Ukraine – IMF Hypocrisy

July 31, the IMF gave Ukraine more money, the ante coming in at $6.68 billion so far.  In a statement justifying the money based on criteria of achievement, the IMF claimed:

“The Ukrainian economy remains fragile, but encouraging signs are emerging. In recent months, the exchange rate has stabilized, domestic-currency retail deposits have been increasing, and the pace of economic decline is moderating. Continued prudent policies and further reforms should allow the economy to turn the corner and growth to resume in the period ahead.”

Really?  Few sources would agree. In fact, the IMF was required to downgrade it’s forecast considerably from 5.5% to -9% with 46% inflation. In essence the IMF simply turned a blind eye and pretended that shoving money into the economy was ‘working’. Still Ukraine has said it will default on its coupon payment of $500million, $200m of which is supposed to be footed by PrivatBank.  Why?

What happened to the $6.68 billion? Do they have to make an accounting of these funds?  What is it used for?

Tangled Web:

There have been some drubbings that Ihor Kolomoyskyi, a majority owner of Ukraine’s PrivatBank has been the recipient of IMF deposits that have possibly been misappropriated, a legal term for – disappeared.

He also is apparently the central owner of Burisma Holdings, the company awarded to Hunter Biden and Devon Archer (Kerry’s son-in-law) with another notable Director, the former president of Poland. Of the IMF funds deposited in the bank, roughly $1.8billion has been lost in the translation…

But the IMF, the US, don’t seem to mind despite the information coming to light in September 2014 when Kolomoyskyi was governor of Dnipropetrovsk where the suspicious activity initiated. He was later forced to resign, but the investigation by Interfax Ukraine did not proceed until recently when the news media began to take note.

Four days after the IMF agreed to the additional $1.7 billion relief to Ukraine, it released a statement that Ukraine’s bailout faces “significant uncertainty”. In other words, all the money given – may be lost. Still, in another article, economists claim that the economy has stopped contracting, it’s exchange rate has stabilized and domestic deposits have increased.  Statements are polar opposite, conflicting and evasive!   And no one raises an eyebrow.

In fact, the economy is far worse than predicted, inflation is out of control, protests continue, bombing continues, human rights violations continue, and of course, corruption is rampant. So let’s all agree to give them – more money…

While the IMF wanted 40% of it’s face value debt wiped away, just four of it’s creditors agreed to 20% which amounts to less than $2 billion. And at that, they were less than happy to concede. Who are the creditors? Franklin Templeton is the largest bond holder at $4 billion, BTG Pactual of Brazil, TCW Investment Management Company, and T. Rowe Price hold about $5billion. Blackrock and others are not so forthright in coming forward for negotiations or transparency. Russia has refused to negotiate and owns $3 billion. The total debt is estimated to be $129 billion.

So basically, the IMF agreed to give Ukraine $1.7 billion additional aid which will in essence be paid by Franklin Templeton, T Rowe Price, TCW Investment, and BTG Pactual.

Again -where does the money go? What does it pay for?

Keiv submitted its 2016 budget proposal at roughly $25 billion with apparently, little to no detail. When asked for detail, the Finance Minister said that information wasn’t available. What?? According to it’s 2015 budget, it runs a 10.5% deficit. In addition, while budgeting for military spending increased 100%, spending was cut for education and science. Does not sound prosperity driven to me…

In 2015, Ukraine saw exports virtually collapse, levels have been reduced to those reflected in 2010. Doesn’t speak of a recovery to me.  Over the past year it’s gold reserves are roughly half at 23 tonnes (1 tonne = about 35,274 ounces at $1128 each = gold reserves of $915,148,656). But even that number is filled with mixed media hype and hypocrisy. It was reported in 2014 that the US took control of 40 tonnes of Ukraine’s reserves, which would have accounted for ALL the gold. So, whether the 23 tonne figure is accurate is up for debate.

Bottom line, there is currently no accounting for where Ukraine spends it’s IMF money, no accounting for their gold, and no accounting for their central bank deposits. There is no accounting for exactly who holds their debt and how much. And Ukrainian ministers continue to ‘decline to talk’ or answer any questions in this shadow of transparency.

Gee, this is much better than it was before…

EPA – Water Shortages – Fracking – Privatization – Who Wins?

Like a flower that has no scent, there are simply some things in this world that science cannot duplicate no matter how hard they try. Water is another. But while flowers give us beauty, water gives us life, without it we die. As shortages become a larger issue, maps abound with predictions of shortages worldwide, and surpluses too. Unfortunately, the maps don’t always concur.

And while the US would appear to be a hair-trigger on the maps, some showing the US as doing just fine, others are not so amicable showing severe shortages in the US within the next 10 years. Other areas that will be hit the hardest include the entire middle east, most of Europe and northern Africa. Two countries would appear to be consistently well off; Russia and Canada.

