“Mary Kills People”, a show about dying, on the Lifetime channel!

There’s a program called Mary Kills People and it’s on the Lifetime channel. So irony isn’t dead? They show assisted suicide in the best possible light. All of the people who Mary kills are terminal (notwithstanding those pesky remissions, miracles and mistakes) and their death is shown as quiet, peaceful, often in the presence of loved ones. What is the alternative for people who are terminal, and in tremendous pain, or severely depressed due to “the end is near?” Well, an alternative is palliative care, that is, pain management in a hospice setting. Which might even be at home. So why would somebody choose kill themselves or to have someone assist them in killing themselves if the issue is pain?
Maybe it’s really about “choice” because choice is god in the Western world. Most “death-now” choosers may want to control how and when they go. The biggest problem with that is their inability to choose where they go. What lies on the other side when this life is over? I will come back to that question, but I hasten to point out that the Mary in question has certain standards, since she is an E.R. physician: She assists the patients to kill themselves by mixing the death cocktail–champagne and pentobarbitol–but the patient must lift the glass and drink it! Therefore it isn’t euthanasia (or youth in Africa–pardon the joke), it’s assisted suicide! If she injected the pento directly, THEN it would be euthanasia!
As of March 2018, human euthanasia is legal in:
Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, Canada and India. Assisted suicide is legal in: Switzerland, Germany, South Korea, Japan, and in the US states of Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Hawaii, Vermont, Montana, Washington DC, and California. Euthanasia is the intentional termination of life by somebody other than the person concerned at his or her request. Assisted suicide means intentionally helping a patient to terminate his or her life at his or her request. Then there is the additional distinction between “active euthanasia” and “passive euthanasia”. The latter is either refusing or withdrawing artificial life support, and is legal, or at least not illegal, in too many places to list. “Legal or not illegal?” What kind of distinction is that?
Not much: In Denmark, Parliament has assigned ethics panels over the years that have advised against legalisation (of euthanasia) each time however it is still not specifically outlawed and a study published in 2003 showed 41% of deaths under medical supervision involved doctors taking “end-of-life” decisions to help ease their patients’ suffering before death (about 1% of which were via prescription drugs). Did I read that blurb from Wikipedia right? Yes, you can find the original article here. ending life In most of the cases cited in 20,000 deaths in Europe, doctors made the decision to withhold or withdraw life support, and half the victims patients were under age 80. It’s probably just coincidental that all those countries had “universal health care.”

I am not terminal by any means, but I am in considerable and frequent pain from a variety of things. While I would not mind terribly at this point if the Lord ended my life, I would never consider ending it myself or ask for an assist. The reason is, I don’t want to face God after having claimed His prerogative of deciding when my life ends. While it’s in my power to take my own life, I rest assured that God will determine what is best for me.

The Never-Trumpers Are Never Coming Back–Patrick Buchanan

(Reprinted whole from Pat Buchanan) With never-Trump conservatives bailing on the GOP and crying out for the Party of Pelosi to save us, some painful truths need to be restated.

The Republican Party of Bush I and II, of Bob Dole and John McCain, is history. It’s not coming back. Unlike the Bourbons after the Revolution and the Terror, after Napoleon and the Empire, no restoration is in the cards.

It is over. The GOP’s policies of recent decades — the New World Order of George H.W. Bush, the crusades for democracy of Bush II — failed, and are seen as having failed. With Trump’s capture of the party they were repudiated. There will be no turning back. What were the historic blunders?

It was not supporting tax cuts, deregulation, conservative judges and justices, or funding a defense second to none. Donald Trump has delivered on these as well as any president since Reagan. The failures that killed the Bush party, and that represented departures from Reaganite traditionalism and conservatism, are:

First, the hubristic drive, despite the warnings of statesmen like George Kennan, to exploit our Cold War victory and pursue a policy of permanent containment of a Russia that had lost a third of its territory and half its people. We moved NATO into Eastern Europe and the Baltic, onto her doorstep. We abrogated the ABM treaty Nixon had negotiated and moved defensive missiles into Poland. John McCain pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO, and even to send U.S. forces to face off against Russian troops. Thus we got a second Cold War that need never have begun and that our allies seem content to let us fight alone. Europe today is not afraid of Vladimir Putin reaching the Rhine. Europe is afraid of Africa and the Middle East reaching the Danube. Let the Americans, who relish playing empire, pay for NATO.

