Tag Archives: Sri-Lanka

Just like in the movies

Steven Soderbergh made an interesting gamble in 2011, he took a collection of all cast stars and wrote about a fictive disease and the issues that the would would have dealing with it. Today less than 10 years later we see ‘death toll jumps to 170 amid evacuation delays for foreign nationals‘, as well as ‘returning Britons could be kept in quarantine for 14 days‘ and many more. This morning I saw a staggering amount of people with face masks. All fearing what could come next. Steven Soderbergh was an optimist. 

Frances Mao (BBC, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51290312) writes “For over a week now, the Australians trapped in Wuhan – many of them children – have been calling on their government to help get them out. But the announcement of a two-week quarantine on Christmas Island have given many pause for thought.” It is a nasty thing, especially for Australians and their view (as well as the UN view) on Christmas Island, a place where you go when you stop believing in any form of Christmas. 

For the UK (the Guardian) we see “Planners earlier looked at holding returnees at a hotel or military base. But, after an emergency Cobra meeting on Wednesday afternoon chaired by the health secretary, Matt Hancock, it is understood that they will be flown into RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire and taken to an NHS facility to be monitored and treated if symptoms develop“, the issue is not who gets treated and who gets flagged, the issue is actually all the people who circumvent the flags and who avoid scruples as they claim that they are not sick. In this case it is a much larger issue, most people become spreaders even before they realise that they are sick and that is a decently rare occurrence in medical matters. The fact that we saw Yesterday ‘The death toll from the virus has risen to 170‘ is only part of the problem. The optional fact that we see less than an hour ago the simplified facts that ‘the number of infections jumped by nearly 30 percent‘ as well as ‘China Now Has More Cases Than It Had of SARS‘ (source: NY Times) implies that it will not merely hit healthy people, it will be the foundation of fear mongering, which the movie Contagion showed was counterproductive.

And my case of ‘the people who circumvent the flags‘ was not academic, Japan reported 30 minutes ago that they had 11 cases, so how long until that one person overlooked has infected their whole neighbourhood? The issue is not fear mongering or academic, there is every chance that this is happening and there will be a larger issue following that. CNN gave a link to the Coronavirus map in China and it shows that it is confirmed in 20 locations ALL OVER China. This implies that there are in addition to this at least 5 more locations unconfirmed and optionally a dozen cases on the run (read: travelling) with no indications where to and how many that they will infect. And even as most will herald the Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering for this map, how many are afraid to be on this map? Because their fear will propel the disease to healthy regions. It is hard to continue because of the fear that I become the fearmonger. I also want to be clear that my response is not as a critique on the China’s National Health Commission or the CCDC. the fact that we were seeing 6,000 cases (infected) on Wednesday and that we see a global number that surpasses 7,800 cases one day later gives rise to the thoughts I am having. Now we need to be certain that we also accept that there will be a percentage which are false positives, those with a normal flu, giving rise to a larger boost to the numbers. Even as I accept that this percentage is not to be speculated upon and that we need to be savvy of all cases, there is still a growing chance that people avoided being flagged and flew just before the curtain thinking that they were clear and that they would deal with their flu over the weekend. That is the stage we need to fear and the escalation of thousands of cases. 

Even now as we are told that Tibet has its first case, how many did this person infect? We see countries and numbers, but the truth is that there are cases in Hong Kong, the United States, Taiwan, Australia, Macau, Singapore, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan, France, Germany, Canada, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Finland, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. Each country where one person stated ‘Not me, I merely have a cold‘, that person will infect dozens more each day. That is how a pandemic starts. Let’s be clear, the term pandemic means an epidemic of disease that has spread across a large region (including multiple continents). In support we should also see that  a widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. With the Coronavirus, there is still no vaccine, there is no cure and its growth is almost like wildfire because of panicking people getting away from this disease whilst they spread it, most importantly they were carriers even before they were sick, so fear was not the instigator. In all this there is one additional fact that the New York Times gave us “Taiwan, Germany, Vietnam and Japan had patients that had not been to China“, which gives rise to the fact that unflagged people were involved, or even scarier, as this started with animals, we need to consider that the issue is larger than we thought. It needs to be clear that this Coronavirus is NOT new, it was discovered half a century ago but in all these cases, it was animals that infected humans. In several cases we see the fingers pointed at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, yet Science Magazine published on the 26th (Jon Cohen) that ‘Wuhan seafood market may not be source of novel virus spreading globally‘, there we see “a description of the first clinical cases published in The Lancet on Friday challenges that hypothesis” this comes from a large group of Chinese researchers and here we see “In the earliest case, the patient became ill on 1 December 2019 and had no reported link to the seafood market, the authors report. “No epidemiological link was found between the first patient and later cases,” they state. Their data also show that, in total, 13 of the 41 cases had no link to the marketplace“, and here we see that Daniel Lucey, an infectious disease specialist at Georgetown University seems to agree with the assessment, 13 out of 41 is too large a group to ignore. In my personal view it is not impossible that there is a covariant, if we consider that spreading happened before the personal marie celeste’s realised that they were sick, would it be possible that a busdriver was the link that was missing?

And it is here that we see the part where I went for and Science Magazine (at https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/01/wuhan-seafood-market-may-not-be-source-novel-virus-spreading-globally) gives us “the virus possibly spread silently between people in Wuhan—and perhaps elsewhere—before the cluster of cases from the city’s now-infamous Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was discovered in late December“. A silent interference on data. When we realise this we need to consider and agree that this is not fear mongering, it is almost hard chiseled facts that lead us here and as such watching the movie Contagion a little late is not the worst idea to have. 

