Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
«The Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) is a non-profit academic and diplomatic think tank that was established by the resolution of its founders pursuant to presidential decree No. 59‑rp dated 2 February 2010 “On the Establishment of the Non-profit Partnership “Russian International Affairs Council”.
RIAC activities are aimed at strengthening peace, friendship and solidarity between peoples, preventing international conflicts and promoting conflict resolution and crisis settlement.
RIAC operates as a link between the state, scholarly community, business, and civil society in an effort to find foreign policy solutions to complex conflict issues.
The RIAC mission is to facilitate Russia’s peaceful integration into the global community, partly by organizing greater cooperation between Russian scientific institutions and foreign analytical centers/scholars on the major issues of international relations.»
Il Board of Trustees è composto da quattordici persone, essendone Chairman Mr Sergey Lavrov, attuale Ministro degli Affari esteri. Interessante la lista dei nomi. Sembrerebbe quasi di leggere la lista dei maggiorenti del Главное разведывательное управление, Glavnoe razvedyvatel’noe upravlenie.
Sergey Lavrov, Aleksandr Dynkin, Andrei Fursenko, Mikhail Komissar, Mikhail Margelov, Sergei Prikhodko, Anatoly Torkunov, Leonid Drachevsky, Aleksandr Dzasokhov, Herman Gref, Yury Osipov, Aleksandr Shokhin, Igor Yurgens.
* * * * * * *
Giorni or sono è uscito un documento ufficiale sulla Germania e su Frau Merkel, che riproduciamo in extenso nella traduzione fornita dal Riac stesso. Questo documento, ufficialmente datato 2018-10-09, è stato ampiamente rimaneggiato poco tempo or fa.
Avvisiamo immediatamente come tale documento costituisca il punto di vista russo. Se può essere ritenuto essere sufficientemente veritiero ed accurato, acuto e penetrante sicuramente sì, si dovrebbe ben valutare quanto esso sia di parte nelle considerazioni proposte. Nulla di male, ovviamente: solo è il punto di vista russo.
Tuttavia, a nostro sommesso parere, sarebbe di fondamentale importanza comprendere a fondo il pensiero del Riac su questo argomento, visto che la Russia sta acquisendo un ruolo politico di sempre maggiore importanza sullo scacchiere geopolitico europeo.
Per gli ovvi ed intuitivi motivi, si preferisce non commentare il testo riportato.
→ The Russian International Affairs Council. 2017-10-09. Do Angela Merkel and Germany have a joint future?
Many foreign media and even some German media people reported during the endless appearing process for finding a coalition 2017/2018 about a “governmental crisis”. This mostly due to the lack of knowledge these coalition talks being a defined process despite taking unusually long. Germany sure wasn’t able to take major decisions hurting especially Emmanuel Macron and his affair of the heart: the renovation of Europe. On the topics Europe and Foreign Policy, Germany steps on the brakes for many years now, therefore the result remains the same – little or nothing happens anyway.
The new German government is in operation since a few weeks now but there is trouble brewing afoot in Berlin. Unexpectedly, the right wing AfD is pretty quiet at the time.
The CSU remains the arsonist
Those who have hoped the CSU (the Bavarian sister party to the CDU of Angela Merkel) will concentrate on governing the country after the forming of the government are utterly wrong. With the elections ahead in Bavaria, Horst Seehofer wanted to gather his voters and attract those who have left CSU for the AfD with the powerful comment “The Islam does not belong to Germany”. He even doubled within this context by adding “People of Muslim Belief belong to our country”. Just like one could take his belief and values off before going out on the streets. It certainly appears Horst Seehofer is able to abandon his belief and Christian values scarifying them to preserve his own power.
If you look into the history of Europe and Germany – and therefore Bavaria – you soon will discover Horst Seehofer wants to make the pure opposite of history to become reality. Whether by ignorance or on purpose is hard to determine, however based on facts the Bavarian Blusterer simply is wrong – “fake news” might the right term. During the early Middle Age Arabs and the academic people from their countries brought an enormous amount of knowledge to the backwardly European countries. People actually have to thank the Muslims for the following flourishing or Europe. They benefitted from countless innovative products and a vast knowledge transfer from the Occident into the countless by monarchs oppressed, socially underdeveloped and by a faint educational system inhibited countries of Europe. A startling detail: the majority of the academics originate from Chorasan – an expanded Afghanistan – and Iran, namely from the former intellectual stronghold Bagdad.
Angela Merkel took a clear position, criticised and rectified Horst Seehofers statement – who received it thin-skinned but did no longer make such unqualified statements.
Settlements within CDU still not finished
Angela Merkel has many areas with the need for improvement within her own party, too. While the Chancellor tries to convey she has understood the vote and is working on improvements her Health Minister Jens Spahn is backstabbing her. It took him just three appearances – perceived by the people concerned as big-headed and ice-cold calculated arrogance – to destroy Angela Merkels recently planted crop of hope. “Hartz IV does not mean poverty” was his first statement causing backlashes from many sources but also support by those who do not like governmental interventions (Hartz IV is the German unemployed support and welfare system introduced by the SPD in earlier times and a constant annoyance since it does not cover the rapidly increasing cost of life). With his second appearance Jens Spahn talked against the liberalisation of the abortion law unveiling his lack of knowledge and tact. Just a few days later he wanted to comply with his promise to create 8000 new jobs in health care and wanted to speed up the homologation of education certificates of nurses and doctors from other European countries. Again, the Health Minister unveiled he is unprepared since today it already is impossible to convince more than 1000 nurses from EU countries per year to come to Germany – also due to the questionable working conditions and much too low salaries in Germany. The situation is critical since many German nurses and doctors leave for better jobs in other countries like Switzerland. Based on these facts counting on foreign nurses and doctors seems to be questionable on two levels: these people leave a vacancy in their home countries and the problem in Germany becomes the burden of the foreign workers – the question is how long this can be done. Even more problematic is the continuous decrease of the quality in nursing which gradually becomes life-threatening, particularly with cheap foreign workers. Voices rise Jens Spahn is pulling wool on people’s eyes.
