Tag Archives: Deutsche Welle

Is it mere wording?

That is where I am at. The issues are still escalating in Yemen, the issues are a given escalation and no one is proclaiming that either side, Yemen and Saudi Arabia are both innocent. Both made choices, both decided on choices that also clearly indicate that errors were made. Some will call them judgment errors, some will call for perspectives. I tend to call for facts and evidence. Yet we can all agree that no matter how right and just your setting is, in any war, in any act of war, things go pear shaped. Errors will be part of that and the instigator of that error will have to live with that.

It all started Friday morning, when ABC (one amongst many) gives us (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-08-10/yemen-air-strike-dozens-killed-including-children-on-a-bus/10104136) the simple setting: ‘Yemen: Children on a bus among dozens killed in Saudi-led air strikes, Red Cross says‘. We might get angry on this; we might get the feeling that children should always be avoided at all cost. Yet the ABC does not give the people the issue that is at the centre of it, besides the mention of: “It accused the Houthis of using children as human shields and said the strikes were carried out in accordance with international humanitarian law“, and let’s forget the setting of ‘strikes’ and ‘in accordance with international humanitarian law‘ for a moment, I just can’t laugh at his now (mainly because I was at the dentist this morning). You see, Al Jazeera (at https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/08/didnt-find-remains-yemens-survivors-deadly-bus-attack-180812062952530.html) gives us the additional part. The missing part is “a Saudi-Emirati coalition air strike has killed dozens of children in a Houthi stronghold.” Now the fact that Al Jazeera had the news 18 hours ago and ABC gave it on Friday morning, I partially pass for ABC, because information might have been missing, which tends to be the case in the first hours. Yet the setting: ‘dozens of children in a Houthi stronghold‘, so what the EFF were children doing in a Houthi stronghold? If that can be confirmed, it does not merely give rise to the human shield part, it might be evidence and that makes the setting a very different one.

In addition, the Canberra Times gives us 11 hours ago the setting (at https://www.canberratimes.com.au/national/act/saudi-bus-bombing-marks-a-new-low-in-yemen-20180810-p4zwsm.html) “The bus, which is reported to have been taking a group of children to summer camp, was travelling through the crowded Dahyan market in Sa’ada, the capital of Sada province. The region is the traditional homeland of the Houthi rebels who rose up against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in 2014“, it sounds innocent enough. Yet in a war, taking a bus full of children THROUGH a Houthi Stronghold shows a massive lack of insight, does it not? The fact that several newspapers lack that information seems more deceptive conduct than journalism, which is merely my view point on all this. In addition, the Canberra Times, makes light of this with “bombing of a school bus in Yemen probably doesn’t qualify as a war crime because the Royal Saudi Air Force is so incompetent the odds are it just made a mistake“, so the Canberra Times hides behind ‘Credible commentators, including a leading German analyst‘ (no names though, odd is it not?) No, it becomes some ‘silly Arab not knowing how to use a bomber or fighter jet’ anecdote. Yet when we dig deeper, we see all kinds of information that require scrutiny, on both sides, mind you. Another comment here is “the Saudis, even with the active assistance of the Americans and the British, can’t differentiate between hospitals, schools, orphanages and school buses on one hand, and missile launching sites on the other“, this sloppy comment is all absent from a few facts, how were the missiles fired? In addition, the fact that the missiles were fired towards Riyadh and civilian targets is also brushed aside. In addition, the entire setting of how the missiles are fired into Saudi Arabia as well as the fact that both Iran and Hezbollah are part of those firing teams are just as easily brushed aside. So a terrorist organisation is firing missiles at Riyadh and we seem to focus on the most emotional part in the aftermath. I personally call that really bad journalism, I call that emotion creation on a false premise, and now that Fairfax is part of Channel Nine, not that big a surprise, is it?

The fact that this article does not have a name and is merely from ‘the Canberra Times‘ is equally a worry, is it not? The end of the article giving us “are some innocents more equal than others?” is an interesting side, especially in the trivialisation of Iran as well as the absence of Hezbollah, the utter absence of missiles being launched towards the Saudi Capital is also worth noting. In all this, what has the Canberra Times shown other than its sliding regard for journalism?

