Here's a boy I expect to see at the Triunfo health center when I go there. He is only 4, so maybe something can be done, though probably only if he could come to the US and that might be hard under the Trump administration. Once a boy 14, with a similar deformity, was referred to me, but 14 really is too old, However, maybe this 4-year-old would have a chance.
[Apologies for font changes and odd spacing--I've tried to fix it.]
While it’s certainly true, as others have pointed out, that murders, injuries, and
robberies can take place anywhere, including right in my hometown of Capitol Hill,
Washington, DC,statistically, they are many orders of magnitude higher in Honduras,
where I was robbed and attacked several times during Peace Corps and where many Honduran
friends have experienced the same. Furthermore, I have to travel alone around the country,
usually with large items (suitcase of donated medicines, wheelchair, walker, books, etc.) on
ordinary buses, and buses are often held up and passengers robbed. It’s not surprising
that Honduran migrants seek greater safety in the US.
We had another dusting of snow, this time in late January.
Here’s a CNN article speculating that Trump’s own “extreme vetting” requirements would
actually keep him out of our country.
However well-vetted a refugee or group of refugees may be, among very large numbers,
a paltry few, over time, may turn out to be undesirable or even dangerous. Nothing in
life is 100%; it’s always a matter of probabilities. Even your next-door neighbor has a
very small chance of being an ax-murderer. That would be very shocking and unfortunate,
but doesn’t mean that all neighbors are dangerous. But someone like Donald Trump will
seek out that needle in the haystack, that rare Muslim refugee who did a bad deed, and
blow up that finding to ban Muslim refugees or to stoke continual suspicion and
discrimination against them.
Trump’s policies and attitudes may well have inspired the man who attacked a mosque in
Quebec. Trump and his acolytes are encouraging and reinforcing some people’s worst
instincts, their prejudices, avarice, greed, misogyny, sexism, racism, religious bigotry,
homophobia, and crass and vulgar displays of wealth such as those of Donald Trump
himself. Does the guy have any redeeming qualities? “The world is a mess,” Trump has
been quoted as saying. Is he doing anything to help clear up that mess?
Thank goodness for this: US judge temporarily halts visa detentions.
But detentions are halted only for those specific travelers—the general ban remains in place. Trump is making lots of work (much of it pro-bono) for lawyers. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/29/dhs-will-continue-to-enforce-trumps-travel-ban.html
Trump will be in a hurry to get his Supreme Court nominee approved pronto, but at least there have to be hearings first.
And here’s Garrison Keillor sounding off, beseeching Republican lawmakers to please help us, which is what I have been saying and hoping, although unfortunately not living in the districts of any of those lawmakers and you cannot reach them except by e-mail and putting in a zip code for their district—as a disenfranchised DC resident, I’ve tried and been rejected. http://www.sltrib.com/opinion/4859379-155/garrison-keillor-help-us-gop-youre
Those who might have hoped that the office of president would modify Donald Trump are finding out that’s not happening. Taking office has not damped him down in the slightest, in fact, just the opposite—he feels all-powerful now. As his loyal side-kick Kellyanne warns, “Get used to it. He’s just getting started.” Well, Trump better get used to getting pushback too, even from Republicans—this is not his private hotel empire, after all, or his so-called reality TV show where he can say, “You’re fired!”
Creating chaos seems to excite Trump; he loves wrecking it, knocking it down, just like a kid with a block tower. Let the pieces fall where they may and let someone else pick them up. He’s remained his same impulsive, thin-skinned, lying, insecure, overly-defensive, and childish self (though perhaps that’s being uncharitable to children.) If anything, having more authority has made him even worse than before. He’s obsessed about his own popularity or lack thereof. He is also a conspiracy theorist par excellence. Maybe if there is a re-examination of November’s votes, looking for his alleged voter fraud, he will end up losing by even more? A recount has already been done by Jill Stein in several states. Interestingly enough, so far, his daughter Tiffany and some of his allies have been found registered in 2 different states. Maybe they didn’t vote for him even once? Tiffany is reportedly a registered Democrat.