Even CDU exponents oppose the young politician and reveal there’s much to learn for Jens Spahn. At least, with his thoughtless, unemotional and erroneous appearances Jens Spahn is keeping all these issues prominently on top of the agenda of the Grand Coalition. However, the local CDU parties and the local party members have not yet understood the troubles of the German society, thus their ignorance could become a bigger problem than expected. The CNT Alliance visited some Kreisveranstaltungen (party gatherings) of the CDU in first semester of 2018 and discovered the mostly elderly party members are interested only in issues securing their own wealth. Other issues were just briefly touched by the politicians on stage.
All this is a bit more than a tendency towards right. Like the strategy paper presented the group “WerteUnion” (Union of Values) beginning of April with lots of criticism for Angela Merkel. With this paper the opponents request a re-positioning of the CDU from the middle towards the right and fiercely oppose Angela Merkels refugee policy. Within this conservative manifesto they request the “return to the core values” of the CDU. The main part of the manifesto focusses on the Islam and migration. Again, it seems much easy for the authors of this manifesto to leave their Christian values behind (refugees) and putting them back in the centre of attention (Family) by demand. It doesn’t come as a surprise Jens Spahn sending a greeting to the approximately 100 people of this manifesto.
Interest to enthuse new members and to focus on younger people or migrants does not exist – in the contrary: our questions regarding rejuvenating the CDU or to include new members originating from foreign countries were quietly, but definitely opposed even with some discomfort. It seems Angela Merkel does not recognize the “Small AfD” among their own people – or she tolerates them on purpose.
Little fuss from the SPD
The partner in the coalition, the SPD, did not stir issues up after they’ve started governing. During the coalition negotiations the SPD has secured the Ministries of Finance, Justice and the Foreign Ministry besides others, much to the displeasure of those people in CDU and CSU who were keen on these jobs as well. With these ministries the SPD owns quite some power and the ability to steer the government: an excellent success for the negotiators of SPD.
At the other hand the SPD remains in a fuzzy situation not just within its own quest for identity. Several representatives of SPD do not find common ground regarding the welfare programme Hartz IV. Some people around vice president Ralf Steger for instance want to replace Hartz IV knowing the programme was introduced by the SPD but also is the reason for the downfall of the party. At the other hand, the Finance Minister Olaf Scholz wants to keep Hartz IV – since it is some kind of his own child from the time he worked for Chancellor Schröder, the facilitator of Hartz IV. The designated president of the party Andrea Nahles rarely shy of some “Kick-Ass” comments is very quit despite the discussion about Hartz IV and the job market being the opportunity for SPD to position itself clearly. She commented Jens Spahn’s intentional slip geared towards media with surprisingly soft voice, but straight into the face. Horst Seehofe and Jens Spahn are after the personal representation but missing out on their duties, and adds: “The primary job of the Chancellor is to sort out the act of government”.
Angela Merkel is flagging
Over the past years Angela Merkel became the symbol for political stability and predictability. She is popular in Germany and abroad but scratches in the paint become visible. Her political style is increasingly perceived as boring and leaden even by her own people. Usually, watched from distance she acts successfully and well balanced even for extensive problems. Angela Merkel is the chancellor of compromises and subtle but also of half-hearted decisions and stalling in front of complex problems. This works fine at the moment since economy runs excellent and tax revenues are on a steady high – both causing additional problems which she isn’t regulating. This stability increasingly is perceived as stagnancy which it actually is e.g. if looked at the Digital Offensive launched by the government many years too late.
Along with a certain fatigue in society towards Angela Merkel – a phenomenon previous chancellor Kohl encountered too – and her style the many postponed “building lots” become visible. Media often simplify the situation and explain the fatigue towards Angela Merkel merely with her misjudgement in the situation with the refugees and her catastrophic and negligent management of this issue. This, however, is just a small part of the real reasons for the poor results of the elections and the steep head wind Angela Merkel is facing. It is the combination of various diverse issues such as the state of emergency in nursing, poverty among the elderly, housing shortage, low wages and this in combination with contemptuousness and ignoring several population groups, particularly those at the far right of the political spectrum. The situation with the refugees therefore is just one part of the picture – but one people easily can discharge their hate and anger. Also because of the right wing party AfD right wing ideas and right wing protesting became “En Vogue” – even the voters of CDU/CSU are going towards the right. In this climate the uprising hostility against the Jews in the German society and the anti-Semitic activities of the past month are not unexpected. The internal policy of Angela Merkel was meant to be visionary and creative but it looks more like uncertain, delayed, reactive, and unveils many large problem.
Rumble at the right
The “old” parties still underestimate the right wing AfD. The equally underestimate the potential of right wing populism and the count of German citizen having conservative/right wing thoughts – even within CDU and CSU. For example, much disregarded by politics the right wing union “Zentrum Automobil” gained six mandates during the last works committee elections in March 2018 at the Daimler (Mercedes) plant in Untertürkheim (Stuttgart) – with the result of 13.2% they achieved a similar result like the AfD during the election last year, the Bundestagswahlen. The “Forschungsgruppe Wahlen“ stated approximately 15% of the members of the politically social unions did voted for AfD instead for SPD during the last Bundestagswahlen. A result pretty much replicated during the works committee elections at Daimler.