Second, in a reflexive response to 9/11, we invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, dumped over the regime in Libya, armed rebels to overthrow Bashar Assad in Syria, and backed Saudi intervention in a Yemeni civil war, creating a humanitarian crisis in that poorest of Arab countries that is exceeded in horrors only by the Syrian civil war. Since Y2K, hundreds of thousands in the Middle East have perished, the ancient Christian community has all but ceased to exist, and the refugees now number in the millions. What are the gains for democracy from these wars, all backed enthusiastically by the Republican establishment?

Why are the people responsible for these wars still being listened to, rather than confessing their sins at second-thoughts conferences? The GOP elite also played a crucial role in throwing open U.S. markets to China and ceding transnational corporations full freedom to move factories and jobs there and ship their Chinese-made goods back here, free of charge.

Result: In three decades, the U.S. has run up $12 trillion in merchandise trade deficits — $4 trillion with China — and Beijing’s revenue from the USA has more than covered China’s defense budget for most of those years. Beijing swept past Italy, France, Britain, Germany and Japan to become the premier manufacturing power on earth and a geo-strategic rival. Now, from East Africa to Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean, and from the South and East China Sea to Taiwan, Beijing’s expansionist ambitions have become clear.

And where are the Republicans responsible for building up this potentially malevolent power that thieves our technology? Talking of building a Reagan-like Navy to contain the mammoth they nourished. Since the Cold War, America’s elites have been exhibiting symptoms of that congenital blindness associated since Rome with declining and falling empires. While GOP grass roots have begged for measures to control our bleeding southern border, they were regularly denounced as nativists by party elites, many of whom are now backing Trump’s wall.

For decades, America’s elites failed to see that the transnational moment of the post-Cold War era was passing and an era of rising nationalism and tribalism was at hand. “We live in a time,” said U2’s Bono this week, “when institutions as vital to human progress as the United Nations are under attack.” The institutions Bono referenced — the U.N., EU, NATO — all trace their roots to the 1940s and 1950s, a time that bears little resemblance to the era we have entered, an era marked by a spreading and desperate desire of peoples everywhere to preserve who and what they are.

No, Trump didn’t start the fire. The world was ablaze with tribalism and was raising up authoritarians to realize nationalist ends — Xi Jinping, Putin, Narendra Modi in India, Erdogan in Turkey, Gen. el-Sissi in Egypt — before he came down that escalator. And so the elites who were in charge when the fire broke out, and who failed to respond and refused even to recognize it, and who now denounce Trump for how he is coping with it, are unlikely to be called upon again to lead this republic.

How to Topple a Dictator (Peacefully)….assuming you aren’t co-opted by the more violent.

(This piece comes from The New York times opinionator blog) “Several years ago, before their protest movement was co-opted by violence, a group of young Syrians looking for a way to topple President Bashar al-Assad traveled to an isolated beach resort outside Syria to take a weeklong class in revolution. The teachers were Srdja Popovic and Slobodan Djinovic — leaders of Otpor, a student movement in Serbia that had been instrumental in the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. After then helping the successful democracy movements in Georgia and Ukraine. This is what they taught.”

“Myth: Nonviolence is synonymous with passivity. No, nonviolent struggle is a strategic campaign to force a dictator to cede power by depriving him of his pillars of support. In the first hours of the Syrians’ workshop, some participants announced that violence was the only way to topple Assad. Every workshop begins this way, in part because some people think the Serbs are going to teach them to look beatific and meditate. Popovic said out loud what many were thinking: “So you just ask Assad to go away? Please, Mr. Assad, please can you not be a murderer anymore?” Popovic whined. “It’s not nice.”

“Just the opposite, said Djinovic: “We’re here to plan a war.” Nonviolent struggle, Djinovic explained, is a war — just one fought with means other than weapons. It must be as carefully planned as a military campaign. Over the next few days, the Serbs taught the young Syrians the techniques they had developed for taking power: How do you grow a movement from a vanload of people to hundreds of thousands? How do you win to your side the groups whose support is propping up the dictator? How do you wage this war safely when any kind of gathering can mean long prison terms, torture or death? How do you break through people’s fear to get them out into the street?

