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This isn't America say French politicians, after candidate quits in sex scandal – CNN

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That was on display Friday when President Emmanuel Macron‘s candidate for Paris mayor pulled out of the race after it was alleged he sent explicit content to a woman who is not his wife.
While withdrawing his candidacy on Friday, Benjamin Griveaux said he and his family have endured “defamatory statements, lies, rumors, anonymous attacks, the disclosure of private conversations that were stolen and death threats” for over a year.
“Yesterday a new stage has been reached: a website, and social networks relayed vile attacks on my private life,” he said in a televised statement. “My family does not deserve this.” Griveaux did not deny that he had sent the explicit videos.
France to limit access to Western Europe's highest mountain in conservation effort
His resignation enraged many in France — including his political rivals — who decried what they feared was an assault on France’s liberal attitude to sex.
“I do not like this Americanization of political life in which politicians come and apologize because they have a mistress, we don’t care,” Alexis Corbiere, a senior member of radical left-wing party “France Insoumise” told CNN affiliate BFM.
Sébastien Chenu, a politician in Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally party, said the “Americanization of political life is detestable,” on Twitter, adding that nothing could be gained by its voyeuristic “puritanism.”
Even the current mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo — who is running for reelection — called for the “respect of privacy” in a statement to BFM. “This is not worthy of the democratic debate we should be having,” she said.

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Russian dissident artist Pyotr Pavlensky admitted to publishing the text messages and 30 second explicit video alleged to have been sent by Griveaux to the unidentified woman.
The content was published on a website, shared on Pavlensky’s Facebook page, which invites users to send “correspondence, photographs or videos” of a sexual or pornographic nature sent by “civil servants and political representatives” who impose “puritanism on society.”
Pavlensky is famous for his acts of protest, including sewing his lips together over the jailing of the Russian feminist protest punk band Pussy Riot — for their part in a performance critical of Russian President Vladimir Putin — and nailing his scrotum to Moscow’s Red Square.
He justified the move as a way to reveal the hypocrisy of a candidate who espouses “family values,” Pavlensky told the French daily Liberation.
“He is someone who constantly relies on family values, who says that he wants to be the mayor of families and always quotes as an example his wife and children,” he said. “But he [Griveaux] wants to be the head of the city and he lies to the voters.”
France is no stranger to sex scandals, but its response to the extra-marital affairs of public figures contrasts with that of the United States or UK, where miscreants tend to face more public disapproval.
In 2011, Anthony Weiner heeded calls from across the political spectrum by resigning from office as a Democratic congressman over a sexting scandal.
That said, President Bill Clinton had an affair while in office and kept his job, and Donald Trump remains US President despite multiple accusations of extramarital affairs and sexual harassment allegations — which he has repeatedly denied.
In France, President Francois Hollande did not step down in 2014 after reports of his affair with a French actress spread like wildfire through the British and American press. Neither denied the affair. At the time, the French political establishment came to his defense, condemning the French edition of the tabloid, Closer, for breaking the story.
Frédérique Matonti, a political science professor at Paris’ Sorbonne University, told CNN that French public opinion has not traditionally been influenced by what politicians do in private.
“The press found it to be a political matter. But in fact, Hollande’s ratings were not really impacted by it,” Matonti said.
Griveaux’s former rival, and party, rallied around him on Friday. “The outrageous attack on him is a serious threat to our democracy,” Cedric Villani, who had left Macron’s En March! party after it emerged Griveaux was the preferred candidate, wrote on Twitter.
En Marche’s Stanislas Guerini, condemned the “appalling attack” his colleague Griveaux and his family has faced.
Griveaux’s lawyer Richard Malka told CNN: “Following the withdrawal of his candidacy as mayor of Paris, Mr. Benjamin Griveaux is asking for his privacy to be respected. Privacy is a fundamental right for everybody and the violation of privacy is condemned by the penal and civil codes. Mr. Benjamin Griveaux has asked us to start legal proceedings against any publications that infringe this right.”
But all of this does not mean France has suddenly become morally conservative, Eric Fassin, a sociologist who writes extensively on contemporary sexual politics in France and the US, told CNN.
“No one in the political or in the media sphere has been judging Griveaux on moral grounds. The reason why he dropped out has more to do with the embarrassment of dealing with these images as he is campaigning for city office,” Fassin said.
“In politics, ridicule does kill.”

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16 MLAs retiring from BC politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation – Victoria News

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As a number of provincial politicians have bowed out of running for re-election ahead of Oct. 24, a national tax reform advocacy group is highlighting the cost of political retirement– to the tune of $20 million – with taxpayers footing the bill.

