Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

Western Led Syrian War Nears End

by Oui Sun Jul 22nd, 2018 at 07:12:53 AM EST

Israel had supported the Al Nusra Front jihadists along the Golan Heights to the border with Jordan. The earliest route of fighters trained by US and UK Special Forces inside Jordan. The PR instrument used by the West to sustain the sectarian/civil war where the White Helmets who had worked closely with this rebel group.

Israel evacuates 800 of Syria's White Helmets and their families to Jordan | Times of Israel |

Israel transported several hundred Syrian civil defense workers and their families from southwest Syria to Jordan overnight Saturday, saying it had engaged in "a humanitarian effort" at the request of the United States and European countries.

The Israel Defense Forces said it engaged in the "out of the ordinary" gesture due to the "immediate risk" to the lives of the civilians, as Russian-backed regime forces closed in on the area. It stressed that it was not intervening in the ongoing fighting in Syria.

According to Jordan's official Petra state news outlet, the evacuees included 800 White Helmets personnel and their families.

More below the fold ...

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Brexit and inequality

by Frank Schnittger Sat Jul 21st, 2018 at 01:37:03 PM EST

David McWilliams is something of an Irish euro-sceptic but has an interesting article in the Irish Times. Riffing off Boris Johnson's "F*ck business" comment he argues that the Brexiteer led Tories have become an anti-business party and that that represents an opportunity for Ireland. I have drafted a letter to the editor as follows:

David McWilliams writes that "Economically, the real story is how the UK went from [being] the herald of free enterprise to "F**k business" in one generation."  (Opinion, 21st July). The irony is that the UK's economy was "the sick man of Europe" when it joined the EU in 1973, and it has done very well out of EU membership by expanding it's services sector massively and taking advantage of the single market.

The problem is that the de-industrialisation pursued since Margaret Thatcher and the globalisation enabled by the EU has also increased regional and social inequality massively, and this, more than anything, is what drove Brexit. The Eton/Oxbridge elite have also twigged that their sense of entitlement doesn't cut much ice in Brussels and so they have jumped on the bandwagon "to take back control".

There will be blood when the great unwashed of Sunderland realise they have been duped and that there will be even greater inequality and poverty under an Eton/Oxbridge led UK free of Brussels constraints. The Eton /Oxbridge crowd were never much interested in getting their hands dirty and actually making things - for them industry is a dirty word. Vulture capitalism, rent seeking, and ripping off other people's hard earnings is their thing.

So yes, Brexit, and especially a hard Brexit is an enormous opportunity for Ireland as the sole remaining larger English speaking member with a similar legal system and cultural outlook. But we should be beware of this creating even greater regional and social inequality in Ireland. A few banks and vulture funds relocating a few staff and a lot of paper financial assets to Dublin may do wonders for our already bloated GDP figures, but little for the plain people of Ireland.

We should focus on attracting a lot of smaller/medium sized UK industrial companies who need access to EU markets to smaller and medium towns in Ireland. These smaller companies typically don't have "corporate strategy" departments or foreign language capabilities. Moving a few miles across the Irish sea to an English speaking common law jurisdiction would be the easiest option for them.  100 jobs in Leitrim would mean a lot more to the local economy than a few financial whizz kids moving to Dublin.

Leo Varadker should appoint a full time Brexit minister dedicated to travelling the roads of north and Midlands England meeting small business leaders who never see a British government Minister and whose Brexit concerns are being ignored. Tariff and non-tariff barriers may make their EU exports unviable and threaten the future of their businesses. If Boris won't help them, perhaps we can.

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Barnier Reply: Dismisses Chequers White Paper

by Oui Fri Jul 20th, 2018 at 07:00:43 PM EST

Already in the past tense this message of Thursday ...

Continued below the fold ...

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A victory for European justice

by IdiotSavant Fri Jul 20th, 2018 at 12:38:49 AM EST

A week ago, a German court rejected the extradition of exiled Catalan President Carles Puigdemont on "rebellion" charges. He could be extradited for "misuse of public funds", but not for "rebellion" as there was no equivalent offence in German law (Germany requires actual or planned violence, not peaceful protest and democratic advocacy. The idea of a peaceful "rebellion" is nonsensical). And now, as expected, Spain is having a legal temper-tantrum and has withdrawn the European Arrest Warrants against all the exiled Catalan politicians:

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Jewish Cheques and Balances [Updated]

by Oui Thu Jul 19th, 2018 at 02:48:49 PM EST

Interesting ... funding the Blue Wave!!

