Thursday, August 04, 2016
‘Western Europe is practically dead’: Polish terror experts lash out at the EU and slam Merkel's response to jihadi attacks
A former Central Investigation Bureau officer in Poland has claimed 'Western Europe is practically dead' and blamed Angela Merkel's migration policy for its demise.
Jacek Wrona slammed the German government's response to terror attacks while appearing on a Polish chat show alongside military historian Dr Rafal Brzeski,wPolityce reports.
Wrona compared the situation to the fall of the Roman Empire, saying: 'Europe is at the end of its existence. Western Europe is practically dead.
'These people live in a void, without ideas. And they come the young, who want to acquire wealth, as once did the barbarians. And they have the power.'
He said the EU is suffering because of political correctness.
'The worst problem for services is political correctness. We need a sober judgment,' Wrona claimed.
Dr Brzeski also criticised the German government's response to recent terror attacks. 'The Germans have had enough of this, which does not mean that the government has had enough. These are two different approaches,' he said.
Their comments come after five separate incidents in Germany between July 18 and July 26.
The attacks, two of them claimed by Islamic State, also left dozens wounded and have burst any illusions that the country is immune to atrocities like those also claimed by Islamic State in neighbouring France.
Dr Brzeski accused Germany of 'self-censorship' when it reports on terror attacks and said 'there is nothing worse than self-censorship in journalism'.
Munich was the scene of the bloodiest of the German attacks, on July 22, in which an 18-year-old German-Iranian gunman killed nine people.
Wrona said it would have been easy for the Munich shooter to get a gun because of free movement in the EU and 'the whole Balkans are flooded with weapons'.
Two of the assailants in the other attacks, a Syrian asylum seeker who blew himself up in Ansbach and a refugee from either Pakistan or Afghanistan who attacked people on a train in Bavaria, had links to Islamist militancy, officials say. The Munich gunman did not.
Critics of Chancellor Angela Merkel have blamed the attacks on her open-door refugee policy, under which over a million migrants, many fleeing war in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, entered Germany in the past year.
Merkel set out a nine-point plan on Thursday to respond to the attacks, including an early warning system for the radicalisation of refugees.
But she refused to reverse her welcoming stance toward refugees.
The German leader said the assailants 'wanted to undermine our sense of community, our openness and our willingness to help people in need'. 'We firmly reject this,' she said.
Merkel repeated her rallying cry from last year when she opened the borders to people fleeing war and persecution, many from Syria, which brought nearly 1.1 million migrants and refugees to Germany in 2015.
'I am still convinced today that 'we can do it' - it is our historic duty and this is a historic challenge in times of globalisation,' she said. 'We have already achieved very, very much in the last 11 months.'
President Joachim Gauck said he understood why many Germans were shaken after the attacks, but Germany would not submit to the assailants.
'They won't compel us to hate, like they hate,' he said. 'They won't hold us in the confinement of perpetual fear. We will remain what we are: a considerate, supportive society.'
The NBA’s Transgender Bathroom Advocacy Could Point to End of Women’s Sports
The NBA stepped into the culture war with its recent decision to move the 2017 All-Star Game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, citing “the climate created by HB2,” the bill that requires government single-sex bathrooms be available only to people on basis of the sex on their birth certificate.
When it decided to move the game out of Charlotte, the NBA released a statement:
"Our week-long schedule of All-Star events and activities is intended to be a global celebration of basketball, our league, and the values for which we stand, and to bring together all members of the NBA community—current and former players, league and team officials, business partners, and fans. While we recognize that the NBA cannot choose the law in every city, state, and country in which we do business, we do not believe we can successfully host our All-Star festivities in Charlotte in the climate created by HB2."
As a woman, I appreciate a different kind of “climate”—one where I can feel safe going to intimate facilities full of strangers. I think that the basis for who gets to use these facilities should be one’s biological sex. The NBA seems to disagree with this commonsense notion, instead believing that bathroom, shower, and locker access should be determined on the basis of subjective gender identity.
But bathrooms and locker rooms aren’t the only area where transgender activists could demand changes.
In fact, sports itself—not just the bathrooms used by its fans—could be affected.
