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

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

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

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

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

Many battles won but the war continues...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saying Brexit is the most insidious way of saying goodbye.

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

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

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Trump Meets Putin [Updated]

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

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

Democrats called for the summit to be canceled ...

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

Putin stole the election to benefit Trump ...

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

Front paged by Frank Schnittger with minor edit

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Democratic Ideologues, Populism and Identity Politics

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

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

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

Populism: a defence

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

More below the fold ...

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Jewish Coalition, Islam and Obama Attack Ads

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

Forming a coalition made in hell ...

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

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

More below the fold ...

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Russia, Iran Prevail - Syrian Rebellion Ends

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

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

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

More below the fold ...

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Pew Research Study on Populism in the EU

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

Pew Research does top notch work.

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

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Break ICE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PR Moment Seehofer with Afghan Deportations

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

Seehofer: 'Lovely, 69 on my birthday'

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

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

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

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

More below the fold ...

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NATO Partnership Strenghtened to Offset Brexit

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

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

President Donald Tusk on EU-NATO cooperation

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

More below the fold ...

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Selling the City of London to Europe

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

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

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

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

Continued below the fold ...

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The beginning of the end?

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

Davis, Fox, Johnson and Gove

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

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US Fascism: Blackmail Smaller Nations on Breastfeeding

by Oui Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 08:14:08 AM EST

On immigration and asylum seekers - utter xenophobia based on white supremacy. A frustrated, bigoted society where white men attempt to hold onto a dwindling majority ...

Global Xenophobia and Historical Amnesia

Migrant mum called 'animal' for breastfeeding - BBC News

More below the fold ...

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International Coalition to Defeat Democrats and Hillary in 2016

by Oui Mon Jul 9th, 2018 at 01:10:27 AM EST

During the past two years, I have written many diaries on all topics listed below. There was an overwhelming opposition to a liberal, progressive agenda. The Conservatives have built their alliance over decades from the 1964 loss of Barry Goldwater, the Reagan years and the "dreadful" Clinton years. In the election campaign of 2016 all those forces came together with all their might with a Trump presidency as a result. Special attention for Netanyahu and Israel. Their collusion remains for some in the shadow, for me it's as clear as blue skies: Netanyahu got his revenge on the Obama administration and the JCPOA deal with Iran. You will hear more about the "former" Mossad agents in the Black Cube intelligence enterprise. All attention of the Trump team has been to reward Israel for its support in getting him elected. Busy job for Jared Kushner and his corrupt financial backers with Israeli citizenship.

More below the fold ...

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British Media and the Headline OPCW Report

by Oui Sun Jul 8th, 2018 at 02:29:49 PM EST

Reuters and BBC first reported "chlorine" was found in Douma

The interim report by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) said "various chlorinated organic chemicals" had been found but there was no evidence of nerve agents.

Dozens of civilians were killed in the attack on the rebel-held town in the Eastern Ghouta region near Damascus.

The Syrian government denies carrying out any chemical weapons attacks.

Following the Douma attack, US, British and French warplanes launched strikes against government military targets.

More below the fold ...

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Daraa Rebels Surrender Under Russia's Protection

by Oui Sun Jul 8th, 2018 at 08:50:42 AM EST

Daraa rebels agree ceasefire, as Syrian regime seizes border crossing

Syrian rebels in Daraa said on Friday a ceasefire deal had been reached with regime ally Russia. The deal allows both fighters and civilians in Daraa to settle their status with the regime under Russia's protection.

Rebels would if they chose be allowed to leave Daraa for another opposition stronghold in northwest Syria, rather than stay under Assad's rule.

Continued below the fold ...

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Free Trade Zone EU - Japan for 600 Million

by Oui Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 07:26:32 PM EST

Rebuffing US Trade policy under GOP Congress and a Republican president ...

Commission welcomes Council green light for EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement

    Today EU Member States in the Council authorised the signature
    of the trade agreement between the EU and Japan.

As a result EU and Japan leaders will sign the agreement at the EU-Japan summit that will take place on 11 July in Brussels. After next week's signature, the European Parliament is expected to vote upon it in the autumn. Once procedures are finalised both at the EU level and in Japan, the agreement will enter into force in early 2019.

Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström said:

    "I'm very pleased that EU member states have now given their formal backing. The EU-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement is the biggest and most advanced bilateral agreement ever negotiated by the European Union. It creates a free trade zone covering 600 million people and a third of global GDP. Together with our Japanese partners we are sending a strong signal to the world that we still believe in open trade and that protectionism is never the answer. The economic benefits of this agreement are clear. It will eliminate the vast majority of duties paid by our firms and simplify customs procedures across the board. The deal will open huge market opportunities for both sides. European agriculture also has something to celebrate, with access to the enormous Japanese market and protection for over 200 distinctive food and drinks, like Champagne and Parma ham. I now call on the European Parliament to approve this agreement quickly so that European firms, citizens and farmers can reap the benefits of this deal as soon as possible."

More below the fold ...

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Netanyahu Will Meet with Putin - World Cup Semi-finals

by Oui Fri Jul 6th, 2018 at 09:16:59 AM EST

Thanking Putin for the Trump presidency ...

Netanyahu, Putin pencil meeting next week in Russia | Ynet News |

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin next Wednesday, the same day on which the semifinals of the World Cup are played in Moscow.

The meeting will be the second between the two leaders within two months, with their last tête-à-tête taking place on May 9.

Just over a week ago, it was reported that Putin had invited the Israeli premier to his country to watch the final game of the World Cup in mid July, but Netanyahu had not made a decision at the time. The invitation was also extended to other world leaders, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Lines of communication between Netanyahu and Putin have experienced significant activity in recent years, with the two leaders holding a series of meetings in a bid to avoid an accidental clash between Russian and Israeli forces in Syria where the Kremlin is propping up Jerusalem's foe President Bashar Assad.

Continued below he fold ...

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EU Takes Measures to Protect Business with Iran

by Oui Thu Jul 5th, 2018 at 07:02:00 PM EST

Europe's national security will be decisive in protective measures in order to keep the JCPOA treaty standing with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Europe will not participate in another regime change initiated by the US in alliance with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Creation of chaos has been a tough lesson for Europe where Islamophobia and Xenophobia give rise to populist right-wing parties. These undermine the long-time status quo between conservatives, centrists and socialist oriented political parties.

Europe and the US do not have an immigration/migration issue as such but a political attack from extreme right wing political groups supported by big money and corporate power. Destruction of the US Supreme Court and the same in Poland to make room for political appointees to change the cultural balance of a nation.

Brussels starts legal process against Polish judicial regime
Polish PM Morawiecki to EU: Don't lecture us

More below the fold ...

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News and Views

 16 - 22 July 2018

by Bjinse - Jul 16, 22 comments

Your take on this week's news

 9 - 15 July 2018

by Bjinse - Jul 9, 78 comments

Your take on this week's news

 July Open Thread

by Bjinse - Jul 16, 1 comment

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

 June Open Thread

by Bjinse - Jun 3, 97 comments

Whatever thread you make makes you. Thread wisely.

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