Showing posts with label Economics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Economics. Show all posts

October 22, 2018

The Anti Gay Marriage Shop is Going Down The Aisle of Shutting the Doors

The shop came to national attention after the owners refused to bake a cake in support of same-sex marriage.

The Ashers bakery in Central Belfast that refused to bake a cake in support of same-sex marriage is closing down as the company’s managers said that the branch wasn’t “busy enough.”
In 2014, the owners of the store were taken to court for refusing to bake a cake in favour of same-sex marriage as it went against their religious beliefs. An initial ruling ruled in favour of gay rights activist Gareth Lee, however, the owners of the store went through several appeals until they got to the Supreme Court. Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the bakers.
Announcing the ruling, Lady Hale said: “It is deeply humiliating, and an affront to human dignity, to deny someone a service because of that person’s race, gender, disability, sexual orientation or any of the other protected personal characteristic.
“But that is not what happened in this case and it does the project of equal treatment no favours to seek to extend it beyond its proper scope.”
She added: “The bakers could not refuse to supply their goods to Mr Lee because he was a gay man or supported gay marriage but that is quite different from obliging them to supply a cake iced with a message with which they profoundly disagreed.
“Accordingly, this court holds that there was no discrimination on the ground of the sexual orientation of Mr Lee.”
However, despite the ruling in their favour, the store is now going to close. Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, the general manager of Ashers, Daniel McArthur said: “It simply comes down to the figures.
“We decided not to renew the lease. Belfast city centre isn’t busy enough – our other shops are much busier.”
He added: “It’s been planned for some time, and I am pleased to say there will be no job losses.”

August 31, 2018

Russia's Putin Forced to Soften A Little His Dramatic and Unpopular Pension Cuts

 Mr. Alexei Navalny (Can you see what is behind that face?)

Usually Putin doesn't say much when he decries about anything in a way of explanations. But this time the Russian population was having a big problem swallowing the fact they now had to wait 8 more years to retirenment. That is a big increase and only a leader that either has a lot of backing from his constituents or a dictator that can use force to jail and kill the opposition could just say it and do it. But this time Putin had to soften the years by 3 which is not much but I guess it was his gesture from someone who doesn't back down to his people. At the end the Russians have to swallow what ever he throws at them. I wonder if the population knows or suspect how many billions he is got in multiple properties in Russia and much more in dollars, pounds, rubles  and real estate in outside banks. All he had to do is put some money back to the economy like a $billion or so as a way of thanking the Russian population for making a nobody ex KGB middle level spy with not many assets to one of the riches man in the whorld. 

If you like the order that comes from dictators you have to put up with making them rich with the family and many friends. You also have to put up with the jailing with jacked up charges and sometimes dissapearences which means death bcause you never get to see your son or husband ever again. 

I know some don't like to suffere while Putin enjoys your money. One of those is Alexei Nalvany.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has softened his plan for pension reform in response to his falling approval rating and the threat of nationwide protests, reports the AP.
Why it matters: In a rare concession, Putin said the retirement age for women would be raised from 55 to 60, rather than 63 as originally planned. The televised speech in which he announced the partial change illustrates just how unpopular the reforms were, as Putin seldom explains his policy decisions to the public. 

Russian opposition leader and prominent Putin critic Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to 30 days in prison for breaking public protest laws, reports Al Jazeera.
Why it matters: Navalny was convicted in January but sentenced more than six months later, a delay he claims was part of the Russian government's efforts to stop him from leading nationwide protests over pension reformon Sept. 9. Navalny has been jailed several times for organizing protests against Putin and for other charges he says are bogus. He was barred from running for president in January.

July 31, 2018

When Trump Talks About the 'Greatest Economy' Can Someone Tell Him it Was Obama's Length (18-4) and How High(524-324)?