The statements by some of the exponents of the works committee of the IG Metall union: right wing ideas today are little visible but are spread subliminal throughout the whole company and, therefore, it’s expected to see a further rise of the “Zentrum Automobil”. The confronted union IG Metall got us evasive responses only. It seems this issue is hushed up. Time will tell whether Angela Merkel tactics to sit such problem out are the successful tactics for the unions. Looking at the general tendency in the country towards the right we believe Angela Merkel and the unions both are playing with fire.
Some more foreign policy?
During the past Germany was known for a little consolidated, imprecise and often lacking foreign policy. Domestic policy always was more important and it still is. The country focusses on economic foreign policy driven by the industry and its lobbyists, and otherwise relies on symbolic policy geared towards the media.
This image could slightly change. One of the first official acts by Heiko Maas, the new foreign minister, was his visit to Israel. His predecessor Sigmar Gabriel several times acted awkwardly and Angela Merkel didn’t want to become involved but Heiko Maas clearly, pragmatically and quietly put down some counterpoints. On top of it he clearly took position against the lighting up anti-Semitism.
Despite his appearances sometimes being perceived as nicely stage-made he did not make his own life easier since expectations are high now. The quick and friendly meet up with the French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian in Israel stirs up some hope Germany – after months of naval-gazing – finally will take over responsibility in Europe and the World. Moving from inactivity towards political creation with the friendly support by France.
The future of Angela Merkel
Foreign policy slowly picks up speed but Angela Merkel seems to have a hard time with her country. It no longer seems to be the Germany she knows. She seems to lose more ground contact the more she tries to understand the problems of society therefore losing more and more ground contact while facing fronts she has to fight. In the Bundestag CDU/CSU and SPD have to heavily deal with an number of parties, all of them having gained more than 5% of the votes. On top there is the AfD, the strongest party in the opposition owning an uncomfortable agenda – some of it even being attractive to her own party members.
With their vote for the Grand Coalition the SPD members have saved it and also saved the faces of SPD as well as the CDU/CSU. The SPD finds herself in a disruption and renovation process, even more so than the CDU. On top of it the parties of the opposition got stronger and this comes together with the incapability or the active reluctance of the governing parties to tackle the urging problems in the country in all consequence.
A forecast about the future of Angela Merkel and, therefore, of the German bipartisan system seems to be tricky. Though, the recent Grand Coalition steers towards the end of the factual bipartisan system in Germany. And people in Germany will be even more discontent for the next elections in 2021. The question how CDU/CSU and SPD will score is eligible. And whether the right wing AfD will establish itself as the third constant in the party landscape. The other question is whether the other parties will see the signs. Some media are singing the swan song for Angela Merkel forgetting she is not for nothing the most powerful woman in this world. It will be interesting to see how she will cope with the erosion on several fronts. It is not the end of Angela Merkel but she and her party are showing heavy signs of wear.
Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
2018-04-30. h 12:30.
I risultati saranno commenti solo a risultati definitivi.
Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Risultati parziali di 419 su 1,369 sezioni.
Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Negli Stati Uniti i debiti degli stati e delle entità pubbliche locali ammontava a tutto il 2017 a 3,118.6 miliardi di dollari.
Questo debito è in sofferenza: né stati né comunità locali sono in grado di rientrare. Questi debiti bloccano ogni margine di manovra.
«One in five people in California are living in poverty and the state’s residents account for 33% of all those on welfare in the United States, despite the state only being 12% of the country’s population»
«The state spent $958 billion on welfare programs between 1992-2015. According to the study, 60% of Californians are jobless and living in poverty»
«California is a sanctuary state and is often championing movements which find ways to grant protections and entitlements to immigrants at the expense of Americans»
«While an astronomical 30% of Americans in California are receiving means-tested welfare, this pales in comparison to the 55% rate of use by immigrant families consuming this type of welfare»
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I dati derivano dal Us Government Spending.
La California, con un debito di 426.1% miliardi, è il prototipo di stato liberal. Sta lentamente ma inesorabilmente morendo sotto un debito non più a lungo sostenibile.
Ma ciò che rende molto severo il giudizio è l’uso a dir poco scriteriato fatto del denaro del Contribuente, con il quale sono state finanziate numerose iniziative patrocinate e protette dal partito democratico.
Di converso, a fronte di finanziamenti di larghissima portata, in California si trova il 33% delle persone assistite per povertà.
È una Collettività incapace di generare un lavoro dignitoso per i poveracci: ma anche loro sono ben figli del popolo.
Ed alla fin fine anche loro votano.
→ Conservative Daily Post. 2018-04-26. $958 billion Welfare, California Has Highest Poverty Rate In America As 60 Percent Baffles Democrats
According to the United States Census Bureau Supplemental Poverty Measure, California has the highest poverty rate in the country. One in five people in California are living in poverty and the state’s residents account for 33% of all those on welfare in the United States, despite the state only being 12% of the country’s population. The state spent $958 billion on welfare programs between 1992-2015. According to the study, 60% of Californians are jobless and living in poverty.
California is a sanctuary state and is often championing movements which find ways to grant protections and entitlements to immigrants at the expense of Americans. While an astronomical 30% of Americans in California are receiving means-tested welfare, this pales in comparison to the 55% rate of use by immigrant families consuming this type of welfare. The state is handing over tons of cash to foreign nationals at the expense of Americans.
One contributing factor to their high poverty levels is their lack of affordable housing. Housing in California has become increasingly out of reach for the middle class due to building regulations and space constraints. This has caused housing to consume far more of the average residents income than in other parts of the country, leaving them with less money for food, transportation, healthcare and other services.