And it is that same magazine that gives us another part “Earlier reports from Chinese health authorities and the World Health Organization had said the first patient had onset of symptoms on 8 December 2019—and those reports simply said “most” cases had links to the seafood market, which was closed on 1 January” a situation that slowly took hold all over the world and this is the stage we now have and whilst officials are all about positive influence and flying home the ‘healthy’ people, they will optionally be the group spreading a much larger foundation of the disease. I say optionally, because there are clear foundations for testing, yet it is Bin Cao of Capital Medical University,a pulmonary specialist, wrote ““Now It seems clear that [the] seafood market is not the only origin of the virus,” he wrote. “But to be honest, we still do not know where the virus came from now.”” and there is the killer in all this ‘we still do not know‘ in a stage where we are given ‘a common source—as early as 1 October 2019‘ that is the foundation that eludes many of us and in hindsight when we consider the international infected, how many escaped a flagged view and how many did they infect? That is the question that officials need to have (and they might), yet we do not know and whilst we are all about ‘How can UK citizens leave Wuhan amid the coronavirus outbreak‘ yet the damage is optionally already done.

I do believe that there is no solution in fearing and burning at the stake anyone who has a cold (I have a cold at the present) yet the foundation of fear must be stopped in any way we can. For the simple reason that ‘My anxiety is increasing day by day‘ is not merely a Wuhanian expression, it is soon optionally to be a global one until we can give rise to clarity on where the disease is and until the vaccine is ready, the bulk of all people will be gripped by fear, just like in the movies.

 

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When the cure is part of the disease

Have you seen that issue in your life, the claim that the cure is worse than the disease, or perhaps that the cure is not worth the disease. There are medical situations where this applies and they are usually used in cases of huge risks, but it is always in a stage where it is about optionally curing the person who got that winning lottery ticket, and the cure will hit him or her full on. It happens, yet what is the stage where the cure is the disease? I am not talking about a vaccine where we are making the body stronger by fighting a weaker version of the disease, no this is a stage where we give the person Ebola or Hantavirus to let the body cure it. The problem becomes that once you have the virus you are actually sick and the complications start from that point onward.

This is the stage we are confronted with in ‘IMF accused of ‘reckless lending’ to debt-troubled states‘ (at https://www.theguardian.com/business/2019/oct/07/imf-accused-of-reckless-lending-to-debt-troubled-states). It is not merely “the Fund broke its own rules by not ensuring sustainable debt burden“, I personally believe it to be a much larger problem in all this. It is also not merely: “encouraging reckless lending by extending $93bn of loans to 18 financially troubled countries without a debt restructuring programme first“, I believe it to be a larger play to push revenue away from vulture funds to create a systemic problem for these nations to become part of the consumer feeding frenzy to banks for generations. when we see: “Debt sustainability has come into the spotlight over the past year after the IMF controversially lent a record $56bn to Argentina even though its annual debt repayments far exceeded the Fund’s own limit” the given excuse ‘The IMF said Argentina, the second biggest economy in South America, was a special case‘ the handed excuse should be casted aside and given no value at all. the supporting evidence is seen in “The crisis intensified when, on 5 December 2001, the IMF refused to release a US$1.3 billion tranche of its loan, citing the failure of the Argentine government to reach its budget deficit targets” (source: https://www.nytimes.com/2001/12/11/business/argentina-scrambles-for-imf-loans.html). When I asked about the situation about 5 years ago from these so called Australian ‘economic reporters’, none of them had any level of a clear answer for me. The case was clear 5 years ago when certain vulture funds issues got to the surface, and now 17 years later they are giving out $56 billion, whilst refusing a $1.3 billion option 17 years earlier. There is a much larger flaw in all this and there have been whispers (read: gossip) that the IMF is very much into facilitating towards the needs of Wall Street and the financial operators out there. The bottom dollar line of Wall Street needs to be met and no one cares how it is done.

the stage becomes a lot less acceptable when we consider the stage Afghanistan; Angola; Cameroon; Central African Republic; Chad; Ecuador; Egypt; Ghana; Jordan; Mauritania; Mongolia; Pakistan; São Tomé and Príncipe; Sierra Leone; Sri Lanka; Tunisia; and Ukraine, all whilst Egypt, Pakistan and Ecuador are regarded as high risk, I personally feel that the risk factors of Ukraine, Sri Lanka and Jordan are also way above normal with only Jordan being in a better long term position however, if Jordan does not address its water shortage issues, Jordan could drop into the ultra-high risk group a lot faster than anyone could state: ‘Would you like a glass of water?‘, and in all this we see a larger failing.

It becomes a more visible issue when we see the IMF spin doctors at work. We partially accept the statement: “More than half that amount is accounted for by one programme – Argentina, which has unique circumstances“, yet I am much less forgiving when I see: “We have clear guidelines about not lending into unsustainable debt situations and all programmes require approval by the IMF’s executive board“. It is my response that they publish clearly all their guidelines (and policies), but we will not ever get that. In addition, the Argentina matter after the Vultures were done with it is also a failing of the highest degree, the fact that over 17 years $1.3 billion has required $56 billion implies more than merely 4,300% more funds needed. It gives rise that over 17 years a debt increase of 23% year on year was accumulated one way or another. It is a direct optional sign of complete and utter governmental financial malfeasance. It is a failure on a scale never seen before and the fact that no one stepped in shows the larger failure by the IMF. You see, the overall lack of illumination also constitutes evidence that the players wanted this to be kept out of the lime lights.

In addition, when we look at the 17 nations, when we ignore the obvious three, we see a larger issue in Jordan. Jordan stepped up and towards the issue that there are well over 1.4 million refugees in Jordan and Jordan was not ready in any way shape or form to deal with that. In their current state the Jordan desalination plants will not be able to keep up (so far it cannot keep up) and the fact that the Jordan population grew by 14% in 2-3 years due to the refugees was never clearly illuminated and now Jordan has a larger issue, even if another desalination plant is added in the Gulf of Aqaba, the issue will not diminish and the loans towards Jordan would become unsustainable. In addition, when you consider Sri Lanka, the newspapers all gave the same quote a month ago: ‘Sri Lanka’s economy has shown a ‘fair bit of resilience’‘, they quoted that to the letter, yet who was feeding them that information? Only 14 hours ago we see: “Sri Lanka’s tourist arrivals in September were down 27.2% from a year earlier“, those factors did not really change did they? When we consider a month ago, we see an economy that is getting hit hard, especially when Reuters gives us: “a sixth consecutive monthly fall“. It seems to me that Sri Lanka are betting on the required roll of the dice, when we get the clear indication that the dice are loaded and it seems that they are loaded towards the needs of the IMF/Wall Street and not in favour of Sri Lanka.