“Myth: The most successful nonviolent movements arise and progress spontaneously. No general would leave a military campaign to chance. A nonviolent war is no different.

“Myth: Nonviolent struggle’s major tactic is amassing large concentrations of people. This idea is widespread because the big protests are like the tip of an iceberg: the only thing visible from a distance. Did it look like the ousting of Mubarak started with a spontaneous mass gathering in Tahrir Square? Actually, the occupation of Tahrir Square was carefully planned, and followed two years of work. The Egyptian opposition waited until it knew it had the numbers. Mass concentrations of people aren’t the beginning of a movement, Popovic writes. They’re a victory lap.

“In very harsh dictatorships, concentrating people in marches, rallies or protests is dangerous; your people will get arrested or shot. It’s risky for other reasons. A sparsely attended march is a disaster. Or the protest can go perfectly, but someone — perhaps hired by the enemy — decides to throw rocks at the police. And that’s what will lead the evening news. One failed protest can destroy a movement.

“So what do you do instead? You can start with tactics of dispersal, such as coordinated pot-banging, or traffic slowdowns in which everyone drives at half speed. These tactics show that you have widespread support, they grow people’s confidence, and they’re safe. Otpor, which went from 11 people to 70,000 in two years, initially grew like this: three or four activists staged a humorous piece of anti-Milosevic street theater. People watched, smiled — and then joined.

“Myth: Nonviolence might be morally superior, but it’s useless against a brutal dictator. Nonviolence is not just the moral choice; it is almost always the strategic choice. “My biggest objection to violence is the fact that it simply doesn’t work,” Popovic writes. Violence is what every dictator does best. If you’re going to compete with David Beckham, Popovic says, why choose the soccer field? Better to choose the chessboard.

The Syrians who came to the workshop, needless to say, had little influence over the strategies that were later chosen by other groups opposed to Assad. Violence eventually prevailed — with devastating results. But that is Popovic’s point: violence often brings devastating results. The scholars Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan analyzed campaigns of violent and nonviolent revolution in the last century (their book, “Why Civil Resistance Works,” uses Otpor’s fist as its cover image) and found that nonviolence has double the success rate of violence — and its gains have been more likely to last. (My note: Some of the “successes” of regime cited in the book were Iran, Burma, Philippines and the Palestinian territories. How is that going today?) Only a handful of people will join a violent movement. Using violence throws away the support of millions — support you could have won through nonviolence.

“Milosevic’s base of support was Serbia’s senior citizens. Otpor won them over by provoking the regime into using violence. Once Otpor’s leaders realized that its members who were arrested were usually released after being held for a few hours, it staged actions for the purpose of getting large numbers of members detained. Grandparents didn’t like having their 16-year-old grandchildren arrested, or the regime’s hysterical accusations that these high school students were terrorists and spies. Old people switched sides, becoming a key pillar of the Otpor movement. If there had been any truth to the accusations that Otpor used violence, the grandparents would have stayed with Milosevic. (My note: Is this a good example? Much of the world wanted Milosevic gone, and U.N. troops occupied Serbia.)

“Myth: Politics is serious business. According to the Pixar philosopher James P. Sullivan, laughter is 10 times more powerful than scream. Nothing breaks people’s fear and punctures a dictator’s aura of invincibility like mockery — Popovic calls it “laughtivism.” Otpor’s guiding spirit was Monty Python’s Flying Circus, a television show its members had grown up watching, and its actions were usually pranks.

“Popovic writes about a protest in Ankara after the Turkish government reacted with alarm to a couple kissing in the subway. Protesters could have chosen to march. Instead, they kissed – 100 people gathered in the subway station in pairs, kissing with great slobber and noise. You are a policeman. You have training in how to deal with an anti-government protest. But what do you do now?

“Myth: You motivate people by exposing human rights violations. Most people don’t care about human rights. They care about having electricity that works, teachers in every school and affordable home loans. They will support an opposition with a vision of the future that promises to make their lives better. Focusing on these mundane, important things is not only more effective; it’s safer. In their Canvas workshop, the Burmese knew it was too risky to organize for political goals — but decided they could organize to get the Yangon city government to collect garbage. Gandhi wisely began his campaign of mass civil disobedience by focusing on Britain’s prohibition on collecting or selling salt. Harvey Milk failed in several campaigns for the San Francisco City Council. He won when he campaigned not on gay rights, but to rid the city’s parks of dog poop. A benefit of such campaigns is that their goals are achievable. Movements grow with small victory after small victory.