Would the NBA’s sister organization, the WNBA, be willing to let any current NBA player who decides to identify as a female compete on a woman’s team?
Of course, allowing biological men into the WNBA could be unfair to current WNBA players and the many women and girls who aspire to a career in basketball. After all, the average male in his 20s outjumps 95 percent of all women of the same age, and only a handful of WNBA players can dunk. But if the NBA believes preferred gender identity, not biological sex, is what matters, it naturally follows that men who now identify as women, perhaps without even having any medical treatment, should play in the WNBA, not NBA.
Such a scenario may seem far-fetched, but the existence of separate men’s and women’s teams in sports is something that may soon be changing at the grade school and high school levels.
The Obama administration’s transgender guidance could require sports teams to be open to all based on gender identity, not on biological realities. My colleague Ryan T. Anderson writes that the guidance is unclear on what it requires of schools when faced with the issue of transgender students and their placement on sports teams:
When it comes to athletics, the Obama directives are confusingly vague, telling schools that they may not ‘rely on overly broad generalizations or stereotypes about the differences between transgender students and other students of the same sex (i.e., the same gender identity) or others’ discomfort with transgender students.’ So which team a transgender student athlete must be allowed to play on is unclear.
In Alaska, high school girls have already lost medals in track competitions because of their inability to compete with a male who identifies as a girl. In a video put out by the “Ask Me First” campaign run by the Family Policy Alliance, one of the girls who raced against this athlete speaks out about the unfair aspects of allowing biological males to compete in races against girls:
There was obviously one girl in each of those races who did not get to compete because of this athlete. It’s not fair scientifically—obviously male and female are made differently. There are certain races for males, and certain races for females, and I believe it should stay that way.
Subjectively identifying as a girl did not make this boy any slower on the track, just as subjectively identifying as a short person would not have changed the fact that he was clearly the tallest person in the race.
If all women’s sports are opened to those who identify as women, regardless of genetics, biology, muscle mass, physiology, hormones, and bone structure—in other words, regardless of sex—we’ll begin seeing many more girls and women who won’t be able to compete because of physical differences between men and women. This just isn’t fair to women athletes and would reverse the long fought battles to end discrimination against women and girls in sports.
The NBA’s decision to move the All-Star Game from Charlotte is an unnecessary use of cultural cronyism to promote a political ideology currently in vogue. And the ideology it is promoting may eventually lead to the demise of women’s sports as a unique venue where women can compete and win fairly.
These States Added Work Requirements for Food Stamp Recipients: Here’s How It’s Working Out
Several states have grappled with welfare reform. A few states that have incorporated work requirements have seen encouraging outcomes that should provide a blueprint for greater welfare reform efforts nationwide.
From March to April of this year, the number of food stamp recipients decreased by 773,134. This brings food stamp enrollment down to 2011 levels and represents the biggest drop in participation since 2005.
However, food stamp participation is still far higher than it was prior to the recession, as the recently released Index of Culture and Opportunity shows. Participation is expected to remain higher than pre-recession levels for the next several years, and so is food stamp spending.
Although food stamp participation grew rapidly during the recession, it was on an upward climb before then. Policies were put into place that made it easier for people to get on the program and stay there. Then, during the recession, the food stamp work requirement for able-bodied adults without dependents was suspended as part of President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus package. (The work requirement limits able-bodied adults without dependents to three months of food stamp benefits in a 36-month period unless they work at least part time, participate in a work program, or do community service.)
The decline in food stamp rolls between March and April of this year follows the re-establishment of work requirements in a number of states. On Jan. 1, 22 states had to reinstate the federal work requirement for areas of the state or the entire state because their waivers expired.
Some states did not wait until their waiver to end, however. Instead, they took a proactive approach to ensure that able-bodied adults were encouraged toward work.
Maine, one of the most proactive states in reinstating work requirements for food stamps, saw its caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents decrease by 80 percent within just a few months after re-establishing the work requirement.
Kansas has experienced similar results, seeing its caseload decline by 75 percent. Accompanying the decline in caseload has been an increase in employment and earnings for able-bodied adults without dependents.
The Foundation for Government Accountability identified that nearly 60 percent of Kansans who left the food stamp rolls following the establishment of food stamp work requirements found employment within 12 months and, “their incomes rose by an average of 127 percent per year.”
