Tuesday, April 01, 2014

French voters swing Right

French voters dealt a severe blow to the Socialist government in Sunday's municipal elections, but the party saved face by retaining the crown jewel, Paris, which got its first female mayor.

The anti-immigration far right, which claims that France's large Muslim population is "Islamicizing" the nation, made solid advances, fulfilling National Front promises to begin building a grassroots base.

Socialist leaders conceded defeat in the final round of the voting seen as a referendum on unpopular President Francois Hollande, who was expected to reshuffle the Cabinet in an effort to give the government a boost. Hollande has earned record-low poll ratings for his failure to cure France's flagging economy or cut into the jobless rate, which hovers around 10 percent.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls announced deep losses for his Socialist Party, saying it lost to the mainstream right some 50 cities of more than 30,000 it had held previously, and about 155 towns and cities of all sizes. Toulouse, France's fourth-largest city, moved to the right.

The far right may win up to 15 towns in the voting, Valls said before results were complete. Party leader Marine Le Pen said the performance amounted to "an incontestably great success" that will give her National Front more than 1,200 local councilors — surpassing her goal.

"This vote is a defeat for the government and the (Socialist) majority," said Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault. "This message is clear ... The president will draw conclusions, and he will do so in the interest of France," he added, in a clear reference to a Cabinet reshuffle. It was unclear when a new government might be announced, or whether Ayrault would keep his job.

Paris also gets a new look, as Anne Hidalgo defeated conservative right candidate Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet. Hidalgo, 54, spent 13 years as deputy to outgoing Mayor Bertrand Delanoe. She was able to profit from popular programs he initiated such as the Velib bike-sharing and Autolib auto-sharing services, and the creation of a beachfront each summer on the banks of the Seine.

"I am the first woman mayor of Paris. I am aware of the challenge," Hidalgo said in a victory speech.

The Socialists also managed to save Lyon, France's third-largest city, from the conservative right UMP party of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, as well as large cities like Strasbourg and Montpellier. Significantly, the Socialists took the southern town of Avignon from the UMP and prevented a far-right victory in the town known worldwide for its summer theater festival.

Le Pen's National Front was using the two-round elections to sink local roots around France in view of national voting, including the 2017 presidential vote and May's European parliamentary elections. The party won the blighted northern town of Henin-Beaumont in last week's first round.

The far right took the Cote d'Azur town of Frejus and notably won the 7th district of Marseille, France's second-largest city with a large percentage of residents of immigrant origin, many from Muslim North Africa. The district's population is about 150,000 — the party's biggest win.

However, Marseille stayed in the hands of conservative right Mayor Jean-Claude Gaudin.

Le Pen said her party has ended "bipolarization" of French politics in which the traditional right and left divvy up votes.

"A third political force has been born," she said, adding that the party, which wants France to withdraw from the European Union, would begin campaigning immediately for elections for the European Parliament, where she is a deputy.



The Problem Is Liberalism, Not Racism

Star Parker

When Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif, went off on Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis, for his remarks that “We have got a tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work,” the wrong part what she had to say got all the attention.

The big buzz that Congressional Black Caucus member Lee generated was her accusation that Ryan’s remarks were a “thinly veiled racial attack.”

But the part of her remarks I found most interesting was “…Mr. Ryan should step up and produce some legitimate proposals on how to tackle poverty and racial discrimination in America.”

Paul Ryan has been one of the most creative and courageous policy thinkers in Washington in recent years.

Ryan sat down with me for an interview shortly before he ran for Vice President in 2012 (the interview is on my organization’s website www.urbancure.org). His thoughtfulness and compassion came through loud and clear and he zeroed in on the core of a problem I have been talking and writing about for more than 20 years – government programs that not only do not solve problems but make problems worse.

I stepped into this whole business of public policy from my own experience with welfare. I saw that the welfare program, which operated in this country from the 1960’s until it was reformed in 1996, that required women to not work, not save, and not get married in order to qualify for their welfare checks was a most efficient mechanism to destroy family and perpetuate poverty.

So it should come as no surprise that single parent black households tripled as a percentage of all black households from the 1960’s to today.

Where Barbara Lee is right is that this is not about race. What it is about is liberalism.

The racial aspect comes into play in that black political leaders, like Congresswoman Lee, overwhelmingly embrace liberalism, progressivism, welfare statism – whatever you want to call it – that has failed and caused untold damage in the very communities they claim to want to help. And they refuse to ever learn. Their answer to every problem, despite prior experience, is more government, more taxpayer’s dollars.

When real reformers like Paul Ryan come along, they get branded racist.

In a column I wrote a couple years ago, I pointed out that the 41 member Congressional Black Caucus were uniformly Democrats, had a 100% reelection rates, and the average poverty rate in these Congressional Black Caucus districts was 20.3% and the average child poverty rate 28.8% - both well above national averages.

