Tag Archives: Nigeria

Is it merely a need to know?

It is more than just an opinion piece, when we saw the week begin with a piece from George Clooney (yes, that one) and John Prendergast, both responsible for the start of the NGO ‘Not On Our Watch‘, the people might took notice (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/feb/20/dirty-money-africa-atrocities-uk-banks), the title ‘British banks are go-betweens in global conflict. This can be stopped‘ was even more alluring, but then we see the quote “It is time to act against the kind of corruption that enables governments and armed groups especially in east and central Africa – the deadliest interlinked zone of conflict in the world – to prosecute wars and carry out mass atrocities“, everyone decided to take another nap. Actually, I cannot blame them. It sounds so intense and essential, but if there is one part the population at large does not care about, than it is another corruption article from a place the bulk of the people never cared about it in the first place. Now, this is the plain reality that the people seem to have. Can I blame them? Is it a valid point of view?

This becomes part of the centre that we lose when we see that implied levels of corruption are impeding our quality of life in Europe. I discussed part of it in ‘When a Newspaper gets it wrong‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2017/02/16/when-a-newspaper-gets-it-wrong/). The article linked here implies a lot, especially when you realise that we are faced with British Champagne stories in an age where any member of the EU mentioning it should not even be allowed to be a member of the EU parliament. Then we get “The National Crime Agency judges that billions of pounds of suspected proceeds of corruption are laundered through the UK each year“, which might be true, might not be true, but most important, when we realise that there is also the quote “the international community has failed to fully deploy the anti-money laundering measures“, I would like to see a comparison on a national level, you see, comparing the UK numbers (where possible) with the numbers of Europe’s largest Transit harbour on the planet (read: Rotterdam) and as such the container laundering schemes where it goes on for more iterations of laundering as the bitcoin is used. So how can we see how much is laundered per nation? Is the UK the big player here? How does the UK compare to the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Italy and Poland? Can we see those numbers please? You see, as we read “These kinds of financial-pressure measures can help save lives“, the bulk of the readers seem to ignore, or remain ignorant on how the pharmaceutical industry funnels billions, all perfectly legal and as such taxation is avoided. Yes, it makes perfect sense to focus on millions and not address the billions missed. Oh, and perhaps can we see the expected, or predicted time table from the quote “Our team is gathering the evidence needed“, now, let’s be honest, that such a given is next to impossible, but a few changes fought for at present might restore the essential need of legal overhauls, a side that does not seem to make the press that often and more important, the more Clooney stories we get, the less gets overhauled or clearly illuminated that an overhaul is essential. Now the quote we see at the end “a real difference can be made in ending wars in Africa and the mass atrocities that accompany them if we target those that are benefiting financially from the mayhem and suffering“, we can only agree with the principle need. I will not oppose that as such. Yet, it has only been a month since the article at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jan/26/nigerian-oil-pollution-shell-uk-corporations  and as such, when we hear ‘Nigerian oil pollution claims against Shell cannot be heard in UK, court rules‘ and the issues of pollution against the Royal Dutch Shell, we need to take a moment to consider whether the futility that team Clooney and Prendergast (Team CP) is bringing to the media. The given subtitle ‘Campaigners hoped case would pave way for lawsuits to be brought against corporations for actions abroad‘ is another part in that the issues cannot be properly examined. This we see in “Shell has denied liability and argued last November that the challenge involves “fundamentally Nigerian issues” that should be heard in a Nigerian court“, now it is important to know that I did not study the court notes. So, if we can accept that the court did do a proper hearing and accepted the relevant issues, than no matter what Team CP brings us, the simple truth is that the dangers of any Nigerian court would properly stop the issues correctly seemingly would become almost pointless (if we accept the corruption part that team CP claims. In addition, when we read the accusation ‘A man collecting polluted water at an illegal oil refinery site‘ gives us even more, especially when we concentrate on the word ‘illegal‘, so is Royal Dutch Shell connected to the illegal refinery site? What evidence is there? So now we get the case that team CP is concentrating on a few numbskulls with the limited possibility to stop millions, whilst the players they need to go for is walking away with billions. In that regard their actions are implied to be ‘doomed to fail’ and that is in the most likely positive version, a more negative version is that massive amounts of times are wasted and nothing gets to be achieved. It is in addition likely that the Royal Dutch Shell would assist team CP with other meaningless cases whilst the Royal Dutch Shell remains out of reach. So how is that for justice?

