Ouch. This one hurts.
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About the AuthorRich Robinson is the CEO and publisher of Rise News. He is also a journalist and a native of Miami. Robinson graduated from the University of Alabama and can be followed on Twitter @RichRobMiami.
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By John Massey
Germany and the far right of the political spectrum do not historically mix.
So why is it that a party of the far right (granted, one not nearly as radical or hate-filled as the Nazi Party was) is picking up steam in the largest and most powerful European Union country?
In recent weeks, the Alternative for Germany (AFD) has achieved regional representation in eight German states. There are 16 German states in total.
AFD is a far right populist party in a similar vein as the National Front in France and UKIP in the United Kingdom.
The ragtag party has managed to bite at the heels of the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU), and appears to be gaining popularity across the country.
This is largely due to the anti immigration platform of the party in response to Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s policies on resettling refugees, primarily from Syria.
AFD has a unique opportunity for swift gains due to its novel position on the political spectrum.
A pro right wing backlash has been felt across the West, be it the Tea Party or Euroskeptics, but AFD has been making attempts at separating itself from the most extreme elements of German political life.
According to the Q&A section of the party’s website, the AFD breaks with the ranks of other far right parties by being in support of continued German participation in both the EU and NATO, though with caveats to both of these organizations that favor a more independent foreign policy.
AFD also voices disapproval of TTIP (a proposed free trade agreement between the United States and Europe), subsidies for energy research, while favoring “re-nationalizing” of the banking sector, and promoting marriage between men and women as “politically desirable”.
All of these positions seem to indicate that AFD is interested in focusing inward, and is not particularly hostile to longstanding German policy.
Despite this resemblance closer to the American Republican Party than particularly sinister right wing parties like PEGIDA, the party has been moved more so to the extreme by the Party’s president Frauke Petry, who has brought anti-immigration rhetoric and closer ties to the Kremlin to the forefront of its public perception.
This will likely only continue due to the departure of the party’s moderating influence, Bernd Lucke, cofounder of AFD, left the party in 2015 when ousted from the party presidency by Petry.
Lucke founded another Euroskeptic party Alliance for Progress and Renewal (ALFA), and complained that AFD had grown far too xenophobic.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us!
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Long Live the King?
Queen Elizabeth II has been the longest reigning monarch of the United Kingdom, but what will the monarchy look like when her son, Prince Charles of Wales, ascends to the throne?
While the monarchy is mostly a symbolic institution for the state and the government, the role of the monarchy within the Unites Kingdom is meant to remain political neutral; showing no favorability of one party over another.
The UK is a constitutional monarchy, meaning that the monarchy has some technical state authority; however, it must be in line with the constitution.
The UK gives royal assent to Parliament who then has the power to create and enforce legislation.
Within a Parliamentary system, people vote on a political party who has its own leader.
The leader of the winning political party then becomes the prime minister and is made official by the monarch.
The prime minister meets weekly with the monarch to inform him or her of the current matters of state, but the monarch does not have the ability to set any political policies, at least not officially.
Queen Elizabeth is well known for her lack of public political views.
But her son is something different.
Prince Charles seems to be challenging the political role of the monarchy by showing a large involvement in politics and voicing his opinions.
Some are worried that he may try to be a political force when he eventually takes the throne. (Queen Elizabeth is 90 years old)
Prince Charles has been more transparent about his political views after the publishing of his letters to government ministers from 2004-05, also known as the “black spider” memos, about a variety of his political views in 2015.
In the memos, Prince Charles states his political views concerning problems ranging from dairy-farming to the UK’s armed forces in Iraq.
He has also in recent years become a strong supporter of taking aggressive action in combating climate change.
Even though the monarchy is meant to be apolitical, it seems strange that the rulers of a democratic society, where free speech is considered a natural right, are meant to keep opinions concealed.
Monarchs do not even have the ability to vote in this case because of their duty to remain neutral.
Why is this exclusive group meant to remain quiet?
If a monarch were to present opinions regarding matters of state and sway the opinions of citizens to be in favor of one particular political party, the monarch would then have some control within matter of state and forming legislation.
While they are meant to act as figure heads and a symbol of national unity, this could be viewed as undemocratic in the sense that monarchs are not democratically elected by the people, and would be in violation of the constitution.
Geoffrey Wheatcroft, a well-known journalist and strong defender of the monarchy recently launched a campaign to get Charles to step aside and allow his oldest son- Prince William take the throne.
This doesn’t seem to be a real possibility.
However the idea of a King who gets too involved in contemporary politics is a thought that has pierced through the British zeitgeist before.
In 1993, the British version of House of Cards ran a four episode miniseries titled “To Play The King.” In it, Conservative Prime Minister Francis Urquhart has to fend off a popular and strongly liberal King.
(Spoiler alert: Urquhart is able to win in the end because the British public grew uneasy with a King who involved himself so deeply in politics.)
Prince Charles is also considered “revolutionary” in the fact that he was divorced.
While Prince Charles is widely known, his ex-wife, Princess Diana, stole the attention and hearts of millions across the globe acting as an inspirational link between citizens and the monarchy.
Previously, it was frowned upon for monarchs to get a divorce, let alone be in a relationship with a divorcee.
This was the main reason Prince Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee, causing his brother to take the throne and later his daughter the current queen.
Times have changed, but the perception of monarchs getting a divorce is not looked well upon, nonetheless the scandal surrounding the marriage of Charles and Diana.
Charles is also scandalous in the fact that it is rumored he was having an affair with his current wife, Camilla Parker Bowles, now Duchess of Cornwall, while still married to Princess Diana.
Public opinion of a “King Charles” fell after the divorce and sudden death of Princess Diana.