The state simply does not have enough jobs to support the hordes of immigrants they have taken in. The minority of the population who do hold jobs in California are often competing with illegals for work and having their wages suppressed by the mass migration of people from the third world who are willing to work much less an American whom expects a living wage be paid for their labor.
Democrats in California have consistently rejected forcing work requirements on the able-bodied individuals who receive welfare. Forcing those who can work to look for a job and/or maintain employment before receiving benefits is a policy unpalatable for the democrats who control the state. Americans in California are mostly jobless and the ones who can find work are actually having their money taken through the highest state income tax in the union to support immigrants, the majority of which are on welfare.
The current system in place in California is unsustainable, according to a memorandum sent to Senator Boxer from Legislative Director Sean Moore and Senior Economic Advisor Marcus Stanley, “…the estimate that in 2009 California received $1.45 in Federal expenditures for each dollar paid in taxes is conservative and likely to be an underestimate.” However, the most recent Legislative analysis concluded that in 2015 the state received $0.99 for every dollar contributed in federal taxes, meaning the state was able to reign in some of its spending or mitigate it through higher state taxes.
Over the past two decades the state has increased taxes on its resident, on both their income and their purchases, i.e. gasoline. The state has also been continuously flooded with poor economic migrants, who are using up a huge portion of the available assistance paid for by and initially implemented to help Americans. California lost more Americans, who are statistically net contributors to overall tax revenue, in a mass exodus in 2017 than any other state, only to be replaced by foreign nationals who are a statistical net drain on their tax revenue, and a burden to their schools, roads and infrastructure.
California under Democratic rule has seen a rapid decline in both its ability to sustain itself and the quality of life for most of their residents. Their population of poverty stricken is vastly disproportionate to their overall population. Policies which continue to flood the state with parasitic foreign nationals while continuing to raise taxes on the contributing population will only push more people out of the state, evaporating their tax base.
The poverty-stricken California is a sad condition for the state to be in, and if the state is able to lobby the government to provide Amnesty for DACA recipients, something they claim to want, the decline will only accelerate. The Congressional Budget Office conducted a study and found about one in four DACA recipients to be functionally illiterate in English.
Granting hordes of unskilled and illiterate foreign nationals will allow them to apply for more benefits than they are currently consuming wildly out of proportion, hindering the states ability to turn around this disturbing trend.
Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
La settimana prossima si terranno nel Regno Unito le elezioni amministrative e suppletive.
YouGov ha rilasciato le seguenti previsioni elettorali:
«The latest YouGov/Times voting intention survey, largely conducted before the Windrush row, sees the Conservatives on 43% (from 40% in last week’s poll) and Labour on 38% (from 40%).
Elsewhere, Liberal Democrat voting intention stands at 8% (from 9%) while 11% would vote for other parties (no change).
On who would make the best Prime Minister, 39% of people prefer Theresa May while 25% favour Jeremy Corbyn. A further 35% can’t choose between the two.
Last week we highlighted how concern over crime had reached a seven year high in our ‘most important issues’ tracker. This week sees the issue receding somewhat in the eyes of the public, with a five-point drop from 27% of people considering it one of the top three issues facing the country to 22%. This could be in part because of the attacks on Syria dominating the headlines, with a commensurate increase in the proportion of people seeing “defence and security” as a top-three from 22% last week to 27% this week.»
Alcuni dati sono interessanti, ma da prendersi con grandissima prudenza.
Nella fascia di età 18-24 anni (183 persone) il 16% si dichiara a favore dei conservatori ed il 59% a favore dei laburisti. Invece i 387 in fascia di età 50-64 voterebbe conservatore per il 46% e laburista per il 33%. Gli ultra sessantacinquenni voterebbero per il 68% conservatore e per il 17% laburista.
– nelle elezioni amministrative giochino moltissimo i fattori locali e la personalità delle persone che si sono presentate;
– il campione elettorale di Londra presenta molte significative differenze da quello del resto del Regno Unito.
Si leggano quindi questi dati con enorme buon senso.
→ Ansa. 2018-04-26. Consenso record per il Labour a Londra
LONDRA, 26 APR – Picchi di consenso record per il Labour di Jeremy Corbyn a Londra e dintorni in vista di una tornata di elezioni amministrative e suppletive che la settimana prossima vedrà coinvolti in Gran Bretagna anche alcuni municipi circoscrizionali della ciclopica capitale del Regno. Lo rivelano alcuni sondaggi che assegnano al principale partito di opposizione oltre il 50% dei voti potenziali, record assoluto per un qualsiasi partito britannico in città da 40 anni.
Nell’area urbana della metropoli, terza per estensione in Europa dopo Mosca e Istanbul con una popolazione di quasi 9 milioni di persone, i laburisti sono accreditati in particolare del 51% dei suffragi dall’ultima rivelazione dell’istituto demoscopico YouGov: con ben 22 punti di vantaggio sui conservatori di Theresa May, fermi al 29% nonostante una leggera risalita rispetto a una precedente stima. Mentre gli europeisti del Partito Liberaldemocratico non vanno oltre un 11%.
Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Questo è un argomento che solo tra molti decenni si potrà sapere se fosse stato o meno vero.
I russi affermano di aver potuto raccogliere un missile Tomahawk inesploso e di starlo utilizzando per comprenderne il funzionamento e migliorare quindi i propri sistemi di arma.
I russi affermano e gli americani smentiscono: nessuno è al momento in grado di appurare cosa ci sia di vero.
«Russia has gotten its hands on a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile and it’s going to study it to improve its own weapon systems»
«the U.S. Department of Defense told CNBC that the claims from Moscow are “absurd.”»
