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Daily Reads: Far-Right Le Pen Will Face Centrist Emmanuel Macron in French Election; Will Trump’s Wall Lead to a Government Shutdown?

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Far-Right Le Pen Will Face Centrist in French Election

A combination of pictures made on April 23, 2017 shows French presidential election candidate for the En Marche! movement Emmanuel Macron and French presidential election candidate for the far-right Front National (FN) party Marine Le Pen posing in Paris. (Photos by Joel Saget, Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images)

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A win for the right-wing –> Marine Le Pen of the Islamaphobic, Euroskeptic Front National party came in second place in the French election, allowing her to advance to a final runoff against a centrist technocrat and former banker who is running as an independent, Emmanuel Macron. For better or worse, France has successfully shrugged off its political establishment — whoever wins the May 7 runoff will not be from one of France’s mainstream parties. The Guardian has a handy rundown of each candidate’s policies and ideas.

“To their detractors on the left, [yesterday’s election] sets up an unappealing choice between a candidate who is liberal on social issues but also neoliberal on economics, and the heir to a far-right political dynasty founded by her father, a Holocaust denier,” writes Robert Mackey at The Intercept.

Conventional wisdom is that Macron will handily beat Le Pen. But conventional wisdom hasn’t been so reliable at estimating the fate of right-wing movements these last few years. Nonetheless, at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver argues that Brexit and Trump do not a trend make. “Across dozens of European elections since 2012, in fact, nationalist and right-wing parties have been as likely to underperform their polls as to overperform them.”

March for science –> Hundreds of thousands of scientists and researchers — and supporters of science — rallied around the world, even in Antarctica, on Saturday to protest threats to science — and, in particular, those posed by the Trump administration. One face of the march in the US was science educator Bill Nye. Also present: Rep. Bill Foster (D-IL), the only member of Congress with a Ph.D. “In politics, I think partly because due to the fact that we’re dominated by lawyers, the question is always what can you convince people of, rather than what is true,” he observed to Emily Atkin of The New Republic. At The Intercept, Sharon Lerner spotlights some of the other voices in the crowd.

Repeal Obamacare for real? –> Probably not. Members of Congress are back in Washington after two weeks in their districts (or fundraising with megadonors). Nonetheless, the Trump administration is maintaining that it can force something through. “Trump hits his 100-day mark on Saturday, and he just wants to chalk up wins before then. On anything,” Jennifer Bendery writes for The Huffington Post.

Well how about a shutdown then? –> That seems more likely than a possible health care repeal. “Without a deal, funding for the government will run out at midnight on April 28, Trump’s 100th day in office,” Alan Yuhas writes for The Guardian. Some Republicans have declared they won’t vote for a short-term spending bill, and so Trump will need to appeal to Democrats — who, along with some border-state Republicans, won’t vote for anything that funds Trump’s border wall.

New take on the revolving door –> “A would-be Trump White House appointee who withdrew in the face of plagiarism allegations is now lobbying on behalf of a Ukrainian oligarch who has recently advocated greater concessions to the Russian government, according to newly filed documents.” Lachlan Markey has the story of Monica Crowley for The Daily Beast.

Put your money where your mouth is –> “Disney, the Gap and Pepsi are being pressured to quit the US Chamber of Commerce, America’s largest lobby group, amid criticism of its big-money efforts to fight climate change legislation and promote tobacco products,” Dominic Rushe reports for The Guardian. The Chamber of Commerce spends hundreds of millions of dollars each year lobbying the US government, and has pushed against climate action and anti-tobacco legislation worldwide. Rushe writes: “According to an analysis by Public Citizen, at least 13 of the world’s biggest companies (Costco, eBay, Hewlett-Packard, General Mills, Kellogg, Kraft Heinz, Mars, Mattel, Mondelēz, Nestlé, Starbucks, Unilever and Walgreens Boots Alliance) have quit the US Chamber of Commerce in recent years amid political disagreements and worries about its stance on the environment.”

Getting out of the game –> Faced with continued pressure from activists to avoid one company or another — including companies with a hand in private prisons and the Dakota Access Pipeline — Portland, Oregon decided, earlier this month, to stop investing in corporate securities altogether. Instead, the city will make other investments, like US Treasury Bonds, Amelia Templeton reports for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Kristin Miller.



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