When we add the Reuters information: “Arrivals in the five months from May to September were down 44.4% to 468,737 from 843,569 a year earlier” we get a level of clear indication that the quote: ‘Sri Lanka’s economy has shown a ‘fair bit of resilience’‘ should be seen as media BS. And there is more regarding Sri Lanka, the quote less than 24 hours ago is “Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said all the money the current government has borrowed since 2016 was to repay the loans of the previous government of Mahinda Rajapaksa“, if that is true, then there are additional questions towards the IMF in regards to their spin doctors giving us: “Our decisions to lend to countries are not simply based on numerical thresholds, but on comprehensive debt sustainability analyses and policies needed to address economic imbalances and debt burdens“, which in the case of Sri Lanka shows a much larger issue, the fact that the quote on repaying from a previous government and that loan has been in place for 3 years shows a larger problem, so how much was given to them? In addition to this I wonder how much of the $56 billion is going to Elliott Advisors, so much is the IMF helping out Manhattan bad boy Paul Singer? In my view, the question becomes: ‘How much of the $56 billion goes to Hedge funds manager Paul Singer?‘ Under those conditions I reckon anyone could get their fingers on the penthouse in Sky Lofts building in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighbourhood. If it is good enough for Bobby Axelrod (Damian Lewis), it is good enough for the Lawlordtobe (Lawrence van Rijn), and I could do with a change of scenery, especially if Google buys my 5G IP portfolio.

So if my new address becomes 145 Hudson St New York, NY 10013, I promise that I will not consider the ’13’ in my zip code to be a bad omen and at least I will not have used the IMF to gain my fortune (although I will admit that I am perfectly willing to do that too #weallneedtoeat).

When we see these two issues and we see that I have not even looked at the 12 others (three were known issues) I wonder when any reporter will give us the entire down low on these so called analyses and policies that the IMF has in place, I feel with some level of certain ty that I will find a lot more issues under the waterline than the IMF spin doctors will be able to hide. Especially when we realise the quote in the Guardian: “concerns that a general election later this month will oust incumbent president, Mauricio Macri, in favour of the populist Alberto Fernández and his running mate, the former president Cristina de Kirchner, triggered a flight of investors, a run on the currency and sent the interest rate on the country’s publicly traded debts soaring“, more important, under that change the entire case which would have been part of the $56 billion ‘donation’ that we see through “Argentina agreed to reduce its fiscal deficit to 1.3% of GDP this year, down from 2.2% previously and a balanced budget next year“, especially when we see the required drop of 0.9% deficit, I cannot remember any elected official making that part of their campaign, it tends to leave them unelected at the polls, so in all this, not only does the JDC have a point, we see that Sarah-Jayne Clifton, director of Jubilee Debt Campaign should be considered to be a lot more serious and is in my personal view entitled to massive dose of limelight from the global media, so that she can ask the questions that the IMF would have to explain in a clear and transparent way, would you like to take a bet on the chance of that actually happening?

I believe that people like Paul Singer will set that bet to an estimated 250:1 chance (of it not happening), and as he personally was able to acquire $3.5 billion, I am not putting my hopes on high here. I merely wonder if the people in Argentina have any decent level of Christmas to look forward to this year and the many years that follow.

 

 

 

 

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Fail it until you nail it

Another day another moment I roll my eyes. You see the Guardian came with an interesting article, interesting and kind of useless (OK, useless is a bit of a stretch). Let’s explain that part. The title is interesting enough. When we see ‘World’s biggest tech companies get failing grade on data-privacy rights‘ (at http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/nov/03/data-protection-failure-google-facebook-ranking-digital-rights), many of us, me included get to be a little curious.

The first part is shown here: “Given a percentage grade on privacy, freedom of expression and their commitment to those value based on an exhaustive analysis of their user agreements, no single company scored an aggregate grade above 65%“, the quote by Rebecca MacKinnon might sound nice, but she should know better in more than one way.

In the first, some of these companies are so global that many rights tend to be an upper level aggregation of the nation with the least rights. If America wasn’t so Prudishly Hypocritical a lot less would be ‘censored’. In addition, a global internet sounds nice, but it is crossing borders with national legislation, the internet does not get to have rights above national legislation, even in nations that are as liberal as it gets, issues will rise and the largest tech companies are trying to surf those waves as Rebecca MacKinnon very well knows. I am even more worried when a company like Vodafone (aka Vodafail in Australia) scores better than Twitter.

As for the grades, the beginning of the methodology (at https://rankingdigitalrights.org/project-documents/2015-indicators/#TOTAL) rears its ugly head in an interesting way when we look at question C3.

Here we see:

C3. Internal implementation

Does the company have mechanisms in place to implement its commitment to freedom of expression and privacy?

Checklist elements (select all that apply):

The company provides employee training on freedom of expression and privacy issues.

The company maintains an employee whistle-blower program.

 

The items here are the fun part:

The company provides employee training on freedom of expression and privacy issues.