If we dig, we see that Gulf News gave last Thursday: “165 rebel missiles launched since 2015, according to the coalition“, that is a lot of damage fired, whether they made it or not does not matter, they were fired. The Deutsche Welle gave us last December (at https://www.dw.com/en/how-did-yemens-houthis-obtain-ballistic-missiles/a-41873594), a few niceties. With “The missiles which have been used appear to be a type that was not previously known to be in the arsenals of Yemen before the current conflict broke out. It is known that the previous Yemeni government had invested in different types of ballistic missiles. For example, some were delivered from North Korea, some 15 years ago or so. But it’s not those missiles that appear to have been used right now. The images and information we have shows that this is a different type of missile“, so the Houthis are clearly supplied in some way. A few sources state the ‘evidence’ from the US that the missiles are from Iran. It is indeed most likely, yet not unlike the Deutsche Welle, there is no clear independent confirmation and that is equally important. We can accept that we know (from several sources) that Iran and Hezbollah joined the Houthi ranks, but that does not give rise to the evidence regarding the missile, until an actual missile is independently tested. Several sources show that the Houthis are firing the Burkan 2-H, it is shown to be Iranian (or Yemeni), but no evidence can be shown ruling out (or in) the direct involvement of Iran shipping the missiles in all this. It is more likely than not, yet still unproven.

Now we get to the good part. You see, to fire one of them bad boys, you need a decent launch pad. the more stable the setting, the better the result. We need to realise that a static launch setting is not possible for the firing party, so they need to have something really sturdy, something decently large and metallic. I have not specific details, and as it is based on the Qiam-1, an 11 meter long missile, the setting of a bus being used as a launch platform is not the silliest idea. In addition, there are some issues with the entire smuggling setting, in this Jane’s Intelligence review stated: “it would be difficult to ship entire ballistic missiles to Yemen, suggesting the Burkan-2 is a Scud modified in Yemen for longer range“, that is certainly one setting. The other version (my version) is that it was shipped in 2-3 parts and assembled in Yemen by parties unknown. There is some intelligence that this is why Iran is there, equally reasonable is that engineers are there to teach both Houthi and Hezbollah troops to do these actions, giving them a better bang for the buck (as well as the fact that Houthi forces need to shell out a hell of a lot more towards Iran in the end), all optional settings that have evidentiary support, but not enough to state it as a fact or as a given truth.

All issues linked in all this and all missed by the former Fairfax outlet. In addition, several other sources, merely skated over the facts and the stopped the icing at ‘children dead’. We all agree that this is not a good thing, but the answer on what those kids were doing in a Houthi stronghold is equally important and avoided. That all reeks like Hezbollah and what they have been doing for the longest time (as well as Hamas), Israel has plenty of evidence on that matter.

In this, we also need to set the stage against Al Jazeera in all this. Especially when we see: “Al Jazeera’s Mohammed Adow reports from neighbouring Djibouti on what has been described as the worst attack on Yemen’s children“. In this I question the voice of Mohammed Adow in this. I do not doubt his view, but when he stated ‘the worst attack on Yemen’s children‘. Were children the target? That part lacks evidence as they were, by his own admission ‘in a Houthi stronghold’; one does not mix with the other, does it? When I see: “It targeted a bus carrying children“, was that the case? I am assuming that optionally the bus was the target, yet the wreck shown is that it was right next to a building, it was in a setting where (a little unlikely) missiles were fired from, it was a Houthi stronghold, all parts shown from more than one source. I did state ‘a little unlikely’, for the mere reasons that all missile launches, the ones that made it to YouTube and likewise sources were fired from the open area setting. That does not mean that they all were, but until evidence is given, I am not merely accepting that the bus was a launch platform, merely that a bus could optionally be one, which is not the same. And I am making that distinction, as it matters as a distinction.

Even as several sources are stating that the missiles have too many Iranian ‘Characteristics’, we need to realise that Industrial espionage is not a non-option. (it is extremely unlikely), the fact that none of the parties involved has been able to give enough evidence (real physical one) that these are Iranian missiles, and in this regard I mean independent evidence, the setting is a twofold one and even as we say that when it walks, quacks and swims like a duck, there is still some regard whether it could optionally be a small goose. I know, it is far-fetched in a few ways, but evidence of this nature needs to be beyond all reasonable doubt, making it a lot harder, yet equally more essential. A setting that the press has been skating around for the longest of times and with certain ownership of certain papers changing, that setting will not change any day soon.

From my point of view the setting has changed where we need to distill the truths form several sources, not from one source, it seems that there is enough evidence that one source will in the end intentional or not, not inform you at all. Not even ABC, for whom I have had a much higher regard then most other news media providers. Yemen shows that there is a larger issue in all this and the media seems to cater to the need of emotional imprinting at the cost of the quality of journalism, but that too is merely my own personal view on the matter and I personally do not believe that I am the most impartial source in all this, I will admit to that too.

 

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Oven for (a) Turkey

Yes, normally the life of a turkey is not good, not in the week preceding November 22nd. Yet, that is not the only case, if you are not covered in feathers and let’s say a nation in Europe, at present; your chances are not that much better.

