Friday, September 30, 2016

America’s Culture War Mercenaries By ROD DREHER

USAID is spending $300,000 to fight traditional Christian morality in the Republic of Macedonia (a href="">esfera/Shutterstock)

A reader passes along a government document putting out bids for a contract. Here’s the top of the document:
Apparently the (former Yugoslav) Republic of Macedonia, a small Balkan nation that emerged from the breakup of Yugoslavia, is insufficiently progressive on LGBT issues. So the American government is spending $300,000 to undermine the traditional Orthodox Christian culture of the country. Excerpts from the document (emphases mine):
Macedonia has ratified the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the European Human Rights Convention. Through ratification of these human rights treaties, Macedonia has assumed obligations and duties under international law to respect, to protect, and to fulfil human rights. Despite the adoption of international human rights principles, which are incorporated in domestic legislation, Macedonia has made little progress towards meeting European Union criteria in strengthening the rule of law and respect for human rights according to international reports. In these terms, the country has still not met the necessary requirements for EU membership. The 2015 EU Progress Report notes that “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons continue to suffer discrimination andhomophobic media content, both online and offline… Considerable efforts are still needed to raise awareness of and respect for diversity within society and to counter intolerance. This needs to be done through public campaigns and training of law enforcement bodies, prosecutors, judges and health workers.”
What does this mean? Are radio stations calling for pogroms against LGBTs? Or are newspapers simply calling on readers to hold fast to the traditional teaching on marriage? It’s impossible to say without further information. The diversocrats slap the Orwellian word “homophobia” — as if the pathology of fear were the cause of any belief that falls short of 100 percent affirmation. Similarly, we know from our own experience that when the Left says “respect for diversity,” it means “you will accept what we believe about LGBT, and cast aside your religious beliefs.” Macedonia is a country that is 2/3 Orthodox and 1/3 Muslim. I could be wrong, but I would not be surprised if many people there hold beliefs about LGBTs that would trouble even conservative Christians in the West. But we can be certain that as far as USAID is concerned, any belief about homosexuality and transgenderism short of what obtains in the offices of the Human Rights Campaign and the English faculty at Oberlin must be stamped out.
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Q&A: Will Deutsche Bank become the next Lehman?

Germany Deutsche Bank

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany's biggest bank is looking shaky and some investors fear it could collapse and endanger the wider financial system.
Some even wonder whether it might become the next Lehman Brothers, the U.S. bank whose failure unleashed the worst of the global financial crisis in 2008.
Experts warn against drawing such quick conclusions. Deutsche Bank's shares are down 51 percent so far this year and it's negotiating a multibillion fine in the U.S. that it could have trouble paying.
But it's exactly because it is so big and important that it is unlikely to be allowed to simply fail, the way U.S. authorities did with Lehman.
Here are some questions and answers about the bank and what it might mean for the rest of the world.
The recent turmoil was triggered by a demand by U.S. authorities that Deutsche Bank pay $14 billion to settle an investigation in mortgage-backed securities, the investments that turned out to be duds and helped trigger the global financial crisis. That sum is about the same as Deutsche Bank's entire market value as of Friday.
It's unlikely the bank would pay the full amount — industry peer Goldman Sachs paid $5 billion in a similar investigation. But the fact that it could get hit with a big bill increased the possibility that it may have to tap investors to raise the cash. That would dilute shareholders' stakes and send shares down even farther.
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Senate overrules Obama veto. Families can sue states for 911

Across the Divide. The disparities between El Paso and its Mexican sister city, Juárez, dramatize the importance of the rule of law. By Alfredo Corchado

Image result for Across the Divide The disparities between El Paso and its Mexican sister city, Juárez, dramatize the importance of the rule of law.

Last year, 17 people were murdered in the Texas border city of El Paso—a strikingly low number for a city of 830,000. But the number was in keeping with a trend: from 2008 to 2012, El Paso was deemed the safest city in the United States for its size. The reality might seem surprising, given that the city is relatively poor, with a median household income of $40,800 (national average: $53,500) and a poverty rate of 23.4 percent (natioal average: 15.6 percent), and with a high population of immigrants. Only 21 percent of the community has a college degree, compared with 29 percent nationwide.
El Paso’s safety is doubtless a reflection of the large presence of law enforcement in the city. Not only do you have local police and sheriff’s deputies on the crime beat; you’ve also got federal agents from Homeland Security, including border patrol officers, in addition to FBI, DEA, and even CIA agents, working in a city that is home to Fort Bliss military base and the El Paso Intelligence Center. Worries about border security will likely expand this presence. Texas’s latest budget includes the hiring of 250 extra Texas National Guard members, the creation of a transnational intelligence center, and the purchase of a $7.5 million aircraft and other high-tech security tools—some of which surely will be deployed in El Paso.
The city didn’t always enjoy such a safe reputation. In the early 1990s, El Paso struggled with much higher crime rates, and its northeast neighborhood was known as the Devil’s Triangle, for its high levels of drug dealing, prostitution, and gang violence. An embrace of proactive, community-oriented policing helped turn things around. The police decentralized their structure and set up regional commands that worked closely with residents to address crime. El Paso cops now call the formerly infamous area the Angel’s Triangle.
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