Tuesday, March 15, 2016
German voters' crushing verdict on open-door migration: Angela Merkel is punished in crucial state elections as far-Right party wins big vote with call to stop flow of refugees
German voters turned to the far right in droves yesterday in a damning verdict on Angela Merkel’s open door border policy. In regional elections she was humiliated by the anti-immigrant AfD – Alternative for Germany – party.
Formed just three years ago, it has surged in popularity following Mrs Merkel’s decision to roll out the red carpet for more than a million migrants.
Frauke Petry, who leads the Eurosceptic party, has suggested German border guards should open fire on illegal immigrants.
Analysts said the regional poll – in which Mrs Merkel’s ruling Christian Democrats lost two out of three states – was a ‘worst case scenario’ for the embattled chancellor ahead of a general election next year.
The timing made it a virtual referendum on Germany’s refugee policy. It will also be seen as an indictment of the failure of Europe’s ruling classes to acknowledge the public’s fears about migration.
Mrs Merkel’s welcome for arrivals from Syria, other parts of the Middle East and North Africa, has caused chaos across the continent.
Initially, the incomers were greeted by crowds of well-wishers. But, faced with the sheer numbers, public opinion soured. And there was outrage when gangs of migrant men were involved in organised sex attacks on women in Cologne and other cities on new year’s eve.
One by one, EU states have thrown up border fences to stop the flow of arrivals – leading to the slow collapse of the Schengen passport-free zone.
Austria is one of several countries to limit numbers in defiance of Brussels.
Mrs Merkel, who has failed to win support for a Europe-wide quota system to share out refugees, last week masterminded a deal for Turkey to take back migrants landing in Greece.
In return, Ankara would be handed up to £3.9billion, EU countries would accept quotas of Syrian refugees from Turkey and all 75million Turkish citizens would be allowed visa-free travel around continental Europe.
On Thursday Mrs Merkel insisted that imposing a limit on refugee numbers was a ‘short-term pseudo-solution’ and that only a ‘concerted European approach’ would bring down numbers.
Germany has attempted to return economic migrants to ‘safe’ countries such as Albania, Kosovo and Montenegro but still risks being overwhelmed.
Last night millions of voters showed they have lost faith in the chancellor’s policies.
Early exit polls suggested AfD had won 23 per cent of the vote in the eastern state of Saxony Anhalt, finishing third.
The party fares better in former Eastern Germany where scepticism of liberal refugee policies is stronger.
But its double-digit score in two other states, Rhineland and Baden-Württemberg, was potentially more significant.
This suggests middle-class voters are deserting the Christian Democrats and other establishment parties.
Baden-Württemberg, which is home to Porsche and Daimler, was won by the Green Party. Mrs Merkel’s CDU lost a large slice of its vote in its former stronghold, plunging to a historic low of 27 per cent.
AfD has seats in five regional parliaments and in the European Parliament.
But its huge gains on ‘Super Sunday’ will reinforce fears that Germany is shifting to the right after decades of middle-of-the-road consensus politics following the Nazi period.
The tabloid Bild newspaper ran the headline yesterday ‘AfD shocks Germany!’.
Last night Mrs Petry, who chairs AfD, said: ‘We are seeing above all in these elections that voters are turning away in large numbers from the big established parties and voting for our party.’
She said voters expected AfD to offer ‘the opposition that there hasn’t been in the German parliament and some state parliaments’.
The far right victory came despite attacks by leading establishment politicians.
Mrs Merkel described AfD as a ‘party that does not bring cohesion in society and offers no appropriate solutions to problems, but only stokes prejudices and divisions’.
Sigmar Gabriel, her vice-chancellor, insisted that gains for AfD would not change his government’s stance on immigration.
‘There is a clear position that we stand by: humanity and solidarity,’ he said. ‘We will not change our position now.’
Sigmar Gabriel of the Social Democrats accused AfD of having a ‘linguistic affinity’ with the Nazis.
The Tagesspiegel newspaper said that the party drew in racists and anti-semites and suggested many former members of the neo-Nazi NPD ‘and other right wing parties are attracted to it’.
The publication of an outline of the migrant deal has raised concerns in the UK that it represents a step toward Turkish membership of the EU.
The real epidemic at UCD? Lad-bashing
A bogus ‘revenge porn’ scandal shows how nasty campus feminism has become
The #UCD200 hashtag has become synonymous with victim feminism and lad-bashing in Ireland’s largest university. On 2 February, the College Tribune, one of two student newspapers at University College Dublin (UCD), published an article claiming that 200 male students had been sharing naked photos of their female colleagues and rating their attractiveness in a secret group.
The article was borne out of conjecture and hearsay, relying for evidence on the musings of bored students posting anonymously on popular social network Yik Yak. In the weeks following the article’s publication, numerous national news reports emerged. Outlets such as the Irish Times, the Irish independent and Journal.ie whipped up a frenzy, demonising the male student population of UCD with flimsy journalism and a distinct lack of fact-checking.
The College Tribune alleged that explicit pictures had been shared without the women’s knowledge or consent. Students of UCD’s School of Agriculture and Food Science were singled out as the worst offenders, and the instigators of ‘the most recent example of the continued prevalence of a harmful and derogatory “lad culture”’ on campus.
The alleged incident was used as an opportunity to criticise the current students’ union and its failed efforts to combat lad culture in the university. The president of the union, Marcus O’Halloran, is himself an agricultural-science student who was previously mired in controversy after he was found to be a member of a Facebook group called ‘Girls I’d shift if I was tipsy’. The backlash to the revenge-porn scandal was severe, and another blow was struck to the union’s ‘Not Asking For It’ campaign, launched to promote sexual consent. The union had been confronted prior to the Christmas break with allegations of the existence of the Facebook group, and failed to provide a conclusive answer as to whether it would investigate.
