Thursday, May 26, 2016

French unions demand the same path as Venezuela.


Violent clashes break out in France over labor reforms

Riot police have used tear gas to disperse protesters in the French capital during demonstrations against labor reforms. The prime minister has said he's open to 'improvements' to the bill but won't scrap it altogether.
Protests in Paris
Thousands of protesters clashed with police in central Paris and other French cities on Thursday, as union activists around the country stepped up industrial action over a raft of labor reforms.
Between 18,000 and 100,000 people joined the march in the French capital before it took a violent turn in the afternoon. Masked individuals reportedly smashed the windows of high street shops and banks as police fired tear gas on the crowd. Sixteen people were arrested. There were similar scenes in the western city of Nantes, while in southwestern Bordeaux around 100 people stormed a police station.
Protesters demand the government abandon a controversial labor reform bill that makes it easier for employers to hire and fire workers, and relaxes rules around the 35-hour work week.
The government forced the bill through parliament earlier this month. It says the legislation will create jobs and tackle unemployment, which hovers at around 10 percent. Union representatives have said they see the reform as a tool to erode workers' rights.
Watch video01:08

French labor law protestors blockade nuclear power plants 

Wave of industrial action
Union anger over the changes has led to strikes across France that have affected oil refineries, fuel depots, ports, train services and some flights. The wave of industrial action has had a particularly disruptive impact on fuel supply, resulting in days of shortages at gas stations. 
In the port city of Le Havre on Thursday, dock workers set off smoke bombs and fireworks in front of the city hall. Dock workers also went on strike in the southern port city of Marseille, preventing ships from offloading oil and gas.
Francis Duseux, the head of France's oil industry lobby, said the government had been forced to dip into four days' worth of its strategic fuel reserves for the first time in six years to compensate for the resulting supply problems. He said only two of the country's eight refineries were working normally.
Protesters in Paris
Thousands of workers took to the streets in Marseille as part of a nationwide day of industrial action
More protests ahead
Another round of protests is planned for June 14, four days after the 2016 European Championships soccer tournament kicks off in France.
Members of the CGT union, one of the seven unions that called for the nationwide strike, warned the tournament could face major disruptions if the government refuses to scrap the bill.
Petrol station in France
France has started using its fuel reserves to deal with supply problems at petrol stations around the country
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said abandoning the reforms was not an option, but he did open the door to possible "improvements and modifications" to the legislation.
"I am always open when some aspect should be improved, but on the main lines of the text, particularly Article 2, there is no question of touching it," said Valls on broadcaster BFM-TV. "We cannot cede to a desire to make the government fold by blocking the economy."
Under Article 2, companies can opt out of national labor protection obligations if they adopt in-house deals on pay and conditions with the consent of employees. CGT union members have rejected the offer, and say they will continue striking until the bill is dropped.

An EU army!



In the last hour Sen. Tom Cotton took to the Senate floor to denounce the “bitter, vulgar, incoherent ramblings of the minority leader,” the “cancerous” Harry Reid. And it gets better from there. Take it in—just two minutes long:

"In other words, the more mentally unstable the person and the more unrealistic his demands, the more moral authority he has. And the very act of attempting to rebut their assertions — especially if that rebuttal comes from a white male"

Campus Activists Are More Radical—and Troubled—than You Think
When only victimhood confers moral authority, ‘victims’ rule the roost, often violently.
By David French — May 25, 2016

