Tuesday, November 06, 2018

French far-right overtakes Macron in EU parliament election poll

Marine Le Pen’s National Rally has overtaken the centrist party of Emmanuel Macron, the French president, for the first time, according to an opinion poll released Sunday, in a further sign of the rise of the far-Right in Europe.

The Ifop poll measured voting intentions for European Parliament elections next May, seen as a decisive battle between pro-EU liberals and Eurosceptic populists that could be pivotal in shaping the future of the European Union after Brexit.

Liberals championed by Mr Macron are attempting to fend off a rising anti-immigrant and Eurosceptic wave led by Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, and Matteo Salvini, Italy’s influential deputy prime minister.

The poll showed Ms Le Pen’s party, formerly known as the Front National, with 21 per cent of voting intentions compared to 19 per cent for Mr Macron’s La Republique En Marche (LREM) party.

Together with the seven per cent of people planning to vote for a smaller far-Right party, Stand Up France, and two per cent going for two small “Frexit” parties, the French far-Right has won 30 per cent of voting intentions, a five-point gain since August, according to the poll.

In a landmark victory, the Front National won the largest share of the French vote in the last European elections in 2014, when the Socialist Party held power in France.

Mr Macron is leading the campaign for the 2019 European elections, which he has described as “a contest between progressives and nationalists”.

On a recent visit to Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Mr Macron railed against populists, accusing Hungarian and Polish leaders of being “fantasists [who] lie to their people.”

He said it angered him to see posters with slogans such as “Stop Brussels”, arguing that EU membership had brought countries such as Hungary and Poland greater prosperity.

Last week he urged Europeans to “resist” what he called “the nationalist leprosy”.

He said: “The moment we are living through resembles the period between the two world wars…

"In a Europe divided by fear, the nationalist withdrawal, the consequences of the economic crisis, one sees almost methodically the recurrence of everything that set the pace of European life from the end of the First World War to the Great Depression of 1929.”

Nevertheless, the French president’s approval ratings have plunged to 21 per cent amid rising discontent over his failure to fulfil his election pledges to slash unemployment, boost growth and cut taxes.

Fuel price increases stemming from tax increases justified as an anti-pollution measure have alienated rural and small-town voters, and the president has also been damaged by a scandal over his bodyguard who was filmed beating protesters.

Ms Le Pen’s party appears to be the only opposition group benefiting from Mr Macron’s unpopularity.

The far-Left France Unbowed party, whose leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon took nearly 20 per cent of the vote in the first round of France’s presidential election last year, fell three points to 11 per cent in the European election poll.


Leftist goons disrupt even a Munk debate

Munk debates are very formal, serious and orderly debates in Canada that get big publicity.  But Leftists hungered after that publicity

Violent clashes during Steve Bannon debate in Toronto end with two cops left injured and demonstrators left bloodied and bruised

Police made 12 arrests as protesters delayed the start of a controversial debate featuring Bannon and conservative commentator David Frum.

Toronto Police tweeted 12 people face various charges and two officers suffered minor injuries, one was hit with a stick and another was punched in the face. The debate was delayed for about a half hour and Bannon was interrupted by a protester during his opening statement.

Many in the crowd of 2,700 at the Munk debate groaned and laughed at Bannon when he said he hasn't seen a bad decision by President Donald Trump yet.

When Bannon earlier called it a very tough crowd, one audience member responded 'No, smart.'

'Trump's economic nationalism doesn't care about your race, your ethnicity or color,' Bannon said to a jeering crowd at another point.

The protester that interrupted the debate unfurled a banner that read 'No Hate. No Bigoty. No Place for Bannon's White Supremacy.'

Guests of a Toronto Munk debate featuring former White House chief strategist Bannon and conservative commentator Frum

Bannon thanked the people of Toronto and the organizers for having him and the protesters outside for exercising their freedom of speech rights to protest.

Frum and Bannon debated whether 'The future of Western politics is populist, not liberal.' Frum argued populism offers nothing but anger and fear and said he had faith in voters.

'I know the fear that many feel,' Frum said. 'This is not the first time that democracy has faced thugs, and crooks and bullies and would be dictators and those who would seek to build themselves up by tearing others down. This is not the first time that people have puffed themselves as the wave of the future. They were wrong then and they are wrong now.'

Frum called the rise in populism the most dangerous challenge that liberal democratic institutions have faced since the end of communism.

'It's not a question of whether populism is on the rise and whether populism is going to be the political future,' Bannon said. 'The only question before us: Is it going to be populist nationalism or populist socialism?'

Bannon played a central role in the 2016 campaign of Trump. Bannon said next week's midterms are critical test of the populist movement but said they are just in the first inning of it.


Bathroom vote in Massaschusetts

Jeff Jacoby

QUESTION 3 on the Nov. 6 ballot in Massachusetts asks voters whether they want to retain or repeal a 2016 state law that makes it illegal to discriminate against transgender people in places of public accommodation. That law specifies that any place with separate facilities for males and females, such as bathrooms and locker rooms, must allow access to individuals on the basis of their "gender identity," regardless of their biological sex.

The measure doesn't appear to be very contentious. If a Suffolk University/Boston Globe poll released on Monday is correct, 68 percent of Massachusetts voters intend to vote Yes on Question 3, to keep the law on the books.

