May 8, 2017: Unfair France | Homocons for Trump and Le Pen | Rape Allegations
1. J’accuse! French Election Was Unfair.
By yesterday afternoon U.S. time, it was clear that France would reject Marine Le Pen in favor of the centrist Emmanuel Macron. The election took a fraught turn in the final days when Macron dramatically announced that his party had been the victim of a major computer hack. It seemed like a repeat of the American election, with Russian trolls favoring a more extreme nationalist regime. But the alt-right press argued that French law, which forbade discussion of the emails in the media so close to an election, gave an unfair advantage to Macron.
“France’s electoral commission has ordered media not to publish contents of Emmanuel Macron’s leaked campaign emails to avoid influencing the election.
It warned news outlets in France that journalists could face criminal charges for publishing or republishing the material, under laws that came into effect at midnight forbidding any commentary liable to affect the presidential race.”
Meanwhile, the more traditional conservative press was predicting that voters would soon be disappointed with their centrist choice. National Review sniffed:
Turnout looks to have been down (and blank votes up), suggesting that the voters were none too impressed by the choice they were required to make, an impression reinforced by one poll showing that 43 percent of Macron voters gave opposition to Marine Le Pen as their main reason for voting for him. According to the same poll, 33 percent of Macron voters saw their vote primarily as one for ‘political renewal’ (Spoiler: they will be disappointed) and 16 percent put it down to Macron’s program, no minor feat as no one really knows what his program will be (something sort-of-Blairite maybe, but probably further to the left).
2. The Gays Who Back Le Pen and Trump
Before Macron’s decisive win, the Right was quick to cover Marine Le Pen’s significant support among gay voters. National Review reported on a survey by the gay social network Hornet that revealed 36.5% of gays backed Le Pen -- and among Hornet’s younger subscribers, 43.5 percent of 18-to-29-year-olds wanted Le Pen, as did fully 49 percent of those just at age 25. The author writes:
Two factors may explain this phenomenon: Le Pen’s previously hostile party now welcomes gays, and militant-Islamic attacks inside and outside of France have ushered them into Le Pen’s largely open arms.
Meanwhile, we’ve noticed that in the U.S., some on the Right are portraying Trump as a very gay-friendly president. On Friday, The Daily Caller published a piece by David Benkof entitled, “Face It Gays: Trump is Our Friend.” He wrote:
Yesterday was perhaps the most triumphant day for gay activists since the 2015 Supreme Court marriage decision – though you wouldn’t know it by listening to them. Despite serious pressure from the president’s Evangelical allies, his long-anticipated executive order on religious liberty contained no license to discriminate against gays. As it had in January, the administration considered, then rejected, provisions to allow individuals and organizations to treat gays shabbily as long as they had a religious excuse.
Additionally, yesterday, The Blaze published a piece on the Fox News veteran Shep Smith’s positive experience working at Fox as an openly gay man. (He came out in October 2016.)
What We’re Noticing:
It is not necessarily a surprise that the Right is showing signs of relaxing its rhetoric toward gays and lesbians, much the way some on the Left are showing a willingness to accept pro-life voters. Gays and lesbians have voted Right in the past. For example, according to Voter News Service exit polls, an estimated one million gays and lesbians voted for George W. Bush in the 2000 election.
And Also Worth Noting:
Meanwhile, some of the most of the Right’s most vocal and respected pundits are openly gay, including Andrew Sullivan, Camille Paglia, and Milo Yiannopoulos. Not to mention, powerful and affluent Trump supporters like Peter Thiel. As Richard Goldstein argued in his 2002 book “The Attack Queers: Liberal Society and the Gay Right,” (which the Nation excerpted in July 2002 here), one reason why “homocons” rise to such prominence, drowning out liberal gay voices, is that:
They say things about queers many straight people wish they could, expressing the anxiety that still surrounds homosexuality, even in liberal society. It may not come up at the office or the dinner table, but in the hot zone where entertainment and sexual politics meet, bitch-slapping and fag-bashing are major motifs.
3. Rape Is Not a Pre-existing Condition
After the House vote to repeal and replace Obamacare, there was a lot of confusion over specific changes made by the bill -- understandably, as many congressmen admitted they hadn’t actually read it.
One hot button area for liberal critics involved rape. Many left-leaning sites -- and even a few mainstream ones -- wrote articles saying that the Republican replacement to Obamacare would make it harder to get insurance to cover rape-related medical expenses. That’s because injuries from rape and domestic violence are currently covered as pre-existing conditions.
As Politifact, a fact-checking organization, pointed out, there were small elements of truth in the claim. The replacement bill weakens the protections for pre-existing conditions and if it were to become law, “victims of sexual assault could, conceivably, find themselves in a situation where they can’t afford insurance because of medical issues that stem from their assault."
“No, Rape is Not a Pre-Existing Condition Under GOP Health Bill,” asserted LifeZette’s headline. “Hysterical allegation vastly misstates impact of partial Obamacare repeal passed by House.”
