Saturday, January 30, 2016

"Combating Hate in Europe" Forum

From left to right: Fred Hiatt, Washington Post moderator, Peter Wettig, German Ambassador, Gerard Araud, French Ambassador, and David O'Sullivan, EU Ambassador to U.S. Photo: Ileana Johnson 2016
                                       

 


Despite the snowy conditions in Washington, D.C., the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum held a program on International Holocaust Remembrance Day, January 27, 2016 on the topic of “Combating Hate in Europe.” http://www.ushmm.org/online/watch/index.html

In advertising the forum, the museum explained the importance of such a program.
“Around the world, antisemitism, religious persecution, and violent extremism are on the rise, and each threatens the stability and freedoms that democratic leaders are working to preserve.”

The Museum’s intent was to examine how the lessons of the Holocaust could help “combat extremism and also stand up to antisemitism and violence against religious minorities.”

Ambassadors were to address what can be done to confront these challenges today, “what their governments are doing and still need to do to educate young people, counter hate speech, and create economic opportunity while also maintaining secure borders and offering safe harbor to refugees.”

Speakers included Gérard Araud, Ambassador of France to the United States, David O'Sullivan, Ambassador of the European Union to the United States, and Peter Wittig, Ambassador of Germany to the United States. Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor at the Washington Post was the moderator.

Dr. Alfred Munzer
The special unannounced guest and speaker was a Holocaust survivor, Dr. Alfred Münzer.

In her opening remarks, the museum representative described the day as a “day for education and reflection,” keeping in mind the social unrest in Europe, the fear on the ground, the resentment, xenophobia, hate speech, vicious, sexual attacks, and the treacherous slide into the worst extremism, the rise of terror groups and of government leaders who engage in hate speech. She described the rise of radical groups in Poland, “which are bolder and stronger than ever,” and the “anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim, anti-Jewish, anti-NATO, anti-Europe feelings, “the unbridled threats and actions against minorities; the anti-s have taken over the global discourse.”

Fred Hiatt remarked that America spoke with “moral arrogance” about Europe but “nobody is in a position to lecture anybody else when we are talking about these topics.” He mentioned how dismayed many were at the level of intolerance in parts of our presidential debates, “the ease with which other human beings were dehumanized.”

Peter Wettig explained that his country, Germany, has a moral responsibility to never forget the Holocaust, and that shapes its foreign policy, especially towards Israel. Anti-Semitism is not tolerated – “my country has strict laws on incitement, on hate speech, and on Holocaust denial which are punishable under the law, under the full force of the law.”

Those who decide what constitutes hate speech are lawyers and judges, an obviously subjective decision. One of the panelists explained that, in order to be hate speech, it must “incite” violence. I thought violence in general is caused by hate, an “intense and passionate dislike” of something or someone, by revenge, or insanity.

What is then “hate speech” as determined by progressive scholars. There is a legal and a dictionary definition.

“In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group.”

In the dictionary, it is “speech that attacks, threatens, or insults a person or group on the basis of national origin, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability.”

By this definition, most Democrats should be fined for “hate speech” and inciting riots and violence. But we do have freedom of speech, particularly unpleasant and offensive speech.

The audience expected the forum to address “the growing concern of most of Europe and many here in this country of the virulent spread of hatred meted out by the growing Muslim population in their host countries.” Instead, “the general position taken was that the rest of us aren’t tolerant enough of their customs and religious ideas.”

According to Chriss Rainey, “the discussion was presented in a panel of like-minded socialists who represented their socialist governments. I don’t think anyone has the answers yet for the Muslim infiltration of Europe and the western world, but to think we can do nothing but increase tolerance is irrational.”

Rainey continued, “Did it ever occur to anyone that the repeated mention of Republican candidates running for office, Trump in particular, was offensive and bordering on hate speech? Or is it only acceptable to speak your mind and express your sincere beliefs if you are Democrat or a socialist?”

The German ambassador Wittig expressed his country’s position of respect for Jewish groups, for Israel’s right to exist, and his country’s stance of intolerance towards any form of anti-Semitism. He almost foolishly insisted that anti-Semitism, “if it existed, was a German problem and not a threat from the million Muslims they have invited and allowed into the country.”

An interesting word used by several people on the panel raised my radar, “stakeholders,” a word that points to the one world governance socialist-speak coming from the United Nations.

Ambassador Gerard Araud focused his remarks on the French secularist society which “has just opened its doors to a very religious body of immigrants who do not share a common morality with host countries.” Reeducating and training the immigrants to the French way of life was presented in such a positive light as if it was remotely possible. Never mind the two massacres in Paris in 2015; that must have been just an exception to the peacefulness and good intent of the new comers to build a progressive life in France.

Chriss Rainey believes that “Araud’s remarks reflect an attitude that they don’t like religion because it puts barriers on human progress. They have ideas of right and wrong and anyone will be trained in the proper conduct of a citizen. The French expect to do this not through any religious body, which has been the source of morality for centuries, but from within state run schools that are set up to mold the next generation, outside the loving eye of home and family. But then, how could it be otherwise since they have basically destroyed the family already and the only thing left to train children—what few of them there are, is the state.”

Ambassador David O’Sullivan, representing EU, a house of cards threatened by the possible exit of Greece and U.K., explained his organization’s interest in controlling the 28 member-states to make sure they stay in line and preserve the EU. To succeed, EU bureaucrats must make sure any nationalist idea is rejected as dangerous, racist, hateful, xenophobic, backwards, and simple-minded. Anyone who opposes global government control is uneducated.