 400k President Obama takes office
 President Trump takes office
A Lie! Check the record above

 Nice Painting

President Donald Trump campaigned hard on a promise to kick the economy into high gear and with the latest economic numbers, he had something to crow about. The economy grew at an annualized rate of 4.1 percent between April and June.
Trump said the country was seeing proof of the power of his tax- and regulation-cutting agenda. Let’s take a look at some of his assertions and see whether they hold up.
"In the second quarter of this year, the United States economy grew at the amazing rate of 4.1 percent."
Trump is correct about the 4.1 percent growth rate for gross domestic product in the second quarter of 2018. (It’s worth noting that this number could fall, or rise, based on subsequent revisions by government statisticians.)
This is a strong showing in the context of recent history, and the highest since the third quarter of 2014. But most economists would not use the word "amazing" to describe it.
Quarterly increases of at least 4 percent are not unheard of. That level was reached four times under President Barack Obama, including heights Trump has not yet reached, such as 4.6 percent (twice) and 5.2 percent (once). On two other occasions, Obama oversaw 3.9 percent growth. 
Independent analysts are skeptical about how long this growth spurt can last.
"Unfortunately, this rapid growth is largely the effect of a one-time sugar high and is not representative of likely growth over the course of the next year, let alone the next decade," the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget wrote after Trump’s remarks.
The group cited a confluence of positive events in early 2018 that won’t be repeated indefinitely: the passage of a major tax bill in December 2017, a 13 percent bump in discretionary spending in the latest federal appropriations bill, and accelerated purchases of goods in advance of threatened Trump administration tariffs, notably soybeans.
The pro-business Tax Foundation also injected a note of caution, writing, "A short time period is not sufficient to make conclusions about long-term policy changes."
Growing at 3 percent for a full year is now in the realm of possibility for Trump, and if it happens, it would be an accomplishment. The last time the economy grew at 3 percent for an entire year was in 2005, when it grew at 3.3 percent. Read our more detailed explanation of why economists think 3 percent growth is unlikely over the long-term.
"The year before I came into office, private business investment grew at only 1.8 percent. Last year, it jumped to 6.3 percent. … This year, it's growing at 9.4 percent, so that's a very tremendous increase."
The math checks out. Between the last quarter of 2017 and the latest one, fixed investment went from $3.42 trillion to to $3.58 trillion. That’s a 4.7 percent increase for the first six months. If you assume that will continue, you can double it and you get 9 to 10 percent for the year.
However, it’s worth noting that the rise in the first quarter of 2018 was 11.5 percent and in the second it was 7.3 percent.
"It's definitely slowing down, but that was a pretty big leap in the first quarter," said Justin Fox, the editorial director of the Harvard Business Review.
Indeed Hiring Lab economist Nick Bunker cautioned that these numbers will change as the data is refined and republished in subsequent months.
"You don't want to get too nitpicky with the data, especially a first release," Bunker said. "This will get revised a few times and there are margins of errors and so forth."
"We had lost almost 200,000 manufacturing jobs under the previous administration. … Since I was elected, we've added 400,000 new manufacturing jobs."
The math is roughly right, but it needs context. Manufacturing jobs did decline by 192,000 under Obama, and since Trump’s election, they have increased by 373,000.
However, Obama’s numbers look particularly bad because he took office as the Great Recession was in full force — a situation Trump, in his short tenure, has avoided.
Once manufacturing jobs hit rock bottom in February 2010, they increased by 916,000 by the time Obama left office.
The chart below shows that manufacturing employment did weaken slightly during the final three years of Obama’s tenure and began to increase early in Trump’s. So it’s not unreasonable for Trump to cite an uptick on his watch.
That said, the rate of increase has been fairly stable since around 2010, regardless of the president in office. "We have added 3.7 million new jobs since the election, a number that is unthinkable if you go back to the campaign."

