Antisemitism, The Far Right And Me

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Antisemitism, The Far Right And Me

“Tolerance is not a synonym of weakness.” Satyendra Singh

Growing up with the children of Holocaust survivors, I learned it is always an anxious time to be an American Jew. If there isn’t a genuine threat to my safety, my brain can easily invent one. 

The BF says it’s because when my grandparents were being raped and pillaged in Eastern Europe, his grandparents were looking at real estate on the Eastern Shore. We have different anxiety levels.

According to the AntiDefamation League, antisemitism is up and growing over the last five years.

In the past, most antisemitic acts were random acts of violence from  personal hatred of Jews. But lately, the acts are from extremist, political ideology. Most recent acts of Antisemitism are being committed by the Far Right -in particular, white supremacist groups that are embraced by the Right. 

It’s mind-boggling to me that the Jewish Orthodox community has embraced a president who said that the group in Charlottesville who shouted “Jews will not replace us” had some very fine people. He shares the same conspiracy theories about George Soros funding immigrant migration that some synagogue shooters do. 

Antisemitism seems to be the backbone of most far-right groups and conspiracy theories. It certainly is behind QAnon and growing more so. The claim that rich Jews, including the Rothschild banking family, secretly control the world has long been a recurring feature in antisemitism and is behind QAnon theories. I was told that as a child as one of the explanations for Hitler’s popularity. I remember looking around my working-class Jewish neighborhood wondering how anyone could believe something like that.

The age-old anti-Semitic story claiming that Jews kill Christian children to harvest their blood for ritual purposes is making a comeback. I have a personal connection to that one. My last name means “holy seed” because my ex-husband is a descendent of a group of rabbis who defended a Jewish person accused of killing a Christian child to use his blood for a Passover service. They were ultimately killed in his place. I certainly didn’t think I would be hearing that ancient one again. QAnon sounds more and more like a rebranded Nazi cult. I didn’t hear Trump come out against them either.

Antisemitism has been called the world’s oldest hatred. It’s been used throughout centuries to explain all the bad things that happen in a society. It becomes more prominent in times of economic distress and political unrest. My mother used to say that the world needs someone to blame for their troubles. We have a lot of troubles right now. 

Antisemitism is on the rise in Europe as well. It isn’t just “hillbillies raising a confederate flag.” This isn’t an isolated hatred. Don’t stay silent. Two Qanon supporters were elected to Congress this year. Isn’t that how the Nazis started? No one took them seriously and look what happened.

PS I wrote this blog post on Monday.  On Wednesday among the many ugly, white supremacist groups storming the capitol were Nazis.  Carrying swastika flags and wearing shirts that said things like “Camp Auschwitz STAFF, work brings freedom” and “6MWE” (which stands for “six million weren’t enough,” a reference to the number of Jewish people killed in the Holocaust). The Nazis made themselves right at home in the Capitol stoking  fear and sending a clear message of the hate and violence they represent. They were not patriots, Jewish Ivanka.

Stay safe,

JAZ

 Ten Countries With The Best Response To Covid 19

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   Ten Countries With The Best Response To Covid 19

“The virus is cleverer than us, the virus is running faster than us.”  Dr. Li Ailan 

The one thing that the countries that seem to be doing better at controlling the virus have in common is that their governments, healthcare, and science are working together. Early action, testing, and contact tracing were key steps in controlling the virus. It is a very different approach than the countries with leaders who are using the crisis to accelerate their authoritarianism by blaming the “others”, demonizing journalists, and blanketing their countries in “I will never leave” darkness. Here are some countries in order from most to least cases with success stories. The numbers are from December 26.

Denmark 151,167 cases 1,153 deaths

Denmark’s response to the pandemic was “act fast and act with force.” Denmark is a peninsula and only shares one border with Germany. It was still one of the first country’s to close its border and have a national lockdown. Denmark immediately banned large public gatherings, closed down all unnecessary venues across its cities, heavily discouraged the use of public transportation and all manner of travel unless absolutely essential. Daycares, schools, and universities were very quickly shut down and air travel was severely restricted. Their entire free health care system was able to prioritize and reorganize medical departments, isolation wards, and hospital beds, as well as doctors and nurses, to be optimally prepared to isolate and treat admitted patients. The Danish people have complete trust in their government and politicians. There were no conspiracy theories or widespread panic surrounding the virus. They acted responsibly and followed the rules.