FYI – the Brazilian guy who has made an engine that will run on water – ummm, maybe not a good idea…

The World Resource Institute is one of the organizations making predictions. An interesting anomaly is the fact that with the exception of the most northern regions of Africa, and the most southern, Africa will be quite well off, abundant with water. I imagine this corresponds with the recent land grabs that have taken Africa by storm because one of the main functions of this Institute is to determine where sustainable food sources will occur. Given Russia is off limits to ‘land grabbing’, Africa was an easy target.

In the US, drought comes and goes, moves and shifts radically. In 2012, the entire midwest was experiencing a catastrophic drought. In 2015, the catastrophe migrated to California, Oregon and Washington. But there are factors that have nothing to do with climate change or with per capita usage, shale harvesting. Fracking consumes water, and lots of it. One well can require upwards of 5 million gallons of water over its lifetime. While there is no absolute data on the number of fracking wells in the US, according to FracTracker, the number is well over 1.1 million.

Quick math – that would mean water use using an average number of 3.1 million gallons per well at 1.1 million wells would equate to 3,410,000,000,000 gallons of water used per year – for fracking. That’s 1/4th the total usage in all of California from all sources per year. Assuming the average household in the US consumes 127,400 gallons per year, fracking would be the equivalent consumption of 26,766,091 households.

Fracking is not just about water – it is about oil – and oil creates an economy based on increased exports and smaller imports – unless oil prices are low, – and then the economy begins a jittery nose dive which cuts jobs – including fracking jobs – which lowers exports.

So who owns the US water? Privatization has been a slow churn, but a churn nonetheless over the last few decades providing about 15%-18% of the US population’s water. The largest private companies include; American Water, United Water, Aqua America, California Water Services, and America States Water.

American Water: AWK – originally a subsidiary of a German company, it was divested in 2008 and is wholly US owned.

United Water: UWR – a subsidiary of Suez Environment, a French company whose majority ownership is held

by GDF Suez, who is considered one of two of the largest privatized water companies in the world.

Aqua America: WTR – a Pennsylvania company providing water to major fracking enterprises

California Water Services: CWT – is a holding company with subsidiaries in Hawaii, New Mexico and Washington.

American States Water: AWR – also based in California.

While the World Bank and the IMF are aggressively promoting privatization of water, historically it has proven to be an affront to the public with massive rate hikes, corruption and gross water contamination charges.

In an over-reach of the water rights in the US we have our favorite friend – the EPA. The EPA recently extended their Clean Water guns basically aiming them at every tributary, stream, brook, runoff, ditch, standing water, rain water, lake, river and pond across the entire US whether on public or private land.  And the repercussions are being felt.  A Wyoming man who was granted all the proper permits to build a self contained pond on his own property for his livestock is being sued by the EPA for failure to meet their clean water rules.  He is being charged a penalty of $75,000 per day.

According to the Financial Statements for the EPA, it’s ‘non-federal’ revenue for clean water amounted to nearly 5 times its federal revenue receipts.  This would be in addition to the $9billion they receive from the Feds.

A massive power grab – wouldn’t it be fun to charge the EPA the same daily rate they charge for noncompliance in Clean Water? The Colorado River sludge was caused by their own negligence, at $75,000 per day for penalties alone, they would already be liable to Colorado for 24 days – $1,800,000 and counting!! Yehah!

Of course, they won’t be liable. But it was a fun 3 seconds…and it doesn’t seem fair they shouldn’t ante up.

EX-TV Reporter – Murder By Insanity

Jeffrey Marks – an amazing spokesman, I listened to his take on the shooting-murder of two of his people by the disgruntled ex-employee. His response was both heartfelt and ethical, it showed a man of values and integrity…and I don’t say that often.

It is what many of us believe, that there is no fathoming of the ‘why’, because their simply can never be a ‘why’, because so doing justifies the act. And the act really has no justification – it is insanity. A cold blooded murderer has to be insane and anything else just isn’t – possible.

It is no different than James Holmes opening fire in a movie theater. Of course he is insane! There is no other way we can wrap around such an action. What we need to do is have a separate insanity plea that means the guy acknowledges he is eternally insane and that he has to be committed to an institution of some nature – for life. Of course, yes, I know, an insane person cannot acknowledge anything – but that’s when the common rule of three unaffiliated psychoanalysts will confirm – not his insanity, but the fact that he can not be ‘repaired’.

Some in the media would label this rampage ‘a workplace grudge’. But a grudge is a feeling, not a venge filled brutal murder. A grudge is something far less than the planned, videotaped, assault on innocent people who have done nothing to justify this action. And to call it such minimizes their death and minimizes the terrorism with which this man acted.

Again, this speaks to mental illness, and the lacking command of the US to tend to a growing epidemic. In a paper released by NIH, the author addresses the fact that insanity in the US is increasing, and it’s increase is not simply a product of a growing population, but a product of ratios.