The reaction provoked both within the university and on a national scale was astonishing; Facebook and Twitter became the battlegrounds of choice for a mass of feminists with axes to grind. Prominent feminist author Louise O’Neill featured heavily in the protests against this apparent eruption of abusive lad culture. Yet the accused were completely vindicated when an official UCD report, led by registrar Professor Mark Rogers, showed there was no evidence of the group’s existence. The report made it clear that no victims had come forward and that the evidence provided by the sole witness, known only as Sarah, was from Yik Yak. Without any victims to substantiate the claims, the allegations collapsed. Indeed, it is highly unlikely that a 200-strong Facebook group would remain under wraps.
It was immediately assumed by campaigners that UCD was guilty of a cover-up. The report came as a mere inconvenience for the angry hordes who maintained that the scandal, at least, served as an important point of discussion. Those calling for the expulsion of the group’s members were the first to disregard the findings in a rather mind-boggling display of ignorance to the gravity of the allegations made. The general consensus reached was that the facts of the matter were irrelevant – the universal shaming of the lads required little to no factual basis. The College Tribune has also refused to print a retraction or even a simple apology.
The events surrounding the #UCD200 allegations are rife with injustice: not the laddish perversion and misogyny recorded in blog after blog, but the prevailing attitude that false allegations made against innocent lads should be welcomed as a conversation starter. There has been a distinct lack of empathy for the accused, who have been greeted online by the judgement and condemnation of perfect strangers. Justice, in the eyes of the advocates of consent classes, means that a post on Yik Yak holds more authority than an official report carried out by the UCD administration, and that false allegations are justified if they serve to ‘raise awareness’. It is a shame that the damage done to the reputations of these young men can be shrugged off so nonchalantly.
More bureaucratic madness
Last week, the FDA announced it would investigate the use of manure and other biological matter.
Manure is animal poop. Rich in nutrients, it's been used by farmers as fertilizer for thousands of years. But the agency is skeptical of the safety of the practice.
"The FDA is planning to conduct a risk assessment to determine how much consumer health is put at risk by the use of raw manure as fertilizer in growing crops covered by the final [Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)] Produce Safety rule, and what can be done to help prevent people from getting sick," the agency detailed. "Before starting the assessment, the agency wants the help of stakeholders in the produce industry, the animal agriculture industry, academia and members of the public in developing the model for this work."
The FDA posted a formal notice in the Federal Register that indicates just what this assessment is all about. "The risk assessment is intended to inform policy decisions with regard to produce safety," the notice reads.
That the FDA intends to take action on manure will come out of the blue only to one who has a really short memory.
As I've detailed for years, the FDA's proposed FSMA rules would have forced small farmers "to adopt onerous, expensive, and unnecessary farming practices and procedures" that included "tough new regulations for using organic fertilizer," including compost and manure.
Pushback from small farmers and their supporters around the country forced the FDA to reconsider the worst of the proposed FSMA rules. Reconsider the agency did. And now they're back, beating the same drum.
Of course, the fact something like fertilizing crops with manure has been done a particular way for tens or hundreds or thousands of years doesn't make it safe.
Indeed, there's no doubt that pathogens sometimes found in manure make their way onto and into fruits and vegetables and sicken and kill Americans every year.
But there's also little doubt that the FDA's expertise in this area is (charitably) virtually nonexistent. Besides regulating uncracked eggs, as the agency does (poorly), the FDA has little or no experience regulating farming.
The FSMA produce rules, though, paved the way for FDA to inspect American farms.
The USDA, which regulates organic food, including crops fertilized with manure, has both the expertise and existing rules in place to regulate farms.
Efforts to Stop Forced Marriages in Australia
Although Australia has taken a number of steps to stop forced marriages, there are still several cases that have caught the attention of media where minors are married under these circumstances.
In most cases, brides are under 18-years-old who have to marry strangers who are much older than them. In February 2013, the federal government highlighted forced marriage issues and presented "The Crimes Legislation Amendment (Slavery, Slavery-Like Conditions and People Trafficking) Act 2013," which the Australian parliament passed in the same year. According to the legislation, forced marriages are a serious crime that entails severe penalties for those who commit it.
Anti-slavery Australia and Plan International have recently released a report where the cases of forced marriage across the nation were examined. It was discovered that there was a minimum of 250 cases where girls under 18 have been forced to marry without their consent. According to The Conversation, Australia, as an entity, took several relevant steps to help save the rights of young girls and women.
The country has already offered legal and social protection to the society along with raising awareness about the effects of forced marriage by educating people, but nothing has shown significant results yet. Hence, the nation is expected to make even stricter rules to put a halt to forced marriage issues.
Australian law states that when a person marries under threat or deception, it indicates his/her incapability of "understanding the nature and effect of the marriage ceremony." Campaign spokesperson Dr. Eman Sharobeem was also a victim of this arranged set-up. She was only 14 years old when she had to marry a man who was 12 years older to her. The arranged marriage, unfortunately, resulted to 14 years of physical torture that only ended when her husband died of illness.
"In the past year alone we have dealt with 13 cases amongst our clients … we have been at the front, dealing with it and dealing with the clients and the family directly," Sharobeem said as quoted by Westender Australia."I am not surprised and not shocked by the number of cases I have seen, this is a very big problem."
To make the legislation even more substantial, an amendment was welcomed in late 2015 that stated that a person under 16 will not be eligible to give consent to a marriage.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.