Hyeon Mi and I went to Jirisan to do a hike similar to the one I did before. We went slow, had 4-5 picnics on the way up and enjoyed the scenery. The leaves were changing color so we got some nice pictures. It was nice to spend some time quality time together. After hiking I had dinner at her families house for the Korean holiday. They don’t do much to celebrate, but still it’s nice to sit down and eat together. I guess that isn’t very common for their family. Hyeon Mi says her Dad always eats really fast, he was finished in about 5 minutes lol. Koreans “bali bali” (quick quick) lifestyle. Enjoy the pictures, I had trouble getting them in order again so it’s not very cohesive, sorry about that.
This guy is something else, transcript and video in the link above. I’ll be sprinkling in some artwork too. I took a lot away from the interview, the thing that stuck with me the most is that I trust him. He lost a brother to alcoholism and swore not to drink, he instilled it in his children too, so that resonates with me personally.
The interview was a great unbiased piece. Some of the things Trump says come off as a over the top or impossible, but then I noticed myself cheering for him and saying, “Why not?”. Nothing is impossible, it just requires the political courage to do it, and for once I feel like we the people might have someone that actually has a backbone. Someone that will put the country before their political party, and the corporations they are beholden to. I’ve been embarrassed about how my country behaves in the world, this interview put a smile on my face and made me just a little proud to be an American.
He dropped two bombs in the interview that make him come off as a moderate centrist candidate, which is great because we haven’t had a choice except the two extremes for the past 40 years. Number 1, healthcare.
Donald Trump: There’s many different ways, by the way. Everybody’s got to be covered. This is an un-Republican thing for me to say because a lot of times they say, “No, no, the lower 25 percent that can’t afford private. But–”
Scott Pelley: Universal health care.
Donald Trump: I am going to take care of everybody. I don’t care if it costs me votes or not. Everybody’s going to be taken care of much better than they’re taken care of now.
It’s either populist pandering (doubtful) or he sees the value in American citizens being healthy. Universal coverage is something we need, our healthcare costs are out of control, premiums continue to accelerate even more so under Obamacare and being healthy is becoming unaffordable for many. I don’t think many American’s can comprehend this but if I’m sick in Korea, I have a cold, I can go to the hospital. It costs less than $30 bucks with insurance less than $90 without. The wait times are 5-30 minutes, the care is not very personal and it’s meant to be quick. The medicine is cheap as dirt. I went to the Emergency room with insurance after food poisoning it cost me $100. No wait, got medicine, an injection and felt great 2 days later. Healthcare doesn’t have to remain an abject failure in the US.
It needs to change, and the only two candidates offering it are Trump and Sanders. The problem with Sander’s plan is he expects the massively bloated, fraud filled Medicare model to handle it, Trump is suggesting private industry does it. When it comes to cutting cost, you have to go with private industry. There is a reason the space shuttle doesn’t launch anymore, while SpaceX and Boeing have contracts locked up for the next several years. The hard part will be preventing crony capitalism with government contracts.
On to bomb number 2. Taxes.
Donald Trump: We’re talking about people in the low-income brackets that are supposed to be paying taxes, many of them don’t anyway.
Scott Pelley: You’re talking about making part of the population exempt from income tax?
Donald Trump: That is correct.
Scott Pelley: You’re talking about cutting corporate income taxes?
Donald Trump: That is correct.
This probably seems impossible to a lot of people, even the interviewer noted we have $19 trillion in debt. Trump wants to raise taxes on the richest and to put trade pressure on other countries to boost our economy. This point Trump that talks about alludes that he is willing to engage in economic protectionism, by threatening tariffs unless trade deficits are reduced. This is dangerous because it opens us to the same treatment in reverse, but who is going to put tariffs on their exports to the biggest consumption economy in the world? No one. So Trump is right that the USA has a lot of influence and pressure that it can use. That leverage is being used now (wrongly I might add) to secure more free trade agreements and secret trade deals (TPP, TIPA, etc.) that seek to benefit corporations and turn copyright law into an abomination.