This we see in several settings.

We have all seen the news, the issues around Turkey, their hatred of Kurdistan and the acts that followed through that hatred. Not just the Erdogan setting where one president has been playing any end against the middle in Europe, Yemen and Syria. The simple setting where Saide Inac, 47, who goes by the artistic name Hozan Cane has been detained on June 22 in the western province of Edirne while attending campaign events of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) leading up to Sunday’s parliamentary and presidential elections. Yet, that is not enough, yes this comedy (or is that tragedy) is set where this German-Kurdish singer has been remanded in custody in Turkey on terrorism-related charges. Normally, we would await more info. Yet the Deutsche Welle gives us in addition: “The terror charges against her reportedly relate to scenes she plays in a movie about genocide against Yazidis in Iraq”. That reads as hilarious as optionally reading in the Washington Post that: ‘Emily Blunt was arrested today on suspicion of Manslaughter against her husband and famous movie director John Krasinski, she had reportedly taken him to ‘A Quiet Place’; the man has not been seen for some time‘, so yes, when we compare the issues, where a 35 year young-ling a mere 171 cm tall, took out 191 cm John Krasinsky, who, if I need to remind you looked so gung-ho in the movie 13 hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi that he made Dwayne Johnson look like a pussy. That is the reflective truth of what Saide Inac is going through. Arrested for terrorism and because she played scenes in a movie. So as the Deutsche Welle gives us the goods (at https://www.dw.com/en/kurdish-german-singer-hozan-cane-arrested-in-turkey-on-terrorism-charges/a-44420346), we are wondering whether this is an act of pure stupidity, or is it the Turkish way of saber rattling making Germany give in on some other point of argument they couldn’t win in any other way.

So that is what Turkey has become. Instilling xenophobia, which might be another way to instill the Turkish need for racism and discrimination. It goes even further when we consider the Al Jazeera, where we see: ‘Jordan, Palestine and Saudi Arabia warn Israel against Turkey‘, the influence is apparently growing in Eastern Jerusalem. We can argue that this is merely Turkey seeking the limelight in any way they can, or we can go with the presumption that this is Turkey showing itself to be the tool of Iran.

So when we are treated to: “The report notes that senior officials from the three Arab countries told Israel that Turkey was “extending its influence in Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem” which they said was “part of an attempt by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to “claim ownership over the Jerusalem issue.”“, we need to see that there are different issues in play here. As the Jerusalem Post reported 3 weeks ago, the economic part of “They were at about $2.5 billion in 2016, and in the first 10 months of 2017, Turkish exports to Israel went up another 14%. Turkey’s state air carrier, Turkish Airlines, is also the second most popular airline out of Tel Aviv after El Al, Joseph Dana reported in an opinion piece written for The National.“, it seems strange that such levels of export are endangered as there are plenty of European nations willing to take over such a lucrative contract and as European facilitators replace Turkish Airlines, the state coffers would get an additional hit in a time that they cannot afford to report additional economic bad news, so what gives?

On one side it seems far-fetched that Turkey would make a rash move on such fronts. We can accept to some degree that the setting of opening an embassy is one setting, yet the quote we see is: “Turkey intends to open an embassy in east Jerusalem, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday, days after leading calls at a summit of Muslim leaders for the world to recognize it as the capital of Palestine“, an interesting setting, as history gives us: “Jerusalem is an ancient city located in ancient Judah that is now the capital of Israel. The city has a history that goes back to the 4th millennium BCE, making it one of the oldest cities in the world“, so not only does President Erdogan not have a case, we could equally offer the setting that after that it was property of Italy (and the people of Rome), so there is a second claim, then we get Caliph Umar who decided to travel to Jerusalem in person to receive the submission of the city in April 637, he came from a family that originally controlled Mecca. The Quraysh opposed Muhammad until converting to Islam, giving Saudi Arabia the next claim. After that Pope Urban II at the Council of Clermont in 1095 decided that it was Christian holy land and began the first Crusades. In all this, Turkey has no right of proclamation in any way, so why set the stage for economic segregation? If we are to give any value to George Antonius, founder of modern Arab nationalist history, who wrote in his 1938 publication The Arab Awakening: “the term ‘Arab’ in Palestine denotes nowadays not merely the incomers from the Arabian Peninsula who occupied the country in the seventh century, but also the older populations who intermarried with their conquerors, acquired their speech, customs and ways of thought and became permanently arabised“, so a blend of other identities. Whilst Bernard Lewis gives us: “the original inhabitants were never entirely obliterated, but in the course of time they were successively Judaized, Christianized, and Islamized. Their language was transformed to Hebrew, then to Aramaic, then to Arabic“, so an adjusted population, we cannot fault these people to that a pragmatic approach to the situation, yet the given in the centuries before does not give the statement that President Erdogan give any value at all, merely an impressed point of view, which he is welcome to have in Turkey.