 400k President Obama takes office
 President Trump takes office
 Trump’s number is in the ballpark. If you use November 2016 as the baseline, almost 3.5 million jobs have been added through June 2018.
This is a notable achievement, especially at the end of a long economic recovery -- the longer a recovery goes, the harder it is to keep up high rates of job growth.
That said, "unthinkable" is the wrong word to use. The scale of monthly job gains under Trump (shown in red in this chart) are broadly in line with the scale of monthly job gains under Obama (shown in blue). 
"We are in the midst of the longest positive job growth streak in history."
That’s correct. But as the chart above shows, a large majority of that job growth streak came on Obama’s watch.
"We've accomplished an economic turnaround of historic proportions."
There’s little question that the economy is in good health right now. But Trump is off-base when he suggests that this required a "turnaround." During the second half, or more, of Obama’s term, the economy was doing well, too.
The data above on job creation and GDP growth are clear evidence of that. Trends in the unemployment rate, the housing market, bankruptcies and bank failures also showed significant improvement throughout the Obama years. (Read our detailed analysis.) 
This was correct for May 2018, when it was 5.9 percent, but the rate ticked up again in June, to 6.5 percent. That’s still low by historical standards, however.
"The Hispanic unemployment rate has reached the lowest level likewise in history."
Trump is on safe ground here. The current 4.6 percent Hispanic unemployment rate is a record low.
"The Asian unemployment rate has recently reached the lowest level, again likewise, in history."
This statistic has only been calculated since 2003, so "in history" should be taken with a grain of salt. That said, the rate has been low, mostly hovering around 3.0 in the first half of 2018. That’s in the ballpark of past lows.
Trump is probably referring to the 2.1 percent rate in May 2018, but that appears to have been a one-month blip that returned to 3.2 percent in June, the most recent month available.
"Women unemployment rate recently reached the lowest level in 65 years."
The current level is 3.7 percent. That’s certainly low by historical standards, but it was as low or lower than that for most of the time between August 1999 and April 2001.

September 24, 2016

News We Never Thought We Hear: ‘Saudi Middle Class Has to Tighten Their Belts'


 Mohammed Idrees used to travel to London once or twice a year, but these days the Saudi civil servant is asking his wife and children to cut back on using the family car to save fuel and has installed a solar panel for the kitchen to reduce electricity costs.

For decades, Saudi nationals such as Mr. Idrees enjoyed a cozy lifestyle in the desert kingdom as its rulers spent hundreds of billions of dollars of its oil revenue to subsidize essentials such as fuel, water and electricity.

But a sharp drop in the price of oil, Saudi Arabia’s main revenue source, has forced the government to withdraw some benefits this year—raising the cost of living in the kingdom and hurting its middle class, a part of society long insulated from such problems.

Saudi Arabia heads into next week’s meeting of major oil producers in a tight spot. With a slowing economy and shrinking foreign reserves, the kingdom is coming under pressure to take steps that support the price of oil, as it did this month with an accord it struck with Russia.

The sharp price drop is mainly because of a glut in the market, in part caused by Saudi Arabia itself. The world’s top oil producer continues to pump crude at record levels to defend its market share.

One option to lift prices that could work, some analysts say, is to freeze output at a certain level and exempt Iran from such a deal, given that its push to increase production to pre-sanction levels appears to have stalled in recent months. Saudi Arabia has previously refused to sign any deal that exempts arch-rival Iran.

As its people start feeling the pain, that could change.

The kingdom is grappling with major job losses among its construction workers—many from poorer countries—as some previously state-backed construction companies suffer from drying up government funding.

Those spending cuts are now hitting the Saudi working middle class.

Saudi consumers in major cities, the majority of them employed by the government, have become more conscious about their spending in recent months, said Areej al-Aqel from Sown Advisory, which provides financial-planning services for middle-class individuals and families. That means cutting back on a popular activity for most middle-class Saudis: dining out.

“Most people are ordering less food or they change their orders to more affordable options,” she said.

To boost state finances, Saudi Arabia cut fuel, electricity and water subsidies in December, after posting a record budget deficit last year. It also plans to cut the amount of money it spends on public wages and raise more non-oil revenue by introducing taxes.