The merits of free trade are still debated. After the late 1994 NAFTA trade agreement our trade defect went from -1% of GDP, and it only took 2 more years for it to break the -1% mark and steadily climb all the way to -6% GDP, a 600% increase. Free trade is not free. The American worker suffers, local businesses that don’t export overseas suffer, the American company that is big enough to export to foreign markets wins, their share holders win, and the mindless consumer culture that can buy cheap shit from China wins.
Scott Pelley: What personal hardship has defined your character?
Donald Trump: Well, I think I’ve had some. I had a brother who was a fantastic guy, Fred. And he was a young man and he passed away at a fairly young age. And, he was an alcoholic. He would tell me constantly, “Don’t drink.” And I’ve never had a drink. I own the largest winery on the East Coast and yet I don’t drink which is a little weird. But he said, “Don’t drink. Don’t smoke.” And he would tell me all the time. ‘Cause he had a problem with it. He died of alcoholism.
That is a warning that he’s pressed on his children, three of whom run his companies.
Donald Trump: I have children that are very good children. And– and so far– I knock on wood. Right, you know, who knows.
Scott Pelley: Very accomplished. Your three older children.
Donald Trump: Terrific people. But I say, “No drugs, no alcohol, no cigarettes.”
At the end of the day Trump seems like an honest guy, a real person, that actually cares about his family, his business, and his country. I don’t see his ego that people claim is so huge, the self absorbed millionaire. I see a guy with a lot of pride in his work, family, and country. Being proud is not wrong and it’s time we all hold our head up a bit. I’m not talking about screaming “USA USA USA” at the world cup, I’m talking about being decent to people. When you go in Burger King and order the salad because you don’t want to encourage animal cruelty, but you’ll walk right by the homeless guy hoping to avoid eye contact.
Another appeal is that Trump is not afraid to say what he thinks even if it is viewed as politically incorrect. The pendulum of social acceptance is swinging almost to the extreme with this Social Justice Warrior thing. It’s great we have gay marriage, but how far do we push this thing? We’ve got Ahmed (master clock maker) who I judged wrongly in my previous post before seeing the picture. A boy who made an intimation bomb, and was offered scholarships, a White House and UN invitation for combating Islam-phobia. The 17-year old transgender boy who was offered a private locker room because he identifies as a women, decided he wanted to fit in and used the girl locker room instead. The parents complained, he was banned from the girls locker room and now people are rallying around this man/women, as if some grave injustice has been inflicted. A pedophile who is asking for people to be “understanding and supportive” of his “sexual orientation”. Trump is a leader that isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade, or an undocumented worker, an illegal immigrant. It’s not only refreshing, it’s what we need, reality.
The realist in my thinks Trump is too late. The American empire is already crumbling. He should have been here years before, but we never would have listened then. The only reason we listen now is because it’s so obvious that our political machine is broken for 95% of the voting public.
The media’s attempt assassinate his chances is disturbing. I’ve never seen the establishment in such a panic. We saw a glimpse with Ron Paul, being ignored multiple times, even though he won the Iowa caucus. Paul trusted the party and they sabotaged him. They can’t do that to Trump, not with his poll numbers 10% ahead of anyone else at 20-30% of likely voters. You can’t do that when people sell out stadiums for your primary election speech. You can’t do that when 20,000 people come to see you, and 30,000 the next month. So the media is scrambling to get their boy Bush or Hillary in, I’d like to see Sanders vs Trump. Fuck the establishment, they’ve done nothing for the middle class. Make America great again!
In summary I like Trump as a person, I like what he represents as someone outside of politics, I like his frank and no-BS answers, I like that he is successful, cares about his family and his country, I like that the media DOESN’T like him, and I wish him luck. I won’t subscribe to any single candidate yet and I suggest nobody does, some of his policy doesn’t seem fully thought out, but we are 14 months away from the elections, so let’s wait and see.
