Water Cooler 5/22/2016 – OPEN THREAD – EU Nationalism; WMDs & ISIL; Child Abuse in Hollywood; Artist Defied Castro

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Austrian Presidential Election

Austria is on the verge of electing far right Freedom Party (FPO) nationalist Norbert Hofer as the new President. While largely ceremonial, Hofer plans to push the bounds of his new position.

His election would carry huge symbolism. Mr Hofer would be the first far-Right president to be elected in the European Union’s history and – both his detractors and supporters warn – that could prove a catalyst for other populist and anti-establishment movements currently surging across Europe, to grab power.

He continues a recent nationalist movement in Europe.

In France, Marine Le Pen is expected to reach the second round of next year’s presidential election, while in Holland Geert Wilder’s Party of Freedom is currently topping the polls and in Germany the anti-Islamic Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) has caused Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, to warn of a return to nationalism.

The European press continues to push the idea that these socialist nationalists are right wing, much as our press would do if Trump were to actually follow up on his own nationalist ideas. There’s nothing right-wing about fascism, and conservatives leaving the Republican Party may do well to finally cast off the left/right distinctions pushed by these socialists that have been projecting their own racist tendencies on us for decades.

Islamic State Testing and Developing Chemical Weapons

ISIL has been moving their chemical weapon operations to residential areas in order to avoid air strikes. Side effects of chemical weapons are starting to affect children near the new facilities, primarily in homes seized from Christians in areas they’ve taken over. Reports say they’ve been testing them on animals and prisoners.

The extremists have seized large quantities of industrial chlorine and are believed to have the expertise to make mustard gas. They are also feared to have captured chemical weapon stocks from Bashar al-Assad’s regime across the border in Syria.

Of course the press will ignore all of this and pretend none of it is going on, just as they have for over a decade now. Move along. These aren’t the WMDs you’re looking for.

Child Actor Sexual Abuse Rampant in Hollywood

Groups are about to blow the lid off of the continuing issue of sexual abuse against child actors in Hollywood. Elijah Wood is one young actor that’s been speaking out against it. He was fortunate. His mother protected him, mostly by refusing to allow him to go to parties where this often takes place.

Anne Henry, co-founder of Bizparents, a group set up to help child actors, said Hollywood is currently sheltering around 100 active abusers and said a “tsunami” of claims was beginning.

It’s about time this all came out into the open. This is one of the big reasons that I have a hard time getting worked up over piracy in the industry. I won’t participate in it, but I’m just really not bothered that an industry that hides this behavior is getting ripped off. Serve’s ’em right…

Cuban Artist Receives Canterbury Medal

Cuban artist and poet Armando Valladares who spent 22 years in Fidel Castro’s gulags for refusing to put a placard on his desk at work that said: “I am with Fidel”, was awarded the Canterbury Medal Thursday night in New York City. The award is the highest honor bestowed by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

When I was 23 years old, I refused to do something that seemed at the time very small. I refused to say the words: ‘I am with Fidel Castro.’ First, I rejected that they wanted to put a sign on my desk. … After years of torture and watching many of my cellmates die, I still refused to say those words.

Valladares gives a comparison to the Little Sisters of the Poor resisting the Obamacare mandate. For all you Trump supporters, it just goes to show; “If you don’t stand up for something, you’ll fall for anything.”

As always, the Water Cooler is an Open Thread.