O’Sullivan expressed his disdain for Donald Trump, a presidential candidate who loves his country and speaks openly about protecting Americans’ rights to preserve their way of life. Ambassador O’Sullivan added that he had faith in the American voters to do the right thing, meaning, to vote for some other candidate who shares his progressive, globalist control views.

During the panel discussion and Q&A, the bashing of Donald Trump was almost a lait-motif. Trump voters were derided as “nativists,” “lower class” and “uneducated” for considering a vote for such a persona-non-grata whom the Labor Party in the U.K. contemplated banning. The two remaining ambassadors expressed their faith in the American voters that they would do the right thing and vote as the elites and the media desire.

As Chriss Rainey so aptly put it, “Could it be that the remarks about our conservative candidates that we heard mentioned again and again, are merely a reflection of their own fear of a growing conservative movement in Europe?”

After the conclusion of the panel discussion and Q & A, a Dutch survivor of the Holocaust, Dr. Alfred Münzer, made brief remarks about how he survived “the fury of anti-Semitism that had engulfed Europe,” having been hidden and protected “by a Dutch family and their Muslim housekeeper.” But his older sisters, 6 and 8 years old, did not survive. They were turned in to the authorities and taken to Auschwitz. “The father of a Catholic family whose wife had taken them in did not like Jewish children.” Sadly, he explained, the murder of six million Jews did not end the anti-Semitism that is very much alive today.

I was surprised that not once the real culprits of anti-Semitism and perpetrators of heinous crimes today were not mentioned. Yet every panelist and the moderator repeated ad nauseam the idea that somehow, conservatives and nationalists in Europe and around the globe who disagree with progressive goals and ideals are “far right loons” who deserve derision, contempt, and legal punishment of hate crimes.  

Freedom of speech must fall under progressive censorship law; eager judges should eliminate the right to speak and think which is divergent from the ruling elites. Working hand in glove with social media, especially Facebook, these European bureaucrats and Democrats want to nip in the bud any resistance against their speech dictates.

Unlike Europe, which is a basket case of linguistic Tower of Babel, of broke socialist states thanks to their open borders, multi-culturalism and diversity at all costs, most Americans like their borders, their sovereignty, and their culture, and would like to keep it this way.

Americans do not want to lose their national identity to hostile, invading cultures that do not wish to assimilate but desire to change the demographics of the host country, its history, and replace the local customs and religions with Islam. It seems that the ruling progressives and invading Islamists, who rape and pillage across Europe, make strange bed fellows. The media and the socialist authorities are on high alert to hide the chaos.

The panelists spent more time protecting minorities that actually engage in hate speech, incitement, and murder, while condemning the “hate speech” coming from the “far right” fringe and those so intolerant and disagreeable with the progressive open border, destroy western civilization agenda.

No mention was made of all the violence, chaos, and rapes committed by the military age Muslim refugees harbored in ever-increasing numbers and welcomed with open arms by EU leaders determined to change the arrogant and intolerant face and demographics of our western civilization.

Unfortunately, thanks to progressive tyrants, career politicians in Washington who only represent the interests of their capitalist cronies, billionaires, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) lobbying around the world with coffers full of grant money, the fix is in for European style global socialism.


Further reading sources cited by the Holocaust Museum:


*
Extremism in Poland. Our opening speaker and USHMM Council member, Amy Kaslow recently reported on the growth of nationalist movements in Eastern Europe.
http://fortune.com/author/amy-kaslow/

*Holocaust Remembrance events in Paris. To mark the global Day of Remembrance, the Museum and UNESCO Paris will co-host a series of events and open an important exhibition on propaganda, called State of Deception.
https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/oppose-new-propaganda-of-hatred-by-irina-bokova-and-sara-bloomfield-2016-01

 



Tuesday, January 26, 2016

National Biometric ID Cards in Africa

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is expressing today its support for the  meeting in Niamey, Niger, January 25-26, 2016, of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission Heads of Immigration on “irregular immigration and roll-out of the National Biometric ID Cards.” http://www.iom.int/news/iom-supports-ecowas-meeting-national-biometric-id-cards-task-force-irregular-migration-0

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) project called “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM) is funded by the European Union (EU).

According to the IOM news release, the meeting focused on “high mobility from and within West Africa, where intra-regional and irregular migration feature prominently in the political agenda of most West African governments.”  South-South migration and irregular migration flows to Europe are recognized as a twofold challenge in Africa and the Middle East.

Because ECOWAS believes that intra-regional migration is essential in the African region’s economic growth and stability, the need for the “rapid development of a national biometric identity card” has been recognized. Such a biometric ID card would replace the travel certificate used in the ECOWAS member states.

Of the million migrants that crossed the Mediterranean into Europe in 2015, many of whom were from West Africa, approximately 3,700 died en route. To protect migrants and combat human smuggling, the ECOWAS Free Movement Directorate is going to establish a Task Force on “irregular migration.”