But in response to these moves, inflation more than doubled from last year to about 4% now, crimping consumers even more.
Analysis: Is OPEC All Talk?

The government doesn’t have much choice. Saudi Arabia’s real growth in gross domestic product slowed to 1.5% in the first quarter from the year-earlier period, according to its statistics office, and Capital Economics says data suggest it may have contracted by more than 2% in the second quarter. Much of that slowdown is related to consumer-facing sectors, which have struggled since the start of 2016 as rising inflation has eroded household incomes.

The political stakes for managing this slowdown are high. Saudi Arabia survived the Arab Spring unrest that toppled several autocratic leaders across the region and forced some others to change, largely by offering cash handouts and more government jobs to placate its people. About two thirds of Saudi workers are employed by government related entities.

Besides cushy jobs, such middle-class Saudis also received substantial overtime payments and regular bonuses. At the time of his ascension to the throne early last year, King Salman ordered a hefty bonus payment to government employees.

Such largess is looking like a thing of the past.

Besides cutting state handouts such as subsidized electricity and water, the government also plans to reduce money it spends on public wages to 40% of the budget by 2020 from 45% as part of its ambitious plan to transform the oil-dependent economy. It aims to cut one-fifth of its civil service as well.

Saudis are beginning to speak out about a sense of anxiety about the economy. “I think we are going through a difficult period,” said Emad al-Majed, a Riyadh-based pharmacy technician. “There will be suffering.”

Mr. Majed, who has two children, took a bank loan to purchase an apartment last year, a decision he said made him reconsider his spending habits.

“If you are used to a certain level of spending, how can you be told to limit your expenses and cancel some stuff?” he asked. “It is a good idea, but in practice it will be difficult for so many people.”

Saudi nationals are reluctant to gripe about rising costs, but there is clear discontent, some analysts say. In a region engulfed in political and sectarian strife, Saudi Arabia can ill-afford similar turmoil.

“Discontent so far has been mildly expressed,” said Robin Mills, chief executive at Qamar Energy, a Dubai-based consulting firm. “If the slowdown continues and starts affecting local jobs, that could change.”

For the kingdom’s fiscal position to improve significantly, analysts say oil prices would need to rise to $70 a barrel, up from about $46 now.

Saudi Arabia and the other large producers failed to reach a production-freeze deal in April, but its people are now increasingly jittery over their future. That has made people like Mr. Idrees, the civil servant, more cautious about spending because he sees people like him bearing the brunt of efforts to offset slipping oil revenue.

“I have become more diligent about spending because my view of the future is pessimistic,” he said. “There is a lot of talk about diversifying the economy, but the focus seems to be solely on increasing taxes.”

January 28, 2016

Trump, the Clown Missing from the Circus Says What Some Hold in their Hearts

Make America GrEaT Again

*Somewhere, a circus is missing a clown. No one seems to know where this circus is, as it is hiding–desperate to not be found by the clown it lost.

Months ago, when Donald Trump began finding traction among a segment of Americans who actually believe he should be the next president of the United States, it was funny.
Then it wasn’t funny. Then it was embarrassing. Later, insulting. And then funny again. Now, it’s embarrassing, insulting and funny all at once.

Notice I never said scary. I absolutely refuse to be afraid.
Instead, I’ll say it is sad. Sad, because despite decades of undeniable social change and progress in this country, there are plenty of Americans to whom Trump’s ignorant, bigoted, sexist rhetoric holds water. It’s something to see and hear, isn’t it? But it’s real. And it’s a shame.

Don’t you dare believe that all those who follow Trump fit the typical stereotype of the bigot. You might be surprised at how many kind, intelligent, presumably forward-thinking people—-computer nerds, loving soccer moms, priests, pastors, lesbians, rock stars, doctors, lawyers who have dedicated their careers to helping the disenfranchised, Gays, transgender people, interracial couples; souls who routinely suffer a segment of society’s foot on its neck—are themselves straight-up bigots.