Singapore 58,519 cases 29 deaths

Timely preparation, aggressive testing, tracing of carriers helped limit the impact of Covid-19 in Singapore. The city-state’s comparatively small population of 5.7 million people and experience of SARS in 2003 gave it the upper hand against the encroaching virus. The government tightened border controls almost immediately after the disease first erupted in China – while also providing a clear public communication strategy. 

South Korea 56,872 cases 808 deaths

The government of South Korea has been able to keep the disease under control without paralyzing the national health and economic systems. The critical factors in South Korea’s public health administration and management that led to success include national infectious disease plans, collaboration with the private sector, stringent contact tracing, an adaptive health care system, and government-driven communication.

Australia  28,308 cases 908 deaths

 Australia put their faith in science to get the pandemic under control. They formed a National Cabinet comprised of the leaders of each state and territory and the Prime Minister to resolve differences and put the necessary restrictions in place. National cooperation was further enhanced by working with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee. In March they closed their borders and issued a two-week quarantine. Australians were quick to comply. 

Uruguay 16,218 cases 147 deaths

Less than two weeks into his new job as Uruguay’s president, Luis Lacalle Pou acted promptly when Uruguay’s first case of covid-19 was confirmed in the capital of Montevideo on March thirteenth. Unlike most Latin American presidents, Lacalle Pou shut down schools and businesses but asked rather than ordered people to stay at home to protect the population, the oldest in Latin America. Subsidies for small businesses were financed in part by a reduction of politician and executive-level public servants’ salaries, as well as by contributions made by business and social organizations. The swift action of the government slowed the spread of the virus and bought the country vital time to prepare its hospitals and testing system, says the team of scientists advising it. It also meant they could stop the virus’s spread before it became exponential as it did in the hardest-hit nations. The alignment of decision-makers, scientists, and national health authorities was perfect and clearly with great timing,” says Gonzalo Moratorio, a virologist directing Uruguay’s covid-19 testing unit. Early testing and contact tracing were key. The strategy of appealing to citizens’ sense of responsibility with measured restrictions has proven successful. 

  Iceland 5,683 cases 28 deaths

Although it is a small country with a population of 360,000 people, Iceland emerged as one of the leaders in controlling the virus. They immediately had a regiment of testing. contact-tracing and isolation, as well as genetic sequencing of the virus. On a per-capita basis, no country has done more testing They started screening in January a month before the first case arrived for high-risk people and anyone else who wanted to test. They took samples of the virus from every person infected to check for mutations.  The widespread screening helped them pick out asymptomatic people who might have been spreading the virus.

New Zealand 2,144 cases  25 deaths

New Zealand started in February 2020  to identify cases and chains of transmission of the virus before it infected vulnerable populations. They did widespread testing, contact tracing, isolating infected cases, and quarantined their contacts. New Zealand has strict border control policies for produce and plants and immediately implemented them for people as well. They had a very stringent five-week lockdown in March. Rapid, science-based risk assessment linked to early, decisive government action was the difference between New Zealand and the countries where the virus spreads out of control.

 Viet Nam 1,440 cases 35 deaths

Viet Nam shares a border with China and moved quickly. With the help of the World Health Organization, Viet Nam already had an emergency health plan in place. They had 16 cases in February and imposed a three-week quarantine in those places. There were no more cases. In March a case came in from the UK. They closed the borders. Both the military and local governments were mobilized to provide testing, meals, and amenity services to all and quarantine facilities which remained free during this period. There was never a nationwide lockdown, people were advised to stay home and some restrictive physical distancing measures were implemented throughout the country. Masks were mandatory.  The Vietnamese public had been exceptionally compliant with government directives and advice, partly as a result of trust built up thanks to real-time, transparent communication from the Ministry of Health, supported by the WHO and other UN agencies. A COVID-19 song was released, with lyrics raising public awareness of the disease, which later went viral on social media with a dance challenge on Tik Tok initiated by Quang Dang, a local celebrity. (I love this)

Taiwan 783  cases  7 deaths

Taiwan was hit badly with SARS in 2003 and so as soon as a few cases of Covid 19 were identified in January, they were wearing masks. They had a public health response mechanism already in place to respond to the next pandemic.  Taiwan has a world-class health system with universal coverage which moved quickly to respond to the threat. They immediately implemented a travel ban to China. Medical officials held daily public briefings with instructions to prevent the spread of the virus. They were able to stop the spread of Covid 19 without a lockdown because they started in January when the Western World did not.