According to IOM, Irregular migration is the “Movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries. There is no clear or universally accepted definition of irregular migration. From the perspective of destination countries it is entry, stay or work in a country without the necessary authorization or documents required under immigration regulations. From the perspective of the sending country, the irregularity is for example seen in cases in which a person crosses an international boundary without a valid passport or travel document or does not fulfil the administrative requirements for leaving the country. There is, however, a tendency to restrict the use of the term "illegal migration" to cases of smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.” https://www.iom.int/key-migration-terms

In layman’s terms and law-abiding citizens’ logical understanding, citizens who respect borders and sovereignty, “irregular migration” is illegal immigration dressed up in United Nation’s progressive euphemism and bureaucratic-speak.

The Task Force will “combat irregular migration, fight trafficking and smuggling, and protect vulnerable migrants in the region.” People who abhor 21st century slavery still practiced by a certain religion would like to know if the Task Force considers fighting the human slave trade and sex trade that ISIS is involved in.

The participants in the meeting in Niger are ECOWAS member states heads of immigration, ECOWAS Commission, Spanish and French government representatives, FMM staff, IOM staff, and the European Union Delegation in Niger.

A two-day visit to Agadez is also planned. Agadez is a “primary transit point for irregular migrants crossing from West Africa to Europe.” This begs the question, if all these organizations and the authorities know exactly where the primary transit point for illegal immigration and human smuggling is, why don’t they take measures to stop it?

The reason is probably the fact that the FMM West Africa project, an EU-funded effort implemented by the Consortium of Partners, “seeks to maximize the development potential of free movement of persons and migration in West Africa.” http://www.iom.int/

In layman’s terms, the ultimate goal is to erase borders and establish global citizens. To facilitate the free movement of persons across national boundaries, a U.N.-deemed “right,” a biometric ID card will speed up the process of controlling massive movements of people.

 

 

 

 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

"Building the Machine" Shines Light on Common Core


Common Core will be raising good little socialists, who are in tune with their feelings, not so much their critical thinking skills.” – Author unknown
“Common sense of the common people is more important for the health of the nation than the ideas of the philosophical elites.” – Wayne Brasler


The best documentary on the National Common Core Standards, Building the Machine, was directed by Ian A. Reid, who set out to illuminate the sixty-two percent of Americans who had not heard of Common Core in 2013. www.CommonCoreMovie.com

Common Core, the brainchild and work of 30 individuals under the aegis of the Governors’ Association and with the help of almost $200 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, is the tool to achieve the “fundamental transformation” of our society by adopting nationalized education “standards” that require students to find another way to reach an answer, particularly in math and science, even if the answer is wrong, justifying the incorrect answer as the path to helping students learn to think critically. The fact that the student needs to reach the right developmental age to think analytically and critically does not seem important in this newest educational scheme.

I gave examples of ill-conceived lesson plans, textbooks, and inappropriate reading materials in many subjects in my article here. http://canadafreepress.com/article/teach-common-sense-not-common-core

The national teaching standards were adopted by 45 states without parental or teacher input, under confidentiality agreements, without public debate, untested, untried, unproven, and certainly not “internationally benchmarked” or “state led” as it is now promoted in ads.

The bait for adoption was the $4.35 billion worth of grants offered through the President’s stimulus package. States had two months to write proposals in order to be eligible for the Race to the Top grants. Hurting for money because the economy was so depressed, 45 states applied and, in doing so, they accepted the Race to the Top Standards.

The standards, which were to become Common Core standards were not debated, “the drafts were cloaked,” there were no hearings, no testimony, just “some truncated public comments and no response to comments.”

“The Common Core standards were designed for an industrial model school,” claiming that they are “rigorous, even though they can’t tell you what makes for rigorous or non-rigorous standards.” Marc Tucker believes that they are designed for “work force development in the German model system.” Andrew Hacker, Professor Emeritus at Queens College, called Common Core standards, “a radical change from the past.”

According to the documentary, Building the Machine, “players” involved in developing, funding, adopting, and advertising national Common Core standards were:

-          Achieve, Inc.

-          Fordham Institute

-          The National Governors Association

-          Council of Chief State School Officers

-          U.S. Department of Education

-          Foundation for Excellence in Education

-          U.S. Chamber of Commerce

-          45 governors

-          Jeb Bush

-          Mike Huckabee

-          School Officers

-          Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (donated $200 million in 2012 alone to adopt Common Core) http://canadafreepress.com/article/building-the-machine-the-common-core-documentary

The Validation Committee was composed of 30 people who had to sign a confidentiality agreement that they would not discuss what took place in the meetings. (Dr. Sandra Stotsky)

Five committee members, a significant percentage, did not sign the final standards and were thus “expunged from the record.” Dr. Jim Milgram said, “They are not giving the public any idea of what’s going on.” Dr. Milgram and Dr. Stotsky were the only mathematician and English language arts content specialists on the 30-person validation committee. Neither approved the standards.

Replacing basic arithmetic (addition, subtraction, multiplication) with Constructivism, teaching children how to “construct” their own way of figuring out an answer, even if it’s the wrong answer, and replacing English literature selections with New Criticism Literary Analysis, using leftwing norms of morality and behavior, appears to be a recipe for mediocrity.

We are a diverse nation populated by individuals with different talents, ability, IQ, motivation, interests, and dissimilar childhood experiences. Some children live on farms and some in the cities, some are affluent and some are not.

College should help Americans become life-long learners, not ideological robots. Education should be about our children, not the “system.” Paul Horton, Veteran History Teacher, University of Chicago Lab Schools, thinks that the “Current policy makers see the purpose of education as training people to acquire the minimum level of skills that are required to work in a technical workplace.”