Looks and actions can be deceiving. Exhibit A: Donald Trump himself, who actually seemed like an okay guy until he decided to run for president and opened his foul mouth…which appears to be connected to his ass.

They say he “tells it like it is.” They never finish the other part of that phrase—“…in our hearts.” Trump doesn’t tell it like it is; he tells it like some people want it to be.
It’s intriguing to watch the Republican party attempt to distance itself from The Donald’s idiotic views, when the party created the monster.

Simply peruse the crowds at any Republican function–where is the rainbow of humanity that is America? The only difference between Trump, Ted Cruz and the rest of them is presentation.
By the way, these are the same people who insist that Black Americans only voted for Barack Obama because he was Black. Tell that cracked theory to the ever fading Dr. Ben Carson, whose constituents are 99.9 percent white for a reason.

The most convenient thing about Trump is that he doesn’t have to become president for us to get an idea as to how the rest of the world would receive him. In the U.K. a branch of its government actually took a vote on whether to ban him from the country.
In Mexico and Latin America he is despised. The Middle East sees him as dangerous. You really have to work hard to be feared in that region.

However, playfully, he is praised by Russia’s Putin. He knows the immature and insecure Trump is someone he’d trample.

And just when we thought this floorshow of ignorance and stupidity could descend no lower, up from the depths of dysfunctional madness comes dumb-as-a-chair Sarah Palin to “endorse” Trump.
If he were running against her for anything, Trump would be gabbing nonstop about Palin’s failed bid for the vice-presidency, her up and simply quitting her job as the governor of Alaska. He’d bring up her daughter Bristol.

Instead, since they are on the same page—-for now-—he actually sees Palin as a positive. That’s how imbecilic Trump is.

It is difficult to believe this lunacy is happening at the apex of modern American politics, the bid for the presidency.
But it is.

By Steven Ivory, veteran journalist, essayist and author, writes about popular culture for magazines, newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet. Respond to him via STEVRIVORY@AOL.COM 

October 8, 2015

Life Inside the Islamic State [Why People Choose Isis] and Recruits by Country

Inside the Caliphate
Interviews with those who live under the militant rule suggest a grim reality.

In July of this year the Washington Post sent @sullivank and  @CharlesOmmanney to Jordan to report this story. .

The white vans come out at dinnertime, bringing hot meals to unmarried Islamic State fighters in the city of Hit in western Iraq.
A team of foreign women, who moved from Europe and throughout the Arab world to join the Islamic State, work in communal kitchens to cook the fighters’ dinners, which are delivered to homes confiscated from people who fled or were killed, according to the city’s former mayor.

The Islamic State has drawn tens of thousands of people from around the world by promising paradise in the Muslim homeland it has established on conquered territory in Syria and Iraq.

But in reality, the militants have created a brutal, two-tiered society, where daily life is starkly different for the occupiers and the occupied, according to interviews with more than three dozen people who are now living in, or have recently fled, the Islamic State.
Foreign fighters and their families are provided free housing, medical care, religious education and even a sort of militant meals-on-wheels service, according to those interviewed. The militants are paid salaries raised largely from taxes and fees levied on the millions of people they control, in an arc of land as big as the United Kingdom.
Those whose cities and towns are held by the Islamic State said they face not only the casual savagery of militants who behead their enemies and make sex slaves out of some minority women but also severe shortages of the basics of daily life.

Many residents have electricity for only an hour or two a day, and some homes go days without running water. Jobs are scarce, so many people can’t afford food prices that have tripled or more. Medical care is poor, most schools are closed, and bans on most travel outside the Islamic State are enforced at gunpoint. 
Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has made Headlines with its Barbaric Terror Tactics whether it is mass execution of innocent civilians or making professional movies of these executions which affects the life of millions of peace loving Natives. We know about all these impacts but we haven’t discussed about the impact of ISIS on World Economy, what will be the economic impact on the economies of Middle East or whole of world? We cannot think about the economy of Middle East without oil and oil is one of the most essential commodities of whole of the World’s Economy.

