While you’re reflecting on things to be grateful for, include this: at least we’re not under the authority of France’s Council of State.

In 2014, a consortium of advocacy groups created a short video called “Dear Future Mom”, with the mom being a woman who is apprehensive after learning that she’s pregnant with a child who has Down syndrome. The video features people with Down Syndrome talking about their lives in a reassuring way, acknowledging the challenges but concluding that “people with Down Syndrome can live a happy life.”

That was a bit too much for the French Broadcasting Counsel, which refused to show the video. The Counsel’s decision was appealed to the French Council of State by some people with Down Syndrome and their advocates. In early November 2016, the Council came down on the side of the broadcaster.

Renate Lindeman, writing in the Huffington Post, explains the Council’s reasoning, with which she is not thrilled:

The State Counsel said that allowing people with Down syndrome to smile was “inappropriate” because people’s expression of happiness was “likely to disturb the conscience of women who had lawfully made different personal life choices”.

In other words, a video promoting the value and worth of the lives of people with Down Syndrome is inappropriate because it might cause psychic pain to a woman who has chosen to terminate a pregnancy due to fetal anomaly of one kind or another.

In France, the score is right-not-to-be-offended 1, right-to-life 0.

The Jerome Lejeune Foundation, one of the makers of the video, is appealing the State Council’s decision to the European Court of Human Rights. That should be interesting.

Here is the video that kicked up the ruckus.

h/t Mark Shea and Renate Lindeman; see also Jerome Lejeune Foundation USA

Mother Teresa will be canonized on September 4, giving formal acknowledgment of the obvious: she led a life of heroic virtue in service to others. She’s worth emulating. Her work took her around the world, and she spent time with all kinds of world leaders. In 1994, she was the main speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. President and Mrs. Clinton were there. Mother Teresa’s words moved nearly everyone in the room to give her a standing ovation at one point. Remaining seated were the Clintons, who couldn’t quite work up the same enthusiasm for what they were hearing.

One wonders what will go through Hillary Clinton’s head as the canonization nudges her off the “trending” list for an hour or so. Will the event rate a remark from the presidential candidate?

Mother Teresa started out mildly enough at the prayer breakfast, with the prayer of St. Francis. “Make me an instrument of your peace…” Then she spoke about human dignity, service to the poor, aid to the dying, support for families. Who could object? But then she just had to get to the topic everyone knew she would, however much it might make her listeners squirm.

“…I feel that the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child…I will tell you something beautiful. We are fighting abortion by adoption – by care of the mother and adoption for her baby. We have saved thousands of lives. We have sent word to the clinics, to the hospitals and police stations: ‘Please don’t destroy the child; we will take the child.’ So we always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: ‘Come, we will take care of you, we will get a home for your child.’ And we have a tremendous demand from couples who cannot have a child – but I never give a child to a couple who have done something not to have a child. Jesus said. ‘Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me.’ By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus.” [Find the full transcript at priestsforlife.org.]

Boom. That’s when the ovation began. It went on without Hillary Clinton’s participation. That much made the evening news.

Last January, Sean Fitzpatrick writing at Crisis magazine offered a postscript about the encounter between Mother Teresa and the First Lady.

“The address concluded, Mrs. Clinton noted the pointed nature of the nun’s words. ‘Mother Teresa was unerringly direct,’ the First Lady recounted. ‘She disagreed with my views on a woman’s right to choose and told me so.’ Tell her so she did; but though she was direct in her disagreement, she also offered something that Mrs. Clinton could applaud. Although Hillary Clinton was, and remains, a supporter of legalized abortion, she agreed with Mother Teresa that adoption was a preferable alternative. Speaking to her afterwards, Mother Teresa told Mrs. Clinton of her desire to continue her mission to find homes and families for orphaned, abandoned, and unwanted children by founding an adoption center in Washington, DC. She invited the First Lady to assist her in this endeavor, and brought Mrs. Clinton to India with her to witness her work firsthand.

