Politics

Poland would happily trade in its EU membership to save its culture

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An IBRiS poll conducted for the liberal and pro-EU weekly Polityka was published on July 5. The two questions posed to 1,000 people polled was essentially to gauge loyalty to the EU or Poland. Poland would seemingly be happy to trade in EU membership than sell out their culture. This is not a debate about the rights and wrongs of taking in asylum seekers rather to point out what is happening on the ground.

Q1: “Should Poland refuse to accept refugees from Muslim countries even if this should lead to the loss of European funds?”
– YES: 56.5%
– NO: 40.4%

Q2: “Should Poland refuse to take in refugees from Muslim countries even if this should lead to the obligation to leave the European Union?”
– YES: 51.2%
– NO: 37.6%

This opposition to the relocation of asylum seekers arriving in Greece and Italy is reflected in the popularity of the Polish conservative PiS party. The PiS hit 41% in a June IPSOS poll for the first time (against Donald Tusk’s Liberal party PO at 26%). The poll was conducted at the same time the European Commission had announced the launch of sanctions against Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary for their refusal to accept immigrant relocation quotas.

It was only last week that Italy threatened to issue 200,000 refugees with EU travel documents that would legalize their movement around Europe (i.e. encourage their departures from Italy to the desired destination of Germany).

In response to Italy’s threat, Austria is now looking to shut its border with Italy at the Brenner Pass. Bild newspaper has said that Vienna was ready to close the Brenner Pass within a day if migrant arrivals increased. Tensions are already high. Austria has threatened to send armoured vehicles and 750 soldiers to stop migrants crossing.

Whether we like it or not, for all of the altruism in the world, it seems that a growing number of citizens want their governments to prioritize them first. Failure to do so is being typified by what is happening in Greece.

According to the annual survey by the firm Adecco titled “Employability in Greece,” the brain drain phenomenon has been increasing over the last three years. In 2005 only about 11% of unemployed respondents said that they were actively looking for a job abroad. This figure increased to 28% in 2016 and reached 33% so far this year.

The responses show that the unemployed have different reasons to seek work abroad. Whereas in 2005, the main reason was the prospect of a better wage, in 2016 and 2017 the main reason given were better career opportunities abroad. Greeks are giving up on Greece. EU fiscal thuggery is leaving a public system (especially health) under so much strain that it is buckling. 36% of Greeks live below the poverty line. That means many can’t access affordable healthcare because it is generally provided by corporates and when you lose a job you lose the healthcare. This means many are forced to use A&E of major hospitals which are now overcrowded and understaffed as more doctors are leaving to seek better fortune for their services.

If that wasn’t enough, mothers who had given birth were being restricted from taking their new-borns home if they couldn’t pay the fees. While the government has banned this practice they have introduced new laws to allow the seizure of assets (e.g. homes) if debts are not settled.

Forced refugee quotas on countries that plainly don’t want them is a bad strategy. Economic conditions are clearly not in the EU’s favour with poverty and youth unemployment at record high levels. For refugees, most do not want resettlement in either economically weak zones or those that are openly hostile toward them. That is completely understandable. For the citizens of member states to be threatened with sanction or penalty for failing to comply is the wrong way to go. By the EU’s own statistics bureau, 80% of asylum seekers are ‘economic’, not fleeing war zones. It is understandable that citizens become concerned when public services that are already under strain become overburdened.

Some can scream at these people for being bigoted, racist or intolerant till the cows come home but ignoring their views, much less ridiculing them has the opposite effect of winning hearts and minds. As a grandchild of refugees, helping those in dire need is basic human decency. One can be sure that many in real ‘need’ will give back to those that have given them a second chance. Those who have come to help themselves at the expense of others who have worked hard to attain it should hardly be surprised when they are not given the same level of sympathy.

What we are seeing in Poland, Italy, Greece and Austria is ‘actions’ over ‘words’. Unless concerns are addressed by political leaders, altruistic lip service will be ignored and sadly people will increasingly take the law into their own hands.

Australian Constitutional scalps?

