Monday, November 28, 2016
Italy is poised to become next country to reject the establishment as shock poll finds referendum protest vote is poised to beat the government
The upcoming vote on prime minister Matteo Renzi's reforms will be thrown out by an 11 percentage point margin in the south of the country, according to a Demos poll.
It is being seen as his failure to reach out to the working class in the poorest areas of Italy, predominantly located in the south.
The vote could prompt an exit from the European Union and rejection would follow results in the Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidency race in citizens turning their back on the political status quo.
Italy is proposing to run a budget deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP for the year, significantly higher than the 1.8 percent level it had promised to deliver earlier this year.
Deputies on Friday voted overwhelmingly in favour of a draft 2017 budget that the European Commission has warned will breach EU rules on the management of public finances.
Luca Comodo, director at polling company Ipsos, told the paper voters think blocking the government's plans is a vote against the establishment and said: 'The south is where protest and rage are amplified.'
A rejected vote would reduce the senate's influence and withdraw power from 20 regional governments in the country.
The issue has provoked sharp exchanges in recent weeks with Renzi seen in some quarters as Brussels-bashing in the run-up to a December 4 referendum on constitutional reform, on which he has staked his political future.
New spending plans in the budget include two billion euros more for healthcare, one billion for education and measues to help small companies and poorer families.
Renzi said earlier this month that he would no longer bow to "diktats" from Brussels over fiscal restraints he regards as counterproductive at a time when most of the eurozone is struggling.
He has also threatened to block the approval of the EU institutions' collective budget if other countries do not offer Italy more help in coping with the arrival of thousands of migrants on its southern shores.
A 2017 deficit of 2.4 percent of GDP would leave Italy comfortably within the EU ceiling of three percent.
But the Commission's economists say Rome should bring down its deficit faster to ensure that the upward trend in the country's huge debt mountain - equivalent to over 130 percent of GDP - is reversed.
The 2017 budget law will only be definitively approved once it has been examined by the second chamber of parliament, the Senate, which has not scheduled any debate on it until after the December 4 referendum.
Another Trump/Brexit/Hanson event and the Australian Greens have a fit
NSW has a Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party, the name of which is self-explanatory. They mainly want an easing of gun laws but you can see similarities with Trump and other recent uprisings against political correctness. They have previously got seats in the NSW Upper House only -- with the help of proportional representation. Now that they have taken a lower house seat it is therefore quite an upset
The NSW MPs of the Australian Greens have chucked one of the most childish and immature tantrums ever seen in any Australian Parliament, after Orange elected Mr Phillip Donato from the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party (SFFP).
The three Greens MPs including Tamara Smith, Jenny Leong and Jamie Parker have announced they do not want to sit with the newly elected MP from the SFFP. Resorting to behaviour better suited to your local primary school, they have asked that Mr Donato be seated with the Labor MPs.
Ms Leong who has clearly been triggered by this event has spoken out and declared that Mr Donato should sit “with his Labor mates,” a swipe at Labor for preferencing the SFFP over the Greens in the by-election. It is clear to see that the Greens are deeply and emotionally scarred by the tragic preferencing deal.
The people have spoken and it is time for the greens to take a big spoonful of cement and harden up. Our parliaments are not places for the weak hearted.
SOURCE. More background on Mr Donato here. He is no rube.
Privately-funded (better measured, more accountable) social services
National Adoption Awareness Week has redrawn attention to the appallingly few adoptions in Australia -- despite the appallingly high number of children in foster care that will never go home safely.
The opponents of adoption continue to claim the real problem with the child protection system is that not enough is done to help parents to stop kids entering care.
They falsely claim that adoption advocates (such as me) believe that early intervention services are a "waste of time" (see this review of my book).
This is nonsense, of course. The problem is that child protection services bend over backwards to support parents to the point that children suffer prolonged abuse and neglect; hence there are many thousands of damaged children in care with maltreatment-related 'high needs' -- development, emotional, and other problems.
The critics also ignore the lack of evidence to support the 'family preservation' policies they endorse.
Take the 2015 Victorian Auditor General's report that found there was no way of knowing whether increased government spending on family support services was "effectively meeting the needs of vulnerable groups ... because there are significant limitations in the service performance data and a lack of outcomes monitoring at the system level."