So form the setting, this is not about Palestine, their cause, their choices or their belief; it is the Turkish setting we see here. Even as we see changes, we see positive ones and dangerous ones. Reuters gave us this week ‘Erdogan says Turkey will continue advancing in Syria’, with the setting “Turkey will continue to “liberate Syrian lands” so that refugees can return to Syria safely, President Tayyip Erdogan said in an election victory speech on Monday“, so how does the Syrian President ‘feel’ about the Turkish version of ‘liberation’?

As Reuters gave us: “Assad, who said in the same interview he would not accept Western funds to rebuild his country, was speaking after Damascus said it rejected the presence of Turkish and U.S. forces around the northern town of Manbij, a day after soldiers of the two countries began patrolling the area” last Sunday, the question becomes why is Turkey still there. If they are there to accept President Assad, is not his word the one that counts? My views are supported by Newsweek as we see their part from yesterday (at http://www.newsweek.com/why-wont-us-stop-russia-iran-syria-asks-opposition-leader-government-moves-1000312). The quote is “Nasr al-Hariri, the secretary-general of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, told reporters Thursday in the Saudi capital of Riyadh that it was “shameful” for the U.S. not to act as a ceasefire brokered last year between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s top military ally Russia and opposition supporters the U.S. and Jordan collapsed, the Associated Press reported“, the US actions are not in question, the issue becomes that Iran is the transgressor here, as is optionally Russia. Yet the setting is that Turkey was singled out as not welcome, Iran and Russia were not, that sets a different stage and even as we accept that Iran is the greater threat. Syrian forces have not proclaimed them to be not welcome.

In addition, Turkey makes even more waves in Israel as see (at https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/246156), where we are given “Jerusalem City Councilman Aryeh King tells Arutz Sheva correspondent how Turkey is posting illegal signs in and around Old City“, in addition we see ““The Turkish government that daily attacks Israel and collaborates with the terrorists in Gaza – they are putting signs around the walls of the Old City, and the Israeli government and the municipality of Jerusalem … are not taking care of these Illegal signs,” King said“, so we hear the video state that there are allegation against Turkey, yet is this truly a Turkish act, or is it an act from Hezbollah to start a military flame that cannot be stopped too easily.

So there is caution that needs to be set, a sign in Turkish with a Turkish government proclamation does not make it so and we need to realise that it is equally likely that Iran is playing the ‘tool’ card here and if the reactions are not careful the outfall may be a lot larger than we can correct for.

The entire month we have been treated to the interactions and it is important to play the game with caution, because at present, we must recognise that Turkey is merely planning to open an embassy in eastern Jerusalem, whilst on the same front they are stating ‘the capital of Palestine’, a wrongful opinion, that is still their right to make (whether correct or not), the Embassy play is possible because the US opened one there, so that puts the state of Israel in an awkward light if the Turkish embassy is suddenly rejected. The rest is a different kind of ginger. Who are the actual players? Is it Turkey, Iran or Hezbollah? That part is not easily answered and until the evidence is brought to light, no actual finding can be regarded as absolute.

Another place where Turkey is active is off course anything related to Iran. The setting is that Turkey refuses to stop importing Iranian crude oil and we might side one way or another yet is there any legal recourse? With India stopping the Iranian import, the Iranian economic outlook is even worse than the worst settings we saw earlier, in this is Turkey playing too dangerously? In the setting where we see Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci giving us: ““The decisions taken by the United States on this issue are not binding for us. Of course, we will follow the United Nations on its decision. Other than this, we will only follow our own national interests,” Turkey’s Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci said as quoted by daily Hurriyet, adding that “we will pay attention so our friend Iran will not face any unfair actions.”“, the academic question becomes ‘Does Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci have a point?