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Most Australians have no idea of the contents of our constitution. Dennis Denuto is probably one of the more versed. In America we know the 1st Ammendment is all about freedom of speech, the 2nd about the right to bear arms and we know what pleading the 5th is about. This is a list of Australian politicians who were born in countries other than Australia. Section 44 (i) of the Australian Constitution states, “Any person who is under any acknowledgement of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or citizen of a foreign power…shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.”

Two Greens senators (Scott Ludlum & Larissa Waters) have recently resigned after being in breach of this. One has to question how anyone (much less politicians) are unaware that they are dual citizens. My kids are well aware of their dual nationality. Now we will see many of the above confirm their Australian citizenship.

Rules are rules. Regardless of whether these people have served their constituents in good faith, there is a requirement to change the constitution.

When one thought Australia had maxed out its ability to display a fractured political system, the constitution may well clean house.

Europe’s childless leaders – without progeny ruling on posterity

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Here is a picture of Angela Merkel as a child. Sadly this is as close as she got to having her own. It isn’t just her. The majority of European political leaders have no kids. France’s Macron – no kids. UK PM Theresa May – no kids. The Netherlands PM Mark Rutte – no kids. Italian PM Paolo Gentiloni – no kids. Swedish PM Kjell Stefan Löfven- no biological kids. Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel – no kids. Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon – no kids. EC President Jean-Claude Juncker – no kids. Incidentally Japan’s PM Abe also has no children.

As Europe’s population growth rate declines are these people best positioned to impart advice on how to stop it? Seems that surrender to mass migration is all too easy a policy to replace dwindling stocks of local inhabitants.

From the Washington Examiner

“The Boomers first grabbed the reins of political power in the West in the 1990s, as Communism collapsed and Francis Fukuyama declared “The End of History.” The Boomers live like they believe it. If history is over, if all that is left is consumer capitalism in a liberal democracy, if the stream has stopped flowing, why not climb out?

The late Benjamin Barber wrote a response to Fukuyama called Jihad vs McWorld. Barber argued that the death of the old conflicts—between nations—would go hand in hand with a new conflict: the clash between the McWorld of global consumer capitalism and the “jihad” of local, traditional, and “conservative” cultures.

It’s clear which side has political power now. But the demographics point to a different future. In 2009 Phillip Longman noted that in France (for example) a tiny minority of women are giving birth to over 50% of the children every year. These women are either practicing Catholics or immigrant Muslims.

One of the benefits of parenthood is the daily confrontation with free will—a human nature. Parents may have their child’s life, career, and happiness planned out, but a child has other ideas -constantly. Love, patience, teaching, negotiating, scolding—nurture—can help direct the child, but the overwhelming otherness of the child is undeniable. They are not blank slates upon whom the parent exercises his will.

Political leaders without this experience of parenthood may be susceptible to the idea that people are blank-slates, interchangeable units of human capital. As a parent and a teacher, I have seen many brilliant and well-meaning parents and colleagues crash their will and intellect against the rock of a child’s independent nature. Now, scale such a hubristic paternalism to a nation. Or a continent.

Contemporary childless leaders, however ascendant they feel today, may be the last gasp of secularism. The future is won by those who show up, and only the religiously orthodox are having children.

Those still swimming in the ancient streams of Faith and Culture in France will have the observant offspring of two rival religions living within the borders of one nation. The second Battle of Tours, (or Vienna, or Lepanto) might be extra bloody due to the policies of today, but the authors of those policies will not be around because they will be dead, and their offspring will not be around, because they do not exist.

The Founding Fathers of the United States established the Constitution to “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity”, posterity being their offspring. Looking out for one’s posterity, having a long-term vision, is necessary for the good of society, according to Harvard Political Scientist James Wilson. Do childless political leaders have skin in the game long-term?

In Europe today, those without progeny are enacting policies that impact the posterity of others.

Surely Macron, Merkel, Juncker, and the rest would argue that they can do their crucial jobs better because they don’t have children to distract them. C.S. Lewis provides the rebuttal: “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work.”

Whichever way you cut it, Europe’s childless leaders speak volumes of a continent in long term (terminal) decline.