“Talking about the miseries of life under a dictator is also a bad strategy for mobilizing activists. People already know — and they react by becoming cynical, fearful, atomized and passive. They might be angry, but they’re not going to act on it. Anger is not a motivator. This was Otpor’s biggest obstacle. Most Serbs wanted Milosevic out. But the vast majority believed that was impossible to accomplish, and too perilous to attempt.

“Otpor got people into the streets by making the movement about their own identity. Young people flocked to Otpor because it made them feel cool and important. They had great music and great T-shirts, adorned with the fist. Boys competed to rack up the most arrests. Young Serbs stopped feeling like passive victims and started feeling like daring heroes.

“Myth: Nonviolent movements require charismatic leaders who give inspiring speeches. Otpor had no speeches, ever. And while its strategies were meticulously planned, the people who did the planning were behind the scenes. Its spokesperson changed every two weeks, but it was usually a 17-year-old girl. (“Terrorists? Us?”) In a traditional party, even parties in opposition to the dictator, the leaders’ job is to make speeches, and their followers listen and applaud. Not Otpor. Its messages were tested in focus groups, and its strategies carefully planned. It was not at all anarchic on the strategic level. But on a tactical level, decentralization was critical. Otpor had only two rules: You had to be anti-Milosevic and absolutely nonviolent. Follow those rules, and you could do anything and call yourself Otpor. This kept activists feeling busy, useful and important.

“Myth: Police, security forces and the pro-government business community are the enemy. Maybe, but it’s smarter to treat them like allies-in-waiting. Otpor never taunted or threw stones at the police. Its members cheered them and brought flowers and homemade cookies to the police station. Even the interrogations after arrest were an opportunity to fraternize and demonstrate Otpor’s commitment to nonviolence. It paid off. The police knew that if the opposition won, Otpor would make sure they were treated fairly. During the last battle, police officers walked away from the barricades when the opposition asked them to. A dictator who can’t be sure his repressive orders will be obeyed is finished.

“I lived in Chile when the opposition to Augusto Pinochet made mistake after mistake; advice from Otpor might have shortened the dictatorship by years. Had the Occupy movement in the United States adopted these tactics, it might still be a relevant force. But nothing is more tragic than contemplating what Syria could have been now, had the nonviolent activists in the opposition movement prevailed — and followed Popovic’s blueprint.

Now, all of this is true but is it applicable to what is going on in Central America? In Central America the violence is not so much from governments as from drug cartels and criminal gangs, neither of whom exercise even the slightest restraint in applying violence. In fact, anybody who crosses the cartels in gangs can have their entire family even their pets, targeted for death torture and mutilation. What can be done in that case? I will be exploring that issue in future blog posts.

HOPE FOR THE HOME COUNTRIES?

Truths about illegal immigration to the United States from our southern border:
1. It isn’t possible to stop illegal immigration to the United States. No wall, electronic eavesdropping, drones or tunnel flooding can stop it. We can only it slow down.
2. Our neighbors to the south–Mexico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, the latter three virtually failed states–will not only not try to stop it, they benefit mightily from it. Individuals and families support families by sending remittances home, or take jobs here which employers have no incentive to report, their governments export the least productive members of their society or outright criminals, their officials get payoffs from coyotes who ferry the illegals here.
3. Those aforementioned countries will continue to succumb to corruption and violence, unless miracles happen, and the United States will become more attractive inversely.
4. Our choices here are: continue on the path we have been on, which isn’t an effective long term solution; help make their home countries more livable, to the extent we can, hoping that improved economic opportunities and personal security at home will become more attractive than the perilous journey north.
5. The waste of human capital in those countries is so tragic because, as the example of the children of DACA parents in the U.S. have demonstrated, they can become so much more.

