Insight No. 100: “Your Opinion – Your Vote.” +++ European Elections 23rd – 26th May 2019 +++ Europe Matters!

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Left vs Right ….is there any centre left?

I am sure, all of you have got an opinion.

Thus, please participate in the European elections 2019.

These EU elections (23rd – 26th May 2019; in Germany: 26th May 2019) will set the course for the future of European nations and the European Union.

Basic decisions will be made in the following 5 years…
Considering the dispute about the future scope of cooperation within the EU covering topics like: trade & customs union, freedom of movement, inclusion in terms of common social standards & workers rights, joint foreign policy, harmonized asylum / migration policy, EU armed forces, tax law, joint R&D and digital transformation, climate change issues, further EU East expansion etc., everybody should participate. Europe matters.

Of course, the EU needs to be reformed asap. Do you really want stakeholders to do it, you cannot support?

Even in the event that you want an EU exit, you have to vote. Fastest way to destroy the EU is to foster a Dexit, by the way. Maybe, a complete liquidation of the EU will provide the opportunity to create a better EU version, who knows? Okay, I do not want to become polemic and speculative. Whatever you prefer, vote!

Facing growing extremism, nationalism and emotional tensions between EU-hostile right-wing and left-wing parties like a “tug of war” across Europe, everybody has to show his/her colors in my view.
Otherwise, non-voters should be silent and should not complain anymore.

Sorry, I couldn`t resist….
A good sense of humor is the superior stress management tool….let`s love & hate each other passionately.

Tipp No. 87: “Europe According To” – Funny Maps of Europe by Yanko Tsvetkov (Bulgaria)

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Now that the question of European “unity” is debatable, the red line between reality and satire becomes even thinner. Exactly this “core of truth” is the reason why Yanko`s maps are so funny.

In my view, it would make sense to add China`s perspective. I already thought about the idea to do this job on my own. A dialogue with my Chinese colleagues to exchamge prejudices in a friendly atmosphere might be fun… And what`s about India` s view on Europe?

Europe according to England / UK
Europe according to France
Europe according to Germany
Europe according to Switzerland
Italy
Greece
Spain
Poland
Turkey (Note: If Turkey belongs to Europe at all is controversial)
Russia
USA

YANKOV TSVETKOV

The official stereotype lab of Yanko Tsvetkov, a bestselling author, prolific cartographer, and leading international bigotry professional with a taste for salacious political incorrectness and unconventional historical studies. Opinions are not his own, he’s merely a curator …..According to himself.

Please, have a look at international bestseller “The “Atlas of Prejudice” by Yankov too if you are interested in more stereotypes: https://atlasofprejudice.com/

Insight No. 98: Right-wing populists promising Tax Cuts for the Rich & Government Orders in return for illegal Russian campaign donations (Ibiza Video Scandal)

Creatures, Insights

Today, Hans-Christian Strache (Austria`s vice-chancelor and head of the FPÖ that is building the Austrian government as coalition partner of the ÖVP) and his aid Gudenus resigned, after yesterday`s publication of a video that was made on Ibiza island about 2 yrs ago (interesting that the video was not published earlier, somebody was very patient…) using hidden cameras and microphones.

This video shows a secret meeting between Strache, Gudenus and an alleged Russian niece of a Russian oligarch (it was just a fake meeting) discussing investment opportunities in Austria.
The lady considered to invest (€ 250 mio.) in the newspaper “Kronen Zeitung” and Strache suggested to get rid of Krone employees and replace them by FPÖ compatible staff to better utilize this media channel for supporting FPÖ cadre during the forthcoming campaign.

Strache also discussed how to secretly provide the FPÖ with campaign donations without involvement of the General Accounting Office. For this purpose the FPÖ has established a non-profit association, said Strache.

Then, he outlines that a number of rich people are utilizing this channel to donate € 0,5 – 2 mio. in average. These high net wealth individuals and companies are cit.: “idealists who are interested in tax cuts”. Incredible but Strache and Gudenus went even a step further and did some name dropping during this meeting (of course, all persons and companies mentioned in the video are in denial).

