Tag Archives: Politico

Screwed either way

Some will remember James Comey, at present former Director of the FBI. In addition, we need to remember on how during the final parts of the election Hillary Clinton came under investigations regarding her handling of certain matters as Secretary of State. In my mind her chances went out the window as she had bungled the Benghazi affair in the most stupid way possible. From my point of view it could have gotten her at least a million extra votes if she had done that thing right. In that Case, the 16 votes for Michigan might have been Democratic, in addition, the 29 votes for Florida and 10 for Wisconsin could have sealed the deal as the differences were really low, no guarantee, but the limping to the finish line as some newspapers reported imply that those three would have been up for grabs at that point. Would it have been enough. Was James Comey the trigger that made it falter? It would be too speculative to say ‘Yes!’

Consider the extremely hostile environment of the US and their need to be ‘by the book’ to do it according to whatever rules they decide. The fact that Hillary Clinton did office work via private email and servers and then suddenly the materials cannot be produced. This means that she gets to do government work off the books, with every possibility to feed her personal needs. I am not saying she did, I am saying she could have done that and there will be no evidence to help prove it. My issue was with the Benghazi situation. Where we see: ‘State Department officials were later criticized for denying requests for additional security at the consulate prior to the attack. In her role as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton subsequently took responsibility for the security lapses‘, which was almost the brunt of it, the fact that certain parties were not upfront about the issue and it took Freedom Of Information Act requests by the Republican National Committee to truly get things going publicly. From CNN and Politico we learn “a lack of cooperation from Obama administration officials and Secretary Clinton for the lack of progress“, certain parties were dragging their heels as the spokesperson had to admit that they were pretty much clueless on the situation, that level of ignorance got an US ambassador killed. It might have blown over, but with the death of an Ambassador it was no longer an option as the world would be watching. This issue, even as Clinton took the blame towards herself, would not clear her. She failed a position of high office and as such giving her an even higher position was a bit of a no-no. Consider that the request for additional security was denied, the next time around it could impact the security of a nation. The entire terrorist push, the billions on security are now the anchor that no party can ignore. Stating that there will be no danger could start the second civil war in the US as the intelligence and security services have been spending billions meant for welfare and education. In this we now see the issue that was brought to light later as “classified information ended up on the laptop of the disgraced former congressman Anthony Weiner“, now we get “Mr. Comey had told the Senate Judiciary Committee that during the F.B.I.’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state, officers uncovered evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s aide, Huma Abedin, had “forwarded hundreds and thousands of emails, some of which contain classified information” to Mr. Weiner, her husband“, so an unqualified person forwarded from a private server mails to people who had no business getting the information. This is how nations are put into danger, this is how National Security falters. In this people want to protect the Clintons from being utter dicks in negating the need for security. In addition, the NY Times gives us the quote (at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/09/us/politics/comey-clinton-emails-testimony.html) “Our investigation determined that Ms. Abedin commonly forwarded emails to others who would print documents for her,” Gregory A. Brower, the assistant director in the F.B.I.’s Office of Congressional Affairs, wrote in a letter to the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa“, so not only is she stupid, she is commonly stupid? What other information went innocuously to indirect receivers at for example, Wall Street, or a friend in financial hardship? James Comey did what was requested from him as the news has shown in several times that House republicans requested the probe and now a Republican fires Comey for doing so.

The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/09/james-comey-fbi-fired-donald-trump), gives us: “Clinton partly blamed Comey’s letter in late October notifying Congress that the FBI was studying the emails on the laptop, for costing her the presidential election”, which sounds nice from her side, but when we realise that she allowed in principle for hundreds of classified mails to go unchecked via a third party to another person who should have no access at all. The fact that she is not in prison for gross negligence, or even on charges much worse is for her the smallest blessing in disguise”.

I will admit that there are issues on the Comey side too, yet again, when we realise that this was all in a timed situation during the running of the presidential election, and timed by republicans, there is one part that seems to stand out, as I see it, for the next 8 years, the republicans will not get any assistance that is a letter outside of the official brief request. The republicans have thrown away any options for small favours. Yet perhaps that might be their game, because as more and more people realise the dangers of the Financial Choice Act, it might be that James Comey was too much of an unknown straight shooter according to Wall Street. I wonder what friend of Wall Street will get to be appointed next. You think that my speculation is wrong? Perhaps it is, I just find it a little weird that a person who did his job in weird times, at request of the republicans, gets fired by that same group. Perhaps President Trump is merely throwing a fictive olive branch at the democrats, perhaps and more likely he was being misinformed by someone really liking someone else to be in that place. In my view there are issues on both sides, yet the direct clarity is that there has been a proven case that former Presidential runner Hillary Clinton was stupid in the way she did things and more stupid having an aide that had no office setup to properly print things, as well as knowingly share classified information with third parties. That part only came to light as the 52-year-old congressman decided to do some sexting with a 15 year old. Without that, it might not have come to light. The issue then becomes, who else, who should not be receiving any of it, ended up with classified information, who else came with: ‘shall I print that out for you?’ In this, the one support against the Wall Street Journal would be the quote “His probe of the former Secretary of State’s private email server is looking more like a kid-glove exercise with each new revelation“, which might not be incorrect, yet the election was in full swing, there was an issue that could constitute electoral fraud, which would be a big no-no to a lawyer like James Comey. He was pushed by the republicans in a hard place with no real solution. Yet in all this none of the papers stated at the headline the one part that mattered and remains unstated too often: ‘Hillary Clinton did this to herself!

