Retiring EU Chief Jean-Claude Juncker still has no idea what he did wrong

retiring-eu-chief-jean-claude-juncker-still-has-no-idea-what-he-did-wrong

22-09-19 12:27:00,

The retiring president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has been unusually outspoken during his last weeks in office. He recently had a long interview with the Belgian newspaper L’Écho in which he discussed his actions and frustrations as head of the European Union. Juncker has since 2014 presided over the Greek crisis, the migrant crisis, and, most ominously for Eurocrats, the British vote to withdraw from the EU. His comments are highly revealing about the mentality of the EU’s top officials.

Juncker opens with comments on how little Belgium is failing to consolidate as a nation. Belgium is made up of Dutch-speaking Flanders in the north and French-speaking Wallonia in the south. In the east, there is even a small German-speaking community. Meanwhile the capital Brussels – initially Dutch-speaking, then French-speaking – has essentially been handed over to Afro-Islamic migrants, European expats, and Gypsies. The indigenous Belgians form a small minority there.

To Juncker:

I observe, in the 30 years that I have frequented the Belgian Riviera, that tolerance has fallen. Thirty years ago, when I went to the baker’s or the butcher’s, I could order in French; today they no longer accept this. So I speak German – they accept Germans more than they do Francophones. Belgium could be a model of successful cohabitation. Unfortunately it isn’t, something which saddens me. . . .

Belgium is a State, but the communities consider themselves to be nations – I mean Flanders. Wallonia itself does not have a national conception [of itself], whereas Flanders believes itself to be and acts like a nation. And it’s a miracle to see these two entities, so different in the end, live together without live together.

In short, Juncker is essentially agreeing with Nigel Farage’s controversial statement on Belgium made during his legendary rant some years ago against then-EU Council President Herman Van Rompuy: “You appear to have a loathing for the very concept of nation-states – perhaps that’s because you come from Belgium, which of course is pretty much a non-country.” Juncker and Farage have merely pointed out the obvious. Still, the British newspaper The Independent could write at the time with cosmopolitan faux erudition: “There is an old right-wing prejudice in Britain that Belgium does not exist.”

“Who are you? I’d never heard of you. Nobody in Europe had ever heard of you.”

“Who are you?

 » Lees verder

EU Antitrust Chief: “Google And Facebook Are Sucking Up Data From Every Corner”

eu-antitrust-chief:-“google-and-facebook-are-sucking-up-data-from-every-corner”

01-09-19 03:11:00,

This is the full transcript of speech delivered by Margrethe Vestager, the European Union Antitrust Chief, held at the Business Forum of the German Ambassadors’ Conference, Berlin, 27 August 2019:

Ladies and gentlemen,

It’s a great pleasure, and an honour, to be here with you today. I want to thank Heiko Maas for those kind words, and for inviting me to join you.

I’m especially glad to have the chance to meet with you, who represent Germany’s 230 diplomatic missions around the world, as well as German industry. Because all of us here have an important role to play, to prepare Europe’s economy for the challenges of the future.

And in our working day, or just reading the news headlines, we are very often confronted with the scale of those challenges. Today’s threats to the system of global trade rules pose a serious risk to growth here in Europe, and throughout the world. Brexit remains a major source of uncertainty. We need to make enormous changes to the way we power the world’s economy, to avoid climate change running out of control. And all this is happening at a time when digitisation is transforming our markets – and Europe’s future depends on being, not just an industrial powerhouse, but a digital leader.

Europe’s advantages

Indeed all these challenges can seem daunting. But it is important to remember that Europe has already proved its capacity to take on big challenges. After all, we built the European Union on the ashes of two world wars. And we have just travelled through the biggest financial and economic crisis since the Great Depression.

And we have a good starting point to also face those challenges ahead of us.

Our Single Market gives the best European companies the room they need to grow and succeed. And by keeping that market open for competition, we support the drive for improvement that makes Europe a world leader in innovation. In fact, in the World Economic Forum’s latest Global Competitiveness Report, Germany came on top as the world’s most innovative economy, ahead of the United States and Switzerland.

Our international influence gives us the opportunity to shape the world around us in a way that helps to secure our future.

 » Lees verder

Iran Claims IAEA Chief Behind Nuclear Deal “Eliminated” By Israeli Intelligence

iran-claims-iaea-chief-behind-nuclear-deal-“eliminated”-by-israeli-intelligence

24-07-19 05:41:00,

Iran state media has made bombshell sensational claims of a conspiracy assassination of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose death was reported early this week, prompting a firm denial from the powerful UN nuclear watchdog body. 