Billionaire Ex-GOP Megadonor Seth Klarman Bets Big On Democratic 'Blue Wave' | The Forward - today |

Hedge fund guru Seth Klarman used to be a major Republican donor. Now he's putting substantial money towards helping the Democrats' "blue wave."

Klarman, who is Jewish, has donated more than $250,000 to around 80 Democratic candidates so far this year, the Forward can reveal.

More below the fold ...

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Dutch Colonial Heritage Reaches Xenophobic Zenith

by Oui Wed Jul 18th, 2018 at 05:04:11 PM EST

Of course the Dutch Liberal Conservative Party (VVD) of Mark Rutte has no roots in the Dutch Golden Age of tremendous wealth gathered from overseas colonialism. Like hunters traveling the treacherous seas, confronting pirates, competition from Portugal, Spain and Britain. The spoils was for the taking, the strange, wild folks over there had little culture, at least we didn't understand their customs and roots where these people originated. Often the subculture people were taken as slaves and traded on the best markets for high returns.

    [My bad the British and the French made more profit in the slave trade because they cared better during transport see article: Dutch Slavery: Our Dark Past.]

      Why did we trade black people as slaves instead of poor white people? That was purely a racist matter. We could barely see them as equal human beings and slavery was legitimated by the Bible. The Bible has always been a good tool to legitimize every morally objectionable activity, even though it presents itself as a moral guide.

In the 20th century Western Europe developed after two devastating Great Wars that destroyed mankind, social fabric and caused untold misery for tens of millions and a multiple of deaths and suffering for a decade or more.

To develop the Western economy, immigrants were welcomed by business people, they were so kind and smart to set up coordinated hiring offices in North African nations and Turkey. That was the phase after the EEC of six countries expanded to Europe's Mediterranean coast of Spain, Italy and Greece. These migrant workers left the northern states to find employment in their home countries of their birth. They never felt welcome as they were often employed in the menial jobs as cleaner, factory worker in production of textiles (Twente) or leather shoes (Waalwijk NB) or in the factories of Electronic giant Philips Industries in Eindhoven and across many cities in The Netherlands.

There have been many phases of migrants and immigrants from the overseas colonial nations who have become independent after 1945: Indonesia with Molluccans, Papua Guinea, Suriname and the Caribbean Islands, some are still part of Holland.

More below he fold ...

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James Comey No Longer A Republican

by Oui Wed Jul 18th, 2018 at 06:05:02 AM EST

Comey Won't Vote for the Party of his Former Boss

Haha ... checks and balances ... with a loaded SCOTUS ... partisanship and a deadlocked legislature - political appointments across the states in the judiciary ... it's the American Way ... "Citizens United" ruling cemented US politics is for "We Corporate America"... forget the pursuit of happiness for the 99%. The United States of America a mix bag of oligarchy. Still pointing the finger - and guns - at other nations across the globe.

Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit | NY times - Jan. 21, 2010 |

More below the fold ...

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The Presidential Con Game and the All-American Bust-Out

by gmoke Wed Jul 18th, 2018 at 01:48:58 AM EST

According to The Confidence Game:  Why We Fall for It... Every Time by Maria Konnikova (NY:  Viking, 2016  ISBN 978-0-525-42741-4), there's a structure to the con:
The put-up picks out the mark
The play establish a bond
The rope lays out the pitch
The tale proffers the benefit
The convincer is where the conman lets us win
The breakdown is where we start to lose
The send is where the victim is recommitted
The touch is where the mark is completely fleeced.
The blow-off gets rid of the mark ASAP
The fix prevents marks from making official complaints
At this point, I think we're up to the touch in Trmp's confidence game and it seems to me he's going for a full bust-out:
"The bust-out is what happens when the mob moves in to take control of a business that's heavily indebted to a loan shark. As [William] Black [University of Missouri-Kansas City associate professor of economics and law] tells it, why the heck a mobster would ever want to take over a bar or liquor store in this way is incomprehensible to a classical economist. Why take over the business when you're already getting every cent of profit and more in your weekly vig?

