Tag Archives: Deutsche Welle

The failing Mario Draghi Kart

Just yesterday, the Deutsche Welle (at http://www.dw.com/en/eurozone-economy-still-requires-stimulus-ecbs-mario-draghi/a-42751327), gave us that the ‘Eurozone economy still requires stimulus‘, so after these years the stupid and the rich still will not learn and the people are about to pay for it dearly. That is, not the UK, they might have gotten out just in time, if they don’t add delay upon delay. Even as we are sussed to sleep with: “The bank is gradually reducing its bond purchase program but it may continue past September”, the people are sussed to sleep, in a situation, where they sleep on a luxury liner and it is going down. Like having a nice cabin on the Titanic and you decided to sleep in on April 15th and you did. You never woke up, you could if there was oxygen, yet oxygen is 3786 meters away, 3786 meters straight up!

So when we are pointed at the ECB’s asset purchase program, which began three years ago, and which has seen the central bank spend €2.55 trillion ($3.14 trillion) to buy government bonds and other financial assets. The people are not given clarity on where that money went EXACTLY, in other news, that news we got months ago on Mario Draghi being a member of a very exclusive 5 mile high club. So when we got 6 weeks ago: “European Central Bank President Mario Draghi should give up his membership of the opaque Group of 30 consultative body because it risks hurting public confidence in the ECB’s independence, the European Ombudsman said on Wednesday“, how come the near entire bloody media has not followed up on this? After that one day it was silenced, the ECB will not respond, Mario Draghi apparently keeps on getting away with whatever he needs and there are no questions, not even on an international level which is unsettling in so many ways as it leaves us with the indication that the media may be as unreliable as the politicians they are reporting on.

A program that has sunk 3 trillion dollars and everyone is just stating that the economy is great, yet nobody is asking the number one question and that is ‘How will we pay it back?

The theory of printing money

Mario Draghi, president of the ECB has profiled his place and his ‘bank’ as awesome, marketing on a near supreme level, like a politicians stating on how honest he is. Excellent standards, great breeding and stellar academic excellence, and you know that expression about a story being too good to be true?

So they have their ‘Quantative Easing’, they use it to buy government bonds and other financial assets. The purchases have helped keep borrowing costs low, which in turn have boosted spending and investment in the Eurozone economy. But is this true? You see, there are now two levels of problems and dangers. When we consider that the bond is a debt security, under which the issuer owes the holders (so the government that issued the bonds now owes the ECB), a debt and (depending on the terms of the bond) is obliged to pay them interest and to repay the principal at a later date, termed the maturity date.

So over $3 trillion is bought from these governments and those governments are paying the ECB interest until they pay back the amount at the date of maturity (could be up to 30 years). So basically they are pushing massive debts forward, it is almost like the Greek debt mess, but now close to 173 times more intense in regards to the outstanding amount. The current makers in charge get a free pass and leave the mess to the next person whilst they enjoy the millions they earned as well as the multimillions they got by being a member of an exclusive group of 30, as they get the results before any other publication and they get to the cream all without ever running the risks other ‘investors’ face.

So whilst everyone sees the interest only part, we are kept in the dark on the fact that an additional $3 trillion would be outstanding and with the UK out of play, the other nations will get to pay for it all, so when we consider that last week nations like the Netherlands told the EU that they want a freeze on EU contributions, so now we read: “Rutte has said he does not want the Dutch contribution to the EU to increase, despite the European Commission’s call for higher spending on climate change and border controls, and the gap left by Britain after Brexit. Like the Netherlands, Britain is a net payer into the EU’s coffers and will leave a large hole when it pulls out. The Commission wants to fill the gap through a combination of spending cuts and higher contributions, something which the Dutch strongly oppose” (at https://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2018/02/dutch-prime-minister-begins-campaign-to-freeze-eu-contributions/), what no one is looking at, or mentioning is that the outstanding $3 trillion is going to be an additional matter to deal with, even if that is placed in a very separate part of the books. Payment will be due!

So as they give the mention how Brexit will be one reason to increase payment, the absence of the QA plan and outstanding amount remains unmentioned, it is an impact, but that is exactly why the UK got out in the first place. In this the contribution for the Dutch will go up by $4500 per person, so where is that coming from? Now consider that the impact of the matured bonds will be massive for the positive contributing nations, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Denmark and Austria would end up getting a blow to their budgets unlike any they have had. The question becomes how intense depends on certain elements. So when we consider the bad curve. So, when the bonds bought reduce in value by 30%, the ECB is not hit, it might lose the value, but that means that the government it was bought from ends up with a smaller invoice to pay, and the losses for the investor (the ECB) loses 30% of their investment, now the EU nations as a bloc will have to come up with that money. So depending on where it was invested in, that government get to laugh as the other EU members need to pay for the ‘losses’, which amounts to the positive paying nations. This is one of the foremost reasons why I was all for the UK getting out as soon as possible. So these nations could end up paying an additional $1 trillion divided amongst them. So how was this ever going to be fair? Of course that is if the value of these bonds depreciates, if that does not happen, than there is no additional issue, but the fact that the outstanding amount is still due for payment and in light of the bulk of these EU nations not being able to keep a decent budget and almost no ability to pay such amounts does not help us in any way in raising confidence in regards to the EU moving forward. Greece is to the smallest extent some indication, even as many sources are positive, I have an issue with “The 2017 primary balance target of 1.75 percent of GDP is expected to be reached with a significant margin. For 2018 the primary balance target of 3.5 percent is considered achievable“, so there are two parts. The first is the use of ‘expected to be reached‘, margin or not, these numbers are not yet set in stone, so there could be a bad news cycle. The second part is ‘target of 3.5 percent is considered achievable‘, which means an almost 100% increase towards the positive result, which has never been realistic. Even as the unemployment numbers are down from 27% a few years ago, to 21%, this still implies that one out of 5 is without a job, that means the stresses on the Greek infrastructure remains and it will remain for several years to come. So when it comes to the larger nations, Spain, Italy and France are still a downward drag here in regards to the overall EU and their drag is draining their infrastructure and options towards pushing the EU economically forward, some others like the Netherlands and Sweden are ahead of the curve, but we forget that they are merely 26 million, whilst the three dragging us down represent close to 185 million people, in that regard we forget the weight that the larger nations have. So in that both the UK and Germany are the positive sides, but the UK is leaving and adding Germany only gets that group of 3 at 50% of the ones slowing the EU down, so even as the slowdown is a good thing, it is still a negative result in the end. So it is in that light that there is a growing risk to the entire Quantative Easing plan that Mario Draghi gave the EU and even as they are all on how ‘the economy is so much better‘, I agree that compared to two years ago, the people are more positive and jobs are getting better, yet this has been at the expense of unrealistic levels of spending and there is no given on when that will be resolved, so those people have a $3 trillion bill hanging over their heads.

You see, part of the problems is infrastructure, EU infrastructure mind you. So as the Australian Financial Review (at http://www.afr.com/news/economy/monetary-policy/mario-draghi-keeps-focus-on-monetary-accommodation-20180226-h0wos8) gave us “Draghi did address a question on why ABLV Bank received emergency support from the Latvian central bank before the ECB declared it failing or likely to fail. He said that the Emergency Liquidity Assistance policy – under which national central banks rather than the ECB decide to provide support to troubled lenders – is a “remnant of a past time” and should be reformed

Say What?

So basically a bank got support from its national bank, whilst the ECB had it as ‘likely to fail‘, so is this how Quantative Easing is ‘miss-spent’? It is not completely clear or fair to state it in that way, yet when we see Reuters with “The ECB said at the weekend that privately held ABLV is likely unable to pay its debts or other liabilities as they fall due. “We believe our bank will be able to settle with all of our clients in full,” ABLV, Latvia’s third-biggest bank by assets, said in a statement. “Voluntary liquidation is an important condition for it – the process has to be done as professionally and as transparently as possible, given the history of Latvian insolvency and liquidation processes”“, yet in all that is there any mention whether that included the emergency support funds? The text does not include that part, so that is money down the drain. That whilst it is not the only scandal that Latvia faces. If we consider the Stratfor view (at https://worldview.stratfor.com/article/what-watch-two-banking-scandals-unfold-latvia), we see “On Feb. 17, the Latvian anti-corruption agency detained the head of the country’s central bank, Ilmars Rimsevics, after Grigory Guselnikov, the Anglo-Russian owner of Latvia’s Norvik bank, accused him of taking bribes. Rimsevics has denied any wrongdoing, and Latvia’s Defense Ministry said that the allegations were part of a “massive information operation” by an external actor. Latvian Finance Minister Dana Reizniece-Ozola said that the corruption allegations would be investigated“, as well as “a report issued Feb. 13 by the U.S. Treasury Department detailing the results of its investigation that found ABLV had facilitated transactions linked to “large-scale illicit activity connected to Azerbaijan, Russia, and Ukraine” as well as activities circumventing sanctions on North Korea. In the wake of that report, significant assets were withdrawn from ABLV“. Now we can see that for what it is, yet we also get “the ECB’s Single Resolution Board has rebuffed ABLV’s efforts to seek financial assistance, determining that shoring up the bank “was not in the public interest.”“, so in light of the mention by Mario Draghi with ‘under which national central banks rather than the ECB decide to provide support to troubled lenders‘, I see it as instead of money wasted from the left trouser pocket, it came from right cheek pocket. How does that solve anything? The fact that the trousers came from the old tailor, the fact that the damage was not contained and allowed certain parties to take their cash out of Latvia is still cause for concern for those wearing the trousers.

That reflects also when we add the Greek issue that is playing right now with “the resignation on Monday of economy minister Dimitris Papadimitriou and his wife, the alternate labour minister, Rania Antonopoulou. Antonopoulou gave her notice after it was revealed that she had accepted €23,000 in housing benefits at a time of immense hardship for Greeks” (source: the Guardian). The issues playing do not seem like much, but it is like mopping the floor in a room where the water main has burst, it is close to pointless. In all this, especially when we hear Alexis Tsipras come with ‘praising the couple, in a speech late on Tuesday, for the “sensibility” they had exhibited in stepping down‘. To me it reads like ‘I am happy you vacated the premises as the people now know what you did and they are angry, thank you for that!‘ Is there any way that the Greeks are not getting fuming mad on that issue?