Mental health issues have survived as long as mankind. Their causes are vast including environmental, genetic, and conditional – that is, a result of a life event(s). But we’ve also witnessed a new form in the past few decades, a mental illness that is created as a result of medications. When I had breast cancer my oncologist prescribed Arimidex, a type of chemo drug with vast side-effects. When I confronted him with the side-effects (blurred vision, extreme pain, numbness, severe dizziness, swollen legs, high blood pressure, arthritis, bone loss, vomiting, fatigue, weight gain, sleep disorders, hair falling out, hives, breast lumps…) his response was to casually declare that all side-effects could be handled with an additional prescription medication. He calculated that a lot of women took upwards of 12 different meds as a result – all of which gave him kick-backs (he didn’t say that part).

Of course the other mistake was the fact that this medication is used for ‘post-menopausal’ women only and I had not even begun menopause. A gross misdiagnosis with me as the patsy.

The point is that America has become the land of prescription drugs. Something wrong? Give it a drug. More things wrong – more drugs.

Facts: One in four children take one or more prescription drugs. Age 65 and older the rate rockets to 9 out of 10. Overall, 70% of Americans are on some type of prescription drug. 13% of the population is on painkillers, and another 13% on anti-depressants.

Do drugs exasperate mental health issues or mask them? They certainly don’t cure anything.

According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20% of Americans have mental health problems, although they say the reality could be as high as 30%. According to their study, the states with the highest incidence include; Washington, Oregon, Utah, Idaho, Maine, Oklahoma, Tennessee and West Virginia. So we have a problem, a big problem. Bigger than cancer, guns, heart disease, this is a travesty ignored. How can we possibly deny that these killers are anything but insane? And what are we doing to mitigate this? Giving more pills and making gun laws will do nothing to curb insanity…

According to a report in 1894, the biggest causes of insanity included; epilepsy, hereditary, intemperance, morphine, masturbation, and that ubiquitous class, ‘other’. And while we think we have progressed beyond some of the more inane causes stated in 1894, think again… Some researchers state that cigarette smoking leads to schizophrenia, and synthetic drugs (like the ones prescribed to combat depression and anxiety may cause insanity). In other words, a lot of what we do to battle illnesses will cause mental illness. But the most obvious of all seems to be a defective gene. As researchers have come around from blaming red meat, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, nuts, as culprits, as the primary cause of cancer, the true demon would appear to be a defective – gene.

And while this does not rule out that situations, trauma, and psychological factors play a part, or contribute, it would make sense that in the billions of genes that make and create who we are physically and mentally could easily risk having a deformity, however slight, that will alter our being.

How we look to cure that – is still a far leap in the future. But recognizing it is a first step, albeit a baby step.

The Great Wall of Europe and Mexico

Migrants fleeing to Europe. How many have died attempting to make the crossing? Despite nearly daily reports of scores of deaths, the count remains at a level reported many months ago at 2,000. Odd…

It would appear that there is no ‘official record’ or count of the number who have died. Nor would it seem there is an official count of the number that have survived. A loose number of about a quarter million is the going figure of those fleeing Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. They travel to Turkey and cross the Mediterranean to Greece. They are then transported to Italy and dispersed throughout Europe.

What happened?

There are 1.6 million Afghan refugees in Pakistan. But now Pakistan doesn’t want them. They say, time is up and they want them to go home. But Afghanistan is a mess. So, instead they are fleeing to Europe. The refugees in Iran are also mostly Afghan standing at over a million. Iran doesn’t want them – go home has become the endearing cry. But they can’t go home. There is no home. So they flee to the only place willing to take them – Europe.

Some are peaceable – but others are not. They are war torn and weary. They are hungry and angry. They have lost everything. And then some are ISIS, Al Qaeda, and therein lies an even greater complication.

Just as Afghanistan can no longer be home, neither will Syria, these places are dust, given to the criminals/terrorists to reign over and rule. A modern day Ghengis Khan.

Fleeing to Europe they are greeted with less than hospitable locals. You see, the locals are already consumed in their own financial collapse and bitterness and have little patience for the onslaught of foreigners much less possible terrorists to integrate. They see money that could be spent on their failing economy instead spent on migrants. So where in Europe do they end up? Norway, Switzerland, UK, Germany, Sweden, France and Italy have taken in the largest segment. But the proportion of other EU countries taking in refugees is relatively small.

What happens to these immigrants when they arrive to their ‘host country’?

Germany expects to see 450,000+ immigrants this year alone. They are initially housed in tents, or at sports facilities until they can be properly documented. This process can take from 3 months to a year During which time they can not work and must subsist on government entitlements. How much does that cost? Billions?  We don’t know exactly because no one has done a tally for the continent.  The UK estimates put the bill at 4 billion euro’s per year just for them.

The US is embroiled in its own immigrant crisis, most are coming from drug ravaged countries, but many are also ISIS. They build sophisticated tunnels, they come in the dark, and we continue to do little to nothing except turn a blind eye and exclaim loudly about the – ‘crisis’. How much does the illegal immigration cost the US? Estimates put the cost at $100 billion per year!

That could certainly build a lot of wall… The border between the US and Mexico is just shy of 2000 miles long. So far the government has spent $1.7 billion to build 653 miles of wall/fencing.