Indiana has experienced similar outcomes. Indiana reinstated work requirements in July 2015. Six months after reinstating these requirements, the state’s caseload of able-bodied adults without dependents decreased by 68 percent.
According to Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration, “Nearly 5,000 Hoosiers who were receiving benefits in July are no longer receiving assistance because they obtained gainful employment and now have an income that exceeds eligibility standards.”
The vast majority of Americans support work requirements for welfare programs. Work requirements serve as a gatekeeper to ensure that benefits go toward those most in need, and they encourage people toward self-sufficiency. Work requirements provide a balanced approach to aiding those who need assistance while also being fair to taxpayers.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of government means-tested welfare programs don’t include a work requirement. Even the work requirements that do exist in a handful of programs, including the food stamp’s work requirement, need to be strengthened. Policymakers should look to the success of Maine and other states and move forward to promote work and self-sufficiency in the welfare system.
Australian students asked about their sexuality for scholarships
A leading education scholarship provider backed by some of Australia’s biggest businesses has begun quizzing high school students on their sexuality as part of its application process, sparking fresh concerns about the creeping influence of LGBTI rights activism on schools.
The Australian Business and Community Network Scholarship Foundation is inviting applications for its 2016 grants program and, for the first time, is offering a grant targeted at Year 10 students who “identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex”.
As a result, the application form inquires as to whether the candidate is male, female or transgender and whether they are gay, lesbian or bisexual. In past years, candidates were simply asked whether they were male or female.
The move means the program, chaired by prominent businessman Michael Hawker and financially backed by corporate heavyweights Microsoft, Optus and PricewaterhouseCoopers, strays from its original purpose of helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds with education-related costs.
The scholarships, each valued at $7000 over three years, are open to Year 10 students, who are typically 15 or 16.
The shift comes as the LGBTI lobby has become increasingly influential, including within schools, where programs such as the government-funded Safe Schools Coalition has sparked fears about young people being exposed to politically motivated ideologies around gender and sexuality.
Many of the ABCN’s board and council members head up organisations that have publicly backed the marriage equality push, such as Paul O’Sullivan of Optus, Microsoft boss Pip Marlow and Luke Sayers, who runs PwC in Australia.
PwC, which proudly declares itself as “one of the first private sector organisations to sign a letter of support for marriage equality in Australia”, courted controversy earlier this year when it released a report claiming that the cost of the planned plebiscite on same-sex marriage would exceed $500 million.
Damian Wyld, national policy officer for Family Voice Australia, criticised the awarding of education scholarships based on sexuality as another example of ideological activism making its way into schools.
“Why should children, especially in a school setting, be asked to declare their sexuality or gender identity?” Mr Wyld said yesterday.
“Many 15-year-olds are still working through issues around sexuality. Offering a financial incentive to identify as ‘lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and/or intersex’ is completely inappropriate.”
According to the latest National Survey of Australian Secondary Students and Sexual Health, released in 2014 and billed as the most comprehensive insight into the sexual behaviour and attitudes of young people, 23 per cent of Year 10 students reported engaging in sexual intercourse. “Surely merit or financial disadvantage are more appropriate criteria for scholarships,” Mr Wyld said.
According to the ABCN’s latest annual report, 15 scholarships were awarded last year, with $52,000 paid out to students. The foundation received more than $300,000 in donations last year, and more than $330,000 in 2014.
Launched in 2013, scholarships have traditionally been targeted at high-potential students from disadvantaged schools who were experiencing “significant economic, family or social challenges” that could impact on their education, particularly their ability to complete secondary school and graduate on to tertiary education. Grants must be spent on items that assist the student complete Years 11 and 12, such as books, stationary, computer equipment, tuition costs, uniform and transport.
For the first time, this year all applications are required to be submitted by school principals on behalf of applicants.
The scholarship foundation’s application guide says the group is offering a “targeted scholarship” for a student identifying as LGBTI “in addition” to its regular scholarships. It stresses that the grant recipient would not be identified without their consent.
The foundation, Microsoft, Optus and PwC did not respond to requests for comment.
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.