Finally, Strache additionally promised not only tax cuts for the rich but also governments orders for infrastructure modernization and mentioned that a specific competitor won`t get any orders in the event that the FPÖ is successful.

Up to now the Austrian chancelor Sebastian Kurz didn`t comment. People are waiting for his statement and decision if he want to continue the coalition with FPÖ or if new elections are required.

UPDATE, 2100 hrs: Chancelor Kurz announced new elections in Austria. Cit.: “Enough is enough.”

Strache held a press conference today. He stepped down and apologized but didn`t take any responsibility.
This meeting was a “political assassination”.
The initiators of the meeting ( resp. trap) are criminals.
His aid Gudenus had prepared the meeting on Ibiza and was the major point of contact.
He was a little bit drunken this evening.
He was trying to impress the attractive lady.
The incident is part of a conspiracy against him (or the ÖVP & FPÖ coalition) organized by the Russian or the CIA or by the opposition and so on.
Apparently, there is a lack of understanding that his actions are unlawful. There was only self-pity.
By the way, the right-wing populist FPÖ tried to position itself as a nationalist, conservative, law & order, “clean” party.

No, there is no “Schadenfreude” (malicious joy) about this embarrassing scandal at all. Huge concerns are dominating instead. Actually, it cannot be excluded that other European right-wing parties like the AfD in Germany share this attitude and practices. In fact, many German political parties had their own campaign donation scandals in the past.

And AfD whistleblowers already reported 2 yrs ago that the AfD tax policy is treated strictly confidentially because of the risk to lose members, votes and supporters among the low- and mid-income groups which make up the majority of supporters. Yes, also the AfD is planning to cut taxes for the rich and therefore, let the regular people bear all cost despite of decreasing job safety and purchasing power etc..

The videos below are fascinating because of the brutal demasking / uncoverage of the right-wing party`s attitude and practices. Greedy, corrupt, anti-social, scheming, clumsy, ruthless, power-obsessed, unprofessional and simply embarrassing, these are the attributes that pop-up, while you are watching the scenes on Ibiza.

But at least the Austrian political landscape and value-oriented society is still resilient. In Austria, people like Strache & Gudenus have to resign…immediately…without sacrifying democracy & the country`s constitution.

Meanwhile, the anti-EU, populist right-wing parties across Europe are on the rise and create alliances that are trying to gain influence in the EU and its institutions…

Be strong and do not miss the EU elections, please!

Strong Women No. 5: SEYRAN ATES – Civil Rights Activist and Founder of the first Liberal Ibn-Rushd-Goethe Mosque 2017 (Germany)

Insights

Seyran Ateş (born 20 April 1963) is a German lawyer and Muslim feminist born in Istanbul, Turkey of Kurdish descent.

Her family moved to Germany when she was six years old. She studied law at the Free University of Berlin and has practiced law since 1997, specializing in criminal law and family law. Ateş, a renowned civil-rights activist, is best known for demanding equal rights for Muslim women and girls….and since 2017 for founding the first liberal Ibn-Rushed-Goethe mosque in Berlin.

Ähnliches Foto
Ibn-Rushd-Goethe Mosque – women & men are praying together and women can act as imam leading prayer (= priest)

HUMAN AND MUSLIM WOMEN RIGHTS ACTIVIST

To finance her law studies in Berlin, she worked for the Berlin-Kreuzberger Meeting & Information Point for Turkish and Kurdish women (migrants), who want to protect themselves against domestic violence. 1984 her client Fatma E. was killed during a meeting (ref. her divorce) with Seyran Ates, who was shot too and life threatening injured.

VICTIM OF A TURKISH “GREY WOLVES” CONTRACT KILLER

Later on, in the course of the investigation, it was proved that the offender was a member of the Turkish nationalist-right wing group “Grey Wolves”, for which the offender was working as a contract killer. Due to sloppiness and possibly other reasons, the suspect was surprisingly discharged. He still lives in Berlin. A representative of the Federal Office For The Protection of The Constitution didn`t bear witness in front of court by stating that a registered assoviation called “The Grey Wolves” doesnt exists at all. (Note: The existence of the “Grey Wolves” actually is beyond dispute. You can see members & supporters at many pro-Turkish President Erdogan events in Germany. After the last Turkish election in 2018, there are attempts to rehabilitate the Grey Wolves in Germany). Not before 1997, Seyran Ates was finally able to complete her law studies with the 2nd state exam. 