3 maps which explain a lot

IMG_0743The chart above shows the average % change in housing prices in the US by county today vs that in 2000 according to a Harvard study. The following maps show the results of the 2008 and 2016 election by county. Could this be yet another basic concept showing why the US voted the way they did last election?

2008 – a hope for change

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2016 – the last 8 years didn’t help – time to vote for wholesale change

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Feel free to draw your own conclusions. These three maps to me voice the disgruntled who remain destitute after all this time.

Do you ever wonder why…

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…the majority would believe words like “demolished” from the press when the subject in question is a video driven by The Guardian pushing the even more Trump-hating journalism of Australia’s taxpayer funded ABC? Despite the ABC being controlled by a charter that says it mustn’t show political bias, it knows only one drum beat – join every Trump derangement cause without exception. It isn’t just this but whenever you see the words “demolished, destroyed, smashed” in a headline, discount its value by half then deduct another 75%. That will be about the extent of how “powerful” the report is. Viral? More like a bad bout of gastroenteritis. The walls of Washington were most likely reverberating with uncontrolled laughter.

Uhlmann can argue that Trump is the biggest threat to the West and he’s accelerating the decline of the US but it was 8 years under the Obama administration where Russia and China could run amuck with little fear of anything more than a hashtag in retaliation. It is more obvious that on foreign policy, the US is in a revival phase and her foes are sitting up and taking notice. Surely that hasn’t come about by chance.

Who cares if Merkel, Trudeau or Macron voice disapproval of the current US president? It isn’t new. Australian PM Turnbull is utterly mesmerized by Trump. While the mutual affection society of the ABC and its former minister Turnbull continue to mock POTUS he was the first to jump at the chance catch a ride in the Beast . That when he alighted spoke of how much he respects Trump and how much in common the two have (ppffft). The Aussie PM is petrified of DT in person. Turnbull loved Obama but never feared him.

The job of POTUS is not to join a chorus. True leadership is often doing things that aren’t popular. Dumping the Paris Climate Accord isn’t popular but it’s the right thing to do according to Americans and surveys in the US say as much. When one objectively studies the realities of the non-binding document it is clear the agreement is an empty one when countries like France & Germany step up to make up for the 75% of emitters that refuse to get on board.

Trump’s actions surrounding North Korea have the Chinese scurrying around looking for a solution that keeps the US from potentially influencing “the” border to its north. Isn’t that ‘leading the world’ by trying to get those that have the most to lose by suggesting the US will take control of the Korean Peninsula if they dither anymore? Notice B1-B Lancer bombers have been strafing the border on the 38th parallel with precision dummy bomb drills?  They aren’t for North Korea’s delectation but a message to China – stop messing about! Obama would have been dropping leaflets of peace, harmony and Hershey bars.

Under Obama’s watch China willfully built man made military bases in the South China Sea in contested waters taking advantage of his weakness. Xi knows there is a new sheriff in town and realizes he has to resort to another chapter in Sun Tzu.

The BBC – of all news channels – had a body language expert revealing that the alpha male show off in Hamburg between POTUS and Putin, had the former dominant over the latter. Putin is a master of bullying. Remember he had his intelligence arm find out Merkel was petrified of big dogs and made sure he had a monster canine wander around during their chat when she visited Russia? Doesn’t strike me that Trump is weak, unfit and out of his depth if Putin was nervous.

As more media coverage shows Trump as isolated and going it alone it isn’t the 1/20 being left out in the cold but the 19/20 who can’t get any edge on him.

As Uhlmann makes clear, he is just as clueless as so many other journalists because he makes no attempt to give context and perspective on the starting point. To think Obama led a period of American exceptionalism in foreign policy is preposterous. If Trump actually gets a positive outcome on North Korea or ISIS will Uhlmann issue an apology for his oversight? Let me give you a hint – not on your life.

I’ll happily admit when Trump does questionable things but I’ll make no apologies trying to address the ridiculous bias in the media against him. That bias remains so prevalent that it drowns out any noise that may actually be relevant to the Trump lovers who see no wrong.