That is the part that does matter, because that is linked to whatever bonds were purchased, where they were purchased and how much is in play. We see none of that; merely that the invoice at present is set at 30 billion Euros per month, down from 60 billion per month earlier and 80 billion per month before that. So there is no way to tell how unrealistic my 30% loss is, it could be as low as 1% or as much as 41.3%, there is at present no way to tell. It is a long term gamble instigated by those in power now and left to solve for whoever gets to hold that seat when those spending’s mature and payment is due. Yet the chance of breaking even (best case scenario) is almost statistically impossible and no one has answers how to deal with it the moment it happens.

Can the Draghi failing be proven as a failure?

That remains the main event in all this and the fact is that the proof is nowhere near complete because the transparency in the spending and the path to repayment is missing. The fact that the money is printed and that the payment of the printed money is due at some point is not dealt with, by none of the media. Is it because it is not due now, or are we kept in silence because it stops us from asking questions? Perhaps like the elite group of 30 bankers, only initial questions are allowed and no response will be coming. That are merely factors in all of this and it does NOT sets any premise to the failure or success of the acts by Mario Draghi. Part of it is shown by Bloomberg a mere 15 hours ago, as they gave us: “The rate of price growth slowed to 1.2 percent this month from 1.3 percent, dropping to its weakest since 2016. The core measure was unchanged at 1 percent. The figures follow a series of releases that have checked the economy’s thundering momentum at the start of 2018, which had emboldened policy makers who want a faster unwinding of the central bank’s crisis-era monetary stimulus“, so even as that is not evidence, it seems to me that people are stalling and delaying stopping the QA wave, until the QA wave shows a positive. It is like watching a person throw more and more money in the pokeys until that person breaks even. In gambling terms it is watching a fool bleed dry. Even when we accept that a pokey returns 90% over its lifetime, that means that at the very least there is a loss of 10%, even if that person is getting lucky, the small wins are still used up whilst the player is trying to break even and in the end that money too is gone. That is how we could see the QA program to go and if that is true, a loss of 41.3% might have been optimistic, but it remains speculation. The article (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-28/slowing-euro-area-inflation-helps-draghi-push-back-exit-debate) now gives the other parts I mentioned earlier too. With “consumer price growth almost halved in Italy and slowed in Germany” giving the line I had that with unemployment in Germany being an asset, but this slowing and 50% less gives rise to more without a job, or halted in economic growth for Italy, whilst Germany is halting to some degree their forward momentum, which translates in upcoming bad economic news cycles, or better stated less positive ones, so how will that impact the outstanding $3 trillion? The impact is only seen when that amount is due, but the impact will be there and those who pushed it onto us will no longer be around and they end up washing their hands off the dangers and leave us to pay the outstanding invoice, it makes for the most dangerous of market karts.

With ‘Buy now and pay when we make the most profit!‘ is an economic standard that has never been good commerce, or realistic for that matter; but that is exactly what Europeans signed up for, and the people in Europe end up not getting a say in the matter. That is the issue I opposed all that time and that is why I hope that the UK got out in time, because that part will drag the EU economy down to a degree it has not seen before. The only worry is what happens when that issue hits the European tax payers, because it will! No doubt about that!

 

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Guns on a plane

The Washington post is giving us another look at a situation we saw but most of us (including me) in the light it deserves. I mentioned it a week ago to some degree, but in this (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/02/27/hypocrisy-takes-flight-in-georgia/), we see that Karen Tumulty takes an interesting look at hypocrisy. She starts pretty hardcore direct with “Republicans have been trying for years to convince us that corporations have First Amendment rights — at least, that is, when it works in their favor“, although in this light the wooden spoon should hit the democrats with equal vigour. So when we see “Protecting free speech was the principle behind the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case, which lifted the ban on corporate spending in elections and opened the spigot for unlimited outside spending” we see the first part, and with “Religious freedom is the rallying cry in a raft of efforts to give businesses the ability to deny birth control to their employees or to refuse service to customers based on their sexual orientation” part two. Yet we see the power that Karen has a much stronger point with “I will kill any tax legislation that benefits @Delta unless the company changes its position and fully reinstates its relationship with @NRA. Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back”, in that instance I agree with the sentiment to the smallest degree and less with the action that Casey Cagle, ‘replacement’ (read: secondary) Governor of Georgia is making. You see, I saw the Delta move not in regards to enticing NRA members, as guns are not allowed on a plane, but the fact that they decided to cater to 5 million members, basically the discount was wooing almost 2% of the American to choose Delta instead of the other company that owns planes. It was just a good business strategy. In light in all this, when we use the Delta information with “Adjusted pre-tax income for the September 2017 quarter was $1.7 billion, a $182 million decrease from the September 2016 quarter”, so why they are given a $50 million jet fuel sales tax exemption t begin with is beyond me, it is not like the US government with 20 trillion in debt should be able to give tax exemptions to begin with. It does remain a matter that America is a populist culture that is emotionally blaming the largest target that makes them short sighted, a failing skill in marksmanship and overall they are not too clued in, which still remains their right to have.

But it is not about them, it is about the way that corporations are running for their life because the NRA member is the preferred member to discriminate at present, which is hypocrisy gone nuts I say. There is however another side that Delta was happy to ignore. You see, when we see: “In other words, it was a business decision, made not to promote a political agenda, but to distance the airline from controversy by treating NRA members just like its other customers” is one take, but consider that up to 5 million will now NOT be flying Delta, whilst the others are not Switching to Delta (in light to a previous annual downturn of profits) gives rise to the likelihood that Delta will have to report their numbers to be down for at least another year. In light to the reference to Delta withdrawing support from the New York City’s Public Theater shows them to be not strong of character, merely weak in the back, merely paperbacks, not a hardcover among them. So when the $50 million jet fuel sales tax exemption does not pass and they lose on customers as well on reduced cost of ‘existing’, how will Delta then look at its poor record of character?

Even as we are all likely to agree on: “There is a reasonable argument to be had over whether that kind of tax break is smart economic development on the state’s part, or corporate welfare. But Cagle’s threat makes it clear that what’s really going on here is political retribution, not economic policy” we need to acknowledge that Delta basically got caught between populist shortsightedness and 17 cadavers. Yes, I am stating it that blunt, in light of the UN ceasefire failing in Syria and the 250 fatalities in Syria in the last 2 days alone. How much outrage against the Syrian government and the Russian mercenaries was shown? Oh, no! Perhaps it does not count if it is done with plane bombs and artillery shelling?

It is cruel to set the Florida victims in such light and I do apologise for that, but it is important to see that we seem to have multiple grades of values in place and that is not fair (read: acceptable) either, especially as these NRA members, those 5 million get the hatred and bullying in light of acts they never did, contributed to or set any level of approval towards. This entire matter is exploding (with exception of the family members of these victims) by people who hate people that like guns. It feels too much like the segregation and isolation of the Jews in the Germany in the 30’s as well as the Netherlands (and several other nations) during WW2 (an exaggeration, I admit). Yet in all this, I feel that the NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch is equally off her game (at http://www.news.com.au/world/north-america/florida-school-shooting-nras-response-to-parkland-attack/news-story/9f565d930e6fe7e9a6d1fd768190f696). With ““I don’t believe this insane monster should ever have been able to obtain a firearm,” Ms Loesch responded. “This individual was nuts,” she said. “None of us support people who are crazy, who are a danger to themselves, who are a danger to others, getting their hands on a firearm.””, she is right of course, but the entire mess of calling him nuts sets the mental health issue in play and even if we agree to some extent with Joe Rogan, the comedian and podcaster of ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ as he stated in one of his podcasts on “how the “gun problem” is actually a mental health problem“, he brings a decent case, but there is an issue on several matters. You see if a person is sane enough not to trigger flags when trying to buy a gun there is a more complicated matter in play, optionally not all set towards mental health, in addition, none of the parties involved have touched on the ATF failings, which I found and continued on after the Deutsche Welle brought it to my attention. That part alone is a much bigger failing on ALL the parties involved. I raised that issue 6 days ago (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/22/united-they-grow/), with the reference to the Deutsche Welle article. At this I understand that the NRA needs a working relationship with the ATF, but that should include showing them the failure (read: fault) of certain matters, even if that causes ‘discomfort’ of the consumers towards the issues of second hand firearms sales. Dana could have conceded there to some degree showing how certain matters could have been safer, no matter if that impacted the Florida shooting or not. Any improvement is one that both sides need to grasp.

So even if we give proper acknowledgement to “To her credit, Ms Loesch did have the guts to show up to CNN’s forum, knowing she would face a hostile crowd. And the survivors of the Florida shooting grilled her“, I equally see that Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel saw things wrong. He has a point only to some degree, yet with ““I understand you’re standing up for the NRA and I understand that’s what you’re supposed to do,” he said. “But you just told this group of people that you are standing up for them. You’re not standing up for them until you say: ‘I want less weapons.’”” he shows a flaw. That is not or has ever been the function of the NRA and it is not about wanting fewer weapons, it is about stopping a person who had been flagged more than once and nothing ended up getting done, as well as keeping the American environment safer due to proper handling of firearms, as well as emphasising on the need for proper gun care and gun safety. The previous articles show that. He is correct with “stricter gun control needed to be introduced“, yet equally the ATF issue was not raised, even as the Deutsche Welle article had already hit the limelight by the time the forum happened. So why was this element not discussed there? In that regard I am happy to exclude the family and friends of the victims on that topic, but they should have been informed by the US media at large and that was not the case either.