HER AWARDED SOCIO-POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT

Seyran Ateş explains that the “multi-cultural society concept” has failed completed and promotes the “concept of transculturalism” (that was developed by Wolfgang Welsch, exchange and regrouping of cultural elements by using network effects) instead. In the course of the integration debate – today, fueled by the migration crisis of last years – she critisizes the wide-spread wrong understanding of the Islam that legitimates and fosters the separation of men and women as well as the suppression of muslim women. In her view this suppression of women is expressed by forced  (by social control & pressure) veiling / cover-up of women, forced marriage, child marriages and honor killings – undesirable traditions & cultural (not religious!) phenomena that have been imported to Germany and other liberal Western countries by muslim migrants. 

Because of her engegament Seyran Ates was awarded with many titles and orders of Germany and the city state Berlin. 

“THE ISLAM REQUIRES A SEXUAL REVOLUTION”

That is the tite of one of Ms Ates books that was published in 2009. After receiving serious death threats, Seyran Ates disappeared from the public stage for about 3 years but returned in 2012 to continue managing her law office – since then without any public address.

FOUNDATION OF THE FIRST LIBERAL MOSQUE IN BERLIN AND FIRST FEMALE IMAM

Ms Ates opened the Ibn Rushd-Goethe mosque in 2017. It’s the only liberal mosque located in Berlin-Moabit Germany where men and women pray together. Women can take the role of imam leading a prayer. After successfully completion of a Imam education, Ms. Ates is acting as Imam today too.
It is the aim to perform the devotions in German language instead of in Arabic (many muslims don`t understand anyway) or Turkish. Another innovation is the fact that all muslims – covering  Sunniten, Schiiten and Aleviten – are invited to prey and worship together. In general, the mosque is also open for all people – irrespective of their religion. 

The Turkish religious authority and the Egyptian Fatwa Council at the Al-Azhar University have condemned her project and once more again she has received death threats. The fatwa (= 1. non-binding legal opnion, see below; 2. Death penalty) encompassed all present and future liberal mosques.

Ähnliches Foto
The Ibn-Rushd-Goethe Mosque in Berlin-Moabit (within a Potestant church building)

24/7 PERSONAL SECURITY AFTER RECEIVING BY FAR MORE THAN 100 DEATH THREATS (in line with the “FATWA” issued by Turkish and Egyptian religious authorities)

Ms. Ates represents a secular Islam which means strict separation of state, laws and its institutions from religion. She demands gender equality and a contemporary interpretation and reform of the interpretation of the Quran and the Hadithen. Since the foundation of increasingly successful “Ibn-Rushd Goethe Mosque”, Seyran Ates received a growing number of severe death threats so that she receives 24/7 personal security by the German government. 

According to Ateş, liberal Muslims do not come forward due to threats and fear.

HER POSITION

Ms. Ates demands that the German government shall NOT give in the protests of the muslims that are supported by islamic fundamentalists (often financed by foreign powers): „Where religion serves separation & discrimination only, religion is attacking democracy. And where religion scream for penalties, the war against the Age of Enlightment and against all of the freedoms, – all religions in Germany finally take benefit of – starts. Also the muslim`s truth must tolerate it to be subject to criticism and questioning. Only fundamentalists can be insulted by criticism and questions.” (cit.)

CO-FOUNDER OF THE EUROPEAN CITIZEN INITIATIVE STOP EXTREMISM (ECI)

Jointly with the former Austrian Bundesrat Efgani Dönmez (Federal Council) and the lawyer Sebastian Reimer, Ms. Ates has founded the  European Citizen’s Initiative Stop Extremism (ECI) in July 2017. The ECI fights all kind of religious extremism. The initiative tries to achieve the issuance of an EU-guideline to close loopholes in the legislation to protect the European societies from religous extremism. Numerous famous and ppular experts and media people are supporting this endeavor – among them the author and psychology expert Ahmad Mansour and the Islam scientist Mouhanad Khorchide.

