Friday, March 31, 2017

Mexico: Unjust and Unfair with Horrid Treatment for All.

This is an excerpt from a longer column in the Washington Post

But in Veracruz, Mexico, you don't rely on the police to punish the guilty and protect the innocent. “The last thing the system of justice provides is justice. I just didn’t trust the authorities,” Fernández said. He worried that the police would humiliate his daughter and then delay her case endlessly. “I knew they would fail us,” he said in an interview.

Instead, Fernández decided to meet with the men — the three alleged perpetrators and the purported driver of the car — and their well-to-do parents. In those sit-downs, which he taped, he demanded apologies. The young men complied.
“I regret what happened,” one said, his words captured on video. “I did great harm.”
“I don’t doubt it happened and we made a mistake,” another said. “We were wrong.”
Fernández hoped the expressions of contrition would help his daughter. Instead, things got worse. Rumors of Daphne's “promiscuity” began to spread on social media. In a note on Facebook, she described those days as a “kick in the stomach.” “If I’ve gone out drinking, if I have worn short skirts, like the great majority of girls my age, that’s why they’re going to judge me?” she asked. “For that reason, I deserved it?”
Out of options, the father and daughter filed a police report against some of the families, among the city's wealthiest. The case languished for months, until Fernández released the men's taped words to the news media, sparking national outrage. Finally, arrest warrants were issued. The first trial began a couple of months ago, after Diego Cruz, 21, was extradited to Mexico from Spain. (In a statement, the four accused deny ever admitting to the rape. They say Daphne got inside the Mercedes voluntarily because “she wanted the party to go on.")
It seemed as if Daphne might finally get something like justice. Instead, her father's prediction came true. A judge found that Cruz had touched the victim’s breasts and penetrated her with his fingers. But, the judge said, that didn't make Cruz guilty of assault, because he'd acted without “carnal intent.” The judge also found that while Daphne was forced into the car, she was never “helpless.” Cruz was deemed innocent.
Daphne's story — its horrible beginning and unjust end — has rippled across Mexico. Perhaps that's because the tale is so familiar. “To many citizens” in Veracruz, “there is little difference between the rich and the government, and between the government and the criminals,” according to the New Yorker piece. The ferocious Zeta drug cartel has a near-monopoly over the state. Eight out of 10 people there say they live in fear. Since 2011, at least 15 journalists have been killed and hundreds of people have vanished. (One human rights advocate, Father Alejandro Solalinde, called the city “a factory of forced disappearances.”)
Unsurprisingly, few trust the justice system and fewer come forward after an attack. In 2014, only 1 in 10 was reported to local authorities, according to Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography. The Mexican government’s National Institute for Women says more than 80 percent of sexual assaults are not reported, and barely 4.5 percent of criminals face sentencing in Mexico. A majority of victims told researchers that they didn't report because they didn't want to “waste their time,” the New Yorker piece said, citing a study.

There are two issues here - 1) the abuse/rape treatment of women and how rampant, and 2) how the trust in government/law/justice system is not just low, it is near non-existent due to corruption.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Reason #137: Why we don't like the EU

EUROPEAN Union boss Jean-Claude Juncker this afternoon issued a jaw-dropping threat to the United States, saying he could campaign to break up the country in revenge for Donald Trump’s supportive comments about Brexit. 

UPDATED: 16:52, Thu, Mar 30, 2017

In an extraordinary speech the EU Commission president said he would push for Ohio and Texas to split from the rest of America if the Republican president does not change his tune and become more supportive of the EU. 

The remarks are diplomatic dynamite at a time when relations between Washington and Brussels are already strained over Europe’s meagre contributions to NATO and the US leader’s open preference for dealing with national governments. 

They are by far the most outspoken intervention any senior EU figure has made about Mr Trump and are likely to dismay some European leaders who were hoping to seek a policy of rapprochement with their most important ally. 

Speaking at the centre-right European People Party’s (EPP) annual conference in Malta this afternoon, the EU Commission boss did not hold back in his disdain for the White House chief’s eurosceptic views. 

He said: “Brexit isn’t the end. A lot of people would like it that way, even people on another continent where the newly elected US President was happy that the Brexit was taking place and has asked other countries to do the same. 

“If he goes on like that I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas in the US.” 

Mr Juncker's comments did not appear to be made in jest and were delivered in a serious tone, although one journalist did report some "chuckles" in the audience and hinted the EU boss may have been joking. The remarks came in the middle of an angry speech in which the top eurocrat railed widely against critics of the EU Commission. 

They will be seen as totally inexplicable at a time when EU-US relations appeared to be on the mend, with Vice-President Mike Pence having completed a largely successful trip to Brussels and the commander-in-chief himself significantly softening his tone towards the EU project. 

Mr Juncker did not criticise Britain at all during his speech, and only made reference to Brexit in relation to Mr Trump and the opportunities it presents for Europe to reform itself. 

#Juncker: if President #Trump will continue to praise #Brexit, I will call for independence of #Ohio and exit of #Texas from US.
 — Siegfried Muresan (@SMuresan) March 30, 2017

If he goes on like that I am going to promote the independence of Ohio and Austin, Texas in the US
He told the audience in Malta: “Brexit isn’t the end of everything. We must consider it to be a new beginning, something that is stronger, something that is better.” 