A) we all take for granted it would have been half that amount had the contract not been with the government.

B) if immigrants cost us $100 billion annually and the wall costs conservatively $5 billion, we are still $95 billion in the black the first year alone! It’s a one time cost!

But Washington doesn’t think in mindsets of businessmen, they think in mindsets of bureaucracy. They look at the committees that would have to ‘plan the fence’, the architecture and design committee, the permit committee, the commission committee, and the final planning committee. If they are anything like the EPA, a probable evaluation and report might be issued in 2020 with construction bids still outstanding. Of course, by then the committee’s would have billed taxpayers $100 billion and the contractors would puff up their costs to $25 billion with a five year construction contingency that would fall apart because they never collaborated with the architectural committee and thus find that the drawings required materials to be shipped from China, but in the meantime we would have slapped China with Tariffs and Taxes thereby causing the prices to inflate 150% which would put the project out of budget and require it to go back to the ‘planning committee’ for re-evaluation.

Just a thought…

China Flogging – A Media Pastime

Listening to various media outlets vilify China has become an international pastime. The Chinese government is blamed for everything from the US economic woes, to the global wavering, to the housing crisis, to instigation of all confrontations with Japan. They are at once called on to stabilize the world and at the same time demonized for not doing it in such a way that the US and Europe are the primary recipients of prosperity.

I hear pundits criticizing the Chinese government for not knowing how to stabilize the world economy, when their economic growth has outpaced every other nation for the last ten years!

And while the government is saddled with the job of stabilizing our current market wallops, the media picks and prods as though this is a singular effort.  Fox News, O’Reilly went so far as to scoff at the name of the President of China as though he and no one else should deem the name worthy of their memory…  What?  Childish bully tactics.  In addition, he grossly misstated a claim that all historical wars and conflicts between Japan and China were instigated by China and won by Japan.  Ouch!

We rely on China to bolster our economy, to give us cheap goods, to drive up oil prices for our benefit, to keep the dollar strong, and then drag them through the mud if they miss a step.

Why?

The truth of the history behind China and Japan is interesting. Similar to the Iran-Iraq war in which Iraq was the provocateur and yet Iran was labeled the evil empire, China has a similar history with Japan.

The first recorded conflict between Japan and China was in 663 AD in which Japan was the aggressor seeking to invade Korea and China. Japan was defeated roundly! The second large scale aggression was in the 16th century and again Japan was the aggressor seeking land and power. They invasion was successful initially given it’s surprise manipulation, but ultimately once again Japan was defeated.

The late 1800’s again saw Japan attempt to ignite war when it set its sights on capturing Korea and Taiwan. And in the 1930’s the Japanese invaded Manchuria. In was during this time period that the Japanese were involved in contentious war crimes including looting, rape, civilian massacres, and medical atrocities in which millions of Chinese civilians were murdered.

In 1938, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor and became a part of WWII. Their treatment of prisoners of war was heinous, terrorizing and disgustingly brutal.

And yet, our memories are short and our media would have us believe that the tensions and wars between China and Japan were inflamed by the Chinese. Not so. The importance of the written word is sacrosanct. Without it, the carelessly false and deceit impregnated by the press might actually appear to be truth.

Certainly there are despicable stories regarding China’s history, US history, UK history, Spain’s history, Russian history, etc…, but altering history is a dangerous precedent. And while I have no desire whatsoever to become a citizen of Iran or China, relaying the truth is necessary to a global society wishing to evolve while holding to ethics, morality and intellect. Lying has no place in that past, present or future.

So if you are looking to China to save the world, I would suggest demonizing will not produce the desired results.

Ashley Madison – An Affair to Hack

An Affair to Remember, or an affair to hack –

Avid Life Media, which is the Toronto based parent corporation of Ashley Madison, is facing a class-action lawsuit in which users are suing for breech of contract due to the security breach.

Ummm, does that mean all their names will become public in the lawsuit?

The Toronto police are advising everyone who has been hacked to report it to the police department… Doesn’t seem like a particularly good move if you are trying to remain anonymous. My understanding is that most of the names can not be accessed unless you have access to the shadow world within the internet. Not easily accessible, those that use this shadow world are either in law enforcement, or users themselves, or both. In other words, if you are concerned your spouse will find you, they would have to be in that same shadow world… partaking of all that it entails…like you.

The site boasts the ability to have extra-marital affairs discreetly – meaning you are a liar, a thief and a con-man, and we are happy to have you aboard! Worse – most of the women they show, all 5% of the entire clientelle, either don’t even exist, or, are not a part of the site, or have been radically photoshopped.

So who is the person behind the sensation? Noel Biderman, a married, self professed atheist Jew who believes that the ten commandments are outdated… He claims to believe in monogamy unless his wife were to gain weight, become less attractive, or not satisfy all his various boudoir desires. The media lapped up his business plan stating that everyone cheats anyway, this just gives them a better outlet, more opportunities, and no strings up front. Commonplace, let’s ramp it up a few notches. Morality? Ethics? No problem, we let you be the sinful, transient, womanizer that you’ve always dreamed of being. YUM!