Ähnliches Foto

ADDENDUM:

A FATWA has got two meanings. It can be understood as non-binding legal opinion tied to religous authorities as legal bodies but also as law enforcement authority. Fatwa can also describe a religous justified death penalty  that allows any muslim to kill the person who is subject to a fatwa any time – without any consequences.  The Fatwa concept therefore expresses the clear target to merge islam religion, with the state /government, politics and the organisation of the society broken down to the private life of all individuals. Consequently, non-believers (Kufa) and deviators, who could undermine existing authorities, have to be excluded.

  1. A fatwa in the Islamic faith is a non-binding but authoritative legal opinion or learned interpretation that the Sheikhul Islam, a qualified jurist or mufti, can give on issues pertaining to the Sharia. 
    Fatwās generally contain the details of the scholar’s reasoning, typically in response to a particular case, and are considered binding precedent by those Muslims who have bound themselves to that scholar, including future muftis; mere rulings can be compared to memorandum opinions. The primary difference between common-law opinions and fatwās, however, is that fatwās are not universally binding; as Sharia is not universally consistent and Islam is very non-hierarchical in structure, fatwās do not carry the sort of weight as that of secular common-law opinion. In fact, the influence of fatwas are very much dependend on the authority and power of the person or organisation who declares a fatwa.
  2. Considering the fact that authority is dependend on the number of followers, it makes sense that reforms, criticism & questioning  of a scholarship, the Quran or other religous matters is drastically punished and that leaving the Islam is penalized with the fatwa as death penalty. It is all about maintaining power of existing authorities and not about development to foster progress and an improvement of living conditions.
  3. In countries, in which the Sharia is not an integral part of the legal system, muslims are confronted with several contradicting Fatwas (legal opinions & authorities) at the same time. Of course, they will chose the fatwa (legal opinion and legal institutions) of their scholarship they belong to or offer the most personal advantages. This approach causes severe conflicts with the legal system of the country, they are living in, but also with other scholarships (e.g. conflicts between Sunniten and Schiiten, Wahabismus against all others) or with ethnicities (e.g. Kurds, South-East Asians) or tribes or individual authorities / influencers. 
Bildergebnis für FAtwa
FATWA against terror & violence endorsed by 100.000 Bangladeshi Islamic Scholars

Condemning terrorism as forbidden and un-Islamic, Maulana Fariduddin Masoud, chairman of Bangladesh Jamiatul Ulama (BJU), and his team during the revelation of the fatwa in Dhaka on June 18, 2016.

Quote No. 3: “Real Patriots” – by Carl Sagan

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“Real patriots ask questions.”
(Carl Sagan)

Carl Edward Sagan (November 9, 1934 – December 20, 1996) was an American astronomer, cosmologist, astrophysicist, astro-biologist, author, science popularizer, and science communicator in astronomy and other natural sciences. He is best known for his work as a science popularizer and communicator. His best known scientific contribution is research on extraterrestrial life, including experimental demonstration of the production of amino acids from basic chemicals by radiation. Sagan assembled the first physical messages sent into space: the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record, universal messages that could potentially be understood by any extraterrestrial intelligence that might find them. Sagan argued the now accepted hypothesis that the high surface temperatures of Venus can be attributed to and calculated using the greenhouse effect.

Sagan published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books. He wrote many popular science books, such as The Dragons of EdenBroca’s Brain and Pale Blue Dot, and narrated and co-wrote the award-winning 1980 television series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage. The most widely watched series in the history of American public television, Cosmos has been seen by at least 500 million people across 60 different countries. The book Cosmos was published to accompany the series. He also wrote the science fiction novel Contact, the basis for a 1997 film of the same name. His papers, containing 595,000 items, are archived at The Library of Congress.

Sagan advocated scientific skeptical inquiry and the scientific method, pioneered exobiology and promoted the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI). He spent most of his career as a professor of astronomy at Cornell University, where he directed the Laboratory for Planetary Studies. Sagan and his works received numerous awards and honors, including the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal, the National Academy of Sciences Public Welfare Medal, the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book The Dragons of Eden, and, regarding Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, two Emmy Awards, the Peabody Award, and the Hugo Award. He married three times and had five children. After suffering from myelodysplasia, Sagan died of pneumonia at the age of 62, on December 20, 1996.