“The House of Representatives had barely passed its partial Obamacare repeal Thursday when left-wing activists started alleging the legislation would make rape a pre-existing condition that could lead to discriminatory coverage from insurers.
It is, perhaps, the most preposterous and hysterical charge associated with the contentious debate. It blew up on Facebook. New York Magazine ran a provocative story headlined, “In Trump’s America, Being Sexually Assaulted Could Make Your Health Insurance More Expensive.” Vox chimed in with a highly speculative story.”
(Fact check: it was not New York Magazine, but it was one of its blogs, The Cut.)
The Daily Wire ran a contemptuous rebuttal of the rape insurance fear by Ben Shapiro. He argued:
“So, let’s parse this. According to the leftist media, if you suffer an injury in a terrible situation, the situation itself is now a pre-existing condition. In other words, these headlines could just have easily read, “In Trump’s America, Car Crashes Are Pre-Existing Conditions,” or “Under The New Health Care Bill, Soccer Accidents Could Be A Pre-Existing Condition.” The bill itself says that pre-existing conditions are pre-existing conditions. Nowhere does it give a list of pre-existing conditions including “rape” or “sexual assault,” because these are activities leading to injury, not actual injuries.
The leftist case here is idiotic. Events are not “pre-existing conditions.” Injuries that occur as a result of events, if they occur before you attempt to buy insurance, are definitionally pre-existing conditions. Duh.”
4. Kushner Takes a Hit
Jared Kushner, a White House senior adviser and first son-in-law, took a beating this weekend, after multiple news sources, including Fox and The Daily Caller, reported that his sister pushed wealthy Chinese citizens in a Beijing hotel ballroom to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a luxury New Jersey apartment complex in return for helping them obtain investor visas. The press was barred from the publicly advertised event.
Kushner, who is a moderating influence on everything from trade to climate, is already deeply unpopular on the Far Right, and many of his critics were not amused. AllahPundit, an anonymous blogger and senior editor of Hot Air, a Conservative blogging and news website, wrote:
The most amazing thing about this is how brazen it is. They sent Kushner’s own sister to China to make the pitch, seemingly to remind potential investors just how direct their pipeline to the Oval Office could be.
But Michael Cernovich (most famous for spreading the fake news Pizza-gate story and whose credibility recently got a boost, after he was the first to report that Susan Rice was behind the unmasking of Trump administration officials) released a video in which he claimed to know the real scoop on POTUS’s son-in-law. Said Cernovich:
“Kushner and Bannon are in ‘little drama...’ That’s the nature of the game. Bannon and Kushner are against McMaster’s plan to go into Syria… McMaster wants a big ground war and so does Patraeus. They are cleaning out NSC to bring all their boys in. Kushner… our guy, he doesn’t want big war in Syria. Bannon opposed to it. McMaster got Bannon off of NSC. Kushner is now moving in on NSC. And what happens? There is now a media war against Kushner. Isn’t it funny that anyone who opposes McMasters’ war suddenly gets all this bad press. That’s because Petraeus has massive Saudi money and his people in the media are feeding these stories out.”
What We’re Watching:
Meanwhile, speaking of corrupt foreign investments, The Washington Examiner and The New York Post reported on claims made by the golf writer James Dodson in a recent radio interview. Dodson said that Eric Trump told him in 2014 that all the funding for Trump golf courses comes from Russia. Wrote The Examiner:
"As we were setting off, I said, 'Eric, who's funding? I know no banks — because of the recession, the Great Recession — have touched a golf course. You know, no one's funding any kind of golf construction. It's dead in the water the last four or five years,'" Dodson told Boston public radio station WBUR-FM about golfing with the president's son at Trump National Golf Club in Charlotte, N.C.
"He said, 'Well, we don't rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.' I said, 'Really?' And he said, 'Oh, yeah. We've got some guys that really, really love golf, and they're really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.' Now that was three years ago, so it was pretty interesting."
5. Colbert and the Moral High Ground
The news spreading that the Federal Communications Commission was investigating Stephen Colbert’s crude joke last week about Vladimir Putin, Donald Trump and fellatio. Actually, the FCC’s action is not that big a deal. The agency looks into all consumer complaints as a matter of routine, as CNN reported. Meanwhile, some on the Right tried to take the high ground. Maureen Callahan of The New York Post wrote of Colbert, who used to channel Bill O”Reilly on Comedy Central: “He rose to fame parodying a blowhard. Is he aware he’s become one?” Glenn Beck, who once ranted each day on his old Fox program, went on his radio show and warned Colbert: “‘You Have Become Me Circa 2009.”
Paul Joseph Watson @PrisonPlanet leaned hard into the free speech angle:
Unlike the left, I will defend free speech no matter how vulgar or offensive.— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) May 6, 2017
FCC investigation of Colbert is dumb. https://t.co/kwSI8dnalu