“Mother Teresa’s motions were not wasted. When Hillary Clinton returned to Washington, she took up Mother Teresa’s request with a will. Keeping in contact with the saint who called her regularly to receive updates on her ‘center for babies,’ Hillary Clinton did the necessary legwork and succeeded in opening The Mother Teresa Home for Infant Children in 1995 in an affluent section of Washington, DC. Mother Teresa joined her for the opening, and two years later passed into the arms of her Lord. But she left a bright mark on the career of Hillary Clinton, who saw something remarkable in the tiny nun, and chose to do her bidding to help save lives. Mother Teresa inspired Mrs. Clinton to do a truly good work in spite of her dedicated promotion of Planned Parenthood’s agenda for ‘safe and legal’ abortions.

The center was quietly and unfortunately closed in 2002.”

The canonization will give Hillary Clinton an opportunity to point out Mother Teresa’s opposition to abortion, which she can contrast with her own reproductive-rights song and dance. Or, Hillary Clinton can take the high road, recall the work she and Mother Teresa did together, and say something like “let’s be more like her.”

Of course, if she doesn’t want to see more people like Mother Teresa, she could say that, too.

Ellen Kolb writes about the life issues at LeavenForTheLoaf.com. When she’s not writing, she’s hiking in New Hampshire. See her earlier posts for DaTechGuyBlog: Ethics and PP’s Campaign Cash, Putting a Know-Nothing in His Place, Ads Say the Darnedest Things, Worried About the Court? Then Worry About the Senate, and Sunday Best. 

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At Israeli Cool (Via Elder of ziyon) Ryan Bellerose tells the truth about the consequences of supporting the arabs over Israel for leftists there:

He starts by acknowledging the short term reasons for doing so:

Now if one is short-sighted, it is rather obvious that one would choose the Arabs. They have Arab oil money behind them, they have the “cool” leftists behind them

However if you are actually living in Israel here is the bottom line for such a person if the arabs actually won. If you are a woman

First, I hope you didn’t like those human rights you got so used to, because you won’t get to keep those. That whole equal rights for everyone thing? Not so much. If you are a woman, your rights are roughly equal to half that of a man. You won’t be able to leave the house without supervision and if you are lucky enough to get raped, you better hope there is a witness besides yourself or you will likely have insult to injury and be stoned – and not stoned in a good way.

If you are Gay:

Don’t worry, as long as nobody finds out you should be fine. If they do, I hope you are OK with being thrown off a roof. That’s if they don’t hang you by a crane.

If you are a Christian, even a nominal one

as long as you pay your dhimmi taxes (roughly double) they will only ask that you NEVER TALK ABOUT YOUR RELIGION IN PUBLIC AGAIN or carry a bible in public. Upon pain of death by the way.

How about if you’re not a monotheist or a believer of any type:

If you are like me and are a “pagan” Indian who doesn’t follow the bible as your central holy text, don’t worry, you will be given the chance to convert to Islam before they kill you.

As for Human Rights

one need only look at EVERY SINGLE MUSLIM MAJORITY COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. Find me one that isn’t rife with human rights abuses, where religious freedom or even basic human rights are respected.

These are all truths that our friends on the left often forget when they attack Western Civilization without asking the obvious question: What will we replace it with?

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The following is a rant. You’ve been warned.

Back in the olden days, you had Helen Reddy singing “I Am Woman, hear me roar. . . I am strong, I am invincible.” Years later, Demi More shaved her head and did one-arm push-ups as G.I. Jane, who, if memory serves, saved Viggo Mortensen’s cute butt from the evil Libyans by the end of the movie.

Fast-forward eighteen years after G.I. Jane, and what do we have?

WUSSIES.

And I’m being kind.

What I am talking about here is the current trend by so-called women’s rights advocates to insist that adult women be treated like little girls: Little girls that need to be protected against microaggressions.

All sorts of new words are added to the lexicon every day, and one needs to look them up.

A microaggression is, according to Wikipedia,

a form of unintended discrimination. It is depicted by the use of known social norms of behavior and/or expression that, while without conscious choice of the user, has the same effect as conscious, intended discrimination.

So I take it to mean uncouth behavior “without conscious choice of the user.” An innocent jerk of sorts.

Among the microaggressions, there’s mansplaining:

Mansplaining is a portmanteau of the words man and explaining, defined as “to explain something to someone, typically a man to woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.”

I’m not sure if mansplaining fits or not under the “”without conscious choice of the user” criteria, but outrage ensues over mansplaining all the same.

Among the many forms of public art one finds realistic-looking statues of people. Back in Princeton, N.J. they have one of a guy reading a book. No outrage over that so far. At the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, TX, they have one; however, that one got labeled as mansplaining and went viral on Twitter.