I don’t think 1 person or one election can overcome this nightmare of government that we have spent the last century building up. The legislators are still in the pocket of companies, the judges still wipe their ass with the constitution. If Trump wins nothing changes, it will be exactly like Obama’s hope and change.
I feel disillusioned with the government, and I fear I’m one of a growing segment of the population that share similar feelings. There are many problems, but I’ll focus on the most worrisome to me; (1) how our constitution and declaration of independence have been subverted and (2) the ballooning public debt.
We haven’t declared war since 1942. Since WWII ended, we’ve been in the Korean War, Vietnam/Laos War, Central America, Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, The Balkans. We’ve armed rebels or supported coups all over the world, often times with great success (initially). You would be hard pressed to find a country since 1942 that hasn’t had American boots on their soil.
The constitution vests the power of declaring war in Congress; therefore no offensive expedition of importance can be undertaken until after they shall have deliberated upon the subject and authorized such a measure.
It would be disingenuous for me leave out that congress has approved not war, but “military intervention”, in many of those cases. We had the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, completely abuse of The War Powers Act of 1941/42, the Iraq War Resolution, Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists, etc. Every legislative gimmick has been used and every accounting loophole has been employed to hide the costs of these conflicts and force congress critters to go along with these absurd “resolutions” that resolve nothing. The tagline to pull at your heartstrings and emotion, “Support the troops!” Any argument that relies on an appeal to emotion is a weak argument.
The attack on private property and privacy is another disturbing area of government overreach. More recent statistics are difficult to track down now that the public is more aware of this ongoing problem, but in 2010, civil asset forfeitures approached a bit under under 2 billion dollars per year and the trend was increasing. A 600% increase in cases from the mid 80’s when forfeitures totaled paltry 90 million dollars. There are multiple reason for this, chiefly, it is very difficult for a property owner to prove the innocence of their property. Yes, you have to prove an inanimate object is innocent of a crime. If you do win they often times only offer you half of it back, often times less. They can take houses, boats, cars, cash (their favorite), jewelry, etc. The money is then split between the local Police Department (PD) for equipment (hey anyone need a new M4A1?, how about an armored personnel carrier?) and the Feds.
In 10 states police officers need nothing more than probably cause to confiscate your private property on the spot (only 1 state has banned the practice). Worse yet, there is no incentive to stop this legalized form of highway robbery. Nobody gets hurt except the everyday person, and what can they do about it. Somehow it’s all perfectly legal.
the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause
In the same line of absurdity, there are SWAT-led, midnight, no-knock raids. The number of no-knock raids has increased from 3,000 in 1981 to more than 50,000 in 2005. Innocent people get shot in these raids. The tips that bring about the raids often come from informants paid by the local PD to rat someone out. However, most of these “informants” aren’t much more than druggies themselves looking for some cash. This leads to police being given the wrong address, breaking down doors of innocent homeowners, shooting people’s dogs, and pointing guns at their kids. When someone is brave enough and aware enough to defend their home from unannounced men bargaining into your home with guns it ends in two options; dead police officers and a court acquittal for the person defending their home, or a dead homeowner.
Online we have no privacy anymore. Somehow it’s illegal to look at my post mail, but perfectly legal to look at my email. Companies keep your data and sell it, which is annoying, but whatever, you are electing to use their product. You don’t have that freedom of choice when it comes to internet service providers or government. In 2013, Snowden released a FISA court order showing that the NSA required Verizon to provide a daily, ongoing feed of all call detail records (including those for domestic calls) to the NSA. You can only get wiretapped and watched by the NSA with a FISA court ruling. Luckily for the NSA, the court is secret, not elected, has zero accountability, and has a 99% approval rate. Even more troubling is that should the Attorney General decide on his own that an emergency exists, he may authorize the emergency employment of electronic surveillance before obtaining the necessary authorization from the FISC.