In this Race to the Top competition standards that baited many into adoption of leftist ideas of what education should be, what race exactly are we supposed to win and against whom?  

We are not trying to win any race; we are trying to pursue happiness, our American way of life, and keep our constitutional republic intact and safe, maintain our Christian heritage and faith, and reject the overt indoctrination into Islam. We do not need billionaire elitists, politicians, or Hollywood to tell us how to think, how to live, or dictate our faith.

James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas has released a new video, Common Corruption – Elitist Indoctrination, in which one of the Pearson Publishing former executives, Kim Koerber, explains the profit motive and the role of textbook publishers in our children’s education and what is the aim of Common Core. http://www.projectveritas.com/
“I hate kids. It’s never about the kids. Don’t kid yourselves…. It’s all about money.”

“Common core is really important because it needs to be some cohesion between the states and Texas keeps screwing it up over and over. Texas got upset about it and they wanted to have their founders, they wanted to pound the fathers in it. … The dead white guys did not create this country. It was a whole bunch of different kinds of people. And yes there were women, and yes, there were people of color and yes, you need to talk about them too. But they want to talk about those dead white guys.”
According to Kim, conservative voters don’t agree with birth control and therefore do not want their kids to learn about it. Conservatives object to the very graphic lessons on sexuality and sexual perversion, and STDs that small children would be subjected to.

According to Kim, conservatives object to the approximate math of Common Core because they do not understand the new math, they did not study it in high school.

Kim is of the deceptive opinion that conservatives want the Constitution taught but only the parts they like. It seems to me that she wants only the parts progressives promote when she says, “Damn the Second Amendment! I don’t think personal handguns need to be on anyone except the government, the police.  What is the purpose of having a gun?”

Kim should study the history of the Holocaust and communism when only the government and the police had guns – more than 100 million innocents lost their lives at the hands of their governments.

Donald Trump spoke at the National Tea Party convention against Common Core and the “bureaucrats in Washington [who] are making a lot of money, they don’t give a damn about your kids in South Carolina…. Nobody can win when you are in favor of Common Core, it’s a disaster.”

Ted Cruz said that, as president, on his first day in office, he would instruct the Department of Education to end Common Core.

Santorum echoed the opinions of the other presidential hopefuls. “The real issue for common core is the elites in our culture who want to indoctrinate our young people into a certain way to think, a certain belief structure, and it’s all spread out through Common Core. I believe the best and safest way to maintain our values in this country is to leave it up to the people at the grass roots level.”

According to Kim Koerber, “conservatives don’t like being told what to do by people they don’t agree with.” She wants history to include lessons about the Wild West and its prostitutes.

When “Republicans want to influence what is being taught,” Koerber said, “Common Core does not put up with that.” Apparently progressives know better and we must comply with their standards. Conservatives must be told how to think. “I can’t stand it, said Kim. If they talk to me one more time about common core, about climate change not being real, I’m just gonna scream.”

The elites who push Common Core do not think much about Christianity.  Kim Koerber continued, “I am really glad that here in California, whatever religious affiliation you want to take is fine, but in Texas they want to push the Christianity.” …”That’s why is so offensive to have these prayers in the school board.”

“Christianity is totally out of the Common Core. Yes, it is.  Totally!  It’s not a core concept at all. But then there is a mention of other religions like Islam.”

Apparently Kim Koerber does not understand that we were founded on Christianity, not Islam. Islam had made no contribution to the establishment of our country and of our success. Europeans fled the tyranny of monarchs so they could live and worship in peace.

It is very profitable for textbook companies anytime someone changes something in a textbook, said Kim. “School districts then have to adopt new books. It is all about the money.”

Koerber admits that there is a liberal bias in the Common Core standards. “So, I think the progressive bias is that the more educated you are, the better you are.” Education may be good but there are certain things that kids don’t need to know in such stark and pornographic detail and at such a tender age.

The reporter argued that kids were doing math and science just fine before Common Core; Koerber replied that critics don’t like it because the government is telling them what to do.

She continued, “The separation of church and state they don’t understand. They don’t like that. They don’t like equal rights between all groups. The voter suppression in the south is unbelievably awful.” What voter suppression? What planet BIG LIE does this woman live on?

Smearing critics that, “People who are not educated are easy to flim-flam, and that they react by fear instead of by knowledge,” Koerber is proving the progressive elitist arrogance that they are the only smart ones and they hold the academic key to knowledge. Fortunately, informed and intelligent people see through progressive stratagems and through Conformity Core indoctrination into collectivism and Islam.

Of course, now that the omnibus bill has been signed last month, the next education federalization that is augmenting Common Core comes as the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), S.1177, sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) which was included in the omnibus bill.  https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/1177

Deceptively named “Community Schools,” promoted by Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD), these government schools will replace parental responsibilities under the guise of “early childhood learning, medical and dental screenings, and career counseling,” all of which have been done unsuccessfully under Head Start, Medicaid, and school title programs.