Obama Admin. Sued Business Because It Kept Male Employee Out Of Women’s Room

Obama Admin. Sued Business Because It Kept Male Employee Out Of Women’s Room

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a private business for sex discrimination and harassment after a male employee — who announced he was switching genders to become a woman — was barred from using the women’s restroom and was referred to with male pronouns by his coworkers.
Deluxe Financial Services, a Minnesota-based company that helps small businesses with marketing, denied that it violated any anti-discrimination laws but agreed to settle the case for $115,000 in order to avoid further costs of litigation, according to the settlement agreement.
The male employee, who now goes by the name Britney Austin, publicly presented himself as male when he was hired by Deluxe Financial but later opted to begin identifying as a woman.
According to a press release from last summer — when the EEOC filed the lawsuit — Austin’s coworkers subjected him to a “hostile work environment,” such as “intentionally using the wrong gender pronouns to refer to [him].”
In response, Austin hired lawyer Jillian T. Weiss, whose law practice specializes in suing people for allegedly discriminating against transgenders, to team up with the EEOC against Deluxe Financial, seeking unspecified monetary damages.
The two parties arrived at a settlement in January 2016, requiring the company to shell out $115,000 to Austin and his attorneys within five days of the agreement.
Under the terms of the settlement, the company is also required to allow any future transgender employees to use the bathroom of their choice and prohibit the “intentional misgendering of transgender employees.”
Additionally, the company is required to ensure that “persons present at any of the Deluxe’s facilities and locations” — including customers — will not engage in “prohibited behavior” against transgender persons.
The settlement also required the company to expunge and destroy any “any poor evaluations, discipline, or discharge documents after September 1, 2010” from Austin’s personnel file and provide a “neutral reference” to any future “prospective employer” looking into hiring Austin.
Deluxe Financial is also prohibited from mentioning the lawsuit to any of Austin’s future employers, and was required to issue a letter of apology to him.
According to the EEOC, the lawsuit is part of the agency’s plan to “strategically enforce” laws against workplace discrimination.
The EEOC’s website warns businesses that not permitting employees to choose which bathroom to use is one example of “LGBT-related sex discrimination,” as is failing to use the name and gender pronoun of an employee’s choice.

An example of how Democrats squelch opposition opinion...use name calling tactics. Zoe Lofgren proves she's a thug.

See How Dem Congresswoman Reacts During House Hearing When Witness Offers Her Opinion on Transgender Debate

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) was declared “out of order” during a House hearing on Wednesday after she angrily called a witness an “ignorant bigot.”
Screengrab via C-SPAN
Screengrab via C-SPAN
Lofgren initiated the exchange by reading from testimony given by Gail Heriot, of the United States Commission on Civil Rights, at the hearing:
“We are teaching kids a terrible lesson. ‘I believe that I am a Russian princess.’ That doesn’t make me a Russian princess, even if my friends and acquaintances are willing to indulge my fantasy. Nor am I a great-horned owl just because, as I have been told, I happen to share some personality traits with those feathered creatures.”
Lofgren called the witnesses testimony “rather offensive” and questioned the subject’s knowledge on the transgender issue,
When Heriot attempted to respond to Lofgren’s claims, the Democrat grew angry and began name-calling.
“I think you are a bigot, lady!” she said. “I think you are an ignorant bigot! I think you are an ignorant bigot and anti-gay—”
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) was then forced t0 interrupt Lofgren for violating committee rules.
“You are out of order,” he said. “We don’t call names in this committee and you’ll not be recognized to do that.”
Watch the exchange below:

Another case of mainstream media's lies and distortions against the Second Amendment. The left thinks it's entitled to lie to get its way.

Katie Couric Documentary Accused of Deceptively Editing Gun Rights Activists — Here’s the Evidence

A gun rights group has accused veteran television journalist Katie Couric of editing interview footage for her new documentary to intentionally make their organization appear foolish — and they have the audio recording to back it up.
Couric narrated and executive produced the new documentary, “Under the Gun,” which purports to present both sides of the debate over gun control. In the film, Couric interviews a group called the Virginia Citizens Defense League to get their perspective.
In the documentary, the VCDL representatives appear puzzled by one of Couric’s questions and hang their heads low, seemingly unable to answer.
“Let me ask you another question,” Couric says. “If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?” Her interviewees respond with what seems to be a prolonged moment of silence.
But the full audio version of the interview that the group recorded, which it released to the Washington Free Beacon and the pro-gun website Ammoland, shows that the group did in fact answer the question right away and did so in great detail.
“If you’re a felon and you’ve done your time, you should have your rights,” one VCDL representative responds.
“Well the fact is, you do have statutes both at the federal and state level that prohibit classes of people from being in possession of firearms,” another man adds. “What we’re really asking about is a question of prior restraint, how can we prevent future crime by identifying bad guys before they do anything bad. And the simple answer is, you can’t.”
The group posted to Facebook Monday, accusing Couric of using “creative editing” to produce an “infomercial for gun control” under the guise of a documentary.
Listen to the full recording:

South Africa furore over flashy cars for Jacob Zuma's wives.