But isn’t this akin to prostitution? And aren’t some of the women on the site prostitutes? Thereby making Noel – a pimp? To make matters worse, a legal Nevada brothel is using the hack to bolster business by claiming he can provide people with all the fantasies and extra-marital affairs they want without any personal data uploaded ever.  FYI – brothels, a form of pimping and prostitution, are only legal in Nevada…just in case you didn’t know.

WOW, what a deal!

What is the legal definition of prostitution? Engaging in, offering or soliciting acts for monetary consideration or for something ‘of value’. A pimp is someone who knowingly offers a prostitute per an agreement of exchange in valuable consideration. And while these are illegal, the thin line comes into play wherein the exchange is deemed an “Escort Service’. The ONLY distinction is the claim that the service being offered is not sexual in nature, but simply social.

Ashley Madison implied in their advertising that their service was sexual in that it was allowing extra-marital affairs. Their slogan, “Life is short, have an affair” supports that cause. Affairs are generally considered sexual. According to Wikipedia the definition of an affair is “a sexual relationship”. According to marriage.about.com, an affair is “a romantic and emotionally intense sexual relationship…”. According Merriam Webster dictionary, an affair is “a secret sexual relationship between two people”.

The common theme? An affair is about sex – selling sex is illegal – pimping sex for money is illegal.

Therefore, legally, it would appear that promoting ‘an affair’, given the definition states that it is a sexual relationship, and taking money for this promotion could very well constitute pimping and prostitution. Madame Noel… And while hacking is illegal, going after the hackers and not the legality of this ‘prostitution ring’ seems inauthentic and confoundingly criminal.

So who is responsible for the hacking? No one knows for sure – see my previous article on Happy Hackers – and many are making huge accusations, profound analysis, and pointing a gnarly finger, ALL in conjecture. Some think it is a disgruntled employee, others point to the fact that Ashley Madison execs themselves were hacking other sites and thus it could be retaliation, maybe it was the ‘First-Wives Club’, look out Bette Midler they’re going to blame you!

Given the statements by the hacking group, Impact Team, it would seem that it is retaliatory, but it could be even a client and given the nature had similarities to the Anonymous hackers in seeking justice within a criminal setting, it would seem that Ashley Madison might best tread carefully for information may be more damaging than rewarding…

Market Meltdown Mania

MARKET MELTDOWN?

DOW, Nasdaq, S&P, plunged to negative territory sending everyone into panic mode! France’s market, Germany’s market, Canada’s market all followed or led – doesn’t really matter because the selloff was global.

Saudi Arabia’s credit was lowered to negative in response to oil tanking to near $40 a barrel. Silver slipped, copper slipped and gold hedged upward a bit.

More migrants losing patience and turning violent.

North Korea threatens South Korea.

A former UBS and Citibank trader was jailed for libor manipulation.

BP manipulated the natural gas market.

The silver inventory market for taking delivery – is being manipulated.

Currency manipulation, market manipulation, insider trading, we read the headlines and don’t process the words.

The boy’s games are imploding.

The Big Boys have been accumulating their stashes, waiting for the inevitable, taking advantage of a public that wears blinders and pretends everything is just fine. Blame it on China…the pundits decry – But, in fact the oil market was a hefty driver of the global economy and when we started messing with it in order to tank Russia’s economy we risked exactly what we reap today. An uncontrolled spiral.

MarginsMix – A Nix: The US is well aware of the margin call phenomena – pushing algorithms to their limits, computer trading has the effect of heightening losses as the computer generates automatic sells and calls based on math rather than emotion. With the Chinese market soaring to unlimited heights, 150% upticks and flyers, they thought joining the margin world was a good investment option. Add to the fly that every Yu, Hu and Hong joined in the frenzy with little knowledge and less logic, the China market began to waver. And as the waver turned into a tsunami, little earthquake tremors began to surface around the world.

Ethics no longer play in the big game. Greed rules. And when the manipulation travels without a passport, ultimately it leaves a trail of death and destruction along its path before the earth swallows the mud and spits back fire. Each time, a new greed is manufactured; libors, derivatives, micro-lending, anything to hijack a new manipulation, the old is left to die and the new becomes the game. A game of thievery – Pacman – and whoring.

Who is to blame? We all are for allowing it, for jumping on the bandwagon, for voting for government officials who we know are corrupt, dishonest, fake, fraudulent. When we think that lying and cheating aren’t wrong because everyone does it, we are to blame. When we think that casualties of war and strife are worth nothing more than a noncommittal shrug, we are to blame.

So the market is tanking… don’t see a lot of job growth coming out of that Mr. President. Oil tanking, a lot of layoffs Mr. President. We wanted to cripple Russia and ended up crippling the global economy. Not the brightest move Mr. President.