The UN removed the trade restriction, even as the US and EU are enforcing them, what legal foundation is there? You see, at the heart of the matter is that United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 where the removal of UN sanctions against Iran were removed. Even when we consider the Deutsche Welle 2 years ago with ‘Iran missile tests defied UN resolution, say US and European allies‘, the setting is that this was not illegal, the quotes “Council diplomats said the case for new UN sanctions on Iran was weak. Moreover, Western officials said that although the launches went against 2231, they were not a violation of the core nuclear agreement between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States” and “The letter from the four powers stopped short of calling the Iranian launches a “violation” of the resolution, which calls for Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity, including launches, related to nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Diplomats say key powers agree the resolution’s language is not legally binding and cannot be enforced through the use of sanctions or military force” these two are directly the setting. We cannot state as evidence as it is or is not nuclear advancements and as elected legal minds more experienced than me state that the setting is not legally binding, Turkey has a case that it can continue. That is the setting we see ourselves in and even as we see more and more flak coming from the US and the EU, there is no given that Turkey is actually out of bounds on this one setting. It seems that the setting is to some extent hypocrite in actions against Turkey and that too must be stated. The reasoning is that the quotes given by Turkey are also confirmed with “At the same time, oil importers including Japan, South Korea, and India, as well as European countries have said they will continue buying Iranian crude“, even as India is turning that setting back, Japan is not and exactly how many sanctions is America now imposing on Japan?

In all fairness, that too must be stated and even as I think that Turkey has been playing a much too dangerous game involving themselves with Iran on other fronts, we need to scale back some of the dialogues and find the accepted legal frames that are in play, if we do not do that, then we are merely catering to the EU and US to what refer to as their bully tactics and we should be better than that.

The complications seen on the political arena are expanding and as such whatever chance there was for EU ascension, the cold legal light should have clearly communicated that there was no chance for EU membership for Turkey, they undid the small chances they had long before the previous election s were held, so the French ‘special status’ remarks were all hot air with no direction and even less substance. It is seen through Reuters as they gave us “In a statement, the EU General Affairs Council said Brussels could not open any more ‘chapters’ or policy areas in accession talks or modernise the EU-Turkey customs union due to Ankara’s failure to meet European standards in various areas” yesterday, yet that setting had been clear for well over a year, so the end signal is merely a small light of cowardice from several political players.

In all this, part if the hardship that Turkey s facing is due to their own reactions, over reactions, as well as some non-actions in too many political fields. Turkey has every right to do them, yet they are held to account and the balance at this point is not good. Just how bad things will get is depending on some of the events playing out in Jerusalem right now. Whatever happens next, they will also see red lights coming from the US and not merely on their oil activities, even as that might be the one most media will be loudly referring to.

 

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Where we are in gaming

So the E3 is almost done. I saw the EA bit, I was blown away by Bethesda where they ended the presentation with 13.2 seconds announcing the Elder Scrolls VI. A mere teaser, but what a teaser, the crowd went insane on the spot (me included). I reckon that it will be a 2019 release and we will hear a lot more after the release of Fallout 76 later this year. When it comes to Fallout 76 it will be a lot bigger than ever before. It allows for single play, friends play and multiplay. That is merely the first part, the second part is that Fallout 76 is announced to be 4 times the size of Fallout 4, so any Bethesda fan expecting to be well rested by Christmas better start buying stocks and options in Red Bull, as they will need it and lots of it.