«an unexploded Tomahawk cruise missile and one high accuracy air-launched missile that the U.S. and its allies used in their last airstrike in Syria on April 14 has been brought to Moscow»
«Some of the missiles failed to reach the designated targets apparently due to technical failures, which created the risk of destroying civilian facilities and causing civilian casualties»
«Two of them, a cruise missile Tomahawk and a high-accuracy air-launched missile, have been brought to Moscow»
«The results of this work will be used to improve Russian weapon systems»
Riportiamo la notizia per completezza informativa.
Nota. Da quel che si possono conoscere i servizi segreti delle grandi potenze, nessuno si stupirebbe se progettisti ed operai addetti alla costruzione dei missili da crociera Tomahawk fossero tutte spie russe.
→ Cnbc. 2018-04-25. Russia claims it has a US Tomahawk cruise missile and will use it to improve its own weapons
– Russia has gotten its hands on a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile and it’s going to study it to improve its own weapon systems, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday.
– However, the U.S. Department of Defense told CNBC that the claims from Moscow are “absurd.”
– Russia said it would study the Tomahawk and would use it to improve Russian weapon systems.
Russia has gotten its hands on a U.S. Tomahawk cruise missile and it’s going to study it to improve its own weapon systems, the Defense Ministry said Wednesday,
However, the U.S. Department of Defense told CNBC that the claims from Moscow are “absurd.”
An official within Russia’s ministry said that an unexploded Tomahawk cruise missile and one high accuracy air-launched missile that the U.S. and its allies used in their last airstrike in Syria on April 14 has been brought to Moscow, Russian news agency TASS reported.
The chief of the Russian General Staff’s main operations directorate, Colonel-General Sergey Rudskoy, told a news briefing on Wednesday that Russian military specialists were already studying the missiles.
“Some of the missiles failed to reach the designated targets apparently due to technical failures, which created the risk of destroying civilian facilities and causing civilian casualties,” Rudskoy said.
“Two of them, a cruise missile Tomahawk and a high-accuracy air-launched missile, have been brought to Moscow,” he said, adding that Russian specialists were studying them.
“The results of this work will be used to improve Russian weapon systems.”
A Pentagon spokesman for the U.S. Department of Defense rubbished the claims, telling CNBC that they were an attempt to distract people from its alliance with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime.
“This is another example of the Russian disinformation campaign to distract attention from their moral complicity to the Assad Regime’s atrocities and the civilian carnage in western Syria,” Eric Pahon, Pentagon spokesman, told CNBC via email on Wednesday.
“The claims … regarding our target selection are absurd, as is the rest of the (TASS) article. On the Tomahawk, we have seen no proof, other than statements made to Russian state-owned media, that their claims are true. This is likely another smoke screen of propaganda to distract from the real issue at hand — the murder of innocent civilians by a murderous regime propped up by Russian backing,” he said.
Tomahawk missiles are, their maker Raytheon says, “modern, mature, powerful” and can “can circle for hours, shift course instantly on command and beam a picture of its target to controllers halfway around the world before striking with pinpoint accuracy.”
Raytheon notes that Tomahawks can be launched from a ship or submarine and can fly into heavily defended airspace more than 1,000 miles away “to conduct precise strikes on high-value targets with minimal collateral damage. Launching the weapon from such a long distance helps to keep sailors out of harm’s way.”
It notes that the U.S. and allied militaries have used Tomahawk missiles more than 2,000 times in combat, and flight-tested them 500 times. In April 2017, U.S. Navy destroyers launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at targets on a Syrian air base, it said.
A U.S. Department of Defense press briefing on April 14 — the date the U.S. and its allies launched an airstrike on Syrian government bases in retaliation for a suspected chemical weapons attack carried out by the Syrian regime, an ally of Russia – confirmed the use of multiple Tomahawk missiles in the airstrikes.
Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Dana White and Joint Staff Director Lt. Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. said Tomahawk missiles had been deployed to various targets in Syria including the Barzeh Research and Development Center (believed to be involved in chemical weapon research and development) and a chemical weapons storage facility.
What Russia will learn from the Tomahawk missile is uncertain given that it has recently boasted of developing state-of-the-art missiles itself. Only in March, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled what he called a state-of-the-art slew of new defense systems. This included a new prototype missile that “can reach any point in the world” and a supersonic weapon that cannot be tracked by anti-missile systems.
Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
«Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino are small European states that have also in various ways attracted the super-rich either to live, as in Monaco or to process their investments, as in Liechtenstein and Luxembourg»
«For larger nations, there has long been a limited degree of competition to attract the registration of international corporations»
«Delaware has established itself as the go-to corporate registration center, in part because it does not collect taxes on income earned from outside the state»
«Ireland is a medium-size country with a diverse economy and a strong international brand»
«Like Iceland, which borrowed heavily abroad, in the end the Irish boom turned into near catastrophic bust as asset prices, including property, collapsed under mountains of debt»
«Ireland remained a major location for multinational corporations because of its extremely attractive corporate tax rates»
«The Eurocrats in Brussels became increasingly vexed at Ireland’s generosity, the more so because EU funds were needed to bail out the country’s banking system after it imploded»
«Now Ireland and the giant Apple Corporation – the world’s richest business – have lost a bitterly fought legal battle against a ruling from Brussels that the highly favorable Irish tax regime amounted to illegal state aid»
«Apple has begun to pay $13 billion of back taxes into an escrow account, pending final judgment»
* * * * * * * *
La cosa era nell’aria.
Ed ecco che appare un fatto nuovo.
«An appeal by Apple and Ireland against a European Union ruling for the U.S. firm to pay 13 billion euros ($16 billion) in disputed taxes is likely to be heard before the end of the year»
Non ci si è sbagliati a leggere.