How can we, the United States, help make our southern neighbors more attractive places in which to live? The problems that drive these people north are: poverty and lack of economic opportunities; gang violence, primarily drug related, aided and abetted by corrupt, ineffective law enforcement and corrupt officials; an endemic and historic culture of corruption; militaries which oppress rather than serve the people. Did I mention corruption? Is there a model of recovery from such conditions? Rwanda maybe?

During the worst moment of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, between 800,000 to 1 million people were killed in 100 days. Most were hacked to death with machetes. Neighbor turned on neighbor. Villages lay strewn with bodies. The massacre, and carried out by the in-power Hutu majority, mostly against the Tutsi minority, rocked this tiny nation and sent shockwaves across the world. According to the United Nations, to establish swift justice for the thousands accused of committing genocide, the Rwandan government re-opened the country’s traditional court system known as “Gacaca.” Trials were conducted by locally elected judges, and lower sentences were granted if the defendant repented and tried to reconcile with the community. Forgiveness was asked for and granted publicly, establishing unwritten, yet commonly held and understood, social expectations from the community and the perpetrators. One of the most fascinating outcomes of the Gacaca courts was the responsibility given to perpetrators to not only serve a sentence, but to do so by doing good to their victims. A Hutu man who had killed a Tutsi woman’s husband would come back and help her rebuild her house. Cases like these helped Rwanda find reconciliation where no one else thought it possible. 

Today, I stood in a valley outside of Kigali where blood once flowed. But like so much of Rwanda, forgiveness has transformed this valley from a place of death to a place of life. Tools that were once used to take lives, now give life by producing crops and raising livestock. With pride, people work together side-by-side despite their past. Most of the women (70%) lost their husbands in the genocide. But today, it does not matter what side they were once on, all that matters now is their future. This is reinforced by the literal translation of their village’s name: “do something with your life” and their sheer determination to do just that, is palpable. In the end, only reconciliation and forgiveness can bind up a nation after genocide. Through pain and perseverance, Rwanda is conquering her dark past. (By Noel Yeatts, “advocate for social justice”, from The Christian Post, Nov. 26, 2016).

Some major things this post doesn’t say: 1. The genocide was stopped by the “rebel” army of the minority Tsutsis. This army came from surrounding countries. 2. The Hutu/Tutsi categories were not rigid ethnic distinctions; instead, they were economic. Tutsis who gave up their cattle and focused on farming began to be considered Hutu. Hutus who developed cattle herds became Tutsi. They shared the same language, Kinyarwanda, and almost all became Roman Catholics under colonialism. However, cattle became a basis for economic trade and those who were identified as Tutsi were more likely to become a merchant class. 3. As the new government sought to move ahead, it initiated some outstanding practices. It is against the law in Rwanda to label people by race, ethnicity, or tribe, or to organize people along those lines. Young people in school are taught to identify as “Rwandans.” 4. Rwanda is now an island of asylum in a sea of ethnic conflict. An NGO leader in 2041 told Dr. Raleigh Bailey (of Univ. North Carolina Greensboro Center for new North Carolinans–that is, refugees) that international businesses and mining companies operating in adjoining countries don’t want to invest in Rwanda. It is not due to lack of infrastructure, he said. They say that it is too hard to bribe government officials there. 

Lessons from Rwanda show that deep change is possible after even the worst of human cruelty. Is rescuing the Central American big three of violence (El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, or EGH) analogous to Rwanda in any way? 1. First, order must be imposed somehow, or the killing will continue. The violence in EGH is not ethnic, religious or even social class related. To sum it up: Major and growing illicit trafficking networks link Latin America to Europe, Asia, and North America. Through these networks, illicit drugs and trafficked human beings flow towards the developed world, while dirty money and smuggled guns flow back in return. The criminal enterprises that administer these networks contribute to making Latin America the only region of the world where violent crime, as measured by rates of intentional homicide per 100,000, is rising rather than declining. Countries in the region that sit astride the main nodes in the illicit trafficking networks are the ones that suffer from the worst of the criminal violence. 2. Major impediments to controlling the violence are the power of the drug cartels (money, weapons, organization) and corruption throughout the culture and all levels of power (police and law enforcement, military, political), all of which is fed by the money and weapons flowing to these countries. Corruption must be dealt with harshly. But how, and by whom? 3. In Colombia, the violence of the drug cartels was weakened mainly by turning cartels against each other. Many cartels are still powerful, but a lot less violent, especially against the citizenry. Why? The threat that finally scared cartel leaders and soldiers into informing on each other was extradition to the U.S. and our justice system! 4.  There will probably never be enough of an economic incentive from within EGH to remove corruption and lawlessness, but they must be radically diminished for any other effective economic incentives to emerge and thrive. My next post will look at methods and obstacles.