Jane Robbins, attorney and activist with Truth in American Education, is quoted in the New American, such “schools will be expanded to replace family and church as the center of every child’s life, offering myriad ‘services’ including mental-health programs.” She added that “Few things should alarm parents more than the prospect of the government’s assessing their child’s mental health and proceeding to fix any problem the government claims to find.” http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/education/item/21395-obamas-community-schools-aim-to-replace-parents
Arne Duncan, former Secretary of Education, had boasted that these government schools will care for some American children 24/7, while all students will become global citizens and will be converted into ‘green citizens’ with UNESCO as ‘global partner’ and its World Core Curriculum. http://www.unesco.org/education/tisf/mods/theme_c/popups/mod18t01s03.html

Now we really understand why curricula around the world are relatively the same --manufactured history, neglected traditions, white achievement bashing, multiculturalism, no unified language, the fundamental transformation into one world collectivist government with its sustainable development everything.

 

 

 

 



Wednesday, January 20, 2016

VDOT Fails Virginians Miserably

Photo: Ileana Johnson 2016
If I told someone that a dusting of snow brought to a complete standstill traffic on the highways and interstates surrounding Washington, D.C., the capital of the most powerful country on the planet, they would probably think that I was joking.

The beautiful sun-shiny day started with cold temperatures but nobody would have believed that by 6 p.m. the commuting life in the surrounding suburbs of D.C. would grind to a halt, so much so that a major highway had to be closed.

I thought it was strange that, in light of the forecast of one inch of snow for the evening, there were no plows in place or salt trucks anywhere along the roads I traveled.  I-95 N was crowded as usual, made worse by an overturned eighteen wheeler on the ramp to Fairfax.

The snow dusted the roads already by 6 p.m. and, turning from hwy. 286 onto hwy. 123, my car slipped on ice and it took a few corrections before I could control my vehicle. Everybody was driving slowly, 30 mph, better safe than sorry. Again, no plows in sight.

Nine miles later I came to the top of the Occoquan Bridge. It became painfully obvious to all drivers that it would be impossible to slide down the steep incline onto the bridge without overturning vehicles or a major pileup. Everyone stopped and traffic jammed for miles.

I waited patiently for a sign of VDOT presence. After I realized that was not going to happen, I called 911 and reported that traffic has stopped on hwy. 123, a major thoroughfare. A few minutes later, three fire trucks showed up, asking everyone if they were hurt. They could not understand why the roads were not treated either.

Six hours after I left Fairfax, on a stretch of maybe 14 miles, we were finally able to clear the bridge and traffic moved. But that was not the end of the ordeal. As we pulled onto I-95 South, commuter traffic was moving slowly on all three snowy lanes. I-95 North was also clogged with traffic and barely moving.  I was elated but my joy was short lived. Once I got on the ramp past Woodbridge, the road was really iced and cars were sliding left and right into each other.

Hwy. 1 was much worse. Traffic was virtually stopped going North and moving very slowly going South. With temperatures below freezing, turning onto side roads or neighborhoods was like turning onto an ice skating rink.

By the grace of God, I reached my home in one piece, thanking my guardian angel for my fortune. Who knew that a 27-mile journey would turn into a six hour ordeal? I could have driven to Ohio in six hours.

This dusting of snow that paralyzed the D.C. suburbs in northern Virginia was a metaphor for the government sclerosis, an incurable condition. The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has failed the taxpayers again in a big way. I shudder to think what is going to happen this weekend when meteorologists forecast over one foot of snow.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Life in a Virginia Nursing Home

Old Woman Dozing (1656)
Nicolaes Maes Photo: Wikipedia
I never know what to expect on my weekly visits to the nursing home. The lobby has an occasional patient wheeling herself or pushed by a family member for a stroll around the property. There is a small park in the back with winding paths cracked here and there by the growing roots. Majestic trees surround the grounds.

The elevators and doors operate with codes – they don’t want Alzheimer patients to take off for unknown locales and the highway is too close to the parking lot. I am greeted every time by the same patients and a thin black woman in a wheelchair who always smiles. I wonder why she is there; she is cogent, always happy and friendly.

On second floor, as soon as I step off the elevator,  I see the opened door to the lady on the corner who never speaks and seldom has visitors; only a young woman twice in two years.  She waves and smiles weakly.

Geo, the longest resident, is wheeling himself slowly in the middle of the corridor, stopping from time to time, lost in deep thought.  He told us how much he misses his mom; she used to make him the best pancakes. He knows his parents’ names and his brother’s.  I wonder if they are still alive. I’ve never seen anybody visit poor Geo in the two years since I’ve started going every week. I feel sadness for him that nobody comes to visit. We take extra care to engage him if he is willing to talk.

Silvia, a German lady, always sits in the dining room by herself, watching re-runs of Bonanza on TV or eating her meal. I strike up a conversation with her in German and her face lights up. She lost a limb to diabetes. She has a sister in Germany with whom she talks on the phone from time to time. She always wears institutionalized clothing. We made sure this year she got something nicer from Santa Claus.

An elderly black gentleman walks around with a cane, still mobile enough and seems like his mind is still sharp. He told me stories about his lovely daughter who lives in New Jersey. I’ve never seen anybody visit him either.

Some patients wear alarm wrist bracelets if they were caught wandering away from the building, hitching an elevator ride with visitors. The unfortunately named Arcadia suite is always locked with coded pads because the state of Virginia does not allow patients who may do harm to themselves to be restrained. 

The beds do not have safety rails either. This causes some patients to fall out of the narrow beds and get injured. One has to be hypobaric before they can get a slightly larger bed. The vinyl-covered mattresses are thin and do not seem to offer much comfort to a frail and bony elderly body.