La debitrice Apple e la creditrice Irlanda hanno fatto assieme ricorso contro la sentenza della Corte Europea.
Apple non ne vuole sapere di pagare e l’Irlanda proprio non vuole riscuotere quelle tasse.
Una causa davvero alquanto fuori dalla norma.
Non si vorrebbe essere facili quanto involontari falsi profeti, ma non ci si stupirebbe poi di veder l’Apple trasferirsi altrove, magari in Arabia Saudita.
→ Saudi Gazette. 2018-04-26. Ireland weeps as Apple starts to pay it $13 billion
Small countries with constrained economies long ago discovered interesting ways of making a living. There was, for instance, the issue of ever more attractive postage stamps, some issued in sufficiently small numbers as to make them highly collectable by philatelists around the world. Small nations have also set themselves up as registries for international shipping and more famously as offshore financial centers.
Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Andorra and San Marino are small European states that have also in various ways attracted the super-rich either to live, as in Monaco or to process their investments, as in Liechtenstein and Luxembourg. When the Eurobond market began in the 1970s, it was said that Belgian dentists used to drive regularly across the border to Luxembourg where their bonds were held, to pick up their quarterly coupon payments.
Leaving aside the postage-stamp earnings from countries no bigger than postage stamps themselves, the main attractions of these jurisdictions have been considerably lower tax rates and registration fees. Along with these has often been a relaxed attitude to the enforcement of international rules and regulations. Thus last week the Marshall Islands was protesting at the emissions from world shipping, even though, as the leading flag-of-convenience registry, it was always itself in a position to pressure ship owners to make their vessels more environmentally friendly.
For larger nations, there has long been a limited degree of competition to attract the registration of international corporations. Even within the United States, Delaware has established itself as the go-to corporate registration center, in part because it does not collect taxes on income earned from outside the state. Thus company finance officers have been able to keep longer control of their income and make arrangements to mitigate their tax bills elsewhere.
But Ireland is a medium-size country with a diverse economy and a strong international brand. It is for instance a major exporter of cattle, not least to the Middle East. In the 1980s it became a “tiger economy” in large part because of its benign tax regime for foreign companies. Like Iceland, which borrowed heavily abroad, in the end the Irish boom turned into near catastrophic bust as asset prices, including property, collapsed under mountains of debt.
But even in the worst of its recession, Ireland remained a major location for multinational corporations because of its extremely attractive corporate tax rates. The Eurocrats in Brussels became increasingly vexed at Ireland’s generosity, the more so because EU funds were needed to bail out the country’s banking system after it imploded. Now Ireland and the giant Apple Corporation – the world’s richest business – have lost a bitterly fought legal battle against a ruling from Brussels that the highly favorable Irish tax regime amounted to illegal state aid.
As a result, even though it and the Irish government are still seeking to appeal, Apple has begun to pay $13 billion of back taxes into an escrow account, pending final judgment. Other multinationals that have set up in Ireland are also likely to be obliged to pay many billions of tax which Brussels calculates they owe. In Dublin, politicians remain distraught that their country’s long-standing offshore business plan has been ruled illegal. But they cannot really be that upset. Considering the billions of dollars that are likely to be rolling into the Irish treasury, this was not too bad a battle to lose.
Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
“Just walk the main street—everyone you’ll see is old and sad.”
UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs ha rilasciato un interessante report.
«The UN sees a catastrophe lurking»
I paesi baltici hanno problemi severi.
La Lettonia (Latvia) aveva nel 2016 il pil di 27.58 miliardi Usd, 14,095 Usd pro capite, un tasso di disoccupazione dell’8%, ed un fertility rate dell’1.74%.
La Estonia aveva nel 2016 il pil di 25.98 miliardi Usd, 19.751 Usd pro capite, ed un fertility rate di 1.5.
La Lituania aveva nel 2016 un pil di 47.29 miliardi Usd, un pil procapite di 16,6 Usd ed un fertility rate di 1.6.
«nine of the world’s countries most at risk of losing citizens over the next few decades are former East bloc nations »
«Porous borders and greater opportunity in the west have lured people away»
«the populist wave sweeping the continent has made it next-to-impossible for African or Middle Eastern refugees to take their place»
«Latvia, with a current population of 1.96 million, has lost about 25 percent of its residents since throwing off Soviet control in 1991»
«In Estonia, with a population of 1.32 million, the UN foresees a 13 percent decline by 2050»
«in Lithuania, the current population of 2.87 million is expected to drop by 17 percent in 2050. By 2100, it will have lost 34 percent»
«“Some people say this city will completely vanish in 40 years”»
* * * * * * *
Un vecchio andante recita che piove sempre sul bagnato.
I paesi baltici hanno subito una storia lunga, gloriosa e travagliata. Gli ultimi settanta anni, poi, li hanno passati sotto il regime comunista.
Emersi dal comunismo in una situazione misera, sono riusciti con molta fatica a ricostruire un loro proprio sistema economico: nulla di esaltante, ma che concede una vita contenuta ma dignitosa.
Nulla da stupirsi che in simili difficoltà economiche il tasso di fertilità sia ampiamente sotto il due, ossia sotto la soglia di mantenimento numerico della popolazione.
Ma si aggiunge ora un nuovo fenomeno, peraltro largamente previsto dai demografi.
Quando una popolazione è economicamente contenuta e sostanzialmente vecchia i giovani rimasti tendono ad emigrare.
Si forma in questa maniera un circolo vizioso che continua a peggiorare la situazione ed a rendere sempre più difficile la normalizzazione demografica ed economica.
sembra solo essere incombente fino a tanto che non si arrivi al melting point: quindi segue la catastrofe.
Ma nessuno si faccia illusioni di sorta.