I'm with the 28 percent who plan to vote No. In my view, there are at least three reasons why the transgender-identity law was a mistake and should be rejected.

1. When antidiscrimination laws are expanded, freedom of association — a core human liberty — is infringed.

I oppose laws that force private businesses or organizations to serve customers or accept patrons against their will. Private vendors, employers, and places of public accommodation should have broad legal freedom to decide for themselves whom they wish to deal with. The only exception I support is banning discrimination based on race, since American law for so many generations mandated racial repression and discrimination. Otherwise, there should be no "protected" categories at all. Where liberty and free choice flourish, bigotry and xenophobia tend to recede. Society should rely on the power of markets and public sentiment to eliminate invidious discrimination, not the iron fist of regulators and prosecutors.

Granted, this is theoretical. The wholesale repeal of anti-bias statutes is not in the cards. But at least the pressure to expand those laws by adding more and more demographic groups to the already lengthy list of protected classes should be resisted.

Transgender individuals should always be treated with respect — that should go without saying. But Massachusetts should also respect its citizens' freedom of association, and trust them to use their own judgment when gender identity is at issue.

2. Massachusetts has already shown that it can routinely accommodate transgender access — no law required.

Addressing Question 3 in a statement last Monday, the University of Massachusetts assured the "100,000 students, faculty, staff, and guests" who are on UMass campuses each day that regardless of the referendum result, bathrooms and changing facilities will continue to be open to anyone who wants to use them.

"We will retain our present policy on restroom and locker room access on our campuses by allowing transgender and gender-nonconforming students, faculty, staff, and guests to choose facilities consistent with their gender identity," the statement said.

What is true of UMass is true of every establishment in Massachusetts: They can sort this out for themselves. Supporters of the Yes on 3 campaign include many of the largest corporations, sports teams, labor unions, police organizations, and colleges in the state. None of them needs Beacon Hill to tell them how to operate their bathrooms or other intimate spaces.

Everyone in Massachusetts goes to the bathroom, and 99.9 percent of the time, people use the facilities suited to their needs without causing problems for anyone else. They were doing so before the 2016 law was passed. They'll do so if the law is overturned.

That leaves the 0.1 percent of instances when the presence of an anatomical male in a space meant for females does cause genuine distress, and leads to my third argument for voting No on Question 3:

3. The transgender-identity law ignores sensitive issues of privacy and vulnerability.

Opponents of the 2016 law didn't mobilize to put this referendum on the ballot because they object to transgender people being served in coffee shops, bookstores, or hotels. The opposition is fueled solely by concern about the tiny fraction of cases in which the mismatch between someone's bodily sex and gender identity is not only obvious, but makes women or girls uneasy.

Such cases may be rare, but they are real. In December 2017, a biological male who identifies as a woman sought out a women's spa in Milton for a "full Brazilian" waxing. When the spa was unwilling to perform a pubic waxing on a customer with male genitalia, the customer filed a complaint under the public accommodations law with the Attorney General's office. (The complaint was withdrawn before the case went to litigation.)

When the Legislature added "gender identity" to the public accommodations law, it could have exempted private spaces that are routinely segregated by sex. Its refusal to do so is the sole reason the law is now being challenged. The 2016 law rides roughshod over the discomfort, reserve, and modesty of women and girls at the presence of male bodies in a place meant for females only.

This is not an illegitimate concern. Indeed, Massachusetts legislators acknowledged as much, when they passed a 1998 law exempting women's gyms from the state's public-accommodations law. Normally there is no justification for discrimination by sex or gender. But it is only common sense that bathrooms, showers, waxing salons, and other intimate environments require special sensitivity.

The gender-identity law jettisons that sensitivity. Voters, in response, should jettison the law.


Australia's alternative to illegal immigrant farm workers

Thousands of backpackers who travel to Australia will have their working visas extended as the Federal Government looks to permanently end worker shortages on farms.   

Annual working holiday visa caps will be lifted, the age limit raised to 35 for select countries, and backpackers will also be able to triple the length of their stay in some instances after formally agreeing to more agricultural work.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has endorsed the sweeping changes, with backpackers also no longer required to leave jobs every six months.

They will now be encouraged to stay with the same employer for up a year.

The Government has been under increasing pressure to help struggling farmers after the Nationals failed to deliver on a promised agriculture visa, and Mr Morrison's ambitious plan to force dole recipients to pick fruit never got off the ground. 

Nationals MP Keith Pitt urged federal government representatives to increase the number of backpackers because farms in his local Bundaberg region were struggling to survive.

As part of the newly introduced farm labourer push, overseas visitors with a Pacific Islander background will now be able to work for nine months rather than the current six month limit. 

Daily Mail Australia understands Mr Morrison has also not ruled out agreeing to another agriculture visa if the changes don't fill the required jobs on farms.

The Prime Minister said the primary aim was to deliver immediate help and willing workers to farmers.

'Australians filling Australian jobs is my number one priority but when this isn't possible we need to ensure our farmers aren't left high and dry with rotting crops, especially in the strawberry industry,' Mr Morrison told the Courier Mail.

'We want more money in the back pockets of our farmers.' 



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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and  DISSECTING LEFTISM.   My Home Pages are here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  Email me (John Ray) here


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