This we see confirmed in the quote “Joe Westby, campaigner on business and human rights at Amnesty International, said: “This ruling could mean that the communities will never receive meaningful compensation, and that the oil spills will be not be properly cleaned up”“, which supports the view I am having and I got to the conclusion as fast as I was reading the article, only to see that other experts agree with me. The final quote “The company says the Bille and Ogale communities’ problems with oil spills are due to sabotage, theft from pipelines, and illegal refining“, which if proven shows the innocence of Shell to some degree, and it shows to the larger degree that team CP have very little chance of success to the degree they need it as change in Nigerian environmental legislation would be essential to force initial change. Apart from that view, there is still the illegal refining, that takes equipment, which beckons the question how much has the Nigerian government confiscated? How many people got prosecuted in all this? There is no clear answer of success and there likely will not ever be one as illegal refiners are in the same category as illegal poachers, as the need or ivory continues, the number of elephants will decrease in Africa until the animal is extinct, then what?

Unless the Nigerian government starts hunting down these transgressors with success and extreme prejudice, they end up not having any level of success. Greed is the ultimate equaliser, the need of the one outweigh the ability of many. A reality that has continued on a near global scale since the early 1900’s. Change is too slow and without harsh levels of success, the opinion piece on and from team CP is not going anywhere but into the circular storage and archiving solution (read: trashcan).

In this Shell has no consideration to assist, the government has no place to start and as the wrong parties are more and more likely blamed we get a situation that until the proper papers are filed, the people involved have no option left to move in any direction, which works great for the facilitators of these events. Someone is making a bundle and as these parties cannot be correctly and accurately identified, the actions against them remain empty, unresolved and hollow.

 

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Creating a dangerous joke

There is a lot going on. At first I wanted to take you into the world of fake news, it is a problem and it is a global one, but the elements in play, so many of them will confuse the hell out of anyone. It is not a simple story, it is an issue that will take many pages and there are plenty of people that cannot be bothered to read that much, I most certainly get that.

So why three issues?

They are only casually linked, but the events as they are taking places all at the same time makes me wonder if, and to what extent they will intersect.

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The first one is regarding everyone’s favourite ‘democracy’, North Korea! They decided to fire a missile for 500 Km to make a show of force. So millions were spend to make a show of strength that their missile will make it for 4% of the journey. This whilst we need to realise that the bulk of the 44,000 that became homeless in the floods 5 months ago are still for the most homeless. This event is making South Korea very nervous as the missile can reach them, the USA will make a show out of it all, even as there is no evidence that the missile could ever successfully make the other 96% and hit something substantial after that. As stated, there is no evidence, that in light of the military command setting the pass with Dell desktop computers that most gamers would not even touch in sheer desperation just so that they could play a game.

 

 

 

The second issue is another part all together. There has been a flaming row between Piers Morgan and JK Rowling. In this, I need to try and get through to people who seem to have a massive hatred for the Trump presidency. The video (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MrbXk5xOOM) gives us part of that. We usually do not get the full story as more than one media outlet, or opponent does not like him to complete his train of thought. He makes a few points that need to be considered. It goes far beyond mere freedom of speech, I will never be against it, yet in all this the papers need to be accountable for what they do. The situation is similar that the UK has with Brexit. So when we see the Rowling v Morgan event (at http://honey.nine.com.au/2017/02/13/07/54/jk-rowling-piers-morgan-twitter-spat), which has been going on for a few days now. The nine event shows a short part where Piers gets splattered as he was not allowed to finish his words. The quote “President Trump’s travel ban because the British TV presenter won’t call it a Muslim ban. Trump has tried to stop citizens of seven predominately Muslim countries, including Iran and Syria, from entering the US“, which is what he actually said. The part where Piers is correct is that his assessment is correct. You see the 7 nations are: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Libya, Sudan and Somalia. Some of the Muslim nations that are not on the list and not banned are: Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Muslim nations are not on that list. In addition, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Nigeria, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Egypt. Yes, it is correct that the 7 nations are predominantly Muslim, yet until that list at least doubles, it is not a Muslim ban.