Let’s take a look at some of these ‘great’ techies. Orange, Vodafone and Axiata. All telecom companies. In order of mention: ???,92000,20000. So let’s say 125,000 staff members, so should employee training on freedom of expression be available to all? In Addition, Orange merged in several nations. These mergers include France Télécom and T-Mobile UK, whilst in addition Orange is being phased out by its parent company EE Ltd. (aka Everything Everywhere). And for the whistle-blower part. How often was this a ‘hidden’ option to commit gross and unacceptable industrial espionage? As a Journalist it might sound like a sexy article, but did she for one moment realise that tech corporations need to hold onto their IP on several levels? Her book might be regarded as ‘amazing’ (Consent of the Networked: The Worldwide Struggle for Internet Freedom), yet when I read:  “Though the technology used for coordinating and organizing may be politically neutral, the context in which it is deployed is rarely so. Governments everywhere—whether they do business in the home government of companies or in the host government of markets—are demanding that Internet and telecommunications companies take sides, or at least stand back and avert their eyes while the government does what it needs to do, leaving the user or customer none the wiser.”, I worry!

Americans seldom comprehend that the right to be an utter idiot is not a god given right. In some places you get to be held accountable. I will go one step further, most of these self-proclaimed freedom fighters have excelled, through their train of thought, in protecting criminals and organised crime, which is some feather to put in your resume!

In addition, as people are crying for a free internet they also hold others accountable for their own stupidity.

Let’s show this with an example. If we change all global policies so that as per January 1st any hacked account who did not have a proper password will not be refunded, so the issue “Most banks will refund you your lost money after you sign some forms saying that you had nothing to do with the theft” will now include that not having proper quality passwords in place will be regarded as ‘assisted theft’. So you get no refund! I reckon it will take less than 1 day for the entire internet to go crazy regarding the injustice of that ruling. This is the issue, Rebecca MacKinnon doesn’t want a free internet; she wants an unaccountable internet. In her ‘netizenship’ she wants a free internet to hold governments to account, but in her virtual nation she has done nothing to hold those netizens accountable for Cyber bullying, harassment and assault on one’s devices. In that world there is no ‘Netfray’ (a made up crime definition), which might be freely seen as per adjusted version of the Crimes Act 1900 section 93C(2) “Netfray, a person who uses or threatens unlawful cyber violence towards another and whose conduct is such as would cause a person of reasonable user skills present at the scene to fear for his or her personal data and internet safety is guilty of netfray and liable to imprisonment for 10 years“.

That part we will not see!

This is what makes that report an issue. Tech companies need to protect themselves non-stop. So, even as we agree that the cyber joke (aka Ashley Madison) is one side, the other side is Sony, which has a massively higher level of protection. In the latter case it is still speculations from many sides (including one from me), but a real timeline, and an account of events that could be decently precise was never revealed. Now I would expect that both sides of the fence prefers to keep it a secret, but in my view that hack was never clearly solved.

In that environment Rebecca MacKinnon wants an open internet, who is she kidding?

Back to that report, because the mentioned items are connected to what comes next!

F11. Identity policy (Internet companies)

Does the company require users to verify their identity with government-issued identification, or with other forms of identification connected to their offline identity?

More important, the part that follows: “This indicator is only applicable to Internet companies. We expect companies to disclose whether they might ask users to verify their identities using government-issued ID or other forms of identification that could be connected to their offline identity. Evaluation: This indicator has two possible answers. A company will receive full credit if its answer is “No,” and a company will receive no credit if its answer is “Yes.”

So as hackers use dummy accounts, trolls use fake id’s and Identity thieves use your id to have ‘fun’ and profit from what is not theirs, finding ways to stop them loses you a credit. There are places where a person’s ID is not the issue, but in this day and age those places are quickly diminishing. If you doubt this (always an option) then perhaps you remember Caroline Criado-Perez, who did something truly British by petitioning for Jane Austen to be face of the Bank of England £10 note.

By the way, the amount of death threats she got, how many of those people got arrested, how many of those got convicted? Yes, an open internet would stop all that! (That’s my sarcasm for voicing ‘no it will not’).

Another issue with her quotes is seen here: “Part of the problem is that this is a new world with the internet, and we are so dependent on these companies that we really need them to get it right. And they have a lot of work to do.”, so how about hammering on proper legislation and better issues on prosecuting some of those offenders? When the internet gets cleaned up, a lot more leeway could be given to something like the internet. In this a nice example is given by herself as she answered a question on movie piracy (September 2012), “the fact they are kids and they’re doing stuff and they don’t even realize it is illegal, or it is not that big deal“, it is only part of the answer, but she makes a decent case, yet the issue here is that it is a BIG deal, these ‘kids’ are causing harm to the rightful revenue of the maker of that movie, so you want an open internet, but the transgressions there are far too often trivialised and for the most they end up not getting prosecuted, you want accountability on one side, but not on your side, that is too uneven a scale and for the most many nations have not caught up with the quality IP laws they need to protect their innovators.

Now, it is not all bad, reading the linked ‘2015 Indicators’ of the Ranking Digital Rights is actually a lot more interesting than the article. A few of the questions were an amazing topic for discussion by themselves and the people behind them had done an interesting job, yet overall how can you compare Malayan company Axiata against Vodafone, or Orange for that matter? Axiata which was only recently rebranded (2009), whilst Vodafone has had a global one-sided (and to some extent one-sided failure) in the industry. A brand that has its fingers in the national pies of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Places where you either adhere to the law or you get shut down. So how can they receive a fair weighted grade? If not than the article and the exercise are almost moot. Almost because there is one part of the article I wholeheartedly agree with: “MacKinnon said remained optimistic the industry would improve its privacy efforts over time. “This is the test you take at the beginning of the class where everybody fails, and then you get to work, and then everybody’s going to improve,” she said

It is not a mere ‘Amen to that’ ending, there are several serious issues that come to light, especially when you consider players like Apple and Microsoft. In case of Apple (with whom I still have some beef), is the fact that from 1995 onwards I have had a few of their devices, the Performa 630, the MacBook Pro and the G5, all between 2100 and 3000, all affordable and all on the ‘above average’ end of the range when they were released. The iPad 1 (I still have it) at a price that is still good, because that that same price you now get the latest version with 128GB; in an open non-accountable internet that is no longer an option, the billions poured into a design will find itself cheaply reengineered making new innovations no longer an option. Microsoft has a similar part, the Xbox One now at almost 50% of what the initial Xbox360 costs and close to equal in price with the very first Xbox. Even though this sounds good, these firms have had their shares of ‘errors’ to deal with, but overall those consumers (for the most) have never received a sour deal, this is only possible with quality protection in place, protection that MacKinnon is not considering to the extent she should, in her view of ‘netizens and the open internet’ she should get an equal fail grade, both sides need to work on whatever future comes our way, McKinnon know this too!