“While we thank these retiring politicians for their work, taxpayers need to know the huge cost of these gold-plated pensions,” said Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

“These pensions simply aren’t affordable for taxpayers. MLAs need to reform their pension plan.”

According to the government, MLA pensions are calculated by taking the highest earning years of the retiring MLAs and factoring in their years of work. The annual pension payments are capped at 70 per cent of the highest earning years.

That means that for every $1 the politicians contribute to their own pension plans, taxpayers pay $4, Sims said.

“It’s time to end these rich pension schemes,” said Sims, adding that MLAs not seeking re-election are allowed to collect the equivalent of their salaries for up to 15 months while they look for new jobs, and they get up to $9,000 if they need skills training.

The federation calculated the expected pensions for 16 retiring MLAs, and determined that former house speaker and BC Liberal MLA Linda Reid is expected to collect the highest per-year amount, roughly $107,000 annually when she turns 65 years old.

Reid, who represented the Richmond South Centre since 1991, is the longest-serving woman in B.C.’s government history.

Other estimated pension totals for MLAs include:

  • Tracy Redies, B.C. Liberal MLA – ineligible due to less than six years in office.
  • Claire Trevena, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Shane Simpson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Scott Fraser, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $80,000 per year, $1.9 million lifetime.
  • Carole James, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $82,000 per year, $2 million lifetime.
  • Michelle Mungall, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
  • Judy Darcy, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $37,000 per year, $647,000 lifetime.
  • Doug Donaldson, NDP cabinet minister – estimated $58,000 per year, $1.4 million lifetime.
  • Rich Coleman, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $109,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.
  • John Yap, former B.C. Liberal cabinet minister – estimated $65,000 per year, $1.5 million lifetime
  • Darryl Plecas, Independent Speaker – estimated $38,000 per year, $714,000 lifetime.
  • Andrew Weaver, former Green Party Leader – estimated $31,000 per year, $764,000 lifetime.
  • Donna Barnett, B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $46,000 per year, $400,000 lifetime.
  • Linda Larson – B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $29,000 per year, $469,000 lifetime.
  • Ralph Sultan, former B.C. Liberal MLA – estimated $74,000 per year.
  • Linda Reid, former B.C. Liberal Speaker – estimated $107,000 per year, $2.6 million lifetime.

@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

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The Only "Black Issue" In American Politics Is Opposition to Racial Inequality

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We’re about a month away from the November Elections.

One of the voting blocs that could decide the presidential race this year is the African American vote. Both candidates have talked quite a bit about what a vote for them would mean for Black Americans. But both of them have mischaracterized African American political views and loyalties in recent months.

The existence of the Black electoral monolith is evidence of a critical defect not in Black America, but in the American practice of democracy.” — Theodore Johnson, Brennan Center for Justice

That’s nothing new, writes Theodore Johnson in the New York Times. He joins Stephen Henderson on Detroit Today and says that Americans have viewed Black voters as a monolith without really taking the time to understand the diversity of political thoughts and views that exists among Black voters.

Listen: Theodore Johnson on the African American vote that could decide the 2020 election.


Excerpt

Theodore Johnson is a senior fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice.

Johnson writes, “An enduring unity at the ballot box is not confirmation that Black voters hold the same views on every contested issue, but rather that they hold the same view on the one most consequential issue: racial equality. The existence of the Black electoral monolith is evidence of a critical defect not in Black America, but in the American practice of democracy. That defect is the space our two-party system makes for racial intolerance and the appetite our electoral politics has for the exploitation of racial polarization — to which the electoral solidarity of Black voters is an immune response.”

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Young evangelicals are defying their elders' politics – CNN