 

As I was saying about corruption and immigration…..

Before reading this rather long exposition, please read my post of 7/1/2018, defining migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers.

From PJ Media, Michael Walsh, June 28, 2018 (I have reproduced most of the blog, which is more eloquent and informed than what I could write): The issue of “immigration” has now reached a critical mass on both sides of the Atlantic, with Latin Americans marching on the U.S. across the southern border and mostly Muslim “migrants” trekking to the European version of El Norte — France, Germany, and England — for the same reason: because that’s where the money and the free stuff is. The media is presenting what amounts to a slow-rolling invasion of the hemispheric North by the South as a “crisis,” and it is, just not the way they’d have you believe. In the greatest concerted propaganda exercise in history, newspapers, television outlets, and the internet in both America and Europe are filled with pictures of crying children separated from their “parents” (maybe), and Africans bobbing helplessly on dinghies in the Mediterranean — as if some great natural disaster had occurred. (My note: Let’s not ignore the so-called “right of return” immigration/invasion fiasco a la Gaza to Israel).

It has. Under the buzzword cloak of “migration” — a word especially chosen to remind Americans of their legal immigrant forebears, and Europeans of their collective lack of “diversity” — is a relentless assault on national sovereignty and political borders. It’s cudgeled by “racism” and blessed by “tolerance” in order to achieve the Left’s goal of One Worldism in its purest form — a cultural-Marxist endeavor to improve the self-esteem of the Third World by bringing the industrialized, civilized First World down to its nasty, brutish level. In the meantime, they mean to swamp the legitimate immigration and asylum systems of both continents, render them helpless, and break them. Structures that had been put in place to deal with individuals, or with persecuted groups of people, have suddenly been targeted as the soft underbelly of Western compassion — the Cloward-Piven strategy writ large. (The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”).

In the U.S., the long, porous border with Mexico, once a point of pride (as the undefended border with Canada is today, although that too is changing), is now a sore spot, as the social, religious, and cultural disintegration of our neighbor to the south has destabilized not only Central America, but the American southwest as well. The States have become a primary source of Mexican income, in the form of remittances, and it was only a matter of time before other failing and failed states like El Salvador and Honduras, would start exporting their problems north. As the Left became culturally ascendant in America, and the social welfare benefits expanded accordingly, the great American magnet grew ever stronger, luring not only those fleeing the dysfunction and corruption of their own countries, but a sizable criminal element as well, symbolized by the lethal presence of the MS-13 gang — Salvadorean, by way of Los Angeles — on Long Island.

In Europe, Angela Merkel’s disastrous decision three years ago to allow (beg for, really) more than a million Muslim “migrants” into her country has put the Old Continent’s postwar certainties to the test, and has pitted its secular liberalism and social-welfare system against a group of largely inimical cultural aliens, whose “faith” has been challenging once-Christian Europe for more than a millennium, and which now sees a way to accomplish by infiltration what it never quite could by force of arms. Only in Eastern Europe, with its long experience of Islamic occupation and, more recently, Soviet communist occupation, was there a realization from the start the future of Europe depended on keeping Muslims on their side of their bloody borders. Otherwise, there will be no Europe.

I spent a week in Budapest recently, and during my conversations with members of prime minister Victor Orban’s circle, I was impressed at how seriously the Hungarians are taking their age-old duties as Christian defenders of Europe’s eastern borders, and how determined they and the other members of the Visegrád Group are not to fall for the “refugee” scam, nor to have their manifest Christianity challenged by bogus claims of “tolerance” and “compassion” for people who, over the centuries, have shown them neither. (My note: The Visegrád Group is a cultural and political alliance of four Central European states – the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia).