If there is one element that Dana Loesch requires a discussion on it is given with “I had to have a security detail to get out. I wouldn’t be able to exit that if I didn’t have a private security detail. There were people rushing the stage and screaming ‘burn her’. And I came there to talk solutions, and I still am going to continue that conversation on solutions, as the NRA has been doing since before I was alive“, in that she should open the discussion on the ATF elements, as well as seeing their budget increased by close to 100%, so that the ATF can look at the current situation and get a report in place that might actually result in better gun control, because in that light not only does it serve the NRA, there is every confidence that in the end it will also serve the 5 million members that the NRA has, even if it comes with 1-2 inconveniences, in that light I can state that inconveniences have until now never resulted in fatalities, unless you are in Syria, where we see “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a daily five-hour humanitarian pause in hostilities in the besieged Damascus suburb of Eastern Ghouta, as bombardment has continued despite a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire“, apparently a 30 day ceasefire was too much of an inconvenience. Yet there is another side not mentioned. This was only brought to light just now by Fox News. We see (at http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2018/02/27/nra-just-got-new-member-here-s-why-this-mom-two-joined-group.html) on how “a mom of kids in elementary school, I became a proud member of the NRA for the first time last week. I did so because the absence of common sense that I’ve witnessed recently is alarming to me as a parent“, this is to some degree to be expected, yet in light of the entire populist emotional mess that the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting is now bringing. You see the entire emotional mess that is pushed by too many ‘gun hating sides‘, not the friends and family of those victims mind you, which I see as an excluded group as they get a pass to be as emotional as they want to be, the others should have taken some level (read: any level) of a common sense road. The entire matter worsens when we realise that in the last event there is plenty of blame to go around. Even as the FBI admits to its failure, it in equal measure should have mentioned the many times it got things right, which gives us: ‘the terrorist axiom’. Any terrorist only needs to get it right once for any valid system or solution to be under attack and soon thereafter could become less effective. That danger is very much in play here and still the ATF remained off the sniper scopes of the media at large, especially in the USA, which is a rising oddness in all this.

To me the highest issue are the politicians and populists who are stealing the limelight in the guise of those poor 17 fatalities, whilst with a brazen state of illusion going after the NRA. It is in comparison almost like me calling Bill Gates a weepy geriatric softy because Apple IOS exists, and it only exists because he could not get the Windows editions, and safe affordable windows phones hack free and fast in time for Apple to be irrelevant. it is a weird and utterly obsolete way of thinking, but that is what we face and in that regard, the Fox News article which gives us “When I joined the NRA last week it was because I was tired of being preached at by people who are unwilling to look at the problem and only want to treat the symptom. It’s easy to blame the NRA, and it’s easy to blame guns. It’s the new trendy target, but it’s not the solution” and that is the truth of the matter which all the shouting parties are ignoring as well. So, as a pro gun person, am I happy with what the woman did? I cannot tell, the article does not tell me that she is a responsible gun owner, that she is clearly trained in properly using a firearm (which can be done in one weekend), but also whether she has all the right settings and safeties in place, so that when she is working, her early teens, when they are that, and find the gun and start playing with it because it looks cool and that is how ‘cops’ and ‘detectives’ hold their guns and shoot when they go after their ‘criminals’ in their playful fantasy. The Fox article is short of certain questions that should have been asked, or have been intentionally omitted from the article, I cannot tell either way, but that is also an issue here. And even when we see the trivialisation of “Timothy McVeigh used fertilizer to kill 168 people in an Oklahoma federal building in 1995“, whilst we see no mention of the technological solution to reducing the usefulness of Semtex to terrorists as well as the control and monitoring of the sale and distribution of Semtex. So in that changes has been made to some degree, we cannot tell how well it works but changes were made, so Fox News misses the target at least twice, making the article nothing but a shot in the dark at best, a worrying one, because mothers tend to get frantically neurotic when it is about keeping their children safe and as such thousands of new NRA members could come to the NRA fold, but as a gun lover, do question if they are doing it in the proper path, because the right way does not hold any water to a mother in fear of her child and too many are seeing that no guns is not a realistic option and mothers tend to look for and demand Direct Action in that regard.

And all this merely fades into nothingness when we realise “The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that conditions in Yemen are “catastrophic” after three years of war, with a record 22.2 million people needing aid and protection“, (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/un-humanitarian-chief-calls-yemen-conditions-catastrophic/2018/02/27/651660e8-1be0-11e8-98f5-ceecfa8741b6_story.html), so when we see “Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Mark Lowcock warned the Security Council that conflict in Yemen has escalated since November, leaving more people hungry. “Famine remains a real threat,” he warned“, a nation where close to 85% of its population is now stricken with despair, famine, disease and death. As the UN reports to the people that close to nothing has been achieved, 85% of a nation approaching death. So as we relate that to the emotional and populist activities that followed a tragedy of 17 victims in regard to their limelight. We can make that into a movie and call it ‘Guns on a plane‘, in relation to its Herpetological cousin that cost $33 million to make and made $66 million in revenue, so there would be that consideration to keep.

 

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United they grow

I spoke out in the last week in regards to the Florida shooting. I think I got my point across and I have no issue with people taking the opposite side in all this. By looking at all sides, I feel that I get a better feel for any situation when looking at multiple angles, so I was happy to take a look at what the Washington Post was bringing. It has been bringing several pieces and there is a trend, a trend that has not been there before and some will be sad, but I would be happy, even as it is in an opposite direction of the one I have.

You see, the students are taking a turn for the better and they are actually getting smart about doing things, the weird part is that this has never happened before in the way we see it now and that is always refreshing. It is not the emotional ‘NRA, please stop killing our children‘, which was too ludicrous for words. No, the Florida students are starting to become an actual political player in all this. So, some NRA supporting politicians (which is their choice and right) are definitely in need to up their game in the political arena and they will have to do it in a very visible way.

The first view is seen in ‘Florida high school students demand change to gun laws at boisterous rally‘ (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/they-needed-to-see-it-fla-lawmakers-emotional-tour-of-shooting-site-sparks-bipartisan-talks-on-gun-limits/2018/02/21/a930a37c-16c9-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html). In Tallahassee thousands of students have rallied, now this is nothing new, students rally at many moments, they tend to keep the milestone rather low. Not this time though. This is actually a lot closer to the anti-Vietnam rallies that we saw in the 60’s. This is getting serious, which is always a good thing. The one thing is that the blame part towards the NRA is still wrong in my view. Don’t get me wrong, the NRA is huge so it makes sense that they are a target, but that is probably the only part that they need to change.

The quote “The proposals under consideration stop short of student demands for a ban on the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons like the AR-15-style gun that was used in the most recent shooting. Instead, lawmakers have focused on new waiting period and age restrictions for buyers of semiautomatic rifles, new powers for police to confiscate guns from people deemed dangerous by the courts, and new measures to protect schools from mass shooters” gives two parts. The first is that the focus is on semiautomatic assault weapons. It makes sense because they were used and it is a start. Now personally as a shooter I never saw the appeal to work with such a gun. I was in my shooting days always about precision, that weapon does not offer this (to a limited degree only), for that same reason I see no reason to own an Uzi, apart from when I was serving. So going after a target board, or a duck or a fox with an AR-15 or Uzi never ever made sense to me. The issue is not the weapons; it is that the NRA and its members are afraid, not because it is those weapons, but that it is merely the first step. The fact that no harmony can be found with the two very opposing forces is the danger that nothing will ever be done. One of the video commenters brings up a good point. Apart from bringing up the Australian legislation changes after the 1999 shooting, the issue that an example was made that a 20 year old person bought an AR-15 with an expired ID. That is the part that is really worrying and it should worry the NRA too and in that part they should actually unite with the shops, as well as the students to find a resolution there. You see the first part we see is “Instead, lawmakers have focused on new waiting period and age restrictions for buyers of semiautomatic rifles“, yet the second part that was ignored by many is: “a 20 year old bought an AR-15 with an expired ID“, so this part needs even more issues. The NRA could help in lowering pressures. The fact that a shop did not take proper actions for the sale of an automatic weapon should be examined. When we see that the shopkeeper would lose their license for life by selling to a person with an expired ID, by knowingly selling to a person with a false ID and by not lodging the right papers, the shops would higher the threshold of selling weapons in the first place, which is not the worst idea. If I go into a shop buying a Remington Model 700, or SVD Dragunov 7.62 Sniper Rifle, I would expect it come with a certain amount of actions. Let’s be clear, these are $1500-$3500 rifles, they will optionally end lives (in my case a Bambi or two), I would expect having to show my valid non expired fire arms license, proper valid identification (driver license or passport) and an ID that confirms my looks (photo) and my current address. If I need that, to get $300 credit on a TV or Chrome book, why not a rifle? I’ll tell you something more; the actual shooters either recreational or competitive would have no issue with any of that. They have children too (many of them at least), they want their kids to be safe.

Yet the video at a later stage shows issues with the way it is presented. They made the claim that only 1% of all shootings was done by people with Mental health problems and I do not believe to be accurate, in addition, when ‘shootings‘ are mentioned, there is a lot of data missing, which remains the issue and remains the cornerstone of the opposing NRA, and in all honesty, as a data analyst, it gets to me too. The proper population (people doing that deed) is too often not known. For example, how many of all the shootings were done by convicted felons back on the street, or shootings because of crimes in progress? Because convicted felons are the perpetrator of a shooting with an illegal firearm. When you are a convicted felon you cannot have a firearm, ever! This is for what I am almost 99% certain changes that statistic as shown in the Washington Post video completely, so we get misrepresentation.

This is what makes the gun control laws fall over. They do give an excellent example on the 10 year ban that had been in place and this is a positive part, because that shows the drop of events and the resurgence of fatalities after the ban was lifted and that is an important part. So could that have been an option to work with? If properly addressed yes, but doing so would require other steps to be taken and if that is done with the assistance of the NRA it would become a much better solution, one that sticks, one that sticks long term.