The remarkable thing is that it went viral. Every minute millions of twits come up with stuff on Twitter, few go viral.

It’s not clear to my jaded eyes from looking at the statue how it qualifies as mansplaining. Apparently any form of hinting at male crotches, no matter how well clothed, is cause of outrage over mansplaining, but it’s sexist to deplore Lena Dunham’s vaginal displays, because the offended are too fragile to handle the difference.

So it’s come down to this after decades of struggle for women’s rights: Millions of women are oppressed, exploited, enslaved and slaughtered by Islamists committing atrocities writ large, and feminists here focus their energies on microaggressions and mansplaining.

Ace was spot-on:

Tell me again you’re serious people, and not vapid little children in need of instruction.

So allow me, a woman, a bit of mansplaining: Until you prove yourselves to be adult women of substance who are worthy of respect, go away and shut up. You don’t deserve to be treated like grown-ups.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American news, politics, and culture at Fausta’s blog.

 

The next round of US-Cuban discussions is scheduled for January 21 and 22, a week from today, in Havana.

Almost a month ago, Pres. Obama gave his Statement on Cuba Policy Changes,

In the most significant changes in our policy in more than fifty years, we will end an outdated approach that, for decades, has failed to advance our interests,

thereby implying that the Cuban communist regime had evolved and the U.S. had not.

No matter how you look at it, Cuba is firmly footed in a Cold War time capsule. Jason and Yleem Poblete, writing in the Wall Street Joournal, offer a brief list: They start with espionage,

In May 2003, 14 Cuban diplomats were declared persona non grata by the State Department and expelled from the U.S. for “unofficial activities,” which is diplomatic speak for espionage. One was the first secretary of the Cuban Interests Section, Jose Anselmo Lopez Perera. His wife, Josefina Vidal, also a first secretary and known Cuban intelligence officer, left with her husband. In exchange for her “heroic” exploits on behalf of the Revolution—yes, they still talk this way in Havana—the Castro regime rewarded Vidal by placing her in charge of North American Affairs or the “United States Division” as Cuba’s Foreign Ministry refers to it.

In her capacity as chief anti-American operative, Vidal traveled to the U.S. in May 2014 to meet with State Department officials. Her interlocutor? Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roberta Jacobson, whom President Obama has chosen to lead a high-ranking delegation to Havana this month for normalization talks.

Indeed, Vidal will most likely head Cuban delegation at the next round of US-Cuban discussions on January 21 and 22 in Havana.

The Pobletes also ask,

Is there a different leadership in Cuba—one that espouses freedom and no longer threatens the U.S. or undermines its interests and objectives? Absolutely not.

Under the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996 and which could be viewed as also codifying the Eisenhower decision to sever ties with Cuba, the legal criteria for normalization of relations, including the political reward of full diplomatic recognition, have clearly not been met.

That is particularly true in the area of human rights, where the fate of 53 prisoners released remains firmly at the whims of the regime, and where any multinational who employs Cubans pays the government an amount in dollars stipulated by the government, which in turn pays the employee no more than the maximum legal wage (approx. $20 a month) in pesos.

Since Cuba has a long history of defaulting on its debts with foreigners, you may also want to recall what happens to owners of multinationals who did business with Cuba and tried to collect. Most of the businessmen mentioned in my column still remain in jail.

But if you really want a blast from the Cold War past,

Months before President Obama announced on Wednesday that he is seeking to do away with decades of U.S. economic sanctions against the communist regime in Cuba, Russia concluded a security deal with Havana aimed at bolstering intelligence and military ties to the island dictatorship.

The Russia-Cuba agreement was announced May 16 when a memorandum was signed in Moscow establishing a joint working group between Russia’s Security Council and the Cuban Commission for National Security and Defense.

The agreement’s announcement overlapped Vidal’s trip to the U.S. to meet with Jacobsen.

Will the Statement’s aftermath erode Russian influence with Havana? I wouldn’t hold my breath on it – especially not with Putin at the helm.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz

The Obama administration passed a few sanctions against Venezuela this week. No, the sanctions had nothing to do with the Pollo and Venezuela’s involvement in the drug trade.