Economist Walter Williams has pointed out that, in America’s top 10 poorest cities with populations more than 250,000, “…for decades, all of them have been run by Democratic and presumably liberal administrations. Some of them – such as Detroit (now the largest municipal bankruptcy in the nation’s history), Buffalo, Newark, and Philadelphia, haven’t elected a Republican mayor for more than half a century. What’s more is that, in some cases for decades, the mayors of six of these high-poverty cities have been black Americans.”

Again, the point is not that the mayors of these cities are black. It is that they are liberals. And black politicians, like Congresswoman Barbara Lee, overwhelmingly are liberals, and they remain liberals, despite a long and consistent track record of failure.

When welfare was reformed, liberals like Barbara Lee fought it.

It is pure self-absorption for any interest group to think it is all about them. America is in real trouble today and we’re all in this together.

Ms. Lee talks about “code words.” Her code word is “racist”, which means someone, like Paul Ryan, who wants to make Americans of all backgrounds better off by giving them more freedom, more choice, more responsibility, and less government.



Northwestern University football players to receive maternity coverage under Obamacare
Some weekends, the stories just seem to write themselves. You probably heard by now that the National Labor Relations Board (NRLB), in their infinite wisdom, put the stamp of approval on college football players being treated as full time employees with the right to unionize. Well, I suppose everything comes with a few unintended consequences, as reported by Rare.

Northwestern University became the first school in the nation to deem its football players full-time employees, thus making them eligible for union representation and health insurance benefits including maternity coverage.

On Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 13 director Peter Sung Ohr approved the players as employees of the school based on four prerequisite clauses. The team will now have the opportunity to vote on whether they want to unionize and join the College Athletes Players Association, according to Sports Blog Nation.

The kicker is that under Obamacare, the Evanston, Ill.-based team, comprised of more than 50 “employees,” is considered a “large employer” and Northwestern must provide pregnancy-related health care for the all-male team.

This is just fabulous. Of course, we probably should have anticipated that things like this would begin cropping up the moment we decided to take college students and transfer their status to that of employee because the college might be profiting from their activities. Sally Jenkins approaches the question from the 10,000 foot level.

Colter and his peers aren’t laborers due compensation; they are highly privileged scholarship winners who get a lot of valuable stuff for free. This includes first-rate training in the habits of high achievement, cool gear, unlimited academic tutoring for gratis and world-class medical care that no one else has access to. All of which was put into perspective by Michigan State basketball Coach Tim Izzo when he was asked about the ruling at the NCAA tournament East Region semifinals in New York.

“I think sometimes we take rights to a whole new level,” Izzo said. “ . . . I think there’s a process in rights. And you earn that. We always try to speed the process up. I said to my guys, ‘There’s a reason you have to be 35 to be president.’ That’s the way I look at it.”

Other questions remain to be answered. If the field hockey team has less than fifty players, does that make them a small business? If so, they may already qualify for some sort of exemption or mandate delay from Barack Obama. (Or, if not, one should be coming along shortly.) But the field hockey team doesn’t generate any money, so maybe that makes them a non-profit corporation. In that case, the IRS should be checking into their status shortly and denying them a needed classification.

And what of the cheerleaders? They’re probably as much a part of the “team” as anyone else out there, and they are almost entirely women. Sure, they might be able to use the Obamacare maternity services a bit more, but now we have to discuss the unpleasant fact that cheerleaders are making WAY less than 77 cents on the dollar compared to the male players when they both reach the NFL.



Malfunctioning Asylum System Fosters Fraud

Executive action, agency inaction, and judicial activism at fault

The erosion of checks and balances in the U.S. asylum system, designed to prevent fraud, has led to the nearly tripling of claims for asylum. A Center for Immigration Studies report examines the increased applications as well as the rubberstamping of these applications. The number of applicants passing the preliminary “credible fear” test nearly tripled from 2012 to 2013, and has increased nearly 600 percent since 2007. Once the applicant receives asylum, they receive access to all major welfare programs.

Fraud accounts for much of the increase. According to a DHS internal report, 70 percent of asylum applications examined were fraudulent or had strong indicators of fraud. With such a high rate of fraud, it is alarming that DHS statistics show a positive credible fear finding in 92% of all cases decided on the merits. The CIS report finds that the Senate comprehensive immigration bill would do much to exacerbate the existing problem. Among the list of changes would be the allowing of previous asylum fraudsters to re-apply and allowing asylum to be granted instantly upon application, before any vetting occurs.

View the entire report here

Dan Cadman, author of the report and fellow at the Center, said, “Many illegal immigrants have learned how to game the system by applying for asylum as a means of prolonging their time in the United States. If a claimant can pass the preliminary credible fear test they can buy themselves months, often years, living and working legally in the United States. A system designed to stem fraud and abuse has been undone by executive action, agency inaction, and judicial activism.”

Cadman provides nine recommendations of how Congress and the Department of Homeland Security can curb abuses, and set the asylum program on track to function as it was intended. He endorses, for example, a program of routine audits of both credible fear findings and formal asylum grants, which would include investigations of cases found to involve fraud or the withholding of material information.

Press release from CIS

There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc


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