The second article ‘Students take charge of gun-safety movement with some help from existing groups‘ (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/students-take-charge-of-gun-safety-movement-with-some-help-from-existing-groups/2018/02/20/eeeb8c58-166d-11e8-92c9-376b4fe57ff7_story.html) gives us “More than 250 students braved cold rain the next morning and marched 1½ miles, giving speeches using a megaphone borrowed from Women’s March organizers“, as well as “new momentum across the country to enact firearms restrictions. And the grass-roots campaigns that have sprung up in high school hallways among angry and tearful teenagers are now attracting attention from national groups demoralized after a string of shootings prompted no political response“. It is the second part that is actually more important. When we see ‘attracting attention from national groups demoralized after a string of shootings prompted no political response‘, you see, these grass-roots campaigns were always relying on emotions, always stating emotional truths, yet they were bringing factual falsehoods as I saw it. This is not getting anyone anywhere. These students are not raving, they are asking questions and they are asking very good questions and the politicians in their way cannot trivialise good quality questions, they now have to deal with the issue, they can no longer trivialise the issue and put aside as the grass-roots people allowed them to do. There is a re-invigoration and that is a good thing. As a former shooter, I have no issue with that, or with the need to be serious about owning a gun or rifle. This is seen in “Anti-gun groups are going out of their way to claim distance from the student activists while praising their efforts“, they are seeing that these students are making headway in the way the anti-gun groups have never been able to get. With: “The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is starting to talk to students about rallies planned for March and expects to set aside money to help students who can’t afford to travel to the events“, you see, we now have the setting of a rally, that could rival the Anti-Vietnam rallies we saw on TV in the 60’s. Hundreds of busses driving thousands of people to Washington DC, and it’s only February now; so there is every chance that this summer in Washington will be one of the most enterprising and exhilarating summer that Washington has seen for decades. Even as a pro-gun person, I hope that they pull it off. I truly do believe that the business is way overdue for a massive overhaul and in that respect there are many gun shops that are responsible, but there is wildfire too. You see, guns are still a business and the NRA is about being responsible on one side and on being there for the arms business on the other side. When we look at the NRA site, we see in the history of it: “Dismayed by the lack of marksmanship shown by their troops, Union veterans Col. William C. Church and Gen. George Wingate formed the National Rifle Association in 1871. The primary goal of the association would be to “promote and encourage rifle shooting on a scientific basis,” according to a magazine editorial written by Church“, the second that matters is: “Due to the overwhelming growth of NRA’s shooting programs, a new range was needed. Gen. Ammon B. Crichfield, adjutant general of Ohio, had begun construction of a new shooting facility on the shores of Lake Erie, 45 miles east of Toledo, Ohio. Camp Perry became the home of the annual National Matches, which have been the benchmark for excellence in marksmanship ever since. With nearly 6,000 people competing annually in pistol, smallbore and high-power events, the National Matches are one of the biggest sporting events held in the country today“, this shown the NRA in its origin, the forward momentum of quality use of firearms, not any illegal act in any way.

There is one part that requires illumination, yet the bulk of ALL will remain silent on it. The best part we can find is the ATF that reported two parts, the first is that more than 5 million firearms were imported into the USA, 20% from Austria (most likely due to Glock). The total import represents 30% of all weapon sales, giving us that 70% are American firearms. We cannot get a clear revenue picture because most media did not seem to take the effort to find out, but the ATF gave us that $62 million in taxation was collected, making this optionally a billion dollar plus market and that is merely the legal sales part. This was in 2016, and we know that 2017 will have much higher revenues. Now an additional side is that one source (at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/2017-is-second-biggest-year-for-gun-sales-ever-might-top-2016/article/2627883) gave that a survey gave the information that 67% of the buyers got one for home protection. It makes sense, if they all did it for the sport; the US would have had a lot more Olympic gold medals in the shooting category. So when we consider this part, we see that the NRA (even seen on their website www.nra.org) has a ‘AFFILIATED CLUBS, RANGES AND BUSINESSES‘ category, in a billion dollar business industry, in a time when economic issues are the highest priority in America, that side would not want any hindrance on revenue, making legislation the one part that gives options and safety to the people.

In this Deutsche Welle (at http://www.dw.com/en/8-facts-about-gun-control-in-the-us/a-40816418) gave us a header that should be important to look at. With “how one loophole undermines gun control” we see the following: “According to the ATF, anyone can sell a gun without an FFL from their home, online, at a flea market or at a gun show as long as he or she is not conducting the sale as part of regular business activity“, this is an issue when we realise that guns are at times like cars. They get used and many have a short term ‘dedicated‘ feel for their rifle (unlike many hunters), so when we consider: “GLOCK is set to release new features on some existing models later this year“, and we realise that security guards and many individuals tend to ‘want’ the latest model, just like their car and mobile phone, we get a screwed statistic and in that a loophole the size of the Grand Canyon. What I find puzzling is that the ATF could have done something about this issue years ago, yet both Democrat and Republican houses do not seem to have been active and more important media active in stopping this gap. It is important because from that point, any ‘decent 1st gen buyer’ ends up selling their gun to optional or convicted criminals. Those groups tend to be very willing to buy a used gun at 90 cents to the dollar (and avoid checks) which makes the seller very happy that he/she got a good deal on a second hand weapon, yet it makes for an indecently less secure America. And this has not been on any of the American articles I saw, merely a German one. So is this because the Germans are a lot cleverer than Americans, or is the media actually part of the problem here? I let you decide, but when we consider Fox News Insider talking to gun rights activist Emily Miller who states: “She argued it’s a purely political move because the administration knows that raising the minimum age for purchasing one specific weapon — which kills about 40 people per year in the U.S. — will not do anything to change the crime statistics in America“, which is absolutely true, yet neither Fox News, or Emily Miller is raising the ATF part that Deutsche Welle is raising (at http://insider.foxnews.com/2018/02/21/white-house-criticized-jaw-dropping-statement-raising-minimum-age-buy-ar-15s), so was this merely a pro-gun talk from both sides? So as we agree with Emily Miller with: “like Texas church shooter Devin Patrick Kelley — should have been red-flagged during background checks“, yet both him and Nikolas Cruz could have still acquired a gun through home sales, all ‘perfectly’ legal and no background checks, so why is it that we do not see a larger exposition to the ATF loophole? Even as a pro-gun person, I am appalled that a loophole this large exists and it seems that the media in America remains unaware (optionally is intentionally being kept in the dark) of such a weakness. This one time that I agree with Rush Limbaugh as he states “Bashing the NRA Isn’t Going to Do It” (I am still in shock I agreed on anything with him), I feel uncertain that concealed weapons will do it as proposed by a few people. Now I agree that having guns for protection in schools is almost the one remaining point. Yet, who should be there?
Should there be more security? Actual trained armed professional protecting students? I am not in favour of arming teachers as they have never been properly trained, and even if we laugh at Betty White holding a .357 magnum and we know that she is the one lady we would not want to piss off, even when she is unarmed. I personally do not see that such pressure should be with a teacher as that person will want to talk down the optional shooter. So in the end, their hesitation will give the shooter another weapon and optionally more victims. In addition, the stress levels handed to teachers would be disastrous to schools and education.

In all this the ATF loophole is still not shown anywhere, so I will let you decide on how this is to be addressed. We can equally argue that the true professionals (like the NRA) have not raised the issue either, that might be the most damning part in the NRA house and one that requires almost immediate debate in the American households. It also gives rise that those selling their weapon second hand should be given an option. Perhaps it is a new market, a growing market where the businesses in selling arms will have a 2nd hands collection, perhaps for those who want to dip their toe in the water of becoming an owner of a firearm. It would stop unchecked arms falling into the hands of whoever sells them to whoever has the cash to buy that second-hand fire arm. Is that not a firm first step in lowering the chance of the wrong person ending up with a firearm? It would be merely a first step, but it is one that could actually make a difference.

 

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Removing the right of choice

Fox News had an opinion piece 2 days ago that only now met my eyes. Now, for the most, apart from some Guardian opinion pieces, I tend to stay away from them. Yet, this one caught my eye because not only was the situation upsetting. The issue that Americans use their right to free speech to deny others the right to choose (to some degree) is another matter and it became clear that I should give my view in all this.

The title ‘Is the West finally pushing Saudi Arabia to squelch its version of radical Islam?‘ First off, why on earth do we see the need ‘forcefully silence or suppress‘ the choice of Islam? Now, I am merely a Christian in this, but I do not see any reason here. In the second, the setting of ‘radical Islam‘ is equally an issue. What makes it radical? That is not me being clever, it is an actual question. When does any religion become ‘radical’?

Now, I am merely quoting Wiki here (just the easiest part), and important that as a Christian and not armed with a knowledge of Arabic, I might wrongfully quote her, so be aware of that. With: “In the 18th century, a pact between Islamic preacher Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and a regional emir, Muhammad bin Saud, brought a fiercely puritanical strain of Sunni Islam first to the Najd region and then to the Arabian Peninsula. Referred to by supporters as “Salafism” and by others as “Wahhabism”, this interpretation of Islam became the state religion and interpretation of Islam espoused by Muhammad bin Saud and his successors (the Al Saud family), who eventually created the modern kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932“, you see, my issue, perhaps partially better stated as my grievance with Nina Shea is not that she is a lawyer or a Christian, but that she is both. That one nation that has been hypocrite towards empowering outspoken Christians and Christian puritans at nearly every twist and turn of every American administration since WW1 is now speaking out against another puritan based religion? How screwed up is that?

And the fact that we also see in the Fox News pages that she currently is a leader of a campaign for Christians threatened with genocide by ISIS, is even worse. As American Presidents have refused to name the Armenian Genocide as such because of concerns over alienating Turkey, with former president Barack Obama being the latest weakling in that long line of individuals in denial. And when we get to alienating Turkey? Turkey alienated them self for a long time, going all the way back to 2001 and they only alienated themselves stronger with nearly everyone after that. So genocide is only recognised when it is in the interest of US political policies? How hypocrite is that? So even as this happened less than a year ago, we see: “But although ISIS’ genocidal intent has long been clear, the extent of the group’s atrocities has remained murky. Local authorities and human rights organizations have made some attempts to compile lists of victims. According to those lists, between 2,500 and 5,000 Yazidis had been killed by ISIS while over 6,000 had been kidnapped. But the UN has not yet been able to independently verify these figures” (source: www.foreignaffairs.com), so how should we see these differences?

Personally I have no issue with people and their religion, you see they can be a puritan as they want to be, and until they start pushing that onto us (read: me) they are fine. I have absolutely no regard for any Christian pushing their values onto others, in that I am quite happy to see the separation of state and church to be forever. There is in equal measure another issue, you see, puritan is often seen as ‘against pleasure‘, which is not always the case and that makes that discussion a lot harder, for what sets the definition of Puritan?