There is one remaining side which we get from loyal republican Bill O’Reilly. He is illuminating it all without using the speculation I use (I am a blogger after all), we see: “Now, if you are Comey, you are basically taking copies of all your files, because if there is something wrong here – by wrong I mean, if Comey was doing his job, and now is fired because he was doing his job – Comey has got to get that out”, and there is more at https://www.billoreilly.com/b/OReilly-from-his-car-on-the-Firing-of-FBI-Director-James-Comey/662156856740165995.html. The issue is seen not by just me, but by several people, some of them scrutinising the FBI even more than I ever would, they state ‘Comey is fired because he was doing his job’, which is to many of us a real no-no, that whilst the Clinton gang goes on making loads of coin. The injustice is slightly more than I can stomach. So, as such I feel correct in my speculation, this was not about the Clinton mails, this is about making an FBI shake up for what comes next. It is done now because one additional quality win makes Comey almost untouchable and at that point too many people on the hill (that famous one in Washington DC) will ask a few more questions on both sides of the political isle. That is the part they have no worry about when the next one in the hot seat gets given the hot potato no one wants. It is a stretch on my side, I agree to that, yet with the loud noises that the Financial Choice Act is making and with groups and strong people in high places are now asking loudly what is wrong with the Republicans enabling Wall Street to this agree. As we see that consumers will lose more rights to defend themselves in these matters, having an FBI director with a strong moral compass is not something that the White House or the Senate might be comfortable with. I might be wrong here, and I likely am. Yet when you get fired for doing your job, more questions should be asked, especially as it is the position where one person has a goal to keep its citizens safe from several dangers. I hope you got that much at least.

 

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Targeting the FBI

Do not worry, the FBI is not under attack from any hostile force, in this particular case it is me who will be on the offensive regarding statements made in 2014. Let me explain why. To get to the start of this event, we need to take a step back, to be a little more precise we need to turn to the moment 645 days ago when we read that Sony got hacked, it got hacked by none other than North Korea. It took me around an hour to stop laughing, the stomach cramps from laughter are still on my mind when I think back to that day. By the way, apart from me having degrees in this field. People a lot more trustworthy in this field, like Kim Zetter for Wired Magazine and Kurt Stammberger from cyber security firm Norse. The list of sceptics as well as prominent names from the actual hacking world, they all had issues with the statements.

We had quotes from FBI Director James Comey on how tightly internet access is controlled there (which is actually true), and (at https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/update-on-sony-investigation) we see “the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions“. I am pretty sure that the FBI did not expect that this would bite them down the track. This all whilst they rejected the alternate hack theory that Cyber Intelligence firm Norse gave (at http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/fbi-rejects-alternate-sony-hack-theory-113893). Weirdly enough, the alternative option was no less than ten times more possible then the claim that some made. Another claim to have a giggle at came from Homeland Security, the quote was “The cyber-attack against Sony Pictures Entertainment was not just an attack against a company and its employees. It was also an attack on our freedom of expression and way of life“, which is a political statement that actually does not say much. The person making it at the time was Jeh Johnson.

You see, this is all coming to light now for the weirdest of reasons. The Guardian (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/21/north-korea-only-28-websites-leak-official-data). The subtitle gives us “Apparent error by a regime tech worker gave the world a rare glimpse into the few online sources of information available“, so one of these high profile worldly infamous hackers got a setting wrong and we get “But its own contribution to the world wide web is tiny, according to a leak that revealed the country has just 28 registered domains. The revelation came after one of North Korea’s top-level name servers was incorrectly configured to reveal a list of all the domain names under the domain .kp“, you see, here we see part of the fun that will now escalate.

In this I invite NSA director Admiral Michael Rogers and FBI Director James Comey to read this, take note, because it is a free lesson in IT (to some extent). It is also a note for these two to investigate what talents their agencies actually have and to get rid of those who are kissing your sitting area for political reasons (which is always good policy). When  the accused nation has 28 websites, it is, I agree not an indication of other internet elements, but let me add to this.