Would the British public abide a King who tried to push a political agenda?
We might get a chance to find out.
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.
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By Mario Moussa and Derek Newberry
On a balmy night in Oakland last October, the energy of the sell-out crowd at the Oracle Arena was flagging.
While the die-hard Golden State Warriors fans had high hopes for the season, their team had lost two of their first three pre-season games, and they were struggling to get momentum against the Houston Rockets early in the first quarter.
Trying to spark some life into his team, Steph Curry took the ball from Draymond Green at the top of the key and dribbled past four defenders on his way to what looked like an easy lay up.
At the last minute, he whipped a no-look pass to Brandon Rush for an open corner three.
The crowd jumped to their feet. Players on the bench laughed and high-fived each other as a grinning Curry jogged up the court.
It is fitting that the play happened against the talent-rich Rockets, a team that, for many experts and insiders, represented the future of the NBA. But the Warriors may actually be the team of the future. Their current season has featured similar scenes of flawless teamwork that may well produce the best season in NBA history.
The top player passes up a good shot for a great shot, tossing the ball to a bench player with a better look, while the rest of the team cheers.
Just a few years ago, the Moneyball model of talent management seemed poised to sweep the NBA. Led by luminaries like Sam Hinkie, who instilled this approach in the Rockets before moving to the Sixers, front office executives have become increasingly focused on acquiring “undervalued assets” rather than worrying about intangibles like chemistry and character.
Now, as our own hometown Sixers are in the NBA basement and the Rockets are underperforming, the Warriors appear to be ushering in a new era of basketball.
The Warriors’ philosophy is deceptively simple, but it confirms what we know from our own research on collaboration at the Wharton School of Business: High-performing teams trump collections of talented individuals.
In a league driven by lone superstars and individually-focused metrics, the Warriors are succeeding by putting in place what we have found to be the three foundations common to all high-performing teams: goals, roles and norms.
Define simple, clear goals
In a recent interview, center Andrew Bogut recalls how shocked his teammates were when they started their first practice with coach Steve Kerr by doing basic passing drills that they hadn’t seen since high school: “Guys were kind of like, ‘Ugh, we don’t want to do these petty little drills,’ but after a couple of weeks I think guys understood what he was trying to relay onto us. And it was genius in a way, because it’s just instilling the little things.”
Kerr believed that an overcomplicated strategy had caused the team to lose sight of the basic fundamentals.
According to Bogut, he told them: “[if we] just turn it over four or five times less per game, we’re going to win a championship.”
The prediction proved to be true, and it came from an insight shared by all leaders of top teams:
The best goals aren’t about big, abstract visions, but small, manageable steps.
Turn the ball over a few less times. Make a few more passes. Goals need to be clear and straightforward to be achievable, as Kerr himself has explained: “Run six or eight things really well, instead of 20 things in a mediocre fashion.” The Warriors’ success demonstrates the power of simplicity.
Define roles that work for individuals and for the team as a whole
When Kerr decided to bench Andre Iguodala and start Harrison Barnes last season, most people thought he was out of his mind. Iguodala had been acquired by the team as a franchise player, not a $12 million a year bench warmer.
But Kerr believed Barnes had struggled after a promising rookie season because his confidence was hurt when he was moved to a reserve role in his second year.
Barnes needed the security of having a consistent role on the team, and he would improve by being forced to keep up with better players.
Iguodala would provide a solid veteran presence for the bench unit and a boost of energy later in games when starters rested.
As it happened, both players excelled in their roles. Barnes returned to form while Iguodala became a serious candidate for the Sixth Man of the Year award, on their way to winning their first title in 40 years.
Kerr understood that team roles don’t work in isolation—their effectiveness depends on how they interconnect and this will be different for every group.
As the better player, it would normally make sense to have Iguodala in the starting role with Barnes on the bench, but given the team dynamic, Kerr had the insight to switch them.
Establish shared norms by building trusting relationships
From top to bottom, the Warriors organization has built a culture around trust and transparency, to the point where owner Joe Lacob installed glass walls throughout the team offices to reinforce his message of openness.
The trust the team has built starts with a shared set of norms that encourage everyone to voice their opinion.
For Kerr, it began with one-on-one conversations he had with the team after he was hired. He impressed his players by visiting each one individually, even flying out to Australia for Andrew Bogut, and explaining to them how he thought they would fit into his strategy.
In fact, it was this process of sitting down face to face, being transparent, and asking for feedback that convinced Iguodala to go along with being moved to the bench.
This norm of honesty is reinforced in everything Kerr does, as Green noted in a recent interview: “Earlier this season I yelled at him during the game…[Later] he said, ‘Nah, you’re fine. I love your passion; why would I try to stop that? That makes you the player who you are.”
Transparency infuses the entire organization, as Lacob himself is known for inviting dissenting opinions from his staff, rather than running the team like a dictatorship as many owners do. By creating shared norms, the Warriors have built a high level of trust that makes their signature style of unselfish play possible, even on a team with big egos.
Kerr once described his coaching philosophy as being 90% team environment, 10% strategy.
At a time when the dominant trend in the NBA has been about analyzing players as individual assets, the Warriors are creating a counter-revolution based on group dynamics. As Lacob told writer Bruce Schoenfeld: “It’s not just Steph Curry. It’s architecting a team, a style of play, the way they all play together.”
It starts with putting the right foundations in place for collective success.
As they head toward a historic season by multiple measures, the Warriors are bringing the team back to basketball.
Dr. Mario Moussa and Dr. Derek Newberry are the authors of Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance. They both teach at the Wharton School of Business. For more information on their work, visit, www.committedteams.com
RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.Cover Photo Credit: Golden State Warriors/ FacebookPost Views: 470
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