Le Pen vs. Macron

This will be the last post before the French Presidential election on May 7th. Currently Emmanuel Macron is leading, though I expect his lead to dip on Election Day. So here is the jist.

Macron, a 39 year old former investment banker and former minister of the economy (which is perhaps the 2nd most powerful post in the French cabinet, second only to the prime minister). He is generally the establishment figure in the race, despite running on a mainly anti-establishment platform. He is usually centrist on most issues, staunchly pro-European, and very popular among young people. He is currently polling at around 60 percent and has been endorsed by former US president Barack Obama.

Marine Le Pen is the more anti-establishment figure in the race. At age 48, she is older than Macron, though younger than most French presidents at accession (the youngest, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, was also 48). She is the youngest daughter of one of Frances most notorious politicians, Jean-Marie Le Pen. She has greatly moderated her party’s platform and has gained immense popularity among the French Working Class. Though widely considered far-right, I consider her Radical (not as in the classical radicalism, which had a major base in France), as in cultural rightist and economic leftist.

One of these two candidates, unless something crazy happens, will be Frances next president. So watch with scrutiny, whatever happens will change the course of the populist trend across Europe and the World.

Unionist Democracy

So I had nothing to do on Tuesday. So I began experimenting with political and economic theory and came up with my greatest creation, Unionist Democracy.

So here is the basic idea. Each state or administrative region is divided into several districts. There are two types of districts, rural and Industrial (for basic organizational purposes reasarch counts as industry). Each industrial district is under the control of a single Trade Union while each rural district is under the control of a farmer association.

Rural districts are supposed to feed the other districts. Each farm is given an annual quota of food based on climate forecasts and human needs, with reserves in case anything goes wrong. If a farm gets more food then the quota, then their food goes to farmers that didn’t reach the quota, the reserves, and others districts. Districts are supposed to produce more than necessary (with some environmental regulations) so they can feed industrial districts. Meanwhile, Industrial districts are supposed to specialize in making a few goods, so they can export them to others districts and countries. All inter-district trade is provided for free because this is a socialist system.

Now time for governance. As I stated each district is governed by a trade union or farmer association. Each union is governed by a council of workers, who meet weekly and do not make any additional money for their office. The council oversees the regional economy, collects payroll taxes and tariffs, oversees trade with other districts, and provides welfare services like healthcare, social security, and a universal basic income. Every policy that the council proposes goes to the district workers, where they directly approve the policy that the council proposed that week. The council then enforces that law. Voting is mandatory. Each council member is elected by single transferable vote every year in non-partisan elections, either at-large or in electoral districts, depending on the council size. The people also elect an attorney general and a non-partisan elections administrator, who cannot vote and oversees elections. Council members are recalable at any time.

Now on to state and federal government. Each council has chair, elected by other councilors. The chair presides over the council and, every year goes to the state capital to meet with other council chairs. During these meetings they formulate state economic strategy and elect members to the National Congress, as well as the state courts. The National Congress discusses policy in the national interest, such as foreign trade, the environment and energy, communications, and foreign affairs and defense. They can also temporarily take over districts where the union fails to provide social services or doesn’t follow regulations. They also elect a cabinet of ministers, who implement policy. They meet for 3, 2 month sessions a year

This system is designed to be the most democratic system possible and I hope that one day it is implemented

French election updates

France will hold the first round of their presidential election in late April. Unlike most European States, the president is a fairly powerful figure. And this election has been getting a lot of attention. The debates have already went on, and I will give you a nonpartisan look at the candates.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the right wing populist National Front, is one of the candidates. She has been leading in most polls since 2015. She pledges a referendum on EU membership, a withdraw from the Euro zone, and strict immigration controls. She is neck and neck with here nearest rival who I will now tell y’all about.

Emmanuel Macron is her nearest rival. He is the founder of a new political party, En Marche, meaning on the move. He was economy minister in the government of the highly unpopular president Francois Hollande. However he left the government and announced his intention to run as “neither left nor right”. He is a former investment banker and, despite being among the most establishment figures, he has gained huge popularity despite of it, or perhaps because of it. He pledges a tough anti Russian policy, strongly pro European positions, and an end to partisan divide. In an almost certain second round, he would win in a landslide against Le Pen.

