Tag Archives: Wisconsin

Bells of Duty and Death

We have all heard it before, the clarion call, the bells are ringing and of course in 1983 the bells of St Mark were all ringing for Sheila E. So what happens, when you make that one mistake where your moment of non-concentration gets people killed, optionally a lot of people! That is what the Washington Post gives us (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/2019/03/06/hundreds-immigrant-recruits-risk-death-sentence-after-army-bungles-sensitive-data/?utm_term=.d381e6f9d0ff)

The starter “Army officials inadvertently disclosed sensitive information about hundreds of immigrant recruits from nations such as China and Russia, in a breach that could aid hostile governments in persecuting them or their families, a lawmaker and former U.S. officials said.” is not a soft one. What the never explainable bloody hell is going on? When I see: “A spreadsheet intended for internal coordination among recruiters was accidentally emailed to recruits and contained names, Social Security numbers and enlistment dates. The list was sent out inadvertently at least three times between July 2017 and January 2018.” So over a period of 6 months, we see an optional 50% failure. I can see at least 4 solutions that could have prevented that. The issue of mailing spreadsheets with names is just a joke. If it is sensitive data, we can argue that it might be in a spreadsheet, yet the mailing of sensitive data has always required the need of vetting before pressing send. It is the one time when the military looks more evolved (‘used’ to being the operative term) than the leaking baboons of Wall Street.

So when we see: “more than 900 Chinese Mandarin speakers and dozens of Russian speakers are on the spreadsheet, according to a copy obtained by The Post.” We need to realise that some people are highly overdue for the loss of rank and even worse. It goes a lot further when we consider the quote: “Abhishek Bakshi, an Indian recruit, said he received the list by accident in July 2017 from an Army recruiter in Wisconsin who asked whether he wanted to schedule a security interview. The spreadsheet was disturbing, said Bakshi, whose name is on the list“, this sets the stage where people can be coerced and even blackmailed in several ways. When we also vet “received the list in December 2017, among other documents related to enlistment, after it was forwarded among a chain of recruiting officials“, we see a larger danger when we consider ‘a chain of recruiting officials‘, where we consider not only the validity of the people, the fact that it was a list of people, we need to worry on who they shared their list with. A chain implies the setting of multiple links, each and every one of them weaker than the preceding link.

The dangers actually exceed what the Post gives us. In case of Russian, Pakistani and Chinese setting, it is not out of the question that the acquired names and Social Security numbers can be used to create a trigger database to change the parameters of having a valid life. When those numbers are used to track locations (housing), assets (cars) and even financial gains (educational scholarships) the future of these people could be undone within a year creating all kinds of security hazards, not to mention a financial mess that the victim is unable to undo for months, even years.

It is even worse when we consider the quote: “In 2018 under the Trump administration, the Army began discharging soldiers who had enlisted under the MAVNI program. Most were reportedly not given notice of why they were being discharged, but their citizenship status was jeopardized as a result. Many of them had served honorably in Afghanistan, Iraq and other locations around the world” showing that the United States has no intention of honouring its commitments, as such, when the next escalation comes, how will the US Military solve it? They are unlikely to be ever trusted again. Not only are hundreds in danger of being ‘chased’ out of the US, many of them with a honourable military roll call. the fact that these veterans are shipped out will set a most dangerous precedent down the line, and it does not stop there.