The need to prototype and test any kind of malware and the infrastructure that could actually be used against the likes of Sony might be routed via North-Korea, but could never originate there. The fact that your boffins can’t tell the difference is a clear given that the cyber branch of your organisations are not up to scrap. In that case it is now imperative that you both contact Major General Christopher P. Weggeman, who is the Commander, 24th Air Force and Commander, Air Forces Cyber (AFCYBER). He should most likely be at Lackland Air Force Base, and the phone number of the base is (210) 671-1110. I reckon setting up a lunch meeting and learn a thing or two is not entirely unneeded. This is not me being sarcastic, this is me telling you two that the case was mishandled, got botched and now that due to North Korean ‘expertise’, plenty of people will be asking questions. The time requirement to get the data that got taken was not something that happened overnight. For the simple reason that that much data would have lit up an internet backbone and ever log alarm would have been ringing. The statement that the FBI made “it was unlikely that a third party had hijacked these addresses without allowance from the North Korean government” was laughable because of those pictures where we saw the Korean high-command behind a desktop system with a North Korean President sitting behind what is a mere desktop that has the computation equivalent of a Cuisena Egg Beater ($19.95 at Kitchen Warehouse).

Now, in opposition, I sit myself against me. You see, this might just be a rant, especially without clarification. All those North Korean images could just be misdirection. You see, to pull of the Sony caper you need stimulation, like a student would get at places like MIT, Stanford, or UTS. Peers challenging his solutions and blocking success, making that person come up with smarter solutions. Plenty of nations have hardware and challenging people and equipment that could offer it, but North Korea does not have any of that. The entire visibility as you would see from those 28 domains would have required to be of much higher sophistication. You see, for a hacker, there needs to be a level of sophistication that is begotten from challenge and experience. North Korea has none of that. Evidence of that was seen a few years ago when in 2012 in Pyongyang I believe, a press bus took a wrong turn. When some reporters mentioned on how a North Korean (military I believe) had no clue on smartphones. I remember seeing it on the Dutch NOS News program. The level of interaction and ignorance within a military structure could not be maintained as such the military would have had a clue to a better extent. The ignorance shown was not feigned or played, meaning that a technological level was missing, the fact that a domain setting was missed also means that certain monitoring solutions were not in place, alerting those who needed to on the wrongful domain settings, which is essential in regards to the entire hacking side. The fact that Reddit and several others have screenshots to the degree they have is another question mark in all this last but not least to those who prototype hacking solutions, as they need serious bandwidth to test how invisible they are (especially regarding streaming of Terabytes of Sony data), all these issues are surfacing from this mere article that the Guardian might have placed for entertainment value to news, but it shows that December 2014 is a very different story. Not only does it have the ability to exonerate the

We see a final quote from Martyn Williams, who runs the North Korea Tech blog ““It’s important to note this isn’t the domain name system for the internal intranet,” Williams wrote. “That isn’t accessible from the internet in any way.”” which is true to some extent. In that case take a look to the PDF (at https://www.blackhat.com/presentations/bh-usa-07/Grossman/Whitepaper/bh-usa-07-grossman-WP.pdf) from WhiteHat security. On page 4 we get “By simply selecting common net-block, scans of an entire Class-C range can be completed in less than 60 seconds“, yes, I agree you do not get that much info from that, but it gives us to some extent usage, you see, if something as simple as a domain setting is wrong, there is a massive chance that more obscure essential settings on intranet level have been missed, giving the ‘visitor’ options to a lot more information than most would expect. Another matter that the press missed (a few times), no matter how Time stated that the world was watching (at http://time.com/3660757/nsa-michael-rogers-sony-hack/), data needs to get from point to point, usually via a router, so the routers before it gets to North Korea, what were those addresses, how much data got ported through?

You see, the overreaction from the FBI, Homeland Security, NSA et al was overly visible. The political statements were so out in the open, so strong, that I always wondered: what else? You see, as I see it, Sony was either not the only one who got hacked, or Sony lost something else. The fact that in January 2015 Sony gave the following statement “Sony Entertainment is unable to confirm that hackers have been eradicated from its computer systems more than a month after the film studio was hit by a debilitating cyber-attack, a report says“, I mentioned it in my article ‘Slander versus Speculation‘ (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/03/slander-versus-speculation/). I thought it was the weirdest of statements. Basically, they had almost 3 weeks to set up a new server, to monitor all data traffic, giving indication that not only a weird way was used to get to the data (I speculated on an option that required it to be an inside job), yet more important, the fact that access had not been identified, meaning it was secured gave way to the issue that the hackers could have had access to more than just what was published. That requires a little bit more explanation. You see, as I personally see it, to know a transgressor we need to look at an oversimplified equation: ‘access = valid people + valid systems + threats‘ if threats cannot be identified, the issue could be that more than one element is missing, so either you know all the access, you know all the people and you know the identity of valid systems. Now at a place like Sony it is not that simple, but the elements remain the same. Only when more than one element cannot be measured do you get the threats to be a true unknown. That is at play then and it is still now. So if servers were compromised, Sony would need a better monitoring system. It’s my personal belief (and highly speculative) that Sony, like many other large companies have been cutting corners so certain checks and balances are not there, which makes a little sense in case of Sony with all those new expansions corners were possibly cut and at that point it had an IT department missing a roadmap, meaning the issue is really more complex (especially for Sony) because systems are not aligned. Perhaps that is the issue Sony had (again this is me speculating on it)?