Instead, the sanctions are against individuals linked to the bloody repression of student protesters this year. In our days of “smart diplomacy,” this is what passes for sanctions these days – Andres Oppenheimer points out:

  • These are not economic sanctions against Venezuela, but against about two dozen officials, including cabinet ministers, presidential advisers and judges
  • The officials remain unidentified
  • They don’t go after the targeted officials’ financial assets.

Instead, Oppenheimer states,

They should seek to freeze the U.S. assets of Venezuelan officials and government cronies involved in human rights abuses, and expose the fortunes they have amassed since late President Hugo Chávez rose to power 14 years ago.

“Smart diplomacy” dictates a toothless travel ban against officials involved in actions that left 43 dead, 50 documented cases of torture, and more than 2,000 unlawful detentions – officials that will remain nameless.

Marco Rubio and Robert Menendez call for sanctions against Venezuela: “We need to sanction their assets.” Their bill calls for freezing U.S. bank accounts, U.S. stocks held in any U.S. and foreign banks, and U.S. real estate belonging to the officials. Oppenheimer points out,

Other Venezuelan human rights violators’ assets should be traced by the U.S. Justice and Treasury Departments through mutual assistance treaties with other nations.

As for Venezuela’s involvement with the FARC, Iran, Hezbollah, and the such . . . crickets chirping.

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

I know, I am just a silly enlisted veteran. I was discharged approaching 20 years ago now. However, I want to say something that needs to be said.

Placing troops on the southern border of the United States will NOT solve this problem, and it will cause us issues. Why? Why not just jump in with the masses and say, yes bring our troops back from wherever they are and put them down there.

Several reasons.

First, the troops are tired. They have been deployed often and they are ready, and deserve, a break. If we were being invaded by a military force, and the drug cartels may qualify but that is a different discussion, then yes we should do that. But to stop the stream of civilians (although some are gang members) across the border is not what the troops are designed for. It is also not, and this is more important, it is NOT what they are trained for.

Second, the military has two purposes in its design. Their job is to kill people and break things, or support other troops who do just that. They do get used for humanitarian things from time to time, but they really shouldn’t. Do we want to kill all of the civilians coming across the border? I don’t think so considering how many kids are in this long line of people coming.

So what is the answer to the porous border problem?

Lots of people have chimed in on this problem.

I want to look at this differently. Why are they coming here?

Somewhere along the line someone breathed a word that amnesty was on the table as a potential immigration solution.

There is no doubt that we have had a broken system. My wife is a first generation legal immigrant and she has told me of her first hand awful experiences of going through the system legally. So yes, our system needs work.

We need an investigative reporter to ask some questions.

Why does the rumor of amnesty get you to this long line of humanity coming across the border?

Why are children (according to some news outlets) trying to jump on moving trains and, in some cases, getting hurt (some losing limbs) in the process?

What are they running from would be my first question?

What is life now like in their country of origin?

Have drug cartels really taken over so is the threat of deportation so bad they won’t try it?

That brings us to the next question. How do you close that border.

There is no fence, no number of guards, and no increase in border patrol that will cut it. There is a huge border.

The only way to do this…legislatively.

First we need to fix our messed up immigration system.

Second, we need to make the penalties for coming here so severe for both the immigrant and anyone employing that person here illegally that no one would dare cross those lines.

In conclusion, troops aren’t the answer. Legislative reform is. Ask your lawmaker to roll up their sleeves and do their job. Fix the system. Don’t deploy troops.

We can’t continue to use our troops for whatever the crisis of the day is.

They have a specific purpose and doing the job of our hard working border agents isn’t it.

Don’t deploy troops to the border. Get lawmakers to do their job. Let’s enforce the laws that are out there and if those laws are not what we want them to be, don’t ignore them, reform them.

…It’s finding the big name leftist involved:

Jerome Armstrong’s involvement in the MalaysiaGate deal was reported by Ben Smith at Politico in 2011, but Gray’s BuzzFeed article Friday about Treviño’s report to DOJ did not mention Armstrong’s role in the lucrative P.R. campaign, creating the impression that it was strictly a Republican operation. Not only did this inspire partisan sneering by liberal bloggers (Daily Kos said it proved the GOP “really is just an astroturf operation from top to bottom”), but it also influenced other media coverage,

Note the key sentence in that paragraph: Jerome Armstrong’s involvement in the MalaysiaGate deal was reported by Ben Smith at Politico in 2011

Does anyone remember this scandal in 2011? Does anyone recall Howard Kurtz finding it worth TV time in 2011? I don’t.