Poles apart

Once again how the social media feeds lit up with the supposed snubbing of President Trump by the Polish First Lady. If people took five seconds to come out of the sandpit and  objectively analyze her actions they’d see without deliberate video editing she clearly shook his hand immediately after she shook FLOTUS’s hand. It is pretty easy to work out why so many click bait media organizations are floundering. There is no intelligence or effort to be objective. Sadly one is forced to doubt almost every meme of this kind. It makes tabloids look like professorial theses by comparison. Even the Polish PM came out tweeting it was “FAKE NEWS”

Earlier in the week media were trying to claim he got lost on the way to his limousine when he alighted Air Force 1 as if to claim he was suffering from a mental disease. No doubt trying to add some credibility to the Democrats trying to seek his removal for a lack of mental faculty.

He is without doubt unconventional, often unstatesmanlike, at times shows a lack grace/eloquence and narcissistic (his round table where cabinet members professed their love for him was pretty nauseating) but reading his speech (even if composed by his speech writer – which president doesn’t?) in Warsaw, Trump spoke of what many of today’s apologist leaders refuse to. He believes in the idea that it is totally acceptable to defend your own values and culture. That people shouldn’t be pilloried for feeling patriotic. This week we’ve seen Trudeau offer a state apology and $10.5mn compo payment to a convicted terrorist.  Several months ago Canadian Bill M-103 was passed in such a way that free speech is gagged toward a specific minority. Australia tinkers at the edges of the draconian 18C and still bothers to invest in the AHRC which has shown itself to be an absolute waste of time, resources and worst of all a wrecker of the reputations of innocents. Germany arrested a good samaratin that released a video showing migrant violence toward an innocent victim on grounds of breaching privacy laws and the women of Cologne were advised to wear less revealing clothing to avoid being pestered. We could go on for ages. Is this defending culture? Thinking we gain acceptance by denying our own identity? I applaud Trump for making valid points about pride in one’s nation, something the gritty Poles know all too well.

There are many things not to like superficially about POTUS but when it comes to asking harsh questions about a fair share of funding for NATO or the UN, citing legitimate reasons for ditching the Paris Climate Accord or poking China to start dealing with its geopolitical chess piece in North Korea, he is speaking truths his predecessor would never broach. Sure he has much work to do at home but the world can’t help but notice the new sheriff in town on the global stage and boy do we need strength in this department after eight hollow years where countries like China and Russia ran amuck.

Yet when all is said and told, the mainstream media remains too busy trying to create stories/scandals with concocted outcomes by editing out the facts to create ‘ gotcha’ scoops which achieves their goals of personal hatred. Fake news? That term is getting overused. The fake part may be right but the news part isn’t.

Is there any dignity at CNN?

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Is CNN channeling the Gestapo? Threatening to release the name of an individual who made fun of the network’s own self inflicted stupidity. While it seems ratings haven’t suffered so badly post the Russiagate saga, surely the “we reserve the right to publish his identity” is an unbridled threat. How does taking down a video that has gone viral and been shared eliminate the problem? All that trying to ban soemthing does is exacerbate the problem.

One has to wonder whether the person that posted the video lampooning the network is “truly remorseful” or whether he was intimidated under a spotlight, pumped full of sodium Pentothal while staring at CNN’s legal goons in tight leather gloves. Talk about drawing bad attention to itself.

Perhaps if CNN really wanted to avoid such ridicule, it might decide to focus on quality journalism not stir up a hornet’s nest of lies for ratings. Doesn’t the satisfaction of winning from hard work and dedication trump free riding? Like drug cheats in sport perhaps if one lies to oneself enough they are every bit the winner as those legitimate athletes.

There can be no sympathy for a network that gets pilloried for engaging in what amounts to doxxing individuals. The Trump video in its initial form has been around for ages yet no complaints were had because everyone knows WWF is stage cast. The majority of those that saw the CNN spoof version would see it for what it is – ridicule.

For CNN to turn it into a “inciting violence against journalists” is plain nonsense. Should Trump have sent it on Twitter? No. Was it presidential? No. Was CNN in the wrong for inventing stories to try to remove him? Yes. Are journalists’ lives in danger from the President when they line up at a White House press conference? No.

As the ancient Chinese proverb states, “before setting out on revenge, first dig two graves.”