What is now an issue is that North Korea is showing exactly as incapable as I thought it was and there is a score of Cyber specialists, many of them a lot bigger then I will ever become stating the same. I am not convinced it was that simple to begin with, for one, the amount of questions the press and others should have been asking regarding cloud security is one that I missed reading about and certain governmental parts in the US and other nations have been pushing for this cheaper solution, the issue being that it was not as secure as it needed to be, yet the expert levels were not on par so plenty of data would have been in danger of breaching. The question I had then and have now a lot louder is: “Perhaps Sony showed that cloud server data is even less secure than imagined and the level required to get to it is not as high as important stakeholders would need it to be“. That is now truly a question that matters! Because if there is any truth to that speculation, than the question becomes how secure is your personal data an how unaware are the system controllers of those cloud servers? The question not asked and it might have been resolved over the last 645 days, yet if data was in danger, who has had access and should the people have been allowed to remain unaware, especially if it is not the government who gained access?

Questions all worthy of answers, but in light of ‘statements made’ who can be trusted to get the people properly informed? Over the next days as we see how one element (the 28 sites) give more and more credible views on how North Korea was never the culprit, the question then becomes: who was? I reckon that if the likely candidates (China, Russia, UK and France) are considered there might not be an issue at all, apart from the fact that Sony needs to up their Cyber game, but if organised crime got access, what else have they gotten access to?

It is a speculative question and a valid one, for the mere reason that there is at present no valid indication that the FBI cyber unit had a decent idea, especially in light of the official response towards cyber security firm Norse what was going on.

Could I be wrong?

That remains a valid question. Even when we accept that the number of websites are no indication of Intranet or cybersecurity skills, they are indicative, when a nation has less websites than some third world villages, or their schools have. It is time to ask a few very serious questions, because skills only remain so through training and the infrastructure to test and to train incursions on a WAN of a Fortune 500 company is not an option, even if that person has his or her own Cray system to crunch codes. It didn’t make sense then and with yesterday’s revelation, it makes even less sense.

Finally one more speculation for the giggle within us all. This entire exercise could have been done to prevent ‘the Interview’ to become a complete flop. You know that movie that ran in the US in 581 theatres and made globally $11,305,175 (source: Box Office Mojo), basically about 10% of what Wolf of Wall Street made domestically.

What do you think?

 

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Did UKIP get it right?

That is a question that is slowly growing within the minds of Britons and non-Britons alike. Some will be in denial over it all, some will ignore their inner voice and some will ponder it. You see, once the banter and the mudslinging stops and people are sitting down thinking over a year in political waves, we are slowly getting the aftermath news and suddenly things are a lot less gloomy. Bloomberg gives us “There’s dwindling talk of a recession caused by the vote the leave the European Union, and British politicians are wondering if a “hard Brexit” option –rapid withdrawal from Europe without a new trade agreement – might be feasible. The answer is no. Such views rest upon bad economic reasoning and the cost of Brexit remains high, albeit mostly invisible for the time being“, is part of the news. You see, the scaremongers are now out of the view and the negative impacts, the ones we knew about are showing to be less negative than the scaremongers proclaimed. I agree and always did agree that the cost would be high. Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England had stated it, and in addition stated that there were elements that could not be forecasted. Which is also a truth. They are the invisible costs that will come and come again. The issue in my mind has always been, will it in the end be worth it (are the costs not unaffordable high) and I leaned more and more towards the Yes side!

You see, one of the main reasons for leaning towards Brexit was Mario Draghi. The trillion plus stimulus plans he had were too unfounded. Japan and the US are showing that there had been no clear increase whilst we hear opposite claims. The issue is actually brought to light by Bloomberg last week (at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2016-09-08/ecb-s-mario-draghi-downplays-more-stimulus), where we hear at 00:39 that there is an impact on the markets, but no real impact on the economy, which was my issue from the start. Politicians casually mixing both up in their speeches were playing, as I see it a flim-flam artist dictionary game, trying to make us think it is one and the same, yet they all know that it is not. So no real impact yet will over a trillion deeper in debt, only those on the financial markets, only some of them got a big payday out of all of it, the rest just has to assist in paying off the invoice. It is one of the pillars UKIP had!