 Cambodia 363 case 0 deaths 

In the first few months, Cambodia detected and managed 122 cases and avoided widespread community-level transmission. With the support of WHO and partners, Cambodia has made important investments over the last ten years in its health security system that allowed it to successfully respond to the initial outbreak of COVID-19. A whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, along with vigilant surveillance, laboratory, rapid response teams, and good collaboration between the Ministry of Health and technical partners have all contributed to Cambodia’s successful response. They are better prepared for the second wave than they were ten months ago but like everywhere people have pandemic fatigue and need to work.

Today alone Los Angeles recorded 30,000 new cases and 150 new deaths. I am so angry right now. Nations as poor as Cambodia and Viet Nam moved quickly and listened to the science and health care professionals and the greatest country in the world did not. All this death could have been avoided.

Please stay safe,

JAZ

Ten Countries With The Worst Covid Outbreaks

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Ten Countries With The Worst Covid Outbreaks

“Only if we end the pandemic everywhere, can we end the pandemic anywhere.”Unknown

The world has the same goal – to end this pandemic and go back to whatever normal is. Viruses don’t respect borders. These countries share the fact that at the start of the outbreak, they tested little relative to their size. Our healthcare systems are not equipped to handle thousands of people getting sick at the same time, so more people are dying in these countries. The governments in all these countries downplayed the severity of the virus, fumbled lockdowns, and instead of science used magical thinking in the hopes of ending the outbreak.  The numbers change rapidly but at the moment, here are the countries with the worst outbreaks in order. The numbers are from December 21.They will be higher by the time you read this.

10. Iran 1,164,535 cases 53,816 deaths

The difference between Iran and other countries experiencing a surge in the virus is the “maximum pressure” sanctions put on them by Donald Trump.  The Iranian government and doctors insist they don’t have enough medicines to fight the virus. Though the sanctions technically exempt food and medical supplies, human rights reports from Iran have repeatedly emphasized the impact of sectoral sanctions on gaining access to essential medicines and medical equipment, including respirators and protective equipment for health-care workers. Experts say US sanctions on Iran are indeed hurting ”foreign reserves, foreign currency abroad to purchase the necessary medical equipment — masks, anything that it might need to take care of its population,” Sanam Vakil.

9. Mexico 1,320,545 cases 118,202 deaths

One quarter of Mexico’s population has been exposed to Covid 19. The government thinks the real number is even higher than the reported numbers. The blame is on the country’s under funded health care system, lack of adequate testing,  and complicated effort to track the disease and coordinate the response. There was a voluntary lockdown from March to June but because of Mexico’s high poverty level many had to work and so the numbers went up. There has been no mask mandate. Some say it is to downplay the pandemic and some Mexican States have imposed their own mask mandate.

8. Spain 1,817,448 cases 48,926 deaths

Spain has been in a state of emergency since the end of October. The prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has asked people to drastically curtail their social lives and limit their movements for the common good. Silvia Calzón, Spain’s secretary of state for health, urged people to act wisely and avoid large crowds. Spain is reluctant to blame its citizens for early on having the most cases in Europe, but they feel the increase is do to young people partying and socializing. Spain has a similar problem to the US where the Covid safety regulations have been left to the different regions.

 7. Italy 1,964,054 cases 68,099 deaths

At the moment Italy holds a record that no-one wants – the most corona deaths in Europe. Italy was the first country in Europe to be slammed with Covid and had the benefit of time and experience to be better prepared for the second wave. Italy waited too long to reimpose restrictions  and reinforce its medical community. Nearly 80,000 Italian health care workers have been infected and 255 doctors have died. Instead, on Nov. 3 the government divided the country into three risk zones with varying restrictions. But by then infections had been doubling each week for nearly a month and hospitals were already overwhelmed in Milan and Naples.

6. Turkey 2,043,704 cases 18,351 deaths

As with all the countries where the virus is highest, Turkey waited too long to impose Covid 19 restrictions. Now children under the age of 20 can go outside for three hours a day and have school on Zoom. People over the age of 65 can go out for a different three hours. The elderly and the young are banned from public transportation. There is a curfew. Many are angry about how the government mismanaged the crisis. The government played down the virus and sugar coated the numbers not counting the asymptomatic ones which were high.

