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French far-right leader Marine Le Pen announces 2022 presidential bid

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French far-right leader Marine Le Pen isn’t wasting time. She announced her intention to stand in France’s 2022 presidential elections.

“My decision is made,” Le Pen said Thursday as she presented her New Year’s wishes.

Le Pen said she is proposing a “grand alternative to put the country back on its feet” and create “national unity.”

Le Pen reached the runoff in the 2017 election but lost badly to Emmanuel Macron, who is now in the midst of one of the most difficult periods of his presidency. In addition to the grassroots yellow vest movement that’s seeking social and economic justice, Macron is facing a strike over reforms to the country’s pension system that has run for 43 days.

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She noted that her candidacy must be approved at her National Rally party’s congress in 2021, something that Jordan Bardella, a rising star in the party and European parliamentary deputy, said on BFMTV should pose no problem.

Regarding the early announcement of her candidacy, he said it gives France a “message of hope.”

Ahead of municipal elections in March, Le Pen is seeking to lure disenchanted voters from the center-right, and even from the far-left.

Image: Bertrand Guay, AFP


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Ex-Obama adviser offers three essential tips for any Democrat who wants to beat Trump

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Dan Pfeiffer, a former adviser to President Barack Obama and current host of the "Pod Save America" podcast, has written a piece in Politico that offers three essential tips for whomever the Democratic Party nominates as its candidate for president.

In particular, Pfeiffer looks at the major mistakes that Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) made when he ran against Obama in 2012, and which allowed Obama to win quite handily despite being stuck with an unemployment rate of 8 percent.

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NY Times blasted for ‘normalizing’ far right extremists again after publishing Stephen Miller’s wedding announcement

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It's not the first time, just the latest that the once-venerable New York Times is getting blasted for appearing to normalize the far right. In recent years the Times has published articles that critics say do just that, from Hitler's rise a century ago to modern day neo-Nazis. Its latest isn't an article, but a wedding announcement for a top Trump official, Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller. Miller is a white nationalist who quietly advances and controls the worst of the president's anti-immigrant polices.

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A short history of married Catholic priests in the wake of Pope Francis’ denial of Amazon Synod

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The recent announcement by Pope Francis that he will not allow married men to be ordained to the priesthood in the Amazon as recommended by the recent Amazon Synod has caused a flurry of conversation and controversy. While those on both sides of the “married priest” debate have a tendency to wrap themselves in the robes of tradition, the real history of mandated clerical celibacy is much more complicated, demonstrating a variety of beliefs and practices across time and place.

What's most clear in the earliest history of Christianity, including within the Scripture, is that the Christian reverence for celibacy begins with Paul of Tarsus. Fourteen of the New Testament's twenty-seven books are traditionally attributed to him, though he likely only wrote seven himself (the other seven are likely the products of his students). The “hellenized” son of a Jewish mother and Roman father, Paul (born "Saul") lived at the crossroads of the great cultural forces of his day. Devout and pious, by his own account he was transformed from a zealous persecutor of Christians to the architect of much of Christianity as it transformed from a small tangentially Jewish sect into a major religious and philosophical movement.

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