"Except that in the real world, things don't work that way, explains Black, a professor at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. The reason to take over the business is to loot it 1,000 ways to Sunday, from buying vast amounts of liquor on credit to, ultimately, torching the place for the insurance money. Prosecutors and mobsters know this. Economists who think the mob operates like a bank that happens to charge high interest rates miss it."
Source:  https://www.cnbc.com/id/36002370

Many battles won but the war continues...

by Frank Schnittger Wed Jul 18th, 2018 at 12:43:31 AM EST

The last fifty years in Ireland have been one long battle against the domination of many aspects of life by religious institutions, principally the Roman Catholic Church, whose "Special Position" in Irish life was formally recognised in the Irish Constitution until 1973.

Only this year has the ban on abortion inserted into our Constitution in 1983 been overturned. Before that, in 2015, the marriage equality referendum finally ended official discrimination against the LGBTQI community. Divorce only became legal in 1996 and contraception only became legal in very restricted circumstances in 1980 although access to contraceptives has been liberalised since.

The tide has turned and many religious now claim they are being oppressed by a new liberal secular orthodoxy. What they conveniently forget is the the Church still controls many Hospitals and nearly all schools in the Republic and demands that they implement "a Catholic Ethos". This can include a ban on medical procedures disapproved by the church and an insistence that only the baptised may attend Church run (but state funded) schools.

The latest outrage is an attempt by the Bishops to ensure that children who opt out of religious education should continue be made to sit at the back of their class and not be timetabled for other more useful subjects. Hence my letter to the Editor published by the Irish Times today:

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Europe is not a market, it is the will to live together

by Frank Schnittger Tue Jul 17th, 2018 at 07:08:49 PM EST

Esteban Gonzales Pons: speech on Brexit, European Parliament - 2017

Europe is currently bound to the North by popularism, and to the South by refugees drowned in the sea. To the east by Putin's tanks, and to the West by Trump's wall. In the past by war, in the future by Brexit. Today, Europe is alone more than ever, but it's citizens do not know it.

Europe is, however, for that reason the best solution and we do not know how to explain that to our citizens. Globalisation teaches us that today Europe is inevitable, there is no alternative.

But Brexit also tells us that Europe is reversible, that you can walk backwards in history, even though outside of Europe, it is very cold.

Brexit is the most selfish decision ever made since Winston Churchill saved Europe  with the blood sweat and tears of the English.

Saying Brexit is the most insidious way of saying goodbye.

Europe is not a market, it is the will to live together. Leaving Europe is not leaving a market, it is leaving shared dreams. We can have a common market, but if we do not have common dreams, we have nothing. Europe is the peace that came after the disaster of war. Europe is the pardon between French and Germans. Europe is the return to freedom of Greece, Spain and Portugal. Europe is the fall of the Berlin Wall. Europe is the end of communism. Europe is the welfare state, it is democracy. Europe is fundamental rights.

As Fintan O'Toole has pointed out Theresa May's much heralded White paper is devoid of any understanding of what the EU is about, or any vision for what the UK should strive for outside the EU. It has satisfied neither Brexiteers nor Remainers and is most unlikely to be agreeable to the EU.

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Trump Meets Putin [Updated]

by Oui Mon Jul 16th, 2018 at 02:41:49 PM EST

Pundits have gone into a frenzy for days, weeks ...

Democrats called for the summit to be canceled ...

Putin should first send the 12 GRU hackers to stand trial in the US based on a Grand Jury decision ...

Putin stole the election to benefit Trump ...

More to follow as press conference is about to start ...

Front paged by Frank Schnittger with minor edit

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Democratic Ideologues, Populism and Identity Politics

by Oui Sun Jul 15th, 2018 at 05:54:02 PM EST

Started as a comment to a post by Cat:
What crucial attribute divides populist and democratic political ideologies?

Searching for some literature I came across Frank Furedi, an article of his published in Nov. 2016 ...

Populism: a defence

I find his writing interesting, however I miss the populist in power who set out to destroy the democratic institutions. What we see as goal in the UK with Brexit: no jurisdiction of the ECJ. The Conservatives want to establish new rules for levels of pollution and all goods such as agriculture, pharmaceuticals and the financials in the City of course. In Turkey with Erdogan and creating an all powerful executive, setting the legislature and judiciary aside. Somewhat similar to Poland and Romania. The expansion of the EU is the cause of much turmoil and dissatisfaction by the earlier EU nations: migration, competition from laborers with low wages and minimum rights. This feeds into the narrative of populism in politics: the easy way out and not taking responsibility nor showing leadership. As a result the voters are in free fall, setting aside the established parties and creating a much larger swing vote making the outcome of an election unpredictable.

