European Migration Crisis

European Migration Crisis

The people fleeing Syria in the recent days, weeks and months has reached a flash point in the European Union, but what does the European Migration Crisis have to do with the United States and should we get involved? From a humanitarian perspective, we have performed our courtesy gesture of accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees into the US with the Dems wanting more and Obama pushing for the increase to 10,000, but this is not the real issue and is yet another deflection by the US government in our abysmal foreign policy tactics and efforts worldwide.

Why Are Syrians migrating to Europe?
Under our current administration, few can argue that we have been weak and reactionary. Once again we are dealing with fallout rather than being proactive and doing what is necessary to protect our interests around the globe.

A Brief Timeline of the Syrian conflict and what is happening in Syria;

  • 1979 – List created and Syria added as a State Sponsor of Terrorists. US creates a list of state sponsors of terrorism and Syria is characterized as providing safe haven to multiple terrorist groups as well as providing political and tactical support such as arming Hezbollah force with SCUD missiles.
  • 1990 to 2000 – Syria improved relations with the US by securing the release of hostages in Lebanon and by opening bilateral negotiations with Israel. President Hafez al-Assad sought accord with Israel, the US and the multi-national community.
  • 2000 – President Bashar al-Assad takes power and reverses progress made by Syria. As a Shia, al-Assad operates as a dictator to enforce his regime including torture, abduction and murder.
  • 2010 – Obama appoints Ambassador and resumes political relations with Syria.
  • 2011 – Arab Spring protests. Sunni’s begin to protest on a large scale against the al-Assad regime. Conflict escalates and force is used in violent crackdowns against protestors.
  • 2012 – Protests turn into civil war and government begins military assault on civilians focusing on the Sunni population.
  • 2013 – Sunni states Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others back Sunni fighters in Syria. Iran, as a Shia country, backs al-Assad in his war on the Sunni population.
  • The Syrian government, under Assad, has targeted its own civilians and estimates are between 200,000 to 300,000 innocents have been killed while an estimated 3.5 to 4.5 million have fled the country. This is the source of the refugee exodus into Europe.

    So where is the risk for the US?
    Flashback to the Ukraine and the Crimean peninsula where Russia invades utilizing military disguised in plain clothes and with equipment and weapons that they don’t even bother to hide. The purpose? To acquire and maintain a strategic foothold in a port that is critical to supply lines for both Europe and Russia. This is an overt land grab with little resistance other than lip service by the US and the United Nations. What were the consequences to Putin and the Russians? Nothing.

    With little challenge from the West, Putin is now more emboldened to reach out and lay claim where other opportunities exist. The primary deterrent in the past has been the US and threat of military action to keep aggressionist tactics in check, but now there is no counter balance and these acts will become more and more aggressive.

    Fast-forward and we have the Arctic Circle land grab with zero challenge and we now have the Syrian push by Putin with the political and military backing pledge from Russia to Assad. Make no mistake, Russia has zero interest in the Sunni / Shia conflict. Russia is after Syria for strategic purposes and if you examine all of their movements into external sovereignty, you will see that their targets are highly tactical. Their focus appears to be strategic points should the need arise to control points of entry or have access to resource rich environments in times of conflict.

    This is most likely on the radar screen of the intelligence agencies and, if it is not already, should be a priority for the intelligence community. Is there a risk for the US with the most recent events in Syria? Absolutely there is, but we also need to keep focus on the European migration crisis at the same time.

    How do we resolve this? There is no magical answer, but when the Syrian citizens feel safe in returning to their homeland, then the migration crisis will be over. If that is not the primary focus of the international community, then it should be. We have to deal with the immediate needs at hand, but we have to look beyond that into the longer-term resolution of replacing the dictatorial regime in Syria. The alternative is that both Iran and Russia will have a strategic foothold in the Middle East that will be nearly impossible to retake in the future.

    Finally, while there are implications for the US, including our foreign policy and strategic footprint in areas around the world, this is not just a US problem. Left unchecked, these incursions have the potential to become more aggressive and will impact other nationalities directly. Examples so far include the countries of Ukraine and Syria with a severe indirect economic impact on many of the European countries.

TownSpeaks on Birthright Citizenship

Birthright Citizenship

One of the critical flash points of the 2016 Presidential Campaign is Birthright Citizenship where any child born in the US, no matter the citizenship status of the parent, automatically is born a US citizen. This has become a contentious point in the election. Some feel it is a valid argument and that it should be eliminated while others feel that this is a drafted component of the 14th amendment and, as a constitutional protection, that it should not be altered.