You do not get to graduate Harvard and run CNN in Beijing and Tokyo without a clear realisation that national borders are a lot more than a mere line on a map, which is what she almost implies, almost!

 

 

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True torture

This issue started a while before this. The title “Tony Abbott: Australians ‘sick of being lectured to’ by United Nations, after report finds anti-torture breach” is just an incentive for emotion. (at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/tony-abbott-australians-sick-of-being-lectured-to-by-united-nations-after-report-finds-antitorture-breach-20150309-13z3j0.html).

There are two quotes that need to be looked at: “Mr Abbott’s criticism of the UN follows his attack last month of Australian Human Rights Commission President Gillian Triggs, in which he called the report she commissioned on children in detention a ‘political stitch-up’” and “The United Nations report, by the UN’s special rapporteur on torture, finds Australia is violating the rights of asylum seekers on multiple fronts under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment“.

I am all for human rights! I think Human rights are important, but what about the people ‘orchestrating’ the message?

Let’s that a look at the message ‘U.N. Urges U.S. To Treat Migrants as Refugees’ (at http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/07/08/329774643/u-n-urges-u-s-to-treat-migrants-as-refugees). The message seems to be clear, but what is that message? When we consider the quote “The refugee agency is particularly concerned about the large number of unaccompanied children arriving in the U.S. Washington estimates more than 90,000 unaccompanied children will arrive by the end of September“.

This was the news of last year. You see, what we all ignore (especially Labor and Greens) is that this all has a cost, it does not matter whether it is in Australia, Canada or America. When we accept refugees we accept financial responsibility to some extent. This is the not so nice part if us trying to be good and humane, there is a cost and we do not shy away from it, but we have limits, we all do! With every irresponsible act of spending what none have we limit our options and limit those who we allow in as well.

There is however another side, the side from the UN as we see the title ‘Asylum seeker torture report: United Nations special rapporteur Juan Mendez responds to Tony Abbott criticism‘ (at http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/asylum-seeker-torture-report-united-nations-special-rapporteur-juan-mendez-responds-to-tony-abbott-criticism-20150310-13zrwz.html). The quote “I think we in the United Nations also deserve respect and I wish the Prime Minister had taken my views on this more seriously and engaged with my rapporteurship more constructively” is a defence and a subtitle, also a statement that is not incorrect, but perhaps incomplete. When we see the quote “Among the concerns raised by the report was that escalating violence on Manus Island, and the ‘intimidation and ill-treatment of two asylum seekers’ who gave statements about last year’s violent clashes at the centre was in breach of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment” issues come to light. Now, it is important that I am not making any claims of dishonesty or that the claims are lies. There would be no way for me to prove it. In addition, it is nice that we get these ‘verdicts’ from the UN, an administrative group where those ‘voices’ are incomes vastly above minimum wage, an income fuelled by other governments, but guess what, EVERY single one of these nations are in debt, not one excluded! Yet, this is not about money, or the income of some of these comfortable living executives. Let’s take a look at some of the elements.

Let’s restate the phrase: “intimidation and ill-treatment of two asylum seekers“, now, I am willing to blindly accept the following:

  1. There are likely more than 2 victims
  2. Let’s accept that in every case it is always both intimidation and ill-treatment

Now let’s take a look at the information form Amnesty international (at http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/33587/), where they state the following: “There are currently 1,100 asylum seekers detained on Manus Island, all of whom are men who arrived without their families. These men have fled war, chilling acts of torture, threats of death, or profound discrimination. Many of them have made the desperate decision to make a perilous journey from Indonesia and other countries, including Sri Lanka, to Australia“.

Now, let’s be realistic and accept that more than two people have faced certain ordeals, there is no way for me to clearly find (at present) how many faced events. But if we take 20 people, than the issue revolves around 1.8% opposed to 0.18%. 1.8% might be too large, and I would agree with it, but we all seem to forget that a detention centre like that, is a place with constant pressures and clashing cultures, there are uncertain times ahead for many of these people, so pressures will come to a boil pretty fast in a place like that.

I am trying not to trivialise, but the need for better statistics is evidently required before we start a dictionary war between Australian parliament and the UN, whilst we know that the media is ‘presiding’ both sides whilst they enjoy the benefit of the occurring discord.

Yet, in the end, the actual culprit has not once been named. Oh, evil villain, oh master of the dischordian principle that weighs the loom of infinity unto the hands of fate. I have seen thee oh villain and I name thee………. (wait for it)………. Tax-Man!

Yes, in all the issues of emotion, so many forget that humanitarian aid must be paid for. Humanitarian causes require funds to exist, as do immigration centres, because they are a pure cost for any government. Which is one reason why Greece is getting rid of them tout-suit! In addition, they are so broke they are now returning to the need for WW2 reparations from Germany, which I will not condemn, but in reality, their own Tax-Man did not do anything, which covers close to 1/3rd of all their debt. So as they ignored current debts (and irresponsible spending), they go back to WW2. It makes perfect sense, the Greek PM and that finance ‘Rock Star’ have no other options (if they want to remain in power), but this is not about the Greek debt!