More below the fold ...

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Jewish Coalition, Islam and Obama Attack Ads

by Oui Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 07:05:25 PM EST

Forming a coalition made in hell ...

Saudi 9/11 attack - Ariel Sharon - Bibi Natanyahu - Islamophobia - Funding by American Jews - NGOs such as Clarion Fund - political vehicles Dutch politicians Geert Wilders and Ayaan Hirsh Ali - right-wing support - white nationalists - Steve Bannon - Robert Mercer - Cambridge Analytica - Mark Zuckerberg - Intelligence Community giving cover - Black Cube - Erik Prince - a US President named Donald Trump!!

Possessing all of the evil elements that brought him into the world's most powerful office! No surprise to his unsophisticated message anti-Muslim - anti-women's rights - love for authoritarian regimes - a corporate guy selling pure capitalism - anti-socialist. let's such say anti-social period. Trump can't help it - a personal tragedy: Triad.

More below the fold ...

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Russia, Iran Prevail - Syrian Rebellion Ends

by Oui Sat Jul 14th, 2018 at 10:03:21 AM EST

I have blogged about the sectarian strife in Syria from its start in 2011 and the quick turn for the worse when the rebellion sparked outside parties to participate with weapons, logistic support and jihadist fighters. A harsh and ugly civil war ensued for a strategic nation to Western powers, Israel, Iraq and Iran.

The attempt to get Obama more deeply involved in August 2013 failed. In September 2015 Russia as ally to the Assad regime stepped in and this was a turning point in the civil war. The hordes of Sunni forces emboldened by ISIL coming in along the Euphrates from Iraq were about to overthrow the Assad regime. A slaughters of the Alawite and Orthodox Christian minority was feared as outcome.

More below the fold ...

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Pew Research Study on Populism in the EU

by ATinNM Thu Jul 12th, 2018 at 05:15:11 PM EST

Pew Research does top notch work.

In Western Europe, Populist Parties Tap Anti-Establishment Frustration but Have Little Appeal Across Ideological Divide

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Break ICE

by joelado Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 10:41:30 PM EST

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is known as ICE. It is time to break it up.

I am not going to go into an open borders argument. I am, however, going to go from the assumption that all the readers here believe that ripping children from their parents, when we had in place more civil approaches, is and was wrong. It is wrong on the level of being a huge human rights violation. If this is considered acceptable behavior in any way today, what then could be considered acceptable behavior tomorrow? What I am going to focus on is the institutionalized support structure that makes this fiasco possible.

Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. ~ John Stuart Mill 1867

The quote above or the more familiar one,  "The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing," which has been attributed to the likes of John F. Kennedy, Edmund Burke, R. Murray Hyslop, Charles F. Aked, as well as John Stuart Mill, in essence say the same thing. Evil will triumph if good men don't do anything to stop it. What this quote lead me to think about was, what do we do if we are not standing by? Opposing evil is too broad an idea. We all would want to do that. But how?

Three years ago I discovered that my family's linage on my mother's side went back to our family that had been kicked out of Spain in 1492 for the crime of being Jews. This discovery internalized my feelings about the most easily identifiable evil event in recent history, the Holocaust. I asked myself, how does one attack evil like that? I never thought in my life I would ever see an inkling of something like that. It was a lesson of history well learned by everyone. Still, I thought about it a lot. I remember asking myself, why didn't the rest of Germany simply refuse to do Hitler's bidding? If the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing, then surely it would also be true that the only thing necessary for the failure of evil would be that no one participate in the demands of the evil ones. I thought about myself. I am no one special. My death would be insignificant outside of my loving family, but if I could refuse to turn the valves to the gas chambers, at least for a moment my life would have inconvenienced the evil doers before it was ended by the Nazis. They would have to choose someone else to turn the valves or they would need to turn the valves themselves. Then I thought that it wouldn't be enough for me to just refuse to turn the valves, because I would simply be replaced. In order to not "do nothing" I would have to "do something" to insure that no one assigned to the task after me could just continue the evil. For the valve tender to the gas chamber he or she would have to break the valves so that they would remain closed. To do something would require not just an act of civil disobedience by refusing, but actively take part in sabotaging the mechanism of the evil apparatus.