It is impossible to control infectious diseases in this nursing home when so many patients with difficult needs are cared for by orderlies from third world countries who sometimes do not fully understand vectors of disease and do not wear gloves or change them between patients.

Ambulances and medical transports come and go, carrying patients to the hospital, to medical appointments, and to dialysis. Families hope their loved ones are well taken care of in a timely manner. I know that sometimes appointments are missed, paperwork lost, transports don’t show up, items are missing, dentures are lost, never to be found or reimbursed, everybody blames the other party, and clothes and personal items disappear. Who can keep up properly with all the mounds of laundry? No amount of monogramming can assure that items are returned to their rightful owner.

Bonnie has incipient dementia and is constantly packing her bags to go home. Her family comes often to visit and they dote on her. There is a gentleman who is in alcoholic rehab.  Katy tells stories of her past in between cries for help that nobody answers anymore. She has cried wolf too many times. I am glad she spends most of her days in the wheelchair in the middle of the corridor in case she chokes. Her respirator often dangles unattached even though she needs it.

Brenda is very frail, lost her eyesight to diabetes, her ability to speak, and is on dialysis twice a week. In spite of the fact that she weighs so little and is so frail, her strong voice carries across the hallways. She screams gutturally non-stop as if calling for her mom. Her brother and 88 year-old mom come to see her religiously three times a week and spend a few hours talking to her. Her arms are purple and blue from the dialysis IVs.

The staff comes and goes, there is a huge turnover, most of them are Africans from a different culture who try to do a very hard job but the patients are unable to give feedback to their families if their care is adequate or not. You have to be a very hard human being not to be affected by so much pain and need, and to be patient in order to deliver proper care.

In two years, I have never seen a priest or any indication that patients are allowed to pray on the premises or have a place dedicated for prayer. Small choirs of children and visitors from local churches come around Christmas time and Easter to visit and entertain the residents.

A beautiful  golden retriever makes her rounds to see patients on both floors. Lucy loves a good belly rub and stretches lazily on the tiled floor in the lobby during week days.

Commotion arises from time to time when a belligerent patient refuses to bathe and screams for help because they’ve bathed last month, they don’t need it again. Some patients are crying in their rooms that they want to die. Wails of “nurse” are seldom answered and the push buttons don’t really work because the nursing home is understaffed. A patient representative from a lobbying group shows up from time to time to make sure they are treated humanely.

The nurse on duty distributes medicines from the locked cart, taking blood pressure and glucose readings. The meals never come on time, are often cold, and inadequate on weekends. Nobody complains because they can’t or are afraid to. Some have to be fed by hand and others through the stomach.

Some of the patients could be cared for at home but in Virginia, Medicare/Medicaid only provides three hours of in-home care per week. In other states, like New York, the state provides 24 hour in-home care instead of forcing patients into a nursing home where the monthly bill, on the average, is $11,000 per patient.

It’s such a sad and dehumanizing way to spend the last years of one’s life. No wonder people would rather die than go into a nursing home.

When I was growing up, extended-family members, who lived nearby, took turns and cared for their aging parents and relatives until they passed on.

A childhood friend who had married abroad, used to drive several times a year back to our hometown to deliver adult diapers and other items for her elderly mom who was cared for by her brother. In-home adult care products were not available under the communist regime.

These long-term patients were once lively and productive human beings.  They probably never thought that they would ever wind up in a nursing home. Now they are just a room number. It is profoundly sad.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Chronically Homeless in America

Photo: Wikipedia Commons
The mark of a civilized society is how well the most helpless are treated --animals, children, the elderly, and those who are homeless. There is always room for improvement. We are plenty generous with people from other countries, but we miss the mark when it comes to helping our own chronic homeless, the veterans, babies in the womb, the elderly, and others who cannot protect themselves.

It is in plain view that we have failed the homeless. We all pass by people who look healthy, able-bodied, and well-fed, asking for help on a street corner, professional panhandlers who have a nice car and a home to go to – they make a living panhandling.  But then there are those sleeping in the streets, in the cold, in the rain, too dirty and too exhausted to beg; they’ve become so invisible and ignored, nobody speaks to them anymore.

How did they get this way? Homeless people live in unimaginable places. How can a society as rich as ours allow this to happen? Why do we care about the downtrodden of the world but not our own citizens?

The Department of Housing and Human Development (HUD) told us in 2014 that there were 84,000 chronically homeless, down from 120,000 in 2007 thanks to a 2002 program aimed at ending chronic homelessness in ten years. As any government program, the goal failed and the program was extended through 2017. HUD used the Homeless Assistance Grants, the Veterans Affairs Supported Housing Program and other demonstration programs to achieve this goal.

The government had decided to end chronic homelessness because it cost the taxpayers too much money to care for individuals who “use many expensive services often paid through public sources, including emergency room visits, inpatient hospitalizations, and law enforcement and jail time.” Citing the fact that putting the homeless in shelters is also costly, bureaucrats admit that there are also ethical reasons to help our fellow man and end chronic homelessness.

The previous model did not work so a new strategy was deployed – “allowing chronically homeless individuals to move into permanent supportive housing without preconditions. Permanent supportive housing (PSH) is not time-limited and makes services available to residents.” http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R44302.pdf

One such PSH is Housing First, supported by both HUD and the Department of Veteran Affairs, chosen because the homeless people can select the type and “intensity of services and does not require abstinence or medication compliance.”