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For this, we largely have young people to thank. Compounding natural disasters, staggering property damage and heart wrenching loss of life have flown too comfortably under the radar for years. Election cycle after election cycle passed by with barely a climate mention. Then the kids organized. Only now — after millions of young people have been striking, sitting in and turning out to vote more than in the past — is climate change a major election issue.
Among this growing throng of youth climate activists are some you might not expect: young evangelical Christians.
The organization I work with, Young Evangelicals for Climate Action, educates and mobilizes young evangelical Christians across the country to take action to address the climate crisis. Over the last several years, I have had hundreds of conversations with young Christians about how our faith should inform our pursuit of climate justice. A common narrative runs through almost every story I hear.
It goes something like this. A young Christian is raised in a close family, is regularly involved in various church activities and often even attends a Christian K-12 school. She is taught values like compassion, love of neighbor and a high view of scripture. Yet, she is handed few tools for how these values should be brought to bear in the public square. Her political formation is uneven, mostly implicit and almost wholly yoked to Republican politics.
Because no political party can completely capture the fullness of the values she was taught, her community’s embrace of partisan politics creates in her dissonance and disillusionment. The tension is most pronounced when it comes to issues that seem so clearly close to the heart of God — like environmental protection and the humane treatment of refugees and immigrants — yet seem so far from the political priorities of her community.
Sometimes there is a breaking point. For many White evangelicals, it was the 2016 election when, according to Pew, eight in 10 of our parents, grandparents, classmates and neighbors voted for President Donald Trump.
Case in point: in 2017, I brought a group of 20 or so Christian college students to meet with staff in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office. When asked how many of them were Republican, student after student shared how they had grown up conservative and still held many conservative values but could not claim the Party because it had left them behind on climate change.
For young Christians to say this inside the office of one of the most powerful Republicans in the country is significant. It is a direct challenge to the majority of leaders within institutional evangelicalism — including many of our own pastors and denominational leaders — who remain fully aligned with the Republican Party.
The challenge of bringing our values to bear in the public square is nothing new, and it is not unique to Christians. We all possess nuanced values that do not fit neatly into the binary two-party system of modern American democracy. Yet for young evangelicals, this task is especially hard. It includes the potential for alienation from friends, family and worshiping communities. Psychology tells us what we all intuitively know: isolation from those we love is painful, and we avoid it if we can.
Still, many young people — including some young evangelicals — choose separation anyway because it is ultimately healthier and more sustainable. Many other young evangelicals are forging a new way forward by leaning into the evangelical tradition itself.
Like most of society, the US church is badly polarized. Political differences are driving a deeper and deeper wedge between the faithful in all major Christian traditions — whether Catholic, mainline Protestant, or evangelical. Yet, the church is not merely one more social club filled with like-minded individuals. At its best, it is a community whose roots run deeper than politics. It is grounded in story — both the big story of God’s saving work in the world and all the smaller stories of how God’s transforming power is showing up in the lives of God’s people. Telling these stories to one another and to the wider world is what many evangelical Christians call testimony.
Young evangelicals across the US are harnessing the tradition of testimony in their communities to tell the story of how God is empowering them to address climate change as an act of love toward God’s world and toward their neighbors. They are grabbing microphones in front of their churches, leading Bible studies, navigating fraught holiday conversations and going out for coffee with their grandfather and his skeptical friends. And it is changing hearts and minds.
This “in-house” work is matched by young evangelicals’ burgeoning climate activism in wider society. Young Christians are writing op-eds, marching in the streets, and meeting with their elected officials. Students are starting clubs on their Christian college campuses to educate and organize their peers, even transitioning to digital organizing and video group meetings in the era of Covid-induced distance-learning.
And this year, they are getting registered and making plans to vote. Republicans have been able to comfortably rely on evangelical votes for decades, largely by claiming the moral high ground on abortion. Abortion still factors significantly in the electoral calculations of many young evangelicals. Yet more and more, it is being incorporated into a more holistic ethic of life that recognizes climate change and the inhumane treatment of refugees — among others — as threats to the sacredness of life too.
Candidates and elected officials may want to take notice. Though our parents and grandparents have dictated evangelical political prerogatives in the past, Millennials and Gen Z are ascendant. Almost 40% of eligible voters in 2020 will belong to these 40-and-under generations, according to Pew. Also, according to Pew, among the quarter or so of all 2020 voters who will be evangelical, one-sixth of them could be younger than 30. In elections as close as November’s is shaping up to be, those margins can turn into landslides.
And even though younger voters have not historically turned out in the same numbers as our elders, that may be changing too. According to the Census Bureau, turnout among 18-29-year-olds jumped 79% between 2014 and 2018 and what my colleagues and I are seeing on the ground in our work points to a cohort that is unusually motivated to have their voices heard at the polls this year. This crop of young voters — shaped by childhoods overshadowed by endless war, historic recessions and the existential threat of ecological collapse — may be poised to become the exception that proves this rule.
If so, count on young evangelicals to play our part, both in 2020 and beyond. We’ve grown weary of the current expression of evangelical politics, stoked by Trump’s Republican Party, that seeks to convince us that faithful civic engagement is a black and white, “us vs. them” proposition where danger to our way of life lurks around every corner and that our overriding political concern should be our own cultural power and comfort rather than advancing the good of our neighbors.
Many of our peers have simply left the evangelical tradition behind, fed up with how selfish some of the followers of our famously selfless Savior have become. Those of us who remain are fashioning a new way forward. One steeped in evangelical values, marked by unapologetic testimony, and shaped by a holistic ethic of life that understands climate chaos, the abuse of immigrants, the demonization of our LGBTQ neighbors and the termination of unborn life as equal assaults on the image of God.
And we’re voting like it.

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