Friday, December 9, 2016

Listen to an Interview with France's Marine Le Pen, Leader of the Ultra-Conservative National Front

by Nomad

In this podcast interview France's Marine Le Pen, leader of the ultra-conservative National Front demonstrates why she could very well be the next French president.  

Meet Madam Le Pen

If you never listened or watched the BBC program HARDtalk, it might come as bit of a shock to hear what outstanding journalism actually sounds like. There's nothing to compare it with in American news. 

In this podcast, interviewer Stephen Sackur quizzes Marine Le Pen, president of France's far-right National Front (NF) Party.
According to polls held in October, a far-right or extreme-right National Front party leader Le Pen would win 30 percent of the national vote if elections were held today. As of last week, Le Pen has taken a sizeable lead over former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
According to one source:
Under the French election system, barring the unlikely possibility one candidate gains an overall majority in the first round vote, the two candidates with the most votes will contest a second and decisive round on 7 May.
Many of her policies have been compared to those of Donald Trump, in particular, her anti-establishment appeal to nationalism. Critics, (and Le Pen has many) claim her advocacy of anti-immigration is heavy laden with Islamophobia. 

Le Pen and Trump

Ms. Le Pen was recently asked about the comparison. She expressed her happiness about the Trump victory and declared that the stunning result of the election shows power is slipping from global "elites" who have "acted like carnivores" and "used the world to enrich only themselves."
(Given the very elite, very carnivorous Donald Trump's willingness to mix his business interests with his political responsibilities, Le Penn might have to revise that assessment.)

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dashed Hopes for Increase in Federal Minimum Wage May Be Just the Start of Hard Times

by Nomad

On 29 November, some 40 people were arrested at a protest outside a McDonald’s restaurant in Detroit. They had gathered to demand wage increases. With picket signs and a loudspeaker, hundreds of workers demanded a minimum wage increase to $15 an hour. Said one protesting worker:
“They are a multi-billion dollar company and they can afford to help us support our families. I cannot support my family on $8.50.”
On that day, there were similar demonstrations in hundreds of US cities, including the commercial hubs of New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
The protests were put together as part of the "Fight for $15," a US-based international movement seeking a minimum wage of $15-per hour for low-paid workers.
Given the outcome of the last election, few expect these nationwide protests to have any impact.

Efforts to raise the federal minimum wage may, in fact, come to a crashing halt the very moment President Trump is inaugurated. 
During the campaign, he made the off-hand remark that wages were too high. He said:
"Taxes too high, wages too high. We're not going to be able to compete against the world. I hate to say it, but we have to leave it the way it is. People have to go out, they have to work really hard and they have to get into that upper stratum. But we cannot do this if we are going to compete with the rest of the world. We just can't do it."
It was a truly insulting thing for a man of Trump's wealth to say.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sandi Toksvig's Big Idea: A Political Party for Women's Equality

by Nomad

Writer, actor, and comedian Sandi Toksvig has a brilliant idea. As she explains in this lively TED lecture, her idea is a simple one but one which could change the world. 
Why not form a Women's Equality Party? 
We want to be the only political party in the world whose main aim was to no longer need to exist... We wanted to be the only political party with no particular political leaning. We wanted people from the left, from the right, from the middle, every age group. Because the whole point was to work with a simple agenda: let's get equality in every aspect of our lives, and when we're finished, let's go home and get the other chores done.
Data from World Economic Forum found that women will finally get equal pay in ...2186! Under the current system, she reckons, women are not going to get equal pay in my grandchildren's grandchildren's lifetimes.
Think of the shame of that.