The clearest example of this government overreach and how we’ve managed to subvert the rule of law takes us back to 1981, when Reagan signed an executive order banning state-sponsored assassinations in 1981. Despite that, we now live in a world where the president, without congressional approval, a trial, or any due process can put someone’s name on a kill list (even if it’s an American citizen) and have them murdered [along with their innocent 16 year old son] without oversight or consequence. Yes, this happened.
No person employed by or acting on behalf of the United States Government shall engage in, or conspire to engage in, assassination.
-Executive Order 12333 signed in 1981 by president Reagan. Since then it has been “reinterpreted”
I could go on for the next few hours about the injustices I feel have been imposed upon the American people unfairly by their government, so I’ll try to be brief. We have free speech zones, permits to protest, companies are people, money is free speech, outrageous bail fees, burdensome municipal traffic tickets, gun laws that make a firearm legal in one state but a felony in the next. The healthcare mandate that fines you for not buying a private companies product. The police state that can arrest you for just about anything. The current push to put NSA backdoors into and remove strong encryption. There can be no secrets and no privacy.
The DREAM Act that was voted down by congress multiple times, only to be enacted with the swipe of a pen on an executive order. The order prevents the deportation of illegal aliens that meet a criteria. In 2012, 10 U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents sued Janet Napolitano, saying the directive forces them to break the law and ignore their duties.
This is upsetting because 1) congress was ignored, therefore the people’s singular way to impact legislation was subverted and 2) the law is selectively enforced. When the law is not applied equally we get banksters getting away with millions of dollars in fraud while they shake ‘blue collar Joe’ down for every penny he’s got. We get police getting away with murder. We get a lot of very big problems when laws are not equally applied because it makes the enforcement/prosecutorial (executive) branches too powerful.
The drug war that can put someone in jail for drugs for 55 years for a first time offense. The private prison system that encourages and profits off it. “Common Core” in our education system, which has helped lowered average SAT testing scores year over year since it’s inception.
The idea that police departments should fund themselves though ticketing and asset forfeiture makes both of those acts an unauthorized tax on citizens to provide a public service that tax dollars should already be paying for.
I understand the need for new laws and for old laws to change. Jefferson believed the constitution should be scrapped and re-written every 19 years to prevent the new generation from being bound by the previous one. I don’t know if that would have been feasible, in a world where debt ceilings are held hostage and no one seems to care about the actual country and how well it functions. Something needs to change, and something has to give. The function that modern US democracy is supposed to serve, protecting the people and letting them have a voice in government, has utterly failed us and it will fail our children even more so.
While our rights and liberties are being trampled on, our future is being stolen/mortgaged away by bankers without us putting up the smallest fight. 7% of tax revenue goes to pay interest on the national debt. Our debt to GDP ratio is near the level it was during WW2, but at least WW2 had an end in sight.
Nothing about this seems sustainable. Incomes and wages are falling when you account for inflation and debt is growing. This simply means the money does not exist to satisfy these debts.
In 1973, the median male worker earned just over $49,000 when adjusted for inflation, while in 2010 that worker made about $1,500 less. Yet, in the same period, the output of the economy has more than doubled, and the productivity of workers has risen steadily.
-NPR link with some good non-bias explanation
That’s scary stuff. We are producing more than ever and getting less for it. I don’t want to pin the cause to a single donkey, though I will suggest American labor competing with more competitive foreign labor is at least a part of it. Click the link for better analysis.
So what happens when governments have too much debt and appear to be functionally broken or mismanaged? People stop believing in them. The first of such people are ones with money in the game, creditors and their rating agencies. When the USA delayed their debt ceiling raises 2011-2013 and showed the world they have the potential to default over silly politics their credit rating was downgraded. The next people to stop believing is the government themselves, and they place ATM withdraw limits and prevent cash from leaving the country (already in place in Greece). The final group of people to stop believing will be the citizens, and once that happens social unrest seems inevitable.