adolf-hitler-world-tour-t-shirt-web
It was ‘nice’ and original that Jim Jefferies reflected on how Adolf Hitler grew into his role whilst singing a lullaby to 6 million Jews, but the reality is not the same here. So in a comedian like atmosphere he can tell Piers to Eff You Kay off, but he is deceiving you. In that regard the quote from JK Rowling ““Yes”, she tweeted.” Watching Piers Morgan being told to f–k off on live TV is *exactly* as satisfying as I’d always imagined“, might be valid from a celebrity like her as she has seen the darker less acceptable side of journo’s on a global level, but in all , the facts were not correctly given. And the press seems to be heralding to a larger extent, for too long to give the microphone to any person willing to loudly speak out against the current US president. This situation is more important than you think, you see, President Trump is doing almost exactly what he promised to do, yet if we consider that 100% of his voters are 50% of the nation, is he doing the right thing for America? It is a serious question and the answer is less easy to give, because the losing side is trying to create flame after flame via emotional broadcasts. The left has grown its media domain to such an extent that part of the US is unlikely to ever get the full facts. The Piers Morgan video gives us that. They give the realm where we hear on how CNN is implied to have some sort of buddy system with the previous administration. That is actually more alarming than you might think, because in such a setting, have we heard any reliable news from CNN over the last 3 years? Did you consider that part of the equation?

erdoganmemeTurkey is the last part in this equation. As we see thousands of people getting fired, arrested and prosecuted in what most call a massive aversion of the course of justice, we see that the list has grown. The BBC recapped the last 7 months as an event “following the failed coup attempt, nearly 100,000 civil servants have been removed from their posts. That includes teachers, police officers, soldiers, academics and lawyers“, where it should be clear that several of these groups would not be caught alive talking to one another, we must wonder how this shift, how this automation towards a totalitarian political shift is not the disastrous move that Germany found itself in on 30th January 1933. With the death of Paul von Hindenburg on 2nd August 1934, the shift of Adolf’s rise to power was complete. In this the danger we see Turkey in due to the acts of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are a lot higher than we get from President Trump, more important, as we see a massive political ‘Erdogan’ shift, what does that spell for the rest of Turkey? Will we become witness to the rise of a dictatorship, not unlike the one from Saddam Hussein? The changes he started in the 70’s, which led to the executions (read: purges), which would kill well over 250,000 Iraqis? More important, how will Europe interact at that point, or would Europe even allow itself to any interaction with Turkey?

 

These three are interacting because the Turkish population all over Europe will react to what happens in Turkey, more important, as Turkey becomes more ‘driven’ and President Erdogan finds the European doors close on him, we will get a new intelligence issue. As the Millî İstihbarat Teşkilatı (MİT) will be given the similar tasks, but now if finds itself more and more collecting international security intelligence, which changes the game as the allegiance with the USA will shift. The one with the FSB does not change that much as the FSB never really shares intelligence unless they know there are two other sources able to offer the information. As the open EU borders shut down to their original state, we will suddenly see that those outside of certain discussions will now become absent of being informed. It is the natural consequence of ending an open border environment. So as we see the Cold War escalate, there is at least the smallest chance that they will try to leave the hints of gullibility with the MİT. There is no evidence, but the Russian Intelligence side of things (before they started to call themselves FSB) has plenty of examples and lets not forget that they are still sore regarding a certain fighter plane that was shot down for transgressing Turkish borders for no more than 14 seconds.