On Wednesday semi-official Tasnim news agency claimed Israeli intelligence “eliminated” Yukiya Amano, who was the Director General of the IAEA and oversaw the singing of the landmark 2015 P5+1 nuclear deal (JCPOA). Iranian sources allege the covert assassination was carried out on the powerful staunch supporter of the JCPOA in order to gain leverage to force Tehran into dealing with the Trump White House’s “pressure-talks” scheme, as Tasnim put it. 

IAEA’s Yukiya Amano previously Iran’s President Rohani in Tehran.

The 72-year old Amano, who was also a career Japanese diplomat, was considered a huge influence in seeing the Iranian nuclear deal through and ensuring its continued survival over and against recent Trump administration pressure. Trump had famously called the 2015 agreement brokered by the Obama administration “the worst deal ever negotiated” before ordering the unilateral US pullout. 

The UN nuclear watchdog chief died on July 18, with the family only disclosing his passing on late Sunday, but no details as to the cause of death were given; however, a UN statement said he was due to step down next March due to an unspecified illness. Meanwhile Iran provided zero evidence for its wild accusation, nor did the report suggest exactly how the alleged Israeli intelligence plot was carried out. 

The Iranian allegation made waves inside Israel and at the IAEA Wednesday, as the Times of Israel reports

The Tehran-based outlet, which defines its mission as “defending the Islamic Revolution against negative media propaganda campaign [sic],” cited unnamed “informed sources” who insisted that Amano, a Japanese diplomat who was extensively involved in negotiations over Iran’s controversial nuclear program, had been “eliminated” after refusing to buckle to “heavy pressure” from Jerusalem and Washington.

This prompted a firm denial from the IAEA, which told The Times of Israel: “[We] categorically deny these false reports. Director General Yukiya Amano passed away on 18 July as a result of his illness.”

Yukiya Amano,  » Lees verder

New US Pentagon Chief – Vested Interest In War & Conflict

new-us-pentagon-chief-–-vested-interest-in-war-&-conflict

21-07-19 08:25:00,

Via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

Mark Esper is expected to be confirmed in coming days as the new US Secretary of Defense. His appointment is awaiting final Congressional approval after customary hearings this week before senators. The 55-year-old nominee put forward by President Trump was previously a decorated Lieutenant Colonel and has served in government office during the GW Bush administration.

But what stands out as his most conspicuous past occupation is working for seven years as a senior lobbyist for Raytheon, the US’ third biggest military manufacturing company. The firm specializes in missile-defense systems, including the Patriot, Iron Dome and the Aegis Ashore system (the latter in partnership with Lockheed Martin).

As Defense Secretary, Esper will be the most senior civilian executive member of the US government, next to the president, on overseeing military policy, including decisions about declaring war and deployment of American armed forces around the globe. His military counterpart at the Pentagon is Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, currently held by Marine General Joseph Dunford who is expected to be replaced soon by General Mark Milley (also in the process of senate hearings).

Esper’s confirmation hearings this week were pretty much a rubber-stamp procedure, receiving lame questioning from senators about his credentials and viewpoints. The only exception was Senator Elizabeth Warren, who slammed the potential “conflict of interest” due to his past lobbying service for Raytheon. She said it “smacks of corruption”. Other than her solitary objection, Esper was treated with kid gloves by other senators and his appointment is expected to be whistled through by next week. During hearings, the former lobbyist even pointedly refused to recuse himself of any matters involving Raytheon if he becomes the defense boss.

As Rolling Stone magazine quipped on Esper’s nomination, “it is as swampy as you’d expect”.

“President Trump’s Cabinet is already rife with corruption, stocked full of former lobbyists and other private industry power players who don’t seem to mind leveraging their government positions to enrich themselves personally. Esper should fit right in,” wrote Rolling Stone.

The linkage between officials in US government, the Pentagon and private manufacturers is a notorious example of “revolving door”.

 » Lees verder

If You Were Chief Of CIA Consciousness Ops

if-you-were-chief-of-cia-consciousness-ops

29-12-18 11:25:00,

Authored by Jon Rappoport,

There is an obsession to say that everything is made out of something.

Who knows where it started? With the Egyptian pyramid builders? The Sumerians?

In the modern era, the fervor has reached a high point.

Physicists, biologists, and chemists are relentless in their pursuit of consciousness as a function of the brain. It has to be the brain. All those synapses and neurons and chemicals…and underneath them, the atoms and the sub-atomic particles…somehow these tiny particles conspire to produce consciousness and awareness.

Yet these same scientists deny that a sub-atomic particle carries any trace of awareness. The particles flow. They obey laws. That’s all.

So the experts are painted into a corner. They then speculate: “Well, you see, the increased ability to process information, the complexity of structure—naturally, this implies consciousness.”

No it doesn’t.

A Ferrari is complex. So is the Empire State Building. So is the IBM’s best computer. And? Where is the consciousness?