Unfortunately for the world, we’ve convinced most of them to jump in this boat of economic fallacy with us. Gigantic debts, public spending that is unsustainable, tax bases that are too poor or too small. France and Japan had their debts downgraded this week. With Brazil’s credit rating failing to junk bond status too. Greece is in denial about default, with several other EU countries in bad shape as well.
Lots of foreign currencies hang in the balance too, as foreign currencies weaken emerging markets buy up dollars to pay off their dollar debts, causing the USD to rise and it will rise further when interest rates normalize. Productivity is slowing across the world and economic outlook does not look good. Maybe Quantitative Easing has staved off the depression we deserved in 2007/2011, but how long can we keep printing money?
So back to my title, something has to give. I’d like to see a revolution where we take back our rights and economic freedom. I think it’s unlikely, but the very first slaves that were brought to America by the Dutch and sold to plantations probably thought their kids would never be free either. In summary my closing argument is this.
“Whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government”
If you read all this I appreciate it, I write mostly for cathartic reasons and to keep my brain sharp and my mind wandering. Though if you’ve made it this far I hope you’ve found something of value. I’ve been meaning to write about the immigration crisis and a CAD update. Maybe next time!
I started going though some tutorials on CAD packages. I think I’ve spent more time downloading and playing around than actual learning but it’s been fun. I’ve tried SketchUp, AutoCAD, and Autodesk Inventor. SketchUp was my first and it was a really easy, fun and quick to make some simple solids and play around. It seemed to be missing some features so I tried out AutoCAD. AutoCAD is a seriously professional package and it seemed to be geared toward 2D sketches, lots of features and customizing, possibly too much for me.
Settled on Autodesk Inventor, I’m currently on the 30 day trial and running though the tutorials. I just finished the 2nd one which involved making this little train. So far it seems like a serious full featured program, a big library with lots of different materials types, intuitive UI. The plan for this week is to start modeling simple things in my apartment: table, bed, chairs.
Assad did an interview with Russian media. Clearly this is propaganda, but the US uses propaganda too, but I suppose all is fair in love and war. Honestly, it seems like the US in the middle of amateur hour. We look really stupid, we’ve put sanctions on Russia, we are supporting, arming, and training one side of a civil war in Ukraine, a large majority of the world assumes we are arming Syrian terrorists. We refuse to unite with Assad or Russia against the Syrian terrorists. The parallels between Syria and Libya are striking and Assad brings up a great point. The West is demanding Assad leave power, yet he has won 4 elections. Our buddies in Qatar and Saudi Arabia don’t even have elections. I hate to think about it, but I think we might be the bad guys.
Assad is the last bastion of Secularism in the sea of Islam. If ISIS, terrorists and extremists are truly our biggest threat and most dangerous enemy, then Assad should be our ally.
Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya had been “one of the most successful in NATO history.” Truth is, Western interventions have produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Lest we forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa with the highest regional women’s rights and standards of living.
Kid makes a clock, brings it to school so they took him to juvenile dentition. There must be something missing here. I refuse to believe we live in a society that is this far gone.
We have no information that he claimed it was a bomb,” McLellan said. “He kept maintaining it was a clock, but there was no broader explanation.”
Asked what broader explanation the boy could have given, the spokesman explained:
“It could reasonably be mistaken as a device if left in a bathroom or under a car. The concern was, what was this thing built for?
Went climbing this weekend at Yeosu. Hyeon Mi drove her mom’s car and it was only a 2.5 hr ride. The hike up was pretty steep but there were some great views at the top of the ocean. The weather was a little hot, but still great. The strong autumn winds are blowing all the pollution back to China, maybe. It’s a real difference in what you see, the mountains are green now instead of grey silhouettes. It’s like HD vision. We climbed some easy 5.8 routes and took it slow and had fun.
We also started talking more seriously about moving back to the States. It’s sort of a bittersweet topic of conversation. Korea is a great place and I really like it here, I’ve never felt so safe, cheap healthcare is amazing, I work very little and live a stress free life in Korea, however it’s not all good. I feel trapped by a glass ceiling here, I feel like the only hole I can fill is English teacher and there isn’t a lot of room for self improvement or moving up. It is entirely too easy to live a safe lifestyle here without developing yourself and it is constricting me. I want to start a small garden, learn some carpentry, and learn other hands on skills.