The homeless soldier

The issue that is rearing its ugly head is not new, there is more news now, but this has been going on for a long time, getting a lot of limelight in 2018. As we see (at https://www.military.com/daily-news/2019/03/07/senator-involve-doj-military-housing-scandal.html), we see a dangerous stage with: “The U.S. armed services should consult with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding the conduct of private companies hired to manage military housing“, I see absolutely no issue if the DoJ would start annexing these properties and making them part of the DoJ asset database. When we are confronted with “The contractors, he said, provided substandard, unhealthy and inadequate housing and ignored pleas to repair or service the homes“, I see a stage where it has become the responsibility of Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn to move towards confiscation of property if a 100% adjustment has not been achieved within 60 days. So when I see: “in February, a survey of more than 14,500 residents of base housing found that 56 percent said they had “negative or very negative experiences” with their houses on military installations. Now we all have issues with housing at times, yet when that impression gets to be a zero positive view for 56% a much larger issue is in play and changes are essential. These soldiers are often underpaid, under-acknowledged and now even below substandard housed, we see the clear need to clean that mess up, annexing housing and removing ownership from these owners has become an essential first. So when we accept: ‘a baby who lived in the home developed pneumonia and later had a stroke‘ we see a clear case of reckless endangerment of life and that can never be accepted, I do agree that the establishment of guilt, as well as the need to ascertain whether the tenants had taken serious steps to diminish risk. In addition to all that these landlords need to be put into a database, the people have a right to know when soldiers get housing that a dog on a junkyard would not accept on a rainy winter day. The final straw is seen with ‘other concerns raised by senators was the relationship between base housing offices and the private management companies‘, in my view it does not matter whether it is a case of corruption or nepotism, it is the direct stage where the fighting force is disabled through greed driven facilitation and that cannot be allowed to exist in any way, shape or form. So when we see Sen. Martha McSally, R-Arizona giving us: ‘the two parties appear to be “in cahoots.”‘ we see an optional prosecutable form of what could be regarded as corruption. It is not always stated to be money that funds the prosecution corruption, enabling economic benefits, facilitation towards non accountability of services and quality are all issues that can be translated into monetary value, making it a larger issue for prosecution and in that case anyone found guilty will (read: should) be stripped of the land titles, the housing and the deeds to these places and placed directly with the Defence department at that stage. In that context there is one part I do not agree with. It is found at the end of the article where we see: “Air Force Chief of Staff David Goldfein said he has lived in base housing for more than 50 years, including his childhood, and he wanted airmen to have safe communities where they don’t have to worry about their children’s health or about retaliation if they complain about the condition of their housing“, from my personal point of view, his actions are well over a decade late (even as we accept that he might not have been in an operational place to act earlier on, his predecessor clearly was).

In this day and age when the military needs to catch up on several fields, the last thing they should ever have to concern themselves with is the fact that their details are spread like wildfire by someone who has no clear regard for proper email and cyber security issues, besides that being in reliable housing is the clear responsibility of their CEO (aka the general of defense housing). It is not important whether your house is Air force blue, Army green or Naval grey, there will be a General, Air Marshall or Admiral in charge of that division and ringing their bell should at this point be the right of every enlisted man that is part of the US defense forces, however I might have oversimplified the matter.

We will have to see what extent Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Connecticut is willing to take the baton, if he does not make it to the final stretch, we can consider that the next senatorial elections are in 2020, so either he has a following of a million+ in 2020, or he could optionally consider his next job to be with Uber (yes, I do have a flaky sense of humour).

I personally think that making quick cash at the expense of servicemen needs to be looked at in much harsher ways and it is our duty to expose those who would want to exploit this group for personal gains to a much larger degree than has been done until now. It does not matter what country you are in, we do not merely have a decent responsibility to thank them for their service; we all have a partial a duty of care that they do not have to deal with this kind of shit in any way shape or form ever.

 