This is about refugees and the truth is that many nations (most of them), they are all failing refugees, mainly because of Tax-Man. You see, this super villain relies on the help of its sidekick Mrs. Poli Titian and this sidekick has been overspending, giving tax breaks to large corporations in a whimsy notion that under those condition more money would come in. It was a flawed approach, because they all rely on people SPENDING money. Guess what? They overspend on luxuries and are now paying it off, many have no jobs and many more have been in an income world that resembles the world of Frozen, whilst the cost of living is still rising. All this adds up to empty coffers.

So Mr Juan Mendez, where will these costs come from? This is not my lashing out, this is me actually asking. I remain in favour to help refugees as much as possible, but how? We need to make massive changes to the way of life we now have. Mrs Poli Titian needs to actually instigate massive changes. Not just in Australia, US, Canada et al. ALL nations need to accept certain changes. We need to readdress the way we think and I will admit right here, right now that I am at a loss how to go best about it.

In my view, there is an option, but it is not one you like, not one you will even find acceptable or humane.

  1. Retirement homes are as per now only for those without family. If they have family, they must go there. This needs to be a global change

Yes, you are all upset now. Yet consider, if we unite families we shrink the costs of arranging all this, yet in answer, those funds will ALL go to legal aid, health care aid and refugee aid.

  1. Refugees can come in, but only assigned to volunteer positions for places like Salvation Army, St. Vincent, Red Cross and other volunteer places. For this they receive room and board. It will give aid to other places, work force and support. For that they will receive a place in our community and after 5 years they will get automatic citizenship.

Non-compliance means expulsion from that nation!

This is not even that harsh, the situation could become a lot worse soon enough, then what will we do? As we get all these academic people (and governmental expert consultants) telling us how things will get better soon, hoping that they can avoid actually answering the question in earnest.

The Greek example of their detention centres might have been the most outspoken, but I feel certain that they are not the worst, not by a long shot. Real refugees want to work towards a better future, my solution seems to be less, but it still gives them a guaranteed future for them and their children.

The parliament of Australia site gave me two paragraphs that matter (at http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp0001/01RP05).

Asylum seekers are drawn to particular countries by a range of obvious factors-proximity, family and ethnic community networks, employment opportunities and wage levels, generosity of welfare systems, levels of tolerance within existing societies, and the accessibility of determination systems. In Europe last year 70 per cent of asylum seekers sought protection in just four countries-Germany, Britain, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Acceptance rates are more revealing of a country’s political priorities, or its attitude to migration, or the weight of numbers it has had to deal with, or its diplomatic relations with ‘sending’ countries, than the genuineness of refugee claims” and “Australia is perhaps unique amongst Western countries in its capacity and willingness to remove failed asylum seekers; in other countries most failed asylum seekers simply remain. Australia has however joined other countries in attempting to discourage new applicants. The most minimal welfare payment, special benefit, is provided to illegally arrived asylum seekers even after they have been determined to be Convention refugees; they are provided with temporary visas with no family reunion entitlements; and they are denied access to settlement services tailored for and provided free to off-shore refugees

In my view refugees would (read: should) willingly go to any place that will accept them, this information gives a slightly different view. It is also interesting that the information is incorrect. The Dutch numbers are going down, whilst the Swedish numbers were going up. Moreover, the Swedish numbers are over 25% higher, yet the premise of the writ is not strongly affected. In this light we will see that the economies of the large 6, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands and Switzerland will soon change stronger and stronger if large changes are not made. Reasoning is that ‘in earnest’ (not in condemnation of any kind), refugees are an economic burden. They often cannot speak the language, the culture is different and there will be other moments that will stop them from becoming an asset to any future (most important their own future).

The solution that I am proposing might seem ‘inhumane’, but they are cast in places where people are less likely to take advantage of them. They will be in places helping their new nation and as such themselves as well and they will get exposed to a strong impulse of skills, language and cultural foundations that will only propel them stronger in future. In that light their children will already be eligible for schools and will help them build even stronger foundations.

Is my plan the best? No, it is not, but by giving it to large industries, who gave a massive part of that to their own members of the board is certainly never going to be a solution. This is not some anti-industry chant. The issue is that life in any environment requires equilibrium. A ‘coalition’ and politicians with their ‘after-elected’ need, as I personally see it, have been uniting for the need of a few and that need has been answered for these few to such an extent that the many are now no longer regarded as essential. We have now entered into the realm of trimming. Not the trimming of the fat, but the trimming of non-consumers and in the short minded view of the industry, those, of whom they think no one needs. But in that same view we will also trim our humanity, reduced to be workers, for the lessened good of consuming.

My view is not a good one, but as I see it, it beats where we are moving towards. In the end, is my view just an exaggerated negative view? I personally wish it was so, but consider the following facts:

External debt and population

  1. Germany – 5.5 trillion – 81m
  2. France – 5.7 trillion – 64m
  3. United Kingdom – 9.5 trillion – 65m
  4. Sweden – 1.1 trillion – 10m
  5. Netherlands – 2.5 trillion – 17m
  6. Switzerland – 1.6 trillion – 8m

Now take the next part in close (but sceptical consideration), one report claims that for the UK servicing the debt costs a mere £43bn, which amounts to the entire defence spending of the UK. The UK collected a forecasted 650 billion in taxation last year, taking 6% of the budget away just to keep Even Steven, so if the UK wants to move forward they need to budget on 90% whilst collecting the 100% forecasted part. It is quite the miracle to make that happen. Now the UK and Germany are doing reasonably well (compared too many other nations), but they too have issues. When we look at Sweden and the Netherlands; that image swifts a lot faster in a downward spiral. Perhaps some will remember the issues Switzerland and their currency had a little over a month ago in my article ‘A seesaw for three‘ on January 18th 2015 (at https://lawlordtobe.com/2015/01/18/a-seesaw-for-three/)

We now see the picture adding up to a lot more hardship, and add to that the refugees:

  1. Germany 571K – 144
  2. France 210K – 310
  3. United Kingdom – 194K – 319
  4. Sweden – 86K – 106
  5. Netherlands – 75K – 222
  6. Switzerland – 50K – 154

Now the view is almost complete. So for Germany we see 571,000 refugees, which means one refugee per 144 non refugees. The 144 pay for the way of one refugee. We could think that this is easy, but now consider that taxation is down, so the required money is not getting in (for various reasons). Now we see the problem, how can any government continue to support a sliding scale? This is not about fairness, because it is not fair on the refugee. I will be on the first line stating this, but when the bills are due, fairness will no longer be a factor. If we want to resolve the refugee solution, so that we all can continue giving them a future, something must give way. We can hope for a much better economy, but that is a ludicrous fantasy, even if the economy suddenly upgrades by 15%, these nations will still be hurt by the overspending and the consequential bills that became the headache for well over a decade.