Now we see even more issues, especially when we see additional issues in City A.M. (at http://www.cityam.com/249335/christine-lagarde-and-mario-draghi-call-politicians-do-more), with the quote “Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank (ECB) said governments and institutions needed to make sure their policies did not leave the poorest members of society behind, and called for structural reforms to help share the spoils of economic growth“, the failure of the European Community laid bare! You see, the people on EEC incomes have been meeting and not getting anywhere for almost 15 years now! The fact that tax laws and Corporate laws required revision even before 2004 as a requirement and after 2004 as a given is shown that none of this has been adequately done. The fact that the US played its cards in the Summit in the Netherlands in 2013, we all knew how that ended, so as we see that some are now crying cockroach, whilst littering food all over the floor only have themselves to thank for this situation. This all reflects back on the initial issue UKIP gave, ‘let’s make Britain about the British’. This is not racism, this is nationalism (read: nationalistic pride). An issue that neither Christine Lagarde nor Mario Draghi could resolve as they have been setting a neutral pose in aid of large corporations for far too long.

The next issue is the economic plan B that is now all over the news. The powerful monetary tool (TLTRO) that at 1:37 comes with the quote “that nobody has really fully understood or analysed“, and that is the plan B they are now grasping for!

TLTRO?

It is not a cereal or breakfast solution. It is a Targeted Long-Term Refinancing Operation. The ECB states “provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years. They offer long-term funding at attractive conditions to banks in order to further ease private sector credit conditions and stimulate bank lending to the real economy“, that sounds nice on paper, but if we know that the impact is not understood, has never been analysed to the effect it is, this all whilst we know that taxation laws are failing and corporate laws are not up to scrap, the ECB quote could be translated to “provide financing to credit institutions for periods of up to four years. They offer a refinanced the current outstanding debts to banks, guaranteeing large bonuses by resetting bad debts and revitalising the conditions of what were supposed to be written off debts, giving a false incentive to a dangerous presented economy at present“, you see, I am almost stating the same whilst the intent completely changes, the markets are now getting a boost via the other side. This is a reality we could face!

You see, the view is given with “All the new operations will have a four-year maturity, with the possibility of repayment after two years” (at https://www.ecb.europa.eu/press/pr/date/2016/html/pr160310_1.en.html), yet like the US, Greece and Japan, it is almost a given (speculation from my side) that these maturities will be paid with new debts. When we see the quote “Counterparties will be able to repay the amounts borrowed under TLTRO II at a quarterly frequency starting two years from the settlement of each operation. Counterparties will not be subject to mandatory early repayments” gives way to the thought that it is entirely possible that when the debts mature, they could be replaced be a new debt. Giving weight to the dangers. The fact that the option ‘not subject to early repayments’ is clearly included gives ample weight to the solution, whilst not preventing additional debts from this rephrased stimulus. In the end, the economy will not prosper, the rise of the debt will. Whilst under the debts the UK already is, these arrangements are as I see it too dangerous, all this as the increase of debts only give rise and power to non-governmental institutions to grow their influence via corporations over nations. One of the better players (Natixis), had this quote “Natixis Asset Management ranks among the leading European asset managers with €328.6 billion in assets under management” (source at present intentionally omitted), with the TLTRO in play, depending on the rules of the game (which were not available to me at present), it is entirely possible that once really in play, banks can indirectly refinance risky debts in additional loans via the applicant and as such get themselves a boost. It could potentially allow Natixis to grow its asset management part up to 20%. The ECB states (at https://www.ecb.europa.eu/mopo/implement/omo/tltro/html/index.en.html) “The TLTROs are targeted operations, as the amount that banks can borrow is linked to their loans to non-financial corporations and households“, so basically companies in hardship can get relief, whilst the banks will still get their cut (aka administration and processing fee). Consider that Wealth Management is many things and Estate planning is one, now consider that Natixis has Credit and counterparty risks amounting in excess to 295 billion euro’s. Now there is a Draghi solution, one that no one seems to have ‘analysed’ that allows for solutions to non-financial corporations. Natixis is that, but their clients are not, and they can apply for the shifted funds, offsetting their loans, paying of the loans towards Natixis, who now have a massive amount of freed up cash that they can now pour into all kinds of solutions and endeavours. So do you still think that my view of 20% is oversimplified? And in 4 years? Well at that point, when things go south, Natixis and parties alike can jump in and possibly help out, ‘but at a price’ (which is fair enough).

This now reflects back to UKIP and Brexit!

The Guardian had an opinion piece (at https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/14/ttip-deal-british-sovereignty-cameron-ukip-treaty), that gives us the following, remember this is September 2014! “If you are worried about the power of corporations over our democracy, be very afraid: ISDS in effect grants multinationals the same legal position as a nation-state itself, and allows them to sue sovereign governments in so-called arbitration tribunals on the grounds that their profits are threatened by government policies. Is this scaremongering, as TTIP supporters claim?” So far there have been many voices who seem to be over the moon that the TTIP is now a failure and that the issues within the EU would have been far more reaching that many players were willing to admit to before the signing. Politico.eu reported “U.S. diplomats are sketching out a last-ditch plan to salvage core sections of the EU’s moribund trade deal with Washington“, that with the added “U.S. and Italian officials are now weighing the option of a “Step 1” deal to lock in elements that can be finalized by December, possibly including joint testing regimes and mutually agreed upon standards for cars, pharmaceuticals and medical devices“. It is clear that the US want to lock in Pharmaceuticals and cars, yet how is such a niche nothing more than a path trying to ditch the title ‘total loser government’ regarding the current administration. In addition “The idea has sparked immediate scepticism in the European Commission and in some EU member countries, which argue that any form of a downgraded deal will be very hard to sell politically, particularly after French Trade Minister Matthias Fekl and German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel turned hostile on the negotiations” gives way that BMW, Mercedes, Bayer Pharmaceuticals, Peugeot, Citroen and Sanofi are none too pleased with such a one sided piece of paper. The idea that such set benefits would be allotted at this point gives even more weight to some of the UKIP statements in the past.