5. UK 2,073,511 cases 67,616 deaths

The four countries of the UK are trying to avoid a spike over the Christmas holidays. They want to ease things up between Dec 23-27 with rules like only a single person household can visit another home. People living in the UK will be allowed to form a Christmas bubble of up to three households. Households can only be in one bubble and may not switch. London has moved from High Alert to Very High Alert and bars and restaurants will remain closed. Outdoor groupings must be limited to six people. The virus is accelerating and the hope is not to lose more and more people as the vaccine is being rolled out. 

4. Russia 2,877,727 cases 51,351 deaths

As Russia struggles to get the virus under control, videos released of morgues piled high with bodies and hospitals that look like war zones, suggest the numbers are much higher than released. The way they count the Covid deaths, are different than the World Health organization guidelines which states that all deaths related to Covid-19 should be counted. Though the government portrays a country in full control of the pandemic, the strain on the medical facilities is becoming obvious to the Russian people. 

3. Brazil 7,241,612 cases 186,818 deaths

Fueled by the untimely political disputes, Covid 19 spread like wildfire in Brazil. Amid the controversy, Brazilian research disproved the theory that hydrochloroquine was helpful in treating the virus. Brazil was unprepared for the second wave of the virus and the hospitals are full with queues of patients lined up outside for beds. Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the novel coronavirus as a “little flu” and said recently was at the “tail end of the pandemic.” Sound familiar? Brazil has the second largest death toll in the world from Covid 19.

 2. India 10,075,036 cases 146,134 deaths

Tens of millions of migrant workers were stranded without work or food after Prime Minister Narendra Modi  imposed a lockdown in March. By spring and summer, these workers were so desperate that the government provided emergency trains to carry them back to their home villages. They became virus trains and due to lack of testing and social distancing these trains brought the virus all over India to places where it had not appeared before. The government never adequately contemplated how  shutting down the economy and quarantining 1.3 billion people would cause desperation,  panic and  chaos for millions of migrant workers at the heart of Indian industry. Experts agree that the spread in rural areas, home to more than half of the population, is a challenge to both fight and monitor. The health infrastructure in these areas is weaker, making it harder to treat patients and testing isn’t easily available in many small towns and villages. 

1. US 18,312,007 cases 325,187 deaths

We are number one – in both deaths and number of cases. Few countries have been as severely hit as America has. The world watched as the US – once a model for government competence and health care, fumbled the response to the Corona Virus. Despite ample warning, immense resources, medical and scientific expertise, it floundered. The world listened in shock as our President talked about drinking disinfectant. When people in third world countries emerged from lockdown and began partying, they saw that Americans in certain states did the same. Almost everything that went wrong with America’s response was predictable and preventable.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Countries US Citizens Can Travel To Now

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Countries US Citizens Can Travel To Now

“Being smart was key; being careful was critical. Being lucky didn’t hurt.” Kate Brady

The United States has more confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths than any country in the world, so its no surprise that people don’t want to come here or want us to visit their countries. Tourism has plummeted so some countries are letting us in with restrictions. Here they are.

Albania has a health screening upon arrival.

You must present a negative Covid screening test taken up to seven days before arrival in Antigua. Visitors are subject to monitoring by health officials for 14 days and another Covid-19 test may be required, which could mean quarantining while waiting for the result. Masks are required in public spaces.

Aruba requires a negative Covid test before arrival and another one, on arrival. You must also purchase specific Aruba visitors insurance. Aruba also has a list of US states it considers higher-risk, and people from those states will require additional testing. It changes so check the listing for your state.

Visiting the Bahamas involves a negative Covid test within five days of arrival. You will be given another rapid test when you arrive at the airport in the Bahamas.

You must complete an online health screening and have a negative Covid test within 72 hours before you arrive in Barbados. As the US is designated a high-risk country, you must still quarantine for 14 days at an approved hotel or resort and you’ll be monitored daily for symptoms. After five days of submitting the entry test, visitors can take a second second Covid-19 test and be released from quarantine with a negative result.

There are no restrictions other than a temperature check to visit Belarus but they are having mass protests against the government so you might not want to go.

You must down load the health application and have a negative Covid test within 72 hours or take one when you get there for fifty dollars to travel to Belize.

Bermuda requires a negative Covid test and a travel authorization fee of 75 dollars. Upon arrival you must submit to an additional Covid-19 test and quarantine until the results are ready. More tests are required on days 4, 8 and 14 of your visit.