South Africa furore over flashy cars for Jacob Zuma's wives

President Zuma (C) and the first ladies, Nompumelelo Ntuli (L), Thobeka Madiba and Sizakele Khumalo taken parliament in Cape Town in 2009Image copyrightAFP
Image captionThe right to practise polygamy is protected in the South African Constitution
South Africans are wondering how serious President Jacob Zuma is about austerity after it emerged this week that the state had spent about 8.6m rand ($550,000; £374,000) on new cars for his wives over the past three years.
In response to a parliamentary question from the opposition this week, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko said the police had spent close to $230,000 alone on luxury cars for president Zuma's four wives this year - despite a call for citizens to tighten their belts as South Africa's economy struggles to meet growth targets. 
He said a total 11 vehicles for Mr Zuma's wives had been purchased out of the police budget:
  • Four Range Rovers bought in 2013 for $60,000 each
  • Two Land Rover Discovery worth $40,000 each bought in 2014
  • Two Audi Q7s bought in March this year for $40,000
  • And three Audi A6s also bought in March this year for $50,000 each.
Mr Nhleko, who is known for putting his head on the block for Mr Zuma, justified the purchases saying they were there "to provide comprehensive protection of VIP spouses".

Necessity or wasteful spending?

It wasn't that long ago when I watched the finance minister Pravin Gordhan announce austerity measures in parliament. 
"This year's Budget, Honourable Speaker, is focused on fiscal consolidation. We cannot spend money we do not have. We cannot borrow beyond our ability to repay," Minster Gordhan said passionately while delivering his 2016 budget speech on 24 February.
After listing a whole number of cost reduction measures, including guidelines limiting the value of vehicles, for office bearers, he said: "Until we can ignite growth and generate more revenue, we have to be tough on ourselves."
Concluding his speech, he even thanked the president for his "support." A statement tinged with irony now.
He did not, however, specify the limit he wanted to impose for car purchases.
The controversy around President Zuma's inconsistencies is not only limited to spousal budgets and their luxury cars. 
President Zuma in parliament in Cape TownImage copyrightRODGER BOSCH
Image captionPresident Jacob Zuma has also faced fierce criticism over the use of $20m of state funds to revamp his private home in Nkandla
Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula vowed to go ahead with a purchase of a presidential jet believed to cost about $2.5m.
"There is no way we can avoid this because in the first instance, we must ensure the principal is safe," she said emphatically in parliament on Wednesday. 
The minister stressed that the acquisition of aircraft for the president and deputy president was urgent because the presidential jet, South Africa's equivalent of Air Force One known as Inkwazi, and the plane transporting Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa have experienced technical problems several times.
Replying to howls of disdain from opposition parties at the news of the purchase, she retorted:
"I'm sure your former president before democracy used to fly SAA," she snapped back at the main opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), a historically white party. 
Inkwazi presidential jetImage copyrightAFP
Image captionInkwazi, South Africa's presidential jet, has had several technical problems recently and officials are worried it poses a risk to Jacob Zuma's safety
According to the DA, the money used to buy the presidential wives' cars could have instead be used to fund:
  • 116 university students for a year 
  • 38 students studying for a three-year degree 
  • An additional 61 police officers for a year. 
"Yet the president decided to spend this gigantic amount on lavish VIP vehicles for his wives," said DA MP Zakhele Mbhele, who had initially asked the question about the controversial expenditure.
Mbuyiseni Ndlozi from the Economic Freedom Fighters said President Zuma was using the country's treasury "as his personal purse".

Mrs Zuma:
President Jacob Zuma and his wife Bongi NgemaImage copyrightAFP
Image captionPresident Zuma has been married six times - most recently to Bongi Ngema in 2012
  • Bongi Ngema - married April, 2012
  • Thobeka Madiba - married January 2010
  • Nompumelelo Ntuli - married January 2008
  • Sizakele Khumalo - married 1973
  • Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma - divorced 1998
  • Kate Mantsho - died 2000

But who is to blame for all of this?
Tinyiko Maluleke, a political analyst from the University of Pretoria says that South Africans should look at themselves for the answer.
"When you vote for a president who is a polygamist, you must have factored that into the arrangement," he told the BBC. 
In South Africa, polygamy is a protected traditional right within the constitution for communities who practise the custom.
So this isn't a debate about the president's right to marry more than one wife but rather the merits of his family's maintenance costs by the state. 
While no rule was broken, surely someone should have thought about the wider implications of this purchase at a time when the government was asking the rest of the country to tighten its belt?