PSH increases days spent in housing and reduces days spent homeless. “The outcomes in other areas are not as clear.” In other words, they either don’t know or are not saying if costs are reduced in use and service, if substance use and abuse are diminished, and if mental health improvements are present.

Medicaid funds are used for housing-related services; lobbyists and housing advocates prefer that states use “their own shares of Medicaid funds to finance permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals” since funding through HUD programs is limited for new units. Another source of funding could be Pay for Success Initiatives; private investment in PSH would be paid back if “certain outcomes are attained.”

The term “chronic homelessness” has been used in research since the 1980s, referring to people who have spent more than a year in the streets while suffering from one or two disabling conditions, substance abuse and/or mental illness.

Randall Kuhn and Dennis Culhane categorized homelessness in three groups of people:

-          Transitional (short periods of time in shelters who do not return)

-          Episodic (more frequent users of shelters, not exceeding a few months)

-          Chronic (stay in shelters for long periods of time)*

According to Libby Perl and Erin Bagalman, the federal standards to be deemed chronically homeless are as follows:

-          Individuals and families can be chronically homeless even though in the Hearth Act only unaccompanied individuals were included in the definition

-          One unaccompanied individual or adult head of household must have a disabling condition such as “substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability, post-traumatic stress disorder, cognitive impairments resulting from a brain injury, or chronic physical illness or disability, including the co-occurrence or two or more of those conditions”

-          Duration requirement (continuously homeless for a year or more or at least four occasions in the past three years)

-          Where someone sleeps (a place that is not meant for human habitation such as a park, street, abandoned building, sewer, emergency shelter, or safe haven)**

In 2015 HUD reported the total number of homeless individuals to be 564,708. Mental illness and substance use disorders (drugs and alcohol) seemed to be prevalent among the homeless.

The permanent supportive housing (PSH) is not time-limited and services are available to residents. HUD provides much of the funding and thus requires certain criteria such as basing it in a community, not an institution; time of stay cannot be limited; residents can have a renewable lease; and helping residents with disability to live independently.

PSH may rent units in a condominium or apartment complex; subsidies are provided through housing vouchers; single-site multi-family rental property with affordable housing designation; residents pay 30% of their income towards rent and the rest is subsidized. Such units exist around the D.C. area. Some of the units are reported by the other residents as sources of bed bugs infestation and other pests.

Not all PSH providers require their residents in permanent housing to “abstain from drugs and alcohol” in order to remain eligible for housing. Housing First, developed in New York in 1990s under the name Pathways to Housing, does not require residents to abstain from drugs and alcohol or to take their meds, but services are available 24 hours a day to help them if they ask – nurses, caseworkers, and psychiatrists.

Prince William County in Virginia is considering placing its 409 homeless people in 8X12 tiny prototype homes at a cost of $3,000 per unit.  Woodbridge HUGS, a non-profit formed last year to “assist the county’s homeless population” and to provide the homeless with essential goods and housing, said through its representative, “We found what we want as our prototype… we want to put in a composting toilet, a skylight, a generator, a door that locks, [and] windows for cross-ventilation.” http://whatsupwoodbridge.com/2016/01/15/tiny-houses-homeless-prince-william/

I cannot imagine what these tiny slum units would do to the surrounding landscape and the property values of the adjacent properties. Is this the best way to help the homeless in one of the richest counties in the nation?

Instead of sheltering the homeless in proper and stable housing, why are we moving them essentially into shanty areas? Why must we relegate the homeless, the unemployed, and the poor to ePodments, to tiny homes, to mini-homes, to dwellings made of junkyard scrap and other cheap materials, to dwellings the size of closets?

Are we doing this because the economy is in such dire-straights thanks to this administration’s disastrous economic policies? Or is there another reprehensible Agenda and plan in place to crowd people into stack-and-pack tiny apartments and temporary units the size of a dog house in order to return the suburbia to its original wilderness?

In spite of HUD Homeless Assistance Grants, as a primary tool of the federal government of funding housing for homeless people, HUD-VA Supported Housing program, which was started in 1992, and other social programs, homelessness is far from being addressed properly and will continue to exist.

 

____________________________

*Randall Kuhn and Dennis P. Culhane, “Applying Cluster Analysis to Test a Typology of Homelessness by Pattern of Shelter Utilization: Results from the Analysis of Administrative Data,” American Journal of Community Psychology, vol. 26, no. 2 (April 1998), pp. 207-232.

**CRS Report 44302, December 8, 2015, pp. 3-4.

 

 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Non-Governmental Organizations' Role in Global Governance

“The fear of capitalism has compelled socialism to widen freedom, and the fear of socialism has compelled capitalism to increase equality. East is West and West is East, and soon the twain will meet.”        Will and Ariel Durant in Lesson of History

Photo: Wikipedia
The developed world appears to be changing in the same direction, at the same time, at an alarming speed, relatively speaking. What is the common dominator and drive behind this change towards a one world global governance and global citizenship? What is rushing everything towards global socialism? How is this possible when countries have different levels of development, education, economies, government, history, religion, wars, and conflicts?

The wails and demands of “equality” resound in the corridors of power and in the main stream media around the globe. I’ve heard the tired-out claims that “Socialism means genuine social equality,” giving “basic rights to the working class – the right to a job, education, health care, a secure retirement, a decent standard of living, a world without war.” This idyllic and utopian socialism will be attained by “the establishment of workers’ power.”