Their resolve is now paying off: with no stake in the future, the communist-raised, childless Merkel is a spent political force. She rode the wave of post-World War II German self-loathing, and imported an army of technologically backward layabouts into a country whose workforce has long been distinguished by its high level of education and its willingness to work hard. The results, to any student of history, have been entirely predictable. (My note: “childless” is even more significant than “communist-raised”. I don’t have to explain this to parents, and for adults without children, anything I would say will crash upon the rocks of intellectual rationalizations).

The weapons wielded by the Left against the nation-state — which is the repository of patriotism — are primarily linguistic, beginning with the very word “immigration.” They’ve removed, for example, the distinction between legitimate immigrants and illegal aliens. The former come here as individuals and small families, through legal channels, desirous of becoming Real Americans, casting off the old ways and raising their children in the new culture; the latter arrive in invasie waves, intent on violating our laws from the moment they first set foot in the United States, and then either disappearing into “sanctuary” cities and states, or claiming “asylum” not from religious or cultural persecution but from the messes they left behind. In Europe, Merkel’s “welcoming society” deliberately thumbed its nose at the EU’s policy mandating that “asylum seekers” seek asylum in the first EU country in which they arrive.

(Me again: ONE POSSIBLE “SOLUTION” TO REFUGEE SUFFERING THAT I HAVE NOT SEEN MENTIONED ANYWHERE, AND MAY SOUND IMPOSSIBLY NAIVE, IS: WHAT IF THE COUNTRIES FROM WHICH PEOPLE ARE FLEEING WERE ABLE TO “FIX THEMSELVES” TO THE POINT THAT THEIR PEOPLE WOULD RATHER STAY THAN BECOME REFUGEES?) “Impossible”, you say….Then I ask, what would happen if there were no possibility of emigration from your country and the only choice was fix what is wrong or die? Perhaps we might learn something from possibly the worst (per capita) and least explicable (to the Western mind) genocidal spasms  in history, not that long ago, in 1994.

RWANDA, COMING BACK FROM THE BRINK, maybe (Huffpost blog, 12/6/2017)

After the genocide, Rwanda was on the brink of total collapse. Of the survivors, women comprised 70 percent of the population, entire villages were destroyed, and social cohesion was in utter disrepair. This small African country of 12 million inhabitants, encompassing a geographic area roughly the size of Maryland, has made a remarkable economic turnaround over the course of the past two decades. The country now boasts intra-regional trade and service delivery, urban design innovation, and efficient transport links. It has positioned itself as an attractive destination for foreign investment and business ventures. Paul Kagame will be the first to admit that Rwanda is an experiment and that the end result is still unknown. Given the atrocities and the complex dimensions of reconciliation, the ability for genocide victims and perpetrators to live and work side-by-side is remarkable. However, the collective memory of the genocide is a distinct and defining element of Rwandan society today. Despite the horrific trauma many experienced, post-genocide Rwanda presents opportunities for women leadership in how the country is being reconstructed. Women in Rwanda hold significant power and respect, unique to a continent where patriarchy and oppression remain major factors for leadership in many countries. 

While Rwanda might not be the ideal model for hope rising from hopelessness, their example shows that something works better for the indigenous sufferers than becoming refugees whom no one wants!!! But as long as people are more optimistic about being admitted to a less messed up place than the one in which they live and participated in the messing, the will to fix their own house won’t be there. The doors are closing though!

MY NEXT POST WILL SUGGEST SOME IDEAS FOR GIVING THE HOME COUNTRIES SOME HOPE.

United States of America withdraws from U.N. “Human Rights” Council.

The Human Rights Council, mind you, is supposed to “uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights,” according to its mandate. Thus, one would think Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, China, Iraq, Cuba, Qatar, Burundi, and Bangladesh probably shouldn’t be members.