Over the past two years, the militants have produced a torrent of startlingly sophisticated online propaganda that has helped persuade at least 20,000 foreign fighters, many with families, to come from as far away as Australia. The campaign, largely distributed on YouTube and social media, depicts a place filled with Ferris wheels and cotton candy, where local families cheerfully mingle with heavily armed foreigners.

But local people interviewed said their daily lives are filled with fear and deprivation in the Islamic State “caliphate,” governed by the militants’ extreme version of Islamic sharia law.
“We went back to the Stone Age,” said Mohammad Ahmed, 43, a former Arab League worker from Deir al-sour  a town near Raqqa, the militants’ self-proclaimed capital in northern Syria.

“We used to have a beautiful house with marble and ceramic floors,” said Ahmed, who fled his home in June and now lives alongside 20,000 other Syrians in Jordan’s Azraq refu­gee camp. “All our lives, we had everything we needed. Then, when they came, we were cooking over a fire outside and washing our clothes in a bucket.”

Several of those interviewed said the Islamic State was actually less corrupt and provided more efficient government services, such as road construction and trash collection, than the previous Syrian and Iraqi governments. In Iraq, some said, the Sunni Islamic State militants treated them better than the Shiite-dominated central government in Baghdad. But none of those interviewed said they supported the militants, and all said efficient government did not excuse the group’s brutal and fanatical behavior.

 State produces sophisticated propaganda portraying life in its territory as happy, peaceful and plentiful, as in this screen shot from a recent propaganda video. Interviews with those who live there, or who have recently fled, reveal a much more dire situation.   
“We hate them,” said Hikmat al-Gaoud, 41, the former mayor of Hit, who fled in April and now divides his time between Baghdad and Amman, Jordan.
The Islamic State came to power in the wake of years of fighting in Syria and Iraq that already had shattered many public institutions. But people interviewed said the Islamic State had made the damage worse, in ways that could be felt for decades to come — reversing gains in public education, ruining the medical infrastructure, establishing a justice system based on terror, and exposing a generation of children to gruesome and psychologically devastating violence.

For women, living in the Islamic State homeland often means being subjected to a virtual assembly-line system for providing brides to fighters, or sometimes being abducted and forced into unwanted marriages.
Many who were interviewed gave only their first name or declined to be identified at all, for their own safety and the security of their family members still living under Islamic State control. They were interviewed via Skype or telephone calls from Syria and Iraq, or in person in Iraq, Turkey and Jordan.

Those who spoke from inside areas controlled by the Islamic State did so at great peril, saying the militants closely monitor Internet access. They agreed to speak so that they could tell their story of life inside the Islamic State caliphate.
Life in the ‘Islamic State’: Justice
Militant occupiers use beheadings and horror to control local people.
Read story
Nearly everyone interviewed said they had witnessed a beheading or another savage punishment. It is virtually impossible to independently verify these accounts, just as it is impossible to verify the claims in much of the propaganda material put out by the Islamic State. The militants almost never allow journalists or other observers inside their territory, and they have posted video of the beheadings of several they have captured.

The interviews, conducted over several months, were arranged largely at random or through long-established contacts in the region. Although several activists were among those interviewed, The Washington Post did not rely on activist groups to provide interview subjects. At the Azraq camp, Post reporters reviewed records of arrivals and sought out those who had come recently from militant-controlled areas. Many of the interviews lasted two hours or longer.

A young boy in the Azraq refugee camp in the Jordan desert, 
where about 20,000 Syrians have taken shelter.
The militants control small farming communities and large urban areas, including Mosul, an Iraqi city with a population of more than 1 million people. The Islamic State’s policies differ somewhat in each area, so there is no single, uniform way of life; but in the interviews, consistent themes emerged about women, health, education, justice and the economy in the Islamic State.

Women must be fully veiled and can be whipped for leaving the house without a male-relative escort. Many simply stay at home for fear of being picked up on the street and forced to marry a foreign fighter.

