Tag Archives: US border

PROBLEMS FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT

Bill and Hillary

Former President Clinton looked bewildered a couple of nights ago, when trying to refute accusations that his wife is part of the “Establishment.”

He asked how can she be when she’s a woman running for an office no woman has ever held.

The former president misses the point.

The Establishment generally denotes a dominant group or elite that holds power or authority in a nation or organization . . .  In fact, any relatively small class or group of people having control can be referred to as The Establishment . . . ”  (Wikipedia:  “The Establishment”)

Based on this definition, the Clintons are a part of the Establishment.  They have spent years promoting their liberal ideals, from abortion and same-sex marriage to big government programs, multiculturalism and political correctness.

I was amused a few days ago when a prominent female supporter of Hillary Clinton enthusiastically talked of her candidacy.  She said that if Mrs. Clinton doesn’t make it, then former Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, will run.   This would mean that Americans would have two billionaires to choose from, Donald Trump and Michael Bloomberg.   What would the rest of the world think of American democracy if two billionaires were running for office?   She did not mention that Mrs. Clinton is a multi-millionaire.  Nor did she express any concern about donations made to Mrs. Clinton that are clearly a conflict of interest.

This is turning out to be the most interesting US presidential election since 1968.   At that time, I was a teenager living in England.   Britain had its own radical government at the time, the second post-war Labour government led by Harold Wilson.

It seemed like everything was changing.   Abortion and homosexuality were both legalized, while the death penalty was abolished.  There were also radical financial decisions taken, including nationalization of some industries (others had already been nationalized).  The left-wing financial decisions were reversed under Margaret Thatcher over a decade later; but the other reforms stayed the same.

Other countries were going through the same radical changes.

Fifty years later, like it or not, the liberal-leftists who have dominated the western world are now the establishment, an establishment that has clearly failed the country.

What we saw in New Hampshire was a political earthquake.  The headlines were dramatic — fittingly so:  “Sanders, Trump Stun America,” CNN declared on its website.  The American Prospect summed it up with a tidy statement:  “The Establishment Sinks.”   The look on Bill Clinton’s face took me back to 1989 when Rumania’s President Nicolai Caucescu first realized the people were rising up against him.   There was shock and horror together with bewilderment – how could the people reject me was written all over his face.

This is not an American phenomenon.  We see the same thing happening in other western countries.   “Extremists” (as far as the media is concerned) of both right and left are challenging the established center.

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Meanwhile, the following report appeared on the BBC’s website yesterday, one day after Janet Yellin’s testimony before Congress warning of the worsening international financial environment:

“Analysts said US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s gloomy economic assessment on Wednesday had added to investors’ worries. In testimony to Congress, she said that financial conditions in the US had become “less supportive” of growth and warned of the “increased volatility” in global financial markets.  Rabobank European strategist Emile Cardon said the worst could still lie ahead:  “The bad news in now coming from everywhere – China, Portugal, the US, the commodity sector, the banking sector.  It’s like several smaller crises could combine into one big crisis.”

It’s not just the global economy that’s a worry.

German Foreign Policy reports that we are going to see more wars this year.

BERLIN – In an article published by the leading German foreign policy journal, an influential diplomat predicts that worldwide, there will be a further increase in the number of wars and their victims, this year.  “The number of conflicts, their victims, and their refugees” has been increasing worldwide, for the past five years and this development will “most likely continue this year.”   The
journal, Internationale Politik, substantiates this assumption by presenting an overview of the current wars.  Today’s deadliest wars (are) in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, and South Sudan.

When Jesus Christ was asked by His disciples what would be the sign of His Second Coming, He replied:

“And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”   (Matt 24:6)

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Thursday evening, less than 24 hours ago, an individual attacked customers in a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio, with a machete, injuring four, one of whom is critical.   First reports assured people this was not terrorism; then they announced the name of the man responsible, Mohammad Barry.

Meanwhile, the Pope, on a visit to Mexico, will stand with migrants at the US border, symbolically demanding the US let more migrants in.   It’s not just the politicians who don’t get it!

 

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POOPY TEA

Assam-Tea

I’ve gone off tea!

As I was drinking my early morning cup of tea a few days ago, I saw a report on BBC World News that made my stomach churn.

The report was from a tea plantation in Assam, India.   It showed the wretched conditions that employees lived in, even though there are laws that require employers on plantations to provide adequate living conditions for all workers.

Their homes had holes in the roof, allowing malaria-carrying mosquitoes inside in massive numbers.   Holes in the sides of the “houses” allowed in the rain.

But, worst of all, there were no toilet facilities whatsoever.   One woman said she had not been able to use a proper toilet for 36 years!  A big hole in the ground was being used by some employees – a hole that was just a few inches away from another hole that was the community’s drinking water.

The next piece of information is what’s making me contemplate drinking nothing but water in the morning!

The program said that most employees, not having access to any toilet facility, simply went into the tea bushes and relieved themselves amongst the bushes.  Yes, puts you right off your morning cuppa.

I had often wondered what gave my tea it’s distinctive tang.   Now I know!

Lest you coffee drinkers think this problem is restricted to tea, don’t be so complacent.  I lived in Africa long enough to know this is a universal problem once you get outside of the West.

It should also be said that tea and coffee are not the only foods affected.  I read some years ago that subsistence farmers south of the US border often use bushes the same way – and the food they produce, notably strawberries, can legally be classified “organic.”   I haven’t eaten an organic strawberry since!

One of the managers in Assam was asked why they haven’t given the workers functioning toilets.   He looked rather bewildered at the question and said that the law allows employers five years to provide them.   Five years???   That’s a long time to go without a bathroom break!

The fact is that, in many countries around the world, they don’t think about toilet facilities.  India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world, yet less than 50% of its people have any sanitation in their homes.

When I was overseeing the building of a church in Ghana, I remember looking over the architect’s plans and asking:  “Isn’t something missing?”  Again, there was that look of bewilderment.  I had to be more blunt.  “Where are the toilets?”   He hadn’t thought about toilet facilities in the building.   To be brutally frank, he probably hadn’t thought about them for any building he had designed.   Even the ministers present had not given it any thought. Congregants would be expected to go and use the bushes just like anybody else.

It’s a cultural thing.

It’s been over 400 years since John Harrington invented the first flush toilet in England.   However, it wasn’t until Thomas Crapper came along that flush toilets became the norm.   His factory in London mass produced toilets and sold them everywhere.   His product became ubiquitous, but his name lived on only in it’s shortened form!

Not everybody liked flush toilets.  I remember visiting an old American fort where our tour-guide informed us that soldiers stationed there were afraid of using them when they were installed.   At the same time, it should be said that they didn’t like the army’s rule insisting they take a bath once a month, either!

Toilets were exported to all parts of the world.   But this is where cultures played a part.

I remember talking to an African minister in Ghana about the lack of facilities.   Although, often, the basic flush toilet was present, all too frequently it was in a terrible condition and was not functional.   I asked him when this problem started.   His response was quite telling:  “As soon as Her Majesty’s representative left!”

In other words, at independence.   Freed from British rule, they no longer considered rudimentary hygiene important.

At the same time, skilled plumbers left the country and maintenance became a thing of the past.

In fact, the same man told me that there is no word for “maintenance” in the local language.   It’s just so much easier to go into the bushes!

It’s no good blaming Twining’s or any other western tea distributor – the local culture is the problem.   And that’s not likely to change.