You can just go to Brazil as long as you show proof of health insurance. They are also having big surge in cases of COVID 19.

Traveling to Cambodia is possible if you bring a deposit of 2000 dollars and a negative Covid-19 test result taken with 72 hours of arrival. You must also take two more Covid-19 tests, on arrival and day 13 of a 14-day mandatory quarantine.

Colombia requires a negative Covid test within four days of departure.

You must fill in an online form, have travel health insurance and a negative Covid test within 48 hours, to travel to Costa Rica.

Croatia wants a negative Covid test within 48 hours of arrival.

Curacao is reopening to US citizens from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut but only with a valid state ID and negative Covid test within 48 hours. The rest of the states are way too high risk now for them to take a chance.

Dominica requires a valid negative Covid test within 72 hours and visitors from the US may require further screening as we are an at risk country.

The Dominican Republic will give a few random breath tests and everyone must fill out a health screening form.

Visitors to Dubai must have medical travel insurance to cover any Covid-19 treatment and present a negative Covid-19 test result within 96 hours of arrival. You must complete a health declaration form before departing to confirm you are not experiencing any coronavirus symptoms.

Ecuador requires US travelers to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken within 10 days of arrival to avoid quarantine. Testing is available on arrival for those who don’t have a negative result. You must quarantine at an approved facility while waiting for results.
The Galapagos Islands require visitors to take another Covid-19 test and present negative results within 96 hours of arrival in Ecuador.

Visitors to Egypt need to show a valid negative Covid test within three days of arrival.Travelers must present paper copies not digital.

Ethiopia requires a negative Covid screening test within five days of arrival and a two week quarantine.

French Polynesia (Tahiti and Bora Bora) requests a 72 hour negative Covid test on arrival.

Guatemala requires a negative Covid test within 72 hours.

You must have a negative Covid-19 PCR test result that’s 72 hours old or less to travel to Ghana. Arriving passengers then must take a second test that costs $150. There’s also a temperature screening.

Grenada wants a negative Covid-19 test result within seven days of travel. you need a minimum four-day reservation at an approved hotel for quarantine. You must take a second test to be allowed to move about or remain at the hotel for the rest of the vacation.

Arriving passengers in Haiti must complete a health form and self-quarantine for 14 days. The Ministry of Haiti will check in on you three times for symptoms.

Honduras requires a negative Covid test and a quarantine for anyone exhibiting symptoms. You may want to reconsider Honduras as there is a travel advisory from the state department for other reasons.

Ireland requires a two week quarantine on arrival.

Jamaica requests a negative Covid test within ten days of arrival, an online “travel authorization” and the possibility of being tested upon arrival.

Kenya is open to US travelers with a negative Covid-19 test result taken 96 hours or less upon arrival and who pass a strict health screening.

All arriving tourists to the Maldives must present a negative result for a Covid-19 test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Passengers who transit via a “safe corridor country” that allows US visitors (like Turkey or Ireland) may enter Malta after they’ve been in that country for 14 days.

You can fly to Mexico. The land borders are closed.

Montenegro welcomes Americans with a negative Covid-19 test result or a positive coronavirus antibody test result, neither older than 72 hours . You cannot transit through a country that is not on the approved country list to get there.

You must have reservations with a  hotel or travel agency or be invited by a company for business to travel to Morocco.You must also bring a negative Covid 19 test and blood test within 48 hours of arrival.

Namibia requires a negative Covid 19 test 72 hours before arrival and you must be available for second test five days later.

North Macedonia is open. I have to look and see where that is.

Panama requires a 48 hour or less negative Covid 19 test on arrival.

Rwanda wants international travelers to have a negative Covid 19 test within 120 hours of departure. They also must take a second test upon arrival, shelter in a hotel and receive their results within a day.

Senegal is allowing US tourists to visit with a negative Covid 19 test within five days of departure.

Serbia requires a negative Covid 19 test within 48 hours of departure.

US travelers can visit South Korea, but you must take a Covid 19 test on arrival and quarantine for 14 days.

St. Barts visitors are required to show a negative Covid-19 test result taken within 72 hours of arrival. Those staying longer than a week will need to pay about $150 for an additional test on their eighth day.

US citizens traveling to St. Lucia must provide a negative Covid 19 test, taken within seven days of arrival. Visitors must also complete a travel registration form and arrive with a printed copy.You must have confirmed reservations at a Covid-certified property for the duration of your trip.