So when we see the quote from Nina Shea that gives us: “Now Europe is finding its voice with a new willingness to pressure the Saudi Arabian government to end its spread of extreme Islamic ideology, known in the West as Wahhabism“, so she has set ‘puritan‘ as ‘extreme version of‘. The question is on one side is what constitutes a puritan version as such and even if so, the Vatican forced Christianity into the world, whilst under its flag committed genocide by removing no less that 11 civilisations. The church and greed have gone hand in hand for centuries whilst the nobility, or should that be in modern tongue ‘Big Business’ have not been held accountable since before World War 1. The bible approved of slavery and in Matthew 19:14 and Mark 10:13 stated ‘Let the children come to me‘, Catholic priests saw that as an optional clear signal to fuck every young boy in town (whenever possible). So as the Holy See was considering thousands of priests actively taking the cherry from young boys for over 50 years, how many went to prison? In that light the media is equally to blame, until the movie Spotlight got the limelight in the Academy Awards, millions of Americans remained in denial. Even as the Boston Globe exposed it in 2002, it would take 13 years, until after the movie was released that the larger part of the media changed their tunes, the church still has that much power. So as we oppose one form of puritan religion, we see the outrages acts of our own religions and in that regard I have an issue with certain settings.

In addition we see: “As I told Congress in testimony last July, 16 years after the 9/11 attacks – led and carried out primarily by Saudis” we see yet another issue. In the first, this attack was done by Al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Osama Bin Laden, who was indeed born Saudi, yet he was banished from Saudi Arabia in 1992, 9 years before the event. More important, their family came from the Yememi Kindah, so another ‘faith’ altogether, in that regard, when we consider that Kindites converted to Judaism following the conversion of the Ḥimyarite kings, which happened roughly 1500 years ago, so why is she not blaming Israel in all this? It seems to me that Nina Shea has no religious agenda; she has a political one and is willing to play Saudi Arabia towards her needs. In the part that we accept that Al-Qaeda was made up from Islamic Extremists and Salafists, there is the legitimate question on how many of the members of Al-Qaeda are (still) Saudi, but is that even possible to grasp? There are so many splinter organisations, active all over the Middle East, In Yemen is gets even more of an issue where they are fighting the Houthi’s. The New York Post gave us two weeks ago: “An immigrant from Saudi Arabia suspected of applying to join an al-Qaeda training camp has been arrested on a visa fraud charge in Oklahoma, according to a report. The FBI recently discovered Naif Abdulaziz Alfallaj after his fingerprints matched those taken from a document found in Afghanistan“, it makes matters worse and less clear. It is not a clear picture for those getting all the information, for people like Nina Shea who are willing to ‘filter’ data before their presentation make matters worse, we do not only get a distorted picture, we get more non-truths (at times non-verifiable truths, or speculations) and as such the picture shift a little more. We can argue that to some Saudi citizens desire a life of ‘action’ in perhaps the wrong direction is preferred over whatever they had before. We have all had those moments. I myself have argued within myself to find 1-2 paedophilic priests and hang them in the nearest tree without trial, so should I join some anti-religion and blow up churches? Of course not, that would be just insane, but some might do just that.

So when we consider ‘members of the Ku Klux Klan planted and detonated dynamite at the 16th Street Baptist Church‘ we also need to see that J. Edgar Hoover had secret recordings that proving the involvement of guilty parties (according to some sources), he also ensured that a court could not use them as evidence to prosecute the attackers, making it more difficult to convict. For 14 years after the bombing, none of the men were prosecuted for their crime. The first one to be arrested (and convicted) was Robert Edward Chambliss in 1977. So we, Americans and non-American Christians alike have closets full of skeletons, perhaps when it comes to certain matters we should not be the judging or reforming parties in the matters of other nations.

Now, there are a few sides that do bare consideration.

Even if we agree with: “In 2010, a top U.S. Treasury counterterrorism official warned that without Saudi education reform “we will forever be faced with the challenge of disrupting the next group of terrorist facilitators and supporters.”“, Saudi Arabia is a sovereign state, it has its rights and it has forever been a Muslim state. You see, until the oil prices went down and the profits declined, America remained unwilling to hear any level of criticism on Saudi Arabia, making a lot of the matters in play hypocrite at best.

The next ‘wrongful representation‘ is “The West seems to be finally waking up. The new assertiveness shows official recognition of the link between Islamist ideology and terror, and our governments must keep it up“, you see, I see this as “as the profits are declining and as Saudi Arabia is now set to be a growing force beyond the petrochemical industry” we see issues because the ‘link between Islamist ideology and terror’ has been known for a long time and seen as such. Hamas, Hezbollah are the clearest ones. There is the Muslim Brotherhood, and plenty of others, whilst the PLO was delisted as a terrorist organisation is now again rearing its tail by no longer recognising the state of Israel, so that could escalate again. In addition we see that only the UK saw the Orange Volunteers as a terrorist organisation, I wonder why the US did not see it that way. So whatever makes that list is also very dependent on how they cross the United States of America (speculation on my side), so as the sovereign nation of Saudi Arabia is becoming a growing centre of commerce and an economic power we start seeing more anti-Saudi events. Yet the US will happily sell all the weapons and planes they can for now. Nina also refers to a report that was classified and forced into the open in 2016 regarding the Saudi textbooks (at https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/08/17/international-home/document-state-dept-study-on-saudi-textbooks.html), it is 148 pages, so read it there (the PDF was too large to place here).

My issue in this is not the paper; it is the chance of comprehending it all, it is linked to hundreds of books, to hundreds or issues all linked to the Koran and to the rights that Saudi Arabia has as a sovereign nation. We might not agree and as Christians we might to a certain degree oppose outside of Saudi Arabia, but its sovereign rights are as they wanted it, linked to the Muslim faith. We need to recognise that we are not all alike, that others have their rights and they need not be based on democracy. However we must also recognise that ‘democracy’ in America and largely in Europe is set towards what the rich and powerful want it to be. If you disbelief that then try to change laws in America that makes Wall Street criminally accountable. Good luck getting that done within the next 50 years!

You see, in support of my view, I would like to call attention to page 3, where we see “The national identity of Saudi Arabia is deceptively simple. It is an absolute monarchy“, so what makes a monarchy absolute? The Netherlands is a monarchy, so is Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain and a few others. So as these are predominantly Christian monarchies, are they not absolute or dangerous? Perhaps they are merely seeing eye-to-eye with the US and not that much of an economic threat? The EU and the ECB simmered down the European nations as threats is another view and it is for people with better economic degrees than mine to make a call on that. Again a speculation from my side, but it seems to me that the US would prefer every nation to be a republic, so that the larger corporations can sweep in and reduce that national population into a spreadsheet and reduce the abilities of those being a hindrance, a non-consumer or a liability.

We can take any view on these matters, but in the end we see a person with a rightful opinion get the centre stage all the way to the US Congress, whilst we consider her quote: “Germany finally pressed Saudi Arabia to close the King Fahd Academy in Bonn in spring 2017, according to a 2016 Deutsche Welle report. It first came under investigation 14 years earlier for alleged ties to al Qaeda“. The question that is here is ‘It first came under investigation 14 years earlier for alleged ties to al Qaeda‘, so was that ever proven? That is the part that Nina Shea does not want you to know; in addition there is the part that was in the Deutsche Welle. ‘Now, the King Fahd Academy is about to close its doors of its own accord‘, which she did not mention. In addition (at http://www.dw.com/en/controversial-saudi-school-in-bonn-to-close/a-19511109), we see the clear mention of ‘Moving beyond oil‘, it seems that Europe and the US stayed very silent whilst the oil profits were flowing their way making a lot Nina states even more hypocrite. So as Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is pushing stronger towards his “Vision 2030“, we see that slowly his reforms are catching hold, there is momentum and there is additional evidence that it is a worry for the United States, particularly the people who were having benefits on the matters before Vision 2030. When we consider the rumour from last month when we were introduced to “The new policy means Apple is administering collection and remittance of tax to authorities at a rate of 20 percent in Armenia and Belarus; 5 percent in Saudi Arabia; 18 percent in Turkey; and 5 percent in United Arab Emirates” we see the clear benefit for Apple to grow in Saudi Arabia, yet in that it could cost the US 20 cents to every dollar pushed to Saudi Arabia and as Apple tends to think in tens of billions, the US is about to lose out of a pretty penny they desperately need. In addition with Amazon and Google gaining tech hubs there, the loss of revenue and data is about to cost the US a lot more and in this greed driven economy that is what has been setting plenty of people over the rails and into the sea of chaos, frustration and outcry. So as Saudi Arabia ends up getting 5 data centres, how many will not be upgraded in the US or Europe in the near future? How much is that going to cost them?

These are all matters linked to the opinion of Nina Shea, because if that was not the case we would not have seen “These events are being driven by Western governments that are now pushing hard for the government of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to pull back from Wahhabist support – a push that appears to be working“, you see, the fact that (some) schools closed on their own accord was not mentioned, neither is any part of Vision 2030 which has been on the front page of the Saudi plans of actions for almost 2 years now and in addition, when we see “For decades European and U.S. leaders bit their tongues while the Saudi governments spent billions of dollars indoctrinating Sunni Muslim communities“, whilst not stating that the oil money flowing into these places was too good to ignore is equally an issue because it shows us to be hypocrite and it shows Saudi Arabia to be business oriented. OK, I will give you that the last part is not entirely correct, but why did Europe and the US bite their tongues? If they were so morally high we would have seen a lot more, an issue that never happened.

So who will Nina Shea blame for that? I reckon we will leave it non-mentioned (for now).

Finally we need to look at her statement “Tiny Belgium, population 11.27 million, has sent more Islamic fighters to Syria per capita than any other European country“, so when we see the Wall Street Journal (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/europe-balks-at-taking-back-isis-fighters-1518557328) where we see the quote “An estimated two to three dozen Belgian foreign fighters are in detention in Syria and Iraq, another Belgian official said“, so as we consider an unrelated statistic like “Hospital medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States. That’s 700 people per day, notes Steve Swensen“, the fact that we see the mention of 36 Belgium fighters in Syria in a pool of 5000, seems to be too irrelevant to use as a focal point in her presentation, whilst in the US 700 people a day die in Hospitals through mere errors. She has the wrong focus as illumination in her presentations. You see, it would not have mattered if she had mentioned the number of Belgium fighters and the total pool of ‘extremists’ but she did not want that, she wanted the hypocrite limelight, so I will happily keep a focus on her and how she tries to misinform the people around her next.

In all this Fox News should get an equal share in the blame by not setting the stage properly. By leaving too much unstated we should consider that the reliability of Fox News and what they present is equally taking a turn downwards.