You, sitting there right now, reading these words—you understand the words; you KNOW you’re reading them; you’re not just processing information. YOU ARE CONSCIOUS.

If a physicist wants to say that you, knowing you’re reading, are just a phenomenon of atoms in motion, let him try, let him explain. Let him do more than bloviate.

Imagine you were the chief of a CIA section called Consciousness Covert Ops. What would you try to do, given that your motive, as always, is control?

You would try to convince the population that consciousness isn’t free and wide-ranging and powerful and independent. You would try to narrow the popular belief about consciousness.

What better way than to focus on the brain as the seat of all awareness?

“The brain functions according to laws. We’re discovering more and more about those laws. We can determine when the brain is malfunctioning. We’re learning how to correct those malfunctions.”

Indeed.

You’re spinning narrative about the brain as if it were a car that has to visit the shop. That’s what you want. You want to make people believe their brains need fixes,

 » Lees verder

UN Environment Chief Resigns After Racking Up Huge Carbon Footprint

un-environment-chief-resigns-after-racking-up-huge-carbon-footprint

23-11-18 09:55:00,

Members of the United Nations recoiled in horror last year when President Trump slashed the US’s UN budget by nearly $300 million after the international agency rebuked the US over its decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem. Looks like the jokes on them.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has accepted the resignation of UN Environmental Chief Erik Solheim, a veteran Norwegian diplomat, after an internal audit by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services criticized the environment agency for “a culture of scant regard for internal controls and existing rules” on the use of public funds. This “misuse” included Solheim racking up hundreds of thousands of dollars on personal flights to Paris (sound familiar?), according to the New York Times. Unfortunately for Solheim, those flights had nothing to do with the agency’s work on the Paris Accords.

United Nations

What’s even more embarrassing for the agency, the alleged overspending happened at a time when resources for combating climate change were shrinking. Some of the agency’s biggest donors even decided to withhold funds pending the final results of the audit.

Aside from the profligate spending, the report also found Solheim was routinely absent from the office without accounting for where he was or why.

The report found “uneconomical routing of flight itineraries, opting for more expensive airlines, implementation of teleworking arrangements that were outside the existing policy on flexible working arrangements.”

In fact, Solheim spent as much as 80% of his time away from the agency’s office in Nairobi, and frequently took flights to Paris and Oslo for what appeared to be personal reasons. Right after accepting the position in July 2016, Solheim flew to Paris for a “one-day meeting.” He ended up staying for a month. Many of the “official” trips were also taken during public holidays when he apparently had no official business there. 

At issue in particular were his frequent trips to Paris and Oslo. The audit found that Mr. Solheim, referred to in the audit as “a senior manager,” had spent 79 percent of his time away from the agency’s headquarters in Nairobi and incurred $488,519 in travel expenses over a 22-month period.

According to the audit,

 » Lees verder

Bank Of England Chief Economist Warns Of Disruptive AI Threat In “Fourth Industrial Revolution”

Bank Of England Chief Economist Warns Of Disruptive AI Threat In “Fourth Industrial Revolution”

22-08-18 08:53:00,

The chief economist of the Bank of England has warned that in order to avoid large segments of the working class becoming “technologically unemployed” (replaced by AI), the UK will need to undergo a revolution in skills, reports the BBC

Andy Haldane says that a disruptive “Fourth Industrial Revolution” could be on a “much greater scale” than anything experienced during the Industrial Revolution, which lasted from 1760 – 1940. 

Handane warns of a widespread “hollowing out” of jobs, rising inequality and social tension as people struggle to make due. 

It was important to learn the “lessons of history”, he argued, and ensure that people were given the training to take advantage of the new jobs that would become available.

He added that in the past a safety net such as new welfare benefits had also been provided. –BBC

Meanwhile, the UK government’s chair of the newly formed Artificial Intelligence Council, Tabitha Goldstaub, echoed Haldane’s sentiment, warning of a “huge risk” of people being left without jobs that computers and robots have taken. She says that the challenge will be ensuring that people are prepared for the cultural and economic shifts – and that hte focus would be on creating “the new jobs of the future” in order to replace those at risk of robotic-replacement. 

Mr. Haldane told the BBC: “Each of those [industrial revolutions] had a wrenching and lengthy impact on the jobs market, on the lives and livelihoods of large swathes of society,” adding “Jobs were effectively taken by machines of various types, there was a hollowing out of the jobs market, and that left a lot of people for a lengthy period out of work and struggling to make a living.

“That heightened social tensions, it heightened financial tensions, it led to a rise in inequality. This is the dark side of technological revolutions and that dark-side has always been there.”

“That hollowing out is going to be potentially on a much greater scale in the future, when we have machines both thinking and doing – replacing both the cognitive and the technical skills of humans.”

That’s a lot of words,

 » Lees verder