There is another aspect about Korea that I never truly embraced, it is the unending competitiveness. The stress on people is palpable and more often or not it gets drowned in binge drinking or reflects itself in the happiness index and suicide statistics. Now the Korean government is calling for people to slow down and actually enjoy their leisure activities instead of racing to the top of mountains on the weekend days off. Even this weekend when me and Hyeon Mi drove 2.5 hours to go to this specific climbing place with the easiest routes in all of Korea, a passing climber told us that the wall had “no grade” (not categorized, ie. too low category) and suggested we go climb at a different nearby crag that was harder. The suggestion is nice and he was just being friendly, but most people can’t grasp that you simply want to climb for fun, and not out of need for competition, to show off, or train your body.
I don’t want to live in a place like that, and if it weren’t for my country of origin and skin color I would have a really tough time in Korea. When I consider staying here longer I come to the realization that I can’t hide behind those 2 facets forever, I do need to be part of society to be fully satisfied with my life.
So a big move to the US is probably in the works, maybe in a year and a half. Time will tell, we are of course just spit balling this far out.
Next blog post will include progress on my 3D modeling and another take on the refugee crisis. Watch out for the German power play of shutting down borders.
I’m really not sure what to make of Libya, the more I read, the more conflicted I am on the whole thing. I read about things such as housing being a human right, free electricity, $50,000 for newly married couples to buy a new home, massive public work projects for irrigation, government subsidized cars, government subsidized healthcare, and even government subsidized babies ($5,000 per baby). All these things sound like a liberal communist utopia. [But being a Muslim nation, they were very conservative on social issues]
Libya was once a poor African colony that rose up, fought for independence, nationalized its oil, and quickly became one of the richest countries in Africa. All while under this supposedly terrible evil dictator. From what I read it seems like most citizens genuinely liked Ghaddafi because of the social support networks supported by the nationalized oil money. He ended his chemical weapon programs when asked by the UN, he also complied with WMD searches. In the end, it appears he actually had terrorists in his country and he was trying to get rid of them and protect his people.
On the other side you read these UN reports that painted the situation as much more diabolical. Protesters being gunned down and fired upon, human rights being violated, etc. There is merit to at least some of this. The truth always seems to be somewhere in the middle. The worrisome thing is that looking at the picture above, Libya was clearly better off with their “murderous dictator” than their US/Libyan dual-citizen-lead puppet government from 2011-2012, and whatever puppet the US has installed now (that only has control of 20% of the country).
I’m starting to see that he was just an enemy of the West, so he had to go. He had a strong government with a long history, he was successfully unifying African nations together, he was trying to print a unified African currency that was based on a gold standard (Gold Dinar).
It’s a shame too because Ghaddafi was on our side against Islamic terrorists. The city of Benghazi was know for hosting al-Qaeda’s Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. In 2011, Ghadaffi moved to invade Benghazi and clear it out of Al-Qaeda, but suddenly as he was about to take the city NATO started bombing him. He fought a retreat but the extremist militants (armed by the US state department in secret) were simply too much combined with NATO air superiority, cruise missiles and countless sorties.
After writing this I’m not so conflicted anymore. It is clearly an overreach of the NATO alliance’s stated goals, “of safeguard the Allies’ freedom and security by political and military means”
After 3 years here, the one thing that still remains incredibly unique and special is the coming of fall. It’s my favorite season by far in Korea for a number of reasons.
It’s like turning on a light switch, you go to sleep at the end of August and wake up September after a night of rain and it is suddenly autumn. The nights have gone from humid, hot, and unbearable to breezy, dry, and chilly. I can ride my bike to work without breaking into a full blown sweat. Fall is the best season, but it is also very brief, in less than 8 weeks it will start to get uncomfortably cold, the short pants and shirts will go in the closet and the outdoor activities will stop. Me and Hyeon Mi are going to go rock climbing this weekend and make the best of the good weather while we can.
