outside political carpetbaggers tried to use them,” he adds, “but now they trust the [Kremlin’s] power, and openly say they won’t sell their political favors anymore.”

The post How Muslim Migrants Are Reshaping Russia’s Dying Countryside, One Village at a Time appeared first on American Renaissance.

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Why Princes Square is still a leader in the style stakes

THIRTY years ago, in March 1988, the celebrated London fashion designer Katharine Hamnett spoke of her plans for her new Glasgow shop, in the about-to-open Princes Square. She said that the environment for women who were shopping for clothes had to be seductive.

Read more from James Buchanan …

Boarding Assistants

Boarding Assistant We are seeking an enthusiastic and able applicant to join the team in a senior boarding house working with around 60 girls aged 12-17. This is an important support role within our pastoral teams, working under the direction of the Housemistress and Assistant Housemistress to create a welcoming, supportive, encouraging and cheerful environment for our girls.

Read more from School Support Staff…