Insight No. 58: From Vandalism via Arts to Political Statement – Graffiti in Italy

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Graffiti has been known in Italy since the ancient Romans, who decorated the walls of Pompeii and the catacomb with declarations of love, curses and magic spells. In fact the word ‘Graffiti’ derives from the Italian word ‘graffiare’ meaning to scratch something into a surface, and people in Italy still write their passions on the walls.

Though lately – it seems to me – subject matters have changed from ‘Ti amo’ and ‘Forza La Juve’ to political statements. Could be, that  graffiti in Italy has gone from personal to political in order to reflect the current economic crisis and migrants crisis.

Insight No. 72: Subversive Iranian Graffiti – Transforming Walls for Change

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Political art and propaganda has been central to the Islamic Republic’s management of public spaces since the earliest days of the Revolution. Take a 30-minute drive through any area of Tehran and you will doubtless bear witness to half a dozen murals commemorating fallen martyrs of the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) or depicting the leaders of the Islamic Revolution. Two famous examples include the ‘Soldiers of the Islamic Revolution’ modernist fresco in Felestin (Palestine) Square, and the massive ‘Down with USA’ mural near Haft-e Tir, which portrays the American flag as a harbinger of war.

A strikingly prominent feature of Iranian public spaces is the prevalence of street art – both officially sanctioned murals and subversive graffiti of artists like Bambam, Oham, Black Hand and others. Whilst the latter can be ingeniously subtle, its social commentary usually ensures its speedy removal. Revolutionary murals often commemorate martyrs of the Iran-Iraq war, or celebrate the political values of the Islamic Republic. Here we feature some of the most fascinating street art in Tehran, Masal and Banda Abbas.

The youth unemployment rate in Iran is about 29%. Young people make up 40-50% of the total number of job seekers of 3,3 mio
Alcohol is prohibited in Iran
but it is sold under the counter and even produced privately. For alcohol drinking you will be punished with 40 – 80 lashings. In case of repeated consumption, you will end up in jail.
Protest graffiti in response to the fact that women were not allowed to attend the sinternational occer championship in Iran. The Iranian woman holds a bottle of cleaner like a soccer trophy.
Down With USA
US Embassy in Tehran
Weed consumption is quite common because the penalty for weed consumption is less severe than the one for alcohol drinking.
Iran is actually the 7th biggest market for make-up/cosmetics worldwide. Beauty & fashion (hidden below the Abaya) is a big issue in Iran.
Propaganda Graffiti

Shared No. 124: “Zitat des Woche: Stéphane Hessel – “Quotation of The Day” — by Hildegard (Attitudeblog)

Insights, Psychologie, psychology, Tipps, Uncategorized
Let`s go! Play up!

„Ohne mich“ ist das Schlimmste, was man sich und der Welt antun kann. Den „Ohne mich“-Typen ist eines der absolut konstitutiven Merkmale des Menschen abhandengekommen: die Fähigkeit zur Empörung und damit zum Engagement.“

“Without Me” is the worst, you can do to the world. The “Without Me”-People went one elementary characteristic of humans missing: The capability of revolt / outrage and therefore engagement.”

Stéphane Hessel (1917-2013)

Insight No. 98: “What does the EU cost?” – A German View (incl. link to an EU statistical tool that shows the cost/benefit ratio for each EU member state)

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Germany transfers € 2 billion each month to the European Union…these monthly rates make up € 24 billions per annum (2015).

Germany contributes about 17-18% of the total EU budget – as long as the BREXIT is not implemented. This is the biggest share paid by one EU member state.

Germany belongs to the EU members who are so called “net payers” (Nettozahler), which means that Germany contributes more money to the EU budget than it it gets finally back as financial aids & investments. In contrast to UK – another net payer who enjoys a 66% rebate, Germany doesn`t get any automatic refunding or discount.