I spend the morning at the beach swimming in some pretty rough surf (the water is perfect), the lifeguards are only in their beach chairs from July-August so not a single Korean was in the water on the entire 2 km long beach. Just me and another foreigner. It’s been really windy and the wind brings some sizable waves, so it’s a blast to get out in the real ocean instead of the kiddie pool we had this summer.
I missed registration for the Korean classes though the immigration office. I’m a little disappointed with myself for neglecting it, but I honestly don’t feel the need to learn anymore. I can get by, more would be better, and I see the value of more, but I’m going to shift my focus on to learning some skills that will transition better to life in the US. I messed around with some code academy classes and recently downloaded Auto CAD. I think I will try modeling my room and post it up here when I finish it.
I ranted a bit too long until I got to what I wanted to talk about. Skip to half way if you want my thoughts on the immigration crisis.
A speech from Muammar Gaddafi in 2008 with the Arab League, all Arab leaders including Assad are in attendance. The whole talk is interesting but I directly link to the time where he suggests that America could come after any of them next, and that they would end up the same as Saddam Hussein. A kangaroo court, with a summary execution. [He criticizes Arab leaders for fighting between themselves, using Palestine as a political prop, not having any unity on political issues and cooperating together. He said the only thing they share is this building they are currently in.] He comes off as an rather intelligent person, which I suppose makes sense, you can’t rule a country for 42 years when you are a complete dummy.
Like Gadaffi suggested, he ended up the same as Saddam. Libya, a sovereign nation, had a civil war (birthed from the Arab spring) in which the international community decided who the winner would be. No fly zones were set up, bombs dropped, 110 cruise missiles fired, all the while the Hillary State Department armed the rebels in secret BEFORE the rebels were recognized by the UN. 19 Nations participated in the operation to support the Libyan rebels overthrow their government; US, Italy, France, UK, Canada. The other nations 15 offered airspace, logistics, or their blessings. With Gadaffi gone the remnants of the government try to cling to power, while radical groups like ISIS move in to fill the power vacuum.
Again like Gadaffi suggested, there will be more, next up is Assad. Back in 2012-13 I wrote a blog post saying that the US seems to really want Assad gone, and what the US wants it often times what it gets. It was pretty clear that the US public was not going to support another Arab conflict with US troops involved (a Libya 2.0). A potential false flag, claiming Assad used chemical weapons on his own citizens cropped up. However, even with that on the table and the horrible pictures on our nightly news, the US public did not want to be involved. So they stopped reporting on it and discussing it in the news. Well the war has been raging on. Rebels trying to over throw their government is turning the country into rubble. Much like Libya the power vacuum has attracted radical groups, namely ISIS, that the government has been trying to fight off for the past 3 years.
Technically this story should start with Afghanistan and Iraq, because here stable governments were removed from power, and replaced with power structures the citizens couldn’t trust, and didn’t respect. These countries have been the breeding grounds that supply ISIS with soldiers and arms.
I’m not sure why this is all happening with regard to Syria. In 2011, Syria and Iran had plans to make an oil pipeline to deliver gas to Europe. The project has been delayed and possibly canceled because of the conflict. This benefits Arab neighbors whose sole income and GDP depend on selling oil and gas to the rest of the world. Less supply is good for them. Not to mention the Saudi’s [our best pals] hate Alawite Shia, who rule Syria. Turkey has been arming ISIS forces who are attacking the Assad controlled territories as well. Israel benefits as always from having their Arab neighbors fighting each other. The more in-fighting between Arabs the less people care about Israeli settlements pushing further and further into Palestine lands. I’m not sure why the US benefits though, maybe they want to isolate Iran, maybe they want ISIS buying M4’s not AK47’s, maybe because it harms Russian interests by having an unstable Syria. Just this week the White House reported that Russia has boots on the ground and helicopters in the air in Damascus with the goal of protecting and stabilizing the Assad regime.