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Strike a match

In Australia, an island with plenty of drought and as we go into the really nice and warm season, a match is not a thing we look fondly off, yet the strike of the match as we see it in France, where it is now uncomfortably cold is another matter. So is it ‘Strike a match!‘, or ‘Match a strike?‘, the strike called on regarding labour reforms could be the one that sets flame to that nation and set flame to whatever growth economy the French think they have. Reuters (at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-france-reform-protests/frances-cgt-calls-another-strike-against-labor-reform-others-refuse-idUSKBN1CE2CH) give us “the more moderate CFDT, now France’s biggest union, and the Force Ouvriere preferring negotiations” these two are starting to figure out that the long protected labour rights in France are to ancient. With a mobile workforce all over Europe, it will soon be about taxable products and services no matter where they are and as such France is pricing itself out of a market of workers, faster and faster. The weird part is that France has so much to offer, so the fact that the economy is barely reaching +2% for the longest time is less puzzling and is more and more about the uncertainty that the labour laws are bringing entrepreneurs. Now, I am all for protecting the workers over greedy corporations, yet the draconian shape that it has in France is stopping new waves from moving towards France. French publication ‘the Local‘ (at https://www.thelocal.fr/20171009/france-how-tuesdays-mass-public-sector-strikes-will-affect-you) is giving us “with particular reference to the pay freeze and rise in social security payments, plus the government’s controversial decision to dock pay for the first day of sick leave (jour de carence) to fight against absenteeism“, this implies that former president Hollande has been asleep at the wheel. The changes imposed are to some extent to top the coffers from taking too much of a hit and with minus 2.6 trillion Euro the French coffers need all the help they can get. In this, many newspapers are all about how the appeal of President Macron is wearing thin, yet the bulk of issues that we see in a few fields are ignored to a larger extent. So, when was the last time that a corporate CEO got time with a national ruler to discuss national taxation? Because that is exactly what Tim Cook CEO of Apple seems to have been doing in France. With one source giving us “So, when Tim Cook meets with French President Macron, the matter of taxes could make for an icy situation between the two men. Macron has said he wants to promote France as a place for tech companies to set up shop, but he has also been critical about the role internet companies, in particular, play in society. Macron has been pretty vocal lately about how France and other E.U. countries should close up the loopholes that Apple and other tech companies have been able to use to move their earnings around to more tax-friendly countries, such as Ireland and Luxembourg“, is it a first indication that the French economy is in a much worse shape than expected? The fact that Tim Cook is visiting Élysée Palace not because President Emmanuel Macron is buying his wife the new iMac Pro (an assumption from my side). I am not thinking the worst of the French president, but the issue is questionable, especially as Apple is about to open a massive site in the Battersea Power Station, so as Apple (as I personally see it) is trying to spend the money twice, once by spending it in London and the second time by getting tax deduction for the amount just spend in London so he can get a second building for free in Paris. We see too many people in charge giving in to large corporations too easy and too often. Mostly merely getting it done for their ego’s whilst they sell short the needy coffers of their own nation. They present it as the cost of doing business. Corporations like Apple can merely offer to go somewhere else and the politicians fold like wet paper backs, no hard backs amongst them. As Apple is now getting the news to invest in several nations, $10B for a plant in Wisconsin, $500M in China and as we now see (at http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/10/10/detente-possible-between-tim-cook-macron-over-apples-future-taxation-in-france-eu) “Macron’s staff report that past tax disputes weren’t discussed in any way, but Cook acknowledged a sea change in how companies should pay taxes specifically where they are earned, and not in one country to cover the entire EU” is just one side, so as we also see “Apple continues to deal with a ruling by the European Commission, which will force a $15 billion payment of back taxes to Ireland —when the Irish government gets the disbursing fund established. Ireland disputes the ruling, and says that Apple has paid all of its required taxes. The European Commission is suing Ireland for the lack of collection, and to force the issue“, an issue that has played for the longest time. And every time when I see that politicians are ‘offended’ by the lack of payments I wonder how they are selling the lack of their treasuries to the Irish people. Ireland must be the richest nation in the world when it regards a non-paid $15B as not an issue. So whilst public services are lowering in Ireland and as we see “Sinn Féin’s Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty said, however, that the government has failed spectacularly with today’s budget and suggested it was a lie to suggest you can cut taxes and solve the problem of the health and housing crises” (at http://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/donohoe-defends-tax-cuts-despite-growing-pressures-on-public-services-809339.html) whilst there is an apparent issue with Apple’s outstanding $15 billion, we need to wonder on who the politicians are actually working for and who pays their income. Questions the media seems to walk away from. Yet this was not on Ireland, this is about France and the labour issues. It seems that Ireland and France are labour opposites. As Ireland is showing itself to be more flexible than a slinky in a hurricane, France is showing their flexibility to be zero degree Kelvin, which could remain detrimental to the financial growth of France in more than one way.