There was a lot more announced, most importantly the setting of a new free game, called Blades, an elder scrolls version of Fallout shelter, a very different one, Bethesda went one step further where the game is fully playable in portrait and landscape mode, the view on the game made me desire an immediate update to my mobile (which is falling apart anyway). In addition, Fallout Shelter became available at that point for both PS4 and Nintendo Switch. So Bethesda is not sitting still and a lot of it at no cost at all, showing a level of gamer care that we have not seen to this level before. Bethesda blew us away with the upcoming DLC’s, updates and new games. After that it was time for Microsoft. I have had issues with Microsoft and they are still growing, yet the presentation given was really good. Phil Spencer knows his shit and that of many other players in this field. He knows what it is about and as we saw all kinds of ‘world premieres’, it relied to some degree on both Bethesda and Ubisoft to give some of the goods, but that was not all. I stated it before, I am not a racing fan, but Forza 7 blew me away, it was astounding to see, so I was not ready for what happened next. If Forza 7 is set at as a 90%-91% game, the upcoming Forza Horizons 4 is getting us straight to the 100% mark. They really outdid themselves there. It is set in historical England, all of England and if you think that Forza 7 had the goods, seeing seasons and weather set into the driving, seeing every place go through the 4 seasons, you will see something totally unique and there is no doubt that if it holds up on the Xbox One X on 4K and 60fps, you are in for a treat, even a non-racing fan like me can see that this is something totally new. There were also announcements on gaming houses and developers bought as well as some of the indie developers who are showing excellent products. Phil Spencer is making waves; he is not out of the woods as he has to clean up the mess of two predecessors, so he has his work cut out for him. There was also a less nice part. They did in many cases give not any release date, merely ‘pre-order it at the Microsoft store‘. I personally believe that this is the Microsoft path, a path that was dangerous and I accused them for not being in consideration of gamers. There was more. You see, Microsoft is moving to take the shops out of the equation. They were doing it to some extent (poorly I might add), yet now when we consider Gamerpass “Xbox Game Pass launched back in June, and provides access to more than 100 Xbox One and Xbox 360 games for $10.95 per month“, before you think that this is a lot, consider that you get access to 100 games, with the announced NEW games, we got that it will include the next Halo, Gears of War, and Forza on launch day. So that is a massive teaser, yet I am also scared of the intentions of Microsoft. I have seen this before. You see, TechAU gave away the speculated goods with “selling games is no longer an option. With console hard drive storage sizes increasing to 1-2TB, its possible we need to rethink game ownership completely. The big question will be the games available. If they’re all games from 6-12 months ago, it may still be seen as a good opportunity to play a bunch of games you meant to buy, but never got around to it“, if only it was true, because they already dropped the ball twice on that one. You see, I saw a similar play in the late 80’s by The Evergreen Group, they had government backing and undercut the competition for years, after that when the bulk was gone, the prices went back up and they were close to the only player remaining. It seems that Microsoft is on a similar path and when we saw the Faststart part I got a second jolt of worry, with the stating that they used machine learning to see how gamers play. This implies the profiling of all players, so when exactly did you as a gamer agree to that? You see, when this becomes personalised, it is not about the average player, this is about you as the individual player and I personally believe that the push ‘to pre-order at the Microsoft store‘ is not merely marketing, it is about pushing for online only and take the shops out of the equation. It makes sense from a business point of view, yet you end up with the only IP, the ones they allow you to have, for whatever time you end up having it. I never signed up for that, and even if we love the offering they give for now. When the shops can no longer support this theory, what happens then? How will you feel in 5 years when your IP is based on a monthly rental? It is a dangerous part and for now you think it does not matter, but it does, you see the earlier quote ‘With console hard drive storage sizes increasing to 1-2TB‘, yet the Xbox One X is merely 1TB, so there is that already, then we realise that the 1 TB merely gets you 800 GB (OS and other spaces reserved), so now we see that the previous Gears of War was 103.12 GB, implies that with one game installed, you are down to less than 70%, now add Halo 5: Guardians (97.53GB) and Forza 7 (100GB). So, only 3 games and 50% of the total drive space is gone (those mentioned games were the largest ones).

So when I see the mention of space for 12 games, I wonder how correct it is. Now consider the announced games like Fallout 76, the Division 2, Beyond Good and Evil 2 and wonder what will be left. People will wake up much to soon as they have to reorganise their console drives, way too early in 2018. Consider, not just the games, but the patches as well. Now you start seeing the dangers you as a gamer face. The moment that 120 million gamers start working in an online setting (PS4, XB1 and Switch), how long until the telecom bandwidth prices go up? How affordable will gaming remain? For now it looks great, but the bandwidth fountain will be soured, the impact is not short term when it hits, and the impact will be too great to consider for now and the Telco companies have not even considered the dangers, only their option towards optional revenue. There is supporting evidence. In Australia, its fun loving product called NBN had 27,000 complaints last year alone. If the old setting for every complaints 5 people did not bother, we see a much larger issue. With issues like outage and slow data speeds one number (source: ABC) gives us that at present the growth of 160% of complaints ‘equated to 1 per cent of the activated premises‘, how is that to sit in whilst downloading 100 Gb for your Xbox One X, and that is merely Australia. In places like London in full setting congestion will be a normal thing to worry about. So when we see “Julie Waites said her 85-year-old mother Patricia Alexander has been without a working phone at her Redcliffe home, north of Brisbane, since June when the NBN was connected in the area“, which we see 4 months after the event, there is a much larger issue and Microsoft did not consider the global field, an error they made a few times before and that is the setting that gamers face, So when your achievements are gone because for too long there was an internet issue, consider where your hard earned achievements went off to. I am certain that it is not all Microsoft’s fault, but its short sighted actions in the past are now showing to become the drag regarding gaming.