If 2 out of the many projection come true, you are not suddenly a better prognosticator, mainly because that title is reserved for the likes of Punxsutawney Phil, Queen Charlotte and Shubenacadie Sam. Let’s face it, it is the title worthy of a groundhog! But some of these steps were clearly seen, because this is where everything was headed, the more forward you look, the easier the prediction could come true is not wrong, but only if you are travelling on a straight road. A road that corporate greed depends on I might say!

In my view, there is not enough to state that UKIP got it right, yet there are also enough facts and questions in play that UKIP did not get it wrong. We might listen those who keep on shouting that Brexit was wrong and see them as the people trying to reinvent the vote, but overall people are starting to realise that the US (read Wall Street) has been trying to give people a bad deal to benefit their own greed. The fact that this is going on at this very minute is equally a worry. This is on both sides of the isle, yet we can understand that Labour needs to clean house and they have decided on the method of accidentally leaking names. How will that solve anything? If Labour was on the ball, than they would steering towards real economic improvements, not bickering minors trying to decide who should be the number two, and soon thereafter remove the number one (read: allegedly attempt to). Actions that are totally counterproductive as the Conservatives are governing until the next general elections. It seems like such a waste of energy to me.

Now we see a new escalation. It seems (at http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/jean-claude-juncker-proposes-new-european-military-hq-worj-towards-eu-army-1581391). So the quote “The president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has called for a European Union military headquarters to work towards an EU-controlled army. Juncker made the proposals during his State of the Union address to MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday (14 September)“, which automatically makes me wonder how this correlates with Nazi Germany as this was how they resolves their bad economic times. It is a harsh history lesson to learn, but in that I am actually less afraid for a ‘new’ Nazi Europe. My issue is that many nations have their Cyber plan not in hand and any actions here give rise to the dangers that this would open up data for the Chinese Cyber groups to learn a lot more than they bargained for. You see, no matter how much denial we see, the facts are simple, Ren Zhengfei is the Huawei CEO and a former officer for the PLA. Now this does not mean that he is now still committed to the PLA, yet Huawei does business with the Chinese government and as such, they have all the specs and as such, they have all the weaknesses  of these devices too, meaning that governments all over Europe are in a possible place of Cyber Scrutiny. This does not mean that I am willing to just blindly accept the NSA report, but ties like that, when you are on these levels talking to the ruling members of Chinese government, you need to be networking on a massive scale and if both the Chinese military and Chinese Intelligence (MSS) gives you the thumbs up, you have been playing the game they want you to play, plain and simple. By the way, this is not a rant, or a side step into the matter, this is a direct factual response. Nigel Farage addressed the EU on an EU Army opposing it on valid points, and he got a few more hands clapping than his opponents are comfortable with. Now this was about opposition of the EU army as a whole, but underneath is the need for any military organisation to be secure and have systems in place, systems that could be compromised. In this Huawei could validly give the same argument that all Cisco Systems are compromised by the CIA and NSA. As we cannot prove either side, or perhaps even both sides, how to proceed? Both sides would be fair enough and it only makes a case strong enough to not proceed with any EU Army, which is no solution to any existing threat, will cost massive amounts of money (and that just the initial infrastructure) and with the current upcoming changes to the EC as a whole. Especially as Marine Le Pen has vowed to hold the French referendum if she is elected, this whilst several European magazines are now stating that France can no longer avoid Frexit (at https://www.letemps.ch/economie/2016/09/12/france-ne-pourra-eviter-frexit), which I stated was a growing realistic danger if Brexit would commence, in addition, Italy is seeding its own departure later this year, but no given certainty exists at present.

All these parts I gave visibility to almost 2 years ago, the press still largely in denial and additional players are now coming out to (as I personally see it) fill their pockets as fast as possible because when this comes to town and the referendums do fall, certain people will have to give account of their actions. The fact will remain that the Credit Card that Mario Draghi used will be spread over several nations, most of them with no option to get into deeper debt. So they have this to look forward to. In Italy there seems to be a plus side, as the larger players are now looking towards the option of as referendum, the act as such seems to be taking the wind out of the sails of Matteo Salvini, head of the far-right Lega Nord, which is regarded as a relief in many European nations. They seem to regard Matteo Salvini the same way that they regard the French Newspaper Minute, too far to the right and not really that readable. I cannot confirm that (as my French does not surpass the ability to read a menu), but I understand the sentiment as there have been Dutch papers on the other side of the political isle receiving similar accusations.