Life in the ‘Islamic State’: Women
A life of forced marriages, young widows, abductions and fear.

Hospitals are usually reserved for foreign fighters and are staffed by doctors who have come from as far as Britain and Malaysia. Local people are forced to seek care in ill-equipped clinics, which have expired medications and poorly trained staff.

In some places, the Islamic State has shut down cellphone service and Internet access. Where it still exists, the militants try to control it closely. They have set up Internet cafes that have become centers for propaganda, where recruiters encourage young people around the world to leave their homes and come to the Islamic State. They have persuaded about 200 Americans — some still in their teens — in Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis and other U.S. cities to try to come to Syria. Most were arrested before reaching their destination, according to U.S. law enforcement officials.

Except for religious schools for the children of foreign fighters, schools are generally closed. Militants have confiscated college diplomas and burned them publicly.

Life in the ‘Islamic State’: Education
Militants have closed most schools, banned “worthless” secular education and burned college diplomas.
Read story
“Life under Daesh is a nightmare each day,” said a female math teacher who lives in Mosul, using an Arabic name for the Islamic State.

“We have an unknown future,” she said, asking that her name not be used. “Maybe Daesh will kill us or maybe we will die in the war, or maybe after. What we are going through right now is a slow death.”

The militants have established checkpoints to prevent people from fleeing. But those interviewed said a growing network of smugglers is helping people get away, and they are entering Jordan, Turkey, Lebanon and non-militant-controlled areas of Iraq in increasing numbers. U.N. officials said that 60 percent of refugees who have crossed the Syria-Jordan border recently were escaping areas controlled by the militants.

The Islamic State’s propaganda portrays the militants as liberators; one recent video showed armed fighters delivering sweets to a home for the elderly. But according to those interviewed, the majority of residents view the militants as a merciless occupying force, and they stay away from them as much as possible.

“Even if we see them in the streets or in the shops, there is no mingling,” said an activist who calls himself Abu Ibrahim al-Raqqawi, a native of Raqqa who runs a social media site called Raqqa Is Being Slaughtered Silently.

People in Raqqa, he said, “feel like strangers in their own city.”

Life is bleak in the Azraq camp, but it is a welcome sanctuary for those fleeing the Islamic State militants.
Why people join and stay
The Islamic State has had some success recruiting local people. Those interviewed said many of their friends and neighbors in Syria and Iraq have chosen to join the Islamic State, becoming fighters, teachers or workers in their government offices.
Some do so because they believe in the militants’ goal of uniting the world under their extreme interpretation of Islamic law.

But most of the people who work for the Islamic State do so out of economic desperation, according to those interviewed. In places where the cost of food has skyrocketed and where many people are living on little more than bread and rice, some men have concluded that becoming an Islamic State warrior is the only way to provide for their family.
Life in the ‘Islamic State’: Economy
The militants’ government is sometimes efficient, but locals face severe shortages of daily necessities.
Read story
“There is no work, so you have to join them in order to live,” said Yassin al-Jassem, 52, who fled his home near Raqqa in June. “So many local people have joined them. They were pushed into Daesh by hunger.”

Peter Neumann, director of the International Center for the Study of Radicalization and Political Violence at King’s College in London, said that although foreign fighters have given the Islamic State a boost, “in the long term, they will turn out to be a burden.” He said that local tribes rose up against al-Qaeda in Iraq in the mid-2000s partly because that group was perceived as a foreign organization. He said people now under Islamic State control could do the same — especially in Iraq.

But those interviewed who had lived under the Islamic State said it has gone to great lengths to suppress any potential uprisings, killing anyone suspected of disloyalty.
Faten Humayda, 70, a grandmother who fled her town near Raqqa in May and now lives in the Azraq camp, said the violence increases local anger at the militants, but it also creates suspicion among local people. It is harder for any kind of resistance movement to form when people think their friends and neighbors might be informants for the militants.
“They have turned us against each other,” she said.
Faten Humayda and her family fled to Jordan from Syria.
Ahmed, who fled his town near Raqqa in June, said some of the Arab fighters would try to mix with the local population, but the Europeans and other non-Arabs never did. He said that although the Islamic State militants claimed they were there to create a better life for Muslims, they seemed mainly focused on battles with other rebel groups and government forces.