I have experienced the reality of socialism and it was quite different than the rhetoric. Not only were the workers not equal nor in power, but they were in abject poverty when compared to the working middle class under the much maligned “capitalism.”

Then there is the nagging and very important question – Who or what gives and guarantees all these rights that the socialists want? It can’t be God because socialists are atheists; atheism is their religion. It can’t be government because bureaucrats, who confiscate wealth to distribute it from producers to non-producers, eventually run out of other people’s money and the whole scheme collapses.

The Industrial Revolution is blamed for many ills in society, including the manufactured anthropogenic global warming which spawned an entire environmental industry of climate change worth trillions annually.  Will and Ariel Durant believed that the Industrial Revolution “brought with it democracy, feminism, birth control, socialism, the decline of religion, the loosening of morals…”

Will and Ariel Durant, historians who are considered two of the greatest thinkers of our time, wrote in “The Lessons of History” (1968) that there are three important lessons of biological history:

1.       Life is competition – “Animals eat one another without qualm; civilized men consume one another by due process of law.”

2.       Life is selection – “Inequality is natural and inborn”

By Nature, “we are all born unfree and unequal: subject to our physical and psychological heredity and to the customs and traditions of our group; diversely endowed in health and strength, in mental capacity and qualities of character. Nature loves difference as the necessary material of selection and evolution.”

3.       Life must breed - …”a high birth rate has usually accompanied a culturally low civilization, and a low birth rate a civilization culturally high;” in nature “a nation with a low birth rate shall be periodically chastened by some more virile and fertile group.”

Nature knows how to restore balance in nations through “pestilence, famine, and war,” they added.

Durant called the rapidly emerging one world government of today, the “international government,” which was the result, in his opinion, of industry, banking and finance, and international trade across sovereign borders.

In the current world we have oligarchies in which a tiny minority elite rules. This rule can be imposed by birth (aristocracy), by religion (theocracy), or by vast wealth (democracy).

Observing the role of the United Nations around the world and their environmentalist militancy expressed through sustainable development of Agenda 21, Agenda 2030, and other population control organizations, an elite composed of mostly western billionaires is moving the world towards a one world government with its own global police force, military, banking and finance, commerce, renewables, science, agriculture, land and water use, and industry.

But how were they able to achieve such infiltration in every country in the developed and not-so developed world? The most obvious answer is through indoctrination in schools, emphasizing erasure of borders (flooding the world with refugees and illegal aliens as their right), dumbing down standards of intellectual aspirations, removing true history from the curriculum of various nations, making children feel ashamed of their country’s history and accomplishments, preparing them as early as kindergarten for global citizenship, and removing their allegiance to their parents and to their country and placing it in the hands of the globalist educators/indoctrinators.

In addition to indoctrination in schools and through mass media, other very important vectors of transformation into one world governance include the United Nations, government finance, and politics at all levels. Additionally, cultural decadence, moral and religious degradation, race baiting, political correctness with charges of racism and hate speech, and class enmity/violence coupled with accusations of phony “white privilege” round out the indoctrination into global socialism.

How do the United Nations, government finance, and politicians influence local and state governments to change in the same desired global direction? It is quite simple – through the honey pot of taxpayer grants and competitive financial awards which are administered by Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), currently operating in every country in the world with additional money from special interest groups and billionaires.

These non-profits and lobbying groups are awash with cash which hook those in need of funds, people, towns, and regions around the world, making them dance to the tune of progressivism, equality, social justice, environmental justice, gender justice, racial justice, inching them closer and closer to one world global governance.

The NGOs are hard at work around the world employing volunteers and young people who either cannot find a job in their fields, are on a quest to find themselves, or enjoy traveling and exploring while being paid to further what they perceive to be a noble cause or idea. NGOs are classified as charitable, service, participatory, and empowering.

NGOs are organized around communities, cities, on a national level or on an international level. Other euphemistic names for NGOs are “private voluntary organization,” “civil society,” “independent sector,” “self-help organization,” grassroots organization,” “volunteer sector,” “transnational social movement,” and “non-state actors” (NSAs).

The abbreviated terms used by NGOs are: http://www.ngo.in/types-of-ngos.html

-          BINGO (a business-friendly international NGO)

-          CITS (looking for young talent in research and development)

-          CSO (civil society organization)

-          DONGO (donor organized NGO)

-          ENGO (environmental NGO)

-          GONGO (government-operated NGO)

-          INGO (international NGO)

-          QUANGO (quasi-autonomous NGO)

-          TANGO (technical assistance NGO)

-          MANGO (market advocacy NGO)

-          GSO (grassroots support organization)

-          CHARDS (community health and rural development society)

The World Bank classifies NGOs as advocacy and operational. Advocacy NGOs promote a cause through lobbying, media, and aggressive activism. Operational NGOs create and implement development projects in communities, on national levels, or international levels.

Most of the grants and money distributed through NGOs come with strings attached which require the receivers to adopt the one world government underlying stance and regulations. When strapped for immediate funds, the receivers agree to the terms and are thus hooked for a long time.

NGOs, with their lobbyists, activists, volunteers, and supporters, are the busy workers of the ant colony of global progressivism working for billionaires, for financiers, for government regulatory and bureaucratic organizations, and the United Nations to promote, create, develop, and enforce one world governance.