Travelers to St. Maarten must present a negative Covid 19 test within 120 hours of arrival.

You must present a negative Covid 19 test within five days of arrival to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.You must then quarantine at hotel for five days and take a second test after that.

Incoming passengers to Tanzania are required to fill out a health surveillance form and have a health screening. You might also have to take a Covid-19 test on arrival.

There are no restrictions for US citizens traveling to Turkey, although passengers must complete an information form and prepare to be checked for coronavirus symptoms. In addition, you will be asked to take a Covid-19 test if you show symptoms.

Visitors to the Turks and Caicos must provide a negative Covid 19 test taken within five days of arrival. Children who are nine years old and younger are exempt. Travelers must complete an online health questionnaire and carry travel medical insurance to cover any Covid19-related costs.

The UK requires a mandatory 14 day quarantine.

Zambia wants a negative Covid 19 test within 14 days of arrival. If you show symptoms when you arrive, you will be asked to quarantine.

Fly and stay safe,
JAZ

 

 

Elections And Protests Around The World

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Elections And Protests Worldwide 

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.” Alan Moore

In Guinea President Alpha Conde amended the constitution from a presidential term of five to six years, to stay in power. 

In Uganda, 76-year old president Yoweri Museveni, previously too old to be eligible for reelection, changed the constitution to gain eligibility to run again in February 2021. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales resigned in November after weeks of protests and death threats. 

 Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari announced this week that he would disband  the  Special Anti Robbery Squad (SARS) which is part of the  federal police, following mass protests sparked by a video of the officers killing a man. SARS has also been accused of other killings, extortion and torture  especially of young people.

In Lebanon, protesters argue that while they are suffering under an economic crisis, the country’s leaders have been using their positions of power to enrich themselves, through kickbacks and favorable deals.

Namibia has been rocked with protests over the death of a woman in April. Gender-based violence and domestic abuse  are persistent problems in Namibia. Police responded to the SARSprotests with tear gas, rubber bullets, batons and arrests sparking further violence.

Protestors in Iraq have also been calling for the end of a political system that they say has failed them.

The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan plunged into political chaos and riots after opposition groups seized control of Parliament and released their imprisoned leaders in protests over parliamentary elections they called rigged.

Protests against alleged government corruption have also taken place in Egypt. 

In Hong Kong protestors demonstrate against police brutality and for universal suffrage. 

In Belarus, security forces used violence in an attempt to disperse protesters who were demanding an end to the country’s long term dictator Alexander Lukashenko.

And in America,  President Donald Trump has cast doubt on the integrity of the election and repeatedly refused to say that he’d accept the results if he loses. Police grapple with the threat of right wing militia groups and a president who has called for an “army of poll watchers”  placing an unprecedented strain on police for election day and the violence and protests expected in the days after the results.  The toxic political climate, combined with the COVID-19 crisis and the national reckoning over police misconduct, is putting a lot of strain on everyone. Gun stores in the US are empty. 

I never thought I would say this about an American election. Stay safe, be brave and vote.

JAZ

Why Didn’t The Police Stop The Looting?

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Why Didn’t The Police Stop The Looting?

“Until you guys own your own souls, you don’t own mine. Until you guys can be trusted every time and always, in all times and conditions, to seek the truth out and find it and let the chips fall where they may—until that time comes, I have the right to listen to my conscience, and protect my client the best way I can.” Raymond Chandler, The High Window

In April 1775  Major John Pitcairn upon reaching Lexington and finding the colonials, in what he perceived to be an “unlawful armed assembly,” ordered the colonials assembled  to “Lay down your arms, you rebels, and disperse!” He was “reading them the riot act.”

In England before the American Revolution, almost all felonies were punishable by death. That is  no longer the case. Crimes such as theft, burglary and robbery no longer carry the death penalty, and are generally punished by imprisonment or by some form of probation. 

The death of George Floyd, a black man suspected of passing a suspicious $20 bill at a grocery store in Minneapolis by a police officer was inhumane and also illegal. It set off protests, looting and riots across the country. 

Experts say that looting is a side effect of the condition causing the protest. But this time in Los Angeles, it looked different. Splinter groups broke off from the peaceful protests and began rioting and looting.