This now gets another turn of complications as the two parts that we see escalating in the Washington Post with “White House national security adviser Michael Flynn is under increasing political pressure and risks losing the confidence of some colleagues following reports that he misled senior administration officials about his discussion of sanctions with a Russian envoy shortly before President Trump took office“, as well as “Former acting attorney general Sally Q. Yates warned the White House that national security adviser General Michael Flynn may be vulnerable to Russian blackmail, the Washington Post reported on Monday“, so as we ponder this, just a mere 1800 seconds ago we get “Flynn has acknowledged he might have discussed sanctions with the Russians but could not remember with 100 percent certainty, which officials said had upset Pence, who felt he had been misled“. ‘Is this the geriatric division of the Intelligence community?‘ I might drop a nickel every now and then, but I am not the national security adviser and neither is I having to be a General! Two very visible places where an event where things like ‘sanctions‘ and ‘could not remember with 100 percent certainty‘ what factors were having an impact on the sanctions. That part should have been clearly documented as filed so that the alphabet group knows what’s coming (those in charge that is). You see, as we all face the news of escalations (especially Turkey and Russia), the Russian issues with America (and vice versa) implies that we are on the forefront of an optional new cold war.

This is not just me, several sources are raising the threat of the new cold war (or Cyber cold war) as some call it. In this we will face several fronts, because there is currently an issue with the top positions and I feel that I can claim with a decent certainty that Breitbart News will be massively out of its depth when it misplaces, misrepresents or misquotes any element in such an affair. In addition, the General Flynn issue gives rise to the issue that this optional war is one that America will not be ‘in like Flynn‘, which gives away some of its lack of preparedness at that point.

So as North Korea might soon be making a few more boasts whilst we get incriminations addressed towards America and South Korea by China, we will see more speeches, considerations and not so carefully worded denials. In the end, we are skating towards a diminishing field of options. Well, actually, the question becomes what will happen, as we now see the resignation letter of the National Security Advisor (which might have been the only move left), the USA is now forced to get another person confirmed for the role. In a time when getting proper advice is pretty stellar important, selecting the right advisor would have been pretty important. All this in the first 100 days is not the best way for the new president to make any headway. Attached to this is the press, who have been on a massive Trump bash. The left who has been enjoying a lefty point of politics and getting enabled at every corner is now facing a vindictive administration, which is counterproductive on both sides, because any escalation down the Cold War front means that proper informing the people on what is actually happening is going to be much more important. In that regard, perhaps it is starting to be more and more important to label the tabloids with a brand that it is not truly presenting the news, I would prefer that they also lose the 0% VAT option, the idea that intentional misinforming the people comes with a tax break! Does that not bother you?

You see, these elements as stated are linked, not directly on the events, but how we react to them, this can have an increasing negative consequence, especially as we use social media to gain favour and laughs. Yet the other side tends to be less recipient. Some will take the moral offended side of the matter. So as we heard Jim Jefferies Hitler reference, some reacted, some did not and most reactions were against Piers Morgan. Now, I am no fan of him. I think that he plays a dangerous game, trying to side with the emotional side of people, as do Journo’s like Lisa Wilkinson, yet in some lights she tends to be a lot more level headed here. In contrast, when we see the Morgan quote: “To all the ignorant, bigoted transgender community members continuing to abuse me re @janetmock – I’m bored of you now, go away. Thanks.

Piers need to equally realise that if he does not consider thinking things through before making his case knowing very well that there will be open outrage, he needs to realise sooner rather than later that he is not part of any solution, he remains part of the problem.

This story will get a sequel as certain events are currently still evolving.

 

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Cleaning house!

This issue has been in the back of my head for some time. It was 2011 when this happened. The ruling hit the news (and the most colourful version was in the Daily Mail as per usual), where a rapist could not get deported because he was entitled to a family life. The article angered me and to some extent, I was then and I am still now on the side of the Daily Mail approach.

Why are criminals granted a lot more freedoms then their victims?

The more preposterous part is: “This is despite him not having a wife, long-term partner or children in the UK“, so what family life? He could try to get one in Nigeria for all I care.

The convention can be found here: http://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf

The actual text: “ARTICLE 8 Right to respect for private and family life, 1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.”