So in my view we either change the way the refugee issues are addressed, or soon thereafter Australia will not be the only one sending back refugees, with the consequential nightmare that such actions will bring.

So as I contemplate the words of Juan Mendez, I wonder if Mr Mendez has considered the dangers of true torture when funds run truly dry on a near global basis. We all need to look at how it can be made better as we all should consider such steps, but in addition, no one seems to be looking at the cost of it all, yet the pressures of the rising costs of helping refugees getting a future are not being addressed in this economy, why not?

 

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A beefy certification!

There was an unsettling report on the news at 06:30 this morning. It showed issues with Halal classification with references to terrorism. Oh, the man was very ‘precise’ in stating there were at present no indications, it was all about clarity. So before we take a look at this, let’s take a look at George Christensen, a Liberal who seems to represent the people from MacKay going north, his area stops before Townsville, which beckons the question how many Muslims are there in his constituency? Did he meet with them, or with a Muslim spokesperson to discuss this BEFORE this was given to the press for HIS visibility? (Ne thinks not, but I could be wrong).

This part was the part I had an issue with: “I have never said there is any evidence of links between halal certification and terrorism in Australia. Consumers should be able to know where proceeds derived from all forms of certification go, including kosher certification. There is a clear reason why many Australian’s are talking about halal certification and not kosher certification. There hasn’t been any terror plots found in Australia nor have there been any terror attacks killing Australian’s in Bali or New York City or elsewhere that were masterminded by Jews or even extreme sects within Judaism

The first question in my mind is why? If I do not live for Halal foods, why have the interest on how certification is set and where proceeds go to? In my mind I am at times curious how Halal and Kosher certification is done, but that is for a mere academic curiosity. I would think that George Christensen should look into other meaty issues. Perhaps some will remember the scandal that had hit the UK a little over a year ago, on how 29% of beef had added horse to it. So George, how much Phar-Lap can we find in a Queensland hamburger? Have you looked into that part at present? You know, whilst having your Vegemite sandwich, as you come from the land down under!

You see, when we see news like ‘Campaign to boycott halal food gains momentum in Australia after yoghurt company ditches certification‘ (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-20/campaign-to-boycott-halal-food-gains-momentum-in-australia/5907844), I wonder what is driving this. It is as I see it a deceitful approach to anti-Muslim sentiment. Australia is not and should never be anti-Muslim. Like the UK we are anti-Extremism and as such we keep our watchful eyes open, but to attack Muslims all over by becoming anti-Halal is like Idi Amin walking up to Mahatma Ghandi stating ‘Dude, you are too intense!‘.

Consider the quote regarding the anti-Halal movement “Its carefully anonymous leaders keep a low profile, directing their members to swarm target companies’ online profiles and boycott their products“, this reads like a page of the manifesto of white supreme-cysts letting the dumb masses do their dirty work. It is not unlike some early KKK approaches into changing commercial interests to fit personal needs.

When we consider the quote “I think it’s fair to say that people from all walks of life, should be able to ask are you halal certified? It’s not a hard question“, we need to ask another hard question. Why? You see, Halal is an issue for Muslims and Muslims alone. As far as I always have known it to be: ‘the animal must be slaughtered with a sharp knife by cutting the throat, windpipe and the blood vessels in the neck, causing the animal’s death without cutting the spinal cord. Lastly, the blood from the veins must be drained, it is done according to religious standards’ (I got this part from Wiki, because I was lazy formulating my view on this). In the back of your mind, these animals are slaughtered in a humane way (it sounds strange, I know), so this meat is prepared in a certain way, so that it is the finest beef, now consider the slaughterhouses Christians use (in mass quantities), one could consider that Kosher (Jewish), Halal (Muslim and Jhatka (Sikh) will always have the best meat. When we see in definitions ‘killing the animal whilst causing it minimal suffering‘, gives thought to a humane approach on preparing food, I can guaranty you that when you see modern slaughterhouses, ‘humane’ is a word we need to leave behind before we get within a mile of many slaughterhouses (isn’t there at least one in Christensen’s district?) I wonder if George Christensen ever took time to properly investigate matters before he started, you know, opening his mouth.

There is one additional part that should be looked at, which is that the killing of animals, in Islam is set in two categories: 1, for food and 2, to eliminate danger (like rabid animals). In response to this anti-Halal I would like to add the quote in the second article: “‘If they don’t change their ways and start acting as patriotic Australians, they deserve what they get. Its market forces,’ he said“. Is that so? In that case, I reckon their next change is to shut down EVERY Target and K-Mart, which should be closed until all the cheap $3 articles from Myanmar and Sri-Lanka have been removed and replaced by articles made in Australia. You see, when your members see the quality of life decrease as expenses go up from +50% to +150%, they will likely move away from sanctimonious statements regarding ‘patriotic‘. It seems to me that Certifications like Kosher, Halal and Jhatka do have a religious ground, yet behind that is a hidden quality because of these practices, making these certifications interesting to consumers all over the religious spectrum. In the end, we the people want good food, good quality items.