There was a lot of twitter chatter about going to Beverly Hills to loot. The footage was disturbing, It looked like criminals with hammers and kids of all races who had been in the house too long and were laughing at the smashed  windows, taking photos and grabbing stuff. It was like a release valve had opened up. No police and no parents. “Where are the jewelry stores?” was heard throughout the video. 

I can’t speak for the whole country because this time I watched Los Angeles News. In the Fairfax Melrose area, certain stores were targeted and then it became a mob mentality, free for all of looting and fires.

The looting of Downtown, Santa Monica and Long Beach was even more disturbing. It went on for a long time and there was definitely the realization that no one was going to stop them. It was organized with cars circling the areas and people running in and out of the stores and cars. 

We received an email that a protest in Venice on a main shopping street was being organized by looters and the one on the beach was organized by protestors. 

Small businesses shouldn’t have to pay for the anger caused by the police. We all support the protest. The business owners quietly cleaned up the glass and opened their doors with sparse merchandise  to empty streets. Their businesses were already pummeled by the corona virus. We don’t know how many of them (us) will recover from all of this. Please support small businesses in your neighborhood. They need your help now.

It looked like the police did not want to put themselves in harm’s way or to hurt someone else over loss of property. The police backed off and let the looters have at it. After all, it was only someone else’s property or livelihood that was destroyed or stolen.

Stay safe,

JAZ

Countries With the Least Travel Friendly Passports

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Countries With The Least Travel Friendly Passports

“Our fate, like the fate of all species, is determined by chance, by circumstance, and by grace.”  Terry Tempest Williams

If you are looking to gain entry to more countries around the globe without a visa, you  better hope that you are from a nation that doesn’t have terrorist activity.  Citizens of many developing countries and of nations ravaged by conflict have a significantly harder time crossing borders than those of most other nations. Here are the countries with the lowest number of visa free countries to visit.

Afghanistan has the least access to visa free travel with only  24 countries they can visit without one. Afghanistan also comes in second on the list of Countries That Americans Hate. There is no shocker here.

Iraq follows with 27. In addition to ISIS and terrorist bombings, Iraq is the fifth on the list of  Hottest CountrIes In The World. On some days you cannot stand in the sun for even a few minutes.

Syria has 29 countries to go to without a visa. Syria is also the Most Dangerous Country To Visit.  If you are in Syria, you should leave immediately. Kidnapping  of foreign nationals, terrorism, polio and ongoing military clashes make it an extremely dangerous place to be at the moment.

Pakistan comes in with 30 countries to visit visa free. They come in first as the Country With The Worst Air Pollution.The harm caused by air pollution in Pakistan’s urban areas exceeds most other high-profile causes of mortality in the country, including traffic-related accidents. 

Somalia’s number is 31. Somalia does take the lead as the world’s most corrupt country. Three decades of war and droughts forced half of the population to be dependent on foreign food aid shipments which are controlled by the local warlords. Desperation turns ordinary citizens into pirates on the many Somalian pirate ships to feed their families.

Yemen is 33. Yemen is also in the top twenty for Most Corrupt Countries In The World.

Libya, Palestinian Territory and Sudan can visit 37. It makes sense based on how this list is playing out. Libya and Sudan are in the top ten for Most Dangerous and Most Corrupt Countries To Visit. Palestine has terrorists. (Libya)

Nepal can visit 38. Nepal is in the top twenty for Friendliest Countries In The World and a bucket list place for me. It is also tenth for Air Pollution.

Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon and North Korea tie for 39 countries. North Korea comes in second for Corruption and tenth for Most  Dangerous Country To Visit. Iran comes in at number five for Least Friendly Country In The World. Eritrea falls in the top ten for Poorest Countries In The World. Bangladesh ranks four in Countries With The Most Air Pollution. Lebanon comes in third in Countries With Most Smokers.

Fly safe,

Jayne

Countries With the Most Travel Friendly Passports

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Countries With The Most Travel Friendly Passports

I’d rather have a passport full of stamps than a house full of stuff.” Anonymous

I used to think that the USA had the best passport. We could go almost anywhere but we do need an awful lot of visas. The Henley Passport Index periodically measures the access each country’s travel document affords. The ranking is determined on the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. It is based on the exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association, which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information. Here are the top countries starting with the best passports to have. We are not number one. 

Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most powerful passport in 2019 for the second time in a row with access to 190 countries.They believe it is due to strong security regulations, economic security and international reliability. They are good guests.

 Singapore is in second place with 189 countries. People from Singapore are welcome almost everywhere.

