Monday, October 5, 2015

Dutch Law Tolerates Child Marriages

by Madeleine Kando

One of the more disturbing aspects of the Refugee Crisis in Europe, is the 'child bride' phenomenon. For the past year and a half, at least 34 Syrian child brides have applied for asylum in the Netherlands, among them girls aged 13, 14 and 15.

As described in a recent article in the Dutch Magazine 'Elsevier', adult men who marry underage girls in their own country, can legally have their brides come to the Netherlands within the framework of 'family reunification', which means that the Netherlands is in fact participating in marriages that are often forced upon a child.

The basis for this is the Dutch Civil Code which says that: 'If a marriage is performed legally in the country of origin, is has to be recognized as valid', even though such a marriage would not be legal, if performed in the Netherlands. In other words, under this ruling, a Moroccan man living in the Netherlands can have multiple wives if these marriages were legally performed in Morocco, where polygamy is allowed. Read more...

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Does Planned Parenthood Engage in Human Vivisection for Profit?

 My wife and I were in Rome on September 16, when the second Republican debate took place. We were able to watch some of it, but with the time difference, it got too late for us to watch the entire thing.

Oh well, it wasn’t the most edifying show anyway. We saw enough, including the ganging up on front-runner Trump by the other contestants, and the exchanges between Trump and Fiorina.

One thing that struck me was when “ Fiorina described a video from an anti-abortion group ...that showed “a fully formed fetus on the table, its heart beating, its legs kicking, while someone says we have to keep it alive to harvest its brain.” (Fiorina’s Abortion Comments).

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Fanboys

by Madeleine Kando

I am a fan of the Fanboys. Were it not for them, life would be short, nasty and brutish. 'Fanboys' is an acronym for what grammarians call 'conjunctions', those little things that function as superglue between parts of sentences, and consequently our thoughts.

Without the Fanboys, we couldn't 'like cats but not dogs', 'eat raisins and nuts', 'wear skirts or pants', 'work hard yet enjoy ourselves', and 'wear glasses so we could see'.

You guessed it, each letter in 'Fanboys' stands for one of those conjunctions: For, And, Neither, But, Or, Yet and So.

Can you imagine if we didn't have the Fanboys as a shield against those uppity independent clauses? So full of themselves, thinking they are always right and everybody else is wrong? The Fanboys are there to put them in their place, cut them down to size and make some room for compromise. 'My twin sister is very pretty' sounds ok, but 'My twin sister is very pretty, but I am prettier' sounds a lot better. Read more...

Friday, September 25, 2015

Europe's Refugee Problem

I just returned from Europe. I’ll tell you about my recent trip in the near future, but today, I want to address an issue that is timely, and which I could not avoid hearing about daily while over there: The refugee crisis. The topic dominated the news and daily conversations (See also Madeleine’s excellent recent article about this: Exodus: The Refugee Crisis in Europe).

The current crisis touches me in a very personal way, because of the prominent (and ugly) role recently played by my country of birth - Hungary.

This year, due to its geographic location, Hungary became for many refugees the hoped-for point of entry into Europe. Few of the thousands who are seeking refuge planned to stay in Hungary, with its limited economic opportunities. Their objective was to move on to Northern and Western Europe, Germany first and foremost. However, the Hungarian-Serbian border became the flashpoint where the influx met with European resistance. Hungary was the “front,” if you will. It was where the brunt of the pressure occurred, a pressure which did not (yet) affect the more distant countries of Northern and Western Europe.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Exodus: The Refugee Crisis in Europe

by Madeleine Kando

The world is facing a refugee crisis of biblical proportions. Although the press is full of images and stories of refugees trying to reach Europe on dinghy boats, or trek through the 'Balkan corridor', they are but a small fraction of the millions of people who have fled war zones in the Middle East.

Most of them end up in refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan or Lebanon, but living there year in year out, is a pretty bleak affair without prospects for a better future. So the logical next step is to go further afield, to Europe. America would be another option, were the Atlantic a little narrower.

The bulk of these refugees are from Syria, where a war has been raging since 2011. It is estimated that 60 million people have been displaced worldwide**, which is approximately the entire population of France. The last time the world saw such a large displacement, was during the Völksverwanderung in the late Roman period, which destroyed an entire civilization and replaced it with the 'Dark Ages', setting Europe back a millennium. Read more...

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Latest Assault on Planned Parenthood

Margaret Sanger
by Madeleine Kando

The most recent attempt by the Republicans to defund Planned Parenthood, on the grounds that it is trafficking in aborted fetus tissue for profit is so outrageous, that I don't know whether to laugh or cry. It is now clear that this latest round is based on a series of doctored video tapes that will not hold up in a court of law.

But why do Republicans want Planned Parenthood wiped off the face of the earth? What is the motivation behind their vicious attacks on what the United Nations has declared to be a basic human right? Under international law, countries have an obligation to provide women with access to a full range of contraceptives and contraceptive information.

Defunding Planned Parenthood on the grounds that it kills unborn babies, is like defunding Mass General's Weight Center because they perform gastric bypass surgery, as a means of last resort. Never mind that they also provide other life-saving services in the form of obesity medication, nutrition counseling, exercise programs and are at the forefront of current research in weight disorders. Without these services, diabetis would become more rampant than it already is. Read more...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

America in the Age of Trump

 Here is an imaginary interview with a typical Trump supporter. I approach one of those older white guys in the parking lot outside the stadium where Trump held his rally. The guy is standing next to his Dodge Ram pickup truck, wearing a fishing cap, portly, his wife next to him. I start out by asking:

“So you like Trump? What is it about him that you like so much?”

“He is honest. He tells it like it is! He’ll clean house when he goes to Washington! He doesn’t beat around the bush. He takes on those damn politicians; all those damn liars. I am fed up with all this politically correct bs!” Read more...