So as people flee these war torn regions they end up as refugee’s. I can’t blame them for wanting to escape conflict. However, I see a lot of able bodied men that should probably be fighting to protect their nation. Maybe that doesn’t happen because nationalism isn’t a strong force for Arabs, religious sect, and regional groups are more important than nationalism. Some Arab countries are receiving the refugees and offering them camps. Many refugees see these places as a dead end and the long march to Germany as the best option for security and future prosperity.
Germany is expected to receive over 800,000 immigrants in 2015. It’s a big problem that has to be considered. Where do you put these people? You can’t possibly afford to give them each $480 a month, healthcare, and all the social benefits that the European welfare state have traditionally offered. On the nationalistic side of things, certain groups of people won’t take kindly to having their demographics completely changed. They fear a loss of their national identity, a rise in crime rates and violence. Sweden’s once homogeneous society of 40 years ago has become the rape capital of Europe after years of open door immigration and refugee policy; rape statistics have increased over 1000% and violent crime over 300% over the 40 years.
There isn’t really a good choice for EU countries and it will put a lot of strain on already stretched EU relationships. On one hand I feel like Europe is reaping what they sow. I think they’ve learned their lesson about blindly following American foreign policy without considering the consequences. I think they will also soon realize that the “welfare state” is not a sustainable policy. Their liberal ideals will be challenged and I’m sure many countries will rise to the occasion and begrudgingly accept refugees, but certainly not all countries, and that is where we will see tension.
When someone tries to help this is what happens to them.
Refugees throwing away food and water offered to them.
Currently there is a stand off in Budapest, Hungary with thousands of refugees that want to travel onward to Germany. Hungary is holding them with the intent of registering them and doing the paperwork that they are required to do because of the Dublin regulation (an EU rule that refugees must apply for refugee status at their EU country of arrival) The refugees are protesting and asking to move along toward Germany, and to break the Dublin agreement. It makes you question if they are refugees fleeing war, or if they economic migrants looking for better opportunities and social services. To get to Hungary they had to pass though Turkey, Macedonia, Serbia, and now Hungary. All countries without war and conflict, all with better standards of living than Syria. So why the push onward toward Germany.
There are voices in the UK that suggest welcoming refugees with open arms and minimum quotas is only going to cause more to embark on the dangerous journey. There is some truth to that. How much more can the EU sustain? The train from France to the UK is already over run with migrants trying to get to the UK illegally, jumping on trains, hiding in box trucks. A process that has cost drivers thousands of dollars of lost goods, shut down the trains at times, resulted in dead migrants, and damage to property.
The EU has a lot of problems and I think it might be doomed as an institution. It’s a great concept and it would work great if the member nations were willing to give up more sovereignty, but they aren’t willing to and they shouldn’t be forced to.
My feelings are that immigration and taking refugees is great at a small scale. You can process everyone, approve those that will be a good fit for your country and deny those that won’t be a good fit. Coming to a new country is like getting hired at new company. You need to be interviewed and make sure the country is a good fit for you and you are a good fit for the country.
In my experience in Korea the visa system is annoying but fantastic. To come here and work you need a clean FBI criminal record check (no felonies), you need a clean blood test (no AIDS/ebola/etc), you need a clean piss test (no drugs), you need a university education (no dummies), you need a health check, and you need an employment contract. It weeds out anybody who would be a total failure in Korean society. All drugs are illegal here, except alcohol, crime is nearly non-existent, and has one of the lowest AIDS rates in the entire world, and one of the highest education rates. The people and the government want to keep it that way.
This piece from the UK gives a different perspective which makes sense. Yes some of these people flee from war, but most fleeing looking for opportunities and better economic conditions. They aren’t poor and destitute, they have thousands of dollars to pay smugglers, money to buy train tickets, smart phones, credit cards and cash. It’s why they don’t accept water and food, they don’t need it.