When we lose our ethics, just as when we lose our morality, we lose ourselves. So if you really want to point a finger, point it back at ourselves, not at China or Russia or Venezuela or Brazil or Yemen or Syria or Sudan or Egypt or Turkey or Qatar, or anywhere else. Because our priorities have turned topsy-turvy and left us with empty hearts, empty bank accounts, and empty lives.

When something goes up disproportionately, you can bet it will come down disproportionately.

Margins are debt. Debt kills. So be careful what you ask for – you just might get it…going – going – gone.

Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water…

New Hampshire Rape or Media Shark Frenzy?

Fair warning – my position on this may not agree with you ~

Rape. A heinous crime indeed.

A New Hampshire college graduate, spotless record, conducting himself inappropriately with a too young girl has made national news. His guilt has been levied by a number of people simply based on the accusation. The fact that he is the male confers upon him an automatic entry of guilty. Comments abound that this girl is so brave for coming out. But no one is listening to the circumstances, the facts, the emails, the Facebook posts or the friends testimony. The one-sided, single minded mentality refuses to consider he might be innocent not just of rape but of assault.

He claims that there was no sexual intercourse. Well, where is the rape kit test? What is the girl’s sexual history? An accusation IS an accusation until proven true or false. The media and the bloggers and the commentators should follow this innocent until proven guilty adage right now. Because the harm they do in assumptions could be even more damaging.

Rape, by definition, requires sexual intercourse. The boy claims there was none, that it was consensual touching, but that actual intercourse did not occur.

Was the girl tested? Did she go to a rape crisis center immediately afterward? Did her parents file a police report immediately? If she knew the culture of the school, why did she go? Is she a virgin? If in the US a 13 year old can be tried in a case as an adult, why is it that a 15 year old is under-age? With the media and entertainment and music cultures that pervade and invade, why are we surprised? Why is the age of 18 an adult, but under 18 is sometimes a legal adult and sometimes not? And just because younger girls are targeted, by no means makes them all ‘virgins’. In fact, 1 out of 4 girls age 15 are not virgins.

So many questions, and not enough answers to make an absolute decision. Obviously the girl was not a virgin or that would have come out in the media already. A rape test report has not been released. She laughed about their encounter online, but now she says that was just protectionism. She shared details with her friends. They both stated that intercourse did not occur on their emails.

What could she gain? There are multiple potential factors – her mother’s empathy, a tale gone wild that she doesn’t know how to retract, attention, hiding the lapse of virginity with another boy, or even retribution because he didn’t want a relationship.

Why are specifics important? Because our culture is not puritan. Because this type of encounter is very prominent globally. Because we need to look at the entire context instead of the poor girl victim scenario. Nothing is quite that simplistic any longer. And the boy’s entire future could be completely and irrevocably ruined if the girl is not the sweet virgin she would suddenly like to portray herself as.

This is a bigger issue – and rape may be a very inappropriate charge in these circumstances. Morality is the issue. And Hollywood has absolute responsibility for altering perceptions of morality into a completely topsy-turvy value. Hollywood routinely shows couples slapping and kicking each other, battling aggressively, screaming, hitting, punching, and yet in real life everyone would be in jail. Hollywood shows young people engaging in sexual activity, oral sex is viewed as non-sex (just ask Bill Clinton), and it is even framed in a fantasy of flowers and meadows and purity. Even at the age of 15.

These are facts and must be considered when putting the value of life on display in a trial for rape. Even Google gets on the bandwagon with articles like; What’s the Right Age to Lose Your Virginity? And, What’s the Normal Age… These articles have nothing to do with legality – they are offering up a new morality of ‘when’ – 16, 17… Why is 16 okay but 15 is not? How can a blogger possibly justify such a statement? Cosmo says a good age is 15. A 13 year old wants to know if she is too young…

This is the reality we live. Any one who pretends it is anything less, anything more moral or ethical is living in an alternate universe. We created this! Us. All of us.

The ideal of taking your 16 year old son to a brothel to allow him to come of age is still routinely done, thought of, processed and considered. Where will he go the next day? Next month?

I imagine half of all eighteen year olds could be brought up on rape charges if we really wanted to know the Truth. But we don’t, we hide and shrug and hide some more, we don’t want to talk about it, we don’t want to think about it, and suddenly it is blaring us in our proverbial arses. What can we possibly expect?

The legal age in the US actually varies by state from 16 to 18. In Central America it is 15 to 18. In Canada it was raised from 14 to 16 just seven years ago. And in the UK it is 16. This is not as simple as 18-15 rape. Badabang!

Wake UP!

The discussions after numerous articles and blogs constitute a “he said – she said” legality that is not proof, it is conjecture. Although there are text messages and facebook and other friends whose testimony gives a far different picture than one of purity and ‘innocence’, the media has already convicted the boy.

Despite the fact that she apparently had stated that a blow job was on the table before she even went to meet the boy, this is subtext because it would indicate that rape was possibly NOT a viable criminal charge.. This does not mean his actions were right, it means that his actions were in line with the social attitude of the school, and society in general. Her claim that she said ‘no’ is also met with his claim that they did not have sexual intercourse. More – he said, she said.