  • Saudi Arabia Expertise in human rights: Death sentences for apostasy and adultery; corporal punishment including flogging and amputation; judiciary controlled by regime; beheading more people than ever before; arbitrary arrests of dissenters and minorities; no freedom of speech; jails blogger Raif Badawi.
  • Venezuela Expertise in human rights: Widespread arbitrary detention; imprisonment of opposition leaders; intimidation of journalists; torture; policies causing mass hunger and health catastrophe.
  • China Expertise in human rights: Denial of freedom of speech, religion, and association; extrajudicial killings; repression of civil society; discrimination against Tibetans and other minorities.
  • Cuba Expertise in human rights: Systematic violation of freedom of speech, assembly, press; elections are neither free nor fair; threats and violence against dissidents.
  • Iraq Expertise in human rights: Pro-government militias commit widespread human rights abuses, including assassinations, enforced disappearances, property destruction.
  • Qatar Expertise in human rights: Inhuman conditions for 1.4 million migrant workers; women denied basic rights to equality, denied right to be elected to legislative council; finances ISIS and Hamas.
  • Burundi Expertise in human rights: Police killings of peaceful protesters; government forces commit summary executions, targeted assassinations, enforced disappearances; arbitrary detention, torture, sexual violence; genocide warning.
  • Bangladesh Expertise in human rights: Extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, killing of secular bloggers by Islamist groups, restrictions on online speech and the press, early and forced marriage, gender-based violence, abysmal working conditions and labor rights.
  • United Arab Emirates Expertise in human rights:No political parties, no option to change government; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association; arrests without charge, incommunicado detentions, lengthy pretrial detentions; police and prison guard brutality; violence against women; anti-gay discrimination; mistreatment and sexual abuse of foreign domestic servants and other migrant workers.

How can abusers of human rights be “responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations”? They can’t.

Refugees, migrants, immigrants, asylum seekers

From the New York Times, 8/27/2015: The 1951 Refugee Convention (UNHCR), negotiated after World War II, defines a refugee as a person who, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.” Anyone moving from one country to another is considered a migrant unless he or she is specifically fleeing war or persecution. Migrants may be fleeing dire poverty, or may be well-off and merely seeking better opportunities, or may be migrating to join relatives who have gone before them. There is an emerging debate about whether migrants fleeing their homes because of the effects of climate change — the desertification of the Sahel region, for example, or the sinking of coastal islands in Bangladesh— ought to be reclassified as refugees. 

Countries are free to deport migrants who arrive without legal papers, which they cannot do with refugees under the 1951 convention. So it is not surprising that many politicians in Europe prefer to refer to everyone fleeing to the continent as migrants.

The United Nations refugee agency says that most of them are refugees, though some are considered migrants. “The majority of people arriving this year in Italy and Greece, especially, have been from countries mired in war or which otherwise are considered to be ‘refugee-producing,’ and for whom international protection is needed,” the refugee agency said. “However, a smaller proportion is from elsewhere, and for many of these individuals, the term ‘migrant’ would be correct.” Human traffickers make no such distinctions, though; refugees and migrants are often jammed into the same rickety boats for the crossing. 

Admitting refugees is somewhat different in the United States. The State Department vets a select number of people — lately, around 70,000 a year — and admits them as refugees. Others who arrive in the country without legal papers can apply for political asylum; in that case, a judge decides on the merits of their claims. 

From Habitat for Humanity: Refugees are people fleeing armed conflicts or persecution. There were 19.5 million of them worldwide at the end of 2014 according to UNHCR. Their situation is so perilous that they cross national borders to seek safety in nearby countries and become recognised as refugees with access to assistance from states and aid organisations. An important piece of this is that refugees are protected by international law, specifically the 1951 Refugee Convention. But even the terms refugee and asylum seeker are often confused.

An asylum seeker is someone who claims to be a refugee but whose claim hasn’t been evaluated. This person would have applied for asylum on the grounds that returning to his or her country would lead to persecution on account of race, religion, nationality or political beliefs. Someone is an asylum seeker for so long as their application is pending. So not every asylum seeker will be recognised as a refugee, but every refugee is initially an asylum seeker.

A vital part of being recognised as a refugee is Refugee Status Determination (RSD), a legal process that governments or UNHCR use to determine whether a person seeking international protection is considered a refugee under international, national or regional law. The process can be lengthy, complicated and is certainly imperfect. There is still no single uniting model for RSD. States do have the primary responsibility for determining the status of asylum seekers but UNHCR will step in where states are unable or unwilling.

Migrants choose to move not because of a direct threat or persecution but mainly to improve their lives:

  • Finding work
  • Seeking better education
  • Reuniting with family

Unlike refugees who cannot safely return home, migrants can return home if they wish. This distinction is important for governments, since countries handle migrants under their own immigration laws and processes.