So when I see opportunists talk about ‘patriotic’, then I wonder if they are aware of ‘Value of ‘more sophisticated’ counterfeit goods increases by millions‘ (at http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/value-of-more-sophisticated-counterfeit-goods-increases-by-millions-20140426-zqzu8.html), where we see the two quotes “Among the 2012-13 seizures were 43,200 bottles of beer in Western Australia in March 2013” and “Up to 86 per cent of all goods are manufactured in China, he said“, so Mr Sanctimonious, when did you last buy your Australian beer on special? How Australian was it, or perhaps you could not tell the difference?

It seems to me that local certification is preventing counterfeit and forged processed foods just fine, by not letting this happen. A local market like that cannot cheat when there is a clear view of where things came from, from Cow and Lamb to final piece of red meat. Something the ‘mass-market’ seems to be completely unaware of, that part was shown a year ago when most European nations enjoyed Phar-Lap sprinkled burgers and sausages.

So back to George Christensen, why is he on this horse-meat to begin with? When I see the following in the ABC article referred to earlier “The trouble began for the Fleurieu Milk and Yoghurt Company last month when Mr Hutchinson received an email asking to confirm whether his company had halal certification. Six months earlier, the company had gained halal certification as a requirement to supply a $50,000 yoghurt contract with Emirates Airlines. ‘It was a $1,000 fee. It opened up a business market to continue to become viable. It was a necessary step,’ Mr Hutchinson said“, here we see a simple certification step, which brings a $1000 fee, but opens up a $50,000 market for an Australian company. I think that Fleurieu is doing a good thing here, they went to adhering to a market, which requires certain high standards, they met the challenge and they are in business, in this regard how UN-Australian are the people attacking this? Is this about where the $1000 went to, as George Christensen seems to question? If that is true, then I wonder what George Christensen is up to wasting our precious time on this issue (I do not care if he wastes his time on this, but his constituents might ask). What was this really about? If my ‘response’ would be a personal one, I might ask why this ‘entertainer’ (can we call George Christensen a politician when we read these facts?) is a Liberal member, he sounds like Labour party material at present. Yet when we see the mention “George Christensen wants halal certifiers to open up their books“, I wonder what he is really trying to get at, the people who paid for certification, or the list of certifying instances. When we see the $1000 fee, to make any serious contribution one would need many thousands of companies getting certified, I think that this is about something else entirely. That view became visible as I found a blog regarding Carol Vernon, running for the Greens in September 2014 (at http://mncgreens.blogspot.com.au/2014/09/george-christensens-statement-labelling.html), the quote is “Mr Christensen is referring to people who oppose the industrialisation of the Great Barrier Reef as terrorists and in the current climate that is utterly unacceptable, wrong and incredibly dangerous and irresponsible“, yet in August we see his statement that his approach was wrong (self-admitted by GC, at http://www.news.com.au/technology/environment/great-barrier-reef-federal-mp-george-christensen-says-i-got-it-wrong/story-e6frflp0-1227040230696), so what is this about? When we consider the site ‘they vote for you’ we see that George Christensen is labelled as ‘George Christensen voted very strongly against increasing marine conservation‘, this makes sense when we see his view on the Great Barrier Reef and on other matters. It seems to me that he is firmly in the pocket of ‘big business’, you see, as I personally view it, Halal, Kosher and Jhatka is all about quality oversight, something big business abhors. they want freedom of unaccounted actions (like the Phar-Lap burger), so, when we see businesses making changes that could be regarded as morally correct activities like Halal certification, we see that it is not about the dollars, but about the quality, an approach the connections of Christensen might not like as it undermines their profitability as they are stopped from dredge dumping and so on, Dawson has abattoirs and mining items in their constituency, which beckons other questions too. As a population wants a better quality, we see a better community, seems to me that Halal certification might be a threat to these abattoirs, for who do (or did) they cater to?

An electorate with 92,000 votes (at 94% turnout), is not that sizeable a community. So why was George Christensen bothering with all this?

Consider the quote “there has been some evidence in other countries that there has been dubious activities on halal certification“, so where is that evidence? George Christensen is outraged that his grocery spending could be propagating a religion, in regards to Vegemite (as stated by ABC news), we should consider the following: There are 22 million jars produced every year. Halal certification is $1000, according to one source stated earlier, which means $0.00454 per jar, which is less than half a cent, so when we consider this in regards to George Christensen, should he be regarded anything less than a joke? There was never a security issue, as I see it, there was never any issue on religious certification, it was as I see it a waste of time from beginning to end, perhaps to avert talk from his disastrous approach to the Great Barrier Reef. Which is of course a second joke (a story lacking humour in this case) when we see Julie Bishop state that there was no threat in response to the quote by President Obama “Mr Obama told the audience the ‘incredible natural glory of the Great Barrier Reef is threatened’ because of global warming and said he wanted to be able to return to Australia with his daughters when he had more time“, that statement that there is no threat, is of course debatable as George Christensen was extremely willing to use it as a dumping ground for dredging activities, which we see at “In January 2014, a proposal for Abbot Point was approved to dispose of 1.3 million cubic metres of dredge spoil“, so how will that ensure a long lasting reef? If we are to accept the report (at http://www.gbrmpa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/17164/ShenNengGroundingImpactAssessmentReport.pdf), we see “contamination by TBT such as from anti-fouling paints is likely to have a significant and persistent ecological impact on biota at a ship grounding site and potentially the surrounding physically non-impacted areas“, which is just one quote from the 160 page document. As we saw that the captain was given a $25,000 fine, how large was the total fine for this one event, and how much will it take to fix the reef? In light of the fragility of the coral reef, how could any positive light ‘be given’ towards dumping sludge on ecology this fragile?

It seems to me that in regards to the reef, both sides have been playing it fast and loose towards the health of the Great Barrier Reef, when we see that 85% of Australia is all for a healthy GBR, we can only wonder why George Christensen is all about certification of red meat and not that much for a great reef.

Did I oversimplify matters again? Silly me!

 

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