In the end

In the end this was less about speaking for Saudi Arabia (they can do that themselves perfectly well), then speaking against Nina Shea. I find this a hatched job that should not have been placed on Fox News the way it was. Whatever points she could have made was drowned out by the misrepresentation that I see them to be and in several fields in many ways. This requires me to add her mention of ‘Islamist terror has replaced chocolate as Belgium’s best known export‘, you see the best export the Belgium ever had was beer, the finest in the world. And even as we agree that their chocolates are the best, we need to see that terrorism is not their export, or their best known export. Perhaps their flaw was to have the most cordial of borders in Europe, together with Sweden, yet as Sweden is up in the north and Belgium is caught between the Netherlands, Germany and France, there is no doubt that whatever they get came initially from one of the three other nations and guess what, Nina made no mention of that either. Perhaps because she was in doubt whether it was a good idea to piss the other three nations off? Again, merely speculation from my side, but in the end, we have seen in evidence from reputable sources that the economy has been a central reason in creating extremism, a part that has hit Belgium and several other nations. That too remains unmentioned.

 

 

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They had been warned

Only hours ago, the NY Times gives us a part that wants to makes me want to go ‘I told you so!‘, but I will not. With ‘The U.N.’s Uncomfortable Truths About Iran‘, Nikki Haley gives us the goods from a report published a week ago (at https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/17/opinion/nikki-haley-united-nations-iran.html). The quote: “A panel of experts found that Iran is violating a United Nations weapons embargo — specifically, that missiles fired by Yemen’s Houthi rebels into Saudi Arabia last year were made in Iran“, part of these issues I raised in ‘Disney’s Yemeni Cricket‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2018/02/04/disneys-yemeni-cricket/) two weeks ago. The part I had not looked at is seen in Nikki’s article. She captures it perfectly in: “The mullahs in Iran don’t want to hear this news, because it proves Iran is violating its international agreement. Die-hard defenders of the Iran nuclear deal don’t want to hear it because it proves, once again, that the Iranian regime can’t be trusted. And some members of the United Nations don’t want to hear it because it is further proof that Iran is defying Security Council resolutions, and the pressure will be on the U.N. to do something about it“. Yet, the UN is not acting, is it? The Guardian on Jan 11th gives rise to the ‘need’ that the US is not tearing up the Iranian nuclear deal. With “the three EU signatories to the deal insisted that Iran was respecting the agreement signed in 2015” they are making a reference to the UK, France and Germany. The fact that we see: “Federica Mogherini, said the deal, denounced by Trump as the worst ever made, had in reality “made the world safer and prevented a potential nuclear arms race in the region”“, which might hold some truth in regards to the fact that it was the worst deal, but that is pretty much it. In addition she gives us “any doubts the EU harboured over Iran’s development of ballistic missiles, or its overall policy of interference across the Middle East, were separate from the nuclear deal – also known as the JCPOA“. Now the part in the Guardian happened a week after the actual attack. I think that the entire event is a sham. I think that the three nations had been clearly briefed on the entire Houthi matter, as well as the fact that the three parts that Nikki Haley gives us is on par, the EU is merely in denial, because after all the wasteful blunders and failures they had signed up for, another failure is a lot more than any of the three could handle. The intelligence services did what they needed to do, but here it is again short-sighted side in all this, whilst they remain nationally protective, for now that is.

So is that true?

Well that is the issue. Apart from e not having the original texts, there are a few issues that Nikki is completely correct in, yet in the end she is not (not completely at least). When we look at United Nations Security Council Resolution 1929, we see “The resolution updates and adds to the list of technical items related to nuclear and missile proliferation that are banned for transfer to and from Iran“, which makes the view of Nikki Haley correct, then there is “Iran is subject to a new regime for inspection of suspicious cargo to detect and stop Iran’s smuggling. States should inspect any vessel on their territory suspected of carrying prohibited cargo, including banned conventional arms or sensitive nuclear or missile items. States are also expected to cooperate in such inspections on the high seas“, so is this enough, can we state that the arming of Houthi’s in Yemen is a ‘smuggling operation’, or ‘a classified shipment’ in support of Houthi’s? You see, the classification is everything in this limelight.

The resolution holds a lot more, yet most of that is directed at shipments to Iran and/or nuclear materials. Yet now we get to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which makes the view of Nikki Haley wrong. Here we see: “Resolution 2231 calls for Iran to refrain from activity related to nuclear-capable missiles (“Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology“, however, the Deutsche Welle give us: “according to diplomats the language is not legally binding and cannot be enforced with punitive measures“, so basically, Nikki is in spirit very correct, yet in black letter law, there is no clarity and more important, no punitive option. In all this, we see that top EU diplomat, Federica Mogherini was correct.

In the spirit of it all, Iran seems to become a bigger player and a much larger danger to any level of Middle Eastern stability. Nikki ends the article with “Today, armed with this evidence, we have the chance to rein in Iran’s behavior and demand that it live up to its international agreements that discourage conflict. But if action is not taken, then someday soon, when innocent Saudi civilians are killed by Iranian weapons, the chance for peace will be lost.

I am not sure of that, you see, just like Turkey, Iran will do whatever it pleases and the US knows that, as did the three players (UK, France and Germany), who are desperately trying to hold on the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) like it is the golden fleece.

However, only 4 hours ago Reuters treats us to: “Britain, the United States and France want the United Nations Security Council to condemn Iran for failing to stop its ballistic missiles from falling into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group and commit to take action over the sanctions violations, according to a draft resolution seen by Reuters“, with “The U.N. Security Council has banned the supply of weapons to Houthi leaders and “those acting on their behalf or at their direction.” It can also blacklist individuals and entities for threatening the peace and stability of Yemen or hindering aid access” we see the other part the Nikki mentioned and here she is proven right. Even as Iran claims that it is fabricated, there is enough evidence, that the parts are indeed from Iranian missiles, which invalidates their side in all this. The most striking part is the part that both Nikki Haley and Reuters are giving us and that part seems to be ignored by too many. The mention of: “Some members of the United Nations don’t want to hear it because it is further proof that Iran is defying Security Council resolutions, and the pressure will be on the U.N. to do something about it” is a much larger issue. Is it because they are unwilling to act, or has the coin toppled in the many outstanding issues in play and the UN is now unable to do anything?

That part is more important, because that means that the UN has no longer options to set issues against rogue nations like Iran, it could be a renewed signal for North Korea to do whatever it pleases as well and that could give more worries regarding stability in Far East Asia as well.

The question becomes can the situation be diffused? Should Iran comply and seize all missile shipments, it will change the Houthi field. They will not win (they never could) but a larger consideration to remove Houthi forces and start larger humanitarian aid would become increasingly more realistic. The bad side is that the Houthi’s would go underground so the humanitarian aid groups would have to deal with sabotage and armed strikes on a daily basis if no green zone can be established. That part is also no longer a real issue as we got only a few days ago that civilian life in Aden is safe, stable and calm, with all signs of life returning to normal, almost three years after diplomats and UN staff fled Aden. Saudi Ambassador to Yemen Mohammad Al Jabir also mentioned that recent demands made by a single social strait, which later led to clashes, have been calmed and resolved. We get this from the Asharq Al-Awsat Newspaper (at https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1170916/saudi-ambassador-yemen-says-arab-coalition-proved-efficiency-resolving-aden), the issue now becomes, will Iran back off, or continue in its actions to remove stability from the Middle East, that alone gives support to Nikki Haley and her view regarding Iran, If she is proving correct and Iran remains on the path they are now, we should consider that soon enough, the JCPOA will not be worth the paper it was printed on, because if Iran can play games to this extent, there will be absolutely no guarantee that Iran will not break word and move on their path to enrich Uranium, I have no doubt in that regard, the issue has been diminished to a mere when they will start, there is no longer an ‘if’ in the matter.

In my view, these matters are only increasing stresses and pressures between Israel and Iran, they were never cordial, but now they are at an all-time high on the volatility aggressive response scale and that is mainly due to the Syrian issues in play. This now gives more and more rise to the dangers of escalations and the moment this happens all bets are off. The Guardian gives us: “Emboldened by a belief that Assad is winning, Iran is turning its eyes, and guns, on Israel – or so Israeli leaders believe. Their “red lines” – forbidding a permanent Iranian military presence in Syria and the transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah – are being ignored”, Another source gave us much earlier (November 2016) that “the Chief of Staff of the Iranian armed forces announced to commanders of the Iranian fleet that Iran may establish naval bases in the future far from its shores”, which was Major general Mohammad Bagheri at that point, in that address both Syria and Yemen were raised as options. Now, if this is happens in Syria the IDF would reacts and Iran will plunge the Middle East in another war, if it is in Yemen, there is every indication that this will set off the legitimate Yemeni government as well as Saudi Arabia optionally starting a war with those players, giving again full support to the views Nikki Haley gave earlier, more important, at that point any UN representative avoiding that discussion better give up their seat quick and proper as the fallout of that discussion will impact the confidence levels of the UN on an almost global scale and it again would open the door for North Korea to do whatever it pleases. A scenario that roughly 98.4% of the UN nations who are currently part of the UN will not be too happy about either.

As I personally see it, too many issues have become interconnected, it has become a mess that several nations want to steer clear off, they want to ignore it and/or they remain in denial. It would make for an excellent front page though, when the moment comes and we get to read ‘UN in denial of Iranian actions’, how will you react?

 

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A changing language

Europe is in several stages of unease; there is the spending of Mario Draghi, Brexit remains on the mind of many. Yet, the one change that is now more and more in the foreground of many is the problem that Turkey seems to be. There are those set on the stage to end Turkey as a NATO member and subsequent becoming part of the EU, there are things going forward and backward, but the language involved in all this is changing, so are the settings for the meetings yet to come. In all this the latest Turkish act to double down on the Russian S-400 purchases in 2020. There is, as I stated unease and as I see it the entire EU-Turkey mess is now a dance around unclear settings. Yet the settings are founded on what some would call, clear and blatant lies.