It sounds nice enough, but it is time for some tough love, so I recommend adding the following:

3. In case of conviction of a serious crime, that nation can decide to ignore rule 1, providing a connection to a long term partner and the existence of biological off spring, born in that nation, not criminally conceived has been established.

So, we got rid of the rapist, if the mother is a pro-life woman, that will not protect him and moreover, he cannot hide behind an adoption either. Whether this is altered for the UK or it is accepted within the EEC as a whole is of course the crux. It is also time to stop tailoring from a weak point of view. Yes, at this point, a Human Rights point of view is a weak view (I accept that many disagree here)!

Let’s be clear here. I am all for human rights, but these rights also come with responsibilities and accountability, without these two rights pretty much go out of the window. It should also be clear that if a nation independently decides to not enforce paragraph 3, then this is fine too as I added “that nation can decide“, I am all for the right to choose and Like some should not judge the UK, the UK should not judge France, Germany or the Netherlands.

We are not done yet. There is still Article 12 to consider. We can’t have criminals ‘suddenly’ fall in love and get hitched and therefor avoid deportation (where applicable), hence the following would change

ARTICLE 12 Right to marry, Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right“.

Would change into:

ARTICLE 12 Right to marry,
1. Men and women of marriageable age have the right to marry and to found a family, according to the national laws governing the exercise of this right
2. The right to marry is temporary postponed if one or both persons have been deprived of his/her liberty by arrest or detention, until 6 months after release and was not been deported because of these events
3. Paragraph 2 will not be valid, if a court has ordered the release of the involved parties due to non-lawful detention
“.

We keep number three there, as there is always a chance a person was convicted innocently and as such; we must definitely protect their rights too, as I stated we will give all quarter to those who abided by law as we should.

So, it took me almost 45 minutes to get to these conclusions after going over certain papers. The question becomes why these steps had not been made before? Well, let’s take a look at the Guardian (at http://www.theguardian.com/law/2013/dec/22/britain-european-court-human-rights). Here we see another view when we consider the following paragraph:

Grayling said last week the ECHR did not ‘make this country a better place’. David Cameron has said the court risks becoming a glorified ‘small claims court’ buried under a mountain of ‘trivial’ claims , and suggested Britain could withdraw from the convention to ‘keep our country safe’. The home secretary, Theresa May, has pledged the party’s next manifesto will promise to scrap the Human Rights Act, which makes the convention enforceable in Britain

I am not sure I can agree with the Home Secretary there. I see her point, but it took me only 45 minutes to alter the convention into something a lot less hassle, without actually changing that much. Those who come to Europe, fighting for a better life, not resorting to crime can still do that. My issue is that the rape victim, who was 13 at the time seems to have fallen of the view of the world (which might be good for her), yet in the dozens upon dozens of documents trying to protect the rapist, how much concern was given to the victim of his crime?

This is at the heart of my reasoning. Some judges talk a good talk, but then they seem to refuse to walk the walk (if it pleases the court and with all due respect). Consider the paper ‘Women in an unsecure world‘ (at http://www.unicef.org/emerg/files/women_insecure_world.pdf). A paper edited by Marie Vlachova and Lea Biason. If we are TRULY going to do anything to make their future safe, then we must begin in our own country. By making the consequence of transgression so high, that considering it will no longer be an option, that is the point where we all move forward and we can slowly start to actually eradicate the violence against women. I will not and cannot state that I have a true solution there, or that my solution will work. The issues are not overly complex, but it is a problem that is massively larger than most realise (including me), I just believe that if we send a strong signal that those transgressors will never be opted any life in any land of opportunity, we might, just might start to turn the tide a little. Is that not at the heart of Humanitarian rights too? If not, then what is Article 14 doing in the ECHR in the first place.

The only part that is laughable in the earlier mentioned PDF is the following statement “The Russian Government estimates that 14,000 women were killed by their partners or relatives in 1999, yet the country still has no law specifically addressing domestic violence“, the ‘comical‘ side there is that the UK did not have a serious option until the ‘Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, I am not ignoring the ‘Family Law Act 1996’, yet the issue remains if we see the data (at http://www.womensaid.org.uk/domestic_violence_topic.asp?section=0001000100220041) that apparently the UK faces 1 call on domestic violence every minute. So, it is not just a Russian issue, the more data I see, the more that part should be stated as a global problem, with the Russian terminal numbers being a mere outlier in this entire debacle.