Se l’esito finale è la “catastrophe” la via per arrivarvi è tormentata.
→ Bloomberg. 2018-04-20. Europe’s Depopulation Time Bomb Is Ticking in the Baltics
Young workers keep leaving for the west, while refugees from the Middle East and Africa are shunned. The UN sees a catastrophe lurking.
With much of Eastern Europe already in the European Union or looking to join, living standards have been rising in the cities that dot these former Soviet satellites. More storefronts beckon to western tourists, who have grown more eager to wander among the cobblestones of historic capitals that were once less than hospitable.
But a closer look outside the central squares reveals a different reality. According to the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, nine of the world’s countries most at risk of losing citizens over the next few decades are former East bloc nations. Porous borders and greater opportunity in the west have lured people away. Meanwhile, the populist wave sweeping the continent has made it next-to-impossible for African or Middle Eastern refugees to take their place.
Former Latvian economic minister Vjaceslavs Dombrovskis, now head of the Certus think tank, compared the westward migration of young eastern Europeans to the industrial revolution, when peasants rushed to large urban centers. He said these countries risk turning into what ancestral villages are for city dwellers: “a lovely place where you might spend an odd weekend with your folks.”
The trend is hitting especially hard in the Baltics. Latvia, with a current population of 1.96 million, has lost about 25 percent of its residents since throwing off Soviet control in 1991. The UN predicts that by 2050, it will have lost an additional 22 percent of its current population—second only to Bulgaria—and by 2100, 41 percent.
In Estonia, with a population of 1.32 million, the UN foresees a 13 percent decline by 2050, growing to 32 percent by 2100. And in Lithuania, the current population of 2.87 million is expected to drop by 17 percent in 2050. By 2100, it will have lost 34 percent.
As bad as those numbers look, the trend looks even worse for Ukraine and Moldova. The UN predicts 36 percent and 51 percent declines in those nations by the end of the century, respectively. Russia, meanwhile, is expected to lose 13 percent by 2100.
“Just walk the main street—everyone you’ll see is old and sad.”
Several factors are contributing to the depopulation of Eastern Europe, and Latvia has all of them: low income, compared with more developed EU nations; insufficient growth; and strong anti-immigrant sentiment. The average annual take-home pay among all EU nations was 24,183 euros ($29,834) in 2015, according to Eurostat, while in Latvia it was only 6,814 euros ($8,406).
The young and educated are disappearing in the greatest numbers, shrinking the amount of working adults who can fund benefits for pensioners. Latvian demographer Mihails Hazans said that, as of 2014, one in three ethnic Latvians aged 25 to 34—and a quarter of all Latvians with higher education—lived abroad. In Moldova, that figure is more than 20 percent. In Ukraine—which other Eastern European nations look to for migrant labor—the state employment service said 11 percent of the population lives abroad.
A decade ago, when Austris Lakse was a sixth-grader in the Latvian village of Staburags, his school was converted into a retirement home, a transformation he said would become commonplace. Now a law student, he said roughly half of his classmates have gone abroad, leaving behind the small village on the Daugava River, some 67 miles (109 kilometers) southeast of the capital, Riga.
They left for menial jobs in the U.K., Ireland, France and the Netherlands, he said. Lauris Urtans, another law student, said that most of his classmates from secondary school have either left for Riga or Western Europe. With fewer young Latvians staying and getting married, buying houses or starting families, the school system is slowly shrinking. The population is skewing older. Classrooms give way to day rooms.
But Lakse stayed. He went on to college and is now pursuing a legal degree at the University of Daugavpils, Latvia’s second-largest city, which has a population of 86,000. Even for those who stay, though, the pull of the west remains. When students in his class were asked recently whether they were going to stay in Latvia after graduation, almost half said no.
“If Latvians keep leaving, [those who remain] risk being assimilated by those who’ll come in their place—from the Middle East, South Asia or wherever,” Lakse said. That Eastern Europe’s demographic trends could be so altered via immigration, however, seems unlikely given the current political climate.
Nine out of 10 countries with the lowest acceptance rate of immigrants are former members of the Eastern bloc. Of these, the three Baltic nations had been previously forced to accept Russian-speaking migrants. In Latvia, the issue is so controversial that in 2015, when the EU insisted it accept just a few hundred Syrian refugees, nationalists initially threatened to withdraw from the government. That same year, Latvia came in second to last in the Migrant Integration Policy Index, which ranks 38 democracies according to the quality of immigration policies. Only Turkey did worse. Latvia was fourth from the bottom in Gallup’s 2017 Migrant Acceptance Score list, which ranks countries in order of their populations’ attitudes to immigrants.
Anti-immigrant sentiment in Latvia is driven, in part, by the National Alliance party, one of three in Latvia’s governing coalition. Speaking in Parliament earlier this year, party official Janis Dombrava quoted polling agency Eurobarometer as showing that 86 percent of Latvians believe immigrants make no contribution to the state.
“Latvia must either completely abandon or minimize the number of migrants who come from third-world countries,” Dombrava said. In October, Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis rejected an EU plan to accommodate an additional 50,000 refugees from the Middle East and Africa. He also defended Poland, which refused to meet the EU-imposed minimum number of refugees it was obliged to accept.
Hazans, the Latvian demographer, has been researching the nation’s slow-motion implosion. Low wages, poor career prospects and poorer working conditions, he said, are the top reasons. He also warned of a parallel political cycle to match the economic one: Since the young leave and the old stay, the electorate gets more conservative, he said, further exacerbating anti-immigrant leanings.
“Some people say this city will completely vanish in 40 years.”