So to recap, on March 26th in the Bulgarian port city of Varna with the attendance of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, there will be a summit. The given setting is “to discuss EU-Turkey relations as well as regional and international issues“, this we got from the spokesperson for Donald Franciszek Tusk. The meeting held at the leaders’ level will be hosted as a working dinner, a statement signed by Tusk and Juncker said. Yet soon thereafter it begins. With: “Ankara has been stressing that the EU fails to understand the challenges that the county faces, and calls on all sides to take Turkey’s concerns into consideration, particularly against the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which carried out the failed July 15 coup attempt“, yet how is that true when it has been clear for the longest time “Turkey witnessed the bloodiest coup attempt in its political history on July 15th, 2016, when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan“, this is the quote from Aljazeera, but they were not the only one giving this.

The Turkish government blames the failed coup attempt on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher and businessman who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States since 1999. So as we accept that the Gülen movement is classified as a terrorist organization by Turkey under the assigned names Gülenist Terror Organisation (Fethullahçı Terör Örgütü, FETÖ) or Parallel State Organisation (Paralel Devlet Yapılanması, PDY), we see the link offered, yet another path in this is “MIT officials admitted that they received the very first intelligence report about a possible attack on July 15, only hours before their own headquarters was under heavy artillery fire“, as well as “As of today, more than 100,000 people have been sacked or suspended and 50,000 arrested in an unprecedented crackdown. The government has deemed the crackdown necessary to ‘root out all coup supporters from the state apparatus’“. When we consider those parts, we need to realise that the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) was completely out of any loop, which makes Turkish Intelligence not just a flawed setting, it would implicate that it has limited counter terrorism options and no resources to speak of (in intelligence terms).

In opposition to this, there would be enough data to offer that it was an internal issue from within the Turkish military and whatever opposes Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey got a fat target painted on them. This fills and completes the view we need to have of Turkey much better. In support of this we need to consider that one exiled cleric could not have orchestrated the military support that would have been required and that was seen in action. The width of the Turkish military acting seems to be that of an internal star chamber than a clerical imprint on the military, the latter would have given more visibility to other ranking officers within the Turkish armed forces. As this becomes more and more visible and accepted, we are treated to the view on the unacceptable acts against the Kurds yet again, which followed the Turkish official view of the coup that they ‘survived’.

So in this light the setting for March will be one that is a puzzle. You see as Turkey keeps on playing this game, their credibility will only go down further. The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) (at http://www.ecfr.eu/article/essay_eu_turkey_relations_the_beginning_of_the_end_7226) gives us: “Both Turkey and the EU need the continuation of this partnership. It is a matter of definition whether this partnership will be in the form of full membership or in a different form. What is important is not to break the process and not to cause alienation. The need for sustainable EU-Turkey relations obliges both sides to take steps to honour their commitment to integration“, we can accept that, but at this point, is continuation feasible? We see the shifting language that shows that Germany is less and less taken with Turkey, now siding more and more with France on the anti-Turkey alliance. It gets worse for Turkey as we now hear: “A Turkish court on Wednesday denied entry to the German ambassador to Ankara to the hearing of Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-leader of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)“, which we get from http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-court-denies-german-ambassador-entry-to-kurdish-politicians-trial/a-42579957, even as France is trying to work with Turkey regarding a ‘diplomatic road map‘ on Syria, the sounds of accusation of Turkey violating international law was not far behind it, so there is pressures on nearly every level. Only 12 hours ago, Deutsche Welle gave us “Even NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg wouldn’t hazard a guess ahead of this week’s defense ministers’ meeting. He said Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract” (at http://www.dw.com/en/turkish-russian-missile-deal-puts-nato-on-edge/a-42572965), as I said earlier, the language is changing. As we see ‘Turkey needs to clarify the status of the contract‘ that it is about cancelling the contract? Yet in that respect, what would Turkey demand in return? How much is that going to cost and where does that invoice end up? You see, when you consider Reuters with ‘U.S. tells NATO allies spending plans still falling short‘ (at https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-nato/u-s-tells-nato-allies-spending-plans-still-falling-short-idUSKCN1FY013), where we see “Spain has said it will not meet the 2024 target. Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Portugal, Norway and Denmark are also lagging. Hungary expects to meet the goal only by 2026“, as well as “France will increase its defense spending by more than a third between 2017 and 2025, but Germany, is not expected to reach the 2 percent target by 2024“, this gives us that the three large economic anchors of the European Union cannot get there. It is these elements that make me wonder on the changing language involving Turkey. From a setting that would have given a clear rejection of Turkey becoming an EU member, we see the setting of new talks, new events and more ‘collaboration’ projects. I think that France is already learning the hard way that this path leads to nowhere, but the others need Turkey to be a spender here, and Erdogan is using that tactic to his own advantage, because once they are in, you cannot throw them out anymore (the EU that is), not even willingly as the UK is learning the hard way. Even as we accept that to some extent Turkey helps to reduce an influx of Syrian and other migrants and refugees into the EU bloc, the question is to what extent and for which purpose, because once these refugees make it into Turkey, Turkey is either stuck with them or they must ‘divert’ them to another place.

In this, in an earlier blog I mentioned the Visa Free EU travel for Turkey and that they had not met the demands. So as we see “Last week, Turkey manifested determination to restart a new chapter in its ailing relationship with the European bloc by submitting a paper detailing Turkey’s roadmap for the fulfilment of the remaining seven benchmarks of 72 criteria” we need to get worried on the non-committed acts from the EU on the matter which had not been met. It seems like Brussels is trying to find any way to either delay it all or give Turkey a pass, which would be disastrous for several players. This is seen in several articles, in this case the Irish Times gives us: “Instead of formally ending EU membership talks, Dr Merkel said she would look at imposing “real restrictions on economic contact” including through the European Investment Bank, EU aid, World Bank and by blocking talks on expanding Turkey’s customs union agreement with the EU, a move that could hit billions of euro in potential Turkish exports“, whilst the EU themselves was ‘dismissive of call for end to Turkey accession talks‘, stating that this is for the heads of government, European Commission says, so the EU revels in inaction and restrictions in other ways. This is a dangerous and explosive combination.

So even as one issue was the contention in the counter terrorism benchmark which has been the definition of terrorism in the counter-terrorism law that Turkey was called repeatedly to amend in order to comply with European democratic and judicial standards. Now, according to reports, a legal provision will be added soon to the current anti-terror law stating that “any critical expression that does not exceed the boundaries of journalism does not constitute a crime“, how is that enough? As we see the Kurdish issues as shown earlier as well as a new complete failure by the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) should leave anyone a clear indication that not only is the counter-terrorism failing, there is an increased worry that Turkey does not really comprehends the term ‘counter-terrorism’, in support of that fact, or evidence to that, you should talk to the journalists Deniz Yücel, Huseyin Akyol, Ragip Duran, Ayse Duzkan, and Huseyin Bektas. Oh no, you can’t they are in jail! Turkey could have had a genuine excuse, but they lost that option when they denied the German ambassador to Turkey access to the court proceedings. That alone should be regarded as evidence to dismiss the ascension of Turkey to the EU.

And whilst the entire language on Turkey seems to be in a fluid state, the Brexit noise goes on, whilst some are relying on fear-mongering with noise like: “You could have a permanent Operation Stack for 20 miles” regarding shipping between the UK and the EU, ‘could‘ being the operative word. So how large was that ‘stack’ in the 70’s and 80’s? In addition we see the Financial Times (at https://www.ft.com/content/0a8799c6-1190-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277) give us: “Brussels is urging EU leaders to consider radical options such as raiding corporate tax receipts and money raised from selling carbon emission permits to fill a €15bn a year budget hole left by Brexit“, in addition it gives us: “the need to find more money for priorities such as border control and joint defence, mean negotiations are likely to be even more poisonous than previous EU tussles over money“, whilst we see “Some member states don’t want to pay more but they want to do more. Other member states want to receive more“, these elements show the desperate state the EU is in now, that whilst Mario Draghi has printed almost 2 trillion Euro in money for ‘Quantative Easing‘. This relates directly to Turkey, because it shows the desperate EU trying to open a many doors as possible, this is how I see the impact of not dismissing Turkey as an EU member at present. So when we see “impose tougher conditions on access to EU funds as a way to force the likes of Poland and Hungary to comply with EU policies on the rule of law and on asylum” as is a given view on the two needing more money, wanting a stronger voice but cannot contribute. Add to that the earlier pressure from the US for NATO member to do more gives a shifted view of the needed activities within the EU, Turkey is seen as the one floating elements that will allow a few players to keep their heads above water, but it is as I personally see it a desperate act from certain short term viewers, that whilst they also know that it will descent EU elements into chaos. As I (again merely a personal view) see it, it would cripple Strasbourg in getting issues resolved and as Turkey fails to comply with humanitarian sides, it could in equal measure become the puppet for Russia for dislodge other item in consideration, an option honoured by perhaps negating some invoices for S-400 systems, spare parts, training and consultancy? It is merely speculative thinking, but would I be wrong? It would work out very well for Turkey, for the other bloc members a lot less so.

A danger that could have been resolved almost 2 years ago, I will let you ponder on the reasons why the EU never negated this danger.

 

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Pasta Politica Rifugiata

Yes, Italian politics is at times like an Italian meal, chaotic on all levels and that is before the neighbours drop by to quickly say ‘hello’. So as the associated press is informing us on how the G20 members and their spouses are enjoying: “turbot fillet from the North Sea with spinach followed by fillet and cheeks from Friesian beef and for dessert, the guests could choose cheese or raspberries“, we see on the other side of the coin both “the European commission offered to resettle some 37,000 migrants, and relocate about 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece. However, the Estonian authorities didn’t refer to this latest call, but rather focused on another way to deal with the issue” as well as “health workers, volunteers and police officers in southern Italian ports scrambled to identify, assist and send over 10,000 newly arrived migrants to reception facilities, the Italian government threatened to stop allowing NGO rescue ships to disembark migrants at its ports. The EU and its member states acknowledged that Italy’s capacity to host those attempting the sea crossing from Libya is reaching its limits, but did very little to help beyond pledging some additional funds and endorsing an Italian proposal to draft a code of conduct for the NGOs“, we see that the media has been lacking to commit to a decent amount of illumination of events. The latter quote from the EU Observer is directly in opposition with the Deutsche Welle as they give us “The Italian government threatens to close its ports and insists on NGOs signing up to a ‘code of conduct‘.“, so as one tells us that a code of conduct needs to be drawn up, the other one states that the NGO’s need to sign up for one. The BBC is clearly reliable and on the side of the EU Observer as they give us: “A deal has now been reached between France, Germany and Italy to tighten regulations on NGOs and develop a code of conduct” (at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40505337), yet this is not enough, the BBC also gives us: “Ambrogio Cartosio, the chief prosecutor in Trapani, said he felt that the NGOs were somehow encouraging the people smuggling trade. ‘It pushes the traffickers to load the migrants on ever more precarious vessels. They can be sure that after a few miles, they will be picked up by the ships,’ he told me. The buying and selling of people is big business and the human trafficking trade continues to become more sophisticated and organised“, which gives the alarming notion that the NGO’s are propelling human trafficking as the flesh dealers need not concern themselves with the ‘whole trip‘ maximising their profits even further.