Let’s hope that Trump’s presidency creates a backlash and that Republicans can be ousted from Congress in 2018 for supporting him. Trump himself is unlikely to change and mature. But as a friend observes, some of his most outrageous acts are just the first sally—he fully expects to pull back in the bargaining. Meanwhile, his loyal base loves his extreme initial pronouncements, giving grief to other politicians and the elite. And he certainly gets publicity and keeps the news cycle going,
It could well be that his strategy, as indicated, is to be totally outrageous, then back-track slightly to get where he wants to be, thus seeming to be magnanimous. He does love publicity and attention and he's certainly getting that. One friend says that his extremism is a calculated opening salvo--which his small very loyal base loves and which makes news--but he's already poised to pull back, making it look like he's willing to compromise--and so maybe he's actually smarter than he seems? Let's hope so.
Chaos has reigned internationally since Trump took office.
Trump sent six Christian refugees back to the Middle East; however, I have it on good authority from someone directly involved that they were then sent back and are now in the US: https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/df9568b8-2816-3861-9f80-481a06657e84/trump-says-his-ban-will.html
Below, just another example of media bias against Trump? Why would the media necessarily be aligned against him? Or is it really a case of the media fulfilling its role as watchdog for the citizenry? Trump Is Already Damaging the State Dept. http://foreignpolicy.com/2017/01/27/trump-is-already-mismanaging-the-state-department/
Apparently, I am not the only one who first saw Melania, especially in her displays of body language in her interactions with her husband, acting as a very reluctant first lady and an unhappy partner to Donald Trump. After I first thought that, I then I’ve seen a number of internet postings now expressing similar impressions. It would be a blow to Trump’s image if she decided to divorce him, though she might not do that if he allows her to remain living with her son at Trump Tower unmolested by him as he grapples with his new life in Washington. A baby born in Cuba reportedly has already been named Melania.
Trump reportedly wasn’t very happy about our women’s march and the sister marches all over the world. His popularity is below 50%, a new low for a new president. http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/report-claims-trump-was-visibly-enraged-size-womens-march-1602907?utm_source=yahoo&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=rss&utm_content=/rss/yahoous&yptr=yahoo
The March for Life, another much smaller women’s march, occurred less than a week after our main march, this second one on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade. I did participate in the first march the day after the election, which I considered mainly to be an anti-Trump march, even though it might have included abortion support in its platform. I never actually saw a platform for the march—the main unifying theme was anti-Trump and there were signs for many different causes and objectives. As I’ve indicated before, as both a birth and an adoptive mother, I am not so keen on “abortion rights,” especially after the first trimester, unless there is an overriding reason, such as the fetus’s seriously abnormal development, a grave risk to the mother’s health, or a pregnancy resulting from the rape of a very young girl who neglected to tell anyone early on. Polls I’ve seen show that perhaps a majority of Americans feel the same way, that abortion should mainly be limited to the first trimester. The 20-week abortion ban being proposed by some Republicans doesn’t seem to me to be outrageous—not that abortions are common after that anyway or done for frivolous reasons. While certainly abortions occur in Latin America, usually in secret as they are not legal, and while contraception and even tubal ligations are both legal and popular, most women in conversation will express horror at the very idea of abortion. Among many African Americans, especially church-goers and even among Black Lives Matter supporters (sign: “Black Lives Matter, Both Born and Pre-Born”), there is also a strong anti-abortion sentiment. However, it should be noted that although Mike Pence addressed the pro-life march, many of its marchers emphasized that they were not pro-Trump.
The exact moment when an individual human life begins is actually a bit blurry and certainly subject to debate, although much more is known now than previously about all stages of fetal development. A fertilized embryo can be frozen for years—is that an individual person? In custody disputes over fertilized embryos, they have even been given names based on their apparent gender. Of course, if an embryo were implanted, it probably actually would become a person, or perhaps 2 or 3, if it were divided. Some right-to-life advocates have even “adopted” discarded embryos, having them implanted and gestated in their own bodies. Otherwise, that potential individual would never have been born. About 1 ½ months after embryo implantation or six weeks after conception (whatever that point is), the fetal heart begins to beat, but may not be easily detectable until 8-12 weeks. Twelve weeks is the end of the first trimester and certainly a heartbeat would be audible by then. Many spontaneous miscarriages occur during that first trimester. Most people, if they heard a heartbeat, would not want to go ahead with an abortion, which is why pro-life advocates try to have a pregnant woman hear it before undergoing the procedure. And medical viability outside the uterus keeps going down, making late-term abortions more problematic.