The next candidate is Francois Fillon. He is the candidate of the mainstream centre right republicans party, a former prime minister, and former front runner. However, his campaign derailed following allegations that he paid his wife half a million Euros in taxpayer money as a parliamentary aide, with little evidence to show she did any work. He his now about 7 points behind Macron and Le Pen. He supports generally thratcherite policies, dramatically cutting public sector jobs, raising frances 35 hour workweek (won of the lowest in the world) to 39, and cutting business taxes.

Jean Luc-Melechon is another candidate. He is the founder of the political movement un submissive Frnace, former education minister, and is backed by the decades old communist party (which is actually rather moderate). He has done very well in the debates and has risen from 5th place to now rivaling Fillon for 3rd place. He is very hard left, proposing a radical constitutional change, huge taxes on the wealthy, and strong environmentism.

Benoit Hamon is the candidate of the socialist Party. Normally a powerful force, the party is languishing in polls in reference to the highly umpopular socialist president Francois Hollande. Benoit Hamon is part of the more left leaning faction. He wants to have a universal Basic income (his core campaign message, though Melechon also proposes it), 100 percent renewable energy usage by 2025, and a pro European policy. He is somewhat more moderate than Melechon, who is anti EU.

Hope you enjoyed this.

Northern Ireland election

In Northern Ireland there is an election going on as I speak. It is a neck and neck race between the right-wing democratic unionist party, or DUP, and the left-wing Sinn Féin

Politics in Northern Ireland has traditionally been about weather to become part of Ireland or remain in the U.K. Parties for remaining, such as the DUP, have usually won, but now the nationalist Sinn Fein could win.

I won’t go into the specifics but basically then minister of the economy Arlene Foster launched a scheme to put renewable heat energy in people’s homes through a mixed market approach. Foster then became first Minister and by late 2016 it had spiraled out of control. Click here for more . Meanwhile, Martin McGuinness, the Sinn Féin deputy first minister resigned on January 9, 2017 in protest and due to ill health. Because of a power sharing system, Sinn Fein was required to nominate a replacement for McGuinness, and they didn’t. After one week, Northern Ireland Secretary of State, James Brokinshire, was required to call new elections. And now as I type this, the DUP has a 1000 vote lead, though Sinn Féin has a lead in seats. But just wait to see what happens.

Schultzmania

On January 24th, 2017, Germany’s Social Democratic Party announced their candidate for Chancellor of Germany, essentially Prime Minister of Germany. Their candidate is former President of the European Parliament, Martin Schultz. And this is arguably one of the smartest decisions they made since their last electoral victory in 2002.

So who is Martin Schultz. He was born in Eschweiler, a suburb of Cologne, on December 20, 1955. He wanted to be a football (or soccer as we Americans call it) player when he was in college, but after a knee injury he resorted to drinking. After a decade of being an alcoholic, he opened a book store.

In 1987 he became mayor of würsellen and in 1994 he was elected as a member of the European Parliament. By 2004 he became leader of the European Socialist party . In 2014 he was the Socialist candidate for President of the European Commission, the most powerful position in the European Union. In the end his party lost. After his defeat, he was allowed to become president of the European Parliament, essentially the speaker. In 2016.

In October of 2016 he announced his resignation and his intention to run for the German legislature, the Bundestag, in 2017. He resigned on January 16, 2017. Then on January 24, after months of speculation, he was announced as the candidate for Chancellor of Germany for the Social Democratic Party of Germany, or SPD.

After his candidacy began, the SPD has seen their best poll results since 2011. His campaign has made him the most popular politician in Germany. But the people don’t elect the chancellor, the Bundestag does. So his party needs to win or join forces with other parties for him to become Chancellor and end 12 years of Merkel.

But he could lead his party to victory, and that is what makes him so interesting.

Could Renzi come back

On December 4th, 2016, after a major referendum defeat, the Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi announced his resignation. It had been a grueling campaign, with polls predicting a tight race. But they were wrong, and the referendum, and with it, Renzi, were defeated.