In all this Italy, a nation that seems to be ‘jet set’ is stricken by hardship and poverty. As Italy is dealing with a youth unemployment rate of 36.9% and a total unemployment rate of 11.3%, the Italians are feeling the crunch of the cost of living. Even as the search engines are giving us on how ‘affordable’ life in Italy is, we get the clear view that it eludes these people that to meet the cost of living, one needs to have a job. The refugee crises is draining resources even faster than ever before and Italy has no clear option to deal with these 200,000 mouths to feed, with 10,000 arriving merely a week ago. So as we understand that there is a need for a code of conduct, we also need to realise that a man bleeding from the jugular might not have the strength to go over the papers before signing. Even as the amount of refugees getting in via Greece is slowing down, the rush to Italy is only picking up. The BBC article in addition shows on how massive the rivers stream of refugee is through Africa. From Somalia and Senegal, all bound for Libya and then Italy. There is in addition the security factor to consider, with this many refugees, there is no telling how many people of ill will are coming through as well. Even at 0.1% that is an optional 200 extremists. In this we see that the issues involving AISI are now escalating as well. The reality is that even as Sicily is in the Italian south, the lacking administration to register, tag and identify these thousand plus arrivals a day is now compromising the security of Italy. Let’s be clear here! I am utterly convinced that well over 99% is merely trying to escape utter poverty in Africa, that is not in question, yet the rest is optionally not and who are they? With the current situation, once in Italy their path is open to Rome and the Vatican, France, Austria and Switzerland. From there they could vanish into the wind. Apart from the need for a tagging system, there is an additional need. Not merely the need for registration, but the need for identifying the streams of how they got there and how. You see, we are all concerned about the short term issues, that most are forgetting that the facilitators of all this are in it for the long haul. We might not see any results for now, but in the long term we will get a pattern which will aid us in not merely finding the facilitators, but finding out whether it was merely cash or extreme ideology that is driving them. You might think that this is nothing and that I am making a big wind, yet am I? Consider the events of Paris; the moment any extremist would successfully create damage in the Vatican, how long would it be before someone wants the head of the head of AISI staked on a pike on the wall of the Castel Sant’Angelo?

I reckon that call comes within 24 hours of any successful event. The issue is that this situation has been around in Greece as well and so far it seems that there is no effective system in pace and all this has been going on for a few years now, so I reckon that there has been too much short term thinking in all this. So as we consider “The rest of the EU should step up to help Italy host the migrants and asylum seekers, but there is little willingness across the bloc to do this” (at https://euobserver.com/opinion/138458), as we see this, we see yet another failure of the EU, when we read: “Policymakers in Brussels grumble that the men, women and children arriving in Italy are not “real” refugees, but economic migrants – despite the fact that 43% of them are being granted protection on asylum or humanitarian grounds“, it is like watching the pot calling the kettle charcoal on ground of politically correctness. In all this Giulia Lagana is correct on several levels, yet from her point of view forgets a few sides (on perfectly valid grounds), as she looks at the facts and numbers as the senior EU migration and asylum analyst at the Open Society European Policy Institute. There are other considerations that are not on her desk, which is fair enough. In all this, as @laganagan she remains actively tweeting on a daily basis.

So what is to be done?

You see, before you can control a situation, you need to comprehend it. Now, whether the refugee is economic migrants or refugee does not seem to matter much, that person wants a better deal than they have and they will move mountains to get to a place where they could have a future. You the facilitators in all this are another matter. They have goals, and for a person to get from Senegal to Libya requires a massive trip under, at times, the deadliest of conditions. So either there is a support system in place to transport people and it is way too big a trip for one player. Or we are seeing the growth of prostitution through human trafficking in a way we have not ever see organised crime do before. Without data there is no way to tell and without tagging and identifying these people, all the people who arrive, the chances of mapping the options and possibilities, the EU targets will merely be dealing with the consequences until the stream runs dry and the EU as a whole does not have that amount of time.

So as we now see wave after wave of media stating that EU politicians are claiming that Italy is not alone, we need to wonder on what the hell they have been doing in actuality for the last 2 years. You see, Greece was already past the point of buckling and duplicating a police of Greece towards Italy should have been nearly as easy as pie, yet as we see, that was not the case. So what were they doing? So when we read as yesterday’s news that “EU interior ministers on Thursday pledged to back an urgent European Commission plan to help crisis-hit Italy, which has been overwhelmed by a wave of migrants arriving by sea from North Africa“, can we agree that these people have seemingly been doing fuck all?

In this same source (the Local Italian), we see “Central to Thursday’s talks was a European Commission plan which earmarks 35 million euros ($40 million) in aid for Rome as well as proposals for working with Libya and other countries to stem the flow of migrants“, which is a joke to say the least. In addition we see “While no new measures were adopted at the meeting, ministers expressed support for a “plan of action” presented Tuesday by the European Commission which puts in place, “better and more quickly”, certain elements previously agreed upon, according to a European source“, which reads to me like: “we need to get a plan of action, we have not put anything decent in place, but we word it to such complexity to leave the impression something had actually been done“, the media overreaction in all this is as I personally see it a mere facilitation for EU-flaccidness

In this Italy is also making mistakes. This starts with Italy’s Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano. We see this when we see “In order to lower the number of people arriving here, we must reduce the number arriving in Libya“, which is not incorrect, yet the BBC clearly shows that people are coming into Libya from Senegal and Somalia, making the issue a lot larger and cannot be done by just a group of people, this needs support from organised players. If this is not the case, that path would be covered with the cadavers of hundreds of thousands of people who did not survive the trip, which is a mere adaption of applied logic.

The second quote that does not make the cut from the same person is “If border controls in transit countries are effective, then the ‘tickets’ sold by the biggest criminal travel agency in history would lose their value and if the traffickers can’t guarantee an arrival in Europe, their travel agency would go bankrupt,” he said. So in that instance we look around corruption in Africa as well as the fact that these refugees have no internet, are in the dark, so that means that these travellers will continue to come for now. By the time there is an actual impact of incoming refugees these facilitators will have left the shores with a trunk full of cash, living the life people in Europe have not been able to afford for the longest of times.

So to some degree Angelino Alfano is correct, he just has no idea how to go about it for now and that is not something we can blame him for, yet the utter failure the EU is showing to be, there is plenty of blame that can be placed, because when we see a need for a ‘code of conduct‘ for NGO’s whilst this mess has been going on for years and with the issues shown in Greece, it seems that several members of the EU councils have been asleep at the wheel. Is that what they get paid for? #AnyoneForBrexit

These issues will impact the general elections that are now less than a year away, even as we recognise that the only EU-exit party is Northern League with Matteo Salvini, we see in equal measure that his party has no chance of winning so that risk is currently not in play, yet equally no less anti-EU Beppe Grillo is for now still a contender, yet there is no way to see how that goes and unless the refugee is properly dealt with his 5 stars will rise. Still the chance was not as high as it was in France and with their Frexit averted; Italy might not be willing to go there. In the end, Mario Renzi and Berlusconi are not willing to get out of the EU, so the refugee issues will impact them both. It the EU does not decide to get of their fat asses, things might still go wrong in a few ways for the EU, that much is at present a given, as more and more people are realising that the media is playing them for whatever reason they do, we will see a polarising view of the people and consumers. As there is a rising view of ‘Broader questions on distribution of wealth and power are being considered‘ as well as ‘voters are no longer buying the free-market talk‘ we now see that other elements will have stronger influence and in this, the people are becoming more and more distrustful of what the media regards as ‘the news’. This is not the setting of mainstream news media and these so called iPhone reporters. It is the shifting view that we get from often too carefully phrased issues, which are now more and more recognised as generalist speaking of ‘remaining casual‘ and a lack of ‘clearly communicating issues‘. Weirdly enough, that is a side that could impact Italy to a stronger degree. If either Mario Renzi or Berlusconi wants to get a landslide victory, they would merely need to drop youth unemployment rates by 3%-5% before the election that would seal the deal for them.

It will be a messy dish of grub to achieve, yet the need to get something massive done in this Italian Spaghetti drama is requiring no less. A meal might impact it, but the guarantee of a job sets food on the table for a longer time, a growing essential issue for Italians.

In this finality I go back one more time to the Deutsche Welle article. There we saw a few days ago “Joining Cochetel at the report’s launch was Eugenio Ambrosi, director of the International Organization for Migration’s Brussels office. “Let’s not forget that member states in Europe have also a code of conduct – it’s called European law,” he said, “which entails a variety of things, which includes – and I will not stop repeating it – which includes the duty and obligation to show solidarity [with refugees] in fact and not just in words.

As such, we see a clear given quote, which might be seen as evidence given by Eugenio Ambrosi that the EU has been lacking the required need to act in several fields regarding refugees. Even as some claim that the Migrant Crises started in 2015, there is plenty of evidence that the stream started in 2011 when Syrians were trying to flee the Syrian war. The UNHCR reported that refugees exceeded 750,000 by December 2012. So where did the overpaid people working for the EU in Brussels think that these people were going? Not to the places of plentiful Europe? Who were they kidding? So as this mess has been escalating for well over 5 years and there is a shown lack of infrastructure and support systems to deal with the escalations (as I actually also wrote about a few years ago), we see that there is a growing need for the news and the media to take an actual serious look at some of these players. They have been paid extensively until now, which would beckon even more questions.

 

 

 

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