“They were always very aggressive, and they seemed angry,” he said. “They are there to fight, not to govern.”
Interviewed in his baking-hot metal hut in the Azraq camp, Jassem recalled that while he was living under Islamic State control, his 2-year-old grandson developed a brain tumor. Doctors wanted $800 to remove it.

Jassem, a farm hand, hadn’t worked since Islamic State militants took over his home town. He was desperate, so in late May he went to the militants to beg for his grandson’s life, and they offered him a choice.
“They said to me, ‘If you give us your son to fight with us, we will pay for your grandson’s treatment,’” he said.

The idea of one of his sons becoming an Islamic State fighter turned his stomach, and the thought of losing his grandson broke his heart. So Jassem took his family and escaped in the back of a smuggler’s truck. He said his son is now asking Jordanian authorities for medical help for the little boy.

“I am never going back to Syria,” Jassem said, looking out from his 12-by-18-foot hut at the bleak expanse of empty Jordan desert. “It’s not my Syria anymore.”

The Washington Post

Confronting the ‘Caliphate’: These stories are part of an occasional series about the militant group Islamic State and its violent collision with the United States and others intent on halting the group’s rapid rise.

Kevin Sullivan reported from Washington, London and Jordan. Souad Mekhennet in Morocco and Berlin; Loveday Morris, Erin Cunningham and Mustafa Salim in Iraq; Karla Adam in London; and Taylor Luck in Jordan contributed to this report. Photos by Charles Ommanney. Design by Danielle Rindler. Some Photos by Charles Ommanney

One question is fair to asks as one reads this live story and is the part of people choosing to live in these camps. Camps that curtail their freedom but at the same time it gives them some living conditions in which they don’t have to starve. If you are a believer and you have to live with little food, no freedom and horrid conditions you do it because you are looking to a wonderful life after you die. This does not make sense to people that wont believe precisely because of that. All religions offer you a life that no one as ever lived and come back to show you. Even a prophet or a Mesiath, they don’t give you a clear picture. Even the bible says tha you look at things ‘ hrough an obscure mirror now but then you will see things clear.’ That is true! After you die if you remain dead that is it! and if they had it right you will also know. 

Coming back to the camps and people economics and the money spent on the west to control this violent group that clearly believes in destroying the world as we know it. Being that everyone there is not there because they buy everything this people are selling, Why do countries have to force people into such levels of pressure by the economics of poverty when it would be so much cheaper to make a more fair world in which we can destroy poverty altogether. But this capitalist world believes that what I have is mine and I don’t want you to have anything unless you die getting it. ”This is a club and you need to belong.” What happens when the doors to that club and the windows and most of the inhabitants are blown to kingdom come? There has to be a level of fairness and fairness does not mean equality in wealth but equality in a way that offers everyone a free education and ways to make their own mark on the world that mark not being a violent one. We have already learnt there is no system in this world in everyone shares everything(communism) or in which the government can supply everything in an equity way (socialism). Some will always be rich and some wont be. But to have the majority of the people in poverty in resenting the top 1 or 2% is not the sway . It is not sustainable. We can teach those that don’t want o share that is for everyone own interests,particularly themselves to share something in which it make the bottom up their level through free education and fairness in which they keep the money they earn.

Some wonder what is the answer to avoid killings in schools and where kids and young adults meet in the U.S.? One of the ways to eliminate some of it might be to make the schools a more decent and accessible way to be and  learn. To make life fairer. Would that hurt those that want to have more than anybody else?  Yes they have to have less but not by much when it guarantees that they will keep what they have.
Adam Gonzalez

September 26, 2015

Who Lives, How Educated and How Much They make in NYC


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