The one part that Microsoft does care about is its connections to places like Bethesda and Ubisoft, who in their presentation show to be much larger players. We get that this is merely beta and engine stuff, but the presentation of the Division 2 rocked, I am not sure how the Crew 2 will do, but it looked awesome, in addition the EA games looked as sweet as sport games can get on the Xbox One, so they have the goods. Phil Spencer is making waves and he is showing changes, but how trusting will this audience remain to be after a mere two incidents where gaming was not possible due to reasons not in the hands of Microsoft? Their support division stated last year that the uploaded data from my console (not by me, were all the responsibility of the internet provider), are you kidding me? Yet the games do look good, there is no denying that, yet their infrastructure might be the Achilles heel that they face in the coming year. There was also time for the upcoming AC game called Odyssey. It is very similar to the look of Origin in looks. Graphically it is stunning. The view also shows that AC is changing; it has a much larger political impact in the story line and the changes you can make. It is a lot more RPG based than ever before, which as an RPG lover is very much appreciated and with the choice of a male or a female player is also a change for good, unlike AC Syndicate the choice will be for the duration of the game, making it a much larger replayable challenge. The demo shows that there definitely are changes, some are likely gamer requests, the rest seems to be a change to make the game more appealing regarding the play style you choose, but that part is speculation from my side. I would want to be cautious, yet they truly took the game to the next level with AC Origin, which makes me give them the benefit of the doubt. The setting that Ubisoft brings is much stronger than last year, so it could end up being a stellar year for Ubisoft. When we get to Sony, I become a little cautious. Yet even as we saw it in the previous presentation, instead of merely presenting titles, having live music on stage, the music from the games was a really nice touch. I do not know about you the gamer, yet I have been more and more connected to the music as the quality of it has been on the rise, so seeing the performances was well appreciated. It might have started as early as ACII and Oblivion, now we see that good music is a much larger requirement in any game. A much darker the Last of Us 2 (if that was even possible) sets the stage for what is to come. Yet, even as we see awesome presentations of what is to come, I have to admit that Microsoft did have a better presentation. Sony is also playing the ‘store’ setting with PlayStation Store for bonus options. The games are overwhelming and those are merely the exclusive titles. When we consider all that Ubisoft and Square Enix bring to the table, it shows to be a great year for all the PlayStation owners. Yet, the overwhelming advantage that they have over Microsoft is not as much as you would think. The question becomes how heavy the overbearing advantage that the Last of Us 2, Ghost of Tsushima and Spiderman have, yet when set opposite Forza Horizon 4, Halo Infinite and Sea of Thieves I wonder if it remains a large advantage. Sony has more to offer yet the overwhelming exclusive benefit is not really there. So when we look at a new Resident Evil, actually a remade version of Resident Evil 2, we remain happy for the ‘unhealthy’ life diminishing gaming treats that are offered; both consoles will be offering gaming goods we all desire. There is no doubt that gaming revenue will go through the roof and it seems that we are in a setting where games are not just on the rise, the predictions are that they will grow the market in nearly every direction, and we still have to hear from Nintendo, you see that one is important for both Microsoft and Sony. There is little doubt that they will surpass the Xbox One in total sales, yet now it becomes the setting where they might be able to pull this off as early as thanksgiving, a setting Microsoft is not ready for, the ‘most powerful console‘ will optionally get surpassed by the weakest one as Microsoft has not kept its AAA game for close to two years. Three simple changes could have prevented that, yet the view and setting of always online, GamerPass and storage destroyed it, the mere consideration of infrastructure was missed by Americans focused on local (US) infrastructure and forgetting that the optional 92.3% of the desired customer base lives outside of the USA. The simplest of considerations missed, how is that as a hilarious setting? Oh and getting back to the Sony presentation, if you thought God of War surpassed your expectations, it seems (from the demo) that Spiderman is likely to equal if not surpass that event, so there is one issue that the others will have to deal with, the PlayStation players (Xbox One players too) will just have to wait and be overwhelmed with the number of excellent games coming their way before Christmas, because for both of them the list seems to be the largest list ever. I am posting this now and perhaps update a few Nintendo settings, as there are several revelations coming. GeekWire gives us in all this “Microsoft’s Xbox One still faces an uphill climb vs. Sony and Nintendo“, yet the article (at https://www.geekwire.com/2018/e3-2018-analysis-microsofts-xbox-one-still-faces-uphill-climb-vs-sony-nintendo/) misses out. You see, even if we are to agree with “Microsoft has effectively made its own console irrelevant, because even with the Windows Anywhere initiative, there’s no particular reason for a dedicated enthusiast to own an “Xbone” if you already have a PC. There are certainly advantages, such as ease of use, simplicity of play, and couch gaming, but the same money you spend on the Xbox could be going to tune up your computer so you can play the same games in a higher resolution“, we see the truth, but a wrong one. You see ‘the same money you spend on the Xbox could be going to tune up your computer“, is not correct. We need to consider “you can find a large number of 3840×2160-resolution displays in the $300 to $500 range“, as well as “For a better 4K experience, look to the $450 GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, $500 GeForce GTX 1080, and $500 Radeon RX Vega 64, though the Radeon card is still suffering from limited availability and inflated prices. These cards still won’t hit a consistent 60 fps at 4K resolution in the most strenuous modern games“, so you are down for a lot more than the price of the Xbox One X and still not get the promised 60fps that the Xbox One X delivers. And that is before you realise that a TV tends to be 4 times the size of a PC display. The biggest issue that has not been resolved is the mere stupidity of 6mm of space, that allows for a 3TB Seagate BarraCuda, it would have diminished most other issues, now merely evolve the operating system requiring people to be online all the time and Microsoft would have created an optional winning situation. It should not impact the need (or desire) for GamerPass and it would change the curve of obstruction by well over 70% overnight, all that when you consider that there is a $65 difference for 300% storage, something that the 4K community needs. Phil Spencer has one hell of a fight coming his way and if he can counter the Microsoft stupidity shown up to now, he could potentially turn the upcoming number three position around in 2019, making Microsoft a contender again at some point, yet if the short-sighted board of Microsoft is not willing to adhere to some views, they will lose a lot more than just the loss of a few hundred millions of console development, they might lose a large customer population forever, because gamers hold a grudge like no other and if it was not merely the cost of the console, the fact that the games they bought might overtake the total amount spend by close to 3:1, and once gone they will never ever return. That is the stage we see now and even as there is a lot of improvement, where it matter no changes were made. So even as we should all acknowledge that Phil Spencer is a large change for the better, Microsoft needs to do more. They have the benefit that Sony gave a good show, yet not as good as Microsoft. Perhaps the live presentations are the E3 part we all desire, the demos and previews were all great on both systems. In that regard Ubisoft and Bethesda both brought their homerun at the E3 and they are well deserved ones. As both deliver to both consoles there were no losses on either side, only wins for both sides, yet that leaves the small devil in my brain considering the question. If Fallout76 is 4 times the size of Fallout 4 which (according to Eurogamer) ‘required 100GB install sizes as a minimum‘ for 4K. So how much more will Fallout 76 need? It is in that light that we need to look with a 1TB drive, something I saw coming 5 years ago. So now, whomever buys a 1TB system will soon (too soon) stop being happy. That is one of the fights Phil Spencer will face soon enough, an issue that could have been prevented 6 years ago. It is so cool to see all these games coming, whilst we see a storage system supporting merely part of what comes and that is before we see the network congestion as a few million people try to update their game and get access to the networking facilities. It was an issue that haunted Ubisoft with the initial Division in 2016. When we saw ‘I’m still at work, had to stay overtime and I’m really salty because I might not even play today because of all this server downtime‘, I merely stated that they could have seen that one coming a mile away. Ubisoft upgraded everything and I do not expect to see this in the Division 2, yet consider that it is not merely one game. Consider every gamer getting issues when they want to access Gears 5 and Halo Infinite on launch day. That is the issue we could see coming and in all honesty, in most cases it will not even be the fault of Microsoft at all. The evidence was seen in Australia merely a week ago when ABC treated us to “NBN Co chief executive Bill Morrow suggested that “gamers predominantly” were to blame for the congestion across the National Broadband Network. He later clarified that he wasn’t blaming gamers for congestion, but reiterated that they are “heavy users”“, that is the reality setting, where Counter-Strike: Global Offensive and Destiny 2, two games are 49% of the average hourly bandwidth usage, now add Fallout 76, Gears 5, the Division 2, EA Access and Microsoft GamerPass. You still think I am kidding? And that is merely Australia, now add London congestion and when we consider some news sources give us: “London, Singapore, Paris and New York taking top spots when we consider internet congestion“, I reckon that Europe has issues to a much larger extent. When we consider in addition that the Deutsche Welle gave us last January “A new report has found that only a small fraction of German users get the internet speeds that providers promise“, as well as “the problem is only getting worse“. That is the setting Microsoft is starting to push for and the gamers will not be enjoying the dangers that this will bring. Certain high level non thinkers at Microsoft are making this happen and now Phil Spencer will be faced with the mess that needs cleaning up. The part that many have been ignoring and it will hit Microsoft a lot harder, especially when it wants to move away from uphill battles, a sign that we cannot ignore and whilst the plan might be valid in 4-6 years, the shortage that the hardware and infrastructure gives at present will not be solved any day soon and that is counting against Microsoft. The impact will hit Nintendo as well, but not nearly as hard. The evidence is out there, yet some analysts seem to have taken it out of the equation. Is that not an interesting view that many ignored?

So we are moving forward in gaming, no one denies that, but overall, some cards (like always online) were played much too early and it will cost one player a hell of a lot more than they bargained for.

 

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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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