In the end Europe is about to take economic steps with large implications, the fact that they are trying to push it through regardless of whatever consideration it required, which makes me worried on the fact that the impact on the European populations have been ignored for too long. The weird thing is that any action should have been in support of the European population and their needs, giving weight to more than one statement from the side of Nigel Farage.

I would suggest you ponder those facts before blindly moving into the Bremain field in the near future, because there are several issues that no one can answer and they come with obscenely high price tags!

 

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Comprehension

At times, I am at a loss. This is one of those times, and it started as I was confronted with the article ‘Treat surrogate parents as sex offenders, says Italian minister’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/06/treat-surrogates-sex-offenders-italian-minister-angelino-alfano). You see, here I have two levels of confusion.

Let me explain. The first level involves the women that do this. I do not mean this in any negative way! I get it when it is family, but even then, there is part of me that does not quite grasps it. There is nothing as noble as ‘to give thine own body’. You see, no matter how noble it is, I could never fathom a surrogate mother, not her way or her intent, but the fact that once the baby was born that she would have the strength to part with it. We see and read on how teenage girls offer children up for adoption, mainly because they were not ready and they are unable to care for the child and the child might end up having a much better life. In those instances we try to be understanding, but we all realise that this could eat away at the soul of the young woman who did this. There have been many books and many movies, yet the reality is that only that mother can truly state and express what it felt like.

I think it would not be a pretty picture.

So in that light, understanding that a surrogate mother might actually be capable of raising that child, the willingness to part with it is incomprehensible to me, and I need not comprehend. In all this, I never looked negative against the woman who made that choice. So when I read ‘Angelino Alfano says ‘wombs for rent’ should be punishable with prison, as he suggests new laws will make it easier for gay couples to use surrogate mothers‘, I wonder what kind of an idiot Angelino Alfano actually is. Is he just anti-gay, is he anti-surrogate? From what I read I feel certain that he is anti-intelligent!

Now we get to the religious part, because Italy is all about Catholics. At times I think that Italy is all about Catholics, food and adultery, but we get to that soon enough. So, you’ll see some scriptures, but again, reasoning later.

So Angelino Alfano, answer me this, of all your friends who committed adultery, Leviticus 20:10 “If any man commit adultery with the wife of another, and defile his neighbour’ s wife, let them be put to death, both the adulterer and the adulteress“, so how many of those ‘friends’ did you put to death? Or perhaps we should take a look at his actions as stated by the Financial Times on October 2nd 2013 (at http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/a142b3a8-2b46-11e3-a1b7-00144feab7de.html#axzz3wXhbQy5b), where we see: “the young Sicilian lawyer has been compared to Judas Iscariot in leading a betrayal of his long-time mentor“. Interesting, so who was that Judas Iscariot person? I wonder if there was a punishment for treason, so in all that, it should be clear that  Angelino Alfano should not be making too many statements for a few reasons (read: I will not remove his freedom of speech, just request he keeps a centre of discretion with all his alleged transgressions).

Now, for the other side.

In the Epistle Of Saint Paul To The Philippians 2:3 we see “Let nothing be done through contention, neither by vain glory: but in humility, let each esteem others better than themselves“, it seems that the happiness for the others is taken in much higher regard. In following there is Timothy 1, where at 6:18 we see “To do good, to be rich in good works, to give easily, to communicate to others,” and finally in Corinthians 10:23-24 we see: “All things are lawful for me, but all things do not edify. Let no man seek his own, but that which is another’s

At face value women who did this have done a Samaritan act of sacrifice and goodness against their nature but not an unnatural one. In a tale of two villages where a storm destroys the bakery of one, should the other baker not make available the oven so that the other village will not perish? Is that such a far stretch? So in that same light should a man of such hypocritical disposition not be shunned for his words and actions? When we read “Treating couples who use surrogate mothers as sex criminals, as Alfano suggested, would entail harsh penalties“, you see the subtext ‘couples who use surrogate mothers‘ is part of this and he seems to be driven to label this as ‘forms of human sexual behaviour that are crimes‘, are they? You see, legally speaking, the intent was given as ‘who use‘, yet this is not the case, the surrogate mother volunteered, which is not the same, she offered and was not used. This now gives us the path he might try to walk which is ‘Treating surrogate mothers who volunteer assistance to same sex couples as sex criminals‘. It seems to get a little dicey now, doesn’t it! As any Samaritan act of good intent is usually not prosecutable. So what started this?