Speaking before him, EU Council president Donald Tusk was less reserved in his remarks about the UK vote as he tore into the populist politics which led to Brexit. 

The Polish eurocrat said the argument over sovereignty - epitomised by the Vote Leave slogan ‘take back control’ - was “a view that is both foolish and dangerous” and that the EU guaranteed countries’ strength of the world stage.

He also accused populist politicians, such as the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders and France’s Marine Le Pen, of promoting “organised hatred” with their views on immigration. 

However his conservative colleague Antonio Tajani, the EU Parliament president, received a rapturous ovation as he launched an impassioned defence of Europe’s “Christian values”. 

In a series of thinly veiled comments about immigration, a major political issue in his homeland and Malta, the Italian official said Europe should do more to defend its historic identity. 

He said: “We shouldn’t be ashamed of saying we’re Christian. We’re Christian, it is our history. 
“If we leave our identity we will have in Europe all identities but not European identities. For this we need to strengthen our identity. 

“It is impossible to win without identity, without our values. Of course we are different, many languages, many ideas, but we are united on the values and this is the most important content.” 

Monday, March 27, 2017

Pope, Mexico, and Walls

Dear Pope: 
You argue against walls, against states, and in favor of the universal church which stands as one against the affront of nation-states, which separate humanity and divide.
Yet, the church in Mexico speaks of traitors to the nation ... not to the church.
The traitors are those who work against the interests of their country.  In Mexico - it would be a government who pushes the poor to flee - they would be the traitors.  Please advise your diocese papers accordingly.

March 26, 2017

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexicans who help build U.S. President Donald Trump's planned border wall would be acting immorally and should be deemed traitors, the Catholic Archdiocese of Mexico said on Sunday, turning up the heat on a simmering dispute over the project.
In a provocative editorial, the country's biggest Archdiocese sought to increase pressure on the government to take a tougher line on companies aiming to profit from the wall, which has strained relations between Trump and the Mexican government.
"Any company intending to invest in the wall of the fanatic Trump would be immoral, but above all, its shareholders and owners should be considered traitors to the homeland," said the editorial in Desde la fe, the Archdiocese's weekly publication.
On Tuesday, Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo warned firms it would not be in their "interests" to participate in the wall. But the editorial accused the government of responding "tepidly" to those eyeing the project for business.
A spokesman for the Archdiocese, which centers on Mexico City and is presided over by the country's foremost Roman Catholic cleric, Cardinal Norberto Rivera, said the editorial represented the views of the diocese.
Trump says he wants to build the wall to stop illegal immigrants from crossing the U.S. southern border. He has pledged Mexico will pay for the wall, which the Mexican government adamantly says it will not do.
The Desde la fe editorial, which was published online, said the barrier would only feed prejudice and discrimination.
"In practice, signing up for a project that is a serious affront to dignity is shooting yourself in the foot," it wrote. Mexican cement maker Cemex has said it is open to providing quotes to supply raw materials for the wall but will not take part in the bidding process to build it.
Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua, another company specializing in construction materials, has also signaled readiness to work on the project.

(Reporting by Dave Graham and Lizbeth Diaz; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Crazy Loons: Either the Ignorant Many or the Witless Oneders

Have you ever had someone screech at you - Donald Trump is destroying this country?

I have.

It was terribly sad to hear, because the first thoughts I had were something along the lines of - alien mush, scroop scroop, ri ri ri ... I was so angry and frustrated, sad, alone, and really annoyed all at the same time.

I wondered to myself - where was this person for the last 8 years when a president bowed to foreign potentates, made deals with North Korea to, in fact, kick the can to the next guy in the White House.  Where was this person where for 8 years, deals were made with Iran, secret payments of hundreds of millions, and billions were paid to Iran to 'in essence behave and not develop nuclear weapons' only to have Iran declare it would build nuclear weapons.  Where was this person where for 8 years half of America was ignored, called names, attacked, criticized, marginalized - for fear of being called racist or something even worse.  Where was this person when our national debt doubled - the amount Obama spent was equal to every administration/president who preceded him.  Where was this person when our economy was sluggishly moving up at less than 2%, while China was zooming away - even while we signed an agreement allowing China to grow faster while we were encumbered by global warming limits on emissions, all the while China spewed out more pollution and toxic emissions than probably close to the entire world combined.  Where was this person when our national spy agencies were spying on Americans?  Where?

Apparently worrying about the horrible life we would have under Trump.

Sorry.  It was already created by the time he got here.  He hasn't done anything except highlight how unhinged you all are. 

It is very sad when you have to refrain from any communication with someone because ... they are immature and ignorant of the reality and you cannot explain it to them because ... well, they are simply unable to grasp the reality.  Their lock-step mentality with witless millions on facebook or instagram ... makes me truly sad for this country.  Very sad.

Make Mine Freedom - 1948

American Form of Government

Who's on First? Certainly isn't the Euro.