This is a sector-wide problem identified by my (sadly departing) colleague Trisha Jha in her excellent recent report detailing the lack of robust evaluations of early childhood interventions.
But change is slowly occurring in the social services sector, driven by privately-financed funding initiatives. The Benevolent Society's privately-financed Social Benefit Bond is used to fund the Resilient Families programs, which has had some early success in reducing the number of children entering care.
The success appears to be underpinned by a robust, independent evaluation mechanism. This includes the virtually unprecedented use of a matched intervention-group and control-group to generate a gold-standard measure of effectiveness.
Rewarding programs based on their demonstrated outcomes makes providers accountable; it encourages innovation and discovery of what actually works -- a virtuous circle.
We still need thousands more adoptions each year because there simply are some families that can never be fixed whose children will need rescuing.
But better measured, more accountable social services would also help ensure the child protection system protects children properly.
American universities struggle to balance hate crime surge and politically-correct overdrive
He campaigned on a promise to end political correctness and bring pride back to the United States.
And yet in the wake of Donald Trump’s election, American universities have taken political correctness to the extreme – with one removing the US flag from their campus, and another speaking out against a “party in the USA”-themed celebration, in case students were offended.
Mr Trump’s campaign and his surprise victory has undoubtedly energised extreme elements on all sides of US society.
Police across the country have reported a surge in complaints – on November 14 the FBI reported a 66 per cent increase in anti-Muslim hate crimes for 2015. The Southern Poverty Law Center said that it has received over 700 reports of hate crimes since the election, with 40 per cent of them in schools and universities.
Students and teachers reported graffiti reading: “Make America white again” and swastikas daubed on playgrounds, while mobile phone footage captured children in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas chanting “build the wall” and “white power”.
But on the other end of the spectrum, American educational establishments have found themselves being ridiculed for taking their desire not to offend to extremes.
Last week the president of Hampshire College, a small university in Massachusetts, announced that the American flag was being removed from campus, in a bid to calm tensions.
The day after the election students began calling for the removal of the Stars and Stripes from their campus, saying it was a symbol of racism and hatred. It was lowered that night, and then a day later someone set fire to it. The flag was replaced, but the college board announced that it would be flown at half-mast, “both to acknowledge the grief and pain experienced by so many and to enable the full complexity of voices and experiences to be heard.”
But that only served to pour fuel on the fire – especially among military veterans, who said it made a mockery of the tradition of flying a flag at half-mast to symbolise mourning.
Jonathan Lash, the president of the college, then announced the flag would temporarily be removed from the university land. He said he hoped that removing the flag would “enable us to instead focus our efforts on addressing racist, misogynistic, Islamophobic, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and behaviours.”
He added: “Some have perceived the action of lowering the flag as a commentary on the results of the presidential election — this, unequivocally, was not our intent.”
His decision was met with derision, however. Twitter users described themselves as “disgusted” and “ashamed” by the move, with many pointing out that the college received federal funding.
And the Massachusetts university was not the only one to struggle with the flag and patriotic gestures.
At Brown University, some students tore up and stomped on flags from an event honouring veterans last week, while others hurried to replace and protect the flags. At American University the day after the election, students upset about Trump’s victory burned flags and shouted “F— white America!”
And at a university in Maryland, student leaders at Loyola University apologised for the theme – “Party in the USA.”
“As an organisation, we want to extend our deepest apologies to those that were hurt by this theme and the negative impact it had on them,” they wrote, in an email to students who will graduate this summer.
“Although it was not our intention to create such a divisive climate, we understand that the impact of this decision is much greater than our initial intention.”
The party went ahead as planned – but not without much hand-wringing about the “divisive” theme.
Reverend Brian Linnane, president of the university, said the student leaders were right to be concerned.
"We heard from members of our community who were concerned that some students intended to manipulate the theme to create an unwelcoming environment at the event,"he said. He said they suggested postponing it, until a later date when the country would be “less politically charged.”
“My senior leaders and I have a responsibility to create an intellectual and social environment where all students feel welcomed, included, and supported — an environment where students of all political viewpoints can engage in substantive, meaningful dialogue in the pursuit of truth," he said.
Emily Burke, a senior and president of the Loyola Republicans, said she was deeply upset at student leaders feeling “they needed to apologise in some way for being proud to be an American.”
She added: “The theme was supposed to be unifying, and it should have been.”
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.