So as France is now huddled into a posing form of strikes all over the place, we see that emotions run high, so high that the French decided to release teargas, so that the people could cry over the matter. So as we see the news that 450.000 travelers are feeling the consequence of the French not agreeing with the labour overhaul, we need to consider how its impact is on the long term. You see everyone forgot about Marine Le Penn. After she was not elected, all the people thought they had evaded having to bite the bullet, yet in all this; the issue is not what had been surpassed, but what can haunt again. Instead of the media trying to figure out and illuminate what Front National had in store, with actual answers to how the issue could have been solved, the media bombards Macron again and again, the issue is not what happens when Macron fails. The issue is that when the dust settles, there would not be a long election, the labour parties would jump on the Le Penn bandwagon in a heartbeat leaving no options for France at all. The entire ‘Status Quo’ debate could quite literally blow up in their faces and when the next smear campaign starts, the people will in unity ignore the media to the largest degree. So as we see the nonstop battering of the strike and how bad Emmanuel Macron is doing, they are equally ignoring the fact that none of the other politicians have any better a clue or an idea on how to solve certain matters, which means that Front National is currently swimming free setting up whatever they want. Because the people might have shared some enthusiasm with some young sprout now President of France, but that trick only works once. In opposition, I doubt that Marine Le Pen has a clear path on how to fix the economy. The IMF is actually assisting her as we see Bloomberg with ‘Raising Taxes on the Rich Won’t Necessarily Curb Growth, IMF Says’ (at https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-11/raising-taxes-on-rich-won-t-necessarily-curb-growth-imf-says), yet even as we see “The IMF report comes as governments in advanced economies face a backlash against the effects of globalization and technology. Voters from France to the U.K. have expressed frustration with what they perceive to be the unequal benefits of free trade and open borders”, the bandwagon that the IMF offers is equally a much larger problem. Even when we ignore the actions of Depardieu moving to Russia, the media has bungled the events for the largest degree. You see, as I mentioned before, whilst media is staring at the ‘super wealthy’ and giving rise to emotions of more inequality in an age where the people are pointed in the wrong direction by the media at large. Yet this group is a mere 330,000 souls large last year and less than half a million cannot supply the multiple billions (read: Trillion) that the treasury is already short of and the IMF knows this. This is the UK, in France, where less than 1% pay at the rate of 45%, we see an implied group of a little over half a million making it into that group. The reality that the IMF is selling is not realistic and everyone with spreadsheet skills can see that such a small group cannot address the trillions of debt that France has, so as we see that growth might not seem to e curbed, the issue is that the infrastructures are starting to collapse. In the UK the NHS is pretty much the most obvious example, but in all this France has a few issues of their own and none of it will be resolved until there is a fair setting of corporate taxation for the larger players who leech their zero tax vie Ireland and other options; options that the local shops can never rely on, which growth business inequality even more and a lot faster. Is it not weird that the IMF is in total denial through carefully phrased messages like “When it comes to corporate income taxes, the trend in lowering corporate tax rates is a pervasive trend overall in the last few decades. That is something which is often attributed to tax competition. There is, however, the interesting finding that this reduction in corporate tax rates has not been, in general, matched by a fall in corporate tax revenues”, which in my view means ‘corporate profit can be maximised through lesser taxation and increased production’, which is not for the corporations, but working a person to death whilst there is no quality healthcare is equally detrimental to the health of any nation. So how is that an option?

History has shown that again and again. This we see in the Guardian as it reported “Union leaders said they wanted to show a “profound disagreement” with the president’s plans to overhaul the state sector“, yet where will they go? That is the part the players are all ignoring and in this the media is one of the players. You see, we have seen quotes like “The main reason they voted for him was as a default, as a barrier against the risk of a Marine Le Pen fascist, far-right government“, yet when he does not deliver and as the failings of the left are stacking up. Where do you think the unions will go? They too require being ‘in power’ and they will align with anyone who gives them what they need to stay in power. The media has forgotten about that, or did they? That is the issue because the people at large are not in the know and when the bottle boiled over, they are in the ‘not caring’ team, which allows for a load of misinformation and the official media channels have lost the levels of reliability they need, they lost it the day after the election, especially when the failings started to show. So as the media blunders its way by blasting their current president, they forgot to notice that they have painted themselves in a corner. The question becomes: ‘Can it be fixed?‘ I am not certain, I actually do not know how some of the channels can regain the faith of their readers, that becomes the issue more and more and when that is too late, may Marianne symbol for the French people help them, because the others will not care and that is actually a lot more dangerous than any President Le Pen (should that ever happen).

So as we strike a match under the newspapers misstating our needs and matching the strike workers by educating on the dangers they are setting themselves up to, we might get some actual labour law evolution. President Macron is not wrong in the path he is taking. He is merely ignorant of the French population and their sentiment in certain matters. In that regard he has been a member of the Wall Street population a little too long, and regained his French feeling of solidarity much too short (as I personally see it). So this will not be resolved any day soon I reckon.

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