Now Renzi, not even two months after his horrible defeat, could come back. Renzi, just 41, had an ambitious agenda cut short by his defeat. He remains chairman of his party, the Democratic Party. So if his party wins the next election, he would be prime minister.

And how you ask. Well the Supreme Court of Italy rendered Party of an electoral law, which was championed by Renzi, unconstitutional. The part of the law was a run off election which would ensure a party had a majority of seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Italy’s parliament.

This would seem bad for him, as he championed the law, but most people prefer the main opposition party, the 5 Star Movement (m5s), to his party. As m5s is unwilling to make coalitions, this would help Renzi. So he very well could come back. So he is pushing for early elections and he hopes he could take advantage of the fact that m5s is rising only slowly.

Could he get new elections, we don’t know. But anything is possible.

French presidential primary

On Sunday the French Socialist Party, which is actually a social-democratic and centre-left Party, held a presidential primary. The socialists have held both the legislative branch and the presidency since 2012 and have been deeply unpopular during their governing period. In particular president François Hollande, who was unable to keep strong on a lot of his campaign promises and turned from pro-labour to pro-business policies midway through his term, has been unpopular, forcing him to quit the race .

After Hollande announced he would not run, his loyal prime minister, Manual Valls, stepped in. After Valls entered, most people thought it would be a fight between Valls and former economy minister and firebrand Leftist Aurnaud Montebourg. Then during the debates the former education minister, Benoit Hamon, issued a universal income pledge. This resonated with socialist members, as they knew they had little chance of winning and no reason to appeal to the middle ground. Hamon surged and on Election Day he won 35 percent of the vote. As no candidate won a majority, he and Valls advanced torwards a run-off. Montebourg pledged to vote for Hamon, and now Hamon is polling at about 70 percent and is expected to win the primary. We will see what happens.

Idiots

Even though the effects of climate change couldn’t be more evident, our congress is dominated by a party that actively denies Climate Change. The Republican Party is the only major party in the world that actively denies climate change is caused by humans, and now they can actively pursue their agenda. Probably the reason why the United States Republican Party denies Global Warming is because they increasingly rely on the fossil fuels industry for ever more expensive campaign finances. Another reason is because of low youth voter turnout, as to the elderly climate change isn’t really a big deal, because they’d be dead when it comes. Possibly Christianity could have a role, as it sometimes says that the Earth was mean’t for humans to do what they want. Whatever the reason, America needs to learn how serious the threat is.

The Three Musk Preimers.

This week we lost not one, not two, but three prime ministers from a number of countries. Some had sad fates, some just because, and some for more power, but they all have one thing in common. They have no real job. Here is their stories.

1. John Key. Nationality: New Zealand. Age: 55. Party: National (centre-right).
John Key has been the Prime Minister for over eight years now. In 2008 he ended nine years of Labor party rule and brought New Zealand on a free market approach. However, eight years is a long time to rule in New Zealand. So he resigned because, well, he could.

2. Matteo Renzi. Nationality: Italian. Age: 41. Party: Democratic (centre-left)
Matteo Renzi assumed office in 2014 amid an unstable government. He championed a reformist agenda that was to make Italy better. But the senate stood in his way. So he tried to reduce it”s power dramatically. In the referendum on senate power reduction and more centralization, it was heavily rejected. So, as was his promise, he resigned.

3. Manual Valls. Nationality: French. Age. 54. Party: Socialist (centre-left)
Valls took over the premiership amid heavy defeat of his party in regional elections. So he tried to improve its popularity despite the unpopular Socialist president, Francois Hollande. When Hollande chose not to run for reelection, he chose to resign has Prime Minister and run for president as a more centrist Socialist .

One has to see what happens next, but these men aren’t gone yet. So see what happens, because 41 is far too young.

Why I hate December

I hate December, and do you know why. Sugar. So much sugar. It’s everywhere during December. First reason is the holidays, of course. They always expect you to eat sugar during this time.

The other reason is birthdays. My mother, father, and brother have December birthdays. And birthdays aren’t known for being sugar-free.

So that is why I hate December.