Germany is by far the most generous net payer followed by UK and with a huge gap: France and the Netherlands.

In 2015, Germany received in total € 11 bn as financial support – including € 6 bn for agriculture & environment and € 4,6 bn to fund economy and R&D projects.

In 2017, Germany received with € 10,93 bn less EU funding. 56% of the EU money was spent on agriculture & environment, 19% on regional policy (in contrast to other EU countries that spend in avg 27% on regional development) and 22% on R&D. (source: the European parliament, budget at a glance website)

The membership fees are based on the GDP of each EU member state. Considering the fact that Germany is the European powerhouse and still performs quite well the GDP-based ranking of the biggest spenders looks different. The order of the ranking changes as follows: The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and finally UK.

The EU members who take the biggest benefit of the EU funding (and EU-funded FDIs of Western corporations looking for cheap labor & low taxes, freedom of movement in terms of economic migrants) are Poland and Hungary, followed by the other Eastern European states.

In 2017, Poland paid € 3,05 bn and received € 11,92 bn funding. Hungary paid € 820,82 mio. only but received € 4,08 billion EU money. Considering this balance, it is in my view annoying that receiver countries like Poland & Hungary are not willing to share the burdens of the EU membership (e.g. migration issue) and seem not to share its underlying basic values & targets. My suspicion is that there are EU member states who regard the EU just as a cash dispenser, free labor market and a trade union….and / or a primary stage and candidacy for joining the NATO because of geo-strategically reasons.

Frankly speaking, I wonder why Germany shall continue to pay for the EU states without any own ROI – in the event that the EU is not able to jointly develop and agree on policies and therefore create an European block with greater negotiation power and more autonomy in terms of economy, R&D, defense etc..

Please, visit this EU website, where you`ll find an interactive, very interesting tool with financial statistics about each EU member state – EU Budget At A Glance

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/external/html/budgetataglance/default_de.html

Admittedly, the movie below is not unbiased. It tries to explain the German viewer that the EU membership is a bargain – it just depends on the carefully selection of parameters to create a statistic / ranking…. Well, I`ve learnt not to trust any statistic that I didn`t falsify by myself…😉

Furthermore, all these statistics doesn´t include the cost the German tax payer has to bear due to the huge influx of EU migrants into our social-, welfare-, social housing, education- and health systems that are originally based on an insurance business model. Only people who have frequently paid in the insurance budget have the right to get support…well… This issue is a total taboo topic in Germany and not discussed, despite of single minor issues like the payment of children support to migrants from EU member states. My suspicion is that these migration cost are higher than e.g. the cost for supporting asylum seekers from 3rd countries.

Another cost driver is the fact that many German companies invest in Eastern European EU countries to receive funding from the EU and take benefit of low cost labor, no workers or citizen rights and less industry regulation. Therefore, existing and new jobs are relocated to Eastern Europe and get lost in Germany. The German employees have to train the Eastern Europeans and are made redundant…or they have to work with old, run-down machines while modernized facilities are set up in Eastern Europe. From my experience Hungary and Poland are the preferred locations for FDIs of German companies.

In my view, today trade/economy, R&D, social & legal affairs and foreign policies cannot separated from each other anymore. All or nothing!…at least step by step. Otherwise the EU in its current form is the worst investment ever for the German tax payer.

However, nevertheless – although they are not complete – facts & figures are interesting. It is up to each individual to do her/his own cost-benefit assessment in regard to his own country`s EU membership.

These are screenshots of the above-mentioned tool…example: Germany

Insight No.: 97 “Brexit? – The Labor and Conservative Compromise explained” by TLDR News

Insights, Oddities

I am watching British new for +2 years now….and wonder that there are any real news.
Frankly speaking, I feel that there won`t be any BREXIT anymore.
I do not know the political landscape in England very well but there is the suspicion that none of the parties seriously foster a BREXIT – including Nigel Farage`s new Brexit party. Without this crisis, he simply would be irrelevant.
In my view, they are playing time only.
But what are they waiting for?
The referendum and insights won`t be forgotten soon.

TLDR is talking about new deadlines like end of 2022 and 2030 to enable England to prepare for the future as 3rd country.