Her claim that she told a friend of hers she would go as far as a blow job was met with – I have no recollection of saying that. We have outdated ideas of the teenage culture and pursue vengeance without considering the entire context. In a culture in which pornography is considered a natural outlet for teens, why would sexual intercourse be unnatural? According to an article published by Family Education, boys between the ages of 12 and 17 are the largest consumers of pornography. And who is crying foul? No one – in fact psychologists are espousing its normalcy.

Did this 18 year old boy rape the 15 year old girl? I don’t know – and neither do you. To make the assumption is a dangerous road. Was there consensual sexual stimulation – actually yes – she knew exactly what would take place, she was willing to go so far as oral sex, and that is documented. We do not know if she was a virgin, nor do we know the results of the rape kit that she took home with her days after the event. All we know is that she was pressured by the school counselor to take this to the police.

Is this attitude in this school abnormal? Unfortunately – no. It is common in our culture of easy sex, casual sex, sex for fun, pornography unlimited, sex by consent. Ask Amnesty International – they are a leading proponent for legalizing consensual sex globally. And therein lies a new legal definition – what constitutes consensual? Hollywood tells us – no means yes if you three times…

DO NOT condemn a boy child simply because he is a boy – his life has value too – and if you are wrong, shame to you for judging.  And while we don’t know all the facts, all the Truth, we do need to consider Both as potential victims until the Truth is known.

The UN’s Functional Inhumanity

Amnesty International calls on the UN to investigate war crimes in Yemen…

UN Names Panel To Investigate War Crimes in Gaza…

UN postpones Sri Lanka War crimes report…

UN investigators to share list of Syrian war crime suspects…

“International Criminal Court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said Friday she has suspended investigations into alleged war crimes in Sudan’s Darfur, criticizing the UN Security Council for inaction over the conflict-hit region.”

“At a Conference in The Hague today, the International Community pledged 15.6 million Euros towards the setting up of a specialized War Crimes Chamber in the Court of Bosnia.”

The call to action! In the Iran-Iraq war their were six calls for war crimes, 100,000 casualties and 25,000 deaths – no prosecutions. In the 1992 Iraq invasion of Kuwait – no prosecutions.  Where was the UN?

“The Lebanon War – 1,000 to 1,200 Lebanese citizens were reported dead; there were between 1,500 and 2,500 people wounded and over 1,000,000 were temporarily displaced. Over 150 Israelis were killed (120 military); thousands wounded; and 300,000–500,000 were displaced because of Hezbollah firing tens of thousands of rockets at major cities in Israel.” No prosecutions.  Where was the UN?

Darfur Conflict and civil war in Chad – estimates vary widely, death toll anywhere from 20,000 to 500,000 – no prosecutions.  Where was the UN?

Ukraine – death toll surpasses 6500 – no prosecutions.  Where is the UN?

Is it all just a joke? What is the UN doing? Well according to their own ego briefing they have 1) accomplished the heady task of world peace by deploying 42 peacekeeping forces. 2) They take credit for ending the Iran-Iraq War, the withdrawal of Soviet troops in Afghanistan, and an end to the civil war in El Salvador. 3) they have enabled people in 45 countries to participate in free and fair elections 4) they have protected the environment – independence – international law – and the prevention of nuclear proliferation. 5) they take credit for ending apartheid in South Africa… 6) alleviated world chronic hunger 7) reduced effects of natural disasters – on and on and on

In fact, the list is so self aggrandizing, one might confer upon the UN the Lordship of God.

Fast Facts:

  1. Apartheid – lasted nearly 50 years. The end was actually a result of a brokered deal by the then British rule under F. W. de Klerk, Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress.
  2. Iraq-Iran war – in 1980 Iraq invaded Iran. At one point it is said that Saudi Arabia was giving Iraq $1billion per month to fight, but they were still no match and their losses were substantial. Despite the funding Saddam asked for a truce in 1982 conditional upon occupation of specific areas. Iran said no. The UN drafted Resolution 598 asking for a ceasefire. Saddam accepted it only to invade Kuwait shortly thereafter.
  3. The Soviet/Afghan war – upwards of 1.5 million deaths. Initiated by a coup, the soviets supported the new government. The US supported the uprooted Afghanistan military, including a notable Saudi, Osama Bin Laden. Although the soviets withdrew in 1989, internal civil war continued until 1992. After the soviet withdrawal, the US supported Muhjahideen Taliban and Al Qaeda were left to rise to power which prompted the US and UK to invade in 2001.

The US provides 22% of the annual UN budget, Japan about 11%, Germany about 7%, France 5.5%, China 5%, the UK 5%, and Italy about 4.5%. Of 193 contributing countries, just 7 countries make up 60% of the funding.

According to its Financial Statement 2012-2013, the UN spends virtually its entire budget on salaries, internal training, consultants and contractors. It accrued a 4% deficit and has nothing remarkable to show. While the UN has been criticized for fraud, waster, corruption, sexual abuse, bioterrorism, and inefficiency, claims that brought down it’s predecessor, The League of the United Nations, to date they have not had any consequences as a result of the inappropriate and illegal actions.