At the moment of hearing that the Trump administration was wrenching children and babies out of the arms of mothers at the Mexican and U.S. border, I knew that this administration had crossed that line from being really bad to being downright evil. The heartache that I immediately felt for the mothers, the terror being experienced by the children, reminded me that the willingness to work with evil often times lives in the souls of ordinary people. The people of Germany, unfortunately, helped in the Holocaust. I guess it would simply be too much to ask that those employed by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and the Border Patrol to simply refuse to take children away from their mothers. The employees of these agencies probably run the full spectrum from evil racists, to people who are economically desperate, from people not aware of what they are being involved in, to the blinded followers of Donald Trump. What we do know is that ICE, the Border Patrol and other agencies involve with immigration are the mechanism that this administration has used to accomplish this evil task. ICE+ in this metaphor are the valves to the gas chambers in the Holocaust. To actively stop this particular evil and keeping it from continuing on into the future we need to break the valve. We need to abolish ICE+.

PR Moment Seehofer with Afghan Deportations

by Oui Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 07:04:36 AM EST

Seehofer: 'Lovely, 69 on my birthday'

Seehofer is part of a ultra-conservative movement exploiting the issues of immigration for strengthening his own voter power base. Using Xenophobia and Islamophobia - how ugly politics has become.

Minister of Interior Seehofer jokes as Afghan migrants deported | BBC News |

The EU has vowed to step up deportations of failed asylum seekers - part of a complex and controversial drive against illegal migration.

A report from the German news agency DPA (in German) says Afghan officials were angry that Germany had sent such a large group, as an upper limit of 50 per flight had been agreed. Of the 69 migrants, 51 were deported from Bavaria, Mr Seehofer's home state.

More below the fold ...

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NATO Partnership Strenghtened to Offset Brexit

by Oui Wed Jul 11th, 2018 at 06:53:00 AM EST

Yep, making sure Europe's defense stays in the hands of US Generals, not politicians. Finance minister from the White House flying in to collect dues. Perhaps looking for cash payment to take back on Air Force One. About cash payment, Iran wants its money before the next sanctions by the US kicks in - huge Iran cash transfer request.

President Donald Tusk on EU-NATO cooperation

We have just signed a joint EU-NATO declaration, which brings the cooperation between the European Union and NATO to the next level. The aim is clear. We want to protect European citizens with all possible means available, and there is no better partner than NATO. That is why we have agreed today to strengthen EU-NATO ties in crucially important areas. They include improving the military mobility of troops and equipment, common preparedness for cyber and hybrid attacks, fighting terrorism and stopping migrant smugglers in the Mediterranean. The fullest possible involvement in our activities of EU Member States that are not NATO members will be encouraged and facilitated in an all-inclusive, non-discriminatory manner, without any artificial obstacles.

More below the fold ...

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Selling the City of London to Europe

by Oui Tue Jul 10th, 2018 at 10:37:39 AM EST

What would Brexit mean for the City of London? | FT - Feb. 23, 2016 |

Jamie Dimon, the outspoken JPMorgan chief executive, could not be clearer about the upheaval he thinks the City of London would suffer outside the EU.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Mr Dimon warns of a "massive dislocation" to the financial hub that would reverse decades of growth for international banks in London and scatter them across Europe and the rest of the world.

Continued below the fold ...

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The beginning of the end?

by Frank Schnittger Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 08:24:34 PM EST

Davis, Fox, Johnson and Gove

David Davis and Boris Johnson have resigned from the UK government because they cannot support Theresa May's Brexit proposals which are unlikely to be acceptable to the EU in any case. Liam Fox and Michael Gove may soon follow although both are no doubt trying to position themselves for a leadership contest. He who wields the knife rarely inherits the crown... Meanwhile Theresa May is left to struggle on in what may well be a terminally weakened condition.

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News and Views

 16 - 22 July 2018

by Bjinse - Jul 16, 67 comments

Your take on this week's news

 9 - 15 July 2018

by Bjinse - Jul 9, 79 comments

Your take on this week's news

 July Open Thread

by Bjinse - Jul 16, 6 comments

He who cannot put his thoughts on ice should not enter into the heat of an open thread.

 June Open Thread

by Bjinse - Jun 3, 97 comments

Whatever thread you make makes you. Thread wisely.

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