Daugavpils, home to a major university of the same name, is known for having been the home of acclaimed painter Mark Rothko—who emigrated to America. It was here that Arturs Fisers, 28, thought he could attain his dream of a college degree.
But first he had to pay off his parents’ debt. He went to live with a friend in the U.K. who had already left Latvia and got a job at a chicken factory in Lincolnshire. He said factory work was monotonous, but he was paid 820 pounds ($1,159) a month—an unthinkable amount for the same work in Latvia.
After four years, he returned to Daugavpils and school. But two years later, the money ran out and he was forced to leave again, this time for work at a roadside restaurant in Switzerland. Fisers is hoping to become a teacher after graduation, which could pay as much as 700 euros ($862) per month, he said. Urtans, the law student, isn’t quite so optimistic. He sees no future in Latvia—even in Daugavpils. “Just walk the main street; everyone you’ll see is old and sad,” he said. “Some people say this city will completely vanish in 40 years.”
Hazans said emigration is now firmly embedded in Latvian culture. “It’s a new normal. Ten years ago, it was still an exotic decision, but now 90 percent of Latvians have friends or relatives abroad.”
While the UN and demographers paint a bleak picture of Latvia’s future, the government remains upbeat. “By 2022, emigration flows will significantly slow down, as an average wage of Latvia will reach the levels of minimum wage in emigration target countries like Ireland, Germany and the U.K.,” Dace Zile, the head of analytics for Latvia’s ministry of economics, said in an email.
The average monthly wage in Latvia last year was 1,013 euros, while pay in the countries Zile mentioned is more than double that. Dombrovskis, the former economic minister, estimated that by 2030, there will be roughly one taxpaying private sector employee for each pensioner. But Dombrovskis said that if gross domestic product could grow just a a little faster, at a 5 percent rate for three consecutive years, it could turn the tide. The Latvian economy grew at around 4.5 percent in 2017.
“To stop emigration, you need economic growth, but to achieve economic growth, you need to explain to foreign investors what you’re going to do about declining population,” he said. The best role-model is Ireland, Dombrovskis said. “Latvia is like Ireland in the 1980s—a rural country with around the same level unemployment and suffering from sluggish growth,” he said, adding that the Irish “economic miracle” happened because of highly attractive tax incentives that brought in future digital economy giants.
With a scenic coastline and a vibrant capital city, Latvia—or at the very least Riga—could be seen as a candidate for becoming such a hipster-filled tech hub. Ernests Stals, an IT entrepreneur, said the business environment is already ideal.
“It’s cheaper and easier to do business here than elsewhere in the EU—there is less bureaucracy and taxes are lower,” Stals said. But TechHub Riga, which Stals helped found, is still a tiny affair. The main obstacle besides a lack of investment is the acute shortage of young tech experts.
“The threshold for entry for technology companies is 3,000 IT graduates a year. Latvia has around 600,” Dombrovskis said. Latvia should welcome students from such neighboring non-EU countries as Ukraine and Russia, who will happily stay behind after graduation, he said.
Perhaps the more realistic model for Dombrovskis’s Latvia is neighboring Estonia. Though its economy is growing a bit slower than Latvia’s, it has managed a slight rise in immigration. The birthplace of Skype, Estonia has been actively touting itself as a digital paradise, a branding effort that may be resonating with foreign investors.
Estonian demographer Allan Puur said his country is already benefiting from higher income levels, with average monthly salary exceeding 1,200 euros. The discrepancy with its neighbors, he said, is explained in part by the success of Estonia’s economic reforms and its close geographic connection with Helsinki, which sits across the Gulf of Finland from Estonia’s capital, Talinn. Many Estonians work in Helsinki during the day and commute home at night, he said.
Estonia touts itself as a digital economy leader in the EU and an ideal place to launch a high-tech startup or a set up a research and development facility. The government is seeking to attract foreign investors with offers of residence permits and no tax on retained or reinvested profit.
A flagship investor is ABB Ltd., a Swiss company specializing in robotics which landed in Estonia as the USSR collapsed. It now employs around 1,000 people. Other major investors include banks such as Swedbank, SEB and Nordea Bank. Telefonaktiebolaget L. M. Ericsson, the Swedish telecom giant which produces mobile base stations at its plant in Tallinn, employs 1,200 people.
Meanwhile, NATO membership has created jobs (along with more defense expenditures). The organization’s main cyber-defense center, built a decade ago in Talinn, is emblematic of the investment that comes with NATO troops and equipment spread across member states.
While joining the EU has had the unforeseen consequence of causing young people to head west, joining NATO has managed to confer some economic benefits—as the three small Baltic nations look warily to the east.
Giuseppe Sandro Mela.
Nella Fattoria degli Animali tutti gli animali erano eguali tra di loro, ma alcuni di essi erano più eguali di altri.
Il mondo è paese, e l’Italia non fa certo eccezione.
Con anche tutte le stranezze italiane.
I media a ‘larga tiratura’ sono rimasti saldamente legati ai liberal ed al partito democratico, e ne parlano come se fossero ancora in vita politica. Ma sono invece morti e defunti, ed i giornali li seguono a stretto giro di posta. Almeno i Dialoghi dei Morti di Luciano di Salmosata erano di piacevole lettura: queste testate farneticano come se il pd esistesse ancora come forza politica.
Ma quanto contano ancora le grandi testate giornalistiche?
«Nel 1992 Repubblica vendeva il venerdì fino a 850 mila copie, …. Poco di meno vendeva il Corriere della Sera.»
«Anche il Corriere ha perso due terzi delle sue vendite di un tempo. È sceso a 191.321 copie»
«la gente è stufa di giornali anti, di giornale a tesi preconcetta, dove anche la cronaca nera è imprigionata dal pregiudizio»