You see, surrogacy is illegal in Italy and that, even if some would considered it to be ‘the act of a non-enlightened nation‘, it is the legal premise that Italy is allowed to make, so when Angelino Alfano comes with the quote “We want ‘wombs for rent’ to become a universal crime. And that it is punished with prison. Just as happens for sexual crimes”, we should all question what is in his mind, perhaps it is the voice of some obscure cleric from Sicily (his origins) who has a massive anti-gay agenda. Perhaps this is not about any of that! Remember the Financial Times part? That is a while ago, but his position is nowhere stable, in addition, in Politico we see “Last month, Angelino Alfano, Italy’s interior minister, described as a “symbol of victory” a plane carrying 19 young Eritreans from Ciampino airport in Rome to Luleå in Sweden. Italy, he said, would send an additional 100 people “in the next few days”” (at http://www.politico.eu/article/why-eu-refugee-relocation-policy-has-been-a-flop-frontex-easo-med/), the UNHCR reveals that on December 31st 2015 153,600 refugees had arrived in Italy, 97,584 on Angelino’s island of Sicily (read: 63.53125% roughly). So is this really about the surrogacy issue, or is he just making waves especially as he heralded a new home for 19 of those refugees (aka 0.000012369%) with the additional 100, meaning he got a solution for 0.000077473%, yes we can all see where the importance of Angelino Alfano is. It is in the smallest of margins where we see his actions, so as I read this, I am not convinced it is his ‘anti’ approach in all this, it is his need for visibility as I see it and he is not doing it in the most intelligent way imaginable.

Instead of an actual effort to solve the logistics of the refugee tsunami that hits Italy and his island Sicily, we see a surrogacy and an anti-gay tainted pass ono a group that can find a sheltered solution outside of Italy, so instead of solving the problems Italy does have (aside of the 2,230,198,602,275 € debt Italy has at present), we see another politician waste time, space and energy on a topic that is not his to solve and one that has absolutely no solving value for Italy at all.

In all this I feel decently certain that even the Bishop of Rome would side with me that although it is a discussion worthy of the Cardinals Conclave, these women might be beautified for their divine compassion 100% sooner than Angelino Alfano ever will.

Now for me, I have always been leaning towards man-made or positive laws. I feel that the interpretation is important and that we do not always have the wisdom to properly interpret, which is why I have always been a fan of Dr BJ McEniery’s article ‘Physicality in Australian patent law’, which was published in the Deakin Law Review. You see Intellectual property has always been under powerful evolutions, yet the fact that long ago there was a clear understanding that physicality was something that would evolve and the law had no way off seeing how and towards what is always in the back of my mind. Ignoring Natural law is therefore equally stupid. As a Catholic I tend to be more Christian than Catholic, where it is important to see and weigh the intent on the person, so even as I do not rule out the less Samaritan paths a surrogate mother could be on, the powerful drive within any mother would counter this strongly whenever possible, which gets me to the positivity of their act against the trivial and self-righteous mindset of Angelino Alfano and on that scale he does not fare well.

So even if you disagree with my choices of bible passages, there is almost no way where you can consider in favour of the trivial path Mr Alfano is on. I would hope that his holiness the Bishop of Rome would sooner rather than later (as well as several members of the curie) would consider speaking out that the need to solve the suffering of 153,600 refugees take a massive priority over the possible issue that a handful of surrogate mothers might bring, especially when they are openly and voluntarily offering their Samaritan womb on this. So if Angelino Alfano ever (in a legal Samaritan way) rescues the plight of 1536 refugees (aka 1%), only then if any energy is left should he look at small and insignificant issues. but by that time his political reign has ended and the press will not have any time for him as they will be wanting to hear from the next elected official.

There are many issues that plague Europe, some we might never fix, some we can possibly fix and some can be fixed, do we really need to look at issues that do not presently require fixing?

I will let you be the judge of that, but for those who do have a Christian background they still adhere to remember the Gospel According to Saint Matthew (7:1) “Judge not, that you may not be judged, for with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again“, which is good advice, advice that might be a little too late for Angelino Alfano if we are to believe the Divine Comedy. For was it not Antenora where the transgressors of treason of party and nations ended up, to be frozen in ice up to the neck? Now, let’s be fair, Mr Alfano is no Count Ugolino della Gherardesca, yet as we see the credits he heralds in whilst Italy remains in dire need and he voices his view to a ‘universal solution’ where Italy has no problem, where is his actual allegiance and as such is that not utterly detestable? Yes it is, which does not make it treason or treacherous, yet as Italian Minister of the Interior, his responsibility is for internal security and the protection of the constitutional order. As such he can prosecute surrogacy within Italy, yet it does not mean that it is his job to waste time for the change of a ‘universal solution’, especially as surrogate mothers are in no way an internal security issue, yet the 153,481 (if he ever got the additional 100 towards refugees towards Sweden) might be. As I see it, the refugee logistics fall squarely in his lap, an issue he does not seem to be addressing, which we should regard as a failed level of comprehension on his side.

 

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