South Korea is in third place with 188 countries.The Asian countries are dominating this category.

Germany and Finland are in fourth place with 187 countries. Germany has given up its  previous first place ranking. (Finland)

Denmark, Italy and Luxernbourg rank fifth with 186. No one expects trouble from this group.  (Italy)

France, Spain and Sweden are next with 185. They are independent, they don’t usually break anything and they are quiet. (Spain)

Austria, Netherlands, Switzerland and Portugal are behind them with 184. I feel very welcome in these countries so I understand why counties like them.(Portugal)

Belgium, UK, Greece, Ireland, Norway, Canada and USA rank eighth  with 183. Brexit has not yet impacted the UK score -nor has our President changed ours. (Greece)

Malta has a  score of 182. This tiny independent,European Union country has a very attractive passport to many people.Wealthy individuals seeking secondary citizenship for security, have their eye on Malta, which doesn’t impose taxes on their worldwide income and assets and applies only a flat 15 per cent tax on money brought into the country. 

Czech Republic follows with 181. It is doing very well for an ex Communist country.

Lithuania,

Australia, Iceland, New Zealand and Lithuania jointly share the eleventh position with access to 180 nations. (Iceland)

 The findings suggest that visa free access is improving in the world. The last time I went to Brazil I needed one. This time I do not.

Fly safe,
JAZ

Vote

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Vote

“We do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.” Thomas Jefferson

All around the world people have had to fight for the right to vote. If you are not a white male land owner, chances are good that someone fought for your right to vote. I’m ashamed to admit that as a teenager my driving and drinking age were much more important to me than my voting age. 

I strongly recommend watching this film “An African Election’, about a 2008 election in Ghana, a country new to the process of “democracy”. It is available to rent or buy on Amazon. The film will remind you to vote because it is your right and your privilege that you were either lucky enough to be born with or lucky enough to earn.  

Fly safe and vote on Tuesday,

JAZ

Ten Countries With The Most Smokers

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Ten Countries With The Most Smokers

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times.” Mark Twain

As everyone knows, smoking is cool. But it can also kill you and is addictive and expensive, which is much worse than looking cool for a minute.

Bucking the worldwide trend, smokers are increasing in Montenegro. Forty per cent of adults smoke making them the “coolest” country on the list. Even when laws are enacted, they are rarely enforced in a culture where coffee and cigarettes are the norm.

While smoking is declining across Europe, a growing number of young Belarusians are turning to cigarettes due to lax regulations and low prices. Cheap cigarettes from Belarus are also being smuggled into Western Europe.

It is very difficult to enforce anti smoking laws in Lebanon where smoking is somewhat of a cultural tradition.The law that banned indoor smoking irritated many Lebanese accustomed to shishas and cigarettes at restaurants, cafes, pubs and nightclubs.

Greece is a nicotine addicts’s paradise. Smoking regulations in Greece have not been enforced in a country where rules like this are meant to be broken.

One third of the population of Russia smokes. Up to 400,000 Russians die each year from tobacco-related causes. This could be stopped through tougher regulations, but tobacco producers have blocked all efforts for years, successfully lobbying their interests with the ruling United Russia party.

Tobacco is one of the leading causes of death in Slovenia. The average age to start smoking is fifteen and a half years old.

Belgians love to smoke and stores selling cheap cigarettes have opened on the Belgian Franco border. There is a growing trade in smuggled cigarettes in Europe and an equally illegal growth of sales over the internet. Cigarettes are much cheaper in Belgium than neighboring countries. Many bars and restaurants ignore the smoking ban.

Jordan rates highly as far as smoking countries in the Middle East go. The ban on smoking in public places is not enforced.It is easier to fight drug use than cigarettes here. Cigarette smoking is highest among the poor population. Having coffee and cigarettes with friends and family is deeply rooted in Jordanian culture.

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China is home to three hundred million smokers, more than any other country. There is a lack of national legislation to ban smoking in workplaces. The national ban has been delayed because of the influence of the Chinese tobacco industry and its influence on government revenue. Some Local municipalities have banned smoking in the workplace but it is hard to enforce

Almost half the adult population smokes in Bosnia Herzegovina. Cigarettes are cheaper than Europe and Asia. Smokers fight the government against anti smoking legislation. Any bans are not enforced and teenagers smoke at least half a pack of cigarettes a day.

Fly safe,

JAZ