If we accept that not all women call for help, then there is a massive problem and governments all over the Commonwealth will need to make some clear, visible and drastic changes. When we start seeing newscasts on how immigrants have been evicted because of violence against women, how long until the local male population starts to realise that their number is up too?

This view is only amplified after seeing this article (at http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jun/08/police-fear-rise-domestic-violence-world-cup), is this for real? I wonder if a name and shame option would work. You know, we take his picture and place poster sized pictures close to ‘his’ watering holes. I wonder how happy such a person would feel in the local pub when they all knew what he was (apart from being an absolute wanker).

In several regards Theresa May was correct, the ECHR is a problem, but she was in my humble opinion incorrect to think that this issue was just in the UK, the Netherlands has numbers that indicate that violence against women is a lot higher there, or is it? Research seemed to indicate that Dutch women are more likely to report these crimes with the police, which makes the violence against women in the UK a lot higher than expected (at http://www.rtlnieuws.nl/nieuws/binnenland/geweld-tegen-vrouwen-nederland-een-stuk-hoger-dan-eu). Is that last part true? Without better data I cannot tell, but the chance that 4 out of 10 women are under direct threat of violence sickens me to my stomach, which makes the ECHR a larger joke then we are willing to admit to.

I think altering (best), or rejecting it (not that great an option) could be the next step, however, not doing anything should no longer be any option, not in the UK and not anywhere in the EEC, or anywhere else for that matter. Should we go after immigrants first? That is of course a valid question too. I think it is, as stated before, when these transgressors realise that crime gets you deported, a clear signal is given and not just in the UK either. I believe that once these events start, the signal is given all over Europe that a person is welcome as long as they abide by the law. There is of course the question where to add the bite we need. If too much is added to the ECHR, the bigger the chance that we create loopholes because of it and that makes any act or law bill toothless. The strongest bite is found in simplicity (as I see it). In that regard I would like to add something to Article 3 of the ECHR, changing it into:

ARTICLE 3, Prohibition of torture
1. No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
2. Domestic violence will be regarded as inhuman and degrading treatment of a person and is as such subject to local criminal law.

So, now that Domestic Violence is set on the same scope as torture. How soon until the local population realises that the ‘game’ is up and this kind of violence will get them into jail, out of house and home, an automatic granted divorce to the victim with all rights given to the victim, hence the victim gets the house, the children and what else and those who regarded domestic violence as an option would get the short end of every stick. I am willing to bet that the face of domestic violence is changed within a year after the courts start handing out these verdicts.

It would be nice to see such a change in mentality and I will (again) humbly accept my knighthood and cottage (especially as I concocted a solution after breakfast and before lunch).

I do agree that the solution is not that simple, but giving these victims additional protection with real teeth is likely a much better approach then has been attempted this far. Knowing that the other approach has not worked, is it not time to start opting for a more direct approach?

 

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Hot air for the Ukraine

That was the first thought I had when I saw the news from several angles, when we consider the responses from Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Viktor Yanukovych and a few others. The Americans were (as expected) all about keeping an eye on what Russia does. My first question could be ‘then what?‘.

This would be a fair question as we have seen what happens when ‘the line gets crossed‘ as President Obama mentioned. Basically nothing happened in the end. There will be rattling of sabres and after that people create some diplomatic summit in a luxury place and in the end nothing really changes. If you doubt that, then ask the Syrians. In the end President Assad needed time and time he got and plenty of it. In that regard consider last week’s NY Times (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/23/world/middleeast/un-orders-both-sides-in-syria-to-allow-humanitarian-aid.html), so after several weeks the peace talks ended in failure. Be honest, was there ever a decent chance of a good outcome? This was all about delaying for President Assad, and as such he seems to have won. So, what will happen to the Ukraine?