Twitter abuse - '50% of misogynistic tweets from women'

Twitter abuse - '50% of misogynistic tweets from women'

Twitter logoImage copyrightAP
Image captionTwitter boss Jack Dorsey has pledged to tackle abuse on the platform
Half of all misogynistic tweets posted on Twitter come from women, a study suggests.
Over a three-week period, think tank Demos counted the number of uses of two particular words as indicators of misogyny.
It found evidence of large-scale misogyny, with 6,500 unique users targeted by 10,000 abusive tweets in the UK alone.
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey has said that tackling abuse is a priority.
The research comes as UK MPs - Yvette Cooper, Maria Miller, Stella Creasy, Jess Philips - alongside former Liberal Democrat minister Jo Swinson, launch their Reclaim the Internet campaign, in response to growing public concern about the impact of hate speech and abuse on social media.
Yvette CooperImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionYvette Cooper is among five female MPs launching the Reclaim the Internet campaign
The campaign has opened an online forum to discuss ways to make the internet less aggressive, sexist, racist and homophobic.
Launching the campaign, Ms Cooper told the BBC: "The truth is nobody knows what the best answers are. There is more when there is criminal abuse, for example rape threats, that the police should be doing but what is the responsibility of everyone else? What more should social media platforms be doing?"
She said that the campaign was an opportunity for the public to "put forward their proposals and demands for the changes we want to see".
In response to the survey, Twitter's head of trust and safety Kira O'Connor told the BBC: "Hateful conduct has no place on the Twitter platform and is a violation of our terms of service. 
"In addition to our policies and user controls, such as block, mute and our new multiple tweet reporting functionality, we work with civil society leaders and academic experts to understand the challenge that exists."
The Demos study also looked at international tweets and found more than 200,000 aggressive tweets using the words, "slut" and "whore", were sent to 80,000 people over the same three weeks. 

Woman hiding from laptopImage copyrightTHINKSTOCK
Image captionOnline abuse can cause very real harm
The commonsense approach to posting comments on social networks would be to never say anything online that you wouldn't say to someone's face but that simple rule seems to be regularly ignored.
Being able to post anonymously helps and, in many ways, social networks have become the modern day equivalent of a natter over the garden fence or a gathering on the village green - but on a global scale.
And just as in the old gossip circles of old, there will be people whose comments are meaner or more aggressive than the rest, so that is amplified online. And now the voices of the trolls can be heard and they can pick victims - generally people they don't know - pretty much at random.
Abuse on social networks is not new and neither is the revelation that women contribute to the problem.
A 2014 study from cosmetics firm Dove found that over five million negative tweets were posted about beauty and body image. Four out of five were sent by women.
The bigger question is what can be done about it?
We have seen in recent years the police take the issue much more seriously and trolls have faced lengthy prison sentences. Some have made public apologies to their victims.
Education will be key. Teaching youngsters who haven't yet joined social media platforms that politeness is not a dying art and that if you say hurtful things online, they could genuinely cause distress, may give the next generation pause for thought before they start typing.

Stark reminder

Demos used algorithms to distinguish between tweets being used in explicitly aggressive ways and those that were more conversational in tone.
Researcher Alex Krasodomski-Jones said: "This study provides a birds-eye snapshot of what is ultimately a very personal and often traumatic experience for women. 
"While we have focused on Twitter, who are considerably more generous in sharing their data with researchers like us, it's important to note that misogyny is prevalent across all social media, and we must make sure that the other big tech companies are also involved in discussions around education and developing solutions."
She added that it was not about "policing the internet" but was more "a stark reminder that we are frequently not as good citizens online as we are offline".
Thousands have responded to the hashtag #ReclaimtheInternet, with many congratulating the female MPs for starting the campaign.
Others though questioned how effective the campaign would be, with some questioning whether it would damage free speech.