While it may appear impossible to resolve, both camps are right, but they are looking to the wrong source for correction. Birthright citizenship was originally designed to allow children born of legal immigrants the ability to become citizens automatically so that the government was not burdened with the need to naturalize all of the children born of immigrants in the country legally.

So the reasoning behind keeping birthright citizenship is valid and the mechanism should not be eliminated, but then how is the other camp right? Worst case scenario, the mechanism needs to only be altered to allow children of immigrants or visitors in this country legally, the ability to access birthright citizenship. We do not want to deter legal access to our great nation, but we also must be vigilant in controlling our borders.

A final aspect of birthright citizenship that deters us from eliminating it altogether is that the focus should not be on the mechanism, rather the source. If there are no illegal immigrants in the country to have children, then there is no need to delete birthright citizenship. Follow the logic and you find that it becomes moot when you control the source – illegal immigration. Additionally, the need to utilize birthright citizenship diminishes and usage reverts back to the intended purpose.

Joel Phillips

TownSpeaks Real Estate US Housing Supply and Demand

US Follows Greece in Default

Is the USA next in line for debt default?

In an interview hosted by Matt Welch, radio host and economic / investment expert Peter Schiff warns of the indicators found in the US economy and how they are going to take us down the same road as Greece who has recently teetered on the brink of being ejected from the European Union and facing financial collapse, "What's happening in Greece and what's happening in Puerto Rico is going to happen in the United States," 

Peter Schiff, CEO of Euro Pacific Capital notes, "Once the Greek creditors began to question the solvency of Greece they demanded higher interest rates. The minute our creditors figure out we are in the same position as Greece or Puerto Rico, they're going to demand higher interest rate from us and we can't pay either."

When people discuss default, this is what it means - that we are not able to service the interest rate on the debt that we have outstanding and that we are not able to pay creditors who have 'loaned' us the money that we borrow. It is interesting to note that Quantitative Easing was the process of printing money for the purpose of buying our own Treasury Notes. In other words, it is like spending money on your Visa, then going home and printing money so that you can borrow more. The problem with the analogy is that in our economy, we do not pay the debt down, we only accumulate more.

Further, we have enjoyed world currency status meaning that our cash is good everywhere and is used as the primary currency in the world. This is true because it is the primary currency used to purchase oil. We have abused that power though and it is not a matter of if, but a matter of when the world will no longer tolerate our abuses. With a debt ratio of more than 100% compared to the GDP, if any other nation were were in this situation, there would not be any question that we would be forced into default.

Add to that artificially low interest rates and you have a recipe for disaster. Many do not correlate the interest rate of 0 and our ability to service our national debt. Right now we can make payments but what happens when interest rates go to even 3%, which is still extremely low? Then we have to pay much more to service the nearly $20 trillion we have in liquid debt (not even overall debt). That number becomes astronomical.

The Feds have been able to keep these rates down by printing more money and they are under the misguided belief that they can control the interest rates we pay, but there is a stark reality awaiting the policy makers. There is a point where pressure for interest rates to rise exceeds the ability for Feds to contain it and, just like the housing collapse, the more you keep the lid on pressure, the more that pressure builds and the bigger the explosion.

This is a great video interview lasting about 3 1/2 minutes.

Stockholm Terror Attack

TFlash – Stockholm Terror Attack

Subject – Stockholm Terror Attack

A man suspected of driving a carjacked truck into a crowd of shoppers at a local department store has been arrested and has confessed to local authorities. Police have confirmed that at least 4 people have been killed and 15 people injured (9 seriously) in the Stockholm Terror Attack. Images of the man were distributed by police as the short manhunt came to conclusion.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven stated that the attack appeared to be terror related and this was later confirmed by police. Sweden and neighboring countries are attributing the spike in crime to the influx of refugees from states known to have radical terrorist ties. The Stockholm Terror Attack is another in the wave of so called Lone-Wolf attacks in the region.

Stockholm Terror Attack occurred at approximately 3:16PM local time.

Stockholm Terror Attack

Swedish Police release images of the suspect later arrested in the horrific attack at a local department store

Stockholm Terror Attack

Police release images of man suspected and later apprehended in Stockholm Terror Attack

Stockholm Terror Attack

Scene outside the local department store where a carjacker used a truck to run over shoppers. Courtesy AFP