The Ukraine is not like that, I know, but in the end, does that matter? The US is too weak, it has no reserves left, in addition, there is a growing pile of evidence that big business, not the politicians or the legislative branch are in charge of what happens in America. Feel free to doubt me, but consider the largest employer Wal-Mart. Consider that the owners are multi billionaires and that their staff members need food stamps and financial support just to survive. Did you hear me? This is not about the unemployed, but the workers who still need that level of support and the taxpayer gets those bills, not the employer. This is in my mind a level of clear evidence that the politicians as well as the legislative branch of the US government have failed its citizens. So, they are going to mess with Russia, just as the military has announced massive cuts and downsize plans? Who is kidding who here?

Now on the honourable representative players in this game called John Kerry and Chuck Hagel. I am not attacking them. They are representing their government, but are they speaking their mind and heart? They likely are and they are not happy about any of the issues currently rising, but they are unlikely able to make a true impact at present. You cannot spend money from a budget that is no longer there. Basically, as this administration was idle for over three years to tackle big business, to tackle spending habits and to hunt down tax evaders, the economic trinity at large, the US is pretty much bankrupt, which means they cannot pay for the fuel to make the war engine go forward. It will run out of fuel before it can truly engage a theatre of upcoming war. It is not a good thing, but it is what it is, so at this time it pretty much sucks to be the US Secretary of Defence!

But this is not just about America, many might ‘like’ this US bashing, but that is not what this is. Consider the words of Peter Stano “Peter Stano, Spokesperson for European Neighbourhood Policy Commissioner Stefan Fule, stated the European Commission (EC)’s ‘door remains open’ for Ukraine. The EC’s policy is very open, transparent and predictable, he said. The EC’s offer is tabled, he continued further. The EC offers highly important EU neighbours the opportunity to come closer to the EU with political association and economic integration, he explained

Consider the NY Times from January 2nd 2014 (at http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/business/international/the-euro-adds-latvia-but-further-growth-is-uncertain.html) “Those include achieving a deficit of 3 percent of gross domestic product and keeping debt to 60 percent of the annual gross domestic product.” This is about its newest member Latvia. You can read two parts here; one is to lower the deficit to 3%, which might be a good achievement. Yet at http://www.kase.gov.lv/uploaded_files/2010/SSD/news_release_2014-A-0109_011.pdf we see the mention “R&I believes that real GDP will continue to grow around 4% on the back of a recovery in the European economy.

Really, who is buttering who’s bread and where (more important, who owns the butter to begin with). This is a massive amount of iterated bad news management I am appalled that the PRESS is not more active in finding out the ‘real’ truth here. Consider a 2013 report from the EC (at http://ec.europa.eu/economy_finance/publications/european_economy/2013/pdf/ee3_en.pdf) and consider that the numbers on page 47 is up to 2011. So, the 2012 numbers are not even there for a 2013 report. This is all about marketing, all about as they state “Overall, a broad-based look at underlying factors suggests that sufficiently strong conditions are in place for Latvia to be able to maintain a robust and sustainable convergence path in the medium term“, which makes this 55 page paper a sales pitch.

How is this connected?

That is the question isn’t it! It is not about Latvia, or the Ukraine. This is about the EEC and their approach to ‘some kind of a future‘. This is all good, but these events are about setting economic prosperity for a few EEC bigwigs. As they add members, as deficits are still not met in several nations and debts keep on rising, the taxpayers will soon face a harsh reality and it is a bigger one than they bargained for. On my side, there is also a view. Am I comparing apples to pears?
Yes, to some extent I am. The issue is that the EEC is not a vendor of apples or pears, they are dealing in fruit and we all get thrown into the same trog. Russia seems adamant that the Ukraine does not enter the same trog. It prefers its own trog to the EEC one, which might looks nicer but has the same stale grub in the end.