More and more, producing a child is often a medical engineering feat, with certain qualities and even gender sometimes being chosen by the person designated as the parent (and paying the bill), and perhaps having several contributors to the final product—sperm donor, egg donor, gestational mother. We may yet get to the point of gestating fetuses in artificial wombs, which almost is what some NICUs now provide. And there have reportedly even been babies born with 3 biological “parents.” Birth is no longer a matter of nature simply taking its course, as has been the case for millennia. And not every baby is precious, in that he or she may or may not become a valued and valuable human being. If Hitler, Stalin, Mao, or Trump had been aborted, the whole world might have been better off.
Complicating matters still further, scientists are talking mow about experimenting with combining human and animal DNA to produce a sort of hybrid. Yikes! Where would that fit into the debate about the sanctity of human life? Some people even think primates are quasi-humans and need humane protection. PETA folks might even say those protections should extend to other animals, certainly to mammals. Think also of the monks purported to stay inside lest outdoors they step on an insect and kill it.
But whatever the new landscape of pregnancy and support for life, I do object to coded language describing “pro-life” advocates not as anti-abortion, which they certainly are, but, rather, as “anti-abortion rights,” “anti-reproductive rights,” and “anti-choice,” deliberately negative labels.
At the other end of life, sometimes too many medical interventions do occur. These may be costly and painful and may not add to quality of life. Sometimes, when medical facilities have financial incentives to provide costly care, that may weigh in the decision along with concerns by family and patient for the patient’s wellbeing and continued existence. I’m not opposed to assisted suicide if a person is suffering and is of sound mind in deciding to end their life. In that, I part company with right-to-lifers. And I have Kaiser health insurance, in part because there are no incentives there to provide unneeded care in order to collect payment. Usually procedures are covered by a combination of monthly premiums and co-payments for appointments, exams, and surgery, but at a lower cost than outside. And prescriptions are also cheaper because medications are bought in bulk. Is Kaiser sometimes a frustrating bureaucracy—yes—and you can forget about having a personal relationship with your primary care physician or consulting with an expert outside the closed Kaiser system. You will communicate with your doctor mostly via e-mail. But I think, on balance, that it’s a worthwhile and cost-effective system.
After promising to come voluntarily to the US if Chelsea Manning were released, Julian Assange has now changed his mind. Manning has served several years in prison, Snowden is in self-exile, and Assange is still living in the Ecuadoran Embassy, so they have all paid a price for their release of data harmful to the US and the world, all of which has led us to this very unfortunate Trump presidency, the worst harm of all.
Julian Assange: “Chelsea Manning clemency was bid to make life hard for me.” |The Guardian
A friend imagines Obama’s thinking on Assange’s position after Manning’s commutation, “We have Assange right where we want him: between a rock and a hard place. He has a long time to think about his next move. Who will deal with him now? Maybe he can ask Putin to get him out. Putin wouldn't care to do that, as he is using him right where he is. Why should Putin get even more tied up with Assange? Assange will sit and enjoy life on the inside for a very long time.”
I happened to hear one of Sister Maureen Fielder’s early morning NPR show, Interfaith Voices, in which she was talking with Georgia Congressman John Lewis. (Fielder also attends Communitas, a sort of “house” Catholic church that I have attended). I first saw Lewis more than 50 years ago (when he had more hair) at MLKing's "I Have a Dream" speech and rally. Admittedly, he was at a distance and I never actually spoke with him, although security in those days for crowded gatherings was not as great as it is today. I've been volunteer coordinator for the Caribbean for Amnesty Int'l USA for a number of years, including Cuba, so was gratified when Lewis met with a former Amnesty 17-year prisoner of conscience, afro-Cuban Jose Luis Garcia Perez (Antunez), featured in my Confessions book. Antunez was here on his one and only US visit in Jan. 2015, as he was not permitted to leave Cuba again. Other members of the Congressional Black Caucus had shunned Antunez out of solidarity with Fidel Castro, but Lewis received him warmly as someone who, like himself, had been unjustly imprisoned. Later, I sent Lewis a thank-you note for meeting with Antunez and he sent me a letter of reply, much to my surprise. I thoroughly agreed with his decision not to attend Trump's inauguration. We need more Congress members like Lewis!
Finally, something about Honduras, where I will go shortly, so don’t expect to hear from me for a while: