Tag Archives: Doctors without Borders

Famine issue solved

Yes, isn’t that a good way to start Sunday? The world solved the famine issue. It took no trouble at all, the media merely needed to stop writing about it. There is so much other stuff to write about. All the things that Saudi Arabia are accused of, some sources state that an Iranian oil tanker is now ‘under terrorist command‘ (no real evidence has been presented though), and the UK is sending another ship (the third) to reinforce the anti-Iran armada. All news, there is no more famine, famine has been resolved.

How come?

Well that is the question; it is only the Independent (according to some now partially owned by Saudi players) that gives us (at https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/yemen-war-civil-independence-south-mahra-aden-saudi-arabia-iran-a9076546.html) the headline ‘The war to start all wars: Inside Yemen’s troubled south‘, an article by Bel Trew, a true Belle gives us the harsh reality of what we are trying not to see. Yet there is disagreement of what I read. As I am introduced to “They talk of a war within a war within another war in a nation already in the grips of the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, where 13 million people are currently on the brink of famine“, I see the same words again and again for many months. I believe that the situation is worse, the quote ‘where 13 million people are currently on the brink of famine‘ should actually be ‘hundreds of thousands of Yemeni, mostly children are in and beyond a stage of famine‘, my point of view is supported by data intelligence, signal intelligence and trade craft intelligence. The amount of food getting into Yemen is nowhere near the amount that should be going into Yemen and there are still Houthi clusters taking possession of food and water supplies (or destroying them). It is a lot worse and the media is looking elsewhere for optional debatable facts to publish.

In an age of these transgressions, in a stage where I see that there are no true innocent players, not on the Saudi side, not on their opposing sides, the effort that the UN needed to make is a joke (and a bad one at that). I am not placing blame on Saudi Arabia, I am merely noticing that they cannot be innocent, it is not the same. The initial option for Saudi Arabia would be to set up a refugee camp near Thabhloten. There is a tactical reason. It is 225 Km away from Yemen, there is not strategic goal there and any attack by Houthi forces would be seen as a direct reason for UN forces to open fire on attacking forces. I myself would be willing to brand an Accuracy International .338 and cull the attacking herd myself at that point. It should be a refugee camp, for children and women only; a camp to give medicine and sustenance trying to oppose the famine numbers and get the immediate help going.

It seems like a little, but let us accept no mistake here; that camp would be temporary and would settle close to 700,000 people in the shortest time, a camp offering real help and real relief to a larger part of those in the famine group. Something needs to be done, yet the media is to some extent hiding behind ‘on the brink of famine‘, as I personally see it that point was passed will over three months ago, it is worse and the media looks away for whatever reason. We cannot settle the Yemeni and Syrian issue, but the worst of the two, the Yemeni one can get relief to some extent. I have some degree of certainty that Saudi Arabia would want to be seen as the actual caretaker here, the question becomes do the Yemeni feel the same. I look at this from a Christian point of view, whilst I accept that there is an Islamic view, and it takes precedence here. In that respect the UNHCR gives us:

And if anyone of the disbelievers seeks your protection, then grant him protection so that he may hear the word of Allah, and then escort him to where he will be secure. (Surah 9:6)

I believe that if this applies to disbelievers, that it equally applies to believers and the goodwill that Saudi Arabia offers in this way is not to be underestimated. When the famine lessens these people would most likely want to get back to Yemen and rebuild their lives, there too Saudi Arabia could steer these people to a better tomorrow, these people have to determine for one’s self what the better stage is, yet I believe that any stage is better than the one they face now, especially as the media is no longer interested in keeping a non-stop view of just how bad the situation is there.

That same paper (at https://www.unhcr.org/en-au/protection/hcdialogue%20/50ab90399/islam-refugees.html) refers to the hijrah, which was a new word for me. It means migration and this is where I am given: “Muhammad’s popularity was seen as threatening by the people in power in Mecca, and Muhammad took his followers on a journey from Mecca to Medina in 622. This journey is called the Hijrah and the event was seen as so important for Islam that 622 is the year in which the Islamic calendar begins“, if this is true than Yemen might start a new Hijrah, a journey for the children and women to travel (transport) from Yemen to Thabhloten, a stop, or perhaps better stated an oasis on the journey to where they end up going. We need to find an actual solution to save as many Yemeni as we can and we need to start with the women and children. We would love it to be in Yemen, yet the Houthi forces as well as the escalations make that no longer an option. The delays and obstructions are too large, the benefit is that other parties can then participate and open fire on anyone firing at these refugees. Houthi forces (the most likely transgressors) would find themselves in a stage of open war against troops that are ready and willing to protect the refugees. Thabhloten cannot be the end destination for that journey, but could allow for actual action against the famine that is now getting more and more ignored. In all this the civil war that is now sprouting in Yemen makes any other option impossible. With UN reports on Cholera outbreaks we need to do more and we need to set the stage where players like doctors without borders have a better stage to do something without getting into direct danger, or ending up in the firing line.

And matters are getting worse. The quote: “But for Elisabeth Kendall, a Yemen expert at Pembroke College Oxford University who travels frequently to the south, the training of separatist groups had “unleashed a force” the UAE may not be able to control” gives us more. You see it is not about the separatists, it is about who is training the separatists. Even as the UAE was preparing the separatists fighting the Houthi forces, we see a stage where old grievances are now a much larger issue, the old issue of north and south Yemen is returning, not a good thing. If these forces are truly in a path to a better Yemen (or better north and south Yemen) than getting the famine out of the equation would be an accepted first for both sides.

Is that actually true?

Well, it is something that I cannot prove, yet the UNHCR gives me: “In Islamic law, all individuals, including non-Muslims, have the right to flee persecution and seek protection in an Islamic community. The provision of refugee assistance is obligatory to people who flee from “injustice, intolerance, physical persecution, disease, or financial insecurity”“, if that is true than all parties would be willing to participate in the dissolution of famine, to set a stage where these people could be treated and protected.

I am merely trying to find an actual solution that would do something for the people in famine, which makes me already a much better person than any media who has been turning away from these events. I am not trying to set blame to any party, merely trying to find a solution where disease and famine might be defeated, it is not a Samaritan choice, it is not a Christian choice, it is a human choice and we are all human, no matter which faith drives us. I learned this lesson in my lifetime, and that makes me (for now) a better person than many others, no matter how much or how little life is left in me.

I always tried to steer a decent course, I stayed true to my nature, I remained creative, humane and a force for the good of others. So whether it is our heavenly father or Allah facing me where I end up being next, I will stand proudly accepting whatever judgment comes for me, I was a decent person. I wonder how many others can truly and honestly make that claim.

 

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Concerning the Commonwealth!

There is no easy news. The Commonwealth is having several issues that are not easily solved. There is always blame, but who to blame and more important, will it get us anywhere to begin with? I also believe that the Commonwealth has its share of solutions, but in that regard we will have to make some drastic changes. Some will be good, many will not be good and a lot of them will have to be different.

It is the last one that is likely the strongest salvation we might hope for, but we can no longer think the way we are, as we currently end up planning to go nowhere.

First of all, one member will need to step up to the plate and the others must protect this part. They started being regarded as a simple land, this land became a colony and later part of what would be known as the British Empire. It became independent and it is now a Commonwealth nation. Now, India must step up to the plate and become a Commonwealth leader. We (Australia, Canada, New Zealand and United Kingdom) must stand firmly and strongly next to India.

India has basically become the world leader in generic pharmacy and many are so eager to take up the Trans Pacific Partnership that we ignore the part that this US and Japanese conclave is not just about ‘trade‘ or ‘fairness‘, the indications are that it will give even more power to the US companies. A level of power they should not have to this degree.

They were complacent; they were lazy and became the facilitator for flaccid economists (yes, that was a Viagra joke).

If we accept a Canadian source, we see the following: “One proposed TPP provision would require governments to grant new 20-year patents for modifications of existing medicines, such as a new forms, uses or methods, even without improvement of therapeutic efficacy for patients. Another provision would make it more expensive and cumbersome to challenge undeserved or invalid patents; and yet another would add additional years to a patent term to compensate for administrative processes. Taken together, these and other provisions will add up to more years of high-priced medicines at the expense of people needing treatment, who then must wait longer for access to affordable generics. Meanwhile, provisions in the proposed investment chapter would give pharmaceutical companies the right to sue governments for instituting any regulation that reduces their expected profits, using private tribunals that circumvent a country’s judicial process.” (at http://www.msf.ca/en/article/negotiators-must-fix-most-harmful-trade-pact-ever-access-medicines).

This is not what we signed up for in any way shape or form (nor should we ever). It had been stated in several sources that Australia was one of the least objecting partners. The fact that this would be done and through this ensure the consequence that a large part of the Commonwealth will then have another decade of expensive medication to look forward to is just too absurd. when we read the additional quote “U.S. pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly is using similar provisions in NAFTA to demand $100 million from the Canadian government for invalidating one of its patents, claiming, among other things, that the company’s expected profits were “expropriated” when the patent was overturned“, we see a pattern where the use of such a partnership is not a partnership at all, it feels more that America is applying republican dictatorship, through arranged courts in order to thwart almost two decades of laziness and stupidity. Them overspending their treasury by well over 17 trillion is not helping them either and is at the centre of the current push we see.

India is proving slowly to be the leading authority on generic medication, even now in the last two years we see players like Kroger, Axium, Pfizer and Wyeth in multi-billion dollar mergers. They are setting up shop to have their own corners, which will grant them stability and income for the next decade. Guess what! We cannot afford that. The UK NHS is in shambles, healthcare all over Europe is unaffordable and the other Commonwealth nations see the cost of medication go up and up and up. These costs forced upon governments are the new way to get the maximum revenue, whilst in the end not being taxed on it (or for the ultimate minimum). India as a Commonwealth leader in generic medication can step up to the plate. We will not go to India, no, it seems that under these conditions India comes to the UK, Australia and Canada to build their places for generic medication to be produced. India would become a leader here. I wonder if President Pranab Mukherjee had ever envisioned that, to visit the other nations, including the UK as a leader, paving the way for a solution to the other heads of states of the Commonwealth.

If you think that this is ludicrous, then think again. In the Independent we see at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/government-accused-of-losing-grip-on-nhs-as-58-failing-trusts-now-have-241m-debt-9544181.html the following headline “Government accused of ‘losing grip on NHS’ as 58 failing trusts now have £241m debt“. Australia is feeling the pinch of healthcare hard and Canadian healthcare will soon be a sizeable chunk of a 2.2 trillion dollar debt. This must change!

We need to pull our resources. We need to think of other ways. Medication from India is only a first step. How about the option for healthcare graduates to work off their debts in a few years overseas in the UK or Canada? They’ll have a place to live, some income and over a period of 5-10 years (depending on the degree) their debt is settled. These are but a few of the options we can resort to. The old ways are not working and the few that do are drowned into costs of a faltering IT system. We need to group ourselves together and build a new system on different scopes. The old way has not worked and the more we delay the deeper the debt becomes and the less solvable the problem becomes.

This is no longer Labour versus Conservatives; this is now finding a way to avoid deaths through inaction. I agree that simply starting something new is not the way to go, the Labour IT systems of the NHS have proven that ten billion pound invoice, and yet doing nothing is another non-option. The heads of the Commonwealth must come together and find surpluses on one side to stop drainage in other sides. We are one commonwealth and we must save us! From there we will have the stability to come to the European aide, especially with affordable medication.

This side was ignored by the USA as the cash was flowing so nicely. Guess what, we are all broke and we need to find WORKABLE alternatives. The ones we claim to have at present do not work!

Let me also take a step back. This is not an anti-American thing, they are welcome to be part of this (even as a non-Commonwealth nation) and the issue is that they have been blocking affordable solutions through the FDA for a long time. What was good for Canadian was apparently not good enough for Americans and cheaper medication. The information from RxRights.org stated: “Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 (PROTECT IP Act). This new act moves far beyond COICA’s blacklist of pharmacy websites. It would categorize all non-U.S. based online pharmacies as a risk to public health. It would require that Internet service providers and search engines block these sites that credit card companies stop their payments. Even worse, under this new law, Canadian and international pharmacies would be prohibited from defending themselves against those who shut them down“. This situation is even more ridiculous as this is instigated by a president claiming to bring ‘affordable‘ healthcare. If that were true, then why not let people find the cheapest option? Is a Canadian less than an American? No, it is all about a Democratic party with minus 17 trillion and they are firmly in the pockets of big pharmacy! That is the part and the Commonwealth cannot afford this shallow minded greed based approach. We must entertain the best option for the Commonwealth. As General Motors left Australia for cheaper options in China, so we must find our cheaper options in India and the TPP will not help us here. Signing it would be a massive mistake. By the way, all them Americans spamming my email for cheap Viagra was legal? Interesting double standard the FDA has.

We can see more in regards to Indian patents (at http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/stoi/all-that-matters/Changes-to-Indias-patent-law-will-impact-prices-of-life-saving-drugs/articleshow/32519848.cms), of course, as it is the Indian Times, it would be all in favour of India, but are the facts incorrect? That part is in debate on several issues. One question that has not been answered over a term of at least two years is “Access to Medicines – Will the Trans-Pacific Partnership FTA allow governments to produce and/or obtain affordable, generic medications for sick people?

That is not just the question which is not answered; it is one if the questions that seem to be actively avoided whilst the TPP is continued behind closed doors. The response from Doctors without borders is “Governments have a responsibility to ensure that public health interests are not trampled by commercial interests, and must resist pressures to erode hard-fought legal safeguards for public health that represent a lifeline for people in developing countries.

This is at the heart of the issues for the Commonwealth, because if these steps stop affordable medication, then there will be no healthcare at all, the Commonwealth nations will be broke as they are decimated through age and sickness, after that what will be left of Western Europe?

It is only a first step; if we look at the NHS, then staffing and expertise are also a worry, which is by the way a worry in many Commonwealth Nations. Most of these nations have well over 5% unemployed; can some not be re-schooled in the healthcare sector? In the UK many IT trained staff are without a job, can they not help rebuild the NHS IT systems? Too many issues that are overlapping and someone threw away 10 billion. It is time to rewrite the tactical guide and start building a solution that will work. Sitting at home will not help anyone, not even one’s self.

 

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Two deadly sins

This is the second attempt to this story. I was still on the Sony horse when writing the first attempt. Yes, it will hurt us and it will have long standing consequences for many to come, but I realised that it was not really the story (even though the press remaining silent on it is).

Of the seven deadly sins (Gluttony, Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, Pride and Sloth) I only truly hate Greed! It is also represented in Dante Alighieri’s 14th-century epic poem ‘the Divine Comedy’, which actually introduces something I would like to call the 8th deadly sin, which is depicted in his 9th level of hell. It is Treason! These two sins are the most debilitating sins to consider. These sins are not against one, or against one’s self. These two sins are acts by one against many and we see the consequences every day. These are not just acts by people against people. They are also seen as acts by governments against people or even against their own nation. We must arms against these two, we must do so fast, because the liberties we lose as we allow this to go on will hurt billions and many care for one thing, they care for number one, they care for themselves!

Do not take the last sentence as an assault, I am not talking about selfishness perse, but we are in a life cycle where we are almost forced to survive. Greed and Treason pushed us there. The Dutch NOS showed us several parts in one newscast. It was the news of the 26th of November 2013. The first piece came from the news on the scale gas winning in the Netherlands. I had written about part of it in July 2013. The blog was called ‘The Setting of strategies‘ where we see that the Dutch are trying to get billions in gas using a technique called ‘fracking’. There were major concerns, but should you watch the issues, you will see that parties involved were trivialising it all to some extent. Now questions are called for a large investigation. The most interesting part is the quote they stated in the news [translated] “the NAM will not drill for any less gas as this is not a mandate handed by the stockholders“. In addition reported e-mails by the Dutch Gas drilling firm (NAM), which from their side, remarks and ‘interpretations’ seem to be taking a negative term. The mail showed that they knew that earthquakes in excess of 3.9 (on the Richter scale) were to be expected. This means that not only is this, the possible start of a class action in damages against the NAM, the NAM could be seen as a major contributor into damaging a unique Dutch landscape. Not just the land, but also the cultural heritage that the Dutch area of Groningen has. Many buildings, most of them predating WW2 are structurally damaged. It is an area that had been culturally unique for over two centuries, even by Dutch standards. Are you fracking kidding me? Stockholders are allowed to ruin the state of Groningen? So the government oversight knew this going back to 2012? So what were these investigations in 2013? Party favours? This is greed gone wild as I see it. The most important part is that the UK and the conservatives are facing similar issues at present. The conservatives are very willing to go this route. It was reported in the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/nov/03/uk-dash-gas). The question becomes whether George Osborne has been properly instructed involving the risks he would place Wales in? If he is briefed by stockholders, the UK should take another look at these proceedings. I understand that heating is hard and very expensive, but can people continue when they are faced with long term, perhaps even unrepairable damage to England itself? Can that be acceptable? I am not a geologist, so there are elements I have no knowledge of, yet it might be realistic that many Walesians did not sign up for Shale Gas experiments when it could cost them both Cardiff and Swansea, both containing the largest population in Wales. Is Britain ready to pay for 350,000 damaged homes? I agree, that is an exaggeration, yet the true damage will not be known for some time. Perhaps there will be ZERO damage. I am fine with that, but the Dutch evidence shows that greed trumped safety and health easily. Can the UK afford such a mistake?

The second link to greed, are the changes that Finance Minister Dijsselbloem is trying to push within the Netherlands. He is aiming for commissions not exceeding 20% of a banker’s income. I think that this is a good idea. I also believe that he is on the right track. Greed is debilitating to say the least. The Dutch Union of Bankers stated that this law is not needed; there are enough rules in place. The interview with Chris Buijink, who is the chairman of that union, is not in agreement. He is mentioning that with specialist jobs, temperate commissions are to be expected. You see! We all agree, so make it no more than 20%, which is temperate enough (in my humble opinion). I, personally think that a group of Dutch banks, after the SNS Reaal and other banking issues, including the RABO LIBOR fixing issue, need to expect much stronger measures. Greed must be stopped!

This is not what he called ‘a black page’ (as Chris Buijink stated), the banking issues from 2008 onwards show that there is a structural issue with the banking industry. The fact that the Yanks are too cowardly to act (see the non-passed tax evasion act and the Dodd-Frank act for my reasoning in this), does not mean we should sit still. That part gains even more weight as we read more and more about the ADDITIONAL issues the RBS is now facing (at http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/nov/26/mark-carney-rbs-deeply-troubling-serious). So on one side Conservatives are trying to get the economy going and the banks on the other hand… (You get the idea).

There was a video linked to this, which states “Bank of England’s Mark Carney ‘offended’ by Labour MP’s questioning“. Is Mr Carney for real? As Labour MP John Mann asked questions in regards to the ‘distance’ between the governor of the bank and the political wings. I do not fail to see that it is about quick economic restoration, the issue that it is now likely that small business got sold down the drain into non-viability to get this done is indeed an issue for concern. Why is there no stronger oversight on this? I think that it is time for governments to intervene in stronger measures. What they are? Not sure, but it should be somewhere between nationalising a bank and barring the transgressors from the Financial industry for life!

This issue goes on in another direction too. If we accept what was written by the independent (at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/media/press/royal-charter-on-press-regulation-may-be-redundant-says-culture-secretary-maria-miller-8919775.html), we see that in the end the Press might not ever be held accountable for the acts they did. Not only are they advocated in their need for greed (as in circulation and advertisements), we see that they are in a connected center of treason against both their readers and the audience at large, again as I personally see this.

How?

Well that is a fair question. As the big papers have steered clear from the Sony issues as they became visible just over a week ago, they seem to remain extremely taken with their advertisement needs and less with protecting the audience. “£3bn: the total price-tag for Christmas gadgets” is a nice tag to have and even though we see news on Microsoft and Sony all the time, those messages are small and do not hit the bottom dollar. The small technology hit “Cody Wilson created a gun that can be download and built with a 3D printer – is he too dangerous for Britain?” is a small article and iterates something I wrote many months ago. He is now linked to advocating bit-coin, which is another matter. I have not taken a stance on it. I think it promotes white washing and I personally do not think that virtual currency has a foundation, once it goes bust in whatever way it does; these people just lose whatever cash they had in it. I reckon that these ‘victims’ when they come will have no turn back and the first case against any government should be thrown out immediately. The story how Sony (and Microsoft too) will hurt an entire industry and how they are setting up the events that could stop local commerce is completely ignored. How quaint!

I see it as a form of treason, because this is no longer ‘the people have a right to know’, but ‘the people have a right to know when we see fit’. That same application can be made for the banks. If we take the RBS case, then the people involved could be seen as committing treason against their customers. Is that not EXACTLY the issue we saw in the US where we see banks setting up mortgages and then betting on them failing? Why is this not under control?

The Dutch examples are their own version of treason. A company that seems to be betraying the people living there by submitting them to intentional dangers is no small matter. This is not the end by a long shot. Treason can go further, from governments towards allies. I am not talking about Snowden, that loon is a simple traitor for personal gains (in my view). The damage he caused will take a long time to fix. No, I am talking about the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership. I mentioned it in previous blogs linked to the Sony/Microsoft issues, but that is small fry. The big price is the pharmaceutical industry. You see, America wants it passed soon, because of the powers this partnership gives. I will not bore you with the patent law details; the issue I see is that America is afraid of India. Apart from being really decent in Cricket (a game America does not comprehend), the Indian industry had made great strides in generic medication. With a population of vastly over 1 billion, they simply had to. The changes are mentioned by IP experts like Michael Geist as Draconian. The Guardian covered part of the TPP (at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/13/trans-pacific-paternership-intellectual-property), the changes could impact this market into a damaging result which will go into the trillions. My issue is that Australia sides with America. Why?

America had been asleep at the wheel. Instead of opening a market, forcing affordability towards a population, we see segregation for industry against people. How bad is that? Canada kept its consumer driven approach, which is why Americans love Canadian medication. As America does not keep its house in order and they got passed by! Do not take my word regarding these parts; you should however take a look at what Doctors without Borders think. I reckon we can agree that they have always been about healing people. I consider them a noble breed. A group of physicians, who spend a fortune on an education, making less than the personal assistant for a middle manager in a small bank, which is not much to live on! At http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/press/release.cfm?id=7161 they state “Five countries—Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Malaysia, and Singapore—have put forth a counter-proposal that tries to better balance public health needs with the commercial interests of pharmaceutical firms” As an Australian I state that Australia need to take the high-road with Canada and New Zealand, not follow the cesspool America is trying to force down our throats. In the end, I suspect that this is about more than just plain greed.

Consider that the Dow index is based on 30 major companies. Now consider that 10% comes from pharmaceutical giants like Johnson & Johnson, Merck and Pfizer. After the issues we had seen in the last 3 years, I started to doubt the correctness of the Dow (and I reported on that in past blogs). It goes up and up, but with JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, VISA, American Express putting pressures on those numbers, the three big boys (drugs) could rock the boat in a massive way, which scares Wall Street to no extent. India had made great strides in affordable medication; the TPP is now a danger to affordable medication for people on a global scale.

Greed and Treason, it is all connected and it hits us all critically hard sooner rather than later!

 

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