So when we see the sabre rattling from both sides, make sure that you all realise that this is not about the Ukrainians, their choices their future. It is for the Ukrainians, but the other parties are engaging for one reason, their economies! It is about the economic futures of others. Will this all bring prosperity to the Ukraine and its people? Not until the EEC and America end up with a much better economy, which require these governments (all of them) to get their budgets in order. Until then they are showing themselves as some sort of hedge fund dealers. You might remember how that ended up in 2004 and 2008. Now, it is no longer about de-valuated pieces of paper, now it will all be about people and whoever will be the ‘last’ nation left standing. We need to get out of that rat race and real quickly too!

That part becomes more and more visible when we see the latest from Sky News “Russia is ready to help Ukraine as it seeks to stave off economic collapse, US Secretary of State John Kerry says after talking with his Russian counterpart” (at http://www.skynews.com.au/world/article.aspx?id=954470). In addition “Ukraine owes $US13 billion in state debt payments this year – a massive sum in a country where state reserves have shrunk to less than $US18 billion” gives some level of evidence to my views. Another government had been spending money they never had to begin with. When smaller economies fall over, how long until the larger ones take a tumble (especially as they add on new in deficit grown members), because if these issues do not change that will be the clear terminal result, no matter what sales pitch a hedge fund call centre operator calls you with.

In that regard there is an interesting paper at http://www.project-bridge.eu/datoteke/Actions2012/BRIDGE-ANALYSIS%20OF%20THE%20EU-UKRAINE%20RELATIONS.pdf. Denys Kuzmin and Iryna Maksymenko wrote an interesting piece in 2012. Not sure how much I can agree with (as I was never an economic), but it reads like this is all about a possible future for the Ukraine, not about keeping the EEC alive. That side is getting less and less likely, as we see the growing influence from Nigel Farage, Marie Le-Penn, Bernd Lucke and Geert Wilders in their respective governments. Whatever will happen after that will have long term consequences for all the EEC players, even though many ignore these dangers, the dangers will not go away any day soon because that is the consequence of a weak economy, the people choose and currently they are very afraid for their personal futures. So is Ukraine better off with Russia or with the EEC? I actually have no idea, but consider that Russian Commerce is currently buying up commerce all over Europe like for example the Dutch Jeweller ‘Siebel’. The chips are not just changing hands, they are now moving out of local owner’s hands into the hands of foreign corporations. I am not talking about the big boys, they have been in some international hands for a long time, we are now talking about smaller shops where all the moms and pops go.  Consider that these places are no longer held by some oil sheik (like large portions of London), or certain American multi-national groups. Now Russian companies are moving in (through legal methods) and taking control. Who would have guessed this event 10 years ago? Perhaps it is time to ignore these high boasting Wall Street analysts, it is time for actual data, not have baked forecasts to take control of budget goals and government expenditures.

For those wondering about the hot air reference in the title, this is a reference to the windy city of Chicago. The windy city was not about the fresh Canadian air, but about their politicians (filled with hot air). The escalating issue as they are shown in the Ukraine is now in my view all about politicians and spokespeople. For the last 8 years politicians sat on their hands and spokespeople did whatever they could to divert the eyes of politicians, politicians for governments, spokespeople for economic interested parties. If you doubt my words then look at Darfur, Bagdad, Nigeria and Syria, all colossal failures. The politicians failed, grabbing for some ‘sanction solution’ that has never actually worked. Now their credibility of strength is gone. Big Business has been pushing for the lowest and cheapest option for so long; it has made the rich richer, the poor with less, whilst the rich avoid taxation by the billions and after half a decade they are still not dealt with, whilst many taxation coffers are less than empty. Consider the words of Mariana Chilton, an associate professor at Drexel University’s School of Public Health: “If they wanted to address poverty and hunger in this country, then they would pay a living wage, and they would make sure that their workers had good benefits and good family leave for when families have children, etcetera” (at http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/business-solution-war-on-poverty-lyndon-johnson)

These two groups talk to all but they do not really communicate. In the end, when it all falls over they only have themselves to blame and end up blaming everyone except themselves, whilst at the same time they will leave the taxpayer with the cost of it all.

In the end, Russia can do to Ukraine (read Crimea region) whatever it likes, because the west currently has no real actionable options left.

 

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