As Stacy Reported to her credit Rosie Gray has followed up and may have found a violation of Federal Law here

David All, a Republican online operative whose David All Group originally contacted conservative writer Joshua Trevino, Trevino said, to conduct a PR operation on behalf of the Malaysian government, is not listed in the records. Nor is Jerome Armstrong, a pioneering liberal blogger whose MyDD was for a time a key site; Armstrong also took a leading role alongside Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas in Matt Bai’s 2007 book on how bloggers and billionaires were remaking the Democratic Party, who Trevino says was engaged by All at the same time as him to run the website MalaysiaMatters.com as part of a paid media push that backed the country’s ruling party and attacked its critics.

A defunct “about” page for MalaysiaMatters listed Armstrong among the founders: “Those working on this project include David All, Jerome Armstrong and Joshua Treviño,” the page said.

Remember for the Malaysian money people the idea of both people on the left & the right offering stories. Obviously to make sure favorable stories reached all sides of our polarized political landscape. Stacy Again:

This is certainly quite convenient: Having scored a deal that enabled him to pay nearly $400,000 to Treviño and an undisclosed (but probably not insignificant) sum to his good friend Jerome Armstrong, now David All needs to gather more information and look into this in order to recall who got paid what. And while All can’t tell Rosie Gray how much cash he or his Democrat partner Armstrong collected, All was apparently willing to leave Josh Trevino, Ben Domenech and other conservatives twisting in the wind — as disgraced and humiliated scapegoats – even as the Malaysian pay-to-play operation he organized was portrayed everywhere as a strictly Republican scandal.

Stacy suggests people contact the justice department, but I suspect given this white house Eric Holder’s only question would be “Where is our Cut?” so instead I’ve e-mailed questions to the Malaysian embassy and will attempt to contact them later today for comment not only on activities here, but to the further question on how extensive such activities are outside the US. It’s reasonable to think that if said government is doing “pay for play” in America, it’s likely it being done elsewhere, for a lot less money.

I’ll let you know if I find out anything.

Oh and one final thing, Stacy raises a good points on profitable non profits in general and Thor “The Hammer of Trevino” Halvorssen in particular in his piece this morning. I’m looking at his tweetline, I suspect he is dead wrong on Israel but in general highlighting stories like Manal Al Sharif in Saudi Arabia and tweets like this

and this

…suggests he is largely on the side of the angels, but I would like to see if, given Stacy’s reporting Mr Halvorssen will go after Mr. Armstrong with the same vigor that he has hammered Mr. Trevino? After all Mr. Smith’s article in Politico was dated July 29th 2011 and going back through Mr. Halvorssen twitter feed I don’t see a single tweet on the subject back then?

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I am really going to regret when Christopher Hitchens is gone, and I confess it will be for my own loss of a person who’s writing gives me pleasure and his almost Cryanoistic honesty to his own beliefs (even when they are horribly wrong i.e Christianity) rather than for pity as he has lived a pretty interesting life and everybody has to die eventually.

The latest interview of him in the London Observer conveys all of the joy of reading Hitchens that I have but there is one line that is so important and so true and so totally ignored that it should be screamed from the mountaintops to everyone particularly to Thomas Freedman and the left:

As an aside on Mugabe, he makes one of those observations that are so precisely to the point that you wonder why so few other commentators ever get round to coming to it emphasis mine. “Darfur, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea, anywhere that the concept of human rights doesn’t exist, it’s always the Chinese at backstop. And always for reasons that you could write down in three words: blood for oil.”

This is the most vital part of the piece for two reasons. the first being that he cuts to the truth of the current world situation in two sentences, but the second is due to the interviewer Andrew Anthony unintentional indictment of the entire intelligentsia of the world who have not been willing or able to speak that basic truth.

Red China (and yes I use Red deliberately) has long supplanted Russia as the main focus of human rights abuse and supporter of same around the world. The rest of the world fearing their military and coveting their potential economic power ignore this truth but the reality is there. Hitchens is willing to say it. Nobody else dares because they see no personal profit in it, much easier to make a living hitting the United States.

As I said I’ll miss Hitchens when he is gone, and so will millions who stand up for freedom of speech around the world.