The most recent accusations stem from their peacekeepers involved in human trafficking and sexual abuse as well as the cholera endemic in Haiti. Still, there has been little to no reparations leaving the impression that the UN has diplomatic immunity and can thus operate above the law. Despite lawsuits against the UN, invoking the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations. This was adopted in 1946 and ratified in 2015.

Establishes Juridical personality of the UN (Art. I)

  • UN premises shall be inviolable, and UN property shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation etc. (Art. II)
  • UN shall be exempt from taxes and customs duties as well as prohibitions and restrictions on imports and exports (Art. II)
  • Diplomatic immunity of communications and mail (pouch) (Art. III)
  • Functional immunity of delegates (Art. IV), officials (Art. V) and experts (Art. VI)
  • Recognition of United Nations Laissez-Passer (Art. VII)

The Functional Immunity clause is the most controversial. Functional Immunity does not apply to absolve anyone from crimes against humanity, genocide or war crimes. Then the definition comes down to ‘humanity’, what are crimes against humanity? There is a list of legally defining humanity crimes and at the end of the list is the classic defining crime of ‘other’.

Invariably, giving the UN carte blanche to commit criminal acts without consequence is a hugely dangerous precedent of inhumanity.

The Happy Hackers

Can Hackers Be Traced?

Computers are a tricky thing. Hacking is the genius behind the nominal IT geek. Recently, I was convinced my computer had been hacked. I took my PC to a local micro tech center, waited an hour and a half to be seen, told the techy exactly what I had said on my written form 1 hour and 1/2 ago, only to have him diddle around for a minute or two and advise me that finding a hack or hacker is virtually impossible. He recommended dumping all my files onto a flashdrive, cleaning my computer, and starting anew.

Wonderful…

But this made me wonder about all the accusations being levied at various countries for hacking into the Pentagon, Sony, Credit Card companies, Healthcare companies etc… Do they really have a clue who is doing the hacking?

The simple answer is – not really. They use ‘educated guesses’ more often than not.

Could the educated guesses be disguised as propaganda? Yes.

Example in point. North Korea was accused of hacking into Sony. Of course, they adamantly denied the claim. And we can’t trust anything that comes out of their mouth. But, what if – they didn’t? Then who did?

There are a number of prominent hacking groups in the world:

  1. Anonymous
  2. Chaos Computer Club
  3. Lizard Squad
  4. Lulzsec

And then there are government backed hackers:

  1. Tarh Andishan – Iranian
  2. Syrian Electronic Army – Syria
  3. Reconnaissance General Bureau – North Korean
  4. Unit 61398 – China
  5. Apt28 – Russia
  6. Hidden Lynx – China

Each group has a target genre. For example, Lizard Squad dedicates itself to random attacks on games and playstations with no real purpose involved other than to create disruption and irritation. Lulzsec attacks social media and media sites, also just for funzies. The Syrian Electronic Army attacks primarily government sites in the Middle East, Europe and US defense contractors, and media sites for propaganda. Hidden Lynx is a hit on demand hacking group that will target whomever for the right price.

Hackers are feverishly working on the ever more aspiring target, Electrical Grids. But the most lucrative hack is to grab identities and sell them to the highest bidder. Companies include Anthem, Home Depot, JP Morgan chase and Ebay to name a few. And the number of hacks per company can be as high as 1000 or more annually.  Hacking into airline reservations has really no verifiable benefit to the hacker except maybe some sort of ego prestige as it is only designed to disrupt. Hackers like to play with oil companies, causing outages, spills and disrupting activities. Too often, it is a game of sorts with little that can be done to prevent it and even less to find the source.

It used to be that IP addresses could be traced, but they are forever changing and can be diffused with multiple locations across a variety of countries thereby covering the tracks. While the media might comment that “Chinese Hackers…” or “Russian Hackers…” were the culprit, more often than not they haven’t much to go on except a ‘general location’ that could very well be the US operating in Siberia.

What we do know is that we don’t know much. And cyber security has become so prominent across the globe that threats and hacks are common. A mere yawn. The cost is not though with numbers ranging from $100 billion annually to $1 trillion. And while the Chinese might be doing the hacking, or the Russians, or Syrians, or whoever, that is of no consequence, the consequence is who signed the contract, who ordered the hit…

The more we rely on the internet, the more vulnerable we become.  Electronic cars – a hackers delight, electronic kitchen gadgets, easy.  But like all theft, the value of the end game is the big pat on the back in their world.  Can we prevent a hack?  Not really, we are pions in the world, they have no interest in individual computers per se, waste of energy.  Hacks into your identity will more often than not be a result of information spinning in the cloud with every company we do business with – schools, healthcare facilities, IRS, credit cards, wherever the most data is stored.

The Happy Hackers world is a shadow, it follows us everywhere, sometimes long, sometimes short, but never truly disappears until the sun goes down.